Sunday, 30 September 2012

Something Wrong Here

Around a third of the total Indian population lives below the international poverty line according to the World Bank and the UN say that a third of malnourished children worldwide are found In India. The 2011 Global Hunger Index (GHI) report placed India amongst only three countries where the GHI went up. Thankfully, Britain gives India £280million a year in Aid.

In April, India announced they had developed the long range intercontinental Agni-V ballistic missile able to carry a nuclear warhead It has cost more than £307m to develop.

In today's news, India has announced that it is stepping up its space program with the launch of a new satellite, a proposed mission to Mars and ten space missions by November 2013, bringing its total budget to $1.3 billion.

Something is very, very, very wrong with this picture.

At Home With Frasier, Niles & Daphne

I do like my box-sets but over the last few years i do seem to have worked my way through pretty much all the television shows that i could spend a whole weekend with.
After Buffy, Angel, Red Dwarf, Blackadder, Quantum Leap, 'Allo 'Allo, MASH, Father Ted, Due South, Fawlty Towers and Just Good Friends, there was just not anything else left on the shelf of the buy and exchange shop that i wanted to watch for hours on end. Then Frasier caught my eye.
I never really got into Cheers and was a latecomer to Frasier, must have been around about the third or fourth series that i began to watch it so being able to see the first few series that are completely new to me was quite a bonus.
It does have that mid-nineties feel to it and Kelsey Grammer plays his role very well but to me the star of the show is Niles played by David Hyde Pierce. What a great character, completely dwarfs Frasier.
Although Daphne often mentions that she is from Manchester, that accent sure isn't but i guess to an American ear it sounds English so that is close enough.
What i like about watching programmes that have since stopped is finding out what actors have done since and apart from Jane Leeves turning up on Have I Got News For You a few years ago when her Frasier career was coming to an end, i haven't seen any of them in anything else since.
What i do like about American series over the British is that a series comprises of 22 or 24 episodes while a British series is generally 6 episodes. Apparently the reason is that a British sitcom or drama is written by one or two people while the Americans have a team of writers on their shows so in the entire four series of Blackadder you get 24 shows which equals one series of Frasier.           
David Hyde Pierce therefore joins James Marsters (Spike), Scott Bakula (Sam Beckett), Alan Alda (Hawkeye) and Paul Gross (Benton) in my list of actors that I thought deserved to go on and do more things but sadly faded out of sight after the end credits of the last show of the DVD box set.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

If I Was American

On Tuesday, November 6, 2012, the American public will vote to elect a new President. As i am not American, i can't vote but I am British and we have a long history of telling other countries what to do so i'm going to pretend that i have a vote and look at who i would cast it for if i was American.
I elect Montana as my pretend place of birth, it looks breathtakingly beautiful and it is close to Canada so it shouldn't be too hot in the summer and it snows in the Winter, lots, and i love snow.
So here i am sat on the porch in one of those creaky swinging chairs, wearing a pair of Wrangler jeans, a check lumberjack shirt and ten gallon hat and drinking Jack Daniels from the bottle while watching the elk and moose wandering across the plains and i'm thinking 'Dang, i gotsa vote but whos i gonna vote fer'. 
As Montana is in the top 8 of the least populated states, my nearest neighbour is miles away and it's Saturday so the family is off watching the Montana Grizzlies play anyway so i turn on the Internet for advice.     
After a bit of Googling i come across a blog, Falling On A Bruise, that has a run-down of all the American parties on offer but i see that it's run by a Limey woman and quickly leave. Doggarn Brits, got nothing to do with them but what you expect from a country that doesn't allow their citizens to own guns. If they spent less time trying to tell other countries what to do and spent more time shooting things maybe their Health Service wouldn't need so many death panels. And they can't even spell right, what's with all those extra U's in their words?
Anyway, this election is out of the Republicans or the Democrats but wait a cotton pickin' minute, there are other parties that i could vote for. 
The Constitution Party, Green Party and Libertarian Party all field enough candidates and appear on enough state ballots in the US of A to gain the 270 electoral votes needed so rather than just two parties, it is actually a five party race so why don't we ever hear about those other three?
The Constitution Party came third in 2008 with 199,134 votes while the Greens got 161,603 votes which is about 0.15% and 0.12% of the vote which in a country of 311 million is very poor if they fielded that many candidates.
Maybe they need some rich backers like the Dems and Reps have to run some adverts to make people aware they are around and an alternative to the big 2 who dominate the scene.
I've decided anyway, it's the Socialist Party USA i'm voting for. That will show that Limey varmint at that Bruise blog.
Oh dammit, Piers Morgan is on CNN. Randy, where's mamma's gun, i got me some shootin' to do.

Lesson Learned By America?

What you have to remember while Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu turns up at the UN with a cartoon bomb drawn by a 4 year old, is that there is no evidence that Iran has, or is planning, to build nuclear weapons.
That fact seems to have been purposely overlooked as Israel press America to act and it seems to be working as a poll shows that 84% of Americans believe that Iran already has a nuclear weapons program and 71% think they already have the weapons. If Obama wanted to sell another war to his citizens than he wouldn't have too much of a problem but it seems that Obama is not as keen as Israel to take on the Iranians.
He has foiled Israel's push for an attack on Iran and refuses to agree to Netanyahu's 'red lines' which would lead to military action because he believes that there is 'still time and space for diplomacy'.
If there were evidence, there would be no question that Israel would come to the UN armed with more than a cartoon bomb picture and a red marker but it seems that America is holding back, possibly because they had their fingers burned a decade ago in the same region when they made they went to war quoting the Iraq  WMD program as justification only to find out Saddam was right all along at the cost of  thousands of American dead soldiers, a million dead Iraqi citizens, a bill of over $3 trillion and Americas tarnished reputation.
Hopefully, America, if not Israel, have learned the lessons of the past and are paying attention to the long list of 'no evidence' reports that the IAEA and there own Intelligence are continually providing.
In 2003 an IAEA report states that it found no evidence of activities related to a nuclear weapons program and in 2007 the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate reached the same conclusion a month before yet another IAEA report repeated their no evidence charge. 
In 2008 the IAEA said that all the past undeclared nuclear activities had been resolved and they had no evidence of any diversion of nuclear material for non-peaceful uses while in 2009 The U.S. State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research noted that the U.S. intelligence community has no evidence that Iran has yet made the decision to produce highly enriched uranium. A view confirmed in February this year by American intelligence analysts who believe that there is no hard evidence that Iran has decided to build a nuclear bomb.
There doesn't seem to be much love between Obama and Netanyahu, in 2011 Nicolas Sarkozy was overheard calling the Israeli Premier 'a liar' and Obama replying ‘You are sick of him, but I have to deal with him every day.’
When Nertanyahu requested a private meeting with the American President when he was the country this week for his UN speech, Obama refused and the US UN Ambassador, Susan Rice, was not even in attendance at the UN to hear Netanyahu make his case for attacking Iran, preferring to attend a lunch which should send a very strong signal to the Israeli Premier when even your only real ally ignores you, you are on shaky ground. 
If Netanyahu really believe that Iran is building a nuclear missile and has the evidence then he should present it otherwise Sarkozy is right and he is just plain lying and we know from previous experience that Israel have little conscience when it comes to taking innocent lives, ask the families of any of the 7000 Palestinians killed this century by Israel. 
We can only hope that the recent dismissal of Israeli noise shows a sense that the Obama administration is distancing itself from Israel because it wants nothing to do with a potential attack on Iran and that leaves Israel, already viewed as the greatest threat to World peace ahead of the Iran and the other bogeymen North Korea, sorely isolated and no amount of nursery school level drawings of cartoon bombs will change that.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Americans Won't Get This Post


