Friday, September 4, 2015

Uncivil Disobedience

Thank Áine It's Friday!

"Summer's almost over, so Sláinte!"

Oh, Good Grief...

One of the most abused and put-upon concepts in our political discourse these days is the notion of "civil disobedience." There seem to be quite a few people who are deeply confused about its meaning, as witness all of the silly commentary about Kim Davis, the clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky who has chosen to go to jail for contempt rather than comply with a court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

"Can't you people at least read what I wrote first?"

In his famous 1849 essay "Resistance to Civil Government," the poet and philosopher Henry David Thoreau argued that a person owed a greater allegiance to their own conscience than to any unjust law the State might pass.

The part that everyone always forgets is the "unjust" part. People routinely misuse Thoreau's writings to justify ignoring or actively disobeying any law which they find disagreeable.

That is precisely what is happening in this case. Some otherwise-intelligent people are claiming that Davis is engaged in "civil disobedience," and that she is being jailed simply for having Christian beliefs. This is nonsense on stilts.

It is not "civil disobedience" to riot and loot businesses which are not agents of the state, nor is it "civil disobedience" to obstruct the movements of law-abiding citizens who are not agents of the state. Those acts are simple law-breaking, and should be punished accordingly.

The issue in the Kim Davis case does not involve "civil disobedience," either, as the court order to issue marriage licenses which she is defying is not in itself unjust in any way. Ms. Davis is not in jail because of her religious beliefs, as many have alleged. She is in jail because she wants to hang on to her high-paying job while refusing to carry out its duties under the law. She is refusing to comply with a legally valid judicial order.

The people trying to turn Kim Davis into some sort of folk hero or poster child for religious freedom need to educate themselves. Contra Mark Levin, there is no 1st Amendment right to use your private religious beliefs as an excuse not to do your job, or to thumb your nose at a court order. There is no reasonable basis for Davis's actions, and she got what she deserved. We are, after all, a nation of laws, not a nation of arrogant clerks.

Things That Make Me Happy: Slugfest Edition

The rubber game of the three-game series between the Detroit Tigers and my beloved Kansas City Royals last night at Kauffman Stadium was not a pitcher's duel. The score was 3-2 Tigers after one inning, 12 runs had been scored by the end of the 3rd inning, both starters were gone by the 4th inning, and the bullpens weren't exactly mowing 'em down, either. The Royals eventually blew the game open with a six-run 7th inning and prevailed 15-7. Chris Young picked up the win in relief and is now 10-6 with a 3.13 ERA.

As usual when you score so frequently, there was no shortage of offensive stars of the game. DH Kendrys Morales had the most productive night, going 4-for-5 with a double, 4 RBIs, and 3 runs scored.

Kendrys Morales receiving a celebratory post-game dousing from Sal Perez.

Last night's victory was win No. 82, ensuring the Royals their third straight winning season, something they have not managed in nearly thirty years (1986-89). The Royals are also the only team in major league baseball this season which has not spent even one day under .500, and win No. 82 means they will become the only team in franchise history to complete an entire 162-game season without ever being under .500. It is a great time to be a Royals fan, certainly.

The Chicago White Sox come to town tonight to begin a three-game weekend series. Kris Medlen (3-0, 3.51 ERA) will take the mound for the Royals in Game 1 against long-time Royals nemesis John Danks (6-12, 4.82).

Joe and Brad

So last night two of my guitar heroes, Joe Bonamassa and Brad Paisley, were both on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. I don't generally stay up late enough to watch that show, but last night I made an exception (I also recorded it so that I could watch it a few more times).

Joe (@JBONAMASSA) is one of the folks I follow on Twitter, and here is a picture he posted there of Brad playing one of Joe's famous 1959 Les Paul "bursts" backstage before taping the show: 

Brad plays "Principal Skinner" while Joe watches.

Joe did a splendid job all night working with Jimmy's marvelous house band The Roots, and Brad played "Country Nation," the new single from his chart-topping Moonshine in the Trunk album, which you can watch here. Joe also has a new album due out soon (pre-order here). More on that in due course...

"You writing about a Joe Bonamassa album? Shocker!"

I know, right?

Until Next Time...

This is another one of those "strange connections" entries. Yesterday afternoon I was watching an episode of the TV series Bones (based on mystery novels by Kathy Reichs). The particular episode was called "The Knight On the Grid"...

You're not funny. Go eat-murder some ants, please...

Anyway, there is a montage scene late in this episode that features the song "Low Is a Height," by a band called Great Northern. In the fall of 2012 I was directing the play The Late Great Me, and was looking for a piece of music to use as a curtain-raiser. 
I happened to watch this Bones episode at some point during that search, and the song struck me as a good fit both musically and lyrically, so I used it. And hearing it again yesterday brought back all sorts of wonderful memories of that production, and the students who were a part of it, so...

Today's send-off is the official music video of the song, and comes with all the usual caveats about music videos. Enjoy...

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