Monday, June 30, 2008

Discussion on state education testing now online

My televised discussion/debate on education testing with several other figures in state education in Kentucky that took place last Monday, June 23 is now online at Kentucky Educational Television (KET). You can access it directly by clicking here. Guests on the show were:
  • Sharron Oxendine, president of the Kentucky Education Association
  • Lu Young, superintendent of Jessamine County Schools
  • Tim Decker, an art teacher at Russell Middle School
  • Martin Cothran, senior policy analyst with The Family Foundation of Kentucky

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Pew Forum: 21 percent of atheists believe in God

Okay. Now I've heard everything: According to a Pew Forum report 21 percent of atheists believe in God. Not only that, but, as the blog "Hot Air" has pointed out, the same report indicates that, in addition, 12 percent of atheists believe in heaven and 10 percent pray at least once a week.

I'm trying to imagine what an atheist prayer would sound like, but nothing is coming to me. Obviously these are not very good atheists, and are in need of some remedial atheist training, in Lesson 1 of which would be instruction on the concept that atheists don't believe in God and so it's probably not too terribly useful to pray to him.

Thanks to Polysemy, a great little blog, for spotting this. Here are the numbers from the Pew Forum:

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Lenny Bruce is dead. Again.

On Bob Dylan's album "Shot of Love," there is a song called "Lenny Bruce is Dead":
Lenny Bruce is dead,
But his ghost lives on and on.
Never did get any Golden Globe award,
Never made it to Synanon.
He was an outlaw,
That's for sure,
More of an outlaw than you ever were.
Lenny Bruce is gone
But his spirit's livin' on and on.
George Carlin is gone now too, and his spirit's livin' on and on. It was, in fact, the same spirit as Lenny Bruce's. But it's hard to be Lenny Bruce, particularly when you're not actually him.

As John Wohlstetter points out, Carlin didn't start out channeling Bruce:
Carlin's childhood ambition was to become his generation's Danny Kaye. Anyone who saw his 60s routines could see the resemblance. Carlin was funny, expressive, creative and clean. "There'll be a massacre at the fort at 9 PM tonight; White Eagle will lead...." Carlin even satirized the counter-culture he later embraced ("This is Al Sleet, your hippy-dippy weatherman....").
But, as Time Magazine points out all of this changed when Carlin saw Bruce perform:
Carlin started his career on the traditional nightclub circuit in a coat and tie, pairing with Burns to spoof TV game shows, news and movies. Perhaps in spite of the outlaw soul, "George was fairly conservative when I met him," said Burns, describing himself as the more left-leaning of the two. It was a degree of separation that would reverse when they came upon Lenny Bruce, the original shock comic, in the early '60s.

"We were working in Chicago, and we went to see Lenny, and we were both blown away," Burns said, recalling the moment as the beginning of the end for their collaboration if not their close friendship. "It was an epiphany for George. The comedy we were doing at the time wasn't exactly groundbreaking, and George knew then that he wanted to go in a different direction."

Despite Carlin's Brucian pose, there was a big difference between the two comics. For one thing, Bruce was more of an outlaw than Carlin ever was: Carlin didn't get any Golden Globe Award either, but he did win the "Lifetime Achievement Award" from the American Comedy Awards. Bruce appeared on network television only six times, while Carlin ended up a familiar face on the tube. Like Bruce, Carlin employed obscenities in his act, but while Bruce attracted persecution for it, Carlin could only garner accolades. Bruce died young, of a drug overdose; Carlin lived to 71, on the wagon.

Carlin's attempt to take up Bruce's mantle as the revolutionary, underground, anti-establishment comic ultimately didn't work. As hard as he tried, Carlin just couldn't get in as much trouble as Bruce. Every attempt to be bad was met, not with outrage, but with applause. Carlin could never be Bruce because he arrived too late on the cultural scene.

Revolution only lasts about one generation, and then the next generation has to settle for wearing the t-shirts.

By the time Carlin came around, most of the barriers had been broken. He did his best to outrage people with the obscenities and the drug jokes and the atheism, but by that time no one was much interested in arresting people for such things--or even being outraged by them. We were too busy cheering them.

It was the very anti-establishment nature of Bruce that made him funny. But Carlin, like so many other modern comedians unable to distinguish themselves among the crowd of rebels, got less funny the more political and socially conscious he became. In an age when the heretics have the pulpit, it's hard for them to strike the heretical pose and still be funny: just look at Bill Maher and Al Franken.

It's too bad Carlin tried so hard to be Bruce. He could have just been Carlin and been just as funny, maybe even funnier.

Begging the Question: How can non-Christians condemn Christians for anything?

A poster by the name of "Mephistopholes" asks, on the Philosophy Forum, "How can Christians possibly rationalize these things?" whereupon he lists a litany of bad things found in the Bible, some of them either commanded by or apparently acquiesced to by God. But isn't it just as logical to ask, "How can nonChristians possibly condemn these things?"

Monday, June 23, 2008

Politically Correct school textbooks redefining "Jihad"

According to the American Textbook Council (ATC), school textbooks have redefined the word "Jihad" in a politically correct attempt not to offend anyone (except, of course, people who care about historical accuracy). According to the New York Examiner, Gilbert Sewall, director of the ATC:
complains the word jihad has gone through an "amazing cultural reorchestration" in textbooks, losing any connotation of violence. He cites Houghton Mifflin's popular middle school text, "Across the Centuries," which has been approved for use in Montgomery County Schools. It defines "jihad" as a struggle "to do one's best to resist temptation and overcome evil."

