Commenting.


COMMENTING
Due to the move of the blog to Wordpress posts from Jan 2012 onward will have commenting disabled (when I remember to do it)
Cheers - AE

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Mr Eugenides.

Another great blogger hanging up the keyboard, another addition to the Hibernation Room. As usual I hope it's au revoir rather than goodbye, but farewell all the same.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Telly Tubby Bye Bye!!

I'm not a serious gamer, particularly not when it come's to shoot-'em-ups, but I'm tempted to buy Left4Dead just so I can do this to it.



I've always felt that Tellytubbies deserve everything they get, and with Australia's track record of censoring games and infantilising adult gamers (particularly those interested in the Left4Dead series), it might be the right approach for game developers to take with zombie shooters destined for the Australian market.

Say eh-oh and eat lead, motherfuckers!

I'd be lying if I said I was surprised - UPDATED.

I don't have much time to rant at length about the further selling out of what was once the United Kingdom but is presumably now Europe West Zone Two or something, but it's pretty much what I expected as soon as the worthless prick went back on his campaign promise to hold a referendum on the European Treaty. As I wrote more than a year ago, once it was clear that the Irish and Czechs weren't going to the only thing the UK had left that meant it would remain the UK in any meaningful sense was the thickness of David Cameramong's spine.
... Cameron is going to have to grow a set and actually say what he plans to do before the election. I'm sure he's looking forward to that like a cat looks forward to going to the vet, but since the Consititreaty is expected to become law across the whole EU within weeks I imagine Cameron will simply wring his hands and wail that nothing can now be done and if only the country had not voted the wicked wicked Labour government the UK would not have been sold to the Eurocrats on the cheap, so awfully sorry about it but we're not going to have that referendum. I may be 100% wrong about that - I hope I'm 100% wrong and I'm halfway to praying to a God I don't even believe in that I'm 100% wrong - but I can't help feeling that if Cameron was serious about it he'd simply have said that there would be a referendum no matter what.
And of course we all know what the result was: just as expected he wrung his hands and said it was too late and that nothing could be done. Since then we've seen even further concessions made and it's looking more and more like the choice back in May, at least as far as the EU was concerned, was not whether the UK was for or against more integration but whether more integration was to happen quickly, very quickly or very very quickly. Christ, it's not even been a year and the Cobbleition have already extended the European Arrest Warrant and coughed up more money Britain hasn't got to the EU, with commitments for yet more in the not too distant future. So it comes as no surprise at all that more power is quietly being transferred to the EU on the quiet (see Douglas Carswell's blog here, here and here).

So what the hell was the election for? It didn't decide who governs Britain, did it? And what the hell is the government and Prime Minister for? Because as far as I can see it's not running Britain so much as being the PR department for the Civil Service and the EU bureaucrats who really decide how things go in European West Zone Two these days.


UPDATE - The Grim Reaper has noted a particularly astonishing piece of chutzpah on this from none other than the Labour Party in this report from Auntie Beeb.
The PM spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy among others and argued for the 'lowest possible' increase. His plea came amid fears that a 6% rise would cost the UK another £900m a year. Labour has accused him of failing to stand up for British interests.
Something on which Labour are the world renowned fucking experts, though how they've found the gall to actually come out and say that is quite beyond me.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

The times are a-changing.

When I was a child I had more freedoms to look forward to as I grew up. Some were freedoms my parents decided I was ready for, such as crossing the road to the park on my own, riding my bike on the road, going to the local shops, sometimes with a signed note from Mum or Dad asking for a packet or two of Embassy since I was some years off 16 - I doubt many shopkeepers would do that now for fear that it was a local Trading Standards op or even that someone would simply dob them in. For others I was automatically considered ready by the state, such as buying and using my own tobacco, having sex, driving, buying alcohol* and standing for Parliament (which doesn't come with the freedom to do all the rest simultaneously although the behaviour of some MPs may suggest it comes with the misapprehension that it does). It would be a pretty depressing state of affairs if the reality was that you're born free** and then grow up looking forward to your freedom being progressively infringed and eroded, wouldn't it? Nah, surely not... that's just ol' Angry Exile's deeply ingrained cynicism, right?

Wrong, because thanks to a revoltingly authoritarian head teacher there's one neighbourhood here where kids can look forward to losing the freedom of association when they start primary school.
Students at [Osbourne Primary School in Mount Martha] on the Mornington Peninsula have been banned from congregating in groups of more than three in a bid to stop gangs of children teasing and upsetting their classmates.

...

In the latest edition of the school's newsletter, principal Liz Klein wrote that the rule was introduced to stop "gangs of students wandering around the schoolyard teasing and upsetting others for their entertainment".

The newsletter states that students are not permitted to walk around the school in groups larger than three.
What a stroke of fucking genius! Why bother teaching children right from wrong? Why go to the trouble of actually dealing with teasing and bullying as it happens? No, far easier just to ban groups larger than an arbitrarily chosen number in the knowledge belief hope that the problem will just magically go away. Oh, for fuck's sake, where do I begin with this kind of utter fucktardary?

Well, for starters there's the point that some of the parents have made:
The controversial rule ... has been criticised by some parents for punishing the whole school rather than just those students doing the wrong thing.
Quite, and doing so is not simply unjust but fucking lazy, which would be the second point. I can't imagine how the principal can even begin to justify it unless she was to suggest that it's a valuable lesson about what to expect when they're older since governments at every level will take the same lazy route of punishing largely innocent groups of people, and incidentally taking a huge, diarrheic shit all over their liberties - which is the third point - in order to get at a small number of trouble makers. Could this be the idea?

Yeah, I doubt it too. So what does the principal - and am I just being a pedantic pom approaching middle aged fartihood or does anyone else prefer 'head teacher'? - have to say for herself?
Ms Klein told 3AW today that certain students had made a habit of walking around the school in a pack aggravating others.
Certain students, yet Liz's response is a measure targeting all students.
Despite being spoken to by teachers, the students had persisted with their behaviour.
Well stack me, who'd have fucking seen that coming? And now those self same little shits can congratulate themselves for continuing to make their fellow pupils' lives at school just that little bit more miserable than they need be, all thanks to Liz Klein and her policy of don't-know-what-to-do-now-so-punishment-for-all. Fucking hell, Liz, whose side are you actually on here? The poor bloody kids who were on the receiving end are now being bullied by you and the fucking school instead of, or more likely as well as, the original bullies.

Because that's the fourth and final problem, Liz. As well as being lazy, unjust, and authoritarian your policy is going to fail as soon as the bullies work out that they only need to split into pairs and target lone kids, which I suspect they might be able to do faster than you did. You're assuming that in a group of three bullying can no longer take place, and simple mathematics - do you teach that at Osbourne? - should be enough to work out that in such a group two children can still gang up on the third. Fucking hell, woman, that's more or less how democracies function. Another lesson, perhaps?

Yeah, right.


* Yes, I realise this means that they are not really freedoms as such, but I'm in a bit of a rush and a discussion on freedoms, liberties and negative and positive rights wasn't the point of this post.
** If you have now got Matt Munro singing in your heads, I have an idea how old you are.*** And if you think beauty surrounds you as well then I also have an idea that you may be on drugs. Or just bloody lucky.
*** If you also have a cat it knows. Trust me, it just does. And its contempt for you has just doubled.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Unforeseen circumstances.

Blogging will be light to non-existent for a week or two. Comments are also unlikely to get much attention so apologies in advance if anything goes in the mod queue and stays there for days and days on end. In the meantime I'll leave you with this interesting and, for The Age, perhaps slightly unexpected article from titled "Helicopter governments promote an illusion of safety", quoted en bloc and with my emphasis on one particular paragraph.
Here's a way to make driving safer: make it riskier.

