Freedom, system thinking, politics, science, education, economics, pirates

Wednesday, 31 December 2008

In praise of Government incompetence

From FT's Maverecon blog:

Noting that the incompetence of government places limits on their ability to deprive us of our freedoms.

Why Capitalism Will Not Collapse

From Redstar Commando: a reproduction of a Socialst Party pamphlet from 1932. Seems to be appropriate to today.


Radical alternatives for drug controls

From the New Scientist: 

 "The damage done by prohibition is worse than from the substance itself," says Amanda Feilding, the founder of the Beckley Foundation.




He is a pretty straight kind of a guy


"It is true that we had ten years of record growth when I was prime minister. I have, unfortunately, come to the conclusion that it was luck." Anthony Aloysius St.John Blair

From the ASI blog (and everywhere else)


Anger about pubic sector pay and condtions reaches the mainstream (almost)

Daily Express today (eugh)

PUBLIC SECTOR JOBS SCANDAL - MORE PAY, CRAZY CAREERS ALL FUNDED BY THE TAXPAYER

Presumabably the DM will be there soon with a diatribe.

But seriously, this is an important issue; how long can the disparity between public  and private sector pay, terms and pensions be maintained?  


Jackboot Jackie's reading your email (and texts, and listening in on all your phone calls)

The Guardian today:
Private firm may track all email and calls

'Hellhouse' of personal data will be created, warns former DPP

"Sir Ken Macdonald, the former director of public prosecutions  told the Guardian: "The tendency of the state to seek ever more powers of surveillance over its citizens may be driven by protective zeal. But the notion of total security is a paranoid fantasy which would destroy everything that makes living worthwhile. We must avoid surrendering our freedom as autonomous human beings to such an ugly future. We should make judgments that are compatible with our status as free people."

So not only is this authoritarian government planning on the most intrusive database on the planet, they will entrust it to a private company. The cost expected exceeds the ID Card planned billions. Perhaps they will bring it forwards as part of the stimulus project.



Saturday, 27 December 2008

Labour fears the Internets

So they should... we're out to get them.


Andy Burnham wants to shut down internet content that the Government deos not agree with. He thinks he can get Obama to help them. Hasn't he heard of the US 1st amendment?



Story in the Telegraph.


Friday, 26 December 2008

Is the Pope gay? Who cares?

Much coverage in the news recently on the pope's pontifications about homsexuality being evil, he denies that it could be genetic or epigenetic or due or hormones in the womb.

This has lead to debate about whether being gay is a choice, or is genetically etc. determined. Implied in this debate is the assumption taht it is OK to be gay if it is genetic, but it is not OK if it is a free will choice.

I think this debate is wrong headed and damaging. It shouldn't matter if it is geneitc or not. People should be free to live how they want. What goes on in their bedrooms is not my business, or the pope's or anybody else's. But by discussing a kind of homsexuality that is OK, they are widening the idea that some kind of homsexuality is not acceptable. What if they found a gene that could be tested - what could this lead to? WOuld gay people who don't test positive for the gay gene be loacked up in special mental hospitals, where the are trained and treated until they are straight?

If you aren't gay (and I'm not, but that's not relevant to this post) don't think this doesn't effect you: how our society treats those who are different effects us all - one day they might pick on the differences you have.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Merry Christmas

Have a good one.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Credit crunch? What credit crunch?


No frozen turkeys at Sainsbury's first thing this morning. Had to fight to get one of the last remaining fancy fresh ones - £35.


The Greatest Wealth Transfer Ever

Lots of very scary graphs say that Darling's "worst crisis in 60 years" looks optimistic.

I'd like to be buying gold, as suggested, but I am going to stick to building a stock of rice and tinned beans.

World faces "total" financial meltdown: Bank of Spain chief

todo el mundo está en la mierda

Monday, 22 December 2008

Adam Smith "Which fiscal policy?" my comment today

As someone facing almost certain unemployment in 2009 (I work in automotive R&D) any income the govt lets me keep now will go into paying off debt and then into building up savings. I have already cut my consumption significantly and cash from a helicopter wouldn't persuade me to spend it. I'd save it for when I have to support 3 kids (2 sons at University and one at secondary school) on jobseekers' allowance. I have also seen my pension go from DB to DC and the value of the fund has been hammered, so that is another reason to shift from spending to saving. Bad for the economy, I know, but I have to do what is best for my family. Since almost everyone in the private sector is concerned for their job security I imagine my view is pretty typical. If you work in the public sector, everything looks great: prices are dropping in the shops, salary is index-linked, so are pensions, job security is high. The only black spot is that Tuscany will be more expensive this year. So this is what the govt should do: big pay rises for public sector employees - they will actually spend it. And they vote for El Gord, too.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Special pizza

Thurrock Gazette reports on Pizza Poop Shock. 

The food was ordered by a resident from Grays, who phoned Trading Standards after opening two Pizza Hut boxes and finding faeces inside.

“After an internal investigation, it has emerged that a delivery was left unattended after it had left the restaurant and was subsequently tampered with by a member of the public."


Friday, 19 December 2008

Independent deterrent

The US company Jacobs has bought what is left of AWE, which maintains Britain's atomic warheads. 

Not announced in Parliament. There's a surprise.

HT:Justin McKeating

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

What if we needed a recession to fix the excesses of the economy?

Andrew Lilico in today's Grauniad.   Are the Austrian school right? Is spending your way out of a recession impossible. 

Monday, 15 December 2008

Demings 14 Points


The 14 points are a basis for transformation of [American] industry. Adoption and action on the 14 points are a signal that management intend to stay in business and aim to protect investors and jobs. Such a system formed the basis for lessons for top management in Japan in 1950 and in subsequent years.

The 14 points apply anywhere, to small organisations as well as to large ones, to the service industry as well as to manufacturing. They apply to a division within a company.

 

  1. Create constancy of purpose toward improvement of product and service, with the aim to become competitive and to stay in business, and to provide jobs.
  2. Adopt the new philosophy. We are in a new economic age. Western management must awaken to the challenge, must learn their responsibilities, and take on leadership for change.
  3. Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality. Eliminate the need for inspection on a mass basis by building quality into the product in the first place.
  4. End the practice of awarding business on the basis of price tag. Instead, minimise total cost. Move towards a single supplier for any one item, on a long-term relationship of loyalty and trust.
  5. Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service, to improve quality and productivity, and thus constantly decrease costs.
  6. Institute training on the job.
  7. Institute leadership. The aim of supervision should be to help people and machines and gadgets to do a better job. Supervision of management is in need of an overhaul, as well as supervision of production workers.
  8. Drive out fear, so that everyone may work effectively for the company.
  9. Break down barriers between departments. People in research, design, sales, and production must work as a team, to foresee problems of production and in use that may be encountered with the product or service.
  10. Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and targets for the workforce asking for zero defects and new levels of productivity. Such exhortations only create adversarial relationships, as the bulk of the causes of low quality and low productivity belong to the system and thus lie beyond the power of the work force.
  11. a. Eliminate work standards (quotas) on the factory floor. Substitute leadership.
    b. Eliminate management by objective. Eliminate management by numbers, numerical goals. Substitute leadership.
  12. a. Remove barriers that rob the hourly paid worker of his right to pride in workmanship. The responsibility of supervisors must be changed from sheer numbers to quality.
    b. Remove barriers that rob people in management and engineering of their right to pride in workmanship. This means, inter alia, abolishment of the annual or merit rating and management by objective.
  13. Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement.
  14. Put everybody in the company to work to accomplish the transformation. The transformation is everybody's job.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Straw's new palace

Nice.

Baby P - could it happen in your town?

Article in the Guardian about workloads on Social Workers. It seems to be a broken system.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Polly is bonkers

She is even more deluded than I thought possible. She's not getting much support from the CiF commenters.

Best of three

Paul Stott at "I intend to escape.." points out that that if Ireland votes for the Lisbon Treaty, there should be a third vote to settle the draw.

 

Friday, 12 December 2008

Facebook for the Family of Colour Sergeant Krishnabahadur Dura

Please join the facebook group for the Family of Colour Sergeant Krishnabahadur Dura, here


It's all the Yanks' fault

Each domino is some feature of the global economy. All the dominoes have been teetering recently and it happens that the first to fall was in the US. But that does not mean that all the dominoes falling is the fault of the person who knocked the first domino down. It is the fault of the domino builders who built an unstable system. Gordon Brown installed many of these dominoes - he is as culpable as any of the domino builders.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

The Family of Colour Sergeant Dura


Thanks to  "The Real Machiavelli"  for alerting us to this story.

From the Kent News:
Campaigners are rallying to stop the widow and children of a Gurkha killed in action in Afghanistan from being deported.

Colour Sergeant Krishna Dura, of the 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, based at Shorncliffe Barracks, Folkestone, died last month in the Musa Qala district of Helmand.

The vehicle in which he was travelling was struck by a roadside bomb.

Now the soldier’s family face the threat of leaving the country which has become their home.

They live in Canterbury MP Julian Brazier’s constituency, and the Tory politician has given his backing for them to be allowed to stay in the UK.

He said: “I am appalled and outraged that anyone could think it fair or humane even to think of treating the family of a fallen hero this way.

“Krishna Dura, who has made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of his country, should be able to rest in the knowledge that that country will treat his dependants in a fair and honourable manner.  

“His wife has long been settled here and both his children were born here.  

“This is therefore their home and I urge the Government to treat their case with the compassion and humanity that it deserves. I have written to the Home Office minister myself, urging that they should be allowed to stay.”


Write to your MP!

Lawyers giving lawyers a bad name

Two solicitors who took millions of pounds from compensation payouts given to sick miners have been struck off.

Should have more punishment to come. I dout they'd be safe on the streets of Doncaster.

HT:Dave E, snook cocker

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Irwin gets it right

Good article today by Irwin. 

Prodicus & Friend

Spot on,  great post and so true

M.Wadsworth today

"The real point is that welfare claimants' have no strong motivation to find a job because they lose more in benefits than they can earn in net wages. Until the Powers That Be grasp this simple fact, all this tinkering achieves nothing."

I CAN'T STAND IT! WHY WHY WHY WHY DOESN'T ANYBODY GET THIS?

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Jeff's crystal ball was working

But maybe it went off a little early, in May, 2006.

Climate Denial Bingo

Proud of my MP - Andrew MacKinley

He may be labour and I have never voted for him, but today I am glad to have him as my MP.


Andrew Mackinlay (Thurrock) (Lab): I shall not be giving way, because of the time constraints. I wish to kick off with some slightly controversial comments. 
8 Dec 2008 : Column 278
First, I challenge people to reflect on the fact that if this had happened in Moscow or Minsk, there would have been one hell of a row and the British ambassadors would have been making representations. Secondly, leaks are food and drink to me as a Back-Bench Member of Parliament, and I do not want to stop them coming to me—I do not say that in a flip way, because it is very important. My only flip point is to ask people to send me this information on rice paper, so that I can eat it before the police get it. I am open all hours to leaks.

This is a serious matter. We need to support and endorse the office of Speaker, and ensure that it is properly facilitated over the next 10 or 20 years, because as part of the increasingly political role of the Speaker—it is not party political, but it is political—he or she must safeguard the rights and interests of this House and, I believe, of our democracy. I urge hon. Members to read the Speaker’s document that has been handed round, because the protocols set out new modalities for dealing with what are the ancient rights and duties of the Speaker to protect our interest. I commend it to the House. Some aspects may be new, but the principle is that the Speaker is the safeguard in respect of two things—first, the rights and independence of the House of Commons, and second, the idea that Members are not above the law. When I criticised something that a colleague—he is no longer in his place—had said earlier, he said, “Well, what about paedophilia?” I said that if an hon. Member were guilty of a serious crime, such as pushing drugs or being a member of the Mafia, the Speaker could take cognisance of a legitimate representation made to him by law enforcement officers and would say, “Yes, of course you must proceed forthwith.” The role of the Speaker is to be a safeguard, and that is what we must ensure. Let us kill the lie now: no one is asking for special privileges for Members of Parliament. We want any bad Member to be prosecuted with vigour, but we need to safeguard people from arbitrary action by the executive arm of Government.

I remember people laughing at me when I protested when we did away with Sessional Orders. That was treated with levity by Members, but those Sessional Orders reaffirmed the point that people must not interfere with this place. I hope that the House returns to the proposals made in 1999 that people who give evidence to this House and its Committees should not be influenced or leaned on by anyone else and should tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, as happens in the Congress of the United States.

The Bill of Rights, which too few Members have studied, makes it clear that this place has comity with the courts. That is a very important principle. What is more, the logical interpretation of article 9, which says that no court shall be able to look into the deliberations of this House, must extend to our documents. In 1689, Members of Parliament did not have the same volume of documents or technology as we have now. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Frank Dobson) said, we should think about putting that protection into statute.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Labour in denial

Purnell & Balls wilfully miss Cameron's point on Karen Matthews.

