Bits and Pieces

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Does He Have The Balls?

Breaking news. Not 10 seconds ago, Jeff Goldstein and Bill Ardolino offered Oliver Willis the chance to appear alongside Little Green Footballs' Charles Johnson on radio next week. Hhmmm...

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Sortapundit 2

Hhhhm - this could be a problem.

I'm not quite sure what to do about this one? Is the name Sortapundit my intellectual property? Am I covered by copyright laws? I've been using it for over a year now, so surely I've got some sort of claim on it.

Anyway, I'm gonna leave it for the time being, and hope this guy just gives up after a few weeks. If he gets an Instalanche before me, though, there's gonna be blood.

More on Free Political Speech

I've tried to post this four times now, but Blogger decided to steal it for it's own dastardly purposes. Damned Blogger.


I've never thought about campaign finance reform as a priority until a few weeks ago. See, here in the UK elections are played out very differently than they are in the US. We don't go for the vastly expensive, year-long marathons you have over there. We don't have multi-million dollar advertising budgets.

We settle instead for a more toned down affair. Maybe the candidates will submit to a few interviews with the likes of Jeremy Paxman on the BBC (not the light option, trust me), a few town hall meetings and a hell of a lot of hand shaking and baby kissing. All in all out candidates don't need $100 million campaign budgets. They don't need to spend so much time raising money. I'm not quite sure why this is, but it seems as if there was some sort of gentleman's agreement many decades ago that we wouldn't resort to buying elections. Maybe it's just that the British people are generally too stingy to waste millions on a long, drawn out campaign. Who knows?

But I digress. Something Dean Esmay said in response to my previous post on the subject made me think. He said: 'I intend to do everything I can to openly defy these vile laws.' In addition to this, a commenter on one of my Command Post pieces remarked: 'This hearkens back to an ancient tenet of the Internet: "Usenet considers censorship a form of network failure, and routes around it."'

As far as I can see, a core characteristic of Americans is that they will happily defy any unjust law. You could extend this to unjust rule, regarding your rejection of British rule all those years ago - but let's not go on about it, eh?

What seems a constant in American history is the fact that whenever an unjust law is passed not only will there be a concerted popular effort to defy it, but someone will always find a way to make a fast buck off that defiance. Just ask Al Capone.

But abolition isn't the only example of Americans defying ridiculous laws. In states that ban fireworks, citizens travel across state lines to pick up all the rockets and Catherine wheels they need. Not only do the citizens defy a stupid law, but the businessmen who spot the gap in the market and open shop yards from the state line make out like bandits.

Another example: states such as New Hampshire that have no sales tax see a flood of shoppers pour in every day from neighbouring staes such as Vermont and Maine. Not so much an unjust law, but a nice bonus for the citizens. Again, the shoppers avoid the tax, and the store owners bring in the money hand over fist.

See, every time the government passes an unjust law, not only do they achieve the opposite of wha they intended but they always - always - end up in a worse position than if they hadn't passed it at all.

Forget my idea about outsourcing articles to the UK. Now I'm imagining towns sprouting just over the Mexican and Canadian borders, towns supported by hordes of bloggers crowding internet cafes each posting anything they want without fear of punishment, exercising the free speech that was first born when a few well-meaning souls added a little something to the Constitution many years ago. Screw the FEC.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Quote of the Day

You know what another word for "special interests" is? "Citizens."

---Dean Esmay

Monday, March 28, 2005

Uh, Little Help?

I have a special request to make.

A friend of mine, a good friend I've known since we were both in short pants (not the same pair, obviously) is moving on Thursday from the UK to Frederick, Maryland. I need anyone familiar with Frederick, or indeed Maryland as a whole, to give me a few tips to pass on about the area.

Bearing in mind that he's my age (mid-twenties) we're looking more towards the good bars and a good place to eat rather than a nice tour of Frederick's covered bridges. Please leave any suggestions in the comments or, if you prefer, email me.


While you're here, don't forget to help save my job.

More Earthquakes in the Indian Ocean

There's been another earthquake in the Indian Ocean - this time it was 8.2 on the Richter Scale.

A USGS spokeswoman told Reuters the quake struck 125 miles west northwest off Sibolga, Sumatra or 880 miles northwest of the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, close to where the 9.0 magnitude quake struck in December.

A spokesman for the U.S. Geological Survey told CNN that the earthquake could cause tsunamis.

"Certainly evacuations should be occurring. I hope they are," spokesman Don Blakeman said, saying of the earthquake that "it could also cause some local tsunami activity."

In an attempt to use my meager education to enlighten those unfamiliar with the science of the situation, here is a repeat of my post from Boxing Day 2004, outlining the mechanics of how earthquakes cause tsunamis. Lets pray that the requisite criteria aren't fulfilled for this one. Lets also hope that the countries that could be battered by them again are taking steps to evacuate.

From Dec. 26th 2004

It occurs to me that the general public learn much of what they know about tsunamis from Hollywood movies like The Day After Tomorrow - movies that tend to sacrifice fact for spectacular effects. I'm no expert, but I might as well use my soapbox to straighten out a few facts.

To begin, the tsunamis were a symptom of an earthquake measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale. To give you some sort of idea of the power released during a quake of this magnitude, it's equal to about 32 billion tons of TNT. As residents of LA will be aware, the Richter scale is a base-10 logarithmic scale, which means that an earthquake measuring 9.0 on the scale will release many times more energy than an 8.0 quake.

The quake occurred just off the south coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, where the Eurasian and Indo-Australian tectonic plates meet. Those of you who have a firm grasp of plate tectonics can skip over the next paragraph, but for the rest of you...

As you probably know, the surface of the earth is made up numerous sections known as tectonic plates. These plates effectively float on the dense, hot asthenosphere, a layer of the mantle in which the rock is hot enough to become pliable - to be able to deform without fracturing.

Now, these tectonic plates move incredibly slowly - usually less than a few centimetres every year, and it's where they meet each other that we get problems. The Eurasian plate and the Indo-Australian plate meet each other at Sumatra. The Indo-Australian plate is being forced underneath the denser Eurasian plate at a rate of about 6cm each year at the Java Trench (here is a simplified animation of the process). The movements of the two plates are what cause earthquakes. The stresses caused by the two plates scraping together force pressure to build in the rock until it discharges all at once, literally snapping. The faultline slips perhaps 10-15m, causing the displacement of huge volumes of water. 15 metres doesn't sound like much, but you have to realise that this is 15 metres movement over maybe 1,000km of plate margin.

The displaced sea water travels at speeds of up to 500mph, effectively invisible to the naked eye. The crest of the waves will only be a few feet high in open water, the only visible sign of the enormous volume of water speeding along under the surface.

The momentum of the waves means that they can travel vast distances with little loss of energy. The 1960 earthquake off the coast of Chile created a tsunami that had enough energy to travel 10,000 miles in 22 hours until it hit land in Japan, killing about 150 people. Update - the Sumatran tsunami has now crossed almost 3,000 miles of ocean, killing at least 9 people in Somalia.

As the waves approach land, and the sea floor rises, the water slows dramatically as the waves compress like an accordion, forcing them to pile up vertically. They draw water from the coastline, creating powerful undercurrents that can drag swimmers out to sea. The tsunamis don't break like normal waves, but simply hit the coast like walls of water, destroying buildings, tossing boats into the air like toys, and smothering those who have been unable to escape under unimaginable volumes of water.

It's folly to think of a tsunami as just a large wave. It's much more accurate to imagine that it is an extension of the sea, conquering the land and pushing back the coastline, in some cases by hundreds of metres. The 1993 tsunami at Okushiri, Japan reached 32m in height - the same as an 8-storey building. You can't hide from that, and you sure as hell can't try to swim to the surface. All you can do is run.

