Tasty Tidbits 6/28/11

Here’s today’s tasty tidbits, concurrently Tweeted and Facebooked:

Sen. Lugar reportedly will unload on Obama today regarding Libya. Good for him! But the Hoosier blogosphere will be all atwitter with navel-gazing about how this is a “move to the right” to fight off challenger Richard Mourdock.


I’ve been increasingly conversant with the myth of the Siren Song. Writer’s Almanac has a nice (or is it naughty?) adult poem thereon.


Governor Blagojevich was convicted on most counts. (Do you really need a link for that?)

I don’t know if he’s guilty, and I’m not all that trustful of the jury system — not to say there’s a better one; we live in a screwed up world — especially when the jury foreman reportedly said jurors were sending a message with their verdict about the state of politics in Illinois. When you’re “sending a message,” actual guilt is less important than a plausible story, even if it’s a frame-up.

But I’ve had a low opinion of Blagojevich since I found out that he was Serbian Orthodox and extremely pro-abortion. Discovering that he’s an even worse potty-mouth than me elevated my already high dudgeon.

I suppose if I was in Illinois, I’d feel obliged to pray for him, but I’m a Hoosier, and a wretched, judgmental sinner, so I’m mostly hoping to never hear the guy’s name again.


There was a time when I was professionally involved in the pro-life cause, as Legal Counsel to Indiana Right to Life. In those days, I’d have been all over the Planned Parenthood funding case in Indiana, but a very full dance card of other legal stuff these days keeps me from doing that avocationally.

But Gerard Bradley, a serious and not particularly partisan legal scholar (though he is pro-life, and that inevitably aligns one with the GOP more than the Dems), shows here how Judge Pratt’s decision enjoining the Indiana law was legally weak and fairly explicitly based on the prospect of the quietly but relentlessly pro-abortion Obama Administration cutting off Medicaid funds to Indiana, illegally in all likelihood, causing great harm to Medicaid recipients. Also of interest is his argument that the Hyde amendment, combined with Planned Parenthood’s sloppy bookkeeping, required Indiana to do as it did and, my personal favorite (since it has been a formal part of the abortion landscape since Roe v. Wade):

[S]tates are constitutionally entitled to value childbirth over abortion, and to morally stigmatize abortion as undesirable and even wrong. (This is the value judgment behind the Hyde Amendment itself.) Eliminating state subsidies to the state’s biggest abortion provider is one important way to express that value judgment.

The appeal could be interesting. The fat lady hasn’t sung yet. And you can expect the Republicans to come up with some damning way of talking about this unnecessary and politically-motivated intervention as 2012 approaches. Heck, it shouldn’t be hard to come up with a truthful version, but I expect wild-ass hyperbole instead. I can already see the preprinted faux personal letters in my mailbox, with screaming fake underlining and added exclamation points!!!!!

Richard Stith, a really interesting personnage and another serious legal scholar, points out a reason, not yet embodied in our law, for defunding the likes of Planned Parenthood unless it gets out of the abortion business: charged with promoting birth control, it makes money off contraceptive failure (via abortion). Other countries legally require that pregnancy prevention and pre-abortion counseling (abortion there being available less liberally than in America to start with) be done by entities that don’t have such a conflict of interest. Pick your horse, PPIN.


It bears repeating, and James Taranto does repeat it in some detail, that the New York same-sex marriage decision is hardly unprecedented in the sense that marriage has become impermanent and otherwise disordered among heterosexuals. That’s not to say SSM is harmless, but that it will be just one more darned impediment to rebuilding a healthy marriage culture. The cumulation of impediments is why I’m not expecting, though I would welcome, a quick reversal of course.

Ironically, New York was extremely late — not early — in adopting the other big legal blow against traditional marriage in my adult lifetime: “No Fault Divorce.” As Taranto puts it:

You won’t find enthusiasm for same-sex marriage at NRO, but we found it at Facebook, where a friend wrote: “So, now every person in this state who wants to make a lifetime commitment to someone else, someone they love, with all the rights and benefits that accompany, [is] free to do so. Simple as that. Congratulations to anyone whose life is changed by this, and best wishes!”

It’s a sweet and generous sentiment but a false premise. Last August, to far less public attention, lawmakers in Albany enacted legislation making New York the final state to institute no-fault divorce, thereby abolishing even the pretense that marriage is a lifetime commitment under the law. Under this regime, marriage is a lifetime commitment only until one spouse decides otherwise.

(Emphasis added) It may also bear noting, if only as a teaser I’m not prepared to unpack here, and probably never will be, that the full Christian ideal of marriage is so deep that I’m not sure I’ve pretty sure I’ve not attained it despite the most pedestrian and conventional marital life on the surface of things. I’m still mulling over that recent revelation.

Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage notes Republican inconstancy on marriage. Democrats like Indiana’s Pat Bauer would block constitutional marriage amendments in committee when in power. When Republicans took power back, Hoosier Democrats took a 5-week Illini vacation to block them on matters including marriage.

But when New York Gov. Cuomo woodshedded some Republicans with an egalitarian harrangue, they folded and made the fateful decision to let him have a vote on his pet bill. I generally deplore reflexive partisanship, but some issues are more important than others, and New York Republicans were not faithful to their “base” on this.

Meanwhile, at NRO, George Weigel performs a dental colostomy on naifs who applaud New York’s decision as libertarian — libertarian-leaning “conservatives” being part of the gay-marriage coalition too often:

Marriage, as both religious and secular thinkers have acknowledged for millennia, is a social institution that is older than the state and that precedes the state. The task of a just state is to recognize and support this older, prior social institution; it is not to attempt its redefinition.  To do the latter involves indulging the totalitarian temptation that lurks within all modern states: the temptation to remanufacture reality. The American civil-rights movement was a call to recognize moral reality; the call for gay marriage is a call to reinvent reality to fit an agenda of personal willfulness. The gay-marriage movement is thus not the heir of the civil-rights movement; it is the heir of Bull Connor and others who tried to impose their false idea of moral reality on others by coercive state power.

Fanfare, please! Now a little Lochnerizing!


Jim Bopp, who preceded me as Legal Counsel for Indiana Right to Life (it’s a long story; suffice that there was regime change) has built a remarkable litigation niche attacking election “reforms.” He’s scored another Supreme Court victory, as shown by his press release.


I’m not touching heroin, crack, meth or Angry Birds. Keep them the heck away from me!


For a social institution to mean something, it must decidedly not mean something else. In other words, the definition must discriminate. I’m sorry if it shocks you that discrimination is inherent to clear thought.

The preceding sentence is a lie; I’m actually glad to raise your consciousness.


If Andrew Cuomo — living in concubinage, supporting abortion, and affirmatively advancing same-sex marriage — “should not be denied Communion in the Church, simply no one can or should be.” So says The American Papist’s Tom Peters.

It’s hard to disagree. If defiantly unrepentant and open sin isn’t enough …


… maybe putting Dimethylpolysiloxane in food is. McDonalds does that to “Chicken” McNuggets. (HT Michelle Kreinbrook)

Reminds me of two verse from Bruce Cockburn’s “You’ve Never Seen Everything”:

Years ago when my brother was in India
A small town baker got a bright idea
He cut his flour with pesticide
and sent a bunch of neighbours on their longest journey
He was just being cheap -trying to make a profit
Didn’t even have shareholders to answer to

But it’s worth remembering, as we sell off the forest
gene-splice the world’s food into an instrument of control
maim and destroy as acts of theatre,
what came next –
That when the survivors looked around
and understood what had been done
they butchered
that baker

After that, it almost seems indecent to close with  …

Bon appetit!