Despite the joyful celebrations outside the Municipal Cathedral in Buenos Aires yesterday, the news of Latin America's first pope was clouded by lingering concerns about the role of the church – and its new head – during Argentina's brutal military dictatorship.There was genuine joy. But it hasn't taken long for these questions to surface. More insight from Andrew Sullivan:
The Catholic church and Pope Francis have been accused of a complicit silence and worse during the "dirty war" of murders and abductions carried out by the junta that ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1983.
5.37 pm. Stanley Hauerwas:HuffPost:It’s remarkable that they’ve chosen a Jesuit. That’s even more remarkable than choosing a non-European. That he’s a Jesuit says so much about his commitment to the poor, and that he’s taken the name of Francis — in recollection of Saint Francis of Assisi — clearly gestures that the Roman Catholic Church not only serves the poor, the Roman Catholic Church is the church of the poor.Now for a real battle within American Christianity: the “church of the poor” or the Prosperity Gospel?
Rev. Franklin Graham has come out in support of universal background checks as the debate over gun control continues in Washington.Also included with Graham is Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention. Hallelujah!
Graham told Time he and other religious leaders think background checks on gun purchases are "reasonable and responsible."
Fiercely debated ammunition limits cleared Colorado's Democratic Legislature on Wednesday and were on their way to the governor, who has said he'll sign the measure into law.More politics and pundits below the fold.
The 15-round magazine limit would make Colorado the first state outside the East Coast to ratchet back gun rights after last year's mass shootings.
Colorado's gun-control debates have been closely watched because of the state's gun-loving frontier heritage and painful history of mass shootings, most recently last summer's movie theater shooting that killed 12.
"I am sick and tired of the bloodshed," said Rep. Rhonda Fields, sponsor of the ammunition limit and a Democrat whose suburban Denver district includes the theater. "Whatever we can do to curb the gun violence and the bloodshed, we have a responsibility to do that."
Newtown—on covering a massacre where you liveHuffPost pollster:
Shannon Hicks, a reporter and photographer for the weekly Bee of Newtown, Connecticut, was perhaps the first journalist to arrive at the Sandy Hook Elementary School last December 14 to cover what turned out to be the massacre of 20 children and six adults. She took a picture of children leaving the school that showed up the next day on the front page of the New York Times, and a couple of weeks ago she served as the entree into Rachel Aviv's New Yorker story on the Bee's response to the massacre.
In typically understated New Yorker style, Aviv brought her report into focus with the following paragraph:"After the second class had been evacuated, the education reporter came to retrieve the memory card from Hicks's camera, and Hicks went over to the Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue Company, which had just arrived. She bunched up her knee-length skirt and pulled bunker pants over it, and put on boots, a turnout coat, and a helmet. With three other firefighters, she set up a triage area near the school's baseball field, laying out medical bags, collars, backboards, and stretchers."Reporters don't commonly double as volunteer firefighters. Reporters don't commonly surrender their memory cards and stop reporting the biggest story of their career because of a volunteer obligation. What obligation—as any Chicago reporter would ask you—could possibly exceed serving the people’s right to know?
President Barack Obama's approval rating declined to 50 percent in a Washington Post/ABC News poll released Wednesday, the latest piece of evidence that his post-election honeymoon is coming to an end.Gregory Koger:
The rating is a 5-point dip from a January Post/ABC poll, bringing Obama's popularity back in line with his numbers last fall. His decline was sharpest among independents, a majority of whom say they disapprove of his work.
That decline is generally consistent with the recent trends shown in other surveys, including the Gallup and Rasmussen Reports daily tracking polls. But the context of all the other surveys is important. When combined into the HuffPost Pollster trend-line estimate, they show a more modest decline than the Post/ABC poll, from a peak of just over 51 percent approval in early December to 50 percent now -- exactly the same as the new result reported on the new Post/ABC poll.
Elections, not PolicyHans Noel:
BUT: policy outcomes are secondary to the true goals of political parties. While individual House members may be true conservatives and sincerely desire to implement conservative policies, this is not why the House Republican party exists. Its true purpose is to win elections. If it is in the electoral interests of the Republican party to bring up legislation opposed by most of the House GOP and allow it to pass, it is their job to do so. What kinds of bills are good for the GOP brand but unworthy of GOP members' votes?
Greg's excellent post on the Hastert "guideline" raises a point of disagreement among parties scholars. One that [this blog, Mischiefs of Faction] should make explicit.EJ Dionne:
Greg goes to great lengths to say that "policy outcomes are secondary to the true goals of political parties"-- winning elections. Greg's position is also taken by Anthony Downs, John Aldrich and others. Meanwhile, elsewhere, Seth and I (and Kathleen Bawn, Marty Cohen, David Karol and John Zaller) have gone to great lengths to say that policy outcomes are pretty primary to the true goals of political parties.
In a real way, this is a chicken-and-egg question. You can't win office if you don't have a record, so election-minded folks have to try to pass some sort of policy. And you can't enact policy without being in power, so policy-minded folks have to get elected.
But parties do not exist only for the egg or only for the chicken. In fact, much of their work is in managing the coordination problems that emerge precisely because these two goals can be in tension. That is the contribution of the so-called UCLA school on political parties, which at least Seth and I would consider ourselves aligned with.
Paul Ryan’s budget could prove to be a perversely useful document.When read in context of the two above poli sci articles, even more perverse. How does this help the GOP get reelected? Between Ryan and Club for Growth, the GOP needs to have that civil war to clean up their act, or neither Jeb nor Chris Christie will ever get through a Republican primary.
Thanks to this plan, nobody can take the House Budget Committee chairman seriously anymore as a policy wonk or a true deficit hawk. His budget is the work of an ideologue. It’s a bargaining ploy that even Ryan concedes is merely “a vision.”