Monday, 31 May 2010

Scientists don't always know best
Charlatans make false alternative therapy claims they know to be false, in order to get money or social standing. Dupes make false alternative therapy claims they believe to be true, in order help people, to get money and/or for social standing. Sadly charlatans and dupes make up the overwhelming majority of alternative therapy adherents, both customers and purveyors.
       The number of alternative therapy adherents actively engaged in scientific research to prove or disprove the utility of these therapies, or to outline their conditions of efficacy, is miniscule. Worse, the majority of adherents tend to view these rare heroes as somehow motivated by ill will and to label their (replicable) findings as bias. Odd, that.
 here_and_there in reply to had_it 
"Sadly charlatans and dupes make up the overwhelming majority of alternative therapy adherents, both customers and purveyors." That made me smile. "Overwhelming majority"? Where is your data to support this rather sweeping claim? It often happens that people who recommend a scientific approach are anything but rational in their criticism of alt therapies.

had_it in reply to here_and_there
You are quite right. I have no scientifically verifiable evidence for my contention about the overwhelming majority, it is based on anecdotal evidence: ads, articles, letters, third-party books such as "Bad Science" and the blogosphere, such as these pages.
       It could well be that there is a large number of scientifically rigorous folk researching alternative therapies, but not writing about it. There could be a significant proportion of alternative therapy proponents who do not believe any of the false claims - using only those alternative therapies that have been replicably verified - but who contribute no articles and join no blog discussions. Shall we try to design a rigorous test to determine this question?
here_and_there in reply to had_it
The only point of such a test would seem to be for the purpose of including such therapies on the NHS, which I do not see happening in the medium term future. Until then the only test is to try the therapy/ist for yourself, and if you are pleased with the results, carry on. If not, stop going. If a therapist claims he can cure X, and then fails to do so, then you revise your opinion of him. It is your money and you are responsible for your actions. I can't see what all the fuss is about.
had_it in reply to here_and_there
I think the fuss is about the venality of the charlatans and the gullibility of the dupes. Snake-oil salesmen have been with us for thousands of years. (Though my favorite was the US legislator who made millions selling Hadicol: "well, I hadda call it sumpin.") Indeed, all physicians were snake-oil salesmen until very recently: folks used to pay to be bled when struck with any illness. And they selected their physicians in much the way you suggest, trial and error - or reputation.
        As medicine started to be treated as a science, rather than as a barber's sideline, professional qualifications, licencing, boards of inquiry and the concept of being "stuck off" followed. I think the fuss is to see the same standards applied to alternative therapists. Many think that allowing anyone who can afford a snake or a bleeding lance to practice "alternative medicine" is dangerous, possibly criminal.
A Trillion Dollar Turning Point?
Quite right, John, it's all about money. Fighting the oil spill is also likely to cost more than a trillion. Will you suggest we withdraw our boats, booms and clean-up crews from the Gulf when this "turning point" is reached?

Google, Facebook Asked To Cooperate With Government Investigations
Okay, the government is not overly concerned about our privacy, but congresspeople are concerned about our votes. Media stories made it seem our privacy was being invaded, so congresspeople now want to be seen as coming to our rescue. Since their interest and ours coincide here, write to your representative to thank them for joining the fight to protect our privacy. (If they haven't joined yet, your letter may get them on board.)

PS: I do like congress' style: "We think this data invades the privacy of Americans, so we don't want it destroyed until we've had a good look at it."

