What War On Science?
March 20, 2007

Via Dave Roberts, here's the rousing tale of how John Boehner decided which House Republicans would get to serve on the new select committee on climate change: House Republican Leader John Boehner would have appointed Rep. Wayne Gilchrest to the bipartisan Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming -- but only if the Maryland Republican would say humans are not causing climate change, Gilchrest said."I said, 'John, I can't do that,'" Gilchrest, R-1st-Md., said in an interview."He said, 'Come on. Do me a favor. I want to help you here.'Gilchrest didn't make the committee. ...

The Survival Of The Fattest
March 19, 2007

Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think By Brian Wansink (Bantam, 276 pp., $25) The idea of "the survival of the fittest" is one of the most powerful organizing principles in all of science. That simple idea, stated by Herbert Spencer on the basis of Charles Darwin's work and later endorsed by Darwin himself, captures the theory of evolution, the process of natural selection, and a host of associated notions. And yet the phrase can produce confusion.

The Strawman That Stirs The Drink
March 19, 2007

by Daniel Drezner The Economist was good enough to review my new book All Politics Is Global: Explaining International Regulatory Regimes in their latest issue. Even better, the magazine liked the book.

This Is Getting Ridiculous
March 15, 2007

Breaking news from Roll Call: Under the agreement, the Senate this afternoon will vote on three proposals, all of which would require 60 votes for passage - a mark that none is anticipated to meet. Lawmakers will vote on Reid's resolution setting a timetable for a redeployment of troops from Iraq by March of next year, a troop support resolution by Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) essentially committing the Senate to backing continued involvement of troops in Iraq and a modified version of the Gregg amendment sponsored by Sen.

Digging Deeper On "neoliberalism"
March 13, 2007

By David Greenberg TNR's makeover led David Brooks to lament the alleged death of neoliberalism. Back at TNR, Jonathan Chait and Jonathan Cohn and Mickey Kaus (a present-at-the-creation neoliberal) have replied. Here's my take. It's reductive to define neoliberalism as a more centrist form of liberalism, although it is that. It's also reductive to define neoliberalism as a movement critical of liberalism, although it's that, too. These qualities don't define neoliberalism because there are many schools of thought that are a step to the right of, or that are critical of, mainstream liberalism.

Greener Pastors
March 12, 2007

When James Dobson gets angry, people notice. And, in early March, the influential chair of Focus on the Family fired off a very angry letter to the board of the National Association of Evangelicals. Tony Perkins of The Family Research Council signed it. So did Gary Bauer. So did 22 other conservative Christian leaders. Their complaint? It seems that Richard Cizik, NAE's vice-president for governmental affairs, had been sounding the alarm on global warming.

Higher Learning?
March 12, 2007

I know that the internationalization of our universities is high on everybody's wish list, at least with everybody who makes a living in our academic institutions. Probably, however, much of this is just a scam. "The higher learning" is not everywhere the higher learning. So, many mediocre intellects come from foreign countries to less than mediocre colleges and graduate schools, and the most one can say about these enrollments is that they are a favorable cash transaction for the U.S.

Death By Denial
March 12, 2007

Michael Specter has an important piece in the New Yorker (only an abstract is available online) on AIDS denialists. These are the people who, like those who thought the earth was flat, claim that HIV does not cause AIDS (indeed, some of them allege that contracting the virus can be beneficial to your health). These nutters have deluded themselves into thinking that they are the Galileos of the modern world and that the established scientific community is the Church (as one South African government official tells Specter).

"the Knife Wasn't For Iraqis... It Was For The Guys On My Side"
March 12, 2007

Helen Benedict has a chilling story in Salon about the prevalence of rape, sexual assault, and harassment within the military. In Iraq, things have gotten so bad that officers routinely tell female soldiers "not to go to the latrines or showers without another woman for protection." This stuff is neither universal nor inevitable--several soldiers told Benedict that commanders can stop the mistreatment of women in their units if they so choose--but it is rampant.
March 09, 2007

I sometimes wonder whether the anonymity of the Internet has not only ushered in a less civil age but a more misogynistic one. Just check out this article in Wednesday's Washington Post about AutoAdmit, a law school discussion board. The purported purpose of the site is to give law students an open forum to anonymously discuss their community ("We are very strong believers in the freedom of expression and the marketplace of idea," says one of the site's high-minded founders).