Ernst Mayr

by Henry on February 4, 2005

Ernst Mayr has died. The NYT has an “obit”:http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/04/science/04cnd-mayr.html?oref=login describing him as a giant of the field, but also strongly hinting that he was a bit of a controversialist (I’m not a biologist, so I don’t feel competent to judge the truth or untruth of that assessment).

Academic freedoms and Ward Churchill

by Henry on February 4, 2005

“Stephen Bainbridge”:http://www.professorbainbridge.com/2005/02/voltaire_and_wa.html steps in for the right, and says that basic principles of free speech and academic freedom mean that Ward Churchill shouldn’t lose his job. I think he’s right; but I also think that there is something to “Timothy Burke’s argument”:http://www.swarthmore.edu/SocSci/tburke1/perma20205.html that Churchill shouldn’t have been invited to speak at Hamilton in the first place (the two positions are of course not contradictory). Not because of his extreme opinions – but because he seems to be neither a good nor thoughtful academic.

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First, many thanks to all who have bought stuff through the Amazon
links. Tomorrow I’m sending another US$150 check to the Singapore Red Cross for Tsunami reconstruction efforts. Please feel free to continue helping by buying … if you were gonna buy anyway.

Andrew Sullivan gets letters. Boyo does he:

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Social Security Three-Step

by Kieran Healy on February 4, 2005

Matt Yglesias explains what Bush’s three-step plan for Social Security entails, “in terms adapted to the meanest understanding”:http://yglesias.typepad.com/matthew/2005/02/understanding_t.html. It’s a very good post, and you should read it. Regular observers of the present administration will not be surprised to find that by the end, Matt is saying things like this:

bq. If you are in the top one or two percent of the income pyramid, this may be a good deal for you anyway since phase one allows you to keep your income taxes lower. The other 99-98 percent of us are getting the shaft. … This is also good for you if you are a manager or major stockholder in a company that will be managing the private accounts. It also might be good for you if you own a great deal of stock already (i.e., you’re rich!) and this program winds up increasing the share of national wealth invested in the stock market.

Funny how analyses of recent domestic policy always tend to conclude along those lines. It’s almost like there’s a pattern or something.