Archive for October, 2007



The Rumour About The Arabs

Anti-Semitism is the rumour about the Jews

-Theodor Adorno

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Suspicious Reactions

Police suggested that Mr de Menezes may have reacted suspiciously when confronted by officers because he thought he may have had some drugs in his pocket or that a forged stamp in his passport had been discovered.

On the other hand, the rest of us, drug-free and lawfully present, know precisely how to act when, in a foreign country, we are all of a sudden confronted by police shouting and pointing guns.

de-menezes.jpg

Needless to say, the police have behaved impeccably throughout.

Supply to Demand: Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off

Oil-producing nations are resisting calls to increase supply, insisting that the rising prices are not caused by product shortages.

“There is no interruption of supply. There’s a lot of oil in the market”, said Abdalla El-Badri, secretary general of Opec, yesterday.

Royal Dutch Shell also said on Thursday that political tension and market speculation, not supply problems, were causing record oil prices.

 

  • Political tension is down to demand for oil. Note: Demand for oil doesn’t necessarily mean demand for oil to burn now, just as demand for land doesn’t necessarily mean demand for land to farm now.
  • Market speculation is down to demand for oil.
  • Interaction of demand and supply determines price.
  • Conclusion of OPEC, Shell: leave supply out of the equation. Stop demanding so much oil, and the price will fall. Thanks.

 

Am I missing something?

Of Pigs And Troughs

So the Taoiseach now gets paid more than George Bush, Gordon Brown and Angela Merkel. In Spain, Zapatero earns about 89 grand: about three and a half times less than Ahern.

 

In general, I think remuneration for public servants based on private sector considerations is a bad idea. Not least because pay structures for senior private sector roles are rigged:

 

  • There is ‘performance-related’ pay, but senior managers decide what ‘performance’ means anyway
  • Pyramid structure operating in private sector means tooth-and-claw battles for promotion, to the advantage of senior managers
  • Threats to subordinates are more effective in private sector.
  • Profitability is not the same as effectiveness
  • The ‘headroom’ prestige in private sector top posts is not necessarily desirable for public sector posts. Unless you want a collection of caudillos running the country. Oh. Wait.

Sort of Got Me

Noting that:

 

  • Haven’t listened to the Kinks in donkeys
  • Not a huge Kinks fan anyway, but like ‘Village Green Preservation Society’ and ‘Arthur…’
  • Usually very suspicious of free CDs, especially from Sunday Times

 

I listened this morning to Ray Davies’s new record, Working Man’s Cafe

 

Thoughts:

 

  • Theme is dislocation and not fitting in.
  • Title track’s search for ‘Working Man’s Cafe’ is lament for times past. Nothing new there, then.
  • Other songs about war, globalization, imperialism, bureaucratic machines: quite surprising. Was expecting songs mainly about Ginsters pork pies and seaside trips.
  • Tunes quite good, production v. uninspiring, lyrics rather angry.
  • No-one will buy it, but it’s excellent.

‘Blair Rich’ Project

Speaking at the annual Al Smith charity dinner — safely distant from the mother country, where he has become a national embarrassment, never mentioned in polite society — Blair eagerly trafficked in the ludicrous trope that views “Islamic extremism” as one huge, all-powerful, amorphous yet somehow monolithic mass, comprising — as Mitt Romney once put it with blazing ignorance — “Shi’a and Sunni … Hezbollah and Hamas and al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood.” In the minds of would-be he-men like Blair and Romney, this amalgamation of conflicting sects and completely disparate groups is a single, mighty Saracen sword aimed at the heart of Western civilization: a threat that must be stopped at all costs — or, rather, at the cost of other people’s blood and treasure.

Chris Floyd’s piece on Tony Blair is the best I have read for a while.

 

Thoughts:

 

  1. Blair will do anything for the sake of fame and adoration
  2. The Quartet Envoy that lectures on history knows nothing about history: did not know what Sykes-Picot was.

And Mr Blair was totally out-foxed by one young woman who asked him whether Iraq was heading towards another ‘Sykes-Picot’.

  1. War criminal
  2. Successor scarcely different

To the Point

I have been using Microsoft OneNote of late, and I like it. It is quite blogger-friendly, in that it allows you to collect notes, screenshots and links and organize them a lot more handily than if you use a word processing tool or just -like I do- type it directly into the edit pane of the blog.

 

But I’m not concerned with that right now. It also has quite a handy bullet-point making functionality. So I was thinking: what if, instead of writing in paragraphs, you just wrote all your entries in point format?

 

Pros:

  • Quicker
  • Easier for others to read
  • Gives impression of being in control and authoritative
  • Makes you look busier than you really are

 

Cons:

  • Eloquence not an option
  • No flowery sentences to paper over cracks
  • May come across as a bit of a dick.

 

I think I will inaugurate a bullet-point week on this page, starting today.

 

Features:

  • Intensive reliance on bullet-points
  • TBD

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