Have you heard about Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) or as another put it, Modern Magical Theory? This is what allows candidates to promise virtually unlimited government spending without ill effects on our currency, our standard of living or our liberty. It’s based on these assumptions:

One great pleasure of writing is receiving thoughtful comment from people of wide-ranging life experience; these are responses to various columns:

Congresswomen who chastise our border control people for the horrendously crowded and inadequate housing of would-be immigrants need to be called out. Congress is responsible for this mess! For months, Congress turned a deaf ear to cries from the border for help in dealing with the overwhelm…

Sometimes it’s fun to imagine oneself in outer space observing the people of this planet, most of them just trying to get along as their leaders pursue grandiose dreams collide with other ambitions. Moves and counter-moves are like a complicated international game of chess, with the added da…

As we’ve listened to the hateful exchanges between President Donald Trump and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the two most powerful people of our country, we think, “This is not leadership. This shames us in the eyes of the world and undermines everything we try to do as leading country of the free world.”

“Unfortunately, the U.S. media have become a positive hindrance to public understanding, reducing everything to a binary question of believers vs. deniers, good guys vs. bad guys. Here’s the sad truth: This narrative is mostly an invention of journalists. It relieves them of having to unders…

Last week’s fascinating glimpse into the lives of hummingbirds led to another compelling story regarding the lengths people go to, trying to save them when threatened.

Feeling rather discouraged by the news — Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, stymied China trade talks, overwhelmed border and Congress still too busy fighting to take notice — I looked for something soothing and beautiful in a Nova piece on hummingbirds. Hardly! I was instantly confronted with am…

When Tim Wilborn came to First Presbyterian Church 14 years ago, we immediately noticed a difference from any organists that had preceded him. We marveled at his seamless transition from the offertory to the response that followed, a crescendo informing choir and congregation of its time to …

When our last civil war was finally over, President Abraham Lincoln, in his most famous Gettysburg address, expressed the hope “that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for…

To gain an understanding of international affairs, Dr. Michael Grillo’s Political Science class traveled to New York to participate with worldwide students in Model UN. Kerrville participants were assigned to become Ecuador’s delegation. Everyone spoke English, but at times communication was…

During a week in which shades were removed as windows were replaced, I woke to sun streaming in and a view of a gnarled pine and a couple of hawks circling in the blue sky. It instantly reminded me of my childhood in the Black Hills. We never had window shades and looked out on a forest of p…

“Masterpiece” produced a drama imagining royal life after Queen Elizabeth’s death, filling it with conflict: King Charles refuses the usual signature of a parliamentary bill because it limited freedom of speech, with resultant chaos and rioting in the streets. A conflicted Prince William urg…

My columns have gotten just a tad heavy lately, like exploring the small matter of America’s role in the world! I’ve needed a break — and maybe you do, too! Perhaps I’ve been taking a bit too seriously the need to get this world straightened out for my kids and grandkids — but then I don’t k…

Some of you will recognize this reference to an old American soap opera, “As the World Turns.” Current churning demands challenge us as we navigate the shifts and scrambles for power in our world. I don’t claim to have answers; rather, I’ll share various viewpoints gathered from news sources…

“We should have been more wary of taking human sociality, incredibly powerful and shaped by millions of years of evolution, and allowing 22-year-old kids in California to re-invent it,” says Cal Newport, a Georgetown University computer scientist who early on saw downsides to social media, r…

This is a question that has puzzled me, since most of us were brought up to value the freedoms that have allowed our creative people to build an amazing country. The possibility of becoming a part of it has drawn people here from every part of the globe.

One Crispin Sartwell, a philosophy professor in Carlisle, Pa., writes that values such as those expressed in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Self-Reliance” are now considered obsolete and pathological by the American Psychological Association. They object to defining ideal masculinity as “toughness, …

Nobody emerged from this high-stakes game of chicken covered with glory. President Trump, having claimed ownership of it from the beginning, inevitably had to be the one to call a halt. Nancy Pelosi gloats, but the two of them were a disgraceful spectacle in the eyes of the country and the w…

President Trump and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi have begun by saying they want to work with each other. I hope that desire can get past customary politics, which is “We can’t assist in accomplishing something or our opponent might get too much credit.”

