Archive for April, 2005

The undiplomatic diplomat, John R. Bolton

Posted in Media Watch on April 24, 2005 by Blog Admin

<font size="2">President Bush's choice to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, <a href="">John R. Bolton</a>, should withdraw from consideration.  Given the cowboy diplomacy that George W. has engaged in thus far, we need someone who is more respectful of the institution as our ambassador.  If we had only listened to international wisdom, we would not be in this horrific quagmire in Iraq.  So, rather than learning from our mistakes, we select someone who goes beyond cowboy to bully diplomacy.  Someone who has publicly uttered sentiments of disrespect toward the UN.  Even Republicans realize the damage that this man may perpetrate with his bullying, as illustrated by Ohio's George V. <a href="">Voinovich</a>.  <a href="">Many former diplomats have expressed their opposition to his nomination due to his unwillingness to consider US arms control  in international security discussions.</a>  Thus, the true Bush agenda is revealed, perpetuating war and enriching his cronies through the defense industry.</font>

Bush's Schiavo Hypocrisy

Posted in Media Watch on April 15, 2005 by Blog Admin

<p><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000" color="#ffffff">George W. had proposed </font><a href=""><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000" color="#3399ff">$14 Billion in medicaid cuts</font></a><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000" color="#ffffff">, which were fortunately rejected by Congress.  The hypocrisy here is that Terry Schiavo's artifically sustained body was funded by Medicaid.   Can you imagine the cost incurred by tax-payers, if one were to extend the outcome fought for by Terry's parents (and George W.) to all people in persistent vegetative states?   Just as this case has prompted many people to clarify their end-of-life wishes to reject such futile measures, I fear the far-righters are clarifying their wishes to request life sustaining treatment when recovery is impossible.  As we have seen with Terry, we're talking potentially decades of treatment.  Talk about health care crisis!  What an image! Hospitals slowly filling up with vegetative far-righters who are using tax money that they so begrudgingly gave during their more productive years.</font></p><p><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000" color="#ffffff">Another hypocrisy is that George W, in his capacity as Texas Governor, signed the <font color="#3399ff">&quot;</font></font><a href=""><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000" color="#3399ff">Texas Futile Care Law&quot;,</font></a><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000" color="#ffffff"> which removes health care in hopeless circumstances independent of family wishes (good move George!).  Sadly enough, this law was applied to an infant recently. </font><a href=""><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000" color="#3399ff"> Sun Hudson's breathing tube was removed and he died shortly thereafter</font></a><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000" color="#ffffff"><font color="#3399ff">.</font>  Why did we not hear the same uproar in this case?  Why did the press not have a field day with this hypocrisy?  It turns out that the infant was African-American, and the perpetrator of the hypocrisy is a Republican.  If Clinton had engaged in anything this hypocritical can you imagine the consequences? </font></p>

Evelyn Fox Keller on Nature vs Nurture

Posted in Women's Voices on April 8, 2005 by Blog Admin

<font size="2"><p><a href="">Evelyn Fox Keller</a> delivered a fabulous talk yesterday on the very timely (<a href="">thanks in part to Lawrence Summers</a>) question of &quot;Do innate gender differences between men and women influence their respective cognitive abilities?&quot;. &quot;Thank you&quot; to the <a href="">Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study</a>.</p><p>Evelyn's primary point is that certain traits like cognitive processes are highly complex and most certainly influenced through environment (nurture), like, but not limited to, education. Establishing a definitive connection between innate (genetic) characteristics and complex traits like cognition, where one cannot (yet) clearly characterize the additive nature of environmental forces, is simply not effective science. We do not know enough yet to create an experiment where we can parse out what elements are environmental and which are innate. </p><p>Evelyn gave a number of wonderful clarifying examples and metaphors. I will adapt one of Evelyn's examples here. Let us pick a trait that is far less complicated by environmental forces, like height. My Father grew up during WWII, so due to the malnutrition that he experienced during this time, claims that he did not achieve his height potential. So, even here who can quantify how much of my Father's height is due to his genetic composition and how much is due to environmental (nutrition) factors? </p><p>Finally, the question is why do we feel compelled, given the lack of sufficient scientific criteria, to claim innate differences between men's and women's cognitive potential. Well, this claim has periodically cropped up and been refuted, and the motivation has historically been to create a low-wage labor pool. It is profitable to create a pool of people who feel unworthy of compensation levels that the superior gender, race, nationality, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation receives. Evelyn points out that people attribute political motives to those who critique the &quot;studies&quot; finding innate cognitive differences. Who is really politically motivated here?</p></font>

Evelyn Fox Keller to Speak at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study

Posted in Women's Voices on April 6, 2005 by Blog Admin

<p>One of my hero's of feminism, <a href="">Evelyn Fox Keller</a> is giving a talk entitled, &quot;Innate Confusions: Nature, Nurture, and All of That&quot; at the <a href="">Radcliffe Institute</a> tomorrow at 4:30.   I plan to be there, and will report back on the talk.  I anticipate that Evelyn will provide a solid rebuttal for <a href="">Lawrence Summers' recent remarks</a> concerning women's innate difficulty with science and math.  </p><p>Evelyn has written extensively about gender and science and the history and philosophy of biology.  I am currently reading her latest work, &quot;Making Sense of Life, Explaining Biological Development with Models, Metaphors, and Machines&quot;.  My favorite work of Evelyn's is the biography of Barbara McClintock, <a href="">&quot;A Feeling for the Organism&quot;.</a></p>

David Horowitz Backs Off

Posted in Cry-Baby Conservatives on April 1, 2005 by Blog Admin

<p><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #333333" color="#ffffff">Checking the </font><a href=""><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #333333" color="#0099ff">Students for Academic Freedom</font></a><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #333333" color="#ffffff"> website (run by non-student David Horowitz) I notice that it has been changed, so that </font><a href=""><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #333333" color="#0099ff">my allegations</font></a><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #333333" color="#ffffff"> (using political party affiliation of faculty members to indicate classroom bias) are no longer true.  I suppose the overt charges of fascism by me and others rang a little too true.  I suppose David wishes to appear less nutty.  Who wouldn't?  Even the title has been changed from &quot;how to research faculty bias&quot; to </font><a href=""><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #333333" color="#0099ff">&quot;how to research faculty party affiliations</font></a><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #333333" color="#ffffff">&quot;, and I can no longer find the link on the main web site.   Less nutty, but why should students wish to research faculty party affiliations?  I fear the goal is the same.  I personally liked the nuttier David better.</font></p><p><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #333333" color="#ffffff">This experience emphasizes the impermanence of all electronic media, especially web sites.  When offensiveness is spotted, rather than defending such actions, individuals like David simply change things, and (as my nephew would say about Santa's delivery of Christmas presents) &quot;poof&quot; the culpable words are gone.  I suppose our public critiques are helping edit such pages.</font></p>