Image: Marco Di Lauro/ Getty Reportage/ Der Spiegel
Image: Marco Di Lauro/ Getty Reportage/ Der Spiegel
It's not nice to fool Mother Nature nor is it wise to play fast and footloose with the Holy See. He walks softly and carries a big stick. He's not someone who suffers fools and intolerance easily or without response. I gotta say, from an outsider, I like this guy. Add me to the list headed by Bill Maher who thinks the church made a good choice this time.
Pope Francis showed what he's made of on Monday when he took action against a conservative American cardinal who has been an outspoken critic of abortion and same-sex marriage. The Pontiff replaced Cardinal Raymond L. Burke from the Congregation for Bishops on a powerful Vatican committee with another American who is less identified with the culture wars within the Roman Catholic Church.
This action is seen by those inside the velvet church ropes to be a warning. There's a new sheriff in town and he's strong, compassionate, understanding and believes on lifting the church and all of it's congregants to new levels of humanity and humility. Two good "H's" to shoot for.
Ideology meet theology. Catholic Church meet the real world. There's plenty of changes coming, and there's plenty of room for them. Catholics all over the world have been yearning for a leader to take them into modern times and deal with contemporary issues. The pope can't do that alone. He's going to need allies and help.
To replace Cardinal Burke, Francis chose Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, an ideological moderate with a deep knowledge of the Vatican but also with pastoral experience. Father Reese noted that Cardinal Burke had been a leader of American bishops arguing that Catholic politicians who support abortion rights should be barred from receiving communion, while Cardinal Wuerl had taken an opposite tack.
The change in theocracy isn't just in replacing Pope Benedict XVI with Pope Francis, or Cardinal Burke with Cardinal Wuerl. The all-star team on the Pontiff's team has another new player in the fold.
The pope also removed Cardinal Justin Rigali, the former archbishop of Philadelphia, from the Congregation for Bishops. From his committee post, Cardinal Rigali has long been a crucial player in shaping the American hierarchy. He stepped down as archbishop of Philadelphia amid a scandal over his handling of priest abuse cases there.
And Francis reconfirmed the congregational posting for Cardinal William J. Levada, a former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Like Cardinal Wuerl, Cardinal Levada is considered a moderate.
So plow on Christian soldiers. You're building a good, strong team. And we owe a tip of the hat to your manager, Pope Francis.
We've all heard the legend of the ancient Roman leader, Nero. He is infamously known as the Emperor who "fiddled while Rome burned."
Well, there's a modern day equivalent now that we have the government shutdown and the debt ceiling looming, just two weeks away. It's called Boehner boozed while America burned. (C'mon, you don't think the speaker got that color from tanning, do you?)
Numerous reports have surfaced that members of both parties were so well oiled, or boozed, or even potentially drunk during the final vote in the House of Representatives just prior the the shutdown, that the wafted aroma of alcohol could be sensed hundreds of feet away. These "representatives" didn't even care to hide their liquid inebriation with an Altoid or stick of gum.
Luckily for them, they weren't given Breathalyzer tests before driving home. I wonder who was their designated driver, if they had been tested.
These reprehensibles had the gall to take such an important vote while on Stoli and Jim Beam? C'mon. Rumor has it, Jack Daniels got thirty-three write in votes and it was a "yes" or "no" vote they were talking. Show America some respect. Here's just a few of the things your vote has impacted and explain why you didn't feel sobriety was in order for this decision:
Medical research won't move forward
The National Institutes of Health will not add new patients to life-saving clinical trialsduring the shutdown, reports NBC. And that could delay crucial new trials.
Francis Collins, director of the NIH, told the Wall Street Journal that about 200 patients, 30 of them children, who would have otherwise been admitted to the NIH Clinical Center this week will be turned away. He noted that most of the kids are cancer patients.
Take a swig.
Nutritional support for women and children will be suspended
While most government "safety net" programs, like retirement and welfare, won't be shut down, that's not the case for a program that ensures nutrition, counseling and food benefits to low-income pregnant women and new mothers.
Bend that elbow again.
Food safety could be at risk
The Food and Drug Administration will put half its employees on furlough. While a skeleton staff will handle high-risk recalls, regular food inspections will be suspended,reports NBC.
Go ahead, pop another one back.
New drug approvals
What's more, the FDA will be unable to continue its review and approval process of new drugs. Here are five drugs that were scheduled for October reviews and that may now face delays under a government shutdown. They include a new osteoporosis drug for postmenopausal women and a new approval for the cancer drug methotrexate to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
Top it off with one for the road, your vote.
Congress does not take their jobs or responsibilities seriously. They are politically motivated, not morally so.
I've said it before and I'll echo it through the next election cycle. Sometimes even the good have to go with the bad in a house cleaning, but it's time we start thinking about "Dump the Chump." Washington needs to be swept clean and voices to represent the people's best interests must be their replacements. The moment you start picking and choosing from the current crop, you end up with the same old people with their same old flask uncorked.
Congress has a 10% approval rating. It's certainly not going up anytime soon. So why try to find the one good among the nine unfavorable?
Time for a real change in 2014. And for those few 2013 elections coming up, make some noise. It's a long, long time from now to the next general election. We could burn down, just like Rome if we don't let ourselves be heard.