Saturday, April 30, 2005
Five men, ranging from an atheist in the pornography trade to a former Protestant paramilitary, have found their lives unexpectedly transformed in the latest incarnation of reality television - the monastery. . . .The five underwent a spiritual makeover by spending 40 days and 40 nights living with Roman Catholic monks in Worth Abbey, West Sussex. . . . [The participants] faced the challenge of living together in a community and following a disciplined regime of work and prayer. By the end, the atheist, Tony Burke, 29, became a believer and gave up his job producing trailers for a sex chat line after having what he described as a "religious experience."
See the full article for more details.
Friday, April 29, 2005
I'm a little surprised that a man that age was driven to anger and became hostile in this fashion. Did it really blindside him? Did he really think that public schools would be more accommodating to his, ahem, "unenlightened" views?
Update: Michelle Malkin chimes in. While I can sympathize with the desire to make Mr. Parker a hero, do these actions make the point many of us would like to see made? Isn't this a little "late to the party?" The public school system has fallen and can't get up. How is this going to rouse the corpse?
Thursday, April 28, 2005
No word on whether Zarqawi is a Mac guy or a PC guy.
"[Reporters without Borders] strongly deplore[s] the arrest of Banitrouf, who was simply expressing his personal opinion in articles and in interviews given to other newspapers. . . . As soon as a journalist speaks out in Iran, the authorities crack down, either by closing the paper concerned or throwing the journalist in prison. "
Probably if everyone in the United States circa 1960 had known that taking modest steps in the direction of feminism would, in fact, lead during their lifetimes to the legalization of sodomy, to gay men marrying each other, to a small but growing number of fathers staying home to take care of the kids, to legal abortions, etc., etc., etc. the public woud have overwhelmingly rejected those early steps. But the poo-pooers won the day, the people did not believe, and now majorities support most of those developments, and all signs are that the unpopular cause of gay marriage will grow more popular after some generational turnover.
Now I think it's just great that the slope has slipped as far as it does, and hope it will slip more. So I have mixed feelings about the pragmatic political necessity of convincing people that the slope will not, in fact, slip. But it seems to me that gay marriage probably will lead -- not as a matter of metaphysical certainty, but just as a matter of banal causal fact -- to some kind of legal recognition of polyamorous relationships at some point down the road. And I think that's fine.
Hat tip: Sara Butler.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Here are their stories."
Inspirational. Hat Tip: Arthur Chrenkoff
Read more . . .
President Bush yesterday held hands with Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah and took him on a stroll through a field of bluebonnet flowers at his Texas ranch in a pitch to get the Saudis to pump more oil. They embraced and traded air kisses on both cheeks after the prince, clad in flowing robes, arrived nearly 30 minutes late for his second visit to the Bush ranch in Crawford.
It would be nice if President Bush remembered this passage from the book he said he was reading a few months ago, Natan Sharansky's The Case For Democracy:
In Saudi Arabia, one can definitely be arrested or imprisoned for expressing one's views. While many people who grew up in liberal democratic societies would regard life in Saudi Arabia as oppressive, can it be said that the people of Saudi Arabia, who appear to agree with the prevailing ideology, live in fear? Aren't the Saudi Arabians simply living according to their age-old traditions? Though no one could claim that Saudi Arabia is a free society, does that necessarily make it a fear society?
This question assumes that the people of Saudi Arabia agree with the policies of their regime. But how do we know that? Because of what Saudis say publicly? Can we assume that what people living in a fear society are willing to say publicly is a true expression of their beliefs? The books of dissidents describing how Saudis flying to Europe hurry to change into their Western clothes while still on the airplane and adopt different modes of behavior when they are abroad are enough to convince me that Saudi Arabia is steeped in doublethink. Even if these stories only refer to the Saudi elite, the process of internal decay, when more and more people are conforming to a world they no longer believe in, is clearly under way. We must always keep in mind that the public statements of those who live in fear societies are motivated by fear. If we fail to recognize this, we will only be deceiving ourselves.
I'd like to think that President Bush isn't going wobbly on us. But we could use a little toughness with Abdullah. So could the Saudi dissidents that we should be counting on to begin democratizing. Oil production really isn't as important -- not at the cost of missed opportunities for those struggling for freedom. That's really expensive oil -- too expensive. As Sharansky writes, any security we buy from tyrants like Abdullah is illusory.
