by Richard Stern "The killing of an innocent human child is incompatible with going into communion in the body of Christ," said Pope Benedict XVI thirty-odd-thousand feet in the air en route to Brazil, the country with more Roman Catholics than any other in the world.


Mark Penn's Day Job

Huh, I wonder if any labor unions have a problem with the fact that Hillary Clinton's chief political strategist is the CEO of a firm that engages in union-busting. Here's a tidbit from Ari Berman's new Nation piece on Clinton's inner circle: [Burson-Marsteller, where Mark Penn is CEO] has a highly confrontational relationship with organized labor. "Companies cannot be caught unprepared by Organized Labor's coordinated campaigns," read the "Labor Relations" section of its website (until it was scrubbed after Mark Schmitt of The American Prospect quoted the language in March).



Many have commented on the extraordinary nonchalance of Rudy Giuliani's response to the debate question of whether it'd be a good thing if the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. What struck me, though, was the extent to which he carelessly demolished the code he's been relying on to allay social conservatives' fears on this very subject: It would be OK to repeal it.


Quote Of The Day

"I misinterpreted the question. I thought that I answered it yes when I should have answered it no. I didn't hear it." --GOP presidential candidate Tommy Thompson, revising his answer to a question about whether business owners should be able to fire gay employees--a position he had initially described as something "I really, sincerely believe." --Michael Crowley

Obama And Niebuhr

by Casey BlakeDavid Brooks was delighted by the response he received when he popped the Reinhold Niebuhr question to Barack Obama a week or so ago. "I love him." Obama said. "He's one of my favorite philosophers." Needless to say, Brooks was impressed. "So I asked, What do you take away from him?" "I take away," Obama answered in a rush of words, "the compelling idea that there's serious evil in the world, and hardship and pain. And we should be humble and modest in our belief we can eliminate those things. But we shouldn't use that as an excuse for cynicism and inaction. I take away ...


Ramesh Ponnuru says I'm being unfair and that the White House opposes the hate-crimes bill because of concerns over federalism, not because the bill would add sexual orientation to the list of protected categories. That might well be true. In the past, people like Barney Frank have claimed that the GOP leadership scuttled versions of the bill mainly because they included protections for gays and lesbians, but hey, it's possible that Frank's wrong and they really were doing so out of a principled concern for federalism.


Martin Peretz praises the vision and analysis of Fouad Ajami; read recent pieces by Ajami here (a review for TNR of Ali Allawi's book on the occupation) and here (an essay for The Wall Street Journal on Iraq); David Fontana argues that Hamdan v. Rumsfeld has been a major disappointment for liberals; David A. Bell handicaps Nicolas Sarkozy and Ségolène Royal for Sunday's election in France; and Peter Beinart and Jonah Goldberg ask if the GOP has inked a deal with the devil on immigration. --Adam B. Kushner

Every so often I get a provocative e-mail that gets at a subject via an acute angle from Edward Jay Epstein, the independent inteligence analyst and a man who has provocative ideas about nearly everything. Here's his comment on one segment of the World Bank "scandal." "Is it really shocking for an employee of the World Bank to receive more than Condoleezza Rice's $183,500 salary? Try this for a perspective adjustment: In 2005, 1,396 world bank employees earn that much or more. And, unlike Ms. Rice's salary, it is tax-free.



Media Matters takes us back to May 1, 2003, when the "Mission Accomplished" banner unfurled, the president strutted onto the USS Abraham Lincoln in his parachute harness, and media figures dropped to their knees on live TV. Like this little guy: [CHRIS] MATTHEWS: What do you make of the actual visual that people will see on TV and probably, as you know, as well as I, will remember a lot longer than words spoken tonight? And that's the president looking very much like a jet, you know, a high-flying jet star. A guy who is a jet pilot. Has been in the past when he was younger, obviously.


Eve Fairbanks explains how Harry Reid (an Iraq war moderate) became a dove while Carl Levin (a fierce war opponent) discovered caution; we also post a guide to the candidates' Iraq speeches; Gregg Easterbrook wonders why the press called Cho Seung-Hui a "shooter" rather than a "killer"; Suzanne Nossel says a coalition of China, Russia, and neighboring countries may subvert U.S. attempts to build international alliances; Benjamin Wittes argues that the Supreme Court found a third way on abortion; and John B. Judis fights Comcast so you don't have to. On Saturday, David A.