I believe that if you mention the Onion on a blog, it’s compulsory to point out that it used to be good and is now just shrill and unfunny. Or is that the Poor Man? – it’s so easy to get these things confused.
Nonetheless, the Onion still prints excellent articles. Anyone who knows or works with rich PC types will, I trust, find this one true and extremely funny.
Incidentally, you miserable bastards, what’s with the lack of blog-birthday congratulations? Everyone else gets them… [sulk]
Before the ‘War on Terror’ became the most popular way for incompetent and dishonest politicians to cower idiots into voting for them, there was another, similar campaign.
Like the ‘War on Terror’, the ‘War on Drugs‘ was not a war, did not target all (or even the most harmful) drugs, did nothing to stop the drugs it did target, and chiefly involved taking very poor people in extremely fucked countries and making them even worse off. It also involved suspension of the rule of law, indefinite detention of people who’d done little or nothing wrong, and (least importantly, but still rubbishly) imposing futile restrictions on western people’s ability to live their lives.
As fat gaylord Johann Hari points out, although John Kerry is likely to be slightly less appalling than Dubya in War on Terror terms, he’s a big fan of the War on Drugs. This is worrying and bad, especially given the deranged puritanism that’s taking hold on this side of the Atlantic.
Nonetheless, it seems reasonable (if distasteful) to endorse drug stupidity over blowing-up-the-entire-world stupidity.
Dennis Kucinich has not only an excellent name, but also enough of a sense of humour to try and run for US president while being left-wing. Better still, from his Dem convention speech, he appears to be something of a fan of UK hip-hoppers Faithless.
Plagiarism is a weapon of mass destruction too, y’know…
Congratulations to Norm and Tory Boy, on reaching the grand old blog-ages of one and two respectively (I was hoping to coin the phrase ‘blog-years’, but apparently someone has beaten me to it).
In a similar but more self-indulgent vein, congratulations to myself for reaching my first blog-anniversary. One year ago today, SBBS got off to a poor start and went downhill from there… Still, 1000 people a week can’t be wrong (and other demonstrably counterfactual assertions).
Also, thanks to the perenially interesting Harry’s Place for blogrolling me. Although I disagree strongly with Harry’s comments on comments, at least until someone creates a trackback protocol that works properly. What’s the point of replying to someone if you don’t know whether or not they’re going to read it?
According to the Indo-Asian News Service, 4000 people were killed by witchcraft in the UK, Ireland and Australia between 1999-2003. My first thought on reading the article was that this rate – 1000 witchy deaths per year – seemed rather high, so I thought I’d do some analysis.
For the sake of comparison, I’m assuming that the deaths are spread evenly between the three countries by population, meaning the UK sees 720 witchy deaths a year. I’m also assuming that all witchy deaths are inflicted via injury and poisoning, since a witch who merely inflicted death by natural causes would be not only tedious but hard to detect.
The National Statistics Office says that the total number of deaths inflicted by accidental or deliberate injury or poisoning in 1998 (the most recent year with full data available) was 62,670, or 1.04 deaths per 1000 people. So witchy deaths make up barely 1.1% of the total pool: already, it seems more plausible…
Out of these deaths, 3614 were from suicide. If it counts as a legitimate witchy death when a witch induces you to top yourself, we seem to have an entirely plausible scenario here: only 20% of suicide deaths are witch-induced, which is surely lower than the number of suicides that entirely perplex the perpetrator/victim’s friends and family. “But he had everything to live for”, they say. Indeed he did – until he was killed by a witch.
However, I imagine the National Statistics Officers know better than to be fooled by the agents of darkness; I’m sure ‘suicide’ scenes are regularly inspected for telltale signs of dark magik. But there are some other promising areas where these witchy deaths could go instead.
