Sam BlumenfeldThere have been some mentions of “education” in the Republican debates and by candidates in general. Some of the Republicans have even advocated getting rid of the Department of Education. That’s a good start, but virtually nothing has been said about the reading problem, or the deliberate dumbing down of our children. Nothing has been said about how our public schools are deliberately destroying the brain power of millions of young Americans.

Jack KennyI think the world has got fanatics all wrong. The world has both too broad and too narrow a concept of fanaticism. We generally think of fanatics as wild-eyed zealots and bomb-throwing radicals, people who are more inclined to destroy than reform. But the term is often broadened to include non-violent people of principle who attach themselves to one cause above all others because they believe it is, by its very nature, of primary importance. Many who are adamant about the right to life, for example, make it their practice to avoid voting for any candidate who favors “abortion rights,” regardless of how good they might consider that candidate to be on other issues. For this they are frequently derided as “single-issue voters.”

Chip WoodDuring this season of massive over-commercialization, you may find it hard to believe there was a time when Christmas was no big deal. There were no stores full of toys, no songs playing 24 hours a day, and no Christmas trees with so many presents under them that they fill most of the room.

Dear Michael,

I have been a longtime listener of your nationally syndicated radio talk show. You are, without question, among the most talented, entertaining, and intelligent of hosts. Many a day, in spite of what disagreements I may have had with you, I have been provoked by, and delighted in, your exchanges with guests and callers. Although I obviously do not know you personally, you also strike me as a genuinely decent human being, a loving husband, devoted father, and a good citizen who really does have his country’s best interests at heart.

Jack KennySyndicated columnist Cal Thomas has written a “Grieving at Christmas” meditation on the pain and suffering of those who have lost loved ones in one or more of the wars our nation has been fighting over the past decade. The sense of loss weighs most heavily at Christmas time, he notes, when an empty chair at a family gathering might be a grim reminder of one who is not there because his life was cut short by a bullet or a bomb in a city or on a battlefield half a world away. It may be “the most wonderful time of the year” for many, perhaps most of us, “but for those whose fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers or children have died in Iraq and Afghanistan there is a void this Christmas, and Christmases to come, that can never be filled,” Thomas wrote. “It is the same in every war.”

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