Tasty Tidbits 8/17/11

  1. Adam and Eve.
  2. The benefits of ignorance.
  3. Venerable voice on progressive politics.
  4. WSJ tells the parts Buffet left out.
  5. Unwinding a Ponzi scheme.
  6. All Politics, All The Time.
  7. Everyone’s a genius.

I had a tough time deciding what order to put things in today.


I will not minimize the seriousness of the debate emerging among Evangelicals on Adam and Eve. NPR’s coverage struck me as quite good, though I wonder if they couldn’t have gotten a spokesman for historic Adam and Eve who didn’t sound like a (young earth — which may be redundant) Creationist.

Having lived in that Evangelical world, and having gone through debates on less foundational matters than this, and continuing to believe that Evangelicals, though incorrigible about some follies, include millions of Christ-lovers, I can only hold my breath and pray.

Orthodoxy’s position? I’m not a spokesman. I’m uncertain that there’s any dogmatic position. I can only say what I believe I’ve seen:

  1. The Creed affirms the Triune God as creator of all things visible and invisible.
  2. It appears to me that even the Church Fathers 1500+ years ago were not Creationists in anything like the way that term is used today.
  3. I have never heard a Creationist homily in an Orthodox Church.
  4. Father Seraphim Rose, an influential American Orthodox convert, nevertheless had opinions that seem close to Creationist. But he’s not a Saint, and our Saints aren’t infallible (he also thought ET was a demon).
  5. The services of the Church make heavy typological (not literal) use of Adam and Eve.
  6. See Item 2, below.


Father Stephen blogs on the benefits of ignorance. Really.

That his tags are  , &  may hint what he’s up to.


Having foresworn heavy partisan political blogging, I’ve taken to Tweeting, and you can see those Tweets in the right column. 140 characters to pass along a political link seems about right.

But I won’t avoid or artificially limit political theory generally, removed from today’s personae and events (or using them as mere launching pads).

Their threats are terrible enough, but we could bear
All that; it is their promises that bring despair.

Lines during a General Election, C.S. Lewis. For more about his political thought, see  David J. Theroux’s piece at Front Porch Republic. (Part II of III appeared before I got this blog posted.)


Warren Buffet’s Monday Op-Ed in the New York Times said we coddle the super-rich in the tax code, using his own taxes as an example. The editorial has just about “gone viral” among Facebook friends and such, and I joined in recommending it.

Now the Wall Street Journal, that most reliable defender of plutocrats, undertakes to tell “the rest of the story.” E.g.: before Buffet’s dividends get taxed to him at just 15%, the corporation that pays them is taxed 35%. The bummest rap on Buffet, it seems to me, is trying to portray him as a shill for Obama’s push to increase taxes on people who are by no means billionaires. (I believe this WSJ piece is in front of its pay wall.)


Unwinding a Ponzi scheme is a messy business. I was involved in such a case as part of a small team of attorneys for someone who arguably was a “net winner.”

But is someone a “net winner” if, in order so to label him, you must consider a retirement account that included the investor’s employees, not just his own? Or the accounts the investor set up for his adult kids? Or ….

As I say, messy and very complicated. But the New York Mets owner, a “net winner” (let’s assume that’s a true characterization) in Bernard Madoff’s scheme wanted to get back in bankruptcy what his bogus account statements said he had. I like how the Court of Appeals dealt with that.

[The Bankruptcy Trustee’s] method of evaluating claims was endorsed last year by a federal bankruptcy judge. The appeals court agreed that it would be unfair to base payouts on “impossible transactions,” because such an approach would give equal weight to actual cash investments of some customers and the phantom profits of others.

“Indeed, if the Trustee had done otherwise, the whim of the defrauder would have controlled the process that is supposed to unwind the fraud,” Dennis Jacobs, the chief judge of the Second Circuit, wrote in a 35-page opinion.


I don’t like recalls … Let’s have regular elections and take them seriously, then accept that elections have consequences. This all politics, all the time crap is ridiculous.

Ann Althouse. It may not be mellifluous, but it resonates with me.


Everyone is a genius.

But if you judge a fish
on its ability to climb a tree,
It will spend its whole life believing it is stupid.

(Albert Einstein via Fr. Gregory Jensen)

Bon appetit!

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