Wednesday, 31 March 2010

You haven't been following the human rights and equal opportunity legislation, then, Terry.
   A woman has a right not to be offended by a man.
                                (The converse is not the case.)
  A person of a given race has the right not to be offended by another race.
                                (Unless the offended person's race is Caucasian.)
  A religion has the right not to be offended by anyone.
                                (Except the christian ones.)

Poor Berezovsky
Down to his last 500 million is he?
I know! Let's let him bring a law suit about something that happened in another country (one that our country doesn't like and that he alleges is behind it all). Bound to be a fair trial, isn't it?

What can we do to improve access to sports.
Prevent exclusive sales to a single network, so that all networks that want to pay can buy and run the matches? Nah!

I know, let's keep exclusivity bidding, but reduce the successful company's margins so that other companies can make more margin.
That's fair, isn't it?

CNN in crisis as viewers switch to partisan rivals
Well of course
Why would anyone want to watch a neutral or unbiased news network?
     When one has the Frankly ObnoXious network and the Mainly Socialist Nuts Blathering Copiously network that will speak to one's prejudices, suppress facts against ones prejudices and invent facts to support them, why would one want to be bothered by the truth or by anything that might cause one to have to think?

Serbia apologise for Srebrenica massacre
Oh, they apologised? 
Well everything's OK then. 
Why didn't Eichmann think of that?

Voters more concerned about straight answers than crooked expenses
"Perhaps surprisingly, the public's view of the honesty and integrity of elected politicians was not changed by last year's stream of damaging revelations about MPs' expenses. The proportion of people who rated politicians' standards of honesty and integrity as "somewhat low" was 38.2 per cent just before the disclosures and 38.7 per cent five months later."

Not all that surprising
Just shows that we have always known what they were up to. When the details of their petty venality were exposed, it actually seemed that they were far less wicked than we had thought. Hence the 0.5% rise.

Nice to know that MPs, those paragons of integrity and virtue, can decide whether someone's "scientific reputation remains intact."

Thursday, 25 March 2010

How does the UK’s Socialized Medicine compare with the U.S. for-profit system?

There are problems making a fair comparison, including differences in reporting systems, coroners' courts, litigiousness, malpractice awards, etc that affect the figures one way or another, but...

A quick internet search suggests that preventable deaths due to medical error in the US are somewhere between 50,000 and 200,000 annually. The NHS has between 2000 and 4000.  The US population is about 300m, the UK's 60m: a factor of 5.

So adjusted for population that's 10,000 - 40,000 preventable deaths due to medical errors in the US for every 2,000 - 4,000 in the UK.

At best, a US doctor/hospital is five times more likely to kill you than the NHS.

Opposition parties rage at 'pickpocketing' Chancellor
Wait a minute     This is a policy that the Tories invented and think is good for the country - but there is something wrong if Labour implements it?   I'm sorry,  whose interests do you represent: the British people or just your party?


The Chinese government really doesn't like their citizens talking to foreigners unless there is a government agent present - or at all when it come to some subjects. Google really doesn't like using its own manpower to devise ways to limit access to its key product: information. 

The problem was face. Since the Chinese did not offer Google a face-saving way to exit - they assumed Google would keep on doing the government's work at the companies own expense. They were probably a bit shocked that Google was willing to lose so much face and let the government lose so much face. 
Google, with self-censorship consuming ever increasing resources, was probably a bit shocked by China's government changing the game after the contract was signed without offering a face-saving way out. 
Bad manners on both sides, I think.


Pupil power: The children who chose their own head
"These are still young people. It is a very serious issue to be appointing a head teacher..."
That means: children should never be taken seriously.
No wonder our kids are not doing better at school.

I am not surprised that NASUWT members "pulled out of job applications after finding out they were to be interviewed by groups of up to 10 pupils." They were probably afraid that their lack of respect for pupils would be obvious.


Facing down the Chinese dragon
Why the trial?
That's easy. The Chinese are sore about buying some people at Rio Tinto who did not stay bought. (That's why there is a trial of the people who allegedly took bribes, but not of the people who paid them.)

