Bad PR

You're the President of the United States, and you schedule a talk to the nation for 10 am. But you delay.

The talking heads on the news channels then have time to criticize over and over and over what you are about to say. They show picture after picture of how bad things are. All these words and images are sinking into the expectant public before you even speak.

Good PR.
Within seconds of the scheduled time ("Ladies and Gentlemen, the President of the United States"), start your speech. As soon as you are done, the people tune out and never hear a word of the negative press or see a single horrible image.

Today. Speech scheduled at 10. No sign of President at 10:28

(talking head just said last time, President was about 45 minutes late. Heads continue to criticize...)

(People start to wonder, is there something wrong with the President?)

10:41 People start to turn away, walk away from speech. Was that the intent all along? Did you (handlers) really not want anyone to hear the President speak?


10:48 "just got a two minute warning from the White House"

10:50 He appears. Does anyone still care?

Mary's Song, by Luci Shaw

Just stumbled on this lovely Christmas poem by Luci Shaw. Amazing.

Mary's Song
by Luci Shaw

Blue homespun and the bend of my breast
keep warm this small hot naked star
fallen to my arms. (Rest...
you who have had so far
to come.) Now nearness satisfies
the body of God sweetly. Quiet he lies
whose vigor hurled
a universe. He sleeps
whose eyelids have not closed before.

His breath (so slight it seems
no breath at all) once ruffled the dark deeps
to sprout a world.
Charmed by dove's voices, the whisper of straw,
he dreams,
hearing no music from his other spheres.
Breath, mouth, ears, eyes
he is curtailed
who overflowed all skies,
all years.
Older than eternity, now he
is new. Now native to earth as I am, nailed
to my poor planet, caught that I might be free,
blind in my womb to know my darkness ended,
brought to this birth
for me to be new-born,
and for him to see me mended
I must see him torn.

A Message to the Cabinet - re. 25th Amendment

Stop pretending. Stop hiding. We the people are in grave danger. We don't even know who's really running the Executive Branch of the government - certainly not someone who was elected.

Remember this line, spoken to Jack Ryan in Clear and Present Danger?

"You took an oath, and I don't mean to the National Security Advisor of the United States, I mean to his boss, and I don't mean to the President, you gave your word to his boss, you gave your word to the People of the United States...your word is who you are."


Edith Alberta Burke

Edith Burke

From the website, a picture of a very unknown soldier, Miss Edith Alberta Burke, a missionary in China, Egypt and Sudan.

The website notes “Khartoum has a Commonwealth War Graves cemetery, as well as a civilian one. Here, the tombstone of one very late missionary, part of an army not well regarded nowadays but perhaps overdue for a reappraisal."

(Edith Alberta Burke – missionary – China, Egypt, Sudan, 1871 to Sept 27, 1964)


Miss Burke died at the age of 93, and, despite lots of research, I’ve not been able to find out anything about her.

But that same day, the Warren Commission issued its report saying that President John F. Kennedy was killed by one man, Lee Harvey Oswald.

The Viet Nam continued. On Sept 27, a raid rescued 60 Vietnamese hostages.

The day before (Sept.26) Gilligan’s Island had premiered.

The day after her death, Harpo Marx died.

Which event do you think registered more attention in Heaven?

Jesus Argues with the Pharisees. John 8.

Jesus: I am the light of the world.

Pharisees: You bear witness about yourself. That’s not true.

Jesus: It is true. My witness is true. I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father bears witness about me also.


Jesus: I go to my Father.

Pharisees: Who?

Jesus: You don’t know him


Jesus: I am going away.

Pharisees: Is he talking suicide?

Jesus:  I am from above. I am not of this world. Unless you believe I am he you will die in your sins.

Pharisees: Who are you?

Jesus: I told you already. When I am lifted up you will know that I am he. I do what pleases the Father.


Jesus: Abide in my word, you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Pharisees: We were never slaves. Abraham is our father.

Jesus: All who commit sin are slaves. You say you are offspring of Abraham, yet you seek to kill me. Your father is the devil.

Pharisees: We weren’t born of immorality. God is our father.

Jesus: If that were true you would love me. You are from your father the devil, not God. I came from God and I am here.


Pharisees: You are a Samaritan and have a demon.

Jesus: No. And if anyone keeps my word he will see never see death.

Pharisees: Are you greater than Abraham, who died? All have died.

Jesus: My Father glorifies me - Abraham rejoiced to see my day.

Pharisees: You can’t have been seen by Abraham. You are not possibly old enough.

Jesus: Before Abraham was, I AM.

Reading Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell, in Blink, tells of a marriage counselor who evaluates a couple's chances of success by examining their facial expressions when they are just chatting together. His team does 'thin slices' - fractions of a second - and categorizes what they reveal about the person's feelings at that moment.

The counselor says he can often evaluate a couple’s chances based mostly on four factors: defensiveness, stonewalling, criticism, and contempt, with the most important being contempt. He “has found, in fact that the presence of contempt in a marriage can even predict such things as how many colds a husband and wife gets; in other words, having someone you love express contempt toward you is so stressful that it begins to affect the functioning of your immune system.” (p33)

Interestingly, he says, “For a marriage to survive, the ratio of positive to negative emotion in a given encounter has to be at least five to one.” (p.26)

Gladwell examines how we make snap judgements, in the blink of an eye, and how those judgements are often, surprisingly, valuable. 

Experts can evaluate something in a few seconds, literally less than two – they would just “know”, for example, that a sculpture was a fake. Trained classical musicians can tell whether an auditioning performer is any good almost instantly.

Snap judgements can also mislead. Gladwell cites several incidents of tests showing how prejudices can taint a person’s evaluation. People in stressful situations can sometimes see things (a dangerous person, a gun) that aren't there – but they were expecting to see those things.

And an autistic man watches the movie Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and completely misses the drama in the key scenes because everything looks equally important to him. That is, the faces of the actors don’t mean any more than a light switch, or paintings on the wall, or a brooch. We can all sometime be autistic in this way, Gladwell says.

Gladwell notes that sometimes prejudices jump in and cloud evaluations. That is apparently why most orchestras now do “blind auditions” where great care is taken to make sure nothing of the performer’s non-musical characteristics are revealed – not their sex (no sound of high heels is allowed), their race, nothing. If the performer coughs, they’re sent back to the end of the line since the cough could reveal their gender. Since this was implemented, the makeup of orchestras, (percentage of women, for example, went from 5 to 50).


Gladwell says a partial answer is, “On straightforward choices, deliberate analysis is best. When questions of analysis and personal choice start to get complicated – when we have to juggle many different variables – then our unconscious thought process may be superior.” (p267)

He realizes, he says, “this is exactly contrary to conventional wisdom”. (p267)

It’s a partial answer because it’s just too complicated. Sometimes we need a mix of careful evaluation and feeling in the gut (my term, not Gladwell’s).

And when it’s important we need to be careful of our prejudices, and figure out ways to edit them out – like the blind auditions. He suggests, for example, not having defendants actually in the courtroom, so jurors and judges can escape their tendencies to snap to the wrong judgement.

A fascinating read. Recommended.

The 1776 Report

Just finished The 1776 Report, released last month just before Trump left office.

Summary: America was founded on the principles outlined in the Declaration of Independence, specifically that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. All men are created equal. These principles are stated twenty or thirty times, apparently to counter the negativity of the 1619 Project.

The report is dry, or perhaps, scholarly, and not exciting reading. Too bad, because the founding of America was one of the most significant events in modern civilization. The report reads as though a number of essays were assembled to counteract a bunch of the prevailing attitudes and theories. I'm afraid the average citizen, though, will give up reading it after a few pages.

I guess the Report had to be done. I just wish some more imaginative writer had tackled it. This should probably be in your school's library, though I'm afraid it will mostly gather dust there.



Amos 4:13

For behold, he who forms the mountains and creates the wind, and declares to man what is his thought, who makes the morning darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth — the LORD, the God of hosts, is his name!


Hebrews 7:25

Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.