December 27, 2007

Fear and Loathing in London - movie review

Movie review for Sweeney Todd:

Sweeney slits throats,
Mrs Lovett cooks stiffs,
Pirelli's shaved close,
Judge Turpin damns kids.

The Beadle's shriek-whistle,
Sweeney's tipping contraption,
Meat pies and their gristle,
All give satisfaction,

But it's not for the queasy.
I'm slightly reserved about Johnny Depp
Who impersonates Sweeney
Without any depth,

Fear and Loathing in London,
Scissorhands in a slasher,
Willy Wonka with vengeance,
Jack Sparrow with razors.

His singing is honest
His acting's quite fine
But the role's painted on him
It's not from inside.

The pacing is spot on,
The visuals astonish,
2 thumbs up to Burton
And 3 thumbs to Sondheim.

December 18, 2007

LDS, RDS, bs

John Hawkins mocks Romney's alleged lachrymosity. Hawkins' Right Wing News was the second blog I read regularly. He's astringent and often objective, but his arguments against Romney are mostly bullshit. He suffers from RDS, Romney Derangement Syndrome, LDSophobia from an adherent of a competing faith. If Romney is the nominee. then RDS will flourish in that other competing faith, Atheism.

December 17, 2007

Bad botox day






To gloss on Mick's post on Hillary's bad botox day photo: voters consider whether it will be pleasant to view a face for the next 4-8 years. A weathered face is fine. A lined face is fine. A botoxed face like Pelosi's or Clinton's reminds me of official portraits of Mao, Stalin or Kim Il Sung. A deflated botox face like this reminds me of the Picture of Dorian Grey, corrupt.

December 15, 2007

Amazing Amazon, eBay at bay

'Why Amazon Should Buy eBay' reminds me of the fabulous service I've had from Amazon.....from product research to teapots to cameras, even books, especially used books, my 1-click account just works. My single problem, a faulty hard drive, was solved with zero angst. I've had no fraud, no junk mail from affiliates, just satisfaction. Amazon has the business model to become Walmart to the planet. Ebay by contrast I've given up on....it's sticky affiliate, Paypal, generates persistent unwanted mail and solves no problem I need solved. Ebay generates fraud, hijacked accounts and zero customer service. Typical comment:
For sellers, eBay is a nightmarish quagmire. I’ve been selling for eight years and I truly dread posting new ads. Recently, my username was stolen and my account was deactivated, just before my need to post items for Christmas sales. After endless attempts to contact a human being, I never succeeded and I never got any explanations. I changed my passwords and I haven’t posted yet. The fraudulent emails are never-ending. eBay customer service has always been awful. No wonder they’re struggling with growth. Reasonable sellers will only tolerate so much abuse and then they leave.
Amazon need not buy eBay for $quillions., Amazon is uniquely positioned to compete with eBay at a development cost a long way south of 1 $quillion.

December 04, 2007

Unintelligent designs

The National Intelligence Estimate on Iran, has been widely queried. Instance the assertion that Iran stopped its military nuke program in 2003 due to pressure from 'the international community'. In 2003 the US deleted the fascist regime next door to Iran with WMD as a significant casus belli. That 'pressure' prompted Libya to de-nuke and, apparently, Iran too. A fair evaluation would be that removing Saddam prevented at least 3 of America's enemies from pursuing a military nuke program..Iraq,Iran and Libya. Suppose a Blixian inspection regime had kept Saddam bottled up indefinitely (far-fetched, but suppose), we now know that Iran and Libya had their own programs. So the collateral benefits of the Iraq war include some meaningful stiflement of the nuke ambitions of those terrorist regimes. Not bad.

This NIE may bring unforeseen consequences. At first the Baker Report seemed an efficient rebuke of the US infliction of raw power on its incalcitrant enemies. Appeasers wallowed in Baker's nostrums...'negotiate with Iran from a position of weakness' etc, but Baker marked a fork in the road; it brought into view the humiliation and danger of appeasement and surrender, while advocating those very things. The looming debacle of US defeat led to the Surge and that may lead to 'victory' and that may lead to a conservative President in 2009 and that may lead to 'we win, they lose' at a far lower cost than World War 3 against Islamofascism.

The NIE brings these truths hard up against our noses:

1. America's 'intelligence community' is unintelligent, waffling, inefficient and self-confessedly incapable of spying on crucial enemies. It needs scrapping and reforming under strong, patriotic, intelligent leadership which operates as tho America were in a life-or-death war.

2. Iran has run a military nuke program at least until scared off by the Iraq invasion. It may have re-started or it may be disguised within the technically ambiguous civilian program. The American 'intelligence community' hasn't a clue.

3. Iran may already have the ingredients for a nuke and, if not, it may buy them. American intelligence doesn't know and likely won't know when the chips are down.

A rational actor contemplating that lot would find that regime change in Iran is the least worst option. America can't risk being taken by surprise or getting drawn into a facedown with an enemy which may be a suicide bomber with nuclear bombs. The lack of good intelligence should force America to a more risk-averse, ie more threatening, posture than just whistling in the wind to find out whether Iran gets nukes. So, against intuition, the NIE may induce clear thinking and a steelier resolve. Moreover fixing Iran now sends an offer that's hard to refuse to future would-be threats like a desperate Chavez, an Islamofanatic Pakistan or nuked-up Norks. That is, "Don't raise the stakes, America doesn't bluff."

Update: The New York Sun:
when the historians look back on this period, they will see that by sabotaging our diplomacy, our intelligence analysts have clarified the choice before the free world — appeasement or war.

December 03, 2007

How I learned to stop worrying..

The US says that Iran hasn't been running a military nuke program since 2003 thanks to international pressure.
The assessment, a National Intelligence Estimate that represents the consensus view of all 16 American spy agencies, states that Tehran is most likely keeping its options open with respect to building a weapon, but that intelligence agencies "do not know whether it currently intends to develop nuclear weapons."
What a load of cobblers!
Bush and vice-president Dick Cheney have been claiming without equivocation that Tehran is bent on achieving a nuclear weapon, with the president warning in October of the risk of a third world war. They were briefed on the national intelligence estimate (NIE) on Wednesday.
Apart from the contradiction with previous Estimates and the appearance of a President at odds with his own Intel, this is likely a flock of arse-covering bureaucrats sticking their fingers in the wind and spinning an Estimate to cover their ignorance and save their careers in case of a Democrat President on top of a Democrat Congress. Note that Iran can just buy weapons grade plutonium off the shelf.
We continue to assess with low confidence that Iran probably has imported at least some weapons-usable fissile material, but still judge with moderate-to-high confidence it has not obtained enough for a nuclear weapon. We cannot rule out that Iran has acquired from abroad—or will acquire in the future—a nuclear weapon or enough fissile material for a weapon.
The WMD is the regime. Ayatollahs delendi sunt.

P.S.16 spy agencies?!*!?

P.P.S. Powerline: "I assess with moderate to high confidence that the CIA is a joke."

December 01, 2007

The savages are revolting!


A British citizen is in a spot of bother in Sudan. She 'insensitively' allowed a 7 yo pupil to name a teddy bear 'Muhammed' after himself.
"Spitting hatred, thousands of hardline Islamists called for British teacher Gillian Gibbons to be shot yesterday."




We should send the Royal Navy to let the Islamosavages know that bad acts have bad consequences. Oh, wait...


November 30, 2007

Correlation is not causation, but..

Let's see:

Conservatives give more;
Conservatives have better mental health.

Correlation is not causation, but we must conclude that generous, sane people tend to be conservative.

