Some moralizers need moralizing


Roman Catholic Church

It’s a point I’m sure has been made by others, but perhaps the Roman Catholic Church should attend to its own morality[1] before lecturing others.[2]

Donna Cassata, “Top Vatican cardinal says Biden should not be denied Communion,” Washington Post, October 4, 2021,


In today’s “Playbook” newsletter, Politico says that the earlier-reported 40 percent cut to the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package[3] is coming from Joe Biden, who has been holding virtual conferences with many so-called “progressive” lawmakers on what a roughly $2 trillion package would look like. Notably, these conferences exclude Ilhan Omar and Katie Porter.[4]

Meanwhile, at the New York Times, David Leonhardt turns his attention to the debt limit, and seems mystified by what Mitch McConnell wants. I have understood—I mean, isn’t it obvious?—this drama to be McConnell’s way of trying to sink, or at least to score political points off, that reconciliation package by forcing Democrats to include the debt limit increase with it and thus to paint Democrats as “tax and spend liberals.” Indeed, including it with reconciliation is one path Leonhardt lists, but says it would take time, which is running out. The other possibilities include amending the filibuster, which Joe Manchin opposes; and actually finding a bipartisan solution, which seems impossible. My bet is some folks burn the midnight oil to get it in reconciliation, but Chuck Schumer will have to recognize reality first, especially including the part that he won’t be able to shame McConnell into not obstructing for the sake of obstructing.[5]

Ultimately what’s going on here and should be of note is that folks, including the “vote blue no matter who” crowd, are trying to split Democrats. Biden is excluding Omar and Porter from his conferences with so-called “progressives” while criticizing Manchin and Kyrstin Sinema.[6] McConnell is fairly blatantly trying to split Manchin and Sinema from the rest of the Democrats. Both may well succeed and I guess we’ll see how it all plays in 2022.

Dan Balz, “What will it take for Biden to bring fractured Democrats together?” Washington Post, October 2, 2021,

Maureen Dowd, “Sinema Stars in Her Own Film,” New York Times, October 2, 2021,

Jonathan Martin and Jonathan Weisman, “Biden Throws In With Left, Leaving His Agenda in Doubt,” New York Times, October 2, 2021,

Marianna Sotomayor, “For Democrats and the Biden agenda, it’s becoming a matter of trust,” Washington Post, October 3, 2021,

Julia Ioffe, “Democrats, Republicans, and the Media Squabble in a Post-Trump Malaise,” Puck, October 4, 2021,


The trouble with ecosystems is that they are ecosystems; problems do not easily reduce to one category, say pollution or the climate crisis or biodiversity. Problems in one area affect others. And yeah, that lovely carbon capture technology Iceland is experimenting with? It requires massive amounts of sand and other extracted materials to construct: It might help with the climate crisis, but it causes other problems, particularly as we build more such units. George Monbiot argues the only answer is wealth redistribution and a reduction in economic activity. He’s, of course, not optimistic such will happen.[7]

George Monbiot, “Level Down,” October 4, 2021,


“They’ve signaled that they’re going to apologize less,” said Rashad Robinson, president of civil rights group Color of Change, which in the past has organized advertiser boycotts against the company. “They know they aren’t accountable, and now they aren’t going to be apologizing, either.”[8]

  1. [1]Sylvie Corbet, “French report: 330,000 children victims of church sex abuse,” Associated Press, October 5, 2021,
  2. [2]Michelle Boorstein, “Catholic bishops vote on controversial Communion document,” Washington Post, June 18, 2021,; Donna Cassata, “Top Vatican cardinal says Biden should not be denied Communion,” Washington Post, October 4, 2021,; Elisabetta Povoledo, Richard Pérez-Peña, and Ruth Graham, “Pope Weighs In on Calls to Deny Communion to Biden Over Abortion,” New York Times, September 15, 2021,; Matt Viser, “Biden, deeply Catholic president, finds himself at odds with many U.S. bishops,” Washington Post, June 18, 2021,
  3. [3]Ryan Lizza et al. to Playbook list, “How Democrats could still get it done,” Politico, October 4, 2021,
  4. [4]Ryan Lizza et al. to Playbook list, “Biden getting frustrated with Manchin and Sinema,” Politico, October 5, 2021,
  5. [5]David Leonhardt to Morning list, “Debt-ceiling showdown, Facebook outage, MLB playoffs,” New York Times, October 5, 2021,
  6. [6]Ryan Lizza et al. to Playbook list, “How Democrats could still get it done,” Politico, October 4, 2021,
  7. [7]George Monbiot, “Level Down,” October 4, 2021,
  8. [8]

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