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The Weblog at The View from the Core - Sun. 05/15/05 07:43:02 AM

Readworthies VI

A handful of interesting, informative, and insightful articles.

News, editorials, columns, essays.

"The Phantom Professor" by Scott Jaschik @ Inside Higher Ed (ht):

No one at Southern Methodist University knew — for sure — who The Phantom Professor was. The professor’s blog, like those of many untenured academics, was anonymous and the university was never named.
Sure, readers learned that the Phantom Professor’s college had a lot of wealthy students, many of whom dressed alike, and many of whom weren’t particularly good writers. But that doesn’t really narrow it down. And the Phantom’s university was one where many adjuncts, like the author of the blog, felt invisible and ignored — not exactly an unusual quality.
But at SMU, at least some students and faculty members (and the university’s legal office) did become aware of the Phantom Professor and the many similarities between incidents at the Phantom’s campus and at SMU. And in SMU’s Department of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs, people recognized themselves and their colleagues. And word got around that the author was probably Elaine Liner, a popular writing instructor and a theater critic for a local alternative newspaper....

Brown and Originalism: There's more than one way to get it right. by Edward Whelan @ National Review Online (ht):

The Left invokes the Orwellian euphemism of the "living Constitution" as it promotes and applauds lawless judicial decisions, like Roe v. Wade, that have no conceivable basis in the text or structure of the real Constitution. The "metastasizing Constitution" would be a far more honest moniker. For the real living Constitution — the Constitution that came to life in 1789 and that grew to full fruition with the ratification of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments in the aftermath of the Civil War — is suffering from foreign cells metastasizing in its vital organs. The only means of restoring its health is a vigorous dose of originalist medicine.
The Left's "killer" argument against an originalist reading of the Constitution is that adherence to the original meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment purportedly would not have yielded the just result — the end to the evil of segregated public schools — mandated by the Supreme Court's landmark 1954 ruling in Brown v. Board of Education. Margaret Talbot's interesting but flawed profile of Justice Scalia and originalism in a recent issue of the New Yorker... is typical: The only "way to get to Brown," she asserts, is "to embrace the 'living Constitution.'" Why's that? "It's hard to see an originalist justification" for Brown, since, she claims, the "same Congress that passed the Fourteenth Amendment segregated Washington schools." Justice Scalia "sometimes acknowledges as much, saying that a faulty — that is, a non-originalist — method can occasionally produce good results, a Scalian variation on 'Even a broken watch is right twice a day.'" And further, she tells us, liberal legal scholar Cass Sunstein has declared that a "doctrinaire originalist" would reject Brown. Case closed. No need for further discussion.
But wait: Every one of Talbot's assertions is off the mark....

The view from The New York Times by Terry Mattingly @ Scripps Howard News Service (ht):

When it comes to capturing the worldview of New Yorkers, it's hard to top Saul Steinberg's famous cartoon titled "A View of the World from Ninth Avenue."
It appeared — where else? — on the cover of The New Yorker. The city is in the foreground and, beyond the Hudson River, there is a void dotted with mesas, mountains and hints that Chicago, Texas, Nebraska, Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean exist.
There are no steeples anywhere....

Democratic Suicide: When will the Dems start winning again? When they start living and speaking like normal folks. by Victor Davis Hanson @ National Review Online:

We are in unsure times amid a controversial war. Yet the American people are not swayed by the universities, the major networks, the New York Times, Hollywood, the major foundations, and NPR. All these bastions of doctrinaire liberal thinking have done their best to convince America that George W. Bush, captive to right-wing nuts and Christian fanatics, is leading the country into an abyss. In fact, a close look at a map of red/blue counties nationwide suggests that the Democrats are in deepening trouble.
Why? In a word, Democratic ideology and rhetoric have not evolved from the 1960s, although the vast majority of Americans has — and an astute Republican leadership knows it....

What Intelligent Design Is — and Isn't by Jay W. Richards @ beliefnet (ht):

Unless you’ve been hiding in a cave, you’ve heard of “intelligent design” (ID) and some of its leading proponents — Phillip Johnson, Michael Behe, William Dembski. Unfortunately, you probably got the mainstream media’s spin. It’s so predictable, I sometimes wonder if reporters aren’t using computer macros.
The reporter types control-alt "CE" and out pops the witty headline: “Creationism Evolves.” Control-alt "Scopes Trope" and out pops a lead referencing the old Spencer Tracy film "Inherit the Wind," a cartoon-like caricature of the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial over evolution in the classroom.
Control-alt “Conspiracy” and, presto, a paragraph about the religious right and its scheme to smuggle Bibles into the science class as the first step toward establishing a theocracy. Next comes a quotation supposedly representing the view of all “serious scientists,” with the phrase “overwhelming evidence” thrown in for good measure. The story practically writes itself, and it possesses this virtue: it saves the reporter the bother of actually investigating what design theory really is....

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Sun. 05/15/05 07:43:02 AM
Categorized as Readworthies.


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