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Yossi Klein Halevi on Obama, Clinton & the Peace Process

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Yossi Klein Halevi is one of the most thoughtful analysts of Mideast politics. In a post up at TNR,he looks at how Obama rose to the occasion posed by the Palestinian Authority's bid for addmission to the United Nations while Bill Clinton failed to do so, as well as examining the performance of the other principals. Smart, smart, smart.

Milbank on Herman Cain

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Dana Milbank seconds my opinion, expressed yesterday, that Herman Cain is better at sloganeering than anything else. But, Milbank warns, given the fact that few people vote in primaries, and those are usually the most ideologically motivated, sloganeering may be enough.
The other day, someone said they thought that Cain was "pithy." But, pith is made of stronger stuff than Cain's vapidities. Churchill, when asked about his drinking habits, said, "I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me." Now, that's pithy.

Countdown on Conscience

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This is the final week in which the Department of Health and Human Services is accepting comments from the public on its proposed new rule regarding mandated coverage in insurance programs. The mandate would require insurance plans to include coverage for contraception, sterilization and some drugs that are considered abortifacients. As regular readers know, I have been making the case since the day the rule was announced that the conscience exemption it contained was far too narrow. I encourage everyone to make your voices heard this week as well.

WaPo Half Right in Cain

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An article in today's Washington Post bears the deadline, "Cain speaks his mind, no matter how impolitic." The article mentions some of Mr. Herman Cain's more unfortunate verbal gaffes over the past few months, as when he said he would not be comfortable having a Muslim in his Cabinet, a statement he has since walked back.

It is true that Mr. Cain's verbal miscues are problematic. No one cares what the CEO of Godfather's Pizza thinks about Muslims really, but people can die when government leaders make outrageous statements that understandably inflame passions abroad.

Protecting the Elderly: All Hands on Deck

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On September 18, Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston delivered a powerful sermon at the Red Mass in his see city. The Red Mass is an event held in many cities, dating back to the Middle Ages, at which the bishop calls down the Holy Spirit on the assembled members of the judiciary and the legal profession as they begin their new term. The exquisite Sainte-Chapelle was the site of the annual Mass in Paris.

O’Malley chose the occasion, appropriately enough, to address the recent decision by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakely to allow a proposed referendum on euthanasia to begin soliciting signatures so that it can be put on the ballot in the Bay State. The sermon is worth reading in toto, and you can do so by clicking here, but I want to focus on one passage specifically:

Today, many people fear the prospect of a protracted period of decline at the end of life. They fear experiencing pain, losing control, lingering with dementia, fear of being abandoned, fear of becoming a burden on others.

Hahn Interviews Card. George

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Over at RealClearReligion, they have an interview with Cardinal Francis George on the occasion of the publication of his new book "Gos in Action." The interviewer, Nicholas Hahn, does a good job getting the cardinal to flesh out his ideas.

My favorite quote:

You've got to have met God. Religion doesn't start with a set of laws or rules and it doesn't start with a set of ideas. It starts with an encounter, with the living God and in our case, Christ risen from the dead. In that encounter you meet someone you can trust. That's faith: trust in truth. But then you've got the obligation to keep searching for the truth of the faith so that your life is oriented in a way that is consistent with the faith. The trust is a matter of love and faith is a matter of truth. The two together give you the guidance that you look for.

More on Catholic Identity, Ellen Goodman & St. Francis University

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The controversy over St. Francis University's decision to dis-invite Ellen Goodman from speaking on campus because of her pro-choice stance continues to simmer. At Faith in Public Life, John Gehring takes on the "witch hunt" mentality that seems to animate the Cardinal Newman Society.

And, NCR has obtained a copy of a letter sent to the President of St. Francis University by one of their alumni, Matt Ussia. Here is the text:

Fr. Zeis,

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October 10-23, 2014

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