Silly, Silly…

You do have to wonder about these people sometimes.

The UK\’s greenhouse gas emissions dropped by 2% in 2007 compared with the previous year, according to provisional figures from the government. The country now emits 18% less than it did in 1990, well inside the Kyoto reduction target of a 12.5% cut, but critics argue that last year\’s drop is almost entirely due to energy companies burning less coal because it became more expensive.

Umm, that\’s rather the point, isn\’t it? All of the serious people looking at ways to reduce emissions point to either cap and trade or a carbon tax as the best way to do so. Either works (although tey work in different manners) by making the use of materials that create emissions more expensive.

So as coal becomes more expensive, people use less of it.

Demand curves slope downwards: Hurrah!

"It has nothing to do with government policy," said Robin Smale, an energy analyst at Vivid Economics. "Coal became more expensive than gas so [electricity producers] switched some of their production to gas."

The complaint seems to be that markets are providing a solution rather than bureaucrats. How dumb is that?


Colombia\’s government has claimed that Leftist rebels were plotting to make a "dirty" radiological bomb after security agents seized 60 lb of low-grade depleted uranium.

Maybe they were plotting to do that: but it wouldn\’t work very well. Depleted uranium is chemically, but not radiologically, dangerous.

Then again, it would set off  a screaming panic which is rather the point of terrorist activities.

Nick Laddie…

Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, today lauded Gordon Brown for pushing the European Union\’s Lisbon treaty through parliament, and urged the Prime Minister to make Britain a "full member" of the union.

No, let\’s not. Let\’s leave, shall we?

Aww, Bless

Children should be banned from leaving school at lunchtime so they cannot gorge themselves on junk food, a Government body says today.

Restrictions should also be placed on the opening of new burger bars, kebab shops, chip shops and sweet shops near schools to remove temptation from pupils, it is claimed.

It\’s for the children, of course, not the joy of bansturbation.

Tax Justice Network Again

These boys do worry me you know.

Reform tax policy to close tax havens, revise tax treaties and use revenue-raising tariffs more productively.

Eh? They\’re approving of this NGO talking point document for presentation to a UN conference.

Reform tax policy to close tax havens, revise tax treaties and use revenue-raising tariffs more productively.

If they were actually trying to help countries develop, they would be wanting to reduce or eliminate tariffs, wouldn\’t they?

Jerome Armstrong

Well, looks like Brian Paddick has hired Jerome Armstrong as his internet consultant. Known as "The Blogfather" (well, on the left, Glenn is tagged thus on the right of the US blogosphere).

A very interesting hire.

Based on 1999 postings made on stock trading websites, in April 2003, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil action suit against Armstrong alleging stock promotion without disclosing of compensation. In September 2003, Armstrong submitted a response to the Court in which he denied the allegations, then agreed to a settlement with the SEC in December 2003 that neither admitted or denied the allegations of the complaint, and paid a nearly $30,000 fine in August 2007.

Most interesting.

He wasn’t particularly young at the time — in his mid-30’s and a graduate student. He sounded as though he had been swept up in the exuberance of day-trading in its heyday several years ago, and wasn’t paying particular attention to the downside of penny stocks or to regulations regarding trading. (We’re not offering any judgments on his actions here, just reporting his observations.)

The S.E.C. alleged that he touted the stock by posting “unsubstantiated, favorable buy recommendations on the Raging Bull internet site. Armstrong posted over eighty such recommendations during the first three weeks that the stock of BluePoint was publicly traded.”


Astrology even.

Astrologer Jerome Armstrong notes that Ixion and Quaoar are following close in Pluto\’s wake in early Sagittarius, and connects the rise of the political version of religious fundamentalism with the astronomical exploration of the Kuiper Belt in 1992. He cites incidences as disparate as the rise of Osama bin Laden onto the world stage and the Republican Revolution of 1994, fueled by Christian fundamentalist voters and culminating now with all three branches of government in Republican control. In addition, he cites the ascendance of political Hinduism in India in 1996 with the election of the BJP. One might add to this list the emergence of Conservative majorities in Israel and the UK. [The author wishes to acknowledge the help and inspiration provided by astrologer and author Jerome Armstrong of for information and links regarding Varuna and Trans-Neptunians which have been vital to the preparation of this article.]

