I have one of the most interesting jobs in the world. One day I am advising world leaders on the nuances of international monetary policy. The next day I am consoling a distraught reader who thinks I need to "look within myself spiritually." The last time I looked within myself, I saw my navel. It was full of lint. Never again.
Of all the experts I have read or consulted lately about the situation in the Middle East, the one who made the most sense was quoted recently in The New York Times. She's Jennifer Shelton-Armstrong, identified as a 45-year-old Democrat in Mission Viejo, California, who participated in a poll about President Obama's handling of foreign policy and terrorism. This is what she said: "He is ambivalent, and I think it shows. There is no clear plan."
I have a friend who recently retired.
In 21st-century America, hope and change comes from tech-inspired entrepreneurs.
At the age of 91, Henry Kissinger has published yet another book - his 17th in 60 years, according to his biographer Walter Isaacson. In that sense, "World Order" is something of a miracle, but it is also a swell read. So, I initially thought, was a review of it in The New York Times by John Micklethwait, the editor-in-chief of the admirable Economist magazine - and I praised it to him in an email. A bit later, I did a double-take. I still like the book, but Micklethwait's review is a different matter.
The Woman Who Shares My Name instructed me that this week's column was to be about positive things. She says she is tired of bad news and thought you felt the same way. "Surely, you can find some positive things to write about," she said, "and temporarily take people's minds off all the terrible things going on in the world. I think your readers would appreciate that."
At a July fundraising event in Chicago, Mrs. Michelle Obama remarked, "So, yeah, there's too much money in politics. There's (sic) special interests that have too much influence." Sen. John McCain has been complaining for years that "there is too much money washing around political campaigns today." According to a 2012 Reuters poll, "Seventy-five percent of Americans feel there is too much money in politics." Let's think about money in politics, but first a few facts.
President Obama's health care law is the gift that keeps on giving to the GOP.
According to a Gallup Poll released this week, "Americans' trust in the federal government to handle international problems has fallen to a record-low 43 percent, ... Separately, 40 percent of Americans say they have a 'great deal' or 'fair amount' of trust in the federal government to handle domestic problems, also the lowest Gallup has measured to date." (Poll conducted September 4-7, 2014, with 1,017 adults, 95 percent confidence level, +/- 4 points).
What is it that makes so many blacks so angry? What is it that makes so many of them blame the realities of life that beset everyone, e.g., debt, disappointment, etc., a result of their being black?
Remember the story of "The Little Engine That Could?" That could very well describe the city of Dalton, a town of some 34,000 nestled in the corner of Northwest Georgia, not far from the Tennessee line.
"All politics is local," the late Speaker of the House Tip O' Neill famously said. How right he was. The world today is suffering from the failure of President Obama to apply a school of law enforcement that happened to originate in O'Neill's hometown, Boston, and goes by the moniker "broken windows." The problem, simply stated, is that Obama was deaf to the sound of tinkling glass.
The lovable legend of Robin Hood with his band of Merry Men making life difficult for the Sheriff of Nottingham offers a great way to understand the politics of 21st century America.
What a difference a year makes. Last September, the Obama administration and the media were cheering happenstance as victory. A quick review of last year's events: the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government on civilians, tough talk by President Barack Obama, an administration push for a congressional vote for use of force, Secretary of State John Kerry's off-the-cuff remark regarding Syria giving up chemical weapons, Russian President Vladimir Putin leveraging the remark into action, the Obama administration claiming a great solution.
A recent column on Vox.com may have inadvertently highlighted the gap between the nation's political elites and the rest of the nation. Vox is an "explanatory journalism" site founded by former Washington Post columnist and blogger Ezra Klein.
My parents just had new windows installed in our old house. The original wooden windows had been weathering and wearing since 1968, and the folks decided against scraping and painting them one last time. I saw the new windows this weekend, as I was visiting my old hometown, and as we admired the craftsmanship, we wound up in my old bedroom where a fancy new sliding unit had been installed. It was about a few seconds after I opened the new window that I realized I was falling through it.
Turkey day is approaching and it is a wonder time.
They may just give Dasher, Dancer, Vixen and Rudolph a run for their money.
"What is the meaning of life?" my middle school daughter asked me recently as we were lying on her bed one evening. After a few minutes of contemplation, knowing that the answer was not about acquisition of money, fame or power, and that material items might provide ease in life, but not meaning, I responded that it is "to experience and then to allow God's grace to shine through you to others."
It seems the Christmas holidays arrive a little earlier every year, thanks in part to retailers pushing to get every sale they can. This year we saw Christmas decorations out well before Halloween and a few communities have already put up Christmas decorations and turned on their Christmas lights.
Hallelujah! It's a word we've all heard, probably all used. Hallelujah! It's a word that means "Praise the Lord." You see it all over the place in the Old Testament as the people praised God when they saw one work of his or another. "Hallelujah" is what we're told we'll be shouting for all time in heaven, in the presence of our God we won't be able to keep from praising.
Are you asking yourself every day where has this year gone? It is now the middle of November. Thanksgiving is next week; Christmas, a little more than four weeks later, and New Year's less than a week after that.
We Americans have always been noted for our ability to have opposing political groups playing hardball politics while remaining civil and non-violent. When the campaigning, debating and voting was over, we returned to running the government and moving forward. The night time threats of physical violence to an opponent and his family was reserved for the banana republics and dictatorships. Sadly, some citizens of Newton County have recently displayed banana republic political behavior.
"To you, I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens!"
My granddaughter in the fourth grade recently had a test over pronouns, and in particular the many different spellings and meanings of "there, their, they're, theirs, there's.
The lighting was dim and the air filled with the fragrance of carnations and roses last Friday night. The tiny baby lay there quietly, with perfectly round cheeks and a little button nose, like on all newborn faces. A knit cap covered his hair, a monogrammed blanket was tucked beneath his chin, and as I heard others remarking, that precious baby looked just like a porcelain doll displayed in a box.
Budget follies are in full swing in the nation's capital once again. Republicans, who agreed to automatic cuts a few months ago, are now trying to find a way to avoid defense cuts.
I'm going to take the opportunity this week to write a letter of thanks to our veterans.
I guess I'm just a Luddite, trapped in a world-gone-by, but I prefer old movies to most of the ones coming out now. While there are some really good movies - the Harry Potter series comes to mind - most of the new stuff is just too trashy for me. There's too much cussin', too much sex, and way too much irreverence being shown to the things I care about. But those old movies are different. There's something comforting about watching a movie that celebrates goodness and honesty and doesn't glorify evil. That might seem so old fashioned ...
The aging process is a strange thing.