In his review of Fred Siegel's book ''The Prince of the City: Giuliani, New York and the Genius of American Life'' (July 10), James Traub makes an understandable, though unfortunate, error in crediting Rudy Giuliani for the decline in crime that New York enjoyed during his tenure as mayor: "Even Giuliani's harshest crtics -- all but the die-hards, anyway -- acknowledge that the aggressive policing tactics he and Commissioner William Bratton introduced in the face of doomsaying from civil libertarians and some minority spokesmen drove down crime and transformed the daily experience of city life."
It turns out that this is merely wishful thinking. Giuliani was fortunate to serve during a period of widespread, long-term decline in the nation's crime rate. During his time in office, the overall crime rate of violent crime in America declined by 33 percent, according to the F.B.I. This long-term, steady and prolonged drop in crime has been under way for 15 years now, and substantial reductions in crime rates have occured in all major metropolitan areas -- Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, etc. -- not just in New York. The murder rate in the United States is down to levels last seen in the 1930's.
..."All but the die-hards" indeed! Giuliani's harsh police tactics were largely irrelevant to the drop in crime, as the national data so clearly show.
Ed Harris Bellevue, Wash.
[Links added. -- Ed]
Count me among those "die-hards" who never believed that Giuliani and Bratton's policies were in any significant way responsible for the drop in crime -- although they did manage to sweep a lot of nuisances out of view (like the homeless sleeping on the streets and the "Squeegee Men" who offered to clean your windshield). On the other hand, those bothersome civil libertarians and minority spokesmen turned out to have a point about the downside of unleashing the NYPD -- just ask Abner Louima or the family of Amadou Diallo.
The NYPD is a powerful, but coarse, instrument. Wielded unwisely and without proper constraints, it can at times run amuck. (But see this previous post for another side.)
While I gladly gave him his due for his calm, firm leadership after the attacks of 9-11 (which he then completely blew away by suggesting we might want to suspend the upcoming election and keep him on as mayor -- presumably for life), I've never genuflected before the icon of Saint Rudy. It's perversely ironic, a miscarriage of politics, that this authoritarian clown will never go any farther in today's Republican party because he's too "liberal" on social issues -- and that makes me glad.
Chris Mooney's new book, The Republican War on Science is due to be published soon, but can be ordered from Amazon or Half.com. I've ordered my copy, and I'm lookng forward to jumping into it as soon as it arrives.
Chris, of course, is the blogger and essayist who's been an adamant defender of science against the onslaught of right-wing ideological perversity. The book's website is here, and an excerpt is here.
"Each day's news adds to the disquiet of scientists: Science is regularly ignored in decision making at the highest levels of government, or worse, distorted in the service of Republican ideological allies in industry and among religious conservatives. But not until I saw the whole story laid out in Chris Mooney's thoroughly researched and documented book did I realize the enormity of what is happening. Reading this important book won't make you feel good, but it will make you wiser."
AOL News is featuring on the AOL Welcome screen a Nedra Pickler AP story which I believe is about Bush and Lance Armstrong bicycling together. AOL's headline for it is "Bush, Champ Ride Together", but by a strange twist of my perception I've been unable to see it properly each time it appears on my computer. I keep reading it as "Bush, Chimp Ride Together" or sometimes "Bush, Chump Ride Together."
It's strange how one's perceptual systems work.
Full and justified props to Lance Armstrong -- whose accomplishments are extraordinary, and is decidedly no chimp (although he might well be a chump if he's letting himself be used by Bush, or, worse, is an active supporter of The Man Who Wrecked America) -- it's just too hard to see "Bush" and "Ch_mp" in close proximity without it coming up as "Chimp" in my mind, and once there, my mind just ranges free.
As the debate over the teaching of evolution in public schools continues, a new controversy over the science curriculum arose Monday in this embattled Midwestern state. Scientists from the Evangelical Center For Faith-Based Reasoning are now asserting that the long-held "theory of gravity" is flawed, and they have responded to it with a new theory of Intelligent Falling.
