Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

The war on science

On Tuesday, people of the same sex will be able to marry in D.C.. Yesterday, 151 couples obtained licenses at the courthouse, the first day they could apply. There's a three-day waiting period after the license is obtained, which strikes me as no fun. Why can't we be more like Vegas? Impulse nuptials! Such stories we'd hear! All this careful consideration stuff spoils the party, if you ask me.

Of course, there was the anticipated handful of protesters at the courthouse yesterday. If anything, I think we should ask whether it really is a good idea to let men and women marry across gender lines. It's a recipe for argument, awkwardness, and that persistent feeling of being members of a completely different species. I'm just saying let's reconsider, for the sake of society.

But onward: This story in the Times on evolution deniers also getting into the climate-change business is interesting. The central point is that there are religious fundamentalists who are attacking scientific theories in general as unreliable. Here's Larry Krauss, very smart guy, wrote that book The Physics of Star Trek:

"Wherever there is a battle over evolution now," he said, "there is a secondary battle to diminish other hot-button issues like Big Bang and, increasingly, climate change. It is all about casting doubt on the veracity of science -- to say it is just one view of the world, just another story, no better or more valid than fundamentalism."

This is dicey territory, of course. Even though evolution is an established fact that has passed through 150-plus years of skeptical filtering, science fundamentally isn't about certainties. People are supposed to question scientific theories. That's what makes science such a terrific process for finding the truth about the world. You want students to see science as an open-minded process that has only truth as its goal. How open-minded are these critics?

By Joel Achenbach  |  March 4, 2010; 9:03 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Talking to machines
Next: Oscar! Oscar!


Joel, I think that people certainly have differing definitions of open-mindedness, and others may not care if they fall into somone's definition of 'open-minded' or not.

And look at me, I'm not only talking to my computer but I'm even adding hand-gestures.


Posted by: -bc- | March 4, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

I wonder how science deniers would react to a discussion of how theory and experimentation show the 'verse to be probablistic rather than deterministic?

Possibly, some of them would return volley by suggesting that opens the door to a mathematical probability that God really did take 6 days to make the World 6,000 years ago.

However infinitesimal a probability that may be, it would be greater than zero, I suppose.

Remarkably, I don't have enough appendages to do the math on that.


Posted by: -bc- | March 4, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

With the way marriage is structured legally in our country, with so many rights to visit, share finances, insurance, inherit, etc. dependent on it?

It's a good idea. Everybody has a right to screw up by getting married to somebody they love.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 4, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

*faxing bc more appendages*

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 4, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

I've always thought, "Why should heterosexuals be the only ones to suffer?"

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 4, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

bc, studies show that 83% of all people are close-minded and of those, 92% believe that they have an open mind.

Posted by: russianthistle | March 4, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Science is not so much about finding truth, but about eliminating untruth. We come up with ideas about the world, and then we try to show that they are wrong. We have a sufficient supply of evidence and such a deep back-catalog of clever thoughts that simple ideas and uncomplicated notions are no longer able to make the grade for "not provably untrue" -- a nastily involuted sort of description, but it's the best that we've got, or at least it's what we can defend in a debate with the most certainty. The pesky paradox in the scientist's life is that the best new ideas actually are simple, but pervasive. It is very, very difficult to inspect the complexity of the world and perceive the subtle neglected simple insight that makes it all make more sense. Folks who lay claim to such vision are irritating when they're right, but even more irritating when they have been proven wrong but are so clueless about the field in which they claim to have insight that they aren't even capable of comprehending the argument against them and thus offer a rebuttal. In the form of a run-on sentence, if you please.

Posted by: ScienceTim | March 4, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

I just always point out that there is a much greater consensus about the nature of evolution than there is about the nature of God. Two thirds of the people on this planet are not Christians. Does that fact alter anyone's faith? Conversely, the number of reputable biologists, geologists, and paleontologists who believe in evolution is an overwhelming majority. This highlights the essential difference between matters of science where ideas about core principles are tested and refined through experimentation and peer review and matters of faith where core principles are accepted as immutable and outside the realm of objective proof.

Posted by: kguy1 | March 4, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

My mind has been sealed against drafts, russianthistle, but I'm sure I'd open it wide open should the temperature outside be just right and my alleACHOOrgies not act up....

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 4, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

I think Joel nails it here. This isn't a conflict between climate change and scripture. (Indeed, it is pretty hard to argue that stewardship for the earth is in any way heretical.)

What is being assaulted is the philosophical underpinning of the scientific method.

Clearly, many people have a hard time accepting the difference between subjective aesthetic belief, like God or beauty or kindness, and objective scientific belief, which is based on prediction and experimental verification.

In the extreme forms of this mindset all "truth" becomes a matter of personal response. Everything becomes a matter of "opinion," where one opinion is just as good as another.

The joke is that anyone who denies the validity of objective scientific belief has no business getting on an airplane. Because that this airplane will, in fact, not suddenly fall from the sky because of a failure of Bernoulli's principle is, of course, just some scientist's opinion.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 4, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

How open-minded are the critics? Uh, not at all? That is the very essence of fundamentalism - there is only one revealed truth. All other information to the contrary is by definition untrue and therefore not worthy of consideration or discussion.

Members of a completely different species? That's what about 10,000 years of bigotry will generate. Maybe for the short term we let semantics play a role - marriage if conducted within a religious ceremony; civil union if not. And civil unions aren't gender-specific.

Posted by: ebtnut | March 4, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

What's tiresome is the repetition of old ideas that have been proven untrue -- untrue in a factual sense, not necessarily untrue as metaphors -- over a century past. I am, of course, speaking of evolution through natural selection. There are things to do in this world, and we won't get them done if every. Single. Day. We must stage countless revivals of Thomas Huxley trouncing Bishop Usher as if no one had ever spoken these arguments before. The only cases I immediately recall in which a discarded bit of balderdash surprised everyone by rising from the grave (with appropriate moaning and fearsome wailing) are plate tectonics (originally "continental drift"), bolide impacts and extreme geology (originally "catastrophism"), and giant impacts and accretion (originally "Velikovskyanism"). In each case, success came not from the slathering on of additional bits of theoretical frippery and special pleading (originally "Ptolemaic Astronomy", and now "Intelligent Design") but by cutting away irrelevancies that distracted from a powerful core hypothesis with implications for subtle new tests.

It took a long time and a lot of thinking to get from "all the dinosaurs died right at this moment" to "hey look, there's a lot of iridium here -- a meteor or comet must have hit the Earth and wiped out every species of animal weighing more than about 100 pounds!" It took a long time and a lot of thinking to get from "y'know, it looks the continents could be squeezed together like puzzle pieces and they'd fit pretty good" to "the linear pattern of magnetization direction in successive parallel lines bracketing mid-ocean ridges shows that the Earth is made of plates that spread apart in some places with attendant volcanism that is chemically quite different from the volcanism that happens where the plates ram together in other places". It took a long time and a lot of thinking to get from "the Moon is the same density as your average rock on the surface of the Earth but the whole Earth is much denser than the surface rocks" to get to "when the Earth was forming, it must have gotten whacked by something big enough to splash out a Moon's-worth of rock from the outer surface to eventually collect and form the Moon".

Posted by: ScienceTim | March 4, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

I'm relieved there is a new Kit. I found the last one profoundly disturbing because I talk to inanimate objects All The Time. The Ivansclan maintains we acquired a house rabbit so I could direct my conversation to a living creature.

I understand there are various religious qualms against gay marriage, but I've never seen why they should affect the benefits and responsibilities awarded by civil marriage. Why not just prohibit people from being married in a particular church, denomination or faith, if that's the objection?

As kguy noted, the attacks on science and gay marriage both spring from a particular religious view, one which is not necessarily representative of Christianity as a whole (the religion with which many anti-gay-marriage and anti-evolution folks self-identify), and certainly not representative of the world's population, as it self-identifies to one religion or faith. Probably it is not truly representative of the current U.S. population.

So why are these groups of people, who belong to a religious minority and many of whom are concentrated in a single country (the U.S.), regularly deferred to and encouraged in their determination to make public policy on issues that affect people in this country now (gay marriage), in the future, through education and scientific advancement (evolution) and the entire world now and in the future (climate change)?

How many more dashes and parentheses can I use?

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 4, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

I'm still considering the "green cheese" theory regarding the Moon's formation, SciTim.

BTW, please give my warm regards to Jeff and thank him for his charming letter. Best to you this evening as well.

I find myself constantly having to adjust my 'comfort thermostat' when I read or listen to truths/opinions not generally consistent with my own. Some days it's a full-time job.

Luckily for everyone, it is no longer my job to alter anyone's views of life. Even if one is quite good at it, and I was, the results can often be surprisingly messy.

Posted by: MsJS | March 4, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

My previous post specifically referenced Christianity because so many folks in the U.S. who object to gay marriage and scientific advances self-identify as a particular kind of Christian. However, the specific type of faith is not important; my underlying point is that people who identify with certain types of faith-based belief structures are really the ones driving this "anti" train. As ebtnut says, fundamentalism can be turned from a statement of faith into a suspicion of, hatred for, and denial of any element which doesn't comport with or ascribe to that faith.

I wonder why so much of the world allows this minority to drive, or try to drive, public policy. I think, at least in the US, it may be because though most people would not self-identify with the fundamentalist faiths leading the charge, people do vaguely or unthinkingly agree with some of the statements.

For instance, many people think of marriage as between a man and a woman. Often there's no principled basis for this, beyond an (again) vague understanding of the whole idea of gay people, and a mental image of a traditional church wedding. Often, these people will express support for civil marriage, once they actually think about the issue.

The same is true of climate change, and even of evolution. Most people in the US have a very basic (read: minimal) understanding of any given specific scientific discipline. Climate change in particular is hard to understand, because it is so easy to confuse climate with weather, and because so much of the debate is anecdote-driven. And to some people it is silly or offensive to believe that we came from monkeys. It is easy to get sidetracked by simplistic but plausible statements when you don't really grasp the underlying issues, and don't think they are of much importance to your life. [The same is true for high finance - witness the reaction to the bailout and stimulus - but that's for a different Kit.]

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 4, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I'm glad the Boodle has determined that talking to inanimate objects is okay. I hope talking to oneself is also okay. I don't do that much anymore but I used to in the floor business. I would focus my game plan that way.

Incidentally, Slyness, the agony of cable internet robot woman is always that it is NOT the modem, it has NEVER been the modem. I had to research this myself so now I know that they have things called "nodes" that multiplex the signals, in various locations outside, blocks away, and that these are what fail regularly.

Whenever I hear some flibbertigibbet say "it's just a theory" I know they are unqualified to speak on science.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 4, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I'd write a long post, but Ivansmom said it for me already. Thanks, I'mom!

Posted by: slyness | March 4, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Slyness but add in what Tim said too.

Posted by: badsneakers | March 4, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I have a theory...

About brontosaureses.

Brontosaurii? :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 4, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

hi all. am staying away from all stories on health care, cap and trade and the general death of democracy in the senate.

which, of course, leads directly to this kit topic. ivansmom -- your 11:24 hit the nail on the head. a large part of the problem in this country is scientific illiteracy combined with fundamenalist christianity. i do highlight fundamentalist, because not all christians are science-deniers. and there are other areas in the world where overall illiteracy is a great problem.

when i take a deep breath and attempt to read through a statement made by the esteemed senator jim inhofe, his stunning ignorance of even the most basic understanding of scientific methodology -- or even what "theory" means -- i find quite frightening. to think of all the people who vote for him have the same basic ignorance -- coupled with fundamentalist christianity -- and i despair for the future of this country -- and the world.

america is unique in it's deep history of fundamentalist christianity. it began in the late 18th century with the first Great Awakening, and surged again with the second Great Awakening (which produced the seventh day adventists) in the 19th century.

sadly, fundamentalist christianity and the biblibal accompanying literal belief of every word of the bible is as american as apple pie.

all the facts, debunking, reams of data, and explaning of how science works won't change how the worldview of a large minority of americans.

and as our schools deteriorate even more i expect this problem to grow.


Posted by: shellinelson1 | March 4, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: seasea1 | March 4, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Believe me, not only do I talk to non-living devices, I engage them in combat. Been in knock-down drag-out fights with lawnmowers, motorcycles, and automobiles. Screaming, taunts, threats, trash-talk. Conflict, blows struck, burns, dents, backfires and tears. Accpetance and repair, acknowegement and reconcilitation.

And then, there's the make-up drive.

Back on this Kit's topic(s) for a moment, we humans always seem to mix up matters of faith with matters of science, probably because we sleep better without worrying about the Big Pictures.

And as amazing as it seems to me sometimes that same-sex marriage isn't just a matter of course, but when I stop and think about it, there are what -- about 15% of the countries in the entire world where ss marriage or civil unions are even legal? There may be as many or more countries where homosexuality is on-the-books illegal, and punishable by various means up to and including death.

Seems to me that the vast majority of the countries on this planet don't go one way or another on this topic, but with little to ensure that all people have equal rights, no matter who they love and who they choose to spend their life and their time with.

So many things we see as American issues, problems, questions, may in fact, not be solely so. And in some cases, the world has a lot less to do with us than we'd like to believe.


Posted by: -bc- | March 4, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

The Big Bang is a hot-button issue?

Posted by: wiredog | March 4, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

There have been a lot of fabulous posts today. Thank you all for your sharing. I love the gray-matter workout.

Each of us has a set of core beliefs and/or facts we hold dear. Whatever those beliefs/facts may be, when we are asked to change in order to accommodate someone else’s there is always a chance for conflict. It’s one thing for two neighbors to each allow the other’s differing beliefs regarding creationism vs. evolution, and quite another when it comes to mutually deciding which is to be taught in their children’s public school.

The ‘war’ we’re witnessing isn’t over just science. There are a lot of people who want to be heard and are choosing confrontational methods to achieve that end.

How we choose to resolve these ‘wars’, be they disagreements on national policy or what will be served for dinner, says a lot about who we are as individuals, family members, neighbors, and nations.

Posted by: MsJS | March 4, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Guess who's writing a book about America's values? Coming soon to a bookstore near you.

Posted by: MsJS | March 4, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Thinking about James Mountain Inhofe (something I generally prefer not to do) reminds me of a quotation from Rosalynn Carter discussing the appeal of Ronald Reagan. She said he "makes people comfortable with their prejudices." Validation of ignorance is not a bad way to curry favor with an undereducated and ill informed electorate.

Posted by: kguy1 | March 4, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Okey dokey, this is why I have resumed following the kit: to get the Warmists' perspective. (I've been ODing on Skepticism in other venues.)


Arguments between Creationists and Evolutionists are specious just because there's no room for doubt that evolutionary theory is fundamentally correct. It's obvious, and it speaks for itself. There's no need for you to declare yourself an Evolutionist when you vote or apply for a drivers' license or passport.

However, there is abundant room for doubt that Climate Change is man-made. Climatologists have (over the last decade) tried to draw a line between themselves and scientists in other disciplines such as astrophysicists, archaeologists, anthropologists, economists, meteorologists, and perhaps even a few wayward geologists and paleobotonists whom they feel are politically motivated. Whatever they may say, inwardly they don't imagine their theory about anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is so obvious it can speak for itself, so they resort to the political tactic of forcing everyone to declare which side they're on and then tarring their critics with guilt by association with an identifiable lunatic fringe. This tactic has now come to fruition.

In case you haven't noticed, Britain's House of Commons is investigating the use of public funds to further the political cause of AGW:

• Warner, Gerald. "Climategate: 'A Lot of Common Data' – Phil Jones Exposes AGW Dominoes to Commons Committee." Online posting. 2 Mar. 2010. Daily Telegraph [London.] 4 Mar. 2010 .

Whatever the plain speech of Climatologists means, they have been successful at putting over the impression (via Big Media) that global temps have never been so warm as now. This is beyond risible. First they have to wave away the historical fact of the Viking conquest of the New World, which is apparently easy. Then they have to place modern climate in a geological context, which is tougher to do. They've resorted to tree-ring data that is fraught with problems of interpretation and doesn't go back that far.

Here's a geological context: ice cores from Greenland (50K years) and Antarctica (500K years). These have their own problems of interpretation I imagine. For one thing they don't pretend to represent global patterns. What they do provide is a broad view of the significance of temp swings of fractions of a degree. That's something you don't get from taking sides in any debate over AGW:

• Hall, J. Storrs. "Hockey Stick Observed in NOAA Ice Core Data." Ed. Anthony Watts. 5 Dec. 2009. Watts Up With That? 10 Jan. 2010 .

