Talking Points for 29 July

Hi All, it’s Karnie..

Thank you Steve for taking care of things overnight.

A few thoughts to get you started..we were quite keen to talk about Turkey today, Ros put up this post which have got some you discussing it already.

Ten days to go to the Olympic games and China’s human rights records come’s into the spotlight once again. The human rights group Amnesty International says, China’s HR record has deteriorated in the run-up to the Olympics.

China’s Foreign ministry spokesman Li Jianchao says: “I hope that Amnesty International can take off the tainted glasses they have been wearing for years and see China in a fair and objective way, and do something more constructive.” We’ve discussed this time and again..but is it something you’d still like to talk about?

A student with dyslexia who is studying to become a doctor here in the UK is taking legal action in order to prevent the use of multiple choice exams as part of her medical training.

21 year old Naomi Gadian, says the use of the tests discriminates against people with the condition and is challenging the British General Medical Council to scrap them.

This blog expresses concern about a dyslexic doctor treating them. Is this sort of sentiment unfair and discriminatory? Would you feel confident and comfortable being treated by a doctor who you knew was dyslexic?

You mentioned Amy Winehouse on the overnight blog. She’s been taken to hospital. It’s not the singer’s first visit. Winehouse has already received medical help for traces of lung disease emphysema. Her father Mitch has previously expressed fears over the effect his daughter’s drug use has had on her health.

This comment from Steve:
I never thought Amy Winehouse would make it even to 30. She’s unfortunately a role model for girls. She’s causing a lot of damage.

And this one from Shaun
I HOPE girls aren’t idolizing Ms. Winehouse. She wrecked Glastonbury!

Amy Winehouse is undoubtedly a role models for many young people. However she is evidently far from being the perfect role model..but is she just simply a pop star and this type of behaviour goes with the territory? OR should she be aiming to set a better example? Also, whose responsibility is it to create role models for children?

89 Responses to “Talking Points for 29 July”

  1. 1 steve
    July 28, 2008 at 19:37

    Greetings everyone. I will have to step out several times this evening, but should still be around to moderate. Anyone else is free to step in and help out, as usual.

    This one is interesting, and makes me wonder why anyone would want to be President. But the next President is going to inherent a half trillion dollar deficit and have to deal with that, as well as the Iraq war.


  2. July 28, 2008 at 19:45

    Off the bat today, I want to say I hate when people make sweeping generalization about political idealogical groups with often derogatory intentioned statement. The words “lefties”, “righties”, “left-wing”, “Right-wing”, “dems”, and “repubs” hide very little of the contempt of the poster. With contempt comes a closed mind. While I relate with ideas on both sides, I often highlight a characteristic as a huge reason I prefer listening to NPR, BBC, and other sources commonly designated as “left biased”. That characteristic is the lack of acceptance of these words while making a point. You will not hear them on those programs. However, there isn’t a Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, or the Hannity and Colmes that doesn’t include these sweeping generalizations and lots of them. Life is too short to listen to marketing buzz words for you to sell your ideas. Got a point make it. If your point is too weak and you need to corral camaraderie that these terms are intended to glean, then you shouldn’t bother making the point. Good ideas are not a popularity contest. In fact many time bad ideas are way more popular.

    Phrases such as “more conservative/ liberal thinking”, “left/ right leaning”, and other less “pandering” sounding speech are more conducive open debate. To be honest, when I see these terms used, I either stop responding, or in rare occasions respond in a way as to address other people who might be reading the post. I know that as of the last 6 years, many people would identify me with the terms “liberal” and “democrats”. So when I hear that label being attacked, I often feel the need to defend it, even if I don’t agree with the general position.

  3. 3 Brett
    July 28, 2008 at 19:48

    Well… You only have to do it for a few years, then you can retire lol. I guess thats the bright side of it all.

  4. 4 steve
    July 28, 2008 at 19:49

    @ Brett

    They never seem to age well though.. I have a feeling 4 years of being President is like what happens to people on earth while some space traveller goes the speed of light, and time on the space ship slows down, but doesn’t for people on earth. He aged more than 8 years in office.

  5. 5 Angela in Washington D.C.
    July 28, 2008 at 19:59

    Well fortunately there are two individuals that are ready to inherit this burden. Luckily for us, they both have the skills and abilities to lead America back to the respectable path. I don’t care who gets the job because I know either way, he will be a commanding individual.

  6. 6 nelsoni
    July 28, 2008 at 19:59

    Hello Every one

    Latest on the Zimbabwe Crisis

    Zimbabwe talks are ‘deadlocked’

    Just a week ago Quite a few people were hailing handshakes as great step

    The New face of suicide bombing in Iraq here and why the trend continues

    What a man can do, a woman can …

  7. 7 Robert
    July 28, 2008 at 20:01

    At least they have a good excuse for do nothing during the term. “It was all Bush’s fault and that deficit” . In the UK some labour ministers when pressed in interviews still complain about the state of the country they inherited 11 years ago from the Tories. The excuses never cease.

  8. 9 Mohammed Ali
    July 28, 2008 at 21:00

    Hi steve and everyone, about a week ago i asked Tom if the WHYS website is allowed to function in China and he said he does not have information on that. I’ll be travelling to China for about 4 to 5 years. Is there anyone here with information relating to the question?

  9. 10 Shirley
    July 28, 2008 at 21:35

    Months of research has resulted in the following findings:
    Mininum Necessary Annual Income
    (housing, food, medical care, & transportation)
    Los Angeles, CA: $54,575 | Houston, TX: $36,051 | Chicago, IL: $38,975 | New York, NY: $43,780

    Median Household Income
    Los Angeles: $40,844 | Houston: $41,513 | Chicago, IL: $44,664 | New York, NY: $43,502 | US average: $48,201 ($25/hour)

    cost of college education: $30,000/year
    Mike Meyers, Minneapolis Star Tribune (“College degree still worth investment, economists say” 21 June 2006) : “63% of all students with family incomes of $79,000 or less face a gap between the annual cost of college and the money they can raise… That gap is filled by debt.”

    After recent union auto contract deals, most auto union workers now make between $10/hour – $15/hour, down from about $30/hour ($19,200, $28,800, $56,700 respectively). Nearly every auto CEO has given himself a raise. None seems to earn less than $5 million/year ($2,500/hour). With $5 million/year, between 50 and 100 American families could be sustained.
    CEO Earnings
    American Axle CEO Richard Dauch: $10.2 million total per year | Ford CEO Alan Mulally: $28.18 million (2006) | GM CEO Rick Wagoner: $2.2 million salary, $3.5 million incentives (2006: $10.2 million total) | Delphi CEO Miller: $3.75 million/ 6 months ($7.5 million per year)

    I focused on auto unions and CEOs because of the amount of whining that conservatives make against auto unions. To convert between hourly wages and yearly incomes, use the factor of 1920.

  10. 11 nelsoni
    July 28, 2008 at 22:06

    @ Mohammed Ali,

    Chinese Government recently unblocked the BBC website to Chinese Internet users, so hopefully, you should be able to access WHYS just may be. Else you may need to use a proxy server outside of China.

  11. 12 Robert
    July 28, 2008 at 22:11


    Can I ask what you mean by minimum salary. Are we talking about subsistence living or basic living with a few necessary luxuries (like evening out once in a while).

    Those figures just feel a little high for the former, about right for the latter. It is shocking to see that only in Houston would the average person be able to survive without debt.

  12. 13 Lubna
    July 28, 2008 at 22:13

    My dearest Steve : Salaam… Please guys check out this link : news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/7527369.stm. And also you guys may be interested in checking out this link : news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/7520049.stm. With my love… Yours forever, Lubna…

  13. 14 Robert
    July 28, 2008 at 22:14

    Nelsoni, Mohammed

    This isn’t a BBC website. The URL says it for wordpress. Not sure how the Chinese will tolerate a site used for just bloggers.

  14. 15 Dennis
    July 28, 2008 at 22:27

    Hi Steve, our fearless moderator tonight on TP

  15. 16 Lubna
    July 28, 2008 at 22:41

    My dearest Steve : Salaam again… Please guys, check out this link : news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7522096.stm. With my love… Yours forever, Lubna…

  16. 17 Lubna
    July 28, 2008 at 22:51

    And how about this guys ?! At last something funny comes out of the Holy Lands ! 🙂 : news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7525934.stm. With my love… Yours forever, Lubna…

  17. 18 Shirley
    July 28, 2008 at 23:26

    For all that the Republicans claim that the Democrats are spend-happy, isn’t it also spending to roll back taxes on the wealthy and to pour billions of dollars into a war that lacked valid basis?

  18. 19 Shaun in Halifax
    July 28, 2008 at 23:32

    Today’s discussion about the morality of pirated music/software got into a lot of talk about the ‘business’ side of the music industry vs. the ‘music’ side of the industry and where the money is going. There was a strong opinion that, because the record companies take the lion’s share of the profits and buying CDs mostly benefits the company, file sharing is okay because it is really only hurting the evil greedy corporation.

    I’d like to pursue the ‘business’ side a little more.

    The business model on Wall Street and other Streets is based on increasing growth quarter over quarter. Four times a year, publicly traded companies release their earnings. If the company shows profits greater than last quarter, the stock price goes up and the company is viewed as ‘successful.’ If the company shows fewer profits than last quarter, the stock price goes down and the company is punished for ‘failing.’

    However this leads to quite a few dirty practices like built-in obsolescence, poor product quality, collusion, ENRON etc. These practices are especially prevalent in saturated markets where the only way to attract more business is to steal it from the competition. It also leads to unsustainable practices and, most disconcertingly, this system (along with the dirty marketing techniques) has been linked to the gross overconsumption prevalent in developed nations.

    So my suggestion for the topic is this: in light of ideas like sustainable growth, green investment funds and the Triple Bottom Line, are the measurement standards by which we determine ‘success’ and ‘failure’ in the business world still relevant?

    Triple Bottom line definition: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triple_bottom_line

    The Father of Spin (Edward Bernays): http://www.articlecity.com/articles/politics_and_government/article_348.shtml

  19. July 28, 2008 at 23:41

    The yeshiva student who pried Barack Obama’s prayer note from the Western Wall has apologized.


    I’m glad the youth has apologized and returned the note.

  20. 22 Julie P
    July 29, 2008 at 00:11


    She’s beginning to make Grace Slick look innocent!

