Christian Biologist Finds Evolution and Faith as Complementary

While the religious right feels it must attack the foundations of modern biology, Mainstream Baptist discusses a book, Evolution and Christian Faith: Reflections of an Evolutionary Biologist, which “views evolutionary biology and Christian faith as complementary.” They include this quote form the book:

For me the position that God created the world, and continues to create it, through natural processes is not a compromise. God created those very processes as part of nature, so why should he jump outside of them? The Bible offers no grounds to believe that God would rather work in ways inexplicable as natural processes, even though he could do so if he wished. Just the opposite – jumping outside natural processes would imply something inadequate in the ability of natural processes to carry out his design. When God saw his creation, he said “it was good.” (Gen. 1:12) You can’t be consistent with the Bible on this point and yet also say that natural processes are inadequate to achieve God’s design for his creation. [p. 35]

EU Condemns CIA For Secret Renditions

The BBC reports on the latest example of how, as John Kerry recently warned, the United States is becoming a pariah internationally:

EU endorses damning report on CIA

The European parliament has approved a damning report on secret CIA flights, condemning member states which colluded in the operations.

The UK, Germany and Italy were among 14 states which allowed the US to forcibly remove terror suspects, lawmakers said.

The EU parliament voted to accept a resolution condemning member states which accepted or ignored the practice.

The EU report said the CIA had operated 1,245 flights, some taking suspects to states where they could face torture.

The report was adopted by a large majority, with 382 MEPs voting in favour, 256 against and 74 abstaining.

America’s View of Republicans Crumble

None of this should come as a surprise, especially after the 2006 elections, but Thomas Schaller lays out the reasons that identification with Repubicans has fallen in response to Bush’s policies:

According to the latest Gallup survey, Republican self-identification has declined nationally and in almost every American state. Why? The short answer is that President Bush’s war of choice in Iraq has destroyed the partisan brand Republicans spent the past four decades building.

That brand was based upon four pillars: that Republicans are more trustworthy on defense and military issues; that they know when and where markets can replace or improve government; that they are more competent administrators of those functions government can’t privatize; and, finally, that their public philosophy is imbued with moral authority. The war demolished all four claims.

In uniform or out, Americans think Iraq is a disaster, oppose escalation and blame Mr. Bush and his party for the mess in Mesopotamia. Heading into the 2006 mid-terms, polls showed Republicans trailing Democrats as the party most trusted to handle Iraq and terrorism. Nationally, Mr. Bush’s war approval ratings hover around 30 percent.

Military members are skeptical, too. A Military Times poll released in December revealed that only 35 percent of military members approved of the president’s handling of the war – despite the fact that 46 percent of them are self-identified Republicans (down from 60 percent in previous Military Times polls) while just 16 percent are Democrats. According to a recent Zogby survey of troops serving in Iraq, 72 percent want American forces home within a year.

Schaller proceeeds to discuss the other claims about Republicans which have been demolished. He even understands the meaning of Kerry’s poorly stated but sensible change on the $87 billion appropriation bill:

Finally, there is the war’s morality. In what moral system is it justified to wage a war without paying for it? Mr. Bush tormented Sen. John Kerry in 2004 for “voting for before voting against” funding the war. But Mr. Kerry voted for a version of the $87 billion appropriation bill that also raised revenues to pay for it. Instead, we pile the war’s costs atop our mountainous national debt, leaving future generations to pay for it later – plus interest.

Recall Campaign And Other Bad News for John McCain

I’m sure its a long shot, but a recall campaign has been launched against John McCain for his support of the war:

A new recall drive targets Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a top contender for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination.

Organizers oppose McCain’s continued support of the unpopular Iraq war and consider him complicit in what they perceive as the erosion of American civil liberties associated with the war on terror.

“For the most part, he’s been all right, but he’s supposed to be representing Arizona, and right now he seems to be just representing himself,” said William Crum, treasurer of Americans for Integrity and Justice, the Glendale-based recall committee. “He’s got tunnel-vision for the presidency.”

It sounds like it will be very difficult for a recall effort to succeed, but if successful McCain has pledged to resign:

The recall group faces long odds. It must collect 381,696 valid petition signatures by June 13 to force a statewide vote. That is 25 percent of all votes cast in the 2004 Senate election. Although McCain is a federal officeholder not bound by the Arizona Constitution’s recall provisions, he has signed a voluntary pledge on file with the Secretary of State’s Office agreeing to resign immediately if defeated in a recall election.

Considering the odds against this, the worse news for McCain today might be the poll results showing Giuliani moving ahead. While polls this far out have little predictive value, predictions of a McCain victory have been based upon the view of him as the clear front runner. Losing this front runner status could be a serious blow and give other candidates an opportunity to get into the race. The USA Today/Gallup Poll also shows other bad news for McCain, as well as Giuliani:

More than four in 10 say they wouldn’t vote for a “generally well-qualified person” for president who was 72 years old — the age McCain will reach in August 2008. Three in 10 say they wouldn’t vote for someone who had been married three times, as has Giuliani.