Friday, 28 May 2010

Tony Hayward: Right in the thick of it. .... Can he survive?
He will, after the well is capped and the clean-up pretty well underway, need to face a "let's blame someone else for our own inattention" witch hunt, then fall on his sword. 
It's the only thing that can save BP and the families of their 80,000 workers.
Anger grows along oil-ravaged beaches as Obama visits Louisiana
Well, of course they are angry. Like most problems folks face today, they want someone else to fix it, NOW, and they want to be sure that someone else pays for fixing it. The fact that the government, in this case, literally can't do anything about their problem - is irrelevant.
The Gulf shore has always stood for small government and no interference from the Feds, except for when they need help. Then they bitterly resent that the government is too small to be effective and that the Feds can't interfere unless the states ask them to take over.
Worshippers slaughtered in deadly 'final warning'
Another 7O innocent civilians deliberately murdered by the Taliban extremists, who like to kill anyone (but mostly Muslims) who do see the world exactly as they do. These Taliban/Al Qaida blasphemers are a stain on Islam and should have Jihad declared against them.
Laws claimed £40,000 to rent rooms from partner
I don't get it.
Because Mr Lundie's roommate is an MP, he is required to give that roommate a free ride on contributing to the rent?
    Or, looked at the other way, because Mr Laws has a really close relationship with his London landlord, he should not be entitled to the same rent support for his second home that other MPs get?
    Does this mean that, if an MP staying in a London hotel pokes one of the staff, he should not claim the bill for that night?
Oliver Stone: Dispatch From Caracas
"So is President Chávez really the anti-American pariah we've read about for years? "
Well, he does spout a lot of anti-American rhetoric, but he may not be as anti-American as he likes to portray himself. As to pariah, probably not. South America is used to strong men who take the assets or jail those who disagree with them. The question is, if the prospect of losing at the ballot box looms, will he go all Pinochet on us.
     Never mind, Ollie, you just keep hob-nobbing with the power-elite and acting as their apologist. It's what you're good at.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

The surge in inflation is the result of a cock-up, not a conspiracy
No conspiracy? Darn! Where's the fun in that?
Michelangelo's Secret Message in the Sistine Chapel
Are these the same folks who see skull-and-cross-bones in the pictures of ice cubes in drinks ads?

The Cult of Subprime Central Bankers
And we wish to replace them with whom?
The 20-20 hind-sighters who are starting to guess, 2 years after the fact, exactly what went wrong?
Or the six people who predicted the crisis and made a fortune on it for their own accounts.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

The Administration Should Protect Economic Engine of the Gulf: Marine Life
Forget the administration, what have YOU done, Frances Beinecke? What have you or any of your readers done to stop the leak? What have you done to protect marine life from the oil that has already spilled. 
    Oh, you don't know what to do or how to do it? Well join the club. 
PS: Do you think yelling at the folks who ARE trying to do something is a good way to help?
Democrats Retreat From Class Warfare
Hey, these guys know who pays their bills.
The way to solve it is electoral and campaign finance reform, including:
1) limit of 2 senate or 6 house terms.
2) no political ads for any candidate outside of 30-days from the election.
3) cap on the spend for each race.
4) none-of-the-above on all ballots
5) All elections to be held on a Sunday (or voting day made a holiday)
6) A fine for all who do not vote
What Is an Emergency?
"No sensible leadership would choose to make children ... pay the cost of the downturn." 
Every leadership this country since Eisenhower has done exactly that. (Okay, except Clinton) 
Every increase in the national debt is saying "Let our children pay for it."
Mr. President, Defend America
The problem, Dylan, is that you think the government in general - and the President in particular - can actually do something, The "people who caused it" are the only ones with any expertise and even they don't know how to fix it. The military don't know, the state and local and officials one the ground don't know, so who in the federal government do you think could do anything other than slow things down and make them worse? 
       On sending in the military: have the state governors's asked? If they haven't, the president cannot send the military without violating the constitution of the United States and any general would be required to consider it an illegal order. Have the states asked the feds to nationalise their national guard units? Because if they have not, the President cannot order troop one to do anything
       Basically, Dylan, all this call to "do something" is frustration about the best we can do being not good enough and then looking for someone to blame for it. Especially someone other than ourselves. Because, deep down, we know that it is our own attitude to oil and our own complacency that have caused this - or at least allowed it to come about. Financial crisis: ditto.

