Daily archives: March 18th, 2010

Notre Dame to Host Pointless Debate Between Atheist and Catholic Apologist

Q: What do you get when you combine the fundamentalist and ascerbic right with the extreme liberal and ascerbic left?

A: Disaster

The University of Notre Dame is hosting a debate between two men who make their living being absurd and contentious.  Nothing good will  come from this shouting match.  The only appropriate host for this meeting would be Jerry Springer.

From Notre Dame’s Observer:

Notre Dame will host a public debate on April 7 between famed atheist Christopher Hitchens and Catholic apologetic Dinesh D’Souza.

More than 10 departments on campus, including the College of Arts and Letters and the Student Union Board, will sponsor the event, “Is Religion the Problem?” It will be held at 7:30 p.m. at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.

Students should expect a heated debate, as D’Souza has described atheism as “the opiate of the morally corrupt” and Hitchens has cited Christianity as “a wicked cult.”

According to a press release, the conversation will focus on the arguments for and against organized religion and its impact on past and future generations.

Sophomore Malcolm Phelan, one of the event organizers along with fellow sophomore Daniel O’Duffy, Dean of the College of Arts and Letters Joseph Stanfiel and Professor Micheal Rea from the Center for the Philosophy of Religion, said one of the main reasons for putting the event together was to challenge current students beliefs.

“We are trying to get students to think about things that they take for granted for most of their lives,” he said. “These questions lead to thought and conversation within a community, challenging positions and enriching beliefs.”

“The opiate of the morally corrupt???” Really, Dinesh? Is that the most outrageous thing you could think of?

For a healthy understanding of atheism v. religion, I recommend an excellent source: Patience with God: Faith for People Who Don’t Like Religion (or Atheism) by Frank Schaeffer.

My advice to Domers? Stay home from the circus and buy Schaeffer’s book.

Gov. Pat Quinn Eyeing Suburban Sen. Susan Garrett as Potential Running Mate

Susan Garrett

From the Chicago Tribune:

Veteran suburban lawmaker Sen. Susan Garrett has emerged as a leading choice of Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn to become his running mate, top party sources familiar with the discussions said today.

The 60-year-old from Lake Forest shares Quinn’s liberal views, and the governor believes she could help articulate his message as the lieutenant governor candidate in what’s already a contentious general election battle, said the sources, who asked not to be named so they don’t pre-empt Quinn.

Garrett acknowledged that she was contacted Sunday by the governor’s chief of staff, Jerry Stermer, about her interest in the post, then met privately with Quinn this week. Garrett said Thursday that she’s submitting an application to the Web site Democrats have set up for prospective lieutenant governor nominees.

The senator said she would bring an independence to the office, along with her promotion of ethics reforms at the Illinois Toll Highway Authority, clean water issues, health care and job creation.

Very interesting. The GOP would face an even steeper uphill battle, especially considering this:

Republican governor candidate Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington is a conservative who has opposed abortion rights and expanded health coverage for women. Those views are considered a potential liability, particularly among moderate women in the still heavily Republican suburbs.

Springfield About to Lighten-Up on ‘Sexting’ Teens

Some common sense from Springfield via the Chicago Trib:

Students under 18 who use computers or cell phones to share nude photos of their peers would earn little more than a scolding under a measure the Illinois Senate approved Thursday to address the “sexting” phenomenon.

Offenders would not face criminal charges, but would get juvenile court supervision that could result in counseling or community service. The bill doesn’t address youths who send or receive racy photos if they don’t distribute them.

“We’re not trying to prosecute them if they keep it between themselves,” said Rep. Darlene Senger, R-Naperville, who got a similar bill through the Illinois House last week. “It’s when the third party is involved. That’s when you get the situations where so-and-so committed suicide because the picture got up everywhere.”

No, I do not think it is wise at all for young people to send nude pictures of themselves to each other, regardless of the medium they use. But face it: kids are stupid sometimes. They make incredible mistakes as juveniles, and that’s why the law treats them differently until they reach the incredible old age of 17 in Illinois, and even then law enforcement and prosecutors have discretion. The current law is insane. No adolescent should be marked for life as a registered sex offender for sexting.

I hope after this law passes, there will be reconsideration for those lads and lasses who have been condemned to a life of humiliation because of their stupid, but typically youthful, indiscretions.

CBO: Health-Care Reform Bill Cuts Deficit $1.3 Trillion Over 20 Years, Covers 95%

First, from Ezra Klein at the Washington Post:

Washington has spent the past week or so waiting for the Congressional Budget Office to release its preliminary estimate of the Senate bill with the reconciliation fixes. Not only are those numbers important for the debate, but Democratic leaders refuse to release the actual text of their changes until CBO releases the specifics of its analysis.

According to a Democratic source, CBO has finished its work and will release the official preliminary score later today. But here are the basic numbers: The bill will cost $940 billion over the first 10 years and reduce the deficit by $130 billion during that period. In the second 10 years — so, 2020 to 2029 — it will reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion. The legislation will cover 32 million Americans, or 95 percent of the legal population.

To put this in context, that’s more deficit reduction than either the House or Senate bill, and more coverage than the Senate bill.

Next, from the New York Times:

U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said on Thursday that proposed final healthcare legislation would cut the U.S. deficit by more than $100 billion over the first 10 years.

Hoyer told reporters that the Congressional Budget Office said the sweeping healthcare overhaul would cut the deficit by more than $1 trillion over the subsequent decade. The CBO is expected to release its official estimate of the cost of the Democratic-written legislation on Thursday.

This is good news for liberals, good news for conservatives, good news for all.