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Archive for the ‘F & L in the News’ Category

[214] OJ & CTE

What if the despised OJ Simpson had CTE? What then? We know that the brain of many football players have been permanently damaged. We know that chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is associated with erratic, aggressive, and even violent behavior. Player after player with CTE spent much of their post-playing career behaving “out of character,” engaging in uncharacteristically self-destructive, unhealthy, and antisocial behavior.

Terry Long, Ray Easterling, Andre Waters, Junior Seau, and Dave Duerson all committed suicide. Incidents of domestic violence litter the lives of CTE victims. Dave Duerson, once honored as NFL Man of the Year for his community and volunteer service lost his Notre Dame analyst job for roughing up his wife. When he took his life at age 50, he left a note requesting that his brain be examined. I don’t have to tell you what the neurosurgeons at Boston University found with respect to the condition of Duerson’s brain.

So back to OJ. What if he suffers from severe CTE? He took a ton of football hits. His post-career behavior was apparently much different from the earlier years. No one is justifying murder here, but there may be more involved than simply sociopathic narcissism. DC

[213] MLK Day

The left consistently celebrates Martin Luther King Day as if it is a liberal holiday.  The right seems not to make as much celebrative noise.  That is unfortunate.  One would hope that at least the birthday of this champion of freedom would not be kicked around on the political football field.

But there is a more troubling aspect.  The foundation of MLK’s movement was Christian.  He was an ordained Baptist Minister and his organization was named the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Scripture was constantly quoted and long prayer vigils were regular events.  At  the individual level, King reportedly immersed himself in prayer to ward off feelings of hate in the face of injustice.

But you won’t hear much if anything about the Christian core of the MLK’s life and legacy.  The secularists have clipped those pages out of the narrative.  And in doing so, they have made what could be an inspiring day—one of putting down division and seeking unity, into little more than one in which the banks are closed. DC

[212] Reversal?

Donald Trump’s approval ratings have been lounging around the high 30’s, viewed by millions as a crude, villainous bully in need of psychiatric intervention and removal via the 25th Amendment.

But what might happen if two things occur?  What if Trump is found free (or largely free) of Russian collusion by the Mueller investigation and Hillary is found to have been trying—illegally—to manipulate his demise?  Also, what happens if Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury book is publically discredited, owing to myriad inaccuracies and poor journalism?

What then?

Suddenly, Trump moves from bully to the victim of a nefarious plot; from a dominating, out-of-control executive to the target of a grossly inaccurate literary hatchet job.

That is a reversal, and it may well show in his approval ratings.

Something this dramatic may seem far-fetched, but nothing about Trump’s political biography has been very predictable. DC

[211] PC Mental Health

Legions of pundits, all practicing psychiatry without a license, have decided that Trump is mentally unstable, and hence, hope they might be able to use the 25th Amendment to unseat the despised 45th President.  What is curious is that amid these charges no real clinical definition of mental health is rendered, and the alleged instability is not described in anything approaching clinical terms associated with mental dysfunction.  All this does not, however, mean these armchair psychiatrists do not have at least an implied definition of mental health.  One very non-clinical one surely does exist among the Trump critics.  It is simply this: Mental health is exemplified by behavior that aligns with political correctness, while dysfunction is measured by the degree of deviation from this standard.  By that bizarre definition–and nothing else–Donald Trump is not only unstable, he is crazy. DC

[210] Consensual?

It seems the most common defense among those public figures awash in allegations of sexual harassment is that their sexual encounters were “consensual.” There are two quick responses to that. First, it makes these trysts not a matter of relational significance, but rather a form of entertainment rather like bowling or miniature golf. Looking at sex as simply “hooking up” makes these meaningful, and obviously long-remembered encounters—at least if one listens to those leveling the charges–as insignificant physical acts.

Second, it indicates that those fending off the allegations just don’t get it. They do not know the difference between consent and compliance. While Matt Lauer, Dustin Hoffman, and the many other similar public figures seem to believe that they had willing and consenting partners, those partners are saying that they simply complied. And felt ashamed of having done so. They bowed to their fear of potential reprisal by these men who had significant impact on their careers, and simply gave in to their lustful advances.

This is not consent. It is compliance. It is complying with the carnal desires of someone who is more powerful than you, someone who has potentially strong influence on the trajectory of your career. Interestingly, those who tell these stories indicate they felt “dirty” and ashamed of their compliant actions. In short, they are willing to be accountable for their moral lapses. Nonetheless, they are telling their stories, because they realize there is a subtle perversion of the truth on the part of the famous people who whose despicable behavior is now being exposed. DC

[209] Magnanimity

Blogger, Kevin DeYoung of thegospelcoalition.org, had some prophetic things to say about our current political atmosphere. Using the concept of magnanimity—the capacity to let go of grudges and attempts to “get even” in favor of extending grace and generosity in the face of abuse and attack, he encourages a cheek-turning strategy in an era of divisiveness. He urges “pastors, parents, politicians, pundits, and internet pugilists…[to]…show the sort of Christian magnanimity our world needs but rarely displays…” For DeYoung, this “is not simply the way to win friends and influence people. It is the way of the cross. And the way of the One who hung there saying, ‘“Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.’”

