Federal court in San Antonio has released an interim redistricting plan for Texas. This plan, of course, is set in stone, unless any of the nine parties who were contesting the last plan decide they would like to appeal it. I think this again points out how corrupt, disjointed, confusing and unfair political redistricting has become in this country. This is what you fight for. You fight to be able to control the redistricting maps, which really controls the houses of your state legislature and Congress. You can protect your friends. You can punish or eliminate your enemies through redistricting. We must go to a better system nationwide.
James Murdoch, son of Rupert Murdoch, has relinquished his post as executive chairman of News International. This continues to be a big story.
North Korea has agreed to IAEA inspections and a nuclear moratorium. Raise your hand if you’ve read this before.
Economic numbers were revised upward for the fourth quarter.
Fox News continues to peddle sour economic news.
I’d like to spend just a moment thinking about Rick Santorum’s statement on John F. Kennedy’s classic speech on the separation of church and state. (Complete transcript here.)
Rick Santorum stated that he read the speech on religion and it made him want to “throw up.” He stated, “I don’t believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute. The idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is antithetical to the objectives and the vision of our country…. ” Now, of course, Rick Santorum was pandering for votes. He was desperate. He was in the final days of trying to rally his troops in Michigan and somehow eke out a victory. He was grasping for straws. Yet, I don’t believe that this excuses such over-the-top rhetoric. Every now and then, we truly need to hold our politicians accountable for what they say. It is clear to me that John F. Kennedy, the former president, wasn’t talking about running the presidency in a moral vacuum. President Kennedy understood, just as you and I understand, that Americans who come from a religious background carry their religious morality with them everywhere. This is a fact of life. The fact that you are cordial and treat others with respect is a reflection of your religious beliefs. The fact that you listen to other points of view or don’t listen to other points of view, again, is a reflection of your religious beliefs. What John F. Kennedy was talking about was central to what was on Americans minds at the time – the president should not answer to the Pope. Although some may laugh now, that was a real fear in 1960. If we elected a Catholic president, it would the same as electing the Pope as president. What John F. Kennedy was talking about was that he was going to be a president for everyone. He wasn’t going to take his marching orders from any religious figure, but that his religious upbringing, his moral character if you will, was still going to be the same. This is a nuanced argument. In 2012, nuanced arguments cannot be distilled down the talking points and bumper stickers so that they are belittled by folks like Rick Santorum. I find it disappointing that more people haven’t taken Rick Santorum the task. To be complete, Rick Santorum has backed away from his original statements.