Saturday, May 13, 2006
ITS ALL RIGHT WE'LL HELP THE OLD BUFFER THROUGH
This from the Scotsman today shows the problem
EXTRA help is being given to Sir Menzies Campbell to improve the Liberal Democrat leader's faltering performances at Prime Minister's Questions.Simon Hughes damns with faint support
The entire parliamentary party will be tapped for ideas to help Sir Menzies preempt questions and attacks from other parties, a Lib Dem spokesman confirmed
a plea from Simon Hughes, once a rival for the Lib Dem leadership, to give Sir Menzies several more months before assessing his leadership.& has something similar in the Independent Also in Friday's Indie Letters we have a carefully thought out letter, in reply to a fairly stupid one calling for the LDs to to achieve popularity through state socialism to which I also replied, without effect. It ends
"We need to judge him when it comes to conference after six months, rather than after a few weeks," he said.
Finally, the Liberal Democrats' failure was their own fault. The party cannot resist the temptation to go on an excursion up its own backside (of which Richard Denton-White's letter is a fine example). When is the party going to wake up to the fact that the public don't find the Liberal Democrats half as fascinating as we do ourselves? In addition, and this has to be said, in January we replaced a flawed but likeable leader with a senatorial but unpopular one.& in an example of me being ahead of the crowd (if only by hours) Iain Dale's excellent Diary reprinted a semi-official piece from Ed Viazey about how, if the LDs implode under Ming/we get a hung Parliament the Tories will be able to pick up the economic liberals to which I commented
CLLR WAYNE CASEY
DEPUTY LEADER, LIBERAL DEMOCRAT GROUP, BOROUGH OF BARNET, LONDON NW7
I've said before that the Lib Dems, who expelled me for right wing deviationalism, should make more use of their position on PR & this item shows why. There is no argument put against PR because PR is very difficult to argue against.Iain's blog is possibly the best current political news blog, certainly Westminster news, going & thus he hasn't made the Tory candidate A-list. On the other hand he isn't black, female or a Coronation St actor (unlike Charlie who managed the latter).
If they still had Charlie, had genuine economic liberal policies (such as abolishing the DTI, far to radical for the new centrist Tories) & a principled position on the war they would be wiping the Tories. They still might though presumably not under emperor Ming.
The idea that you will split the Lib Dems, annex the bits you want & march towards glory without accepting PR is nonsense. At their strongest the Lib Dems never looked like an easier route to power than joining the Lab/Tories. Those that took the difficult route will not be seduced merely for the asking.
Without PR, Libs in a formal or informal pact are turkeys voting for Christmas. The Tories could have a historic rapprochement with the LDs by which both parties would tend to work together for at least a generation but they would have to do this on the basis that they could be trusted to produce a referendum on PR as Labour, who promised this in 1997, can't.
This would involve an intellectual acceptance by the Tories that the days when everybody was either a little Labourite or else a little Conservative have gone & that people will never again be satisfied with just 2 choices.
Fortunately for the LDs Ming has no call on anybody's personal loyalty having stabbed Kennedy "for the good of the party". As such he cannot object to the same being done to him giving a successor ample time to get things right for the next Westminster election.
Friday, May 12, 2006
Turkey recently launched a massive military operation involving more than 250,000 troops against the PKK (nearly double the number of US troops in Iraq), concentrated in the mountains along Turkey's borders with Iran and Iraq. Extensive incursions into northern Iraq have been reported, aimed at cutting off the PKK's supply lines to Turkey from its camps in northern Iraq. Turkey also claims that "the PKK has recently increased its activities and obtained weapons from Iraq"......To be fair it isn't a full scale invasion it is being termed "hot pursuit". This is the one case where it is lawful to breach the otherwise inviolable sovereignty of another country. If you are in immediate pursuit of terrorists or criminals crossing a border you may lawfully do the same. It is however a grey are. Yugoslavia could lawfully have done this repeatedly to chase the KLA into Albania but we all know NATO would just have used it as an excuse for war - it certainly wouldn't have gone unmentioned by our media. In any case it only applies if it is immediate pursuit & what Turkey is doing looks much more like planned & extended operations.
It is a good thing that we now have access to all the world's media not just our own. At the least it gives perspective.
This is a small response for such a long gestation period. When Richard Nixon was president his repeated reaction to questions about Watergate & other things was to issue what was called a Non-Denial Denial. Namely he, or his spokesman wouls say that such & such was an outrageous suggestion/mere speculation/I have no evidence of this/communist propaganda/unworthy of a responsible journalist etc but when it was finished you were expected not to notice it hadn't actually been denied. I must admit I had expected that any BBC reply would have been of that nature. Instead what we have here is non-denial non-denial. No attempt whatsoever by Damien (a name to conjur with) to suggest that it was in any way untrue. Indeed the "can you tell us when we mentioned Srebrenica or which particular didn't we didn't report the Dragodan Massacre smells very much like this has been put to a lawyer who has advised them that any legal action on the BBC's part would only work if something I accused them wasn't actually true.
Dear Mr Craig
Thank you for your e-mail. Please accept our apologies for the delay in
replying. We know our correspondents appreciate a quick response and we
are sorry you have had to wait on this occasion.
