“Donald Trump signifies he will end US support for Syrian rebels despite their pleas to him for help”

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/us-president-elect-donald-trump-support-assad-putin-syria-remove-rebel-backing-a7413346.html   The Syrian situation is both terrible and terribly complex.  I worry about what Mr. Trump is proposing to do, but there are no really good, clean options for this murky and violent mess in any case.  Mr. Obama’s policies toward Syria were, to put it mildly, largely ineffective and even embarrassing.   [Read More…]

Reasons to be concerned about Mr. Trump’s announced “chief strategist and senior counselor”

    I’m not a major fan of Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman who will become President-elect Donald J. Trump’s White House chief of staff come January.  I think he could and should have done more to prevent the Trumpist take over of my former party.  But he’s a pretty stable and experienced [Read More…]

Was Joseph Smith a criminal counterfeiter?

    A newly published book by a former member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claims that he was.   I haven’t seen the book yet, but my impression is that it’s not the kind of work that’s likely to draw much attention from serious scholars of Mormon history, whether believers or not. [Read More…]

“We Have Overcome the Plant-Animal Communication Barrier, MIT Professor Claims”

    Using spinach to detect terrorist plots?   Yep.   I’m not making this up.   See here.   I’m unaware, at this point, of any plans to weaponize dandelions or crab grass.     [Read more…]

Of power and persistence

    “Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.” Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)       [Read more…]

“‘We Couldn’t Believe Our Eyes’: A Lost World of Shipwrecks Is Found”

    Pretty spectacular:   http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/12/science/shipwrecks-black-sea-archaeology.html   Really well preserved old ships — like Stockholm’s Vasa and the Viking ships of Oslo (both of which my wife and I visited this past summer) — are highly instructive but also quite rare.   I would love to see some of these brought to the surface, if [Read More…]

“While Mormons nationally stuck with Trump, in Utah he lagged”

    Much was written before the 2016 presidential election about Mormon resistance to Mr. Donald J. Trump and to Trumpism, and a fair amount has been written afterward — some of it quite critical of the Latter-day Saints, who are said (since Utah eventually went quite solidly for Mr. Trump) to have proven themselves [Read More…]

“‘Light the World’ — Church announces 2016 Christmas initiative”

    It’s exciting to imagine what might be accomplished by the mobilization of committed Latter-day Saints worldwide in this effort:   http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865666890/Light-the-World-2-Church-announces-2016-Christmas-initiative.html?pg=all     [Read more…]

“‘I Won'”

    In a National Review article about anti-Trump demonstrations and riots, Kevin Williamson writes a funny little passage regarding Mormons:   http://www.nationalreview.com/article/442155/donald-trump-executive-power-left-loves-constitutional-checks-balances-again   Thanks to Ed Snow, a former Maxwell Institute colleague and a friend since Swiss Mission days, for bringing Williamson’s joke to my attention.   (Incidentally, if you want to know what the people [Read More…]

“The Case against Cats”

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/12/the-case-against-cats/505838/     [Read more…]