This is a problem?

It was Kleiner Perkins that was on trial, though, so it was natural that the harshest revelations were about that firm. The trial revealed that the partnership didn’t have an internal human-resource department or clear policies around hiring and firing.


I can imagine an HR department being useful in a large firm. But the absence of one is a concern now?


A female venture capitalist has lost a high-profile sex discrimination case that shone a spotlight on the “boys’ club” culture of Silicon Valley.

Ellen Pao, who worked as a junior partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, had accused her former employer of passing her over for the position of senior partner while her male colleagues were promoted.

After more than two days of deliberation, the jury of six women and six men on Friday found that Kleiner Perkins had not acted unfairly or unlawfully and that gender had not played a part in the company’s decision not to promote her.

Ms Pao said she filed the case as she “wanted something to change” in the industry, where sexism has become so pervasive it has been likened to the Wall Street of the 1980s.

The 45-year-old told the San Francisco Superior Court how she was excluded from an all-male dinner with Al Gore, former US vice president, and felt “very uncomfortable” hearing male guests of the firm talking about pornography on a private jet.

She was given menial tasks to do that were below her pay grade, “in order to embarrass her”, her lawyers had argued.

She also testified that one male partner was “relentless” in his pursuit of her and cut her out of email chains and meetings when she ended the affair upon discovering he was married.

After the verdict, Ms Pao told the courthouse that people around the world had reached out to her and told her that they had stories similar to her own.

“If I’ve helped to level the playing field for women and minorities in venture capital, then the battle was worth it,” she said.

Well, given that the jury found out that they’d done nothing wrong I’m not all that sure how much leveling has been done there.

And do you know what? I might fire a senior manager who pursued more junior colleagues for sex. But I certainly wouldn’t promote someone without the wit to work out whether a sexual partner was married or not before they became a sexual partner. It’s not as if this is a random meet in a nightclub after all, it’s easy enough to ask around at work if your boss is married or not, no?


The Arkansas Senate overwhelmingly approved on Friday a Republican-backed bill whose authors say is intended to protect religious freedoms but critics contend could allow businesses to refuse service to gay people.

The Republican governor of Indiana signed into law a similar “religious freedom” bill on Thursday, prompting protests from human rights groups and criticism from some business leaders.

The bill advancing in the Republican-led Arkansas legislature says “governments should not substantially burden the free exercise of religion without compelling justification.”

Supporters say a business should not be forced to, for example, cater a same-sex wedding if doing so would violate the religious beliefs of the owner.

Well, umm, shouldn’t you be allowed to turn down business if you want to?


Ed Miliband has said that he will impose “profit capping” on private NHS providers, in a move that will prompt renewed claims that Labour is anti-business.

Launching his election campaign in London, the Labour leader said he will create a 5 per cent cap when private companies provide NHS services so fewer private contracts are awarded and “patients are always put before profit”.

Doesn’t get it, does he

The way to lower supplier profit margins is to have more suppliers, not fewer.

The colonialist complains about colonialism

Odd piece in the NYT.

Critics may ask of what use it is to dismantle symbols of colonialism on campuses if removing them won’t usher in transformed and more inclusive educational spaces?

But they miss the point. The core issue is a prevalent feeling, and experience, of exclusion among many black students in universities across the country, even where they are a numerical majority.

These (mostly white) critics fail to grasp the aesthetic and moral assault on one’s entire being that occurs when a black person walks across a campus covered with statues and monuments that celebrate colonial conquerors as heroes. It is disingenuous to pretend these statues originally existed, or could be re-imagined anew, as monuments that poke fun at the evil characters who looted the region while trampling on the fundamental rights of indigenous people. Rhodes bequeathed land and money to both universities, and erecting statues and naming things in his honor were expressions of gratitude. Why else include an inscription that reads, “To the spirit and life work of Cecil John Rhodes who loved and served South Africa”?
Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story
Continue reading the main story

It is dishonest to deny the inherently celebratory nature of the Rhodes statue, and historical statues in general. While removing one won’t change institutional cultures overnight — or transform the demographics of staff — it would be an important symbolic start.

I gather that Eusebius McKaiser is from one of the various Bantu groupings. You know, that colonising group that didn’t move as far as Cape Town until well after the white colonisation (the standard Bantu farming package didn’t make it over the Fish River). But no one really seems to think about these distinctions these days, do they?

This is why we don’t want to do recycling

Britain’s biggest recycler of plastic milk bottles is facing possible collapse after being squeezed between a slump in global oil prices and a supermarket price war.