Posted by: Entenpfuhl | March 4, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Yep, MsJS. I'd also add that it is sometimes easier to confront than to listen, when we're out of our comfort zone.

Speaking of comfort zones, Nelson, Inhofe is one of my Senators. The other is Tom Coburn. Both regularly win re-election. Most Oklahomans who vote for Inhofe, I venture, do not flatly accept the hard lines he takes on so many issues (even people in the energy industry here have begun, some of them, to accept climate change). Most who vote for Coburn are not actually opposed to getting federal money for state projects here. Yet, the power of incumbency is added to a vague feeling that "maybe I'm not as conservative as that guy but I don't know about all this liberal stuff and I understand what he's saying and some of it makes sense to me, and besides up there in DC it's all those folks from all over the country and they never really do anything good so I want someone up there who kinda thinks like I do".

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 4, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Anybody been to Turkey lately? Have a good flight?

Wow. Just wow.

Posted by: kguy1 | March 4, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Boy, I shoulda refreshed. Kguy said what I was trying to say about Inhofe much more elegantly, with fewer words.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 4, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

... and that last link would be:

Hall, J. Storrs. "Hockey Stick Observed in NOAA Ice Core Data." Ed. Anthony Watts. 5 Dec. 2009. Watts Up With That? 10 Jan. 2010 .

Posted by: Entenpfuhl | March 4, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Ai chihuahua, kguy! :-O

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 4, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Snakes lying with sauropods.
What an abomination, no wonder God struck those miscreants and exterminated them 75 millions years ago.

The whole story (with pics!) here:

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 4, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Gee, I can't post links?

• Warner, Gerald. "Climategate: 'A Lot of Common Data' – Phil Jones Exposes AGW Dominoes to Commons Committee." Online posting. 2 Mar. 2010. Daily Telegraph [London.] 4 Mar. 2010 <

• Hall, J. Storrs. "Hockey Stick Observed in NOAA Ice Core Data." Ed. Anthony Watts. 5 Dec. 2009. Watts Up With That? 4 Mar. 2010 <

Posted by: Entenpfuhl | March 4, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

BC: "I wonder how science deniers would react to a discussion of how theory and experimentation show the 'verse to be probablistic rather than deterministic?"

Look no further than climate change. A: "It's not happening here" B: "I only said it might happen" A:"You said it would happen, You were wrong." B: "Might. Look it happened in 20 other places" A:"And it happened 1000 years before you predicted" B:"Well yes, there's more than one contributing factor" A:"It's only a theory you don't really know anything. Lalala I'm not listening.".

My favourite nugget of offbeat thinking is the guys who try to fit a variable speed of light to make radio carbon dating fit those 8000 year Biblical timelines. Messing with universal constants and explaining the effects thereof was a common bonus question in physics exams that used to make us pull our hair out in school. The notion that they drift slowly over time (apparently not quite the solid parameter we thought) is actually not that far fetched.

I'm just kind of sceptical when they go out of their way to make it match the chronolgy of an English translation of a Latin translation of a Greek translation of an ancient Hebrew text that was largely based on Sumerian legends, and usually says printed in Omaha or somesuch. I don't say that to belittle the text. I strongly believe these people have missed the point entirely by trying to wedge creation into these few 100s of pages instead of studying the philosphies in scripture. Quite frankly I don't believe God is going to overlook failure to love your neighbour just because you poured your devotion into believing the Earth is only 8000 years old.

Posted by: qgaliana | March 4, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Ms. JS, maybe she can call it Profiles in Scurrilage.

Posted by: engelmann | March 4, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

kguy, that link to the "pilot" scared the *expletive* out of me.


Funny thing is, though, I never figured it would be a Swede to pull it off for as long as he did. The only Swedish criminal (that's his career) that I know of is Clark Olofsson and to the best of my knowledge he's back in prison on a drug charge and associated crimes. BTW, he was the one who led the gang into Handelsbanken in Stockholm to rob it and hold hostages -- and, that's where the phrase "Stockholm Syndrome" came from. IIRC, I was even there visiting when that happened, and witnessed the bank property being cordoned off during the hostage part.

Which reminds me -- Ivansmom, I've got fewer than 300 pages to go in Larsson's third book. It gets more into the political and legal issues in many layers of the onion, and I think you'll like this book. Just get yourself through the second book and pounce on the third one after that (when it comes out, of course).

Posted by: -ftb- | March 4, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Check out Christian Dominionism some time if you want a real eye opener about the war on science. They have been quite successful (think The Family by Sharlett, or Sarah Palin). The Boy has been tracking these sorts of groups for several years (we live deep in the bible belt). He asked for the book as a Christmas present long before it made it to the Rachel Madow show. Dominionist groups have been trying very hard not to be a minority and I think they are succeeding.

I got into a discussion with a woman where I work, an otherwise intelligent woman, who told me she believed God put dinosaurs on earth to make oil for us to use. I told her we differed on that, as I didn't believe that humans were the be all and end all of creation and that the idea seem self-centered, as in Greek tragedu style hubris. I didn't tell her that it sounded like a toddler's viewpoint, and I hoped that she would grow out of it, as I generally enjoy her company. She is not a fundamentalist and I am sure that she doesn't think she is against ‘science'. But she has no idea what the scientific method is about and if the results of scientific inquiry interfere with her world view, she would probably want a ‘debate' to explain how she is right. At which point she might bring up several experts and say that this meant the matter wasn't settled and case closed.

With the huge Texas school book market deciding what will be in schoolbooks, I am not optimistic about the future of science education in this country. If you haven't already read about this try Krugman.

Posted by: km2bar | March 4, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I am less concerned about the quality of school science textbooks than I am about the stupidity of your typical elementary or middle school teacher. Once you've exhausted their cute mnemonic devices to remember the planets in order from the sun, and whatever their favorite animal is, you've pretty much plumbed the depths of their science interest and probably knowledge too.

Forgive me for painting with such a depressing and broad brush, but there is a reason I hear "I can't believe my son/daughter did so well on the research project (for FIRST Lego League robotics). He/she HATES science in school."

Kids who grow up loathing science are prime recruits for all sorts of anti-science foolishness.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 4, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Actually, qgaliana, even the scholars who translated the King James version of the Bible used manuscripts in the original Greek and Hebrew. No Latin between us and the originals. There's a real science (hehehe) in the approach of scholars to translating the Bible; there has to be, given all the problems and differences among the manuscripts. Of course, translation is an art, trying to convey the meaning of a passage that's 3,000 years old (or thereabouts) to people who culturally are very different from those to whom the passage was written.

(I am not a Biblical scholar, but I've studied the topic a bit, and I read lots of notes and glosses on the texts.)

Fundamentalists of any religion (Christianity isn't alone in having them) are nuts and do (and have done) incalculable harm. No wonder young people are put off; they should be, by these charlatans.

Posted by: slyness | March 4, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Not to mention that oil doesn't come from dinosaurs.

Entenpfuhl, your two links are pretty lightweight stuff. One, by a non-scientist employed by NewsCorp, who are known serial liars, was all gossipy about the British investigator's emotions. Nothing about science in that one. The other, a blogger pulling some limited data from a nano-tech researcher, about ice cores which are inconclusive by themselves, and ranting about the Medieval Warm Period which is Eurocentric / North Atlantic -centric, there is not much evidence either way that warm period was a worldwide event. And concluding without any chain of logic, that "natural" (i.e., unexplained and not attempted to BE explained by the writer) variations have been causes of deviations.

I am afraid I feel some impatience with those who try to get their science from Rupert Murdoch and obscure blogs citing arguably unqualified "researchers" (Do you get your teeth X-rayed by a building inspector?). Try a university library.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 4, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

And then there's this-

My favorite line: "Maryann Marsico, who works at Brownie's, said even an atheist would find it unmistakable." You know, I am and I do. It's unmistakably pizza sauce.

Posted by: kguy1 | March 4, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Oil is made from dinosaurs? What kind? Sunocosaurus? Texocoptyrx? Mobilicerotops?

Sweet jaysus, what does she think gasoline is? T-Rex sweat? [I cleaned that up a bit.]

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 4, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Entenpfuhl, after we have gone over the subject ad infinitum for ages now, I don't want to get into it too deeply with you. However, the reason for political action on the part of climate scientists is not because they consider their work to be a matter of mere opinion and it benefits them personally to win the dispute. It's because it is a matter of the gravest public relevance and the sooner we take action, the better. It is possible that climate change won't be as bad as climate scientists predict -- although most of the predictions on such issues have been *under* estimates, not over-estimates, such as the disappearance of Arctic perennial sea ice, the melting of tundra, the extreme climate sensitivity of indicator species (e.g., mountaintop amphibians). The big problem is that atmospheric CO2 has a long lifetime by human standards -- thousands of years in the atmosphere. As a result, the second half of human urban civilization will be conducted in a climate different from the first half. The sooner we take action, the smaller the difference will be, and the less drastic the transition between Civilization 1.0 and Civilization 2.0. The planet certainly has endured warmer climates than today, and it certainly has endured more CO2 concentration than it has today. What many people fail to reckon with is that those conditions also had different biota than today. A rapid transition between one ecological state and another very different ecological state is what we call a mass extinction event. Life will survive, but suffering and death occur not merely on the scale of individuals but on the scale of entire species. It is not a gentle or good thing that we should be welcoming.

Posted by: ScienceTim | March 4, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Entenpfuhl also tries to cast doubt on the applicability of Greenland ice cores, presumably on the basis that Greenland is in Greenland and not here. So what? CO2 is well-mixed throughout the atmosphere, so it is equally well represented in Greenland as anywhere else in the Earth's atmosphere. Temperature records from proxy measures are not precise, but there are many, many, many of them, so one is not critically dependent on any one piece of information. One also notes that work on ice cores and temperature proxies and so on is not the work of the climate scientists on whom you heap derision, it is the work of geologists and paleobotanists and so forth. The climate scientists use that work as input. There is no basis for your implication that the data have been jiggered to fit a preconceived notion. There also are extensive geological records of ocean depth from previous glaciations and inter-glacials from which we can infer important climatic responses to atmospheric chemistry, regardless of what you choose to believe or disregard about temperature.

As to whether it's anthropogenic: how much more obvious does it need to be than the fact that there has been dramatic increase in CO2 content that precisely (on a geological scale of precision) coincides with the industrial revolution? The aforementioned Greenland ice cores measure that kind of thing very well. I have seen reports on isotopic composition of atmospheric CO2, also, that show that the isotopic composition of atmospheric CO2 is changing to match the slightly different isotopic composition of fossil fuel carbon. The carbon came out of fossil fuels and got put back into the atmosphere from which it came hundreds of millions of years ago. Case closed. Verdict: guilty. Now, what are we gonna do about it?

Posted by: ScienceTim | March 4, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

I have always wondered why the global warming skeptics/deniers (who, as we see above, are often Republican and Christian) don't take some direction from the story of Noah and his ark. Didn't Noah start building his ark 40 years before the rains started coming? I invite those people to consider any actions taken as preparation against the negative effects of global warming to be nothing more than 21st century "ark building."

Posted by: Awal | March 4, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Thanks slyness, I stand corrected, skip the Latin then. Chalk that supposition up to my mostly Catholic environment. Clearly my point goes to pieces now ;-)

Sadly getting the kids roped in is exactly what all these pushes into school are about.

On the other hand if the schools did this right, they would teach it like science. That is to say that as well as the history of science, you would get a history of the Bible with all the conflicting manuscripts laid out to put into perspective how the modern version came about. Of course if they had the 'nads to do this, they would probably just say no thanks, we already have a religion course, or sorry it isn't science, but feel free to cover it in Sunday School if you like.

Posted by: qgaliana | March 4, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

This is my horoscope for today from The Onion.

APR 20 - MAY 20
Remember: God means something different to everyone, but only you, and those who agree with you, are right.

Validation, baby, validation!

Posted by: kguy1 | March 4, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Rising momentarily to say that right now THOMAS KinKADE is on the NBC Shopping channel....hawking his wares. Some phrases:

"share the light"

"the gift of light"

"paintings of light"

Sign up for the seasonal package: holiday painting five times pe year, like the flowers of the month program...

MUDGE -- NO...NO...we have spent the budget on ornamentation by will have to wait. I placed a deposit on a paint that I will call "the Lee of the Light," you know, boat a t dusk snug in safe embrace of harbor, etc.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | March 4, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

That said, qgaliana, I'm not a fan of Saint Jerome, who did translate the Bible into Latin. The Vulgate *was* the Bible until the fourteenth century and the beginning of translations into languages spoken by the people. Jerome was a misogynist of epic proportions and set forth the philosophical basis for regarding women as inferior to men, from which we have not yet escaped.

The good seminaries *do* teach the history of the Bible (and what a great story it is!). The reason for the explosion of new Biblical translations is the advance in knowledge as older manuscripts are discovered and scholars learn more from the archeological record.

I have the priviledge of leading (NOT teaching) a Bible study. All of us have different translations, and it's both fun and illuminating to compare passages.

Posted by: slyness | March 4, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

I can tell you this much: if the Bible had had a halfway decent copy editor back in the day, a lot of this crap would have been straightened out a long freakin' time ago. An editor who kicked stuff back with queries like: "Did you really mean 'virgin'? Because the original text just says 'young girl' or 'young woman.'" Or: "Okay, there's two completely different versions of a lot of this stuff. Which one is correct and which one do I sh--can?" "Can we please dispense with all this 'thee,' 'thou,' 'thine' stuff? Later generations aren't going to understand these are informal declensions; they're gonna screw it up and think they are the formal terms of address. They aren't, as thou knowest fulleth welleth. And can't we do something about Leviticus? Jeez, what a schnorer. We need more Song of Songs stuff. People love poems about boobs."

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 4, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

*banging head on wall in frustration the bunker decorating budget is empty*

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 4, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

I just read an item that CO2 has increased by 38% from preindustrial times. The blog Entenpfuhl recommended had a comment by someone signing himself as "Dr." mocking Al Gore, because the good Dr. claims humans are responsible for only 2% of CO2. Granted, the blog author should not be held responsible for the comments. Out of many ensuing comments, however, no one corrected the obvious boner.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 4, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

The trouble between science and religion has always been around, and it's always been ugly. Hatfield and McCoy stuff. But is it really a one-or-the-other proposition? Are they really mutually exclusive worldviews? Take God creating the Heavens and the Earth in 6 days. Well, if the Earth day is 24 hours and the Venus day is 5832 hours ((b!itch of a work week there), how long is God's day (and what time was his bedtime as a child)? By creating the heavens and earth, are they talking Big Bang? (Took me about 2 months to blow up the science lab in high school. Did God get in trouble too? His explostion was a whole lot bigger. At least detention, right?) Made in his image? Does God have feet? What if God is miopic? What if we are? What if there's more to the sentence, like God created man in his image of an idiot?

Religion, like science, asks something of you. It asks you to think.

Posted by: LostInThought | March 4, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Exactly, Mudge! Too bad you weren't there for Launcelot Andrewes and his crew in 1608!

Posted by: slyness | March 4, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Does God have feet? (Laughing.) LiT, what is it with you and shoes? You just wanna know is She wears Manolo Blahniks.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 4, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

I imagine that "Obvious Boner" is available as a Boodle handle.

Posted by: kguy1 | March 4, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Mudge -- need I remind you that you insisted on buying on eBay these items:

old duck decoys
green peeling (yes, charmingly so) net floats
three lengths of arm-thick hemp from St. Louis, dating circa 1857....

Just because it was in eBay does not mean that it did not happen. You, sir, mix up Vegas (says there) with eBay (itemized bill comes due).. SLyness showed me the bill, thinking I was about to stage a shop musical...twas YOU, not me.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | March 4, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

"Oblivious Boner" is taken, however.

Don't know where that went, though... *scratching head*

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 4, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

CqP, what color should we paint the indents left by Mudge's oh-so-capable head in the walls? Should it be shadowed or lightened (or, well, *enlightened*)? Paint wreaths of daisies around each indentation?

And, SciTim, I am flinging you all the *hearts* not able to be put in the fax machine. You are one smart dude, dude.

What a pretty day -- and it's gonna continue. Work is picking up, Spring is coming, life is good (mostly) and I'm thrilled to pieces about practically everything. Except, of course, stupid dumb-a$$ Rethuglicans (do forgive the redundancy).

And now, back to your regularly scheduled Bewdle.

Posted by: -ftb- | March 4, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I know, slyness, I know! And I wasn't very far away that year, and wasn't too busy. Andrewes was over in Chicester by then, and I was helping Will put the final touches on Coriolanus (not his best work, but that was the year his mom died, so he was kind of distracted). He'd finished King Lear two years earlier, and we had taken it "on the road" to places like York and Liverpool before we brought it to London for its big production before KJ1 (yep, the very same King James all the bible peeps talk about). I only had a bit part in Lear (Gloucester's son, Eddie) and I know the Bard would have let me take a sabbatical to go do some editing. But I never got the parchmentogram.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 4, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

...And a decent index for which verses really deal with sin and what doesn't. None of this chapter and verse nonsense.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 4, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, CqP, I paid that invoice last week, along with the one for drycleaning the lace curtains and antimacassars.

Um, Mudge. What's with the bill for five gallons of bright blue paint and twenty 12-foot planks of teak?

Posted by: slyness | March 4, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, Old Man Kenobi took it. It's what his initials, O.B. stand for. (His father, Predicament McTavlish Olbey, was Scots and his mom was Venezuelan; his full name at birth was Oblivious Boner Juan Kenneth Olbey. He kinda shortened it and simplied it for his stage name.)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 4, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Someone paid the wine bill, right?

How much money's in the Cuss Box? If we wait until after March Madness, will there be enough money to buy a second fridge? Maybe a used one?

Posted by: LostInThought | March 4, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Teak? Paint? *whistling, kicking dirt*

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 4, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Does participating in March Madness include a *tiara*? LiT, you're good at this. Might you be able to win a Grand Slam tiara? Of course, Yoki and I might have to play the tiara game for hockey (pronounced *hawkey*), but you may very well have the rest of the field for yourself.

Mudge, you've left your fingerprints all over the Bunker. You ineffable (oooohhh, how I love that word!) cuteness might not help you out this time.

Posted by: -ftb- | March 4, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

SCC: *your* ineffable, etc. . . . .

Posted by: -ftb- | March 4, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

I just looked, LiT, it seems we've all been really good recently. Only $27.40 in the cuss box. We'll see about a second fridge after March Madness, we can certainly use one. All that beer, no room left for the cheese and chardonney!

I won't buy a used one, though. We have to have our standards, and Yello will be put out with us if we don't buy one with the highest possible Energy Star rating. I keep watch for a good sale at Lowe's or Home Depot.

Posted by: slyness | March 4, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

LiT -- can't help but think of Galileo there...

God may have created us in His/Her own image -- of the ineffable.

I've been told that sometimes I'm ineffable, inexplicable as any other human, though I'd like to believe that I'm somewhat effable.

And certainly in this human existence, there are times when I feel like I'm totally effed.

On the other hand, I can imagine the Creator standing in His/Her school lab, lab coat and hair singed and smoking, soot-covered face with a surprised look, hand still holding the tongs that have nothing in them anymore.

Thinking, "Oh, $#!t."
I think it was still worth a C-.

The whole love thing came out pretty well, despite everyting.


Posted by: -bc- | March 4, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

bc, God's laughing with us at that mental image!

I concur about love.

Posted by: slyness | March 4, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

It went in pretty well, too.

Sorry. But when you set them up like that, bc, I am helpless to resist.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 4, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Just got back in from working in the yard. It was so good to get outside. We have bright sunshine and temps above 60 deg here today. Some small weeds blooming in the yard, and I've even seen a few honeybees. Spring is coming.

For those of you still stuck with bad weather, it could be worse. I think these outdo Snowmaggedon.

Posted by: km2bar | March 4, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

I myself. apparently, am imminently effable. Almost every single day someone says "Eff you" or "Quit effing around" or some such. Complete strangers are also able to divine my effability and frequently eff me as I drive to and from work on the Beltway. Mudge, what's your secret?

Posted by: kguy1 | March 4, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Always glad to help, Mudge.

Slyness, I was just riffing on LiT's idea.

SCC: "everything"


Posted by: -bc- | March 4, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

See what I started?

Posted by: -ftb- | March 4, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Another stellar piece of hypocrisy from the GOP, this one in Loomis's old backyard. I think this is AP, but not sure:

"A California state senator who reportedly has voted against every gay rights measure since he took office eight years ago was charged with driving under the influence on Wednesday, reportedly after leaving a gay nightclub in Sacramento.

Sen. Roy Ashburn, a Republican from Bakersfield, was spotted driving erratically at about 2 a.m. Wednesday in downtown Sacramento, officials said. He was arrested after taking a sobriety test, and he was taken to Sacramento County Jail, where he was administered a blood-alcohol test prior to being booked and released.

He was charged with two misdemeanors: driving under the influence and driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or higher.

Ashburn, a 55-year-old father of four, apologized for his actions.

"I am deeply sorry for my actions and offer no excuse for my poor judgment," he said in a statement. "I accept complete responsibility for my conduct and am prepared to accept the consequences for what I did. I am also truly sorry for the impact this incident will have on those who support and trust me -- my family, my constituents, my friends, and my colleagues in the Senate."

He was arrested after leaving Faces, a gay nightclub in midtown Sacramento, according to A male passenger, who was not identified as a lawmaker, was also in the car but was not detained, the TV station reported.

"A spokesman for Ashburn declined to comment to regarding the nightclub allegations."


Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 4, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

March Madness?

Did someone say March Madness?

Intersquad spring training has started.

Most of the Ewe-Ess goes back on daylight savings time in 10 days.

The signs of spring are everywhere!

Now if someone would tell the white stuff still very much in evidence around TWC...

Posted by: MsJS | March 4, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Bakersfield is so narrowminded and bigoted that they roast anybody different alive. Or so I hear from former residents.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 4, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

I missed a Kincaide sale, work is so not what it is cracked up to be :-).

km2br - love your story and your diplomacy.

Beautiful day here, sunny again and I noticed the tips of daffodils poking through the soil - permission to borrow Scotty's Snoopy Dance.

Posted by: dmd3 | March 4, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm always amused by the deniers who point to the medieval warm period and supposed solar-system-wide warming trend. They reject the massive amounts of directly observed data for modern, terrestrial warming as inaccurate or biased, yet point to the relatively sparse and inferential data about conditions over 1000 years ago, or millions of miles away and say "see, see, this proves my point!" It's like saying that a teaspoon of beach sand is bigger than the Sahara. The "scientists" of the Discovery Institute do the same when discussing evolution.

I think that the way we got to this point is yet more fallout from the '60s. The social conservatives used to be relatively powerless nationally, because they were divided between the two parties, with Southerners still voting Democratic (or in the case of the most religious, often not voting at all). Nixon's southern strategy, along with culture-war issues like Roe v. Wade have corralled almost all of them into the Republican party, where they now form an outright majority. Even though they are a minority nationally, they pretty much control one of the two national parties. The Daily Kos poll of self-identified Republicans found that 77% think that Genesis should be taught in public schools (among other alarming numbers):

It's easy enough to see how evolution became politicized, since religious fundamentalists tend to be overwhelmingly politically conservative, but global warming is a little more puzzling. The business interests who have traditionally pulled the strings of the Republican party are reflexively anti-environmentalist, but what about the social conservatives? I think it comes down to the fact that they don't like the people who support environmental causes. The counter-culture of the '60s embraced environmentalism in a big way, and conservatives still tend to associate it with disrespectful long-haired hippies. And of course, they hate Al Gore for having the temerity to actually get more votes than Bush in 2000.

Posted by: rashomon | March 4, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, I know this is studied in depth by a lot of bright people and with good reason. Glad to hear it's not limited to just the scholars (or maybe you guys are all doctors of theology, wadda I know?). I just suspect the guys who push their fundemantalist agenda into science classes aren't doing that. Or if they are they're not getting that feeling of "wow, there are some powerful ideas here that have been passed on over millenia". No, they want to quibble when someone points out the number of animal pairs in the ark or all those centenarians in the geneology of Abraham are pretty likely not literal events.

There is a method to this madness. With their high profile literal defense they've successfully associated themselves with the most influential work on the planet and now they're trying to get equal billing with the dominant intellectual methodology. I'm not crying conspiracy, it's just another religious movement maximizing it's visibility, but I don't see anything praiseworthy in them trying to drag us back into the dark ages.

IIRC quite a few of the early Christian thinkers had some spectacularly bizarre ideas about women (or maybe it was their editor :-O ). These guys now seem to be trying to draft some equally odd ideas onto scripture.

LiT, plenty of giants of science were deeply religious. Religion and science aren't incompatible at all. Fundamentalists just make it so because they don't want to discover the truth, they want to own it.

Posted by: qgaliana | March 4, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

"I want the truth!"

"You can't handle the truth!"

Posted by: MsJS | March 4, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

It's a disservice to say these open-minded people are anti-science. If anything, the are wanting more science taught since they want other theories presented. If anything, we need to teach even more theories. You can't say definitively that the Copernican theory of planetary movement deserves more study than the Ptolemaic system which served us well for over a thousand years. And the phlogiston theory of combustion makes much more sense than that flaky molecular theory of oxidation (which is the underpinning of the dreaded CO2 global warming hogwash). And we need alternative licensing procedures for Humorist doctors who prefer leeches to these silly concepts about germs. And don't get me started on the conspiracy that the world is round. At least I have Thomas Friedman in my camp on that one.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 4, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Nope, qg, no advanced theology degrees in our crowd! Just a bunch of women who are deeply interested in the subject. We recently moved from II Chronicles to the New Testament. All the wars and violence in the books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles just did us in.

I agree with you completely about the fundamentalists. In effect, they are deifying the Bible - which is idolatry.

LOL, Yello! I'm so impressed that you can spell all those old words, and use them correctly!

Posted by: slyness | March 4, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

A manufacturer of hydrolyzed vegetable protein is linked to a number of FDA food recalls because of possible salmonella risk.

Go to
to see if food in your larder is on the list.

Posted by: MsJS | March 4, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Greetings from wild wonderful and snow covered West Virginia.
I came up yesterday to check on the house and shovel some snow.(nobody) is going to buy my house if they can't get to it.Well there is still a good foot and a half of snow here.My driveway was clear,but only a single path,with a small turnaround area.And both decks were still completely covered,I now have a path to 2 doors.

With the temps expected in the 50's the next couple of days,I hope my shoveling of the 2010 snowmageddon is over.

All this snow cover and today's bright sunshine made for a very pretty day. Reminds me of "She Blinded me with Science"
See I am on kit......sort of.......

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 4, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

I think just having "hydrolyzed vegetable protein" is scary enough, a little afraid to a) find out what it is and b) see if anything we have is recalled.

Posted by: dmd3 | March 4, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if being a fundamentalist and a biblical literalist are always tied together, or if one can be literalist without being a fundamentalist. I have not really thought about this but the literalist tradition seems really close to the Islamic belief that a copy of the koran is sacred,with no distinction between the thing (however abstract) and the symbol. When I read same sex marriage discussions, I get the feeling that many people feel that 'marriage' must be defined as heterosexual union because changing the definition would somehow change their marriage.

I know fundamentalist feel that people who do not believe in (and fear) a vengeful god have no reason to be moral. Some of my in-laws have expressed surprise when, as an agnostic, I act in a moral and ethical manner. But it doesn't change their minds and we all agree that I will not be going to their version of heaven. Cue Twilight Zone episode of old man and hunting dog.

My boss keeps looking for some way to refute climate change every time he sees something on Drudge report or some other site. Being a lawyer, I think he considers scientific ‘opinion' to be like a side in a trial. Just get the right ‘facts' and your side will be vindicated. The alternative is that his lifestyle, which is not excessive by American standards, will seriously screw up the world his grandchildren are inheriting.

Posted by: km2bar | March 4, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

I think a bible literalist tends to be a fundamentalist, although I'd say that even fundamentalists don't believe in the bible as literally as they think they do. For instance, there's self-contradiction in Genesis alone over when mankind was made.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 4, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Also, the value of Pi is given as exactly 3, if you follow a verse as a literal truth rather than an approximation. I could go on.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 4, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

I have always wondered how fundamentalists reconcile the two stories of creation in Genesis, Wilbrod. And if they are for slavery, which was certainly prevalent, accepted, and expected in the ancient world.

Posted by: slyness | March 4, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

One of the pictures currently appearing in the rotating photo teaser on the website front page is unfortunate.

It appears with the heading "Early voting commences in Iraq", and looks disturbingly like a line of pregnant male soldiers.

Posted by: bobsewell | March 4, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

The photo is also attached to the story here:

Posted by: bobsewell | March 4, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Breaking news: some moron with a gun walked up to the main entrance of the Pentagon at 6:40 tonight and shot two Pentagon security police officers (called the Pentagon Force Protection Agency). Then he was shot, and is in custody in serious condition.

Neither officers' injuries are life-threatening.

Sounds almost like the guy that shot the two Holocaust Museum guards.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | March 4, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

The ones I know aren't, Slyness. I do get bothered by the anti-science attitude inherent in those teachings.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 4, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Heckuva way to attempt "suicide by police," I'd say...


Posted by: Scottynuke | March 4, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse're right. YJ will insist on new. Might need to get Mudge riled up about something or other, but I think we're in good shape. Don't you?

qg...yes. I know. I was trying to be funny. Also, I'd be tempted to say that plenty of giants of science *are* deeply religious.

bc...funny. You know I wonder about the universe being the 8th grade science project buried in the back of the closet near the tennis racket that needs to be re-strung and a 3rd grade shoebox diarama of the back nine of the universe.

*Tim, again, I love how deftly you handle these things.

ftb...I only win the weekly tiara every now and again. Mudge won the season, S'Nuke the post-season. It just seems like they're mine because I've got the shoes to go with them (TBG's got the hair).

Speaking of shoes, Mudge, there's a story to go with that. Tell you next time I see you.

I've gotta go wrestle DC into bed. Have a happy evening all.

Posted by: LostInThought | March 4, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

While I'm happy for the couples who are able to take advantage of recent legal changes which allow them to become married, I'm sad for the movement which has spent 40+ years fighting the wrong fight.

The entire concept of government blessing of marriage is barbaric, and based entirely upon the concept that rulers are imbued with authority from heaven above, rather than granted power temporarily by those who are governed. Given that awesome power, ruling entities naturally assumed the right to interpret what heaven might or might not approve in the way of marriage. Those assumptions are incorrect.

Heaven knows what heaven wants from a marriage, but that's got nothing to do with civil law, and the legal institution of marriage should be a contractual matter, with the state's only interest being the operation of the civil courts where disputes will be refereed. Only the presence of this state-enforced lazy approach to marriage has retarded the growth of a vibrant and affordable "partnership law" industry. Once that's cleared up (and it should have been decades ago) gay marriage will be defacto legal everywhere.

Posted by: bobsewell | March 4, 2010 8:11 PM | Report abuse

As long as I have the purse strings, we're in excellent shape, LiT. I won't ever let us go under financially!

Posted by: slyness | March 4, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

scc my posts today. myopic, diorama, and everything else. Sheesh.

Posted by: LostInThought | March 4, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Bob S.-- a certain point there which definitely calls for lawyerly opinions.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 4, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Well, I've obviously (& vastly) oversimplified the issue. But I genuinely believe that state control of "marriage" is a bad thing. The only thing going for the concept it that it's (sort of) simple when it comes to tax dodges, inheritance, child custody, employment benefits, asset & debt allocation, etc.

But since all of those things can be modified contractually even in the presence of state-sanctioned marriage, why bother with the institution to begin with? Why not just have a standard contract, and modify as necessary?

Posted by: bobsewell | March 4, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Meant to add, ftb, I did not notice the word "ineffable" in the Boodle while I was composing that 4:30.

But I'm not surprised -- great minds think alike. And sometimes even I can have a lucky thought here and there.


Posted by: -bc- | March 4, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

I'm still coming down from my Ani DiFranco buzz, so the word 'ineffable' keeps reminding me of her song called 'Untouchable Face':

Somehow in my twisted mind, the title and the prominence of 'the f-word' in the lyrics conflate to 'ineffable'. So that is your warning that the the lyrics are not work (or small impressionable children) safe. But really fun to sing along to.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 4, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Another silly 'theory': A giant asteroid killed the dinosaurs.

These silly scientists should know that cavemen ate them all.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 4, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget (sometime between now & Sunday) to print up your Celebritology Oscar Night Bingo cards.

