Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Faith in Theory

Here's a straighforward article which nicely delineates the difference between ID and science, as well as explaining what a theory really is. I really wish more people saw the difference as clearly as he does.

Give Peace a Chance

About all that needs to be said about the "scandal" of the US Military paying for "good press" in Iraq is on the Mudville Gazette.
From my simple perspective the story boils down to this: I have a gun. You have a gun. I can talk you into setting that gun down, or I can shoot you. This, I believe, is the fundamental concept - the moral imperative, in fact - establishing the need for such information operations in a war zone.

Unbought Grace

When Peter Robinson says that something is "the finest prose you'll read this Christmas week" you can bet that it is worth reading.
In "The Conservative Mind" (1953), a founding document of the American conservative movement, Russell Kirk assembled an array of major thinkers beginning with Edmund Burke and made a major statement. He proved that conservative thought in America existed, and even that such thought was highly intelligent--a demonstration very much needed at the time.

Today we are in a very different and more complicated situation. Nevertheless, a synthesis is possible, based on what American conservatism has achieved and left unachieved since Kirk's volume. Any political position is only as important as the thought by which it is derived; the political philosopher presiding will be Burke, but a Burke interpreted for a new constitutional republic and for modern life. Here, then, is my assessment of the ideas held in balance in the American Conservative Mind today.

Don't miss the conversation this has sparked on The Corner, especially this post by Ramesh Ponnuru.

Merry Fristmas

Some time in late December, Bill Frist woke up and decided to join the Democrats. Why, I don't know. Apparently quite pleased with himself, he sent out this email with the oxymoronic title, "Lowering the Cost of College":
I write to share good news with you about a new student aid initiative that
represents a dramatic step toward promoting math and science education and
ensuring America’s economic competitiveness in the future.

We know that China and India are generating scientists and engineers at a
furious pace while America lags dangerously behind. Study after study
calls for the government to act to address this problem. Passage of this
program represents real action.

The new student aid program I created is called a SMART Grant. SMART
Grants will provide $4000 per year to Pell Grant-eligible students who
maintain a 3.0 GPA and major in math, science, engineering, technology, or
foreign languages critical to national security during their third and
fourth years of college. That means a Pell Grant-eligible student will
obtain up to $8000 in additional assistance toward the cost of college if
he or she chooses to major in those fields. These funds will incentivize
more students to major in these time-intensive studies and help America
produce the workforce it needs to compete in today’s global economy.

The bill also provides Academic Competitiveness Grants to first and second
year students. $750 will go to first year students who complete a rigorous
high school curriculum, and $1300 will go to second year students who
complete a rigorous high school curriculum and maintain a 3.0 GPA in
college. President Bush and Chairman Boehner (R-OH) deserve praise and
credit for their leadership on these grants.

I have attached a chart (PDF) that summarizes the tremendous college savings
students can achieve through the SMART and Academic Competitiveness
programs. SMART Grant recipients will save up to 75% on their college

The SMART and Academic Competitiveness Grants are authorized at $3.75
billion over five years and are paid for with program savings included in
the budget deficit reduction bill approved by the Senate this morning.

These grants will help sustain America’s global legacy as a land of
innovation, imagination, and initiative. I invite you to spread the word –
please tell students, teachers, parents, and community leaders about SMART
and the difference these grants will make to America’s students and the
country as a whole.
First, Senator, the reason that College costs keep going up is that the government is interfering in the market by subsidizing tuitions and making outrageous guaranteed loans. If the Feds just got the H-E-double-hockey-sticks out of the education business, the quality of College would go up, and the cost would come down. (Have you noticed how much you paid for your last computer?) Perhaps, Senator, you can undertake to lay your finger on that part of the Constitution which authorizes the Federal Government to spend a single penny on education. It seems to be missing from my copy.

Second, I'm just aghast that a Republican is proposing this kind of wealth redistribution. It's bad enough when Socialism makes incremental progress while Democrats are in charge. It induces howls of frustrated rage when it happens under the Republicans. And now a prominent Republican leads the charge? Horrors.

Say it isn't so, Senator. Please say it was some over-zealous intern on your staff who hijacked your web site and email account.