Hitching Post

Todd Starnes contends it’s a real threat:

Two Christian ministers who own an Idaho wedding chapel were told they had to either perform same-sex weddings or face jail time and up to a $1,000 fine, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in federal court. Alliance Defending Freedom is representing Donald and Evelyn Knapp, ordained ministers who own The Hitching Post Wedding Chapel in Coeur d’Alene. “Right now they are at risk of being prosecuted,” their ADF attorney, Jeremy Tedesco, told me. “The threat of enforcement is more than just credible.”

According to the lawsuit, the wedding chapel is registered with the state as a “religious corporation” limited to performing “one-man-one-woman marriages as defined by the Holy Bible.” But the chapel is also registered as a for-profit business – not as a church or place of worship – and city officials said that means the owners must comply with a local nondiscrimination ordinance.

Robert Tracinski is left breathless:

Heretics will be found out and forced to recant. No one ever expects the Secular Inquisition.

Dreher also freaks out. Walter Olson cautions:

I will note that I have learned through hard experience not to run with stories from ADF (Alliance Defending Freedom) or Todd Starnes without seeking additional corroboration. As a libertarian, I oppose subjecting this family business to any legal compulsion whatsoever, but it’s also important (as in the Dallas pastors case) to get the facts straight before feeding a panic.

James Peron’s understanding of the facts:

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Stalker Stories, Ctd

Oct 21 2014 @ 3:19pm

During this relatively slow news week, a reader draws our attention to “the latest thing blowing up (a small corner of) the Internet”:

Kathleen Hale, YA author and fiancée of Simon Rich (Frank Rich’s son) wrote this article about her experience with a nasty review on Goodreads of her non-yet-published book. She became obsessed with the reviewer, who was also a book blogger. Hale eventually discovered that the reviewer was operating under a false identity, stolen photos, made-up job, faked vacation photos, etc. Against all advice, Hale decided to confront the reviewer, to find out why she had it in for her, going so far as to find her real name and address, pay for a background check on her, and go to her house.

What makes the story so interesting is the reaction to it. I don’t know if Hale thought she would get a sympathetic reaction to her confession, but she has instead set off a firestorm.

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The View From Your Window

Oct 21 2014 @ 3:00pm


Yupukari, Guyana, 11.49 am

A few readers comment on the thread:

Actually, I would agree with McArdle (not something I usually do) about the waning energy of middle-aged parents. My wife had our two lovely daughters (now 4 and 20 months) by the age of 33. And they tire her out as it is. However, being nine years older than wife, these kids can devastate me! My wife and I are both professionals, so we have always traditionally split the household duties 50/50. But she is currently finishing her PhD thesis, which means I’ve taken on the lion’s share of the household work and raising the kids, and I can tell you that my mid-40s body/energy level is just barely up to the task. She left me in charge for a week while she was in Germany for an academic meeting; while I kept everything running well, I was also exhausted and in bed most of those night by 9PM!

Raising kids is something that is really meant for your 20s and early 30s, when your energy is less restricted. If companies really want to support working parents (because I think running a household should be split between the responsible adults), there are a raft of other family-friendly policies that could be looked at.

But another reader praises the egg-freezing policy:

So, I’m 41. I froze my eggs one week ago. I don’t have a partner, I’m still hoping to meet someone I actually want to be with, and I don’t particularly want to be a single parent, but family is hugely important to me and don’t want to regret never having children. I hadn’t really thought much about egg freezing, but then I went to my ob/gyn over the summer, and she recommended that I go see a fertility doctor and see what my options are. So I did.

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Kobani: A Battle In Multiples Wars

Oct 21 2014 @ 2:21pm

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 11.41.05 AM

Despite recent gains by Kurdish fighters in and around Kobani, aided by the delivery of small arms and other supplies yesterday, Kiran Nazish reports that the situation in the area remains tenuous:

Firas Kharaba, the leader of a Kurdish group, has been coordinating and managing the return of many wounded fighters from Kobani into Turkey. With the help of spies that, he says, infiltrated ISIS, “we found the power hub. … After the U.S. hit that building, they [ISIS] suffered a full blow.” More than 30 top fighters and commanders were killed, he said. Recently the Islamic State has been bringing in new fighters, but many of themaccording to Firas’s sourcesare not professionally trained fighters, but mere managers, organizers, and account keepers, with little experience in the battle field.

The main concern for YPG fighters now, is their on-the-ground force. What they need even more than manpower, says Kobani government official Idris Nassan, are “weapons on the ground.”

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What Catholics Really Believe

Oct 21 2014 @ 1:59pm

As we enter a year of debate and discussion about the family in Catholic teaching, it’s obvious, thanks to Pope Francis’ skillful airing of the divides, that there is no consensus on the issues of treating the divorced or single parents or homosexuals, and a majority of bishops in favor of the status quo. But it’s worth noting at the same time what American Catholics actually believe. They are increasingly one of the most socially progressive groups in American society and culture. When I am asked by many outsiders how I can remain in a church that does not welcome me or my kind, I have to respond that I have rarely experienced anything but welcome. My fellow Catholics are almost always obviously comfortable around their gay fellow-parishioners, as are, mercifully, many priests.