       Besides carping from the sidelines, Dylan, what are you doing to fix the problem?  

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Schoolboys convicted of attempted rape of eight-year-old girl
What an outrageous case of child abuse ... of all three children. What was the CPS thinking, putting this case on trial at all (certainly NOT in the public interest) and, worse, putting it on trial outside of the youth court?   Oh. I get it. The case was brought by the woman who gave us the unsafe and unsound conviction in the Jill Dando case. So, this was basically grandstanding for personal advancement, at the expense of three children.   
Putting this case in the Old Bailey was deliberate child abuse of the worst order. The three children were abused by adults, who should know better, primarily for the titillation of the public. 
Their lives of all three are almost certainly ruined and they will be hounded by the press periodically for the rest of their days. Something the prosecution knew would happen and could have prevented by conducting the case in the youth court.     This whole event is truly disgusting and the adults who ran the prosecution are truly evil.
Yes, the jury abused three children by reaching this conviction, but the damage has already been done by the CPS taking the case to court in the first place, exacerbated by the stupid and punitive decision to try it outside of the youth court, so that the abuse of these three children by adults (who should know better) could be widely publicised. The prosecutors should be horsewhipped.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

BA staff to strike after hopes for last-minute deal collapse
Well, that makes sense
What's the best thing to do when your employer is losing money hand over fist?
Why, make certain it loses lots more money. What else?
Leading article: We need real reform, not just consensus
David Cameron's [and Nick Clegg's] various purposes:
     1) "to use the coalition to muzzle the Tory right."  Sound good to me: for the two of them, for their parties, for our society and for our country.
     2) "articulate policies that neither of their parties disagrees with."  Sounds good to me: start with common ground, build mutual trust and create momentum to help the parties get through harder stuff later.
     3) Kill ID cards, scrap silly tax breaks, cut quangos, fixed parliamentary terms, ask people what they think about voting, create more independence in schools....   All sound okay to me.
      So what is this leader whining about?

"But underlying strains in the coalition have not been quelled, and ... will emerge sooner or later."

Aaahaaah! You can't wait can you?  Having to publish all of this positive news about things going well for Britain and, worse, politicians cooperating in the interest of the people has been turning your stomach, hasn't it?  Bear with it for a few more weeks.  Then you can return to damaging our society and our country in the ways in which you are accustomed.
Phillip Knightley: A cheap way to deliver quick results
Well, Phillip, we all agree that it is a cheap trick run by cheaper intellects with still cheaper morals.
Why is it done? Because creating the news is easier than reporting it, as William Randolph Hearst showed us a century ago.
       The nicest part is that the journalistic enterprise can commit crimes (e.g. bribery) and get away with it. The ideal sting pays for access and only publishes if the access doesn't get the desired result.
       Be interesting for someone to see how many reporters would take money to write a story. But, then, I suppose few journlaistic enterprises would pay to set up that kind of sting, and even fewer would run the resulting story.
Entrapment is a perfectly valid tool
"It wasn't the best story in the world, but it wasn't a terrible one"
        Actually, it wasn't a story at all. The paper used some pretty sleazy methods to get a lead (the FA head thinks Spanish and Russian football officials might be cheats and crooks) then ran the lead as if it were a news story. Well, I mean, like, you know, that was easier than actually following up on the lead, innit?
        I do like bribery stings better, though: they let the journalist commit crimes (attempted bribery) with impunity. It helps with the feeling that journalists are (or a least should be) above the law.
Clegg admits he begged Brown not to quit

Now that's straight journalism!
Not Clegg "said" he "asked" Brown, but "admitted" and "begged."
A wee bit of bias showing there, Andy?
All top state schools to be offered instant academy status
Another great idea     This will certainly help us prove that Academy status make schools better and that local-council run schools just don't do as well.
Environmentalists try to ban release of synthetic life forms into the wild
Great idea   Because, after all, accidents are always better than things that are planned.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

