Talking Points for 29 May

Good morning It’s Karnie..

Thank you to Dwight in the US for looking after the blog for us overnight. A couple of good stories about today..

First up, Nepal votes to abolish its monarchy – as of today, it’s the world’s newest republic. An overwhleming majority voted against a Monarchy – the declaration clearly stating – “Royal privileges will automatically come to an end”. Only 4 members of parliament voting FOR and 601 voting AGAINST. Where Nepal leads, should the world follow? Is it time to abolish Monarchies? Or do some serving Monarchies still deserve a place in society?

The Church of England Bishop, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali says there’s a “moral vacuum” in Britain, saying the church has lost all its moral influence. This he argues, happened during the social and sexual revolution in the 1960’s and continues to decline. Recent statsics show 93% the UK’s population NOT attending church. At what stage did Britain become immoral? Was there a golden age when everyone took care of each other ? Do you feel there is a moral vacuum in your country? And if yes, whose job is it to fill it?

A Danish radio’s decision to hold a beauty contest for muslim women has come under attack by Islamic traditionalists. Treatment of muslims in Denmark has been very sensitive since 2005 – when a Danish newspaper provoked outrage across the world after publishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. Can this recent suggestion for a beauty contest be seen as a way of genuinely trying to break down barriers in Denmark between muslims and the rest of the population? Is it a good thing to celebrate this aspect of modern Muslim culture ? OR is it just insensitive ?

Tell us what you think..

39 Responses to “Talking Points for 29 May”

  1. 1 steve
    May 28, 2008 at 19:38


    This case of the “virgin hunter” in France. The husband gets life without parole, the wife gets life without possiblity of parole for 28 years. why the differential in treatment? She was a grownup, and aided and tolerated her husband in these murders, she’s just as guilty as he is.

  2. 2 steve
    May 28, 2008 at 19:41

    Bye bye all non nuclear aircraft carriers 😦


  3. May 28, 2008 at 19:58

    Hi Paul here. The boss asked me today to get together some details of good topic to go on air just in case something happened with our Amnesty special . . thankfully Irene Khan turned up (and was ably taking on all and sundry) but while I was hunting around, the Nepal story stuck out.

    King Gyanendra is stepping down after 240 years in power. The story is here but what caught my eye was the higher than expected amount of comment from many folks around the world experssing the view that basically, monarchies aren’t all that bad. Here’s the BBC News debate.

    What a shame. Monarchy is a good system of government: far better than any republic. A good, impartial monarch (with limited powers) is proof against corruption.
    Chris, London, United Kingdom

    So, my question is . . compared to democracy, autocracy, theocracy etc etc . . what really is wrong with having a monarchy?

    As for anarchy . . well I think these guys said it best:

  4. 4 dwightofcleveland
    May 28, 2008 at 20:10

    Hello everybody,

    Lol, I have been around all night before. I might have even checked in from work, lol. Sorry, took me a second to log onto wordpress. didn’t have an account.

    hope tonight goes smooth. It looks like it is just me tonight. I have a one year old that gets me distracted on and off. Barring that, I should be able to hang out until at least Midnight.

    Aside from the suggested topics, one comes to me today because of today’s show. WHYS is part of the BBC. Pretty big entity I am told. They have a better then average chance to get people of influence to come on air and take questions. I am sure many that we might have barriers outside of just needing the invite. However, forgetting all of that for the moment, who would you like to see (or rather hear) come on WHYS to speak and answer questions. If there were no limitations

    Personally I can think of a few of the top of my head.
    John McCain and/ or Barack Obama,
    Jeff Bingaman (US energy and natural resource committee chairman) or his republican counterpart Pete V. Domenici,
    and of course wither Joseph Wilson or Valerie Plame.

    Anybody else have any suggestions?

