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25 Mar 04

The Truth about Love Canal
This week it was reported that Love Canal has finally been cleaned up. Missing from the reporting was any mention of why it needed cleaning up in the first place, or of the fact that the allegations that residents suffered high cancer rates is unfounded. See Ron Bailey's recent summary for more.
25 mar 04 @ 3:43 pm est

4 Mar 04

Fair's fair
Bush should offer to stop mentioning the 11-Sep-01 attacks in his campaign, as soon as Kerry stops mentioning Vietnam.
4 mar 04 @ 6:19 pm est

3 Feb 04

If you read nothing else about the 'Bush lied' slander campaign, read this and this
3 feb 04 @ 1:31 pm est

22 Jan 04

Misguided Idealists
Eugene Volokh criticises an article in the print edition of the LA Times, on a new documentary about Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, directed by their granddaughter, Ivy Meeropol.
But what also drove [Ivy] was the fact that "I was tired of the simplistic version of this story, what history remembers, the way everyone thinks they stole the secret of the atomic bomb. I knew this wasn't true, I knew they were more than that, and I wanted to bring their story to people who don't know it or have closed their minds to it. And I needed to know what was worth standing up for, what they were willing to die for."

What this involved was re-creating the world of left-wing activists from which the Rosenbergs emerged, entering it through interviews with friends like Osheroff who are still alive and remember a time of hunger and privation, when, as one says, "you had to be dead from the neck up not to feel radical change was necessary." People, Ivy says, who were "idealists with good intentions who sincerely believed the Soviet Union was a better way. It's painful that people continue to dismiss that, and I wanted to reclaim it for them."

So they weren't evil, just misguided idealists. Like those other misguided idealists in the late 1920s and early-to-mid 1930s, who also felt radical change was necessary, and saw a model of proper governance and salvation in fascism. Right?

Meanwhile, as Eugene points out, a lot of people at that time who were on the receiving end of communism weren't just dead from the neck up, they were dead all over.

Interesting fact: in that era, when a fascination with fascism was sweeping the west, some ex-army types down under also came under its spell, and decided the time was right to stage a coup and install a Führer to run Australia properly. To lead this fascist paradise, they needed a strong man, a popular man, a widely admired military hero, whom the people would accept; so they turned to Sir John Monash. A Jew. I guess that's the sort of fascists we had down under. But I'm sure a lot of the fascists of the time in the UK and the USA were the same.

Oh. He turned them down, of course, and that was the end of the plot.

22 jan 04 @ 2:45 am est

18 Jan 04

Primaries
Jacob Levy writes, about the preselection of party candidates in Australia and the UK:
There are mechanisms for candidate selection by local party members in at least the UK and Australia, but I genuinely don't understand how those interact with the centralized party-list formation that also goes on. I suspect that most of the time the local selection is a formality.
I can't speak for the UK, but in Australia there is no centralised party-list formation. That is to say, candidates for single-member electorates (i.e. the House of Reps and most state Houses) are selected by a local party convention, where most delegates are elected by the local members, with some appointed by various central bodies. Where the election is state-wide, such as for the Senate, the list of candidates is chosen by a state convention, with only a handful of delegates from the national party.

The national party has almost no formal role at all in the preselection of candidates, at any level - the federal party leader usually gets to appoint one or two delegates to each local convention and to the state conventions, but that's it. National figures play informal roles in urging particular people to contest vacant seats, and campaigning for favoured candidates for preselection, but they can't do too much of that or the locals will resent it and it will backfire. I don't see why exactly the same system can't work here in the USA.

18 jan 04 @ 9:30 pm est

2004.03.01 | 2004.02.01 | 2004.01.01 | 2003.12.01 | 2003.10.01 | 2003.09.01 | 2003.07.01

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