Durkin down under

by John Quiggin on July 12, 2007

Under intense pressure from the rightwing commentariat (several members of which have been appointed to its board by the Howard government) the Australian Broadcasting Corporation presented a shortened version of Martin Durkin’s The Great Global Warming Swindle last night. Our local climate science delusionists looked forward to this event with keen anticipation, but they were in for a nasty shock.

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Who Will Defend the Children of Priviledge?

by Scott McLemee on July 12, 2007

The cover story of the Washington City Paper this week is about Late Night Shots, “a very exclusive, invite-only social-networking Web site” enabling rich young white people from good prep schools to get drunk and have casual sex with others of the kind in the Washington, DC area who share their right-wing politics and their sense of entitlement (if that isn’t, in this case, verging on the redundant).

LNS claims to have something like 14,000 members. Many are, the article says, Episcopalian or Presbyterian. The whole things sounds like something produced by splicing together the work of John Updike and Bret Easton Ellis with a business plan cooked by a savvy venture capitalist.

Features in the City Paper are often dubiously reported and normally at least twice as long as the content merits, though this one seems competently edited. It might be worth a look for those of you concerned with networks, online and off — just as an example of something off the MySpace/Facebook binary, so to speak.
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Denby on Sicko

by Jon Mandle on July 12, 2007

David Denby didn’t like “Sicko” very much. In the New Yorker, he writes:

“Hauling off seriously ill people to a military base where they won’t receive treatment is a dumb prank.”

Okay – I’m not the biggest Michael Moore fan in the world, and I can see how this might rub some people the wrong way.

“Why not tell us what really happened on the trip – for instance, what part Cuban officials played in receiving the American patients?”

Actually, that might not be a bad idea.

“Moore winds up treating the audience the same way that, he says, powerful people treat the weak in America – as dopes easily satisfied with fairy tales and bland reassurances.”

Seems harsh – this is clearly supposed to be a piece of entertaining propaganda – but, again, I can see the point.

“A shift to the left, or, at least, to the center, has overtaken Michael Moore, yielding an irony more striking than any he turns up: the changes in political consciousness that Moore himself has helped produce have rendered his latest film almost superfluous.”

Er, how’s that again? In polls, a majority are in favor of universal health care, so there’s no need to build grass-roots pressure anymore? Same for getting out of Iraq, I suppose.

The Pure Types of Legitimate Authority

by Kieran Healy on July 12, 2007

Sara Taylor is confused about the nature of legal-rational authority. Via “Matt.”:http://matthewyglesias.theatlantic.com/archives/2007/07/my_oath_like_your_oath_is_to_u.php

My undergraduates get introduced to this issue via the question, “Why can I require that you write a term paper but not require that you wash my car?” It’s not hard. The problem, as Chick Perrow remarks somewhere, is that even in well-run bureaucracies there’s always a tendency for the person or people at the top to act as though they own — and sometimes really believe they own — the whole organization, even though this shouldn’t happen.

Socialized medicine, and what it leads to

by Chris Bertram on July 12, 2007

I am reduced to nicking stuff from “Harry Hutton”:http://chasemeladies.blogspot.com/2007/07/in-this-clip-michael-moore-is-yelling.html . Oh well. But I couldn’t resist the two quotes from Mark Steyn that he links to. The evils caused by socialized medicine have “limits”:http://www.nysun.com/article/58028 :

bq. Does government health care inevitably lead to homicidal doctors who can’t wait to leap into a flaming SUV and drive it through the check-in counter? No.

That’s a relief. But we shouldn’t get “complacent”:http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=Y2Q0OTg2NGUyOGJlNjMwYmZhNWU4ZmFlY2UxNmY5YzI :

bq. … the unloveliness of any British city after six in the evening – the dolly birds staggering around paralytic, the pools of “pavement pizza”, the baying yobboes gagging for a shag and hurling bollards through the bus shelters to impress the crumpet – is a natural consequence of what happens when the state relieves the citizen of primal responsibilities.

Facebook Madness

by Kieran Healy on July 12, 2007

Just look what it’s doing to otherwise sober economists:

What have you done, Henry?