National Champions

Forget about the BCS Bowls, the NCAA tournament, and the tortured definitions of “student athlete.”  To me, I am proudest of these national champions:  Patrick Henry College students J. C. Cartee and Andrew Ferguson who won the national undergraduate moot court championship!

Moot court involves students pretending to argue a case before an appellate court (one of which would be the Supreme Court).  They prepare briefs, make their argument before a judge against an opposing side, and respond to questions from the judge (who sometimes is an appellate or even Supreme Court judge).  It’s an intense exercise in research, analysis, writing, speaking, and thinking on your feet.

The little college where I teach literature and supervise the academic and student life programs has had a team win the national championship for four years in a row!  And six in the last eight!

Not only did J. C. and Andrew, both former students of mine, excel, but so did the other Patrick Henry College teams who ran the gauntlet of regional tournaments to make it to nationals.  Here are some details:

Matched against the 80 top teams in the country, PHC’s moot court program has, for the fourth consecutive year, won the ACMA National Championship at Chapman University Law School in Orange County. Competing against the likes of Duke, the University of Virginia, the Air Force Academy, Holy Cross, Wheaton College, Baylor University and the University of Texas, among many others, the College’s duo of J.C. Cartee and Andrew Ferguson won five rounds in a single day to defeat, by a 2-to-1 margin, a team from the College of New Jersey for the first-place trophy.

With six championships in the past eight years, PHC remains the only ACMA moot court participant to have won more than one title. . . .

Having qualified the maximum number of eight teams for nationals, PHC advanced seven teams to the round of 32 octofinals, six teams to the Sweet 16, four teams to the “Elite Eight” round, and three to the Final Four. In addition to Cartee and Ferguson’s first-place trophy, two PHC teams tied for third place: Micah Walters and Kayla Griesemer and Logan Spena and Samuel Johnson. Ardee Coolidge and Josh Chamberlain, made it to the Elite Eight, and PHC duos Blake Meadows and Bridget Degnan and Ben Williamson and James Compton advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. . . .

Not unexpectedly, the College also filled the upper tier of the tournament’s Top Orator rankings, earning second through seventh Top Speaker Awards, which included, respectively, (2nd) freshman Ben Williamson, (3rd) sophomore Blake Meadows, (4th) freshman James Compton, (5th) freshman Samuel Johnson, (6th) senior Nicole Frazer and (7th) senior Logan Spena. Junior James Nelson came in 11th. In the Brief Writing Competition, PHC teams of Kyle Niewoehner/Nicole Frazer and Samuel Johnson/ Kira Clark won third and fourth places, respectively. The team of Mackenzi Siebert and Tait Deems placed fourth in the Top Respondent Brief Competition.

via Patrick Henry College.

I am proud of all of them!

Margaret Magdalena Moerbe

Our sixth grandchild was born today!

So bright-eyed and alert already!

Virginia’s Republican loyalty oath

First, Virginia prevents everybody except Romney and Paul from appearing on the Republican primary ballot.  And now this:

In order to cast their ballots in the GOP nominating contest, Virginians will have to sign a form that says, “I, the undersigned, pledge that I intend to support the nominee of the Republican Party for president,” according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, which first reported the move.

On Wednesday, the state Board of Elections approved the pledge form, as well as signs that will hang in polling places advising voters of the state party’s policy.

The pledge has no legal weight — voters are free to sign the form and then disregard it if they choose — but it is meant to discourage mischief-making by non-Republicans. Virginians do not register to vote by party, making it possible for Democrats and independents to show up and vote in the Republican contest.

Not everyone in the GOP is on board with the idea. Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William) said in a press release Thursday that he was opposed to the pledge.

“Virginia’s Republican leadership wants to mandate a loyalty oath when Virginia’s Republican officials are in court fighting the Obamacare mandate?” Marshall said. “This sends the wrong message.”

Marshall noted that the pledge would even disqualify Gingrich, a McLean resident, because the former speaker has said he could not support Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) if Paul secured the nomination.

via Virginia Republicans to require loyalty oath for primary voters – Virginia Politics – The Washington Post.

To bind voters’  conscience or to encourage people to perjure themselves is beyond the pale.  (I know it’s no legally binding, but, as I keep saying, promises are morally binding.)  I guess I won’t be voting, which I bitterly resent, since voting to me is a high civic privilege.  I’m thinking I’ll quit being a Republican.

