It's been a while since pals
Tavis Smiley and Cornel West took up the task of challenging President Obama
from his left flank. The talk-show host and the philosopher have taken some
heat for their criticism of the president, notably from political scientist
This week, a former Google
executive asked President Obama to raise his taxes so that more people will
have the chance to succeed as he has. It was nice to hear the president defend
the idea that individual wealth is built in part by collective investment--even if he didn't state it as forcefully as Elizabeth Warren, and even if he mostly
avoided the word "taxes" itself.
Candidate John F. Kennedy: If
the time should ever come--and I do not concede any conflict to be remotely
possible--when my office would require me to either violate my conscience or
violate the national interest, then I would resign the office.
This video from American Public Media's Marketplace isn't the
funniest Dr. Seuss ripoff ever, but it does accomplish the unlikely feat of
making the health-care arms race entertaining. If your hometown's plan for
prosperity involves becoming the next Pittsburgh--where the iconic U.S. Steel
Tower now wears the initials of the University of Pittsburgh Medical
I didn't refer to my godson as my godson until I heard one of his
parents do it first. They asked me to be a baptismal sponsor but didn't use
godparenting language at first, so I wasn't sure what name(s) they were giving
the relationship. I was glad when, just before the baptism, the baby's mother
said to him, "These are your godparents!" It's pretty awkward calling a kid
your "baptismal sponsee." Really drains the cute right out of the moment.
Our August 23 cover story on monogamy and Dan Savage has
gotten a lot of feedback, both positive and negative. Benjamin Dueholm offers a
nuanced take on the ways the popular sex columnist is beating pastors at their
own game--and the ways Savage's ethical worldview falls short. Some readers
seem too stuck on the first point--"the Christian
Century believes we should be instructed by an advice columnist," crows Joe Carter at First Things--to hear Dueholm out on the second.
The new diversity and tolerance survey numbers from
the Public Religion Research Institute were released last week for the 9/11
anniversary, and many of the findings are about religious freedom, pluralism
and Islamophobia. But the one I found most sobering was this:
The LA Times has an interesting article
about evangelical pastors' involvement in political mobilization. Tom Hamburger
and Matea Gold don't do enough to prove their now-more-than-ever hook--that
pastors whipping votes in Iowa and elsewhere are "part of a growing movement of
evangelical pastors who are jumping into the electoral fray as never
before"--but it's still an important story to follow as we slog through yet
another election season in which the religious right is still not dead.
The new poverty numbers came out today, and they aren't pretty.
The Census Bureau reports that more than 15 percent of Americans
are living in poverty--a number that's gone up for three consecutive years and
is the highest it's been since 1959.