Friday, 29 February 2008

Is Prison Working?

The British prison's are up to their capacity and the justice secretary is forced to whisper to judges to stop sending so many prisoners to prison.
While in America, the Pew report has found that the United States imprisons more people than any country in the world.
The answer to the British problem seems to be being fixed by constructing more prisons but maybe we should be looking into the problem of why we send so many of our citizens to prison.
According to the Home Office British Crime Survey, 65 per cent of prisoners had at least five previous convictions which could point towards the argument that prison doesn't actually stop re-offending, merely stops them doing it while they are inside.
Of course murders, rapists and such should be held in Prison to protect the wider society but a large swathe of the prison population are there for relatively minor offences like not having a TV licence or failure to pay an amenities bill. These people are not a danger to society and need not be locked up but it seems to be the mood of society these days that incarceration is not the final possible option for such trifling crimes.
What does seem to be the major contributor to our problem is drugs.
Whether convicted for dealing or taking to criminal means to fund the habit, drugs accounts for a horrendous amount of prison admissions.
The HM Prison Service website reveals the frightening statistic that
On average 55% of prisoners report a serious drug problem and in prisons where prisoners are screened on reception that figure can be as high as 80%.
That there seems to be the crux of the problem. You need to tackle the problem of drugs in order to tackle the problem of the exploding prison population.
My solution would be to find an alternative punishment for non-threatening crimes and take the time to seriously look again at the legalisation of drugs.

Italian Meat Balls

Mussolini had a habit of touching his own testicles to ward off bad luck. Obviously, as he ended his days hanging upside down from a lamppost after being shot several times, it is fair to conclude that grabbing your own nads is not the best way to ward off the fickle finger of fate.
Regardless of the outcome of Il Duce's plum fondling, when the Italians are not living up to the national stereotype of gesticulating wildly, riding scooters and ending every sentence with 'Mama Mia', they are stroking their swingers for luck.
Or they were until yesterday because Italy's highest court has ruled it is a criminal offence for Italian men to touch their meat and two veg in public.
The judges stressed that the ban did not just apply to scratching, but any gratuitous grabbing of their crackers will be frowned upon and owner of the aforementioned love-spuds handed a fine of 200 euros.
"You should wait till you have returned to the privacy of your own homes before letting their hands stray trouser-wards" warned the judges.
Sound guidance indeed from the spaghetti munching judiciary. How George Michael and Pee Wee Herman can only wish they had been handed such sage advice.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

When Were We Funniest?

UKTV is a comedy television channel here which appears to have the budget of 43p and half a hob nob biscuit but it has posed a very interesting question. What decade was the best for comedy?
It is a hard question to answer because there were some classic comedy personalities around in each generation. I would be hard pressed to name many of them before the seventies although i do have a chuckle at the Marx Brothers films who i would pick as the best from that Era, i never really found Charlie Chaplin or much else from that era very funny.
So i would have to pick from the seventies onwards and apart from the clothes and hairstyles of that time, MASH, Monty Python, Mork & Mindy, Fawlty Towers, Blazing saddles and Happy Days are the stand out comedies of the 70s.
The 80s gave us The Young Ones, Cheers, Blackadder, Only Fools & Horses, Chevvy Chase and the Airplane films, Steve Martin, the National Lampoon films, John Candy, The Naked Gun, Police Academy, Bill Murray and Michael J Fox. All very funny and a tough choice between this decade and the next for the high water mark of comedy so far.
Friends, Vicar of Dibly, 3rd Rock from the sun, Frasier, Simpsons, Red Dwarf, Father Ted, Eddie Izzard, Whose Line it is anyway (Colin Mochrie was a genius) were all knocking around in the 90s and so it's a tough choice but Father Ted just gives the 90s the edge for me.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

End Of Action Films?

