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?
The American Catholic calls attention to a recent ad that seeks to invert the famous "Morning in America" ad run by Ronald Reagan in 1984. This is funny at a couple of levels, in part because the GOP got whipped in the midterms also in 1982, the proximate comparison for this year's election, and they got whipped for the same reason the Dems are likely to lose seats: the economy had not turned around quickly enough.
Politico has a smart article about GOP strength in the Midwest, a region where Democrats are struggling not least because the GOP landed some top flight candidates for key races such as the Ohio Governorship. As well, Obama faces the "arc of history" he likes to invoke but here it works against him. The industrial Midwest has been struggling for decades, losing manufacturing jobs and the culture that went with them. Politicians have been asking for their patience for years, and Obama's request for patience is likely to fall on deaf ears.
Earlier this morning, I called attention to the importance of the upcoming midterms for the re-districting that will happen once the Census results are in. The last report I had seen had Texas gaining three seats. According to a report in Politico this morning, that number is up to four and Florida is slated to pick up two more seats.
As we have been pointing out, things are not loking that bad for some Democrats in the Northeastern part of the U.S. where the kinds of Republicans who win elections are not the kind of Republicans that excite the Tea Party crowd. E.J. Dionne makes the point in a smart article this morning.