Archive for May, 2005

Headline of the Day

May 31st, 2005

Humans “not to blame” for giant wombat extinction.

DSW, #98

May 31st, 2005

C. L. R. James, author of The Black Jacobins, Beyond a Boundary and others, born in Trinidad, 4 January 1901; died in London, 31 May 1989.

Sweet FA

May 30th, 2005

Paul Anderson writes:

“Jeez! I’ve been looking for Brit blog comment on the French vote all day and there’s sweet FA from the Brit left blogs.”

Perhaps he missed posts shortly before the vote from Phil and Jamie, and posts after the result was clear came from Lenin, DML, Raj and SIAW. And if PA’s version of the left side of the World of Blogs extends to rightist maniacs like Pollard, then he’s got a bunch of idiotic posts up, too.So there’s a bit more than sweet FA. The two reasons there might be a bit less than there otherwise would have been are (i) that the result wasn’t a surprise, so anyone who had anything to say could have said it days ago and (ii) it was a Bank Holiday today, and bloggerage is always down on Bank Holidays, for reasons which might reflect badly on the work ethic of Brit Bloggers.

I’m just curious as to which blogs PA was visiting in order to draw his blanks? It’s pretty obvious that Harry’s has little interest in this kind of thing, when there’s Hitchens and Galloway to blather on about, and Matt T’s on holiday.

In any case, even if there wasn’t any comment (which there was), why is it any kind of failure if those of us who write on weblogs don’t choose to write about the same kinds of things that journalists get paid to write about? We’re interested in other things. Maybe those other things are more interesting. Maybe there really isn’t that much to say.


May 30th, 2005

I’ve just trimmed twenty-five blogs off the blogroll — a bit more than a fifth, a bit less than a quarter — in the interests of efficiency, productivity, streamlining and other words from the lexicon of the modern manager.

On the whole, blogs were removed that (i) aren’t very interesting, (ii) seem fairly or completely defunct, (iii) used to link back to this page but don’t anymore, or (iv) can get along perfectly well without a link from me — though I’m sure that’s a non-exhaustive set of reasons.

If you think you’ve been unfairly removed and would like to stay on the blogroll, or if you think there’s someone else out there who deserves a Link from the Stoa, please remonstrate either in public (comments box) or private (email).

And if your site is still on the list, you can congratulate yourself for having survived the purge.

Après Moi…

May 30th, 2005

In his solemn broadcast last week, a few days before the referendum, President Chirac said that it was important that the vote not be a plebiscite on whether the electorate was satisfied with the right-wing French government, but should be a vote about the future of Europe, etc.

But what if he had gone on to add that the best way to ensure this outcome was for the President [*] to promise to resign in the event of a “Oui” vote? Then the Europhiles would have been pleased — they would have won their referendum and then got to blame either the Dutch or the British for derailing the constitution after one of the later votes; the French Right would have been pleased — it could have secured a Presidential majority for Sarkozy in the ensuing elections, got Chirac out of the way, and continued in power; and Chirac himself really ought to have been pleased — he could present himself as going out on a high, on a point of principle, bringing his exceptionally long political career to a more dignified conclusion than he deserves.

It would have been utterly unlike Chirac to do something like that, of course, though I’m not sure whether dislike of Sarkozy, fear of prosecution, or the simple pleasure of holding office would have been his chief reason for not doing it. But it would have made things more interesting.

[*] I assume that Chirac refers to himself in the third person, but perhaps he doesn’t.

The Great British Public Disgraces Itself Again

May 30th, 2005

Over here. It’s just grim.

Funded by the Right

May 30th, 2005

Via Brian Leiter, I read that the Olin Foundation is shutting itself down, meaning that the American Right will have to find another $20 million each year if it wants to carry on doing what it’s been doing with Olin money for the last few years.

I was a happy recipient of Olin money on two occasions, funneled through Harvard’s Program [sic] on Constitutional Government, once to take some time out to read Saint Augustine’s Confessions in Latin in the Summer of 1996, and then to go on UC Berkeley’s intensive Greek summer-school course in the Summer of 1999.

A relatively benign use of right-wing foundation money, it seems to me.

(Although the Liberty Fund’s Natural Law and Enlightenment Classics series is probably even more benign than that, making cheap editions of Hugo Grotius, Nathaniel Culverwell, Gershom Carmichael and others available to a mass audience at the turn of the twenty-first century…)