In the World
Steve Thorngate on public life and culture
Brad Plumer has a helpful list of winners and losers in the White House budget. If you want to understand the president’s proposal at a deeper level than a soundbite (but a shallower level than actually reading the whole thing), I recommend starting here. One small quibble: Plumer’s list of losers includes “farms and agribusinesses.”
If you’re really into competing blueprints for the federal budget—and we both know you are—then it’s an exciting week. The president released his 2014 budget request today, and for the first time in many years there are White House, House and Senate budgets all on the table at the same time. There are also two other proposals, one from the House’s right wing and one from its left. These great graphs from the Washington Post compare these five plans to one another and to current policy. Note than on the first metric, the ever-popular question of budget deficits, all five dip lower than current projections in just a couple years.
I'm back from the annual gathering of the Associated Church Press. The week included the ACP's annual awards banquet, at which the Century was honored in eight categories.
Dan Schultz raises a good question. Why would NPR give Focus on the Family's Jim Daly a free pass on conflating religious freedom with his desire to impose his own religious beliefs on the broader culture? I don't know, but it probably doesn't hurt that Daly's a whole lot nicer than James Dobson ever was.
Matt Yglesias is right that public policy must deal with the broad abstractions of the common good, not just with issues that affect lawmakers personally. And Anne Thériault is certainly right that a woman's value, dignity and rights are not contingent on who cares about her personally. Still, both posts seem too dismissive of the role personal relationships play in our formation, our view of the world, our very personhood.
I for one am not sure the actor who plays Satan in the History Channel documentary looks all that much like President Obama. But I don't find this quote from the miniseries producer especially heartening: Mark Burnett said the actor who played Satan, Mohamen Mehdi Ouazanni, "is a highly acclaimed Moroccan actor. He has previously played parts in several Biblical epics –including Satanic characters long before Barack Obama was elected as our President."