Dada is the sun, Dada is the egg. Dada is the Police of the Police.

1/28/2006

Ewwww



The Comics Curmudgeon is right; no one wants to know about Hi and Lois's sex life.

For Christ's sake, people

You never, ever learn.
Despite persistent disillusionment with the war in Iraq, a majority of Americans supports taking military action against Iran if that country continues to produce material that can be used to develop nuclear weapons, a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll has found.

The poll, conducted Sunday through Wednesday, found that 57% of Americans favor military intervention if Iran’s Islamic government pursues a program that could enable it to build nuclear arms.

Support for military action against Tehran has increased over the last year, the poll found, even though public sentiment is running against the war in neighboring Iraq
Link (via bg truth).

1/27/2006

Right-wingers' utopia

"When I was a first-year intern at the Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, the first patient I had was a woman who’d had 11 children and had self-aborted herself, because she couldn’t get a legal abortion, with some instrument of some kind. And I was in charge of her case, as a young intern, with her intestine coming out of her vagina because she’d perforated the vagina with the instrument. And she had massive infection, multiple abscesses in all the vital organs in the body and she died."
Link.

This is not at all comforting

From Outside the Tent:
Republican delegate Jack Reid “accidentally” fired a handgun yesterday in his office in the Virginia State Capitol Building. The bullet just happened to hit a bulletproof vest that just happened to be hanging on his door, rather than going through the door and killing someone in the hall. My guess is it just happened to hit the bulletproof vest because this backwoods nitwit was trying to see if the bulletproof vest worked.

Not a good idea



Image via i:de'o:gramas (warning: link includes one mildly gory image (not related to this one!)).

Ha!

Via AMERICAblog - Google News has caught on:

Making a statement


Hopefully, it's not supposed to be a fashion statement.

I heard about this story in the Washington Times from Ruchira Paul.
This week in New Jersey, a male high school senior won the right to wear a skirt to school. The Associated Press reported that Michael Coviello's skirt fight began when he was barred from wearing shorts. His school district prohibits shorts from Oct. 1 to April 15. But it seemed reasonable to Coviello that since girls could sport skirts and show their legs then boys should be allowed the same privileges.

So Coviello began wearing skirts -- including a kilt -- until he was sent home by his principal.

The American Civil Liberties Union intervened and brokered a compromise. School officials in Hasbrouck Heights did not budge on the shorts ban, but they agreed to allow Coviello his skirts.
And now, burly guys can wear the same clothes as women can.

Wait ... is that a good thing?

What gives the impression that the Democrats want to deny the GOP anything?

Give this to the Dems: they've got history's dryest powder keg.

Of course, the powder in their keg is about as relevant as Wittgenstein's beetle in the box, as it might as well be empty - a nothing would serve just as well as a something which is never used.

The sociopathic Right

From Feministe:
“We don’t expect to see the United Nations change, or Western Europe change,” said Joseph d’Agostino of the Population Research Institute, a Virginia-based anti-abortion group. “But with the Bush administration, pro-lifers feel there’s a real opportunity to stop the U.S. government from promoting abortion and sex education and population control in the Third World.”
Forget about abortion for the moment: these cretins want to stop the government from promoting sex education and population control in third world countries.

That really takes a special kind antipathy toward your fellow humans. Leave it to the God Squad to take political cruelty to new heights.

1/26/2006

Frey comes clean

James Frey appeared on Oprah Winfrey's show yesterday and apparently admitted that his "memoir" was a big load of B.S.
Mr. Frey said he had made up many of the details of his life and had created a bad-guy portrayal of himself as a "coping mechanism."

"I thought of myself as tougher than I was and badder than I was," Mr. Frey said.

Ms. Winfrey asked if he made up the material because it helped him cope or because he thought it would help sell books. Mr. Frey responded, "Probably both."

In all seriousness, I applaud Frey for finally being honest with us, and with himself. That's the kind of honesty he's going to need if he's going to continue his recovery.

