Saturday, June 30, 2007

Hooray For The BBC.

Stephen Pollard complains about the BBC not interrupting their terrestrial broadcasts to cover the discovery of the car bombs in London and suggests that it demonstrates a lack of seriousness on the part of the corporation with respect to terrorism. Whilst I'm not generally a supporter of the BBC on this issue they are rigfht and he is wrong. As I wrote last year on the anniversary of the London bombings:
The rolling news broadcasts of bloodied survivors and shocked passersby are what the perpertrators wanted. As military attacks the impact of any terrorist atrocities bar the destruction of World Trade Center have been pretty small. Only by magnifying the event through the media, in particular television, can terrorism have any real impact on then of millions of other people. In short terrorists in London last year, and in Bali, Beslan and numerous other locations before that, have harnessed television as a weapon and television news programmes are not merely observing events but are part of creating them
This is especially true in the case of failed attacks like those this week. In a sense rolling out the blanket coverage would give the vermin who planted the bombs what they wanted, which is a renewed sense of fear and unease amoung the public. So good on the BBC for treating this as a routine news story. Although I'm still not going to pay the license fee.

It Needed To Be Said.

The sycophantic behaviour of parliament during Tony Blair's final PMQs was shameful, rewarding 10 years of lying, bullying and incompetence with a standing ovation was contemptible. Ian Paisley was particularly vile. At least one MP seems to have been immune from the stage managed grovelling so good on John Redwood.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Chiselled Adonis Mocks Physical Imperfections

I've just been reading the response by National Review writer Jay Nordlinger to a smear piece by the laughably inept Independent columnist Johann Hari. Nordlinger notes:
One of the most reprehensible things about this article is its physical descriptions — descriptions of our passengers and guest speakers.
Seriously if you look like Johann Hari, a 30ish gay man who resembles a 60ish lesbian, wouldn't you lay off the physical descriptions? Circus freaks in glass houses should not throw stones.


When he sacked Margaret Beckett as Foreign Secretary did Gordon Brown resist the temptation to say "No need for the long face!"?

I wish I had thought of that joke 36 hours ago when it would have been funny.

Polly Quote Of The Day.

'But then, as they stepped into No 10 yesterday, here was as decent and clever a team of ministers as ever graced the cabinet table.'
Stop! Your killing me.

Update: 'alisdaircameron' has reprinted my previous post in the comments to this article, and it has generated a good response. So thanks for that.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Brown Cabinet In Full.

The other day I predicted that Gordon 'Clunky Fist' Brown's first cabinet would consist of 'former trade unionists, public sector workers, lawyers, and psuedo-charity workers'. So how has my prediction panned out? Pretty well except for the fact that I forgot to consider those who had no career at all before politics. This is the current cabinet & those who can attend cabinet meetings:

Prime Minister: Gordon Brown
Chancellor: Alistair Darling
Home Secretary: Jacqui Smith
Foreign Secretary: David Miliband
Education: Ed Balls
Higher Education: John Denham
Health: Alan Johnson
Transport: Ruth Kelly
Trade & Industry: John Hutton
Attorney General: Baroness Scotland
Communities: Hazel Blears
Chairman of the Labour Party: Harriet Harman
Chief Whip: Geoff Hoon
Environment: Hilary Benn
Justice: Jack Straw
Work & Pensions & Wales: Peter Hain
Leader of the House of Commons: Harriet Harman
DCMS: James Purnell
Northern Ireland: Shaun Woodward
Leader of the Lords: Baroness Ashton
International Development: Douglas Alexander
Defence: Des Browne
Chief Secretary to the Treasury: Andy Burnham
Social Exclusion & Cabinet Office: Ed Miliband
Lords Whip: Lord Grocott
Olympics: Tessa Jowell
Housing: Yvette Cooper

These are the areas they worked prior to entering politics, there are some overlaps and some of the lawyers worked for public sector employers or pseudo charities. Note Pseudo charities refers to those organisations which are either heavily funded by the taxpayer or exist to promote a specific political agenda:

Public Sector:

Gordon Brown (College Lecturer)
Alastair Darling ( Board of Napier college)
Jacqui Smith (Teacher)
John Hutton (College lecturer)
Alan Johnson (Postman)
Ruth Kelly (Bank of England)
Geoff Hoon (College lecturer) *
Tessa Jowell (Social Worker)
Baroness Scotland (Commission for Racial Equality)
Lord Grocott (Polytechnic Lecturer)

Trade Unionists:

Alan Johnson (Communication Workers Union)
Hilary Benn ( Association of Scientific, Technical and Managerial Staffs)
Peter Hain (Communication Workers Union)
Jack Straw (National Union of Students)


Alastair Darling
Des Browne
Jack Straw
Harriet Harman
Hazel Blears
Baroness Scotland

Pseudo Charity:

John Denham (War on Want, Oxfam, Christian Aid, British Council)
Harriet Harmen (National Council for Civil Liberties)
Ed Balls (Smith Institute)
Baroness Ashton (Various)
Tessa Jowell (MIND)
David Miliband (National Council for Voluntary Organisations)
Shaun Woodward

No Known Career Before Politics:

Douglas Alexander
Ed Miliband
James Purnell
Andy Burnham
Yvette Cooper (Although she later did a stint in journalism)


Gordon Brown (Scottish Television)
Ed Balls (Financial Times)
Ruth Kelly (Financial Times)
Yvette Cooper (Independent)
Shaun Woodward
Lord Grocott (TV)

Private Sector, other than Law & Journalism:


Incidentally I don't regard most of these professions as intrinsically awful, but a touch f diversity in previous jobs wouldn't go amiss. Most of the population work in the private sector and have to respond to what their customers want, wheras there is not a single person in the cabinet who has experienced that!.

Brown's First Transatlantic Rift.

So Gordon Brown has asked Shirley Williams to become an adviser on nuclear non proliferation. Back in 2000 she was an active opponent of the missile defence scheme that was being proposed by George W. Bush, then campaigning for the presidency, and wrote several articles denouncing the scheme- 'Britain must stop America's national missile defense plans'. So now Gordon Brown is going to invite a woman who believes that Britain should take an active role in thwarting the national security plans of our most important ally to advise him on precisely that topic! Of course it should be noted that Gordon Brown holidays in Cape Cod, which isn't really pertinent to the point but all the newspapers seem to think it is necessary to add this to any discussion of Brown and the United States.

Debauched Rich Kids Upset Known Loon.

In all the excitement yesterday about the Tony Blair buggering off at long last to the Middle East (where frankly they deserve him) I missed the demented ramblings of Polly Toynbee earlier this week:
Brown can't talk like he does and ignore this debauchery
Says the headline, before Polly herself continues:
all candidates talked for the first time of "inequality", not just poverty. Harriet Harman's protest at handbags costing £10,000 hit the headlines because it resonated with public distaste. The question now is whether Gordon Brown can seize this moment to find the language and policies to reflect growing disgust. Or will fear of City flight get the better of him?
Yes I imagine that a little thing like Billions of pounds draining from the lucrative financial sector to finance Countess Longford's niece's jihad against inequality might just get the better of him if he is sane.
Brown's acceptance speech in Manchester went straight to the core of his values, with a good, sonorous Old Testament ring that seemed to resound from somewhere deep in Labour's moral roots: ....Frankly, a man can't talk like that for long and ignore the debauchery of riches at the top.
Does this resentful paranoia about the 'debauched' rich seem disturbing familiar? Why yes it does, all she needs is a rant against 'deceitful charlatans'.
. London is booming with jobs created by billionaires' wants. Chase away the zero-tax payers with tax demands and no one gains. What if London looks like the last days of Rome, complete with imported slaves? The nation thrives, and there's more money collected in taxesthings.
Yes imported slaves would indeed be a worry and if it happens I will be the first to oppose it, but there are laws against this kind of thing. Anyway she drones on for a bit longer before coming out with her policy proposals for Brown which no doubt he will take very seriously indeed and so shall I:
· Set a tax band starting at £100,000 - and maybe another for the supersonic. Earmark the revenue for new opportunities for left-behind children.
There is nothing intrinsically insane about a higher tax rate except for the fact that the ultra rich can generally minimise their taxes quite efficiently. Of course if she means a return to 1970s style 90% rates then she is indeed insane.
· Bring in a wealth tax for more expensive properties: in America owners of expensive property pay 0.88% every year. Allocate it to helping others own property.
House prices are rising faster than incomes, therefore a lot of people who have lived in a house for years do not have high Toynbee sized salaries, if Brown wants to tax pensioners out of their homes then that wouldn't surprise me given his record but it would not be popular.
· Make all tax returns public documents like wills, as some countries do, to help catch tax loopholes. To stop inheritance tax avoidance, make all gifts taxable.
Privacy isn't a big thing with her is it? Well not other people's privacy because she refuses to publicise her own tax returns.
· The minimum wage must rise faster than inflation, with an end to the undervaluing of women's jobs.
Yes lets price the low skilled out of entry level work, that will solve inequality. Seeing as she will no doubt insist that raising the minimum wage doesn't increase unemployment why not raise it to £1000 an hour and solve poverty in a week? Given that she thinks that wage rates are entirely arbitary, except hers of course, it is unsurprising that she also believes that "women's jobs" are undervalued. In the real world employers don't set wage rates on a whim to fit their own predjudices, if they did they would be put out of business by more efficient competitors who didn't pay men extra for the same value of work. Of course the sort of people who enjoy Polly Toynbee columns for reasons other than sport largely work in the public sector or the quasi-public sector where they can indulge their whims safe in the knowledge that they will be insulated from any consequences.
None of this is difficult or economically risky if there is the public will.
The Triumph of the Will that Polly Rie..Toynbee seeks, involves changing the behaviour of millions of people but it is apparantly not difficult! So why doesn't she explain how to go about ending the 'undervaluing' of women's jobs for example or what the exact consequences of different tax levels would be?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


So at long last Tony Blair is leaving 10 Downing Street hounded out by his own party. It isn't how anyone would have wanted him to go, but then again a sniper was never very likely so this shall have to suffice. So out with the old in with the slightly older, Gordon Brown. Not sure when Broon names his first cabinet but I've had an inside scoop that it will consist largely of former trade unionists, public sector workers, lawyers, and psuedo-charity workers.

Oh John Prescott, John Reid & Hilary Armstrong are also going, but I can't muster the will to care.

CIA Secrets Revealed.

The biggest secret is that the CIA are utterly incompetent, although it isn't that much of a secret due to their incompetence at keeping secrets. The documents released about the agency's activities include the 'news' that the tried to assassinate Fidel Castro, this is presented by most of the media outlets as something to be ashamed of when the only regrettable aspect is that the screwed it up and screwed up every other attempt at freeing Cuba from brutal tyranny. The Washington Post repeats the myth that Castro toppled a pro American government, in fact the thuggish Batista regime was opposed by the American government who imposed an arms embargo on it and backed the democratic opposition to the regime (who have been airbrushed out of history by Castro apologists).

Other CIA idiocies include opening Jane Fonda's mail, now whilst she may have been a traitor she was hardly so subtle about that they had to resort to illegally monitoring her communications. (Incidentally isn't Barbarella a great film?).

The CIA has also confirmed their involvement in the botched Chilean coup of 1970, and despite the popular myth had bugger all to do whith the 1973 effort which was brutal, but competent.

One of the few CIA successes of the era appears to have been helping Turkey invade northern Cyprus in response to the coup d'etat that had been carried out by Greece's military dictatorship. This seems like a justified action morally as well, making it a rarity.

The general theme that emerges from the CIA's history is that they are much better to have as enemies than friends.

Monday, June 25, 2007

'Insufficent Evidence'.

Q. What's the difference between Pat Finucane & Danny Baker?

A. Danny Baker passed the 'doorstep challenge.
As you might be able to tell I don't feel a huge amount of sympathy for the dead terrorist Pat Finucane, whose posthumous morphing into a 'human rights lawyer' is laughable. The news that there is insufficient evidence to prosecute any police or amy members over the collusion in his murder is welcome news. Making accusation in investigations like the Lord Stevens inquiry is cheap as they don't need to be backed up with evidence, and as this decision demonstrates where actual proof is required there is less enthusiasm by the authorities for pursueing the allegations. If I understand Irish republicans correctly accusing Finucane of being in the IRA simply because former members of the IRA such as Sean O'Callaghan have confirmed it is a scandalous libel on the stiff, wheras accusing members of the security forces of collusion on the basis of bugger all is damning proof of how oppressed Ulster catholics are.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Education & The Race Industry

I was going to say something about this story, but I got sidetracked by a story from last year which I had missed when it first came out. Essentially the situation is that the Commission for Racial Equality have discovered that for some reason, black pupils are statistically under represented at Britain's leading universities, or as the Guardian puts it 'Black students are failing to get their share of places at Britain's top universities', I had up until now been unaware that there were shares of places belonging to each ethnic group. Phillips then does his jobs and spouts all the race industry cliches:
' Trevor Phillips, chair of the CRE, said it was now "beyond doubt" that segregation was taking place between British universities.'

'"This survey also gives a new meaning to institutional racism'
Before hilariously adding almost as an afterthought:
Mr Phillips suggests much of the trend is down to inequalities in school results
Gee Trev you think it might just have something to do with the school qualifications which been attained? It is almost as if the elite institutions attract the students who have achieved the highest grades for some crazy reason! Anyway what can be done to redress this gross injustice?
But in areas where ethnic minority students are severely under-represented, the CRE could recommend a system of cash incentives for universities to "make minority-friendly courses more worthwhile for our top universities", Mr Phillips said.
What exactly are 'minority friendly courses', I mean if Phillips weren't the head of the CRE I would suggest that there is almost an undercurrent of soft racism in assuming that academically rigourous subjects are not 'minority friendly' and the likes of Oxbridge & Imperial College ought to be replacing courses in physics or modern languages with lightweight 'ethnic studies' courses that exist at many US institutions.

As this week's Joseph Rowntree Foundation report demonstartes white boys from poor backgrounds do as bad or worse than most of ethnic minorites and several groups including the Chinese and Indians do extremely well, the divide in educational outcomes in Britain is quite plainly not a racial problem. Of course it is in the interest of those in the racial aggravation business like the CRE to pretend otherwise, because racial divides are their lifeblood.

The Incompetents.

Harriet, I'm a laydee, Harperson has been elected to the position of deupty leader of the Labour Party. This means that there will be at least one member of the cabinet who has already demonstrated sufficient incompetence at the task of government that even New Labour felt that she had to be fired. So the question remains- how many more people previously judged to be incompetent, even by the government, will win a place in Gordon Brown's first cabinet? I'm guessing there will be at least three, long time Gordon crony Nick Brown, whose handling of the Fott & Mouth crisis cost this country billions and wrecked the livelihoods of tens of thousands of farmers. and also Beverley Hughes the Home Office minister who was forced out over a 2004 immigration scandal and is being tipped for an inexplicable comeback.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Crap Protests.

Muslims in India are protesting against the Rushdie knighthood, because of the blasphemy thing rather than the 'arrogant tosser' thing.
Indian Kashmir shuts down to protest Rushdie knighthood
That's a big statement, so when is it happening I hear you ask:
Most shops, offices and schools were closed Friday in India's Muslim-majority Kashmir region to protest Britain awarding a knighthood to author Salman Rushdie who has been accused of insulting Islam.
So they closed on Friday, the islamic Sabbath noted for being a time when shops, offices and other public amenities are closed anyway. This is the most pathetic protest since Kate Moss decided to go on hunger strike.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Can we call them traitors now?

Carrion Up The Tower.

The Parsis, whom I have mentioned before on this blog, are having trouble with their traditional death rituals of sticking the deceased up in a tower for vultures to feed on due to a shortage of vultures. I don't have a great deal to add to the story but I just wanted to use that headline. Maybe the Parsis should export their dead to Britain.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Rushdie & The Ruskie.

Two more points about the Rushdie gong:

He is no martyr for liberal freedoms.

In the rant of his I linked to in my previous post, the one where he argues that Britain has imported a new empire to dominate with poor non white victims like him, which incidentally means he saying that we are all evil imperialist bastards even when we stay at home and mind our own business, he says:
And until you, the whites, see that the issue is not integration, or harmony, or multicultrualism, or immigration, but simply the business of facing up to and eradication the prejudices within almost all of you, the citizens of your new, and last, Empire will be obliged to struggle against you.
The threat of implied violence in that paragraph strongly implies a threat of violence if you will forgive the tautology, albeit only in the form of radical chic posing, if evil white people don't do what he says.

I'm really going to have to perform a more thorough fisking of Rushdie's drivel at some point.

The second point about the knighthood is that it has overshadowed a far more deserving recipient, Oleg Gordievsky, who two decades ago put himself in far greater peril than Rushdie was ever in to defect to Britain. As a KGB agent he had been working for Britain for years before he was rumbled.

Sir Salman Rushdie.

Crap author Salman Rushdie has been given a knighthood much to the delight of some otherwise sensible people and the chagrin of various apologists for islamist totalitarianism. As a statement that we won't be intimidated by religious nutters in Iran and Pakistan it has a lot of merit, but the fact remains that Rushdie is a complete tosser. He was one of the 'wankers, whiners and whingers' behind Charter 88 ( a grotesque parody of the Czechoslovakian Charter 77, which tried to equate democratic Britain with Communist era tyranny) , he is a graceless oaf who has never apologised for his typically humourless description of Margaret Thatcher as 'Mrs Torture' despite the fact that she immediately provided armed police bodyguards for the lowlife when Iran put a bounty on his head after 'the Satanic Verses' came out. Once Iran dropped it's bounty in 1998 and he no longer needed the bodyguards he pissed off to New York, arguably the greatest service he has ever performed for Britain, a country he despises.
if we want to understand British racism-and without understanding no improvement is possible-it's impossible even to begin to grasp the nature of the beast unless we accept its historical roots. Four hundred years of conquest and looting, four centuries of being told that you are superior to the Fuzzy-Wuzzies and the wogs, leave their stain. This stain has seeped into every part of the culture, the language and daily life; and nothing much has been done to wash it out.
This man has all the intellectual sophistication of Dave Spart.
lBritish society, has never been cleansed of the filth of imperialism. It's still there, breeding lice and vermin, waiting for unscrupulous people to exploit it for their own ends.
Watching Salman Rushdie have to endure frivolous accusations of 'islamophobia' is perhaps
evidence that there is such a thing as karma.for the colonized Asians and blacks of Britain, the police force represents that colonizing army, those regiments of occupation and control.
This is in Cindy Sheehan territory isn't it, the equivalent of her demand for US forces to withdraw from New Orleans. Read the whole cliche ridden thing, as they say.

The Root Cause Of Terrorism.

Many theories about the ultimate cause of jihadist terrorism abound, some say it is a direct result of Islam, some say it is a reaction to Western foreign policy, Israeli control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip is also frequently blamed. Very few people have come to the conclusion that it is all about Marmite or rather the absence of the vile stuff. It has been claimed that no countries with a McDonald's have gone to war with each other, but this isn't technically true since the Kosovo war when McDonalds operated in Belgrade throughout. However I can't think of any armed conflict between two Marmite devouring countries.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Modern Slavery

This Chinese story about the authorities uncovering hundreds of slaves being used in brick making kilns is interesting on several levels. Firstly the scale of the abuse is shocking. Secondly the fact that the Chinese media is reporting the discovery rather than brushing it under the carpet suggests that either China is relaxing its controls on the media a little or they haven't been able to suppress the internet as yet. Thirdly that behind the economic success of the last 20 years China lies an enormous problem with corruption, everyone was of course aware that corruption was a problem but if the police can be bribed to turn a blind eye to the disappearance of over 500 young people, the abductions only appear to have come to light because the parents of the victims posted a petition on the internet, then the brazenness of corruption is breathtaking.

Is the rise of China overblown when away from the metropolises the country has barely made any political progress for centuries?

Friday, June 15, 2007

See More Richard.

Oliver Kamm has an entry criticising an article in the Socialist Worker about the Cold War, by the blogging commie who goes under the nom de plume 'Lenin'. Initially it mght surprise any decent person that someone would name themselves in honour of one of history's most prolific murderers, but it easy to sympathise with his desire for a psuedonym when you see that his real name is 'Richard Seymour'. What sort of cruel parents would name their child 'Seymour, Dick'? Were Heywood Jablome and I.P. Freeley unavailable?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Old School.

The kerfuffle over the last week about the decline in education standards, were physics students don't need to know any physics and other subjects are used as excuses to propagate political propaganda is pretty depressing. This vintage post ( almost four years ago ) by the National Review's wonderful John Derbyshire about an exam about Shakespeare that doesn't actually require any knowledge of the Bard's work needs a fresh airing:
It pains me to confess it, Andrew, but I actually wrote that examination paper. They offered a huge fee, and one must live.

Among other questions, the paper included:

King Lear-------This is about an old guy whose daughters are unkind to him. Do you ever have bad feelings about your own parents?

Othello---------A person of color, Othello is maliciously deceived into thinking his wife has been unfaithful. In what other ways have persons of color been mistreated in Western society?

Julius Caesar---There is a famous speech (no need to bother reading it) in which Caesar's friend skilfully whips up a mob to anger. Isn't this just like the demagoguery of so-called "talk radio" and Fox News Channel? Have you yourself ever felt angry listening to someone on TV?

Macbeth---------This play has some WAY cool witches in it. Describe any encounters you may have had with Wiccans, or other practitioners of alternative religions.

Richard III----------Contains the famous line: "A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!" What did people use horses for in olden times? Try to think of lots of uses.

The Tempest----------It's about a magician who lives on an island with some other people, including a special person called Caliban. Describe your own experience of special people. Does your school have any programs to help special people?

Antony & Cleopatra---Have you ever been bitten by a small animal? Describe the experience...

Self Pity As A Substitute For Self Reflection.

Tony Blair's whinge about the behaviour of the British press is true in parts, but demonstrates more chutzpah than Hannibal Lector complaining about the lacklustre conversation of his dinner guests:
He said fierce competition for stories meant that the modern media now hunted "in a pack".

"In these modes it is like a feral beast, just tearing people and reputations to bits, but no-one dares miss out," he said.
When it comes to tearing reputations to bits few people can match the sheer viciousness of Tony Blair. The most quintessentially Blairite moment of the last ten years of government was in my opinion the Rose Addis affair. To summarise a 93 year old woman was very poorly treated by the hospital that was supposed to be caring for her, and the response of Tony Blair was to leak her medical records to the press and have his lackeys spread lies about her refusing to be treated by black nurses. They also leaked the medical records of several other patients at the same time.

There are plenty of other examples of Blair using the press to wreck the reputations of those who were politically inconvenient, the smear campaign against former Tory treasurer, Michael Ashcroft, run in conjuction with the corrupt former editor of the Times, Peter Stothard who recieved a knighthood in return, in which wholly bogus allegations of impropriety were drip fed into the public conciousness over the course of a couple of years. Michael Ashcroft was of course in a better position to defend himself than Rose Addis was.

Blair is the adult equivalent of the school bully who torments the other kids until one of them hits back, then he runs to the teacher to sob and demand that action be taken.

Update: This old Alice Thompson article is worth reading, and gives more examples of Blairite reputation destroying than I do here.

Yet More Women & Prison

There seem to have been a steady trickle of arguments for the abolition of prison for women in recent months, here's another. This is not something I agree with if it means treating men and women differently for the same offence although there are some offfences that women are disproportionately likely to commit, compared to their small total contribution to crime levels, which should not result in custodial sentences. Television license evasion springs to mind as a prime example. David Wilson points out the high level of suicide for female prisoners compared to male prisoners, women make up 6% of the prison population but 12.5% of prison suicides. This despite the fact that men are more likely to commit suicide in general.

It is something worth being looked at, I suspect that a higher proportion of women than men who commit crime are in need of psychiatric help for the simple reason that serious crime is so much rarer for women that it is a more extreme form of behaviour. Individual inmates from groups (defined by sex, race, income or education level) with low incarceration rates are more likely to be disturbed than individuals from groups with high incarceration rates, because criminality is a more deviant behaviour from the cultural norms for the former group so the mentally unstable will make up a higher proportion of inmates from those groups.

In short women should not be treated differently from men in the criminal justice system however more attention paid to the mental stability of all prisoners could benefit female offenders to a greater extent than male offenders.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Hours Of Fun.

Google Scholar is a wonderful resource that can make thousands of academic research papers available to anyone at the click of a button and facilitate the search for knowledge. However I have a found a more entertaining use for it, trying to find the most ridiculous published paper in a peer reviewed journal, so far 'The Relation of Anal Masturbation to Projective Identification' is my favourite followed closely by 'Worldmath Curriculum: Fighting Eurocentrism in Mathematics'. Any more discoveries would be welcome.

Polygamy & Freedom Of Religion.

A polygamous Mormon off shoot, in Canada is currently being investigated for child abuse. The allegations against the leaders of the group in Bountiful, British Columbia include the sexual exploitation of women and girls, something which seems to occur whenever polygamy is instituted. In theory it might seem straight forward to prosecute those responsible but that is without considering the baleful effect of Canada's 'fundamental rights', including the right to religious freedom. The fundamental point about 'rights' is that they are legal trump cards which if produced supercede all other considerations, so if the leaders of the sect in Bountiful are prosecuted the authorities fear that they might win their case because freedom of religion would trump the other issues involved, this would effectively legalise polygamy.

This sort of conflict is inevitable when something is made a 'right' because the concept of rights removes the need to account for the conflicting interests of other parties. Incidentally no one literally believes in complete freedom of religion, at least not the freedom of religious expression, otherwise you'd have to accept the right to practise human sacrifice if the adherents of a religion really believed it.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Poetic Justice.

From the Evening Standard:
'Rest and recovery' prescribed for Prescott as he goes home from hospital
So he's going straight back into his usual routine then?

I'm glad that he is recovering however as an example of poetic justice Prescott's caribbean jaunt rendering him seriously ill is hard to top. If he hadn't been freeloading he wouldn't have gotten sick.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Don't Fall Off Ladders, Advise Government.

Elliott Joseph covers a new government scheme that will be of great benefit to the Chuckle Brothers but might, just possibly be a little bit patronising to the rest of us- the ladder exchange!

Evil Rightwing Men Bully Feminist.,

Poll-Pot declares:
The rightwing male commentators spit bile at her, but Harman is the necessary choice for a party that wants to win
Any examples of the bile spitting? As opposed to all round ridicule that Harriet Harperson's campaign has generated on account of its "Vote For Me, I'm A Woman" theme has generated. Is any criticism by someone to the right of Polly, ie everyone with the possible exception of Kim Jong Il, simply 'bile', can people who disagree with her not have reasonable and moderate reasons for doing so?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Bucket Kicking In Britain & The USA.

Michael Moore has made a documentary, Sicko, about the US health care system in comparison to that of other countries such as Cuba, Canada and Britain. In one of his interviews last month he made the claim that :
'We are the last country in the industrialised world to have this system. The poorest child in Britain has a longer life expectancy than the average American child.'
As fabrications go that isn't even remotely plausible. The average life expectancies in Britain and the USA respectively are pretty close in any case 78.7 for the UK compared to 78.0 for the United States. It is difficult to say exactly how long the poorest people will live in the UK, but it is undoubtably true that life expectancy is far lower in lower income areas than in higher income places, currently the average Glaswegian lives ten years less than a resident of Kensington & Chelsea for example. So clearly the poorest child in Britain has a lower life expectancy than the average American.

PS. This isn't to say that the USA has a brilliant healthcare system, but neither does Britain, both the private insurance system of the USA and the statist NHS perform poorly in comparison to France's in between system.

PPS. It is also a mistake to asume that life expectancy is soley a product of healthcare, diet and lifestyle are extremely important.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Olympics- How To Waste Slightly Less Money.

