Margaret O'Brien Steinfels

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages and blogs at dotCommonweal.

By this author

College Protests: What Do They Really Want

The ever useful fivethirtyeight, now focused on sports, has not abandoned other of its interests. Working off a list of demands from fifty-one college campuses, the pollsters have created a graph of the thirteen top demands.

All Politics Is Local... UPDATE

In what seemed a quick resolution, NYState Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was found guilty Monday on multiple charges of corruption. Surprising, because at least two jurors asked out after deliberations began. The judge denied their requests. It looked to be a hung jury after what might have been several weeks of deliberations. Didn't happen.

Saudi Arabia and Pakistan: Favorite False Friends

Kaitlin Campbell has just posted links to the new issue of Commonweal (December 4), with a sobering and remarkably direct critique of U.S. policy toward Pakistan and Saudi Arabia that you are unlikely to read in the MSM. I hope all the political junkies here will read it and comment. False Friends by Vanni Cappelli.

A Nation of Refugees (e.g. Cruz and Rubio) and Immigrants (Most of the Rest of Us, e.g. Ryan and McConnell)

Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Migration: "I am disturbed, however, by calls from both federal and state officials for an end to the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the United States. These refugees are fleeing terror themselves—violence like we have witnessed in Paris. They are extremely vulnerable families, women, and children who are fleeing for their lives.

C'est la guerre...

...So President Francois Hollande says this morning. The French must certainly feel under siege: At 11 AM the death toll in Paris is 127 and several hundred people have been wounded according to news stories. Le Monde

How Far Should They Go?

Being a big fan of big government, I don't stop to ask, "Why Do They Want to Do That?"

The Questions That Didn't Bark

Friday night's Democratic forum in South Carolina with Rachel Maddow had its moments of facts and fun. Maddow was top notch, so too Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton; Martin O'Malley not so much.

As good as it was, there were a number of conspicuous lacunae in the questions and comments.

Palestinian-Israeli Violence

J.J. Goldberg follows Israeli politics closely. In his latest column at the Forward, he examines Prime Minister Netanyahu's claims about Hitler and Haj Amin al-Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem. Netanyahu, who has since revised his remarks, originally claimed that the grand mufti gave Hitler the idea for the Holocaust. As Goldberg points out, Netanyahu's revised explanation has not exactly clarified matters.

Douthat Riposte

In at least one respect (and perhaps others) Ross Douthat and Paul Baumann agree: They are both among the laity and they can speak on Catholic matters.

Is There an End Game in the Middle East?

The wars in Syria and Yemen along with the continuing battle in Iraq between the government and ISIS have no end in sight. Attention to Russian intervention in Syria tends to obscure the tumult everywhere else. Charles Freeman, former ambassador to Saudi Arabia under the George H.W. Bush administration, offers a broad survey of the region, its history since the Gulf War, and U.S. ME policy since 1991. Here are the concluding paragraphs of his talk to the U.S.-Arab Policymakers Conference on October 15.