In much less seriousness, here's a bit of what Frey-hater Neal Pollack had to say in response to Frey's appearance:
Oprah is Embarrassed. Don't Fuck With Oprah. A Novel Is Something Different Than A Memoir ... If I were to write a Memoir of my Drug Addiction, it would be called, I Smoked Pot And Sent A Silly Email To My Ex-Girlfriend, And Then I Watched Futurama For A While.

What's it going to take, huh?

Mike the Mad Biologist wonders what it would take for the Dems to filibuster a judge.

He's thinking kiddie porn would have to somehow be involved.

Well said

From Magis, a reader at Pandagon:
Impeachment is not a political strategy. At some point it becomes a civic duty.

Gypsy Holocaust

You learn something new every day. I knew that Gypsies were among the victims of Nazi genocide, but I wasn't aware that their status as such was a matter of some controversy. From the Accidental Blogger:
...an estimated two million Gypsies perished in Nazi death camps. Lacking eloquent and organized spokespersons, the plight of the Gypsies has been slow to penetrate the world's consciousness. One bit of information that surprised and disappointed me was that some of the opposition to recognizing the Gypsy genocide as a second holocaust, came from a few Jewish Holocaust survivors, on the grounds that Hitler did not mean to kill ALL Gypsies ! Most prominent among the objectors was Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel. The induction of Gypsies into the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. happened only after Wiesel stepped down as the chairperson in 1986.

Well then

Alive and well.

In case you were wondering, Abe Vigoda is alive.

For future updates, may I suggest the 'Abe Vigoda Status' extension for Firefox?
When Firefox starts up, this extension automatically fetches Abe Vigoda's current status, and displays it in a small panel on the status bar. It periodically does so again every so often, so that you always have relatively recent information on Abe Vigoda's status.

Of course, sometimes, "relatively recent" is simply not good enough. There are times when you absolutely need to know Abe Vigoda's status in an up-to-the-minute fashion. In such cases, you can click on the extension's panel in the status bar, which will bring up a popup menu. One option on the popup menu is "Recheck Abe Vigoda's current status"; selecting this will cause the extension to immediately fetch Abe Vigoda's status.
Another Firefox extension that I just found out about and that I think is incredibly cool is 'Customize Google'. It has a load of features, including the ability to anonymize your googling, but what I like best is that when you use Google's image search - which I do all the time - it lets you click directly to the image itself, instead of going through the pointless intermediary page that Google makes you look at (the image 'in context').

1/25/2006

The anti-impeachment argument

Ezra Klein makes what I take to be the standard liberal anti-impeachment argument; it's still less than convincing.
I'm not terribly happy to see impeachment returning to the national conversation. It is, I think, a mind-boggingly bad idea. A few reasons:

• Fine, impeach. And then what? Hail to the Cheney? And Cheney gets to pick an heir for 2008, unifying the Republican Party around a fresh-faced, much-hyped successor? Why do we want that?
This part makes very little sense to me. For one thing, as long as we're making wish lists, you could impeach Cheney along with Bush. But even if you didn't, in what way would Cheney get to "pick an heir"? Does he mean by appointing someone VP? That's no guarantee of anything. I will guarantee you that in a post-impeachment environment, Republican presidential wannabes will be pushing each other to the ground to get away from this administration, not seeking to be its heir apparent.
Impeachment proceedings aren't always good politics. We on the left make a lot of noise about Newt's Wild and Crazy Prosecutorial Adventure, but we don't always mention the ass-kicking his party received in 1998, the one that led to his retirement from Congress. Proving bad faith on Bush's part is going to be mighty hard without the sort of smoking gun that proves he was deploying the NSA against personal enemies. So unless anyone knows where to find that enemy list...
A couple things. First, as Jedmunds points out, Ezra has it backwards: the GOP took some losses in '98, but that was before impeachment. The first election after impeachment was 2000, and impeachment didn't seem to hurt the GOP at all (in fact, it probably helped them, if only by scaring Gore out of running as Clinton's heir).