A German safety expert recommends we raise speed limits on our roads, not lower them.

Ulrich Mellinghoff, head of safety at Mercedes-Benz, argues that raising the top speed on long stretches of Australia's roads to 130 or 140km/h could help combat driver fatigue.

Mellinghoff's argument is counter-intuitive. It will definitely make driving feel less safe, but it could result in fewer accidents. And it fits in with an increasing body of knowledge that suggests government attempts to protect us are have the opposite effect - making us less safe and, crucially, less able to manage risk.

We've had widely owned, personal transport for more than a century now. And we've learnt a lot about safety in that time. The University of Chicago economist Sam Peltzman famously studied the results of the American 1966 Motor Safety Act that mandated new car safety standards. Instead of making driving safer, Peltzman found, the new standards prompted drivers to be more reckless on the roads, and endangered the lives of pedestrians. Other risk analysts have found the same occurred when seatbelt laws were introduced around the world.

Economists call that ''moral hazard'' - when people feel they are insulated from the consequences of their actions and behave differently as a result.

In 2007, a researcher in Bath, England, attached proximity sensors to his bicycle to see how car drivers responded to his bike helmet use. On average, cars came nearly 10 centimetres closer when he wore a helmet than without. Drivers acted much more dangerously because they assumed the rider was safe. These problems aren't limited to road safety.

The insurance industry is acutely aware that some customers fail to protect their property when it's insured. Bushwalkers venture further away from civilisation if they believe search and rescue will be there to help them.

Researchers have even found the introduction of improved ripcords on parachutes did not lower the incidence of skydiving accidents. Instead, they just encouraged skydivers to pull their cords later.

We saw the moral hazard dynamic play out most dramatically in 2008, as the global financial crisis looked set to sweep away the entire world economy. Wall Street made riskier and riskier financial trades and employed ever more complex and precarious financial instruments because of an assumption, cultivated over decades, that if they got in too much trouble the government would bail them out. It would be bad if they lost their financial gambles. But they wouldn't lose the business over it. They were too big to fail.

Calling a company "too big to fail" is a self-fulfilling prophecy. The marketplace starts to imagine the company is unsinkable and relies on it.

Having bailed out other firms, the market really went into free fall when the US government declined to bail out Lehman Brothers in September 2008, dramatically reversing that assumption.

It wasn't the government's failure to bail out Lehman Brothers that caused the panic. It was implying they would do so, and at the last minute whipping the protective blanket away.

The long-term cause of the financial crisis was the suggestion the government would do anything to protect bankers. The short-term cause was that it didn't.

This isn't an argument against seatbelts or bike helmets. Seatbelts combined with drink-driving laws, education and cultural change have reduced Australia's road toll significantly. But it should be a warning: many of the well-meaning attempts to make us safer are counterproductive, making us more likely to take risks, and less likely to think about the consequences.

There are solutions. In a revolution in traffic management across Europe, a number of towns are removing traffic lights, stop signs, and other road markings. Once eliminated, drivers enter intersections more slowly and more attentively. Instead of focusing their attention on signs, they make eye contact with other drivers. They negotiate. Accidents in these towns have dramatically declined.

The Dutch have been experimenting with "shared streets", where the barriers between pedestrian walkways and roads are eliminated. Again, this sounds abominably dangerous. But when guard railings between the footpath and the road were removed from London's Kensington High Street, accidents fell by 47 per cent.

A spontaneous order emerges when people feel they are fully responsible for their own driving. And it's a safer one than in a traffic management system that tries to push drivers along pre-determined paths, barking orders along the way.

It's like the spontaneous order that emerges in society and markets when people are responsible for their actions. So let's hope risk and reward can be rejoined in the financial sector too.

We talk a lot about helicopter parents who over-parent and insulate their children from the world. The obvious downside of this kind of parenting is that children learn nothing about managing danger.

Perhaps it's time to talk about helicopter governments as well: always hovering above their citizens, ready to swoop in the moment they stray off the safest path.

Chris Berg is a research fellow with the Institute of Public Affairs. Follow him at twitter.com/chrisberg

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Quote of the Week.

Via Jim Fryar, the Real World Libertarian, comes this gem uttered by the CEO of mining company Rio Tinto Iron Ore, Sam Walsh, who is feeling a bit put out that the government now want to wriggle out of the deal on the mining rent tax that it made with his industry before the election.
“If you can’t trust the government, who can you trust?”
Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahaha.

Ahahahahahahahahaha.

Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

It'll probably polish out.








































I'm sure The Daily Mash will be very grateful.

Nadine comes clean?

How the Christ this became newsworthy here I've no idea since I can't imagine that many Australians know or care who Nadine Dorries is, but all the same this appeared in The Aussie.
A BRITISH MP enraged her constituents and her party after letting slip that her blog, which tells people how hard she works, is "70 per cent fiction".

Nadine Dorries, a Conservative MP for Mid Bedfordshire in southern England, made the admission to investigators during a sleaze inquiry that cleared her of abusing the Government’s expenses system but found that she misled voters.
70 per cent fiction? Fancy that.*
According to documents published by the Standards and Privileges Committee, Ms Dorries said: "My blog is 70 per cent fiction and 30 perc ent fact. It is written as a tool to enable my constituents to know me better and to reassure them of my commitment to Mid Bedfordshire.”
Oh, Nadine, you are a dear. If they knew you better they might not have voted you back in, don't you think? And if your blog is 70% fiction then perhaps that's why. Or is because you know that there's more than enough tribal Tory voters in your constituency who would vote for a compost heap with a blue rosette on the top without too much doubt, so they wouldn't think twice about voting for you, fictional blog and fictional second home expense claims notwithstanding.

Baaaaaaaa. Baaaaaaaaaa.

But Ms Dorries later told the BBC that she had been told by police to disguise her movements on her blog, adding that "actually, I think I meant to say it's 30 percent fiction".
And I'd like to think that more than 70% of us should be less than 30% convinced by that.


* No, in every sense.

Friday, 22 October 2010

The Mash takes over The Telegraph?

Quelle fucking surprise.

Pop over to Counting Cats and read this.

Okay, done that? Good.

I have only one thing to add to what NickM wrote there. If you were one of the 26 million or so who voted for one of the three wings of the main political party, the Conlabial Servocrats, and especially either of the two wings who actually ended up running the place in May, then you were either complicit or suckered. Now can you see that they really are so similar that the powers that one lot grant themselves are irresistible to the shites that eventually replace them? The choice is not between what were once distinct parties. It's between statists and personal freedom.

Do please try to remember it in 2015.

One pilot gets it.

If you're my age, give or take, then you might remember when flying was fun. Even into my early teens arriving at the airport felt like the beginning of the holiday. Not any more. These days, thanks largely to a fuckwit in a cave and the spinelessness and paranoia of various governments, it doesn't feel like you're on holiday until you're finally released from the destination airport. Going to your departure airport isn't the beginning of the trip but just the beginning of all the checks and questions and scans you have to go through before they let you squeeze into a space that would make a veal calf claustrophobic. Travelling light is no answer since even with no luggage at all you're increasingly likely to be ordered to take your shoes off. I'd made the mistake of wearing hiking boots the last time this happened to me, and since then I've vowed if I've got the choice I won't fly anywhere again as long as they insist on treating me like a suspect even though in this country it can take a day or more to drive between major cities and well over a week to go from one side to the other.