British have forgotten how to strike
Motives for terror

"The GMB has still not told us the grounds for this dispute"
The grounds are:
  To prove we can hurt you
  To prove we can hurt the public
  To prove that we are not powerless
  To express our inchoate rage and existential angst

We'll make up some rationalization about why we are doing this, and think of some stuff to demand, very soon now. In the meantime, now that you know we have the power to harm, give us some face time on TV.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010


Health Insurance Reform Is Not Health Care Reform
Okay, we may not agree about the pros and cons of for-profit systems, but we do agree that health care costs (not just the 5% of those costs represented by insurance) need to be reformed.

One step: set up a small internet office that searches the price for drugs and procedures charged by hospitals, clinics and doctors across the country. Require insurance company bills to publish the average price found next to the price charged by your hospital/clinic/doctor.   For example:

Drug/Procedure            Last updated       High           Low         Average  

Hip replacement            1/10/2010        $xx,xxx.xx    $x,xxx,xx     $x,xxx.xx     Your provider charged  $y,yyyy.yy
Acyclovir (200mg)           2/18/2010        $     xx.xx    $     xx,xx     $    xx.xx     Your provider charged  $      yy.yy

Sounds like the problem is not that they took the trips - we want our parliamentarians to know a bit about the world and see no problem with having those parts of the world paying for their education.

It is also not that they tried to hide the subsidy - almost all trips were declared in the parliamentarians' registers.

The problem seems to be that they didn't say "mother, may I" before speaking on the country in question.
PS: I like the use of "luxury" in the headline. Nice bit of yellow journalism, that.

The bill includes the largest tax cut for small business in US history; yet Retroblicans, the party supposedly in favour of tax cuts, opposed it,  while the tax&spend Dumbocrats supported it. 
It will, according to independent analysis, reduce the deficit by some $1 trillion; yet lifelong fiscal conservatives opposed it. 
After the main bill was passed into law, the Retroblicans voted against dropping the sweetheart funding deal for Nebraska and other states - and voted against reducing the tax on so-called cadillac health plans.

These counter-intuitive results seem to indicate that politics rather than principle led the vote

Friday, 19 March 2010

You seem to remember "publish without fear or favour."
No more. Terror works - especially on the press.


Unite 'optimistic' as BA talks continue
Sounds to me as if Unite think BA is too big to fail and that the government will come in to bail it out when it become insolvent. Word of warning, Unite, politicians don't always stay bought.


New secret agent rules delayed 'after falling foul of torture laws'
Glad they caught that, then
There were also rumours that slapping was going to be allowed.


What, you wanted to show your grandkids what a bluefin was like?
Suck it up, there will be films.
After all, what is denuding the planet compared to having some nice sashimi


Someone (else) should do something
Nice to tell those far away what to do (Obama, Ashton), but what do you propose the UK government should do to put pressure on Israel?

Thursday, 18 March 2010


At the end of the first year, wash out those who are not bright enough and those who are not trying. Say the bottom 15%. That will not only save universities some money it will prevent others from wasting it.


St. Patrick's Day HISTORY

As one whose people first went to Northern Ireland in 1543, a bit before most folks came to America, I'd say "when you are ready to give America back to the Indians, we'll be ready to give Northern Ireland back to the catholics."

Michael Moore: ...a St. Patrick's Day Lamentation
Michigan doctors stopped accepting Medicaid payments because they are below cost. 
That means, they had to pay for the privilege to treating these patients.
Now one group of observers would say "considering their fat-cat status they should be required to treat them - required to work for less than nothing." 
Others would say: "sounds like slavery to me."

Robert L. Borosage: The Showdown with Chermany
"Germany and China -- will have to spend more, buy more, save less and export less....Only China and Germany clearly haven't got the message."

I mean, Come on Germany and  China, how difficult is it? You should  stop making things better, quicker and cheaper than America does, fire your workers, export their jobs to America, and convince your your citizens to go into debt.  Why should you do this?  So America can continue to have the lifestyle it wants without actually paying for all of it.

Pretty simple, Germany and China, so get with the program.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Amazing Leak!
The following e-mail from Benjamin Nettinyahu to Barack Obama was leaked to the press, but they are refusing to print it!!!

