I am resuming the Morning Reports. Thus, Christian and secular news and commentary that one Christian found important or entertaining this morning:
1. MIGRATE ON OVER. Check out our new Cross Examinations, in which our regular contributors as well as specialists in the area of immigration were invited to comment on Evangelicals and Immigration Reform. We got a wide variety of responses, most of which we also featured here at the blog. Read the whole thing.
2. JESUS AS BENEFACTOR. Scot McKnight begins a series on Jesus the Benefactor.
3. G.O.A.T. John Wooden, former coach of UCLA and one of the great coaches (in any sport) of all time, was a devout believer. Justin Taylor points toward his remarkable relationship with his wife.
4. MOSQUE IN THE ABSENT SHADOW. Should there be a mosque 600 feet from Ground Zero in lower Manhattan? Is this a way of defying the Islamic militants who flew their planes into the Twin Towers, or an act of monumental insensitivity to those who lost their loved ones there? I do not agree in this case with what seems to be the majority opinion. I do not associate the 9/11 attack with any and every mosque, such that any and every mosque in the vicinity of Ground Zero is a slap on the face. In fact, welcoming loving Muslims into a place where hateful Muslims have wrought extraordinary violence may just be a great act of forgiveness and reconciliation. What is the Christ-like thing to do here?
5. HOW OUR MONEY WORKS. Check out this fascinating information on faith groups and the nonprofits they support.
6. HALF EMPTY. BP reports that they are recapturing about half of the oil that has been spilling out of the ruptured well. This is progress; this is good. But Thad Allen is right that we’re a long way from back-slapping. Meanwhile, James Carville is not the only liberal who is being openly critical of the President for his response. Juan Williams went into a surprising rant on the subject, and Ron Fournier offers this sobering essay. The gist: “Nobody led.”
7. MY PET OIL SPILL? Sometimes the remedy is worse than the disease. In its attempt to respond to criticism that Obama had been slow to get a handle on the Deepwater explosion, the White House made it known that Obama was brief on the spill and deployed the Coast Guard within 24 hours – and also that he knew it would probably take until August to cap the hemorrhaging oil well:
Carol Browner, director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy, told Obama at one of the earliest briefings in late April that the blowout would likely lead to an unprecedented environmental disaster, senior White House aides told The Daily Beast. Browner warned that capping a well at such depths had never been done before, and that they ought to expect an oil spill that would continue until a relief well was drilled in August, the aide said.
Now I suspect the White House wished it had kept its mouth shut. The blogosphere has been all atwitter with the news. The Anchoress gives a helpful roundup, and makes a nifty analogy: this is not Obama’s Katrina, this is Obama’s “My Pet Goat,” the book President Bush finished reading after he received the news of a plane crash into the first of the Twin Towers. She writes:
“We’ve just spent years listening to ungenerous, miserable people excoriate President Bush for calmly taking 7 minutes, after learning of the attacks of 9/11, to allow his Secret Service to do their thing and to–with a great deal of composure–take his leave from a classroom without managing to scare the children or give an impression of fear that would be put before the nation and the world.
After watching President Obama take six weeks to process the terrible news he was given–pressing forward with golf, vacations, parties and fund-raisers in order to not scare the nation–even if that it meant he seemed a little disengaged from the BP Oil disaster, I never want to hear another sneering, idiotic My Pet Goat joke, again.
“A President needs to be calm and deliberate…But he also needs to promptly stand on a pile of rubble with the firefighters, or in a marsh full of dead wildlife and a slick, red tide, and say, “we’re going to respond; we’re going to protect and we’re going to rebuild and restore. We are going to get through this long hard slog, together.”
“And he has to be able to convince people that he means every word he has said.”
Yet could Obama really have done anything truly helpful? The Anchoress writes:
“Hey, America, I knew it was hopeless, and I couldn’t change anything, so I couldn’t see the point of accepting the help of 17 nations offering their technology and their expertise in attempting to contain the damage as much as possible; no point in even attempting to use supertankers to try to remove as much oil from the surface as possible, even if they have to do it for months.”
One thing he certainly could have done, however, is noted by Allahpundit at Hot Air:
“The real disgrace here is why, if he really did know right away that this was the oil equivalent of an asteroid strike, he didn’t scramble some sort of all-hands-on-deck emergency operation to protect the coastline. Remember, Jindal reportedly requested five million feet of hard boom back on May 2, long after Obama (according to Wolffe) knew about the magnitude of the disaster. By May 24, not even 800,000 feet had arrived. What happened?”
8. IT’S NOT ABOUT ANGER. Also in Richard Wolffe’s report is this nice little nugget: “Obama’s aides have grown increasingly frustrated with the public criticism that the president has failed to express sufficient anger.” I’m sure that’s how they would like to spin the issue to sympathetic reporters, but American’s are not asking Obama, as Robert Gibbs snidely said, to “jump up and down.” Americans are intelligent enough to understand that the technical challenges are enormous, and that Obama is not a specialist in deep sea robotics. But they want to be sure that the President is doing everything a President can do to gather together the best minds, provide the best resources, and coordinate the best processes to deliver a solution. Instead they’ve seen a President spending an absurd amount of time on golf courses (seriously, does he need an intervention?), going on vacations, and every now and then swooping into the gulf area for a few hours of survey flights and photo ops.
Meanwhile, from the liberal side of things, here is an argument for why the oil spill, at least now, presents a certain set of opportunities for Obama, if he is clever enough to take advantage of them. Never let a crisis go to waste, right?
9. ENOUGH POLITICS. This is not a bad suggestion. The Office of Political Affairs, begun by President Reagan, has become a way for Presidents on both sides of the aisle to use their power to try to consolidate power for their party. I agree: get rid of it. Focus on doing what is right for the country, period. An argument can be made that a President needs to preserve or expand or gain a majority, in order to accomplish his goals; I understand that; but he should do so through being effective at governing, not through using all the levers at the executive’s disposal to manipulate the electoral process.
10. BLOCKADE ROCK. The standoff over the Israeli blockade of Gaza threatens to escalate, with grandstanding from Turkey and Iran.