Yeah, Right, No Racist Cops

29 07 2009

badCop no donut graphic

Justin Barrett, Boston police officer, suspended for calling Professor Gates a “Jungle Monkey” in e-mail

(The edible editorial graphic is from an ACLU letter decrying D.C.’s disorderly conduct ordinance, which led to yet another apparent abuse of police power — see first comment for details.)

“Ethics of Being a Theologian”: Chronicle of Higher Education

29 07 2009

Regular readers know that Favorite Daughter has declared a double major, in creative writing and in religious studies. She also has declared herself an atheist.

The distinction that I have drawn between theology and religious study is not merely academic but ethical. . . Academic theologians’ pronouncements give the public a false sense that theology represents an advance in human knowledge. Recent embarrassments, like the rising influence of intelligent-design “science,” demonstrate that claims made by theologians have consequences. Theologians must take a hard look in the mirror and ask if they can live with those consequences.

Theologians’ failure to meet their ethical obligations is particularly significant with respect to the Bible and other sacred writings. The field of biblical studies includes a great many religion researchers but remains dominated by theologians whose pronouncements about the Bible routinely lead the less informed astray.

Not infrequently, theological concepts are packaged as the conclusions of historical research. The problem is not merely that biblical characters like Moses or Jesus are presented to the public as figures of history on the slimmest of evidence, but, more insidiously, Read the rest of this entry »

Last Tango in Paris for Favorite Daughter and Friend

29 07 2009

en route

“Overheard on the Train from Versailles to Paris”
Posted by Favorite Daughter (penguindust)

12-year-old girl: Ugh. I could have done that tour. Everything they told us about the French Revolution, I already knew. We learned it in school.

Me: (raised eyebrows)

12-Year-Old Girl’s Father: What I don’t understand, is, why didn’t Marie Antoinette’s father send an army over?

12-Year-Old Girl: He did, he did. But they got defeated, by Napoléon.

Me: (crying due to silent laughter)


“Last Tango in Paris”
Posted by kiki under France, Paris

Today was our last day in Paris, and we didn’t even spend the day in the city. We took the train to Versailles and saw the magnificent château.

Versailles, the city, was delightful and clean. It was a welcome change from the hoards of tourists crowding the streets and sites of Paris. We walked from the train station to the château and proceeded to wait in line for about an hour while being continually accosted by the voice of a woman who desperately wanted us to know that we could get in for free if we were EU citizens under 26, and that if we wanted to see the SUPER SECRET PRIVATE apartments of a couple of the Louis-es and Marie Antoinette then we would need to book a guided tour.

But finally we got our audio guides and started to walk our way around the ornate palace. We started out at the intricate and grandiose chapel built by Louis XIV. It is the highest part of Versailles Château because Louis believed that he needed to do that to honour God. Pretty nice gesture in my book.

We then saw Read the rest of this entry »

Rules, Authority, Control: It’s the Power, Stupid

29 07 2009

If the insurance industry wins on health care reform by beating Obama soundly on bigger, more transformative change, it will strengthen and embolden every other big special interest. The energy companies on climate change, the big banks on financial reform, and every other special interest lobbyist Obama has said he would tame, will be laughing at the failure of bigger health reform, secure in their knowledge that nothing has changed in Washington, D.C.

No Legal Overstep Left Behind:

“Most of our politics in America is about the disappointment of not meeting the high goals we set for ourselves.”
–Senator Lamar Alexander, a former U.S. secretary of education trying to explain the legally codified rhetoric of No Child Left Behind.

Plus ca change. . .

Do you experience the conservative homeschooling meme as principled belief in personal freedom and limited government, fueling politics meant to secure and protect equal opportunities for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, for all kinds of Americans as autonomous individuals?

Or do you see conservative homeschooling as centered on religious rules and authority trumping secular authority, politics meant to impose fundamentalist social controls that supplant individual freedom (despite “libertarian” arguments and rhetoric)?

See also:
Thinking About the New Bonfire of the Vanities

Public or Private, Groups Still Govern Our Lives

Sarah Palin “Freeing” Herself From Public Office

And Now The Label “Married” Is In for Further Moral Meddling Read the rest of this entry »