Wednesday, December 21, 2005

"Intelligent Design" deemed anything but

So, yes, the former members of the Dover Area School Board and their backers, which included Seattle-based think tank Discovery Institute and Citizens for an Inbred Pennsylvania, were bitch-slapped yesterday by U.S. District Judge John E. Jones, a Republican appointed by none other than our Intelligent Design-loving President, George Bush. News sources are reporting that Jones decried the "breathtaking inanity" of the Dover policy and accused several board members of lying to conceal their true motive, which he said was to promote religion.

Judge Jones wrote in his ruling that, "The students, parents, and teachers of the Dover Area School District deserved better than to be dragged into this legal maelstrom, with its resulting utter waste of monetary and personal resources."

Reaction from the policy's supporters was as expected. Former school board member William Buckingham, who advanced the policy, said from his new home in Mount Airy, N.C., that he still feels the board did the right thing. "I'm still waiting for a judge or anyone to show me anywhere in the Constitution where there's a separation of church and state," he said. "We didn't lose; we were robbed."

John West, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, having apparently forgotten who appointed Judge Jones, chimed in with, "Judge Jones got on his soapbox to offer his own views of science, religion and evolution. He makes it clear that he wants his place in history as the judge who issued a definitive decision about intelligent design. This is an activist judge who has delusions of grandeur."

Meanwhile, those of us living in the 21st Century can nod our heads with some satisfaction, if ever wary of the next threat to liberty and rationality from neo-conservative quarters.

Thank you, Judge Jones

Ted Stevens denied his monument in Alaska

Poor Ted Stevens. You'd think that at 82 years of age and after 25 years of beating his head against the same board he'd have learned, but apparently the support of Big Oil is worth so many years of self-flagellation. The hapless Senator wants desperately to leave the "Ted Stevens Oil Field" in place of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as his lasting legacy (to say nothing of the years of oil subsidies the citizens of Alaska will receive if any drilling occurs). But today the Republican-controlled Senate fell three votes shy of the sixty needed to block a threatened filibuster of the must-pass defense spending bill, and that bill will now be reworked without the ANWR drilling language.

So Ted and friends will need to find another bill to which they can hitch their fetid wagon, and the threat to ANWR will not diminish until Ted retires or, more likely, until he checks into the Great Oil Seep in the Sky that surely awaits him. 'Til that time he'll have to content himself with visions of the earthly disaster that is Prudhoe Bay.

"The 'Ted Stevens Oil Field' would be my gift to Alaska ... to all America!"

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Sign of the thymum

Damn, I'm a crufty old bastard. That, or the world is going to hell faster than I can say "Nerf". I have two small children who enjoyed throwing and kicking an old Nerf football in our backyard, just as I did thirty-odd years ago. But some evil raccoons laid waste to the football along with a large swath of our backyard recently, so I thought a new Nerf ball would make a nice holiday gift.

I jumped on Amazon expecting to find some colorful replacements for the football, but in my search for "nerf" the first nine hits were all Weapons of Mass Destruction, which make nine more such weapons than have been found in Iraq to date. Here are four of the more fearsome:

Now, I grew up in a rural area and had access to small-caliber firearms as a kid, and I understand the visceral appeal of guns, both real and play, but I'm still left wondering why people buy this crap for their kids. When I was a kid "Nerf" meant a football with which one could actually play the game of football. Today's "Vortex Challenge Nerf Football" looks more like a rocket-propelled grenade:

The Nerf basketball and hoop were also popular when I was young, and I note Hasbro is now selling the "Official 35th Anniversary NERFOOP", but this product will no doubt be superceded by the battery-sucking "Nite Jam Nerfoop" replacement very soon, even though this item seems largely unpopular in Amazon customer reviews. In any case, I'll lighten up and if anyone knows where one can get the old-style Nerf football these days, the one with the simulated laces, etc., please send me word.