Recently in Politics Category

Over at Pharyngula, there's an ongoing discussion about Barack Obama vs. John McCain (This is how Obama could make me happy to vote for him).

I see a huge, if not the, important issue in this election being the balance of the SCOTUS. The new President is going to appoint at least one liberal judge almost immediately (Stevens, I think, is hanging on until there's a Democrat in the Whitehouse), and maybe two (+Ginsburg?) in his first term. If McCain gets in, I see one or two more Nino Scalias being appointed, tipping the balance firmly to the right for a long time (Scalia won't be the same age as Stevens is now for almost 20 years). The consequences could be church/state separation being compromised, Roe vs. Wade overturned, gay marriage being torpedoed, and even successful appeals to recent judgements disallowing educational crapola in schools. It could be devastating.

As an international spectator, I selfishly want Obama because I think he'll be able to use his mixed-race, mixed-heritage, international background, foreign policy education, and civil rights record to help build peace and rehabilitate America's overseas reputation in a way that another old militarist Republican WASP, up to his oxters in political debt to the hawks and the religious right, simply couldn't do. From an international perspective, Obama is damn-near perfect: realistically, the international community couldn't ask for a better prospective President.

But it strikes me that, from an American and, ultimately, even an international perspective, the SCOTUS issue could be even bigger in the long term: I really don't want American core values (1st Amendment, particularly) and education compromised for a generation.


Someone mentioned the idea of handing out flyers outside screenings of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, so I drew up a list of bullet-points that I'd like to include. Of course, it's too long for a flyer, but maybe it might give someone ideas or they might pick out a few of them.

I intend to annotate this with hyperlinks to relevant online documents and other media. If you can suggest links, please do. I'm particularly interesting in a video of one of Stephen Meyer's lectures: in the Q&A at the end, an evolutionary biologist makes a fool of Meyer by describing a half-dozen precursor structures to the rotary bacterial flagellum beloved by cdesign proponentsists.

This post is dedicated to the public domain. Do with it as you wish.

For Europeans engaging in online political discussion with Americans, it is crucial to understand American political terminology. Provided that you know the political disposition of your correspondent, this is quite easy. Using the following table, look up the term in column 1 (Republican) or column 2 (Democrat), depending on the political disposition of your correspondent. You can then conveniently find the equivalent European term in column 3.

Of late, government politicians love to talk about the knowledge economy, lifelong learning and fourth level education, but are they doing enough to support these ideas, or just dropping buzzwords they don't understand? An Irish person who left Ireland in search of education gives his view.