A pound of flesh

Mississippi governor and would-be GOP presidential candidate has released two sisters from prison, after they served 16 years of a life-sentence.  One condition, though, is that one of the sisters donate her kidney to the other. The mandated organ donor says she’s glad to do it, that she was going to do it anyway, but still. . . .What are the medical ethics of imposing a condition like that? Freedom’s cost? One kidney | hattiesburgamerican.com | Hattiesburg American. Read more

Connect these dots

Two unrelated news items that actually are related: Some airports are planning on going back to private security screeners.  The private firms, which already operate in some airports, would still have to follow TSA procedures, including the use of scanners and pat-downs.  But they are said to be more effective because they can more easily get rid of incompetent employees than the TSA. The reason Wikileaks was able to get access to all of those government secrets in one place… Read more

Housing allowance tax break may be doomed

Pastors and teachers, have you seen this? As tax time begins, church legal expert Richard Hammar warns ministers, pastors and clerics to be mindful of a legal battle that has strong financial implications on their personal and church taxes in 2011. In the January 2011 issue of Church Law & Tax Report, Hammar highlights tax developments, drawing special attention to a California court case that threatens to extinguish a federal tax break which dates back to 1954, the parsonage exemption…. Read more

The Name of Jesus

New Year’s Day marks the day the baby Jesus was circumcised and given His name.  The name of Jesus, at which every knee shall bow, confesses His identity and His purpose.  In fact, though some people claim Jesus is just a moral example, His very name confesses the Gospel.  Let’s let Rev. William Weedon tell you about the name of Jesus: You can’t read very far along in the Sacred Scriptures before you notice what a big thing this “naming”… Read more

Parts of the health care law that kick in

Now that it’s 2011, parts of the Health Care Reform Bill kick in.  The linked article summarizes changes in Medicare, giving seniors cheaper prescription drugs and giving them some free preventative tests.  Also a $2.5 billion tax on the pharmaceutical industry, which can only mean higher prices and less money to invest in new miracle drugs. Here are some of the changes that will affect everyone: For those insured outside Medicare, 2011 starts a new requirement that insurers must spend… Read more

Congress acknowledges the Constitution

This story in the Washington Post takes a dismissive and snarky tone, but I think this is a splendid idea.  Especially the part about requiring each bill to cite its constitutional authority. When Republicans take over the House next week, they will do something that apparently has never been done before in the chamber’s 221-year history: Two new rules will give Constitution a starring role in GOP-controlled House They will read the Constitution aloud. And then they will require that… Read more

Your predictions for 2011

So, what do you predict will happen in 2011?  The more specific you are, you more amazed we will be if you are right.   Around this time next year, we will check the results to praise you for your foresight, or not.  (See below.) Read more

Checking your predictions for last year

It’s time to revisit the predictions some of you made last year around this time. The big winner:  Chryst, who predicted that Matt Harrison would be elected LCMS president on the first ballot with 54% of the vote.  He actually received 54.95%, but that is close enough and an amazing feat of prediction, especially for last January when Harrison’s prospects seemed dim. Dan Kempin also nailed the political developments, though he squandered his prophetic title by predicting the dominance of… Read more

Top religious developments of 2010

What do you think were the major developments in the world of religion for 2010?  I think we can do better than the lists from religious journalists that I’ve seen.  Look not only for events but also for trends that came into view in the preceding year but that might have a longer lasting effect. I’ll go first: –With the election of Matthew Harrison to the presidency, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod made a U-turn in direction, from a church… Read more

Top cultural developments of 2010

What do you think were the most notable cultural events, trends, or developments of the fast-fading year? By “culture,” I mean any combination of “high culture” (notable novels, works of art), “pop culture” (mass produced work such as movies and popular music) and sociological culture (develops in our society, such as the new and increasing social acceptance of homosexuality). Read more

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