Sorry, most of you

Time to go. For all those of you who enjoyed arguing on SBBS, I’m glad you had fun. Any of the sites on the right-hand-side, including but not limited to Matt TurnerThe Pine Marten and When there were no doors would be good places to carry on said arguments.

For those of you who lied, twisted, cheated and bullied until the least worst choice available to me was to close the site, congratulations. You’ve won. I hope it was worth it. It would be ungracious of me to hope that bad things happen to you in return, so I’ll merely take solace in my knowledge that you have to go through life having a personality like that… Good work, fellas.

My writings will continue on the Sharpener (another good place to argue), and perhaps elsewhere.

Update: thanks to everyone for all your support. Too many links to acknowledge, but I really appreciate them all. I’m going to miss this site, including the people who think I’m a dick but don’t seek to screw up my life because I’ve written something they dislike.

Surprising revelation

There is actually a group of people to whom the latest UK anti-terror laws apply who thoroughly deserve to feel the authoritarian wrath of Tony, David and Charlie.

If you think that the fuel price is so high it’s causing you serious suffering, that’s because you live in the wrong place and/or have the wrong job. Nobody in a country the size of the UK needs to take a long commute for a low-paid job, and anyone with a high-paid job can easily afford to drive even at current fuel prices.

Meanwhile, if truckers are suffering because they can’t raise rates and still attract custom, that’s clearly a sign that we have too many of them. They should ask for adjustment grants to sell up and learn how to do something desirable, rather than continuing their economically and environmentally unsustainable way of life. If they did, I’d be strongly in favour of helping them out.

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Disjointed thoughts

How can something so boring be so interesting?

Will the President ever sack so many minions that he has to take responsibility for something himself?

Is 47 years a sensible sentence for someone who’s clearly and undeniably a venal tit but not a terrorist? (if you dispute my categorisation, read here. If you still dispute my categorisation, then learn how to read).

What kind of gormless blinkered right-wing arsewit can possibly claim that Hollywood is liberal, in the week where a pro-exorcism movie tops the box office? (answer: many. Best example left in the comments wins some kind of prize.)

Finally, yay us! Good effort; it’s nice to see the British police and judiciary conspiring to lock up foreigners who’re actually guilty and actually deserve it… shame he was tipped off, really.

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Utter loonery

Not an exciting story, just an everyday tale of judicial mentalism: nine years in jail for a harmless, victimless paper crime. And the first person to say ‘oh, but tax evasion means less money to spend on schools and transport’ has a point if and only if they also oppose the government embarking on foreign adventurism and providing needless treatment to basically-dead old codgers…

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The new immigration stats are interesting, if not surprising. The UK’s foreign-born population rose from 5.8% in 1991 to 7.5% in 2001.

Indeed, we’re under threat from tides of evil immigrants, here to steal our women and convert us all to their barbaric laws. I wonder if they have Sharia in Ireland, Germany, the USA, South Africa and Italy…?

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Seeking the Canadian dream

A Pew poll in the Economist finds that India is the only country whence the US is the most desired destination for emigration. Australia, Canada, France and the UK are all more popular.

The same poll finds that Pakistan is sufficiently unpleasant that Pakistanis would be willing to emigrate to China. Bonus points for anyone who draws up a table comparing levels of religious fervour among a country’s rulers to the extent that people want to emigrate there…

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In defence of GWB

I dislike George Bush intensely, and watching him suffer and be pilloried is one of the few plus points of the horrible disaster in the US. However, most commentators doing so seem to be doing so without much of an understanding of How The US Works.

It’s not a country like the UK or France, where central agencies take primary responsibility for everything government does and where the PM can legitimately be blamed for things that go wrong. Rather, it’s a country where the President is generally responsible (although not solely so) for international and interstate matters, and where the states are generally responsible for local issues.

Now, it’s possible that GWB’s actions as President have genuinely impaired the states’ ability to cope with natural disasters – in particular, rolling up flood relief into the Department of Homeland Security and then diverting the money from flood programmes to fund nebulous ‘antiterrorist’ measures. This will take a while to prove, but is legitimate to raise.

However, the mere fact that the flood relief effort in New Orleans massively fucked up is not an indictment of the President. The fault lies partly, and perhaps primarily, with New Orleans’ (Democratic) mayor and Louisiana’s (Democratic) governor.

Side note: some hilariously nasty and gloaty press reactions from around the world are collected here. My favourite is the Frenchman saying "Arrogance is never a good adviser". Meanwhile, the Guardian has some excellent, non-gloaty reporting (indeed, some of the best reporting I’ve seen this year on any subject) on Katrina and its causes, human impact and consequences.

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