Left Conservative votes Democrat.

by Harry on November 6, 2006

I shan’t be voting tomorrow (out of respect for the law, and my non-fellow citizens), but Russell Arben Fox will be pulling the Democratic Party lever. Russell thinks of himself as a left conservative, by which he means he is left-wing on economic issues but conservative on so-called “social” issues. As always with Russell, its long, and all well worth reading. But here’s an excerpt concerning his local choice:

I’ve got a choice before me for Kansas House District 95. On the one hand, an experienced Democrat, Tom Sawyer (yes, that is his name)–an accountant, responsible legislator, predictable Democratic supporter. On the other hand, a nice old fellow put up by the Republicans by the name of Benny Boman. In some ways, I much prefer his direct and hard-line approaches to abortion and casinos in Kansas (basically, “stop abortion” and “no casinos”) over Sawyer’s Democratic boilerplate…yet Boman, if elected, would surely go to Topeka and be lined up with the same evolution-obsessed, tax-bashing Republican machine which has run the state government for decades. Sawyer, besides all the obvious good things he’ll do (like promote decent educational standards), will be part of a minority, and thus will have to be creative, and maybe that’ll even mean he’ll have to be open-minded.

Comment there.

Compare and contrast

by Henry Farrell on November 6, 2006

“Glenn Reynolds”:http://www.instapundit.com/archives/009671.php on a speech by Chris Hedges in May 2003.

He recycles the looting lies, too. He sounds like a talk-radio caricature of a liberal, and he’s flat-out racist in his dismissal of Arab prospects for democratic self-government. “Iraq was a cesspool for the British. . . it will be a cesspool for us as well.” Yep. Racist.

“An approvingly blurbed quote”:http://instapundit.com/archives2/2006/11/post_21.php in November 2006 from one of Glenn’s anonymous email correspondents.

The ball is in the Iraqis’ court. We took away the obstacle to their freedom. If they choose to embrace death, corruption, incompetence, lethal religious mania, and stone-age tribalism, then at least we’ll finally know the limitations of the people in that part of the world. The experiment had to be made.

Glenn himself goes on to argue:

On the other hand, it’s also true that if democracy can’t work in Iraq, then we should probably adopt a “more rubble, less trouble” approach to other countries in the region that threaten us. If a comparatively wealthy and secular Arab country can’t make it as a democratic republic, then what hope is there for places that are less wealthy, or less secular?

Is there any reasonable way to read this other than Glenn Reynolds denouncing Glenn Reynolds as a ‘flat-out racist’? Inquiring minds would like to know.

[edited slightly for punchiness]

Values and Evidence in Education Reform

by Harry on November 6, 2006

Education Week is currently hosting an open house; well worth visiting for anyone interested in ed policy issues in the US. It also gives me a chance to link directly to an essay of mine they published a few weeks ago, concerning the role of value considerations in evaluating educational reforms. The essay is a distillation of some of the points I made in a much longer talk I recently gave at the Spencer Foundation conference on Values and Evidence in School Reform, and I’m very interested in what other political and moral philosophers and applied ethicists (whom I’d like to encouage to do more work on education issues) think, especially about the analogy I make with the philosophy of health policy. When I talk to education scholars I often encounter a fair amount of resistance to the project of justifying objective moral values (as I do, with specific reference to education, in On Education). Some low-level variant of moral relativism or, perhaps to put it more fairly, a deep suspicion of moral realism, is quite entrenched among some education scholars, so my guess is there is a bit more resistance to the bigger project I suggest in the essay than philosophers would encounter in medical ethics and health policy.

Bif! Whack! *^#@!!!!

by Maria on November 6, 2006

It’s almost become a ritual; antipodean team plays high-contact sport against a northern team, takes out the best player in a tackle that might have killed him, creams northern team. In a manner reminiscent of the infamous Umaga/Meleamu spear tackle on Brian O’Driscoll during last year’s Lions tour, the Australian team playing the hybrid International Rules (Aussie/Gaelic football) are shrugging off an excessively violent tackle that put the future of the game in jeopardy.

On paper, the hybrid game is as euphemistically ‘physical’ as rugby, but in practice it’s gotten much more violent in the past few years. Last night’s tackle on Graham Geraghty was vicious by any standard, and makes me wonder; is there really a future in our lot continuing to play these games against sides that are bigger and demonstrably more brutal? I enjoy watching the tri nations rugby (Australia / New Zealand / South Africa) as much as the next person, but there’s no way I’d ever want someone I cared about to play against them.

Parallel universe quiz

by John Q on November 6, 2006

Which of these claims has not been put forward by prominent global warming denialists ?

A Cycle analysis by a well-known astrologer proves that global temperatures will soon decline
B Data supporting global warming was faked by NASA along with the bogus moon landings
C There is no such thing as global average temperature, and therefore the whole idea is meaningless
D A voyage through the Arctic Circle by the Chinese fleet in 1421 proves that temperatures were much higher then

Answer over fold

[click to continue…]