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Do Crystal Balls Work?

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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

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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

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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:

Yahoo Watch: Catholic Key Blog

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Why am I not surprised that Jack Smith, editor of the Catholic Key, was impressed by Sarah Palin's recent address to a pro-life group? But, in his commentary he penned these words: "The non-partisan Vitae had come under fire for bringing in yet another Republican grandee to headline their dinner this year. Well, somebody has got to raise the money for these ads and if the Democrats had a high profile prolifer who could do that, I would expect Vitae to invite them. But Governor Casey is dead."

Governor Casey's son is not dead, however, but he had the temerity to break with some right-to-life groups that were determined to use any and all arguments, legitimate and otherwise, to defeat the health care bill. Still, Smith's invoking Casey pere's legacy while ignoring that of Casey fils is telling. Why should the son know better than Smith what his father would and would not have done?

InsideCatholic Is Wrong Again

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Over at InsideCatholic, they have an article that rails against what they call “Fake Catholic Groups.” By this, the author means groups that do not agree with her politics, not groups that somehow deny a line of the Creed or question the authority of the Pope and bishops to teach on faith and morals. The term “fake Catholic” evidences a judgmentalism that puts me in mind of the man in the synagogue who sat up front and prayed, “I thank thee, Lord, that I am not like other men.”

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July 18-31, 2014

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