Thursday, July 4, 2013

Odds and ends 7/4/2013

Happy Independence Day, everyone! I apologize for not posting here more often. However, I’ve been in beast mode over at the Red Pill Report lately. I submit this, this, this, this, and this as proof.

On June 26, the Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act. The Kennedy majority ruled that federal recognition of the exclusive male-female definition of marriage denies homosexuals equal protection under the law.

Rod Dreher, what say you?

In constitutional law, there is no rational basis for supporting traditional marriage. Henceforth, the Court has declared open season on religious and social conservatives and their institutions. Given the majority’s holding that hatred is the only plausible explanation for denying same-sex marriage, I see no reason why the Supreme Court will not declare same-sex marriage a constitutional right.

Justice Antonin Scalia, in dissent:

It takes real cheek for today’s majority to assure us, as it is going out the door, that a constitutional requirement to give formal recognition to same-sex marriage is not at issue here—when what has preceded that assurance is a lecture on how superior the majority’s moral judgment in favor of same-sex marriage is to the Congress’s hateful moral judgment against it. I promise you this: The only thing that will “confine” the Court’s holding is its sense of what it can get away with.

Matthew J. Franck:

The opinion was of a kind we are used to seeing by now from Justice Kennedy: long on windy rhetoric about “dignity” and ad hominem attacks on the basic human decency of the law’s defenders, and short on actual coherent legal reasoning from recognizable constitutional principles.

George Neumayr:

The DOMA decision is a monument to the Court’s caprice, no more authoritative than the nonsense Kennedy uttered in Lawrence v. Texas: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe and the mystery of human life.”

In this decision, Kennedy adopts a tone of smarmy opportunism, advertising his concern for the children supposedly damaged by DOMA: “The law in question makes it even more difficult for the children to understand the integrity and closeness of their own family and its concord with other families in their community and in their daily lives.” Of course, if anybody had shown concern for these children before they were plucked from orphanages or labs and placed in these perplexing situations Kennedy would regard those people as bigoted. Were the “children” consulted before they were deprived of a father and mother? Do they have any rights? In Kennedy’s define-reality-any-way-you-wish country, children will have no rights. They are simply the accessories of adults.

Girgis, Anderson, and George:

Marriage matters for children, for civil society, and for limited government. Marriage is the institution that unites a man and a woman as husband and wife to be father and mother to any children that their union produces. And that’s why the government is in the marriage business. Not because it cares about adult romance, but because it cares about the rights of children.

If you believe, as we do, in the importance to children and to society of the marriage-based family, then of course you were hoping for different results in yesterday’s marriage cases. But you probably also put your trust in the institutions of civil society—in that vast arena between man and state which is the real stage for human development. And in that case, you never expected a court of law to do our work for us, to rescue a marriage culture that has been wounded for decades by cohabitation, out-of-wedlock child-bearing, and misguided policies like no-fault divorce. Your only question at 10:00 AM yesterday was whether the Supreme Court would leave us the political and cultural space to rebuild that culture, or get in the way.

Terrence Jeffrey:

The court’s ruling in this case did not so much promote a new form of marriage as enforce a radical form of divorce—one that sunders American law from the natural law upon which our nation was founded.

In the 1986 case of Bowers v. Hardwick, Justice Byron White—appointed to the court by Democratic President John F. Kennedy—wrote that Georgia had a right to base its anti-sodomy law on traditional morality.

“Even if the conduct at issue here is not a fundamental right, respondent asserts that there must be a rational basis for the law, and that there is none in this case other than the presumed belief of a majority of the electorate in Georgia that homosexual sodomy is immoral and unacceptable,” wrote White. “This is said to be an inadequate rationale to support the law. The law, however, is constantly based on notions of morality, and if all laws representing essentially moral choices are to be invalidated under the Due Process Clause, the courts will be very busy indeed.”

On the Proposition 8 ruling, the Orange County Register:

The justices declared that, if state officials refuse to defend a ballot measure duly enacted by their state’s voters, not even the private citizens who actually sponsored the measure may defend it in court.

Ben Domenech explains the real problem with same-sex marriage:

The problem with gay marriage is not about gay people getting married – they’ve already been doing that, or living that way. The problem with gay marriage is not that it will redefine marriage into a less valuable social institution in the eyes of the populace – that is already happening, has been for decades, and will continue regardless of whether gays are added to it or not. And the problem with gay marriage is not about the slippery slope of what comes next – though yes, the legal battle over polyamory and polygamy is inevitably coming, as the principle of marriage equality demands it does (these relationships already exist below the radar, albeit with more poly than amory involved – of the 500 gay couples followed in the respected San Francisco study, about half of the partners have sex with someone else with their partner knowing).

No, the real problem with gay marriage is that the nature of the marriage union is inherently entwined in the future of the first line of the Bill of Rights: our right to religious liberty. Orthodox believers of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish faiths were slow to understand this. I’m talking about something much bigger here than the discrimination lawsuits brought across the country against bakers and photographers: I’m talking about whether churches will be able to function as public entities in an era where their views on sin, particularly sexual sin, are in direct conflict with not just opinion but the law – and proselytizing those views from the pulpit or in the public square will be viewed as using the protection of religious expression to protect hateful speech.

My biggest problem with same-sex marriage is that so many people will assume the truth of this lie because of the congealing ideology of sacrosanct personal will. My full reaction to the DOMA and Proposition 8 rulings is at the Red Pill Report.

At Ethika Politika, Michael Bradley condemns the sexual revolution.

My generation of young adults is now living in the wake of the destruction of the institution of marriage and traditional sexual norms, and the result has been an entire demographic confused about and longing for authentic intimacy, unsure of how to manage opposite sex friendships, romantic relationships and their own sexual desires.

Of course, the sexual revolution itself was just the next step in a process the goal of which has been the conquering – or subjugating – of human nature and its pesky way of imposing limitations on our wishes.

Increasingly, America’s young people are beginning to pierce the web of lies that we can enjoy sex without strings attached, ignore the biological and spiritual dimensions of our existence, contradict the normative structures of our embodied existence and remake God’s creation according to our likeness.

Scores of books and articles are being written about how the sexual revolution has been destructive for women especially. Such works can fairly be considered their own genre, the gist of which is simple: It was a lie, and we’ve been duped.

At the Catholic Thing, Robert Royal explains relativism:

The relativism applied to the older moral principles is merely the first phase in a two-tiered effort, which does not end in denying moral truths exist, but in the strict enforcement of a new sexual ethic about which there is to be no debate. It’s dogmatism disguised as pluralism and freedom. That’s why Pelosi, to the astonishment of many, pronounced a woman’s right to choose “sacred ground.”

Atheists erected a “monument to their nonbelief in God” outside a Florida courthouse. That’s not exactly true. The atheists obviously believe in something. Otherwise they would have nothing to build a monument to. Humanism, materialism, Marxism, take your pick.

The brilliant Thomas Sowell phrases the Left in terms that I’ve never considered before, but he’s dead-on:

Why has evil been such a hard concept for many on the left to accept? The basic agenda of the left is to change external conditions. But what if the problem is internal? What if the real problem is the cussedness of human beings?

Rousseau denied this in the 18th century and the left has been denying it ever since. Why? Self preservation.

If the things that the left wants to control – institutions and government policy – are not the most important factors in the world’s problems, then what role is there for the left?

James Pethokoukis describes the U.S. banking system in corporatist terms:

The gravest of the many problems with Dodd-Frank is that the law is based in a fundamental misunderstanding of how and why the megabanks it seeks to tame grew so large and complex in the first place. That growth was caused not by an unregulated market spun out of control, but by a set of disastrous federal policies. By repeatedly bailing out banks deemed too essential or too interconnected to fail, the federal government has incentivized — and even facilitated — the consolidation and astronomical expansion of the big banks. The certainty of a government backstop has provided the largest banks with a significant competitive advantage in the marketplace, which has created an artificial incentive for massive growth and risk-taking that is detrimental to the financial system.

At Ethika Politika, Thomas Storck talks economy and family:

While the mother’s continuing role in the family was premised in large part upon her biological function, this was not the case with the father. Theoretically someone else could supply the food or protection or whatever tasks fathers performed in various cultures. Thus depending upon the economic organization of any particular society, the perceived need for fathers could be more or less intense.


Although making a living, providing for the material needs of mankind, was always one of our chief activities, traditionally the human race understood that this activity was for the sake of something else, something more important. We did not exist simply in order to produce, and many pre-industrial societies devoted an amazing amount of time and resources to religion and festivity. But with capitalism the focus of economic activity changed. Capitalism, as Pope Pius XI defined it, is the separation of ownership from work. That is, one man owns the property and hires others to work upon it for him, the owner paying a wage and keeping the profits. Now while such an arrangement in itself need not be unjust, it is unwise and historically has led to the kind of society we have today. It has divorced economic activity from fulfilling man’s needs and refocused it toward simply sales and moneymaking. No longer is there an implicit understanding that our economic activity must be subordinate to mankind’s needs and to human life as a whole. Rather, the question now becomes, can we manage to sell what we produce to consumers, regardless of society’s need, regardless of whether the product is in fact harmful? And for the individual, no longer is there a recognition that we ought to seek only so much gain as will allow us to fulfill our own and our family’s needs. Now for the individual, as for society, wealth getting has no inherent purpose and thus no reasonable limit.

With such a conception of the economy, the family itself no longer is regarded as a natural locus for human life, a place where, by God’s design, our natural need for human companionship, for the supply of our daily needs, and for the continuation of the species, all marvelously coincide. Rather it is a unit dependent solely upon the choice, or whim, of its members, especially of its two adult members, the father and the mother. Instead of the economic function of the family helping to provide an underpinning for the continuing union of the male and the female and the welfare of the whole, it now works against continued family stability. The husband and wife no longer complement each other’s work to supply their needs. Those needs are now supplied by something purely external, their jobs.


With wives working outside the home, with society obviously valuing them less, [men] could more easily give in to the temptation to simply walk away whenever the home situation grew sufficiently unpleasant, or someone else caught their fancy—or not even to start a home or family in the first place. This, of course, had been the besetting temptation of men for many centuries, but now there were fewer social structures to hinder it. If anything, the social structures began to facilitate it. But all the ideological changes, such as no-fault divorce, are premised on the changed economic basis of the family. Of course this economic basis is not its only basis, but it is one of the important foundations on which the family rests.

At the Acton Institute, Joseph Sunde reviews Nick Schulz’s book Home Economics:

These features — empathy and self-control — don’t just lead to a productive economy; they are crucial for leveraging any such economy for the good of society, orienting our activities beyond the quick-and-easy and offering a buffer to the types of short-sighted and self-destructive thinking that prosperous peoples have been known for tending toward. Without a properly grounded citizenry — learned in virtue, resistant to the seductions of power, and cognizant of the risks of comfortability — economic prosperity and social stability is likely to be squandered.

Well said, and it’s a familiar riff in these parts. But Schulz is pessimistic that there’s a prescription to go with the diagnosis.

As for how we can fix these problems, Schulz avoids offering any grand-standing silver-bullet policy proposals. Rather, devoting an entire chapter to the limits of policy, Schulz emphasizes that any proposals designed to address social problems as fundamental and overarching as these will be highly limited in their effectiveness. “Some social changes are like a tube of toothpaste,” Schulz writes. “It is easy to squeeze the toothpaste forward in one direction, significantly more difficult to reverse it and move it back into the tube from where it came.”

Jen Kuznicki reacts to GOP chair Reince Priebus’ self-flagellation:

Ah yes, the new GOP, the Growth and Opportunity Party, the one side-stepping all social issues and denouncing Reagan’s legacy. It’s a new world, don’tcha know, and in order to get with it, we are going to have to accept every tenant of the left so we can ‘have a conversation,’ and ‘find common ground.’

The party has had a difficult time getting pro-lifers, gun owners and veterans to vote for them, presumably because we didn’t engage in conversation and find common ground. But we are moving on.

At a training meeting sponsored by the Michigan Republican Party, I sat there in amazement as the speaker, in front of a roomful of grassroots leaders from all over the state, at least half of which were women, actually said that we as a party need to figure out how to be more inclusive of women. We are at a point in this nation where there is no reality anymore. There is simply perception, and it can kill you.

If we Republicans are to gain votes from sections of the electorate we have not had luck in, we are going to have to start being colorblind and speak to voters as Americans who hold a common view. That slavery in any form is wrong, that justice, not wealth, must be equally distributed, and that freedom comes with a heavy price. The nation is at a point that we actually need to describe and define America in order to stir the passions of people who either have no idea, or are adverse to the concept. We are actually at the point that we need to recruit people who think an idea such as America is worth the price we will have to pay. We actually have to sell a vision of a nation where men are free, rather than where we are at now.

At RealClearPolitics, Clark Judge dismantles global warming “science”:

The critical “evidence” of catastrophic trends turns out to have been neither repeatable experiments nor hard data but computer models. As noted by one University of Cambridge physicist and investigator of the notorious University of East Anglia “climategate” scandal, the characterization of computer runs as experiments — the norm in the climate change community — “does a disservice to centuries of real experimentation and allows simulations output to be considered as real data…a very serious matter, as it can lead to the idea that ‘real data’ might be wrong because it disagrees with models!” He added, “That is turning centuries of science on its head.”

Texas State Rep. Wendy Davis filibustered an abortion regulatory bill last week. Charles C. W. Cooke reacts:

The law that Wendy Davis and her fellow “pro-science” acolytes so bravely stood against would have rendered it illegal to kill the child after [20 weeks in the womb]. And when I say kill, I mean kill. I mean break bones, rip apart limbs, crush skulls, drain fluids, still a beating heart, annihilate a brain that is capable of dreaming, and crush a nervous system. I mean: Kill. As David Freddoso put it yesterday, “Wendy Davis can now say, When the moment came to stand up for smashing the life out of a baby 6 mos into pregnancy, I was up to the task.” This is not an accomplishment of which she should be proud.

According to ThinkProgress, the bill would also have forced “all but five of the state’s abortion clinics to close their doors.” This statement, and variants of it, occurred repeatedly during the evening — and always without context. In truth, clinics would close only if they failed to meet new safety standards that have been drawn in response to the horror stories in Philadelphia and Houston. The new rules, as summarized by the Texas Alliance for Life, would have “increase[d] abortion facility safety standards to the level of ambulatory surgical centers to shut down Gosnell-like abortion providers in Texas,” “require[d] the 18,000 RU-486 abortions performed each year be done according to FDA safety standards,” and “require[d] physicians who perform abortions to be qualified to treat life-threatening complications after botched abortions and have privileges at a local hospital.”

In March, Heather Busby of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas complained about these regulations in The Texas Observer. “It’s ridiculous,” she said, “to argue that ‘Oh, abortion clinics can just simply comply with the regulations’ when we know those regulations are costly.” This is a quite astonishing thing to hear. Have we finally found the one thing that progressives do not wish to regulate? If so, what are we to make of that one thing’s being the buildings in which unborn children are murdered?

Kirsten Powers, who has shown remarkable aptitude in ripping her side of late, writes of Wendy Davis:

If the majority of Americans oppose elective late-term abortion, why do we have Davis complaining to CBS’s Bob Schieffer that the male politicians who are championing the late-term abortion ban are “bullying women”? Maybe it’s she who is bullying the rest of us into supporting a view that is mocked by scientific advancement; namely 3-D sonograms. Maybe we should be thankful for the men and wonder what is wrong with the women who think protecting the right to abort your baby for any reason up to the 26th week is a “human right.”
“The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships. It has aggravated the derogation of the father’s role in an increasingly fatherless society. It has portrayed the greatest of gifts—a child—as a competitor, an intrusion and an inconvenience. It has nominally accorded mothers unfettered dominion over the dependent lives of their physically dependent sons and daughters. And, in granting this unconscionable power, it has exposed many women to unjust and selfish demands from their husbands or other sexual partners.” –Mother Teresa

Elizabeth Scalia writes:

“I just sacrificed my child to the idol of I. The idol of myself. I can’t even claim he was sacrificed for the idol of future plans, or that she was sacrificed to the idol of a career. No, I just sacrificed my child to me. To the idea of me: Ms. Personal Autonomy. I am like a god! I decide who lives and dies; didn’t feel like having another baby, so I killed it. Because I could. My other two kids only breathe and live by my grace, alone.”

The rhetoric surrounding abortion is fraught with high drama and the mantra “rape, incest or life of the mother” is repeated so frequently most don’t realize that those circumstances account for less than 2% of all abortions. Some women are pressured into an abortion; some abort because they are frightened and do not believe they have an option, or support. “Carolyn”, though, exposes the ugly truth: for many women an abortion is nothing more than service to the self, a sacrifice to the Almighty-I, which is the Strange God that tempts us all, and whom we are all called to reject — to “run away from”, as Pope Francis would say.

“Rick Perry, Mansplainer in Chief” is the headline to this misandrist piece in the Atlantic. Heaven forbid a man make a winning rebuttal in a debate with a woman, especially when that woman is St. Wendy Davis.

Speaking of Rick Perry...

“The best thing to do with Rick Perry is to make people laugh at him. If you get into a sort of ideological thing, and into a back and forth, that’s how Rick Perry survives.” –Matthew Dowd

In other words, Perry wins an argument on principles, but he loses a roast. Politics at its finest.

Gabriel Gomez, the “anti-abortion” Senate candidate who promised not to change the laws respecting access to abortion, and who repeatedly called Congressman Trent Franks a “moron” for speaking the truth, lost by 10 points to socialist Ed Markey. Presumably he’s the only kind of Republican who can win in New England.

Heather R. Higgins and Kellyanne Conway of Roll Call note:

Regrettably, Gomez, who used some of Romney’s consultants and playbook, followed the failed model of 2012 instead of embracing what worked in 2010 and works still. He could have won with a different campaign conversation, emulating Sanford’s successful congressional bid last month, wherein Sanford distinguished himself from his opponent, and made Obamacare a central focus of the campaign.


As a consequence, Massachusetts voters were left with no clear distinction between the two candidates on a fundamental issue. Anti-Obamacare Democrats and independents — and every national poll shows there are tons of them — were given no reason to vote for Gomez, as many had for Brown in 2010 when he ran as the 41st vote against Obamacare. (In contrast to his 2012 campaign, which he then lost. Pattern anyone?)

Wouldn’t you know it, Rick Santorum said the exact same thing about Romney during the 2012 Republican primaries.

The irreplaceable Phyllis Schlafly tears into universal pre-kindergarten:

The presumed goal of pre-kindergarten classes is to close or narrow the academic gap between poor and privileged kids when they enter kindergarten. However, the billions of dollars spent for that purpose for many years have done nothing to achieve that goal.

The principal reason for the gap is the difference between kids who live with their own mother and father and those who don’t. There are no plans to reduce the tremendous financial incentives of taxpayers’ money doled out that discourage marriage and incentivize illegitimacy.


The longtime political campaign to impose universal taxpayer-paid day care originated from the feminist notion that the patriarchy oppresses women by expecting them to care for their own babies. Feminists insist that child care is demeaning to educated women and must be taken over by the taxpayers in order to liberate women from patriarchal oppression.

This is a pet cause of San Antonio mayor Julian Castro. His “Pre-K 4 SA” ballot initiative passed last November, meaning an increase in the sales tax and a decrease of parental authority. Forward!

Read this carefully. John Tamny is not refuting the theory that the asset bubble was fueled by quantitative easing:

It’s important for investors to quickly dismiss all the nonsensical commentary of late about a stock market that can’t stand on its own two feet absent a continuation of Ben Bernanke’s quantitative easing.

Tamny is actually refuting critics of Bernanke’s recent moves to get the Federal Reserve out of the business of buying U.S. debt, people like idiot genius Paul Krugman.

In short, yes, the bubble is popped, and no, that’s not a bad thing. First of all, it was inevitable; the Fed could not continue buying U.S. debt forever. Secondly, the correction will be seen in retrospect as the foundation of years of prosperity, as long as government activism cheered on by Krugman et al. doesn’t screw it up.

More from Tamny:

Investment has reflected Bernanke’s tragic misunderstanding of the role of money. The presumed, utterly merciful end of quantitative easing, not to mention the even happier news of Bernanke’s looming departure, has given the appearance of shaky markets. Investors should relax. This correction is healthy, and if left alone, promises to reveal itself soon enough in a stock market boom.

The correction speaks to an unwind of all the economy-retarding investment that has coincided with bank crack-ups, financial crises, and jobs bereft ‘growth.’ This unwind will bring with it pain, and if done properly such that the dollar pushes gold down into the $800 range, a recession in the technical, GDP sense, will ensue. But much like the ’80s and ’90s boom that followed the post ’70s unwind, we need one now to unlock all the growth capital stuck in inflation hedges and other commodity-related concepts that signaled our lurch backwards.

These are bold predictions, but I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment. It’s 1979 all over again.

The question remains: Will the next Federal Reserve Chair reinflate the bubble, or will she be Volcker reincarnate? Regardless, it is frustrating—and, frankly, un-American, that so much power lies in one person’s hands.

Amanda Achtman of Intercollegiate Review competes for the honor of being my favorite libertarian:

Moral rights are fun, but moral truths are even more exciting. Once there is freedom from coercion and actions have moral weight, then the question becomes how to exercise this freedom. Freedom is instrumental. Once you have this indispensable condition for moral agency, then what will you do? Beyond what is necessary, what is meaningful and fulfilling?


At first, it might sound thrilling to be able to do anything. But ultimately, as Chesterton says, “the worship of will is the negation of will. To admire mere choice is to refuse to choose.” Choice is paradoxically fulfilled in choosing something particular. This is why marriage is a fulfillment, rather than destruction of freedom. Chesterton also explains that anarchy would make fun impossible. If bets, contracts, and rules were not binding, then these activities would be meaningless. Libertarians understand the importance of respect for contracts, promises, and law. This respect that binds us is equally important to morality in public and private life.

She writes on abortion:

Thinking about the pro-abortion argument that it is better for the unborn to be killed than to be born and experience a (potentially) terrible life sounds like a reverse pretense of wisdom. For the fear of life is indeed the pretense of wisdom and, of course, not real wisdom; since no one knows whether the continued life of the unborn, which some argue may be terrible, may not actually be awesome. It would be better not to fear or avoid a possible good (life) rather than commit a certain evil (ending a life by abortion).

Along with this conceit of thinking that life is the greatest fear when it might be the greatest good often comes the view that suffering is the greatest evil.

She quotes Socrates to bolster her argument:

Whereas I know but little of the world below, I do not suppose that I know: but I do know that injustice and disobedience to a better, whether God or man, is evil and dishonorable, and I will never fear or avoid a possible good rather than a certain evil.

I think I’m in love—platonically, of course.

At the American Spectator, Aaron Goldstein ridicules Senator Rand Paul for cozying up to NSA leaker Eric Snowden:

I understand that Paul doesn’t trust our Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. I don’t either. Clapper lost me (and a lot of other people) the moment he called the Muslim Brotherhood “a largely secular organization.” You certainly can’t trust a public official who says he made the “least untruthful” answer he could to Congress. But just because Clapper is untrustworthy doesn’t mean Paul is wise to automatically trust Snowden and take his claims at face value.

If Paul took off his rose colored glasses he might see that Snowden is neither Thoreau nor King, but rather more closely resembles Alger Hiss. With this in mind, could you imagine how different not only the history of conservatism, but the history of this country would have been if William F. Buckley and the conservative movement had backed Hiss over Whittaker Chambers?

I don’t feel one way or the other about Snowden. In a world as interesting as this one, whether or not he’s a traitor doesn’t interest me.

I’ve leveled some criticism at Rand Paul, so you might be surprised to hear me say he’s my “presumptive” pick for president. Unless someone convinces me otherwise, Rand Paul is the best choice to be the next president. I wouldn’t mind if Rick Santorum ran again. He was my pick in 2012. It wasn’t so much his social conservatism that appealed to me, but the guts he showed in not backing down from sound, cogent, politically incorrect arguments.

I am not a libertarian. At this point, I don’t think I ever could be. While I feel libertarians’ plight, I can never abandon the notion of government as an agent to protect and nurture the civil society. Yes, that means prohibitions on drugs and same-sex marriage and abortion. It means protecting religious speech in public spaces. It means reasonable regulation of commerce that respects the dignity of people and their communities.

“Live and let live” sounds nice, but it ignores the necessity of community and the intimacy of economy. It only works among people whose actions have no affect on their neighbors. Indeed, if neighbor means anything, libertarianism doesn’t admit neighbors’ presence at all. One might as well live alone in a pressurized habitat on Mars.

Senator Ted Cruz asks in this video, “What’s the rush?”

Watch how easily Cruz lays waste to Chuck Schumer’s question. Then fast forward to 2:33. There’s a row missing from that chart: “Badass.”

Unless technocrat Martin O’Malley has reformed it, it’s archaic, summarizes this Jill Lawrence puff piece in the National Journal:

In keeping with his nerd-like persona, O’Malley often presents his social policies in dry terms. When he signed a repeal of the death penalty, the Archdiocese of Baltimore lit up the Basilica of the Assumption for a night in celebration, and The New York Times editorial board praised Maryland for banishing “an indefensible, archaic tool of vengeance.” O’Malley simply said we have “a moral responsibility to stop doing the things that are wasteful, and that are expensive, and that do not work.”

It’s not that O’Malley lacks passion, or that he’s only passionate about numbers. His hybrid style—moral imperatives backed by provable assertions—was illuminated last month when he was asked about immigration reform at a State Department panel. “There is such a compelling business case,” he said. “Set aside compassion, set aside justice, set aside fairness, if you must. And if you go only on the business case for immigration reform, the United States of America is losing money and jobs every day by not having fixed our archaic immigration policies. This is low-hanging fruit, if you will. It’s not what other countries are doing to us. It’s what we’re not doing for ourselves, in recognizing the tremendous power and the economic imperative of immigration reform.”

“Set aside compassion, set aside justice, set aside fairness, if you must.” Set aside law and morality while you’re at it, O’Malley. What are any of those compared to EFFICIENCY!

In a curious aside, Lawrence writes: “from Annapolis, it takes less time to get to D.C. than to Baltimore.” Where did she come up with that? I commuted between Baltimore and Annapolis hundreds of times when I lived in Maryland. There’s no way D.C. is closer to Annapolis than Baltimore.

While we’re in Maryland, Dennis Prager cites a remarkable statistic:

In 2007, in liberal Maryland alone, 166 elementary students were suspended for sexual harassment, including three preschoolers, 16 kindergartners and 22 first-graders.

Krauthammer comments on President Obama’s “studied neutrality” with respect to the Egypt protests. In 2011 Obama sided against the relatively secular government of American ally Mubarak. Then when the Islamist government of Morsi came under fire, he was silent. Reminds me of Chuck Hagel’s aggressive neutrality on Israel.

Hey, those teens on TV aren’t played by teens. Friday Night Lights is the biggest culprit, and it’s not even mentioned in this article. Scott Porter, 27, played a 17 year-old. Zach Gilford, 24, played a 16 year-old. Adrianne Palicki, 23, played a 16 year-old. Minka Kelly, 26, played a 16 year-old. The one actor to play a role approximate to her age was Aimee Teegarden, whose character was 15 while she was 17.

By the way, I like Friday Night Lights. The season 5 finale made me cry.

Sports writer Greg Couch notes that the women on the professional tennis tour don’t get along nearly as well as the men. May I suggest the possibility that men are more naturally competitive, and that they are better equipped to manage their competitiveness than women?

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