But of all the insane security theatre in airports now the most window lickingly pointless is putting the bloody aircrew through it. I mean, think about it. You don't need to check to see if pilots have tucked away something they intend to use to gain access to the cockpit for a very obvious reason: it's where the airlines pay them to fucking be anyway. If one of them goes off his head and wants to kamikaze the plane I doubt there's much to stop him. So how many other people are being scanned pointlessly? Well, if the Israeli experience is any guide the answer is virtually everyone. Now one pilot has decided he's had enough of being treated as a suspect as well.
A Tennessee pilot is waiting to find out if he has lost his job because he refused to go through a full body scanner at a Memphis airport.
ExpressJet Airlines first officer Michael Roberts turned up for work on Monday but says he's tired of being manhandled by security agents and went home after deciding he didn't want to be patted down.
Roberts was chosen to go through the X-ray scanning machine at Memphis International airport before getting into the pilot seat to fly a commercial aircraft.
The Houston-based pilot walked off his job after declining to go through the security screening but has said he wants to go back to work.
The 35-year-old says he has an issue with the security procedure because he doesn't want to be 'harassed or molested without cause'.
And good for him. Now if all of us self loading freight can just follow his lead and refuse to accept our unjustified treatment as terrorist suspects by most airports then maybe, just maybe, flying anywhere might stop being the miserable and tedious experience it's become. Vote with your feet and your wallets - it's all they'll understand.

The coming catastrophist mantra.

Warble gloaming could, according to James Delingpole, be circling the drain, and we should get ready for what he calls the next Big Lie: biodiversity. Personally this seems like something I can get right behind for a change. I'm all for more diversity so let's get cracking. I suggest we start by genetically modifying absolutely anything that moves and then anything that doesn't until it begins to move, and we keep going until the bio is so amazingly diverse that people are having to shoot down their breakfast cereal in the mornings after it's smashed its way out of the packet and is flying round the room chasing the cat.
They're grrrrrrrrrrreat.
Do you think Greenpeace will have me?

It's not a little fib, you know.

There are white lies, bad lies and disgraceful lies, but among the worst lies that can be told must surely be to point the police at a man and claim that he raped you. Aside from the waste of police time investigating a non-existent crime the stigma that attaches even to suspected rapists can cost them their livelihoods and even on occasion their lives. It must be a life shattering experience that in it's own way is on a par with rape itself. Do I go too far with that? We're told that rape is above all the exercise of power over someone helpless to resist, that the power is used to humiliate and degrade that person, and that the devastating emotional effects is something that will stay with the victim long after any physical marks have faded, if indeed the victim isn't driven to suicide by the experience. So tell me how the power to ruin someone's life to much the same extent with a simple lie isn't up there with rape? There's no physical attack involved, although if there's any prison time spent as a result of a false rape accusation the victim of the lie will likely enter prison feeling some fear for his life and will be very lucky indeed not to get roughed up, if not literally raped himself. With all this in mind if someone deliberately lies about rape knowing this then I can't honestly say that what they're doing is significantly less malicious and evil than what a real rapist does to his victims, which brings up a question: why the hell don't these liars get jailed more often than they do?

The last time I counted at her blog the admirable Ambush Predator, who feels little in the way of sororal love for fellow females who commit this crime, had well over forty examples of false rape accusations, very few of which had resulted in any jail time for the guilty party and absolutely none of which resulted in a sentence anywhere near what the victim would have got (or occasionally did get) if the false allegation had stuck. So the news that one liar is probably going to jail is welcome.
An office worker who falsely cried rape is facing jail after her lies led to an innocent man being arrested.
Brunette Samantha Merry, 21 ... admitted making up the allegation against a 37-year-old man.
The suspect was arrested at his home and faced a four-month police investigation, with the possibility of a lengthy jail term if convicted.
Judge Anthony Goldstaub QC, sitting at Chelmsford Crown Court, told Merry: 'Sort out your affairs on the assumption you're likely to be sent to prison.'
Merry, of Great Baddow, Essex, was charged with perverting the course of justice on July 14. She pleaded guilty and will be sentenced on November 15.
...
The court heard 235 hours of police time were wasted investigating the false claim before the charges were dropped against the man, from Chelmsford.
Judge Goldstaub said: 'Perverting the course of justice is a serious matter.
'A false allegation of rape - as a result a man is arrested in his home, he spent 15 weeks on bail and there were 235 man hours wasted.
'It has a bad impact on people and affects rape cases all over the country.'
After the case, Chief Inspector Joe Wrigley, of Essex Police, said: 'Justice has been done and I hope it serves as a warning to anyone who would want to make a false allegation.
'There are enough real crimes for us to investigate. The real victims need our support and those who don't should refrain from doing this.'
I agree, Mr Wrigley, but I'd hope that you include the man Merry falsely accused - and kudos to The Mail for not naming him - as a victim as well.

Anyway, that one liar has been convicted and has been told to expect jail, and since perverting the course of justice technically carries a maximum of life imprisonment the judge could in theory impose the kind of sentence that he would have given a man who'd ruined his victim's life by means of rape - this is in no way a victimless crime, remember. However, the bad news is that she won't get anything like it if the judge follows the sentencing guidelines (and of course if he doesn't she's probably going to win on appeal).
General sentencing brackets summarised in Archbold at 28-28 as follows:
  • threatening or interfering with witnesses - 4 months to 24 months.
  • concealing evidence - 4 months to 18 months, possibly longer if serious crime.
  • false allegation of crime resulting in arrest of innocent person - 4 to 12 months.
Four months to a year, meaning in reality two to six months if Merry's bright enough to behave herself inside. That is what she can expect for putting her victim through four months of hell. Four months of living in shame at what others thought of his character. Four months of sleepless nights. Four months of fear of trial and prison for a crime he didn't commit, and the torment that he could expect if it got that far. And even now that's over he'll probably never be able to Google his own name without seeing a few results with 'accused of rape', probably never feel completely above suspicion despite the conviction of his tormentor. And it gets worse when you think about why the sentence is so light - I suspect she's not actually being punished for what she did to him at all, but for what she did to the 'course of justice'. I don't have a problem with that as such, but again I feel a need to point out that there was a real victim here. A real person who will have suffered as a result of Samantha Merry's decision to use her power to sic the police on to him in order to shame, humiliate and degrade him.

The police had their time wasted, and that's wrong in itself, but what about the real victim? Does it seem fair that she may well serve less time than he did on bail? Does it seem fair that a rapist normally serves years (and yes, often not enough of them) for the lives that he ruins but a lie that can create the same effects is punished by serving weeks, and that only infrequently? Does it seem like equality of before the law?

Because it certainly doesn't to me.

Symmetry.

Just as the UK is finding its political parties are more alike than ever, so it is Down Under. A front bench politician is suggesting, apparently in all seriousness, that the High Street banks are charging too much interest on top of the base rate set by the Reserve Bank of Australia. You might think it sounds like a Labor policy but while I wouldn't have put it past them to consider it, control freaks that they are, it actually isn't one of theirs. You might think that maybe, if the Australian Greens are of the watermelon variety, that it's one of their policies, and certainly at least one person in Canberra did.
Liberal parliamentary secretary Don Randall, though, lampooned the idea as one typical of the Australian Greens.