      Cameron: "The verdict last week on Karen Matthews and her vile accomplice is also a verdict on our broken society," and "How can Gordon Brown argue that people who talk about a broken society are wrong?"

      Purnell: "I think it is slightly insulting to the millions of people who are claiming benefits and looking to get back into work..to say that they are at risk of turning into Karen Matthews.

"So I think that there is a danger in what David Cameron is saying."

      Balls: "The idea that you can tar them with the Karen Matthews' brush is completely wrong,"


Karen Matthews's lifestyle is the problem, from which sprang the crime she committed.  Karen Mattews is not stupid; she worked out that, if she kept having babies, the government would give her more and more money. She is a creation of the system. Maybe she could have chosen a different path; many people born and grown up in difficult circumstances, as she did, manage to get themelves educated, get themselves a good job and leave the ghetto. But she didn't have to, the choices she made were rational and morally acceptable to her and her neighbours. This is the broken societey, and Balls & Purnell do the poor a disservice in not aknowleging what really happens in the cities where they govern. 





Saturday, 6 December 2008

Iain Dale's Ten New Blogs - I'm in!

Ten New Blogs

Iain Dale 7:45 PM

Derek Bennett - UKIP blog
John Moss - Right of centre view from Walthamstow (!)
Victor Meldrew's Brother - Right wing and then some
Thoughts of Mrs Smallprint - Non aligned Eurosceptic
Mark's Any Musings - Non Aligned
Mike Hobday - Labour candidate for Welwyn & Hatfield
English Question
Cllr Simon Gibson - Blog of a 20 year old town councillor in Dorset
Eyes to the Left - Blog of a confused liberal
Chanticleer - Blog of a Welsh freelance journalist

These blogs aren't necessarily newly created, but I haven't known about them before and they had not, until now, appeared in the TP Blog Directory.

Visit the Total Politics Blog Directory which contains more than 1,700 blogs. If you know of one which isn't there, please fill in the Submit a New Blog form on the left hand side of THISpage.

John Redwood today

"For those who like metaphors, a City commentator (I think it was Lombard) compared the actions of the MPC and the Bank to the person in the shower who can never get the temperature right. Tiring of the cold start to the shower, they turn the thermostat to very hot. After a pause they are surpised to be scalded. They wrench the thermostat back to cold. Sometime later they are shivering from jets of cold water. They lurch the control back to very hot…

Please can our authorities learn to get the temperature right soon?"

Friday, 5 December 2008

No Country for Young Children

Tom Paine has found an excellent article by Theodore Dalrymple about children born in order to garner benefit.

"The single most sickening aspect of modern British society is the fate of children bred to maximise state benefits."

Go and have a read: click the title of this post for the link.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Fantasy Gummint

Let's say there is an election soon - here is my Government of all the talents

Prime Minister: Jeff Randall
Chancellor of the Exchequer: Mark Wadsworth
Home Sec: Old Holborn
Foreign Sec: Boris
Leader of the house: Anti-Citizen One
Education, Health, Housing, Local Gummint: John Seddon
Communication: Iain Dale
President of the Board of Trade: Eddie Stobart
Technology & Innovation: Dizzy
Sport: Sue Barker
Food, Ag & Fish: Nigella Lawson

Addendum
Transport: Clarkson

Jeff Randal - wasted on The Telegraph

Spot on, as ever, in this article Jeff tackles the obfuscations of our politicians. The fact that the people and the markets see right through it.

Anti Cocaine Advertising

The Govt is launching a new anti-cocaine advert campaign today. Lots of footage of young people having health and lifestyle damaged by taking cocaine.

They could have saved all the writing, filming and editing costs. There's plenty of archive footage of Amy Winehouse around.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Claimants 'should be work ready'

FFS !

Claimants don't work, because work does not pay. The benefits system provides just enough money to live on. If you are living off the system and get a low paid job (as is likely, most people's first job is low paid) then you will lose 80p of benefit for every pound earned. Would you work a whole week for £40? Hence the term "poverty trap".

To get people working, change the system so withdrawal rates are smaller.

Why is this so hard for the political class to understand?

Monday, 1 December 2008

Don't blame the social workers

Blame the system, ICS.

Article by John Hemming, Allan Norman and Sue White (click title for link)

Ed Balls-up

I am told social workers refer to Balls's department, the DCSF as the Department for Curtains and Soft Furnishings.

Simon Caulkin examines the Balls-driven IT project and its implication in the Baby P Tragedy. Click title for link.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

GM boss in last-ditch talks on debt for equity swap

Having been turned down by congress, GM is turning to its creditors for help. Seems like a good idea, will Ford follow suit?

Friday, 28 November 2008

economic collapse said... comment on Guido today

Britain and the British will neither get nor deserve the relative good fortune of a Velvet Revolution type release from its current totalitarian lockdown. Nor will it be delivered by the collective courage of its common people dispatching summarily its dictatorial leader and his regime as per the Romanians. The path laid out for Britain and the British is regime collapse through total economic collapse as per the Soviet Union in 1991.

It is little reported in the British media that Poland now has a lower rate of unemployment than Britain, its rate having fallen from 8.7% to 6.4% in the last 12 months. UK's true figure, with long-term economically inactive included and those claiming disability is only matched by that of Spain's at 13%, within the European Union.

All the signs are there of a false economic structure on its last legs. The Soviet's was the military-industrial base, the British the housing/finance/public sector base, again highly artificial and unproductive. When collapse comes, as it will, within 12 months, real national output and incomes will fall by a quarter with up to a 10 million out of work and real starvation and deaths from common, as in Russia during the aftermath of the communist system collapse. As per the Russian experience real economic recovery will not take place for a further 10 years due to the massive shock to the whole politic-economic system.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Jeff nails it

Excellent article by Jeff Randall in the Telegruff today. Shame he's not on telly more.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Christmas shopping

So is 2.1276596% off enough to get us all rushing to the shops to buy imported goods and save the economy? Probably not.

Is delaying it until Monday going to turn shopping centres into ghost towns this weekend? Possibly.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Ministry of Truth on Climate Chaos

Excellent blog on climate science. So much better than the anti-science tosh on most blogs.

Best burger in the world

I wonder how long before I get to have another of these?

