Open Thread Weekend: a few starter topics
I wonder if Adlai Stevenson was thinking of the Palestinians when he coined the aphorism: “Power corrupts, and lack of power corrupts absolutely”? Their recent democratic choice of a Hamas-led parliament has everyone mad at them. But their marginal status all these years was fertile ground for the growth of Hamas.
Dispatches reports on Not getting it, German style: David Irving, British holocaust denier, has been sentenced to 3 years in German prison for denying the holocaust, setting a poor example to Muslims around the world who are enraged by cartoons and don’t get what ‘free speech’ is all about. (See also: Michael Shermer OpEd) Personally I’d rather see Irving shown a fool than made a martyr.
In a related development, the mayor of London has discovered the importance of free speech in a big way, having been suspended for an offhand remark about a Jewish journalist. In defiance of custom, he has refused to apologize for his remarks. Let’s hope that is the beginning of a trend; I’m tired of wondering what the hell a ‘forced apology’ means anyway.
John Roberts and Samuel Alito will decide this week on a challenge from a Michigan developer to the Clean Water Act. If the scope of the act is limited, most of the waterways which enjoy federal protection from pollution will fall to state regulation, with very mixed results. The Bush Administration is backing the current regulatory structure, however, noting that despite the ire of people who speculate on wetlands, water does run downhill.
The South Dakota legislature has passed a bill banning abortion, soon to land on the governor’s desk. The obvious intention is to spark a Supreme Court challenge. By the time it gets to the court, Bush may have appointed another justice or two; we might see Roe overturned and right-wing pols will face the awful choice of living up to their anti-abortion promises or exposing themselves as cowardly political opportunists. That should be fun to watch.
CNN Reports: Another one bites the dust as a $12.5m study fails to discover any efficacy to glucosamine/condroitin that people take for arthritis pain. Well, that’s a relief. I’ve tried it in the past and couldn’t tell much difference. I wondered; was I doing something wrong? Apparently I was not.
There’s more, a whole lot more. Sometime this weekend I hope to write about Cohen’s anti-algebra OpEd, too. I don’t understand how anyone living on Earth ever gets bored…
Oh, speaking of Michael Shermer, he’s filling in for James Randi, who is recovering from heart surgery. This week he explains how a secular world view is really pretty straightforward, after all, in What I believe, science and the power of humanity