Tornadoes and global warming. Tragedies such as the Moore, Okla., tornado cause people without a biblical understanding of the world (that God is sovereign and holy and just, that creation is fallen, and more) to want to assign blame. So far, I’ve heard people blame God, Republicans, and global warming. As for global warming, there is no evidence that climate change is causing more tornadoes. In fact, we’ve seen a 50-year decline in the number of twisters. Scientifically speaking, tornadoes tend to be worse in the spring, when cool air fights with warm air. As the entire country warms into summer, tornadic activity actually settles down a bit. The reason this spring has been active is not because we’ve had an unusually hot year, but because we’ve had an unusually cool one, especially in the Rockies.
Petula Clark still strong. OK, I’ll admit that the singer of “Downtown” and lots of other groovy ’60s hits is a bit off the course for WORLD, but hear me out: Petula Clark, 80, has sold more than 68 million records in her career. She may be the only person who has had singles that charted in both the 1950s and the 2010s. She sings—and has had hits—in English, French, and German. And now, her latest album, Lost in You, is getting rave reviews and is on the U.K. pop charts. A song off that album spent 14 weeks on the Belgium charts. WORLD readers might be interested to know she’s been married to the same man for more than 50 years and recorded a gospel album with Edwin Hawkins and the Toronto Mass Choir, plus a number of gospel songs on her “mainstream” albums and several Christmas albums.
Obama taking hits? Until this week, it was sort of baffling me that all the scandals we’ve seen in the news had not affected President Barack Obama’s approval rating. Second-term scandals are often the result of overreach. And the polling, until now, suggested that in the current political environment, Republicans need to be careful about overreach as well. But we may, finally, be seeing a shift. A new Quinnipiac University poll shows the president “underwater” for the first time in years. About 45 percent approve of his presidential actions and 49 percent disapprove. Even more telling: Less than a month ago, the survey showed Obama with a 48 percent approval rating, with 45 percent disapproving. Why the change? Republicans and Democrats didn’t change their minds much, but independents did. On May 1, 37 percent of independents gave the president a negative rating. Today, that number is 42 percent
Cross-dressing elementary schoolkids. Over the years, my four kids have participated in “theme dress” days at school. They’ll dress in the colors of their favorite sports team, or in “tacky” clothes and accessories. I have never been a big fan of such days. They send the message that learning itself, encountering the great ideas of civilization, is not interesting enough. But you have to pick your battles. “Theme dress” days took a turn toward the surreal, though, in Milwaukee, Wis. The Tippecanoe School for the Arts and Humanities scheduled a “Gender Bender Day” that encouraged cross-dressing. Parents objected. Do you think the school canceled the event? No, they just changed the name to “Switch It Up Day.” When the day finally came last Friday, most students chose not to participate. According to Fox affiliate WITI, most of the participants in the gender-blurring cross-dressing were faculty and staff.