In 1991 Geller sued Randi and his group for $15 million for slander after Randi told the International Herald tribune that Geller fooled quite reputable people with the sort of cheap tricks that used to be found on the back of cereal boxes. The judge threw the case out when Randi produced in court a cereal box with instructions for performing the spoon-bending trick.

Had some interactions with Randi 15 years back. Good man who had a good run.

James Randi obituary
Stage magician and escapologist who performed as “The Amazing Randi” and who devoted himself to debunking psychics


The husband of a nurse killed by her policeman lover has said he is disappointed with the verdict, after the killer was sentenced to 10 and a half years in jail for manslaughter having previously been cleared of her murder.

The sentence isn’t far off what would be served for murder. For I’m pretty sure I’ve seen that the average served – the sentence is life by release on licence usually happens – is 7 years for murder. 10 and a half for manslaughter, half off as is usual, 5 and a quarter.

Sure, that 1 3/4 of a year will seem very long when serving it but the sentences aren’t hugely different, are they?

Perhaps Mr. Ludd QC could give us more detail?

An interesting idea

The prisoner with a GRC, who allegedly carried out the attack, Monaghan said, had convictions for serious sexual offences against women but was housed in the general population of a women’s prison.

Doesn’t sound hugely sensible:

In a skeleton argument released at the start of the hearing, Karon Monaghan QC, for the prisoner, said that MoJ policies “allow prisoners to be accommodated in the prison estate that corresponds to their declared gender identity, irrespective of whether they have taken any legal or medical steps to acquire that gender”.

Perhaps a little selectivity here. Even, dread word, discrimination?

Possibly, penises convicted of the rape of women might not be put into a women’s prison even if encased in a skirt while those shrivelled to incapacity by hormones and convicted of TV licence avoidance might be?

Or, you know, all being adult about this rather than a toddler’s insistence on being Popeye – IyamwhatIyam?

Well, yes, obviously, this is the only solution to racism

It wasn’t until years later that I realized American identity does not need to function like a sword hacking away at our differences, or a snake digesting them. In his 1996 book The Coming White Minority, Dale Maharidge explores the view that multiculturalism presents “two stark choices: the United States sticks with a white-centered melting pot, or degenerates into separate conflicting societies.” He reveals an alternative to assimilation. He quotes a researcher who imagines it as “a continuous cauldron of activity, rebirth, reformulation.”

Multiculturalism is not a threat to civilization. The only thing it threatens is extremism. As America becomes more mixed, we will have a greater capacity for empathy. People with hyphenated identities are familiar with multiple ways of being; they can readily inhabit different people and diverse realities.

It seems so obvious now as I sit on the grass with my five-year-old niece, who is Mexican, Puerto Rican, Black, and American, fluent in Spanglish and Shel Silverstein.

Quite so, a few generations of miscegenation and the job’s done, right?

There’s a reason some read the words out and others write them

Cate Blanchett:

As a person working in the arts sector, the lockdown was strangely familiar on one level – a lot of actors get stuck in a kind of limbo waiting for someone else to give them permission to do what they are good at. It was as if we were all waiting by the phone for our agent to call. It was also strangely unfamiliar because the community that holds us together, the audiences, as well as the changing of the shows and the new releases, were all put on hold too. The flow between us all was severely affected, and I was both heartened and horrified when it began to surface online. Heartened because the urge to express ourselves and the desire to communicate seems undaunted by anything. Horrified because the worst place to rehearse and perform is alone in the mirror, and sometimes the phone is just a mirror.

It was amazing, though: the opera singers belting it out on their balconies, the dancers doing their solos in their living rooms, the DJs setting up on the verandahs of their apartments. Communication is definitely a need and not a want. And talent has to express itself. That need is like the roots of a tree seeking space and nutrition, and that single cell in the root hair that is the porous gateway between the soil and the plant – that exists in all of us, in our need to communicate and make shared sense. The porous gateway between audience and artist is just that – a two-way street where both seemingly separate worlds are alive together. The pub choir where everyone got on a group Zoom and sang. For themselves? Yes. For each other? Yes. For the uni- verse? Yes. Wonderful space that came alive and thrived and tried to reach across the divide.

