Cold war tactic hidden in a smiling face

• The Seventh Circuit court was not impressed with Notre Dame University’s very, very weird claim that its being granted a religious exemption amounts to religious tyranny:

The novelty of Notre Dame’s claim–not for the exemption, which it has, but for the right to have it without having to ask for it — deserves emphasis. … What makes this case and others like it involving the contraception exemption paradoxical and virtually unprecedented is that the beneficiaries of the religious exemption are claiming that the exemption process itself imposes a substantial burden on their religious faiths. …

The process of claiming one’s exemption from the duty to provide contraceptive coverage is the opposite of cumbersome.  It amounts to signing one’s name and mailing the signed form to two addresses.

I didn’t hate all of Dead Poet’s Society quite as much as Dr. Dettmar does, but I remember walking out of the theater angry, feeling cheated because the plot did things to Robert Sean Leonard’s character that the character would never have done.

I do like Adam Palmer’s suggestion for reading Dettmar’s critique: “Replace ‘Mr. Keating’ with ‘your pastor,’ ‘humanities’ with ‘Christianity,’ and ‘poetry’ with ‘scripture,’ and then see if you find anything to chew on.”

• “Perhaps there will be babblers who claim to be judges of astronomy although completely ignorant of the subject and, badly distorting some passage of Scripture to their purpose, will dare to find fault with my undertaking and censure it. I disregard them even to the extent of despising their criticism as unfounded.” – Copernicus, De revolutionibus orbium coelestium

• After 30 years of this shtick, it’s not easy for anyone trying to deny that Ted Nugent is a huge, frothing racist. I mean, maybe, if you squint and squirm a bit, you could try to argue that his rampant misogyny is just a paint-by-numbers attempt to grab attention by being “outrageous,” and that it might not mean that he, personally, feels that level of contempt and animus toward women even if he’s doing so much to reinforce it. But even that flimsy defense won’t work for the racist garbage this man regularly, reflexively spews.

• Greg Grandin reminds us of an important bit of history:

Haitian slaves began to throw off the “heel of the French” in 1791, when they rose up and, after bitter years of fighting, eventually declared themselves free. Their French masters, however, refused to accept Haitian independence. The island, after all, had been an extremely profitable sugar producer, and so Paris offered Haiti a choice: compensate slave owners for lost property — their slaves (that is, themselves) — or face its imperial wrath. The fledgling nation was forced to finance this payout with usurious loans from French banks. As late as 1940, 80% of the government budget was still going to service this debt.

Dear White Christians of Florida:

The stench from your houses of worship is wafting its way across this country, polluting citizenship, demoralizing parents and families, mocking accountability and blaspheming the Holy God whom you say you love and worship. If that offends you, try reading Amos.

Here is my premise and I dare you to prove me wrong: if white Christians in Florida stood up and cried out for justice, demanding an end to the license-to-kill-stand-your-ground law, it would be rescinded immediately. …

• The winter weather has gotten so bad in Cincinnati that it’s causing local TV traffic reporters to burst into song:

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