Annals of Premature Accusations

by Kieran Healy on November 4, 2003

Kevin Drum updates the score in the ongoing debate between Mann, Bradley and Hughes (climate scientists) and McIntyre and McKitrick (a couple of economists). The latter claim to have re-analyzed data from a famous paper of the former’s on global warming and found numerous errors that, when corrected, make the results go away. The climatologists have responded vigorously, saying that their critics have botched the job. Both sides are preparing further responses at the moment, so the issue is on hold.

That, however, hasn’t stopped Iain Murray from writing a quite inflammatory article in the NRO about all of this. The article tries to stamp the whole issue with his preferred spin:

bq. The whole affair bears strong resemblance to the recent Bellesiles controversy. Emory University historian Michael Bellesiles won a Bancroft Prize for his argument that gun ownership in early America was not widespread. It took an amateur historian, Clayton Cramer, to point out that this claim could not be substantiated on the basis of actual gun-ownership records. Eventually, an Emory University investigation strongly criticized Bellesiles, and the Bancroft Prize was withdrawn.

Given what we know about the present case, this is an indefensible comparison.

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Iron Laws Of The Universe

by Daniel on November 4, 2003

Given that Paul Krugman is reminding us all of Stein’s Law (“Things that can’t go on forever, don’t”), I thought I’d remind everyone of Davies’ Corolloraries:

1. Things that can’t go on forever, go on much longer than you think they will.
2. Corollorary 1 applies even after taking into account Corollorary 1.

Vacuum-packed cassoulet

by Chris Bertram on November 4, 2003

Many years ago I had to supplement my income teaching evening classes in public administration. At the time — and maybe now for all I know — something called the “Baumol effect” was being widely blamed for higher inflation in the public sector than in the private sector. I was reminded of this recently when reading the “France Profonde column in the latest Prospect”: (subcribers only – free to web in about 3 weeks). The latest article bemoans the decline in French traditional cooking both at home and in restaurants. The basic problem seems to be the same in both establishments: traditional French dishes are often very time consuming and labour intensive. The result: people don’t bother much at home (except on special occasions) and restaurants buy in inferior pre-prepared vacuum-packed versions of favourite dishes.

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Type Like a Pirate Day

by Brian on November 4, 2003

Apparently it’s easier on your hands to type like a pirate. (Hat tip: Mark Liberman.)

Department of Overstatement

by Brian on November 4, 2003

From Martin Schönfeld’s entry in the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy on Kant’s philosophical development:

Modern thought begins with Kant. The appearance of the Critique of Pure Reason in 1781 marks the start of modern philosophy, and Kant’s ideas have helped to shape global civilization. Today his texts are read on all continents. Although Kant is in the same league as Confucius or Aristotle…

I’ve got some relatives who have spent time in Antarctica, but I’ve never heard them talk about the Kant scholars down there. More seriously, there’s more than a few Descartes, Locke, Leibniz, Hume, Berkeley, Reid and Rousseau scholars who might dispute that modern philosophy begins with CPR, and a few million Americans who would probably dispute that there was no modern thought before Kant.

Solid Gold

by Ted on November 4, 2003

The return of America’s Greatest Living Writer has inspired me to collect just a few one-line snarks that still make me laugh.

Neal Pollack

If you watch television or read newspapers and magazines, you might get the wrong idea that we’re losing… But take it from my highly-reliable correspondents who file from anonymous email addresses.

Jesse from Pandagon:

Ann Coulter, Jr. will likely be making the rounds over the next couple of weeks for her new book, Pieholes Are For Pie. Or whatever it’s called.

Jim Henley

Blogwatch Foreigners Are Mean! is dedicated to noting every cross word uttered about the United States by foreign leaders or journalists, plus a smattering of other topics.

And a lifetime achievement award to Roy Edroso. I can’t pick just one.

Crying “racist”

by Ted on November 4, 2003

Dwight Merideth has a swell post on Democratic opposition to confirming minority conservatives to the bench. Democrats have confirmed twelve of Bush’s Hispanic court nominees and denied one (12/1). They have confirmed seven African-American nominees and have not yet confirmed Brown. (7/1). Read the whole thing for many more details. When will this reign of terror end, I think we can all hear the American people asking.

Dwight is responding to Jane Galt, who says that Democrats are trying to keep conservative minorities off the appellate bench. Others have gone much further. The most vile example of the “Democrats are racist” meme that I found without really looking came from William Sjostrom’s smear of Illinois senator Dick Durbin (via Jack O’Toole). Sjostrom notes that Durbin opposes Brown, and says:

Durbin is a long-standing stooge of the Chicago Democratic machine, which always believed blacks could be around as long as they were the shoe-shine boys or the maids, unless they were as crooked as the white Democrats. Then they could be precinct captains, and do nothing at the DMV.

When Dick Durbin sees Brown, all he can see is an uppity black woman who doesn’t know she is supposed to be either cleaning his oven or helping the local boys steal votes.

If you think that I’m leaving out any relevant evidence, context, or links, click through. That’s his whole argument.

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