Monday, 30 August 2010

Taxpayers set to pocket £27bn from bailing out Britain's banks
So bailing out wall street worked and made a profit.
And the return on bailing out main street? How is that doing?
failure of climate summit would herald global catastrophe
China, India and Brazil would like Kyoto renewed. Well it is not surprising that they have taken on the zeitgeist: it's always someone else's fault and someone else should do something to fix it.
Standard & Poor's Is Now Giving Orders to Congress
So what is the problem? If S&P are so bad at predictions, who cares what they say? If they are usually wrong, then having them against us should be a bonus. 
      On the other hand, one can see their point: a government that appoints a bunch of experts to advise it on something then deliberately ignores that advice.....  ya gotta wonder.
ACLU, CCR Sue Obama To Block 'Targeted Killings'
Tough call. 
CIA list is morally right: there are some people who are just plain evil and deserve to die. 
ACLU is legally right: a government is not always unbiased when deciding who fits in this category..
I think I'd go with the law on this one - never know when some tea-bagger might say I'm next.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Anti-Islam Protesters Clash With Police In Bradford, UK
Ah, an anti-Islam group. I can just see Osama bin Laden cackling, rubbing his hands with glee and shouting "It's working, it's working."
Playing with children 'boring for parents'
Well, that's only when they are very young. 
Once they hit 11 or 12, they will be more like your friends - scoring you E-tabs or some weed, sharing your joy in whining to bad drumming, etc.
Third World America Map
Most of the third world would be willing to commit serious crime to be as wealthy as the poor in America. 
Who has what in the third word? 
       Running water    - top 20%, 
       A mobile phone  - top 15%, 
       A bank account  - top 10%, 
       A television set   - top  5%, 
       A car                 - top  2%.
"Third World America," a snappy phrase to show off America's ignorance and arrogance, is incredibly offensive.

Friday, 27 August 2010

WikiLeaks builds a legal shield in Sweden
When they leak Taliban secrets, I will believe they are unbiased. 
In the meantime, a Swedish Political Party may protect them from NATO intelligence agencies (though I doubt it), but it is unlikely to protect them from the thousands of Afghans whose lives they have put at risk. If I were one of the Wikileak betrayers, I'd worry less about political protection and more about hiring some competent bodyguards.

How did rebels rape 200 women just miles from UN base in Congo?
Same way people do it just miles from British police stations.

New recipe for next series of Masterchef
Gosh, what stunning investigative reporting. I am so pleased the Independent keeps up the modern-day standards in deciding what is "news."

How much proof do the global warming deniers need?
Yeah! Where are Malthus and Ehrlich when we need them?
Yes, global warming is real, but irreparable? I don't think so.
       Okay, Johann, politicians will not face hard decisions until they are forced to, but that is simply because if they try, we will not vote for them. We simply will not listen to anyone who tells us we must pay more, get less and generally reduce our standard of living and quality of life. You say our children and grandchildren will suffer - we, the electorate, answer "that's their problem."

PS: "the most environmentally destructive sites in Britain" are average British family homes.
MP has three family members on his staff list
Oh No! How dare he let his children visit him where he works? 
This is the kind of corruption that should be a hanging offence.

NOT just silly-season piffle, this kind of story increases mistrust of politicians, hence both apathy and anomie, hence damages our society and our country. The Independent knows this but, because a snappy conflict headline might sell a few more papers, doesn't care.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Former RNC Chairman Ken Mehlma: I'm Gay
Ken, I think you are over-sharing there. 
We are getting a little tired of people telling us about their sex lives.
Sorry, Ken, we just don't care.
PS: If the DNC chairman enjoys having sex with women.... we don't want to know about that, either.
Tax Jujitsu: Why Democrats Should Propose a "People's Tax Cut"
I like it! Dumbocrats say cut taxes for the poor, Retroblicans say cut taxes for the rich and
our grandchildren say "why cut taxes for anyone in time of war - is the only sacrifice you know how to make that of sacrificing the quality of life of your children and grandchildren?"
    Will cutting taxes - for rich or poor - damage the future of our children and our country?  
    Yeah, but so what, it wins elections.
How Sex, Sin and Power Bind Jihadists to the Radical Right
One major difference: Conservatives don't think your disagreeing with them is a reason to kill you. 
(Okay, some may think it, but they don't act upon it.)
"310 Million Tits" -- If Simpson Doesn't Resign, the President Must Fire Him
Absolutely. Telling the truth should always be a resigning matter. 
If people who tell the truth don't resign, they should be fired.

