One thing that bedevils me about President Obama is that he seems too easily drawn to spreading himself thin. He takes on so many policy crusades that he dilutes his impact and leaves the public unsure of what are the real Obama priorities?
Healthcare, obviously, is one and it seems to be wobbly working its way through to some creative congressional resolution—over the kicking and screaming “no’s” of the GOP—and clearly, financial regulatory reform is another—being carried out over the kicking and screaming “no’s” of the GOP.
Economic recovery and generating jobs also is big with Obama and that is moving forward accompanied by the kicking and screaming “no’s” of the GOP.(Do you see a Republican pattern, here?)
And, just as we see important Obama efforts on Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, China trade, peace in the Middle East, and clean climate efforts, he now has decided to upgrade and improve, the Bush Administration’s “No Child Left Behind” national education efforts.
Does anyone in the White House, including the President, think--as I do--that maybe this is too much and that multiple initiatives—with most previous ones still unfinished--do him and the Democratic Party a disservice?
All of this bouncing around, in just his second year in office, certainly reflects a bevy of problems left over from George W. Bush. But the more common reaction from the public is people (the voters) don’t know what truly is important to President Obama. From their own lives, they know that they can’t do 10 things at once and I suspect they think the Obama Administration can’t either.
I’d rather the President work smart not merely work hard. Trying to do too much in so many policy areas achieves little. I know that Confucius didn’t say this, but some fortune cookie somewhere warns, “He who tries to do everything often succeeds at doing nothing.”
I have no doubt that Barack Obama would like to “fix” all of these problems areas, but in today’s political and economic environment, that is impossible.
Prioritize and concentrate. The President needs to string together some successes, first. If new policy campaigns are required, the President should let his Cabinet officers step forward and “drive the bus,” with his efforts backing them.
The Catholic Church, the Pope, and Child Abuse
I see fear, intimidation, deceit, embarrassment, violence, religious dogma, political intrigue, and finally anger and great courage. No, it is not a new Dan Brown novel, just another tale of child abuse within the closed confines of the Catholic Church.
I am outside of my professional experience ruminating on child molestation and the Catholic Church, but—despite the appearances—I am angered and don’t believe that abuse is one of the Church’s tenets, but a ton seems to have happened in it and its schools.
The practice has been around for centuries but major news only in the last 20 years as victims grew bitter and spoke out. (I always honk a thumbs up “salute” to the poor older man who daily pickets in front of the Vatican Embassy, at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Reno Road in the District of Columbia, “seeking justice,” displaying signs alleging that priests molested him when he was a child.)
The United States has had these lurid stories for most of two decades. It has been estimated that the Church had paid out almost $2 billion in U.S. law suit damages, alone.
A few years ago it hit in Ireland and now Catholic Germany gets its share of notoriety, with allegations now nipping at the heels of current Pope Benedict XVI, the former George Ratzinger, who before becoming elevated to lead the Catholic Church in 2005 was a prominent German Cardinal.
Nobody is suggesting that Benedict personally was involved in the recently divulged German ugliness, but—as Cardinal--he may have provided protection for those who were. (It’s a tired old story, given repeated life by the perpetrators and the protectors of the individuals who used their church power and authority to abuse children, mostly males but females as well.
This weekend also brought similar news of the well known Mexican founder of the mysterious “Legion of Christ,” the late Rev. Marcial Maciel, who reportedly abused young boys and girls, as well as his two male children born through his secret sexual relationship with a fellow countrywoman.
Everybody associated with the various religious institutions, where abuse seemed concentrated or with the accused priests, apologizes and claims how sorry they are for the individuals who were victimized. But dozens of lawsuits seem to get filed regularly against priests who carry out the disgraceful acts, or those church officials who tried to protect them or douse news about them.
Over the years, an astonishing number of pederast priests seemed just to get moved from diocese to diocese, yet continued their sexual onslaught against children.
The heinous revelations seldom stop—the locales change, occasionally—then more revelations, more Vatican apologies, and lawsuits flow, suggesting that whatever the Church is doing isn’t sufficient to control and pre-empt these atrocities.
Child molestation occurs in other institutions, not just the Catholic Church. But the Peter’s Church seems to draw more than its share of men (and a few women) for whom this reprehensible conduct is second nature or maybe first nature.
I am curious as to see how the Vatican will respond to the newest charges that could eat further into the Church’s authority, membership, and coffers, now that Pope Benedict and his brother, George—who was head of a prestigious German boys choir where incidence of sexual abuse supposedly occurred—the media have connected to this slimy caldron. (Again, neither of the Ratzinger brothers has been accused of acts against children, just that they might have turned a blind eye to those actions by others in their charge.)
Conviction on serial abuse and child molestation charges is the one crime for which I readily could support a mandatory death penalty.
JD is Going to the Dogs, if That’s Where the Votes Are
Nuts are nuts, but right wingers bring a certain spice to their ravings.
The nation was offered one more reason why Arizona Republicans should not vote for J.D. Hayworth, who is challenging John McCain in that state’s GOP Senate primary.
J.D.--a former House member (who lost) and TV sportscaster--recently suggested that gay marriage could lead to “bestiality.” (I wonder how he knows?)
I am sure that J.D. loves his horse and dog, but there have to be limits to that affection, even in Arizona.