McKitrick mucks it up

by John Quiggin on August 25, 2004

Late last year, the debate over climate change was stirred up when an environmental economist, Ross McKitrick and a mining executive, Steven McIntyre, published a piece claiming to refute climatological research crucial to the claim that the last few decades have seen unparalleled global warming (the ‘hockey-stick‘ paper of Mann, Bradley and Hughes). According to McKitrick and McIntyre, the work of Mann et al was riddled with errors, The paper was loudly publicised by the American Enterprise Institute (home of John Lott) and, as you would expect, Flack Central Station. Mann et al produced an immediate rebuttal, and despite many promises of a rejoinder, McKitrick and McIntyre have never responded on the substantive issues[1].

This would be par for the course, except that McKitrick somehow managed to attract the attention of Aussie computer scientist Tim Lambert, famous for his demolition of Lott’s shonky research, which purported to show that guns reduce crime. The result: McKitrick’s work is even shoddier than Lott’s.

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Foucault, theocracy, fascism

by Chris Bertram on August 25, 2004

Surfing round the blogosphere, I find “Oliver Kamm banging on”:http://oliverkamm.typepad.com/blog/2004/08/fascism_and_the_2.html about alliances between “the Left” and theocratic fascism. Kamm’s correspondent, the philosopher Jeff Ketland of the University of Edinburgh, offers the following as an example:

bq. One can find examples in the postmodernist literature, and the most obvious example is Michel Foucault, once a member of the French communist party and main source of much recent postmodernist and social constructivist philosophy. Foucault visited Iran around the time of the revolution. He enthusiastically described the revolution as a new kind of “political spirituality”, and was very impressed with its characteristically anti-Enlightenment aspects.

This just doesn’t stack up, though as an instance of left-theocratic alliance. …

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Tariq Ramadan denied US visa

by Chris Bertram on August 25, 2004

According to “Scott Martens at A Fistful of Euros”:http://fistfulofeuros.net/archives/000782.php , Tariq Ramadan (recently “interviewed”:http://www.opendemocracy.net/debates/article-5-57-2006.jsp by OpenDemocracy) who had been appointed to a visiting position at Notre Dame, has been denied a US visa under sections of the Immigration and Nationality Act that were amended by the Patriot Act. Scott comments:

bq. Whether one agrees with Ramadan or not, it is difficult to image an Islamic intellectual figure who is likely to be more acceptable as the other side in an American dialogue with Islam. Thus, the refusal to allow him to enter the US suggests that someone in Homeland Security agrees with the Daniel Pipes standard: Any Muslim who fails to condemn Islam, from its founding to the present and in all its manifestations, must be a fanatic and a threat to the West. …. This is an opportunity for Europeans and Americans to show that at the very least they are capable of exercising better judgement than the Bush administration.

The other deficit: Part II

by John Quiggin on August 25, 2004

In my previous post on US trade, I argued that if the current account deficit is to be stabilised at a sustainable level, the balance of trade on goods and services must return to surplus in the next decade or so. In this post, I’m going to ruIe out a soft option and argue that, while a smooth market-driven adjustment is not inconceivable, it’s unlikely.

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Back to School Week at the University of Arizona

by Kieran Healy on August 25, 2004

First week of the Fall semester in “sunny Tucson”:http://www.cs.arizona.edu/camera/. New classes, new students — including the undersocialized ones who come into your office asking to use the phone — and an uptick of amusing activity in the “Police Blotter”:http://wildcat.arizona.edu/papers/98/2/01_50.html. The Blotter is kind of a litany (“reports stated”) of the joys of being young, engaged in illegal activity, and perhaps a little slow off the mark:

A student was referred to the diversion program for possession of marijuana in the courtyard between Coronado and La Aldea, 822 E. Fifth St., Friday at 10:23 p.m., reports stated.

Police smelled burning marijuana coming from the area and saw the student who had red, bloodshot eyes and whose breath smelled of marijuana, reports stated.

Police asked the student if he had any marijuana on him and he said he had smoked earlier but didn’t have any on him and said, “You can check me,” reports stated.

At that point he put his hands in his pockets and said “Oh yeah, I have a little,” reports stated.

These are the people I have to interest in the transition from Feudalism to Capitalism. As it turns out, it can be easier than you might think (when they’re not stoned). For instance, you can go a long way with a discussion of the division of labor that begins with the question “Why the hell are there nearly a million people living here in the desert?”