Worth reading

by Henry on December 8, 2003

“Ken MacLeod’s”:http://kenmacleod.blogspot.com/2003_12_01_kenmacleod_archive.html#107076468337607417 long essay on the pro- and anti-war left. (via “Norman Geras”:http://normangeras.blogspot.com/2003_12_07_normangeras_archive.html#107088561122966260).

QE2 4 JW

by Brian on December 8, 2003

Normally thinking about either the monarchy or the English rugby team makes me nauseous, but I thought this story was quite amusing.

Scrum-half Matt Dawson revealed that the players had first learned of the invitation as a result of a text the queen sent to her grandson Prince Harry just minutes after Wilkinson’s drop goal clinched their final victory over Australia. Dawson told BBC Radio: “It was quite funny how we found out about it. Harry told us, ‘I’ve just got a text from my nan and she wants to give you a party’.”

By the way, I think if the ‘rules’ for punctuation made any sense there’d be an extra full stop at the end of the last sentence.

Disenfranchising felons

by Chris Bertram on December 8, 2003

Via “PoliticalTheory.info”:http://www.politicaltheory.info/ I came upon a “report from a US think-tank called Demos on the disenfranchisement of felons in the United States”:http://www.demos-usa.org/demos/Pubs/punishing_at_the_polls.pdf (PDF). This varies significantly from state to state, and, unsurprisingly, blacks are far more likely to be denied the vote than whites. Just out of curiosity I took some numbers from the report and fed them into Excel to generate a rank ordering of states by the proportion of persons (from the total population rather than the electorate) denied voting rights on these grounds. The table is below the fold:

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If it ain’t broke

by Maria on December 8, 2003

The Irish Labour Party has produced an excellent report on the flawed introduction of electronic voting in Ireland. Shane Hogan and Robert Cochran, both labour members and IT experts, show with elegant precision just what is wrong with how e-voting is being introduced in Ireland.

It is depressing that in Ireland we often wait till a public policy has been introduced and discredited/heavily criticised elsewhere, and then implement it ourselves, taking no heed of others’ criticisms and the obvious problems. Tower-block public housing in the 1970s and the current push for healthcare centralisation come to mind. So too with e-voting.

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This is a little bit freaky. Right now if you do a Google search for Weatherson you get in the sidebar two ‘sponsored links’, one for Philosophy Body Care, and the other for Philosophy the Gingerbread Man. (No I’m not making this up. Not even I have that twisted an imagination.)

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Cover Me

by Henry on December 8, 2003

“Jim Henley”:http://www.highclearing.com/archivesuo/week_2003_11_30.html#004769 has a nice post on his favourite cover-versions; “Atrios”:http://atrios.blogspot.com/2003_12_07_atrios_archive.html#107083856368381294 has just chimed in too. Here’s a few more to add to the mix.

(1) Uncle Tupelo – I Wanna Be Your Dog. The Stooges classic is given a bluegrass work-over. And it rocks. (available on their recent “anthology”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000063CN9/henryfarrell-20).

(2) Cat Power – (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction. Junks the cock-rock chorus to create a nearly unrecognisable, but extraordinarily compelling slice of loneliness and despair. Trust me – you’ve never really heard the lyrics of the song until you’ve listened to this version. (available on “The Covers Record”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00004NHDY/henryfarrell-20″)

(3) The Blue Aeroplanes – The Boy in the Bubble. Takes a rather wuffly Paul Simon afro-beat number, and adds much urgency. On their (now deleted) album, _Beatsongs_ – good luck in finding it. The album also has the song “Cover Me,” which no-one has yet covered, to the best of my knowledge.

Update: Oh, and Outkast’s drum’n’bass take on “My Favourite Things” on “Speakerboxx/The Love Below”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000AGWFX/henryfarrell-20