Timmy’s travel day

So, if I were not travelling I would be, at this time, drinking coffee and roaming the internet.

I am travelling and thus am drinking expensive cofeee at an airport and roaming the internet.

I may have made this point before. Travel time just isn’t dead time like it used to be. Thus speed ot travel is all becoming rather less important.

Bit of a bugger for the economics of high speed rail that, isn’t it?

I don’t think so Telegraph, I don’t think so

Britain’s economy has finally passed its pre-2008 financial crisis peak, figures released this week are expected to show.

GDP dropped more than 7pc from a high of £392bn to less than £365bn in early 2009, and it has struggled to reach that level ever since.

But estimates due on Friday from the Office for National Statistics are predicted to show that in the second quarter of 2014 it expanded beyond the pre-crisis peak, rising to just more than £393bn.

Those are quarterly figures, GDP is normally reported as an annual figure.

Sigh.

Ritchie really doesn’t get tax, does he?

On AbbVie:

New profits can be earned from intellectual property rights located either here via the patent box or in low tax jurisdictions without ever having to worry that the UK might ever question the arrangements and the US has lost out on all the tax on unremitted profits denied to it for years.

Err, no. As I point out here that future revenue stream of corporate income tax that will not be paid is , to a greater or lesser extent, now capitalised into the stock price. And the merger is a taxable event for US shareholders. Meaning that the US will gain capital gains tax (and possibly income and corporate income tax) revenues from taxing the capitalisation of that future loss of corporate income tax.

Because there are many more taxes that the corporate income tax it simply isn’t true to insist that a reduction in corporate income tax revenues is the same as a loss of tax revenues in general.

Oh do fuck off you ghastly little wanker

The rebel commander blamed for shooting down flight MH17 has made bizarre claims that bodies at the crash site ‘aren’t fresh’.

Pro-Russian separatist Igor Girkin has claimed corpses near the debris died days before the plane took off.

According to rebel website Russkaya Vesna, the leader was told by people at the scene in eastern Ukraine that ‘a significant number of the bodies were drained of blood and reeked of decomposition.’

Girkin, also known as Strelkov and allegedly a former Russian intelligence agent, also suggested that a large amount of blood serum and medications in the wreckage.

Sadly there will be those who will believe this nonsense.

No doubt Max Keiser will be on the case soon enough.

Lies about food

So why don’t we? Where food is concerned, we’re complicated. We aspire to extreme thinness as advocated by fashion and reinforced by the cult of celebrity, but in reality we nearly all struggle with the pounds. We see people who are grossly fat, their wobbling, sad bodies being winched out of windows, and class that as “obesity”, distancing ourselves from the term. As a recovering alcoholic it’s a syndrome I’m familiar with – I might be getting drunk but I still have a roof over my head, unlike a “real” alcoholic, who sleeps on a park bench. Are we seriously so weak-willed that we can’t say “no” to that extra cake? Go back just 30 years and very few people were obese. Go back 50 years and virtually no one was. For women, size 10 and 12 was the norm, rather than 14 and 16 today – and we ate three meals a day, with tea thrown in for special occasions. Most of us didn’t eat unless we were sat at a table at a regular time of day.

That simple fact represented a problem for the food industry, which its army of chemists solved by designing products that override the “full” button, working like any other addictive drug to convince you that you really, really want – even need – that extra slice. Combine sugars, salts and fats, substances once so scarce we never evolved any need to limit their consumption, and you create a sensation as powerful as many banned substances. Then destroy the concept that eating takes place just at mealtimes. Enter any large supermarket today and you’ll find whole aisles stocked with snacks.

Sigh. Calorie intake has fallen over this time period. People simply aren’t getting fat because they’re eating more.

Thus any plan that attempts to reduce obesity by thinking that we are eating more than we used to is simply wrong. At odds with the universe we actually inhabit.

Oh for God’s sake

Extreme obesity may in future be classified as a disability under EU law, providing protection for morbidly overweight workers who suffer discrimination at work.

This will mean you can’t fire a firefighter who is too much of a lardbucket to get up a ladder, all doors and corridors must be widened so that fatties can get through them and yes, even that in Germany, where prostitution is legal, not hiring the 300 lb monstrosity will be “diiscriminaaaashun”.

The problem is not that morbid obesity may or may not be a disability, rather the panoply of laws that surround anything that is described as a disability.

On The English

“I love asking the way in London,” she told an interviewer. “A man actually left his shop to show me where to go. I thought ‘I’m not that attractive and I don’t look like a hooker, so what’s in it for him?’ I finally realised he was simply good-mannered.”

Elaine Stritch

Eventually, in 1973 and aged 47, she met and married John Bay, her co-star in Small Craft Warnings. When they got engaged, Elaine Stritch called home to ask her father whether she should bring her fiancé home to see if he approved of him. “No, just marry him,” came the reply. “Don’t let him get away.” The marriage lasted a happy 10 years, until Bay died of cancer.

In 2002 she made a triumphant return on Broadway in her one-woman retrospective of her career, Elaine Stritch At Liberty, co-written with John Lahr, which played to sell-out audiences at London’s Old Vic the following year. “There’s good news and bad news,” she told her audience. “The good: I have a sensational acceptance speech for a Tony. The bad: I’ve had it for 45 years.” In a typical Stritchian postscript, when she really did make the speech after being awarded a Tony for her performance, it was so long that the orchestra cut her off in mid-flow.

And there’s this joyous one:

She “dated” Brando — nothing more. When, after a night on the town, he took her back to his place, went to the bathroom, and reappeared in his pyjamas, the teenage Elaine Stritch shot straight back to the convent.

Brando? Pyjamas?

Umm, eh?

When Mr West refused to give way, the judge barked at him to sit down six times, banging his gavel on the bench as he did so.

Do judges in English courts actually use gavels?

I keep seeing minor pendantry around the place insisting that they do not, only American judges do.

And it’s one rule for the establishment

The Ombudsman found that the Commission the money had been taken in good faith in 2006, despite growing evidence that the money was obtained fraudulently and the company itself was not trading.

And the Lib Dems aren’t going to pay it back nor forfeit it.

Yet when UKIP had a donor who fell of the electoral roll as a result of simple paperwork issues (always eligible to be on it, just didn’t do the paperwork for it) the Electoral Commission sent the hounds of hell after the party.

Impartial justice my arse.

New Zealand wants to do fucking what?

Fundamental pillars of the criminal justice system may be eroded whichever party wins the election this year, as both National’s and Labour’s proposals would look into changing the right to silence or the presumption of innocence in rape cases.

Both major parties claim the current system is not upholding justice for victims, and are looking at changes that would effectively make it easier for prosecutors to obtain convictions.

National wants to explore allowing a judge or jury to see an accused’s refusal to give evidence in a negative light, while Labour wants to shift the burden of proof of consent from the alleged victim to the accused.

Auckland University law professor Warren Brookbanks said both policies challenged two fundamental principles: the right to silence, and the presumption of innocence, which are both protected in the Bill of Rights Act.

Reverse the burden of proof? What?