Lies, Damn Lies
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Friday, July 20, 2007
Punishment fitting the crimeI'm not sure I am such a libetarian that I am one who would say that people should be free to do things that would harm them necessarily. For example, I think the law being that people should wear seat belts is a good one- it encourages people to belt up, and saves lives. But the punishment should not be too harsh- a monetary fine is applied to drivers who do not do this. That is all.
So we come to drugs. Let's ignore the hilarious inconsistency of our laws- it is probable that alcohol is more harmful than cannabis (neither of which are physically addictive), and smoking most certainly is. But lets say the government wants to discourage people from taking these drugs. Fair enough- these drugs can kill and due to some's highly addictive nature, encourage other crimes, but here the punishment seems steep and pointless. The penalty for posession of ecstasy can be up to 7 years in prison. 7 years. That is madness. We are talking about a drug with a relatively low mortality rate (one website suggests lower- far lower- than alchohol) and no physically addictive properties. Yet posession of this drug will essentally ruin your life beyond all repair. Now I wouldn't take this drug, not only because of health risks, but mainly because I'm not particularly willing to risk 7 years for that, but those who do simply don't deserve a punishment that harsh.
Surely a more sensible system would require mandatory sessions to get rid of any drug dependancy, possibly linked with community service and a fine. But then our drug policy has not been sensible for a very long time- it is incredibly clear that politicans talk tough on this issue because they believe it is a no brainer in terms of winning votes- it's not the right thing to do by any leap of the imagination.
This occurs to me because the government is saying it will review it's drug policy to see if cannabis should be upgraded to level B. Thats a potential 5 years in prison for posession. Now considering several members of the government have admitted to taking cannabis in the past, I wonder if they'd consider charging themselves? Of course not. In their case it was youthful experimentation and perfectly harmless. in others it's bad enough to earn a jail sentence.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
More potter related linksCause I'm over excited.
Freedom of SpeechI'm not sure how important freedom of speech is to this country. Recent developments would suggest not greatly- massive curtailing of protests has occured, to protect politicians from someone shouting out about how the war in Iraq is wrong outside Parliament... sadly he is rather correct, but never mind.
We also have the curious notion of hate speech, which I am deeply uncomfortable with. I understand that not all speech is free. If I tell someone who I believe is highly likely to kill someone if I am to order him to do so, then I am certainly culpable. But what if I'm shouting at a protest? I am a reactionary hothead, calling for the death of danish cartoonists. Yes, it's possible there are people in the crowd who might take me on my word, but do they really need it? I am not in a position of authority- I am a guy with a placard. A dick with a placard certainly, but one who deserves three years in jail? I am not comfortable with that, not comfortable at all.
How far do we go with this exactly? If I shout in a storm of rage that I'm going to kill someone, will I be sent to jail? As far as I can tell, there doesn't seem to be anything to suggest these three were actually going to carry out their threats, all they had done was shout it out. I don't think this is a great development, and certainly does not help us fight terrorism. Perhaps they WILL be willing to kill once released.....
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
H dayI haven't posted for a while due to laziness and having no internet connection for a few days. So H-day is finally arriving, all the questions will (hopefully) be answered, and the mania will, at least, ease off. Well until the next film I suppose, although somehow I suspect without the book mania the film audiences might die down a little. I'm probably wrong though....
Anyway, heres a fun little article about questions yet to be answered. It's silly, and full of spoilers for the first six books.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
the care bearsMy mother implied today that while I am happy to blog about childhood shows that were a little more, shall we say, masculine, I would never blog about the care bears. Well, I have shown her.
I must admit to watching a lot of the care bears when I was a kid. I even had two of their films. I'm not sure if I'm entirely proud of this, as I can't really remember much about them. Wikipedia informs me that they were originally on greeting cards before getting their own series, which is a little odd, although no odder than most cartoon series, I suppose.
Actually, as I read further into this article, I think perhaps shame should be the main emotion. I quote
"The franchise consists mainly of the Care Bears themselves, as well as the later additions the Care Bear Cousins. Both of them live in the Kingdom of Caring, which is made up of Care-a-lot (the home of the Care Bears proper) and the Forest of Feelings (home to the Care Bear Cousins)."
"The Care Bears' ultimate "weapon" is the "Care Bear Stare," in which the collected Bears stand together and radiate light from their respective tummy symbols. These combine to form a ray of love and good cheer which could bring care and joy into the target's heart."
I rather think those speak for themselves....
Thursday, July 05, 2007
May the Fourth be with youI was thinking about Independence day, which is a fourth, hence the title. It's a pretty nifty day to celebrate, as I suppose is thanskgiving, although thats a little more lame, seeing how all the pilgrims then went and slaughtered the indians who gave them food. But whatever. Britain doesn't really have days like that, ignoring our saints day (and who cares about the stupid old dragon killer anyway), our main unique one is bonfire night, where we celebrate the failed attempt to kill everyone in parliament by Guy Fawkes. Although it might have actually been a stitch up anyway.....
Still, it's an odd thing to celebrate, made odder by V for Vendetta's bizzare insistence that the reason we rememeber it is because of Guy Fawkes attempting to strike a blow for freedom, and not the whole how bad it would have been if he had succeeded thing. We actually even burn effegies of Guy Fawkes, an even more disturbing tradition if one thinks about, which has been rather shadowed out by the whole letting off lots of fireworks things, which is far prettier and has less obvious symbolism.
We do have other dates we might celebrate- the signing of the magna carta wouldn't be a bad one, for example, or I suppose the civil war, but the following of festivals never really follows a logical course. Look at the disturbing and annoying rise of haloween, where children go around breaking the law for a night, because of some obscure pagan ritual. For that matter the whole easter varying according to the phases of the moon is pretty insane- we never seem quite happy on settling as to whether it is a pagan or christian festival. Probably both.
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
The best five second clip on the internet?YOU decide!
Grand purgeI have left Bath, to return to a room filled with all my possesions. I am a little squirrel like, and am hesitant to throw anything away, or even sell it, and as a result the number of my posessions has greatly expanded over the years. Sadly most of these will not be able to fit into the flat into southampton, and while some can stay here, others will have to go. I have succeeded in filling two boxes full of stuff thus far, which is pretty crazy really. I imagine I could fill more if I was really harsh, but certain items hold bizzare emotional value even if I won't use them anymore.
Monday, July 02, 2007
Final day in BathWell, it's probably not my last day here ever- I will undoubtedly return here more than once in the future. But it's certainly my last day here in this phase of my life. It has been an amazing four years, and I have made some amazing friends.
Bath is a beautiful city, but it would be meaningless without the friends who make it all worthwhile. From housemates to course mates to friends I met in societies, each one is important to me, I sincerely hope that we do not lose touch. It won't be the same, but lets hope it's not completely different. It's extremely odd to have all these strong friends and then life just dictates that you will not see each other for months on end. But hey, thats the life we live- there are new friends to make, new places to be, and I don't regret a moment.
Stilll... another year might have been nice.