Labor Day 2016

  1. The Culture of Death rules
  2. Who do you go to for a tidal flood?
  3. No leveraging a doctor’s hands
  4. Minds, Coddled and Mildly Unhinged
  5. No bridal train

1

Timothy P. O’Malley (The Week I Left the Democratic Party) reflects on the Democrat Convention, presumably his last:

[My] personal narrative has been the reason I’ve been able to belong to a political party that has over my lifetime become increasingly hostile toward its pro-life membership. In my conscience, I’ve seen the rise of pro-choice politics in the Democratic Party as an unreasonable aberration, a strange denial of the human dignity of the unborn in a party that at least purports to affirm the dignity of those on the margins (those who have been subject to drone attacks over the last eight years may disagree with this). I naively imagined that there was a place at the table for someone like me, formed in a Church that has affirmed the dignity of all human life from conception to natural death …

I refuse to belong to a political party in which ideologies of death have become so central to the life of the party that a consistent approach to human dignity is deemed unwelcomed by party leaders. There will be no adoption talk, no prominent address by a pro-life Democratic, because it goes against the present death-dealing orthodoxy of the Democrats. This may change, and I’ll actively support the Democrats for Life of America to serve as the conscience of their party. But, I can’t remain. Not anymore.

At a Member-Only American Solidarity Party site, a former Republican eagerly reports why he left the GOP. (I don’t name him because there’s a slight chance he expected privacy.)

It’s simple: In 2014, the outgoing Democratic leadership held what were admittedly partisan hearings on the question of torture carried out by the US during the present/late war. The democrats concluded, unsurprisingly, the the US had employed torture and encouraged our allies to do the same. When the press toted these conclusions to Republican leadership, the leaders of the party, including former Veep Cheney, said “Who cares if we tortured them?”

I’m willing to have a debate about what constitutes torture or if acts constituting torture occurred as a matter of fact. But when the response of party leadership to the basic questions regarding torture is “who cares?” then I know that Conservatism is a dead letter.

These anecdotes put an exclamation point behind a “Rapid Response” in our local paper.

The question was something like “Now that the two political conventions are over, what are your thoughts?”

The Response was something like “The Culture of Death rules in both parties. The Democrats now cheer abortion. The Republicans cheer promises of torture.”

2

Did you notice that Radical Climate Change Ideology is beginning to flood some low-lying coastal areas?

How are the ideologues pulling off that stunt? “Gosh, who do you go to for a tidal flood?

3

To understand my eventual comment below, you may need to read this and this.

And let me tell you a little story, too.

The only medical malpractice case I ever won involved a Family Practitioner on Emergency Room duty at a small-town hospital. A woman was brought in after her car was “T-Boned” on the passenger side where she was riding. The doctor, reportedly a fitness freak and fat-phobe, never even palpated her “well-nourished” ribs, but pronounced that she had “muscle spasms” as she lay bleeding to death internally.

He missed exactly the exact injuries Advanced Trauma Life Support training would have told him to suspect, but he still might have caught her injuries, without ATLS training, if he had checked for broken ribs by the highly-sophisticated test of … wait for this … palpating her damn ribs!

She died.

Back to this and this.

When a teledoc can remotely detect an enlarged thyroid gland (or other palpable symptoms), I might muster an eensy-weensy bit of enthusiasm about telemedicine. But why didn’t one of the fancy-schmancy doctors catch that in person?

Oh. Maybe palpating a human body is passé because nobody paid $2 million for the doctor’s hands and they’re not used by technicians whose salaries can be leveraged into higher profits. Or maybe insurance companies won’t pay enough to allow both a proper examination and a profitable practice.

I’ve had a client in recently with a troubled family member part of whose problem might be thyroid-related, as was a depression my Mother experienced 50+ years ago. Why don’t doctors consider thyroid more often? Are too many synthetic hormones generic now?

4

If willful ignorance and malevolence are dangerous to democratic deliberation, let’s worry less about liberals’ supposed “Coddling of the American Mind,” as the political provocateur Greg Lukianoff and business-school social psychologist Jonathan Haidt characterized the aims of liberal pedagogy recently in the Atlantic, and let’s look at their own noise-machining of the American mind.

These silky, seemingly professional, but actually rather fragile and occasionally hysterical pundits have been supplementing a Citizens United-inspired strategy that touts “freedom of speech” to shout down and shame people whose struggles against serious injustices occasionally drive them to rhetorical excess. In hounding wayward protesters – more in sorrow than in anger, they claim — Lukianoff, Haidt and the Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf are following a path opened 15 years ago by David Horowitz’s Front Page, John Fund’s thankfully forgotten Wall Street Journal columns, and Daniel Pipes’ Campus Watch.

(Jim Sleeper at Salon)

I’ve deliberately ignored Sleeper’s multiple screeds over the past year. He’s posted thousands of words at outlets like Salon and Alternet attacking me, Jonathan Haidt, Conor Friedersdorf, Todd Gitlin, Jeannie Suk, and others, and he has bizarrely attempted to weave FIRE into his labyrinthine critiques of Citizens United and American capitalism. (I urge readers to check out Sleeper’s weird diatribes for themselves; they’re really something. Here’s a representative example from Salon, a 6,000-plus-word extravaganza.) But since The New York Times made the choice to publish a distilled version of the conspiracy theories he’s written elsewhere—apparently without fact-checking—I must respond.

In his op-ed, Sleeper claims that the video of the confrontation at Yale last fall between professor Nicholas Christakis and a number of angry students “was shot by Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, and posted under a headline, ‘Meet the Privileged Yale Student Who Shrieked at Her Professor,’ with photos of her and her parents’ suburban Connecticut home.”

Anyone reading the sentence would believe not only that I shot the video, which I did, but also that I identified the student and gratuitously posted irrelevant photos of her family’s home. That’s simply a lie. The article Sleeper refers to was published by The Daily Caller after the video went viral. FIRE has never released the name of any of the students involved in the confrontation. Indeed, I’ve been publicly critical of The Daily Caller for doing so.

(Greg Lukianoff)

Advantage, Lukianoff. Sleeper’s warning of a “Citizens United-inspired strategy” really does sound like the ravings of of someone with a weird idée fix.

5

Democrats are hopeful that they’ll “ride an anti-Trump wave to take control of the House and Senate.”

For what it’s worth, I don’t think deeply-distrusted Hillary has coat-tails (er, make that “bridal train”). “Republicans, playing defense, are asking voters to look past Trump and to question whether they really trust Clinton’s party to fix Washington.”

This Presidential race seems sui generis, an aberration, wherein barbarians emerged to take over the GOP Presidential process.  I certainly hope it’s not a harbinger. I personally am feeling no more hostile to the GOP than in past elections — maybe even I’m feeling a little of downticket candidates’ pain, as they try to avoid alienating too many Trump voters.

Sane, please. No raving. No maniacal cackles. (Hmmmm. Maybe his sane demeanor is why I’ve been able to keep my head about Obama while all around me others were losing theirs.)

* * * * *

“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.