Exceptionally absent from the debate that surrounded the so-called “fiscal cliff” in the past few months, was the issue of the national debt, which stands at an unfathomable $16.3 trillion. That issue is inherent in the whole discussion of taxes, revenue, deficits, spending and the economy — and it is the public incarnation of those private problems — but the national debt, per se, consistently has been shoved aside in the rhetoric of Speaker of the House John Boehner and President Barac…

Wherever we go, there are books. Indeed we seem to have taken Thomas Jefferson’s declaration “I cannot live without books” to heart. They function as props, shields, antidotes to boredom, windows into far-off lands and times bygone, and many other functions as we carry them around train stations, airports, coffeehouses and, with the advent of the Kindle and its apps for iPads and smartphones, in our pockets.

Shortly before the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, the temptation to sentimentalize and reflect on the blessings in our lives increases. That occurrence takes place so regularly that, just as often, opinions that we should consciously extend the reflective nature of Thanksgiving to all the other days of the year — in the form of actual columns in newspapers, Facebook statuses, Twitter tweets and probably every other form of discourse — materialize.

Rick Santorum, former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, recently visited Ames to express his support for Congressman Steve King. Depending on the results of Election Day, King might be the new representative for Iowa’s 4th Congressional District. Santorum expressed his support in no uncertain terms: “If we lose, and Obamacare is implemented, it’s over.”

Money complicates things. As Pink Floyd said decades, ago, “Money, it’s a crime / Share it fairly / But don’t take a slice of my pie.” On a related note, one of the larger issues of the 2012 presidential campaign has been the fate of the middle class.