Wednesday 1/11/17

  1. Clock Boy fail
  2. The Perennial Questions
  3. Jail Hillary?
  4. Will SOCE reach SCOTUS?
  5. Russia & WikiLeaks
  6. World’s Slimiest Obituary?
  7. Meryl Streep, Trump Mole
  8. You say “Rome,” I say “Crusades”


Hurray! “Clock Boy’s” defamation suit has been dismissed on SLAPP grounds and sanctions may be imposed!

During the lengthy hearing, Judge Moore pressed Mohamed’s lawyer, Fort Worth attorney Susan Hutchison, to provide any facts that would suggest that Hanson and the other defendants had said anything false or defamatory about Mohamed or his son during the television broadcasts.  After spending a painfully embarrassing 15 minutes flipping through reams of paper, Mohamed’s lawyer was unable to provide any such evidence.

At the conclusion of the hearing, Judge Moore took the matter under advisement but informed the parties that she would rule by the end of the day.  Today, the Court published Judge Moore’s ruling dismissing the lawsuit against Hanson and CSP with prejudice.

The block quote bears the marks of its source, an unseemly endzone dance of the American Freedom Law Center, but suffices to convey that the defamation suit was filed to send a message “STFU,” not because Ahmed Mohamed was defamed by any of the defendants. Take the rest of the press release with a grain of salt.

I assume that Clock Boy himself is a bit of a pawn, as the lawsuit was pushed by his father. I have lamented how rarely SLAPP defenses succeed, so this was a bright spot in my day.


Mark Lilla’s essay (which I visited earlier this week) continues yielding insights:

But the fixation on diversity in our schools and in the press has produced a generation of liberals and progressives narcissistically unaware of conditions outside their self-defined groups, and indifferent to the task of reaching out to Americans in every walk of life. At a very young age our children are being encouraged to talk about their individual identities, even before they have them. By the time they reach college many assume that diversity discourse exhausts political discourse, and have shockingly little to say about such perennial questions as class, war, the economy and the common good. In large part this is because of high school history curriculums, which anachronistically project the identity politics of today back onto the past, creating a distorted picture of the major forces and individuals that shaped our country.

(Emphasis added)


Nothing new under the sun:

My first childhood memory of presidential politics goes back to the 1944 presidential election. “We want Roosevelt, where, where? We want Roosevelt in the White House chair” we grammar-school kids in my largely Jewish Rogers Park neighborhood chanted. “We want Dewey, where, where? We want Dewey in the electric chair.”

Jail for Hillary seems mild (and deserved) in comparison. The rest of Joseph Epstein’s farewell to Obama is good, too.


Washington, D.C.–Pacific Justice Institute filed a petition earlier this week with the United States Supreme Court to continue the fight to protect free speech for licensed counselors.

The Writ of Certiorari filed with the Supreme Court is the next step to furthering the battle to protect freedom of religion and freedom of speech for individuals both giving and receiving counseling.

“If the Supreme Court grants our petition for Certiorari, this will be the most important freedom of religion case for this year and will impact the rights of counseling ministries across the country, potentially for generations to come,” said Brad Dacus, President and Founder of PJI.

Since the passing of SB 1172, which bars licensed counselors from assisting youth who want to change or reduce same-sex attractions, PJI has worked to defend counseling that takes place within church walls. The law also prohibits counseling that would steer youth away from gender confusion.

Last year, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals disregarded PJI’s concerns over freedom of religion and individual privacy by their rejection to review legal authorities brought to the court’s attention.

PJI originally filed suit against SB 1172 in 2012 and is committed to continue the fight for an individual’s right to seek counseling in agreement with their faith without state interference.

(Pacific Justice Institute press release) Note how the release shifts between free speech and freedom of religion? The boundaries really aren’t very crisp.

