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Friday, December 23, 2005

A happy 133,174 to you all

Last year, this relentlessly annoying blog signed off for the year on December 22, noting with undisguised self-satisfaction that it had received 640,000 visitors in its first twelve months of existence.  And it fired a decisive shot in the War on Christmas:

It’s time to remind the infidels and agnostics that the mother-lovin’ Prince of Peace can kick their asses all the way to Gehenna! So this Christ-Mas season, get in the face of some pushy, hook-nosed anti-Christmas agitator near you, and say, “Merry My-God-Became-Flesh-And-Yours-Didn’t-Day, you un-American slimeball. Why don’t you just take your little ‘civil liberties’ someplace else.

But this year, this humble blog has mellowed a bit.  Partly that’s because we’ve hosted 1.6 million readers for the year as opposed to last year’s paltry .6 million (yes, I know some of you have visited more than once, but still, my annual stats are steadily creeping up on Kos’s dailies), but mostly it’s because we’re getting old, slow, and complacent.  How old are we getting?  This old: yesterday I used the word “pwned” in a conversation with 19-year-old Nick, whereupon he turned to his friends and said, “hmmm, now we’re going to have to make up a whole new word.” He’s been home 36 hours, and the parental mockery has already begun.

And as I’ve mellowed, I’ve come to realize that there is, in fact, no War on Christmas.  In fact, the anodyne phrase “happy holidays,” far from being a brazen secularist denial of the miracle of Jesus Christ’s birth, is almost as offensive as “Merry Christmas” itself, insofar as it suggests that some days are “holy.”

So I’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Molochmas and a very pagan New Year.

I’ll leave it to the culture warriors to determine why the Christians have declared war on New Year’s Day; me, I’m just gonna celebrate the year 133,174 in style.  I date my calendar the evolutionist way, from the emergence of Homo sapiens sapiens, and you should too. 

Oh, and speaking of things that you should do: please visit Digby and contribute a dollar or two to his (or her) Molochmas cheer.  I chipped in last week, because (a) I visit his (or her) blog every day and (b) I visit his (or her) blog every day because every day, I think that the radical right has achieved a remarkable degree of hegemony over “official" political commentary in the United States except for the left blogosphere, and every day, I think that having Digby on our side is a reason to keep on living anyway.

Merry Molochmas to you, Mr. (or Ms.) Digby, and many many more. 

Thanks to all my readers, who helped to make 133,173 (a.k.a. 2005) such a fun year for the blog.  (Except for the appendectomy.  That was a drag.) Thanks also to John McGowan for some fine guest hosting.  Next year, folks, this blog will elevate its game, thereby taking its game to the Next Level, a state of being in which it is possible to wear a Game Face and give 110 percent.

Posted by Michael on 12/23 at 08:46 AM
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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Hockey night in blogtopia

We’re almost at the midway point of the season, and it’s already become quite clear why the NHL forced that lockout last year: it was all part of a plan to destroy the St. Louis Blues.

So tonight, this hockey-lovin’ blog will say a few kind words about the poor Blues before passing off to political scientist, virtuoso blogger, and lifelong Calgary Flames fan Scott Lemieux for some much-needed commentary on the New Rules and their Consequences.

Unless they win out from this point on, the 2005-06 Blues will snap one of the more curious long-term streaks in professional sports: they have made the playoffs every season since 1979-80.  Twenty-five straight years: it’s the longest current postseason streak in professional sports and the third-longest of all time.  But since they last took the ice in April 2004, they’ve lost Pavol Demitra to the Los Angeles Kings, Chris Pronger to the Edmonton Oilers, and Al MacInnis to retirement.  In other words, they lost their offense and their defense.  But they still have a building to play in, and that’s positive.

Can they win 45 straight?  Probably not.  That would be a record.