It always make me smile that the Germans have no word for Schadenfreude or the French have no way of saying rendezvous but i didn't know that the English have words that don't exist in the American vocabulary.
Brilliant, we can talk about them now and they won't know.
No more faffing about with all that daft political correctness crap just to avoid a kerfuffle, if they cant suss out what we are saying then in future then they can bloody well naff off somewhere else. Effing cheek of it.
The Not One-Off Britishisms blog has a list of words and phrases that are relatively unknown in America which we use over here such as cock-up, dodgy and shite which funnily enough were all words used frequently on British blogs during the George W Bush era.     
I would be a proper arse not to take the opportunity to have a laugh at the yankees expense and they would be proper gobsmacked if they knew, they get their knickers in a twist over most things anyway, the plums.  
I have my fingers crossed that there are no Americans amongst us, it wouldn't be clever to bad mouth people directly before opening the comments section where i'm sure someone would want to have a quiet word with me and i'm not keen on that. Nope, don't fancy that at all.
Anyway, good on our mate at the NOOBS blog for doing such a spot on job of making a short-list of the words and phrases that us Brits can use to insult Americans while we pretend to get on with them. 
Have a look at the barmy way they do the date and have knackered the language by dropping the letter u, its a vowel for crying out loud!"   
Hang on, the NOOBS blog says these are all phrases and words that are now being used in America which means they will understand bits of it.
Oh bugger and bollocks.



X-37B Theories

Those Americans Government types are up to something sneaky again, sending a space plane into the sky but not having the common decency to tell us why.    
The US Air Force will only confirm that they will once again launch its mysterious X-37B space plane back into orbit for a third time, but what it will do there remains a mystery, the Air Force only saying that it's job is to 'assure access to space for Department of Defence and other government payloads' which isn't really giving anything away.
In the absence of an explanation, the conspiracy theorists have made up their own and they think that it is either engaging in sneaky surveillance missions or this is a step to weaponising space.
NBC said that 'The satellite can see through night and through bad weather, which means that it can also zoom in to any country with great detail, like a Google Earth on serious Cold War steroids' China though think something much more sinister is afoot.
China's state-run Xinhua news agency said 'Industry analysts said the spacecraft could be a precursor to an orbiting weapon, capable of dropping bombs or disabling enemy satellites as it circles the globe'.
Whatever it is doing, whether it is gathering information on us all, working out how to drop nuclear bombs from a great height, is up there to knock out everyone else's satellites or is a new kind of reusable spacecraft, America isn't telling but it has China spooked which may well be the whole point, psyching-out the opposition.
Or is it there and armed to the teeth with lasers because an alien invasion is imminent but that's my own theory.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Simple Solution To Stop Floods

Due to the amount of rain Britain has seen recently, the river banks are overflowing again and towns are flooding the same as they did in the early summer and have done every year recently.
Thanks to Global warming or the shifting jet stream or whatever reason we can come up with, the fact is that Britain is seeing more rain than is usual and therefore more pictures of poor villagers with their living rooms full of water.
The response is to strengthen river banks with flood defences which comprises of making the banks higher and higher but that doesn't go down particularly well because they are not aesthetically pleasing, massive lumps of concrete along the rivers banks may work but they look ugly.
Why not, i have often wondered, instead of building up the river bank, why not just dredge the rivers to make them deeper?      
Not viable say the Environmental Agency because they would have to dredge a few meters down and 'It must be repeated after every extreme flood, as the river silts up again'.
I accept that to dredge every river would be time consuming and expensive but surely they could dredge the ones that flood time and time again because that has to be better than the poor people who get flooded every time it rains enough.
With the extreme weather and floods becoming more the norm, villages along the rivers will become deserted as people move away as the cost of insurance goes through the roof, there are already people with no house contents insurance as they cannot afford it who lose everything to the flood waters.
Then there is the cost of the mopping up operation which runs into tens of millions each time so making the rivers deeper so they hold more water seems an obvious solution to me but then that could explain why I'm not employed at the Environment Agency.

The Magna Carta

It's nice to see that David Cameron knows about the Manga Carta because i doubt if 99% of Brits know but we assume it was something very important, which it was if you were a noble but for the vast majority of the country it wasn't much use at all.    
The story goes that King John of England was forced to sign The Magna Carta so he and whoever followed him onto the throne could no longer ride roughshod over their subjects.
In reality, The Magna Carta provided plenty of personal rights and freedoms if you were wealthy because it was the landowners and Barons who wrote the Magna Carta and forced King John to sign it because they were outraged that he kept putting up their rent.
Not so much motivated by a sense of great injustice at King John’s acts of cruelty and murder against his subjects, more because he was trying to squeeze more money out of them.
The Magna Carta wasn't even an original piece, it was copied from the Charter of Liberties that Henry I signed in 1100 promising to respect certain rights of the Church and the Barons.
Far from being the basis of all English law, of the original 61 clauses, only 3 remain which are the freedom of the Church of England, the continued ancient liberties of the City of London and that no freeman shall be denied Justice or Right.
There's nothing in the charter to corresponding to a right of a citizen and Oliver Cromwell dismissed it as the 'Magna Farta' and said that it 'tied one sort of people to be slaves to another; Clergy and Gentry have got their freedom, but the common people still are, and have been left servants to work for them.'
Politician's like to portray the idea that signing of the Magna Carta was when the common man gained his rights but actually, the only beneficiaries were the English nobility and the Church of England, the rest of us continued to toil in the fields under the control of the Barons who treated the common folk with much more disdain than King John ever treated the nobility. 
So next time a politician quotes the Magna Carta in order to push through some unpopular law, unless it is regarding the ancient liberties of London, the freedom of the Church or the justice of a freeman, the probability is very high that he or she is bluffing because everything else has been swept to one side, deemed as not important, by those same people.     

