BBC BLOGS - Justin Webb's America
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Time to say goodbye

Justin Webb | 09:48 UK time, Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Sorry again for not being more attentive. With great sadness - really huge sadness as the time we spent in America will I think be the highlight of our family life - it is time to say goodbye.

We have arrived back in the UK to begin the rest of our lives. Memo to other Brits who might think of coming home from the US: spend your final US holiday in (fill in the name of your least favourite US place) - don't do what we do and fly home from northern California. Granted I was unimpressed with San Francisco but for climate and lifestyle and gorgeous scenery there is nowhere better than the rest of the state. But you already know this.

What I would like to do is thank people who have contributed to the blog - including those who find my views frustratingly jejune - and ask you to forgive my failure to reply to many many fascinating insights including (rather shamefully) several I nicked for my book.

Now back in the UK I find myself utterly at sea - I say hello to people I pass in the street. They lunge on, muttering insults. We'll get used to it. But we will never forget the kindness of America. In Swindon buying a car the other day (yes, life has changed) the conversation turned to a familiar theme but one that endlessly fascinates me - the relative peaceableness of the American life, guns and all. Too many Brits seriously think that America is violent. It isn't. Most America lives are free of violence and the threat of it in a way no life in Swindon can be. Why that's true is a subject all of its own (religion, gun ownership, moral fibre, space, social cohesiveness?) and one worthy of a future study.

By the way, we bought a large second-hand American car and we will pay the extra costs with pride... Have a nice day !

Comments

  • 1. At 10:17am on 19 Aug 2009, keithfusco wrote:

    So what American car did you buy? It's always good to see the American beasts of cars on the UK roads.

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  • 2. At 11:40am on 19 Aug 2009, SaintOne wrote:

    Thank you for your blogs Justin, sorry you had to move back to the UK, although I hope you warm to it(not literally given our weather)again.

    Best wishes

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  • 3. At 12:02pm on 19 Aug 2009, VirginiaBrit wrote:

    Oh Justin, we will miss you so! As a British ex-pat here in Virginia, it has given me a lot of joy to read and listen to your views on matters here in the States and to know how similar we are in our English-but-sort-of-Americanesque perspectives. I wil always value the kindness with which you have spoken about this country and her people, and the balance with which you have treated issues here. The US was lucky to have you, and we will miss you. Best of luck with everything!

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  • 4. At 12:03pm on 19 Aug 2009, Mr_Pilks wrote:

    Refreshing to hear someone speak so positively of a country. It also highlights the negativity of our own! A little bit depressing yes...but not if it stirs us to change!

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  • 5. At 12:14pm on 19 Aug 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Thank you for offering a European perspective to what we take for granted, and for your patience and understanding when we over reacted to observations were designed to promote reflection and deserving of civil discussion.

    I wish you and your family the very best and hope you have a long and successful assignment in your homeland.

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  • 6. At 12:17pm on 19 Aug 2009, ibiza6403 wrote:

    Welcome home, a chance you might give a lecture at your fine alma mater where I am a student?

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  • 7. At 12:52pm on 19 Aug 2009, margaretbcw wrote:

    I read your book and as an expat who returned recently to the UK, I and my daughters thought you got it just right. We are all so sorry you are leaving the US as you bring a sense of reason and insight into life in the US which so many Brits just do not understand. Good luck in your life back in the UK.

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  • 8. At 1:00pm on 19 Aug 2009, candascat wrote:

    Justin,

    I suspect you lived quite an affluent life in the US and in an affluent area. However, for the majority of Americans and especially black Americans, violence is a part of everyday life. In a recent report in The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2009/aug/11/chicago-youth-murders-barack-obama) the number of youths killed within walking distance of Barack Obama's house is shocking.

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  • 9. At 1:12pm on 19 Aug 2009, john-In-Dublin wrote:

    Once again Justin, best of luck in your new [old] country, and your new job.

    There seems to have been a general consensus here that you are very obviously a fanatical lover of Obama/Hillary/Democrats/McCain/Palin/Republicans/The US/The UK [delete where applicable], while simultaneously being a fanatical hater of Obama/Hillary/Democrats/McCain/Palin/Republicans/The US/The UK [delete where applicable]. So don't go changing your views ;-)

    On the subject of getting used to the UK again, there was an American writer - possibly Douglas Kennedy - who lived in Ireland for a few years. As I recall, he observed that he knew he'd been 'assimilated' when his stock answer to the question 'how are you?' changed from 'Great!' to 'Not too bad'. He said that he hadn't in fact become any less upbeat - just more reserved about showing it...

    [PS I have to admire the clever way you snuck in a plug for your book
    :-)]

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  • 10. At 1:16pm on 19 Aug 2009, American Sport Fan wrote:

    Good bye Justin and I sincerely hope you return to these shores One Day. Even though you are leaving I do believe the Beeb should coninue a blog along the line of this one. By having a british national, write a regular blog about life here in the States. It doesn't necessarily a blog about Politics, but it should be about the cultural differances and the cultural similarities that our two nations share. The BBC should look in house to find somebody who would be suitable to move to the States and report on life over hear. There are Several good candidates whom I can think of.

    One would be Jeremy Clarkson, think about it. By being assigned to the North American desk in Washington, Clarkson would be given the opertunity to confront his own predjudices about the United States. How many times on Top Gear about the violence in America. Even after he has traveled to the State for filming of segments. Jeremey Would bring on a fresh perspective. I'd love to see what he thinks after he's been told by his editors that he has to go cover a Yankees Red Sox game. THat in and of itself would be hilarious.

    This sort of doesn't have to be about the News at all. Why not make it a blog about sports. If they wanted to go in that direction, I would hire a former professional cricket or Rugby player and tell him to travel the United States and Canada and make an effort to cover the NFL or MLB. That would be interesting to read. Even though he doesn't currently work for the BBC, Ed Smith would be ideal for such a project.

    Whatever direction the Beeb choses to go, it should be interesting. Regardless of which direction choses to take it will provide a great public service because it will help break down the cultural misunderstandings that exist between our two nations. To some degree, we don't understand one another and at times it really does seem like we are two nations seperated by a common language.

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  • 11. At 1:20pm on 19 Aug 2009, otherboot wrote:

    Thank you for this commentary. I have had the same experience in two dimensions as it were. I was born and eductaed in the UK and moved with my job to the US in the 70's and was mildly surprised that the place was so pleasant and pacific. I say "mildly" because I had been an avid fan of Alastair Cooke for many years and had a better idea of what to expect. More recently, and here is the "second dimension", I had the chance to spend 14 months in Singapore and I loved every minute. Like you I have tried very hard in my blog to counter some of the very negative reports of the place, (dictatorial, oppressive, single-party system etc), that have appeared in the press. Like you, when I occasionally return to the UK to see my family I am oppressed by the overwhelming sense of gloom which I did not remember from my life there.
    We have much in common and that is why I took the very unusual step, (for me) of signing up for your blog. I shall follow it with interest.

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  • 12. At 1:26pm on 19 Aug 2009, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    "Most America lives are free of violence and the threat of it in a way no life in Swindon can be."

    Maybe so, but what about the statistics? The homicide rate in the US is far higher per hundred thousand people than Britain's rate (or the rates in most industrialized nations). Your insight that most Americans' lives are free of violence is correct--I have often wondered where all those homicides happen. On the other hand, one movie I watched for an English class last semester ("Bowling for Columbine") compared the US with Canada and found Americans much more violent and scared of violence than Canadians. The movie was obviously biased, but so too are the people who say the United States is a place with little violence. The United States is such a big place that you can find support for almost anything you want to believe about it. The truth lies somewhere in the middle of the extremes.

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  • 13. At 1:36pm on 19 Aug 2009, zaza612 wrote:

    In 1996 I bought a 1988 Plymouth Voyager in Boston, took out the back seats, and drove across 49 states + through Canada. The journey took 10 months (35000 miles). Before boarding the plane at Gatwick I was warned by everyone I knew that America wasn't safe and that I should never talk to strangers. I talked to a lot of strangers, and they were kind and generous and enthusiastic about my trip and their country. And even though I sometimes chuckled at some of the people I came across "do they speak English in England?” I had, without a shadow of a doubt, the best 10 months of my life. I went back to America in 2003 to make a film (www.blue-whaleproductions.com) and again I loved it every minute of every day.
    Actually, the point of my story is this: returning to England isn't so bad! In Dec 1996 I flew back to the UK and realised how much I love it there too. In 2003 however, I flew back to a job on the continent and I immediately slipped into a depression (and I am not the depressive type). I now live in Belgium and I yearn for the States and I yearn for the UK... but luckily I can still travel to all my favourite destinations in both countries. This means that I am continuously looking forward to something. Not a bad way to live I guess!
    Isabelle
    P.S. "Jejune". Good word. Good job!! Enjoy your new life and make sure you set yourself up for email alerts on travelocity! Flights to NY only GBP 298 today... :)

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  • 14. At 1:57pm on 19 Aug 2009, Byrne91 wrote:

    Thanks for these columns they're great. I'm leaving New York after 6 months here and you're making me very apprehensive! But having just done a piece on a Brooklyn projects where people have been living without hot water for the past 8 months I have some qualms with "Most America lives are free of violence and the threat of it in a way no life in Swindon can be."

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  • 15. At 2:25pm on 19 Aug 2009, Mariablog wrote:

    I'm sorry to say I haven't been following your blog but I was attracted to this post as it is in such stark contrast to your article when you left Belgium (where I am expatriated) a few years ago.
    Unfortunately I must say I do share some of the opinions you expressed back then, but I do wonder how someone in less 'secure' circumstances would summarize life in the two places.

    Best of luck to you and your family !

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  • 16. At 2:26pm on 19 Aug 2009, queenPatriciaV wrote:

    I am glad to read Justin Webb's favourable comments about his time in the U.S. After his vitriolic comments upon leaving his post in Brussels and thoroughly maligning this lovely little country, some of his readers might have been waiting with bated breath to see what gems came forth from this posting.

    Of course, as one of your other bloggers pointed out, it is easy to have favourable views if you live in Georgetown, in a nice house, frequent the upper echelons of society and don't really have to bother with the lower, poorer and homeless who are infinitely less appealing.

    It will be interesting in the coming months to read the blog and see how life in the UK, with crime rates soaring, child abuse constantly in the news alongside that of age abuse, compares with the US.

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  • 17. At 2:34pm on 19 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 18. At 2:34pm on 19 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

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  • 19. At 2:36pm on 19 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

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  • 20. At 2:41pm on 19 Aug 2009, ajonab wrote:

    It's as if I was reading my own blog post.

    Two months ago I moved back to Canada after having lived a few years in California (Silicon Valley) for work. Now I often think back of the beautiful weather, the short drive to the great beaches in Carmel, and the excellent indoor climbing gyms.

    I also find myself saying hello to people I pass in the streets, only to be looked at as if I was a crazy man. One thing I miss the most is the impeccable customer service and courtesy - something you won't find here in Montreal. Oh, and I also miss my 2008 Chevy Malibu 2LT.

    Cheers

    Alex

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  • 21. At 2:50pm on 19 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    I would like to take this opportunity to say goodbye to David Cunard. for his excellent correspondence from the left bank.

    Tim from Ohio.

    We missed your wise comments and understand why you left the blog.

    To all those that we can only lay a wreath for because they are not allowed to comment.

    RIP



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  • 22. At 2:54pm on 19 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 23. At 2:55pm on 19 Aug 2009, john-In-Dublin wrote:

    JW - "What I would like to do is thank people who have contributed to the blog - including those who find my views frustratingly jejune."

    [a] Don't mention it

    [b] I can honestly say that I have never detected in you even the slightest hint of jejeunosity ;-)

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  • 24. At 3:08pm on 19 Aug 2009, web4uruth wrote:

    Thanks for a great window to what America looks like to those who love her freedom and family, cars and beauty, friendliness and all of the things that make America great. Too much bad press by people who don't understand what sacrifice means to keep freedom and prosperity, God and Country together, nice to see a heart for US. Ruth

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  • 25. At 3:11pm on 19 Aug 2009, calvinbailey wrote:

    I thought that the BBC's reporters would have been more grown up than this. Living in the US on the privileges that the BBC has provided for you and your family is not representative of he existence that the average person in the US has. I assume that your health care was covered? I assume that you lived in a gated or well to do community? I assume that you didn't live in an area where you neighbours don't talk to you if you do not attend church and black people are afraid to talk to you if you are white? I assume that your work mates didn't go and buy assault rifles when President Obama was elected because they thought he was going to send brain washing squads to town to take them from them? I do.

    I am a servant of the government on exchange here in the US, I have served the US in war and am very proud to have done so, but I unlike you will go back to Swindon and will buy a Honda that doesn't destroy the environment and I will leave my bubble with a smile on my face knowing that when my children grow up they will do so with free health care in a modern-moderate liberal society.

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  • 26. At 3:16pm on 19 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Margret margret
    Justin inciteful maybe insightful no.

    e still thinks a nation where a top star who got dog to tear apart cats and other dogs for entertainment is re hired after a short jail time and a few empty apologies ------is peaceful.

    At least in the UK they take it out on each other more than the local wildlife.
    We have had several deer mutilations in our area recently and still have cock fighting roosters to be seen in little boxes (so you know they are fighting cocks).
    But back to that society that says violating the whole world to pander to the spoilt people of the nation's desires for nothing real is peaceful.

