Lawyers, Will This Fly?

Filed under:Church of Liberalism,Politics — posted by Anwyn on March 16, 2007 @ 9:11 am

Survey of Anwyn says: Probably not.

Following the end of Chief Illiniwek at the University of Illinois, Urbana’s state legislature rep is introducing a bill defining the NCAA’s actions as “improper” when they extend to a university’s choice of mascot and thus allowing the university to sue. Query: couldn’t they have sued anyway? But the NCAA is a sanctioned monopoly–the federal government gives it the exclusive right to govern collegiate sports in member institutions. I don’t know how successful a lawsuit might have been. Here’s the kicker regarding the NCAA’s action as far as I’m concerned:

The university appealed again, arguing the NCAA exceeded its authority, violated the university’s institutional autonomy and applied its policy arbitrarily because other schools were allowed to keep their American Indian mascots if they had approval from the tribe.

That’s somewhat misleading, but in both directions. It’s outrageous that the NCAA applied a standard the U of I couldn’t possibly hope to meet–approval of the tribe–since the tribes of the Illini Confederation no longer exist. On the other hand, the Florida State Seminoles kept their nickname and imagery with the consent of the Florida Seminole tribe, but it seems they also didn’t have an actual mascot like the student who dressed up and portrayed Chief Illiniwek before games. Illinois lost the imagery along with the costumed character, but it’s debatable whether the imagery alone would’ve grabbed so much attention without the dance of the chief.

So this bill, if I get the gist, would make it illegal in Illinois for the NCAA to infringe on a member school’s autonomous choice of mascot. The NCAA will undoubtedly come back with the pseudo-innocence of “We didn’t say they couldn’t have the mascot. We just said we wouldn’t be associated with it.” All well and good from the position of complete collegiate sports autonomy the NCAA holds.

Dance, [Cowboy, Militiaman, Cavalryman]

Filed under:Church of Liberalism,Politics,Sad — posted by Anwyn on February 22, 2007 @ 7:16 pm

A few days ago I posted at Electric Venom about the demise of the tradition of Chief Illiniwek, until last night the mascot of the University of Illinois. After a pitched battle between Indian confederations grievance-mongers, university professors, and students and administration, dragging on many years, the NCAA last year set sports sanctions for UI, and the board announced last week that the chief would be discontinued. A comment from a graduate of U of I currently working there was helpful in tracing the scope of the decision–that it wasn’t just the NCAA, but the fact that Illinois’s legislature and governor were against retaining the chief as well, which the News-Gazette’s article does mention.

I got my master’s degree at Illinois, and this was simmering when I was there too, though I have not been as emotionally involved as the majority of undergrads who go to games and get attached to school traditions, and I don’t know that I agree with ProphetJoe’s suggestion that there should have been a public vote. (Or his suggestion that the board was against the Chief because some of them are Michigan grads, although the idea does make me chuckle.) Who would vote? All citizens of Illinois? All students and faculty? All residents of Champaign-Urbana?

Somebody will correct me if I get any of the legalese wrong, but it sounds like the legislature was more than happy to let the NCAA do their dirty work for them. If the legislature had enacted this itself, theoretically the U could’ve sued the state government for abridgement of freedom of speech, but how does that work when the suing institution is funded in part by the government? Doesn’t that make them a state actor themselves? The NCAA, however, has in previous cases, bewilderingly, been ruled both a state actor and NOT a state actor for purposes of Constitutional law, and I don’t know what the precedent currently is. I do not like that it has come to this; while I don’t think tradition should be the sole arbiter of what is retained, I don’t think the Chief was hurting enough people that he should have been steamrolled. Sensibilities, maybe. People, no. (more…)

Gay Divorce Rights

Filed under:Church of Liberalism,Politics — posted by Anwyn on February 21, 2007 @ 4:46 pm

New twist: Gay Oregonian sues state over “right” to have his assets divided with former partner upon breakup. Riiight:

The suit by Adams and his former partner, Greg Eddie, is the fourth suit to say that various Oregon laws violate the state constitution because they provide benefits to married couples only. In this case, state law prevents Adams from giving a share of his public pension to Eddie as part of a split of their assets as a divorcing couple would.

In other words, the suit is brought not by a partner who can’t get financial support after a breakup because he’s gay, but by both partners, spearheaded by the partner whose assets are at stake.

Ever watch that South Park episode about Mormons? The refrain of the little narrative song often recurs to my mind about political issues: “Dumb-dumb-dumb-dumb-duuumb!!”