Sunday, April 24, 2005
In reflecting on intellectual history, John Paul attempts to fuse objective, realist traditions (Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas) with subjective, personalist ones (Augustine, Descartes, Kant, phenomenology). He makes a good effort to treat modern thought respectfully, calling attention to the good within Kant and the Enlightenment while also acknowledging their excesses and defects. These passages make him sound very much like Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor.
This last book in some ways is a good introduction to Wojtyla the intellectual, integrating his personalist philosophy, his political views, his poetic and dramatic visions, and his ecclesiology in one conversational book. Buy a copy and read it.
I am currently reading State of Fear, Michael Crichton's latest novel (currently ranked 97 there) which derides the threat of global warming, the shrill subculture of its proponents, and the hyperbolic fear-mongering employed to cow us into submission. One could be forgiven for reading the Newsday article and thinking that it was a parody. It has details that only a satirist could have thought of, like this:
From the air, photographers were able to see the humans spell out the words: "Arctic Warning: Listen." . . .
"Global warming is an abstract concept to most people; we know it's happening, but we can't really visualize its effect," [Jake] Gyllenhaal said. "Unfortunately, the Inuit people put a human face on global warming, they are literally melting away. They are the canary in the coal mine."
It's practically Spinal Tap's "Listen to the Flower People." Yes, Gyllenhaal did suggest that we, as a people, lack sufficient visualization skills. And yes, he did say that the Inuits are "literally melting away." I'm not literally laughing until I wet my pants, and this idiocy does not literally make my head explode.
What are the augurs that show the Inuits to be the "canary in a coal mine" of global warming, the signs that show that we are in the End Times of Perpetually Liquid Ice Cream?
- Caribou are heading north (no reference provided)
- It is "possible" that seals are headed for extinction (ref: "World Wide Fund for Nature," an obviously unbiased source)
- The arctic ice will be completely melted at the end of this century (reference: somebody called "Natural Resources Defense Council," say, that doesn't sound like they make money from scaring people, does it?)
This is a news article, not an op-ed. The real shame about this silly noise is that it distracts us from being properly mindful and vigilant about our environment and our responsible dominion thereof. We should not ignore our communal and commercial waste. But we do need to get a grip.
Saturday, April 23, 2005
On RedState.org, Jay Cost wonders why Republicans are so concerned about Hillary. He finds it indicative of a great weakness in her political skills that everyone, left and right, is reporting on her attempts at positioning:
This is the sign of a bad politician. All politicians do the same things. They all change their views. They all move with the political currents. They are all flexible and pragmatic. What differentiates the good politician from the bad one is that you never notice that the good one is pragmatic. A good politician is as smooth as a well-aged, single malt scotch. Hillary is a bad politician. She is like that bottom shelf blended garbage the ABC sells for $12/handle.
Dancing Ox has written something similar on this blog, I believe. Maybe he's right. I'm still not letting my guard down.
I say "guarded optimism" because we talking about only making it easier for those who choose not to cooperate in evil to follow their conscience, not about actually restricting a malign practice. Boxer in effect sought to make it mandatory for hospitals to perform abortions. So much for "choice."
Also check out the last paragraph. Note that, following the script, the pro-abortion forces don't feel they need to worry about being defeated in the legislative process -- they're confident that they "will prevail in courts" where they couldn't in the legislature.
We need sane judges now.
Thursday, April 21, 2005
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Tongsun Park!?!? Excuse me, I blinked. When did the trail in the Oil-For-Food scandal suddenly jump to this relic from the 70's Koreagate scandal? It's like tuning into a classic rock station by accident, only with scandals.
Anderson is the author of South Park Conservatives: The Revolt Against Liberal Media Bias which has been getting some press lately (It's #61 on Amazon as I type this). I haven't had a chance to read it and form an opinion. Chapeau tilt: Instapundit.
Does MoDo get a prize for being the first to call Benedict XVI a Nazi? Ratzinger was 14 when he was conscripted into the Nazi youth group. He was later in the Wehrmacht. He deserted in '44. There's no evidence that he was ever devoted to Nazism.
