Links for 4-1-2015

  • Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) challenged President Obama's Iran policy and was rewarded with an indictment for corruption (very much deserved, but rare for this administration). Lois Lerner (D-IRS) obstructed fundraising by conservative groups during the run-up to the 2012 election and won't be charged with criminal contempt for refusing to testify before Congress. It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again.

  • This is from Kevin Williamson's version of the “you will be made to care and think the 'right' way” theme that many people are advancing in the context of Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act:

    The people who have hijacked the name “liberal” — the étatists — always win when social questions are decided by the state rather than in private life, because the expansion of the state, and the consequent diminution of private life, is their principal objective. The self-styled progressive sets himself in rhetorical opposition to Big Business, but the corporate manager often suffers from the same fatal conceit as the economic étatist — an unthinking, inhumane preference for uniformity, consistency, regimentation, and conformity. It is no surprise to see Apple and Walmart joining forces here against the private mind. There is a reason that the atmosphere and protocols of the corporate human-resources office are a great deal like those of the junior-high vice-principal’s office: All reeducation facilities have a little something in common. 

    The ancient rival to étatism in the Western world is the church militant, both in its formal institutional expression and in the relatively newfangled (and thoroughly American) choose-your-own-adventure approach to Christianity. For the culture warrior, bringing these nonconformists to heel is a strategic priority. Gay couples contemplating nuptials are not just happening into cake shops and florists with Christian proprietors — this is an organized campaign to bring the private mind under political discipline, to render certain moral dispositions untenable. Like Antiochus and the Jews, the game here is to “oblige them to partake of the sacrifices” and “adopt the customs” of the rulers. We are not so far removed in time as we imagine: Among the acts intended to Hellenize the Jews was a ban on circumcision, a proposal that is still very much alive in our own time, with authorities in several European countries currently pressing for that prohibition.

  • Memories Pizza in Walkerton, Indiana was targeted in the manner described by Kevin Williamson above, and was forced to temporarily close thanks to death threats from the tolerant Left.

  • The Obama administration delivered a greenhouse gas reduction plan to the U.N. There's supposed to be a global U.N. climate agreement late this year, and the administration is threatening to implement it via executive action. Republican Senators are informing other countries that the agreement will effectively expire when the Obama administration leaves office.

  • Eleven of twelve defendants in the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal were convicted. A group of teachers, principals, and administrators changed students' answers on standardized tests so their schools would meet federal benchmarks and so they'd earn bonuses and raises.

  • A Pemex oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico caught fire, killing four workers and prompting the evacuation of 302 workers.

  • Houthi rebels appeared in central Aden accompanied by tanks despite airstrikes by Saudi Arabia and its allies.

  • The Severus Snape scenes from the Harry Potter movies in chronological order: