Another consideration in a presidential candidate

In choosing which presidential candidate a person will support, the most usual preoccupation for people in both parties is “what does he–or she–believe”? That’s certainly important, since a leader’s beliefs will manifest themselves in their policies and decisions.  But there is something else to consider:  How well can this person govern? Having an ideology and having the ability to preside over a government are two different dimensions that are not necessarily related to each other.  To run something–as a manager,… Read more

What makes a gaffe?

Mitt Romney said, “Corporations are people.”  Newt Gingrich castigated “right-wing social engineering.”  Michele Bachmann claimed that she shared the same spirit as someone else born in Waterloo, Iowa, John Wayne.  But it wasn’t the movie star with whom she shared a birthplace but serial killer John Wayne Gacy. These politically-damaging statements were heralded as “gaffes.”  But what makes a gaffe, as opposed to a forgivable misstatement or an inconsequential mistake?  Journalist Paul Waldman, a liberal, by the way, explains: What… Read more

Where’s the methane?

One of the major greenhouse global warming gases is methane.  Scientists have discovered that there is not nearly as much methane in the atmosphere as their computer models predicted there should be.  Scientists say that there has been a mysterious decline in the growth of methane in the atmosphere in the last decades of the 20th Century. Researchers writing in the journal Nature have come up with two widely differing theories as to the cause. One suggests the decline was… Read more

Rest & restlessness

Well, we are back from our Alaskan cruise.  What a great vacation.  A cruise ship offers rest and relaxation, the beauties and sublimities of nature, the benefits of civilization, learning interesting things, fine food and drink, entertainment (shows, live music, movies), time to read for sheer pleasure, quality and quantity time with whomever you are traveling with (in my case, my wonderful wife of 40 years).   You can make a vacation of any one of those, but a leisurely cruise… Read more

Pawlenty is out!

Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty has dropped out of the presidential race!  That’s too bad, in my opinion.  Though he didn’t come across strongly, he seemed like someone who could credibly serve as president.   Who will benefit from his exit? Pawlenty realizes he wasn’t what GOP voters were looking for – The Washington Post. Read more

A different take on our economic woes

The wild fluctuations of the stock market last week seem to be a reaction to the national deficit and the downgrading of American bonds.  But, as financial analyst Liaquat Ahamed, points out, investors were dumping stocks and investing in government bonds, despite the downgrade and despite record low interest rates. So, if financial markets aren’t worried about the full faith and credit of the United States, why is the stock market falling? An alternative view, most prominently expressed by New… Read more

Rick Perry is running for president

Texas governor Rick Perry has announced that he running for president.  As the longest-serving governor of a big state, Perry comes with lots of executive experience, with a strong  record of economic growth and job creation.  He is an open evangelical Christian, going so far as to lead the prayer and preach from the Bible at a recent religious rally.  The Tea Party likes him, as do business interests and the Republican establishment. Is he someone you could support?  (I’d… Read more

Education & religion reconsidered

It has long been said that the level of a person’s religious commitment goes down proportionately to how much education that person has received.  But now it turns out that church attendance and Bible reading actually increases with education.  And so does theological liberalism: People tend to become less religious as they become more educated, right? Not necessarily, according to a new study. After analyzing data from a large national survey, University of Nebraska-Lincoln sociologist Philip Schwadel found that people… Read more

The rise and fall of the Berlin Wall

Saturday marks the 50th anniversary of the construction of the Berlin Wall, which divided the city–and by extension Germany and Europe itself–between Communism and freedom.  You have simply got to read this account by the Lutheran journalist Uwe Siemon-Netto, who not only saw the wall built and torn down, but was himself with his family personally caught up in the division between East and West.  Most notable in his account is the role Christianity and specifically Lutheranism played in the… Read more

The Super Committee

Congressional leaders have appointed the “Super Committee” tasked by the debt reduction deal to recommend spending cuts and bring the federal budget under control.  There have been other such committees, of course, whose recommendations have been ignored, but this one has some clout:  Its recommendations will be voted on with an up or down vote–rather than death by a thousand amendments–and if they get voted down, automatic cuts click in. What do you know of these folks?  Do you think… Read more

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