Various & Sundry, 4/23/15

Thursday, April 23, AD 2015

I was going to wait to post another Various & Sundry until after the Mets lost another game, but I wouldn’t have to hold out on you until June.

Example Number I lost count of how we are raising a nation of coddled brats.

On Thursday, the State of Israel is celebrating her 67th birthday. Naturally, pro-Israel college students nationwide have organized celebratory gatherings – ranging from guest speakers to culturally (read: food) oriented events.

On Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s campus, the planned celebration was not without controversy and dissent.

On April 20th, the student group [email protected] issued an “open letter” decrying an Israel Independence Day celebration scheduled to take place during SpringFest. [email protected] went as far as to claim that the event makes them feel “unsafe.”

– In completely unrelated news, a wide majority of Americans say they would not permit their elementary school-age children walk to school by themselves. There are some issues with the poll: elementary school-age could mean anything between 5 and 14 years-old, plus who knows how many families live miles away from school. That being the case, it’s more proof that large swathes of the public think of pre-teens as little faberge eggs that cannot be let out of adult sight for more than a second.

– Pro-abortion zealots in Colorado won’t even criminalize the act of ripping out and killing an unborn child against the mother’s wishes.

But abortion extremists — the real abortion extremists — insist that cutting a pregnant woman’s baby out of her and killing it, even against her wishes, should not be a crime in and of itself. You could charge this guy with assault for cutting the woman — but the deliberate cutting out of her unborn child would support no further charges, because it’s simply not a life. It’s not even property that could be vandalized.

Seven Things Everyone Should Know about Pregnant Ladies. I particularly liked number four.

Another ridiculous media trope. In movies, laboring women are regularly getting raced to the hospital by mailmen or pizza boys who happen to be on hand. Nervous fathers experiment with different routes to the hospital because that extra 45 seconds will probably spell the difference between life and death.

How often have you seen this happen in real life, where a pregnant woman is rushed out of a restaurant or mall because the baby is coming right this second? Probably never. There’s a reason for that. In most cases, labor takes pretty much forever. My deliveries take so long I could just walk the six miles to the hospital, except by the time I got there it’d already be full of people who had heart attacks because they saw a laboring woman strolling along the interstate.

The movie Knocked Up was one of the few that actually got labor right, oddly enough.

Number five is also good.

A surprising number of people seem to think that pregnant women are automatic wards of the public. Nope.

That means you don’t need to give me the evil eye when I step into the coffee shop. (You don’t even know what I’m ordering. And also, it’s not your business.) There’s no reason to be scandalized if you see me in the checkout line of Total Wine. I might be going to dinner party, or getting something special for my husband’s birthday. Or maybe I am buying something for myself, which is completely fine, because guess what? I won’t be pregnant forever, or even (if it’s visible now) for very much longer. If the store is having a sale on the Lus’ favorite Shiraz, why shouldn’t I pick up a case?

We used to have British neighbors. One year they hosted a new year’s eve party. The woman was pregnant – late second/early third trimester – and she was happily drinking a beer. Most other countries do not put absolutist restrictions on alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Obviously they don’t encourage women to get drunk, but the occasional glass of wine or beer is fine. Of course not in lawsuit happy America.

Some interesting photos of what the White House looks like completely gutted.

– Yeah, this has bad idea written all over it: Doctor Who could be coming to the big screen. It might not happen for eight years, so there’s plenty of time to enjoy the series until its demise.

– And just because: Whittaker Chamber’s awesome takedown of the rancid Atlas Shrugged. There’s so much to love about this essay, but I’ll highlight this paragraph:

The overlap is not as incongruous as it looks. Atlas Shrugged can be called a novel only by devaluing the term. It is a massive tract for the times. Its story merely serves Miss Rand to get the customers inside the tent, and as a soapbox for delivering her Message. The Message is the thing. It is, in sum, a forthright philosophic materialism. Upperclassmen might incline to sniff and say that the author has, with vast effort, contrived a simple materialist system, one, intellectually, at about the stage of the oxcart, though without mastering the principle of the wheel. Like any consistent materialism, this one begins by rejecting God, religion, original sin, etc., etc. (This book’s aggressive atheism and rather unbuttoned “higher morality,” which chiefly outrage some readers, are, in fact, secondary ripples, and result inevitably from its underpinning premises.) Thus, Randian Man, like Marxian Man, is made the center of a godless world.

Okay, one more

Something of this implication is fixed in the book’s dictatorial tone, which is much its most striking feature. Out of a lifetime of reading, I can recall no other book in which a tone of overriding arrogance was so implacably sustained. Its shrillness is without reprieve. Its dogmatism is without appeal. In addition, the mind which finds this tone natural to it shares other characteristics of its type. 1) It consistently mistakes raw force for strength, and the rawer the force, the more reverent the posture of the mind before it. 2) It supposes itself to be the bringer of a final revelation. Therefore, resistance to the Message cannot be tolerated because disagreement can never be merely honest, prudent, or just humanly fallible. Dissent from revelation so final (because, the author would say, so reasonable) can only be willfully wicked. There are ways of dealing with such wickedness, and, in fact, right reason itself enjoins them. From almost any page of Atlas Shrugged, a voice can be heard, from painful necessity, commanding: “To a gas chamber–go!” The same inflexibly self-righteous stance results, too (in the total absence of any saving humor), in odd extravagances of inflection and gesture-that Dollar Sign, for example. At first, we try to tell ourselves that these are just lapses, that this mind has, somehow, mislaid the discriminating knack that most of us pray will warn us in time of the difference between what is effective and firm, and what is wildly grotesque and excessive. Soon we suspect something worse. We suspect that this mind finds, precisely in extravagance, some exalting merit; feels a surging release of power and passion precisely in smashing up the house. A tornado might feel this way, or Carrie Nation.

Continue reading...

4 Responses to Various & Sundry, 4/23/15

  • “In completely unrelated news, a wide majority of Americans say they would not permit their elementary school-age children walk to school by themselves”

    My brother and I walked to school each day from first grade to twelfth, except for half a year when we got rides from a man who went on to murder his wife and then committed suicide. On the whole I rather suspect we were safer walking, even though it was four miles to junior high, three miles to high school, and a half mile to the grade school.

  • Given the shenanigans (see for example Glenn “Instapundit” Reynolds’s on-going “TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE” series) going on in schools these days, you’re kids are probably safer hitchhiking their way to school than they are being in school.

  • 1. Your neighbors are British. Of course they’re imbibing. They need the liquor to cover their dental pain and to dull their senses enough to eat their own cooking.

    2. I have photographic proof of my pregnant mother with a drink in one hand a cigarette in another and a belly (“I thought I looked like a million dollars”). The year was 1962. Don’t tell Mr. O’Neill or he’ll get in his TARDIS and go and arrest her.

    3. One of my siblings actually was within minutes of delivery in a taxicab. There is an odd minority of women who have short labors. We’ve had two deliveries in my family on the labor deck because there wasn’t time to get to the delivery room.

  • There is an odd minority of women who have short labors.

    True, Art. My best friend’s wife has had three fairly quick labors. Not so my wife, to her chagrin.

Various & Sundry, 4/16/15

Thursday, April 16, AD 2015

– Many are rightfully upset with the two parties in this country, but here’s a reminder that countries with multiple party systems are not fairing any better. Instead of one and a half meddlesome, anti-liberty parties they’ve got five of them in the UK. David Cameron makes John Boehner look like Ted Cruz. No matter the party setup, as long as a significant proportion of the population actively seeks government control at every juncture of life, change is all but impossible.

– Speaking of which, a crystal clear example of why the government gets away with taking more of people’s money: it’s the popular thing to do.

There it is in a nutshell. How much revenue the government collects, the state of the federal deficit or the morality of double taxation aren’t of any concern to Ed Kilgore and his ilk. In the end, the true evil in America is the specter of wealth and success. Purporting to speak for “the commonwealth” in their unwashed masses, liberal spokesmodels are mostly upset at anyone who buys into the “perceived morality of capitalism.” This underpins virtually every argument we have on economics and tax policy. Liberals have their own vision for America and it is one where success is something to be ashamed of and which should be punished wherever it is found. If everyone can’t have everything, then we should all share in the pain regardless of personal merit. The Left embraces socialism wholeheartedly, but most of the time they are at least embarrassed enough about it to lie and come up with some other argument as cover. Kilgore is, in a way, providing a refreshing bit of honesty here.
That doesn’t mean that the effort to repeal the death tax will come without cost. As Noah explained last night, good policy is not always good politics and it would be foolish to completely ignore that warning. It is true that populism is a powerful totem, and during tough economic times it’s easy to wave a red flag in front of the masses and urge them to take up their pitchforks and torches against those they perceive as “the rich.” But everyone with any interest in honest work and the ambition to make a better life for themselves and their family eventually realizes that their own success will become the target if they embrace such policies.

The soak the rich, screw ’em all attitude is not limited to the secular left. Far too many Catholics think obedience to Catholic teaching entails taking as much from the taxpayer, especially the “rich” taxpayer, as possible. I guess the tenth commandment is as out of vogue as the tenth amendment.

– Speaking of issues Catholics foolishly get behind, the living wage/minimum wage comes to mind. In the interests of advancing their agenda, many will claim that Walmart’s low wages are in effect subsidized by the government in the form of food stamps. Eh, not so much.

– Not all Republican politicians are craven cowards. Example Number One: Mike Lee.

We can do this first by influencing the attitudes of those around us, making every effort to persuade friends and neighbors that constitutionally limited government not only matters but is essential to our prosperity as a nation. Second, we have to remind elected representatives in Washington that the power to make laws belongs to Congress, not unaccountable bureaucrats, and encourage them to enact regulatory reform measures like the REINS Act, which would help put Congress make in charge of lawmaking. Finally, we have to bring our knowledge of the Constitution back to the ballot box and vote differently—especially when it comes to federal offices.

This is just the conclusion of an otherwise sterling essay examining the ways we have drifted over the years.

Of course Lee hasn’t single-handedly ended Obamacare or repealed the entirety of the tax code, so he must naturally be as bad as the rest.

– While Lee is right that we’ve gone far astray from the original constitutional design, some suggested remedies are worse than the disease.

Many on the right have contended that a Convention of States is distinct from a constitutional convention. What’s more, they might say, that process could be the only way to rein in the unelected elements of the federal government, like the judiciary or the nation’s unwieldy and proliferating regulatory agencies. Some on the right contend that the Constitution has been so perverted that it is already essentially defunct. But these same conservatives, who often lament the fact that Republican lawmakers are so regularly rolled by left-wing organizations and liberal politicians, would be foolish to vest in these GOP officeholders the authority to remake the system entirely. They would quickly find that conservative politicians who regularly fail to outmaneuver liberals in Congress don’t find their luck has improved on the convention floor.

I have never understood the call for a constitutional convention. There is zero possibility that what would emerge would be an improvement over our current situation. It would open pandora’s box to any number of bad ideas that would only further weaken the nature of our limited constitutional republic.

– Commenter Phillip has brought to our attention the troubling case of a Priest who seems to have been wrongfully convicted, and his inability to become freed.

Chris Matthews is a nut, but we knew that already. What’s funny is that on the left’s own terms the Republican presidential field is probably the most culturally diverse in history, while the Democrats have more of the same white faces. You would think Matthews would be celebrating that diversity, not mocking it.

– Fascinating story about Jackie Robinson. Long story short, a black man was booted by the New York Post for being too biased in favor of Republicans. Times have changed.

Churches vandalized by homosexual activists and/or their supporters. Somehow I don’t see this being national news.

Continue reading...

18 Responses to Various & Sundry, 4/16/15

  • No matter the party setup, as long as a significant proportion of the population actively seeks government control at every juncture of life, change is all but impossible.

    No, that would be with our institutions. In Britain, the problem is that there is something approaching an elite consensus against a system of natural liberty, as there was prior to 1975. The crew in charge since 1990 has not engineered an economic wasteland such as prevailed in Britain ca. 1978, so you do not have intramural pressures to replace the Conservative Party governing stratum, currently led by a most unedifying careerist. Also, the British public is happy to chow down on swill, by and large (re the prosperity of the Scottish National Party is the grossest example).

    I have never understood the call for a constitutional convention. There is zero possibility that what would emerge would be an improvement over our current situation. It would open pandora’s box to any number of bad ideas that would only further weaken the nature of our limited constitutional republic.

    Come again? You think the only thing holding the line against ‘bad ideas’ is the practice of vesting the task of proposing amendments in Congress? The utility of such a convention would be to propose amendments which run counter to the professional interests of members of Congress or which are bottled up due to the Senate’s inane parliamentary rules. The election of delegates to such a convention would processes public preferences or public interests (such as they are) on the subject of political architecture, removing some confounding vectors (as Congress has responsibility for the full range of public policies). Any amendments proposed still have to be ratified by state conventions or state legislatures. Consider the following:

    1. Rotation in office or term limits.
    2. Limits on public sector borrowing.
    3. Limits on tax preferences.
    4. The question of conditionality in the distribution of inter-governmental transfers (or, using state and local governments as conduits).

    You’re not going to get the first out of Congress, and likely could not get any of them, no matter how much public support you had.

    While we’re at it, we do not have a ‘limited constitutional republic’. We have an irreparable institutional mess, about which nothing much can be done within the limits of the text itself.

  • Mr. Zummo does not understand why there are calls for a national constitutional convention.

    I spent five years in Washington, DC. I understand completely why there is a demand for a constitutional convention.

  • I’ve spent longer than that here, PF, and I guess I understand. Perhaps it’s more accurate to say I don’t agree with it, for the reasons outlined in the linked post. Considering the state of our nation I think the odds are much greater for things to take a turn a worse rather than the better.

  • I suspect that, were push come to shove, rather than risk a runaway convention, Congress would itself take up any slate of proposed amendments that was coming close to garnering the necessary state support.
    .
    Furthermore, the check on a runaway convention is the fact that the States would still have to ratify whatever came out of it.

  • for the reasons outlined in the linked post.

    He does not provide a coherent argument.

  • Matthew 25:37; “I was in prison and you visited me.”

    Thanks Paul Zummo for opening the door of this prison to readers of TAC.

    Father Gordon has been suffering an extended incarceration for a crime he did not commit. Money fueled the false allegations and contempt for holy priests locked the jailhouse door.

    Visit this prisoner via the blog.
    It’s our Lord we serve when we serve our neighbor.
    Peace.

  • Prayers for Father Gordon. IN GOD WE TRUST
    The Canadian government has just outlawed prayer, the invocation of God before its official meetings.
    .
    The Canadian government is rather presumptuous in assuming that God will be enduring their insult and respond by giving each and every person life, when in fact, God gives to whom He pleases.
    .
    When, not if, for all persons are dying at all times, (the poets say that man begins to die at conception), any person dies while attending a government controlled meeting, denied his civil right to petition God for mercy and the grace of a happy death, each and every person is being denied the same freedom, the same civil right to a relationship with God, to worship God, to speak with God, to reference God, and to peaceably assemble with God.
    .
    In effect, the government is telling the very people who constitute the state as a legal person to go to hell. Saul Alinsky chose to go to hell. I do not. I wish for the Beatific Vision of God in heaven. And the government most certainly does not any authentic authority to detour its constituents to hell, nor to detain its constituents on earth without recourse to almighty God.
    It is particularly disturbing that the government officials who are themselves dying do not wish to entertain the vision of God as help in our final agony. This is the imposition of atheism. At one time against the First Amendment.

  • I think PZ does get it – it’s not that a Constitutional Convention is a bad idea per se, it’s a bad idea given the current state of our political class and our citizenry. Who are going to be the delegates at this convention? Who is going to elect them? How will they get support? It will be run by the same political machinery that has us in this current mess. It’s unfortunate, but the only thing that seems capable of creating change is some form of widespread unmitigated disaster.

  • “Saul Alinski chose to go to hell.” -Mary De Voe.

    The devotee’s of Alinski run the risk of hell as well.
    Thanks Mary for your prayers for Fr. G.

    As for Canada??…oh canada..poor canada.

  • Thank you cmatt for better articulating my position. That’s it precisely.

  • cmatt, these yours questions, not true objections, and since you’re not willing to think it through yourself, they have the quality of chaff thrown in everyone’s face.

    What makes you think the delegates will be so troublesome that their work product will make things worse than they already are? First you have to get people who are lower quality or more corrupted than Congress, then they have to produce junk proposals, then the junk proposals somehow clear high ratification bars. I want to know why you think any of these is a risk, much less a probability.

  • From cmatt above, “. . . bad idea given the current state of our political class and our citizenry”
    .

    Truth. The elites are completely corrupt and incompetent, either pathological liars or imbeciles. The academy is no better. However, the most dangerous problem is evident in the past two presidential elections. It is that 51+% of the electorate appear to be amoral, debased, dilatory, immoral, indolent, witless beings that seem to be impressed with the idea that it is the government’s duty to provide stuff for them.

  • Art, those “questions” are a polite way of phrasing the problem that could be rephrased as a misidentification of issues– it isn’t that the system is broken, it’s that there is an actual underlying problem which would not be fixed by changing the system.
    Unsupported assertion that it would be different doesn’t constitute an argument that needs to be responded to, it just states a baseline assumption.

  • T. Shaw, if it makes you feel any better, there’s a lot of fraud going on– and apparently the folks doing it don’t think it’ll be enough, since now they’re pushing for a system to make it easier in one of the most openly fraudulent states around, mine. Vote by Email.
    /headdesk

  • it isn’t that the system is broken, it’s that there is an actual underlying problem which would not be fixed by changing the system.

    The system is broken (in addition to there being problems with the political culture most particularly manifest in the Democratic Party and the elite bar).

    A convention of states might be able to get some incremental adjustments on the table Congress would never consider. That’s all it can do; you’ve all got strange visions in your head of it proposing some unspecified yuck which is then unaccountably ratified by the states, but none of you have specified just what. The most imprudent thing that ever got through the amendment process was national prohibition, but that was a consequence of a popular movement which had been obtrusive for more than 25 years. What analogue do you have in mind now? The most troublesome amendment recently has been the 14th, but the time bombs therein were set off nearly ninety years after the amendment was ratified and required measures of shamelessness by appellate judges and law professors alike.

    About a generation ago, The New Republic asked a group of correspondents to suggest constitutional amendments and then printed the results. There were a mess of gag replies about the designated hitter rule, poses struck on ancillary matters (Victor Navasky wanted capital sentences disallowed) and one proposal which stood out for sheer inanity: that an amendment should be adopted to prohibit further amendments. The author of this was Walter Berns, who is unaccountably revered in certain circles.

    Mr. T. Shaw’s stated position in other fora is that it is impossible to improve a regulatory architecture through statutory changes because legislators are government officials and government officials make things worse every time they do anything at all. Walter Berns’ appears to have been that the constitution was absolutely optimal as was and that nothing could improve anything (or that he could not bear a mustache on his beloved Mona Lisa). We’re doing well here: our discussion of these matters runs the gamut from anarchism to antiquarianism.

    I keep hearing from people (e.g. the characters who used to run the Ashbrook Center) what a marvelous piece of work our constitution is with its checks and balances and what not, and if the social reality of its actual operation is unedifying, well, we’ve just got bad machine operators. If the constraints do not actually constrain, what good is it? Britain, Israel, and New Zealand get along passably with a body of constitutional law and no discrete instrument. If it’s the culture that’s at fault, why would we be worse off without that instrument?

  • Art Deco wrote, “Britain, Israel, and New Zealand get along passably with a body of constitutional law and no discrete instrument.”

    The British constitution could be written on a postcard – “The Queen in Parliament can make and unmake any law whatsoever, including the laws regulating its own composition.”

    Of course, there is a vast body of customary and statute law that can be described as Public Law – but Parliament (that is any government with a Parliamentary majority) could change any or all of it tomorrow by an ordinary Act of Parliament. There can be no entrenched provisions, for a section requiring, say, a two-thirds majority for the Act’s repeal, could be repealed along with the rest of the Act by a new Act of Parliament, passed in the ordinary way.

    I would add that I am rather suspicious of constitutions – they are never there when one wants them. I remember being “read my rights” on the only occasion I have ever been arrested – “The President of the Republic has declared Paris to be in a state of siege; the constitutional guarantees have been suspended, &c, &c.”

  • “they are never there when one wants them.”

    That would certainly be the case with French constitutions

  • That would certainly be the case with French constitutions

    It lacks the concision and level of clarity of its American counterpart, but it did include some innovations which improved political practice in France and allowed for ministries which could last long enough to pursue some policy lines to partial fruition (30 months on average rather than the 12 months common during the 3d republic and the 6 month mean of the 4th republic). An interlocutor informed me (concluding a disquisition on the impossibility of anyone improving on the work such very wise men as the Founders) that I was a deluded Wilsonian Progressive technocrat if I would think such a thing an achievement. Some of these conversations have their comic aspect.

Various & Sundry, 4/15/15

Tuesday, April 14, AD 2015

– Cancel the primaries, folks, Walker has it all sewn up. I jest, but the horserace stuff really bothers me. I’m as guilty as anyone, and I’m not helping matters with four different links to stories related to the presidential election in some way, but is it too much to ask that we wait a little while before digging seriously into poll numbers?

– I’m extremely critical of Rand Paul, but if he is able to turn the abortion narrative on its head, then kudos.

But Wasserman Schultz’s feigned confidence on the issue of abortion politics was betrayed when she channeled Mitt Romney just a few seconds later. “At the end of the day, it’s unlikely that voters are going to be deciding who they’re going to vote for for president and whether a candidate has their back on this issue,” the DNC chairwoman said of abortion. “It’s more going to be on jobs and the economy.”

You know we are witnessing a tectonic shift in American politics regarding right to life issues when the progenitor of 2012’s War on Women and a self-described champion of “reproductive justice” sounds more like a Republican than Republicans. Wasserman Schultz would rather take the issue of abortion off the table entirely than be faced with the prospect of alienating her party’s rabidly pro-abortion base.

I’m not as sure as Rothman that the tide has turned yet. I’ll note that the polling data has always been more favorable to pro-lifers, and has consistently shown that those whose primary issue of concern is abortion tend to vote pro-life rather than pro-abortion. What has stung Republicans is the, ugh, narrative. It’s about time someone took the fight to the Democrats and put them on the defensive, where they should be, as they are the ones truly on the fringes when it comes to this issue.

– Jonah Goldberg says its only a matter of time before we hear from the Hillarycons.

Since then, the caliber of defectors have proved to be less and less impressive. That’s not to say that some weren’t sincere, but generally speaking their public arguments for switching to the other side were not very persuasive and often at odds with their real motivations. Douglas Kmiec is probably the most notorious example of an “ObamaCon,” at least among pro-lifers (he famously defended Obama’s vote in support of partial birth abortion, a hard case to make for someone calling himself a Catholic pro-lifer). Obama rewarded him with an ambassadorship to Malta, inspiring any of us to quip that it profits a man nothing to trade his soul for the whole world, but for Malta . . . ? Anyway, it will be interesting to see if Hillary Clinton can inspire similar conversions this time around.

Speaking of old Dougie, how is his vice presidential candidacy coming along?