A few of my views put me in a direct line of fire from some of the more outspoken members of society who don't see things through my hippy tinged eyes. The Israel-Palestine thing usually draws the sharpest comments but not far behind it is my notion that people are influenced by what they see in films and on television.
Many people, including this blog, made links between the Virginia tech shooting and the film 'Oldboy' which the shooter watched obsessively and my view seems to have the agreement of the US military who set up recruiting booths in major cinemas where Top Gun was showing and had the highest applications rate for years as a result.
While we are always going to get films that are a throwback to the boy’s films of the 80s, there does seem to have been a shift away from the mindless gun toting action films emerging from Hollywood. Back in their heyday you couldn't swing a M-16 without hitting a buffed up Arnie, Stallone or Van Damme but as this generation of actors aged and either had sense to give up or stuff themselves full of steroids to make ill-advised comebacks, the following bunch of performers didn't seem so keen to play muscle bound gun-toters.
Maybe we are seeing the grinding down of the film makers by people who carp on about Hollywood taking more responsibility for what they present to an audience or maybe it is just the action films of yesterday are just not the money spinners that they once were. Whatever the reason behind it, the revisited Rambo’s and Die Hard's which performed badly at the UK box office are a dying breed.

Theft Is Wrong (Most Of The Time)

It took some goggling but i finally found the Simpson’s quote i was desperately searching for. The scene is Fat Tony and Bart talking about the rights and wrongs of taking things that are not yours and without paying.

Fat Tony: "Bart, um, is it wrong to steal a loaf of bread to feed your starving family?"
Bart: "No."
Fat Tony: "Well, suppose you got a large starving family. Is it wrong to steal a truckload of bread to feed them?"
Bart: "Uh uh."
Fat Tony: "And, what if your family don't like bread? They like... cigarettes?"
Bart: "I guess that's okay."
Fat Tony: "Now, what if instead of giving them away, you sold them at a price that was practically giving them away.
Would that be a crime, Bart?"
Bart: "Hell, no!"

Now then, i have to state from the off that stealing is never right and anyone caught stealing should be severely slapped around the soles of their feet with a rubber hosepipe or something but sometimes you occasionally think, 'hmm, wonder if any of that will come my way."
One case in point is the story that Police in Israel are hunting a gang of thieves who raided a warehouse and made off with almost 100 tons of chocolate.
The company's owners said that it would require five large trucks to transport such a large amount of the product.
Five large trucks full of chocolate should not be hard to find, unless of course someone clears a large space behind their block in a quiet area of the city in return for the keys to the trucks back door. I promise to leave you at least a few tons.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Advice For Hillary

Poor old Hillary. She probably expected to breeze in as the Democrat candidate but she didn't reckon on Obama coming along and directing his stream onto her camp fire. Now it seems that it’s Texas or bust for the former first lady who seems to be quickly disappearing under the wheels of the fast moving Obama juggernaut.
Whether she was responsible for releasing the picture of Obama dressed in the traditional Somali dress which resembles something the well dressed Taliban fighter is wearing this year or not, she does seem to be casting the image of someone who is fast losing their grip on the prize but she has forgotten her biggest asset. She has two X chromosomes while Obama is struggling along with just the one.
She has long projected an image of being tough and hard and more than a match for a man in a man's world but my advice to her is use what nature gave you to your advantage and i predict your rival will be floundering and damning his testicles to Hades.
Listen Hillary, this is what you have to do. Remember New Hampshire when you allowed the voters to see that soft underbelly? That is your secret weapon.
The two biggest drag factors you face is your vote for the Iraq War (What was you thinking woman) and your image. Both problems can be solved with one stone and i think it is probably your last throw of the presidential dice.
Get to a lectern the night before voting, anyone will do but just make sure the Worlds media have you in focus and in your best soft voice apologise.
Don't be soppy or over the top because if you make it look fake you have blown it, just say sorry for that vote and mean it.
A small tremor in the voice, maybe a few stops to clear your throat and sip at some handily placed water and just say you messed up, you are sorry but you have learnt from your mistake and are wiser for it and you hope that you will be given the chance to make amends but if not, you understand and thank everyone for their support.
If you can pull off the peek inside the softer and more human Hillary instead of the tough exterior you usually show, Texas and Ohio voters will see you in a different light.
Alternatively, you can try and brass it out. You have won every state that has a high Latino population so far and Texas especially has a decent enough percentage so you may yet live to fight another day, but my advice would be to find that lectern and munch on that humble pie.

