“Billionaire denies building secret sex lair”

Yep, that’s got to be the headline of the day, and I don’t understand why the Snarky Platypus didn’t find it first.

America’s 160th richest person, a billionaire who made his money from the 1990s hi-tech boom, has been accused of planning to build a “secret and convenient lair” underneath his California mansion dedicated to drug-taking and sex with prostitutes

Kenji Kato worked for Mr [Henry] Nicholas as an assistant for seven years and alleges the tycoon ordered him to provide balloons filled with the laughing gas nitrous oxide for guests at parties held by the businessman. Guests’ drinks would be spiked with powdered ecstasy pills, he alleges.

Well, there goes my plan to write a couple of serious essays today… Thanks to Marc Andreessen for the tip.

Surprise! Prohibition leads to crime!

Gosh, who’d have thought? Ban tobacco in a jail, where almost everyone smokes the stuff, and suddenly black market cigarettes are US$125 a pack. Jailhouse cooks make more from smuggling than cooking.

Chuck Alexander, executive vice president of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, says: “It didn’t do anything but make (tobacco) a lucrative business.”

Thanks to the clever lads at Freakonomics for the pointer — and some fascinating follow-up comments from their readers.

Reclaiming Fascism: perspective please, people!

No, this isn’t an apologia for Nazis, far from it. It’s a plea to reserve “fascist” for situations which actually warrant the term.

There may (may the gods forbid!) come a time when we need to label a government fascist and be taken seriously. So please, don’t devalue it by calling every little disruption of personal choice “fascist”. It’s a very poor media strategy.

Continue reading “Reclaiming Fascism: perspective please, people!”