"This is just another one of their ... lunatic fringe-type ideas," he told reporters in Canberra.
But it wasn't the Greens either, although it didn't take them long to point out that they do have a Bill in the Senate intended to do something similar. Unfortunately for Don Randall it was actually said by his fellow Liberal and Shadow Treasurer, Joe Hockey, and so not for the first time I'm sitting here wondering where the fuck some of the Australian Liberals were when the dictionaries were handed out.
Liberal

Adjective
1. Showing or characterized by broad-mindedness; "a broad political stance"; "generous and broad sympathies"; "a liberal newspaper"; "tolerant of his opponent's opinions".
2. Having political or social views favoring reform and progress.
3. Tolerant of change; not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or tradition.
4. Given or giving freely; "was a big tipper"; "the bounteous goodness of God"; "bountiful compliments"; "a freehanded host"; "a handsome allowance"; "Saturday's child is loving and giving"; "a liberal backer of the arts"; "a munificent gift"; "her fond and openhanded grandfather".
5. Not literal; "a loose interpretation of what she had been told"; "a free translation of the poem".

Noun
1. A person who favors a political philosophy of progress and reform and the protection of civil liberties.
2. A person who favors an economic theory of laissez-faire and self-regulating markets.
Just considering the nouns, and in particular the second one, does this clown sound remotely liberal? And if not what the hell does that say about the party's leadership?

Well, I have news for you, Joe Hockey. I don't fucking need you to protect me from my nasty bank, which I don't find all that nasty to be perfectly honest. But if I do feel they are taking the piss I will, being more a Classic Liberal than whatever kind of liberal you pass for in poor light, take my business away and fuck off elsewhere. My threshold for doing this might not be the same as the bloke over the road but when a bank or any other business offers too little value its customers will increasingly look elsewhere. I haven't as yet, but for all I know the bloke over the road already has. This is the self regulating market referred to in definition 2. Your not so liberal suggestion, Joe, verges on nationalising the banks. Oh, not with taxpayers' money but by legislative fiat, by chaining them with more government oversight and by removing their freedom to operate freely as private enterprises. In your desire to jump on the bank bashing bandwagon and appear all 'fair go' to everyone all you have actually achieved is briefly to out-socialist the fucking Australian Labor Party and put yourself out there in - sorry, what did your colleague call it again? Oh yes - the lunatic fringe with the bloody Greens.

So there you have it, folks. Liberal, Labor, Green - similar kinds of authoritarian fucknuts dreaming up similar kinds of ways in which the lives and private business of 22 million people can be run by their little cabal in Canberra.

Fuck you, Joe, and fuck the lot of you up there.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

That's not why he worries me.

Is Obama a secret muslim? Personally I doubt it, though I know many people disagree. Enough people, in fact, that Obama's advisors won't let him enter the Golden Temple of Amritsar, a place of much holiness for sikhs and no significance at all for muslims, in case he gets photographed with the mandatory head covering and millions of Americans - none of whom will vote Democrat while he's President anyway, if indeed they ever would - all simultaneously yell, "That proves it. I told y'all, Godammit. I told ya," and so on. Yes, I'm sure plenty still don't know the difference between Sikhism and Islam, and I'd suggest that they're not all going to be tobacco chewing rednecks since plenty of people think racism and religious discrimination are the same thing (perhaps on Planet Guardian they are), but this whole Muslim thing is getting silly. If I was an American a far bigger issue would be that he's an open Keynesian and a statist, and arguably a socialist, secret or otherwise, to boot - all of which would seem to make him an unlikely muslim anyway.

Buena suerte con eso.

I haven't been to Spain for years but from what I remember of my last visit it seemed that almost everybody smoked. Old, young, men, women. Leather faced labourer types from villages up in the mountains, long legged brunettes in expensive sunglasses holding designer handbags.

Possibly a Spanish baby.

So I'm not sure how popular this is going to be.
The Spanish parliamentary commission passed a bill on Wednesday night to make all bars and restaurants no-smoking zones, bringing Spain in line with the European Union's strictest antismoking nations.
The law is expected to pass the Senate and become law on Jan 2.
And I very much hope that the major effect is that Spain becomes slightly less law abiding on January 3rd.
The current law put in place in 2006 prohibits smoking in the workplace, and workers smoking just outside their office buildings are a common sight.
But that law aimed at cracking down on smoking permitted owners of most bars and cafés to decide on their own whether to allow smoking – and almost all ended up doing so, leading critics to label the earlier law a total failure.
If by total failure we mean that there are still plenty of bars and cafés in Spain because the hospitality industry was able to cater to both smokers and non-smokers then yes, a complete and abject failure. I mean, are they closing up at anything like 30 a week? I don't bloody think so. On the other hand if you think that a law that caters for everyone - smokers, non-smokers and business owners alike - and hasn't been accompanied by a surge in cafés and bars simply giving up and closing down then failure might not be quite the right word.
Those bar and café owners will now lose the privilege, and larger restaurants that still have smoking sections will have to get rid of them. Officials predict thousands of lives now lost to second-hand smoke in Spain will be saved.
My prediction is that the same kind of bullshit stats will be wheeled out in the next couple of years that we've seen before. It'll be the Scottish Heart Miracle all over again, except about a thousand miles due south. I'd bet more people have had 'crushed by donkey thrown from tower' written on their death certificates than have had secondary smoking.

Christ, stop feeding us all this bullshit. If you don't like the smell, and I quite understand that since I'm not a fan myself, just take a couple of steps backwards. Providing you're not standing with your back to a cliff it works just fine. And equally, don't go into the bars that allow smoking. Why is this so bloody difficult?

I can only hope that the Spanish play awkward and tell their government to go fuck itself (I used up most of my knowledge of the language with the title) but failing that I'd suggest they follow the example of some of my favourite bloggers. Smoky-drinky places are the way to go.

Half a million public sector jobs to be kept.

Woohoo, that's grasping the nettle alright. Balls of steel, that David Camer... oh.

So then, can we entertain the hope that we're talking non-jobs here, bearing in mind that only half a million would leave plenty of non-jobs left? Of course not.
■ A total of 17,000 personnel will be cut from the three services. Some face compulsory redundancy, and sources said even bigger cuts in manpower could not be ruled out after Britain left Afghanistan in 2015.

■ The navy's Harrier jets will be scrapped immediately, meaning Britain will have no fully operational aircraft carrier until 2020. A senior navy officer said there was a ''serious risk'' that it ''could cost us lives''.

■ Three RAF bases will close and the planned Nimrod MR4 spy plane (The Age's words, not mine - AE) will be cancelled, despite £3.6 billion being spent.

■ The army will lose a brigade, and 10,000 soldiers will return from Germany in five years.
That's to go along with having two aircraft carriers with no fucking planes and the possible rebranding of the Royal Navy and Fleet Air Arm as Top Gun Taxis for their entry in the Washington and Paris editions of the fucking Yellow Pages. Despite some early promise with some of the quangos (though not remotely close to enough) it's all gone a bit, well, a bit New Labour to be brutally honest. I have little doubt that across other areas similar things will be happening, and that midwives and cops are vastly more at risk of the cuts than administrators and coordinators. Don't believe me? Just check The Graun for jobs. Here's a good one.
Two New Labour bullshit buzzword terms in a single job title, and thirty grand a year. Fuck me dead, it's like Gordon's gang didn't actually lose, isn't it? And look at the job description:
This is an excellent opportunity for an Antisocial Behaviour Co-ordinator to play a key role in developing and implementing our approach to Antisocial Behaviour (ASB) reduction in Stevenage.

You will work with a range of agencies to influence best practice in Antisocial Behaviour (ASB) reduction. You should be able to demonstrate excellent communication and negotiation skills, and have a background in partnership working. This role gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your skills in analysing data and information to inform programmes of work. You will have good project management skills and be able to use these to influence improvements. Your responsibilities will also involve developing a performance management framework and reporting performance to partners.