DNA Database

Two murderers were jailed this weekend using DNA evidence collected from the few million people who have been charged with an offence and straight away there were calls to make it a nationwide DNA database with everybody’s details held therefore making it easier and quicker to solve crimes.
My first instinct was that it was an idea worth considering then i remembered that our Government is hopeless at holding information on us.
It somehow lost the tax records of 25m people recently as well as the details of 6500 pensioners and a laptop crammed with top secret documents left at Paddington station.
How can we possibly trust this lot with keeping our genetic codes safe when they have a reputation of being so useless with what they already have?
I don't know what mischief a criminal could get up to if he had the genetic material that goes into making me, me, but it probably isn't good.
So while it may sound a good idea in theory, in practise it would be the equivalent of getting Homer Simpson to protect the crown jewels so until they stop being so hopeless, my DNA stays with me or wherever i decide to leave it and the Police will just have to carry on dusting for fingerprints and harassing black men and Muslims as usual.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Avoiding British Faux Pas

The Which Holiday? website has published a list of potential faux pas that travellers should make note of as not to cause offence when holidaying abroad. Just to be a bit different, Fitz (who is due to take over on Falling on A Bruise in the near future but more on that later) and I put our heads together and came up with some potential faux pas that faces anyone who lands at our green and pleasant land.

You should avoid:
Using a mobile phone in a cinema or theatre.
Shaking hands while wearing gloves.
Opening an umbrella indoors.
Putting new shoes on a table
Offering somebody a light for a cigarette after two others
Pointing at people with the index finger
The V sign with the palm towards yourself is the equivalent of giving the finger.
Touching someone to get their attention.
Trying to gain attention of waiter, barperson etc by snapping your fingers
Calling Britain, England as it annoys the hell out of the Scots, Welsh & Irish
Hugging or kissing anybody unless you are a blood relative or married to them.

You should:
Surrender your seat to the elderly, handicapped or pregnant.
Hold a door open rather than let it close in the face of someone following you.
When out with a group, to take turns buying rounds of drinks.
Que quietly and orderly and not moan about how long you have been queing.
When in a pub, not accept service from a barperson before someone who has been waiting longer.
End every request for anything with the word 'Please'.
Write inside cards in black ink
Ask before you smoke in somebodies house and never while someone is eating

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Death Knell For Capitalism?

And the dream of those anti-capitalist types moved a little closer today with news that the company that hiked up our fuel bills by a record busting 17%, made a 500% profit last year.
Centrica, who owns British Gas, made a profit of £1.39bn which is not so much a slap in the face but more of a size 8 up the nether regions to its 13 million customers having to dig deeper to stay powered.
Company bosses may bleat about rising costs and their overheads and whatever else they may say to try and justify their money grasping ways, but what are we expected to think when we see our soaring gas and electric bills and then hear about the company responsible announcing record profits. Excuse me if i don't join in the hip hip hoorays to celebrate with them.
This comes after Shell announced a profit of £13.9b while UK motorists reel from paying a pound for a litre of petrol.
Can anyone come up with a convincing argument why we shouldn't be nationalising these companies and adding the profits to the pot for everyone instead of lining the pockets of the few bosses at the top of the chain who care more about profit margins then there increasingly squeezed customers?