Now, it’s true that back in the 1980s, when 21 NHL franchises completed for 16 playoff spots, teams qualified for the playoffs if (but only if!) they were carbon-based.  In 1982-83, for example, the Blues went 25-40-15, and the next year they went 32-41-7—and made the playoffs both years.  Not for nothing did the late Dick Young once write that if World War II had been a hockey season, Poland would have made the playoffs.  And in all that time, they never made it to the Cup finals; indeed, they made it to the conference finals only twice—and I saw their last win in a conference final game, a 4-3 overtime thriller against the Colorado Avalanche on May 16, 2001.  (It was their only victory in that series; the Avs then went on to win the Cup.) Hence the obscure and unfunny (but well-aimed) joke:

Q.  Why is there so little drunk driving in St. Louis?

A.  Because all the bars close after the second round.

But don’t start thinking that the Blues are the poster kids for consistent mediocrity.  Beginning in the early 1990s, they put together some formidable teams, and they spent the latter half of the decade just a half-step down from the Western Conference elite of Colorado, Detroit, and Dallas.  During that time, some of the game’s best players could be found wearing a Blues uniform: Brett Hull, Adam Oates, Brendan Shanahan, Pierre Turgeon, Grant Fuhr, Curtis Joseph—and of course, Pronger and MacInnis.  Hull scored 86 goals in 1990-91, still the most productive year registered by any player not named Gretzky.  In 1996, during the couple of weeks when their roster included Gretsky Himself (on his way from LA to NY), they took Detroit to the seventh game of the conference finals before losing a 1-0 heartbreaker in double OT; but they never came as close to defeating the Red Wings in a series again, and by the time they folded in five to Detroit in 2002’s second round, the mere sight of a Red Wing insignia was enough to make them cough up the puck.

In 1999-2000 they led the league during the regular season, and goaltender Roman Turek posted no fewer than three franchise records: a .912 save percentage, a 1.95 goals-against average, and 42 wins.  But they were bounced by San Jose in the first round, thanks to some of the flukiest goals and flabbiest goaltending ever to afflict an NHL team.  In the following year’s playoffs, Turek performed magnificently as the Blues avenged the loss to San Jose in the first round and then swept the defending conference champion Dallas Stars; but in the conference finals, Turek gave up one weak goal after another, and by the time I saw him in game three, his confidence—and, just as important, his team’s confidence in him—was shattered.  Every puck that came near him was an adventure.  The Blues unloaded him when the year was over, but the damage was done, both to Turek’s reputation and the Blues’ brief run as a Cup contender.  How odd it was, I thought, for the team of Glenn Hall, Jacques Plante, Ernie Wakely, Mike Luit, Grant Fuhr, and Curtis Joseph to be done in by lousy goaltending.  (The Avalanche conference final game I attended in 2001 consisted of the Blues trying to come back repeatedly after Turek had let in goals that most of us could have stopped without pads; as fortune would have it, I was wearing a Curtis Joseph jersey that night, and every time I left my seat, Blues fans would stop me and ask if I would be willing to replace Turek at the end of the period.)

Since that brief run, the Blues have gotten worse, though until this year they had enough talent to make it to the postseason.  How bad are they now?  Let me put it this way: worse than Pittsburgh bad.  Worse than Columbus bad.  Bad to the point at which the team website has to say things like “the Blues have held a lead at some point in the game in seven of the last eleven contests.” (They went 3-8 during that span.) They won’t just miss the playoffs for the first time since 1980, folks.  They may very well wind up with the worst record in the league.  They are officially doormats.

So even though there are only a dozen readers of this blog who care about hockey, and none of those readers care about the sorry fate of the St. Louis Blues, let’s take a moment to acknowledge their passing.  And here’s hoping that they start to rebuild next year.

On the bright side, the New York Rangers look like a serious, hardworking bunch.  And Jaromir Jagr seems to have marshaled his considerable talents for the first time in years.  I can’t say any more than this, though, for fear of jinxing these bracingly fast, hungry young Rangers.

