I’ve been going to post on various things, but others have already done it. First up, here’s Mark Bahnisch at Larvatus Prodeo making the point that Howard hasn’t, as so many have suggested, succeeded in shifting Australian political attitudes to the right. Gianna has more.

Tim Dunlop covers hearing impairment at the AWB inquiry. It’s good to know the Howard government hires the disabled, and at a million bucks a pop, too.

And, off-topic a little, Tim Lambert shares with me and CT blogger Eszter Hargittai an Erdos number of 3


I’ve been invited to sign up with Newstex Blogs on Demand. It seems like a reasonable way of getting more circulation and there might also be some monetary payoff. The latter might be a negative if I wanted to use CC non-commercial content from others, but so far I haven’t done much of this.

Anyway, I thought I’d ask if anyone else has tried this and if they have any thoughts. Feel free to email me if you don’t want your views published.

Bait and switch

Lawrence Kaplan (with Irving William Kristol) selling The War over Iraq

The United States may need to occupy Iraq for some time. Though the UN, European and Arab forces will, as in Afghanistan, contribute troops, the principal responsibility will doubtless fall to the country that liberates Baghdad. According to one estimate, initially as many as 75,000 US troops may be required to police the war’s aftermath, at a cost of $16 billion a year. As other countries’ forces arrive, and as Iraq rebuilds its economy and political system, that force could probably be drawn to several thousand soldiers after a year or two. After Saddam Hussein has been defeated and Iraq occupied installing a decent democratic government in Baghdad should be a manageable task for the United States. quoted here (pp19-20)

Lawrence Kaplan presenting “The Case for Staying in Iraq” in TNR

The administration intends to draw down troop levels to 100,000 by the end of the year, with the pullback already well underway as U.S. forces surrender large swaths of the countryside and hunker down in their bases. The plan infuriates many officers, who can only say privately what noncommissioned officers say openly. “In order to fix the situation here,” Sabre Squadron’s Sergeant José Chavez says, “we need at least 180,000 troops.” Iraq, however, will soon have about half that. An effective counterinsurgency strategy may require time and patience. But the war’s architects have run out of both.

Maybe if Kaplan, Kristol and others had told us this in the first place, there wouldn’t have been a war.
Read More »

Calling all Chomskyites

David Horowitz is holding a competition where you get to vote for America’s worst (ie most dangerously leftwing) professor. In the true spirit of laissez-faire, there’s none of this “one person, one vote” nonsense. It’s vote early, vote often and bots are just as welcome as humans. As a result, “Marvellous Michael” Bérubé is outpolling all other contenders combined, with 130 000 votes.

I’m a big Bérubé supporter myself, but I think it’s kind of unfair that someone like Noam Chomsky (659 votes), who’s devoted his life to annoying the likes of Horowitz, should be lagging so far behind just because his fans can’t be bothered programming a few bots. So get your noses out of Syntactic Structures and start coding.

Update 26/2 Perhaps my call has been heeded. Chomsky has rocketed to #5 on the list with over 30000 votes. He’s gaining fast on historian Eric Foner whose crime, I believe, is to point out that the Reconstruction era was not, as generations of Southern historians had claimed, an orgy of corruption, but was in fact a period of democratic reform brought to an end by Ku Klux Klan terrorism. FPM attacks Reconstruction here.


Reader and occasional commenter Paul Knapp advises me that he’s set up a site called NewsBump. It’s modelled on US sites such as Digg, where participants nominate stories of possible interest and others can rank them, pushing the interesting ones to the top of the page. The focus is on Oz current affairs. Free registration required for participation. Go and take a look.

I picked up this story, saying that 55 per cent of Americans think the Iraq war was a mistake. Given the frequency with which opponents of the war have been told we are “anti-American”[1], it’s good to know that the majority of Americans are in the same boat, as they have been for some time now.

fn1. For some reason, war supporters seem to have a bit of amnesia about this. So here a couple of links, one from Australia and one from the US. There are plenty more if you look, along with variants like “pro-Saddam”.