Signs and Wonders
Bob Costas
Getty Images/Photo by Stephen Lovekin
Bob Costas

Signs and Wonders 12.03

Newsworthy

Guns and Bob Costas. Sports commentator Bob Costas lit up the airwaves and Twitter last night when he shamelessly exploited a tragedy to make a political point. Jovan Belcher of the Kansas City Chiefs killed his girlfriend and himself on Saturday. On Sunday, Costas used the event to argue for gun control on Sunday Night Football. Many of the Twitter responses to Costas are not repeatable on a family-friendly website. Fox News’ Brit Hume said Costas blurted “every known gun control cliché.” He said, for example, that “if Jovan Belcher didn't possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.'' That is, unless the clearly unstable man could have found some other way to kill, which he undoubtedly could. I hope Costas will confine his football coverage to football.

Evangelical turnout. It has already become conventional wisdom that evangelical turnout was as strong in 2012 as in past years. The narrative has evolved into this: “Don’t blame the evangelicals. We did our part.” But I don’t buy it, and the data are so far inconclusive. For one thing, lots of key data sets don’t agree. For example, the Pew Research Center said the percentage of white evangelicals was 24 percent of all voters in 2012. The Faith and Freedom Coalition said 27 percent of all voters were evangelical. That’s a pretty big difference that amounts to at least 2 million voters. Data with that level of disagreement tells me that at least one of these organizations, and possibly both, are probably wrong. But the data point that really caught my attention is the voter turnout number. It was 57.5 percent, lower than 2008 and 2004. At least 93 million eligible citizens didn’t vote. Who stayed home and why? I argue that we still don’t really know.

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Best run states. 24/7 Wall Street just announced its list of best run and worst run states. Even the folks who compile the list admit that it’s hard to determine. They say, “Factors that affect its finances and population may be the result of decisions made years ago. A state’s difficulties can be caused by poor governance or by external factors, such as extreme weather.” Another factor worth considering is which party is in control. The best managed state, North Dakota, has a Republican governor. So do the other top five states: Wyoming, Nebraska, Utah, and Iowa. The worst managed state, California, has a Democratic governor. Number 49: Rhode Island, whose governor is liberal independent Lincoln Chaffee. Illinois is 48, third from the bottom, and it also has a Democratic governor.   

U.N. may usurp parental rights. The Senate will vote tomorrow on a United Nations (U.N.) treaty that critics say threatens the rights of parents with disabilities. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) would override state and federal protections for parental rights. It needs two-thirds approval by the Senate for ratification. Carrie Gordon Earll, senior director of Issue Analysis for CitizenLink, said, “The federal Americans with Disabilities Act recognizes parental rights to make decisions about the care and education of their children. This treaty would supersede that law, putting the government in more of a decision-making role on critical issues. The best interest of the child should be a parental decision, not a government one.” If you want to register your opinion on this bill, the number for the Capitol switchboard is 202-224-3121.

Warren Cole Smith
Warren Cole Smith

Warren, who lives in Charlotte, N.C., is vice president of WORLD News Group and the host of the radio program Listening In. Follow Warren on Twitter @WarrenColeSmith.

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