Journalist based in Brooklyn, New York. Follow me on Twitter at @mtracey.
Franklin Graham must have rejoiced at the news that I.R.S. officials improperly targeted conservative activist groups for audits. By way of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association — an outfit which not only pays zero taxes, but effectively receives a public subsidy to carry out its ministerial activities — Franklin has worked out quite a felicitous financial arrangement for his fiefdom. [Click headline for more…] Read more
Pope Francis’ pronouncement yesteday on Twitter might come as a bit of surprise: My thoughts turn to all who are unemployed, often as a result of a self-centred mindset bent on profit at any cost.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) May 2, 2013 Benedict XVI made similar gestures during his reign, which predated the now-routine practice of official papal tweeting, but this message seems different in tone. I note a distinct absence of appeals to the supernatural; Francis does not claim that unemployment jeopardizes man’s capacity to walk with God, avoid sin, etc. He likely would have expanded on these points in a forum that allowed for elaboration, yes, but the name of the game on Twitter is concision, and careful thought went into the tweet’s precise composition. [Click headline for more…] Read more
Rather than immediately rushing to analyze Pope Francis’ views regarding homosexuality — as if they should be any surprise — I have found it illuminating to follow the commentary of traditionalist Catholics on today’s events. Michael Brendan Dougherty, writing in Slate, has a quite dour appraisal: Read more
Mark Sanford is the former governor of South Carolina who infamously disappeared for several days in 2009 to visit his Argentine lover in Buenos Aires; his befuddled staffers were left to proffer a number of excuses for his sudden absence, most memorably that he’d decided to “hike the Appalachian trail.” Read more
On Tuesday night, the Washington Post published a story detailing the extraordinary discord within FreedomWorks, a Washington, D.C. advocacy organization affiliated with the Republican Party. On September 4th, former House Majority Leader, corporate lobbyist, and FreedomWorks founder Dick Armey: … walked into the group’s Capitol Hill offices with his wife, Susan, and an aide holstering a handgun at his waist. The aim was to seize control of the group and expel Armey’s enemies: The gun-wielding assistant escorted FreedomWorks’ top two employees off the premises, while Armey suspended several others who broke down in sobs at the news. Read more