Archive for: May, 2009

Suspect in Dr. Tiller's Assassination Appears to Have Operation Rescue Ties.

May 31 2009 Published by under Medicine, Misc

Wichita NBC affiliate KSHB-TV is reporting that the suspect being held in the assassination of Dr. George Tiller is a man named Scott Roeder. Posters in the forums at the DemocraticUnderground have identified at least one posting at Operation Rescue's website (currently down, link to Google cache here) that's written by a Scott Roeder and refers to Dr. Tiller.

There is also information that indicates that a suspected Freeman named Scott Roeder was arrested in Topeka in 1996 for parole violations related to his having bomb making materials in his car trunk. At that time, he was identified as being 38, which would make him 51 today. Another recent news report gives the current age of the suspect in Tiller's assassination as 51.

The information currently available strongly suggests that this Scott Roeder is exactly the kind of radical right-wing extremist that was discussed in a recent Homeland Security report - you remember that report, right? It's the one that various semi-mainstream conservatives got all self-righteously irate over a couple of months ago.

Update (semi-): I've got some additional thoughts on the matter, including the question of how much (if any) responsibility the broader anti-abortion movement shares with the gunman, here.

Update 2: Daily Kos has some commentary up on a McClatchy article that goes into more detail on Roeder, his history, and his associates.

I also added a link to Tarc's original thread at DU that had the link to the Google Cache for the Op Rescue post. I should have had that link up before now - sorry I missed it.

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In which I do something I've never, ever, done before...

May 29 2009 Published by under Science

...and very well may not ever do again: tell you that I actually enjoyed reading a post on the Discovery Institute's blog.

I haven't commented on the whole Ida the fossil hoopla before now, but, like a good chunk of the science blogging community, I think calling the whole thing overblown is a serious understatement. Over at the Discovery Institute's media complaints blog, Richard Sternberg has a post up. And, damn it, I think it's actually not a bad bit of blogging at all.

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American Chemistry, First Responders, and a bloody stupid blogger.

May 27 2009 Published by under Flaming Small-Minded Stupidity

I'm not sure how I missed it when it first appeared, but it seems that a few days ago one of the other bloggers on this network - Greg Laden - wrote a post that discussed some of the advertising that you may have noticed here recently. I just noticed and read the post, and I honestly wish I hadn't. I'm not entirely sure what point Greg was trying to make with his post, but in his efforts to reach the point he said some things that are amazingly..... I don't know, I'm honestly at a loss for an appropriate word here.

Greg manages to more or less start off on the wrong foot. Most of the ads feature first responders - police and firefighters (although there's also one that features an astronaut). To Greg, this means that the ads are all about 9/11:

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Quote and Picture of the Day - 26 May 2009

May 26 2009 Published by under Picture Posts

Today's quote is from Ralph Waldo Emerson; the picture was taken at the Linnean Society last summer.

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Obama to Nominate Sotomayor to Supreme Court

May 26 2009 Published by under Politics

It's being widely reported that President Obama will announce his pick to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter within the next hour. According to the reports, Obama has chosen Sonya Sotomayor for the job. Sotomayor was appointed to the Federal bench by George H.W. Bush in 1991, and was elevated to the 2nd Circuit by Bill Clinton in 1998.

We'll undoubtedly be hearing quite a bit more about Sotomayor in the coming days (if not hours). Jonathan Turley is not particularly excited about the pick, pointing out that Sotomayor is likely to be more controversial than some of the other names on the short list. Personally, I don't think that's such a big deal. The Republicans have been very clearly telegraphing that they're going to try to mount a big push against whoever the pick is, so there's probably little to be gained by going with an uncontroversial pick.

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A Morning Roundup and a Programming Note

May 26 2009 Published by under Misc

Just to give those of you who might care a heads-up, my blogging is likely to become somewhat sporadic over the next two-to-three months, mostly due to family commitments. We're moving again in early July. This time, it's a relatively short move - Pensacola to the Dothan, AL area, but there's still that whole pack, load, unpack thing to deal with. We're also going to a wedding (my brother's) in mid-June, and may be following that up with a trip to the Kennedy Space Center (my wife's got some business there in late June). I'll blog as opportunities arise, but there's no way to know how often that will be.