After Katrina, New Orleans Cops Were Told They Could Shoot Looters
What a good idea. Find out who told them and give him a medal for protecting his citizenry despite the threat of media attack and muck-raking character assassination. Looters who takes advantage of the misery of others to enrich themselves are the lowest scum, preying on the vulnerable, the poor and the disadvantaged. They are are worse than... than... well even worse than bankers.
Labour's battle of the brothers gets personal 
Oh boy, a let's-you-and him-fight story. These are so easy to write that the press will do all it can to fan the ill-will. Does this damage the body politic, our society and hence our country? Yeah, it does but so what - it sells newspapers.
The language crisis in British schools
Well languages are hard and require work, religious studies is a gut course where no-one knows if you are right or wrong until they are dead.

The distribution of A* to C grades is astonishing. If the system had any integrity, there should be
Performance       Normal
 Curve                 Curve
   11%          F        2.3%
   12%          D      13.6%
   17%       }
   20%       }  C      34.1%
   17%       }       
 12%          B      34.1%
   7%         A       13.6%
   4%         A*       2.3%
Clearly, the GCSE system is not designed to separate students by academic performance (or even test-taking ability). If it is, it is a failure of such epic proportion that it should be scrapped and everyone associated with it sacked. 

It must be designed to do something else, but no one seems knows what that something else is.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010


  • 50% of females, but only 37% of males go to uni? This is a gender gap as important as the gender gap in board rooms and in equal pay. Why is it not being shouted from the rooftops? Why is there no affirmative action program?
           What? If women have a problem it is men's fault and if men have a problem it is men's fault? Oh, sorry, I didn't know that. Never mind.

    Right, Gary: It's not the kid's fault, it's not the parents' fault, it's the school's fault. That's the lesson we want the children of the nineties and noughties to take through life: It's Always Someone Else's Fault.

    Okay. He groped some woman who didn't want to be groped. 
    He is complicit in the coming murder of a few thousand Afghans by revealing who they are and what involvement they have with the Afghan and NATO military forces. Which is the greater crime?
Zillions for Wall Street, Zippo for Barack's Old Neighborhood
Bob has some mates who invested in this bank, so he decries giving aid to banks in general but wants an exception made here, because they made bad loans based on inflated property values.  Well that wasn't true of any other mortgage lender, was it Bob? Only the ones your friends ran.
The Administration, the Bloggers
Reporting on deep backgrounder briefings shows the complete lack of self-respect of the reporters. Naturally, officials realise that deep-backgrounders given to untrustworthy people will be reported and so are careful not to cover anything they don't WANT to have leaked. A cynical and dishonourable exercise on both sides.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Growing Number Of Americans Say Barack Obama Is A Muslim

Yeah, but Americans never were too swift, were they? More than 18% believe that:
   Sadam Hussein was involved with Al Qaeda
   The Northwest coast still hasn't recovered from the Exxon Valdez
   American values are widely respected around the world”

Pakistan: Quick Millions Promised for 'Slow-Motion Tsunami'

“I think it is just disaster fatigue.  Millions more aid went into Haiti than any US city of similar size before the tragedy hit.   Millions go to NATO troops trying to protect Afghans against the disaster called "Taliban"   Earthquake here, tsunami there, drought the other where; eventually people, many now unemployed, have no more to give, whether in money or in sympathy.”



  • Oh no! Sea mammals killed so people can eat.
    Is it true that this also happens to cows, pigs and sheep?
    I've also heard that spinach and many other greens are murdered before reaching maturity.
    What are we going to do about this?

    This is not about protecting the public, it is about stopping people from getting high.  The research on harm from cannabis is extensive - it was long ago proven less harmful than alcohol and less harmful than many 'legal highs' - but the government ban encourages law-abiding people to seek stupid 'legal' alternatives. This is such a foreseeable consequence that, were the government a company, its actions would constitute a clear case of negligence.

    Gosh, that's terrible! The better educated will do better than the less well educated. Where is the social justice in that?

Thursday, 19 August 2010


  • Over 3,000 'A' students to be turned away from their chosen universities"some of our university lecturers have started to complain anonymously that foreign fee paying students expect first class degrees"
    How dare they? Cheeky foreigners! If second-class degrees are all that these lecturers are capable of teaching, then the students should take them and be happy, no matter how much they pay.
  • On the frontline of climate change 
    "It's the burning issue Australia's leaders dare not confront, even on the eve of a general election"
         Don't you mean "especially on the eve of an election?" One thing politicians learn very early in life: no one who tells the plain hard truth will ever be elected.
Bilderberg Group Book Fascinates Fidel Castro
Yeah, but Fidel also believed in Communism as a way to "help the people" so I wouldn't put too much faith in what he thinks about some Lithuanian theory.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Rupert Cornwell: Are you now, or have you ever been, a migrant?
Immigrants are not the problem. The US was built by, and thrives on, immigrants with their new ideas and go-getter attitudes. The problem is illegal immigrants: those who scoff at US laws - whether immigration laws, driving licence laws or insurance laws. Successfully flouting whole sets of US laws with impunity, they learn that they need only follow those laws that are convenient for them and ignore any that are not.
       Compared to this problem, the citizenship of an infant is irrelevant. If s/he grows up in the US from birth, s/he's an American for better or for worse. If s/he goes back to the home country and makes a decision at 18 to return as a citizen, s/he's probably just the kind of immigrant we want.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Obama's Ground Zero Mosque Comments: President Recalibrates