A blogging hero?

I don’t like to blow my own horn.  I don’t even like to call attention to  when someone else is blowing it.  Still, since you readers and commenters are a big part of what makes this blog work, I can’t resist passing this along.

Tim Challies has a BIG blog, with like a million-reads-per-month.  Whenever he links to something I post, my readership statistics shoot up into the stratosphere.  So it’s gratifying that he listed me as one of his seven “blogging heroes” for 2011.   I appreciate what he says about this blog, since he describes exactly what I’ve been trying to do (among other things):

Cranach – Gene Veith has been blogging for quite some time, but it was really 2011 that showed me how valuable his site is. He has a knack for finding interesting material and highlighting it. He often finds material that the rest of us are overlooking. He does it well and I hope he just keeps doing it!

via My 2011 Blogging Heroes | Challies Dot Com.

While we are in this self-congratulatory mode, let’s reflect.  This blog is remarkable for the diversity of its readership and the range of opinions they bring.  Yes, mostly Lutheran–though even with that agreement there are lots of different views on issues–but also other kinds of conservative Christians, along with atheists, liberal theologians, and the occasional Muslim.  Politically we have the whole gamut:  conservatives of many different strains, but also liberals and libertarians and my quasi-socialist brother.  And on nearly every subject that comes up, from law to quantum physics, it seems that we have an expert in the audience.

What’s remarkable to me is that we have this range of views in this harshly polarized cultural climate and yet our discussions generally stay at a very high level.  (Sometimes they get too heated and personal, usually around comment #100, but even this is tamer than what you will find on most blogs.)

So let me ask:  Why do you read this blog?  What do you get out of it?

God bless us, every one!

I would like to wish all of you readers–conservatives and liberals, Lutherans and non-Lutherans and anti-Lutherans, Christians and other religionists and atheists, moralists and libertarians, Tea Partiers and Occupy Wall Streeters, experts and textperts and choking smokers, and all of the other varied souls who frequent this blog–a merry, merry celebration of the Incarnation of our God and Savior (whether you believe in Him or not)!

Bedlam in Oklahoma and in the BCS

The rivalry in my native Oklahoma between the Sooners of the University of Oklahoma and the Cowboys of Oklahoma State divides parent and child, brother and brother.  It certainly does in my family!  The Sooners have almost always been better, but the intensity of the games is such that the Cowboys occasionally stage an upset.  I have proposed, to torment my brother and parents (OSU alums) that the state legislature pass a bill requiring the lower-ranked of the two teams to forfeit the game between them, so as to protect the state’s chances to pursue a national championship and thus improve our image in the hopes of bringing new jobs to our citizens.  (The prospect of “new jobs” can sell any bill.)

But such a bill would have worked against my cause this time.  Oklahoma, ranked #10, would have had to forfeit to Oklahoma State, ranked #3.   The lesson here is to never support a law that would support your narrow self-interest when it could actually cut two ways.  (A good example would be Newt Gingrich’s proposal for congress to limit the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction over certain bills.  Conservatives might like that idea, until liberals do it.  With that power, congress could have declared Obamacare non-reviewable.)

Some Sooner fans took comfort in the fact that OSU hadn’t beaten them in 8 years.  Surely history is on OU’s side.  But that is an utterly meaningless statistic (one of many in sports, as I’ve learned from reading Moneyball).  Those other teams over the last 8 years are not the same teams playing this year!  OSU has never been this good before!

So sure enough, as I thought would happen, OSU utterly pounded OU with a final score of 44-10.

It pains me to say it, but I salute Oklahoma State for this achievement and for improving their program so dramatically.  And though the traditional terms of the rivalry would call for feelings of revenge, expressed in hoping the worst for the enemy team in the post-season, I will magnanimously wish OSU well.

In fact, I contend that OSU should play Louisiana State University, the #1 ranked team in the nation, for the national championship!  LSU already beat the #2 team, Alabama.   It doesn’t seem reasonable to set up a rematch.  What if Alabama were to win?  They would be crowned champion over a team that beat them.  The two teams would have essentially the same record.  It would be much more interesting to watch LSU play against another contender.

Nevertheless, as I just saw on the BCS selection show on ESPN,  the labyrinthine ways of the BCS ranking system have given Alabama .942 points, with Oklahoma state getting .933.  So  the national championship game will have LSU  playing Alabama.  Again.

 

 


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