Yes, of course it’s the TV that causes this

Dear Lord, you’d hope these people could get a clue occasionally.

This included people from an urban area, a village with television access and a village with little television access.
And it was found that the highest Body Mass Index (BMI) preferences were found in the village with the least media access, while those living in urban areas preferred thinner female bodies.
Dr Martin Tovee, co-leader on the research and a reader in visual cognition at Newcastle University’s Institute of Neuroscience, said: “Our study shows that television is having a significant impact on what people think is the ideal woman’s body.
“Nicaragua provides a unique opportunity to study media effects as we were able to minimise variance in potential confounding factors and focus on the influence of visual media.
“The differences in television access allowed us to explore how media exposure affects the size and shape women aspire to be.
“Findings revealed that the more television exposure people receive, the thinner a female body women and men prefer – the amount of media access directly predicts body ideals.
“Overall these results strongly implicate television access in establishing risk factors for body image dissatisfaction.”

Farmers prefer heftier women, eh? Who would have guessed it?

This is rather rich

A high-earning HR consultant is fighting for £4.2m in damages after she fractured her wrist tripping over a rope outside one of London’s best-known gastropubs.
Carmen Mazo, 43, was hurt when she stumbled over a low-lying beer garden marker rope at Notting Hill’s The Westbourne, which is run by the artist Sebastian Boyle.
She says the August 2009 injury destroyed her career and that her wrist scars have left her fearing being branded a self-harmer. She is claiming the damages payout in a case now set to go before three senior judges.

The damages should be whatever she has lost from the negligence, of course. But it’s difficult to see how a broken wrist is going to lead to the loss of a career spouting bullshit really.

Be interesting to see what the court says next. So far it’s only that she is allowed to argue for the larger damages one level up.

From the place that rules Europe

Brussels has an unusual reason for being slow to repair its infrastructure: city officials claim mice ate the plans. The Belgian capital has the worst traffic in Europe, and plans to spend more than $575 million on what one local news site describes as “urgent repairs” to road tunnels over the next few years.

Unfortunately, the city’s ability to fix its major underground thoroughfares—some of which are literally falling apart—has been hampered by the fact that the original plans were chewed through by rodents decades ago, as CityLab reports.

During a meeting last week about the city’s road tunnel issues, former officials from the traffic agency Mobiel Brussels admitted that in the 1990s, a creative storage solution ruined most of the master plans for bridges and tunnels in Brussels.

In the ‘90s, Mobiel Brussels was temporarily housed in a hotel room, and there wasn’t enough space for archived documents like, say, master plans. So the agency stuffed its bridge- and tunnel-related paperwork into the pillars holding up a highway viaduct.

As one might expect, the underside of a bridge is not the best place to keep an archive of important documents. Most of the documents were destroyed or at least significantly damaged by rodents.

I can see that working. When we ask where is the democracy, the liberty, the freedom, they can just say the mice ate the plans.

I said the bastards would do this

Hi Tim-
We thought you might be perhaps interested in the below commentary from Gary Buffo, President of the National Limousine Association (NLA) and Scott Solombrino, Co-Founder of the National Limousine Association (NLA).
Saturday’s horrific shooting spree by an on-duty Uber driver in Kalamazoo, Michigan is the most recent, tragic illustration of inadequate safety, communications and driver vetting policies by ride-hailing services. Despite highly publicized campaigns where the service proclaimed itself “the safest on the road” with “industry-leading background checks”, which is the subject of two massive class-action lawsuits, it is now clearer than ever that substantial and consequential steps need to be taken to protect passengers and the general public.
Gary Buffo, President of the National Limousine Association (NLA), responds:
This tragic occurrence highlights how the current operating procedures of ride-hailing services fail to protect passengers, drivers and the public at large. As we now know from first-hand accounts, this driver was acting irrationally and operating his vehicle erratically not only in the hours leading up to and between these senseless shootings, but also in the days and weeks prior. Although it may be impractical to suggest that a large company such as Uber should be aware of the emotional state of all of its drivers, it is not unreasonable to expect a real-time review and action plan in place to flag and manage passenger issues and concerns.

-President of the NLA, Gary Buffo

Scott Solombrino, Co-Founder of the National Limousine Association (NLA), responds:

The fact that a service is app-based does not make it an exception to the rule. A company that knows and interacts with its employees and/or drivers is able to flag problematic behavior. Without a reliable method of contact to report concerns about drivers and ride experiences, I fear that we will continue to see disastrous consequences as a result of a lack of due diligence and basic communications standards. In this case, no new laws are even required, just a reliable method to monitor, respond and react to situations as they arise.

-Co-Founder of the NLA, Scott Solombrino

Buffo and Solombrino sound like bit part characters in the Sopranos really. Not all that surprisingly…..

