The Moderate Voice » MARK DANIELS http://themoderatevoice.com An Internet hub with domestic and international news, analysis, original reporting, and popular features from the left, center, indies, centrists, moderates, and right Tue, 03 May 2016 17:24:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.7 http://themoderatevoice.com http://themoderatevoice.com/media/favicon.ico The Moderate Voice Cruz’s Cynical Move http://themoderatevoice.com/215710/ http://themoderatevoice.com/215710/#comments Wed, 27 Apr 2016 22:23:58 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=215710 24872763479_f8d0f375ed

Senator Ted Cruz’s announcement that he has chosen Carly Fiorina as his vice presidential running mate is both desperate and cynical. It’s a move clearly designed to create a speed bump in the California GOP primary. The “bump for Trump” is Cruz’s Hail Mary pass, thrown in hopes that Fiorina can draw enough Republicans in [...]

The post Cruz’s Cynical Move appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
24872763479_f8d0f375ed

24872763479_f8d0f375ed

Senator Ted Cruz’s announcement that he has chosen Carly Fiorina as his vice presidential running mate is both desperate and cynical.

It’s a move clearly designed to create a speed bump in the California GOP primary. The “bump for Trump” is Cruz’s Hail Mary pass, thrown in hopes that Fiorina can draw enough Republicans in Cali to bring an upset.

Because Fiorina, who lost when she ran for the US Senate from California, has no chance of making the Golden State turn red in November, one can be sure that this move has nothing to do with the general election.

And unlike when Ronald Reagan announced his selection of Pennsylvania’s liberal Republican senator Richard Schweiker to be his running mate prior to the 1976 convention, Cruz has no realistic chance of stopping Trump as Reagan did have of stopping Ford back then. Furthermore, as journalist James Oliphant points out, Reagan’s move was designed to expand his base of support, surrounding incumbent President Gerald Ford from the right that Reagan occupied and from the left from which Schweiker came. Cruz’s choice of Fiorina doesn’t budge Cruz’s negligible appeal.

Cruz is only delaying the inevitable.

pho/a>to credit: Ted Cruz via photopin (license)<

The post Cruz’s Cynical Move appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/215710/feed/ 7
If we can’t elect a Garfield, maybe we each can be a Garfield http://themoderatevoice.com/if-we-cant-elect-a-garfield-maybe-we-can-be-a-garfield/ http://themoderatevoice.com/if-we-cant-elect-a-garfield-maybe-we-can-be-a-garfield/#comments Mon, 25 Apr 2016 05:01:38 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=215652 abstract six line blue transparent vector

On Saturday, returning from a daylong meeting with church members, someone mentioned the name of an Ohio town. “Isn’t that where Garfield was from?” I asked, realizing in an instant that people would think I was referring to James A. Garfield, America’s twentieth president, and not to the orange cat in comic strips. Garfield doesn’t [...]

The post If we can’t elect a Garfield, maybe we each can be a Garfield appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
abstract six line blue transparent vector

20_james_a_garfield (1)

On Saturday, returning from a daylong meeting with church members, someone mentioned the name of an Ohio town. “Isn’t that where Garfield was from?” I asked, realizing in an instant that people would think I was referring to James A. Garfield, America’s twentieth president, and not to the orange cat in comic strips.

Garfield doesn’t come up often in conversation and the only biography I’ve read of him wasn’t very good.

But most people who know a little about him remember that he was assassinated. (That was the subject of an excellent recent installment of the PBS series, The American Experience.)

Others will know that Garfield was an ordained minister, the only such person to ever be president.

None of that came up during the Saturday drive. But having briefly mentioned Garfield one day, I was surprised the next day to find an article in Christianity Today‘s The Local Church about Garfield.

According to Brannon Marshall, the writer of the piece, Garfield also exemplified humility, being one of the few people elected president who didn’t actually want the job. (I’ve talked before how much I would love for us to elect people to public office who aren’t desperately grasping for power.)

In this, Marshall asserts, Garfield has a lot to teach modern Christians (and, I’d say, others):

Garfield’s modesty would make him seem wildly out of place in today’s political arena, but it fits his role as a lay-minister well. Of the church leaders I’ve known, those who have contributed the most to those in their care have achieved their influence as a result of character that’s unseen and humility that’s steady. It’s never been done through declarative muscle; instead, like Garfield, they faithfully followed the humble path and have inspired others to do the same. They’re the pastors who hang around after everyone’s gone, get out the mop, and clean up red Kool-Aid stains in the church kitchen without thought of recompense or recognition. They’re the tired-but-tireless Sunday school teachers who are in their fifth decade of helping children understand what Jesus meant when he said, “Take up your cross and follow me.” They’re everywhere—but rarely rewarded. And that’s probably how they want things to be…

Garfield’s relative anonymity in history shouldn’t surprise us—an
assassin’s bullet tragically ended his life less than seven months into
his term. His legacy, however, is important because his story relates an
enduring lesson: true, dignified influence is often achieved not
through force or compulsion, but through quiet humility.

In the midst of this year’s wretchedly depressing presidential campaign, as we watch more than a few candidates pander, grovel, assault, and misconstrue the records or beliefs of others, it would be refreshing to be surprised by the nomination of a Garfield, a candidate not seeking the office, but seeking to do the first thing all leaders must do, serve. It’s something to pray for.

But barring that miracle, maybe we who follow Christ could pray that, like Garfield, we could learn what it means to humbly follow the crucified and risen Jesus. We probably won’t ever be elected president. But filled with the power of our Lord, God may use us to change the lives of the people we encounter each day for the better. And doing that would be a great ambition for each of us to hold.

[This was cross posted at Mark Daniels’ blog.]

The post If we can’t elect a Garfield, maybe we each can be a Garfield appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/if-we-cant-elect-a-garfield-maybe-we-can-be-a-garfield/feed/ 9
“Among the founders, Hamilton was probably the most passionate advocate of national unity… http://themoderatevoice.com/among-the-founders-hamilton-was-probably-the-most-passionate-advocate-of-national-unity/ http://themoderatevoice.com/among-the-founders-hamilton-was-probably-the-most-passionate-advocate-of-national-unity/#comments Mon, 25 Apr 2016 03:52:52 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=215648 Hamilton_small (2)

…He wanted people to think of themselves as Americans, not as citizens of separate states.” Alexander Hamilton was among the foremost purveyors of New York Values, says Cass Sunstein. I think he’s right. And one part of those values is the very American idea that we need not be trapped by our heritage, that we [...]

The post “Among the founders, Hamilton was probably the most passionate advocate of national unity… appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
Hamilton_small (2)

Hamilton_small (2)

He wanted people to think of themselves as Americans, not as citizens of separate states.”

Alexander Hamilton was among the foremost purveyors of New York Values, says Cass Sunstein. I think he’s right.

And one part of those values is the very American idea that we need not be trapped by our heritage, that we can be more than an indifferent world or so-called fate would have us be. (An idea that we need to extend to more people if we are to fulfill the promise of America.)

This is precisely the story of Hamilton, the illegitimate son of a man who eventually abandoned him, born in the Caribbean, a immigrant to America, where he graduated from King’s College (now Columbia University), became a leader in the Revolutionary War, wrote the lion’s share of The Federalist Papers, and, while serving as George Washington’s secretary of the treasury, created the American economy.

That economic system has led not only to the nation with the most sustained prosperity in world history, it also was one major factor in fostering American national unity.

That represents another of Hamilton’s New York Values. He saw himself more as an American than as a New Yorker. Like Washington, he understood the importance for the nation that fought a revolution for liberty to complete that revolution by a commitment to mutual dependence and accountability, resulting in the US Constitution.

Hamilton’s commitment to nationhood and his conception of what it means to be a federalist puts the lie to those who squawk about states’ rights as a means of avoiding full participation in American national life (liberty and mutual accountability) and undermining America. As Sunstein writes:

Most politicians who run for national office develop a deep affection for the nation’s diverse states, with all their unique quirks and histories. It’s much worse than bad politics for a candidate to complain about “Vermont values,” “Nebraska values,” “Georgia values,” “Ohio values,” or the values of any of the states. In light of the nation’s hard-won unity, it’s a betrayal of the great motto of the United States, which can also be found on our currency: E pluribus unum (from many, one).

Yep.

Hamilton was in a very real sense not only the quintessential New Yorker, but because of his commitment to New York Values, was, along with the Virginian Washington, one original member of a new species that has been around now for more than two centuries. Hamilton was an American.

This was cross posted on Mark Daniels’ blog.

Graphic the US Treasury (www.treas.gov), and cropped., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=250976

The post “Among the founders, Hamilton was probably the most passionate advocate of national unity… appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/among-the-founders-hamilton-was-probably-the-most-passionate-advocate-of-national-unity/feed/ 0
Prince http://themoderatevoice.com/prince/ http://themoderatevoice.com/prince/#comments Fri, 22 Apr 2016 04:30:41 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=215571 hqdefault (2)

I’m sixty-two. I probably listened to more of Prince than many people my age. How that happened was sort of happenstance. Prince’s heyday was in the early- and mid-eighties. It was the era of big hair and MTV. I was listening a lot to U2, the Police, Stevie Wonder, a bit of Bruce Springsteen, with [...]

The post Prince appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
hqdefault (2)

I’m sixty-two. I probably listened to more of Prince than many people my age. How that happened was sort of happenstance.

Prince’s heyday was in the early- and mid-eighties. It was the era of big hair and MTV. I was listening a lot to U2, the Police, Stevie Wonder, a bit of Bruce Springsteen, with whom I became less enamored after Nebraska, and later, Bruce Cockburn. And, of course, I was still listening to Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Queen, and David Bowie.

At that time, I was in seminary. During my senior year, I worked as a janitor, cleaning seminary offices and the library after hours. It was a fun gig and it came with some perks.

One was being able to crank up a stereo in the library basement while dusting and vacuuming. I didn’t have much money then either. So, when friends loaned music to me, I would often use said stereo to transfer their music to cassettes I could stick into my boom box at home.

The fourteen year old son of a classmate got wind of this perk and asked me to record a bunch of Prince LPs that a friend had loaned to him. Being into piracy, I recorded all of that material for him and me.

For a while after that, I listened to a lot Prince. I thought his lyrics ranged from vapid to the faux sophistication of an adolescent thinking he knew more about sex than his parents. But his musicianship was undeniable: He had a fine sense of melody and rhythm. He played guitar especially well. And his voice was incredibly rangy. For about six months, I was sort of hooked.

But, in the end, I was never moved to buy a Prince LP. In fact, I wasn’t moved by Prince at all. His virtuosity could move me to appreciation. But his songs never moved me. They didn’t encourage me to see my life or the world differently. They were simply the candy by which he showcased his amazing talents.

In recent years, I was aware that Prince was performing some. But I had no idea that he was still releasing new material–some source today said that he had released four new LPs in the past eighteen months! To me, there were many artists older than Prince–McCartney or Dylan, for example–or artists who were his contemporaries–U2 comes to mind–more current than Prince has been over the past two decades.

Reading the other day about his plane making an emergency landing because he was ill was like learning of the reappearance of a ghost from the past, similar to seeing his amazing guitar solo on the collaborative performance of While My Guitar Gently Weeps at the 2004 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Click here to view the embedded video.

So, the response to Prince’s death I’ve seen evidenced online and, briefly tonight, on TV, has caught me by surprise.

Prince is being accorded coverage similar to that which greeted the untimely deaths of Michael Jackson, John Lennon, and David Bowie, or, in less heavily mediated days, those of Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, and Buddy Holly.

While I would have guessed before today that, in the end, Prince might be viewed as more culturally significant than some of his contemporaries like Madonna or even Queen, I wouldn’t have anticipated the reaction we’ve seen to his passing. In coming years, I suspect that he’ll be remembered more for his stunning musical performances, both recorded and live on stage, than for the quality or meaning of his compositions.

But however you look at it, his sudden death is a tragedy and I pray that all who grieve will be comforted by God.

Cross-posted from MarkDaniels.Blogspot.com

The post Prince appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/prince/feed/ 2
For the next president: NATO and other security partnerships http://themoderatevoice.com/next-president-nato-security-partnerships/ http://themoderatevoice.com/next-president-nato-security-partnerships/#comments Mon, 04 Apr 2016 00:10:47 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=214951 640px-NATO_OTAN_landscape_logo.svg

An interesting article from earlier this year that appeared in The American Interest. If you’re not a subscriber (which I am not), this will be the only piece you can read from the site this month. I think there’s a general failure to understand the need for security arrangements like NATO or the one the [...]

The post For the next president: NATO and other security partnerships appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
640px-NATO_OTAN_landscape_logo.svg

640px-NATO_OTAN_landscape_logo.svg

An interesting article from earlier this year that appeared in The American Interest. If you’re not a subscriber (which I am not), this will be the only piece you can read from the site this month.

I think there’s a general failure to understand the need for security arrangements like NATO or the one the US has with Japan demonstrated by history.

Russia’s ability to wreak havoc and the need for intergovernmental cooperation in combating things like terrorism are compelling reasons for keeping NATO, for example.

The USA’s decision to keep Japan demilitarized and under the American nuclear umbrella has, for decades, prevented a nuclear arms race between China and Japan, also, proponents would say, something that would be contrary to US interests.

What, some will wonder, about George Washington’s warning, given in his farewell address, against “entangling alliances.”

Washington’s words have often been used by people like the “America Firsters” who, after the rise of Hitler, effectively prevented the US from working with other western democracies to, at first, thwart and then, to defeat, the Nazis. Millions of lives were lost as a result of the drag they inflicted on American policies.

Washington was, in fact, the father not only of his country, but also of US foreign policy realism. His warning against “entangling alliances” was rooted in his historical context and was advanced in service to the guiding light of his approach to foreign affairs: to always do what was in the best interests of the country.

At that time, that meant keeping the fledgling United States from becoming a partisan in the conflict between the western world’s superpowers of the time, England and France. To be associated closely with either one, to be allied with one country or the other, would put the development of the then-delicate United States at risk. Washington wanted to give the US breathing room to develop its political and economic life, to be able to engage in trade with both of the two major powers without picking sides. When you’re the littlest and weakest kid on the block, it’s best not to rile up the two neighborhood bullies.

Had Washington been around at the end of World War 2, when the US emerged as the preeminent power of the world, at that time hurtling into a Cold War with a third world economy that had atomic weapons (the Soviet Union), I’m sure that his counsel would still have been to do what was in the best interests of America. At that time, that would entail recognizing the country’s changed status among nations and understanding the need to provide leadership to alliances that preserved the freedom and stability for the US. NATO was one of the post-war institutions that did that.

Many argue today that NATO has outlived its usefulness. As indicated above, some disagree with that. They also would say that mutual security arrangements are beneficial to US security and allows this country to act as the “senior partner” in security arrangements with other countries.

It seems to me that the Achilles heel of these arrangements, alluded to in the linked piece, is the failure of nations under the US security umbrella to pay their fair share in manpower, arms, and money. As the article also says, this has allowed western European partner nations to develop social insurance policies that the US doesn’t feel it can afford, in part because of other outlays, including those for NATO.

History demonstrates that a United States turned in on itself is less secure than one engaged with the world.

How that might be expressed today is a political issue and I don’t advance political opinions here, just historical observations.

But my observation is that addressing how to renew partnerships like NATO in light of cyber-terrorism, terrorism, and the aggression of nations like Russia and China is probably something that should occupy the time and thinking of the next president and the American people.


Graphic: See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The post For the next president: NATO and other security partnerships appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/next-president-nato-security-partnerships/feed/ 0
After Brussels, Live http://themoderatevoice.com/214692/ http://themoderatevoice.com/214692/#comments Wed, 23 Mar 2016 07:08:56 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=214692 12593936_10153807660602745_999306984120405411_o

Travel expert Rick Steves shared this graphic on his Facebook timeline. To me, it expresses an important message on this day when we grieve the senseless loss of life perpetrated by ISIS. The object of terrorists is to incite terror, panic, and fear in people. Such reactions are understandable. But when we alter our lifestyles [...]

The post After Brussels, Live appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
12593936_10153807660602745_999306984120405411_o

Travel expert Rick Steves shared this graphic on his Facebook timeline.

To me, it expresses an important message on this day when we grieve the senseless loss of life perpetrated by ISIS. The object of terrorists is to incite terror, panic, and fear in people. Such reactions are understandable. But when we alter our lifestyles to accommodate the possible actions of thugs and bullies, they win and we lose.

I’m not suggesting that either individuals or governments act stupidly. When the devil tempted Jesus to jump from the pinnacle of the temple in Jerusalem to see if God the Father would catch Him, Jesus refused. He told the devil that it isn’t right to test God. So, people and governments need to take wise precautions in the face of the terrorist reality.

But if you’re planning on traveling by any means, if you have tickets for a major public event, if you have to go shopping, or if there are things you need to do to live your life, I say do them.

If we let the terrorists intimidate us, we risk wimping out in one of two ways:

  • Acceding to them and not doing anything or 
  • Turning free countries into sterile, lifeless armed encampments

Both are fearful prospects fueled by fear which would change the fundamental qualities of living in a pluralistic democracy that includes both majority rule and a fair regard for the minority.

There are many things that give rise to Islamic-based terrorism. But among them is the palpable fear that potential terrorists see in free societies when terrorist acts do occur, something that offers them the possibility of feeling powerful. The fear of free societies is one of their greatest recruiting tools.

Terrorism must be fought on many fronts and in many ways. One of the ways is for we who value freedom and the sanctity of human life not to let fear get the best of us.

Like any other human being, I fear many things. But my faith in an eternal God Who raised His Son Jesus from the grave and promises a piece of His resurrection victory to all who repent and believe in Him, helps me to put my fear in perspective. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu, for the Christian, death is not the worst thing that can happen.

In the weeks prior to September 11, 2001, my daughter and I were trying to decide whether to book a flight to Germany. September 11 was the deadline we had set for making our decision. We booked the flight that night because, we said, we didn’t want Osama bin-Laden making our travel plans for us.

God has given you life. And if you’re a follower of Jesus Christ, you believe that God has given you life with God that never ends. So, live.

Cross-posted from markdaniels.blogspot.com

The post After Brussels, Live appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/214692/feed/ 0
On the Escalating Violence at One Candidate’s Campaign Rallies http://themoderatevoice.com/214352/ http://themoderatevoice.com/214352/#comments Sat, 12 Mar 2016 23:58:19 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=214352 hqdefault (5)

On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was gunned down by an assassin. The streets of America’s cities were restive. Bobby Kennedy was campaigning in Indiana’s Democratic primary and was in Indianapolis on the night of King’s death. Kennedy, who was highly popular among African-Americans, was in an African-American community and broke the news [...]

The post On the Escalating Violence at One Candidate’s Campaign Rallies appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
hqdefault (5)

On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was gunned down by an assassin.

The streets of America’s cities were restive.

Bobby Kennedy was campaigning in Indiana’s Democratic primary and was in Indianapolis on the night of King’s death.

Kennedy, who was highly popular among African-Americans, was in an African-American community and broke the news to a crowd to which he was speaking.

He reminded people that King had been an advocate of peaceful change and that, while understanding their rage, because he had lost his own brother to an assassin’s bullet and had felt rage, they must follow King’s example.

He urged the crowd to remain at peace and to keep working for change politically.

While violence erupted in other American cities that night, Indianapolis remained peaceful.

I’ve always remembered that story because it’s a vivid example of the impact that leaders can have on those they lead.

I think of that story again tonight.

Kennedy risked a lot in asking the aggrieved to refrain from the kind of violence to which King and their people had long been subjected.

But in America, leaders, even as they often reflect and amplify the grievances of those they lead and represent, are bound by love of their country and its Constitution (and if they are, as they profess, Christians, by love of God and neighbor) to peacefully represent those grievances in the political process, not legitimize punching opponents in the face.

Every individual is responsible for their own actions, of course.

But when political leaders observe that their rhetoric seems to give their followers permission to be violent, they need to lead by pointing out that the political process isn’t about violence. It’s about persuasion, debate, and the vote.

The post On the Escalating Violence at One Candidate’s Campaign Rallies appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/214352/feed/ 0
Is ‘Moderate versus Progressive’ a False Choice? http://themoderatevoice.com/is-moderate-versus-progressive-a-false-choice/ http://themoderatevoice.com/is-moderate-versus-progressive-a-false-choice/#comments Sun, 07 Feb 2016 05:00:47 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=213175 shutterstock_228125710

Senator Bernie Sanders has tweeted that a person can’t be a progressive and a moderate. He said it as a criticism of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who, Sanders claims, tells some people she’s progressive and others that she’s a moderate. I understand that Sanders is basically saying that Clinton has no strong philosophical [...]

The post Is ‘Moderate versus Progressive’ a False Choice? appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
shutterstock_228125710

shutterstock_228125710
Senator Bernie Sanders has tweeted that a person can’t be a progressive and a moderate. He said it as a criticism of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who, Sanders claims, tells some people she’s progressive and others that she’s a moderate.

I understand that Sanders is basically saying that Clinton has no strong philosophical core, but, out of blind ambition, says whatever she thinks will appeal to the demographic crowd she’s addressing at any given time.

That’s a political judgment about which people have their opinions. With rare exceptions, I don’t express political preferences here.

But I do object to the notion that a person can’t be a moderate progressive. Or a moderate conservative or a moderate liberal.

