Sunday 1/8/17

  1. Orthodox Christmas?
  2. Victim-Americans & American-Americans
  3. No Nukes
  4. The End of Identity Liberalism
  5. Ted Cruz now owns #Benghazi
  6. On shoulders of giants?


January 7 is Christmas in the Orthodox Christian calendar ….

(Religion Clause blog) No, not exactly or unequivocally. A little inside-the-Phanar baseball.

December 25 on the Julian (“Old”) calendar, which many Orthodox retain for religious purposes, is January 7 on the more familiar Gregorian (“New”) Calendar, by which the industrialized world does business.

My parish uses the Gregorian Calendar. But the whole Orthodox Christian world observes Pascha (Easter), our “Feast of Feasts,” on the same day, the calculation of which uses the Julian calendar, not astronomy or the Gregorian calendar, to mark the vernal equinox.

The main argument for keeping the Old Calendar, it seems to me, is that some odd anomalies, like a 1-day Apostles’ Fast, arise when the movable feast of Pascha is injected into the Gregorian calendar for all the fixed feasts.


So, you have your marching orders, right? The video of blacks abusing a white kid has nothing to do with virulent prejudice against whites or Trump, it has to do with Society’s prejudice against the intellectually disabled minority.

Do you understand your mission?

As you know, it is a priori impossible for Victim-Americans to abuse American-Americans. So, the victim must have been a Victim-American.


(Steve Sailer, H/T Rod Dreher)

That’s certainly captures the gist of two New York Times pieces on the Chicago attack, here and here.

I’m skeptical about the existence of a subterranean epidemic of abuse of disabled people (“There are probably thousands of other cases just like this one in Chicago ….” — From the first linked piece), and this does have the feel of “lets shift the focus from race and political malice.”

Mind you, I don’t know what good would have come from focusing on the racial aspect, but had the races of victim and perpetrators been reversed, you know darned well that race, not disability, would have been the focus, and would have tacitly indicted caucasians one and all as Kloset Klansmen.


The Republican majority could eliminate the Senate filibuster on legislation using the same procedure Democrats did in 2013 to end filibusters for all nominees except Supreme Court justices. But before remaking the Senate in the image of the House of Representatives, Republicans might revisit why our Founding Fathers designed the chamber as they did.

In the Senate the founders created a living bulwark to stop an overbearing government from taking root in America. During the Constitutional Convention, James Madison wrote that “the use of the Senate is to consist in its proceeding with more coolness, with more system and with more wisdom, than the popular branch.” George Washington is held to have explained the Senate to Thomas Jefferson with a question: “Why did you pour that tea into your saucer?” Jefferson replied: “To cool it.” Washington then explained: “We pour legislation into the senatorial saucer to cool it.”

Unlike representatives, senators were elected by state legislatures, not by popular vote. The 17th Amendment, ratified in 1913, provided for the popular election of senators, eliminating the insulation from swings in public passion that had been provided by having senators chosen by state legislatures. The Founders also gave senators longer, staggered terms so that only a third of them would stand for election at any one time. The chamber was a continuous body, with each successive Senate bound by its previous rules, unlike the House, which adopts new rules every two years. The House was empowered to act, but the Senate, with its unlimited debate, was empowered to stall. Unlimited debate would impede the institution’s operations unless a broad consensus existed—exactly the constraint that the Founders envisioned.

Republicans are now under pressure to employ the Byrd-Reid precedent to nuke the filibuster on legislation. Yet most Republicans—unlike most Democrats—do not believe that the ends justify the means. They believe that the greatest risk posed by actions taken during the Obama presidency lies not in what was done—which voters rejected, and which can be undone—but in how it was done. If Republicans now follow the Democrats’ lead in overriding historical constraints like the filibuster rule on legislation, the damage to the system might never be repaired. Using Mr. Obama’s methods to overturn his agenda legitimizes his methods, and that is the greater peril for limited government in America.

(Phil Gramm and Michael Solon, Preserve the Filibuster—Then Overcome It: The Senate’s 60-vote threshold is a bulwark of freedom. Instead of nuking it, the GOP should defund Obama’s agenda)


How to explain to the average voter the supposed moral urgency of giving college students the right to choose the designated gender pronouns to be used when addressing them? How not to laugh along with those voters at the story of a University of Michigan prankster who wrote in “His Majesty”?

This campus-diversity consciousness has over the years filtered into the liberal media, and not subtly. Affirmative action for women and minorities at America’s newspapers and broadcasters has been an extraordinary social achievement — and has even changed, quite literally, the face of right-wing media, as journalists like Megyn Kelly and Laura Ingraham have gained prominence. But it also appears to have encouraged the assumption, especially among younger journalists and editors, that simply by focusing on identity they have done their jobs.

Recently I performed a little experiment during a sabbatical in France: For a full year I read only European publications, not American ones. My thought was to try seeing the world as European readers did. But it was far more instructive to return home and realize how the lens of identity has transformed American reporting in recent years. How often, for example, the laziest story in American journalism — about the “first X to do Y” — is told and retold. Fascination with the identity drama has even affected foreign reporting, which is in distressingly short supply. However interesting it may be to read, say, about the fate of transgender people in Egypt, it contributes nothing to educating Americans about the powerful political and religious currents that will determine Egypt’s future, and indirectly, our own. No major news outlet in Europe would think of adopting such a focus.

(From Mark Lilla, The End of Identity Liberalism) I note that this is “from” Lilla because there’s a whole lot more there. This essay, from November 20, seems to have become the hub of a lot of discussion, and deserves to be discussed. Since I’m not a liberal, identity-liberal or otherwise, I’m not sure what I can add except to say that I approve of the tendency of the items I’ve quoted.


Some GOP Senators have something even uglier than “the nuclear option” going:

Just so we’re clear, three American senators including those who were screaming #BENGHAZI for the last several years have put forward a bill that would freeze half the State Department funding on embassy security until the new secretary of state reports to Congress that the US Embassy in Jerusalem has “officially opened.”

(Diplopundit) The three Senators are Ted Cruz (who demonstrated convincingly that he doesn’t give a shit about mideast Christians who don’t follow his dispensationalist-tinged Israel policy), Marco Rubio (whose parents raised him better than that) and Dean Heller (R, NV, who, befitting his home state, does know how to gamble with other peoples’ lives).

I have never heard anyone speculate on the origins and functions of irony, but I can say with confidence that it is only a little less pervasive in our universe than carbon.

(Marilynne Robinson, Cosmology, an essay in When I Was a Child, I Read Books)


We do not stand on the shoulders of giants, but rather on a pyramid of dwarves and the only thing we learn from the past is that those who came before us were a pack of incompetents blessed with a few individuals who had the wisdom to tell them that they were a pack of useless idiots and ignore them.

(Charles Cosimano, one of the ideologically diverse frequent flyers at Rod Dreher’s blog, affectionately known as Uncle Chuckie, the founder of Cosimanian Orthodoxy)

* * * * *

“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.

One thought on “Sunday 1/8/17

  1. Perhaps Rep. Justin Amash, a member of St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church in Grand Rapids, MI, can talk some sense into Cruz and co.

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