With barely more than 4 million citizens, the tiny state of Singapore in Southeast Asia would hardly qualify as a template or role model for anything or anybody. Even clockwork-like Switzerland seems a relative superpower at 7.5 million in populace. Why would anyone care one way or the other what Singapore’s first prime minister thinks or says or criticizes?
It’s awful, this thing called Christianity, many are saying today, and my disagreement with that judgment has at least something to do with the kinds of sermons I hear on Sunday mornings in a 139-year-old church in a small Colorado town.
Just recently, for instance, the rector talked to the congregation about living the Christian life not only by summoning up extraordinary moral courage to do large and difficult things on those rare occasions when circumstances might demand that of us, but through constant efforts to be kind.
The late Rod Serling might have made this case the opening episode of the Twilight Zone, punctuated by that eerie theme music that is still so identified with otherworldly experiences. Or maybe the better vehicle would be “Catch 22,” where there is no way out of a dilemma.
The White House recently released its new homeland security strategy and, unlike the initial 2002 version, this one focuses far more on natural disasters as opposed to terrorist strikes. That’s a welcome change not simply because Hurricane Katrina was a humbling experience, but because globalization’s growing connectivity means a naturally occurring pandemic is the most likely mega-disaster we’ll face in the near term.
When President Bush was putting together his Coalition of the Willing — or, in some cases, the Coalition of the Not Very Willing but We Better Do It Not to Offend America — France was a notable nonstarter for the invasion of Iraq.
Although France sent troops to Afghanistan, this shrugging “non” was greeted on this side of the Atlantic with all the sympathy and understanding of a great nation — that is to say, with one thunderous Bronx cheer from sea to shining sea.
The State Department may phase out or limit the use of private security guards in Iraq, which could mean canceling Blackwater USA’s contract or awarding it to another company in line with an Iraqi government demand, The Associated Press has learned.
Such steps would be difficult given U.S. reliance on Blackwater and other contractors, but they are among options being studied during a comprehensive review of security in Iraq, two senior officials said.
I was at an academic conference recently, dedicated to the proposition that black is white. I had been invited to present the alternative viewpoint that black is really black, or at least dark gray and I did so. This made people uncomfortable, and some heated discussion ensued.
It is difficult to believe that trying to return a two-bit country like Iraq to some sort of normalcy would so deplete this nation’s military and civilian security capabilities that it would have to rely on private gun slingers in a war zone. How can that be and how in the world did we get in this situation?
There are times when I tell my kids that they can’t have or do something that they tell me I’m “as mean as 200 moms!” That’s when I like to remind them I take their complaints as a compliment because I, of course, went to “Mean Mom School.”
I always review for them that I did incredibly well at Mean Mom School. In fact, there is only one mom who ever did better at Mean Mom School than I did, my friend (and theirs), Mrs. Carlson. She has five young kids, and they think she’s as mean as 300 moms.
Polls are indicating that many Americans are yearning for another retreat into isolationism.
The relentlessly grim news from Iraq, the antagonism abroad toward U.S. foreign policy, the stirrings of antipathy against free trade and the pull of delayed solutions to domestic problems are combining to make Americans feel fed up with being “over there.”