November 18th, 2010


The return of the Know-Nothings

"America's first know-nothings were a mid-19th century collection of nativists who dreaded 'foreign' influences on the American way of life. Reactionary as they were, we may someday see them as a collection of Rhodes Scholars and Nobel Prize Winners compared to their lineal political descendents who make up the current crew of Republican extremists now flexing their recently pumped up muscles in the Congress. Knowing nothing would be an improvement for this group which defiantly embraces the wrong, the indefensible, the illogical and the absurd with their only apparent criteria for taking a position being that it feels good for their adrenaline-stoked base. Facts, science, knowledge, and reality are all seen as the tools of elites, weapons against common folks who have gotten along just fine believing in foolish ideas for all these years.

"The roots for the current movement could be found in the arguments of creationists against teaching the science of evolution in the schools. But today we have a new generation of fundamentalists... climate creationists, foreign policy creationists, deficit creationists... for whom arithmetic and history are simply the tools of the devil. They invoke the founders but sound more like their contemporaries in England who argued that the reason that British hikers were finding fish fossils in the mountains of England had nothing to do with where seas once might have been millions of years before and instead was a consequence of God putting the fossils there to trick people into doubting the literal word of the Bible..."


Libraries, the Roberts court, and kiddie Cthulhu

"The Supreme Court under the leadership of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. is often criticized for issuing sweeping and politically polarized decisions. But there is an emerging parallel critique as well, this one concerned with the quality of the court’s judicial craftsmanship. In decisions on questions great and small, the court often provides only limited or ambiguous guidance to lower courts."

* Joel Achenbach on what BP should have done.
* "The Tea Party's criticism of the Fed is valid, although misdirected."
* "That the Bush-era policy of zero arms control is suddenly poised to make a comeback is definitely bad news - not just for arms control, but for the entire U.S.-Russia relationship."
* "Libraries reinvent themselves as they struggle to remain relevant in the digital age."
* Ten American cities that are running out of water.
* Wowzah: Google brings you fashion.
* The ten best political cult horror films ever made.
* 'The monsters of H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos, as drawn by children.'