    I bet if you gave every brit as much consumer goods and good weather to enjoy it in they would be less violent.
    but they live shoulder to shoulder in a cramped nation.
    get told gas is too expensive to allow them to indulge their every whim.

    not so in the US where the kids that would be fighting outside the pub are racing around in their parents humvee.

    oh and back to the dog fighting animal murdering bet on savagery profootball player that just got a million and a half contract and the coach said "well my kids took drugs and got felonies so I understand felonies" (no lible or slander there he ran a dog ring and went to jail , mods)

    This guy could not see the difference in taking drugs and taking cats and putting them in cages to be pulled apart.

    Peaceful nation.
    Not if you are the Cat exterminator in town (yes they have them here)
    Nor if you work in the pound putting down dogs too savage to rehabilitate because they were in the dog fighting community.

    How many British Kids put a small bomb in a closed environment as kittens last year to see what happened?

    How many spent their saturday shooting jays or crows just for the "fun of it"


    Come back and visit the real america. if you dare.

    America takes their fear and anger and direct it at other animals .
    Look at he displacemennt activities they get up to.

    What ids those UK kids could get an ATV and race around without getting slapped by local landowners.

    but then look at the brit kid who doesn't use 20 gallons just messing around in a dried out field or dunes.





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  • 27. At 3:21pm on 19 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Too much bad press by people who don't understand what sacrifice means to keep freedom and prosperity, God and Country together, nice to see a heart for US. Ruth

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


    you need to meet more people like calvin baily ,above.

    calvin sorry you just joined.


    many here agree with your point and are glad Justins rosy rosy specs are leaving these shores

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  • 28. At 3:24pm on 19 Aug 2009, theoch wrote:

    I didn't find your blog jejune, but I did find it extremely biased and an insult to all those who read the BBC looking an impartial source of news. Oh, and San Fransisco won't miss you either.

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  • 29. At 3:26pm on 19 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    WELL SAID CALVINBAILEY.

    But watch out the last that made comments like that got booted for being too free with their speech.


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  • 30. At 3:27pm on 19 Aug 2009, Rev IMD wrote:

    Justin

    I read this as I am back in California visiting friends and family. I shall miss your reports of my homeland, balanced and fair, even if sometimes hard to hear. Thank you for your kind words above.

    Good luck and God bless you in your next adventure in live.


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  • 31. At 3:39pm on 19 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 32. At 3:50pm on 19 Aug 2009, Richard_SM wrote:

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  • 33. At 3:58pm on 19 Aug 2009, funkbox41 wrote:

    Having also resided in the US for nearly eight years, I too shall be returning to the UK next month. I have mixed feelings about this. I love many things about the US, but I also dislike many things too.

    I can't agree with Justin's view that America is not a violent nation. As many have pointed out, he appears to have been sheltered by the realities of the violence that courses through this country's veins. I have lived in three different states. I have lived in low income neighborhoods and middle class areas. Just turn on the local news on any given night and the violent events rack up. In some states you have people carrying guns to church and at rallies as we've seen in recent days. Not to mention the numerous mass shootings that claim victims on a far too regular basis. England is not immune to violence, most of it drink fueled, but it's nothing like here. I would never discourage anybody from coming to America as it's such a rich experience, but a sense of perspective must be realized.

    As for people you greet not been responsive in kind, well, that happens in many places. I lived in NYC and it was the same. Even in the south, where I live now, it's like that. Americans love their country and for the most part are proud to share that with anyone. Brits tend to be more negative about their country and themselves as they're so miserable. They always think the grass is greener on the other side. Must be something to do with the weather!

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  • 34. At 3:59pm on 19 Aug 2009, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    Hmm.. I can understand you buying a car in Swindon, but surely you are not living there ? Or are you now having a mid-life crisis and moving to the Cotswolds ?

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  • 35. At 4:04pm on 19 Aug 2009, enriquecornejo wrote:

    Hi Justin,

    I'm sure that your stay in the US was a wonderful experience. Your reports were always interesting. People in one side of the Atlantic almost always tend to have a wrong image about the folks of the other side of the ocean. I think that quality of life is better in Western Europe but of course in the US one can have a good life and experience a multicultural environment. While Europeans think most Americans are superficial, Americans think Europeans are boring and strict.

    When people go to live abroad and have a good experience, they tend to overestimate all the qualities of the other country when they get back home. That happened to me (Norway and Mexico are completely different). But the UK certainly has a lot of benefits which are now impossible to find in the US. The NHS is the best example.

    So now you just have to get used to British humour again, and you will be fine.
    Congratulations, great job!

    Cheers from Mexico.

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  • 36. At 4:06pm on 19 Aug 2009, Madridexpat wrote:

    Looks like Fluffytale woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.
    Unfortunately Fluffy's anger (illustrated at #27) is an example of the problems of trying to have communication between opposing views in the US. Agree with me and you are my friend like CalvinBailey. Write something counter to my views and then you get "many here agree with your point and are glad Justins rosy rosy specs are leaving these shores."

    BTW, visit the UK sometime Fluffy...the problems of aniamal cruelty are sadly not restricted to the US.


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  • 37. At 4:06pm on 19 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Richard.

    Alister cook had bits removed?

    I think something was lost there.
    but am very interested to follow the case you are talking about in general.
    I am sure Happylaze will appreciate it.

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  • 38. At 4:14pm on 19 Aug 2009, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    #21 Fluffytale--

    Is DC really gone? If he is, what a shame. It could just be the time zone, though. It is currently only 8:07 am in California (11:07 am in the East where i live).

    Mr. Webb stated:
    "What I would like to do is thank people who have contributed to the blog - including those who find my views frustratingly jejune - and ask you to forgive my failure to reply to many many fascinating insights including (rather shamefully) several I nicked for my book."

    If I did that, and one of my professors caught me, I'd be in big trouble. I haven't, though, and I'm not even sure who the dean of my college is. There's no need to steal--instead you can just cite your sources properly: http://www.citationmachine.net/.

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  • 39. At 4:28pm on 19 Aug 2009, moderate_observer wrote:

    best wishes in the future justin, but I cant help but to conclude from all your blog that you are somewhat an elitist. I hope to be wrong on that.

    Like many americans you appear to be willfully ignorant of the harsh realities of many americans. Many do not care about what happens out of their immediate surroundings and declares the american experience to be their own personal experience.

    Your coverage always seemed to lack any insight on the problems experienced by others and why they complain. For example, you visited the poorest state in the nation (South Carolina) but you did not venture far outside the realms of the governor sanford's protective bubble. No mention of the serious challenges of residents of the state, no comparison to what their life may have been if they lived in a place like the UK under similar circumstances. No mention of how refusing stimulus funds would affect them. No insight as to why this state does so badly economically. You did not even mention the politically popular 'corridor of shame'.

    If you wanted to cover the american experience on the other side, You do not have to look any further thn Washington DC, you spent most of your time there, it is an example of how everyone willfully ignores glaring problems in society. DCs crime rate is one of the highest in the nation, in fact it is one of the most violent metropolitan areas in the country , all this a stone throw away from the White House and the core of US democracy,the most secure area in the world perhaps. I really doubt that anywhere in the UK is like this.

    How often is this covered in the press nationally? Almost never, in fact it never makes the news until the crime spills over into tourist areas.
    Otherwise it’s a case of, let them kill themselves it is not my problem, let them starve, shut down their schools it’s not my problem unless of course it is happening to me.

    Even politicians on the beltway acts as if it does not exist and political discourse seems to be dominated by people who want to be exempt from policy than those who want to be included (health care town hall meetings).

    That's an interesting dynamic to write about.

    Your blog although entertaining at times did not really seem like much of an indepth coverage of america and it's culture, but more of a summary of the lifestyle of someone who lives among the best of america. So in essence it was more flattery than anything else. I suppose the BBC must have got you better accommodations in the US than you had while in Belgium.

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  • 40. At 4:29pm on 19 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Madrid expat.

    Really.
    how observant of you.


    You don't understand that I AM british and AMerican.
    so really go get some facts before you potificate.
    A for being against or with.

    I live in the USA. there are reasons but justins observations are rubbish.


    Violent crime is so rife here most goes un reported because most communities have so few cops that care.

    recently 5 vehicles were broken into in one day at a local tourist spot and when they were caught at it the cops response was.
    " you can't detain them" our only officers in the area are doing traffic duty" (to raise revenue)

    so no report was filed.

    animal cruelty.
    I lived in the UK 30 years and never heard the amount of tales of blowing up kittens and animal cruelty I have seen here.

    What makes you the expert on the US and UK in comparison to each other?

    Come up with a counter to the issues before you try that republican thinking on me.

    You have not countered a point.
    Just said " well you're not agreeing with me"
    you hypocrite.

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  • 41. At 4:32pm on 19 Aug 2009, surfdog_sandiego_usa wrote:

    Thanks for your kind words about the US. As a tenth-gen Irish-American, I have mostly affection for the UK. here's an interesting note. I lived in Europe for many years. One of the civilized behaviors UK & US have in common is standing politely in line (queueing). Last month I was at JFK airport in New York, waiting in line at a pizza concession. Behind me were a middle-aged French man and wife. She stood behind me and kept shoving me (which is my experience of waiting in line on the Continent). Finally, she ran past me and tried to get to the head of the line, until the woman serving pasta yelled at her to get back in line. I added a word or two in frustration, and her husband started berating me as if this happened a lot with them and he had plenty of practice at it. I don't think this sort of thing happens in the UK or US.

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  • 42. At 4:33pm on 19 Aug 2009, JHThomas wrote:

    Goodbye Justin & Family, We'll miss you,

    Come Back Soon!

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  • 43. At 4:35pm on 19 Aug 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    Best of luck, Justin.

    I would be happier if I didn't feel like we're losing yet another hard core journalist to talk (chat) show triviality, but I'm thinking there's a lot more money there, and that's a good thing when you're heading a young family.

    Still, from what I've gathered about you through your reports and this forum, I can't help but wonder if you'll find that life fulfilling. Here's hoping so.

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  • 44. At 4:36pm on 19 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    true conservative

    DC is not gone (I hope) I was just saying goodbye if the blog didn't start up again.

    He is a clintonite . I'm more than vehemently not.
    PS madrid. I really do disagree with much of what DC said. so go get a REAL life



    LOL Moderate observer.

    Nice
    And LOL again.

    And also SPOT ON.

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  • 45. At 4:37pm on 19 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 46. At 4:40pm on 19 Aug 2009, gtkovacs wrote:

    Don't live in a big city, Justin. I lived in London. I now live in a village in a rural area, and I can assure you that people are friendly and say hello.

    What would reactions be to your saying hello to people on a street in New York?

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  • 47. At 4:50pm on 19 Aug 2009, CarolinaBrit wrote:

    This stuff is not rocket science. Say something nice about America - or write a New World symphony - and Americans will love you. Say anything that might remotely be construed as a criticism (true or not) and suddenly you're a yellow-toothed, tax-crazed, socialist freedom-hater.

    (And I've been here longer than Justin Webb).

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  • 48. At 4:52pm on 19 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    "is an example of the problems of trying to have communication between opposing views in the US."



    madrid

    you are a perfect example of the problem.
    someone counters the point that the UK is violent and US is not, with some discussion bringing examples in to illustrate the point.


    What did you do to counter that points I made. say animal cruelty happens in the UK as well.
    Show me the Star that got a million and a half annual contract after organising the shredding of animals in their house.
    Just one.


    See the problem is better illustrated by you moaning at me than my taking on Justins points.

    I'll argue the point . you argue the style.

    so get real.

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  • 49. At 4:56pm on 19 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Surf dog .
    I worked retail in the UK.

    ' American tourists don't get queing either. Sorry.
    and as for forming a line.
    that is a laugh.
    yes when supervised they do.
    but go to a super market checkout
    watch them open the till next to you . and watch the guy at the back run to the front.
    lol anecdotal yes

    Brits are good at standing in a line.
    so are russians. we have that in common. but I wouldn't extend that to america.
    Unfortunately.

    If I were a skiier I might see it on the slopes.
    but americans cut in like no bodies

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  • 50. At 4:57pm on 19 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    carolina brit.
    Well said.

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  • 51. At 5:00pm on 19 Aug 2009, middlecroony wrote:

    Goodbye Justin, i wont nessasarily miss you, but i will miss many of the regular bloggers. Saint Dominick, Tim Ohio, Ukwales, Chicagolaw, Ed, and so many more. Congratulations Justin, you made something of your life, and have a great career, but as much as you love America, Britian is your safety net, you are fortunate to have, and you should probably refrain a bit more of your critisizms of her. America can be a very violent place, and it is getting worse as our economy spirals, and as the political wedge between the two parties grows and it starts to effect who you will or won't have over for dinner anymore. Cities are broke, so they threaten to cut the police force to make ends meet. Standard backward American thinking. Home invasions ,and robberies are on the rise, and pair that with people buying more guns... Your derogatory comments about San Francisco, and even the town you will be living in in the U.k. makes me think that perhaps you dwell on the negative side of life which in turn closes your mind, and may finally seriously restrict your capabilities as a journalist. Fiction might be better for you, because then you can wear those rose colored glasses you obviouly own.

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  • 52. At 5:02pm on 19 Aug 2009, steveinnc wrote:

    We just moved back to the US (North Carolina) from London after 3 years. We alternate between excitement and joy at the ease of doing things in the US versus the more private sophistication of London. I have not had time yet to think about the broader scope of societal differences, but I suspect that it will be a mixed bag of feelings as well.

    I think that you have to see the different cultures in a more holistic way. The different views yield different ways of life.

    Good luck readjusting. I found that "hello" is a bad word...only "morning" or "afternoon" is allowed when speaking to a stranger. And then only tolerated grudgingly.

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  • 53. At 5:05pm on 19 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    gtkovak.

    yep that's the point cities are not polite places most of the time.
    anyway in america they are scared not to say hello incase you shoot them.
    Ok thats an exageration. but it is also part of the truth.
    americans intimidate by nature.

