Friday, 21 December 2012


Diary of an Adoption Ambassador

Paradis Day One:  Paradis is a 2-year-old foster dog from Broward Humane Society, absolutely terrified of everything. Had to be carried into the house, then carried out to the back yard.  Spent two hours running the fence line looking for a way out.  Could only be approached and petted if cornered, so we sat back and waited for her to approach.  She finally did, but ran again after two or three strokes.   At dusk, carried into the house, and put upon the sofa she finally relaxed and cuddled up - after an hour she had a nap.  Would not eat at supper time.   At bed time, she wanted to be on the bed with us, but took it in good part when told no.  Put feet up on bedstand and drank wife’s water glass, despite having been shown two bowls of water (kitchen and lanai). Ignored her blanket and went back to the sofa where she had been cuddled.

Paradis Day 2 Panicked when we arose and ran around the house trying to avoid us Finally, she approached and received pets and praise. Out into the yard just before dawn, she ran the fence line for an hour looking for escape, did her bodily functions, then finally approached and received pets and praise.  When I repaired inside to make coffee, she began to eat, but ceased as soon as she saw me watching and ran about the yard.   She kept coming back to the food and I soon learned not to look at her while she was eating.
     After an hour or so of roaming the yard (while I sat in an outdoor chair, telling her what a good dog she was, she went around the corner tried to jump the 5-foot fence.  Managed to hit the gate latch in the process, and opened the gate.  Would not come and was headed for the open end of the street when, fortunately, a neighbour came into the street from his morning run.  Between the two of us, we sealed off escape and she finally allowed approach.  (With only two of us on a street that has lawns on both sides, she could have easily gotten past, but was so timid that she would not try it.) After she allowed approach, Paradis would not follow on the lead, so she was carried back home.   Wired the gate latches shut, but will need to keep close watch when she is outside as she can just get her front paws on the fence bar 6 inches below the top, so might be able to scrabble out. 
     Went for a walk to the end of the block (cul-de-sac).  She was interested and tail came out from between legs. On return she followed to the door, but had to be carried inside. Settling Paradis down and getting used to a loving home again looks to be a project of a couple of weeks, rather than a couple of days.
       In the middle of the night, Paradis decided that, since our bed is above floor height, she needed to sleep on the bedroom blanket box, which is almost the same height.  However, it is polished wood so quite slippery - leading to random scrabbling noises through the night, just as we drift off to sleep after the last bout.  It will be covered with books tonight so she will need to make another choice. Still spurns the blanket kindly provided by HSBC, so we put it on the sofa where she likes to nap – to get it imbued with her own scent.

Diary of an Adoption Ambassador: Paradis Day 3               
Paradis is starting to bond with me, following me everywhere inside the house, and franticly seeking me if I go outside without her.  Still does not trust me completely and must be carried in and out of all doors – except for the front door, which she will exit by herself if on the lead. Has started eating, though prefers to wait until we go to bed and lights are out. 
  
    
    On the lead and walking, Paradis allowed approach from two strangers (a neighbour and our pool lady), sniffed them and permitted them to give pets (two to a customer only).  Disdained the idea of a treat from the neighbour.  Indeed, spurns all treats even from us, including the Milk Bones kindly provided by HSBC.
       Made the mistake of turning off the outside light as she was half-way in the back door coming in from the yard: cringe and scamper and another 30 minutes until she would approach. 

Diary of an Adoption Ambassador: Paradis Day 4
First trip to the dog park – which Paradis viewed with some trepidation. Of course, first thing had to be an overly-welcoming 6-month old German Shepherd, who needed to be snapped at and put in his proper place.  But after meeting the third dog or fourth dog, the tail started to come out from under her belly and she seemed almost happy by the end.  
     Followed by lunch at Gallupis, which worried us as there would be lots of strange people.  No problem at all, she lay down quietly by our chairs and even deigned to drink some of the water provided by the waitress.   A firm believer that dogs at dog-friendly restaurants should also get some lunch, we ordered her a hot dog (no bun), much loved by our previous dog.   Paradis allowed that it was not up to her standards, so no thanks. Still has yet to wag her tail.



Louie Palu, Photojournalist: It's Easier To Get Guns In America Than In A War Zone (VIDEO)

Louie Palu, Photojournalist: It's Easier To Get Guns In America Than In A War Zone (VIDEO)

Commented Dec 21, 2012 at 04:44:53 in HuffPost Live 321

Well Doh! Ever hear of supply and demand?
BBC's George Entwistle Payoff Slammed As 'Unacceptable Use Of Public Money'

BBC's George Entwistle Payoff Slammed As 'Unacceptable Use Of Public Money'

Commented Dec 20, 2012 at 10:04:57 in UK Politics

Absolutely! How dare they honour their contract? Companies should be free to slash the agreed pay of anyone they don't like, especially after the fact.
Syria War Increasingly Sectarian, UN Says

Syria War Increasingly Sectarian, UN Says

Commented Dec 20, 2012 at 09:58:27 in World

Turning? Increasingly? Where have they been for the past year or so?
Chained CPI Plan 'A Stealth Way To Give People Less' Says Keith Ellison, Minnesota Congressman (VIDEO)

Chained CPI Plan 'A Stealth Way To Give People Less' Says Keith Ellison, Minnesota Congressman (VIDEO)

Commented Dec 20, 2012 at 09:55:58 in HuffPost Live 321

“I don't think there is anything stealthy about it. It is a simple recognition that people want the government to do more than they are willing to pay for. 

Everyone thinks that our massive debt is unsustainable, but they want to retain all the programs that pay them and only cut those programs that pay someone else.
David Cameron Partied With Rebekah Brooks On Saturday

David Cameron Partied With Rebekah Brooks On Saturday

Commented Dec 19, 2012 at 09:30:23 in UK Politics

What! How dare he? Does he not realise that people are guilty until proven innocent and that all politicians should immediately turn their backs on friends and neighbours as soon as they are even suspected of being in any kind of trouble at all?
Boris Johnson Urges European Union Referendum

Boris Johnson Urges European Union Referendum

Commented Dec 16, 2012 at 07:19:57 in UK Politics

Nope. not the end of the world, just the end of prosperity for quite a while. It is amazing how a serious financial crisis causes populist leaders to think up economic plans that sound cool but actually make things much worse. Smoot-Hawley in the 30s, leaving the EU in the naughties.
Universities Don't Know How To Deal With LGBT Students, Warns NUS

Universities Don't Know How To Deal With LGBT Students, Warns NUS

Commented Dec 15, 2012 at 13:08:59 in UK Universities & Education

If one believes in equality, one deals with LBGT students in EXACTLY the same way one deals with hetero students. Homophobic bullying is no different than any other kind of bullying. To suggest any other course is rank discrimination.
Reporters Interviewing Children In Connecticut School Shooting Adds Little News Value, Experts Say

Reporters Interviewing Children In Connecticut School Shooting Adds Little News Value, Experts Say

Commented Dec 15, 2012 at 00:17:31 in Media

“The biggest ethical question about reporters is:" why don't they have any?

Note that this article immediately follows a Huffpo headline "WATCH: 3rd-Grader's Witness Account Of Shooting"
Afghanistan Teenagers Detained By U.S. Military

Afghanistan Teenagers Detained By U.S. Military

Commented Dec 9, 2012 at 12:10:10 in World

Most military are teens. 
They are easier to convince that some good comes from laying down your life for a cause.
Boris Johnson: EU Terms Must Be Renegotiated, And Referendum Held

Boris Johnson: EU Terms Must Be Renegotiated, And Referendum Held

Commented Dec 9, 2012 at 12:05:21 in UK Politics

“And the EU would want this why?

Looks like we may be heading for am EU cliff in the UK - with politics and populism trumping national interest.
Nadine Dorries Claims Questions Over Her 'I'm A Celebrity' Fee Are 'Sexist'

Nadine Dorries Claims Questions Over Her 'I'm A Celebrity' Fee Are 'Sexist'

Commented Dec 9, 2012 at 12:02:26 in UK Politics

"Ask to women?" Did this woman go to school at all? What were the selectors and the voting public thinking when they put her forward, then in.?

Still,it does show that one does not need an education to play the victim card when caught doing something dodgy
Gay Marriage: David Cameron Risks 'Disaster And Division' Over Church Weddings Plan

Gay Marriage: David Cameron Risks 'Disaster And Division' Over Church Weddings Plan

Commented Dec 7, 2012 at 10:14:04 in UK Politics

If it is his church, he can say what he likes. If he is not a member of the congregation, he should keep his advice to himself.
Black And Minority Ethnic Women 'Discriminated Against At Every Stage' Of Recruitment Process

Black And Minority Ethnic Women 'Discriminated Against At Every Stage' Of Recruitment Process

Commented Dec 7, 2012 at 10:09:21 in UK

Oh dear, you mean some people are "forced" to act like western europeans in a western european country? Outrageous!k
Autumn Statement: Entrepreneurs, Redundant And Public Sector Workers Hurt By Pension Tax Relief Cuts

Autumn Statement: Entrepreneurs, Redundant And Public Sector Workers Hurt By Pension Tax Relief Cuts

Commented Dec 5, 2012 at 16:21:47 in UK

“Oh dear, the rich will have to pay more. Quel domage!”

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Meritocracy Versus Democracy
10 Nov 2012
An interesting piece by a good apologist for the Chinese system, one well-versed in English rhetoric.
 Of course the dichotomy is false: we both have meritocracies, merely selected by different folks on different criteria.  In China, bosses pick who was the best at running things while towing the party line.   
             In America, political activists pick who they think is best at winning elections.

Problems?  China will be run by the Peter-principled: a group of guys who were good at their last job.
                  America will be run by the slick and plausible fund-raisers

It may never happen, but hybridization would be fun to see: 
A China where the party puts up two and everyone votes on which.
   (including letting them turf out the incumbent)
An America where one must have been a state governor before running for president. 
   (Or where congressional candidates have to pass the civil service exam.)

The Elections, Gridlock and Foreign Policy 
 November 7, 2012 | 1000 GMT
I would add one impetus to America’s overseas strategy: since 9/11 it has been dictated not only by events, but by opinion polls.  Bush and Obama intervened where they thought public opinion wanted them to, and they did so with inadequate forces because they feared that public opinion would not go with them if they asked for enough manpower and money to do the job properly.

One of my friends thinks Boris Johnson (Tory clown and current Mayor of London) might not make such a bad Prime Minister for the UK because he is an idle sod, and nothing is better for the country than an idle politician.
 Still, I worry that the American impasse we have created (or maintained, if you will) could stuff us badly when strong action is really needed – e.g the approaching fiscal cliff.  It may be we will muddle through that as well, but perhaps at a cost higher than it would have been under decisive leadership.

Finally, I despair of any President or any American government coming up with a clear, well-thought-out strategy, given that they have only 2.5 to 3 years before the next election consumes all attention.   During the British Empire that Mr Friedman praises, governments came and went, but election campaigns were 60 days from start to finish and the sovereign remained the same.   That gave a chance for a longer view to form and prevail.


Victory of the Demagogue By Hyatt Seligman
American Thinker, 7 Nov 2012
"Kill your opponent by character assassination and promise freebies to your base."
That also sounds like a pretty good description of the Romney campaign against Obama. Both sides seem to concentrate less on what they stood for and more on who they were running against. Both sides promised freebees to their bases: federal spending programs for the Dumbocrats, tax cuts and defense spending for the Retroblicans.
If conservatives had taken 1/5th of the time, money and effort that was spent on demonising Obama and put it on getting the converted to the polls, the result would have been different.

