Having returned from my travels, I can now resume the regular Morning Report schedule.
1. Walter Cronkite passed away yesterday at the age of 92. He was raised Protestant and joined the Episcopal church as a youth. As he told an interviewer in 1994, he attended Boy Scout troop meetings at an Episcopal church, where the minister was also the scoutmaster: “And I suppose you can say he proselytized me. At any rate, I was much involved with the church, and became Episcopalian – and an acolyte. Later, when I worked for a paper in Houston, I was church editor for a while. The Episcopal House of Bishops met in Houston one year, and I became intrigued by the leaders of the church – fascinated by their discussions and their erudition.” He was married to the same woman for 65 years, until her death in 2005. Cronkite may not always have been as objective as rumored (some such as John Podhoretz are quite critical of Cronkite’s misinformation on the Tet offensive, and grateful that no single newsman has a monopoly on telling “the way it is” anymore), but it seems that Cronkite genuinely strove to get the story right and keep a clear demarcation between reporting and commentary. Yet one wonders whether even Cronkite would be viewed as acceptable to both sides of the political spectrum in such a super-charged political atmosphere as today.
2. As evidence of the effectiveness of the administration response to the economic crisis, Larry Summers cites that Google searches of “economic depression” are down. This is purportedly a brilliant man. Apparently, in order to understand the term, Americans must look it up on a regular basis. It cannot be that they simply know the definition now (or prefer bing). Yes, Summers is so brilliant that he had a leading role in gutting Harvard’s endowment, as reported in an illuminating Vanity Fair article on how Harvard lost 25% of its endowment in a single year. Alan Dershowitz has a nice biblical quotation in the article: “Apparently nobody in our financial office has read the story in Genesis about Joseph interpreting Pharaoh’s dream—you know, during the seven good years you save for the seven lean years.”
The university’s endowment skyrocketed to $36B, and was brought down by chance, hubris and turf battles. I love Harvard; it was good to me. But it was also a swirling cauldron of arrogance and envy.
3. President Obama declares in his weekly address that health care reform cannot wait. Jacob Weisberg at Slate agrees that American care is expensive, wasteful and “wildly unfair.” Yet Democrats in Congress are reticent to support such an expensive fix as Obama proposes, and concerned for its long-term consequences, and the Investors Business Daily calls Obama’s plan “A runaway train to less freedom, higher taxes and rationed care.” If the American people are confused and not sure whom to believe, one could hardly blame them.
4. Charlie Rose has an interesting interview with Bob Woodward on President Obama. Obama has sent countless planes into the air and those planes are still circling, either because they (his initiatives) have not yet become law or because we have not yet gotten to judge their effects. Ultimately Obama will be judged by the lasting effects of his actions. Let us hope that they are positive, for all of our sakes.
5. Christianity Today has a thoughtful reflection on teaching and the imago Dei, and Out of Ur rethinks the Christian church’s relationship with the gay community. Both are worth reading–and the latter in particular in relation to our series at Patheos on same sex marriage. Go to the Evangelical Gateway and click on the “Public Square” tab toward the right.