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Mitt Romney Gets Into the Race

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I was in the car driving as former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney prepared to make his formal announcement that he is running for the presidency of the United States. As is typical with such events, the candidate was running a bit behind schedule and so C-Span Radio replayed phone calls from listeners, broadcast earlier in the day. This being C-Span, of course, some of those callers were a little, how do we say, eccentric.

Then, C-Span returned to New Hampshire as Romney took the stage and addressed the crowd. Instantly, I recognized the promise – and the problem - of his candidacy. If it can be said that some of the other presidential aspirants such as Herman Cain, Sarah Palin, Ron Paul and Michelle Bachmann, sound more than a little like one of the crazier callers into C-Span, Romney clearly does not sound like that. He is all sobriety and his lack of pith is remarkable in a politician. But, then the problem became manifest too: Romney may not sound like a C-Span caller, but he does sound like a C-Span host. He is dull: “Macaroni without any salt,” as the Italians say.

The Dallas Charter Is On Life-Support

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First came the revelations in Philadelphia, then Kansas City-St. Joseph. Now, the diocese of Gallup, New Mexico is in the spotlight with a series of articles in the local paper about how Bishop James Wall has failed to fulfill the promises he made to the people and clergy of Gallup to live up to the Dallas norms.
Later this month, the bishops of the United States will gather outside Seattle for their summer meeting. At the top of the agenda is an examination of the Dallas norms, adopted in 2002 to put an end to the scandal of clergy sex abuse. This was a solemn pledge made to the Church of the United States by her bishops. In effect, the bishops promised: We can't undo what has happened already, but we promise we will not let it happen ever again.

The Church at Her Best

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Many years ago, a priest said to me, “The Church is her best at a funeral.” I thought at the time that this was not only right but wise, and my experience since then has confirmed it. Wednesday, many of us in the NCR family celebrated the Mass of Christian Burial for our friend Joe Feuerherd and, indeed, the Church was at her best. Why is this?

Preserving an Architectural Icon

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Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood is attempting to negotiate a solution to the fight that has broken out over the extension of the DC-area Metro to Dulles Airport. The airport authority wants an underground station that links directly to the terminal, but the additional cost strikes tax payers as exorbitant. They favor an above-ground terminus for the Metrorail.
If you have never been to Dulles, you may not be able to appreciate the concern the airport authority has to preserve the views of the main terminal building. It was designed by Eero Saarinen, who also designed the only other American airport terminal that is truly beautiful, the TWA terminal at JFK airport in New York City. I was at Dulles yesterday, and was reminded of just how striking a building it is.

Rating Bachmann's Chances

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Sarah Palin is not the only conservative female contemplating a bid for the GOP presidential nod. Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann from Minnesota is also seriously thinking of throwing her hat into the ring.

Bachmann has become a Tea Party favorite and she knows that the loose-knit organization is her best chance at gaining traction. She founded the Tea Party Caucus earlier this year. She mentions the Tea Party and “Tea Party Principles” in almost every sentence. Bachmann also embraces all the major social conservative issues necessary to win the GOP nomination: She is pro-life on abortion, opposed to immigration reform, and against gay marriage.

Romney Gives Obama an \"F\"

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I think Mitt Romney's charge that President Obama is "ineffective" runs at cross-purposes with the general GOP indictment of the President, which is that Obama is a threat precisely because he has been effective. After all, this is the President who achieved universal health care reform, a goal that has eluded several Presidents of both parties in the past and which, according to current GOP mythology, threatens the very fabric of our society. Which is it? Threat or ineffective?
Of course, Romney focused his remarks on the President's inability to lower the unemployment rate. But, the real way to address the ailing economy, with good old-fashioned Keynesianism, is no longer possible with the GOP in control of the House. Does anyone really think that cutting taxes for zillionaires will create more jobs? That's dreaming.

Silk Takes on Donohue Over John Jay Report

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Mark Silk, who pens the must-read blog "Spiritual Politics" is a scholar and a thoughtful commentator on religion and politics. The two qualities rarely combine so nicely in the same person.
And, Silk has had the fortitude to take on Bill Donohue before. Now, he looks at Donohue's diatribe against the John Jay report because it declined to endorse his bigoted idea that gays are the problem in the pedophilia crisis. Bigotry is uninformed prejudice. Donohue's photo could appear next to the dictionary entry in Webster's.

NC: Battleground in 2012?

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The Washington Post looks at the forthcoming presidential contest in, of all places, North Carolina, land of Sen. Jesse Helms and a state that, until Obama's surprise, narrow victory in 2008, had voted for the GOP presidential candidate everytime since Jimmy Carter won the state in 1976.
The article also notes that North Carolina is another state in which GOP-dominated legislatures are seeking to pass laws that make it harder to vote. This is, in a word, revolting. Every state has a chief election officer, usually the Secretary of State, who is constitutionally charged with trying to increase voter turnout. After all, one of the more frightening indicators of the ill health of American democracy is low level of participation in elections. We should be bending over backwards to encourage turnout.

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