October 19, 2012

Frank Sonnek points to this post, which rehearses all of the dire warnings made four years ago about what would happen if Barack Obama were to be elected, most of which never amounted to anything:  “This is the most important election of all time!” (again). He asks, “What were other Republican predictions of an Obama presidency? Did they pan out?” That’s a fair question.  Was he as bad as we thought he would be? He did not unmask himself as… Read more

October 19, 2012

J. R. R. Tolkien has a new book coming out next year, a 200-page narrative poem about King Arthur.  From the British newspaper The Guardian: It’s the story of a dark world, of knights and princesses, swords and sorcery, quests and betrayals, and it’s from the pen of JRR Tolkien. But this is not Middle-earth, it’s ancient Britain, and this previously unpublished work from the Lord of the Rings author stars not Aragorn, Gandalf and Frodo, but King Arthur. HarperCollins… Read more

October 18, 2012

British author Hilary Mantel won the Booker Prize for her novel Bring Up the Bodies.  This is the second time she won this top award for British fiction.  The first time was for Wolf Hall.  Both novels are about Thomas Cromwell, the consigliere to Henry VIII.   And they are both spellbinding. Cromwell is typically presented as a Machiavellian villain who made it possible for Henry VIII to marry Anne Boleyn and then cynically framed her and engineered her execution.  Mantel,… Read more

October 18, 2012

The Maryland state legislature has legalized gay marriage.  Some citizens, though, as is their right, have circulated a petition calling for a referendum on the issue.  So the D.C. area gay newspaper, The Washington Blade, published the names of the people who signed the petition, opening them up to harrassment, intimidation, and punishment. T. Alan Hurwitz, the president of Gallaudet University, the federally-funded college for the deaf, learned from a Lesbian couple on his faculty that one of his employees,… Read more

October 18, 2012

Evangelicals and Mormons together: Shortly after Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney enjoyed cookies and soft drinks with the Rev. Billy Graham and his son Franklin Graham on Thursday at the elder Graham’s mountaintop retreat, a reference to Mormonism as a cult was scrubbed from the website of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. In a section of the website called Billy Graham’s My Answer there had been the question “What is a cult?” Answer: “A cult is any group which teaches… Read more

October 17, 2012

Thanks for the live blog from last night.  So who won this debate? Do you think the more aggressive stance from Obama, with the two candidates getting into each other’s space and into each other’s face, paid off? How will this debate play with undecided voters and the general public? Read more

October 17, 2012

The New York Review of Books has published a rather remarkable article by Elisabeth Sifton and Fritz Stern, a  detailed account of  the ways Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his family opposed the Nazi regime.  You might be familiar with Bonhoeffer’s activities–though I learned a lot I didn’t realize–but the actions of his wife Christine and, especially, his brother-in-law Hans von Dohnanyi, who was a major mastermind of the German opposition to Hitler, are not known nearly as well as they deserve… Read more

October 17, 2012

In a postmodern, objectively irrelevant, subjectivist, “I like this” kind of way: HT: Anthony Sacramone. Read more

October 16, 2012

Here we go again.  For our not-necessarily-alcoholic drinking game, let’s knock one back when we hear the following words (and thanks for your suggestions, from which some of these are drawn): (1)  Look (2)  Big Bird (3)  Arithmetic (4)  47% (5)  We can do better The following words are highly unlikely to be mentioned, so if they come up, fill up your glass: (1)  Drones (2)  Syria All right.  Ready?  Go.     Read more

October 16, 2012

Tonight is the second of the presidential candidate debates, this one in a “town hall” format, with undecided voters posing the questions.  We now see that the debates do matter, as Mitt Romney’s good performance and Barack Obama’s bad performance put the Republican back into contention.   Do you think this town hall format will be to Obama’s advantage, since Romney is often awkward among the masses?  Obama said he was “too polite” in the first round, so do you think… Read more

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