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That manic 20 percent

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Some welcome news, finally, this Monday for anyone craving even the merest scent of sanity in America's Tea Party political season. "Moderates," it seems, are coming out of hiding.

A report in The Los Angeles Times focuses on efforts lead by Michael Bloomberg, the independent mayor of New York, to bolster moderate candidates of both parties. Bloomberg has labelled the Tea Party insurgency a "boomlet" and a "fad," and believes these activists have hijacked the political discussion this campaign season.

Web site update: Comments are back

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After a busy day clearing out spam, we've got some good news:

The commenting system for our Web site is back online. You can go ahead and post comments to our stories like you used to.

With the updates there comes one change.

In the past you've had to answer a simple arithmetic question to post a comment on any of our pages. From now on we'll be using a different device that will ask you to interpret slightly distorted letters and numbers. It's a system that you may have seen on other websites.

Paper asks Mexican drug cartels: What can we do?

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The situation in Juarez, Mexico is getting so bad that one local paper asked the drug cartels: What do you want us to do?

More details can be found here, and below are snippets from the story about the paper's rather unusual editorial.

MEXICO CITY — A newspaper's stunning, front-page editorial of seeming surrender to drug capos has set off a national debate from the presidential palace to Mexico's equivalent of the water cooler — its ubiquitous town squares.

"What do you want from us?" El Diario de Juarez asked the cartels whose war for control of the border city across from El Paso, Texas, has killed nearly 5,000 people — including two El Diario journalists — in less than two years. "You are currently the de facto authorities in this city. ... Tell us what you expect from us as a newspaper?"

For many Mexicans, it was a voice that finally exposed in a very public and unusual way the intimidation felt across the country.

Republican Women could change abortion debate in Senate

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From The Associated Press:

Anti-abortion female Republican candidates could change political equation in Senate

By DAVID CRARY , Associated Press

NEW YORK - An unusually large contingent of female Republican candidates with strong anti-abortion views is heating up debate on the issue and could change the political equation in the next Congress.

A true contemplative who liked to drink beer

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My friend Br. Wally Kendrick died this summer. For many years he lived as a hermit on land belonging to the Trappist Assumption Abbey in southern Missouri. I often visited him there when I lived nearby in the early 1980s. His little house made of rough-cut oak planks perched on the top of a high ridge with a breathtaking view of the surrounding hills, ridges and hollows.

CRS hands out motorbikes in Ghana

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Here's a story that can scoot:

Catholic Relief Services, on Wednesday, presented four motorbikes to the Catholic Diocese in Wa, Ghana, for the monitoring of some of its pro-poor projects in the Upper West Region.

The motorbikes would be used to support the Diocese, to effectively carry out its monitoring role in the implementation of the Integrated Savings and Internal Lending Communities (SILC), as well as the Agriculture and Water and Sanitation I-SAW Step-up Projects, in four districts of the region.

Father Bennette Tang, Diocesan Development Coordinator, made this known during the presentation of the motorbikes in Wa.

He said the aim of CRS is to integrate Savings and Internal Lending into Agriculture and Water and Sanitation management as an activity among rural people, to enhance their livelihoods."

"Madam Lisa Washington-Sow, CRS Country Representative in Ghana, who graced the occasion, called on the Catholic Diocese, which is a beneficiary of the motorbikes, to use them prudently for the holistic development of the rural people.

Morning Briefing

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Christians should be in jail, peace activist tells students

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His hands kept moving. As he leaned into the podium they just wouldn't stop. In one moment they were pointing to a student in the front row. In the next they were making fists near his chest. They flew back and forth with a weight about them. They had their own gravitational pull.

Maybe that's what was drawing hushed attention his way.

As Frank Cordaro talked, the undergraduate students at Avila University weren't just listening. They were absorbing.

With a title like "Following the Nonviolent Jesus: Why Christians Should Be In Jail," maybe that's to be expected.

Cordaro, who was speaking to an audience of undergraduate students, local activists, and religious at the Kansas City, Mo. university Sept. 23, covered the gamut of Christian history to support his unusual claim that more Christians should be in jail.

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