The competition among Weblog competitions is heating up; in the last two months, we’ve had Wizbang’s “Weblog Awards”:http://wizbangblog.com/poll.php#BGB poll; the “Warblogger”:http://www.rightwingnews.com/special/warblogger2003.php awards, the Koufax awards at “Wampum”:http://wampum.wabanaki.net/ and now the “Bloggies”:http://www.fairvue.com/?feature=awards2004. It’s all very confusing: which competition should you be paying attention to? To help answer that question, I’m proposing the Best ‘Best Weblog of 2003 Competition’ Competition. I’m sure that y’all can come up with appropriate categories and nominees – in order to start the ball rolling …

*Most egregious award decision*
The winner by a mile: Wizbang’s “Best Overall Blog” award for _Little Green Footballs_. In fairness, this isn’t Wizbang’s fault; I imagine that thousands of slavering trolls from LGF’s comment section were clambering over each other in their frenzied efforts to cast their vote for the Dark Lord. Like a scene from the siege of Minas Tirith. If LGF were really the best overall blog on the Internet, I’d want to give up, right away.

*Vote early, vote often award*
A number of hot contenders for this one – lots of fishy business of one kind or another in various competitions. “Dive into Mark”:http://diveintomark.org/ at the very least deserves special mention for his script ensuring that anyone who clicked on the Wizbang awards from his site would find themselves willy-nilly “voting for him”:http://wizbangblog.com/archives/001268.php.

*Awards competition that is most likely to be any use*
A tie between the Koufax awards, and the Warblogger awards, I reckon. Given the vast diversity of blogs, it makes much more sense to concentrate on a limited section of the blogging community than to try to cover the whole gamut. Readers are more likely to find new blogs that are of interest to them among the nominees, which is presumably the point of the exercise.

*Most glaring omission*
Why the hell has “The Poor Man”:http://www.thepoorman.net/ not gotten a nomination in any of the broader competitions?

Update: Andrew Northrup does a perfect blog-post on the State of the Union speech within moments of its ending, “as if to prove my point …”:http://www.thepoorman.net/archives/002291.html#002291http://www.thepoorman.net/archives/002291.html#002291

Fat Uncle Sam

by Harry on January 20, 2004

The US administration defends the rights of its citizens to be untroubled by discomforting information. Why? Do they think people will listen to WHO? Question for those who know more about this than I do: does obesity cost governments money all things considered, or does it save them money by causing earlier death resulting in lower claims on social security/pensions etc?

Just by way of a quick follow up to a post from last November, today’s Guardian reports that US Pharma is still pushing hard to label and defeat as protectionist the bulk drugs buying power of the Australian government. Worryingly, it sounds as if Australian PM John Howard may blink.

[click to continue…]

Science and pseudoscience

by Henry on January 20, 2004

Michael Crichton has made millions by writing mass market thrillers that either regurgitate partially understood scientific factoids, or pander to the nasty little revenge fantasies of male white middle-managers. He’s not averse to spicing his novels up with a hefty pinch of racism (the ‘Fu Manchu’ in a three-piece suit Japan bashing in _Rising Sun_) or sexism (in the rather revolting Disclosure). All in all, it’s rather surprising that Caltech should have asked him to deliver a prestigious lecture. The content and tone of that “lecture”:http://www.crichton-official.com/speeches/speeches_quote04.html, however, aren’t surprising at all. The speech – which argues that global warming is pseudo-science – is as specious a bit of argumentation as I’ve seen in a while.

[click to continue…]

Public policy and philosophy

by Chris Bertram on January 20, 2004

“The Colloquium in Legal and Social Philosophy”:http://www.ucl.ac.uk/spp/seminars/seminars_2004.php at University College London’s School of Public Policy looks very interesting this spring, with papers from Frances Kamm, G. A. Cohen, Jo Wolff, Cass Sunstein and others. (And the papers are downloadable too). First up is Frances Kamm (NYU) on ‘Failures of Just War Theory and Terrorism’.

African Cup of Nations

by Chris Bertram on January 20, 2004

The “African Cup of Nations”:http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/africa/default.stm kicks off on Saturday with the host nation Tunisia taking on Rwanda. Most of the groups look fairly predictable, with Tunisia set to top A, Senegal B, Cameroon C and Nigeria D. Having said that, if there is a “group of death” then D is it, with Nigeria, Morocco and South Africa all battling it out. I’ll be rooting for Senegal in the hope that El-Hadji Diouf and Salif Diao recapture their form and bring it back to Merseyside (well you never know). What a great sport, where some of the world’s poorest nations are better than some of the wealthier ones.

One man’s terrorist

by Maria on January 20, 2004

is another man’s freedom fighter. Today’s New York Times carries a gushing apologia for Gerry Adams, in the form of a book review, and a more obsequious or dishonest piece of selective memory I have not seen in a long time.

[click to continue…]

Bits and pieces

by Henry on January 20, 2004

Worth reading:

“Michael Froomkin”:http://www.discourse.net/archives/2004/01/florida_taliban_3.html on a story that should be getting a lot more play; how a Florida Judicial Nominating Commission has been asking potential judges whether they’re “God-fearing.”

“Brad DeLong”:http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/movable_type/2004_archives/000065.html on Seabiscuit versus Elmo the Banana Slug.

“Mrs. Tilton”:http://fistfulofeuros.net/archives/000261.php on long-haired wastrels and the end of conscription in Germany.

“Chris Brooke”:http://fistfulofeuros.net/archives/000251.php on British Conservative party deviationism.

“Ken MacLeod”:http://kenmacleod.blogspot.com/2004_01_01_kenmacleod_archive.html#107396002535502694 on Marxist sectarianism. Ken namechecks the British and Irish Communist Organization, a defunct grouplet that I’ve always been fond of for their ability to argue themselves from one position to its radical opposite (viz. from a 32 county solution to the Northern Ireland problem, to advocating the region’s full integration into the UK).