We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Keith Olbermann is right

That is, if this sentiment attributed to him does indeed reflect his thoughts:

It’s his money that he has earned, he should be allowed to do whatever he wants with it.

How about considering that the same courtesy should be extended to everyone else in the world, Mr Olbermann?

T-shirt politics of the most tasteful order

Inspired by a rather popular children’s book and the truth, my colleague Minxuan came to work today sporting a t-shirt which I can only grant my heartiest approval:

Party politics on a t-shirt

Aside: It is great to work in an office where one can appear in excrement-themed clothing without any fuss. (You can get the t-shirt from Threadless.)

The polite manner of “counter-terrorism” in the UK

I could not help but be struck by the nice, polite, and almost friendly manner of the police officer making violence-backed threats in the video below (“If you refuse this [random] search, you will be arrested.”). It may not be news to you that the face of the police state is often a perfectly pleasant one, but I think it is worth spreading the word.

(Full disclosure: I work for Qik, and it was one of our users who live streamed the above video from his mobile phone to the web using our software.)

Samizdata quote of the day

You should trust us, because we’re trustworthy people who would never do anything wrong (please ignore all we’ve done wrong over the past few years). So, now that that’s settled, let’s get this baby rolling…

-Mike Masnick interprets Department of Homeland Security head Michael Chertoff’s response to critics of the planned expansion of the US spy satellite program

Working for the BBC

Cartoonist and commentator Hugh MacLeod says it all about the organization with “an assured income of £3.5 billion a year” of forced funding:

hugh macleod on the bbc

Those predictable unions

I have no problem with unions existing; freedom of association is an important right and one that should never be taken away from us. The problem I have is with unions always seeming to be on the wrong side of every damn issue. And so it goes with patent reform. Way not to break precedent, guys.

From Paxman’s mouth to God’s ears

It is all too easy to imagine a future in which our grandchildren will talk of having had an ancestor who worked for the BBC in the same way as people nowadays mention having had a grandparent or great-grandparent who worked for the Sudanese Political Service, or was a District Officer in Bechuanaland.

Jeremy Paxman, keeping hope alive for millions of Britons

Samizdata HQ is still seeing action

In case you are worried that all has been quiet on the party front, I am here to reassure you. The sad fact is that some of these parties require so much in the way of recovery – in the form of Sunday brunches, vast quantities of water, and time spent lying in a darkened room – that it can take a while to get to reporting on them.

Such was the case on a recent weekend, when our most fierce and lovely editor, Miss Adriana, celebrated her birthday with a few of her favorite ‘freedom fighters’.


Elena demonstrated the proper form for bum handling on an invisible model, despite no shortage of live volunteers


Perry always believed that two tarts were better than one


While Nick held the other blokes rapt with his best collectivist joke, Hugh Googled furiously to find out the punchline


You do NOT want to know what Elena spotted crawling out of my nose


The birthday girl let her t-shirt – and the plentiful booze – do the talking


Oh, you know those Samizdata parties: It is always hard to tell who you will end up sleeping with at the end of the night

More photos are here.

Which starlet is in bigger trouble?

No, I am not talking about the tiresome Lindsay Lohan and her ilk.

Perusing the morning papers, I could not help but wonder who will come under more fire: Kiera Knightley for glamorizing smoking (and looking absolutely stunning while she does so), or Sienna Miller for wearing what appears to be a keffiyeh as a bikini top?

Pull the other one, Giuliani

Leave my family alone, just like I’ll leave your family alone.

Seriously, can we get this promise in writing?

Then again, I am pretty familiar with what politicians consider “leaving [us] alone”. It is akin to saying, “Well, I am still going to bugger you senseless, and I am still going to do it without your consent, but from now on I will not force you to grab your ankles and beg for more.”

Get around the smoking ban in London

All you have to do is take up cigars!

“MySpace invaders” take their cue from the law

Considering how good squatters have it in England and Wales, I find it hard to take the faux-incredulousness in the British press about people who organize themselves on MySpace before going into unoccupied homes and destroying them for the fun of it. The law of the land has such little regard for property rights that it should come as a shock to no one that these teenagers do not, either.