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119 posts from August 2005

August 29, 2005

Dennett on ID

Permalinked for your reference, Dan Dennett's excellent opinion piece on intelligent design. [NYT]

Via Chris of Mixing Memory.

Kleiman's Kelo query

Mark Kleiman asks a very good question:
How is it that the entire debate about the Kelo eminent-domain decision has run its course without anyone mentioning that the President of the United States made most of his huge fortune by arranging for exactly that sort of taking of private property for private use?

Imagine a Democratic President in the same situation, and imagine what Fox and Rush and Drudge would have made out of it. That's why it's fair to say that the country has, in effect, no liberal media in the sense that it has conservative media.

Bunny Greenhouse demoted

Whistle-blower Bunny Greenhouse has been demoted.

The official, Bunnatine H. Greenhouse, has worked in military procurement for 20 years and for the past several years had been the chief overseer of contracts at the Army Corps of Engineers, the agency that has managed much of the reconstruction work in Iraq.

Known as a stickler for the rules on competition, Ms. Greenhouse initially received stellar performance ratings, Mr. Kohn said. But her reviews became negative at roughly the time she began objecting to decisions she saw as improperly favoring Kellogg Brown & Root, he said. Often she hand-wrote her concerns on the contract documents, a practice that corps leaders called unprofessional and confusing.[NYT]

Via Rob of LG&M.

August 28, 2005

Wingnut catfight in Crawford!

Well, what do you expect at an anti-peace rally?

A handful [of anti-Sheehan protesters] also got themselves arrested, including a protester whose anti-Sheehan sign was deemed unnecessarily offensive by organizers of a large pro-Bush rally. The man carrying the sign became violent when he was asked to put it down.

Ken Robinson, of Richardson, Texas, who described himself as a Vietnam veteran, was carrying a sign at a “You Don't Speak for Me, Cindy!” rally. The sign read, “How to wreck your family in 30 days by ‘b**** in the ditch' Cindy Sheehan.”

Kristinn Taylor, an event organizer with, heard about the sign and rushed up to Robinson.

“This is our rally and you can't do that here,” he said, only for Robinson to insist he was within his rights.

Camera crews rushed in and Taylor turned to face them.

“To all the media here, this sign is not representative of the crowd here today,” Taylor announced. Some of the crowd around Robinson came forward to shake his hand, while others chanted, “Idiot, go home.”

The two men then squared off and raised their voices.

“Just get outta here!” Robinson yelled, and aimed a kick at Taylor's midsection. Taylor called for security, and a young Woodway policeman quickly showed up.

“I have the right to freedom of speech,” Robinson said.

Robinson continued to protest loudly as police handcuffed him and led him away. [Waco Tribune]

Bar tipping

Josh Bernstein calls bullshit on bar tipping:

Now let's do some math. Say I spend $40 boozing. Conservatively, that's eight drinks at $4 per—$32. The remaining $8 arises from the obligatory dollar-per-drink tip. Tipping one dollar on a four-dollar drink is akin to a 25-percent gratuity. Throwing a buck on a $2 PBR, why, that's 50 percent. Hookers aren't tipped that well. [New York Press]

Bernstein goes on to suggest a sliding scale for tips: at least a whole dollar for mixed drinks, a buck for two out of every three rounds of draft beer, and nothing for beer in a can.

Well, I call bullshit on Bernstein. If you can afford to drink in a bar, you can afford to tip at least a dollar per drink.

Why should the tip depend entirely on the relative difficulty of serving a particular beverage? Whatever you're drinking, you're tipping for the whole package: taking the order, getting it right, bringing it out, juggling competing demands to keep service running smoothly, being friendly, and so on.

Links a-go-go

Revere delivers a Sunday Sermonette. Earlier this week he reported on the petition from hell.

Mixing Memory reports that Elizabeth Lloyd's work on the evolution of the female orgasm is getting a chilly response from certain feminist blogs.

I'd hate for Lloyd to get the wrong idea about the feminist blogosphere. So, here are some links to other feminist bloggers who are sympathetic to Lloyd's work: Pharyngula, Rob at HelpyChalk (cf. Rob's Lloyd-inspired nine-part series), Coturnix of Science and Politics, the aforementioned Mixing Memory, and Amanda. I meant to write a pro-Lloyd piece when her book came out, but unfortunately, I didn't get around to it.

Work is interfering with my higher cognitive functions, so I'm just going to recommend this fascinating conversation about explanation and justification: Brad DeLong, hilzoy, Brad DeLong II.

Finally, a newcomer to the blogroll: Phronesisaical a liberal philosophy blog with lots of juicy pictures.

Nearly 1000 released from Abu Ghraib

Faint hint of good news:

Nearly 1,000 Released From Abu Ghraib

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- The U.S. military announced Saturday that it released nearly 1,000 prisoners from Abu Ghraib prison over the past few days in response to a request by Iraqi authorities.

The move, the largest prisoner release to date, followed appeals by Sunni representatives to start releasing thousands of prisoners who have been languishing in the jail for months without being charged. [AP]

Further down...

"Those chosen for release are not guilty of serious, violent crimes -- such as bombing, torture, kidnapping, or murder -- and all have admitted their crimes, renounced violence, and pledged to be good citizens of a democratic Iraq," the U.S. statement said. [AP]

The non-violent offenders have renounced violence, what a relief.

August 27, 2005

The best worst idea in the world

Fafblog interviews the Democratic Party on Iraq.

Coulter's contrapositive

The Green Knight challenges Ann Coulter's delusional slander of New Yorkers.

Hat tip to Mike the Mad Biologist.

Interview with the Arcade Fire

Decent interview with the Arcade Fire in the Guardian.