aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Science news devolved into commercial puff nonsense
The human race will one day split into two separate species, an attractive, intelligent ruling elite and an underclass of dim-witted, ugly goblin-like creatures, according to a top scientist.
The “scientist” is a political scientist and the debunking is quite complete, but it’s the coda that caught my attention:
More and more, empty “science” stories are being generated by public relations companies, who team up with academics, and commission some spurious piece of “research” that will be attractive to the media, where the company is name-checked. The classic examples are the “equations for” stories. None of Dr Curry’s doubtless excellent scholarly work in political theory has ever generated media coverage like his silly futuristic essay. I spoke to friends on other newspapers (the Guardian didn’t cover the story, mercifully) who told me they had stand up rows with news desks, explaining that this was not a science news story. But the selective pressure on national newspapers is for journalists who compliantly write up this kind of commercial puff nonsense as “science news"Ã‚Â�, while religious fundamentalism of all varieties is conquering the world. Bravo!
Via Boing Boing.
The drought monitor
Historical data for last century. (That looks like global warming to me.)
Via Angry Bear, “California fires have overshadowed the more important long range issue of drought for agriculture and hydrological crisis.”
Colbert campaigns in South Carolina
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - Comedian Stephen Colbert brought his mock presidential campaign to the capital of South Carolina Sunday, where he was declared “favorite son” by the mayor of Columbia and given the key to the city.
Colbert, a native of Charleston, told the raucous crowd of several hundred gathered on the University of South Carolina campus that, “I love South Carolina almost as much as South Carolina loves me.” [...]
Mayor Bob Coble also declared October 28th “Stephen Colbert Day.” Coble has endorsed another South Carolina native for President, the Democratic former Sen. John Edwards.
Asked about this apparent conflict, the Edwards campaign said that until Colbert wins the primary like Edwards did in 2004, he cannot claim to be a favorite son.
Edwards spokesperson Teresa Wells also ribbed Colbert for his ties to the snack food industry. Colbert has said his campaign will be sponsored by Doritos.
“What is more troubling than his quest for a status his own mother won’t grant him (favorite son) are his ties to the salty food industry,” Wells said. “As the candidate of Doritos, his hands are stained by corporate corruption and nacho cheese. John Edwards has never taken a dime from taco chip lobbyists and America deserves a President who isn’t in the pocket of the snack food special interests.”
Joshua Green gives a Colbert candidacy some serious consideration. The Colbert fan group on Facebook continues to soar like an eagle. (I was the 1,144,713th to join - it was created by a 16-year-old high school student; way to go Raj!)
A Rasmussen poll found:
In the match-up with Giuliani and Clinton, Colbert draws 28% of likely voters aged 18-29. He draws 31% of that cohort when his foes are Thompson and Clinton. In both match-ups, Colbert has more support with young voters than the GOP candidate.
Editor and Publisher comments, “If he keeps gaining over 10% a week, Colbert should be leading the field before November is out. “
So how about election law? Slate’s Explainer says Stephen’s breaking the law:
Yes. The Federal Election Commission prohibits corporations from making “any contribution or expenditure in connection with a federal election.” A “contribution” includes “anything of value,” including airtime. Thus each time Colbert promotes his candidacy on The Colbert Report, he’ll be accepting an illegal “in kind” contribution from Comedy Central’s parent company, Viacom. The FEC does exempt news programs (including satires like the Report) from the “in kind” airtime ban, but not if a political party, political committee, or candidate (like Colbert) controls the show’s content.
Adam B at DailyKos much more, “Oh, sure, you thought it was all cute and funny that Stephen Colbert is planning a bid for the 2008 presidential nomination of both parties (at least in South Carolina). Then they called in us lawyers, and thanks to us (well, thanks to the law, which we’re trying to explain) it’s a mess.”
Comedy Central has lawyers looking into it too.
RELATED: The Washington Monthly’s Paul Glastris was on the show the night before the announcement. Here’s his Colbert Report report.
The Religious Right: the salt is losing its flavor; it’s sand
The headline is a quote from Mike Huckabee in today’s Sunday Magazine cover story.
For the piece, David D. Kirkpatrick goes to Wichita, Kansas - “as close as any place to the heart of conservative Christian America” - to see “how the world was looking from the pulpits and pews.”
He finds a leadership split along generational and theological lines. He calls it The Evangelical Crackup:
Wondering how those theological and political debates were unfolding in conservative Wichita, I sought out the Rev. Gene Carlson, another prominent conservative Christian pastor who left his church last year. He spent four decades as the senior pastor of the Westlink Christian Church, expanding it to 7,000 members. He was one of the most important local leaders of the Summer of Mercy abortion protests. He tapped Westlink’s collection plate to help finance its operations and even led a battalion of about 40 clergy members and hundreds of lay people to jail in an act of civil disobedience.
Sitting with his wife in a quiet living room with teddy bears on the bookshelves, Carlson, who is 70, told me he is one member of the movement’s founding generation who has had second thoughts. He said he still considers abortion evil. He called the anti-abortion protests “prophetic,” in the sense of the Old Testament prophets who warned of God’s wrath. But Carlson was blunt about the results. “It didn’t really change abortion,” he said.
“I thought in my enthusiasm,” he told me with a smile, “that somehow we could band together and change things politically and everything will be fine.” But the closing of Dr. Tiller’s clinic was fleeting. Electing Christian politicians never seemed to change much. “When you mix politics and religion,” Carlson said, “you get politics.”
In more recent battles, Carlson has hung back. On the Sunday before the referendum on a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, Carlson reminded his congregation that homosexuality was hardly the only form of sex the Bible condemned. Any extramarital sex is a sin, he told his congregation, so they should not point fingers.
“We wouldn’t want to exclude some group because we thought their sin was worse than ours,” Carlson told me with a laugh.