I haven't been here in a while, so let me give you some thoughts on what's been happening of late and their ramifications.
-- Since the mass shooting in Tucson three weeks ago, conservatives have angrily issued denunciations of alleged "tea-party movement" involvement and have suggested that the major media jumped the gun in blaming it, and by proxy former GOP vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, for the actions of gunman Jared Lee Loughner. For one, I think they're a tad oversensitive in doing so, since such media for the most part were restrained; I watched CNN, which said nothing about motivation when covering the story.
That said, however, it was admittedly my first thought when the story broke. Considering that, according to someone who posted on Sojourners' "God's Politics" blog who once lived in that area, the state does indeed have a dysfunctional gun culture; that tea-party sympathizers had been known to carry guns at rallies; and that they used intimidation and acted rudely to disrupt town-hall meetings on the health-care insurance bill that passed last year over their opposition, by their actions they have helped to bring suspicion upon themselves. If that sounds like an insult, just consider how much mileage the political right got out of the "Ground Zero mosque" controversy of last year even though Muslim terrorists had nothing to do with it.
-- Some people are complaining that President Obama was talking out of both sides of his mouth during the State of the Union address on Tuesday, and they may be technically right. But I give him credit for trying to reach out to those people not of his own party, especially during the lame-duck session of the last Congressional session, to get things done, and politically he may be trying to put his implacable critics in a bind. That's how Bill Clinton, against all odds, was able to win a second term; I have already stated that Obama will be reelected and suspect that this is how it will happen.
-- You may have heard about the illegal abortion clinic that was operating in the Philadephia area; I note with irony that the news broke right around the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which removed most abortion restrictions. I don't suspect, however, that it will result in any more anti-abortion activism because abortion isn't something that gets people in a tizzy.
-- A recent entry on the aforementioned "God's Politics" blog refers to a "Great Gay Awakening" in the evangelical church. Part of the problem is the two irreconcilable extreme views that keep people fighting: 1) Gays and their sympathizers are trying to take over the culture to make their "perversion" normal and acceptable; and 2) They cannot help "whom they love" and the church thus ought to accept them for who they are. Both sides completely miss the point because much of the church has forgotten that it is at heart a subversive, underground movement never geared toward popular acceptance. Let me paraphrase a maxim: God loves us as we are but loves us too much to allow us to remain as we are.
-- A Super Bowl prediction: I'm looking for a tight game, with the Steelers' experience against the peaking Packers making for an exciting context. Steelers by a field goal, perhaps in OT.