  21. 23 steve
    July 29, 2008 at 00:25

    @ Julie P

    I’m not sure who Grace Slick is, but I never thought Amy Winehouse would make it even to 30. She’s unfortunately a role model for girls. She’s causing a lot of damage.

  22. 24 Julie P
    July 29, 2008 at 00:30

    My word, Steve! Allow me to introduce to her: Jefferson Airplane, White Rabbit, Somebody to Love, Woodstock…

    She was the wild woman of the 60’s and 70’s. Her alcoholic and LSD escapades are legendary. There was one time when she tried to slip LSD into Richard Nixon’s tea at a party at the White House with her date Abby Hoffman.


  23. 25 Tino
    July 29, 2008 at 00:31

    “The New face of suicide bombing in Iraq here and why the trend continues

    What a man can do, a woman can …”

    Do better if shes wearing a burqa or niqab. Easy to conceal, well, anything…

  24. 26 Shirley
    July 29, 2008 at 00:41

    Robert, The Living Wage Calculator from whcih I got the figures related to required incomes had another category for transportation and one labelled “other.” I saw a report on the BBC that indicated that people refuse to abide without certain minor luxuries, such as movies or the occasional drink.

    NPR did a study a few years ago related to housing costs. For a family to rent an apartment in Houston would require a person to have an 80-hour work week. I honestly have no citation for that, because it was years ago and I didn’t have anything on me to write anything down.

    Something to consider is that few of us ever just exist. Most of us send kids off to college, for example. Assuming no financial aid, that raises the cost of living to around $75,000 per year. Rarely does financial aid cover all of the cost of college.

  25. 27 Mohammed Ali
    July 29, 2008 at 01:09

    @nelsoni, if the websites unblocked include that of WHYS, it’ll be a welcome development and I will be extremely happy at the prospect of blogging from China.

  26. 28 Shaun in Halifax
    July 29, 2008 at 02:19

    @ Steve

    Gawd, I HOPE girls aren’t idolizing Ms. Winehouse. She wrecked Glastonbury! But then again, at the ripe old age of 25 I don’t understand a THING the kiddies are doing these days….

    “Listen here sonny-boy, I remember DIAL-UP! Yep. Time was it used to take upwards of a few minutes for a page to load. And we didn’t have any of your fancy videos and java, neither. It were all text and links. Yep… *hitches up suspenders* Matter of fact, we didn’t HAVE LOL. All we had was the L and the O. You used to have to figure it out fer yerself.”

  27. 29 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 29, 2008 at 02:22

    @ Shaun–

    You said that if an earnings report exceeds the previous quarter’s, a company’s stock price rises, and if if falls short, the price falls. But that isn’t how it works. The price changes according to the company’s performance relative to its expected performance, which is quite different. Reading just one single day’s earnings stories would suffice to demonstrate this point.

    So…. Are the standards for success and failure still relevant? I’d have to say yes, unless and until they’re challenged by a qualified commentator. More broadly, until everyone earns enough to live comfortably, economic growth is necessary to improve their lives. (Proposals for redistribution are demonstrably unfair and ineffective toward that end.)

  28. 31 nelsoni
    July 29, 2008 at 02:44

    @ Mohammed Ali, the last time I checked, China does not exactly tolerate bloggers. Quite a few of them have earned decent jail terms and the dissident tag. Just make sure you are safe. We dont want to be blogging for your release on WHYS or sign online petitions for you. 😉

  29. 32 nelsoni
    July 29, 2008 at 02:47

    @ Count Iblis, What happens when the experiment goes horribly wrong?

  30. 33 Luz Ma from Mexico
    July 29, 2008 at 02:51

    Hi everyone! It seams that today´s WHYS program was quite interesting… I´m sorry I missed it 😦 The only downpoint of returning to work is that I won´t have as much time as before to listen to WHYS.

    I agree with you about Amy Winehouse being a really bad role model to girls and teenagers. I am careful with my daughters about not exposing them to bad influences and bad role models, but it is quite difficult when the media made them so accesible to young people.

  31. 34 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 29, 2008 at 02:53


    About political “dirty words” substituting for genuine thinking and logic, I’m pleased to agree with you. (Since I’m never shy to point it out when the slippery pole of economics repeatedly eludes your grasp, it’s a pleasure to find common ground.) Likewise, you correctly identify NPR and BBC as quiality, unbiased, professional organizations and reliable sources of news. And your assessment of the “shout shows” as worthless is exactly correct.

    Indeed, as you say, good ideas are not a popularity contest, and bad ideas are too often more popular. This last point is troublesome in the context of democratic government, I’d suggest, since we exactly choose our leaders by popularity contest. Not that I’ve thought of anything better, but it is troubling.

  32. 35 steve
    July 29, 2008 at 03:17

    @ Luz

    That’s why it’s the parents’ job to keep their kids from seeing the bad influences. I know this is a terrible thing to say, but lots of these celebrities that are unfortunately role models die young, under circumstances that require an autopsy. Perhaps if the media revealed those pictures, and how unglamorous they are, it might undo some of the damage?

  33. 36 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 29, 2008 at 03:22


    Hi there. Wow, you did months of research to come up with that? Thanks for sharing. I’m sure the citizens of Los Angeles will be horrified to learn that they earn a full 25% less than the “minimum necessary income.” In fact, I’m horrified. If I understand the word “necessary” as it’s usually construed, that means those people are impossible. They don’t and can’t live there at all! I wonder how that news will affect their real estate market.

