Patterico's Pontifications

1/11/2007

Xrlq Tilts at the Windmill

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 7:22 pm



Nowadays, when I see certain types of errors in the L.A. Times, I’m more likely to toss off a snarky post than to write the Readers’ Representative. If the proof of the error takes more than a sentence to explain, they will always claim that the mistake is really a matter of opinion.

So when I saw the editors making a legally indefensible statement in an editorial about gay marriage, I pointed out the error in this post, but I didn’t bother writing the paper.

Xrlq did. And he was persistent.

In a follow-up post, Xrlq expresses “cautious optimism” that the editors will actually fix the mistake. Me, I’m reminded of something Allah said recently in another context: “You’ll rarely go wrong betting on pessimism, especially when it comes to this subject.”

13 Responses to “Xrlq Tilts at the Windmill”

  1. It’s a flaw of logic (of analysis) rather than a flaw of fact. While it still may unquestionably be wrong, this is not best handled in a correction, IMHO. And I’m on the right.

    TCO (7cd41f)

  2. when xrlq tossed some kibbles onto his keyboard to induce his cat to pick an internet name for him, it’s a damn shame the cat didn’t pick any vowels.

    assistant devil's advocate (2c422a)

  3. He might actually get a correction. There is something eerie about having to write to a man handled “Xrlq.” It’s creepy and alien and despite the Dog Trainer’s arrogance and inability to admit mistakes, they might take a minor hit on this to avoid his wrath.

    Uncle Pinky (6546ec)

  4. It’s a flaw of logic (of analysis) rather than a flaw of fact.

    It’s an illogical argument that is obviously based on a misunderstanding of fact, and thus inevitably implies a false fact: namely, that the bill Arnold refused to sign was legal.

    The bill Arnold refused to sign conflicted with Prop. 22, and required a referendum that it didn’t provide for. How in the world could an illegal bill not end up being challenged in the courts? The only way for them to reach that conclusion would be for them to believe, incorrectly, that it was not an illegal bill.

    That is the implication of the editorial, and it is clearly wrong, as a factual matter.

    Patterico (a8fa4a)

  5. That, but it’s also wrong on another factual level. Even if the Legislature had the power to amend or repeal a voter initiative without a popular vote, AB 849 by its terms did not do that. Instead, it even stated expressly that it was up to the California Supreme Court, not the Legislature, to make any final determinations about the scope or validity of Prop 22. Shorting of adding a comma and the word “dumbass,” I’m not sure how much clearer they could have made it.

    Xrlq (a0a088)

  6. TROLL 1: YEAH, WELL AT LEAST MY CAT DIDN’T WRECK MY SHIFT KEY.

    Xrlq (a0a088)

  7. I thought troll 1 was banned last week. Damn, Xrlq, I’d really like a copy of your s-list to figure out who’s who. 8\

    Dubya (c16726)

  8. He/she/it was. The numbers reset by comment thread. I’m pretty sure the new TROLL 1 was among the numbered trolls last week, just further down the list. So he/she/it can think of this as a promotion, of sorts.

    Xrlq (f52b4f)

  9. I still don’t think you are appreciating (or you are refusing to acknowledge) the difference in order of inference, Patterico. I already agree that there may be a clear logic train to contradict the judgement and therefore prove a difference. Yet this is still a different kind of fact from a simple discrete item (like the number of apples on the counter).

    I think that such mistakes are better clarified by a letter to the editor (elaborating the logic train) than the corrections forum, which typically corrects discrete items. Now, you may feel different. Fine. But that’s how I think a corrections department should run.

    TCO (5e2e67)

  10. TCO, your analogy to apples on the counter is better than you might think. Picture apples configured in a way that no one can count them directly, but anyone can compute the total number to a reasonable certainty. Then along comes the L.A. Times to “opine” that there were a number that is mathematically impossible. It may take more than a few words to show your work and prove that they got their facts wrong, but the bottom line is, they still got their facts wrong.

    Besides, I also sent them a letter to the editor, before I contacted the Readers Rep. That letter hasn’t been printed, nor has anyone else’s letter raising the same issues or challenging that editorial in any other way. Bear in mind that the Times also has an idiotic policy of refusing to print letters that allege factual errors. Put the two together, and you’re left with the result that any error that can’t be absolutely disproved in 10 words or less won’t be addressed on either the correction page or anywhere else.

    Xrlq (f8b526)

  11. xrlq: Thanks. I support having your letter published and think it is more appropriate to have this sort of higher level inference explained in that matter. If they gig you with the “fact” thing of course that would be a Catch-22.

    TCO (5e2e67)

  12. Oh. And calm down. It may not be because of the Catch-22, that they did not publish you. Might just be because they don’t have time for all the relevant articles or just want to avoid looking bad (and never thought of catch 22 rationale). I know this is a subtle distinction…

    TCO (5e2e67)

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