Is opposition to the Louisiana Science Education act thinly disguised attempt to impose atheism?

The "Louisiana Coalition for Science" is calling on Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal to veto SB 733, the Louisiana Science Education Act, for being a "thinly disguised attempt" to bring creationism to the state's schools because, in addition to support for the bill from Intelligent Design advocates, some of its supporters are creationists. The bill calls for "critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories being studied including, but not limited to, evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning"

A terrible, terrible thing, I'm sure you will agree.

But if SB 733 is a "creationist" bill because some of its supporters are creationists, then wouldn't opposition to the bill have to be considered "atheist" if some of its supporters were atheists? Its the same argument, after all. So let's hear the Louisiana Coalition for Science explain why their logic doesn't extend to the fact that there are atheist organizations opposing the bill, and why the same conclusion about atheism doesn't follow from it.

Here are the Mississippi Atheists on why the bill should not be passed. Oh, and here's the Ethical Atheist declaiming on the evils of SB 733. In fact, aren't atheists quite well represented in the whole opposition to Intelligent Design? Let's see, there's Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris--all of whom are actively involved in opposition to it.

Looks like an atheist plot.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

One more try...

Joshua Rosenau at the National Center for Science Education responds to my post asking the question, if the relationships of homosexuals are already stable then why do we need marriage to stabilize them in a recent post at his blog Thoughts from Kansas:

Martin Cothran, blogger for the Disco. Inst., opposes gay marriage, and wonders:

If their relationships are already stable, then why do they need to be stabilized?
Compelling logic. Clearly, marriage is useless.

Of course, evidence suggests that marriage actually does have a stabilizing effect on people. And gay people, it turns out, are people, too.

Which, of course, completely misses my point. I never said that marriage does not have a stabilizing affect on people. In fact, I assumed it in the point I was making. And the point I was making is that gays want to have it both ways in their PR campaigns: they first take umbrage if anyone tries to assert that they are overly promiscuous and then they turn around and argue that they need marriage in order to be less promiscuous.

Yes gay people are people too. So maybe we could restate the question for Rosenau and see if we can break through the logical firewall he seems to have set in his mental system settings: "If the relationships of gay people are already stable then why do we need marriage to stabilize them?"

We'll see what happens, but we're not hopeful

Saturday, June 21, 2008

KHSAA: When those who make the rules are unfair

Wow. When I agree with two Herald-Leader editorials in one day, it forces me to do an opinion inventory on myself. But so it is. In addition to firing a shot across the bow of UK President Lee Todd, the Herald calls for something to be done about the Kentucky High School Athletics Association, whose decisions about students transferring from one school to another have become increasingly bizarre.

Maybe the KHSAA should try to find itself another mission in life than to be a protection racket for public school athletic programs--like maybe looking out for the best interests of students.

"Symbolism matters," says Lexington Herald about UK bonus for Todd

The Lexington Herald-Leader blasts University of Kentucky President Lee Todd over his bonus, asking why is isn't sharing the pain with everyone else.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Why do homosexual relationships need to be stabilized if they're already stable?

I didn't catch this when it was posted, but Richard John Neuhaus (Why, you ask, is he not on my list of Modern Wise Men, the answer to which is, "I have no idea) had an insightful comment on the California Supreme Court's decision to legalize same-sex "marriage".

In one part of the post, Neuhaus criticizes Father Thomas Reese, former editor of the Catholic magazine America, for floating the assertion that allowing homosexuals to "marry" would "stabilize" their relationships, a position Neuhaus mentions that Andrew Sullivan often espouses.

One thing Neuhaus doesn't mention is how totally inconsistent this view--of the desirability of marriage for stabilizing homosexual relationships--is with what homosexuals are always saying about their relationships. On the one hand, gay rights advocates frequently deny that their relationships are unstable (i.e., that they are inordinately promiscuous); on the hand, they say that allowing same-sex marriage would "stabilize" their relationships (i.e. reduce their penchant for promiscuity).

If their relationships are already stable, then why do they need to be stabilized?

Kangaroo Courts: How Canadian "human rights commissions" are clamping down on religious dissent over homosexuality

The conservative writer Mark Steyn has been hauled before a Canadian "human rights commission" for criticizing Islam, but, says John Leo, negative remarks about homosexuality are even more likely to get you hauled before a Canadian kangaroo court. Fortunately, the United States has the First Amendment, which prevents the increasingly intolerant left from restricting opinions here--at least as long as activist judges don't reinterpret it.

Darwinists: Objectivity is a creationist plot

Okay, I have now officially gone from merely disagreeing with the Darwinists to being concerned about their mental health. Here we were having this big debate over whether Intelligent Design met the criteria of science, and whether ID was appropriate to teach in public school classrooms, and whether ID was true at all, when all of a sudden, they went paranoid on us.

At first we were arguing over whether ID was objective, and whether it could withstand critical and logical analysis, and whether it could survive open and objective discussion. Now we are having to defend critical thinking, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion against the Darwinists who have apparently abandoned these things because they are all a part of a creationist conspiracy.

I'm sorry, let me rub my eyes one more time just to make sure I am seeing what I think I am seeing.

The Louisiana legislature passed the Science Education Act which merely calls for ""critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories being studied including, but not limited to, evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning"--and the response to this by the Darwinist establishment, upon seeing these things supported by people they disagree with, is to ... come out against them.

Can you say "cut off your nose to spite your face"?

They are so fearful of anyone who might question their theory that they are willing to jettison the very things they claim to be practicing and defending. So what are they going to do when they find out that Intelligent Design advocates walk upright? Stand on their heads? What is their response going to be when they discover that people who believe the world was not the produce of blind chance brush their teeth? Knock their own out?