  5. 5 Justin from Iowa
    May 28, 2008 at 20:25

    Just dreamlanding… what would it cost to re-implement rail in widespread population demographics? Like Canada and the US. Not necessarily local rail, but regional rail networks, connecting one region to the next, to cut down mid-range trips (50-150 miles?)? Would rail actually reduce car impacts (emmissions and such) or would the rail actually cause more grief?

  6. 6 Zak
    May 28, 2008 at 20:31

    King stepping down – that is quite the oxymoron to envision. Actually he was voted out but it’s all the same; it’s just comical to think of the King driving out of his pink palace and for good.

    Another story that really got no attention and ends up being rather comical:
    Tony Blair’s pilot ‘forgets’ to log the flight plan on their return into Israel- Tony is always so scandalous! He’s greeted by an immediate scramble of F-16’s. Blair’s pilot gives them the hi sign and they end up smoking cigars in Tele-Vev Ole’!

    One more hilarious anecdote from NPR Morning Edition:

    An customs officer in a US airport decided to test his drug dog’s sniffer so he stuffed a bag of Marijuana in a random passengers bag awaiting a plane. Unfortunately the dog failed the task- and the customs officer couldn’t remember which passenger he’d put the stuff in so he never recovered it. Imagine the shock of the passenger at their destination: a la Jimi Hendrix in Canada!

    Perhaps there was a conspiracy involving Blair, his pilot, the customs officer, King Gyanendra and the dog (it was all the dog’s idea).

  7. 7 dwightofcleveland
    May 28, 2008 at 20:33

    So somebody is moderating, I seem to not have rights. I Have logged into wordpress, can anybody who has moderated in that past give me a leg up?

  8. 8 Zak
    May 28, 2008 at 20:48

    How about the great legal fight between the exploration company Odyssey Marine and the country of Spain over the half billion dollar treasure of a 17th century vessel suspected to be the Merchant Royal sunk in 1641. This may the closest to a real life Indiana Jones adventure we get. I would side with Spain provided they were willing to preserve the treasure in a museum- ala Indy.


  9. 9 2plus2
    May 28, 2008 at 20:55

    If I were President the United States would OWN Myanmar. I would have occupied the place three weeks ago.

  10. 10 Will Rhodes
    May 28, 2008 at 21:18

    So somebody is moderating, I seem to not have rights. I Have logged into wordpress, can anybody who has moderated in that past give me a leg up?

    I am moderating for you at the moment, Dwight but I don’t have admin rights so can’t help there, I will mail Ros to see if he can get on ASAP to give you them 🙂

  11. May 28, 2008 at 21:22

    you’re in dwight. sorry. my fault. ros

  12. 12 Will Rhodes
    May 28, 2008 at 21:28

    Over to you, Dwight and good luck and welcome – have fun!

  13. May 28, 2008 at 21:53

    Lol, well after a rocky start, I am here. Thanks Ros. Also Thanks to Steve and Will
    First, I do reside in the Cleveland area. Ros, has had me from Detroit and Boston over the course of WHYS.

    So, Let us get started there are a few cool things going on tonight.

    Already mention is

    – The “Virgin Hunter” was sentenced.
    – The last non-nuclear ship was decommissioned
    – What is the difference between government forms, and which is better.
    – Who would you like to see invited on WHYS
    – Re-implementing wide spread rail system
    – exploration company Odyssey Marine and the country of Spain fight over long buried treasure.
    – Invasion of Myanmar by the US

    Not a bad start topic wise. Lets see which ones run.

  14. 14 Will Rhodes
    May 28, 2008 at 21:56

    Who would you like to see invited on WHYS

    Controversial or not – I would like to see Osama Bin Laden on.

  15. 15 Joel Salomon
    May 28, 2008 at 21:58

     Freeman Dyson reviews two books on Global Warming: . One of those does an economic impact study, comparing various proposed responses to GW. To quote the review:

    The main conclusion of the Nordhaus analysis is that the ambitious proposals, “Stern” and “Gore,” are disastrously expensive, the “low-cost backstop” is enormously advantageous if it can be achieved, and the other policies including business-as-usual and Kyoto are only moderately worse than the optimal policy.

