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Thursday, October 27, 2005

New Review: The God Gene

ExampleThe following is a brief excerpt from a review posted on PopandPolitics.com:

In today’s highly charge political atmosphere, science and religion seem to be at war with one another. Half of the people in this country still think the theory of evolution is a threat to their religion and insist that schools should teach Intelligent Design. The other half believe that anything having to do with religion should be relegated to the basements of people’s homes and the word “God” should be listed as the eighth dirty word you can’t say on television. Secular, science prone folks think that the religious folks are lowering the bar for academics and intelligence, while the religious folk believe the other half to be a bunch of godless heathens who are going straight to hell.

One would think that it would be impossible to merge those two parties together in some sort of cohesive fashion, but author and preeminent geneticist at the National Cancer Institute, Dean Hamer, has successfully accomplished just that. Hamer has written a book entitled, “The God Gene: How Faith is Hardwired into Our Genes,” that in my opinion successfully makes the case that biology and spirituality are one in human existence.

First, let me say that we are not necessarily talking about religion here. Religion is a social construct made up of cultural, historical events, and meaningful rituals. Religion is the sum of biology, spirituality, and the lesser realized geographic lottery, not the impetus of spirituality, as one might tend to argue. (More)

Friday, October 14, 2005

New Review: Endgame

ExampleThe following is a brief excerpt from a review posted on PopandPolitics.com:

The War on Terror is not an easy subject to write on. First, it is hard to even begin talking about it because there is no absolute truth about it. Abortion kills fetuses. That is an absolute truth. The question then becomes whether or not killing fetuses is something we should allow or not allow, and then the conversation moves on from there. With the War on Terror, there is no absolute truth. Some people don’t even believe there is one going on, that it’s merely a catch phrase. It’s like having a conversation with somebody who doesn’t believe the Holocaust ever happened; you just can’t even begin the discourse.

“Endgame: The Blueprint for Victory in the War on Terror,” by Lt. General Thomas McInerney & Maj. General Paul Vallely is not for everyone and there’s no way it can be. When I review books, I try to steer clear of the really bad polemics (barring Michael Savage and Ann Coulter, which I read for laughs). I try to tackle only the books which appear to be the most evenhanded. Though “Endgame” is written soberly and without that crazy alarmist slant that makes it seem like jihadis are beating down our very door, it was clearly written with a certain audience in mind: the Fox News audience.

This book will not win over any new converts. Before reading it you must first already believe that we are in a war against radical Muslim fundamentalist terrorists. That may seem rather obvious, but it does need to be stated out loud. If you are of the opinion that the only reason there is Muslim terrorism is because of the existence of Israel or bad behavior on the part of the US, then there’s no point in reading this book. The authors are former US military men and current Fox News military analysts, so the fact that there’s a heavy US-favored slant goes without saying. Read more

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Crony Baloney

This Post is also available at The Blogger News Network

You know it’s the end of the world, as we know it when you find yourself in complete agreement with both Bill Maher and Ann Coulter.

Our common ground has come in the form of Supreme Court Justice nominee Harriet Ellan Miers. We all agree that this woman, while deserving of praise and respect, is grossly unqualified to fill the spot of Supreme Court Justice. As Ms. Coulter so eloquently put it, “You’re not suppose to nominate the cleaning lady, we thought this was clear!” Indeed, Ms. Coulter.

According to the Washington Post, Ms. Miers experience is as follows: 2004 – Present, White House counsel; 2003 – 2004, White House deputy chief of staff for policy; 2001 – 2003, White House staff secretary; 1995 – 2001 chairwoman, Texas State Lottery Commission; 1972 – 2000, private law practice; 1992 – 1993, president, State Bar of Texas; 1989 – 1991, member Dallas City Council; 1985, president, Dallas Bar Association.

This is all well and good but she’s missed one critical career move that would have at least brought her qualifications within a hairs breath of being adequate for the job – she’s never actually been a judge! I don’t think she’s even brought a case before the Supreme Court. With her nomination, President Bush has essentially said that anyone with a law degree and pulse can be a Supreme Court Justice.

This is not the way to do business. Apparently GW chooses people to fill important positions the same way Bill Clinton chose “dates” in the White House; they both just look outside their respective Oval Office door and tap the first person within 30 feet.

I’m thinking maybe I should try going to law school and then get a job as White House janitor. Maybe I’ll be lucky enough to be mopping when GW needs to pick a new UN Ambassador.

It should go without saying that any nomination the president is privileged to make should come from a pool of the most qualified people in that discipline. When you nominate the head of the EPA, you should find someone with a high pedigree of experience in both environmental sciences and administration. You don’t nominate the dude who ran the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 1986 because he happened to be sipping from the White House water fountain when the nomination needed to be made. So it goes with the highest court in the land. The president should be choosing from a pool of qualified JUDGES, not the broad who thinks George W. Bush – Mr. Misunderestimated – is the smartest man she’s known. Look, I voted for the guy and even I don’t think that.

It’s not as if he tried to find a woman who was qualified and this was the best he could come up with. There are organizations such as the Federalist Society, whom have made it their job to collect and cultivate resumes of good conservative judges that would be beyond reproach for such an esteemed position of power. In the July 25, 2005 issue of the Weekly Standard, Bill Kristol wrote, “President Bush would improve the Court by appointing any from a long list of well-qualified women. Among them are federal appellate judges like Edith Jones, Edith Brown Clement, and Priscilla Owen on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Janice Rogers Brown on the D.C. Circuit, Karen Williams on the 4th Circuit, and Alice Batchelder on the 6th Circuit; distinguished law professors like Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard, and Lillian R. BeVier, John S. Shannon Professor of Law at Virginia; and state court judges like the impressive Maura D. Corrigan, who served on the Michigan Court of Appeals from 1992 to 1998, and has been on the Michigan Supreme Court since then, including a stint as chief justice. And the list goes on.”

Needless to say Ms. Miers was not the best or only choice for the job. But that’s not the issue with George W. Bush now is it? The issue has been and will always be loyalty above all else. Nobody does, says, or goes anywhere without being loyal to the Godfather, lest they be smeared into oblivion by resident traitor Karl Rove. It’s not about whether you’ll be good in the chosen position, it’s about your ability to follow orders, complete tasks, look good on the cover of the New York Times and most importantly, keep your mouth shut!

Former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neil had one job in the administration; pass a massive tax cut. He accomplished that mission and shortly thereafter the administration had no more use for the guy. He wrote a book about this, thus showing his disloyalty and the Bush administration called him everything but a Communist and a homosexual.

Former terrorism czar Richard Clarke alleges that his boss wanted him to “find” evidence that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11. When he couldn’t and/or wouldn’t and then decided to tell his story to the world, the administration essentially called him Chicken Little and further claimed that he was, “out of the loop.” Now why they would keep the terror czar out of any loop is beyond me and maybe a question for a later column.

Loyalty. Condoleezza Rice was loyal and she was promoted to Secretary of State. If she stays loyal she will most likely be “drafted” to face Hillary Clinton for the presidency in 2008. Colin Powell loyally kept his mouth shut after being the good soldier by putting on a brilliant dog and pony show for the UN in the run-up to the Iraq War. Now he’s going to possibly own a baseball team and occasionally he hangs out with Bush instead of being hung out to dry like O’Neil and Clarke. Loyalty.

All jokes aside, Harriet Miers has one function if she becomes a Supreme Court Justice. Her function will be to be loyal to a fault to George W. Bush. For the next three years that will be a lofty job indeed but once he’s gone…what? The man can’t be president anymore after 2008. Loyalty to him in a lifetime position will amount to nothing. It would be one thing if she were this staunch conservative whom one could depend on to vote a certain way no matter who was in the White House, but she isn’t. She was on Harry Reid’s short list for Pete’s sake! She’s a Bush crony and nothing more.

George W. Bush is the Wizard of Oz. It would seem that the people chosen to surround him act as the curtain to keep the prying eyes of the American public from seeing who he really is. With this nomination of Harriet Miers he as reduced our Supreme Court to the likes of a country club. Shame on him and shame on us for giving him 4 more years to make a mockery out of every branch of government.