Domani Spero’s Excellent Adventure

    1. Some animals are more equal
    2. The Achilles Heel of Christian Education
    3. Demanding actual qualifications is sooooo last week!
    4. Business out of politics?
    5. Animal House lives!
    6. Just sayin’
    7. Domani Spero’s Excellent Adventure
    8. Very, very baddest poison

1

It is a wonderful thing when unprincipled flip-floppers are caught red-handed:

Under “Freedom of Expression in the Arts and Entertainment,” the ACLU says “a free society is based on the principle that each and every individual has the right to decide what art or entertainment he or she wants – or does not want – to receive or create.”

Precisely. Simple, clear, common sense. It’s also exactly what graphic designers, photographers, and floral and cake artists across America have been saying for years in trying to defend themselves against ACLU attorneys and their allies.

It’s a puzzle. If, in fact, “each and every individual” has the right to artistic self-determination, shouldn’t Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski, Elaine Huguenin, Barronelle Stutzman, and Jack Phillips have that right? Shouldn’t the ACLU be advocating for these artists’ freedom — instead of applauding, and in some cases, spearheading, efforts to destroy them?

Recognizing how fickle public tastes and social mores can be, the ACLU website stresses how important it is that we conscientiously protect the civil rights of all American artists, whatever their views: “Freedom of expression for ourselves requires freedom of expression for others. It is at the very heart of our democracy.”

But not quite at the heart of the ACLU itself, whose cardiac regions grow unaccountably cold at the prospect of defending the freedom of artists whose creative decisions are grounded in beliefs that ACLU attorneys find hard to fathom. In those cases, it seems, ACLU attorneys, like Orwell’s swine, hold that: “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

(Chris Potts, ACLU Talks A Big Game About Free Speech While Attacking It Unrelentingly) More specifically, gay animals are categorically more equal than religious animals.

2

I said the other day that sports is the Achilles Heel of Red States. I forgot to mention that accreditation is the Achilles Heel of Christian Education.

Just you watch. Putatively private accreditors like the Higher Learning Commission will begin imposing LGBTQetc. orthodoxy as a required mark of a minimally acceptable college or university — and then, instead of all hell breaking loose, most “Christian” colleges and universities will demonstrate where their true loyalties lie.

Evangelical Colleges and “Universities” (some Colleges affect the “university” title) may be among the first to capitulate since they are already suspected of intellectual disreputability and social oppressiveness, and value every talisman of respectability. Catholic institutions should be somewhat more resistant because of their famous intellectual rigor in some areas and general avoidance of Biblicism, Creationism, etc.

3

Politicians aren’t always as dumb or cynical as they sound, but you wouldn’t know that from Wednesday’s confirmation hearing for Scott Gottlieb. Democrats criticized the nominee to run the Food and Drug Administration for the “conflict of interest” of knowing too much about the industries he’d regulate.

Washington Senator Patty Murray and other Democrats devoted most of the morning to agitating about Dr. Gottlieb’s “unprecedented financial entanglements” because he has consulted for various companies and invested in health-care start-ups. Rhode Island’s Sheldon Whitehouse flopped in with a strange remark about “dark money operations,” which is an amusing way to describe financial disclosures available on the internet.

Bernie Sanders, never one to be hamstrung by knowledge, tweeted Wednesday that it was a “disgrace” to have an FDA commissioner who has taken money from drug companies. These are the same committee Democrats who pummeled Betsy DeVos for not having enough experience in public education.

(WSJ Review & Outlook)

4

In a February online survey by consulting firm Frank N. Magid Associates of 2,500 people, nearly two-thirds of respondents said businesses should stay out of politics.

(Khadeeja Safdar, How Target Botched Its Response to the North Carolina Bathroom Law)

I wish I knew more about that survey. Businesses won’t stay out of politics because politics won’t stay away from regulating business.

But I do wish business would stay away from virtue signaling — both of the progressive kind (e.g., Target’s blog boo-boo) and the Christianish kind (e.g., instructing employees to utter hearty “Merry Christmases” to customers).

