What I hope we don’t see, when the next race or a parade or festival looms up in front of us, are layers of extra stops and searches and checkpoints, wider and wider rings of closed streets, the kind of portable metal detectors that journalists remember unfondly from political conventions, more of the concrete barriers that Washingtonians have become accustomed to around our public buildings … more of everything that organized officialdom does to reassure us, and itself, that soft targets can somehow be eliminated entirely, and that everything anyone can think of is being done to keep the unthinkable at bay.
I'm the web editor in these here parts, and my morning routine includes checking a variety of sources for hits on the phrase "Christian century." This works better for us than it does for Time but worse than it does for Timothy McSweneey's Quarterly Concern: most of the links are indeed about us, but not all of them.
These great graphs from the Washington Post compare these five plans to one another and to current policy. Note than on the first metric, the ever-popular question of budget deficits, all five dip lower than current projections in just a couple years.
I'm away this week at the joint gathering of the Associated Church Press and the Religious Communicators Council. Lots of useful lectures and workshops, lots of colleagues to catch up with; not a lot of time to blog. So my lack of posting is likely to continue through the week. (Also, the more or less daily Century "digest" posts are trending toward "less" while I'm away.)
My dad’s been a church musician for years. I cut my musical teeth filling in where needed: whichever instrument, whichever voice part. Also: whichever role in the large-scale musicals the church staged, where I was an odd combination of ringer and gofer. Sometimes I sang the role that was too high or too difficult for others.
Dan Schultz raises a good question. Why would NPR give Focus on the Family's Jim Daly a free pass on conflating religious freedom with his desire to impose his own religious beliefs on the broader culture?
I don't know, but it probably doesn't hurt that Daly's a whole lot nicer than James Dobson ever was.
Matt Yglesias is right that public policy must deal with the broad abstractions of the common good, not just with issues that affect lawmakers personally. And Anne Thériault is certainly right that a woman's value, dignity and rights are not contingent on who cares about her personally.
Still, both posts seem too dismissive of the role personal relationships play in our formation, our view of the world, our very personhood.
I for one am not sure the actor who plays Satan in the History Channel documentary looks all that much like President Obama. But I don't find this quote from the miniseries producer especially heartening:
Mark Burnett said the actor who played Satan, Mohamen Mehdi Ouazanni, "is a highly acclaimed Moroccan actor. He has previously played parts in several Biblical epics –including Satanic characters long before Barack Obama was elected as our President."
Top DC blogger Ezra Klein has risen quickly in influence and reach over the last decade, from blogging independently to labor-left magazine the American Prospect to the Washington Post, where he soon picked up an assistant and then a staff of bloggers. Klein has long been a big draw for those of us who folllow the intersection of politics and domestic policy; these days, his Wonkblog is absolutely indispensable.
I'm always happy to see MSM articles that challenge assumptions about conservative evangelicals, the religious community in which I grew up. Particularly when they aren't just about electoral politics.
This post by David Wheeler highlights a group a lot of people probably haven't considered: evangelical homeschoolers whose reasons for opting out of the school system have nothing to do with objecting to the teaching of evolution.
In the evangelical subculture of my youth, there were three categories of pop music. There was secular music, the avoidance of which was, as with alcohol, a nonessential of the faith. (My parents’ approach was more tight regulation than outright ban.) There was Christian music, the Nashville-industry pop records that we heard on Christian radio during our school carpool and then saved our allowances up to buy. And then there was worship music, which we sang at church.
So, Sen. Paul filibustered and received brief assurances that at least there are some limits to the Obama adminstration's policy of targeted assassination. Alex Kane—in a Short Imagined Monologue, one of my favorite features at McSweeney's humor site—spells out some others. I for one would be reassured if the White House actually said this.
Indian Country has some of the highest rates of domestic abuse in America. And one of the reasons is that when Native American women are abused on tribal lands by an attacker who is not Native American, the attacker is immune from prosecution by tribal courts. Well, as soon as I sign this bill that ends.
In November, I had to vote by provisional ballot. Happens to a lot of people, often for no good reason. But if I had stayed closer to home instead of moving across the state line, along with making my parents happy I likely would have avoided this frustrating experience at the polls. Wisconsin doesn't need to use provisional ballots on anything like the level that Illinois does, because Wisconsin has same-day voter registration.
This video on wealth inequality is awfully well done. It emphasizes the point that the gap between rich and poor in this country isn't just bigger than some liberal theorist might like it to be. It's a whole lot bigger than most Americans think it should be, and also bigger than they think it actually is.