In other news, there are a few good reads elsewhere this morning:

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Weight Loss, Light Bulbs, and Carbon Dioxide Emissions.

May 24 2009 Published by under Uncategorized

Like my friend Henry, I'm overweight and trying not to be. He is, I think, a couple of "stone" heavier than I am. (Whatever the hell that means - you'd think that dealing in pounds and kilograms alone would be confusing enough for the British, but apparently there's no such thing as excessive conversion confusion in the UK. But I digress.) Anyway, I'm currently 40 or so pounds past where I should be.

My personal weight loss "plan" (for lack of a better word) is not very diet-focused at the moment. I'm losing weight right now through the simple process of burning more calories than I consume. In other words, I've actually been exercising.

As some of you are probably aware, there comes a time during a good workout when death begins to feel less like a possibility and more like a desirable outcome. Whenever I reach that point, my thoughts tend to get just a little bit whimsical. I hit that point a couple of hours ago, when I was at about the 90% mark in my bike ride. As my legs began to remind me that a quarter-degree upgrade might not seem like much, it gets real old after a mile or so, my mind desperately tried to move me on to other topics. In this case, I started to wonder just how much carbon dioxide my weight loss plan was adding to the atmosphere, and how much of a favor overweight Americans really might be doing for everyone.

Let me explain.

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Comfortable Environments and Shoe Selection: A Study in Self-Awareness

May 21 2009 Published by under Misc

As many of you know, my family circumstances do not put me neatly within the American norm. I've got a functioning Y-chromosome, but even though I'm happily married, I've done single parent duty for months at a time. Even when my wife is home, she has very little control over her schedule, and very little flexibility when it comes to things like taking time off when one of the kids is sick. There are few women working in her specific field, and not many of the ones who are there have families.

A while ago, I'd have told you that this gives me about as close to a first-hand understanding of the issues women face in the workplace as a man can have. I'd also have told you that I'm very confident that it is a good understanding of those issues. And I would have been right. Mostly. Well, partly right, anyway. Or at least a little bit.

In reality, what I have is a very good understanding of those issues, as they relate to that one set of experiences. And it's a set of experiences where the issues are very easy to spot. Particularly if you look down.

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How to Best Help Pay for College: Sec. Duncan Goes to the Hill

May 21 2009 Published by under Education, Politics

Education Secretary Arne Duncan testified for the first time in front of the House Education and Labor Committee yesterday, on the topic of the President's education plan. Duncan was the only witness for the hearing, and his testimony covered the broad spectrum of federal involvement in education. (As someone with a Bachelor's degree who is moving toward a secondary education career, I was particularly happy to hear discussion about the need for more of a focus on non-traditional routes toward teacher certification.)

One area that received a great deal of attention (and which will receive even more attention later today when a panel of witnesses testify in front of the same committee) was the President's decision to end the

Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP). That decision is, predictably enough, controversial. The student loan providers have already mobilized, and will be fighting as hard as possible to keep money flowing from us to them.

I find the debate around this issue fascinating for a number of reasons. How - or if - the government gets involved in helping fund college education sheds a great deal of light on our commitment to providing an equal opportunity for as many people as possible. At the same time, the debate over this particular program highlights a case where there's a very interesting tension between two different alleged conservative ideals: keeping government small, and saving taxpayer dollars.

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Michael Steele Clearly Doesn't Get The Meaning of "Minority Party"

May 19 2009 Published by under Politics

As a blogger, I've got to say that I love Michael Steele. All I have to do when I'm having a hard time trying to find something to write about is pop over to Google News and type his name into the box. (I don't have a news alert set for him because I don't want to be overwhelmed with material.)

Today's source of inspriation comes from an op-ed Steele wrote for yesterday's Politico. It started on a note that almost made me feel a faint glimmer of hope that the GOP just might possibly be starting to figure out how to begin to start playing a constructive role in national politics:

The Republican Party finds itself the minority party in America for the first time in more than 15 years. I'll be the first to admit it has taken some adjustment. Republicans have engaged in some healthy soul-searching since Election Day, trying to come to grips with our minority status and debating the best way forward as we point out our differences with the Democrats and chart our return to the majority.

My hopes, alas, were rapidly dashed:

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