I note your concerns regarding our reporting of the Bosnian War and the
Srebrenica massacre. However, without specific dates, times and channels
of broadcast or BBC News Online addresses, we are unable to address your
Please be assured, however, that your comments have been fully registered
on our daily audience log. This internal document will be made available
to the News team and Senior BBC Management.
Once again, thank you for taking the time to contact us.
Dear Damian,& will do so shortly.
Thank you for your email. I regret, but cannot claim to be surprised that the BBC find it impossible to deny having corruptly lied, over a period of 16 years, to assist people you know to be Nazis to engage in genocide.
I am not exactly sure, for example, what part of the phrase "2 months prior to the Kosovo bombing the BBC evening news regularly reported as fact as 1st or 2nd item, allegations of atrocities by the Yugoslavs. In fact you clearly knew that our government considered that the majority of murders were actually of Serb civilians by the KLA" is to unspecific to identify but I must accept your word that you have been unable to do so.
I will get back to you to assist you further.
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
bar owners would have to provide healthy-eating advice to their customers. The requirement is contained in a discussion document setting out a series of new conditions for prospective publicans.no doubt jack will get up in holyrood & explain how he has researchers estimating how many lives this would save & that the number will be exactly the number he first thought. Remember how he promised the smoking ban would save 1,000 lives a year.
They are due to be imposed by 2009 under the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005, which lays down new guideline objectives for the industry in areas such as crime prevention and public health.
In the best traditions of bureaucracy who insist that any policy is either to early to be worth discussing, or to late to change at this stage.
Scottish Executive dismissed the pub trade's concerns. She said: "These are initial proposals being worked on by the National Licensing Forum for debate within the forum."At least it keeps forum members in gainful employment rather than hanging around uselessly engaging in petty vandalism.
Monday, May 08, 2006
A new storm and a new red spot on Jupiter hints at climate change, USA TODAY and dozens of other sources explained yesterday. The temperatures are expected to change by as much as 10 Fahrenheit degrees at different places of the globe. At least close to the new spot and to the equator, nothing less than global warming is expected.
Triton is Neptune's largest Moon. Some people believe that it used to be an asteroid. Global warming was detected on Triton. Between 1989 and 1998, the temperature jumped by 5 percent on the absolute (Kelvin) scale. The same relative increase would raise the Earth's temperature by 22 degrees Fahrenheit in 9 years. See thousands of other pages about the global warming on Triton.
Another moon of Saturn's, Enceladus, would be also expected to be frozen and cold. Suddenly, Cassini has informed us that Enceladus generates its own heat. Its high temperatures seem to be incompatible with calculations based on solar energy itself, according to existing models.
Saturn itself has a rather warm southern pole, and the temperatures in that region suddenly jumped by 3-5 Kelvin degrees. Well, it's warm because it's been exposed to sunshine for quite some time but the magnitude of the temperature jumps is not trivial to calculate.
What's going on with Pluto? Well, yes, your guess is right. There is global warming on Pluto. Pluto's atmospheric pressure has tripled in 14 years, and the associated increase of temperature is estimated to be around 3.5 Fahrenheit degrees, despite the motion of Pluto away from the Sun.
Of course, the global warming on Mars is a well-known story. The warming has been used by this blog to discover the Martians. More seriously, we have explained that the dramatic and speedy melting of the Martian icecaps is caused by the greenhouse effect. 95% of "their" atmosphere is made of carbon dioxide; that's slightly more than 0.038% of our atmosphere.
The warming trend on Mars is undeniable. Some people have tried to blame the global warming on NASA's rovers. Such accusations are pretty serious because NASA is already preparing plans to occupy Mars using the greenhouse effect, as ordered by George Bush. ;-)
Venus, our planet's evil sister, has already been identified as unusable for life because of ... yes, because of the greenhouse effect that occured in the past. Last month, the Venus express gave us some new hints why Venus has such a thick atmosphere that generated global warming.
The Earth is currently experiencing warming, too, although a less dramatic one than the previous examples. However, there is apparently a huge difference. The warming on the previous planets and moons was natural. On the other hand, the warming on Earth couldn't evolve naturally: it is caused by the humankind, evil corporations, and their intelligent design, most left-wing scientists believe. The warming trends can't have anything to do with the Sun whose activity is now highest in the last 1000 years: it is unethical to propose that the Sun plays any role, consensus scientists argue.
If asked to guess I would suspect that some of these will turn out to be due to humanity. We now have better measuring instruments. A real increase of 3.5 degrees on Pluto & tripling of atmospheric pressure would be be quite spectacular.
Sunday, May 07, 2006
I must admit I have some difficulty envisioning that. On the other hand so did the founder if IBM also just over 50 years ago.
"I think there's a world market for about 5 computers.”Other quotes from people who would have known better if anybody had here We always underestimate technology.
Thomas J. Watson, Chairman of the Board, IBM (around 1948)
A ten billion fold increase in computer capacity could really make it possible to look after the bodies of everybody in the world fulltime while providing each of them with an interactive simulated world as detailed as the one we currently inhabit. Scary.