Assume the Position
Wednesday, November 12, 2003
Did Somebody Call A Plumber?
Look's like it's about time to expect a flood of leaks: "The commissioners are scheduled to meet every 10 days to two weeks, and a staff of 40 is being hired."
Ah Say...Ah Say...Ah Say, That Ain't No Way Ta Tell A Joke, Son
Ah say, ah say, lookit here son, ya done stepped alllll ova the punchline. What's folk gonna think, they read that? They gonna think, "Here's a guy can't tell a joke." Worse, they gonna think, "Karl Rove is writin' his jokes." That's what they gonna think.
Ah tell ya, son, you best be findin' a new writer. Ya make more cracks like that, afore ya know it, folks be think'n "an officer 'n a gentleman" means two people. And ya best not let nobody know ya was thinkin' the "Stars 'n Bars" was the O-club, neither.
Sunday, November 09, 2003
Jacob Levy finds the Political Compass questions "hopelessly weird." Colby Cosh explains where the questions seem to come from:
How the questions were apparently selected:
Colby also takes a quick kick at the "halfwit fever dreams," those charts represented as the work of a purportedly "diverse professional team [that] has assessed the words and actions of globally known figures to give you an idea of how they relate to each other on the political compass."
In addition to Colby's objections, I find the most telling sign that the entire enterprise is suspect is that, while the test-taker's results are presented as Cartesian coordinates to two decimal places, the origin (0,0) is never defined. But if you look at the graphs of "globally known figures" or the US Presidential candidates, the origin appears to be halfway between Jean Chretien and Gerhard Schroder on the former, and halfway between Dennis Kucinich and Howard Dean on the latter.
The entire authoritarian/libertarian scale is a misrepresentation — it just represents social attitudes (conservative/liberal) without actually addressing authoritarianism. Look at the positioning of Al Sharpton down in the anarcho-syndicalist/libertarian-socialist lower-left quadrant. Joe Lieberman (mid upper-right quad) would probably support civil fines for people who pissed on the sidewalk, Al Sharpton would probably want to jail people for the "hate crime" of complaining about people pissing on the sidewalk. Authoritarianism—the exercise of power—is a means to an end, and the authors of the Political Compass conflate liberal ends with libertarian means.