But even if the GOP had taken a beating after impeachment, it would be irrelevant here. The situation is totally different, and no meaningful extrapolation can be done from a sample size of one.

Plus, for Christ's sake - the majority wants Bush impeached if he wiretapped without approval, which he did. Yet Ezra's convinced impeachment will be political suicide for the Democrats?

And what's this about using the NSA against personal enemies? Why should that be the standard for impeachment? Bush's actions were illegal, whether or not he was using the NSA for personal score-settling. If he were doing that, it might be an even worse offense, but Ezra surreptitiously slides in the bizarre assumption that this is a necessary condition for impeachment, when it's not.
• It's bad for the republic if impeachment becomes a routine feature of second-terms. Yes, I know that Democrats shouldn't be limited merely because the Republican Class of 1994 proved a crop of witch-hunting demagogues, but sometimes, fair or not, someone needs to play the adult. In this case, it's us.
'Bad for the republic'? I don't think Ezra understands how serious the Bush administration's crimes are (in a sane world, Bush wouldn't be worried about impeachment; he'd be worried about being tried for war crimes at The Hague). Maybe it would be bad if impeachment became a 'routine feature' of second terms. Twice, however, does not a 'routine feature' make.

It's also worth noting that this argument has been made entirely on consequentialist grounds. But if you're not a pure utilitarian, there are obligations that exist separate from consequentialist considerations. Whether or not impeachment would be politically advantageous for the Democrats, there is a case to be made that they have a moral obligation to impeach Bush for his crimes regardless. Lindsay Beyerstein:
An impeachment is like an indictment. People who have a lot of evidence against them deserve to be indicted. Whether their cases are heard before a grand jury (or the Senate) shouldn't depend on whether it's expeditious to enforce the law in this particular case.

George W. Bush is an American who broke the law and broadcast his confession to millions of viewers. He violated the law, and probably the Constitution as well. We can't just let that go. If we did, we'd be admitting exactly what Bush is claiming: That the president is above the law.
The Democrats should impeach the bastards if they get the chance. They probably won't, but they should. It won't hurt them, it would probably help them, and it's the right thing to do.

In praise of circular firing squads

I have a couple readers who regularly hold my feet to the fire for spending more time and effort going after liberals/Democrats than I do conservatives/Republicans. (You know who you are!) I understand their concerns, but I'd like to say a few words in defense of internecine political warfare, a.k.a. the circular firing squad. Though I am not the Captain of the circular firing squad, I like to think that I am one of its most enthusiastic members.

Why? Many reasons. Among them:

1. The Democratic Party is, effectively, in cahoots with the GOP. What I mean is: while I don't think that members of the leadership are actively collaborating with the Republican Party (I'm not that paranoid, at least not yet), the practical effects of what they are doing are almost identical to what the effects of a literal collaboration would be. In almost every instance, the Democratic Party behaves exactly as the GOP would want it to. Thus, there is a real sense in which the Democratic Party must be viewed as an enemy of progressivism, even if one simultaneously believes that it is progressives' only hope.

2. Most of the supposed 'reformers' and 'outsiders' in the Democratic Party - e.g., Markos Moulitsas and Jerome Armstrong - are simpletons (to put it kindly) whose 'bold vision' for the Democratic Party amounts to more of the same unprincipled selling out for the sake of strategic concerns, which would be bad enough if these 'netroots' gurus weren't comically bad at strategizing. So joining forces with the likes of these characters (as opposed to taking aim at them) would not only do no good, it would help make things worse.

3. There are many intelligent, well-meaning progressives who don't realize this, but are capable of being persuaded. Daily Kos is so popular and successful not because Markos is such a brilliant leader, but rather because there are people out there who are downright hungry for an alternative to the kind of Democrats we've known and hated for the last twenty-five years. Markos presents himself as precisely this alternative, and it takes a while to see that this is just an act. If the talent and passion of these people could be harnessed in a productive way, some good could come; right now, their assets are being wasted.

