La Repubblica scoop

by Henry Farrell on October 25, 2005

As “various”: “bloggers”: have noted, the Italian paper _La Repubblica_ seems to have a “scoop”: on the sources of the famous forged Niger documents, and the role played by the Italian intelligence services. “Laura Rozen”: has a summary article in the Prospect, but there’s some additional detail in the original article. For the benefit of non-Italian readers, I’ve done a quick translation of the relevant bits and put it below the fold. Two health warnings. First – this is a rough and ready translation – I’m not a professional, and there may well be a few inaccuracies (please point them out in comments if you spot them). Second, _La Repubblica_ is, as Italian newspapers go, a trustworthy publication – but like all Italian newspapers, it’s surrounded by a swirl of politics and special interests. I’m obviously not in a position to attest to the veracity of its claims – but at the least, they’re very interesting.
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TV: Human Trafficking

by Eszter Hargittai on October 25, 2005

I’m running around all day today, but no time to wait with this post: I want to recommend Lifetime’s Human Trafficking mini-series. It aired last night (in the U.S.), but the first part will be replayed early this evening before the second part is shown.

The NYTimes quotes an immigration and customs official from the movie:

An ounce of cocaine, wholesale: $1,200, but you can only sell it once. A woman or a child, $50 to $1,000, but you can sell them each day, every day, over and over and over again. The markup is immeasurable.

The movie is well done in many ways, I recommend it.

One question I’m left with is the best ways to educate people, and especially children, about all this. A movie like this is helpful, but it’s not clear how a 12-year-old would deal with it. And then there are areas where showing such a movie is not even an option.

The NYTimes piece has a synopsis of the first part in case you can’t spend four hours on this tonight.

Locke’s First Treatise

by Jon Mandle on October 25, 2005

Locke’s subtitle to his Two Treatises of Government explains the purpose of each of the two essays: “In the Former, the False Principles and Foundation of Sir Robert Filmer, and His Followers, are Detected and Overthrown. The Latter is an Essay Concerning the True Original, Extent, and End of Civil-Government.” The Second Treatise is by far the more widely read these days. I only recently read the First, and it was not nearly as painful as I feared. In fact, much of it was downright amusing. Locke sets his sights squarely on Filmer’s divine right theory, according to which God gave Adam “Royal authority” which was passed down from father to son until … well, that part’s a little unclear. Anyway, Locke is pretty merciless.

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New Numa Numa

by Belle Waring on October 25, 2005

Via Andrew Sullivan (and Hit and Run) this fine, fine video. You have to watch the whole thing, because it really grows on you. I agree with scruffy hipster Julian Sanchez: “Anyone who can watch this and complain about the pernicious effects of cultural globalization has no soul.” Finally, a Numa Numa dance video for the generation that grew up 30 seconds ago.

Friendly Neighborhood Spiderman

by Belle Waring on October 25, 2005

This is a very fun NYT Science Times article about one Norman I. Platnick, who has “discovered more than 1,200 new spider species, several dozen new genuses and a couple of new families.” In addition, he has been a major contributor to cladistics, “a method of sorting organisms based on the evolutionary features they share, all derived from their closest common ancestor.” I have to say that spiders freak me out; my nightmares often feature the banded-legged garden spiders of my South Carolina youth, totally harmless but swiftly enlarging through the summer to the size of my small spanned hands. Needless to say, equatorial rain forests have got some damn big spiders as well. I can recall an early morning hike through the small remaining section of primary rainforest in the Singapore Botancial Gardens, during which I saw the two biggest spiders of my life in high webs. Like, really big. Much bigger than tarantulas in the Carribbean, say. I spent the rest of the walk with my hand outstretched in front of my face; what if I were the first one along this path? Still, I have always been willing to catch even big wolf spiders under a glass, then slide a piece of paper beneath it, and throw them outside. I hope the arachnidae appreciate that. And hey, at least I don’t live in Australia! (This reminds me of the Terry Pratchett novel The Last Continent. Death and his butler attempt to retrieve information about the poisonous creatures of “Four Ecks” and are nearly crushed under an avalanche of books. Once they have decided to ask about the non-lethal animals a single sheet comes fluttering down from a high shelf, bearing the legend: “some of the sheep”.)

Greedy whingeing doctors

by Chris Bertram on October 25, 2005

Today’s Guardian has “this”:,12757,1600221,00.html?gusrc=ticker-103704 :

bq. Doctors today called for a change in the law so that graduate medical students do not have to pay fees of up to £3,000 a year upfront.

Which to my mind sits somewhat ill with “this”: :

bq. Accountants believe average GP pay will burst through the £100,000 barrier this financial year for the first time.

Just to emphasise, that’s _average_ GP pay.

Hey, have you seen that Guinness advert?

by Daniel on October 25, 2005

My putting in the third consecutive CT post on the Bernanke appointment is exacerbated by the fact that it’s only a quick link, but redeemed by the quality of the link. As always, Max Sawicky has his priorities in order:

Best of all is the passing over of the obnoxious Martin Feldstein, who will have to content himself with endless attacks on Social Security from his bunghole at Harvard University

It’s true. Feldstein’s work on Social Security has been, by and large, disgracefully bad (in particular, his claim that SS reduced private saving was based on an error in a computer program; Brad DeLong rather coyly says that these days Feldstein “prefers to stress other points” but he has never really retreated from this claim) and I hope Max continues reminding the world of this fact forever.
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