To me, being a moderate defines how one approaches political issues, not a specific set of political propositions. As I wrote in a piece for The Moderate Voice nine years ago:

…being a moderate is less a matter of ideology than it is of the prism through which one views life, including politics.
When teetotling Christians have criticized we Lutherans over our fondness for beer, we’ve typically said, “All things in moderation,” meaning of course that as long as one doesn’t get soused, harm someone else, or abuse one’s body, there’s nothing wrong with having a beer. I became a Lutheran as an adult after several years as an atheist. Moderation, like beer, is an acquired taste for me. But I find that moderation appeals to me. That’s not because I’m wishy washy as some, usually those who want you to agree with their ideological program, insist.
Instead, I believe that a moderate…
…may be conservative or liberal, but refuses to close his or her mind to what others say.
…has core convictions, but not so many as to prevent her or him from agreeing with a conservative on one issue and a liberal on the next.
…asks three basic questions when considering national political issues: Is it right? Is it constitutional? Will it work?
…is an advocate of civility in the political process.
…has an equal loathing of all special interests getting special attention from those in power. A moderate believes in fairness.

Frankly, I’d like to see a lot more moderation in our politics, whatever the politicians’ party or philosophy. I said back then:
For our politics to work in this deeply Red-and-Blue-divided nation, we need a strong dose of the moderation our Founders enshrined in our Constitution. Around the world today, we’re seeing that it isn’t enough to grant people the vote. Immoderate voters elect immoderate leaders, people who are duly-elected despots, tyrants, and hare-brains.

Moderate voters and moderate candidates, whatever their political philosophy, form better governments.

Cross posted from MarkDaniels.blogspot.com.

Photo via shutterstock.com

The post Is ‘Moderate versus Progressive’ a False Choice? appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/is-moderate-versus-progressive-a-false-choice/feed/ 6
The Book of Judges and a “Modest” Proposal http://themoderatevoice.com/the-book-of-judges-and-a-modest-proposal/ http://themoderatevoice.com/the-book-of-judges-and-a-modest-proposal/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 17:16:50 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=203808 shutterstock_227399200

Reading the Old Testament book of Judges with the people of Living Water Lutheran Church in the past week has underscored an important truth articulated famously by Lord Acton: “Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The Old Testament judges started out as people without status. But God called them to exercise military and judicial authority [...]

The post The Book of Judges and a “Modest” Proposal appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
shutterstock_227399200

shutterstock_227399200

Reading the Old Testament book of Judges with the people of Living Water Lutheran Church in the past week has underscored an important truth articulated famously by Lord Acton: “Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

The Old Testament judges started out as people without status. But God called them to exercise military and judicial authority on behalf of His people. The judges often had success. But they often forgot that their power was from God, became selfish and self-serving.

Government, in a world composed of fallen human beings, is necessary. The Bible teaches that governmental authority is God’s idea, an emergency measure necessitated by the human penchant for selfishness and injustice. Christians are enjoined in the New Testament to pray for those in authority.

But what Judges makes clear is that power is a danger to the souls of those who exercised it and therefore, a danger to those over whom power is exercised.

It seems to me that in addition to terms of office, the dangers of power might be mitigated or minimized by deciding as a society that we won’t elect anyone to the presidency or any other public office who wants those offices.

Those who desire power, irrespective of their party, are probably more prone to the abuse of power and a sense of entitlement than others who are more indifferent to it.

America has been and remains fortunate that we have never had a tyrant in the presidency, partly because of the genius of our constitutional system. But we have seen in the presidency of Richard Nixon how corrupting the desire for power can be.

So far as I know, only two of our presidents came to office without seeking it: George Washington and Franklin Pierce. Washington was a triumph, worthy of historian Garry Wills’ assessment that Washington is the greatest political leader in world history. Pierce was a lowest common denominator choice of pols in a smoke-filled room and was a disaster.

That 50% success rate doesn’t daunt me. I would much rather opt for picking people not animated by a desire for power than for those who disingenuously insist that they only want power as a means of doing good.

It’s all a pipe dream, of course. But if, by this principle, we had a 50% chance of getting an even a lower-case Washington, wouldn’t it be worth trying?

Cross-posted from MarkDaniels.blogspot.com

Graphic via shutterstock.com

The post The Book of Judges and a “Modest” Proposal appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/the-book-of-judges-and-a-modest-proposal/feed/ 3
The Sadness of Brian Williams’ Fall http://themoderatevoice.com/sadness-brian-williams-fall/ http://themoderatevoice.com/sadness-brian-williams-fall/#comments Wed, 11 Feb 2015 15:31:39 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=202674 babygot-620x400

Brian Williams’ fall from grace and his six-month suspension–likely to become permanent–as anchor for the NBC Nightly News, saddens me. While I haven’t seen more than brief clips of his evening news broadcast for years, I always respected his reporting. It isn’t his reporting that has gotten him into trouble though. It’s his celebrity that’s [...]

The post The Sadness of Brian Williams’ Fall appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
babygot-620x400

babygot-620x400

Brian Williams’ fall from grace and his six-month suspension–likely to become permanent–as anchor for the NBC Nightly News, saddens me.

While I haven’t seen more than brief clips of his evening news broadcast for years, I always respected his reporting.

It isn’t his reporting that has gotten him into trouble though. It’s his celebrity that’s done it. Or more accurately, his reaction to it. Williams’ “misremembering” and exaggerations weren’t told on his news broadcasts. They were parts of tales he recounted on late night talk shows and in other such entertainment venues.

There’s good reason for anchors of network news shows to make appearances on talk shows. It’s good for the ratings. It makes the individual who is the face of the evening broadcast accessible and, “real” to the public.

But when you get onto the celebrity circuit, you’re given a platform on which you can make a fool of yourself without anyone suggesting that you stop. (At least for awhile.)

And, it seems, celebrity is like a drug. The applause, the adulation, and the laughs can, if one isn’t careful, leave a person craving for more. So, the stories become more outrageous. Or the behavior does. You get too comfortable in the spotlight. As U2 puts it: “Some things you shouldn’t get too good at/Like smiling, crying, and celebrity.”

Celebrity can be deadly when it comes to someone at a young age. Elvis and Michael Jackson were addicted to it with horrible results throughout their lives. Celebrity can kill people. Or make them insufferable. Or unemployable. Or presumptuous.

According to The New York Times, Williams approached NBC executives about taking over The Tonight Show from Jay Leno. That probably should have set off alarm bells at 30 Rockefeller Center. But when “the talent” does or says something goofy, you do what you can to protect the cash cow by gently rebuffing them and sending them on their way, as NBC execs apparently did.

That works until the celebrity goes one goofy too far. That’s what has happened to Brian Williams.

It’s sad. Williams has been, from all appearances, a good journalist for years. And while in this hypermediated age in which people get their news constantly from the Internet, the nightly news broadcasts aren’t as important as they were in the age of Cronkite and Huntley & Brinkley, Brian Williams was deemed credible and watchable by more viewers than his competitors. He was seen as the best at what he did. But it wasn’t enough for him, apparently.

Once a person tastes celebrity, it seems, it rarely is.

Cross-posted from Mark Daniels.Blogspot.com

The post The Sadness of Brian Williams’ Fall appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/sadness-brian-williams-fall/feed/ 1
Thrilled by Francis’ Call to Mission http://themoderatevoice.com/thrilled-by-francis-call-to-mission/ http://themoderatevoice.com/thrilled-by-francis-call-to-mission/#comments Fri, 15 Mar 2013 01:52:10 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=178723 abstract six line blue transparent vector

Words spoken by the new Roman Catholic leader, Pope Francis 1, in an informal homily delivered to the College of Cardinals today, thrilled me. (Thrilled is not one of my usual verbs. But that’s exactly how I felt.) From The Los Angeles Times account of the Mass at which Francis preached: Stressing the power of [...]

The post Thrilled by Francis’ Call to Mission appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
abstract six line blue transparent vector

Words spoken by the new Roman Catholic leader, Pope Francis 1, in an informal homily delivered to the College of Cardinals today, thrilled me. (Thrilled is not one of my usual verbs. But that’s exactly how I felt.) From The Los Angeles Times account of the Mass at which Francis preached:

Stressing the power of prayer, Francis told the cardinals, “He who does
not pray to the Lord prays to the devil. When we don’t proclaim Jesus Christ, we proclaim the worldliness of the devil, the worldliness of the demon.”

“When we walk without the cross, when we build without the cross and
when we proclaim Christ without the cross, we are not disciples of the
Lord. We are worldly.”

He added, “We may be bishops, priests, cardinals, popes, all of this, but we are not disciples of the Lord.”

Francis issued a strong warning to the cardinals, telling them the
Catholic Church risks becoming a compassionate nongovernment
organization unless it sticks to its spiritual path.

Building a solid Church, he added, was vital to stop it from crumbling like a “sand castle” built by children.

[To read the remainder of the post, go here. Be warned that what I write there as a Lutheran Christian pastor is overtly Christian. Just a loving warning.]

The post Thrilled by Francis’ Call to Mission appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/thrilled-by-francis-call-to-mission/feed/ 3
The 3 Things Holding Up John Brennan’s Nomination http://themoderatevoice.com/the-3-things-holding-up-john-brennans-nomination/ http://themoderatevoice.com/the-3-things-holding-up-john-brennans-nomination/#comments Mon, 04 Mar 2013 22:59:16 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=177693 abstract six line blue transparent vector

Here. One wonders how long a shadow these three things will cast on history’s evaluation of the Obama Administration, not to mention policy decisions taken by future administrations. [My personal blog is here.]

The post The 3 Things Holding Up John Brennan’s Nomination appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
abstract six line blue transparent vector

Here.

One wonders how long a shadow these three things will cast on history’s evaluation of the Obama Administration, not to mention policy decisions taken by future administrations.

[My personal blog is here.]

The post The 3 Things Holding Up John Brennan’s Nomination appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/the-3-things-holding-up-john-brennans-nomination/feed/ 3
The Inspiring Story of ‘Curiosity’s Landing on Mars http://themoderatevoice.com/the-inspiring-story-of-curiositys-landing-on-mars/ http://themoderatevoice.com/the-inspiring-story-of-curiositys-landing-on-mars/#comments Sun, 10 Feb 2013 03:53:41 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=175672 abstract six line blue transparent vector

NASA’s compelling video about Curiosity‘s final seven minutes before landing on the surface of Mars is exciting to watch! Here’s a Spencer Michels’ report on the Mars lander as presented on this past Friday’s PBS News Hour. Watch New Discoveries From NASA’s ‘Curiosity’ Rover’s Mars Mission on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour. [For the [...]

The post The Inspiring Story of ‘Curiosity’s Landing on Mars appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
abstract six line blue transparent vector

NASA’s compelling video about Curiosity‘s final seven minutes before landing on the surface of Mars is exciting to watch!

Here’s a Spencer Michels’ report on the Mars lander as presented on this past Friday’s PBS News Hour.

[For the rest of my take on Curiosity and government-funded space exploration, go here.]

