The debate over debates that probably don't matter
. I found the assessment by American academics and pollsters on the importance of televised debates between the candidates an interesting sidelight to last year's presidential election. On balance I was left with the impression that the three appearances had little impact on voting intentions despite the mighty efforts of the media pundits to give them great significance.
Hence my lack of interest in the continuing tooing and froing between Labor and the Coalition on the format debates will have in Australia later this year. My only hope is that Prime Minister Julia Gillard was correct this morning in expressing the hope
that an agreement can be reached "relatively soon" on the idea of a leaders' debates commission. For if there is one thing more boring than the debates themselves it is a debate about the debates.
The benefits of Latin. The Papacy is bringing back Latin. And all because of the need for brevity when communicating via Twitter.
Explains Roberto Spataro, secretary of the Pontifical Academy for Latin Studies, which Benedict XVI founded last year:
"Twitter is a tool which requires rapid communication," he said. In English you say 'the corruption of the best one is horrible'; in Latin, three words suffice: 'corrupt optima pessima'. It is a language which helps to think with precision and sobriety. And it has produced an exceptional heritage of science, knowledge and faith."
Putting them in the slammer
. From Michael Froomkin via Mark Thoma
comes this insight into the American way.