Canada rocks!

I’ve just returned from one of the world’s great treasures, Algonquin Provincial Park, in Ontario, Canada. I have very little skepticism to offer—sure, I could talk about Park management, the Master Plan, logging, First Nations, etc. but then I’d lose an opportunity to share some of the natural beauty and some of the medical highlights.

The Park is about the size of Connecticut and occupies a huge chunk of Ontario as it bends around Lake Huron. (Remember that Ontario’s southernmost leg is rather far south, with the city of Windsor being directly south of Detroit. It widens toward the northeast, and then opens up north and westward, forming a sort of reverse “c” around Michigan.)

Now, for my fellow Americans, let me just reiterate: Canada is a country, not a state. Not only that, but their dollar is now worth about the same as ours, although many of those dollars come in odd coins called “loonies” and “twonies”. They are also fond of some odd foods, such as poutine (not to be confused with “poutaine“), a dish which ruins perfectly good french fries by covering them with cheese curds and gravy.
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We Can Haz HandCannon!

Mark, I find your post on DC v. Heller lacking in enthusiasm. It is not often that our Supreme Court finds a new constitutional right (except when big business wants more rights). We should celebrate this, thing–the Second Amendment. It must be important, right, since it becomes before the Third and Fourth!

We should exercise it too. I’m a fan of the old school Colt 45 Auto:

What handcannon are you going to buy?

The Supreme Court Overturns the Handgun Ban

I must admit I’m a bit surprised to see the Supreme Court overturning the handgun ban (full ruling – PDF). I thought the court would have to take the position that gun ownership may be a right but one in which the state had enough of a compelling interest to regulate that bans like DC’s could stand. Any other decision would seem to suggest that the state couldn’t regulate weapons at all, thus overturning the 1934 automatic weapons ban and other restrictions on ownership of highly dangerous equipment for the hunting of today’s super deer.

However, as Ed Brayton discusses, they overturned the ban yet still found a middle-way. I tend to agree with Ed and with the typically-mercenary decision from Scalia. As usual Scalia is happy to pick up whatever legal tools are laying about that suit his fancy. Today it’s individual rights! Holy cow. I hope someone has the stones to throw that back in his face if gay marriage comes up in front the SCOTUS.

He writes for a 5-4 majority:
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Ham, Get on Message!

Jon Hurdle reports in today’s Times on nine Philadelphia-based institutions that are planning a “Year of Evolution” program for February 2009, to celebrate Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of The Origin of Species.

Check out the comments of Ken Ham, which I think are totally off message:

Ken Ham, the president of the Creation Museum, said he expected to see more pro-evolution events as the Darwin anniversary approaches. Mr. Ham said that in response his museum was planning its own exhibits on the origins of life.

“The culture war is definitely heating up,” he said.

Mr. Ham, who also leads Answers in Genesis, a nonprofit group promoting a literal interpretation of the biblical creation story, defined the clash of ideas as “Christianity versus the relative morality of secular humanism” and said they were “two fundamentally different worldviews.”

He rejected the possibility that Christians could believe in evolution. “If you take Genesis as literal history, then of course the two are exclusive,” he said. “Christians who believe in evolution are being inconsistent.”

This is about the scientific case for creationism, right? So, why is Ham talking about the culture war? Don’t his comments basically support the idea that teaching creationism’s flavor of the week amounts to feeding the Christianity side of the “culture war?”

Ham needs to hire me. He should have said: “Intelligent Design does a better job explaining the fundamentals of how life first appeared on Earth and how a creator could have fashioned all the species in such a way that allowed microevolution to flourish. The Creationism Museum assembles the scientific evidence and philosophical evidence, much of which derives from liturgical sources, to make the case for Intelligent Design. The Evolutionists have to coordinate this event, because they are threatened by the Kuhnian revolution now underway that increasingly supports the maxims of Intelligent Design.”

I will go shower now.

A pregnancy boom at a Massachusetts high school

Surprisingly, it’s not due to the horribly misguided abstinence education nonsense. In fact, I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around this one.

As summer vacation begins, 17 girls at Gloucester High School are expecting babies–more than four times the number of pregnancies the 1,200-student school had last year. Some adults dismissed the statistic as a blip. Others blamed hit movies like Juno and Knocked Up for glamorizing young unwed mothers. But principal Joseph Sullivan knows at least part of the reason there’s been such a spike in teen pregnancies in this Massachusetts fishing town. School officials started looking into the matter as early as October after an unusual number of girls began filing into the school clinic to find out if they were pregnant. By May, several students had returned multiple times to get pregnancy tests, and on hearing the results, “some girls seemed more upset when they weren’t pregnant than when they were,” Sullivan says. All it took was a few simple questions before nearly half the expecting students, none older than 16, confessed to making a pact to get pregnant and raise their babies together. Then the story got worse. “We found out one of the fathers is a 24-year-old homeless guy,” the principal says, shaking his head.

Really? Assuming this isn’t some bizarre error of mis-reporting, this is clearly not a failure of contraception, but what I can only assume is a failure of our culture. Here’s why:

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