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Reflections on Benedict's Trip


Pope Benedict’s trip to the United Kingdom had one, over-arching theme: There must be a place for the Church in the public square and the efforts of “secularism” to deny the Church such a voice in the public affairs of nations should be resisted. As is always the case, Pope Benedict speaks with great clarity, and he commended John Henry Newman, whose beatification was the highpoint of the visit, for the clarity of his many writings. Yet on this central point of the Church’s role in civil society, he something less than perfectly clear.

Yahoo Watch: Values Voters Summit


I was just listening to the Family Research Council's "Values Voters Summit" in the car on C-SPAN radio. The whole summit is, I suspect, one long experience of yahoodom. They just had a panel on "Don't Ask; Don't Tell" and why it is imperative - imperative! - that gays and lesbians who serve in the armed forces be made to lie about it under penalty of law, that this is the only thing that will protect the "unique culture" of the military, and protect our armed forces from immorality.

Do Crystal Balls Work?


In writing my analysis of various races around the country, I rely on several different websites, but none more so than the Cook Political Report, which has been producing prognostications for many years. Of course, a lot of "conventional wisdom" turns out not to be very wise, so I sniffed around to see if anyone had examined whether or not anyone had researched the past performance of Cook's crytsal ball. Joshua Green at The Atlantic had already done the math, which I am not very good at to begin with, and he shows that Cook has been right most of the time.

Election Time: IA-1


UPDATE (10/25): This is another district with almost no public polling, which remains listed as "Lean Dem" by both Real Clear Politics and Cook Political Report. The biggest change since I first wrote about it has been the infusion of massive amounts of cash from outside sources. According to the Des Moines Register, the American Future Fund has thrown more than $1 million into attacks against incumbent, two-term Democrat Bruce Braley. This is one of those groups that does not disclose its donors, so who knows where the money comes from?
In addition to his own funds, Braley is Vice-Chair of the DCCC, so if his internal polls show him in danger, you can bet the DCCC will pump money into this eastern Iowa district.
If this race were in the Eastern Time Zone, it would be watched for indications as to whether the GOP wave is going to become a GOP tsunami. It isn't, but if the outside projections of huge GOP gains in the House come true, Braley will be retired early.

Blast From the Past: Newman


Tomorrow, the Holy Father will join the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury in a prayer service at Westminster Abbey. Not wanting to put a damper on the day, the prospect nonetheless called to mind the magnificent passage in Newman's Apologia when he recounts realizing that his view of Anglicanism as a Via Media had collapsed during his study of the Monophysite heresy and Pope Leo's response to it. Newman writes:


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July 18-31, 2014


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