Fantasy Stock Speculation in Liberal Values

I know very little about how the fantasy blog stock market works but I sure am curious after I picked this up this link from the stat counter. Apparently our value is rising sharply:

Liberal Values was the subject of much speculation when analysts at several firms were heard to be very positive about it’s recent performance. It’s share price rose from B$0.80 to B$1.06. Much of the hype was said to originate from DMC in DC whose Stud (artefact) was said to be involved.

The share price is showing impressive growth:


I am curious as to how this price is determined. There is a section on Top 100 Incoming Links, which I would assume plays a part in determining the value of a blog. However this only includes one blog (Rook’s Rant) and leaves out many top blogs which have linked to Liberal Values. In the past week alone I’ve received links from The Carpetbagger Report, Shakespeare’s Sister, Jon Swift, The Heretik, Buzzfeed, Memeorandum, Megite, The Salon Blog Report, Pajama’s Media, Outside the Beltway, The Moderate Voice, Liberal Oasis, Jesus Politics, and many other blogs. I wonder if the value would be even higher if this was included–or if there was any way I could make a cent off of this supposed surge in value.

As this is fantasy I’m more impressed with the graph of increased daily readers at Feedburner–up to 1290 as of today. While bloggers often keep a close watch on our stat counters, we need to keep in mind that many more people are also reading our blogs in RSS readers.

Speculation That Gore Leaving Options Open

I’ve noted in previous coverage of Gore’s denials that he always has left the door slightly open. The New York Post believes that Gore is keeping his options open and might consider entering the race in September, which is hardly late by historical standards:

It’s too much to say that Al Gore has decided to run for President in 2008.

But it does seem that he wants to preserve the option.

Certainly, the recent buzz about a possible Gore campaign in 2008 doesn’t seem to be spontaneously generated. According to one influential Democratic insider, close associates of the former Vice President have communicated to him and other prominent fund-raisers who are uncommitted to the other ’08 candidates that Mr. Gore will consider entering the race—if an opening presents itself—in September.

Ask Mr. Gore’s spokesperson about the rumors, and the response is the same sort of mushy non-denial that Mr. Gore himself has become expert at serving up. “Obviously,” said Kalee Kreider, “he appreciates the sentiment from folks who are interested in this, but really, his efforts are focused on global warming.”

But let’s just look at the merits of the hypothetical Gore candidacy that the former Vice President’s supporters seem to be proposing.

The timing would certainly make sense, since Mr. Gore, unlike other candidates who have made late entries into recent Presidential campaigns, can afford to wait. He already has enviable name recognition, a reliable financial network and a groundswell of loyalty among the Democratic grassroots—activists who won’t forget that he stood against the Iraq War from the beginning, back when the Bush G.O.P. was so successfully making support for an invasion a litmus test of patriotism.

And a dramatic, last-minute entrance, after months of prodding and begging from grassroots activists, would stamp any Gore ’08 effort as something more than just another campaign by another politician.

With his Oscar and Nobel Prize nominations, upcoming Congressional testimony on global warming, and an international day of concerts to promote climate-change awareness that he’s organizing for early July, Mr. Gore figures to receive more prominent news coverage in the months ahead than many of the announced candidates.

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Campaigning In The Blogosphere

In the past pundits wrote of the invisible primary as candidates worked to make their campaigns credible among the insiders months before the general public was aware that the campaign had started. The blogosphere has made that much more vissible to those who follow it. The Wall Street Journal finds that this includes an advertising war in the blogosphere:

Nearly a year before the first caucuses and primaries take place, the 2008 presidential campaign advertising war is under way online.

Candidates of both parties are already buying space on search engines, blogs and other Internet sites popular with political junkies and potential donors. With 18 candidates vying for the most open race for the White House in 80 years and front-runners on both sides announcing plans to forgo public financing, the 2008 election promises to be a huge revenue opportunity, not just for TV broadcasters.


“There’s a blog primary going on right now,” says Henry Copeland, founder of Blogads, a North Carolina-based advertising service which automates the process of placing ads on blogs in exchange for a 30% cut of the revenue.

But this year’s campaign Web pioneers are already beginning to run into uncharted zones. Some online activists get offended if they think a candidate is paying for ads on Internet sites of the wrong political stripe. And some smaller, locally influential blogs have gotten miffed at being passed over.

One of the most aggressive online campaigners has been the former Democratic senator from North Carolina John Edwards, who hired several full-time bloggers and began advertising on political blog sites in December.

Politics is politics, and that means that the tactics might include a little trickery:

As in the 2006 campaign, candidates are also already placing ads on Google, sometimes paying to have their ads appear when a search is done on a competitor’s name. A search of “Rudy Giuliani” on Google yesterday returned not only an ad linking to the former New York mayor’s official campaign Web site but ads linking to Messrs. Romney and McCain.

