This past spring, Mary Louise Bringle revealed in theCentury that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) hymnal committee voted against including the popular song “In Christ Alone” after the copyright holder rejected a lyric change (“Debating hymns,” May 15).
President Obama's speech last night was a strange one. The administration's strategy of speaking out of both sides of its mouth on Syria continues. (This is a narrow, punitive mission...motivated by broad, humanitarian concerns such a mission won't really address.)
Stranger still was the fact that Obama gave the speech at all.
Too much religion can harm a society’s economy by undermining the drive for financial success, according to a new study in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science. . . . The study found that religious people in religious cultures reported better psychological adjustment when their income was low.
You are a bad person if you send your children to private school. Not bad like murderer bad—but bad like ruining-one-of-our-nation’s-most-essential-institutions-in-order-to-get-what’s-best-for-your-kid bad. So, pretty bad.
I am not an education policy wonk: I’m just judgmental. But it seems to me that if every single parent sent every single child to public school, public schools would improve. This would not happen immediately. It could take generations. Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime, but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good.
Yes, this is a hyperbolic provocation. I agree with a lot of what Benedikt says, but I don’t think that private-school parents—or, for that matter, the many private-school teachers I know—are bad people.
James Fallows is impressed with Obama’s decision to go to Congress. So, presumably, are the almost 40,000 people who signed this MoveOn petition. And sure: if your main concern is (1) constitutionality, (2) the growing power of the executive branch, and/or (3) legislators’ ability to make a lot of noise about (1) and (2) without having to actually record a vote one way or the other, then this is welcome news.
The Alliance Defending Freedom and others have been hard at work for years organizing pastors to challenge (i.e., break) tax laws by electioneering from the pulpit. ADF insists this is about a pastor’s freedom of expression. I’m inclined to land where Amelia Thomson-Deveaux does: You can say anything you want (legally; let’s save theological arguments for another time)—once you give up your tax-exempt status.
Last weekend's This American Life included a great Planet Money segment about GiveDirectly, a charity that gives poor Kenyans not food or equipment or livestock or training but cash. The idea is that, whatever risks or downsides exist in just giving people money, these are outweighed by a) extremely low overhead, and b) the fact that the poor actually know best what they need.
Some news in the world of sustainable food: Chipotle is responding to beef supply shortages by considering looser standards. Instead of aiming to avoid all beef treated with antibiotics, the burrito chain and sustainable ag advocate may start accepting cows treated for illness, while still avoiding those given antibiotics as a matter of routine.
Ezra Klein’s work at the Washington Post is indispensable; he brings much insight to the task of making domestic policy accessible to those of us who only follow it part time. But I’m not buying this one:
There’s a tendency among some on the left and, with the “libertarian populists,” some on the right, to portray the interests of corporate American and the interests of low-income Americans as directly opposed to each other. That’s not true. They can conflict, of course — it’s easy enough to imagine a proposal to raise taxes on corporations in order to fund a low-income tax cut — but they’re not always in tension. Sometimes they’re even in concert.