West Virginia’s an interesting place

Fun familial arrangements among the coal minerscoal miners:

“In the area we live in, there aren’t many jobs, especially not many jobs that pay as well as the mines,” said Zach Thornberry, another miner at Redhawk Mining who lost their job due to the closure. “There are plenty of us that have young kids. I have a two-month-old son, and my partner has twins that just turned a year old, so the thought of not having health insurance is a scary thing.”

The way that’s said the twins aren’t his, but his partners, and the two month old isn’t his partner’s, but his. Still, guess it’s an advance for Appalachia, none are with his sister.

I’d missed all of this

Once worth an estimated £3 billion, Mr Stunt had his assets and cash frozen at the High Court in 2018 at the request of the CPS in a ‘proceeds of crime’ restraint order.

Last June, he was declared bankrupt and, in March this year, his £11 million luxury cottage in Belgravia was repossessed along with his two apartments overlooking Chelsea Harbour, each worth £5 million.

How could I have missed all of this? He always did strike as being mouth and no trousers. And even Bernie E, who knows about these things, said he couldn’t work out where the money had come from. I’ve even commented on that gold dealing business, which is a poor person’s idea of how people get or stay rich.

How could I have missed all this deliciousness?

How super

More than half of online grooming offences recorded under a law that made it illegal to send sexual messages to children were committed on Facebook-owned apps, figures reveal.

The data, obtained by the NSPCC under freedom of information laws, show 10,019 offences of sexual communication with a child were recorded since the legislation was introduced in April 2017.

And the percentage of all online communications carried out on Facebook owned services and apps is what?

Is Facebook doing better or worse than everyone else?

So exactly what are you suggesting then?

There really is a racial divide in the US. My own – based on little more than my own prejudice and observation – assumption is that the different groups don’t shag each other enough. The only long term solution to caste that I know of being a blending of the subsequent generations into there not being castes or racial groupings that can be identified or that people care about. My own genetic heritage includes a number of groups that would, at one time, have been considered very much outsiders – Irish, a tad of Peruvian, Huguenot further back and so on. Nowadays no one gives a toss about any of that – OK, a dermatologist might comment on the Irish fairness and the noonday sun – and people hate me for my character, not my origin.

Any look at the demographics of London show this process carrying on, as it always has done in that city. “Mixed race” being by far the fastest growing group. The outmarriage (or, to be modern, out-partnering) rate for Afro Caribbeans is something like 35% in a generation. There won’t be that identifiable group, without further immigration at least, in a few generations. London always was like this too, I think I’m right in saying that it was late in the 19th cent. before the place actually replaced its own population without immigration. There have, that is, been Londoners for a long, long, time but the genes have near always been, in large proportion, those of incomers.

OK, well, an interesting diversion. Looking at the same problem an activist has a different solution:

In the next 66 years, fulfilling the promises of Brown requires we reimagine and rethink our social structures. This reconsideration requires shedding the entrenched individualism that allowed white landowners to equate human suffering with their rights to enslave.

Oh, group rights, rather than individual, are the solution to people being seen as members of a group, not individuals.

That’ll work, right?

This democracy thing is fun isn’t it?

We’re told, endlessly, that we should have a more democratically controlled economy. It’s one of those stock phrases on the left:

More than three quarters of the public believe employers should prioritise hiring British workers rather than migrants, research has found.

The poll for Migrationwatch showed the vast majority of the public wanted employers to prioritise getting British people back to work after the covid-19 crisis.

OK, so it’s MigrationWatch, it will have been a leading question but still. How long will democratic control last if the Demos keeps asking for what it shouldn’t?

Not quite, no, not quite

Emily Maitlis failed to appear on Newsnight after the BBC said her monologue about Dominic Cummings breached impartiality guidelines.

Ms Maitlis caused a politic storm when she opened Tuesday night’s BBC Two programme with the words

English can be funny at times. “Politic” means “polite” in such usage. Quite the opposite of “political” which is what they meant.

Although the BBC did not go as far as an apology, Maitlis was said to be furious that she and her colleagues had been publicly reprimanded and she did not appear as planned on Wednesday’s programme. The presenter Katie Razzall took her place….

And Ms Maitlis does have a point. Newsnight hasn’t been anywhere near impartial for some time now. They used to have Paul Mason as economics editor. Replacing him with someone who has gone on to be – or perhaps was, not sure which way around for Duncan Wheldon – a TUC economist. Not the sources likely to give us a balanced view of any economic matter.

So, the presenter wants to be Rachel Maddow? Why shouldn’t she be pissed off when her ambition is curtailed?


So, Ritchie discovers some research on multinationals. Which shows that Google has a presence in 192 countries.

Now you might see why we need country-by-country reporting. Without it we cannot know very much about a great deal of what goes on within these companies, most especially when a comparison between the number of companies reported on in the financial statements and the actual number of locations in which the entity is present is considered. Look at Alphabet on that one, if you will….. (which is Google, for those unfamiliar with the name of its parent company).

