November 2012 Archives
November 2, 2012
There is no bottom of the hill
An important fact in our political life, a fact that is relevant in multiple ways, is this: It can always get worse. There is no bottom of the hill. The bad guys can always think of something more insane than what came before, and they will demand that we approve of it.
What follows is an example thereof. It is so bad that I considered not posting on it, as even noting it sullies the atmosphere of the site. However, it may be that this information will be helpful to someone else facing a legislative battle in the future. Also, if you have a daughter on a swim team and your locale or local university has the relevant laws or policies, you might want to keep a wary eye out.
Who could have predicted this twenty years ago? And what can be done about it now? (If you don't want to read about an insane result of the "transgender" agenda and of non-discrimination laws for "gender identity," you may not want to read below the fold. The remainder of the post is not graphically detailed but is certainly outrageous.)
November 5, 2012
God bless America
Having studiously ignored in my blogging what the rest of the country is talking about non-stop, here is what I can think of to say just now:
God bless America
Land that I love
Stand beside her and guide her
Through the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the ocean, white with foam,
God bless America, my home sweet home!
O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
Whose stern impassion'd stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America! God mend thine ev'ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!
O beautiful for heroes proved In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life!
America! America! May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev'ry gain divine!
O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam,
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
November 6, 2012
The Elisa Bauer case, Choice devours itself [Updated]
Elisa Bauer, a mentally handicapped woman in Nevada, is approximately thirteen weeks pregnant. While Amy and William Bauer, her adoptive parents, are her legal guardians, she lives in a group home which does not keep very good tabs on her. It is evidently well-known that she wanders off to nearby truck-stops and casinos where sexual encounters with her occur. Elisa has the mental capacity of a 6-year-old.
When Judge Egan Walker learned from doctors that she was pregnant, he immediately began "investigations" into whether she has the mental capacity to "consent to pregnancy and childbirth." Let's stop right there. What? In other words, even though she is now pregnant, pregnancy and childbirth are deemed by the liberal mind of this judge to be things she has to be separately capable of "consenting" to. Since an abortion is the obvious alternative the judge has in mind, we have the bizarre situation of a judge who may conclude that a pregnant disabled woman is not mentally competent to "consent" to pregnancy and childbirth but is mentally competent to "consent" to an invasive medical procedure! Or perhaps that her capacity to consent to the medical procedure is irrelevant. This is legally completely upside-down. It is well-known that Elisa is not mentally competent to consent to anything related to her medical well-being, which is why she has legal guardians. She has the mental capacity of a 6-year-old! Her legal guardians are her parents, and they do not consent to her having an abortion. Moreover, the court has not had their guardianship removed. It is highly questionable whether the court has any standing in this matter at all.
The Bauers' attorney has petitioned the Nevada Supreme Court to intervene, and that court has agreed and has requested the local court to respond to the claim that it is meddling where it presently has no standing.
To make matters even weirder, Judge Walker also plans to hold hearings on whether Elisa would choose to have her baby or to abort her baby if she did have more mental capacity. At this point, we are moving into the realm of utter fiction and projection. This is not a case of a person who was formerly mentally competent and left behind, say, verbal or written instructions. Elisa has never been mentally competent to make such decisions. Trying to decide what she would do if she had a different mental capacity from the capacity she has had throughout her entire life is an exercise in epistemic chaos. Or, to put it more bluntly, it's a stupid pretense. The judge has no right to be engaging in it, any more than he would for anything else--other medical decisions, a vote for President, or anything else. This is why Elisa has guardians.
November 7, 2012
Some Thoughts On The Depressing Aftermath
I'm depressed this morning. I had (relatively irrational according to Nate Silver) some hope that Mitt Romney would pull it out in the end. I can understand why a traditional conservative would be unhappy with Romney as a presidential candidate and I can even understand why someone would choose not to vote for Romney.
What I can't understand is how anyone would choose the opposite -- actively consider themselves a conservative and vote for President Obama. Let's be clear -- no one should take Andrew Bacevich, Jeremy Beer (who didn't say he was voting for Obama but decided to write a piece ridiculing Mitt's less than perfect pro-life position as if such ridicule helped the pro-life cause), Philip Giraldi, Leon Hadar, and especially Scott McConnell ("The real Romney denigrates the culture of Palestinians, either from ignorance of the conditions the occupation imposes on them or from racial or religious malice." -- Nothing like a 'conservative' who champions the 'culture' of the Palestinians!) seriously ever again.
November 9, 2012
Speaking of liberals who "concern troll" with respect to Republicans, a liberal friend sent me this piece from a political 'horse-race' writer here in Illinois:
For the first time in at least 20 years, more independents voted in Illinois last Tuesday than Republicans.
I spent part of Thursday afternoon going through some exit polling data to see if I could find anything to cheer up my Republican friends. I really couldn’t.
Way back in 1992, when Republican Jim Edgar was governor and George H.W. Bush was running for re-election against Bill Clinton, 39 percent of Illinois voters told the exit pollsters they were Democrats; 34 percent said they were Republicans, and 27 percent said they were independents.
Two years later, when the country turned against Clinton and the Republicans swept just about everything here and nationally, the two parties were tied at 36 percent each in Illinois, with 28 percent saying they were independents.
The Republicans dropped down to 32 percent two years later, while the Democrats surged to 42 percent. Things stayed more or less the same until 2006, George W. Bush’s second midterm election, when Democrats vaulted to 46 percent, Republicans dropped to 31 percent and independents plummeted to a 20-year low of 23 percent.
Obviously, the Democrats won over independents, and the Republicans lost them. Republicans continued losing more independent-minded folks in 2008, when Barack Obama was elected president. Democrats made up 47 percent of the Illinois electoral pool, but Republicans dropped to 28 percent and independents moved up to 28 percent.
For starters, women have left the party in droves. In 1994, 61 percent of Illinois women voted for the pro-choice Edgar’s re-election bid. By 2010, just 44 percent of women voted for the pro-life Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady. And this year, a mere 35 percent of women here voted for Mitt Romney, according to the exit polls.
If the Republicans don’t do something differently, and soon, they’ll hurt their brand so much that most women will eventually refuse to vote for any GOP candidate.
Latinos, the fastest-growing ethnic group in Illinois, also have trended more Democratic. In 2004, 53 percent of Latinos voted for John Kerry. Two years ago, 63 percent of Latinos voted for Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn. This year, 81 percent went with Obama.
The bottom line here is that the GOP has to stop alienating women and Latinos. Now. Today. There is simply no other path back to relevance in Illinois.
November 11, 2012
Truth-tellers: "Live Not By Lies"
I've just read for the first time a striking, challenging, and inspiring essay by Solzhenitsyn on truth-telling, "Live Not By Lies." Its echoes and applicability in our own day and in the "land of the free and the home of the brave" are chilling. As you read the quotations below, I ask you to think about all the ways in which so many are being asked to live by lies in order to have any livelihood at all. Think of mandatory corporate sensitivity training, college courses and orientation sessions that are nothing more than indoctrination, job firings for Facebook postings that dissent from the leftist agenda, the incessant drumbeat of our increasingly blatantly dishonest mainstream media. Solzhenitsyn calls us to a kind of passive resistance to the culture of lies, a refusal to be part of the herd that appears to assent to them. His words sound like a trumpet call and are frightening in their implications. For too many, following his prescriptions would indeed mean genuine hardship and loss of livelihood and prospects. And that, even if they do not actively seek to stick their necks out but merely refuse to appear to go along like sheep and say "shibboleth." Solzhenitsyn's words need to be heard and pondered. I have added a few emphases to them in the form of bolded sentences, though even that is an almost presumptuous gilding of lilies. My own further comments, somewhat orthogonal to his essay, will come afterwards, and you need not read them if you do not want to, for what he has to say is a great deal more important.
November 13, 2012
Just admit what's up
In a thread on a post by Bill Luse back in January, I discussed the strange argument given by some Christian groups and parents for giving their daughters the HPV vaccine Gardasil. To recap, here's how this argument I have run into goes: "Children have a stronger immune response than adults, even young adults. Therefore, by giving our eleven- and twelve-year-old daughters a vaccination for an STD, we aren't implying that we expect them to be sexually active in the immediately ensuing years! We are merely insuring that they have been vaccinated in the most effective way--namely, during childhood when they will have the strongest immune response--by the time they get married in their twenties, when they might marry men who might be, through regretted 'wild oats' in their earlier lives, carrying the virus."
As I pointed out, it is highly doubtful, to put it mildly, that our public health gurus would ever have recommended the widespread use of this vaccine for immediately pre-adolescent girls for that reason. On the contrary, it is quite clear that the reasoning was instead that these girls are expected to become sexually active en masse not very long after their twelfth birthdays and that the rush is to vaccinate them for an STD before it's "too late." Hence, parents whose daughters fall into a strikingly different reference class from those about whom this assumption is made have enormously less reason to have the vaccine for their daughters.
November 14, 2012
Elisa Bauer case update [Updated]
I thought I would put this in a short update entry of its own, updating this entry. Christian readers, please pray concerning November 27. Judge Walker has been (inexplicably) permitted by the Nevada Supreme Court to continue his hearings on whether Elisa Bauer's baby is to be aborted, and he is expected to make some kind of decision on November 27. Walker now is apparently using a "best interests" standard, which is (from what I know) more usual in family court than a standard of "what the disabled woman would want if she weren't disabled." Not that this helps much, as it's entirely on the cards that Walker, whose legal excuse for intervening remains entirely cloudy, will decide that it is in Elisa's "best interests" that her child be aborted.
The Bauers' attorney, Jason Guinasso, is prepared to appeal if necessary.
[Update]: A happy surprise. The judge has said from the bench, as of today, that he has taken abortion off the table and will only continue to hold "medical evidentiary hearings" concerning the best way to treat Elisa through the pregnancy. The arrogance of Judge Walker remains in his keeping firm hold on his questionable authority to micro-manage Elisa's care. However, for whatever reason, he seems to have stopped seeking her child's life. We should hope and pray for better care for her in the future so that she isn't allowed to wander and be sexually exploited. We should also pray for the future of her baby, who hopefully will have wonderful adoptive parents.
November 16, 2012
Drunk with reverence
There is an interest in this article that Chesterton would readily grasp. Beer was among his favorite human things. The grasping tyranny of big rationalized profit-making corporations was among his least favorite human things.
Or again, the virtue of the common Englishman was among his favorite of all human things; and the corruption of that virtue was among his most detested.
Or again, the private and English ownership of the means of English beer production was among his favorite things; while the distant and abstract ownership of the means of production of beer in England, we may surmise, was among his least favorite.
November 17, 2012
To be stewards
Gandalf the Grey:
The rule of no realm is mine, neither of Gondor nor any other, great or small. But all worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, those are my care. And for my part, I shall not wholly fail of my task, though Gondor should perish, if anything passes through this night that can still grow fair or bear fruit and flower again in days to come. For I also am a steward. Did you not know?
This, now, is our task. To guard the things that remain. To cherish the seeds, though Gondor should perish. If anything passes through this night that can still grow fair or bear fruit and flower in days to come, we shall not wholly have failed of our task.
November 19, 2012
GUEST POST: Go Left, Young Man!
GO LEFT, YOUNG MAN!
Kenneth W. Bickford
NOVEMBER 13, 2012
A STRANGE COINCIDENCE HAS REVEALED ITSELF between our quadrennial presidential election and the coincident year’s gridiron grudge match between the L.S.U. and Alabama football teams. For three decades now—going back to Ronald Reagan—an Alabama win has coincided with a Democratic victory for president, while an L.S.U. win has consistently favored the Republicans.
More than a few Alabama fans offered to say “Geaux Tigers” for this year’s match if, in exchange, they were allowed to win the following three years. More than a few L.S.U. partisans were inclined to accept that offer.
Alas! It was not to be. In a closely fought game during which the L.S.U. Tigers dominated every statistic—rushing yards, passing yards, time of possession, etc.—Alabama put together a miracle drive in the last ninety-three seconds to win the game in the only place that ever counts: The scoreboard on Saturday night said Alabama 21, L.S.U. 17. The scoreboard on Tuesday night said much the same: Democrats 51%, Republicans 48%.
Close football games always bring out the losing team’s critics, where every play becomes a turning point to be analyzed and fussed over and debated. Why didn’t we pass on third down? Why didn’t we run to the left side? Why…..did we use a prevent defense? In the game of football, it’s clear enough that wins and losses can hinge on an inch more here or a penalty less there.
A political loss, however, is something different.
No one at L.S.U. has—so far as I know—suggested that the best way to win that game was to switch sides and declare themselves an Alabama fan. Nor can it be assumed that when L.S.U. won last year’s game in Tuscaloosa that Alabama fans thought it best to call themselves winners by changing their allegiance to the purple and gold.
November 20, 2012
I don't believe there's an atom of meaning in it.
The title is taken from Alice in Wonderland and gives us Alice's reaction to the nonsense poem listed as "evidence" in the court of the White King, which is trying the Knave on the charge of stealing the tarts.
Our own courts are becoming sufficiently illogical that the same might be said for their rulings, including the recent ruling of the Sixth Circuit Court deeming the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (which, for all you democracy-bemoaners out there, I would note was passed as a referendum by the citizens of Michigan six years ago) unconstitutional.
The "reasoning" of the majority is breathtakingly bad, so much so that it makes the proceedings of the White King look almost reasonable by comparison. Here is a central paragraph of the ruling. (To save me the trouble of writing "sic" after each use of the pseudo-generic "she," take it as read.)
A student seeking to have her family’s alumni connections considered in her application to one of Michigan’s esteemed public universities could do one of four things to have the school adopt a legacy-conscious admissions policy: she could lobby the admissions committee, she could petition the leadership of the university, she could seek to influence the school’s governing board, or, as a measure of last resort, she could initiate a statewide campaign to alter the state’s constitution. The same cannot be said for a black student seeking the adoption of a constitutionally permissible race-conscious admissions policy. That student could do only one thing to effect change: she could attempt to amend the Michigan Constitution—a lengthy, expensive, and arduous process—to repeal the consequences of Proposal 2. The existence of such a comparative structural burden undermines the Equal Protection Clause’s guarantee that all citizens ought to have equal access to the tools of political change.
November 21, 2012
It has seemed to me sometimes as though the Lord breathes on this poor gray ember of Creation and it turns to radiance--for a moment or a year or the span of a life. And then it sinks back into itself again, and to look at it no one would know it has anything to do with fire, or light. That is what I said in the Pentecost sermon. I have reflected on that sermon, and there is some truth in it. But the Lord is more constant and far more extravagant than it seems to imply. Wherever you turn your eyes the world can shine like transfiguration. You don't have to bring a thing to it except a little willingness to see. Only, who could have the courage to see it?
Theologians talk about a prevenient grace that precedes grace itself and allows us to accept it. I think there must also be a prevenient courage that allows us to be brave--that is, to acknowledge that there is more beauty than our eyes can bear, that precious things have been put into our hands and to do nothing to honor them is to do great harm....What have I to leave you but the ruins of old courage, and the lore of old gallantry and hope? Well, as I have said, it is all an ember now, and the good Lord will surely someday breathe it into flame again.
John Ames in Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson
A happy Thanksgiving to our readers here at W4.
November 23, 2012
Yet I have seven thousand left in Israel...
...who have not bowed the knee to Baal.
I just heard this story for the first time tonight. The sustained attempt by American Idol judges to corrupt young Gospel singer Amber Nelon by flattery and mental pressure, and its failure.
Listen up, Satan: It's not over till it's over.
November 28, 2012
This is what a "right to an abortion" means
A recent EU Court ruling means that Poland, which generally outlaws abortion but in theory permits it legally in cases of rape, is expected by the EU, on pain of recurring awards of damages to complainants, to make abortion not simply legal but actually available in those cases. (To read the EU's side of the story, including a lot of details, go here and scroll to "Chamber Judgment P. and S. v. Poland 30/10/2012.")
The story indicates that Poland's rape exception has been only grudgingly allowed under Polish law and that not only a great many Polish people and the Catholic Church but also the Polish medical establishment are not on-board with it.
A minor girl, age fourteen, became pregnant as a result of rape. The parents obtained a prosecutor's certificate of the rape to allow the abortion to take place, but they were then unable for a time to find a doctor or hospital that would carry out the abortion. One hospital let the general circumstances be known to the public, though without naming the parties. Members of the public were somehow able to use this information and (apparently) some revealing communications made by the family itself to friends to find out the identity of the people involved and to make contact with the girl and her family, attempting to deter them from the abortion. The doctors also informed a priest, who spoke with the girl and attempted to dissuade her. The government removed the girl from her parents' custody for a time, alleging that the mother was attempting to coerce her into the abortion. Whether that was true or not (see below for more on that), the parents' custody was eventually restored, the parents found a hospital willing to kill the unborn child, and the abortion took place.
Now the EU has ordered Poland to pay damages to the family for the difficulty they had obtaining the abortion. There was one part of the situation where it seems to me that the government was at fault, and that was when the girl herself was investigated for illegal sexual contact; one infers that the rapist was also a minor. According to the EU court's summary the girl had suffered bruises, and the prosecutor appears to have been convinced that a genuine assault had taken place. It's unclear exactly why the government carried out that investigation of the girl and whether it was another attempt to find a way to prevent the abortion, but it certainly seems to have been unjustified.
Aside from that, however, I am not at all convinced that any of the government's or medical personnel's actions in attempting to prevent the abortion were wrong. Yes, of course, in our HIPPAA-taught society, for a doctor to tell a priest that a girl is considering abortion so that the priest can try to dissuade her seems the height of unprofessionalism, but it's not clear to me that it's objectively wrong. In fact, I can definitely see a point to it. (Abortion being murder, after all!)
The EU ruling is quite striking. A crucial passage goes like this: