Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Concerns about Obama's Middle East policy are escalating.  The optimistic support for democracy in Arab Spring of 2011 has proved to be an illusion (except to the critics of US policy toward that movement, some of whom see Obama as Bush II).  Adam Garfinkle details what seems to be a lack of careful, long-term strategic thinking among our current Middle East policymakers.  I like the idea of serious "looking before leaping."  Surely something should have been learned from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Monday, May 28, 2012


There is an argument out there that what a person can watch a TV program or movie and not be influenced to change his or her values.  Jonathan Gottschall has written an interesting column in the Dallas Morning News on the influence of fiction on our society.  He argues that fiction does change a person's values.

Here is his comment on fiction as seen on TV:  Moreover, it’s clear that these stories really can change our views. As psychologist Raymond Mar writes, “Researchers have repeatedly found that reader attitudes shift to become more congruent with the ideas expressed in a [fictional] narrative.” For example, studies reliably show that when we watch a TV show that treats gay families nonjudgmentally (say, Modern Family), our own views on homosexuality are likely to move in the same nonjudgmental direction. History, too, reveals fiction’s ability to change our values at the societal level, for better and worse. For example, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin helped bring about the Civil War by convincing huge numbers of Americans that blacks are people and that enslaving them is a mortal sin. On the other hand, the 1915 film The Birth of a Nation inflamed racist sentiments and helped resurrect an all but defunct Ku Klux Klan.


I think politicians should strive to be consistent, whether Republican or Democrat.  Obama has attacked Wall Street and big capital, but at the same time they have turned out to be his biggest givers so I thought this cartoon from the Charlotte Observer really captured that hypocrisy.

Obama and the Vampires

Saturday, May 19, 2012


An analysis on how changes in straight marriage paved the way for legal gay marriage.  Between the 1970s and 1990s, however, most Americans came to view marriage as a relationship between two individuals who were free to organize their partnership on the basis of personal inclination rather than preassigned gender roles.

Obama's advocacy of gay marriage:
  1. National ReviewAnd even though we consider his support of redefining marriage a deep error, he has done the nation a favor by revealing the truth about his position.
  2. Public Discourse:  The president was dishonest in stating his opposition to gay marriage in the 2008 election campaign.  So why did Obama make such an announcement now? The Grenell affair assured him, I think, that a theme of “anti-gay bigotry” can be usefully deployed against social conservatives generally, and against Romney in particular.
  3. Andrew Sullivan, "The first gay president."
  4. Reasons for supporting gay marriage.
The Bible:  Gen. 2:24; Gen. 3:16; Gen. 4:1; Gen. 18:33 to Gen. 19; Gen. 19.5; Lev. 18:22; Lev. 20:13; Deut. 23:17, 18; 1 Kings 14:24; 1 Kings 15:12; 1 Kings 22:46; 1 Cor 6:9-10; II Tim. 3:3; Rom. 1:26-27; Jude 1:7; II Peter 2:6-7.


Jonathan Cahn is a messianic Jew who has written a book, "The Harbinger," which deals with prophecy and the end of America.  Here is a 700 Club interview which summarizes many of his ideas.

Thursday, May 03, 2012


In 1944 Vice President Henry Wallace visited the Soviet Far East and the gulag at Magadan.  He thought it was just a Soviet work project like the TVA.

In 1952, Wallace publically admitted that in 1944 the Soviet officials completely deceived him: “I had not the slightest idea when I visited Magadan that this . . . was also the center for administering the labor of both criminals and those suspected of political disloyalty. . . I can see after reading accounts by former slave laborers who escaped from Siberia that I was altogether too much impressed by the show put on by high Russian officials.”[117] Lattimore never made a similar statement and stubbornly refused to accept that Nikishov was a tyrant.[118]

Wednesday, May 02, 2012


Robert Caro's latest volume on President Lyndon Baines Johnson is out.  This article deals with what Romeny and Obama could learn from LBJ.  Some of the comments:

During his nearly three years as Kennedy’s vice president, Johnson's public life was filled with petty humiliations: minimal staff, exclusion from major meetings, a dinky 10-seat plane for most of his official travels and near total isolation from the Oval Office. Evelyn Lincoln, Kennedy’s personal secretary, kept meticulous records: Johnson spent fewer than two hours alone with JFK during the final 11 months of his presidency.

At Saturday night’s White House Correspondents' Association Dinner, Obama tweaked Romney over the de facto Republican nominee’s charges of elitism: “We both have degrees from Harvard. I have one; he has two. What a snob.” These elite educational pedigrees have become the norm in campaigns for the White House. In the past quarter-century, only two presidential nominees (Bob Dole and John McCain) have lacked a degree from Harvard or Yale.

Johnson’s gift was his preternatural ability to find that weak spot in the ego where flattery would be the most compelling. With economist John Kenneth Galbraith, Johnson adroitly suggested that he could be a White House insider like his friend Arthur Schlesinger. With United Nations Ambassador Adlai Stevenson, who had been twice defeated for the presidency, Johnson said, “I know, and you know, that you should be sitting behind this desk rather than me.”
When Johnson confronted someone who had double-crossed him, he would often threaten his political demise. Sounding like a Mafia don, LBJ told one errant politician, “I’m going to give you a three-minute lesson in integrity. And then, I’m going to ruin you.” As Caro demonstrates with dozens of examples, Robert Kennedy, when his brother was president, reveled in humiliating Johnson almost for the sheer tearing-wings-off-flies sport of it. Rahm Emanuel sending a dead fish to a pollster early in his career does not measure up to the 1960s standards for hardball.

Here is the New York Times review.  It appears to be more a study of hate than power.


A Christian coffee house teaching church history and theology.  One of the points is the lack of knowledge about church history among Christians.