Earlier today I offered some comments on the trending controversy surrounding Dillard’s and its involvement in an upcoming Houston event staged by anti-abortion advocate Heroic Media. That article noted some parallels with last year’s dust-up involving Target and Tom Emmer, a social reactionary running for Minnesota governor.
My friend and colleague, Sara Robinson, turns out to be a devoted Dillard’s customer (as I myself have been in the past). There are lots of reasons to appreciate their style and value and my only complaint up until now was that they closed the store closest to where I live. Sara responded to the Heroic Media story by firing off a letter expressing her concerns to a Dillard’s executive. Read more
Part 2 of 2. (Read part 1…)
It’s Time to Separate Church and State, Once and for All
If you recall, anti-Catholic prejudice was once a problem for Catholic politicians in the US. John F. Kennedy went so far as to address the issue head-on in his 1960 campaign – probably because he didn’t feel he had much choice. Here’s what he told the Greater Houston Ministerial Association on September 12 of that year:
I am not the Catholic candidate for President. I am the Democratic Party’s candidate for President who also happens to be a Catholic. I do not speak for my Church on public matters — and the Church does not speak for me.
He went on to assert his respect for the separation of church and state and vowed that Catholic officials would not dictate policy to him. As noted in part 1, the times, they have a-changed. Read more
Part 1 of 2.
I tripped across a provocative headline in the Wall Street Journal the other day: “They Need to be Liberated from Their God.” Turns out the story was about Mosab Hassan Yousef and his spying on Hamas. Which was a little disappointing. There’s no doubt that Palestinian Muslims need to be liberated from their god, but given the recent explosion in documented attacks by US Christians on their fellow Americans (as well as on reason and basic common sense), I thought perhaps the WSJ was going to be the first mainstream “news” outlet to do a story on Jesus Gone Wild!
I keep a running tab of stories that strike my interest. Read more
CNN reported last week on a new study showing that liberalism, atheism and sexual exclusivity in males are linked to higher IQ scores. The findings are intriguing, for all the obvious reasons.
Evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa at the the London School of Economics and Political Science correlated data on these behaviors with IQ from a large national U.S. sample and found that, on average, people who identified as liberal and atheist had higher IQs. This applied also to sexual exclusivity in men, but not in women. The findings will be published in the March 2010 issue of Social Psychology Quarterly.
Reactions have been all over the place, but there’s been strong suspicion of the findings from both “liberal” and “conservative” corners (especially conservative, as you’d expect). Which is good. Read more
First, the official response:
Ten years ago, at the turn of the millennium, Nostraslammy took a stab at predicting the 21st Century, with a promise to check back every ten years to see how the prognostications were turning out. Odds are good I won’t be able to do a review every ten years until 2100, but I figure I’m probably good through 2030, at least, barring some unforeseen calamity. And if you’re Nostraslammy, what’s this “unforeseen” thing, anyway?
Let’s see how our 22 articles of foresight are holding up, one at a time.
1: Researchers will develop either a vaccine or a cure for AIDS by 2020. However, it will be expensive enough that the disease will plague the poor long after it has become a non-issue for the rich and middle classes (although this is one case where political leaders might fund free treatment programs). The end of AIDS will trigger a sexual revolution that will compare to or exceed that of the 1960s and 1970s (unless another deadly sexually-transmitted disease evolves, which is certainly a possibility). Read more
A modest proposal, perhaps.
It’s been entertaining watching American public “discourse” since the election. (I use that word in its broadest, most ridiculous sense, since nothing that hinges so completely on self-absorption, rank ignorance and pathological dishonesty can be accurately characterized by such a noble word. But indulge me. I’ve been working on my irony lately.)
On the one hand you have conservatives fainting dead away that we’re now in the clutches of a “socialist” president. Never mind that these folks wouldn’t know a real socialist if he was gnawing their balls off. Never mind that most of these folks think “socialist” is the French word for Negro. Never mind that Obama demonstrably is to socialism what Joe the Plumber is to brie-sucking Northeastern intellectualism. As arch-conservative TV pundit Stephen Colbert says, “this is a fact-free zone.”