    People carry guns to rallies. to intimidate.
    they mention they own a gun
    to intimidate(not all )


    Mosta mericans are "polite" to the face.

    I'll be impolite disagree and still exist with rather than just say.
    " I don't talk politics"

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  • 54. At 5:20pm on 19 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    51 middlecroony


    another well said.

    I look forward to being the positive one about it here in the states.
    (there are some bright spots).

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  • 55. At 5:22pm on 19 Aug 2009, sweetsmellofsuccess wrote:

    Perhaps you could ask your bosses, Justin, to change the job title for your successor. 'Correspondent for the United States', maybe. Or 'Correspondent for reporting everything Obama does'. But not 'North America correspondent'. Because in all your time dining out in Georgetown you only blogged on Canada once (a story about Obama, natch) and never blogged about Mexico. So 'North America' is something of a joke, no?

    Now you're back, hopefully you will avoid the familiar BBC trait of living in London, reporting from London, using London as an example of everything, and quoting 'us' as if everyone lives inside the M25 and uses the Underground every day.

    Hopefully.

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  • 56. At 5:28pm on 19 Aug 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    Justin, that you were unimpressed with SF, surely one of the most beautiful cities in the world, concerns me as to your state of mind! True, you demonstrate considerable sanity with your appraisal of the rest of California but none the less....

    I am a fellow expat working in continental Europe (recently in that perpetual 'Quality of Life' frontrunner, the Netherlands) but look forward to the day I return permanently to the UK. We've just this month bought an apartment in Greenwich, my favourite part of my favourite city in the world, and the daydreams of our new life have begun.

    Admittedly, if you seek friendly strangers, then London may not be your ideal base. However, good manners and customer service has noticeably soared there in recent years (shattering many misconceptions of my Mancunian girlfriend).

    I have also found that you can accurately gauge the friendliness of the locals merely by the attractiveness of the area. So, when seeking to compare US/UK towns and cities accurately, try this measure when pairing up!

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  • 57. At 5:31pm on 19 Aug 2009, Shawn wrote:

    Dear Justin,

    While many of your "observations" about the United States never really evolved past the hilariously crass and ignorant European misconceptions & stereotypes about America, you did gain some important insights and it was fun to read your perspective. Good luck!

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  • 58. At 5:31pm on 19 Aug 2009, hermanrushdie wrote:

    Justin

    When you first appeared on our screens I quickly categorised you as a bit of a public school twit, with the Terry-Thomas gap toothed grin, and was generally appalled that you got the plum job as Washington correspondent after seemingly doing little more than read an autocue for the previous few years. Harsh words I know, but read on...

    However, whilst I didn't always appreciate your viewpoint, you were, for me, the first UK correspondent since David Smith (?) for Channel 4 News (pre Rugman) whose reports and opinions I came to respect for their combination of integrity, honesty, knowledge AND, more, their affection for the subject - the US.

    Smith was great - but a Washington man it seemed to me - not an American man.

    But great foreign correspondents love the country of their posting whilst not denying its foibles and hypocrisies. But they are also allowed the length of tenure to fuse their BBC-ness with their host culture - I think particularly of Mark Tully and, dare I say it, Alastair Cooke!

    Indeed, in my view, you got as close as anyone to reviving the spirit of "A Letter from..." in your blogs and I think you could've filled those big boots had you been able to stay for longer.

    You should look back with pride on your work - particularly in your excellent coverage of the remarkable 2009 presidential election.

    High praise, I know. Don't it let go to your head though - you're back in blighty now! So, in short I no longer think you're a twit.

    Good luck in your new role.

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  • 59. At 5:39pm on 19 Aug 2009, Noliving wrote:

    I agree with you funkbox41 that the local news is generally filled with violence and violent crime stories, the one thing that I would like to point out though is that it is crime that is reported on the news but it is crime you will almost never experience in your life or see while in the US. Another point to make is that you could do the same in pretty much every nation, even japan, I bet it wouldn't be too hard to fill up any nations local news with violent news stories.

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  • 60. At 5:42pm on 19 Aug 2009, Noliving wrote:

    Fluffytale: "anyway in america they are scared not to say hello incase you shoot them.
    Ok thats an exageration. but it is also part of the truth.
    americans intimidate by nature."

    No its not even part of the truth or an exageration, it's just an outright lie, americans are not scared that if you don't say hello that you will shoot them.

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  • 61. At 5:50pm on 19 Aug 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    Justin, I think that you basically got things right, although perhaps you
    picked up on what we want to be when we grow up and ignored some of our
    adolescent characteristics.

    I agree with trueconservative that the US is a big place, and that one
    can come to almost any desired conclusion by being selective. Nonetheless,
    tc, have you considered that the problem is that we are actually just afraid
    of Canadians? I saw recently that Obama had conquered this childhood
    phobia, but the rest of us are still awaiting treatment.

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  • 62. At 5:59pm on 19 Aug 2009, connie wrote:

    fluffytale:
    Your comments are hilarious!!Where do you live when your in the states? You say Americans intimidate by nature and since your part American, I take it thats part of your problem?

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  • 63. At 6:01pm on 19 Aug 2009, connie wrote:

    Justin,
    Glad you enjoyed the states. Wish you and your family the best as you head back home!

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  • 64. At 6:02pm on 19 Aug 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #21. fluffytale: "I would like to take this opportunity to say goodbye to David Cunard. for his excellent correspondence from the left bank."

    #38. trueconservative: "Is DC really gone? If he is, what a shame. It could just be the time zone, though. It is currently only 8:07 am in California (11:07 am in the East where I live)."

    Fluffy, how kind to be so noted, but there are many others who deserve the accolade. And True, you're correct, actually it's just gone 10 a.m, so only a moment ago saw that there was a new topic - why the others were closed for comments is beyond me.

    But, to Justin's farewell. With regret he has seen the United States from a privileged position, cosseted with superior housing, hotels and hospitality. Rather like Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, he cannot truly have experienced the life of the less fortunate. I don't for one moment think he ever shopped in WalMart, KMart or Sears but rather more tony establishments such as Lord & Taylor. Everyone, especially the temporary resident, who has more than an average income loves America because it appears so advanced. It will be the same back in Blighty, since a BBC "star" will always be welcome in the highest circles. However - Swindon. Why Swindon? It's only fame being the birthplace of the late Diana Dors What does it have to make it the home of choice for a broadcast celebrity? Perhaps that was where the car dealer was/is, but I would have thought a more bucolic home and nice Jaguar would have been more appropriate.

    Of course we wish Justin well, but I fear that he will continue to view life through rose (or green . . .) tinted spectacles, that's the nature of celebrity. I hope that perhaps he will sample the joys of Asda, Home Base and the more mundane aspects of British life to balance Fortnum & Mason, Harrods &c. We look forward to Mr Mardell and I for one hope that he will have a more earthy approach to his new position.

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  • 65. At 6:10pm on 19 Aug 2009, Noliving wrote:

    Fluffytale #49, I disagree that is line cuting due to the fact that the line or till as you call it is open to anyone, not to the person who is next in line at the line,checkout,till right next to it. That person is only in line for that checkout not the checkout that just opened, but that is probably just cultural difference between us.

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  • 66. At 6:18pm on 19 Aug 2009, timohio wrote:

    re. 12. trueconservative:

    The thing about violence in the US is that it tends to be contained in inner city areas. The occasional school shooting in a small town gets press coverage, but statistically it isn't significant. Most of the crime occurs in the inner cities, most of the population lives in the suburbs. That explains candascat's post about the crime within walking distance of Obama's house in Chicago. His house is in Hyde Park, an area near the University of Chicago, a kind of affluent island in the middle of a poor part of the city. Hyde Park itself is fairly safe, but a short distance away are some pretty mean streets.

    The other thing about violence in the US is that studies have shown that fear of violence runs in inverse proportion to its actual incidence. People in inner city neighborhoods (with most of the crime) tend to be stoic or resigned or hardened about it. People in the suburbs (with most of the people) are more worried about it even though they are less likely to be victims. So that accounts for the statistics that show a general concern about violence in the US. And that fear of crime also drives ownership of guns in the US.

    Justin is correct that most Americans are free from violence. I live in an urban neighborhood in a medium sized city and I have virtually no concerns about crime or violence. In spite of having grown up in Detroit (with its bad reputation), I have never in my nearly six decades of life witnessed (in the US) anything more violent than a verbal argument.

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  • 67. At 6:24pm on 19 Aug 2009, blacklysted wrote:

    I'm sorry, Jerry. Where were you posted again? Heaven, Utopia, Nirvana? Oh, America. My oh my. Jerry, we live in different worlds apparently. I'm born Caribbean and live in America, have visited Europe including Ireland, Wales and Lundun where my father currently lives. And the truth is, the bottom of the pile is certainly where I currently live for the last 8 years... welcome to Florida.
    I would take almost anywhere else. The people here generally are boorish, unintelligent bordering on stupid, self-obsessed, banal to the point of being stupid, racist, myopic and jingoistic. The system is worse. Corrupt, jingoistic, stupid... take the recent health care debate for example. .
    Not to say there arent good things and good people. But here, it is easy to lose the trees for the forest.
    I suspect that the Americans loved you because of your accent and because despite the war of independence, they still of some affinity for the royals. When they hear my slight scottish brogue, they find it so cute almost to the point of wanting to pat me on my head.
    But America is the most stressful, fear-mongering, corrupt and inept place I've visited. Perhaps you should actually suggest that returning Brits should visit Florida or NY as their last destination.
    As for American cars, you gotta be kidding. There is a reason why Americans have stopped buying their own cars, why the big 3 are bankrupt.
    Jerry. You have been here too long.

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  • 68. At 6:27pm on 19 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    glad I could amuse and yes the american in me is agressive. but I cannot see intimidation and have claimed none here.
    It is a blog not real.

    next time you give a crazy driver the finger and someone says "don't !they may have a gun" remember my comment.

    Glad to see you all picked up on the joke.
    but it is not a lie.

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  • 69. At 6:30pm on 19 Aug 2009, Bomberliston wrote:

    Justin
    Glad you enjoyed the US. Your vitriol to Brussels was unwarranted, ignorant and came across as being from someone who had lived in bedsitland which to be fair is dogshitland. I think that if your kids had been older while you were in Brussels and you had lived in the leafy suburbs and gone for walks in the woods you would have different memories. Hope you enjoyed the glory of the US bagel ! and did not miss the Belgian Michelin stars
    Your loss.

    ps I was re-assured that you did not like San Francisci taste up the creek confirmed ;-)

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  • 70. At 6:34pm on 19 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    No living I just read an E mail from an american.saying they find it annoyign as well.


    Tim

    I never saw a street fight in the UK.
    apparently my NHS glasses aren't working well.

    but would americans get into fights at bars more if there was no threat of a gun.
    I suspect so.

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  • 71. At 6:47pm on 19 Aug 2009, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    61 gunsandreligion wrote:

    "I agree with trueconservative that the US is a big place, and that one
    can come to almost any desired conclusion by being selective. Nonetheless,
    tc, have you considered that the problem is that we are actually just afraid
    of Canadians? I saw recently that Obama had conquered this childhood
    phobia, but the rest of us are still awaiting treatment."

    According to the prof. I had for abnormal psychology, the most effective treatment for phobias is exposure ;). I'm not afraid of Canadians, largely because I've met a few dozen of them. Most are kind, friendly people. A few were crazy, but considering that I met them through some loony Americans I can't really say much about that.

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  • 72. At 6:59pm on 19 Aug 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    tc, they sneak across the border at night, silently infiltrating down to
    Hollywood where they take all of the best jobs. Remember William Shatner?
    Before he arrived, I was a completely normal person, but now I have a
    tendency to over-act, and to shop for the best deal.

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  • 73. At 7:00pm on 19 Aug 2009, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    68 Fluffytale:
    "next time you give a crazy driver the finger and someone says "don't !they may have a gun" remember my comment."

    I'd love to say "You're crazy! Nobody would shoot somebody over an insult in the United States. This is the twenty-first century, remember!" but what I really must say is you're right.

    Read this article about a road rage shooting that happened recently in rural Pennsylvania: http://blog.perrycountytimes.com/?p=888

    That gives a fairly accurate account of what happened. You can also read a blog about it (http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2009/07/police_say_mifflinburg_man_sho.html) to get an idea of what local people thought. The comments are truly telling. Some people side with the shooter, saying he was protecting his family. Others say the shooter shouldn't have used his gun; rather, he should have used his fists like a real man. A few moderate people actually thought he should have protected his family by just driving away (who would have thought of such a peaceful solution?!). Anyway, that guy will be spending some time in jail to hopefully cool off.

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  • 74. At 7:04pm on 19 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    I'm waiting for GnR reply.
    come on it better say "see guns make you safer";)


    on the lining up

    "In the chain drugstore here I'd be waiting and waiting behind someone who seemed to be buying all their food and clothing there, and then someone would walk up behind me, and then a clerk would open the other register and the person behind me would rush over. What I did was walk over to the newly-opened register, edge around, put my stuff on the counter and say, "I do believe I'm next." The line jumper always looked stunned."


    seems not all americans like the american way.
    I it no doubt cultural difference.

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  • 75. At 7:06pm on 19 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    PS guns aren't the solution.

    but the solution is not allowed to be namned here for fear of inciting a crime.

    Bongs not bombs

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  • 76. At 7:11pm on 19 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    PS no living . your idea of morals from the post about lining up seem to be totally american.

    though not the sort of american I get on with. You look for loop holes to justify your lack of manners


    can you see the reason why someone would look to the front of the line and say "well you first"

    Because I have done this in the US time and time again, having been brought up to understand the English language.