Posted by: bobsewell | March 4, 2010 10:04 PM | Report abuse

I just tried to post a longish wild speculation on the thought processes followed by those who aren't vocal pro or semipro deniers, but pure amateurs who just can't face the idea that AGW may really be the case. The comment got held, and probably ought to be S-canned altogether. Suffice it to say that I think km2bar in the last paragraph of her 7:01 is onto something.

And I had better stay totally away from any punning on the word ineffable.

Posted by: woofin | March 4, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure I killed the boodle, but it was darn near dead when I got here.

Posted by: woofin | March 4, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

I figured I'd done enough damage already, but I'm still around.

Posted by: bobsewell | March 4, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, the Burn Notice season finale's on.


Posted by: -bc- | March 4, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

My pastor obviously reads the Wall Street Journal, so is convinced that climate change is a big fraud, as revealed by the recent and ongoing scandals. Apart from reading evil op-ed pages, he's a rational individual. He's been handed a copy of Archer's "The long thaw: How Humans are Changing the Next 1000,000 Years of Earth's Climate" (Princeton), an executive summary if there ever was one. I wish it would do any good to rain copies of Archer's book on the WSJ's opinion department.

qgaliana, there is a bit of Latin in the English Bible. Jerome had been expected to touch up the existing Latin Bible, which was a translation entirely from the Greek. He opted instead to do a new translation of the Jewish scriptures from the Hebrew, with the help of expert rabbis. The resulting Latin text is helpful to those wanting to understand the meaning of the Hebrew, and is relevant to some questions about the Hebrew text(s).

It sort of looks like little Vero Beach might have a revival of paleontological work at its once-famous site that appears to have human bones associated with a rich late Pleistocene fauna, everything from extinct megafauna down to rabbits and bats. And a mammoth bone from reasonably nearby, engraved with a picture of a mammoth, is continuing to look authentic.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 4, 2010 11:35 PM | Report abuse

the real cause of global climate is, simply, driving.

Posted by: -jack- | March 5, 2010 12:07 AM | Report abuse

ScienceTim, actually I thought J. Storrs (Josh) Hall's stepwise plots of Greenland temp reconstructions over increasingly long time frames put Global Warming (man-made or otherwise) into nice perspective, but he does have his own ax to grind, q.v. my response to Jumper1, below.

Posted by: Entenpfuhl | March 5, 2010 1:04 AM | Report abuse

Jumper1, I am convicted to stipulate that J. Storrs (Josh) Hall is mischaracterized as a nanotech researcher when he is probably more of a roboticist with a flare for sci-fi grade speculation:

• Hall, J. Storrs. "The Weather Machine." Online posting. 23 Dec. 2008. Foresight Institute. 4 Mar. 2010 <>.

Thanks for bringing his personality to my attention. The rant about the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and associated unsupported attribution of climate variation (recent, historical, and geological) to natural causes are his, not the blogger's. Here's an amplified reference:

• Hall, J. Storrs. "Hockey Stick Observed in NOAA Ice Core Data." Ed. Anthony Watts. 5 Dec. 2009. Watts Up With That? 5 Mar. 2010 <>. Rpt. of "Some Historical Perspective." Online posting. 5 Dec. 2009. Foresight Institute. 5 Mar. 2010 <>.

Back to The Weather Machine: I like it! It solves everybody's problems with climate change, allows us to begin reimagining our solar system as Niven's _Ringworld Engineers_ would, and should at the same time conceal us from other marauding sentient species. There is no doubt that all the other sentient species in the galaxy are using something of the sort already or we would have noted their presence nearby.

Posted by: Entenpfuhl | March 5, 2010 2:54 AM | Report abuse

That unusual ultra-multi-authored piece in Science affirming that The Asteroid Did It is reassuring, even if it seems maybe a decade late. Early on, there was a lot of concern about those unbelievably huge Indian basalt eruptions and not all paleobiologists bought into the asteroid. I think it took one major paleobotanist a number of years and quite a bit of digging to sign on.

The fungus spore spike just after the impact is creepy. So is the likelihood that the impact caused earthquakes of magnitude greater than 11. The Texas coast would not have been a nice place to be.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 5, 2010 3:11 AM | Report abuse

So just after the asteroid killed the dinos, fungi ruled the earth.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 5, 2010 5:11 AM | Report abuse

I have an earned P{hD. I know science. I did science. And I can tell the difference between science and political rhetoric disguised as science.

How do you tell the difference?

Science considers all the possible outcomes and works for answers to all of them. Psudo Science (PS) picks one problem and gives one solution and says any who disagree are to be silenced.

Science listens to all voices. PS says there are only two questions to discuss, either you agree with them or you deny them. Science has room for many who say "Yes, but..." and ask follow up questions.

The major question of Science is "So what?"

The major statement of PS is "Shut up."

Science is inclusive.

PS is exclusive.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | March 5, 2010 5:32 AM | Report abuse

I have an earned PhD. I know science. I did science. And I can tell the difference between science and political rhetoric disguised as science.

How do you tell the difference?

Science considers all the possible outcomes and works for answers to all of them. Pseudo Science (PS) picks one problem and gives one solution and says any who disagree are to be silenced.

Science listens to all voices. PS says there are only two questions to discuss, either you agree with them or you deny them. Science has room for many who say "Yes, but..." and ask follow up questions.

The major question of Science is "So what?"

The major statement of PS is "Shut up."

Science is inclusive.

PS is exclusive.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | March 5, 2010 5:35 AM | Report abuse

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Morning, friends. I see it's the science and religion discussion. I'm not an expert in either field. I do teach a Bible study, yet one would have to go further than my teaching to get the history and background. I mainly stick with what I consider the core of Christianity, and that is loving one another as Christ died for, and loves us. Our Bible studies are more of open discussions on points of scripture. Sometimes events surrounding certain scriptures are discussed, but hard for folks to understand the lifestyles and customs during Biblical times from the stand point of their modern day views. It's hard for all of us.

LiT, is correct, we've had this struggle between religion and science for many years. Religion has stomped science, and science at some point has tried to be religion. It has at some point become a contest, and that shouldn't be, at least I don't think it should be.

I think God deals with man in a rational way, but I also believe that there are certain truths concerning God that we are to accept and not to try and place ourselves above God. Submission is a problem for many, and it's not a new thing.

Time to get ready for school, and have doctor's appointment today.

Martooni, Mudge, Scotty, Lindaloo, Yoki, and everyone here, do have a wonderful day.

Slyness, the weather is promising much today, and I'm looking forward to it. It's really cold this morning.

Posted by: cmyth4u | March 5, 2010 6:30 AM | Report abuse

Slyness, I like your answers concerning the Bible, and the history of it. And I agree concerning women in the church. Women don't get much respect in the church or in open society. One would think it was better in Christ's house. But some use the church to sanction bad behavior to women, and I DO NOT agree with that.

Science Tim, love your discussion of climate change and all things science. I don't understand it all, but you do make clear. Not your fault, my failure.

Posted by: cmyth4u | March 5, 2010 6:36 AM | Report abuse

Happy Friday, all! Good morning, Cassandra, it's always lovely to see you this early in the day.

I hope your doctor's appointment goes well. I went yesterday for a followup. After several tries, I think I have found a physician I can have a good relationship with. She treated me like a person with some sense and a clue about the body I've lived in for almost 57 years.

Yes, Christ himself laid down the principles, and they are really simple: Love the Lord your God and your neighbor as yourself. How much easier would our lives be if we all did that?

I see from the morning forecast that it's not going to be quite as warm as earlier predicted, but that's okay. It will be well above freezing, a good thing!

How much snow is left in the DC region? Are you folks still have to avoid it?

Posted by: slyness | March 5, 2010 6:59 AM | Report abuse

Hello Slyness and Cassandra,

Let me be of use by answering your question about our remaining ice age remnants ... we still have a bit of snow if it had been a pile at one time and it was on turf and in the shade of a structure. The are also remaining little piles that used to be huge piles from plowing. However, pretty much all snow that is exposed to direct sunshine or was on a paved surface is gone.

Posted by: russianthistle | March 5, 2010 7:32 AM | Report abuse

It's going to be one of those days for me... *SIGHHHHHHHHHHHH*

It's hardly worth mentioning TFSMIF!!!

*hopefully-prepared-with-proper-caffeine-and-a-frankly-delightful-bran-muffin Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 5, 2010 8:09 AM | Report abuse

I am craving a waterfront breakfast for some odd reason; would love to be near the Navy Yard and H street this AM. I used to do costume construction near this setting, for the Shakespeare Theater. In the morning, you could get a cup of coffee and watch the sailors walk by.

Instead, off to the classroom where I save the world from apostrophe abominations one student at a time. We all have our ways love the world into better being.

How will you love the world today?

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | March 5, 2010 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Hey, sailor.

Posted by: russianthistle | March 5, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Good norning, Boodle.

Strong aftershocks keep rocking Chile. More buildings receive damage. For anyone interested, here is my account of the three plus minutes and immediate aftermath.

Chilean and international assistance is reaching the most affected areas. Detours on highways funtioning. Navy landing supplis on devastated coastal towns. Field hospitals from Argentina, Brazil, Russia are functioning. 4 US C-130 planes have joined air-bridge from Santiago to variou distribution centers. Chinese merchants sending clothing.

TV images show huge destruction. Some towns been 80% flattened. People are living in the streets.

One of my aquaintances is camping in a Santiago park. Another has set up his tent in an underground parking space.News from another friend, camping in Concepcion.

What is amazing is that death toll is low for the circumstances.

With frequent tremors one needs a glass of water or other such home siesmic detectors to separate imaginary from real tremors.

My lunch lady left for Linares Friday night. Was missing, called me last night. Half of Linares is on the ground (50,000 inhabitants). Her family home survived. I'll have my lunch as usual today.

Tonight starts the giant fund raiser Chile Helps Chile to kick start recovery.

This will be a mamoth job.
Schools, police stations, municipal buildings, courthouses unusable. Communications facilities, roads, bridges need to be rebuilt. Never mind the millions who have lost their homes.
Winter conditions will prevail in about a month.

Thousands of university students are working as volunteers as their school year been postponed for two weeks.

In a speech yesterday, President elect, Sebastian Pinera called this an opportunity to build a better, more modern Chile. Brave wrods, we shall see.

Wishing everyone a good weekend.


Posted by: Braguine | March 5, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Thank you for the update, Brag, and may your glass of water remain undisturbed for a long, long time!!

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 5, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, dear heart, gotta confess to being taken somewhat aback at the idea that science - real science, dating from the development of the scientific method - has ever tried to be a religion.

Don't know how religion - which I see as practices observing the faiths and beliefs regarding the cause and nature of the universe and humankind's purpose in it (usually in relation to a Creator of said universe), reflective of desired states of human spirituality - has much to do with science, which I consider the empirical development of knowledge based on hypotheses and repeatable, verifiable experimentation to gather information (i.e. facts) in order to prove or disprove those hypotheses.

However, as with any human creations, some people do tend to misuse them - science as religion, religion as science, butter knives as screwdrivers, cardboard as construction material, etc, - which might provide a temporary emergency replacement, but won't hold up for very long under load and may cause more problems in the long run than it alleviates in the short term.


Posted by: -bc- | March 5, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Good morning boodle! Spring is upon us in Our Fair City-had to chase a raccoon off the screened porch at 3 AM, and a field mouse is now driving the frostcats to distraction. I don't much worry about mice finding their way onto the porch, there's nothing to eat and if they manage to grab some newspaper out of the recycling for their nests that's fine by me-the cats spend enough time on porch to discourage them taking up permanent residence.

In the "this blog needs more bears" department the bear center in Ely now has a kind of greatest hits area for clips from the den cam. No need to watch a sleeping bear for hours just to glimpse a little action.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 5, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

A short follow up to my 9:05 - when science has a Grand Unified Theory of Love, I may reconsider my postion.

And no, Mudge, I don't subscribe to Ellison's adage that Love Ain't Nothin' but Sex Misspelled.

Brag, glad to see ya here and thanks for the updates.


Posted by: -bc- | March 5, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Bears are good. Viva the bears!
Too bad we don't have any here. :)

Posted by: Braguine | March 5, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Brag, great first person report you linked to. Stay safe down there.

Still snowing here but only an inch or so on the ground. This weather and my cold are interfering with dog walks. It's supposed to clear here later today.

Posted by: badsneakers | March 5, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Brag--Look for an very shabby hat only a few feet above the ground, marmalade stains, and a passport from Darkest Peru.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 5, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Brag-thanks for that first hand report of the quake. Great read, but better for knowing that it ended well for you.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 5, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle.

I think one thing that has been left unsaid about the whole "what-is-science" debate is that the statement that in science, one welcomes critical review, disagreement, argumentation, skepticism, etc., is that this fundamental precept is being deliberately distorted by the deniers and the anti-science people.

What the above precept implies is that yes, skepticism and questioning and argument, and alternate theorizing is indeed very welcome -- but is welcome WITHIN THE SAME CONTEXT as the original research, that is, within the general paraments of science. You don't challenge a theory simply in order to destroy it; you challenge it to see if it has holes, if it holds up, and your intent is to either make that theory better and stronger and with more evidence, or at least to alter it, refine it, perhaps discover a fault or a flaw and then fix or or amend it. Behind all this is that you are also stribving toward the same goal as the people you are (constructively) criticising: you both want to reach the same goal of understanding some aspect of the real world, be it plate tectonics, DNA, paleontology, the birth of the solar system, whatever. Basically you are ALL on the same team, working toward the same general ends: knowledge.

The deniers are not into ANY of that game. They are not fellow travelers in pursuit of the same goals. They already have their goals and answers. They are merely trying to knock you guys out of the way, in order to make the Bible fairy tales literally true. Their goal is to prove the earth is only 8,000 years old, period, and you guys are dreadfully in the way. There can be no big bang. There can be no gazillion years of swamp material turning into oil. There can be no asteroid wiping out 9 10ths of life on earth 75 million years ago. So they aren't remotely interesting in "refining" and improving upon the fine print and details of those theories. It simply doesn't matter if it was an asteroid, or some other disaster 75 million years ago-- because there WAS no 75 million years ago.

They are not true co-equal participants. Yet when you say things like "science welcomes criticism and debate," what you get is mindless Barney Flintstone gibberish. AND they expect you to respect their intellectual equality with you. And you guys are too polite (most of you) to tell them off in strong enough terms.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 5, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Bravo, Mudge!

Posted by: Manon1 | March 5, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Uh, Mudge, that'd be Fred Flinstone or Barney Rubble.

Unless there was prehistoric same-sex marriage (and boy, won't Wilma and Betty be surprised?).

Adam and Steve, indeed.


Posted by: -bc- | March 5, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

SCC: "Flintstone"


Posted by: -bc- | March 5, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Indeed, Mudge. And God Forbid That Anyone Challenge *Their* Theories and/or Beliefs.

Among all the other things expressed herein and elsewhere, their (i.e., the "other side"'s) belief is incomparably (ineffably, perhaps?) boring as hell.

Oh, and good morning to all. Hey Brag!

Posted by: -ftb- | March 5, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Jeez, do I have to explain EVERYTHING? Barney Flinstone was Fred's younger brother. He lived next door to me in Cave 37b. Fred was the wacky, lovable, good-time-Charley member of the Flinstones. Barney was the quiet, intense type who used to draw pictures of bison on cave walls. He had these pretensions to "art," but I often said to him, "Barn, guy, bubbaleh, this is just soot you're putting on the walls. A child could draw these pictures, Barn."

"Mudge," he'd say, "I am trying here to create a mural that encompasses the weltanschauung and anguish of the Neander experience in face of a cruel and arbitrary existence dominated by injustice and the viccisitudes of Og [Og was our supreme being back then, before we kicked him out and replaced him with the Mighty Favog]."

"Ok, Barn, whatever you say," I'd reply. "Just remember to put out the saber-tooth tiger and turn out the campfire before you go to bed. We don't want the whole catacomb going up in flames, you know."

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 5, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Now, Barney RUBBLE, that was a different story. And his wife was smokin'! Why, one day ... uh. Never mind. Can't tell that story.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 5, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

ftb-boring indeed. One of the most rewarding aspects of being an apatheticist is the honest "so what, I don't care" response to a religiously motivated science denier's rantings.

Better get moving. The 0300 raccoon visit tells me it's time to get all the recycling to the waste transfer station today.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 5, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, indeed. Thanks for your insight into the Irony Age.

[bc, smirking, with an arched eyebrow]


Posted by: -bc- | March 5, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Lowe's (Home Improvement Centers) has come up with a way to get a handle on some expensive surgeries by entering into an agreement with the Cleveland Clinic. If an employee needs heat surgery, Lowe's pickup the tab, as long as the surgery is done at the CC. interesting.

Posted by: -jack- | March 5, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Good morning. Brag, it is good to hear from you. Thank you for the Boodle update and the story link. Please be sure to post the link when you do the Aftermath followup!

BobS discussed marriage as civil contract last night. I think I understand what you were saying. It looed like you were suggesting that the State should get out of the marriage business, treating it essentially as a matter of contract law, since most of the civil law issues surrounding marriage - property, custody, money - are all covered by various areas of civil law or can be modified by contract.

This is an interesting idea, but I believe it would be a far greater departure from current culture and practice than it might first seem. Currently when one is licensed and enters into a civil law marriage (distinguishing from religious ceremony), a number of legal responsibilities and benefits automatically kick in. These include rights of inheritance, shared assets, patrimony, authority to make medical decisions, tax consequences, etc. When a legal marriage is dissolved, these and others set of obligations and rights are affected, including distribution of assets, custody of children, etc., and a court can oversee those issues and resolve disputes which may arise from them. Currently, married persons need not and do not enter into contracts to get the benefit of this "married" status. While some people may have prenuptial contracts covering certain issues (usually financial), that is to ensure that their union is specifically tailored to their needs or preferences, rather than being governed by the usual operation of law.

For a court to review a contract dispute, there must first be a contract: an oral or written agreement between or among parties.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 5, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

seals have a secrete life:,0,4769217.story

Good to hear that you're safe, and that the lunch lady made it through relatively unscathed. the imagery from your reports is amazing, making me glad that we are spared such geologic events.

Posted by: -jack- | March 5, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

(whoops, finishing tedious marriage law post)

If the State revises the institution of civil marriage by making it essentially a matter of individual privileges and obligations enforceable in each case by contract, then to get the benefits currently afforded by married status, each couple who wishes to marry would have to enter into a contract. The contract would need to be expansive enough to encompass the current benefits automatically enjoyed by married persons, as well as those obligations they acquire through that status. The contract would also need to be flexible, and would probably need to be amended frequently, as circumstances within the marriage changed. A court can only resolve a dispute before it, and a couple would only be able to approach dispute resolution by initiating litigation. If a couple did not have a comprehensive marriage contract, or if they wished to dispute something not in the contract, a court would not be able to rule on the issue. Current tax, employment and benefits laws which automatically assign status benefits would need to be revised, and couples would have to approach the State, institutions and companies individually to receive "married" status benefits based on each individual case.

The obligations and benefits of the institution of civil marriage are more extensive and pervasive, both culturally and legally, than they first appear.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 5, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

State recognition of common-law marriage adds another vegetable to the stew.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 5, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

I'm very pleased about that Lowe's/Cleveland Clinic deal. Now, if they'd just end the tax-sheltering of health benefit plans, we could get some real competition going when people start paying attention to what their benefits cost.

Posted by: bobsewell | March 5, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Wow, Mark Burnett's a busy guy!

"Producer Mark Burnett said Thursday he is pitching a series to television networks that would be about Alaska seen through the eyes of its most famous resident, Sarah Palin."

"Ever wonder how Martha Stewart might tackle your decorating disaster or party planning nightmare? Some folks will soon get the chance to find out.

Stewart announced Thursday that she and producer Mark Burnett are teaming up for a new television series, 'Help Me, Martha.' It's being made by Stewart's company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia."

Posted by: bobsewell | March 5, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Hola this morning from Austin!

Overcast and cool--not exactly tourist weather, but a simply spectacular view from our 14th floor room at the Holiday Inn--a sweeping panorama of Lady Bird Lake (the backed up portion of the Colorado River) immediately below us and the hills of the city beyond. Spring still a few weeks away.

I will return home shortly bearing stories. John Heilemann and Mark Halperin say "Hi."

Posted by: laloomis | March 5, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Oh, I know how much my insurance would cost me. Since I am covered by my public sector spouse, I was able to take the money my employer would have spent on my insurance (less employer FICA or Medicare) as taxable income. My previous employer would not credit me with their share of the group insurance costs if I declined their coverage. It's about 15-20% of my salary which is why changing jobs was so attractive.I don't think you need to make health insurance taxable to get across how much it is, you just need to report it as non-taxable gross income on W-2s.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 5, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

And here I am checking in from beautiful Charlottesville, Virginia, where I'm watching my perfect, adorable, smart, beautiful, funny, did I say perfect? great-niece so her parents could actually both get in a full day of work.

The little one's been home from daycare with a cough and although she's much better today, I offered to sacrifice (did I mention that she's perfect?) my day off to come down and enjoy her... er.. take care of her.

At 16 months old, she's got lots of understandable words and lots of those great babbles that sound like words... especially when she talks with her bears (every stuff animal seems to be a "bear").

She can also count... "two, two, two, two, two!"

I think when she wakes up from her nap, we'll have a discussion about science vs antiscience. I'm sure she'll have a lot to add to that conversation. Maybe it'll be her favorite (and Frosti's, I must add) expression from this morning... "More bear!"

Posted by: -TBG- | March 5, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

jack, that story about Lowe's sending employees to Cleveland for surgery is interesting. I think elective surgeries were already concentrating at "centers of excellence" and such, prompted in part by Medicare, which discovered that some of the big surgical clinics produce better, more consistent results than smaller outfits. I recall a story saying that's the case for bariatric surgery.

I assume that emergency surgeries will always be done locally, and so will minor surgeries, but maybe major elective surgeries will end up being done mostly at high-volume centers. Now that I think of it, Orlando has a busy airport due to Disney and the convention business, and the airport's convenient to the new biomedical complex at Lake Nona, sponsored by the University of Central Florida. How about offering heart-and-Mouse packages?

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 5, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

More bear!

At that age the Boy fluently spoke something we believed strongly resembled Mandarin Chinese. A lengthy transition resulted eventually in good English and, this year, bad French (a family tradition). We inherited my mother's dog, named Bubba, and throughout the Boy's infancy and toddlerhood all four-legged beasts were "Bubba". Amusing, except on zoo trips. As it transpired, several human zoo visitors were also named "Bubba".

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 5, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like you are ready for grandkids. Tell those KoTBG to get on it.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 5, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Chile cut the quake's death toll to 531, with a caveat that further substantial revisions are to be expected.

531 is an order of magnitude better than the outcome of the Kobe earthquake in Japan.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 5, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

No bear yet on this trip to WV,now I know why they sleep all winter long. They would stick out like a sore thumb in all this snow.

I do feel sorry for the deer though,little or nothing for them to eat.There were 6 yesterday that were munching on my deer resistant plants.But they will eat good later today,bananas,grapes and a couple of scoops of raisins and bird seed.

yaba daba dooo mudge!!!

I hope everyone has a great day.....

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 5, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

TBG, happy that you are having such fun. That is a great age! And yes, sounds like you will be a super grandmother someday!

Posted by: badsneakers | March 5, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Bob, I would suggest that Burnett's busy because the "Survivor" franchise seems to have more or less run its course, or at least lost its relevance.

But working with Stewart and Palin?
Good luck with *that,* Mark.

Greenie, ya tryin' to domesticate those deer? I guess what comes around, goes around, and maybe you'll be getting some of that fruit back in the form of a steak, chili, or stew next year? OK, kidding, kidding...



Posted by: -bc- | March 5, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

The rugged individual in me has no disdain for people wanting to think whatever they want. Let them believe what they want, and let them succeed as best they can based on what they choose to believe.

For most folks, how they succeed in life has nothing to do with whether they believe in evolution or global warming or God. Let them think whatever makes them feel best. I don't want to deny them the freedom of their beliefs..... but that is a two-way street. Don't try to deny me my interest in science and fact.

In a related topic, here in NH it has been, sorry Sean Hannity, very warm lately. No snow. Seems that bears are out of hibernation already, and we have been warned to take down bird feeders and to secure garbage cans. I noticed the woodchucks I have in my yard are up today.... about 3 weeks earlier than last year.

Make of it as you will.

Posted by: steveboyington | March 5, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, thanks for the explanation about contracts regarding marriage. I think that's why gay people resist the argument that they can go to a lawyer and get a contract drawn up. Expensive, inconvenient, and there's sure to be something that is missed.

I worry about how much my health insurance costs, because I figure it might be one of those so-called Cadillac plans. Not sure what my former very large corporation will do if those are taxed - especially with the retiree health coverage (which I'm very grateful that I can tap into). I never knew how much health insurance cost the entire time I worked there. They used to add about $50,000 to our salaries and say that was the value of the benefits, but I never believed that.

Posted by: seasea1 | March 5, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

I hope Mark Burnett puts Sarah in one of those homemade balloons...

Posted by: seasea1 | March 5, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

As heart-warming as that Lowe's story is, I still have a problem with the overall corporate paternalism of the current system. If you can't do single-payer, we need an employer independent open enrollment system where coverage is portable. It's annoying to change doctors and specialists just because you changed jobs.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 5, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

My dad is medical tourist since his prostate treatment is only available in a few spots around the country. He's been spending the week in Jacksonville and returning home on the weekends.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 5, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Yello, from what I hear about Jacksonville, your dad will probably leave there with a less painful experience than most.

Posted by: steveboyington | March 5, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

This is where he is going:

Posted by: yellojkt | March 5, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

It's gimmicky & not very nice, but I've often chuckled at:

"Science flies you to the moon, religion flies you into buildings."

Posted by: bobsewell | March 5, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Lowe's contract with the Cleveland Clinic is a very interesting development. A generation ago, late 60/early 70's, all the men around here who needed heart surgery went to Cleveland. But we've got some good cardiac surgeons around here now.

I'm not sure physical proximity to hometown physicians will be that much of an issue. Yesterday I went for a followup to my new doctor. She had uploaded the results of my blood tests last week to my patient portal so I got to look at them Monday. She wrote a prescription for me on her laptop and faxed it to my pharmacy while we were chatting in the exam room. I like the technology, I like how she uses it, and I like her.

Posted by: slyness | March 5, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Slyness-your new doc sounds like mine. This is the first time I've ever had any feelings about choosing a doctor because in the past they were all pretty much interchangeably deficient. Have been figuring out how I can keep her when I start spending the majority of my time in FL. Darn that Sarah Palin for giving early resignation from a political office such a bad name. I really do want to spend more time with my family.

I do like how the boodle turned to bears for a time. TBG's niece is the exception to the rules that most babies are not all that cute and kids don't really have much to say of interest until they're school age. (A fine grandma I will make, but I have until Oct. 15th or so to get better. That's when frostdott is due.)

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 5, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations to frostdottir! You'll be fine, frosti, it's amazing what grandparenthood does for people. I've seen some stern parents turn into teddy bears and marshmellows when the grandbabies arrive.

Posted by: slyness | March 5, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Something for the copy editors in the crowd to chew over:

Posted by: yellojkt | March 5, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

The downside of internet anonymity is that when it hits 115º in North Carolina I won't be able to track down all those deniers and kick their ***es.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 5, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Boodle grandbabies! Huzzah. But, Frosti is way too young for this....still nimble on her pins, etc.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | March 5, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

yello, I read that New Yorker piece with tears streaming down my face. It was kind of what William James described in "The Varieties of Reigious Experience." [James, W. (1902). The Varieties of Religious Experience. In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved March 05, 2010, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online:]

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 5, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Didn't quite get to 50 this afternoon here. Forecast says we will get there tomorrow. Maybe I'll be able to get out in the yard to clean up after the HURRICANE that hit us last week. Same old same old for NH in February/March, or so some say.

Posted by: steveboyington | March 5, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

yello, that New Yorker piece is just hilarious. Thanks.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 5, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Excellently done, Sir Mudge!

Posted by: rickoshea1 | March 5, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Great news Frosti. I thought I'd be a terrible grandmother, as I'm not overly fond of children in general. It turns out I'm a lot better at it than I would have predicted. You will have a ball, make sure your camera is in tip top shape, you won't believe how many photos you will take of the baby dribbling food.

Posted by: badsneakers | March 5, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

"People are supposed to question scientific theories. That's what makes science such a terrific process for finding the truth about the world. You want students to see science as an open-minded process that has only truth as its goal."

I love this recent meme propagated by the climate alarmists that attempt to tie climate skeptics to creationists. It shows the utter desperation of those in the "global warming" religion.

Those who pursue and document archeological evidence are not on a crusade to change the world's economy. And they do not try to hide their findings. You don't need Freedom Of Information lawsuits to see those scientists' records.
They are eager to share ALL their data.

These "scientists" who insist that their secret raw data and their secret computer programs that foretell imminent disaster need to either shut the F up or put all their information in the public domain.

Posted by: spamsux1 | March 5, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Well no wonder nobody wants to cite sources these days. It's too #$%#@!#T%$# complicated.

So I'll just say "me too" to what Jumper1 and ros said and leave it at that.

Posted by: MsJS | March 5, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Great article, Yello, thanks. We had Word foisted upon us, even though many law offices still use WordPerfect. Word is terrible for footnotes. Maybe if you just have a handful it works. In a capital case opinion I might have a hundred footnotes. Word does not handle this well.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 5, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Chiming in with the rest... The New Yorker piece is superb.

Posted by: bobsewell | March 5, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Ha, Ivansmom! We too had Word foisted on us; after dealing with it for over a decade, I still get frustrated. WordPerfect rawked. I LOVED reveal codes, that made life so much easier.

Posted by: slyness | March 5, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

I read a thing a long time ago about physicists who get far too much mail from kooks with perpetual motion machines. The "inventors" were all angry and eager and ensorceled by their own flawed logic, which the physicist writing had categorized into various fallacies the inventors were employing and which proved each machine was pointless and would never do what was promised. But the author indicated that demands of time inevitably led him and his contemporaries to cease attempting to reply or explicate. One finished the article with a sense of sympathy for the beleaguered professional.

I don't see a resistance by these professionals to turn over every scrap of paper or email they have ever written, to a mob of villagers carrying torches, to be a failure on the part of the professionals. Their works stand as published, their underwear does not.

To imply such shows a character of inane, psychotic incomprehension of the principles civilization is built of. It is an enshrinement of ignorance and animosity to the level of godhood. It is vile.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 5, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Wandering from link to tangential link, I ran across this Mary Midgley review of the book, "What Darwin Got Wrong."

Midgley may be a fine philosopher, but it seems to me that she's a bit off-base in her perceptions of neo-Darwinist evolutionary theory.

I quote: "Since [Darwin's] time, biologists have discovered a huge amount that is really interesting and important about internal factors in organisms that affect reproduction. This powerful little book uses that material to challenge sharply the whole neo-Darwinist orthodoxy – the assumption that, essentially, all evolution is due to mutation and selection."

"On the face of things, however, it strikes an outsider as an overdue and valuable onslaught on neo-Darwinist simplicities."

"If we now ask what will take its place, their answer is that this question does not arise. There is not – and does not have to be – any single, central mechanism of evolution. There are many such mechanisms, which all need to be investigated on their own terms." End quote.

I'm fascinated to know what other mechanisms have been proposed. I don't recall reading about any such mechanisms, other than the hand of the Creator.

Posted by: bobsewell | March 5, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

I agree about Word. I still have a version of WordPerfect on the PC side of my Mac, so I can use it for things that Word either can't or *won't* do. When I first started to use Word, I never knew how many expletives I actually had at my disposal. It was impossible to find anything. Now that I've figured it out (several versions later), it's okay to use, but I must say that I am completely astonished how crappy its grammar and spelling are off.

Of course, all Microsoft applications think they know much, much more than we do. I used to disable everything at the beginning, because I became so aggravated, I couldn't get any work done.

As for spamsux -- shut the F up yerself or disappear from our lovely, civil and truly brilliant Boodle world.

Mmm, now *that* felt better.

Posted by: -ftb- | March 5, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Frosti, Grandma's come in all varieties, my own grandparents were more of the kind to teach a lesson with everything they did, fun at their house was playing with the globe of the world, if we got noisy out we went to play lawn darts or in my case I played with the coasters and pillows (quietly) in the living room or slid down the big curving banister. They were older and so much different from my friends grandparents but I loved them dearly and cherish the memories I have with them. My kids love all their grandparents, each very different in their interactions with the kids - all special, all good.

You will rock as a Grandmother.

Posted by: dmd3 | March 5, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

I have some very sad news, Boodle. Several other Boodlers and I have gotten e-mails from our dear Yoki late this afternoon, telling us what we've all been expecting to hear: her brother Steve died this afternoon. His wife, parents, brothers and Yoki were all there at the hospital. Yoki said she doesn't want any great fuss made; she knows how you all feel and what you would all say. She's had a pretty bad week, and lots of expressions of grief and condolence are just more than she can take right now. So in lieu of all the expressions of love I know you'd all post, let us just have a couple of virtual moments of Boodle silence, and then return to our normal frivolity. That's how she wants it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | March 5, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Thank you 'mudge. I just couldn't say it myself after having been away for so long.

Small correction; expressions of love and condolence are welcome; I just can't do sentimentality. Simply because this is a raw experience for me, going on and on will send me over an edge I can't afford to cross, right now.

Posted by: Yoki | March 5, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

But, of course 'mudge is correct, the sooner we express our tawdry and frivolous selves, the happier I'll be.

Posted by: Yoki | March 5, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

I hope a half-hour equates to a couple moments in Boodle time...

And hopefully NukeSpouse and I wishing frosti and her descendents all the best is an appropriate way to restart.

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 5, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Fur therapist time
Soon to come; for now, a lick
and condolences...


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 5, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

And of course we love Yoki and send her our deep condolences. *HUGSSSS*

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 5, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, Condolence from the left coast.

Posted by: bh72 | March 5, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

In the "I don't know whether to laugh, cry or cringe" department, the former guvner of Ill-In-Oys is one of The Donald's next contestants.

Blago's the smiley face with the blue tie behind Sharon Osborne.

NBC follows up The Olys with this?


Posted by: MsJS | March 5, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Dear Yoki,
I'm so sorry.

Posted by: rickoshea1 | March 5, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Yoki-piling on with the HUGSSSS

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 5, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

So sorry to hear about your brother. Your friends are with you wherever we may be.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 5, 2010 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, sorry to hear this. Condolences to you and your family.

Posted by: seasea1 | March 5, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

BobS, I think the question is whether natural selection should be viewed as the only mechanism underlying evolution, and all characteristics 'successful' adaptations. There is plenty to debate there.

You may enjoy this blog:

Posted by: DNA_Girl | March 5, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, a little touchy, that fellow.

I'm not sure what he means by junk DNA, though. I would deeply question his authority and awareness of 3-D configuration of DNA, transcription factor function, chromatin, methylation, etc. and his subsequent standing to dismiss non-coding DNA as "junk." Just because it was taught to be junk DNA in the early 1990's doesn't mean we now think of it as entirely junk DNA.

Natural selection isn't perfect fit. It's "best fit" given the mutations, diversity, and drift a given population has. It IS impossible to speak of any single organism as fully shaped by natural selection, of course, because new mutations happen every generation. We can only speak of it on the population or species level.

"The Beak of the Finch" is a lovely book on natural selection-- and also outlines precisely why natural selection doesn't always drive evolution but can keep a species in flux between three different adaptions.. because the environment doesn't stay constant.

I still think the default position for any characteristic found on the species level that it must be an adaptation (even if it's just making the best of a spandrel); a clumsy way of making A into B.

Gould did this well in his essay "the Panda's Thumb." He never meant to argue that spandrels meant adaptions didn't exist; he just indicated that not every trait has to be under intense selection, but may be simply necessary for other, more selectable traits to exist.

But then, you're the currently working DNA gal. My information is likely outdated already.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 5, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, a little touchy, that fellow.

I'm not sure what he means by junk DNA, though. I would deeply question his authority and awareness of 3-D configuration of DNA, transcription factor function, chromatin, methylation, etc. and his subsequent standing to dismiss non-coding DNA as "junk." Just because it was taught to be junk DNA in the early 1990's doesn't mean we now think of it as entirely junk DNA.

Natural selection isn't perfect fit. It's "best fit" given the mutations, diversity, and drift a given population has. It IS impossible to speak of any single organism as fully shaped by natural selection, of course, because new mutations happen every generation. We can only speak of it on the population or species level.

"The Beak of the Finch" is a lovely book on natural selection-- and also outlines precisely why natural selection doesn't always drive evolution but can keep a species in flux between three different adaptions.. because the environment doesn't stay constant.

I still think the default position for any characteristic found on the species level that it must be an adaptation (even if it's just making the best of a spandrel); a clumsy way of making A into B.

Gould did this well in his essay "the Panda's Thumb." He never meant to argue that spandrels meant adaptions didn't exist; he just indicated that not every trait has to be under intense selection, but may be simply necessary for other, more selectable traits to exist.

But then, you're the currently working DNA gal. My information is likely outdated already.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 5, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Whazzat?! Double post?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 5, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Doggy Darwinism:
Dogs adapt people to adapt them
Or is it "adopt"?


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 5, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Oh Yoki... I had a keyboard full of sentimentality for you. Oh well.

So sorry. Hugs all around from the G family to yours. I wish I could be there with you to pass it along in person.

Posted by: -TBG- | March 5, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

You say you don't want evolution
Well we know
You don't believe in a changing world
You tell me just to stick with fiction
Well you know
We'd rather think upon the world
And when you talk about religion
Don't you know that you can count me out
Don't you know it's gonna be alright
alright alright...

You say you got a real solution
Well we know
You wanna leave it in 'god's' hands
You're tangled up in contradictions
While you know
We're all doing what we can
And if you hang around people with minds that hate
All I can tell you is brother you'll reach hell's gate
Don't you know it's gonna be alright
alright alright...

Posted by: DNA_Girl | March 5, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse

DNA on floor
looking like unwanted junk?
Slurpppp. It was wanted.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 5, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Watch out, 'Mudge, DNA_Girl's gettin' the hang of that there song parody stuff... :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 5, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

And once again I can't figure out what the original to that is... but I like it.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 5, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Gotta go now. But genetic drift should not be minimized as an evo mechanism. Indeed there are some special cases that even look Lamarckian; who woulda thunk?!

Posted by: DNA_Girl | March 5, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

I know she is Scotty. And I've never been one to underestimate her.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | March 5, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Here you go, Wilbrod:

Posted by: -bia- | March 5, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

DNAgirl, oh yes.... epigenetics is a fascinating field, and offers a way for us to admit Lamarckism of a limited sort.

I don't minimize gene drift at all, DNAgirl. Any populations isolated from each other will go off in different directions.

I think gene drift and population bottlenecks are a very important part of population substructuring.

Natural selection works on what is there. What's not there can't be imported to make the population more "fit."

We need to learn more about how chromosomal races occur since that can cause cryptic species/ population substructuring... and chromosomal aberrations are quite common. (I want to see how sympatric speciation occurs, if it does.)

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 5, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Saw a lot of historical Austin today, since this was the "play day." Got home not long ago. Tuckered out.

Will tell some of the tale sometime this weekend, starting with this, below--trying to fill in between what may be Oscar buzz weekend on the A-blog. Oddly the trip starts with an event that occurred on Tuesday outside Austin and ends with a different event that took place on Tuesday in Austin--we playing a sort of catch-up to both. These two Tuesday events in the Austin area and our days-late-to-the-parties make nice "bookends" for the main event on Thursday.:

In his victory speech Tuesday night from a barbecue restaurant outside Austin, he[Texas Governor Rick Perry] again cast the race as a repudiation of Washington and a resurrection of the hard right.

"From Driftwood, Texas, to Washington, D.C., we are sending you a message: Stop messing with Texas," Perry said to cheers.

Posted by: laloomis | March 5, 2010 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Maybe a bit of news from Chile:

"The government also said Friday it had removed Cmdr. Mariano Rojas as head of the Navy's oceanographic service over its failure to issue a tsunami warning for the Pacific immediately after Saturday's quake."

AP story at the Miami Herald.

The work by Grant and Grant on Darwin's finches is classic, as are their finely-written books. In Florida, we have sort of an archipelago of dry sand dunes occupied by scrub vegetation, containing special scrub plants that in some cases have evolved as if they were on ocean islands. The aromatic mint genus Dicerandra is a remarkable example. Most species have tiny distributions.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 5, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

You and your family have my heartfelt condolences Yoki, thinking of you.

Posted by: badsneakers | March 5, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Among other talents, Yoki is our baker. So, this Seamus Heaney Poem:

Mossbawn: Two Poems in Dedication
For Mary Heaney
I. Sunlight
There was a sunlit absence.
The helmeted pump in the yard
heated its iron,
water honeyed

in the slung bucket
and the sun stood
like a griddle cooling
against the wall

of each long afternoon.
So, her hands scuffled
over the bakeboard,
the reddening stove

sent its plaque of heat
against her where she stood
in a floury apron
by the window.

Now she dusts the board
with a goose's wing,
now sits, broad-lapped,
with whitened nails

and measling shins:
here is a space
again, the scone rising
to the tick of two clocks.

And here is love
like a tinsmith's scoop
sunk past its gleam
in the meal-bin.

By Seamus Heaney
From "North", 1975

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | March 5, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Condolences to you and your family, Yoki.


Posted by: -bc- | March 5, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, thinking of you.

Posted by: --dr-- | March 5, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

DNA Girl, I had it by the second line, and was doing the full-on distortion-and-Billy-Preston version here at my keyboard.


Posted by: -bc- | March 5, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, feeling for you and yours.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | March 5, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

i also pass along my condolences to you and your family, Yoki.

Posted by: -jack- | March 5, 2010 11:32 PM | Report abuse

Thinking of you, Yoki.

Posted by: nellie4 | March 6, 2010 12:03 AM | Report abuse

Yoki, should you need a smile over the next few days, just think of the kind person who picked you up at the airport and then made you walk for miles, when said twit forgot where she parked her car! :-) Hugs and Love.

Posted by: dmd3 | March 6, 2010 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Yoki, condolences to you and your family. Hugs.

Posted by: rainforest1 | March 6, 2010 12:06 AM | Report abuse


Diario El Sur reports that

"More than a hundred million liters of wine for export was destroyed by Chile's earthquake last week, according to local producers.

In the locality of Colchagua alone, 25 million liters ran from barrels across warehouse floors. Losses also affected wine growing areas of Maule, Casablanca and Maipo, among others.

Estimates of economic losses aren't yet available. Most of the lost wine could be sold for 10 to 30 dollars in world markets.

Mario Pablo Silva, president of the Viñas de Colchagua promotional group and of the tourist "Ruta del Vino" in the same valley affirmed that in spite of everything, they intend to meet commitments for exports.
There's a statement from Viñas de Colchagua-Ruta del Vino del Valle de Colchagua at

It emphasizes that "...most of the wineries are receiving the new harvest, bottling their wines and reorganizing tourism projects, so as to ensure the excellence that has always characterized the valley.

We want to emphasize the very special commitment and care shown by those working in the vineyards; assistance, order, solidarity and culture are the pillars upon which rest the Colchagua spirit and the deep roots of wine in our land."

A brave message after such a smashing event. Apologies for any flaky translation.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 6, 2010 3:09 AM | Report abuse

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Good morning, friends. I am truly sorry, Yoki, much love to you and your family.

BC, when I made that comparison between religion and science, I was trying to say (and not putting it well) each one tries to trade places. Still not putting this well. I don't know if this is possible, but I believe in God, and I believe that He sent His Son Jesus to be sin for man(this is possible) yet I also believe that all knowledge, and it doesn't matter what it's about, comes from God(the mixture of the two). I mean true knowledge, not prejudices, lies,that sort of thing. Now, I realize that I am a simple person in my beliefs and in my knowlege base of the world, and that includes science, but I have a love of knowlege. I like finding out new things. My participation on this blog is an example. I know when I speak, everyone knows where I live and how it is with me, but I'm willing to put myself out there because I enjoy the people here, and I like learning new things. It's not an altar for me because I believe in God and Christ, yet I in no way believe that because of that belief system, I can't learn something else. What I learn here or anywhere else is not going to change my faith.

Now perhaps for some, that situation puts me right up there on the dummy track, but that's okay too. I'm hanging my soul on what I believe is best for it and me, God through Christ.

Mudge, Martooni, Scotty, Lindaloo, and all the good people here, enjoy your weekend as much as possible.

Slyness, yesterday lived up to its promises big time. Of course, the doctor visit I could have done without. More drugs and another doctor's appointment next week. Not the same one.It could be worse.

Ivansmom, I can tell by your posts you are one good teacher.

Posted by: cmyth4u | March 6, 2010 6:26 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra!! *HUGSSSSSS* Glad to hear your yesterday went tolerably well. :-)

Continued love and care and *HUGSSSSSSSSS* to Yoki as well.

Now I have to try and remember what I do on a "normal" weekend, it's been awhile.

*never-forgetting-the-normal-caffeination-routine Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 6, 2010 6:58 AM | Report abuse

Some more folk music from Ani DiFranco. She had played Pete Seegar's 90th birthday party and performed "Which Side Are You On?" That song is the pre-encore closing number for her current tour (perfectly safe for work unless you work for the RNC). She really does the number justice.

Also, here is the longer review of her show at the 930 club compared to the Gaslight Anthem concert which bc and I saw last fall.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 6, 2010 7:13 AM | Report abuse

Good morning all, hi Cassandra! Yes, yesterday was just beautiful, a great tease to let us know that there is a possibility spring may come. More like it today, I hope!

Mr. T has gone to get the trencher so he can bury the line for his power to the garage. I have to be ready when he gets back, because the trench will bisect one of my flowerbeds. We have to move several plants so they won't be destroyed.

Cassandra, there is so much more to life than book learning, or the lack thereof. I happen to know you have a degree, so you are not illiterate, and you're plenty smart in common sense, too. Plenty of people have multiple degrees, high IQ's but are majorly stupid when it comes to living life. My ex-husband, God bless him, is one of those. Smartest person I've ever known, has an EQ (emotional quotient) in single digits. It took me leaving him for it to dawn that he couldn't treat people like crap without there being consequences.

I hope everyone has a lovely Saturday!

Posted by: slyness | March 6, 2010 7:17 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodlers!

You can watch live how Chileans are getting back on their feet.

Chile Helps Chile:

Since 10 o'clock last night raised 30 million dollars. You can donate here:

Instructions are in English. $5, 10 bucks, anything helps.

The show will go on 'till midnight (10 PM EST).

Enjoy the show, the songs and dance. dramatic footage. Remember this is live from a country that has been demolished.

Join me and enjoy.

Posted by: Braguine | March 6, 2010 7:25 AM | Report abuse


my mum's head also
didn't explode from loving
my science and god

Posted by: DNA_Girl | March 6, 2010 7:40 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. Shuck, yoki.

The lunch on the shore of the Anacostia river was great.

When I worked in batteries we had a bunch of electric cars parked around the building. Not nice ones like todays, most were kits or fiberglass affairs. These were wacko magnets. There was barely a month a nutjob with no technical/scientific training would not pop in to show his (always guys) perpetual motion machine or tell us about his great idea: put generator on the axles of the electric cars to recharge the battery. That is called regenerative braking in the real world.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 6, 2010 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Scotty(hugs back at you), DNA girl(love the thought), and Slyness(the best neighbor), thanks a bunch!

Posted by: cmyth4u | March 6, 2010 7:52 AM | Report abuse

That telethon is amazing, Brag. I just watched the most amazing pop singing group. How come songs sound so perky in Spanish?

And I made my donation.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 6, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Good morning boodle! Headed out to the DFL County Convention this morning. With any luck the single issue platform caucusers will keep it short and sweet, otherwise we could be there all day. The weather is going to be too nice for that-45 yesterday, and perhaps just as warm today.

Later gators.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 6, 2010 7:54 AM | Report abuse

Please check out my 07:51 post, Watch the inspiring spectacle of a people getting back on its feet after the disaster.

Posted by: Braguine | March 6, 2010 7:59 AM | Report abuse

We traveled to Austin Thursday to participate in a culinary "event" (of our choosing) and a literary event (by invitation). The two are connected like links of sausages; the skin of the sausage casings is politics. I shall tell of these events in time order--rather unjournalistically, since one provides such a nice segue for the other.

As you may recall, last Nov. 1, a Sunday, after leaving the Texas Book Festival, we decided to drive to the world-famous Salt Lick, just outside Driftwood, Texas, since one of the men next to me in Jane Smiley's line was from Dripping Springs, and praised it highly. At the time, I did write, "If it's so world-famous, why haven't we heard of it?"

