Monday, February 29, 2016

Surprise, Surprise: Herald-Leader story on SB 180 repeats Fairness Alliance propaganda.

Most of the news stories on Senate Bill 180 were pretty good, but the Herald-Leader story by John Cheves could have been written by the Fairness Allliance, whose commitment to truth and accuracy on its pet issues is, shall we say, tenuous:

A Senate committee approved two “religious liberty” bills Thursday, one to legally protect businesses that don’t want to serve gay, lesbian or transgender customers because of the owners’ religious objections, and the other to protect religious expression in public schools.

The first measure, Senate Bill 180, would prohibit the government from compelling services or actions from anyone if doing so conflicts with their sincerely held religious beliefs. The bill expands the state’s 2013 Religious Freedom Restoration Act to clarify that businesses could not be punished in such cases for violating local ordinances that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Um, hold on there, Pardner.
Under this description, a reader could infer that someone coming into a restaurant could be denied service by a waiter because he was gay. This is, of course, part of the Fairness Alliance's propaganda. The problem is that it isn't true.

The bill only those cases in which, because of the nature of the service, the service provider is essentially being asked to participate or endorse the activity for which the service is being requested. It does not apply to the vast majority of business situations. We're talking only about those cases like the Oregon baker and the New Mexico photographer who are essentially being asked to participate in an event to which they have religious objections. Not the waiter at Shoney's or the cashier at Wal-Mart.

A Jewish restaurant owner should be required to serve everyone, but he shouldn't be required to serve pork.

The fact that the Herald-Leader is willing to serve as the mouthpiece for the Fairness Alliance isn't all that surprising, of course. It sold its soul long ago. The problem is that newspapers that sell their souls start selling fewer papers, which is one reason why few people are crying many tears about the demise of liberal big city newspapers like the Herald-Leader.

Cheves, incidentally, is the same reporter who wrote about a couple of people at the rally for the Marriage Amendment in 2004 holding signs saying "God Hates Fags" and conveniently forgot to mention that the crowd shouted them down.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Family Foundation calls on State Senate to stop anti-religious bullying

Yesterday's press release from The Family Foundation:

February 27, 2016

LEXINGTON, KY—The Family Foundation today called on State Senators to pass SB 180, a bill that would ensure that businesses owned by religious individuals are not forced to provide a service that would directly involve them in an activity that violates their religious convictions.

"SB 180 would put a stop to the anti-religious bullying we are starting to see that forces people to violate their religious beliefs by directly enrolling them in certain activities they have religious objections to," said Martin Cothran, spokesman for the group.

"The increasing aggressiveness and intolerance we are seeing from certain groups in our society is going to produce more Kim Davises unless we act now to draw clear boundaries that protect people from being bullied for exercising their First Amendment rights."

Cothran said SB 180 would not affect the vast majority of common services offered by businesses because most services do not have this character. "This bill does not affect the obligation of a waiter at a restaurant to serve a plate of food or a cashier at Wal-Mart to sell bananas. It only addresses those special and limited cases in which the service being requested involves the business owner in the activity."

"A Jewish restaurant owner should be required to serve everybody," he said. "But he shouldn't be required to serve pork."

Cothran cited cases such as the Christian couple who owned a Christian bakery in Oregon who was sued, fined $144,000 and lost their business because they could not in good conscience participate in a same-sex wedding and a Christian photographer in New Mexico who was sued because she chose not to photograph a same-sex wedding. "We are going to have more and more of these kinds of cases in Kentucky without the protections outlined in SB 180."


Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Funeral of a Great Man: Antonin #Scalia and the possibility of greatness

When Ronald Reagan's funeral was held in 2004, I said that it was the last hero's funeral we would see in our lifetimes—and perhaps for a lot longer than that.

I was wrong.

I was right in thinking that our time is not conducive to heroes. Our modern society is not conducive to heroism at all. Heroism requires a sense of greatness that we seemingly lack. We hesitate to say that someone is "great" because we question the very idea of greatness.