Hey guy, I know that this settlement policy of ours is a deliberate poke in your eye and is designed specifically to sink the peace talks you have proposed, but we are really, really sorry that we announced it when we did. We could have waited a day or two after Joe went home before we bitch-slapped you in public. My apologies are as sincere as I know how to make them.


Those who do not forward this on to everyone on their mailing list, within three days, will come down with a case athlete’s foot.


Battling the Bipartisan Consensus for War

Write on!
Once we go into countries that we do not understand and do what ever we can to make them ungovernable, we should just run away and abandon anyone who asked for our help, saying: "Hey, we have now had as many dead as we do on our highways over a couple of long week-ends, so we are out of here. Yes, we know that 10 times this number die each year at home for lack of healthcare, but we have had enough." I mean, it worked in Vietnam, didn't it?. 

Actually, this strategy is inefficient. We would be better off doing as we did in Hungary and Iraq (before Georgie's War): encourage locals to rebel against overwhelming force, and when they do, say: "Sorry, you are on you own - we didn't mean we actually would help in your struggle for freedom, we just wanted to make things difficult for those in power over you. Your deaths are a price we are willing to pay."

Leading article: A welcome attempt to bring clarity to the debate on rape
"prosecutors are discouraged from pushing through cases with weak evidence"
How dare they?
We should prosecute even if there is no evidence what ever! After all, the prosecutor in the Jill Dando/Barry George case bragged that she had got a conviction with no evidence at all - and they promoted her. Of course, it later turned out that Barry George didn't do it, but what is that compared with getting better statistics

PS: The fact that a woman gets so sh*t-faced that she cannot remember whether she gave consent or not is no excuse for rape.


Plans to reform House of Lords in the pipeline
Name Change
Instead of "House of Lords" whose members sit out of 1) a sense of duty, 2) because they like the club or 3) because they need the money; let's call it the "House of People who Owe Somebody Something". (For getting out the vote or making campaign contributions.)

Alternatively it could become the "House of Life Peers" for people who are selected on the basis of having done something extraordinary for their country.


Ban on bluefin tuna would 'threaten Japanese culture'
Don't hurt their culture
To be Japanese, one must be able to eat endangered tuna, whales and other species that they want to see the back of.

To be American, one must drive a gas-guzzling car and pay 50% of the normal world price of petrol.

To be European, one must subsidize government workers above the average wage and benefits of the private sector and make it difficult to fire non-producing private employees.

To be Chinese, one must be able to pollute at will without verification.

To be a Sharia Law country, one must be able to oppress women and keep them ignorant.

Let's not offend these people by asking them do something against their culture.


Our asylum policy is a national disgrace
Spot on!
The British system for asylum seekers is cruel and unusual punishment. They should be held for no more than 30 days while their case is being decided, then let in or sent back to which-ever country they embarked from to enter Britain. To do anything less is both inhumane and inappropriate.

PS: For those who think that economic migrants are less deserving than other asylum seekers, I have just one question: If you were born in a country where you could not get a job that would allow you to feed, house and clothe your family, what would you do?

Saturday, 13 March 2010


Why Is Too Much Not Enough?

" much excess profit does corporate America really need?"
Health insurance companies, on average, make about 2.5% profit on sales
Hospitals and doctors make, on average, 5 times that margin.
Define excess, please.

Or, approach it from another way. 
You run a business. 
Your costs went up 20% this year and will probably go up 20% next year. 
What will you do with your prices?


Campus Protests Should Remind Us All of College's Value

For the average student at the average state school, tuition and fees cover:
50% of the cost of instruction
30% of the cost of instruction, plant and services
15% of the cost of the entire institution
That doesn't sound like such a rip-off to me.


Gut Check Time for GOP on Immigration

Remember why Ronnie Reagan's amnesty did not work. As soon as the 2.5 million illegals became citizens, they would no longer do the jobs they were in at the miserable wages and conditions offered, so there was an immediate demand for another 2.5 million illegals.
      Amnesty for the current 12 million would have the identical effect. So, if we want illegal immigration to grow, along with unemployment, grant amnesty.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

The future of medicine has arrived
Ignorance is bliss
"Learning in advance of the risk of suffering diseases in the future might help prevent their occurrence, but would also lead to a lifetime spent worrying about them."
      Learning in advance of the risk of financial meltdowns in the future might help prevent their occurrence, but would also lead to a lifetime spent worrying about them.
      Learning in advance of the risk of global warming in the future might help prevent the occurrence, but would also lead to a lifetime spent worrying about it.
     Learning in advance of the risk of terrorists attacks in the future might help prevent their occurrence, but would also lead to a lifetime spent worrying about them.

