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Eddie Mair | 06:37 UK time, Monday, 24 September 2007

The place for Serious Talk.

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  1. At 08:56 AM on 24 Sep 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    A general election.

    Will he or won't he?

    Who cares?

    Eddie and the PM team care. If Gordon announces an election today, that sets the tone and direction of the whole programme for the next couple of months.

    MPs, civil servants and the whole Westminster apparatus care. For them, an election is a career-changing event.

    However, as far as the general public is concerned - who I beleive makes up the vast majority of PM's audience - I'm hard pressed to figure out why we should have any interest in an electin *before* it's announced. Once we know there's going to be one, we *should* be interested and we *should* start thinking about the various parties' policies and who we're going to vote for.

    That is when we need the media to focus on these things. *Not* on the speculation about the timing because to most of us it just DOESN'T matter!

  2. At 10:57 AM on 24 Sep 2007, Gillian wrote:

    SSC (1) Well said! Let's hope that there are plenty of worthwhile and substantial issues to discuss so that analysis can be made of what was actually said, rather than what was ''expected'' to be said.

  3. At 11:29 AM on 24 Sep 2007, Gillian wrote:

    Apologies if this appears twice - first attempt, some time ago, was sent to Room 502.

    Well said, SSC (1) Of course, what we have to hope for is that the Labour Party Conference debate so many serious and important issues that it would be difficult to know which ones to report on in depth in the time allowed. ;o)
    But yes - let's have some analysis of what is actually said, rather than what was ''expected'' to be said.

  4. At 01:21 PM on 24 Sep 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Seriously (this being the place for that), there might be more comments on this frog if it allowed them through. Gillian says "sorry if this appears twice", because it had to be posted twice; that's been going on all weekend, with repeated posts, room 502s, apologies for froggers getting it wrong when they haven't, and abject failures. I have just spent more than forty minutes, on two different computers, trying to post this and another two posts like it, just once.

    Marc, if they have been improving the frog please could you ask them to put it back how it was? Being well-nigh impossible to use isn't an improvement, it's a *bore*.

  5. At 01:30 PM on 24 Sep 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    I wonder if this will go through: I have been trying to post for well over an hour now.

    Yes, that's a serious comment.

  6. At 02:16 PM on 24 Sep 2007, Eddie Mair wrote:

    I know Chris, it is cripplingly slow and bad. Have emailed a grown up. Please accept my apologies.

  7. At 02:44 PM on 24 Sep 2007, Eddie Mair wrote:

    Tried to post an apology to you Chris, some time ago. No sign of it. We're trying to resolve. Apologies to everyone!

  8. At 03:03 PM on 24 Sep 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Thanks, Eddie! When even *your* posts appear twice (Any Questions) and one has to assume that you had abandoned hope of them, things must be fairly dire.

    I too sent an email, but I have no idea if it will have any result.

    Meanwhile, might one suggest to someone that the Moderators' job might include checking what they pass, and *not* passing the identical post three and four and five times when they finally let it through at all? If that isn't part of their job, it *ought* to be!

  9. At 03:34 PM on 24 Sep 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    It's comforting that it isn't a case of "one frog for Eddie and another for the rest of us proles"!

    Not that the thing I tried to post just now (after Eddie's post at 6 showed up rather late, before his 7 appeared some time after 3 in the afternoon) got through; it claimed it didn't. Oh well, never mind, if it is universally horrible that doesn't feel quite so personal and peeve-making.

  10. At 05:28 PM on 24 Sep 2007, David McNickle wrote:

    Chris,
    Compared to a forum and another blog I use, the time for things to get posted here is abysmal. Talk about snail mail.

  11. At 06:09 PM on 24 Sep 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    David @10, during the years since 1993, this is the worst place I have ever encountered in terms of lost posts, refused posts, delayed posts, duplicated posts, and general user-unfriendliness. I am doing my best not to blame this on Marc the Blog Prince, and not to be rude about it, since I have a feeling that there is very little that anyone who reads things here can do to improve it. Eddie is stuck with it, poor man. The rest of us can always go away if we get really fed up.

    This sorry state of affairs does alas lead to my recalling the people I have known in the IT business who have had anything to do with the BBC and the computer in any form at any time, and recalling their comments about the quality they encountered in their doings with the BBC at every level.

    I just hope that rather than rushing about trying "new" ideas, somebody will have the common sense to try to get the basics right before they mess up at yet more levels, and the clout to make that decision stick.

    (If this isn't "malicious" there is no justice! But it will probably just be stalled or 502ed or lost instead.)

  12. At 06:14 PM on 24 Sep 2007, Fearless Fred wrote:

    I'd like to comment about the driver jailed today for 10 weeks for doing 172mph. I happen to know the stretch of road that he was caught on. It's close to where I live, and I've driven it more times than I care to remember. It scares me to think anyone would do more than 70mph along there, as it's a road with a LOT of different hazards on it. To think that he was going more then 100mph over the limit is jst beyond belief. I wish that they had jailed this maniac (for that is what he is, endangering all around him as he did) for something more like a minimum of 6 months...

  13. At 12:58 AM on 25 Sep 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    From the New York Times

    $6 Billion in Contracts Reviewed, Pentagon Says
    By ERIC SCHMITT and GINGER THOMPSON
    Published: September 21, 2007


    WASHINGTON, Sept. 20 — Military officials said Thursday that contracts worth $6 billion to provide essential supplies to American troops in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan — including food, water and shelter — were under review by criminal investigators, double the amount the Pentagon had previously disclosed.


    In addition, $88 billion in contracts and programs, including those for body armor for American soldiers and matériel for Iraqi and Afghan security forces, are being audited for financial irregularities, the officials said.


    Taken together, the figures, provided by the Pentagon in a hearing before the House Armed Services Committee, represent the fullest public accounting of the magnitude of a widening government investigation into bid-rigging, bribery and kickbacks by members of the military and civilians linked to the Pentagon’s purchasing system.


    Until the hearing on Thursday, the Army’s most detailed public disclosure about the scale of the problem was that contracts worth $3 billion awarded by the Kuwait office were under review.

    And, from the Ironic Times

    GREENSPAN: IRAQ WAR “LARGELY ABOUT OIL”
    Shown: Bush takes back Presidential Medal of Freedom.

    WORLD NEWS
    Iraq Takes Another Step Backwards
    Now somewhat less unified than during Ottoman Empire.

    Yale Will Return Peru’s Disputed Machu Picchu Relics
    Except those kept by Skull & Bones.

    Small Minority of Iraqis Want Americans to Stay
    To build permanent bases and take their oil.

    ALSO IN THE NEWS . . .

    Stanford University Appoints Rumsfeld Distinguished Visiting Fellow

    At the School of Monumental Blunders.

    Salaam/Shalom
    ed

  14. At 09:37 AM on 25 Sep 2007, David McNickle wrote:

    Chris (11),
    Thanks for the reply. I use a Delphi forum and the response is immediate, including four-letter words. I sent two posts after the one I put here and they are nowhere to be seen.......yet.

  15. At 01:36 PM on 25 Sep 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    On wealth, I came across this today, and just had to share it.

    "The greatest country, the richest country, is not that which has the most capitalists, monopolists, immense grabbings, vast fortunes, with its sad, sad soil of extreme, degrading, damning poverty, but the land in which there are the most homesteads, freeholds-where wealth does not show such contrasts high and low, where all men have enough-a modest living-and no man is made possessor beyond the sane and beautiful necessities."
    -- Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

    Salaam/Shalom/Shanthi
    ed


  16. At 05:29 PM on 25 Sep 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    David, @14, well...

    On "Stammering, is it funny", another thread, on which there were alleged to be two video links inserted by Eddie, Carl @3 wrote

    "I've noticed since you've started linking to /embedding video, the blog is a lot slower and submitting comments is a bit of a nightmare. You're not on TV you know! :o)"

    I wonder whether this explains it, and if so whether I shall simply have to abandon this forum altogether. I'd have thought that we did ok without vidoe, or come to that audio, and if it's causing me to be censored I for one may decide to go on doing without it by the simple process of going somewhere else.