And with that, I turn you over to Scott Lemieux, political scientist, virtuoso blogger, and lifelong Calgary Flames fan, who will discuss (among other things) the NHL’s new rules and new look: the post-trap, post-clutching-and-grabbing, power-plays-a-plenty NHL.  Me, I’m in favor of it all, even the shootouts, which I opposed until I witnessed the Rangers’ epic 15-round shootout against the Capitals on November 26.  They’re really kinda fun, in a regular-season kinda way, and much more entertaining than soccer shootouts.  But then, everything about hockey is more entertaining than soccer.  What you say, Scott?

Scott Lemieux says:

Thanks—and condolences—to Michael.  I hope everyone will raise a toast to the Blues, as well as the great, recently retired Al MacInnis, the anchor of what will be—let’s be frank—the only championship a team I root for passionately will ever win [aside to nonfans: why are you still reading this post? but for those of you who are, Scott is referring to the 1989 Flames], and who had many terrific years in St. Louis as well.  (And was just a youngster when the Flames and Blues played their epic 7-game semi-final series in ‘86.) Admittedly, it’s hard to say nice things about the NHL today—I’m still choking on my own rage about the inclusion of Todd Bertuzzi on the Canadian Olympic team, thus irreparably tanrnishing a great showcase for the game—but I can come at things from a happier perspective.

[Another note to nonfans: why is Bertuzzi the spawn of Satan? Here’s why.]

In 2004, the last time there was NHL hockey, my Flames won their first playoff series since that ‘89 Cup win, and I was lucky enough to be back home to see their overtime elimination of the Red Wings in round 2.  (The students who had to sit through a lecture about the Taiwanese courts after I caught a flight the next morning may not have been as lucky.)

But last year’s finals were exciting for non-parochial reasons as well.  What was most encouraging about the finals were that the two finalists—Tampa Bay and Calgary—were both fast, highly skilled teams laden with young stars, and they played an exciting seven-game series.  (It’s too bad, as I’ve mentioned before, that Michael chose to cheer for the team that comes from a state with no outdoor rinks and in which the election statutes are apparently written in crayon by the Attorney General’s 6-year old daughter, but hey—they won!  And they’re a fun team to watch.) While I’m conflicted about the new NHL because I strongly favor the players in any pro sports labor dispute, I do think that Gary Bettman’s new rules (which, of course, hardly required a lockout to be changes) are for the most part good for the game, and I hope that the 2004 finals will indeed be the harbinger of a game that is as great as it should be. 

Before getting to the big new changes, it’s also worth talking about some small stuff that makes a difference.  For years, the NHL made some rule changes that seemed to come out of nowhere.  My favorite example is getting rid of the delayed offside, which eliminated unnecessary whistles—but, in a bout of baffling illogic, various people started saying that the new rule had prevented Canada from producing good new defensemen.  During the same period of time, linesmen became incredibly vain, taking forever to drop pucks on faceoffs of trivial importance, and coaches also began more and more delays to fiddle around with lines.  After the magnificent 2002 Olympics, at which hockey was played not only at a staggeringly high level but also with international rules that minimized these pointless delays and whistles, Bettman (to his credit) immediately instituted a series of rule changes that largely eliminated these delays from the NHL as well.  None of these solved fundamental problems, but they did improve the game, and showed that the league was willing to consider rational changes.  Which leads us to this year’s new rules.

Most of them I like a lot.  I’m not sure how big an impact the elimination of the two-line pass will be, but the threat of the long pass does seem to have opened the game up to some extent.  And while I do find games with too many power plays a little dreary, the tight enforcement of obstruction rules is a necessary evil, and hopefully as players change we’ll get the benefits without the drawbacks.  I love the new rules that discourage icings (as well, of course, as the return of tag-up offsides), and I also love the new rules on goalie equipment, which emphasize agility and reflexes rather than sheer size.  (A quick eyeball of the goalie stats seems to show that save percentages are down a bit, which is good, and also that Dominic Hasek—still tremendous at 40—is the greatest goaltender of his generation, which is duh.) Overall, it definitely the rules have improved the game, and I hope some alienated fans will check it out.

