Map vs. Terrain vs. Mildew-resistant liner

10 observations about my new world map shower curtain 1. The map includes states and provinces, but only for the U.S. and Canada — which is to say only for the two countries in the world whose states and provinces I could already identify on a map. This diminishes the educational potential of my shower [Read More...]

Aaron Burr

Apparently Howard Dean, on CBS News' Face the Nation on Sunday, compared Vice President Dick Cheney to another famous vice president who was later tried for treason. The comparison is somewhat strained. First, Aaron Burr was acquitted. Second, Burr never shot anybody while in office. Although John Quincy Adams did say, when Burr died, "Burr's [Read More...]

What are newspapers for?

The paper ran a long piece yesterday called "Music attracts teens to hate groups." The local angle was a guy named Robert T. Huber, a hatecore musician who lives in Newark, Del., where he's a doctoral candidate at the University of Delaware. Like most doctoral candidates, he teaches and grades papers. That's a worrisome thought [Read More...]

“No exceptions”

Here's the cover to the latest issue of Christianity Today. Good for CT. The full title of that lead article is "Five Reasons Torture Is Always Wrong: And why there should be no exceptions." It's by Southern Baptist ethicist David P. Gushee, who was also an endorser of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. That [Read More...]

Deliberate mendacity

Andrew C. Revkin of The New York Times wrote last weekend about political pressure and threats directed against NASA scientists by political appointees. "NASA Chief Backs Agency Openness," Revkin reported, noting that NASA administrator Michael D. Griffin had been forced to take sides, writing in an e-mail to everyone in the agency, "It is not [Read More...]

Loose Ends

I've always liked this quote from slain missionary Jim Elliott: "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." First read that in the Spire Comics version of Through Gates of Splendor. (And I really thought I remembered a Billy Graham film of this story, but apparently [Read More...]


Teresa Nielsen Hayden links to this advice on "Being able to write" from K.G. Schneider, the Free Range Librarian. It's all good advice, but I want to quibble with one point. Schneider notes that sticking to a schedule keeps her focused and "less likely to waste eight hours piddling in pencil-sharpening mode." Since when was [Read More...]

Iconoclastic controversy

Shakespeare's Sister asks for, and gets, an interesting discussion on "the whole Danish-cartoon-that-insults-Mohammed thing." A quick review of the abstract principles involved. Freedom of Speech: Good. Bigotry/Deliberate Disrespect: Bad. Wanton Rioting/Violence: Bad. The first doesn't excuse the second, and the second doesn't excuse the third. But we're not talking about an abstract, hypothetical situation here, [Read More...]