Five interesting items for the last day of August

1.    McCain on Obama, the surge and Afghanistan: Unless he understands the reason for success in Iraq, the president is unlikely to lead a successful strategy against the Taliban

 Though most Democrats still cannot bear to admit it, the war in Iraq is ending successfully because the surge worked. In 2007, President George W. Bush finally adopted a strategy and a team in Iraq that could win. He worked constantly to build public support for the policy. Just as important, the surge worked because it was clear that success was the only exit strategy: U.S. troops would meet their objectives, and then they would withdraw.

2. Banks shying away from environmental risks:  Some large lenders are taking a stand on industry practices — like mining and deforestation — that they regard as risky to their reputations.

In the most recent example, the banking giant Wells Fargo noted last month what it called “considerable attention and controversy” surrounding mountaintop removal mining, and said that its involvement with companies engaged in it was “limited and declining.”

3. Beck unlikely leader for conservative Christians: Religious right queasy about media firebrand’s reach for mantle.

“Politically, everyone is with it, but theologically, when he says the country should turn back to God, the question is: Which God?” said Tom Tradup, vice president for news and talk at Salem Radio Network, which serves more than 2,000 mostly Christian stations. “How much of this is turning to God? How much is religious revival and how much is a snake oil medicine show?”

4. Billy Graham and why the iPhone won’t solve the world’s problems:  With all that technology has changed, with all the problems it has solved, man is left to wrestle with this: the problem of evil.

As a Christian, it is hard for me not to feel like the problem of evil is merely a religious or Christian concern.  Worse, it’s hard for me not to ignore the problem of evil, desiring instead to focus on the promise of goods – such as the iPhone.  But the Mr. Graham, confident in the truth of Christ, fearlessly throws down the gauntlet: “Even the most sophisticated among us seem powerless to break this [the problem of evil and suffering].

5. You can’t legislate good sports: Athletic directors’ struggle with the legality of flipping men’s and women’s sports schedules.

But not to be missed in this story is the recognition that no matter how much the government wants to empower and affirm everyone equally, you cannot fool the American sports fan. In a link within this story to a blog dedicated to Title IX comes a post from 2007 about the decision of Maryland high school athletic directors to schedule men’s games in doubleheaders before the women. Instead of starting the girls’ games at 5:00 pm with the boy’s game at 7:00, the district reversed the order only to receive complaints from the girls and their coaches. The reason for the complaint? — a mass exodus of fans at the conclusion of the boy’s contest. According to one athletic director affected by the revised scheduling, “If anyone has come to our gym to see a Tuesday basketball doubleheader, then you’ve seen 400 people leave before the beginning of the girls’ game.” “It’s absolutely embarrassing for the girls,” he explained. “I think they would prefer playing in front of a packed house during the third and fourth quarter instead of having an empty gym for the entire game.”


About Jim Jewell

I am a writer and consultant on faith and public life, active for many years in management and communications in the evangelical community. I now work as the director of the nonprofit practice at The Valcort Group ( Everything on this blog, however, is my personal opinion and is not read or approved before it is posted. Opinions, conclusions and other information expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of Valcort.
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