    . and sometimes the nice person says thankyou.

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  • 77. At 7:18pm on 19 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    TC (top cat)
    here we are you a conservative me a borish loud mouthed lefty. agreeing.

    good on you.
    we've had a few shootings in our town as well this year.
    goodtimes are gone. lets see if the peace is kept.


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  • 78. At 7:22pm on 19 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    to continue the quote from a friend

    "Someone obviously took notice of this because now the clerks will say "May I help whoever is next, please?" and it's a bit hard for someone who is obviously last to pretend to be next."


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  • 79. At 7:23pm on 19 Aug 2009, Noliving wrote:

    So what if they find it annoying fluffy.

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  • 80. At 7:31pm on 19 Aug 2009, Noliving wrote:

    Well to be fair trueconservative the reason why the comments are truely telling on this website (http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2009/07/police_say_mifflinburg_man_sho.html)

    is because the story literally doesn't have the details of what happend, if you bothered to read the comments you would have seen many people saying they don't know who they would side with becaues there is not enough information.

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  • 81. At 7:34pm on 19 Aug 2009, Noliving wrote:

    Is it lack of manners? The vast majority of americans don't think it is rude. What you consider to be rude or lack of manners or nice or whatever are purely cultural, just like what I consider to be rude or nice is purely cultural. For example you fluffy would be consider a rude person with no manners in a country such as korea or japan or china.

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  • 82. At 7:36pm on 19 Aug 2009, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Good Luck back in the United Kingdom, Justin Webb and your family...My best wishes for the time you and family had in the United States...

    =Dennis Junior=

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  • 83. At 7:41pm on 19 Aug 2009, Noliving wrote:

    not really fluffy ""Someone obviously took notice of this because now the clerks will say "May I help whoever is next, please?" and it's a bit hard for someone who is obviously last to pretend to be next."

    It's a first come first serve basis, as a result the clerk is clearly asking to an american they can help/serve the first person to arrive in that line. The clerk is not asking to help the very next person from a different line that is going to be next in the current line they are in. So no its not hard for someone who is last in one to be the next in another line if they are first one in that line.

    Here is something to think about, if you go to a person from india and you ask them if they can have this report done by friday and they say it will be difficult and they don't say anything else, what did they say? If you guessed that its a possibility that it will be or won't be done on friday you would be wrong, it means no it won't be done by friday at all. To the person from india its obvious its means no it won't be ready by friday because they never used the word yes.

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  • 84. At 7:49pm on 19 Aug 2009, Islandmum wrote:

    Just to wish you all the best.

    We returned to Europe just about 3 years ago, it is a challenge changing cultures, but I think you learn to appreciate the best bits in the country you live in. We have been lucky enough to live in 3 countries in the last few years, and reckon if we could take all the good bits you would find something pretty good. However, the best thing is to just value the experiences you have and use them to help you or others whenever relevant.

    So enjoy and keep smiling!!!

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  • 85. At 8:01pm on 19 Aug 2009, turningblueandgrey wrote:

    Good luck to you and your family!

    I enjoyed your insights and observations here enough to overlook the occasional (unintentional?) skewed perspective. A bit like President G.H.W. Bush (41), you're not a bad sort, even if your blog had moments that showed a degree of insulation from the common folk like his famous "gee-whiz, what will they think of next" over a checkout scanner.

    Best wishes.

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  • 86. At 8:26pm on 19 Aug 2009, Noliving wrote:

    I think you will find this to be interesting fluffy.

    This link deals with the violent crime rates in countries, the UK violent crime rate is nearly 5 times that of the US.


    http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2009/07/02/article-1196941-05900DF7000005DC-677_468x636.jpg

    http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/u-k-crime-statistics-hit-record-high/

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  • 87. At 8:33pm on 19 Aug 2009, SONICBOOMER wrote:

    Welcome back Justin.

    While I do get that a blog like this has to be about impressions, opinions, some humour (which did go over some heads as it was low key), I have to agree that your life style in the US while not like the super rich, was inevitably somewhat sheltered.

    As for you experiences since your return, sorry but I don't recognise the place I've lived all my life.
    London is not a good template for the UK, it's a world city with many from all corners, who actually most of the time rub along OK.
    Like New York, which also has something of a reputation for people hurrying about, maybe being a bit grumpy.
    I still love the place though.
    Like London for the UK, it's not a great template for the US either.

    In a previous blog you seemed to compare the diversity of the US in contrast to South London.
    Your kidding right?
    Even the well heeled area I think you were talking about is right up against a very diverse area.

    It must be hard I know to try and sum up, in each blog entry, such a vast place of 300 million.
    However I too have seen first hand what parts of D.C. are like just a stones through from the White House.
    Been through (OK 20 years ago), a part of Miami that almost looked 3rd world, then parts of the sprawl of L.A.

    I actually found Seattle a place that had some of what you note about the positives of the US, but also emblems of it's power, like Microsoft and Boeing.
    (Don't like coffee so Starbucks does not figure for me!)

    It's fiction, albeit a superb example, but the show 'The Wire', (thanks BBC for running it), was inspired in part by the creator's experience in his journalistic career, of such a hidden part of life in the US and the almost total lack of interest in the mainstream media of reporting it, unless in a very brief and superficial way.

    Cultures differ, the huge space of the US, it's relative youth as a nation, aside from the civil war and that day in 2001, the lack of war near or inside of it, will make for a different national outlook to a small island off Europe, with a history of wars, faith based strife, hostile neighbours, the threat of national extinction from the Spanish Armada, Napoleon and Hitler.
    Yet less than 100 years ago was running over a quarter of humanity.

    The British comedian Al Murray, in his persona as a bigoted, nationalist 'Pub Landlord', oddly might have summed up a difference up rather well.
    Interacting with an audience, he asked if any Americans were here.
    One made himself known. after expressing his admiration for the USA, he cited the famous idea of 'The American Dream'.
    'Of course we British don't have a dream' he said, 'because we are already awake!'
    Low comedy it's true, but the not as sunny outlook is true, and it's history, enviroment and experience that informs it.

    But we laugh at ourselves like no others too.
    Often the 'miserable British' are in fact expressing sardonic humour and irony.
    (Not in the Daily Mail granted! That's for real!)
    And this attitude is as right for us and the differing attitudes are for America.

    You are of course a giant of journalism compared to the FOX loudmouths, who without irony, tell us that if scientist Stephen Hawking was British, our awful NHS would have killed him years ago!
    Errrr......



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  • 88. At 8:36pm on 19 Aug 2009, john-In-Dublin wrote:

    43 AndyPost wrote:

    "I would be happier if I didn't feel like we're losing yet another hard core journalist to talk (chat) show triviality, but I'm thinking there's a lot more money there, and that's a good thing when you're heading a young family."

    Last I heard, JW's new job is with the BBC [still], presenting the Today Programme on Radio 4. Not exactly a trivial chat show. And I doubt that he'll get vastly more money.

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  • 89. At 8:39pm on 19 Aug 2009, makrim70 wrote:

    Hi Justin,

    For someone born in Iraq and move to UK 16 years ago, then moved to San Francisco for a job relocation, I know exactly what you feel. London is one of the great city but I prefer the bay area as the living is easier and more relax. I've been in Bay area since 2006 and I hope to spend the rest of my life in North America. but for me still UK is my home. Hope to see you again with more success.

    Regards,

    ~MK

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  • 90. At 8:41pm on 19 Aug 2009, Lincoln Hawk-s wrote:

    I have lived in USA for 4 years now. I live in Kentucky but have traveled and worked in about 15 different states. I have in-laws in the North-east and also in the west. I travel back to the UK a couple times a year where i also travel and work throughout the country. Most of my life was spent in a small Scottish town but have experienced big-city and rural life in both countries. One commentator made the point that America is so vast that you can make arguement for just about anything you want, i agree with this but feel that though there seems to be a sense of underlying violence and football culture thuggery ready to rear its head at any given moment at any almost any given part of the country in my experience the USA is a more dangerous and violent country, perhaps as the majority of my time thus far has been spent amongst intolerant "Southerners" but violence, anger and displays of power and dominance seem (to me at least) to be more prevalent in the USA. As others have noted i doubt Mr.Webb was living lifestyle that led to possibility of witnessing any violence.

    I also take issue with his comments about people saying hello in the street. In my experience people in Uk are far more likely to make pleasantries in passing to strangers, Americans seem to be scared of their own shadows and engage in "hellos" etc far less frequently than Brits. I do agree with the "great"/"not too bad" observation but i personally find the whole enthusiastic stereotype a bit fake and not really my cup of tea. I married an American girl who is as realistic/miserable as I am and only displays her fantastic smile when it is genuine. Point is, i think, you can take the Brit out of the miserable little island but you can't take the miserable..........

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  • 91. At 8:49pm on 19 Aug 2009, Lincoln Hawk-s wrote:

    I always make a point of holding doors open for people. In Britain it ALWAYS results in "Oh thank you" or a "Cheers mate " from even the most thuggish of teenagers. In USA only about half the time. Now, when someone holds a door open for me I always give a "Thank you" and where i would say "your welcome"/"no problem" and smile, what do i invariably get in America? "uh-huh" with no eye contact never mind anything resembling a smile. Just an observation

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  • 92. At 9:13pm on 19 Aug 2009, CamberwellBeauty wrote:

    Goodness Fluffytale - Who has the blinkers on re: the decline of our own country in all those things you say are just "American"?
    You "protesteth too much"

    Justin, you obviously saw/appreciated some real American/Americans - all kinds of "examples" can be set out, we in GB like to focus on the negative, as Fluffy person has aptly proven!
    Anyway, the US is a great country with some of the best people in the World in generosity, hospitality, etc. The climate choices vast - From the Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia to the Coast of California with some magnificent country inbetween where most people live a life violent-free. Yes Fluffy person, it's true!
    Keep your chin up Justin, smile at people, keep them confused!

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  • 93. At 9:32pm on 19 Aug 2009, Over_40_Crowd wrote:

    Oh goody! Perhaps now we will get a NORTH AMERICAN editor. You know, an editor who actually covers all of NORTH AMERICA and not just Obamaland.

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  • 94. At 10:31pm on 19 Aug 2009, sweetkomax wrote:

    Justin, I will miss you not on television but on blogs. I am a great fan of radio 4,but beware not to air your own opinion too much like you did on the television. I will surely fancy a liberal reporter to replace you on the American assignment. Good bye and have a good life.

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  • 95. At 10:35pm on 19 Aug 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    fluffytale, wasn't it Al Capone who said, "You can get further with
    a kind word and a gun than with a kind word alone?"

    Now, as I assume that you Brits have learned proper manners, may I suggest
    also taking up firearms training?

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  • 96. At 11:15pm on 19 Aug 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 88, John-in-Dublin:

    "Last I heard, JW's new job is with the BBC [still], presenting the Today Programme on Radio 4. Not exactly a trivial chat show. And I doubt that he'll get vastly more money."

    Ah, I see. When this new posting came up a while back, people described it as the British equivalent of NBC's Today show (which pays fabulous salaries). The BBC version is more of a newscast, I take it?

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  • 97. At 11:32pm on 19 Aug 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    ref. 90, Moon:

    "...there seems to be a sense of underlying violence and football culture thuggery ready to rear its head at any given moment at any almost any given part of the country..."

    ...and yet, it seldom does rear its head. Most Americans' bark is worse than their bite. Show the standard amount of respect (which is pretty much nothing more than passing the time of day with the strangers you meet) in any part of this country, and no one will mess with you.

    Certainly, it wasn't always that way, especially if you weren't white or had long hair. I think foreigners tend to pick up more on the vestigial mannerisms started in that earlier, uglier time.

    By "football culture thuggery" I assume you mean the kind of hooliganism in the UK. There really isn't such a thing built around the American game. There's enough violence on the field after all.

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  • 98. At 11:44pm on 19 Aug 2009, giganticpancakepan wrote:

    i always watched you on t.v justin, found you to be both articulate but simple in your explanation of numurous political events and its a pleasure to say hello to you and your family, keep up the good work and i hope your big american car passes its M.O.T.. cheers.

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  • 99. At 00:10am on 20 Aug 2009, Alp wrote:

    You'll soon be selling the 2nd hand American beast for a Prius, once you get to know that in the UK you only get one litre of petrol rather then a gallon. Welcome back!

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  • 100. At 00:20am on 20 Aug 2009, Lincoln Hawk-s wrote:

    97 Andypost.

    that comment referred to UK (apologies for the structure of my sentence). Obviously "football culture thuggery that could rear it's head at any moment" was in reference to Britain not USA. My point was that even taking that into account, from my experience USA is a more dangerous country. In 4 years in USA I have learned knowledge of/had close proximity to more crime & violence than in 27 years in the UK. USA (4yrs)- 2 violent deaths, 2 near-death shootings, 1 armed robbery, 2 car thefts, 3 non-lethal gang/pub/street attacks, 2 sexual assaults/rape. UK (27yrs)- 1 violent death, 1 arson, 1 burglary, 12 non-lethal gang/pub/street attacks, 1 sexual assault/rape, 1 non-lethal knife attack.

    Just one person's experience/knowledge but it is where my opinions stem from.

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  • 101. At 00:29am on 20 Aug 2009, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    80 noliving
    "is because the story literally doesn't have the details of what happend, if you bothered to read the comments you would have seen many people saying they don't know who they would side with becaues there is not enough information."

    Actually, I did read every last comment. Yes, a number of people said they didn't have enough information, but once somebody came on claiming to have inside information most of the comments were at least mildly sympathetic towards the guy who did the shooting. No one on either side has said the other guy had a gun. Also, either one of them could have driven away. The equation is simple: 2 hot tempers + several bad insults + 1 gun = 1 bloody face with a bullet hole + 1 man in the slammer.

