Graham weighs in. Billy Graham has long been known as the "pastor to presidents." Now, as he approaches his 94th birthday, Graham wants to help pick the president. He’ll be running full-page ads in The Wall Street Journal and USA Today, among other publications, saying, “It is vitally important that we cast our ballots for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel. I urge you to vote for those who protect the sanctity of life and support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman. Vote for biblical values this November 6, and pray with me that America will remain one nation under God.” The ad doesn’t say explicitly to vote for Mitt Romney. But a couple of recent activities suggest that Graham is a Romney man. Last week Romney made a trip to North Carolina to visit Graham at his home, and The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association recently deleted an article from its website identifying Mormonism as a cult.
Not so gay. In 2011, the Gallup Organization asked people to guess how many Americans were homosexual. Most guessed 25 percent. The actual number, Gallup reported this week, is about 3.4 percent. According to Gallup, this survey is the largest study of the U.S. lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender population ever conducted. Over four months, Gallup canvassed the country by phone, interviewing more than 121,000 people. The results were based on answers to this question, “Do you, personally, identify as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender?” We can never be sure if people will answer truthfully to such questions, but the new data is consistent with a Department of Health and Human Services study released last year that said about 3.8 percent of Americans are gay.
Black Monday. Today is a Friday, but 25 years ago Oct. 19 was a Monday. To be specific, it was Black Monday, the day the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 508 points, or more than 22 percent. It was the largest one-day percentage decline in the Dow’s history. I remember that day because I was living in Los Alamos, N.M., and one of my largest clients, Los Alamos Diagnostics, had planned to go public that week. The crash caused the company to postpone and ultimately cancel its initial public offering. It subsequently went out of business, throwing dozens of people out of work and shelving a promising technology. It was on that day that I learned what happens on Wall Street has a major impact on Main Street, and vice versa. It’s a lesson that today’s Occupy Wall Street protesters, and their sympathizers, have yet to learn.