So, Jeremy sent me an article

About Stella Creasy and her maternity leave demands. Which ended up as this:

Sir, Stella Creasy, MP, is arguing for more, greater or at least different maternity rights for MPs. Alice Thomson suggests (“MPs deserve maternity rights like rest of us”, Jun 19) that these should be “the maternity rights that women in every other walk of life take for granted”.

This is not what should be done — general maternity rights already include returning to your job at the end of the leave. And if there is an election during such a period the insistence cannot be that the seat should not be fought (akin to not challenging the Speaker). Perhaps this will be suggested, but that would be moving from rights to maternity privilege.
Tim Worstall
Senior fellow, Adam Smith Institute

Possibly a bit overinclusive

All around the world girls, women, transgender and intersex people suffer from the stigma of menstruation through bullying, cultural taboos, discrimination and the inability to afford sanitary products….

Only one direction of transgender can possibly suffer from this so don’t we need to discriminate a little more here?

No, not really

However it shifts our perspective, the chicken-induced Anthropocene is more writing on the wall that industrialized animal agriculture has gone too far. Without radically reimagining our food system, our future in the Anthropocene looks just like the lives of those 66 billion chickens every year: nasty, brutish and short.

We’re all living ever longer lives as a result of having a secure food supply. Nasty, brutish, short? Don’t these people understand the origin of these phrases? It’s a description of life before industrialised animal agriculture….

Had to be really

The intricate illumination of medieval monasteries was traditionally thought to be the work of monks.

But blue pigment found in the dental plaque of an 11th century nun suggests that women were also the artists behind some of Europe’s most precious books.

Scientists discovered tiny traces of ultramarine paint trapped in the teeth of a female skeleton buried within the grounds of a monastery at Dalheim, in Germany.

The pigment is made from the precious stone lapis lazuli, which was only mined in Afghanistan in the medieval period. It was more expensive than fold so only the most skilled and trusted scribes and painters were allowed to use the material.

Muphry’s Law. A piece about medieval copyists contains a typo.

Fortunately, we’ve moved on

Satanic cults at schools:

An “evil” troll who claimed a primary school in Hampstead, north London, was at the centre of a satanic cult that cooked babies and ate them has been jailed for nine years.

Given that Bea Campbell hasn’t announced that this is true it’s therefore not true. Although 9 years would be a suitable sentence for Bea.

Her numbers never do add up, do they?

Eight-year-old Finley has always had things tough. He has autism and a bowel condition, and is scared by crowds and noise. Finley’s mum, Lisa, is disabled and does the best she can, but the costs are colossal. Finley’s special nappies alone cost £60 a month. Since Lisa became too ill to work, social security has been their lifeline – from specialist food to keep Finley healthy to therapy toys to make him less anxious.

Then universal credit came in. The inbuilt six-week wait stopped the family’s only income – “[It] left me with literally no money in that time,” Lisa says – and her benefits now vary month to month.

What’s more, under universal credit, disabled kids like Finley are seeing their child disability payment cut in half – that’s a loss of more than £1,750 a year – and Lisa has had to start using her own disability benefits to top up Finley’s.

The family car recently broke down and they were housebound as they saved to fix it. Respite care for Finley – a precious breather for both him and Lisa – has ended. Even Christmas has to be rationed.

“We’ve had to limit Finley’s expectations about Christmas, saying that Santa will bring one or two presents this year,” Lisa says. “We’re not taking him to see Santa in the runup to Christmas because we can’t afford it.”

Who is the “we” here? And why isn’t the other part of the “we”‘s income included in the calculations?

Bit of a problem for the Google tax campaigners

Advertisers continued to pour money into Google at the end of last year but a $9.9 billion tax charge pushed its parent company Alphabet to a loss in the fourth quarter.

Even without the charge, which was linked to the US tax reforms passed late in December, Alphabet’s underlying profit missed Wall Street’s expectations, sending its shares down last night.

Alphabet is a holding company for Google, its largest business, and a smaller division that houses several experimental projects, known as “other bets”. Google, the world’s most popular search engine, makes more money from digital advertising than any other company.

Alphabet reported a fourth-quarter loss of $3 billion compared with a year ago, when it made a profit of $5.3 billion. Without the tax charge the company would have reported a profit of $6.8 billion.

You know, given that it is actually paying tax?

Well done to the Herald

Bank of Scotland’s £20m bailout now back in pockets of taxpayer

THE Government has recouped the £20.3 billion used to bail out the Lloyds Banking Group during the financial crash, leaving the Bank of Scotland owner on the brink of privatisation.

Billion, million – and, of course, Lloyds is already in he private sector.

Brexit will largely fix this, won’t it?

Like Google, Apple and other hi-tech multinationals, eBay routes income from customers in many of its largest markets, including the UK, through a European sales hub located in a tax-friendly country. The income can then flow into further controversial tax structures that ultimately wipe huge sums off the group’s tax bills.

UK losing millions in VAT from non-EU sellers on Amazon and eBay
Read more
Last year, the then British chancellor George Osborne introduced a new punitive tax, known as the diverted profits tax, designed to target tech businesses artificially shifting UK revenues abroad. He said such practice had “abused the trust of the British people”.

Mack Rice

Something of a haul of good songs here……

If you’re walking ’round think’n that the world owes you something ’cause you’re here
You goin’ out the world backwards like you did when you first come here yeah
Keep talkin’ bout the president, won’t stop air pollution
Put your hand on your mouth when you cough, that’ll help the solution
Oh, you cuss around women and you don’t even know their names, no
Then you’re dumb enough to think that’ll make you a big ol’ man

As a staff-writer for the Stax label …..well, yes, when the house band is Booker T and the MGs you can see that a songwriter might be able to have some fun……