Some of us have a head start. I wrote my dissertation on the gap in preparedness and aid for earthquakes between the developed and developing world and, tragically, most of the nations affected by today's disaster have laughable warning systems. It's been several years since I've looked into the subject but, last time I looked, India's method of saving lives following tsunamis was to build refuges on stilts. Their warning system consisted of rusting air raid sirens from WW2. I hope they've improved in the last 5 years, but I wouldn't bet on it.

The Pacific, in comparison, is relatively well-prepared for tsunamis. Underwater sensors can alert us to approaching tsunamis, giving people living on the Pacific Rim adequate time to find high ground or flee inland. Unfortunately, such systems are not widely used in the Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal due to the cost of installing and monitoring the sensors, and the relative rarity of tsunamis.

While you're here, don't forget to help save my job.


FrankJ and SarahK are getting married! That's the best news I've heard all year. Ah, I'll always wonder if Sarah and I would have ever got it together, if I only lived in the US, was crazy about handguns and, well, was as funny as FrankJ.

Anyway. Ahem. There are a couple of big questions now.

1. What would be the ideal wedding present for FrankJ and SarahJ (nee K)?

2. When, exactly, will the first kid come along, and what will be his/her name and super power.

Have at it in the comments.

My Friends

It is with a heavy heart that I must today report that I am conceding defeat against the forces of Basil's Blog and his mighty Coalition.

The war began well, with some significant early gains for the League of Sortapundit. We managed to steal the terms "Strip clubs in Ohio with midget strippers" and "Jamie Lynn Spears Naked" from Basil, the slumbering giant.

However, these early victories masked a basic lack of strategy on our part. While we were rejoicing our early dominance, Basil's Coalition were quietly plotting their own coup, orchestrated by a stealthy email campaign. Within a few short days Basil had managed to steal the term "Sortapundit" from under our very noses. Let that be a lesson to all those who decide to rest on their laurels. You are at your weakest when you think you are strongest.

From there it went downhill quickly. Morale slumped, and Basil's growing Coalition continued to make gains, not only regaining their lost terms, but further fortifying their positions in the rest of the Sacred Seven. It soon became clear that the war was all but lost.

However, our British resolve and stiff-upper-lippedness helped us soldier on long after the war was lost.

Today, however much it hurts, we must accept that we have bean vanquished by a worthy foe. Basil's dedication and alliance-building skills assured him victory from the off. After secret talks in an undisclosed location (it was actually a Denny's just outside Frederick, Maryland) we agreed that hostilities must end to prevent further needless losses.

But there is no shame in defeat. The enemy was simply better prepared. To paraphrase the author of my favourite trashy novel:

Winning may not be everything, but losing isn't nothing.

Basil's Blog
The Alliance of Free Blogs
21st Century Paladin
Assumption of Command
Bobo Blogger
Down for Repairs
GOP and College
GOP and the City
Manic Viking
Mean Ol' Meany
MY Vast Right Wing Conspiracy
Ogre's Politics and Views
Phin's Blog
Pirate's Cove
Pooklekufr: The Kafir Constitutionalist
Short Family Website Online
The View from the Bunker
Travis Benning
Tursiops Times

Honourable and worthy foes, one and all.

While you're here, don't forget to help save my job.

The Times They Are A-Changin'

Before I was born (way, way before - I'm a very youthful chap, you see) there was a lot of fearful talk about the domino effect. It was feared that once one country fell to communism it was only a matter of time before the surrounding countries followed suit - reminiscent, naturally, of a line of dominoes toppling.

I never held much faith in that theory. It always seemed a little simplistic and fanciful to me. However, there seems to be a domino effect of sorts ocurring around the word as we speak, not this time in favour of communism, but in favour of freedom. I'll leave it up to the reader to decide whether this slew of protests for freedom and power have come as a result of the burgeoning democracy in Iraq. All I'm saying is I don't believe in coincidence.

Protests in Taiwan against Chinese rule:

More at Willisms and Publius Pundit;

Tens of thousands march in Bahrain demanding fairer and more representative government:

Photo courtesy of Chan'ad Bahraini

More can be found at Publius Pundit;

Mongolians march, demanding investigations into corruption. Former Prime Minister and current President Nambaryn Enkhbayar is head target;

Hundreds in Belarus call for the resignation of President Lukashenko;

500 protest in former Soviet Republic of Ingushetia - and I get you've never even heard of that one. It's directly west of Chechnya, by the way;

and finally, the overthrow of Kyrgyzstan's President Askar Akayev. Those guys really have to come up with a name that's easier to spell. This is just getting silly.

While you're here, don't forget to help save my job.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Small Pleasures

This may not sound like much, but it means a lot to me. Let me explain. When I was 18 years old I applied to read Geography at the University of Manchester about 10 miles from my home. At the time I had a habit of neglecting to revise for exams (a strategy that seemed to work for me - but I wouldn't advise it. I'm just astoundingly intelligent, and I usually got away with it. Just kidding). The result of this was that my predicted grades at college (based on past performance in mock exams) weren't that hot, and I was rejected.

I ended up getting my degree from Manchester Metropolitan University - popularly known as 'Mickey Mouse' University. Don't get me wrong, I got a good education there. It's just that the University of Manchester had a very good pedigree, and gaining your degree there gives you a certain amount of pride - something that the average Man Met graduate lacks. It's sort of like the difference between attending Cambridge College and attending Harvard.

Anyway, what was my point? Oh yeah. I wrote a post yesterday about the proposed FEC regulations that would outlaw US bloggers from linking to campaign websites, and suggested the alternative that they instead email their posts to bloggers in the UK so we could post them, effectively outsourcing political speech (handily, that was the title of the post). The response from the US was tepid at best. Wizbang's Jay Tea politely declined the offer, preferring instead to allow US bloggers themselves to deal with the problem. Now here's the good part. I emailed Professor Norman Geras, a lecturer in modern political thought (among other subjects) to ask his opinion. And he agreed with my ideas:

I haven't really taken a close interest in the issue,though I suppose I should have; but as far as I can see you're quite right in what you say here.

Where does he lecture?

The Department of Government, University of Manchester.

As I say, it may not sound much, and it will never turn back the clock and get me admitted to MU, but after toiling in the cold cement blocks of MMU for 4 years, dreaming of studying in MU, it feels good to have an MU professor finally say you're right. Well done.

Thanks, Norm.

While you're here, don't forget to help save my job.

Britblog Roundup

Tim Worstall has the 6th Britblog Roundup ready. Don't miss it.

While you're here, don't forget to help save my job.

President Quick?

Now this is interesting:

The Republicans are no longer the party of small, limited government, fiscal sanity, states and individual rights, and the Constitution. In their own way, they have become as bloated, hypocritical, invasive, and spendthrift as much of the worst the Democrats have to offer.

If you think there must be some alternative, I am with you, and I would like to find one. That means we have to create an interest group of moderates and libertarians who become crucial to the balance of power. If we hold the keys to the electability of candidates from the right and the left, then both sides must listen to us.

I've always liked Bill, and he hasn't disappointed today. One of the biggest problems I see in the US political sytem (speaking as an outsider) is that the choices are so limited. A vote for the Republicans is a vote to align yourself with George Bush and everything he holds dear; a vote for the Democrats is a vote for... Hell, I don't know, but they're against everything Bush is for, Durnit.

There is no longer an option to elect the guys who want small government and more personal liberty. These days both the Dems and Repubs want to take your money and sift through your trash. But there are many of us who'd be willing to vote for guys who are willing to fight for our vote.

In a recent diary on DailyKos (that has, of course, been deleted and the ground disinfected wherever my feet stood) I argued that the Democrats must do more to win back the middle. I count myself among those who could be won back, and faced nothing but scorn from the Kossites. The general consensus was that if I could be so easily won over I wasn't worth having in the party. If the Democrats are ever to regain power they must realise that there is a growing centre populated by people such as myself and Bill, people who can be swayed either way given the correct incentive. Same goes for the Republicans (subsituting 'regain' for 'retain').

