“13 Hours”

The poster for "13 Hours"

  Well, I finally saw 13 Hours. It's a very gripping movie, and not really -- despite how we know the story turned out -- as much of a downer as I had expected it to be.  Nor, although there's obviously plenty of violence in it, was it unduly graphic.  I went partly out of duty, both as an Arabist and as a political junkie.  But it's a good film. It's not as political as it could have been, and it mentions neither Barack Obama nor his Secretary of S … [Read more...]

What is humility?

Cambridge, UK, with green

  Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less. C. S. Lewis    … [Read more...]

“What Next for the Left?”

UVa's "Rotunda"

  My friend Ralph Hancock calls my attention to this somewhat longish but brilliant essay by James W. Ceaser of the University of Virginia: http://www.weeklystandard.com/what-next-for-the-left/article/2000801#.VrYVAKnoqAk.facebook Its insights and implications go far beyond mere partisan politics, and even beyond politics altogether.   … [Read more...]

An Appeal to the Voters of New Hampshire

The Democratic Party flag

  It's overwhelmingly likely that The Donald will win the Republican primary in New Hampshire.  But Republican and independent voters there have the glorious opportunity to finish off his non-substantive and irritating campaign.  Will they seize their chance?  Will they make the nation proud? If Mr. Trump were to come in second there next week, it would seriously if not fatally damage his quest for the presidency.  What a wonderful thought!  His appeal is pred … [Read more...]

A murmuration of starlings

Not just a flock, but a murmuration!

  This is one of nature's most astonishing spectacles.  And nature offers a lot of spectacles. Here are two interesting pieces, with video: "The Startling Science of a Starling Murmuration" "The Incredible Science Behind Starling Murmurations" Watch and be amazed.   … [Read more...]

“Restaurants du Coeur: LDS Charities is assisting work in Lebanon to preserve dignity”

Ein Blick über Beirut

  Gysler is a very familiar name from my missionary days in Switzerland, and Karim Assouad is a pillar of the Church in Lebanon and the Middle East.  Those are only two of the minor reasons that I like this story: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865646941/Restaurants-du-Coeur-LDS-Charities-is-assisting-work-in-Lebanon-to-preserve-dignity.html?pg=1 I suppose that this effort is simply another redundant example of how, in the words of the late … [Read more...]

“Clinton, Sanders battle over ‘gods’ and ‘devils’”

A communist march in Izhevsk, Russia, in 2008

  An interesting link kindly brought to my attention by Nathaniel Hancock: http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/05/opinions/progressive-clinton-sanders-debate-graham/index.html My friend and colleague Ralph Hancock comments on it as follows: "Interesting.  Weird, actually, and a sign of the underhandedness of the left:  'Liberal' was a term stolen in order to mask the more radical 'progressive' (anti-individual freedom) intentions of the left d … [Read more...]

“Buddhism and Violence”

An Indian Buddha

  Today's installment of the biweekly Deseret News column by Bill Hamblin and Dan Peterson is now up. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865647040/Buddhism-and-violence.html Although many in the West imagine Buddhism to be pacifistic, its history contradicts this -- not because of the nature of Buddhism so much as because of the nature of human beings.   … [Read more...]