Jonathan Martin, writing for Politico, offers more insight on the recent Sarah Palin article in Vanity Fair.
Paul Hovey of Denver Seminary reviews Dan Barker’s book Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America’s Leading Atheists. Godless is an expanded version of Barker’s 1992 book Losing Faith in Faith.
The Democrats (and MSM’s) war on science.
The day before the House was to vote on a controversial energy bill destined to be the largest tax hike in American history, it was revealed that the Environmental Protection Agency had suppressed an internal report challenging the entire global warming myth.
Despite the importance of this study, and how it related to a debate about to ensue on the House floor, its existence and suppression went almost completely ignored by America’s media.
This, of course, comes in stark contrast to regular and frequent news reports in previous years accusing the Bush White House of intentionally censoring the science of climate change.
Atheist Chris Mooney wrote a book, The Republican War on Science, back in 2005. In light of the politics Dems are now playing with science, I can hardly wait for Mooney’s new book, The Democrats War on Science to be released soon. Yeah right!
Vanity Fair is the latest to do a hit piece on Sarah Palin. Tom Bevan, of Real Clear Politics Blog, offers the following comments on the article.
Todd Purdum pulls down the black ski mask and whips out the sawed off shotgun for this utterly predictable hit piece on Sarah Palin in the August issue of Vanity Fair.
To be clear, there are three certainties in life: death, taxes, and the elitist MSM’s contract-killer journalism against political figures with whom they disagree – which, more often than not means conservatives.
Purdum’s piece is an absolute classic of the genre, complete with a slew of juicy, negative quotes from insiders and a smoothly crafted narrative that demeans and diminishes Palin’s accomplishments and portrays her as an ignorant white trash whack job who stumbled her way into the governorship of Alaska through a combination of raw ambition and blind luck.
Sarah Palin is one of those rare figures who evokes acute emotions in a lot of people. I’m not one of them, so it’s always been hard for me to understand why those who didn’t even know her name before August 28 of last year could either fall so madly in love with her or be driven into such an absolute blind rage over her.
Even more perplexing is the MSM’s continuing fascination with, and seemingly instiatible desire to destroy Sarah Palin. Why are Todd Purdum and Vanity Fair pulling out all the stops for a piece on Palin 10 months after the election? Is it because they fear she’s still viable as a national political figure, or simply that a 9,800 word hit job on Palin is the kind of delicious red meat VF’s readers can’t resist?
Richard Dawkins is backing Britain’s first atheist summer camp for children.
The five-day retreat is being subsidised by Richard Dawkins, the evolutionary biologist and author of The God Delusion, and is intended to provide an alternative to faith-based summer camps normally run by the Scouts and Christian groups.
Crispian Jago, an IT consultant, is hoping the experience will enrich his two children.
“I’m very keen on not indoctrinating them with religion or creeds,” he said this weekend. “I would rather equip them with the tools to learn how to think, not what to think.”
While afternoons at the camp will involve familiar activities such as canoeing and swimming, the youngsters’ mornings will be spent debunking supernatural phenomena such as the formation of crop circles and telepathy. Even Uri Geller’s apparent ability to bend spoons with his mind will come under scrutiny.
Read the rest here.
Christina Hoff Sommers tackles Persistent Myths in Feminist Scholarship.
“Harder to kill than a vampire.” That is what the sociologist Joel Best calls a bad statistic. But, as I have discovered over the years, among false statistics the hardest of all to slay are those promoted by feminist professors. Consider what happened recently when I sent an e-mail message to the Berkeley law professor Nancy K. D. Lemon pointing out that the highly praised textbook that she edited, Domestic Violence Law (second edition, Thomson/West, 2005), contained errors.
Her reply began:
“I appreciate and share your concern for veracity in all of our scholarship. However, I would expect a colleague who is genuinely concerned about such matters to contact me directly and give me a chance to respond before launching a public attack on me and my work, and then contacting me after the fact.”
I confess: I had indeed publicly criticized Lemon’s book, in campus lectures and in a post on FeministLawProfessors.com. I had always thought that that was the usual practice of intellectual argument. Disagreement is aired, error corrected, truth affirmed. Indeed, I was moved to write to her because of the deep consternation of law students who had attended my lectures: If authoritative textbooks contain errors, how are students to know whether they are being educated or indoctrinated? Lemon’s book has been in law-school classrooms for years.
The NYT reviews Robert Wright’s new book, The Evolution of God, here.
A look at [Thomas] Kinkade’s Cottage Fantasy.
Old Calvinists vs. new Calvinists here.
Christianity Today weighs in on “Evangelicals and the making of Jon & Kate Plus Eight.”
If you have recently stood in line at the grocery store and glanced at the tabloid covers, chances are you have seen the faces of reality TV stars Jon and Kate Gosselin. Jon and Kate are stars of the wildly popular TLC show Jon & Kate Plus Eight, which documents the life of this Pennsylvania couple as they raise their eight children, 8-year-old twins and 5-year-old sextuplets. Until recently, Jon and Kate were celebrated as models of wholesome family values. Sure, they bickered a lot, but they were committed to staying together for the long haul. Indeed, last season featured them renewing their wedding vows on the beach in Hawaii. Such commitment endeared them to the watching public and made them TLC’s most profitable commodity.
Of all the viewers who followed the Gosselins, evangelicals were among the most faithful. Jon and Kate’s refusal to resort to “selective reduction” when they found themselves pregnant with sextuplets, their membership in an Assemblies of God church, and their Isaiah 40:31 T-shirts all helped to make them icons of evangelical piety. Churches from across the country clamored to be added to their speaking tours. In the last two years the vast majority of Jon and Kate’s presentations took place at Christian conferences or at evangelical churches, most often Baptist, nondenominational or charismatic.