"Life normally evolves in nature in balance with everything around it, with nature providing the careful checks and balances to keep harmony"
Actually, no.  Life evolves specifically NOT in balance with everything around it.  The reason mutations succeed and creatures evolve  is that they have broken the harmony in a way that is to their advantage.  That is, they can now overcome the previous checks and balances.   If artificial cells - or artificial intelligence - wipes us out, you can think of it as evolution in action.
Ulster must share economic burden, says Prime Minister
"local parties are united in seeking to protect the block grant"      Yep, like the Greeks (indeed like everyone else), the Irish want to lower the deficit, as long as someone else pays the cost of doing so.
Spain shows off its first cloned fighting bull
If successful with bulls, fighting men will soon follow.
A thrilling breakthrough, but also a frightening one
So, if I understand you correctly, you think this new technology will be so weak that it could not possibly have much in the way of a significant positive impact, but so strong that it could destroy the world?
     Well, get over it. Someone has figured out how to do it, so lots of people now will do it. Time to start thinking about how to use it for good rather than ill. PS: "Just say no" is not an effective strategy.
Synthetic cell is a giant leap for science
"Venter is not merely copying life artificially ... he is going towards the role of a god – creating artificial life that could never have existed naturally,"
     Yes. But what about that is unethical? Unless one thinks that god was unethical to do it in the first place.
To say that something is ethical when god does it, but unethical when another being does it, seems mere class prejudice.

[info]rumpledumplin wrote:  Friday, 21 May 2010 at 02:23 am (UTC)

You appear to be buying in to the idea that god(s) are necessary for life and therefore must exist..
had_it replied
Not so. Gods are hypothetical beings that may or may not exist. Although the religious see the case as proven, they have yet to offer replicable conditions that will prove it to non-religious.
If one or more gods do exist, what is ethical for them cannot be unethical for us, unless the ethical system in question is irrationally biased. Most reasonable people object to irrationally biased ethical systems - or any other systems, for that matter. 
When the top of a hierarchy says what is ethical for me is unethical for the lower orders, we call it tyranny. 
If, for example, a god has the power to stop an infant wandering out onto a busy highway and maintains that is ethical to refrain from using that power in service of some "plan", then it is irrational to punish a person for also standing idly by as their child gets run over - provided some plan of the idle person is served.
Pakistan bans Facebook over Prophet page
[info] afghant wrote: The Rot: 'Freedom of Expression'
"When was the last time Muslims organised to curse or revile Jesus or Buddha? "
1) It is not a religious group that is organizing - it is people of all religions (and some with none).
2) They are not out to defile or curse anyone,
3) There are many "Draw Jesus" competitions every year (I don't know about Bhudda).

You are correct that the law has no business telling people what to wear, nor does religion have any business telling people what to draw.

But if a religion does overstep the mark and tell its own adherents not to draw something, it most certainly has zero right to tell non-adherants what to draw or what to do, say or think about anything else, for that matter. A religion attempting to dictate the behaviour of people who are not members of that religion is tyranny of the worst order. Any such religion deserves to be brought up short - publicly and quickly. 