    Financial aid seldom covers the entire cost of college, but it seldom covers none of it either, so you ought to consider it in your figures, which now assume it doesn’t exist. And since college degrees are still good investments, and cheap loans are available, it’s quite smart to fill the gap with debt.

    What any of this has to do with incomes of auto workers or CEOs eludes me completely. (Conservatives whine about a thousand things that aren’t relevant to costs of living.) What exactly is the point of all this?

  34. 37 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 29, 2008 at 03:34

    Hi, LM! New job going well then? Yes, today’s show was pretty good, especially for those (like your humble correspondent) with an interest in the topic.

    This seems to be my night to agree with people I usually don’t, so with a nod toward Steve, I’ll endorse his idea that perhaps seeing the mumbling and staggering of the drug-addled “stars,” with explanatory comment of course, could serve to illustrate the wisdom of your values rather than undermine them.

  35. 38 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 29, 2008 at 03:53

    @Julie P. —

    Re Grace Slick, great “instant bio!” So, would that make her a good “role model” or a bad one? “) Or just a compelling character maybe–not everyone is a “role model” even for kids.

  36. 39 Dennis :(
    July 29, 2008 at 03:54

    I am sorry for not being around, i am not feeling that good………..

    Syracuse, New York

  37. 40 Julie P
    July 29, 2008 at 04:00


    I don’t think of her as a role model. I never did. I’ve read her biography a couple of times. I thought her story is compelling, yet a sad one. I’ve never admired people who live their lives at 30K ft in a fish bowl. They can have great talent, a great voice like hers, but the lives they lead isn’t one I would want.

  38. 41 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 29, 2008 at 04:01

    @M. Ali–

    Bottom line on blogging from China is that it’s a pretty easy technical matter to evade Big Brother. I recommend a story in the Atlantic Monthly magazine a month or two ago for the general principles, and for more technical details… oh heck, google the string “great firewall of china” for all the information you’ll need. Proxy servers, encryption, and VPN tunneling are the terms to look for; I think VPN is the current favorite.

  39. July 29, 2008 at 04:06

    Happily, parents don’t get to choose who their kids choose as role models… those fashion memes with funny hair and no respect for the past! How can they call that “mucic?”

  40. 43 Luz Ma from Mexico
    July 29, 2008 at 04:14

    And is not only drugs and alcohol, it is also body image issues. I hate that “celebrities” and the media dictate what is beautiful and what not.

    Thanks for asking about my job. Indeed is going well. It is a new kind of work for me. I have to pay attention to every little detail. It is politics, so it is expected. I am happy, it will give me a different kind of job experience and a lot of “contacts” (very important here in Mexico if you want to do what I want to do).

    My husband would have liked to hear today´s WHYS broadcast. He also is very interested in the topic. I don´t know your opinion, but here at home, my husband and I have had some disagreament regarding the morality of illegal downloading. He approves it, I don´t.

  41. 44 steve
    July 29, 2008 at 04:17


    Execution of Army Private convicted of a rape/murder back in the 1980s was approved. It would be the first execution of a soldier since 1961.

  42. 45 Tom
    July 29, 2008 at 04:34

    @ Mohammed,

    In case you do have access to WHYS in China, please write in regularly telling us of your experiences over there. Yes, you’ll need to be careful with the views you express online as you could never know when you’ve been eavedropped.

  43. 46 Bob in Queensland
    July 29, 2008 at 04:34

    @ Dwight

    I couldn’t agree more about the use of labels.

    Actually, two days ago I think I achieved some sort of record. Here in the WHYS blog I was branded a “lefty” but, at almost the same time a socialist friend of mine back in the UK described me as “somewhat to the right of Genghis Khan”. Astute readers will note that I stole that phrase later for a WHYS post–the originator is a far better writer than me.

    My first instinct on being branded in either direction is to do a John Humphries and ask “how dare you presume to guess my personal views”. However, not being a BBC interviewer, it doesn’t really matter. Realistically though, it will be hard for anyone to accurately pin down a label for me. On some issues I identify with the so-called left; on others I’m downright reactionary. My views one the world are determined by 55 (going on 56) years of personal experience, and don’t neatly fall in line with any political party or philosophy. I suspect many of us posting here are like that.

  44. 47 Tom
    July 29, 2008 at 04:44

    @ Political labelling

    In a recent radio interview, a government school principal suffered the indignation of being labelled an idoliser of Joseph Stalin. This was given because of her championing of more teachers, decrease classroom sizes, and support for the state Labor Party, which has a traditional socialist cause. The giving of this sweeping label and being associated with one of the worst dictator in history indeed takes the context out of a discussion.

    Her immediate answer to that association was: “Am I here to talk about education or not?”

    Good on her.

  45. 48 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 29, 2008 at 04:54

    @ Julie P.~~

    So you don’t ENVY people who live in fishbowls (you can sitill admire them if they’re admirable)? I don’t either. Some people want to be rich and famous, but I never cared about the famous part.

    Last I heard, Grace Slick was living right around here, just north of San Francisco. Well, she did better than some of the others, like Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison et alia, although they died before they got fat. (Seems to be part of the career track, with some exceptions of course.)

