Corrections to the blogosphere, the consensus, and the world

Friday, October 27, 2006

Stay the whatever

So Bush has now said "It was never about 'Stay the course'" - and of course everybody collects the times he said STC, and what I notice is that when Churchill, for example, said "We will fight them on the beaches" or "This was their finest hour" or "the end of the beginning" he said them, goddammit, once, in total. He didn't feel the need to hammer them in every time he opened his mouth. Lincoln didn't repeat his lines, either. When did this settle upon us?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Age bin

To get the best out of John Roskam’s article on why Australian soldiers should stay in Iraq, perform the preliminary exercise of going through and changing the word “critics” – as in ‘critics claim the invasion was based on a falsehood, and that the results of military intervention in Iraq have only gone from bad to worse’ - to the words “people who were right”, and the words ‘Bush’, ‘Blair’, and ‘Howard’ to “people who were wrong”. That done, the line “It is now irrelevant whether an invasion that occurred three years ago was justified or not” may now need a second look. Is it really irrelevant that we were lied to by blundering incompetents? I would have thought that past lies cast many doubts over current assurances, and past stuffups detracted from present confidence. It seems all sides now agree that everything has gone horribly wrong; why is it so hard to agree that those who got us into this mess are less qualified to tell us how to get out of it than the people who were right all along?

Friday, October 20, 2006

I nominate Ruddock

Headlines in the Age make it clear that, contrary to the views of the IPA, the media scene is imploding, the Iraq venture is doomed, and global warming is real. This can only mean one thing: reality is biased.

To more fully address the concerns of its critics, the universe is ultimately going to have to make a more determined effort to bring about a greater plurality of voices. Having two politically opposite deities would be reform worth considering – one to cover the old-fashioned laws of cause and effect, one to ensure that everything appears to be the way John Howard says it is. Such an innovation would help the universe to better reflect the politicians it exists to serve. Doing this could both mitigate concerns about balance and make for some entertaining and yet serious history.

The Government’s assaults on any inconvenient truth are to be applauded and are excellent insofar as they go. But if reality is to generate greater confidence in its ability to be balanced and impartial, more work will still be required.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Lancet

The basic point with this new Lancet survey is the same as the basic point about the last, which is that you can't beat something with nothing. The question for skeptics is "If that's the wrong number, what does the American government think is the right number?" The American government won't release any estimates. The only conceivable reason for that is that they believe that the true fugure is either much the same as or greater than the Lancet figure.
Imagine a court case in which there's a question about how many cattle you could run on a particular property. One side says "based on our statistical estimates, there are 4 to the acre or 4,000 in all." The side in posession says "Don't know. Haven't counted. Can't guess. Don't ask." The judge would be entitled to assume that the answer to the question wouldn't support the posessor's case.
Have to say, though, that in one way it's an impressive achievement. The Americans appear to have killed 183,000 Iraqis with the loss of only 2,700 Americans, or over sixty to one.
A little over one My Lai a week.

Costello

So Peter Costello has a “strong personal view” on reducing global warming. Oh, great. Peter Costello has a strong personal view on university union fees, he legislates. Peter Costello has a strong personal view on stem cells, he legislates. Peter Costello has a strong personal view on gay marriage, he legislates. The only strong personal opinion he’s ever had that he doesn't want to ram down our throats like it or not is the only one that matters. Just our luck.

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