Will Bill be the guy to galvanise the centre and sway the next elections? I'd vote for him.

While you're here, don't forget to help save my job.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Lessons in Life No. 1

So I'm at a party last night and I fall in an ornamental pond. Long story, bad garden lighting. Enough said.

Here's the lesson. When you go to a party with a water hazard, make sure you don't have a huge hole in the crotch of your boxer shorts (or jockeys - I ain't judgin'). It can get embarrassing.

While you're here, don't forget to help save my job.

Crazy Blog Money

Want to advertise on Sortapundit, but don't want to pay Blogads prices?

If you run a small business and would like to expand your customer base, or even if you're part of a huge multinational mega corporation and would like to throw some of that crazy blog money I keep hearing about my way, email me here.

Sortapundit receives an average of around 300 visitors a day, most of whom seem to be remarkably intelligent, attractive folk with plenty of cash to throw around. While there is no pricing scheme set in stone I'm sure we can come to an arrangement. As a rule of thumb you're probably looking at about $20 a month for an ad at the top of the sidebar.

Outsourcing Political Speech

This piece is cross-posted at The Command Post.

I've been reading a lot recently about the FEC's attempts to regulate political speech online - specifically ruling that a link to a campaign website constitutes an 'in kind' contribution, opening the blogger up to a number of penalties for exceeding the limit. I agree with many that, at some point in the near future, there will be some sort of constraints placed on what you can and can't say on your blog. The severity of the laws I'll leave to your paranoid imagination.

James Miller writes that 'when an industry faces a new and significant threat to its profits and powers it turns to the government for protection.' Maybe, but when the blogosphere faces a significant threat it uses its own inherent flexibility to find a way around it - or through it.

The question is, what are you gonna do about it (apart from the obvious initial response of blogging angrily about the FEC)? It's 2008. You want to keep Hillary out of the White House because she's running on a platform of mandatory spaying but it's illegal to endorse her competition without wading through a stack of disclaimers the size of Hillary's ego. So why not just bypass the laws? If it's illegal in the US to link to a campaign site, you can make all the contributions you want by outsourcing the job here to the UK. Ask me to post your thoughts. Ask Norm Geras. Ask Samizdata or Tim Worstall. We can write about whatever candidate you support with impunity. What are the FEC gonna do? Extradite us to Gitmo?

John Smith in New York can e-mail me his commentary and I'll blog it. His email doesn't count as a political contribution as it's intended for an audience of one and is password protected. As soon as it lands on my blog, though, it'll become a public communication. But what laws have been broken? All you did was link to this here site. You're not endorsing anyone. No, no, no. Look, here's a picture of your cat - which is, of course, the real reason you blog. Nothin' to see here.

If the FEC wants to delve into regulating the Internet we have the upper hand, because we're all geeks who were here when they launched the mouse. We were around when the main selling point of a computer were that you could make a cool wavy line after writing only 300 lines on code. We'll beat them with computers because we're better at it than they are. We'll just find different ways of promoting out chosen candidates.

Think about it. You don't want the government to get their hands on your hard earned drug money? Send it to the Caymans. You don't want to be fined by the FEC? Blog-by-proxy.

Imagine it - instead of requesting the use of the webspace of individual foreign bloggers, how about a group blog of political posts hosted in the UK but written by a stable of US bloggers, with me receiving posts from the US by email and putting them up online moments later. You're not breaking any US laws. As far as you're concerned you're sending a private email to a foreign friend, and he unaccountably keeps letting them escape into the public domain, darn it.

Now, I'm not quite sure about the legal issues that would arise from outsourcing political speech. It's been several years since I studied law (UK law, and I was no great shakes back then anyway). The closest doctrine I can find that could be used to prosecute a US blogger is 'active personality', a doctrine used to prosecute citizens at home when they commit crimes overseas. There are a couple of problems with that, though. First is the fact that it probably only applies to criminal charges, and a breach of current FEC regulation is usually dealt with in the civil courts - though imprisonment is a possibility. The other problem is that political speech on blogs isn't regulated in the UK, so it could easily be argued that no breach occurred.

Still, wouldn't it be fun to watch the FEC try to prosecute a US citizen as an accessory to a British blogger writing political commentary on British soil using British equipment? The best part? You can blog all about it.

While you're here, don't forget to help save my job.

Friday, March 25, 2005

In the Navy

OK, 5 more minutes and then I'm giving up and going to bed. It's getting light outside and I have to get my beauty sleep in time for a party tonight (trust me, I need it. I'll have bags under my eyes the size of footballs).

I went to a gig last night at a local club, and saw a friend of my brother's. This guy has been in the Navy for about 5 years now, and he's having the time of his life and earning crazy money. He started at the bottom with no qualifications and worked his way up. Now he's working on something very secret several storeys below the streets of London, and he's on an intensive 2 year course in Arabic languages.

Now, as some of you long-termers will know, I applied to the Officer Corps early last year, but didn't follow through for various reasons. Every time I see this guy he goes on at me to finally join, but I'm in two minds. On the one hand I'm a graduate, so I'd go straight in as a 'Rupert' in the Officer Corps. On the other hand, I suspect I'm too much of a layabout to make such a life-altering decision. I have a tendency to coast - a tendency that's landed me with a job I really enjoy but with a laughable salary, not even enough to keep my car roadworthy and keep up with the bills. If I pulled my finger out and joined up I could wave goodbye to all my financial worries and actually do something productive with my life.

What I'd like is some advice from any of you in the forces - preferably Royal Navy but any advice from other branches from whatever country would be welcome. What's the life like? Is it worth committing myself for the rest of my 20's? How did your life changed after you joined the forces?

OK, I'm out. It's bedtime. Night all. Well, morning I suppose. Except for you guys in the US, where it's still night. I'm confused. Leave me alone.

Come The Revolution...

Damn and blast it, with a large punnet of British expletives. A virus managed to slip through my foolproof net of a trial version of Norton Antivirus and 3-year old virus definitions, and it seems to be trying to e-mail copies of itself to random addresses. The fuckwits who make these nasty little things should have chum attached to their balls and be dangled over the side of a boat in shark country.

Anyway, it's 6am and I have to sit here until this damned Bloodhound.w32.EP gets the hell out of my system. Bearing in mind that my technical knowledge of computers stretches as far as On/Off button, and how to write in italics and bold, this could take a while. I've been watching old episodes of Family guy while guzzling gallons of gut-rotting fizzy orange juice, and I'm about to collapse.

While I'm here, though, I may as well direct your attention over to the top of the right sidebar, where my new sponsor, Eight Foot Llama, takes pride of place. If you're looking for a gift you won't find in Toys'R'Us, go and pay a visit.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Hostilities Resume

In a scene reminiscent of December 26th 1914, hostilities resumed between myself and Basil's Blog and his coalition. As one remarked on Wedneday's truce, "It was a day of peace in war. It is only a pity that it was not decisive peace".

Alas, peace cannot be attained by mere White Trash bonding, and the war must go on.

The Niggas at DFNCTSC
Paris Hilton's cell phone number
Jamie Lynn Spears naked
Strip clubs in Ohio with Midget Strippers
Free big tit sites
Girls big tit

In other news, Basil has become a blog-daddy to moehawk. moehawk's first few posts are about me, so I'm just gonna go ahead and take credit for everything he ever writes.

Advertising, Penguins and Trouser Theft

I got a strange e-mail this morning from a guy named Jim Doherty. Jim runs a family boardgame business out of Westford, Massachusetts, and he's looking to get some exposure and drum up a little more business.

Now, usually I don't run ads on the site, barring the occasional flirtation with Google Ads. The main reason, of course, is that they pay squat and you have to earn $100 before they'll pay out a penny. Add to this the fact that Blogads won't return my calls, and it all seems too much like hard work.