St. Thomas Aquinas, in the fourth of his five arguments for the existence of God, argued that, when we that one thing is "better" than another, in other words (or "worse" for that matter), we assume the existence of the Best. Saying something has a degree of some perfection is to assume the existence of the perfect ideal of that perfection--as well as its complete absence. Unless we believe this, then the various degrees of these ideas we attribute to things makes no sense--words like "kinder," "happier," "nobler," are mere nonsense words.

But we do use these words. We can't seem to help using superlatives and comparatives that assume such a perfection despite our modern nominalist mindset that denies the existence of the perfection that makes the ideas behind such words possible at all.

We can't seem to shake greatness.

And every once in a while, someone comes along who we can't help but attribute to. Justice Scalia was one of these. 

If you watched today's funeral, you saw once again that heroism is still possible, and that when it appears in some high degree, even those who purport to reject the perfection of which the person is an approximation have to acknowledge it.
All such greatness requires is courage in the face of falsity and evil. Again and again, Scalia wrote in defense of truth and goodness. He did it intelligently, unapologetically—and joyously. Scalia was everything that a conservative should be.
Scalia's achievement as a great conservative stands in stark contrast to those who wilted in the face of political pressure on issues like marriage, afraid that someone might call them names. The abject abandonment of principle that has characterized the conservative movement in recent years on social issues underscores just how significant Scalia's achievement was.

Today's mass for Justice Antonin Scalia was a stirring and beautiful acknowledgment of this achievement.

There are still heroes. Greatness is still possible. All it takes is for one man--a man who knows the Perfection of which he is an approximation—to embody it.

Watch this video of Scalia's son Paul. A great eulogy for a great man.

Friday, February 19, 2016

The first shot in the war to defend French literature from the new breed of anti-humanities conservatives

My son Tim testified in the Senate Education Meeting yesterday in favor of Senate Bill 75 alongside bill sponsor Sen. Dan Seum (R-Louisville). The bill would impose a moratorium on state university tuition increases for four years. 

What I liked was the incidental remark in his testimony about the fact that, as a philosophy student at the University of Kentucky, he reads French literature, a reference to Gov. Matt Bevin's recent statement that "All the people in the world that [sic] want to study French literature can do so, they are just not going to be subsidized by the taxpayer."

The Governor's unfortunate remark is just one example of the new breed of conservatives who like to hate on the humanities and who don't see the importance of passing on Western civilization.

We'll be taking up arms here at Vital Remants in defense of French literature in the coming weeks. My son's remark could be the shot heard round the state.

Vive la littérature Française!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Liberals practicing the very method of interpretation on the Constitutional procedure to replace Scalia that #Scalia despised

I have already addressed the Constitutional requirements of the President and Senate in regard to filling the now vacant seat on the Supreme Court in my previous post: The President is clearly obliged to nominate a replacement for Scalia, but the Senate is not obliged to confirm it.

There really are people out there who are silly enough to argue that the Senate is required to consent to whoever the president nominates. But that is clearly meaningless. If someone is required to consent, then it is not consent. Consent necessarily involves willful agreement. That's what the word, from the French, literally means: to feel together. If consent were required, then it would not be necessary at all. If that's what the Constitution meant, then it would just have said that the President gets to appoint. Period. End of story. 

Isn't it ironic that the people who want the Senate to roll over and play dead when Obama tries to replace Scalia use the very technique of textual interpretation that Scalia despised when applied to the Constitution (or anywhere else)? 

To a textualist, the meaning of the language governing the replacement of Supreme Court justices is fairly clear. But liberals think they have the right to make words mean whatever they want them to mean. "Marriage." "Family." "Child" (the literal meaning of the Latin fetus)—and to enforce their made-up meanings on everyone else.

I can just imagine what Scalia would have said about this, and it isn't pretty.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Family Foundation calls proposed law, "Religious Discrimination Act of 2016"

Below is today's press release from The Family Foundation on HB 155:


FEBRUARY 14, 20165

LEXINGTON, KY—The Family Foundation today announced its opposition to House Bill 155, a gay rights bill which the group says will worsen the problem of discrimination against people of faith in the Commonwealth. The group called HB 155 the "Religious Discrimination Act of 2016."

