Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Poor Phrasing

Just heard a radio bulletin describe sacked Sunderland FC boss Steve Bruce as "the first managerial casualty of the season".

I'm not saying anything.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Insider Information

Good post by Laban about what Germany will do about the Eurozone crisis (and how to profit from it). The four options seem about right to me:
a) print ?
b) bail out Southern Europe ?
c) neither - at which point defaults start, absent
d) Euro-area fiscal union - with Germany running the show hands-on, because while they may trust the Irish, Dutch and Finns, they can't trust the Greeks or the Italians, and maybe even the French ?
The political committment to the Euro is sufficiently strong that I can't see (c) being allowed to happen as it would unravel the whole thing.

In the short run I'd say (b) leading to (d) in the long term.

Those Who Fail To Learn The Lessons Of History Are Destined To... Do Well Politically

This government refuses to learn from history. Their attempts to inflate another house price bubble is proof enough of that. 

They also seem to be pushing for reducing lending standards. Nick Clegg for example gave a speech on race yesterday in which he pointed to:
evidence suggesting that firms owned by black people are four times more likely than those owned by whites to be turned down for loans.
This is highly reminiscent of similar claims made in the USA in the 1980s and 90s. As it happens the statistics were highly misleading because they did not take into account the applicants credit histories or net worth at the time they applied for the loans. It did however lead to political outrage and the enhancement of the infamous Community Reinvestment Act which pushed banks to make sub-prime loans.

Nick Clegg is the Deputy Prime Minister in a government that came into office because of the economic mismanagement of the previous administration- yet he is in essence trying to force banks to make riskier loans less than a week after Northern Rock was finally sold off.

Zeus Speaks!

Ex-Olympus boss says board meeting was 'constructive'

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

No One Knows Everything

But you'd think that when specifically mocking presidential candidates for ignorance of the Middle East people ought to research basic facts. The Telegraph's Tim Stanley disagrees:
According to Perry, the US can’t deal with Iran in isolation. You see, “There is an area over there of all of them working together” [one might call it, "the Middle East"], and if we’re going to tackle Iran as a nuclear threat then “we need to bring Syria into the mix.” His logic seemed to be that the only way to safeguard the world against the Shiite theocracy of Iran was to launch a war against the Sunni-dominated secular dictatorship of Syria.
No, the Syrian regime is dominated by the Alawi sect. They are recognised as Shias by the Iranian mullahs although some would regard them as heretics. They certainly are not Sunnis though.

This matters because given the religious fanaticism of the Middle East and the Alawi's status as near-heretics to many fundamentalists, the recognition as being legitimate Muslims by the Iranian regime is extremely valuable to the Assad junta.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Basil D'Olivera

The cricketer Basil D'Oliveira, whose inclusion in the England team ultimately led to the sporting boycott of Apartheid South Africa, has died aged 80.

I don't follow cricket but the behaviour of the South Africans at the time does demonstrate why that country was boycotted when other regimes that were even nastier have not been.

When D'Oliveira was added to the England team due to tour South Africa the host nation cancelled the tour. In other words they would only participate in sporting contests if their opponents agreed to implement apartheid on themselves. Unlike the USSR, Nazi Germany & China in the Olympic Games (or Zimbabwe and Pakistan in cricket) for example, they forced opposing teams to collaborate with their ideology.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

Proof At Last

OK Bigfoot sceptics, brace yourselves because Sasquatch experts have provided proof of their existence:

The discovery in Siberia of tree branches twisted together could be proof that Bigfoot really does exist

Well if twisted branches aren't enough to settle the matter then I really don't know what is.

While I'm on the subject I found a slightly charred twig in my garden this morning- would I be jumping the gun in publishing my research paper "Evidence Of Dragon Activity In England"?

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Lord Taylor Redefines Chutzpah

Lord Taylor of Warwick, who was jailed over his expenses, says he will return to the Lords as he has a "role to play" informing the debate on prison reform. 

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Police Baseball Team?

The case of the six police officers filmed smashing up a stolen car with baseball bats bothers me. The man who bought the stolen vehicle is a criminal who was trasnporting stolen goods at the time, so I don't feel sorry for him.

First of all they can clearly be seen smashing the car in places where it does not make it easier to open the door and remove the driver- who did not appear to be resisting in any case. Secondly why were the officers going round with baseball bats and pick axe handles anyway? Either they were part of the Met's baseball squad or they routinely go equipped to smash things up for no obvious reason.

Apparently the Enfield Crime Squad have been accused of corruption before, in light of the behaviour in the video it is difficult to believe that those accusations are untrue.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Why Is Pakistani Cricket Corrupt?

There is an idea that international sports stars get paid vast amounts for very little work. In the case of the Pakistani cricket team it really is not true- the basic salary for international cricketers is £22000. While that is a considerable sum in Pakistan, it probably goes fast if you are travelling the world almost non stop in countries where the cost of living is much more that in Pakistan.

With millions of pounds being made through betting on cricket and so little being paid to the players it is not difficult to see why so many of their players were corrupt.

So the next question is why are they paid so little and the answer to that seems to be that their is no competitive market for cricket players- the money is largely in international cricket (the IPL is a positive step in the other direction.and players cannot simply offer their services to the highest bidder.

Despite football having teams from nations even more corrupt than Pakistan there are few credible reports of match fixing in international football because the clubs will pay players from poor countries what they are worth.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

From Top To Bottom

Russia and China come bottom of bribe-paying survey

Companies from Russia and China are most likely to pay bribes when doing business abroad, a survey suggests.
Surely that puts them top of the bribe paying survey. It's like when people talk about "one of the worst serial killers" it's always actually one of the best ones whose killed loads of people.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

6 Posts!?

Well October was abysmal for this blog with my least productive month ever by far.

A combination of taking up Twitter and being busy is to blame.

I'm not going to quit or anything but this blog is not going to be as prolific as it was from 2006 to 2009.