Notes from all over.

June 13, 2008 | 25 comments

Here’s your chance to discusss the week in links.

As with last week, most of these links are still available via the sidebar but I’ll try to put in the links when I get a chance.

A fruitful discussion of what conservatism is
12th Jun 2008 @ 4 PM

An example of the the fundamental political silliness of French “theory” when it comes to American literature departments…
12th Jun 2008 @ 3 PM

Supreme Court rules that detainees at Guantanamo have right to habeas review or some adequate substitute but is silent on the scope of the review required and…
12th Jun 2008 @ 12 PM
what substantive rights the detainees might have or the availability of habeas relief outside of GTMO, suggesting pace its reading of WWII-era cases that such a question will turn on practical considerations.

Kanab, Utah to lift its bikini ban
12th Jun 2008 @ 12 PM

Supreme Court rules detainees at Guantanamo have constitutional rights
12th Jun 2008 @ 11 AM

Wow. What’s in the new MMM book? A very detailed review, here.
12th Jun 2008 @ 11 AM

A brotherly reader: “SexandtheCity fan repents, joins church, backslides.”
12th Jun 2008 @ 10 AM
Deadpan, I am.

A little 9th Circuit hypocrisy from a surprising source…
11th Jun 2008 @ 2 PM

The Spartans of the Plains. (Another cool book — see Alan Taylor or Fred Andersen — on Amerindian imperial politics.)
11th Jun 2008 @ 11 AM

Jobs Canadians won’t do.
11th Jun 2008 @ 10 AM

Mitt’s new $12 million beachfront La Jolla pad
11th Jun 2008 @ 9 AM

Did Deseret polygamy create ‘lost boys’?
10th Jun 2008 @ 4 PM

Middle Ages II: the Return of the Urban Demographic Sink
10th Jun 2008 @ 1 PM

Gay couples don’t exhibit sex differences.
10th Jun 2008 @ 10 AM
Scientists stunned.

Chess rap. (ht: g “not-a-patzer” st)
9th Jun 2008 @ 7 PM

Another article about Mother in Heaven.
9th Jun 2008 @ 2 PM

The world’s most unlikely Sex and the City fan… (hat tip: Sheldon Gilbert)
9th Jun 2008 @ 12 PM

Canadian Pastor forbidden to make disparaging remarks about homosexuality
9th Jun 2008 @ 12 PM

Former Romney booster Mark DeMoss predicts Obama may snag up to 40% of the Evangelical vote
9th Jun 2008 @ 12 PM

A new book on shaken faith syndrome (and what to do about it)…
9th Jun 2008 @ 12 PM

Obama campaign to unveil major “Joshua Generation” campaign targeted at Evangelical and religious youth
9th Jun 2008 @ 12 PM

Comments on faith and the tenure-track job search
8th Jun 2008 @ 1 PM

Harry Potter goes to Harvard: J. K. Rowling’s 2008 commencement address.
7th Jun 2008 @ 12 PM

Viral marketing and friendship.
7th Jun 2008 @ 12 PM

An argument for institutional diversity across law schools, with reference to religiously affiliated schools.
7th Jun 2008 @ 11 AM

Exploring the common ground between the Texas FLDS raid and the California SSM judicial decision
6th Jun 2008 @ 2 PM

Baby survives abortion, expected to live a normal life
6th Jun 2008 @ 12 PM

A proposed recognition test for civilized human beings
6th Jun 2008


25 Responses to Notes from all over.

  1. Researcher on June 13, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    Wow. Is it Friday AGAIN? [Sigh.]

  2. Ardis Parshall on June 13, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    “Baby survives abortion.” That one flabbergasted me. I was expecting to read about a late-term abortion where the baby cried and was saved, but this was so early that the procedure hadn’t removed the baby from the womb. Not to get too graphic, the abortionist must have extracted some tissue — for the baby to have remained behind, intact, with whatever tissue allowed him to survive, is stunning.

    “Viral marketing” was also interesting. It’s bad enough when you’re invited to a XYZ-Wares “Party” where you know what you’re getting into. But who needs friends who will sell out to advertisers the way this “viral” system works. /shudder/

  3. Seth R. on June 13, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    I found the FAIR post about “Lost Boys” really interesting.

    In a nutshell, the post concludes that there probably weren’t any in late 1800s Utah in any appreciable numbers.