November 28, 2007

Low news and new lows

"Fed Official’s Remarks Send Stocks Soaring"
But there was one exception:

nytgraph.png
nytlogo153x23.jpg

The real feminists

“The American feminist movement has not taken one stand to support the women of Iraq, the women of Afghanistan, the women of Iran,” she said. “It is the United States Marines who have been doing the feminist work by liberating women and children around the world.” Tammy Bruce

November 23, 2007

Meet Spencer

Our house in NJ is full of Thanksgiving visitors - dogs, children, adults and Spencer. Spencer is a computer-driven plastic thing which acts like a baby at pre-programmed hours of night and day. He or she is the creature of a young lady niece who tends to Spencer's needs for the sake of a high school grade in Homuncular Biology or something. I think Spencer is creepier than cuddly and watching Spencer getting serviced is like watching a witch's rite. Uneasiness with Spencer correlates to age in our family. The younger females speak of this gremlin as tho he were a real child. Eeeek!

November 20, 2007

I guess I'll see you in another lifetime


'Birth' is an underrated movie. It's both intimate and detached. Some scenes (the opening run thru wintry Central Park, the 'Valkyrie' Prelude scene, the heartbreaking beach scene to close) will become famous as the images sink in; such stuff as dreams are made on.

November 19, 2007

Intellectual disgrace

Colin Powell in Kuwait:
Asked if he sees a U.S. war on Iran coming, the retired U.S. general said although no American official will say the option was "off the table," he did not see prospects of a military conflict.

There is no base of support among Americans for such an action, Powell said, adding that the U.S. military already has enough on its hands in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I say Powell is wrong on all counts, but suppose he's right, then here's what he's telling Iran:
The US President is bluffing. Go ahead and call him.
Here's what he's telling Saudi Arabia:
The US President is bluffing. He can't stop Iran. You'd better find your own deterrent.

November 17, 2007

The best railway station in the world

I prefer the US version of the TV comedy 'The Office', set in Scranton, PA, a town dubbed "armpit of America". I'm not so sure about "armpit"... these ex-industrial downtowns look and feel pretty copacetic when injected with a little life and love; Asheville, NC, for instance. The original 'The Office' is set in the English town of Slough, which you fly by 5 minutes before landing at Heathrow. Slough is an archetype of the British gift to the world known as "crap towns".
Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough!
It isn't fit for humans now,
There isn't grass to graze a cow.
Swarm over, Death!
Come, bombs and blow to smithereens
Those air -conditioned, bright canteens,
Tinned fruit, tinned meat, tinned milk, tinned beans,
Tinned minds, tinned breath....
'Slough' by John Betjeman (1937)

John Betjeman was a champion of Victorian architecture, when that style was despised as pastiche Gothic, obsolescent, fussy and unmodern, fit only for demolition to make space for '60's and '70's brutalism. Boy, was he ahead of his time.

He campaigned to save St Pancras, a decrepit Victorian railway station. Betjeman is dead. St Pancras is re-born as the London terminus of Eurostar, the 2 hour train service between London and Paris. St Pancras is said by the head of French rail to be possibly the best station in the world. Also 
St Pancras is gorgeous. Some of it is almost lickable.....St Pancras is Betjeman's. His statue stands in pride of place above the undercroft, a few steps away from the old booking office. A pointy bronze overcoat flaps behind him in the non-existent breeze, as he tips his head back to stare in awe and wonder at the magnificent ceiling. A swirl of poetry spins around his feet, with additional lines and verses etched into the paving slabs nearby. He looks both delighted and startled to be here, as do we who follow in his footsteps. We wouldn't be standing here today without him. There'd probably be a ghastly identikit office block on site by now had he not stepped in during the 1960s and raised his voice for posterity. Thank you Sir! 21st century London will be forever in your debt.

Next door, at King's Cross station, Hogwarts Express may depart from Platform 9 3/4 but Harry Potter fans will be fascinated to know that it is the stunning Victorian gothic architecture of St Pancras that is used in the films. St Pancras Station and St Pancras Chambers have also featured in Batman Begins......
in which movie St Pancras is the set for Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane.Like Grand Central Station, St Pancras is a grandiose meeting place, a heavenly setting for a champagne bar. Unlike Grand Central, the railway engineering is for glorying in. 


What a happy ending! This:






















instead of this:
In labour-saving homes, with care
Their wives frizz out peroxide hair
And dry it in synthetic air
And paint their nails.

Come, friendly bombs and fall on Slough
To get it ready for the plough.
The cabbages are coming now;
The earth exhales.

Footnote: I just realized that 1937 was the year of the German bombing of Guernica in the Spanish Civil War, perceived as the symbol of terror bombing of civilians. Betjeman's sly poem of that year therefore is spiked with extra acid. As contrast note Picasso's painting of the bombing of Guernica, his most famous if emotionally fraudulent work:

November 15, 2007

If you want peace, prepare for war

Drudge leads with DECISION TIME OVER IRAN THREAT
Iran has installed 3,000 centrifuges for enriching uranium - enough to begin industrial-scale production of nuclear fuel and build a warhead within a year, the UN's nuclear watchdog reported last night.
It's past time to hit Iranian nuclear facilities, air defences and air force. I think that Mick and Dave doubt that Bush will do it as he's a man of principle and won't start something that he won't be in office to see thru, but I guess that Bush's principles will lead him to strike Iran. It's risky, but less so than not hitting Iran in good time, as below:

Risk 1:  Iran gets nukes or just the practical knowhow or just the credible threat of having a nuke.

Risk 2: Bush defers the decision and his successor is an appeaser.

Risk 3: America's word carries no weight. That will invite horrors in future.

Risk 4: Iran's blatant acts of war against America in Iraq and terrorism against the world find no retribution, another come-on to horrors in future.

Risk 5: A deferred decision loses the moment when Brown's and Sarkozy's mood music is supportive and gives time to Russia, China, Iran, the IAEA, the Democrat Party and the MSM to frame a narrative starring America as the Big Bad Wolf and Iran as Little Red Riding Hood.

November 13, 2007

Pet post

My wife overrode me and paid $1,000 for this schnauzer, Trixie, now 4 months old. Here I'm training her to bite my wife on the nose. They say that puppies are baby substitutes. Trixie's so cute, I'd say it's the other way round.

November 11, 2007

The Moving Finger

We were walking in the heart of America the other day (to Spooky Canyon near Escalante, Utah), when the proprietor of Uncorrelated.com asked me, 'So why are oil prices so high?' This is why:

On the back of sky-high minerals prices and record profits of $17bn a year, BHP is on a roll. "I'm not saying the sector is immune to the business cycle," Kloppers said recently, "but a seminal event is happening in the world: two billion people are entering the industrial age. It's like rebuilding Europe after the Second World War but on an even bigger scale."


(Kloppers is an ex-colleague from Billiton. Now he's the new CEO of the biggest mining company and has just launched what looks like the biggest takeover in history by approaching RTZ).

I'm an Americaphile, but here's what I sense:

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.


The USA has gone ex-growth.....intellectually, spiritually, economically. It is super-affluent and lacks the stimulus of creative immigration. War, serious war, may re-invigorate America, but war may not be a happier state than stupor. Nor China, nor India, nor Europe has replaced America, but America's psychological dominance is waning. Interesting times.

November 07, 2007

Cronos eating his children

Mick mused on marriage, children, grandchildren and continuity. My story is less virtuous and so are my intentions. I write from the perspective of a grandfather and father of a herd of beautiful girls. I mean to start a political party with the sole policy of exploiting our children. We'll do it by borrowing trillions of dollars to buy votes from identity groups, provide ourselves with healthcare, pay the crowded retinues of perfumed senators, refurbish the UN, and all the other good works to promote the interests of self-important parasites and entitlement junkies. And this is the great part....we'll get all this bounty from the full faith and credit of our children and grandchildren. So what if it's immoral, they'll learn from us to do the same in turn. Wait. You say it's US policy already? It's just called something else? Damn!