Give me a break!

Just about everything gets worse as we grow older.
On the other hand, experience helps some of us grow more philosophical about the bad bits and appreciate the good bits a tad more.
On the griping havd, medical technology means that us oldies can get some help in increasing the good bits beyond our grandparents wildest dreams.


US Census Form Letter Promises ‘Fair Share’ of Federal Money

Here's the deal. We pay taxes and the government gives some of that money back to the communities that paid it. (The rest they use to pay for essentials like national defence and interest on the national debt or piss away on the federal bureaucracy and congress.) 

They do not give it back in proportion to the tax payers in a community or in proportion to the amount of tax paid by a community - that would just build pockets of rich getting richer and poor getting poorer, They give it back in proportion to the number of people who live there and use the federal, state and local government services (roads, police, parks, libraries etc.) 

If we use the $400 billion cited above, Every person counted (legal or illegal) means about $1333 per person - or $13,330 between now and the next census - to the state and local government. Since we will pay this money in taxes anyway, it is in our own best interest to ensure that every possible person in our community is counted so that the maximum amount comes back to our community. 

PS: Hispanic background Americans are about 15% of the population. German background Americans are about 17%. Why is there no question about Germanic background? .... They have no lobby

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Thank you Sheik Tahir.
It is about time.

China appoints Panchen Lama in tactical move to quell unrest
Idea: Each government gets a religion to play with
The UK government appoints the head of the Anglicans and the Chinese appoint the reincarnation of the Panchen. Couldn't every government have a religion?
   Berlusconi's crew in Italy could appoint the Pope
   The US Congress could pick the head of the Southern Baptists, Canadians the other lot.
   Do the Lutherans have a head that Merkel's lot could appoint?

Bring on the faith-base sex education, where women are taught to be subservient, never aspire to the preisthood and to hide themselves in a bag when they go outdoors.

Incidentally, where are the Jedi schools? As Britain's 4th largest religion, they seem under-represented in schools. Is there some institutionalized discrimination going on here?

If we had moved our money to banks that paid lower returns, the financial crisis probably would not have happened. It was our rush to high returns that sank Irish and Icelandic banks, it was us taking out mortgages we knew we could not repay that built the housing bubble.

Your revanchist idea just might work in the fight against pure greed - certainly arguments based on common sense or on ethics never did.

Maurice Frankel: An important blow has been struck for freedom of information

Almost unnoticed, the Freedom of Information Act was last week spared a potentially devastating blow.

What blows?
The headline says a blow was struck, the copy lead says a blow was not struck. Is anyone editing this paper?

Monday, 1 March 2010

The Cure That Dares Not Speak Its Name
All insurance is socialised risk, therefore all health insurance is socialised medicine. However the countries that have single-payer systems do not get better results for less money because of who pays for insurance, they get it because they control the costs. 
       In a single-payer systems, losses in the system on poorer or more ill patients are covered by more affluent taxpayers. In the US, these losses are covered for by the more affluent insured. 
      In a single-payer system, any (non-fraud) profits are used by bureaucrats to increase their empires. In the US, a piece of this goes to doctors, hospitals, insurance-company shareholders and malpractice lawyers. Looking at the returns of these organizations/companies they are not likely to be responsible for more than 1/2 of the excess US expenditure on health care.    

       Sensible costs controls (e.g. national negotiation on drug and procedure prices) could reduce the US share of GDP going to health care by 5% easily, which would more than pay for a subsidised insurance scheme and plug the hole in medical entitlements.

At all ages, girls score more highly on reading tests, survey shows
Is this because of institutional sexism in schools?

A year or two ago, the Economist magazine published figures showing that those companies that paid their chairmen and directors more got better results (in both growth and profits) than those that paid less. Perhaps it is time for the Economist to do another such study?

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