  46. 49 Jack Hughes
    July 29, 2008 at 04:58


    Labels and generalisations can sometimes obscure the debate. But without some assumptions we get nowhere at all.

    My own views incline towards trusting people to steer their own course and solve their own problems – as opposed to many posters on here who seem to really want a high-powered UN committee of experts to fix everything while they sit and watch. Does this make me right-wing ? Libertarian ? Liberal in the old meaning ?

    My favourite video of all time is the in-flight safety film where they tell you to sort out yourself first then help people around you. Yup. 😎

  47. 50 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 29, 2008 at 05:04

    Luz~~ I used to oppose it reflexively, from my capitalist/free market instincts, but then I studied it for a while and came to a more nuanced view, for some fairly complicated reasons. You can always listen to the podcast of today’s show, you know. I also commend the film called “Steal This Film II” available (legally) from thepiratebay.org whose founder was a guest today.

  48. 51 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 29, 2008 at 05:07

    Jack, yes, that would put you in the libertarian/classical liberal camp–along with me (but don’t let that spoil it for you).

  49. 52 Bob in Queensland
    July 29, 2008 at 06:22

    Re labels:

    Over in the “European Recession” topic, somebody has just labelled Barrack Obama as an “anti business socialist”.

    With respect to all concerned, this is the sort of thing I’m talking about. Obviously Obama isn’t as far right as McCain (or Bush) but socialist? Anti-business?

    Judged on a world scale, the American democratic party is probably “centre right” yet this isn’t the first time I’ve heard these sorts of “lefty” labels tossed around with gay abandon. This is the sort of labelling that can certainly obscure informed debate (to steal a phrase from Jack Hughes above).

  50. 53 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 29, 2008 at 08:11

    Hi Bob Q!

    Well, I haven’t yet looked into the “European Recession” topic (so that’s where tonight’s party has gone to!), but it’s probably appropriate to describe US candidates by US standards, doncha think?

    Actually I’m looking forward to peeking at it, because, given their chronic sky-high unemployment rates, I’m curious how Europeans can even tell when they’re in recession. A depression year here would be a good year in, say, France, and Italy would think it had gone to heaven, economically I mean.

    I know Obama professes to be anti-trade, which isn’t properly characteried as either pro- or anti-business but is anti-growth and anti-freedom, as is the Democratic platform to which thus far he has hewed closely. The whole business of ideology here has been muddled up by six years of Republican rule that has preached one thing and done the opposite, so we’re a bit dizzy about who stands for what anymore.

  51. 54 Bryan
    July 29, 2008 at 08:14

    Post wont go through. Too long? Trying again:

    Dwight in Cleveland July 28, 2008 at 7:45 pm,

    I agree with much of what you say regarding the use of labels, except that it is not necessarily a sign of contempt. Labels are also obviously useful in terms of brevity:

    Bob in Queensland July 29, 2008 at 4:34 am,

    I agree that labels are often too narrow to adequately describe anyone. I doubt that your stance against downloading music is widespread among the left, as an example. But when you claim that the BBC does not support Labour, when it is practically a mouthpiece for the party, you position yourself firmly in the left camp. And when you have nothing but criticism for Israel but remain silent on the sins of the Palestinians, it makes your claim that you are equally critical of both sides difficult to accept.

  52. 55 Bryan
    July 29, 2008 at 08:17


    Jonathan (sunny San Francisco) July 29, 2008 at 2:53 am,

    “Likewise, you correctly identify NPR and BBC as quiality, unbiased, professional organizations and reliable sources of news.”

    I don’t know about NPR but if the only debate re the BBC is the extent of its bias, not whether it exists or not. Take virtually any topic under the sun, from climate change to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and it is clear where the BBC positions itself. Here’s the BBC’s own Jeremy Paxman on climate change:

    “… the BBC’s coverage of the issue abandoned the pretence of impartiality long ago.”


  53. 56 Bryan
    July 29, 2008 at 08:19


    And the BBC’s Barbara Plett admitted to weeping for Yasser Arafat: “Yet when the helicopter carrying the frail old man rose above his ruined compound, I started to cry…”


    Now can somebody find me a BBC journalist who has wept for Ariel Sharon in his irreversible coma? The very idea is preposterous. Yet Plett felt comfortable enough in her pro-Palestinian BBC cocoon to admit to her partisan feelings.

    The BBC is not simply biased. It actively promotes a biased agenda.

  54. 57 Robert
    July 29, 2008 at 08:42


    The absolute size of the economy or numbers of unempolyeed play no part in declaring a recession or depression. Recessions are always relative to the state of the economy your in. They are defined as 2 successive quarters of negative growth.

  55. 58 Bob in Queensland
    July 29, 2008 at 09:05

    @ Jonathan

    G’day mate. Yeah, I’m sure it’s right to judge American candidates by American standards but even there isn’t “socialist” a bit over the top? After all, politically, socialism has a specific meaning, i.e. a system whereby the state owns the means of production of goods and services. Nothing I’ve seen indicates that Obama comes close to that! I’ve also not seen anything “anti business” in his policies beyond wanting a bit more regulation than the Republicans. Look at the mess lack of regulation caused in the mortgage market by the way.