If the ID forces are smart, their next move will be to come out in favor of Natural Selection--just so they can see the Darwinists reject it.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Not all "bad science" is treated equally

P. Z. Myers is on the rampage again (is he ever not on the rampage?), this time about the fact that Ken Ham (of Creation Museum fame) recently was invited to speak to a Pentagon prayer breakfast. Myers was particularly upset about Ham's comment that there is no extraterrestrial life according to the Bible.

Ham's position is untenable, of course, but it got me thinking...

I would submit that Ham is no less inconsistent in his position than many of Myers' allies are in theirs. Ham drastically overstate his case: the Bible just simply doesn't say anything about extra-terrestrial life. But many people who share Myers' scientistic mindset (I'm thinking of Carl Sagan here), and who spend so much time preaching to the rest of us about the importance of sticking to the evidence, seem to be little short of convinced that there is extra-terrestrial life--despite the fact that there is no evidence for it.


Now if the Bible doesn't say anything about extra-terrestrial life, the actual scientific evidence doesn't say much more than that. In fact, I wonder, is the Drake Equation any more scientific, under the criteria for such things as set forth by people like Myers, than Intelligent Design?

And if so, why wasn't Sagan considered as unwelcome in academia as the ID advocates are?

Boy Scouts being expelled for views on homosexuality

Another one that goes into the Decline of Western Civilization file. While the left-wing political activists get to set up shop in our public universities at taxpayer expense to agitate for gay rights and abortion on demand, the Boy Scouts are being kicked out of public facilities for the traditionalist views on homosexuality.

Go figure.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The marks of a barbarian

Well, there have been a lot of sightings of our Modern Wise Men. We just recently sighted Joseph Epstein. Anthony Esolen is a much more prolific presence on the web, thanks to his participation in the very excellent Mere Comments blog of Touchstone Magazine. Esolen has an excellent series of posts at Mere Comments called, "How to Tell a Barbarian." There are three parts already posted, and I don't know how many are planned, but there are Esolen's criteria for a barbarian:
  • The inability to appreciate the beautiful, the noble, or the grand.
  • The habitual relapse into easy gratification; the inability to sustain for long a noble and self-transcending quest.
  • The failure to live as a free man with duties and responsibilities in a community
Check it out.

P. J. O'Rourke's travels through museum Hell

P. J. O'Rourke encounters political correctness at the museum of his boyhood with the usual--for O'Rourke--humorous results.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Income Diversity at UK: Lee Todd gets a bonus

While the University of Kentucky is raising tuitions for its students, University President Lee Todd has been voted a $145,500 bonus by the UK Board for the 2007-2008 school year.

I'm really not against giving financial incentives to good people, and Todd is giving $50,000 of it back to the university, but the symbolism of this is not good. This goes into the same file as the State Senate's office redecorating plan.

An idea for KY's university presidents on energy self-sufficiency

Kentucky University presidents Lee T. Todd Jr., John A. Roush, Larry D. Shinn and James R. Ramsey opined in the Louisville Courier-Journal yesterday that we need to put greater emphasis on energy independence:
High crude oil prices and increasing dependence on foreign oil have sparked an intense discussion about energy diversification across the country.

And as America searches for responses to the energy independence riddle, Kentucky's energy and agriculture expertise will be more valuable than anyone could have imagined.
Hey, I've got an idea. There are some trees out there that could be used for firewood. Why don't the universities just allow logging on the forests that they are responsible for stewarding?

Oh. Whoops. Looks like Lee Todd already thought of that.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Darwinist group's open letter to LA Gov. Bobby Jindal

Here is the text of the letter from the "Louisiana Coalition for Science" urging Jindal to veto Senate Bill 733, which calls for "critical thinking skills," "logical analysis", and, worst of all, "open and objective discussion" about scientific issues. It would appear that these things are all a part of the Evil Creationist Plot to Take Over Schools.

No one really expects the governor to do anything but gladly sign it, however, at which point we can expect a reign of terror in Louisiana schools wherein students will be required to think critically, practice logic, and conduct all discussions openly and objectively.

How could this happen in America?

Newt Endorses Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal for McCain's Veep

I second that emotion.

Is George F. Will Buckley's successor?

A review of George F. Will's new book, One Man's America.

Louisiana Senate passes Science Education Act

As part of the Vast Creationist Conspiracy the Darwinists have been warning us about, the Louisiana Senate has passed the Science Education Act, which is supported by Intelligent Design advocates. The bill calls for "critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories being studied including, but not limited to, evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning."

We all know where critical thinking and logical analysis might lead our vulnerable children, not to mention the intellectual mischief which could result from open and objective discussion. Darwinists have been trying to warn us about this for some time, and so far, apparently, too few people have been listening.

And you can't deny they have a point: Can public schools survive the onset of logic and critical thinking?

The Bottled Water Scam

Add it to the ethanol scam and the global warming scam.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Exorcizing Congress: New evidence Jindal's the man for McCain

Apparently Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who is on McCain's short list of veep candidates, wrote an article for the New Oxford Review several years ago about his involvement in an exorcism in his college days. Some people, apparently, think this disqualifies Jindal, a Catholic convert from Hinduism from serving in the nation's 2nd highest office. I beg to differ.

What better qualification could you have for dealing with the Congress?


Joseph Epstein, one of our Ten Modern Wise Men, has written a funny and compelling case that we are under the rule of children. He basically argues that, unlike the pre-therapeutic generation in which he grew up, we have smothered our children in good intentions.

