The BBC is smug, wasteful and unfair says Jeremy Paxman

James Delingpole examines Jeremy Paxman’s belief that the BBC is smug, wasteful and unfair.

The BBC is a smug and wasteful “closed corporate culture” whose special, licence-fee-subsidised status “hugely distorts the marketplace.”

Well we knew all this already of course but it’s interesting to hear it from the mouth of one of the BBC’s starriest presenters, Jeremy Paxman.

Interviewed in the Guardian, he talks about his love-hate relationship with his employer.

“It is smug. I love the BBC in many ways, but at the same time it has made me loathe aspects of it, and that’s a very odd state of affairs. When I see people being given £1m merely for walking out of the door, when I see £100m being blown on that DMI [digital media initiative] thing, a stupid technical initiative like that, I start wondering: how much longer are we going to test the public’s patience?”

He goes on: Read more »

The seppos are looking at fart taxes now

We managed to defeat Helen Clark’s plans to impose fart taxes on the nations cattle.

The battle is only beginning in the US where a wider ranging fart tax is being proposed.

Last month, the President released a climate action plan designed to cut methane emissions.

If you are a cow, be afraid. Be very afraid.

The same goes for humans.

The plan outlines voluntary measures, such as a “Biogas Roadmap,” to reduce dairy sector greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020. There’s concern though that these measures merely represent the tip of the iceberg.

Agriculture accounts for only about 8 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions from human activities. Within that 8 percent, the second largest source of agriculture emissions is enteric fermentation—the digestive process that leads to cow methane emissions, which are emittedin ways that are not appreciated at dinner parties. Methane emissions from enteric fermentation, while covering numerous livestock animals, are overwhelmingly from cows. Read more »

Who is paying Brian Edwards to push this idea so hard?

Some time back my good friend Brian Edwards cried off blogging, but it seems he has found a new source of luncheon sausage because he is back in the saddle so to speak and blogging up a storm.

His latest post suggests that Shane Jones’ time has come to lead the Labour party.

From the tone of his post it seems he has given up on the Cunliffe experiment.

If you’re a regular follower of this blog, you’ll know that I have in the past written some pretty scathing posts on Labour’s Shane Jones. Not to put too fine a point on it, I’ve dismissed him not only as a future leader of the Party, but as a worthwhile Member Of Parliament and a decent human being.

Then, yesterday, I came across this video on the Herald’s website. And I had no choice but to radically change my previous opinion and to do so with a degree of regret that it had ever been expressed. I’d had a preview of Shane Jones’ debating skill and facility with words a week or two back when he was interviewed on The Nation by Paddy Gower. But this was something different. It was an extraordinary display not only of oratory and the art of persuasive communication but of subtlety of thought and intellectual depth, leavened with humour. It was theatre.

One need not go far to look for a reason. Jones is equally fluent in Maori and English. But his impact when he combines the two is nothing less than extraordinary.

Well, he is also a man who provokes strong feelings of approval and disapproval, a high-risk candidate for the highest office in the land. But as I watched and re-watched this speech, I thought I could perhaps see a Leader of the Opposition there and a Prime Minister to boot.

Read more »

Quote for the Day

From an interview with Mark Phelps, the son of deceased Westboro Baptist Church pastor Fred Phelps.

Ed: What are your thoughts on Westboro Baptist Church?

Mark: If I had to take my family to court and convict them of being followers of Christ, I am not sure where I would find the evidence.

An orange tree produces oranges. A thorn bush produces thorns. Each person is known by the fruit produced in their life, including me. The fruit of the Spirit is found in the life of a true follower of Christ.

What wise words…and how difficult must it be to have to say that about your own father.

Mark Phelps also explains why it was that he left his father’s church.   Read more »

Teacher Unions and Green/Labour Opposition smack down the kids

Despite their attempts at rhetoric to the contrary the union and opposition stance against Charter Schools is looking more and more stupid. Especially the “there is no evidence of success overseas” approach.
Some pieces speak for themselves:

Recently, a leading education research center at Stanford University released a comprehensive study looking at the academic performance of students in public charter schools compared to their traditional school peers in 27 states.

The results of this study deliver promising news for students in Mississippi whose needs are not currently being met, especially for the two-thirds of our public school students who are growing up in poverty. Across the nation, charter school students living in poverty gain the equivalent of an extra 14 days of instruction in reading and 22 days in math each year compared to their traditional public school counterparts. African-American students in poverty who attend charter schools see an even larger gain with the equivalent of an additional 29 days of learning in reading and 36 days in math per year when compared to their traditional public school counterparts.

These findings are not alone. Since 2010, four national studies and 11 regional studies from across the country found similar positive academic performance results.

