Public Nuisance

Random commentary and senseless acts of blogging.

The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
-Ronald Reagan

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Friday, October 25, 2002
Daily Dis

Some notes on the latest wit and wisdom of Sully:

There's yet another post, actually a pretty good one, on Orwell. It's fine that Sully is noting that Orwell was not, in truth, a neocon - but the very fact that this transcendently obvious point has to be explained shows how bizarre our politics has grown. Anyone with the most casual familiarity with Orwell knows how deeply anti-imperialist and anticapitalist he was, but these points tend to be missed in many recent Orwell discussions. I suppose once you can cite Christ without noticing that he wasn't exactly a huge fan of wealth and privilege, making Orwell into an enthusiast for the free market becomes easy.

Andrew also has an explanation for why the Maryland sniper was difficult to catch. His 'explanation' is racial profiling. His evidence is a story that the sniper may have been stopped by police on October 8, but let go because "`Everyone was looking for a white car with white people,` said one high-ranking police source."

How did Sullivan conclude that the reason the snipers weren't caught was racial profiling? He offers only that one quote to support his claim that police were particularly looking for white suspects. A number of other accounts seem to contradict that, such as this one:

No descriptions of possible suspects have been released....

The only descriptions "we have are those of the white vehicles, and we're not even sure how solid those descriptions are," says Sgt. Kim Chinn, a Prince William County, Va., police spokeswoman. Chinn, who attended an internal police briefing Sunday morning, said investigators did not mention any video or suspect description. "We're all sharing information, but I'm not aware of any videotape with a suspect," she said.

What we do know is that police were looking for a white van. And the car the alleged snipers were actually using was neither white, nor a van, nor stopped near a crime scene. "And yet the cops let a man go because of his race", says Sullivan. Apparently the fact that there was no evidence or even real cause for suspicion had nothing to do with it.

It's a genuine mystery to me why Sully would have so little interest in his credibility as to blog such nonsense. His readers know the police were looking for a white van. With the publicity this case got, headhunters in the Amazon know the police were looking for a white van, and that that was the main clue repeated in the media for weeks. And yet Sullivan blithely writes as if this fact doesn't exist or has no importance. Who on earth does he think he's fooling?

Another Sullivan correspondent is eager to attack Dana Milbank for daring to say anything remotely critical of George Bush:

Finally, he closes with a basic error in arithmetic: "Other times, the president's assertions simply outpace the facts. In New Hampshire earlier this month, he said his education legislation made "the biggest increase in education spending in a long, long time." "In fact, the 15.8 percent increase in Department of Education discretionary spending for fiscal year 2002 (the figures the White House supplied when asked about Bush's statement) was below the 18.5 percent increase under Clinton the previous year. . ."
In fact, a 15.8 % increase is "bigger" than a previous year's 18.5 % increase (115.8 x 118.5 = 137.22; 137.22 - 118.5 = 18.72% ). Dana might wish to define an "increase" as a multiplicative factor, but dictionaries, math books, and common usage all refer to addition.

This gentleman is simply wrong in claiming to have proven an inaccuracy in Milbank's numbers. He says the 2002 increase is 1.2% greater than the 2001 increase, but hasn't included the 1.9% inflation in 2001, which wipes that out. He has also ignored the fact that the numbers he's dealing with are approximations, not exact. But if he wants to find a real incidence of playing decpetive tricks with the difference between percentage increases and absolute increases, he can always check out the home page of the Bush Department of Education.