The public get what the public deserve

This rings bells:

During the 1990s boom, the public favored expanded social spending and tax cuts over paying down the national debt. Today, by overwhelming margins, they favor an immediate balanced budget, even in the face of economic catastrophe.

That is, of course, insane. But Republicans have taken full advantage of the public’s fiscal insanity.

The depressing thing for UK people, of course, is that over here the raving populist balance-the-budget-at-the-economy’s-expense nutters are about to take over, rather than just having been defeated.

Meh, vote for whoever you like, I’m moving to Australia in January anyway. Mineral wealth, newly-elected centre-left government, and no bloody ice. And about as far as you can get from George bloody Osborne…

What I’ve been up to, week ending 2009-12-20

  • Is NEF funded by evil right-wing big business, to spread the belief that lefties are idiots who understand fuck all? http://bit.ly/5xKBHL #
  • If so, its latest report would be an impressive piece of work, and not merely a *facepalm* *spang* *facepalm* disgrace. #
  • Enjoying the way @NewStatesman is currently deploying server-side ad-blocking; wonder if it'll catch on? http://bit.ly/8TTMWX #
  • Sometimes Prince Philip is vile. Sometimes rather sweet. This is definitely the latter; people who say otherwise fools http://bit.ly/664nuC #
  • RT @mediaguardian C4 buys second series of Charlie Brooker quiz http://bit.ly/5Hp2ln <- hurrah! #
  • I've just heard Tim Minchin's Xmas song: http://bit.ly/5NEUvO – only problem with campaign to get it in charts etc is that it's *terrible* #
  • Top quality correction from the far-left press: http://is.gd/5nCtX (via @dnotice) #
  • A lovely Xmas gift for the AGW-denial loony in your life: http://is.gd/5nM2D (by @alun, via @mjrobbins) #
  • Dear The Times: getting a gang, knocking someone down, & beating him w/sticks until he's brain-damaged != 'courageous': http://bit.ly/5CPoLj #
  • I hope that when I die, I'll receive at least one obituary as touching and heartfelt as Enkidu Brooke's: http://bit.ly/4LjyZH – RIP #
  • Don't get the 'but they're both Sony' point on Xmas #1: yes, & so were the Clash. Major label doesn't mean rubbish, but S Cowell does #
  • Waiting for the Death Panels to decide whether I should have a testicle cut off tonight #
  • Death Panels vote "yes", partial castration in 1 hour and counting. Hurrah! #
  • My friend Nick has very kindly brought me a bag of plums and a sack of nuts to take my mind off the op #
  • alll seems to have gone ok, huzzah #
  • http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VIxkqoNi8I4&hl=en-GB&gl=GB&client=mv-google #
  • .@catdonn for my 21st bday I got dumped, so jury still out on worst ever. will see how i feel tomorrow… #
  • RT @VizLetterBocks: Just bought Xmas tree. Assistant asked "Will you be putting this up yourself?" I replied "No – Its going in the lounge" #
  • Home. Bed. Fully alive and all that. Blog post tomorrow. #
  • Had Muneer Hussain stopped beating Walid Salem before brain-damaging him, Salem would've been fit for trial & would've got way over 30 mths #
  • Meanwhile, Hussain would either have been charged with ABH or more likely nothing, and probably wouldn't be in jail at all. Lesson: OBVIOUS #
  • How do Tories get to be so *utterly bloody stupid*? http://tinyurl.com/ya7ek9l #
  • RATM: not keen on doing what you tell them – http://a.gd/787f7d (I've downloaded the single, so should you) #
  • Anglicans witty & irreverent; Catholics humourless arseholes. As usual, glad my cultural religion one of the least bad: http://bit.ly/6l0l7e #
  • TRADE UNION LEADERS: if you can easily win a vote without rigging it, then *don't rig it*. Idiots: http://bit.ly/4KqpJQ #politicaltoptips #
  • RT @chrisk27 750000 ppl on RATM FB group and 150000 copies of 'Killing in the name' DLed… 600000 anarchists need to get their skates on #
  • RT @RATM4Xmas: RATM 306115, X-FACTOR 297192. Less than 10,000 lead now. Do your bit at http://bit.ly/ratm-itunes #ratm4xmas #
  • I got writer & angle from headline, can you? "It's a scandal how our money is going down the Tube, PS I'm a git" http://tinyurl.com/ydugcrf #
  • The reason not to publish Mo'toons has 0% to do with 'ooh, crazy Muslims will jihad me', & 100% to do with them being bigoted unfunny shit #
  • RT @BorisWatch the mark of a civilised man is that he recognises the right to publish and the good taste not to. #
  • Yup, if I were French, I'd probably pretend not to understand this bunch of Essex w*nkers either: http://bit.ly/4vH5sq #passengerfail #
  • Easy-RATM-purchasing: http://bit.ly/amazonratm #
  • Disagree with @themanwhofell – literally can't think of anything better than Senser, Credit To The Nation & Collapsed Lung revival #
  • The Climb isn't a great song, but hearing the M Cyrus original an interesting reminder of how *staggeringly* worthless McElderry is #
  • Which cats know most? Purportedly the cats of the city know a secret or two. The common tabbies a… http://fallenlondon.com/c/2170 #
  • RT @Paul_Anderson: Bill Keegan sensible as ever on economic policy http://bit.ly/64SI1t #
  • Peter Kay should be silenced, by any means necessary. WHO BUYS HIS CRAP? WHY? At least X-Factor fans are 12yos who don't know any better.. #
  • Woo yay. Grumpy geeks win out vs tween girls and their grannies. This is as it should be. #
  • A nice little bit of alt-history from the Staggers: http://www.newstatesman.com/uk-politics/2009/12/iraq-war-clarke-tories #
  • Entertaining Cowell-bashing PR from the Fabians at @nextlefthttp://bit.ly/4s1Bt4 #
  • Food left in house: steak; spinach; camembert. End dinner result: steak with spinach & camembert sauce is a Good Thing. #
  • (other food left in house included herring paste, salsa and piccalilli, but I decided to save those for another occasion) #
  • Massively enjoying http://echobazaar.failbettergames.com/ (this is a real tweet of timewasting advice, not a game-generated spamplug) #