For one, the higher homicide rate in the second half of the 20th century (from 1900-1950, the annual average was 243; from 1951-1998, the average was 323) is highly likely to be due to witchery: laws against witchcraft were repealed in 1951, and the death rate rose almost immediately. What better example could their be of the terrible toll on the British people of misguided post-war do-gooding? However, these 80 deaths a year barely account for a tenth of the full witchy death toll.
No, the majority of those killed by powers unknown are accounted for under a special code that could almost have been devised for the purpose: ‘injury undetermined whether accidentally or purposely inflicted’. 1933 unfortunates met their end this way in 1998 – and it seems highly likely that 640 of them were victims of witchcraft.
The remaining 1293 will have been killed by diverse causes including but not limited to warlocks, wolverines, orcs, dragons, and being dragged directly to hell by Satan’s agents.
I’m sure my readers agree that the only possible solution to this terrible witch problem is to reintroduce proper, proportionate punishment. As CS Lewis says, “if anyone deserved the death penalty, then [it's] these filthy quislings…”
(thanks to Josh Chafetz for info on witchy laws).
If you’re aged 11-17, the Internet doesn’t *just* mean that you can play computer games all night, write viruses, look at bizarre and extreme porn, and meet exciting older men.
With the help of your Solo card you can also get into online betting, which sounds like something kids might enjoy and therefore has caused a terrible fuss among the usual nanny-tastic suspects. Interestingly, the online retailers of strong cider and budget alcopops also seem to sell to holders of Solo cards, providing an ideal teen evening in – although you do need to buy a case of 24.
Sometimes I wish I’d been born 10 years later. And I was going to make an obligatory comment about ‘at least the music was better when I was 15′, but having looked it up I’m really not convinced…
I came late to the story of paranoid Annie Jacobsen, and the delusions that led her to mistake a Syrian folk band for a chapter of al-Qaeda.
While this debacle says ugly things about how many educated, professional Americans view Arabs (perhaps not surprisingly, given the vilification that brown persons have received in the media since the beginning of the ‘war on terror’), it does have a silver lining.
Until poor Ms Jacobsen wrote the article for a small website, and various like-minded clowns and rabble-rousers forwarded it around in true Urban Legend style, nobody in authority took her claims particularly seriously.
Ideally, this means that airline anti-terrorist security is being based on intelligence and threat analysis; at worst, it means that it doesn’t exist. Either would be better than random victimisation based on skin colour…
I don’t like this world. This is a world where, compared to the most powerful man in the Western world, Fidel Castro sounds sane. Which he very much isn’t.
One of the odder items on Paul Foot’s lengthy CV was his parliamentary candidacy in the 1970s for the Socialist Workers’ Party.
If someone were to write a long article which began with four paragraphs about Mr Foot, and which then focused on the modern SWP’s unwise support for tyranny and fascism (with digressions covering the 1970s German militant left’s equally unwise support for tyranny and fascism, and a long interview with a random Israeli army deserter who opposed Zionism), it might be reasonable to view that as some kind of attempt to smear Mr Foot as an antisemite and a supporter of fascism.
And if the article’s author were to claim that “my post is about Paul Foot’s party, not Paul Foot” as a defence to claims of wrongly pissing all over a good man’s reputation, then it might be reasonable to suppose that the author was somewhat intellectually dishonest.
If said author were known continuously to pervert the values for which they claimed to stand (a ‘socialist’ who rates George Bush over Paul Foot?) and engage in the same casual smearing and lawyerly missing-of-the-point on almost any topic where socialists or liberals were involved, this might be evidence in favour of the same point.
In somewhat related news, I’m giving up reading Oliver Kamm, and have removed him from my blogroll. Remember kids, don’t confuse being erudite with being correct…
I’m returned from the glories of Crete, and specifically the glories of the chavvest resort outside Margate. Great fun, although I think I might still be suffering from metaxa poisoning.
Sadly, since I’ve been away, one of the world’s best investigative journalists has gone on a more permanent sabbatical. Greatest respect to the memory of Paul Foot: you’ll be missed.