Saturday, January 29, 2011

Very Small Egypt Notes:

I'm in no way qualified to comment specifically about Egypt. But I do have a couple small things to say about peripheral issues.

One, whenever there are stories like this on crises, it always annoys me when I see points like this (from the morning's Los Angeles Times):
I hate the faux precision here: there's no way the crowd was exactly 50,000, and there's no way--given the chaos--that the paper could have a good reason to believe that exactly 38 people had died. It's a bit of a pet peeve, but I think it reveals a weakness: reporters and news organizations, like most people, believe they know more than they really know, and faux precision like this may just reinforce that idea in some small way.

Two, I found this an interesting little idea, from Matt Yglesias: "If you were an elderly dictator wracked by protests wouldn't you like to just go retire someplace nice? Turks & Caicos are lovely." Why wouldn't you? Sure, maybe you're addicted to power--but this story can only end badly, worse than the way everyone's stories end. Why not, while you still have power, take some large sum of money and go into exile?

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