Wednesday, 30 April 2008
Tuesday, 29 April 2008
"I am shocked, shocked that the Reverend Wright is a paranoid racist."
There is something almost epic about Barack Obama's slide from Democrat Messiah to John F. Kennedy to Jimmy Carter to George McGovern to John Kerry to political hack. Granted, Senator Obama had painted himself into a corner and there was no other way out, but like his links to a self-confessed terrorist and a Chicago racketeer and his wife's unfortunate choices of words, this was something he should have been aware of when it was still a dot on the horizon.
Add five doors and a pair of knickers and you've got a French farce.
Monday, 28 April 2008
Sunday, 27 April 2008
Mr. Webb's inability to see what is right before his face is taken to even greater heights by invoking the apparent contradiction of the Virginia Tech massacre (which occurred at a widely-publicised "gun-free zone") plus a resident of Washington DC who opposes the draconian firearms ban on the city being lifted by showing off nine gunshot wounds and claiming that lifting the ban would turn the capital into the "wild west". Mr. Webb does not ask him, "as opposed to what?"
Next up: Why the United States believes in military force despite defeating Communism and Fascism, has a record prison population despite a low crime rate, and grows vast amounts of food despite not suffering from famine.
Saturday, 26 April 2008
Friday, 25 April 2008
I'll say one thing about traditional farms, for all its lack of urban-living edginess I never once have I had a cow fall on my head from twenty stories up.
Update: On the other hand, it will do wonders for Compost Awareness Week.
Thursday, 24 April 2008
Wednesday, 23 April 2008
Tuesday, 22 April 2008
Muslim scientists and clerics have called for the adoption of Mecca time to replace GMT, arguing that the Saudi city is the true centre of the Earth.It's the sort of statement where the only reasonable response is a long, blank stare.
Monday, 21 April 2008
Spring's sprung earlier, warmerAnd a month later my spring plantings were wiped out by a series of frosts and snowstorms.
Climate change puts the greening season ahead of schedule for many species in the Northwest
Sunday, 20 April 2008
Saturday, 19 April 2008
The money quote from the outraged infidel who was turned away:
I asked (the member of staff) whether Clissold leisure centre would institute whites-only swimming for racists. His answer was that they would if there was sufficient demand.Not having any sort of moral compass makes decisions so easy.
Friday, 18 April 2008
Thursday, 17 April 2008
This illustrates one of the reasons why Wikipedia, though a valuable research tool, has to be taken with a dose of salt the size of the Bonneville Flats. I admire Wikipedia's directed democracy ideal for producing an online encyclopedia, but I also have doubts about how well it works in practice.
Tabletop, it turns out, has another name: Kim Dabelstein Petersen. She (or he?) is an editor at Wikipedia. What does she edit? Reams and reams of global warming pages. I started checking them. In every instance I checked, she defended those warning of catastrophe and deprecated those who believe the science is not settled. I investigated further. Others had tried to correct her interpretations and had the same experience as I -- no sooner did they make their corrections than she pounced, preventing Wikipedia readers from reading anyone's views but her own. When they protested plaintively, she wore them down and snuffed them out.
By patrolling Wikipedia pages and ensuring that her spin reigns supreme over all climate change pages, she has made of Wikipedia a propaganda vehicle for global warming alarmists. But unlike government propaganda, its source is not self-evident. We don't suspend belief when we read Wikipedia, as we do when we read literature from an organization with an agenda, because Wikipedia benefits from the Internet's cachet of making information free and democratic. This Big Brother enforces its views with a mouse.
Generally, I've found it about as reliable as any other encyclopedia (which isn't much), but only for topics that are either completely non-controversial or benignly trivial. Even then, entries face the danger of either falling to a mob consensus that is nothing but a shared falsehood or of a wrong-headed "expert" bleating rubbish about a topic so obscure that no one else bothers to contradict him. Then, of course, there's the annoyance of hacking and other vandalism. Now we find that there is the added danger of bullying "editors" who act as self-appointed officers of the Ministry of Truth.
Wednesday, 16 April 2008
Friday was my last day as a reporter, and it also happened to be the deadline for this article. I am now a former journalist, a designation held by many prestigious figures at local homeless shelters and brothels. Journalism is one of those fields you enter when you think you can make the world a better place and leave when you realize you can make your own world better simply by getting a different job. In terms of the raw altruism required, working for a newspaper is kind of like doing a stint in the Peace Corps, only the hours are worse and everybody hates you.I wish I'd had his guts when I ended a couple of previous careers.
Tuesday, 15 April 2008
The fact is that we now find ourselves with two alienated classes. It is alienation that distinguishes today’s overclass from the ruling classes of the past. A ruling class that discreetly disguised its role in deference to democratic sensibilities was by most Americans thought to be bearable and even admirable, especially as its privileges were thought to be derived from breeding and achievement. The overclass is something else. As the word suggests, it is marked by an overbearing quality; it presents itself as being over and against the American people but is quite unable to give any good reasons for its pretensions to superiority.In Britain the phenomenon is much further gone with the rise of what Peter Osborne called the New Political Class, which replaced the old Establishment with something far more self-serving and destructive:
I think it was G K Chesterton who said that the old aristocrats had a solid function in society and only became unbearable when they started acting like aristocrats, but at least the old Establishment had a real stake in the country and the well-being of the people, and however soft the current members of the House of Lords were, at least the twigs of the older families could say that their grandfathers stood with Marlborough and Wellington. The new lot haven't anything much to fall back on except that they had some really good arguments in the student union back in Poly about how people couldn't be trusted to live their own lives.
Though the eclipse of the Establishment is well-documented, the Political Class which replaced it is so far poorly understood. This is regrettable because the Political Class has come to occupy the same public space that the Establishment was supposed to until the end of the 20th century. This new class now stands at the pinnacle of the British social and economic structure. It sets social conventions, and demarcates the boundaries against which both public and private behaviour are defined. Unlike the old Establishment, the Political Class depends directly or indirectly on the state for its special privileges, career structure and increasingly for its financial support. This visceral connection distinguishes it from all previous British governing elites, which were connected much more closely to civil society and were frequently hostile or indifferent to central government. Until recent times members of British ruling elites owed their status to the position they occupied outside Westminster. Today, in an important reversal, it is the position they occupy in Westminster that grants them their status in civil society.
The Political Class is distinguished from earlier governing elites by a lack of experience of and connection with other ways of life. Its members make government their exclusive study. This means they tend not to have significant knowledge of industry, commerce, or civil society, meaning their outlook is often metropolitan and London-based. This converts them into a separate, privileged elite, isolated from the aspirations and the problems of provincial, rural and suburban Britain.
But the new lot, of course, could for them.
Monday, 14 April 2008
Sunday, 13 April 2008
Saturday, 12 April 2008
Friday, 11 April 2008
Now if I can just swing a three-picture franchise deal with Warner Brothers, I'll be laughing.
Update: Unsung heroes.
And it doesn't run Windows.
One of the world's most dangerous terror suspects was last night preparing for a life on benefits in Britain after judges ruled that his deportation would breach human rights law.It gets worse:
The rulings mean that - despite Tony Blair's promise in the immediate aftermath of the 7/7 attacks that the "rules of the game have changed" - not a single international terrorist has been forcibly removed from this country.Sir Winston is corkscrewing in his grave.