That’s just horrible.

I don’t know why – I’m not a good enough writer to know. But it is. Dreadful.

So what has Covid-19 ripped open? The fragility of social space and the robustness of our need to share. The catastrophic misdirection of the past 30 years of economic and social planning (the guiding non-principle being that there is no such thing as society).

Yes, the ideas are shit too.

I dunno really

Porn star Ron Jeremy was charged on Wednesday with an additional seven counts of rape and sexual assault, bringing to 23 the number of his alleged victims, the Los Angeles district attorney’s office said.

Jeremy, 67, one of the biggest names in the adult film industry,

Biggest, yes, fnarr, fnarr.

Nicknamed “the Hedgehog”, Jeremy has been among the best-known and most prolific performers in the adult film industry since the 1970s, and has appeared in more than 2,000 adult films.

The underlying claim here is that male sexuality sure is weird. At least 2,000 new and different shags and that’s still not enough?

Privately I’d be bleaker about this

It’s possible, but not necessary, to be as cynical as I am about this. Which is to observe that there are those who wish to gain political and economic power and regulating large companies that aren’t doing any harm is sure a cute way of doing that. A support to my bleak view is that those advancing the regulation of the tech giants do tend to insist that this should apply to all actors in the economy. Anyone that is a significant source of near anything must be regulated.

This isn’t really about Google – and nor will the other likely cases be – being detrimental to the consumer. Because there’s pretty much no proof that the company is. It’s about whether the tech giant might be if left unconstrained, if we’re to be charitable about it, and whether a big bad company and source of economic power should remain unregulated by politics, if we’re to be unkind.

Politics is the gaining of power over peeps. The insistence that all large companies must be regulated is just a grab for more power over peeps. Dressed in the perfectly fine and reasonable anti-monopoly arguments that are being stretched out for political gain.

Isn’t this a hell of a surprise?

In 2018/19, a little over 1,000 social homes were delivered across 91 rural local authorities in England. On current building rates, it will take 154 years to clear the backlog in social housing.

Social homes, “affordable housing”, is offered below market price. There’s a long waiting list for below market price housing.

Gee, ya think?

There’s an easy way to test this

Billion-dollar export trade puts lives of animals and crew at greater risk of ‘total loss’ through faulty design and inexperience

Ships carrying live animals are at least twice as likely to suffer a “total loss” from sinking or grounding as standard cargo vessels, the Guardian has found.

They’ve gone through the files of an insurance company to count losses of livestock vessels and non.

OK, cool. Now, there’s a much easier way of doing this. Go and ask the insurance company – or perhaps a Lloyd’s broker – for the premium rates to insure a livestock voyage and a non.

Prices are, after all, information…..

Isn’t this a surprising political editorial?

The Guardian view on the 2020 US elections
It’s time to dump Trump. America’s only hope is Joe Biden
Four years of deranged and unpredictable behaviour is proof that the current US president is uniquely unsuited to the job

I have to admit I just don’t know which way this is going to go. Yes, Dennis The Hot Rod Accountant Of Ohio tells us that it’s in the bag for Trump and the entirety of the international press tells us it’s Biden and we should all, of course, believe Dennis.

But I just dunno. Note that it’s the will I don’t know about, not the should.

Well, yes, clearly

In a statement read to the inquiry yesterday, Mr Blair said: In 1997 I would have known of the allegations made in 1991 in respect of Lord Janner by Frank Beck during his trial.
As regards the nomination, I would expect such allegations to be considered (by the Political Honours Scrutiny Committee) as part of that process.
In the circumstances of Lord Janner’s vigorous public denial, a police investigation, and charges not being brought, I do not believe the allegations would have been investigated further beyond confirming those facts, nor that I would have considered them a bar to the nomination.

Allegations made, investigation done, evidence of allegation not found – at that point, certainly.

So, should the allegations be a bar to the continuation of life as normal? And a peerage for a long serving back bencher isn’t unusual.

Well, no, because to make the allegation the judge and jury is to make the allegation the punishment, isn’t it?

Arse handed to

Any way you look at it though, and however you consolidate the accounts buying Gilts back at higher prices than they we issued at is still going to mean HMT has lost money. You can acknowledge it upfront, as you see to want to do with consolidated accounts or you can amortize the cost as HMT has done, but you can’t escape this very basic fact.

This is pretty simple stuff in concept – you only need to understand bond valuation and pricing and some common accounting principles to get there. I’m sort of surprised you haven’t managed to.

Richard Murphy says:
October 26 2020 at 5:38 pm
I have already explained why you are wrong on this

And the Treasury did not lose on repurchasing these gilts

It saved paying future interest to third parties – and that was what the premium represented

Hence, prepaid interest

It really is not hard

And now your posts will be deleted, because I bet bored after a while with people who can’t understand macro issues

It’s all rather amusing.

Richard Murphy says:
October 26 2020 at 6:59 pm
It hasn’t been paid

Stop the BS

That was your last post

How dare you disagree with me!

Gissa Job

This is what really hurts:

Both are using patterns of political preferment to appoint inappropriate and under-qualified people to critical public positions.

Says the Tre Professori of economics without any technical training in economics.

Just on this very specific point

Some people kicked back on the tweet thread asking, “Why should basic decency be applauded?” These encounters are not examples of brilliance; they are examples of good practice, and shouldn’t be held up as something special.

Because that’s how a society works. Disapproval – from physical chastisement to a raised eyebrow – of things we disapprove of and praise and celebration of those we approve of. Reinforcement of the behavioural patterns we collectively desire.

Exactly the phrasing or action used to reinforce doesn’t matter so much. Some societies use a ticker tape parade to show that approval, others just a muttered well done that man. It’s the same incentive to the behaviour either way.

So consistency isn’t the thing for our Rhiannon then

On Friday Wales began a two-week national “firebreak” Covid lockdown in an attempt to give some breathing space to its health service, which risks being overwhelmed by the rise in cases. It has not been without controversy – a ban on supermarkets selling non-essential items was criticised over the weekend. In the English press, the first minister, Mark Drakeford, and the Welsh government have been labelled as “clowns” who are trying to turn Wales “into a wartime, command economy: East Germany, except not as efficient, and with more sheep” (note the tedious xenophobia).

The criticism over the essential items rule is less about lockdown and more about what individuals consider “essential” during times of crisis (the government has now indicated that supermarkets will be allowed flexibility – hardly the actions of a Soviet dictatorship).

Speaking to friends and family in Wales, most people feel the Welsh government knows what it is doing.

One of the things the Welsh government has done is state that tampax, maxipads and all that wimmins’ stuff, is not an essential item.

Now try to imagine Rhiannon agreeing with that statement if it were not being said or done by Welsh socialists. Quite.

Nice idea but I don’t buy it

Magnus Henrekson, the head of Sweden’s Research Institute of Industrial Economics, points to the country’s lack of any form of wealth tax as a key motivation for entrepreneurs to make and keep their money.

Sure, without a wealth tax there’s more incentive to become wealthy. But there are many places without a wealth tax and not all of them have a start up scene like Sweden.

CGT at 30% when income tax can top 60% (including social charges) might be an incentive. No inheritance tax so dynastic fortunes can be created might help. Being a more free market economy than the UK or US could be a boost too. But the absence of a wealth tax? Naah, that’s too common a feature.

A new scam

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Got to admire the inventiveness if nothing else.

It would be rather a fun job – if I actually knew how to accept Bitcoin, organise spam emailings and all that – writing such appeals. This week protect the trans from JK, last it was BLM and next it’ll be aid elderly VPs in retiring gracefully etc. As I say, it would be rather fun having to be this inventive……