Thursday, March 31, 2011

Magical Thinking

In the Grauniad, Hadley Freeman writes about rape- in relation to the Night Stalker case- and what causes it:
It seems extraordinary in a week when another woman, Eman al-Obeidi, told journalists in Libya that she had been raped and beaten by members of Gaddafi's militia that one needs to say that sexual attacks have nothing to do with desire, but are about the abuse of power, sadism and mental illness. They have nothing to do with the looks of the victim, contrary to what Hollywood movies suggest, in which rape victims are always attractive and usually blond
This is of course unthinking dogma. If rape were purely about power & sadism then the profile of Delroy Grant's victims would not be unusual when clearly it is. The absurdity of the belief that rape isn't about sexual desire can be shown by simply considering two almost indisputable facts, as laid out by Steven Pinker in The Blank Slate:
Think about it. First obvious fact: Men often want to have sex with women who don’t want to have sex with them. They use every tactic that one human being uses to affect the behavior of another: wooing, seducing, flattering, deceiving, sulking, and paying. Second obvious fact: Some men use violence to get what they want, indifferent to the suffering they cause. Men have been known to kidnap children for ransom (sometimes sending their parents an ear or finger to show they mean business), blind the victim of a mugging so the victim can’t identify them in court, shoot out the kneecaps of an associate as punishment for ratting to the police or invading their territory, and kill a stranger for his brand-name athletic footwear. It would be an extraordinary fact, contradicting everything else we know about people, if some men didn’t use violence to get sex.
This seems inarguable. No doubt things like "power" have an effect in so far as presumably a rapist will be more likely to strike in situations where they know that the victim cannot retaliate (for example in war zones) but it is plainly not true that rape is nothing to do with sex.

Ignoring reality to promote dogma is potentially dangerous as refusing to see what motivates a criminal can only put potential victims at more risk

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hari + Economics = Fun

Johann Hari calls for a Keynsian approach to getting the economy going. Apart from getting economic history completely wrong (for example President Hoover did not slash spending, he increased it faster than anyone in history had done up to that point), there is something else about it too.

Like all of the press advocates of Keynsianism who advocate higher public spending in a downturn. Keynes encouraged counter cyclical spending- spend more in a recession but less in a boom. Hari was not demanding that Gordon Brown rein in spending while he was running budget surpluses during the boom years. Therefore it can only be concluded that Hari 's support for Keynsianism is opportunistic and he merely supports whatever theory will encourage further public spending at any given time.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Alternative (To Reality)

Three questions raised by the"give us more of your money" protests yesterday:
  1. Did Ed Miliband really compare the protests to the civil rights movement in the USA and the anti-Apartheid struggle in South Africa?
  2. Really?
  3. Is the violence of the protesters related to the apocolyptic rhetoric being used to describe the cuts in some quarters.
  4. How come none of the protesters want to talk about who made the cuts necessary in the first place?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

American & Chinese Diplomats Discuss Arab-Israeli Conflict

Quote Of The Day

On the Libyan war:
We've gone to war to support the rebels, but without the slightest idea who they are and what they're trying to do - it's the geo-political equivalent of voting Lib Dem.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Problem. Solution!

Still not convinced? Take a look at the front cover of TV Times, Radio Times or any of the TV listings magazines over the past year and see how many black or Asian faces are on the covers.
The problem is that there aren't enough black faces on TV today. I have a solution to that, which also ties in with the current love among TV executives for remakes of classic shows and musicals- bring back the Black & White Minstrel Show.

Proof Of God?


The Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA) may be a fine example of the free market working well. One of the little known facts about the organisation is that the most important figure in it's early years was the editor of the Socialist Worker. It may not be going to far to say that CAMRA is a Trotskyite entryist organisation hell bent on the destruction of the free market. On the other hand it may be going to far.

In support of this consider the appearance of Viz's "Real Ale Twats" with a typical meeting of middle aged Trots.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Reasons to oppose the bombing:
  1. It will probably escalate into a full scale intervention.
  2. The rebel stronghold is in an area notable for it's support for Islamic fundamentalism.
  3. Gadaffi hasn't bothered us lately.
  4. We have no money or equipment for unnecessary wars.
  5. It isn't our business.
 Reasons to support the bombing:
  1. Without it Libya's rebels will be massacred.
  2. Gadaffi's regime has sponsored terrorism in the past.
  3. It makes the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize committee look like even bigger chumps.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Mindbleach Time

Cherie Blair lifts lid on her sex life

Former British Premier Tony Blair's wife Cherie has lifted the lid on her sex life, saying that her husband "still excites me in all possible ways".

"We've been married 31 years and known each other 35 and even now he still excites me in all possible ways," 'The Sun' tabloid quoted the 56-year-old mother-of-four as saying in an interview with a magazine.

Make it stop!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Japan's Nuclear Crisis In Perspective

Tim Worstall has a must read post here.