November 04, 2007

Time to get up

Escalante, Utah.
Yesterday I arrived here at the western end of a journey from The Red Sea to London to New Jersey to Salt Lake City to Escalante. In about an hour at 5am I'll drive an hour south to Bryce Canyon to shoot the dawn. I've been a few times, but it's a first for my brother-in-law. As well as the time-zone changes in this journey over 2 weeks, there were distinct "fall backward" time adjustments in London and Utah. Whisky fortunately sooths my skittering internal clock.
UPDATE:

October 29, 2007

Go west, old man

It's 6.30am. I'm about to leave my London flat for Gatwick, then Newark for a few weeks stay in the US. I've carry-on only, as ever, stuffed with camera gear mostly. I set my alarm for 3am to allow time to pack and, more important, riffle thru a multi-month pile of bureaucratic envelopes, selecting the ones that look like they'll cost me if I ignore to jam into my bag so that I can continue to procrastinate in the States. I'm still somewhat elated from my recent whale shark trip and some fine games of soccer (I played fine, that is) and I'm elated at the prospect of some family delights later today and Utah in a few days. A sort of glow has been cast on it all by a call last night from a very old Sherpa friend (now an eminent sirdar and mountaineer in Kathmandu) to discuss a long dreamed of expedition to Kanjiroba Himal in the far West of Nepal, a return to a moumtain I failed to make a first ascent on in 1984. So I also jammed some old rudimentary Himalayan trekking maps on top of the tax demands. Jersey, I'm on my way.

October 28, 2007

Why they hate us..

Chatting with a young, educated Russian I was struck how thoroughly his policy choices were inspired by lust to do down America, a psychological condition distinct from a cold-eyed assessment of Russia's self-interest. He agreed when I said so, but straightway reverted to glee at America's supposed humiliations at the hands of Putin and Islamists. He believes US policy is constructed to humiliate Russia. He's not interested in collaborating with the US on the more proximate threats to Russia from Islam and China.

I've seen the same obsession in a Russian emigrée who's lived many years in the US. Despite her in-depth exposure to the US and close American friends, she believes what she wants to believe. She can do no other.

The same hurt-collecting sense of shame at their own failures motivates many educated people everywhere, even a fair number of Britons, tho I reckon the tide has turned especially since the BBC's bias became so widely acknowledged, and the British variant is relatively superficial.

I dub myself an honorary American in order to say: they hate us because they are ashamed.

October 27, 2007

NyLon

I love this:
..consultants at McKinsey & Company released a report in January, which argued that the tough regulatory environment in the United States was driving private equity and initial public offerings across the Atlantic. But this morning .... Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg — fresh from a visit to England, during which he stayed at his London apartment...
I doubt if 'Red Ken' Livingstone, the execrable Mayor of London, has an apartment in New York, tho possibly in Caracas or Havana. By the way the jew Bloomberg might reflect on Livingstone's notorious anti-semitism and Islamofascistophilia.

In a comment here I wrote:
Anyone who alleges that NYC is the centre of the world is stuck in a time warp. It's London. Reasons why: time-zone, globalization of the US economy, immigrant energy, tax-breaks for non-residents, Russian and Indian billionaires, Sarbanes-Oxley. Polish accents are everywhere, but so are American accents and French and German and Russian and,and. NYC is the financial hub of America in America, but London is the financial hub of America in the world. London is still creating a new past. NYC is maintaining its old past. Having grown up in London I'd say it's the best of times now especially in the East End. I'll give myself a break by flying to Newark on Monday for a couple of months in the boonies of NYC and environs.
This must have provoked Mayor Bloomberg whose lackey wrote (from London) the next day:
Whenever the media pick up on a trend in financial markets, it is usually much too late.

This month, the New York Times ran a long article explaining how New York had surrendered its status as the world's financial center to London.

Right on schedule, the very opposite appears to be true.

After at least five years during which London pulled ahead as a finance hub, several catastrophic mistakes by the British capital are about to put that into reverse.

London has blown its lead. The way is now clear for New York to stage a recovery.

There is little question that London enjoyed higher status..
Actually I agree with Lynn's underlying thesis that London's status is undermined by the government's incompetence, but today the FT reports that Mayor B, Hank Paulson et al realise that it's not a zero-sum game:
Michael Snyder, the City of London Corporation’s policy chairman, attended the meeting at Gracie Mansion, Mr Bloomberg’s official residence .

He said: “’London versus New York’ is often how the show is billed - but the real game is ’efficiency versus economic drag’....“Clearly if we are to get deeply liquid markets, we need to be as joined up as possible and that will help in engaging with and indeed helping the markets in Mumbai, Shanghai or Hong Kong,”
"Engaging with and indeed helping" is snotspeak for "undermining".

A little lateral thinking yields a plan: let New York City secede from the USA and thrive as part of NyLon Inc, UK plc, a binary city of colossal financial might. New Yorkers would be rid of the hated Bush and the threat of a conservative successor. They could taste the rancid fruit of social democracy and depraved culture that most of them vote for AND the money fruit of barrow-boy capitalism. It would be a good deal for the rest of America too ..... if you insist we'll hold our nose and take Hillary in the package. She can be Queen.

For a complementary view see 'New York, not my kind of town'.

October 24, 2007

Djibouti notes

1. There's little alcohol in this poor,mostly Muslim country and the social ether feels healthier for it. I noticed the same thing in Tehran a few years back. I expect the West to sober up in general as the career and mental health benefits become more acutely recognised. Good whisky, of course, stands alone. Perhaps I should give khat a try.

2. I don't take underwater photographs. I feel that I have nothing new to show, I don't need the extra clobber to interfere with the delight of neutral buoyancy and, above all, I'm repelled by the use of flash on fish and turtles.

3. I've put up a gallery here.

October 22, 2007

Altogether elsewhere, vast..

Djust back from Djibouti diving from a liveaboard with my number 3 daughter as buddy. The whale sharks were findable in the plankton soup and sometimes curious about us in a dolphinesque way. We looked for these, the biggest fish, in our rubber dinghies. When a fin was spotted, we headed that way fast, tumbled into the ocean and finned like hell toward the massive presence which would glide by in glory. Oh, boy! One day helicopters of the French Foreign Legion acted as our spotters in between amphibious exercises. Vive la France! I take back my sneer about the Legionnaires' deployment to model tight-fitting shorts above their waxed and shaven legs. We didn't go within sight of the island volcano off Yemen which is on the other side of the entrance to the Red Sea, but a combined diving and land trip to Yemen is now on my agenda.



October 10, 2007

The Horn of Africa


I fly to Djibouti tonight for a week's diving where the Red Sea meets the Indian Ocean. My nr 3 daughter will be my buddy. She's a far more knowledgable diver than I. I'm just a warm-water, follow my leader guy. She trained in the cold water and strong currents around the UK. We'll be looking for whale sharks, the largest fish, which congregate in an algae-rich bay. I also hope to see the volcano which blew up last week on an island off Yemen. This is my third liveaboard trip in the Red Sea. The ease of access from the UK is striking with 5 hour direct flights to the relevant ports of Hurghada and Marsa Alam in Egypt. Djibouti's a little further, but still just a normal magic carpet ride away. Poof! The morning will find us in an enclave surrounded by Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and Yemen along with 2,000 soldiers of the French Foreign Legion, but I add without irony that I'll find it refreshing to interact with friendly Moslems. On liveaboards there's nothing to do except dive, eat, sleep and read, so the vacation doesn't get ruined by sightseeing apart from a final 24 hours ashore to de-fizz before the flight home.  A couple of weeks after I get back I'll be in Escalante, Utah, with London and New York in between. The best thing of all is that I don't deserve my lifestyle and haven't earned it by hard work. Toodlepip.