I'd say the one weakness in his article is that he does not critically examine some of the potential drawbacks of his own parents child-rearing philosophy, but otherwise I think he is dead on right.

Page One Kentucky: They might as well just be wearing white robes

Over at Page One Kentucky, where the intolerant attitude of modern liberalism can be seen in all its glory, "Jake" posted his most recent rant about State Sen. Jack Westwood, who committed the unpardonable sin of saying he thought there was a connection between abortion and breast cancer, a connection I'm not convinced of, but one that has some not insubstantial research backing. Westwood mentioned his position (one he has taken publicly for some time) in a letter to a constituent.

That is what originally started the squawking over at Page One.

Earlier, the same "Jake" had publicly accused The Family Foundation's David Edmunds of being a closet homosexual. Why? Apparently because Edmunds has opposed domestic partner benefits policies at the state's universities. See the connection?

Neither do we.

So we decided to go for a visit over at Page One, just to ask a few questions. The conversation has apparently been stopped by the adminstrator, but we took the precaution of copying the comments section.

Here's how it went, starting with Jake's original post:
  • More on Jack Westwood - We’re Sick of Him

    June 12th, 2008 · 17 Comments

    Jack Westwood, the man who has proved to be the most ill-informed and sick legislator in Kentucky really infuriates most people these days. By now you’ve all read about his letter to Diane Brumback that essentially claims her breast cancer was caused by an abortion.

    Diane just posted Westwood’s full letter and all we can say is wow. Wow.

  • Martin Cothran: Where in his letter does Westwood say the recipient’s cancer is a result of abortion?

  • Terri: Way to miss the point, sir!

  • Martin Cothran: And the point is?

  • jake: Terri’s point is that you have to be a completely snowed not to understand why Jack was making the points he made in Diane’s letter. As Diane has explained to me personally, Jack knew of Diane’s history (and almost no one else did) and knew of the choices she had made in her life. Him bringing those issues up knowing that Diane is now suffering from breast cancer wasn’t exactly coincidental on his part.

    But, keep on spinning, Marty, and keep on hating those gays in central Kentucky. Good work.

  • Terri:

    I didn’t realize that he *was* aware of her medical history. I thought it was bad enough that he flippantly added a lie that has been disproved by myriad unbiased scientific studies and is only repeated by the ignorant (i.e., fake “science” crowd) and willful liars.

    The fact that he does know her history makes it, like, a gazillion times worse because he moves from ignorant and insensitive to brazen asshole. Taking that into mind, I’m surprised he didn’t punctuate it with a post-script, “Sluts should pay the price!”

    Guess someone’s mad that you’re making fun of their bigoted FF colleague. Franzia shower!

    · jake: Pink-flavored!

    · Martin Cothran: Mmhmm. So Westwood just wanted to hurt her feelings? Just wanted to cause her pain? Is that what you really believe? Do you really believe people are morally evil because they disagree with you on this issue–or any other? Is that your “informed, savvy take” on political situations?

    I find it interesting that you would accuse me of hate when I have never called a name or claimed anyone was evil because they disagreed with me–something that seems to characterize a good many of your posts on this blog.

    Oh, and by the way, would you characterize a public charge that someone is a homosexual with no evidence whatsoever an act of charity?

    · jake: Actually, I believe Jack Westwood to be one of the most disconnected people I’ve ever encountered and I believe he’s so ignorant that he had no idea he was causing pain. He just thought he was right and wanted to rub it in Diane’s face, to prove her wrong. (He failed) And now he has egg on his face.

    If I believed people were morally evil because they disagreed with me I wouldn’t have staunch conservative friends. Get over yourself.

    Accuse you of hate? You, David Edmunds, Kent Ostrander and Frank Simon are the four most gay-hating people in the Commonwealth. You have a history of gay-hating on radio, television, in print and on the web. Don’t try to play dumb with me.

    How do you know I have no evidence? Again, get over yourself.

    How will you feel when the gays can marry, Marty? Will you leave this country? Will you start burning crosses in our yards?

    Westwood should be thankful there are bigots like you who out rank him. Just checked your fancy little “family” website to learn that our tax dollars are supporting drag queens! FEAR! Never mind that you’re spreading disinformation.

    Here’s a screenshot for safe keeping.

    Image of Family Foundation page

    Keep preaching, brother!

    · Martin Cothran: You champions of tolerance really crack me up. I’m like so feeling the love of humanity emanating from your general direction.

    So you don’t believe people are evil for disagreeing with you but you believe the people at The Family Foundation are evil for disagreeing with you? You might want to ponder that reasoning (such as it is) a little longer.

    Oh, and you just called me a name. Isn’t that what hateful people do?

    And what would you say about a person who criticized one person (let’s say, Jack Westwood) for saying something hurtful to another individual and who then turned around and said something (very publicly) even more hurtful about another person (say, David Edmunds)?

    Would you call that person hypocritical?

    · Terri: You’re not a bad person because you disagree with Jake. You’re a bad person because you think that Jake should be considered less of a person under the law and because you make it your life’s mission to make sure that some people are treated as less-than-people in day-to-day life. FAIL at life, WIN at trolling.

    · Martin Cothran: In what way do I think Jake “less of a person under the law”? Because I don’t think that marriage means what it has meant since its very inception?

    There are plenty of Democratic politicians routinely praised in this blog who are also opposed to same sex marriage. Where is the outrage?

    Did you know that there are gays who don’t agree with same-sex marriage? Do gays who disagree with same sex marriage think gays are less than persons under the law?