Still, I took a look at Jim's site, Eight Foot Llama, and let me tell you this is a company I want to be on board with - sorry, that pun was quite unavoidable. See, these aren't just ordinary board games (throw a 6. Oh no. I have to go back 3 spaces. Woe is me). No, these are special. These are the kind of fun and quirky games I grew up with: The Penguin Ultimatum; Monkeys on the Moon and the improbably titled Who Stole Ed's Pants?

I will, of course, be placing Jim's ad prominently on the front page as soon as possible. See, I have friends who come from disfunctional families, full of yelling and slammed doors, asking how the hell my family seem to get along so well. Why aren't there any bitter feuds and hey, why isn't there any crockery being hurled against the walls? I couldn't give you a perfect answer, but at least part of it is down to the fact that we've spent years sitting around a coffee table playing games just like Jim's. Now, I don't want to claim that cardgames breed happy families, but they surely can't hurt, can they?

And now my second point: why isn't there more of this kind of advertising? Why is it that the choice seems to be limited to Google Ads for small sites, Blogads for the big guys? Why can't it be the case that a small business, maybe one that doesn't have the advertising budget to invest in Blogads, can go to a blogger and offer a little cash for an ad? Hell, why can't bloggers take the initiative and approach businesses themselves? Surely they more than anyone know what kind of demographic their site reaches. Surely they are the best placed to judge the type of business that could benefit from advertising on it.

The main thing, the thing that really reaches in and grabs a company like Blogads by the balls and squeezes 'til it cries, is that the bloggers get to keep 100% of the revenues. That I can get on board with.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Artificial Outrage

Excuse me for being heartless, but am I the only person on earth who just doesn't care what happens with Terri Schiavo?

It's not that I'm unconcerned with the fate of an innocent woman, but hasn't this attention all gotten a little out of hand? Every single blog I've read today - every single one* - had at least one Terri post written in the past 48 hours. You know what else happened in the past 48 hours?

60,546 people died around the world of starvation and it's related illnesses. Think about that. If a woman in Terri Schiavo's situation were to die each and every day it would take over 82 years to equal the starvation death toll of a single day


16,000 people died of AIDS - and there were 28,000 new cases.

All this attention for one woman, when many, many worse things are going on around the world. Surely there must be something special about this woman. Hmmm, what could that be? Ah yes - its the dirty little secret nobody wants to acknowledge. Very few of the people kicking up all this fuss actually care about Schiavo. All that matters is that she can be used as a tool to advance whatever cause they happen to be fighting for this week. What I'm seeing around the blogosphere today looks a little too shrill, a little too packed with outrage: and just why that is becomes clear as soon as you read the last line of the post:

"I can't believe those damned Democrats/Republicans are doing this to that poor woman."

*To illustrate my point, here is a list of the blogs I've loaded today, with a link to each Schiavo post:

Daily Pundit
Protein Wisdom
Dean's World
Oliver Willis

Disclaimer: this isn't to say that there's anything inherently wrong about making the case a partisan issue. I'd just like to point out the moral bankruptcy of the whole wailing and gnashing of teeth. I'd also like to point out that the sites listed above were picked out only because they are my regular reads, for the very good reason that they're damn good writers with whom I share many opinions and beliefs (with the exception of Willis. That guy's just an asshat.)

La Mort a la Resistance

Daily Pundit's David Gillies reports that Iraqi and US forces have stormed a terrorist training camp near Tikrit, killing 84 insurgents.

Now you may say to yourself 'well, it's only 84 of them'. But lets assume that each of these insurgents would have, if allowed, gone on to kill, say, 5 people each - I just picked that number out of the air, but considering the weaponry and training manuals found in the camp I think it's a fairly good guess, if a little on the low side.

So - Iraqi and US forces saved the lives of over 400 people. Add to that the number saved by the 24 insurgents killed on the weekend, we get a total of 545 saved. Oh, and how about the 17 insurgents killed in Mosul. That takes us up to 625 Iraqis saved just in the past couple of day.

And it's not just the soldiers saving Iraqis - the Iraqis are saving themselves.

Now tell me what we're doing is a bad thing.

Meanwhile, in anti-war protests across the world:

It makes you feel all warm inside, don't it?

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

White Trash Wednesday: UK Remix

I got a cousin called Keegan livin' in America. He's livin' in one of them trailer park things - kinda like Butlin's, but without the Redcoats. He called me the other day to tell me about this thing called White Trash Wednesdays, where loads o' trailer park fellas go mad for it on the Internet every week. I wasn't gonna bother joinin' in, but it isn't Giro day 'til Thursday and I've run out o' wife beater and fags. I'd spend all day lookin' at porn in the computer, but it's never been the same since I saw me Aunt Vi doin' DVDA on 50 an' over dot co dot UK.

So. I don't know what I should say, really. I'm not that interestin'. I'm called Kev. I was born in Salford in Manchester. My dad died just before I was born, but he must really have loved my mam cause he still sends a bit of money every month. Mam says he was in the TV industry, but our cousin Daz told me the closest he got to TV's was when he got nicked trying to rob the Manchester branch of Dixons.

I've got 5 brothers and 3 sisters: Declan, Kev, Keegan, Kev, Jodie, Sandra, and Beckham. We all got different dads, but it works out okay. They're all in the same wing at Strangeways, so it's easy to visit them all at the same time. The guards think I'm fat, but that's just cause every time they see me I've got about a thousand Marlboros jammed down my top. Keegan's dad has to give his mate Bruiser 500 fags a week or he'll lose his ass virginity.

Well, I'm gonna go now. Trisha just came on and our cousin Donna's on today. She's gonna tell her brother Kev that he's the father of her child. It's gonna well kick off.


White Trach Wednesday Patrons:

Basil's Blog
Cry Freedom
Dangerous Logic
Hector Vex's Infotainment
MY Vast Right Wing Conspiracy
Six Meat Buffet
My Pet Jawa
Toner Mishap

Gratuitous Plug

I won a caption contest over at Publius Pundit by shooting the first thing that came to me out of my ass. Turns out my ass is hilarious, because I won a free Blogad for a week over there.

Which is nice, ya know, because Publius' Robert Mayer has had, in addition to his regular healthy traffic, at least two Instalanches in the past few days - most recently for reporting that the government of Estonia has collapsed.

That's the little one stuck to the top of Latvia.

Their major exports are machinery and equipment, textiles, chemicals and foodstuffs.

It's capital is Tallinn.

Just FYI.

Oh, the joys of a degree in Geography.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

At Least I'm Not French

Well, it's true. I'm not F*****g American, as Basil's Blog correctly points out. In fact, according to the test (courtesy of Pirate's Cove) I'm a Canadian-Baiting Uber-American. OK, so the quiz wasn't really designed for people who aren't at least a little American. I suppose that Canadian Baiter is better than Un-American Commie Pinko.

Meanwhile, I've been following crafty angles in my war against Basil's Blog and his evil Coalition. For instance, I bet 10 whole English pounds on a game of football today, and almost doubled my money. I later bet my winnings on another game and won again. I sent the money back to my bank, with a healthy 170% profit. See, while Basil's horde are content to fruitlessly juggle Google rankings, I sit back, drink beer, watch Animal House, eat a few of those microwaveable Chicago Town pizzas, and bet money on professional sports (which is perfectly legal here - how's that for freedom?).

I've lost the train of thought that led to me winning this war, but it'll come back to me. I'm too full of pizza and beer to think right now.

But - before I go.

The Niggas at DFNCTSC have Paris Hilton's cell phone number while Jamie Lynn Spears naked dances in strip clubs in Ohio with midget strippers, which were the springboards for the careers of many of the young ladies you can see baring all in many free big tit sites - those magazines that have girls big tit in them.

Oh, and Gizoogle.

Adventures in Central Park

First Protester: I'm cold. There's a Starbucks down the street.

Second Protester: I won't leave until Chimpy McBushitler admits the war in Iraq was immoral and wrong.

First Protester: Wait. Aren't we protesting war in Iran today?

