Friday, August 15, 2003

This being Fair and Balanced Friday, I'll start off by taking an execrable WaPo editorial (link via Atrios) and making something Fair and Balanced out of it. In short, the piece (and probably its writers) are a bit unbalanced, so we'll just have to balance it out with a few facts that they're too lazy to cite.

First of all, Shorter WaPo editorial board: Those Eurotrash are such heat wimps, har har har.

Now then, let's get into some specifics...

Okay, so maybe it's a bit warmer than usual. Temperatures across the continent have shot up into the 90s and once or twice have topped 100 degrees in London and Paris. But is this really hot -- hot enough to close businesses, hot enough to cancel trains (the tracks might buckle), hot enough to wax nostalgic for the summer rain to which some Europeans, notably residents of the British Isles, are more accustomed?
Fact: This is the first time ever that it's been at least 100 degrees in London. It's not the first time in Paris, but suffice it to say that it's not an annual occurrence over there. More fact: That 100 degree temperature in London is about 30 degrees higher than normal And if you've never experienced it, you're going to talk about it. Little geography lesson for the WaPo here... London sits at 51.5 degrees north, at least comparable with Calgary, Alberta Canada. Paris is at 48 degrees and 48 minutes north, which in the US is comparable with Seattle, a place known (among other things) for its lack of air conditioning. Seattle and Paris have about the same summer climate (it doesn't rain in Seattle then, either), and they both have the same disdain for air conditioning. So when U.S. conservatives start squawking that those filthy Euros can't take the heat like the real people in Dallas or Houston, remember two things.

1) Dallas and Houston are not comparable to London or Paris in any way.
2) While there have been heat-related deaths in France on a rough pace with those of Chicago in 1995, Houston gets a few per year as well. Not on a pace with France, but France isn't in the tropical latitudes like Houston is.

It's Fair and Balanced because it's true

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