Tuesday, January 31, 2006


I came across this most non-egregious site that is probably the rival of this most outstanding article. Do check out The Bill and Ted Official Website's Guide to how to speak like Bill and Ted.

Do read, and be excellent ot each other!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Vote for me!

(Shticky post: New posts (if any) will appear below)

The Indian blogosphere has finally hit rock bottom. This blog has been nominated for an Indibloggie!

Yes, its true. Ceteris Paribus has been nominated in the "Best Tagline" category, my tagline being "Omnia dicta fortiora si dicta Latina". Of course, I think I should explain my highbrow Latin tagline. It means, "Anything sounds good if said in Latin" (loosely translated). Now that you know, you have no excuse not to vote for it.

Many thanks to the fine people who nominated me and voted to shortlist me (and actually took the time to figure out what it means), and also to the junta responsible for the whole Indibloggie thing. Debashish, take a bow!

So, folks, go on and vote for me. You can vote here, right up to January the 10th.

Update: Suhail Kazi points out that apart from my tagline, the title of this blog as well as the blurb on my Blogger profile are in Latin (which actually adds credence to my tagline). However considering that most people (including me) do not understand Latin, perhaps translations are in order. Well, here they are:

Ceteris Paribus: This is a Latin phrase, beloved of social scientists and their ilk, which means "with all other things constant". It is generally used by economists and others to avoid taking all possible variables into account (eg, "a rise in prices causes a rise in supply, assuming ceteris paribus", where it cleverly allows the Economist in question to avoid taking responsibility for the operation of the statement in question in a real economy).

Ita erat quando hic adveni: This one is a more modern phrase (although doubtless much used by delinquent Roman kids) which means "It was that way when I got here".

Update 2: Well, I didn't win this one then. I must at this time point out that since the other three nominees in this category actually took the time out to think up of a good tagline for their blogs, while I just lifted mine from Wikipedia, all three of them probably deserved the award more than I did ;-). Anyway, thanks to the bloke who nominated my tagline, the jurors who voted to shortlist it, and all 57 people who voted for it, I really appreciate it. Oh, and congrats to Shivam!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Kaun Banega Chhatrapati?

Anish Bhat Bhatt has an excellent post up that should be compulsory reading to every Maharashtrian politician. Do read.

Note: May not be too relevant to people living outside of of Maharashtra.

Friday, January 06, 2006

The word you're looking for is "Strawman"

The Coyote is irked.

What irks me is portraying concerns about the Patriot Act, indefinite detentions without trial, and eavesdropping outside of the normal separation of powers checks and balances as "concern for the civil liberties of terrorists".

I am sure that there is a name for this kind of semantic trick, though I can't remember it, but I will say its bush league, right out of high school debate. You could just as easily stump for repeal of the fourth amendment because it is only concerned with the "civil liberties of criminals".

No one except a few crazies cares much for the civil rights of convicted criminals and terrorists. After all, what could be more of a violation of their civil rights than incarcerating them, but I have seldom seen a bond issue for more prisons that people won't vote for.

No, the problem is with the civil rights of the rest of us who are innocent. We don't want our email read just in case we are terrorists. We don't want our houses broken into at night just in case we are drug dealers. And if we find ourselves in police custody, we want our habeas corpus rights respected and we want to get our due process or be released.

Too damn right, I say. He goes on to sum up his arguments against such "for the greater good of all" anti-terror legislation here.

PS: Anyone object to my characterisation of the right-wing-nut-job argument? Anyone?

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Somewhere, the shade of Indira Gandhi is smiling...

Sharad Joshi, agrarian leader, and the closest thing to a real liberal politician India has got, recently made a demand in Parliament that I am surprised is not made more frequently and vociferously: that the requirement of Representation of People Act that requires candidates for election to any political office swear, among other things, to be socialists. The Indian Express reports:
An association of people not subscribing to socialism had to swear allegiance to the philosophy to get themselves registered as a political party and get an election symbol, he said.
As expected, the Children of Satan Congress Party have opposed this move.

Disagreeing with Joshi’s plea that socialism has lost its relevance and, therefore, should be dropped from the Constitution, Congress members Moolchand Meena, Raashid Alvi, E.M.S. Natchiappan and Jayaram Ramesh said spirit of the Constitution had been democracy, socialism and secularism which was not fully understood by Joshi. (H/t for both links: Madman)

Of course, they are, as always, totally wrong. The declaration that India is a socialist republic, and the requirement of candidates to uphold the said socialism must go, not because socialism is no longer relevant (even though it is), but because this clause totally limits the ability of the Indian people to elect to public office people whom they believe will represent them. It is impossible, under the current state of affairs, for anyone who is opposed to socialism to stand for office without lying under oath. Denying the people of India the right to elect people opposed to socialism is quite undemocratic, IMO. That is the real issue here.


New featured quote

Why is it that, despite all of the money we have spent over the years on education, half of our students are still below average?

Chris O'Leary, commenting on Cafe Hayek.

(Clarification: He's joking.)