What the research shows is that you can get to Google from 192 countries. Not even that Google can show you an ad in 192 countries, which it can’t. But that – even if you’ve got to use a VPN – you can ask google a question in every UN member.

This proves why we need country by country reporting.

Err, yea, Spud, yea.

An interesting idea

But, just imagine three things. Just suppose £28 billion had been invested into the UK economy instead of lent to it? think how much more robust the economic recovery would be in that case.

Second, imagine that this was now a National Wealth Fund run by a National Wealth Service – investing for the future of this country. How much easier would that be to explain?

And third, suppose that this money had been used to leverage:

Commitments to a green transition;
A commitment to paying a real living wage;
The better representation of employee interests on boards;
A commitment to full accounting for tax on public record;
An end to the use of tax avoidance schemes.

The interesting question being, are those things that would make us wealthier?

Oh, tee hee

Twitter’s anti-porn filters have blocked Dominic Cummings’ name despite Boris Johnson’s chief adviser dominating British political news for almost a week, the Guardian can reveal.

As a result of the filtering, trending topics over the past five days have instead included a variety of misspellings of his name, including #cummnings, #dominiccummigs and #sackcummimgs, as well as his first name on its own, the hashtag #sackdom, and the place names Durham, County Durham and Barnard Castle.

The filter also affects suggested hashtags, meaning users who tried to type #dominiccummings were instead presented with one of the misspelled variations to auto-complete, helping them trend instead.

This sort of accidental filtering has gained a name in computer science: the Scunthorpe problem, so-called because of the Lincolnshire town’s regular issues with such censorship.

Bizarrely, the shortened hashtag #cumgate has also trended, since the first word of the sentence is not included in Twitter’s filter list,

Might be a bit of time before AIs actually rule the world….

Well, yes, David Sirota

David Sirota is a Guardian US columnist and Jacobin editor at large who served as Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign speechwriter.

He’s also the bloke who praised Chavez and Maduro as doing pretty well.

And it’s Mr. Sirota who tells us this:

Moreover, corporate health insurance has far higher administrative costs than single-payer programs like Medicare, and even the much-vaunted Affordable Care Act allows insurers to siphon up to 20% of customers’ premiums to corporate profits rather than actual medical care.

No, It allows up to 20% to go to corporate costs. Of, you know, running the company? 80% must be spent on actual medical care. And if someone who wants to tell us about the economy doesn’t know the difference between revenue and profit then we can ignore everything else he says, can’t we?

You just try having a place only for cis- hets

It might even be beneficial if such places existed. But just try it:

Having a space where LGBTQ people can simply exist in their own skin and experience, without judgment or pressure to hide for the benefit of cisgender, heterosexual people, can be enormously beneficial.

But in recent months, queer and trans people have been feeling the loss of affirming LGBTQ spaces since cities and states began shutting down nonessential public spaces in mid-March.

Goose and gander comes to mind…

Sensible but it won’t happen

Ministers must avoid throwing billions of pounds at infrastructure projects to create a stimulus for the post-Covid economy, according to a construction industry veteran.

Keith Clarke, the former chief executive of engineering firm Atkins, says the Government can create a better legacy for the construction industry with investment upgrades to schools, hospitals and other projects.

Not that we particularly want to create a legacy for the construction industry, we want to deploy our resources to provide the greatest benefit for us.

But that this is best done by spiffing up what we’ve got rather than creating anew has merit. The problem being that politics doesn’t work that way. The benefit, the incentive, to the politician who signs off on it is the cutting of the red ribbon, the laudatory press pieces. Which sorting out the sewers, maintaining the schools, doesn’t produce. Something new – a new train set – does. So, we get more new stuff and not enough maintenance and upgrading.

That’s just how the incentives work.

The Spud plan for saving businesses from going bust

Conditions have to be attached including:

Going for zero carbon
Accounting for doing so via sustainable cost accounting
Paying living wages
Recognising unions
An end to tax abuse and all involvement with tax havens
Real measures to address gender pay gaps
Investment in and responsibility to all stakeholders
Employees on the board

How many businesses would survive the imposition of those costs?

Erm, why?

I predicted, very early on in this crisis, that consumers would react to it the way that consumers always do in situations such as this, which is that they would save.

Data in the FT suggests that I was right: the tendency to save has been very pronounced in five EU countries

Entirely true, the savings rate is up, this does normally happen.

If the new savings that people now want to make were redirected for social purpose then there would be a way to use them to keep jobs going and build the future we really need.

Why redirected for social purpose? Investing in anything attains that same goal……

Too good not to share

Spud points us to this:

It’s that time again. A mumpsimus (16th century) is someone who refuses to budge/insists that they are right, despite clear evidence that they are wrong. Plural: mumpsimuses.

Amazingly, it was not a moment of self-realisation.