The Olympic Games are a complete waste of money which no city anywhere ought to bid for based on any rational consideration. Whilst the idea of simply withdrawing from hosting the 2012 games is enticing it is pretty obvious that this will not happen and we are lumbered with it. Hpwever this doesn't mean we can't think of ways of reducing the cost a bit, so I'm glad to see that someone has had the obvious (to me) idea of converting the new Wembley into an athletics stadium for 2012. Much of the literature promoting the stadium over the last month has highlighted the versatility and I have seen it said that it is suitable for athletics, so by using the white elephant we already have instead of building it a mate, we can save hundreds of millions of pounds. Even if we do end up spending the money on crappy logos instead.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Nobody Running UK.

Thank god for that. I like ridiculing the extravagant freeloading of Blair and Prescott as much as the next blogger, but the idea that whilst they are on holiday the country isn't being run is preposterous as says as much about the vanity of the political class. Parliament good safely shut down for 10 months of the year and the Prime Minister could bugger off to Sierra Leonne for the same amount of time and it would make very little difference to the functioning of the country. This is a good thing too, the idea of one man at the top managing 60 million people on a day to day basis would lead to a country that was about efficient as North Korea.

Iconography Unprotected.

Last year the unfunny comedian Stewart Lee explained why it was alright for him to satirise christianity but unacceptable for Danish cartoonists to satirise Islam.
I don’t think that the cartoonists have appreciated the massive taboo that you cross by having an image of Mohammed. There’s no historical precedent for that. So I think really in the West Christianity relinquished the right to be protected of its icons the day that they put Virgin Mary snow globes on sale in the Vatican, but in Islamic culture it’s a very different thing... The iconography of Christianity is up for grabs the iconography of - to use a corporate image - Islam’s always been a lot more conscientious about protecting its brand and so I think you need to engage with it as a satirist on its own terms.”
Like a lot of people I believed that the enthusiam for offending christians but not muslims was down to two reasons, firstly there are a small but dangerous minority of muslims who are willing to kill to silence criticism of their religion and secondly because satirising Islam doesn't earn anyone brownie points from polite society. However it turns out that even Lee's point about Islam being more protective of their 'brand' that christianity is nonsense in any case, this interesting article from the Wall Street Journal about the 'Shrine of Imam Reza' in Iran which apparantly attracts more muslims pilgrims than Mecca explains that:
The shrine has for centuries intermingled faith and money, collecting donations of cash, land, jewelry and works of art from the devout. Today, it is not only Iran's most sacred religious site but also, by some reckonings, the Islamic republic's biggest and richest business empire.

Companies in its corporate portfolio make everything from city buses to pizza strudels to growth hormones for caviar-producing sturgeon.
So Stewart Lee now has the opportunity to prove all of us who thought that he was simply a coward wrong, because by his reasoning Islam has 'relinquished its right to be protected'.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

!9 Year Coma.

A Polish man has woken from a coma after 19 years, so he went into the coma whilst Communists still ran Poland and is understandably impressed with the scale of the changes:
A railwayman from Poland has awoken after a 19-year coma to discover communism has been swept away and the shops are full of food.

Jan Grzebski, 65, was hit by a train in 1988 and was given only two years to live by doctors. But his wife Gertruda continued to care for him, and never lost hope that he would recover consciousness.
'When I went into a coma there was only tea and vinegar in the shops, meat was rationed and huge petrol queues were everywhere,' he told the Polish news channel TVN24.

'Now I see people on the streets with cell phones and there are so many goods in the shops it makes my head spin. What amazes me is all these people who walk around with their mobile phones and never stop moaning - I've got nothing to complain about.'
If someone woke up in Britain after 19 years, the changes they would observe would be profound and troubling for most people. These are just some of the things they would experience:
  • Mobile phones that actually are mobile.
  • Muslim extremists demanding that criticism of their religion be censored. Oh wait that's not new.
  • Mark Steel's 'hilarious' columns about Thatcher and the miners strike would not appear to be dated.
  • The media broadcasting terrorist propaganda, oh wait that's not new either.
  • Left wing intellectuals posing as victims of persecution if anyone disagrees with them. Dammit that's not new* either.
Truly frightening stuff for anyone!

* Incidentally the Wiki article on 'Charter 88' , contains a description of them by Neil Kinnock which raises my opinion of the man quite considerably 'Wankers, whiners and whingers', he could be succicnt when he chose to be..