4. While these folks are capable of listening to reason and being persuaded, their counterparts on the right are not. A while ago, Ezra Klein called for "actual engagement with the good, or at least sound, arguments that pop up across the aisle." This is a nice thought, but it would probably end up being just as much of a waste of time as mocking Townhall columnists, because (a) there really are precious few good arguments (not sure what Klein means by "at least sound") put forward by the other side - there just aren't any good arguments for 99% of the Bush administration's policies, no matter how clever you are - and (b) even if there were, they wouldn't matter, because the vast majority of GOPers believe what they believe independently of anything resembling rational argument. So even if George Will makes an argument for the confirmation of Sam Alito that isn't quite as droolingly stupid as the argument that Ass Missile makes, not a single wingnut will change their mind even if the whole liberal blogosphere demonstrates the fallacies in Will's reasoning - rather, they'll blithely go on about what a super-duper Justice Alito will make and how liberals are just about sour grapes blah blah blah. Always remember the quote, attributed to Jonathan Swift: "It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into." Attempting to establish a rational dialogue with the right is a fool's errand.

However, the majority of Kossacks, as opposed to the majority of Freepers or LGFers, are basically rational (I think); thus arguing to them about the merits or lack thereof of the Moulitsas-Armstrong approach to politics is much more likely to bear fruit than just bagging on the GOP, since anyone capable of listening to reason already knows how awful they are.

5. Bloggers fly under the radar, for the most part. It may be undesirable for national media figures to be going after those who are 'on our side', since this could ultimately benefit the other party. For instance, the Kerry campaign made some significant mistakes, but there wouldn't have been any purpose in, say, Michael Moore going on television and talking exclusively about how Kerry was a fuckup. Bloggers, though, should feel no such compunctions. If someone on the 'left' routinely says stupid shit, we are perfectly justified in bashing them over the head.

6. Self-criticism is healthy and important. One of the reasons the right is so intellectually and morally bankrupt is that they hardly engage in it. One of the worst fates I could imagine for the left is a situation where any self-proclaimed liberal is immune to criticism.

7. This isn't a zero-sum game. It's not like there is a finite amount of political energy, and every bit spent firing at someone on the left is thereby unavailable for firing at the right. I, for one, have plenty of vitriol for everyone.


I could go on and on, but that's probably enough for now. If I think of anything else worth saying, I will.

Someone check the water in Perthshire

I'm assuming this is not a joke.
Fairies stop developers' bulldozers in their tracks

VILLAGERS who protested that a new housing estate would “harm the fairies” living in their midst have forced a property company to scrap its building plans and start again.

Marcus Salter, head of Genesis Properties, estimates that the small colony of fairies believed to live beneath a rock in St Fillans, Perthshire, has cost him £15,000. His first notice of the residential sensibilities of the netherworld came as his diggers moved on to a site on the outskirts of the village, which crowns the easterly shore of Loch Earn.

He said: “A neighbour came over shouting, ‘Don’t move that rock. You’ll kill the fairies’.” The rock protruded from the centre of a gently shelving field, edged by the steep slopes of Dundurn mountain, where in the sixth century the Celtic missionary St Fillan set up camp and attempted to convert the Picts from the pagan darkness of superstition. [Ed.-So much for that.]

...The Planning Inspectorate has no specific guidelines on fairies but a spokesman said: “Planning guidance states that local customs and beliefs must be taken into account when a developer applies for planning permission.” Mr Salter said: “We had to redesign the entire thing from scratch.”

The new estate will now centre on a small park, in the middle of which stands a curious rock. Work begins next month, if the fairies allow.

Support the troops? Meh

Chronology:

-Joel Stein writes a column that begins, "I don't support our troops."

-Predictable wingnut outrage ensues.

-More surprisingly, there is outrage from the left as well.