The post The Inspiring Story of ‘Curiosity’s Landing on Mars appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/the-inspiring-story-of-curiositys-landing-on-mars/feed/ 1
That Dodge Ad http://themoderatevoice.com/that-dodge-ad/ http://themoderatevoice.com/that-dodge-ad/#comments Mon, 04 Feb 2013 04:44:13 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=175172 abstract six line blue transparent vector

Here’s a video of the Dodge truck ad shown during the Super Bowl. Here, from this Christian’s perspective, is what I think of it. Quick summary: I don’t like it.

The post That Dodge Ad appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
abstract six line blue transparent vector

Here’s a video of the Dodge truck ad shown during the Super Bowl.

Here, from this Christian’s perspective, is what I think of it. Quick summary: I don’t like it.

The post That Dodge Ad appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/that-dodge-ad/feed/ 8
Meet George Jetson http://themoderatevoice.com/meet-george-jetson/ http://themoderatevoice.com/meet-george-jetson/#comments Sat, 02 Feb 2013 03:08:53 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=175027 abstract six line blue transparent vector

Twelve concept devices we can only wish were for real. Very cool!

The post Meet George Jetson appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
abstract six line blue transparent vector

Twelve concept devices we can only wish were for real. Very cool!

The post Meet George Jetson appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/meet-george-jetson/feed/ 0
Long-Time Users of Violent Video Games More Aggressive http://themoderatevoice.com/long-time-users-of-violent-video-games-more-aggressive/ http://themoderatevoice.com/long-time-users-of-violent-video-games-more-aggressive/#comments Sat, 02 Feb 2013 02:59:13 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=175024 abstract six line blue transparent vector

Previous research has shown a link between extended use of violent video games and increased aggression and anger by players. But now a new study conducted at The Ohio State University confirms it: [Read the rest of the post here.]

The post Long-Time Users of Violent Video Games More Aggressive appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
abstract six line blue transparent vector

Previous research has shown a link between extended use of violent video games and increased aggression and anger by players. But now a new study conducted at The Ohio State University confirms it:

[Read the rest of the post here.]

The post Long-Time Users of Violent Video Games More Aggressive appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/long-time-users-of-violent-video-games-more-aggressive/feed/ 19
Did You Hear the One About the Angry Pastor and the Restaurant Server Who Went Viral? http://themoderatevoice.com/did-you-hear-the-one-about-the-angry-pastor-and-the-restaurant-server-who-went-viral/ http://themoderatevoice.com/did-you-hear-the-one-about-the-angry-pastor-and-the-restaurant-server-who-went-viral/#comments Sat, 02 Feb 2013 02:53:04 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=175021 abstract six line blue transparent vector

My buddy, Steve Sjogren, first alerted me to the image of a receipt on which a pastor refused to leave a tip because she already gave 10% to God. He suggested I might want to blog on the story. Since then, I’ve learned more of the details: A Friday night meal at Applebee’s resulted in [...]

The post Did You Hear the One About the Angry Pastor and the Restaurant Server Who Went Viral? appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
abstract six line blue transparent vector

My buddy, Steve Sjogren, first alerted me to the image of a receipt on which a pastor refused to leave a tip because she already gave 10% to God. He suggested I might want to blog on the story.

Since then, I’ve learned more of the details:

A Friday night meal at Applebee’s resulted in more than either the
customer or a waitress working that night bargained for after a pastor’s
refusal to pay a tip was shared online.

Though the embarrassed patron has apologized for her actions, the old
adage of the customer always being right may have some truth to it, as
the waitress who posted photo evidence of the tip snub lost her job for
doing so.

The trouble began last Friday, when Pastor Alois Bell went to the
local chain restaurant with several others following a service at Truth
in the World Deliverance Ministries.

When the bill came, she did not include a tip on the signed copy of her receipt. She did, however, include the reason why.

“I give God 10 [percent],” the note on the receipt read. “Why do you get 18?”

The waitress, who has been identified only as Chelsea by The Consumerist,
posted a picture of the note on the popular user-powered news site
Reddit, along with the caption, “My mistake sir, I’m sure Jesus will pay
for my rent and groceries.”

“I originally posted the note as a lighthearted joke,” she told The
Consumerist. “I thought the note was insulting, but it was also comical.
I posted it to Reddit because I thought other users would find it
entertaining.”

Her post instantly got the attention of other users, and eventually
the news media. The popular story also got back to its source – Bell –
on Wednesday, though she was less amused than others who had seen it
before her. She called the Applebee’s where she had eaten to voice her
frustration over the sharing of the image, which includes her signature.

Chelsea was fired by managers at the restaurant following the call,
despite reportedly being a model employee before this incident…

In an interview with The Smoking Gun,
Bell apologized for her actions, which she described as “lapse in [her] character and judgment,” adding that she did leave a $6 cash tip on the
table for the waitress who served them that night – who was not
Chelsea.

“My heart is really broken,” she was quoted as saying. “I’ve brought embarrassment to my church and ministry.”

Is billing customers 18% for tips a good policy? Probably not and probably not smart either. While many restaurant patrons are no doubt cheap, inconsiderate of the hard work done by servers and other restaurant personnel, a customer alienated because of a set charge for tips is not likely to return, meaning no business and no tips.

Was Applebee’s right in firing the server? Probably. Whether it was in the company manual or not, she seems to have willfully violated the privacy of another person for what she characterizes as a lighthearted prank. It hardly seems that.

Was the pastor wrong to refuse to pay the tip and to do so invoking both God and her calling as a pastor? I feel so. I also think that she was right to apologize.

Here’s a look at the receipt and Pastor Bell’s note.

The entire incident evokes all sorts of thoughts and feelings from me.

[Read the entire post here. Warning: The rest of the post is overtly Christian, based on my reactions as a Christian pastor to an incident involving a Christian pastor.]

The post Did You Hear the One About the Angry Pastor and the Restaurant Server Who Went Viral? appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/did-you-hear-the-one-about-the-angry-pastor-and-the-restaurant-server-who-went-viral/feed/ 21
That “Presidential Grub” is Resilient Stuff http://themoderatevoice.com/that-presidential-grub-is-resilient-stuff/ http://themoderatevoice.com/that-presidential-grub-is-resilient-stuff/#comments Wed, 30 Jan 2013 17:36:33 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=174864 abstract six line blue transparent vector

Ann Althouse makes it plain that she thinks departing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was shooting less than straight when she said that isn’t presently inclined to run for the presidency in 2016. Althouse asked her readers to “assess the degree of [baloney]” (my translation) in Clinton’s statement. But I don’t think one can assess [...]

The post That “Presidential Grub” is Resilient Stuff appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
abstract six line blue transparent vector

Ann Althouse makes it plain that she thinks departing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was shooting less than straight when she said that isn’t presently inclined to run for the presidency in 2016. Althouse asked her readers to “assess the degree of [baloney]” (my translation) in Clinton’s statement.

But I don’t think one can assess Clinton too much blame for being disingenuous about her White House ambitions.

For one thing, even in this era of “it’s campaign time all the time,” it’s not “nice” to admit wanting to be President when crews are still cleaning up after the most recent Inauguration, even though those who run without craving the office like cocaine are dismissed for lacking “fire in the belly.”

[To see the entire post, go here.]

The post That “Presidential Grub” is Resilient Stuff appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/that-presidential-grub-is-resilient-stuff/feed/ 5
Do You Get Facebook Envy? http://themoderatevoice.com/do-you-get-facebook-envy/ http://themoderatevoice.com/do-you-get-facebook-envy/#comments Thu, 24 Jan 2013 17:18:04 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=174341 abstract six line blue transparent vector

Have you ever trolled through your news feed on Facebook, observed the seemingly perfect lives of your “friends” and felt that your own life wasn’t as fulfilling as theirs? If you’ve had such feelings, it appears you’re not alone. A study conducted jointly by two German universities found rampant envy on Facebook, the world’s largest [...]

The post Do You Get Facebook Envy? appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
abstract six line blue transparent vector

Have you ever trolled through your news feed on Facebook, observed the seemingly perfect lives of your “friends” and felt that your own life wasn’t as fulfilling as theirs?

If you’ve had such feelings, it appears you’re not alone.

A study conducted jointly by two German universities found rampant
envy on Facebook, the world’s largest social network that now has over
one billion users and has produced an unprecedented platform for social
comparison.

The researchers found that one in three people felt worse after
visiting the site and more dissatisfied with their lives, while people
who browsed without contributing were affected the most.

If you attach much credibility to the postings of those Facebook friends who seem to use most of their posts to brag about how wonderful their lives, children, parents, spouses, children, and vacations are, I could understand how you might develop a case of “Facebook envy.”

But my experience suggests that the postings of some on Facebook are the…

[To read the whole thing go here.]

The post Do You Get Facebook Envy? appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/do-you-get-facebook-envy/feed/ 5
Any Thoughts on This Ad? http://themoderatevoice.com/any-thoughts-on-this-ad/ http://themoderatevoice.com/any-thoughts-on-this-ad/#comments Wed, 23 Jan 2013 01:50:29 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=174200 abstract six line blue transparent vector

Let me know in the comments.

The post Any Thoughts on This Ad? appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
abstract six line blue transparent vector

Let me know in the comments.

The post Any Thoughts on This Ad? appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/any-thoughts-on-this-ad/feed/ 18
One Congregation’s Prayers for President Obama’s Inauguration on Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend http://themoderatevoice.com/one-congregations-prayers-for-president-obamas-inauguration-on-martin-luther-king-jr-weekend/ http://themoderatevoice.com/one-congregations-prayers-for-president-obamas-inauguration-on-martin-luther-king-jr-weekend/#comments Mon, 21 Jan 2013 03:10:04 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=173997 abstract six line blue transparent vector

Here. To the extent you may want to, I hope that you can join in this prayer. God bless our President.

The post One Congregation’s Prayers for President Obama’s Inauguration on Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
abstract six line blue transparent vector

Here.

To the extent you may want to, I hope that you can join in this prayer.

God bless our President.

The post One Congregation’s Prayers for President Obama’s Inauguration on Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/one-congregations-prayers-for-president-obamas-inauguration-on-martin-luther-king-jr-weekend/feed/ 5
Seinfeld Was Wrong; I Was Interested in This http://themoderatevoice.com/seinfeld-was-wrong-i-was-interested-in-this/ http://themoderatevoice.com/seinfeld-was-wrong-i-was-interested-in-this/#comments Sat, 12 Jan 2013 14:47:39 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=173153 abstract six line blue transparent vector

Despite his prediction at the beginning, I was interested in this interview Jerry Seinfeld gave to The New York Times. I’ve always found his bits funny, but confession time: I’ve never watched a single episode of the Seinfeld sitcom. [Read the whole post here.]

The post Seinfeld Was Wrong; I Was Interested in This appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
abstract six line blue transparent vector

Despite his prediction at the beginning, I was interested in this interview Jerry Seinfeld gave to The New York Times.

I’ve always found his bits funny, but confession time: I’ve never watched a single episode of the Seinfeld sitcom.

[Read the whole post here.]