And here’s a CT blog response (with comments) to their divorce announcement this past Monday.
More from the WSJ.
Plus, look who’s going to profit from the passage of the cap-and-trade energy bill.
Shop Class as Soulcraft, a recent book by Matthew B. Crawford, was first an essay that appeared in The New Atlantis in 2006. You can read the essay here.
A few days ago I said that California needed to cut the excessive car allowances that State Legislators get in order to begin balancing the State budget (see here). Of course, I know that this would largely be a symbolic gesture because the amount saved would not be nearly enough to balance the State budget.
However, what really needs to be addressed is what California pays in pension funds for retired State workers. Here’s the figures:
California faces unfunded public employee retirement benefits of somewhere between $300 billion and $1 trillion, a panel discussion at the Milken Institute’s State of the State Conference concluded in May.
Joel Kotkin, presidential fellow at Chapman University in Orange County, Calif., and a popular writer on public policy, agrees. “The item that is most killing the state budget is the huge pensions for public employees,” he said in a recent CNBC interview.
“We have to figure out what we’re spending, how we’re spending, and to begin to make the public employees live by something close to the rules that the rest of society does.”
Read the complete article here.
The St. Petersburg Times is doing a lengthy special report on the Church of Scientology. Part 1 and 2 are now online here. I’ll eventually post the whole series at TDC.
Few films experience as timely a debut as The Stoning of Soraya M. is set to make on June 26. While women in Iran are protesting the suspect election of a president whose policies have been particularly oppressive to them, the true story of a woman who was wrongly put to death by Islamic officials in the 1980s seems especially relevant.
Based on the best-selling book by the late French-Iranian journalist Freidoune Sahebjam, the film recounts the murder of 35-year-old Soraya, a mother of four whose husband had fallen in love with a 14-year-old girl. Not wanting the expense of caring for two wives, he conspired with the local mullah to frame Soraya for adultery. She was found guilty by a corrupt village council that included her own brothers, and stoned by a mob that included her father. Had it not been for the outspokenness of her aunt, who risked her own life to relay the events to Sahebjam, the truth behind Soraya’s death may never have come out.
Is this The Golden Age of Conspiracy? Here’s some of the most common conspiracy theories:
* That Nato governments and their tame journalists invented the “atrocities” committed by Slobodan Milosevic’s Serbia and her allies in order to justify a war to expand the empire of neo-liberalism into the southern Balkans;
* That Prince Philip, along with the British and French intelligence services, arranged the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, because she was about to marry a Muslim;
* That the 9/11 atrocities in New York and Washington were an “inside job” organised by a rogue faction within the US intelligence agencies or maybe the Bush administration itself to justify war in the Muslim world;
* That Israel warned Jews to stay away from the World Trade Centre on 9/11 but allowed the slaughter of gentiles to stoke up hatred of Muslims;
* That the Jews, once again, formed a “lobby” in the US that pushed America into a needless war against Saddam Hussein;
* And that the Bush and Blair administrations knew in advance that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction worthy of the name but lied and went to war under a false prospectus.
In the past 15 years, vast numbers of people have believed one or more of the above. For a decade after Diana’s death, polls reported that between one-fifth and one-third of the British public thought she had been murdered — even though to sustain that conviction they had to accept that the conspirators must have known in advance that she would decide not to stay in Mohamed Fayed’s Paris Ritz, what car she and Dodi Fayed would leave in once they had resolved to move on, who would be driving the car, where and by which route it would travel and — finally and bafflingly — that the poor woman would forget to put on her seatbelt.
A 2006 poll by the Pew Research Centre asked Muslims in Indonesia, Egypt, Turkey, Jordan and Pakistan whether Arab terrorists carried out the September 11 attacks. A majority in all countries — and a huge majority in Pakistan — replied that they did not. More than half of British Muslims (56 per cent) agreed that the hijackers were innocent stooges of a devilish plot, and one-quarter went on to say that “the British government was involved in some way” with the 7/7 atrocities on the London Transport system. More than 100 million people have watched Loose Change, a slick and mendacious documentary which opines that a missile, not an airliner, hit the Pentagon, and that a secret government agency faked the recordings of panicked calls from the doomed passengers.
Meanwhile, around the Middle East, and increasingly among western intellectuals, anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that ascribe supernatural power to Jewish influence are so prevalent no one has found a way to measure them.
Read the complete article here.
Newsweek covers the “growing controversy over military chaplains using the armed forces to spread the Word.”
This is no suprise.
While the new federal report (prepared by 13 agencies and the White House) paints a dire picture of climate change’s impacts, Dr. Pielke says that the authors of this new report, like those of previous reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Stern Review, cherrypick weak evidence that fits their own policy preferences.
The new federal report on climate change gets a withering critique from Roger Pielke Jr., who says that it misrepresents his own research and that it wrongly concludes that climate change is already responsible for an increase in damages from natural disasters.
Actually, according to Pielke and the federal Climate Change Science Program findings of last year:
1. Over the long-term, U.S. hurricane landfalls have been declining.
2. Nationwide there have been no long-term increases in drought.
3. Despite increases in some measures of precipitation . . . there have not been corresponding increases in peak streamflows (high flows above 90th percentile).
4. There have been no observed changes in the occurrence of tornadoes or thunderstorms
5. There have been no long-term increases in strong East Coast winter storms (ECWS), called Nor’easters.
6. There are no long-term trends in either heat waves or cold spells, though there are trends within shorter time periods in the overall record.
You can visit Dr. Pielke’s blog here.