Monthly Archives: December 2003

The Post-Xmas Phrase Parents Learn to Hate

The post-Xmas phrase parents learn to hate: “Some assembly required.”

Posted in Personal | Leave a comment

I Trust the Professional Prosecutors on This One

washingtonpost.com: Leaks Probe Is Gathering Momentum. The good news is that the professional prosecutors are getting heavily involved in the Plame Affair. The bad news is that Ashcroft isn't recusing himself. It sounds as if there is enough momentum here that if the professionals decided to prosecute there's no way Ashcroft could stop them. Worst case, he warns folks in the admnistration about what's coming down, most likely allowing damage control operations. (Very worst case, he sabotages the prosecutors by spilling beans, but I think that Justice has done all the obstruction it can get away with already, by giving the administration 24 hours to shred stuff before moving in to seal records.)

Posted in Politics: US | 2 Comments

Vote to Save the Editor

Will Baude over at Crescat Sentenia is suffering from a challenge by a fellow blogger:

Imminent Death of the Editor?
Unlearned Hand writes:

I only have one wish this Christmas and that is that you never ever use an [editor] aside again. Please?

In exchange, I promise I won't have comments when my solo blog re-opens.

(For more on this particular affectation, you can read Daniel Drezner's explanation in this interview with himself.)

The tic is most famously used by Mickey Kaus, but apparently it makes some people cringe. I've always found it one of the most useful ways to mock myself (and lord knows, I need it, what with Assprat Pretentia having fallen by the wayside). But I'm in no particular mood to make my readers cringe, after all. So out of pure curiosity, I'd like to know whether you hate the “ed.” persona. Vote below. (And remember: “It's not the voting that's democracy; it's the counting”). [In other words, he listens only when he likes what he hears. -ed.]

Since I'm in the UK at the moment, it is maybe appropriate to report that the [Author inserts a message purporting to be from the editor-ed.] method of making asides is an old, old British journalistic device. I believe it comes from accidental editorial comments that actually got published. Certainly publications such as Private Eye and some columnists in the broadsheets, especially the less serious columns such as the diaries (miscellany), have used it for more than two decades. So it's not a Kaus thing, which would be suspect in my book, but a British thing, which may or may not be suspect in yours.

Anyway, I like the [ed] so long as it is not over-used [You better like it-ed.]. If you agree, vote to retain it on Baude's posts. When I checked the vote was only narrowly in favor, so a few votes could make a difference.

Posted in Blogs | 2 Comments

Gen. Zinni on Iraq Planning: Deception and Ignorance

Washington Post, For Vietnam Vet Anthony Zinni, Another War on Shaky Territory, tells the tale of Gen. Zinni, a reluctant spokesman for the view that the Bush-Cheney people lied to us about WMDs (and/or lied to themselves), and screwed up the occupation. And it was all preventable.

Posted in Iraq | 4 Comments

Why We Keep Getting Nigerian Spam

One reason we keep getting so much of the Nigerian spam proposing confidential business tranasactions….is they work sometimes. This sad and amazing story is about a retiree (from Florida, natch), who 'invested' all $300,000 of his retirement fund. Spotted via Slashdot.

Posted in Internet | 1 Comment

Honours and Honors: Why the UK’s Honours System Is Under Attack, and What the US Can Learn From It

The British press, and thus the British political class, are all in a lather about the Honours system; as a result of a pair of leaks, there is decent chance that the system will be reformed. Below, I give a quick summary of how the system works, then summarize both the valid and the slightly peculiar aspects of the current criticisms of it, and then discuss what I consider to be the strong case in favor of a non-monetary system of reward and praise for those who contribute to the community.

The biggest difficulties surround the implementation of an honors program in a manner that would be constitutional, fair and not stultifying. I don't have the perfect answer to that, but I do have some suggestions.

Continue reading

Posted in UK | 1 Comment