Re: Roundup

1

I find it appalling, because it's proactive-cheating, as opposed to passive-cheating. I'm used to corporations dragging their heels and fighting the implementation of every little thing they hate, and sabotaging it by creating a toxic environment where the reform can't really take hold. Those are equally hateful, but I'm used to them.

This cheating has an entirely different flavor - it's like rigging a horse race or bribing officials, except on a huge scale. There's no face-saving plausible deniability like there is with the dragging-your-heels passive-cheating.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 9:37 AM
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Totally. A corollary to that is that the corruption we're used to can often be rationalized away, but this required a deliberate decision to take affirmative steps to cheat.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 9:44 AM
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I bet there's a lot more affirmative cheating than we think there is, but investigative authorities are weak and not inclined to look.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 9:49 AM
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But maybe less affirmative cheating than I think because I'm hugely cynical.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 9:50 AM
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I do a huge amount of optimistic-spin in my head, to make a pretend world that I can stand to live in, so I'm semi-blindsided by this.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 9:53 AM
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I mean, I don't cling to my pretend world too tightly, so I'm not crying here. But it's pleasant there.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 9:54 AM
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There's just the right amount of affirmative cheating.


Posted by: Opinionated Goldilocks | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 9:54 AM
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How much better do the cars really perform, in real world conditions, with the environmental controls off? Did they do this so drivers could have a trivial extra 10hp or 1mpg better mileage?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 9:57 AM
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This will probably help VW. It's like a bank that helps you cheat on your taxes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 9:57 AM
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10

That's just appalling. Shame on Volkswagen.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 9:59 AM
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11

It's a good thing VW used concentration camp labor or this would be the worst thing they've done.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 10:01 AM
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How much better do the cars really perform, in real world conditions, with the environmental controls off?

This is the key question for most VW owners -- if not parents of children with asthma. And the answer, as per the VW discussion sites, is "nobody knows yet." But people are freaking the fuck out. VWs are budget performance cars. Their owners like to think they're driving something cool. They play around with their cars a lot, adding tons of aftermarket nonsense. And they're pissed about this.

My guess is that if the performance reduction is at all noticeable, TDI owners will either refuse to have the recall work done or, if there's some way to force them to have that work done, have it reversed by a software patch that will be available in 3, 2, 1... The whole thing sucks.

It sucks enough that I'm going to join the inevitable class action, which is something I've never done before. I wish I could just return my car. Sigh.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 10:03 AM
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11 made me laugh. It reminded me of when someone said "Good thing Angela Merkel has such a high bar to clear before she can be named the worst chancellor of Germany."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 10:03 AM
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Also I'm curious about the answer to 8.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 10:04 AM
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8: I'm hoping that performance improvement, if any, is a side effect and what they were really protecting was the all-important engine that sounds like a car person's idea of an engine function.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 10:04 AM
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11 is excellent. My grandmother would approve.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 10:04 AM
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14: again, as per the VW sites, which are going crazy, nobody seems to know yet.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 10:05 AM
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TDI owners will either refuse to have the recall work done or, if there's some way to force them to have that work done, have it reversed by a software patch that will be available in 3, 2, 1... The whole thing sucks.

Can't hackers install the patch without the owners' knowledge? Just remotely hijack the car and drive it to a field of thumb drives and have one self-insert?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 10:06 AM
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Generally speaking, diesels may not be as great as the press clippings suggested.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 10:06 AM
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The thing is, if you can't trust German industrialists, who can you trust?


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 10:07 AM
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It's easy to make sure the patch is applied- doesn't every state require annual emissions testing, the reason they had the hack in the first place? So part of passing that test for 09-15 VWs is "is not cheating on this test."


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 10:14 AM
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11 made me laugh and now I feel guilty.


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 11:03 AM
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The VW thing is so awful. People on Twitter were proposing there should be personal criminal charges against decision-makers at VW.

For Ahmed, I had a related thought but with opposite polarity: it's a good thing that his father is such a publicity hound, or we never would have heard about it. Perhaps this will help other cases without that advantage.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 11:43 AM
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An important enabling aspect of the VW thing is that it is illegal for anybody to try and reverse engineer their ECU to figure out what it's doing, so they likely expected that they'd be able to get away with this basically indefinitely. Presumably all modern cars do similar kinds of stunts.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 11:48 AM
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personal criminal charges against decision-makers at VW.

Potentially against the software developer as well. Somebody wrote the code to implement that functionality. If software development had any professional ethics, that would be a breach of them.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 12:22 PM
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Also, set civil fines or settlement amounts at no less than X times the profits of the crime (where X = 1 / probability of getting caught, plus a fudge factor).


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 12:54 PM
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A lot of the Ahmed Mohammed truthers were also Sabrina Rubin Erdely truthers. We never learn.


