The facts, ma’am, just the facts

by Daniel on September 19, 2004

By way of a break from everything about the US elections in the blogosphere, here’s a post about the US elections.

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Short answers to easy questions

by Daniel on September 19, 2004

With apologies to The Poor Man, an application of this strategy to an issue which appears to be confusing surprisingly many surprisingly intelligent minds in the British Isles:

Why are people so keen to ban fox-hunting when (fishing, battery farming, meat eating in general, mousetraps etc) are responsible for much more animal death and suffering?

Because hunting foxes with dogs is a sadistic pleasure.

Next week, I may tackle the question of why the Beslan siege appalled us more than the ongoing deaths of children through malnutrition and disease in Africa. Or I may not.


by Chris Bertram on September 19, 2004

“A & L Daily”: is giving prominence to “an article by one Thomas F. Powers”: “an assistant professor of political science at the University of Minnesota Duluth” arguing that a policy of “preventive detention an idea whose time has come”. There’s much that’s worthy of comment in Powers’s piece, not least the fact that he writes that ” we should look to other countries, especially England and Israel, which have crafted preventive detention policies with meaningful safeguards for due process.” England? !! Is this assistant professor of political science’s political geography really that bad? Anyway, he has this to say about the British Government’s internment policy introduced in Northern Ireland in 1971:

bq. Great Britain’s indefinite internment policy, formalized in 1973 following the recommendations of a famous report authored by Lord Diplock on the situation in Northern Ireland, was allowed to lapse in 1980. Lord Diplock was reacting to a legally murky use of police power, one he termed “imprisonment at the arbitrary Diktat of the Executive Government.” Though his reform proposal, incorporated in the 1973 Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act, made preventive detention a matter of administrative, not judicial, oversight, the new policy reasserted civilian control and included due process safeguards. No less a figure than the secretary of state for Northern Ireland made initial detention determinations. Within a period of 28 days, an administrative official would then review each case with the option to extend the detention. Those detained also had a right to be informed of their status hearing in advance, and they were granted the right to an attorney paid for by the government.

“Mick Fealty”: or “Marc Mulholland”: (or maybe other Timberites) could comment more authoritatively than I can on the strict accuracy of Powers’s account (1980 seems an odd date to choose for internment to lapse… and those of us who actually remember the period will wince at the rhetorical phrase “no less a figure than”). But it does seem strange to cite the Northern Ireland experience _in support_ of a policy of preventive detention. Here’s “the CAIN summary”: of the introduction of internment and the political and security effects of the policy:

bq. In a series of raids across Northern Ireland, 342 people were arrested and taken to makeshift camps. There was an immediate upsurge of violence and 17 people were killed during the next 48 hours. Of these 10 were Catholic civilians who were shot dead by the British Army. Hugh Mullan (38) was the first Catholic priest to be killed in the conflict when he was shot dead by the British Army as he was giving the last rites to a wounded man. Winston Donnell (22) became the first Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) solider to die in ‘the Troubles’ when he was shot by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) near Clady, County Tyrone. [There were more arrests in the following days and months. Internment was to continue until 5 December 1975. During that time 1,981 people were detained; 1,874 were Catholic / Republican, while 107 were Protestant / Loyalist. Internment had been proposed by Unionist politicians as the solution to the security situation in Northern Ireland but was to lead to a very high level of violence over the next few years and to increased support for the IRA. Even members of the security forces remarked on the drawbacks of internment.]

Frank on positional goods

by John Q on September 19, 2004

Jon’s post on Big-time college sports draws on work by Robert Frank, who treats high performance in college sports as a positional good.

By an interesting coincidence, Frank gave a seminar here in Brisbane on Friday and stayed for a very interesting chat afterwards. He argued that the growth in inequality in the US has been positively harmful to the middle class, even though their income has been roughly stationary since the 1970s.

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On that day

by Chris Bertram on September 19, 2004

I just posted and (then deleted) a link to the BBC’s On this Day page, which I think is generally well worth a look. The reason for deletion was just that today is 19th September and the BBC were still linking to the 17th from their front page. Still, on _that_ day (the one I first linked to) the major item was the “60th anniversary of the Arnhem drop”: , complete with links to audio footage and an animated map. But what also caught my eye was “a page about the Sabra and Chatila massacres”: (22 years ago) by Lebanese Phalangists, a reminder that the murder of children is not the monopoly of any one faith or political current. Yesterday’s anniversaries were also noteworthy: they include “the arrival of the first Ugandan Asian refugees”: in Britain (a great blow to the viability of Uganda and, as it has turned out, a major bonus for the UK). Today’s page has “the refusal of the US to allow Charlie Chaplin to re-enter the country”: (1952) and the “Southall Rail Crash”: (1997), the consequences of which are still very much with us.