5

Higher education: those magical seven years between high school and your first warehouse job. (H/T George Will, The ‘alternative facts’ epidemic goes way beyond politics)

Years when students demand to run institutions that the students insist should treat them as fragile children.

“It is,” Nichols writes, “a new Declaration of Independence: no longer do we hold these truths to be self-evident, we hold all truths to be self-evident, even the ones that aren’t true. All things are knowable and every opinion on any subject is as good as any other.” In the movie “Animal House,” when the epically unruly fraternity is hauled before the student court, the fraternity member who is going to defend it, when asked by a fellow member if he knows what he is doing, replies, “Take it easy, I’m pre-law.” When someone says, “I thought you were pre-med,” he replies, “What’s the difference?” What indeed.

6

Compared to the chaos on many university campuses, I respect the restraint of Johns Hopkins hospital in handling what must have become a bone of contention over the last 38 years: the decision by Dr. Paul McHugh in 1979 to suspend sex-reassignment surgery because, in effect, he concluded from the available evidence that it medicalized the psychological problem of gender dysphoria and produced no real benefit for the patients.

Unless you think that surgeons should have no more scope for professional judgment than does the order-taker at the golden arches — unless, in other words, you think “cut, the patient said” is high trump, and a surgeon must do whatever vanity surgery or ill-advised surgery is demanded — his position in light of the evidence he cited was sound.

Now Johns Hopkins is resuming those surgeries. The Washington Post gives a pretty good description of the whole story except for one suspicious de-emphasis: has the evidence Dr. McHugh relied on really been discredited, or has the transgender juggernaut merely made it socially untenable not to resume these faddishly fashionable body mutilations?

The story do include passing conclusory claims that the science against surgical intervention is obsolete, but there is suspiciously little detail and no citation of any of the superior and superseding studies.

Just sayin’.

7

If you asked Donald Trump, he’d probably insist that his administration has the very, very best sense of humor of any administration, ever, anywhere in the cosmos. Last Saturday proves otherwise.

[W]hen he posted the two Stroh emails (on top of the joke cable that stays up to this day), he noted that he had posted April Fools’ Day cables during the nine years he has been writing the blog. But he said he had never been asked to take them down before. “Until now,” he wrote.

“We’d love to know which very senior people from the 7th floor forgot to bring their humor machine to Foggy Bottom,” he wrote, referring to the floor on which Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his closest aides work. “But congrats to the State Department’s new overlords tasked with supporting the principles of a free press and free expression.

“It must be um … hard when every day feels like April Fools’ Day.”

8

It’s very, very good that the Trump administration uses the very, very most good words and the very, very most bestest logicalness to say things to voters who read, listen and think like some peoples in kindergarten. I dinnit think they’d do so good.

President Trump seed bad TV of Syria poison stuff (yechhhh!) and it maded him very, very sad. He sayed so.

Fancy-pantses call him poopy-head for that:

The question we should ask ourselves when contemplating these pictures is not simply “Must this be stopped?” We know the answer to that question: Of course it ought to be. But the real question is this: Should the emotion generated by these pictures elicit our consent for the United States military, under President Trump, to intervene even more aggressively on behalf of al Qaeda in Syria, under the legal authority of a 2001 act of Congress declaring war on al Qaeda?

Let us not mince words: That is what is being asked. Becoming al Qaeda’s air force never made any moral or strategic sense for the United States at any time in the last four years, and it makes even less sense now.

Remember, too, that we know very little about what is actually happening in Syria. We are at the mercy of propagandists just to get basic information. As Patrick Cockburn, the brave Middle East correspondent observed, “The real reason that reporting of the Syrian conflict has been so inadequate is that Western news organizations have almost entirely outsourced their coverage to the rebel side.”

(Michael Brendan Dougherty, America Can’t Save Syria. And It Shouldn’t Try)

* * * * *

“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.

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