    Assuming anthropogenic climate change, might Kyoto or other, more ambitious plans, actually be counterproductive?
     (Essay pointed to by Dr. Jerry Pournelle’s blog.)

  16. 16 Zak
    May 28, 2008 at 22:05

    Rail in America:

    There used to be a rail line that went from border to border, WA through CA and it was one of the most popular ever. Believe it or not just about all the rail lines are still there. Indeed from Oakland you can take the train South to the border, beyond that in CA there’s a few mostly sightseeing routes. I’m not sure what’s still running North perhaps the Oregonians would know. But the tracks are there and there’s been many plans run through CA state gov. trying to mandate the rail service but to my knowledge it’s all been shot down.

    The closest we’ve come in my area has been a movement to connect Marin which is just North of the Golden Gate Bridge with Santa Rosa which is the largest city North about 40 miles. This has been on the city ballots twice now awaiting the 3rd attempt; and the city of Santa Rosa has approved it overwhelmingly every time. The rail line would be awesome because in addition to the train it would build a bike trail along the entire line- sounds awesome too doesn’t it.

    The obstacle is the city of Marin which sights this ‘concern’: the aesthetic look of a train and train station would not be pleasing to the residents of our city. Noting that they also average more cars than anyone else per person in the nation, it used to be 5 but now it may have dropped to 4. The point is morons and their city governments, as Marin is a fine example of, will clog the pathway for rail before it ever gets a hold. The only way to do it would be to have State and/or Federal mandates and to do that first they’ll have to get there hands out of the oil companies pockets.

  17. 17 Will Rhodes
    May 28, 2008 at 22:09

    What is the difference between government forms, and which is better

    While I have been in Canada I have gotten more interested in the US system that I had before. I have been following politics (nerd) since I was about 15. I have always had a real interest in history and other geeky stuff, too.

    One thing I cannot get my head around is the system that is the American one. I do know that you are a republic and that the system is set up so that those who are not in built up areas get just as much a say as those who are. Yet the way that the last elections have gone it is those states who have the largest population still get to call the shots in who is president.

    I don’t like the UK system, first past the post. Yet is does seem more representative of what the public wants. But you can become a government in the UK with less than 50% of the votes cast.

    My personal favourite is second choice voting. Where you pick your first choice, obviously, then your second and third respectfully.

    Each vote comes near to making a difference because your vote will count in the end.

  18. 18 Dennis
    May 28, 2008 at 23:39

    Good Evening Dwight:

    NEPAL: I am very happy that the country has become a democratic country! After many years in a monarchy and having problems with the Maoists.

    RAILROADS: It will be cheaper to bring things to the markets in most situations.

    GUESTS ON WHYS: I would like to see Osama Bin Laden and the “LATE” Saddam Hussein….

    VIRGIN HUNTER IN FRANCE: This story feels like a bad story being repeated…on the grounds of virginity….

    RE: RIGHTS ON WHYS: Sorry, Dwight, for not being able to do your job!

    Madrid, U.S.A.

  19. 19 steve
    May 29, 2008 at 00:15

    Old rails cannot handle high speed trains. For high speed the tracks have to be straight, not curvy otherwise the trains will go off track at high speeds, even with tilt trains. we would have to built a bunch of new track to get high speed rail anywhere other than the northeast corridor, and even with that, you only save acouple minutes over the regular train. The acela express is maybe 20 minutes faster than the normal train from DC to Philadelhia, and maybe 30 minutes faster from DC to NY. And I think that primarily has to do with having fewer stops. You’d think Canada would have introduced high speed rail, but Via Rail is comically slow as well.

  20. 20 Dennis
    May 29, 2008 at 00:22


    Since in my part of New York State, the “train rails” COULD NEVER HAPPEND any of the high speed trains…

    Interest of full disclosure: my dad works for a company that drives around
    train employees to one-job to another.

