Unbelievable. I’ve run out of coffee. I’m drinking English breakfast tea. First music of the day: Maria Gillard’s Mending. And, hard as I might try, this edition of the Times has been a very, very off day.
1, Billy Graham has taken out a full-page ad in the Times that says he is 94 years old and will die soon, so you should vote for candidates who share his interpretation of “Biblical values.” He specifically names gay people who want to marry each other and women who want control of their own bodies as not conforming to his Biblical values. I really believe, that if Mr. Graham does indeed die soon, he will discover a new set of tolerant values that extends to all of humanity, and allows for the right for all men and women to pursue one’s own definition of morality and happiness.
2, Incidentally, if religious figures insist on inserting themselves into the political process, making statements that will impact all of us, even those of us who have nothing to do with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, then, just like any other business or organization, churches should be taxed.
3, Mitt Romney has Meat Loaf extolling the virtues of his alleged plans. Barack Obama has Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate in economics. In the Sunday Review, Stiglitz writes that “the macroeconomic consequences of the Romney-Ryan economic plan would be devastating: it would slow growth and increase unemployment while decreasing the protection of government safety nets just as Americans would need them more.” Stiglitz says that Romney and Ryan have “criticized the president’s reforms but have said nothing about how or whether they would ensure universal access in doctors, nurses and medicine.” Despite its vast potential, the United States now trails many European countries in the human basics: “Our widening inequality gap is not purely the result of market forces – far from it, as the experience of other advanced countries subject to the same forces shows. Government policies – or their lack – played a big role in creating and maintaining these inequities.”
4, It’s no surprise that the Times today endorses Obama for re-election. It’s not even the gutless, qualified endorsement you’d expect these days from a media fearful of the backlash. Citing advancements on many fronts over his four years, including the economy, health care and civil rights, the Times writes “we enthusiastically endorse President Barack Obama for a second term…,” and places the blame for what’s undone where it should be: “…and express the hope that his victory will be accompanied by a new Congress willing to work for policies that Americans need.”
5, In January, tourists can duplicate the harrowing Antarctic voyage of nearly 100 years ago made by the Sir Ernest Shackleton, sailing in similar vessel and riding in a lifeboat, somewhat duplicating the explorers’ experience after their ship was crushed by ice. It took them five months, but you can do it in 58 days. And at a price of $20,000, you won’t have to eat your dogs, as Shackleton’s crew did.
6, On the Times non-fiction bestseller list, Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Kennedy is No. 1, O’Reilly’s Killing Lincoln is No. 5. Our cultural curiosity is at a standstill.