L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

being the maunderings of an Englishman on the Côte d'Azur

15 April 2008 Blog Home : All April 2008 Posts : Permalink

Trying to Tet

When the Iraqi security forces attacked the JAM in Basra (and then Sadr city) the MSM story was pretty much: They came, they ran away, they gave up. Subsequent coverage from people on the ground has been minimal and it seems that all that is left is for columnists based in New York to describe the Iraqi government effort as a miserable failure. Badger6 pointed out the column by that military expert Frank Rich where the headline descibes the Basra operation as the Iraqi version of the Tet offensive (in the real Tet, the North Vietnamese lost the battle but won the media war). I also note that in the New Yorker the lack of success written about in such a way that it's assumed to be common knowledge:

Last week, it proved necessary for the Bush Administration to claim that an obvious failure—Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s ill-prepared raid on rival Shiite gangs in Basra, which was aborted after mass desertions within Maliki’s own ranks—was actually a success in disguise, because it demonstrated the Iraqi government’s independence of mind.

And then from London there is the wonderful BBC, which reports that Moqtada Al Sadr is demanding that the ISF members who refused to fight him be reinstated, ends the article with:

Correspondents say the government's failure to retake control of Basra despite superiority in numbers and firepower was an embarrassment for Mr Maliki and cast doubt on whether Iraqi forces could take full responsibility for security from the US-led coalition.

This is bizarre because, as far as I can tell, the fighting in Basra hasn't stopped; indeed the BBC (and others) report that the Iraqi forces have just rescued a British cameraman held in Basra:

A British journalist has been rescued by Iraqi forces after being held hostage for more than two months.

Richard Butler, who works for the US television network CBS, was found in a house in Basra with a sack over his head, said the Iraqi defence ministry.

Mr Butler described how the Iraqi army stormed the house he was in, overcoming his guards and rushing him away.

Indeed the NY Times article on the journalist's freeing indicates just how little power the Sadrists seem to have in Basra:

But Harith al-Ethari, head of Mr. Sadr’s political office in Basra, said on Monday that the freeing of Mr. Butler and the arrest of at least one suspect was proof that the Sadrists were not involved.

Mr. Ethari said that five days after Mr. Butler and the interpreter were kidnapped, the Sadr group received a message that he would soon be released but he was not. Later, Mr. Ethari said, someone sent him a threatening message on his cellphone saying, “Remove your hands from the matter of the journalist or we will kill you.”

The freeing of Mr. Butler, Mr. Ethari said, “is a very good thing for us because it will reveal that the kidnappers are not part of our movement.”

This sort of comment makes it look like the Iraqi army narrative, that they are going after gangs and thugs, some of whom claim to be the JAM quite credible and the official Sadrists are now left clutching at straws to try and avoid the deadly loss of face and political power that seems to be heading their way.

In fact the Sadrists seems to be losing in the political dimension too. Having begged for a ceasefire they haven't got one - or at least the one they got was tantamount to surrender. Then Sadr said he'd disarm if major Iraqi clerics said he should. Thed did say so, his militia mostly didn't disarm, Sadr fails to demand that they do so. Then he cancels his million man march of protest because it looks like no one would show up. Add in the fact Sadr himself seems to be staying in Iran all the time and well reports of the Iraqi government's loss seem to be exaggerated to put it mildly.

Now there are parallels between events in Iraq and events in Vietnam, certainly but the parallels seem to be occuring in the media and their 'progressive' political allies which seem determined to convince the US military to quit Iraq in the same way that it managed to get the US military to quit Vietnam. The problem is that they haven't really been able to spin things badly enough. Unlike in Vietnam, the (second) Iraqi enemy - Al Qeada - has now been pretty much comprehensively defeated, as was the first, Saddam Hussein's Ba'athists. The thrid enemy - Iran - which might possibly take the N Vietnam/Soviet Union role in Iraq seems to have been rather less successful and also unwilling to directly intervene in the way that the N Vietnamese did. I suspect the key difference is the lack of a monopoly narrative. 35-40 years ago there was no blogosphere and very few alternative outlets for journalists who wanted to tell a different story. Now there is. And thanks to the Internet books such as Michael Yon's Moment of Truth in Iraq: How a New 'Greatest Generation' of American Soldiers is Turning Defeat and Disaster into Victory and Hope not only get published but also get wide distribution and publicity. It may not defeat the forces of doom and gloom who are trying to get their Tet but it makes it a lot harder for the media war to be lost when the war on the ground is being won.

