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Friday, February 10, 2017

What I'd Ask Judge Gorsuch

He seems like a great pick. Better than I thought the president would choose. But I have concerns. My questions are these: Why have you consistently backed the government, rejecting 8th Amendment claims in several botched executions? What level of error or mismanagement would change how you ruled? What would make you vote to abolish the death penalty?

Also, what if anything in your judicial philosophy presupposes the correctness of economic liberalism? Do you have a positivist conception of law? That is, laws are morally right because they are duly enacted? Why or why not?


Tuesday, February 07, 2017

The Public School Teacher Who Changed My Life

We'll call him Mr. M. I was in the 9th grade. He was the civics teacher. He always liked me, and appreciated my curiosity. When I followed up on something outside of class, he'd get a little twinkle in his eye and say, "Knowledge for knowledge's sake!"

He was cool. He made me feel like my thoughts and opinions mattered. He taught me to question everything. He taught us to think about unintended consequences. Feelings are one thing, and arguments another. He was libertarian, which ironically means he'd support the elimination of his own job. But he was charismatic, passionate, and articulate. I have absolutely no doubt that he indirectly impacted the course of my higher learning.

Failing public schools? I don't think so.

It's Good Advice, Sometimes

Try harder. We don't like it when people say this. But if we salute sports heroes for digging down deep and finding that extra gear, I don't think we have much room to complain in the spiritual life.

Just to be clear, Christ has done everything to bring us to the Father. There is no striving anyone could do to please the Father in our own power.

But those who are not strangers to the covenant know about the gift of faith, and of grace. We know the precious promises of Sacred Scripture; we know that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. We know of the ministrations of holy Church, our many celebrations and recollections.

We are not the faithless; in the face of our ongoing failures, call upon the Holy Spirit, and try harder.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Tom Brady Does It Again

They came from 25 points down. No one had ever done that. No one had ever been to 7 Super Bowls, either. No one, in 51 years. Frankly, I saw it, and I'm still having trouble believing that it happened. The first Super Bowl to go to overtime was last night. I won't bore you with the recap. But it ended 34-28, in perhaps the greatest title game I've seen. I say "perhaps," because there have been some doozies. And a few involve the Patriots.

One thing I wanted to note, a thing many people might miss, was the time of possession. TOP is usually crucial in a football game. It's hard--and nearly impossible--to score points without the ball. TOP tracks how often a team's offensive unit has the ball.

I noticed that the Patriots were leading the TOP even in the first half, although they trailed 21-3. If they could somehow get back in this thing, that could pay off later. Tired defenses do two things: Jack, and Squat. Tom Brady is arguably the greatest player--let alone quarterback--in NFL history. In the fourth quarter, 19 points by the Patriots tells us all we need to know. Those Atlanta Falcons defenders were exhausted.

The greatest quarterback of all time has five Super Bowl rings as proof. Bear in mind that he lost narrowly in the two others. There is no doubt about who the best is now, in my opinion. 466 passing yards was another day at the office during the regular season for Hall of Famer Kurt Warner, and his Rams teammates, dubbed "The Greatest Show On Turf." But this is the Super Bowl; these types of things aren't done.

Unless you're Tom Brady, that is. Tom Brady, who led his Patriots to the 2001 Super Bowl victory as a rookie against those aforementioned Rams, stands as champion again, some 17 years later.