On the other you have the righteous outrage of the progressosphere, which feels six different kinds of betrayed by a president who promised them the moon and stars and has now left them to what looks like at least a four-year walk of shame. If I might borrow from an old fraternity joke, imagine the following scene from the Oval Office: Read more
Note: Relevant updates will posted to the bottom. By all means, read all the way to the end, where it gets interestinger and interestinger.
Dr. George Tiller was murdered at his church this morning. According to the New York Times:
Dr. Tiller, who had performed abortions since the 1970s, had long been a lightning rod for controversy over the issue of abortion, particularly in Kansas, where abortion opponents regularly protested outside his clinic and sometimes his home and church. In 1993, he was shot in both arms by an abortion opponent but recovered.
He had also been the subject of many efforts at prosecution, including a citizen-initiated grand jury investigation. Read more
Dear Mr. Buffet, Mr. Gates, Mr. Turner, Mr. Soros, Ms. Winfrey, and any other hyper-rich types with progressive political leanings:
If this essay has, against all odds, somehow made its way to your desk, please, bear with me. It’s longish, but it winds eventually toward an exceedingly important conclusion. If you’ll give me a few minutes, I’ll do my best to reward your patience.
In the 2008 election, Barack Obama won a landmark political victory on a couple of prominent themes: “hope” and “change.” He has since been afforded ample opportunity to talk about these ideas, having inherited the nastiest economic quagmire in living memory and a Republican minority in Congress that has interpreted November’s results as a mandate to obstruct the public interest even more rabidly than it was doing before. Reactions among those of us who supported Obama have been predictably mixed, but even those who have been critical of his efforts to date are generally united in their hope that his win signaled the end of “movement conservatism” in the US. Read more
Well, here’s a fine howdy-do: Rick Warren, pastor of the mother of all mega-churches, has been tapped to channel Jesus conduct a seance deliver the invocation at Barack Obama’s inauguration. Because Warren is, you know, a “moderate.”
…in 2004 Warren declared that marriage, reproductive choice, and stem cell research were “non-negotiable” issues for Christian voters and has admitted that the main difference between himself and James Dobson is a matter of tone. He criticized Obama’s answers at the Faith Forum he hosted before the election and vowed to continue to pressure him to change his views on the issue of reproductive choice. He came out strongly in support of Prop 8, saying “there is no need to change the universal, historical definition of marriage to appease 2 percent of our population … Read more
In this season’s eighth episode, Boston Legal – the relentlessly liberal ABC dramedy starring William Shatner and James Spader – lobbed an absolute bomb at those of us on the pro-choice side of the Roe v. Wade question. The bunker-buster was posed, predictably enough, by Crane Poole & Schmitt’s resident conservative, the gleefully Republican Denny Crane, portrayed by Shatner. BL fans know Crane to be positively Cheney-esque in his politics (although he did finally cross the aisle to vote for Obama because even he couldn’t stomach four more years like the last eight), and he routinely plays the straw man for the passionate liberalism of Spader’s litigator par excellence, Alan Shore.
This time, though, Crane (who’s battling through the early stages of Alzheimer’s) breaks through to a moment of pristine, Emmy-worthy clarity. Read more
In our most recent S&R poll, readers were asked the following: Two children of a family belonging to the Followers of Christ Church have now died after “faith-healing” was chosen over medical treatment. What do you believe authorities should do?
The results looked like this:
- Pursue appropriate criminal sanctions. Religion is no defense for child endangerment. (75%, 101 Votes)
- Nothing. These kinds of cases fall under the absolute right to freedom of religion. (25%, 33 Votes) Read more
Most folks don’t realize it – even people who know me fairly well – but I used to be a Republican. Back when I was younger and, one supposes, more naïve about the relevance of certain kinds of economic theory, I was a pretty mouthy GOPper. I voted for Reagan twice and Bush the Elder once, and while I can defend myself by saying things like “Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale and Mike Dukakis,” I think it’s now clear that history will regard those voting decisions as, at best, insufficiently considered.
As time passed and I grew more … educated … I became more and more conflicted. Read more
Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee on Monday endorsed a proposed Colorado Human Life Amendment that would define personhood as a fertilized egg.
Of course, Preacher Huck hasn’t stopped to ponder all the practical and logistical nightmares this kind of silliness would engender. For instance:
- If my wife is pregnant, can I claim Unborn, Jr. as a tax exemption?
- Does this make the legal drinking age 20 years, 3 months? Read more