Minutiae
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The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.
--Cornelius Tacitus (c. 116 A.D.)

Saturday, January 18, 2003
In the interest of parity I'll link to this article criticizing the 2nd amendment crowd's golden boy John Lott. I gloated over the downfall of Michael Bellesiles who was the equivalent scholar on the gun control side. I can say with all honesty that I was always a little skeptical of all the Lott numbers simply because they seemed too good to be true. It appears they may have been. For just that reason, I never put a bumper sticker on my car claiming 2 million defensive gun uses per year. It looks to me as though zeal and passion led to some unconscious (I'll assume for now,) inflation of numbers on several occasions each leading to a further distortion.

I can see the appeal of the 98% and 2 million figures but I don't really think they're necessary except in a frantic defensive PR campaign. If you can prove even 1 more justified use of a gun than crime with a gun, I think the argument is made in terms of numbers, regardless of any other legal or moral arguments.
I should mention however that the issue here is not the central thesis and fabricated supporting research of Bellesiles book. The complaint against Lott relates to public statements about an unpublished survey that some people are claiming he never did. It appears that they think he repeated a misinterpretation in the book and rather than admit it claimed that it was based upon a fictitious study of his own. Basically being unwilling to let go of a bogus figure. If it is true what it amounts to is lying when questioned about his repeated use of said bogus factoid. Not outright academic fraud but very disappointing if true. Unfortunately there doesn't appear to be any way to prove he's lying and the only one who can exonerate him is himself. It still seems possible to me that this is all a very unfortunate coincidence and that one of his researchers will come forward and corroborate his story but taken together it does look very suspicious.

I should also say that the people doing the criticizing of Lott are the same pro-gun-control academics who defended Bellesiles and were doubtless very embarrassed to have him turn out to be a fraud.
posted by Rachel 1/18/2003
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The church puts another bullet in its foot. Are they willing to excommunicate people who don't comply? If not then it's empty words. If so it drags the church back several decades.
posted by Rachel 1/18/2003
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Here's a challange. Make an argument against the war that doesn't include the following:
-If we ignore the problem it'll go away.
-Our motives aren't pure.
-Bush is bad.
-Any references to oil or imperialism
This argument must be based upon reality and not resort to idealistic fantasy.
10 points extra if there are no anti-american sentiments incorporated into the argument.
You have 1 week in which to convince the government to recall the marines.
You may begin now.

posted by Rachel 1/18/2003
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Well we've sent in the Marines. It'll start within the next few weeks. Jan. 27th is when the 60 day inspection period outlined in UNSC Res 1441 ends. I don't think we'll start bombing on the 28th (the State of the Union address, last year's was the "axis of evil" speech) but you never know.
Which makes the discovery of undeclared chemical warheads very fortuitous. Although perhaps not that significant. I expected Bush to pull a rabbit of proof out of his hat on the anniversary of 9-11. He may choose to do so now. Now that he's got the UN and all his critics wound up about proof of WMDs and all his pieces in place.
Update: some dates pilfered from Clueless:
"January 27 is the UN inspection report.
January 28 is the Israeli election, and the State of the Union address.
Tony Blair is due to visit Bush on the 30th and 31st.
February 1 is the new moon, which is the best possible time for the initial air strikes by stealth aircraft intended to knock out what remains of Iraq's air defenses."
posted by Rachel 1/18/2003
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Dude. Sometime in the past month or so, while I wasn't looking, MSNBC has suddenly veered away from their previous tedious serious middle-of-the-road approach and toward the direction of FoxNews.
Why North Korea is evil.
But of course "evil" is a term that implies a value judgment and it would be less-than-ideal to condemn North Korea for taking up where Auschwitz left off. (Imagine if the Nazis had possessed a nuclear deterrent.)
“All of North Korea is a gulag,” said one senior U.S. official, noting that as many as 2 million people have died of starvation while Kim has amassed the world’s largest collection of Daffy Duck cartoons. “It’s just that these people [in the camps] are treated the worst. No one knows for sure how many people are in the camps, but 200,000 is consistent with our best guess.
“We don’t have a breakdown, but there are large numbers of both women and children.”...

“I was in prison from 1987 till January 1993,” she told NBC News in Seoul, where she now lives. ”[The women] were forced to abort their children. They put salty water into the pregnant women’s womb with a large syringe, in order to kill the baby even when the woman was 8 months or 9 months pregnant.
“And then, from time to time there a living infant is delivered. And then if someone delivers a live infant, then the guards kick the bloody baby and kill it. And I saw an infant who was crying with pain. I have to express this in words, that I witnessed such an inhumane hell.”...

“They trained me not to treat the prisoners as human beings. If someone is against socialism, if someone tries to escape from prison, then kill him,” Ahn said. “If there’s a record of killing any escapee then the guard will be entitled to study in the college. Because of that some guards kill innocent people.”...

President Bush told author and Washington Post Assistant Managing Editor Bob Woodward last year that he was well aware of the camps and the atrocities. That, officials say, partly explains why Bush insisted on North Korea’s inclusion in the “axis of evil” in his 2002 State of the Union address.
“I loathe Kim Jong Il,” Bush told Woodward during an interview for the author’s book “Bush at War.” “I’ve got a visceral reaction to this guy because he is starving his people. And I have seen intelligence of these prison camps — they’re huge — that he uses to break up families and to torture people.”...

But of course we're really condemning them for withdrawing from a treaty (one of the two nuclear treaties) that they signed and then violated. (They violated the treaty before they withdrew. Clearly we shouldn't have a problem with that. Right?)
After all, none of this is grounds for condemnation to any right-thinking person. It's just our unelected dictator-in-chief exercising his unilateral cowboy leanings, in order to distract us all from his plans to shred the constitution and destroy our civil rights so that his fat cat big business and oil buddies can grind us all beneath their jackbooted heels, and if we dare criticize the government they want to have us thrown in concentration camps where those of us who are pregnant we will be injected with saline in forced abortions (so that our children will not grow up to criticize the government too,) and we'll be starved and worked to death. That's the real goal behind all this "condemnation."
posted by Rachel 1/18/2003
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Good. (link pilfered from instapundit)
The people there on the ground dealt with this before the cops got there. As it should be.
posted by Rachel 1/18/2003
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