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Wednesday, March 15, 2017 6:00 PM
U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge E. Grady Jolly notified President Donald Trump on March 1 that he will vacate his seat as an active judge, effective October 3, his eightieth birthday. Jolly wrote, “This advanced notice is provided in accordance with the custom of allowing you, with the advice and consent of the Senate, ample time to name my successor. I shall continue to sit in service to the court as a Senior Judge, so long as health and will continues.”
  • HARKINS/Finding welfare fraud
    We all agree welfare should be reserved for the truly needy and recognize the injustice of fraud and waste that steals resources intended for the poor.  It’s the same outrage we feel over the widow robbed at gunpoint or the foster child bullied out of his favorite toy. It is this sense of fair play that inspired me to introduce legislation this session aimed at assuring our welfare programs are not being taken advantage of by fraudsters and con artists.  
  • LOWRY/A 140-character flaw
    The Trump administration is in the throes of one of the greatest self-inflicted distractions of the modern presidency.

    The latest chapter comes from James Comey in his highly anticipated congressional testimony. The FBI director said that he has no information to support President Donald Trump’s infamous weekend tweets alleging he was wiretapped by President Barack Obama during the campaign. This was treated as a bombshell, although what would have been truly surprising is if he said Trump’s allegations had a sound factual basis.
  • TANNER/Separate art and state
    This article appeared in National Review (Online) on March 22, 2017.

    As the husband and stepfather of accomplished artists, I take art very seriously. It is, in the words of President Kennedy, “close to the center of a nation’s purpose and a test of the quality of a nation’s civilization.” But for all that, Donald Trump is absolutely right in his desire to defund the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
    The text we are looking at this week reads: “My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.” The Christian is to be deep in thought about the Lord. Watchmen were those who guarded a city at night. They longed for the morning light. The psalmist is not content to compare his longing after the Lord with one figure. He repeats it to show his hunger and thirst for the Lord was earnest.
  • DUNCAN/‘The poor man who thought he was rich’
    Turn to Luke 18:18-30 in your Bible. I want you to see a couple of things that will help you understand the context of this passage. First, the word “ruler” in this passage does not refer to a civil ruler but to a religious leader, someone that his contemporaries have a great deal of confidence in. Second, the question in verse 18 is not a question in a vacuum. The previous two stories spoke of justification and of entering the kingdom of God, and both of these are linked to this question, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Those three concepts are tied together. They’re stated different ways, but they’re getting at the same thing. If you’ll bear those in mind, it will help you read this passage.
  • BROOKS/Secular purism vs. religious
    Faith seems to come in two personalities, the purist and the ironist. Purists believe that everything in the world is part of a harmonious whole. All questions point ultimately to a single answer. If we orient our lives toward this pure ideal, and get everybody else to, we will move gradually toward perfection.
  • LOWRY/The worst argument for Trumpcare
    Yet this is a Trump administration talking point. White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters last week, “When we get asked the question, ‘How many people are going to get covered?’ that’s not the question that should be asked.” Pressed on the merits of the bill by George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week,” Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney shot back, “You’re worried about getting people covered.” As if that’s a woeful mistake.
  • TANNER/Realities of the healthcare debate
    It has been barely a week since the Republican plan to (sort of) repeal and replace Obamacare was unveiled and already the proposal has been savaged from both left and right, by most of the media, by various interest groups, including doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies, and by virtually anyone else with an opinion. Outside of Paul Ryan, it is hard to find anyone who truly likes this bill. Indeed, in my opinion, this is a deeply flawed bill that perpetuates — and in some cases exacerbates — some of Obamacare’s worst flaws. Still, there are some important things to keep in mind.
    The occasion of this psalm is a believer in distress. David’s prayer is that the Lord will give him relief from his distress (verse 1).  The word for distressed is to feel squeezed or compressed, like struggling to catch your breath. It is a significant trouble that has caused such distress. Some think the circumstance was Absalom’s rebellion against David. Whatever it was, as believers, we are given direction for the relief of distress, regardless of the circumstance.
  • DUNCAN/‘Entering the kingdom of heaven like a child’
    As we continue our way through the gospel of Luke, turn in your Bible to Luke 18:15-17. I encourage you to look at the story that immediately precedes this week’s passage and then the story that immediately follows it. In both stories Jesus speaks about men who think their moral uprightness commends them to God, and He tells His disciples, “It's impossible for that kind of man to enter into the kingdom of God.”
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