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Jeremiah Wright: Obama 'Threw Me Under The Bus'
Good place for you, Jerry.
Leading article: In the end, spending cuts are political
What utter claptrap! Almost every criticism in this article is both facile and puerile.
1) OBR is also not as significant as Einstein's theory of relativity, does that make it useless?
2) Labour may have been the obfuscating equal of other governments, but the OBR will make the coalition less so.
3) The OBR team is no larger or smaller than it was when it was part of treasury
4) OBR accuracy is unlikely to be lower than when there was pressure to say what the boss wanted to hear
 PS: In the end, even flossing is political. So what?
Dozens Storm D.C. Bank Branches, Block Intersection
So the lobbyists of the SEIU and NPA are against the lobbyists of BofA and JPMC. What else is new? Oh, they staged an event. I get it.
   Lobbyists using the term "lobbyist" as a pejorative epithet strikes me as self-serving populism at best and deliberate dishonesty at worst.  And to suggest that one lot looking after their own pocketbooks after making bets they could not cover (people in foreclosure) are better than another lot (banks) who are doing exactly the same thing, is morally questionable at the very least.
Steve Richards: Big tents don't have room for all
NYah, Nyah, Nyah. Steve you sound like a sour, spoiled little brat. Your ichor adds nothing to political discussion, to our society or to us. Go away.
BP Stands for Bad Petroleum
Whine, whine, whine. Yes it is the fault of congress. Yes BP is less than clean, We have heard all of that time and time again, but only in hindsight. Were you writing about this before the spill? Why not?
       PS: Once BP hits the 75m cap, they can just be fined 750m for negligence and incompetence. That, coupled with fines to Transocean and Halliburton, should get a billion easy. If they complain that this is all new science, we can remind them that they are private industry and not the government -- so we expect results, not excuses.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Trichet calls for 'quantum leap' in eurozone financial discipline

Refreshing, but unlikely
Mr Trichet is speaking against the cultural zeitgeist when he asks European nations to say "1) It's our fault. 2) We have to fix it. 3) We have to stop spending more than we make and 4) We (all of us) will have to make sacrifices."
Of course he is right, but I don't like his chances.
Lib Dems back Clegg in coalition deal with Tories
At least you are trying, Andrew
The headline and story, being essentially positive, is an unusual step in the right direction for Independent reporting. I notice that the piece tends to focus on doubts and potential splits of tomorrow, but that is fine as a balance to the reporting of the positive cooperation of today. Keep it up

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Greece May Take Legal Action Against US Banks For Role In Debt Crisis
Greece said "we want to fiddle the books a bit to hide some of our debts" and Goldman Sachs said "okay, here's one way to do it." Shouldn't it be the world suing Greece, and joining Goldman Sachs as a co-conspiritor?
White House Blocking Media Access To Elena Kagan's Family
Well, that's a step in the right direction then. The media idea that anyone related to a public figure should also be hounded as a public figure is reprehensible, self-serving and of more value to journalists trying to push their careers or line their pockets than it is to our society or its citizens
    As to using Supreme Court nomination hearings as free election-campaign coverage, the Dumbocrats did it under Bush and now the Retroblicans want to play turn-about. Neither side is very helpful to our country, our democracy or to us.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Onetime-Longshots May Unseat Incumbents
Damn! The primary wing-nuts are spoiling everything! 
How can we vote against every incumbent in America if there are no incumbents left?
Interrogation Critics
Those who are against following our good old US laws are anti-American whiners. ("No Miranda rights" American courts aren't good enough to try terrorists" "We're afraid of Gitmo prisoners in our jails") 

If they don't like this country they should move to one where torture is allowed.
Why BP = Facebook
Well, there you go again. Creeping socialism. Trying to put the government between BP and their customers in the gulf, between bankers and their marks, between US companies and their off-shoring of profits. Next thing, you be wanting to put the police between burglars and the houses they target. Won't you, you, you, you....well, you Liberal. (There, I've said it. Does this site block posts with swear words?)
First cracks in coalition
If journalists can widen those cracks, and find or create more, they will try everything in their power to do so. Report about people working together? It goes against the grain of everything these cynics believe in. (Let's you and him fight is just about everything they believe in.) Tearing things down - it's what they do. And they do it well. I am often amazed that society holds together at all, given the sustained journalistic effort to destroy it.
Arizona boycotted over 'Nazi' purge of migrants"
Members of LA's city council compared 21st-century Phoenix to Adolf Hitler's Berlin"
Pardon me, your intelligence is showing
Does this mean the councilors are implying that a significant proportion of the German Jewish community were deliberately breaking laws that had been on the German books for a hundred years? Or did they mean that Hispanics are being rounded up and gassed? From Ed Reyes' comments, it is clear that he hadn't even read the law - or even talked to anyone who had - much less ever been to Arizona.
This Is Not What the British People Voted for
The government Hari deserves...
The problem, Johann, is that hardly anyone voted "for" anything - most people voted against the other guy. Pundits, such as you, can't even write a piece in support of a good candidate (Cooper) without first running down 5 or 8 others. Do you get an extra penny a word for every politician you can make us dislike or be afraid of?