Waiting for MoDo to do the piece in which she mentions that Senator Byrd in the KKK for many years. As "Kleagle." As an adult. For years. Under no external compulsion whatsoever.
[Update: MereComments on Touchstone blog has a good summary of Ratzinger's history, including this on the WWII years: "Of course, this is all nonsense. Ratzinger, like all German boys was considered a member of the Hitler youth—and (did they tell you?) he resisted and skipped meetings. He was drafted into the army, which is what you would expect, and deserted, though was later kept, briefly, as a prisoner of war. His father, by the way, was a known dissident."
In a morning from the Dies Irae,
at a conclave where they turned back time,
he came chanting "Cum ecclesia sentire."
Then he slaughtered a mime.
He came out of the Sis-
tine in a vestment pris-
tine, looking papal in his pointy hat.
No need to ask for an explanation
'cause I'll tell you where we're at:
The Years of the Rat (dee dee dee, dee dee dee).
Reform is at the top of a wish-list which Blick presents to the new Pope. 'We want a Pope who will engage in dialogue... a Pope with the courage to doubt and question himself... a Pope who will defend the poor and... who will do away with discrimination.'
Finally it hopes the new Pope 'will not be obsessed with sex'. 'Constantly harping on about sexual morality suffocates the liberating Christian message of love and hope,' it argues."
Rhode Island Catholics, whose numbers make the state the most Catholic state per capita in the country, yesterday expressed strong but mixed opinions on the selection of conservative Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany as the new pope.
Some praised Ratzinger, regarded as a disciplined keeper of Catholic orthodoxy, as someone who will guard church teachings.
Others criticized the choice, saying the 78-year-old Ratzinger is too doctrinaire, and that the church needs more of a shepherd to unify the faithful. ["Empire Strikes Back"]
But one prevailing thought mentioned by Rhode Island Catholics yesterday was that the elderly cardinal may just be a transitional pope, who will lead Catholics for the next 5 or 10 years, making no drastic changes, while the church considers its priorities for the next millennium.["Buddy Christ?"]
(See "Two Storylines" post.)
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
- "Hardliner" takes reins, The Empire Strikes Back, score another one for the Evil Repressive Church.
- Cardinals selected an older man, a transitional pope, does this mean the next pope will be the one who remakes the church in the image of "Buddy Christ"?
Keep your eyes peeled.
Monday, April 18, 2005
Read the rest here.
Hat tip: Evan Sable.
That seems obvious. Their real intent is to apply political pressure to the President and Congress, to embarrass them by showing that independent citizens are willing to make more of an effort to enforce immigration laws than the federal government. The President's approach (which USA Today supports) is to give more of a carrot (the "guest worker" program, for example) to encourage legal immigration. Maybe. At some point, though, does enforcement also have to be beefed up? And don't forget that the Mexican government directly abets illegal immigrants, helping them to avoid interdiction. Should Bush be applying diplomatic pressure to President Fox?
Now, in a breakthrough described as the classical equivalent of finding the holy grail, Oxford University scientists have employed infra-red technology to open up the hoard, known as the Oxyrhynchus Papyri, and with it the prospect that hundreds of lost Greek comedies, tragedies and epic poems will soon be revealed."
Saturday, April 16, 2005
Asked about Dr. Frist's participation in an event describing the filibuster "as against people of faith," his spokesman, Bob Stevenson, did not answer the question directly.
"Senator Frist is doing everything he can to ensure judicial nominees are treated fairly and that every senator has the opportunity to give the president their advice and consent through an up or down vote," Mr. Stevenson said, adding, "He has spoken to groups all across the nation to press that point, and as long as a minority of Democrats continue to block a vote, he will continue to do so."
Please note that when writing about the press conference, Kirkpatrick did not state directly just what question was put to Stevenson. We are to take on faith that the spokesman was evasive (although Kirkpatrick is careful to imply that the spokesman was shifty without actually saying it explicitly).
"The issue of the judiciary is really something that has been veiled by this 'judicial mystique' so our folks [conservative rank and file] don't really understand it, but they are beginning to connect the dots," Mr. Perkins said in an interview, reciting a string of court decisions about prayer or displays of religion.Please also note that Kirkpatrick does not see fit to indicate the string of court decisions to which Perkins objects. That might be helpful here in deciding what the conservative case is. (I guess we should be grateful that Kirkpatrick did not imply that this Tony Perkins also had the lead role in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho.)
