Sunday, April 20, 2008


I only caught part of Bill Maher's post apology show today, and he certainly didn't sound humbled by the experience. I'm not Catholic, and on another day I might even agree about certain things not making sense. Today I'm thinking of Christians who are very smart people - and of what things I take for granted that might seem ridiculous in a hundred years.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Whose Shenanigans?

Instapundit links don't always make a clear judgement, but here the Reynolds verdict is in - Wikipedia has engaged in Shenanigans.

So let's click through to Lawrence Solomon's complaint.

The thought police at the supposedly independent site are fervently enforcing the climate orthodoxy

No punctuation because this is the subtitle of his article. He doesn't settle down much further on, but he does get more specific. Some of his wikipedia edits have been reverted:

When Oreskes's paper came out, it was immediately challenged by science writers and scientists alike, one of them being Benny Peiser, a prominent U.K. scientist and publisher of CCNet, an electronic newsletter to which I and thousands of others subscribe. CCNet daily circulates articles disputing the conventional wisdom on climate change. No publication better informs readers about climate-change controversies, and no person is better placed to judge informed dissent on climate change than Benny Peiser.

For this reason, when visiting Oreskes's page on Wikipedia several weeks ago, I was surprised to read not only that Oreskes had been vindicated but that Peiser had been discredited. More than that, the page portrayed Peiser himself as having grudgingly conceded Oreskes's correctness.

Upon checking with Peiser, I found he had done no such thing. The Wikipedia page had misunderstood or distorted his comments. I then exercised the right to edit Wikipedia that we all have, corrected the Wikipedia entry, and advised Peiser that I had done so.

I read the article, then clicked over to the discussion page. There is no misrepresentation of Peiser's views in the current article - or discussion. You wouldn't think it from Solomon's article, but the discussion page explains a lot. There seem to be two major policies at issue. Wikipedia has established a rule that self published material (such as a blog or personal website) can't be used as a source. That rule may not be perfect, but there is a logic to it, because otherwise anyone could write something on any other page besides wikipedia and use it as a footnote. Also, an editor can't use 'personal research' in an article for much the same reason. Of course, if Peiser wrote a letter or article of complaint in anything not self published, that would be different.

Since Solomon doesn't link to the discussion page or the article in question, I will, although this version reflects discussion after Solomon's article was published. This is just a short quote, there are also defenders of Solomon's viewpoint.

Now to comment further - Peisers comment on Naomi Oreskes paper in Nature is a self published source. To be more specific: it hasn't been printed in a reliable source (in fact it was rejected by Nature), but only on Peisers own website. Despite this we include a mention of his critique, because its notable. It is presented in due weight and in accordance with WP:BLP.
The edits of Mr. Solomon changed that - and introduced a significant bias towards an unpublished critique of a scientific paper, and (might i mention) a critique that the author (Peiser), according to the ABC source - doesn't support anymore. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 15:58, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
I don't know if the link has been posted, but the article referencing this page is Wikipedia's Zealots. Joshdboz (talk) 16:16, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

He didn't even get Kim's gender right. So much for fact checking... Raymond Arritt (talk) 16:49, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
As if this was an indication of anything... It kinda happens. --Childhood's End (talk) 17:59, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
I'm impressed that it does... specifically as he makes a point out of it in the article "She (or he?) is an editor at Wikipedia" - had he done any decent amount of research on my userpage and profile as he says in his article - then its in rather plain sight there. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 18:45, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
Another rather interesting detail - he starts by using the name tabletop, which was a user who has made exactly one edit (not related to Solomons at all) here [8], and then he continues on to claim that he is me.
Hmmm - rather sloppy research methinks. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 19:16, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
You'd think "This user is male" on your userpage would be a hint, but maybe that's too obscure for some people. Raymond Arritt (talk) 19:40, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Bill Maher is the left's Ann Coulter

You could say this was just humor - but when is saying nasty things about someone humor? Via Cybercast News Service:

( - Comments by HBO's Bill Maher insulting the Pope and calling Catholicism a "cult" that promotes "organized pedophilia" have stirred resentment among many American Catholics upset he would say this the week before Pope Benedict XVI visits the United States.

The comments were made on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" on Friday, April 11. Maher went into a long monologue on his program comparing the Catholic church to a polygamous cult -- the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints -- which was raided on April 3 and whose founder, Warren Jeffs, was convicted last year for being an accessory to the rape of a teenage girl.

The Catholic Church has a serious problem, but accusing the Church as a whole of actively promoting (as opposed to covering up, or stucturally contributing to) this problem is unreasonable. There are plenty of Catholics who sometimes vote Democratic - and are repelled by the Maher wing of the party. Just as Republicans who seriously hope for success in Iraq should be repulsed by Ann Coulters suggestion that Muslims should be killed or converted by force, so should Democrats who really believe we are the party of inclusiveness reject Maher.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Washington Times Editorial Repeats Error!

This is hilarious! James Lyon of the Washington Times repeated the same mistake he made last month!

History is a good teacher. What comes to mind is the 1968 Tet offensive that was a catastrophic defeat for the North Vietnamese, who lost more than 100,000 combat troops, but was turned into a victory for them by our media, according to the North Vietnamese Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap. If it worked then, let's try it again.

Courtesy of the reference on Urban Legends:

Claim: Vietnamese general Vo Nguyen Giap's memoirs pinned U.S. military failure in Vietnam on American anti-war protesters.

Status: False. has a thorough essay on this false rumor. History professor Ed Moise has studied one of the books where the quote was alleged to be found (the other doesn't exist). Washington Dispatch commentator Greg Lewis apologized for citing a quote from a book that he later found did not exist.

Oh yes. Here's the first time he made that mistake.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Republican Fixer tells all - or almost all?

Allen Raymond, convicted former dirty tricks expert for a number of Republican campaigns, doesn't sound like such a sleezeball on this Jon Stewart Daily Show interview.

On the other hand, he still sounded like a sleezeball when I reviewed his book.

"His first campaign was a local election, and direct mail played a big part in it. He specialized in saying misleading things about his candidate’s opponent, some of which were nasty and personal. If he actually lied he doesn’t tell us about it – that might be illegal. He says his candidate complained to him about how the direct mail people were out of control, and he wanted the dirtier tricks stopped because some of the people who knew the truth and despised him (the candidate) for the misleading tricks were neighbors. Raymond says he encouraged this while pretending to try and stop it, because that was what was needed to get the candidate elected – and he liked the feeling of being an aggressive win-at-all-costs mercenary. I’m not sure if Steve Corodemus (he names names) was really as innocent as Raymond pretends or if he’s one of the few people Raymond still feels loyalty to – but I wouldn’t vote for him, a really capable and trustworthy assemblyman would have found out and put a stop to this garbage."

Joseph Palermo of the Huffington post has a great review, though he doesn't talk about what what our former fixex might still be hiding:

Raymond's experience inside the bowels of the RNC and his expertise in smear tactics, racist push polls and robo-calls, voter suppression, and other Republican mainstays give him a useful perspective. Maybe Democratic candidates in the future can better counter the inevitable Republican smears and attacks with a better understanding of how they work. But I wouldn't count on it.