– Hilllary Clinton: faux champion of the poor. I’m not sure that stories like these, which accurately reflect the hypocrisy of Madame Clinton, really have much of an impact on the electorate. By now most people know she’s a phony, and the LIVs who don’t are lost causes.

– David French wants to bring some common sense to the topic of police shootings. This is absurd of course. We demand nothing short narrative-based journalism steeped in ideological hand-wringing.

We live in some scary times. The media are more invested in digging up dirt on ordinary joes (and janes) expressing opinions than they are in vetting actual candidates for the highest office in the land.

 

 

Continue reading...

19 Responses to Various & Sundry, 4/15/15

  • Re Jonah Goldberg’s thesis: Oh, dear Lord, no. I had a snootful of her, and him, and the whole rancid entourage after eight years of “vote for him, get her”. I think I might sooner go to the stake than suffer even four years of “vote for her, get him”.

  • The ‘Obamacon’ phenomenon was manufactured by the media. Descriptive statistics on the preferences of Republican voters showed that Obama was no more likely (if any thing, slightly less likely) to garner their support tha any of his predecessors as Democratic nominees. You have an irreducible minority of soi-disant Republicans who break ranks; it runs to about 9% of the total.

    What you had instead was a small collection of academics, opinion journalists, and retired politicians engaging in social signaling in front of their circle. Some of the explanations of why they were doing what they were doing were sufficiently poorly formulated that a reasonable inference would be that the actual reason was one to which they were too embarrassed to admit. (Or, as one wag put it, “How many of these guys have liberal wives or girlfriends?”. Yes, Prof. Kmiec, I’m looking at you). Christopher Buckley is a humor and travel writer who has likely never had a serious thought in his head on policy matters, Jeffrey Hart gives evidence of senility, Charles Fried gave everyone a demonstration of what stupefyingly unselfconscious social snobbery looks like, and Kenneth Duberstein evidently figured there’d be Democratic administrations in office for a while, so his fees depended on their hacks returning his phone calls. Kathleen Parker is a downmarket version of Fried. Julie Eisenhower needs to ask herself why soi-disant ‘moderate Republicans’ produce no books elaborating on their preferences, found no policy shops with variegated interests, and cannot even put together a stable corps of opinion journalists and publications.

  • Mr. Zummo.

    Would you allow me the courtesy to plead for a wrongly convicted priest on this thread?

    I am hoping one of the contributors of TAC might look at this case closely, and possibly offer help, at the very least prayers. I have been following this priests disappointments and once one becomes aware of the facts in this saga one might be able to help. In some way, help the hopeless. His name is Fr. Gordon Macrae.
    http://www.thesestonewalls.com/Gordon-macrae/judge-Joseph-laplante-denies-priests-appeal/

    Paul Zummo. If you can not post this plea on your thread it’s okay. I just know that there are many qualified exceptional law practitioner’s that participate on TAC, and possibly one of them could view this link.

    Thank you for your considerations.
    Sincerely,
    Philip.

  • Someone mentioned Malta?

    I can’t help it! I have to…

  • Phillip,

    I would be happy to post that on the next V&S as well to draw more attention to it.

  • Mr. Zummo.

    God bless you!

  • As far as Hillarycons go, I think David Frum is safely ensconced in the Bush camp.

  • In my life time (almost 50 years) of voting, a moderate, squishy RINO has never beat a liberal D for President. Think Dole, McCain, Romney, and other RNC establishment types, etc. People with my values disgust and scare the RNC to death. In our state, the RNC, working through the Republican state party, makes sure that no one the RNC can’t control ever gets above the position of state rep/state senator.

    If the RNC gets its way and a moderate, squishy RINO (i.e. an establishment candidate) is nominated as the presidential candidate–Hillary will be president of the US. I told folks if Romney & McCain, who are a moderate, squishy RINOs, were nominated against Obama–that Obama would be elected both times. However, no one of importance listened to me.

    Yes, I know that Dole had all of the personal warmth of a fish, McCain’s campaign was split right down the middle with his staff working to undercut his vice presidential nominee in every way possible, and Romney’s get out the vote efforts were a joke.

    I also told folks that Osama (aka Obama) is who he has turned out to be before he was ever elected as president the first time around. No one of importance listened to me on that issue either. Again, I will say this re: the upcoming election with Hillary–she is a true believer–if she wins, it is going to get VERY ugly–even uglier than we have it now with Obama.

    In all honesty, I expect the Rs to nominate a squishy, “moderate,” establishment type based on the national party’s consistent past history. It is very depressing.

  • As far as Hillarycons go, I think David Frum is safely ensconced in the Bush camp.

    David Frum presented himself as a libertarian ca. 1994, then as the foreign policy militant and scourge of the alt-right ca. 2002, then as the recrudescence of the 1950s modern Republican ca. 2009. I’m not sure what he’s flogging now. I think he shut down FrumForum and I never read it anyway. Antecedent to all this, he went to law school and, on graduating, set himself up as a journeyman writer, landing a position in the public relations apparat of the elder George Bush. The man’s had as many incarnations as Dr. Who (though, as a character, I’d liken him more to The Rani). Wet that finger and stick it in the wind…

  • If you say so, Barbara. I’d describe Richard Nixon and the elder George Bush as opportunists and the younger George Bush as a man with commitments (but not convictions). I seem to recall they defeated Democratic candidates several times (five, in fact). I’d describe Mitt Romney as an opportunist as well, though one with many talents and, unlike Richard Nixon, quite accomplished outside the world of law and politics. His opponents were more principled than he was, but I cannot see Ron Paul or Newt Gingrich improving on his performance in November 2012. With Santorum, who knows for sure; he’s generally underestimated and has been for 25 years.

    I cannot figure what the point of the RINO discourse and it seems a peculiarly stupid term to apply to a succession of Republican Presidential nominees (including one who was also the caucus leader in the U.S. Senate). These guys define what an authentic Republican looks like, not opinionated people in comboxes, who have their differences as well with rank-and-file Republican voters. That aside, you have one set of informed opinions who might take issue with your taxonomy re McCain and Dole: the American Conservative Union.

    People familiar with that sort of thing (R.S. McCain) have reported that John McCain’s campaign manager and his press agent were very dubious characters and that the latter has been particularly hostile to Gov. Palin, to the point of beclowning herself by trafficking in a lie that campaign aids were discussing whether or not she should be sworn in if elected. Nicolle Wallace may be ignorant of constitutional provisions to a stupefying degree, but that’s likely not that common among political professionals (and others who worked for the campaign promptly said she was lying). McCain’s an impetuous man motivated by personal dealings, so it’s not all that surprising he made bad personnel decisions. The thing is, its a category mistake to refer to Schmidt and Wallace in ideological terms. “Hustler” or “grifter” would be more appropriate. “Don’t hire grifters” is sound, if jejune, advice.

  • Philip, good. ‘Political’ prisoner sadness.

  • I’m glad Art brought up Rick Santorum. It reminded me of this Wall Street Journal article from 2012:
    .

    Social conservatism, Mr. Bell argues in his forthcoming book, “The Case for Polarized Politics,” has a winning track record for the GOP. “Social issues were nonexistent in the period 1932 to 1964,” he observes. “The Republican Party won two presidential elections out of nine, and they had the Congress for all of four years in that entire period. . . . When social issues came into the mix—I would date it from the 1968 election . . . the Republican Party won seven out of 11 presidential elections.”
    .
    The Democrats who won, including even Barack Obama in 2008, did not play up social liberalism in their campaigns. In 1992 Bill Clinton was a death-penalty advocate who promised to “end welfare as we know it” and make abortion “safe, legal and rare.” Social issues have come to the fore on the GOP side in two of the past six presidential elections—in 1988 (prison furloughs, the Pledge of Allegiance, the ACLU) and 2004 (same-sex marriage). “Those are the only two elections since Reagan where the Republican Party has won a popular majority,” Mr. Bell says. “It isn’t coincidental.”

    .
    As for folks like Bob Dole, Mitt Romney, and Mitch McConnell and John Boehner too, I suppose “defin[ing] what an authentic Republican looks like,” all I can say is that I agree with Mark Levin; the Republican party is a liberal party opposed to a socialist Democratic party.

  • Patricia.

    Yes! He is a “political” prisoner. His impact has reached far beyond the serpentine wire, and those within the wire boarders have been witness to a faithful priest. One that has the patience of Job, and the love of Christ.
    Thanks for taking a look.
    I found “these stone walls” three years ago. I apologize for NOT bringing Father Gordon to TAC sooner.
    May our prayers and activity help him to justice.

  • all I can say is that I agree with Mark Levin; the Republican party is a liberal party opposed to a socialist Democratic party.
    ==
    The point of political terminology should be to communicate in shorthand, not to use shorthand as an epithet. Levin’s not getting the job done.

  • I believe Dorothy Rabinowitz has written about Fr. MacRae’s case. Lee Podles has called Fr. MacRae a con man/sociopath, which leads me to believe he may very well be innocent.

  • makes sure that no one the RNC can’t control ever gets above the position of state rep/state senator.
    ==
    The RNC ‘control’s Steve King?

  • Art Deco said, “I cannot figure what the point of the RINO discourse and it seems a peculiarly stupid term to apply to a succession of Republican Presidential nominees (including one who was also the caucus leader in the U.S. Senate). These guys define what an authentic Republican looks like, not opinionated people in comboxes, who have their differences as well with rank-and-file Republican voters.”

    Why is it that you cannot allow others to disagree with you in a blog without b
    resulting to personal insults? Personal degradation in such a setting shows that you have no rational argument to back up your thoughts.

  • Art Deco,

    As I have said before on more than one blog post where you have stated that you don’t believe what I am saying or think it is stupid or so forth–your opinion of me personally does not impact me in the least–all it does is make me doubt your genuineness.

  • Why is it that you cannot allow others to disagree with you in a blog without b
    resulting to personal insults?


    I’m tempted to offer a personal insult, Barbara, but the descriptor ‘peculiarly stupid’ modifies the noun ‘term’.

Various & Sundry, 4/13/15

Monday, April 13, AD 2015

Apologies in advance as my schedule will make the V&S a bit spotty over the next few weeks.

– Marco Rubio is officially a candidate for the presidency. He seems to have rehabilitated his standing to the point where he should be considered, at the least. a solid tier two candidate at this juncture.

– I guess somebody else also announced her candidacy. Matt Walsh argues that no, it isn’t time for a woman president.

It’s time, instead, for a competent and honest adult of either gender to be president.

Competent and honest are not words I’d use to describe Hillary.

– The Maryland couple who had a run-in with CPS when their kids were caught walking by themselves once again had a run-in with the authorities.

Danielle Meitiv, the “Maryland Mom” just called. She and her husband are on their way to the CPS “Emergency Crisis Center.” Why?

The police picked up the kids when they were outside AGAIN sometime this afternoon, and this time the cops TOOK THEM WITHOUT TELLING THE PARENTS.

The kids, ages 10 and 6, were supposed to come home at 6 from playing. At 6:30, Danielle says, she and her husband Sasha were pretty worried. By 8, they were frantic. Only THEN did someone from the CPS Crisis Center call the parents and say that the police had picked the children up. The kids are at the Crisis Center. (Danielle thinks that the center must be a place that is open on weekends to intake kids from dangerous situations.)

Evidently a “concerned citizen” dropped a dime on the kids. Nothing says “concerned” as much as calling the cops when you see kids walking by themselves instead of, you know, checking in on the kids yourself. And while most of the comments I’ve read are supportive of the Meitivs, it’s clear that there are a not inconsiderable people who will be elbowing themselves to the front of the line when the police state victory parade comes marching through town.

– Fr. Z asks if you pray for the priests who administered your sacraments. This gave me pause as I considered that two of the priests who gave me my sacraments (or initally gave me the sacraments) are no longer priests. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that priests are people with temptations, anxieties and fears like the rest of us, and they they need our prayers and support.

– John Lillis writes of a dinner engagement with Glenn Beck. Beck’s schtick wears thin after awhile, even if his heart is often in the right place.

– The Mariners turned a 2-1 double play, and that may have been the first in MLB history.

– Somebody compiled a video showing all of the scenes involving Severus Snape in chronological order. Fascinating display of character development.

Continue reading...

37 Responses to Various & Sundry, 4/13/15

  • “Evidently a “concerned citizen” dropped a dime on the kids. Nothing says “concerned” as much as calling the cops when you see kids walking by themselves instead of, you know, checking in on the kids yourself. And while most of the comments I’ve read are supportive of the Meitivs, it’s clear that there are a not inconsiderable people who will be elbowing themselves to the front of the line when the police state victory parade comes marching through town.”

    Indeed, I see it all the time in my practice. I then think how my brother and I were sent to the grocery store to buy items when we were about 7 and 8. During the summer we would be tossed outside to play and only allowed in at lunch or if it rained. I thank God that my childhood was a half century ago and not now. The world has gone mad.

  • The Meitivs live in Montgomery County, Maryland. Their first run-in with
    CPS and the police occurred when their children were seen walking home
    unaccompanied from a park one mile from their home. Interestingly enough,
    the Montomery County School District’s criterion for deciding if elementary
    school children are eligible to ride the bus is that the children must reside
    over a mile from their school. To my knowledge, the police and/or CPS are
    not rounding up those children walking the mile to and from their schools.
    Why do you suppose that is?
    .
    It astonishes me that those children were not allowed to call their parents
    for four hours while being held by CPS. I’m hard put to come up with a
    reason for that other than outright malice on the part of CPS.

  • I have some wonderful priests in my life who were such holy men during their time on earth that I am still asking them for help with our family temporal problems. I prob didn’t pray for them much if at all during the time of their earthly ministry. But my husband and I feel so so blessed to have these good men in heaven who still love us and our now grown kids. We do still include ALL of “our” priests and nuns in our rosary, but we remember ESP Fr Michael Kelly with thanksgiving

  • Nightline just did a segment on the family. The kids got “busted” walking home from the same park. The interesting thing is the guy who dropped the dime on the kids was out walking his dog. The kids stopped to pet it while they were on their way home.
    .
    It seems to me society put that guy into a bit of a catch-22 as well. You’re a guy out walking his dog, and you’re concerned about these two kids out on their own, but how much interaction do you dare have with them, since a guy out walking his dog is the kind of “threat” to these children that resides in too much of the popular imagination?
    .
    We’re all strangers in danger now.

  • It is of utmost need that Our priests be assisted as much as possible in the care of their parents–who are often old and sickly–in order to allow them to focus upon their flock more.
    Check with your pastor–it may mean little more than an occasional ride to the doctor’s office or to the grocery store.

  • Finding Hillary!

    What words WOULD one use to describe Hillary if competent and honest are not true to her core?

    All of the words I find to describe her are not flattering. She is a “mother.”
    It’s the best one I could find.

  • Hillary will keep the abortion faucet on even though her campaign message is “pro-family.”

    Her defeat will help the innocent ones.

    Thumb’s up to her loss as president hopeful; http://www.lifenews.com/2015/04/13/unborn-babys-thumbs-up-sign-during-ultrasound-saves-her-from-abortion/

    She, Hillary, is a threat to family.
    Thumbs up to her future losses as DNC pick.

  • Wagers the Metivs have a neighbor who does not care for them. The CPS should not be pouring rubbing alcohol on that particular flame.

    It seems to me society put that guy into a bit of a catch-22 as well.

    He’s not in a Catch-22. He’s just an ass.

  • – Marco Rubio is officially a candidate for the presidency. He seems to have rehabilitated his standing to the point where he should be considered, at the least. a solid tier two candidate at this juncture.

    According to whose criteria? The man is a sometime solo practice lawyer whose principal skill seems to have been a talent for politicking in the Florida legislature. He’s been in Congress all of four years, got snookered by Charles Schumer, and tried to cover his humiliation by assiduous lying. (See Mickey Kaus on this point). The precedent set by Obama has encouraged candidacies like that of Rubio and Cruz which are wholly inappropriate. Cruz needs to go back to Texas and run something before he reaches for the Presidency and Rubio would do everyone a favor by getting out of public life completely. With Perry, Huckabee, Jindal, and Walker in the race, these men are not needed.

  • When the priest washes his hands & says his silent prayer, I join in by praying, “Lord wash away this priest’s and all priests’ iniquities & cleanse them from their sins.” Not sure if it’s effective, but it’s something.

  • I’m hard put to come up with a reason for that other than outright malice on the part of CPS.
    =-
    News flash: the social work ‘profession’ is populated with ticket-punchers and ideologues without a coherent skill set or good judgment. It only exists as a ‘profession’ because there are state licensing boards and vocational training programs. Look at the course lists of some of the programs for an itinerary of humbug.

  • I think the Repubs have some very solid candidates, although I am not a bug Rand Paul backer due to his position on Israel and his libertarian social stances. (I often refer to libertarians as “responsible anarchists”.) BUT I would vote for Paul or any of the Repub candidates over the “Witch of Chappaqua”. I like Walker, Carson, Rubio et al !!

  • I agree that Rubio’s executive experience (or lack thereof) places him outside of the elite, though his time as speaker of the Florida House of Representatives at least gives him a leg up on Obama (low bar indeed). He’s middle of the pack to me because while there are four or five preferable candidates, I’d still easily pick him ahead of Bush, Christie, Huckabee, Carson, and Paul, and especially so over those last three.

  • In the incident involving the “free range” children, there is one facet of which I have yet to see discussed in all the blogs. Should a child of 10 have responsibility for caring for a 6 year old? What burden does this place on the 10 year old child? Maryland law prohibits leaving a child alone in the home under 8 years old and also prohibits any child under 13 from being able to care for another child. Children should grow up in a loving safe environment and allowed to be children while “free rangeing” under the watchful eye of an adult. The age where most moms were at home with their children and and kept a watchful eye and ear out while we “free ranged” with our friends has long passed. Unfortunately today there are a lot more dangers both outside the home and inside the home (internet) that can steal a child’s innocence. “Free range” children like all children thrive when given sensible and loving guidance in a safe environment. The number one factor that leads children into trouble is too much unsupervised free time with their peers. It’s tough being a parent, perhaps the Meitivs should spend more time being one then leaving it up to their 10 year old son.

  • . Should a child of 10 have responsibility for caring for a 6 year old?

    This is a rather gross overstatement. The ten-year old was not babysitting the younger sibling, but was rather accompanying the child to and from the playground. I don’t think that is an unreasonable amount of responsibility for a 10-year old, although that is a decision for parents to make on their own based on their child’s maturity level.

    Unfortunately today there are a lot more dangers both outside the home and inside the home

    This is simply not true. Every statistic shows that children are safer today than they were decades ago. What is different today is that we have a 24/7 media environment that plays on parents’ fears and leads them to believe that there is a predator lurking on every corner. I’m also not sure what relevancy the internet has in this discussion other than to suggest that there’s another reason children should be made to play outside.

    It’s tough being a parent, perhaps the Meitivs should spend more time being one then leaving it up to their 10 year old son.

    This statement and this attitude disgusts me. Hovering over your child isn’t parenting. Children need time on their own, unsupervised, to develop and learn life skills. The implication that the Meitivs are not “real parents” because they don’t spend every waking second of their day watching their kids is based on an idea of parenting that is stooped in fear and over-concern.

    It’s amazing to reflect on my own childhood. My mother was (and frankly still is) an excessive worrywart. Yet, even she allowed me to play on my own, even to the point of walking with my friends to the playground. All that she required was that I let her know where I would be. If she could let her children play unsupervised, any parent can.

  • Should a child of 10 have responsibility for caring for a 6 year old?

    My mother (b. 1930) walked her sister (b 1936) home from their suburban school and was expected to keep track of her, at a time and place she’ll tell you parents were anxious and protective about many things (as in, for example, prohibiting their children from climbing into swimming pools re infantile paralysis). You fancy someone should have called social services on my grandparents? My sister and I were permitted to play with neighborhood children we’d only just met without any parental supervision from anyone in that very same neighborhood more than 25 years later. And it’s located in…Montgomery County, Md.

  • I’d still easily pick him ahead of Bush, Christie, Huckabee, Carson, and Paul,

    I’ve never understood the hostility to Huckabee, and it’s never been explained to me by partisan Republicans (unless random epithets counstitute an explanation). Bush, Christie, or Huckabee would be preferable to Rubio just on grounds of preparation. As for policy preferences, his fandango with Charles Schumer should disabuse anyone of the notion that there’s much there behind the Ken-Doll visage. He needs to go back to Miami, find a law firm or real estate brokerage to work for, and live a quiet life.

  • It’s tough being a parent, perhaps the Meitivs should spend more time being one then leaving it up to their 10 year old son.

    The critic Joseph Epstein once said that he and his brother were part of the background of his parents life, not front and center, and it was not a bad place to be. He offered that he was more demonstrative with his children than his (Canadian Jewish) father could have imagined being, but that he said ‘I love you’ so often to his boys they must have wondered if they meant it. Reflecting in particular what my aunt recalled of adolescent life ca. 1942, what my mother recalled ca. 1947, and my mother’s assessment of her children’s ca. 1978, and my aunt’s assessment of the ways of the younger generation with their children, I do not think the society has been on an upward trajectory in the quality of life it provides the young. Much of the enhanced attention seems like wheel-spinning.

  • PJ,

    Thank you for entering into the discussion. I will address your responses:
    Should a child of 10 have responsibility for caring for a 6 year old?
    Gross overstatement? I don’t imagine or believe that a 6 year old is just as responsible as a 10 year old. So who would you put in charge of the walk to and from the park?
    Unfortunately today there are a lot more dangers both outside the home and inside the home
    I stand by this statement and I draw your attention to this: http://www.missingkids.com/KeyFacts
    It’s tough being a parent, perhaps the Meitivs should spend more time being one then leaving it up to their 10 year old son.

    “This statement and this attitude disgusts me. Hovering over your child isn’t parenting.”
    You must get upset a lot but I agree with you that hovering is not parenting and I did not promote that in my first post. My parents did not hover over me or my siblings but all the parents in the neighborhood did keep an eye out and an ear open for us when we were around. That is what I was suggesting the parents do and you can’t do that a third of a mile away.

  • I stand by this statement

    In other words facts don’t persuade you. I recognize that this is probably pointless as you’ll just ignore it, but here are actual data points:
    http://www.freerangekids.com/crime-statistics/

    Statistics on child pornography are disturbing, but again – what does this have to do with children playing unsupervised outside? It’s also not exactly surprising that there are higher incidences of illicit internet usage considering that ubiquitous usage of the internet has been a thing for less than a generation. Again, I would suggest that getting children outside seems like a logical solution.

    all the parents in the neighborhood did keep an eye out and an ear open for us when we were around.

    Which is great, and is something we’ve actually lost. I would take a gander that none of them, if they had genuine concern, would choose to call the police rather than assisting the children themselves.

    That is what I was suggesting the parents do and you can’t do that a third of a mile away.

    You have ignored numerous other people recounting how their parents indeed let them wander off for greater distances than this. As I said, even my neurotic mother (God love her) allowed me considerable room to roam on my own without her immediate supervision. You may elect to keep a tighter leash on your children, but don’t pretend that this has been the norm for most of human history.

    By the way, I was upset at your implicit assumption that the Meitivs were bad parents. Do I need to refresh your memory:

    It’s tough being a parent, perhaps the Meitivs should spend more time being one then leaving it up to their 10 year old son.