He ends the piece with a Schumer press release:
'The last thing we need is inflammatory rhetoric which on its face encourages violence against judges.'Please, remind me again -- who's been encouraging violence against judges? Was Senator Kennedy looking to incite violence against Judge Bork almost 20 years ago when he suggested that Bork was looking to bring back segregation? Maureen Dowd's magic ellipses have their counterparts in these submerged stories on the front page. Does that make the Grey Lady to be the Titanic?
Thursday, April 14, 2005
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
But here's our biggest concern: The examples they site of activities that don't count as "man dates" because they're too manly–going to bars, exercising together, and attending sporting events–were three staples in Eric Scheske's courtship of his wife. Any chance he married a lesbian? The New York Times has him quivering.
And he suspects he'll be sleeping on the porch tonight.
So Eric's marriage may lack a mandate. Or "man date." Er, or the man-woman equivalent of a "man date" which would be -- a romantic "date"? Or would that have been a date with no romantic tension? Oh, this business has us tied up completely in knots. How ever did we get along without the Times?
I heard that a party of unscrupulous orthodox Cardinals have distributed leaflets to all the cool, progressive Cardinals informing them that their conclave is next month. Those swine!
Childish? Petulant? Silly? Maybe. You be the judge.
Kristof begins his op-ed on the subject: "Here's my prophecy about the next pope: He will allow married men to become priests."
Kristof begins fretting about the lack of clergy. Kristof has never explained why he thinks it's a good idea that the Church grow, so his advice is suspect. At the end, he indicates that his agenda goes further: "Ordaining women would also be an excellent way to provide a new source of clergy. . . One of his successors as pope will surely apply those precepts of equality to the church itself and allow the ordination of women. . . . " He hasn't mentioned openly active homosexual priests, but would that provide a new source of clergy as well? If that step is taken, why not sacramental gay marriage? In principle, priestly celibacy is a matter of Church discipline and obedience, but it's not clear that such discipline is not still needed.
Side note: if Frank Rich is going to cry about his supposed right-wing "culture of death" every time that it becomes news when a woman is starved and dehydrated to death, can we begin referring to two new phenomena: the Catholic "laity surplus," and the mainline Protestant "laity shortage"? This frames the real state of the world: explosive growth in Catholicism and universal diminishing of modernizing Protestant sects.
The second mistake the press tends to make is labeling any new pope as either conservative or progressive. The job of a pontiff is to conserve the patrimony of faith; 'progressive' is often a matter of style rather than theology or politics. "
Woodward: "Progressive, Conservative, or Rock Star?"
Rich is in a bit of a bind. He's a dependable supporter of abortion, "death with dignity," and other progressive causes. It's clear that the phrase "culture of death" rankles him, because that makes him out to be the guy who backs death. So this column marks his attempt to commandeer the language.
So what does Rich mean by the culture of death? "Mortality - the more graphic, the merrier - is the biggest thing going in America." This is a pretty slender insight, if you can call it that. Americans are obsessed with death, and the stories they tell in novels and movies and the news they are interested in are all about death. Hmm. This new "culture of death" explains so much. Americans are fascinated by death, so they turn out entertainments with death in them, such asThe Passion.
And Quentin Tarantino movies.
And The Aeneid, The Iliad, and The Odyssey.
And The Tale of Genji.
Everyone, everywhere, at all times is interested in death. It's one of the most universally human preoccupations imaginable. How can a theater critic not know this?
And did Rich object to Ted Koppel reading of a list of names of soldiers who died in Iraq?
Rich also grants this about Pope John Paul II: "If there's one lesson to take away from the saturation coverage of the pope, it is how relatively enlightened he was compared with the men in business suits ruling Washington." Ah, relatively enlightened. If only he could have been absolutely enlightened, like, say, Frank Rich, he'd have understood this whole "culture of life"/"culture of death" business so much better.
Monday, April 11, 2005
Confession time: I have been on many "man dates." In fact, I have been on "man dates" with other contributors to this blog. (I'm a old-school nerd who never really followed sports, and I'm about as careerist and business-minded as grape jelly. ) Before this, I never would of thought twice about this. Now, I feel . . . dirty somehow.
