Update on the Greenpeace “Smiths” Porn/Ad

I posted on 7/22 that Greenpeace had supposedly produced an ad depicting a homosexual encounter between President Bush and Prime Minister Blair. At the time, I questioned it’s legitimacy – even for Greenpeace, it seemed like this might be beyond the pale.

It wasn’t and it’s real. It’s on the Greenpeace UK website.

Again, thanks to Michelle Malkin and The Museum of Left Wing Lunacy for helping to bring this to light.

iPods, Anyone?

Want a free iPod? I do! At the advice of my friend Phil, I joined up at freeipods.com. The deal is pretty simple – you take advantage of an offer by a reputable, established company (many of which cost under $5) and get 5 people to do the same. The company doing the giveaway (Gratis Internet) makes its money off of referral fees from the companies making the offers.

This is a legitimate site – it has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, the BBC, and elsewhere. They have not sold my information to anyone*. I did the BMG Music deal and got some great CDs – no price markup or anything, just the normal BMG deal. My total cost for 12 CDs and the opportunity to get a free iPod: about $40.

If you catch it at the right time, you can even complete an offer for free. Check it out!

* I used a special e-mail address and have not received any spam, that way. I also monitor my credit at least monthly, and nothing weird has happened there. Note that you don’t have to provide your real name and shipping address until it’s time to ship.

Wild Poker Hand

Last night, I played some Hold ‘Em, and went all-in with top pair (kings), holding AK offsuit. The problem was that two other players had AK offsuit, as well! One of them caught a K-high flush on the river, and the other caught the A-high flush on the river. Ouch. Of course, the pot was a monster.

Probability of (at least) 3 players in an 8-handed game having AK (suited or unsuited) = .000029% (1 in 3,465, 531 hands).
Probability of (at least) 3 players in an 8-handed game having AK offsuit = .000013% (1 in 7,921,215 hands).

So, that was probably a once-in-a-lifetime hand. Too bad I got busted on it.

Frist Supports Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tennessee), M.D., today announced that he supports a bill currently before the Senate, which would allow federal funds to be used in the destruction of embryos in order to extract stem cells.

I’m not going to dive into the merits of embryonic stem cell research, itself; as I’ve said before, embryonic stem cells are not even necessarily the most promising stem cells, in terms of potential therapeutic value. Numerous treatments have been developed – some with remarkable results – using non-embryonic stem cells, and there is little evidence that embryonic stem cells would be easier to use in therapies, without raising new problems (rejection, etc.).

Continue reading Frist Supports Embryonic Stem Cell Research

School Board Offers Theological Defense of Homosexuality, Gets Taken to Task

In case you haven’t heard, the Montgomery County (Maryland) Public Schools tried to implement a sex education curriculum that endorses homosexuality as a normal and amoral (not “immoral,” “amoral”) lifestyle choice. Whether or not one agrees with that proposal, the fact is that the school system gets its facts wrong and makes theological arguments – including making statements about the proper interpretation of the Bible and other religious texts and endorsing specific religious groups over others – in the proposed course materials. Eugene Volokh does a good job explaining the problems.

You can view the court ruling against the school system here.

UPDATE: I should note that the question of whether or not the school system can implement this curriculum is still open; the ruling above is only on granting a restraining order.

Going to Yale Law at 16???

Seamus Farrow, only son of Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, is heading to Yale Law, at age 16. It sounds like he’s had a very interesting life, for somebody of that age, but I can’t say that it makes sense for a 16-year old to go to law school, or for any law school to admit a 16-year old. I have known a lot of people who felt they had it all together at that age – I was one of them – but I have yet to meet a person who really knew himself or herself and what he or she really wanted in life before age 20 or so. Well, best of luck to him.

Hat tip to JD2B.

University of Texas Student Earns a 180 on the LSAT…

… and advises students to sell their souls. Okay, not really, that’s what the article says a lot of students would do, but the student in question, Jesse Townsend, does advise aspiring law students to pick a major based on the GPA they would expect to earn.

