April 2nd, 2003


Free money for all!

There's a new political party in the UK. It's got numerous ideas I don't agree with, but one of them is something I've been meaning to mention for a long while - Universal Benefit.

The main problem with most benefits is that they either discourage people from getting jobs or they have a gap where you'd be better off not earning a bit more money. It makes no sense to me to discourage people from working, but I also believe that the government should provide a safety net for people so that they don't starve on the streets.

In addition to this, many low-paying jobs treat their employees like shit because they know they can't leave easily. If there was a way for people to leave terrible jobs, there'd be no alternative but for employers to make the job less terrible if they wanted staff.

I was therefore glad to see that the idea of Universal Benefits is getting an airing. The basic idea is that all people are given an amount of money necessary to cover basic food, clothes and housing. This replaces the current (in the UK) income support, housing benefit, family benefit, pension, student grant (not that this really exists much anymore), etc.

In order to cover this, a simplified tax system is put into place, whereby a flat x% is paid by all people with no income bands, personal allowances, etc. - after all, now that your essentials are covered, anything else is technically luxury of some kind. Poorer people will still be significantly better off because the benefit will be a larger proportion of their income.

The simplification of the benefits system should slice away a whole layer of bureaucracy, making it easier for poor people to get access to money they need and allowing for more flexibility in the labour market because people will find it easier to leave a job and take another despite their being a gap in between.

Apparently as an idea it's been around on the fringes for a while, but this is the first time I've seen it proposed by a political organisation (albeit one that doesn't stand a chance of being elected). Hopefully, it'll catch on.

Bellamy on Drugs

Cannabis made me sick and cocaine did absolutely nothing for me either.

I never tried heroin but LSD? Well, that had an effect. I thought I was a ball made of different coloured glass. I wanted to be bounced.

David Bellamy on taking drugs in the 60's.

Geek vidz

Over here Greg Costikyan talks about game movies. I watched the MAME song and I felt several shivers go down my back as I remembered the games that I played for so many hours as a kid. Some many games forgotten, images triggered by a quick glimpse of a few oddly coloured pixels.

Some of the other movies are cool too - there's links to The Warthog Jump amongst other things.

A brief explanation of America

You know what I'm gonna do?
I'm gonna get myself a 1967 Cadaliac Eldarado Convertable,
Hot Pink!
With whale skin hub caps,
An all leather cow interior,
And big brown baby seal eyes for headlights.
And I'm gonna drive around in that baby,
At 115 miles per hour,
Getting one mile per gallon,
Sucking down quarter pounder cheeseburgers from McDonalds in the old-fasioned non-biodegradable styrafoam containers.
And when I'm done sucking down those grease ball burgers,
I'm gonna wipe my mouth in the American flag,
And then I'm gonna toss the styrafoam containers right out the side,
And there ain't a God damn thing anybody can do about it,
You know why?
'Cause we got the bombs, that's why.
Two words, Nuclear Fucking Weapons OK.
Russia, Germany, Romania,
They can have all the democracy they want.
They can have a big democracy cake,
Walk right through the middle of Tienemen Square,
And it won't make a lick of difference,
Because we got the bombs OK!

Aah, Dennis Leary, whatever happened to him?

(Aah, yes, Disney films and voices for animated Tigers)

More Rez

I just finished section 2. I'm sweating slightly and my head is swimming. Every single little mistake I made I swore under my breath. I got to the end of level thing and then spent 5 minutes praying that each new form it took was the last one and that it would finally stopp wiggling about and just DIE!

Wheeeeeeeee, computer games!