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Farewell to Rahm

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Say what you want about Rahm Emanuel's tenure as White House Chief of Staff, he was singularly effective. Although you would not know it from most of the ads being run by Democrats in Congress, the last two years have seen major legislative accomplishments, most notably health care reform, a goal that has long eluded previous Democratic administrations. The Stimulus Bill may not have saved or created as many jobs as hoped, but it stopped the free-fall the economy was in at the time. The financial overhaul lays the groundwork for a rebounding economy that will be less prone to the kinds of shenanigans that brought on the economic collapse of 2008. Emanuel played a central role in getting each of these tasks accomplished. People may not miss his brusque style, but the White House may well miss his ability to get things done.

More on Michigan's Asst. AG

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In the article linked on "Morning Briefing," everyone agrees that the highly disturbing comments and behavior of a Michigan Assistant Attorney General, Andrew Shirvell, are reprehensible, but the ACLU evidently supports Attorney General Mike Cox's decision not to fire Shirvell. An official said, "As offensive and as despicable as Mr. Shirvell's comments are, they are protected expression under the First Amendment when they are not used as a direct threat," she said. "Without making specific threats against others, this is just another example of speech that society must tolerate, even though it is profoundly disturbing and stirs many to anger." This misses the point.

Controversy on Polling

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Politico has an article up today about the SurveyUSA's polling in VA-5, which consistently show Democratic incumbent Tom Perriello trailing his challenger by twenty points or more. The Perriello camp has pushed back, releasing two internal polls that show the race as a dead heat. I am going to that district tomorrow and will have an update in next week's print edition of NCR. But, for now, let's just say that polls must always be examined with grains of salt at hand, because the different methodologies used by pollsters allow for such disparate results.

Election Time: Wisconsin-Senate

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UPDATE (10/25): Unlike the Senate races in Washington state, Pennsylvania and Illinois, the race in Wisconsin has broken decidedly against incumbent Sen. Russ Feingold. The Cook POlitical Report and RCP both rate the race as "lean Republican." Nate Silver gives Sen. Feingold only an 11 percent chance of retaining his seat. This race proves my point that the ideal GOP candidate this year is a totally bland person with no record. GOP businessman Ron Johnson, unlike the Tea Party favs in Nevada, Colorado, Alaska and Delaware, is, as the Italians say, "macaroni senza sal," flavorless. This has allowed him to keep the focus on the three-term incumbent who has appeared increasingly lackluster in the campaign, as if his heart is simply not in the race. Barring a miracle, Feongold is going into an early retirement.

Q & A: Rocco Palmo

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This week, Rocco Palmo is sharing the ecclesiastical version of a State of the Union address with us here at Q & A. Today he looks at the much-rumored forthcoming consistory.

The question: According to some reports, Pope Benedict is preparing to name new cardinals, possibly as soon as next month. What can we expect in the College’s next class?

Rocco Palmo: I’d normally be reluctant to compare people to bulls... but there’s something about that scarlet that really drives folks wild -- and not just in the the church. Indeed, a friend once mused that if Martians ever descended, not knowing our languages, customs, anything about us, even they’d be able to quickly tell the difference between a bishop and a cardinal because of how everybody just seems to charge toward anyone wearing the rank’s distinctive color, and what it represents.

Yahoo Watch: Nat'l Review

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Ya know, the "Corner" at National Review is becoming one big Yahoo Watch. But, today's entry by Mark Krikorian about Meg Whitman's former maid is repulsive in the extreme. He employs the phrase "Illegal Alien" twice at the article's beginning as if the maid was from Mars not Mexico. What's next? Calling undocumented workers "sub-human"? Krikorian finishes his little hissy fit by asking whose Social Security number the maid stole and wondering if that person's credit score has been ruined. Why not ask if the person whose Social Security number the maid "stole" must give back all that extra money from the maid and Whitman's Social Security contributions?
This stuff is hateful, just hateful.

\"Gov't Schools\" v. \"Public Schools\"

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Earlier, I called attention to the collaboration of Republican Gov. Chris Christie and Democratic Mayor Cory Booker to secure a huge, $100 million matching grant from zillionaire Mark Zuckerberg to help fix the miserable public schools in Newark. This collaboration was called to my attention by my friend Rick Garnett, professor of law at the University of Notre Dame and a principal contibutor at the always worth reading blog "Mirror of Justice."

Is Obama Going to Pull a Tony Blair?

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The First Lady evidently let it slip that her husband keeps a prayer card of Our Lady, Help of Christians, in his wallet. Very RC.

A few months ago, in an address on the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, President Obama spoke movingly about the Blessing of the Fleet. Again, very RC.

And, the other day, when asked about his Christian faith, the President described his decision to become a Christian in terms that were, while not exactly Catholic, decidedly non-Protestant.

The President said:

“So I came to my Christian faith later in life and it was because the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life that I would want to lead -- being my brothers’ and sisters’ keeper, treating others as they would treat me. And I think also understanding that Jesus Christ dying for my sins spoke to the humility we all have to have as human beings, that we’re sinful and we’re flawed and we make mistakes, and that we achieve salvation through the grace of God. But what we can do, as flawed as we are, is still see God in other people and do our best to help them find their own grace.”

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July 4-17, 2014

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