Gravity always wins

Gravity always wins April 14, 2016

• I scored high in the “progressive” range on Scot McKnight’s Hermeneutics Quiz. It’s a frustrating exercise in that the range of permissible answers for many questions doesn’t actually include anything I’d want to offer as an answer. That’s not because I’m too off-the-charts “liberal,” but because I’m an English major. My problem with this quiz wasn’t so much that it didn’t allow for the way I read the Bible as that it didn’t allow for the way I read anything.

Having said that, though, McKnight’s introduction to the quiz is good stuff. And the questions he’s raising for Leadership Journal readers are helpful and constructive.

• “Cat wagons.” I hadn’t ever seen that term before, but now I want there to be an FX period drama series based on one.

• “The Time Ted Cruz Defended a Ban on Dildos.” David Corn’s story is getting a lot of buzz because, well, dildos. (And kudos to the editor at Mother Jones who selected the pic of Cruz at that link.) But whatever you think about dildos and those who enjoy them, this story actually matters because you can learn a lot about a politician’s ideology from what they have to say about dildos.

In 2007, Ted Cruz argued in a US Court of Appeals that the government has the right and the duty to prohibit the sale of dildos. “Obscene devices do not implicate any liberty interest,” Cruz argued, neatly begging the question of obscenity. “There is no substantive-due-process right to stimulate one’s genitals for non-medical purposes unrelated to procreation.”

Try not to get bogged down in the fact that the topic here is dildos. What Cruz argued — what Cruz apparently believes — is that anything not explicitly enumerated as protected by the Constitution may be banned by the state. Consider how intimately intrusive the government, police and courts would need to become to enforce a prohibition on the “stimulation of one’s genitals for non-medical purposes unrelated to procreation.” That’s Ted Cruz’s vision for America. He wants the state so far up into everybody’s business that there’d be no need for a ban on dildos — nobody’d have any room left to accommodate one.

• Suzanne Jacobs discusses the National Weather Service’s decision to move away from its traditional ALL CAPS WEATHER FORECASTS AND ALERTS. This stylistic quirk was a vestigial relic of earlier forms of communication — from back in the days when the newswire was an actual wire connected to a teletype machine. These days, as the NWS realized, it just makes it seem like they’re always yelling.

(National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

• Sometimes, of course, the weather makes YELLING IN ALL CAPS seem appropriate — like earlier this week, when hail the size of baseballs slammed down on the Dallas suburbs. Events like this highlight the partisan “hack gap” in our politically polarized nation. When a horrifying weather event wreaks havoc in a red state, liberals say, “Oh no — is everyone OK?” When a similar event strikes a blue state, though, we get a long parade of hacks explaining that this is divine judgment or that those hippies had it coming.

I almost wish I could reciprocate — declaring that these massive Texas hailstorms are divine retribution for the false prophecies of folks like Robert Jeffress and John Hagee. But then I think No, that’s wrong and mean and kind of dumb, and I don’t do it. Hence the hack gap.

• Speaking of Texas, Charles Kuffner looks at the potential “Trump effect” in the Lone Star state. No, it probably wouldn’t put Texas in play as a “purple” swing state, but it could have a big effect down-ballot in county races and the state legislature.

• In 1995 we got The Bends, and this song, which always gets stuck in my head when I’m working in the greenhouse at the Big Box. There’s a big wingstack display in there that reads “Green Plastic Watering Cans” and that always prompts my brain to sing the following lines. On a good night, I can sometimes even nail the high notes.

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