It's the terrified wee creature at the end that really makes me laugh.
Oh, yes, and the reminder that NuLabour are imploding...
Thousands of people have marched in the Sudanese capital Khartoum to call for UK teacher Gillian Gibbons to be shot.
Mrs Gibbons, 54, from Liverpool, was jailed by a court on Thursday after children in her class named a teddy bear Muhammad.
She was sentenced to 15 days for insulting religion; she will then be deported.
The marchers took to the streets after Friday prayers to denounce the leniency of the sentence.
The protesters gathered in Martyrs Square, outside the presidential palace in the capital, many of them carrying knives and sticks.
Marchers chanted "Shame, shame on the UK", "No tolerance - execution" and "Kill her, kill her by firing squad".
This is a man who said of Salman Rushdie:"This man not only provoked violence around the world because of his writings, but there were many people who were killed around the world. Forgiving and forgetting is one thing, but honouring the man who has blood on his hands, sort of, because of what he did, I think is going a bit too far."
This is a man who refers to the terrorist murdering scumbags of 9/11 as martyrs:"What would one say if the Saudi or Afghan governments honoured the martyrs of the September 11 attacks on the United States?"
[in response to Salman Rushdie's knighthood]
This is a man who defends the suicide bombers of 7/7 and makes excuses for them:On Monday, Lord Nazir Ahmed, the first British Muslim to be ennobled in the United Kingdom, actually told NPR's Robert Siegel that the London subway terrorists were suffering an "identity crisis."
Labour suck, and the polls are showing it. But sadly I can't get excited about the fact everyone's realised we have a bunch of useless tossers running the country. It's too depressing to think about the fact that we have a bunch of useless tossers running the country.
Gordon Brown's kecks must be like a Mark Oaten midnight fantasy at present.
The Foreign Office is attempting to secure the release of a British teacher jailed in Sudan for insulting religion after naming a teddy bear Muhammad.
Gillian Gibbons, 54, from Liverpool, has been sentenced to 15 days in prison and will then be deported.
She escaped conviction for inciting hatred and showing contempt for religious beliefs, and will now appeal.
The Foreign Office has been in contact with Sudan's government overnight and will repeat demands for her release.
Mrs Gibbons' son added: "I don't want the verdict to lead to any anti feeling towards Muslims."
Foreign Secretary David Miliband has expressed "in the strongest terms" the UK's concern at her detention.
"Dear Sudanese state barbarians,
"In Britain, we have a tradition of protecting our citizens (rather than murdering them using deniable militias); indeed, we have mounted monumentally expensive expeditions for the sole purpose of doing just that. So here's the beef...
"Let our countrywoman go, right fucking now, or we will immediately cease all aid for the next year. This will cost you about £113 million. There will be no relenting and you can just fucking starve: besides, why the fuck the British taxpayers are spending £5.7 million on Governance Support on your mass-murdering, genocidal junta anyway, I just don't know.
"By the way, you know how we are pulling troops out of Iraq? Well, no one wants to be hasty but there are a hell of a lot of people in Britain clamouring for us to 'do something' about the massacres in Darfur. Just saying is all.
"Now she'd better be on the next flight, or we'll get all 21st century weapons tech on your arse."
- Patricia Hewitt
A veteran of Neil Kinnock’s efforts in the 1980s to make Labour a pro-EU party, Hewitt has the government experience as a minister in the UK for almost a decade. She has no further career ambitions in UK politics, and I suspect Gordon would not be wanting to call her back after her troubles with the NHS. She’s currently leading on the Europe parts of the consultation for Labour’s manifesto for a 2009 or 2010 general election. She speaks French too, but she will be 61 in 2009, so that might count against her.
- Charles Clarke
Probably the most pro-EU Home Secretary since 1997, he’s another member of the Kinnock modernisers and is a big beast of the Labour Party that Gordon Brown might be happy to send off to Brussels. His straight talking manner might be a good way to present EU matters to a sceptical British audience. He will be 59 in 2009, and speaks French, German and (Cuban) Spanish. But does he have the stomach for frontline politics any longer?