16 April 2008 Blog Home : All April 2008 Posts : Permalink

Buy from Blue Jeans Cable not Monster

I am not an audiophile, nor am I a US resident, so any personal boycott I might announce with regard to audio (and for that matter video) cables would be of distinctly limited effect. However I do earnestly hope that any readers of this who are audiophiles, US residents and particularly are both will read this blog post and then agree to
  1. buy audio cables from Blue Jeans Cable
  2. avoid buying audio cables (or indeed any other product) from Monster Cable
  3. give lots of juicy publicity to the legal action this post refers to
So what am I upset about? I'm upset about the way that Monster Cable and/or its lawyers appears to be attempting a legal shakedown effort/extortion racket on other cable producers, in this case Blue Jeans Cable by claiming that some of its patents are infringed. As the link above points out this isn't the first time Monster has claimed patent infringement apparently:

We thought there had been a lull in the numerous Monster Cable lawsuits which had percolated throughout the industry in the last few years. Apparently the lawyers needed more to do.

Design patents represent nothing more that that: design. There is no technological content within design patents. The net effect is that Monster cable suing Blue Jeans is like you suing someone who copied the custom paint job on your car.

In this particular case though I'm not particularly worried about the victim because, as the article points out

the owner of Blue Jeans Cable is a lawyer by trade. We hope he takes this as far as it needs to go to shut down the lawsuit and end this nonsense.

And indeed his reply is a joy to read. I'd suggest reading the whole thing but I rather enjoyed this little bit of legal reasoning:

Also,  please provide me all of the information referenced above as it relates to your expired patent D323643, a copy of which I am attaching. [...] Please let me know  which, if any, products Monster has ever sold or offered for sale which were marked with the patent number, or other reference, to  D323643.  Please also advise me whether, in your view, the Tartan connector does or does not fall within the scope of D323643, and if it is your view that it does not, please identify each and every difference between the Tartan connector and the connector represented by D323643 upon which your view is based. [...]

I would assume that you would agree with me that if the Tartan connector is less dissimilar from the D323643 patent than from any of the five patents you cite in your letter, then the Tartan connector is within the coverage of the prior art and cannot, as a matter of law, infringe any of your client's current patents.

            I must also point out that unless there is a good deal of background information you have not provided me which makes the case otherwise, Monster Cable cannot possibly square its patent infringement claim(s) with its own patent history.  Two views of the matter might be taken; the first, which is my view, is that none of the design patents, including D323643, encompass the Tartan connector.  If that is so, of course, the claim for infringement fails.  But if one grants the sort of breadth to these patents that you appear to wish to do, a problem arises for Monster.  D323643 is the least dissimilar to the Tartan connector of any of the patents, and stands as an obstacle to any claim of infringement of the others because it establishes prior art; if its scope, like the others, is granted the breadth you argue for, then the Tartan connector falls plainly under the prior art and cannot constitute an infringement of the later, and more dissimilar, patents.  Read the patents narrowly, and Monster loses; read them broadly, and Monster loses.

And I can't help but imagine that this bit caused the legal sharks who sent the original demand to regret that idea:

            After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1985, I spent nineteen years in litigation practice, with a focus upon federal litigation involving large damages and complex issues.  My first seven years were spent primarily on the defense side, where I developed an intense frustration with insurance carriers who would settle meritless claims for nuisance value when the better long-term view would have been to fight against vexatious litigation as a matter of principle.  In plaintiffs' practice, likewise, I was always a strong advocate of standing upon principle and taking cases all the way to judgment, even when substantial offers of settlement were on the table.  I am "uncompromising" in the most literal sense of the word.  If Monster Cable proceeds with litigation against me I will pursue the same merits-driven approach; I do not compromise with bullies and I would rather spend fifty thousand dollars on defense than give you a dollar of unmerited settlement funds.  As for signing a licensing agreement for intellectual property which I have not infringed: that will not happen, under any circumstances, whether it makes economic sense or not.

So to make it very simple. Don't reward extortionists. Instead ostracize them and do patronise the companies they do threaten instead.

19 April 2008 Blog Home : All April 2008 Posts : Permalink

belated Friday Olive Tree Blogging

20080418 - belated Friday Olive Tree Blogging
One of the olive trees in my garden looking particularly magnificent this morning with a rose in front.

