From THE HILL:
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Monday that the Department of Justice is creating a “religious liberty task force.”
Sessions said the task force, co-chaired by Associate Attorney General Jesse Panuccio and the assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy, Beth Williams, will help the department fully implement the religious liberty guidance it issued last year.
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From CHARLES P. PIERCE at Esquire:
On Tuesday night, the voters in the great state of Alabama pushed a lawless theocratic lunatic named Roy Moore one tiny step away from a seat in the United States Senate. Moore lost his job as chief justice of that state’s supreme court twice; on both occasions, he lost it by flaunting the authority of the federal court system as though he were Orval Faubus in 1957.
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From Roll Call:
Rep. Mo Brooks said if he was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, he would resign in the wake of the latest failure of the GOP health bill.
Brooks, R-Ala. said McConnell was “responsible” for the bill’s failure and that he was putting the GOP’s policy plans in jeopardy.
“If Mitch McConnell cannot get the job done on this, how is he going to get the job done on the rest of President Trump’s agenda over the next 3½ years?” Brooks asked in an interview with CNN.
Original DVD cover
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From NEW REPUBLIC:
Conservatives frame privatization as a civil rights issue, but Trump’s extreme agenda is energizing racial justice and public education advocates.
Last September, at a rally in Roanoke, Virginia, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump made a promise to black America. “I will fight to make sure every single African-American child in this country is fully included in the American dream,” he said. “That includes the new civil rights issue of our time: school choice.” This has been a familiar refrain for Trump. “At rallies last year across the country,” The New York Times reported in March, “Trump said over and over again that he would use the nation’s schools to fix what he described as failing inner cities and a virtual education crisis that most hurts black and Hispanic children. In North Carolina, he called school choice ‘the great civil rights issue of our time.’ In Florida, he declared that ‘every disadvantaged child in this country’ should have access to school choice.”
“School choice” is conservative-speak for charter schools and vouchers, both of which represent a different degree of privatization in education. Vouchers use taxpayer dollars to fund attendance at private and religious schools, while charters are publicly funded but, in many cases, privately controlled. Trump’s education policy advocates for both, and in his controversial appointment of Betsy DeVos as education secretary, he elevated a longtime champion of the cause.
Original painting, Happy Birthday Miss Jones, with apologies to the late, great Norman Rockwell
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From the Chicago Tribune:
For some members of a Conservative Jewish synagogue in Lakeview [Illinois], this year’s overlap of election season with the season of forgiveness presented a challenge.
During a worship service Tuesday on the eve of Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, Rabbi Michael Siegel of Anshe Emet Synagogue offered what he called a customary greeting to a public official in the audience — U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R.-Minn. The greeting follows a synagogue policy to acknowledge the office rather than the individual or his or her politics, he said.
But the formality enraged more than a few congregants, prompting some to walk out and one to start a campaign of his own in support of Bachmann’s opponent in the race for her congressional seat, Jim Graves.
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From THINK PROGRESS LGBT:
In just her first year in office, Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) has proven to be one of the most socially conservative members of Congress, and today she demonstrated just how intolerant she is of people who do not share her beliefs. In an interview, she and the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins were condemning the Air Force Academy for creating an outdoor worship space that accommodates “Earth-based” religions. Hartzler said she believes that her rabidly conservative brand of Christianity is “the main religion in our country” and condemned any attempt to accommodate “fringe religions”:
Original painting (Virgin Mary at Prayer by Giovanni Battista Salvi da Sassoferrato)
(Painting within the painting)
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From National Journal:
ATLANTA, Ga. – Herman Cain, whose campaign could use some redemption in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal, told a crowd of young Republicans on Saturday that God convinced him to run for president and that he “prayed and prayed and prayed” about it.
The Republican contender made no mention of the allegations from former subordinates at the National Restaurant Association.
Maybe he just can’t spell, and he meant preyed and preyed.
“I prayed and prayed and prayed. I’m a man of faith, I had to do a lot of praying for this one, more praying than I’d ever done before in my life. And when I finally realized that it was God saying that this is what I needed to do, I was like Moses. ‘You’ve got the wrong man, Lord. Are you sure?’” Cain told a crowd of over 100 people at the Young Republican National Federation, an event hosted by the Georgia Young Republicans at the Westin Peachtree Plaza.