You may also recall that when we arrived in the dark at the Salt Lick on Nov. 1, it was overflowing with folks, and we were told there would be more than an hour's wait to dine that evening. At which point we left and decided to come back another time. One of the fellows managing traffic that November night declared--almost a tease--that if we ate at the Salt Lick, we'd never want to eat other Texas barbecue fare. "Not even Rudy's?" I asked. He laughed so hard.

With the difficulties on Nov. 1 caused by the dining place's popularity, and the challenge or the tease from one of the two men directing cars, I decided that it would be easily doable to make that Destination #1 on Thurday for our lunch. I figured that we could navigate--easily, I hoped--the backroads that we had navigated uneasily in the dark on Nov. 1, so we could take the backroads loop on Highway 12 to Highway 150 to Highway 1826 to reach the fabled barbecue joint.


Posted by: laloomis | March 6, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

It's freezing at night and warm during the day, the maple sap is running!
Soon it will be time for taffy on snow.

And a visit to the sugar shack

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 6, 2010 8:30 AM | Report abuse

We arrived right at 12:30 for lunch. We mistakenly went to the banquet area, where two men who were working inside directed us to the restaurant proper. Two things struck us once we crossed the restaurant's threshold: the wonderful, arresting aroma of cooking meats coupled with the wafting smell of slight barbecue smokiness and the cavernous structure of the smaller (than the banquet building's) dining area.

The day was not cold, but cool, with a stiff breeze, and we chose a table, after being greeted by server Jack Hall, near the fireplace, with its warm fire blazing. We sat on benches not with our backs to the fire but looking across the table into the fire.

Only several minutes later, I realized we had been seated directly under the Roberts family crest, which hangs just to the left of the fireplace--several planks of board, rather faded, painted with a knight's head, and including a griffin and the latin "Dum Spiro Spero," Latin for "While I breathe, I hope."

Here I must digress. In the 1960s, Thurman Roberts traveled constantly across Texas working for a bridge construction company [I think I may be able to guess correctly which...then again...]. He dreamed of spending evey day where his family had put down generations of roots in Driftwood. One day Thurman and his wife Hisako took out a yellow legal pad and wrote down 54 things the family could do to stay in Driftwood. The idea for the Salt Lick was 14th on the list.

In 1967, Thurman, known for his delicious barbecue at family reunions, decided he would cook meat for paying customers. Thurman and his son Scott, now the current owner of the Salt Lick, built a huge pit for cooking the meat. On Thursday night, Thurman would go to the pit and start cooking. He'd stay the weekend, sleeping on a cot, until all the meat sold. As the story goes, Thurman kept coming home earlier and earlier. Several months later, Thurman and Scott built a little screen porch around the pit. And that's the tale of how the Salt Lick got started.


Posted by: laloomis | March 6, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

We were no sooner seated than Jack Hall, the young Hispanic server who ended up giving us exceptional service at lunch Thursday, approched our table to help us navigate the menu and take our orders if we were ready to place them.

He offhandedly mentioned that there had been a big party there just Tuesday night for Gov. Rick Perry, at which point I began to come down with a rabid case of curiosity, since I'm known to have periodic episodes of this malady.

Jack said that around 11 a.m. on Tuesday, CNN showed up, and he didn't get off that Tuesday until midnight. He estimated there were about 1,000 people at the party. He mentioned that country-western singer Clay Walker was there (entertaining or as guest?), along with former Dallas Cowboys head coach Barry Switzer. The site for the primary election Tuesday night shindig was on another part of the Salt Lick property, the pavilion and its grounds across narrow Onion Creek from the restaurant and banquet hall, the place where larger private parties are held.

A funny thing happened not more than one or two minutes after Jack Hall took our order and headed to the barbecue pit with it. Tana Kent, event coordinator for the Salt Lick, came over and introduced herself and shook hands with us. As fate would have it, she had been seating just one table away from us having her own lunch with a group of folks, in the same long row of tables. I had noticed her when we walked by because of her attractive jewelry.

Tana filled in some details about Perry's Tuesday night party. About four to five weeks ago, she had received a call from Gov. Perry's folks, asking her to arrange a party for about 250 people. On Tuesday night this week, the Salt Lick served about 850 people. All the news stations were there, along with their sateliite trucks, to cover the celebratory party--CNN, FOX, and the local ABC, NBC, and CBS affiliates. (It was not until I got home last night and before I turned in at 8:17 p.m., that I Googled to learn that Perry also gave his victory speech from the Salt Lick.) The Perry party ran roughly from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m.

-a little bit more-

Posted by: laloomis | March 6, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Tana's own Salt Lick story is an interesting one. She said that event's such as Perry's primary election night party keep her and the staff busy, but she works most weekends because of the weddings and/or recptions held at the Salt Lick. Five years ago, she became event coordinator. But her history with the Salt Lick is longer: 15 years ago, she, divorced and living on a nearby farm, began arranging flowers for the immensely popular dining spot. As we saw during our Thursday lunch, each of the many tables has a small arrangment of fresh flowers, about half of them arranged in worn, old country-charming Texas cowboy boots.

And now, having eaten there, I can personally attest that the food there is the best Texas barbecue I have eaten to date. Mind you, I wouldn't write any letters home about their pecan pie, but the platter of grub that we had devoured is some of the best Texas food that I've ever had an opportunity to wrap a lip around.

I hope the visual memory of the place will hold for awhile, too. Low ceilings, slow-turning ceiling fans, a quiet place with low sounds of happy conversation (but the place was really, really busy by the time we left around 1:45 p.m.) big wood plank tables and benches worn smooth by numerous fannies and elbows, a porch extension to accommodate even more diners, and the big blocks of thick Texas limestone that make up the sturdy walls. Never to be forgotten, the heavenly smell.

*on later this weekend, to more serious Perry fare and Heilemann and Halperin. time for breakfast and to go fetch a beloved pet from a kennel*

Posted by: laloomis | March 6, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all. Thanks, Cassandra,I hope I am a good teacher. In person I try not to be as "lecturey", but stuff I write seems pretty dry sometimes.

Yesterday was lovely here, lots of hollyhocks and daffodils almost ready to bloom. This morning is more cloudy but it will still be warm. I'm ready for this injured finger to heal so I can do real yard work.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 6, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Gorgeous day here, sun is shining, temps are warming, spring fever is kicking in. Still a bit of snow leftover from our week long storm but the wind is gone. My cold is better, the dog is happily chewing on a rawhide bone, and I have a hair appt. later on today. All in all, it's a great day. Of course "S" will get to deal with the dog while I'm out, the last time I left him, the dog whined the entire time I was gone! Maybe a good long walk will take his mind off of missing me! (Nice to be loved, I guess!)

Posted by: badsneakers | March 6, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Isabel Allende traveled to Santiago. Last night, she donated US $500,000 to Chile helps Chile.

In the DC area there are over 20 locations where donations can be made. For more info contact Chilean embassy.

Posted by: Braguine | March 6, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

Brag, thanks for those links, and the opportunity to contribute to Chilean earthquake relief efforts. Going to have to log more time with that telethon...

Cassandra, I think you're a smart lady. All I was trying to say was that for me, religion and science aren't trying to replace each other. Apples and oranges.


Posted by: -bc- | March 6, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

I was able to back-Boodle just in time to note Yoki's very, very sad news.

My dear Yoki -- you have my deep condolences on the loss of your brother. I send you abundant warm hugs and broad shoulders upon which to rest your head and your heart. Hugs and shoulders will always be there.

Off to the farmers market and my usual Saturday errands.


Posted by: -ftb- | March 6, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Yellow, BC!

FYI 7 Brazilian airplanes with field hospitals, supplies. Also a planeload of linemen to help repair electric grid.

Quite amazing, the show had only 4 days to organize.

Posted by: Braguine | March 6, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Yellow, BC!

FYI 7 Brazilian airplanes with field hospitals, supplies. Also a planeload of linemen to help repair electric grid.

Quite amazing, the show had only 4 days to organize.

Posted by: Braguine | March 6, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, y'all.

Warm muffins, coffee and OJ on the table.

Yoki, MrJS and send our love and condolences to you and your family. One of the wonderful things about the boodle is that love and support abound, even in places you don't expect.

Brag, the links are absolutely incredible. Thank you immensely for sharing.

Wilbrodog, your sense of timing and verse are trif. Hugs and tummy rubs are being sent your way.

Everyday I am in awe of you all.

Posted by: MsJS | March 6, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

A few notes on the Teleton. Only 400 people sllowed inside theater so that, if an evaquation is needed, it can be done.

The host, Mario Kreuzberger, has the world's largest TV audience. He runs Sabados Gigantes (Giant Saturdays) from Miami

Posted by: Braguine | March 6, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Thank you MsJS! :)

Posted by: Braguine | March 6, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Shameless Earthquake destroyed five million bottles of wine. :(

I don't know if you saw the police dogs presentation. Quite impressive

Posted by: Braguine | March 6, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I know, what a tragedy.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 6, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

I don't know how many anglo Floridians realize Sábado Gigante is in Miami. Mario Kreuzbeger gets around: looks as though he's hurried from South Africa to Chile.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 6, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Yoki, we love you.

People have written here far more eloquently than I can, but as you said, you know us and how we feel. In the midst of you taking care of everyone else, please also take care of yourself.

Posted by: -dbG- | March 6, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

dbG... keep meaning to say... I'm so glad you got a new job that makes you much happier, but I really miss your voice on the Achenblog. Hope you can figure out how to efficiently Boodle From Work when you have some down time.


Posted by: -TBG- | March 6, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

you are well informed :)

Posted by: Braguine | March 6, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Do all these random strangers that you buttonhole realize that they are speaking for the record for publication on the internet? If not, that seems like a gross violation of journalistic ethics. Regardless, the level of personal detail is unnecessary and off-putting, often bordering on being racially offensive. Nobody needs to be identified as a Hispanic waiter or an African-American reporter unless it is salient to the issue being discussed.

Joel is the only real professional journalist on this blog and the rest of us should respect the privacy of strangers.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 6, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

I'm bad at Chile, but learned Spanish the old way, by reading, which meant Neruda. The country's also famous for its cold-water surfing beaches. Winds racing around the Antarctic Sea generate steady, reliable "southern hemisphere swell".

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 6, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Yello... quite right. At least I knew enough to avoid being interviewed by Jon Oliver when I saw him interviewing people at an Obama rally during the '08 election.

Posted by: -TBG- | March 6, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

If you liked Neruda, you may enjoy Roberto Ampuero's El Caso Neruda, an original novelistic approachto Neruda's biography--would you believe a mystery novel?

Posted by: Braguine | March 6, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Here's a question for our fashion mavens. Should first ladies wear bras at state dinner?

I think it is the first lady's own business.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 6, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Well said, yello.

That's good to hear, TBG. Now that I have the iPod, it is possible to BFW (Boodle from work) but I'm so busy! I hope to backboodle the past week sometime this weekend. Love to Athena, Persephone, Zeus and Dr. G also.

Posted by: -dbG- | March 6, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Well said, yello.

That's good to hear, TBG. Now that I have the iPod, it is possible to BFW (Boodle from work) but I'm so busy! I hope to backboodle the past week sometime this weekend. Love to all the G's, including Persephone, my favorite cat.

Posted by: -dbG- | March 6, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Hey dbG!

Yello -- I'm with ya. Frankly, I just scroll past without even looking.

Posted by: -ftb- | March 6, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Failure of technology to act as expected is, something, alas, I have a lot of experience with.

Posted by: -dbG- | March 6, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Shriek: That link is a hoot!

Articles about first-lady attire are, for me, such a throwback to the 1960s. Every time I read one visions of Jackie Kennedy's hats come to mind.

And I'm left wondering what Sarkozy was wearing.

Posted by: MsJS | March 6, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

You can donate here:

The object of the Teleton is to raise money to build 20,000 houses, so far, it is behind on reaching its goal.

For 3 minutes, we all went through the same horror. From then on things got worse for many.

I didd't suffer any damage. I have electricity, cold beer, plenty of food.

The neediest suffered the worst. Food and clothes is reaching them. Field hospitals are replacing hospitals damaged or destroyed. Too many people have lost it all and have no shelter. Emergency temporary housing is already under construction. No one knows yet how many are the homeless. Probably over 100,000.

For many of them, things will get worse.

We don't know what the damage to the country's production capacity is.

Steel production will be frozen for three months at least.

This is not the first major catastrophe to hit the country. Chileans are a stoic and resourceful people. It will be hard, but they will rise again.

Posted by: Braguine | March 6, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I agree yello. Playing pretend should only go so far, especially when the WaPo and Joel himself could, potentially, be involved.

Thanks Brag for alerting us to that event! I am hopeful it will do very well.

I saw that article about the wine, sd, earlier. At first it seemed venal to worry about spilled wine when so much death and homelessness is about, but then I realized that wine is such an important part of the Chilean economy that there is nothing trivial about this.

And some of those Chilean wines are really, really good.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 6, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

The vine harvest should be starting. Don't know what will happen with it.

Posted by: Braguine | March 6, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Brag. Please keep re-posting those links!

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 6, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Have fun, HELP Chile Helps Chile.

TV Live from Santiago

You can donate here:

Thanks, Ivansmom.

Posted by: Braguine | March 6, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

I've got the Chile telethon streaming on the big screen. Right now it's some old guy singing. I'm hoping that they will soon cut to some telenovela starlets making impassioned pleas for assistance. My wife is just rolling her eyes, but she is used to this sort of behavior by now.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 6, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Great, Yello!
They have lots of starlets and models, hang in there

Posted by: Braguine | March 6, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Easter island people sent in US$ 12,000 . Not bad

Posted by: Braguine | March 6, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

That looks like Gatica (Lives in LA)

Posted by: Braguine | March 6, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Don Francisco will pull it off again by surpasing the goal. He usually does some serious arm twisting behind the scenes.

Posted by: Braguine | March 6, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Brag. Had to bail on the teleton. It's the battle of the Techs in the last ACC game of the regular season.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 6, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Yello, you probably saw more than enough. Keutzberger showed what happened to Talca, his birthplace. It's totally trashed.

Posted by: Braguine | March 6, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

It takes a DNA Girl to go to LaMarck.

Joel Achenbach, Potawatomi reporter.

I'm being silly for Yoki.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 6, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

And Yoki appreciates it!

Posted by: Yoki | March 6, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Back on-topic, Verizon webmail serves up AP stories when you log on to your email, and had this today:

I had assumed that most home-schoolers were religiously motivated, but didn't realize the percentage was so high, nor that they had so thoroughly dominated the market for home-schooling textbooks.

Posted by: rashomon | March 6, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Thinking of you and yours, Yoki.

Posted by: Windy3 | March 6, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Rashomon - some years ago we toyed with the notion of homeschooling, and we discovered that the homeschooling community down here is violently splintered.

Some feel that the public school system is hopelessly incompetent. Some feel it is part of a widespread liberal plot to transform our children into communists. And quite a lot of home-schoolers simply accept as an article of faith that Jesus hates the National Education Association.

As a result of this flirtation we still get a lot of homeschooling junk mail. And I am afraid a lot of it is not exactly pro-science.

But here's the thing. Kids have this way of, eventually, thinking for themselves. Sometimes it just takes a lot longer than others.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 6, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

From the AP story linked above: "When the AP asked about that passage, university spokesman Brian Scoles said the sentence made it into the book because of an editing error and will be removed from future editions."

Yeah, you *&^%$, blame it on the editor.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | March 6, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

And from Dana Milbank's wonderfully sarcastic review of Karl Rove's book:

"Heckuva job, Architect [Rove]. In fact, these new disclosures call for a correction of some of my past reporting:


"Every article about George W. Bush ever written by Dana Milbank was wrong. The Post regrets the error."

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | March 6, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

I have a fairly standard rant about home-schooling that has caused a few people to never speak to me again. A lot of it comes down to this hypothetical question: What qualifications do have that would make somebody else hire you to teach their kids since essentially you are hiring yourself to be your child's private tutor? Some people can discuss the issue rationally and some can't.

And while the home schooling market has expanded beyond religious zealots, it is still the core constituency. Like a lot things involving children it is a lot harder than it looks and plenty of people don't realize it.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 6, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

You're right, yello. I think that what drives most of these people -- and those who are über-religious -- is their apparent feeling of a lack of control and a craving for absolutes. This absolutism appears in (1) not *ever* acknowledging mistakes (i.e., acting like a human being) in themselves and not *ever* tolerating mistakes made by others; (2) acting in great fear of what we (here) acknowledge to be (and revel in) the scientific method of reasoning ("Hey -- this theory doesn't work, so let's try that one (shampoo, rinse, repeat)"); (3) etc.

