Saturday Potpourri 2/15/14

    1. Big Business is not my friend
    2. Why would anyone
    3. Texans Against Oil Earthquakes
    4. Poor But Honest
    5. Tu quoque
    6. Regional colloquialism
    7. Another internet game to pass on


I hope that supporters of traditional marriage will remember that Indiana big business was pivotal in defeating HJR-3/6, and will connect the dots: Big business has been pivotal in almost every subversion of the family, via the subversion of Christian ethics, for more than 100 years.

Big business is not conservative. Big business is not our friend.

(Brought to mind as I watched business sharps crowing about their latest victory on Inside Indiana Business.)


An interesting tidbit about varying Catholic reactions, at the level of Bishops, over the much-remarked “harsh anti-gay laws being enacted or revived in some countries of Africa.”

Curious about why the harsh laws should ever be supported, I dug a little deeper (bold added):

In a January letter on behalf of the Catholic hierarchy of Nigeria, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos praised Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan for his “courageous and wise decision” in signing the legislation. Kaigama said it would protect Nigeria “against the conspiracy of the developed world to make our country and continent, the dumping ground for the promotion of all immoral practices.”

Church observers say part of it is a backlash against the new visibility of gay people in society and the corresponding push to grant them legal protections and rights they never had before.

But opposition to the legalization of some rights, such as gay marriage, has at times turned into support for criminalization, which Catholic teaching does not condone…

The controversy over the anti-gay laws is most intense in Asia and especially Africa, where culture can trump theology when it comes to dealing with gay people, said the Rev. Thomas Reese, a Jesuit priest and columnist for National Catholic Reporter and author of “Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church.”

But Reese said regional political realities can play a key role, too: Church leaders who support anti-gay laws often come from countries with large Muslim populations that also tend to support measures against homosexuality. The bishops may not want to do anything that would inflame tensions between the communities.

“I think they’re afraid of the Muslim reaction, and I think they’re afraid of the reaction of many of their own people,” Reese said.

That was very helpful to my understanding of a position I can’t agree with.


None of the earthquakes had been devastating. Most registered between a 2.0 and a 3.0 on the Richter scale. Earthquakes of that magnitude can be felt, though, and their impact can be documented. Residents had been woken late at night by the commotion and were worried about their safety and their property values. Students at the local schools took part in a duck-and-cover drill, in case a bigger quake came along. And though the earthquakes were the main issue discussed at the town hall, some Azlelites worried that the tremors could be a harbinger of even worse things to come, like contamination of the groundwater supply. “How are we gonna clean that up?” shouted a woman in the crowd.

The cause of this upheaval—both literal and figurative—could be inferred. All the earthquakes had happened after oil and gas companies began fracking and disposing of their fracking fluid in injection wells. As many attendees observed, it didn’t take a rocket scientist to conclude that there might be a connection.

When Texans, fer cryin’ out loud, start pushing back against oil interests, we ought to take notice.


She was poor, but she was honest,
Victim of the squire’s whim:
First he loved her, then he left her,
And she lost her honest name.

Then she ran away to London,
For to hide her grief and shame;
There she met another squire,
And she lost her name again.

See her riding in her carriage,
In the Park and all so gay:
All the nibs and nobby persons
Come to pass the time of day.

See the little old-world village
Where her aged parents live,
Drinking the champagne she sends them;
But they never can forgive.

In the rich man’s arms she flutters,
Like a bird with broken wing:
First he loved her, then he left her,
And she hasn’t got a ring.

See him in the splendid mansion,
Entertaining with the best,
While the girl that he has ruined,
Entertains a sordid guest.

See him in the House of Commons,
Making laws to put down crime,
While the victim of his passions
Trails her way through mud and slime.

Standing on the bridge at midnight,
She says: ‘Farewell, blighted Love.’
There’s a scream, a splash-Good Heavens!
What is she a-doing of?

Then they drag her from the river,
Water from her clothes they wrang,
For they thought that she was drownded;
But the corpse got up and sang:

‘It’s the same the whole world over;
It’s the poor that gets the blame,
It’s the rich that get the pleasure.
Isn’t it a blooming shame?’

“Poor But Honest” by Anonymous. Public domain. I got it from The Writers’ Almanac.


[I]n the light of scandalous abuse by some UN peacekeepers around the world, last week’s scathing report from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child seems either disingenuous or hypocritical. In the same 20 years, almost no Blue Helmets accused of rape or abuse have been punished. The “best interests of the child” is a concept that rarely emerges in discussions of abuse; the focus is almost wholly upon the UN’s tarnished reputation.

But there are remarkable parallels between the United Nations and the Catholic Church. Both are widely admired and prestigious. Both are vast institutions spanning many cultures, countries and legal systems. Both have a central administration which struggles to enforce its authority locally. Both have a problem with sexual abuse. But the Catholic Church is light years ahead of the UN in coming to grips with the problem.



“There is no education in the second kick of a mule,” said Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Sometimes, I’m really glad for our vestigal regional differences. (H/T Pat Buchanan)


Weird internet phenomenon you may not have heard of: Dark EnlightenmentMark Shea and Rod Dreher weigh in. I got three or four selective clicks into a top Google hit before concluding that if I wanted to play internet games, I could pick up Candy Crush or World of Warcraft or something less likely to lead to really dark and toxic places.

* * * * *

“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.