Archive for the ‘Big Business’ Category

Global Warming, global roundup.

February 23, 2007

Hi Brit,

Not surprisingly, Global Warming is rearing its ugly head in today’s news.

First, and also not surprisingly, we find that Al Gore lied in his alarmist “documentary” by indicating that hurricanes are wore lately because of, you guessed it, Global Warming.  However, in this article, Expert disputes storms’ link to global warming, we find just what the title says:

Chris Landsea, science and operations director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami, said the notion that global warming is causing an increase in hurricanes gained widespread attention after the stormy seasons of 2004 and 2005.

But that perception is wrong and the statistics don’t bear it out, Landsea told about 200 students and professors in the auditorium at USC’s geography building.

It seems that even the IPCC bought into the Gore propaganda, as on page 5 of the IPCC WGI Fourth Assessment Report, they also blame Global Warming for an increase in intensity of tropical cyclones. 

Moving on we have, State distances itself from climatologist.  Here we find an expert “climate scientist,” who is experiencing political pressure because he does not hold with the consensus opinion on Climate Change.  The article mentions that this has also happened in other States than Delaware.  So much for “science.”

Which leaves us with the Business of Global Warming, China, India Smile as West Overpays for Climate: Andy Mukherjee.  You really should read this one as it’s choked full of information.  However, this bit bares repeating:

Sydney-based Easy Being Green says it will mitigate your cat’s flatulent contribution to global warming for A$8 ($6). The same company could also make your granny “carbon-neutral” at A$10 a year, according to a report in the Australian newspaper last weekend.

Then there’s Carbon Planet Pty, another company cited in the article. If you are hopping on a short-haul flight between Sydney and Canberra, and feeling bad about the damage you are doing to the ecosystem, you can buy credits worth A$23, for which the Adelaide-based company will guarantee to keep 1 ton of carbon dioxide out of the air for 100 years.

Well, I must go now as I have some scheming, ah, thinking to do.

the Grit

Conspiracy

February 19, 2007

Hi Grit

Sometimes I have this theory that the whole world is built on conspiracy because it seems that throughout the ages almost any major event, particularly a disaster or catastrophe, generates a plethora of conspiracy theories aimed at questioning the official versions of events.

Last night (18th February), I watched a programme on the BBC, which was about the conspiracy theories surrounding the events of 9/11. Whilst there might appear to be justification for some of the theories outlined, others to me were so bizarre as to be incomprehensible. To suggest that the twin towers fell as a result of demolition when there is clear visual evidence of planes flying into them, is sheer idiocy. Then, they add to this the (so-called) fact that the government destroyed a nearby building because it contained a CIA office which held evidence of this tragedy being a US government plot. Others were theorising that the passengers of flight 93 were abducted by government agents and that the plane did not crash. Yet more tried to suggest that the plot was known six months earlier, because a film was produced which had a similar story-line, only as is the case with films, that had a happier ending. I am actually surprised that no-one bought Tom Clancy into one of these mad theories, because in one of his books a passenger plane is flown into the White House, killing the President.

Of course, the US is not alone in this pursuit of conspiracy theories. Here in the UK, despite it being ten years ago, the conspiracy theories surrounding the death of the late Princess Diana still continue to flourish. These range from those who suggest that it was a government backed plot to kill the princess in order to avoid her marriage to a Middle-East family, which they felt might tarnish the Royal lineage, to those who believe that the Royal Family themselves were behind the accident.

Of course, conspiracies are not solely restricted to tragedies. One only has to look at the pro-global warming proponents conspiracy theories about denialists, or the “alien” theories surrounding crop circles, to see that whenever there is a major phenomena, the word “conspiracy” is one of the first to follow official explanations.

One has to wonder about the reasons and conditions that lead peoples minds to turn so readily towards conspiracy as an explanation. Whilst it is true that, particularly in politics on both sides of the Atlantic, there have been many political cover-ups and total lies, which make believing anything that comes out of a politician’s mouth difficult to believe, the vast majority of these are proven to be lies within months, if not sooner.

Perhaps it is the enormity and shock of these events that lead people to automatically question their occurance. In the two cases mentioned above, the events themselves were beyond the perception and belief of the ordinary member of the public. Such is the depth of the disbelief that it defies all reason and logic. Similarly, there is a lack of belief in a system or society structure that allows such events to occur and it affects the trust we have in that society. Thus, in order to fill the void of understanding and comprehension, perhaps we all look to ourselves to provide an explanation that is equally enormous and outrageous in its foundation.

Personally, I have my own conspiracy theory. I believe that there is a conspiracy between the conspiracy theorists to stop both lies and truth being believed.

the Brit

Democrats move toward socialized health care!

February 15, 2007

Hi Brit,

I hope the American people are happy, because putting Democrats in charge of Congress is already starting to pay unexpected dividends.  While the subject of socialized medicine was carefully avoided during the recent campaigns, here it comes: Mental health bill moves forward in Congress.  Of course, this sounds innocent enough, just another attempt to force Big Business to be fair to the little guy, in this case forcing health insurance providers to cover mental health treatments.  However, underneath the feel good surface lurks a sneaky plan to drive health care costs high enough that the average person can’t afford it, forcing the kind and good hearted Government to take over and protect the innocent, but not too bright, general public.  Placing Big Brother firmly in charge of another 15% of the US economy, is just a bonus.  What’s that old saying, “be careful what you wish for, you just might get it?”  So get that elective surgery now, because, after Big Government takes the reigns, the wait time for that nip and tuck or those fake boobs is going to be measured in years.  Oh, and pick up a good thick book, because the wait time at your doctor’s office is going to make a trip to the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) seem like the service at McDonald’s.

the Grit

MP travel expenses

February 14, 2007

Hi Grit

All of the debate about travel costs, its effects on Global Warming and the need to conserve energy is generated by politicians. However, today figures have been published that show just how two-faced these people can be, especially in the UK. You need to bear in mind that there are around 634 MP’s and that the travel expenses are in addition to their salary and other expenses.

The current report reveals that the cost of MP’s travel for 2005-06 was a staggering £4.5 million ($9 Million). Of this £2 million was spent on car travel, £1.5 million on trains and £1 million on Flights. This equates to over £7,000 per MP, or £136 per week, and these figures are rising. However, as can be seen from the report, some MP’s are claiming as much as £44,000 per year, an incredible £850 per week!

There are a number of issues here. Firstly, these same MP’s are telling us to cut down on our road travelling, whilst at the same time failing to take their own advice. On the one hand the government is saying that the congestion on the roads is reaching a gridlock position, yet at the same time over 44% of their own travel is adding to the problem. The difference is that we, as lowly citizens, will not be able to reclaim any “rush hour” mileage cost imposed upon us, whilst the MP will be reimbursed. Every £1 an employee spends on mileage costs them £1.30 of gross income.

Secondly, they keep saying that we need to reduce our carbon footprint and reduce energy consumption, at the same time as they are increasing their own (or perhaps we should all walk so that they can travel in luxury!). Our tax authorities penalise us for the type of vehicle that we drive. For example, the tax levels on a 4×4 (SUV) are far more stingent than a small saloon. For an MP this is not a problem as they reclaim all of their expenses direct from the government.

Thirdly, there are no budget constraints on MP spending. They do not have to answer to anyone regarding the level of their expenditure. Any family is aware that they have to budget their expenditure to match their disposable income, or they will suffer the problems of escalating debt. Similarly, every employee knows that their expenses will not be sanctioned by their employer if it is considered to be unreasonable, and that continual extravagance will be rewarded with unemployment. A corporation is aware that cost control is vital to attracting business growth. An Mp’s attitude is directly opposite to all of these, safe in the knowledge that Joe public will be made to pay for their representative’s extravagance through the tax system, either directly or by stealth.

Standing alone, the MP’s travel expenses are bad enough, but when you add to this their other annual expenses, which on average work out at £110,000 ($220,000) each, and their salary of between £57,000 and £150,000 depending upon their position, it all adds up to an enormous public cost. What is worrying is that this represents just a small fraction of the cost of our government and civil service. In my view the time for “accountability of government” is NOW!

the Brit 

   

Kylie, hotpants, Shilpa and culture

February 10, 2007

Hi Grit

Don’t you think it amazing the way that modern celebrities are breaking down the culture structure of our society. Only a few years ago in the UK popstars, film actors and other celebs were percieved to be not worthy of the attention of the establishment. Now they cannot seem to get enough of them.

First we have Kylie’s stage costumes, including the famous gold hot pants, being exhibited in the very staid Victoria and Albert Museum. before they go on a nationwide tour. The exhibition was opened by Kylie herself with all the pomp and ceremony that such an occasion usually attracts at the V&A. One writer even suggested that the gathered important people even bowed when introduced to the star.

In the next breath we learn that Shilpa, of Big Brother fame, has been asked to appear on “Question Time.” Question time is a BBC debate programme that deals with political and social issues of the times. It usually consists of a panel of people from both sides of the political divide together with business interests.

How times have changed

the Brit

Global Warming – Branson to the rescue

February 9, 2007

We can rest easy in our beds tonight, knowing that the solution to global warming is in safe hands. One of our most popular entrepreneurs, Richard Branson, has come up the solution. His idea is to offer a $25 million dollar prize to the first scientist to come up with a solution to extract CO2 from the atmosphere.

There are of course three problems here. One is that, if the past is anything to go by, it will be difficult to get scientific agreement. Two, by the time such a project is completed it will be too late and three, how will the machine or whatever be able to distinguish between so-called man-made emissions and natural emissions?

However, not to miss the opportunity to accumulate some wealth, I have come up with a couple of ideas you might want to help me with Grit.

PROJECT ONE 

STEP ONE – Build one chimney in the middle of the Atlantic.  It needs to be 15 miles high and 100 feet in diameter and stand on pylons sunk into the earth.

STEP TWO – Build a second chimney at a spot 180 degrees around the earth from the first chimney with the same dimensions.

STEP THREE – two miles above the earth’s surface around each chimney attach a network of horizontal pipes, one for each country within that chimneys hemisphere. The lengths of these pipes will be to be custom made so that they extend to reach each individual country.

STEP FOUR – At the end of each pipe attach a multi head large extractor fan, rather like a shower head. These will be directed to all points of the compass so that there is even coverage.

JOB DONE. Caution. All of the extractor fans will need to be turned on simultaneously to avoid unbalancing the earth.

PROJECT TWO

Possibly a more simple solution. I am given to understand that man-made emissions can be collected in containers of some nature. Therefore why don’t we constuct a fleet of CO2 garbage shuttles capable of holding these containers and run a weekly CO2 disposal service. By this route we can dump the emissions somewhere in outer space and give the problem to another galaxy.

the Brit

PS: Where do we find the application forms for the $25 million? 

Mobile Technology a threat

February 7, 2007

  

Hi Grit

It seems that the latest technology is coming under threat from governments worldwide, especially when it comes to controlling their usage.

Recently, the UK public have been informed that the use of mobiles, iPods, walkman’s and other equipment whilst driving can lead not only a fine but also a driving ban. Now it appears that New York is taking it a step further. You fine city is considering imposing fines of $100 dollars for people who are using this equipment whilst crossing the road.

I would mention that you have a little catching up to do as our regulations extend to eating whilst driving as well. However, do you not get the feeling that before too long we, the citizens of the world, will be banned from doing everything apart from putting one foot in front of the other once we leave our front door?

the Brit

UK down the toilet

February 5, 2007

Hi Grit

I knew things were getting bad over here, but did not realise just how bad until I noticed this little bit of news, which reveals that every Briton flushes away 110 rolls of toilet paper each year (17.6 kilos). This is around 25 times the amount used in one of the baltic states and over 10% more than you in the US.

With consumption expected to rise by around 40% in the next few years, this means that we will increase our usage from just over two rolls a week to nearly 3. One roll every two and a bit days is a staggering amount of loo rolls.

I wonder what is scaring the **** out of us over here?

the Brit

Global Warming 2007

February 4, 2007

Hi Grit

I believe our first post on the issue of Global Warming was getting on for three months ago. Since then I have participated a few times and read with interest all of the comments from both sides of the divide, along with studying all of the literature that people who have commented have posted have directed us towards. I hasten to add here that I am not a scientist, so there are aspects that I would not understand. However, I consider myself an intelligent person capable of assimilating sufficient data and making a reasoned judgement. Therefore, I feel that I have a reasonable understanding of the issues so far made available. A rider to this of course is that, in view of the enormous amount of data on the subject, both for and against, it is impossible for any one individual, scientists included, to be able to assimilate it all and I would be no exception to that rule.

I do not intend this post to become embroiled in detailed scientific argument, as that will produce just a series of scientific counter arguments from both sides. It is my intention to comment on the structure and management of the analysis and the way the global warming issue is being handled.

1.) IPCC REPORT
With the IPCC report being published this month (February 2007) and it being one of a series being produced this year, many are claiming that this puts beyond doubt all of the global warming issues, particularly with regard to this being a “man-made” phenomena. However, whilst I accept that global warming exists, there are several factors that I would take issue with, both in terms of the report itself and the general reaction.

My first point of concern here is the secret nature of parts of the process building up to the report issue. In letters to Governments and Organisations in December and October 2006, although having made these letters public, they have deleted text within them, which appears to be access to the draft report. This raises two issues. Firstly, as the report is intended to benefit all of mankind, why is there a need for withholding any information? Secondly, does one presuppose that, by virtue of some deletions there could be changes of significance that the IPCC would rather the public did not see? In my view, transparency in this above all issues facing mankind is of paramount importance. Anything less is unacceptable.

Terminology
(Un)Certainty – In a document issued in July 2005, the IPCC issued guidance notes regarding the ways the lead authors should address uncertainty. It could be construed that some of these guidance are of a leading nature as it is asking that all issues to be consistent with the approach determined in the document. Another issue related to this document, which I will come to later is Table 4 – Likelihood Scale (on page 4.)

Consensus – My understanding of the term consensus is that it is the agreement of the majority, after having mitigated the objections of the opposing views. I read somewhere that, in this report it was to be a consensus of 300. I believe this needs more clarification. Bearing in mind that the report was produced by over 2,500 scientists, plus 800 contributing authors, plus 450 lead authors, I have difficulty in equating the consensus of 300 with these figures and feel they need further explanation.

Confidence – The levels of confidence are divided into five sectors, as can be seen on page 3 (table 3) of the summary report. On the other hand, the likelihood scale is divided by seven. In my view, this inequality between the two scales is confusing. Surely, it would have been more rational to have equal divisions on the two scales.

2.) The Response
In a number of areas, the immediate response to the report has not been rational. The hype concentrated on the term moved from “likely” to “very likely.” As you say Grit, the latter term relates to 90% probability. However, this also does not accurately reflect the findings of the report.

On the summary for policymakers, page 3, there is a chart of human influence on trends. The chart lists seven areas of influence under three references. The term “very likely” only appears in two instances. In media and other responses, there is no reference to other aspects of this table. Whilst I do not blame the scientists for this, it does appear that the “powers that be” are guilty of misrepresentation in this instance. Again, this raises suspicions in the minds of the public and questions as to the agenda for the report.

Is it thought that the public is not intelligent enough to understand the full information or was the hype deliberately directed by politicians?

3.) Remedies
It is disappointing to learn that a detailed study on remedies will not be available from the IPCC until later in the year. If, as has been reported, we only have ten years to address this problem, I fail to see any conceivable reason why the research on remedies was not designed to produce results in the same timescale as this current report. Six months or more has been lost. The argument that the scale of the problem has only just been defined does not wash as this report follows on from one that was issued six years ago.

Of the remedies that are being put into action, there are some issues as well. Firstly, there is serious concern regarding the consequences on remedies and cooperation between agencies. The case of Basel in Switzerland as I reported earlier is a classic example. Looking to achieve global warming saving measures, people began drilling into the earth’s surface starting a chain tremor reaction that they cannot possibly control, potentially unleashing more harm than good. How many more projects are being mishandled in this way?

In addition, there is the problem that has been raised regarding the potential danger from energy saving light. Has anyone evaluated the potential future harm of following this route, if not, why not?

Only a few weeks I posed the question how do we know that remedies can be controlled. The above are two obvious examples of that not being the case.

Another contentious issue is nuclear energy. Scientists say that this will go a long way to addressing the global warming issue, and I agree that this is one of the most efficient ways of producing energy. However, it is almost impossible to use this option within a volatile world, where there are countries such as Iran and North Korea who could not be guaranteed to utilise this method for peaceful purposes. Similarly, accidents happen as we saw in Russia, and that can be equally damaging.

In the UK, the go ahead has been given to build two huge wind farms off the coast. All of the reporting on this has concentrated on the benefits, which is admirable. Nevertheless, little has been written about the downside of such action. The effect on the bird life needs to be identified, an area where naturalists have raised concerns. But what about the effect on tides and wave patterns?

Finally, in this section, I would like to ask why existing remedies, which require little cost, are not being used. For example, with the airline issue there is a “greener” fuel available, but is currently only being used in military aircraft. The emission levels are significantly lower than normal aircraft fuel and there is, as I understand it, no cost differential. I have heard that the argument against it is safety, which I find incredible. Are we saying that the lives of the military are of less value than other citizens? If not, take the step and change the fuel.

4.) The Carbon Footprint
Much is being made of the need to reduce the global footprint. However, there seems to be a great deal of double standards in this area. The media, the UK BBC organisation being a case in point, are saying that their contribution is by publishing the issues and that, in some way, this seems to exempt them from responding to the carbon footprint limitations. At the same time, the IPCC, governments and other NGO’s are spending millions of dollars transporting thousands of people to conferences and meetings all over the globe. Yet, these organisations are asking us, airlines, and other sectors to reduce our carbon footprint. Surely, one should lead by example. Whatever happened to the ability to achieve video and Internet conferencing?

There is a lot of pressure being placed upon airlines to cut their carbon footprint, yet unless I have missed it, no one has answered the question of why, in the 24 hours post 9/11 when most air travel was grounded, there was an increase in earth warming for that day. Has anyone analysed what effect reducing the carbon footprint, particularly in air travel, will have in this respect? In other words, has the downside of the equation been quantified?

In my view, one of the largest and most expensive carbon footprints is laid by governments nationally and globally. Yet, we see no clear picture of measures that these people are taking steps to address this. In the UK, politicians are asking us to reduce our carbon footprint, and even putting pressure on the Royal family to do so. All well and good, but what do we see the politicians doing? The answer is very little. Do not ask me to do something unless you are prepared to match it and lead by example Mr Government.

5.) Political
I have to admit that I was amazed at the token gestures made by some governments by calling for an hour without lights. This seems to me to have been counter-productive. Did anyone monitor the results of these actions? As I have said, I am no scientist, but from what little I know the resultant surge from it, with all electrical compliances being switched on again more than counteracts the benefits of the gesture in the first place. Has there been a study made of this and is it a responsible response? Surely, such theatricals should have been left until the position was well known by the public and they could have been advised about the cost.

In respect of the above, the political response is similar in many ways to the media reaction. It is uncontrolled, irrational and without serious thought as to how to present the issue in a way that will generate the right response. The political response between nations is also not harmonious, which does little to engender confidence.

6.) The media Circus
Unfortunately, the media circus has continued, even on the latest event. I watched a news programme in the UK, which was designed purely to entertain the public, rather than get the message across. In this programme, they spend the time passing a copy of the report through screens to reporters in different countries, such as Europe, Australia, India and the US. No attempt is made to explain the message properly.

In addition to the previously mentioned carbon footprint of this situation, I noticed also another problem. The report they were passing was a fake. They were wads of blank paper with just the title cover printed. It was obvious from the reporter’s comments that none of them had read any of the documents and it was just a publicity stunt to show how clever the network was.

Can this be the right approach to what is meant to be a serious matter? I seriously doubt it.

7.) The Cost
Another issue that really annoys me is cost, and here I am talking about the financial side. Every aspect of the global warming issue in terms of conservation and remedies always seems to be followed by additional cost to the individual. What happens to the resultant savings from change? Who gets those?

Leaving aside the dangers of energy efficient light bulbs discussed earlier, one of the main reasons their use is limited is the cost. In the UK, they are over 6 times the price of current bulbs. If politicians and scientists are serious about this issue, then use some of the billions of waste to reduce the cost of remedies to a competitive level. It is a short-term commitment. Then demand will grow and the effective change desired will be achieved with far more speed and fluency. Another example is public transport service. Raising prices and cutting services on what is considered a “greener” method of transport does not seem to me to be an approach that will increase its usage.

Every time someone mentions global warming, it seems to result in the public having to put their hands in their pockets. Is it any wonder that this meets with resistance?

8.) Kyoto Agreement
There have been arguments about the effectiveness of the Kyoto agreement, mainly centring on those countries that have not signed up to it. However, there are countries within the agreement that have not met their targets, such as Canada. Before the world goes off trying to find another agreement, we need to know how effective this one has been, and that information has not been publicly forthcoming.

How many countries met the targets set? What effect has it had on carbon emissions? How much worse would it have been were the agreement not in place? Surely, we are entitled to this information in the public arena. If it has not been effective, even with those countries that signed up, then it is the wrong answer or structure and we need to look for another resolution.

The other matter here is the developing countries, which has still not been properly addressed in my view. All this documentation seems to be indicating that the only way they can help is to deprive themselves of the advances in technology that the developed world has. Is this going to be acceptable to them? I cannot see this being the case. Therefore any agreement needs to take their situation into account, without placing an untenable burden on the developed world. 

9.) Nation, NGO Bashing and fairness
Why is it that every time there is an issue of global importance there is an automatic nation, NGO or business witch-hunt? This posturing does nothing to confirm the validity of the situation, in fact the opposite. The French attack on the US is a prime example. It is almost as if it is just a fight amongst politicians to see who can be top dog, rather than a serious issues that requires global accord. Besides, there are other countries that have taken the same stance as the US, so singling out the big boy on the block is not only unfair, it smacks of this will get me the biggest headline. Countries antagonising each other will lead only to one conclusion, namely that nothing constructive will be done.

Other sectors are also being bashed, in my view sometimes unfairly. Business is always a favourite. Whilst I accept that, in some cases their response is not good on some issues, they are generally responsive to consumer demands. In the case of global warming, it is fair to say that in many cases business is being far more positive in their actions than politicians are. For example, the supermarket industry in the UK is taking active reduction measures, whereas politicians are looking at costly offset programmes, which in the end are second best options.

Similarly, I object to some of the rhetoric and language that is used by the various lobbies on global warming, from both sides of the divide. To call someone a denialist or sceptics because they do not accept ones argument is as bad as calling someone an “eco-nut” for proposing the argument in the first place. Serious issues demand serious discussion and conversation and this requires patience. At present, the stance taken by some scientists and many politicians on the issue of global warming is too dictatorial, dismissive and impatient. All it does is make both sides more entrenched in their views, which is counter-productive.

The problem with a divide of this nature is that both sides lose. Both sides spend so much time attacking the other that they do not a) fully understand the argument of the other and b) do not gain from the potential valid points within the others cases, validity that could be of significance to their own studies.

I do not consider myself a denialist or a sceptic on this issue. However, I am also not going to be sat down and told this is the problem and anyone who disagrees is wrong. I need to understand the full facts supporting the issue, including analysis of assumptions; explanations of provable facts and honest acceptance and discussion on those that cannot be proven. I want risk assessment on all aspects of the issue, including remedies and I want acknowledgement of and discussion regarding opposing views.

As I said previously, one of the things that infuriate me about the current IPCC/Political situation is the piecemeal approach. In my years as a business consultant any report that I produced did not only identify and make conclusions about the problem, it was also required to provide recommendations that had been expertly evaluated. If it did not I was failing in my task. Governments and the scientific world have taken six years to prepare this report. I fail to see why, at the same time, and for publication at the same date, the remedial data could not have been produced.

the Brit

BBC double standards

February 2, 2007

The BBC, a UK media organisation that has been at the forefront of the issue of Global Warming, has come under attack from one of its own presenters. He says that, despite all their talk about the need to reduce the danger from things such as carbon emissions, the corporation is doing exactly the opposite.

Jeremy Paxman says the the BBC are guilty of double standards. On the one hand they are promoting restraint and conservation to members of the public, whilst still sending journalists around the world in jets and other so-called “damaging” transport, making no attempt to seek to reduce their “carbon footprint.” Why is this not a surprise? The term “do as I say, not as I do” springs to mind.

The BBC’s response when Paxman asked the questions was that their programmes were helping by airing the issue. As he says, you don’t solve the problem by just talk!

Situations like this devalues the argument significantly when someone or body pontificates about what we as individuals should be doing on issues such as Global Warming, relying on the underlying guilt factor to press home the message, whilst at the same time they are ignoring their own advice and warnings.

To me this type of action only confirms that the media is in Global Warming for the money and increase market share. Such reports are not likely to persuade people that the issue is to be taken seriously.

the Brit

Tony Blair and the real reality

January 30, 2007

Hi Grit

Over here we have today a real “reality” programme playing out and this time it stars the PM Tony Blair. You will remember the “cash for honours” scandal of a few weeks ago. Well last week an aide of Blair’s from Downing Street was arrested for alledgedly deleting e-mails from the computer system. Today Lord Levy, Blair’s fundraise was arrested, this time for conspiracy and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

The noose is getting tighter and, unless he is very lucky, Tony Blair could find himself in a very different position from the one he holds now. The long arm of the law does not recognise the offenders position in life (hopefully!).

the Brit

Are you ready for some football, ads!

January 28, 2007

Hi Brit,

Just a factoid about this years Super Bowl, the price for a 30 second commercial is … wait for it … $2.6 million.  That, in case you are interested, is $86,667 per second of air time.  With up to 60 ads being shown during the game, that comes to $156 million in revenue just from commercials.  Go Colts!

the Grit

Blair adding to prison crowding?

January 28, 2007

Hi Grit

Unfortunately, I do not think that Tony Blair will be thinking much about space or any other travel at the moment. Keeping his freedom may be more to the forefront of his mind right now.

You remember the cash for honours situation we talked about a few weeks back? Well, the police investigations have continued. As part of these they hacked into the Number 10 computer e-mail systems (Is that allowed?). There they found incriminating evidence that implicanted the Prime Minister’s office, and hand written notes from Blair himself. All this leads them to believe that he knew about the issue and condoned it at the very least.

The police are saying that, at the very least he may be called upon to give evidence in the criminal cases that develop. At present his future does not look that secure unless you count a prison cell in that vein.

the Brit

2008 Elections

January 28, 2007

Hi Grit

Thanks for the information on your 2008 Presidential elections. As Solomon once said (although I hasten to add this is heresay as I wasn’t there at the time), those who give wisdom empower others. However, in this instance, as the UK papers have passed little comment about any of the potential candidates apart from Hilary Clinton, I am of course little the wiser. No doubt more will become clear as the months move on.

I was pleased to note that some of the normal traditions of the Presidency race are being kept. Naturally, the exhorbitant funding levels will be maintain as candidates attempt to buy the office. The one tradition that caught my eye though, was the area of candidate scandals. I notice that this is already moving into full swing as people look to dig the dirt. A number of candidates are already revealing themselves in this area as I found at this address.

Sometimes nothing changes.

the Brit

EU – Don’t blame us!

January 26, 2007

Hi Grit

I hear your comments about the way that the EU is reacting to Microsoft. In fact it is a coalition of other computer companies that is raising their ugly heads about the matter. It is one of the problems with globalisation that every business wants a slice of it until someone (like Microsoft), find a great way to really make a go of it. Then all of the also-rans like IBM etc., start to rant because they have not made such a good job of achieving market share.

The EU commission, which is hardly a representative body from the electorate of the European nations, thinks to itself “oh dear, we had better not upset these transnational companies.” So they start ranting off as well. Of course no-one asks the millions of civilians what they think about the subject.