In other words, their suit contends that what is considered a penalty for married couples, dividing up even singly-earned assets upon divorce, is now to be considered a “right” and sued for accordingly.

Moreover, support between married couples is intended not as a penalty (even though it can become so among childless, dual-career couples) but as what it’s actually called–support, if one partner has less or qualified earning power because of actions taken jointly as a couple, as Kate has pointed out before. So you tell me by what possible standard a male gay couple with no children could make a case for “support” as a “right.”

Cross-posted at Electric Venom.

Chemistry? So 20th Century

Filed under:Church of Liberalism,Priorities — posted by Anwyn on February 2, 2007 @ 1:05 pm

Here in the 21st century, we do Advanced Environmental Science. Your child was good at Chemistry and wanted to take Chem II? Too bad. We’ve replaced it with a class of combined biology and “earth science” with a little chem on the side and thrown in “Advanced” to make it sound like it’s good enough to replace Chem II.

Maconaquah is one of three high schools in my home county. “Earth Science” is what we made fun of otherwise smart kids for taking at my high school to keep their GPAs from faltering in Chem II or Physics if they were going for valadictorian. (I wasn’t in the running for valedictorian, and I took both Chem II and Physics, thanks.) I always assumed it was mostly geology. Somehow I doubt much geology is on the menu in “Advanced Environmental Science.” Bets are now being accepted on whether or not they view An Inconvenient Truth.

What the Hell Heaven?

Filed under:Church of Liberalism,Religion — posted by Anwyn on December 8, 2006 @ 10:56 pm

This is really ticking me off. Allah’s got it posted but doesn’t think it’s nearly as serious as I do: “The ribbing is gentle, but it’s still surprising to see this kind of religious stereotyping in an ad. Even if it is intramural.” Just watch:

It’s not gentle, Allahbabe. It’s self-loathing masked as the snottiest of self-righteousness and superiority. “See, teeming masses of Christian fear and loathing so great that you deny yourselves the simple pleasures of ‘Christmas’? We’re not to be feared! We have no rules that you must follow that might take you out of your comfortable lifestyle! You can wear jeans to church! It’s all good!” I don’t have a problem with the jeans. I have a problem with the stereotyping, which is laughably wrong, and with the doctrinal implications, which are lamentably watery.

Let’s assume for a moment that their stereotypes are correct, that buttoned-down man is the one who carries his Bible, listens to whatever passes for [younger, Christianer] Amy Grant and Cynthia Clawson and Keith Green these days (I wouldn’t know, I don’t listen), and wears those stupid fracking WWJD things–and memo to Community Christian Church, those bracelets were popular eight years ago. I haven’t seen them around in a good long time.

But I digress. Let’s assume the portrayals are correct. Suit Guy is annoying as hell, but at least he’s armed, and yes, the Word of God is referred to as a sword. Jeans Guy follows Christ … how? The same way you’d follow a diet? “Yeah, I follow Atkins, but man, I just had to have that Krispy Kreme after lunch today. Hee hee.” He doesn’t seem to need a guide; he just follows Christ in how he lives his life. Swell. Will we see him dying on a cross any time soon? At least most people know that’s what Christ did; Jeans Guy seems to be carrying all he needs to live a “Christ-following” life around in his own head, so hey, no need for those pesky rulebooks and ethics studies and … oh yeah, “morality plays.” Whatever the hell those are. Seriously. Suit Guy may be insecure enough that he feels he has to flash his religion to the world, but is it safe to assume he secretly doesn’t take it as seriously as Jeans Guy for that reason? Of course not.

Now let’s get to the truth: that the stereotypes are way off. On the contrary, it’s the newer, “seeker” Christians, the ones who fancy themselves sooo hip, as if they are the first to discover how cool Christianity can be if you only lighten up a little, who are more likely to walk around with the books in their hands, the music in their ears, and WWJD in their mouths. You put “WWJD,” “God led me to see ____,” and “This is where God wants me” into a sack one of those seekers is carrying around and just see which falls out first. Or if it’s not a seeker, it’ll be an older Christian trying desperately to remake Christianity over into something that won’t frighten the young fry away. They talk the most talk, try to grab the most non-Christians by the elbow, and try to shake the hands of the most visitors to the church. The problem is, it’s not just going to be the Bible they’re walking around with. Koran … Purpose-Driven Strife … God’s Politics … to Suit Guy’s books and superiority, they add wide-eyed enthusiasm and Jeans Guy’s non-judgy perspective. It’s the worst of both worlds. It’s all good … as long as you can say God led you there. Most of the older Christians I know are more of the “don’t pray on street corners” variety. They carry their Bibles … because they need to read what the pastor’s referring to when he speaks.