    It would make peoples lives easier, if they could take a train to work!

  21. 21 Peter Gizzi UK
    May 29, 2008 at 02:14

    Hi Everbody sorry I’ve been out of touch…….Things?

    Anyway Steve,
    Totally agree with you his wife actually watched and did nothing. Give her the same! About aircraft carriers I saw a documentary about a ship called “Oronski” well that’s how it sounded. After a long preparation it was sunk to become a new “reef”

    In The U.K. we still have a Queen though she has little power except that it is her signarure that finalises government legislation. I really hope she refuses to sign The Lisbon Treaty. This could be the end of The United Kingdon. We would just become a European backwater to supply money to the unelected beaurocrats.

    Who to have on WHYS
    President Barosso. Tell The British People why they should have to accept his laws when he was not democratically elected by the tax payers who keep him in power who have no way of deposing him. Lets face it even Hitler was democratically elected. Is this the new National Socialism?

    I am one of those extreme rarerities in The Western World who does not have a car!!!! WOW shock horror! Guess what I survived! I’m single. I own my house. It is possible to live in The UK without a car. I also do that dreadful thing (4 letter word coming up sorry) WALK! I can only speak for The UK but my message is get off your A— and use your legs. I will be travelling to “The North” of England for my Sister’s wedding later this year. A car driving relative tells me it would cost him more in petrol than I have paid for my advance bookinng.

    U.K. Government.
    I agree with Will Rhodes above. Only 1 vote and you are in power. Talking by email to a newly discovered relative recently she suggested the possibility of voting for independant MPs for themselves rather than parties. How that could work I don’t know but have to admit there are MPs from all 3 major parties I would vote for. Having said that I will always vote UKIP!

    Finally thanks to whoever is in charge? Think it’s Dwight in Cleveland? Please what does LOL mean?

    Going to bed now. Talk again tomorrow. Goodnight.

  22. May 29, 2008 at 02:59


    The US is a representative democracy. The problem is that the city has gotten denser and the rural areas have not. gerrymandering has been used to exploit the way the representation is divided. Anr really while Ohio cities voted for Kerry in ’04, it was the rural less populated areas that handed George the win.

    I have said that 400 years later and we have wound up with a monarchy again. Really it is how much money you can get your hands on in order to brainwash the public to win. Instead of being related by blood, they are related by money.

    The best way to vote to me would still be to force people to answer a questionnaires about how they feel about issues. then their candidate would be assigned to them by their voting record and their answers to the questionnaire.

    The best form of governance requires a sturdy sailboat, a fishing pole, a barrel of rum, and a good compass to help you stay in international waters. It’s a “one man one boat” form of equality.

    @Peter LOL =is one of the Internets first abbreviations meaning “Laughing Out Loud”. “Lord Of Logic” is my sudo name on my own site and when reading one of my post there you will hear me refer to myself as LOL. A bit of irony.

    I see a lot of people would like to sit down and talk with our enemies. Me too. So much misinformation. I am sure everybody has heard about former White House mouth piece Scott McClellan has written a book claiming the Bush administration used less then honest tactics to scare the American people into war. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/bush_world_of_spin

  23. 23 steve
    May 29, 2008 at 03:59

    @ Peter

    That was the Oriskany, it was a WW2 era Essex class air craft carrier. I almost cried watching that show. John Mccain used to fly off of that carrier. Kinda weird when I was born, the US was still using WW2 era air craft carriers, and now all we have left a nuclear carriers 😦

  24. 24 Zak
    May 29, 2008 at 04:07

    <S.M.A.R.T Sonoma Marin Rail Transit: the acronym should say that we’re not held up for anything in Santa Rosa, in the ballot provisions is funding already approved to upgrade the tracks, some of the lines have been done already in anticipation by Santa Rosa.