George Entwistle Resigns As Director General Of The BBC

George Entwistle Resigns As Director General Of The BBC

Commented Nov 11, 2012 at 04:43:06 in UK

Well, of course he should. First, he stopped a programme based on no evidence from being aired. Then he allowed a programme based on no evidence to be aired. Worst of all, it turns out that he did not personally watch every hour of BBC-produced programming that was aired.
Remembrance Day 2012: Poppy Appeal 'Risks Glossing Over The Horrors Of War' Insists Ted Harrison

Remembrance Day 2012: Poppy Appeal 'Risks Glossing Over The Horrors Of War' Insists Ted Harrison

Commented Nov 11, 2012 at 04:39:48 in UK

There are 364 days in the year when we can talk about the evils and horrors of war. There is one day in the year when we remember the sacrifice of those who fought the wars on our behalf. Shut up, Ted, it's not about you.
Supreme Court Will Take New Look At Voting Rights Act

Supreme Court Will Take New Look At Voting Rights Act

Commented Nov 10, 2012 at 06:25:09 in Politics

“"...the age of the information being used is less important than whether it helps identify jurisdictions with the worst discrimination problems." "By some measures, states covered by the law are outperforming some that are not."

On this logic, it seems that this law is rightfully on it's way out. The question is: should it be replaced with something else - and that is a matter for the legislature, not the courts.

The Republicans, under Bush, extended it for 25 years in 2006 - which indicates some bi-partisan support for legislation that prevents discriminating against any given group of voters.
David Petraeus Resigns As CIA Director, Citing Extramarital Affair

David Petraeus Resigns As CIA Director, Citing Extramarital Affair

Commented Nov 10, 2012 at 06:12:56 in Politics

“I can't understand what having an affair has to do with running the CIA - are we saying that he showed incompetence because he couldn't keep it a secret?

As the FBI was involved in spreading this, I suspect some internecine intelligence infighting is more behind this than any desire to take press heat off the Republicans.
Prince Harry Has Called Prince Charles Three Times From Afghanistan

Prince Harry Has Called Prince Charles Three Times From Afghanistan

Commented Nov 9, 2012 at 13:56:47 in UK

No, he hasn't forgotten. He is just tired of everyone else in Britain listening in.
huffingtonpost entry

Kill the Filibuster

Commented Nov 9, 2012 at 09:06:00 in Politics

“Wishful thinking Aaron. Not even American politicians are so short-sighted that they cannot see they may want the filibuster themselves in 4 years time.
'This Morning' Faces Investigation After Philip Schofield Gives 'Paedophile' List To David Cameron

'This Morning' Faces Investigation After Philip Schofield Gives 'Paedophile' List To David Cameron

Commented Nov 9, 2012 at 09:01:55 in UK

And when that inquiry is finished, there will be an inquiry into the inquiry
Ron Johnson Blames Obama's Victory On Ignorant Electorate

Ron Johnson Blames Obama's Victory On Ignorant Electorate

Commented Nov 9, 2012 at 01:59:05 in Politics

He is clearly right - if they voted him in, the electorate must be ignorant.
Democratic House Candidates Received More Votes Than Republicans

Democratic House Candidates Received More Votes Than Republicans

Commented Nov 9, 2012 at 01:54:01 in Politics

“It's partly gerrymandering and partly that folks LIKE a divided government:: if party hacks are busy trying to hurt each other, they sometimes forget to hurt us.
6 Reasons Why the 2012 Election Will Be Considered Historic

6 Reasons Why the 2012 Election Will Be Considered Historic

Commented Nov 8, 2012 at 15:58:14 in Politics

“7th Reason: because even the most trivial of events are now considered "historic" for a couple of days.”