Apparently being a “Christ follower” means you get to pick and choose and live however you happen see Christ as living. Unfortunately being a Christian takes a bit more guts and commitment than that, even if it means disdain from others. (Newsflash: it always has meant that!) Too bad Community Christian Church doesn’t seem to want to man up.

Preaching to the Choir

Filed under:Church of Liberalism,Cool,Priorities — posted by Anwyn on November 15, 2006 @ 9:45 pm

A forthcoming book, Who Really Cares by Arthur C. Brooks of Syracuse University, purports to demonstrate that “compassionate conservatism” is more than just a clever name when it comes to the private giving and volunteering of conservative citizens as opposed to their liberal counterparts.

I am not surprised.

Christian Discriminated Against Because Her Religion is Least Oppressive

Filed under:Church of Liberalism,Priorities — posted by Anwyn on October 13, 2006 @ 7:16 pm

Oh, the irony. The lefties who decry “radical Christianity” as “just as bad” as “radical Islam” look nuttier all the time. This woman, a garden-variety British Airways employee with an “unblemished record,” is not to wear a symbol of her religion, solely because her religion is not repressive enough to require her to do so, unlike the religions of some of her coworkers.

The airline’s uniform code states that staff must not wear visible jewellery or other ‘adornments’ while on duty without permission from management.

It makes exceptions for Muslim and Sikh minorities by allowing them to wear hijabs and turbans.

“Without permission from management.” Why can’t she get permission, given that others are granted exceptions because of the requirements of their religion? Obviously, because that crazy ol’ “radical” Christianity refuses to do anything so radical as restrict its members’ dress or “adornments.”

[BA chief executive Willie Walsh] added: “We have previously made changes to our uniform policy to accommodate requests, after a detailed evaluation process including Health and Safety assessment to incorporate the wearing of Sikh bangles.”

But Miss Eweida said: “BA refuses to recognise the wearing of a cross as a manifestation of the Christian faith, but rather defines it as a piece of decorative jewellery.”

Well, that’s the double-barrelled question, isn’t it? An exception shouldn’t be made for Miss Eweida on account of garden-variety jewelry, should it? If I worked next to her and she got to wear her cross while I left my, say, silver swan pendant at home, that would be a bit unfair, no? But if I worked next to her and got to wear my iron bangle while she had to leave her Christian cross at home, that’s also a bit unfair. Oh, a religion of oppression requires it? Right, off you go, then.

What a world. It simply begs the question, “Why is British Airways restricting any tasteful jewelry on their employees?” Wouldn’t you think they get barraged with requests all the time? At the very least an eased-up dress code would seem to be called for. Is that amount of control over your employees really worth all this fuss? Geez, with that much dress restriction, working at BA is starting to sound like … a religion.

More Reasons to Homeschool

Filed under:Church of Liberalism,Priorities,Sad — posted by Anwyn on October 9, 2006 @ 9:30 pm

Every time I read stuff like this, homeschooling looks more and more attractive. And that’s not even considering school shootings.

Motivated by a parent’s complaint about a past Christmas pageant, [Windmill Point Elementary School’s Principal] Floyd canceled plans for A Penguin Christmas because of its title and use of such holiday characters as Santa and Rudolph.

When I was little, it was fashionable for Christians to complain about the commercialization of Christmas at the expense of the story of the birth of Jesus. Now, apparently, the prime symbols of Commercial Christmas, Santa and Rudolph, are also too religious. Principal Floyd, your good judgment is running round loose somewhere on its own. Send someone to fetch it home.

But wait! Is Santa too religious, or just too exclusive?

In light of national media attention to the story, Deputy Superintendent Sandy Wolfe reminded principals last week to “please ensure that all student celebrations, activities and events are inclusive of the various cultures and beliefs held by our students, their families and our staff.”

So it isn’t enough to ax all reference to the origin of the word Christmas; you have to represent everything else at the same time.

Call me crazy, but wouldn’t sticking to Santa and forgetting Christ do the job of separating church and state pretty nicely? Or maybe some of these administrators are educated enough to be aware of the origin of the word Santa.

The article offers some hope for public schools, however, that is especially encouraging to this ex-choir teacher:

Area choral directors say it would be impossible to teach the history of music or explore a variety of genres without including religious hymns, a position courts consistently have upheld as constitutional. … Civil-rights groups say such performances are acceptable as long as a variety of music is performed, and students who feel offended are given alternative assignments.

