Had a Sparrowhawk hunting off the office window ledge this morning. Been around for a few days as well, I think they might be nesting up on top somewhere.
At the ASI.
ONS tells us something I’ve been saying for a couple of years now.
Umm, no. A free and liberal society does mean that we can do whatever we like in our sex lives. But why in hell must we abandon manners and bore everyone stupid with the details of it? That one or another might greatly enjoy reverse cowboy could be interesting if the offer to enjoy it mutually was being made. But stripped of that mutual intimacy the details of your sex life are as interesting as descriptions of the methods by which you poop.
Really, that things are done is one thing, that things are talked about another.
“Is it housekeeping though?” I have bumped into a male acquaintance while clutching the May edition of Good Housekeeping magazine, and he seems confused. The 129-year-old stalwart (91 years old in the UK) made headlines this week with a feature it sweetly and discreetly trails on its cover as “our most intimate test ever”. A hundred Good Housekeeping readers, aged between 30 and 80, have tested a range of vibrators to find out if “they’re hitting the spot” (If you’re interested, the stylish, pebble-shaped Je Joue Mimi was the winner, scoring 77 out of 100 and collecting accolades for not being “scary”). Cue bewilderment from the male populace – my friend eventually decides the feature is a cynical stunt designed to make the magazine “sexy” – and sniggering from the tabloids. The Daily Mirror, for instance, trumpeted the news with the headline: “Housewives’ favourite Good Housekeeping magazine shocks readers with SEX TOY review.”
Well I never. The only really shocking thing about this story is that women using vibrators somehow constitutes headline news.
There does seem to be rather a difference in the way that we regard women and sex toys and men and sex toys. Just as an example, can we imagine, say, Popular Mechanics running a feature on the use and performance of a Fleshlight?
Or to put it another way, men who masturbate are sad wankers while women who do are exploring their sexuality?
Britain’s biggest energy suppliers are in line for a £245m windfall because their savings from the Government’s “green levies” deal will be greater than they have passed on to consumers, it has been claimed.
Ministers in December announced a deal with the Big Six energy firms to cut household energy bills by about £50 a year by reforming several levies paid for on bills.
But analysis by the Association for the Conservation of Energy (Ace) suggests that the Government underestimated the benefits to the companies of the changes.
The group calculates that the companies will in fact save an extra £10 per household, which they have not passed on through lower bills.
OK, removing some of the green levies removes more costs to the companies than the companies are reducing the bills by. That’s the argument:
The Government calculated that a watering-down of the scheme, lowering the targets for the installations, would result in £30 to £35 per household bill reductions.
Suppliers duly cut their bills or reduced the scale of planned rises, including an average £32.35 reduction attributed to the Eco scheme changes, according to Ace analysis.
But the group predicts that the companies’ costs for the scheme will, in fact, be reduced by £41.90 in 2014-15 alone.
“This represents a windfall to suppliers of at least £9.55 per household – and at least £245 million on aggregate,” Ace said in a consultation response to the changes.
Yep, that’s exactly the argument.
So, we do now all agree that the green levies were costing consumers £245 million more than previous estimates, do we? For if their removal saves more then their presence must have cost more…..
Lennox Gayle, the deputy chairman of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel, was arrested and charge by Jamaica’s Organised Crime Investigation Division for alleged breaches of the country’s Sex Offence Act and Consumer Protection Act.
The 45 year-old is a practising lawyer but is also alleged to have operated a massage parlour in Montego Bay where prostitutes posed as masseuses. He is accused of living off immoral earnings and misleading and deceptive conduct.
He was charged following a raid on the parlour during which seven women were arrested on suspicion of prostitution.
The newspaper was closed down by the government soon after he arrived in Paris, but he decided to stay on and, eventually, a Venezuelan newspaper commissioned him to write some pieces about life behind the Iron Curtain. Over the next few years he made three separate journeys to Eastern Europe and, though he never wavered in his belief that socialism was the only system capable of resolving the unequal distribution of wealth, he also wrote that the people in Eastern Europe lived in terror and were “the saddest I had ever seen”.
A recent campaign finance ruling by the Supreme Court shows the extent to which the free speech claim has become an engine of deregulation.
For the opposite of free speech is regulated speech. Therefore, a move toward free speech is indeed deregulation.
It’s just odd that someone feels the need to point this out.
At the ASI.
An interesting point about death rates in past wars. The death rate in the American Civil War, for example, was high, yes, but it wasn’t all that different from the normal death rate for that time.
The correction stated: “Lord Steel has asked us to point out that he received no complaint against Mr Smith’s activities when a Liberal MP.
“He was aware from an article in 1979 of allegations against Cyril Smith of unusual behaviour with boys from the first half of the 1960s.
“He questioned Mr Smith about those allegations. Mr Smith denied any wrongdoing and said (as it turned out correctly) that the matter had already been investigated by the police who had closed their file.”
I have absolutely no idea what is the truth here. But we do have something interesting here.
So, multiple allegations of child noncery. OK.
Police investigate, a number of times, and no further action taken. OK.
So, what’s the correct answer?
That the police investigated and there was nothing to prosecute? Or that there was a cover up because the prosecution didn’t happen?
Either answer is possibly correct. But everyone seems to be insisting that the first couldn’t possibly be true and that the second must be true. The very fact that there wasn’t a prosecution is proof perfect that there was a cover up, no one at all seeming to think that it might mean that a prosecution wasn’t justified.
Kathy Lette, Author (Australia)
I agree – because in a country as wealthy, well educated and liberal as Britain sexism should be unacceptable. More than 100 years since Emily Pankhurst tied herself to the railings, British women still don’t have equal pay (we’re getting 75 pence in the pound compared to men).