As always you can click on the image to see it enlarged and are invited to visit the olive tree blogging archives to remind yourself of how nice olive trees are.

19 April 2008 Blog Home : All April 2008 Posts : Permalink

The Origin of the Beijing Olympic Logo

Someone sent this to me. I figure it could use some wider circulation and allow me to discover whether Chinese communists are better than Islamists when it comes to hacking websites they dislike.
Beijing Logo Creation - Stage 1
Beijing Logo Creation - Stage 2
Beijing Logo Creation - Stage 3
Beijing Logo Creation - Stage 4
Beijing Logo Creation - Stage 5
PS In the spirit of fairness (well kind of) this animation of the London 2012 logo has always amused me and made me even gladder than normal that I don't pay (much) UK tax.
Blowing your taxes on the olymp dicks
Brings new meaning to the jokes about how governments blow taxpayers money....

20 April 2008 Blog Home : All April 2008 Posts : Permalink

43 seconds slow

So I ran the Nice Semi Marathon again. Did better than last year. But failed to break the magic 1h30 barrier by a mingy 43 seconds.
Semi-offical Semi marathon certificate

21 April 2008 Blog Home : All April 2008 Posts : Permalink

All Your SQL Data Are Belong To Us

Thanks to the Register I came across this Daily WTF article and some of the follow up. In brief there would seem to be a lot of people, including any one unfortunate enough to have even been on Oklahoma's Sex Offender's register (and I believe many other lists of criminals and possibly even prison officers/law enforcement personnel) who may have their personal information available on the world wide web to anyone who can modify a basic SQL query. As the reg article explains:

The unfortunate developers executed several critical errors in establishing the site. First, they allowed a database with sensitive content to face the outside Internet. Second, they allowed queries from the website to access any of the information in that database. Third, they placed the SQL queries required to extract information inside GET requests from the browser (most easily recognised as the part of the URL after the question mark(?) if it is there).

Finally, and possibly most critically, they did not perform any filtering of the anonymous GET requests, happily executing the SQL requests and returning the results.

There are also a lot of other entities who, whether or not they have sensitve personal information or not, could well be letting themselves in for a nasty surprise if a bored script kiddie who understands SQL were to come along. A script kiddie who realized that SELECT is not the only SQL command there is and who therefore might decide to adapt an idea from xkcd:
Little Bobby 'Drop' Tables

How can this happen? It all boils down to people trading convenience for time/effort and not realizing that they are also trading away security for convenience. Essentially all these web pages are simply querying a database and so the developers decide that rather than create a middle layer that takes the underlying SQL query and turn it into something shorter that is suitable for a list of URL links on a page (e.g. a list of cities by ZIP code say) and then have the other middle layer that sticks the missing bits of the query back before producing the result why not just stick the whole SQL query out there and skip the code that takes the URL including (say) zip code and adds the rest of the query. Let me illustrate.

Say you have a link to (this is using the Oklahoma sex ofeenders register) a list of Oklahoma cities including Mustang (Zip 73064) and Muskogee (zip 74401 and 74403) you might decide to create a page with a list like this

Sex offenders by Zip code

If you click those links you see that all that happens is I pop up an alert tellign you the zip code. If this were a real application then clicking on the link would lead to a web server getting the information (74401 or whatever) and processing it, perhaps by converting it to an SQL query like this:

select distinct o.offender_id,doc_number,o.social_security_number,o.date_of_birth,o.first_name,o.middle_name,o.last_name,o.sir_name,sor_data.getCD(race) race,sor_data.getCD(sex) sex,l.address1 address,l.city,l.state stateid,l.zip,l.county,sor_data.getCD(l.state) state,l.country countryid,sor_data.getCD(l.country) country,decode(habitual,'Y','habitual','') habitual,decode(aggravated,'Y','aggravated','') aggravated,l.status,x.status,x.registration_date,x.end_registration_date,l.jurisdiction from registration_offender_xref x, sor_last_locn_v lastLocn, sor_offender o, sor_location l , (select distinct offender_id from sor_location where status = 'Verified' and upper(zip) = '$zipcode' ) h where lastLocn.offender_id(%2B) = o.offender_id and l.location_id(%2B) = lastLocn.location_id and x.offender_id = o.offender_id and x.status not in ('Merged') and x.REG_TYPE_ID = 1 and nvl(x.admin_validated,to_date(1,'J')) >= nvl(x.entry_date,to_date(1,'J')) and x.status = 'Active' and x.status <> 'Deleted' and h.offender_id = o.offender_id order by o.last_name,o.first_name,o.middle_name&sr=yes

