One of the Republican candidate’s favorite whipping boys is Ben Bernanke, head of the Federal Reserve.  They have been accusing him of employing monetary policies that produce inflation.  But it turns out, inflation rates continue to be low: Bernanke didn’t need to rebut his critics; the facts already have. Earlier Wednesday, the Fed reported that expectations are inflation will remain between 1.4 percent and 1.8 percent for 2012 and between 1.5 percent and 2 percent through 2014. The exceptionally low… Read more

More Portlandia. . . . This is more than a satire of artsiness.  It cuts to the human condition:   how we idealize nature while also loathing and fearing actual nature. HT:  Joanna Read more

Another example of the prowess of the U. S. military: Around 2 a.m. Wednesday, elders in the Somali village of Galkayo said they began hearing an unusual sound: the whirl of helicopters. It was the culmination of a daring and risky mission by about two dozen members of the Navy Seals to rescue two hostages — an American aid worker and her Danish colleague — held by Somali pirates since October. The commandos had dropped down in parachutes under a… Read more

Newt Gingrich is always wrapping himself in the mantle of Ronald Reagan, but at the time, when Newt was a Congressman, he was best known for criticizing Reagan’s policies and for putting down the president.  So says Reagan administration official Elliott Abrams, who was there: Here at home, we faced vicious criticism from leading Democrats — Ted Kennedy, Christopher Dodd, Jim Wright, Tip O’Neill, and many more — who used every trick in the book to stop Reagan by denying… Read more

In the context of discussing an embarrassing video in which a hysterical fan blames the playoff loss of the Green Bay Packers on the fact that she wore sparkly nail polish, Ed Driscoll quotes a passage from David Frum’s  How We Got Here: The ‘70s: The Decade That Brought You Modern Life — For Better Or Worse: What an amazing turn of events. Only a generation before, the United States had been the homeland of efficiency and practicality, a country… Read more

Last Sunday was Life Sunday, with Scripture readings about Jonah and the calling of the first Disciples.  See what Pastor Douthwaite did with all of this, how he turned the pro-life message into being not just about Law (abortion is terrible) but about the Gospel.  A sample: Death is sin made visible. Death is horrible, death is grizzly, death is sad, death is separation because sin is all those things. We die because sin robs us of life. We were… Read more

I always make a point of watching the annual state of the union address–no matter who the president is– as a sort of patriotic discipline. But I was not able to watch it last night. What did I miss? What did you learn? Read more

David Ellefson, bassist for the heavy metal group Megadeth, is studying to become a pastor in the Lutheran Church Missouri-Synod: Ellefson grew up in the church. Each Sunday, his family drove from their farm in southwest Minnesota to Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, where David attended Sunday school and was confirmed at age 16. His mother sang in the choir. His father was active on the building committee. Just a few years after his confirmation at Our Savior’s, in the summer… Read more

Another example of how classical literature can help us think through contemporary issues.  Rob Goodman writes about the information overload that the internet can give us in terms of Petronius: For those of us left numb by the Internet, it might help to consider the ways in which gorging on information parallels (and has, for many of us, replaced) gorging on sensual pleasures. And if we want to take that comparison seriously, there is no better guide than the pioneering… Read more

Obamacare will force church-affiliated institutions to have insurance policies that will give employees free contraceptives (without even the usual co-pay!).  There will be no exemption for Roman Catholics who disapprove of birth control as a matter of doctrine: Many church-affiliated institutions will have to cover free birth control for employees, the Obama administration announced Friday in an election-year move that outraged religious groups, fueling a national debate about the reach of government. In a concession, Health and Human Services Secretary… Read more

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