Jeebus. Even Polly has been forced to realise that the gender pay gap isn’t 25%.
This is quite without the point that we don’t really have a gender pay gap, we’ve a motherhood one. But even if you’re going to deliberately try to misread the statistics you cannot get to a 25% gap.
Sexters aren’t always wearing or doing what they say in messages, according to a new study.
Researchers from Indiana University found that out of 109 college students who had sent sexually explicit texts, almost half (48per cent) had told fibs.
Next week is water wet or what?
Anne Perkins in The Guardian:
In fact, Piketty says, even what he calls the “meritocratic extremists” like bankers with their bonus bonanzas are never going to be as rich as those whose wealth is founded on vastly valuable property rights such as Britain’s super-rich, old aristocratic families like the Cadogans and the Westminsters.
OK, let’s take Piketty’s ideas as being true, just for the sake of this argument. Those that have wealth become ever wealthier simply because the returns to wealth are greater than the general growth rate in the economy. And this means that buying and selling things ain’t ever going to get you to that wealthy peak. All you need is to have inherited some great asset, like a few hundred acres of central London that your family has neither bought nor sold for some three or four centuries, and you’ll be richer than any of the great entrepreneurs, any of those who try to come up through trade or anything like that.
So, what’s the proffered solution to this?
Piketty’s analysis is fascinating and persuasive, but it is hard to see how to make it politically useful when the humblest effort to raise even the smallest levy on financial transactions,
What? The analysis is that doing transactions isn’t what creates the wealth. Have and hold without transactions is what does. So how does taxing the transactions that the greatly wealthy don’t do and don’t have to do deal with the problem of the greatly wealthy?
Seriously what sins have we as a nation committed to end up with a commentariat this damn stupid?
Sexism in Britain is more widespread than in any other country due to a ‘boys’ club culture’, a United Nations official has concluded.
Rashida Manjoo, a South African human rights expert, was charged by the UN Humans Rights Council to monitor violence against women in the UK and report back to them.
She warned that sexual bullying and harassment were now “routine” in UK schools, according to NGOs she had interviewed, and recommended that schools have mandatory modules on sexism.
Ms Manjoo shared her preliminary findings on Tuesday and said: “Have I seen this level of sexist culture in other countries? It hasn’t been so in your face in other countries. I haven’t seen that so pervasively in other countries. I’m sure it exists but it wasn’t so much and so pervasive.
“I’m not sure what gives rise to a more visible presence of sexist portrayals of women and girls in this country in particular.
Dear God. There are countries out there where it’s routine to slice the clitoris off young girls to make sure that they’ll not enjoy sex too much. Places where women are jailed for having the temerity to try to drive. Places where female babies are routinely aborted for there’s a preference for sons.
And we’re the sexists?
Please, you old bat, do fuck off.
At the ASI.
On Tiebout effects
I thought this was amusing:
Walmart is the beneficiary of billions of dollars per year in federal subsidies, according to a new report [PDF] from the non-partisan, progressive group Americans for Tax Fairness.
The report estimates that Walmart and the Walton family—which co-founded the company and still owns a majority share—collectively profit from nearly $7.8 billion per year in federal subsidies and tax breaks.
“This report shows that our current system is anything but fair – rather it provides special treatment to America’s biggest corporations and richest families leaving individual taxpayers and small businesses to pick up the tab,” the report concluded.
The $7.8 billion includes an estimated $6.2 billion in public assistance for low-wage Walmart employees, including programs like food stamps, subsidized housing, and Medicaid. It also includes an estimated $70 million per year in “economic development subsidies” from state and legal governments eager to host Walmart in their cities.
Walmart spokesperson Randy Hargrove described the report as “not accurate,” citing a detailed response to its main points on Forbes.com. The author of the response, columnist Tim Worstall, described the report as “fantastical nonsense” and took issue with the claim that welfare acts as an effective subsidy for Walmart.
“The existence of these welfare payments means that the reservation wage rises. That is, an employer needs to pay people more to come into work because they get an income (however low that is) whether they work or not,” Worstall wrote.
I don’t think I’ve seen a company refer to something of mine in that manner before.
US Airways has profusely apologized after an extremely graphic picture of a woman engaged in a sex act with a model Boeing 777 was tweeted to a customer who complained about her Spring Break flight.
Seems almost appropriate for spring break actually.
Cut out the banks and earn 13pc a year on your savings, tax-free, inside an Isa run by a large, reputable firm such as Hargreaves Lansdown.
After five years of rock-bottom interest rates that sort of offer might sound too good to be true. It’s not. This sort of return is provided by a number of socalled peer-to-peer lenders, which act as middlemen who connect savers directly with borrowers. Rates are more generous because there is no bank slicing off a hefty margin for a profit.
There’s also no bank there guaranteeing the return of your capital either.
Better returns, yes, and also more risk. Which is the way it usually works.
Beware of cupcake fascism
A sickly sweet movement expresses the desire of an infantilised populace to hide from the world while imposing bourgeois values
As some will have noticed, I have been critical of George Osborne’s plans for new tax penalties over the weekend.
OK, so what has Gideon proposed? Essentially, that the current law be changed from one where they have to prove intent to dodge tax by not declaring an account to a strict liability offence. You didn’t declare an account to you’re guilty matey.
This is the proposal that Ritchie has been arguing against. What’s his proposal?
Let me offer an obvious solution. I would require that a tax return should demand that a tax payer disclosed all their bank accounts. This is, if course, just about the first information always demanded in a tax investigation so it is important. Most of us don’t have many. And it’s not hard to list them all. Then it becomes a relatively simple matter to prosecute someone for failing to disclose a bank account if that is appropriate. No intent need be proven: it’s error that could trigger the penalty.
That Gideon should change the law to what Gideon has just said he wants to change the law to.