    The reason is that there was always a larger number of young men and women in the later birthdate demographics. Therefore, by having young men marry girls a couple years younger than they (which was the tradition), you could always count on there generally being more eligible women available than men. Theoretically, the situation could have been indefinitely self-sustaining, provided there were always more births each year. Kind of like a matrimonial pyramid scheme.

    Worth checking out.

  4. Patricia Karamesines on June 13, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    “A little 9th Circuit hypocrisy from a surprising source …”

    Maybe the lawyers on this blog can explain to me the finer details that legally distinguish “hypocrisy” from “corruption” where this judge’s lack of good judgment is concerned.

  5. Adam Greenwood on June 13, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    “Corruption” would probably a better term. Judge Kozinski is a libertarian so I doubt he personally favors pornography laws. Neither is he known for condemning pornography or licentiousness or for holding himself out as one who abstains from such behaviors.

  6. Kaimi Wenger on June 13, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    Doesn’t corruption usually imply taking kickbacks or the like?

    I wouldn’t call judge Kozinski’s actions corrupt. Boneheaded, yes.

  7. Adam Greenwood on June 13, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    Corruption usually does apply that. But I think from a Mormon perspective you can view a fascination with pornography as a kind of moral corruption. It would be more than just boneheaded. But obviously Judge Kozinski is not taking kickbacks or anything of the kind.

  8. Patricia Karamesines on June 13, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    Kaimi, that’s exactly my question. Does the legal definition of corruption require money changing hands in exchange for some illegal but advantageous (to the payee) favor or service? Or can there be a broad legal application of the term where somebody’s actions could be considered corrupt even where no money is involved?

    If Judge Kozinski were applying to teach at an elementary school and the person doing background checks found his website, would he pass the background check?

    Like Adam, I think Kozinski’s behavior regarding the displaying of questionable images on his website goes beyond “boneheaded.”

  9. Adam Greenwood on June 13, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    PK, I don’t think there’s any question that Judge Kozinski has *not* committed any of the legal crimes that are typically referred to as “corruption.”

  10. Patricia Karamesines on June 13, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    Okay, Adam, I understand. I’m just trying to find a frame of reference for thinking about the circumstances surrounding the obscenity case, including the meaning of the judge’s behavior.

    I’m always interested in how it happens that some language is chosen to represent or appraise circumstances and how some is discarded. What’s discarded is often as interesting as what’s put to use.

  11. Mark B. on June 13, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    The question for Judge Kozinski is not, of course, whether he personally agrees with obscenity laws. Rather, the question is whether his judgment would be affected by his own use of pornography. Thus it’s not corruption so much as partiality.

    On the other hand, I think all judges face this issue to some extent: does the social drinker have a different view of the drunk driver than the teetotaler? Will he be more inclined to show mercy if he suspects that there but for the grace of God goes he?

  12. Patricia Karamesines on June 13, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    Thanks, Mark B. Some people believe that what the judge has done on his own website, or has allowed to be done on his website, is tantamount to what the defendant is being tried for.

    I think your applying of the question, “Will he be more inclined to show mercy if he suspects that there but for the grace of God goes he?” is generous, one of the more charitable views one might take of such a judge’s dilemma and/or intent.

  13. John Mansfield on June 13, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    The judge didn’t remove himself from the case because of the contents on his website. He removed himself because those contents were revealed to the public by the LA Times.

  14. Bookslinger on June 13, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    Re: Lost Boys. I thought the population of Utah would have been much greater than that chart shows for 1880. (Though I realize the chart only shows ages 15 through 44.)

    I don’t believe that the pyramid mathematics works out to the degree that the author says it does. I’d have to see more numerical details, over a longer period, not just a snapshot of one point in time, to fully digest his numerical analysis. But the 1880 snapshot is 32 years after the majority of the Nauvoo saints got settled in the Salt Lake Basin, and after the huge immigrant influx of the 1850′s and 1860′s, so perhaps such a single snapshop is not an accurate view of the previous 32 years.

    The disparate numbers of unmarrieds over 30 in that chart seem to contradict the author’s conclusion.

    So perhaps from 1850 through 1870 there may indeed have been lost boys under 30.

    Also, by only looking at a one-time snapshot towards the end of the polygamy period, if there had been lost boys in Utah who left the state, they would be unaccounted for in the author’s analysis. And if such a lost boy blamed polygamy/the church for his unmarried state, he may likely have left the state.

