The Pro-Life Pledge

The Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life women’s organization, has put forward a pledge for presidential candidates to sign by which they promise that if elected they will only appoint pro-life judges and cabinet members and will promote legislation to restrict abortion.  All of the current Republican candidates have signed it except for Gary Johnson, Herman Cain, and Mitt Romney.  (That includes the Ron Paul, who may be libertarian but is still pro-life.)  Johnson is pro-abortion.  Cain and Romney still… Read more

Why government can’t get out of the marriage business

Political scientist Steven L. Taylor explains why the government can’t just get out of the marriage business (as Ron Paul called for in the GOP presidential debate and as some of you have called for on this blog): Here’s the deal:  much of the significance of marriage is very much linked to civil-legal matters in a way that makes it impossible for government to extricate itself from its definition.  Marriage is many things that have nothing to do with government… Read more

Summer movies: X-Men: First Class

Last weekend we saw X-Men:  First Class, the fifth in that franchise, which gives the origin tale.   I was surprised how good the thing was.  It’s certainly the best of the X-Men and it has to be one of the best of the comic books flicks.  There’s Batman:  The Dark Knight, the first Spider Man, the first Superman, and this one is in this company.   It’s kind of dark and disturbing, while still managing to be fun.  It has an… Read more

Shakespeare’s grammar: “He words me”

A neuroscientist describes one of the things that is so remarkable about Shakespeare’s language:  The way he–along with the Elizabethan English of his time–can use words for different parts of speech: E. A. Abbott (1838-1926) was one of the great Victorian schoolmasters, who wrote, at the age of thirty, A Shakespearian Grammar. He described it as an attempt to illustrate some of the differences between Elizabethan and Victorian English so that his students could understand that the difficulty of Shakespeare… Read more

Pastors’ housing allowance tax break update

Pastors and certain other church workers are allowed to deduct that portion of their salary used for housing from their taxable salary.  That “housing allowance” amounts to a huge tax break.  As we blogged about earlier, the Freedom From Religion Foundation has challenged that provision in federal court.  But in a parallel case, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that the atheist group lacks “standing” to sue on a similar tax issue, since they have not been materially harmed… Read more

Getting treatment

Ruth Marcus, writing in the Washington Post, notes that today bad behavior is thought of in terms of “addiction” and the need for “treatment.”  She prefers the concepts of sin and absolution: The arc of modern scandal is depressingly familiar. Transgression followed by exposure, perhaps accompanied by a fleeting detour into denial. Then tearful confession and, finally, the inevitable journey to rehab. Didn’t you know, from the moment the story broke, that New York Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner would end… Read more

Counterfeit SEALS

Two interesting phenomena:  Men who falsely claim to be ex-SEALS and men who go to great lengths to prove them to be fakes. In Louisiana, a man duped the governor into believing he was the lone survivor of a Navy SEAL team ambushed in Afghanistan. In California, a jousting promoter said he was a SEAL veteran, not just a veteran of battles at Renaissance fairs. And in Georgia, a televangelist listed a stint with the SEALs in his online bio… Read more

Is this an e-mail to mock?

One of the 25,000 or so e-mails that Sarah Palin’s detractors are making fun of is this one that she wrote to her family about how her new baby Trig has Downs Syndrome: The One Sarah Palin E-mail We Cannot Stop Thinking About | VF Daily | Vanity Fair. Read more

Congressmen sue President over Libya War

As we’ve blogged about earlier, President Obama, in his participation in the war in Libya, has ignored the 60 day deadline for the engagement of American troops without Congressional approval as stipulated in the War Powers law.  Now ten Congressmen, a coalition of both liberals and conservatives, has filed suit against the President. So the President has finally sent a message to Congress saying why he doesn’t need their approval: Facing growing opposition on Capitol Hill, the White House insisted… Read more

“But it’s not really adultery!”

My old friend Karen Swallow Prior has some interesting observations about the excuses of both Bill Clinton and Anthony Weiner and their underlying gnostic assumptions.  The good news is that the public is no longer buying it: Media coverage of the story and the public’s reaction seems to indicate that we’ve come a long way in our professed sexual ethics since the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal, circa 1998. At that time, then-President Bill Clinton insisted that oral sex did not constitute actual… Read more

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