The post Seinfeld Was Wrong; I Was Interested in This appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/seinfeld-was-wrong-i-was-interested-in-this/feed/ 1
“Can You Limit Your Sitting and Sleeping to Just 23-1/2 Hours a Day?” http://themoderatevoice.com/can-you-limit-your-sitting-and-sleeping-to-just-23-12-hours-a-day/ http://themoderatevoice.com/can-you-limit-your-sitting-and-sleeping-to-just-23-12-hours-a-day/#comments Sat, 12 Jan 2013 04:41:55 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=173133 abstract six line blue transparent vector

That’s the question Dr. Mike Evans asks at the end of this 9-1/2 minute video which, in a compelling, fun, and content-rich format, gives us all plenty of “food” for thought and may incite us to get off our duffs to walk for a half-hour a day. Watching the video is required for members of [...]

The post “Can You Limit Your Sitting and Sleeping to Just 23-1/2 Hours a Day?” appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
abstract six line blue transparent vector

That’s the question Dr. Mike Evans asks at the end of this 9-1/2 minute video which, in a compelling, fun, and content-rich format, gives us all plenty of “food” for thought and may incite us to get off our duffs to walk for a half-hour a day.

Watching the video is required for members of the insurance plan to which clergy who wish to get some health discounts. (Good idea, huh?)

But I’d have watched the video anyway.

Watch it yourself: It really could change your life!

[This was cross-posted over on my personal blog, where I occasionally post about health matters.

The post “Can You Limit Your Sitting and Sleeping to Just 23-1/2 Hours a Day?” appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/can-you-limit-your-sitting-and-sleeping-to-just-23-12-hours-a-day/feed/ 1
Swonk Summarizes Latest Jobs Numbers http://themoderatevoice.com/swonk-summarizes-latest-jobs-numbers/ http://themoderatevoice.com/swonk-summarizes-latest-jobs-numbers/#comments Sat, 05 Jan 2013 20:01:01 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=172629 abstract six line blue transparent vector

If you caught Diane Swonk’s appearance on CNN earlier this afternoon, you caught most of this. But, here, on her company’s blog site, she gives a good snapshot of the latest jobs numbers and their implications for the overall economy. She’s very good at doing this. Her bottom line: The labor market continues to heal, [...]

The post Swonk Summarizes Latest Jobs Numbers appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
abstract six line blue transparent vector

If you caught Diane Swonk’s appearance on CNN earlier this afternoon, you caught most of this. But, here, on her company’s blog site, she gives a good snapshot of the latest jobs numbers and their implications for the overall economy. She’s very good at doing this.

Her bottom line:

The labor market continues to heal, but at too slow of a pace to reengage the long-term unemployed and the young. This, along with the battles yet to be fought on the budget front, will keep the Fed doing all it can to support growth in the first half of the year. Long-term asset purchases are likely to continue through the end of the year, unless some sort of miracle comes out of Washington by March.

[I blog regularly at my personal site here.]

The post Swonk Summarizes Latest Jobs Numbers appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/swonk-summarizes-latest-jobs-numbers/feed/ 0
“They could spend seven hours a day doing that?” http://themoderatevoice.com/they-could-spend-seven-hours-a-day-doing-that/ http://themoderatevoice.com/they-could-spend-seven-hours-a-day-doing-that/#comments Fri, 04 Jan 2013 22:54:26 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=172566 abstract six line blue transparent vector

This video is from a few years back, but it’s worth viewing again. McCullough’s response to the last question is the clincher. By the way, The Greater Journey, the McCullough book which occupies most of the attention in this interview is fantastic! Thanks to my son for sending out the link to this video.   [...]

The post “They could spend seven hours a day doing that?” appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
abstract six line blue transparent vector

This video is from a few years back, but it’s worth viewing again.

McCullough’s response to the last question is the clincher.

By the way, The Greater Journey, the McCullough book which occupies most of the attention in this interview is fantastic!

Thanks to my son for sending out the link to this video.

 

[This has been cross-posted at my personal blog.]

The post “They could spend seven hours a day doing that?” appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/they-could-spend-seven-hours-a-day-doing-that/feed/ 1
Who Are These “Celebrities”? http://themoderatevoice.com/who-are-these-celebrities/ http://themoderatevoice.com/who-are-these-celebrities/#comments Fri, 04 Jan 2013 02:04:30 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=172494 abstract six line blue transparent vector

Saw this magazine cover while shopping today at Costco. The cover says it has the scoop on, “What Tore Them Apart.” My first thought? “Who are they?” I wasn’t interested enough in learning who they are to do a Google search. It just struck me what our celebrity culture has come to. Once upon a [...]

The post Who Are These “Celebrities”? appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
abstract six line blue transparent vector

Saw this magazine cover while shopping today at Costco.

The cover says it has the scoop on, “What Tore Them Apart.”

My first thought? “Who are they?”

I wasn’t interested enough in learning who they are to do a Google search.

It just struck me what our celebrity culture has come to.

Once upon a time, there were a few people who were celebrities: leaders in government and other institutions, a handful of entertainers, writers, and artists, and that was about it.

[To read the whole post, go here.]

The post Who Are These “Celebrities”? appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/who-are-these-celebrities/feed/ 7
3 Lessons Learned from My Recent Health Issues http://themoderatevoice.com/3-lessons-learned-from-my-recent-health-issues/ http://themoderatevoice.com/3-lessons-learned-from-my-recent-health-issues/#comments Thu, 03 Jan 2013 18:37:39 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=172441 abstract six line blue transparent vector

[This was prepared to be shared with the people of the Logan Cancer Recovery Group this evening.] Since my last visit with you several years ago, a few things have happened in my life. In 2010, I suffered a heart attack that took out 40% of my heart. Since then, a stent was implanted in [...]

The post 3 Lessons Learned from My Recent Health Issues appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
abstract six line blue transparent vector[This was prepared to be shared with the people of the Logan Cancer Recovery Group this evening.]

Since my last visit with you several years ago, a few things have happened in my life.

In 2010, I suffered a heart attack that took out 40% of my heart. Since then, a stent was implanted in an artery that had been 100% blocked and in 2011, as a precautionary measure, I received a defibrillator/pacemaker.

Also in 2011, a small spot of melanoma was found on my left leg and I underwent an outpatient surgical procedure at the James Center at Ohio State. A biopsy showed that there was no cancer in the surrounding area.

In 2012, I developed a stubborn rash that ultimately proved to be a symptom of Celiac Disease, a genetic condition that may or may not show up in he course of a person’s life. The thinking is that all that whole wheat I was eating to keep my heart healthy triggered the activation of the Celiac Disease. Because I still had a rash and both my wife and I were getting acclimated to the new gluten-free, wheat-free diet that is the only treatment that exists for Celiac, we had to cancel a planned visit with friends who live in France.

Shortly after the Celiac diagnosis, I told an old high school classmate: “It’s no biggie. Heart, cancer, and Celiac were all on my bucket list.” We laughed and he said, “Man, you gotta get a different list.”

Now, I’m doing well. Most days I do several miles of brisk walking. My heart is steady at about 60 beats per minute. My blood pressure, which has never been an issue, is, my doctor says, “perfect.”

There’s been no hint of skin cancer on any other part of my body.

And I’m actually enjoying the gluten-free diet.

After my last physical, my doctor declared that I was in “great shape.”

I can’t claim to have experienced anything like what many of you have gone through. But I have learned some things I either didn’t know or didn’t pay much attention to before my last visit with you. They’re probably things all of you know from your experiences. Nonetheless, they’re worth remembering.

So what are some of these lessons I’ve learned?

First: Any time we receive bad news about our health, we should remember that it isn’t always our faults. We know that smoking leaves us at heightened risk for heart attack and cancer. We know that not exercising and not getting immunized leaves us susceptible to all sorts of diseases. We know that it’s not wise to drive without securing our seat belts. There are common sense precautions we all can take to reduce our risk for diseases or accidents.

But sometimes bad things happen even to cautious people.

[To read the whole thing, go here. Be warned that the last lesson I learned is overtly Christian. If this may offend you, you may want to take a pass on reading the entire post. However, I will tell you that when I made this presentation to a diverse group of people last night, nobody appeared offended.]

The post 3 Lessons Learned from My Recent Health Issues appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/3-lessons-learned-from-my-recent-health-issues/feed/ 3
Any Questions? http://themoderatevoice.com/any-questions/ http://themoderatevoice.com/any-questions/#comments Wed, 02 Jan 2013 22:22:02 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=172408 abstract six line blue transparent vector

This from the Harvard Business Review‘s Daily Stat. Draw your own conclusions. JANUARY 2, 2013 Fatal Heart Attacks Decline When Workplaces Go Smoke-Free U.S. states that impose workplace smoking bans covering the entire population can expect to see about 70 fewer fatal heart attacks annually, on average, among workers ages 25 to 54, in comparison [...]

The post Any Questions? appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
abstract six line blue transparent vector

This from the Harvard Business Review‘s Daily Stat. Draw your own conclusions.

JANUARY 2, 2013
Fatal Heart Attacks Decline When Workplaces Go Smoke-Free
U.S. states that impose workplace smoking bans covering the entire population can expect to see about 70 fewer
fatal heart attacks annually, on average, among workers ages 25 to 54,
in comparison with states having no workplace smoking bans, says a team
led by Scott Adams of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Put another
way, heart attack fatalities for that age group fall by 17% when states go from having no bans to total workplace smoking prohibitions, the researchers say. Some 36 states have workplace smoking bans of some kind, but many of the laws exclude restaurants and bars.
Source: The short-term impact of smoke-free workplace laws on fatal heart attacks
[This has been cross-posted at my personal blog.]

The post Any Questions? appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/any-questions/feed/ 3
Congress: Govern http://themoderatevoice.com/congress-govern/ http://themoderatevoice.com/congress-govern/#comments Tue, 01 Jan 2013 23:16:15 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=172276 shutterstock_118370308

In the early chapters of their book, The Three Roosevelts: Patrician Leaders Who Transformed America, James MacGregor Burns and Susan Dunn explain how Theodore Roosevelt came to be the first Rooseveltian “traitor to his class,” by descending from the lofty heights of inherited social position and entering the rough world of elective politics. According to [...]

The post Congress: Govern appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
shutterstock_118370308

In the early chapters of their book, The Three Roosevelts: Patrician Leaders Who Transformed America, James MacGregor Burns and Susan Dunn explain how Theodore Roosevelt came to be the first Rooseveltian “traitor to his class,” by descending from the lofty heights of inherited social position and entering the rough world of elective politics.

According to Burns and Dunn, the impulse to reform was shared by many other members of the Knickerbocker gentry from which Roosevelt came. Some even engaged in politics.

But they did so in a way that was condescending toward the lower social classes and of their partisan political organizations, always with an eye toward re-establishing the ruling status of those with proper “breeding,” who, they were sure, could overcome the social ills and undeniable corruption of machine politics.

These patricians, known as “Mugwumps,” were appalled by the waves of eastern European, Jewish, Catholic, and Irish immigrants, people they deemed too ignorant to be entrusted with the responsibility of managing the corporate structure of government. In the late nineteenth century, many of TR’s class even advocated rolling back voting rights as the sole prerogative of those who owned property.

In the end though, the Mugwumps and their class recoiled from politics. They refused to dirty their hands by doing the one thing that governance requires. They would not compromise.

As I write this, the Republican caucus of the US House of Representatives is meeting. If reports are to be believed, the caucus will be unwilling to pass the Senate fiscal measure passed early this morning, the result of a deal between Vice President Joe Biden and the Republican leader of the US Senate, which won by a vote of 89-8.

The fifty or so House Republicans, evidently including the number two man in the House, Eric Cantor, are not, like the Mugwumps, old money patricians.

But they do appear to have a similar aversion to compromise. Some do, it seems, informed by the same vanity that rendered the Mugwumps politically impotent: They would rather be critics who remain ideologically pure than participants in governance who take tough choices and taint their political virginity by meeting the other guy halfway.

Other Republican caucus members may torpedo the deal because of their well-founded fears that compromise will bring heavily bankrolled primary challengers to them in the 2014 elections.

But they–along with intransigent liberal Democrats–need to remember that people don’t elect them to perpetually campaign, to function no more as pundits with offices in the Cannon, Longworth, Ford, and Rayburn buildings.

Ideological purity may, in America’s severely gerrymandered US House districts, ensure re-election in districts that don’t reflect the political sentiments of the American people. But when will the ideologues of both parties, with particular emphasis on about four dozen Republican House members at the moment, reach the same conclusion that TR reached, that compromise, getting one’s hands dirty according to one’s own ideological lights, is the only way governance can happen?

We don’t elect people to public office just to give them permission to keep on campaigning. We elect them to govern.

Members of both Congress: Get your hands dirty. Make deals. Govern. That’s what Americans do.

[UPDATE: The House passed the Senate’s modest fiscal bill on January 1, around 11:00 PM. There’s still a lot of work to be done for the new Congress, which will be sworn in today.] [I blog usually on entirely different subjects, here. I hasten to add that this post reflect only my opinion and isn’t intended to reflect a religious conviction based on my faith or calling as a pastor.]

Congress image via shutterstock.com

The post Congress: Govern appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/congress-govern/feed/ 0
Snow in the Church Garden http://themoderatevoice.com/snow-in-the-church-garden/ http://themoderatevoice.com/snow-in-the-church-garden/#comments Sat, 29 Dec 2012 18:53:29 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=172026 abstract six line blue transparent vector

Like many others last night, we got snow here in southeastern Ohio, our first significant accumulation of the season. I took this video of the church garden at 7:30 this morning. To me, it’s beautiful enough for you to ignore the creaking of the wood floor as I shift my weight around and the sound [...]

The post Snow in the Church Garden appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
abstract six line blue transparent vector

Like many others last night, we got snow here in southeastern Ohio, our first significant accumulation of the season. I took this video of the church garden at 7:30 this morning. To me, it’s beautiful enough for you to ignore the creaking of the wood floor as I shift my weight around and the sound of my wife busily washing a pan in the kitchen downstairs. Enjoy!

[My personal blog is here.]

The post Snow in the Church Garden appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/snow-in-the-church-garden/feed/ 1
Do Tote Bags or Charitable Deductions Help Giving? http://themoderatevoice.com/do-thank-you-gifts-or-the-charitable-deduction-cheapen-the-giving-process/ http://themoderatevoice.com/do-thank-you-gifts-or-the-charitable-deduction-cheapen-the-giving-process/#comments Sat, 29 Dec 2012 04:03:08 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=171999 abstract six line blue transparent vector

Here’s yesterday’s installment of The Daily Stat from the Harvard Business Review: DECEMBER 27, 2012 Why You Don’t Like Donating to Charities That Offer Thank-You Gifts Research participants were willing to donate 38% less, on average, to public broadcasting if the U.S. nonprofit offered a thank-you gift, in this case a pen, say George E. [...]

The post Do Tote Bags or Charitable Deductions Help Giving? appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
abstract six line blue transparent vector

Here’s yesterday’s installment of The Daily Stat from the Harvard Business Review:

DECEMBER 27, 2012
Why You Don’t Like Donating to Charities That Offer Thank-You Gifts
Research participants were willing to donate 38%
less, on average, to public broadcasting if the U.S. nonprofit offered a
thank-you gift, in this case a pen, say George E. Newman and Y. Jeremy
Shen of Yale University. A promised gift of a tote bag brought intended
donations down 17%.
A thank-you gift creates ambiguity in the donor’s mind about whether
the donation is supporting the charity or is a quid-pro-quo, the
researchers say.
Source: The counterintuitive effects of thank-you gifts on charitable giving

Frankly, thank you gifts have never enticed me to make a contribution to a not-for-profit organization.

In fact, they act as a reverse incentive on me, making it less likely that I will give.

Rightly or wrongly, I have a visceral reaction that goes something like this: If they can afford to give me something for my contribution, maybe they don’t need my money. Maybe, I think, they could save a few bucks and lower their cost of operation by not buying thank you gifts.

Now, I’m sure that at least some of the thank you gifts offered by not-for-profits are donated by corporate sponsors who, in turn, are able to write the donations off on their taxes.

But that raises another issue. Even though taxpayers, individual or corporate, would be crazy not to take advantage of the charitable deduction of our tax laws, I’m not a fan.

There are several reasons for this.

[To read the entire post, please go here.]

The post Do Tote Bags or Charitable Deductions Help Giving? appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/do-thank-you-gifts-or-the-charitable-deduction-cheapen-the-giving-process/feed/ 12
Anger + Popcorn= A Mess… http://themoderatevoice.com/anger-popcorn-a-mess/ http://themoderatevoice.com/anger-popcorn-a-mess/#comments Fri, 28 Dec 2012 20:03:12 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=171961 abstract six line blue transparent vector

Anger + Gun= A Tragedy. Rev. Dr. Dwight Moody, a Baptist pastor and a professor, wrote several years ago of how people taking guns into their misunderstandings and disagreements elevates the stakes in conflict situations. Here, anyway, Moody doesn’t touch the subjects of gun control or people’s Second Amendment rights. He objects to the “gun [...]

The post Anger + Popcorn= A Mess… appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
abstract six line blue transparent vector

Anger + Gun= A Tragedy.

Rev. Dr. Dwight Moody, a Baptist pastor and a professor, wrote several years ago of how people taking guns into their misunderstandings and disagreements elevates the stakes in conflict situations.

Here, anyway, Moody doesn’t touch the subjects of gun control or people’s Second Amendment rights. He objects to the “gun culture,” which means, I take it, our culture’s attitudes about guns.

Agree or disagree with Moody’s request of gun owners, his contrasting equations are undeniably accurate and leave us all with something to think about.

[My personal blog is here.]

The post Anger + Popcorn= A Mess… appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/anger-popcorn-a-mess/feed/ 1
Got Any Unused Gift Cards? http://themoderatevoice.com/got-any-unused-gift-cards/ http://themoderatevoice.com/got-any-unused-gift-cards/#comments Wed, 26 Dec 2012 15:40:11 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=171754 abstract six line blue transparent vector

If you’re like me, just one day after this Christmas, you may have realized that you still have holiday gift cards left over from last year that you haven’t used fully. Holiday gift cards can be a sweet deal for retailers since, in some states, after the sale, recipients leave hundreds of redeemable dollars unclaimed [...]

The post Got Any Unused Gift Cards? appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
abstract six line blue transparent vector

If you’re like me, just one day after this Christmas, you may have realized that you still have holiday gift cards left over from last year that you haven’t used fully.

Holiday gift cards can be a sweet deal for retailers since, in some states, after the sale, recipients leave hundreds of redeemable dollars unclaimed and in the retailers’ coffers.

Other states however, don’t let retailers get off so easily.

In any case, use your gift cards! The money’s been spent already. So, you may as well take advantage of it.

Check out the following, from today’s Harvard Business Review Daily Stat:

DECEMBER 26, 2012
Americans Carrying Around Big Money in Unused Gift Cards
The typical American home holds an average of $300 in unredeemed gift cards, according to an estimate reported by Rocky B. Cummings and Joseph Carr in the Journal of State Taxation. These cards are often misplaced, accidentally thrown out, or only partially redeemed. Between 2005 and 2011, $41 billion in gift cards went unused, the authors say. But retailers don’t always benefit: Many states require issuers to report unclaimed balances as abandoned property after a prescribed period of time.
Source: Holiday Gift Card Season is Upon Us—Has Your State Been Naughty or Nice?
[Crossposted at my personal blog.]

The post Got Any Unused Gift Cards? appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/got-any-unused-gift-cards/feed/ 0
Remembering Valley Forge http://themoderatevoice.com/remembering-valley-forge/ http://themoderatevoice.com/remembering-valley-forge/#comments Wed, 26 Dec 2012 11:05:36 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=171746 abstract six line blue transparent vector

The Valley Forge National Park has a tremendous set of web posts delving into the history of the critical, life-threatening encampment of the fledgling United States Army under the command of George Washington during the Revolutionary War. You can read the first profile of the people involved in this encampment, which began on December 19, [...]

The post Remembering Valley Forge appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
abstract six line blue transparent vector

The Valley Forge National Park has a tremendous set of web posts delving into the history of the critical, life-threatening encampment of the fledgling United States Army under the command of George Washington during the Revolutionary War. You can read the first profile of the people involved in this encampment, which began on December 19, 1777 and continued through a bitterly cold winter, here.

If you’ve never been to Valley Forge, I recommend a visit highly. It helps make vivid all the sacrifices made and hardships endured by Washington and his army in order to keep the fledgling American republic alive and to pursue the war of survival and attrition needed to make independence from Great Britain possible.

The post Remembering Valley Forge appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/remembering-valley-forge/feed/ 1
Happy Second Day of Christmas! http://themoderatevoice.com/happy-second-day-of-christmas/ http://themoderatevoice.com/happy-second-day-of-christmas/#comments Wed, 26 Dec 2012 10:58:41 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=171743 abstract six line blue transparent vector

Happy second day of Christmas! Or, if you like, Happy Saint Stephen’s Day.  Each December, one of the most-played and sung tunes is The Twelve Days of Christmas. What exactly is that all about? Well, Christmas is actually not just one day for Christians, but a twelve day season, culminating in Epiphany, a day reserved [...]

The post Happy Second Day of Christmas! appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
abstract six line blue transparent vector

Happy second day of Christmas! Or, if you like, Happy Saint Stephen’s Day

Each December, one of the most-played and sung tunes is The Twelve Days of Christmas. What exactly is that all about? Well, Christmas is actually not just one day for Christians, but a twelve day season, culminating in Epiphany, a day reserved for the remembrance of the coming of wise men who brought gifts to the Christ child. (And the precursor for our society’s annual custom of wretched gift-giving excess. But I’m getting ahead of myselfe.