Alternative assignments, indeed. Ever tried running a choir in which kids were allowed to opt out of a particular song? Take five kids away from a 20-kid choir and see how you sound on concert night. This choir director is bang on:

Conductor Jeffery Redding, who chose the music for high school choir members, insisted he’s teaching music, not religion.

“Choral music started in the church, so I cannot shy away from education because of someone’s religious beliefs,” said Redding, who teaches music at West Orange High School in Orlando. “I could do a whole concert with cowboy music, but if somebody doesn’t like cowboys, they would be offended.”

Any choir kid offended by Christian choral music should be given the alternative assignment of going to a real class instead of choir, one where they might have to do more than show up to get an A. See how fast they take to the music of the church then.

Prairie Home Comrade

Filed under:Church of Liberalism,Jerks — posted by Anwyn on August 29, 2006 @ 10:32 pm

Liquidation based on political leanings.

Annual interest on the national debt now exceeds all government welfare programs combined. We’ll be in Iraq for years to come. Hard choices need to be made, and given the situation we’re in, I think we must bite the bullet and say no more healthcare for card-carrying Republicans. It just doesn’t make sense to invest in longevity for people who don’t believe in the future. Let them try faith-based medicine, let them pray for their arteries to be reamed and their hips to be restored, and leave science to the rest of us.

Cutting out healthcare for one-third of the population — the folks with Bush-Cheney bumper stickers, who still believe the man is doing a heckuva job — will save enough money to pay off the national debt, not a bad legacy for Republicans. As Scrooge said, let them die and reduce the surplus population. [Emphasis mine.]

The federal government already pays for my health care? Then what the hell is Kerry so exercised about?

Let’s Hear it for Elisabeth Hasselbeck

Filed under:Abortion,Church of Liberalism,Television — posted by Anwyn on August 3, 2006 @ 5:35 pm

One of those weird coincidences that sometimes happens. I don’t watch The View. But this morning when I turned on the TV, it happened to be tuned to the show, and a young blonde woman was telling about seeing a stroller, two children in it, out on the sidewalk in front of an NYC establishment, no adult responsible for it in sight. She said she stopped and stood guard by the stroller for approximately seven minutes before the woman appeared whose responsibility the stroller was. When the woman finally came out, it transpired that it was the nanny, not the mother, who had left these children parked alone in front of the place while she went in and got her breakfast. Blonde Woman gave her a dressing-down and was ruminating over whether or not to try to get word to the parents of these children.

Good for her. I would be inclined to do the same. Nobody has any business leaving small children unattended in a public place for any length of time.

Later in the day, Hot Air shows me this. Thank you, Allahpundit! Blonde Guardian of Abandoned Stroller is Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and I applaud her courageous stand on this issue. Note especially how circumcise Mel Gibson in public” Joy Behar sits there looking like she’s smelling curdled milk as Elisabeth unfolds the radical idea that life begins at conception.

What about Barbara Walters’s assertion that “your life may be totally ruined” if you become pregnant by a rape? Why must it be ruined? Can’t it be grotesquely upset for a while, until you decide whether to keep your child or give him/her up for adoption? And if you’re talking grotesquely upset, wouldn’t the rape alone accomplish that, pregnant or not? Once again feminism is self-defeating: Why encourage strong coping skills, good decision making, responsibility, and firmness of mind in a woman when you can just flush the embryo down the memory hole and hope she gets over it?

The Reward of Appeasement

Filed under:Church of Liberalism,It's the Jihad — posted by Anwyn on July 30, 2006 @ 9:14 pm

Biting the hand that tries to feed them. Do you think these attacks will open the U.N.’s eyes to the idea that nothing they can give these people will stop their aggression?

Nah. Me either.

Ann Althouse, in speaking of a scathing article about Rice, hits the nail on the heads of the appeasement crowd:

If the U.S. or Israel does something violent, you speak only in terms of your horror and righteous anger that we have killed people. If our enemies do something violent, you call attention to their understandable frustration and outrage and our role in making them feel that way.

There is astonishing arrogance in this kind of excusing away everything these violent people do. The excusers are saying, in essence, “They’re too [stupid, emotionally undevloped, take your pick] to understand that what they’re doing is unacceptable.” This is the compassionate left? “You’re too dumb to know that this isn’t the way to go about getting what you want, so we’ll just pat you on the head, give it to you, and send you on your merry way.”

Parents of toddlers know better than this. If I were to treat my son this way, he would grow up thinking he could throw a screaming fit and get whatever he wants.

I guess I should revise: Good parents of toddlers know better than this. It’s about time the U.N. learned it too. Looks like these attackers are giving the U.N. one hell of a screaming fit. We’ll see what they learn.

