FROM Willy Raymond
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?
Trump's 'America First' goes missing abroad In the Middle East, President Trump is changing some policies of the Obama Administration—and reversing his own campaign attacks on Islam as a religion that "hates us." We hear about his visit to Saudi Arabia and what's at stake for the rest of his foreign excursion.