October 05, 2007

Ruminating on Romney

John Hawkins has a good piece against Romney for GOP nominee. Polls suggest that many Americans, especially Christians, especially Christians who'd vote Republican, will not vote for a Mormon. Mick's thoughts are here and I don't buy this poll just as I don't buy polls which suggest that Americans want to surrender in Iraq. It's contextually-manipulated polling, asking questions in a setting which suggests the preferred answer and then headlining that answer at the expense of other answers which would severely modify the policy takeaway from the poll.

Anyway the GOP nomination process is a narrow-mesh filter for the religious-test proposition that Mormonism disqualifies Romney from winning the general election. My instinct is that almost no-one who isn't a locked-in liberal has a problem with a man who follows his parents' religion, doesn't bring its specifics into his campaign, acts on general Christian principles, is personally tolerant, refuses to disavow his faith and has a great family. All religious sects have their cultish aspects, The Church of Liberalism most of all.

Hawkins is right that the MSM will love to mock Mormonism's absurdities, but they'll lash Giuliani's love-life. I bet if a distinguished US general were running for the GOP, they'd call him traitor. A non-RINO needs a rhino's hide whatever his background.

Hawkins deals fairly fairly with Romney's supposed flipfloppery. He concludes that Romney is probably a conservative but
The idea, I suppose, is that conservatives should get him into the White House and then we'll find out where he really stands.
Well Romney's policy statements are clearly conservative, his personal life is clearly conservative, his record as governor of a liberal state is clearly conservative. I don't really have a problem with a President who has evolved into conservatism - isn't that normal?

Hawkins notes that Romney trails in national polls:
Once you get outside of Iowa and New Hampshire, where he has been spending much of his time and campaign war chest, Mitt's numbers are frighteningly bad.
Another way to say that is that Romney appears to be the candidate who can campaign most effectively. If Romney is nominated he'll get the national exposure. If you believe like Hawkins that Romney's a great campaigner, you have to believe that's a winning combination with exposure.

My imaginary vote still goes to Romney over Giuliani because of his competence and stability, tho Giuliani as President sounds dandy too. I'd change my mind if Romney started to trim left.

An afterthought is that Giuliani is far more likely to have secrets in his personal life which are being hoarded by the media. This is a critical election (they all seem to be now that the Democrats have become so treacherous) and should be the dirtiest on record. Romney may have an important edge if you believe that a candidate's personal life can translate to votes. Tho I have many daughters, I'm a dunderhead on female psychology, but I'd have thought Romney's looks and demeanour would appeal to women more than Giuliani's and far,far more than Hillary Clinton's and without the preponderance of the female vote the Dems are sunk. I imagine I'm an expert on male psychology and I can't imagine any man, anywhere, ever voting for Hillary Clinton over Romney (or Giuliani) unless he's a member of some liberal group (government employee, racial identity group, lawyer, academic, student...), but that may be my wishful thinking.

October 04, 2007

PJ Harvey



Having seen Prince, I found that another music hero was giving a single concert in London, so I coughed up for PJ Harvey. This little genius has been a star for about 14 years. I prefer her early albums, especially 4-Track Demos, but she is a knockout live act. Here's an early clip from the Tonight Show...can't imagine what the Leno audience made of her but they seemed to like it.

September 27, 2007

Bollingers' bollocks redux

This is a comment on Dave's comment - "the invite should never have occurred" - on my comment on Mick's post 'Bollinger Bollixes his Brief' to the effect that confronting A'jad was a decent deed performed by a hypocrite who should not have invited this A'hole to speak. It's a post so as to include the video:

Reasonable men (and we too) can disagree whether Bollinger got his multiculti knickers in a twist with the invite. I do agree he's a hypocrite because he opposed the ROTC at Columbia, but I'm glad that he invited A'jad and I'm glad at his take-down which was wholly effective. Suppose Hitler, Stalin or Mao, with the world watching, had been confronted to their faces with a similarly levelheaded summary of their scumminess. That would have brought them into ridicule and consolidated resistance. It would also be an inspiration in history. No invite, no takedown, no autobeclowning, no inspiration.
"I am only a professor who is also a university president. Today I feel all the weight of the modern civilised world yearning to express its revulsion at what you stand for. I only wish I could do better."
Let right and wrong confront each other in public. Christ said "the truth shall make you free." He didn't add "but the truth is reserved for courteous non-hypocrites in private."

The practical upshot of Bollinger's invite has been to break the liberal meme that BigBad Bush must be deterred from attacking the tolerant, Islamic, more-sinned-against-than-sinning resistance-fighters in Iran so as to steal their oil (tho I would be happy to steal their oil). By speaking against homosexuality in PoliticallyCorrect-i-bad U, NYC, A'jad committed a mortal sin on liberal soil and that's cooked his goose with the bien pissants far worse than his implied threats to nuke Israel.

Bollix (American); Bollocks (English); Cojones (Spanish).

September 25, 2007

Dwarf, poison, antidote

A'jad's speech at Columbia U had these good outcomes.

1. President of Columbia, Lee Bollinger's policy of banning the ROTC (because of Clinton's dont-ask-don't-tell ordinance re gays in the military), but inviting to campus the guy who murders American soldiers who volunteered to protect America (even the bit which is Columbia U) - that policy is brought into acute focus.

2. A'jad made himself ridiculous as well.

I suggest that Bollinger now take his ROTC banning credentials to Tehran U and there devote a speech to the glory of overt homosexuality in the military.

More seriously, I suggest that Bush himself propose a visit to Tehran for the sole purpose of speaking about freedom and democracy versus an obscene theocracy. A town hall type event would be fine.

September 24, 2007

Rudy v Fred v McCain v Mitt - the issue

John Hawkins emphasizes national polls. Mick emphasizes early primaries. Powerline hops about. Hugh Hewitt's in love.

Comment is free, but facts are sacred:

to find a clearly bald candidate beating a rival who was not so afflicted, you have to go back to the 1880 election, when James Abram Garfield beat the retired Civil War general Winfield Scott Hancock by fewer than 10,000 votes.

Columbia U is right, Bush is wrong

I have no problem with a New York college giving a platform to a fascist like A'jad or Hitler or Stalin or Pol Pot. Sure the academics' motives are treacherous, but I credit the American crowd with the wisdom to see diabolism for what it is - laughable.

I have a problem with the US government allowing free movement in NYC to a murderer of US troops.

A'jad is right

This from the Iranian news agency:
International rules require the United States, as the host to the UN headquarters, to issue visa for other countries' envoys to the United Nations and to refrain from disrupting the operations of the world body.

Due to similar incidents in the past, Iran has called on the UN member states to change the UN headquarters from New York to Geneva or a more convenient and impartial place.


Actually move the UN to Tehran. Ok it might inconvenience the next Australian PM when he wants to get sloshed in a strip club while on an official visit to the UN, but what's that compared to the sheer appositeness of the world's foremost forum for hypocrisy and anti-Americanism re-locating to Iran.

September 17, 2007

A slasher


Sweeney Todd is a great role for Johnny Depp in the forthcoming movie of Sondheim's classic, but I don't think he's interesting enough to pull it off. The overall cast looks good with Alan Rickman as Judge Turpin, Timothy Spall as Beadle Bamford and Borat as Aldolfo Pirelli, 'the king of barbers and barber of kings'. The greatest weight should fall on Helena Bonham Carter who plays Mrs Lovett, purveyor of meat-pies. Isn't she a Johnny Depp lookalike?

I saw Sweeney in London 26 years ago, but was mesmerized by the recent lean, mean revival in London in which the cast of 9 played the instruments and replaced the orchestra. It was so thrilling that I saw it again when it transferred to New York. To die for.

September 16, 2007

Idiot, yes. Useful, no.

This just in: you can't trust Syria, you can't trust Iran, you can't trust N.Korea. It appears that the Israelis just destroyed Syrian materials for nuclear warheads stored 50 miles from the Iraqi border.
Andrew Semmel, a senior US State Department official, said Syria might have obtained nuclear equipment from “secret suppliers”, and added that there were a “number of foreign technicians” in the country.

Asked if they could be North Korean, he replied: “There are North Korean people there. There’s no question about that.” He said a network run by AQ Khan, the disgraced creator of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, could be involved.

But why would nuclear material be in Syria? Known to have chemical weapons, was it seeking to bolster its arsenal with something even more deadly?

Alternatively, could it be hiding equipment for North Korea, enabling Kim Jong-il to pretend to be giving up his nuclear programme in exchange for economic aid? Or was the material bound for Iran, as some authorities in America suggest?
Also
As a bonus, the Israelis proved they could penetrate the Syrian air defence system, which is stronger than the one protecting Iranian nuclear sites.
A pox on Nancy Pelosi. A pox on James Baker.

September 14, 2007

Advice to a Prince



I'm pro-Prince. 'Pink Cashmere' will play at my funeral. Last night a Polish Princess took me to a Prince concert at the Dome in London. I'll skip the superlatives and give the boy some tips:

* Look, a lot of the concert was over-orchestrated. Can a wall of sound swamp out detail? If so, it did that.
* You can play guitar. Did you know? Just stand there and pump that thing.
* The light show is past passé...no impact. Minimalism rocks.
* Boudoir colour schemes evoke, well, nothing much. They're not even suggestive as kitsch.
* Your live act subtracts melody, adds rhythm. then plays with the rhythms virtuosoifically. I want to damn well hear it.

You may not know it, but you have a real talent hidden there. Lose the layers.

September 13, 2007

Slimy yet satisfying


The "General Betray Us" ad in the New York Times brings all this War on Terror stuff into perspective. Could any conservative invent a more satisfying branding iron for the Democrats? Alright the liberal congress only called Petraeus a liar not a traitor, but I think the job's done. Thankyou, God.

As for the Times, see Thomas Lifson:
Even Pinch Sulzberger must, by this time, understand that the newspaper industry is dying. But a canny strategist could, as Rupert Murdoch is doing, leverage assets like a famous name and a national distribution platform into a multi-media platform that could thrive in the new technological environment of news. Despite the ineptness of the company's diversification strategy, the venerable brand name and worldwide reputation of the paper, a legacy he inherited from his ancestors, remains the company's most valuable asset. But this sort of cheapening of the company's standing, publishing scandalously scurrilous ads and devoting its diminishing supply of space to redundant stories with attitude, is undermining the remaining value of that brand.
Unless members of the Sulzberger/Ochs family decide to protect their patrimony by removing their incompetent cousin, something of a Greek tragedy will play itself out at the company, and it will be devoured by Pinch's lethal combination of hubris, youthful political obsessions, and lack of business acumen.

September 03, 2007

Potty talk

Vigourous vernacular vocabulary flows east to west across the Atlantic these days. My ambition in life is to replace 'restroom' with 'bog' in American speech. "Republican senator pleas insanity after after pleading guilty to footsy with with cop in bog" has a certain je ne sais quoi. This thought was prompted by a professor of politics here.

September 02, 2007

Oil slick

The chart shows the Crude Oil price over the last 6 years. I sold short at $74 on Friday on the basis of the big formation double-top and the recent 50% retracement from $69 to $74 after the drop from $79. Over a 3 day weekend there's more potential for a price gap in either direction, so I'm happy with a guaranteed stop-loss equivalent to an out of the money call. The crux is the cost of that call..heh,heh,heh.

August 31, 2007

Putting the grim in pilgrim

I recently spent a few days on the Way of St James, walking the stretch across the Pyrenees to Roncesvalles in Spain, the site of Roland's mythical last stand against the Moslems in 778 AD. I joined a soccer friend, Seth, and his friend, Greg, on their pilgrimage from London to Santiago de Compostella, site of the supposed remains of the apostle James, a fisherman who became a fisher of men.

The first day was a washout, more like snorkelling than walking, then the sun came out, the foothills of the Pyrenees cast their spell and we strode on. As pilgrims, 'pelerins', we received kindnesses along the way. Until we reached St Jean Pied de Port, where several routes converge before the push across the Pyrenees, our route from the north seemed hardly used by pilgrims and we were a little special. You can identify pilgrims by the scallop shell swinging from their sack or their broad-brimmed hats.

Greg is a damned liberal and I'm a damned conservative. He's just gained a first class degree in 'Developement Studies' and plans to take a Master's in 'Peace Studies' at SOAS, the infamous School of Oriental and African Studies in London. He's recently been in Palestine, mewling and puking over the oppressed Palestinians, and cares little for history prior to the start of 'de-colonization'. Any normal person would ostracize him or pelt him with rotten eggs. I relished the mental fight and the klicks (kilometers) flashed by unnoticed as we cudgelled each other with words up hill and down dale. I won all the arguments (you know the stuff: Hummers are greener than Hybrids; everyone should pay the same tax; no tax, no vote; the Palestinians are lucky to have the Israelis as enemies; American soldiers are heroes), but I rubbed it in by grinding his liberal arse to dust at chess. Greg, you've been mugged by a neocon and one day you'll be mugged by reality, but you're a good sport and I relished being baited back.

I'm invited to re-join them towards the end of the pilgrimage and I might, especially if they want to go the extra 90km to Cape Finisterre
Land's End/End of the World. This mythical promontory symbolizes for many pilgrims the end of the terrestrial way and the beginning of a spiritual renewal. It is the tradition of pilgrims who continue to cap Finisterre to burn their clothes and sandals as a sign of this renewal.

August 30, 2007

Sondheim teaches pronunciation


Note Sondheim's wince at the first slurring of 't's, but also his beautiful teaching style, his absorption with the potential of the lyric in its setting, his happiness at his pupil's success, his succinctness, his persistence to defeat the 2nd rate.

I'd also have asked the singer to improve 'careah' to 'career'. It's not at all that there's a proper way to speak or sing....there's an expressive way, an accurate way, a suggestive way... and before that happy state there is basic state of respect for words to be mastered and then riffed around. Mere slurring doesn't cut it.

August 20, 2007

The religion of Me


John Hinderaker at Powerline critiques an interview with Christiane Amanpour about her new CNN series 'God's Warriors'. He refutes the equivalence of 'Jewish Warriors', 'Muslim Warriors' and 'Christian Warriors', but what I'd like to quote is this:
I think we can diagnose her perception of "fundamentalism" as follows: "fundamentalism" means religion-based beliefs that are antithetical to her own liberal views. Islamic "fundamentalism" is a serious danger in that it encourages terrorist violence that could kill her. The likelihood of that, however, is relatively remote. Christian (and Jewish) fundamentalism doesn't pose any such hazard, but the danger that it does pose is much more immediate: most such "fundamentalists" vote for and support political candidates with whom Amanpour disagrees.
The liberal condition is often a puzzle to me. Why would they not want America to beat the head-hackers? Why would they not want nuclear families to thrive? Why would they not admire men who voluntarily risk their lives to protect the rest of us? Why would they not want to protect unborn children? And so on...natural positions that harmonize with a compassionate outlook just don't appeal. This is why: they never grew up. They are fundamentalists of the religion of Me. Their own stimuli determine their worldview, but that worldview has self-regard at its centre so that infantile postures are dissimulated as rational stances - 'Choice' 'Diversity' 'Sexual Liberation' 'Women's Liberation' are code for 'Daddy can't tell me what to do' and Daddy is a more immediate threat than the enemy over the water. The unfunny part is that these permanent adolescents have votes. I would simply disenfranchise non-taxpayers as a starting point to a more adult society. Why should college students or other welfare recipients have a say in how much money another family should be forced to pay them? “Power without responsibility — the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages.” Amend 'harlot' to 'liberal.'