Each different link above would pass a different $zipcode value and so if the user clicked on Mustang the query would be

select distinct o.offender_id,doc_number,o.social_security_number,o.date_of_birth,o.first_name,o.middle_name,o.last_name,o.sir_name,sor_data.getCD(race) race,sor_data.getCD(sex) sex,l.address1 address,l.city,l.state stateid,l.zip,l.county,sor_data.getCD(l.state) state,l.country countryid,sor_data.getCD(l.country) country,decode(habitual,'Y','habitual','') habitual,decode(aggravated,'Y','aggravated','') aggravated,l.status,x.status,x.registration_date,x.end_registration_date,l.jurisdiction from registration_offender_xref x, sor_last_locn_v lastLocn, sor_offender o, sor_location l , (select distinct offender_id from sor_location where status = 'Verified' and upper(zip) = '73064' ) h where lastLocn.offender_id(%2B) = o.offender_id and l.location_id(%2B) = lastLocn.location_id and x.offender_id = o.offender_id and x.status not in ('Merged') and x.REG_TYPE_ID = 1 and nvl(x.admin_validated,to_date(1,'J')) >= nvl(x.entry_date,to_date(1,'J')) and x.status = 'Active' and x.status <> 'Deleted' and h.offender_id = o.offender_id order by o.last_name,o.first_name,o.middle_name&sr=yes


The important thing is that when you saw the result page all you would see is some url like http://docapp8.doc.state.ok.us/pls/portal30/url/page/sor_roster?zipcode=73064
and therefore it wouldn't matter if you modified the URL by changing the 73064 to (say) 74401. Now sometimes even this is a bad idea: if it weren't zip code but were (say) Social Security Number simply responding to the query would likely include additional private information (such as name and address) so we would prefer it if someone were not able to hand craft queries. However a lot of the time this is a perfectly harmless thing. When I looked up my semi-marathon results on line yesterday I was able to also look up other people's results if I knew their race number. But it isn't necessarily good.

However in the Oklahoma case it was a lot worse than not good because instead of just the zip code you got the entire SQL query (like this)

Sex offenders by Zip code

And that means that someone who is curious can try feeding all sorts of other valid SQL query statements in and seeign what they get. When they get ot right they get a list of all the details of everyone in the database table in question. And with a little more playing get the details of every table in the database and hence all the other data in the database.

This sort of problem is, unfortunately, rather common and thanks to the internet what were once minor embarrassing internal breaches where the only people who could take advantage were bored employees, now thanks to web portals and the internet everyone else can too.

23 April 2008 Blog Home : All April 2008 Posts : Permalink

Read Genre Trash With Pride

Mike Barker, one of folk I read the livejournal of wites about how people are frequently ashamed of reading in public. What he illustrates this with is two anecdotes, one where the person is reading a Nora Roberts romance and one where the book is a Mike Resnick SF one. He suggests at the end of it thta perhaps he should make up badges, stickers etc that say something like "Read with Pride"

Actually he's wrong. No one is ashamed to read Hemmingway or Sarte in public. Or Umberto Eco. Or V.S. Naipul. Or other high-brow literary fiction. Even if these works are actually pretentious twaddle. However give them a best seller (say Harry Potter or The Davinci Code) and the squirm factor goes up slightly. Not much because they know they are far from alone in their reading taste but slightly because these works are preceived to be of little literary merit and thus unserious. In public it seems to me many people feel they should not appear frivolous.

It gets even worse when we come to Romance Novels, Speculative Fiction, Westerns, Whodunnits etc. It is a truth universally acknowledged that all these works are of no merit whatsoever and that therefore reading them is akin to drooling in public. It has been reported that one of the growth areas of electronic publishing is erotica and this isn't exactly a surprise. Because if being seen reading trashy romance is merely slightly embarrassing then being seen to read books describing sexual acts in detail is a sign of complete loserdom, almost as bad are reading a porno mag. Indeed one driver of ebook sales could well be a more general cringe factor. I wonder whether an ebook reader with a "boss screen" would sell well?

