"I'd like you to convert Chicago," Father Robert Barron remembers his boss, Francis Cardinal George, archbishop of the Windy City, telling him about six years ago.
The result of that charge will be airing on many PBS stations, starting this week.
Barron, a Chicago priest and professor, has created a remarkable book and TV series called "Catholicism" -- which, in reintroducing a 2,000-year-old tradition, manages to be both elaborate and humble. It's self-conscious as a work of evangelization (complete with available study guides and a prayer card for those who care for such things), yet welcoming to a wide potential audience.
In one of the least needed reassurances in modern political history, President Obama's top political man David Plouffe, "told Democrats late last week that the White House would not suffer from overconfidence. 'What I don't want to suggest is that we're sitting around and thinking everything is great,' he said."
With the White House's own economists predicting 9 percent or worse unemployment on Election Day, the president at about 39 percent job approval, college grads unable to find jobs, a quarter of American homes under water, no credible White House policy or strategy for changing things — and with most non-institutionalized Americans convinced we are in a recession that is going to get much worse — it is surpassing odd that Plouffe was worried that his fellow Democrats might think the president and his men believed everything to be hunky-dory.
It is clear from the way President Barack Obama has been talking about the federal budget recently, and about taxation since he came to office, that all the money that Americans earn belongs to the federal government. The key words in this conversation are "tax expenditures." Obama has lost a lot in tax expenditures, and he wants more of those tax expenditures back. He can spend that money, he believes, more wisely than the citizenry — that is to say, you and me.
He has wiggled and wobbled on the nation's finances over the years. First, he spent money that he did not have. Then he threatened to raise taxes on the rich to pay for it. Then again he spent money that he did not have. Now, he is getting very serious about the budget, which means that the budget deficit is so large you do not even want to think about it. So he is back to taxing the rich again, which eventually means you and me.
The cultural and media snobs are trying to explain Texas to those who don't know the difference between a steer and a bull. If you fall into this category, a steer has been castrated -- a bull has not. I'll leave any analogy to East and West Coast elites for you to sort out.
People who are from Texas, or have lived there, are devoted to it and I never truly understood why until I lived there ... twice. Texans speak of their state with an affection one doesn't often hear from Oregonians or Michiganians. No matter what city they are from, Texans almost always add "Texas" when they introduce themselves, apparently to avoid confusion, as though there were another Nacogdoches or Cut and Shoot anywhere else in the world.
For decades, liberals tried persuading Americans to abolish the death penalty, using their usual argument: hysterical sobbing.
Only when the media began lying about innocent people being executed did support for the death penalty begin to waver, falling from 80 percent to about 60 percent in a little more than a decade. (Silver lining: That's still more Americans than believe in man-made global warming.)
Fifty-nine percent of Americans now believe that an innocent man has been executed in the last five years. There is more credible evidence that space aliens have walked among us than that an innocent person has been executed in this country in the past 60 years, much less the past five years.
During the recent GOP presidential debate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said that Social Security is a "monstrous lie" and a "Ponzi scheme." More and more people are coming to see that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, but is it a lie, as well? Let's look at it.
Here's what the 1936 government pamphlet on Social Security said: "After the first 3 years — that is to say, beginning in 1940 — you will pay, and your employer will pay, 1.5 cents for each dollar you earn, up to $3,000 a year. ... Beginning in 1943, you will pay 2 cents, and so will your employer, for every dollar you earn for the next 3 years. ... And finally, beginning in 1949, twelve years from now, you and your employer will each pay 3 cents on each dollar you earn, up to $3,000 a year." Here's Congress' lying promise: "That is the most you will ever pay."
If you thought the half-billion-dollar, stimulus-funded Solyndra solar company bust was a taxpayer nightmare, just wait. If you thought the botched Fast and Furious border gun-smuggling surveillance operation was a national security nightmare, hold on. Right on the heels of those two blood-boilers comes yet another alleged pay-for-play racket from the most ethical administration ever.
Welcome to LightSquared. It's a toxic mix of venture socialism (to borrow GOP Sen. Jim DeMint's apt phrase), campaign finance influence-peddling and perilous corner-cutting all rolled into one.
As predictable and repetitive as Obama's economic speeches are, his capacity for audacity shows ever increasing signs of creativity. Do you suppose he has any ability to feel shame for what he's doing to this country and embarrassment for blaming everyone but himself?
His latest deficit plan involves further punishing millionaires and billionaires (which means all those making $200,000 or more), continuing to spend like there's no tomorrow (which there won't be if he continues doing it), phony unspecified reductions in waste, more stonewalling on real entitlement reform, and demonizing anyone who dares to get in his way. You'll be outraged if you look at the mammoth new administrative bureaucracy he wants to create in his latest stimulus monstrosity.
Smart meters are being installed stealthily by water, gas and electric utility companies on houses and buildings across the country. Despite that, the majority of the public still doesn't know about their potential health risks.
From the moment smart meters began to be installed, a rash of serious health complaints in each community has followed — to date, largely going unheeded by officials. These aren't hysteria or hype, but bona fide national health concerns about what is being emitted from smart meters and their cumulative effects on "electrosmog" in our homes. In short, electrosmog is pollution through electromagnetic energy. It is being produced by this vast post-Edison world, in which electromagnetic fields and flows have inundated the space around us.