Closed Loop Recycling, based in Dagenham, could be forced to call in administrators within days because clients have cut back on buying recycled plastic.

The company, which produces more than 80% of recycled plastic used in the UK’s milk bottles, matches its prices closely to the cost of virgin plastic in order to attract and retain customers. But the prices that can be achieved for recycled material has fallen nearly 40% in the past nine months as the oil price has dropped.

The slump in global oil prices has already caused the collapse of at least two other recycling firms in the past four months as the price of reprocessed plastic in the open market has become between £300 and £500 per tonne more expensive than virgin plastic.

Chris Dow, chief executive of Closed Loop, said the company was in urgent need of financial support: “Our customers want to buy recycled plastic but they don’t want to pay more [than virgin plastic]. Without the support of the industry or the government it is inevitable we will go into administration.”

Prices do in fact work. They measure the resources (of course, they only measure the resources that are being measured by prices) being used to produce something. Thus, if recycled plastic costs £300 – £500 per tonne more than virgin plastic then therefore recycled must be using more resources than virgin. £300 – £500 a tonne more in fact.

Recycling’s a great idea when you make a profit at it. And it makes us all poorer when it makes a loss. So, when it makes a loss don’t do it.

Just a speculation

The first woman bishop to sit in the House of Lords has been appointed by the Church of England.

The Venerable Rachel Treweek, Archdeacon of Hackney, said she was “overjoyed” to be named the new Bishop of Gloucester.

The 52-year-old former speech therapist is the UK’s third woman bishop but the first diocesan bishop – a more senior position than the junior, or suffragan, posts two women have so far been given.

Ven Treweek, who believes that men and women should serve “side by side” in the highest offices of the Church, studied linguistics at Reading University before becoming a priest.

How long does anyone give it before the Church of England is a majority female occupation?

This is to be monstrously sexist of course, but given that the CoE is rather more caring, sharing and empathy than anything else these days it sounds like the sort of organisation that will be thoroughly colonised.

30 years to the majortiy of bishops being women?

The glory of Ritchie’s tax proposals

Taxing investment income at the same level as earned income

Every economist says this is a no no. In fact, the general agreement (on efficiency grounds, if not equity) is that investment income shouldn’t be taxed and even if it is, on equity, at lower rates than income.

Because deadweight costs.

Taxing wealth


A financial transaction tax

Ditto, deadweight costs again.

Much of this we derive from the not right wing at all Nobel Laureate Sir John Mirrlees.

It’s not just that he’s a deluded little fascist it’s that he’s an ignorant one.

You might consider supporting this

You never know, take part, send some money, whatever.

We’re pleased to announce that we’ve reformed the El Reg Quid-A-Day Nosh Posse to tackle the 2015 Live Below the Line challenge to exist for five days on just £1 per day for food.

Over the last couple of years, we’ve raised a good wedge of wonga in support of Malaria No More UK, and we hope to do the same from 27 April to 1 May, as we once again subsist on a mouth-watering menu of budget grub.

Given that I’m both tight and love my food I have contributed an article instead. The usual fee going to the charity rather than me. So that’s them a few hundred quid up before breakfast today.

Entirely up to you what you do of course.


Since the false paternity rate is around 1-2% in any generation, she said the result was not particularly surprising.

Umm, don’t we think it’s rather higher than that? Like 10%?

Although I’ve always thought that that 10% did look a bit high.

O Tempora, O Mores

Prospect magazine’s table this year places Brand among figures such as the leading economist and bestselling author of Capital, Thomas Piketty, who tops the table, as well as Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, who comes second. The Canadian economist and environmental activist Naomi Klein came in third.


Prospect magazine’s top 10 world thinkers

1. Thomas Piketty, French economist

2. Yanis Varoufakis, Greek finance minister

3. Naomi Klein, US author

4. Russell Brand, UK comedian and campaigner

Someone who is wrong, someone who is cocking up mightily, someone who is wrong and someone who is incomprehensible make up the world’s four leading thinkers? And the thought that you get to be considered a great thinker after your book is ghosted by Johann Hari is just too depressing for words….

Dear God these people are fucking idiots

The next government should introduce new laws to prosecute financial advisers who help wealthy individuals and firms in aggressive tax avoidance, a comprehensive parliamentary report has found.

Tax avoidance is not illegal. Aggressive tax avoidance is not illegal. So it cannot be illegal to advise on such.

Tax evasion is illegal. So, it could be possible to create an offence of advising upon tax evasion. Although I would imagine that conspiracy to defraud the revenue already exists somewhere as an offence.

The cross-party group of MPs has called for legislation that will allow the prosecution of advisers who push their clients towards aggressive tax avoidance schemes.

MPs are, as it happens, the people who vote on what the law is. And when we get the laws being crafted by people who are this fucking ignorant no wonder the country’s in the state it is.

Idiots, just idiots

Lincolnshire has the most dangerous roads in the country with the most drivers, passengers and pedestrians being killed, according to a new report.

People living in rural communities are the most likely to be “killed or seriously injured” on the roads, according to findings publishedon Thursday by the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTs) and Direct Line Car Insurance.

Since vehicles travel faster on rural roads and there are fewer traffic calming measures, this leads to more “high speed impact collisions”.

Meanwhile, many large towns and small cities have casualty rates below the national average. Bath, for example, has a casualty rate 51 per cent below the national average.

This is absolutely bloody useless unless you are comparing deaths and injuries “per mile traveled”.

Because people who live further away from things tend to travel longer distances to get to things…..

So let us measure the value of schoolteachers then

Working class parents should be allowed to take their children on a week’s holiday outside the normal school calendar without running the risk of being fined, an influential teachers’ unions has said.

Poor children, defined as those eligible for free schools meals, run the risk of missing out because their parents cannot afford the high cost of travelling during school breaks, according to the National Union of Teachers (NUT).

“It can’t be right for children whose parents have less resources to never manage to go on a holiday just because they can’t afford to go in the school holiday time,” Christine Blower, the NUT’s general secretary said.

The head of a schoolteachers’ union states that poor children have their lives improved by having a week absent from those schoolteachers that head of a union represents.

If even the fucking union thinks that teachers have a negative value then why don’t we just fire the lot of them?

On sex trafficking again

So we’ve a “debate” in The G again about criminalising the purchase but not the sale of sex. On the yes we must do this side:

I strongly believe that the buying of sexual services must be criminalised if we are to tackle the problem of human trafficking.

But as we all know trafficking into the sex trade barely exists. So why does this dim idiot think it does?

Migration into the sex trade most certainly does exist: but not trafficking.


Ronnie Lee Gardner’s brother, Randy, says no. “There’s no humane way to execute anyone,” Randy Gardner told NBC news on Monday. “I had the opportunity to see my brother after four bullets hit his chest, and I could have put my hand in anyone of the holes. It didn’t look very humane to me.”

“He was tied down with a hood over his head. Terrorists around the world and Isis, when they execute people, that’s what they do.”

Last year, Ed Pilkington spoke with Deborah Denno, a Fordham University professor who specialises in execution methods:

Denno has studied the history of the firing squad in the US, and found that in most of the cases in which it was used it was relatively quick and effective. In 1938, a “human experimentation” was carried out on a 42-year-old inmate who was executed by firing squad, with his heart monitored using electrocardiograph tracing. The results showed that his heart was electrically “silent” within a matter of 20 seconds.

The only known case of a botched execution by firing squad, in 1951 in Utah, appears to have been an act of vengeance on the part of five trained marksmen pulling the trigger. They targeted the wrong side of the prisoner’s chest, apparently intentionally, and he bled to death.

Yes, heart
stopping is a pretty good indication of looming death. But it’s not what we actually define as death these days. Cessation of brain activity is what we do define as death these days. Which means that aiming for the skull is a great deal faster than aiming for the heart.

Ludicrously therefore, the Chinese and Soviet execution methods, a bullet to the brain, are thus “more humane”.

And as to hanging, yes, I know, snapped neck, heart stops. And I’ve been told that something or other (told around here that is) means near instant unconsciousness at the same time. But I’m not entirely certain myself. No one ever has actually run an MRI of a brain as it expires from a hanging after all. And those experiments with the heads of those guillotined seem to indicate that there’s consciousness there for a while.

Since these various execution methods were designed we’ve changed our definition of death somewhat. So shouldn’t we be changing our methods to meet our new definition? That is, execution should be a method of ceasing brain function, not a method of ceasing breath or heart?

A cattle bolt perhaps?

Well, yes

Macmillan said the figures showed that much better survival rates were achievable in the UK.

Its chief executive, Lynda Thomas, said: “Because UK cancer survival rates are lagging so far behind the rest of Europe, people are dying needlessly. Frankly, this is shameful. If countries like Sweden, France, Finland and Austria can achieve these rates, then the UK can and should, bridge the gap.”

There is, as always
, the problem with such figures. What is the influence of early detection? However, leaving that aside, what do the countries with better survival rates have in common? Rather more market in their health care systems than we do.

Ho hum.