Wednesday, 11/11/15

  1. Is this really worthy of a “Daily Briefing” slot?
  2. Most Haunting Story of the last ten days?
  3. Safe Places

1

From Monday’s New York Times Daily Briefing:

Ben Carson is the latest candidate to be challenged on the truthfulness of some of his statements.

I assume they’re referring to the fabricated Politico hit piece, which discredited Politico far more than it discredited Carson, but you’d not know it from the New York Times context. Carson’s surge is serious enough to bring out the media assassins.

I remain convinced that Carson is not the best candidate for President, and the snippets of his biography that I’ve seen are shameless humble-bragging. But the 2015 edition of Our Presidential Campaigns Are Too Damned Long has left me at the nadir of my respect for mainstream media.

2

Twice, I almost weighed in on certain recent events at Yale. Has that story fixated people because it’s too painful to dwell on what, to my mind, may be the most disturbing news of the last ten days?:

Something startling is happening to middle-aged white Americans. Unlike every other age group, unlike every other racial and ethnic group, unlike their counterparts in other rich countries, death rates in this group have been rising, not falling.

That finding was reported Monday by two Princeton economists, Angus Deaton, who last month won the 2015 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science, and Anne Case. Analyzing health and mortality data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and from other sources, they concluded that rising annual death rates among this group are being driven not by the big killers like heart disease and diabetes but by an epidemic of suicides and afflictions stemming from substance abuse[,]alcoholic liver disease and overdoses of heroin and prescription opioids.

The analysis by Dr. Deaton and Dr. Case may offer the most rigorous evidence to date of both the causes and implications of a development that has been puzzling demographers in recent years: the declining health and fortunes of poorly educated American whites. In middle age, they are dying at such a high rate that they are increasing the death rate for the entire group of middle-aged white Americans, Dr. Deaton and Dr. Case found.

The mortality rate for whites 45 to 54 years old with no more than a high school education increased by 134 deaths per 100,000 people from 1999 to 2014.

“It is difficult to find modern settings with survival losses of this magnitude,” wrote two Dartmouth economists, Ellen Meara and Jonathan S. Skinner, in a commentary to the Deaton-Case analysis to be published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Rod Dreher, before turning his attention Yaleward, commented at considerable length, tying this news to the ascendancy of a certain GOP Presidential hopeful with his signature dead-weasel hairdo: Why Trump Matters, Dreher called it. I’d call it “Why Bernie Sanders Matters,” since nothing multi-billionaire rent-seeker Trump is saying has any credibility on issue driving lower-status whites to drink and Meth.

I need to read up on what is meant by “the preferential option for the poor.” It seems to me that a helluvalot of our economic and social policies are directed to making a more enjoyable playground for the rich, whose cash reserves provide some cushion against the temporal (but not eternal) consequences of various debaucheries. What if we told them to zip it up when it was clear that emulation by poorer folks will be devastating?

3

Worth reading: Rending the Rainbow Veil: How to Make Your Church a Safe Space for Christians with Same-Sex Attraction.

What’s noteworthy is the call, from the LGBT side, for “places for Christians who experience same-sex attraction and wish to be faithful to Christian teaching to deal openly and honestly with those issues” (italics added).

Places that will “Christianly” affirm your sexual proclivity and encourage its unabashed genital expression are a dime a dozen. As the man said, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.”

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“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.