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Is Cardinal George latest participant in Ireland-Vatican tiff?

(FILES) Former Alaskgovernor Sarah Palspeaks dinner Reagan Ranch Center SantBarbarCaliforniFebruary 4 2011. Palreceived death threats after she was nominated as

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Updated: March 25, 2012 8:13AM

Pew news . . .

† The Errin’ Aisle? Cardinal Francis George has RSVP’d he is unavailable to attend this year’s Irish Fellowship Club’s St. Patrick’s Day Dinner on March 16. His eminence is otherwise engaged. But speculation is running rampant amongst the Chicago Irish: Is the reason Cardinal George is absenting himself from the annual Irish fest because Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny will be there?

† Background: Ireland’s government, furious over the clergy sex-abuse scandal, has recently shuttered its embassy to the Holy See (Vatican) for reported “cost-cutting” measures.

† The big question: Has Cardinal George now become the latest participant in the “cold war” between Ireland and the Vatican over its shamrock fury of the Catholic Church’s failure to tell the truth about its major sexual-abuse scandal there?

† Answer: The cardinal’s office tells Sneed that Cardinal George has a previous engagement that night: He is attending a youth retreat at Guerin College Prep High School in River Grove.

A Mitt memo . . .

Now comes word that U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who reportedly heads the list for veep on GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s ticket, was originally baptized a Mormon — although he later joined the Roman Catholic Church. Will their Mormon connections make such a ticket difficult? Stay tuned.

Uncle Rocky?

President Barack Obama is an uncle again.

First lady Michelle Obama’s brother, Craig Robinson, and his wife, Kelly, became parents Feb. 13 to a son named Aaron Lamar Robinson.

† Why Aaron? Although the Robinsons liked the name — the tipping point came when the couple learned their recovery room nurse was named Aaron, too.

† A niece note: President Obama’s sister’s child, Suhaila, once called him “Uncle Rocky” because she had a hard time pronouncing his name.

† Backchat: Robinson has been coach of the Oregon State University Beavers basketball team for the past four years and is still seeking his first bid to the NCAA tournament. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like this will be the year.

Downton data . . .

A memo to all you “Downton Abbey” fans: Prince William is a huge fan of the show; viewership for the series’ second season, which finished last Sunday, was up 251 percent in the category of women between 18 and 24; actor Brendan “Mr. Bates” Coyle, who has become the heartthrob of the series, is 48 and single. And actor Dan “Cousin Matthew” Stevens has two kids and just signed with Ari Emanuel’s William Morris Endeavor talent agency.

The Houston chronicle . . .

Hmmm. Internet tittle-tattle reports the late singer Whitney Houston’s ex-hubby, Bobby Brown, may be planning a tell-all tome about the addiction-addled singer.

† He reportedly authored a tell-all book on the couple’s relationship in 2008 — right after their divorce — that was never published.

† $$$$: Houston’s estate has swelled through music downloads of her hit songs since her sudden death in a hotel bathtub. Ostensibly, the preponderance of those funds would go to Houston’s daughter, Bobbi Kristina.


Director Michel Hazanavicius, who made the hit Oscar contender “The Artist,” is telling the press he plans to make a . . . western.

Fly ’em . . .

Just in case you were wondering, every hour Air Force One is in the air these days, it costs about $180,000.

† The big question: Do the Obamas, who pick up the tab for their vacations, actually pay that kinda cash to fly to Hawaii when they go on holiday?

† Meanwhile, first lady Michelle Obama and her daughters spent Presidents Day weekend hitting the ski slopes in Aspen and staying at the home of Jim and Paula Crown, who tossed a fund-raiser that Mrs. Obama attended last summer. It’s being described as a private family trip.

The Royal watch . . .

It looks like someone else has a derriere worth watching.

† To wit: A second cousin to Kate and Pippa Middleton, whose gluteus minimus has become a headline grabber, is a stripper! Katrina Darling, 21, who only learned of her paternal provenance after the royal wedding of cousin Kate to Prince William, works in a London bank — sidelines as a burlesque dancer — and has been hired to perform her trademark “God Save the Queen” act in New York in mid-March, according to the Big Apple press . . . Takeabreath.

Not knot news . . .

Verse averse: It’s being reported that writer Salman Satanic Verses Rushdie, who has been married four times, will not be getting married for the fifth time. The fiancee, Michelle Barish, changed her mind. She even returned the 7-carat diamond ring.

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