Signs and Wonders
President Barack Obama
Associated Press/Photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais
President Barack Obama

Signs and Wonders: Watching with disapproval


Obama’s TV ratings. Since the purpose of President Barack Obama’s speech earlier this week was for the president to “make his case” to the American people, it’s worth knowing if anyone was watching. Turns out, many were, but a lot of them were likely watching with a skeptical eye, if the network they tuned in on is any indication. Fox News drew 4 million viewers for Obama’s speech, more than double CNN’s 1.9 million viewers. MSNBC was a distant third among cable networks. Another indicator the president failed to make his case: His post-speech approval rating continues to drop. The latest Gallup poll, which covers the time just after the speech, shows his approval rating at 44 percent, down from the 50-plus levels he enjoyed at the beginning of the year.

Unions and Obamacare. The AFL-CIO, the union that comes to mind when the phrase “Big Labor” gets used, passed a resolution calling for major changes in Obamacare. This resolution could drive a wedge into the historically intimate relationship between unions and the Democratic Party. In fact, some conservatives and libertarians (see this Reason article) are suggesting that the GOP link arms with Big Labor to fight Obamacare. Seems an implausible scenario to me, but it’s an entertaining and interesting possibility to contemplate.

Why is Y unhappy? Now that I am of “a certain age,” I try to take care not to “bash” the younger generation, and I will admit that new information I saw this week comes dangerously close to Gen-Y bashing. But I think there’s some wisdom in a new study released by the University of New Hampshire that says Gen Y is more “entitlement minded” than previous generations. A statement from the university said the research conducted by Paul Harvey, assistant professor of management, shows employees who are members of Generation Y think they should get preferential treatment, are more prone to get into workplace conflicts, and are less likely to enjoy their job, in part because they think their jobs are “beneath them.”

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On this date. It’s worth noting that one of the great writers of the 20th century, Robert Penn Warren, died 24 years ago this weekend, on Sept. 15, 1989. It’s hard to overstate his contribution to American letters. He is the only person to win the Pulitzer Prize for both fiction and poetry. His novel All The King’s Men is often called the greatest political novel ever written, and one of the great novels of any kind. He was one of the Fugitive-Agrarian writers active in and around Vanderbilt University in the 1930s. Many historians call their 1930 book I’ll Take My Stand a milestone in the conservative movement. Warren and Cleanth Brooks founded the Southern Review, one of the nation’s top  literary journals and one that has been friendly to Christian fiction writers over the years, publishing, among others, Flannery O’Connor and Bret Lott (who  also edited the journal). Warren was also an inspiration to those who want to be productive into their later years. He published one of his greatest poems, the book-length Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce, when he was in his late 70s. 

Warren Cole Smith
Warren Cole Smith

Warren is vice president of mission advancement for The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview and the host of WORLD Radio’s Listening In. Follow Warren on Twitter @WarrenColeSmith.


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