Well, obviously

Candidates supported by Momentum, the group set up to support Jeremy Corbyn inside Labour, have swept the board in the party’s youth elections.

All 18 seats up for election were won by candidates backed by the grassroots group, in a sign that the party’s left is increasing its influence internally.

The results, published on Thursday, come one week before Young Labour’s annual conference in Scarborough, where party moderates and Momentum will battle it out for a crucial seat on Labour’s ruling body, the National Executive Committee (NEC).

Party leader Corbyn currently has the support of a slim majority of members of the NEC.

Thursday’s results, for seats on Young Labour’s national committee and for youth positions on the party’s regional boards, saw candidates that were supported by Momentum elected in every region.

There was a poor turnout with only 3.5% of those eligible to vote taking part in the online ballot. A total of 50,926 party members under the age of 27 were eligible to take part in the election.

The only three and a half people who would even bother to vote in such elections would be the Teenage Trots.

Just as back in the days of the FCS. Once the young conservatives were no longer the marriage bureau for the bourgeoisie the only people who belonged were the weirdos (Guido anyone?). Seriously, normal “youth” don’t do politics, not unless that’s where all the babes are.

A useful insight into real politics

Even so, as late as Saturday morning Johnson was completely undecided and still turning to confidants for advice. What if he gambled all on Brexit but lost? Would he wake up on 24 June to find his ambitions dashed on the rocks of a historic decision and a fatal misreading of public opinion? That was, and is, the nature of the gamble.

It’s absolutely sod all to do with whether Brexit is the right thing for the country or not. It’s to do with whether supporting or opposing it gets one closer to the brass ring of No. 10.

Yes, obviously, we all know that but nice to have it so spelt out.

The mad taxi driver is a stock character

But this is new:

The gunman who drove in and around a western Michigan city randomly shooting people and killing at least six is an Uber driver.
A spokesman for the online taxi app told the Telegraph on Sunday that 45-year-old Jason Brian Dalton, who has been arrested in connection with the shooting, was one of their drivers, as details emerged that he may have picked up fares during the killing spree.
Joe Sullivan, Chief Security Office at Uber, said: “We are horrified and heartbroken at the senseless violence in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
“Our hearts and prayers are with the families of the victims of this devastating crime and those recovering from injuries. We have reached out to the police to help with their investigation in any way that we can.”
Dalton had also passed a background test, Uber’s spokesman added.

Cue all sorts of people screaming about how Uber’s background checks aren’t good enough.

But the fascinating bit is that he was picking up fares in between the shootings. Truly weird behaviour.

Socialism and the unity of all people

Anti-migrant mob in Germany ‘cheered’ as refugee shelter burned in front of them
Up to 30 drunken onlookers clapped and cheered as a former hotel, which was being converted into an asylum seeker refuge, caught alight in Bautzen, Saxony

Caught fire” there is a bit of a misnomer, accelerants have been found.

But this sort of anger about foreigners is, while not exclusive to the old DDR, very much more common there than in the old GDR. A couple of generations of socialism don’t seem to have brought on that peace and brotherhood of all men.

And it’s also the old DDR that has the vast expanses of empty properties that people can be put into. And if we look at it purely on an economic basis filling those up with the young immigrants isn’t all that bad an idea: the local populations very definitely skew old, as many of the young moved west.

It’s one of those “interesting” problems.

Depends what you mean by fair trial, doesn’t it Eddie?

Edward Snowden has told supporters he would be willing to return to the US if the government could guarantee a fair trial.

What do we mean by fair trial here?

The former National Security Agency contractor, who has been living in Russia since June 2013, said he would present a public interest defence of his decision to leak thousands of classified intelligence documents if he appeared before a US jury. “I’ve told the government I would return if they would guarantee a fair trial where I can make a public interest defence of why this was done and allow a jury to decide,”

Not entirely sure that’s something the government can guarantee, is it? Lawyers?

It’s the judge who decides what line of defence you can offer, isn’t it?

And this is idiocy

First the EU has, in my opinion, delivered union where there was once conflict. I do not take that lightly. And I think the risk of conflict has not gone away, but is reduced by the continuing existence of the EU. I think that absolutely fundamental in the debate to come.

Second, I am a member of an extended family that is only in the UK because of economic migrancy. I think my extended family has added value to this country. I think many other economically migrant families do.

Irish migration to the UK has been affected by the EU in what manner?

This is fascinating logic

Andrew Carter says:
February 20 2016 at 12:34 pm
Exactly the same sum is due?

Richard, I mentioned a company and an LLP. They both provide the same limited liability in law. Some professions cannot be companies (Lawyers and accountants for example) but bloggers and authors can choose to operate as a company or an LLP.