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What I’ve been up to, week ending 2009-12-13

  • RT @RadioKate Arriving at my home tube station late last night I was greeted by this fantastic/unexpected sight! http://twitpic.com/sebvd #
  • Excellent piece from Unity at LC on the distinction between AGW sceptics (good) and deniers (crazy): http://bit.ly/7QO71y #
  • Bring Back Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle: http://bit.ly/3kHra – after 1,000 series, the BBC will have almost atoned for Horne and Corden #
  • Jesus on a pedalo, it's a Richard Littlejohn article I agree with: http://bit.ly/8Vrt66 [fx: feels sullied] #
  • I wonder if the "global warming stopped 10 years ago" liars will shut up now: http://bit.ly/8Y61Ug #ofcoursetheywont #
  • Controversial I know but 7 days jail + grog ASBO sounds about right for alkie who grabs someone w/o apparent malice & causes minor injuries #
  • …at least about right punishmentwise, clearly the poor bugger needs help if he's not just going to end up in jail for breaching ASBO #
  • Wow, the NHS works. 8AM today: not even NHS registered; 5PM today: signed up, seen by nurse & doctor, inspected, diagnosed & prescribed #
  • …and all for the princely sum of gbp7.50. #
  • Hooray, Chrome for Mac now out & installed, no more suffering the horrible Safari! #
  • Stupid law that panders to bigots by banning something that's already illegal in "screws innocent people over" shock: http://bit.ly/5AcHxM #
  • Why exactly do the Arabs who stole Egypt from the original Egyptians have any more moral right to the Rosetta Stone than we do? #
  • Just thought you might want to know: my right testicle has swollen to the size of a kiwi fruit. This isn't making me cheerful. #owowowowowow #
  • Dear People Whining About Having To Pay More Tax, shut up. We're some of the richest people ever to live, we can afford it. Regards, John #
  • Heresy Corner veers wildly between maddening and brilliant. This is the second: http://bit.ly/8JaBNx #
  • Hooray: the one aspect of his reign that's exceeded expections -> RT @BorisWatch Boris approves another tower – http://tinyurl.com/yzqh4xx #
  • Right-whingers constantly rail that UK is economically screwed. Data just points to a tough couple of years. Are they lying or just stupid? #
  • Zombie kittens FTW: http://www.b3ta.com/links/MEOW:3 #
  • PwC and KPMG are the neoliberal equivalent of the Politburo: http://bit.ly/54HOSj – also, mad Gerry Hassan is mad #
  • Hmm. If an interfering busybody abused me & threw things at me, I wouldn't glass them – but 18 months still seems harsh http://bit.ly/6FRUQl #
  • RT @doctorow: Legal fundraiser for Dr Peter Watts, CDN SF writer, beaten/jailed at US border http://tinyurl.com/yepugdv <- scumbastards #
  • (that's "US border control are scumbastards", both from this story and from every interaction I've had with them) #
  • Jealous of #squiffyfriday-ers as I settle for an #illfriday #
  • (my last blogpost title is a bit like the "Banned Katie Perry Upskirt Video" one from last summer, but in reverse – go have a read) #
  • Go to 1m24: RT @BishopandDouch David Cross on Fucked Up's 'Do they Know it's Christmas' is already an Xmas highlight http://bit.ly/7teAmp #
  • Lord Monckton, it's time for your medication: http://bit.ly/4XLnSw (via @dontgetfooled) #denialoonies #
  • UN Prohibitionist & Puritan In Chief in 'is lying self-aggrandising tool' shock: http://bit.ly/6p4MiY (via @bloggerheads) #
  • All it needs is a matching 'credit card application booth' and you have the Thatcher settlement in toy form: http://tiny.cc/ZTeD2 #
  • (sorry, last was via @marcusbrig) #

