Posted on March 7, 2006


Go and watch some impressive live action cartoonery.

This video is a trailer from Sky One, the network that shows the Simpsons in the UK. It\’s almost certainly the best piece of original programming that Sky One has ever made (counterexamples, anyone?)

America: the place to go for a fair trial

In an interview Monday with CNN, Moussaoui\’s mother, Aicha El Waifi, said she doubted her son could receive a fair hearing. \”The only thing that I do hope is that my son will not be used as a scapegoat,\” she said. – USA Today

Didn\’t you get the memo, Mrs El Waifi? US justice is perfect when it comes to people accused of terrorism. We\’re so confident in US justice that we\’re willing to extradite British citizens who\’ve done nothing illegal [*] there, safe in the knowledge that they\’ll get a fair trial.

No, Mrs El Waifi, the suggestion that a bunch of paranoid Virginians who\’ve got a scary-looking Arab Muslim French lunatic in front of them, who\’ve seen five years of propaganda falsely implying that he was involved in the September 11 plot, and who\’ve just had a load of angry September 11 relations paraded in front of them for full emotional impact, would make anything other than a fair decision is simply outrageous. Indeed, it\’s practically terrorism itself…

[*] although urging Muslims to join the jihad might well become illegal soon, it currently isn\’t.

Let\’s hope they\’re right

The new South Dakota abortion rights law is an impressive piece of Return-To-The-Dark-Ages legislation – so much so that even some anti-choicers feel the law might make the general public feel they\’re a bunch of woman-hating loonies. With the mid-terms approaching, it\’s tempting to agree – although that might be overly optimistic.

Actually, when I say \”return to the Dark Ages\”, what I really mean is \”stay in the Dark Ages\”: South Dakotan women have effectively no abortion choice at the moment anyway, beyond heading to a clinic out-of-state (which will still be open to them, at least for now – although obviously the problem is that the poorest, youngest and most vulnerable women who can\’t easily get out-of-state are precisely those who need the right to abortion).

Why? Well, the US conception of human rights doesn\’t generally back people\’s \”right to do something\” up with any kind of \”enabling them to do something\”, so the impact of Roe vs Wade on backward backwoods where nobody in power has any interest in providing women with abortion choice has been pretty negligible (see also \”I hereby grant all Laotians the right to go on five-star beach holidays in the Caribbean, as long as they arrange and pay for them themselves\”). This sucks a great deal for rural American women… although at least it means that if a Supreme Court packed with Bush-ordained theocrats were to overturn Roe vs Wade, it wouldn\’t change the real-life situation in the short term. Abortion would still be available in the Bronx, and unavailable in Jerauld County.

At least, for now. A common talking point among the Defeatist Left is that if Roe vs Wade were overturned, then it wouldn\’t be such a bad thing: it wouldn\’t have a dramatic impact on the actual availability of abortion, and it would return the subject to the states. There are two problems here. One is this would be a woefully inadequate outcome: in the UK, we go to great lengths to ensure that women have access to abortion even when they do live in hick areas and come from scary backgrounds, because we\’re aware that it\’s a basic human right. What are US liberals saying? \”Oh well, the 13th Amendment has been repealed, but this is a good thing – now the slavery debate can continue on a state level, and most rural blacks are so poor anyway that it won\’t make much difference.\”

The more serious problem is that the premise is utter shit. The idea that conservatives in the US believe in states\’ rights any more than liberals is a fiction that conservatives have cleverly woven, as the medicinal marijuana and gay marriage debates testify. A defeat for Roe vs Wade would inevitably be followed by efforts to outlaw abortion at a judicial and Federal level, not by the anti-choicers saying \”we think individual states should have the right to choose\”. They don\’t think *anyone* should have the right to choose, for fuck\’s sake…

Rivers of idiocy

White supremacist Leeds University lecturer Frank Ellis shouldn\’t be fired for his stupid beliefs – rather, his behaviour when interacting with non-white students should be monitored, and he should be fired only if (or more plausibly, when) he discriminates against them.

It\’s amusing, though, that his behaviour (in particular, his utter lack of discretion) serves as a good counter-example to his thesis that white people are the most intelligent…