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  • 102. At 01:23am on 20 Aug 2009, Rotbart wrote:

    Justin:
    Glad you enjoyed the wackos in San Francisco. It should not be too difficult going from one nanny state to another. Best wishes. Ad multos annos.

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  • 103. At 01:33am on 20 Aug 2009, wrpatton wrote:

    Yes, there are two Americas and I know which one you saw. The other America you can't even begin to imagine. Not violent? Dream on.
    You're in culture shock now, but you are regretting an America that many American can't even dream of. You probably had good medical insurance too. Lucky you. Your children went to good schools, or the children of your friends did? Lucky them. Lots of Americans are on the outside looking in at the largess that you consider the real America.

    Personally I think life is better in Europe. At least fewer people are left out.

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  • 104. At 01:55am on 20 Aug 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    ref. 100, Moon:

    Ok, I'm intrigued. Can you give me an idea of where you are living, at least the general environment? I'm wondering why you're keeping those statistics, too. I have no idea what crimes are happening in my area.

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  • 105. At 02:01am on 20 Aug 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 103, wr:

    "At least fewer people are left out."

    Boy, that's not the Europe I know. Europeans simply ignore minorities from what I've seen. Most Algerians are not any part of French culture for instance.

    I'm not saying we're any better. We rationalize it by applying free market principals to people with really quite remarkable cold-heartedness.

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  • 106. At 02:43am on 20 Aug 2009, Nic Oatridge wrote:

    I lived in the USA several years. How often do you read about gruesome murders happening a few blocks from where you live in Swindon? Corruption is the norm in public life in many parts of America, something worse than imaginative expense claims. Looking out of your car window as you drive around America you have to be blind to miss the extent of the squalor and poverty in the richest country in the world. There is a lot that is great about the USA, but don't overlook what is Great in Britain. Welcome home.

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  • 107. At 02:47am on 20 Aug 2009, frayedcat wrote:

    May I sign your yearbook? Good luck.

    I don't see why you can't just continue the blog. You don't have to put much time or thought into it. If you're in a rush just write "Israel...Palestine...guns...religion...Budweiser" and that will keep people busy for ages. You could call it "Justin Webb's America"

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  • 108. At 02:49am on 20 Aug 2009, Americanatheist wrote:

    Great Job Justin,
    Far too many Brits moan about us poor Americans and our flawed system. How we cannot afford health care, how violent we are. The truth is the vast majority of people killed by violence in this country are living violent lives and the vast majority without health coverage are either illegal alliens, pay for it in cash as I(we pay far less taxes), or recieve emergency care for free as no one can be turned away at a hospital. Yes the system is flawed, but no where near what people in other countries think.

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  • 109. At 02:59am on 20 Aug 2009, frayedcat wrote:

    Can I just add that Fox News has banned me from comments (and you know I never use dirty words or say objectionable things even if I've had a few). They banned me for logic and persuasiveness. It hurts. Thank you for not banning me Mr. Webb, you ran a good blog.

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  • 110. At 03:06am on 20 Aug 2009, frayedcat wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 111. At 03:21am on 20 Aug 2009, frayedcat wrote:

    hee hee

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  • 112. At 03:54am on 20 Aug 2009, sue_catherine wrote:

    Mr. Webb, I enjoyed reading your blog entries and columns on America. I didn't necessarily like everything I read, but I felt you were generally fairminded and accurate in your observations. The USA is a very complicated country and there is a lot of bad and good in her. I love her so.

    Good luck with your new position.

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  • 113. At 04:02am on 20 Aug 2009, g75401 wrote:

    #108
    As an American physician, I can assure that the 47 million uninsured Americans are not illegals-they are contract laborers or unemployed people. Lack of health care access contributes to 18,000-22,000 premature deaths annually in the US-it is not a problem fixable by ER trips or paying for it yourself.
    As for the US, not all violence is a result of people with violent tendencies. We have children shooting their parents, children shooting their siblings, and parents shooting their children. And that's just in Houston.
    As for star athletes who abuse dogs and then make $1.5 Million salaries, the name of the athlete is Michael Vick. He stands to make nearly $5 Million if he stays an additional year in Philadelphia

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  • 114. At 04:04am on 20 Aug 2009, Michael Reeves wrote:

    Well it is good to see America has rubbed off on Mr. Webb, buying a gas guzzling beast. I really don't know why he didn't stay in the US he probably could have got a job with Fox News.

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  • 115. At 04:13am on 20 Aug 2009, Michael Reeves wrote:

    Oh sorry, I forgot to add I live in the US and I don't see as many things as you through rose coloured glasses. By the way, you ain't no Alistair Cook.

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  • 116. At 04:38am on 20 Aug 2009, David Burden wrote:

    Justin, don't know how or why you did it. Me and my family moved to the Bay Area in 2005, I just can't imagine going back to the UK. We went back to the UK in July for three weeks, the UK seemed very foreign and everything seemed to be a struggle to what I left behind a few years ago. I could not wait to get back to SFO. All the best.

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  • 117. At 05:45am on 20 Aug 2009, bethpa wrote:

    I feel some sadness also at your leaving America. It was nice to read that you were so positive about America.

    I have been shocked and dismayed by my own nation and what I viewed as immorality...waging a war for financial gain...ignoring the Geneva Convention and engaging in torture....etc. In many ways America is an exciting and very vibrant place... with a great deal of creativity and enthusiasm..and I am unsure of how it stands as a nation by comparison to others overall...but there are serious problems ..that hopefully Americans will face squarely and deal with.

    Anyway its nice that you liked living in America...and I hope you will travel to other nations and give us your opinions about them also...have you thought of going to either Canada or Australia? : )

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  • 118. At 05:56am on 20 Aug 2009, dilbertdogbert wrote:

    You forgot to read your Mark Twain! He wrote: "The coldest winter I ever experienced was a summer in San Francisco" - or something to that effect.
    We Northern Californians joke about the flash frozen tourists in San Francisco.
    Come again and try fall, winter and spring. There are some great warm days in SF in February.
    Thanks for the kind comments about Americans. We need that, as many times we don't feel very good about our fellow Americans. Sorry to hear that the Brits are grouchy.

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  • 119. At 07:03am on 20 Aug 2009, james wrote:

    My only real regret is that you had to be here during the Bush years. Remember the 90's? Aw, those were nice weren't they?

    In the end Europe is a better place, you'll be better off there.

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  • 120. At 07:20am on 20 Aug 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #87. SONICBOOMER: "In a previous blog you seemed to compare the diversity of the US in contrast to South London."

    If that's a reference to Swindon, Swindon is not in South London but in Wiltshire. I don't recall Justin comparing anything south of the Thames with anything in the USA. The only thing of some fame is the Decca Studios near Lambeth where the Stones first recorded. That might compare with Detroit.

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  • 121. At 07:37am on 20 Aug 2009, seanspa wrote:

    DC, I am in wiltshire right now, and can assure you that swindon has been disowned.

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  • 122. At 07:48am on 20 Aug 2009, SONICBOOMER wrote:

    David, I was pretty sure Justin mentioned London, previously while visiting relatives.

    But even Swindon will likely have it's East European population, but not like London and other major cities for the descendents of the Commonwealth immigration from the late 1940's.

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  • 123. At 07:49am on 20 Aug 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #92. CamberwellBeauty: "Justin, you obviously saw/appreciated some real American/Americans"

    Ah, but there's the rub. He didn't.

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  • 124. At 08:31am on 20 Aug 2009, EagleFlying wrote:

    Justin, sorry to see you go, but thanks for the entertaining blogs.
    I'm an American who just moved to the UK last year. Having grown up in a lower middle class family on eastcoast USA, I was a bit put off with how the UKers view America. We have good and bad, just like any UK town. We have guns, you have knives. At least we can defend ourself against a dictatorship if one arose. It's not the weapon that kills, it's the person behind the weapon. Everyone forgets that. There are towns where people still don't lock their doors, nor need to. There are lots of low crime areas. America is still a young growing country where the people are not afraid to protest in order to get congress to change laws. I don't see that happening much in the UK, and don't understand why UKers have allowed their gov't to overtax them so badly. It breaks my heart to see how hard the English have to work to even afford a car and car insurance. I love my town in England, despite this place lacking some of the conveniences I miss from America. Truly, both countries have their pro's and cons. Over here I don't have to be afraid of being shot, but I do have to be afraid of being beaten senseless by immoral gangs of youth. As for friendliness... in the USA my town was very friendly. In the UK, I think people are more reserved, however very polite and willing to help you out. I really love the English people I've met and associated with. I somehow can't see them as "miserable" like some describe them. I never understood why many English look down their noses at Americans, when Americans really like the British. When my English fiance visits America, the women go crazy over him. We have our cultural differences, sure.... but basically, people are people. We all bleed the same color.

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  • 125. At 09:09am on 20 Aug 2009, puffinsnotreal wrote:

    What do you expect, your in Swindon!

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  • 126. At 10:05am on 20 Aug 2009, BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:

    Justin, I thought you had already gone...I'm glad you gave us final farewell. Good luck to ya.

    As per the topic of violence, I would say that some large American cities are quite violent and most are riddled with a few crime-ridden wards, but most Americans are neither violent nor thuggish.

    Corruption may be a little endemic, but it's hardly widespread and crippling. You're more likely to hear of a political sex scandal than outright corruption or fraud. And there's probably just as much of it goin on back in Europe.

    On the heath care debate, I'm one of those Republicans that would like to see some sort of reform passed in Congress soon. I'm not for everything in the several bills currently held up in the Congressional committees and I'm wary of the so-called public option, but I most definitely support getting rid of the pre-existing condition exclusion which prevents many people with pre-existing conditions from getting proper health insurance coverage.

    Lastly, the rudeness described in post #91 is unfortunate and hardly the norm. However, from what I've been told and experienced for myself, such courtesies become less frequent with distance from the south and the mid-west, and in some places may even be considered rude and/or sarcastic.





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  • 127. At 10:14am on 20 Aug 2009, Freakontheguitar wrote:

    Thanks Justin. I have not responded much to your blog, but have read it regularly, and usually found it very interesting.

    The one thing I would like to say is that people tend to think in patterns and are looking at journalists to show them those. Some of the patterns you have uncovered have been eye-opening. But we should always bear in mind that the patterns are never true. America really is a country of gun toting bible bashers but at the same time it is not. And the UK really is a place of miserable complainers-about-the-weather, and that is not true either. What makes most places interesting is to find that patterns need refining all the time. And that, once refined, they need to be updated yet again.

    The only thing a journalist can get 100% right are the football results and the stock exchange index. For anything more interesting than that you have to be satisfied with something in the high nineties. And I think your observations from the US have been in that area pretty consistently. Thanks Justin and good luck in the UK (it really is not such a bad place at all!)

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  • 128. At 10:59am on 20 Aug 2009, john-In-Dublin wrote:

    # 96 AndyPost wrote: [of the Today Programme on BBC Radio 4]

    "Ah, I see. When this new posting came up a while back, people described it as the British equivalent of NBC's Today show (which pays fabulous salaries). The BBC version is more of a newscast, I take it?"

    Yes. I rarely get to listen to it - the reception isn't vg here - but AFAIK it has a large national audience and is considered to set the political agenda. So being on it is pretty prestigious.

    I think Breakfast TV is generally considered to be more lightweight.

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  • 129. At 12:16pm on 20 Aug 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    Justin what have you been drinking? You have just bought a large American car!!! Did they manage to put the steering wheel on the right hand side? It may have escaped your notice while you were vapourising about all things American but the greater part of their motor industry has just gone broke. Even the Americans didn't like the things.

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  • 130. At 1:44pm on 20 Aug 2009, lisab7us wrote:

    Justin, you'll be missed. It was extremely refreshing to see a fellow Brit with the same kind of insight into the US. I still get frustrated when the stock answer regarding any question with an American subject matter is something that involves the words "stupid" or "gun-toting". It's really not true and it's nice to see someone like you express this so openly.

    Thank you

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  • 131. At 2:05pm on 20 Aug 2009, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    72. At 6:59pm on 19 Aug 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    "tc, they sneak across the border at night, silently infiltrating down to
    Hollywood where they take all of the best jobs. Remember William Shatner?
    Before he arrived, I was a completely normal person, but now I have a
    tendency to over-act, and to shop for the best deal."

    I know this summer has been unusually cool, but don't worry. Next summer, I'm sure the heat will boil off all Canadian tendencies from you. Who knows? If it is a really sizzling summer, you might even start to get so brain-fried that you forget they exist.

    Seriously, though, even conspiracy theorists don't claim Canadians control our media. For all the media attention Canada receives in the US, they could be living on another planet.

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  • 132. At 2:25pm on 20 Aug 2009, carolinalady wrote:

    Justin: if this is your "yearbook signing" as frayedcat (one of the better humorists here) says, I'm caught with no bon mots or cliches save best wishes and we'll miss you. Is there anyone courageous enough to take your place and stand up to all the rough and tumble of interoceanic blogitude?

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  • 133. At 2:29pm on 20 Aug 2009, brusan71 wrote:

    Hello Justin,

    Welcome back to your fatherland !!


    I never been to US . But reading your blogs helped me to have a better & clearer picture about the country .

    Thanks for the useful blogs . Now I am going to follow Mark Mardell .


    Greetings ,

    Sanjay

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  • 134. At 3:18pm on 20 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    No living Glad to see I captured your attention so much.

    but if you think that just because "most americans" think something is OK is an argument then fine.Stay in america.

    Now If surveyed would they all have as complete utter lack of morals as you.?

