As the book closes on 2018, there were some particulars along the way that deserved a second look and even perhaps an accolade.
Mentioning books, there are two well worth your time: “The High Cost of Good Intentions” by John Cogan is a political and budgetary history of U.S. entitlement programs. It underscores why the programs have expanded inexorably over time, and just how hard it will be for our political system to reform them. Sometimes the slim volumes are the most absolute. This is the case with Thomas Sowell’s, “Discrimination and Disparities,” where, in less than 200 pages, he lays bare the weighty assumptions of people on both sides of the political spectrum. Sowell notes that the differences in outcomes between groups does not mean discrimination is a given against members of a particular group. Sowell questions that if there is not equality of outcomes to people born to the same parents and raised under the same roof, why should equality of outcomes be assumed when conditions are not nearly so comparable?
Contradiction: According to Barna, nearly half of Americans are regular Bible readers. Yet, a Gallup poll says more than ever Americans believe fornication, gay relations, children out of wedlock and polygamy are morally permissible.
Sign of the times trophy: GQ magazine included the Bible in its list of “21 Books You Don’t Have to Read.” The more our culture rejects biblical truth, the more it needs it. We reap the results of this foolhardy harvest daily.
Stranger than fiction award: Starbucks and its baristas, who are littered with $100,000 in college debt from their ology/studies degrees, had franchise-wide training on race relations. The baristas can now lecture any customer they deem racist, while overcharging for coffee in their “Insult to Injury” program. A friend passed along this ditty that he told one Starbucks barista that his name was “Marc with a C.” The barista wrote “Cark” on his cup.
Stripper of the year: It’s not Stormy Daniels, but Bill Cosby, who was not only stripped from his privileges at The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, but Yale revoked his honorary degree. Cosby has been stripped of so many honorary degrees that repeating high school is a strong possibility.
Bumper sticker: The Clintons: “America’s dual airbags.”
Transgender award: “Wonder if it’s a Woman” super-hero. Stan Lee must be spinning in his grave. Not really. It’s just a joke. Promise not to tell DC comics.
Study: The average American walks about 900 miles and drinks 22 gallons of alcohol a year. In conclusion, the average American gets about 41 miles/gallon.
Quote: Dinesh D’Souza: “Is Robert Mueller investigating a crime or going in search of a crime? One is police work; the other is characteristic of a police state.”
Question: If there was an FBI spy imbedded in the Trump campaign who was on the lookout for Russian collusion, why do we need to have Robert Mueller spend over a year investigating?
New holiday: “Guardian’s Day” columnist Emma Teitel proposed “we scrap both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day for good,” replacing them with “Guardian’s Day.” Her reason: Both holidays assume that a parent is a female or a male.
Nickname: If Jennifer Lopez can be called J.Lo and Alex Rodriguez can be called A-Rod, there’s certainly no reason that Joe Kennedy III can’t be called JOKE.
Understatement: Southern Poverty Law Center has been criticized for having too broad a definition of hate.
Tweet: “In marked contrast when it was discovered that Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign was guilty of violations involving nearly $2 million — an amount that dwarfs the $280,000 in Cohen’s case — the Obama Justice Department decided not to prosecute.” — Actor James Woods
Chuck Stroupism: Delta Airlines said they will no longer allow emotional support dogs on flights. However, Korean Airlines is still allowing them with your choice of rice or steamed vegetables.
Word: “Toxic” by Oxford Dictionaries. Given the chaotic and conflicted nature of today’s culture, their selection is spot-on.
Last breath reward: Sen. Dianne Feinstein contemptuously remarked that Judge Coney Barrett’s “dogma lives loudly” within her.
Ambassador: Lucas Warren. Lucas was one of 140,000 babies entered to become the 2018 Gerber Baby. Lucas has the distinction of being the first child with Down syndrome to be chosen. That’s big because, in most Western countries, including the U.S., the majority of children with Down syndrome are aborted. Gerber’s choice sends a crucial message: Children with disabilities are just as valuable as anyone else.
To honor the memory of my longtime friend and Marine who, along with his son, gave his life in the defense of their home during Hurricane Sandy in Staten Island, the seventh annual John Filipowicz Award: IHM Sister Mary Anne Bednar of Our Lady of Lourdes in Coal Township, who is standing by church teaching as everyone else throws her under the school bus. Sister continues to demonstrate the faith, courage and commitment all Christians, especially Catholics, will need in the days ahead.
Prediction: Vatican insider Leo Zagami says Pope Francis will resign in February. Zagami also predicted Pope Benedict XVI would step down six years before in February 2013.
(Maresca, a local freelance writer, composes “Talking Points” for each Sunday edition.)