“Three more children were blown up in County Armagh yesterday. Anyone who thinks there should be a Catholic Church left standing in the province of Northern Ireland must support the idea of a Mosque at ground zero.”
Jewish leaders angry at clash with Yom Kippur
Hey, why no story about the conflict with the Jedi faith? 
There are more of us than there are of jewish folk
Obama Defends Ground Zero Mosque Plans In Ramadan Dinner Speech
So our foreign-born, terrorist-loving, muslim anti-christ president endorses the building of the Osama-Bin-Laden Mosque right in the centre of the 9/11 monument, on top of the graves of the 28,000 Americans who died there?
         Next thing you know he’ll endorse the building of churches in Northern Ireland or Synagogues in Jerusalem. Oh, they’ve already allowed that? Sorry, never mind.
Revealed: The gender gap in British business
Gosh, only 12% directors and 6% CEOs. This is a crisis! 
However did these firms prosper without women at the helm?
Any bets on the performance of firms with women vs those without?
As my money is on "no significant difference," I'm part of the "who cares" lot.
Primary Care: We Can Do Better
Good idea, Paul. 
We also need to put the focus on outcomes/results, rather than on inputs/treatments. To avoid the danger that incentives based on results sees difficult diseases thrown in the too-hard basket and go untreated, we build a tiered system of doctors & clinics and pay them accordingly:
1) The easy stuff
2) Harder stuff
3) Really hard stuff
4) Next to impossible stuff
5) Palliative care & Hospice
Each level refers patients outside their scope up the line

Friday, 13 August 2010

Leading article: A blow for open government
"Yet there is a danger that public interest in the nitty-gritty of what went on at the department under Labour will be fixated [sic] on those items which can be most readily converted into headlines."
A bit rich, coming from the editors of one of the rags who will do the "fixating." 
But, yep, journalists are more interestated in selling soap than in actually coming to grips with issues facing their audiences. Does this misleadate the public? Yeah, the media say, but so what? As long as we get paid.
NHS faces £65bn bill for private finance schemes
"But when rising fees and additional costs such as maintenance, cleaning and catering are taken into account..."
Why should these be taken into account? NHS would have to pay these regardless of how a hospital was financed. Sounds like a case of figures don't lie, but liars do figure.
We are wrong about being wrong
Oh Johann! If people took a sensible view about being wrong or letting evidence change one's mind, who would journalists and opposition politicians have to say "neener, neener, neener" about? How could they function?

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Neocon War Plans Undermine Iranians' Quest for Democracy
There is no chance of a democracy in Iran.
There are better reasons not to bomb Iran than this chimera.
'Global Weirding': Extreme Climate Events Dominate The Summer
"Most scientists caution that no single event can be tied specifically to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. But climate-change deniers quickly point to the first snowfall in winter as evidence against global warming."
Yep. That's modern logic: they make wrong inferences from isolated data and anecdotal evidence, so we should be able to do it too.
On the Rage of Gibbs
"everyone, Lefties included, should be free to complain about without suffering the rage of Gibbs."
Lawrence, everyone is free to complain and whine all they want; left and right alike.
It does get boring though
Why is the world unmoved by the plight of Pakistan?
1. The world is not unmoved - though you try to paint it so for reasons of your own
2. The serious young man helping out is what we expect everyone to do - regardless of which charity or political party they belong to.
3. Once the copy-cat media have decided that the story is "the government is not helping enough but insurgents are" they will stick to that in the face of any facts or any desire to actually do anything to help the people in trouble.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

The lost art of boredom
"Perhaps it's time to embrace being bored"
Yah. Either that or get off of our fat butts and go do something interesting or important.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

The Slow, Whining Death of British Christianity
"Once they had to rely on persuasion rather than intimidation, the story of British Christianity came to an end."
Ah, so that's where the Taliban, the Iranian theocracy and advocates of Sharia law are coming from. 
Smart move. Who says they don't learn from modern history?