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Thought experiment

Imagine a world where all non-violent crimes were civil, rather than criminal, offences.

There are some fairly obvious ways in which this would be better than the current world. I’m struggling to think of any ways in which it’d be worse.

(“rich idiots who trust Madoff characters lose their money” is a feature, not a bug)

Wire brush o’clock

Watch this:

If you survive, watch this:

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Philosophical statement

Losing some money is a mild pain in the arse; going to jail is unutterably horrible. I don’t, and never will, understand why people think the latter is an appropriate punishment for inflicting the former (in the absence of violence, threats and/or home invasion).

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Two for one

The Editors (not the pretend-Kasabian band) are irritatingly good. Two sequential paragraphs, both full of utter, completely unrelated to each other, WIN:

The sad fact of American politics is that at least 35-40% of the electorate belongs in a mental institution, and there’s probably another 10-20% who are high-functioning retards. The Congressional numbers are no better. There’s no point in trying to make a deal with these people.

Also, I think the Obama death panels should be run like “American Idol”. Three sassy latte-sipping America-haters give their opinions on which grannies and babies die this week, and then the audience can place their votes by calling in to ACORN. The losers are allowed to survive for another week if they agree to have a Christian doctor forced at gunpoint to give them a sex change operation.

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I like this

From the excellent Angry Young Alex:

if I imply that Libertarians have a problem with black people who advocate higher taxation, or that Jeremy Clarkson has a problem with people from Kibworth Harcourt who install speed cameras, I’m not technically lying. In actual fact I’d imagine most Libertarians are too busy getting angry about other people touching their money to notice creed or colour, and I’ve never heard Jeremy Clarkson specifically rail against Kibworth Harcourt.

…but obviously the smear sticks.

Can you guess the topic where the above is drawn from?

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Deporting people to the States

So Gary McKinnon’s apparently off to a US jail forever for doing fuck all. Hurrah!

It’s interesting – both on the NatWest case and this case, opinion seemed broadly divided between:

1) people who think it’s possible to get a fair trial in the US
…and..
2) people who understand the US judicial system

Why’s that? Well, the US judicial system has two features that come together to make fair trials for non-violent crime impossible: very very long sentences for trivial offences; and discounts for pleading guilty that can amount to cutting your sentence by 90%.

So in the UK, if you were accused of conning your employer out of a million quid, or of hacking the military’s computers, you’d be looking at a sentence of a few years maximum. Which would be fair, as you wouldn’t actually have done anyone any real harm. A guilty plea would get you 1/3 off your final sentence – so if you’re not guilty but there’s some circumstantial evidence against you, or if you are technically guilty but think a jury would go your way, then it’s still worth fighting.

In the US, you can be charged initially with counts that would leave you in jail for the rest of your natural. Remember, this is *for nicking a bit of cash*, or *for some not-super-complex hackery* – if you think that’s fair and proportionate YOU ARE INSANE. But then, the kindly prosecutor-man will offer you a sentence which is only slightly longer than you’d get in the UK, as long as you plead guilty to everything.

This effectively means that, if prosecuted for a non-violent criminal offence in the US (they can’t get away with the same kind of sentencing discounts for violent crime, on the grounds that the long starting points there aren’t totally insane), your only reasonable strategy is to plead guilty.

And that isn’t a judicial system to which we should be sending people at all, never mind on the basis of nothing as per the current system.

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Fellatio, cunnilingus and sodomy

American Rightbloggers are appalled that Obama has decided to award the Medal of Freedom to gay rights pioneer Harvey Milk (watch the movie, it’s good, it’s on torrents). The Price Of Freedom Is Eternal Vigilance says:

Only could this moron-in-chief consider giving the Medal of Freedom… for fellatio, cunnilingus, and sodomy

As a strong proponent of fellatio, cunnilingus and sodomy, I’m very glad that the President has decided that proficiency at them (rather than, say, fighting for marginalised community’s civil rights – no, it’s definitely the kinky sex that’s motivated this decision) is worthy of a medal. And there’s an ex-girlfriend I’d definitely put forward on all three criteria.

…but I think awarding the medal to Milk may have been a terrible mistake. As far as I’m aware, his interest in cunnilingus was limited at best – and it’s a heavily practice-and-enthusiasm-based activity. Take the medal away from Milk and award it to [DELETED ON LEGAL ADVICE].

More sarcasm on rightblogger medal reactions here.

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A man gets hit by a train

Truly horrible and gruesome; don’t watch if squeamish:

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Shorter Eric Lee

It’s antisemitic to say that Israel is an apartheid state. The fact that Israel meets the internationally recognised definition of an apartheid state is irrelevant, because when you say ‘apartheid state’, that makes people think of South Africa, which did bad apartheid and not the lovely fluffy bunny good apartheid that Israel does.”

Shorter shorter Eric Lee: “You antisemites can prove anything with facts.”

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Disturbing organisation

I can honestly say I don’t want to go to any of the International Dutch Oven Society‘s residential events. Perverts.

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