Journey of the Magi

Consider this poem, Journey of the Magi, by T.S. Eliot: ‘A cold coming we had of it, Just the worst time of the year For a journey, and such a long journey: The ways deep and the weather sharp, The very dead of winter.’ And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory, Lying down in the melting snow. There were times we regretted The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces, And the silken girls bringing sherbet. Then the camel men cursing and… Read more

Baptists debate alcohol

Two decades after declaring victory in the war over biblical inerrancy, Southern Baptists are battling about booze. Seeking to remain relevant in today’s culture, many Baptists have abandoned former taboos against social activities like dancing and going to movies. Now some are questioning the denomination’s historic position of abstaining from alcohol, prompting others to draw a line. . . . The ruckus — and the post-convention blogs that kept the argument alive — prompted Peter Lumpkins, a Southern Baptist pastor… Read more

Regulation vs. Legislation

Charles Krauthammer shows how the Executive Branch can get its way even when the Legislative Branch votes down its plans: Most people don’t remember Obamacare’s notorious Section 1233, mandating government payments for end-of-life counseling. It aroused so much anxiety as a possible first slippery step on the road to state-mandated late-life rationing that the Senate never included it in the final health-care law. Well, it’s back – by administrative fiat. A month ago, Medicare issued a regulation providing for end-of-life… Read more

Win a prize from the government

The government is offering prizes to get people to innovate and to solve problems. “Inducement prizes” (as opposed to “recognition prizes,” like the Nobel or the MacArthur or the Pulitzer) make up a major part of the Obama administration’s grand Strategy for American Innovation. Last year, outlining its vision for a more competitive America, the White House said the government “should take advantage of the expertise and insight of people both inside and outside” Washington by using “high-risk, high-reward policy… Read more

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

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