Operating through a Ltd company with profit distributable to a director of £70,000 then paid as salary would result in:

Employers’ NIC – £7,504
Employees’ NIC £4,521
Income tax £14,401

Net in the directors’ pocket £43,773

You need only one director/shareholder so there is no need to co-opt someone who does nothing into the business.

Choosing instead an LLP with the same £70,000 sees:

Class2 NIC – £145
Class 4 NIC £3641
Income tax £17,393

Into the Members pocket goes £48,821. Over £5k which would have gone to the government is saved.

Of course you do need another person involved to actually form an LLP. Even if that person does next to nothing and it’s a little….well some might say artificial.

Of course it’s all legal and good tax planning. Or is it avoidance? The boundaries are so grey these days.

Richard Murphy says:
February 20 2016 at 3:33 pm
So wrong

Accountants can be companies

But you ignore the fact that partnerships are taxed in exactly the same way as LLPs

As are sole traders

So if the alternative was that (and it would be, for example, in my case, where an LLP was used solely to differentiate activity from my unincorporated accountancy practice) then there can be no avoidance at all, however hard you pretend

And using a structure specifically allowed by law is also quite explicitly not avoidance

So I suggest you stop making yourself look stupid

This is from the same bloke who insisted, in a lengthy report, that a Ltd company which used dividend splitting etc was indeed tax avoidance. Who insisted that the Greens were tax avoiding. When non taxation of UK dividends for someone non-resident nor domiciled in the UK is expressly allowed in law. When transfers between spouses are mentioned in law as not being taxable. That Boots was tax avoiding when deduction of interest is expressly and specifically allowed in law. That Vodafone was tax avoiding by pointing out that the CFC rules, in European law, did not apply to EU subsidiaries. That Starbucks was tax avoiding by paying a margin to the Swiss coffee bean trader, something that the law states it must actually do under transfer pricing rules, that they were tax avoiding by paying a royalty to Holland, when EU law specifically states that such royalties cannot be taxed in the UK.

And currently insists that amazon, Google and the rest are tax avoiding by selling from Ireland into the UK, something which is specifically mentioned in the very basic structure of the relevant tax treaties: yes, treaties are law.

Using a structure specifically allowed by law is also quite explicitly not avoidance

WTF has he been complaining about all these years then?

What joy

The winner of a national transgender beauty pageant has been stripped of her title amid accusations she was a drag queen and “not transgender enough”.
Rachael said: “When Jai entered the competition, she said she was full time and she is not – she is a drag queen.
“The documentary showed her living as a gay male in her boxer shorts.
“Underwear is very important to transgender females – one of the first thing people do is change their underwear as it makes us feel like we are finally a woman.

She said she had severed all ties with the pageant, which she claims forces transgender women into a female ‘stereotype’.

That last is just lovely. Because, well, yes, I guess so really.

You know he doesn’t want to do this

Supermarkets should be forced to reduce the sugar content of their foods and shrink portion sizes to tackle “alarming” levels of obesity, the head of Sainsbury has said.
The retailer made the plea as the Government prepares to publish its childhood obesity strategy, amid heated debate about whether to introduce a sugar tax.
Writing in The Telegraph, Mike Coupe urged ministers to introduce compulsory targets to cut the amount of sugar in foods and “clear, consistent guidelines” on portion sizes.

Compulsory is the clue there.

Whoever does this on their own will lose money. Therefore all must be forced to at the same time.

At some point we’ve got to tell these people to fuck off, seriously

Harper Lee has died. And it’s entirely fair to say that it wasn’t in fact the greatest novel ever. But this?

Some critics have called the book naive and sentimental, whether dismissing the Ku Klux Klan as a minor nuisance in Maycomb or advocating change through personal persuasion rather than collective action. The novel was also considered patronizing for highlighting the bravery of a white man on behalf of blacks.

Fuck off honey buns, you, your politics and the horse they both rode in on.

Ritchie is a card, isn’t he?

HMRC survey:

Tax avoidance is working around the rules of the tax system in order to pay less tax than Parliament ever intended – so operating within the letter, but not the spirit of the law. Tax avoiders often enter complicated, artificial ‘schemes’ that have no real financial purpose, other than to avoid tax. You may have heard about high-profile users of these sorts of scheme in the news. Some of these schemes are sold to potential users by a promoter – that’s why we can say that they are ‘marketed’. This next set of questions focuses on this type of marketed tax avoidance by individuals rather than businesses.

So, stuff like Jimmy Carr then. And Ritchie says:

HMRC have published the results of a survey that they have undertaken on people’s attitudes towards tax avoidance this morning.

But Ritchie’s definition of tax avoidance is rather different from everyone else’s definition of marketed tax avoidance scheme, isn’t it? For example, I think I understood him correctly as saying that Amazon selling from warehouses is the tax avoidance of business rates.