Sunday, June 15, 2008

If you need to vote Republican ...

Très amusant.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Una perla anzi porci

This story in the Times prompted these letters. The last caught my eye:

I love the author's words: "No reputable college or university will teach the “strengths and weaknesses” of atomic theory or the theory of gravity."

Again: "No reputable college or university will teach the “strengths and weaknesses” of atomic theory or the theory of gravity."

Again: "No reputable college or university will teach the “strengths and weaknesses” of atomic theory or the theory of gravity."

I am ashamed to say that I am affiliated with an institution at which "the “strengths and weaknesses of scientific theory" was part of the general education science requirement, until the most recent revision of the curriculum.

What made this situation even more unbearable is that the institution regarded itself as relatively enlightened.

Compared to what? The Inquisition?

I wish that there were members of the faculty outside of our science division who were as vocal as

Michael King at the Austin chronicle, who wrote this last December 14:

DECEMBER 14, 2007:

Point Austin: God Knows

Mitt Romney, Christine Comer, and the political uses of religion


Today's homily might as well begin with a borrowing from the Rev. Mitt Romney, who recently visited Texas to explain to us the relationship between religious belief and political freedom. "Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom," Romney pronounced. "Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together or perish alone." ...

Pray for Freedom

There is plenty of corollary foolishness. New SBOE Chair Don McLeroy, a Bryan dentist and an amiable boob in the pure-dee Texas tradition, is an avowed creationist who has adopted the new intelligent-design lingo and says all he wants for the schools is to teach the "strengths and weaknesses" of scientific theory – the latest cant, echoed by his creationist brethren on the board. He also insisted last week that TEA employees "can say what they want. They have freedom of speech." McLeroy apparently hasn't communicated that elementary constitutional principle to staffers at the agency, who explicitly cower in fear that anything they say that violates the science/anti-science "neutrality" doctrine will result in their sharing the fate of Christine Comer. They may be timorous, but they're not stupid.

There you have it: the current state of intellectual and political freedom in Texas, where a small group of fundamentalist fanatics drives public education policy, and an utterly cynical governor – who this week endorsed the brazenly unfundamentalist Rudy Giuliani for president because he's "electable" – panders to the worst sort of religious fanaticism (emphasis mine - OG) as a working principle of governance. Yet the Rev. Romney solemnly declares, "Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom."

I'm perfectly aware that religious faith can form the ground of community engagement and social activism. But in this time and in this place, religious sentiment is most often used as an ideological bludgeon to enforce conformity and obedience to authority. So it is that Mitt the Mormon journeys to Texas and pleads, "I'm just like everybody else," and Christine Comer and her colleagues receive a rather different sacred message: "Do as your told, if you know what's good for you."

If this is religion, I'll choose freedom from it, every single time.

See the TEA's justification for terminating Christine Comer, and Comer's resignation letter .

Send your prayers, curses, and news tips to

I will drink a toast to you tonight, Michael King.

Pour les musiciens entre nous

If you find four musicians, you're sure to find a fifth.

A fine Irish joke it is indeed

This old but fyne bit of Irish humor comes from a colleague.
John O’Reilly hoisted his beer and said, “Here’s to spending the rest of me life, between the legs of me wife!”

That won him the top prize at the pub for the best toast of the night.

He went home and told his wife, Mary, “I won the prize for the Best toast of the night”.

She said, “Aye, did ye now. And what was your toast?”

John said, "Here’s to spending the rest of me life, sitting in church beside me wife.”

“Oh, that is very nice indeed, John!” Mary said.

The next day, Mary ran into one of John’s drinking buddies on the street corner. The man chuckled leeringly and said, “John won the prize the other night at the pub with a toast about you, Mary.”

She said, “Aye, he told me, and I was a bit surprised myself. You know, he’s only been there twice in the last four years. Once he fell asleep and the other time I had to pull him by the ears to make him come.”

Ah, you're full of shyte!

USB devices we wish we had


Animator versus Animation

Very amusing. Click here to animate.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

More Tales from Academia

Part of our occasional series, "Tales from Academia", a vital service for our readers.

InsideHigherEd reports today

June 11
Not Our Best and Brightest?

The missteps in Iraq are well documented by now.

rary shelves could be lined with books that criticize the poorly constructed endgame, the insufficient troop levels and the disbanding of the Iraqi military. There have, however, been glimmers of promise that have gotten a share of ink as well. Among those success stories is the American University of Iraq, a Western-style institution in the war-torn country’s northern region that promises to “lead the transformation of Iraq into a liberal and democratic society.”

The university’s lofty aspirations, as espoused on its Web site, make the selection of its first chancellor all the more puzzling. Owen Cargol, who took the helm at AU-Iraq in 2007 and resigned in late April of this year, had a checkered past that could have been revealed to university organizers with a simple Google search. The sexual harassment scandal that brought down Cargol at Northern Arizona University in 2001 was well publicized, in all of its explicit detail, but apparently never came to the attention of the U.S. officials who trusted Cargol to help reshape the Middle East.

...Cargol’s 2001 resignation stemmed from allegations made by a Northern Arizona employee who alleged that Cargol, while naked in a locker room, grabbed the employee’s genitals, the Arizona Republic reported. In a subsequent e-mail to the employee, Cargol described himself as “a rub-your-belly, grab-your-balls, give-you-a-hug, slap-your-back, pull-your-dick, squeeze-your-hand, cheek-your-face, and pat-your-thigh kind of guy.
Postscript: Kevin Drum mentions Cargol in his Quote Of The Day in The Washington Monthly
Uh huh. You'll be unsurprised to know that Cargol was considered an ideal choice by the Coalition Provisional Authority to become the first chancellor of the American University of Iraq last year. Via Henry Farrell.
Well, as I have written elsewhere, "shit shit shit shit shit."

Shit shit shit shit shit!

Is "Shit shit shit shit shit!" a grammatially correct sentence?

Krugman's blog referred today ("Post Post post post post") to
a grammatical but incomprehensible sentence:

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

Thanks to the web, you can easily learn both the explanation and the history.

The wiki entry is amusing. So what about "Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck"?

IMNSHO, "Shit shit shit shit shit!" is a grammatially correct sentence, but "Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck" cannot be. We can discuss this at beer:30!

Here is a good image for "Shit shit shit shit shit!" ( plenty more of these here) .

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sleeping with the enemy?

The image and the video are from Truth Through