by Miguel de Icaza

Noam Chomsky on the debate about intelligent design:

To proponents, intelligent design is the notion that the universe is too complex to have developed without a nudge from a higher power than evolution or natural selection.

To detractors, intelligent design is creationism --- the literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis --- in a thin guise, or simply vacuous, about as interesting as "I don't understand" as has always been true in the sciences before understanding is reached.

Accordingly, there cannot be a "debate."

Robert Fisk on the rebranding of torture:

What Americans do to their prisoners is "abuse" and there was a wonderful moment last week when Amy Goodman, who is every leftist's dream, showed a clip from Pontecorvo's wonderful 1965 movie "The Battle of Algiers" on her Democracy Now program. "Col. Mathieu" -- the film is semi-fictional -- was shown explaining why torture was necessary to safeguard French lives.

Then up popped Bush's real spokesman, Scott McClellan, to say that while he would not discuss interrogation methods, the primary aim of the administration was to safeguard U.S. lives.

U.S. journalists now refer to "abuse laws" rather than torture laws.

Molly Ivins has her own take:

I have known George W. Bush since we were both in high school -- we have dozens of mutual friends. I have written two books about him and so have interviewed many dozens more who know him well in one way or another. Spare me the tough talk. He didn't play football -- he was a cheerleader. ''He is really competitive,'' said one friend. ``You wouldn't believe how tough he is on a tennis court!''

I tried to track down Robert Fisk as he tours the US but the only confirmed dates that I have are for California this weekend and I do not feel like crossing the country. If you happen to know of any dates somewhere closer to the East Coast, please drop me an email.

Norman Finkelstein is talking on Thursday in Boston. Details are available here. Norman is the author of the "Beyond Chutzpah" and "Israel-Palestine Conflict" books. Am pretty psyched.

Posted on 15 Nov 2005