    Births, emmigration and immigration, by year, and broken down by sex, would also need to be examined to generate a better picture from which to draw conclusions.

    I just don’t think the numbers bear out the author’s conclusion. A more thorough approach would have included the male/female break-down of unmarried convert immigrants. I remember reading somewhere that the pattern of more single women joining the church than single men goes all the way back, including the British and European convert immigrants. The latter would be likely to support the author’s thesis better than the pyramid-mathematics.

    I think the author may be right, but due to the male/female convert ratio (going all the way back to the convert immigrants who came to Nauvoo) rather than for the questionable math and incomplete statistics.

  15. Adam Greenwood on June 13, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    Bookslinger, crosspost this comment in the combox of the original post. Its a contribution to the debate.

  16. Bob on June 13, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    #2; My wife and I run a help organizing Web site for our friend dying of ALS. A commercial offer appeared, offering to host a jewelry party, with my friend to get 20% for her needs. We have gotten so many kind offers of people’s time with big hearts…but this was not one of them.

  17. Researcher on June 13, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    I also found the Lost Boys post interesting. The idea of driving out young men in order to increase the marriage market for polygamists is very foreign to anything I’ve read in my family history. Assuming they lived past childhood, all the young men married, and if they left the state, they did so with their spouses. (Basing my conclusion on a book written by my grandpa’s grandma that examined hundreds of descendant families in three lines: two hers and one of her husbands’ lines. I’ve read the book all the way through several times.) No suggestion that the young men were competing with older polygamists.

    But given the experience of the FLDS, it is a very interesting question to ask. Too bad they can’t look at the 1890 census for additional information. Perhaps looking at other states for men in the correct age range who were born in the Mormon region? How difficult would that be? Thesis or dissertation?

  18. Seth R. on June 13, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    I think the FAIR blogger who put up the “Lost Boys” post was pretty up front that the post was simply the result of what he dug up just playing around with a few census figures. He didn’t seem to be presenting it in a way that was meant to be definitive or exhaustive. Just preliminary, suggestive and speculative at this point.

    As Bookslinger noted, much more exhaustive research would be needed to really nail a thesis down on the subject.

  19. Bookslinger on June 13, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    I’ve always thought that the “harem building” charges that were lobbed against the missionaries in England were due to people combining the two observations: 1) more women than men were joining the church, and 2) Mormons practice polygamy, therefore the natural conclusion is….

    Researcher: I don’t know if the FLDS drove out their so-called “lost boys” in order to create a bigger pool of available marriagble women, or whether certain boys or young adults left on their own _after_ they observed that there were no available single women left in their age range. There have been so many false charges concerning the FLDS, I don’t know what to believe.

    The same cause/effect question would be applicable to 19th century LDS polygamy. I doubt there was any conspiracy to kick out young men for the purpose of creating a bigger pool of women available to become multiple wives. I don’t think anyone has seriously made that charge against 19th century LDS polygamists. If there were any LDS lost-boys, my first guess would be that they left _after_ seeing they no longer had any prospects. Though there may have been isolated exceptions.

    My understanding is that polygamy was more of a calling that came from church leadership, not something a man could choose on his own. But, that once the calling was given, the man and his current wife/wives were to decide who to bring on as a sister-wife, and with the new wife’s consent, of course. Is my understandin correct in that?

    Although it was not a major cause of me going inactive, before I left the church I didn’t find any marriage prospects in the church. “All the good ones were taken” kind of thing. (Or at least I thought so.) Had I stayed around for just a few more years, I would have seen some of those “good ones” get divorced and re-enter the “available pool” in my age range. (And looking back, I wasn’t such a great catch myself.)

  20. Keller on June 13, 2008 at 9:32 pm


    Thanks for your comments. I have been thinking about expanding my research and possibly publishing it somewhere, and if so the concerns you raise would be worth addressing.

    You are right that 1880 snap shot statistics can give only part of the picture, especially when polygamy was much more prevalent in 1857 during the Mormon Reformation. Did you look at the Daynes article I referenced in the comments? I think her charts provide startling confirmation for my theory of pyramidal age demographics enabling polygamy by increasing marital age differences. Here is a quote from page 106

    In any case, promoting plural marriages clearly did ” not prevent most young men from marrying.” When there were more single men than women because of ” plural marriage in nineteenth-century Manti, how did such a high ” proportion marry and marry at relatively young ages? Single men ” found wives by seeking them among women whose ages differed ” considerably from their own. This was particularly true for the ” earlier Utah cohort when polygamy created the greatest marriage ” squeeze against men, as Figure 5 reveals.

