To be sure, Darwin’s theory of evolution is imperfect. However, the fact that a scientific theory cannot yet render an explanation on every point should not be used as a pretext to thrust an untestable alternative hypothesis grounded in religion into the science classroom or to misrepresent well-established scientific propositions.
The FISC may be worthless at defending civil liberties, but in its arrogant disregard for even the fig leaf of the FISC, the administration has actually crossed the line into a crystal clear felony. The government could have legally conducted such wiretaps at any time, but the President chose not to do it legally.
Ours is a government of laws, not of men. That means if the President disagrees with a law or feels that it is insufficient, he still must obey it. Ignoring the law is illegal, even for the President. The President may ask Congress to change the law, but meanwhile he must follow it.
Our President has chosen to declare himself above the law, a dangerous precedent that could do great harm to our country. However, without substantial effort on the part of you, and I mean you, every person reading this, nothing much is going to happen. The rule of law will continue to decay in our country. Future Presidents will claim even greater extralegal authority, and our nation will fall into despotism. I mean that sincerely. For the sake of yourself, your children and your children’s children, you cannot allow this to stand.
Jane Smiley has a long, excellent, and extraordinarily chilling article in the Huffington Post, in which she confronts a question that’s been nagging at a lot of us for a while now: is it possible that BushCo is not simply incompetent or sleazy but actually and in fact evil, intent not on moving the nation toward a “conservative” position but on assuming dictatorial power and destroying whatever and whoever gets in the way of deploying that power to enrich themselves and their friends.
Smiley lists ten actions that the administration has taken which have worked to disrupt peace, disempower citizens, waste the environment, and destroy democratic institutions; these are widely considered by mainstream media, even the “liberal” media, to be “mistakes”; Smiley asks us to consider that they might, in fact, be realized intentions. “Itâ€™s not as if we donâ€™t know what pattern it is, and itâ€™s not as if they havenâ€™t advertised what the pattern will be—it is to break down the government so completely that it canâ€™t be put back together again.”
If there is nothing at the end,
Then there is nothing to anticipate
And nothing to lose anticipating
Something in its stead. Paradise
Perhaps; some appropriate rebirth;
Hell if that’s your leaning. Something
To anticipate, informed by hope or fear,
Attractive as nothing can never be.
If there will be nothing then, then
There can be nothing now, nothing
That will not vanish, leaving
Me with nothing, nothing to be
for. Still, I will be good, and if
It turns out I am good for nothing,
Then nothing will be good enough.
But if anything emerges, as of course
all must, if anything will be,
Then it will be better to have been
Good, though nothing commanded that:
No paradise, no future birth, no hell.
Nothing demands goodness. If
I have nothing, then I have
Nothing to hate, but now may love
All with nothing. With anything, if
I have anything, I may then
Give some of that away to someone,
Anyone I love now, and lose
Nothing. And whatever
I keep or give, anything or not,
I must be honest about that,
Anticipating nothing, and be
Grateful for that. Love, gifts,
Truth and gratitude, all
And nothing. All that is good.
Although a substantial number of Chileans remain opposed to divorce, most voters don’t seem bothered by the fact that Bachelet readily acknowledges she split up with her husband and bore two children while unmarried. Although the Catholic Church has long been the country’s dominant cultural institution, her avowed lack of interest in religion has not hurt her, either. And even though just 36 percent of Chilean women hold jobs — the lowest percentage in Latin America — Bachelet has won support with her promise to choose women for at least half of her cabinet posts.
Thanks to Robert Scheer, at TruthDig, for the pointer.
How about this for a new and relevant liberal argument: anyone who supported the war was a fool or an asshole because it was patently obvious by 2002 that this country was in the hands of an insane megalomaniacal Republican machine and the braindead sycophantic mediawhores who gratefully dined on their droppings. Anyone with half a brain knew that it wasn’t a good idea to give a blank check to crazed power mad freaks to start invading, torturing and killing at their discretion. Most of the world agreed. Not complicated. Not idealistic. Plain. Fucking. Common. Sense.
In Sunday’s New York Times Magazine (free registration required), Deborah Solomon had some questions for Peter Watson, author of the new book, “Ideas: A History of Thought and Invention, from Fire to Freud”. I was taken by his response to this question:
Solomon: On the other hand, not all big ideas are good ideas. In fact, most big ideas are probably terrible ideas. What do you think is the single worst idea in history?
Watson: Without question, ethical monotheism. The idea of one true god. The idea that our life and ethical conduct on earth determines how we will go in the next world. This has been responsible for most of the wars and bigotry in history.
Amazon offers the book as a $7.95 PDF download; I think I’ll sample it that way.
[A] German advertising technology company…, Adtech, found that during October and November, only 0.11 percent of Firefox users ever clicked on an ad, compared with around 0.5 percent of IE users. The percentage of IE users clicking on ads varied depending on which version of the browser was being used, the company said: from 0.44 percent of version 6.x users to 0.53 percent of version 5.5 users. The survey was based on 1,000 Web sites in Europe that use Adtech’s ad server.
But one should be skeptical when anti-globalization activists point to the plummeting number of farmers in South Korea (from 6 million to 3.5 million over the last 12 years) as an example of the harm wrought by the WTO. During that same period, South Korea’s economy grew steadily. And one of the things that happens as countries develop, industrialize and achieve ever higher standards of living is that the proportion of farmers in the overall citizenry falls.