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Profiting from the right kind of idiots

Gambling companies draw a lot of stick for profiting from people with psychological or emotional problems and people with learning difficulties. At their worst, they can offer vestiges of hope to the damaged that lead them into a spiral of addiction and ruin.

However, not all attempts by gambling companies to profit on the stupid views that idiots hold are quite so reprehensible. For example, PaddyPower is currently offering odds of 6/4 against that the UK will lose its AAA credit rating by the end of January.

The UK won’t lose its AAA credit rating by the end of January. If you believe the UK will lose its AAA credit rating by the end of January, then you score an absolute maximum “Fat UKIP voter in the pub” on the “Warren Buffett’s IFA to Crazy Tramp Shitting Through A Letterbox” scale of ‘understands financial markets’ (this is about one point below George Osborne, fact fans).

So crazed EVILZANULIEBOURHAVERUINEDOURCOUNTRY!!!!-ites will lose their cash to an Irish joke. That’s good news all round. Incidentally – I’ve checked, and PaddyPower very sensibly aren’t running the bet the other way.

Legal guidelines for photographers in England and Wales

In the wake of the Guardian newspaper’s treacherous attempts to photograph the secret, hitherto unseen building at 1 St Mary Axe, everyone considering taking photographs in public places in England and Wales should really ensure they’re aware of the complex legal situation surrounding photography.

A conventional reading of the law can be seen in this memo from Chief Constable Andy Trotter, head of the Association of Chief Police Officers, where he reiterates many times that “there are no powers prohibiting the taking of photographs, film or digital images in a public place“.

However, layman as he is, Constable Trotter has failed to consider three very important legal concepts in this matter: the doctrines of ‘jobbious worthious’, ‘soulibus stealibus’, and ‘facina nonce’. Respectively:

1) Jobbious worthious highlights the long-established precedent that any arsehole in a uniform [*] has the absolute right to tell you what to do, demand respect at all times, pretend that he’s a policeman, and be backed up by the real police when they arrive, despite the fact that the closest he’s come to an understanding of the law is the time he got cautioned for beating up some bleedin’ liberty- taker after 12 Stellas on a Saturday night.

2) Soulibus stealibus relates to the fact that the fact that if you take a photograph of someone in any context in a public place you are, ipse facto, guilty of ‘infringing their bleedin’ human rights’. The harm done to the victim reflects the fact that your camera captures a proportion of their soul with each click (proportion captured depends on size of camera, which is why cameraphones are viewed as less serious and tripods as worst of all), and hence the social concern that with sufficient photographs you’ll start to own the person in a voodoo-slavemaster capacity.

3) Facina nonce takes precedence over soulibus stealibus in the event that there is anyone who is, resembles, or has ever been, a child in any part of the
photograph. In this context, you are automatically guilty of making and distributing child pornography (which is defined as anything that a person who is sexually excited by photographs of children, irrespective of context or content, might be sexually excited by), and hence will be summarily hanged.

[*] applies to: security guard uniforms; PCSO uniforms; railway staff uniforms. Does not apply to: school uniforms, although see point 3.

Two questions on Iraq

1) If the UK had lined up with the rest of Old Europe in opposing the war, how likely would it have been to go ahead anyway?

2) If the war had gone ahead as a unilateral US operation rather than a US/UK operation, would the outcome have been any different, for better or worse?

(worth noting that even if the answer to 1 is ‘entirely certain’ and the answer to 2 is ‘significantly worse’, I’m not claiming that’d provide sufficient moral justification for UK entry. But it’s an interesting question.)

