Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday miscellaneous (4/27)

This week was Shakespeare's birthday. This clever opinion piece at the Washington Post wonders if he is still relevant today:

Look at his most famous play. “Hamlet”? A whiny college student, evidently overeducated and underemployed, comes home for break, sees a ghost and dithers. Eventually some pirates show up, but wouldn’t you know, they remain offstage. Shakespeare is one of the few writers in history who, given the option of including pirates in a play, thinks, “Nah, you know what? I’d rather have this dithering hipster talk about mortality some more.”

Come to think of it, maybe he’s never been more relevant.

The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, a extensive work which provides a section by section analysis of the Constitution written by various constitutional experts, is now available online.

Charles Colson, the former Nixon operative convicted in the Watergate fallout who then converted to Christianity and founded Prison Fellowship, passed away this week. He accomplished great things both showing and demonstrating forgiveness and Christian compassion, but he was not perfect.

A new report shows that immigration from Mexico keeps falling. In fact, it now looks like more Mexicans are leaving the United States than entering.

United States soldiers in Afghanistan are having difficulty connecting with the native workers on the bases. Here’s one story of a soldier who provided needed boots only to have the gift fall flat.

Tim Challies writes on what book ownership looks like in the age of ebooks. In fact, I’ve wondered this sort of thing myself (with both ebooks and downloaded music):

Here is something else to consider: What will happen to your e-book library when you die? It used to be that your books would survive you. They would stand as a testimony to the kind of person you were. Many a pastor left behind a vast theological library that could give a pastor of the next generation a helpful start in building one of his own. A man’s books were an important part of his legacy. But what of those who are currently establishing a library on Kindle or Logos or any other e-book system? This is a library which does not fully belong to the man and which in most cases will not and cannot be given to his descendants after him. The library will perish with the man; as his body returns to the dust, his library will return to the ether.

Mint.com, which I use for budgeting, has put together an infographic showing the size of student loan debt in the United States. It’s now pushing $1 trillion, and nearly 15% is still being paid back by people over 50 years old. And over 20% of students with loans owe over $150,000.

And speaking of debt, hospitals are employing debt collectors who use increasingly invasive (and possibly illegal) tactics to collect for medical bills, including demanding payment before procedures, discouraging patients from seeking medical help, and using information from confidential medical records.

Mitt Romney won a clean sweep in all primaries held this week and he’s now turning his attention to the general election. Here’s some of his criticism of President Obama.

In the last presidential election, the McCain campaign was often slow and weak with its responses to criticisms. It appears that the Romney campaign will not suffer from that shortcoming. In fact, when it comes to quickness and preparedness, the Romney campaign seems to be showing up the Obama campaign. I’m guessing the Obama campaign will steer very clear of any future references to dogs.

Here’s another review of The Hunger Games (it calls itself definitive, but the author has clearly never read mine or he would know better). He succinctly points out the problem with many Christian criticisms: “It’s not a Christian book and does not pretend to be.  Don’t expect it to be.”

Al Mohler reminds us of the stain sex trafficking is causing on our reputation. Apparently the Secret Service scandal is only the beginning: military personnel, contractors, and other US official overseas are a major driving force behind the demand for the sex market.

President Obama is continuing the expansion of executive power set by his predecessors--including to but not limited to bypassing Congress and the legislative process.

“I refuse to take ‘no’ for an answer,” Mr. Obama declared, beneath a “We Can’t Wait” banner. “When Congress refuses to act and — as a result — hurts our economy and puts people at risk, I have an obligation as president to do what I can without them.”

And finally, here is a lesson in how to not do PR. (Yes, this is a comedic routine, not a real interview.)
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