I just don't know if I feel that way because the Times seems to think there's something odd about this, or because I inadvertantly became trendy many years before my time.
Sunday, April 10, 2005
Saturday, April 09, 2005
[UPDATE from Mr. T.: Great minds think alike.Uwe Siemon-Netto notes: "'We need a visible church, and the Catholic Church is it. The pope is the leader of all the world's Christians,' agreed Robert Benne, a Lutheran theologian heading the Center for Religion and Society in Salem, Va.
'When in the history of the world did 4 million people ever show up anywhere voluntarily?' asked Benne. 'Who on the other hand would come for a funeral of Bishop (John Shelby) Spong?'"]
Friday, April 08, 2005
But something even more fundamental may be at stake.
With its own military spread thin, Washington appears to be trying to use the talks to nudge Japan out from under the U.S. security blanket and make Tokyo a much more active player in global strategic operations."
This is huge. Japan had decades of history as a militaristic nation, dominating east Asia. Post-WWII, Japan was of course completely neutralized, forbidden to rearm. Is this changing as part of an effort to restrain the North Korean regime?
"Like all of us." Does everyone have a mixed legacy? Gandhi? Albert Schweitzer? Mother Teresa?
It's not a stretch to suggest President Clinton is thinking of his own administration's record. So like him. Every question put to him in the end becomes a question about him.
Imagine this: On his next trip to Japan, President Bush visits the vault at the Bank of Japan, where that country's $712 billion in United States government bonds is stored. There, as the cameras roll, he announces that the bonds, backed by the full faith and credit of the United States, are, in fact, worthless i.o.u.'s. He does the same thing when he visits China and so on around the world, until he has personally repudiated the entire $2 trillion of United States debt held by foreigners.
Mr. Bush rehearsed just that act on Tuesday, when he visited the office of the federal Bureau of Public Debt in Parkersburg, W.Va. He posed next to a file cabinet that holds the $1.7 trillion in Treasury securities that make up the Social Security trust fund. He tossed off a comment to the effect that the bonds were not "real assets." Later, in a speech at a nearby university, he said: 'There is no trust fund. Just i.o.u.'s that I saw firsthand."
Consider the following:
- A man borrows $500 from his friend, and he writes an I.O.U. to his friend. His wife goes to his friend's house and announces that the I.O.U. is worthless.
- A man gambles away $500 from his savings account, and he writes himself an I.O.U. His wife has an argument with him and says the I.O.U. is worthless.
Aren't these two entirely different scenarios? Is the Times editorial board dense, or are they being willfully obtuse here? There is no trust fund -- there is a commitment by the govt. to fund social security from funds that they don't have. There is a huge difference. A bond is an asset for the holder, and a liability for the issuer. When the holder and the issuer are the same, it is both, and therefore neither.
Thursday, April 07, 2005
It's hard to see how it could be otherwise. Gay marriage advocates who draw the line at polyandry (or contraceptive incest) are, by their own logic, only ascending to their proper place entitled by their civil rights when fighting for marriage, but then pulling up the ladder behind them when other groups make similar claims.
Also, the size of the constituency shouldn't matter if we're talking about ethical principles.
From Lawrence v. Texas:
"The petitioners are entitled to respect for their private lives. The State cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime. Their right to liberty under the Due Process Clause gives them the full right to engage in their conduct without intervention of the government. 'It is a promise of the Constitution that there is a realm of personal liberty which the government may not enter.' Casey, supra, at 847. The Texas statute furthers no legitimate state interest which can justify its intrusion into the personal and private life of the individual."
From Planned Parenthood v. Casey (upon which Lawrence relies):
"These matters, involving the most intimate and personal choices a person may make in a lifetime, choices central to personal dignity and autonomy, are central to the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under compulsion of the State."
Reading these cases together, and positing (as courts in Massachusetts and California have) that the right to marry is central to personal dignity and autonomy, it becomes difficult to see why polyamory should be any different.
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Vivid, worth reading. (Applebaum is also the author of a comprehensive history of the Soviet gulag system.)
I'm actually ok with the sentence. The comparison with Martha Stewart is telling more because Stewart was clearly the victim of a zealous prosecutors than because of any supposed coddling of Berger. (On the other hand, I think Berger has demonstrated that he is not to be trusted with secret documents and don't think he should ever get the security clearance back.)
It's more the media silence on it that's frustrating. When a former National Security Adviser destroys documents and lies to cover it up, that should be a story. Instead it gets buried in the Times and other papers.
Certainly Tom DeLay wishes he got this kind of a free pass from the press.
The writer, a self-described "Christian Polygamist," claims that Fox, conservative web sites, talk show hosts, and others, are really "liberals" who want a nanny state, as demonstrated by their refusal to contenance both euthanasia and group marriage. Obviously, we were trampling Michael Schiavo's rights as a de facto poly.
It's a well-written piece of historical fiction, drawing on the real life successes and tragedies of these nineteenth century figures and set against a country still in exhaustion from the terrors of the Civil War. Pearl actually does work on (unlike, say Dan Brown) to flesh out his characters. Details like the tragic deaths of Lowell's and Longfellow's wives add richness, and Boston and Cambridge are vividly depicted.
On the other hand, the solution to the whodunnit seemed a tiny bit of a cheat. (But I won't give any spoilers.)
Pearl is a member of the current day successor to Longfellow's "Dante Club," the Dante Society of America. Knowing the little I know about both Dante and Longfellow's time, the novel rang pretty true.
An enjoyable way to pass the time.
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
Martha Stewart is a great comparison.
Hat tip: Glenn Reynolds
UPDATE: Hat tip to Eric Scheske.
Paul Krugman rails against Florida's academic freedom act, which just passed the Florida house: "Think of the message this sends: today's Republican Party - increasingly dominated by people who believe truth should be determined by revelation, not research - doesn't respect science, or scholarship in general. It shouldn't be surprising that scholars have returned the favor by losing respect for the Republican Party. . . . political pressure will nonetheless have a chilling effect on scholarship." What is Krugman talking about here, what is this threat to civilization? It's Florida House Bill 837, entitled "An act relating to student and faculty academic freedom in postsecondary education." Ooh, academic freedom -- scary! What does the bill propose? That students and faculty not be discriminated against on the basis of political or religious beliefs. Those radical theocratic Republicans! This means that you can't harass a student because she holds Christian beliefs . . . or Jewish ones . . . or Muslim ones . . . or atheist ones. Yep, that's theocracy in action.
For my readers, I've reproduced the pertinent provisions of Florida HB 873.
Section 1. . . [S]tudents have rights to a learning environment in which they have access to a broad range of serious scholarly opinion, to be graded without discrimination on the basis of their political or religious beliefs, and to a viewpoint-neutral distribution of student fee funds . . .
Section 2. . . Postsecondary student and faculty academic bill of rights.
- Students have a right to expect a learning environment in which they will have access to a broad range of serious scholarly opinion pertaining to the subjects they study. In the humanities, the social sciences, and the arts, the fostering of a plurality of serious scholarly methodologies and perspectives should be a significant institutional purpose.
- Students have a right to expect that they will be graded solely on the basis of their reasoned answers and appropriate knowledge of the subjects they study and that they will not be discriminated against on the basis of their political or religious beliefs.
- Students have a right to expect that their academic freedom and the quality of their education will not be infringed upon by instructors who persistently introduce controversial matter into the classroom or coursework that has no relation to the subject of study and serves no legitimate pedagogical purpose.
- Students have a right to expect that freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and freedom of conscience of students and student organizations will not be infringed upon by postsecondary administrators, student government organizations, or institutional policies, rules, or procedures.
- Students have a right to expect that their academic institutions will distribute student fee funds on a viewpoint-neutral basis and will maintain a posture of neutrality with respect to substantive political and religious disagreements, differences, and opinions.
- Faculty and instructors have a right to academic freedom in the classroom in discussing their subjects, but they should make their students aware of serious scholarly viewpoints other than their own and should encourage intellectual honesty, civil debate, and critical analysis of ideas in the pursuit of knowledge and truth.
- Faculty and instructors have a right to expect that they will be hired, fired, promoted, and granted tenure on the basis of their competence and appropriate knowledge in their fields of expertise and will not be hired, fired, denied promotion, or denied tenure on the basis of their political or religious beliefs.
- Faculty and instructors have a right to expect that they will not be excluded from tenure, search, or hiring committees on the basis of their political or religious beliefs.
- Students, faculty, and instructors have a right to be fully informed of their rights and their institution's grievance procedures for violations of academic freedom by means of notices prominently displayed in course catalogs and student handbooks and on the institutional website.
Section 3. The Chancellor of Colleges and Universities shall provide a copy of the provisions of this act to the president of each state university. The Chancellor of Community Colleges and Workforce Education shall provide a copy of the provisions of this act to the president of each community college.
That is truly frightening stuff.
Seriously, one can debate whether such legislation is wise or necessary. But Krugman's parade of horribles boils down to largely ad hominem attacks against people who disagree with him. He complains that university professors will not be able to teach evolution, which seems a far stretch. The teachers are required "a posture of neutrality with respect to substantive political and religious disagreements, differences, and opinions." Evolution is a matter of biology, and it succeeds as a theory with regard to empirical evidence alone.
In other news:
"1789 -- AP: Princeton University professor Paul Krugman warns that the sinister so-called "Bill of Rights," with its expansive first protection for "the free exercise of religion," will lead to the nation becoming a 'damned theocracy.'"
"According to Gerver Torres, a former Venezuelan government minister, Chavez's 'main motivation now is to do everything he possibly can to negatively affect the United States, Bush in particular . . . trying to bring together all the enemies of the United States.'"
Monday, April 04, 2005
(Matthew Yglesias: Polling Run Amok)
The Zogby poll found that, if a person becomes incapacitated and has not expressed their preference for medical treatment, as in Terri's case, 43 percent say 'the law presume that the person wants to live, even if the person is receiving food and water through a tube' while just 30 percent disagree."
The poll numbers are even more extreme in other questions. Check the rest here
ScrappleFace always says it best.
If the Who's Tommy were written today, I imagine it would be much shorter. The poor lad would be judged to be completely unreceptive, the tests the doctor gave would show no sense at all, they'd tearfully administer an overdose of morphine in the middle of "Sparks," and Tommy Walker would go gentle into that good night.
Been thinking about Tommy a bit (yes, I'm a 70's adolescent stuck in the body of a middle-aged man). Pete Townshend's songs rely on the tension between presence and absence for someone who is disabled, the recognition both of that inwardness and our shared tendency to abuse those inward beings, those others, whether they have speech impediments, are mentally retarded, or just socially awkward or shy. Quiet, insular instrumentals ("Sparks," "Underture") suggest secret inner spaces. Kant wrote about the "ding an sich," or "the thing-in-itself," as opposed to "the-thing-for-us," the thing as it appears ("phenomenon"). Tommy is the person-in-himself, all interior with no surface. Oddly enough, the album is strongest when it stays with Tommy during his imprisonment in his self. Now, the Schiavo affair and the speculation on the passing of the pope indicates that interior experience has no value. Only the phenomenonal is worthy, persons who are persons-for-us. Tommy makes the transition from inward being to phenomenon -- he becomes a "Sensation." Yet blindness remains.
It's impossible to see how Tommy could be a hit 30 years later, since he insists on making us see things about ourselves to which we'd rather remain blind.
Last time Time picked the papabili, before Wojtyla's election in 1978, they came up with this short list:
- CORRADO URSI, Archbishop of Naples
- SALVATORE PAPPALARDO, Archbishop of Palermo
- GIOVANNI BENELLI, Archbishop of Florence
the long list included:
- Giovanni Colombo, Archbishop of Milan
- Anastasio Ballestrero, Archbishop of Turin
- Antonio Poma, Archbishop of Bologna
- Ugo Poletti, Pope's Vicar in Rome
- Giuseppe Siri, Archbishop of Genoa
- Pericle Felici
- Sergio Pignedoli
- Sebastiano Baggio
- Paolo Bertoli
- Jean Villot
- Aloisio Lorscheider
- Eduardo Pironio
- Johannes Willebrands
- Basil Hume
Sunday, April 03, 2005
The death of Pope John Paul II came at a time when Americans have been engaged in an unusual moment of national reflection about mortality. The long, bitter fight over the unknowing Terri Schiavo was a stark contrast to the passing of this pontiff, whose own mind was keenly aware of the gradual failure of his body. The pope would certainly never have wanted his own end to be a lesson in the transcendent importance of allowing humans to choose their own manner of death. But to some of us, that was the exact message of his dignified departure.
