A fascinating profile of Moldova, an important, but little-known country sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine:
Moldova is caught between its Romanian roots and its Soviet past. It has not developed a national identity independent of these two poles. Moldova is a borderland-within-a-borderland. It is a place of foreign influences from all sides. But it is a place without a clear center. On one side, there is nostalgia for the good old days of the Soviet Union — which gives you a sense of how bad things are now for many Moldovans. On the other side is hope that the European Union and NATO will create and defend a nation that doesn’t exist.
I don’t agree with Ross Douthat on the TSA scanners, but I think his op-ed about partisanship is very needed in American society today. Don’t just read the snippet. Read the whole thing:
Instead of assessing every policy on the merits, we tend to reverse-engineer the arguments required to justify whatever our own side happens to be doing. Our ideological convictions may be real enough, but our deepest conviction is often that the other guys can’t be trusted.
These days, 44 percent of Americans report saying grace or a similar blessing almost every day before eating; 46 percent almost never say it, leaving just a statistical sliver in between, Putnam and Campbell report in their recently published book, “American Grace: How Religion Unites and Divides Us.” ”We are hard-pressed to think of many other behaviors that are so common among one half the population and rare among the other half—maybe carrying a purse,” Putnam and Campbell write.
Clayton King: “What Do You Do When Your Mother Dies?”
What do you do when your mother dies? You weep and wail. You rejoice. You open your Bible and read it. You call out to God. You lay in the floor and double over in pain. You call your friends and family. You hurt deeply. You celebrate. You remember. You pray and plead. You hug and kiss the people you love. You reflect on your life and make corrections and changes. And you look ahead to better days. Somehow, by God’s grace, you get through it.