The world -- or at least the large part of it that hates Israel and wishes it would go away -- moves a step nearer that goal this week when the United Nations votes on whether to recognize a Palestinian state. The vote violates the Declaration of Principles signed by the PLO in 1993, which committed the terrorist group and precursor to the Palestinian Authority to direct negotiations with Israel over a future state. This violation is further evidence the Palestinian side cannot be trusted to live up to signed agreements and promises. Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick rightly calls the prospective UN vote "diplomatic aggression."
As part of his warmed-over jobs plan, President Obama is repackaging "Buy American" stimulus subsidies to help hard-hit homegrown businesses. At the same time, however, Congress is pushing to expand a fraud-riddled investor program that puts U.S. citizenship for sale to the highest foreign business bidders.
Seventy years old, Bob Turner was retired with 13 grandchildren, sitting comfortably in the Breezy Point section of Queens, N.Y. to enjoy life and be generous to his church and family. But now he's one of 435 legislators trying to get something constructive done in a town that often seems poised for something very different.
He spoke at his congressional campaign's victory party in Howard Beach early in the morning on Sept. 14, armed with a message that was as humble and confident as the messenger delivering it. He has been elected to the seat vacated by the now-infamous Anthony Weiner, a seat that may very well be redistricted out of existence next year. Which is actually just fine with him.
In the Republican presidential candidates debate Monday night in Tampa, CNN's Wolf Blitzer posed a hypothetical question. Normally, a hypothetical question should not be answered, but in this case it revealed something about the questioner and sparked a controversial, but necessary answer from Rep. Ron Paul.
For those watching the two Monday Night Football games, the question was: "A healthy 30-year-old young man has a good job, makes a good living, but decides, you know what? I'm not going to spend $200 or $300 a month for health insurance because I'm healthy, I don't need it. But something terrible happens, all of a sudden he needs it. Who's going to pay if he goes into a coma, for example? Who pays for that?"
Liberals are on their high horses about a single audience member at CNN's Republican debate whom they believe wanted a hypothetical man without health insurance in a hypothetical coma to die -- hypothetically.
(Democrats want people in comas to die only when they are not hypothetical but real, like Terri Schiavo.)
Too much of anything is just as much a misallocation of resources as it is too little, and that applies to higher education just as it applies to everything else. A recent study from The Center for College Affordability and Productivity titled "From Wall Street to Wal-Mart," by Richard Vedder, Christopher Denhart, Matthew Denhart, Christopher Matgouranis and Jonathan Robe, explains that college education for many is a waste of time and money. More than one-third of currently working college graduates are in jobs that do not require a degree. An essay by Vedder that complements the CCAP study reports that there are "one-third of a million waiters and waitresses with college degrees." The study says Vedder — distinguished professor of economics at Ohio University, an adjunct scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and director of CCAP — "was startled a year ago when the person he hired to cut down a tree had a master's degree in history, the fellow who fixed his furnace was a mathematics graduate, and, more recently, a TSA airport inspector (whose job it was to ensure that we took our shoes off while going through security) was a recent college graduate."
It is very disheartening to see Republican presidential primary candidates racing to out-demagogue one another in denouncing Texas Gov. Rick Perry's accurate description of Social Security as a Ponzi scheme. It used to be that Republicans at least waited until the general election campaign to pander to liberals.
I admire Perry both for telling it like it is and for having the guts to stand by his statement when under fire. That shows character.
It seems like yesterday, though it was nearly a decade ago, when the No Child Left Behind Act brought sweeping changes to education across the nation. Now the feds are making sure no child's lunch is left behind, with their overreaching food tampering in local schools.
In December, President Barack Obama signed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act into law. Over the months since then, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has told state agencies and school food authorities how to implement various provisions in it.
Are your kids learning the right lessons about 9/11? Ten years after Osama bin Laden's henchmen murdered thousands of innocents on American soil, too many children have been spoon-fed the thin gruel of progressive political correctness over the stiff antidote of truth.
"Know your enemy, name your enemy" is a 9/11 message that has gone unheeded. Our immigration and homeland security policies refuse to profile jihadi adherents at foreign consular offices and at our borders. Our military leaders refuse to expunge them from uniformed ranks until it's too late (see: Fort Hood massacre). The j-word is discouraged in Obama intelligence circles, and the term "Islamic extremism" was removed from the U.S. national security strategy document last year.
For Hollywood, to push America’s morality buttons is a win-win proposition. When they challenge those moribund "traditional values," they not only strike a blow for the sexual revolution, they create the cherished publicity "buzz" that brings attention – and viewers – to their shows.
It explains why ABC’s "Dancing with the Stars" named to their cast America’s most famous "transgender" activist, who was once the cute little blond daughter Chastity that everyone of a certain age remembers from the old Sonny and Cher show on CBS, and is now the female-denying Chaz Bono.
The show business publication "Variety" reports "40-plus programs expected to commemorate 10th anniversary of (9-11) attacks." And those are just the specials. They don't include reports within news programs, or overseas TV memorials, which began last month.
How we love our anniversaries. Whether it's "the Maine," "Pearl Harbor" or "9-11" we choose to remember, the question is "Why?" Why remember? To honor the dead? Yes, that is a good reason. How about to remember loved ones and survivors? That, too, is commendable.