damnum absque injuria

September 27, 2007

Burma

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 9:32 pm

What’s happening in Burma is no laughing matter, but I can’t help chuckling just a little over this:

An American in Rangoon told me yesterday about an opinion poll carried out on Burmese attitudes to US foreign policy.

“Like most people, they thought that it sucks,” he told me. “But not for the usual reason. Burmese wanted to know why George Bush hasn’t invaded their country yet.”

I’m reminded of the year I spent in Germany, when I was frequently reminded of how pissed off the Germans were at the U.S. for invading all those countries in the 20th Century – except, of course, Germany. It would be interesting to know what percentage of the population hates us for invading countries, vs. how many hate us for not invading countries, but the smart money says they add up to more than 100%.

September 24, 2007

Bollinger Redeems Himself

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 8:34 pm

No, I don’t think it will accomplish much, if anything, in the grand scheme of things. Still, it was worth it to see a dictator sit and take the insults he never has to worry about hearing in his own country, or even in the UN. A part of me really wants to believe that Ahmadinejad himself now realizes that accepting this invitation was a mistake.

September 20, 2007

Rather’s Firm: Burkett’s Docs Were Authentic

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 9:48 pm

Beldar has the scoop.

September 19, 2007

Unnecessary Censorship

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 7:08 am

I don’t care much for Jimmy Kimmel, but I do think his weekly segment on unnecessary censorship is brilliant. For those unfamiliar with it, every Friday he runs a few video segments, often from stuff that aired on the other networks during the previous week, and strategically bleeps/blurs innocent stuff to make it sound/look as though something dirty were there. It’s good, cheap entertainment.

Apparently, Fox has picked upon the concept, minus the nuance. Someone there figured that if Sally Field says the G-word, then what the hell, let’s not just bleep out that, let’s bleep out everything else the bitch has to say. Granted, the crap that got bleeped out was asstastically stupid, but c’mon, that’s no reason to censor someone. If they start bleeping out all the stupid stuff people say, hey might as well bleep out the entire show next year. It’s not as though any of these guys are going to say anything brilliant.

The solution to dumb speech more speech, not censorship.

UPDATE: Some commenters offer an alternative explanation for the bleep: she was over time. I give the theory high marks for creativity, for plausibility, not so much. I could accept a hybrid theory, though, whereby they initially bleeped the profanity, held the button a little too long, and then figured out that she was also over, and cut off the rest.

UPDATE x2: Goochland, VA is having a Field Day.

September 18, 2007

Murphy’s Law on Slippery Slopes

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 10:14 pm

I’ve argued before that logical fallacies get a bad rap, in no small part because few understand that “fallacy” means one thing to us commoners (roughly, “a load of horse crap”) and something quite different to logicians (equally roughly, “any inference that runs a .0000000000001% risk of being wrong”). Rational debates quickly turn irrational this way:

A: I think X is an idea whose time has come.
B: Are you nuts? X by itself might not be that big of a deal, but once we open the door to X, how do we keep out Y?
A: X is not Y. Just because X happens, it doesn’t logically follow that Y will. That’s a logical fallacy. Neener.
B: Neato. But formal logic aside, we both know that the only reason we are presently assured that Y will never happen is because Rule Z is in place, which also precludes X. Once we let in X, Z goes with it, leaving the door wide open for Y.
A: Bbbbbbbuttttttt… my logic teecher sez slippery slope is a fallacy. So there.

Certainly it is a problem to confuse the common-sense observation that X may lead to Y with the non sequitur that it necessarily will. Well-crafted slippery slope arguments don’t do that. Instead, they merely note, correctly in some instances, that allowing X makes Y more likely to occur than it otherwise would be. Which, in my above example, was basically the point B was trying to make.

The real fallacy (as the word is used in common parlance, not formal logic) in slippery slope is built right into the analogy of slopes: they all go downhill. Can a little gun control lead to mass confiscation? That depends. If you’re a staunch defender of the Second Amendment, you probably think the answer is yes. But if you’re one of those dweebs who actually thinks mass confiscation is a good idea, you’re probably equally convinced that the answer is no. Similarly, if you are a gun grabber, you probably think that seeing the U.S. Supreme Court uphold Parker/Heller in any form will cause the entire world of gun “sanity” to unravel, while the gunnies think it won’t accomplish anything.

September 17, 2007

Free Chicken and Coke

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 10:34 pm

The URL speaks for itself.

You’re Killing Me, Erwin!

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 10:24 pm

Via Justin Levine, Erwin Chemerinsky is back on as UC Irvine’s first law school dean. This preserves my perfect record of chasing the guy out of whatever geographic area I may move to from time to time.

Preemptive retort to NC residents: Tri-angle, Tri-ad … what’s the diff?

September 13, 2007

S’Cowell’s Pulled Punch

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 9:00 pm

Yesterday I wondered aloud why S’Cowell had gone relatively easy on the trainwreck that is Britney. Now we know why.

September 12, 2007

Learning Forgetting How to Scowl

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 8:14 pm

Am I the only one who found S’Cowell’s comments on Britney Spears’s continuing train wreck to be underwhelming? I have to think the guy would have found something more biting to say if Britney were to try out for American Idol. Then again, who’s to say that won’t happen? I don’t think too many other fora are open to her these days.

Chemeroutsky to Remain a Dukie

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 8:03 pm

UC Irvine has rescinded its offer to make Erwin Chemerinsky its first dean, apparently because they were the only people on the planet who didn’t know of his far-left views before they hired him. Too bad. I was hoping to continue my streak of chasing the guy out of whatever geographic area I moved to.

 

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