Patterico's Pontifications

3/9/2009

Obama aims to shield science from politics?

Filed under: General — Karl @ 11:20 am

[Posted by Karl]

Please, pull the other one. As Andy Levy notes:

Obi-wan: Only the Sith believe in absolutes. The Sith are EVIL.

Obama-wan: Science shouldn’t be guided by ideology. Cloning is WRONG.

Not just wrong, but “dangerous, profoundly wrong,” according to Pres. Obama.  James Lileks has another example:

Ah, if only the best place for storing embryonic stem cells was Yucca Flat.

Scientific consensus on nuclear waste disposal does not seem to have affected Pres. Obama’s position.  The Washington Post chose to bury its own example near the end of the story:

Obama does not intend to call for the repeal of the Dickey-Wicker amendment, which bars the use of federal funds to conduct research on embryos directly.

The point here is not about the merits of human embryonic stem cell research, or funding same.  Rather, it is about Pres. Obama and his lapdog press pretending they are driven only by Science, when they are just as prone to moral and political considerations as Pres. Bush was.  Only the morality and politics differ. 

Update: Jonathan Adler notes Secretary of Energy Steven Chu’s hysterical claim that climate change threatens to end all agriculture in California.  As Thomas Dolby might say, “SCIENCE!”

Update x2: Pres. Obama has defunded promising, non-controversial stem cell research.  SCIENCE!

–Karl

The Official Way to Address the Problem of Radical Islam

Filed under: General,Terrorism — Patterico @ 7:05 am

Make sure you don’t call it radical “Islam”:

For the past year, there’s been a concerted push within the U.S. government to ban frank talk about the nature of the Islamist enemy. It began with the Department of Homeland Security, then moved to the National Counter Terrorism Center and the departments of State and Defense. Already in May 2008, I heard an excellent analysis of the enemy by Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Thomas Mahnken in which he bizarrely never once mentioned Islam or jihad.

I’ve been wondering how this change in vocabulary actually occurs: is it a spontaneous mood shift, a group decision, or a directive from on high?

The answer just arrived, in the shape of a leaked memo dated March 2 from Jennifer Janin, head of the Urdu service at the Voice of America. The directive can be found in its entirety at “Urdu Language Style & Guidelines #3.” Addressed to the Urdu radio, television, and web teams, as well as to the director and program manager of VOA’s South Asia Division, her diktat insists on no connection being drawn from Islam to politics. In gist:

Islamic terrorists: DO NOT USE. Instead use simply: terrorist.
Islamic Fundamentalism/ Muslim Fundamentalists: AVOID.
Islamist: NOT NECESSARY.
Muslim Extremists: NOT NECESSARY. Extremist serves well.

This is Orwellian. Islamic fundamentalism is Islamic. Islamic extremism is Islamic. Islamic terrorism is Islamic.

It doesn’t mean Islam is inherently fundamentalist or extreme or terroristic. It’s not. I know some like to say it is, but it plainly isn’t.

But you have to call things what they are.

There’s also an increasing tendency among news organizations to call terrorists “alleged” terrorists, or criminals “alleged” criminals — even after they have been convicted. So you get this bizarre situation where Islamic terrorists are called merely “people who prosecutors say are terrorists.” The reference to Islam is deleted, though accurate. The label of terrorist is watered down, though accurate.

No. You can’t allow this to happen. You can’t allow simple concepts to be redefined.

Islamic terrorists are both Islamic and terrorists. How can you fight the problem if you redefine it into something it is not?

Another Candy-Ass RINO Weighs In With His Interpretation

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:01 am

The (formerly!) credible conservative Ace of Spades:

I am honestly telling you that I’ve read Rush’s fuller quote and I *still* think the statement can fairly be read as “I hope Obama fails, and the economy doesn’t recover, because it’s THAT important that liberty be preserved.”

I don’t even think that reading is a “bad” reading — I sure the fuck don’t want this bastard to make socialism popular.

But I come in here saying something fairly small — “Hey, while I get that statement myself, I’m not sure that’s the message you want to be sending when the unemployment rate is 8.1% and climbing” — and I’m read the bleeding riot act.

APOSTATE!

Submitted for your consideration. I know that, for many of you, it’s simply INSANE AND UNTHINKABLE to assert that Rush meant that.

But for many of you, it’s simply INSANE AND UNTHINKABLE to think he meant anything else.

As long as we’re talking interpretation. Which I believe we are.

P.S. Speaking of interpretation, I’m no literary expert, but here’s my theory:

Words should be interpreted the way a reasonable person would interpret them.

It almost sounds like a tautology, but I don’t think it is.

I think this is the only way to communicate effectively. Here’s the key: if you don’t like the way reasonable people are interpreting your words, it’s time to clarify your words. Don’t whine about being misinterpreted.

The key word is “reasonable.” If someone comes along with an unreasonable interpretation of your words, that’s their problem — not yours. Tell them why it’s unreasonable.

Who gets to decide what’s reasonable? That’s what makes it interesting. If we were computers, it would be predictable and boring. But we’re humans, and determining what’s reasonable is — in my view! — where the debate lies. Reasonableness is the touchstone.

I have almost no idea where this theory fits in with literary theories of interpretation. I’ve never discussed this with anyone before. It’s just the way I see the world.

Like Anne Elk, that’s my new theory, which belongs to me, and is as follows . . . and I’m sticking with it.


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