You should have a thorough understanding of crime reduction and Antisocial Behaviour (ASB) legislation, and of the tools and powers available to local authorities.
What it doesn't explain is why the council feel the need to do this kind of stuff. If antisocial behaviour, or what's being labelled as antisocial behaviour, is legal then there's not only no need to do anything about it but you trample all over ancient liberties if you even try. On the other hand if it's illegal acts we're talking about then it's not council function anyway. That's what the fucking police are for.
We offer a comprehensive benefits package.
Of course you fucking do, you epic cunts!


So six months after getting rid of the most catastrophically incompetent and financially profligate PM in living memory the Unhinged Kingdom still seems as far away as ever from becoming more or less un-fucked. Are we all back in piano-wires-from-lamp-posts mode yet?


PS - the BBC don't seem to be struggling too much either. Nine permanent positions paying £25 grand or more in The Graun's job spot, which I suppose is helped by the unique way the BBC is funded.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Nuclearphobia.

Australia in general and Victoria in particular are chronic sufferers of nuclearphobia, the irrational fear of a form of power generation that elsewhere in the world is used quite safely to supply nearly four fifths of their electricity, and even though there is shortly to be a state election this isn't likely to change. It can be taken as read that the Greens are nuclearphobes but I'm disappointed to see both the main parties ruling it out as well.
VICTORIA will remain a nuclear-free state, regardless of who wins next month's state election. Nuclear power is not needed in Victoria because it is expensive, dangerous and obsolete given the state's abundance of energy options, say Premier John Brumby and Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu.

A Committee for Melbourne study reported in The Age yesterday called for nuclear power stations to cope with growing electricity demand and to reduce carbon emissions.
Great, just fucking great. And what the fuck do you propose to use to keep the fucking lights on, John? It's not going to be bloody unicorn tears and fairy wishes, is it?

Close, very close.
He said his government was focused on renewable energy.
And I'm sure that Big Eco, having many of its renewable fingers in various taxpayer funded subsidy pies, is just fucking tumescent to hear it. As, of course, are the coal mining and oil and gas drilling mobs, because they know what John Brumby isn't saying, which is that for the majority of the time when renewables aren't supplying you have to produce power by conventional means, i.e. burning coal, oil and gas. Worse, when your renewables are something as intermittent and unreliable as wind you need to keep the conventional generators spinning even though they're not producing electricity just so they can take over at a moment's notice. How do you think they're kept spinning? Yep, by burning coal, oil or gas.

Now for parties that believe the warble gloaming weather gods are angry with us, as both Liberals and Labor seem to, the solution to all this carbon emitting-ness would appear to be a simple one: go nuclear. Even if you are, like me, a sceptic nuclear is a good option but if you're a warmist, or at least a warmist willing to retain modern living standards, it ought to be at least part of the answer to your prayers. And as The Age said they're not the only ones who believe both in the carbon dioxide problem and the nuclear solution:
SERIOUS consideration should be given to building nuclear power stations in Victoria within decades to cope with growing demand for electricity and the need to slash carbon emissions, a report by a business think tank says.

...

Committee for Melbourne chief executive Andrew MacLeod said if Melbourne was to cope with the serious infrastructure problems it faced over coming decades, there needed to be a ‘‘serious examination’’ of options such as nuclear power.

‘‘We need to take the emotion out of this [nuclear power] debate and put the logic back in,’’ he said. ‘‘Right now we rule out nuclear, don’t even talk about it. We need to have a serious discussion.’’
I'm going to leave out discussing some of their other ideas (such as road charging) for another day, but when you boil it down I'm absolutely with them on nuclear power: we need to strip out the emotion and have an adult discussion.

Unfortunately we haven't got adults leading the discussion. We've got fucking politicians.
But Mr Brumby said yesterday: ''Nuclear power is expensive, there are some risks with it and we have had a long-standing policy in Victoria about a nuclear-free state.''
Oh, Jesus. I hardly know where to start.

Yes, it is expensive but the same applies to renewables, much less all the untested and immature technology that is being touted as the fix to make the angry weather gods calm down. And Christ, any big infrastructure project is expensive. You buggers have committed Victorians to a large and incidentally energy hungry desalination plant in Wonthaggi at a cost of $4 billion plus ongoing costs, but that expense was deemed less important than guaranteeing Melbourne's future water supply. Why isn't the same thinking applied to energy? You took a punt on desal at Wonthaggi despite the risk that the drought might break and fresh rains would begin refilling the dams and reservoirs, and of course sod's law that seems to be what's happened now we've all been committed to the bloody thing. But with energy it's not like you're going to get lots of electricity just drop out of the fucking sky over Melbourne.

Yeah, okay, but it's not exactly easy to recharge my phone with it.

Alright, what about these risks that the Great Leader Premier is so concerned about? Yes, nuclear energy is not 100% safe, but then not a lot is absolutely risk free and as this table shows when compared with other forms of power generation nuclear has actually got a bloody good record:

Now that table is from an industry website and might not be completely impartial (I admit I haven't checked the sources mentioned - I've got a bit too much on my plate right now) but even assuming they're off by a factor of ten it suggests that the nuclear power industry is no more dangerous than natural gas, which certainly isn't viewed as too dangerous for Victoria despite incidents like this:
The 1998 Esso Longford gas explosion was a catastrophic industrial accident which occurred at the Esso natural gas plant at Longford in the Australian state of Victoria's Gippsland region. On 25 September 1998, an explosion took place at the plant, killing two workers and injuring eight. Gas supplies to the state of Victoria were severely affected for two weeks.
No doubt Brumby and his fellow nuclearphobes are concerned about the potential for an incident such as Windscale or Chernobyl that causes casualties and deaths in the wider population. Fair enough, although Windscale wasn't a civil industry power reactor but made for weapons production, and that was also a feature of the Russian RBMK reactor design used at Chernobyl. Nuclearphobes should also note that both designs lacked a proper containment structure and are therefore not reactors that anyone with even a shaky grip on sanity would construct anywhere in the world today. Since any discussion of nuclear power in a currently non-nuclear state should only revolve around designs which you would construct we can surely ignore both. So what about the popular reactor designs, the Light Water Reactors? The worst accident involving an LWR, actually the pressurised water variety, is of course Three Mile Island, and while I'm sure that the only things relaxed during that event were a lot of sphincters the number of dead as a result of the accident has been estimated as less than one.* You probably wouldn't choose to copy exactly that design for a modern power reactor in Victoria either, but it's a fair point that like Chernobyl and Windscale people outside the plant itself were put at risk. And of course that never happens with natural gas, does it?
Medical student in horror gas explosion.
Ah. Yes, as per that table above, fatalities involved in natural gas use are about 85 per Terawatt-year and, unlike the 8 (8!) for nuclear include members of the general public.

So risk wise I'd call that honours even, if not a win for nuclear since the next generation reactor designs include passively safe and even inherently safe designs. Has natural gas moved on in the same way? We've been using it a lot longer and are pretty aware of the risks, and yet still people die. Possibly we've hit or are nearing the buffers for safety in gas at a time when nuclear, already being no less safe than gas if we're being very pessimistic about it, and probably actually better, is getting safer still. The only other risk is terrorism, and aside from the fact that the only terrorist attack on a reactor I've ever heard of was carried out not on the orders of some cave dwelling fucknuts but by a member of the fucking Green Party of Switzerland you could make a pretty convincing case for paranoia about almost any form of generation. We worry about terrorists getting their hands on nuclear material - although again, new designs may use nearly all their fuel and solve both that problem and the long term waste storage issue - but gas based bombs can and have been used by terrorists too. That's no more going to stop gas production than the fact that now and again there are accidents which kill and injure people. Hydro failures can be hugely destructive. Christ, the Yanks have been so worried about someone blowing themselves up on the Hoover Dam they haven't allowed trucks to cross it for ages and have just finished a snazzy new bridge to deal with the problem. Do we worry about building dams? Well, actually yes we do, but we're fucking adult about it and just do what we can to work out all the risks in advance and design to minimise or mitigate them. Plane crashing into the containment building? Just fucking test it, man!