    Probably. That is what I was suggesting earlier. You wish to prove that americans can't figure the difference between being "next in line" and taking it that the others that have been standing for twenty minutes in the real line . The customers who's standing in line inspired the bright eyed clerk to open another register, are in no way deserving of being before you who just was walking up to the till.
    So I exaggerate the time to 20 mins..

    It helps to illustrate the morallity.

    But then you say in Korea etc I would be a very rude man.

    welll well.
    then despite me not calling you.
    nobrain or nomorals

    but you insist on changing the name to not really fluffy

    so again you act like entities seen here by many bloggers that claim to be melt in the mouth unsullied virtuous people but show you may be closer to a bar room entertainer .

    Hardly Polite in Korean culture.
    Possibly a bigger offence than just being generally smart enough to disagree with another who shows no logic or morals.

    83
    Is this straight racial provokation?
    I suspect that if it is you that was asking the answer would be different from the answer that others might get.
    DO YOU KNOW THAT WHEN SNOBBY IDIOTS TURN UP SAYING IWANT THIS AND I WAANT THAT LOCAL INDIGENOUS POPULATIONS GET LIKE UNIONS if they can..
    FOR A REASON

    As for Violent statistics which is what they are.

    So the country that doesn't report cock fights, dog fights and even most Gun fights becasue the cops are generally known to respond in a matter of days. is less violent.
    People in England (see look here is a criticism of the UK) like america are getting to be a geriatric population.As the film "hot Fuzz" pointed out in a comical way they are paranoid. that is why they voted for camera's everywhere.

    Reported crime statistics.
    In my little town we had a cop raping women for over ten years. But there were no reported statistics.
    They do not collect the information. Many courts for smaller infractions in the state I'm in are not even recorded.
    I've had to separate knife wielders in the streets out side my house in the states. Not so in leafy UK(which sure has loads of violence)

    I'll move on.
    Someone said this class.
    "America is still a young growing country where the people are not afraid to protest in order to get congress to change laws. I don't see that happening much in the UK, "


    EXCUSE ME
    America had a second term of GW without any protest .G6 7 20 conference. Protest.
    Britain buddy PROTESTS.

    Camberwell beauty.
    Really
    Did you ever ask what I did like here?

    Swimming holes. where I was enjoying 100 degree weather in some really nice water.
    Assume.

    You all miss the point . too busy looking going "who dare be critical"

    btu camberwell not to let the hook out yet.
    I know the vast different weather etc

    but what has that got to do with AMERICANS.
    Nothing.
    It is the planet and americans have done much to make even that less fun. look at hurricanes, heatwaves and droughts in the USA. Courtesy of american care for the rest of humanity.

    One more thing I never said there weren't problems in the UK.
    I lived there . I saw plenty.

    I was critical Of Justins reporting.
    just how it offended you is quite funny in hindsight.


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  • 135. At 3:30pm on 20 Aug 2009, funkbox41 wrote:

    108. At 02:49am on 20 Aug 2009, Americanatheist wrote:

    Great Job Justin,
    Far too many Brits moan about us poor Americans and our flawed system. How we cannot afford health care, how violent we are. The truth is the vast majority of people killed by violence in this country are living violent lives and the vast majority without health coverage are either illegal alliens, pay for it in cash as I(we pay far less taxes), or recieve emergency care for free as no one can be turned away at a hospital. Yes the system is flawed, but no where near what people in other countries think.

    What a load of old claptrap you write. Most of those without medical insurance are NOT illegal immigrants. That is just false. The vast majority of uninsured, myself included, are here legally or are citizens. You clearly live in a fantasy land to believe such nonsense.

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  • 136. At 3:30pm on 20 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Justin will you start developing a stronger American accent now you are back in the UK
    Brit over here Yank over there. it works. An american that is not borish gets the chicks in london like a brit gets them in the US.

    dropping
    shame. cause beneath those accents we are people;)
    some are so polite they couldn't not hurt a dog.

    And 113 I can't believe they would give him a raise anytime soon. but apparently no one cares enough to just let him work at a real job .
    And thanks I worked for 4 years without even the coverage for getting injured at work in the states (cost too much)(oh and is legally required but thats an aside)



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  • 137. At 3:36pm on 20 Aug 2009, BayAreaBrit wrote:

    Many thanks Justin. I have been in the US for 6 years now and your blog (and book) has helped me gain perspective in coming to terms with life in the US, once the "honeymoon period" was over. I love this country and though I have friends and family back in the UK, I have realized that on return visits "home", I am rapidly becoming a stranger there. Thanks again for your commentary, your analysis and the irony for God's sake! And on a visit back to the UK, if someone on the Tube just starts chatting to you, it might be me!

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  • 138. At 3:42pm on 20 Aug 2009, lochraven wrote:

    Justin, you've seen the best side of America and the worst and probably a lot in-between. As time goes by, you will most likely want to see some of America's attitudes incorporated into the UK as you have felt that the US could learn a thing or two from the other side of the pond.
    I think it's going to take you more time to settle in to your surroundings than you think. You will probably be making lots of comparisons and not be totally happy of what you see. It might help if you click your heels like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz and keep repeating there's no place like home; though, this might not work without ruby slippers.
    Best of luck.

    p.s. Keep an eye on you son, he will feel the difference the most.

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  • 139. At 4:26pm on 20 Aug 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    Justin,
    Funny world eh? Yesterday America and tomorrow England and Today.
    North American Editor:- the name and kudos must pass on to another. The King is dead- long live the King. .
    Although you were forced to suffer both superficial enemy and friendly fire during the battles here, I am sure you understand true medal honours should go to those who did not make it through the years of skirmishing, and do hope you will remember them with affection. So many fell bloodied by the wayside without a purple heart to show for their heroism, while as the general, you accept the plaudits. Faceless necessary collateral damage in your eyes perhaps. I do hope not.
    Thank you for the peace and relative quiet of the kitchen you let go on, and continues elsewhere.
    So lock away America- the stetson, cowboy boots, firearms, spurs and jeans for other private moments in life. For useful weapons in the UK, nothing beats a brolly or shooting stick to rest ones weary limbs and fight the changeable weather..
    Perhaps just the derby, now referred to as a bowler with the three piece suits monday to friday will be required, with dressing up in the "pink" as hunt follower on the weekends. Of course if you have an aversion to hands-on sports where you must view the game involved and possible prey, then your USA army dump store anorak will serve you well. - Romping with the kids in the woods and on the beach, harassing those to horse in the fields, keeping a low profile in Marks and Sparks while shopping, or taking train numbers on Swindon Station. BTW I am told they also contain many pockets to keep tissues and snacks, British rail timetables and autographed copies of books for the fans, should you so require it.
    I suppose a bugler playing 'last post' would be appropriate but with your attempts at embracing an American mindset and my penchant for something more fluid, I have settled for a USA one for your blog.
    TAPS [Day is done]
    Welcome back to normality and the real world.
    I wish you and your family well.

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  • 140. At 4:51pm on 20 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    I wonder Justin. In 6 years no articles on the huge number of americans in jail.
    or the use of the death penalty.
    How many times did you go to jails?
    did you spend anytime checking out the "correction facilities" of the USA where a large number are held.
    did you touch on felons losing right to vote even though they have served their time?
    these issues are common but no comment from you.

    How about saying that what would be considered a verbal assault (calling someone a name loudly) in the UK is just exercising right to free speech in the states.
    like many have said here next time try digging a little deeper.
    those that find you to be informative must be really lacking in info.


    Scum aren't they!
    all them poor people that end up in jail.

    I can't tell if you're joking about buying the car. But being as smart as you are I can see it.

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  • 141. At 5:14pm on 20 Aug 2009, Madridexpat wrote:

    Fluffy

    "You don't understand that I AM british and AMerican.
    so really go get some facts before you potificate.
    A for being against or with."

    Being British or American is not actually the point I was trying to make....the point was supposed to be that conversation not shouting or name calling might be more effective in finding solutions. There seems to be too much shouting from the fringes on both sides in the US at the moment and not enough listening...and quite possibly having re-read my post I could be accused of that as well.

    "I live in the USA. there are reasons but justins observations are rubbish."

    No argument here. I thought some were superficial and enjoyed others. If you live in the US now your observations may be more current than my experience (left in 1998). Also the areas where I lived were not overly violent. (New England, Colorado and yes, SF)

    "Violent crime is so rife here most goes un reported because most communities have so few cops that care."

    Again I expect you are correct in certain areas of the US. Unfortunately similar in some communities in the UK, perhaps due to differences in makeup of the policing force and the community, pehaps socio economic factors or other reasons, I'm no expert. However it seems that the statistics for some cities (Los Angeles, New York and DC) in the US have been positive on reduction of violent crime, again that may reverse with the economic slide. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8190226.stm
    Same is true for the most part in the UK but some areas persist with higher rates (S. Wales springs to mind) Page 159 of this Home office report is worth a look; [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    Also my views on what makes a violent city may be coloured a bit having recently lived in Caracas which has a slightly more severe crime problem.

    "recently 5 vehicles were broken into in one day at a local tourist spot and when they were caught at it the cops response was.
    " you can't detain them" our only officers in the area are doing traffic duty" (to raise revenue)

    so no report was filed."

    Anecdotal evidence, good for illustrating a point but perhaps not indicative of an entire country?

    "animal cruelty.
    I lived in the UK 30 years and never heard the amount of tales of blowing up kittens and animal cruelty I have seen here."

    I generally lived in a rural area in the UK and the practice of shooting strays, disposing of unwanted litters of kittens etc was not unusual among the farms. Conditions farm animals were kept in on some-not all- farms, or in particular conditions in which they were shipped to other parts of Europe, were often not at all good. Then of course there were "shoots" with which many farmers supplemented their income. We may actually be on the same side of the animal welfare debate....but no country has a monopoly on cruelty.

    "What makes you the expert on the US and UK in comparison to each other?"

    Hmmm, I'm not confident anyone is an expert in this area, but like you I lived in both countries for a number of years (over 10 in each case) and therefore have an opinion. Different than yours, possibly slightly more positive, but valid none the less.

    "Come up with a counter to the issues before you try that republican thinking on me."

    More of a new labour type actually, but thinking of going Lib Dem.

    "You have not countered a point.
    Just said " well you're not agreeing with me"
    you hypocrite."

    Ah...then we appear to have been guilty of the same practices...LOL


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  • 142. At 5:17pm on 20 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Here is something to think about, if you go to a person from indiana and you ask them if they can have this report done by friday and they say it will be difficult and they don't say anything else, what did they say? If you guessed that its a possibility that it will be or won't be done on friday you would be wrong, it means no it won't be done by friday at all. To the person from indiana its obvious its means no it won't be ready by friday because they never used the word yes.

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  • 143. At 5:31pm on 20 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Gwan mods let the post through unless it is racist or libellous (well slander on a blog).

    I'll see what this mad rid expat can put up.
    So far seems to be just like most of legions attack plans.
    Some blogger never posted before attacks with the "voice of reason" when refuted responds with anger.
    Come out !come out! where ever you are.


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  • 144. At 5:39pm on 20 Aug 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    waterman, don't you think that perhaps you are being a little too somber
    in your selection. After all, we want Justin to come back and visit once
    in while. How about this?

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  • 145. At 5:42pm on 20 Aug 2009, CamberwellBeauty wrote:

    Fluffy thing: can I get you into an anger management course????
    I was making wide reference about the country, climate, since Justin had. What on earth is your problem?

    Neither country is perfect, get a grip!

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  • 146. At 6:01pm on 20 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    126, Bienvenue.
    "Corruption may be a little endemic, but it's hardly widespread and crippling. You're more likely to hear of a political sex scandal than outright corruption or fraud. And there's probably just as much of it goin on back in Europe."

    I can't believe what you said.. For corruption no place I know of can beat New Jersey. And how about the New York State legislature? Or Illinois in general? What about our Congress thwarting health care reform becauase of the big handouts it gets from pharmaceutical companies and private health insurers? And as for your home state, Louisiana, well its history vis-a-vis corruption is pretty bleak.

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  • 147. At 6:08pm on 20 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    Justin, Why did you buy an American car? Even Americans don't buy them.

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  • 148. At 6:16pm on 20 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    camberwell WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM?

    you come on again and again. last time attacking the NHS. saying how great the american system is.

    is that what offends you you have some misplaced loyalty to the USA.
    london guttersnipe as you claim to be what were you doing getting care in the USA. On holiday or with private insurance?
    what the heck do you know.
    PS your reply looked a little angry.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/100_days_in_100_words.html#P

    Time for the pot to shout at the kettle.
    get real A camberwell. you know little about america it seems.

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  • 149. At 6:22pm on 20 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Canmberwell
    on the get a grip.
    comment. neither country is perfect.

    No kidding. WOW what insight.
    so every week journalists should right
    "neither country is perfect"
    rather than discuss the problems.

    OK Keep sticking your head in the sand.

    Come to america they have a chemical sand pit called prozac. loads hide their heads in it.

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  • 150. At 6:24pm on 20 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    marbles that's not corruption that's governance .

    Power to the people!

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  • 151. At 6:35pm on 20 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    147 LOL MARBLES.

    So he can drive around pretending to be the big shot.

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  • 152. At 6:47pm on 20 Aug 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #122. SONICBOOMER: "But even Swindon will likely have it's East European population"

    Not having visited Swindon for more years than I care to recall, I can't comment, but no doubt it has its share of residents from what, when I was at school, was called "Asia Minor". Post-war immigration was principally from Caribbean nations, not Asia, the principal reason being that any citizen of the Empire was guaranteed the right of abode in the mother-country. It goes without saying that in the days long ago when that was promulgated, very few citizens from the far-flung shores of Britannia had the money or the means to get to Britain. With the advent of air transport, all that changed but, short-sightedly in my opinion, Britain never changed her laws. Now it is a "multi-cultural" society which has lost the unique quality of British life.

