Regular readers will know of my fondness for the writings of Alan Wolfe, director of the Boisi Center at Boston College, as well as for the man who writes them. Wolfe is both a scholar and a gentleman.
President Obama has hit the campaign trail this week, and hit it hard. News commentators tend to focus on what is new and forget some of the landscape that remains ever present, such as the great power of the bully pulpit.
UPDATE (10/25): This race just keeps getting nastier and nastier, mostly because Democrat Jack Conway has otherwise been unable to close the gap and has resorted to re-telling some nasty episodes from Rand Paul's past. The centerpiece has been a report in GQ magazine about Paul's college days when he allegedly joined an anti-religious organization and, with some buddies, tied up a woman and made her bow down before an "Aqua Buddha" idol. The story is strange, and Conway's spreading it doesn't seem to have improved his chances.
Fivethirtyeight.com gives Paul an 89% chance of holding the seat for the GOP and Nate Silver suspect he is right. But, as I write that sentence, I realize that putting Paul in the Senate is not the same thing as electing a standard issue Republican. His "constitutioanl conservatism" reinforced by the confidence that comes with winning an election virtually guarantees that Mr. Paul will, in the Senate, be a big ole pain in the butt for his fellow Kentuckian, Sen. Mitch McConnell.
Last Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI went to the village of Carpineto Romano to commemorate the bicentennial of the birth of Pope Leo XIII. The visit did not garner much attention from the press, but it should have. Leo was a truly great Pope.
Leo XIII is already, and most widely known, for his authorship of Rerum Novarum, the seminal encyclical that launched Catholic social teaching in the modern era. But, his contributions to the life and health of the Church were more varied. One of these was his attempt to rebuild the Church in France.
In anticipation of Pope Benedict's visit to the UK next week, here at Q & A, we are discussing what the Pope should say and do when he is there. Our commentators are editors at the British Catholic weekly The Tablet, and today we hear from Elena Curti, the deputy editor.
The question: What is the most important thing for Pope Benedict to say or do when he is in the UK?
Elena Curti: While the Church in England and Wales now has solid procedures in place aimed at protecting children, as Catholics we still feel tainted by the cover-ups and evasiveness that have characterised the Church's response to the scandal.
The Holy See this morning has issued a statement from the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue condemning the planned "Koran Burning Day" in Florida.
A reader asked me which websites are the best for gathering information about the midterms. I use several and here they are with brief reviews.
No, not the purple elephant. Rachel Brown famously confronted Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts last year at a town hall meeting. She called the health care proposals “a Nazi policy” and she carried with her a picture of President Obama defaced to make him look like Hitler.
UPDATE: This race looked like a nail biter when I wrote about it last month. At the beginning of October, however, both the Cook Political Report and Real Clear Politics moved PA-3 from the "Toss-up" column to "Lean Republican." Incumbent Democrat Kathy Dahlkemper has trailed in every poll, and the most recent survey from Mercyhurst College has her down by 7 points.
The race has also become a focus of a duel between Catholic groups with Catholics United challenging the veracity of ads put out by pro-life organizations which claim Dahlkemper's vote for health care was a vote for federal funding of abortion. Catholics United had a press call on the issue featuring pro-life Catholics in PA-3 defending Dahlkemper. I wrote about the call here. The decision yesterday, in federal court, to allow the case against the Susan B. Anthony List's ads to proceed in Ohio does not have a direct impact on the race in Pennsylvania, but the local press in Erie is covering the story.
Like a moth to a flame, I can't continue browsing the newspaper when I see an item in the society pages about the world's most famous party-crashers. The couple, Michaele and Tareq Salahi, became household names when they wiggled their way into a state dinner at the White House. They are now "stars" on a reality television show.
Following up on a promise to reporters that she would auction off the dress she wore into the White House, and give the proceeds to charity, Mrs. Salahi announced that the dress would go on the auction block and that she and her husband "have directed the auction gallery to forward 80 percent of their proceeds from the gown's sale to the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund." 80 percent? I suppose she needed to cover her costs. These people are obscene.