Various & Sundry, 8/28/13

Wednesday, August 28, AD 2013

Obama’s Half-Measures with Syria

I disagree with Abrams that we should intervene, but he’s right about Obama’s approach. Why are a hundred thousand killed by conventional means not a cause for action, but several hundred killed from chemical weapons means action NOW?

What I Meant to Say

Okay, we’re probably beating a dead horse, but this is a pretty funny satire of Jody Bottum.

Now, on to my non-arguments. I begin with a Bald Assertion: Although all of Western law, foundational decisions of the Supreme Court such as its original polygamy decision, and powerful dissents by Scalia, Thomas, and Alito, are all against court-imposed same-sex marriage—and although I am not a constitutional jurist myself, and haven’t even read those dissenting opinions, or any of the legal briefs—still, I say that THE EQUITIES ARE ALL ON THE SIDE OF SAME-SEX MARRIAGE. NO ONE HAS EVER GIVEN A SINGLE COHERENT JURISPRUDENTIAL ARGUMENT AGAINST IT. NO PRINCIPLED LEGAL VIEW CAN RESIST IT.  And if you continue to doubt this, then, superb writer that I am, I will be able to find even other ways of stating the same un-nuanced point, until you finally acquiesce in it.

It’s very important for my purposes that you accept this point, because, you see, as a writer, my goal at the start is to play on the ignorance of my young readers especially and make them feel embarrassed for believing in marriage as solely between a man and a woman.  Ultimately I wish to undermine that conviction, or at least to lead them to accept the courts’ and my distinction between “marriage” and “civil marriage.”  And so, I want them to feel—maybe for the first time—that they are being grossly inequitable, unfair, unprincipled, fundamentally illegal, and basically un-American if they oppose same-sex marriage.

It’s a bold gambit, to be sure, yet it’s very likely to succeed, because after all a young Catholic without much experience of the world—or any poorly catechized layperson, for that matter—will feel that if a former editor of First Things can say these things so boldly, or if they are printed without correction in Commonweal, then they have to be true.  Why would a responsible writer say these things unless they were true?

Whither First Things?

A symposium on its future. Maybe it should hire Bottum back, you know, just for fun.

Today’s Adventure in Petty Attack Ads

I have no love lost for Chris Christie, but this is an especially petty beef. Christie stars in an ad saying that Jersey is recovering from Hurricane Sandy, so come on down, and his opponent runs an ad criticizing him for making it sound like the state is fully recovered. Christie is one hundred percent on the money with his response.

When a reporter asked about critics of the “Stronger Than The Storm” tourism ads, Christie shot back, “What would they have us do: go into the fetal position? I’ve never said everything’s all right.”

Christie should realize that carping about the fallout from a hurricane is much preferred nowadays to moving on and recovering.

Some of You Are Clearly Drinking Whiskey Wrong

$20 whiskey mixed with soda should be an offense punishable by death, or at least banishment.

Moving Past Errors and Pitcher Wins

Great stuff from Joe Posnanski on the silliness of relying on either state to measure player and pitcher performance. While you’re there, also check out his post on the Cleveland Browns.

The Tragedy of Derek Jeter’s Defense

Two baseball posts today as I couldn’t pass up this fantastic feature in Grantland.

If Michael Bay Directed Heartwarming Documentaries

It would definitely be something a lot like this.

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13 Responses to Various & Sundry, 8/28/13

  • We should intervene. We are also accountable for what we fail to do.
    “… everyone is is doing (or not doing)” and “yesterday we did (or didn’t)” .are not good arguments.
    Did Christ sigh, “they’ve been profiteering in my temple all my life— why now?”

    This killing in Syria deserves a swift targeted response. We might die trying. Our culture is dying right now, maybe it ought to be about something.

    Do people think that if we don’t intervene that will mean that there will be no war then? Oh yes there is going to be war.
    Is this sunni or shia? is this atheistic communism? Is it just one bad actor? is it the Hydra? let’s see is HItler far left or far right. We’d better have our semantics and discussion correct.