This year, instead of gathering at Grandma’s house, our family trekked “over the river and through the woods, through white and drifted snow,” to have Christmas together in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Limited visibility caused by blowing snow and heavy traffic throwing slush on the windshie…

Our church did a lessons and carols service of the entire Christmas story: angels proclaiming to lowly shepherds the birth of an extraordinary child, a star leading wise men to the humble couple housed in a stable for cattle. Those of us who have grown up in the church love to hear it retold…

The outpouring of love and admiration for George H.W. Bush has been remarkable. Many, including Margaret Thatcher, honored Ronald Reagan’s passing, but an unprecedented number of ordinary citizens from all parts of the country, even Hawaii, waited in long lines (through bitter night-time col…

A recent Wall Street Journal column was titled “Who Lost the House? John McCain.” At great risk to his health, McCain traveled to vote on repealing the Affordable Care Act. Instead, he stunned everyone by adding a “No” vote to the solid chorus of Democrats and killing the Republican Party’s …

An email arrived that upset me this week — friends no longer reading my column as it is “too political.” Trying to write this health care column was becoming a downer too, as I focused on concerns.

One of the first reactions to the mid-term election was President Trump’s statement that this might actually turn out for the better. The Democrats will be proposing legislation rather than voting solidly against it, and he says he is prepared to work with them to get something done. That so…

By now, many of you have voted (if you haven’t, please do) and we’re waiting to see who will have the challenge of working in the toxic atmosphere of the U.S. Congress. President Trump recently commented that he thought real estate was a tough business, but it’s nothing compared to the vicio…

An email from a longtime friend to whom I send columns says, “I’m finding it nearly impossible to reconcile the person you are with your political views. How can you be anything but nauseated by Trump?”

Three weeks ago, in the midst of the Kavanaugh mess, I wrote a column titled, “We Need a Little Beauty.” I have just returned from 18 days’ vacation from disgusting news: cruising through Canadian islands followed by total immersion in fall color, traveling with my son and family through New…

Focus groups in widely separate locations have often found people upset about similar issues: Public services overwhelmed, competition for jobs fierce between immigrants and unskilled workers, large numbers of immigrants having difficulty integrating into society lacking language skills, emp…

Most of you will recall the song, “We Need a Little Christmas,” sung by Auntie Mame at a low point in her life. I have felt that lately — at a low point of degradation in our political life.

I want to share thoughtful comments responding to last week’s column on recent criticisms of our President:

The troublesome mid-term elections seem to involve deciding whether President Trump is crazy and incompetent and needs to be impeached or whether, difficult as is his governing style, he is accomplishing good things for the country and needs a supportive Congress.

It can be called hamburger steak, chopped steak or Salisbury steak. Depending on where you grew up and the cultural acceptance of a particular name, you may have a preference for one name over another. However, short of family habit and traditions, you’d be hard-pressed to find a definitive …

A young lady from Black Hills State College ran into the unexpected trying to sell me a special memory book. Had I been to school reunions?

Seeking to know how teaching has changed over the years, I contacted a few teachers with many years’ experience in the public schools. Many liked the freedom of earlier years, but there were drawbacks.

Most of us realize that to do well in this complicated world, a good education is essential. Last week, I was given a book by Dr. Ellen Williams, who spent years coordinating gifted and talented programs in Houston before her 12 1/2 years as senior director of GT work in Kerrville Independen…

Our Declaration of Independence grandly affirms, “All men are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights by our Creator.” Actually, we are not all created equal; rather, each of us is a uniquely, wonderfully different individual. The fact that some are “dealt good hands” in circumstan…

We sent astronauts to the moon and built the Hubbell telescope to photograph the deep vistas of space. This past week, I discovered that I could place an Amazon order for the refrigerator of my choice and have it delivered to my home two days later — and also rapidly cancel it when my ailing…

As I said in my last column, our founders designed an amazing democracy, with three branches of government planned to keep each other in check. It did fairly well until one of the three branches stopped functioning. The two parties became gridlocked in the Senate, so closely tied that one or…

Marvin Kalb, who in 1956 was a young attache in our embassy in Moscow doing translation work, wrote a fascinating book titled, “The Year I Was Peter the Great.”

As one who overlooked much obnoxious speech and behavior in President Trump because of his important work freeing the American economy to grow, I must say I was ashamed of his appalling disparagement of our allies this past week. It is good they have agreed to contribute more to defense of N…

The Fourth of July holiday prompts many of us to think about our country, where we’ve been and where we may be going. One columnist commented that predictions of America’s decline never seem to happen. Many marvel at our resilience. We fret that “a divided house cannot stand,” yet we’ve surv…

In contrast to last week’s column, when I talked of the dangers of freedom when used only for selfish ends, this is a look at people who use freedom and opportunity to develop whatever talents they have to make a contribution to our society and our world.