Froma Harrop: Today’s Communities are Less Bedford Falls, More Pottersville

What is it that makes the holiday movie classic It’s a Wonderful Lifefeel so ancient? It’s the relationships, but which ones?

Not George Bailey’s warm and loving family. We have close families today. It’s not the far-off relationships, as with long-lost school friends. We have more of them than ever, thanks to Facebook and other digital communities.

The relationships they had in Bedford Falls that are often missing today are those between the very intimate and the quite distant. Townspeople like Gower the druggist, Ernie the cabdriver, Bert the cop — George knew them all by name, and he knew their stories.

George’s family, owners of a building and loan, was fairly prosperous. But the Baileys remained tightly woven with people of varying incomes, education and ethnicity. Each of them was an individual, not just a useful provider of a good or service.

This is society’s middle ring, so strong in the Main Street America of 70 years ago but much weakened since by several forces. One is the clustering of like-minded people from similar backgrounds in the same neighborhood. Another is the migration of social life and shopping to the Internet.

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CBN News: Divorce Shocker: Most Marriages Make It

Most people believe only half of U.S. marriages make it. But a leading researcher is announcing the true divorce rate is much lower and always has been.

Shaunti Feldhahn received her research training at Harvard. She and her husband Jeff help people with their marriages and relationships through best-selling books like, For Women Only and For Men Only.

This Atlanta-based couple often quoted in their writings and at conferences what they thought was accurate research: that most marriages are unhappy and 50 percent of them end in divorce, even in the Church.

“I didn’t know,” Feldhahn told CBN News. “I’ve stood up on stage and said every one of these wrong statistics.”

Then eight years ago, she asked assistant Tally Whitehead for specific research on divorce for an article she was writing. After much digging, neither of them could find any real numbers.

That kicked off a personal, years-long crusade to dig through the tremendously complicated, sometimes contradictory research to find the truth. The surprising revelations are revealed in her new book, The Good News About Marriage.

“First-time marriages: probably 20 to 25 percent have ended in divorce on average,” Feldhahn revealed. “Now, okay, that’s still too high, but it’s a whole lot better than what people think it is.”

Shaunti and Jeff point out the 50 percent figure came from projections of what researchers thought the divorce rate would become as they watched the divorce numbers rising in the 1970s and early 1980s when states around the nation were passing no-fault divorce laws.

“But the divorce rate has been dropping,” Feldhahn said. “We’ve never hit those numbers. We’ve never gotten close.”

And it’s even lower among churchgoers, where a couple’s chance of divorcing is more likely in the single digits or teens.

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Keith Burris: Kasich: The Maverick as CEO

Very interesting, especially coming from the Toledo Blade. Personally, I couldn’t agree more. See what you think.

What makes Mr. Kasich much man, in my estimation, is a willingness to jeopardize that presidential possibility by going to bat for medical care for the poor and their children.

I also respect him for this: After 18 years in Congress and 10 years as a TV host and commentator and making big money in the corporate world, Mr. Kasich decided to run for a job that, if you do it right, requires you to make decisions every day, and many of those decisions make you enemies. He could have spent the rest of his days second guessing, pontificating, and counting his fortune. But he thought he could contribute, build something. His tremendous impatience with political pieties, cul de sacs, and promises makes him a rare bird. A former Washington colleague says: “He’s not a beltway thinker.”

In the end, Mr. Kasich is a political maverick trying to get things done. That means checking ideology at the door. He’s not only green, and compassionate, but he supported an assault weapons ban when in Congress. He also wants to keep taxes low and reinvent welfare.

What makes Kasich highly electable nationally probably makes him unnominatable. He doesn’t seem to much care.

Mr. Kasich had a conversion, or reconversion, experience before he re-entered politics. He doesn’t talk about it. It’s private. But he is serious about his Christian faith. “Nothing much bothers me,” he says.

Mr. Kasich is also a “gym rat.” He works out every day. I ask if he attends to his inner life daily as well. He gives me an extended caveat: He is not saintly, has many flaws, and on most days feels closer to Gandolfini than Gandhi. “But,” he says, “only a fool doesn’t.”

When most politicians say they got into politics, or came back to politics, “to give back,” I reach for my Rolaids and check for my wallet. When this guy says it, I believe him. He’d be a fine neighbor.

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