Group blogs aren’t for everybody

by Micah on February 15, 2004

En Banc, which was one of the best law-student group blogs (surely a genre to itself these days), has been disbanded. The members of that blog had their differences, and I’m sure Unlearned Hand has his reasons for pulling the plug on things. Still, I’m looking forward to reading him and the others as they go it alone.

Knowing about Religion

by Kieran Healy on February 15, 2004

Kevin Drum is surprised to learn that schools in Britain offer religious education classes. (Ireland is the same, by the way.) He comments that “I don’t think there’s anything unconstitutional about teaching a “History of Religion” class or something like it in an American high school, but it just wouldn’t happen. And then a proposal to add atheism as one of the highlighted religions? Kaboom!”

I’ve wondered before about this, in part because of a course in Classical Social Theory that I teach. I usually take a detour for a lecture before we read some Max Weber, because a chunk of the class (upper-level undergraduates) will have no clear idea what the Reformation was. This surprised me when it first happened, but now I anticipate it. Last year I got a very nice evaluation from an evangelical Protestant student saying, in part, “Thanks for respecting my views and for all the information about where Protestantism came from! I never knew that!” She would wear “Jesus Loves You” t-shirts to class and really livened up our discussions about Durkheim.

Obsession

by Kieran Healy on February 15, 2004

Tyler Cowen lists his nominations for “best all-time songs about obsession.” My vote goes to Nina Simone’s version of I Put a Spell on You. Especially the last verse.

Guantanamo

by Brian on February 15, 2004

I usually agree with Mark Kleiman’s posts, even in cases where I wouldn’t have agreed before reading them. But I think he’s seriously mistaken about the Guantanamo detainees.

[click to continue…]

Milloy again

by John Quiggin on February 15, 2004

Tim Lambert has a devastating critique of Steve Milloy, operator of the “junkscience.com” site attached to the Cato Institute, and model for many of the similar party-line science sites that have proliferated in the blogosphere. Most of these promote some combination of

  • global warming contrarianism
  • ozone layer contrariarianism
  • shilling for the tobacco industry, and
  • boosting creationism
but Milloy covers all bases. I’ve covered Milloy at length before and pointed out most of these things with links. However, in the light of this 1999 story linked by Tim, I’m disinclined to engage in the kind of contact with slime implied by a new link, so if you want to check him out you can type the URL yourself.

As with John Lott and the American Enterprise Institute, the link between Cato and Milloy raises the question of how an institution that has some pretensions to respectability and employs some decent people can justify supporting such unethical and intellectually bankrupt charlatans.

Lent

by John Quiggin on February 15, 2004

With Christmas, post-Christmas sales and Valentine’s Day all behind us, it’s time for the next season in the annual consumption calendar, so I wasn’t surprised to see Easter Eggs on sale when I went grocery-shopping today. I do however, have a couple of questions for historically-minded readers.

First, while I know that it’s traditional to have a day of excess at Mardi Gras, followed by forty days of feasting in Lent, and then another blowout at Easter, and that this festival of consumption follows an earlier Christian tradition, I have the feeling that there has been a subtle change somewhere along the line – can anyone tell me what it is?

Second, where does the name Lent come from? Is this considered a particularly auspicious time for adding to your consumer debt, or is that just a piece of folk etymology?