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Cameron At The United Nations

Dave Cameron: I have to speak at the UN today, what you got for me?
Speechwriter: Well, i scribble a few lines about about World peace and ridding the World of poverty. Any good?
Dave Cameron: Not that load of nosh again. Look, Libya seems to have been forgotten and i'm really unpopular after all those cuts and flogging off the NHS and all that, and i need to find a way to go to war with someone without actually sounding like i want to go to war with someone. Humanitarian intervention, that sort of thing.   
Speechwriter: Syria or Iran?
Cameron: What you got on Syria?
Speechwriter: How about something along the lines of 'The blood of these young children in Syria is a terrible stain on the reputation of this United Nations. And in particular, a stain on those who have failed to stand up to these atrocities and in some cases aided and abetted Assad's reign of terror'.
Cameron: Yes, i like it. Makes me look a big tough guy and that's the most important thing.
Speechwriter: Of course the real stain is people like us, the USA and Israel who instead of working though the UN to do what is possible to negotiate a solution in Syria, have been taking sides and fanning the flames of war.
Cameron: Duh, of course but we won't tell them that.
Speechwriter:  Or that we twist enough arms at the UN to legitimise the regime changes that us and the yanks want.
Cameron: Damn straight. Now type that up and let me have a copy. I'm off to find a disabled person to abuse for scrounging benefits and not getting a job.

How To Use E-Cigarettes


Day 12 and still no cigarettes so for me the e-cigarette is working but oh it was close because without a few minor adjustments to how you use them, the e-cigarettes are a bit poor and i was ready to throw them away on the second day until an old hand at the vaping game told me the proper way to use e-cigarettes, and it isn't how the manufacturers tell you.  
When you first get your e-cigarette kit you get the three main components which are the battery, the atomiser which is the bit that does the burning and an empty cartridge which is just there to show you where the cartridges go.
Also contained are the full cartridges which slot onto the atomiser and contain the nicotine soaked fibres which the atomiser burns and releases the fumes which you inhale.
Each cartridge lasts the equivalent of 5 cigarettes apparently and then it is back online to buy more or you can buy nicotine liquid that you drip onto the fibres and off you go again.
That's how they are supposed to work but a new cartridge will get you 5 or 6 good draws and then you are back to filling up the cartridge again which is what i was doing until i was shown the 'oither' way.
Grab that empty cartridge and instead of dripping the nicotine fluid into the cartridge, drip 2-3 drops straight into the atomiser, put the empty cartridge back on and inhale.
You not only get a much better 'draw', but it lasts a lot longer than the cartridge and you don't need to pay for the ready filled cartridges.
Hopefully, if you are not getting the full affect of the e-cigarette and are wondering if you are doing something wrong and has typed in 'How to use e-cigarettes', which is exactly what i did and didn't stumble across any sites that advised 'direct dripping', they may come across this post and find a way to keep going on the 'giving up smoking using e-cigarettes' route that i am presently on and would probably have given up on if i had to rely on the cartridges. 

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Dangers Of GM Food Revealed

I have been against genetically modified food ever since it was first mentioned back in the 1990's. Not only did it sound unhealthy but it was one of those situations where if any contamination of the countryside occurred, it would be impossible to put the genie back in the bottle if a decade down the line it turned out that GM crops were unsafe after all.
America seem much more relaxed about GM food, a study by the International Food Information Council shows that 77% of Americans would be likely to buy products that had been genetically engineered which is lucky considering that 76% of the American soybean crop was GM, as well as 32% of its corn.
Monsanto is the largest GM seed seller in the World and there has been a few controversies surrounding them including widespread bribery of government officials and former Monsanto employees holding positions in US government agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
A major contributor to the Republican Party, George W Bush blasted the restriction of genetically modified foods into the European Union where the vast majority of the public reject the idea of our food being tinkered with genetically. Wikileaks cables showed that American diplomats urged Washington to punish European countries that opposed the growth of genetically modified crops, even pressuring the Pope to announce his backing for the technology to 'influence a wide segment of the population in Europe and the developing world’.
Big business GM food and Europe has stubbornly refused to accept it while America embraces it but a report from the Health & Safety Agency of the French government may leave a bitter taste in the mouth and a little something much more nastier elsewhere.
French scientists have revealed that rats fed on GM corn sold by American firm Monsanto, suffered tumours and other complications including kidney and liver damage.
"Based on the conclusion, the government will ask the European authorities to take all necessary measures to protect human and animal health, measures that could go as far as an emergency suspension of imports of NK603 maize in the European Union," the French health, environment and farm ministries said in a joint statement.
Researchers from the University of Caen found that rats fed on a diet containing NK603 – a seed variety made tolerant to amounts of Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller – or given water mixed with the product, at levels permitted in the United States – died earlier than those on a standard diet.
The research conducted by Gilles-Eric Seralini and his colleagues, said the rats suffered mammary tumours, as well as severe liver and kidney damage.
Fifty percent of male and 70 percent of female rats died prematurely, compared with only 30 percent and 20 percent in the control group, said the researchers.
In the wake of the publication, Jose Bove, vice-chairman of the European Parliament’s commission for agriculture, called for an immediate suspension of all EU cultivation and import authorisations of genetically modified crops.
Hopefully this report will be shouted loud and long and the debate over GM foods will now be closed down for good and while we would have dodged the bullet over here, over there in America, it must be a worry about what they have been eating, what the cost to their health may be and why their Governments have been so easily persuaded to force an untested product on them.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Accepting Corruption

I was very happy to see Nick Clegg apologising for his flat out lie regarding tuition fees where he pledged to scrap them if he ever got in power, and then swiftly trebled them when he did. Far too little far too late i thought and looked forward to him being unceremoniously bundled out of power at the next election for his deceit.
Surprisingly, i heard quite a few reactions where the theme ran along the lines of  'all politicians lie, he isn't any different' which is true but doesn't mean i understand how we seem so quick to accept outright lies, corruption and fraud as the status quo these days.
The people who run our country, the politicians, were shown to be abusing and fraudulently abusing the expenses system to the tune of many hundreds of thousands of pounds, knowingly flipping their houses to gain the greatest financial reward and after an initial show of anger in the media, it was neatly forgotten. 
Then there are the people who serve and protect us, the police who this week were accused with fraudulent behaviour in substantially altering statements to remove unfavourable comments regarding the policing of the match so the blame was intentionally forced upon the Liverpool fans for the crush that killed 96 people.
The death of Ian Tomlinson was being swiftly swept under the carpet with the victim and the protesters being lined up for the blame by the Police until a video emerged showing policeman Simon Harwood beating and pushing the newspaper salesman to the ground immediately prior to his death and the police chain of events quickly dissipated.
Further corruption is rife among the people that report the news, the media, who has seen 90 journalists arrested in conjunction with illegal acquisition of confidential information, or hacking peoples phones including a dead schoolgirl and handing a phone to the mother of a murdered child just so you can hack her messages.
The banks whose purpose is to protect our money, have set aside £9 billion to pay out in compensation to their customers who they mis-sold products to. They were recently exposed to be rigging the LIBOR rates which cost Barclay's a record £290 million fine and an ongoing investigation by the Serious Fraud Office not to mention the financial cost to the banks cutomers in loss of interest and in some cases, the loss of their homes.
We can also look at the drug companies with GlaxoSmithKline recently fined £1.9bn for marketing drugs for the treatment of conditions for which it had not been approved and doctors taking bribes to knowingly promote the drugs. There was the damning conclusion from the World Health Organisation that 'unethical practises such as bribery, falsification of evidence, and mismanagement of conflicts of interest are common throughout the medicine chain'.
Last year, Supermarkets Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda and Safeway, were fined £50million for price fixing and so it goes on, so many examples of corrupt behaviour and they seem to just keep coming.
Corruption seems to have penetrated our society to such a degree that even our politicians, police officers, media, financial institutions, food retailers and health professionals have to be treated with suspicion and that's a very sorry state to be in.
Even worse is that we have seen it so much and so often that we no longer get angry about it but just reluctantly accept being conned, swindled and lied to. How, when and why did that change happen?

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Could You Be A Tory?

You are Government minister Andrew Mitchell and a policeman tells you to get off your bike and push it through the pedestrian gate. Do you:
a) Get off your bike and push it through the pedestrian gate
b) Shout 'Open this gate, I’m the Chief Whip. I’m telling you — I’m the Chief Whip and I’m coming through these gates.'

You are Government Minister Andrew Mitchell and a policeman still refuses to open the security gates. Do you: 
a) Get off your bike and push it through the pedestrian gate
b) Shout '"Best you learn your fucking place. You don't run this fucking government'.

You are Government Minister Andrew Mitchell and the Policeman threatens you with the Public Order Act. Do you: 
a) Quietly get off your bike and push it through the pedestrian gate with no further comment
b) Get off your bike and push it through the security gate while shouting at the police that they are 'morons' and 'fucking plebs'.

You are Government Minister Andrew Mitchell and you realise that there may have been witnesses to the event. Do you:
a) Go back and apologise to the Officer you abused
b) Only apologise after you learn that a newspaper is going to print the story of the events.

You are the Prime Minister and you learn that a member of your Cabinet has been overheard abusing a policeman in the course of his duty. Do you: 
a) sack him immediately.
b) Describe the comments as 'not appropriate' but otherwise ignore them.

If you answered A to all of the above then i'm afraid you are not the type of person that we want in the Conservative Party. Try the Lib Dems.
If you answered B to all of the above, then congratulations, you are repugnant, vile and elitist enough to join the Conservative Party.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Arming The Police Debate

It was inevitable that after the deaths of two police officers in Manchester following a gun and grenade attack, the unarmed status of British police would be bought into question.
Britain is one of only a handful of countries that refuse to routinely arm their officers and so we have a lot of statistics from elsewhere to show how allowing the police to carry lethal weapons is fraught with risks.
The president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, Sir Hugh Orde, said: 'Guns don't necessarily solve the problem. You only have to look at the American experience' and a 2006 survey of 47,328 Police Federation members found 82% did not want officers to be routinely armed on duty, a position shared by the Police Superintendents' Association and the Association of Chief Police Officers.
One of the other countries that do not arm their police is New Zealand and the Police Commissioner, Peter Marshall, faced the same debate over arming their officers in the wake of two of their police officers in 2010 but warned that: 'International experience shows that making firearms more accessible raises certain risks that are very difficult to control' citing the risk of police having weapons taken from them, the risk of greater use of weapons against the public and/or offenders and over confidence of the armed officers that may lead them into more dangerous situations.
Another argument is that gun crime in Britain is very rare and introducing guns onto the streets could escalate the number of guns that criminals bring onto the street leading to American style gun violence where according to the UNODC, 60% of all murders in the United States were perpetrated using a firearm.
All valid arguments but the over-riding fear is that when the police are armed, mistakes lead to innocent people getting shot. Whether it is innocent bystanders caught in the cross-fire or a mistake by the armed officers of which we have the starkest example with the tragic shooting of Jean Charles De Menezes at Stockwell tube station in 2005.
That chilling scenario being repeated should be enough to dampen any discussion about arming our police force.

Calculus Smellculus

Mathematics and i have never had a very good relationship and after the recent bout of exam results, i have heard many students moaning about how their maths grades are not all they could be.
My official stance is that Maths is important but off the record, unless you are planning on becoming an engineer or a Maths teacher, you can always get by with a basic knowledge of Maths.
Never, since i left school, have i ever used calculus or pythagoras or been forced to scramble around in the dusty part of my brain for what pi is.
As long as you have a working knowledge of the times tables, can divide, subtract and add, are able to find a percentage of something and know how algebra works, you will always get by so don't fret over that low Maths result.
Of course, as i mentioned earlier, this doesn't always apply especially if you are going into a career where maths is important such as engineering, architecture or co-hosting Countdown where you need a quick, mathematical brain to work out how to make 792 with four big numbers and two little ones.
Anyway, i was never any good at maths and it has never been a problem for me and it shouldn't be a problem for the majority of people as sure as 5x^-2y^10 over 2x^-1(-3x^-3y^-1)^-2 equals 4. Probably.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Different Faces But Same Result

One of the many reasons put forward by the people who put forward these type of things is that China will be a better superpower than America because America is a warmongering nation always looking for their next fight while China is a more laid back kinda place that won't go pinging cruise missiles around and invading places that by a happy coincidence, happen to be choc full of oil.
Not sure if it has been noticed what with the news being dominated by Kate Middleton's breasts recently but China and Japan are poking angry finger at each other all over a couple of uninhabited islands that potentially sit amid huge deposits of oil and gas.
It all started when Japan agreed to buy three islands in the East China Sea from a Japanese businessman despite the land being at the centre of a long-running territorial dispute with Beijing.
Angered by the Japanese purchase, China warned of 'serious consequences' and 'violating China's sovereignty' and swiftly sent six surveillance ships into Japanese waters stating that it would 'will take necessary measures to defend its sovereignty'.
An aide to the Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said that Japan’s Self Defence forces might need to be deployed, as 'we cannot rule out the possibility that China will deploy its military' and to further complicate matters, Taiwan are also claiming the islands as theirs and sent a couple of coast guard patrol ships to sail around the disputed islands.
Japan has issued a warning to its expatriates in China to avoid going out in public as Japanese factories have been attacked by Chinese demonstrators and tonight a flotilla of around 1,000 Chinese fishing boats is nearing the islands with China saying that it will provide protection for the flotilla if Japan interferes with them.
That is a lot of boats in a very small area and with Japan an ally of America, it will be hard to see China walking away from this muscle flexing exercise as America watches on.
Hopefully it will dissipate safely but it seems whoever the Superpower, when its national interests are compromised, the result will be the same.

Romney's 47%

You do sometimes wonder if Mitt Romney is trying his hardest not to get elected. In his latest attempt to make sure Obama is voted back into the White House, he has blown a massive raspberry in the face of the 47% of Americans who pay no income tax.
Putting aside for now that the payment of income Tax is dodgy ground for a man who invests in funds based in the Cayman Islands, and has accounts in Switzerland and Luxembourg but 47% of the electorate is a lot of votes flying out the window.
To announce that you don't care about the large proportion of Americans who pay no federal income tax is not the smartest move less than fifty days before you try and convince the same people that you are the person best places to serve them but who are the 47% Mitt doesn't care about? Luckily the Tax Policy Centre has done a handy breakdown.
Just over 53% of Americans pay income tax and of the rest, 28.3% qualify for enough tax credits and deductions to take their liability to zero. Many of those deductions, like earned income credit and child credit are part of the Bush-era tax cuts that Mitt Romney supported, and wants to extend and they still contribute towards payroll taxes, which fund social security and Medicare benefits.
The elderly and retired make up 10.3% and aren't taxed on their pension which leaves just under 7% who have an income below $20,000 a year and fall below the threshold for paying federal income tax.
So if you are retired, in receipt of tax credits or on a low wage then Mitt doesn't care much for you and i would be wondering that if he sees the job as President as not to help the poorest and most needy in society, then who exactly will he be there to help?
The only consolation for Republican voters who want to see the walking gaffe-machine Romney in the Presidents chair is that he has his feet in his mouth so often now that soon he won't be able to speak at all.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Crazy Little Thing Called Badger Cull

Fans of running around blasting small furry things to smithereens are celebrating today as the Government is poised to give the go-ahead for the full-scale cull of badgers in England in an attempt to protect cattle from bovine tuberculosis.
Defra Minister David Heath said: 'No one wants to kill badgers but the science is clear that we will not get on top of this disease without tackling it in both wildlife and cattle.'
The science may be clear to the Government but it isn't quite so clear to the scientist, Lord Krebs, whose research is being cited by the government to justify its plan who has described the scheme as 'crazy' or the former science adviser to Defra, Prof Robert Watson, who has said that culling will not solve the problem.
A decade-long scientific trial of badger culling concluded that such killing could make 'no meaningful contribution', and was 'not an effective way to control the disease' but the government is going forward with the plan despite the government's own impact assessment concluded that it would cost farmers more to carry out the cull than to do nothing and suffer any losses from bovine TB.
The last Labour government said an oral badger vaccine would be ready by 2015. The coalition cancelled five of six trials of injectable vaccines, and said a viable oral vaccine was 'years away'.
As these are same people who tried to kid us that the best way to deal with foxes was to chase them for hours on horse back and let a pack of dogs rip the exhausted animal apart, i am liable to dismiss them as morons and listen to the likes of the RSPCA, League Against Cruel Sports and the Humane Society International and Queen guitarist Brian May who are all opposed to the cull.
Yep, Brian May who took to the stage at the Olympic closing ceremony wearing a costume emblazoned with a badger emblem protesting the cull.
We got one of the best guitarists in the World on our side, you got the Wurzels and William Hague.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

What Would Muhammad Do?

And the Lord did appear upon a mountain and hand to Moses two tablets upon which was written ten commandments of which the people of Christiandom must follow to be allowed into the kingdom of Heaven.
Only 10 i hear Muslims shout because they have 70 major sins to avoid and a whole plethora of minor ones that can be totted up to a major one although they don't actually tell you what the minor ones are, just that the sins which have no prescribed punishment in the Quran or the sins which are not mentioned as major.
Obviously confusing for the Muslim World which is probably why in the heat of the moment, when the Embassy gates are there in front of you, you just haven't got the time to run through the mental list of 'if i scale these Embassy gates and set fire to the building is that a Major sin' especially if the local Imam is handing you a lighter and giving you a leg up.
My list of big no-nos for Muslims includes at number 50 'Treating others unjustly' will get you kicked out of paradise as well as 'offending people and having an arrogant attitude toward them' and 'arguing and disputing violently'.
The other two you may have a bit of wiggle room but the last one may make things a bit sticky when you are up in front of the big man, especially if you have been one of those arguing and disputing violently these last few days.
Another major sin is 'not protecting oneself from urine' so don't get caught short when you are pulling up those paving stones to hurl through the windows of the Embassy's or trying to set fire to that American flag you had stored in the shed just waiting for an opportunity to put a flame to and dance around it while trying to not set your robe on fire. Wow would that be embarrassing in front of the International news crews.
Above all don't forget to keep mentioning that Islam is a religion of peace and if those Western infidels don't agree, well, maybe a week of rioting, killing and arson will make them change their minds. Peace be with you.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Kate Middleton Makes A Boob

Two schools of thought surrounding Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, getting the paparazzi treatment and topless pictures of her appearing in a French magazine.
The first is that this is a grotesque invasion of her privacy and totally unjustifiable while the opposite view is she was naive to think that one of the most photographed women in the World, surrounded by paparazzi everyday of her life, could take off her bikini-top while standing outside on a balcony and not be photographed.
While i do have some sympathy for the former argument, i do lean very much more towards the latter mainly because as a future Queen, the role comes with certain responsibilities and constraints and adjustments to your lifestyle must be made, one of which is you lose the right to stand topless on balconies.
All she had to do was keep her bikini top on but I imagine she'll have learned a very cruel lesson from all this, if you don't want to be photographed topless, don't stand around outside with your junk out for anyone with a telescopic lens to take a snap of you.
It is an invasion of privacy and Kate probably is feeling a bit sick about it all but the paparazzi are a way of life for people in her position as much as she may not like it, any pap would make a deal with the devil to get pictures like this, pictures that will make them tens of thousands and especially coming weeks after Prince Harry was splashed all over the internet with his bits on display.
What i am more worried about is the recent inability of our Royals to keep their clothes on and looming in the distance are some Prince Harry style photographs of Prince Phillip in High Definition.
For all our sakes, keep your husband away from the balcony after his bath ma'am.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

You! You Are The Problem... Yes You!

Lost your job? Your house under threat of repossession? Had to sell your car because you can't afford to run it anymore? Well stop whining and think yourself lucky because we all have it tough at the moment. Look at Andrew Schiff, the director of marketing for Euro Pacific Capital Inc. whose $350,000 wages means that he is struggling to cover his children's private-school tuition, the rent on his summer house and the upgrade to a 1,800 square foot house from his present pokey 1,200-square-foot one.
'I can’t imagine what I’m going to do' Schiff said 'I’m crammed into 1,200 square feet. I don’t have a dishwasher. We do all our dishes by hand'.
Yes, times are hard for everyone which is why the incoming new head of Barclay's Bank, David Walker, is mulling over the idea of the end of free banking because the banks are struggling, which is why they rip us off.
Walker said that he agrees that customers should pay because 'banks are not charging, it drives them inexorably into this sort of position' with the position being conning billions from the public in the payment­ protection racket and charging sky-high overdraft fees, all as he explained 'the consequence of not charging for bank accounts'.
I'm not sure what i think about the idea that if banks charged more, they would stop trying to mis-sell other financial products, offering derisory rates of interest, charging us for withdrawing our own money or charging us £25 for a letter. Oh wait, yes i do, its utter bullspit.
Banks are using our money to make money by charging very much more than they ever give us back in interest and to charge us won't make them anymore honest, its just going to make them more money.
The real reason for all these charges and mis-selling is because banks are greedy & dishonest and the customers are being asked to to compensate the banks for their systematic, illegal, foolish and highly risky trading practices which has brought an entire world economy to the brink of collapse.
If Mr Walker and Barclay's feel that free accounts are such a money loser for them, why don't they just make a stand and stop them and charge everyone with a Barclay's account?
I'm sure the massive hit they would take to their finances as masses of customers toddle off to take their overdrafts elsewhere could be covered, and if not they know the taxpayer will cough up for them anyway, because the likes of Barclay's will always win whatever happens and they know it which is why they can threaten us with warnings of 'pay up or we will continue to rip you off' and nobody in any sort of position of power says or does anything.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

How Did That Happen Hillary?

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been on television condemning the attack that killed four Americans including the US ambassador in Libya and asked the question 'How could this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a city we helped save from destruction?'
Sit down Hillary and i will tell you.
You see, what you did last year when you removed Gaddafi was replace him with murderous thugs, even your boss said: 'Among all the people who are opposed to Qaddafi, there might not be elements that are friendly to the United States' and the Canadians warned that the people you were teaming up with were the same ones you were fighting against in Iraq.
U.S. Admiral James Stavridis, NATO Supreme Allied Commander, said there were 'flickers of al-Qaeda in the Libyan opposition' and former CIA officer Bruce Riedel said: "There is no question that al Qaeda's Libyan franchise, Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, is a part of the opposition'
So the people you liberated and armed turned out to be religious fundamentalists who have very little sympathy for you, the West or Democracy. That's how that happened Hillary but you knew that anyway didn't you.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Not Standing Next To Harry

I think i may have blogged about this last time it happened but obviously they never paid any attention to me because Prince Harry is back in Afghanistan and everyone knows it.
Now if Harry wants to get his clothes on and go over there and play soldier then that is up to him but now that the Taliban know he is there, they will be doing all they can to claim the Prince's scalp and that heightens the danger for anyone in the proximity of him.
Very irresponsible of whoever made the decision to publicise that he would be flying helicopters in Afghanistan for the next few weeks, i would make sure i was a few streets away from him at all times and reason number 746 of why the Royals should be turfed out and Buckingham Palace turned into flats.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Normal Service Has Been Resumed

Well, that's that then, our summer of sport is all over. The European Cup seemed a long time ago but from June 8th to September 9th it has been pretty much non-stop sport.
The football was replaced by the tennis which gave way to the Olympics and it all ended up with the Paralympics and now it's back to normal telly in the evenings but a new series of Come Dine With Me just doesn't seem to cut it when we have been watching three months of the highs and lows of professional sportsmen and women.
I have to confess I was a bit nervous before the Olympic opening ceremony because i was sure that somehow we’d muck it up, especially as G4 discovered a few days before they didn't have the security staff needed and at the football a day earlier we had put up the South Korean flag which so angered the North Koreans who were playing that they walked off the pitch in a strop.
From what i can tell, it all went smoothly after that and apart from the annoying politicians keep popping up to try and get in on the act, it was a good summer of sport but apart from the booing of the Chancellor, i have two over-riding memories of the summer.
The first came in the Olympics when the German Robert Harting, on winning the Gold in the Discus, tore off his shirt and tore around the track, sending hurdles flying until his adrenalin finally dropped enough for him to realise that 18 stone men shouldn't be running and hurdling and collapsed on the floor in exhaustion.
The second came in the Paralympics when the Comoros swimmer, Hassani Djae, the countries only participant in his only event, false started in his 50m swim. He paused for a split second and then thought 'what the hell' and just carried on swimming anyway. To cap it off when he got out he had a microphone shoved in his face and asked about what he just did and answered in whatever language they speak in Comoros which caused the interviewer to reply 'I have no idea what you said but well done anyway'.
Great memories and we blew away the Aussies in both the Olympics and Paralympics medal tables so everyone's a winner, i just wish they would find a less painful way for the Paralympic swimmers with no arms to tap the wall at the end rather than have to crash headfirst into it and also that the Chinese athletes would smile sometimes.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

The Mayor Of Rabbit Hash Is A Bitch

The good folk of Hartlepool are known as 'monkey hangers' here due them once finding a monkey on a shipwrecked French ship during the Napoleonic war, holding a trial and hanging the animal as a spy as it refused to answer their questions.
Obviously, the people of the Northern town are stupid which is why in 2002 they voted a man in a monkey suit running on a platform of free bananas for schoolchildren, as Mayor of the place and despite failing in his one promise of free bananas, he has been voted back into office twice.
Voting a man inside a monkey suit to run the affairs of the town may sound strange to us but the people of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky won't be very impressed as they have been voting actual animals into office since 1998.
The first elected non-human official was a dog named Goofy who was elected Mayor and replaced in 2004 by another dog named Junior who run things until his death in 2008 when a new election was called and contested by ten dogs, a cat, an opossum, a jackass, and one human being but was finally won by a border collie called Lucy Lou (slogan: A bitch you can count on) who beat Travis the cat in a narrow victory.
Mad i agree but the back story is that the Town almost went under in the late 70s and is maintained by the Historical Preservation Society but it does have a rather naff website where you can read about the 2008 elections and the prospective candidates and be transported to a Huckleberry Finn World where the message on the Gift Shop section of the website advises visitors to 'Please check back cuz we're fixin' to get some more stuff soon!'
I think after losing out on the election the Jackass went back to his former job as the Towns webmaster.

Quitting Smoking With E-Cigarettes

I began smoking aged 14 and as i'm 43 now, and if my crude finger counting is correct, that makes it 29 years that i have been sucking goodness knows what chemicals into my body.
Like almost everyone who starts smoking at a young age, i only began because i thought it looked cool and there was an element of danger about it as we posted a younger kid to act as a look-out as we stood behind the school art block. Getting caught would mean a caning from the headmaster and a letter home but i managed to avoid that fate but those few puffs around the back with the cool kids led onto a 20 a day habit that has stuck with me since.
I have tried giving up a few times, even managed it for 7 weeks once with a stopping smoking group where i got given a 'I've Quit' mug which came in handy in the morning for my coffee and cigarette when i started up again.
I have used patches, throat spray, lozenges, chewing gum and almost every type of quitting aid there is but deep down inside i never wanted to quit because i enjoyed the cigarette breaks at work. A chance to get away for 10 minutes every few hours, a reason to stand outside on your own and have a few minutes peace. So i knew i wouldn't quit but it made me feel good that i was trying, however half-arsed and fruitless i knew it was.
Things seemed to have changed with the e-cigarette though and i see more and more people stood around puffing on the things with the brightly coloured LED light and blowing out plumes of smoke, or vapour.
I made a few enquires but everybody had different ones and some that were dismissed as rubbish were raved about by other people and i admit the disposable 10 motives one i tried from TESCO was great for about 10 puffs and then i may as well have been puffing on a lolly stick as much use it was but i am reliably informed the cheap, shop bought ones are all the same and i needed to buy a proper kit so much reviewing of websites and forums later and i have ordered one.
There are much better reasons for stopping and if you ask anyone they will state they are doing it for their health, the expense or the smell it leaves behind on clothes and it is the craving that keeps them smoking.
For me it is the fag-breaks that keep me hooked so e-cigarettes could be the key for me to carry on slipping away outside for 10 minutes every few hours and blow smoke about.
How cool they look i don't know yet and looking cool is important because if it wasn't, most smokers wouldn't have started in the first place if they are being honest.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Are Green Day Punk?

As George said to Captain Blackadder, 'I'm as excited as a very excitable person who has a special reason to be excited' and it's all because Green Day have an album coming out in a few days but with each Green Day release, we get the inevitable question 'Are Green Day Punk?'
It's not easy to define Punk music, mostly guitar wailing, fast, hard-edged 3 minute songs that often have angry political or anti-establishment lyrics and Green Day, the early stuff anyway, fit comfortably into that description.
To those who were around in the early days of punk, Green Day are a million miles away from the original punk bands they listened to such as The Damned, The Ramones, Sex Pistols and The Clash, but isn't that the point?
The genre of 1977 should have evolved and spurned new sub-genres of punk almost 40 years later so we go from The Damned to bands like Green Day and Offspring today who in 2012 shouldn't be sounding like a 1970's band and how boring it would be if they did.
Kurt Cobain always considered Nirvana a punk band and Grunge should be considered as one of the styles of music to have come from, and be inspired by, the original punk which brings us back to Green Day.
Obviously their music is inspired by the early punk bands and there is a very clear line from those first bands through the decades to them today so you can call them pop-punk as most seem to, but are they punk?
The biggest argument against them is that they are mainstream and have sold something like 70 million records, have a play on Broadway and are all millionaires so how can they be punks but couldn't that be because they are a decent band singing songs people like to listen to?
You don't sell that many records or become that successful by being bad and singing songs people don't like, if you hit upon a sound that is liked by millions then only a fool would refuse all the rewards that came with that.
So is the Green Day sound punk? Yes, definitely inspired and in the tradition of punk music so to me they are punk, just the 2012 version of it as Nirvana were the 1991 and the Sex Pistols were the 1977 versions.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Watching America

It may go on forever but we are now moving into the end game of the American Presidential race and this is the bit where it starts to get good.
The passion showed by the audience always strikes me mainly because here nobody gets passionate about their political groups, at least not to this extent.
While Romney and Obama can call on some big names in entertainment to endorse them, even if they raise eyebrows like Clint Eastwood and the empty chair bizarreness, it is hard to find any entertainer in the UK who would put their head above the parapet for one of our political parties.
Then there is the enthusiasm shown at the party conferences with the over the top jingoism, flag waving and enthusisatic hand clapping. I have seem some tears as well and the last time a British politician made anyone cry was when they shut down yet another Remploy centre.
Then there are the attack ads which are brilliant and borderline mad ranging from 'Romney is a sociopath because he forcibly cut the hair of a gay teenager in high school' to 'Obama stops kids celebrating Christmas'. Brilliantly barmy.
My favourite part is when the two of them stop off at schools and colleges across the country to do some tub thumping and hand-pick the audience that is going to stand directly behind them in camera-shot and every colour and creed of person will be represented as if Romney doesn't have an Asian student somewhere behind him he will be accused of neglecting the Chinese Americans.
Then there are the Presidents wives who get there own spot to heap praise upon their husbands as if they would tell the listening public that he is a miserable sod who she wouldn't even trust to defrost the freezer let alone run a country. The right honourable Tony Blair's wife, Cherie, tried to raise her profile off the back of her husbands job and the press did a right job on her, digging down into her private life to put her back in her place and ridiculing her belief in crystals and leading to a tearful scene on TV when her purchase of two flats with the help of a convicted fraudster was exposed.
Finally it is the way that at some point each hopeful will have to set out how they will protect and fund the protection of another country, Israel, or face the wrath of their own countrymen and that which always amuses me. I don't think any leader of any other country anywhere else in the World has to appease the public of another country in order to gain the election in his own nation.
Yes it is long and mostly boring and in truth doesn't concern us but i do like the razzmatazz and the utter madness of the American election.

Otters To The Rescue

I knew if we waited long enough science would provide the answer to the rising carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that drive Global Warming and the Eureka moment has arrived courtesy of the University of Santa Cruz.
The answer is set out in a paper released called Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment by professors Chris Wilmers and James Estes who have been looking back at the records over 40 years and concluded that the thing that could stop global warming and save us all are otters.
Here comes the science bit.
Kelp, a form of seaweed in the Oceans, absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere but sea urchins eat the kelp in large quantities but otters eat the sea urchins so in otter rich environments, the sea urchins have the good sense to stay out their way and the kelp thrives and sucks in that nasty CO2 stuff.
They found that otters 'have a strong influence' on the cycle of CO2 storage and 'comparing kelp density with otters and kelp density without otters, we found that sea otters have a positive affect on kelp biomass by preying on sea urchins, a kelp grazer. When otters are around, sea urchins hide in crevices and eat kelp scraps. With no otters around, sea urchins graze voraciously on living kelp. Kelp is particularly efficient at sequestering CO2 from the atmosphere through photosynthesis'.
So forget solar panels and wind turbines, the way to save us all is to look after the otter, our new favourite furry thing but i wouldn't give one a cuddle, it will rip your face off. Cute though.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Cabinet Reshuffle

The cabinet has been shuffled and let's see who has landed where.
David Laws is in as Education Minister after an enforced absence from front-line politics after standing down as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, a post he held for just 17 days, after he was exposed of a 'serious breaches of the rules' by claiming £56,000 for rent he wasn't entitled to and paid to his partner, James Lundie.
Jeremy Hunt will take over as Health Secretary from Andrew Lansley, and will now oversee the implementation of the Health and Care Act which should make for some interesting meetings considering he put his name as co-author to a book called Direct Democracy, that argued that the NHS was no longer relevant and should be dismantled. His co-author was Daniel Hannan who sparked outrage when he went onto American Television and called the NHS 'A 60 year mistake'. Hunt also tried to remove the NHS tribute from Danny Boyle's Olympics opening ceremony so the NHS sounds in a safe pair of hands there then.
Chris Grayling has moved from Employment minister to Justice Secretary and we can expect good things from him, especially with his homophobic ranting that Christian owners of bed and breakfasts should be allowed to prevent gay couples from staying in their homes.
The new Environment Secretary is Owen Paterson who's green credentials include supporting fracking and opposing wind farms.
All the top members in the big jobs stayed the same and Gideon remains in charge of the countries finances after doing such a fine job of managing them so far.
If the Labour Party and Ed Milliband cannot make political capital with this bunch of cheats, liars and shysters sitting opposite them, then they don't deserve to take over at all.

Booing Gideon

My new favourite highlight of the Paralympics came yesterday when the crowd at the Paralympics booed Chancellor George Osborne as it was announced he was to present the winners of the men's T38 400m race with their medals.
Gideon even laughed at first but looked very uncomfortable as it continued but what a bad choice of medal presenter, the man who has been merrily cutting the benefits of the disabled and to even have the brass neck to turn up in the first place, he must have had an inkling that he wouldn't be a popular choice.
Did make me laugh though, a priceless moment.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Paralympic Viewing Figures

The 2012 Paralympics is under way and the first viewing figures for Channel 4 who are showing 500 hours of coverage, are out and according to whether you are an executive for Channel 4, they are either wonderful or show that it hasn't captured the public gaze in the same way as its sister Olympic Games.
One of the highest audiences in Channel 4's history, 11 million viewers, saw Professor Stephen Hawking at the peak of the Paralympics opening ceremony, less than half of the 27 million who watched Danny Boyle's opening ceremony, on the BBC.
On the first day of competition, the largest Paralympics audience was 3.6 million, for the wheelchair basketball match between GB and Germany, again less than half than on the Olympics' first day.
The obvious reason is that while the BBC is advert free, Channel 4 which paid £9m for the Paralympic rights, is funded by advertising and although they released a statement saying that they are showing less adverts than usual, it has still managed to squeeze in the required four advert breaks a hour in the parts i have seen which i admit is nowhere near as much as i watched the Olympics.
So if we are not watching these Paralympics in the droves that watched the Olympics, why not?
Apart from the irritating advertisement breaks, some put it down to sport fatigue after a summer of sport that included not only the Olympics but the European Cup Finals and our attention spans for sport has already peaked.
Others freely admit to feeling uneasy watching disabled athletes and some put it down to no real 'superstars' to watch which i can agree with, with the exception of Oscar Pistorius and Ellie Simmonds, I would be struggling to come up with another name before the Paralympics started but i could reel off a host of athletes pre-Olympics.
The final reason is the Channel 4 coverage who despite 'borrowing' two BBC sport presenters, has been described in unflattering terms, especially the veteran Jon Snow who was widely slated for his opening ceremony commentary and the use of 'war' facts during introductions of countries rather than information about the athletes.
The number of broadcasters showing the Paralympics around the world is significantly less than that seen for the Olympics, and many are subscription television services and the newspapers are not dedicating pages and pages to the British athletes so while the profile of the Paralympics has been raised in Britain due to its home games status, and it is great that Channel 4 are averaging 2.5 million viewers a day for their Paralympic coverage, it is not firing our imaginations for some reason and that is with Team GB currently second in the medal table.

Tutu Sticks It To Dubya & Blair

The Bush/Blair era has cast a long shadow and just as Tony Blair was hoping to rehabilitate himself back into British politics, along comes Desmond Tutu to remind us just what Blair did as the junior partner to George W Bush.
Tutu pulled out of a South African conference on leadership last week because Blair, who was paid 2m rand (£150,000) for his time, was attending. Tutu had agreed to speak without a fee and he backed up that glorious snub with a magnificent broadside against the former UK Prime Minister and US President.
Tutu said: 'The then leaders of the United States and Great Britain fabricated the grounds to behave like playground bullies and drive us further apart. They have driven us to the edge of a precipice where we now stand – with the spectre of Syria and Iran before us.
On these grounds, alone, in a consistent world, those responsible for this suffering and loss of life should be treading the same path as some of their African and Asian peers who have been made to answer for their actions in The Hague. Even greater costs have been exacted beyond the killing fields, in the hardened hearts and minds of members of the human family across the world.
Has the potential for terrorist attacks decreased? To what extent have we succeeded in bringing the so-called Muslim and Judeo-Christian worlds closer together, in sowing the seeds of understanding and hope? Blair and Bush set an appalling example. If it is acceptable for leaders to take drastic action on the basis of a lie, without an acknowledgement or an apology when they are found out, what should we teach our children?'
Desmond Tutu, well said sir!

Saturday, 1 September 2012

History Says President Romney

When British politicians are called upon to embarrass their parties at conferences they tend to sing or recite poetry but the Republicans drag up a film star to talk to the furniture which to anyone outside of America just about sums up Mitt Romney who it is widely perceived over here as a bit of a comedy figure who is on a hiding to nothing but history suggests we shouldn't be so quick to dismiss the man waking up as President this November.
An AP-GfK poll this week showed Obama on 47% with 46% favoring Romney but in the 10 swing states where the battle is won or lost, Obama is currently leading in 9 of them, if only slightly, so it is close but Obama does not have history on his side.
No president has ever won an election with his poll rating below 50% at this time of the election cycle and the last person to win an election with unemployment above 7.8% was in 1936, US unemployment today stands at 8.3%.
Some more damning statistics for the Obama re-election is consumer confidence which is measured by the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan sentiment survey, which shows consumer confidence is below the crucial 50 threshold and the incumbent lost in each of the prior three instances where this metric touched the 50 level: in 1975, 1979 and 1991.
Good news for Romney supporters but Ladbrokes still have Obama at 2/5, and Romney at 7/4 but there is a long way to go yet and much more furniture to be spoken to.