I'm not sure I understand exactly what the fuss is about ...

Click here to continue reading this post.Here's a representative excerpt of Stein's column:
I DON'T SUPPORT our troops. This is a particularly difficult opinion to have, especially if you are the kind of person who likes to put bumper stickers on his car. Supporting the troops is a position that even Calvin is unwilling to urinate on.

...I'm not for the war. And being against the war and saying you support the troops is one of the wussiest positions the pacifists have ever taken — and they're wussy by definition. It's as if the one lesson they took away from Vietnam wasn't to avoid foreign conflicts with no pressing national interest but to remember to throw a parade afterward.

Blindly lending support to our soldiers, I fear, will keep them overseas longer by giving soft acquiescence to the hawks who sent them there — and who might one day want to send them somewhere else...

I do sympathize with people who joined up to protect our country, especially after 9/11, and were tricked into fighting in Iraq ... But when you volunteer for the U.S. military, you pretty much know you're not going to be fending off invasions from Mexico and Canada. So you're willingly signing up to be a fighting tool of American imperialism, for better or worse. Sometimes you get lucky and get to fight ethnic genocide in Kosovo, but other times it's Vietnam.

...I'm not advocating that we spit on returning veterans like they did after the Vietnam War, but we shouldn't be celebrating people for doing something we don't think was a good idea. All I'm asking is that we give our returning soldiers what they need: hospitals, pensions, mental health and a safe, immediate return. But, please, no parades.
I edited out a bunch of lame jokes, but the substance remains.

Steve Gilliard's response (linked to above):
Why would you support the troops? Because, for many of us, they are our families. They didn't choose to go to Iraq and no one asked them about Afghanistan. The deserve our support, because like firemen and police officers, they do a job for the rest of us we ask them to do. It is our collective fault when they are misused. You cannot assign away your responsibility all that easily.

Second, they don't just fight for the people who supported the war. If Mr. Stein wasn't a smug fuck, he'd read Stars and Stripes and see American soldiers, in Iraq, oppose this war. They serve because they have to, but they didn't stop thinking.

What Mr. Stein doesn't seem to care about is that the vast majority of soldiers enlist for one reason: money for college. Not part of any imperial exercise, not any sort of plan, just the chance at a college education which Stein's parents wrote a check for.

...A parade is the least we can do for them, to know that regardless of how we felt about the politics, they are not the people to blame. A parade is a sign of respect, not only for the participants, but for those who did not come back.
Ron Brynaert (also linked above):
Joel Stein of the LA Times is just as stupid as William Blum.

The first line of his essay, Warriors and wusses: "I don't support our troops."

And it gets even worse after that.

...Asked if he had regrets, he said: "No, because I'm against the war. (I have no regrets) if this helps us get out of that war and bring our troops home safely."

Yeah. That's gonna happen.

Any day now the troops are going to come back home because of an essay that Joel Stein wrote.

In reality, it's the kind of stupidity displayed by (supposedly) liberals like Joel Stein and William Blum (who cackled and crowed about making Osama's first book club recommendation) that will - most definitely - not help "us get out of that war."
And Brynaert links to NewsHog:
Joel Stein is, as they say in the auld country, a blethering gobshite - and it's a socialist saying this. That socialist is me.

Today Stein tried...I'm not sure what. It's almost as if any attempt at understanding the issues was deliberately avoided in preference for sensationalist shitstirring ... Is this guy being paid by Karl Rove to give the wingnuts hardons?

He has a couple of valid points - mostly about yellow car sticker ribbons not aising the troops, only some Chinese entrepreneurs - but he's totally unglued on this whole thing about if your against the war you can't be for the troops. Of course, that's the bit the wingnuts have honed in on, saying all liberals secretly feel that way, and the bit that means this column should've been used to wipe his ass with instead of being submitted for publication.

