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The Alaska Ballot Counting


All the news reports indicate that incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski has garnered 98 percent of the write-in ballots cast last week in that state's election. The election observers from the campaign of Tea Party favorite Joe Miller are questioning the validity of about ten percent of those ballots, but even that appears to be an insufficient number to narrow Murkowshki's margin.

It should not surprise that Mr. Miller is insisting that only those ballots that spell Ms. Murkowski's name correctly be counted. He insists that the law demands nothing less. But, the law is actually silent on the issue os proper spelling as it is silent on the issue of voter intent. Nonetheless, there is something creepy about the desire to disenfranchise voters who do not dot their "I's."

Alas, Mr. Miller, whose goons "arrested" a reporter whose questions the candidate found nettlesome, is not exactly the kind of man to be overly concerned about niceties where democratic processes are concerned. I have no great love for Sen. Murkowski, but of all the Tea Party candidates this year, Miller was the most frightening. His defeat is a good thing for democracy and a good thing for Alaska.

Apostolic Visitation Begins in Ireland


The Vatican this morning issued a press release regarding the start of the Apostolic Visitation in Ireland to examine the issue of clergy sex abuse and what the local churches there can and should do to confront the evil.

I can't recall ever before seeing a deadline in anything emanating from the Holy See, and the presence of one here suggests that the higher-ups might finally recognize the need for some urgency in addressing the clergy sex abuse crisis.
Better late than never I suppose.

Post-Mortem on the Post-Mortems


It has been almost two weeks since the voters rendered their verdict, and we in the commentariat are still trying to figure out precisely what that verdict was. Of course, politicians are also trying to figure that out, from Nancy Pelosi’s “it was the recession” state of denial to Rand Paul’s “We are taking our government back.” Here at Distinctly Catholic, we have heard from expert analysts like Professor Steve Schneck of CUA’s IPRCS and from those involved in shaping the election like Catholic United’s Chris Korzen and NRLC’s Douglas Johnson.

Q & A: Election Thoughts From Fred Rotondaro


Fred Rotondaro is the Chairman of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, a progressive Catholic organization begun after the 2004 elections which played a vocal, and critical, part in the effort to get universal health insurance passed earlier this year.

As part of our on-going look at the election results, we asked Rotondaro for his thoughts.

Fred Rotondaro: Conservatives, moderates and progressives should have all learned the same lesson on Nov 2nd. American public policy is not decided in one election. It's an ongoing process-- a brawl if you will that takes place over many elections, many decades.

A second underlying theme is that the major issues are often symptoms and not underlying causes of what needs to be changed in the nation. America has deep problems today and they do relate to jobs, the deficit, and politicians' disconnect from the average American. But the causes go back three decades and more. And dealing with one problem will often complicate solving a different problem.

A Profound (and somewhat accurate) Criticism of Obama


A wise monsignor once told me of a quote from Jacques Maritain to the effect that we are born into the world with either a liberal heart or a conservative heart, and that either way there is little we can do about it, and that the goal of a genuinely humane education must be to try and understand the widsom unique to the kind of heart you were born without.

This is why I read everything that Peter Berkowitz writes. Along with Rick Garnett of Notre Dame who appears in Q & A with some frequency, Berkowitz always writes articles that make me smarter, even -- perhaps especially -- when I disagree with him.

Berkowitz wrote a review of a new book about Obama for The Wall Street Journal. The phrase "shining self-image of the progressive intellectual" is worth the price of admission, but the whole review is worth a read.

Catholic Blogger Syndrome


How do you know it is time for a vacation from the task of being a Catholic blogger?

Yesterday, I received an email entitled "Two Cardinals Receive Gold Glove Awards" and I assumed immediately that when I opened the email, it would contain an article about the always polite but always obvious mutual dislike between incoming Cardinals Raymond Burke and Donald Wuerl.

Instead, the article was about Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals' baseball team earning awards for fielding.

Time for a vacation.

Should Sharron Angle Move to Maine?


Politico reports on several GOP senators who are up for re-election in 2012 and who are now looking over their right shoulders, worrying about a primary challenge from the Tea Party. Maine's Senator Olympia Snowe appears the most vulnerable with a whopping 63 percent percent of prospective GOP primary voters indicating they would support a more conservative candidate. Senators Orrin Hatch, Richard Lugar, John Ensign and Kay Bailey Hutchinson also have to watch their backs.

This threat to so-called GOP moderates -- and who would have ever thought to call Orrin Hatch a moderate!?! -- raises the specter that the Tea Party could shoot itself in the foot in these states as it did in Delaware, Colorado, and Nevada, losing Senate races that might have been easy pick-ups because they nominated Yahoos.

The Problem with NRLC


Yesterday, as part of the Q & A segment on this blog, I published an election analysis by Douglas Johnson, the legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC). I have read and re-read his submission and hope you did too. I should add that in the emails back and forth between Mr. Johnson and myself, I have been delighted to find him possessed of a robust sense of humor and a keen mind and I look forward to the day when we might share a coffee or a drink in person.

Q & A: Election Analysis from Douglas Johnson of the National Right to Life Committee


We continue our survey of election reactions with a commentary from Douglas Johnson, legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee.

I hasten to point out that the views he expresses are not shared by me, but when I solicit these submissions I promise to print them without editing.

Still, I will allow myself the comment that the right-to-life movement is in trouble when its spokespeople demonstrate such acute harshness to people with whom they agree on 98 percent of the issues. It costs nothing to be mangnanimous in victory.

That said, I admire Mr. Johnson's commitment to the defense of the unborn enormously and believe it is a credit to his organization, as it is to the Catholic Church, that no matter how long the odds, he and we have not abandoned the effort to call our nation's attention to the evil of abortion in our midst.

I may quibble with his analysis and his methods, but I do not quibble with his cause.


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September 26-October 9, 2014


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