Swift Boat Bloggers for Denying the Bleedin’ Obvious

by Kieran Healy on August 21, 2004

David Adesnik posts “here”:http://oxblog.blogspot.com/2004_08_15_oxblog_archive.html#109306453754409344 and “here”:http://oxblog.blogspot.com/2004_08_15_oxblog_archive.html#109306102432801244 about the whole Swift Boat Veterans thing. The posts are funny:

I still haven’t gotten to the heart of the matter, which is who is telling the truth, the Vets or the Times. … While it is hard to trust anyone’s memories of events that happened thirty-five years ago, it is extremely hard to trust such memories when they’re coming form individuals who had different memories of the same events quite recently … contemporary records confirm Kerry’s account and Louis Letson, the army doctor who says Kerry lied, admits that “I guess you’ll have to take my word for it” … According to Larry Thurlow, one of the Swift Vets who witnessed the events in question, there was no enemy fire. However, the WaPo recently got a hold of the citation for Thurlow’s Bronze Star (which he won during the same battle). In it, there are multiple reference to enemy fire. … As I said before, *I haven’t come to any firm conclusions about the Swift Vets accusation. My mind is still open* and I’ll be happy to look at further evidence. But so far, things are looking pretty good for John F. Kerry.

Amazing. In his “earlier post”:http://oxblog.blogspot.com/2004_08_15_oxblog_archive.html#109306102432801244 David even chastises those politically naive people who complain that the Ads are being funded by unscrupulous rich Republicans:

But more importantly, who do you expect to fund anti-Kerry attack ads? The College Republicans? No, of course not. It’s going to be rich and well-connected GOP backers who take it on themselves to be the President’s hatchet men.

Sooo, the charges contradict the contemporary written records, they contradict previous statements by the SBV people praising Kerry’s conduct, and hard-headed political observers like Oxblog know the only reason we’re hearing any of these guys is that they’re being financed by “hatchet men” for the Bush campaign. But don’t expect us to make up our mind in favor of Kerry! For exit-strategy purposes, David’s conceding that “things are looking pretty good” for Kerry but still, this is not the time to “come to any firm conclusions.”

Look, if you don’t like Kerry or have no confidence in the New York Times as a news source, or don’t see anything wrong with unsupportable hatchet-jobs, let’s just come out and say it, OK? But honestly — the kind of faux “open-mindedness” that refuses to draw warranted conclusions from the evidence is better left to “the Tortoise and Achilles”:http://www.fecundity.com/pmagnus/achilles.html.

Notes from (Down) Under Ground

by John Quiggin on August 21, 2004

General elections are probably[1] imminent in Australia. Both the campaign and the outcome will be tied more closely to events in the United States than is usual, for two reasons. First, the current Australian government has been easily the most reliable supporter of the Bush Administration anywhere in the developed world (and probably anywhere in the world), even if no-one much outside Australia has noticed. It’s one of the few governments not to have ratified the Kyoto Protocol, and John Howard was the first to answer Bush and Blair in the call for troops in Iraq. With election campaigns likely to run in parallel, what’s good (bad) for Bush is good (bad) for Howard, and, to a much lesser extent, vice versa. If Howard waits until November and Bush loses, his whole foreign policy will lose its rationale. If Howard were to lose office in October, the parallel with Spain would be obvious, and damaging for Bush, though no doubt it would be no more than one day’s bad headlines.

The other potentially big issue involving the US is the so-called Free Trade Agreement between Australia and the US.

[click to continue…]

iPods in the Classroom

by Kieran Healy on August 21, 2004

“Alan reports”:http://www.schussman.com/article/815/headphones-down that

bq. Students in the incoming Class of 2008 at Duke University each “get a brand-new iPod”:http://www.chronicle.duke.edu/vnews/display.v/ART/2004/08/20/412620dfa7d23, to be used, says the university’s IT wonks, as part of a project exploring innovative classroom technologies.

I’m thinking of using an iPod in my graduate seminar this semester. The idea is that the students divide into groups and then buy me an iPod and, um, that’s it. Perhaps also items from my Amazon wish list, for the advanced ones.

As it happens, I do know of a student at Arizona who used an mp3 player as an innovative classroom technology: he was noticed wearing headphones during his final exam and it turned out he’d recorded himself speaking the answers to likely exam questions.