    Pity, that.

    Maybe if I am fair I ought to see whether this post goes through -- this is the fourth or fifth day it's been dodgy if it won't, and that's becoming Enemy Action.

  17. At 09:11 PM on 25 Sep 2007, mac wrote:

    Hey, Ed, what is the chemical theory behind ecoballs?

    Any chance of a couple of links from you, one for simpletons like me and one for people somewhat cleverer?

    Can't find anything except organisations wanting to sell me stuff. Thought you might know and it might be of general interest.

    mac

  18. At 01:55 PM on 26 Sep 2007, mac wrote:

    Well done Ed!

    If this carries on he will reverse the everyday sense of Talking Balls.

    Hooray for being anti the 'Exams are getting easier' view.

    For at least 2 good reasons.

    1. Of course for the people who pass the very hard exams that are set these days. (Look honestly at the language, conceptual maths etc requirements in modern exams and compare them with our exercises in being a well trained parrot which so many exams were in my day (a Monday in early June 1958)


    2. The increased good grades and pass rates demonstrates very simply how the percentage of our children deemd clver depends on how many graduates our modern economy needs.

    In my day (see above) the huge demands in our economy for manual labour were satisfied by highly intelligent children being told they were unsuited to academic studies and university life.

    Which of course makes us egalitarians think 100 percent of the population are capable in the ways only the 40 percent university bound are considered today. Because in my day (see above) less than 10 percent were thought that 'capable'.

    Which in its turn of course makes us egalitarians wonder why we pay barristers more than refuse collectors.

  19. At 04:56 PM on 26 Sep 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Well Mac,

    I posted this last night, but it seems to have gone into limbo.

    I had never heard of ecoballs before you asked, but my guess was that they might involve boron in a low-solubility form . This guess led me to this:
    http://www.freepatentsonline.com/4684539.html

    I won't put any more links, because, even disguised, the moderation system seems to block any post with more than one.

    Try searchin g on borax and washing or laundry if you want a little theory. It seems to revolve around free oxygen. Persil (other detergents are available) derives its name from perborosilicate, or somesuch.

    An article at dubyadubyadubyadotborax.com/pioneer41.html will give a good summary.

    Hope this one gets through.

    Salaaaaami
    ed

    And, after bunches of 502's, I get
    Comment Submission Error

    Your comment submission failed for the following reasons:

    You are not allowed to post comments.

    I ain't no poxie proxy!

    And again! GRRRRRRR!
    And again!

  20. At 08:42 PM on 26 Sep 2007, mac wrote:

    Cheers, Ed. I.

    But is it one of those things covered by the link above? (Found it by following up what you suggested)

    Is it just EcoBalls or the real deal?

  21. At 08:49 PM on 26 Sep 2007, mac wrote:

    Cheers, Ed. I.

    But is it one of those things covered by the link above? (Found it by following up what you suggested)

    Is it just EcoBalls or the real deal?

  22. At 01:05 AM on 27 Sep 2007, mac wrote:

    What do Black and Scholes say Barclays is worth
    i. now?
    ii. in six weeks time?

  23. At 02:49 PM on 27 Sep 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Mac,
    An article at dubyadubyadubyadot
    http://www.borax.com/pioneer41.html
    will give a good summary. of the usefulness of boron in washing situations
    IF this ever gets through

    Salaam, etc.
    ed

  24. At 01:10 PM on 28 Sep 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119093341775741818.html?mod=mkts_main_todays_mkts_tac

    The Gold at Crunch's End
    Banks could benefit from an accounting rule that will allow them to generate profit from drops in values of their own debt. But some investors say the rules shouldn't have been changed to allow for such gains.

    As usual, the club takes care of its own....
    xx
    ed

  25. At 01:37 PM on 28 Sep 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119093341775741818.html?mod=mkts_main_todays_mkts_tac

    The Gold at Crunch's End
    Banks could benefit from an accounting rule that will allow them to generate profit from drops in values of their own debt. But some investors say the rules shouldn't have been changed to allow for such gains.

