this is seriously f*cked up. Three million people is a not insubstantial number. It's more than the population of Wales. If everyone in Wales was malnourished, we'd be hearing about it. This is supposed to be a wealthy, first world country, and five percent of the population is suffering from serious physical symptoms as a result of not eating enough. F*cked up. Press release and report here.
I'd forgotten quite how well expressed the righteous, unflinching rage of this poem was. Vipers that the vipers would abominate indeed. Unfortunately, it rather shows up the rest of the speech in which I found it quoted. (via)
While we're waiting for the blood to drown the generals in a wave of pride and knives, there's always Get Your War On to keep our heads held high. New one here.
Finally, Stumbling and Mumbling has an interesting take on the death penalty. It seems to me, as Chris points out, that there's a very good prudential case against it - that no process is infallible, and it would be unwise to make some pay what must be the ultimate price on the basis of a fallible process - but that's not an abstract moral prohibition. Given that we do regard it as legitmate for the state to take some lives, lives of those who, in general, are considerably less morally blameworthy than, say, the Moors murderer, during the course of a just war, there should in principle be a case to answer. It seems to me that that answer must rest on that taking another human being's life is only ever acceptable in genuine self-defence, a principle which is not one dependent on falling under the remit of a social contract but extends to those outside it: you don't massacre prisoners of war, even though they can be a drain on resources and are, under certain circumstances, a threat.