Of course, the most important measure of a transformational education is whether students are graduating prepared for college and career. How do public charter schools fit in that equation? Mississippians must ask that question, especially considering we have one of the lowest social mobility rates in the nation.

Last month, Mathematica Policy Research announced some preliminary research results that measured the effects of charter schools on long-term educational attainment and subsequent earnings of public charter school students. They found significant evidence that charter schools are increasing educational attainment and are boosting long-term earnings of students — ending the cycle of poverty for many low-income students enrolled in charter schools.

Read more »

Mental Health Break

Rodney Hide on the travesty of MMP

Come September we could be watching the most popular political leader in the Western world, and the most popular party sitting on the sidelines as a coalition of the losers forms a government because of MMP.

Rodney Hide examines this with his column at NBR.

John Key is the most popular prime minister since polling began. It’s an extraordinary achievement. More remarkably, he’s the Western world’s most popular elected leader.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron and President Barack Obama must look on Mr Key’s numbers with envious eyes and considerable wonder.

His popularity drives support for his party. National consistently polls a third higher than Labour. And so Mr Key’s a shoe-in this election, right? No. It’s looking like a very close thing. That’s because we persist with a mongrel electoral system.

It’s not the party with the most votes that wins with MMP but the one that cobbles the support needed to govern. Mr Key and National could easily find themselves out in the cold.

I owe my entire parliamentary career to MMP, so I suppose I should be thankful. But I was never a fan of the system. My first serious political involvement was in opposing it. It was the first of my many political losses. Read more »

Map of the Day

Hurricane Map

 

Every detected hurricane and cyclone since 1842

When does a political scandal take its toll?

There is a great deal of talk about political scandals at the moment. Most of it is beltway and of no consequence, with the scandal largely manufactured by an opposition out of real ideas.

The polls should give them a clue as to what the public believes.

THere is some evidence though, actually quite a lot of evidence, to suggest what it is precisely that finally bites when a scandal runs.

Your allies may be quick to abandon you during a scandal if you’re expendable (think John Edwards), but if you’re, say, the president, they may be more likely to rally to your side. Scandals may also be more damaging for black candidates (PDF) than for white ones. Additionally, scandals may be more likely to emerge when the opposition party has a lower opinion of the incumbent and when it’s a slow news week (PDF). Voters think worse of scandals involving financial problems than they do of sex scandals, especially when abuse of power is involved. They are also quicker to forgive (or forget) sex scandals than financial ones (PDF). Read more »

Don’t be a dud root, smoke weed

Emily Yoffe gives some advice to a couple where the wife can’t have sex unless she is drunk.

Those are some loaded questions: Is it a problem that your wife has to get intoxicated to enjoy sex with you, or should you be delighted she’s willing to get intoxicated to have sex with you? From your account, your wife was never that interested in sex, and so you are one of those couples who decided to pair up despite your mismatched libidos. I do wonder about people who think love will overcome this problem, because surely everyone knows marriage and kids rarely heat up things. I have suggested scheduling sex, which doesn’t sound sexy, but having sex turns out to be more sexy than not having it. In most of these cases, though, the partners have established that they enjoy each other in bed—they’re just not getting there often enough. I think you need to get to the primary source of your wife’s resistance. Is it more that she lies there thinking: “I’ve got to make appointments for the kids’ vaccinations tomorrow. Are we out of bread? Olivia has a recital Thursday afternoon, so I have to arrange to leave work early …”? That is, her domestic life has subsumed her erotic life, and instead of sex being a release, it just feels like another obligation. Or is she saying to herself, “I hate when he touches my nipples. I hate when he kisses my neck. I hate when he wants me to stroke his …” This inquiry into your wife’s feelings needs to be sensitive, even oblique. So I suggest you start by reading Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel and The Return of Desire by Gina Ogden.

See if these books offer insights or case histories that speak to your situation. If you find these, you can ask your wife to look at some passages. Or you can just act on what you’ve read, taking a page from other semi-moribund couples who have been jolted into bed. Since you applied my suggestion about scheduling sex, I’m going to make another one that I can’t even believe I’m advocating. Consider taking a trip together to Colorado or Washington state. For one thing, when the children are far away with their grandparents or a trusted babysitter, your wife won’t be distracted about the need to make their lunches. For another, you two can explore the new world of legal marijuana. To get aroused your wife has to shut off the competing voices in her head. So join with her and share a joint. Because this letting go will be somewhat subversive, I hope it gets you two laughing your heads off and tearing your clothes off. No, I don’t think becoming potheads is a permanent solution. I’m just suggesting that casting aside your routines and responsibilities might be a way to create some new sparks.

Read more »