    But that reminds me have you guys taken the trip to Masdar city? You’ve probably heard of the plans for the CO2 free city but NPR has a really awesome virtual video tour that’s better than the promotional one on the official site of Abu Dhabi. Both of those sites video tours are well worth seeing though and that would make an excellent topic. Sorry but it’s been floating in my frontal lobe since I saw it and it will be my first destination in the UAE for no doubt certain. Check it out, check it out and when you float back to Earth let us know all about it, our little train has only a pittance of the funds of that oil rich Emirate.

  25. 25 Dennis
    May 29, 2008 at 04:12

    I have found some stories for the World Have Your Say Editorial Meeting on 30 May 2008….


    Good Night from The East Coast of the United States of America!

    [Good night Dwight, thanks for being the moderator of the TP’S]

    Madrid, U.S.A.

  26. May 29, 2008 at 04:22

    thanks Dennis and good night.

    those topics are broad and a few different angle have been covered here on WHYS before. I am surprised that the Ehud Olmert story has slipped by unmentioned so far. Good one.

  27. May 29, 2008 at 05:01

    Well people, I am going to turn in for the night. I get woken up pretty early so I might be able to clear a few comments before the WHYS crew gets in. If not I think I will be co-moderating over the weekend.

    thanks for the input.

  28. May 29, 2008 at 05:23


    I’m happy that you can make do without a car in the UK.

    Come live in rural Iowa, USA and try to live without a car.

    Enjoy the 20 mile walk to work.

    Not everybody lives in your circumstance. I have a car, I drive very little. I live very frugally. But I could not make do without it, because things are just too spread out here. Look for a new job in a more urban environment you say? At this point in the economy, when people are tightening their belts and jobs are getting scarce? Would you walk out on a good livelihood in such uncertain circumstances? Perhaps you are a better man than I, but I can’t face that sort of insecurity right now, not with the commitments I have in my life.

    When I was in college, I lived without a car, there was public transportation and I could walk places. But that’s not where I found a job post-college, so driving a car is a requirement. Your response of “Get off your A– and walk” doesn’t bring anything to the discussion except making me angry, because I have gotten off my A– and walked.

  29. May 29, 2008 at 08:22

    Good morning Precious Dwight from very hot Baghdad… 2 stories have caught my eye from the BBC middle east page… Iraqi father seeks Black Water apology, news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7243638.stm… Also Haditha court material trial opens, news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7424090.stm… And Precious Paul, WELCOME BACK TO WHYS AGAIN… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna…

  30. May 29, 2008 at 12:25

    Do you feel there is a moral vacuum in your country?
    Yes, but it has nothing to do with a lack of church attendance, and everything to do with treatment and respect (or lack thereof) of your fellow man / woman, selfishness, a social breakdown at a community level, and the feeling that one always needs to be better and have more things than someone else.

  31. May 29, 2008 at 12:29

    Is it a good thing to celebrate this aspect of modern Muslim culture ?

    Well, there are many beautiful Muslim women! We recently had a debate on whether the fashion industry is racist… How would it help to reject an idea like this?
    If Islamic traditionalists don’t like it, they don’t have to participate or attend. If they can’t deal with the free will of those partaking in it, it is their own problem.
    I’m not a fan of beauty contests or superficial displays of “I’m prettier than you, I have a better body than you”, but if your proud of what youve got, go work it, I’m not going to stop anyone. I just won’t be watching it.

  32. 32 steve
    May 29, 2008 at 14:12

    Moral vacuum, due to rampant, i want this and I want this right now materialism, that also leads to rampant depression because nothing is ever enough. I hate to side with communists on an issue, but materialism/capitalism is really bad. I’d rather live with moderate means and be happy than be filthy rich but miserable because I don’t have everything. Part of the reason kids are so bad these days is because they are so spoiled, which leads them to be completely self absorbed. When you are self absorbed, you don’t think about anyone else, or the consequences of your actions on others, hence, you are immoral.