"This bill will be used as a club to punish Christian business owners whose religious beliefs prevent them from towing the liberal party line on gender issues," said Martin Cothran, spokesman for the group. "This bill will sacrifice Christian-owned businesses on the altar of Political Correctness."

Under the guise of civil rights, the bill would force Christian-owned businesses to violate their religious principles when in hiring employees and could force some Christian-owned businesses out of business altogether, said Cothran.

He said that similar local laws in Kentucky have already been used to force Christian business owners to participate in events that violate their religious beliefs. He pointed to a Lexington T-shirt company that a local human rights commission prosecuted when the Christian business owner refused to take part in the promotion of a gay rights event. "The Religious Discrimination Act of 2016 will further worsen the targeting of Christians who just want to mind their own mind their own business and go about their lives without being persecuted for their religious beliefs."

HB 155 has been posted for passage in the House Judiciary Committee.


Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Mitch Factor: How the Senate can block a recess appointment by Obama

In the wake of Justice Antonin Scalia's death, some of the talk on the news shows has been about what the President and the Senate can and can't do in regard to Supreme Court appointments. According to Article II, Section II of the Constitution--the Article that outlines the powers of the executive branch, the president ...

shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, ... Judges of the supreme Court ... whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law.

Note that nothing here says that the Senate has to let Obama make an appointment. Obama can attempt it, and the Senate has ways under their rules, to block it. Nothing in this section prevents the Senate from doing it.

But then there's a provision that looks very ominous from a conservative perspective:

The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

This is the provision that has gotten some attention in the discussion over Scalia's successor, an option some are calling the "nuclear option": Obama can simply make a recess appointment to replace him and the Senate can't do a thing about it. 

But there are three things about this. The first is that it could have negative political consequences. All those liberals who are now talking about the obligation the Senate has to allow a debate on the President's nominee would have to do a complete about face, since the nuclear option here would prevent a debate as well. But, then again, liberals do about faces all the time.

Secondly, such an appointment would appear to be temporary: "by granting Commission which shall expire at the End of their next Session." So, even if Obama did make a recess appointment, the Senate would still have to confirm it, before a certain time. If Obama tries to do this, he will have to do it between Dec. 18 and the first week of January, 2017. But if he does this, the appointment will expire with about a week to spare at the end of the year, which is when the session ends. So even in this case, the appointment would only be for about a year. This is still bad for conservatives, but not quite as bad.

But it is the final consideration here which is the most significant because it is the most likely to actually happen. It is the way, which a friend of mine who is in a position to know these issues points out, that will prevent Obama from making any kind of recess appointment. It is this: the Senate simply does not go into recess. This is completely under the control of Sen. Mitch McConnell. He has to know this--and surely has already figured it out.

McConnell checkmates Obama. Watch it happen.

The Supreme Court is NOT "balanced" after Scalia's death

Jeffrey Toobin said on CNN this morning what liberals keep saying: that with Scalia's death the U.S. Supreme Court is evenly split between liberals and conservatives. And since it is now evenly split, the decision of who to replace him with is a debate over the ideological balance of a currently balanced Court. And since Obama is president and the Constitution gives him the right to appoint justices, he's got the right to tip it any way he wants.

Of course, this is nonsense. There is no "balanced Court" now. This is a fiction being pedaled by people who themselves want to push the Court further to the left than it already is. 

The Balanced Court Thesis is premised on the assumption that Justice Anthony Kennedy is a conservative.

This is the man who wrote the Obergefell decision which deprived states of the right to define marriage, a right they have always possessed and which was overturned in the face of countervailing precedent and on the absurd ground that the 14th Amendment required it. It was as politically liberal a decision as the Court has ever handed down. And it is far from Kennedy's only such decision.

The Court is not balanced 4-4, it is at least left-leaning and on many of the most important issues, it is imbalanced 5-3 in favor of liberals. Conservatives need to start pointing this out.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

How Justice #Scalia 's death could change the presidential race

The news that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is dead comes at extraordinary time: right in the middle of a presidential campaign. For this to happen now will bring the discussion of who gets to form the court for another generation to the level it deserves.

The fact is that this issue--who will get to appoint a likely several justices--has not been a significant part of the discussion among presidential candidates as it should have been. Now it will. In fact, watch for it in tonight's debate. It could very well change the whole character of the race--in the primaries and in the general election.

And watch this benefit Ted Cruz, who not only graduated from Harvard Law School, but, as solicitor general of Texas, argued eight times before the Supreme Court. 

Oh, and watch Obama try to appoint a liberal successor to the conservative Scalia in the face of a Repbulican-led Congress. It will tell us a lot about Republican leadership there and how willing they are to fight for conservative values.

And it will tell us a lot about the consistency of liberals who, when a liberal justice dies, talk about the importance of keeping a "balance" on the Court.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Fewer Americans are getting married, and that's a bad thing

From the Daily Signal:

Marriage is especially important for children. Fifty years of social science has shown that kids do better on a wide range of outcomes when they grow up in homes with their married biological parents.

Unfortunately for children being born in America today, marriage is becoming rarer. According to the Heritage Foundation’s 2015 Index of Culture and Opportunity, the marriage rate dropped continually between 2002 and 2012 to reach its lowest point in history. During almost the same ten years, the percentage of children born outside marriage grew by 6 percentage points. In 2014, over 40 percent of children were born to unmarried mothers.

This is a problem.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Have liberals educated themselves out of thinking straight?

S. M. Hutchins, on the Intelligence of Liberals:
I have seen much evidence of high intelligence and strategic thinking among liberals.  When they give themselves as a class credit, as they always do, for superior intellect, I am bound to concur, since to become a liberal one must have the ability to be trained in overcoming, in the name of reason, the morality and common sense that are naturally present to  the human mind.  One would have difficulty making a calculating liberal of a someone who is not smart enough to be educated out of thinking straight.  
Read the rest here.

Monday, February 08, 2016

My predictions on tomorrow's New Hampshire Republican presidential primary

First Place: Donald Trump, but he won't get over 30 percent, and he might get less. This will be views as a mediocre performance
Second Place: Ted Cruz. His data-driven campaign, which is beyond compare, will have him exceeding his place in the polls all campaign season.
Third Place: John Kasitch. He's had a good last few days and he has the only positive commercials in the last days of the campaign, making him stand out from the other candidates.
Fourth Place (tie): Chris Christie. He scored with his attacks on Rubio in the debate.
Fourth Place (tie): Marco Rubio. He was scored on by Christie's attacks.
Fourth Place (tie): Jeb Bush. He scored againt Trump in the debate.
Fifth Place: Ben Carson. The evangelical votes just aren't there in NH. Also, he has been turning in very mediocre debate performances.

Sixth Place: Carly Fiorina. She just hasn't had any attention paid to her. Being excluded from the debate really hurt.

Thank you Ted Cruz, the only Republican candidate who doesn't want to draft your daughters

After Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and Chris Christie gave their imbecilic responses to Martha Radditz's question about drafting women into a military that now places women on combat positions, the debate proceeded on to other questions. It was hard to believe that none of the other supposedly conservative candidates didn't have another view.

As it turns out, one of them did. From Politico:

“I have to admit, as I was sitting there listening to that conversation, my reaction was, ‘Are you guys nuts?’” Cruz said Sunday, speaking at a town hall here. “Listen, we have had enough with political correctness, especially in the military. Political correctness is dangerous. And the idea that we would draft our daughters to forcibly bring them into the military and put them in close combat, I think is wrong, it is immoral, and if I am president, we ain’t doing it.”

To applause, Cruz went on to note that he is a father to two daughters, and he wants them to follow their dreams.

“But the idea that their government would forcibly put them in a foxhole with a 220-pound psychopath trying to kill them doesn’t make any sense at all,” he said.

Read the rest here.

