Tuesday 8/23/16

  1. Narcissist amateur Trump aces reptilian pro Clinton
  2. We now expect birth certificates to lie
  3. Shea whups Zmirak, but pays a price
  4. The rest of the story


“When I imagine him in the White House, I’m disgusted,” declared a Hillary Clinton campaign email that went out May 4, just after Donald Trump clinched the Republican presidential nomination. The putative author, deputy communications director Christina Reynolds, explained her reaction wasn’t just to Trump’s policy ideas, yucky as they are, “but also because I try and imagine him doing the more symbolic, but often just as powerful, parts of the president’s job.”

She tried, and she failed: “I just can’t imagine him mourning with the country after a mass shooting, or comforting us after a natural disaster.”

(James Taranto) Guess who has been to the Louisiana floods and who hasn’t?*

“But,” you say, “these floods are no big deal, unlike Hurricane Katrina.”

Well, yes and no. Here’s a case that it’s worse in some ways:

Ways that B.R. area flooding is worse:

No warning. I always say I’d rather live on the Gulf coast than in tornado or earthquake country.  We’ll usually get four or five days of warning about a storm’s path.  We can evacuate if there’s a flood risk, or we can shelter in place if we’re on higher ground.  Evacuating?  Take a box of your most valuable stuff with you – family photos and important papers – and grab the checkbook, credit cards, and some cash from an ATM.  Staying?  Buy jugs of drinking water, food, batteries, ice, gasoline, fill the tub with water for bathing and flushing the toilet, raise stuff off of the floor in the lowest rooms, etc.  Apart from Katrina, my 50-odd years in the Great State have not been badly affected by hurricanes.  Before 2005, they were even kind of fun. But in BR, people were swamped without much notice.  There were flash flood warnings, but frankly, the weather service gives those about once a week in the summertime – there are some crying wolf issues here.  Not only was there no opportunity for people to grab their wedding pictures, a lot of folks left barefoot and in pajamas.  That was also true for people where the federally designed levees broke in New Orleans, but that was for a major hurricane, not some heavy rain that freakishly refused to dissipate or move along.

No flood insurance.  In N.O., mortgage lenders require flood insurance in most places, and always have.  Even before Katrina, even on the relatively high ground in the city, we knew that there was a risk of some flooding from once-in-a-lifetime hurricanes or from rainstorms that might occur once every 10 years.  No one thought the feds’ levees would collapse, but ordinary flood insurance covered the extraordinary damage.  But the BR flood was a once-in-a-thousand-year probability.  Even for the risk-averse, those odds are long enough that it is a rational option to decline flood insurance.  Times are going to be very tough for homeowners.  Grants and SBA loans are very helpful, but they’re as bureaucratic as you’d imagine.

No name.  I don’t know what to call this nameless event.  It’s hard to focus the nation’s attention on something like “Flooding in Louisiana,” which sounds like “Heat in Arizona.”  Rainstorms don’t have names.  If you’re in a major media market, they make one up – “Polar Vortex” or “Snowmageddon.”

(Anonymous via Rod Dreher) Anonymous goes on to pile on the reasons why Katrina was worse.

More Taranto:

Although the storm that hit Louisiana last week doesn’t have a name, by Wednesday the … Washington Post ran a headline characterizing it as “the country’s ‘worst natural disaster’ since Hurricane Sandy,” as per the Red Cross. “This unnamed storm produced three times as much rain in Louisiana as Hurricane Katrina,” the Post’s Jason Samenow reported Friday:

The exceptional nature of this event is best described by how statistically unlikely it was determined to be. According to the National Weather Service Hydrometeorological Design Studies Center, the amount of rainfall in the hardest-hit locations had a less than 0.1 percent chance of happening or was a (less than) 1-in-1,000-year event.


[W]e now expect birth certificates to lie.

Eight “married” lesbian “couples” decided they wanted children and, since nature has not yet been informed of Justice Antony Kennedy’s Constitutional right to define “one’s own concept of existence … and of the mystery of human life,” they could only become parents through artificial insemination using a male’s sperm. When they subsequently sought to register the births, Indiana issued birth certificates listing only the birth mother (who also in most cases appeared to be the genetic and gestational mother). Indiana insisted that the other “spouse” needed to “adopt” the child to be on the birth certificate.

What proved fatal to Indiana’s parentage law, however, was the Hoosier State’s paternity presumption. Under the Indiana code, a child born to a married couple was assumed to be legitimate, born in wedlock to a woman and her husband …

By imputing paternity to married couples regardless of the true genetic origins of a child, Indiana opened itself to challenge. One could, of course, contend that “paternity” can hardly be imputed to a woman, but the Obergefell response is more likely to switch “paternity” with “parenthood,” divesting the latter of sexual differentiation, just like marriage.

(John M. Grondelski) So far, so good.

But I elided some material that suggests that Indiana presumes paternity “to hide the genetic origin” of children conceived in Artificial Insemination by Donor, which the author opposes. That strikes me as factually bizarre, although it would be a side-effect of the real reason: a presumption that the wife has not conceived by adultery. One of the comments tried to set the record straight, but the author replied, undeterred.

Perhaps his point is salient but too subtle for me, but after several readings, I just don’t get it. Whatever it is, it’s weakened by claiming that AID is what the historic presumption of paternity is about.

This isn’t to say I’m a fan of artificial reproductive technologies, but just that I don’t see social approval of them under every bed.


I’m in the awkward position of liking John Zmirak and Mark Shea just about equally. It’s awkward because they appear to be at war, and Zmirak just won a battle by getting Shea made persona non grata at the National Catholic Register — or so it appears.

As between Zmirak’s particular smear and Shea’s zestful reply, I give the a decisive win to Shea, if only because Zmirak called him a Democrat. Not even “crypto-Democrat.” That’s not hyperbole. It’s a lie.

I think if I were Roman Catholic, I’d like Shea better as he’s gung-ho, all-in, if-the-Church-says-it-I-support-it. His criticism of Zmirak as a Republican cafeteria Catholic rings pretty true to me, but what do I know about Magisterium?

Still, Zmirak bats better than .500 in my opinion. I’m just going to watch the foul line a bit more carefully when he’s at the plate.


Who went to LA and who didn’t? Donald Trump and Mike Pence went. Neither Clinton nor Obama has gone (though I think Obama is scheduled).

Obama was in swanky Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., playing golf. The Post’s Chris Cillizza offered a defense:

In Obama’s mind the sort of performance-for-the-sake-of-performance that Republicans are demanding is everything that’s wrong with politics. . . .

He believes he can monitor the situation as well—or better—from where he is. And that the sole reason to go to Louisiana is for the theatrical piece of politics, a piece that he not only rejects but detests.

As for Mrs. Clinton, she posted on Facebook Friday: “My heart breaks for Louisiana, and right now, the relief effort can’t afford any distractions.” She was also in Martha’s Vineyard, among other things for a Saturday fundraiser organized by “one of President Obama’s harshest critics, Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild,” as the New York Post’s Richard Johnson reported. No distractions there!

(James Taranto)

* * * * *

“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.