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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.”

Election Time: IN-2

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UPDATE (10/26): Cook Political Report changed its rating on this race six days ago, moving it from "Lean Dem" to "Toss-up." The district is centered on South Bend, and Joe Donnelly is playing the role of a fightin' Irishman. There is only one October poll and it shows Donnelly leading by nine points, but Indiana, like Arizona, is a state that is looking terribly red this year. In the Indiana Senate race, former Republican Senator Dan Coats is headed to an overwhelming victory, leading his opponent Brad Ellsworth by an average of 18 points so Donnelly will not get any help from hte top of the ticket.
Donnelly's opponent, Jackie Walorski, is a social conservative running in a year when the GOP is downplaying social conservative issues.
Indiana's polls close early, so if this race is called early, we will have a sense of how the winds are blowing.

Q & A: Rocco Palmo

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We continue our week long conversation with Rocco Palmo, the blogmeister at Whispers in the Loggia.

The question: What is the most important thing that will happen at the USCCB meeting in November?

Rocco Palmo: One of the perks of covering church politics is that, while the country has to wait four years between presidential elections, American Catholics get one every three. So yet again, this year’s “Fall Classic” -- the USCCB’s November Meeting in Baltimore -- will see the Making of the President, Church Edition.

That said, the top-ballot’s outcome is the least suspenseful part of the process. Following a custom that’s essentially been inviolate for the half-century since the US bishops began electing a president, barring anything apocalyptic the incumbent vice-president of the body, 69 year-old Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, will be elevated to the top slot. As ever, the real race is the one that’ll determine his #2... and this time, a very changed scene since 2007 renders who makes the cut even more intriguing than usual.

Yahoo Watch: Kathryn Jean Lopez

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Not sure what Ms. Lopez is smoking, but her recent attempt to link the Tea Party movement with Pope Benedict XVI is bizarre. The ranters who carry racist placards that show the President as a witch doctor or the dumb with a captial "B" signs that say, "No government health care - Hands off my Medicare!" have nothing, repeat nothing, in common with the refined, thoughtful social and political analysis of Pope Benedict XVI. The Tea Party movement is in euqal parts inchoate and incoherent, two adjectives that do not leap to mind when considering the writings of Joseph Raztinger.

My friend John Gehring takes on the comparison at greater length here.

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August 15-28, 2014

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