Of courseLet's see if I've got this straight: We're going to draft both men and women into the military, but we're going to force men into combat positions, but give women the option in the name of equal treatment? Wouldn't treating men and women equally mean either mandating both to serve in combat or giving both the option? I'm soooo confused about this new equality regime.

Rubio, Bush, Christie cheer Obama's move to draft women into combat roles

Marco Rubio: "I support that."
When three Republicans presidential candidates expressed support for drafting women into a military with combat positions now open to women in last Saturday night's New Hampshire debate, it confirmed the fact that the national Republican Party is in the final throes of its abandonment of the social issues banner under which it has faithfully marched since Ronald Reagan.

ABC moderator Martha Raddatz, married to a Harvard Law professor and who had Obama as a guest at her wedding, was clearly surprised at the answers she was getting from Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, and Jeb Bush, who were, to a man (not a terribly chivalrous man) supportive of forcing women to register for the draft. Each of these candidates had his own manifestly nonsensical reason for his position.

She first asked the question about registering women for the draft of Rubiomatic:

Raddatz: "Many of you have young daughters. Senator Rubio, should young women be required to sign up for selective service in case of a national emergency?"

Rubio: "Well first, let me say there are already women serving today in roles that are like combat, that in fact whose lives are in very serious danger. So I have no problem whatsoever with people of either gender serving in combat, so long as the minimum requirements necessary to do the job are not compromised. But I support that. And, obviously, now that that is the case I do believe that selective service should be opened up for both men and for women in case a draft is ever instituted.”

In other words, we're already doing it, therefore it can't be wrong (moral philosophy is clearly not in Rubio's wheelhouse). Also, Memo to Rubio: They always change the minimum requirements when it comes to including women in roles in the military. Always. What makes you think they aren't going to do it again?

Rubio also made the argument that we should be able to conscript women into military service because we need to strengthen our military. What's next? Drafting children and old people?

Then came Bush:

Raddatz: “Gov. Bush … Do you believe that young women should sign up for selective service—be required to do so?"

Bush: “I do. I do. And I think that we should not impose any kind of political agenda on the military. There should be—if women can meet the requirements, the minimum requirements, for combat service, they ought to have the right to do it, for sure.”

If there had been a gong indicating "failed answer," it should have sounded right then. Raddatz was plainly perplexed:

Raddatz: “Tell me what you would say to American people out there, who are sitting at home, who have daughters, who might worry about those answers?"

Bush: “Why would they worry about it?” [Editorial comment: Duh.]

Raddatz: “--and might worry that the draft is reinstituted?"

Bush: “Well, the draft is not going to be reinstituted. But why—if women are accessing—”

Raddatz: “But you can just do away with it?”

Bush: “No, I didn’t say that. You asked the question not about the draft, you asked about registering. And if women are going to be supporting-- ”

Raddatz: “You register for the draft—if it’s reinstituted.”

Bush: “But we don’t have a draft. I’m not suggesting we have a draft. What I’m suggesting is that we ought to have readiness being the first priority of our military, and secondly that we make sure that the moral is high. And right now neither one of those is acceptable because we have been gutting the military budget. We also need to reform our procurement process. We need to make sure that there are more men and women in uniform than civilians in our Defense Department. There’s a lot of things that we need to do to reform, to bring our defense capabilities into the 21st century and I am the guy that can do that. That’s why I have the support of generals of admirals of 12 Medal of Honor recipients and many other people that know I would be a steady commander in chief and rebuild our military.

That's right: The clueless Bush attempted to make a distinction between women registering for the draft, which he said he supported, and actually drafting them, of which he sort of, kind of seemed to imply he was not necessarily in favor. The question of how someone could be in favor of making women register for the draft and not be in favor of actually drafting them would require an answer of Byzantine complexity—one which the Jeb Bushes of this world are constitutionally ill-fit to negotiate.
Then Chris Christie dug the hole deeper:

Christie: “Martha, can I be really clear on this, because I am the father of two daughters—one of them is here tonight. What my wife and I have taught our daughters right from the beginning: that their sense of self-worth, their sense of value, their sense of what they want to do with their life comes not from the outside but comes from within. And if a young woman in this country wants to go and fight to defend her country she should be permitted to do so. And part of that also needs to be a part of a greater effort in this country. So, there is no reason why one young woman should be discriminated against from registering for the selecting service. The fact is we need to be a party and a people that makes sure that our women in this country understand anything they can dream, anything they want to aspire to, they can do. That’s the way we raised our daughters and that’s what we should aspire to as president for all the women in our country.”