Miller's Bar, Dearborn

Metro Detroit's most famous bar burger is an undeniably delicious no-frills classic: a thick patty of fresh ground beef on an honest bun, brought to your table on a square of waxed paper. Help yourself to pickles from a jar on the condiment tray; sliced onion is served on request. Want cheese? It's Swiss or Velveeta, sliced off long loafs and melted onto the patty into near-oblivion. You won't get a bill; just tell the bar man what you had and he'll tell you what you owe. For its fans, the bare-bones service and semi-divey setting only enhance the growing Miller's mystique. Hamburger, $4.75; cheeseburger, $5.50.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Passing on the savings

So after cutting bank rates, and not finding it passed on to loans & mortgages, how long before the badger is on telly complaining that retailers are not passing on his VAT cut?

Iain Dale's Diary: A Real Life Example of Why the VAT Cut Won't Boost the Economy

Iain Dale's Diary: A Real Life Example of Why the VAT Cut Won't Boost the Economy

Chris Dillow today

"New Labour’s claim to believe in technocratic, evidence-based policy is a sham. They are not technocrats at all, but either priggish moralists or cowardly panderers to mob prejudice."

P.J. O'Rourke on fiscal stimulus programmes

I must say we're doing good work on our final task--attaching the garden hose to our car's exhaust pipe and running it in through a vent window.

Andrew Haldenby: Fiscal stimulus will prolong the recession

Good article over at Conservativehome.

Excerpt: "In retrospect the UK has endured a long period of living beyond its means, supported by interest rates held far too low. We have become used to unsustainable levels of debt and consumption (we use the graphic image of the “obese economy”). We now need to find a new path based amongst other things on saving (remember that?). A fiscal stimulus would be the last hurrah of the debt-binge era. It’s time to move on. Instead the Chancellor should get a grip of public spending. That does not mean crisis cuts in public spending, which would increase inefficiency and – by creating a perception of under-funding – lead to demands for higher spending later on.
"

Saturday, 22 November 2008

2 1/2% off VAT - waste of time

When shops are cutting prices by 20% and aren't getting big boosts in sales, how will a 2.5% price cut start a spending spree? It won't all get passed on by all retailers, it's not charged on food, which is a big bill, especially at Christmas and for the poor.

He's going to drop small savings in lots of different places, so most people won't feel any better off.

For a fiscal stimulus to work, it has to be so big that it can't be afforded or funded. James Callaghan found this out the hard way. This is pissing on a bonfire - pointless.

Matthew Parris, Today's times

Mr Brown's claims to cosmic leadership rest on what he says his measures will achieve, not on what they have achieved. The boasts will finally grate, and a Conservative message that if he can't whistle up a recovery, at least he should stop running up bills, should feel timely.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Jeff Randall in today's Telegraph

Excellent article. I could add: are you listening Mr Cameron?

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

That's cheered me up


A new Wallace & Gromit for Christmas! Hooray!

UAW dinosaurs

The US car unions have made it clear they aren't going to make any concessions to their contracts with the car companies. The Japanese are making better, cheaper cars in the non-union south and Mexico. The Chinese are going to be shipping cheap cars soon. The unions are determined to join the ranks of the US consumer electronics industry, shoe and clothing industry, etc.. They'd rather close the industry and put them all on the dole, than concede any reductions in pay & conditions. The world has changed, and they haven't realised it.

Brown talks down the economy

Brown warns of deflation. (AFP)

Oh, he's allowed to talk down the economy.

Click title for link.

"Labour should listen to Will Hutton" by John Redwood

My comment to John's excellent article.

"It seems the govt is going to give away cash to the "poor". I wouldn't call it tax breaks, when those getting the money won't be those paying the high taxes when it needs to be repaid. Sadly I probably earn enough to not be "poor" to get the handout, but not enough to be "rich" to avoid the taxes. Of course, I'll probably lose my job the week after the handouts, so maybe I won't have to pay the taxes after all..

I'd go a lot further than stop final salary pensions for the statritariat, I'd give them a 10% pay cut and put them on a contributory pension at 65, obviously expediently to save the economy, but it needs doing, so why not now? Taxes could really be cut accordingly. They would only be going through what their neighbours in the private sector are going through.

The inequality between those employed in the private sector and those working in the public sector, or those on benefits is going to become a major social & political problem."

Sunday, 16 November 2008

It's an ill wind...


Spam spam spam spam spam & spam is selling really well, it is boom time for Hormel and their employees. Rice, beans and other basic and low cost foods are also increasing in sales, according to the New York Times. Perhaps the scale of the increase in these sales is an indicator of how bad folks think the economy is going to get. Wisdom of crowds ?

Fraser was right


I can't shake off the feeling the old boy is right this time.

Quote of the week

Nick Robinson on his BBC blog, talking about Osbornes mutterings:

"A British fiscal stimulus package will be too small to make any real difference if it's affordable, or unaffordable if it's big enough to make a difference."


Rings true to me, sadly.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Jefff Randall rocks

Gordon Brown’s fingerprints are all over a disaster made in Britain
We are about to witness a burst of old-fashioned pre-election giveaways to hide the Government's epic blunders, warns Jeff Randall

Who's to blame? Look in the mirror, Mr Brown

An article by John Major. Good to see one Tory having a go at making blame stick to El Gordo.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

America the Illiterate - Hedges

Good article about the rise of stupidity in America. Some of the features discussed are prevalent here also.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Mick Hume's wisdom on housing

Very poor article by Mick Hume. He is stereotyping council housing as being intrinsically bad, so building more only condemns tenants to bad lives.

There are lots of council houses and estates I know of, which are no-go zones full of smashed up cars and broken windows with the stairways running with urine. But if they were private they would be really nice places to live.

The problems are:
The housing is effectively given away, rents are so low so as to look like they are free. The tenants can value them accordingly and treat them badly. If they were charged real money, they would look after them better, even if they were given rent money through the benefit system, as private tenants are.
The housing is heavily subsidised, but it is only means tested once when it is first given. If instead market rents were charged, rent money could be given depending on individual circumstances and vary as these change.

Introduction to the Land Value Tax Campaign

Monday, 10 November 2008

Iain Dale's Diary: Poll: Ministers Are Dedicated Public Servants...Who Lie

Iain Dale's Diary: Poll: Ministers Are Dedicated Public Servants...Who Lie

Broon's lovin' it

We have a right to know where the EU's millions end up

Marta Andreassen is after your vote to help her become a UKIP MEP. She was previously Chief Accountant of the European Commission, sacked by Kinnock (hung out to dry according to Tim Worstall)for whistleblowing on the Financial incompetence she saw.

