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Cheers - AE

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Illogical, inconsistent and inaccurate.

Three stories today from the pen of Christopher Booker, and well worth a read.

The first relates to the apparent readiness of the US, and for that matter Europe, Australia, New Zealand and pretty much the whole developed world to commit economic suicide, all based on the theory of global warming which in turn is based largely on the output of computer models. Friends and family who are believers consider me a climate denier, but aside from that argument being dangerously close to the nonsensical one that vegetarianism is bad because Hitler was a vegetarian it also fails to take into account that the debate isn't over. As for the computer models... I've got a computer model that clearly shows that a girl with unfeasibly large tits called Lara can heal her own bullet wounds by picking up boxes with red crosses on. It works that way because the computer has been told it does. It strikes me that crippling economies on the strength of computer models that even the modellers admit don't actually make predictions (in which case you have to wonder what the fuck they're any good for) might not be a great idea, and that it'd make more sense to find out what really is going on first.

The second story Christopher Booker writes about, not for the first time, is that of three small time fishermen. Naughty fishermen. Baaaad in fact. They've - and you should probably sit down for this - used up some of someone else's fishing quota because... well, because it wasn't being used up, was supposed to be redistributed by the government, and they didn't see any harm in it. Now they have been prosecuted and properly screwed under the Proceeds of Crime Act, an Act designed to clobber drug dealers and organised crime rather than clobber fishermen over quotas and permits (that should have been redistributed because they weren't being used remember). Aside from the all too familiar use of legislation brought in for a totally different purpose Booker contrasts the draconian punishment inflicted on the fishermen - loss of houses and boats to pay the fines, or two years inside - with the suspended sentences the same judge gave to a paedophile and a postmaster who stole £15,000 ($32,250) as well as the six months a third man got for bashing a 76 year old pensioner. Maybe there were sound reasons, maybe the judge is a twat. But the real worry for me is that we have yet another example of legislation brought in to deal with one thing being twisted for ad hoc use.

The final part of Booker's piece might ring a bell with Brits fed up with council bullshit about putting the right sort of waste in the right sort of bin and fining those who don't sort it out correctly. In San Francisco the mayor wants to fine people US$1000 for this. A thousand bucks! And so unnecessary too. Here in Melbourne we have two bins - one with a yellow lid into which anything and everything with a recycle logo can go, and one with a green lid for non-recyclable household waste. Big stuff can be picked up by arrangement or you can pay a few dollars to drop it off round the local transfer station (or "tip" as I used to call it). Both bins are emptied every week and I can just leave 'em in the road the night before. (Do you hear that British councils? Every week, and none of this crap about not putting them out the previous day.) Anyway, if Brits are annoyed about being fined 80 quid or so for putting an envelope in the wrong bin the fact that residents of San Francisco may soon have it very much worse should not be taken as cause for relief but as a sign of things to come. Consider yourselves warned.

But the bit that really got me about that last part of Booker's article was this:
As one American explained to me, "San Francisco is a very liberal city". We see what they mean.
It look like someone needs to fucking carpet bomb San Francisco with dictionaries. Since it's America I'll refer to Websters rather than the O.E.D.



1. Showing or characterized by broad-mindedness; "a broad political stance"; "generous and broad sympathies"; "a liberal newspaper"; "tolerant of his opponent's opinions".

2. Having political or social views favoring reform and progress.

3. Tolerant of change; not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or tradition.

4. Given or giving freely; "was a big tipper"; "the bounteous goodness of God"; "bountiful compliments"; "a freehanded host"; "a handsome allowance"; "Saturday's child is loving and giving"; "a liberal backer of the arts"; "a munificent gift"; "her fond and openhanded grandfather".

5. Not literal; "a loose interpretation of what she had been told"; "a free translation of the poem".


1. A person who favors a political philosophy of progress and reform and the protection of civil liberties.

2. A person who favors an economic theory of laissez-faire and self-regulating markets.

I'm dying to hear how the moron Booker spoke to can justify the use of the word "liberal" to describe the San Francisco proposals, but then Americans seem to have a very funny definition of "liberal" in normal day to day use. It seems to mean what I'd call "illiberal except where it fits the agenda". Blackwhite in other words.

What an asshole.
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