Monday, November 30, 2020

Corporate America: China's Ghetto Police.

I loathe all of these people and their overcompensated gutless pitchmen--most especially the Chamber of Commerce, which is happy to pretend How Much It Cares.

Burn, baby, burn:

[T]he legislation, called the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, has become the target of multinational companies including Apple whose supply chains touch the far western Xinjiang region, as well as of business groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Lobbyists have fought to water down some of its provisions, arguing that while they strongly condemn forced labor and current atrocities in Xinjiang, the act’s ambitious requirements could wreak havoc on supply chains that are deeply embedded in China.

Xinjiang produces vast amounts of raw materials like cotton, coal, sugar, tomatoes and polysilicon, and supplies workers for China’s apparel and footwear factories. Human rights groups and news reports have linked many multinational companies to suppliers there, including tying Coca-Cola to sugar sourced from Xinjiang, and documenting Uighur workers in a factory in Qingdao that makes Nike shoes…

[F]or many companies, fully investigating and eliminating any potential ties to forced labor there has been difficult, given the opacity of Chinese supply chains and the limited access of auditors to a region where the Chinese government tightly restricts people’s movements.

They "strongly condemn" atrocities--but actually doing something? Nah. 

Keep this in mind when you read their diversity statements, deep concern for black lives and gaudy advertisements for Pride Month. 

They don't mean a word of it, and would kick it to the curb if it hurt the bottom line.

 

 

Friday, November 27, 2020

The First Amendment applies during pandemics.

Such was the finding of the Supreme Court late Wednesday, enjoining Governor Cuomo from color-coding worship services out of existence.

The majority opinion was written by the eminent Swedish jurist Per Curiam, but the fireworks are in the concurring opinion of Justice Gorsuch.

If you pick up on an undertone of "FINALLY" in his opinion, you are paying attention.

At the same time, the Governor has chosen to impose no capacity restrictions on certain businesses he considers “essential.” And it turns out the businesses the Governor considers essential include hardware stores, acupuncturists, and liquor stores. Bicycle repair shops, certain signage companies, accountants, lawyers, and insurance agents are all essential too. So, at least according to the Governor, it may be unsafe to go to church, but it is always fine to pickup another bottle of wine, shop for a new bike, or spend the afternoon exploring your distal points and meridians. Who knew public health would so perfectly align with secular convenience?

As almost everyone on the Court today recognizes, squaring the Governor’s edicts with our traditional First Amendment rules is no easy task. People may gather inside for extended periods in bus stations and airports, in laundromats and banks, in hardware stores and liquor shops. No apparent reason exists why people may not gather, subject to identical restrictions, in churches or synagogues, especially when religious institutions have made plain that they stand ready, able, and willing to follow all the safety precautions required of “essential” businesses and perhaps more besides. 
The only explanation for treating religious places differently seems to be a judgment that what happens there just isn’t as “essential” as what happens in secular spaces. Indeed, the Governor is remarkably frank about this: In his judgment laundry and liquor, travel and tools, are all “essential” while traditional religious exercises are not. That is exactly the kind of discrimination the First Amendment forbids. Nor is the problem an isolated one. In recent months, certain other Governors have issued similar edicts. At the flick of a pen, they have asserted the right to privilege restaurants, marijuana dispensaries, and casinos over churches, mosques, and temples. See Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley v. Sisolak, 591 U. S. ___,  (2020) (GORSUCH J., dissenting). In far too many places, for far too long, our first freedom has fallen on deaf ears.

And there's more than a little heat flung at the Chief Justice, too--but I'll let you find that yourself. For the record, there seems to be an awareness among most of the dissenting Justices that Cuomo's restrictions are suspect, but they would have preferred to wait until the Governor activated his colorful sharpies again first. 

Systemic Racism and Sexism Proven by the Election Results?

The record-breaking performance of Joe Biden offers some compelling data for the argument:

President Trump gained more than ten million votes since his 2016 victory, but Biden’s appeal was so substantial that it overcame President Trump’s record support among minority voters. Biden also shattered Barack Obama’s own popular vote totals, really calling into question whether it was not perhaps Biden who pulled Obama across the finish lines in 2008 and 2012.