Libby: 'It's knives, firearms, cash, drugs. Every night'

Today's Times.

What is the point of Libby's article? Interesting maybe, but this doesn't tell us anything we don't already know. It doesn't contain any OPINION, which is what Libby is supposed to do.

Camilla Batmanghelidjh is a far more important writer on youth crime, she has ideas of what causes it and what to do about it.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2006/may/17/comment.children

Camilla's article also addresses the recent findings that bullies enjoy inflicting pain, due to brain make-up.

Going down the pan?

The future of toilets

Sunday, 9 November 2008

The case for forcing birth control on unfit mothers

Minette Marrin in today's Sunday Times

Discusses a Dutch politician's idea of enforced contraception for "unfit" parents.

Quite a topic. I can't work out what my response is. On the one hand I can see that it is unfair for children to grow up in homes where they will not learn to be a successful, happy, law-abiding person. On the other hand, taking away the ability to have a child seems way outside what the state should be allowed to do.

What I am certain though, is that the state welfare system should not be designed so that it encourages childbirth to people dependant on welfare.

Obama's America: no gay marriages

I've not seen this in the MSM or elsewhere, but many US states had motions to make same sex marriages illegal. It seems that voters progressive enough to vote Obama want to interfere in the private lives of others.

Friday, 7 November 2008

OH has fun with Hazel

If such a thing is possible.

Awesome post: Cynical Nihilism

Best. Post. Ever.

A cogent Fisking of the chipmunk by Alix Mortimer. Read it. Now.

Credit crunch kills the SNP

According to Michael Crick, Labour are about to win the Glenrothes election with a good majority. Bugger.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Stair porn

really, it's surprisingly good.

Socking great interest rate cut

1.5% rate cut today. Seems a bit panicky.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Jeff Randal in today's Telegraph

By any conventional measure, the US economy under Bush has been a fool’s paradise: a place where consumers believed they could spend more than they were earning, without a final day of reckoning.

Friday, 31 October 2008

Naomi Klein's take on the Bail-Out

could she be right?

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

US Election Summed Up

Dark Lord to Nominet: Justify thyself

According to the Register today, Mandy is after control of Nominet.

You'd think they would be busy with nationalising the banks.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Mandel: It's Not a Crisis of Confidence

From BusinessWeek Today. As someone employed in manufacturing industry, I have been thinking along these lines for years. Cheers, Marksany

"by Michael Mandel

Is the market and economic turmoil nothing more than a crisis of confidence? To listen to Ben Bernanke and Hank Paulson, you might think so. "At the root of the problem is a loss of confidence by investors and the public in the strength of key financial institutions and markets," Bernanke told the Economic Club of New York on Oct. 15.

On Oct. 20, Paulson went further, explaining the bank recapitalization program this way: "Our purpose is to increase confidence in our banks and increase the confidence of our banks so that they will deploy, not hoard, their capital. And we expect them to do so, as increased confidence will lead to increased lending."

The implication of the Bernanke-Paulson view is that the underlying economic system is fundamentally sound, so that restoring trust in the financial system will put us back on a growth course. From that perspective, the infusion of massive amounts of capital into banks, which replaces the money lost in bad mortgages, will enable lending to begin again. Once investors see that all is well, then they will cease their irrational behavior, and start putting money back into stock markets and companies around the world.

Treating the Wrong Problem?

But what if the Bernanke-Paulson view is wrong? What if financial stress is a symptom, not a cause?

What if we face a wrenching readjustment of the global real economy rather than a crisis of confidence rooted in the financial system? What if Bernanke and Paulson are treating the wrong problem? What if investors, realizing that their long held assumptions about the global economy are wrong, are rationally bailing out of stock markets in almost every country, at least for now?

In fact, there's good reason to believe that the current crisis reflects a growing realization: Long accepted patterns of cross-border technological transfer, foreign trade, and global finance are simply not sustainable.

Three Big Flows

For the past 10 years, global growth has been driven by three big flows. The first flow was the transmission of knowledge, technology, and business know-how from the U.S. and other industrialized countries to low-wage emerging economies such as China and India. Under the neutral name of "supply chain management," multinationals taught local suppliers to make shirts, laptop computers, and airplane rudders that could be sold around the world. Moreover, U.S. and European companies gave suppliers access to enough information that they could develop their own cell phones, software, and other tech products. The result: a massive improvement in productivity and living standards in emerging economies.

The second flow was the movement of goods and services from China and other emerging economies to the U.S. Massive amounts of production capacity was built around the world, assuming that the U.S. was always going to be the consumer of last resort. Indeed, the value of U.S. imports—over $2.3 trillion in 2007—was larger than the entire output of Britain, the sixth-largest economy in the world. The result: Rising living standards in the U.S., rising employment, and production around the world.

The final flow, of course, was financial. The rest of the world lent U.S. consumers trillions of dollars to finance the trade deficit. The money flowed into the country in all sorts of ways, including cheap mortgages and cheap credit for cars and televisions that were made overseas. At the same time, companies in emerging markets were borrowing heavily to build the factories that were going to supply the developed world.

Something Had to Give

This tri-flow worked as long as everyone believed that American consumers could finance their debt. But here's the problem: At the same time Americans were borrowing, their real wages were falling—and not just for the least educated. By BusinessWeek's calculations, real weekly earnings for college grads without an advanced degree have dropped every year since 2002.

You can't pay back rising debt with falling wages; something had to give.

The first thing that broke were subprime mortgages, given to less creditworthy borrowers. But once investors started to look, they realized that the entire global edifice was built on an impossibility. The tri-flow that had built global prosperity could not be sustained.

Good News and Bad News

That's why the financial crisis has spread across the globe. Investors are peering at every country, from Kuwait to Korea, asking the question: Is it sound enough to survive if American demand for imports falls? The problem is in the structure of the global real economy, not the financial system.

This is both bad news and good news. The bad news is that government injections of capital into banks around the world can slow the damage, but they cannot fix the basic problem. The global economy has to go through a readjustment process that will be difficult even if policymakers can restore confidence in the financial system.

The good news is twofold. First, the productivity gains in the emerging economies are real. Sooner rather than later, their growth will resume. Second, we do have a tool for easing the adjustment, and that's fiscal stimulus. With private demand for credit weak, governments can judiciously borrow and spend to help pump up growth and employment.

The final implication: Policymakers should stop talking about investor confidence as if it exists in a vacuum. Instead, they should focus on the real goal of stimulating the creation of innovative new goods and services that the U.S. can produce and sell on global markets. That would reduce the amount of borrowing the country has to do, and help create a sustainable global economy. This crisis is not any fun. But if it shakes up companies and government, and forces them to focus on innovation, the end result will be stronger, more solid economic growth.