August 02, 2007

Let me scratch that

A candidate Commander-In-Chief says
"I think it would be a profound mistake for us to use nuclear weapons in any circumstance" Obama said, with a pause, "involving civilians." Then he quickly added, "Let me scratch that. There's been no discussion of nuclear weapons. That's not on the table."
Together with his recent policy announcement to attack Pakistan if necessary to root out terrorists, this puts the USA in an interesting position vis-a-vis the only Islamic nuclear power.

July 29, 2007

Brown brown-nosed by Brown, steps in doo-doo, wipes his shoe

There have been high hopes in the media that the new UK Prime Minister will distance himself from the Bush regime not least to validate the idea that the UK was poodlificated by a Blair/Bush Christianist cabal. The atrocious appointment of Mark Pilloch Brown, snobby disdainer of flyover America, as a junior minister in the Foreign Office is hard to read except as a prelude to multilateralism - ie outsourcing Britain's interests to the UN's unelected Wise Fathers ... like Malloch Brown himself in fact.

Well....Brown (Gordon of that ilk, not Pilloch) says this ahead of today's meeting with Bush:
we should acknowledge the debt the world owes to the United States for its leadership in this fight against international terrorism.

Would any Democrat say that of their own country or their own military?

Note also this:
David Miliband, the new Foreign Secretary, publicly reprimanded Lord Malloch Brown, stating: "He's been given a very specific job to do by Gordon Brown, he's been asked to work on Africa, on Asia and on UN reform."
Maybe Brown (Gordon) was simply untuned to the repulsive vibe of Brown (Lord Pilloch) after years of being sucked up to by him as UN Deputy Secretary General and just made a mistake.

July 20, 2007

The next Mayor of London?

Ken Livingstone is Mayor of London. He's a good operator with a tough political temperament and atrocious views. He's an Islamist/IRA fellow traveller whose enemy is America and whose enemy's enemy is his friend; Chavez, say. The low turnout for mayoral elections and block voting of Muslims and other identity groups have won him 2 elections. The Conservative candidate just announced to fight 'Red Ken' is Boris Johnson. He stands a chance thanks to his high profile and likable style. At least I like it, judge for yourself:

July 15, 2007

Subprime thinking

From an article by Niall Ferguson this is neat:
..subprime is a euphemism for poor. And consequently, in Detroit and Memphis, it is a euphemism for African-American, which is itself a euphemism for black.
The rest is big-governmentitis written by a twit.

Interesting how little effect the credit events are having.
Non 'subprime' US property is down because of 'irrational exuberance' and easy money on the way up yet the US economy is thriving and will benefit from more affordable housing. CMOs and other real estate financial packaging have dispersed risk more widely than in the past. Bearstearns isn't bust, but so what if it were ? Meanwhile the stock market is at record highs and the US's vast foreign debt is growing smaller by the day as the dollar depreciates.

Actually the financial sophisticates in the subprime sector are often the borrowers - "These dumb white guys in suits want to throw money at me and, if things work out, in 2 years I'll have a house worth more, maybe much more, than it cost. If they don't work out, I'll be foreclosed and the smart money-men will own a house worth less, maybe much less, than it cost."

June 17, 2007

Biking in Utah

Inspired by Mick's post I looked up this picture of the virile Utah style of biking in 1948. It's Rollie Free breaking the American speed record on a Vincent Black Lightning.

The 1952 Black Lightning inspired the great song by Richard Thompson.
in my opinion, there's nothing in this world
Beats a 52 Vincent and a red headed girl
Now Nortons and Indians and Greeveses won't do
They don't have a soul like a Vincent 52
He reached for her hand and he slipped her the keys
He said I've got no further use for these
I see angels on Ariels in leather and chrome
Swooping down from heaven to carry me home
And he gave her one last kiss and died
And he gave her his Vincent to ride
Here's another great bike song with pix by PJ Harvey (profanity ahoy).

June 12, 2007

Never complain, never explain..well maybe this once

I rarely read speeches, but this one by Tony Blair will be making waves. Full transcript here
"I need to say some preliminaries at the outset. This is not my response to the latest whacking from bits of the media. It is not a whinge about how unfair it all is.As I always say, it's an immense privilege to do this job and if the worst that happens is harsh media coverage, it's a small price to pay. And anyway, like it or not, and some do and some don't, I have won 3 elections and am still standing as I leave office. This speech is not a complaint. It is an argument."
"From Stanley Baldwin's statement about "power without responsibility being the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages" back to the often extraordinarily brutal treatment, if you've ever read it, meted out to Gladstone and Disraeli through to Harold Wilson's complaints of the 60s, the relations between politics and the media are and are by necessity, difficult. It's as it should be."
"The metaphor for this genre of modern journalism is the Independent newspaper..... a well-edited lively paper and is absolutely entitled to print what it wants, how it wants, on the Middle East or anything else. But it was started as an antidote to the idea of journalism as views not news. That was why it was called the Independent. Today it is avowedly a viewspaper not merely a newspaper."
"So there are my thoughts. I've made this speech after much hesitation. I know it will be rubbished in certain quarters. But I also know this has needed to be said."


I despise much of what Mr Blair has done, but he's brave and resilient and he's 75% articulate which helps. I think he'd agree that an avowed viewspaper like The Independent isn't too obnoxious. It's the priestly hypocrisy of the BBC and the NYT that stinks up the joint.

June 10, 2007

Lies, damned lies and The New York Times

The Fork Tongue Times June 10th:
Grass Roots Roared and Immigration Plan Collapsed

Public opinion polls, including a New York Times/CBS News Poll conducted last month, showed broad support among Americans for the bill’s major provisions.
Rasmussen Reports May 25th:
NY Times/CBS Poll Finds that 69% Believe Illegal Immigrants Should Be Prosecuted

The New York Times/CBS News did not specifically ask about the immigration bill currently being considered in the Senate. However, in the article written about the poll, the Times states “large majorities expressed support for measures contained in the legislation.”
The survey found, for example, that 67% would allow illegal immigrants to “apply for a four-year visa… as long as they pay a $5,000 fine, a fee, show a clean work record, and pass a criminal background check.” That, too, is similar to a Rasmussen Reports survey which found 65% support for a compromise proposal allowing illegal aliens a “very long path to citizenship” provided that “the proposal required the aliens to pay fines and learn English” and that the compromise “would truly reduce the number of illegal aliens entering the country.” The proposal, specifically described as a compromise, was said to include “strict employer penalties for hiring illegal aliens, building a barrier along the Mexican border and other steps to significantly reduce the number of illegal aliens entering the United States.”
However, while 65% were willing to support such a compromise, only 26% support the legislation currently before the Senate.
Rasmussen Reports June 8th:
Why the Senate Immigration Bill Failed

23% of Americans supported the legislation. When a bill has less popular support than the War in Iraq, it deserves to be defeated.
There is no mystery to why the public opposed the bill. In the minds of most Americans, immigration means reducing illegal immigration and enforcing the border. Only 16% believed the Senate bill would accomplish that goal.

