IRS targeted conservatives

The IRS targeted conservative organizations–and admits it!  And is now apologizing for it!  Investigations are underway.  This is an egregious case of the abuse of governmental power and may turn into a major scandal.  From the Associated Press:

The Internal Revenue Service inappropriately flagged conservative political groups for additional reviews during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status, a top IRS official said Friday.

Organizations were singled out because they included the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their applications for tax-exempt status, said Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups.

In some cases, groups were asked for their list of donors, which violates IRS policy in most cases, she said. [Read more…]

The Immodest Republic

My colleague Mark Mitchell has co-edited a new book entitled  The Culture of Immodesty in American Life and Politics: The Modest Republic.  It’s not just about women’s fashions.  From the description at Amazon:

The Culture of Immodesty in American Life and Politics is a collection of thirteen essays from a broad range of scholars and independent authors, evaluating the prevalence of immodesty in various aspects of American life and culture. Contributors diagnose immodesty through the lens of corporations that are ‘too big to fail,’ consumption inspired by excessive greed, art and fashion that lack beauty and taste, government budgets resulting in perennial deficits, and foreign policy that meddle in the affairs of other nations. Going beyond mere diagnosis of societal ills, The Culture of Immodesty in American Life and Politics provides a prescription for cultural impropriety: promoting a framework for the rejection of immodesty and greed in contemporary life.

[Read more…]

Mark Sanford elected to Congress

Ex-South Carolina governor Mark Sanford, who left in disgrace after a sex scandal, has been elected to Congress.  He defeated Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the sister of TV satirist Stephen Colbert.  Blatant adultery is no longer a disqualifier for public office, even for Republicans, the old South, and the Bible belt.  Maybe Buddhism helped Sanford to overcome his shame and grab back his power. [Read more…]

Benching sports metaphors

Figures of speech are not just ornamentation.  They can shape the way we think about what they express.  Dana Milbank, annoyed with the way Barack Obama  keeps saying everything is a “game-changer,” points out how the use of sports metaphors in discussing politics and government today is distorting the way we think about them. [Read more…]

Lutheran libertarians

I keep running into conservative, confessional Lutherans (including on this blog) who, in their political ideology, are libertarians.  Could somebody explain how that works, in light of the relatively high view of the state and of temporal authority evident in Lutheran theology (e.g., the orders of creation, the estates, the vocation of citizenship, the Table of Duties, Augsburg XVI,  etc.)?  Doesn’t libertarianism require a kind of individualism unknown until the Enlightenment and Romanticism?  Wouldn’t the distaste for earthly government that characterizes libertarians be more characteristic of Karlstadt and the enthusiasts of the Peasants’ Revolt rather than Luther, Gerhardt, and Chemnitz?   Or are Lutheran libertarians different from regular libertarians?  (I’m not criticizing Lutheran libertarians, mind you, just trying to understand them. Please, somebody, explain.)

Repercussions of the Boston bombings

I suspect that the Boston Marathon bombings may complicate the two big issues facing Congress right now.  On gun control, I daresay that when the citizens of Boston and its environs were told to stay inside and not to open their doors to anyone other than a uniformed police officer because a terrorist is roaming around somewhere, those who owned firearms were glad they did and many of those who did not wished they did.  On immigration, the bombings reminded us that the issue is not just about letting Mexican workers in and letting them stay.  It also needs to be about immigrants such as the bombers and keeping them out.  Do you agree that this may shift public opinion on those two issues?  What other repercussions do you see?


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