• Liar! Charlatan! (How'm I Doing, PZ?)

    PZ Myers sez : I know what some people are thinking: just don't call them "stupid" or a "moron", it distracts from the scientific argument. Of course it does; but one thing I've learned over the years is that this is not a scientific debate. The scientific part was settled a century ago, and evolution won, hands down. There is absolutely no legitimate, intelligent argument against evolutionary theory right now. This is not to say that we know everything or that the theory is complete or that we expect no major revisions; it means that evolution in a broad sense is an inarguable fact, and what we need to know now are details and mechanisms. The earth is billions of years old, species are all related to one another, and there has been a complex and ongoing pattern of change over the course of all of that time. All of that has been supported by multiple interlocking lines of evidence uncovered by the work of thousands of people, rechecked and verified by thousands more. That's just not...
  • France Souring on EU?

    If you believe the polls , anyway: More bad news from France for the European Union: A new opinion poll coming out Monday suggests that most French voters would reject the EU constitution if a referendum were held today. The French will not be called on to vote until May 29, but the poll is the second in less than a week indicating that France could strike down the EU’ s historic attempt to adopt a constitution. As a fan of the EU, I find this worrisome, to say the least. The EU constitution, as written, imposes a lot of new, federal-style institutions on member nations and EU citizens. Among others, it provides for a more powerful EU judiciary, a unified legal personality, and a single EU diplomatic representative. Additionally, being an EU member increasingly means supporting poorer countries; some of the most recent admittees to the EU also have the lowest GDP in the EU. Slate has chronicled what seem to be the dwindling priveleges of EU membership. The European Parliament,...
  • Death and Taxes

    I know, I know: No more about Terri Schiavo. But I just have to flag this astonishing statement from NRO’ s Jack Dunphy: If Terri Schiavo were able, she would go to the nearest telephone, dial 9-1-1, and tell the operator that people are trying to kill her. “If Terri Schiavo were able”? Why, pray tell, is she not able? Could it be, perhaps, because she no longer has the ability to think? The one useful thing about this mess is that it’s invited us to figure out what conservatives mean by “culture of life.” I think Dunphy’s statement just about explains it all. They see being alive much the same way that liberals see paying taxes: Not something one just happens to be doing, but something one must do out of an obligation to the rest of humanity. To people like Dunphy, the notion that death is a natural part of life, or that continuing to live could be a net negative, is simply unacceptible. This isn’t a culture of life. It’s a culture of publicly-owned life. It’s a culture of forced...
  • Pillow Fight!

    Later today, I'll be attending, and kicking ass in, the "world's largest pillow fight". You think I'm kidding, but no, the Kiwanis are hosting the largest pillow fight ever at the Anaheim Convention Center. I'll try and get pictures. After I kick ass.
  • Annan to Constructivism: "Drop Dead!"

    Ever since I posted this longish quote from Dick Holbrooke about the U.N., I’ve been thinking about it. Particularly, the part where he says: The large number of disputes and wars that the U.N. has been unable to prevent or solve since 1945 are a clear demonstration of the limits of the organization. But this is a result of the actions of the member states themselves, not something called “the U.N. ” What happens in the U.N. is simply a reflection of the positions of its 191 members, whose ambassadors take positions under instructions from their capitals. Every time I read that paragraph, it kind of got caught in my mental throat (ew!), and I think I only just now realized why. Holbrooke is right. The reason he’s right is the reason the U.N. isn’t working now, and the reason that I’m highly optimistic about Kofi Annan’s planned reforms . The problem with the U.N. is that, although it was conceived in the sweet afterglow of democracy’s triumph on the European continent, it’s a...
  • Me Again

    Well, it happened again. Ezra's off for the weekend (it's 67 in L.A.!) [Ezra's note -- not off, I'll be around too] , and he's graciously asked me to fill in. So, here I am. I have a few things I plan to post about, but if there's anything you'd specifically like me to publicly meditate on, please do feel free to drop it in the comments. I blog to please. Thanks for having me again. - Daniel A. Munz
  • Why No Wide-Angle?

    James Wolcott wants a wide-angle shot of the protesters outside Schiavo's hospice. I don't blame him. But though the cameramen seem unwilling to comply, NPR's nameless voice-on-the-scene did better as I drove to lunch this morning. The Christian Right, he said, had sent out an alert to its faithful, imploring them to come stand vigil and warning the media that the grounds would soon be flooded with hundreds, even thousands of jobless white folks hellbent on inserting themselves into a private matter. So how many showed up? A few dozen.
  • Right On

    This bit from Garance Franke-Ruta is so good I'm going to excerpt it at length: I've been exceptionally impressed with the quality of the comments on this blog over the past week, which have been wonderfully intelligent, thoughtful, and polite. One question that's come up over and over, however, is why this topic mattered, or should matter, to those outside of elite media circles. ... Take what is, I believe, the single most important issue facing middle-class families: the rise of the 50-80 hour work week and the disappearance of the weekend. Anne Applebaum wrote about this recently. I bring the issue up in story meetings at the Prospect at every available opportunity. And I’m regularly surprised by the number of young, progressive women I know who tell me that the thing they dislike most about the Democratic Party is its obsessive focus on abortion instead of the question of how to combine work and family and not go crazy. They want to be approached as mothers and potential mothers...
  • Leave it to Fox

    If you've not yet seen John Stewart on the Schiavo case, you're missing out.
  • I Have Bad Taste

    Interesting post by Marshall Whittman noting the distinctly pre-9/11, peace-and-prosperity turn our politics have taken: American politics seems eerily similar to the period prior to 9/11. Before that horrible day, the focus of political discussion was a "culture of life" issue - stem cell research. A celebrity scandal surrounding the death of an intern and a Congressman was the fixation of all the television networks. And the President's domestic agenda was floundering. And then the world was transformed. We entered a new twilight struggle. The entire nation was on edge about another terrorist attack. We were at war. While our brave troops are making daily sacrifices in Iraq, our domestic politics has returned to "normalcy" - or what passes for that condition these days. The President is publicly more focused on privatizing social security and one tragic medical case than the war on terror. Our attention is consumed by Terri Schiavo, the Michael Jackson case and the horrible crisis...