- Geoff Hoon
A former MEP and Europe Minister, Hoon has been keeping his head down since the Iraq problems when he was at the MoD. He is thought to be a safe pair of hands as a politician and is intellectually sharp, although dour too. He will be 56 in 2009 and while I can’t find details of language ability it’s not in doubt that he can cope in the Brussels environment.
- Charles Kennedy
When Gordon Brown appointed his cabinet he included some non-Labour people: Mark Malloch-Brown, Digby Jones and Admiral West. So what are the chances that Brown could do the same with the nominee for European Commissioner, and go for someone outside the Labour Party? The pro-European Tories (Heseltine, Clarke) are over the hill, but what about Charles Kennedy? He’s the new chair of the European Movement, he’s a like-able and communicative politician, plus it would divide the Lib Dems. He would be 50 in 2009.
- Someone else
Who else could be in the running? From within the Labour Party Gordon could choose one of the discredited Blairites - Milburn for example - but does he dislike the Commission that much? From within the Cabinet then perhaps Peter Hain or Hilary Benn, with their interest in international matters, might be possibles. I cannot imagine any of the younger cabinet members wanting the job - Miliband, Milband, Alexander, Balls, Purnell, Burnham, Cooper. Beyond that it’s hard to know what to suggest.
We know that when you are making a reconstruction of the historic temperature from tree rings, you shouldn't use bristlecone pines (BCPs). This was the advice of the US National Academy of Sciences who observed that these species are thought to be prone to CO2 fertilisation—which is to say that increased growth might be due to more CO2 in the air, rather than temperature. Of course the IPCC doesn't care about this and uses BCPs all the time, most notoriously in the "Hockey Stick" graph. Now, a new paper from Craig Loehle finds that if you don't use any tree rings in your reconstruction, you don't get a hockey stick at all—in fact the medieval warm period looks warmer than the present. This is upsetting to "warmongers" who claim that the MWP was a local phenomenon.
Julien Emile-Geay, a colleague of hockey stick manufacturer, Michael Mann, gave a bravura performance in a thread at Climate Audit, in which he called the Loehle paper "pseudoscience" because, amongst other things, it didn't calculate error bounds. He become rather bashful when it was pointed out to him that none of his colleagues did this either. Nobody seemed to be able to explain how error bounds for this kind of reconstruction should be calculated. Which is odd, when you think about the idea that the science is apparently "settled".
Loehle's approach to calculating a global temperature turns out to have been rather unique. The proxies he used were each calibrated against local temperature to give a reconstructed local temperature record. Then the reconstructed temperatures for each locale were averaged to give a global temperature. This is very different to the way this kind of thing has been done in the wacky world of hockey stick climate science. Here, proxies of different kinds, some calibrated, some not, are aggregated and then some kind of a global temperature signal is looked for by statistical means. The idea is that proxies will correlate in some way with temperatures elsewhere in the world by means of something called "teleconnections". This seems, shall we say, unconvincing.
One of the proxies used in a recent temperature reconstruction was rainfall records. If you're wondering, these are thought to teleconnect to temperature, so you can look for a temperature signal in there. This sounds daft enough, but when you learn that the coordinates of the locations used were not correctly aligned with the temperature data, so that, for example, the rainfall in Philadelphia was compared to the temperature in Bombay, it sounds truly crazy.
However the really amazing, fall-off-your-chair laughing bit, is that this error had also been observed in one of the author's previous papers, and that he had had his gaffe pointed out to him then! And the author? Hockey stick guy, Michael Mann! Who else?
Meanwhile a recent PhD thesis raises important questions about some of the bristlecone pine records. The hockey stick graph is driven by a surge in growth in bristlecone pine trees in the latter half of the twentieth century. One of the most important such records is the Graybill chronology from Sheep Mountain. The new thesis updates these records, but shows none of the growth surge that was previously reported. Unfortunately, no attempt was made to reconcile the two sets of records, but this would appear to kill the hockey stick stone dead. Not that this will bother the IPCC who will, no doubt, continue to use it.
If you've seen Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth", you will remember the long, long graph with the surge in temperatures at the end, which was incontrovertible evidence that the Earth is warming in an unprecedented fashion... apparently. Gore claimed that the graph was from ice core records and that it therefore supported the hockey stick and refuted its critics. Except it wasn't from ice cores at all, it was just a reprint of the hockey stick itself. Yes folks, he made it up.
In the last edition of Climate Cuttings, I reported Tim Worstall's observation that the global warming panic should recede, now that the global economy seems to be following the Stern report's "warmer but richer" scenario, rather than the more unpleasant poorer one. Now Tim has also reported that the whole crisis should be over in a couple of decades because of the rapidly falling price of solar cells. The end of the carbon economy is is sight. Don't do something—stand there!
There is no link between global warming and typhoon activity.
Reports that sea level will rise when the Greenland ice sheet melts are less certain than previously advertised. The glaciers are sitting in a bowl of rock. It has been demonstrated that James Hansen at NASA knew this, but made his scaremongering claims of sea level rise anyway.
According to satellite records, October was the second coolest month on record.
Northern latitudes should be warming fastest, according to global warming theory. Why then is there no warming apparent in the Baltic?
Global warming might thin cirrus clouds and release all the extra heat, according to a new paper.
Smith spent several months in the UK recuperating from his burns before returning to the war. Like the mechanics Burns and Miller, his courage under fire was unsung. As for recognition at home, the British soldiers say that it rarely happens, but they did tell me about one lady who gives them great moral support. They say she writes a handwritten letter to every wounded soldier in 4 Rifles. She writes a handwritten letter to every family of a soldier who is lost. She writes letters to the battalion often.
She is a wealthy woman who sends hundred-dollar bottles of scotch to wounded soldiers in 4 Rifles, and she will even present their medals on 14 December 2007 in the U.K. Who is this lady? She is Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall, wife to the Prince of Wales, the future King of England, and she supports 4 Rifles as their Royal Colonel. One soldier expressed the sentiment of many when he told me, "she’s so busy, yet finds time to handwrite all those letters to our wounded and families." Another soldier told me that she even invited the families to her home.
Devil's Kitchen claims that contributions from trade unions to the Labour party can be seen as just as corrupt as rich individuals laundering their money through other people to make anonymous large donations to their political party of choice.
This is clearly not the case. In fact a union does the opposite: it groups together lots of small donations into one large donation. A corrupt individual splits a large donation into many small donations, which are then funnelled through proxy donors.
49 20 66 75 63 6b 69 6e 67 72 75 6c 65
Trapped in iPod factory. Please send help.
Get your long spoon...
What an achievement. To inspire even mild feelings of sympathy for Harriet Harman, the personification of nannying, politically correct north London Leftism, takes some doing.
Privately educated at one of the country's top schools (St Paul's Girls') she has combined the extreme egalitarianism that ends up inflicting inner-city comprehensives on poor children - thus denying them the chance of the good start in life she enjoyed - with an unrelenting high moral tone. Unblinking and unyielding, Harman is quite exceptionally annoying.
UKIP hadn't been on Question Time for 8 months, whereas in the same time, Peter Hain had been on four times, Ming Campbell four times, the token ethnic lady from the Tories was on again and again, a historian was on 4 times, there were 8 Daily Mail journalists on, and the same faces popping up again and again. The producer on QT said that they were 'booked up until Christmas' but after an angry phone call from the party, a reluctant Jenny Parks, who used to produce a sunday TV programme which UKIP were never invited on, said there was space for Nigel Farage this evening. Interestingly, they had not confirmed the panel for this evening until earlier today.
I hear that the producer refused to speak to him all evening and Dimbleby himself was very off hand, when previously he had been pleasant. I was not the only one to notice the was that Nigel was very much slighted by the BBC in what they clearly wanted to be a party political broadcast by the Labour Party. Why else would they have two Brown supporters on, including the nasty Paul Myners who donates money to the man who robs your old age and of course is a trustee of the Smith Institute.
An Indonesian fisherman who feared that he would be killed by tree-like growths covering his body has been given hope of recovery by an American doctor—and Vitamin A.
Dede, now 35, baffled medical experts when warty "roots" began growing out of his arms and feet after he cut his knee in a teenage accident.
After testing samples of the lesions and Dede's blood, Dr Anthony Gaspari of the University of Maryland concluded that his affliction is caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), a fairly common infection that usually causes small warts to develop on sufferers.
Dede's problem is that he has a rare genetic fault that impedes his immune system, meaning his body is unable to contain the warts.
The virus was therefore able to "hijack the cellular machinery of his skin cells", ordering them to produce massive amounts of the substance that caused the tree-like growths known as "cutaneous horns" on his hands and feet.
David Grossman has uncovered more about the reason Harriet Harman was so keen to accept money from
David AbrahamsJanet Kidd. She is in debt up to her very pretty eyebrows. Her campaign overspent to the extent that next week she is holding a fundraiser in Leicester Square, billed as "This is the last opportunity to raise funds towards the cost of our very successful campaign. Places are limited and tickets are available strictly on a first come first served basis.". Tickets are a mere £30. However, that's not the juicy bit.
It turns out that Harriet Harman has taken out undeclared loans to fund her campaign, which have not been declared to the Electoral Commission and the loans amount to a five figure sum. We already knew that she took out a £10k loan at the beginning of the campaign, which she was totally open about. Grossman is alleging that the further loans should have been declared to the Electoral Commission.
This lunchtime I filed a series of 11 questions to the Labour Party - I'm still waiting for a response
Here are the questions:
- How did Harriet Harman fund her campaign for the deputy leadership election?
- How much did the campaign cost to run in total?
- Is the loan for £10,000 pounds from the National Westminster Bank taken out on the 3rd October 2006 the only loan she has entered into to fund her campaign?
- Why is she still raising money for a campaign that finished on 22nd June 2007?
- Where will the money go that is raised at the event planned for 5th December 2007 at Sounds Nightclub in Leicester Square?
- If the money raised at this event goes towards settling campaign debts, where are the required records of those debts?
- Did she borrow money in her own name for the purposes of the campaign without declaring it to the electoral commission as a loan?
- Did she borrow money against any assets owned jointly with Jack Dromey for the purpose of funding her campaign?
- Why is Harriet Harman using her office in the House of Commons as a base from which to raise party political funds, in contravention of Parliamentary rules? (the initiation for her fund raiser on the 5th December invites people to send donations to Charlotte Montague at her office at the House of Commons)
- Is Charlotte Montague’s salary paid from Harriet Harman’s MP’s allowances?
- If Charlotte Montague is paid from Harriet Harman’s MP’s allowances why is she working on Harriet Harman’s campaign from Harriet Harman’s office at the House of Commons? Why has she not registered this in the relevant register of interests for MP’s staff?
This is what the Press Association is reporting about a donation from Gordon Brown's chief fundraiser to the Peter Hain Deputy Leadership campaign of, er, £5,000...Work and Pensions Secretary Peter Hain tonight admitted that he failed to register a £5,000 donation to his deputy leadership campaign by Labour's new chief fund raiser. Mr Hain blamed an "administrative error" for the failure to inform the Electoral Commission of the donation by Jon Mendelsohn. "In the light of recent events, it has come to my attention that a donation from Jon Mendelsohn to my deputy leadership campaign was mistakenly not registered with the Electoral Commission," Mr Hain said in a statement. "Jon Mendelsohn made a personal contribution of £5,000 at the end of June 2007. We wish to make clear that this was entirely an administrative error on the part of my campaign. "I very much regret that the donation was not registered as it should have been and I am taking immediate steps to do so." Mr Mendelsohn, who was not the party's fund raiser at the time, is already facing calls for his resignation after the disclosure that he was aware two months ago of the proxy donations to the party made by property developer David Abrahams.
The question Mr Mendelsohn will need to answer is this: was it truly a "personal" donation?
It says an awful lot about NuLabour that not only are we none of us particularly surprised at these allegations, but also that most people will not expect her to be charged either. She should be: she and her husband are patently lawbreakers and should be put on trial and then, if guilty, taken out and shot in the back of the head.
So irrevocably grubbied has the village of Westminster become under the tenure of NuLabour that I suspect that many people will not be unduly surprised if she keeps her job. People like myself would be truly amazed if she were to end up in the dock beside her husband.
Jack Dromey claimed that he was the victim of “complete concealment” as Labour’s treasurer faced questions yesterday over how, for the second time, he had remained ignorant of hidden donations.
Mr Dromey was pitched into the row over David Abrahams when it was revealed that his wife, Harriet Harman, had taken money from Mr Abrahams through an intermediary.
Ms Harman insists that she did not know that the £5,000 she received from Janet Kidd had, in fact, come from Mr Abrahams, a Newcastle-upon-Tyne property developer.
In March 2006 Mr Dromey dramatically intervened in the cash-for-peer-ages affair, insisting that he had not known that Labour had accepted millions of pounds in secret loans, and describing them as “absolutely wrong”.
Mr Dromey, party treasurer since 2004, reprised the phrase when confronted by reporters as he left the couple’s home in South London. “What happened was absolutely wrong. The Prime Minister and the Labour Party have been right to act,” he said. “All parties have a responsibility to ensure the highest standards in public life, and that’s what I’ve always stood for all of my life.”
Fears are growing within the party that David Abrahams, who hid his identity by using four intermediaries, may himself have been a conduit for another mystery benefactor, after senior Labour figures questioned his personal wealth.
Everything about the current story smells. Abrahams' explanation of his behaviour makes little sense. Can he really have gone from being one of the pushiest and most self-aggrandising people I came across to being so afraid of publicity that he chanelled donations through other people? I don't think we have got remotely to the bottom of the Abrahams side of this story.
As for the politicians, I simply do not believe those ministers and Labour officials who have been round the block for all these years who say they do not know Abrahams. It is inconceivable that they have forgotten him: he has a manner one simply does not forget.
If his status as a donor was anonymous and no one knew who he was, how come he was in the front row of Tony Blair's farewell speech?
Make up your own minds whether you call that deceit or forgetfulness. I've made up mine. They know who he is all right; they must do if they have been at party functions. They just don't want to admit it.
Gillian Gibbons, 54, from Liverpool, was arrested on Sunday in Khartoum, and could face charges of insulting Islam's Prophet after her class named the toy.
But one boy said: "The teacher asked me what I wanted to call the teddy. I said Muhammad. I named it after my name."
Let us remember that Sudan has an authoritarian government in which all effective political power is in the hands of President Omar al-Bashir. Bashir and his goons have controlled the government since he led the military coup on 30 June 1989.
During this time it has been the home of one Osama bin Laden, it has territorial disputes with Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Egypt. It has attempted to invade Chad and supports Morocco in its war against the Polisario Front.
But its continuing war in Darfur and Southern Sudan, noted for it brutality especially the actions of the Janjaweed,that have caused the most international concern. It imposes strict Sharia Law and has a terrible human rights record. It is also listed on the US watch list of nations that support terrorism.
So what does wee Dougie do? Well apart from his State visit to Sudan, pledging a further £6 million to support “peace” in Darfur and helping out with the Muslim Live 8 it seems that the ‘Sudanese people’ have been recieving quite a bit of cash from Gordon and Co, not as though they have noticed:
Common Humanitarian Fund Contributions—£35.0m
Contribution to ICRC and NGOs—£30.0m
Support to the humanitarian response in Chad—£6.0m
Multi-Donor Trust Fund Contributions—£17.0m
Basic Services Fund (South Sudan)—£4.0m
Capacity Building in Southern Sudan—£2.3m
Governance Support through UNDP—£5.7m
Promoting Safety, Security and Access to Justice—£4.9m
Support to the Darfur Peace Agreement—£1.4m
Support to UNICEF on Water and Child Rights—£0.8m
Support to local recovery processes—£1.0m
Africa Conflict Prevention Pool—£3.6m
And where does all the loot come from I here you ask and why are we spending more on "Governance Support" than on water?
"I think there are people who are confusing this with an issue of free speech. It’s not an issue of free speech to offer someone a privileged platform from a prestige organisation."
Er, no. This is precisely an issue of free speech, and they’re being invited to speak at a debate on free speech. This couldn’t be more about freedom of speech if it chartered a hundred helicopters, hovered them above the venue, and waved 60ft high banners with the words: "This is about free speech."
27 November 2007
PUBLICATION OF FOLLOW-UP REPORT INTO THE EUROPEAN UNION INTERGOVERNMENTAL CONFERENCE
European Scrutiny Committee calls for Debate in the Commons before the EU Reform Treaty is signed
With two weeks to go before the signing of the European Reform Treaty, the European Scrutiny Committee is publishing a second, follow-up report on the European Union Intergovernmental Conference. This new report concentrates on the Intergovernmental Conference process, the imposition by the Reform Treaty of legal obligations on national parliaments and the durability of the Government’s ‘red-lines’.
In this new report, which follows the Committee's Evidence Session with the Foreign Secretary and the October informal meeting of the European Council, the Committee repeats its earlier criticism that the Intergovernmental Conference process could not have been better designed to marginalise the role of national parliaments and to curtail public debate. The Committee remains concerned that the Reform Treaty may have imposed legal obligations directly on national parliaments in respect of their proceedings, and doubts that the Protocol on the Charter of Fundamental Rights will prevent the courts of the UK from being bound by judgments of the European Court interpreting and applying the Charter.
Chairman of the Committee, Michael Connarty says, "Although the Government has secured the right to ‘opt-in’ in respect of justice and home affairs (JHA) matters it is clear that if the government opt in on any measure ultimate jurisdiction will transfer from the UK courts. There are also new and unquantifiable risks which may be incurred by future decisions by the UK not to opt in. These matters should be debated on the Floor of the House before the Treaty is signed."
Democracy, Mr Brown? Respect for Parliament, Mr Brown?
"Hello, is that the BBC? Out to lunch? What—everybody?"
What Labour tried to do was scupper Tory funding while leaving their own untouched. So long as the Union link remains, attempts by Labour to prevent large scale individual donations are hypocritical in the extreme.
If the original source of the donation is someone other than the individual or organisation that transfers the donation to the party, the individual or organisation making the transfer is acting as an agent for the original donor. Where a person acts as an agent in making a donation, they must ensure that the party is given all the relevant information as listed at paragraph 5.4 (s. 54 (6)). Transferring a donation to an agent rather than directly to a party must not be used as an attempt to evade the controls on permissibility and transparency.
However, yes, this will increase the pressure for State funding of political parties. To which the response is simple.
They’ve proved that they are crooks. You want them to have our money as well?
"I can't stand Labour. I can't stand any politicians."
The Bloggertarian Monitoring Service
A like-minded group of concerned citizens dedicated to the study of arrested development in adult males and the obsessive ahistorical liberalism that many of them tend to promote on weblogs.
This behaviour and belief system is almost unknown outside of this medium.
During normal operation or in Safe mode, your computer may play "Fur Elise" or "It's a Small, Small World" seemingly at random. This is an indication sent to the PC speaker from the computer's BIOS that the CPU fan is failing or has failed, or that the power supply voltages have drifted out of tolerance. This is a design feature of a detection circuit and system BIOSes developed by Award/Unicore from 1997 on.
Diz: "Have you got on to body parts yet?"
DK: "Body parts? No."
Diz: "Who owns your arm?"
DK: "Me, surely."
Diz: "Who decides what your arm does?"
Diz: "So who owns the body that makes your material life?"
Diz: "So it's not an axiom at all."
Sec. 27. Though the earth, and all inferior creatures, be common to all men, yet every man has a property in his own person: this no body has any right to but himself. The labour of his body, and the work of his hands, we may say, are properly his. Whatsoever then he removes out of the state that nature hath provided, and left it in, he hath mixed his labour with, and joined to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his property. It being by him removed from the common state nature hath placed it in, it hath by this labour something annexed to it, that excludes the common right of other men: for this labour being the unquestionable property of the labourer, no man but he can have a right to what that is once joined to, at least where there is enough, and as good, left in common for others.
The "ambiguity" of parts of the European Union reform treaty is causing concern that the UK Parliament is giving away powers, MPs have said.
Private pupils grab top courses
Independent school pupils have increased their hold on places at the UK's 20 most prestigious universities.
The acceptance rate for private pupils applying to Russell Group universities - which include Oxford and Cambridge - rose from 62.5% to 65.6% last year.
That figure, revealed by the Independent Schools Council, is five times the average success rate for applications to the elite institutions.
Only 54% of students at Oxford University and 57% of students at Cambridge are drawn from state schools.
Independent schools have about 7% of the school population - but this rises to 23% of pupils in sixth forms.
Provisional figures for this summer's A-level exam results show that 7% of pupils in comprehensive schools achieved three A grades, but in independent schools 30% of pupils achieved this benchmark.
So you would have let Northern Rock collapse and the British banking system collapse with it? Millions of jobs would have been lost and our economy would have been crippled.
The issue basically comes down to this question: Are fascists entitled to free speech?
Moreover, why should fascists be given free speech when they would, if given half a chance, deny free speech to others?
A shortage of one of this year's must-have gifts is sure to cause tears and tantrums on Christmas morning.
And the children won't be too pleased either.
The Nintendo Wii—a computer games console designed to appeal to adults as well as youngsters—has sold out in shops across the country.
Chains such as Game, HMV, Woolworths and Tesco say they are receiving more stock only sporadically and the consoles are changing hands for up to £500 on internet auction sites - a huge mark-up on their list price of £179.
One thing that [Naomi] Klein does not seem to get is that there is a distinction between self-interest and selfishness. It is quite possible to do something that makes you better off but which does no one else any harm (and in fact may be benefiting them). To my way of thinking, this is not selfishness because that requires you to be causing harm to others. This is no semantic difference, it is key to how operates in practice. While self-interest is rewarded, there are laws to prevent selfish behaviour such as lying, stealing, bribery, breaking contracts and using violence. For the market to work there must be legally enforceable limits to the harm people can do to each others.
Smith might wish us to be entirely virtuous but he knows we’re not. He understood that to try to build a socialist utopia on such shaky foundations was futile and we would be better off trying to turn mans vices into virtues through the market.
IT'S a green light for turning the air blue. Psychologists have discovered that using swearwords makes you more believable.
In a remarkable endorsement for celebrity swearers such as Gordon Ramsay and Billy Connolly, the researchers found that statements peppered with expletives were significantly more likely to be believed than clean versions.
There are plenty of weird things in life. Eyeballs that secrete milk, salmon that travel thousands of miles for a shag, women who can fire ping pong balls from where the sun does not shine. But I think having Bernard Manning who is now dead presenting his own televised obituary has got to be at least up there with hermaphrodites.
Over at the Devil's Kitchen, where nuance fears to tread...
... we are presented with nothing less than the philosophy of liberty [hat-tip] - in a Flash animation at that.
The whole thing starts with one of the most astonishing assumptions ever taken as an axiom:"You own your life"
The great thing about axioms of course, is that technically you don't have to do anything as boring as support them with evidence.
However, anyone who might question this bizarre assertion is immediately warned of the perils with which they flirt:"To deny this is to imply that someone else has a higher claim on your life than you do."
Dash it all, I was all set to argue the point, but now I realise I might as well just fetter myself and be done. What nonsense. To deny this axiom is simply to reject the absurd conflation of ownership with existence. I live my life. I am my life. But to claim that I "own" my life, presumably in similar fashion to the way I own this PC (which I bought), or my copy of Luther Bisset's "Q" (which was a gift) is meaningless.
But it's the second assertion which really highlights a lack of serious thought: there are whole classes of people capabable of exchanging property voluntarily who must not be allowed to do so. Let's just pick one: minors. The kiddies, bless their little hearts.
You see? You thought you lived in a democratic society, which had collectively decided to a) submit to the will of the electorate...
... and b) empower the government to collect taxes to provide a safety net for poor people, but no! You have empowered fine-hatted governmental officials to deprive others of their justly earned property; you have tolerated the initiation of force for your own ends.
What is perhaps worse: you have deprived the poor of their glorious failure, from which they could learn and grow. (The poverty of others is always a noble and inspiring thing, isn't it?)
Success and failure are both the necessary incentives to learn and grow.
Web design is not book design, it is not poster design, it is not illustration, and the highest achievements of those disciplines are not what web design aims for. Although websites can be delivery systems for games and videos, and although those delivery systems can be lovely to look at, such sites are exemplars of game design and video storytelling, not of web design.
Web design is the creation of digital environments that facilitate and encourage human activity; reflect or adapt to individual voices and content; and change gracefully over time while always retaining their identity.
Which web design is like that? For one, Douglas Bowman’s white “Minima” layout for Blogger, used by literally millions of writers—and it feels like it was designed for each of them individually. That is great design.
Over at the ASI, they are posting some of the winning entries of the Young Writers on Liberty. One does not want to put such keen minds off,...