    If Christians don’t fight for Right, who will? If we should not be the policeman who should?

  • Stopped Clock Department:

    The former Rep. from Saturn nails it.

    “So what, we’re about to become Al-Qaeda’s air force now?” said Dennis Kucinich.

  • We should most certainly should not intervene: these people need Christ, not more bombs raining down on top of them. Pity we do not pray for the conversion of non-Catholics to the Catholic faith after every Mass/Divine Liturgy.

    And with a government as seriously, deeply in debt as our is, can we afford it? Bombing people costs money. Lots of it.

    Seriously, are the people (most especially the Christian community) in Iraq better off now than before we invaded many moons ago? How about in Afghanistan? Once we leave, can the government there hold it together in the long term? Or will the Taliban take over once again? And Egypt “post Arab spring” does not seem to have much to recommend for it.

  • AP and the former Congressman from Jeckyll Island weigh in (from Zero Hedge):

    AP reports that US intelligence officials are admitting that linking Syrian President Bashar Assad or his inner circle to an alleged chemical weapons attack is no “slam dunk,” as opposed to Obama (and Kerry) who are ‘unequivocal’ of the fact. This would appear to confirm Ron Paul’s comments this morning on Fox News that “We’re not positive who set off the gas,” and indeed – who is set to benefit most from any Assad-regime-smackdown? Al-Qaeda. “Assad is not an idiot,” Paul adds, “it’s unlikely he would do this on purpose… look how many lies were told to us about Saddam Hussein prior to that build-up.” “I think it’s a false flag…” Paul adds, there is a big risk that “we are getting sucked in” and the American people are against this war.

  • “AP reports that US intelligence officials are admitting that linking Syrian President Bashar Assad or his inner circle to an alleged chemical weapons attack is no “slam dunk,””

    Assad is a butcher just like his old man:

    http://middleeastvoices.voanews.com/2012/02/syrias-1982-hama-massacre-recalled-lesson-for-assad-today/

    I have little doubt that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons, perhaps some spirited into the country by Saddam:

    http://blog.usni.org/2012/07/20/iraq-chemical-weapons-moved-to-syria-before-2003-invasion

    The basic problem with Syrian intervention is that I think there is zero possibility of replacing the current Syrian regime with one friendlier to the US. We are dealing with a situation where all the factions are profoundly hostile to the US.

  • Would evangelizing be a better response?
    Remember when the Kurds were gassed?
    What does “strong man” mean?

    Ron Paul’s opinion means nothing to me.

  • “Would evangelizing be a better response?”

    Only if we wanted to end up with a bunch of dead evangelists. I can think of few things more futile than the efforts to evangelize the Muslims over the centuries in Islamic states.

  • Another question: What are Russia and China’s interest in this?

  • Russia has traditionally been an ally of the Syrian regime, from the days of the old Soviet Union. China depends upon the Middle East and is fearful of intervention being destabilizing.

  • Speaking of Jody Bottum Al Kresta had him on his radio show/ You can hear the interview here:

    http://www.avemariaradio.net/audio_archive/kresta-in-the-afternoon-august-26-2013-hour-1/

  • regarding intervention
    At one time in my life I was insulted by the terminology ” nattering nabobs of negativity ” — I’ve come on a journey since then to recognize my own natural conservativism, and see that both Democrats and Republicans take the nattering nabobs role by turns, even against the very position they were recently holding. apparently just because it is the other side saying it now.

  • Russia has traditionally been an ally of the Syrian regime, from the days of the old Soviet Union.

    The shady-character parliamentary governments which preceded the Ba’ath also had congenial and co-operative relations with Soviet Russia.

  • Greg, thanks for that link to that interview with Jody Bottum on Ave Maria radio.

    Bottum went on the show and clearly his interviewer, Al Kresta (whoever he is), thought that the defense of the article was brilliant and illuminating. What I still can’t fathom is how either of these gentleman reconcile his heretical position with that of the Church. There was a very concerted effort to make it appear as if his position was merely a prudential matter rather than one abutting Faith & Morals.