- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 1, 2003

Catholic thought
Now it's Chris Matthews who is embroiled in a public dispute surrounding the commencement appearance he's scheduled to make at his Catholic alma mater, the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts.
Catholic World News reports that the Jesuit institution in Worcester has come under fire from alumni groups and others for inviting the Washington-based commentator of MSNBC who is described as a "supporter of legal abortion" back to the campus.
Since complaints from the alumni groups, CWN reports, the Holy Cross chapter of the Cardinal Newman Society, as well as Charles Millard, the former longtime chairman of the school's board of trustees, have joined in the criticism.
Mr. Millard is slated to receive an alumni award at the commencement this month.
But Father Michael McFarland, president of Holy Cross, has gone beyond criticizing the groups and individuals who oppose Mr. Matthews' appearance, and said that the commentator's support for abortion is "allowable in Catholic thought."
Father McFarland's statement, in and of itself, is causing an uproar in the Catholic community.
The priest's position "is clearly incompatible with the teachings of Pope John Paul II and the Catholic Church," CWN says.
Father McFarland also lashed out at his college's alumni, saying they have "no authority whatsoever to dictate what is 'Catholic.'"
"If we checked their conformity with every point in Catholic teaching, we would have no honorees, including Charlie Millard," the college president said.
Mr. Matthews was out of town yesterday and not available for comment.

High rollers
America Online Chairman Emeritus James Kimsey opened the gates to his sprawling new multimillion-dollar estate above the Potomac River rapids of Northern Virginia, hosting a congressional fund-raiser to benefit Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, Virginia Republican.
"I felt like I was in Saudi Arabia," says one attendee, who mingled with the likes of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and Steve Case, billionaire outgoing chairman of AOL Time Warner Inc., and "the only one not wearing a jacket."
"I've been into plenty of lavish homes, but this by far was the most lavish," the guest said. "The house has literally dozens of rooms, and a garage rumored to be big enough to hold 50 cars. And you should see the waterfall cascading from the vista pool overlooking the Potomac River."
Asked about the fund-raiser, Davis spokesman David Marin replied yesterday: "Just business as usual."
Mr. Davis told us that the event raised $250,000. "It was a great night," he said.
Mr. Kimsey is founding chief executive officer of AOL, obviously cashing in some chips when the Internet giant was worth something.

Come clean
"What is petroleum?" asks the National Youth Anti-Corporate Media Campaign, educating mankind that petroleum is "harmless" until it is removed from the ground. That is when it becomes a problem.
What kind of problem?
"Well, lots of different kinds," says the campaign. "In addition to the cancers and other health problems directly caused by petroleum, there are less obvious health effects, including weight and cardiovascular problems caused by car dependence. Along with environmental devastation, oil companies bring corruption, wage labor, the destruction of traditional cultures, and other social ills to societies all over the world."
What can we do about it?
"As with any addiction, the first step towards recovery is to admit to yourself that you have a problem," the campaign encourages. "Work to help your family, friends and communities to admit that they have an oil problem, and to understand the connections between petroleum and terrorism."

Feel their pain
Today is May Day, an international labor holiday.
The Employment Policies Institute (EPI), in honor of the U.S. Labor Day, has released a report on the "sordid and hypocritical history" of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, one of the leading proponents of the "living wage" movement.
Mike Burita, communications director for the EPI, says it is ironic that while ACORN promotes local ordinances nationwide that force employers to pay wages as high as $12 per hour, the organization itself was found guilty of foiling unionization efforts of its own employees, has admitted that the living wage figures it promotes are often "made up," and has sued the state of California to have ACORN's employees exempted from the minimum-wage law.
ACORN sued the state in 1995 over the minimum wage, which was at $4.25 per hour at the time. ACORN argued, the EPI says, that being forced to pay higher wages would mean that they would have to hire fewer outreach workers.
"In an even more laughable argument, ACORN stated that paying its employees a lower wage would allow workers to be more sympathetic to the low and moderate-income families they were attempting to organize," EPI said.

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