Monday morning round-up and Open Thread

HobbyLobbyStowOhioPerspective is a good thing. In the middle of the night, one of my children woke me up with the news that he felt really sick and had already thrown up all over his carpet. I tucked him up on a couch and waited until morning to inspect the damage. He wasn’t kidding about the “all over the floor” part. If it weren’t for the fact that (a) he has no fever; (b) he doesn’t have a stiff neck; and (c) he hasn’t thrown up again, I’d be very worried about meningitis. That looked like projectile vomiting to me.

I spent half an hour cleaning his carpet and feeling, not sorry for myself, but less than happy. I mean, who wants to spend time cleaning puke off a carpet? Soon, though, I was reminded in a most unhappy way that there are worst things in life. While I was scrubbing, my husband was reading an email telling us that a friend I’ve known 20 years and my husband has known 40 years died suddenly, leaving behind a wife and two young children.

We almost never saw this friend, because he lived far away, but we always knew he was out there. Somewhere, alive and vital in our universe was a good, kind, warm-hearted man who was our friend. And now he’s blinked out of our existence and, much worse, out of his young children’s lives. I am heartbroken for their loss. There are infinitely worse things than cleaning guck off a carpet. Anyway, on to the posts.

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You’ve all heard by now that, by a 5-4 majority, the Supreme Court ruled that 1993’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act means that a closely held corporation that has a religious leadership opposed to birth control need not provide contraceptives as part of the Obamacare mandated insurance packages companies must offer to their employees. Instead, they must be treated in the same way as not-for-profit, primarily religious organizations.

That mandate means that things will get even more interesting when the Supreme Court hears cases arguing that religious organizations should be able to withdraw entirely from the scheme. The opinion is very narrowly drafted to cover just the Hobby Lobby situation (closely held corporation with manifestly religious owners), but it still strikes a major symbolic blow against the Obama administration’s overreach.

Those who think everyone in America must fund a women’s reproductive choices, even while having no say in the matter, are shocked and horrified. As for me, I’ve discovered that it’s impossible to make them understand that if you view birth control as a mortal sin, it doesn’t matter whether you use it yourself, pay someone directly to use it, or pay someone indirectly to use it — it’s still a mortal sin and you’re still morally culpable

***

My friend Stella Paul asks “Is Obama trying to get us killed?” She then amasses a mountain of evidence pointing to a “yes” answer to that question. You should definitely read her article, but prepare to be depressed.

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James Kirchick argues convincingly that Barack Obama is leaving America in even worse condition than Jimmy Carter did. True dat.

For one thing, Obama got an extra four years within which to inflict damage. For another thing, unlike Carter who still seemed to like America, even though he didn’t understand the nature of her greatness, Obama genuinely dislikes America. When Carter’s policies proved disastrous, he tried to change them. Obama, however, will never change his disastrous policies. He likes their outcome.

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It’s always been easy as a general matter to be prescient about President Obama. We didn’t know the specifics, but we knew he’d destroy our border integrity, ruin our economy, and de-fang our national security. What’s more difficult is to be prescient with great specificity, but that’s precisely what John Hinderaker did back in 2008, before Obama was even elected, when he worried that an Obama Justice Department would go after 510(c)(4) entities. Color me impressed.

***

A growing crisis in our constitutional system threatens to fundamentally alter the balance of powers — and accountability — within our government. This crisis did not begin with Obama, but it has reached a constitutional tipping point during his presidency. Indeed, it is enough to bring the two of us — a liberal academic and a conservative U.S. senator — together in shared concern over the future of our 225-year-old constitutional system of self­governance.

More from Sen. Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) and Prof. Jonathan Turley here.

***

Another blow to the impending Armageddon from “anthropogenic climate change”: “startled” scientists cannot explain why the Great Lakes, rather than dying, are thriving. Of course they can’t explain. “There are more things in heaven and earth, [Prof. Climate Scientist], Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

***

The DemProgs continue to malign the Tea Party, and people like Jack Kelly continue to make valiant efforts to set the record straight.

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David P. Goldman argues that, when it comes to Iraq and Syria, our best option is to stay out of the fight and to let the Sunni and Shia factions — both of which loath America and wish for her destruction — to fight it ought amongst themselves. I’ve mentioned before that this is my preferred idea. You’ve heard the expression “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” right? Well, there’s nothing better for me than when these two enemies battle it out without me.

And yes, the innocents among them are going to die, but nothing we can do will stop that slaughter. It’s not just that life is dangerous in a war zone. It’s that the nature of these intractable enemies is that they view the innocents as both legitimate weapons and targets. Our involvement wouldn’t change that ugly reality; it would just make us equally culpable when the innocents inevitably suffer.

***

Here’s why Michelle Obama is dead wrong to impose herself on school menus (and this is separate from the fact that she’s a hypocrite, who doesn’t abide by her loudly trumpeted ideas about healthy eating):

But attending Ivy-League schools doesn’t magically make someone better parent material than an individual who attended a public university, or, dare it be said, someone who didn’t attend college. It also doesn’t mean that she should be a co-parent to your children. Make no mistake; the underlying assumption is that federal technocrats and educated individuals such as her need to act on your behalf to meet the best interests of your children.

Read the rest here.

***

Lee Smith writes about the way Israel harnesses geek energy, creativity, and intelligence to her national security (think Stuxnet). If Israel can stay one step ahead of Iran’s bomb-making, and manage to stop any Arab Winter wars from spilling across her borders, she will inevitably emerge triumphant from the Middle Eastern mess. Smith also points out that Israel’s dynamic humanism highlights the antisemitism behind the BDS movement.

***

A trial court judge kicked out George Zimmerman’s defamation claim against NBC, which had selectively edited his 911 call to make it appear that he was a racist. I haven’t read the opinion, but the newspaper summary makes it sound dead wrong. To begin with, it sounds as if the judge bought the defense’s argument that Zimmerman was a public figure, which raises his burden of proof.  But Zimmerman wasn’t a public figure.  He was a private citizen who was turned into a public figure by, among other things, NBC’s careful edit of the 9/11 calls.

The court also held that there was no evidence NBC knew it was airing false information, something that again smells wrong. To the extent that NBC deliberately edited down the calls, how could it have been unaware of what it was doing?

The judge also made much of the fact that, later in the call, Zimmerman again emphasized that the guy sneaking around his community was black. It ignores that Zimmerman understood, from the dispatcher’s questions, that this mattered.  It was therefore entirely reasonable for him to repeat this important piece of information in the call. What wasn’t reasonable was for NBC to pair it with selectively edited material so that the package made him sound racist.

Finally, the court glommed on to the fact that NBC interviewed people who said Zimmerman wasn’t a racist. However, the whole notion of racism was an issue only because NBC made it an issue. To then have people say, “Oh, no, he wasn’t a racist. Why would you think he’s a racist?” only served to emphasize the point NBC was trying to make.

I hope Zimmerman appeals, although if Florida is like California, he has only a 2% chance of reversing the trial court’s decision.

***

Last night, I watched in bits and pieces a lousy Star Trek : Next Generation Episode in which Captain Picard is trying to stop thieves from taking a dangerous engine byproduct from his ship, the only purpose of which can be terrorism. That was bad. But what was even worse from Picard’s point of view was to discover that the thieves weren’t terrorists. They were stealing for the money. “Profit!” he sneered, in tones of disgust he hadn’t used when discussing terrorism. The thief, also viewing profit as the ultimate evil, replied that she preferred to “think of it as ‘commerce.'”

Watching the show I was immediately struck by the writer’s revulsion for profit, which is pretty funny considering that the Star Trek franchise exists only because it’s creators and distributors profit mightily from it. That’s why Kevin D. Williamson’s article about the Left’s hostility to profit struck such a chord with me:

People intensely dislike profits. The belief that turning a profit is tantamount to operating some sort of con is disturbingly common.

[snip]

There are a few obvious potential explanations for why this might be. It could be popular culture, in which the world “corporation” is practically a synonym for evil, in spite of the fact that the power of individual corporations is in rapid decline. (It seems likely to me that the corporation as currently organized will not exist in 50 years. More here.) It could be envy; anything ancient enough to make the list of Seven Deadly Sins and to form the basis of a hundred thousand cautionary myths is bound to have some explanatory power. But we should consider the possibility that it is simply the result of an intellectual error.

Read the rest here.

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Yesterday, I wrote about the peculiar dignity of a homeless man at the laundromat who stripped himself naked so that he could get clean. Today, I learned that San Francisco is trying to bring that dignity to other homeless people with portable showers on old buses. A lot of San Francisco initiatives are loopy leftism. This, however, strikes me as a great idea, insofar as it helps cut down on disease and skin parasites, and it helps people retain their humanity.

***

Myths about WWI debunked, and erroneous debunking about WWI debunked.

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Some things change, some things don’t. What doesn’t change is that we all must die. What does change — with exceptional speed in the last 100 years — is the how and when of our deaths.

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If you thought what Firefox did to Brendan Eich was bad, wait until you see what’s happening at Chase.

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Sometimes, people really should play with their food. They make magic with it when they do.

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If you were stuck in the airport overnight, could you do this with your cell phone?

All by myself from Richard Dunn on Vimeo.

Here’s how Richard Dunn made it happen.

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Let bird chill in sink

Republicans are on the right side of history

Sarcasm is the sign of a healthy brain

Can't eat pork

Waiting to react

(Thanks to Earl, Caped Crusader, and Danny Lemieux for their help.)

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Comments

  1. says

    “But we should consider the possibility that it is simply the result of an intellectual error.”

    Hell no, it’s projection. They earned Hollywood profit via theft and intimidation, so they blame anyone else for their own sin. It’s called sacrificing a goat and appeasing the gods with offerings.

  2. says

    ” Our involvement wouldn’t change that ugly reality; it would just make us equally culpable when the innocents inevitably suffer.”

    Don’t talk about “our”, you don’t represent “us”.

    The US Regime wouldn’t change it, but that ain’t “us”. Get the difference.

  3. JKB says

    I’ve seen all kinds of analysis of the Star Trek universe. What most, even economics geeks, artfully avoid is the fact that the Federation is an oppressive socialist enterprise. Sure, it looks nice from the point of view of the senior officers of a government warship. I’m sure things looked pretty good to the generals and colonels, admirals and captains in the Soviet military as well.

    Many like to opine on the absence of scarcity. But it looked to me like the Star Fleet Academy, occupying a bucolic campus overlooking San Francisco Bay, was a very scarce good given the number of applicants…and the future it provided to those who remained in the good graces of Star Fleet. Now, if such opportunities, such enjoyable environs are not available to all, isn’t that the definition of a scarce good?

    Sure you could get any dish or drink you wanted, as long as you have dilithum crystals and the engines to provide the energy to the replicators. And as we say, not everyone can repair a replicator, so there we have another scarce good.

    And how often do you think the junior enlisted got to run their fantasies through the holodeck?

    Key lesson from Star Trek, life is good for the members of the Poliburo and high party members as well as those ranking officers on the elite warships

    • Matt_SE says

      Yes. In a couple of episodes that touched on the subject of economics (maybe involving the Ferengi), the financial structure of the Federation is always hand-waved away.

      Only in a fantasy universe, as opposed to a science-fiction universe, could one take seriously the position that money and scarcity had been eliminated.

      Even if you think replicator technology would eliminate scarcity of base commodities, replicators run on energy…maybe derived from di-lithium?
      Replicators cannot possibly create di-lithium, because that would constitute a perpetual-motion machine which violates the Laws of Thermodynamics.

      Therefore, if anything, di-lithium is the currency of the future.

    • says

      The currency of the future, if resources are no longer the limit, will be ideas and personal reputation. Like Ebay.

      If resources aren’t enough to motivate people to do things, then it all falls down to social reputation and how many good things a person has done for the society at large, as recognized by the members of society. This is different from Hollywood and sports fame, few of which do anything beneficial for the Rest of Humanity. Just their own bank wallets.

      Reputation points are thus earned by work, but not limited by resources, so they can be traded for influence and getting people to do things.

    • says

      There’s also the new movie about White Khan. He’s able to get a fed officer to do suicide bombing, in return for a cure for their child. If the resources of the feds were so great, why was the technology unavailable or why did a person feel desperate enough to do so against their society?

      Utopia always covers distopia.

      • JKB says

        Quite obviously, the parents or the child had eaten a Twinkie or perhaps smoked something on some distant planet. Therefore, the Federation Healthcare System had decided to refuse the child care. Perhaps the child’s disability wasn’t correctable by some cool techno-solution.

        There is always shortage, even if it is due to denial of access by those in power.

  4. Matt_SE says

    The Chase thing is another reflection of Obama’s fascism.
    He, and the left, have been coopting big business to be the enforcers of their statist policies. That’s why there have been no prosecutions in the financial industry, even though most people realize there must’ve been illegality going on.
    The questionnaire in particular, is the intersection of the gay rights movement and statism, reminiscent of Mao’s self-incrimination/confession spectacles.
    As Erick Erickson of Red State says, “You will be made to care.”

  5. JKB says

    Oh, and if you want to really freak the haters of profit out. Simply point out that every penny they make in excess of that needed to get to and from work and to actually perform that work is……dare we say…..profit.

    Yes, we all live off our profits. We buy housing, we buy food, we by non-uniform clothes, we take vacations, eat out, pay for your cable an internet out of the profits we make from our work,. Whether our gross revenues come as wages, benefits, stock options, etc. after we subtract out our expenses required to produce those revenues, we have PROFIT. We live off our profits or we live off welfare (the forced kindness of strangers).

  6. jj says

    The nine jerks in ball gowns have (no surprise) disappointed yet again. I’m pleased for Hobby Lobby, rather less pleased with the implications for the rest of us. Causes of disappointment?

    1) First of all, that there are actually four jackasses on the supreme court of the United States of America who have no clear concept of something as fundamental to this society as freedom of religion, and where that ranks in the pantheon of rights. (Hint: at the top, chimpanzees. Right at the top!)

    2) It’s a right, and like all such it applies across the board. Making your ruling so narrow it applies to one specifically-defined company in the entire country – what kind of legal flatulence is that? You either believe in and uphold the right or you don’t. This kind of narrow ruling answers nothing. All it does is make the right no longer a right, (if you start putting conditions on it then it isn’t a right any more, is it?) and convert it to a football to enrich law school graduates until the end of time.

    So the ruling is BS, just as the supreme court itself has become BS. They operate, to again quote Hunter Thompson, on the level of “a piss-poor bowling team from Memphis.” Indeed. And they’ve done it again.

    I’d like to pretend it was a good day for us, but the implications are too plain. Glad for Hobby Lobby, glad for non-union workers not to have pay union dues – a little more reserved on the fate of the somewhat larger world. I am really sick of having the fate of my God-given rights depend on how Anthony Kennedy’s morning bowel movement went on any given day.

  7. Libby says

    Michelle Obama’s constant shilling for Let’s Move & the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act is just dripping with condescension. Wish someone would ask her what nutrition courses she took at Harvard & Princeton that provided the extra-special access to information that she thinks the rest of us don’t have.

    Then again, this is not really Michelle’s program, she got the blue print for these programs from George Soros’ Center for American Progress. So all of this talk of her creating this program because she struggled with feeding her own children nutritional meals is b.s.: http://preview.tinyurl.com/7bfmetq

    * * *
    Q: Is Obama trying to get us killed?
    A: “I am really good at killing people.” – Barack Obama

    See: Fast & Furious, Benghazi, restrictive ROE getting 2X as many soldiers killed than Bush, VA scandal, Obamacare, etc.

    Maybe the question should be: Is Obama attempting greater efficiency in killing us?

    • says

      “Maybe the question should be: Is Obama attempting greater efficiency in killing us?”

      Good question. While there may not be an answer, right or wrong, the fact that a person can ask this question means their imagination has expanded.

      Without imagination, people cannot predict the strategic moves of evil, they will always be hunkered down waiting for a beating.

  8. says

    “I spent half an hour cleaning his carpet and feeling, not sorry for myself, but less than happy. I mean, who wants to spend time cleaning puke off a carpet?”

    Why isn’t the kid cleaning it?

    If you ever wonder your kids don’t do chores and don’t help out, it’s because of this. They aren’t expected to clean up after themselves, so why would they ever expect to help other people without being told to.

    • lee says

      The only time I’d make the yacker clean the yack is of it was as punishment for the yacking–which only makes sense if it was as a result of being an idiot (e.g., drinking alcohol to excess; eating some crap on a dare.)

      If someone is genuinely ill, cleaning the yack is an act of kindness.

  9. says

    JKB, like any member of a religion, they have their own creation myth and dogma of original sin. Profit is included, theirs is as well. Thus in order to expiate the guilt, they must have someone to step on that is lower than them and a sacrificial goat that one can place all the sins on and then burn it up.

    Thus Al Gore’s energy consumption in jets and his 3 screen computer setup, is atoned for by producing Green (con) industries, businesses, and mutual funds.

    The guilt is expiated by producing more profit, more guilt, and laying it on other people. Republicans. Whites. Black Republicans. Gaia. Human pollution, etc.

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