Check out this graph, for example, on the question of sodomy – yes, full-fledged sodomy – over the decades in American life:


If you wanted a religious vocation that was all about endorsing gay sex (not something I would ever recommend), you should rush to be a Catholic! Carl Bialik’s data-driven analysis even finds the correlation between Catholicism and social liberalism to endure across cultures and countries:

We didn’t have data broken down by religion in individual countries, so instead I examined how attitudes within countries corresponded with the percentage of their population that is Catholic. In general, the higher a share of a country’s residents are Catholic, the higher percentage of residents express tolerance toward divorce and towards gays. The effect isn’t huge, but it’s consistent.

I immediately went to read Rod Dreher to see his head exploding. In fact, he agrees:

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Peen Review, Ctd

Oct 21 2014 @ 1:42pm

NSFW, because Oz:

Readers point to some lesser-known shows and films with major peenage:

I love that this is a current thread! Check out Shortbus by John Cameron Mitchell (director of Hedwig and the Angry Inch) for some serious onscreen peen, and an overall excellent film about the city you love to hate: NYC.

Another adds regarding Shortbus, “How often in a non-porn, ‘art’, ‘indie’ movie do you see this much explicit sexual behavior that is clearly a legitimate part of the storytelling?” Many other readers sound off:

Given all that’s going on in the world, it seems a little weird to email you about boners on TV, but here are two notable instances that stand up – er – stand out:

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Christopher Dickey puts a fresh spin on the debate over whether arming participants in foreign civil wars “works”:

Has the CIA failed repeatedly to meet its covert goals? Actually, the problem has been exactly the reverse. With the exception of the Bay of Pigs, the agency has succeeded repeatedly, sometimes spectacularly. In Afghanistan in the 1980s “the CIA arms for the mujahedin won the final and decisive battle of the Cold War, liberating Eastern Europe and destroying the USSR,” says CIA veteran Bruce Riedel, now at the Brookings Institute. “That’s victory by any measure. Of course the war had other long term consequences, but the CIA accomplished what the White House wanted, a Russian Vietnam.”

Long-term consequences indeed. What happened again and again after the agency eliminated or helped to neutralize the presumed bad guys was the spectacle of their replacements turning out to be as bad or worse. But for those tragic policy decisions one must blame every president dating back to Dwight D. Eisenhower.

It’s too tempting a tool for presidents to use – secret, unaccountable and constantly looking for new wars to fight and enemies to make. Truman saw this clearly. But by then, it was probably too late to restrain it. And no president has – least of all the current one. By the 21st Century, the CIA had fully understood that it could break the law and even commit war crimes, and all it needed to do was destroy the evidence, spy on the Senate, and lie to the public and get away with it. We await the first attempt in recent times merely to expose the facts of its brutality and incompetence. We’ve been waiting now for almost two years.


Doug Chini is pleased:

You hear that Dish team? That sharp, repeating sound? That’s the sound of a happy Chini clapping. Nicely, nicely done. No landmarks, no giveaways, no mercy. THIS is how you do a view. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the hardest contest we’ve had (there’s almost too many clues), but it’s still a classic example of what this little slice of Internet insanity is all about.

A less-pleased contestant:

Damn. That roof seems like France, but not the rest. Trees seem Italian. Apartments, less European. Who knows? Throwing a stab with Cagliari, Sardinia.

Another describes the scene in greater detail:

European-style architecture from the era of the Industrial Revolution, but a level of run-down shabbiness that you wouldn’t find in western Europe, which says eastern Europe, Russia or former Soviet Republic, or maybe Shanghai. A crane currently building a new high rise maybe argues for the latter.

I’m guessing that one of those cars in the lower right is of former Soviet bloc make, so I’m going to take a random guess of Kiev. I can find quite a few apartment blocks of the appropriate vintage (although nothing that looks in quite such disrepair), but I’ve got nothing to narrow it down to the building under renovation with the Mansard roof and the spiky sky light.

And just as I was about to give up, I noticed the flag on the building across the street. It looks like it’s red, blue and red horizontal stripes. Laos? Doesn’t seem likely to have a city this dense. Nope, I’ll stick to Kiev. Whatever it is, at least it’s an interesting photo.

Another zooms in on the car:

OK, I give up. Based on the metal roofs, snow fences, tall buildings and the Lada in the corner of the picture, I think we’re in Moscow. Since I can’t find the buildings or window, I’ll just send in a Lada joke:

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Epistemic Closure Watch

Oct 21 2014 @ 12:42pm

Media Polarization

Pew looks at how conservatives and liberals consume their news:

When it comes to getting news about politics and government, liberals and conservatives inhabit different worlds. There is little overlap in the news sources they turn to and trust. And whether discussing politics online or with friends, they are more likely than others to interact with like-minded individuals, according to a new Pew Research Center study.

John Avlon is distressed:

A few decades ago, politicians sent talking points to talk radio hosts. Today, talk radio hosts and online echo-chamber pundits send talking points to politicians. They keep their readers and listeners addicted to anger. The durable wisdom of the late, great Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan—“everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts”—gets discarded when people come to political debates armed with their own facts.

Justin Elis’ take is more nuanced:

On their face, these findings might seem to lend support to the idea that we’re becoming a country of smaller and smaller filter bubbles, personalized universes of news and people that fit our own interests. But the connection between how Americans get news and their political polarization is not black and white.

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