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Q & A: Rocco Palmo

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Usually at Q & A, I email one question to five different people, soliciting their replies. This week, to change things up a bit, I emailed five questions to the same person, blogger extraordinaire Rocco Palmo, whose blog Whispers in the Loggia has become a must-read for Catholics.

I first heard of Rocco on a trip to Rome many years ago, when there was speculation his was a pen name for a retired and particularly well-connected Vatican monsignor. I returned to the States, sent an email, and found he was a then-twnety-three year old living in Philly. I drove up I-95 the next day to meet him and have been reading and chatting and emailing ever since. I hope the readers will enjoy his commentary on the state of the Church.

First question: Do you perceive a central characteristic among Benedict 16th's appointments to the hierarchy?

Yahoo Watch: American Catholic

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The American Catholic calls attention to a recent ad that seeks to invert the famous "Morning in America" ad run by Ronald Reagan in 1984. This is funny at a couple of levels, in part because the GOP got whipped in the midterms also in 1982, the proximate comparison for this year's election, and they got whipped for the same reason the Dems are likely to lose seats: the economy had not turned around quickly enough.

Good News for GOP

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Politico has a smart article about GOP strength in the Midwest, a region where Democrats are struggling not least because the GOP landed some top flight candidates for key races such as the Ohio Governorship. As well, Obama faces the "arc of history" he likes to invoke but here it works against him. The industrial Midwest has been struggling for decades, losing manufacturing jobs and the culture that went with them. Politicians have been asking for their patience for years, and Obama's request for patience is likely to fall on deaf ears.

WaPo on Turnout

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This morning's Washington Post has a good article on the efforts of Team Obama to get young voters engaged again. The President will be hitting college campuses in the upcoming weeks. Polling models usually predict low turnout among young voters so, in races that are rated a "Toss-up" using those models, a few extra percentage points from young voters could tip the scales.

Election Time: TX-Governor

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It is strange to me that the GOP has not been able to put the Texas governor’s race into the win column with only six weeks out. Texas has been an overwhelmingly Republican state. Not only did favorite son candidate George W. Bush win the state resoundingly, but John McCain beat Barack Obama in Texas by a huge margin of 55 percent to 44 percent. Both of the state’s U.S. senators are Republicans and twenty of the state’s 32 Representatives are Republicans. The GOP controls both houses of the state legislature. States don’t get much more red than Texas.

Still, RealClear Politics only has the gubernatorial contest as “Lean Republican,” and even that is a bit of a reach. The RealClearPolitics average of six polls, all conducted in August or September, shows incumbent Governor Rick Perry with a 5.8 percent lead over Democratic challenger Bill White. One of the six polls, done by a GOP firm, had Perry ahead by twelve points. The other five range between giving Perry a 7 point advantage or a 1 point advantage. The Cook Political Report, which had the race as “Lean Republican” earlier in the year, now rates it as a “Toss-up.”

More (BIG!) Yahoo Watch: Zoe Lofgren

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I just watched clips of the House Judiciary Committee's Immigration Subcommittee meeting at which Stephen Colbert testified - in character.
It was not just bizarre. it was offensive. And, it was unspeakably stupid. If Lofgren wanted to further damage the image of Congress - and hurt her party's chances in November - she achieved her goal. She owes the American people an apology and pronto. Speaker Pelosi should consider very strong sanctions, very strong, such as stripping Lofgren of her chairmanship.

Yahoo Watch: Father Zuhlsdorf's Fans

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Father Zuhlsdorf, who writes for the Wanderer (enough said) and manages a blog called "What Does The Prayer Really Say," is, like all of us bloggers, not responsible for the comments of those who react to his columns. But, if you want to get a flavor of how whacked out some conservative Catholics are, check out the comments on his post about Archbishop Donald Wuerl being named the American delegate to oversee the implementation of Anglicanorum coetibus. My favorite: "He’s disgraceful, and this is not a good move. He’s hostile to tradition, and he’ll be hostile to traditional Anglicans." How, exactly, is Archbishop Wuerl "hostile" to tradition? This is the epitmoe of yahoodom.

What Motivates Christine O'Donnell

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Politics Daily has a very perceptive article about what might have been motivating Christine O'Donnell when she famously discussed her dabbling in witchcraft. The author, Suzi Parker, is spot-on. O'Donnell LIKED discussing taboo topics because it kept the camera on her. You can see the delight she takes in the attention. It is an understandable character flaw in most politicians, but here the flaw seems fatal.

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April 11-24, 2014

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