I never knew how entertaining a Judicial ruling could be...

I just read page 137 of the Pennsylvania ID ruling. I'll admit it. I started at the end. I never do that with stuff I read, but this time I'm hooked and have to start at the begining. It's just great.

Here's what caught me:

The citizens of the Dover area were poorly served by the members of the
Board who voted for the ID Policy. It is ironic that several of these individuals,
who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would
time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID

With that said, we do not question that many of the leading advocates of ID
have bona fide and deeply held beliefs which drive their scholarly endeavors. Nor
do we controvert that ID should continue to be studied, debated, and discussed. As
stated, our conclusion today is that it is unconstitutional to teach ID as an
alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom.

Those who disagree with our holding will likely mark it as the product of an
activist judge. If so, they will have erred as this is manifestly not an activist Court.
Rather, this case came to us as the result of the activism of an ill-informed faction
on a school board, aided by a national public interest law firm eager to find a
constitutional test case on ID, who in combination drove the Board to adopt an
imprudent and ultimately unconstitutional policy. The breathtaking inanity of the
Board’s decision is evident when considered against the factual backdrop which
has now been fully revealed through this trial. The students, parents, and teachers
of the Dover Area School District deserved better than to be dragged into this legal
maelstrom, with its resulting utter waste of monetary and personal resources.
Oddly enough I found it courtesy of Neil Gaiman's blog, where he described it thusly:"The 139 page decision in the Pennsylvania "Intelligent Design" case is facinating reading -- remarkably lucid and interesting." I repeat, great.

Same ole' song and dance. Sort of.

I just came across this post from Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and co-owner of 2929 Entertainment (who own the Landmark theater chain and produced the movie "Good Night and Good Luck", among others). It details a recent experience he had as the subject of a New York Times piece. It's pretty amazing to see all of the communication that passes between Cuban and Randall Stross, the author of the piece, and then the end result.

It's pretty blatant that Stross had a good idea of what kind of article he wanted to write, how he wanted to portray Cuban's position in the movie/distribution industry, and what value he placed on the Cuban's perspective. To some degree, the tone of the article (which, if you don't feel like reading it, is bitchy) is to be expected, but when compared to the dialogue that preceded it, seems extreme.

Cuban followed up his post with this:

the more time i spent on my last blog entry, the more it became apparent i wanted to ask this question and see the comments to this blog, and inevitable commentary around the blogosphere and in traditional digital and analog media..

even a year ago, this would have seemed like a preposterous question.

Given the admitted rush job by Randall Stross for the Sunday NY Times Business column that I discussed in my last blog entry, along with my previous experiences with that paper, i dont think it is preposterous any longer.

Who has higher editorial and reporting standards. Your typical fulltime blogger, or the NY Times ?

Who puts more effort into researching their articles ?

Who conveys more depth ?

The NY Times is obviously feeling some financial pain and cutting back. Costs impact the amount of space they can provide for any article, or for all content as a whole. Bloggers do not have that limitation. I can write as many pages as i like.

The NY Times is limited by deadlines. They have to get to print and get the product out the door. Bloggers do not.

Costs and deadlines limit the amount of resources that can be applied to any given article for both bloggers and the NY Times. Who is more constrained as a result ?

This has nothing to do with bias, per se, but it does have to do with the preconcieved notions of journalists. You may as well extrapolate from here... but I can't help but think of how many pieces of good news I've heard from Iraq via the NYT. Hmmm, I think I know the answer to Cuban's question...


Reason for Iraq pessimism?

This may be a pretty big reason people have such a pessimistic view of the situation Iraq despite steady progress for the last year. Even news that is almost unqualifiedly good gets spun as negatively as possible. Seriously, if gold coins began to rain from the sky and all the Sunni's, Kurds and Shiites all spontainiously joined hands and started singing "I want to buy the world a coke" the headline would still probably be "US Corporations Claim another victim: Commercialism Runs Rampant in Iraq." and "Numerous eye injuries from projectiles."


Does intel have an axe to grind?

Since the Plame controversy, and all the subsequent articles that have been sourced to “unnamed intelligence sources” about renditions of suspected terrorists and domestic NSA spying, many have commented that it appears that there is a rift between the Bush administration and the intelligence gathering establishment. While occasional leaks are normal, the flood of leaked info that – on its face – casts the current administration in a negative light doesn’t seem to be coincidence. Pundits on the left have interpreted these leaks as coming from people of conscience sick of bullying by the white house while those from the right view the intelligence leakers as ineffective bureaucrats retaliating for post 9/11 shakeups. What if it’s something more simple than that?
In my field one of the biggest career risks is to acquire skills based on technologies that die. For example before 2003, numerically most people who developed windows applications used Visual Basic and then very rapidly – companies switched to .Net. In most cases VB developers with many years of experience went from being highly valued to requiring assistance from recent college grads for even the most basic programming tasks. Those who couldn’t adapt were demoted or let go. Is it possible that something similar is happening with the intelligence organizations? Imagine if you busted your ass for learning Russian and all the ins and outs of the Soviet regime only to see the cold war end and Democratic Russia turn out mostly okay? How would it feel instead of being an agent in Moscow to be a desk jockey (like Plame) with all the best assignments going to people less experienced but with the right skill sets? After years of high risk and crap pay only to be thanked by getting warehoused in an office somewhere there may be some intelligence folks that are understandably resentful and want to be in the limelight again(Plame). This doesn’t excuse them for potentially violating national security laws but it seems to be more likely than some of the more extreme scenarios being discussed in the media.