I'm chalk-full of "stark contrasts" for the Times:
- Terri Schiavo was starved to death; Karol Wojtyla died peacefully of natural causes.
- More than a decade before she was starved and on more than one occasion, Terri was denied routine treatment for infections; the pope received antibiotics to treat sepsis shortly before his death.
- Terri had her feeding tube pulled; the pope took nutrition through a nasal feeding tube before his death.
- Terri was in no pain; the pope's suffering was visible every day for years.
Instead, he submitted to suffering on its own terms, accepting life as a gift of the Divine. In doing so, he followed Christ in the way of the cross. "Death with dignity" was not for Christ,
who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.
As James Taranto at Best of the Web would write, You Don't Say!
Saturday, April 02, 2005
With his "internal policies," this Pope betrayed the council numerous times. Instead of using the conciliatory program words "Aggiornamento - Dialogue and Collegiality -- ecumenical," what's valid now in doctrine and practice is "restoration, lectureship, obedience and re-Romanization." The criteria for the appointment of a bishop is not the spirit of the gospel or pastoral open-mindedness, but rather to be absolutely loyal to the party line in Rome. Before their appointment, their fundamental conformity is tested based on a curial catalog of questions and they are sacrally sealed through a personal and unlimited pledge of obedience to the Pope that is tantamount to an oath to the "Fuehrer."
Would it be uncharitable of me to suggest that Küng, who grew up in neutral Switzerland during the greatest conflagration of the twentieth century, shielded from any consequences of that calamity, might choose his words more carefully when speaking of a man who chose the way of the cross in an underground seminary in the blackest heart of Nazi oppression?
Rather than taking the negative tack, I've taken a route that has been far more interesting and fun than I originally expected. I've been looking for artists that meet my criteria or expand it. I've done this now for several years and have come across a few bands that both my kids and myself enjoy: Sixpence None the Richer, Switchfoot, Jaci Velasquez and Plumb come to mind. Jump5 is a great energetic band for kids. Being that artistic merit is a continuum and not binary, I allow my child's indulgence in less enriching fare, such as Hilary Duff (acceptably platitudinous) Cheetah Girls (jam packed with cliches! At least it's not tawdry). Then there's Lindsay Lohan, who I am afraid has sailed over the precipice to the dreck side. Since I don't count on this material to come to me, I've been using "Focus on the Family" "Plugged In" web site, for both music and movie reviews. www.allmusic.com has also been good in finding common artists. I also beg people for ideas on new music. (Hint, hint)
This Easter, the Easter Bunny (a.k.a., Mrs. DancingOx) brought our girls what appears to an album that fits most of the criteria above, "Room to Breath" by ZOEGirl. It's an uneven effort overall and the lyrics are less poetic than I'd like but where it errs, it is at least safe (i.e., poor, not vulgar, poetry) This doesn't appeal to me musically but the girls are loving the music.
I'd love to hear from others on kid-friendly music and resources for the artistically starved parent.
Does anyone out there remember a major media outlet filming and broadcasting a fawning story of, say, Rush Limbaugh's trials and tribulations? Limbaugh's had decades of undeniable success, as opposed to a single year of mere survival.
The previews of the documentary make it seem like a David and Goliath story. Those who read the NY Times Magazine's piece on the launch will remember a scene in which media professionals from virtually every major outlet -- broadcast, cable, newspapers, magazines -- donated time and expertise to help plan and launch AA. David? Yeah, right.
Friday, April 01, 2005
Chemical attack plot: "U.S. officials say a terror suspect imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay is a former Iraqi soldier and al-Qaida member who plotted with an Iraqi intelligence agent in August 1998 to attack the American and other foreign embassies in Pakistan with chemical weapons, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press."
For this action, he must pay a $10,000 fine along with a loss of his security clearance.
Oh, the security clearance is only suspended. Three years. The Cut-Up will have access to top-secret materials again in 2008.