Then there are the threads like this where we find many people (including yours truly) admitting to the guilty pleasure of John Ringo's Palladin of Shadows books. Books which we all (even John) admit are pure escapist trash where all the girls are beautiful, many are strong and smart and beautiful, all the guys are handsome and the hero is rich, has an amazing sex life etc. Oh and he can kill people he doesn't like with impunity and the villains are all evil etc. etc.

But even those books (and even for that matter the infamous ferret romances of Cassie Edwards) are in fact books we should be proud of reading. Recall that large chunks of the population are either unable to read or uninterested in reading and prefer to watch TV, an activity that is even less intellectually stimulating. Reading genre fiction frequently involves learning stuff that you would probably not pick up any other way - e.g. the mating habits of ferrets thanks to Cassie Edwards, although of course many writers also make up or adapt or otherwise mangle the truth as well. Furthermore in SF particularly you get to look at the world from a sideways slant. What would happen if ...? That has to be better than merely watching a bunch of vacuous actors and actresses mouth scripts which have been dumbed down so that even the semi-moronic can understand what is going on.

I'll go further and suggest that many genre books actually have layers of meaning which would get literary critics excited if they would deign to examine them. Some are obvious - much of Heinlein for example would be just as good to read critically as Orwell's 1984 or Huxley's Brave New World or other well known literary F/SF such as CS LEwis and Tolkein - however many are not so well known. Lois McMaster Bujold is just one author whose world building, characterization and overall craftsmanship makes her works the sort that actively stimulates the brain. She (or rather her works) ought to be the subject of scholarly analysis but the casual observer of someone reading "Miles in Love" isn't going to realize that and hence probably the reader will prefer not to read it in public. And it isn't just the cover that causes that reaction although, despite the proverb of "not judging a book by its cover", even dedicated genre readers (and authors) tend to get touchy about potentially embarrassing covers, as you see from this Stross comment thread.

It seems to me that genre fiction publishers ought to try a bit of joint marketing to get their customers and books a bit more respect from society as a whole. A "I read trashy genre books with pride" campaign in other words.

23 April 2008 Blog Home : All April 2008 Posts : Permalink

St George's Day

As an expat Englishman this seems appropriate for me to post:

WINDS of the World, give answer! They are whimpering to and fro—
And what should they know of England who only England know?—
The poor little street-bred people that vapour and fume and brag,
They are lifting their heads in the stillness to yelp at the English Flag!

Must we borrow a clout from the Boer—to plaster anew with dirt?
An Irish liar’s bandage, or an English coward’s shirt?
We may not speak of England; her Flag’s to sell or share.
What is the Flag of England? Winds of the World, declare!

The North Wind blew:—“From Bergen my steel-shod vanguards go;
I chase your lazy whalers home from the Disko floe;
By the great North Lights above me I work the will of God,
And the liner splits on the ice-field or the Dogger fills with cod.

“I barred my gates with iron, I shuttered my doors with flame,
Because to force my ramparts your nutshell navies came;
I took the sun from their presence, I cut them down with my blast,
And they died, but the Flag of England blew free ere the spirit passed.

“The lean white bear hath seen it in the long, long Arctic night,
The musk-ox knows the standard that flouts the Northern Light:
What is the Flag of England? Ye have but my bergs to dare,
Ye have but my drifts to conquer. Go forth, for it is there!”

The South Wind sighed:—“From the Virgins my mid-sea course was ta’en
Over a thousand islands lost in an idle main,
Where the sea-egg flames on the coral and the long-backed breakers croon
Their endless ocean legends to the lazy, locked lagoon.

“Strayed amid lonely islets, mazed amid outer keys,
I waked the palms to laughter—I tossed the scud in the breeze—
Never was isle so little, never was sea so lone,
But over the scud and the palm-trees an English flag was flown.

“I have wrenched it free from the halliard to hang for a wisp on the Horn;
I have chased it north to the Lizard—ribboned and rolled and torn;
I have spread its fold o’er the dying, adrift in a hopeless sea;
I have hurled it swift on the slaver, and seen the slave set free.

“My basking sunfish know it, and wheeling albatross,
Where the lone wave fills with fire beneath the Southern Cross.
What is the Flag of England? Ye have but my reefs to dare,
Ye have but my seas to furrow. Go forth, for it is there!”

