Cecil Rhodes was a man responsible for untold, unending devastation and violence. An architect of South African apartheid

They might want to have a little look at that history curriculum in Oxford really.

A Madame Claude story

Madame Claude (real name Fernande Grudet), who has died aged 92, was known to the international jet set as perhaps the most famous purveyor of high-class call girls in the world.

There are two things that people will always pay money for,” she wrote in her autobiography Madam (1994): “Food and sex, and I wasn’t any good at cooking”.
When police burst into Madame Claude’s third-floor flat they found her inspecting a naked job applicant called Sabrina. “My dear,” she was heard saying on a tape later played in court, “those thighs are a little heavy.”

So, one day the French President is in a limo driving down the Champs Elysee with one of the black Francophone Presidents (think Bokassa, or perhaps someone less terrifyingly evil), state visit sort of thing, and he says:

“Over there, on the left, we are just passing Madame Claude’s, the finest brothel in all the world.”


Dust off and nuke it from orbit

It’s the only way:

Jeremy Vine, the BBC radio presenter, has been reported under the broadcaster’s “equality and diversity code” for saying he had man flu.
The 50-year-old broadcaster revealed he was suffering from a persistent cough at night after falling ill a few days ago during a feature about Victorian ailments on his Radio 2 lunchtime show.
He referred to his “man flu” while talking to Dr Sarah Jarvis about whooping cough – a highly contagious bacterial infection of the lungs – and other illnesses common in the 1800s.

But Vine announced on Tuesday morning, the day after the programme, that his comments had been reported to Corporation officials.
In a post on Twitter that was later deleted, he said: “Oh great, someone’s reported me under the BBC Equality and Diversity Code because I told @DrSarahJarvis yesterday I had man flu.”
The BBC confirmed that a complaint had been received, and a Radio 2 spokesman later said no further action will be taken.
The broadcaster investigates possible breaches of standards, but does not investigate “minor, misconceived, hypothetical, repetitious or otherwise vexatious complaints”.

There is the possibility that it was a joke, in which case well done that man. But if it wasn’t, see headline…..

Funny how this demand always occurs in these sorts of lists

“We DEMAND that Black student leaders be provided a $8.20/hr stipend for their continuous organizing efforts.”

It’s a bit like the SEIU demanding $15 an hour for fast food workers. Then it becomes $15 and a union.

It seems rude to even mention it, given that these are all people just valiantly struggling to make the world a better place. But you don’t think there might be,…well, just a tad you understand… doubt driven by the cisexist heteropatriarchy’s insidious attempts to infect all with the sins of neoliberalism….some self interest at play here?

That’s interesting

You reveal your moral bankruptcy: the law under which Mandela was tried was utterly immoral. Apparently you don’t recognise the fact

What law was Mandela tried under?

They actually admitted sabotage, didn’t they?

That the system as a whole was vile is entirely true. But taking up arms against a de jure government really is a crime.

Err, yes, I suppose so

Robber with ‘Fuck Cops’ face tattoo proves easy to track down


Paul Terry also had devil horns inked on his head…..along with a Nazi SS insignia on one cheek and a lipstick kiss on the other.

Tough ID process that.

Because it’s fuck all to do with you Honey

Bidisha, a regular guest on the BBC, renewed pressure on Oriel College to remove the Rhodes statue. She wrote: “The prestigious Rhodes scholarship in his name can easily be renamed, and, indeed, I wonder why it’s taking so long.”

It’s not your money. What it’s called, what it gets spent upon, who gets it, how that is decided. All of them are simply fuck all to do with you.

If someone wanted to set up scholarships in memory of some mass murdering racist, say the Pol Pot Memorials, they’ve every right to do that. Simply because it is their money, not your.


So Corbyn would like socialist poverty then

Jeremy Corbyn has revealed he would choose to live in Bolivia – the socialist South American nation – if he had to move away from Britain.
The Labour leader said he spent time in the country while a teenager and found its development in recent years “absolutely fascinating”.

That is, there hasn’t been very much development.

It is grossly poorer. GDP per capita, at PPP (to take account of price differences, so measuring living standards) is around $6,000, as opposed to the UK’s $40,000.

And it’s also much more unequal, the gini is .46, as opposed to the UK’s .35 or .33 or so (after tax and benefits, of course).

So Corbyn likes a place which is shit poor and grossly unequal. But it says it’s socialist so that’s OK then.

Your idiot journalists story of the day

Comes from McClatchy.

So, deaths from radiation poisoning, cancer from such, among workers in the American nuclear arms industry. An interesting subject and we do actually know, absolutely, that it happened at least once (bloke playing with plutonium parts of warhead, allows them to get to close together, then calculates who he has killed other than himself before going off to hospital. It’s even in a movie….one of the Cusaks playing him perhaps?).

What we’d really like to know is what is the incidence?

So, McClatchy has a brainwave. Let’s look at the number of people Uncle Sam has compensated for getting cancer having worked at nuclear weapons facilities. Genius!

Except, as explained here, that’s not quite how it works.

Because Congress decided that it couldn’t in fact work out which cancers among the nuclear weapons workers had in fact been caused by their being nuclear weapons workers. And in this Congress was right: no one does know and except for the very few obvious accident cases we know about no one can know.

Therefore Congress compensates anyone who gets cancer having been a nuclear weapons worker.

No, not people who get cancer from having been a nuclear weapons worker, anyone who gets cancer having been a nuclear weapons worker.

And the incidence of cancer among former nuclear weapons workers is about the same as it is in the general population. About one third of us don’t die of other diseases and survive to get cancer these days. So with weapons workers.

But that’s what McClatchy runs with. Some one third get cancer, thus nuclear weapons workers have been poisoned by their jobs: when the incidence is actually the same as the general population.

And they’ve spent a fortune on this. They record at least 100 interviews with sufferers. With American long form journalism that means a budget of at the very least high single digits of hundreds of thousands (you’re going to send a reporter, maybe a photographer, on a plane ride, for a couple of days, to conduct each interview) of dollars and quite likely low single digits of millions of dollars.

And it’s all based on that entirely false logic. If incidence is the same as the general population then there is no story.

It’s absurd: and whichever editor that greenlighted this project, if it’s supposed to be journalism, needs to be fired. If it’s just propaganda, for whatever reason, that’s fine: propaganda is propaganda. but then it probably shouldn’t be coming from McClatchy, should it?

Candid neoliberalism of the day

MarkB says:
December 20 2015 at 8:18 pm
Suggest that the Observer learn the difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion..

What criminal activities by corporates have gone unpunished?

Why should we want to limit ‘Tax avoidance’ if that avoidance is entirely consistent with the tax rules set out by Parliament?

Richard Murphy says:
December 21 2015 at 8:34 am
Go and read the General Anti-Abuse Rule

William Gates says:
December 21 2015 at 8:56 am
You didn’t answer MarkB’s question – what criminal activities have gone unpunished?

Richard Murphy says:
December 21 2015 at 10:56 am
When someone’s morality is defined by the law you know they have ceased to be a moral agent

Yeah, but criminal activity is defined by the law.

Ritchie on inequality

The poorest regions in Northern Europe are in the UK. And he points us to this as proof:

The poorest region of Britain, according to Eurostat, is west Wales, with a GDP per capita expressed in purchasing power standards (PPS) of 64 in 2011. Latvia, also in northern Europe, has a GDP of 60 (PPS) in 2011. Looking at France, which is deemed as being in northern Europe by Inequality Briefing, Guyane, one of its overseas regions, has a GDP of 53 (PPS) in 2011.

The poster implies that the nine of the poorest areas in northern Europe are all in the UK, from west Wales (which is number 1) to East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire (number 10). Again, this is not entirely accurate if you look at the geographical area that is northern Europe, but is accurate when looking at the countries it deems as being in northern Europe: East Yorkshire has a PPS of 80, bigger than the whole of Estonia, which has PPS of 69.

Hmm, OK. We’d be really fucked without The City then, wouldn’t we? Better not close it down, eh?


Amazing how even socialism lite turns to the language of Stalinism, isn’t it?

Employees at a Pepsi-Cola Venezuela plant have been freed after being detained by the government for halting operations, Empresas Polar, the owner of the local Pepsi division, said late on Sunday.

The company blamed the production pause on a lack of raw materials but the country’s president, Nicolas Maduro, has routinely accused Polar, the country’s largest food and beverage producer, of slowing production or hoarding goods to spur product shortages in the Opec nation’s struggling economy.

Venezuela’s problems are a result of wreckers, not because their idiot Presidents have been following the economics of the madhouse for a decade.

Because, you know, it’s wreckers are the only reason socialism goes wrong.

Usual sodding nonsense

Spot the switch in this:

Professor Nordstrom, whose study is published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, said: ‘Unfit normal-weight individuals had a 30 per cent lower risk of death from any cause than fit obese individuals.
‘Low aerobic fitness in late adolescence is associated with an increased risk of early death.
‘Furthermore, the risk of early death was higher in fit obese individuals than unfit normal weight individuals.’
He said the findings contradicted the belief that ‘obese individuals can fully compensate mortality risk by being physically fit’.
Professor Nordstrom said that being slim – having a low body mass index (BMI), a measure of obesity – was more crucial in preventing early death than keeping fit.
‘These results suggest that low BMI early in life is more important than high physical fitness, with regard to reducing the risk of early death.’ he added.
Around two-thirds of adults in Britain are overweight or obese, and the UK’s rates are amongst the worst in Europe.

Yes, that’s right. The finding is about obesity. And then they tack “overweight” onto it.

In the Mail of all places

Netflix is latest multi-million-pound global company that does not pay UK corporation tax despite generating £200m of revenue in Britain

You’d think that paper would be able to get it right. Owned as it is by a non-dom Viscount.

We do not tax corporations on turnover

Timmy on Radio 5 Live

Just finished that. No idea whether there’s a listen again or whatever.

Steel plants: blast furnaces are dying technology, why should we prop them up, cheap Chinese steel is free money: we should ask for more.

Link is in the comments. Hmm, yes, that was quite fun. Perhaps just a tad too much caffeine before going on. Or does that just sound nicely lively for 7.15 in the morning?

There’s also something very cheering about earning 30 of those fine pound sterling drinking vouchers before breakfast.

NB American radio: I’d do much more for you too if you actually bothered to pay.


By contrast, Starbucks, which was widely criticised over corporate tax avoidance in 2012 following details of its meagre tax contribution, revealed last week it has paid £8.1m corporation tax this year, nearly as much as it paid in its first 14 years in the UK, after bowing to pressure to scrap its complex tax structures.

It stopped overpaying for leases and thus actually moved into profit.