by Barrett Brown, Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 07:22:24 PM EDT
Last year, President Obama travelled to Turkey in order to restate America’s case to the Muslim world, taking care to emphasize that the United States is “not a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation,” but rather a republic “bound by ideals and a set of values.” Such an assertion would not have been controversial among our Founding Fathers, who made their intent clear not only in the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment but also in their private letters to one another. Nonetheless, there are a great many officeholders today who reject the demonstrable evidence of a secular republic in favor of the convenient myth of a Judeo-Christian enterprise, and Representative Randy Forbes is among their most effective leaders - and all the more effective for having managed to operate largely under the radar for nearly a decade.
by Barrett Brown, Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 03:30:57 PM EDT
It is quite understandable for Der Spiegel to have chosen Charles Krauthammer to put forth the conservative take on the Obama Administration thus far; with the recent departure of so many intellectuals from the Republican Party, the columnist's own articulateness relative to others who still speak for the movement has thereby increased.
by Barrett Brown, Sun Oct 25, 2009 at 09:59:21 AM EDT
The most ridiculous person I've encountered in the course of my work was an intelligent design proponent associated with Uncommon Descent, the blog of professor, author, and all-around ID kingpin William Dembski. In 2005 I was asked to write a book on intelligent design, creationism, and the whole "America is a Christian nation even though most of the key Founding Fathers specifically wrote otherwise on numerous occasions" meme that has been plaguing our republic for some time. Quite understandably, Dembski retaliated with a couple of attacks, even accusing me at one point of being obsessed with sex (I'm still trying to figure out who narced me out on that one). I didn't respond or even keep up very closely with the whole ID thing for a while afterwards due to the recent release of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, an extraordinary computer game in which I opted to play as a cat-like humanoid specializing in stealth though not without grounding in Illusion magic. Later, I was turned into a vampire.
by Barrett Brown, Sat Oct 17, 2009 at 10:42:35 AM EDT
Charles Johnson has taken a lot of flack over the past two years for his efforts to point out that, yes, there are some nuts among the conservative commentariat who make ridiculous charges, attack their enemies for behavior they excuse among allies, and make strange associations with anti-Enlightenment miscreants of every sort. Whereas he was once universally celebrated among the right for his work with Rathergate and other stories in which he took a leading investigative role, for co-founding Pajamas Media, and for otherwise advancing the reputation and influence of the blogosophere, he's now being attacked by many of the same conservative pundits for his work in exposing former Washington Times editor and popular all-around pundit Robert Stacy McCain as having clear and numerous ties to white nationalist, neo-Nazi, and Confederate revivalist organizations. Incidentally, McCain also co-wrote a book with Lynn Vincent, who herself ghost wrote Palin's recent biography Going Rogue.
by Barrett Brown, Sun Oct 04, 2009 at 08:34:22 PM EDT
I'm doing a series of articles on the nature of the political blogosphere, the first of which deals with the behavior of commenters at the conservative blog Protein Wisdom, where I've been debating for about two years now. Though he originally cooperated with me on the article just two days ago, PW founder Jeff Goldstein has since publicly attacked me as a "whore," among other things. This is fine, as Goldstein is a notoriously emotional fellow and must be permitted to vent. But he has also changed something he wrote yesterday that I had subsequently referenced in one of my articles, apparently in order to avoid embarrassment.
by Barrett Brown, Thu Sep 17, 2009 at 10:38:03 AM EDT
A study that's set to appear in an upcoming issue of the journal Reproductive Health which indicates that religious communities tend to produce higher teen birth rates is prompting the usual nonsense from the usual quarters. Former Washington Times editor Robert Stacy McCain, for instance, finds it suspicious that a journal on reproductive health would publish a paper on a matter of reproductive health; clearly, an ulterior motive is at work:
The objective of this study? To convince college-educated middle-class people that religious faith is the No. 1 force for evil in the modern world. "OMG! If we let our daughter go to church, kiss Vassar good-bye!"
by Barrett Brown, Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 05:38:45 PM EDT
This is a grand day for lovers of liberty. Though historically hostile to the right of American citizens to use drugs such as marijuana without fear of arrest by agents of the state, The Weekly Standard has suddenly come out in favor of ending the drug war and restoring that measure of individual liberty which has been stripped from the American people in a misguided instance of statism. Contributor William Anderson does the honors of announcing the magazine's new stance:
"Thus arises the question of corporal ownership. For Americans, the answer has been settled. Since the terrible bloodletting of the Civil War, and now excepting military service, ownership of one's body is a matter between the individual and God, with no intermediation by government. Yet assertions are now being made that government should have responsibility for, and thus authority over, the maintenance of our bodies... So let's make up our minds. Does the government, in the last analysis, own your body, or do you?"
by Barrett Brown, Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 02:50:20 AM EDT
The last decade has been a Golden Age of bad historical commentary. Condoleeza Rice likened the Iraqi insurgency to the post-Nazi "Werwolf" movement, the one that is estimated to have caused between one and two deaths. A thousand conservative pundits have compared Bush to Churchill. And for all anyone knows, Jonah Goldberg could be working on another book at this very moment.
And then there is Ben Shapiro, the youngish columnist and author who once proudly announced to his readership that he remains a virgin. I don't know if he's hoping to be married off to the son of a prosperous local merchant or what, but at any rate he is very happy with the opportunities that male virginity supposedly brings, so we should probably be happy for him as well.
by Barrett Brown, Fri Aug 14, 2009 at 11:09:34 AM EDT
It's not so distressing that people like Glenn Beck have been given platforms against the better judgment of the civilized world. What ought to concern us more is the inexplicable degree of respect that is given to such more "serious" staples of political commentary as Thomas Friedman, Richard Cohen, Ruben Navarratte, and, of course, Charles Krauthammer, who has lately been touted, quite correctly, as the most important conservative critic of Democrats in general and Obama in particular.
Even aside from what one thinks of his views - which differ from those of many other conservatives insomuch as that they are often composed with due diligence and proper grammar - Krauthammer is only respected to the extent that his misdeeds and failures go concealed. My latest Vanity Fair piece draws on the longtime Washington Post columnist's history of disingenuous criticisms, nonsensical predictions, and maybe I'll make fun of his name a little, too. Just kidding (?). Excerpt below the fold.
by Barrett Brown, Sat Aug 08, 2009 at 07:05:52 PM EDT
Over the last couple of days, I've been involved in yet another online exchange of hostilities with the folks behind the intelligent movement; this particular conflict began on Thursday evening when The Huffington Post published an article I wrote on the various strange and dishonest things that chief ID proponent William Dembski and his associates have done over the years since the 2005 Dover Trial. A couple of Dembski's colleagues have responded by pronouncing me "Barrett Clown," which is very painful to me. That's not how my name is pronounced.