Since on the Christian calendar, Christmas just began yesterday, I thought that it might be helpful to re-run an old tried and true post I first wrote at least seven years ago, explaining the Church Year. Hope you find it helpful.

The Church Year is a human invention. Observing it won’t make us better than anybody else. Nor does keeping it “save” a person from sin and death.

But the Church Year is one of those customs or traditions designed to help people know the God we meet in Jesus and also help believers to grow in their faith.

The Church Year is built around three great festivals: Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost.

Christmas, of course, is the celebration of Jesus’ birth.

Easter is the day remembering Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.

Pentecost remembers the occasion fifty days after Jesus’ resurrection and ten days after His ascension into heaven when the Holy Spirit came to Jesus’ praying disciples and gave birth to the Church.

Historically, Easter was the first holiday (that word, by the way, contracts two words: holy day) that Christians began to celebrate.

This only makes sense, as it’s Jesus’ resurrection that gives Christians hope for this life and the one to come. While early Christians did seem to remember Easter on a Sunday falling at the beginning of the Jewish Passover, the practice of the first Christians, all of whom were Jews like Jesus, was to worship on the traditional Jewish Sabbath–from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday–and to celebrate every Sunday as a little Easter. (Some echo of this can be found in the Gospel of John’s occasional references to an “eighth day,” a new beginning in a new week.)

[To read the entire post, go here.]

The post Happy Second Day of Christmas! appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/happy-second-day-of-christmas/feed/ 2
What If the Newtown Shooter Had Been Black, Muslim, or Latino? http://themoderatevoice.com/what-if-the-newtown-shooter-had-been-black-muslim-or-latino/ http://themoderatevoice.com/what-if-the-newtown-shooter-had-been-black-muslim-or-latino/#comments Sun, 23 Dec 2012 04:26:02 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=171385 abstract six line blue transparent vector

Would the reporting of the story have differed? The provocative thoughts of a young blogger have me thinking…and praying.

The post What If the Newtown Shooter Had Been Black, Muslim, or Latino? appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
abstract six line blue transparent vector

Would the reporting of the story have differed? The provocative thoughts of a young blogger have me thinking…and praying.

The post What If the Newtown Shooter Had Been Black, Muslim, or Latino? appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/what-if-the-newtown-shooter-had-been-black-muslim-or-latino/feed/ 3
Britain’s Police Are Still Unarmed: Why? http://themoderatevoice.com/britains-police-are-still-unarmed-why/ http://themoderatevoice.com/britains-police-are-still-unarmed-why/#comments Tue, 18 Dec 2012 16:29:39 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=170866 abstract six line blue transparent vector

And, despite the dangers, overwhelmingly wish to remain so. This is interesting to consider. George Bernard Shaw once called the US and Great Britain two countries divided by a common language. Despite the intense interactions between us, to this day the cultures of the two most prominent English-speaking lands are very different. In coming days, [...]

The post Britain’s Police Are Still Unarmed: Why? appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
abstract six line blue transparent vector

And, despite the dangers, overwhelmingly wish to remain so.

This is interesting to consider. George Bernard Shaw once called the US and Great Britain two countries divided by a common language. Despite the intense interactions between us, to this day the cultures of the two most prominent English-speaking lands are very different.

In coming days, there will be debates regarding what legal measures regarding guns, assault rifles, mental health spending, and school security may need to change in the US. But it seems to me that the biggest factor contributing to the periodic occurrences of tragedies like the one in Newtown this week is cultural.

Beyond the use of guns for sport or protection, there is a glorification of gun violence that seems endemic to US culture. It’s seen in our films and our video games. It appears to have its roots in our “Wild West” facts and myths, in which firearms played an important role in the descendants of European colonists subduing the Native Americans who previously occupied this entire continent. And of course, the mythic Western lawman who was “quick on the draw,” employing guns, the “great equalizers,” to impose order on chaos, has to have played its part in our faith in guns as our protectors.

The culture of gun violence in the United States is something that cannot be addressed by laws alone. Attitudes about life will also need to change. And that, I believe, is a profoundly spiritual matter.

But if Britain’s bobbies can go about their work unarmed, can’t we dream of a culture whose attitudes about gun violence have shifted sufficiently to allow our own officers to work without guns?

[I also maintain a personal blog site here.]

The post Britain’s Police Are Still Unarmed: Why? appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/britains-police-are-still-unarmed-why/feed/ 0
Where Was God Last Friday? http://themoderatevoice.com/where-was-god-last-friday/ http://themoderatevoice.com/where-was-god-last-friday/#comments Tue, 18 Dec 2012 16:10:15 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=170864 abstract six line blue transparent vector

One pastor’s perspective here. Also: What people need from Christians most in the wake of the Newtown tragedy. (By the way, it’s authenticity.) Warning: If you don’t want a Christian’s faith perspective on the tragedy in Newtown, please don’t read either of the linked posts. Out of respect for those of different perspectives, I haven’t [...]

The post Where Was God Last Friday? appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
abstract six line blue transparent vector

One pastor’s perspective here.

Also: What people need from Christians most in the wake of the Newtown tragedy. (By the way, it’s authenticity.)

Warning: If you don’t want a Christian’s faith perspective on the tragedy in Newtown, please don’t read either of the linked posts. Out of respect for those of different perspectives, I haven’t crossposted the pieces on The Moderate Voice. But I thought some of our readers might be interested.

The post Where Was God Last Friday? appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/where-was-god-last-friday/feed/ 10
Agatha Christie, Ian McKellen, Michael Jecks, and ‘Democratic Art’ http://themoderatevoice.com/agatha-christie-ian-mckellen-michael-jecks-and-democratic-art/ http://themoderatevoice.com/agatha-christie-ian-mckellen-michael-jecks-and-democratic-art/#comments Mon, 17 Dec 2012 09:32:35 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=170766 abstract six line blue transparent vector

Ian McKellen reprises his role of Gandalf from the Lord of the Rings films in The Hobbit, projected to be the first of three films chronicling the prequel time before the Rings adventures. In an interview with TIME, McKellen pronounced that the one playright in whose plays he’s acted that he hates to be Agatha [...]

The post Agatha Christie, Ian McKellen, Michael Jecks, and ‘Democratic Art’ appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
abstract six line blue transparent vector

Ian McKellen reprises his role of Gandalf from the Lord of the Rings films in The Hobbit, projected to be the first of three films chronicling the prequel time before the Rings adventures.

In an interview with TIME, McKellen pronounced that the one playright in whose plays he’s acted that he hates to be Agatha Christie, the noted mystery writer. McKellen claims, “I’ve done a couple of plays–misery, rubbish. No sense of what human beings are at all.”

Coincidentally, in a recent Twitter exchange with contemporary British mystery writer Michael Jecks, we agreed that Christie’s characters are somewhat thinly developed. I tweeted Jecks:

…have you read much of Agatha Christie? I just finished one of hers. She writes puzzles…
…People seem more like caricatures. Yet I find her mysteries addictive.  

In the meantime, Jecks wrote back:

Hah! You beat me to that one! Yes, but they are fun and entertaining. Turn off mind etc…
…Yes puzzles: no characterisation really, which is why actors love her. They can stamp their own mark very easily! I enjoy ’em…

Jecks and I may seem to be saying the same thing as McKellen about Christie’s work. But I don’t think that’s entirely so.

You see, the lack of deep character development, at least in the supporting cast of characters–suspects, mainly–in Christie’s stories doesn’t necessarily denote “no sense of human beings at all.”

Clearly, she had a tremendous understanding of the human beings for whom she wrote her novels, stories, and plays.

She understood that in a workaday world of confounding mysteries, there’s nothing more appealing to our egos or to our desire for order than a mystery in which we join the hero in resolving matters and setting things right.

The proof of how well she understood these things about us is in the enduring popularity of her work, even though much of it takes place in a Jeeves and Wooster world long gone.

Christie, like Alfred Hitchcock, also understood something primal in all human beings: Our terror that, at any moment, our well-ordered world could come crashing down on us.

So, while Christie’s characters may be plastic, her understanding of the characters of those who read or viewed her works was anything but. In this, she remains lastingly insightful.

And this is why her work is more vital, more infused with character, than McKellen’s dismissal of Christie would have it.

Years ago, I remember reading an essay by Ralph Gleason in Rolling Stone about the music of Bob Dylan. Much of Dylan’s work is filled with Dylan’s penchant for, in a phrase by Joan Baez in a song about her relationship with Dylan, “keeping things vague.” Cryptic language, the meaning of which is ambiguous, can initially drive a hearer away from Dylan, not to mention the thinness of Dylan’s voice and the usual sparseness of his arrangements. But those who stick with listening to Dylan are rewarded richly. Dylan’s music, Gleason said, represents a “democratic art,” work to which each listener brings her or his experiences, fears, and hopes. Dylan, at his best, doesn’t tell you what to feel. He takes you to a place and lets you feel what you feel. That, asserted Gleason, is democratic art.

In a way, this is precisely what Christie did and still does. Actors in Christie plays or in scripts based on her stories, as Jecks pointed out, love the freedom of infusing the characters with whatever meaning or quirks they can. Readers are given the same freedom when they sit down to read a mystery by Christie.

In essence, Christie invites us to become her co-authors, to flesh out the characters she trots before us in our imaginations.

I read other authors to find fully realized characters in more realistic life situations. But that doesn’t mean, as McKellen says, that Agatha Christie had no sense of human beings at all.

I find, in fact, that she knows me, anyway, very well.

[This has been crossposted at my personal blog.]

The post Agatha Christie, Ian McKellen, Michael Jecks, and ‘Democratic Art’ appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/agatha-christie-ian-mckellen-michael-jecks-and-democratic-art/feed/ 1
Major Media Purveyors: Don’t Give Mass Killers The Fame They Crave! http://themoderatevoice.com/major-media-purveyors-dont-give-mass-killers-the-fame-they-crave/ http://themoderatevoice.com/major-media-purveyors-dont-give-mass-killers-the-fame-they-crave/#comments Sat, 15 Dec 2012 01:49:09 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=170551 Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch

I would love for all the major media outlets–conventional network news departments, cable news channels, and internet news publishers–to engage in an act of collusion behind an idea mentioned on this evening’s PBS NewHour by David Brooks. When tragic events like today’s Connecticut shooting happen, don’t identify the alleged killer, don’t display that person’s image, [...]

The post Major Media Purveyors: Don’t Give Mass Killers The Fame They Crave! appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch

Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch

I would love for all the major media outlets–conventional network news departments, cable news channels, and internet news publishers–to engage in an act of collusion behind an idea mentioned on this evening’s PBS NewHour by David Brooks.

When tragic events like today’s Connecticut shooting happen, don’t identify the alleged killer, don’t display that person’s image, don’t dig up their Facebook page, don’t track down people who know them, don’t publish any of their rants.

Refuse to give killers, like the one alleged to have perpetrated today’s rampage, publicity.