It's true: Biden 2020 crushed Obama's popular vote totals of 69.5 million in 2008 and 65.9 million in 2012. Hillary nearly equaled Obama's 2012 turnout with 65.8 million votes in 2016, so Biden eclipsed her, too. 

The question people should be asking is why the Democratic electorate has so many racists and sexists who sat on their hands waiting for a white male standard-bearer during the previous three cycles? And what will they have to do to appease these 11-14 million-plus unreconstructed haters?

 


Remember the hilarity over "2 Corinthians"?

Joe Biden would like Trump to hold his beer.

And given his infamous boundary issues, maybe "Palmist" is freudian?

Ungenerous? 

Maybe. But I'm just playing by the rules of the last four years and applying the same standards.

Which means that the seats of our "prophetic" shepherds must be made as hot as possible when their preferred candidate does things like strip away conscience protections, force the Little Sisters to pay for the pill, restore funding to the nation's preeminent abortion chain and otherwise make lives miserable for the people they're allegedly supposed to protect.

Too many people think we're returning to 2015. We're not. 

It's a much angrier world, and playing by the old accommodationist excuse-making rules will result in a fiery backlash.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Memehammer 3k.

This...is true.

I feel so seen.

Dreadnoughts: dying for the Emperor more slowly... but with style.
.
It's the Tau. They deserve it. Except for the Farsight Enclaves.

The Mighty Baneblade: the Imperial Guard's response to all those flashlight jokes.


 OK, so this isn't a meme. But Vulkan and the Salamanders are 100% pure awesome.

 

 

 

 

 

I have to imagine the only thing more depressing than watching the Lions would be playing for them.

But more seriously, former Lions quarterback Joey Harrington opens up about his battle with depression that occurred when he was anointed the latest Chosen One of America's worst professional football team. The coaching carousel and offensive systems change certainly didn't help, but he always seemed like a decent guy. Still does. 

He seems at peace now, back home in Oregon and working with homeschoolers and his own foundation for high schoolers. Good for him.

Latest sign of the Apocalypse.

Michigan's largest grocery store chain is limiting customers to no more than two bottles of the same hard stuff for the holidays.

I have pretty much turned into a teetotaler over the past three months--I'll probably ring in the New Year with a glass of port, but otherwise, I don't miss the stuff.

But this is going to spoil some people's holiday cheer/essential 2020 self-medication regimen.

 

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Yes, Virginia, there *was* a Thanksgiving Indult--with caveats.

My respect for Sharon Kabel's research skills knows know bounds. She is the daughter-in-law of my good friend Jon Kabel. 

She recently put her unmatched talents for searching the historical record to good use to address the question of the much-discussed "Thanksgiving Indult" of Pope Pius XII, which supposedly allowed American Catholics to keep chowing down on the bird on Fridays after Thanksgiving.

Her verdict--which is supported by her startling ability to sift the archives--is that there may have been one once, or granted here or there, but as a general rule, no.

The only problem with her research is that the best source for researching dispensations is the hard-to-find work of the late Jesuit T. Lincoln Bouscaren. Father Bouscaren was an eminent American canonist and the compiler of the invaluable early volumes of the Canon Law Digest. 

The books are fascinating--even for non-legally-minded nerds. They show church tribunals and other authorities wrestling with issues as varied as imaginable, from granting an annulment to a Catholic woman whose husband had himself sterilized two weeks before their wedding to how to translate the Good Friday prayer for the Jews. When I get a moment, I will devote a more in-depth post to the volumes of the Digest and the remarkable material they contain. 

In any event, Volume V of the Digest (Bruce Publishing Company, 1963) settles the dispute over the historicity and reach of the Thanksgiving Indult once and for all:

1. Yes, there was a general indult for bishops to grant dispensations on American civil holidays, and it had existed as far back as Pius XI;

2. Yes, there was one specifically available for Thanksgiving--but it was granted either at the tail end of the reign of John XXIII or the very beginning of that of Paul VI;

3. But there was no general, universal indult straight from the Pope--it had to be applied for, and not every bishop did.








Monday, November 23, 2020

On the one hand, I didn't fall down the stairs yesterday.

On the other hand, I definitely wrenched a muscle in my right shoulder while avoiding that unfortunate event.

So, glass 3/5 full? 

