Black Watch: Today’s Top Stories

Black Watch: Today’s Top Stories

With even the odd Brit straggling back to Room 1241 to hear the testimony of Big Jim Thompson (who, if you believe the prosecution, wears every honourable vestment save the shoes of the fisherman), the cacophony of interpretation and theorizing is about to hit 11. It’s at times like these I turn to the wisdom of my favourite Franciscan friar and ask myself, “What would William of Occam think at a time like this?” OK, that’s a little rich, but Occam’s famous first principle of logical reasoning (otherwise known as Occam’s razor) is a handy tool: “All things being equal, the simplest solution tends to be the best one.” So, here’s to the Star’s Rick Westhead, whose efforts at parsing yesterday’s doings win the Occam prize for clarity and precision.

To wit:

“First elected governor in 1976 using the slogan ‘No Promises,’ Thompson was the state’s chief executive for a record 14 years. ‘Conrad may be famous in Canada, but Thompson is the celebrity of this trial so far as some of these jurors are concerned,’ said one lawyer involved in the case. Sure enough, at one point yesterday afternoon, all 17 prospective jurors were scribbling notes—even those that could typically be counted on to take cat naps during long afternoon sessions.”

In every sense, these observations and their obvious implications stand to reason. Compare this to the sophistry practiced this morning by our old friend Mark Steyn, who, through his typically distorted lens, tried to make sense of the same goings-on:

“Tuesday was Eddie Greenspan’s day. He began the morning with a couple of bonus rounds with Marie-Joseé Kravis and ended the afternoon landing a few blows on Governor Jim Thompson. The great Christie Blatchford flashed me a gleeful smile as Eddie got stuck into the big guy, and why wouldn’t she? The Canadian contingent on the press benches is rather proud of our thuggish QC: After decades of my-name-is-Joe-and-I-am-a-peacekeeping-wimp boosterism, it’s rather heartening to watch Greenspan do to a Chicago courtroom what Rumsfeld did to European Union confabs.”

So let me get this straight. Because you, Mark Steyn, find yourself (broadly speaking) in agreement with Christie Blatchford over Greenspan resembling Donald Rumsfeld, we should therefore conclude that Greenspan did a better job of playing to the jury than Thompson and the prosecution. That’s reasoning by way of Lewis Carroll: straight through the looking glass. Occam be damned.

Key witness rejects Black defence claim [Toronto Star]Big Jim don’t get no respect [Maclean’s]Lord Black was boss, says ‘Big Jim’ [Times of London] Black never disclosed payments, court told [Financial Times]Former audit chair only ‘skimmed’ key documents [National Post]