    By the way, the party isn’t in European recession either…there’s only a few posts, including one from me worrying that if the Euro zone does start to enter recession, the cracks they papered over to create the common currency will start to show as the central bank finds some countries in recession and others with inflation problems.

  56. 59 Bob in Queensland
    July 29, 2008 at 09:15

    @ Bryan

    I think we’re going around in circles here, but one more try:

    1. The BBC is NOT a mouthpiece for the Labour Party. You need only look at their domestic reporting to see that. I’m sure Gordon Brown sees them as anti-Labour with all the digging that has been done into their policies, their financing–and even the way Brown assumed the leadership.

    2. Accepting global warming as a fact is something that’s happened in most of the world except the USA. That doesn’t make the BBC left wing for reporting things that way. You want to see green policies in the UK? Look at the Conservative Party with its bicycle-riding leader.

    3. Israel/Palestine. I’ve said it many times: I condemn both sides for their provocative actions and use of violence. That’s BOTH sides. Israel AND the Palestinians. I’ve been there. I’ve seen the aftermath of suicide bombs in Jerusalem–and Israeli air force attacks on Lebanon. Neither side has anything to be proud of. Is that clear enough?

  57. 60 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 29, 2008 at 09:20


    Yes, I know that absolute sizes and numbers of unemployed play no part in declaring a recession or a depression, and I know the classic technical definition of recession.

    You can tell that I’m not talking about absolute numbers of unemployed people by my use of the term “unemployment RATE.” The word “rate” is your clue. It refers to a proporition, not an absolute number.

    I never made any mention of absolute sizes of economies, so let’s please withdraw that straw man from the picture to spare you the chore of knocking him down.

    The technical “two quarters of negative growth” is becoming less satisfactory of late, one reason among many being that one can’t know thee’s a recession until nine months or so after it’s started. That’s considered uncomfortably long by today’s arguably pampered standards. Also, to an economy accustomed to healthy growth, even slow growth is uncomfortable, zero growth is painful, and negative growth is intolerable, almost unthinkable, certainly outside the experience of at least one whole generation.

    Finally, the two-quarter-negative-growth definition of recession is an absolute measure, therefore not “relative to the state of the economy you[‘]r[e] in.” Right?

  58. 61 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 29, 2008 at 09:44


    Sure, “socialist” is a bit of a reach; the US is, I hope, immune to the toxic charms of that system as technically defined, and thankfully neither major party stands for it. But Obama has purported to be against trade, a disastrous position if he actually believes it and actually manages to implement it in concert with a Congress that’s inexplicably hostile to trade already. The Democratic party is wedded to a socialistic populist platform of “soaking the rich” as a general economic proposition, and until lately of course Obama has had to toe the party line. I’m hoping that he has osmotically absorbed some of the free-market wisdom for which the University of Chicago is properly famous, and is keeping it under his hat for now.

    The “mortgage mess” is much more complex than the underregulation analysis suggests. Mortgages and banks are among the most regulated of creatures. Of course when something happens, one can say it wouldn’t have happened if there had been a regulation, or web of regulations, specifically prohibiting it, but that’s not especially instructive. The pressures and forces are there and would find outlet elsewhere. An economy is unproductive and stagnant to the extent that it’s defined and bound by regulations, which brings us back conveniently to Europe.

    Yes, I noticed no big party on the other side too. Monday night blahs, I guess.

  59. 62 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 29, 2008 at 09:46

    Bob, you just bite that Bryan bait every time, don’t ya.

  60. 63 John in Germany
    July 29, 2008 at 09:52

    Mugabe”you won the election

  61. 64 John in Germany
    July 29, 2008 at 09:57

    Sorry something went wrong there.

    Mugabe “You won the election, so you can be third vice president”. Listening to the report about the supposed “lets get together meeting”, has confirmed what we all new. Lets drag it out until the world press has something else to lock onto, maybe they will forget that we the losers of the election are still trying to get rid of the opposition.

    John in Germany.

  62. 65 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 29, 2008 at 10:15


    I forgot to acknowledge and agree with your point about the ECB, which from here seems determined to strangle the economies of the EU by raising interest rates, with the predictable direct damage and also the secondary effect of further strengthening the euro vs. dollar, making life even more difficult for those monstrously large companies to compete in world markets or even their own.

    Frankly from my POV, the euro is like the singing dog, remarkable not for excellence of performance, but for managing the trick at all. I’m amazed that a currency audaciously containing both Germany and Italy, never mind the rest, can have survived this long.

  63. 66 Katharina in Ghent
    July 29, 2008 at 10:37

    @ Amy Winehouse:

    It’s almost impossible for parents to influence who could become a rolemodel for their children, peer pressure at school is much stronger than the parents’ influence, I realized that when my then-three year old son came home from kindergarten, speaking incessantly of Spiderman. What parents can and should do is discuss Amy’s life style and health problems with their teens and raise the question of what her life will be like in ten years time.

  64. 67 Bob in Queensland
    July 29, 2008 at 11:00

    @ Jonathan

    Yeah, we agree on the ECB. It’s bad enough in a country like the UK where the economy can be bubbling nicely in the southeast (that’s around London) but sluggish in the former industrial northeast. I guess the USA can be similar with differences in economic conditions between, say, the west coast and coal mining areas in the south. Multply these differences by a huge factor and you have the “Euro Zone”. (I thought of trying to do a Twilight Zone spoof here but decided most are too young to remember that programme!).

