Tuesday, October 31, 2006

[blogfocus] the way forward in life

Iraq, Iran, climate change, veils, making ends meet, what’s the way forward in this life we’re forced to lead? Bloggers from the four corners have their say this evening, beginning with Colin Campbell, who is in no doubt – family values are everything; the family which trampolines together, stays together [see photo of the construction of said trampoline]. He also believes in early rising – the photos were posted at 6.05 a.m. More ingenious blogger solutions here.

[which] ie7 v firefox

Firefox seems to be leading early on in the download race, and it's been more of a hit with the critics. One explanation for this is that, since Firefox users tend to be more fanatical and technology savvy than those of IE, they'd be more likely to download the new browser on the day of its release. By contrast, most IE users will wait until the new version of the browser is sent over automatic updates, which is expected to occur in November. If you have an interest in either of these, this is an interesting article.

[snow] it’s falling outside, in a manner of speaking

Hurrah! Hurrah! We have snow out there – do you? I adore the snow but not when it almost immediately turns to slush, so that when you cross the road to your carpark, some great semi-articulated lorry drives within two metres, covering you from head to foot in a torrent of road sludge. No, that’s not so good. Have a lovely day, wherever you are.

[super trains] in britain, take repair kits

This sort of thing from the Telegraph today could make a man nostalgic: After several minutes sitting silently at Rugby station, a sheepish member of staff broke the silence with the announcement: "If anyone has some nuts and bolts with them will they come forward?" The new, tilting Pendolino had ground to a halt because the blades on the windscreen wipers had come loose and it could not pull away until they had been fixed. Willing passengers gathered together a rudimentary tool kit and one even clambered on to the front of the engine in an attempt to get it running again, but to no avail. I love Britain.

[air crashes] regime adjusters in nigeria

You have to hand it to the Nigerians. The victims of the latest ADC crash near Abuja included the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Maccido. The late Sultan, who headed Nigeria’s millions of Muslims, was the spiritual leader of the Islamic faithful both in the country and the Niger Republic. A man revered across many countries in West Africa, the late Sultan was not a religious leader himself, but someone to whom Muslims looked up to for leadership and guidance. What a perfect way to curtail the activities of a nuisance, with no political fallout and no blame attributable.

[iraq] two things which catch the eye

1] Thousands of weapons the United States has provided Iraqi security forces cannot be accounted for and spare parts and repair manuals are unavailable for many others, a new report to Congress says. Black market 2] "It's my belief that they're [Shi’ite militias] very sensitive to the fact that we've got an election scheduled and they can get on the websites like anybody else," says Dick Cheney. Corollary: give people freedom to blog and see what happens – militias!

Monday, October 30, 2006

[id cards] open letter to all readers

More likely an embedded verichip than what's in this photo

ScotsToryB commented: James, perhaps you can have a wee look at Monty's blog re ID cards and post a link to get the rest of us great unwashed to start standing up for ourselves. My readership, STB, is not large but I do have readers with large readerships - fellow bloggers. For you ladies and gentlemen, if you happen upon this post, please go to Monty Lionheart's own post on ID cards, if you haven't already done so; then to this site and then prehaps think out the best possible way to use your blog to assist - maybe running banners, I don't know. I'll think it out this evening in terms of my own blog. Our children's future quite possibly depends on it.

[usa] cold comfort for the russians …

Dr. Strangelove

I recently read on one blog, [please set me straight on whose], that what the Americans didn’t know in the Cuba crisis was that they were floating above Soviet subs with nuclear tipped warheads, as they, the Americans, intended dropping depth charges. Once our American friends wipe their brows, it’s time for the return bout; it’s the Russians’ turn to blanch. Actually, they were nearly wiped out too, without the least inkling of it. Just a few notes about it here.

[overseas] the perils of expats and repats

Maria Sharapova

Recently, a girl I know came back here from America [as a repat] and immediately visited two of her best friends. Far from supporting her, they told her she could not succeed back here. I told her that this attitude is also very common in the west. On the other hand, as a foreigner living in Russia, more or less semi-permanently [as an expat], there are two questions I am always asked: “Do you like it here?” and “When are you going home?” Continued here.

[smoking] why it’s particularly bad for girls

Each age group has its own particular self-delusions associated with it. A middle aged man might conclude that because he personally finds a lady attractive, then she automatically must want to go out with him; or believing your teenage daughter is innocent because she tells you so. 16 to 20 year old girls might conclude that anorexia is the way to happiness, that body piercing is beautiful and that smoking is OK. This article is about girls smoking.

[which] blogger, wordpress, typepad, haloscan

It was Colin Campbell who made reference [in an e-mail] to support in the blogosphere and I can heartily second that. The number of pieces of quite constructive advice on what to do over the vexed Blogger issue was gratifying to say the least, some from quite surprising sources. Thank you and if I can do something in return … In the meantime: Blogger. When it’s working and if you have a good imported template, it’s flexible and understandable, if a little slow. Wordpress is snazzier but just doesn’t have the flexibility, e.g. widgets plus it also occasionally refuses. Typepad – I’ve heard mixed reviews. Haloscan – I’ve heard nothing. So, it’s the old dilemma.

[which is worse] evil intent, madness or incompetence

A commenter below, on the question of whether George Bush was satanic or nay, made the point: The Iranian is way more mad than Bush. Even my new found Bush hating levels allow me to see that. This set me to thinking: which evil is worse? That 1] from cold, calculated intent 2] from gross incompetence and general thickness 3] from madness?

[lewisham] fond memories of maggie’s cafe

Are you familiar with Lewisham? You know when you come from Tesco’s carpark along the narrow walkway between the station ramp and the café on the left? That’s Maggie’s and I got it into my head to write to her and find out how things were going. Maggie was a wonder in 1995, swirling round the café with two pots of tea, refilling people’s empty cups and asking if they were all right; and the food was the best and most reasonably priced in London. Basic fare, done well and what’s more – you could see them preparing it through there. Eleven years later, I imagine she may have moved on but the café/restaurant is still going. Check it out.

[in brief] thought for the day

In the immortal words of Tony Blair: Enough of talking, time now to do [1997]. Have a lovely grey Monday, enjoy an extended lunch with your colleagues and partners and keep your spirits up.

[school chaplains] return to real values

It’s right out in the open now and the gloves are off. In Australia, a new school chaplaincy program would not force religion on children but instead provide more choices, says Federal Education Minister Julie Bishop [Liberals – means Conservatives]. Labor has backed the plan [amazing], but minor parties, including the Greens and Democrats say the proposal blurs the line between church and state. The Green humanistic atheists can’t have it all their own way – the truth has to also be told sometime, as a counter-balance, according to their own enlightened debating rules. And this should produce some very lively debate. [Interesting that Blogger let this one go straight to post in 2 mins with no impediments.]

[islamic court] you’re a bit strong so no talks

Monty Lionheart has this one taped – do go across and have a look: 1] The Islamic Courts Union, which controls much of southern Somalia, has refused to meet the interim government for peace talks unless Ethiopian troops leave the country. 2] Although an 18-strong Islamic delegation flew to Sudan on Sunday, Adow said they would not engage with the largely powerless interim administration until Ethiopian troops leave. I’m a bit confused here – Sudan is not Somalia. Or is it all part of the same process – send in the militias to rape, mutilate and torture to death, then move in and offer yourself as the ‘saviours’?

[catastrophe] france runs out of garlic

Telegraph today, so therefore you’ve all seen it: But violet garlic, esteemed by the gourmand and grown only in one small part of France, cannot be obtained for love nor money. Brian Page, or "Garlic Brian" as he is known to his customers, is the sole importer to Britain of violet garlic, "I know it sounds absurd but there really is none left, and the French are very embarrassed about it," said Mr. Page, from Rogate, Hants. Firstly, I love this last vital geographical pin-pointer for Mr. Page. Secondly, I wonder if they meant ‘gourmand’ or ‘gourmet’? Thirdly, this could see an influx of vampires unless something is rapidly done to remedy the situation.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

[what if] ahmadinejad on bush

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, amid a struggle between two major clerical factions for control of Iran's influential Assembly of Experts, is trying to shore up his conservative base by portraying himself as a man with a direct link to God. As for President George W Bush, "he also receives inspiration, but from Satan", says Ahmadinejad. That’s as maybe but what if Ahmadinejad, by some fluke, just happens to have it … ? What if he might just be … ? Is it possible … ? Nah … forget I even mentioned it.

[literature] sunday evening quiz

Compressed plots – which novels and authors are described below?

1. An Irishman becomes so familiar with his bicycle that when cycling at speed the atomic structure of his body fuses with that of the bicycle frame.

2. A rather shy novelist arrives in New York to launch his first book, only to be greeted by a rioting mob of Black Panthers, old-age pensioners, gay rights activists and feminists after his blood.

Five more here.

[clive & bryan] publishing on demand

Clive Davis, in the Washington Times: "In POD, an author delivers his manuscript and the publisher edits, designs and sets it on a computer, but doesn't actually print any copies at all. Instead, it simply waits until somebody buys one. At that point, the book -- a proper one, on paper, with proper binding -- can be made on the spot and delivered through, for example, Amazon or direct from the publisher. Alternatively, the buyer can get it from a printing and binding machine rather like the current digital-photo processors. The latter method is the obvious one, and Starbucks is indeed looking at it." What do you think?

[russia] daily life through open eyes

This piece is as honest about Russia as I can be. Firstly, I’m not in Russia proper – I’m in one of the republics although I do cross over quite often. Secondly, though my financial position doesn’t match it, my social state, in Twelfth Night terms, is ‘well’. Therefore I don’t yet live down in the sewer but am conveyed from door to door. I shop locally, walk about and chat with folk, hitch rides occasionally just to tune my ear to latest developments and so on. But what is it really, really like, living here? This is my take. Read more »

[want to kill] after blogspot's latest trick

Dearest reader - I have now had it with these Blogger people. Their latest trick is to publish, then refuse to actually show it on the page. What they are trying to do, of course, is frustrate us to the point where we go over to Beta, which they say they're transferring us all to anyway, whether we like it or not. I won't play their game and therefore have begun

It too has its teething troubles but at least it actually posts articles and over the next week I'll gradually transfer as much as I can across. If I'm blogrolled with you, please keep it as is for now until wordpress is fully operational [it's still in the experimental stage].

The article I was trying to publish half the morning is over at wordpress now and it might be interesting for you.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

[blogfocus] the concise and the succinct

Featured blogger: The Rock of Israel [together with Shimon Peres in January]

Ladies and gentlemen, the theme today is concise writing and quoting. First, from one of the masters of the quoting style - Stephen Pollard [see photo]: Tee Hee: Poor Macca. Divorcing a one-legged prostitute who accuses him of wife-beating and he's still the boring one out of Lennon and McCartney. Tim Worstall, who has made linking an art form, drily comments: More Tee Hee: Stephen Pollard [steals a line] quotes from Popbitch. Here's a typical Worstall link: Have you seen what The Great Leader has now said? And a typical Pollard: This will make you laugh out loud. However, both have fierce competition for the ConSuc title this week. Read on for that.

[geisha girl] seduction is the name of the game

Cynthia Gralla was a Ph.D. student in comparative literature at the University of California at Berkeley. She spent about six months working as a hostess during visits to Japan in 1999 and 2000 and this is her report on that experience: I was trained in the art of poignant, unrequited desire. One night I was sitting with a youngish Norwegian customer, enjoying a break from the near-constant horniness of the older Japanese men, when he suddenly nodded his head toward Louise, a British hostess. "She's very good," he whispered, his eyes filled with wonder and admiration. More here.

[j j cale] timeless genius

Notorious for his laid-back, rootsy style, Jean Jacques Cale’s influence wasn't only through songwriting - his distinctly loping sense of rhythm and shuffling boogie became a uniquely influential blueprint for many other artists. Cale's refusal to vary the sound over the course of his career, and his healthy suspicion of change-for-the-sake-of-it, has caused some critics to label him as a one-trick pony. But the whims and caprices of fad and fashion have left his timeless genius unmoved and he has managed to build a dedicated cult following with his sporadically released recordings. That, of course, is exactly how his fans want it. Indeed, there would probably be a riot if Cale tried to change now. So what is it about the Tulsa scene that produced Cale's sound in the first place? More here.

[vodka] helps on a winter’s eve – if it’s pure

Perfect example of an MSM beat-up: The headline said: Alcohol poisoning sweeps Russia. Uh-huh. Inside, this had become: Dozens have died in certain disadvantaged areas among poorer members of the population [population 170 000 000]. Only in the very last paragraph do they say: Living standards have improved in recent years, boosted by oil revenues, and average monthly salaries are the equivalent of $US400. But people want to believe the headline, don’t they? Doesn’t matter if it’s distorted or not – it’s a great story. That's all that matters.

[senate] 4 key mid-term races

Mainly for non-Americans wanting a clear statement of what’s going down, political analysts say there are now four key Senate races - Tennessee, Missouri, New Jersey and Virginia. In three of them, formerly-strong incumbent Republicans have lost their political footing. Here is the text of the ctv article on these key races:

[our earth] is it happy just now

Bushfires and snow Downunder

I ask the question, ‘Is our Earth happy just now?’ Consider the report from Downunder: Weeks after one of the hottest October days on record, weird weather again grips southern states. Sleet and snow grip, where weeks earlier there had been fierce bushfires, all with the southern hemisphere summer coming on. Is this normal?

[cheney] the beast emerges yet again

Who was it, around 2006 years ago, who said, ‘By their fruits ye shall know them?’ So here is a man today who thinks nothing of repeated immersion of victims, a man who is undoubtedly the portal behind the White House and what? You’d expect such things from a man who long ago lost his soul. In this process is the US foreign policy, the US social malaise engineering, the current US militarization and the future North America [post 2012] all rolled into one. Research Rummy and the financial boys in the background and the fog begins to clear.

[the world] what we do when we don’t like the facts

One blogger now increasingly drawing me back to his site said: Thereby a man might describe as a persistent myth any fact that stands against his beliefs … [and so] … we find that a mass of men sets about exploding “myths” all over the place, such that a dust and a general disorder is thrown up around every matter, to which it is then difficult to attract clear and calm attention. As I understand him, there is a mass of facts and they don’t always accord with our nice, pat beliefs we’ve developed for ourselves. This leads to the Holcombe syndrome. One such fact is the little matter of who is behind all the trouble in the world. No one will ever accept the facts. They don’t compute. 'Oh, that's just a myth,' we say. Yet rigorous, unfettered, thorough research will confirm the unfashionable truth.

Friday, October 27, 2006

[love & all that] why we like those whom we like

If you can tell me from where this came, I’ll gladly link: So what were Romeo and Juliet feeling when their eyes met across the proverbial room? Most likely, psychologists will tell you, it was something that's not quite love. "Lust at first sight exists," explains Pepper Schwartz, a University of Washington sociologist who specializes in love and relationships. We all have certain "markers," Schwartz says--certain things that ring our love bells. These might include eye color, a type of build, or even the way someone dresses. It's hard to say how these markers develop, and why certain people appeal to us more than others, she says. But there are theories.

