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Hell in a handcart

The Sheridan verdict and the future of devolution

A scary think-piece in the Sunday Times about the possible fall-out from the Tommy Sheridan case:

Imagine if, say, the Greens (seven at present) and two or so Independents and the pensioners’ MSP and a few other disaffected single-issue loons who may enter the parliament in May all decided to unite beneath a Sheridan banner.

It is not such an unlikely scenario. He persuaded seven jurors to believe him in the face of a large body of evidence against him. If he was able to do that he should be able to convince Holyrood’s waifs and strays, mostly politically inexperienced, that he is on their side.

If he once cajoled members of the famously fractious hard left to follow him, a handful of ambitious Greens would be child’s play. In a parliament with no overall majority and no parties inclined to form coalitions with each other, this rump could exercise a control way beyond its capabilities.

You only have to listen to the arguments of the Green MSP Patrick Harvie, who believes the Scottish parliament’s role is to bring America to its knees, to appreciate how debilitating this would be for devolution.

An anti-Bush, anti-Blair, anti-war, ban the bomb, pro-Hezbollah, pro-bicycling tendency, eager to feed the world and express its global citizenship, would be very bad news indeed for the vast majority of Scots who once believed devolution was a good idea.

The political agenda could be commandeered by militants without a mandate, and the state of Scotland’s health service, its schools, its transport infrastructure and its deprived inner cities would continue to deteriorate. Far from addressing every day domestic issues and making life better for the working classes, for any classes, nothing would be achieved except mayhem.

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Hell in a handcart

My binge drink hell

Mr Eugenides on binge drinking:

if you have two glasses of wine tonight, dear female reader, you are a binge drinker. If you have three beers with friends after work, be-testicled browser, you are a binge drinker. And binge drinking is defined as doing this just once a week. You can be dry till next Friday, then have another three pints. You’re still part of the statistic.

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Hell in a handcart Technology

AOL goes nuts

…and releases the search history of 500,000 AOL users. Here’s what user 17556639 has been looking for:

17556639 how to kill your wife
17556639 how to kill your wife
17556639 wife killer
17556639 how to kill a wife
17556639 poop
17556639 dead people
17556639 pictures of dead people

And so on.

TechCrunch is, quite rightly, calling the release of the data “utter stupidity”.

The data includes personal names, addresses, social security numbers and everything else someone might type into a search box.

The most serious problem is the fact that many people often search on their own name, or those of their friends and family, to see what information is available about them on the net. Combine these ego searches with porn queries and you have a serious embarrassment. Combine them with “buy ecstasy” and you have evidence of a crime. Combine it with an address, social security number, etc., and you have an identity theft waiting to happen. The possibilities are endless

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Hell in a handcart

Humans: a virus with shoes

Today’s utterly depressing news story:

Social workers found four children shared their home with 22 dogs and lived in “appalling conditions” after one of the youngsters began growling and displaying dog-like behaviour at school, a court was told yesterday.

A 35-year-old woman and a 60-year-old man, who cannot be identified to protect the children’s identity, were each jailed for 70 days yesterday. 

Don’t read the linked article if your faith in human nature is shaky.

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Hell in a handcart

Why SUVs?

As part of my day job I keep an eye out for interesting virals, so I’ve just watched a Greenpeace anti-SUV ad. It’s pretty complacent and I suspect, preaching to the converted: the idea is that if you drive an SUV, people will shit in your tea. I’m only paraphrasing slightly.

I’m no great supporter of SUVs – they’re a menace round here, although I’d also point out that the knackered Volvo 940s driven by the local enviro-weenies pump out considerably more crap and burn considerably more fuel than some SUVs – but environmentally they’re no worse than many big cars, and a quick shufty through department of transport figures shows that cheap flights pump out almost double the amount of CO2 per passenger mile than cars do (lorries are worse and trains are best). And of course, aviation fuel isn’t taxed the way car fuel is.

So why don’t there seem to be any ads aimed at people who fly EasyJet?

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Hell in a handcart

Picnic enemy number one

Scotland’s currently having its Annual Week of Sunshine, so I decided to take advantage of it on Sunday and have a picnic. It was great: we munched nice food, played with the dog, watched the dog take her first swim and cooled down with a bottled beer apiece. This, it seems, means I’m an enemy of the state. The Scottish Executive wants a country-wide ban on all public drinking to fight the problems with marches and parades.

Over to Devil’s Kitchen (this bit is one of the few ones I can quote in my efforts to keep this blog relatively swear-free):

In order to control the actions of a very, very tiny minority, the Scottish Executive are determined that everybody should suffer… Nice, middle-class family want to have a picnic in the sun on the Meadows and have a glass of Pimms? No, sorry, it’s off to the fucking slammer for you, son

Here’s a better idea. If the problem is because of marches and parades, why not ban orange marches? Or, and I bet you can predict this next bit, why not use the laws we already have?

We have laws that deal with public drunkenness. We have laws that deal with being an arse in public. We have laws that deal with violence. If the problem is that we can’t enforce the laws we already have, what possible benefit do we get from adding another one?

It’s hard to disagree with DK when he says to our elected representatives:

I hope that your limbs drop off and your lips are sewn together with coarse string impregnated with salt-water.

Me, I’d rather recycle Bill Hicks’ rant about marketing types. It seems appropriate.

Kill yourselves… No really, there’s no rationalisation for what you do, and you are Satan’s little helpers, OK? Kill yourselves, seriously. You’re the ruiner of all things good.

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Health Hell in a handcart

Only in America?

In Arkansas, lawmakers are considering making it a crime for a pregnant woman to take a drag off a cigarette.

…”What we’re seeing is a political trend in which the fetuses are coming first, and the rights of women… are coming last,” said Lynn Paltrow, executive director of the National Advocates for Pregnant Women.

“I think 30 years of anti-abortion rhetoric –‘women killing their babies’ — has led to a moral vilification that doesn’t just stick to those who seek to terminate a pregnancy. It’s spreading to all pregnant women.”

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Hell in a handcart Uncategorised

“I just know it’s going to be the best non-anesthetized invasive uterine surgery ever!”

Pro-life blogger gets very upset about a pro-choice article. Doesn’t spot that it’s from The Onion.

Here are some of the bits quoted in the blog:

“I am totally psyched for this abortion!”

“Those pro-life activists made it pretty clear that, unlike me, they actually think abortion is bad and to be avoided. Are they nuts? Abortion is the best!”

“I realize there are people who will criticize me, calling me selfish and immature because I took “the easy way out.” I realize there are those who will condemn me to hell for what I’m about to do. Well, I don’t care what they say: It’s worth it for all the fun and laughs I’m going to have at the clinic.”

[Via Digg]

Update, 13 July

The blogger in question now claims that it was all a big joke. Uh-huh.

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Hell in a handcart

The beautiful game

In the interests of balance:

A Portuguese family was attacked minutes after England were knocked out of the World Cup on Saturday.

Their car was vandalised and a brick thrown through their house window when a crowd gathered on an estate where Portuguese families have settled.

Don’t you just love the way football brings different nationalities together?

Categories
Hell in a handcart Music

Must we throw this pop at our kids?

From last night’s Evening Times:

NEW boy band US5 have launched a tour of UK schools starting in Scotland. The band played their debut single Maria at Mearns Castle High School and Mearns Primary. Today it was the turn of Renfrew High and Cleveden Secondary to hear the quintet. 

OK, maybe I’m getting grumpy as I approach the grand old age of mumblemumblemumble, but how exactly does this benefit the schools? I can see how it benefits the extremely well-off record companies – schools tours are an established way of breaking new acts, whether it’s boy bands or lostprophets – but why should schools provide a promotional outlet for giant corporations to flog their wares?

I’d be interested to know the mechanics of these tours if anyone out there knows the ins and outs…