Monday's News & Ideas

  • Christmas was a riot
  • Protests follow cleric’s death
  • Learning from crises
  • The worst ideas of the decade

Christmas was a riotBoston Globe: Ever long for a traditional New England Christmas? Be careful what you wish for. With its crisp December snows, clapboard houses and white-steepled churches, the region has given America its image of what old-time Christmas looks like. But such an authentic Christmas, the record shows, never really existed. Death of cleric; protests in IranNew York Times: Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri of Iran, a plain-spoken senior Shiite cleric who became a fierce critic of the country’s hard-line rulers, died Sunday. The news quickly became a rallying cry for opposition leaders who called on mourners to converge on his funeral.How the Nazis stole ChristmasThe Independent: Sixty-five years after Germans celebrated the last Christmas of the Third Reich, a new exhibition at Cologne's National Socialism Documentation Centre offers, for the first time, an insight into the elaborate propaganda methods devised by the Nazis in their campaign to take the Christ out of Christmas. What do we really learn from a crisis?Christian Science Monitor: Douglas Harford, as a young farmer in the 1970s and early ’80s, had seen firsthand the twin temptation of easy money and soaring real estate prices, the giddy expectation of unrelenting prosperity and the bust that follows boom. The conservative-Christian big thinkerNew York Times: For 20 years, Robert P. George has operated largely out of public view at the intersection of academia, religion and politics. In the past 12 months, however, he has stepped into a more prominent role. And he is in many ways the public face of the conservative side in the most urgent culture-war battle of the day.

The Spark

The worst ideas of the decadeWashington Post: When the best you can say about a 10-year span is that Y2K was overblown and that at least our downturn wasn't a Depression, you know it was hardly the best of times. We're not particularly sorry to leave the Aughts behind. And if you need any more reminders of what makes this decade so worthy of finally ringing out, here's a look back at some of the really, truly bad ideas that it inflicted upon us.