[taliban] if you kill us, we’ll kill ourselves

Tragic logic in this war. A bomb ripped through a bus in southern Afghanistan on Friday, killing 14 civilians as the Taliban threatened to step up already rising suicide attacks and accused NATO forces of genocide of the civilians they were using as human shields. Everything is so wrong about this thing - such devastation, such appalling leaders the country spawns, such consequences, such a cynical agenda. People are slaughtered and the leaders jabber their rhetoric in response.

[blogpolls] do unto others as...

Look, I'm one of the worst offenders, I admit it. Notice something about a poll or a survey and think, 'Yes, must get round to that,' go to the next site and promptly forget all about the poll. And the poor blogger waits and hopes and hopes his friends will submit entries and they fail to. I feel a heel. So now I've acted and I urge you also to put your 5 favourite musicals into Norm immediately and submit the best bit of swearing to Mr. Eugenides. To Serf - examples of EU villainy. To Tim - nominations for Britblog Roundup. Come on, people, let's get our act together.

[excuse for biffo] la tension monte dans les quartiers difficiles

It would have been surprising had the 'disaffected youths' let the occasion go without an uprising. Nothing like an official excuse for a bit of lawless spleen venting and sure enough: In recent days, hoodlums set fire to four buses. Other incidents of arson and ambushes on police have accelerated in the last several weeks. Le Figaro dit: Alors que les incidents se multiplient, les forces de l'ordre se mettent en alerte. Call me hard but I have little sympathy. I came to this country where I now am, work, have friends and live reasonably. Sorry but I cannot see why these people can’t knuckle down and do the same. If I tried that sort of thing on, I'd be deported.

[pm] increasingly likely to be cameron

I wish we could get some hard information. James Cleverly said, a few days ago: I questioned the result of a Mori poll which put Gordon Brown ahead of David Cameron; it just didn't fit with anything that I am hearing on the doorstep. It seems from this Guardian poll I wasn't wrong. Today the Telegraph is running with: David Cameron has moved decisively ahead of Gordon Brown as favourite to lead the next government. It would have to be so. One’s gut instinct says it will be Cameron.

[ikea] how to lose your business in three easy lessons

Hope you have the coffee at the ready, as this might take some time. It’s the story of three separate businesses, all in the food trade and how they either lost or are in the process of losing their custom. One story is mine, one happened to my friend in the US and one is happening now, today, at Ikea. All are 100% genuine. I’ll start with mine – feel free to skip over it if you like. This involves a frozen turkey, some fish and a doughnut machine. More here.

[virginia race] down to the wire for the wrong reasons

What interests me in the tussle between Republican Sen. George Allen and Democrat Jim Webb, a former Navy secretary, for Virginia, were the ‘personal controversies that have all but hijacked a critical contest’ and the possible solution – a seven-year statute of limitations on character attacks. ‘Webb has been dogged by a 1979 magazine article in which he argued that women did not belong in combat or at military academies. Allen is trying to overcome a past fondness for Confederate flags and pins, the noose he once had in his law office — which he said was part of a Western memorabilia collection — and new questions about his attitudes on race.’ It looks as if it will go down to the wire but perhaps for the wrong reasons.

[denmark] mary’s girl child, hopefully

The Danish royal house has announced the Australian-raised princess is pregnant and due to give birth to her second child in early May, 2007. The new baby will be born at Copenhagen's Rigshospitalet (Copenhagen University Hospital) - the hospital in which Prince Christian was born on October 15th last year. Many in Denmark will be hoping the newborn is a girl, as the country is overdue for the birth of a princess, the last being Queen Margerethe's younger sister, Princess Benedikte in 1944.

