[snip] A time to worry. “I’ve been involved in a number of fields where there’s a lay opinion and a scientific opinion,” Princeton engineering professor Robert Socolow tells the New Yorker’s Elizabeth Kolbert. “And, in most of the cases, it’s the lay community that is more exercised, more anxious. If you take an extreme example, it would be nuclear power, where most of the people who work in nuclear science are relatively relaxed about very low levels of radiation. But, in the climate case, the experts–the people who work with the climate models every day, the people who do ice cores–they are more concerned. They’re going out of their way to say, ‘Wake up! This is not a good thing to be doing.'”

[snip] Will the federal courts save the states from themselves? According to stateline.org, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in Cincinnati, recently struck down a deal in which Ohio would exempt DaimlerChrysler from property taxes for ten years if it would upgrade a Jeep plant in Toledo.

[snip] If you don’t like heat, stay out of the kitchen. “If the Pope wants to tell Africans not to use condoms, then he has left religion and deserves no more respect than George Bush or Bill Clinton,” writes Sam Smith in his “Progressive Review.” “If the Anglican church wants to perpetuate a second class status for gays, then we should give the Archbishop of Canterbury no more honor than Tom DeLay.”

[snip] Does Christianity make more sense than free-market economics? Yes, according to William Pfaff, quoted in the New York Review of Books: “A faith that the free play of market forces will eventually end in Good is, in fact, more ‘absurd’ than religious belief, for there, at least, there is a presumption of an intelligent Agent Who writes straight with His crooked lines.”

[snip] The last word on Dick Cheney. “It doesn’t matter whether he takes Amnesty International seriously,” says William Schultz, the organization’s director. “He doesn’t take torture seriously, he doesn’t take the Geneva Convention seriously, he doesn’t take due process rights seriously, and he doesn’t take international law seriously.”

[snip] Lest we forget. Alan Wolfe writes in the New Republic, “Today’s religious conservatives live off the accomplishments of previous generations of religious radicals, whose willingness to challenge received doctrine, to confront established authority, to dispense with encrusted tradition, to develop their own vernacular, and to insist on the dignity of the individual believer pierced the heart of everything conservative around them. Had not a love of liberty accompanied the rise of evangelical religion in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Europe and North America, there would never have occurred the awakenings that inspire today’s religious activists.”

[snip] Dubious defenses. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings has been arguing that the large achievement gap between black and white students in Connecticut shows the No Child Left Behind law is needed there. “The state’s defenders say the attack is unfair because Connecticut’s black students are performing similarly to those in other states–they’re just farther behind Connecticut’s white students, who outperform white students in other states,” writes the Progressive Policy Institute. “Amazing that this doesn’t provoke a huge outcry from the left.”