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Crummy Journalism

 

I often remark to friends of mine that “journalism is dead”.

The front page over at Fox News has a story about a new FDA drug to treat high cholesterol. The story appears to be drawn from Associated Press reporting, and notes that the drug is not a statin drug, which is the most common treatment for high cholesterol. Only thing missing from the story?

The name of the drug.

You can find the link here.

 

Transgenderism

On this blog, I will refer to all ‘transgendered’ individuals using the pronoun which matches the sex they were born with.

This is a general rule; however, there are exceptions. The exceptions are those truly rare individuals who are born as hermaphrodites–where the birth gender was initially in question. The other exception would be androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS), which causes genetically male (XY) individuals to fail to respond to masculinizing hormones from the earliest stages of their development, and are born and live their entire lives as females.

Super Bowl 49 Notes and Commercials


SuperBowl 49

The following is a smattering of musings that occurred to me as I watched the game, including four hours of the pre-game show.

As I turned on the game, the first thing that greeted me was: Johnny Weir.  Strange, strange, strange, that such a flamboyant homosexual would be asked to host various segments of an NFL pregame show. What possible appeal could this guy have for the football-watching audience? (Continued)

What is True Islam?

 

Whenever a terrorist attack occurs, you can be absolutely sure that there will be a Muslim behind it.

That’s racist!

Okay, let’s try again.  Whenever a terrorist attack occurs, you can be 99% sure that there will be a Muslim behind it.

… still kinda racist…

And the Islamic apologist will quickly jump to the defense of his religion, “Well, you see, these people are radicals. This is not True Islam.”

But have we considered: what is True Islam? (Continued)

On Taking Sides

 

It occurs to me this morning that term “conservatism” could also simply be: “traditional Biblical wisdom.”

And so if we find a person who is not a “conservative,” we have found a person who does not ascribe value to the Bible, or to Biblical wisdom.

The practical upshot of this is that we find ourselves divided into teams, which we call “liberals” and “conservatives” but the real point of contention is: the Bible

And note that the teams are not teams as the world has historically factioned itself into teams. Usually the split occurs along lines of family, or of historical acrimony, or along lines of economic interest (e.g. The Civil War). Both sides are roughly aware that these lines are idealogical, with one side (the conservatives) thinking that the other is wrong because they don’t accept Biblical wisdom, and with the other side thinking that the other side is wrong because the positively enjoy treating others (blacks, gays, hispanics, gender-confused, women) poorly ‘just because.’

But that premise–that wholly half of the county finds its core meaning in hating others–is absurd. Even the most ardent liberal has to be dimly aware that there is a profound intellectual dishonesty going on here. The cultural wars are not between purely good children of light and purely evil children of darkness. They are between people, and between ideas which people may find either offensive or nourishing.

And that is why you will never actually see the level of rancor which the left claims to experience from the right. It is not that conservatives are good at keeping it hidden, that hate-filled little notes are eaten before the teacher has a chance to catch them, or that the burning crosses are carried away before the police arrive. It is that the ‘hatred’ doesn’t exist. The war isn’t against people–it’s about ideas.

Some thoughts on homosexuality

The liberal person says: “I have an intuition that love should always be celebrated. And a love between two men, or two women should be celebrated.  Love, not gender, is what matters.”

The conservative person says: “I have an intuition that men and women are innately different, and that this complementarity is reflective of a higher order. My intuition tells me that men romancing men, or women romancing women, is wrong–precisely because it denies this natural order.”

What are we to do with these dueling intuitions?

And so, in theory, this is the debate. One side screams, “This is MY intuition!” And the other replies, “No! This is MY intuition! (At least, that is how things could work in theory. In reality, the liberal side marches through the streets with rainbow flags, gushing out frothy, passion filled epithets denoucing ‘hatred’ and ‘intolerance’, while the conservatives keep quiet, so that they don’t lose their jobs or go to prison.)

But what interests me is the debate itself. Both sides have an intuition. Both intuitions are genuinely felt. But clearly, at least one of them must be wrong. How do we know which one is wrong?