    · Terri:

    and because you make it your life’s mission to make sure that some people are treated as less-than-people in day-to-day life

    If you’d learn to read, you’d be able to answer the questions you pose above. And please stop with the selectivity crap. Jake calls out Democratic politicians all the goddamn time.

    Oh, and it’s not just about gay marriage. Women also earn you and your comrades’ ire. Sounds like someone’s manhood is being threatened, IMO.

    · jake: Hold up a minute, Cothran. Who said I was a champion of tolerance? I believe the ****ed up and homophobic Family Foundation is terrible because it’s based on homophobia and fear. Plain and simple. Your chief mission is to silence people like me because you think I choose to be gay– nevermind you try to mix religion and Christianity up with everything, which is just sick. I don’t make it my life’s mission to shut people like you up– just to point out how ignorant you are.

    Yeah, I’m quite hateful. Imagine the sick, sinful and rage-filled homosexual sex I get to have with all of this hate. (Well, let’s get real here– I might as well be celibate. Just helpful for a visual, really.)

    I love that you’re trying to spin things around to make your hateful ass look nice. Haha. Love it.

    No Democrats who oppose same-sex marriage are “routinely praised” here. Most Democrats get the short end of the stick here because many are pandering, partisan, bigoted hacks.

    The gay marriage debate isn’t welcome here, kids, so get over yourselves. Take it up elsewhere. It’s tired, out-dated and over. It’s 2008.


    Homo Recruiter

    · Martin Cothran: My, my. We are getting testy, aren’t we? It is perhaps understandable when you think everyone who disagrees with you hates you. The world is full, apparently of hateful people.

    Has Jake called out Jack Conway for his campaign stance against same-sex marriage? This is a man, after all, who apparently thinks Jake is less of a person under the law.

    · jake: Testy? You can’t judge tone of voice from some text on a screen, sweet cheeks. And thanks for repeatedly spinning that I think everyone who disagrees with me hates me.

    I think Jack was careful with his campaign stance not to say gay marriage shouldn’t be legalized– and that’s because of bigots like you out in the state who know no better.

    Gotta go recruit some more gays, now. You kids have fun.

    · Martin Cothran: Okay, I’m sorry for calling you a champion of tolerance. I take it back. I will accept your confession of intolerance and make sure I don’t make the same mistake again.

    And where did I bring religion into it? I think you just did that, not me.

    Oh, and when you get a chance, you might produce some sort of evidence that I tried to “silence” you. I assume you’ll find it in the same place you’ll find evidence for your charge about David Edmunds.

    · jake: Where? On your fancy little website I linked to above.

    For evidence that you want to silence people like me (but thanks for assuming I meant ME), hit up everything you’ve ever said in the past. Your chief mission in life is to scare the bejeezus out of people about the homos and women making their own choices.

    Anyway, your little cause is cute. Have fun with it.

    · Martin Cothran: So where is that evidence about Edmunds again?

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

At this point Jake exercises his moderator privileges and stops the fun. My favorite part is where Jake admits he is not tolerant. Well, or maybe it's when he hurls those ugly epithets and then accuses other people of hate, it's hard to decide.

He's baaaack: Ben Stein's movie, "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" is returning to some theatres

Although still in about 500 theatres, and after a federal court said "No, no" to Ono on her copyright infringement lawsuit, "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" is coming back to theaters in August and September for special screenings.

Judging from the number of Internet sightings on my Google Alert, the movie is still hot.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Feminists in need of smelling salts on abortion and breast cancer

This just in from the Tolerance and Diversity desk:

Abortion advocates are all in a tizzy over State Sen. Jack Westwood who sent out a letter to a constituent indicating, among other things, that he believed that there was a connection between abortion and breast cancer. Now this view has certainly been disputed, but whatever the scientific status of the view, it is apparently now considered by the advocates of abortion as simply unacceptable in a civilized society.

In fact the irony of the dust up is that the ladies over at "Kentucky Women: Power, Passion, & Politics, a feminist blog, are practically having fainting spells over it. I didn't think feminists were supposed to do that, but now we are finding out differently. The further irony is that they are charging Westwood with using the issue as a "political toy." Interesting thing, though, that their charges are coming right in the middle of Westwood's reelection campaign, and the Ladies Indignation League for the Stamping Out of Alternative Opinions is in full rant mode. So who is using the issue as a political toy?

Then there is "Jake", over at Page One Kentucky, who can cackle with the best of hens, and who is just rebounding from several posts where he accuses The Family Foundation's Dave Edmunds of homosexuality (I would recommend not informing Edmunds of this until he has adjusted to the birth of his second daughter) for no apparent reason whatsoever other than it apparently makes Jake feel good to say it. Jake, of all people, accuses Westwood of "having a screw loose" simply because he feels the scientific data (of which there is not an insubstantial amount) points to a particular conclusion. Umhmm.

Jake then posts part of a response over at the Ladies Indignation League, after the reading of which, says Jake, "You’ll hate Jack when you’re finished..." Wait, I thought hate was something only the right did? Yet here's Jake muscling into their territory. Imagine that.

I believe it was Jake who posted on this blog a while back that Page One Kentucky was not a liberal blog. Right. Remind us again, will you Jake?

And here is the Rural Democrat's careful analysis of Westwood's position:
Do whaaatt? A strong link between Abortion and Breast Cancer? I think we may have a Republican bigot mouth State Senator that may just make national news with this statement.
A simple dismissive wave of the hand--that's all one needs when engaging in demagoguery, and these people are smooth practitioners of the art.

Is there hope for the state testing task force?