What I’ve been up to, week ending 2009-12-06

  • LHR most destination is JFK according to BAA website, Paris not in top 5 http://bit.ly/1F3EkB (@hackneye @leylandrichard) #
  • People who use the word "personally", in the context of "that's not what I personally like" etc, should be hanged. Personally. #
  • I hate people who occupy seats on crowded trains with their bags too, but this is taking things *slightly* too far: http://bit.ly/6qdVTV #
  • Works for me -> RT @VizTopTips MEN: stop people doodling on photos of you by wearing glasses and growing a beard and moustache #
  • Changes in English usage 1950s: "the pillar box is next to the phone booth outside the railway station" (partly @benlocker) #
  • Changes in English usage 2000s: "the post box is next to the phone box outside the train station" #
  • Changes in English usage 2020s: "the, erm, used to be next to the, erm, which used to be outside the, erm". #
  • Result: I'm told that LHR-CDG is the most *flights*, LHR-JFK is the most *passengers* @hackneye @matgb @leylandrichard #
  • Still a bit perplexed about who flies LHR-CDG. There can't be *that* many people who live in Reading visiting clients in Roissy… #
  • …would be interesting to get transfer pax vs real pax stats (also, since TGVs already go to CDG, a shuttle for transfer pax would be kewl) #
  • If your interest in FS industry failings goes beyond "ooh! greedy and evil" to "more to the point, they don't work", http://bit.ly/5jxMsw #
  • Mock The Week repeat today upset me: Andy Parsons made four or five good jokes. Luckily he reverted to form before the end #
  • RT @simonk133 If Dave [Cam] thinks we need to be a culture which risks lives in a pointless cause, might I suggest he fucks back off to WWI #
  • Feel rather sorry for Pete D over Deutschland fuss – like most people, he didn't realise .de dropped Verse 1 after WWII but kept tune #
  • RT @VizLetterBocks: txt hugs & kisses are annoying; now I can’t go past my cupboard without making love to my OXO cubes (via @thesophie) #
  • Cab ride home worth a blog. "immigrants OK if don't take piss"; every immigrant I know he agreed=non-pisstaker. All his examples from Sun #
  • This pretty much summarises my political outlook: http://bit.ly/8eMrxG (via @mrpower) #
  • Dear Lord this is bad: http://twurl.nl/375q2z – amused by the artist's controversial views on piracy though (no, not like Lily Allen) #
  • RT @themanwhofell Disappointed to see all the Gary Glitter fans with their "Free Gary" twibbons. #
  • RT @mePadraigReidy Delingpole: who are the real deniers now? Me or climate research inst? <- fairly obviously, still Delingpole #
  • So what, who cares you boring little f***? #importantpopquestions #
  • If size isn't everything, and I'm half his size, how come it's him who gets to take the prize? #importantpopquestions #
  • RT @Helzbels What is a reflexologist? I imagine it's someone who sits on a stool all day, banging people on the knee with a rubber mallet. #
  • RT @Helzbels Friend who works at LHR said Air France only flying at 40% capacity. <- supports discussion from t'other day #
  • I knew my AGW post on LC was going to stir up a bit of a fuss – but Christ on a bike, the anti lot are properly mad. Jesus. #
  • #ff @kara_simsek is just so goddamn awesome #
  • …but I properly love Martin Rowson. Hogarth would be proud, this is the best cartoon EVAH: http://bit.ly/4t3r35 #
  • Merrick has a fine piece on first-time inland waterway exploration: http://bit.ly/70iKY0 – canals fucking rule. #
  • Carter-Ruck = Wolfram & Hart; bring out the stakes: http://bit.ly/5im8u #

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AGW and helicopters

Quick lunchtime update: a new piece I wrote last night has just gone up on LC (it’s taken the editors the morning to remove my sarcastic footnotes, apparently…).

It’s on an obvious point that tends to be missed from the debate on anthropogenic global warming: the people who’d benefit from the enormous, co-ordinated scam required to present a false AGW theory as true across the scientist community are small in both numbers and power (and it’d be a very hard thing to do), whilst the people who’d benefit from smearing a true AGW theory as false among newspaper, politicians and bloggers but not scientists (and we already know big companies regularly use the above channels to promote their interests), are large in numbers and enormous in power. Read the whole thing.

Quick digression before I return to working out scripts to automatically convert Word documents to XML (ENVY MY LIFE): why the hell is there an enormous black twin-rotor military helicopter hovering over the City and South Bank? Are the vested interests coming to get me…?

The idle musings of John B