 

G.K. Chesterton on Thomas Aquinas, on Revelation:

Thomas

What follows is a quote from G.K. Chesterton discussing Saint Thomas Aquinas’s argument for Revelation–the miraculous presentation of Divine Truths:

Or again, his argument for Revelation is quite rationalistic; and on the other side, decidedly democratic and popular. His argument for Revelation is not in the least an argument against Reason. On the contrary, he seems inclined to admit that truth could be reached by a rational process, if only it were rational enough; and also long enough. Indeed, something in his character, which I have elsewhere called optimism, and for which I know no other approximate term, led him rather to exaggerate the extent to which all men would ultimately listen to reason. In his controversies, he always assumes that they will listen to reason. That is, he does emphatically believe that men can be convinced by argument; when they reach the end of the argument. Only his common sense also told him that the argument never ends. I might convince a man that matter as the origin of Mind is quite meaningless, if he and I were very fond of each other and fought each other ever night for forty years. But long before he was convinced on his deathbed, a thousand other materialists would have been born, and nobody can explain everything to everybody. Saint Thomas takes the view that the souls of all the ordinary hard-working and simple-minded people are quite as important as the souls of thinkers and truth-seekers; and he asks how all these people are possibly to find time for the amount of reasoning that is needed to find truth. The whole tone of the passage shows both a respect for scientific enquiry and a strong sympathy with the average man. His argument for Revelation is not an argument against Reason; but it is an argument for Revelation. The conclusion he draws from it is that men must receive the highest moral truths in a miraculous manner; or most men would not receive them at all. His arguments are rational and natural; but his own deduction is all for the supernatural; and, as is common in the case of his argument, it is not easy to find any deduction except his own deduction. And when we come to that, we find it is something as simple as Saint Francis himself could desire; the message from heaven; the story that is told out of the sky; the fairytale that is really true.

Saving Mr. Banks

 

mr banks

Yesterday evening I watched one of the best movies I have seen in a long while. On a whim, I kept a notebook with me and wrote down thoughts about the movie as it played. The (true) story is about an aging English spinster, P.L. Travers, working with Walt Disney in the 1960’s to hash out a screenplay adaptation to her famous children’s book, “Mary Poppins.”

Superficially, much of the initial enjoyment is to be found in the clash of styles and personalities (Continued)

Common Sense on Donald Sterling

Donald Sterling, V. Stiviano

Well, of course Donald Sterling is an idiot! He was telling his half-black, half-Mexican girlfriend(?) not to associate with minorities publicly–does analysis need to go much beyond that?

B-b-but, aren’t you going to fixate on making sure we know he’s a racist?

But a few points nevertheless need to be made, a few things need to be said:

1. Donald Sterling’s comments, while offensive, were entirely harmless. (Continued)

Benghazi . . . and the Death of Truth

 

I’ve been away for a while–my family has been moving.  I’ll try to get back online more frequently.

Benghazi is a terrible, terrible mess.  But the greatest casualty is not four poor Americans who were killed by Muslim madmen.  The greatest casualty in this whole mess is the truth.  What bodes poorly for our nation is not that some foolish, self-serving politicians made a terrible judgement call, then covered it up.  What bodes poorly is that fully half the population (or more) either doesn’t know, or worse, knowing, doesn’t care.  What political program is worth lying for?  What political party, or viewpoint is worth tolerating a lie for, publicly, unabashedly?

Weed

weed

With all the national focus on Colorado and the recent decriminalization of marijuana, I thought that someone should state the obvious:

The legalization of weed is a loser’s issue.

Of course I don’t mean that everyone who has an opinion on the issue is a loser (Continued)

A Thought On Obamacare

The essence of all sensible thinking on Obamacare can be summarized with two sentences:

1. The Affordable Care Act is bad because it is destructive to our individual freedoms as Americans.

2. Irrespective of what the Supreme Court ruled, it is not constitutional. (Continued)

Absurdities Abound

reid

M. Creek writes:

It took nearly a week, but finally there is one thing that House Republicans and Democrats have been able to agree upon during this federal shutdown. That one thing, passed by a vote of 407-0, is that the furloughed federal employees, who have not been to work this week, should be paid for the time they are not at work!