...I can support the troops, both British and American, while not supporting the war in Iraq and anyone who says otherwise is a blethering gobshite.
I don't know what a blethering gobshite is, but I don't think I want to be one, so I won't tell him he can't support the troops while not supporting the war. What I'm unclear on, though, is what exactly that would mean.

This whole debate is therefore confusing to me. First, let me say that if all these guys are arguing is that it was stupid for Stein to offer fodder to the right-wing for their "anti-war = unpatriotic" meme by being gratuitously provocative, that I can understand, and I won't take issue with. But it seems like there is more to it than that.

In what sense should those of us who oppose the war "support the troops"? Are we supposed to simply hope that as few of them are killed/injured as possible? Check. But are we supposed to support their "mission"? Are we supposed to wish them success in carrying out the aims of the war? These propositions seem much more problematic. There seems to be a tension, if not an outright contradiction, in holding the war to be an immoral endeavor while simultaneously hoping for the endeavor to succeed.

And why, exactly, do "the troops" need our "support" so badly, anyway? Are they such delicate creatures that if I don't pledge my "support" for them, they will curl up in a little ball and cry themselves to sleep? I doubt it. Yet whether or not we all "support the troops" is treated as a matter of the utmost significance.

I'm not suggesting that we should have any ill will toward members of the US military, and Gilliard demonstrates why we have reason to sympathize with them. I'm just asking: (a) why do I owe them my "support"; and (b) what the hell does that entail, anyway?

Once more, please don't get me wrong: I understand that Stein's rhetoric was probably ill-advised. I'm fortunate enough (or unfortunate enough, depending on how you look at it) to be able to speak my mind without having to worry about the consequences, a luxury not afforded to those writing for the L.A. Times (often, the same substantive point can be made in different ways, some wise, some not). But the prudence, or lack thereof, of Stein's article is an issue that is separate from the validity (or lack thereof) of the thoughts expressed in it. I understand the criticism of Stein based on the former; I don't quite understand the criticism with respect to the latter.

The important shit

War with Iran potentially on the horizon ... ultra-conservative about to be admitted to the Supreme Court ... etc., etc. ...

And what is Kos, our fearless leader, concerning himself with?
Not cool. Just five Democratic congresspersons have paid their annual dues to the DCCC...
Umm ... what?

Yeah, yeah, I'm sure this is very important.

Meanwhile...

1/24/2006

Now that's what I call greedy

If you do this, you are officially a fucking douchebag.
Rich people are freezing their bodies and leaving their money to themselves. According to the Wall Street Journal, 142 people have had their heads or bodies frozen, roughly 1,000 have made similar arrangements, and at least a dozen (the rest are keeping mum, according to participants) have set up "revival trusts." The idea is to accrue wealth and shield it from taxes so you can collect it if scientists figure out how to revive you and keep you alive. More than 20 states permit "dynasty trusts" that can last centuries; lawyers are amending these to let the deceased collect if he returns.

There's good news, and there's bad news

The good news: there's a new, soon to be over-the-counter medicine that will help you lose weight by preventing your body from absorbing fat.

The bad news: its side effects include something called "oily spotting" and "anal seepage". Mmmmm....

(Link.)

What about generic vodka and nachos?

And you thought you were SO cool with your wine and cheese parties...
Eating cheese ruins the flavours of wine and makes fine vintages indistinguishable from cheap plonk, research has revealed.

While the two are often served together in the belief they make a sophisticated combination, scientists have discovered even expert tasters could not distinguish between wines after eating cheese.
Link (via Slublog).

Oh, Canada

I feel wholly unqualified to say anything whatsoever about the election in Canada, but like everyone, I think, I was concerned to hear that the right-wing party had emerged victorious. According to some observers, though, it's not that bad. E.g., Socialist Swine says:
I think this is about the best outcome that could be realistically hoped for. The Liberals will be out of power and the Conservatives will be far too weak to implement anything too outrageous, the NDP sits poised as the deciding factor in the House and the Bloc, while making some gains did not get anywhere near the support they need to start pushing for another referendum. Furthermore, I think this session of parliament will be rather interesting. I don't think Canadian politics has been this engaging for a very long time.
And Tom Hurka, commenting on Brian Leiter's blog, expresses similar sentiments:
I wouldn't exaggerate how far Canada has "swung to the right."

1. The current Conservative party, though descended from the more radically right-wing Reform Party of the 1990s, is much more moderate. They had to become so in order to win the election. For example, the social conservatives in the party were pretty much muzzled during the campaign. The leadership knows those guys are vote-losers and will keep them quiet. The party has also committed itself to maintaining the current medicare system. Even slight hints that they might not do so cost them badly in previous elections. They will be more conservative than the Liberals, but not much.

2. The Conservative government won't have a majority in Parliament -- not even close (125 seats when they need 155). To get legislation through the House of Commons they'll need the support of one or more of the other parties, all of which are to the left of them.

3. The Liberal Party did much better than the polls were predicting: 103 seats. If that's how well they do after corruption scandals, a gaffe-filled campaign, and a long time (13 years) in office, they're still a powerful force, still very much the "natural governing party." The prize of the Liberal leadership, which would not have been very attractive had they won, say 65 seats, is very attractive now. There will be a serious race with serious candidates and a re-invigorated party should emerge from it. (Michael Ignatieff is talked about as a candidate. But the lesson of Paul Martin's failed Prime Ministership is that there's no substitute for political judgement, which his predecessor Jean Chretien had in spades but Martin hadn't picked up in 17 years in politics. Why should the Liberals believe Ignatieff has any given his zero years in politics?)

4. More generally, there are two possibilities. One is that the Conservatives govern from the right -- in which case they won't last long in government. The other is that they govern more from the centre -- in which case they won't be so much of a change from the Liberals. Either way, looking at it long-term, the "swing to the right" will not be large.

Belief ≠ ID

The IDiots seem to be getting their asses handed to them on just about every front, but I have to wonder whether they've held on as long as they have in part because of a (probably purposeful) conflation of the 'theory' of intelligent design with a more general belief that the universe was created by a deity. The Accidental Blogger notes that even the Catholic Church recognizes a distinction:

For more than half a century, the Roman Catholic Church has embraced the science of evolution and has rejected the kind of politically "polluted" ... fundamentalism that stinks up the evolution/ID wars.
True, some are confused about where Pope Benedict XVI stands. Hasn't he spoken of "this intelligent project that is the cosmos"? Yes — but that's a religious statement, not a claim that ID is science.

I have to wonder that if part of the reason for the ridiculously high level of support for ID (at least as indicated by opinion polls) is that people think they are being asked whether or not God 'designed' or created the universe or existence itself, which is a much weaker claim than that made by ID, which states that Darwinian evolution cannot account for the whole of biology, and that some biological facts can only be explained by reference to divine meddling. A rejection of this claim is perfectly compatible with theism, as demonstrated by the Church's position, which I take it is uncontroversially coherent, even if some don't find it particularly plausible or convincing.

Maybe I'm wrong; maybe people really do reject the basic paradigm of Darwinism. But I can't help but suspect that whatever appeal ID still holds would be reduced if its logical independence of a more general theism were more widely understood.


UPDATE: Reading the comments, I realize I made a subtle but important error in the last sentence above. I didn't mean to say that ID was independent of theism; I should have said that theism is independent of ID. Obviously, ID assumes theism; the point I was trying to make was that theism doesn't assume ID. Sorry for the confusion.

1/23/2006

Bush administration preparing for impeachment?

White House is supposedly "bracing for impeachment hearings" -
Impeachment hearings: The White House prepares for the worst

"A coalition in Congress is being formed to support impeachment," an administration source said.

Sources said a prelude to the impeachment process could begin with hearings by the Senate Judiciary Committee in February. They said the hearings would focus on the secret electronic surveillance program and whether Mr. Bush violated the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Administration sources said the charges are expected to include false reports to Congress as well as Mr. Bush's authorization of the National Security Agency to engage in electronic surveillance inside the United States without a court warrant. This included the monitoring of overseas telephone calls and e-mail traffic to and from people living in the United States without requisite permission from a secret court.

