Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Giving thanks for the holiday weekend; back on Monday. Happy Thanksgiving, loyal readers!

Last week, a newspaper columnist in Georgia wrote a heartbreaking human-interest piece about being unintentionally cockblocked by Barack Obama at a press conference two years ago. And apparently someone in Obama's press shop spotted it, because Obama called the kid to apologize, and NPR's Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me has the audio. Nicely done, Obamians.

ThinkProgress thinks - or at least thought on Friday, thanks to a blurb in the White House Bulletin - that Karl Rove plans to resign in the very immediate future. I'll be awfully surprised if that actually comes to pass, but stranger things have certainly happened. (For instance, Sylvester Stallone talked some studio into doing another Rocky movie.)

Big Science gathers in La Jolla to talk religion, and the New York Times is there. Highlights:

  • Steven Weinberg: "The world needs to wake up from its long nightmare of religious belief."
  • Lawrence Krauss: "I think we need to respect people’s philosophical notions unless those notions are wrong." (Emphasis added to show the part that made me laugh.)
  • Richard Dawkins: "I am utterly fed up with the respect that we — all of us, including the secular among us — are brainwashed into bestowing on religion. Children are systematically taught that there is a higher kind of knowledge which comes from faith, which comes from revelation, which comes from scripture, which comes from tradition, and that it is the equal if not the superior of knowledge that comes from real evidence." You the man now, Dawk!
  • Melvin Konner: "“With a few notable exceptions, the viewpoints have run the gamut from A to B. Should we bash religion with a crowbar or only with a baseball bat?" Both, obviously.

The New York Times writes about the Next Big Thing at the U.S. Mint: really ugly presidential subway tokens dollar coins. Four per year for the next ten years. The first (Washington, naturally) goes into circulation in mid-February.

In response to the FOIA-forced release of a whole slew of embarrassing documents, the director of the office in charge of the Defense Department's TALON anti-terrorist database admits that it's been used on occasion as... well, an anti-protester database:

Mr. Baur said that those operating the database had misinterpreted their mandate and that what was intended as an antiterrorist database became, in some respects, a catch-all for leads on possible disruptions and threats against military installations in the United States, including protests against the military presence in Iraq.
"Misinterpreted their mandate" indeed. (I suspect the ACLU is unsympathetic.)

Best. Concession speech. Ever.

(And this is a guy who got 36% of the vote!)

Arnold Schwarzengovernor, exquisitely conscious of the fact that he is Constitutionally barred from ever becoming president, nevertheless holds out hope.