Posted by: Noumenon72 | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 12:55 PM
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it is illegal for anybody to try and reverse engineer their ECU

Right. Apparently the EPA has been lobbying against granting a DMCA exemption to people to look at their car's code, because they're worried that consumers will tinker to trade nonpollution for performance. Little did they know...


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 1:49 PM
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Rap link updated to actual rap. I was wondering why no one had anything to say about it.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 2:09 PM
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Because we never click on links in the OP.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 2:10 PM
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Those of you with phones made in the new millennium...


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 2:17 PM
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The Guardian's story on this says:

When confronted with the EPA and Carb's evidence, VW admitted that its cars were fitted with the "defeat device".

But then adds, VW refused to comment.

Hmm.

What really burns me is that VW cheated by not cheating on the emissions tests. It was only when the software detected a testing regime (and I'd love to know what those parameters are) that it engaged the pollution controls. Quite a few people had to be involved here. Certainly seems to be a conspiracy but was it a criminal one?


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 2:44 PM
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I'm curious to know whether VW did anything similar in Europe, or if they care more about their air than ours.


Posted by: R. rubrum | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 3:00 PM
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34

Von Wafer cleans up his emissions for bookstore audiences and prize committees, turns down the filtering for blog comments.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 3:08 PM
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We just bought a 2015 diesel Jetta a few months ago and we are pissed off and have already joined the class action lawsuit. The whole reason we bought the car was to get 46 miles per gallon (which it achieves) along with a lot of peppiness. If this performance degrades much at all we will really be ticked about spending the extra money for the diesel.


Posted by: AB | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 4:48 PM
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One more thing. As the conservatives assert, we don't need all these regulations, business will do the right thing. Yea right...


Posted by: AB | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 4:51 PM
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37

See here for why not to be too optimistic that VW will really pay for this.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 4:54 PM
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38

I'm curious to know whether VW did anything similar in Europe, or if they care more about their air than ours.

Europe has very different rules around particulate and smog-creating emissions which means (has meant for a long time) that it's much easier to sell high-performance diesel passenger cars there.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 5:42 PM
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All I remember is that in elementary school we were obsessed with the Porsche 959 because it was illegal in the US.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 5:46 PM
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Europe has very different rules around particulate and smog-creating emissions which means (has meant for a long time) that it's much easier to sell high-performance diesel passenger cars there.

And, per the link in 19, means that they've had a lot less success in reducing diesel emissions than the US, which has actually had a lot of success on this.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 5:47 PM
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Apparently the EPA has been lobbying against granting a DMCA exemption to people to look at their car's code, because they're worried that consumers will tinker to trade nonpollution for performance.

Wait, I'm confused. Isn't this what Dinan or any other tuner does? (I see that one of the other BMW tuners has stopped selling its parts -- including an ECU -- in California, but their parts are legal in every other state.)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 6:48 PM
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Dinan seems to have a relationship with BMW. I don't know about other companies. Here's the Wired article I was summarizing.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 7:01 PM
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The thing is, if you can't trust German industrialists, who can you trust?

After all, zey are from ze LAND of chocolate!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 7:48 PM
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zey are from ze LAND of chocolate

Are you mad?! The Germans? Ridiculous!! All the world knows that BELGIUM is the land of chocolate. (Ignore those foolish Swiss.)


Posted by: Captain Haddock | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 8:04 PM
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that was 15 minutes ago!


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 8:11 PM
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Oh, the Germans! Smithers, don't let the Germans get me!


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 9:02 PM
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I've been absolutely shocked at the malice aforethought involved here: not just the conscious effort involved in the programming, but (per reports) the dramatic change in pollution levels. A little tweak--you get 5% more pep for an illegal 5% more pollutant--is one thing, but it sounds like it's you get 10% more pep for 100% more pollutant, which is just evil.

For the record, 35 & 36 are not my AB.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 10:03 PM
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If there are two, one of them should be A/B.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 10:18 PM
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49

Heh.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 10:20 PM
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38 and 40 are right. But this means also that nobody who gives a shit about emissions even looks at buying a diesel in Europe. They're well known to be filthy.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 4:28 AM
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I notice that the former half-term Governor of Alaska does believe that Ahmed's device is a clock. I think she's playing coy about what it is instead.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 4:29 AM
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52

51 + NOT


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 4:30 AM
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50: Diesels were extremely rate here until they lowered the tax here for bullshit environmental reasons. My parents own two now.