Mandel is chief economist for BusinessWeek

Luigi Zingales - "Why Paulson is wrong"

A very good (i.e. simple enough for me to follow) explanation of why debt-for-equity is better than the bail-out

Monday, 27 October 2008

Taxpayers' alliance on EU Laws - my comment

Well, the above is true, but what a strange conclusion? We need to leave the EU, not reform our internal processes, which are irrelevant.

The EU is putting non-British laws upon us which we have no control over. The issue is not informing people what laws are from the EU, but the fact that these unwanted laws land here and we have no say in them.

Can. We. Leave. Now.

Hat tip: EU Referendum

Laffer: The end of the age of posterity

"Now enter the government and the prospects of a kinder and gentler economy. To alleviate the obvious hardships to both homeowners and banks, the government commits to buy mortgages and inject capital into banks, which on the face of it seems like a very nice thing to do. But unfortunately in this world there is no tooth fairy."

The rest of the article is linked to the title.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

S&P and Moody's credit raters to go to jail

I wish!

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=a2EMlP5s7iM0&refer=worldwide

S&P and Moody's credit raters to go to jail

I wish!

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=a2EMlP5s7iM0&refer=worldwide

Teenage sex

My comment on the BBC story today.

"To reduce teenage pregnancies, this society had better stop financing a lifestyle that young girls aspire to which can only be accessed by having a baby. Despite what Labour politicians believe, young girls have babies so that they can have a flat, some money and leave home. At a time of massive youth unemployment, no other choices these girls can make offer such rewards."

Monday, 20 October 2008

Sense from Frank

Frank Field talks about welfare failure and immigration.

Personally, I think a citizen's income (i.e. for citizens only) is a better solution.

Gods that fail

Capitalism has not failed (yet)

Vodafone doesn't want to play

A small encouragement: networks think the govt's plan for ID to buy phones is a potty idea, too.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Old Holborn's Ball of chalk

Gem in Polly's comments today

CPhyllis

You don't need to sign on anymore. Register as a self-employed whatever you were before with the Inland Revenue and then find work that pays cash- Cabbie, gardener, caretaker, market staller, flat-roofer- anything and claim Working Tax Credit. You can earn £20 a week for free! and estimate your earnings for the first year as effectively zero. You will get just about what you get on the dole every four weeks and you can work without signing on. You will be able to claim Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit too. Next April do a tax return online (self-assessment) after registering for the online service and work through the return using the Help items on each section. It is easier than you think. When the tax is calculated if it is too much go back and see if you can't raise your expenses somewhat and fiddle around until you have a reasonable amount to pay. Submit the return and file the submittal receipt. If you have made zero then show this and your Working Tax Credit will continue at the full amount. If you have made a profit it will be subtracted from your Working Tax Credit and you will be paid the balance. You don't have to sign on every two weeks. You stay in the workforce. You can re-build and diversify your employment activity and quite probably end up as I did with a whole new income and a whole new career. All this pitiful stuff about the dole queue is nonsense. The answer lies in using the system properly and being flexible and entrepreneurial with your abilities. And remember it was Labour who put the system in place. Don't be fooled by the hype regarding the difficulties involved in Working Tax Credits; if you can't fill in a form then go and sign on and be miserable; if you can't do simple maths and see if you are getting the correcty amount without being over or under paid, then sign on and give up; if tax forms send you to sleep then get bookeeper to do your return every year, average cost at the moment in our town: £75 (take this off your gross as expenses!!). None of this is a fiddle and you can have an income of up to £52,000 a year and still be eligible for some WTC. Obviously not much but if you have a huge family and need help with your mortgage do the online check for WTC and it will tell you if you are going to get anything. If you get even a tiny amount it will almost certainly make you eligible for help under Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit so do it and get control of your life before you get so depressed that you start to believe the rubbish you will read about the world having ended because there are no nice little PAYE jobs anymore like the one you have just lost. Oh; and vote Labour because the Conservatives will want you to be one of the mass of sheep waiting until they have crap little jobs available for you at below the minimum wage, which they will have scrapped.

Cameron yesterday

“We have to broaden our economic base to include more science, more hi-tech services, more green technologies, more engineering and more high-value manufacturing, drawing upon a much wider range of industries, markets, people, towns and cities,”

Well, I agree with that; but the question is: how? A broad based economy will be a result of policies. What might those policies be, and what are their chances of achieving the aspiration laid out here?

Friday, 17 October 2008

Jeff Randall for Chancellor

"Mr Brown steered the car into a brick wall and is now claiming credit for pulling a rear-view mirror from the wreckage."

McCain - I love this picture

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Frank Field in the Telegruph

I like Frank's articles. A pity he isn't a Labour MP, so his ideas could be taken seriously by the government.

What's that? He is ? Oh well...

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

It might be I have this, so I am seeing a new doctor at UCH. I have a slightly thickened cardiac septum (the wall between the left right ventricle) This may have provided the cause of the electrical currents that resulted in my Ventricular Fibrillation, nearly resulting in SCD (Sudden Cardiac Death)

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Uncertainty has now hit the Japanese banking sector

In the last 7 days Origami Bank has folded.

Sumo Bank has gone belly up.

Bonsai Bank announced plans to cut some of its branches.

Karaoke Bank is up for sale and will likely go for a song, while today shares in Kamikaze Bank were suspended after they nose-dived.

Samurai Bank is soldiering on following sharp cutbacks. Ninja Bank is reported to have taken a hit, but they remain in the black.

Furthermore, 500 staff at Karate Bank got the chop and analysts report that there is something fishy going on at Sushi Bank where it is feared that staff may get a raw deal!

BUT there is some good news amid the gloom, a spokesman for Ichifani Bank Corp confirmed- ''we are up to scratch''

Robbery


From The Week today

We won't reward irresponsible and greedy activities

What, like putting your money in Iceland for an extra 0.5%.

Sounds a) greedy and b) irresponsible to me.

0.5% Interest rate cut

Oh yeah, that'll fix it. Let's all rush out and buy bigger houses.

The economy is now in the shitter and tinkering with rates isn't the answer. Why?

We have had years of debt fuelled consumerism. Vast sums on the credit card for plasma TV's from China etc. New cars and bigger houses.

Today we have a mass realisation that borrowing can't go on forever. The brakes are on.