For Immediate Release
June 11, 2008

Contact: Martin Cothran
Phone: 859-329-1919

“Don’t rock the boat” the theme of state testing
task force says family group

LEXINGTON, KY—“If the state education testing henhouse needed foxes to guard it, they got the best ones available,” said Martin Cothran, senior policy analyst with The Family Foundation of Kentucky about today’s announcement of the membership of a state task force to review the state’s CATS testing system. “We’re just going to call it the ‘Status Quo Panel’,” said Cothran.

“’Don’t rock the boat’ seems to be the developing theme for the Status Quo Panel,” said Cothran. He argued that there is only one panel member who has been publicly critical of the testing system: State Sen. Dan Kelly (R-Springfield). “In fact,” said Cothran, "the legislative members of the panel are almost two to one Democratic.”

Cothran said his group didn’t know every member of the new panel, but said if the ones who have been involved in past education debates were any indication of the rest of the panel, the signs were not good. He pointed to the appointments of Bob Sexton of the Prichard Committee, former Patton administration State School Board Chairman Helen Mountjoy, and Sharron Oxendine of the Kentucky Education Association as examples of panel members who could be counted on to argue against substantial change in the CATS testing system. There is also only one member who represented parents, said Cothran, and no testing experts.

“The Status Quo Panel appears to be sailing with a cargo full of apologists for the testing system.”

“The task force has some great leadership on the side of not rocking the boat,” said Cothran. “The point of this task force was to take a critical look at the testing system. But in order to take a critical look at something, you have to have critics. Other than Sen. Kelly and Sen. Vernie McGaha (R-Somerset), who on this panel is actually going to be critical of the system?”


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The "Of Pandas and People" fallacy

An anonymous commenter on a previous post seems singularly impressed with the argument that Intelligent Design is the same thing as creationism because references in a pro-Intelligent Design book called Of Pandas and People to "creationism" were changed in later editions to "Intelligent Design". What the editors did, claim ID critics, is to simply use a search and replace function to change the words.

I don't know that this is true. I'm sure I could find out by doing a little research, but I'm still trying to figure out why I should care.

I have asked the anonymous poster to tell me logically how this proves that Intelligent Design is the same thing as creationism, but all I seem to be getting in response is a repetition that it happened. This poster is not alone in his enthusiasm for this argument--or rather, this assertion. There are apparently a lot of ID critics who think this constitutes some kind of impressive case against Intelligent Design. They too are mum on exactly why we are supposed to be impressed.

If there were a book that discussed "materialism" and someone went through and replaced the term with "Darwinism" would that mean the two were the same thing? And why should anyone be surprised that some of the same arguments that can be made for creationism can be made for Intelligent Design? Obviously all creationists believe in Intelligent Design. But it does not follow that all those who believe in Intelligent Design believe in creationism. Need we point out that just because all materialists believe in common descent it does not therefore follow that all those who believe in common descent are materialists?

But I have thought a little more about it, and I'm beginning to think this idea--that simply replacing terms in a book can actually establish the identity of two different things--has some interesting possibilities. I mean if you could actually change reality by changing terms in a book, just imagine what you could do! In fact, if simply using the search and replace function can actually change things, then we don't need arguments anymore at all. Why bother making arguments when, with a few keystrokes, you can simply change your opponent's positions?

If I can change Intelligent Design into creationism by simply using my keyboard, then why can't I change Darwinists into believers in Intelligent Design by the same mechanism? But that would be boring. If I'm going to change Darwinists into something, why should it be human? We could revive endangered and extinct species this way. All we would have to do is a little hunting and pecking and, presto, we could have the Caribbean monk seal back!

This all sounds fairly preposterous, of course, but that's what happens when you follow the logic of this kind of argument to its conclusion.

Well, I've got to go now. I'm traveling, just got to the hotel and about to dig into a burrito. Oh, wait, maybe I can write up a little account of it and just change all occurrences of "burrito" to "prime rib."

Saturday, June 07, 2008

More ideological uniformity from the champions of diversity at U of L: Provost defends dragqueenology

Never has diversity been articulated in such a uniform fashion as is now being done by the James Ramsey's University of Louisville. The university's homogeneous version of heterogeneity is on display once again in today's Courier-Journal. It is now the school's provost defending the outlay of public money on Drag Queen Studies at U of L at a time of increasing tuitions.

That brings the pro-dragqueenology count to six U of L officials and professors.

Now give me a minute to calculate the number of U of L professors or staff who have a diverse opinion on this subject ... Hang on, I'm still adding up the figures ... Let's see, that comes to--oh, wait, let me check this column ... Okay, I've got it now.

Well, darn. I'm getting the same figure I got earlier this week.

It appears that the sum total of all U of L professors and staff who have registered an opinion different from the one and only opinion that seems to be acceptable at the University of Louisville on whether public money should be spent on the study of "black male-bodied drag queens" and whether the University has any business publicly funding gay and lesbian political and social activism on campus is still a whopping...


According to U of L Provost Shirley Willinghganz:
Alert: U of L faculty study drag queens. We also study cancer cells, pollution in our rivers and air, child abuse, the history of the underground railroad, movement disorders, the old and new testament, the mysteries of the heart, how to make manufacturing in Kentucky more competitive, how to build a logistics cluster in our community, and many other topics. This is the essence of a university and the core value of academic freedom. Universities must be unafraid to look at anything and everything that could make our world a better place. We can't shirk from asking those questions simply because some folks might not like them.
And we all know how the study of drag queens makes our world a better place.

