October 1, 2018

Posted by orrinj at 6:44 PM

...AND RICHER...:

Fewest Americans Earning Poverty-Level Wages  (Nancy Moran, July 3, 2018, Bloomberg)

A record-low 11.4 percent of U.S. workers earned poverty-level wages last year, according to the Economic Policy Institute, and that share is likely to fall further, said Torsten Slok, chief international economist at Deutsche Bank. 


Posted by orrinj at 6:34 PM

AMEN, BROTHER:

Christianity and Resistance: An Interview with Alan Jacobs (Wen Stephenson interviews Alan Jacobs, OCTOBER 1, 2018, LA Review of Books)

WEN STEPHENSON: I've always seen you as a theologically "orthodox" Christian intellectual who is neither of "the right" nor "the left." Is that a fair description? How do you identify or describe yourself religiously, politically?

ALAN JACOBS: It's not easy for me to do. Really, for me it's a set of strivings, instead of a set of realized achievements. I do often say I'm a small-"o" orthodox Christian, in the sense that I believe in the great ecumenical creeds, the Nicene Creed, the Apostles' Creed. I see those as the template of basic Christian orthodoxy over time. But also I'm an Anglican, almost my whole adult life -- when I became a Christian in college, I really only spent a few years in kind of low-church evangelical congregations before I found the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition. If you're an Anglican, you get habituated to living in the midst of difference. You come to discover that, even when people can sign on to that orthodoxy, there are still enormous differences on all sorts of issues, and you learn to live with that.

As far as left and right goes, what I strive to be is what Cardinal Bernardin called the "seamless garment" Christian -- the seamless garment of life. I try to be consistently pro-life. And what that means in practice, for instance, is that my wife Teri and I do support crisis pregnancy centers, and we also are involved with the Waco Immigrants Alliance. Whoever is marginalized, whoever is despised, whoever is being left behind by society, whoever is being ignored and demeaned and treated as less than fully human, or having inferior value, then for me those are the people that Christ calls us especially to minister to. And so that's what I strive for. Of course I don't achieve it, but that's what I want to be.

And what that means is, I will freely admit to being scandalized by the number of abortions that there are in America -- it grieves me, it breaks my heart. But my heart is also broken by what my government is doing to immigrants right now. And my heart is broken by what now appears to be the everlasting legacy of white supremacy. It's broken by people who, in the richest country in the history of the world, do not have health care. There's just no excuse for that. So that's what I try to do -- to promote life wherever it is endangered, wherever it is marginalized, wherever it is demeaned. That's the kind of Christian I want to be.

Posted by orrinj at 4:03 AM

PROFILES IN HYSTERIA:

The Republican Party Abandons Conservatism: The conservative virtues remain real virtues, the conservative insights real insights, and the conservative temperament an indispensable internal gyro keeping a country stable and sane. (Eliot A. Cohen, 9/30/18, The Atlantic)

It was, however, in the epic clash over the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford that the collapse of conservatism in the Republican Party became most evident. Eleven men, most of them old, hid behind a female prosecutor wheeled in from Arizona because they could not, apparently, trust themselves to treat a victim of sexual assault with consideration and respect. So much for courage. Their anger at Democratic shenanigans was understandable, but virtually without exception, when they did summon up the nerve to speak (during Kavanaugh's turn) their questions consisted almost exclusively of partisan baying at the opposition. Genuine conservatives might have snarled initially, but would have, out of regard for the truth, tried to figure out exactly what happened to Ford 35 years ago, and whether the character of the man before them was what it was said to be.

Perhaps the collapse of modern conservatism came out most clearly in Kavanaugh's own testimony--its self-pity, its hysteria, its conjuring up of conspiracies, its vindictiveness. He and his family had no doubt suffered agonies. But if we expect steely resolve from a police officer confronting a knife-wielding assailant, or disciplined courage from a firefighter rushing into a burning house, we should expect stoic self-control and calm from a conservative judge, even if his heart is being eaten out. No one watching those proceedings could imagine that a Democrat standing before this judge's bench in the future would get a fair hearing. This was not the conservative temperament on display. It was, rather, personalized grievance politics.

Real conservatives have always prided themselves on their willingness to stand up to their own kind in the name of moral principle. Think of Senator Robert Taft opposing the North Atlantic Treaty, knowing that those positions could destroy his political career. Taft was wrong in his views, but he was principled, he was courageous, and he went down speaking truth as he saw it. William F. Buckley took on the John Birch Society in the middle of the 20th century, and the anti-Semites in the conservative camp later on. In 1993, when Buckley had to choose between loyalty to Joseph Sobran, his long-time protégé and colleague at the National Review, and rejection of bigotry, principle won and he fired his friend.

The party resembles Donald to the precise extent it has surrendered to emotion.





Posted by orrinj at 4:01 AM

THE ROUT IS ON:

House GOP cancels ad buys for vulnerable Republican (REID WILSON, 09/30/18, The Hill)

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has canceled more than $1 million in planned advertising aimed at helping Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) in the coming weeks.

The decision to cut advertising, described to The Hill by a source familiar with the NRCC's strategic thinking, is a hint that Republicans are pessimistic about Yoder's chances of holding his Kansas City-area district.

Posted by orrinj at 4:00 AM

WHAT DO WE HAVE TO GIVE YOU TO LET US CHANGE THE NAME?:

Canada-US reach free trade deal with Mexico (ROB GILLIES and PAUL WISEMAN, 910/01/18, AP) 

The new deal, reached just before a midnight deadline imposed by the U.S., will be called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. [...]

[I]t keeps a NAFTA dispute-resolution process that the U.S. wanted to jettison and offers Canada protection if Trump goes ahead with plans to impose tariffs on cars, trucks and auto parts imported into the United States.

"It's a good day for Canada," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said as he left his office. Trudeau said he would have more to say Monday.

Posted by orrinj at 3:56 AM

WE'VE ESTABLISHED HE'S LYING, NOW TO DETAILS...:

Chad Ludington's Statement on Kavanaugh's Drinking and Senate Testimony (The New York Times, Sept. 30, 2018)

In recent days I have become deeply troubled by what has been a blatant mischaracterization by Brett himself of his drinking at Yale. When I watched Brett and his wife being interviewed on Fox News on Monday, and when I watched Brett deliver his testimony under oath to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, I cringed. For the fact is, at Yale, and I can speak to no other times, Brett was a frequent drinker, and a heavy drinker. I know, because, especially in our first two years of college, I often drank with him. On many occasions I heard Brett slur his words and saw him staggering from alcohol consumption, not all of which was beer. When Brett got drunk, he was often belligerent and aggressive. On one of the last occasions I purposely socialized with Brett, I witnessed him respond to a semi-hostile remark, not by defusing the situation, but by throwing his beer in the man's face and starting a fight that ended with one of our mutual friends in jail.

I do not believe that the heavy drinking or even loutish behavior of an 18- or even 21-year-old should condemn a person for the rest of his life. I would be a hypocrite to think so. However, I have direct and repeated knowledge about his drinking and his disposition while drunk. And I do believe that Brett's actions as a 53-year-old federal judge matter. If he lied about his past actions on national television, and more especially while speaking under oath in front of the United States Senate, I believe those lies should have consequences. It is truth that is at stake, and I believe that the ability to speak the truth, even when it does not reflect well upon oneself, is a paramount quality we seek in our nation's most powerful judges.