Congressional Oversight Seen as Treason By The Authoritarian Right

It is bad enough when the right wing accues private citizens who exercise their freedom of speech as engaging in treason for opposing their plans. It simply shows a total lack of understanding of the democratic process to object to the people’s representatives exercising their Constitutional duties to perform oversight on the Executive Branch. Glenn Greenwald may have moved to Salon but it is the same writing. He starts today’s post with some background information which is useful to have on hand when reading some of the claims of the authoritarian right:

Frank Gaffney, one of the country’s most influential and well-connected neoconservatives, has a column in today’s Washington Times in which he argues that the debate taking place in Congress over the war in Iraq constitutes treason. Gaffney specifically argues that the condemnations of Douglas Feith from Sen. Rockefeller “really should be a hanging offense.”

Gaffney begins his column by purporting to quote Abraham Lincoln. Gaffney claims that Lincoln said:

“Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled, or hanged.”

This quote has become a favorite weapon for those who want to criminalize criticism of the Leader and the War. Jack Murtha’s opponent in the last election, Diana Irey, cited this quote while discussing Murtha’s opposition to the war.

But this quote is completely invented. Lincoln never said it. This “quote” was first attributed to Lincoln by J. Michael Waller in Insight Magazine, in a 2003 article revealingly entitled: Democrats Usher in an Age of Treason. But as Waller himself now admits, the quote attributed to Lincoln is completely fraudulent. Waller wrote in an e-mail to (h/t William Wolfrum):

“The supposed quote in question is not a quote at all, and I never intended it to be construed as one. It was my lead sentence in the article that a copy editor mistakenly turned into a quote by incorrectly inserting quotation marks.”

Maureen Down Not Impressed With Obama in Iowa

While the media reports I’ve read of Obama’s campaign trip to Iowa were quite favorable, Maureen Dowd was less impressed. She attributes this partially to the double stress of giving up smoking as well as starting a Presidential campaign:

“I’ve been chewing Nicorette all day long,” he told reporters at a press conference in Ames on Sunday, where he was getting irritated at suggestions that he lacked substance and at the specter of his vanishing privacy. And, oh yes, at the accusation by the Australian prime minister (sounding two sheep short of a paddock) that Mr. Obama’s deadline to get out of Iraq made him Al Qaeda’s dream candidate.

The Illinois senator didn’t have on an implacable mask of amiability, as Hillary did in Iowa. He didn’t look happily in his element, like Bill Clinton. But he certainly didn’t look as if he was straining to survive the Q .& A.’s, as W. did in the beginning.

Beyond his smooth-jazz façade, the reassuring baritone and that ensorcelling smile, the 45-year-old had moments of looking conflicted.

In the lobby of the AmericInn in Iowa Falls on Saturday night, he seemed a bit dazed by his baptism into the big-time. He was left munching trail mix all day while, he said, “the press got fed before me.”

Everything was a revelation for him: The advance team acronym RON, for Rest Overnight. Women squealing. “I saw a hat,” he noted with a grin, “that said, ‘Obama, clean and articulate.’ ”

Senator Obama’s body language was loose — and he’s so slender his wedding band looked as if it was slipping off — but there was a wariness in his dark eyes.

He is backed up by a strong, smart wife and a professional campaign team, but he doesn’t have a do-whatever-it-takes family firm with contract killers and debt collectors, like Bush Inc. and Clinton Inc.

He was eloquent, if not as inspiring as his advance billing had prepared audiences to expect. He made his first Swift-boat-able slip when he had to apologize for talking about soldiers’ lives “wasted” in Iraq. He sounded self-consciously pristine at times, as if he was too refined for the muck of politics. That’s not how you beat anybody but Alan Keyes.

Obama Was Right On The Wasted Deaths of American Soldiers in Iraq

Barack Obama has learned an early lesson on being careful of using words which can lead to the twisting of statements. Obama said the war “should have never been authorized, and should have never been waged, and on which we’ve now spent $400 billion, and have seen over 3,000 lives of the bravest young Americans wasted.”

Obama later said he immediately realized that he made a mistake said, “What I would say — and meant to say — is that their service hasn’t been honored because our civilian strategy has not honored their courage and bravery, and we have put them in a situation in which it is hard for them to succeed.”

While “wasted” has unfortunate connotations, Obama was right in his initial statement. Over 3000 died in an unnecessary war which is unlikely to succeed due to incompetent management. That is a waste of lives. The loss of their lives has not helped in the achievement of worthwhile goals as the war has acted to undermine our national security and strengthen al Qaeda and Iraq. The nation would have been better served if they had not been sent to Iraq. This is not the fault of the troops, as Republicans would claim Obama was saying, but the fault of the Bush administration.

Republicans have twisted Obama’s initial statement to sound like an attack on those who died just as they twisted Kerry’s joke on George Bush getting us stuck in Iraq as being an attack on the troops. As was the case with Kerry’s joke, Obama’s statement did not represent criticism of the troops or those who have been killed. It is a valid criticism of those who sent them to Iraq. Criticism of government leaders is not criticism of the troops who have no choice other than to follow the orders and go where sent.