Grim perspective

Asian earthquakeness is thoroughly terrible. Go give money to the Disasters Emergency Committee or Save the Children.

Then read this disturbing comparison (from the comments at Crooked Timber): "present estimates of 77,000 (which are probably only 50% or less of the final total for the tsunami) are about the same number of people who have died from AIDS in Africa since December 19th (i.e., 10 days ago)."

At this point, you may despair.

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One of SBBS’s secret sources received an interesting tip-off last week. The source worked as a phone-tapper; he set up taps on the basis of requests from the police, MI5, and various other bodies – including David Blunkett’s private office.

There are two main ways in which phones can be tapped. One involves calls being recorded and listened to by intelligence agents; the other involves collating a list of all numbers dialed to and from that phone.

Mr Blunkett’s private office often made such requests, particularly the latter sort, as he and his staff sought to protect us all from the terrors of freedom. So the newspaper’s source wasn’t particularly surprised in early 2004 when asked to monitor call records for a private individual’s London phone number and send them to Mr Blunkett’s private office.

After all, there was no reason at the time for the name Ms Kimberly Quinn to ring any alarm bells…

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TWoT again

As far as I can make out, everyone who claims that Islamist terrorism is a genuinely significant threat to the survival of Western Civilisation falls into one or more of these three categories:

1) They are a professional liar (politician, spy).

2) They have a direct personal interest in persuading the public that there exists a terrible threat that only they, with the help of copious amounts of public money, can tackle (politician, spy).

3) They have access to no evidence other than that provided by the politicians and the spies, which they believe (everyone else).

In the absence of any evidence for a serious terror threat other than the word of professional liars who stand to gain from making us believe there’s a serious terror threat, why would anyone join the camp in point 3? Very mysterious…

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Shocking policing news

Apparently, if you impose draconian policing policies that involve arresting more people for trivial non-crimes, then 40% more policemen get assaulted.

It would be a terrible shame if "you should have the right to kill people at will in your house, but not to get a drink at 3AM or go out without ID" police commissioner Sir John Stevens were to become one of them. Indeed, I’d be very nearly as distraught as I was on the day of David Blunkett’s ouster.

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Stalked by demons of cold

Yet again, I’ve run into the upsetting combination of crap central heating systems and crap landlords. Oh well, I’m sure the cold will toughen me up. And at least this house has an immersion heater.

Hope everyone had good Christmasses. Mine was amusing; the highlight was when my horrendously racist grandma turned on the TV for the delights of the Queen’s Speech ("wonderful lady, been through such a lot"), only to be so disgusted by its message of multiculturalism and being nice to black and Asian people that she turned it off again…

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Time for us to bug out

If you only download one illegal and highly offensive satirical cut-up AC/DC-sampling MP3 this Christmas, it’s got to be this one. Now officially the Most Played Track on the SBBS iPod.

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Underground conspiracy

My modest proposal for solving the Underground’s staff problems: secretly build a replica system in remote rural India, poach 25,000 staff from Indian Railways, and train them to work the Tube. Once they’re trained, sack the entire idle and overpaid LU workforce with no notice, and bring the Indians over on a 12-month contract.

At the end of the 12 months, re-advertise the jobs both to the Indians and to former LU workers, with a 40-hour week, 25 days’ annual holiday, working for private sector contractors. Rigorously enforce performance standards and regularly sack people for being rubbish [*] and/or taking the piss with sick leave.

[*] Driving through four red signals would count as being rubbish. So would going on strike to support some idiot who’s been demoted (not even sacked) for driving through four red signals.

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Slowdown alert

Having a vaguely existent out-of-work life again has made me much more interested/angry/pleased/upset about things that aren’t politics and business, and rather less interested in things that are. And I really don’t want to turn SBBS into a livejournal where I rant about friends, love, etc – if only because I know that half the people I’d be talking about would then read about it here, and get annoyed.

So posting going forward is likely to be slower than it has been over the last few months, at least until the new job becomes as long-hour-ishly life-destroying as the old one (probably a couple of weeks, then).

Oh, and Chrissie Hapmass. I hope Satan brings you all a sack containing an army of clones of Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie.

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