So, in Christie's world—as in Barack Obama's—military personnel policy is a matter of womens' rights. Glad we cleared that up. If we're going to agree with Obama on political first principles, then what do we have Republicans for?

Left unremarked at the debate was that it was the social revolutionaries in the Obama administration, not women themselves, who pushed for women in combat positions. Women have not been agitating to be pressed into combat roles in the military. These changes are being made by radical egalitarians who want to tear down every traditional gender role in favor of the liberal utopia they all want in which gender plays no role at all.

I'm trying to think why anyone would want to live in such a banal and uninteresting world.

Of course, that would destroy their entire case against sexual harassment against women in the military, a position completely dependent upon the assumption that women are weaker vessels than men and who stand in need of protection.

As these answers on the selective service were coming from the mouths of three ostensible conservatives—answers that could easily have come from the mouths of Obama and Hillary Clinton—the rest of the field of candidates stood by silent, in tacit acquiescence to this position, it underscored just how one-dimensional the Party has become. The national Republican Party leadership is now made up almost exclusively of economic Johnny one-notes.

[NOTE: Ted Cruz contested these remarks today and spoke out against drafting women. I'll post about that tomorrow.]

The national Republican Party was largely missing-in-action on the marriage debate that has utterly redefined society's most crucial institution. The inaction and seeming disinterest in the face of the wholesale distortion of the Constitutional process and their relative silence on the importance of children being raised in homes with a mother and a father was an act of complicity (albeit by omission) which directly led to the demise of  traditional marriage, which died, not with a bang, but with a whimper.

There are candidates who say (but only when asked) that they are opposed to the redefinition of marriage, but it is largely absent from their campaign rhetoric and no one of them that I know of has said what they would do about it.

Some national Republican leaders—alleged conservatives who would be appalled if the procedure used to redefine marriage were attempted on any other issue—were even actively supportive of the effort to divest states of their longstanding and Constitutional right to define marriage. Political treason of the highest order.

The issue of drafting women who could serve in combat positions (and eventually will have to serve in them--that is the obvious next logical step) is just the next phase in the national Republican Party's retreat on social issues.

National Republican leaders have totally bought in to the whole postmodernist redefinition of gender. They have left unquestioned the myth that there is some kind of widespread (or even not-so-widespread) discrimination against gays. They have been silent in the face of claims about the nature of sexuality from proponents of transgenderism, who can literally claim  anything—anything, no matter how outrageous and incoherent.

With friends like this, conservatives don't need any enemies.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Is Jerry Coyne's new book the worst atheist book ever written?

Jerry's new book.
I have not yet had a chance to review atheist scientist Jerry Coyne's new book, Faith vs. Fact, but after this review by Catholic philosopher Ed Feser, I may not have to:
Faith versus Fact is some kind of achievement. Biologist Jerry Coyne has managed to write what might be the worst book yet published in the New Atheist genre. True, the competition for that particular distinction is fierce. But among other volumes in this metastasizing literature, each has at least some small redeeming feature. For example, though Lawrence Krauss’s A Universe from Nothing is bad as philosophy, it is middling as pop science. Christopher Hitchens’s God Is Not Great was at least written by someone who could write like Christopher Hitchens. Though devoid of interest, Sam Harris’s Letter to a Christian Nation is brief. Even PZ Myers’s book The Happy Atheist has at least one advantage over Coyne’s book: It came out first.
You gotta love it. Read the rest here.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Dr. John Lennox explains why science & faith are not in conflict

Dr. John Lennox, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford and Emeritus Fellow in Mathematics and the Philosophy of Science at Green Templeton College, explains why science and faith are not in conflict:
God no more conflicts with science as an explanation for the universe than Henry Ford conflicts with the laws of the internal combustion engine as an explanation for the motorcar. The existence of mechanisms and laws is not an argument for the absence of an agent who set those laws and mechanisms in place. On the contrary, their very sophistication, down to the fine tuning of the universe, is evidence for the Creator’s genius.
His article is the feature article in Knowing and Doing, a publication of the C. S. Lewis Institute. Read the rest here.