Heat packs and stretching appear to be the way.

 

Friday, November 20, 2020

Thursday, November 19, 2020

It will echo as long as English is spoken.

157 years ago today, Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address.

I am an American, and this is my birthright:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

The European Union and the "Rule of Law."

Poland and Hungary are balking at the fine print in the latest EU coronavirus aid package, which requires them to adhere to "the rule of law" in disbursements.

Whose laws, whose rules?

One does not have to have unblinking admiration for the two nations to understand the concerns regarding what the mandarins in Brussels might mean by the phrase.

Now to the open forum side questions: is democracy inherently "liberal," as in the classical liberal sense?  Does it have to be? Obviously, there have been "Democratic Republics" in recent memory which were nothing remotely liberal. Or democratic. Or truly republican.

The same goes for unaccountable centralized bureaucracies with edict addiction.

But does democracy in the "Western," non-Marxist sense of the word have to have a deliberately classical liberal basis to work?

These aren't rhetorical questions disguising a conclusion--I am in "Dorm Room Bull Session Mode" here.


 

 

 

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

And it begins again.

Shoppers are back to panic-buying in Michigan.

Not as bad as March was, but still not good. And toilet paper is again at a premium.

 

Sigh. The learning curve is...not impressive.

I hope there are turkeys when my wife goes out on Thursday. Probably, but you never know what the irrational will do.


Monday, November 16, 2020

Another lockdown.

Been a bit busy in realspace, hence the lack of posting.

Dealing with attorneys can be quite taxing--especially for other attorneys.

Speaking of taxing legal matters, Michigan is in another "three week" lockdown-like regime, this time courtesy of the Department of Health and Human Services.

But backed by the enforcement power of the Gov and AG, both of whom know more than you. You may recall that the last "three week" "curve-bending" lasted several months, in various forms. 

Work from home is mandatory unless it is not possible. Restaurants are again closed to dine-in service, as are theatres, group exercise classes and mirabile dictu, the Detroit casinos. No in-person high school classes or sports, either. 

I get it--the cases are undeniably surging. But the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association's press release, if accurate, suggests that the new order will be an economic gut punch to employees and small businesses with comparatively little health benefit.

Meanwhile, our garbage ruling class was planning banquets while the post-stimulus economic agony hits full stride.

The reality is that this is going to go longer than three weeks and we all know it.

I am curious to see what the Archdiocese does. The Mass dispensation has been extended to Ash Wednesday 2021, but public Masses remain open. Hopefully, the lack of outbreaks from parishes will encourage them to stay the course.

In better news, Moderna is reporting that its vaccine is, from preliminary results, 95% effective.

Here's hoping.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

A secular take on the McCarrick Report.

From Nicole Winfield of the Associated Press.

She sounds skeptical notes:

The findings accused bishops dead and alive of providing the Vatican with incomplete information about McCarrick’s behavior, and of turning a blind eye to his repeated flouting of informal restrictions ordered up in 2006 after Pope Benedict XVI decided not to investigate or sanction him seriously.

Most significantly, the findings largely gave Francis a pass, saying he never lifted or modified those restrictions, never named McCarrick a “diplomatic agent” for the Holy See and never received any documentation about McCarrick before 2017. It didn’t say if Francis had sought such documentation after one of his ambassadors purportedly told him in 2013 that McCarrick was a predator.

 “Pope Francis had heard only that there had been allegations and rumors related to immoral conduct with adults occurring prior to McCarrick’s appointment to Washington,” the summary says. “Believing that the allegations had already been reviewed and rejected by Pope John Paul II, and well aware that McCarrick was active during the papacy of Benedict XVI, Pope Francis did not see the need to alter the approach that had been adopted.”

Francis changed course after a former altar boy came forward in 2017 alleging that McCarrick groped him when he was a teenager during preparations for Christmas Mass in 1971 and 1972 in New York. The allegation was the first solid claim against McCarrick involving a minor and triggered the canonical trial that resulted in his defrocking.

While the summary provided new details about what the Vatican knew and when, it didn’t elaborate on the internal culture that allowed McCarrick’s behavior to continue unchecked. Catholic cardinals and bishops have long been considered beyond reproach and claims of homosexual behavior have used to discredit or blackmail prelates, so often are dismissed as rumors. There has also been a widespread but unspoken tolerance of sexually active men in what is supposed to be a celibate priesthood.