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Media Jabs Are Unfair to Kagan 
You don't understand. It is not about being fair. If you worked somewhere and minorities weren't hired, regardless of the reason and regardless of whether you had much say in the matter, then you are a racist.

PS: She supports indefinite detention, a unitary executive and opposes don't-ask-don't-tell discrimination all for the same reason: because they are the right things to do.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Patience on Capitol Hill runs dry as firms try to shift blame for oil leak
They should keep their heads down
Let the oil companies and their agents throw blame at each other: it is better than people learning how much our legislature was to blame .
Progressives and the Deficit
I like this guy! Will he come talk to my bank manager?
1) We are for repaying Lange's debts, but not yet.
2) Controlling Lange's indebtedness and paying back your loans is not an end in and of itself. 
3) In the short term, the best way to reduce Lange's indebtedness is to loan him more money.
4) It would be better for everyone if you made someone else pay off Lange's loans
5) You have to deduct the value of Lange's education from his student loans to get his net debt
6) Your bank is a fat cat that doesn't deserve Lange's money and, besides, a lot of Lange's credit card debt was really spent by someone else in the family, to buy things Lange doesn't approve of.
Lawrence Lessig Calls Glenn Greenwald's Critique Of Elena Kagan 'Absurd'
Well! Sarah said that Mary was a stinky-poop and Mary said that Sarah was a bug-beetle.
That ought to keep the kids on the playground busy for a week or so.

Bagram --The Cat's Slightly Out of the Bag
Habeas corpus is a legal principle in criminal matters. It is not a crime to be an enemy soldier. Enemy soldiers are legally held until there is a prisoner exchange or until the one side surrenders.   If you want to write about the treatment of prisoners, please do. But the FACT that the enemy are imprisoned is both right and proper - as is the fact that these prisoners have access to the Red Cross/Crescent.
     PS: I understand from the cited BBC report that some prisoners did not get their afternoon nap. I'll bet the Afghan soldiers fighting the colleagues of these prisoner are a bit sleep deprived too - d'ya think?

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

The accidental hero – how Cornish sailor saved islanders
Good on Cornwall & US Coastguard
But where are the Kiribati?
They wanted sovereignty over this island and got it.
Did no one mention that rights have concomitant responsibilities? 
These Kiribati sound like Greek workers or Western voters.
Leading article: Tackle the cause, not the symptoms
But the causes are so difficult
People want more government services and more government money for themselves and their pet projects, while wanting lower taxes and/or refusing to pay the taxes they do owe. They will vote out any government that says it is going to raise taxes while cutting government services and handouts. Basically, people LIKE funding their current life-style on the backs of their children. Tough cause to tackle.
Organic milk: Pint of the right stuff
"Some informed commentators smelt a rat."
That is, the science disagreed with their prejudices and, since they could not overturn the science, they dug deeper into what "might" happen - such as possibly "less likely to be blown or washed away by wind and rain" and organic farms possibly being better-managed.   Sad when people with a good cause seem willing to cook the books to promote it.
Increase in number of MPs from private schools
The horrors of elitism
The last thing we want is better-educated people in parliament. People who are smarter or better trained tend to be less easily led by the nose. Last thing we want. Oh yeah, they also tend to be less supportive of time-wasting public schools and do-little teacher unions, not to mention their worst sin: being better prepared than the reporters who try to interview them.
Obama plays it safe with latest pick for Supreme Court
The view from the Media cheap seats
The media like wrangles because they are easier to cover than the issues. It does not occur to them that Obama actually IS a centrist and would like to see a centrist court.
     PS: One reason that the Retroblicans want to paint Obama as a lefty is to reduce his support amongst independent voters. They know they can count of the leftist wing-nuts of the Dumbocratic party to paint him as not left enough, hence reducing his Dumbocrat support. They also know that, because of the media obsession with wrangles over issues, they can persuade more people to vote against someone than for something.
Are Liberal Democrats seriously saying they would prop up a Labour government?
The saddest loss of all
You forgot to mention that a continuously hung parliament reduces the power of the wing-nut fringes of both major parties.     PS: With over 20% of the vote and less than 10% of the seats, LibDems already pay the price at the ballot box.
A day that began with Cameron in charge and ended with him in shock
"We know that whatever we do we'll be shafted by our own party." 
There's a lesson there
One explanation of why the voters, who are smarter than the pundits and chattering classes give them credit for being, never give the LibDems more than 20% of the vote.
Air Passenger Found With Electrical Circuits In His Shoes
That'll teach him to take any new shoes apart before wearing them! 
PS: All you parents with kids whose sneakers light up - don't let them grow a beard or adopt a Muslim name.