You can only compare the safety of nuclear power to the alternatives, and if an earthquake strikes I'd rather live next to a nuclear power station than a dam.

Update: Okay, I am beginning to doubt Worstallian wisdom on this topic.

Bill Clinton & The R Word

I've recently been reading the  biography of Bill Clinton by Christopher Hitchens, No One Left To Lie To. Part of this polemic deals with the repeated allegations of sexual exploitation of women who came into contact with him. I had always assumed that the more lurid accusations against Bill Clinton were probably not true although my views on that had shifted a little even before reading this.

Reading of the accusations of rape and sexual assault made by women like Juanita Broadrick* and Kathleen Willey- women who were political allies of Clinton and mostly had not profited from their allegations. Does anyone who has looked into the accusations in detail  know of  any reasons to think that Bill Clinton is not a rapist?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

It Seems To Have Worked So Far....

Due to the Japanese earthquake (which looks even more severe now than it did last week) I was reading up on some other big earthquakes. The biggest was in Chile in 1961, according to the ever reliable Wikipedia the response to that included:
In the coastal village Collileufu, Lafkenches carried out a ritual human sacrifice during the days following the main earthquake. Collileufu, located in the Budi Lake area, south of Puerto Saavedra, was by 1960 highly isolated and inhabitants there spoke mainly Mapudungun. The community had gathered in Cerro La Mesa, while the lowlands were struck by successive tsunamis. Juana Namuncura Añen, a local machi, demanded the sacrifice of the grandson of Juan Painecur, a neighbor, in order to calm the earth and the ocean.[11][12] The victim, 5 year old José Luis Painecur, had his arms and legs removed by Juan Pañán and Juan José Painecur (the victim's grandfather), and was stuck into the sand of the beach like a stake.
To which I can only say wow!


Some sample lyrics from recent pop music:

Sample 1:
Don't be fancy
Just get dancey
Why so serious? 

Sample 2:
I’m so sick of being so serious
It’s making my brain delirious!
 Sample 3:
Why is everybody so serious
Acting so damn mysterious
It's clear that there is concerted campaign to undermine the notion of seriousness being waged by the purveyors of bubblegum pop music. I think the most probably explanation for this is that there is a cabal of sinister people trying to persuade the yoof of today not to to pay attention to serious and important matters so they don't notice the bad stuff going on in the world today.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Who Is Conspiring Here?

I was initially going to put this article- "Did supermoon spark quake?" under questions to be answered "no.

However this is intriguing- "Conspiracy theorists on the internet have made catastrophic predictions of tidal waves, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.". Conspiracy theories about the position of the moon?

Scaremongering Headline Of The Day

Fears nuclear reactor will explode as 'out of control' cooling system fails at plant

Three guesses where it's from.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Revival Of Ritual Abuse Myths?

This could be for real but given what happened in the 1980s and 90s this conviction of a supposed cult for sexually abusing children strikes me as worth keeping an eye on.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Fun Voting Fact (No Actual Fun Guaranteed)

There are only three countries that currently use the Alternative Vote to determine their legislative elections- Australia, Papua New Guineau and Fiji.

This isn't a point against AV but it does make it harder to assess what the actual outcome of AV would be as there are very few countries to look at to compare with. Based on Australia it seems like minor parties won't actually gain any more influence than in FPTP so it is unlikely to result in more frequent coalition governments than  we have now.

Quote Of The Day

"Allahu akbar" is Arabic for "Nothing to see here."

- Mark Steyn.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

On Car Insurance

The Economist's "MS" writes:
Similarly, men don't crash cars because their penises get in the way of the steering wheel, but because they are more likely to drive recklessly. 
Well I don't like to boast but..... I haven't had any crashes lately.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Won't Someone Please Think Of The Children?

Or the nonces will get them:

A "disturbing gap" in the Government's proposed changes to the vetting scheme would give paedophiles "a golden opportunity of targeting innocent victims", the NSPCC has warned.

The reforms, announced earlier this month, were part of Government attempts to end a "13-year assault on hard-won British freedoms" and would see only those working most closely with children or vulnerable adults having to undergo a criminal records check, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said.
But the NSPCC said a loophole in the proposed legislation would give sex offenders access to children.
Under the proposals, a teacher who has been barred but not prosecuted for inappropriate behaviour could become an unpaid, supervised, voluntary worker in a school without any checks revealing the previous behaviour that led to them being barred, the leading children's charity said.
Best we suspect everyone just to be on the safe side.


As the relaease of Megrahi demonstrated, the UK is more interested in Libyan oil than in treating the regime as it deserves. Therefore I assume that the government's new hawkishness means that they believe Gaddafi is finished and will not survive the revolt against him. Either that or the coalition is so much more principled than the last government that they don't care about BP's investments.

Still for all the criticism of the cosying up to Gadaffi over the years, surely the regime would be far more dangerous if it still had a WMD programme.