Second Protester:

First Protester: Or did I bring the wrong banner?

Second Protester:

First Protester:

Second Protester: Just shut up and get me a latte.*

*Concept shamelessly pilfered from Jeff Goldstein

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Money? Meet Mouth.

Via Wizbang:

This is a photo taken at a protest today in the US. Now, call me simple, but shouldn't the CND be in favour of taking down the Iranian leadership? This is a government, remember, that received 12 nuclear-capable cruise missiles from the Ukraine in 2001. Not just cruise missiles, but missiles specifically designed to carry nuclear warheads. Now, are these the kind of guys the CND actually wants in power? Or is it maybe the case that the person who produced that placard is an idiot of the highest order?

Now, far be it from me to shoot my mouth off and then hide behind the Internet. I'm serious about nuclear weapons - and if anybody in earth can be trusted with them I'd rank the leadership of Iran considerably lower than my cat. With this in mind, I've applied for an internship at the CND. There's a regional office on Beswick Street in Manchester, about 10 miles from my home. They're looking for interns who meet the following requirements:

  • Degree/Interest in international relations/politics/defence/finance/IT/law/business studies/marketing

I have a degree in geography. I have an interest in international relations, politics, defence and IT. I also have higher qualifications in law and business studies.

  • Good analytical skills

My analytical skills are honed to the extent that I can deduce that the majority, or at least the visible majority, of supporters of the CND are, to put it in the least offensive way, unwashed buffoons.

  • A good overview of international relations, peace and security issues

My experience of international relations, peace and security issues lead me to believe that to allow Iran access to nuclear arms is tantamount to allowing a monkey access to a grenade.

  • Good writing skills

I don't want to brag, but I write a mean memo.

  • A positive problem solving approach

Problem: Iran developing nuclear arms. Solution: Prevent Iran from developing nuclear arms.

  • Good interpersonal skills

I haven't killed you yet, have I?

  • Good team working skills

I haven't killed the team, either.

  • Good IT skills

Enough to turn on the box thing and write words on the letters doohickey.

  • A sympathetic understanding of aims and objectives of CND

Sure, I symapathise and understand that you want a world without nuclear weapons. I just don't think a campaign of vigorously not showering is the way to go about it, is all.

See, I'm a perfect candidate. I'll enter the organisation at the bottom and turn it around. In a few decades we'll have a nuclear-free world. Of course, by that time we'll all be cowering under the enormous space-based super laser: the Killotron.

And they still won't shower.

Terms and conditions

Internships are unsalaried positions. Agreed travel expenses will be met, together with lunch expenses. Preferred length of internship at least 6 months, but shorter periods working full-time also acceptable. Hours: 1-2 days (or 8-16 hours) per week, or more.

How to apply

CND are in need of interns throughout the year. Please submit by e-mail to the address below the following applications material:

A cover letter, describing the reasons for your interest in working at CND, when you are available to begin, and how many days a week you wish to work;

Contact details for two referees

Your Curriculum Vitae to date;

A brief writing sample, where relevant, no more than one page

Please e-mail your application materials to:

I emailed the following to the above address:


I would like to apply for a position as an intern at the CND. I would prefer to be based in the Manchester office, and can make myself available 2 days a week, Monday and Thursday.


Kevin Aylward -

President George W Bush -

Prime Minister Tony Blair -

Samples of my writing can be found at

In all seriousness, if they were to offer me a position I'd take it. There are few matter more serious than nuclear arms. As a member of their organisation I'd do my best to steer their strategies away from idiotic placards and towards more effective methods, namely killing people who try to use nuclear weapons.

Stung by the Police

In an effort to avoid becoming 'all blog war, all the time' lets talk about something else. Hmmm...

I got stopped by the police yesterday. I was sitting in my car taking a break from reading meters when they pulled up beside me. It was a typical English encounter with the police.

'Is there a problem, officer?'

'Afternoon, sir. Are you calling on houses?'


'And for what reason, sir?'

'I'm reading electric meters. Do you want to see my ID?'

'If you wouldn't mind, sir. Just to eliminate you from our inquiries.'

They're the most polite, and yet most suspicious, police force in the world. The guy's partner studied my ID like a hawk before they handed it back to me and drove away. I called a friend of mine and was laughing with him about it when the police car turned around at the end of the street. They sat there for five minutes staring at me while I was on the phone.

Turns out there are some dodgy characters working in the area. A couple of weeks ago a group of men in a van arrived at the house of an old lady and told here they'd come from a local carpet firm. She'd won free carpets for the entire house, but they needed to come in a measure every room. There's also a young woman getting into houses by pretending to be a meals on wheels service.

I'm so glad I live on a nice street.

Friday, March 18, 2005

2nd Blogiversary!

Tomorrow marks the two-year anniversary of the Iraq war. It also marks my second blogiversary.

I don't remember the actual date I started blogging, and the evidence has now been lost in the ether, but I remember sitting in front of the computer on March 19th 2003 (it was actually in the wee small hours of March 20th here in the UK) watching the first bombs drop, and that was when I decided to start the blog. A move from Lycos to Blogger, a name change and an unplanned six month hiatus later and I'm going stronger than ever. I've set tomorrow as the date because, well, I can.

What makes it so special, though, is that when I started the site it was intended as a protest to the war. As I was watching the bombs drop on Baghdad I was angrier than I've ever been while sitting in pyjamas watching TV. I was near as damn it a Kossite. A disciple of Willis. Ech. I just got a shiver down my spine. 6 months in I started to have my doubts. 2 years in and I realised, as Glenn describes it, the 'moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the "peace" movement', and now try to distance myself as much as possible from those crazy hippies who'll be taking to the streets tomorrow to proclaim, once again, that they hate democracy.


Happy Birthday to me
Happy Birthday to me
Happy Birthday, Sortapundit
Happy Birthday to me

Battle Continues

The war continues between myself and Basil. New development? Basil himself has begun to announce his own defeats. And another one.

Meanwhile Imperial Secretary of War, IMAO's Frank J., approved the war.

The Sacred Seven

Google searches

Paris Hilton's Cell Phone Number

The Niggas at DFNCTSC

Strip Clubs in Ohio with Midget Strippers

MSN searches

Girls Big Tit

Free Big Tit Sites
28th - 1st with quotes

Jamie Lynn Spears Naked

The action is hotting up. Basil has collected a group of like-minded bloggers to assist in his survival. Looks like I need to gather myself a posse. Hhmmmm, who to recruit? First, to dispel any ideas that my team may be an axis of Brits, I've recruited that most 'merican of 'mericans, Prof. Rusty Shackleford - not only one of the great 'mericans, but also a strong proponent of a better, more naked Jessica Alba.

And so, Rusty becomes the first - well, second including me - member of the League of Sortapundit. Who will step up next. Will it be you? Or you? Or.... You?

Now, who will press my reset button? Will it be you? Or you? Or.... You?

Thursday, March 17, 2005

A Reply

Basil continues to goad me with his higher Google rankings, but it seems his bravado is masking a deep and clinging fear - fear caused by the sound of yours truly scrambling up the ladder beneath him. I'm up to 31st place for Paris Hilton's cell phone number, a pathetic 128th for The Niggas at DFNCTSC... but 1st for strip clubs in ohio with midget strippers!

You heard that right. During the opening skirmish I've brushed Basil from the spot he once occupied. Now I'll be the one causing much disappointment among Ohioans.

Basil also offers an ultimatum:

  • Accept that we can work together to advance the understanding of all mankind (or at least provide a few minutes of diversion to those surfing the Net).

  • Accept that when people want to search Google and Yahoo! using the phrases:


Paris Hilton's cell phone number

The Niggas at DFNCTSC

Strip clubs in Ohio with midget strippers

Girls big tit

Free big tit sites

Jamie Lynn Spears naked

And go to a site that features none of these, they will come here.

  • Accept that, while you are a loyal subject of the Queen, writing like an American is a good thing and is to be embraced if it comes naturally. Don't make me go to Massachusetts or California to find a judge to set loose on you.

This need not get ugly. But, I've got a whole sackful of ugly to unleash if necessary. Sortapundit, I expect your answer before the end of the week.

Or face the consequences.

Oh, very brave, very brave. It's a pity you weren't so forthcoming in 1939. My answer is this:

You can take you hogeys, your foot longs, your grinders and subs. You can take your McDonalds, Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Wendys. You can take Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Jennifer Lopez, roll them up and smoke them, by Jiminy Joseph.

Give me The Beatles. Give me scones and clotted cream. Give me football in the park on a Sunday afternoon, scraped knees and jumpers for goalposts. Give me Monty Python, a cold pint on a summer's day and the Sunday Times.

No, you can take your truce and keep it. Prepare to face the wrath of the nation that drove back the Germans, not once but twice; colonised the world and then settled into retirement. You want to talk about a slumbering giant? You have no idea....

Prepare to die.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

What is it Good For? Absolutely Nothin'... Say it Again

As part of my Blog War with Basil I've been browsing through my logs, and I discovered that my readers are even more unbalanced than I thought.

In the past 24 hours people have searched for the following, and found Sortapundit:

Too drunk to fish

You're never too drunk to fish.

Mangrove trimming is not a smart thing

Not while you're drunk, anyway.

Brass knuckles overnight shipping

Who plans to punch someone 24 hours ahead of time?

Alas, I have yet to make a dent on the listings for Paris Hilton's cell phone number. I did show up, I think, for Gizoogle, but it was way, way down - something like page 5. Patience, grasshopper. Before long I will be the king of strip clubs in Ohio with midget strippers. The niggas at DFNCTSC will bow down to their true God, and I will fulfil my promise to the people of earth by putting a car in every garage and a Jamie Lynn Spears naked in every pot. Also, girls big tit and free big tit sites.

Monday, March 14, 2005

This Means War

In response to Basil's acceptance of our little blog war:

I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of Basil, if necessary for years, if necessary alone.

At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do. That is the resolve of His Majesty's Government - every man of them. That is the will of Parliament and the nation.

The British Empire and the Sortapundit Republic, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death their native soil, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength.

Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Basil and all the odious apparatus of Basil rule, we shall not flag or fail.

We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.*

*Thanks to Mr Churchill

Oh, and before I forget:


Paris Hilton's cell phone number

The Niggas at DFNCTSC

Strip clubs in Ohio with midget strippers

Girls big tit

Free big tit sitesJamie Lynn Spears naked

Sunday, March 13, 2005


I'm watching the first in a two-part drama entitled Supervolcano on the BBC, a fictional account of a supervolcano erupting under Yellowstone Park. Coming from a background, however flimsy, in vulcanology I'm eager to see if they did it well. More thoughts to come.


The first episode just ended. Initial thoughts? It's OK. Too dumbed down, but perfect for anyone who doesn't have a basic knowledge of volcanoes. Entertaining and fairly well-acted (with the occasional melodramatic staring into the camera and whispering through clenched teeth 'it's started!')

Now here's what I love about the Beeb. Following the programme is a documentary on BBC2 about the science behind supervolcanoes and the likelihood of Yellowstone actually erupting.

'Nother Update

I wish we'd had documentaries like this when I was at university. We had old men covered in tweed and a few models of volcanoes constructed entirely from cardboard and Ragu. This one has more CGI than Jurassic Park.


Aw, crap. I went to the pub and forgot to record the second part. And it isn't being repeated anytime soon. Shit.

Triumphalism Proves Fragile

I've been reading a lot in the past few days about this new CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll. Seems a lot of people are taking the news that 56% of people are not at all familiar with blogs very badly. To which I reply, huh?

Here's something to think about. Star Wars was shot on a budget of less than $10 million dollars and had a starring cast of, well, nobodies. It opened on less than 50 screens. Today we know it as the birth of a $4.5 billion powerhouse. Ask a guy on May 26th, 1977 if he'd seen it you could bet the answer would be 'no'. Ask the same question today, a negative answer would have you backing away slowly.

Here's another one. The New York Times printed its first edition in 1882. By 1896 it had a circulation of 9,000. Circulation in 2003? 1,132,000.

Look, it takes time for phenomena to develop. Things don't just explode overnight.

Quite apart from that, while blog readership continues to grow, newspaper readership declines steadily. As if that wasn't enough, as Joe Gandelman points out, numbers aren't important. Demographics are.

In conclusion: settle down, kids.

Look at Those Legs...

Just a few hours after deciding to embrace my Englishness, I settled down to watch Crufts 2005 - possibly the only place in the world you can see the mustachioed upper classes describing everything as a 'wonderful bitch'.

English TV is cool.

Dreadlocked dogs are not.

Blog Wars

Okay, I've had just about enough of Basil's carping on about odd Google searches finding Basil's Blog. I've been without my favourite stat tracker for a good few months now, and as such have been limited to the fairly basic (yet always welcome) Sitemeter and Statcounter - and I'm not taking it so well.

So I'm going to beat him at his own game. I'm giving myself a month (or two, or perhaps even three - leave me alone, I'm lazy) to overtake him on the rankings for a few carefully selected terms Basil mentions. If anyone would like to assist in my utter destruction of Basil, simply link the following words to at your blog. If you don't have a blog - well, you can't really help, can you? Make posters with macaroni and glitter. Those are always nice.


Paris Hilton's cell phone number

The Niggas at DFNCTSC

Strip clubs in Ohio with midget strippers

Girls big tit

Free big tit sites

Jamie Lynn Spears naked

A word of warning to Basil, if he's thinking of some sort of retaliatory strike. I'm in 8th place for Video Execution and 1st place for Evil Laugh Soundbite. As is plain, despite my foppish middle class charmingly befuddled upbringing, I will end you.

End you.

Tally Ho!

It occurred to me a few weeks ago that, despite being as English as Hugh Grant's floppy hair, I write in an American accent. It's probably a subconscious bow to the fact that the majority of my readers are Americans.

Still, screw 'em. The free ride's over, kids. I'm writing in English from now on, and if you can't understand any of my Britishisms you'll just have to jolly well get used to it (or, at a pinch, consult this genius English-American Dictionary - God bless the Internet).

Damn. Some blighter needs to use the bloody computer. Back in a jiff.


My brother correctly, if pedantically, points out that you don't write in an accent, but a dialect. Point taken, considered, ignored.

Friday, March 11, 2005


I've been puking all day and I'm not in a good mood. I got a call from my boss this morning complaining that my performance needs work. I'd been praying to the porcelain god all morning, but today wasn't a day to stay in bed.

So, I got in the car and drove over to Glossop a few miles away. About 5 minutes after I stepped out of the car I brought up a stomachful of Volvic mineral water on someone's doorstep. You can believe it comes from volcanic streams when you see it erupt from your mouth. Sorry. That's disgusting.

Anyway, I pushed on for an hour or so and then started with the whole dry heaving bit, and have spent the rest of the day reading a second rate Greg Bear novel and watching Neighbours on BBC. Paul Robinson's back! It's like I'm 12 again. Non-Neighbours fans can disregard that.

Anyway, I've got a carton of orange juice on the way, so check Hotmail and then back to bed. Later.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Rock and Roll

Something happens when you get a little older in this day and age. You worry - panic, really - that you're not rock and roll anymore. You find that wild nights out have been replaced by the occasional pub quiz or watching films at the house of a friend with a pizza. On the odd occasion when you do go to a club you end up standing in a dark, dingy corner with a bottle of warm beer wondering what everyone else is drinking that makes them enjoy themselves. You wait hours for your younger friends to stop dancing, and then trudge out to the street to hail a cab.

Putting on socks has become a three-step operation. You make noises when you get up from a chair.

You get nose hair.

But not this weekend.

We were rock and roll.




But... the rock and roll soon runs out. See, parking in the hotel car park cost 10 quid a day and, skinflint that I am, I parked on a meter down the street. I had to move the car Monday morning before 8am, so after about 10 pints and around 4 hours sleep I ended up driving through endless one-way systems in the narrow streets of York, probably unfit to drive. Total cost for the night's parking? About 11 quid. Bugger. After that we had another night even crazier than the first, and slumped into bed a few hours before we had to check out. This morning was - there are no better words for it - bad. We sat in a cafe drinking hot chocolate and cappuccino, nursing our heads before the long drive home - via Huddersfield to drop one of our number home. We'd all drunk about 3 gallons of lager over 30 hours, so the ride home was somber to say the least.

I got home around lunchtime and collapsed into bed. Around 7:30pm I got a call from my brother - he'd missed his bus after work and needed a ride to the pub to watch Manchester United in the Champions League. I stopped with him to watch the game and was almost killed by a single pint of lager. I think I've become allergic.

And here's the moral of the tale. Rock and roll is finite.

Time for bed. Just give me a few minutes to take off my socks.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Oliver Willis Must Resign

Brit Hume Must Resign

Brit Hume is the anchor of Fox News Channel's prime time news report, Special Report with Brit Hume, and he makes things up. On February 3rd, Hume intentionally manipulated the words of the 32nd president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, to make it appear as if FDR supported privatization of social security. This is a brazen falsehood. President Roosevelt's grandson, James Roosevelt Jr., describes Hume's journalistic malfeasance as an "an outrageous distortion". We agree.

As Willis' ill advised vigil passes the 3 week mark, we reach the point at which we must ask ourselves 'could this guy be any more annoying?' Some on the right have been strong-willed enough to ignore the yammerings of this intellectual midget, this pauper among men. Unfortunately I can't count myself among them. No matter how hard I try to ignore him, I find myself coming to in front of my PC, Willis' smug face and non-sensical tagline loading before my eyes. How did I get there? Just a moment ago I was reading Wizbang, Powerline or any number of blogs that, you know, make sense. Now I find myself hit full in the face with this shrill abrasive voice of the left - the very voice that pushes me ever rightwards. In the words of INDC's Bill - "Never have so many been annoyed by the stupidity of so few. One, actually."

And so, the time has come to demand that Oliver Willis cease and desist - if only to protect the two-party system. With spokesmen such as Willis, even the best Democratic politician finds it hard to get elected. We don't want to win too easily.

Since Willis sets a lot of stock in petitions he really has no choice but to accede to our demands. Unless he's, ya know, a hypocrite. I started us off by asking a few prominent bloggers for their John Hancock, and hopefully more will join in time.

We, the undersigned, demand that Oliver Willis remove his site from the Internets and promise never to take part, or even venture an opinion, in organised politics at any point in the future.

The petition thus far:

Rusty Shackleford
You Know I'm Right
The Political Teen
Blogs Of War
Beautiful Atrocities
Young Pundit
American Digest
Hundred Percenter
The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
In The Bullpen
Confederate Yankee
MY Vast Right Wing Conspiracy
Six Meat Buffet
Ten Fingers 6 Strings
Another Rovian Conspiracy
James Hudnall
Damnum Absque Injuria
Small Dead Animals
Konservative Jay
Precinct 333
Hot Needle of Inquiry
Conservative Friends
The Daily Recycler
Balance Sheet
Peace For Our Time
Cranial Cavity
Eclipse Ramblings
Steel Deal

Now, you may scoff at the paucity of the petition gaze in awe at the vast number of bloggers listed. Keep in mind that these names bring with them their readers (not many people know this, but bloggers are the legal guardians of every one of their readers. We actually own you. It was in the small print when you bought your PC). And so, this paltry petition suddenly becomes a powerhouse, carrying with it the voices of 33,500 38,200 40,200 42,400 46,900 53,000 54,000 daily readers, each screaming for the chubby head of Willis. But we need more. I need you guys to keep signing up. Leave a comment or send me an email. Blog about it. Get your friends to join. Sign over power of attorney to me. Scratch that last one. That's part of my next evil scheme.


Wizbang's Paul:

"If Oliver resigns, will I still be a racist?"

Wizbang's Jay Tea (who declined to sign the petition, citing the following reason):

"My mother once said that "everyone in life has a purpose, even if it's to be a bad example." "

Anonymous Llama Butcher:

"Resign from what? His day job at the piggly-wiggly on route 11 in Gaithersburg? As the George Soros of the international Little Debbie snack cake futures traders? "

Rusty Shackleford:

"I don't believe beached whales ought to be rescued."

INDC's Bill:

"Never have so many been annoyed by the stupidity of so few. One, actually."

Beautiful Atrocities' Jeff:

"Oliver, please come home. Since this madness started with Brit Effing Hume, you've spent NO quality time with me. And NO, a quick mercy fuck doesn't count! Let's go to Home Depot together, just like old times, & then watch Friends."

Gerard Van der Leun (with insider trading in mind):

I figure that if I have advanced notice that Oliver Willis will resign I will be able to increase my stock portfolio with McDonalds and clean up. I'm going bullish on cattle futures as well.

In The Bullpen's Chad:

I'd love to see the guy actually form a coherent thought without contradicting his previous post, but I'd also like to have my pick between the 2004 Playboy Bunnies.

James Hudnall:

Willis is obviously trying to act like a real blogger and get rid of a TV anchor. Unfortunately for his case, the best he can come up with is Brit Hume slighting socialism. Someone needs to explain to him that Ponzi schemes aren't worth defending.


"Oliver Willis? Is he that one guy from Green Acres?"

If you would like to sign the petition please leave your name and URL (or just name if you don't have a site) in the comments and it will be added.

Update (11:35am)

You Know I'm Right is in.

'Nother Update (3:05pm)

INDC's Bill has joined the fight.

'Nother Update (11:05pm)

The Political Teen has joined up. In your face, indifferent teens.

'Nother Update (11:15pm)

Blogs of War has joined, hot on Teen's heels.

'Nother Update (11:50pm)

Jeff at Beautiful Atrocities has given the nod.

Yet 'Nother Update (8:35am)

The blogosphere worked while I slept. New recruits are:-

Young Pundit
American Digest
Hundred Percenter
The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
In The Bullpen

'Nother Update (5:00pm)

In response to a few emails I thought I'd clear up a few points:-

No, this petition won't actually make Willis stop writing. Not only that, but I'd think a lot less of the guy if he did. Despite the fact that Oliver's opinions are often always annoying and most of the time just plain wrong, you have to give it to the guy that he's an entertaining writer. Hell, if he wasn't then he wouldn't get all the attention we on the right lavish on him. And, as they say, all publicity is good publicity.

Yes, this petition is just a little harmless silliness. It does, though, make a serious point. It highlights the folly of Oliver's current campaign against Brit Hume. I'm not going to go into whether Hume deserves the pressure, but I would like to say that a petition isn't the right way to go. If you want to know an effective way to attack the media, read Gerard Van der Leun's piece about the power of the advertisers at American Digest, I Repeat, "No More Letters to the Editor!"

That's why - if I was serious about hurting Willis - I'd be talking to Cable-Safe. I'd be calling Stephanie Tyler and Paul Mason, respectively the executive and technical producers of Springer On The Radio. I'd be emailing Chuck Pennacchio and asking him why he aligns himself with Willis. These are his advertisers, and these are his paymasters.

Despite all this, I'd like as many sites as possible to keep joining this petition. Fun is still fun, no? Besides, that graphic Ian Schwartz designed is cool.

Yet 'Nother Update (5:45pm)

Confederate Yankee is on board.

Update No. Gazillion (6:45pm)

MY Vast Right Wing Conspiracy and Techography join. And now it's time to start drinking. Happy Friday, kids.

Update No. Gazillion and One (11:30pm)

While I watch The Incredibles on pirate legally purchased DVD, Six Meat Buffet and Ten Fingers 6 Strings join.

Uh, Gazillion and Two (1:40pm)

New joinees (is that even a word?) overnight are Another Rovian Conspiracy, James Hudnall, the inestimable Iowahawk and Damnum Absque Injuria.

Gazillion and Three (4:15pm)

Kate of Small Dead Animals is on board.

God, More Updates (1:00am)

Konservative Jay joins up.

More and More, Jahweh (10:130am)

Precinct 333 and Hot Needle of Inquiry have joined.

Another Update, Jeebus (10:00pm)

While I was on my travels, the following sites signed up:

Conservative Friends
The Daily Recycler
Balance Sheet
Peace For Our Time
Cranial Cavity
Eclipse Ramblings
Steel Deal

FINAL UPDATE (11th March)

And so, in just 11 days this petition has built up as much steam as, say, a really big kettle. You know the type I mean? Those really big ones. Jesus, you could make, like, 10 or 12 cups of coffee with one of those. Just imagine that.

And so, now we've garnered 33 blogs - amounting to over 50,000 readers - to our little campaign, I'm gonna call it a day. I don't know what I'll do next. Maybe I'll have some coffee. OR - hey, maybe a hot chocolate with spray cream and chocolate shavings with a little Time Out bar on the saucer for dippin'. And some tiny marshmallows. I could really go for one of those right now.

Meanwhile, Oliver is forced to keep going. No coffee for him. Oh no. Not even a hot chocolate. None for you Oliver, cause you're into day 30 of your moribund campaign - watching your 'reputation' dwindle with each passing day.

Now, where's that chocolate?

*Thanks to Ian at the Political Teen for the image.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

An Ill-Deserved Break

I'm heading up to York in the morning with some friends. Nice hotel, lots of drinking and meeting up with some old buddies. It looks like it should be a good few days, but it means output will be low until Tuesday morning. Hey, what else is new?

I should be around a little to add new recruits to the Willis petition and pick up any emails. They finally got electricity in York last summer, and the first shipment of computers arrived in early January. Sure, they're Amstrad CPC 464s, but with a little TLC they should be capable of logging on to the Internets - or, failing that, running Leisuresuit Larry.

Anyway, enjoy the rest of your weekend. I'll be around until mid morning, and then you'll have to amuse yourself.

Kos Readers Attack Sortapundit, Each Other

I wrote today, against the counsel of my better angels, a diary at Daily Kos. Despite the common belief that they're all crazed loons over there I've always held out hope that I could talk to them reasonably, as men do.

See, my background is left wing. I'm born and raised democrat. I've always supported such mainstays of the left as universal health care and social security. Here in the UK these things are taken for granted. Not perfect, but they've been here for years and we don't expect them to go anytime soon.

But in the past few years I've found myself drifting ever more right. I've become ashamed of the impotence of the left, and even more ashamed of its outspoken representatives (think Michael Moore). And so, I thought I'd write a post in response to the call to attack Alan Greenspan and his family. That was my first mistake.

Almost immediately after I'd hit 'submit', the angry comments began to flood in. I was, of course, dismissed as a troll, a faux Democrat looking for a fight. The first serious commenter called me a 'hate-filled right-winger through and through' - and 101 other insults followed. I know, I know, I was setting myself up for abuse. Still, I took from it a few positives. There were a few, mostly drowned out by the taunts and abuse, who attempted reason. I applaud these few. It must be difficult to keep up commenting sensible thoughts on such a bizarre echo chamber.

It turned funny, though, when they turned their bile against each other in a crazy fight about how all the Nader voters in the group cost Gore the election in 2000. Really, guys, that's the kind of petty shit that pushed me away from the left. Hilarious, but tragic.

Looks like I'll be sticking with you guys on the right for a good while yet.


Of course, the diary was soon deleted. Open debate between the left and right is crushed with an iron fist at DKos - which is as it should be, comrade!

But what I find funniest is what jbou left in the comments of another post here - I hope you're happy with your new friends, especially when you tell them how much you like universal healthcare and other more liberal programs and ideas.

Jbou, Jbou, Jbou - dear oh dear. These more liberal programs and ideas that I subscribe to are - get this - IN THE FUCKING FAQ! That's where you read them, you retarded little monkey! And this genius thinks I'll lose all my readers when they discover I support universal health care.

Lets test the theory. I like universal healthcare. I like the fact that when my brother recently got malaria, gastroenteritis and helicobacter pylori he went to the local hospital and was taken to a bed, not asked how he'll be paying. I like the fact that when I broke my arm the doctor didn't demand I attach a pen to the protruding bone and demand I fill out an insurance form. My best friend has been troubled by a stabbing pain in his leg these past few days. I like the fact that he can go get it checked out tomorrow. He doesn't have to save up until he can afford it.

You still here, readers?

The Gloves Come Off

So the denizens of DailyKos are calling for a smear campaign against Alan Greenspan (h/t Ankle Biting Pundits)

As you've probably noticed, there have been several Alan Greenspan-related posts on the main page in just the past day or so. In one of those threads, blogswarmer Bob Brigham suggested that we "unleash the blogosphere" on Greenspan. It's a brilliant idea - no one is more worthy of having a halo-ectomy than St. Alan - so let's have at it.

If you're interested in joining this research project, here's my thinking on how it should proceed. (And feel free to chime in with suggestions on the process as well.) We should hunt down anything Greenspan has ever written, said or done that reflects poorly on him. This would include erroneous predictions, older statements which contradict things he's said recently, and anything that's just plain wrong, venal or stupid. The only rules are that it has to be true (of course) and sourced (preferably with a link, but if you're using Lexis, that's cool too - just tell us where it's from).

And for those of you who want to really get down & dirty in the trenches, we can turn this into a one-degree-of-separation venture. That is, if you can find similar material for anyone who is closely linked to Greenspan, that's fair game, too. Good examples would be Greenie's idol, the nutbag "objectivist" Ayn Rand, and Andrea Mitchell, his NBC reporter wife. (An aside: We can debate the merits of this approach all you like, but suffice it to say, there is no question that Republicans do the same crap to us all the time. If you still want to play by the Marquess of Queensberry rules, fine - but I've moved on to brass knuckles.)

First, lets not worry too much about this. The left wing have proved woefully deficient when it comes to campaigns. While Oliver's Brit Hume campaign stutters and stumbles to an embarassing halt, the mighty Talon News reels from the loss of Jeff Gannon.

We already know that the brass knuckles of the Left are cushioned, but that isn't the point, is it? No, the point is that DavidNYC proposes, quite openly on a site that attracts what? 360,000 readers a day, that the Left go after Greenspan's family - specifically, his wife. Why? Why are they so desperate for a scalp that they would prey on an innocent man, a man who served under both Republican and Democratic Presidents? Why would they declare open season on his family and friends?

We should repay the favour. We should have a little smear campaign of our own - not targeting a random figure on the Left, but the diarists of Daily Kos itself. Lets dig up the dirt. These people all have a heavy presence on the Internet. In just five minutes Googling I discovered that DavidNYC - despite his clear efforts to protect his identity - is a native on New York (duh), relocated to DC and has a bizarre, slightly worrying obsession with Disney. Those are just the harmless facts - lets find the damaging ones. Lets find out what dirty magazines this guy subscribes to. Lets see if he has a criminal record. Lets pull on our own brass knuckles - the ones that knocked out Dan Rather and Eason Jordan. You wanna see a smear campaign, David? You ain't seen nothing yet.

Others talking - Protein Wisdom, Wizbangblog

Friday, March 04, 2005

Even Technology Thinks He's Stoopid

Click for larger image Posted by Hello

I took this screenshot earlier today from The error message at the top reads 'warning: Invalid argument supplied'.

Never a truer word spoken.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

In Your Face, Pedro Lopez

Today I was in the house of modern history's most prolific serial killer.

And people say I have a boring job.
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