Wait, it gets even better. (Continued)

Shutdown Continues

shutdown

Of course the facts of the shutdown are these:

1. Either side could restart the government immediately.

2. The Democrats are not doing it because they want money for Obamacare.

3. The Republicans are not doing it because they don’t want to approve money for Obamacare.

 -end- (Continued)

Checking and Balancing

The Democrats can say what they want–under the Constitution, the Republicans in the House are doing something known as “checking and balancing.”

And here is a front-page CNN bit of hysterical canard  story telling us how the government shutdown is part of a larger attack on women. I find it amusing how the author says at one point that various issues are important “to women and their families” as though we were discussing a little known African tribe, rather than our entire society!

Moral Inversion

Liberalism can be considered a near-total inversion of the moral order. They may (rightly) object to criminal behavior, but what follows closely behind is a bevy of hand-wringing questions which belies their moral indignation:

Was he (the perpetrator) oppressed in any way? Was he discriminated against? Does the crime represent any form of officially ‘bad’ discrimination? Was it a black-on-white crime? (The black-on-white aspect of a crime is considered a mitigating factor.)

Has a man accomplished a good thing, built up a wealthy business or professional practice? Punish him at all costs! Tax him! Ensure the next dollar earned is as near-totally taken as possible! More than that, disparage him. Cry aloud to the whole world of his selfishness.

Is there a happy family, with babies crying and children laughing? Does Daddy preside with gentleness? Has Mommy just brought him toast and coffee? How bourgeoise! What chauvenism! How heteronormative! Are they Christians, just back from church? How close-minded, how bigoted, how backwards and out-of-date!

Obama is an Awful, Awful, Liar

Obama Liar

Barack Obama, 20 September 2013, addressing the Congressional Black Caucus:

(Note: Go to about 3:00 in the video to see the quote)

And now we’re seeing an extreme faction of these folks, convincing their leadership to threaten to shut down the government if we don’t shut down the affordable care act. Some of them were actually willing to see the United States default on its obligations and plunge this country back into a painful recession if they can’t deny the basic security of affordable health care to millions of Americans.

I think that this is an interesting thing to ponder–that your top agenda is making sure twenty million people don’t have health insurance.

Notice how he describes those who oppose the Affordable Care Act (ACA). He says that those who oppose ACA want to “deny the basic security of affordable health care to millions of Americans.” He says that his opponents’ top agenda is “making sure . . . people don’t have health insurance.”

Is it possible to lie more viciously than this? Republicans are approximately 40% of the populations at any given time, and he characterizes them exclusively in terms of wishing to deny others health insurance. This is not a man who perceives that his opponents have a fundamentally different view of the role of government. This is not a man who appreciates that a variety of views and perspectives may exist on complex topics. This is a man who sees himself, and others like him, as simply wishing to ensure that the poor have health insurance, and who believes that those who oppose it do it from one reason only–hatred.

This is not a man who can be reasoned with. This is not a man with whom compromise can be struck. He doesn’t see the opposition as merely “those with whom he does not agree,” but as evil to be controlled, and if necessary, crushed. This is liberalism.

 

Violence in D.C.

CNN columnist and commentator LZ Granderson writes an apparent criticism of those who would rush to blame “guns” for the Washington D.C. Naval Yard shooting:

And it will keep continue to happen until the advocates (of gun control) accept that ridding the country of guns is a hopeless — and unconstitutional mission — and that the real goal should be addressing the factors that lead to the various forms of gun violence: factors such as poverty, mental health and failing schools.. . .

Congratulations to Mr. Granderson for successfully recognizing that screaming about ‘evil’ guns just isn’t going to do anything here (or anywhere). But the main point which Mr. Granderson doesn’t understand  is this: atrocities such as this aren’t fundamentally failures in policies pertaining to schools and their funding or poverty per se–this was a moral failing, an evil, carried out by an individual. The only sensible way to view events such as these, is through the lens of morality. Rather than focusing on all of the sequelae of a culture which has rejected all traditional moral restraints: poverty, hatreds and jealousy, craziness, stupidity–and trying to “treat” those symptoms, we should instead turn our efforts toward thoughtful consideration of the real wisdom of traditional morality, which are God’s prescription for living well.

