Latest Posts

  • Wednesday's Links: Homeland the Game

    * Homeland as an RPG. Tap the buttons to undermine Carrie!

    * Obama hates football, says Twitter.

    * Do you have Prince Charles in a tube?

    * This North Korea gulag got a five star rating!

    * All this talk of guns and nothing about their feelings.

    * Because you're mine, I'll stand in line (at the Post Office).

    * Ira Glass urges you to grab life by the balls (paraphrasing).

    * DOMA defenders throw unplanned pregnancy to the wall to see if it sticks.

    * San Francisco's Fauxtest 2013 proves the city has a sense of humor about itself.

    Tags: Barack Obama, College Humor, Daily Links, Guns, Homeland, Ira Glass, Johnny Cash, Kim, London, North Korea, Prince Charles, San Francisco, Sports, The Onion
  • Stimulating the U.K.'s Plate Glass Window Economy

    Planet Money blogger Laura Conaway's take on the protesters in London today…

    I don't mean to get moralistic here, but I don't think the protesters have any right to smash windows — and in any case, they're only making business for whichever capitalist windows company gets called in to replace the glass. The bank and its insurers take the hit for fixing the windows, the taxpayers take the hit for police wages, and the glazier gets the business. It's all money that might have been spent more productively elsewhere.

    Yes, exactly. Like on lighter fluid that could have been used to start burning all the traitorous money that's been causing all our problems.

    Oh, that money just makes me so angry.

    Tags: Economy, London, Money, Protesters, United Kingdom
  • G-20 Protesters Demand an End to Money

    You know what the problem with modern society is? You know why everything seems to be going all crazy these days? It's the 5,000-year-old tradition of using a medium that can be exchanged for goods and services in lieu of a straight barter system. That and non-broken windows.

    Luckily, some very intelligent people in London — where the G-20 summit is being held this week — are taking care of all that right now

    At least 4,000 anarchists, anti-capitalists, environmentalists and others jammed into London's financial district for what they called "Financial Fool's Day." The protests were called ahead of Thursday's summit of world leaders, who hope to take concrete steps to resolve the global financial crisis that has lashed nations and workers worldwide…

    Some protesters spray-painted the side of the RBS building with the phrases "class war" and "thieves." Others pushed against columns of riot police who swatted them away with batons.

    Demonstrators shouted "Abolish Money!" and clogged streets in the area known as "The City" even as Prime Minister Gordon Brown and President Barack Obama held a news conference elsewhere in the British capital.

    No word yet on whether or not world leaders will take these helpful people's sage advice to return to an economy based upon lentils and goats.

    But hopes are high.

    Tags: Economy, G-20, London, Money, Protesters, United Kingdom
  • Indecision Internationale: London Mayoral Election – Commissioner Paddick

    Tired of American politics? Then why not look overseas and take solace that it's not quite as insane as the London Mayoral elections taking place on Thursday? Some limey named Rich Johnston keeps holding our hand through it all:

    Brian Paddick, an ex-police commissioner, is the main third party candidate standing for London Mayor. He was once going to be the Conservative Party candidate, until he changed his mind.

    That he is a practising homosexual subject to domestic abuse has hardly had any play, even amongst the most conservative of media. Compared to Ken Livingstone's five children from three women, or Boris Johnson's high profile affairs and abortions, Brian's long-term monogamous relationship seems the most respectable. Although he was married to a lady in the eighties, like so many politicians, he flip-flopped.

    Even Brian's drugs policy, where he instructed his officers not to make arrests for cannabis possession (think The Wire's "Hamsterdam" spread out across a London borough), was respected by much of the media.

    The problem with Brian is that while he's certainly a figure of authority, he's seen as an uninspiring candidate. His policies have no bite; they seem mundane, more managerial than inspirational.

    So he's been going on the offensive of late, trying to at least persuade people that he might have an actual personality. He's just called Ken Livingstone a "nasty little man" and of Boris, said, "I wouldn't trust him to run anything for me." For Brian, these are strong words.

    But unlike other major British elections, the London Mayor uses the "Alternative Vote" system, where voters have a first and second choice. When Brian is eliminated (and he will be), his voters' second choices will go to Boris or Ken. If Brian says which of the two candidates he supports more, he could swing the result.

    Except right now, he isn't saying.

    So while Ken and Boris and slamming the hell out of each other, even when Brian attacks them, they turn the other cheek and are, well, remarkably nice to him. And not just in case Brian gets some old friends to throw them down the stairs.

    In the next installment of Indecision Internationale, it's Election Day in London!

    Tags: Boris Johnson, Indecision Internationale, Ken Livingstone, London
  • Indecision Internationale: London Mayoral Election – Fidel Ken


    Tired of American politics? Then why not look overseas and take solace that it's not quite as insane as the London Mayoral elections taking place in May? Some limey named Rich Johnston continues to hold our hand through it all:

    Ken Livingstone is the incumbent London Mayor standing for a third term. He loves whisky, newts and is so left wing that in America, he'd be burnt as a communist.

    In the eighties, he ran the Greater London Council, and was mocked by the tabloids as "Red Ken." When the GLC was disbanded, Ken seemed content to spend his life in well-remembered political obscurity, advertising cheese…until the position of London Mayor was advertised. He put himself forward as a Labour Party candidate, and the fearful party openly rigged the election. So, Ken resigned from the party, stood as an independent and remarkably, won.

    Ken introduced the Congestion Charge, a toll for anyone who drove into London's city centre. And surprisingly, people actually liked it. When the U.S. Embassy refused to pay, he called the ambassador a "chiselling little crook." London cheered.

    Ken ploughed the revenue into public transport. Traffic and pollution fell, crime soon followed. Ken rejoined the Labour Party after they publicaly ate the least tasty humble pie in the history of shameful pastries and won a second term. And the day after London secured the 2012 Olympics, the bombings of July 2005 saw Ken transformed as a statesman — and he still travels by public transport.

    Things were looking good for a third term until Ken reportedly engaged in a fistfight with a newspaper editor. Later, he called another reporter a “German war criminal." When the reporter told Ken that as a Jew he was offended, Ken's retort was that he was “just like a concentration camp guard."

    The newspapers fired back, uncovering allegations of corruption amongst his aides, drunkenness in office and the existence of three unknown children from two different women.

    But there was no one with enough local appeal willing to take on Ken Livingstone. So the media got behind a new challenger: The bumbling, genial idiot savant whose biggest campaign idea seems to be his haircut, Boris Johnson (whom you'll get to know in the next installment of Indecision Internationale). And the unraveling of Ken began…

    Tags: Boris Johnson, London, United Kingdom