It may also be the only way to save our republic. DC

[208] It’s About Abortion

Now that our nation is knee-deep in sexual harassment charges, the focus has returned to one, William Jefferson Clinton with an eye toward a bit of revisionist history. It seems his picture is coming down from the Democratic mantelpiece while the Dems reconsider his legacy.

Amid this overnight chaos one question continues to be asked: Why did the party assist Hillary in protecting him from the many very believable allegations?

The answer is that he was a champion of women’s rights. I never knew it was a competition with an acknowledged champion. By the way, Al Franken is also a self-proclaimed champion of women’s rights. Perhaps it is a co-championship.

But I digress.

Here’s the punchline. These “championships” are not about women’s rights. They are about abortion rights. And that is not a women’s issue. There are legions of would-be fathers who enthusiastically seek and will pay for a “termination of pregnancy” (to put it euphemistically) to free themselves of the obligations associated with fatherhood. And just as teachers confront school boards with an exhausting list of demands before they go on strike, only to abandon all those demands in favor of a pay increase, so also do all other women’s issues recede from sight when abortion is back on the table (if you will pardon the expression). In other words, had Clinton (and others) been four-square on the side of women on every gender issue, but been pro-life, he would have been outed as a masher years ago.

It’s not about women’s rights. Never has been. It’s about abortion.

[207] Follow the $

You don’t have to care much about football to notice how inconsistent the NFL and its owners have become over players kneeling during the National Anthem. When Colin Kaepernick was the only one, a year, they solved the problem by keeping him out of the league. In a short time, however, multiple Colin Kaepernicks emerged, and the league has been scrambling for workable strategies ever since.

Some owners became sanctimonious advocates of the poor and the oppressed, praising the social concern of the players, all but approving the kneeling. In fact, that great social reformer, Jerry Jones, went on the field and kneeled with his team while the song was being played, although a few weeks later the Cowboy owner put the hammer down and demanded compliance with league rules. Over in Green Bay, players locked arms in unity, apparently with the approval of the corporation–though just exactly what the unity was about was a tad unclear.

Don’t be fooling yourself. None of these strategies are about respect for the National Anthem nor have the owners suddenly become amateur sociologists, filled with a missionary zeal for social reform. No, they are in a panic. Their brand is suffering. TV ratings are plunging, sponsors are pulling ads, and income is down. All this amid dull games and growing evidence of brain injury to players. And there is no immediate end in sight. When facing this kind of economic negative landslide, the only avenue available is to follow—or maybe better—pursue the money by employing anything—even appeasement—to regain equilibrium.

For the faith-and-learning adherent, all this is disgusting. All this posturing is nothing more than living a lie, and trying to sell a lie. That is what raw commercialism is. DC

[206] Hacked

Hacked, by Donna Brazile, has become a political thunderbolt. A major figure in Democratic politics for three decades, Brazile is now the target of her party’s rage for stating that Hillary Clinton and her minions—in cahoots with DNC Chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz–had gained sufficient control of the Democratic National Committee to all but “rig” the 2016 Democratic nomination.

Is anyone surprised?

I’m not.

Not because I do not like some of the actors in this drama, but because this story is but a parable of current political operating procedures.

In both parties.

Look at it. Political corruption is so ubiquitous that no one has any real street cred. Hillary, with her much publicized book, What Happened, has been dealt a near fatal blow by her former political comrade, Donna Brazile.

Brazile has been discredited for feeding Hillary debate questions, sub rosa, to give the candidate a cheating edge going into a debate. This unethical act was sufficiently egregious to remove Brazile from not only the campaign, but also her job at CNN, the electronic home of liberal punditry. Her self-inflicted professional wound was so severe that skeptics have understandably wondered if Brazile’s motivation to render her tell-all represents was simply to save her rapidly disappearing career. And Debbie Wasserman Schultz, once a rising political star, was caught snuggling too close to Hillary in the primary campaign, and is now disgraced.

On the Republican side, the campaign was typified by character assassination, replete with accusations of lying, deceit, and political skullduggery.

Hacked is a good word. It not only applies to the specific content of Brazile’s book, but also the condition of our political processes in general. DC

[205] National Anthem

To use the words of Archie Bunker, everyone’s bowels are in an uproar over the athletes’ behavior upon the playing of the National Anthem. Just dare to make a comment on this matter in any group setting and you can get ready for a long and emotional discussion with many participants.

Remember Gamaliel, when Paul was assailed for divisiveness because he was preaching the gospel? The wise man encouraged the riled up throng to relax. He said that if the gospel were nonsense it would fade away. If it were truth, it would not, and worse, they would be opposing God by attacking Paul.

I remember the hot 1960’s well. In that era, angry African-American spectators did not stand for the National Anthem at public events. There was similar finger-pointing and lots of hostile, verbal repartee.

The republic remained. I would recommend the Gamaliel approach in our time. DC

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