Weekend Reading: July 21, 2018

Good (rainy) morning from Columbus Ohio. Congratulations to Pastor Brad and Courtney Snyder on the birth of baby Deacon.  Both Courtney and my wife Kate were due on the same day (the 31st), but apparently Deacon is more competitive than our baby girl, because we’re still just waiting here for her to arrive! Well played Deacon, well played. Now on to a few notable stories from the last week or two.

First, I’m wrapping up the book ‘Empty Mansions’ which is about the family and money and – you guessed it – mansions, of W.A. Clark.  Recommended to me by our friend Dave Becksvoort, I congratulate him on the recommendation.  Honestly, I don’t know what to make of the story, which mostly revolves around Huguette Clark, the daughter of W.A.  She was a recluse and many of the homes and things she purchased she never saw in person or stepped foot in.  Very strange story, but fascinating because W.A. Clark was on par with Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Vanderbilt when it came to fortune and influence in his day – yet many have never heard of this man. I think the biggest reason for this might be due to the family’s (read Huguette) lack of charitable giving.  Lot’s of questions about legacy and stewardship arise in this book.

One of the beautiful things Huguette Clark owned was a Stradivarius violin. Reading more about them led me to this short video you might find enjoyable.

Recently, my friend Aaron employed an hilarious theological litmus test by asking me “what do you think about Andy Stanley?” The audible “humph” I gave set him to laughing and admitting to his secret test.  So its no surprise, though with sadness, that I continue to keep an eye on the once very helpful teacher of the Bible whose sense of orthodoxy has long since faded into the background of his own bright personality. Here’s a recap/response to Stanley’s latest concerning teaching issues.

This falls into the category of “did I post this before???”  Thomas Brewer over at Ligonier has written up a rather concise (and, I must say rather accurate) book review of Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules book.  Even if I posted this already, its worth posting again.

I know you’re all wondering if I will post anything on the Trump/Putin summit (because I’ve gotten your texts).  But you’ve likely read enough about it to know the situation and the details for yourself without me posting a million articles discussing it.  I took my time on really evaluating the situation here and wasn’t quick to condemn the President because it was such an unusual situation, and because I have grown tired of the constant polemic stream against him. Not everything the man does is horrid and evil – nor is everything deft and brilliant – as apologists from both sides would have us believe. Sometimes I think though, that his own actions do swing back and forth between brilliant and completely obtuse.

My thoughts on the matter are that his NATO dealings and his trip through Europe was carried off well. NATO nations can’t expect us to foot the bill for protecting them against aggressors they’re making pipeline deals with!  As for Russia, Trump’s comments were distasteful, and reminiscent of the stomach turning apology tour that Obama conducted during the 2008 campaign. The difference between Obama’s anti-Americanism on that trip and what Trump did in Finland was that Obama’s comments came from ideological/worldview musings and deeply held beliefs – nothing he had experienced first-hand, per se. It was merely his liberal worldview shining through in apologetic prose. Trump, however, threw his own government under the bus, criticizing the man appointed to investigate the 2016 campaign who had JUST indicted 12 Russians for clear meddling in said campaign.  In so doing, he not only made himself look petty, small and weak, but he basically sided with Russia and its dictator over the justice system of the United States.

Why is this so revolting?  Because he was siding with a man (Putin) who kills dissidents and political opponents, over the officials of the United States judicial system.  Despite what you think about the Mueller probe (and I think its way too long in the tooth at this point), the officials involved have enough evidence to clearly show that Russians were working to influence our elections. They hacked into the computer systems of the national Democratic party organization. How is that not considered an act of war?  In past centuries the country who interfered in this way would have seen their cities burning by now.  One of the things that sets apart America is our system of justice. This is  a system that is the envy of the world, and has been for over 200 years – especially for those living under tyranny of the Russian fist. In Russia there is no due process, there are no inalienable rights, there is no transparency.  You’re starting to see why this is so upsetting, right? To have our President side with a Russian dictator (who is a former KGB agent) in this matter is atrocious. His denials and claims to misspeaking are ludicrous and laughable, and his attempts to do so and not clearly apologize or set the record straight expose a major character flaw.

I’m not sure if I’m more disgusted by Trump’s statements, or the 5 emails I got from failed political opportunist John Kasich trying to raise money off Trump’s misstep.  I wonder how much money consultant John Weaver is going to make off Kasich before he leaches off someone else. He has completely ruined the Kasich brand, and scuttled any chance the man had for a political future.

One final aside/article on this matter that you need to read: Trump on Putin: The U.S. President’s Views, In His Own Words

In other news…CBS Reporter Accidentally Witnesses Illegal Border Crossing, Gets Threatened.  Sort of fascinating to see this.

From Bloomberg: How Goldman Sachs Lost the World Cup

I thought this was sort of written tongue-in-cheek, so what does it say about me that I thought it was a really cool concept? Maybe that I’ve done several cross-country road trips and see some real value here! From the WSJ: The Great American Road Trip Goes Luxe—For Better or Worse

This really concerns me…from Jason Riley: Let’s Talk About the Black Abortion Rate. Excerpt:

When you combine the amount of black violent behavior directed at other blacks with the number of pregnancies terminated by black women, the rate at which blacks willingly end the lives of one another is chilling and far surpasses what goes on within other racial and ethnic groups. Racial disparities in abortion rates are no less disturbing than racial disparities in income, crime, poverty and school suspensions. Why are the people who want to lecture the rest of us about the value of black lives pretending otherwise?

And finally, this week Babylon Bee hilariously mocked the often trotted out liberal trope about “being on the wrong side of history” with this gem: Eternal God Concerned He Might Be On Wrong Side Of History. 

I’m working through De Tocqueville’s Democracy in America still, and the book Blockchain Revolution as well as Clowney’s Unfolding Mystery.  I think that very soon I’ll be piling on a bunch of others, but this is where things stand.

Have a great weekend!



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