Congratulations to Jesse, by the way, but his advice is just what’s wrong with the law profession, from what I can see. Too many people go to law school because it’s “just what to do” if one isn’t going to med school or business school. If the deciding factor in your choice of a subject to spend 3 or 4 years on is the GPA you expect to get, you can expect to be unhappy and stressed as an undergrad, possibly unhappy as a law student, and probably unhappy as a lawyer. Have a life! Pick something you like! Be different; law schools like that. If I were admitting law school students, I’d take somebody with modest grades and a passion for ancient languages over yet another 3.9 GPA PoliSci student, who chose his or her major to get that 3.9, any day.

That’s just my $0.02, but if you’re pre-law and reading this, I strongly encourage you to explore different subjects and figure out who you really are before getting to the LSAT or applying to law schools.

Hat tip to JD2B.

Brian Leiter, Political Incompetent

For those who don’t know, Brian Leiter is a University of Texas law and philosophy professor. His information on law school rankings and the academic job market may be great, but his political theory is horrible. In his latest post, John Howard the Ostrich, he tries to argue that foreign policy – of any nation – ought to be determined by the goals of that nation’s enemies. He argues, among other things, that the U.S. should have pulled its military forces out of Saudi Arabia in the 1990s, in order to prevent attacks like those of 9/11/01, naïvely believing that those forces are only there to prop up the Saudi royals. Of course, this same logic would imply that Churchill should have surrendered British sovereignty to Hitler, to avoid the blitz, or that a duly elected Lincoln should have been impeached in the Senate, to avoid civil war.

Leiter even complains about the use of strawmen, even as he deliberately misinterprets the comments of Howard and others. At least, I assume it’s deliberate, because I give Leiter credit for more intelligence than he shows in this essay. Nobody is arguing that the current war in Iraq inspired the Bali bombings or the September 11 attacks, obviously. Howard’s point is that terrorism against Westerners and Western nations is motivated by an ideology, not by specific actions. Leiter, apparently, does not credit those who disagree with him with much intelligence.

Perhaps I’m wrong, and Leiter really has convinced himself that appeasement makes sense. Perhaps he really believes that satisfying terrorist groups – by destroying Israel, withdrawing the U.S. military from all foreign locations, and implementing Shari’a (Muslim law) in the United States – is the best, most logical way to avoid terrorist attacks. I think he’s smarter than that, though, in which case he’s just venting political nonsense for the sake of being, well, political.

It’s Not Just in the US of A

No, bureaucrats do stupid things, everywhere. It turns out that UK officials prevented the US from interrogating one Haroon Rashid Aswat, one month before the London bombings; of course, it turns out Aswat was lending support to the bombers. Details on CNN.com.

Social Studies

Kids used to study History, Geography, and Western Civ. Well before the time I hit middle school, though, we switched over to Social Studies, which presumably is supposed to evoke the idea of sociology.

My main memories of social studies were obscure listings of the principal exports of a handful of African countries, a few discussions about the havoc wrought in Latin America by one Christopher Columbus, a teacher who read North Carolina ghost stories on Fridays, and one teacher who obsessively played, “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” apparently whenever she thought we had touched on a name or topic mentioned in the lyrics. Sure, I learned the names of U.S. Presidents and a bit about local history and geography, but topics like any reasonably detailed discussion of, say, the Civil War, were relegated to electives. American history or political theory wasn’t covered in much of any detail until AP US History.

I’m not complaining about my education or my teachers; I got to college much more well-read than was average among my peers, because my middle school and high school were excellent. I think, though, that something might be wrong in our multi-cultural approach to classroom education when people graduate high school, but disturbingly high numbers of them cannot explain what Watergate was, name either of the Presidents during WWII, or identify the decade of the Civil War. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that any educational system in the United States which fails to embed any of that basic knowledge in at least, say, 98% of each graduating class needs to be razed to the ground and rebuilt from scratch.

It’s not just us, either; a teacher’s union in the UK wants to abolish the term “fail” from classrooms. Tongue Tied calls this, appropriately, Deferred Intelligence.