The Democrats' strongest card in this year's election is that they are serious about the nation's problems while the GOP is beset by birthers, those concerned about repealing the 17th Amendment, and various other esoteric issues such as self-pleasuring. But, Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson is a walking counter-argument to the proposition that liberals are intellectually serious.
Tonight, at St. Matthew's Cathedral, Archbishop J. Augustine DiNoia, O.P., will be giving the annual John Carroll lecture on "Why Catholics Go To Mass." Archbishop DiNoia, who celebrated his 40th anniversary as a priest this past Sunday at a beautiful Mass at the Dominican House of Studies where he taught for many years, is one of the most gifted speakers in the Church today, a master not only of theology but the English language. His talk will not disappoint. It begins at 6:45 p.m. Archbishop DiNoia is also slated to give the homily at the Red Mass this coming Sunday.
As always, Mark Silk has some highly intelligent remarks about Archbishop Chaput's recent comments about the coverage of religion in the media. He is spot-on about how the media, appropriately, considers hypocrisy an aggravating factor as opposed to a mitigating one, in its coverage of religion. The only other thing about Chaput's address that jumped out at me was the sheer defensiveness of his speech. Coming on the heels of the media's coverage of Pope Benedict's successful trip to the UK, almost all of it favorable, that defensiveness seemed more than a little odd.
It's not everyday that you see one of the rising GOP stars standing next to one of the rising Democratic stars, but New Jersey Governor Chris Christie joined with Newark Mayor Cory Booker recently to announce that the city has raised $40 million of the $100 million it needs to qualify for a matching education grant from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
I don't know if the producers of "PipeDreams," the radio show dedicated to organ music, were mindful of Pope Benedict's trip to the UK when they chose to highlight the sounds of the organs of Great Britain and Ireland in this week's show. Whatever the motivation, the result is beautiful. There is something about these great English organs that is so satisfying, the sound is so big and full and round, it is like chocolate cake for the ear.
The Senate Democrats have decided not to take up the issue of whether or not to extend the Bush tax cuts before November midterm elections. This is a mistake. Here's why.
Yesterday, I discussed the governor's race in the Lone Star State and, this morning, the Washington Post did the same, noting that the Democratic Governor's Association is running ads there. They must have an internal poll that shows the race is close.
UPDATE (10/25): This race has seen mountains of spending, a single debate, and much national attention since I first looked at it. All of the prognosticators rate it as a toss-up and it will be very instructive to see if Nate Silver's model at fivethirtyeight.com is correct: He gives Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle a 68% chance of winning. What baffles me is that every poll in the past two months is within the margin of error, so I do not know how statistically Silver reaches his conclusion.
I stick by my prediction that Latino turnout will put Reid over the top.
Also check out this commentary on the race from Catholic University Politics Professor Matthew Green.
This morning, at the library doing some research, I came across an article from the New York Times entitled "Senate Unit Votes Ban On Abortions." What it shows is two bad things, first, the pro-life community has been getting little more than lip-service from the GOP for almost thirty years now, and second, that by 1981, even conservative Democrats had caved on the abortion issue. Here is the lede:
"A Senate subcommittee today approved legislation that could allow the states to prosecute abortion as murder, a first Congressional setp toward overturning the 1973 Supreme Court decision that a woman has a right to terminate her pregnancy. By a vote of 3 to 2, the Senate Judiciary's Subcommittee on the Separation of Powers approved a measure that said 'the life of each human being starts at conception,' thus giving fetuses rights under the Constitution."
Alas, that is not how the Constitution works and we are still, thirty years later, faced with the daunting task of changing the culture, not just the make-up of a Senate panel, if we are ever to convince our countrymen and women that abortion is wrong and should not enjoy legal sanction.
Usually at Q & A, I email one question to five different people, soliciting their replies. This week, to change things up a bit, I emailed five questions to the same person, blogger extraordinaire Rocco Palmo, whose blog Whispers in the Loggia has become a must-read for Catholics.
I first heard of Rocco on a trip to Rome many years ago, when there was speculation his was a pen name for a retired and particularly well-connected Vatican monsignor. I returned to the States, sent an email, and found he was a then-twnety-three year old living in Philly. I drove up I-95 the next day to meet him and have been reading and chatting and emailing ever since. I hope the readers will enjoy his commentary on the state of the Church.
First question: Do you perceive a central characteristic among Benedict 16th's appointments to the hierarchy?