Raising Chamberlain’s Kids

Filed under:Children's Books,Church of Liberalism,Need a Good Editor? — posted by Anwyn on July 26, 2006 @ 8:30 pm

Today’s installment of the ongoing object lesson, Read Your Kids’ Books Before They Do, is the Little Golden Book Tawny Scrawny Lion, by Kathryn Jackson. If Chamberlain had had half the appeasement chops with Hitler that Our Hero, the rabbit, has with the lion in this story, Poland would have been begging for Hitler to cross the borders and annex it, because Germany would have been just so much sweetness and light.

Synopsis: Hungry lion terrorizes (eats) animals. Animals, desperate for ceasefire (ceasedigestion), send rabbit out for diplomatic mission (dinner) with lion. Rabbit invites lion for dinner (carrot stew, we’re told) at his home, where there will be a big bunch of other rabbits (lightbulb over lion’s head). Lion goes home with rabbit, who stops on the way for fish to put in the carrot stew. Rabbits feed lion to bursting with fishy carrot stew, then all gather ’round the cookfire to sing the cautionary tale of “Little Bunny Foo-Foo.” Big animals stand in awe of little rabbit’s diplomacy skills (continued possession of tasty innards).

What bothers me most about this book is not the analogy itself (although that in itself is pacifistic rant enough) but the deceptive nature of it. Because it uses animals, the tale finds itself in distress right at the start: lions are carnivores. Thus their “terrorism” can’t even be compared to that of humans, as to eat animals is necessary to lions’ survival and just a part of their nature. No carrot stew in the world will sustain a lion, and the book admits this–the rabbit has to put meat in the stew. Fish. Fish being, you know, other animals, which for the purposes of this book are not considered to be on an even footing with the rest of the animals, who can talk, make fire, use liberal philosophy to save themselves from digestion, etc.

So the appeasement of the lion really becomes an all-too-human tale: the big animals offer up OH, the rabbit, in hopes that the lion will leave them alone long enough for them to effect an escape, while the rabbit has to offer up fish, though the book hopes you will not notice its apples-and-oranges treatment of the fish with respect to the other animals. I wonder, in such an obvious fantasy tale, why they didn’t just leave it at the carrot stew. Isn’t it a liberal’s fondest dream that troublemakers at all levels can be satisfied with something other than their goal? If that were true of the current conflict in the Middle East, there wouldn’t be a conflict in the Middle East, because somebody would have found out long ago what would satisfy jihadists other than the deaths of Jews and other infidels and given it to them. Instead, liberals are left with offering them Jews (fish), hoping they will then overlook the rest of us infidels.

Sadly for liberals, Neville Chamberlain, and the author of this book, it just doesn’t work that way.

Raising Green Kids

Filed under:Children's Books,Church of Liberalism,Need a Good Editor? — posted by Anwyn on July 24, 2006 @ 10:47 pm

I have found that when choosing children’s books, it’s wisest to read them first. Failure to do this found me reading to my son about the leftist environmental agenda before I realized it.

In a box of books my mother had picked up for her grandson, I found Milo and the Magical Stones by Marcus Pfister, author of The Rainbow Fish. I had skimmed the latter book once and remembered, basically, “Tiny sparkling fish saves the day!” so I thought we’d give the mouse and the magic rocks a try. The book started out innocuously enough with a clan of mice who made the best of bad winter weather on their little rocky island, but I knew we were in trouble when Our Hero, Milo, discovered the magical glowing rock that would bring light and warmth to the cold dark winter. My parental antennae twitched up to “red alert” when we reached a division in the book between “the happy ending” and “the sad ending.” A self-proclaimed sad ending–in a children’s book!–could only be the harbinger of some self-righteous, condescending liberal agenda.

Not wanting to cut the book off in the middle, a move my son would not have understood or appreciated, I gamely shoveled through the happy ending, in which each mouse takes only one of the glowing rocks and then laboriously decorates a plain, garden-variety rock to–this is my favorite part–“give back to the island,” from which all the rocks originally came.

Need I spell out the sad ending? Failure to “give back to the island” caused the island to literally implode, killing all the mice except Our Hero and his Wise and Ancient Advisor. (Killing all the mice–I must say it again–in a children’s book!) OH and WAA were left to mourn the stupidity and greed of their dead comrades in perfect self-righteous solemnity.

If I want my son colored green, I’ll give him his paints but not his smock. Plenty of children’s books with agendas at least have the courtesy to put the agenda on the cover.

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace