FROM Chris Probert
The Commercialization of Christmas With Christmas less than a week away, a lot of people are thinking about the hype, the commercialization and the consequent loss of Christian meaning. There are campaigns afoot to discourage Christmas shopping altogether. In this week's New Yorker magazine, James Surowiecki suggests a kind of compromise: "We might actually be happier--and we'd certainly be wealthier--if we exchanged small, well-considered gifts rather than haunting the malls." Is it more about material expectations and competition than good fellowship or Christian love? If we bought nothing at Christmas would spirituality be restored? Is Christmas too commercial or not commercial enough? We hear several shades of a familiar argument.
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?
Replacing Obamacare: Now you see it… now you don’t As the Senate deliberates replacing Obmacare, health coverage for millions of people is at stake. There've been no public hearings, and a draft measure won't be made public. Is the House version so unpopular that that Senate is hiding a version that looks much the same?
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.