    As usual, the club takes care of its own....
    xx
    ed

  26. At 01:52 PM on 28 Sep 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119093341775741818.html?mod=mkts_main_todays_mkts_tac

    The Gold at Crunch's End
    Banks could benefit from an accounting rule that will allow them to generate profit from drops in values of their own debt. But some investors say the rules shouldn't have been changed to allow for such gains.

    As usual, the club takes care of its own....
    xx
    ed
    Got the good ole 502 blues...

  27. At 02:00 PM on 28 Sep 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119093341775741818.html?mod=mkts_main_todays_mkts_tac

    The Gold at Crunch's End
    Banks could benefit from an accounting rule that will allow them to generate profit from drops in values of their own debt. But some investors say the rules shouldn't have been changed to allow for such gains.

    As usual, the club takes care of its own....
    xx
    ed
    Got the good ole 502 blues...

  28. At 02:54 PM on 28 Sep 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119093341775741818.html?mod=mkts_main_todays_mkts_tac

    The Gold at Crunch's End
    Banks could benefit from an accounting rule that will allow them to generate profit from drops in values of their own debt. But some investors say the rules shouldn't have been changed to allow for such gains.

    As usual, the club takes care of its own....
    xx
    ed
    Got the good ole 502 blues...

  29. At 01:33 AM on 29 Sep 2007, mac wrote:

    The sound of Autumn. Dawn on a day in early October. The queues outside Barclays.

    You think I'm wrong? Well, you know I can't believe its not Barclays.

    A secret rescue by the BoE - like the one for Northern Rock this Thursday - when the counterparts to Northern Rock's new borrowing appeared in the BoE accounts, to save them?

    Or like the one earlier in the week when the BoE offered 10 billion. But banks were too conscious that they'd be labelled the ones in schtuck if they actually borrowed any of it.

    For every billion they borrow, 2 billion walks out of the front door. It will happen at a bank near you courtesy of gubernatorial moral hazard.

    And, like I say, I can't believe its not Barclays.

  30. At 01:41 AM on 29 Sep 2007, mac wrote:

    The sound of Autumn. Dawn on a day in early October. The queues outside Barclays.

    You think I'm wrong? Well, you know I can't believe its not Barclays.

    A secret rescue by the BoE - like the one for Northern Rock this Thursday - when the counterparts to Northern Rock's new borrowing appeared in the BoE accounts, to save them?

    Or like the one earlier in the week when the BoE offered 10 billion. But banks were too conscious that they'd be labelled the ones in schtuck if they actually borrowed any of it.

    For every billion they borrow, 2 billion walks out of the front door. It will happen at a bank near you courtesy of gubernatorial moral hazard.

    And, like I say, I can't believe its not Barclays.

  31. At 12:39 PM on 29 Sep 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    And, from our continuing service, a few words at Summer's End...

    xx
    ed

  32. At 12:51 PM on 29 Sep 2007, mac wrote:

    With the Buddhist protests in Burma will the West be looking more favourably on other protests by devout religious folk against puppet governments backed by foreign powers. Like the Vichy mob in Iraq, the absurd Karzai governemt in Afghanistan and the oligarchic clique which has been in power in Palestine since 1949.

    Incidently why is the Beeb (10 o'clock news BBC1 last night) calling the British soldiers killed in the 'men who died in Kandahar' since it ignores the hundreds of local 'men who(m)' the British have slaughtered 'in Kandahar'?

    Hey, ho. To the main point.

    We constantly assert that religious practise in Iraq, Iran, Afganistan, Gaza etc deprives people of their rights.

    For me the problem is the other way round. Our scientific stances seem to me to deprive us of our capacity for religious experience.

    It is commonplace in Western philosophy that 'ought' implies 'can'. (Except for Amartya Sen of course). If someone says 'You should...' that is held to imply that they think you can....

    But whereas few in the West these days say they want deeper more significant religious experience anyone who feels they should be more religious comes up against the difficulty that they can't. Not any longer.

    Which is sad really because the West cutting itself off from religious experience is a bit like the West not finding rainbows beautiful since Newton showed the show had something to do with total internal reflection (!).