-end-

Alex writes:

I don’t know whether the apparent rash of multiple shootings in the United States (in recent years) really is a “modern rash”, or whether a close study of American social history would reveal many previous examples of what happened at Washington Naval Yard. (Continued)

The Conversion of C.S. Lewis

Excerpts from the chapter “Checkmate” in C.S. Lewis’s spiritual autobiography Surprised by Joy:

“And there I made  new friend. The very first words he spoke marked him out from the ten or twelve others who were present; a man after my own heart, and that too at an age when the instantaneous friendships of youth were becoming rather rare events. His name was Neville Coghill . . . he, clearly the most intelligent and best informed man in that class–was a Christian and a thoroughgoing supernaturalist . . . had something really dropped out of our lives? Was the archaic simply the civilized, and the modern simply the barbaric?”

“The upshot of it all could nearly be expressed in a perversion of Roland’s great line in the ChansonChristians are wrong, but the rest are all bores.”

(Continued)

Forever Racist

New Yorker of Indian heritage wins Miss America pageant on a platform of “Celebrating Diversity through Cultural Competency;” CNN makes sure–with a front page headline–that we all know that we’re still racist.

When did a “platform” become part of the Miss America pageant, anyway?

Additionally, Laura Wood at The Thinking Housewife has an excellent article on this very topic.

A Liberal by any Other Name . . .

CNN featured an opinion piece entitled “Hey atheists, let’s make a deal” this weekend. The author, Rachel Held Evans, makes an appeal that both Christians and atheists overlook the heated, often silly, rhetoric from the likes of Richard Dawkins and Pat Robertson. Fair enough. I read this article and it has bothered me since. It’s so obviously silly, such an obvious piece of common sense that most of us already take that stance.  Also, as examples of Christians, she had included Barack Obama and Stephen Colbert.

Why even publish such fluff?

(Continued)

Corrie Ten Boom’s Father on Sexual Sin

The book The Hiding Place has many memorable passages. One that I particularly like is Corrie Ten Boom’s account of her father’s response when she, at about ten years old, asked him what sex-sin was:

“I asked Father about a poem we had read at school the winter before. One line had described ‘a young man whose face was not shadowed by sex-sin.’ I had been far too shy to ask the teacher what it meant, and Mama had blushed scarlet when I consulted her. In those days just after the turn of the century sex was never discussed, even at home.

So the line had stuck in my head. ‘Sex,’ I was pretty sure, meant whether you were a boy or a girl, and ‘sin’ made Tante (Aunt) Jans very angry, but what the two together meant I could not imagine. And so, seated next to Father in the train compartment, I suddenly asked, ‘Father, what is sex-sin?’

(Continued)

“God Has Spoken”

Occasionally you will hear Christians refer to the works of God like so: “God has spoken,” “God has ordained,” or “God has worked.”  There is a mystical quality to the phraseology. I used to have an atheist friend who hated it. He thought it was an affectation. “It just sounds so put-on,” he would tell me, “so la-di-da.”

In reality, of course, it is just a matter of grammar. (Continued)

Choice or Life?

In the previous post, we discussed the pro-life versus pro-choice moral frameworks. Within the liberal framework, autonomy, specifically autonomy over one’s own body, seems to carry the greatest importance. Why is this? What is the nature of the moral universe such that individual autonomy should be valued over all things, even over life itself? Even if someone feels such a thing to be true, can he know it? Once such a worldview is adopted, do no contradictions arise? What is the ultimate authority by which such proclamations are made?

The opposite view, the Christian view, is comparatively simple. (Continued)

Tricked Into Abortion: Liberal Dilemma

A woman in Florida was tricked into taking an abortion pill by her boyfriend–see the CNN video report here.

The difficult question for liberals to answer is this: on what grounds is this wrong?

(Continued)