I have decided to vacate my seat on the Watcher’s Council. I don’t have the time anymore to give the Council the attention it deserves. I also think it’s time to give another blogger the exposure that comes with a Council seat.
I have enjoyed being on the Council, and I want to thank the Watcher for the opportunity. I will maintain the Watcher’s Council links on my blogroll and will continue to check in.
In the meantime, there’s an open seat. Visit this link for details on how to submit your blog for membership.
How are we supposed to know how many civilians were killed in Iraq, when we can’t even get a straight answer as to whether a single Arab terrorist in Paris is dead?
UPDATE: Stefan Sharkansky is reminded of a certain Monty Python routine regarding a possibly dead parrot.
Meanwhile, I am reminded of another Monty Python quote: “I think I’ll go for a walk. . . . I feel happy. I feel happy!”
That guy who supposedly killed himself because Bush was elected, actually didn’t. Is my B.S. detector good or what?
After the L.A. Times‘s publication this morning of a letter repeating the “pizza thief” urban legend, I could not resist sending this note to the “Readers’ Representative”:
It’s time once again to discuss an issue that I have raised on this blog several times: it is unethical for a newspaper to print a letter that makes factual assertions the editors know to be false. Like other purveyors of opinion, letter writers are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts. As I have documented on this blog before, the New York Times agrees with me, and so does the Los Angeles Times — in theory.
But in practice, Los Angeles Times editors routinely print letters asserting facts they know not to be true — as they demonstrate once again this morning, with this letter:
I have recently seen estimates of civilian casualties in Iraq placed at around 100,000. I am as suspicious of that number as I was of the claim that 500,000 Iraqi children were killed by sanctions. My suspicion on the latter point was borne out by a clear-eyed analysis by Matt Welch of Reason. My question: is there any reliable and reasonable verifiable estimate of civilian casualties from the Iraq war, along the lines of the study done by Welch on sanctions — in other words, one which is not dependent on exaggeration by pro-Saddam forces in Iraq and leftists at home?
UPDATE: Fred Kaplan puts the number at between 15,000 and 30,000. I don’t know whether I believe that either . . .
The Commissar reports that Bush is closing in on a vote total of 60,000,000.
What do you think the chances are that the next Democratic presidential candidate will hire Bob Shrum in the final days of the campaign to fashion a class-warfare message?
“Hundreds of US Marines, supported by elements of the USAF and the US Army, decided today to demonstrate against the war in Iraq. They have come to the realization that there is only one way for them to put an end to the war and come home soon: Kill the terrorists in Fallujah.”
From The Diplomad
For purposes of this hypothetical question, you are the (assistant) “Readers’ Representative” at the L.A. Times.
Assume that so many readers write you with the same basic complaint, that you reply to them all by cutting and pasting the same canned response. (Examples here, here, and here.)
Does the volume of identical complaints suggest to you that maybe — just maybe — the paper screwed up?
Or do you just assume that a single evildoer is behind all the complaints?
P.S. Another question — what do you think of the substance of the response? I see Zelas’s solicitation of a letter to the editor as an attempt to avoid the more embarrassing route of issuing a correction. To which I say: guys, if you just want to make a stupid argument, we’ll respond with a letter to the editor. But if you insist on misrepresenting facts, then we want a correction.
If I had gotten one of those canned responses from Zelas, that’s what I’d tell him.