    #124. EagleFlying: "I love my town in England, despite this place lacking some of the conveniences I miss from America."

    I'd be curious to know what those conveniences are. Having maintained homes on both sides of the Atlantic it seems to me that, with the exception of some foodstuffs, everything available in the United States can be purchased in the United Kingdom. In terms of household goods, Britain has come a long way during the last thirty years, many American-style refrigerators as opposed to the small under-the-counter variety, microwave ovens and all other kitchen equipment are ubiquitous, John Deere lawnmowers are readily available and broadloom carpets have been around for years and years. The British had wide-screen flat panel television receivers before they were available in the US, there is a greater variety of things such as fireplace mantels and door hardware - and cheaper than the US counterparts. Shopping malls (precincts) are everywhere, just as are stores like Gap and Ikea. I can't see what "conveniences" are missing. Not forgetting a superior transportation system and 'free' health care. And, there are more "public conveniences" to found than anywhere stateside

    But, the downside is that there is now so much petty officialdom and regulation as to make British life quite different to that found in the USA. We don't have Asbos, "fixed penalties", "Brown's bobbies" or anything else which smacks of an authoritarian state. The idea that a policeman can fine someone on-the-spot has been ridiculed by British magistrates, a notion which would have never have seen the light of day in the US. Similarly, Sharia courts would never be tolerated in America but appear to be increasingly used by the immigrant population to the detriment of traditional British judicial procedures. In addition, more closed-circuit television cameras per capita than anywhere else in the world - George Orwell was British and he certainly was prescient by predicting Big Brother watching every movement. Hitler was defeated, but there remain more "little tin Hitlers" than ever before, a sad reflection on the state of British life.

    Perhaps you're living in some untouched part of Britain - I was in Thatcham, Berkshire, not so long ago, and it still retained the old English qualities which were so much loved - but go twenty miles to Reading and it's a different world. The taxation was the same - and Brits are never going to give up 'free' health care however much it costs them. Since you are a resident, you qualify for a convenience you would not find in the United States - yet.

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  • 153. At 7:09pm on 20 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    150, fluffytale.
    "marbles that's not corruption that's governance ."

    Unfortunately true.

    As for Justin's new (used) car, he might have shown his affection for our counry in a more traditional manner. He could have stuck a plastic flamingo on his front lawn.

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  • 154. At 7:18pm on 20 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    152, David.

    The big differences between America and the U.K. is that here you can hide. There are wide open spaces where no one can find you. There are fewer petty regulations. We keep our houses warmer. Our traditional cooking is better and has more flavor. And if anyone invades our property we can shoot him.

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  • 155. At 7:21pm on 20 Aug 2009, NoRashDecisions wrote:

    CarolinaBrit #47: '"This stuff is not rocket science. Say something nice about America - or write a New World symphony - and Americans will love you. Say anything that might remotely be construed as a criticism (true or not) and suddenly you're a yellow-toothed, tax-crazed, socialist freedom-hater."

    Yes, unfortunately far too many Americans, admitedly, are utterly averse to any type of criticism, no matter how kindly and gently delivered; and for that, I would like to offer my most heartfelt apologies on behalf of my "fellow" immature Americans. However, please don't get the idea that all 300 million of us are like that!! I, for one, find myself very seldum proud of my country, and in fact largely ashamed of it. So please don't tar us all with the same brush.

    "(And I've been here longer than Justin Webb)."

    Perhaps you'd like to see how you like living in Annapolis, Maryland? Just a suggestion.

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  • 156. At 7:27pm on 20 Aug 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #92. CamberwellBeauty: "Goodness Fluffytale - Who has the blinkers on?"

    I do believe you must go to the same optician as Justin, although whether the NHS provides rose tinted glasses seems unlikely. There are many wonderful things about the United States, the wonders of its scenery being just one of them. But it is not an earthly paradise; perhaps you should visit Compton, parts of Detroit, DC and any other inner cities. That and plain ole (sic) suburbia is what Justin - and you - missed.

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  • 157. At 7:32pm on 20 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    marbels .
    he's working on it.


    he'll drive the car for a few months give up and park it in the front lawn ,sorry, yard take the hubcaps off knock the back window out for the chickens and pretend he's back in rural america.

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  • 158. At 7:38pm on 20 Aug 2009, SamTyler1969 wrote:

    Godspeed Justin.

    Sad Sam

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  • 159. At 7:41pm on 20 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Then go buy another.


    DC just to point out officers give tickets all the time. Unlike the UK most are on their own.
    The reason the UK has two cops on most traffic duty is the two witnesses bit.

    You probably saw Jacksforge's tale of being stopped in Oregon Kangaroo courts etc.

    Unrecorded courts.
    police officers threatening to raise fines to convince guilty plea.
    No you are right there are not so many jobsworthy's with paid jobs here in the states.
    but there are a hell of a lot of retired "volonteer"cops
    who in our area were going around looking in the windows of peoples cars at the mall and taking their numbers if they saw anything that might look valuable.
    then getting in touch with DMV and sending a message saying "your car could have been broke into"
    Now if they notice anything else while snooping through your windows it could be a different call they make.
    Even if one is registered with a medical card.

    but point taken.

    until you remeber he UK is TRYing to do something to reduce landfill so as to reduce methane so americans can ignore the problem.
    (do NY still try to send landfill waste to UK?)

    Yes to health care. who in their right mind would get rid of it.

    well apart from camberwell maybe

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  • 160. At 7:49pm on 20 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    154 you sexist;)

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  • 161. At 7:51pm on 20 Aug 2009, CamberwellBeauty wrote:

    FLUFFY, FLUFFY No kidding. WOW what insight.
    so every week journalists should right
    "neither country is perfect"
    rather than discuss the problems.


    No no Fluffy the journalists should WRITE ........

    Oh, so I can't have an opinion (wow, big Nanny checking on my posts!!!) about NHS (since I've lived with it) I can't have an opinion about the USA? And yes, I do know a lot about life in the USA, so have adequate knowledge. However, you spurt forth with opinions about everything American, but don't dare anyone say anything about our beloved NHS!! Who exactly here can't "discuss?"
    Your fragmented thoughts make no sense - oh, hold on, I'll call the bloke in Indiana, maybe he'll know something??? I'll take my Prozac first, though, and call an end to this; concede my utter defeat to someone who hasn't taken theirs!

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  • 162. At 8:04pm on 20 Aug 2009, NoRashDecisions wrote:

    oatrige #106: '"I lived in the USA several years. How often do you read about gruesome murders happening a few blocks from where you live in Swindon?"

    First, where did you live? Second, it is inevitable that a country with a populis of 300 million people will have a greater perportion of violent crime than a country with a populis of only 60 million. That's just a fact. But also I urge you to keep in mind, that the news often covers some of the most sensational stories. Have you ever heard of the saying '"If it bleeds it leads?" For example, if a news broadcaster was given the choice of leading their broadcast with a story about (I'm dreaming here,) but finally universal health care reform having been at long last achieved in the US, or a grusum murder of a rival gang member by a member of said victum's gang's enamy, you can bet that they would most likely choose the latter. So please, keep that in mind as you read of innocent students being gunned down at their desks, and young kids being gunned down in our inner cities on their way to school for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time as noone else does a thing to help. It helps keep things in perspective.


    "Corruption is the norm in public life in many parts of America, something worse than imaginative expense claims."

    Well I doubt that many of your fellow countrymen would agree with the sentiment that the expense claims are "imaginative," but you're right, I believe one would be very hard pressed indeed to find another developed country that is more corrupt than America. Yet another sad commentary on the land that believes in "justice for all."


    "Looking out of your car window as you drive around America you have to be blind to miss the extent of the squalor and poverty in the richest country in the world."

    And here too, is an area where the UK surpasses the US by leaps and bounds. I saw your government announce recently that it intends to have poverty in your country fully eliminated by the year 2020, whereas we declared "war on poverty" 40 years ago, and our poverty has in fact gotten much worse!!

    Its funny. Everyone seems to refer to Britian as "Old Blighty," whereas I am coming to the conclusion more and more that the lable is mis-ascribed. America should be labled "Blighty," and Britain can have another more fitting one, like "Compashonit" perhaps? Just look at your health care!! We'll never get it! Never!

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  • 163. At 8:06pm on 20 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    No rash..
    We have crossed paths in other lives;)
    I still live in the USA so there must be nice people here. Even in my hate filled anger driven gripless mind.

    That and nice swimming holes. rootbeer and velveta cheese;)


    back to the sand pit.

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  • 164. At 8:22pm on 20 Aug 2009, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    153 allmymarbles--What is it about plastic flamingos? Where do you live, anyway? I can think of many things to criticize about the US, but i'm not sure when I last saw a plastic flamingo in somebody's yard. I'd guess in my area one out of five hundred houses or less has them.

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  • 165. At 8:22pm on 20 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    Justin, Check your son for heavy metals toxicity. If he has toxic levels of cadmium, this can be a factor in diabetes as it increases blood sugar levels. My type 2 diabetic husband has just been found to have high levels of cadmium. This will be discussed with his doctor tomorrow and I will post an update.

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  • 166. At 8:23pm on 20 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    156 lol DC my issue with camberwell is this typical separation of geographical land compared to the people.

    Sure america has physical beauty.

    but physical beauty is skin deep.
    I suspect that anyone narcissistic enough to use beauty to describe themselves would miss the point there.

    I wont use God because I know how that offends many including you and me , so..
    something or other made the continent of america. but not the ameerican people.

    they did not carve the grand canyon from the rock. they did not push Crater lake up. they didn't cut the dome in half.
    they never build a massive cave complex that people pay money to see (maybe some mines).
    did americans carve the swimming hole I go to.
    did they make the Columbia gorge or the cascades, the rockies. the Mississippi ?they didn't create bears, moose or elk.

    they didn't the planet did.

    Scenery is not an excuse for the peoples behaviour.
    Americans Should be happy they are given so much by nature only to throw it away.

    Geographic explorer maybe.
    but it does show how loose the grip is in the argument camber tries to put forward.

    Justin did not post a edition of lonely planet. he was talking the politics the people.

    So camberwell get an argument. then return.

    I notice in the link to the 100's you never got back to Happylaze about his question.
    Why was that.
    Too difficult or too lazy



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  • 167. At 8:24pm on 20 Aug 2009, PARRISIA_GREECE wrote:

    Too bad you are going away at this crucial time that O is fighting for healthcare reform. He is probably dropping the public option on healthcare. Some say it's not because of all the ridiculous fuss made by hysteric gun-loving weirdoes but rather because of the warning call he got from big pharma and health insurance who are both heavy contributors to the Dem party. What's really happening? We don't know and we won't have you to help us find out... Good bye, Justin

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  • 168. At 8:25pm on 20 Aug 2009, Dark Side of the Goon wrote:

    Two anecdotes to throw into the debate.

    First, violence.
    The night that Justin published his farewell, I was awakened by gunfire. Not distant gunfire, the "oh dear, that's across the street" kind. It woke me because it is an unusual sound (and if it hadn't the resulting full chorus of police and news helicopters soon would have). It's the first time in months that any of the locals have tried to settle their differences with firearms, but when you live here it's a sound you soon learn to recognise.

    Second, healthcare.
    A friend of mine called his current GP yesterday, feeling basically unwell and wanting to get an appointment. The receptionist put him on hold for twenty minutes and then told him the wait time was three to five weeks.
    "But I'm ill now" said he "and what if it's serious? In three weeks, it might be fatal!"
    He was advised to go to an Urgent Care. We have different insurance, so I called my doctor today and asked for an appointment. I was told I'd need to wait at least a week, probably two, to get one and that if the matter was urgent I should go to an ER.

    @152 - "Now it is a "multi-cultural" society which has lost the unique quality of British life."

    What was your experience of this unique quality? I can't help but wonder if yours differs markedly from mine and, because you mention it in this context, I'm curious as to what you felt it was.

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  • 169. At 8:33pm on 20 Aug 2009, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    157 Fluffytale--I've certainly seen the kind of yard you describe, but I would have thought a bleeding heart socialist like you would have more sympathy for the people who live that way. Many are trying to feed their families on very low incomes.Most don't have insurance, or if they do it is probably inadequate. Just for your information, dairy farmers in my area are currently receiving about $7-$9 per hundred pounds of milk they produce (about 12 1/2 gallons). The cost of production, not counting labor, is about $8-9$ per hundred weight. Some dairy farmers are living off savings; others are living off credit; others are living off the part-time jobs that would normally just supplement their income. "Pretending to be back in rural America" maybe fun, but for the people I know who are trapped in rural America it's no joke.

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  • 170. At 8:34pm on 20 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Camberwell crazy.

    Critisise the NHS just don't try doing as you did and suggest the americans are better off with their system.
    There is next to no one that believes it.

    Statistics say they die earlier and live with more worry. Americas that is.
    You seem to want me to say nothing then shout that you are being told to say nothing.
    (which I wish you would but there we go).

    You suggest My opinions are rubbish but I have had two major surgeries under the NHS knife . Had relatives under care for 30 years twice daily, and have family in the UK receiving better cancer care than they were getting in the US from TOP docs.
    I also live in america and have for 9 years.
    That having lived here on and off all my life.

    So while you are all so indignant why don't you stop saying I've experience and answer the question.
    (typical republican tactic that) did you pay for that A1 healthcare or was it covered?

    As for the indiana comment.
    if you were not obsessing on my posts you would know I had put a few letters into anothers' post to change the meaning.
    But then you missed that when you were frothing at the mouth it seems.


    Present an argument or give up.

