• Dems must accept irresponsible tax deal

    Approve the lousy deal.

    It pains me to write those words, because the agreement President Obama negotiated with Republicans on tax cuts is really quite awful. I know that some progressives have come to see the package as a cleverly disguised “second stimulus,” but they’re just rationalizing. The fact is that nobody would start from scratch and design an economic boost offering so little bang for so many bucks.

  • Book reveals an art lost in history

    After finishing “We Were the Mulvaneys” by Joyce Carol Oates — which I highly recommend — I started another book Tuesday that I think will be just as good, though of a different genre. I’ve read only the preface so far, but if it is indicative of the rest of the book, I have a literary treat waiting for me.

  • Cracking the culture of ‘more for less’

    I’ve met quite a few farmers since I arrived in Nelson County two months ago, and with every farm visit and telephone call I’ve become more impressed by the drive and tireless devotion to hard work required to work on a farm.

  • A bizarre guide to aid your gift giving

    Let’s cut to the chase. Normally, I’m not this on top of things, especially my Christmas shopping.

    But as it turns out, I’ve taken care of almost everyone on my shopping list.

    And because I’ve been diligently contemplating what to get the people on my list, I’ve also come across some ideas that may help you as well. If you are like me, finding the right gift for a few people is always more difficult than you expect.

  • Difficulties of perfecting a Kansas accent

    Next year, the Stephen Foster Drama Association will stage “The Wizard of Oz” in addition to the traditional production of “The Stephen Foster Story.” Recently, the organizers have asked for kids to come out and audition for some parts in the play, which reminded me of my experiences as a teenage actor.

  • Remembering the fine Colonel Hawk

    I remember Colonel Hawk like he was right beside me, right now. He was a Bardstown man who at one time worked for Catherine Conner, a politically powerful savvy ingénue of the Roosevelt administration in the 1930s and ’40s. She told me she was a major reason for Roosevelt winning the White House. From the picture and portraits I saw of her she had to have been, absolutely, a Kentucky beauty queen. I know from knowing her that she was razor sharp with a wit and a retort in conversation that could cut you wide and deep or charm you with her every word.

  • A case of Nativity scene envy

    Every time I have to walk near or around my Nativity scene, I hold my breath.

    And since the plug for the lights on my Christmas tree is near the table holding baby Jesus and his entourage, it’s been a little scary lately.

    It all started Sunday night when I was finishing putting up my Christmas decorations around the house. The tree went up the day before. That’s a job in itself so I saved the rest of the decorations for the next day. Setting up the Nativity scene was on the list for Sunday.

  • Are we sick with solidarity deficiency?

    Our Sisters of Mercy community has us (often, if feels like!) deliberating on various issues flowing from our mission statement and more current community action plans. Most recent among these: the meaning and consequences of being in solidarity with those who are poor.

    Solidarity is a 5-syllable word meaning “unity or communion of interest and responsibilities,” according to the yellowing pages of New Expanded Webster’s Dictionary (1989).

  • Innovation is the thing for future growth

    This is the miracle of the modern world: In advanced economies, real income per capita is at least 16 times what it was about 200 years ago.

    We take this for granted. It is as natural as a grande latte macchiato, or Dish TV. But it’s one of the most astonishing and consequential facts ever.

  • Tax cut fight highlights missing conviction

    Why did Republicans go to the trouble and expense of winning the midterm elections? It looks like they’re about to prove, once again, that you can get your way in Washington without a congressional majority — if you have a firm sense of purpose. Maybe the Democratic Party will find one someday.

    Or maybe not. Sigh.