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Happy Dependence Day

July 4 is Independence Day.  Thanksgiving is Dependence Day, a time to remember how dependent we are on God and on each other.  And our appreciation of this dependence is gratitude.

After the jump, a post by one of my ex-students quoting one of my ex-colleagues. [Read more…]

Did the Greeks make China’s terracotta army?

Archaeologists have discovered European DNA at the site where those 8,000 lifesize terracotta soldiers guard the tomb of China’s first Emperor.  They are concluding that Greek sculptors may have been involved with their creation, especially since the realistic statues correspond to Greek styles and techniques.

They were made in the 3rd century B.C., which means that the contact between West and East pre-dated Marco Polo by some 1500 years. The Emperor may have become aware of Greek statuary as a result of Alexander the Great’s march to India a century earlier.

I would say, however, that while the Greeks might have had a role in making the individual statues, the Greeks never used art on such a colossal scale.  Greek sculpture honors the individual.  This army of statues is profoundly collectivist.  So the Chinese can still claim credit.

Photo Credit:  Creative Commons. The Chronicles of Mariane.

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Men who won’t work

Nearly a third of American men aren’t working.  These include the unemployed, men who can’t find jobs.  But there are two-and-half times more men who aren’t even trying to find a job.  Because their lack of work is voluntary, they aren’t counted in the unemployment rate.  But the number of men between 25 to 54 who are “economically inactive” is soaring.

This has nothing to do with educational attainment, the business cycle, or the availability of jobs.  Many men just don’t feel that traditional masculine impulse to work for a living.  Instead they are living off of government benefits, family members, and girl friends.  (Women, by contrast, are working in vast numbers.  But the men who don’t work tend not to be the marrying kind.)

After the jump, an excerpt and link to George Will’s review of Nicholas Eberstadt’s book on the subject, Men Without Work:  America’s Invisible Crisis.

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The left is “weaponizing” sports

In our polarized society, there are few safe topics when you strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know.  Politics is likely to provoke an argument instead of small talk; music and TV are now targeted to narrow niches; and religion makes people feel uncomfortable.  But there is always sports!  You can talk about how the local or nearby team is doing, and liberals and conservatives and evangelicals and nones are on the same page.  Even sports rivalries are generally good natured, and trash talk is usually good-humored.

But now, sports as a common, unifying social space is being politicized.  Singing the national anthem at the beginning of each game–which unites both teams and all fans under a common flag–has become an occasion for political controversy, what with Colin Kaepernick protesting America by refusing to take part, a protest spreading throughout the NFL and that will be taken up in the NBA.

The NCAA has moved seven championship events from North Carolina because of that state’s law requiring that public restrooms be segregated according to biological sex.  Such activism should surprise no one, since the NCAA is a creation of the same university administrators who have turned campuses into leftwing propaganda spaces.   College sports are their way to build enthusiastic support for their schools while distracting fans from what is happening in the classrooms and in the residence halls.  But once campus radicalism moves out of the classrooms onto the playing fields, as is starting to happen, the taxpayers who support public universities might start asking questions.

David French, excerpted and linked after the jump, discusses these issues, saying that “progressives are weaponizing sports.”

But we can still talk about the weather.  As long as the conversation steers clear of climate change. [Read more…]

“Our spirituality and abortion are one”

The goal of the “pro-choice” movement used to be to make abortions “legal, safe, and rare.”  But why “rare”?  That implies that there is something wrong with abortion.  Pro-choicers today are now proudly “pro-abortion.”

The strategy now is for women to openly talk about their abortions as a good thing.  Just as sentiment about homosexuality changed when gays “came out” and Americans discovered that they their number included many people whom they knew and cared about, openness about abortion, it is thought, will help get rid of the stigma against it.

A number of new initiatives are coming out from the pro-death folks, including “abortion concerts” in 30 cities on September 10.  Then there is the “We Testify” program, which uses religious language in having women “testify” to the “spirituality” of their abortions. [Read more…]

Clinton Foundation pay for play

The Associated Press, no less, has been investigating the Clinton Foundation.  It reports that over half of the people Hillary Clinton met with as Secretary of State outside of the government were donors to the foundation.

Meanwhile, as Clinton’s clandestine e-mails come out, more questionable details about the foundation are surfacing.  For example, in 2013 its income was $140 million, but it gave out only $9 million for its stated philanthropic purposes.   See also this. [Read more…]