  33. 33 Peter Gizzi UK
    May 29, 2008 at 14:15

    Hi Everybody,
    A few quick replies while my meal cools down.

    Thanks for that and I thought it might meant LOTS OF LOVE!

    Thanks for your too. It was very sad I agree. I tend to be an old romantic and see most “machines” as living things. They were put together by real people.

    Justin from Iowa,
    I did specify The UK only and accept that even here there are rural communities where public transport is very limited. The UK is smaller than most States in The USA. Being retired I am less affected too. I do though often see oversize youngsters in their 4x4s driving alone? Is this just a status symbol?

    Going to eat now. Talk again later. Thanks everybody.

  34. 34 steve
    May 29, 2008 at 14:33

    Another story was about Scott Mcclellan’s book about the Bush Presidency. He used to be Bush’s press secretary and apparently his book is about how he claims to have been hoodwinked by the administration. However, as much as I dislike Bush, this guy stands to make a lot of money, and stands to get a lot of attention, and this guy was in politics so I’m leaning on he’s doing this for money/attention over “doing the right thing” as all Presidents have had their staff attack them later on.

  35. 35 Janet T
    May 29, 2008 at 15:42

    Railroads- I’m more interested in them for moving product than people- when I was a kid my Dad worked for Pacific Motor trucking, a dividion of Southern Pacific Railroad. They shipped tons of truck trailers full of goods all over the place “piggyback”- then the truckers would pick up the trailers at the railyards and deliver them locally- think of the millions of gallons of gas that could be saved, on the West Coast alone!
    By the way, you can still take Amtrak from Oregon to Southern Cal- my Mom does it(she will not fly) but I think it is still almost as expensive as flying.

  36. 36 steve
    May 29, 2008 at 16:11

    It sounds like Hillary might run as an independent if she doesn’t get the nomination. She’s demanding that she’s the stronger candidate. i think she’s self absorbed enough to run as an independent if Obama gets the nomination. Even though she knows she has no chance of getting the nomination, she still refuses to drop out, and after he talk yesterday about not quitting, she must be planning on running as an independent.

  37. 37 Marius R Rowell
    May 29, 2008 at 18:34

    As a former British citizen and former member of the British Army I had to swear an oath of allegiance to Queen and Country, or I didn’t get the job. This is not exactly in the form of a fair contract since I had no option.
    10 years ago I gave up my British citizenship and became a citizen of the First Republic in the world – the United States of America – because I could not reconcile my inability to accept the reality of living under a monarchy. People have to consent to be governed, but Britons do not have this option in regard to their monarchy. The only other option (as exercised by William of Normandy) is invasion and conquest, resulting in dictatorship and government by force.
    Simply because it is an old practise does not and cannot make it ‘right’ for any one person to be the ruler of a population by accident of birth, but without any evidence of ability. The royalist argument seems to be that if the current one is bad the next one will be better, and you simply have to wait and see. My opinion is that if your leader is bad you must remove him or her from power immediately, or as quickly as the law of your country permits. This is called democracy, and it works simply because it is right, otherwise why is it so popular worldwide?

  38. 38 Pangolin
    May 29, 2008 at 18:59

    @World Food Prices- I’m right now listening to the BBC report on how the world food price situation is temporary. Followed by a virtual advertisement for GM agriculture. Oh goody.

    Since the BBC is engaging in happy talk now with little reference to fact can you please talk up the US real estate market? Some nice, fact-resistant prattle about how US houses are incredibly good deals as short-term investments should do nicely.

  39. 39 Dennis
    May 29, 2008 at 21:48

    That whole idea of Danish Beauty contest for Muslim women….Is nice thoughts in theory, but from what i know of Islamic affairs….They mostly prefer to be kept covered up and not expose there “beauty”.

    “Moral Vacuum” is been around for many years….including in the United States

    Nepal is a democratic country…i am very happy for the people there…

    Madrid, U.S.A.

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