How to interrogate a terrorist

Interesting piece from the BBC about how the FBI conducts interrogations of terrorist suspects.  And it doesn’t involve torture. [Read more...]

The state as our therapist

Schools are doing their part against guns by punishing children for playing.  George Will recounts some of the latest absurdities, while also making a larger point:  The government, through our schools, but also in other venues, is becoming our therapist.

Joshua Welch — a boy, wouldn’t you know; no good can come of these turbulent creatures — who is 7, was suspended from second grade in Maryland’s Anne Arundel County last week because of his “Pop-Tart pistol.” While eating a rectangular fruit-filled sugary something — nutritionist Michelle Obama probably disapproves of it, and don’t let Michael Bloomberg get started — Joshua tried biting it into the shape of a mountain but decided it looked more like a gun. So with gender-specific perversity, he did the natural thing. He said, “Bang, bang.” [Read more...]

Why conspiracy theories are unlikely

Many on the left just know that the Christian right is scheming with big corporations to take over the country and eliminate our freedoms.  Many on the right just know that the United Nations is scheming with the liberal media to take over the country and eliminate our freedoms.  Ezra Klein, in a piece on how China is trying to understand American schemes by hacking into government and business computers, explains why the kind of elaborate plans necessary for a good conspiracy just can’t get carried out. [Read more...]

From risk-taking to risk-averse

Economics columnist Robert J. Samuelson says that the reason economic recovery is so slow in coming and the unemployment rate so high is a shift in the national psychology:

We have gone from being an expansive, risk-taking society to a skittish, risk-averse one. [Read more...]

How you know when you’re an adult

Wisdom from Earl Weaver, the legendary manager of the Baltimore Orioles, who died on January 19.   “Until you’re the person that other people fall back on, until you’re the one that’s leaned on, not the person doing the leaning, you’re not an adult.” [Read more...]

Lance Armstrong in Oprah’s confessional

We Lutherans believe in confession and absolution.  That happens in every Divine Service, and, when someone is particularly troubled with a sin, the individual confesses to a pastor, who brings Christ’s forgiveness.  This is an evangelical version of what Roman Catholics do (instead of requiring acts of penance, our pastors forgive sins in terms of the Gospel).  (See John 20:21-23.)  Anglicans and Orthodox also have something similar.

In our culture, though, Oprah Winfrey is our priest, or rather priestess.  She is the one who took charge of all of our religions to organize our national worship service in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. She has her index of books that we are to read. She teaches us our morality. And now she serves as confessor for one of our heroes who has fallen from grace, with champion cyclist Lance Armstrong confessing his sin of doping on her show. [Read more...]


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