Liveblogging the election

My custom has long been to stay up until the wee hours watching the election returns.  That will be much easier this year, since I’m in Australia.  Polls will close starting at about mid-morning, here in Oz time, where it will already be Wednesday.  The American election is of enormous interest here–as they say, when America sneezes, Australia catches a cold–so the TV networks are planning comprehensive coverage.  We’ll see what that means, but it looks like I can follow the election through the morning and into the early afternoon.  So we can do a LIVE BLOG!

I’m not saying that I will be commenting minute by minute, but I’ll be coming to this post and using the comments to talk about whatever happens.  Please do the same.  Comment here about election day, the latest developments, the trends you are noting, the surprises, etc.   I’ll be doing that when I can, though I’m sure the news coverage in Australia will not be as full or as informed as what you will be getting.  So please contribute to this.  We can also “reply” to each other, thus discussing information as it comes up.

This has been a strange and unpredictable election year, so we can expect its culmination on Election Day to be similarly strange and unpredictable.  Whatever happens, we can talk about it here.

Blogging from Down Under

We’re on our way to Australia to visit our grandchildren, daughter, and son-in-law (a new professor at the Lutheran seminary in Adelaide).  We’ll be there for a month, coming back on December 2.

The blog will continue.  (We’ve got to talk about the election on November 8–I’ve cast an absentee ballot–and other crises that will no doubt arise.)  The big problem will be the time differences.  Early morning in the USA is late at night in Australia.  And late at night in the USA is early morning on the next day!  So 5:00 p.m. CDT on Thursday in the USA is 8:30 a.m. on Friday in Adelaide.

I might be able to maneuver the time distances so that posts come up each morning as you are used to.  But I might end up just posting when I can, so that they will come up for you at odd and unpredictable times.  Please bear with me.  Just check throughout the day.

Then again, if we are on walkabout, we won’t find an internet connection in the outback.

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We now have User Blocking on Disqus

Since we left the World Table comment system and went back to Disqus, the discussions have gotten bigger and more vigorous, with wider participation.  Of course, with that has come the problem of trolls, bad language, and obnoxious behavior.  I’ve tried to do a better job of moderating, so I don’t think the problems are overshadowing the good things that are happening with Disqus.  Although keep in mind that  between the time you flag a comment and when I get around to reading it may be awhile.  Also that my judgments may be different from yours.

But now Disqus has a new feature, one that it says is its “most-requested” addition:  User Blocking.  That means that you, the reader, can block any commenter that you want.  If you find someone whom you don’t like to read, who spoils the experience of this blog for you, or, as I guess happens more and more, who is pursuing you from blog to blog insulting your comments, you can block that person.  That means you won’t have to read what he or she writes, though others still can.  This works across all Disqus platforms.  If you wish I would ban someone, but I don’t, just block him or her yourself.

Get more information and see how to block someone after the jump.

So is the demand for this feature another example of the clamor for “safe spaces” on college campuses, where students don’t have to worry about being exposed to ideas that upset them?  It could be that, but I hope it isn’t.  I see it more as a libertarian solution to trolls and harassers, letting the individual readers be in charge of what they want to read, rather than depending on a moderator-censor.  What do you think? [Read more…]

Correction to the Battle of Princeton post

In regards to my recent post, Princeton University tells me that the Institute for Advanced Study, which seeks to build faculty housing on the site of the Battle of Princeton, is an independent entity and is not part of Princeton University.  My apologies.  I’ll change the post to make that clear.

We’re going back to the old commenting system!

This blog is going to stop using the World Table commenting system and is going back to Disqus.  That means as of today, barring glitches, you can comment without ratings or being rated.  The whole story after the jump.

UPDATE:  The change hasn’t quite clicked in yet, but keep checking.

UPDATE:  Disqus is live.  Right now, the comments made in World Table, both today and previously, aren’t showing up.  But that should be fixed.

UPDATE:  World Table comments, made today or over the last six months, will not be lost.  There is now a tab that you can click to get World Table comments.

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Dispatch from Denmark

I am now in Copenhagen, where I have an internet connection.  The conference I spoke at was held at an Inner Mission Bible college, where Christian young people go after they graduate from high school and before they go to University.  Here they study Christian doctrine, the Bible, and apologetics in a way designed to help them withstand the onslaught on their faith that they will soon encounter.  I think that’s a very good thing to do.

This week all of the students went on a mission trip to Ethiopia, where they will work with Mekane Yesus, one of the largest Lutheran churches in the world that has just left the liberal Lutheran World Fellowship and is working to rebuild its theological infrastructure (with the help of the LCMS).  So the 150 or so Inner Mission workers and I stayed in their dorms, which do not have internet.  (“While they are here,” I was told, “we want them to concentrate on God.”   Another good idea.)

So I wasn’t able to blog about a lot of topics that came up.  Nancy Reagan’s death.  More primaries.  More controversies.  More craziness.

I’m always being asked about the American elections and Donald Trump.  The Danes realize whether they like it or not–and whether we like it or not–that the United States really does play an important role in the world and that the President of the United States really is the leader of the free world.  They can’t imagine Trump–with his belligerence against other countries, his ignorance, and his hostile personality–playing that role.

In defense of my country, I explained that the American people are frustrated with politicians of both parties.  Republicans are rebelling against the establishment by voting for Trump; Democrats are rebelling against the establishment by voting for Bernie Sanders.  The Danes could understand that and can sort of  share that feeling.  But Trump would be a disaster, which I had to agree with.

They were very amused that Sanders wants to make the United States like Denmark.  They seemed to understand, if Sanders and his supporters don’t, that it’s not that simple.

I’ve been learning a lot about Christianity in Denmark, which many observers dismiss as purely secularist.  Not so.  These Christians are zealous, creative, and very Lutheran. [Read more…]