Academic Freedom Bill passes State Senate

Yesterday's press release from The Family Foundation:

FEBRUARY 6, 2016

LEXINGTON, KY— A bill that would protect student political speech and religious expression in schools passed the Senate today 31 to 2.  Part of the impetus for the bill came from the censorship of a student performance of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" by a Kentucky school superintendent in Johnson County.  The school censored the part of the play in which Charles Schulz's character Linus quotes the Gospel of Luke.
The bill, sponsored by State Sen. Albert Robinson (R-London), also covers the general freedom of expression of students on matters of religion and politics in speech and on school assignments.
"We stand with Linus," said Martin Cothran, spokesman for The Family Foundation, which supports the bill. "When schools start seeing a cartoon character quoting the Bible as a threat, then things have obviously gone too far. This bill provides protections students from the virulent secularism that increasingly threatens First Amendment freedoms in our country."
The bill now goes to the State House of Representatives.


Tuesday, February 02, 2016

What is classical Christian education?

I work with a number of classical schools, one of which is Holy Trinity in Beaufort, South Carolina. They have produced an excellent promotional video on classical Christian education:

Monday, February 01, 2016

#Rubio Rising: The biggest winner in Iowa was not the winner

Here's the way the Iowa Republican caucus vote looks to this observer, in the order of significance:

#1. Trump Lost. In the first actual collection of votes, Trump, who the polls had as ahead, came in second.

First of all, this seriously damages the one thing that has powered Trump over the last month or two: the perception of inevitability. He has appeared to many people as an invincible force on the basis of the only contest he has yet participated in: the polls. But now we have an actual election in which actual people have gone to an actual place and cast actual votes—in other words, in the only place that really matters in an election—and Trump lost.

Secondly, he underperformed in light of his poll numbers. One of the key questions in evaluating the Trump phenomenon is whether his poll numbers translate into votes. Tonight they didn't—at least, not to the extent he needed in a close race. This would at least suggest that maybe we can discount those big poll leads he has in other polls. Thanks to his high poll numbers, Trump underperformed expectations. Other than a scandal, this is the worst thing that can happen to you during an election.

Thirdly, Trump got less than a quarter of Republican votes. This tells us something important about Trump's future. You can win without much more than a quarter of the votes now, as Cruz did, because there are still so many candidates in the race. But when the announcements come—as Huckabee's already has and that two or three or may come even before New Hampshire—that candidates are leaving the race, it is just as likely, perhaps more so because of Trump's low ceiling, to help some other candidate, most likely ...

#2: Super Mario is Rising. While Trump lost the expectations game, and Cruz pretty much tied, Rubio won it. Note that, although he was third in the race, he was only one percentage point behind Trump, who was supposed to win it. Watch Rubio rise in the polls in New Hampshire in the coming week and begin to gain serious momentum.

#3: Ted Cruz Won. The fact that I am putting this as only the third most important fact about Cruz winning (which I think will reflect the public perception) means that his win won't benefit him as much as it otherwise would have. Because Cruz was expected to do well, and did, it isn't as remarkable as the fact that Rubio almost beat Trump, which no one expected him to do. This should have been better for Cruz, but his momentum will be stifled by Rubio. Cruz had the advantage in Iowa because he had the best organization in the state where organization matters the most. What happens when he has to start squaring off against Rubio in the race to see who faces off with Trump in the other states where Cruz's data-driven methods don't have quite the same effect?

Man, this is fun.