I’m on record as skeptical about the efficacy of reparative therapy (I guess SOCE, “sexual orientation change efforts” is the term du jour), but I tend to view laws like SB 1172 as intrusions on professional judgment. I’m skeptical not only of the efficacy of the treatments, but also of the legislature effectively telling kids “you cannot change” — particularly ironic in this era when every other aspect of identity is up for self-revision.

But the legislative history on this Bill is full of signs of anti-religious animus (see the excellent Questions Presented section in the Certiorari Petition), and that’s particularly troubling.

I’ll leave it at that because an adequate treatment would require more time than I care to devote to it.


[T]he WikiLeaks stories simply confirmed what Americans already knew: that Clinton was dishonest and corrupt.

Moreover, most of the stories that helped Americans reach those conclusions had nothing to do with Russia or WikiLeaks. It was the New York Times that broke the story that Clinton used a private server while she was secretary of state. It was The Post that revealed the Clinton Foundation had accepted millions of dollars in donations from foreign governments while Clinton was secretary of state. It was the Wall Street Journal that exposed the deal Clinton had cut with a Swiss bank to protect tax-dodging Americans while the bank gave $1.5 million in speaking fees to Bill Clinton and $600,000 to the Clinton Foundation. It was ABC News that revealed that the Clinton State Department gave special treatment to “FOBs” (friends of Bill) and “WJC VIPs” (William Jefferson Clinton VIPs) after the Haiti earthquake. It was NBC News that reported that the FBI had discovered emails that appeared to be germane to the Clinton email scandal on a computer seized during an investigation of disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner. And it was FBI Director James B. Comey who told the American people that Clinton had been “extremely careless” and the “definition of negligent” in handling classified information.

Clinton can’t blame Russian President Vladimir Putin or WikiLeaks for any of that.

(Mark A. Thiessen)


The Rev. Marvin Gorman, who prompted Jimmy Swaggart’s downfall in the ’80s, dies at 83

(Washington Post) This is about as unedifying an obituary as you’ll ever have a chance to read. But if you think “I’m praying for Jimmy” excuses the well-deserved knife in the back, you might like Michael Eric Dyson’s “sermon” Tears We Cannot Stop, too.

It was like this in the time of the Holy Roman Empire and such power struggles were true in days of the medieval popes. I have seen unmistakable evidence that . . . Jimmy Swaggart was attempting to orchestrate the ouster of Jim Bakker.

(Norman Roy Grutman, lawyer for one of the vipers — Jim Bakker, I think)


Last comments on Meryl Streep’s Golden Globe acceptance speech.

It’s becoming a media circus, heavily featuring Rage Monkeys. Streep, I’m convinced, was wrong about Trump mocking the reporter for his disability (a myth I believed a scant 48 hours ago). Her talk was completely uncourageous, considering her audience, and exhibited the same sorts of condescension toward tens of millions of Americans that fueled the Trump campaign.

As someone put it, is she secretly on Trump’s payroll?

Meanwhile, the New York Times keeps perpetuating the myth about mockery of a reporter for his disability.


Thomas Williams, a former priest who serves as the Rome bureau chief for Breitbart News, gives the expanding organization a foothold in the ancestral home of the Crusades.

(New York Times digital teaser) What kind of ideology makes someone think of the Crusades automatically when they think of Rome? And what does the last clause of this, from the story itself, mean?:

Mr. Williams’s current mission, since 2014, is in the service of Breitbart News, the populist, right-wing website that backed Donald J. Trump in his run for the presidency and is popular with the alt-right, an extremist and often xenophobic movement that embraces white nationalism.

The website is now hoping to buoy Europe’s surging anti-immigrant parties by spreading into Germany and France. But for years, Breitbart has had a presence in London, Jerusalem and Rome, which is perhaps most important for its imagining of itself as an expanding empire with a foothold in the ancestral home of the Crusades.

This appears to be the left-leaning counterpart to the Washington Free Beacon, which styled Meryl Streep’s Gold Globes acceptance speech as a “blistering attack on Israel.” I’m not making that up. But did anyone ever think the Free Beacon was engaged in actual journalism?

* * * * *

“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.