From Free Speech to Filthy Speech

This little tidbit emerged from Geo-Strata's interview with Dr. J. Michael Duncan of Virginia Tech, justifiably characterised as a legend in his (and my) profession: Q. What was it like at Berkeley during the '60's? "Berkeley in the '60's" is typically required reading in U.S. history classes now. A. (Laughs). I'm surprised you ask this …

Our Foreign Policy Block

Damon Linker starts out his piece on American foreign policy with this predictable assertion: Unlike so many of the blustering Know Nothings trying to become the Republican nominee for president, Clinton and Kagan know a tremendous amount about the world. Clinton, in particular, sounds comfortable talking in granular detail about the intricacies of international affairs, …

Perusing My Parents' Bookshelf

Boomers have always had a love-hate relationship with the generation before them, transitioning from "don't trust anyone over thirty" to calling them "the Greatest Generation."  Most of those who brought us into the world are gone now, and the ones who are left are "full of years" to use the Bible's expression. Part of the …

Maybe the Turks Will Unfurl the Banner Named Barack

For those of us with long memories, an old conflict resurfaces: The shooting down of a Russian jet by Turkey is a "stab in the back" committed by "accomplices of terrorists", Vladimir Putin has said. The Sukhoi Su-24 was warned 10 times before being downed near the Syrian border by two Turkish F16 jets for violating the country's …

The Persian Origin of the Title "King of Kings"

Today is the feat of Christ the King, and it's right to consider the title "King of Kings": From his mouth comes a sharp sword, with which 'to smite the nations; and he will rule them with an iron rod.' He 'treads the grapes in the press' of the maddening wine of the Wrath of …

Party Animals Turned Jihadis

It happened in Paris: Just a day after her death, family and acquaintances gave extraordinary accounts of a young woman with a 'bad reputation' who was known for her love of alcohol and cigarettes rather than devotion to Islam. Her brother Youssouf Ait Boulahcen said that she had had no interest in religion, never read …

Will the Real Islam Please Stand Up?

Boomers whose brains have not been completely fried by the mind-altering substances (and that number is small) will remember the game show To Tell the Truth.  In it three contestants were lined up, all were supposed to be a single person but (usually) only one was.  The panel, by quizzing the contestants, were supposed to …

Ending Authority Has Never Been the Problem

David Fowler's generally incisive piece on the current mess our institutions of "higher" learning are in repeats, unfortunately, a misconception that needs to be challenged.  Down in the article he states the following: Relativism, by definition, must question anything that purports to be authoritative, and, of course, nothing can be authoritative if there is no …

The Problem with "Going Dark" in the Technical Literature

When starting out on a major research project in science or engineering, the first thing to do is to go through "the literature" (which usually means the peer-reviewed body of articles and published books, although internet stuff is becoming increasingly important) and try to figure out the current "state of the science" (we used to …

The Anglican Communion and the English Breakfast

Oliver Pritchett's piece on dumping brunch and bringing back the English breakfast has me thinking of many things English, American and otherwise.  That's especially true with the upcoming Anglican Primates' meeting and Justin Welby's last throw at getting everyone to play nice.  In particular, this statement from the Curmudgeon piqued my interest: And it can …

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