We at Samizdata will be onto the champagne soon, but it is gingerbread hippos for now.
Middlefield, Dorset. Today.
To me, one of the great mysteries of the American media is the New York Times op-ed page. How exactly is one recruited to write for it? Given that this Thomas Friedman op-ed generator managed to produce copy that makes at least as much sense as real Tom Friedman op-eds, when is the page going to be outsourced to computers?
Also, when is someone going to create an automated David Brooks? This will surely be at least as funny.
I’ve been reading about both recently. For those unfamiliar with it, the Dreyfus Affair of the 1890s involved the wrongful conviction of a French officer for treason.
So, the similarities:
In the Dreyfus case, the authorities faked the evidence. In the Climate Wars the authorities sought to “hide the decline”.
In the Dreyfus case, an officer who raised doubts was removed and posted to the desert. In the Climate Wars, anyone raising doubts will find himself in the academic equivalent.
In the Dreyfus case, the authorities were aided by a tide of anti-semitism. In the Climate Wars the authorities are helped by a tide of environmentalism.
In the Dreyfus case, the author Emile Zola was sued for libel. In the Climate Wars, the author Mark Steyn is being sued for libel.
In the Dreyfus case the authorities withheld evidence that would have exonerated Dreyfus. In the Climate Wars the “scientists” refuse to publish their data.
In the Dreyfus case the authorities felt it was all right to lie because the truth was on their side. In the Climate Wars some warmists, convinced that the truth is on their side, are happy to lie.
In the Dreyfus case, Dreyfus was exiled to Devil’s Island. In the Climate Wars it’s the truth that is far, far away and under guard day and night.
In the Dreyfus case, and after many years, justice was eventually done. In the Climate Wars…well, we’ll see.
Steve Redgrave writes in the Telegraph (which may be inaccessible to overseas readers unless you delete the Telegraph cookie):
Really? Who is this ‘we’ I wonder? I perceived Britain as a regulatory statist nation circling the drain with a smug grin on its collective and in-need-of-a-punch-in-its-Steven Fry face before the Olympics… and the preposterous and expensive spectacle has just reinforced that view.
Indeed the much trumpeted ‘success’ of the games just tries to stuff the economic damage they caused down the memory hole. But hey, in the final self congratulatory event, the establishment got to praise that ‘envy of the world’ that so few other nations seem to envy enough to emulate, the NHS, so no… the Olympics just reinforced my less than flattering view of Britain rather than ‘completely overhauling’ it.
Okay, I admit it. This is me checking out how you post photos on Samizdata, with Michael Jennings sitting next to me to show me, what with him already having done this successfully.
Nevertheless, this is quite a fun photo. It was taken on November 28th of this year:
Words don’t fail me, but you surely know what I mean.
There’s the fact that Concorde was scrapped in 2003. There’s the weird colour changes imposed upon the dear old Union Jack (which were such a feature of life in London in this Olympic Year). There’s the fact that this is an item of weirdly designed Olympic stuff on sale and on display in a London shop (it was not the only one – trust me). And there is the fact that this weirdly designed Olympic object is still on sale now, months after the Olympics have been and gone. Michael assures me that Olympic crap will still be around in our shops for many more months yet.
There is probably plenty more to be said about this strange, strange thing, but I leave it to others to add such observations.
While perusing the Times from 1912 I came across an article that mentioned Austrian mobilisation. This got my attention for two reasons. The first reason was that it’s big stuff. Mobilisation is as close as you can get to going to war with actually doing so. Things must have come close to the brink. As Eric Sass explains (in a wonderful series, by the way) they had:
He goes on:
I love the use of the word “fortunately”.
The Austrians even issued a commemorative medal:
The second reason it grabbed my attention was that it completely undermines the argument (put forward by Harry Elmer Barnes) that the Entente was just as much to blame for the First World War as the Germans. The claim rests on the idea that mobilisation meant war. In other words, Russia’s partial mobilisation in 1914 was just as aggressive as Germany’s subsequent declaration of war. The fact that a mobilisation happened and war did not follow only a couple of years previously would appear to blow that argument out of the water.
While the default response to reading any government document is and must forever be “Bah humbug”, I must admit that, when reading the latest from the DCLG this Christmas Eve*, I am tempted to let slip a surreptitious “God bless us, every one” or similar piece of Tiny Timmery.
Via Velvet Glove, Iron Fist, I learn that the thirty-seventh of 50 ways to save: Examples of sensible savings in local government suggested by Eric Pickles’ department is
Endearingly, Mr Pickles or whoever wrote this has not got the usage of the term “sock puppet” quite right. I would have called what is being described “astroturf” myself, but even so the appearance of the term “sock puppet” in a government document is a great big blog-print in itself. Specifically the print left by the currently inactive but still influential trope-namer “Fake Charities” blog started by Chris Mounsey of Devil’s Kitchen fame.
Scanning back to sensible suggestion no. 31, it too shows the influence of blogs:
“Pilgrims” was a term coined by Guido to describe a full time union organiser paid from the public purse, named after one Jane Pilgrim, who posed as, and was admiringly reported as, a nurse giving the then Health Minister a piece of her mind before the revelation that she hadn’t been near a patient in years.
*As one does. It’s that or “Merlin must find a way to overcome his greatest challenge yet, yadda yadda, the young wizard finally comes face to face with his destiny.” The latest heartstopping ep of “Examples of sensible savings in local government” is probably more exciting and less politically correct.
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