Saturday, 23 January 2010


It looks as though Hamas is trying to go straight, according to this story from The Jerusalem Post. A hopeful gesture, but I remain incredulous.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

MLK quotes

Jay Smooth reads out some beautiful lines from Martin Luther King Jr.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

You use that word...

I've been more than a little bothered by the language of some of the Haiti coverage.

The Atlantic Wire rounds up some of the pushback.

I really do despair at the frames often adopted to view the poor. Just look at this story from CNN. By all appearances patients, some in critical condition, were abandoned by the people charged with their care. I'm really trying not to judge here because I don't know the whole story, and I wasn't there and subject to the same situation. 

But really? The slightest hint of unrest and they're out?


How are you supposed to be of any use in assisting people if you're so scared of them?

Friday, 15 January 2010


The people have persevered through slavery, debt, natural disasters, and the betrayal of their leaders. In contrast I fear that the state no longer exists.

Short of the governments of rich countries coming together to provide funds for social services, and sending personnel to help administer the country, I'm extremely pessismistic about the long-term future that awaits the survivors.


Matt Yglesias has given me something to mull over:

If I were the government of Japan and people were offering to lend me money for ten years at a 1.4 percent interest rate, I wouldn’t be thinking about austerity, I’d be thinking about what useful investments could I make to seize advantage of this attractive opportunity.
I would tentatively argue that a case can be made for increased immigration as a useful investment. Would the costs (i.e. social services, the right-wing screaming Easter Sunday) outweigh the benefits? I would love to see some real policy analysis on the subject.

I would love to have a crack at an analysis myself *nudge nudge, wink wink*


I'll get my coat.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Japan: Robot Nation

Interesting vid on possible solutions to Japan's demographic crisis.

In my humble opinion Professor Ono is quite wrong about mechanisation and internal migration as solutions to Japan's labour issues. The internal migration solution to the work shortage has already been played out; Japan's major cities continue to draw young people from the countryside, with deleterious effects on local economies. It is also hard to see how robots could realistically pick up the slack, or most importantly provide the revenues needed to fund social services for the elderly, and finance debt payments.

Moreover, I was a little unhappy with the uncritical way they covered the idea that foreigners=crime. What feeds the perception? Does the perception fit the reality? Questions the report failed to ask. It as if they just wanted to get onto showing off all the cool robots.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Remember this one?

Some sober analysis

The "climate-gate" emails have made some commentators act as though they're witnessing the fall of Barad Dûr. The creator of this video takes them to task.

H/T Crooks and Liars

Saturday, 9 January 2010

That's OUR word!

It looks as though tensions are rising in Malaysia over the use of the word "Allah" by non-Muslims. The Government had banned a Catholic newspaper from using it in its Malay language editions, however a recent court decision -which the government has appealed- deemed the ban as unconsitutional.

There are sometimes good reasons to frown upon the use of certain words by members of outside groups. You may address your partner by saying,"hey, sexy". There may be fisticuffs if I addressed your partner in the same way.

I don't think that reasons analogous to the above would hold in this case, as to my knowledge "Allah" is a term that was borrowed from Arabic by Malaysians in order to express the relatively new concept of a single deity. Apparently there are concerns that if Christian groups are allowed to use the word "Allah" they may attempt to draw people away from Islam.  This position may be a reaction by more conservative Muslim groups who believe that their interests are threatened by what they see as the encroachment of a  more secular vision of Malaysia of the kind being espoused by the coalition of opposition parties. 

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Wishing the next one would come a little quicker

Nice country you've got there...

Pity if anything were to happen to it.

Seems as though Iceland is being made an offer it can't refuse.

I'm no financial expert, and (If I have my facts straight) there is something to be said about the side effects of letting the government of Iceland pick which obligations it will honour, but I don't know how to describe the actions of the UK as anything but straight gangster.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

It's ok, you can put your raygun away

Happy new year, folks. Rachel Maddow sums up the much chagrining shenanigans that went down since the failed bombing attempt in Detroit on Christmas day. I think I may have a post or two in me about it, but I haven't written anything so far because of my feelings towards the highly problematic media/elite reaction, and my doubt that I could add anything of substance to what has already been pointed out by Maddow, and other better resourced, and far superior writers. I managed to have some fun on new year's eve, which improved my mood somewhat, so perhaps I'll change my mind.