September 16, 2007

Sunday morning musings

First, some good news for a chance, and in that horrible `Jena Six' case in Louisiania where whites hung nooses from a tree in school colors, yet black youths found themselves facing serious time.
"A state appeals court Friday tossed out the aggravated battery conviction that could have sent a black teenager to prison for 15 years in last year's beating of a white classmate in the racially tense north Louisiana town of Jena."
As one blogger noted, clearly a victory, but one we shouldn't have to fight for so hard in 2007.

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Horses Mouth has an interesting story of different gaffes. Remember John Kerry's failed joke about if you are dumb and don't apply yourself in school, you end up in Iraq? He clearly meant Bush, but Republicans and the media ran with it to the point that it dominated just about everything. I saw numerous Republican operatives, and even heard from some people personally, how Kerry hated the troops and had fully intended to insult them. Yeah, right.

Well, the other day, Republican Minority Leader John Boehner was asked how much longer Americans should be expected to lose blood and treasure in Iraq. Boehner responded that the costs are "a small price" to pay for the overall mission. Can you imagine the response had John Kerry said that? Outrage. But here, very little. Republicans still benefit from some bizarre "pro-military assumption" despite gutting the military, cutting funding, treatment, etc.

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Thanks to Ubub, I am reading Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial And America's Continuing Debate over Science And Religion. I have been working on it off and on for a while, but am constantly impressed with this book. I will report more on it later, but was struck again by a couple of aspects of the anti-evolution talk from the 19teens and 20s. One was the concern that WJ Bryan had that belief in a "brutish past" would encourage more war and mistreatment of people, in which he referenced the survival of the fittest, and was responding to very real intellectual movements such as Social Darwinism which tried to blame poverty and slums on those who lived there.

Reading this book, I am still reminded that the debate has so little to do with science, in that if the arguments were just about plants and animals evolving--or the flu virus--we would not have an argument. Because it touches on the origins of man, I am afraid that a majority of Americans would throw evolution out. And with it, all the scientific and medical advances that we have discovered because of it.

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Ok, enough. I drained the pond yesterday and am attempting to fix a leak in the concrete sides. So, I better get on that. Hope you all have a good Sunday.

10 comments:

P M Prescott said...

The problem with William Jennings Bryan is that so many people equate him to the play "Inherit the Wind" which is a charicature of the man, and doesn't represent the real man. WBJ defined the differences between Republicans and Democrats that remain to this day in his "Cross of Gold Speech". He advocated for an old age pension which became Social Security, leaving the gold standard, regulating business and government supported health care. If Roosevelt was the father of the New Deal -- Bryant was the Grandfather. Johnson may have been the father of the Great Society, but Bryant was the Great-GrandFather. To conclude that he supported Social Darwinism is wishful thinking at best and pure ignorance in fact. He wasn't against teaching Origen of Species, it was Descent of Man that bothered him. He drew the line at Man evolving. A viewpoint shared by many American's in his day.

Streak said...

PM, absolutely. I didn't mean to suggest that he was intrigued by Social Darwinism, but that he opposed evolution at least part because of the way that it was used to oppose reform. We are in agreement.

steve s said...

Kerry's "joke" got blown way out of proportion, but it faded into obscurity fairly fast. He should have known better. He has been a politician for over 30 years...c'mon.

Assuming that a person thinks the Iraq War was a good idea, I'd expect them to believe in some level of sacrifice. I hardly think these two comments are comparable.

Streak said...

Steve, I disagree. Kerry's joke was a pretty good one, he just choked on the delivery. And it ended up really ensuring that he shouldn't run. Maybe a good thing in the long run.

Yeah, Boehner may think that. But again, imagine any Democrat dismissing nearly 4,000 lives as a "small price to pay." Tell me with a straight face that whichever Democratic politician said that would not be pilloried for days on Fox.

steve s said...

First of all, is "Boehner" pronounced 'boner?' If so, hee hee.

I suppose Kerry's joke would have been funnier if someone that was funny delivered it.

I don't know if some dem would be blasted on Fox for days. I could see O' Reilly or Hannity saying something, but they are pundits. OTOH, Boehner isn't exactly a household name.

Tony said...

Heh. Heh heh. Heh heh heh. Steve wrote 'boner'. Heh heh heh.

By way of comparison, look at when Ann Coulter called for the murder of John Edwards. She thought she was being funny, didn't choke on the delivery, and took it as an opportunity to slay Edwards.

steve s said...

When you are funny, you can say anything. Kathy Griffin told Jesus to 'suck it.' I thought Anne was responding to Bill Maher's joke about Cheney getting killed.

Streak said...

Actually, "Boehner" is pronounced "baynor," just for the record. And he might not be a household name, but he is the minority leader of the Republicans, not a comedian or writer. I will concede that people like Bill Maher are the exception, but in most cases, the Republicans are people with power or continual access to the media, while the liberals are lesser known people.

steve s said...

Some day the poor, media-less dems will get a break. ; )

JoeG said...

Streak -
Thanks for the update about the Jena Six case too. I have been looking for updates but haven't been able to find any. Good news indeed that the conviction was tossed out. Sad story to be taking place in this day and age.