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Bishops & Bullying

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Anti-gay bullying has been much in the news since the tragic suicide of Tyler Clementi, the young man who jumped off the George Washington bridge after fellow students videotaped him having sex with another male student. They posted the video on the web and Clementi became desperate, commiting the ultimate act of desperation.

Two bishops addressed the situation, one explicitly and the other obliquely, in recent comments that flew under the radar screen.

Bishop Arthur Serratelli of Paterson wrote a column about the incident in his diocesan newspaper, rightly noting that the students had violated Clementi's privacy in an unconscionable manner.

And, in a videoblog discussing pro-life month, Archbishop Gregory Michael Aymond of New Orleans said that teen suicide was a pro-life concern, along with poverty and homelessness. The entire video is worth watching but the relevant part is around 4:50 on the tape.

Joe Miller's Disinformation

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The Washington Post has a great quote from Tea Party favorite Joe Miller about the counting of write-in ballots in Alaska.

After noting that he had closed the gap considerably with the counting of absentee ballots, Miller said that "People throughout the state are excited; they're still out there fighting to make sure their votes are counted."

Of course, Miller's goal is exactly the opposite. 41 percent of those who voted cast write-in ballots and presumably almost all of them wanted to vote for incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

Miller and his lawyers will be seeking to throw out write-in ballots where the voter's intent may be clear but there might be a slight misspelling of Murkowski's name. Otherwise he loses.

To claim that he is seeking to make sure every vote counts is not gibberish. It is a lie.

Palin's Power

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Former Governor Sarah Palin gave her first post-election speech last night at a fundraiser in Pennsylvania. CNN cut into its talk-show “Parker-Spitzer” to broadcast the speech live. As well, this week, Palin’s reality TV show begins. And, of course, the counting of write-in ballots in her home state of Alaska will determine if her hand-picked candidate Joe Miller will defeat Palin’s long-time nemesis Sen. Lisa Murkowski. So, we can expect to see a lot of the smiling Queen Mama Grizzly this week.

And, not just this week. Alas, all signs point to Palin seeking the presidency. Why not? She is easily the most recognizable face in the GOP ranks. She and Newt Gingrich are the only two prospective candidates that do not invite slumber. She has raised tons of money and exposure for candidates all over the country, most especially Tea Party favorites like Nikki Haley, the incoming Governor of South Carolina and Kelly Ayotte, the incoming Senator in New Hampshire, two states that play a critical role in securing the GOP nomination.

Q & A: Election Thoughts From Jen Butler & John Gehring

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We continue our look at the midterms with expert commentary today from Jennifer Butler and John Gehring. Jen is the Executive Director of the group Faith in Public Life and John is a Senior Writer and Outreach Coordinator for the group.

Butler & Gehring: After midterm elections that shifted the political terrain in Washington, political spin is in high gear. We believe – and the polling numbers bear out – that this election should be understood as an urgent plea from an anxious electorate hungry for bipartisan cooperation to lift the nation out of economic crisis, not a simple mandate for any partisan agenda.

Smart Move by GOP

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The incoming House leaders are planning to offer a new leadership position to one of the incoming freshmen. The idea is that if they put one of the Tea Party folk at the table, it will be harder for the Tea Party to play their own game and the leadership will be more conscious of where the fault lines are in reaching their decisions.

This move is the antithesis of Speaker Pelosi's decision to stay on as minority leader. Voters want change and even if the new leadership post for a freshman proves to be only cosmetic, sometimes cosmetics work.

Q & A: Election Thoughts From Rick Garnett

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Rick Garnett is a law professor at the University of Notre Dame and the driving force behind the always-thoughtful blog Mirror of Justice.

We continue to look at the midterms this week at Q & A with commentary from a variety of voices, and Professor Garnett is up first.

Rick Garnett: What do the midterm elections mean? More, I suspect, than is appreciated by those who want to chalk up (and move on from) the results as reflecting merely anger, fear, or ignorance about unemployment, deficits, and "bailouts"; less, I suspect, than is hoped (or feared) by those who suspect a thoroughgoing transformation of American politics is afoot.

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July 18-31, 2014

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