No, really.


Another Update [2006-6-25 14:13:39 by Jerome Armstrong]: Oh yea, on the astrological stuff. I have done the new age type things over the years—life’s never boring that way. Down that line, I dabbled with planets and predictions in the most abstract manner, as one of several different predictive mathematical disciplines, when coming out of finances and into politics during my early blogging days (nobody is surprised that remembers the early 2001 days here), and since then have completely tapered out of it over time. So yea, the cons got me on this one being a little out of the ordinary… It has nothing to do with what I consult with in online political strategy. But hey, like JP Morgan once said, “millionaires don’t use astrology, billionaires do!” I hope to see those wingnuts that are obsessed with every little thing I do at the next bikram yoga or vipassana meditation session in DC

Should fit right in with the Lib Dems then, eh?

Swindlers, yoga, tofu eating….

Oh Dear Lord

From Guido, via email.


Yes, they\’re reviving the Abolition of Parliament Bill (aka the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill) through the Constitutional Reform Bill.

Any Minister may reform any Act through the use of a Statutory Instrument.

Bye bye Parliamentary democracy, and a big Hellooo! to Henry VIII th powers.

Yes, this is a big issue, yes, it does go to the very heart of governance and no, we shouldn\’t let the bastards get away with it.

Spread the word.

Indeed, Indeed

While we adapt – as mankind has always done – we can do further work, both on the science and the economics. Anybody who reads the science will quickly realise that many key issues are fiercely contested. There is no consensus. But the controversies about the science are puny compared with those about the economics. On this we are being asked to rely on the Stern review, described by William Nordhaus, of Yale University, perhaps the world\’s leading environmental economist, as “completely absurd”.

Ron Paul

OK, some of his ideas are a little odd (yes, that is the famous British understatement) but there\’s a lot to admire.

He opposed the equally shameful Patriot Act and, to his credit (and my delight), the granting of a Congressional gold medal to Blair – on the thrifty ground that "forcing the American people to pay tens of thousands of dollars to give a gold medal to a foreign leader is immoral and unconstitutional", and because he thought Blair a mountebank.

That last is a sufficient reason, don\’t you think?

But this should have you standing up and applauding:

"rights belong to individuals, not groups; that property should be owned by people, not government; that government exists to protect liberty, not to redistribute wealth; and that the lives and actions of people are their own responsibility, not the government\’s".

Quite so Dr. Paul, quite so.





Most Wonderful.

Entirely missing from their perspective is the social context and significance of the religious resurgence they are so anxious to beat back. Panicked by the rise of radical Islamism and the newly assertive religious identity of migrant communities in a secular Europe, the anti-religious evangelists are increasingly using atheism as a banner for the defence of the global liberal capitalist order and the wars fought since 2001 to assert its dominance. At the same time, they are unable to recognise the ethnic dimension of their Islamophobia, let alone the deeper reasons why people continue to search for spiritual meaning in a grossly destructive economic environment where social alternatives have been pronounced dead and narcissistic consumption is king.

How goes the revolution Comrade?

All really rather Arabic, isn\’t it? Somehow he\’s got to arrive at a position whereby some religions are good, others bad, the defining line being whether they support or oppose liberal capitalism. For of course, opposing liberal capitalism is far the most important thing.

So he arrives at the my enemy\’s enemy is my friend position.

Thus he can end up supporting the clit cutting homo stoning fanatics because, after all, they oppose liberal capitalism and that\’s the important thing, isn\’t it?

Well, How Much Did He Really Earn?

This is interesting:

Bob Diamond, the US banker who runs Barclays\’ investment banking arm, has cemented his position as one of the highest paid bosses in a FTSE 100 company after receiving almost £36m last year.

The figure comprises £21m in cash, bonuses and shares in addition to £14.8m from a three-year performance plan.

The £21m includes his £250,000 base salary, £6.5m cash bonus, a £11.3m share award held in a trust for three years and £3m of shares which will be received in three years provided performance criteria are achieved. The sum is down slightly from the £22m in 2006.

But his total is boosted by the £14.8m "retained incentive opportunity" – half in cash, half in shares – put in place three years ago when he joined the Barclays board. He received the sum because profits at the investment banking division Barclays Capital exceeded targets – despite the US sub-prime mortgage crisis.

Diamond is one of the highest profile bankers in the City and last year topped the Guardian\’s annual boardroom pay survey. He came out ahead of Bart Becht, £22m boss of Cillit Bang maker Reckitt Benckiser, and Giles Thorley, of Punch Taverns, who earned £11m in 2006.

Diamond achieved the bonus even though Barclays took a £1.6bn hit from the sub-prime crisis in the US and despite ongoing financial woes which have seen billions wiped off share values worldwide. The bank\’s profits in 2007 were £7bn, the same as 2006, and its share price has suffered. The shares Diamond already owns have fallen by £25m during 2007to £51m.

If his restricted stock fell in value by £25 million, does that mean he actually only earned £ 11 million for  year?

Well, Yes

An American man accidentally shot dead his wife while trying to install satellite TV in their bedroom.

Ronald Long of Missouri did not own a drill, so he used his .22 calibre handgun to fire two shots into the wall of the room so that he could run a cable through from outside.

Mr Long\’s wife Patsy was standing outside the house when he fired the gun. She was hit by the second bullet and later died from her injuries in hospital.

No comment.

If Viability is the Guide….

Yes, I know my views on this matter (explained often enough passim) are well out of step with most other peoples\’ but if viability is the guide, if someone is not human if they cannot live outside the womb and is if they can, well, this seems a pretty strong argument:

The data, for births in England and Wales, showed that eight of the 152 children born after 22 weeks\’ gestation lived for a year or more.

At 23 weeks, 44 of 283 children survived. At 24 weeks, almost half – 198 of 474 – of babies survived. Of the 201,173 abortions in England and Wales in 2006, 1,262 were at 22 weeks or more.

Use those odds of survival: some 5% or so at 22 weeks rising to 40% ish at 24 weeks. And again, use viability as the guide to whether this is a human with rights or not.

Does someone (or if you prefer, something?) who is 5% human have a right to life? 40%?

Why Teaching is not a Profession Part 94

Teachers are threatening industrial action after claiming that they are being forced to work illegally long hours.

The NASUWT union said it would ballot members on a work-to-rule because of the "flagrant abuse" of their rights.

Its threat comes amid growing claims that head teachers are flouting new legislation that gives teachers half a day off a week for marking and lesson planning. They are also supposed to be exempt from administrative tasks such as photocopying and filing.

Professionals contract to achieve a goal, not argue about the time or methods of reaching that goal.

Accountants work long hours at tax and audit time, lawyers at trials, doctors in crises.

By arguing about whether they do photocopying or not, filing or not, whether they cover for absent colleagues or not, teachers are simply showing that they do not regard themselves as professionals.

Thus we shouldn\’t treat them as such.

Pay cuts all round, eh? You want demarcation lines like skilled manual workers? You get paid as such.

How to Solve a Housing Slump

Of all of the various housing markets in Europe it\’s those in Spain and Ireland which seem the most overblown, the most bubble like and the most likely to slump. Fortunately (for some at least), the Spanish seem to be doing something about it.

Thousands of properties could be confiscated and ultimately demolished in the latest drive by the Spanish government to protect the nation’s coastline, it has been claimed.

That they\’re applying a 1988 law retroactively to housing built in the 1970s may seem a little harsh,but hey, no omlettes without breaking eggs, eh?