Is This What Separates Church and State?

The blogosphere has been been active the past couple days over the TSA’s hiring of a former Catholic priest, Thomas Harkins, who was removed from ministry due to sex abuse allegations.  Harkins now holds a sensitive security post at Philadelphia International Airport, according to a recent report from CBS Philly.

Harkins was a Catholic priest until 2002 in the Diocese of Camden, where he was eventually defrocked due to two findings of child molestation.  A third woman has since begun another lawsuit.  One has to wonder if this would have received more media coverage nationally if it had been boys Harkins had molested.  The media narrative a decade ago made it seem like a Roman collar was the equivalent of a NAMBLA membership card.

While it should be noted Harkins’ title is “Transportation Security Manager – Baggage,” meaning he deals mainly with luggage instead of passengers, having someone with his baggage in a position of authority should be one of concern.  As Karen Polesir of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) pointed out, “Sure, that’s his title.  That doesn’t mean that’s where he stays, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t fill other roles when necessary.”

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Hey, if Elizabeth Warren is Indian, then maybe I am, too!

I confess to a several personal emotions in reaction to the Elizabeth Warren case.

Elizabeth Warren, if you recall, is the Harvard Law Professor now running for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts who identified herself to her employers and in law school directories as Native American. But it turns out that she has at most 1/32 Indian ancestry, and even that much can’t be verified.

First emotion: “I get it!”

Anyone who has been a law professor (as I was for 25 years) can understand the incentives for this kind of prevarication. Most law professors want to move up the professorial/professional ladder, and it’s a lot easier to do so these days if you can claim minority affiliation. It is very tough for white law professors to jump to higher-ranked schools (particularly males).

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White House Cronyism Is Disturbing, But Not New

The Obama campaign is trying to hang so-called “vulture” capitalism around Mitt Romney’s neck, but as two excellent opinion pieces explain, it’s the administration’s crony capitalism that’s the really disturbing story.

The first piece, written by the Wall Street Journal’s Kim Strassel, explains the difference:

Like Mr. Romney, Mr. Obama has presided over bankruptcies, layoffs, lost pensions, run-ups in debt. Yet unlike Mr. Romney, Mr. Obama’s C-suite required billions in taxpayer dollars and subsidies, as well as mandates, regulations, union payoffs and moral hazard.

Strassel singles out the Solyndra debacle and the administration’s bailout of the unions General Motors. She notes that the alternative to profit-driven free enterprise, which the president is critical of, “is an Obama capitalism that is driven by political favoritism, government subsidies, mandates, and billions in taxpayer underwriting.”

In the second piece, Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen says that “if Romney’s record in private equity is fair game, then so is Obama’s record in public equity—and that record is not pretty.” Thiessen lists numerous examples of companies that the administration gambled on with taxpayer money and lost. But what’s really disturbing is the administration’s cronyism:

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