"Things fall not because they are acted upon by some gravitational force, but because a higher intelligence, 'God' if you will, is pushing them down," said Gabriel Burdett, who holds degrees in education, applied Scripture, and physics from Oral Roberts University.
Burdett added: "Gravity—which is taught to our children as a law—is founded on great gaps in understanding. The laws predict the mutual force between all bodies of mass, but they cannot explain that force. Isaac Newton himself said, 'I suspect that my theories may all depend upon a force for which philosophers have searched all of nature in vain.' Of course, he is alluding to a higher power."
Proponents of Intelligent Falling assert that the different theories used by secular physicists to explain gravity are not internally consistent. Even critics of Intelligent Falling admit that Einstein's ideas about gravity are mathematically irreconcilable with quantum mechanics. This fact, Intelligent Falling proponents say, proves that gravity is a theory in crisis.
"Let's take a look at the evidence," said ECFR senior fellow Gregory Lunsden."In Matthew 15:14, Jesus says, 'And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.' He says nothing about some gravity making them fall—just that they will fall. Then, in Job 5:7, we read, 'But mankind is born to trouble, as surely as sparks fly upwards.' If gravity is pulling everything down, why do the sparks fly upwards with great surety? This clearly indicates that a conscious intelligence governs all falling."
"Traditional scientists admit that they cannot explain how gravitation is supposed to work," Carson said. "What the gravity-agenda scientists need to realize is that 'gravity waves' and 'gravitons' are just secular words for 'God can do whatever He wants.'"
Some evangelical physicists propose that Intelligent Falling provides an elegant solution to the central problem of modern physics.
"Anti-falling physicists have been theorizing for decades about the 'electromagnetic force,' the 'weak nuclear force,' the 'strong nuclear force,' and so-called 'force of gravity,'" Burdett said. "And they tilt their findings toward trying to unite them into one force. But readers of the Bible have already known for millennia what this one, unified force is: His name is Jesus."
hostile to science
lacking in empathy
lacking in public spirit
out of control
Thanks to: Breeze, Chuck, Ivan Raikov, Kaiju, Kathy, Roger, Shirley, S.M. Dixon
i've got a little list...
Steven Abrams (Kansas BofE)
Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson
Roger Ailes (FNC)
Alan Bonsell (Dover BofE)
Bill Buckingham (Dover BofE)
George W. Bush
Bruce Chapman (DI)
The Coors Family
William A. Dembski
Leonard Downie (WaPo)
John Gibson (FNC)
Fred Hiatt (WaPo)
James F. Inhofe
Philip E. Johnson
by Joel Pelletier
(click on image for more info)
Stephen C. Meyer (DI)
Judith Miller (ex-NYT)
Sun Myung Moon
Elspeth Reeve (TNR)
Martin Peretz (TNR)
Richard Mellon Scaife
Susan Schmidt (WaPo)
John Solomon (WaPo)
Richard Thompson (TMLC)
Bob Woodward (WaPo)
All the fine sites I've
Be sure to visit them all!!
Arthur C. Clarke
Daniel C. Dennett
Philip K. Dick
Stephen Jay Gould
"The Harder They Come"
Ursula K. LeGuin
The Marx Brothers
Michael C. Penta
Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
"The Red Shoes"
"Singin' in the Rain"
Talking Heads/David Byrne
Hunter S. Thompson
"2001: A Space Odyssey"
If you read unfutz at least once a week, without fail, your teeth will be whiter and your love life more satisfying.
If you read it daily, I will come to your house, kiss you on the forehead, bathe your feet, and cook pancakes for you, with yummy syrup and everything.
(You might want to keep a watch on me, though, just to avoid the syrup ending up on your feet and the pancakes on your forehead.)
Finally, on a more mundane level, since I don't believe that anyone actually reads this stuff, I make this offer: I'll give five bucks to the first person who contacts me and asks for it -- and, believe me, right now five bucks might as well be five hundred, so this is no trivial offer.