Perpetrators of the sort of horror we’ve seen today often desire a kind of dark fame for their evil actions. When some see that mass murderers get saturation coverage, seeming to hold an entire nation hostage for days, it likely incites them to go for their own twisted glory, too.

There are undoubtedly many factors contributing to the number of mass murders we have experienced in recent years. But, I beg the major news outlets to stop one of those factors in its tracks: Don’t give mass killers the fame they crave.

[This has been crossposted at my personal blog.]

LEGAL NOTICE ON CARTOON: This copyrighted cartoon is licensed to run on TMV. Reproduction elsewhere without licensing is strictly prohibited. See great cartoons by all the top political cartoonists at http://cagle.com. To license this cartoon for your own site, visit http://politicalcartoons.com

The post Major Media Purveyors: Don’t Give Mass Killers The Fame They Crave! appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/major-media-purveyors-dont-give-mass-killers-the-fame-they-crave/feed/ 1
The Home Front After Pearl Harbor http://themoderatevoice.com/the-home-front-after-pearl-harbor/ http://themoderatevoice.com/the-home-front-after-pearl-harbor/#comments Fri, 07 Dec 2012 14:40:09 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=169949 abstract six line blue transparent vector

Fantastic pictures, accompanied by a short essay on the immediate aftermath of the December 7, 1941 attack by the forces of Imperial Japan on US military installations at Pearl Harbor, can be found here on life.time.com. Worth the short time required to read the essay and go through the slide show composed of many pictures [...]

The post The Home Front After Pearl Harbor appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
abstract six line blue transparent vector

Fantastic pictures, accompanied by a short essay on the immediate aftermath of the December 7, 1941 attack by the forces of Imperial Japan on US military installations at Pearl Harbor, can be found here on life.time.com. Worth the short time required to read the essay and go through the slide show composed of many pictures that never were used in Life magazine, the eminent pictorial chronicler of the world before television became the force it became (used to be) and long before the Internet.

[This has also been posted on my personal blog site.]

The post The Home Front After Pearl Harbor appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/the-home-front-after-pearl-harbor/feed/ 0
Corporate Political Activism May Not Be Good for Companies’ Bottom Lines http://themoderatevoice.com/corporate-political-activism-may-not-be-good-for-companies-bottom-lines/ http://themoderatevoice.com/corporate-political-activism-may-not-be-good-for-companies-bottom-lines/#comments Tue, 04 Dec 2012 16:56:24 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=169708 abstract six line blue transparent vector

That’s suggested by data featured in today’s Harvard Business Review Daily Stat: Big U.S. corporations that created political action committees and made other forays into politics bounced back with less bounce from the financial crisis, according to a study of S&P 500 firms by John C. Coates IV of Harvard Law School. The post-2008 increase [...]

The post Corporate Political Activism May Not Be Good for Companies’ Bottom Lines appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
abstract six line blue transparent vector

That’s suggested by data featured in today’s Harvard Business Review Daily Stat:

Big U.S. corporations that created political action committees and made other forays into politics bounced back with less bounce from the financial crisis, according to a study of S&P 500 firms by John C. Coates IV of Harvard Law School. The post-2008 increase in these companies’ industry-relative shareholder value was 8% lower, on average, than increases registered by politically inactive firms. Political engagement may dilute a company’s strategic focus and lead it to make wasteful investments, Coates says. (Source: Corporate Politics, Governance, and Value Before and After Citizens United)

Find the article which reveals the findings to which the Daily State refers here, in the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies.

[My personal blog is here.]

The post Corporate Political Activism May Not Be Good for Companies’ Bottom Lines appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/corporate-political-activism-may-not-be-good-for-companies-bottom-lines/feed/ 1
Double Trouble? http://themoderatevoice.com/double-trouble/ http://themoderatevoice.com/double-trouble/#comments Tue, 04 Dec 2012 03:02:07 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=169681 abstract six line blue transparent vector

I thought that this was interesting. [My personal blog can be found here.]

The post Double Trouble? appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
abstract six line blue transparent vector

I thought that this was interesting.

[My personal blog can be found here.]

The post Double Trouble? appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/double-trouble/feed/ 0
3 People Fighting Hunger http://themoderatevoice.com/3-people-fighting-hunger/ http://themoderatevoice.com/3-people-fighting-hunger/#comments Mon, 03 Dec 2012 02:43:24 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=169609 abstract six line blue transparent vector

Their inspiring stories are here.

The post 3 People Fighting Hunger appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
abstract six line blue transparent vector

Their inspiring stories are here.

The post 3 People Fighting Hunger appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/3-people-fighting-hunger/feed/ 1
On the Tenth Anniversary of His Passing: Some George Harrison Posts http://themoderatevoice.com/on-the-tenth-anniversary-of-his-passing-some-george-harrison-posts/ http://themoderatevoice.com/on-the-tenth-anniversary-of-his-passing-some-george-harrison-posts/#comments Fri, 30 Nov 2012 22:48:25 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=169464 abstract six line blue transparent vector

Today brings the tenth anniversary of George Harrison’s death. Here are links to a few of my George Harrison-themed or -tinged blog posts from over the years: He Wanted to Be Successful without Being Famous Sippican Quotes Me Of Lennon, McCartney, Feuds, and Grudges Warning: The last post is overtly Christian.

The post On the Tenth Anniversary of His Passing: Some George Harrison Posts appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
abstract six line blue transparent vector

Today brings the tenth anniversary of George Harrison’s death. Here are links to a few of my George Harrison-themed or -tinged blog posts from over the years:

He Wanted to Be Successful without Being Famous
Sippican Quotes Me
Of Lennon, McCartney, Feuds, and Grudges

Warning: The last post is overtly Christian.

The post On the Tenth Anniversary of His Passing: Some George Harrison Posts appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/on-the-tenth-anniversary-of-his-passing-some-george-harrison-posts/feed/ 0
Christie Falls Out of Favor with Right of Center Political Junkies http://themoderatevoice.com/christie-falls-out-of-favor-with-right-of-center-political-junkies/ http://themoderatevoice.com/christie-falls-out-of-favor-with-right-of-center-political-junkies/#comments Tue, 27 Nov 2012 14:05:52 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=169109 abstract six line blue transparent vector

Political journalists, consultants, officeholders, and candidates are, let’s be honest, junkies. They’re addicted. They can never get enough of politics, political speculation, or campaigning. The object of life for many of them isn’t to govern, but to win. For them, the four years between presidential elections isn’t when government policies are debated and enacted, it’s [...]

The post Christie Falls Out of Favor with Right of Center Political Junkies appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
abstract six line blue transparent vector

Political journalists, consultants, officeholders, and candidates are, let’s be honest, junkies. They’re addicted. They can never get enough of politics, political speculation, or campaigning. The object of life for many of them isn’t to govern, but to win. For them, the four years between presidential elections isn’t when government policies are debated and enacted, it’s just part of the election cycle, akin to a major league baseball or NFL football season.

So, it was no surprise on election night to see the pundits speculating on who the Democratic and Republican Party candidates in 2016 would be. (That’s when I turned off the TV and pulled out a book.)

Nor was it surprising to learn that within days of the election, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) was off to Iowa to lend his help to the state GOP with a fundraiser.

Yesterday, Ann Althouse reported on an informal poll conducted among “right of center bloggers” as to their preferred GOP presidential candidates for 2016.

(Read the whole thing here.)

The post Christie Falls Out of Favor with Right of Center Political Junkies appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/christie-falls-out-of-favor-with-right-of-center-political-junkies/feed/ 1
Getting Ready to Be Born is Tiring Work http://themoderatevoice.com/getting-ready-to-be-born-is-tiring-work/ http://themoderatevoice.com/getting-ready-to-be-born-is-tiring-work/#comments Sat, 24 Nov 2012 01:59:47 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=168924 abstract six line blue transparent vector

Or so amazing new video shared by researchers at the University of Durham would seem to indicate. It’s confirmation that babies yawn in the womb.

The post Getting Ready to Be Born is Tiring Work appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
abstract six line blue transparent vector

Or so amazing new video shared by researchers at the University of Durham would seem to indicate. It’s confirmation that babies yawn in the womb.

The post Getting Ready to Be Born is Tiring Work appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/getting-ready-to-be-born-is-tiring-work/feed/ 0
Burning Ovens, Drunken Cat Fights, and Other Happy Thanksgiving Memories http://themoderatevoice.com/burning-ovens-drunken-cat-fights-and-other-happy-thanksgiving-memories/ http://themoderatevoice.com/burning-ovens-drunken-cat-fights-and-other-happy-thanksgiving-memories/#comments Thu, 22 Nov 2012 13:33:50 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=168805 abstract six line blue transparent vector

Here.

The post Burning Ovens, Drunken Cat Fights, and Other Happy Thanksgiving Memories appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
abstract six line blue transparent vector

Here.

The post Burning Ovens, Drunken Cat Fights, and Other Happy Thanksgiving Memories appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/burning-ovens-drunken-cat-fights-and-other-happy-thanksgiving-memories/feed/ 0
Olive Oyl Has Been Found! http://themoderatevoice.com/olive-oyl-has-been-found/ http://themoderatevoice.com/olive-oyl-has-been-found/#comments Fri, 16 Nov 2012 18:11:05 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=168325 abstract six line blue transparent vector

She’s the new first lady of China, Peng Liyuan. Don’t believe me? Go here for the evidence. By the way, in a separate development, Peng, a Chinese folk singer, has announced that she will soon be recording cover versions of American folk favorites. Among those slated for the collection are: The Times, They’re Never Changing, [...]

The post Olive Oyl Has Been Found! appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
abstract six line blue transparent vector

She’s the new first lady of China, Peng Liyuan. Don’t believe me? Go here for the evidence.

By the way, in a separate development, Peng, a Chinese folk singer, has announced that she will soon be recording cover versions of American folk favorites. Among those slated for the collection are: The Times, They’re Never Changing, Wanna Work on Mao’s Farm Some More, and This Land is My Land, This Land is My Land.

The post Olive Oyl Has Been Found! appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/olive-oyl-has-been-found/feed/ 7
‘The Onion': Economy Devastated By Newton-John/Travolta Christmas LP http://themoderatevoice.com/the-onion-economy-devastated-by-newton-johntravolta-christmas-lp/ http://themoderatevoice.com/the-onion-economy-devastated-by-newton-johntravolta-christmas-lp/#comments Fri, 16 Nov 2012 17:45:58 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=168314 abstract six line blue transparent vector

Too funny! John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John Christmas Album Plunges Nation Into Double-Dip Recession [I blog here.]

The post ‘The Onion': Economy Devastated By Newton-John/Travolta Christmas LP appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
abstract six line blue transparent vector

Too funny!


John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John Christmas Album Plunges Nation Into Double-Dip Recession

[I blog here.]

The post ‘The Onion': Economy Devastated By Newton-John/Travolta Christmas LP appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

]]>
http://themoderatevoice.com/the-onion-economy-devastated-by-newton-johntravolta-christmas-lp/feed/ 0