March 3, 2020

Posted by orrinj at 9:33 PM


Posted by orrinj at 7:08 PM


How a Black Man From Missouri Transformed Himself Into the Indian Liberace (LIESL BRADNER, September 12, 2015, New Republic)

Before Liberace, there was Korla Pandit. He was a pianist from New Delhi, India, and dazzled national audiences in the 1950s with his unique keyboard skills and exotic compositions on the Hammond B3 organ. He appeared on Los Angeles local television in 900 episodes of his show, "Korla Pandit's Adventures in Music", smartly dressed in a suit and tie or silk brocade Nehru jacket and cloaked in a turban adorned with a single shimmering jewel. The mysterious, spiritual Indian man with a hypnotic gaze and sly grin was transfixing.

Offstage, Korla--known as the "Godfather of Exotica"-- was living the American dream: he had a house in the Hollywood hills, a beautiful blonde wife, two kids, and a social circle that included Errol Flynn and Bob Hope. He even had his own floral-decorated organ float in the Rose Bowl parade in 1953.

Like most everything in Hollywood, it was all smoke and mirrors. His charade wasn't his stage name--it was his race. Korla Pandit, born John Roland Redd, was a light skinned black man from St. Louis, Missouri. It was a secret he kept until the day he died.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Democrats actually learned from 2016 (Jennifer Rubin, March 3, 2020, Washington Post)

In an era of petulant and self-absorbed politics, in which parties are less relevant and effective than ever and the center is crumbling, an extraordinary scene played out on Monday. Moderate Democratic politicians acted like grown-ups, with grace and enthusiasm, as they rallied to support former vice president Joe Biden, the centrist candidate capable of defeating a bomb-throwing populist.

For many former Republicans (or one temporarily in exile) who lived through the total collapse of the Republicans in the Trump onslaught in 2016 -- and warned Democrats not to repeat the error of the rival party -- there was a mixture of delight, relief and amazement. Could it be that one party had collectively decided not to commit political suicide? Could it be that a party solved the conundrum in which the individual imperative to remain in the race leads to a collective failure (i.e. the inability to thwart a hostile takeover)?

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Impossible Foods slashes wholesale prices by 15% (Amelia Lucas, 3/03/20, CNBCX)

Impossible Foods is slashing wholesale prices on its products by 15% on average.

The maker of the meatless Impossible Burger said Tuesday that the price cut is thanks to manufacturing efficiencies and achieving greater economies of scale.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


The EU is blind to its own failing tactics (Douglas Carswell, 3/03/20, CapX)

Having spent much of my adult life campaigning to get the UK out of the EU, I have noticed a pattern of behaviour by the Euro establishment.

Each time the EU side has been presented with what you might call British concerns about the nature of our relations with them, they start off by failing to take us seriously.  Rather than address our concerns, the Brussels side seemed to expend its efforts into brushing them aside.

An obvious example of this was when Tony Blair, hardly a noted Eurosceptic, warned back in the late 1990s that the EU was overly centralised. Reform, he understood, would be needed to make the block become more competitive.

How did the EU establishment respond? Blair was fobbed off with the so-called Lisbon Agenda, which was supposed to be an ambitious reform initiative, but which saw no powers actually passed back to member states.

Something very similar happened a decade later when David Cameron asked the EU to help him win his referendum. Might the EU, he politely enquired, offer him something that might allow him to persuade the British electorate to vote to remain? They gave him nothing of substance.

No doubt EU negotiators saw this as a win. Sitting in Vote Leave's campaign office, when Cameron came back empty handed, we knew that what might be a tactical victory for Brussels was a strategic victory for us. And so it proved.

It's a simple case of a nation choosing sovereignty.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


The Complicated History of Disestablishment (MARK DAVID HALL, 3/02/20, Law & Liberty)

Because it is such a useful resource, every college and university library should own a copy of Disestablishment and Religious Dissent. But it also should be read by anyone who works on religious liberty or church-state relations in early America. Unlike many scholars, Esbeck and Den Hartog carefully define important terms, starting with "establishment" itself. They contend that establishments include one or more of the following features:

Government financial support of the state church: assessments to pay ministers and rents from glebe lands.

Government control over the creeds, order of worship, polity, and clerical appointments of the state church. . . .

Mandatory attendance at worship services in the state church, prohibitions on church services by others, and required licensure to open a meeting house for nonconformists.

Use of the state church to record births, marriages, and deaths; to perform all marriages and funerals; and to administer tax revenues for the care of the poor and widows. . . .

Religious tests. Public office and voting rights confined to members of the state church or a broader test to include nonconformists.

This definition is similar to one offered by Michael W. McConnell in an influential 2003 article, but theirs is derived from the book's 20 substantive chapters. It is worth emphasizing this nuanced definition because far too many scholars simplistically equate establishments with financial support for churches.

Esbeck and Den Hartog's definition of "establishment" makes it difficult to offer neat, tidy dates for when states disestablished religion. For instance, many states retained religious tests for civic offices and prohibitions on ministers holding civic office well into the 19th century, and a few maintained them until they were declared to be unconstitutional in Torcaso v. Watkins (1961) and McDaniel v. Paty (1978).

The Virginia General Assembly, on the other hand, banned religious tests for civic offices when it passed Thomas Jefferson's Statute for Religious Liberty in 1786. But it did not repeal a law "whereby the general assembly made ecclesiastical decisions on behalf of the Episcopalian Church" until 1787. It is thus not unreasonable to conclude, contrary to many scholars and popular authors, that Virginia disestablished its state church in 1787 rather than 1786.

Even more interesting, Ohio's 1802 constitution stated that "no man shall be compelled to attend, erect, or support any place of worship, or to maintain any ministry, against his consent," and that the:

laws shall be passed by the legislature which shall secure to each and every denomination of religious societies in each surveyed township, which now is or may hereafter be formed in the State, an equal participation, according to their number of adherents, of the profits arising from the land granted by Congress for the support of religion.

Acting upon this provision, the Ohio legislature passed laws directing revenue from "ministerial lands" to churches. These statutes were amended and revised, but they remained law until voters amended the state constitution in 1968.

Many of the book's chapters discuss ways in which states continued to favor some denominations and religions over others well into the 19th century. 

Given the plain meaning and history of the clause it's especially anti-Constitutional to argue that government can't afford assistance to religious institutions generally.