The East Wind roared:—“From the Kuriles, the Bitter Seas, I come,
And me men call the Home-Wind, for I bring the English home.
Look—look well to your shipping! By the breath of my mad typhoon
I swept your close-packed Praya and beached your best at Kowloon!

“The reeling junks behind me and the racing seas before,
I raped your richest roadstead—I plundered Singapore!
I set my hand on the Hoogli; as a hooded snake she rose,
And I flung your stoutest steamers to roost with the startled crows.

“Never the lotus closes, never the wild-fowl wake,
But a soul goes out on the East Wind that died for England’s sake—
Man or woman or suckling, mother or bride or maid—
Because on the bones of the English the English Flag is stayed.

“The desert-dust hath dimmed it, the flying wild-ass knows,
The scared white leopard winds it across the taintless snows.
What is the Flag of England? Ye have but my sun to dare,
Ye have but my sands to travel. Go forth, for it is there!”

The West Wind called:—“In squadrons the thoughtless galleons fly
That bear the wheat and cattle lest street-bred people die.
They make my might their porter, they make my house their path,
Till I loose my neck from their rudder and whelm them all in my wrath.

“I draw the gliding fog-bank as a snake is drawn from the hole,
They bellow one to the other, the frighted ship-bells toll,
For day is a drifting terror till I raise the shroud with my breath,
And they see strange bows above them and the two go locked to death.

“But whether in calm or wrack-wreath, whether by dark or day,
I heave them whole to the conger or rip their plates away,
First of the scattered legions, under a shrieking sky,
Dipping between the rollers, the English Flag goes by.

“The dead dumb fog hath wrapped it—the frozen dews have kissed—
The naked stars have seen it, a fellow-star in the mist.
What is the Flag of England? Ye have but my breath to dare,
Ye have but my waves to conquer. Go forth, for it is there!”

One might also note that Kipling in Something of Myself where he discusses this poem also notes the existence of late 19th cdntury Tranzis and Guardianistas:

Likewise, in my wanderings beyond Villiers Street, I had met several men and an occasional woman, whom I by no means loved. They were overly soft-spoken or blatant, and dealt in pernicious varieties of safe sedition. For the most part they seemed to be purveyors of luxuries to the ‘Aristocracy,’ whose destruction by painful means they loudly professed to desire. They derided my poor little Gods of the East, and asserted that the British in India spent violent lives ‘oppressing’ the Native. (This in a land where white girls of sixteen, at twelve or fourteen pounds per annum, hauled thirty and forty pounds weight of bath-water at a time up four flights of stairs!)

The more subtle among them had plans, which they told me, for ‘snatching away England’s arms when she isn’t looking—just like a naughty child—so that when she wants to fight she’ll find she can’t.’ (We have come far on that road since.) Meantime, their aim was peaceful, intellectual penetration and the formation of what to-day would be called ‘cells’ in unventilated corners. Collaborating with these gentry was a mixed crowd of wide-minded, wide-mouthed Liberals, who darkened counsel with pious but disintegrating catch-words, and took care to live very well indeed. Somewhere, playing up to them, were various journals, not at all badly written, with a most enviable genius for perverting or mistaking anything that did not suit their bilious doctrine.

You can't help but note how the habit of worrying about imperialistic oppression of darkies failing to transfer over to wrrying about their own oppression is one that their descendents seem to have inherited...

On the note there of removing arms, at the BBC Justin Webb almost manages to grasp the concept that an "armed society is a polite society" unlike the rude and disarmed England:

What surprises the British tourists is that, in areas of the US that look and feel like suburban Britain, there is simply less crime and much less violent crime.

Doors are left unlocked, public telephones unbroken.

One reason - perhaps the overriding reason - is that there is no public drunkenness in polite America, simply none.

I have never seen a group of drunk young people in the entire six years I have lived here. I travel a lot and not always to the better parts of town.

It is an odd fact that a nation we associate - quite properly - with violence is also so serene, so unscarred by petty crime, so innocent of brawling.

Amazing isn't it that our lords and masters having disarmed everyone and made us all petrified of jobsworths and the youths themselves if we dare reprove bad parents, naughty boys etc. are now amazed that crime is rising. And I can't help but note this Samizdata post on the subject of policing. These days it seems like the government simply tries to distract us with security theatre instead of actually solving the problem because the solution involves admitting the failure of the list of socialistic happy clappy nostrums which have been inflicted on us.