It now feels risky to borrow money, people are worried about their job security so won't extend themselves. Do you want a new mortgage on a house that is still depreciating heavily.

Most of the stuff people have been buying on credit is nice to have: Plasma TV's, new cars, bigger houses, foreign holidays; when their old TV, car or house or a cheaper holiday was perfectly usable. So they can stop spending right now; without much impact on their standard of living. This is shrinking the retail sector, the importers and financial services leading to high and sudden increases in unemployment in these sectors. This is a snowball effect.

It's going to get a lot worse yet.

Mum went to Iceland

So, Gordo gives 100% cover for British savers who put their money in Iceland, but only covers £50k in a British institution.

WTF?

Surely these people knew it was in a foreign country? It must be the Iceland govt's and taxpayers' problem, not ours.

Gordon Ramsey has a lot of money there, is he mates with Gordo Broon?

Bizarre

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

How it ends

depressing, but I have been thinking along some of these lines for a while.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Quote of the day

"In a free society the state does not administer the affairs of men. It administers justice among men who conduct their own affairs."

Walter Lippmann (1889-1974), An Inquiry into the Principles of the Good Society, 1937

Deposits

So you have £35k guaranteed per bank. Increasing this to £50k is some big deal? But if all you have to do is spread your wad around a bit, you can get multiples of these guarantees. So why bother with this limit. Who has sums so large on deposit that splitting it among different banks causes hardship?

He's back


Mandy Vader's back.
Evil Emporer Darth Gordo's plan: to have one member of the UK Govinmint less popular than himself.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Gurkhas win

Hoorah! The Gurkahs test case against the immigration authorities have won their case, which was around whether they had sufficient links with Britain, or not.

Cherie: "let them eat cake"

According to local news, Cherie Blair was at UEA for a book selling when she faced a demonstration from students about the size of her student debts. Asked by reporters she said that the debt was fine and that by getting a degree the students would be able to repay the debt, or if they didn't get a god job they wouldn't have to pay it back at all.

She seems to miss the point that most of the debt carried by students is on overdrafts, bank loans and credit cards, since the governments student loan is too small to cover all fees and living costs. It is true that the student loan company need not be repaid if a graduate fails to earn in excess of £15k/year, but banks aren't so helpful when it comes to their loans and credit card debt.

I think Cherie kinda missed the students' point. Surprising she didn't say "let them eat cake"

I have a two sons at University, they get the minimum Student Loan, because I am "rich" (I make enough money to just miss on help like EMA and WTC, but after tax and mortgage on my modest three bed terraced house in Essex, I just clear what a "Job seeker" getting all his various benefits can get.) The minimum student loan does not cover education and living costs so other forms of debt are inevitable for my sons. I really hope the economy recovers enough for them to get decent graduate jobs, otherwise they'll be unemployed and saddled with a ton of debt.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

LVT I can understand

I think this is a simple explanation on how Land Value Tax could work.

[Mark W and Anti-Citizen One; I'm coming round to the idea!]

Since the economy looks fubar'd anyway, now could be an excellent chance to change the system.

Worst. President. Ever

nubret2008

I guess Bush is longing for a McCain presidency so he can rid off his mark 'Worst president ever' from the history books...

Fantastic comment on Huffington Post.



Friday, 26 September 2008

Engalnd Expects the EU to limit freedeom

http://englandexpects.blogspot.com/2008/09/ironique-et-eurosceptique.html

Gawain Towler has been forced to stop blogging by his bosses at the EU as employees of the EU are not allowed to publicly criticize the EU. Oddly Gawain is a press officer, working for the Independent group, which is Eurosceptic, which means by the same rules that have stopped him blogging, he can't actually do his job.

This reminds me of the civil servant who had her blog shut down a little while ago, so its not just the EU where the jackboot rules.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Hyprocrite Kelly

So Ruth Kelly has resigned from Broon's cabinet so she can spend more time with her children.

WTF?

How can she be allowed to do this? The state provides childcare that is better than any parent can provide(apparently). Mrs Kelly has been part of a Govt and Minister of a department that has coerced parents into putting their children into childcare; but it's OK for her to decide she doesn't have to do that.

One rule for us, another rule for them.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Chris Dillow

Chris on my favourite subject today

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Johan Norberg writes

"All those who now think that the solution is to give more powers to politicians, authorities and central banks should at least go to the trouble of looking at what they did with the powers they already had. Decision makers on the market do act irresponsibly and incredibly short-sighted from time to time. So do decision makers in government."

Enqiry to Equality & Human Rights Commission

I am concerned that government in the shape of the Labour Govt in Westminster and the SNP Govt in Scotland are pressurising LloydsTSB to ensure that Scottish employees of HBOS and LloydsTSB are treated more favourably than English employees in regard to future employment prospects and redundancy. I am shocked that such blatant discrimination by Scottish people against English people has gone by the Equality & Human Rights Commission without comment and I would like to know what the position of the EHRC is and what the legal position is in this case of discrimination.

That's my enquiry - not holding out too much hope of a good reply!

English jobs

So with Alec Salmond fighting for BOS's Scottish jobs at the expense of Lloyds TSB's and Halifax's English jobs, who of our English democratically elected leaders is fighting for English jobs ?

That's right - nobody.

England: land without representation. The Scots pick our pockets and screw over our employees.

When can we leave?

Monday, 22 September 2008

Obama Republicans?

A Conservative for Obama

My party has slipped its moorings. It’s time for a true pragmatist to lead the country.

Leading Off By Wick Allison, Editor In Chief

THE MORE I LISTEN TO AND READ ABOUT “the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate,” the more I like him. Barack Obama strikes a chord with me like no political figure since Ronald Reagan. To explain why, I need to explain why I am a conservative and what it means to me.

In 1964, at the age of 16, I organized the Dallas County Youth for Goldwater. My senior thesis at the University of Texas was on the conservative intellectual revival in America. Twenty years later, I was invited by William F. Buckley Jr. to join the board of National Review. I later became its publisher.

Conservatism to me is less a political philosophy than a stance, a recognition of the fallibility of man and of man’s institutions. Conservatives respect the past not for its antiquity but because it represents, as G.K. Chesterton said, the democracy of the dead; it gives the benefit of the doubt to customs and laws tried and tested in the crucible of time. Conservatives are skeptical of abstract theories and utopian schemes, doubtful that government is wiser than its citizens, and always ready to test any political program against actual results.

Liberalism always seemed to me to be a system of “oughts.” We ought to do this or that because it’s the right thing to do, regardless of whether it works or not. It is a doctrine based on intentions, not results, on feeling good rather than doing good.