It sounds like Team Ted's circle gets off scot-free. Which, given the soft handling of Bransfield, is par for the course. 

Clericalism is always okay for company men. 

I'll see what I can add with some targeted reading.

Monday, November 09, 2020

I haven't watched a live down of Lions football this season.

But I have been watching the third season of Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia's live-action role-play as Real NFL GM and Head Coach from afar.

It's nice to not squander three hours of my lifespan on Sundays in autumn.

But even from afar, I am growing more surprised by the Ford family's inertia when it comes to this festival of incompetence.

I haven't been listening to much sports radio, either, but when I do, the sentiment is clear.

Remember when Frodo claims the Ring after Sam urges him to cast it into the fires of Mount Doom? The film version.

Poor Sam cries out in anguish: "WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!"

Then Frodo smiles his possessed smile and keeps the Ring.

The Ring is Quinntricia.

Sam is the fanbase.

Frodo is the Fords. 

Apparently Gollum won't appear for another five losses, minimum.
 


Thoughts about the election?

I have many, but am not going to share most of them.

However, author, accountant, man-mountain and International Lord of Hate Larry Correia has several thoughts, facts and R-rated bon mots worth considering

Two things amusing me right now:

1. The pressure to CONCEDE NOW!

Response: Al Gore fought it out to mid-December and the nation did fine. Except for that George W. Bush wrecking the Middle East thing. But the transition went smoothly.

2. The Left is really, really bad at that rhetorical "reaching across the divide to heal our nation" thing. It is redolent of this scene from The Incredibles:

 


The First Lady inadvertently shows the rhetorical bind that four years of "you voted for Hitler" has put the Dems in for such outreach efforts. Assuming, for the sake of argument, that said efforts are sincere in the first place.

It's the equivalent of standing in front of someone, sanitizing your hand for a full minute, putting on a latex glove and then putting a goalie glove over that--and then extending said hand "in fellowship." 



Found on the interwebs.

Surely you have seen the self-congratulatory sign this one parodies.

As the Man once said, they have their reward.

So you can understand why I laughed out loud at this.


Tuesday, November 03, 2020

No sports for Dale.

Thanks to coronavirus, Wisconsin's college football season is on the brink.

At this point, I think I would prefer the season to be cancelled. 

It would keep Jim Harbaugh from dashing my fragile hopes for at least one year.

Punching a 76 year old nun in the face on a bus, you say?

As well as storming and vandalizing a church, and disrupting a Mass with "Islamic slogans"?

The future looks bright in Austria.

Hope that call for "quick clarification" fixes things. 

[Edit: Somehow I missed this morning's escalation: 4 dead, 22 injured in Islamist terror attack in Vienna. Lord have mercy.]

 

Octogenarian who refuses to wear mask in virus-wracked Italy condemns those who protest virus restrictions.

No, it's true: the pontiff is effectively anti-mask.

But if others protest the infallible judgment of Caesar, they are privileged selfish types--possibly even merciless profiteers--but in all events incapable of imagining the suffering of others.

Meanwhile, he receives throngs of people without a mask because reasons.

The notion that people are terrified for their livelihoods or are exhausted by failed governmental policies cannot enter his closed Manichean mind. 

No, not for a moment. The sprawling factory complex where strawmen are assembled and burned by the thousand and labels substitute for engagement with those who think differently runs 24/7/365. Sadly, it is capable of producing only tiny amounts of actual empathy for those not with the program.

Monday, November 02, 2020

November 3, 2020.

I am not an election prognosticator, nor do I play one on television. So I am not going to make any guesses as to the winner.

What I can predict is that the supporters of the losing candidate will be bitterly disappointed and not inclined to accept the results.

I fear an enduring crisis of legitimacy, with all that entails. 

Which is one of the reasons my wife and I have been praying an evening rosary for days now. Every night one of my prayer intentions is for peace in our nation.

I am asking God, because it will take Him to bring it to us.

Worthwhile book review of tome from somewhat noteworthy pundit.

A thorough critique of a book by one of the more visible of America's soi disant experts and adjunct intellectuals, Tom Nichols. A lec...