by John Q on September 29, 2005

From today’s NYT

“Even though DeLay has nothing to do with Frist, and Frist has nothing to do with Abramoff, how does it look? Not good,” said William Kristol, a key conservative strategist and editor of The Weekly Standard.

Unfortunately for Kristol’s rhetorical exercise, the relation “has nothing to do with” is not transitive, a fact of which he is presumably aware, given this choice of example.

From the previous para in the same story

the string of ethical issues so close together – including the indictment and continuing investigation of the Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who was close to Mr. DeLay … is a source of anxiety in Republican circles.

Lotteries in Admissions to Academies

by Harry on September 29, 2005

When I first started arguing for lotteries in admissions to oversubscribed schools, I was ridiculed on 2 grounds — that it was wrong and that it was politically unfeasible — ridiculous, in fact. I disagreed that it was wrong, but thought it worth having the argument. I agreed that it was politically unfeasible, but saw it as worth arguing for, on the grounds that making the argument helped to show up the ways in which other methods for allocating children to oversubscribed schools did not give choice to parents but to school (or LEA) officials. Apparently I was wrong:

Ministers have given their support to the allocation of places at over-subscribed schools by lottery. An academy in south London is one of a number of schools now allocating some of its places to children in the area on a random basis. The arrangements are seen as a way of breaking social segregation, particularly where better-off families buy up homes near popular schools.

Left vs Right vs Cactus

by Kieran Healy on September 29, 2005

As the “Left vs Right”: infighting continues, I wanted to mention that “my department”: is hiring this year, and also point out that Arizona is the ideal location for all your Left vs Right needs. We got “libertarian cowboys”: and new age “crystal-and-vortex”: types, cranky Michigan republicans and Minnesota democrats (also cranky) down for the winter, “patio men”: and “mountain bike people”:, “property developers”: and “mariachi bands”:, “chollas”: and “chilis”:, “religion”: and “science”:, “warthogs”: and “javelinas”: Also great views. (See left. More on “my homepage”: And even some “skiing”: Enough to keep everyone happy.

Saddam trial

by John Q on September 29, 2005

Gary Bass in the NYT comments on the possibility that Saddam could be sentenced to death and executed for a 1982 massacre of about 100 villagers, without ever being brought to trial on the main array of charges against him, including killing political rivals, crushing the Shiite uprising in southern Iraq in 1991, invading Kuwait in 1990 and waging the genocidal Anfal campaign against the Kurds in 1988, including gassing Kurdish villagers at Halabja. As Bass says,

 A thorough series of war crimes trials would not only give the victims more satisfaction but also yield a documentary and testimonial record of the regime’s crimes.

But looking at this list raises a more basic question. Why hasn’t Saddam been charged with any crime more recent than 1991?[1]. In the leadup to the war, and in its aftermath, it was routinely claimed that Saddam’s regime, at the time it was overthrown was among the most brutal dictatorships in the world. Even among opponents of the war, hardly anyone doubted or doubts now that the regime often practised murder and torture. Why then aren’t there any charges covering this period? Presumably both documents and witnesses are more readily available than for a crime committed more than twenty years ago.

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