Arab League Proposes U.N. Force In Syria

Lets move on this idea at once!

The Arab League will propose a “peacekeeping joint force” with the United Nations to oversee the aftermath of a proposed cease-fire in Syria, the Cairo-based alliance announced Sunday. 

The proposal was one of many points offered in a statement from the league, which met Sunday to discuss Syria. Other proposed measures included to “stop trading with the Syrian regime, except those directly affecting Syrian citizens.” 

The Syrian government sternly indicated it was not on board with the plan offered by the Arab League, which suspended Syria late last month. Denying rampant accusations that its forces have killed thousands of civilians in a crackdown on popular unrest, the Damascus-based government has consistently blamed “armed terrorist groups.” 

The international political maneuvering comes as reports continue to stream in about the violence in Syria. 

U.N. officials estimate 6,000 people have died since protests se eking President Bashar al-Assad’s ouster began nearly a year ago.

President Obama And The Catholic Church Mess Over Contraceptives

While I fully understand the need to have contraceptive devices made available to the general public and think they are a right people should be allowed to purchase and use, I also understand the position the Catholic Church has in relation to a constitutional argument over the latest flap.

Up front let me say I view the Catholic Church wrong on the way they view birth control and the way they teach about it. But I can see the struggle they have with the way the health care law was written, and the moral dilemma they faced. But I think many of the top officials in the church have turned this into a higher political story than it merited, but that is how things are done so I get that too.   That even with a compromise some Catholics wish to continue fighting is also par for the course.

I strongly support the need to include contraceptive devices into the health care law that impacts all Americans and know that a vast majority of those who sit in the pews in Catholic Churches use contraceptives, as does most other segments of society.

The larger issue of how to be sensitive to certain teachings of one religion or another in the grand scheme of making sound public policy is the stuff that allows college classrooms to buzz, and groups around dinner tables to enjoy a mental challenge late into the night.

At the end of the dialogue however there is still no one right answer. After all, these types of discussions, in one way or another, have been going on since 1787.

To be honest about this I have rather enjoyed the back and forth far more for its larger themed debate on the role of government than for the political wins and losses that may play out in the election to come.

Having said that there was one statement today from Joe Scarborough on “Meet The Press” that brings the large constitutional quandary and how it relates to health care, (after all contraception is a health care and privacy issue rolled into one) back to the political equation.

MR. SCARBOROUGH: Right. you know, before the Friday deal everything was breaking conservatives way, united conservatives not only at CPAC but at even–economic conservatives that didn’t like to talk about social issues saw this as a great overreach. And you had Democrats, you had the sitting Democratic vice president, you had Lieberman, a former vice presidential nominee for the Democrats, Kerry, a former presidential nominee for the Democrats, on and on and on saying that the president overstepped his bounds. Listen, at the end of the day, substantively there was no change. You have a president saying, “You don’t want to pay for health care? Fine, we’ll give it away for free!” There’s a free lunch. All you’re doing is shifting the burden to all Catholics now who are all paying for these contraceptive devices that they may–they may find to be immoral. But at the end of the day, this is all the president needs politically because now we have–we have sisters debating bishops, and we’ve got liberal Catholics debating conservatives Catholics. You’ve got Peggy and E.J. now once again where they should be, on opposite sides of an issue. For the president that’s all he needed to do. He had a unified Catholic front against him, he split that in half now and now he can move on. And I agree with E.J. If this debate moves on and stops being about religious freedom and starts being about contraceptives–contraception, then Republicans lose in a very big way.

Portrait Of Mary Todd Lincoln In Springfield Is Really An Unknown Woman

What is real?

A Lincoln story of some type seems appropriate on the day of Abe’s birth.

The story behind the picture was compelling: Mrs. Lincoln had Mr. Carpenter secretly paint her portrait as a surprise for the president, but he was assassinated before she had a chance to present it to him.       

Now it turns out that both the portrait and the touching tale accompanying it are false.       

The canvas, which was purchased by Abraham Lincoln’s descendants before being donated to the state’s historical library in the 1970s, was discovered to be a hoax when it was sent to a conservator for cleaning, said James M. Cornelius, the curator of the Lincoln library and museum in Springfield. The museum is planning to present its findings at a lecture on April 26.       

“It was a scam to defraud the Lincoln family,” Mr. Cornelius said.       

The Lincolns were not the only ones fooled. Ever since The New York Times announced the portrait’s discovery in 1929, on Feb. 12, Lincoln’s birthday, historians and the public have assumed it depicted Mary Todd Lincoln. It was reproduced in The Chicago Tribune and National Geographic, and versions of it still illustrate at least two biographies, including the latest paperback edition of Carl Sandburg’s 1932 “Mary Lincoln: Wife and Widow.”