[airbus] jacques strikes gold in china

Airbus Chief Executive Louis Gallois explained: "We have signed a contract for a 150 A320s and a letter of intent for 20 A350s with China, also a framework agreement for a final assembly line for the A320 at Tianjin, starting production in 2009". Latest news a few minutes ago is that they have no intention of closing the European plants. Jacques Chirac's state visit to China was the catalyst for the deal so credit must go, finally, where it is due. Still has some life in him, it seems and he might just have saved airbus. For now.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

[tax protest] blogger’s father in hiding

Had to think carefully before running the photo

Vox Day’s father has the tax police after him for what some see as the wrong reasons. Vox asks: And who is more cowardly, the sheep that go meekly along to the shearer or the one that jumps the fence and runs for the hills? However, one of his commenters puts a worrying point I’m inclined to agree with: I'm guessing your dad has absolutely zero history of being violent, which makes me think that the talk about him being dangerous is rather scary. It almost makes me think that the groundwork is being laid for shooting him.

[gender] boys are a pain from the start

Photo courtesy of Mr Euginedes

This slightly older article is worth the read. Boys are more trouble than girls - and the grief starts from the word go. Delivering a male child is significantly more difficult than giving birth to a female, according to an Irish study of more than 8000 children - the first in the world to consider how a child's sex affects labour. Maeve Eogan, from Dublin's National Maternity Hospital, found the caesarean rate was nearly 50 per cent higher among boys' births - 6.1 per cent versus 4.2 per cent. Other instrumental deliveries using forceps or ventouse extraction were also more common among male births, regardless of weight. Other delightful stats are here.

[all hallows] for those who might not know

Well, that major holiday, All Hallows Day, is coming up on Nov 1st. "Hallows" is the Old English for "holy man"; hence a saint. The French call it Toussaint. It’s traditionally traced to Pope Boniface IV who, between 603 and 610, changed the heathen Pantheon into the Christian church and dedicated it to the honour of the martyrs but some trace it to the time of Pope Gregory III (731-741). Originally held on May 1st, in the year 834 it was changed to November 1st. What exciting things to do on the day? Pray for the Saints and be one. That’s it. Read about the other Oct 31st to Nov 2nd holidays here.

[devolution] in which my take is taken to task

Toque commented on my post decrying the tit-for-tat between Scotland and England: I disagree, the sure sign of a disintegrating nation would be if we weren't having the debate. The fact is that asymmetric devolution is unfair and is having a destablising effect on the Union. Maybe it would have been better if devolution had never happened, or a dual-mandate solution had been proposed, but that is in the past now. At the moment the three main parties are doing nothing, allowing the acrimony to build: Labour has its head in the sand; Lib Dems make conciliatory noises but still hanker after regional assemblies, as do some in the Labour Party, and; the Tories, worst of all, have absolutely no answer. For the past three General Elections English Votes on English Matters has been in the Tory manifesto despite the fact that everyone that has considered it [including me] has described it as unworkable. My thrust [not made clear] was that it should never have happened in the first place and now is the time to reverse it.

[working lunch] canadian take on euro-wines

European wines have a dizzying number of classifications, many designated by whether the grape is grown on the left or right bank of a river, or to the east or west of a particular estate. But wine drinkers in Europe are turning up their noses at Pauillacs and Pomerols in favour of American, South African and Australian wines with simple, easy-to-understand labels. Experts predict that if current trends persist, Europe will soon become a net importer of wine. “The consumer decides what is taken down the shelves in the supermarkets. The consumer wants simple, clear labeling.” Have a lovely working lunch today, everyone – mine goes for three hours in two different cafes! It’s the truth.