    That sentence does more than imply that you do not believe the Meitivs are good parents because they do not follow your restrictive definition of what good parenting is. That is obnoxious.

  • PZ

    I deal in facts all day long. Crime maybe down but it is no where near the level it was when we were growing up. If you really want to deal in facts , lets make them specific to this case. This incident happened in Silver Spring, Maryland in the area of park near Fenton and Easley streets according to a Washington Post article:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/crime/montgomery-county-free-range-children-taken-into-custody-again/2015/04/12/39987b08-e188-11e4-905f-cc896d379a32_story.html

    Now using a free application that is at my fingertips and should be on every parents computer: https://www.crimereports.com/

    Enter the cross streets and let’s see what is really going on in the neighborhood.
    Scroll out and look at the number of reported crimes and look specifically at the little red triangles which represent registered sex offenders. I count at least 7 within a third of a mile.

    Now as far as ignoring numerous other people relating how their parents let them free range; I did not ignore them. I believe that I correctly interpreted their trip down memory lane as STORIES of how they were raised in the PAST, and not really relative to what is going on TODAY. As much as one could wish things were just like they used to be does not make it so. One who believes as much might be referred to being mentally unstable and definitely not in touch with reality.

    Now it seems that because of my input you are directing some pent up anger at me and finding my remarks obnoxious. That certainly is your right, but I find it hinders open dialogue when one starts down the path of harsh responses.

    I think that one should be empathetic to the parents who were reportedly searching for hours for their children and as a parent one should be upset with the authorities for their lack of due notification. We will not know all the reasons this occurred until all the facts are in. I will propose that it may turn out to be a break down in communication between the police and the Department of Social Services.

    Having experience in these matters I can say that the police are not baby sitters and that they are required to notify DSS. Once DSS is notified then it is their responsibility for the investigation and follow up. My experience has been that DSS is overworked and understaffed and are not timely when it comes to responding. It seems at first that a lot of this could have been handled better. If the police had taken them home and found that the parents were not; the officer(s) could not leave the children on their own in the house due to Maryland law. One should not be so anxious to jump to conclusions by forming their opinion based on what passes as news today which is presented more to excite than inform. Recent events in Ferguson MO and in Florida with Mr. Zimmerman make my point. Thank you.

  • Jim, it would save everybody here a lot of time if you’d just write, “I have my vision of reality, and I’m sticking to it.”

    I happen to live pretty close to where this all happened and know these neighborhoods well. I don’t need a website to tell me what’s happening in that neck of the woods because that is part of my reality. There is no particular threat unique to that part of Silver Spring that would make me uneasy to have an older kid (read ten or so) walk through unattended. This ain’t the ghetto. And as for the sex offender registry, I’m sorry, but the majority of the time those who are registered are not what one would call threats, especially not to children. A 19 year old who has sex with a 17 year old is on that registry for life. What was initially an idea based in good intentions has become a perversion, snaring far too many people who should not be lumped in with true threats to the community.

    As much as one could wish things were just like they used to be does not make it so. One who believes as much might be referred to being mentally unstable and definitely not in touch with reality.

    The same could be said for someone who insists that it is much worse despite all evidence to the contrary. So by your own definition you just might be mentally unstable.

    Now it seems that because of my input you are directing some pent up anger at me and finding my remarks obnoxious.

    You keep ascribing motives and feelings to me that frankly I don’t have. Once again, for the final time, any slight irritation I have with you is due to the attitude you took with regard to the Meitivs. You essentially said that they were not good parents simply because they allowed their children to walk a moderate distance, unsupervised. That is abhorrent. I’m not angry with you, but your attitude is one that I find deeply offensive.

    One should not be so anxious to jump to conclusions

    And maybe one day you will take your own advice.

  • Crime maybe down but it is no where near the level it was when we were growing up.

    Mean homicide rates have declined by half in recent decades are now about what they were in 1962. They’ve scarcely been lower than that at any time in living memory. I believe the frequency of rape has followed a similar pattern. Index crime rates in general (which include murder, rape, robbery, burglary, auto theft, assault, and larceny) have declined in frequency by about 30% in recent decades and are, I believe, around about where they were ca. 1973 (but with a greater bias toward property crime than used to be the case). I believe Dr. Zummo was born ca. 1978, so he never lived in that state of the world. Unless you’ve migrated from one sort of locale to another or once lived in an eccentrically tranquil locale, index crime rates ‘no where near’ what we experience today would not have been a part of your upbringing if you are under 55.

  • Recent events in Ferguson MO and in Florida with Mr. Zimmerman make my point.

    Just how? You’ve cherry-picked from the last 3 years two odd cases, one a justifiable homicide of a local hoodlum who committed a petty robbery and then attacked a cop and another a justifiable homicide of a petty hoodlum who was practicing his MMA moves on the local neighborhood watch captain. The number of justifiable homicides by police in an ordinary year in this country is around about 300 or so. The number by the general public is, I believe a two-digit figure. Neither has anything to do with hazards peculiar to unaccompanied children.

    I believe that I correctly interpreted their trip down memory lane as STORIES of how they were raised in the PAST, and not really relative to what is going on TODAY.

    One of my “stories” was from around 1970. We are not living in a more crime-ridden world now than we were then, just a world in which social workers are more officious and random members of the public have worse judgment.

  • The homicide rate in 1967 when I was 10 was 6.2 per 100,000. In 2013 it was 4.5.

  • PZ,

    I am speaking of facts and offering information and you insist on spouting your opinion and offering remarks that are not true; ie “A 19 year old who has sex with a 17 year old is on that registry for life.” This is NOT A CRIME ANYWHERE! So you know not of what you speak.

    You are free to differ with me as you like but get you facts straight first.

    I am not being “Chicken Little” saying the sky is falling and crime is off the hook, but I do know that the general public has no idea of how much chaos that police officers protect them from everyday. Legally police officers do not have responsibility for your personal safety. You do and for your children.

    Art,

    My childhood stories would be from the 50’s and 60’s. I have children older than both of you and I have been in law enforcement since 1971. My reference to Ferguson and Florida were in reference to jumping to conclusions and assumptions before all the facts are in as to what was done by law enforcement and DSS in this case. I believe that you missed that and once again proved my point.

    Once again I will ask the question how can you come to the aid of your child if needed when you are a third of a mile away? For any reason, regardless of what the crime stats are and the likely hood of harm from another person.

    The average citizen can’t tell you what is going on around them beyond 7 yards. Just look around and see the number of persons distracted by their portable electronics. How can a parent tell what is going on around their child from a third of a mile away? Is it worth sticking to your “free range” program if something happens to one of your children. I am not promoting “helicopter parenting” by any means just suggesting a little closer surveillance than a third of a mile and letting a 10 year old be a 10 year old without the worry of being responsible for his 6 year old sister. To me it’s just common sense and the way it should be.

    BTW I am not a fan of the “Nanny State” trying to regulate everything either.

  • Jim claims to have worked in law enforcement, yet is seemingly unaware of the crime of statutory rape. Should I have made 19 and 16 the age difference to bring the point home a little more clearer? The point is that many people are on the sex offender registry for reasons that have nothing to do with the reasons most people are truly concerned about, especially as related to children.

    But you’re more interested in arguing about picayune points rather than addressing the more general point, which is that your picture of society and the dangers faced by children is greatly exaggerated. You offer up these elaborate scenarios where children past the age of reason are going to be in these completely helpless scenarios because mommy and daddy are not around at all times. You can choose to live in fear and subject your loved ones to that if you wish, but the rest of would prefer to raise our children based on an honest and sober assessment of the world as it actually is. Is there the a slight possibility that my child may come to harm? Perhaps. But there’s a chance – a significantly greater one, in fact – that they will be killed in a car crash. I’m still going to get behind the wheel with them.

    I will not hold my children hostage and refuse to grant them reasonable amounts of autonomy because there is a one in a million chance that something bad might happen if I do.

  • Art, My childhood stories would be from the 50’s and 60’s. I have children older than both of you and I have been in law enforcement since 1971.

    A typical American man with a child older than yours truly would be about 81 years old, Mr. O’Neill. In 1971, the military would not accept enlistments from men past their 36th birthday, but the police department you joined would, even though you could remember nothing of the Depression or the war. A police force made up of amnesiac middle-aged men sounds like it would be real effective.

    My reference to Ferguson and Florida were in reference to jumping to conclusions and assumptions before all the facts are in as to what was done by law enforcement and DSS in this case. I believe that you missed that and once again proved my point.

    Actually, the police department in Sanford, Florida and the local prosecutors office decided in a matter of a couple of weeks that Mr. Zimmerman was not culpable. The 17 month long legal extravaganza was sheer wheel spinning for the rabble. As for Ferguson, the security cam photos showing Michael Brown strong-arming the convenience store manager were available within days, much to Eric Holder’s dismay. The public prosecutor’s office embarked on an elaborate process (quite unnecessary and atypical) because of the rabble. What point do you fancy you’ve proved??

    Once again I will ask the question how can you come to the aid of your child if needed when you are a third of a mile away?

    Needed for what?

  • Jim claims to have worked in law enforcement, yet is seemingly unaware of the crime of statutory rape

    Or of crime statistics. Or of his retirement benefits. The median retirement age for police officers is about 55.

  • “I’ve never understood the hostility to Huckabee, and it’s never been explained to me by partisan Republicans (unless random epithets counstitute an explanation).”

    Background: I was a county coordinator for Huckabee in his US Senate race, and again in his Lt. Governor’s race. I worked my heart out for him in a county that had no elected Republicans and that had had an inactive county Republican committee for about 30 years. In his Lt. Governor’s race, I knew he was going to win because in that yellow dog Democrat county, where they had cheated in the absentee ballot box, Huckabee had garnered almost 50 % of the vote. I lived under his Lt. Governorship and his 2 terms as governor of Arkansas.

    Now the reasons why people go beserk over Huckabee.

    1. State government continued its steady growth under his leadership.
    2. He had promised not to raise taxes, so he raised EVERYTHING else you can possibly raise as governor of our state (fees, fines, etc., etc., etc….)
    3. He portrays himself as a conservative Republican when he is simply a pro-life, pro-second amendment Democrat.
    4. He thinks government is to be used as a resource to meet peoples’ physical needs as if he were still running a church trying to meet people’s needs. Example: Under his leadership, the state made a deal with a private utility company in which the utility was to require everyone in the state to pay a fee on their utility bill. This fee, that the private company collected and handled, was to be put into a fund out of which the utility would “weatherize” the poors’ homes and save the poor money on their utility bills. This is vintage Huckabee. It was just fine with him to use government to force people to give money to a cause that he deemed worthy. If you didn’t pay the fee demanded by the utility that went to pay for work on others’ homes, even though your home might need repair, you got your utility cut off. The year that went into effect, there were tens of thousands of Arkansans who got their utilities cut off. I am still angry about this. I think finally, someone sued and a court ended that joke of a government program several years later. Huckabee is more than happy to forcibly spend other people’s money.
    2) Huckabee created (at the time) the largest addition to a socialized medical program in our state’s history during his tenure. Again, he was using the force of government to require us to be charitable.
    3) Huckabee and his wife, Janet, are very thin skinned and vengeful. I know this first hand. If you criticize them or disagree with them on policy they will cut you off and do their best to pay you back later—no matter how long it takes. There was no compromise with him as governor. You either supported what he wanted and all of what he wanted, or you were the “enemy.” His chief of staff would tell you that “you are either with Mike Huckabee or against Mike Huckabee.”
    4) When he ran for Lt. Governor the first time, he was paying his wife with campaign money to produce his campaign media spots, as they had no income and had to make their house payment.
    5) Huckabee focused solely on himself as the head of the Republican party in this state while he was governor. The party structure was completely neglected and fell apart during his tenure.
    6) Not even 50% of Arkansans go to college, however, Huckabee pushed avidly for our state to pay for the college tuition of the children from other nations who were here illegally. It fell flat. (Again I point out that he avidly advocates for the force of government being used for mandated forms of “charity” which is a liberal Democrat/Socialistic tendency.
    7) Huckabee, again confusing his role as governor with that of a pastor, released a prison inmate who worked at the governor’s mansion during Huckabee’s tenure. He said that we had to give people the opportunity to show that they had repented of their evil deeds and be forgiven. The released prisoner went to another state, raped, and killed a woman.
    There is more. However, you get the idea.

  • Well, I forgot to mention something the Democrats are sure to bludgen Huckabee with. Again,confusing his political position with that of a church pastor, he decided to release a prison that worked at the governor’s mansion. When the family who had been harmed by this prisoner promptly had a very public, very attention grabbing fit–if I remember correctly, they demanded to have a face to face meeting with Huckabee who refused the meeting as he was wont to do when someone had a viewpoint differring from his–Huckabee gave some his reasonings for the release in the terminology of the church. He indicated that prisoners had to be able to redeem themselves and be forgiven–given a chance for hope–or why hould they even attempt to rehabilitate themselves? The criminal was released on Huckabee’s watch, went to another state, raped and killed a woman.

  • 1. State government continued its steady growth under his leadership.

    The ratio of state and local public employee compensation went from 14.4% to 15.4% of total compensation between 1997 and 2007. Domestic product attributable to state and local government went from 9.1% to 9.4%. The Democratic Party controlled the Arkansas legislature the entire time he was in office.

    If you didn’t pay the fee demanded by the utility that went to pay for work on others’ homes, even though your home might need repair, you got your utility cut off.

    How large was the fee?

    Huckabee created (at the time) the largest addition to a socialized medical program in our state’s history during his tenure. Again, he was using the force of government to require us to be charitable.

    Hmm. You’d like the state legislature to eliminate Medicaid. In re I take it you regard programs which were precursors to Medicaid (e.g. state asylums and tuberculosis sanitoria) were also illegitimate. In addition to which public schools, which provide a service which can be purchased on the open market and which have you paying taxes to educate the children of freeloaders are also illegitimate. You’d like common provision in the realms of medical care, long-term care, and schooling to be eliminated. Good luck with that.

    When he ran for Lt. Governor the first time, he was paying his wife with campaign money to produce his campaign media spots, as they had no income and had to make their house payment.

    Was did she do this work for the campaign committee or not?

    Huckabee focused solely on himself as the head of the Republican party in this state while he was governor. The party structure was completely neglected and fell apart during his tenure.

    What was the partisan balance in the state legislature in 1996? What was it in 2007?
    ==
    6) Not even 50% of Arkansans go to college, however, Huckabee pushed avidly for our state to pay for the college tuition of the children from other nations who were here illegally. It fell flat. (Again I point out that he avidly advocates for the force of government being used for mandated forms of “charity” which is a liberal Democrat/Socialistic tendency.

    His position was sentimental, as was Gov. Perry’s. Do you have an issue with in-state tuition for anyone else? State institutions providing schooling?

    Huckabee, again confusing his role as governor with that of a pastor, released a prison inmate who worked at the governor’s mansion during Huckabee’s tenure
    ==
    The future behavior of discrete individuals is always a matter of actuarial calculation, whether you’re considering them for reprieve, commutation, or parole. In irreducible number will re-offend. The only way around this problem is to never release anyone.

  • Re: your last response. You asked, so I told you.

    “1. State government continued its steady growth under his leadership.

    The ratio of state and local public employee compensation went from 14.4% to 15.4% of total compensation between 1997 and 2007. Domestic product attributable to state and local government went from 9.1% to 9.4%. The Democratic Party controlled the Arkansas legislature the entire time he was in office.”

    Obviously, someone has been provided with talking points. I sat in state committee meetings with a political organization of which I was a member that reviewed every single increase in every single state agency’s budget every year Huckabee was governor. Sorry if your single selected stats do not impress me. Also, do you happen to have the percentage of increase in every single interaction citizens had with their Arkansas state gov’t, such as fees/licenses, etc., that increased during his tenure? P.S. Those fees never went back down.

    “His position was sentimental, as was Gov. Perry’s. Do you have an issue with in-state tuition for anyone else? State institutions providing schooling?”

    Sentiment be damned. Everyone can claim sentiment when they are trying to use government’s coercive power to force you to pay for their charitable projects. It would have been my cold hard cash that I earn by the sweat of my brow–not sentiment that paid for it. Now, Huckabee is very wealthy–do you know if he has paid any illegal children’s college tuition or is he only interested in other people paying for it? By the way, I give to charities on a regular basis that minister to such children and have worked with them directly on a daily basis for years. I do not want my government choosing my charities for me. (Again a repeat of that same refrain.)

    And re: the Democrats controlling the Arkansas legislature during H’s
    tenure-which is true. The Democrats controlled the Congress when Ronald Reagan was president. However, RR got his reducing government agenda accomplished. So I guess we should expect Huckabee to be a failure as president if he has to deal with a Democrat congress as well?

    Also, if Huckabee had actually participated in party building as the leader of the Arkansas Republican Party when he was the head of it, he might have had more Rs to work with in the legislature. Instead, he focused soley on his own political career–and gained a lot of ground considering the fact that when he was first elected to office he could hardly pay his mortgage on a regular home–and by the time he left office about 10 years later–he was buying a $700,000 home in a uppity area of Little Rock as well as other purchases.

    “How large was the fee?”

    It doesn’t matter how large the fee was. The government is not there to be used as a means to redistribute wealth and force citizens to give their money to what government considers to be its mandatory charity projects. Period. Not one single penny. The Bible says that charity is to be given willingly…Not coerced by the force of gov’t nor the force of not being able to function in your own home due to the “fee” which was really a “government forced charitable fine.” Years later when that process was declared to be unconstitutional I never got a single dime of my “fees” that I had paid returned to me. Do you think government should be used as a vehicle to force people to be charitable? Obamacare is a prime example of this. Just think how much charity he could come up with as president!

    “Hmm. You’d like the state legislature to eliminate Medicaid.”

    It was not a medicaid program. Though it was supported by mandatory tax dollars. Again, using gov’t to force people to be charitable–you notice the pattern.

    “Was did she do this work for the campaign committee or not?”

    I’m not sure that I understand your question. But she was directly involved in the mass media campaign and ,to my knowledge, was being paid for it ostensibly because they had a mortgage to pay.

    “Huckabee focused solely on himself as the head of the Republican party in this state while he was governor. The party structure was completely neglected and fell apart during his tenure.”

    “What was the partisan balance in the state legislature in 1996? What was it in 2007?”

    It was the party structure across the state–the volunteers and little old ladies who ran the Republican Women’s clubs, and those who had kept the party together and fought the good fight to get Huckabee elected to governor the first time around who were pushed out of the way. After being pushed out of the way and ignored, the volunteers who would have assisted the party to become a majority party much sooner gave up and quit as a whole. There was quite the money scandal down at the state party headquarters during this time. It was not pretty. During the time Huckabee was governor, he very publicly ignored more than one national Republican figure who visited the state, who could possibly be a contender against Huckabee in a presidential race. I was in the state campaign headquarters of a Republican governor candidate when word was received from Huckabee that he would not be attending such an event after all–a few hours before the event–after Huckabee had promised to attend the fundraising event for an extended period of time. Again, it was not pretty and was seen to be downright malicious and manipulative.

    Speaking of money problems, I organized and held a fundraiser during his first run for governor in which I personally handed him and those with him around $1000 in event ticket fees and cash which never made it to the campaign headquarters–at least, it didn’t make it on their official records when I looked at them later. That infuriated me, as you can imagine.

    “The future behavior of discrete individuals is always a matter of actuarial calculation, whether you’re considering them for reprieve, commutation, or parole. In irreducible number will re-offend. The only way around this problem is to never release anyone.”

    The greatest predictor of future behavior is past behavior. People who have already committed crimes are likely to repeat them. The intensity of repeat offenses often increase over time. “Actuarial calculations” are no comfort to the individuals nor their families whom this particular criminal harmed. Reprieve, commutation, and parole be damned. If they don’t want to be in prison–don’t offend. If they are there–don’t let them out. The people of this state have passed legislation just to make sure that criminals are required to serve even part of their actual sentence. Huckabee had no excuse for not meeting with the family of those this criminal harmed when Huckabee was considering releasing the criminal. The state government is not built for redeeming people. That process lies elsewhere and now we have a raped and dead woman as evidence. And for the last time on this post–I will point out that the state is not a church.

  • Obviously, someone has been provided with talking points.

    No, I went to the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis interactive data site and pulled some Arkansas numbers and noodled around with them in a spreadsheet.

    The Democrats controlled the Congress when Ronald Reagan was president. However, RR got his reducing government agenda accomplished.

    You can review aggregate expenditure levels or you can review the menu of agencies. The Reagan Administration had some successes in cutting select domestic discretionary programs (a modest fraction in a world of entitlements) and in initiating regulatory changes. That’s it. If the infrastructure is still there, the Party of Crime can just restore the cuts when they get the chance. It’s hard to think of an agency the Reagan crew were able to waste. The National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, Claiborne Pell’s pet projects, should have been easy kills. They still exist 34 years after Mr. Reagan’s inauguration.

    It was the party structure across the state–the volunteers and little old ladies who ran the Republican Women’s clubs…

    I see 260 words of chatter yet you did not answer my question, which can be accomplished with one short sentence.

    People who have already committed crimes are likely to repeat them….The state government is not built for redeeming people

    And the implications of that probabalistic statement are what, that you keep them locked up indefinitely?

    Huckabee had no excuse for not meeting with the family of those this criminal harmed when Huckabee was considering releasing the criminal.

    Meeting with that family would have told Huckabee precisely what about (1) the offenders respect for prison rules or (2) the likelihood of the offender doing something in the future?

  • “Meeting with that family would have told Huckabee precisely what about (1) the offenders respect for prison rules or (2) the likelihood of the offender doing something in the future?”

    Since you are a researcher, look up the names of the families that were harmed, contact them, and ask them first hand what they would have shared with Huckabee.

  • “I see 260 words of chatter yet you did not answer my question, which can be accomplished with one short sentence.”

    Because of your inability to communicate in public forums without resulting to personal insults I ceased to respond to your individual comments to answer your specific concerns long ago. My motivation is so that anyone else who might be interested sees the response.

  • Because of your inability to communicate in public forums without resulting to personal insults I ceased to respond to your individual comments to answer your specific concerns long ago. My motivation is so that anyone else who might be interested sees the response.

    Whatever.

Various & Sundry, 4/8/15

Wednesday, April 8, AD 2015

– The Hugo Awards have presented us with a rather odd cultural moment, and one which – for once – conservatives are winning.

To counteract the voting bias, Correia organized a campaign called “Sad Puppies”—because, he explains, “boring message fiction is the leading cause of Puppy Related Sadness.” Which gives you a small sampling of the kind of goofy, irreverent humor with which the campaign has been conducted. The idea was simply to suggest a slate of authors Correia thought were likely to be overlooked or slighted because of their views—and to counteract that effect by lobbying in their favor.

But then things got out of hand. This year, the Sad Puppies campaign (and a related slate of recommendations called Rabid Puppies) swept the field. The response was a total meltdown among the leftist elites who had assumed, in previous years, that they (and their favorite publisher, Tor) basically owned the Hugos. So they did what the Left always does: they smeared everyone who disagrees with them as racists.

– Fr. Z links to a video which helps explain why more men don’t go to Church. Fortunately I do not have to endure such things at my parish.

Oh look at that – more doubt is being placed on another set of government dietary guidelines.

Moreover, according to studies published in recent years by pillars of the medical community, the low levels of salt recommended by the government might actually be dangerous.

“There is no longer any valid basis for the current salt guidelines,” said Andrew Mente, a professor at McMaster University in Ontario and one of the researchers involved in a major study published last year by the New England Journal of Medicine. “So why are we still scaring people about salt?”’

More salt on my bacon, please.

– Yeah, Charlie Cooke’s a hypocrite. You know what? I guess I am as well because I pretty much agree with everything he says here.

I am an opponent of the death penalty, and I have for a long time now been happy to argue why. But I fear that I am also something of a hypocrite on the matter, in that my heart and my head are often in two different places. Like many people, when I hear the news that a serial rapist/murderer has been killed, something in my gut says, “good!” And then I quickly check myself, and I remember why I’m against it, and I recall that I really don’t trust the state the make these sorts of decisions. It is always important to look to our better angels when our emotions run away with our brains. Upon hearing the news that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had been found guilty on all thirty of the counts that were brought against him, however, I have had trouble rebounding from my initial, intuitive, instinct. On paper, I hope that he is not sentenced to death. But if he is, will I care that much? Meh.

– The Kennedy (with some very rare and exceptions) has done as much as any to guarantee the deaths millions of unborn children. I guess it makes sense for one of them to get to work on the born.

When Kennedy asked the crowd of a few hundred viewers how many parents had a child injured by vaccines, numerous hands went up. “They get the shot, that night they have a fever of a hundred and three, they go to sleep, and three months later their brain is gone,” Kennedy said. “This is a holocaust, what this is doing to our country.”

Interesting analogy from someone who seeks to imprison climate change “deniers.”

Continue reading...

5 Responses to Various & Sundry, 4/8/15

  • Kay is the name of a new Catholic that I sponsored this year. She’s a convert from the Lutheran Church. We shared in a glorious celebration at Holy Rosary. Nearly three hours long.

    I couldn’t imagine what Kay would of done when the three ring circus kicked in as it did in Fr. Z’s clip. My guess is a slap in my face followed by a quick exit.

    No wonder men don’t go to Mass anymore….perfectly said!

  • Interesting piece over at Crisis on the role of abstract reasoning in the culture wars:
    .

    For decades people all over the world have been doing better and better on test questions that emphasize the most abstract forms of reasoning. The accumulated changes from this so-called Flynn Effect are large enough to suggest that most nineteenth century people would be classified as mentally retarded by today’s much higher standards.
    .
    Other comparisons, for example between popular literature then and now, make that suggestion ridiculous. But if overall intelligence remains constant or nearly so, any improvement in purely abstract reasoning must be coming at the expense of other abilities. And that appears so. The improvement in scores corresponds to a tendency to think less by reference to concrete narratives and more by reference to abstract analysis. That doesn’t make people smarter, but it does mean they think about things differently. People today are less literary, less religious, and more visually and technically oriented. They view the world less as a complex of concrete functional arrangements like family, community, and a natural order that we are part of and must respect, and more as a collection of resources available for whatever purposes each of us may have.

  • This what’s kind of funny from Cooke’s words on your link:

    that there is something unavoidably ugly about procedural death, and that societies that choose to kill when they are not explicitly forced to do so will soon come to undervalue human life and 3) that, as history shows, it is inherently dangerous to invest the state with such awesome power. These lattermost two are crucial, clearly. But they are ultimately subjective value judgments. The federal government has executed precisely three people since 1963. Do I think that adding a particularly egregious name to that list will do much to damage the American conception of life?

    Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/416668/im-against-death-penalty-i-dont-really-care-if-tsarnaev-fries-charles-c-w-cooke

    Here’s the real question though: Are either of those true?

    When we look at countries today – heck when we look at states and communities – how does death penalty and life value line up? Last I saw, nations, states etc that had outlawed the DP were ones that fully supported abortion, euthanasia, and practically any other measure of life value. So while the idea that DP == less life value SEEMS logical, the evidence appears to point otherwise.

    For the second point, well just look at it again. When the state stops executing, do we see a coresponding expansion of freedom and loss of power to it? Who’s more free? Texas or New York? Are Americans more free now since only 3 people have been executed by the feds, or were we more free before 63? Again the logic is sound, but is the evidence there? I’m not convinced, and why this is so, may be just one of those paradoxes of life.

  • Good point, Nate– suggests that not all gov’t killing is the same.
    I can understand “I don’t trust the state with this power, even though in theory they have the moral right to do it;” I can’t understand “I don’t trust the state with this punishment because it will highly tend to lead to lead to massive over-application.”
    Sure, there’s more evidence for death penalty abuses, because a society that can exist without killing those who do great harm to its members is a pretty modern thing.
    ********
    The Federalist story about Sadpuppies is pretty good, especially compared to the wave of oddly similar stories that came out the day after ComiCon ended– it only mistakenly implies that Sad Puppies is an outgrowth of #gamergate, which would be hard since Sad Puppies is about two years older than #gamergate. The folks who were horrified that bullying gamers didn’t work, and neither did lying about them in news that they don’t even read, have come down on the Sad Puppies thing, though.
    (As best I can tell, Sad Puppies does have more legal action taken than all of GamerGate, though– one of the guys that was horrifically libeled by Entertainment Weekly is going to take legal action. There was talk about taking action against the anti-GamerGate folks in the UK, but I’m not sure if anybody actually did it.)
    The organized attacks on Sad Puppies sure had an effect on me– I bought a membership and I’m voting, most likely for a Sad Puppy. I got enough of the “this story says so much IMPORTANT stuff, it doesn’t need to be good writing!” stuff in school.
    ****
    I know the salt guidelines are dangerous. They nearly killed my dad when I was a kid.
    A doctor flipped out at his salt intake, mom changed her cooking style, and he got heat stroke for the first time since the Army in a matter of days– thank God he figured out what was going on in time to stop and get off of the heavy machinery he was operating.
    I am really, really sick of getting medical advice that is good in specific cases applied to everyone— destroy the blinkin’ Procrustean bed!

  • Like Mark Twain said, Foxfier:

    “Be careful about reading health books. You might die from a misprint.”

Various & Sundry, 4/7/15

Tuesday, April 7, AD 2015

I hope everyone is having a happy and blessed Easter.

– Rand Paul has officially entered the 2016 presidential race. There’s a long way to go, and at this point there are a number of candidates I could see myself supporting. He is not one of them. There are myriad reasons why, and he gave me another one today.

– Kevin Williamson with a typically brilliant column, which concludes thusly:.

“I expect to die in bed,” Francis Eugene Cardinal George famously remarked. “My successor will die in prison, and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.” Perhaps it will not come to that. But we already are on the precipice of sending men with guns to the homes and businesses of bakers to enforce compliance with dictates undreamt-of the day before yesterday. Yes, render unto Caesar, and all that. But render only what is Caesar’s — and not one mite more.

– Speaking of the Indiana RFRA law, I do have to agree with Andy McCarthy’s analysis. The federal RFRA was an overwrought reaction to what was a correctly decided Supreme Court case. Naturally this does not justify the over-reaction to the Indiana law, but we do need to have some perspective, as McCarthy explains the original legislation’s history:

It should be no surprise, though. RFRA was an unfortunate reaction, by an odd combination of conservative religious leaders and opportunistic statists, to a 1990 Supreme Court decision, Employment Division v. Smith, written by Justice Antonin Scalia, a brilliant conservative jurist (and, for what it’s worth in this context, a devout Catholic). The statute’s enactment was triggered in 1993, when the Court reaffirmed Smith in Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah. These cases stand for the principle that the First Amendment does not provide a religion-based exemption from compliance with a law of general application that is religion-neutral — i.e., a law that applies to everyone equally and does not discriminate against adherents of a particular religion.

Moreover, RFRA does not provide a principled, knowable carapace of religious freedom. Rather, it transfers the power to decide what religious convictions will be respected from where it belongs, in the hands of free people through their elected representatives, to where it should not reside, in the whims of politically unaccountable judges whose sensibilities often differ widely from the community’s sensibilities. When someone claims a law burdens religion, RFRA imposes a test: The government must prove that the law serves a compelling public purpose and represents the least burdensome manner of doing so. There is no reason to believe judges are better equipped to perform that balancing than legislatures; and there is nothing about a law degree that makes a judge a suitable arbiter of which tenets of your faith outweigh the government’s interests, and which do not. Furthermore, if a legislature strikes the wrong balance, its statute can be amended with comparative ease; reversing a court’s error in defining the parameters of a constitutional right is extraordinarily difficult.

As McCarthy explains, the fact that the likes of Ted Kennedy supported the federal RFRA is reason enough to make conservatives suspect the wisdom of it.

– So Rolling Stone has retracted its UVA rape story and is on the cusp of being sued. Good. Let me just add that as the father of three (soon to be four) girls, those who lie about rape are utterly repellent, for they make it that much more difficult for those who were raped.

– Sally Kohn might be one of the dumbest pundits alive, and that’s saying something.

In a column for TPM, liberal media personality Sally Kohn asserted that it makes no sense to say the government is forcing people of faith to violate their consciences, because government can’t force you to do anything:
You may have heard that the government is forcing businesses not to discriminate. It isn’t. If you chose to run a business, you have to follow the laws. If you don’t, that’s a choice—and you choose to suffer the consequences.
Kohn, who has a law degree from NYU, carried her theory even further, stating that members of the police force aren’t really using force to enforce the law unless they put a gun to your head:

This issue of government force is a funny one. You could also argue that the government is forcing you to drive below the speed limit or wear a seatbelt in your car. But it’s not. There isn’t a police officer holding a gun to your head literally forcing you to buckle up. In fact, you are 100 percent free to speed and not wear your seatbelt—and simply deal with the consequences if you’re pulled over. Is the threat of the fine for breaking the law amount to “forcing” you to follow the law? No.
Eric Garner, who was choked by Staten Island police and later died at the scene of his arrest for selling untaxed cigarettes, might disagree with Kohn’s description of what does and doesn’t constitute force. Unfortunately, Kohn fails to see the linguistic hints embedded in the words we use to describe how government compels legal compliance.

Continue reading...

7 Responses to Various & Sundry, 4/7/15

  • I hope people will “just say No” to Ron Paul.
    I hope they say No soon so that the other more worthy candidates can actually make traction without having to go through the silly libertarian stuff.
    If there ever was a time that libertarianism was called for this is NOT IT.

  • Thank you for the link to Andy McCarthy’s interesting article on the RFRA.

    In European jurisprudence, an important part of religious freedom is the principle that an individual’s opinions are no concern of the public authorities. Hence, the sanctity of the “forum internum” and the principle that no one is obliged to disclose his or her opinions to a public official. The European Court of Human Rights, for example, has systematically struck down laws requiring the inclusion of an individual’s religious denomination on identity cards or its compulsory disclosure in a census.

    Religious freedom means that an individual’s religious beliefs should have no intervention in or impact on the relations between that individual and the public authorities. This means, too, that there are common rules governing those relations for, if there are different rules for members of different religious groups or communities (as in the Ottoman millet system), in what sense is the Republic one and indivisible?

    For this reason, the French Constitutional Council dismissed a challenge to the law banning the wearing of the hijab or other conspicuous religious symbols in public schools as an infringement of religious freedom in a single, laconic sentence: “But considering (attendu) that the Law of 15 March 2004 concerns itself with actions, not opinions, for this reason (motif) rejects.”

  • Sally Kohn’s argument is not dissimilar to that of a number of 17c moral theologians who, influenced no doubt by the horrors of the Wars of Religion, maintained that disobedience to lawful authority was never justified. Accordingly, they distinguished between “active obedience,” or obtempering a command and “passive obedience,” or accepting the sanction or penalty imposed for disobedience. As this included incurring the penalty for fugitation for avoiding arrest, the distinction between “passive obedience” and outright disobedience was a fine one. Nevertheless, it was supported by theologians of note, especially of the French School.

  • “Nevertheless, it was supported by theologians of note, especially of the French School.”

    Well then, what further proof do we need that it is a hideously bad idea! 🙂

    I prefer Saint Thomas Aquinas:

    “But, as we have already said, authority may fail to derive from God for two reasons: either because of the way in which authority has been obtained, or in consequence of the use which is made of it.

    There are two ways in which the first case may occur. Either because of a defect in the person, if he is unworthy; or because of some defect in the way itself by which power was acquired, if, for example, through violence, or simony or some other illegal method. The first defect is not such as to impede the acquisition of legitimate authority; and since authority derives always, from a formal point of view, from God (and it is this which produces the duty of obedience), their subjects are always obliged to obey such superiors, however unworthy they may be. But the second defect prevents the establishment of any just authority: for whoever possesses himself of power by violence does not truly become lord or master. Therefore it is permissible, when occasion offers, for a person to reject such authority; except in the case that it subsequently became legitimate, either through public consent or through the intervention of higher authority.

    With regard to the abuse of authority, this also may come about in two ways. First, when what is ordered by an authority is opposed to the object for which that authority was constituted (if, for example, some sinful action is commanded or one which is contrary to virtue, when it is precisely for the protection and fostering of virtue that authority is instituted). In such a case, not only is there no obligation to obey the authority, but one is obliged to disobey it, as did the holy martyrs who suffered death rather than obey the impious commands of tyrants. Secondly, when those who bear such authority command things which exceed the competence of such authority; as, for example, when a master demands payment from a servant which the latter is not bound to make, and other similar cases. In this instance the subject is free to obey or disobey.”

  • Among the myriad reasons to support Rand Paul is he “drives nuts” liberals.

  • Alas, T Shaw, that reasoning could be applied to just about any one of the other potential nominees, and none of those have the distinction (like Paul) of driving me nuts.

  • I cannot see a point to Dr. Paul’s candidacy but to advance a variant of his father’s views. Who needs that?

Various & Sundry, 3/30/2015

Monday, March 30, AD 2015

With Holy Week upon us, this will be the last V&S until after Easter.

– Gabriel Malor answers all your questions about the Indiana state RFRA. Considering that Malor often rankles the Ace of Spades commentariat with his writings on gay issues, particularly his support for gay marriage, it is significant that he is coming out against the anti-bill hysteria.

– A woman who killed an unborn child in Colorado will not be facing murder charges.

Why can’t prosecutors charge Lane with murder? Colorado is one of only 12 states that do not protect unborn children from murder. For that gap, Coloradans can thank Democrats who controlled the state legislature, and the abortion industry that controls Democrats … and themselves for buying their arguments when they had a chance to prevent this injustice

For the Democrats, it’s the abortion lobbey uber alles. That’s why this guy doesn’t have a chance in hell.

– Nicholas Frankovich defends Cardinal Burke from the smears of some intellectually dishonest critics, including one at the National Catholic Fishwrap.

Distinguishing between sinner and sin is usually easy: The sin doesn’t define the sinner, and neither does the sinner define the sin. The David who committed adultery with Bathsheba was still, after all, David the apple of God’s eye. But the adultery he committed was still adultery. Our ability to think both thoughts simultaneously may be waning, although some people only pretend that they don’t understand. Their aim is to dumb down the conversation to the point that thinking has no place in it anymore. If their opponent has won the debate intellectually, what can they do? Ignore his ideas, deplore ideas generally (oh, those “doctors of the law,” those “Pharisees”!), and push sentiments (cheap “mercy,” the Catholic version of cheap grace) that they hope will appeal to the soft-headed child in us all.

– So this Google thing might be getting a wee bit out of control.

The question for voters who are watching the ongoing regulation battles should come when you compare the two different stories above. You have a company which is clearly in bed with the Obama administration in particular and the Democrats in general. And you also have a track record which indicates that they’re not shy about manipulating their search results when it works to their favor. How much faith should you then have that they are delivering news results or political analysis about various candidates and issue oriented questions in a consistent, agnostic fashion?

Of course I read this story on a Droid, using a Chrome browser, and am typing this all up on a Chromebook. So yeah.

– And now idiots.

A selfie-obsessed tourist apologized Sunday for posting an online pic of herself grinning at the site of the deadly East Village inferno.

Modal TriggerAfter The Post exposed her with a front-page story headlined “Village Idiots,” Christina Freundlich said she was “deeply sorry for my careless and distasteful post.”

“It was inconsiderate to those hurt in the crash and to the city of New York,” she said in an email to The Des Moines Register.

– And tonight’s music video.

Continue reading...

15 Responses to Various & Sundry, 3/30/2015

  • – A woman who killed an unborn child in Colorado will not be facing murder charges.

    What are they going to charge her with? Practicing medicine without a license?

  • “– A woman who killed an unborn child in Colorado will not be facing murder charges.”
    .
    The woman had a right to choose and had not a child of her own to abort so she aborted another woman’s child.
    .
    “The David who committed adultery with Bathsheba was still, after all, David the apple of God’s eye. But the adultery he committed was still adultery.”
    .
    David repented saying “My sin is ever before me” The child died and David was not allowed to build the Temple. Solomon’s Temple stands as proof of the perfect Justice of God.
    .
    In a court of law only truth is allowed.

  • “For the Democrats, it’s the abortion lobbey uber alles. That’s why this guy doesn’t have a chance in hell.”
    ***
    I wasn’t aware that Jim Webb strayed from Democrat “orthodoxy” on abortion. In fact, he hasn’t strayed from the pro-abort line at all:
    ***
    “Supports Roe v. Wade and abortion rights
    ***
    “Webb says, ‘I drifted away from the Democratic Party on national security issues but I never left on social issues and issues of economic fairness.’ He opposes a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, believes trade agreements should require other nations to improve labor standards and wages, and backs abortion rights as defined by the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade. ‘I believe the power of the government ends at my front door unless there is a compelling reason to come inside,’ he says.
    ***
    “Source: Jeanne Cummings, Wall Street Journal, p. A6 , Jun 8, 2006”

    ***
    http://www.ontheissues.org/social/James_Webb_Abortion.htm
    ***
    The ONE thing on which you can ALWAYS count on a Democrat with aspirations to remain true: support for the murder of the unborn.

  • More:
    ***
    * Supports Roe v. Wade and abortion rights. (Jun 2006)
    *Voted NO on restricting UN funding for population control policies. (Mar 2009)
    *Voted NO on defining unborn child as eligible for SCHIP. (Mar 2008)
    *Voted NO on prohibiting minors crossing state lines for abortion. (Mar 2008)
    *Voted NO on barring HHS grants to organizations that perform abortions. (Oct 2007)
    *Voted YES on expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines. (Apr 2007)
    ***
    When it comes to abortion on demand, there’s not a dime’s bit of difference between Jim Webb, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton.

  • Oh I wasn’t saying that Webb was pro-life, thought i can see how the comment might seem to imply that. It’s just that he’s comparatively sane on other issues and would seemingly be the type of guy who wouldn’t be so wedded to the abortion lobby that he would stand against otherwise sensible measures to keep them placated. Well, at least he would be less likely than his fellow Democrats,

  • “Colorado is one of only 12 states that do not protect unborn children from murder”

    In Scotland, the killing of an unborn child is not and never has been murder. In his Commentaries on the Law of Scotland, Respecting Crimes, published in 1797, David Hume (the nephew of the philosopher), the leading “Institutional Writer” on criminal law gives as a reason “it cannot with any certainty be said whether it would have been born alive or not.”

    I suspect this curious reason is based on Pomponius’s discussion of the sale of an unborn child (partus) [D. 18. 1.8 pr], which he treats as a conditional purchase (emptio rei speratae), like that of a growing crop, where the property and risk remain with the seller, the price not being due, if the child is still-born. Our old writers often treated the Corpus Juris like the Sibylline Books and wrenched some dictum out of context to cover cases never contemplated by the writer.

    However, if a child is born alive as the result of a felonious act and then dies, either from an ante-natal injury or because of the prematurity of the birth, then it is on all hands admitted that this is murder or culpable homicide, depending on the malice of the act.

  • Of course I read this story on a Droid, using a Chrome browser, and am typing this all up on a Chromebook. So yeah.

    Look on the upside: they’re losing market share to bing because they’re manipulating the results so horribly, it’s dang near useless.
    Recently noticed that Bing is doing similarly, but their news manipulation is so bad that I noticed because half the stories were from the same blogging sites. (Three guesses what the spin is, in this world where “not shouting down half the country” is spun as a huge right-wing bias.)

  • Pardon me, but permit me as devil’s advocate to ask the meaning of the “Ace of Spades” comment.

    I am the last person to be politically-correct, but in today’s racially-charged chaos, one stands likely to be accused of a racial comment with anything involving the particular named “suit” from standard playing cards. Some time ago, one of the black/African-American co-workers brought this up as a slur when someone I think innocuously commented using the word “spade”. I could see someone claiming the “Ace of Spades” is a insulting reference to Our Great Leader and using that as a Stalingrad point to launch an Alinsky-ite moment of freeze-personalize-demonize. Just the way the noon-day devil works these days.

  • It’s just that he’s comparatively sane on other issues

    His views on serialized polygamy approximate those of Newt Gingrich, down to the age differential between the Senator and the concubine of his dotage. I’ll wager partisan Democrats will argue it’s all good because Webb and Hong Le do not have snap-on hair.

  • “Ace of Spades” is a prominent starboard blogger who appeared around about 2004.

  • Thank you, AD, for the reference info. However, in these psychotic times, I still avoid certain words that the Sharpton-sect play on. “Spade” is one of them. It is the way things are.

    Perhaps some will recall the Feb. 1999 dismissal of Washington DC Public Advocate David Howard over the use of the word “niggardly”. By the time the dust settled, Ichabod Crane had nothing on him.

    In today’s institutional environment, political, religious or social, language is the front line of warfare.

  • In today’s institutional environment, political, religious or social, language is the front line of warfare.

    So why then are you peremptorily beating a retreat?

  • Ernst Shreiber – “What are they going to charge her with? Practicing medicine without a license?”
    Sounds like a Ceasarean delivery to me. An 8th month in utero baby is viable. If the baby girl drew breath, which an autopsy could prove, she wouldn’t be regarded as a stillborn; she would be a premature baby. If the baby died from hypothermia the woman should be charged with the baby’s death resulting from neglect. If the cause of death is suffocation, then homicide. Yes it’s a stretch but the killer deserves a long prison sentence. This is not the first case of a baby being cut out of a mother’s womb by a wannabee mother.

  • Yes, well unfortunately, the state of Colorado wanted to make sure it’s Kermit Gosnell’s didn’t go to jail for medical malpractice.

Various & Sundry, 3/26/15

Thursday, March 26, AD 2015

– Was Jesus a nonviolent pacifist?

No.

Kids climbing on a statue by the Vietnam War Memorial? End of civilization as we know it or no big deal? Or maybe something in between.

– Who says economics can’t be exciting? Well, pretty much everyone, but it can be enlightening.

The best way to (in Barack Obama’s 2008 words to Joe the Plumber) “spread the wealth around,” is, Tamny argues, “to leave it in the hands of the wealthy.” Personal consumption absorbs a small portion of their money and the remainder is not idle. It is invested by them, using the skill that earned it. Will it be more beneficially employed by the political class of a confiscatory government?