But today it is so-called conservatives who are cemented to political programs when they clearly don’t work. The Bush tax cuts—a solution for which there was no real problem and which he refused to end even when the nation went to war—led to huge deficit spending and a $3 trillion growth in the federal debt. Facing this, John McCain pumps his “conservative” credentials by proposing even bigger tax cuts. Meanwhile, a movement that once fought for limited government has presided over the greatest growth of government in our history. That is not conservatism; it is profligacy using conservatism as a mask.

Today it is conservatives, not liberals, who talk with alarming bellicosity about making the world “safe for democracy.” It is John McCain who says America’s job is to “defeat evil,” a theological expansion of the nation’s mission that would make George Washington cough out his wooden teeth.

This kind of conservatism, which is not conservative at all, has produced financial mismanagement, the waste of human lives, the loss of moral authority, and the wreckage of our economy that McCain now threatens to make worse.

Barack Obama is not my ideal candidate for president. (In fact, I made the maximum donation to John McCain during the primaries, when there was still hope he might come to his senses.) But I now see that Obama is almost the ideal candidate for this moment in American history. I disagree with him on many issues. But those don’t matter as much as what Obama offers, which is a deeply conservative view of the world. Nobody can read Obama’s books (which, it is worth noting, he wrote himself) or listen to him speak without realizing that this is a thoughtful, pragmatic, and prudent man. It gives me comfort just to think that after eight years of George W. Bush we will have a president who has actually read the Federalist Papers.

Most important, Obama will be a realist. I doubt he will taunt Russia, as McCain has, at the very moment when our national interest requires it as an ally. The crucial distinction in my mind is that, unlike John McCain, I am convinced he will not impulsively take us into another war unless American national interests are directly threatened.

“Every great cause,” Eric Hoffer wrote, “begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.” As a cause, conservatism may be dead. But as a stance, as a way of making judgments in a complex and difficult world, I believe it is very much alive in the instincts and predispositions of a liberal named Barack Obama

New Damien Hirst work


‘Investment Banker in Formaldehyde’

Hear John Seddon Speak

This autumn John Seddon will be speaking at three exclusive events. He will outline how Systems Thinking leads to better results and improved morale. It is your chance to hear from the man who developed the Systems approach to service organisations or perhaps it is your opportunity to encourage someone who needs to develop curiosity about Systems Thinking. The dates and locations are as follows:
  • Tuesday 4th November 2008 – 9.30am – 12.30 pm

The Conference Centre Buckingham

  • Tuesday 11th November 2008 – 9.30am – 12.30 pm

IMI Conference Centre & Residence, Dublin 16

  • Wednesday 26th November 2008 – 2.00pm – 5.00pm

Waterton Technology Centre, Bridgend

The cost is ONLY £95+VAT/€125 per delegate, to cover the event costs plus delegates will also receive a free copy of either John Seddon’s ‘Freedom from Command and Control’ or ‘Systems Thinking in the Public Sector’ book.


Places are limited and are on a first come first served basis so to reserve your place(s) please e-mail info@vanguardconsult for a booking form.


Titanic
























Sinfest's view of the banking disaster.

More Sinfest at www.sinfest.com

Friday, 19 September 2008

Taxpayers' Alliance - Brown's Boasting

Matthew Elliott, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:
"For all Gordon Brown's boasting, his economic stewardship has failed people on every count. Ordinary taxpayers have seen their bills rise and rise but our services have not improved in return. With the credit crunch tightening its grip, it's clear that the country is poorly prepared for tough economic conditions, and it is Gordon Brown who is to blame. He has pursued flawed policies, wasted taxpayers' money and further complicated a government structure which is chaotic and in dire need of reform."

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Oliphant at Yahoo news today

Gordo will deal: BBCNews

On interview with BBCNews, Gordo said:

"we will deal with this irresponsible behaviour"

What did he mean? He is going to legislate against short selling and retrospectivly prosecute the short sellers?

McCain doesn't know where Spain is

Just goes to show, geography is not the US's strongest point.


According to this blog (click title for link) Senator McCain was confused by a Spanish reporter.

When I lived in the US in Detroit, people would regularly remark on my English accent, ask where I came from and on my reply that I came from England would ask: "what language do you speak in England?"

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Gordo - best chancellor? You're having a laugh.

1. I love a good graph, over at Guido's is a graph showing the FTSE before & during Gordo's reign. (link above)

2. The bastard fucked over my pension by taxing growth in fund values.  And I knew what he did at the time he did it - I wasn't fooled at the time, but as stealth taxes go it takes the biscuit.

Look at the graph, he taxed the bits that sloped up, did nothing when they sloped down. The final value is little different from when he took over, so what hav we paid tax for?

And they say he's the best person to lead us through the credit crunch? Clueless. 

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Save the Gurkas

This link is for the No10 petition for Gurkhas:

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to give all Ex Gurkha soldiers and their families who have served our country British citizenship on leaving the service.

Lee Jasper Fisked

What a lovely post by Miss Snuffleupagus.

Hat tip: The Devil's Ktchen

Monday, 15 September 2008

William Rees Mogg loses the plot

Is this a send-up, or has WRM lost it? He suggests that Labour need the "Palin effect" and leadership should be between Ruth Kelly & Harriden Harperson-Dromey. 

Now that would guarantee a big majority for Cameron & Co.


Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator

Here's  a picture showing an ICD like mine installed under the skin, just below the collar bone. In my case, there is one lead from the ICD to my heart.

My ICD is a Vitality2 made by Boston Scientific (previously known as Guidant) The unit has the following parts:
  • Sensors that can detect my heart rate 
  • Microprocessor that controls it
  • RAM for storing data it collects 
  • Capacitors for bulding and applying the shock (this is the reason why an ICD is larger than a pacemaker)
  • Telemetry module that communicates with an external computer for programing
  • Batteries - battery life is 5-8 years, depending how much use I make of it. When the battery is exhausted, the whole thing has to be replaced. 

The ICD has three functions:
1. Defibrillation - this will provide a shock to stop Ventricular Fibrillation (VF).

2. Cardioversion - this will control Tachycardia by providing a smaller shock.

3. Pacing - if my heart rate drops below 40bpm the unit will provide pacing pulses to raise my pulse to 60 bpm.

Function 1 is the main reason I have the unit, since I have gone into VF once before, which very nearly killed me. If the unit ever shocks me it will almost certainly be saving my life in doing so.