So why is it that so many governments, including Victoria's, seem congenitally incapable of this sort of testing and risk management when it comes to anything involving the word "nuclear"? A rational look at the issues of costs and risks shows nothing that can't also apply to other forms of generation and even other large infrastructure projects, though I accept that rational looks at the nuclear option from a politician may be pretty rare events. But perhaps it's John Brumby's last justification for continuing to piss about with windmills while burning hydrocarbons and emitting the CO2 that we're supposed to fear so much. Remember what he said?
... we have had a long-standing policy in Victoria about a nuclear-free state.
The favourite excuse for avoiding progress. This is how we've always done it and we're not prepared to change. Remind me, John. How many years did mankind eat raw meat caught with sharpened sticks and bits of flint, and did anyone think the length of time we'd been doing it that way was a reason not to master fire and eventually invent supermarkets and ovens? Would you have had us still setting traps and cooking in fire pits? Would you even be advocating avoiding this new fangled, hot, orangey, wavey stuff that makes the meat go brown and taste different? Of course you bloody wouldn't. So why, aside from competing for part of the Green vote, do you continue this childish hysteria about nuclear power?

Still, why should you be worried when the tool you're up against in next month's election is actually saying the same thing? It's not like you're at risk of losing because of the Liberals' sensible energy policy.

'Kinell!


* A similar claim has been made in the New England Journal of Medicine here. It's here, but only for subscribers. However, I got part of the relevant section with a Google search: "If we take a figure of 5000 person-rems per cancer, the accident at Three Mile Island caused less than one cancer.").

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Ali D is at it again.

Via the Ambush Predator, it's Ali fucking Dizaei again.
The Crown Prosecution Service had asked that three-times married Dizaei be ordered to pay their £64,500 bill for the four-week hearing earlier this year.
But despite owning three homes worth a total of £1million, playboy Dizaei – who had expensive tastes in women, cars and clothes – said he was virtually penniless and able to pay only a tiny amount.
Oh, bloody shame. Well, I suppose he is inside and not earning, but he could always sell one of the houses, yes? I mean, it's not like he hasn't got a roof over his head courtesy of the prison service at the moment and it would still leave two homes for his family. So, job done then.
Of course not.
After considering his case, Southwark Crown Court ordered that he pay £750 plus VAT towards the prosecution costs.
He must have been pissing himself all the way back to his cell. The location of his 5 figure libel payout is a mystery and he may yet get more bloody money out of the taxpayer if the prick can make this stick, but as JuliaM points out there's not much to suggest he'll be told to tap into either to make up more than 750 quid.

I'm inclined to call him a despicable cunt, and in fact I will, but it should also be said that the system has developed in such a way that it encourages the Ali Ds of the world to play it. Ali D happens to play it pretty well, and by extension he's playing everyone else for fools. Something else for Dave and Nick's Cobbelition to sort out, eh?

Yeah, right.

It'd probably be my first thought too.

About a 78% chance, I'd say.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

"Is it coz they is ethnic?"...

... asked Mrs Exile jokingly, wondering if the race card might get played over this. And of course she knows as well as I do that the answer is no, it's because they're fucking troughers. In any case I'm not sure the race card will be played since these three have avoided court despite police investigations into at least two of them, while one black peer, one white peer and four white MPs are all facing trial in the coming months, and so that's a bit of a shame. On those numbers you couldn't really make a good argument that those of Indian/Bangladeshi extraction are being treated any differently except to point out that if anything their situation is more favourable, so claiming unequal treatment on race grounds could easily be remedied by allowing their cases to be heard by juries as well. Suspension from the House beats a trial and possible jail, so the prudent course for them would be to avoid making too many waves and cross their fingers that they don't have to give it all back.

Heretic!

I wish I could say this was a surprise but I'd be lying if I did. Professional apostasy in the British educational establishment seems nigh on unforgivable, particularly if you compound the sin by exposing what's wrong to the outside world. Hopefully Katharine Birbalsingh will find a job at a school which doesn't need to fear her for this, if there are any like that left in Britain.

Warble gloaming.

Six inches of it just fell on Victoria.
IT WAS snow time in spring across Victoria yesterday. The cold snap dumped snow as low as 500 metres above sea level, with falls reported in areas including Mount Dandenong, around Ballarat and the ranges north-east of Melbourne.

Kinglake general store's Linda Hamer said snow began to fall at about midnight on Friday, blanketing the town ravaged by last year's Black Saturday bushfires and forcing road closures.

''It was amazing,'' Ms Hamer said. ''Australia's a strange country sometimes.''

Advertisement: Story continues below
Kinglake Central farm manager Sue Rabjones said the snow was like a ''white wonderland''. ''It's quite beautiful. It was about five to six inches deep in some places,'' she said.
Of course weather is weather and not climate, and to their credit The Age managed to get through the whole article without a mention of carbon dioxide, AGW, CACC, or whatever is this week's term for the idea that we've angered the weather gods. Since every type of slightly unusual weather these days seems to be the fault of someone with a Range Rover or who flew on holiday or who doesn't get their electricity from a company with a lot if industrial bird mincers, and since the Fairfax group believe this enough to have collaborated with the WWF to invent Dirt Hour, I have to say I'm surprised. Perhaps they're struggling to link climate change supposedly driven by CO2 forced warming with unseasonable snow falls, and to be fair that must be becoming an increasingly tough sell, but maybe they're going to start applying weather ≠ climate across the board now. Time will tell, and so despite the discomfort I'm hoping we get a run of four or five 40˚ days just to see how The Age report it (and I hope I remember to check). Perhaps I'm being unfair but I'm anticipating a return to form.

Nannying twats.