    You suggest my analysis didn’t account for “lost boys in Utah who left the state” and that would be correct. I recently looked this up and Utah’s male-female ratio was precisely the same as the US as a whole (51-49) which, at least preliminarily, suggests there was no male exodus away from Utah, at least none that would make a statistical difference.

    I agree that further study is needed to study what happened to some of the over 35 year olds that hadn’t married yet. But if you put this against a western backdrop in 1880 and couple that with the idea that 21% of Utahns weren’t Mormon:

    Never-married Males
    Age 2006-US 1880-US 1880-UT 1880- NV
    15-19 98.5 98.8 98.6 98.7
    20-24 86.7 77.3 70.3 91.7
    25-29 57.4 41.1 33.5 77.3
    30-34 33.4 23.8 22.7 62.0
    35-39 23.3 14.9 17.4 51.1

    A theoretical “lost boy” at even at age 35 would have to move quite a bit a ways from Utah to see better odds of getting married.

    Age disparity has much more explaining power than does male-female convert ratios, but I agree I can do a more thorough job establishing that.

  21. Bob on June 14, 2008 at 10:53 am

    My personal view form my family history study. 1) My Swedish family left with 4 girls and four boys. The girls continued on to Utah and all became Polygamists wifes, The boy stayed in Minnesota where the pickings were better. 2) In the 1860s, the North block the South’s shipment of cotton the England, causing the Textile plants to close leaving a lot of unemployed girl, many the came to Utah and married.

  22. Ardis Parshall on June 14, 2008 at 11:42 am

    21: Can’t speak to your no. 1 or why the boys stayed where they did, or their marital success there. As for your no. 2, that’s just plain false, if you intend to suggest that women came in numbers out of proportion to the men who came. You’re repeating anti-Mormon claims of newspapers and lady novelists, and there is no truth to your assertion. None whatsoever.

  23. Keller on June 14, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    #21, I find myself agreeing with Ardis in 21. Let’s pause for a moment to acknowledge that it is possible for someone from FAIR and the Bloggernacle elite to agree on something :)

    I will try to look up mormon immigration records and see if there is any male-female discrepancy, but I think the default assumption should be close to a 50-50 split. Last night I went through a 10000 name list on the internet of potential Mormon Scandinavian immigrants and tried to guess male names from female ones and came up with a 54-46 female-male ratio, but that could reflect a propensty of mine to have a guessing bias towards female classification.

  24. Researcher on June 14, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    “a guessing bias towards female classification”

    I’ve seen that in my family history. A Swedish child named Hëlje had his temple work done as a female although it said “Pilte B.” (male child) right there in the record. I assume that the lady who did the work read the name as some variant of “Helga.”

    And by the way, congratulations to FAIR and T&S for this effort at rapprochement.

  25. Doug on June 14, 2008 at 10:44 pm

    Sorry to threadjack but this is also relates to a noteworthy event this week. Howard Fineman, speaking on his friend Tim Russert said:

    “I’m not Catholic, I’m Jewish, but I’ll tell you, If I ever thought about being Catholic, Tim would be the best advertisement for that faith that there is. I happened to attend, almost sneak in I would say, but attend…the Al Smith Dinner in New York which is the big dinner of all the Irish-Catholic pols in New York…and Tim was in his element and he took a double take when he saw me there because I was just trying to cover a political story. I was not properly dressed of course and nobody could be more embracing and welcoming than Tim. He said, ‘you know we might try to bring you over Fineman, we might try to real you in.’ And you know what, he would have been a great fisherman for his faith to use the analogy on purpose. Obviously his faith animated him… in whatever way he expressed it he was a very deeply devout Catholic….I think the faith that he must have learned up in Buffalo from his parents that he grew up in, in that Catholic community in Buffalo meant everything to him and helped guide and focus him and keep him grounded in this city where way too many people pursue false gods. And Tim was the kind of guy who never pursued false Gods. He pursued the real one.”

    see here

    See also the related essay by Jon Meacham.


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