Friday, July 22, 2005

Analogy time --
Kos writes:

" I have been harsh on NARAL the past few months, and they've deserved every last bit of it."

The Religious Right is to Republicans as the NARAL crowd is to Democrats.
(2:26 PM) 0 comments

Thursday, July 21, 2005

How the Dems Ought to Think --
This Daily Kos post more or less sums up my belief that, in contrast to the George W. Bush'a allegedly "compassionate" conservatism, the Democrats need to pursue their agenda from a new cold-hearted form of liberalism.
(6:48 AM) 0 comments

Sunday, July 17, 2005

The Bush administration's perception of reality --
In a comment to this Daily Kos thread, I wrote:

"Indeed, the line between national security and politics had long since been all but erased by the Bush administration."

It has long been my contention that the Bush administration has long considered the 2004 election to be the biggest front in the so-called "War on Terror," bigger even than Iraq itself such that the invasion of Iraq was compromised and the aftermath made more difficult because decisions were made based on how they affected domestic politics.
(7:48 PM) 0 comments

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Harry Potter predictions --
I got the email that book six is in the mail, presumably arriving Saturday. So, I might as well put some predictions down and see how well I can predict things.

1. The goblins will play a major role in The Half-Blood Prince. The giants, centaurs, and elves have all come up. Except for when Harry visited his vault in Book One, the goblins have not appeared. Hmmm...Professor Flitwick is part goblin. I wonder if the half blood prince is part goblin as well.

2. Speaking of centaurs, I expect that Dumbledore (with Harry Potter in tow?) will visit the Forbidden Forest to try and enlist the centaurs in the fight against Voldemort. The centaurs know that war is coming. How will they react?

3. A Weasley dies. Voldemort has attacked entire families in the past. The episode with the boggart in Order of the Phoenix feels like foreshadowing. I think Mrs. Weasley and Percy are the likeliest candidates, probably one defending the other against Death Eaters.

4. Who is the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher? Obviously, the job is vacant again. Dumbledore would probably like an order member and the Ministry of Magic might want a competent auror to fill the post. Kingsley Shackelbolt seems like like a perfect choice. Dumbledore's brother is a dark horse candidate. Of course, the past Defense teachers have all been completely new and not referred to previously.

5. Here come the foreign wizards. We will definitely see some non-British wizards. Charlie Weasley has been off helping enlist them. Perhaps the Half-Blood Prince is from a foreign country.

6. Class schedules. Harry, Ron, and Hermione will all get good marks and be in O.W.L. level classes together for those subjects required of an auror.

7. A Death Eater will be revealed to be a metamorphomagus. I am almost tempted to say that Tonks uses her ability to go undercover at Hogwarts posing as a student, but that would just fuel the people who want a Harry-Tonks romance.

8. Speaking of romance, we will get the first explicit evidence that Ron fancies Hermione and vice versa. This is just the most blindingly obvious thing that the author has telegraphed and we will finally get the first move on someone's part. The obvious spark for some movement on the Ron-Hermione front is Viktor Krum showing up in person. (And can Fleur Delacour be far behind? Perhaps an international conclave of the Order of the Phoenix.)

9. One of the creatures that Luna Lovegood has mentioned, but which Hermione has scoffed at as not real, will actually show up. One of the creatures might turn up in Hagrid's class, but if I had to bet, it would be heliopaths.

10. Hogwarts students will have to deal with dementors. If not this book, then the next. You don't have Dumbledore's Army practicing summoning a Patronus unless there will be a need for them to try (and possibly fail) later in the series.
(10:51 PM) 1 comments

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Catholics and Evolution --
In Slate, Keelin McDonell writes in response to a New York Times op-ed by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn.

I believe that proponents of teaching evolution in school go about their opposition in the wrong way. Attacking as ludicrous intelligent design or any similar stance is overly divisive. Rather, I think it is best to affirm evolution and be open to the possibility of intelligent design, but to state that such a belief is not currently within the realm of science, but within the realm of theology or philosophy. (By the way, I advocate having a year of high school English be a disguised philosophy class as students learn to read and write critically by studying philosophical essays rather than literature and I certainly think that creationism vs. evolution is an acceptable part of that curriculum and ought to be covered.) Really, what is needed is for scientists to come out and say that they believe that God played a role in the development of man, but that that role is not a suitable topic for a biology class.
(7:00 PM) 0 comments

Sunday, July 03, 2005

On the Need for Research --
Posted as a comment to this Daily Kos Science Sunday post

The current administration favors people who are uncreative.

I could come up with dozens of ways for terrorists to affect this country....go to LA and trace how water is brought in to supply southern California, then destroy that Las Vegas during a convention that has symbolic worth....suicide bombings at a dozen or so randomly selected polling places across the country the morning of Election Day to disrupt voting....the list goes on....

It is good for intelligent people to think about these sorts of matters. It will spur them to think about solutions. Given the current administration's inability to think with foresight and long-term planning, I'd like for someone else to consider what needs to be done and researchers and academics seem like a good group of people to do some alternative thinking.
(8:07 PM) 0 comments