Bloggingheads again

by Henry Farrell on February 14, 2007

Another “bloggingheads”:, this time with Megan McArdle on global warming, minimum wage and healthcare, for those as wants to see (not as much in the way of fireworks as those who have seen our interactions in the blogosphere might expect).

Some hope for Dutch students and professors

by Ingrid Robeyns on February 14, 2007

The Dutch educational and academic system is in crisis. In the last couple of years, media coverage on schools and universities has been rather alarming, with reports on high drop out rates, 18 year olds who can’t decently write and who think opinions are factual knowledge, primary schools teachers who don’t sufficiently master mathematics, the brain drain of the best university students, overworked university staff, cutting of budgets and so on and so forth.

But now there is hope. Today, the media reported that the new minister for education, research and culture will be Ronald Plasterk, a highly succesful biologist who is a “Professor of developmental genetics”: at Utrecht University. He has also been a columnist for the daily newspaper “De Volkskrant“: and has criticised the previous educational policies in his column for that newspaper. He is also known to be an atheist, which, in my view, is a good thing given that the coalition contains, next to Plaskerk’s social-democratic labour party “PVDA”:, two Christian parties (the center-right Christian Democratic Party “CDA”: and the left-bending “ChristianUnion”:

I very much hope that Plasterk will be as strong in politics as he has been succesful in the sciences, so that he can fix our educational and academic system….

35 Years of Clue

by Harry on February 14, 2007

The first ever episode, available for a week. Here. Never say we don’t look after you.

It is February 14, and that can only mean one thing — the arrival of this year’s batch of Valentine’s Day slogans from the Freedom Road Socialist Organization:

Proletarians And Oppressed Peoples,

1. Progressive And Revolutionary People Everywhere, Resolutely Uphold The Militant Bolshevik Spirit And Revolutionary Romanticism Embodied In Comrade Valentine!

2. Decisively Smash Retrograde And Joyless Ultra-Left Lines Which Disparage Proletarian Love And Desire!!

3. Warmly Celebrate The 20th Anniversary Of ACT-UP, A Militant Organization Which Attacked The Bourgeois State and Big Capital On Behalf Of LGBTQ People And All AIDS-Affected Oppressed Communities Worldwide In 1987 And Has Remained On The Offensive For Two Decades! ! !

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Charlie Brown and the football

by John Q on February 14, 2007

I’ve been struck by the eagerness of the usual crowd to jump on the latest story casting doubt on the reality of anthropogenic global warming, in this case the cosmic ray story being pushed by Svensmark and Calder. You would think after so many previous hopes (urban heat islands, satellite data, the adaptive iris, attacks on the hockey stick and so on) have come to nothing, and with the public debate lost beyond any real hope of salvage, that sensible rightwingers would at least wait and see before running their usual boilerplate on stories like this.

At the very least, in this age of Google, you’d think they might check whether the story is actually a new one. In fact, like most such claims, the cosmic ray idea has been around for quite a while. It’s been taken to pieces many times (William Connolley covers the story as Revenge of the killer cosmic rays from hell). It even got batted about on Oz blogs a few years back. Of course, the cosmic ray theory might pan out, but looking at the mountain of evidence pointing the other way, and the failure of so many previous efforts in this direction, you wouldn’t want to bet your credibility on it, assuming you had any.

At this point, I can’t help but be reminded of the running joke in Peanuts where Lucy promises to hold the football so Charlie Brown* can kick it. Every time, she tells him, it will be different from all the previous times. Every time, Charlie falls for it. And every time, she pulls the ball away at the last minute.

* Pop culture reference corrected thanks to Paul G Brown – I had remembered Linus as the kicker. or not

by Kieran Healy on February 14, 2007

Oddly, “3quarksdaily links”: to a parody of “”: as though it had only recently appeared. “Here’s a post of mine”: from almost exactly four years ago about this. (Four years! Jaysus.) It was one of the earliest bits of blogging I did that got some circulation. Rereading it now, I think the narrative it presented holds up rather well in the light of recent history. Certainly better than the official version. So here it is for old times sake, below the fold.

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Be Vewy Qwiet

by Kieran Healy on February 14, 2007

Elmer Via “Matt Yglesias”:, a vintage “bit of Glenn Reynolds”:

bq. I don’t understand why the Bush Administration has been so slow to respond. Nor do I think that high-profile diplomacy, or an invasion, is an appropriate response. We should be responding quietly, killing radical mullahs and iranian atomic scientists, supporting the simmering insurgencies within Iran, putting the mullahs’ expat business interests out of business, etc.

The whole “24 outlook on life”: is really catching on. As I’ve been “saying”: for “years”:, secret state-sponsored assassination and torture programs are why I am a libertarian. Plus all the cool military hardware, obviously. Those guys had flat panel screens before anyone. And those little communicator watches, too. I bet they have iPhones already. _Exploding_ iPhones. On to Tehran!