Monday, 10 May 2010

"...we were so much electoral cack." That has always been true
It is only when celebrities happen to guess right that they can delude themselves that they have much in the way of electoral impact. Celebrity influence is not at election time, it is in the access that celebrity gives to those in power.
       I recall the brilliant reply to a reporter's political question that David Beckham once gave: "I have an opinion, but why would anyone care what I thought about it? I'm just a football player." I wish more celebrities would emulate him
Dome fails to stop Louisiana oil leak
Re: A three-sentence obituary for the Gulf of Mexico
Absolutely! There have also been airplane and train crashes that have killed people, so there should be a moratorium on all air and train travel until we know for certain what went wrong. Similarly, with the recent mining disasters in Russia, China and the US, we should stop all mining. Finally, since it is well established that CO2 causes global warming, people should stop exhaling it while an environmental review is carried out.
If some local election returned a majority of council seats to women and ethnic groups, would it be acceptable to say "Appallingly, the election was largely a black and female fest"?   Racism is racism, whichever way it cuts.

Friday, 7 May 2010

British Election 2010: Leaders Jockey For Power After VoteThe joy of proportional representation, and the reason neither Tories or Labour want it, is that it results in every parliament being a hung parliament - leaving the centrist Liberal party holding the balance of power in all governments. 
       Many folks in Britain like this idea - as a constant brake on the wing-nuts. Others are perplexed by an "improvement" that prevents a party with 36% of the vote from being "the majority" by handing the balance of power to a party with 23% of the vote.
Immigration, and Social JusticeJim, your woman who came as an infant 47 years ago DOES have an easy route to legality: she can apply, from Mexico, for a visa on the grounds of family reunion with her spouse and her kids.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Charges of Racism for Criticism of Illegal Immigration
You misunderstand the racism issue. It is perfectly okay to ask legal identification of immigrants from England, France, Norway or Italy. It is only racist if the illegals speak Spanish.
Life in the Age of "Much Worse Than We Thought It Would Be"
Of course you are right, but I do not like your chances. I see no one in either party with the courage to tell the electorate that they cannot continue to borrow from their children: government spending must be cut and taxes must be raised (and raised for everyone - the rich, the affluent, the comfortable and the just getting by). 

We will continue to vote for candidates who promise us lower taxes and more government services until the system goes bust. Then we will blame the politicians. "We didn't vote you in to break the buck," we will say. But that is precisely what we did.
The curse of the 24-hour news agenda
The problem is professional politicians.  
When one is measured by winning, the results are inevitably as you describe.  

The solution is 2-term (or 10 year) limits on all members of parliament.  They should come from  jobs in the community and return to those jobs after completing their stint in public service.   Then the motivation would be to make a positive mark, not simply to continue a career.  Lest anyone worry about loss of experience: any Parliamentarian that has served two terms may stand again after a 10-year hiatus.