    Yeah, the mortgage mess is complicated–but any system that allows loans to people who can’t possibly pay them back could use just a soupcon of regulation I daresay. The “market” can fix most things and I don’t like big government–but the same market is also a blunt instrument that sometimes needs a push to avoid the worst excesses…and the worst pain during corrections.

  65. 68 Jack Hughes
    July 29, 2008 at 11:26


    It’s going to be interesting seeing the euro going into its first ever recession.

  66. 69 Robert
    July 29, 2008 at 11:43

    Re The Euro

    I will decided to hold of judge about the euro until it had been through its first full cycel. The first half is now over, time for the downside.

    The euro’s biggest problem will obivously be to control the recession when you have different governments pulling it in different directions.

    The biggest strength will be the more open internal trade in Europe.

    I would suggest though that the performance of the Euro vs. sterling or dollar over the next few years not be used as the acid test. The true test for improvement is to compare it to the previous recessions of the 70’s thru to the 90’s in Europe. Comparing a young currency and central bank going through its first recession with more established currencies is more than likely to show some bad effects, what really matters is if it is better than the system it replaced.

  67. July 29, 2008 at 12:07

    @ BBC and NPR biased,

    Yes, one could pick and choose reports that demonstrate particular interest that is biased. However, that is like judging a newspaper by only the things you can read with your nose pressed to the cover. I don’t know how many times I have heard the right leaning networks cover things that ended up being just wrong. As an example, I have heard how “Iran would be able to strike us with a nuclear attack in 45 min. by the end of the year.” Now there is only one reason to have a whole show on such hogwash. To inspire fear. I have heard countless left bias shows cry endless over the single mother of three different fathers and how hard it is to get by. Yet they seem to ignore the elephant in the room. How did she get there? Where is her responsibility for the mistakes?

    Very few times have I heard a TOTN or a Dian Rehm have a show were guest didn’t represent both sides of the debate. They are not stooges either. They are often members of our legislative body or their immediate or former representatives. In rare cases where I have seen it, they read the discenting e-mail on the air and even appologized. Here is the thing, every issue has a definitive correct answer. Sometimes one side is flat out and obviously wrong. Many people call that “biased”.

  68. 71 Bryan
    July 29, 2008 at 12:10

    Jonathan (sunny San Francisco) July 29, 2008 at 9:46 am

    “Bob, you just bite that Bryan bait every time, don’t ya.”

    I don’t “bait” people. It’s not bait, just genuine debate – something you seem to have great difficulty engaging in without lapsing into insult mode. Give it a try. It can be done.

  69. 72 nelsoni
    July 29, 2008 at 12:15

    @ Bryan. Pls can I respectfully suggest that you read the “BBC’s Editorial Guidelines?” I have read it several times and I think you should too. Probably when u read it objectively, you may or may not be able to compile a dossier of real or imagined BBC bias. Please also note that no one gets it right 100%

  70. 73 Bryan
    July 29, 2008 at 12:22

    nelsoni July 29, 2008 at 12:15 pm,

    I have read them, and debated them several times with people on the internet.

    I’m a bit puzzled as to why insults are allowed to stand on this site while the person who responds to them is the one who has the post deleted.

  71. July 29, 2008 at 12:27

    @ Nelsoni,

    where Can I read the “BBC’s Editorial Guidelines?”

  72. July 29, 2008 at 12:31

    @ labeling,

    I too Bob have been accused of being both Hippie and Hitler. I think John asked about me “running for congress” as I am sure he would vote for me. lol. Outside of the fact that it is illegal for me to do so, I have always said that if I wanted to commit suicide, I would do it by running for office. They would fight over who gets to take me out. The right sided interests would want me gone because I would actually demand our trading partners be held to the same standards as our own domestic companies. I would also force them to recognize that the child in the projects with 50 students in his/ her classroom learning from old and battered text books doesn’t have the same chance as the well-to-do school where there are 12 kids per class, and they all have been given laptops to use during the school year. The left would be gunning for me as I sought to put an immediate end to abortion, force welfare recipients to be drug tested and on birth control, stop dirtying the constitution by throwing it in the face of everybody who wants to mention the word “God” in public, and forcing people to live on the money that they have. Both would join forces because the wage reform would be too confusing to be sure who was getting the better deal.

    The point is that you can’t just throw a label on that. If I were running for election, you could just pick out a handful of the platform ideas and say “see he’s a left/ right wing nut”. People want their politics simple and their “reality shows” complex. The reality is that life works the other way around.

