JFK on the Hand of God

The Chaplain of the U. S. House of Representatives, Father Daniel Coughlin, says that President John F. Kennedy taught him how to pray and speak of faith in the public arena.  See President Kennedy’s Gift of Language and the Art of Prayer.  The man, for all his faults, certainly was eloquent, making today’s politicians sound like inarticulate adolescents.

To observe the 50th anniversary of his death, read his Inaugural Address, which contains many rich ideas in addition to the justly famous line, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”  So much for the entitlement mentality that drives so much of today’s politics and government.   What else do you find in this speech that we would never hear today?  Are there ideas in the speech that suggest a way forward out of our current malaise?  I’ll post the speech–it isn’t long–beginning here, with my emphasis, and continuing after the jump:

[1] Vice President Johnson, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Chief Justice, President Eisenhower, Vice President Nixon, President Truman, Reverend Clergy, fellow citizens:

[2] We observe today not a victory of party but a celebration of freedom–symbolizing an end as well as a beginning–signifying renewal as well as change. For I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forbears prescribed nearly a century and three-quarters ago.

[3] The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe–the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God. [Read more…]

Which friend informed on you?

Another in our series of posts about what it’s like to live without the freedoms that we Americans often take for granted (see also this and this.):

A story on why Germans are so upset about NSA eavesdropping gives some chilling details about what life was like under East German communism, with the secret police (STASI) paying one out of 50 citizens to inform on their friends and relatives, sending them to years of prison for remarks criticizing the government or expressing other forbidden thoughts.  To this day, ex-political prisoners sometimes run into their torturers in the grocery store.  It’s also possible to request your STASI file, which lets you see which friend or relative was reporting on you.

Notice how totalitarianism interferes with and corrupts the most basic human relationships.

[Read more…]

The fate of “transformational liberalism”

As Obamacare goes, says Charles Krauthammer, so goes the fate of what he calls “transformational liberalism.”  The problems and unintended consequences of the former, he says, may discredit what has been the driving ideology of the Democrats. [Read more…]

The case of the Harry Potter stamp

The U. S. Postal Service is coming out with a Harry Potter stamp.  Never mind that there is nothing American about Harry Potter.  And never mind that the stamp is just a shot from the movie, with no particular artistic design.  And that the committee whose job it is to recommend subjects for stamps and to approve designs rejected it.

The postmaster wants stamps to be “more commercial” and less grounded in American history, culture, and landscape.  The goal that is to trump everything else is to make money for the deficit-plagued national monopoly.  Here is another idea:  Instead of tinkering with stamps, offer better service!

An account of the controversy, a picture of the stamp, and some additional thoughts after the jump. [Read more…]

The coach who never punts

A high school coach in Arkansas has developed a new football strategy:  His team never punts.  And he always employs the on-side kick.  Coach Kevin Kelley developed these tactics from a study of football statistics; though the team often gives up the ball on downs, the increased number of possessions pays off in the long run.  (Go here for the math.)  The coach has an .833 record since adopting this strategy, and his team has won the state championship three times.  This season the team is 10-0.  Details and a video of how and why this works after the jump. [Read more…]

Casino magnate funds crusade against internet gambling

Get ready for a major push to restrict internet gambling–a major lobbying effort, political arm-twisting, and public service ads on how internet gambling hurts children and the poor.

The irony:  All of this anti-gambling sentiment is being stirred up by a billionaire casino owner who wants to stifle the competition.

By the way, he is also a “super-donor” to conservative causes and to Republican politicians. [Read more…]