May 01, 2004
Mr. Hovind, a former public school science teacher with his own ministry, Creation Science Evangelism, and a hectic lecture schedule, said he had opened Dinosaur Adventure Land to counter all the science centers and natural history museums that explain the evolution of life with Darwinian theory. There are dinosaur bone replicas, with accompanying explanations that God made dinosaurs on Day 6 of the creation as described in Genesis, 6,000 years ago. Among the products the park gift shop peddles are T-shirts with a small fish labeled "Darwin" getting gobbled by a bigger fish labeled "Truth."No comment.
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Jeremy and Amber note the Harvard story about gender-neutral bathrooms. This is just one more piece of evidence that Harvard is always a few steps behind The University of Chicago. We had our own gender-neutral bathroom kerfluffle last fall; see posts by Maureen Craig, and the website of the Gender-Neutral Bathroom Campaign (with links to press coverage, including the attack by Rush Limbaugh).
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So in light of recent critiques of the Ethicist online, there may be little point in pointing out individualized strangenesses in his column, but...
This week, a writer asks whether it is ethical for his wife to go into the voting booth with their mentally retarded son to cast his vote "without question in his best interest." The practice, it is stipulated, is entirely legal.
The Ethicist's reply is (in part):
It is not kosher for your son to vote, because he is not voting; your wife is voting. And while her votes would be in his interest, the same could also be said about voting on behalf of young children. We do not give parents extra votes.
Of course, the critical difference here is that the state of Pennsylvania does give the caretakers of retarded people extra votes, so there is a key difference between the practice at issue and the practice that Cohen rightly condemns-- one practice falls within the rules for voting set down by the state, and one does not (again, this is assuming Cohen's correspondent to be correct, which he does).
Now, it might be that for some reason it is unethical to vote on people's behalfs, even when the government decides to permit such a practice. But if that's so, Cohen should say so, and perhaps explain why.
UPDATE: Some of the commenters on Yglesias's site seem to quarrel with the writer's contention that the practice is legal under Pennsylvania Law. 25 P.S. § 3058 (2003) provides:
(a) No voter shall be permitted to receive any assistance in voting at any primary or election, unless there is recorded upon his registration card his declaration that, by reason of blindness, disability, or inability to read or write, he is unable to read the names on the ballot or on the voting machine labels, or that he has a physical disability which renders him unable to see or mark the ballot or operate the voting machine, or to enter the voting compartment or voting machine booth without assistance, the exact nature of such condition being recorded on such registration card, and unless the election officers are satisfied that he still suffers from the same condition.
(b) Any elector who is entitled to receive assistance in voting under the provisions of this section shall be permitted by the judge of election to select a person of the elector's choice to enter the voting compartment or voting machine booth with him to assist him in voting, such assistance to be rendered inside the voting compartment or voting machine booth except that the judge of election, the elector's employer or an agent of the employer or an officer or agent of the elector's union shall not be eligible to assist the elector.
There's no case that determines whether and when "assistance" is no longer "assistance" though construals of similar statutes by a number of other state courts seem to generally run in favor of the writer's claim. Importantly (as I noted above) Cohen agrees that the law allows this practice and argues that it is unethical to vote on behalf of another even where legal. This is a very strange claim.
It's not hard to imagine a world where we decided, for example, that parents of small children did get to vote an extra time on behalf of their children. Cohen's claim is that even if the government decided to extend that franchise, it would somehow be unethical to exercise it. The reason why, he does not tell us, and I cannot fathom.
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Amber Taylor's complaints about Instapundit-style blogging (all links, no content) notwithstanding, I have very little to say except that Justice Souter was attacked last night, that's very unfortunate, but he seems to be all right, and that's very fortunate.
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There's an article in Thursday's Harvard Crimson about a report asking for gender-neutral bathrooms at Harvard to accommodate transgendered students. I wasn't going to post about this because I'm concerned that my initial reaction to not take the article very seriously is the wrong reaction, and I'd feel differently if I actually knew any transgendered people and was trying to view this through their eyes. But the article made me think enough that I thought I'd post the link and see if anyone picks up on it.
Also: I'm late to the party, but congrats to Will on making his law school choice. I don't think there was a wrong choice in the bunch, but I'm sure it's a relief to have the decision made.
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If there are any peppers left over from the chicken soup recipe, I heartily recommend the following:
a dozen or so dried chipotle peppers
1 small onion, chopped
5 tbs cider vinegar
2-3 cloves garlic, sliced into thin coins
4 tbs tomato paste (substitute ketchup if you're a full-time student)
3 cups water
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on low, low, low heat for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until peppers are soft and liquid has reduced to ~1 cup.
- Marinade for meats or summer squash
- Puree and use as hot sauce
- Blend with sour cream to make a dip
- Blend with mayonnaise for a sandwich spread
- Eat straight out of the cookpot with a big spoon...
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Kathleen Moriarty and co-bloggers Amanda and Sudeep indulged me by coming over for lunch this afternoon. After a bit of a shipping mishaps, my dried Chipotle peppers from Penzey's arrived in the mail last week, which I used to make this positively delicious chicken soup suggested by Mark Bittman. I wasn't as meticulous I could have been in cleaning the seeds out of the peppers, and I used the Cuisinart instead of the blender, but the result was quite delicious, if I do say so myself. If you're relatively averse to serious heat, work harder at cleaning out the seeds; I liked the result, but it's also true that my fingertips are throbbing from handling them.
With the soup, on the recommendation of my father, we had a Fontana Candida 2003 Pinot Grigio, which was quite yummy, and didn't have trouble mixing with the relative spiciness of the soup. Anyway, all of this has inspired a trip to Penzeys itself (Sudeep and Kathleen haven't been; I need green peppercorns and salt) so blogging on my part will be limited for the day, but it's Spring and you probably should be out doing something fun rather than reading blogs anyway.
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Last week I noted the Wine Spectator's smear against Amanda Hesser, and the sort of strange allegations they made against her and the rest of the NYT food section. Since one of their big complaints about her was that she failed to disclose some conflicts of interest, one reader writes in to note that it's interesting that the Wine Spectator didn't note that Amanda Hesser had written an article extremely critical of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence racket (that some speculate motivated the WS counterattack). The internet being what it is, the article is still available, here.
I don't know anything about Thomas Matthew, the author of the anti-Times article in the WS, or whether he could be expected to have an axe to grind against Hesser, or to even know about the Hesser piece that took on the WS. But for those really interested in this stuff, that's another avenue to explore.
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