I see this country through the template of an unfortunate dummying down. There are two types of brain-drain going on. The first is the breathtaking lack of rigor instilled in kids from the very beginning of the educational process (essentially barely post-womb life). There are people who do not read to their kids -- over and over and over and over. It's essential to language development. Besides, reading to the kids (even if it's a case book from Civil Procedure, which some of my classmates did) establishes a very rich bonding and helps kids understand what relationships are. We have become a culture of uneducated and undereducated narcissists, people who are easily manipulated, both macro and micro, and who make the country vulnerable.

The second type of brain-drain is not necessarily occurring now, but could in the future -- and that is when educated people, no longer wishing to tolerate the bullying and idiocy of the non-educated people who attempt to "lead" the country (note that I didn't say "govern"), take to the road, the planes and/or the boats and leave this country, taking their abilities with them.

Wow -- that made me hungry. I wonder what's for dinner.

Posted by: -ftb- | March 6, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Yello -your point about teaching has a lot of validity, but I caution you not to generalize too much. Although a lot of people home school for philosophical or religious purposes, quite a number do so because their kids have special needs of one kind or another. Which means that these kids aren't like other kids.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 6, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

I know some home schoolers here who made that choice purely for logistical reasons. Oklahoma is a small state for the Midwest/West, but farmer and rancher kids can sit on a bus a long long time.

My qualifications for teaching someone else's kid: I'm pretty sure I could be patient enough with someone else's child to attempt to impart knowledge in an organized, structured way. That's not to say I have the ability to do so, just the patience. However, I strongly doubt even that basic qualification when it comes to teaching my own child. Sure, we teach the Boy all the time. We just send him off to people who know what they're doing to receive organized education. Teachers in this house are, as a group, viewed with respect bordering on awe.

And for everyone wondering why middle schools everywhere struggle: it is because they are full of middle school aged children. Take the kids out and the schools would be fine.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 6, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps I should have written, as I intended, that In this house, teachers are etc etc. Ivansdad and I teach, when we do, mainly at the college and postgraduate level. Not thirteen-year-olds.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 6, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

The point is, I know homeschooler parents who would never presume that they are better teachers for somebody else's kids than what the public schools can provide. But they know that when it comes to *their* children, they can do a better job, often just because they have the time and patience to do so.

And then there are parents who "double school." These parents send their kids to school with the expectation that the kids are simply never going to learn all they need in the Public School Environment. While school can provide socialization and enrichment, most true learning still occurs at home.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 6, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Krugman points out that our current debt is being nicely serviced at a mere 1.5%. Implications of this and more

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 6, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

That homeschooling article is entirely too depressing... *SIGHHHHHHHHH*

And I'd think not a one of those zealots sees the intense irony of their being able to homeschool due to all the scientific advances that provide them their willfully distorted worldview.

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 6, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget cyber-schooling. For those who want/need to home-school their children but know they aren't qualified to teach.

Different topic...Western MD SHA office puts snowfall totals this year at 262.5 inches. I guess I'll stop complaining.

Have a happy night all.

Posted by: LostInThought | March 6, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

I have a good friend, who was a middle school assistant principal, who says that she's never seen a home-schooled kid who was educationally up to grade level when enrolled in public school. There is a reason I am not a teacher, and I would not have wanted to attempt it with my kids.

Public schools aren't perfect, by any means, but it seems to me that successful students are those with parents who support education, regardless of the excellence/non-excellence of the individual school. My nephew has dyslexia; his parents have him in a private school dedicated to dealing with those issues, at great cost to themselves. But that was the right decision for them. My niece, his twin sister, is still in public school.

My friend the middle school assistant principal is now principal of the school for kids who can't be mainstreamed, in a neighboring county. She says it's much easier than dealing with middle schoolers.

Posted by: slyness | March 6, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

One of my case studies is a very religious (but otherwise quite fun) former coworker whose wife homeschooled their oldest kids but put their youngest into public school because of the legally mandated special services necessary to meet his special needs that they could not afford on their own.

And yes, teaching occurs at all levels all the time. I used to make my son calculate gas mileage in his head because I didn't think the public schools emphasized it.

Ironically, my wife was our son's math teacher for three years. She suffered a lot of innuendo that she was favoring him just because he was her kid. When he continued to succeed outside her class, she felt vindicated.

Ultimately a parent has to do what they think is best for their kid. I just disagree with what some other people think is best for their kid. Particularly when they think they need to fill their kid's heads with idiotic superstitious nonsense and they choose to do it themselves.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 6, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, this was an informative series of articles published last year in Biology Direct for Darwins anniversary (free access), edited by Eugene Koonin a bioinformatics master at the NIH

The one on trees/networks is especially fun for history and pretty pictures:

Posted by: DNA_Girl | March 6, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

For Yoki. Oh, TBG would like this. Heck, for anybody.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 6, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

What a cool video, Jumper! I'm still chuckling and wishing I could sing.

Posted by: -ftb- | March 6, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Sorta stupid but funny, which is a good combination, thanks Jumper!

Posted by: badsneakers | March 6, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

I love Improv Everywhere - my youngest often shows me the latest. Food Court Musical was pretty good, too.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | March 6, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

I love that the reaction of half the onlookers is to pull out their cell phone cameras.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 6, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the Improve Everywhere link Jumper. Being an IE agent is on my bucket list.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 6, 2010 9:06 PM | Report abuse

SCC- that would be Improv, though Improve is not a bad idea.

A long day at the DFL county convention but worth it, I was elected a delegate to the state convention. Had to maneuver into the "uncommitted" caucus to stay viable, but it's no secret I'm an RT Rybak supporter.

Amazingly, the only contested election for county party office was for the Affirmative Action Officer. I'm glad the nice young guy from the local LGBT Alliance won, though truth be told I was willing to vote for anyone younger than 70. I bring down the average age at most party functions, and that's not good.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 6, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

"The problem is that in sexually reproducing organisms neither genotype nor phenotype is inherited from parents to offspring, and even less is fitness. The genotype of any offspring is always unique as it is always generated de novo by random combinations of genes from the two parents. This phenomenon has a very important effect, namely, even an excellent individual showing extremely high fitness may have offspring whose fitness is average or even subnormal. Usually, within a few generations the unique combination of genes of an excellent individual will be diluted and its relatives will in no way differ from relatives of any other individual."

Interesting. Also challenging. AFter I read every bit of Gould's Ontogeny and Philogeny I took a long rest. It's not my field, really. That was one good book, I got a lot more out of it than any single college course.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 6, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Jumper... That video was great! I loved the guy who just kept picking out his produce. But mostly I loved the huge smiles on all the other faces. Life is grand!

Posted by: -TBG- | March 6, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

That is pretty funny. At the grocery store I go to, there is a young guy who sings while he helps people in line, putting their stuff on the conveyor, etc. Frankly, I find it a little creepy, but he sings well and seems to be having a good time. I'd just rather not have anyone touching my groceries, thank you. But I've apparently gotten to the stage where I look like I need help (I do, I need all the help I can get).

Posted by: seasea1 | March 6, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him th at died for all, Jesus Christ.

Morning, friends.

I didn't mean to imply that "you" felt that way. I was trying to say that when there is serious unbelief in God and Christ, many times these folks try to replace there belief system with something else, and for some it is science. For others it could be money. There all kinds of idols.

My sister that died was an assistant principal at a school in the Charlotte area, and she often said that parents sometimes did not want their children in public schools because they felt the quality of education wasn't up to their standard. And then there's the "elephant in the room" too. Of course, that's never listed as a reason, but one suspects it's high on the list too.


Yoki, we hope you and family are finding some comfort and peace. Much love your way.

Scotty, Mudge, Martooni, Lindaloo, and everyone here, have a great Sunday. And give God some of your time.

Slyness, have to open the church up this morning, but just wanted to say yesterday was sooooooooo beautiful. A little chilly, but just lovely. Enjoy.

Posted by: cmyth4u | March 7, 2010 5:37 AM | Report abuse

Now this is a Rube Goldberg music video:

Posted by: yellojkt | March 7, 2010 6:24 AM | Report abuse

Morning, all. Cassandra, you were up early.

I had to get out of bed because my back was hurting. This is what I get for spending an hour pulling weeds out of the periwinkle bed. I filled my four-gallon bucket twice and didn't get all the weeds, but most of them. I need to remember to take ibuprofen before bedtime after I've abused my back like that.

Mr. T worked in a t-shirt and shorts, Cassandra, but the Geekdottir and I had on our fleece jackets. It was indeed a lovely day, and today looks to be nice as well. The daffodils have started blooming around here, so spring can't be far behind.

Posted by: slyness | March 7, 2010 8:04 AM | Report abuse


*gasping for breath*


Posted by: -ftb- | March 7, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Yoki, boodle hugs to you, and here's something from our Mary Anne:

"Only in the agony of parting do we look into the depths of love."
George Eliot


Posted by: kbertocci | March 7, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Gov. Rick Perry.

John Heilemann, who, along with Mark Halperin, wrote the extremely popular book "Game Change, said, during their book talk in Austin on Thursday night, that President Obama would be very vulnerable in 2012 to the right Republican with the right message.

Heilemann said there were four who could fit that description of being the right Republican with the right message, but that he wouldn't name them.

Speculation abounds of a future presidential bid by Gov. Rick Perry. Last night in Austin, at an event featuring Mark Halperin and John Heileman, the authors of the best-seller Game Change, Halperin said he has a list of four politicians with the potential to beat Pres. Barack Obama in 2012. He declined to say who was on the list, but he acknowledged one person who wasn’t: Gov. Rick Perry.

What Heilemann actually said was that he wouldn't name them during the talk, but if anyone was curious, she or he could stop by the book signing table afterward to get this short list. Unfortunately, Reeve Hamilton of the Texas Tribune, whose excerpt is above, didn't. So after my husband and I had had a restroom break, I stopped by the signing table--again.

The pair were giving out the four names to someone else, and I thought I had them all in my short-term memory, stepped away 20 paces to jot them down on a piece of paper in my purse, but, at this point now deeply fatigued, could only remember three, so I stepped back to the signing table one more time, this time with paper and pen in hand.

Heilemann explained that these were four were Mark Halperin's picks, and that he might make different picks and he started to put qualifiers on them, such as best candidates, those with the greatest chance of beating Obama. At this point, I really was becoming physically and mentally beat, so I didn't press Heilemann for alternate lists of four. As I mentioned, Halperin's list was verbally free to pretty much anyone who inquired:

John Kasich of Ohio
Jeb Bush of Florida
Mitch Daniels of Indiana
Haley Barbour of Mississippi

I'll let others fill in these four Republicans' resumes. Not on that list is NOT Rick Perry, as Heilemann pointed out, about whom Heilemann has a healthy sense of skepticism. For a person who is running for president of the **United ** [**bold/italcs], Perry's mention of Texas secession from the United States is going to be a huge problem, Heilemann explained. Albatross, I'd say.

It was Heilemann, whom I believe also said, at the very tail end of his and Halperin's time on stage, that Perry, in all likelihood, would have to win his third term as governor of Texas before he could or would throw his Stetson into the presidental ring. AP, via the NYT, had that story late last night:

*more a bit later this morning*

Posted by: laloomis | March 7, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

SCC **United** States

Posted by: laloomis | March 7, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

One of my favorite writers (Robert Wright) was a guest on one of my favorite radio shows (Speaking of Faith) this morning, and it made my morning jog a real pleasure.

Moreover, the discussion is completely in line with the current Achen-subject. Wright told again the story of how his parents raised him to be a Southern Baptist. They were Creationists, and he joined the church at age 8 or 9. Only later did he discover the beauty of the theory of natural selection. The two worldviews battled for his mind and he became, as he termed it, "the village atheist." Later in life he learned to reconcile religion and science, and now he no longer calls himself an atheist. I hope his story shows that fundamentalism is doomed in the long run; I think that is what he believes. Anyway, you can listen to the show, or the unedited interview, or you can download it as an mp3:

or even watch a video of the interview:

Best to everybody--may all your transactions be non-zero-sum...

Posted by: kbertocci | March 7, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

good morning boodle! Thanks for the heads up kb. Our local station carries SoF at 1000 so I can catch it then.

Almost had an above freezing night last night, won't be long now until there are some plant signs of spring besides sap running.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 7, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

I would think sap would be too sticky to run on...

*enjoying-a-gloriously-sunny-morning Grover waves*

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 7, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Hello kb, thanks for the link. Everyone, if you have the day off, please enjoy. Around here, we should have some very nice weather.

Posted by: russianthistle | March 7, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all. It is overcast here and will probably rain, but several daffodils are trying hard to bloom and I wouldn't be at all surprised if they succeeded by this evening. This is the latest they have bloomed in some time; they've been known to be out in late January.

After church today I get to drive to another city and sing a service and concert there - two weekends in a row for an "away game". Fun for everyone, as we sing someplace new and the people there hear new music and new voices. I know one of the anthems is new to them for sure, because Gerald Near (very big in church music) wrote it for our conductor and choir.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 7, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

New kit!

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 7, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Hey everyone (trying ever so hard to sound like a combination of Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney about to announce a full-bore show to start in their backyard, with complete orchestra, natch) ...


Posted by: -ftb- | March 7, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, y'all.

Warm muffins, coffee and OJ on the table.

Cloudy in TWC after 4 sunny days in a row. Won't have the pleasure of daffodils for another month, at least.

In the "how to maintain a healthy level of insanity" department, I recently received the following advice:
1. At lunch time, sit in your parked car with sunglasses on and point a hair dryer at passing cars. See if anyone slows down.
2. Every time someone asks you to do something, ask if s/he wants fries with that.
3. Put decaf in the coffee maker for 3 weeks. Once everyone gets over caffeine addictions, switch to espresso.
4. Skip down the hall rather than walk and see how many looks you get.
5. Order a Diet Water whenever you go out to eat, with a serious face.
6. Specify that your drive-through order is 'To Go'.
7. Men, pick up a box of condoms at the pharmacy, then go to the counter and ask where the fitting room is.

Off to bake!

Posted by: MsJS | March 7, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I had to laugh a couple of minutes ago, at Donna Brazile's remark on ABC's "This Week" program about Texas Gov. Rick Perry being a Scott Brown centerfold-type of guy, "very easy on the eyes."

I did ask Tana Kent, event coordinator at the Salt Lick barbecue restaurant outside Driftwood, for whom she'd vote in the November governor's race, Bill White or Rick Perry? I'd rather not say, she laughed. I said that I'd met Perry in the past ["Alamo" movie premiere], without providing the detail, and that he is handsome. "*Very* handsome," Tana immediately chimed, with a large grin on her face. Still, Tana begged off, smiling, about expressing her choice of gubernatorial candidate, despite my mention that her favored choice would be off the record.

I asked the two women seated to my immediate right while we were waiting for Texas Tribune's Evan Smith and "Game Change" authors Halperin and Heilemann to take the stage for whom they'd vote.

The woman seated immediately to my right on Thursday night is a Republican and voted for Perry in the Republican primary on Tuesday. Perry is technically her boss, though she is not a direct report, because she commutes into Austin and works in the state's A.G. office. She said that in the genral election, she thought she might seriously vote for White.

The woman two seats to my left was the first person in the book signing line for Heilemann and Halperin, she having arrived at the LBJ Library and Museum at 2 p.m. I was the second person in line, we having arrived at 4:30 p.m. She was widowed, having formerly lived in Lafayette, Ind., and Ann Arbor, Mich., where her husband passed away. They had already planned on moving to Texas, so she followed through on their dream. She now lives in a Sun City community in Georgetown, and has close ties to her city's Southwestern University. She is slim, was fashionably dressed, and is very well-read; I enjoyed her company, I know her name. It was during our conversation that she informed me that Bill (she couldn't recall his last name), one of the members of the worldwide smallpox eradication team would be speaking at Southwestern on March 11. She said she'd email me the details, but I have already found them online. How much would I like to attend? Where is George Spix when I need him?

The bright woman from Georgetown is a true-Tim Russert "blue" Democrat, having put a Bill White yard sign in her lawn and rpoudly displaying it in her highly Republican neighborhood.

*more on Perry's gubernatorial vulnerability and other Republicans' presidential vulnerabilities, as mentioned by the Game Changer authors, sometime after our breakfast this ayem. Sorry to have mised you guys, Evan, Mark and John, at Cisco's Friday morning *l* *

Posted by: laloomis | March 7, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company