Chris Christie’s wordless screaming – “I believe that Donald Trump was talking, tonight, and that he, in fact, held an entire press conference. But it was impossible to hear him over Chris Christie’s eyes.” How the Bush Dynasty Almost Wasn’t – An interesting bit of American political history: how Ronald Reagan pulled out of a potential deal with Gerald Ford and made George Bush his Vice-President instead. Ok BBC, so what SHOULD we spend defending criminals? – The Secret Barrister explains just why defending a major criminal case costs money. Towards a taxonomy of cliches in Space Opera – Charles Stross begins compiling a list of the cliches you find in certain types of SF novels. Project Pollyanna – “departure from the European Union is an action which will lead to no adverse consequences, only good ones. Where people will be happier. The UK will have free trade with no restraints. We will either have vastly restricted or wholly unrestricted immigration (depending on who is selling the message). The sun will always shine. And for tea there will always be buttered scones (pronounced “scones” just the way you like it, not that abomination the other lot say).”
Times Like These – Flying Rodent argues that we take the Times far too seriously – indeed, the fact that its habitual grovelling to power isn’t a national joke says a lot about us as a nation. A different cluetrain – Charles Stross on some of the factors that will drive the politics of the future. The history of a political surge – A Green perspective on the processes that have driven the recent growth in that party’s membership. Disaster – Simon Wren-Lewis on the economic hole we’re currently in, and not showing any signs of climbing out of. Has The Good Right got it right? – Alex Marsh on the latest (though oddly pre-election, not post) manifesto setting out yet another new direction for conservatism.
About Teather’s “explanation” of voting against equality – Lee Griffin points out the problems with Sarah Teather’s reasons for voting against the same-sex marriage bill. The Other 11 Doctors – What if the Doctor had always been played by a woman? Damsel, Arise: A Westboro Scion Leaves Her Church – Megan Phelps-Roper, one of the more prominent members of the Westboro Baptist Church (‘God Hates Fags’) has left it. Open letter to Andrew Turner MP – “I will not vote for you, because you think I am worth less as a person than you. No-one who believes I am as entitled to civil rights as anyone else will vote for you. Yesterday was not an attack on religious freedom, but a doorway to it for so many people who’ve been denied a full spiritual and civil engagement in society. If your vote yesterday were a matter of conscience, I suggest you consider the lives you have wished on young LGBT people under your care, because they are so much better off today than when I was growing up and you’ve done everything in your power, which is the power entrusted to you by the people of the island, to oppose that.” Political failure modes and the beige dictatorship – If you think I’m cynical about modern politics, read this post by Charles Stross.
Yes, yes, I’m doing these again. It’s almost like I’ve decided to try being a blogger again for a while, isn’t it?
Stephen King: Tax Me, for F@%&’s Sake! – A wonderfully angry rant about what rich people get away with in American. The rise of gernotocracy? – (pdf file) A report from the Intergenerational Foundation on the democratic deficit between different age groups, with suggestions for how to combat it. Whether you agree with the recommendations or not, there’s a lot of food for thought within it. Bill Hicks on Freedom of Speech – Wonderful letter from the late, great comedian to a priest who’d complained about Channel 4 showing Revelations Spoilers – Charles Stross responds to some of the reviews and comments on his excellent novel Rule 34
. He’s not complaining about them (‘we have a technical term for an author who argues with reviewers: “idiot”‘) but pointing out some interesting additional information on the book and its background that’s interesting if you’ve read it. And if you haven’t, then you should give it a try. The Economist fails the Turing Test again – Crooked Timber’s Henry Farrell explains how to automate the writing of Economist articles.
The longest part yet of A Song Of Ice And Fire, and would perhaps have counted as two books if I wasn’t reading the single Kindle edition. Still very good, and an interesting depiction of a world descending into hell, with each chink of light ruthlessly extinguished as another plot comes to light.
31) Rule 34 by Charles Stross
The sequel to Halting State, Stross returns to near-future Scotland for a crime story that’s equal parts Brookmyre and Orwell. A very interesting extrapolation of current trends in society and policing, laden down with the usual rapid-fire of ideas that you expect from Stross.
The autobiography of a broadcasting legend, whose career I’ve followed since he burst to national prominence on Radio 4’s On The Hour and Knowing Me, Knowing You. It reveals just how this major talent’s career has been blighted by the jealousy of lesser talents and the short-sightedness of broadcasting management (usually at the BBC). Includes a harrowing account of his descent into Toblerone addiction – I, for one, will never look on their chocolate-honey-nougat prisms with quite the same innocence from now on – though needless to say, he has the last laugh.