So where are the conservatives in U of L with a differing opinion to fill out this alleged diversity again? Maybe we should offer a reward for information leading to the capture and tagging of any conservative faculty members at U of L. It might also be good to bring them into captivity, breed them in order to increase their numbers, and reintroduce them back into U of L's increasingly unfriendly environment.

Non Dare Call it Journalism

The New York Times has a new article on the Vast ID Conspiracy. The article, titled, "Opponents of Evolution are Adopting a New Strategy," attempts to expose the creationist plot to take over American schools.

The Times article documents the efforts of opponents of Intelligent Design in Texas, one of the states where academic freedom bills that call for balance in the teaching of evolution are seeing legislative success. One of these groups, of course, is the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), always vigilant in its efforts to stamp out the dangerous cultural virus of academic freedom before it spreads.

“Very often over the last 10 years, we’ve seen antievolution policies in sheep’s clothing,” said Glenn Branch, part of the NCSE pack, taking great care to bleat his remarks convincingly. Groups like NCSE are concerned about Texas because of the sway the state has over the textbook industry. Texas, like California, is a big market for publishers. They are worried that if objectivity in textbooks takes hold in Texas, it could spread to the rest of the nation.

So far, the full extent of this plan has been known only to a few, but the intrepid staff of the New York Times is now beginning to unravel the plot. Times reporter Laura Beil, using valuable time that could have been spent doing further investigation into the dangers of fluoride in the city's water, has carefully researched the Protocols of the Elders of ID and is hot on the scent of the meaning of its secret code:
Starting this summer, the state education board will determine the curriculum for the next decade and decide whether the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution should be taught. The benign-sounding phrase, some argue, is a reasonable effort at balance. But critics say it is a new strategy taking shape across the nation to undermine the teaching of evolution, a way for students to hear religious objections under the heading of scientific discourse.

... “‘Strengths and weaknesses’ are regular words that have now been drafted into the rhetorical arsenal of creationists,” said Kathy Miller, director of the Texas Freedom Network, a group that promotes religious freedom.
What the reporter didn't notice is that the letters of this expression--"strengths and weaknesses"--when rearranged using the Decoder Ring issued to every card-carrying member of the Discovery Institute, spells, Death gets new sneakers (more or less).

You'll have to admit, it's clever.

I will probably get in trouble for revealing it, but when an ID advocate thinks someone else might be a creationist agent, he simply says, "Strengths." And if the other person, looking to the right and left to make sure no one can hear, says, "and weaknesses," at the same time giving the secret handshake, he knows he has identified his creationist contact, and can pass along any secret messages from headquarters.

I'm sure there are some who would say that it may be time for the ID movement to fess up to its nefarious plan to clandestinely impose creationism on the nation--sort of like what the liberals did years ago in taking over major newspapers like the Times. But why should they blow their cover when the conspiracy is having so much success?

For example, the movement gained gained valuable exposure with the movie "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed." As part of a plan hatched by ID leaders at secret creationist meetings (which, unfortunately, have to be squeezed in between meetings of the Illuminati, since they share a conference room), the movie put Darwinists in the position of having to oppose academic freedom.

Then, in an equally crafty move, the Council on ID Relations quietly launched its effort to undermine science instruction in schools by requiring that it be balanced. The Darwinists, unaware of the plans that had been put into motion, played right into creationist hands by ceding expressions like "strengths and weaknesses" to the enemy. Outside of Darwinist circles, after all, most people actually think objectivity is a good thing.

Whether the Times will discover the full scope of the threat is uncertain. No one at the Times has yet noticed, for example, that if you play the movie's interview with Richard Dawkins backward, you can hear Ben Stein saying, "Bill Dembski is dead"--or that there is a missing 18 1/2 minutes of interview footage.

And when will the Mulders and Scullies at the Times realize that Philip Johnson's Darwin on Trial was not written by Philip Johnson, but by another man with the same name?

Obviously the Times has more work to do, yet it may be well on its way to a Pulitzer for blowing the lid off this conspiracy. Yes, there are creationists under the bed, and the Times seems well on its way to discovering them.

Friday, June 06, 2008

More evidence that U of L is the place to be for drag queen studies

Tuitions are rising at U of L and so is the number of U of L professors on our list of proponents of dragqueenology at James Ramsey's University of Louisville. There are now five! They just keep popping up, those diverse U of L scholars who all believe the same thing.

When it comes to dragqueenology, U of L is apparently the place to be. As a commenter on a previous post points out, the page for the book The Drag Queen Anthology: The Absolutely Fabulous but Flawless Customary World of Female Impersonators, ed. Steven P. Schacht and Lisa Underwood has, prominently displayed, a plug for the book by another U of L professor:
"Truly cutting-edge... A must-read for scholars and students of the social construction of gender and gendered deviance."

--Richard Tewksbury, PhD, Professor of Justice Administration, University of Louisville.
It is beginning to look like U of L may be a world center for Drag Queen studies. Let's see, we've got U of L's Dr. Nancy Theriot defending it, U of L's Dr. Kaila Story studying it, giving lectures and writing on it, Dr. Sam Marcosson, a U of L professor and--you guessed it--"Fairness" Campaign spokesman, attacking The Family Foundation's David Edmunds for mentioning it, and U of L's Dr. Richard Tewksbury celebrating it. Maybe we will soon see a new major in dragqueenology at U of L.

What a diverse bunch of scholars the university has, all of whom seem to be of one very politically correct mind on the subject.

Yes, sadly, at Ramsey's Temple of Diversity there are still no professors on public record saying that using public money to study drag queens is, well, sort of silly, not to mention preposterous. The count is a very sorry zero. Maybe Ramsey could come up with special health benefits for scholars who have their heads screwed on straight. It would give him an opportunity to go before a legislative panel and lie about it, like he did last year.

