Well, a sort of busy weekend, and the muse isn’t striking quickly with ideas to write (or at least ideas that won’t take more work than I’m ready to put into it tonight) so … links + extended remarks is on the docket for tonight.

  1. Now this is just stupid, and on something called “science blogs” to boot. Yet, right up there with the “depends on what the definition of is is” kind of pendantic doublespeak. Now Mr Brayton’s grandfather might have been a aboriginal hunter/gatherer or from an migratory herding culture … but for most of us these days traditional harks back all the way to the 50s or even further back to the Victorian era … or even stretching it to the mid-19th century. And guess what, monogamy was in fact traditional in those times.
  2. On Russia’s relationship with the past, especially Stalin. It seems to me, from a somewhat casual view … so I’m not really going to defend it very vigorously against someone who argues that they are actually speaking with some authority on the subject, but Russians really do know all about the bad things Stalin did. It’s not news to them (and speaking on that particular subject, I just finished reading Lydia Chukovskaya’s Sofia Petrovna this afternoon. Highly recommended.). On the other hand, one of the thing Stalin did do, irrespective of his methods, was to recast Russia from an large resource rich but still a poor agrarian nation into an industrial and military power which for some time in the latter 20th century, was regarded as one of the two super-powers. This remolding, in part required to survive Hitler’s aggression, is the source it seems to me of the reluctance to utterly condemn everything Stalin did or stood for. And I have no clue where this guy fits in the picture.
  3. Here’s a post on immigration that exemplifies the right way to go about discussions on this sort of politically charged topics
  4. Today I went to church with my parents, a Lutheran church. For the last few years almost all the church I’ve been to has been Eastern rite Orthodox … so (as a convert) the contrasts are getting more and more evident. One thing I missed was this, well not the “video presentation” but the beatitudes are sung every (ordinary) Sunday at the beginning of the service in the Eastern rite. I think centering liturgy on that is something that the West would do well to recover. Of course it was less penitential, but that I expected.
  5. Praise from the right for Mr Obama’s administration. I’ll offer another, connected with #3 above. Mr Obama’s highly celebrated, before the fact) and not so much after, trip to plead at the Olympic committee on behalf of Chicago suffered from what I in the past have termed a lack of epistemic humility, an overconfidence by the Administration in their smartness, their cleverness, and their rhetorical skills. Long time Olympic watchers had noted the “Byzantine” complexities of the Olympic committees movements, ways and politics. Yet the Admin thought they were smart enough to waft in casually at the last moment, offer a few touches, a little pomp and save the day … and they came in last place, not first. Their Mideast policy smacks of this too, assuming that their cleverness will succeed where so much has failed in the past. So, where is my praise? I’ll praise the Obama administration for not touching immigration.

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