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Bye Bye Castro

They tried everything for the past 49 years to topple Fidel Castro and the man who is loved and hated in equal measure, survived everything the USA threw at him to dictate his own time and place of leaving. The man has class even if he hasn't got a beard trimmer. Classic moment when George Bush urged the release of political prisoners being unfairly held in Cuba. What can i say? Not the sharpest knife in the drawer is he.
It is no mean feat that in the face of the USA's crippling embargo, to achieve an enviable national health system, one of the highest rates of literacy in the Western World and one of the lowest infant mortality rates is definitely a superb legacy.
On the opposite side of the coin, the long dictatorship bought a bankrupt country, an impoverished population, a terrible oppression system, a lack of civil rights and one political party led by one man which is not such a hot legacy.
The argument about whether he was a good or bad influence will obviously split down left right lines but already the western leaders are leaping in to nudge the country towards Democracy which gives me a great plan.
We need doctors and Cuba is swarming with them. They need politicians and we are falling over them here. Let’s do a swap!
Send us a few hundred medical staff to run the NHS and we will send you the Labour Party to guide you in how to run a Democracy.
Yes i was joking so you can stop laughing now.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Were We Suckered Into Kosovo's Independence?

Kosovo has declared itself as a new, independent nation. Considering their recent history, that's great new. Isn't it? Depends on how much of the story you know i would imagine.

On the claim that Clinton/Blair used to justify the war, that the KLA told of 200,000 missing civilians laying buried in mass graves at the hand of Serbia:
Canadian forensic team sent to investigate: "We found mainly single graves, with a couple of exceptions being one of 20 bodies and another 11."
Garth Pritchard, a Canadian filmmaker, accompanied the forensic team. "This was a massacre that never happened."

On the Kosovan Liberation Army:
The first commander of U.N. troops in Bosnia, Canadian Gen. Lewis MacKenzie, "We bombed the wrong side. The Kosovo-Albanians have played us like a Stradivarius. We have subsidized and indirectly supported their violent campaign for an ethnically pure and independent Kosovo. We have never blamed them for being the perpetrators of the violence in the early '90s, and we continue to portray them as the designated victim today in spite of evidence to the contrary. When they achieve independence with the help of our tax dollars combined with those of bin Laden and al-Qaeda, just consider the message of encouragement this sends to other terrorist-supported independence movements around the world."

On the KLA Attacking Macedonia after Serbian Army was chased out of Kosovo:

A UN Statement after the KLA had attacked Macedonia in 2001 "The KLA and other armed Kosovo Albanian groups [must] end immediately all offensive actions and comply with the requirements for demilitarization".

On KLA ethnic cleansing of Serbs after the war:
A report dated Feb. 26, 2001, to the Secretary-General of the UN, Kofi Annan, which accuses the KLA of widespread acts of murder, torture and extortion of Serbs in Kosovo.
The Secretary-General of NATO, condemned the KLA terror campaign and described them as "murderous thugs."

So were we deceived into helping the KLA, condemned as terrorists by all and backed by Bin Laden, who picked a fight with Serbia and gambled that the world would turn its gaze in their direction and only see the Serb retaliation?
Seems that as soon as Serbia was dealt with, the KLA tried the same tactics with Macedonia and were told in no uncertain terms by its allies to back off.
Played us like a Stradivarius the General said. Yep, they probably did and yep again, it worked didn't it.

Friday, 15 February 2008

Five Years On From The Iraq Demo

It seems an awfully long time ago now, but five years ago today saw the largest demonstration ever in these Isles. Somewhere between 1.5 and 2 million people got together with the aim of stopping our nation following America into a misguided, ill thought out and illegal war.
Of course the collective will of a good proportion of the population failed to stop a Prime Minister who had already long since decided that Britain should join in, but what we did do was light a slow burning fuse under the chairs of the men who were directly responsible for the bloodbath that followed.
What i recall most about that day was the diverse range of people that the Stop the War coalition managed to pool together that day. As we all jammed into Hyde Park to listen to the speakers point out Blair’s folly, there was dreadlocked haired anarchists chatting to little old ladies wearing pearls, Communists standing beside suit wearing city types and we marvelled in the all-embracing diversity of it all.
What we know now with retrospect, is that every single one of us on the march was right. There were no weapons of mass destruction, Iraq did descend into a bloodbath, it didn't make us safer and our leaders span, lied and massaged the truth in an attempt to justify its actions.
Instead of standing in the dock at the Hague on charges of war crimes, Blair is being offered lucrative consultancy contracts and mulling over his chances of becoming European President, Bush is the most unpopular US President ever but five years on and a million Iraq's, 4,000 Americans and 200 Brits dead and buried, the fighting sadly still goes on.
Iraq is a basket case but as Iraq and Afghanistan are left to burn, the wrong kind of attention is being focused on Iran and this is where the fuse that we set alight half a decade ago suddenly comes into play.
After Iraq, the leader of the same two countries responsible for the last two debacles and just itching to export their brand of Democracy through cruise missiles and 500lb bombs, find it almost impossible to make their case for yet more unjustifiable death and destruction.
We may not have been able to stop the last war but what we set in motion back then has been a very effective brake in stopping this next one.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Sorry Is Not The Hardest Word

The idea of the Australian Prime Minister apologising to the Aboriginal population for his countrymen’s former misdeeds has been a bit of a contentious subject amongst bloggers from the land down under.
The question is should today’s leaders say sorry for the actions of their forefathers? Place me firmly in the 'hell yeah' camp.
Who would begrudge saying sorry for what the Aussie PM, Kevin Rudd, called the "profound suffering, grief and loss" inflicted on them by decades of abuse and mistreatment.
It is fair to say that the children's children of those who performed such injustice have nothing to apologise for considering they were not even born at the time, but the act of saying sorry is merely window dressing. The underlying message is that we acknowledge what our ancestors did was wrong, recognise the appalling way we treated you and most importantly, give assurances that it will never happen again.
Former Prime Minister John Howard refused to offer the apology, saying the current generation should not be blamed for past misdeeds. Rudd made an apology part of his election manifesto and true to his word, he delivered on his promise with the shameful realisation that
"It's taken us 41 parliaments to get here. Sometimes we are a bit slow."
Hopefully it may start a trend because my own country has a lot of people to say sorry to.

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Sexercise The Night Away

There are many ways to stay fit. You can buy some washed up actresses fitness video and bounce around in lycra in the comfort of your own front room or maybe take up smoking and puff away those hunger pangs.
Alternatively you can follow the advice of the NHS which is usually along the
lines of eating a varied diet and leaving the cakes on the shop shelves but no, this time the NHS is advocating a good old bonk. Cor blimey matron.
Calling it 'sexercise', the NHS suggests you forget about jogging round the block and instead indulge in some bedroom gymnastics because making the two backed beast lowers the risk of heart attacks and helps people live longer.
"Endorphins released during orgasm stimulate immune system cells, which also helps target illnesses like cancer, as well as wrinkles," they reckon.
"Sex with a little energy and imagination provides a workout worthy of an athlete because sex uses every muscle group, gets the heart and lungs working hard, and burns about 300 calories an hour."
Maybe that explains why the 23 year old Mick Jagger looks like he does. Anyway, if having sex for an hour burns 300 calories, Kelly Osbourne's boyfriend better put the coffee on because it is going to be a loooooooong few months.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Video Games Clampdown

There are a few subjects that my pinko, tree hugging brethren and I differ on and one of those is the thorny question of whether what we see on our screens under the guise of entertainment has an effect on us.
I say hell yeah so sort it out Hollywood while other people poo poo it and carry on letting little Jenny and Johnny to play Manhunt and watch 'I Spit On Your Grave'.
To my shame the British Government and i seem to be in agreement because a Government report is suggesting a legally enforced classification system be introduced for video games.
There has been a few games banned in the UK due to them showing gross violence or sexual scenes but if this report turns law, there will be a whole raft of game titles added to the list.
I agree with the principle and hope that in order to escape having their products banned, the game industry will lessen the violence in their products, but policing it would be a whole different ball game.

Friday, 8 February 2008

What Did We Ever Do To You Mitt?

There we were patiently sitting beside Asia and just above Africa not harming anyone and generally minding our own business when suddenly out of the blue, that nasty Mitt Romney launches an attack on us poor old Europeans. What did we do to you Mr Moody?
Romney waved goodbye to any chance he had of landing the White House job as he dropped out of the race to win the Republican nomination, then waved goodbye to any chance of an invite to the EU headquarters in Brussels by taking a swipe at Europe as he did so.
"If I fight on in my campaign i would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win" he said trying to make it sound as if watching frontrunner John McCain disappearing over the horizon wasn't the real reason.
Content that he had covered himself, he then aimed a wing tip at France's dangly bits by warning that America must not end up as "the France of the 21st century - still a great country but not the leader of the world, not the superpower". Fair enough, everyone partakes in ribbing the French at every opportunity, it is almost in the EU Constitution.
He then addressed what he saw as Europe's problems as he called on the USA to approve a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriages.
He said: "Europe is facing a demographic disaster. That's the inevitable product of weakened faith in the Creator, failed families, disrespect for the sanctity of human life, and eroded morality."
He may have it in for us Europeans who are atheists, single mothers, pro-abortionists or who support gay rights but he will soon mellow. If a few of us offer to repaint the baseline on his tennis court or plant a few bulbs in the flowerbed he will change his tune. It worked with the illegal immigrants he twice hired but remember, when you address him, he is a Mormon.
Yes, the second 'm' in Mormon is silent.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Valentine Songs

Paul Simon may have told us slip out the back jack or hop on the bus gus and another 48 other ways to leave your lover but there have been countless other songs telling us ways to let them know that we are going to be staying around.
With Valentines Day looming we are going to be bombarded with lists of the greatest love songs to snuggle up on the sofa to. Most are the usual fare as one Greatest Every Love Song's Cd mingles into another one so i present here my Top 10 Love songs that make my little heart go pitter patter.

10 'You're Still the One' Shania Twain. Very sappy but i like it.
9. 'Wonderful World' Sam Cooke. He may not know anything about History or Geography but he has a great voice and this is just a happy, floaty song.
8. 'Wonderful tonight' Eric Clapton. Another sappy one but it is one of those rare love songs that isn't about the first flushes of love.
7. 'Without You' Harry Nillson. The ultimate loved and lost song. Copied by everyone and his dog but this version remains 'the one' thanks to the haunting piano intro and Nillson's lamentable vocals.
6. 'Will You' Hazel O Connor. 'And I'm feeling all fingers and thumbs, I spill my tea, oh silly me!' she sings and sums up perfectly everything about the start of a relationship. Also, contains one of the greatest sax solos ever.
5.'Sweet Child O' Mine'Guns N' Roses. It begins with Slash, has a magnifenct Slash solo in the middle and ends with the maestro but in between is Axl Rose going on about his baby's blue eyes and pretty smile. Not the greatest lyrics ever written but it shows that great love songs do not have to be ballads and can contain arse kicking guitar solos. By Slash preferably.
4. 'Time Of You Life' Green Day. Many interpretations of this song but to me it is all about not having any doubts in a relationship and ending up regretting what could of been.
3.'I Will Always Love You' Whitney Houston. A rare case of the copy being so much better than the original. The part where the drum beat is followed by a split second of silence and then, out of thin air Whitneys superb vocals chime 'And I-I-I-I-I...' blow me away with a tingling spine everytime.
2. 'God Only Knows' The Beach Boys. Hard to imagine any love song starting with "I may not always love you' but after acknowledging the heart's fickle nature, it goes on to show the sometimes frightening, fearsome and all encompassing power of love.
1. 'Only You' The Platters. Performed by one of the greatest voices ever to flow through a microphone. Lyrics don't come much more heartlfelt than the opening line "Only You, can make all this world seem right'.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Amazing Picture

When i read about the baby being thrown 40ft from a blazing building in Germany and caught by a policeman below, my initial thought was wow, that's amazing.
It wasn't until i actually saw the pictures of the 6 month old free-falling that it really struck me just how amazing this story was.
Just after this picture was taken the parents jumped out of the same window and both are still in hospital recovering from their injuries but the baby girl called Onur, has been released and is unharmed.
Although this part of the story has a happy ending, nine people died in the fire, including 5 children, which police believe may have been started deliberately.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

John McCain In A Nutshell

What with all the attention being on the black guy and the female running for the Democrat nomination, John McCain has managed to drag himself above his Republican rivals as the person most likely to face off with whoever the Dems finally choose to run for office.
So what if the impossible happens, remember Bush in 2004 so it could, and it isn't a Clinton or Obama derriere plonking itself down in the Oval office. Time to look at what we can expect from a McCain Presidency just in case.
Much like John Kerry last time out, his greatest selling point seems to be his Vietnam war record where he was shot down and held as a PoW for more than five years.
Half a decade of torture and beatings led to him cracking and signing an anti-American confession. "Every man has his breaking point," he later recalled, "I had reached mine."
On the campaign trail he is quoted saying of Guantanemo Bay that the use of torture on Al-Qaeda terror suspects "is not the American way." That is a good start but it gets better.
Not only has he gone on record to show his displeasure with his President, he also seriously considered swapping parties and becoming a Democrat. He has also been a leading proponent of action against climate change and has spoken out against evangelical Christians.
After that, his beliefs take a big swing to the right. He is vehemently anti-abortion, is against tightening up gun laws, has a neo-con belief in using the might of the military and is very much for the death penalty.
So that is McCain in a nutshell. Environmentalist, against the use of torture but anti-abortion and would have no qualms in sending the military on yet more global adventures.

Socialised Health Care

I know Rudy Giuliani was against it but as he is licking his wounds after snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, we can take it for granted his judgement is not all it could be. Socialised Health Care is what i am alluding to and why it is such a political hot potato in the US election because for the life of me, i can't see why anyone outside of the private medical insurance business would be against it.
The United States is the only wealthy, industrialized nation that does not provide universal health care for its citizens, treating health care as a market commodity distributed according to the ability to pay instead of according to medical need which leads to one in six Americans having no medical insurance and up a certain creek without a paddle if they fall ill.
The World Health Organisation places America just inside of the top 40 when it comes to its 2007 survey of World Health systems with the socialised systems of France, Italy and San Marino taking top spots and America in 37th place just ahead of Slovenia and Cuba.
In Britain there is the NHS and a private system also. Those who can afford it don't have to use the NHS, they can go private anytime they want but for those who would otherwise have no access to healthcare (ie the poorest) - the NHS is a lifesaver.
So why are American politicians so keen to dismiss a Socialised Health Service that would benefit millions of Americans?
The answer could be in the figures. Health Care in the US represents 14% of the U.S. economy – almost twice the European average so the stakes for the potential losers in a shift of system are much greater. Check out the profits of Medical Insurance sellers and see why they will fight to not see their golden goose culled. This Providence Journal article tells how William McGuire of UnitedHealth Group, the nation's leading medical insurer, was the third-highest-paid CEO on the 2005 Forbes list with his pay of $124.8 million.
The bottom line is medical care should be seen as a basic human right and not a luxury just for those who can afford it and to hear politicians argue otherwise leaves me dumbfounded.

Friday, 1 February 2008

Talking To God

This story sums it up nicely.
An Air Canada pilot had to be dragged from the cockpit and handcuffed after suffering an apparent mental breakdown in mid-air.
What was he doing i wonder that made people think he has lost his marbles? Talking to God.
The flight made an emergency diversion to Ireland's Shannon airport and the crew member taken to a nearby psychiatric unit.
Finally, it is being recognised that anyone who talks to God is in the throes of a mental breakdown.
The men in white coats should visit a few Churches on a Sunday morning, the psychiatric hospitals would be overflowing with the crazies.