My one quibble, however, has to do with shootouts.  I don’t mean to knock soccer—I’m sure I would be a big fan if I lived in a country where it was a major sport—but I have trouble getting behind a sport that decides its ultimate championships will a gimmicky fraction of the game.  (It’s like getting to the 11th inning of Game 7 of the World Series and then deciding things with a home run derby.) And so I have to admit that I’m still not crazy about it.  But as long as it’s confined to the regular season I can live with it, and if it draws new fans to the rink or the Wood Varnishing Network (or whoever it is that’s showing their games before NBC starts up), it’s a good thing overall.

A final thing to note is that the new rules don’t matter much if the talent isn’t there, and here is where I think things are looking up the most.  The increasing influx of talent may finally be mitigating the dilution of the talent pool caused by over-expansion.  Still fairly young superstars like Vinny Lecavalier and Jarome Iginla have been joined this year by Carolina’s Eric Staal as well as Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley of the devastating Senators.  And this year’s rookie crop—well, let’s just say that (a) I’m confident after watching almost every game that Calgary’s young defenceman Dion Phaneuf (a towering, hard-hitting defenseman who already has 8 goals) is the best player we’ve drafted since MacInnis, and (b) he’s at best the third-best rookie in the league, behind Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby and Washington’s Alexander Ovechkin.  I don’t mean to deny that there are problems.  While the NHL gets a bad rap on violence vis-à-vis the NFL, the example of Bertuzzi shows that it remains a problem, and the league could probably still afford to shed a team or four.  But overall, I hope that this season, while purchased at a terrible price, will reflect a turning point for the NHL, as the surprisingly robust attendance (has a league ever increased its attendance after a work stoppage?) reflects.

Posted by Michael on 12/22 at 11:09 PM
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Mister Answer Man:  Special Cycling Edition

Dear Mister Answer Man: What do you make of today’s New York Times report of New York City police officers infiltrating and conducting secret surveillance of public protests, antiwar rallies, and even cyclists’ funerals? Check this out:

Undercover New York City police officers have conducted covert surveillance in the last 16 months of people protesting the Iraq war, bicycle riders taking part in mass rallies and even mourners at a street vigil for a cyclist killed in an accident, a series of videotapes show.

In glimpses and in glaring detail, the videotape images reveal the robust presence of disguised officers or others working with them at seven public gatherings since August 2004.

The officers hoist protest signs. They hold flowers with mourners. They ride in bicycle events. At the vigil for the cyclist, an officer in biking gear wore a button that said, “I am a shameless agitator.” She also carried a camera and videotaped the roughly 15 people present.

Beyond collecting information, some of the undercover officers or their associates are seen on the tape having influence on events. At a demonstration last year during the Republican National Convention, the sham arrest of a man secretly working with the police led to a bruising confrontation between officers in riot gear and bystanders.

Your local and long-suffering readers need to know: exactly how long are you going to wait before you finally call these the actions of a police state? —N. Pelosi, San Francisco, CA

Mister Answer Man replies: That is precisely the kind of shrill, irresponsible question for which Dhimmicrats are deservedly despised, Mr. Pelosi, and I would not be surprised if this country witnesses a vicious backlash directed at people like you.

Listen up, Mr. Pelosi.  The idea that fifteen people—no, make that fifteen cyclists—can attend a vigil for a dead friend without an undercover police officer videotaping them is a perfect example of the pre-9/11 mindset.  What don’t you understand about “9/11 changed everything?” Or did you think that vigils for dead cyclists were somehow exempt from “everything”?

Dear Mister Answer Man: Um, exactly what’s up with your attitude toward cyclists?  I happen to know a cyclist, and he seems pretty nice.  Cyclists never struck me as being very substantial threats to national security.  What gives? —S. Crow, Kennett, MO

Mister Answer Man replies: Your question should be: what gives with the decadent music industry elite these days?  You people are as bad as the cyclists. 

And you’re going to try to tell me that cyclists are not a threat to national security? Cyclists are Public Enemy Number Six, right after Dhimmicrats, the MSM, secularists, gays and lesbians, and college professors.  By turning their backs on the internal combustion engine and selfishly spurning the oil industry, cyclists not only threaten our nation’s economy; they reject our blessed way of life.  As Vice President and former Halliburton official Dick Cheney recently said, when asked for his opinion of bicycles and the useful idiots who ride them, “grrrrrr!  Arrgggh!  Kzzzff, mmgghhrrggg.”

I would also like to point out that there are many cyclists in San Francisco, a city many prominent media figures believe we would be better off without.

Dear Mister Answer Man: You are teh r0xx0r for pwning those stupid questions!  But don’t you think the New York Times should be prosecuted under the Alien and Sedition Act for revealing this information, which ultimately helps al-Qaeda learn about our cycling and cyclist-vigiling secrets? —D. Brooks, Bobo-on-Hudson, New York

Mister Answer Man replies: Thank you for breathing some sanity into this discussion, Mr. Bobo-on.  But no, I do not think the New York Times should be charged with treason or alien sedition.  Though the newspaper has behaved shamefully of late, jeopardizing all our lives in order to promote a radical Bush-hating agenda, the Times has been enormously useful to us in recent years.  Don’t forget, the paper ran nearly every one of the Chalabi-Miller press releases we sent them in 2002 and 2003, and even printed them as “news.” And its editors had the discretion to wait until after the election to publish the story on Bush’s secret domestic surveillance, just as they had the good sense to kill the story on Bush’s own secret debate wire on the grounds that such a story would potentially affect the outcome of the campaign.  So even though much of the paper remains Moonbat Central Headquarters, we can say with some assurance that it was critical to Bush’s re-election, and for this, we will spare it from the terrible fury of our righteous wrath.

For now.

Posted by Michael on 12/22 at 03:12 PM
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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Jamie does his French homework

Today’s lesson:  telling time!

Me:  OK, what does this clock say?

Jamie:  8:15!

Me:  And what’s eight o’clock in French?

Jamie:  (thinks).  Huit heures!

Me:  Great!  And now what’s . . .

Jamie:  Huit heures meter maid!

Me:  . . . a quarter aft . . . hey!  Did you say “meter maid”?

Jamie:  (smiles mischievously). 

Me:  What did you say?

Jamie:  Huit heures meter maid!  That’s another Paul we forgot!

Winter solstice, 2005.  The day of Jamie’s very first bilingual joke.

You know, thirty years ago doctors were still telling parents that kids with Down syndrome were incapable of learning to read.  Well within living memory, folks.

UPDATE:  It has been brought to my attention that some readers are not sure why Jamie would say, “that’s another Paul we forgot.” Sorry about that!  The explanation is right here.

Posted by Michael on 12/21 at 08:41 PM
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On the production of fresh wingnuts

In “The Toad in the Garden: Thatcherism Among the Theorists,” which veteran readers of this blog will know is one of my very favorite essays, Stuart Hall tries to account for how Thatcherism achieved the kind of hegemony it enjoyed in the UK of the early 1980s.  While he takes his distance from Louis Althusser’s structuralist-Marxist determinism (my own distance from Althusser can be gauged here), Hall nevertheless insists that it’s not the case that people simply change their minds like they change their clothes, and that therefore, if we are to understand how former liberals came to affiliate with the New Right, we have to understand the “discourses” and “subject positions” made available to them by the New Right:

Anyone who is genuinely interested in the production and mechanisms of ideology must be concerned with the question of the production of subjects and the unconscious categories that enable definite forms of subjectivity to arise.  It is clear that the discourses of the New Right have been engaged precisely in this work of the production of new subject positions and the transformation of subjectivities.  Of course, there might be an essential Thatcherite subject hiding or concealed in each of us, struggling to get out.  But it seems more probable that Thatcherism has been able to constitute new subject positions from which its discourses about the world make sense.

Those last two sentences are vintage Hall, wittily brushing aside old-left notions of ideology as “false consciousness” and trad-con notions of “essential selves” in one deft motion.  When I glossed this passage thirteen years ago in an essay for the Village Voice Literary Supplement, I wrote, “What Hall’s doing here, basically, is disputing the left’s ‘body snatchers’ theory of the rise of the New Right.  Think back to the Saturday Night Live sketch in which former liberals, taken over by evil Reaganite pods, sit dazed in a semicircle, playing acoustic guitar and singing a version of ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ in which the refrain is ‘the answer, my friend, is Ronald Reagan.’ The SNL sketch brilliantly captures that uncanny, chilling late-70s sense of finding out that your closest friends are suddenly closet neoconservatives— but, as Hall points out time and again, massive ideological shifts can’t be explained so easily.”

Well, these days I’m not so sure.

I’ve been wondering about this for about four years now: how is it that when former liberals pledge allegiance to George Bush (because, you know, everything changed on 9/11), they not only jettison many of their former beliefs, but they take on every single last one of the Thirty-Nine Articles of Wingnut Faith?

I can understand, to some teeny tiny extent, the way many of these former liberals reacted to the far left’s knee-jerk response to 9/11.  I thought the far left’s knee-jerk response to 9/11 was a knee-jerk response myself, and though it was well informed about American imperialism, it didn’t do very much to explain (a) the rise of militant Islamism, the origins of which had very little to do with American anything, or (b) the fact that none of the more immediate victims of American imperialism (from, say, Vietnam, Chile, Nicaragua, Guatemala, East Timor, Palestine, or the Cherokee Nation) were involved in the attacks of that day.  But my differences with the far left on that score did not lead me to abandon the American left that fought for the minimum wage, the eight-hour day, the weekend, Social Security, the Civil Rights Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Clean Air and Water Acts, unemployment insurance, reproductive rights, gay rights, and universal, single-payer health care.  By contrast, when the Charles Johnsons, James Lilekses, Tammy Bruces, and Roger Simons of the blogosphere parted ways with liberalism, they not only pledged allegiance to Bush; they also adopted all manner of traditional wingnut obsessions that predate 9/11 by decades.

It’s really quite eerie when you think about it, and I don’t believe it can be explained simply by hatred of Muslims or fear of another attack.  Because these people don’t just go on about the War on Terror and the firmness of Dear Leader; they also go on about Jane Fonda (!) and Dan Rather (!!) and the New York Times and the whole MSM and the United Nations (!!!) and Jimmy Carter and the Clenis® (!!!!!) and Teddy Kennedy and the French.  It’s just bizarre.  (Roger on the subject of the U.N. is especially unhinged.) It’s like, “Everything changed for me on September 11.  I used to consider myself a Democrat, but thanks to 9/11, I’m outraged by Chappaquiddick.” Seriously, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear any of them go off one day about our giveaway of the Panama Canal or the insidious plot to fluoridate our drinking water.  It’s as if the moment they threw in their lot with Bush, they were e-mailed a Wingnut Software Package that allowed them to download every major wingnut meme propagated over the past thirty years.

So maybe Stuart Hall was wrong; maybe some people do harbor in their bosoms an essential wingnut subject hiding or concealed and struggling to get out.  Perhaps, for some former liberals, their wholesale adoption of wingnuttery bespeaks the fervor of the convert, like unto the newly-minted Catholic or vegan who casts off his old beliefs with all the energy at his disposal, and whose zeal is a partial atonement (so he thinks) for his years in the wilderness.  Or perhaps it’s part of the miracle of the Internets, where new discourses and new subject positions really do come bundled with software packages for downloading new wingnut identities.  But in the interest of fostering a spirit of ecumenical inquiry and intellectual diversity, this humble and oft-perplexed blog will entertain alternate theories that try to account for the production of wingnuts.

Except for Intelligent Design.  That’s right out.

Posted by Michael on 12/21 at 04:19 PM
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Checking ID

From Dover, Pennsylvania, where the Enlightenment has been (you should pardon the expression) born again:

We first note that since ID is not science, the conclusion is inescapable that the only real effect of the ID policy is the advancement of religion.  (133-34)

Both Defendants and many of the leading proponents of ID make a bedrock assumption which is utterly false.  Their presupposition is that evolutionary theory is antithetical to a belief in the existence of a supreme being and to religion in general.  Repeatedly in this trial, Plaintiffs’ scientific experts testified that the theory of evolution represents good science, is overwhelmingly accepted by the scientific community, and that it in no way conflicts with, nor does it deny, the existence of a divine creator.

To be sure, Darwin’s theory of evolution is imperfect. However, the fact that a scientific theory cannot yet render an explanation on every point should not be used as a pretext to thrust an untestable alternative hypothesis grounded in religion into the science classroom or to misrepresent well-established scientific propositions.

The citizens of the Dover area were poorly served by the members of the Board who voted for the ID Policy. It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy.

With that said, we do not question that many of the leading advocates of ID have bona fide and deeply held beliefs which drive their scholarly endeavors. Nor do we controvert that ID should continue to be studied, debated, and discussed. As stated, our conclusion today is that it is unconstitutional to teach ID as an alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom.

Those who disagree with our holding will likely mark it as the product of an activist judge. If so, they will have erred as this is manifestly not an activist Court. Rather, this case came to us as the result of the activism of an ill-informed faction on a school board, aided by a national public interest law firm eager to find a constitutional test case on ID, who in combination drove the Board to adopt an imprudent and ultimately unconstitutional policy. The breathtaking inanity of the Board’s decision is evident when considered against the factual backdrop which has now been fully revealed through this trial. The students, parents, and teachers of the Dover Area School District deserved better than to be dragged into this legal maelstrom, with its resulting utter waste of monetary and personal resources.  (136-38)

Well, now, it really wasn’t an utter waste, was it?  We get it in writing that fundamentalist members of the Dover school board “lie to cover their tracks,” and that their decision to drive their little ID wedge into the science curriculum is “breathtaking” in its “inanity.” So come on already—let’s look on the bright side, people!

But what about Judge Jones’s claim that “those who disagree with our holding will likely mark it as the product of an activist judge”?  Do you think?

Let’s ask the Discovery Institute what they think:

“The Dover decision is an attempt by an activist federal judge to stop the spread of a scientific idea and even to prevent criticism of Darwinian evolution through government-imposed censorship rather than open debate, and it won’t work,” said Dr. John West, Associate Director of the Center for Science and Culture at Discovery Institute, the nation’s leading think tank researching the scientific theory known as intelligent design. . . .

“This is an activist judge who has delusions of grandeur.”

Whoa!  Judge Jones was, like, so accurate!  He not only disposed of ID, he predicted the future! This guy totally rocks.  Hell, if I could predict the future word-for-word like that, I’d have me some delusions of grandeur too.

But you know what was coolest about the decision?  The part where Jones looked at the text of Of Pandas and People and pointed out that approximately 150 times, the word “creation” is crossed out and the words “Intelligent Design” are written in in crayon (32).

Hey, does anyone remember this blog saying that it would never post pictures of dancing badgers?

Me neither.

There are those who say that dancing badgers are so complex that they could not have arisen on this blog simply by means of natural blog selection.  These people, advocates of what is known as “Intelligent Web Design,” claim that this blog could only have developed dancing badgers by stealing them from Sadly, No!’s recent Weblog Awards celebration.  Well, let’s hope Judge Jones sends those people packing as well.

But for those of you who find dancing badgers to be, how shall I say, an intellectually thin response to Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, The Dancing Panda’s Thumb just might have a post or two or twenty on the subject.  Go check ‘em out.

Posted by Michael on 12/21 at 07:48 AM
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