June 09, 2007

A Mayor's right to choose

Wikipedia:
Giuliani was criticized for embracing illegal immigrants. Giuliani continued a policy of preventing city employees from contacting the Immigration and Naturalization Service about immigration violations, on the grounds that illegal aliens must be able to take actions such as to send their children to school or report crime and violations without fear of deportation. He ordered city attorneys to defend this policy in federal court. The court ruled that New York City's sanctuary laws were illegal. After the City of New York lost an appeal to the United States Supreme Court, Giuliani vowed to ignore the law.
City Journal:
Former mayor Rudolph Giuliani sued all the way up to the Supreme Court to defend the city’s sanctuary policy against a 1996 federal law decreeing that cities could not prohibit their employees from cooperating with the INS. Oh yeah? said Giuliani; just watch me. The INS, he claimed, with what turned out to be grotesque irony, only aims to “terrorize people.” Though he lost in court, he remained defiant to the end. On September 5, 2001, his handpicked charter-revision committee ruled that New York could still require that its employees keep immigration information confidential to preserve trust between immigrants and government. Six days later, several visa-overstayers participated in the most devastating attack on the city and the country in history.

Banana Republicans

Senator Mel Martinez joined 6 other GOP senators to vote for cloture of the Immigration Bill. The GOP base loathes the bill and 38 of 45 GOP senators voted against. How then can Martinez remain GOP Chairman?

Now is a tipping point. Either build the fence, secure the border, deport criminals and deter employers or accept a demographic Reconquista. That means "humanely enforce the law", a policy opposed by the President, the GOP Chairman, the head of Homeland Security, the Majority Party in the Senate and the House, John McCain, the MSM of course and The Wall Street Journal - a Grand Alliance for the Grand Bargain versus the Grand Old Party.

The McCain-Kennedy Shamnesty Bill is a blessing because it's dragged the border and demographics into open politics. Let a new 'Grand Bargain' be made between conservatives and working Democrats. Immigration and the border may be the issue of 2008 and may work magic for Giuliani or Romney. Hispanics and liberals may vote for Amnesty and insecure borders, but they mostly vote Dem anyway. Blacks and blue collar workers have a real incentive to switch in critical states. Many are socially conservative anyway and could be Reagan Republicans were it not for identity politics. "Humanely enforce the law" is good policy and good politics.

By the way 'sanctuary cities' is a bad idea for a society that wants 'a government of laws not of men.' Why should Paris Hilton accept the justice of jail for breaking probation in Los Angeles?

Americans scoff at the UK's Islamification which is driven by short-term electoral gain. UK Moslems vote as a bloc and Moslem electoral fraud in postal voting has tainted British democracy in unprecedented ways. So scoff away, Yanqui, you're dead right. BUT you have imported a Latin American political culture which is a government of men not of laws... sanctuary cities, illegal immigration, amnesty, La Raza, bilingualism. The perceived electoral value of Hispanics as a bloc drives the political class to outrages on democracy. Well, while you're jostling for elections, you'll lose America for your children and mine. I have a name for Bush, McCain, Martinez and the rest: Banana Republicans.

PS this is how Latinos see it:

“California is going to be a Hispanic state. Anyone who doesn’t like it should leave.” Mario Obledo, California Coalition of Hispanic Organizations and California State Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare under Governor Jerry Brown, also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton

“We are practicing ‘La Reconquista’ in California.” Jose Pescador Osuna, Mexican Consul General

“The American Southwest seems to be slowly returning to the jurisdiction of Mexico without firing a single shot.” Excelsior, the national newspaper of Mexico.

“We have an aging white America. They are not making babies. They are dying. The explosion is in our population . . I love it. They are shitting in their pants with fear. I love it.” Professor Jose Angel Gutierrez, University of Texas

“Remember 187--proposition to deny taxpayer funds for services to non-citizens--was the last gasp of white America in California.” Art Torres, Chairman of the California Democratic Party

“We need to avoid a white backlash by using codes understood by Latinos . . . “ Professor Fernando Guerra, Loyola Marymount University

"We paid a political price in the last election cycle. If we get the same type of Hispanic support in the next election cycle than we did in the last, there's no way we could elect a Republican president' in 2008." Mel Martinez, GOP Chairman

June 07, 2007

CO2 PMQ QED WAWAA

Prime Minister's Questions yesterday in the UK Parliament:

Mr. John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con):
Why did carbon dioxide emissions in both the UK and the EU rise last year while falling in the United States of America...
The Prime Minister:
blah blah blah... European emissions trading system... blah blah blah...only through that...blah blah blah...Kyoto.

Comment by Iain Murray
Blair's failure to answer the question asked, while typical, is indicative that he knows the real answer but cannot deliver it: that America's free enterprise system is better at delivering greenhouse gas reductions than the targets and timetables approach of the EU. The American experience proves that it is not "only through that trading scheme" that any difference can be made.
My friends, (mocking McCain) this is not about CO2. It's about power for transnational elites and their fleas. A superpowerful, free-enterprise, democratic, self-determining USA antithesizes the énarquiste weltanschauung (just having fun with polylingual polysyllables - it's the coffee) and there's a secular war whose fronts are the UN, Kyoto, the MSM, Academia, the US Supreme Court and The Culture Wars. My friends, it's a vast left-wing conspiracy. I guess we need a name for the whole shebang. 'The War on Error' doesn't capture the moral dimension. 'The War against the War against America' - 'WAWAA' - is my best shot on this pot of coffee. My friends, good morning.

June 05, 2007

The horror, the horror


There's something about logos that brings out all that's most spastic in ponytail aesthetics. Once a CEO has bought into a logo, it's blasphemy to state the obvious - same with IT projects or the Emperor's New Clothes.

The crazed emperor of the London Olympics is Sebastian Coe, one of the greatest athletes of all time. I once walked behind him at Athens airport. It was like walking behind a man with wings on his ankles...he just glided down the corridor with no effort. Here he is announcing the new logo..

See also Fake Steve.

Death or glory or a cup of tea


Michael Yon has posted the first of 4 accounts of the British army in Iraq.
The Queen’s Royal Lancers have been living out in the desert for about six months, like nomads moving from place to place, sleeping under the stars, getting much of their resupply of food and water by nighttime parachute drop as they patrol the Iran-Iraq border.
I'm proud of my fighting compatriots and take special pride in the mutual respect of the US/UK allies in this account. For me it's vicarious and I'm conscious of not having earnt my own freedom, but if one is going to be proud of anything outside the family, then this is it.

The expertise that's been acquired by the Allies in Iraq and Afghanistan will be priceless in future.

Psycho-economics

Michael Lewis (Liar's Poker) has an astute piece on the psycho-economics of trophy newpaper ownership.
The cachet of the New York Times is worth more to the Sulzberger family than to anyone else. The Sulzbergers' relationship to the Times is the chief source of their status; without it they are mere mortals with a bit of cash; and so the Sulzbergers cling to their control of the Times as tightly as ever.
Instead of getting out while the getting is good, they flop around looking for new ways to raise money without ceding control, and to make money without leaving the news business. Which is to say, they are working as hard as they possibly can to throw good money after bad -- with the predictable result that they have alienated their outside investors.
But...
The cachet of the Wall Street Journal to the Bancrofts, by contrast, is worth very little. There are too many Bancrofts, and they are too loosely associated with the paper: Even if they do theoretically control the Journal, no one but Rupert Murdoch wants to invite them to dinner to discuss the page one A-heads.
There's a word for an investor who clings to an asset whose chief value, its cachet, is of virtually no value to them: insane
I disagree with Michael Lewis that Murdoch is overvaluing the WSJ. The world is ripe for a print and web-based global clearing house for business matters and non-elitist opinion. The WSJ franchise can be vastly expanded, especially since Pearson has gone out of its way to ruin the FT.

June 03, 2007

You read it here first

Blair's abdication is nigh. Gordon Brown has a couple of years till a general election. The 'Conservative' leader, David Cameron, is universally recognized is an opportunist, unprincipled, inexperienced, socially liberal scumbag of the most transparent sort, BUT he's had much better poll numbers than his predecessors and is given an easy ride by large elements of the MSM, especially the BBC which played a big part in getting him elected leader against the favourite, the socially somewhat conservative, David Davis. Cameron is openly ridiculed and despised in some influential quarters, so he may not win the general election despite a pervasive feeling of 'throw the bums out and give us some new bums.'

If Labour loses the next election, but more importantly the election after that, then the last 10 years will seem like a golden age to the hordes of feather-bedded pols and tax-funded nosy parkers who infest Great Britain. Then the issues of Iraq and friendliness with the Toxic Texan will have receded and Tony Blair will be remembered as the Undefeated Champion of 3 General Elections, by far the most successful leader Labour has ever had. He will still be youngish, vigourous and his reputation will have been resuscitated. He won elections and he had principles, quite Thatcheresque.

I therefore forecast that Blair will be drafted back to power within 7 years.

June 02, 2007

Lies, damned lies and carbon credits

FT
Europe furious at US climate call
A spokesman for Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor and current G8 president, said Germany’s stance that climate talks should take place within the United Nations was “non-negotiable”.
Guardian
Truth about Kyoto: huge profits, little carbon saved
The [Clean Development Mechanism] is one of two global markets which have been set up in the wake of the Kyoto climate summit in 1997. Both finally started work in January 2005. Although both were launched with the claim that they would reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, evidence collected by the Guardian suggests that thus far, both markets have earned fortunes for speculators and for some of the companies which produce most greenhouse gases and yet, through a combination of teething troubles and multiple forms of malpractice and possibly fraud, they have delivered little or no benefit for the environment.

While the [Clean Development Mechanism] is run under the umbrella of the UN, the second market is overseen by the European commission.
The Guardian investigation is rich with comic detail of the brazen scams. God knows how much the envirocrats are skimming off the top. It all comes from you and me, folks, so smile while you're being shafted by these smug, moralising, gormless, elitist, manipulative, anti-scientific, parasitic, 3-pool heating, Stalinist twerps.

Kudos to The Grauniad for giving scoffers like me the material to berate their soulmates.

You read it here second

A funny blog is The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs ("Dude, I invented the friggin iPod. Have you heard of it?"). At the recent, wonderful reminiscence orgy of Jobs and Bill Gates, Gates opened with the line "First I want to clarify, I'm not Fake Steve Jobs" and raised the blog's profile a couple of notches to 50,000 visitors the next day.

So who is Fake Steve if he's not Bill Gates? The answer may be here and I'm more than half convinced despite the denial.

May 25, 2007

Bought the T-shirt



The game was Wednesday's European Cup Final when AC Milan beat Liverpool 2-1. On the left is Kaka , the Brazilian now rated as the best player in the world. On the right is Steve Gerrard, the Liverpool captain, a great player and leader.

Kaka is an evangelical Christian. His lifestyle and virtues are impressive. I shudder at such people, but that may be the devil in me. I shudder more still at the religion of Atheism, so I'm glad that Kaka sticks it up 'em in this photo.

The Nominees

It's been obvious to me for a while that Romney will be the GOP nominee. All his trends are up, he wants it and he's competent. The more he's exposed, the more he impresses. He sounds like the real deal and seems to handle pressure well. Giuliani is the competition thanks to his tremendous name recognition, but he doesn't have the desire and his cloudiness on abortion, immigration and other social issues dilutes his image as a forceful executive. McCain is frankly despised. So that's that.

Gore is waiting to be drafted with loving kisses and adoration and that will happen when it becomes clear that both H.Clinton and Obama are unelectable versus Giuliani or Romney. In dangerous times executive achievement trumps vapid socialism and bs about gender or race. Gore has zero executive achievement, but sounds like he does, at least against the insubstantiality of Clinton and Obama. He's electable and the serious liberals want and need the Presidency very badly now. Ergo they'll draft him.

So Romney v Gore it will be. Note that Gore will have Steve Jobs on his side. That may be pretty influential with young voters. Jobs has earnt credibility in a way that the Hollywood airheads have not. It will be a formidable clash. I'd back Romney just because he's right on the issues and is good in debate plus he has the good humour to gore Gore.

UPDATE: Obama and Clinton give a 360 degree demo of their Presidential demeanour (if 'Presidential' means 'cockroach') by their vote on troop-funding and the manner of it:
Both Clinton and Obama had remained publicly uncommitted in the hours before the vote. Neither were on the Senate floor as voting began. Halfway through, Obama walked into the chamber and cast his "no" vote. Clinton did the same a few minutes later.


AFTERTHOUGHT: I realise I've ignored John Edwards, but the man's a clown's clown, yea he beclowns himself in new ways. Kerry's ex-campaign manager's repellent story that Edwards told Kerry twice the same story about lying (the right word) on his dead son's slab at the funeral home prefaced by saying that he had never told anyone else - that witnesses the ambulance chasing, tort lawyering, gay-queasy, silky phony's unelectability. The netroots may like his stances, but their motive is to capture the Party rather than win elections.

April 23, 2007

Don't forget to breathe

The secret of long life - play chess, eat porridge, laugh:
A man who bet £100 ($240) a decade ago that he would live to be 100 is preparing to pick up his £25,000 ($60,000) winnings.
So confident was bookmaker William Hill in 1997 that it gladly offered Alec Holden odds of 250/1.
But the retired engineer, born April 24, 1907, celebrates his century - to the bookies' dismay.
Mr Holden, from Epsom in Surrey, joked: “I've been very careful about what I've been doing in recent months. If I saw any hooded groups from William Hill standing in the street, I avoided them.”
“Forty birthday cards came for me this morning, including one from the Queen - in fact, I think I saw her delivering it on her bicycle this morning.”
The bet was placed on December 10 in 1997 when Mr Holden was 90.
Mr Holden, who has two sons aged 70 and 60, puts his longevity down to porridge for breakfast and “remembering to keep breathing”. He also plays chess every day..

An influential author

Apparently there's an 'influential author' who is no longer required to be studied for English degrees at most US colleges. Of the influential Ivy League colleges only Harvard considers this influential dead white male compulsory reading for a foundation in English. Well, it would be perfectly apt for this influential dead parrot. this passe' penman to be dropped from English courses altogether. He wrote about honour,duty,kingship,good,evil,the sense of tears in things and the sense of mirth in things; stuff which critical advances have revealed as mere semiotics. Brave new world.

April 21, 2007

Altogether elsewhere..

Campus shooting, Obama's ears, nappy-headed ho's, Reid's surrender, the Royal Navy playing ping-pong in Tehran; these are the foreground phantasmagoria. The plates are shifting for better or worse. Auden's The Fall Of Rome has a sense of these times:
The piers are pummelled by the waves;
In a lonely field the rain
Lashes an abandoned train;
Outlaws fill the mountain caves...
Private rites of magic send
The temple prostitutes to sleep;
All the literati keep
An imaginary friend...
Altogether elsewhere, vast
Herds of reindeer move across
Miles and miles of golden moss,
Silently and very fast.

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Bonnabel Wood