Sweden's lesson in education priorities
The differences can be summed up in the normal reaction to a problem:
   Brit: This is someone else's fault, let find out whose.
   Scandi: How can we fix this?

   Brit: Someone else should do something about it.
   Scandi: What can we do to help fix th

Duffy affair turned media into pack of shrieking gibbons
What do you mean "turned"?

Monday, 3 May 2010

But now I suppose there will be a big witch hunt to find someone "responsible" for the death.
I blame God, for not making the kid's feet steadier or the water softer.
Prince's health charity closes after fraud inquiry
Well, imagine that! Most people promoting "alternative therapies" are charlatans.  It is hardly surprising the the Prince's charity did not manage to hire exclusively from the 20% who are honest.
These kids know about journalists: journalists come to steal peeks at local lives for pay and for the profit of their publishing masters. The kids know that journalists have little interest in them beyond the buck that stories about them can make.
Army to be sued for war crimes over its role in Fallujah
Okay,good strategy
Who is suing the anti-Iraqi forces that killed all those British and allied soldiers, along weith countless countless civilians?  Who is suing Al Qaeda? Who is suing the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

I don't really care so much about their war crimes - I want a civil suit that says they need to pay multi-billion dollar settlements out of their drug money or, if they or their successors) ever get power over a treasury anywhere, out of taxes and tariffs
Harry and the Homeowners  "As long as homeowners owe significantly more than the value of the house, it makes no sense for them to faithfully pay down the mortgage, because they can never hope to accumulate positive equity. In these circumstances, millions of homeowners are quite rationally walking away, and finding rentals."

Quite right. When I said I wanted to buy this house at this price because I was betting that the value would go up, and you said "okay here is my money, as long as you agree to pay me back," I didn't mean that I would give you your money back if I lost my bet. Now that I have lost your money, it is not rational for you to expect me to pay you back - my best course is to stiff you and wait a few years until some other sucker will loan me money to bet with. I hope, next time, I will win the bet and, if I do, I promise I will pay the next loaner back. Of course, if I lose again, I will stiff him too.
Florida Legislature takes strong conservative turn
Nonsense!   The legislature wants to interfere in local school board decisions and stand between my mistress and her doctor.  This is not conservative - it is rampant socialism, with the government trying to control ever more aspects of our lives.
We were set up, say pair in 'match-fixing' scandal
If a couple of News of the World reporters were offered cash by foreign thugs to falsify a story, I wonder if they would take it. Ditto the BBC. More importantly, I wonder if anyone else would publish it.
    PS: Is attempted bribery and match-fixing a crime?  If so, will the News of the World reporters be charged?
    PPS: Why has only an "edited" version of the video been released?
Cameron set to challenge convention over hung parliament
Let the Queen decide
Since it does not seem to matter (to either party) whether anyone has a majority, why not give the government to the LibDems, regardless how many votes they get? They couldn't do any worse than Labour and Conservatives have done the past twenty years.

White House Correspondents' Association Dinner, by Joseph Palermo
Joe, you are so right about the plutocracy. Let's put in caps to stop this: 
    No one may run for congress if they ever made more than $50,000 a year.
    No one journalists can report on congress if they ever made more than $90,000

Sunday, 2 May 2010

'Don't treat school heads like football bosses,' says union
Football bosses have to be successful, or at least show some improvement in results. But they are in charge of something really important: a game. When it come to our kids, we shouldn't demand such high standards.

Let's imagine a football boss saying: "but you have to consider the quality of the players available to me. I mean, for most of my players, their first sport was cricket or tennis."

Suicide claim win against NHS sets rights precedent
Did this financial penalty carry any message other than: "if they seem at risk, lock 'em in a padded room and throw away the key"?
Barclays defeats rebels opposing £1.4bn investment bank payouts
So this means that shareholders and labour get about the same?