Economics and similar, for the sleep-deprived

A subtle change has been made to the comments links, so they no longer pop up. Does this in any way help with the problem about comments not appearing on permalinked posts, readers?

Update: seemingly not

Update: Oh yeah!


Thursday, February 28, 2008

 
Workers' Playtime?

'Ello 'ello 'ello?! The Thomas Deacon Academy is recruiting "Midday Supervisors":

"...Midday Supervisors work as part of a team supervising students during the lunch-time period in the Refectory, College areas and Academy open spaces. Each College breaks for lunch at set times across a two-hour period, with all other students continuing with lessons. The Midday Supervisor team manages student movement through the Academy during this lunch-time period to avoid any disturbance to lessons, challenging inappropriate behaviour and referring incidents on to College teams or specialist staff ..."


Sounds like playground attendants (and playtimes) to me ...

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4 comments this item posted by the management 2/28/2008 09:35:00 AM

Monday, February 25, 2008

 
Quick quiz

Which widely respected commentator asked, seemingly non-rhetorically, the following question:

And after Kosovo, can Scotland be far behind?

Massive clue: it's got something to do with Israel.

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16 comments this item posted by the management 2/25/2008 12:54:00 AM

Friday, February 08, 2008

 
Big News!!!!!!!!!!

It is a big old bloody news day and no mistake. As well as Prince William having a curry (bloody hell! amazing), noted jurist Stephen Pollard has informed me via his blog:

"If you live in the UK, you obey UK law and no other if there is a conflict"

Wow! We've abrogated the Treaty of Rome! We're no longer under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights! Presumably this happened last week while I was away. Why did nobody tell me?

(there is actually a serious message to this otherwise rather puerile joke. Pollard, noted jurist Melanie Phillips, etc etc, seem to be "forgetting"[1] that the ECHR exists and is directly litigable in the UK (there is no reason to go straight to Strasbourg these days as the Human Rights Act 1998 implemented it as the law of the UK, but if an incoming sharia regime repealed the HRA98 then we would revert to the status quo ante, so if you were sentenced to 40 lashes by incoming prime minister the Rt Hon Abu-Hamza al-Masri, then you would be able to appeal to the Court of Human Rights and having won your appeal, the House of Lords would overturn both your sentence and the hypothetical Sharia Dhimmi Dummy Act 2011.)

[1] In the case of Pollard this might be an honest mistake. In the case of Phillips, there is surely no way on earth that she can have forgotten about the European Convention on Human Rights, because she wrote an entire chapter of "Londonistan" about how angry she was that the UK had given up its proud sovereignty, right to pass bigoted and/or oppressive laws, etc by passing the Human Rights Act which implemented it in the UK. IIRC, she was particularly exercised (by which I mean this was nearly three pages of the book) about the dangers to our society posed by transsexuals changing the gender on their birth certificates, which oddly seemed to be the most serious example of a practical consequence of the HRA98 that she could find.

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18 comments this item posted by the management 2/08/2008 09:19:00 AM

Thursday, February 07, 2008

 
Thorts from the road, after a week round and about in America

Quoting prices gross of sales tax. Insane. Trips me up every time I visit, and seems to confuse a lot of natives too. It makes no sense at all. Every American I've spoken to agrees with me on this one, except for one bloke who tried to make a half-hearted defence of it as a way of "reminding people of the tax burden". To be honest, if the only way you can build a coalition for a low-tax policy is to impose minor irritations a dozen times a day, I would say that's a sign of a political programme not worth bothering with.

The food really is excellent. In particular, you do get better vegetables in America than most places in Europe.

I have no idea why everyone has such a scunner against "USA Today". It's actually a pretty decent newspaper. Compare it to something like the Mail (or even the Times to be honest) and you'll see it's really good. The Wall Street Journal is still much too ugly to read.

American news television. Jesus it's awful. Not so much the content as the technical standards of broadcasting. I watched the O'Reilly Factor and … well, this guy is meant to be the charisma magnet of Fox? Dreary. Half the time it was bad reading off an autocue, and half the rest, woefully under-rehearsed ramble. Paxman would eat these guys alive. Also, the news channels seem to have got really lazy in terms of substituting whizzy CGI graphics for old fashioned camerawork, which makes them look even more dull and static. CNN - they really love their poorly composed group shots, don't they? And their slow zooms in and out on a giant television screen. O'Reilly managed to do about a six minute sequence without a single cut, and then when he moved to an interview, they pulled up a split screen, despite the fact that the guest was clearly in the studio!

The media industry which invented the hyperactive cutting style as a cheap way of creating fake excitement now can't be bothered with it because it's too expensive (my guess is that the CNN studio show I was watching only had two cameras, and a director who wasn't confident in doing anything other than midrange group shots). I suspect that it is only the massive human capital subsidy of the BBC which stops UK media from heading into the same economic tailspin. The only remotely watchable show I saw all week was CNBC Squawkbox, where they at least still remember the concept of putting a camera on the person who's talking. Thinking about it, a lot of sitcoms also suffer from really pedestrian camera-work - this is part of what makes "The Office" stand out so much.

I heard forty minutes of "Savage Nation", in a taxi. Wow. Forty minutes and for every single one of those minutes, nobody was speaking who had any remote idea what they were talking about. I am 100% convinced that show came about as the result of a corporate brainstorming session in which someone, high on black coffee and urine retention, gabbled "what about idiots? There's loads of people out there who are idiots. Shouldn't idiots have a radio show? Let's do a show for idiots". If Michael Savage ever runs for President I have a slogan for him: "It's Moroning In America".

Reading Peter Dale Scott's "The Road to 9/11". Very good book. I think I posted in someone else's comments and lost the suggestion that "the military and intelligence services actually do work in roughly the way in which public choice theorists believe the whole government works". That's the basic message. The other basic message is the answer to Melanie Phillips' implicit question in "Londonistan" - the reason why the UK, US and other intelligence services have been so willing to accommodate not only the growth of global Islamism, but also the specific al-Qaeda faction within them is that, for the most part over the last twenty years, they have delivered the goods. From Afghanistan to the Balkans, Islamist militias were a lot more helpful and reliable than our previous main men in the cause of the plausibly deniable imposition of foreign policy goals, the global drugs industry. The growth of the Wahabi element in Islamism (and its consequent gain in market share from the Muslim Brotherhood) also probably bought at least a decade's extended survival for the House of Saud, who I hardly have to remind readers are our allies. It really is a shame that any discussion of this deep involvement between the two nominally opposed sides in the War on Terror (compare; the deep connections between the CIA and their frenemies in the War on Drugs) is considered totally unserious and evidence of being a tinfoil conspiracy loon. It's true that we hate the Islamists and they hate us, and that they murder Western civilians. On the other hand, the Mafia were and are also our enemies …
26 comments this item posted by the management 2/07/2008 07:03:00 AM

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

 
OhMiGodItsLaunched!!!!!

The European Institute For The Study Of Contemporary Anti-Semitism is live! As is its blog! Which has five entries in the last three months! The most recent of which is this effort from Dr Winston "No I Do Not Know Mustang Sally" Pickett!

The mission statement has subtly changed:

EISCA aims to provide an on-line, web-based resource to the most comprehensive scholarship and writing on antisemitism, drawing on and linking the reader to the latest research conducted by authors and institutions working in the field. Comprehensive in its scope, EISCA is nevertheless particularly devoted to the examination of the discourse of antisemitism as manifested in the written, visual and electronic media.

whereas a year ago Pollard was saying that it was going to commission original research, this one seems to have fallen off the board - maybe it will, maybe it won't, but at the moment it's basically a list of links to other people's papers, some of them rather old. The Board of Directors is Pollard, the chairman of the JLC[1], the chief executive of the Board of Deputies and someone who I can't be sure who he is, but if he is who I think he is, he's rich as Croesus and might be writing the cheques. The Advisory Board is practically a Who's Who of British Decency, tendence Likud, plus Martin Bright. Put it this way; all perfectly reasonable people (maybe not so much Janet Daley), but not much overlap with the Cluster Munitions Coalition.

It looks like the work is being done by Winston "No I Am Not Going To Wait Til The Midnight Bloody Hour" Pickett (he's the PR director for the Institute for Jewish Policy Research, which is not affiliated to Stax or Atlantic Records) and Research Fellow Abe Sweiry, who is a PhD student at Essex apparently.

The website is pretty funky and the list of contemporary anti-Semitism related papers is quite a big piece of scholarship (albeit that I rather suspect that it is basically the bibliography of Abe Sweiry's thesis), but I still maintain that this is a Potemkin thinktank. There is nobody involved with it, including Pollard, who doesn't have a much more important day job. When you compare it to the Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism at Tel Aviv University, it's pretty flat. I am not sure what it would take to change my mind on this - maybe a piece of genuine commissioned work for EISCA, or EISCA being recognised as a sponsor of proper work published elsewhere. Not really a conference, because they are quite easy to organise, but even a good conference would raise it a lot in my estimation. Even a few posts on the blog that weren't the contents of someone's bottom drawer would help. For the meantime, I remain suspicious that the only purpose of EISCA is to add spurious credibility to its members' CVs and opinions about Middle East policy, and I am not at all a fan of this.

[1] The Jewish Leadership Council Jewish community organisation mainly made up of businessmen that nobody seems to know quite what it is for. Presumably the name is meant to be analogous to the Democratic Leadership Council in the US - ie soft-right of liberal politics.

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7 comments this item posted by the management 2/05/2008 07:20:00 AM
 
This stuff writes itself

What is the last safe prejudice? Against what, or whom, is it still reasonable to harbour an irrational dislike?

says Michael Gove.

Interestingly, both he and Aaronovitch today are claiming that Barack Obama is hawkish on defence and signed up to international democracy promotion. Which might be true - the guy is running for President after all - but Obama also looks like the kind of chap who can recognise a fucking lemon when he sees one, which means that for the purposes of the plans of the Decent Left he might as well be George Galloway. I wonder when they will realise this and turn against him?
11 comments this item posted by the management 2/05/2008 04:07:00 AM


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