Monday, June 30, 2014

Brace Yourselves: Hobby Lobby Edition

Social media, that constant fount of every blessed nugget of wisdom, is exploding with chatter about today's 5-4 SCOTUS ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby.

Inevitably, among the flotsam and jetsam of uninformed rantings, there's some decent trash talk and snark from both sides. Here are a few good ones from my feed so far today.









From a parody account, which a lot of people didn't catch on to:




Another brilliantly misunderstood tweet:




And perhaps the best...



Friday, June 27, 2014

The Great Game

The Queen was presented with a miniature replica of the Iron Throne of Westeros - the real seat is said to be coveted by only the most machiavellian of kings
The latest virus to hit the internet: pictures from the Queen's visit to the set of Game of Thrones. Many outlets are sad Her Majesty refused to sit on the thing.

"And still, as she refused it, the rabblement hooted and clapped their keyboard-smoothed hands and threw up their sweaty beanies..." -W. Shakespeare

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Local politics and the importance of story

"The reason local politics are so bad is that so few people have enough interest to participate—save the wolfishly self-interested and the crazies." --Bruce Frohnen

From my former school district: "Baldwin-Whitehall residents search for answers in Schmotzer controversy"

Alisdair Macintyre wrote After Virtue, a book that landed like a heap of bricks in the world of academic ethics and philosophy. He diagnosed cultural ills with precision. His subscribed treatment, now famous, is the cry for a "new St. Benedict"--in other words, that people of sanity must build local fortresses in which to preserve their way of life. They are to get less involved with Congress and more involved with the local council.

But lesser known is his view on the importance of storytelling to cultural flourishing:
 
“It is through hearing stories about wicked stepmothers, lost children, good but misguided kings, wolves that suckle twin boys, youngest sons who receive no inheritance but must make their own way in the world, and eldest sons who waste their inheritance on riotous living and go into exile to live with the swine, that children learn or mislearn both what a child and what a parent is, what the cast of characters may be in the drama into which they have been born and what the ways of the world are.”

Good tales form people who will risk seeming crazies to confront the wolves. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Foreign Policy Reading: America in Decline?

Two great reads on foreign policy here.

Angelo Codevilla is a professor of international relations at Boston University (possibly emeritus by now). He has published numerous books and written op-eds for the Times and WSJ. In 2011, ten years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, his essay "The Lost Decade" took the conservative world by storm (and pissed off some powerful people).

It's a blistering indictment of American policy of the past ten years. It's sweeping enough that there's bound to be much room for argument. For example, I'm not sure how to reconcile the concept of a sweeping bipartisan political establishment with the current polarization of the parties. Even so, Codevilla asks all the right questions:

Although in 2001 many referred to the United States as "the world's only superpower," ten years later the near-universal perception of America is that of a nation declining, perhaps irreversibly. This decade convinced a majority of Americans that the future would be worse than the past and that there is nothing to be done about it. This is the "new normal." How did this happen? - See more at: http://www.claremont.org/index.php?act=crbArticle&id=319#.U5Ri6oUvn3s
Although in 2001 many referred to the United States as "the world's only superpower," ten years later the near-universal perception of America is that of a nation declining, perhaps irreversibly. This decade convinced a majority of Americans that the future would be worse than the past and that there is nothing to be done about it. This is the "new normal." How did this happen? - See more at: http://www.claremont.org/index.php?act=crbArticle&id=319#.U5Ri6oUvn3s
Although in 2001 many referred to the United States as "the world's only superpower," ten years later the near-universal perception of America is that of a nation declining, perhaps irreversibly. This decade convinced a majority of Americans that the future would be worse than the past and that there is nothing to be done about it. This is the "new normal." How did this happen? - See more at: http://www.claremont.org/index.php?act=crbArticle&id=319#.U5Ri6oUvn3s
Although in 2001 many referred to the United States as "the world's only superpower," ten years later the near-universal perception of America is that of a nation declining, perhaps irreversibly. This decade convinced a majority of Americans that the future would be worse than the past and that there is nothing to be done about it. This is the "new normal." How did this happen? - See more at: http://www.claremont.org/index.php?act=crbArticle&id=319#.U5Ri6oUvn3s
Although in 2001 many referred to the United States as "the world's only superpower," ten years later the near-universal perception of America is that of a nation declining, perhaps irreversibly. This decade convinced a majority of Americans that the future would be worse than the past and that there is nothing to be done about it. This is the "new normal." How did this happen? - See more at: http://www.claremont.org/index.php?act=crbArticle&id=319#.U5Ri6oUvn3s
"Although in 2001 many referred to the United States as 'the world's only superpower,' ten years later the near-universal perception of America is that of a nation declining, perhaps irreversibly. This decade convinced a majority of Americans that the future would be worse than the past and that there is nothing to be done about it. This is the 'new normal.' How did this happen?"

Fastforward three years and Robert Kagan writes another lengthy appreciation of American FP--continuing his assertion that America is in fact not in decline at all. The pieces read well together. Kagan provides an excellent historical background to the debate, and is defensive of American assertiveness where Codevilla is wary of it.

Called "Superpowers Don't Get to Retire", it is said to have influenced the President's recent speech at West Point.

Further reading here, here, and here.
Although in 2001 many referred to the United States as "the world's only superpower," ten years later the near-universal perception of America is that of a nation declining, perhaps irreversibly. This decade convinced a majority of Americans that the future would be worse than the past and that there is nothing to be done about it. This is the "new normal." How did this happen? - See more at: http://www.claremont.org/index.php?act=crbArticle&id=319#.U5Ri6oUvn3s
Although in 2001 many referred to the United States as "the world's only superpower," ten years later the near-universal perception of America is that of a nation declining, perhaps irreversibly. This decade convinced a majority of Americans that the future would be worse than the past and that there is nothing to be done about it. This is the "new normal." How did this happen? - See more at: http://www.claremont.org/index.php?act=crbArticle&id=319#.U5Ri6oUvn3s
Although in 2001 many referred to the United States as "the world's only superpower," ten years later the near-universal perception of America is that of a nation declining, perhaps irreversibly. This decade convinced a majority of Americans that the future would be worse than the past and that there is nothing to be done about it. This is the "new normal." How did this happen? - See more at: http://www.claremont.org/index.php?act=crbArticle&id=319#.U5Ri6oUvn3s
Although in 2001 many referred to the United States as "the world's only superpower," ten years later the near-universal perception of America is that of a nation declining, perhaps irreversibly. This decade convinced a majority of Americans that the future would be worse than the past and that there is nothing to be done about it. This is the "new normal." How did this happen? - See more at: http://www.claremont.org/index.php?act=crbArticle&id=319#.U5Ri6oUvn3s
Although in 2001 many referred to the United States as "the world's only superpower," ten years later the near-universal perception of America is that of a nation declining, perhaps irreversibly. This decade convinced a majority of Americans that the future would be worse than the past and that there is nothing to be done about it. This is the "new normal." How did this happen? - See more at: http://www.claremont.org/index.php?act=crbArticle&id=319#.U5Ri6oUvn3s
Although in 2001 many referred to the United States as "the world's only superpower," ten years later the near-universal perception of America is that of a nation declining, perhaps irreversibly. This decade convinced a majority of Americans that the future would be worse than the past and that there is nothing to be done about it. This is the "new normal." How did this happen? - See more at: http://www.claremont.org/index.php?act=crbArticle&id=319#.U5Ri6oUvn3s