What country would like to adopt Katie Hopkins?


Desperate people are swarming out of Africa and struggling to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe — many are dying in the hazardous crossing. The Italians have been over-extended, trying to rescue these people, and now the UK has decided not to support search and rescue operations in the area.

The British refusal comes as the official Italian sea and rescue operation, Mare Nostrum, is due to end this week after contributing over the past 12 months to the rescue of an estimated 150,000 people since the Lampedusa tragedies in which 500 migrants died in October 2013.

The Italian operation will now end without a similar European search and rescue operation to replace it. The Italian authorities have said their operation, which involves a significant part of the Italian navy, is unsustainable. Despite its best efforts, more than 2,500 people are known to have drowned or gone missing in the Mediterranean since the start of the year.

This is tragic. These are human beings — desperate, ambitious human beings who aspire to a better life. Yet apparently some people want to treat them as cockroaches.

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The things you learn about the SF community…


I have to hand it to those goons who made up a slate of ‘conservative’ science fiction and slammed it into the Hugo nominations: I’d had this vague assumption that science fiction fans would be generally progressive and tolerant and even enthusiastic about different ideas. The Sad Puppies/Rabid Puppies have enlightened and disillusioned me.

Well, actually, it’s been the other side that has brought me awareness. While slapping down the misconceptions of the Vox Day ilk, I’ve been taught so much. For instance, Jeet Heer reveals the dark side of SF professionals. I did not know this about John Campbell; he had an interesting reason for rejecting Samuel Delany’s story, Nova.

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Lunch with @ChrisWarcraft


Chris Kluwe is in Morris today, and all the UMM people got invited to have lunch with him, where he spoke informally and answered questions. He was terribly cheerful and optimistic about everything, and I did my best to bring him down with a few pointed objections, but he addressed all my concerns adroitly. I guess I’m going to have to resign myself to a future full of Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies.

I guess that’ll be OK.

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Malice and incompetence?


Another black man was chased, beaten, and executed by the police. It’s a familiar story, but this one adds another twist: Eric Harris was shot accidentally by reserve deputy Robert Bates.

Bates, 73, accidentally shot Eric Harris on Thursday, according to Maj. Shannon Clark, after Harris — the subject of an undercover gun and ammunition buy by the Sheriff’s Office’s Violent Crimes Task Force — fled from arrest and then fought with a deputy who tackled him. Bates, Clark said, thought he was holding a stun gun when he pulled the trigger.

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Blockbot argle bargle waaaah waaaah waaaaaaaah


Here we go again. A whining conservative at Breitbart is complaining about How Authoritarian Activists Are Censoring Twitter because they use filtering software.

Unfortunately, unrestricted free speech will always have its malcontents. Authoritarian activists using Twitter’s API have found a way to install themselves as de facto moderators for thousands of users. Twitter’s reputation for openness and free discourse may now be under threat.

The past two years have seen the rise of ‘autoblockers’ – shared lists of pre-blocked Twitter users that others can sign up to. The ostensible purposes of these lists is to block ‘abusers and trolls’ so that subscribers do not need to encounter them. However, as we shall see, this is typically a mask for politically-motivated blacklisting.

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