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Saturday, October 10, 2020

Questions for Dr. Laura Schlesinger

I didn't write this. The top part is by Michael Luscombe and the set of questions is from James M. Kauffman.

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In her radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance.

The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura, penned by a US resident, which was posted on the Internet. It's funny, as well as informative:
Dear Dr. Laura:
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination ... End of debate.
I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.
1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighbouring nations.
A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?
2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of Menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24.
The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offence.
4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odour for the Lord - Lev.1:9.
The problem is my neighbours. They claim the odour is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
5. I have a neighbour who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death.
Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?
6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?
7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?
8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?
9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)
I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I'm confident you can help.
Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.
Your adoring fan.
James M. Kauffman, Ed.D. Professor Emeritus, Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education University of Virginia
(It would be a damn shame if we couldn't own a Canadian)

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

How Doubt Gives Trump a Second Term

 

So, here’s a nightmare scenario in which Trump gets a second term.

It explains why Trump is spending so much energy emphasizing possible election fraud.

 Elections, even in the best of times, have a number of ballots that are spoiled,

Adams’ group said that during the four most recent general elections, about 1.3 million ballots were rejected upon receipt out of about 146 million ballots, which works out to about 1 percent.

Federal data shows that rejected absentee ballots are a small subset. In 2016, about 1% of absentee ballots were rejected, most commonly for missing or mismatched signatures, or for arriving after the deadline. Signature checks are one of the ways election officials try to safeguard against absentee voter fraud, but they can also trip up voters who simply forgot to sign their ballots, or whose signatures have varied over time.  https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/jun/09/j-christian-adams/misleading-claim-millions-absentee-ballots-end-mis/

One percent’s not a lot, but remember some states can be close, and it’s not a uniform 1%, but clustered.

So, (1) the idea is to create enough doubt – even if that doubt is only in Bill Barr’s head. Then Barr he heads to the Supreme Court, newly stacked with Trump appointees.

Or, (2) at the state level, some states may just not certify a winner.  The official responsible for this varies by state; often it’s the Secretary of State, but not always. But a count of current governors shows 24 Democrats, 26 Republicans, so that’s a reasonable proxy for the party identification of the person certifying the results. In a close election, there’s a lot of room for deciding which ballots to accept. [Recall that in Florida in 2000, if Gore had his rule for vote counting used, Bush would have won. If Bush had his rule used, Gore would have won. In the end, the Supreme Court decided 5-4 not to have further counting.] Or, there may just be no certification in time. 

Would partisanship prevail occasionally over principle? Well, remember even the sainted President Lincoln was not above trading offices for votes (c.f. the movie “Lincoln”). Trump is above nothing.

The House Divided

So, what if there’s enough doubt, or enough lack of certification, so there’s no candidate with the majority of the electoral votes?  We go to the 12th amendment.

if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President.

By “choose immediately”, this would be the current Congress, not the one elected to take office in 2021, because the electors meet on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December, before the new Congress takes office.

But this isn’t your ordinary House vote:

But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice.

Using this rule, and the data from https://ballotpedia.org/List_of_current_members_of_the_U.S._Congress ,

I count 23 states with Democratic majorities in their House delegations, 26 with Republican majorities, and one tie. (This assumes the Libertarian would caucus Republican).

Row Labels

Democratic Party

Libertarian Party

Republican Party

Grand Total

Party

 Alabama

1

6

7

Rep

 Alaska At-large Distri

1

1

Rep

 Arizona

5

4

9

Dem

 Arkansas

4

4

Rep

 California

45

7

52

Dem

 Colorado

4

3

7

Dem

 Connecticut

5

5

Dem

 Delaware At-large Distri

1

1

Dem

 Florida

13

14

27

Rep

 Georgia

4

9

13

Rep

 Hawaii

2

2

Dem

 Idaho

2

2

Rep

 Illinois

13

5

18

Dem

 Indiana

2

7

9

Rep

 Iowa

3

1

4

Dem

 Kansas

1

3

4

Rep

 Kentucky

1

5

6

Rep

 Louisiana

1

5

6

Rep

 Maine

2

2

Dem

 Maryland

7

1

8

Dem

 Massachusetts

9

9

Dem

 Michigan

7

1

6

14

Tied

 Minnesota

5

3

8

Dem

 Mississippi

1

3

4

Rep

 Missouri

2

6

8

Rep

 Montana At-large Distri

1

1

Rep

 Nebraska

3

3

Rep

 Nevada

3

1

4

Dem

 New Hampshire

2

2

Dem

 New Jersey

10

2

12

Dem

 New Mexico

3

3

Dem

 New York

21

6

27

Dem

 North Carolina

3

9

12

Rep

 North Dakota At-large Distri

1

1

Rep

 Ohio

4

12

16

Rep

 Oklahoma

1

4

5

Rep

 Oregon

4

1

5

Dem

 Pennsylvania

9

9

18

Tied

 Rhode Island

2

2

Dem

 South Carolina

2

5

7

Rep

 South Dakota At-large Distri

1

1

Rep

 Tennessee

2

7

9

Rep

 Texas

13

22

35

Rep

 Utah

1

3

4

Rep

 Vermont At-large Distri

1

1

Dem

 Virginia

7

4

11

Dem

 Washington

7

3

10

Dem

 West Virginia

3

3

Rep

 Wisconsin

3

5

8

Rep

 Wyoming At-large Distri

1

1

Rep

Grand Total

232

1

198

431

 

That’s 431 House members, since 4 seats are currently vacant. (California 50, Georgia 5, North Carolina 11, Texas 4), but the vacant seats don’t affect the state majorities.  So, if it goes to the House, we have 4 more years of Trump.

So, to put it briefly, Trump doesn’t need to get 270 electoral votes to get a second term. All he needs to do is keep Biden from getting 270 certified electoral votes.

I'm not a constitutional lawyer, so if I'm wrong about this, please let me know in the comments.