WASHINGTON, D.C. -- According to CNN, an off-duty police officer has been accused of drawing his gun in the midst of a neighborhood snowball fight. Roughly two hundred people had gathered together on Saturday for what the cable news company describes as "a massive snowball fight." When a few stray snowballs hit the off-duty officer's vehicle as he drove through the area, he allegedly "exited the vehicle and yelled out the crowd" before "drawing his gun."
Although much of the more sensational claims Jennifer Toth makes in The Mole People: Life in the Tunnels Beneath New York City have been challenged by the likes of Joseph Brennan, her book nevertheless brought subterranean dwelling to the surface and initiated mainstream and academic interest in a phenomenon previously dismissed as urban legend. In a recent article published in The Sun, Pete Samson ventures away from the New York City subway tunnels at the heart of Toth's book and provides the tabloid's readers with a glimpse into the lives of several Las Vegas mole people.
Save for a few peculiarities that suggest a degree of editorial tampering (the Americans quoted in the article rather dubiously use the British word "skip" in lieu of the American "dumpster," for instance), Samson's piece seems to be a fairly reliable, if relatively unoriginal, addition to the discussion of underground dwellers. It's an interesting read.
Last week, several bloggers expressed their chagrin at Tony Blair for having allegedly made some rather unfortunate remarks about non-theists in a speech the former British Prime Minister delivered to a crowd of religious scholars at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Jonathan Hurley, for instance, likens Blair to the puritanical elders of old Salem, claiming that "[n]ot since leaders tackled the dangers of witches in our midst has a politician sounded such an alarm." Elsewhere, Austin Cline calls Blair "a political menace and an intellectual vacuum." Clearly, Mr. Blair has touched a nerve.
This is plain slander, and poorly-executed slander at that. I attended the Common Word Conference in Georgetown. Blair did not urge all faiths to "unite against a secular agenda," and most certainly did not equate atheism with terrorism. He simply meant that peace between the Muslim and Christian worlds is hindered from within by extremism, which promotes conflict between the religions, and from the outside by atheism, which undermines the need for considering religion in politics whatsoever.
"[I]t is obvious there is nothing in the world a man has more incontestable right to than his own life and person."As sad and disturbing as the thoughts it may inspire, the legality of suicide is undoubtedly one of the most important moral and civil rights issues of our time and, as we move deeper into this new century, it is only going to become more important. Farah Master's article, while subtly critical of Britain's retrograde laws regarding suicide, is hardly a polemic and treats what is a difficult topic with appropriate tenderness.--Arthur Shopenhauer on suicide.
From the Telegraph:
Creation, starring Paul Bettany, details Darwin's "struggle between faith and reason" as he wrote On The Origin of Species. It depicts him as a man who loses faith in God following the death of his beloved 10-year-old daughter, Annie.
The film was chosen to open the Toronto Film Festival and has its British premiere on Sunday. It has been sold in almost every territory around the world, from Australia to Scandinavia.
However, US distributors have resolutely passed on a film which will prove hugely divisive in a country where, according to a Gallup poll conducted in February, only 39 per cent of Americans believe in the theory of evolution.
Jim Tedisco, the New York State assembleyman whose premature decision to bolt Albany for a Congressional position he would never win drew the ire of left-leaning commentators, has recently introduced a bill designed to charge wealthy criminals for their state-provided room and board. The so-called "Madoff Bill" proposes a "sliding scale [to] determine how much convicts would have to pay, based on their assets," with those on the lower end of the spectrum (those folks with net worths below forty grand) paying nothing while the Martha Stewarts and Michael Vicks of the world would be responsible for their respective tabs in their entirety.
In one of the more thought-provoking articles I've come across lately, Time Magazine's Steven Gray discusses a nascent trend in academic circles: the selling of sponsorships to support classes for which sufficient funding does not exist. As an academic myself, I have seen first-hand the ways in which dwindling enrollment and budget restrictions can adversely affect both students and instructors, so I was not quite as appalled by the prospect of "TD Waterhouse Marketing 101" as I feel I should have been when I first heard the suggestion. I mean, libraries are often named after donors and sports stadiums frequently bear the names of various corporate sponsors, right?