[russia] volodya meets the people

Putin’s regular ‘meet the people’ apparently went well. Beginning from 11 a.m. yesterday, Russians gathered at sites around Russia to ask questions to the President. Citizens could call the president or send by SMS or a special website. Nearly 2 million questions, the most sensitive to be studied thoroughly by the cabinet of ministers, included ecology, nuclear tests in North Korea, flight safety, decrease in coniferous timber, support for the machine-building industry and so on. One man asked: “What will become of us and of Russia [after 2008]?” Volodya replied: “I’ll manage to save the most valuable thing for a politician - that is your trust. And using it, we’ll be able to influence what is going on.” Sure he will. Now it's time for Tony and George.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

[third rant] clearly it’s the weather today or something in the water

Still on Vox: It's amazing how similar the goals of the US military [in Iraq] are to those of the old Soviets and Western feminists. Their objectives - always so simple and attainable; all they require is to completely change something that hasn't changed in millennia. There are few things more lethal than a sincere Utopian. Er … how about ‘sincere political correctness’ and ‘enforced equal opportunity’? Actually, how about ‘enforced’ anything?

[north america] foi request puts 1,000 new pages online

About 1,000 documents obtained in a Freedom of Information Act request to the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America show the White House is engaging in collaborative relations with Mexico and Canada outside the U.S. Constitution, says WND columnist and author Jerome Corsi. "The documents give clear evidence that the Bush administration has created a 'shadow government,'" Corsi said. The documents can be viewed here, on a special website set up by the Minuteman Project. Read more here. [Source: Vox Day]

[britain] this is the thin edge of the wedge

Oh how I wish Doughty Street was accessible over here - I wanted to see the devolution and English Parliament debate. First off, of course Scots voting on English issues [but not the reverse] is right out. What is very worrying is the tit-for-tat being seen and all the old grievances being aired again. It's like a time warp and is the sign of a disintegrating nation. By the time the Scots wake up that it was better united and the English stop moaning about carrying them [hasn't every great nation done so with its 'smaller brothers'], a very different issue will be upon us [this post and the next]. Rant continues here.

[presidency] cheney says hillary could do it

Dick Cheney will soon have to meet his Maker to explain all he has done but one thing no one doubts is his shrewdness as a political operator. When he said on Tuesday he thought Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton could win the White House in 2008 and that a potential Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, was too inexperienced, he was quite appreciative of his enemies, a dangerous trait. And after all, he is in the Club which pre-decides such things. "I think she could win. I hope she doesn't. I disagree with her on nearly all the issues, but nobody should underestimate her. She's a very serious candidate for president." Cheney himself wasn’t interested. "I made my decision a long time ago, and it's firm, final, fixed, irrevocable". Natch. He has other pots to stir.

[google] and the rich get richer

Google is to allow web publishers and bloggers to put custom searches on their sites, in a move that could make searches more relevant to consumers and allow the company to charge more for advertising. The new Google Custom Search Engine relies on the same underlying database but allows individual users to set up personalised online searches. The words ‘allow the company to charge more’ seem relevant here.

[britain] rule britannia, not rule anglia

James Cleverly was to speak last evening about an English Parliament and so on and yesterday, on his blog, I left this comment: The problem with an English parliament is dissolution of the union. Apart from the clear disadvantages for Scotland and the other home countries, there would be a 'to hell with the English' attitude more so than now. LBJ said of Hoover, 'Better to have the bastard inside, pissing out than outside pissing in.' This is how all great empires have gone – fragmenting the more the centre has had to carry the fringes, heavy influx of population from the colonies, softening of the national resolve. Britannia became an Empire as a whole empire, not with just one part of it. The culture which arose is heavily English but not completely.

[politics] on the fuzzying of border zones

There are two prolific commenters, dsquared and dearieme, who roam cyberspace, dropping their pearls of wisdom and the latter, yesterday, dropped a particular pearl of wisdom on Chris Dillow’s blog: 'Equality of opportunity': why must the left always talk in extreme, often belligerent, terms? Why must we have equality, why must this be maximised, that eliminated and t'other never happen again? How about just trying to move in a desired direction, with this improved, that ameliorated and t'other reduced in frequency? What a wonderful basis for an international stance, one can't help thinking. National borders could be deliberately fuzzy - sort of mixed zones, as it were, hardening slowly as they move towards their own centres, local culture emphasized. I really think these are my politics.