politics, fringe watching, and other stuff

John J. McKay is a grumpy, aging liberal who lives in a small house with his wife, two cats, and a couple thousand books. To comment on anything in archy, send an e-mail.

Blogs I'm reading this week
The American Street
Angry Bear
Bark Bark Woof Woof
Body and Soul
Counterspin Central
Crooked Timber
The Daily Kos
The Early Days of a Better Nation
The Intersection
Is That Legal?
Liberal Coalition
Mark A.R. Kleiman
Matthew Yglesias
Media Whores Online
Off the Kuff
Pacific Views
Progressive Gold
Quark Soup
The Right Christians
The Rittenhouse Review
Roger Ailes
Ruminate This
Shadow of the Hegemon
Skeptical Notion
Steve Gilliard's News Blog
Talking Points Memo
Very Very Happy
Waldchen vom Philosophenweg
Whiskey Bar
World O? Crap

Other good stuff
Americans United for Seperation of Church and State
Common Dreams
The Daily Howler
People for the American Way
Political Research Associates
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

? # Pacific Northwest Blogs ? ?

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Thursday, February 26, 2004

Kids show lack of respect for really stupid adults
After watching from the sidelines as their schoolboard moved closer to adopting an Intelligent Design curriculum for their biology classes, the students of Darby, Montana’s only high school decided it was time for their voices to be heard. They would rather learn real science and they feel strongly about the matter. Approximately fifty students, one third of the student body, walked out of classes on Wednesday and held a protest in front of the school.
"Students really care what's going on in the school," said senior Aaron Lebowitz, who organized the protest. "(The school board) has been on their own track and haven't really listened to us."

Students were joined by one teacher and a handful of community members in their protest.

"The verbalization to the public has been from the school board but not the students and teachers," high school teacher Nathan Mentzer said.

Nearly 40 Darby High School students got permission from their parents to check out of school early and walked out expressing discontent of school board actions.

Trustees last month adopted a policy that calls for teachers to question evolution. The policy was brought to the board based on the idea to teach intelligent design theory - a biological origins theory that assumes there is a designer of the biological world but stops short of saying who or what that designer is.

Critics claim the theory is a guise to introduce creation science in the classroom.

The critics case seems to be well supported by the fact that school board’s legal defense is being provided by Allied Defense Fund, an organization founded in part by Campus Crusade for Christ and James Dobson’s Focus on the Family. Allied Defense Fund says its mission is to "keep the door open for the spread of the Gospel." I assume they mean the door to the school.
"Over the past few weeks, students have discussed the issue at length and formed opinions about intelligent design," Lebowitz said.

One sign read, "Creationism in a cheap tuxedo." And others called on people to go to church for creationism.

Lebowitz walked down the row of students asking individuals why they were there. Students strongly voiced concern about creationism being in science class and encouraged people to vote in the upcoming school board election.

Currently, students touch on evolution in life science class in seventh grade and then again in 10th-grade biology.

"But evolution is not shoved down our throats," he said. "I was pretty disturbed by the ignorance of our community about what we're really being taught."

Lebowitz carried a sign that read, "Strike against preaching pseudo science," and said he would have taken the risk of disciplinary action if his parents didn't let him check out of school.

Even when I was in high school at the height of the Viet Nam War and the Civil Rights Movement, I would not have believed it possible to turn out one third of the student body to demand quality education. As long as the public schools can turn out kids like this, the school system is doing just fine. Don’t believe the far right propaganda about our schools being failures that need to be replaced by voucher supported private (religious) schools. And as long as we have kids like Aaron Lebowitz and his cohort, civilization isn’t doomed quite yet.
posted by John at 11:48 PM

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Thanks, Mel
Whether or not Mel Gibson is an anti-Semite might still be an open question for some. In either case, his willingness to encourage a wave of anti-Semitic demagoguery just to promote his movie is despicable. He remains despicable whether his true agenda for pushing the movie is to make money, to promote his schismatic variety of Catholicism, or because he is a true believing anti-Semite. And, in all cases, the responsibility for this, lays squarely at his doorstep.
DENVER - A billboard unveiled on Ash Wednesday, the same day that a controversial movie depicting the last hours of Jesus Christ premiered, is sparking criticism from people of all faiths.

The large-size outdoor marquee, which sits on the property of the Lovingway United Pentecostal Church at Colorado and Mississippi, says, "Jews Killed The Lord Jesus" and the word "Settled!"

The Anti-Defamation League asked for the marquee to be changed because it is anti-Semitic, but the church only amended the billboard slightly by removing the word "settled" and attributing the line to biblical Scriptures.

posted by John at 1:25 PM

Monday, February 23, 2004

What does this mean?
Ken Mehlman, Bush's campaign manager: "I don't know what [Nader's decision] means. I think ultimately we're focused on the president." Someone has announced that they are going to come gunning for his guy, but he isn’t sure what to think about it because he’s too busy staring worshipfully at his guy? Shouldn’t he be focused on the race? Shouldn’t he be sure what he’s ultimately focused on? Is Bush’s campaign staff just pretending to be a bunch of dolts in an effort to lure us into a false sense of security?
posted by John at 8:59 PM

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Roy Moore is just like a gay marriage
After sighing and rolling my eyes at Ralph Nader’s latest attempt to completely piss away his legacy, I decided to check on our old friend ex-judge Roy Moore and see how his bid for the presidency is going. I didn’t find any new stories on Moore, but I did discover his name featuring prominently in mini-meme circulating on the right.

It goes like this: the liberal media elite is either celebrating, or shamefully silent on, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s act of civil disobedience in deciding to have the city issue same sex marriage licenses. Yet last summer this same liberal media elite couldn’t heap enough abuse on Judge Roy Moore’s act of civil disobedience in plopping a Ten Commandments monument in the lobby of the Alabama Supreme Court. You see, it’s all about hypocrisy. Liberal media elites have no moral grounding, so they can disapprove of civil disobedience one week and applaud it the next. That’s how evil they are.

Over the last week, Kelly Boggs of the Baptist Press, Brian O'Connell of Men’s News Daily, and Rush Limbaugh of Oxycontin have all made this comparison. Since none of them give credit to the others, I’ll assume that they all came up with this idea independently and thought it a just dandy skewering of the hypocrisy of the left. Leaving aside for the moment the fact that this is a pretty pathetic argument—who said our issue with Roy Moore was civil disobedience per se, opposing a law and opposing the constitution are a wee bit different orders of magnitude, and many on the left are not celebrating Newsom’s act—this seems to me a dangerous argument for the right to make. Equivalency swings both ways.

Try this out next week. The first time a wingnut friend/coworker/relative goes off on the San Francisco marriages, tell them Rush thinks they’re just like a public display of the Ten Commandments. You can even directly quote Rush. The title of his piece was “San Francisco Doing Exactly What Judge Roy Moore Did.” Demand the same consistency from them that Rush is demanding from the liberal media elite. If you condemn the marriages, you must condemn Roy’s Commandments (heck, throw in school prayer, football invocations, and “under God” just for good measure). If you approve of religion in state sponsored public spaces, you have to approve of gay marriage. The only relevant issue is civil disobedience.

Some wingnuts might be forced to take a step back and actually look at life as containing some difficult shades of gray. Other wingnuts heads' will explode. That’s a win-win outcome for us.

posted by John at 10:17 PM

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