Posted by: David the Unfogged Commenter | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 4:37 AM
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54

I assume you are watching USA versus the mighty Samoa?*

* Rugby World Cup


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 4:44 AM
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Go Manu Samoa! (I have no idea how I'd actually watch the game.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 5:12 AM
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BBC iPlayer? 53 minutes: Samoa 22 - 11 USA. Sides have come back from worse positions, but not often.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 5:25 AM
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57

I wish I'd had money on Japan yesterday. But why would I have done that?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 5:28 AM
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It's on the Universal Sports network in the US. You'll only have that if you have a pretty comprehensive cable package.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 5:34 AM
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Samoa 25 - 16 USA FT.

USA conceded 11 penalties and missed a conversion at 74 min. Might have been very different, but it wasn't


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 5:51 AM
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Richard Dawkins has joined the chorus clamoring for #AhmedTruth, the fucking dingbat.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 6:27 AM
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People have referred to God as a clock maker.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 7:01 AM
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I wanted to buy a TDI earlier this month, and was egged on by my son -- for emissions reasons -- but the wife said absolutely not (because of the noise). I put off car buying while deciding who to disappoint -- but that's now resolved.

Turns out I'm going to Germany tomorrow, and expect to hear from my brother-in-law, more than once, each and every one of the ways that America Sucks. (It's a 30 year tradition.) I'll probably just smile inwardly, although I may ask him what sorts of sanctions malefactors like the VW management can expect . . .


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 7:45 AM
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Feel free to use 11.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 7:55 AM
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63 -- Yeah the answer to 62 is 'more than the Wall Streeters who wrecked the world economy got.'


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 8:14 AM
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In my youth I owned a beetle, drove it many thousands of miles a year, had it all apart every which way for maintenance and repair. I was still driving it when I met my wife, who is a Yekke, and when her newly-ex boyfriend sugared my gas tank, so that I could never stop little bits of caramel from clogging my carburetor, I had to give it up and not replace it—with her, there would be no German cars.

It could be worse: were she Korean I might have to try to find non-Japanese electronics, as a friend of mine does.

Anyway, buried in one of those stories was the fact that the EPA shut down an aftermarket seller of a performance patch who'd sold 40,000 units. That Ogged is right that part of the reaction will be people seeking to avoid the performance downgrade seems inevitable to me.

On the other hand, VW's mystique in my corner of the culture is based on the combination of emissions, mileage and performance and that will be ruined. People less concerned about that wouldn't have bought a diesel VW car regardless.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 8:21 AM
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65 last: absolutely. I have no idea how they recover. I'm replacing my 15 year old Passat, which has been my favorite car ever. Ok, I liked the '74 BMW 2002 I drove in the late 80s /early 90s too, but the Passat was the first new car I ever bought.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 8:31 AM
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How soon do we find out which other manufacturers are doing this? If it's possible to rig the EPA to know when the emissions are being tested and moderate behaviour accordingly, surely everyone would do it. It seems NOT IN THE LEAST BIT analagous to doping in athletics, when you know when the tests will be.

How did VW get caught?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 11:42 AM
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67.last The tell-tale limp?


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 11:43 AM
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67 was me


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 12:04 PM
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47 Sorry, I didn't know there was already an AB.


Posted by: A/B | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 1:27 PM
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We only have JRoth's word for there being an AB.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 1:31 PM
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70 "Wry Cooter" is still available.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 1:41 PM
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71: I've met JRoth's AB in person and can attest to her existence. This new A/B...I dunno, could be a bot.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 1:43 PM
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If I ever change my pseud, it's going to be to ""Wry Cooter" is still available."


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 1:44 PM
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How can I sign up for the class action?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 6:22 PM
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And, actually, wait--aren't class actions for piddly nickel dime bullshit that's hugely important in the aggregate but individually basically unimportant? This is my car. I'm still fucking paying for it. (Can I stop?) Shouldn't I find a lawyer and sue myself instead of joining a class action?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 6:26 PM
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Any lawyer who sues himself has an ass for a client. I read that somewhere.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 6:32 PM
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Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and legal aphorisms.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 6:35 PM
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62: more than once, each and every one of the ways that America Sucks. (It's a 30 year tradition.)

Let him know he should get in touch with me if he ever needs new material.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 7:00 PM
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Whoa whoa whoa, what are you saying about $50 worth of tuna here? I have plans for that tuna.

Also: possibly the best political scandal ever. I don't know how to replicate this in the US, but the Democrats should get on that as fast as possible because the Republicans are taking notes as we speak.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 8:23 PM
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80.2 Jeb knows what he has to do to knock Trump off dominating the news cycle.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 8:25 PM
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82

They don't say where he stuck his penis into the dead pig.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 8:29 PM
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83

Or does this happen enough with British leaders that they didn't need to specify?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 8:32 PM
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82: Oxford, duh.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 8:36 PM
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85

82 was also me.

Anyway, this is probably one of those things that one should deplore on the general principles of the thing, but I really can't manage that sort of ethical whatevery.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 8:41 PM
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The writer of that Black Mirror episode has already announced that he had no idea at the time.

