Monthly Archives: January 2009


So, we got rid of the monkey, and now it’s time for the organ-grinder. Everyone is assessing Mr. Obama, particularly now that he’s actually done some stuff (and so far it looks positive). And there’s that speech; I mean, wow.

Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some […]

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life. For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth. For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sanh.

We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.

And I could go on, but I won’t. On reflection I have decided I will respond to Obama’s Presidency, and his inauguration address, in 94 days. Once there, I’ll take apart the first 100 days and the speech side by side, and let them provide each other’s commentary. Continue reading



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Back from the wilds

I’ve spent the last week in the internet-challenged wilds (and wonderful it was, too) and therefore need to do some catching up. Significant things on the context side include:

I got noticed.

SB: you are not redundant, as being younger just means I have more to learn. Also, I envy your posting rate. With regard to specific learning curves, I took your advice on the About page, and thank you. I’m acutely aware that I don’t know my medium very well yet, and am looking for ways to improve :)

Canada. Government. Humour.

Three things one does not automatically associate. This blog is worth it just for the entertainment value but the embedded commentary on Canadian politics is also valuable and acute.

Forthcoming entries will include a comment on the encroachment of the Nanny State in the UK and an initial reaction to the good news for our beleaguered cousins across the water: regime change has been successfully effected. In which vein I’d like to express my personal bit of international support, in the hopes that the new government remains stable and is not subject to counter-insurgency.

I am also working on a sequence of essays addressing the sociological issue of prohibition and its relevance in modern, media-driven political thinking. These will hopefully start appearing before the end of the month.

This is not the BBC, but it is London, signing off.

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War on Peace

In the Third World, when they say ‘war’, they still mean, well, war. Things go bang, men and women do hideous things to each other out of fear or anger or revenge, true psychopathy, or even just boredom. Children starve and women are raped, cities burn and the sound of engines never stops. There’s a little noise mortars make; I’ve never seen a movie that got it right, though Iron Man came close. A soft, slightly hollow ‘phoomp’ sound, followed by a long, slow, descending whistle that fifteen years later causes me to quick-check my environment for places to hide when I’m watching the news from Gaza.

Mind you, when I’m watching the news from Gaza I’m pretty much looking for a place to hide anyway, lately. Continue reading

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The Great Machine

Penny Red has recently addressed the question of how we start using the untapped resources our physically, and particularly our mentally, distressed people can offer. We still haven’t figured out (at a systemic level) that the answer to a changing economic map is not necessarily to change the people until they fit the work; it can be to redesign the shape of ‘work’ until its flexible enough to fit the people. I am not going to try and further that argument, for my esteemed colleague knows the specific field better than I do. However, one of the questions that debate raised is about the difference between what a thing is, and what it looks like once we’ve measured it: I’m going to talk about analytical structures instead. Continue reading


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The view across the bar.

When I was 17 I was head-hunted at school by one of the Inns. I very nearly went to the bar, as well; I have a facility for both debate and library work that would have served me well, and I have an enduring fascination with England’s law and governance (though I’ll admit the most interesting bits happened before 1688). Continue reading

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