Thursday, March 02, 2006

Proleptic Plagiarism*

It's just so easy. I see from No More Mister Nice Blog that John Hinderaker is making the totally predictable (and totally specious) overtopping defense:

But this has nothing to do with the levees breaching; it has to do with them being overtopped--a much less dangerous threat. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, there has been endless discussion about the difference between breaching and overtopping. If these AP reporters, Margaret Ebrahim and John Solomon, really don't know the difference, they have no business reporting on Katrina.

This leads to a few questions for Mr. Hinderaker. So, if you're reading this John, did you actually pay any attention to that "endless discussion" about breaching and overtopping? Did you hear the part about enough overtopping leading to scouring of the levee's other side, causing rapid collapse. In that "endless discussion," did you notice that the breaching was originally attributed to overtopping? Links here and here, I can send you more if you like. I can't imagine that you'd need them, I found those through google; I am sure that you have lexis-nexis and interns at the Claremont institute. Even assuming that you missed the progression from overtopping to scouring to collapse, did you stop to wonder why there was a warning of the danger of overtopping? If overtopping is a much less dangerous threat, isn't danger of overtopping an oxymoron? I find it hard to believe that you're both that uninformed and that incurious. My guess is that you're playing your readers the way a trial lawyer attempts to play a jury. If you really don't know that overtopping was considered a real and dangerous threat, you have no business commenting on Katrina.

Update: heard Byron York and Haley Barbour make the same point on Hardball. Barbour at least gave himself some wriggle room. Byron York insisted on a difference. Seems to be a Republican talking point, will any name Democrats know how to use it against them?

*What can I say, I liked the phrase when I first saw Michael Berube use it. But I wouldn't stoop to old-fashioned plagiarism. Well, I didn't exactly write out Hinderaker's post, but they're so predictable.

Nope. Didn't take long at all to get into the overtopping "thing", did it. Sorry you were right... but unsurprised.
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