Twitter is really justifying its existence, as well.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 8:43 PM
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85.last to the guy making accusations of pig necrophilia, not to pig necrophilia.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 8:43 PM
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I hate this generic tablet. Loop


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 8:50 PM
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Loop? Where did that come from?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 8:51 PM
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90

88 to 89.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 8:52 PM
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91

I know it is not Kosher or Halal (Halal? Hillel?) to eat a pig, but I don't know the rules about genital contact with one.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 9:02 PM
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Also 89 to 88.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 9:02 PM
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93

Just collegiate hijinks. Rand Paul survived the "Aqua Buddha" incident.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 9:28 PM
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If at all possible, involve a pig.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 9:43 PM
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91: Leviticus 20:15 covers this for Jews, and I presume there's an equivalent prohibition somewhere in the Qur'an for Muslims but I don't know enough about it to know exactly where.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 10:05 PM
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Christians are in the clear AFAIK, so I guess Cameron's okay.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 10:06 PM
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I mean, I know Christians tend to consider themselves generally exempt from the laws in the Torah but to selectively consider them to actually be applicable to the extent that it suits them politically, so who knows. I presume the UK has laws against bestiality and/or necrophilia that may or may not apply regardless of the religious situation.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 10:10 PM
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I know handling pig leather is fine.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 10:55 PM
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It's a good thing VW used concentration camp labor or this would be the worst thing they've done.

I just learned quite recently that VW never actually delivered a single car until after the war. The People's Car project was a complete failure, largely because they couldn't work out a way of making Germans rich enough to afford one (the People's Radio, on the other hand, was a great success).

On reading 80.2: good grief.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-21-15 1:49 AM
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I presume there's an equivalent prohibition somewhere in the Qur'an for Muslims

This was an urgent problem for 7th century Arabs? You learn something every day. Today I learned that Ashcroft had fallen out with the Tories, which I hadn't known. But nobody will take this seriously once the twitter storm dies down.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-21-15 1:54 AM
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It's a pretty urgent problem for 21st century Afghans, if reports back from theatre are anything to go by.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-21-15 2:04 AM
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A little background.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-21-15 2:44 AM
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re: 100.last

Yeah, people were either already convinced Cameron is a monstrous scumbag, of a particular shiny faced posh arsehole genus, or they weren't.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-21-15 3:19 AM
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102 is very informative.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-21-15 5:47 AM
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or they weren't

Just this once: if only you had the bible-thumping blue-haired ladies to find him "ungodly."


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-21-15 6:18 AM
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I clicked through to the rapper and I totally agree that Ogged is being suckered by authenticity.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-21-15 6:54 AM
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I'm trying to figure out how to use the Lyndon Johnson story: "Lyndon, we can't call your opponent a pigfucker, it isn't true."
"Of course it's not true. I just want to make him deny it."

But it really doesn't seem to be applicable, given that Cameron, looks like, isn't going to be able to deny anything.

Rich people are weird.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-21-15 7:42 AM
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I remember years ago seeing some British TV show where a bald guy was explaining (I think just to some guy at a party) that if you got into a fancy school (I can't recall if it was secondary or post secondary) you got two things: A great job and a sexual perversion.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-21-15 7:44 AM
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I think his example was slamming your penis in the door, because the 80s were a quaint time.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-21-15 7:45 AM
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107. They're taking the line of not denying it because they're above noticing that sort of thing. Which is probably the best they can do, and it might work with anybody else.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-21-15 9:20 AM
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Even if it's completely false, it's still a step up from the voicemail hacking for the press.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-21-15 9:23 AM
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I only know about the lifestyles of wealthy Australians, so merely from a distant, dusty, outpost of the British colonial empire. It seemed the motto was, "it's not gay if it's done in an elite boys' boarding school/exclusive men's club."


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 09-21-15 10:11 AM
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109:

Here I am in my castle, with ten different sorts of vaguely posh animal, all fighting each other, then I kill a servant and have sex with a wall!

Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-21-15 10:32 AM
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Crafty VW has nothing on Taiwanese semiconductor jobbers gaming benchmark tests. (Except asphyxiating cities).

VW hacked their cars to get ~5 mpg more than advertised; now fanboys will bleat no good deed goes unpunished.


Posted by: Econolicious | Link to this comment | 09-21-15 7:39 PM
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108 and 112 remind me of the interesting cognitive dissonance you see nowadays with people saying "oh, you know what posh English schoolboys are like, they're all queers..." and then they hastily remember that you aren't supposed to be homophobic any more these days, at least not in public, and go all quiet for a bit. Some day it willbe as uunacceptable to say things like that in public s it would be to say "psst, you know John McCain has a coloured child? " Not today, though, not yet.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-21-15 11:28 PM
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