Wednesday, 5 January 2005

I hate to fly... and it shows

James Joyner rounds up the latest aviation news, including lower fares on Delta, reduced service on Independence Air, and new Southwest service to Pittsburgh (already served by low-fare carrier airTran). I suppose this is good news for most air travellers—but if I still have to go via Atlanta to fly anywhere on Delta, no thanks.

The Big Five-0

Via Will Baude and Amber Taylor, I see that bloggers are being challenged to read and review 50 books this year. This may be a bit of a daunting challenge—even for those of us expected to read (and write, not to mention teach) for a living—but since I’m currently ahead of the curve, I might as well participate.

Book the First: Time Lord. Reviewed (somewhat unfavorably) here.

Book the Second: The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America. Mini-review: a brilliant, accessible, non-scholarly look at the contemporary political right (broadly defined) in America. Minor faults: the book is sometimes confused over which left-right axis it’s talking about (for example, it sometimes refers to the political left in Europe as “liberals,” a mistake I wouldn’t expect Britons to make), and it underemphasizes the role of political institutions (aside from the Senate, which is overemphasized) in making the United States a generally more conservative nation than other industrialized democracies—the role of federalism and the Constitution gets about a page of treatment in nearly 400 pages of body text. I strongly recommend this book for either the general reader, or as a supplemental text in an undergraduate course in either political parties or American political culture (if such a beast exists).

Book the Third: The Lady Tasting Tea: How Statistics Revolutionized Science in the 20th Century. Just bought it; the book got a favorable review by Simon Jackman in The Political Methodologist a year or so ago.

Less corruption, more filling

Contrary to my suspicions, the AP poll voters resisted the all-out lobbying effort by Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville (enabled by ABC—allegedly a partner of the BCS—who gave the coach opportunites at both the Sugar Bowl and Orange Bowl to manufacture controversy) and actually payed attention to what happened on the field: Auburn hung on by the skin of its teeth (taking three straight sacks to run out the clock) to defeat Virginia Tech, while Southern Cal destroyed Oklahoma, in a game whose 55–19 margin probably overstates matters, as the Sooners scored a touchdown and a safety in garbage time. Congrats to the Trojans; no dap for the Tigers here. And, you have to wonder about the Sooners in bowl games—they’re 3–3 in bowls under Bob Stoops since 1999.