Monica Hesse on the invention of the weekend: Before weekends could be long, they first had to be weekends. For most of the 19th century and part of the 20th, there were none — there were simply weeks that ended. The working class had Sundays off only. Because of this, many of them would spend the Lord’s day carousing, then call in sick on Mondays. This practice was observed with enough regularity that it was called “Keeping Saint Mondays.” Religious… Read more

Another study by social scientists that proves  the perfectly obvious:  people like Thanksgiving: Consensus at last: almost all Americans – from coast to coast and across stiffening party lines – have favorable views of Thanksgiving dinner, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Overall, 93 percent say they have positive views of the traditional meal, including 77 percent who say so “strongly.” Not everyone, however, is equally enthusiastic about Thursday’s main event. Fully 89 percent of Republicans have strongly… Read more

Monica Hesse on why we celebrate Thanksgiving on a Thursday, giving us a really, really long weekend: The first federally endorsed Thanksgiving holiday was the one proclaimed by George Washington in 1789. More than 70 years later, Abraham Lincoln issued his own proclamation. But between those events were decades of relentless lobbying and letter-writing campaigns by Sarah Josepha Hale, a New Hampshirite who made it her life’s mission to formalize the then-ad hoc holiday. (She also wrote “Mary Had a… Read more

You report.  I didn’t watch it.  It does seem like something comes out of each debate, often including another front runner.  So what happened? Read more

Florida Republican congressman Connie Mack has put forward an ingenious approach to deficit reduction:  cut one penny (1%) from every dollar spent for six years.  This modest across the board reduction would be in place of the percentage increases every year that have become the norm (so that even talk of reductions are actually reductions in the rate of growth).   Even some liberals are coming out in favor of this option.   One of them, ex-Clinton official Lanny Davis, explains how… Read more

Elizabeth Marquardt notes that three different strands are coming together to legalize group marriage:  the far left, the far right, and the new reproductive technology: From the fringy left: Polyamory Polyamory describes relationships of three or more people — it literally means “many loves.” Polyamorists say they practice “ethical non-monogamy,” or relationships that emphasize open communication, respect, and fair treatment of one another. The debate about legal recognition of polyamorous relationships is already well underway. A major report issued in… Read more

Major League baseball, unlike the National Basketball Association, has a new labor agreement, one attained with no strikes, lockouts, or threats to the season.  Here are some highlights: •HGH [human growth hormone]: Baseball will be the first North American team sport with HGH blood testing once it begins next spring. All players will be tested during spring training and will be subject to random offseason tests. The sides agreed to explore in-season tests, which can be conducted on a “reasonable… Read more

One of the most troublesome charges against Newt Gingrich is that he served the divorce papers to his first wife in her hospital room where she was dying of cancer.   The increased scrutiny due to his front-runner status in the Republican presidential  race has at least uncovered the evidence that the story is not true.  From the Washington Post: Although the thrust of the story about his first divorce is not in dispute — Gingrich’s first wife, Jackie Battley, has said previously… Read more

Thanks to Tom Hering for this quotation from Martin Luther, On Trading and Usury, 1524: Of the companies I ought to say much, but that whole subject is such a bottomless abyss of avarice and wrong that there is nothing in it that can be discussed with a clear conscience. For what man is so stupid as not to see that companies are nothing else than mere monopolies? Even the temporal law of the heathen forbids them as openly injurious,… Read more

In the Reformation, the catalytic issue was the sale of indulgences, but the underlying issue was the authority of the Word of God.  Today the catalytic issue has to do with sexuality, but the underlying issue, again, is the authority of the Word of God.  So says Matthew Block, Communications Manager for the Lutheran Church-Canada and editor of The Canadian Lutheran.   (He comments sometimes here as “Captain Thin”!) He has written an interesting article about how this is playing out… Read more

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