Monthly Archives: September 2015

Boehner and the Tenor of the Times


House Speaker John Boehner said in his first post-retirement interview on CBS’ Face the Nation that it takes more courage to do what you can do than to try to do what you can’t.

The Speaker could have said that better, but his observation sums up quite well the philosophy of governance that has been both the accelerator and brake of his journey through Congress.  The statement also defined one of the most debilitating divides in politics and government, a divide that not only defined and confined his Speakership but will undoubtedly do the same for the next, regardless of whose it is.

The King is dead, long live the King.   Continue reading

Ryan, Pope Francis, & a New Approach to Fighting Poverty

SEP 23  |  Reprinted from

On the eve of the Pope’s visit to Washington, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan announced that he would moderate a panel of Presidential candidates in South Carolina with Senator Tim Scott on the issue of poverty.

As a former Budget Chairman and as a practicing Catholic, Ryan has two deep interests in the issue of poverty. First, when people are stuck in an endless cycle of poverty, it costs the Treasury a bunch of money. And as Francis reminds us, helping the poor is the duty of all Catholics. Continue reading

Fighting the Good Fight

SEP 14  |  Reprinted from

Originally published in The Hill

First it was ObamaCare. Then it was immigration. And now, it’s Planned Parenthood.

So many who constitute the Tea Party wing of the Republican conference want to see their leaders wage war against President Obama.

They want to see a good fight. They want to see Congress use the power of the purse to defund and destroy key liberal initiatives, mostly those initiated by the former senator from Illinois.

The leaders want to wage a good fight, too. They don’t want to be seen as kowtowing to Obama. They use heated rhetoric to register their disgust with the president’s priorities. They sympathize with their political base. Continue reading

Super PACs

SEP 14 | Reprinted from

It has been an axiom of politics since 2010 that you can’t be a legitimate candidate for your party’s nomination for President if you don’t have a Super PAC associated – but not coordinating – with you.

The basic rule of Super PACs, according to

Super PACs may raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions, associations and individuals, then spend unlimited sums to overtly advocate for or against political candidates.

Super PACs must, however, report their donors to the Federal Election Commission. Unlike traditional PACs, Super PACs are prohibited from donating money directly to political candidates. Continue reading

Migrants, Refugees, & Immigrants

SEP 10 | Reprinted from

First, some definitions from Merriam-Webster:
Migrant: A person who goes from one place to another especially to find work
Refugee: A person who flees to a foreign country or power to escape danger or persecution
Immigrant: A person who comes to a country to take up permanent residence

With all the projectile sweat over illegal immigrants generated by Donald Trump and parroted by other GOP candidates for President, it is useful to take a deep breath to compare and contrast the problems at our southern border with Central and South Americans to the problems in Europe with (largely) Syrians and Iraqis. Continue reading


SEP 8 | Reprinted from The Screaming Moderate (

The Republican Party asked all its presidential candidates to sign a loyalty oath pledging them to support whoever the eventual candidate is, and not to lead a third party against that candidate. This idea was spurred by Donald Trump’s candidacy and his threat to run as a third-party candidate if he fails to win the GOP nomination, a move that likely would tank a GOP win. Trump, and his 16 competitors, all signed. And, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus traveled to the mountain, I mean Trump Towers, in New York City to get Trump’s signature.

Oy. A few thoughts: Continue reading

A Humanitarian Crisis for All of Humanity


Eleven-year-old-Bushra says she is forgetting how to read.

Bushra is in a refugee camp in Al-Minya, Lebanon, with her father, mother and sister, light years away from her school and life as a pre-teen. She told a reporter she struggled with the words in a pamphlet she found. She and her family are among roughly 4 million others, 750,000 of them children, who have fled Syria’s civil war for something better.

In this case a collection of make-shift shacks, smelly garbage, little food and no foreseeable future in a Lebanese refugee settlement, where the Lebanese government will not allow construction of better dwellings. Continue reading