Where is the diversity on Dragqueenomics at U of L?

What diversity there must be at U of L! We now have two: Count 'em, two U of L professors bravely defending Dragqueenomics at U of L against criticisms by The Family Foundation's David Edmunds, and ..., let's see, how many U of L professors defending Edmunds?

Let me check my figures here, let's see ... Hmm. That's strange. I can't find any U of L professors taking the opposite position!

Yesterday it was Nancy Theriot, the chairperson of the "Department of Women's and Gender Studies at U of L," defending Draqqueenomics. Today, it is Sam Marcosson, a law professor at U of L's law school who is standing up for this important field of study.

But there is something very interesting about Marcosson's reponse: he doesn't identify himself with U of L. He just signs his letter, "Sam Marcosson, Coordinating Committee, Fairness Campaign." Was there some reason Marcosson doesn't identify himself with U of L? Could it be that it might look suspiciously like U of L isn't so diverse after all?

Where are the anti-dragqeenomics faculty? Where are the faculty who don't think it is good policy to use public money to fund left-wing political and social activism on campus?

Let's see if James Ramsey can find any over at his diverse campus.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Courier-Journal bending the rules for the gender benders at U of L

If you want to respond to an article in the Louisville Courier-Journal, the newspaper's policy is to allow you 250 words, no more. [See clarification on this below] But apparently this policy does not apply to those promoting public funding for research on drag queens at public expense. In today's CJ, Nancy Theriot, the chairperson of the "Department of Women's and Gender Studies at U of L," gets 685 words to respond to Family Foundation spokesman David Edmund's analysis of how U of L is using public money to advance special interest politics at the university--at a time when it is increasing tuitions.

And what is Theriot's defense of U of L spending public money on a scholar whose recent work involves "specifically investigating how the black male-bodied Drag Queen's presence within queer 'subcultures' disrupts mainstream notions of what is considered natural and fixed signifiers of black femininity and/or womanhood"?
Obviously, Edmunds has no idea of what the scholarship is all about (if he did, he would at least attempt to comment on it). What he doesn't realize is that Dr. Story is doing cutting-edge research in an area that is one of the fastest-growing fields of humanities/social science research. Since coming to U of L last August, Dr. Story has already brought distinction to the university by being invited to give lectures at one regional meeting and one national scholarly meeting.
Well, that explains everything. No doubt U of L students who get their bills for tuition next year with the 9 percent increase will be comforted knowing that the drag queen research of their faculty is "cutting edge" drag queen research, and that she is being invited to give lectures about such topics and that she goes to scholarly meetings with other scholars who presumably also think this is a good use of their time and the public's money.

The paper is not allowing Edmunds to respond to Theriot's piece, however, even though they cut Theriot a break that they don't give to others. [See clarification below] So here's my suggestion for Edmunds: Dress up in a campy outfit with a black leather skirt and high heels, apply plenty of make-up, and get yourself a new name--something like "Bootsy," or maybe "Peaches"--and deliver your response to the editors in person.

"Hey big boy, I've got an editorial response, how about it?"

It's bound to work.

UPDATE: We have been given to understand that the CJ does not have a written policy on word limits and that such things are determined on a case by case basis, and that, since there was so much response on this, a little more leeway was given. These comments were based on our own experience trying to get more than 250 words in different circumstance, and I should also say that the CJ has always treated me with great forbearance.

Dare to be Stupid: What those tuition increases at U of L may be going for

Well, the folks over at the Love Shack..., er, I mean the University of Louisville are up in arms over Family Foundation spokesman David Edmund's recent op-ed on how the university, which is raising student tuitions, is spending public money. Here are a few choice excerpts from Edmund's article:

Recently U of L was criticized for paying a consultant $200,000 to change its slogan from "Dare to be great" to "It's great to be here."

And it isn't just the slogans that are over-priced. It turns out that special interest politics carry a high price tag too.

At the same time U of L was raising tuition and pressuring lawmakers for more Kentucky tax dollars, it announced the brand new Office for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Services, complete with full-time director, Brian Buford, whose services command a cool $67,207 annually.

And there's this little gem:

U of L's questionable expenditures are not limited to domestic partner insurance and the LGBT Office. In 2005, activist Carla Wallace donated $1 million to be matched by the state for funding U of L's Audre Lorde Chair in Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality. U of L President James Ramsey boasted at the time, "Carla Wallace's generous gift and the state's 'Bucks for Brains' program will enable the University of Louisville to attract top researchers in these areas of scholarship."

So in 2008, what "areas of scholarship" is the state funding with a million dollars of taxpayer-matching money from Bucks for Brains?

According to U of L's Web site, Kaila Story occupies the Audre Lorde Chair and details her areas of research: "Recently, I have been specifically investigating how the black male-bodied Drag Queen's presence within queer 'subcultures' disrupts mainstream notions of what is considered natural and fixed signifiers of black femininity and/or womanhood." (

Maybe President Ramsey can explain exactly how studying "black male bodied drag queens" moves Kentucky forward.

Your tax dollars at work.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Imagine there's no legal case

A federal court in Elliot Spitzer's state has denied Yoko Ono's request that "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" be disallowed from using a clip from her late husband John Lennon's song, "Imagine". Here's how the New York Daily News put it in a story today:
The 15-second clip of the lyric, "Nothing to kill or die for, and no religion, too," is protected by free speech because the filmmakers are making a point about evolution and intelligent design, the judge ruled.