    It is surely not an exaggeration to say that many in the West have lost the right to religious experience since religious experience is now something they CANNOT access any more. They have lost the skilss and the institutions so to do.

  33. At 01:56 PM on 29 Sep 2007, JPA wrote:

    Last Friday, three yobs knocked on my door and assaulted me repeatedly. I had in my hand a stanley knife, which they did not see, and in the confusion I can remember thinking, "If this gets any worse, I will use it". Fortunately,they realized they had made a terrible mistake and backed off back into their flat spouting filth and threats. But, if I had retaliated, at least one of them would have ended up being dis-embowled.
    These decisions have to be made in a split second, and I'm left wondering if I had retaliated would it be me rather than them being prosecuted now. In the end, it would have just been one swing of my hand, but the damage would have been horrendous. Would that, it your view, have been proportional, bearing in mind this all happened in my own hallway? I'm still unsure, but how much do you have to take from drunk and coked up maniacs in your own home before a single swing of your arm could finish it all?

  34. At 04:31 PM on 29 Sep 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    America and sustainability, from James Howard Kunstler.


    Bottom line, says Kunstler: "What we're really in the process of seeing is the beginning of a big campaign to sustain the unsustainable, and it will end in tears."

    Well worth a read.
    xx
    ed

    And, after being barred from NCM Bar and the Brow, I'm filled with malice!

    In an effort to curb malicious comment posting by abusive users, I've enabled a feature that requires a weblog commenter to wait a short amount of time before being able to post again. Please try to post your comment again in a short while. Thanks for your patience.

    HUH!

  35. At 04:45 PM on 29 Sep 2007, Sid Cumberland wrote:

    mac (32)

    I think you're talking nonsense. I love a good rainbow as much as the next person, and I don't have to believe in God to do that. Do I?

    Furthermore, I believe you are putting more weight on ought/can/rights than they can bear, and I don't think you should. But I expect you have better things to do on a Saturday than write a philospohy essay ...

    Sid

  36. At 08:18 PM on 29 Sep 2007, mac wrote:

    Sid.

    I suspect you are just looking for a debate but.....


    People living in a dictatorship have had their right to vote taken away from them.

    Telling the people of Burma they should vote the generals out of office is silly 'cos they can't.

    I'm sorry Sid but its you needs to get your pencils sharpened not me.
    You've got till the end of Ant and Dec to come up with something.

    Enjoying and valuing religious experience is something the Burmese monks do without any appeal to any conception of God as something different from nature.

    The point about not needing God to enjoy beauty is willfully (I hope) to misunderstand me.

    mac


    PS I was on sausage sandwiches when I talked about Nessum Dorma. There are ones in Morris(-dancers -)sons*** at 173 cals per 100 gms and delicious.

    ***Hoping that escapes the moderators' brand of brand justice.

  37. At 10:24 PM on 29 Sep 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    And, regarding our own wars, a New York Times Editorial:

    Runaway (Spending) Train
    Published: September 28, 2007

    If, as he says, President Bush is going to start withdrawing troops from Iraq, why on earth does he need vastly more money from Congress to wage war? The staggering, ever escalating numbers tell the real story: As long as it’s up to Mr. Bush, the American presence in Iraq will be endless and ever more costly, diverting resources from other national priorities that are being ignored or shortchanged.

    The administration showed its cards on Wednesday when it asked Congress for an additional $42.3 billion in “emergency” funding for Iraq and Afghanistan. This comes on top of the original 2008 spending request, which was made before Mr. Bush announced his so-called “new strategy” of partial withdrawal. It would bring the 2008 war bill to nearly $190 billion, the largest single-year total for the wars and an increase of 15 percent from 2007.
    ......


    Mere pocket change, I guess...
    Salaam, etc.
    ed

    In an effort to curb malicious comment posting by abusive users, I've enabled a feature that requires a weblog commenter to wait a short amount of time before being able to post again. Please try to post your comment again in a short while. Thanks for your patience.

    GAH!

    Your comment submission failed for the following reasons:

    You are not allowed to post comments.

    GAH! GAH!

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