– On a related note, James Lileks on the power of the Apple watch. He takes some fun shots at those who lament the unequal distribution of goodies.

It’s so different today. Every morning an executive in a $100,000 car is driving through the housing projects, when suddenly he really, you know, looks around for once, and understands. Like the hero of Metropolis, he clasps his hands to his breast and cries out with his newfound solidarity with the toiling and the idle. Half of these guys pull over, toss someone the keys, and take the bus the rest of the way. So if you put them in cars where they can’t look out, they will never develop social conscience. Also, all personal jets should have glass bottoms and fly at a maximum altitude of 750 feet.

– Chefs weigh in on the central question of our time? Is Chicago style deep dish pizza even pizza?

Not really.

I’ve never been a fan. I feel like it’s a lasagna with a crust.

Bread with tomato sauce is how I’d describe it. But to each his own.

Continue reading...

17 Responses to Various & Sundry, 3/26/15

  • Is not pacifism a sin?
    .

    Refusal to bear arms against man….a sin of omission?
    .
    Jesus wasn’t known as a sinner.

  • Chicago style pizza. The pizza of the heartland!

    http://blog.factual.com/a-slice-of-factuals-data-analyzing-pizza-preferences-across-the-us

    Hmmm, and Massachusetts and Alabama? This is getting complicated.

  • Will [wealth] be more beneficially employed by the political class of a confiscatory government?

    Depends. Are part of the political class or the entrepenuerial class?

  • Now, another issues is the differences over how people hold their pizza slices while eating them. Where I live people hold the slice horizontally with two hands while eating. The next county over, they fold the slice crust into a U.

    The county line also happens to be the border between two major league baseball fan bases, one county preferring the teams to the south, the other the team to the north. Who knew the two sets of preferences correlated?

  • 1. Deep dish pizza is awesome.
    2. It’s pop west of the Alleghenies.
    3. While global warming crybabies turn up the intensity, the weather gets colder.

    Undeniable truths of life.

  • I always call it pop! My wife however, who was born on Midway Island, calls it soda. No doubt the influence of her Navy dad who lived most of his life in Wisconsin but was born and reared in New York.

  • but was born and reared in New York.

    It’s called ‘pop’ Upstate. Cannot say about Downstate.

  • It’s called “soda” in the Bronx and they fold their pizza slices.

  • Back in Jersey, years ago, you might here “soda pop”. We were a mite west after all. As to Pizza, the first pizzeria was in New York City. However, it seems an ancient thing to accent bread with various toppings. So we’ll leave a quest for the origin in the mists of ancient history. Tomatoes are my favorite fruit. So I’ll take a tomato pie, a jug of wine, and the bride of my youth and consider myself a king.

  • 1. MA West: Many pizza shops for thin crust, but can be risky as to being rubbery. The Chicago (sausage, cheese, veg’s) Deep Dish has dependably crispy crust, is really pizza, and can be served with knife, fork, and soda.
    2. End of civilization as we know it: Kids won’t or can’t read, write, cipher, or listen. They drop things off pizza slices and don’t use napkins.
    3. Jesus, the Head of the Church, watches the members body urge focus on all below its heads, and not on His revelation of violent non-pacifism resulting from such as freely attending to golden calves rather than His Word .

  • The Hell’s Bible map shows the fault line running through the middle of Pennsylvania.

    Signs here in supermarkets, restaurants, etc. say soda but nobody here calls it that. There is a similar local phenomenon. If you were to look at a Google map of use GPS while in Pittsburgh, it would refer to Interstate 376. Nobody here calls it that. It is the Parkway West or Parkway East depending on what side of Pittsburgh you are on and there is NOT ONE SIGN that says “Parkway West” or “Parkway East”.

    Pittsburgh is not the home of thin crust or deep dish pizza but it is the home of a “sammitch” with fries and cole slaw piled on it.

    Don’t stay up too later tonight, everyone. Palm Sunday is tomorrow and the Palm Sunday Passion requires what can be referred to as “Orthodox legs of steel”. The Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholics tend to stand throughout the Divine Liturgy.

  • It’s tonic not soda, pop or soft drink in MA and RI. Learned that at a Labor Day Lithuanian picnic at the Motherhouse of Sisters of Jesus Crucified and the Sorrow Mother in Brockton, MA. The beverage board read coffee, water and tonic yet we saw people drinking Coke and 7 Up.

  • Penguins Fan, I ran into an old acquaintance at a Byzantine Church Friday Lenten supper. She remarked, “Half the guilt and twice the service”. ??
    Eating potato/cheese pierogis with butter and onions, haluski, borscht and sauerkraut/mushroom soups was hardly a penance. I ended up taking home frozen same pierogis, and lekvar (prune) ones. Also parprika bacon, fresh kielbasa, and red horseradish ordered from a Scranton smokehouse. Plus locally made apricot and poppy seed rolls and a pashka mold.
    Best of all it was my 30ish younger son’s idea to attend with a Catholic gal pal. Other than grandparents’ funerals he hasn’t set foot in a church since h.s. To paraphrase, maybe food is the way to a young man’s soul. Happy and Blessed Easter to all!!

  • Friday Lenten supper.

    My head is spinning.

  • CAM, “maybe food is the way to a young man’s soul.” Perhaps even more, a Catholic gal pal. You’re not alone with such things but we hope for answered prayers, whether we live long enough here to see them answered. Happy and Blessed Easter to all!! Indeed! He is risen!

Various & Sundry, 3/25/15

Wednesday, March 25, AD 2015

– Today’s manufactured news outrage: Ted Cruz goes on Obamacare.

Inconceivable! How could the most prominent anti-Obamacare Senator buy insurance through Obamacare? Errr, because he basically had to. His wife is going on a leave of absence from her position at Goldman Sachs, so the Cruz family had to make a decision.

Cruz currently gets his insurance through his wife’s plan. That insurance is suspended once she takes a leave of absence to campaign with him, leaving him with three options. He can decline to purchase insurance, which no husband and father with the means to get coverage would ever do. His wife could use COBRA to keep her Goldman Sachs insurance intact for another 18 months, which would cost the family a bunch and would leave them uninsured circa October 2016 when the coverage lapses (assuming Mrs. Cruz hasn’t returned to work by then). Or he can follow the Grassley rule and buy an unsubsidized ObamaCare exchange plan, as federal law requires of members of Congress. Why, oh why, might Cruz prefer what’s behind door number three notwithstanding his ferocious opposition to ObamaCare? Anyone want to guess why a guy running for president as a loud-and-proud populist might choose to subject himself to the same unpopular program that millions of Americans are coping with right now?

As Cruz himself noted, he also wants to abolish the IRS and yet he continues to pay taxes. Double hypocrite!

– I guess “hands up don’t shoot” only garners media attention under certain circumstances.

Two high school freshmen were arrested in connection with the killing of a man walking his dog last week in Philadelphia’s Overbrook section. A third teen, who police say actually pulled the trigger, is still on the loose.

Brandon Smith, 15, was arrested Thursday and charged in the murder of James Patrick Stuhlman, who plead for his life before he was gunned down while walking his dog along the 6400 block of Woodcrest Avenue last Thursday night, police said.

—-

“At one point he did plead for his life,” said Clark. “He said, ‘please don’t shoot me, please don’t shoot me,’ and they still shot him one time.”

Stuhlman usually took his 13-year old daughter with him on these walks. Fortunately she didn’t go this time.

– So we’ve pretty much reached the end of western civilization. It’s been nice knowing you.

“Get Hard” casts Ferrell as a casually racist investment banker brought down for a crime he didn’t commit. To prep for prison, he hires a black car wash attendant (Hart) to teach him how to survive in the Big House. He just assumes Hart’s character is a thug, even though he’s a squeaky clean family man. Let the barrage of racial stereotypes commence.

The movie is evidently poking fun at racism. But you see, poking fun at racism is now, according to the geniuses who are decrying this movie, racist.

Oh, it gets worse.

Another Variety story suggested the fact that Ferrell’s character isn’t eager to perform oral sex on a man might be “homophobic.”

That’s it, I’m tapping out.

– A rather thoughtful rumination by Yuval Levin on the philosophic underpinnings of conservatism and libertarianism.

Conservatism inherently points in this direction for reasons that are anthropological, sociological, and epistemological (if you’ll pardon my street slang). We conservatives tend to see the human person as an incorrigible mass of contradictions: a fallen and imperfect being created in a divine image, a creature possessed of fundamental dignity and inalienable rights but always prone to excess and to sin and ever in need of self-restraint and moral formation. This gives us high standards but low expectations of human affairs and makes us wary of utopianisms of all stripes. It also causes us to be more impressed with successful human institutions than we are outraged at failed ones, and so to be protective of our inheritance and eager to build on the longstanding institutions of our society (rather than engineer new ones) to improve things because they are likely to possess more knowledge than we can readily perceive—and more than any collection of technical experts, however capable, is ever likely to have.
This anthropology informs our sociology. The conservative vision of society is moved by a low opinion of the capacity of individuals to address complex problems even as it is informed by a high regard for the rights and freedoms of those individuals. It therefore seeks for social arrangements and institutions that counterbalance human failures and encourage individual moral progress while respecting human liberty and dignity. And it finds these in the mediating institutions of a free society—families, communities, civic and religious groups, markets, and more—that stand between the individual and the state.

Much more at the link.

– The Curt Jester provides some musings on “Mass Etiquette.” Yep, I’ve had many of these thoughts at Mass as well.

Continue reading...

7 Responses to Various & Sundry, 3/25/15

  • The funniest movie ever made in my not-so-humble opinion is Mel Brooke’s Blazing Saddles. I have to say, I’m kind of surprised that it’s not sold at the back of the DVD store –wrapped in brown paper.

    On Levin on Cooke: I’ve always liked Thomas Sowell’s Tragic/Constrained Vision versus “Heroic”/Unconstrained Vision dichotomy. Cooke’s Manifesto sounds intriguing, at least from a subsidiarist point of view. Also, that second paragraph from the quoted bit could have been written by Rick Santorum.

  • Mandatory cheap counter-jab on the Cruz thing: Of course they think that actually following the law when it’s not personally convenient is optional….

  • Speaking of Cruz, I just read James V. Schall’s take on his speech at Liberty College.

    Cruz is certainly pro-life, pro-marriage, and family. He is for religious freedom, is pro-Israel, and wants border control that works. He cited Patrick Henry, General Washington, and Franklin Roosevelt, among others.
    .
    My problem with his address was the “liberty” theme. Cruz recalled that our “rights” are God-given, but he did not touch on the question of why, if God gave us “rights”, so much of what is wrong is due to “rights” rhetoric, legislation, and subsequent enforcement. In short, however carefully we must talk of “rights” as God-given, most of our contemporary thinking on “rights” is “Hobbes-given”, not “God-given”.
    .
    [….]
    .
    Cruz, in his speech, seemed unaware that almost all of the issues he opposed were argued in the name of the same nominal “freedom” that he spent his time advocating. That is, we have two radically different views of freedom, but both sides use the same rhetoric to justify their position. By not emphasizing the truth side of freedom, Cruz seemed to leave himself open to the counter-argument. Thus, anyone is free to choose the opposite of any view of freedom. It all comes down to a kind of subjective liberty with no standards. No doubt, the advocates of modern “liberty” more and more show their own rejection of any view but their own.
    .
    [….] Cruz appealed to the American Constitution and Founding as a stable basis for rejecting relativism. But it has not proved to be such a protection, largely because of the slippery notion of what is the basis of “rights”.
    .
    Thus, it is not sufficient today to “return” to the American founding. The America that is “the world’s greatest country”, as Cruz called it, does not in practice exist. We are a country explained more by Aristotle’s discussion of democracy, and within that analysis, as a country that accepts a liberty with no limits. When much of the country hears Cruz advocating “freedom”, they see him as a reactionary conservative and an enemy of relativist “freedom” whereas Cruz sees himself an advocate of a “liberty” that was guaranteed by the Constitution. But this Constitution has somehow departed from us. It is perhaps too much to expect a presidential election in which the case for a reasonable freedom is ever made, however much we may need it for our own souls.

    .
    The whole thing is worth a read.

  • Got ahead of myself and forgot the link

  • Regarding the Curt Jester article – I once heard a priest announce before Communion that he wouldn’t be giving the sacrament to people who were chewing gum, as it would be a desecration. I have no idea what we was seeing from the altar that inspired that declaration.

  • Fr. Schall is a classic Jesuit. Senator Cruz is an evangelical as his father was a lapsed Catholic.

    Looking for depth from an evangelical is futile. What’s more, Cruz is running for office. When has any political speech been deep?

  • Father Schall actually gets it. And, he loves it.
    .
    The USA was a republic with a written/ratified Constitution and laws. No more.

    .
    We once lived under the rule of law. Tragically, The Bill of Rights, the consent of the governed, and due process have been replaced by the regime with executive orders, judicial diktat, regulatory capture, and “legalized” looting.

Various & Sundry, 3/24/15

Tuesday, March 24, AD 2015

– Ted Cruz has announced his candidacy for the presidency, so cue the first round of GOP infighting, of which more is sure to come. I agree with parts of Sean Saffron’s take, though I think he is generally too dismissive of Cruz overall. All things being equal, I would prefer someone with executive experience. That being said, comparisons to Barack Obama are not completely fair. Yes, both men hadn’t served even half a Senate term before announcing their candidacies for the presidency, but that’s where the comparisons end. Barack Obama taught some constitutional law, while Ted Cruz argued cases before the Supreme Court (and won). Barack Obama’s main accomplishment was writing not one, but two autobiographies before actually doing anything of substance. Cruz’s pre-Senate experience dwarfs Obama’s. That doesn’t mean Cruz should be the leading contender, or that his lack of executive experience shouldn’t be an issue, but he’s not the GOP version of Obama.

Then there’s much other silliness regarding Cruz, as he’s attracted his own set of birther nonsense. Sorry, he’s a natural born citizen. Meanwhile Cruz has drawn criticism from such Republican luminaries as Donald Trump and Peter King, the latter of whom opined “So, to me, he is just a guy with a big mouth and no results.”Seriously, Peter King thinks that Ted Cruz has a big mouth and gets no results. Let that sink in. Next up we’ll be hearing from Bill Clinton and his concerns about Cruz possibly being sexually immodest.

– On the other side of the aisle, the Democrats are still wondering who might be able to fill-in in case Hillary bows out. Don’t you worry Democrats, you’ve got a can’t miss front-runner. You know who I’m talking about:

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley will be the choice of New York Democrats for president if Hillary Rodham Clinton is forced out of the race by her State Department e-mail scandal, a prominent Democrat has told The Post.

. . . .

O’Malley, an all-but-announced candidate who was on a campaign swing in Iowa over the weekend, “is the one who I think is going to emerge as the front-runner if Hillary is forced out,’’ said the Democrat, a strong Clinton backer whose views carry considerable weight with party members.

Here it comes.

– The Diocese of Metuchen offers us a real profile in courage.

This week the plot thickens, with the diocese telling the New Jersey press that Jannuzzi has never been told she was fired, and they are “baffled” why anyone (especially Jannuzzi’s family) is suggesting otherwise.

Yesterday, Patricia Jannuzzi’s lawyer finally spoke to the press in response to this statement, and what he said is not pretty for the diocese: “At every point in our discussions the diocesan lawyers told us repeatedly there was no way that Patricia Jannuzzi would ever come back to the Immaculata classroom under any possible scenario,” Oakley told MyCentralJersey.com. “On Thursday by phone, the diocesan lawyers told me clearly and finally that Patricia Jannuzzi would be terminated as of the end of August, end of discussion.”

– What could possibly go wrong by over-coddling our children? They can turn into hyper-sensitive snowflakes who can’t tolerate the idea that someone somewhere is expressing an opinion with which they disagree.

KATHERINE BYRON, a senior at Brown University and a member of its Sexual Assault Task Force, considers it her duty to make Brown a safe place for rape victims, free from anything that might prompt memories of trauma. So when she heard last fall that a student group had organized a debate about campus sexual assault between Jessica Valenti, the founder of feministing.com, and Wendy McElroy, a libertarian, and that Ms. McElroy was likely to criticize the term “rape culture,” Ms. Byron was alarmed. “Bringing in a speaker like that could serve to invalidate people’s experiences,” she told me. It could be “damaging.”

Ms. Byron and some fellow task force members secured a meeting with administrators. Not long after, Brown’s president, Christina H. Paxson, announced that the university would hold a simultaneous, competing talk to provide “research and facts” about “the role of culture in sexual assault.” Meanwhile, student volunteers put up posters advertising that a “safe space” would be available for anyone who found the debate too upsetting.

The safe space, Ms. Byron explained, was intended to give people who might find comments “troubling” or “triggering,” a place to recuperate. The room was equipped with cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as students and staff members trained to deal with trauma. Emma Hall, a junior, rape survivor and “sexual assault peer educator” who helped set up the room and worked in it during the debate, estimates that a couple of dozen people used it. At one point she went to the lecture hall — it was packed — but after a while, she had to return to the safe space. “I was feeling bombarded by a lot of viewpoints that really go against my dearly and closely held beliefs,” Ms. Hall said.

– On the other hand, even some on the left are starting to think this hypersensitive pc stuff has gotten way out of hand.

– Sure “Jackie” may have been completely lying, but her lies reveal much about a deeper truth. Or something.

– Huzzah! Some states are finally starting to see the light about daylight savings time. Unfortunately my state is not among them, and some want to keep it year round rather than jettisoning it altogether.

Continue reading...

21 Responses to Various & Sundry, 3/24/15

  • I’ll leave it to the legal practitioners here to handicap the possibilities.

    1. The press agent the bishop employs never talks to their counsel.

    2. The counsel lied to the press agent.

    3. The press agent lies and lies stupidly.

    I’ll wager the fish rots from the head down, as always.

  • Then there’s much other silliness regarding Cruz, as he’s attracted his own set of birther nonsense. Sorry, he’s a natural born citizen.

    I’ve been informed by a combox clown that neither Marco Rubio (born in Miami) nor Bobby Jindal (born in New Orleans) are ‘natural born citizens’ (because said clowns fancy that jus soli does not apply to the children of legal immigrants. The same sort fancied that Barack Obama was not ‘natural born’ because his mother was a minor and that particular clown specimen offered for my edification that no one seems to know where Barack Obama was born.

  • “Meanwhile Cruz has drawn criticism from such Republican luminaries as Donald Trump and Peter King, the latter of whom opined “So, to me, he is just a guy with a big mouth and no results.”Seriously, Peter King thinks that Ted Cruz has a big mouth and gets no results. Let that sink in. Next up we’ll be hearing from Bill Clinton and his concerns about Cruz possibly being sexually immodest.”

    Well this was in a post and not a comment, but it still deserves Sam! Take ‘er away Sam!

  • “I’ll wager the fish rots from the head down, as always.”

    Bingo.

  • Barack Obama’s main accomplishment was writing not one, but two autobiographies before actually doing anything of substance.

    .
    Barry Soetero’s main accomplishment was marketing the public persona known as Barak Obama. Come to think of if, that’s still his main accomplishment.

  • http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/415897/diocese-metuchen-attacks-jannuzzi-family-maggie-gallagher
    (bad link in the post)

    I guess technically she’s not fired if she’s still drawing a paycheck, regardless of whether or not she ever sees the inside of a classroom again.

    As for hyper-sensitive snowflakes, they melt as the world heats up.

    Between the infantilizing of campus culture and the growing global harshness, something has to give and—hint, hint—it won’t be the real world. The worst thing about the current climate of PC stupidity and mandatory cocooning on campus isn’t the ugly repression it entails. The destruction of free speech and free debate in the institutions that ought to be the citadels of intellectual liberty is a terrible thing and a horrible betrayal of everything universities are supposed to be about. But there is yet a worse consequence: the catastrophic dumbing down and weakening of a younger generation that is becoming too fragile and precious to exist in the current world—much less to fight the real evils and dangers that are growing.

  • Ferry Interestink: It zeems ziense ist not on de zite ov Frau Yannutseez kritikz, az de homozexualitate ist not jenetik.

  • A comment on this ‘natural born / birther’ nonsense. Back in the 1950’s fully 2% of U.S. citizens were living overseas. That is 1 out of 50, for those who are math challenged. At the height of the Cold War the U.S. military seemed to be nearly everywhere. Large numbers of State department employees were administering aid projects necessary for overcoming the ravages of WW2. One could go on and on listing the many roles U.S. citizens played in the rebuilding of our world.

    Most of these Americans were rather young, many were married, and so many of their children were born while they were overseas. So, the question is, would the drafters of the U.S. Constitution and its requirement that the President be born within the United States have seriously intended to exclude from the Presidency the children of these patriotic Americans who were overseas because they were serving their country? It simply staggers the imagination to think that the Framers would have intended this.

  • Ernst, I believe the teachers at Immaculata High School are hired on
    a one-year contract, which is renewed annually (or not). Sure, Ms.
    Jannuzzi isn’t fired, but she’s not going to have her contract
    renewed this summer after 30 years of excellent service. By then, of
    course, the spotlight will be off the bishop… and Ms. Jannuzzi will be
    gone, which is clearly what the bishop and the school administration
    want (but don’t want to say).

  • “Ferry Interestink.” Zo, Frau Jannuzzi ist bin axed because she upset noisome adulterers, fornicators, and sodomites. I zee. It’s that which runs the HS and the diocese. “Ferry Interestink.”

  • It simply staggers the imagination to think that the Framers would have intended this.

    Dunno. The combox clown instructing me seems to think there is a category of people who count as naturalized citizens without ever having received any sort of certificate of naturalization (among them Jindal, Rubio, Cruz, and my father).

  • Art Deco: the birth certificate, a vital statistic, a public document is all the proof necessary to establish natural citizenship. The real reason of this nonsense is the subjugation of the country to individuals who think that they are entitled to become god-rulers.
    .
    Rape is assault and battery, a crime in every situation. Rape is the denial of the sovereign person’s free will, informed consent and civil right to be free from all evil, guaranteed in the Preamble as “the Blessings of Liberty.” Rape denies the freedom of each and every person. One person cannot own another person…Abraham Lincoln
    The rapist “owns” another person as a sex slave, a chattel, a “thing” denying the victim as a human being. The rapis,t in denying another person’s civil rights, forfeits his own sovereignty. The rapist belongs in prison for the rest of his life. In the Old Testament the rapist had to support his victim for the rest of his life. This business as “damaged goods” as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg referred to the rape victim, ought to have sunk in and produced good fruit. Give the rapist over to the victim as a slave and confiscate anything of worth that he has and has forfeited. The rapist has earned his enslavement.

  • Sure, Ms. Jannuzzi isn’t fired, but she’s not going to have her contract
    renewed this summer

    I congratulate you for the excellence with which you translate weaselese.

  • The real reason of this nonsense is the subjugation of the country to individuals who think that they are entitled to become god-rulers.

    I’ll give you a more banal (but on point) hypothesis. There’s a class of people who like to think they’re in the know and you’re not. They’re easy meat for peddlers of conspirazoid literature and strange counter-intuitive judgments, interpretations, and formulations. The neo-birthers are that type. The twit I conversed with fancies he’s the only person for miles who ‘cares’ about ‘the Constitution’.