.
The Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) will announce that dozens of new powers are to be handed down from Whitehall to local authorities, including strategies to tackle vandalism.
On the one hand I like the idea of power being devolved to a local level and think there should be rather more of it. On the other hand since this idea still involves a business being unable to set its own prices according to its needs it doesn't go nearly far enough for me. In fact since, as far as I'm aware, the current situation is that a business may set its own prices for whatever reasons it chooses this idea is actually the opposite of devolution. Deciding what to charge is to be taken away from the individuals and businesses who currently have it and placed in the hands of the lowest tier of the state. The councils, of course, are on the end of a set of financial strings held by central government, which in turn is lead by a Mr David William Donald Cameron, a nannying cunt of the first ordure.
Among the most eye-catching is the new power to put a stop to cheap alcohol offers at supermarkets if such deals seriously undercut prices charged at local pubs.
David Cameron has already voiced his support for stopping supermarkets selling what he described as "20 tins of Stella for a fiver".
Did the UK get a change of government or did I fucking dream it? Look, Dave, you illiberal fucktard, it was always cheaper to buy booze in the shops than the pubs which strongly suggests that it wasn't the price of beer that people went to the pubs for in the first place. It was the social aspect, not beer as such but beer and good company, that kept pubs selling booze for more than the supermarkets. This lasted right up until a wedge was driven into all the social groups, dividing them into those who smoked and were not welcome and those who didn't and were. I neither drink nor smoke but I socialise with people who do, and guess what - because of the same authoritarian legislation here this socialising never ever happens in a pub. The state government thinks it has made the pubs a friendly environment for me, but I don't call the sitting with a few fellow non-smokers and an over priced coke while the smokers are temporarily banished to the car park "friendly". The last government in the UK made the same mistake and yours, Davey, seems determined to blow the opportunity to fix it.
In July, the Coalition government said it was to publish a consultation paper including proposals to ban shops selling alcohol below cost price.
The following month, the Prime Minister backed plans by 10 councils in the North West to create a by-law making it illegal to sell alcohol for less than 50p a unit.
He said at the time: "I think the idea of the councils coming together on this is a good one and we will certainly look at it very sympathetically."
And what the fuck's it got to do with you if someone does sell at under 50p per unit or even offers twenty cans of Stella for a fiver (if indeed that's ever happened)? In your nanny shaped mind the person buying it can only want to chug the whole lot in one sitting, while the reality is that many would be buying for a party where ten or twelve people would have one or two each of those twenty cans, and others simply want to buy a lot of beer in one go for consumption over a long period. Nearly every Aussie I know buys their beer in 'slabs' but not one ever drinks it all in one go. Yes, some do have too much and cause problems, but if you told the police to stop fucking twittering about it long enough to make some fucking arrests and the courts to actually deal effectively with drunken troublemakers you wouldn't need to concern yourself with other people's private transaction. But because Dave thinks the irresponsible few who do get absolutely shitfaced are representative of everybody who buys alcohol there must be no promos and no bargains for the responsible majority. Ain't that right, Dave? So if I were to buy beer for guests in a UK supermarket - beer I have no intention of drinking myself - I have to be charged a higher price because you assume I'm going to drink it all and be an obnoxious drunken pain in the arse, and getting ripped off somehow makes up for that.

Well, fuck you, Dave, fuck you very much. The irony is that the whole fucking thing might well be illegal anyway.
The new move is likely to require a change in legislation -as current competition laws ban discrimination against suppliers who can offer goods at the cheapest price.
Good luck with that, because you might actually have to grow balls and stand up to the EU. Every cloud has a silver lining, and in this case I hope it's getting to watch you twisting on the horns of a quite unnecessary dilemma.

Anna Raccoon

I was only an occasional reader of Anna Raccoon and I know I'm rather late to this, but all the same I thought I'd chuck in my 2¢ on her being driven from the blogosphere. I'll be brief and paraphrase Jonathan Swift:
When true genius has appeared you will know her by this sign: that all the dunces are in a confederacy against her.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

In everybody's dreams.

One of xkcd's best.

More light blogging this weekend.

Due in part to more comment system aggro. It never rains but it pours, and incidentally it's been doing quite a great deal of that here as well across large parts of the eastern states. Needless to say, Australia being Australia, this is a reason for something horrible to emerge and try to sting people to death.
This week's deluge has produced an unwelcome side effect at some popular bayside beaches - a potentially deadly threat lurking in the shallows.

Queensland Museum ichthyologist Jeff Johnson said there had been a noticeable increase in stonefish sightings around coastal areas in the southeast corner in the wake of the rain.
Go ahead. Make my day.
This ugly little critter goes by such less than lovely names as Synanceia verrucosa and S. horrida (yes, really), and just in case you were wondering, yes they are the most venomous fish in the world. Of course - this is Australia we're talking about, never one to come second in things-that-want-us-all-dead.
Stonefish are so well camouflaged they can go completely unnoticed, until the moment they are stepped upon. They then inject the victim with a toxin that causes crippling pain and, in extreme cases, death.

...

Mr Johnson said the stonefish were more likely to be found on beaches "where there will be children paddling and people swimming and so on".

...

"They're quite sluggish, they sit on the bottom and if they're disturbed they'll erect their dorsal spines and if you're walking around in bare feet, you're likely to cop a number of those spines.

"They have venom sacs at their base and, if you stand on them, the venom sacs are depressed and the toxin shoots up the spine and into the wound.

"It causes excruciating pain - excruciating is probably the best adjective I could use."
And occasionally it kills you. Happily the nearest one to me is probably in Melbourne Aquarium. That just leaves the snakes and the spiders and everything else to worry about.

I'll see if I can blog on something less horrifying tomorrow if nothing has crawled out of the toilet and kil-AAAAAAAAAAAARGH get it off me, get it offffffff.....

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Light blogging...

... more likely none at all 'til the weekend. Might get round to leaving a few comments here and there though.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Inevitability redux.

Back in March I quoted a bit of The Daily Mash's spoof article on traumatising lessons inspired by the real life staged shooting 'role-play' lesson at a school in Evesham, Worcestershire. At the time I said that Cracked.com probably had already pencilled it in for a place in Seven Terrifying Lessons Your Child May Be Taught In A British School, and then promptly forgot all about it. In my inbox today was an email from a rellie back in the UK who, knowing I have a chuckle about this sort of thing, sent me this link to a Cracked article titled, '8 Real Grade Schools That Went Completely Insane'. From #7 on their list:
Sometime around March this year, children ages 10 to 13 at the Blackminster Middle School in Evesham were rushed into the playground for what they assumed was a fire drill, when a masked gunman appeared out of nowhere and "shot dead" a popular science teacher.
Well, I wasn't far off. Incidentally, British schools are also at numbers 4, 3 and 1 on the list, meaning that they outnumbered the combined efforts of the USA and Australia's sole entry (#5 - locking up the special needs kids in a pen) by two to one.

Kind of makes you proud, doesn't it?

Inevitability redux.

Back in March I quoted a bit of The Daily Mash's spoof article on traumatising lessons inspired by the real life staged shooting 'role-play' lesson at a school in Evesham, Worcestershire. At the time I said that Cracked.com probably had already pencilled it in for a place in Seven Terrifying Lessons Your Child May Be Taught In A British School, and then promptly forgot all about it. In my inbox today was an email from a rellie back in the UK who, knowing I have a chuckle about this sort of thing, sent me this link to a Cracked article titled, '8 Real Grade Schools That Went Completely Insane'. From #7 on their list:
Sometime around March this year, children ages 10 to 13 at the Blackminster Middle School in Evesham were rushed into the playground for what they assumed was a fire drill, when a masked gunman appeared out of nowhere and "shot dead" a popular science teacher.
Well, I wasn't far off. Incidentally, British schools are also at numbers 4, 3 and 1 on the list, meaning that they outnumbered the combined efforts of the USA and Australia's sole entry (#5 - locking up the special needs kids in a pen) by two to one.

Kind of makes you proud, doesn't it?

Monday, 11 October 2010

Nuclear missive.

As it's been more than ably covered by WUWT and James Delingpole I'm a bit late to this, I know, but there is one aspect to Hal Lewis's superb resignation letter to the American Physical Society I want to draw attention to, and that is its timing. The very same weekend the 10:10 mob had intended to launch their little promo movie in which anyone displaying scepticism or apathy to The Cause is summarily executed by being exploded, a respected physicist writes such things as:
When I first joined the American Physical Society sixty-seven years ago it was much smaller, much gentler, and as yet uncorrupted by the money flood (a threat against which Dwight Eisenhower warned a half-century ago).
And:
... the money flood has become the raison d’être of much physics research, the vital sustenance of much more, and it provides the support for untold numbers of professional jobs. For reasons that will soon become clear my former pride at being an APS Fellow all these years has been turned into shame, and I am forced, with no pleasure at all, to offer you my resignation from the Society.
And:
It is of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist.
And:
I don’t believe that any real physicist, nay scientist, can read that stuff without revulsion. I would almost make that revulsion a definition of the word scientist.
And:
The appallingly tendentious APS statement on Climate Change was apparently written in a hurry by a few people over lunch...
The whole thing is worth a thorough read and tends to support what I've suspected for a long time, namely that there is now so much money involved that the whole field of climate research has become an industry in itself. And like any industry Big Eco moves to promote it's interests, though as the 10:10 film showed it's just as capable of publicity own goals. It's only natural that it will also want to protect them, and we shouldn't forget for a second that 10:10 showed us how that might work as well.

10:10 regret to announce that Professor Lewis
is no longer available for comment.

P.S. - I hope the fact that next month's talks on warble gloaming are (a) being talked down and may not get the same level of government attendees as in the past, and (b) is yet again being held in a beautiful and luxurious tourist resort - and, incidentally, to which nearly all the attendees will presumably fly by magical no carbon emitting aircraft as the citizens of the majority of their respective countries hope for a warmer winter than the last one - isn't being overlooked what with all these resigning professors and exploding children. If you're all very good Chris Huhne might spend some of your money on a postcard.

Bastards!

Red Ed, rich man's friend?

Is Red Ed trying to ditch the 'Red' tag by sucking up to the wealthy and suggesting that child benefit should be available to millionaires? I'm not sure.
Asked whether he would condone handing out Government cash to the super-rich, the new Labour leader said he was against any move towards underminining the universal principal.
Despite the fact that the universal principle absolutely guarantees that people who don't need it will get it. Does that make any sense? Mr and Mrs Nuclearfamily with a full time job each might be grateful for the extra help child benefit brings for their 2.4 kids, though letting them both keep more of what they earn in the first place would be more cost effective and could probably benefit them even more in cash terms. But what will probably boil their piss even more than walking baby factories with designer jeans and fake tits getting it is the fact that everyone on The Sunday Times Rich List is entitled - entitled - to it as well, despite their collective worth being estimated at £335.5 billon. But as far as Ed's concerned that's fine.
"I'm in favour of that yes, and I'm in favour of it because it's a cornerstone of our system to have universal benefits, and frankly there aren't that many millionaires in this country," he told BBC1's The Politics Show.

"Families on £45,000 need child benefit in my view and it's a way that society recognises the costs of having kids."
Kids are not compulsory. Nor are they a right. Would you introduce a BMW benefit as a way of society (by which Ed probably means the state) recognising the cost of having a luxury German saloon? Of course you fucking wouldn't. Governments, left leaning ones especially, tend to look at that decision as an excuse for you to have even more money taken away from you, not to be given piles of money taken from other people. Having children isn't quite a positive choice in the same way that buying a new car is but they don't just show up one morning. Despite the occasional confused use of the term 'accident' for 'unplanned and not properly thought through' having children is something that can almost always be avoided if you don't want them, and so there is still a very large element of personal choice involved. When so many personal choices are something that attracts more tax what makes the choice to have, or at least not avoid, children something you get paid a universal benefit for even if you lose larger sums of money down the back of the sofa?

As for Britain's supposed shortage of millionaires, well, Ed, your mob did nothing to stop the one eyed madman who used to lead your party from chasing as many of them out of the country as he could, but despite that The Sunday Times suggests otherwise. Nor is the precise number that relevant anyway. Does someone with a Roman Abramovich size bank balance need child benefit? Of course they bloody don't, and I highly doubt Red Ed believes they do. But what he undoubtably does believe is that the state should have a role in everybody's lives on a personal, family, and financial level, and that is what universal benefit does achieve.

It's been pointed out that benefits for the middle classes are something of a sweetener to make them feel a little bit better about the amount of tax they pay. That may be true but I suspect there's a little more to it than that. To Ed and his fellow travellers anything that enhances the importance of the state and reduces the relevance of the individual is A Good Thing, and if that means giving money to people who don't need it, having first taken the money off them at gunpoint, of course, then so be it. Making any sense is not the object of the exercise. Making the state the ultimate arbiter is.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Movie News.

Apologies for another video based blog post so soon after the last one but I came across both at more or less the same time. Anyhow, stuff Avatar 2 or whatever is heading for a screen near me this summer, this is a film I'd be interested in seeing.



H/T Thoughts On Freedom.

Vodafone advert.




Some of the Grumpy Old Twat's work.

It's me entitlement, innit?

No it fucking isn't, you self obsessed, lazy, vacuous, over entitled bitch. I've been wanting to blog this but I'm so furious every time I think of you, your smug face, and your apparent lack of any feelings of guilt or empathy towards those being robbed by the state to give you toys and computers for your children, the Mediterranean holidays and, quite incredibly, fucking breast enhancement surgery of all things - much of which is beyond financial reach of many working people being taxed to fucking support you - that red mist has descended and coherence rapidly lost. Still does, in fact, so to avoid leaving further bite marks in my keyboard I'm going to quote en bloc Trooper Thompson, who has remained calm enough to write this:
I try to avoid the comforting rage provided by so many Daily Mail stories, featuring (and I know not why people chose to expose themselves to the public ire) the latest feckless woman and her brood of bastard children she believes are 'entitled' to all the good things in life at the expense of others, but it's not easy.

It is clear that if you reward people for irresponsible behaviour, that is what you will get, and having five children by four different men is the height of irresponsibility. To what extent the policies that have led our society to this place were intentionally aimed at undermining the family is a matter for some debate. It is certainly the case that the Fabian intellectuals of the 'progressive era' saw families as the enemy. It was families that perpetuated all the human traits they held responsible for holding back progress to their promised land, and thus it was necessary to use education and social engineering to get hold of the next generation and inculcate the 'right' ideas. It is also true that this agenda has been helped along by legions of useful idiots and well-meaning philanthropists, unaware of the bigger picture.

The question is; what do we do about it? Taking it as essential to dramatically reduce the welfare state, we are left with the problem of all those hungry little bastards. It is no doubt true that their predicament is not their fault. Neither is it the fault of the average tax-payer, who has heretofore been expected to pick up the tab. At a higher level, without doubt it lies with the social engineers who purposefully and patiently undermined our society, but the fault lies immediately with the parents, primarily the mothers - the fathers also, whoever the fuck they are. The only way we can reduce this problem humanely - and I will not countenance enforced sterility, or other state-imposed limits on fertility, for this is surely worse than the present situation - is to hold people responsible for their actions, and kill the entitlement culture once and for all.

Within any such root-and-branch reform, there must be a separation of those that have paid in and those that have never done so. There may need to be a prolonged period of adjustment, so the welfare junkies can adapt to their new circumstances (welcome to the real world), but whatever happens, we cannot as a society afford to keep rewarding people for their irresponsibility, for one because it is immoral to take tax money from other people who are more responsible, and for two because our society will collapse without the family.
Quite. Fecundity as a career option has got to stop.

Friday, 8 October 2010

The oxygen of publicity.



No time for much of a blog today so I'll let this stand alone. Via The Filthy Engineer I see that EU Referendum is starting a campaign to heap all the shit on O2 that it deserves for its continued support of the 10:10 campaign, producers of the eco-murder video. Admittedly this might seem like I'm going against my libertarian principles but I'm not saying that O2 can't support whoever they like and for whatever reasons, just that the eco-fascists they're sponsoring are people who are more worried (though it seemed not actually that worried) about offending people than the fact that their wet dream of being able to blow up anyone deemed insufficiently enthusiastic would be nothing less than murder. And that, I feel, is an excellent reason to find another mobile phone service provider if you're with O2.

I feel another video might be in order if I have the time over the weekend.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Al Jahom... UPDATED

... where's he gone?






















Suspended animation chamber on standby.


UPDATE - According to the Ambush Predator he's just redecorating the blog. Thanks, Julia.
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