So, whilst I accept that this might have upset those in the US like you Grit, I would say that it is not a EU wide decision.

the Brit

The EU can kiss my ass (sorry Brit)

January 26, 2007

Hi Brit,

Once again the forces of socialism are trying to destroy capitalism, and I say they can kiss my ass.  Sorry Brit, but this time it’s the European Union as a whole that is trying to drag the world down into an Average Is All We Can Hope For cesspool.   And here is what set me off, Rivals attack Vista as illegal under EU rules.  First of all, if the twits in socialist Europe think they can write a better operating system, and all the applications that will follow on its coat tails, let them try.  Second, if your crap hole, work six months a year companies can’t keep up, go to hell, which these days is located in Venezuela.  If y’all don’t like Microsoft’s products, then don’t buy them.  It’s not like Bill Gates is threatening to raise a private army and force you to use them under threat of violence.  Of course, considering that the only reason y’all can afford to bask in your socialist Nanny State is that the US has protected you from the world’s bullies for 50 years, I can see why an angry Gates might make you shake in your shoes.  Personally, I think Microsoft and all other US companies should just yank their business out of the festering boil that you call the EU.  Then we can toss back a few and place bets on whether you will collapse back into the Stone Age before either the Russians or the Muslims turn you into slaves.  Once again, with feeling, kiss my ass EU!

the Grit

Jessica Lee Rose?

January 26, 2007

Hi Grit

Does the name Jessica Lee Rose mean anything to you? It should as it transpires that she is the most famous girl on the Internet. Her rise to stardom has happened as a result of taking part in the short video series lonelygirl15 for you tube, in which she plays a school girl who feels isolated from her peers as she is homeschooled.

Having been running for over a year, Jessica and the series are now achieving fame elsewhere. The UN has engaged Jessica to help with the fight against poverty and one of the videos even inspired a story for Law and Order. There has also been a record released which was inspired by the show and its video used a replica of the set.

It looks like this 17 year old is likely to go places in the entertainment world.

the Brit 

Your 15 minutes of fame are up when…

January 24, 2007

Hi Brit,

You know the saying that “everyone gets 15 minutes of fame.”  Well, sometimes it takes a strong sign to make a person know it’s over.  For Kevin Federline, Britney’s discarded boy toy, this should just about do it, U.S. restaurants blast Kevin Federline TV.  Sorry, KF, but it’s time to go hide out for a year or twenty.  Don’t be too sad.  The Spears ride was destined to end sooner or later, and you’ve always got chess to fall back on.

the Grit

Fixing the United Nations!?

January 24, 2007

Hi Brit,

Not long ago I posted about the latest UN scandal and we got several comments from gary, talking about changing the United Nations to the United Democratic Nations.  This got me to thinking what it would take to fix the UN so that it would be more useful and less corrupt.  So here goes:

1.  One of the problems I see in the UN is the one country, one vote concept.  Obviously, this doesn’t give a very good distribution of representation.  So, let’s try a two tiered system like the US does in our legislature.  One body would represent countries based on their population, and the other would offer representation just for being a country.  What the heck, let’s add a third body to offer representation based on a country’s GDP.  Of course, all three would need to pass a measure to make it active.  Oh, and considering the rapidly increasing role of multi-national corporations in the world, we might even want to have a forth body to represent them.

2.  Funding.  Now that’s a big problem, not only in making the share of support fair and equatable, but also in keeping the cash from finding its way into the wrong hands.  So, I think UN funding should come completely from voluntary donations from individuals and businesses.  This would give the people a chance to restrain the UN when needed and encourage it when warranted.  To help this along, donations, up to a certain amount, would be directly deductible from one’s national tax owed.  Thus, without a guaranteed source of income, the UN would be prodded to clean up its act.

3.  Which leaves us with the Security Council and the scope of the UN’s authority.  Given the added levels of representation and limited funding, the safe guard of the Security Council shouldn’t be necessary.  Still, we wouldn’t want them meddling in just anything that took their fancy, so some list of things the UN had authority to mess with would have to be fixed in the new charter, with some super difficult process needed to change it.

That’s it for now.  Comments are more than welcome.

the Grit

I do believe we predicted this…

January 23, 2007

Hi Brit,

It would seem that we have ESP, Business smells whiff of money in climate change – Global Warming, Big Government, and Big Business.  OK Brit, concentrate on this weeks lottery numbers…

the Grit