Weekend Reading: January 30, 2016

Good Saturday morning! This email is a weekly compilation of the most pertinent and interesting stories, videos, blogs, and (occasionally) books that I’ve enjoyed throughout the course of the week. Honestly, “enjoyed” may be a strong word, but some thing you just simply must be aware of. Don’t linger on everything, but scan and scroll and see what you need to catch up on!

As a follow up to the Hollywood outrage over the lack of black actors winning awards at a recent award ceremony, Thomas Sowell writes on Hollywood’s racism and their “demand for villains” (h/t Ben F!). Here’s the best excerpt: With all the heated and bitter debates between those who believe in heredity and those who believe in environment as explanations of group differences in outcomes, both seem to ignore the possibility that some groups just do not want to do the same things as other groups.

I don’t always listen to it, but Al Mohler’s Briefing can be an excellent source of commentary on the latest news and events from a Christian worldview. On Thursday, his briefing was pretty interesting. He talks about America’s obsession with political polling, and addresses the NY Times editorial about how Planned Parenthood was “vindicated” recently – to be quite honest I had the editorial in my clips and deleted it out of disgust.

As you probably know, there was a GOP debate this week. This one was only 2 hours as opposed to previous marathons which tacked on an additional hour. Donald Trump wasn’t there (out of protest), and it actually made things easier to watch.  A lot less ad hominem attacks, and perhaps the best line of the night came from Ted Cruz at the very beginning when he said:

“I’m a maniac, and everyone else on this stage is stupid, fat, and ugly, and Ben,” — he gestured toward Ben Carson — “you’re a terrible surgeon,” he deadpanned. After a pause, he added, “Now that we’ve gotten the Donald Trump portion out of the way, I want to thank everyone here.”

Here’s Politico’s Top 10 Moments from the debate…

Fox News’ response to Donald Trump not participating… 

Trump was going to hold a charity fundraiser for wounded warriors (nice prop, don’t you think?), but as the Weekly Standard writes, for years he’s never given much money to these organizations. Furthermore, later in the week many of those organizations announced that they didn’t want his money.

Equally disgusting was the Cruz proposal to give $1.5million to a wounded warriors charity if Trump went one on one with him in a debate. 1. He’s ALSO using these vets as props and 2. It was clearly a politically motivated way to elevate him as the clear alternative to Trump.

Of course, like the child left out of the fun, Carly raise her hand “me too! me too!” agreeing to match the $1.5m, but then decided to “up the ante” to $2m.

Trump’s response to Cruz was actually pretty funny…I missed if he bothered to respond to Carly.

This set of stories literally turned my stomach. Besides the fact that the whole thing was so childish, anyone who has known vets personally, appreciates their service and the amazing sacrifice they’ve made for their country and countrymen. We have to be careful not to make them a political football with which to score points with the electorate.

More on the Presidential Campaign…

Some friends have asked me questions relating to 1. how the Iowa Caucuses work, and 2. When does all this voting begin?  Here is a link to the Wall Street Journal Calendar of events (including debates), and here is the Republican Party’s explanation of how each state works.

John Kasich is “wooing Iowa voters” from New Hampshire. Nice little insight (with video) of how the Governor’s campaign is going.

The Wall Street Journal says its time to start taking Bernie Sanders seriously.  And if you have to read one article on the presidential, this is the one I’d recommend you read. What does it mean when we say that Sanders is a “socialist”? Find out some specifics about what he’s proposing here, and what that means.

IJ Review produced a pretty funny little video with Marco Rubio that plays off his past football miscue.

Predictable: “Evangelical” “leader” Jerry Fallwell (Jr.) endorses Donald Trump

Recap: Erickson on Pastors for Trump

Challies linked to this article from the Cato Institute that argues ‘Christians should Vote for Good Governance over Good Theology’.  I sort of agree here with what he’s saying, though its not a very complete argument. The basics of what he is saying are sort of undermined by the argument’s shallowness. I think that if someone has the character qualities and integrity necessary to provide good leadership in office, then we should vote for them. If they are a Christian, then those qualities ought to be there, and therefore its a definite plus to have a Christian running for office (this is a line of argument Rubio has used recently, and one that Kasich has used for a long time now). However, what the heart of this article is getting at is this: if you are down to two options, one is an incompetent Christian, and the other is a competent man/woman of integrity who isn’t a Christian, then you should vote for the latter. This I agree with. I’ve met many bumbling Christians running for office, and I wouldn’t want them anywhere near the levers of power!  Still, there is a balance here. It would be a mistake to think that leadership doesn’t come with severe tests of character, and it is my belief that while every man on this earth is fallible and fallen, the men and women who have built their lives upon the “rock” (Matthew 7:24-27) will be much more likely not to make bad decisions in times of crisis.

Now for a few NON-PRESIDENTIAL stories (finally, right?)

Fascinating article my brother Alex sent along about how “nanowire” is being “grown” to make solar power more effective.

A sad ending to the Bundy standoff in Oregon. 

That’s it for this weekend!  As I was laying in bed last night, I appreciated some verses that came to mind from the past. They reminded me of the sovereign hand of God on all of history, and that the end goal of all history is his glory. This is what Paul says:

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:33-36 ESV)

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