Archive for September 27, 2008


September 27, 2008 Leave a comment

In Maureen Dowd’s New York Times column in tomorrow’s paper, she chides Senator Obama for doing “a poor job of getting under McCain’s skin.” For example:

McCain kept painting Obama as naïve, and dangerous, insisting that he “doesn’t quite understand or doesn’t get it.”

Obama should have responded “Senator, I understand perfectly, I’m just saying you’re wrong.”

On the surge, he could have said that McCain was the arsonist who wanted to be praised for the great job he’s doing putting out the fire he started.

I find Andrew Sullivan’s analysis earlier today the more penetrating one. He says in part: Read more…

Categories: Politics, Today's News

The Story Behind the Bear DNA

September 27, 2008 Leave a comment

Early in the McCain-Obama debate last night, Senator McCain yet again brought up the issue of the $3 million Congressional appropriation (“earmark”) for a bear DNA study in Montana. This was the one example he gave (maybe there were more, but it’s the one I latched onto) of wasteful governmental spending on pork, or earmarks. Of course, focusing on an earmark that cost $3 million in the context of a discussion of a $700 billion bailout suggests an insufficient sense of scale, either on Senator McCain’s own part or in his expectations of the audience. But what I find more troubling is his continued use of this expenditure as an example of self-evident waste, without making any effort to educate the audience (or perhaps himself) on why it’s a waste.

Anti-intellectual and anti-science currents run deep in this country. I am not sufficiently informed to address the history of this, but I can at least refer as a start to Richard Hofstadter’s 1963 Puliter-Prize-winning book Anti-intellectualism in American Life. As to the issue at hand, Coco Ballantyne provided some background on the bear study last February in Scientific American. Excerpts follow. Read more…

Categories: Politics, Today's News