Anger Management, Breaking Rank and the Fight over Intelligent Design

Mark Cuban — the, umm, outspoken multi-zillionaire and owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks — is angry. Or maybe he’s not. Either way, if he wasn’t in the first place he seems to be now. On Sunday, the New York Times ran a story headlined “Mark Cuban Is Mad (Again). But Why?”

The story holds that Cuban “became upset” recently when Vector Capital bought (of which Cuban is the second-largest shareholder) for $202 million. Apparently he expected the company to sell for more.

Cuban, who exchanged emails with the reporter for the story, writes on his blog that “the article was more a personal attack than a representation of our email exchange. Furthermore, even after the above exchange, the author preferred to quote the press release … rather than our email exchange.” Incensed, Cuban posts the entire set of emails between him and the reporter to show how he was quoted out of context. Lesson: don’t mess with a guy who’s been fined $1 million by the NBA for angry outbursts during games.

Also on Sunday, Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, appearing on “This Week” on ABC, once again went off the Republican reservation: “I think our involvement [in Iraq] has destabilized the Middle East. And the longer we stay there, I think the further destabilization will occur…. By any standard, when you analyze 2 1/2 years in Iraq … we’re not winning.”

Cue the blogs:

After reading an AP story about Hagel’s comments, Powerline went into media crit mode, choosing to challenge not Hagel’s points, but the fact that the AP called him a “leading Republican senator.” “But wait!” Powerline exclaims “What exactly makes Chuck Hagel a “leading Republican senator”? Not seniority; he is a second-termer. Not any official responsibilities; Hagel is not a member of the Senate leadership, nor does he chair a Senate committee. Not legislative accomplishment or influence…It is hard to escape the conclusion that for the Associated Press, any Republican who attacks the Bush administration and claims that we’re losing in Iraq is automatically promoted to “leading Republican senator” status.”

The Peking Duck however, agrees with, and adds to Hagel’s list of complaints, writing that “Hagel’s statements come on the heels of an announcement by the Army’s top general that the Army is making plans for a “worse-case scenario,” in which US troop strength would be maintained at its present levels, over 160,000 soldiers, for the next four years. Hagel, once a partisan of greatly increasing troop strength in Iraq, now believes that we are past the point where more troops can bring any greater stability to Iraq.”

Stephan at memefirst tackles the new hotbutton issue of “intelligent design” and the New York Times’ take on it this morning. “I’m finding this renewed debate about the overall merits of Darwinism, and by extension the scientific method, to be quite bracing. Intelligent Design is the last stand for [the] academic credibility of belief systems that involve an interventionist God. Modern science has spent over 300 years eradicating miracles, with unmitigated success. Intelligent Designists are pleading for a miracle here or there, just to maintain a smidgeon of plausibility for their cherished beliefs. I say give them no quarter.

Oh, and pity the children.”

DC media Girl reacts to Sen. Bill Frist’s stance in supporting the president’s contention that intelligent design should be taught alongside evolution in schools by wondering if he supports colleges offering “classes in alchemy to balance out the chemistry offerings? Or how about requiring that the undergraduates take courses in astrology to complement their astronomy studies?”

And we’ll give the questioning Christian today’s last word on the subject, as his (her?) take seems to be one of the few we’ve seen that is keeping something of an open mind about the whole thing. “My beef with intelligent design is that many IDers seem to be trying to affirmatively disprove evolution. It’s as though their personal trust in God stands or falls depending on whether or not a particular scientific theory is true. That would be a pretty weak faith, if you ask me…We simply don’t know, at least not yet…let’s dispense with the grandiose pronouncements (and not just by the IDers) about the way things supposedly must be or cannot be.”

Paul McLeary

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Paul McLeary is senior editor of Defense Technology International magazine, and is a former CJR staffer.