...

Sen. Arlen Specter, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman and Pennsylvania Republican, has acknowledged that the hearings could conclude with a vote of whether Mr. Bush violated the law. Mr. Specter, a critic of the administration’s surveillance program, stressed that, although he would not seek it, impeachment is a possible outcome.

...Mr. Specter and other senior members of the committee have been told by legal constitutional experts that Mr. Bush did not have the authority to authorize unlimited secret electronic surveillance. Another leading Republican who has rejected the administration's argument is Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas.

...On Jan. 16, former Vice President Al Gore set the tone for impeachment hearings against Mr. Bush by accusing the president of lying to the American people. Mr. Gore, who lost the 2000 election to Mr. Bush, accused the president of "indifference" to the Constitution and urged a serious congressional investigation. He said the administration decided to break the law after Congress refused to change the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

The Confederate States of America

I only see an average of about one movie a year, but I can guarantee you I'll be seeing this one.

(Via Oliver Willis.)

"It's supposed to be Adam and Eve, not Eve and a huge monkey"

Matt writes a letter to the editor "implor[ing] Christians in the area to find some way of protesting an offensive new film that is attempting to legitimize subversive alternative lifestyles."

Something tells me this one isn't getting published.

1/22/2006

Backlash

Anyone surprised by this?
Sympathy for al-Qaida Surges in Pakistan

Sympathy for al-Qaida has surged after a U.S. airstrike devastated this remote mountain hamlet in a region sometimes as hostile toward the Pakistani government as it is to the United States.

A week after the attack, villagers insist no members of the terror network were anywhere near the border village when it was hit. But thousands of protesters flooded a nearby town chanting, "Long live Osama bin Laden!"

The rally was the latest in a series of demonstrations across Pakistan against the Jan. 13 attack, which apparently targeted but missed al-Qaida's No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahri.

The military still mans numerous checkpoints in the area, but it appears to be keeping a low profile so it will not inflame villagers still seething over the deaths of 13 civilians, including women and children, in the attack.

"This attack has increased our hatred for Americans because they are killing innocent women and children," said Zakir Ullah, one of 5,000 demonstrators in Inayat Qala, a market town about three miles from Damadola.

"We support jihad (holy war). Jihad is the duty of every Muslim," he said.

The assault has caused friction between Islamabad and Washington and widespread outrage in this Islamic nation of 150 million, but few are as angry as the people who live in the virtually lawless tribal region that borders Afghanistan. The area is a hotbed of Taliban and al-Qaida sympathizers — and a possible sanctuary for bin Laden himself.

Damadola residents deny any links to the militants.

"We don't have anything to do with al-Qaida, and it was a cruel act of the Americans to attack my house without reason," said Bacha Khan, a flour mill worker whose house was among the three destroyed.

...Many of Sunday's protesters called for Musharraf's resignation.

"As a president he has failed to protect the people and as chief of the army staff he has failed to protect the frontiers," said Maulana Mohammed Sadiq, a lawmaker in the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party, which helped organize the rallies.

In a show of solidarity, the opposition Jamaat Islami, or Islamic Party, marshaled 50 volunteers Sunday to help the village rebuild.
Incidentally, we should keep in mind that claims about Al Qaeda operatives being killed in the attack are coming from the Pakistani government, which obviously has a vested interest in making the attack seem as legitimate as possible.

In memoriam

Bitch Ph.D. eulogizes Roe v. Wade.
Roe might stick around a while, but the actual rights that Roe ensured are on their way out the door. And guess what? Lawmakers know this, and are deliberately writing laws that violate Roe v. Wade now, knowing that next month's Supreme Court will be quite happy to expand the concept of what doesn't constitute an undue burden beyond all reason....

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