  73. 76 Melanie Chassen
    July 29, 2008 at 12:40

    Re: Amy Winehouse as a role model

    The comments by Shaun and Steve really got me thinking this morning…

    What IS a role model anyway? Why do celebrities always seem to be role models? Is it because they’re famous? Popular? Wealthy? Are they role models because they’re “living the dream” so to speak as professional singers/athletes? What exactly are they modeling? Is the obsession that some people have with celebrities just a popularity contest? – a thought process like: “I’m going to wear what Jennifer Aniston wears because then I’ll be popular like her.” Or perhaps I am just missing something – for me personally, at any rate, it has never been something I bought into. My role models are members of my family, people in my community, and my friends. Being like them is attainable. I could never have a role model that is a singer, because, quite frankly, no one here wants to hear me sing! Haha…

    But here’s another thought: I do not say this to excuse the actions of Amy Winehouse or any other celebrity that has made poor decisions in life. But sometimes I think it’s good to be reminded that these celebrities are still human beings, they are still people, and every person makes mistakes in their life. It’s unfortunate that celebrities mistakes are on display for the world to see, but nobody is perfect. So what if a famous person cheats on their partner? Within the society of all of us ‘regular’ people it happens all the time (unfortunately). I guess my point is that if children are going to look up to celebrities they should be reminded that nobody’s perfect. But as I mentioned earlier, I think there are better role models to be had anyway…

  74. July 29, 2008 at 12:49

    @a better way to vote

    I still think that having people answer questions about how they feel about certain topics and how strongly that issue concerns them is a better approach. Then have them match up their answers with the candidate that most closely represents their views and at the very least “suggest” that as a choice. But think of all the time and money that the candidates would have to waste talking about the actual issues instead of marketing their pretty face while slinging useless unrelated mud at the other candidates. I am sure it would never fly. Anybody remember when Ross Perot tried to use infomercials and charts on stage during debates to win the presidency? What was he thinking? Educating the voter, silly man.

  75. 78 John in Germany
    July 29, 2008 at 12:56

    Simple politics, aint possible, if it were we would make it complicated.

    I wonder how our liberal friends feel, in the middle and no where to go. Here in Germany they have been going left-right-left, just to have something to say. One thing is certain, the minority power game has been reduced to nil due to the coalition.

    For the first time since i don’t know when, the CDU (right for those that like it simple) have more members than the SPD (left). 800 more is a spit in the ocean, but you should hear the excuses-everything but the truth, and that is (were all fed up with politics, we are sick of being told lies before the election, and the excuses as to why the lies never came true after the election). And a hell of a lot of people fall for it every time.

    Oh by the way has anyone got a million or two dollars, i fancy becoming an ambassador, in ???????Cannes.

    Im going to jump on my Hos before i upset my boss-Ros.

    John in Germany.

  76. 79 John in Germany
    July 29, 2008 at 13:00

    Add to above. The political parties in Germany have all had a loss of members.

    John in Germany.

  77. 80 Pangolin- California
    July 29, 2008 at 13:46

    America’s not in recession for the same reason that everyone in Zimbabwe is a billionaire (in local currency), the central bank is printing money for all it’s worth and handing it out to cover losses in the financial systems. As to the vaunted “low unemployment rate” of the US the statistics are totally bogus. Anybody who responds to the survey to say that they had an hours paid work at all in the last two weeks is counted as “employed” regardless of whether that job can support an individual or a family or not.

    If you want to know the real state of the US economy look to the daily advertisements for “going out of business” sales, the desperate pleas from food banks for donations, the boarded up houses and the swarms of people that mob free health care clinics.

    Upper class twits will always advocate throwing some other poor sucker out on the street for their moral flaws. You never see them demanding that the blood streams of corporate CEO’s be monitored for drugs and alcohol but god forbid some poor person getting $10k in total benefits get a little pain relief.

    Jesus wept.

  78. 81 Tom
    July 29, 2008 at 13:59

    Fresh from closing 600 stores in the US, Starbucks has announced today that it will close down 61 out of its 85 Australian outlets within days. 685 jobs will be lost in an effort to boost profit by trimming down underperforming outlets. This implies that 70% of Starbucks outlets in the country are underperformers.

  79. 82 Shirley
    July 29, 2008 at 14:15

    Dwight, you said, “I would also force them to recognize that the child in the projects with 50 students in his/ her classroom learning from old and battered text books doesn’t have the same chance as the well-to-do school where there are 12 kids per class, and they all have been given laptops to use during the school year.”

    Isn’t tht the same as educational segregation? It’s strange how financial policies that essentially enfore segregationist and ghettoised policies are allowed to stand where segregationist laws themselves are not.

    Political Labels
    What would happen if we were to destroy the party sysem and have people running for office as individuals? Dwight, you don’t fit neatly into any party platform. We have seen political candidates modify their stances over the years as they rose through political ranks. What if we just let them have their platforms without forcing them to fit into the party platform?

  80. 83 Roberto
    July 29, 2008 at 14:18

    NPR is reporting that Amnesty International is claiming China has broken it’s pledge to improve human rights in advance of the Olympics.

    Is this really breaking news?

  81. 84 John in Germany
    July 29, 2008 at 14:28

    Everyone has a super all types of coffee machine at home these days, well those that can afford them, and those that cant don’t go to Starbucks anyway.

    John in Germany.

  82. 85 Angela in Washington D.C.
    July 29, 2008 at 16:43

    Has anyone seen the Barack Book started by the GOP? It is interesting.


  83. 86 Roberto
    July 29, 2008 at 19:38

    I’ve heard these sorts of “lefty” labels tossed around with gay abandon.

    —— Ooooppps…..

  84. 88 Bryan
    July 30, 2008 at 09:08

    Thanks for that link, Nelsoni. I will read the guidelines again.

  85. 89 Tom
    July 30, 2008 at 12:40

    @ John in Germany

    Everyone has a super all types of coffee machine at home these days, well those that can afford them, and those that cant don’t go to Starbucks anyway.

    Agree 100%. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: