Friday Morning Palate Cleanser: I don’t typically link to gossip articles, but…Pretty amazing that of all the young Harry Potter actors, the one that played Neville Longbottom has turned out to be the most handsome. By far.
In the News
1. In debt and Election 2012 news, Governors Rick Perry and Nikki Haley argue that now is the time to “Break the Spend and Borrow Cycle.” Paul Krugman persists in his apoplexy over the fact that anyone would have beliefs markedly different from his own. And Charles Krauthammer comes down hard on Obama for failing to take the debt issue seriously until, well, about a week ago – at which point he began excoriating Republicans for being unserious children:
President Obama assailed the lesser mortals who inhabit Congress for not having seriously dealt with a problem he had not dealt with at all, then scolded Congress for being even less responsible than his own children. They apparently get their homework done on time.
My compliments. But the Republican House did do its homework. It’s called a budget. Itpassed the House on April 15. The Democratic Senate has produced no budget. Not just this year, but for two years running. As for the schoolmaster in chief, he produced two 2012 budget facsimiles: The first (February) was a farce and the second (April) was empty, dismissed by the CBO as nothing but words untethered to real numbers.
Obama has run disastrous annual deficits of around $1.5 trillion while insisting for months on a “clean” debt-ceiling increase, i.e., with no budget cuts at all. Yet suddenly he now rises to champion major long-term debt reduction, scorning any suggestions of a short-term debt-limit deal as can-kicking.
The flip-flop is transparently political. A short-term deal means another debt-ceiling fight before Election Day, a debate that would put Obama on the defensive and distract from the Mediscare campaign to which the Democrats are clinging to save them in 2012.
Meanwhile, Gallup has a generic Republican candidate taking an 8-point lead over Obama (Nike Gardiner sees Obama’s prospects as increasingly “precarious“). And the New York Times has the scoop of the decade: Rick Perry was once a Democrat!
2. It’s the unavoidable issue today. California schools will soon begin making a special effort, as young as Kindergarten, to tell the stories of successful and influential gays and lesbians, in the same way that schools and textbooks have made special efforts to highlight the contributions of women and ethnic minorities. At the same time, Michele Bachmann is under fire after a man claims that the clinic her husband owns has counseled gays that they could convert through prayer to heterosexuality:
Minnesota congresswoman and GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann is coming under fire from mental health professionals after ABC’s “Nightline” on Monday first aired a video released by gay rights group Truth Wins Out showing a therapist at a counseling center owned by Bachmann’s husband telling a gay client that he could convert to heterosexuality through prayer. Marcus Bachmann had previously denied that his counseling center offered so-called reparative therapy, which is opposed by the American Psychological Association.
It’s the first and last time we’ll ever have a chance to say, “Nice job, Joy Behar.”
In the Pews
1. Jim Wallis offers his usual good-guys-versus-bad-guys viewpoint on budget issues:
Our country is in the midst of a clash between two competing moral visions, between those who believe in the common good, and those who believe individual good is the only good. A war has been declared on the poor, and it is a moral imperative that people of faith and conscience fight on the side of the most vulnerable.
Jim is a kind man, and he means well. We had an interview that went haywire about a year ago, when Jim denied receiving, but had received, funding from George Soros. He said in a phone call afterward that he had honestly been unaware, and I give him the benefit of the doubt. There were also some bad numbers that got around, as though Jim had received a much larger amount of money from Soros than he actually had. (Well, we don’t know what individuals might have given to Sojourners, but I believe the total from Soros to Sojourners — at least back then — came to something like $325K.) I felt bad at how much distress it brought to Jim, and I felt bad about the false numbers (at one point, BigGovernment reported Sojourners’ total budget number as the number they had received from Soros; it was quickly corrected, but the bad numbers stayed in circulation).
I was not particularly bothered that Jim received money from Soros. What bothered me was the way he attacked Marvin Olasky of World Magazine. He ultimately apologized, but it was the same good-guys-and-bad-guys approach he’s put across in his writing and speaking and teaching for many years. We’re not playing cops and robbers. Most people on both sides of the aisle are good, intelligent, compassionate people, with different ideas about what best serves the common good. We need to move beyond these dichotomized, assail-the-motives approaches.
2. Motherhood is a Calling, from the Desiring God folks.
3. Sarah Pulliam Bailey on “How Christians Warmed to Harry Potter.” Also, if you’re looking for a review of the new Potter movie, I recommend Rebecca Cusey’s review. My feelings on the movie were a little different, though; I’ll post them soon.