  • There’s a class of people who like to think they’re in the know and you’re not. They’re easy meat for peddlers of conspirazoid literature and strange counter-intuitive judgments, interpretations, and formulations. The neo-birthers are that type.

    .
    Not, of course, to be confused with the type of people who not only know that they’re in the know and you’re not, but know better than you. This class is genuinely dangerous rather than merely troublesome, since most of them are to be found in government.
    .

    “It’s not reason that is at the heart of modern-day liberalism but rather the claim to superior virtue and, even more important, to a special knowledge unavailable to the unwashed or unenlightened. Depending on the temper of the time, such virtue and knowledge can derive disproportionately from scientism or mysticism–or it can mix large dollops of both.” [emph. added] (Fred Siegel, 2007)

    .
    Mystery Cults and Gnosticim are alive and well.

  • Not, of course, to be confused with the type of people who not only know that they’re in the know and you’re not, but know better than you. This class is genuinely dangerous rather than merely troublesome, since most of them are to be found in government.

    No, in the legal profession, academe, and the mental health trade (some of whom are public employees).

  • It’s worse than I thought then.

  • Daylight Savings Time- I lived in a SE Asian country where some of the populace were convinced that if DST were instituted they would lose 1 hour of their lives every day, with repurcussions for children’s growth and education.

  • Tom D-
    As I remember the common law stuff that the founders would’ve been going off of, the important point is how you’re recognized; Americans serving over seas would of course be Americans, same way that ambassadors and their households weren’t considered local to where they were living. (A bit more military minded, an invading army’s camp followers wouldn’t be giving birth to local citizens, but folks who settle and follow the local laws would.)
    The argument I kept hearing for Obama had less to do with where he was born than that his father was arguably a representative of his gov’t, and his mother was (at the time) too young to be able to legally confer citizenship to her children.

Various & Sundry, 3/20/15

Friday, March 20, AD 2015

– Yeah, I can’t believe I’m writing about the Mair affair again, but Leon Wolf makes the same point I did last night.

I wonder how long it will take us, as a movement, to learn from the strategic mistakes of our past. A major reason why we keep nominating moderates for the Presidency is that these kinds of attacks on viable conservative alternatives leave the moderate as the only plausible alternative standing.  While conservatives are dividing their support into increasingly narrow slices, the moderate voters unify early behind a single candidate and don’t go to pieces over one or two differences of opinion.

As Wolf says, it’s one thing to vet a candidate and not prematurely crown a favorite, but it’s another to disqualify candidates based on minor infractions.

Also, William Jacobson has another good take on the matter, writing that conservative pundits are embarrassing themselves.

But the campaign is not about Mair, it’s about larger issues of changing the course of the country in ways that Walker has accomplished in Wisconsin. Walker needs to do a better job vetting new hires that keep consistent with his message and his strategy.

Voters should vote on Walker, not his staff.

To summarize, we have a group of conservative bloggers and pundits upset that Walker fired a staffer, and then we have another group of conservative bloggers and pundits upset that Walker hired her in the first place. Then we have the remaining 97% or so of GOP voters who couldn’t care less either way. Maybe over the weekend both of these groups can grow up and start writing about issues people actually give a fig about and not some petty inside baseball stuff.

– Vatican says no to use of the 1998 ICEL translation. Fr. Z says exactly what I was thinking.

Out of curiosity, I wonder how many of those who want for the opportunity to use the 1998 version are supportive of those who want the opportunity to use the 1962Missale Romanum.

Elliot Bougis tackles the debate over the Church and the death penalty, and responds to a particularly silly post as well.

– Color me surprised: looks like the Obama administration flat-out lied to a federal judge.

A federal judge sharply scolded a Justice Department attorney at a hearing on President Obama’s immigration executive actions, suggesting that the administration misled him on a key part of the program — and that he fell for it, “like an idiot.”

He’s not the first person to utter those words  in response to the Obama administration, and he won’t be the last, I’m sure.

– This is an interesting story. A college student claims he was banned from a class because he told some uncomfortable truths about “rape culture.”

A student at Reed College has been banned from class for denying the existence of “rape culture” in the United States and arguing that the oft-repeated statistic that one in five women are raped at college is bogus.
Jeremiah True, 19, received an email from professor Pancho Savery on March 14 telling him he was making his classmates so uncomfortable that he was no longer welcome to participate in the “conference” sections of his Humanities 110 class, a course which focuses on the art and literature of classical Greece, according to BuzzFeed News.

While this got everybody’s rage meters turned up to seven, I wondered if there might be more to the story. Well, there is. The teacher in question was contacted by Reason, and the teacher claims that the student was barred because “of a series of disruptive behaviors.” Then when the student in question was contacted, well, this was his reply.

Before I interview with you, you must agree to make “[the n-word]” be the first word in your article.

Umm, yeah.

Now, Savery’s reply was vague enough that it could still be the case that True was kicked out for nothing more than hurting people’s feelings, and True may merely have been testing the reporter who contacted him. That being said, whenever a story seems a little fishy, do a little digging first before freaking out.

– Another interesting story. Two kids in Philadelphia were late getting to the bus stop and so missed their bus. They walked home to find that their mother already left for work, and so they were locked out. A cop saw the kids, discovered what had happened, and after checking with his supervisor, brought the kids to school.

Great community policing? You might think, but evidently not if you are those kids’ mother.

But the problem, the girls mother never knew what happened until a neighbor called her to say she saw her daughters drive away with police.

“I started crying. I broke down and i got here and I was hysterical”

 

“I don’t want them not to trust the police but they need to be aware they need to let their mother know. They need to let them say call my mom before they get in to say “call my mom,” she said.

I can understand the mother’s initial fear and even anger, but I have a hard time faulting the police in any way for anything they did in this situation.

– One day the Onion will be no more because reality is rapidly becoming more absurd than satire. A gun control group opened a fake gun store to guilt-trip people who wanted to buy guns. I agree with this take:

I like this clip as a microcosm of the gun-control movement in that it’s concerned chiefly with moral self-congratulation. You think anyone coming into the shop hadn’t heard of Sandy Hook or kids accidentally shooting family members with their parents’ guns before the schmuck behind the counter told them? This is a shaming exercise, pure and simple. And just to ensure that the appropriate amount of shame was expressed, if not actually felt, the producers exposed the ruse to the customers afterward and then stuck a camera in their faces to ask them if they’d reconsidered their purchase. Go figure that people who live in a very liberal, very anti-gun city, faced with the prospect of appearing in a viral vid that shows them trying to buy the SAME TYPE OF GUN ADAM LANZA USED, BRO, chose to express contrition when confronted.

Indeed.

Continue reading...

8 Responses to Various & Sundry, 3/20/15

  • “[Moderates] don’t go to pieces over one or two differences of opinion.”

    Moderates aren’t encouraged to do so.

    “Maybe over the weekend both of these groups can grow up and start writing about issues people actually give a fig about and not some petty inside baseball stuff.”

    Petty inside baseball stuff is what get the juices flowing. They’ll spend all of this year and the first half of next writing process/horse race stories. And then they’ll complain about the process/ horse race that dominated the way the campaign shook out.

  • Of course, “not going to pieces over one issue” sounds so productive, but then “the final solution” , the crucifixion, or the “Twin Towers” could be considered one issue…not to mention that teeny little bite of the forbidden apple.
    Those who consistently vote for the lesser of two evils are merely guaranteeing they will empower evil.
    In a two party system, freedom requires that one of those parties be an authentic opposition and not a pretend opposition that in reality is but a complicit co-ruler.
    it is imperative to purge the faux opposition party of its embedded unprincipled deceiving leaders–though I doubt that any principled person could rise to the level of leadership with so many “compromisers” above them.

  • Of course, “not going to pieces over one issue” sounds so productive, but then “the final solution” , the crucifixion, or the “Twin Towers” could be considered one issue…not to mention that teeny little bite of the forbidden apple.

    Yes, because hiring and firing of staff is certainly as weighty an issue as those things,

    Those who consistently vote for the lesser of two evils are merely guaranteeing they will empower evil.

    Not really seeing this as a “lesser of two evil things” issue so much as a “people need to find petty crap to complain about” thing.

  • A major reason why we keep nominating moderates for the Presidency is that these kinds of attacks on viable conservative alternatives leave the moderate as the only plausible alternative standing. While conservatives are dividing their support into increasingly narrow slices, the moderate voters unify early behind a single candidate and don’t go to pieces over one or two differences of opinion.

    After 1964, all Republican nomination donnybrooks which were at all contested consisted of between two and four competitors and a mess of others who formed committees and entered some contests but won almost no delegates and few votes. When you deduct liberals, opportunists, and Capitol Hill fixtures, the following are left

    1968, 1976, 1980: Ronald Reagan.

    1988: Pat Robertson

    1992: Pat Buchanan

    1996: Pat Buchanan, Steve Forbes

    2000: George W. Bush, Alan Keyes

    2008: Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul

    2012: Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul.

    I suppose you could say that there has been a secular increase in the number of non-tedious Republican candidates. The thing is, “one or two differences of opinion” is a pretty anodyne way of describing the distinction between Ron Paul and about 97% of the Republicans in Congress and about 90% of Republican voters. Pat Buchanan does not the play the dogmatic and conceited clown that Paul does, but there actually are some important policy differences between Buchanan and close to 90% of the GOP electorate and Buchanan has little experience in public administration. Dr. Keyes background as a public official is scanty and he has a history of generating distractions, his skills as a campaigner declining with age. George W. Bush, whose signature issue in 2000 was an unfunded prescription drug benefit, was no one’s idea of a starboard militant. The only contest which might fit his model would be that in 2012, but the salient feature there was that voters dissatisfied with Gov. Romney had trouble settling on anyone and alighted on just about everyone for a brief period. The closest thing to a circular firing squad was the implosion of Gov. Perry’s campaign.

  • I am reminded of Malachi Martin, chief exorcist of the Vatican for several decades, who described the evil who wanted him dead, dead, dead. The Culture of Death, Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide, human sacrifice of abortion and the cannibalism of embryonic stem cell stealing…and now, organ harvesting. Perhaps when the old folks start disappearing,…? but it may be too late to change the course of history. The devil never sleeps. Have you noticed the dark rings around Obama’s and Pelosi’s eyes?

  • My own reaction to Mair is that there are too many smarty snarky pants in the world who seem to gravitate toward attempting to mold public opinion. I wonder how hard it is for genuine good guys like walker and cruz etal to hire righteous people

  • I am reminded of Malachi Martin, chief exorcist of the Vatican for several decades,

    The exorcist employed by the Holy See known to a wide public would be Fr. Gabriele Amorth. Malachi Martin was a priest/writer billeted in New York (or was it Chicago?).

    He was a rather strange and shadowy figure and I doubt there are many biographical accounts of his life not laden with fictions. Various newspapers ran his obituary the week of 31 July 1999. The Social Security Administration reports that Malachi B. Martin of Manhattan was born on 23 July 1921 and died on 27 July 1999 and that his Social Security number was issued in 1965-66. Documents on file with the Southern District of New York indicate that Malachi Brendan Martin b. 23 July 1921 filed a petition for naturalization on 10 April 1972. That much is verifiable by a layman.

  • Irish authorities record the birth of a Malachi Brendan Martin in the Listowel district in the summer of 1921 and death notices list him as having been born in a village in County Kerry, where Listowel is located, so that part seems legitimate. He is buried in Gates of Heaven Cemetery in Westchester County, NY next to a certain Kakia Livanos (1919-2002).

Various & Sundry, 3/19/15

Thursday, March 19, AD 2015

– More fallout from the incredible controversy of Walker firing a staffer. Or that staffer resigning. Or whatever. William Jacobson has a sensible take. Of course what this whole thing shows me is that the right is going to sabotage another election, disqualifying good candidates for minor infractions, and thus enabling someone like Jeb Bush to walk off with the nomination. Then bloggers like Ace of Spades will write 3,000 word rants about how evil the Republican establishment is, without of course conceding that they enabled the very nomination that they so decried.

– Yeah, Harry Reid is a real piece of, umm, work.

Senator John Cornyn (R., Texas) has offered a bill that would use fines levied on convicted human traffickers to fund services for victims of human trafficking — for liberated slaves. And his bill would do more than that: It would fund task forces and investigative units dedicated to breaking up trafficking rings. The bill contains language that is horrible to contemplate in the 21st century: “trafficking with respect to peonage, slavery, involuntary servitude, or forced labor.”

Who could be against such a bill? Senator Harry Reid, for one. The Nevada Democrat and Senate minority leader boasts of his pro-life record, and advertises the many occasions upon which he has voted against government funding of abortions. In the United States, the public funding of abortion is generally prohibited through “Hyde amendments,” commonplace statutory language that goes back to the earliest post-Roe days that ensures, out of a decent respect for the consciences of individual Americans, that none of them is forced by the government to participate financially in abortion. Senator Cornyn’s bill contains such a provision, and Democrats are pretending to be surprised by that. The truth is that they are taking a beating in their new minority status, while their national leadership is embroiled in a series of scandals and failures. A fight over abortion, they calculate, might be just the thing — and there’s always the chance that Republicans will help them out by having an obscure backbencher from nowhere proffer an innovative theory about reproductive biology.

– Obama hints at seeking to make voting mandatory. Because what we need are more uninformed voters deciding the fate of our country.

Obama floated the idea of mandatory voting in the U.S. while speaking to a civic group in Cleveland on Wednesday. Asked about the influence of money in U.S. elections, Obama digressed into the topic of voting rights and said the U.S. should be making it easier for people to vote.

Just ask Australia, where citizens have no choice but to vote, the president said.

“If everybody voted, then it would completely change the political map in this country,” Obama said, calling it “potentially transformative.” Not only that, Obama said, but universal voting would “counteract money more than anything.”

Oh, and shocker of shockers, he’s full of, umm, bile.

Disproportionately, Americans who skip the polls on Election Day are younger, lower-income and more likely to be immigrants or minorities, Obama said. “There’s a reason why some folks try to keep them away from the polls,” he said in a veiled reference to voter identification laws in a number of states.

First of all, voter id laws, contrary to the scare-mongering of the deranged left, are not about disenfranchising legally eligible voters. Democrats know this, but they have to keep lying because lying is all they have left. Secondly, couldn’t it be reasonably inferred that efforts to make voting “mandatory” are politically motivated attempts to influence election outcomes? Nah, only Republicans and conservatives engage in that sort of thing.

– Speaking of The One, he’s now going to punish the people of Israel for defying him. Which I guess is consistent for a man with a Messiah complex.

While saying it was “premature” to discuss Washington’s policy response, the [Obama administration] official wouldn’t rule out a modified American posture at the United Nations, where the U.S. has long fended off resolutions critical of Israeli settlement activity and demanding its withdrawal from Palestinian territories. “We are signaling that if the Israeli government’s position is no longer to pursue a Palestinian state, we’re going to have to broaden the spectrum of options we pursue going forward,” the official said.

Well, when you’ve defied the will of a petulant, egotistical brat, I suppose you’ve asked for it.

Joy Pullmann looks at the fertility industry’s lack of oversight. I love this paragraph:

Lastly: How freakin’ many “third-rail” issues are there? Last I heard, that phrase applied to Social Security. Now it apparently applies to abortion, contraception, producing humans like so many cars, the national budget, military bloat, entitlements, ending marriage, you name it. Isn’t that practically everything our government is involved in nowadays? How can anyone govern if they can’t discuss what they’re doing!

– Now this is some really important analysis: does diving to first actually get you there faster? Answer: kind of.

They key to maintaining the advantage is technique. According to Rivas, “The average velocity reached by the runner in the last long step is 9.5 m/s. The average velocity of first .6 meter of sliding is 6.2 m/s, and the average velocity of full body sliding was 5.2 m/s.” Since the diver had a .81m headstart at the end of his dive (25.6 inches), it should take much more than a meter (three feet) of sliding for the runner to overtake the diver.

In other words, if the runner/diver has absolutely perfect technique, he has a fraction of a second advantage over the guy who runs through the bag. Considering that this analysis doesn’t weigh the injury risks of diving over running, my suggestion would be that the traditional view – that a runner ought to keep running – should prevail.

Continue reading...

9 Responses to Various & Sundry, 3/19/15

  • How many days until January 20, 2017? Let’s see…..20 days in 2017, 366 days in 2016 and there are 287 days left this year……so 673 days.

    Barack Hussein Obama and Jorge Maria Bergoglio………punishment for our many sins.
    How often do these men open their mouths and say something irritating?

  • I think Paul’s take is the right one. The Establishment wing of the GOP uses media straddlers like Jonah Goldberg and Erick Erickson (and Ace, too, I suppose), i.e. people who are (semi-) professional conservatives, so they have a foot in each camp to encourage conservatives to eat their own. And once the indigestion sets in, those same people sympathize with us about the lack of “qualified” conservative candidates, and how important it is to vote for the slightly to the left of the not quite to the right of the center candidate candidate because that candidate is more conservative of the left of center candidate.
    .
    Which, while indisputabley true, is also irrelevant, since there’s no way such a exquisitely positioned candidate, even if he could inspire people to actually show up and vote for him, is going to be able to change the direction of the country in the unlikely event he’d actually win.
    .
    I think I’ll start working on my plans to be busy come November 8 next year.

  • What gets you is that the administration is populated with ‘officials’ who fancy (or pretend to fancy) that it matters one way or another what Mr. Netanyahu ‘pursues’ a ‘Palestinian state’. They talk to journalists who apply no critical intelligence to the question and utter inanities like ‘building more settlements’, when 80% of the settler population lives in settlements founded prior to 1987 and another 15% lives in a settlement founded in 1995 and smack on the Green Line. They cannot distinguish putting up another Quonset hut on an already existing settlement and founding a new settlement.

  • The Establishment wing of the GOP uses media straddlers like Jonah Goldberg and Erick Erickson

    Actually, I think a political consultant is using her friends in the media to trash her old boss.

  • (mandatory voting)…..would “counteract money more than anything.”
    Not true. votes can still be bought directly with cash and indirectly with bait; criminal skills in sabotaging machines could still be bought…etc, etc, etc…

  • Then he’s well rid of her Art.

  • “More fallout from the incredible controversy of Walker firing a staffer. Or that staffer resigning. Or whatever. William Jacobson has a sensible take. Of course what this whole thing shows me is that the right is going to sabotage another election, disqualifying good candidates for minor infractions, and thus enabling someone like Jeb Bush to walk off with the nomination.”

    This also demonstrates how out of touch many of the conservative talking heads in the media are. Why should I be enraged that Walker bounced from his campaign a supporter of gay marriage, and why should I care about the makeup of Walker’s media staff in any case? Someone needs to tell the professional conservatives enraged by this, that no one cares about the phony baloney jobs of them and their friends, except them.

  • Interesting; I’d only heard worries that Walker might be too prone to bowing to media pressure, in a things-to-watch-out-for sort of way, not anyone trying to act like it disqualifies him. Of course, I’d also only heard about it from Goldberg, who tends to avoid the “zomga unclean, unclean, unclean!” hissies and is likely just avoiding idealizing the guy. I already know that Jeb, as I keep thumbnailing it, has all of his brother’s flaws but not his strengths.
    Contrast Walker with, say, Rick Perry– where I know that he is not to be trusted from his “it’s because I’m pro-life” justification for forced vaccination for an STD.
    Hadn’t heard anything about her being poison on the social issues.
    ************
    I wonder if Obama has been given a clue that if there are mandatory voting laws, it will be a lot harder for the most loyal democrat voting block to vote? The dead tend to vote only on big elections– or maybe he’s figuring that it will force out the free-lancers who do a relatively small number in each area for their pet causes, giving more power to the machine, and that’ll be worth the extra cost of all the fraudulent ballots? ( example: http://accordingtohoyt.com/2015/03/20/a-brush-with-voter-fraud-by-tom-knighton/ )
    ******
    Diving for first may not get you there faster, but it may affect the guy who’s standing on first enough to gain an advantage– which would account for the popularity of it.

  • Actually, I think a political consultant is using her friends in the media to trash her old boss.
    That makes a lot of sense.

Various & Sundry, 3/18/15

Wednesday, March 18, AD 2015

– So I guess today’s controversy is Scott Walker firing (or accepting the “resignation”) of his online outreach director after an outcry was made against her hiring due to some harsh things she said about Iowa. Because you simply cannot say anything critical about Iowa, that wonderful Republican bellwether that has correctly picked the Republican nominee twice in thirty years and has voted for the ultimate GOP nominee in the general election once during that same time.

Here’s Drew M at Ace of Spades saying, “Eh, no big deal.” Here’s Ace himself going to eleven on the freakout-o-meter. Personally I just don’t care much either way, though I slightly lean towards the Drew M position. That being said, my main takeaway from all this: just stay away from twitter. Nothing good comes from twitter.

– Let’s step in the wayback machine to a time when adults were welcome in the Democrat party. George Will memorializes Daniel Patrick Moynihan and his accurate assessment that the breakdown of the family would exacerbate economic woes, especially for minorities. Moynihan was pilloried for his views, so it’s refreshing to see that absolutely nothing has changed in our political discourse in half a century.

Fifty years ago this month, Moynihan, then a 37-year-old social scientist working in the Labor Department, wrote a report, “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action,” that was leaked in July. The crisis he discerned was that 23.6 percent of African-American births were to unmarried women. Among the “tangle” of pathologies he associated with the absence of fathers was a continually renewed cohort of inadequately socialized adolescent males. This meant dangerous neighborhoods and schools where disciplining displaced teaching. He would later write: “A community that allows a large number of young men to grow up in broken families, dominated by women, never acquiring any stable relationship to male authority . . . that community asks for and gets chaos.”
Academic sensitivity enforcers and race-mongers denounced him as a racist who was “blaming the victim.” Today, 72 percent of African-American children are born to single women, 48 percent of first births of all races and ethnicities are to unmarried women, and more than 3 million mothers under 30 are not living with the fathers of their children.

Ben Carson may need to sit down and do some studying if he wants to take this whole presidential run seriously.

Neurosurgeon and prospective Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson stumbled on key foreign policy questions during an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Wednesday, appearing to not realize the Baltic States are members of NATO and dating the founding of Islam to well before the birth of Christ.

In fairness, reading through the interview online Carson doesn’t necessarily state that Islam predates Christ, but that the tension in the region does. That being said, I continue to find his entire candidacy quixotic. Conservatives have – rightly – spent the better part of almost decade decrying the cult of personality surrounding Barack Obama, and yet there’s a fairly solid base of support for someone whose main accomplishment in the political arena is delivering one single speech that people liked. In a field that will feature a half-dozen accomplished governors plus a few more serious candidates with varying degrees of accomplishment, what exactly is Carson’s appeal?

– Funny video: how to become gluten intolerant.

I feel sorry for people who have celiac disease and who probably get a roll of the eyes whenever they request gluten free food. Unfortunately there is now a cottage industry of people who don’t even know what gluten is demanding that anything they consume must absolutely not contain the stuff.

– I’ve been lifting weights and getting into strength training. If this thread indicates what happens to the brains of people who lift weights, I might be done.

Continue reading...

12 Responses to Various & Sundry, 3/18/15

  • “Morons across America are astounded to learn that people from *IOWA* grow up rather government-dependent. #agsubsidies #ethanol #brainless,” Ms. Mair wrote on Jan. 22.

    Except for #brainless I completely agree. It’s time to get some of the larger states earlier in the season, I’m in NY and I wish the Legislature would pass a law that our primary will be held one week before New Hampshire’s.
    Won’t happen, maybe Texas will go for it.

  • What’s most revealing about the L’affaire Liz Mair is the extent to which the allegedly “conservative” pundit class is freaking out over the firing of a pro-abortion, pro-same-sex “marriage”, pro-amnesty shill who tweeted rude and disparaging things about people whose votes her boss is seeking to win. The allegedly “conservative” Erick Erickson, in response to the firing of his friend, Mair, went so far as to say that those who brought her firing about — he specifically mentioned “Christian conservatives” in his screed — could all go “die in a fire”. Some hack at HotAir echoed that sentiment.
    ***
    In the end, this is not the sort of bread-and-butter issue on which elections are won or lost. In fact, this is the worst kind of inside baseball — a complete non-story, no matter how big a deal the so-called “conservative” pundit class wants to make of it. Except insofar as what it tells us about the trustworthiness of said pundit class.

  • The lady should not have said those things, because they are not true. Walker was correct to accept her resignation because she was counterproductive for his purposes. He showed good judgment and was not just bowing to political correctness. As far as being a republican bellwether, Iowa conservatives may not alway follow the directions from the top of the GOP, maybe more conservative than Republican. She showed her lack of understanding of the conservative base in the midwest, not just Iowa.
    .
    Ted Cruz came to Iowa a couple of weeks ago to the Ag Summit was straightforward about ethanol etc, but did not alienate people with snark. Cruz is also from an ag state.
    .
    A very small percentage of Americans anymore have anything to do with farming, and there are a lot of misconceptions. There are also many and various enterprises that are subsidized that may be more debatable than supporting crop production.

  • I think Carson’s appeal lies in the fact that he’s accomplished something outside of politics. It would be nice to elect somebody who knew how to do something other that raise money and give speeches. I almost included “and win elections,” but they don’t know how to do that –that’s what they hire experts for.
    .
    As for Iowa, as a midwesterner I’m partial to the quaint, retail politcs aspect, but didn’t Reagan skip it?
    .
    I’m not surprised to hear about Ace’s attack of the vapors, he’s consistently proven himself to be more Rabbit than Pooh-bear.

  • “…..and yet there’s a fairly solid base of support for someone whose main accomplishment in the political arena is delivering one single speech that people liked.”
    Indeed. His popularity reminds me, unpleasantly, of the cult-of-Palin. And perhaps a fair number of his fans also rather like him for the color of his skin.

    I also liked his one speech that you’re referring to. He’d probably make a great Surgeon General to the next Conservative President. But definitely not for President.

  • I like Carson, but I suspect he’s running for a cabinet position. HHS perhaps? Being a surgeon is largely a lone wolf endeavor. Perhaps he had a few employees, and he dealt with departmental politics at Johns Hopkins. It’s safe to say he has little to no executive experience. More than Obama, but we can do better than that. He’s not a serious candidate, but I’m interested in what he’ll add to the field.

  • I would completely back Carson if he decided to run for the open Maryland seat.

  • What’s most revealing about the L’affaire Liz Mair is the extent to which the allegedly “conservative” pundit class is freaking out over the firing of a pro-abortion, pro-same-sex “marriage”, pro-amnesty shill who tweeted rude and disparaging things about people whose votes her boss is seeking to win. The allegedly “conservative” Erick Erickson, in response to the firing of his friend, Mair, went so far as to say that those who brought her firing about — he specifically mentioned “Christian conservatives” in his screed

    She’s in their social circle and you’re not and I’m not and one might wager that no one who is like the generic Republican voter is. Of course it’s a performance issue when public relations about the candidate is displaced by public discussion of his motormouth public relations aide, but do not tell these characters whose work includes, er, talking to press agents.

    It also ought to occur to the once-engaging Mr. Michael Brendan Dougherty that Mair is a professional press agent, as in “Madam, I’m a professional. I work for money…And the difference between this great lady and myself is that my work is her hobby. My hobby happens to be gardening, for which I don’t expect to be paid.” Republican consigliere Roger Stone was once asked what his political principles were. His reply was, “I don’t work both sides of the street”. She has her regular clientele, and it’s not likely she’s a monopoly service provider or has some sort of secret sauce which makes her indispensable.

  • Indeed. His popularity reminds me, unpleasantly, of the cult-of-Palin.

    That’s bizarre. He’s very unlike Gov. Palin. Gov. Palin is a lapsed radio reporter who is not known for her accomplishments in her private work life. She does, however, have 11 years under her belt as a public executive and a history of negotiating amicably with legislators. Also, her appeal is derived in part from her vernacular qualities, something surgeons seldom have.

  • Morons across America are astounded to learn that people from *IOWA* grow up rather government-dependent. #agsubsidies #ethanol #brainless,” Ms. Mair wrote on Jan. 22.

    Ignorant women employed as press agents might be astounded to learn that 90% of the personal income received by Iowa households is not attributable to farm earnings and that 85% of the workforce is not employed in farming.

  • Whining and complaining about Iowa and New Hampshire on the part of the media is as much a feature of the quadrennial silly season as shaking hands and kissing babies.
    .
    Hawaii is no more electorally significant than Iowa or New Hampshire, but you wouldn’t hear any belly aching from reporters about the pineapple industry or the tourist lobby.

Various & Sundry, 3/17/15

Tuesday, March 17, AD 2015

– A couple of posts that look at the Democratic field for 2016. First Robert Tracinski on the Democrats weak bench.

The Democrats have an astonishingly weak bench of potential 2016 presidential challengers. National Journal runs down the list, and it’s not a very impressive roster. True, one of these could emerge, maybe a Democratic senator—Amy Klobuchar? Kirsten Gillibrand? Mark Warner?—but there’s no one with a lot of name recognition, even among Democrats, or much of a national political organization. There’s Vice-President Joe Biden, but I suspect his eccentricity is mostly tolerated because of the relative unimportance of his office. And then there’s Elizabeth Warren, who says she’s not running and who, besides, has all the down-to-earth, populist, all-American charisma you would expect from member of the Harvard Faculty Club. Other national Democrats include a bunch of septuagenarians—Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and the like—who are hardly up-and-coming young saviors of the party.

How is it that the Democrats have hollowed out their party so much that they do not have an extensive roster of young leaders waiting in the wings?

Tracinski notes how Bill Clinton placed his own political ambition ahead of his party’s needs. Barack Obama has done the same, and in my opinion, has been even more aloof from the rest of his party than either Clinton. This has all had the effect of wiping out the party as it loses election after election at the state and local level, further eroding its bench.

What they may not have anticipated is how badly this would hit them on the state level, where they have been wiped out in the statehouses. This further weakens the bench by ending the career of many a young Democratic politician before it even begins. It’s like a big league baseball team trying to recruit players without access to the “farm teams” where rising stars can gain experience and demonstrate their talent. And as with the effect on Congress, this specifically deprives the Democrats of talent outside a narrow demographic that dominates big cities and the coasts.

Michael Barone suggests this effect: “The geographically clustered Obama coalition—blacks, Hispanics (in some states), gentry liberals—tends to elect officeholders with little incentive to compile records that would make them competitive in target states and capable of winning crossover votes.” A few years ago, this was called the Emerging Democratic Majority. But that theory is in shambles, and it’s looking like Democrats actually pulled aReverse Southern Strategy. They were so intent on basing their electoral future on educated young people and racial minorities that they thoroughly alienate everyone else: whites, southerners, blue-collar workers, suburbanites—all the people they thought they could do without and found out that they can’t.

Victor Davis Hanson has a similar analysis.

A paradox arose in Obama’s efforts at encouraging bloc voting. To galvanize groups on the basis of their race, tribe, or gender, the Obama cadre has resorted to divisive language  — “punish our enemies,” “nation of cowards,” “my people” — that turns off independent voters and even some liberal white voters. When the president weighed in during the trial of the “white Hispanic” George Zimmerman by telling the nation that if he had had a son, that boy would have looked like Trayvon Martin, such an eerie tribal appeal bothered at least as many Americans as it may have stirred. Blacks and Latinos may appreciate Eric Holder’s constant sermonizing about white prejudice or Obama’s riffs on Skip Gates and Ferguson, but just as many other Americans do not believe that Gates was singled out on the basis of race and do not see how the thuggish Michael Brown, who had robbed a store and rushed a police officer, could conceivably become a civil-rights hero.

More importantly, there is no indication that Obama’s knack for firing up minority voters is transferrable in the same measure to other Democratic candidates such as Hillary Clinton. Once one appeals to tribal identity on the basis of race and appearance, one lives or dies with such superficial affinities. Hillary, in other words, is not Latino or black, and her winning 60 percent of the former or 85 percent of the latter would simply not be good enough under the formulaic racial bloc voting that Obama has bequeathed to Democrats. In addition, Obama seems to bestow voter resentment, as much as he does enthusiasm, on other Democrats. In 2014, it seemed that Obama harmed Democratic candidates a lot more than he helped them, especially when he reminded the electorate that his own policies were de facto on the ballot.

There’s much more at the link, all of it good. The Democrats have put all their eggs in one basket – both in the person of Hillary Clinton and the overall theme of identity politics.

The sad thing about the Democratic field is that it so bad that it’s starting to make the 2008 GOP candidates look like a field of dreams.

– Of course it’s not all roses for the GOP, as it does face a headwind when it comes to the electoral college.

Yes, the somewhat arcane — yet remarkably durable — way in which presidential elections are decided tilts toward Democrats in 2016, as documented by nonpartisan political handicapper Nathan Gonzales in a recent edition of the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report.

Gonzales notes that if you add up all of the states that are either “safe” for the eventual Democratic nominee or “favor” that nominee, you get 217 electoral votes. (A candidate needs to win 270 to be elected president.) Do the same for states safe or favoring the Republican standard-bearer, per Gonzales’s rankings, and you get just 191 electoral votes.

This is true, but as the previous two articles highlight, some of the identity politics that have given the Democrats this electoral college advantage might no longer be as powerful.

– Then again, does it matter who wins. As this scathing post from Drew M highlights, it’s difficult to root for a team, so to speak, captained by the likes of John Boehner.

– Msgr. Pope digs deeper into the sin of sloth. It isn’t just about being lazy.

That said, sloth does often manifest itself as a kind of lethargy, a boredom that can’t seem to muster any interest, energy, joy, or enthusiasm for spiritual gifts. Such people may be enthusiastic about many things, but God and the faith are not among them.

. . . And boredom feeds right into sloth. The “still, small voice of God,” the quiet of prayer, the simple reading of Scripture and the pondering of its message, the unfolding of spiritual meaning through reflection, the slower joys of normal human conversation in communal prayer and fellowship … none of these appeal to the many who are overstimulated and used to a breakneck pace. Sunday, once the highlight of the week for many (due to the beauty of the liturgy, the music, the hearing of the sermon, the joy of fellowship, and the quiet of Holy Communion), is now considered boring and about as appealing as going to the dentist, a necessary evil at best.  Thus, sloth is fueled by the boredom our culture feels at anything going less than 90 miles and hour.

Sigh.

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has decided that his 4,700-store enterprise is no longer just going to be offering customers coffee, frothy drinks, and overpriced pastries. His baristas will soon serve up a venti-size helping of social justice.

“Starbucks published a full page ad in the New York Times on Sunday — a stark, black, page with a tiny caption ‘Shall We Overcome?’ in the middle, and the words ‘Race Together’ with the company logo, on the bottom right,” read a Fortune Magazine report previewing a forthcoming Starbucks campaign in which the coffee chain’s baristas will be encouraged to talk about race relations with their customers.

I rarely go to Starbucks, mainly because I don’t feel like paying $2.50 for burnt-tasting coffee. This is just further reason to avoid the place. Because really, I fully expect bored twenty-somethings to provide meaningful dialogue about complex racial and political issues while serving coffee.

– The Ferguson Report reminds Dave French why he became a conservative.

And that malignancy has spread throughout the public institutions. Our local government’s core mission was dispensing favors. If you were part of the local elite, the normal rules of life simply didn’t apply. Speeding tickets? No problem. You need a conditional use permit? You got it! To this day one of the most satisfying events of my professional life was defeating the local zoning board in the first constitutional case of my career — winning the case after a local leader haughtily told my church client, “We can and will dictate how you worship.”

. . .Reading the DOJ’s Ferguson report took me back to the bad old days. It is the story of a small class of the local power brokers creating two sets of rules, one for the connected and another for the mass of people who are forced — often at gunpoint — to pay for the “privilege” of being governed. This is a very old story, and if the poor of Ferguson are overwhelmingly black, then it’s inevitable that a government built on exploitation will disproportionately exploit black citizens. I have no doubt that there are some racists in Ferguson’s leadership, but we also know that even black leaders will exploit black citizens in the cities they lead — setting up de facto rules that benefit the governing class at the expense of the poor. See, for example, Detroit.  It is entirely possible to believe (as I do) that the evidence indicates that “hands up, don’t shoot” is a fiction, even a malicious fiction, while also believing that the evidence indicates that Ferguson’s government was corrupt in exactly the way that government is typically corrupt.

 

Continue reading...

27 Responses to Various & Sundry, 3/17/15

  • Must dissent. The Democrats retain a floor of about 40% of the federal electorate. A generation ago, Republicans were able to do better among weekly aligned voters and non-aligned voters. That’s likely still true. It’s just that there are fewer such voters.

    All of the Democratic candidates in 2008 were unsuitable for the office bar Bill Richardson, and he had latent problems with scandals in his administration. It’s a testament to the stupidity of the Democratic electorate that the the competitive candidates were three lawyers (one who hardly practiced and two who had skeezy practices) who had between them 16 undistinguished man-years in Congress. Edwards hardly hid his sociopathy, Mrs. Clinton had history of citations for unethical conduct before the ink was dry on her diploma, and Obama has to have been the most superficial creature ever to run for the office. Even with absolutely optimal conditions, Obama in 2008 did no better than did George Bush the Elder in 1988. It’s not that bad for the Democrats in 2016.

  • Eric Holder needed a face-saver. If David French read that report without a hunk of rock salt and a vigorous critical intelligence, he’s just being foolish. Ditto the libertarian types who eagerly seize on complaints against the police because they’ve never gotten over high school.

  • I agree that the Democratic electoral strength may be overstated. As for the state of the field, there are really two ways of looking at it. In terms of actual political experience and ability, you’re right about the 2008 field. But from the prism of electoral politics, the list of wannabes in 2016 is just absolutely putrid.

    I think the French piece is interesting because it provides another way of looking at the Holder report, though I also agree that it needs to be taken with a couple of chunks of salt.

  • And I didn’t even mention the 2004 Democratic field, which was also quite awful in almost every respect. The fact that John Kerry got the nomination out of that bunch tells you what you need to know.

  • No, I’m saying the Democratic base is stronger than you let on.

    The four competitive candidates in 2004 included Howard Dean, who played the clown but was a man of some accomplishment in private life who had also held an executive position for a decade. It also included Wesley Clark, who may be the most accomplished and prepared Democrat to have competed for the nomination since 1960. It says something lousy about the Democratic electorate that Dean thought behaving like a raving lunatic would be a good career move and that both of these men were rejected in favor of an ambulance chaser and a rank-and-file Boston lawyer who had for 35 years been dining out on yarns re his four months in the Mekong Delta.

  • I don’t believe in that so-called Democrat electoral majority. That miserable empty suit has been egged on by racial identity politics and two weak and pathetic opponents. Granted, the Donkeys have New England, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Illinois, Minnesota, the West Coast and Hawaii. That might be all they get next time.

    Hilary Clinton isn’t going to get the “black” vote, not like Obumbler. She is an unlikeable, haggard-looking, lying, miserable person and that may be more than enough to depress Democrat turnout in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Virginia, Florida and other places.

  • Thank you for the link to the Electoral College piece. At the Presidential level, that’s what keeps their underwhelming bench competitive.

  • Eh, I still think from a purely electoral/political point of view 2016 is shaping up to be fairly horrendous field for the Democrats. Obama was/is an empty suit, but he had and still has a very wide appeal. Heaven help us, so did John Edwards to a lesser extent. But Martin O’Malley?

    Both parties have a floor, it seems, at about 200 electoral votes, give or take, and 45% of the popular vote.

  • “Must dissent. The Democrats retain a floor of about 40% of the federal electorate.”

    Which has always been their floor with the exception of McGovern who got 37%. Humphrey got 42.7% in 1968. The Peanut Farmer got 41% in 1980. Mondale got 40%. Truman got 49.6% in 1948 in an election he should have lost going away. Stevenson got 44.3% in 1952 and 42% in 1956 against Ike, a national hero! Al Smith got 40% in the Presidential blow out year for Republicans in 1928. The Democrats have had a floor of about 40% in Presidential elections for a very, very long time. What is unusual currently is Democrat weakness in every other level of elections. It will be interesting to see if in 2016 that weakness begins to show in Presidential races without Obama.

  • Both parties have a floor, it seems, at about 200 electoral votes, give or take, and 45% of the popular vote.

    Isn’t it lovely that we’re all at the mercy of the 5 to 10% of the electorate that can never seem to quite make up its mind –either about what it wants or what believes?

  • Which has always been their floor with the exception of McGovern who got 37%.

    For electoral performance, yes. What’s been curious about Obama is that he’s hardly fallen below 40% in polled approval. His floor re this metric is about where Ronald Reagan’s was, though he’s never collared the breadth of affection Reagan had at his peak. George Bush the Younger had a floor in polled a=pproval of around 25%, as did Nixon, Reagan, and Truman.
    =-
    One curio of the last generation has been that the parties switched roles. At the time Alan Ehrenhalt wrote The United States of Ambition, it seemed the Democratic advantage in the state legislatures was impregnable though any advantage in marquee contests in state government was not. The Democrats had held the federal House of Representatives for 54 of the previous 58 years and the Senate for 48 of 58 years. Yet, the Republicans had one five of the previous six presidential elections and nearly won the sixth. Now, the Republicans are sitting on the largest advantage they’ve had in legislative bodies in nearly 90 years and they’ve accomplished it with in spite of the uninspired ‘leadership’ of creatures like John Boehner and A.M. McConnell. However, they have made a has of Presidential contests for 20-odd years.

  • Obama was/is an empty suit, but he had and still has a very wide appeal.

    No, he get’s the people who will pull the D lever forever and ever and just enough of the remainder to put him over the top. Some portion of it is mobilizing Democratic constituencies which have conventionally low turnouts. It’s very curious how blacks seem to regard this issue of Honolulu’s haolie bourgeoisie as one of their own. The gyrations in the electoral behavior of the post 1970 cohorts is most puzzling and it does give one the idea that it’s atypical for people’s political opinions to be all that well grounded.

    Again, look at the situation in 2008. You had a discredited incumbent, a recession, and a banking crisis erupting just six weeks before the election which the electorate stupidly blamed on the Republicans in spite of Barney Frank’s sabotage of efforts by Gregory Mankiw and others to improve the accounting practices at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. You also had a media willing to function as an extension of the Democratic National Committee press office (a phenomenon which extended to some of the Republican chatterati). In addition, John McCain had entrusted his campaign to a pair of skeezy careerists who were, among other things, hostile to the vice presidential candidate. It was an absolute perfect storm, and Obama collared an ordinary plurality and nothing more.

  • Pretty sure in 2008 Obama won by the largest margin of victory in 20 years.

  • Pretty sure in 2008 Obama won by the largest margin of victory in 20 years.

    So what? Did the country have no history prior to 1988? (And, while we’re at it, Clinton’s plurality in 1996 was larger than Obama’s in 2008).

  • I’m just calling “rubbish” on your “Obama collared an ordinary plurality” claim; nothing more.
    .
    I’d insert a smiley emoticon here, if I did the emoticon thing
    .
    but I don’t.

  • Also, the difference between Clinton and Obama is that more Americans voted for Obama than voted for Clinton. Twice.

  • re: the Dave French piece at NRO
    .
    What was it Acton said about power?

  • For what it’s worth, and I think this is a good omen, as reported by the NYT:

    “After a bruising campaign focused on his failings, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel won a clear victory in Tuesday’s elections and seemed all but certain to form a new government and serve a fourth term, though he offended many voters and alienated allies in the process.

    “With 99.5 percent of the ballots counted, the YNet news site reported Wednesday morning that Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud Party had captured 29 or 30 of the 120 seats in Parliament, sweeping past his chief rival, the center-left Zionist Union alliance, which got 24 seats.”

  • About sloth: I’ve been thinking about something that Chesterton wrote ever since I read the recent Ides of March article. I’m going to paraphrase – and man, paraphrasing Chesterton should be a crime, like making a cheese steak out of a porterhouse. Anyway, he said that it was necessary that humanity should have already peaked before the birth of Christ. We demonstrated the best we can do naturally, and were falling from it. He said that despair isn’t tiring of sorrow; it’s tiring of pleasure. Humanity had grown bored with its highest achievement, demonstrating that the natural wasn’t sufficient to fulfill it.

  • I’m just calling “rubbish” on your “Obama collared an ordinary plurality” claim; nothing more.

    Except it is not rubbish. To see that it is not, simply survey all the Presidential elections held since the advent of the contemporary presidency in 1933, including, ahem, the election of 1996. You have 20 presidential elections. Obama’s plurality in 2008 improves on that of Truman in 1948, Kennedy in 1960, Nixon in 1968, Carter in 1976, Clinton in 1992, Bush in 2000, Bush in 2004, and Obama himself in 2012. That puts his plurality at just north of the 40th percentile, which is to say it is an ordinary plurality.

    Also, the difference between Clinton and Obama is that more Americans voted for Obama than voted for Clinton. Twice.

    Clinton was running against the Republican candidate and a third-party candidate with ample funding and a popular base. Obama faced a conventional contest with a binary choice. Electorates are also somewhat larger and voter turnout in 1996 was pretty close to a historical nadir for presidential elections.

  • Well, Obama was the first Democrat since Carter to win a majority of the popular vote and in his 2008 victory he garnered the second higher percentage of the popular vote of any Democrat since FDR (LBJ in 1964 being tops). On the other hand, Clinton garnered more of the electoral college in both 1992 and 1996 and was, as Art points out, facing two major opponents.

    What’s interesting from a historical perspective is just how much more common GOP blowouts have been (Ike twice, Nixon in 1972, Reagan twice, GHWB 1988) than Democrats (LBJ) in the relatively modern era. That probably has almost no bearing on the 2016 race, but I just make the observation.

  • What’s interesting from a historical perspective is just how much more common GOP blowouts have been (Ike twice, Nixon in 1972, Reagan twice, GHWB 1988) than Democrats (LBJ) in the relatively modern era. That probably has almost no bearing on the 2016 race, but I just make the observation.

    We’re all looking at pretty small samples of events the individual elements of which are influenced by contingencies not repeated.

    When I was a student of political science many moons ago, your courses on American domestic politics included discussion of partisan re-alignment and de-alignment along with ‘critical elections’ (a frame I think has been abandoned). Retrospectively, federal politics can be periodized and we can discern that the current period (dating from 1968) is the longest on record and characterized by an abiding and ultimately even balance between the parties in federal elections.
    ==
    One might conceive of the period from 1932 to 1974 as a transitional one wherein a revised political economy was constructed, resulting in a stable political ecosystem with a stable quantum of state allocation of resources (one which BO &c. have attempted to upend). One might posit that the parties now reflect assemblages of interests which (after several generations of conflict, alignment, and re-alignment) are contextually antagonistic but whose struggles merely push the gyroscope off-kilter for brief periods.

  • Maybe the Democrats aren’t worried about the Democrat bench. That’s so “today”! American politics are not the whole ball of wax anymore. It’s the UN. that’s where O is headed… after paring down US influence /power. Forward!

  • It would be great, if I was a Starbucks customer, to go in with a photo and some information about race and abortion in hand. Yes, let’s race together, Let’s talk about abortion and population control in the countries and areas populated by black and brown skinned people.

  • Say what you want about John Boehner – he invited Netanyahu.

  • “. .Reading the DOJ’s Ferguson report took me back to the bad old days. It is the story of a small class of the local power brokers creating two sets of rules…”
    .
    Will there be a DOJ report on a small class of power brokers with two sets of rules, for people like themselves …Clintons. etc… (in our dreams)
    .
    but then those are earthly frustrations- pretty sure there is one set of rules at the pearly gates…

  • Clinton garnered more of the electoral college in both 1992 and 1996 and was, as Art points out, facing two major opponents.

    The latter just might explain the former.

Various & Sundry, 3/16/15

Monday, March 16, AD 2015

– Everyone else is linking to this G-File, so I might as well throw my hat in the ring. A very funny look at a really tragic situation.

It’s perfectly fine to want a woman to be president of the United States. All things being equal, I guess I might prefer it, too. But the question before the country isn’t, “Should we elect a category?” It’s, “Should we elect Hillary Clinton?” And these are wildly different questions. She’d “accomplish” being the first female president in the first second of her presidency. She’d then be Hillary Clinton for the next 126 million seconds of her presidency (Someone will check my math, I’m sure).

When someone asks, “Wouldn’t it be great to have a female president?” the correct answer, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, to be sure, is “Yes.”

When asked, “Wouldn’t it be great to have Hillary Clinton as president?” The correct answer, again with varying degrees of enthusiasm, is “Oh, dear God, no. No, no, no. No.”

I don’t think this will happen, but if somehow in just under two years the best this country can offer is Bush vs. Clinton, we’re going to need a do-over as a nation.

– And in case you didn’t have your fill of Clinton-bashing at NRO, here’s Kevin Williamson’s turn to play whack-a-mole. He writes of Hillary’s Faustian bargain in which she abandoned any pretext of trying to achieve measurable policy outcomes and seems to be seeking the presidency just to assuage her ambitions.

The story is as old as Faust. But what did Hillary Rodham Clinton get out of her infernal bargain? There is money, to be sure, the Clintons having grown vastly wealthy, but she does not give the impression of a person who is in it for the money — she seems like the sort of person who could live quite contentedly on a fraction of what she might make as an academic and an ornament to corporate boards. Bill Clinton was in it for the adoration and affirmation (and does not seem to despise money), but Mrs. Clinton cannot hide the wry cynicism with which she regards the public — she lacks her husband’s psychopathic gift for being simultaneously sentimental and predatory.

– It’s clearly a slow news day because this is what’s passing for news on the hard left: a three year old girl heard Ted Cruz say the world is on fire. According to the Einsteins that make up the far left Cruz’s incendiary rhetoric left this poor child scarred for life. Except, of course, she was totally fine.

“There was no tears,” Trant said, telling the show she told her daughter that ”Ted Cruz is the one that will put this fire out. And then she then looked at him as a hero.”

“I’m telling you: She was quite happy,” Trant added. “She was like, ‘oh? you’re going to put that out? We’re good. We’re good here.’”

If you think that the above story is a big deal, but roll your eyes at the mere mention of Benghazi, can you do me and the country a big favor: never vote again. Thanks. I’d say something about reproducing as well but this is a Catholic site.

– Over at One Peter Five, a rundown of Bishop Schneider’s ten elements of renewal in the liturgy. They’re all good, but numbers four and five really struck a chord with me:

4. The faithful approaching to receive the Lamb of God in Holy Communion should greet and receive Him with an act of adoration, kneeling. Which moment in the life of the faithful is more sacred than this moment of encounter with the Lord?

5.There should be more room for silence during the liturgy, especially during those moments which most fully express the mystery of the redemption. Especially when the sacrifice of the cross is made present during the Eucharistic prayer.

There’s a lot that can be said – and I hope to get around to saying it in a more detailed post – about the lack of reverence for the Holy Eucharist, and how we have diminished the sense of awe for the real presence.

Continue reading...

3 Responses to Various & Sundry, 3/16/15

  • I think Goldberg expressed that rather well. Replace “woman” and “female” with “black” and “Hillary Clinton” with “Barak Obama” if you don’t believe me.

  • Further to Bishop Schneider’s recommendations:

    8a) Latin need not be limited to the Eucharistic prayer. The Sanctus and the Agnus Dei come to mind as the kind of active participation beloved of the reformers (See also pt. 10).

    8b) The Kyrie should always be in Greek

    10a) You can’t sing/chant the Mass in the vernacular like you can in Latin or Greek. Maybe that’s only true for germanic languages like English.

  • In honor of Saint Patrick and the promise of Christ being ever with us until the end of time, I ask St. Patrick to drive the snakes from public service. Please remember our prayers especially in November of 2016.

Various & Sundry, 3/12/15

Thursday, March 12, AD 2015

Lots to talk about today.

– I haven’t talked much about the tax reform put out by Senators Marco Rubio and Mike Lee. Veronique de Rugy offered this bit of analysis in which she expresses her support for most of the plan, but also offers some criticism.

The second problem with the bill is that many free-market types are underwhelmed (for lack of a better word) by the huge child tax credits in the bill, in particular since the inclusion of those credits is “expensive” in more than one way. For instance, the projected revenue loss is $1.7 trillion over ten years according to the Tax Foundation. I assume this is the reason Rubio and Lee not only aren’t proposing a bigger reduction in the top income tax rate, but are even raising marginal tax rates on a significant number of middle-class and upper-middle class households. (The 35 percent top tax rate in the plan takes effect at just $75,000 of income for single households and $150,000 for married households!)

It has been noted before, but it is worth repeating: The opportunity cost of expanding the child tax credit in this way is huge, in terms of the possible tax reforms it crowds out. If their proposed child-tax credit were smaller, Rubio and Lee could have also included a low-rate flat tax, for instance. No matter what we hear about top-marginal-tax-rate reductions not yielding as much return at the current levels as they would if the rates were higher, lowering them would still yield more growth than the child tax credit, which does nothing for growth. If bolstering the economic status of families is the point of all this, the way to go is lower tax rates, not a tax credit. So why not solve 100 percent of the problem rather than 50 percent?

To make matters worse, I don’t buy the justification for the size of the tax credit they’re proposing. It is one thing to support some sort of child tax credit in the name of the idea that every flat-tax proposal has some zero-bracket amount based on family size, generally based on the principle that households shouldn’t be taxed on “necessity” or “poverty level” income. But providing giant credits, based on the premise that children are investments in maintaining entitlement programs and that parents should be compensated for the cost of raising their kids goes way overboard.

According to the senators, the tax credit would compensate for ”a parent tax penalty.” They compare it to “the marriage tax penalty.” But while I think that characterization is a brilliant marketing move on the part of those who think that parents should be rewarded/subsidized, it is also misleading. The marriage tax penalty is real and manifests itself in the form of higher taxes for certain people who get married and file jointly. That’s because government taxes the first dollar a married-couple secondary earner earns, often the wife, at her husband’s highest marginal rate rather than at the rate the wife’s salary warrants. The higher the marginal tax rate, the bigger the penalty.  However, people aren’t taxed at a higher rate nor do they pay more taxes the moment they have children. In fact, it is the reverse because of personal allowances. So there is no “parent tax penalty.”

I have to concur in large part with de Rugy’s analysis. Ramesh Ponnuru, Reihan Salan and others have been beating the drums for expanding the child tax credit, and I have yet to hear a convincing explanation of how this is anything but more social engineering through the tax code. Indeed that is my beef with much of Salan and Ross Douthat’s book, The Grand New Party, which felt like 200 pages of nothing but pleading for more tax credits. As a father of (almost) four, I would certainly benefit from an expanded credit, but even I have to say enough is enough.

Attention men: if you are nice, happy man who holds the door open for women, you are clearly signalling that you are nothing but a sexist.

Benevolent sexism makes men more smiley when they interact with women, and that’s bad news. Men who put women on a pedestal may be the wolves in sheep clothing hindering gender equality.

A new study examining the nonverbal cues thrown out during interactions between men and women finds that men who have high ratings of “benevolent sexism” — attitudes towards women that are well-intentioned but perpetuate inequality — finds that smiling and other positive cues increase when this kind of sexism is prevalent.

I clearly missed my calling. Who knew one could earn a living conducting such insightful “studies.”

– Fact-checking the fact checkers, part one million: Speaking of earning a living, I am starting to consider developing a fact-checking website that only fact-checks fact-checkers. Patterico writes of one of the most egregious examples of a fact-checker sneaking opinion into her column, as a manifestly true and simple observation made by Ted Cruz got rated as kinda false. WaPo editor Glenn Kessler at least had the dignity to respond to a few questions about this assessment, and offered up some whoppers.

Continue reading...

14 Responses to Various & Sundry, 3/12/15

  • and I have yet to hear a convincing explanation of how this is anything but more social engineering through the tax code.

    Any tax rewards some behavior and penalizes others with one exception: the capitation. Good luck trying to raise revenue with that. I see ‘social engineering’, like ‘war criminal’ is a term the use of which is getting increasingly promiscuous.

    My suggestion would be that you set priorities in your attacks on ‘social engineering’ and train your fire on the social work ‘profession’ itself, on mission creep in public schools and in public higher education, and on federal labor law (and civil rights law generally). Even regarding tax legislation, the inefficiencies and political sclerosis incorporated within special credits, deductions, and exemptions for well connected economic sectors are injurious to the public weal in a way that credits and exemptions for the general population are not.

    Here’s something to which your not referring. De Rugy is an advocate of the minimal state (as is Patterico, whom you also quote; de Rugy is much more knowledgeable and has better manners). She’s not concerned (as was Milton Friedman) in ways to improve social policy because she does not think there should be any social policy. There are only two ways to sustain that idea. One is to persuade yourself that no public agency is capable of doing anything but injuring the society in which you live. The other is not to give a good goddamn about what happens to anyone outside your own household. Douthat’s not down with that and neither are working politicians generally.

  • because once folks start peddling some variant of conservatism, they inevitably just move completely off the reservation.

    He comes off as a malodorous snob on the British model, which the younger Messrs. Derbyshire and Sullivan did not. I don’t think I’ll miss him.

  • “that is my beef with much of Salan and Ross Douthat’s book, The Grand New Party, which felt like 200 pages of nothing but pleading for more tax credits. As a father of (almost) four, I would certainly benefit from an expanded credit, but even I have to say enough is enough.”

    Not to mention that if they ever did manage to enact all those tax credits, the “47%” class (of people who don’t owe federal income taxes) would grow even bigger. Next thing you know they’d be complaining about how we’re a nation of freeloaders….

  • “– Attention men: if you are nice, happy man who holds the door open for women, you are clearly signalling that you are nothing but a sexist.”
    .
    The reason it is: Women and children first into a lifeboat and that men hold doors open to women is because the woman may be carrying our constitutional posterity (or has carried or will carry) and it is a wish expressed in action that our nation, America may continue in prosperity forever. The damage feminism is doing is that it is erasing our constitutional posterity from the minds of our constitutional posterity. The great error in all of this is that our constitutional posterity have rational souls and may even figure out for themselves the evils in abortion and selfishness. I think that our constitutional posterity are called “millenials”. This generation is asking:”Where are our brothers and sisters?

  • Art Deco: ” She’s (de Rugy) not concerned (as was Milton Friedman) in ways to improve social policy because she does not think there should be any social policy. There are only two ways to sustain that idea. One is to persuade yourself that no public agency is capable of doing anything but injuring the society in which you live. The other is not to give a good goddamn about what happens to anyone outside your own household. Douthat’s not down with that and neither are working politicians generally.
    .
    Jesus said to give a “good goddamn” to what happens to anyone in my neighborhood and my neighbor as myself. This policy is up to me not to the government. The government may enable me to love my neighbor as myself, but the government may not in any way deter my mission. Yes, it is a mission, a religious mission… comes to mind Baronnelle Stutzman, the cake baker who refused to make a gay wedding cake. Baronnelle was loving her neighbor as herself (as a straight person) and she was hauled into court and fined for loving her neighbor as herself (as a straight person). It is time for the government to lay hands off. and let people live according to our religious beliefs. “We, the people”, own the government. “We, the people” own freedom.
    .
    Many women no longer breast feed their infant children. Weening was a part of life. It is time to ween the government entitlements from our way of life and go back to breastfeeding our infant children. (Aldous Huxley, +1962, the atheist thought that people with religious beliefs and women who breastfeed their infant children are “savages”) but he died that same day as JFK.

  • Some thoughts on taxes. Look at the numbers. The federal gov doesn’t take too little revenues in taxes. It spends too much. The estimated $1.7 trillion that the gov wouldn’t get could be squandered by American families on such things as food, shelter, maybe savings/investments.

    .

    On holding doors, thise that object have chips on their shoulders. I was told by one of our high-level, ivy-league-educated woman attorneys that she does not resent it.
    .
    Back to unlimited governmnet.

  • On holding doors, those who object have chips on their shoulders and arrogant pride in their hearts.
    .
    A priest from Italy said he was stunned when opening a door for a woman at the mall, eight people passed through without so much as a ‘thank you’ and left him there holding the door.
    .
    I squander my social security check on my grandchildren in college and my great grandchildren (8) in the arms of my grandchildren.

  • Not to mention that if they ever did manage to enact all those tax credits, the “47%” class (of people who don’t owe federal income taxes) would grow even bigger. Next thing you know they’d be complaining about how we’re a nation of freeloaders….
    =–
    When the federal income tax was enacted in 1916, the share of the population with any liability at all was in the single digits (IIRC, 3%). That 47% (which amounted to 40% prior to 2008) pays payroll taxes, pays property taxes, pays higher sticker prices due to general sales and excise taxes, pays higher rents due to property taxes, pays their water bill, &c. The pre-tax incomes of a large share of the population (around 30% of the total) are contextually quite modest and these people are not fitting objects for direct taxation. Nor is there much revenue there. Perhaps 6 or 7% of total personal income (prior to taxes and transfers) repairs to that 30% of the population.

  • On holding doors,

    I’ve received one set of complaints in my life, all on a single day in 1980, from a cousin of whom I was very fond. My father had funny stories of his foot being stepped on by a combat-booted feminists in airports. That was around about 1973.

  • Wouldn’t it have still been unacceptable for anybody to open fire on police officers that had nothing to do with the incident – men, by all accounts, who were engaged in no misconduct whatsoever?
    Wow.
    Uh, no; the way it was set up, the cops were explicitly cast as an occupying force. Seeing as my grandfather guarded a lot of Nazis who he liked and, as best he or anybody else could tell, hadn’t been involved in any of the Nazi outrages…and would’ve shot them, if they’d not been prisoners….
    Gads.
    Folks are supposed to make all their own choices, and the theory implicitly assumes perfect-enough knowledge, but deliberately damaging that information and thus warping the choices of others gets waved away.
    I guess it kinda makes sense– rather than dealing with the problem that the theory would only work if people had perfect information, just pretend that being held responsible for your personal choices is a magical wand.

  • “When the federal income tax was enacted in 1916, the share of the population with any liability at all was in the single digits (IIRC, 3%). That 47% (which amounted to 40% prior to 2008) pays payroll taxes, pays property taxes, pays higher sticker prices due to general sales and excise taxes, pays higher rents due to property taxes, pays their water bill, &c.”

    Which is exactly why I despise the ridiculous notion, promoted by some hard core economic conservatives, of them all being “freeloaders” or “takers” who escape the burdens of taxation.

  • unless we want to see politicians who use martial language being castigated for enabling the actions of lunatics, we should resist assigning blame to the innocent. Unless we hope watch in frustration as quotidian anti-government sentiment is deemed to be responsible for all the ills under the sun, we should decline to attack abstractions rather than individuals. Unless we intend to establish a nation whose rebels are rendered easy targets for the madding crowd on the horizon, we should insist that people, not words, are accountable for the world’s problems. In a republic, it is up to the listeners – not the broadcasters – to sift through the radio noise and to pursue the best course. In a free nation, men can not be presumed to be automatons.

    .
    Nice sentiments there, but the Left is going to do what the Left is going to do, and nothing Mr. Cooke or the legions of commentators like him can say will prick the conscience of the conscienceless or appeal to the (nonexistent) better angels of their nature.

  • “Nice sentiments there, but the Left is going to do what the Left is going to do, and nothing Mr. Cooke or the legions of commentators like him can say will prick the conscience of the conscienceless or appeal to the (nonexistent) better angels of their nature.”
    .
    You have said it. Ernst.

  • Thank you Mary.

Various & Sundry, 3/11/15

Wednesday, March 11, AD 2015

– Jay just mentioned this in the comments: Crescat denied communion on the tongue.

Not only did he consecrate a wheat pita but when I went up to receive on the tongue he forcefully tried to pry open my hands to put the Eucharist in my palm. When I remained in front of him with my mouth open, holds folded closed, to receive on the tongue he grabbed my hand and took the Body of Christ, wedged it between my fingers and said, “Just take it. It’s easier this way.”

Easier for what or whom?! There were not even 50 people in that church! How was me receiving on the tongue going to disrupt the communion line? It made absolutely no sense. Just take it, it’s easier this way? And at my grandmother’s funeral is where you decide to make your little anti-trad point?

– Just to show you that not all Virginia parishes are so bad, one has severed ties to its Knights of Columbus chapter for honoring Governor McAwful.

A Virginia Knights of Columbus council is pressing forward with plans to honor pro-abortion, pro-homosexual “marriage” Gov. Terry McAuliffe by having him as grand marshal of its St. Patrick’s Day Parade. In response, the parish priest has strongly reproached the council and cut ties.

. . .

“Governor McAuliffe stands contrary to the Catholic Church in not one but many of the most essential teachings of the Church in the political arena,” the Norfolk pastor wrote in a March 5 letter to parishioners, distributed at Sunday Mass on March 8. “He himself promised to be a ‘brick wall’ against restrictions on abortion, has taken away commonsense protections for women in abortion facilities and lowered safety standards, and consistently takes money from pro-abortion lobbying groups.”

Good on the pastor, and shame on that K of C Council. It would behoove the members of this Council to reacquaint themselves with some of the degree ceremonies.

Good article from Ross Douthat on Obama’s “caesarism.” For some reason I am unable to clip any of it , so you’ll have to trust me and click the link.

– And just to show that British politics can be just as petty and stupid as our own: a fight over the potential placement of an empty chair during a televised debate.

Maybe they should get a hold of Clint Eastwood.

Continue reading...

9 Responses to Various & Sundry, 3/11/15

  • Kinda shocking on the VA tidewater parish article. I always put my hands behind my back receiving communion, just to avoid confusion. But, now I guess it’s for my own protection from wack-case priests.

  • Even worse than refusing Ms Perez Communion on the tongue is refusing her grandmother Last Rites:

    This parish has absolutely no understanding of the sacraments. To illustrate my point, last month when I got the call from my family that Abuela was back in the hospital and it wasn’t looking good I decided to call her church and let Father know. I reached the parish secretary and the conversation went like this…

    Me: My grandmother is in the hospital dying and I would like Father to administer Last Rites.

    Secretary: Well, Father stays pretty busy but we have a ministry team of people that regularly visit the sick and pray over them.

    Me: No, I want her to receive Last Rites.

    Secretary: Well, the members of this ministry can anoint her for healing.

    Me: Well, that’s lovely but you can’t heal death. She.is.dying. I would like her to receive Last Rites.

    Secretary: I have a few members of the ministry available now. Are you sure you wouldn’t like them to visit with her?

    Me: Unless they can hear her dying confession, absolve her, and prepare he soul from one transition to the next, no.

    I was flabbergasted we were having this conversation. It was obvious that she had made no distinction between praying over someone for healing and the sacrament of last rites. But I don’t blame her. I blame the pastor of this parish for so miserably failing his congregation and not teaching them about the sacraments.

  • Obama’s caesarism–the attractiveness of self confidence, of apparent strength.
    The Good guys should pick up on that idea of “boldly going where none …” , and, as conservatives, “boldly stand” their ground. show the courage of their convictions. Show strength…Santorum and Cruz both do that, but they get regularly pot-shotted by the PTB (Powers That Be).

  • @Anzlyne And Rand.

  • VA Tidewater parish: And we scratch our heads and wonder why the great disparity among Catholics. Please forward this parishes address to me and I’ll gladly send the padre a copy of the G.I.R.M. As for his staff? A copy of the C.C.C. It will be part of my alms giving this Lent.

  • Philip mentions the great disparity among Catholics. I just went to a parish mission that opened with a poem from Kahlil Gibran, dwelled on the mercy of pope francis, and the meanness of the bad old Church, and ended on Merton.
    .
    As Jerry Seinfeld would say: “Not that there is anything wrong with that”

  • When my parish decided to bring in Just Faith 4 yrs. ago and a parish book “club” discussion of Marxist Barbara Ehrenreich’s “Nickled & Dimed” , I wrote our pastor a letter explaining that I would not be participating in the $5 million capital campaign to renovate our church and school. I told him I was not giving one more penny to any collection basket or cause. When the capital campaign coordinator called about the “misunderstanding”, I told her I had been clear and Father did not seem to misunderstand my stance. In a couple of years, Just Faith had left our parish – but no one from the Church will put a stake thru it – we have brought in priests with a beautiful devotion to the Blessed Mother and Eucharistic Adoration and this pastor has toned it down.

  • GRIM; Chpt.2 sub chpt. 2 #45. Title is Silence. Yes. After receiving holy communion there shall be moments of silence to “speak to the Lord and pray.”

    It’s appalling that the music director feel free to interrupt this most sacred and intimate time with God. Just as sad is the celebrant who rushes the consecration. I wonder if he really believes that it is Jesus in his hands?
    Yes. Pray for priests. I do.

  • Easy solution for Tidewater Catholics: head over to St. Benedicts, the FSSP parish in Chesapeake: http://www.stbenedictschapel.org/

    The real scandal about the Knight’s council is not even that some council is so out of touch with Christianity that it could invite Governor Death and Deviance, but that the State KofC apparently lied to the priest who challenged them, asserting the State KofC would withdraw the invitation, but then 10 days later reversed itself and informed state Grand Knights that there was nothing that the State Council could do about it.

    The Bishops of Virginia have distanced themselves from the Council’s actions: http://www.richmonddiocese.org/sites/default/files/files/Joint%20Statement%20Knights%20St_%20Patricks%20Parade%20031115.pdf