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Waking the echoes
President Obama is having the luck of the Irish. Or not.
Luck: He was invited to speak May 17 at the 164th commencement at the University of Notre Dame and receive an honorary degree. Not: The criticism from pro-lifers and Catholics began at Internet speed. With broadband.
The Cardinal Newman Society quickly set up a petition site, Help Stop the Scandal at Our Lady’s University, which gives people contact information for the Rev. John Jenkins, the university’s president, including the phone and fax numbers and his e-mail address. The petition at the site had more than 10,000 signers within 48 hours; the society also officially notified Bishop John D’Arcy of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Ind.
“It is an outrage and a scandal that ‘Our Lady’s University,’ one of the premier Catholic universities in the United States, would bestow such an honor on President Obama given his clear support for policies and laws that directly contradict fundamental Catholic teachings on life and marriage,” the society said in an open letter.
Nor was the petition alone. Within hours of Friday’s announcement, at least three open Facebook groups had formed over the visit.
Protest Obama as Notre Dame’s 2009 Commencement Speaker had 330 members Sunday night, with more than 1,200 invitations still outstanding. A smaller group, ND’s own Epic Fail: Oppose Obama as 09 Graduation Speaker sent about 270 invitations, and about 60 alumni and students of Notre Dame and related institutions had joined as of Sunday evening. A pro-Obama group also quickly formed, called We Will Be Honored to Have President Obama at Notre Dame. As of Sunday night, it had about 260 members with another almost 800 invites pending.
Others used the invitation as a source of humor. The Rev. Dwight Longenecker, a Catholic priest, developed a humorous set of rites for the visit.
A mighty oak?
The Connecticut Working Families Partysent a few dozen people in a bus to protest Saturday at the homes of American International Group Inc. executives, to show people how rich Wall Street types live. Steve Gilbert at Sweetness and Light did the tough investigative job of mouse-clicking.
“Just who are Connecticut Working Families? Why a couple of mouse clicks would tell any interested journalist that they were ‘founded’ by none other than ACORN,” he writes at the conservative site, quoting a Connecticut newspaper article.
The New Britain Herald article cited Joe Dinkin, spokesman for CWF’s political party, and read in part, reposted without dispute at the CWF site: “Asked about the party’s joint founder, ACORN, Dinkin said ‘while it’s fair to say that ACORN has a role in Working Families, allegations of voter fraud against ACORN are trumped up — I’m impressed with what a good operation they run.’”
Asked Mr. Gilbert: “The only question is why does ACORN feel the need to hide behind a front group? Certainly we know by now that they are shameless.”
Nor was that the only complaint conservative bloggers had with the AIG protests. Gahrie at his site Grumbles and Groans noted the coverage disparity between this economic protest and the conservative “tea party” protests against the spate of bailouts.
“The only thing more amazing than the rapid spread of this grassroots movement across the country is the complete lack of coverage of it from the [mainstream media]. Literally dozens of articles and reports have been made about 40 people protesting outside the homes of AIG executives yesterday. By most accounts the protesters were heavily outnumbered by the reporters. This protest was all over cable and network news. Where is the coverage of the tea parties?”
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