During the last transit strike, in 1980 - legendary at 12 long days - I was in school in Philadelphia. Twenty-five years later, I leave the city, and they strike four months later.
This makes me homesick.
Yes, I wish I were there. It's exciting. It's a little extra insanity added to the everyday insanity. It's New York City history. Damn, I wish I were there.
It's interesting to see how the local media and most - although definitely not all - New Yorkers descend on the Transit Workers Union in a feeding frenzy of blame. To a person, New Yorkers loathe the MTA, the incompetent and corrupt agency that runs the city's otherwise amazing transit system. "I hate the MTA," is the shared language of all New Yorkers. Yet so few of them imagine having that hateful agency as an employer, and automatically blame the union for the strike. Self over solidarity every time.
Damn. Checking it out over the internet is just not the same.
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In other news from the Old Country, a Pennsylvania judge - a conservative Bush appointee - has rejected the "breathtaking inanity" of the anti-evolutionists in public schools.
Judge Rejects Teaching Intelligent DesignThis decision is legally binding only for school districts in one area of one state. However, it will likely serve as both precedent and deterrent to other religious fanatics trying to impose their brand of superstition on everyone else's children. At least for a while.
A federal judge ruled on Tuesday that it was unconstitutional for a Pennsylvania school district to present intelligent design as an alternative to evolution in high school biology courses because it is a religious viewpoint that advances "a particular version of Christianity."
In the nation's first case to test the legal merits of intelligent design, the judge, John E. Jones III, issued a broad, stinging rebuke to its advocates and provided strong support for scientists who have fought to bar intelligent design from the science curriculum.
Judge Jones also excoriated members of the Dover, Pa., school board, who he said lied to cover up their religious motives, made a decision of "breathtaking inanity" and "dragged" their community into "this legal maelstrom with its resulting utter waste of monetary and personal resources."
Eleven parents in Dover, a growing suburb about 20 miles south of Harrisburg, sued their school board a year ago after it voted to have teachers read students a brief statement introducing intelligent design in ninth-grade biology class.
The statement said that there were "gaps in the theory" of evolution and that intelligent design was another explanation they should examine.
Judge Jones, a Republican appointed by President Bush, concluded that intelligent design was not science, and that in order to claim that it is, its proponents admit they must change the very definition of science to include supernatural explanations.
Judge Jones said that teaching intelligent design as science in public school violated the First Amendment of the Constitution, which prohibits public officials from using their positions to impose or establish a particular religion.
"To be sure, Darwin's theory of evolution is imperfect," Judge Jones wrote. "However, the fact that a scientific theory cannot yet render an explanation on every point should not be used as a pretext to thrust an untestable alternative hypothesis grounded in religion into the science classroom or to misrepresent well-established scientific propositions."
The six-week trial in Federal District Court in Harrisburg gave intelligent design the most thorough academic and legal airing since the movement's inception about 15 years ago, and was often likened to the momentous Scopes case that put evolution on trial 80 years earlier.
Intelligent design posits that biological life is so complex that it must have been designed by an intelligent source. Its adherents say that they refrain from identifying the designer, and that it could even be aliens or a time traveler.
But Judge Jones said the evidence in the trial proved that intelligent design was "creationism relabeled."
The Supreme Court has already ruled that creationism, which relies on the biblical account of the creation of life, cannot be taught as science in a public school.