    If you think my fragmented thoughts are less worthy than you well considered arguments you need to start at primary school again.

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  • 171. At 8:41pm on 20 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Who exactly here can't "discuss?"


    funny someone should say this.
    answer
    jacksforge happylaze.daisydiety14allandall41,beerontap,joepinapples,skippythecanetoadkiller and more.

    But still go back to making up captions . it suits you better.

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  • 172. At 9:12pm on 20 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    TC sorry to have offended you. Not the intent.

    I'm well familiar with rural america.and its genuine problems exasperated by the lack of priorities in the USA.
    those farmers could do with real help. help to make sustainable contribution to farming and a respect that was lost when people started putting the emphasis on lawyers and correction officers.

    I was looking out a friends window to the 8 vehicles laying around within view of that window.
    Its ART.
    Installation art in progress.

    But it is an eye sore to many.. oh well scrap heaps are too and I love them.
    I was just giving a better example of american yards than the flamingo;) which I understood why Marbles was mentioning.

    what is a joke is thinking that rural america was helped by any of the conservative parties.
    The massive funding of super agribusiness (same happening in the UK) put most farmers out.

    I've even got a marcola flag (tarp) over my shop keeping the rain , snow and sun out.
    In this neck of the woods them rural folk I know are farmers and loggers.
    And not one of them is against health care or cleaning up a few wrecks in the yard.

    When the scrap prices went up many got hauled out of the bushes.


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  • 173. At 9:19pm on 20 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    168 Dark side.
    wait are you saying that with all the great care and excellent service in the states that the private docs have a two week waiting list?

    I thought only pinkos knew how to wait.;)

    PS Marbles and DarK
    if this is good byes then I'll take the opportunity to say good bye now while I can.
    No rash and you.
    sorry to see you are down .
    Normally you defend the states more (though not like the sycophants from the UK)so something has got to you, I'm sorry. I always kinda enjoyed arguing with you;)
    I hope the health care comes.
    maybe there needs to be yet more time for the americans to learn.
    I sit here with a flu like symptom or two as it happens.
    But will I seek medical help....I doubt it.I sure can't afford it.


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  • 174. At 9:38pm on 20 Aug 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #159. fluffytale: "DC just to point out officers give tickets all the time. Unlike the UK most are on their own."

    Yes, but they can't fine you on the spot! Due process and all that. If you're over the limit and fail a roadside sobriety test, then it's into the pokey for the night - but still no fine until the judicial process has been fulfilled.

    #168. Dark Side of the Goon: "What was your experience of this unique (British) quality? I can't help but wonder if yours differs markedly from mine and, because you mention it in this context, I'm curious as to what you felt it was."

    No burkas, no loudspeaker hails to prayer, all information available solely in English, all residents speaking English, queuing, fair play, a respect for others, no interference from "jobsworths", customer service, a common sense approach to age and the ability to buy such as alcohol without a young thing demanding ID, ugly new buildings which scar old cities in the interest of modernity - the list is long and extensive. This is not to deny progress, the rebuilding of slums, the introduction of civil partnerships and the like, but it is greatly offset by the rest. Of course, if people have never experienced the way it was, they will not miss it, but it seems to me that life there is often one step forward then two steps back.

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  • 175. At 9:57pm on 20 Aug 2009, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    173 Fluffytale: "I sit here with a flu like symptom or two as it happens.
    But will I seek medical help....I doubt it.I sure can't afford it."

    Try honey-ginger tea. Mix 1 T. of honey with 1 t. of ground ginger in a mug, then pour in hot water. Ginger can make you feel better, especially if you believe it will (the placebo effect:). Anyway, know that you are not alone. Even those with insurance are afraid to go to a doctor because of higher premiums. Major medical bills, of course, cause insurances to deny people continuing coverage.

    Major things are wrong with the US health care system, but I don't really think socialism will work. The US has a much larger amount of debt than the UK or Canada when those nations started national health care systems. This debt is crippling us. The wars are sucking people, money, and morals out of the country. There's plenty to be depressed about. (Note: Prozac is very expensive;).

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  • 176. At 10:00pm on 20 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    164, trueconservative.
    "I can think of many things to criticize about the US, but i'm not sure when I last saw a plastic flamingo in somebody's yard. I'd guess in my area one out of five hundred houses or less has them."

    Some people just don't understand art.

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  • 177. At 10:04pm on 20 Aug 2009, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    172 Fluffytale--"what is a joke is thinking that rural america was helped by any of the conservative parties."

    "parties" plural??? Sure, I know there are multiple parties but for all intents and purposes the US is a two-party system. That is one of our greatest problems, aside from war, poverty, and racism. Though Republicans are considered conservative, what is it that they truly want to conserve? Not much, except power. I might vote Republican if I lived in Vermont.

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  • 178. At 10:25pm on 20 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    177, tureconservative.
    "I might vote Republican if I lived in Vermont."

    A Vermont Republican is about the same as an Alabama Marxist.

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  • 179. At 10:34pm on 20 Aug 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    I'll bet that they would vote for Ron Paul in Vermont.

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  • 180. At 10:50pm on 20 Aug 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 175, TC

    "This debt is crippling us. The wars are sucking people, money, and morals out of the country."

    Our dependence on deficit spending and the accumulation of debt that has been the norm since WWII are, indeed, crippling our economic security and jeopardizing the well being of future generations. I am in favor of limiting deficit spending to crises that threaten our security, but considering the pervasive influence of special interests in Washington and our own dependence on plastic that's not going to happen. I believe it is important to recognize that our debt problem is not limited to federal government over spending, and that it also includes out of control corporate and personal debt.

    Regarding the comment in 177 about what it is that "conservatives" are trying to conserve I would say that they are focused on preserving the status quo, from a Norman Rockwell America to a health care system that only insurance companies shareholders should embrace.

    Morality and ethics mean a lot more than going to Church, claiming to be Christians, working 60 hours a week, and owning a house in suburbia. I find our propensity to intervene in the internal affairs of other nations immoral, I consider our adventurism and greed immoral, I consider the inhumane way we treat undocumented immigrants immoral, and I consider all those preachers and priests that engage in unbecoming behavior a bunch of hypocrites whose behavior is more in line with the values of the Anti-Christ than with the man they purportedly venerate.

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  • 181. At 10:50pm on 20 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    179, guns.
    "'ll bet that they would vote for Ron Paul in Vermont."

    Or maybe even you. There is no telling how far out they are.

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  • 182. At 11:03pm on 20 Aug 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    That's it Ms. Marbles. They must be very confused up there.

    Nice ice cream, though.

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  • 183. At 11:16pm on 20 Aug 2009, Reuben wrote:

    Justin: you don't have far to go from Swindon to find where American culture comes from. Why Swindon? Is that where you're from, or are you just going where-ever the BBC sends you?

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  • 184. At 11:56pm on 20 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    180, sanitD.

    I tell you, saint, the corruption is so ingrained, and our voice is such a waste of breath, that I have decided to ignore a government that has lost my respect. Slipping through the cracks is the best I can expect.

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  • 185. At 01:09am on 21 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    Bye, bye, Justin. I know how you feel. When you live a long time in a foreign country you develop a dual loyalty. I don't know why people criticize your perception of America. It might be more objective than a native's. Surely my children, who were born and raised abroad, see America with different eyes. Come back to visit. Meanwhile enjoy the mist and dank of Britain.

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  • 186. At 01:22am on 21 Aug 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #175. trueconservative: "Major things are wrong with the US health care system, but I don't really think socialism will work."

    There you go again! Socialism, that old bugaboo. So far the other model hasn't worked with any great success, so why not give a single-payer system a chance? Senators get it, why not the rest of the population? Those who sit in Congress wouldn't be there if it were not for the electorate.

    "The US has a much larger amount of debt than the UK or Canada when those nations started national health care systems."

    I can't speak for Canada, but Britain was at rock bottom in 1946 when the NHS Act was passed. Her war debt was enormous and the country virtually bankrupt. The NHS came into force in July 1948 despite rationing and hard times, the previous Winter being one of the worst in memory, with power cuts ("outages", horrid word!) and very little petrol even if you had a coupon: everything was still rationed. I don't think America's debt is anywhere near as great as that of Britain over sixty years ago. I'd be happy to be proved wrong!

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  • 187. At 01:32am on 21 Aug 2009, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    179 guns&religion--But they didn't, mostly. Actually, in the primaries, Ron Paul got the second highest vote (as a percentage of Republican voters) in Pennsylvania. I think the highest was some place out West--Montana, maybe. He came from here, originally, but Texas has tainted him with issues such as illegal immigration (that's one issue where I admit to being a liberal).

    182--Vermont's ice cream, cheese, gravestones, and maple syrup are good. If I ever move there, I would miss my friends, my relatives, and fresh, fully ripened peaches.

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  • 188. At 02:28am on 21 Aug 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    tc, I don't think that Ron Paul really did well in Texas, either, because
    he advocated severely curtailing US military spending.

    It's a good thing that I'm not a politician, or I might do about as well
    as Ron.

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  • 189. At 02:30am on 21 Aug 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    DC, there are a lot of ways to do it besides single-payer.
    Japan, for example, has a private insurance system that actually works,
    and costs considerably less as a percentage of GDP than ours.

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  • 190. At 02:57am on 21 Aug 2009, U14109896 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 191. At 02:59am on 21 Aug 2009, U14109896 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 192. At 03:06am on 21 Aug 2009, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    186 DC--The current national debt is about $11.7 trillion dollars and ticking (http://www.usdebtclock.org/). I don't know exactly how that compares with British debt after World War II, but it is a huge number.

    The obesity epidemic is almost certain to cause a huge increase in the amount of health care required in the US. We're only at the tip of the iceberg. So many American children are fat that comparing national health care in the US with the UK simply won't work. These children are much more likely than other adolescents and young adults to need back surgery, knee surgery, antidepressants, blood thinners, water pills, etc, treatments that would normally not be needed in the youth. They are also more likely to be unemployed. When they go on to have children of their own, they are much more likely to have premature babies with all the associated problems. In addition, there are the retiring baby boomers. A single-payer system would perhaps solve the question of who pays for health care. It wouldn't solve the problem of poor lifestyle choices and a huge demand for medical services. I guess that could partly be solved through hefty "sin taxes" on sugar, candy, potato chips, etc but that would hardly be fair to people who eat in moderation but have large families. It also wouldn't solve the lack of exercise. What is the solution? I don't know. Maybe a tax break for anyone who wants to become a dietitian?

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  • 193. At 03:12am on 21 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    175, trueconservative.
    "Major things are wrong with the US health care system, but I don't really think socialism will work."

    Socialism won't work? One would think that we had no socialist programs. What about Medicaid? I would add Medicare because we are not given a choice. And what about welfare? That is the short list. As time goes by we become more and more socialistic.

    Although in principle I am not in favor of socialism, I would much prefer a government health program (if we have to have health insurance at all) rather than be victimzed by health insurance privateers. But Congress will not pass a program that will provide us with the benefits seek. Oh, no. Congress feeds hungrily on the pharmaceutical industry and private health insurers and they have debts to pay. Our interests come last, if at all.

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  • 194. At 03:17am on 21 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    190 & 191, holyterrorist.
    "The NHS works!"

    When my children were at school in England they were covered by the NHS. The NHS works!

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  • 195. At 03:18am on 21 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    194, further.

    It is an American myth that we have the best health care in the world. Study the statistics. We are far, far from the best!

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  • 196. At 03:32am on 21 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Oh dear DC what is up.
    What did them strangers do to jolly old England?
    Bring in a headscarf,ring some bells?
    your so anti religion but you want the pomp of the church but not the mosque.
    I always liked the call to Preyer., shame if we lost that as well.
    Would you ban the cross as well while banning others. " Learn English then visit we don't want no forners"

    A good thing civil unions. now lets have some n more civil ideas while we are at it.

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  • 197. At 03:37am on 21 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    175 lol TC I'll give it a go . go ginger in the diet as it happens anyway.
    Really flu symptoms don't worry me a bit. Strong as an Ox like that . Just pointing out that maybe others are not so healthy.
    I'll restrict contact so as to hopefully not pass it on if it is something others would worry about.

    175 the debt in the UK at the start of the NHS was probably pretty high.
    they were paying off the war bonds to the USA .

    Did right up to very recently.
    It could work if americans said they thought it would. americans can get it right if they try. I'm not defeatist;)

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  • 198. At 03:42am on 21 Aug 2009, U14109896 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 199. At 03:42am on 21 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Glad to see DC got some post war reality in there.
    though DC I'm still shocked at the " ain't half hot mum " post.


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  • 200. At 04:10am on 21 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    192, trueconservative.

    Last month a mother was arrested on a charge of criminal neglect (a felony) of her 14 year old son who weighted 550 pounds. He was put in foster care. She made all sorts of logical excuses as to why he got that way (single working mother), but a picture of her shows that she, too, is obese, although not nearly as seriously as her son. This arrest may set a dangerous precedent but it does serve to confirm a parent's responsibility for a child's well being. She had to have provided the excessive food, even though she was not there to supervise him.

    I am not in favor of the wholesale arrest of parents, but society should make it clear what their responsibilities are and, in a somewhat less extreme mannter, hold them accountable. We are raising a generation of sick and disabled children.

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  • 201. At 04:14am on 21 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    198, holyterrierist.
    "Madame, Please check your spelling!"

    Freudian slip. I was a holy terror.

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  • 202. At 06:32am on 21 Aug 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #189. gunsandreligion: "DC, there are a lot of ways to do it besides single-payer. Japan, for example, has a private insurance system that actually works."

    Almost anything would be better than what the USA has now, but no-one has even tried a single-payer system in the US. Give it a chance and don't fall back on that old and tired political rhetoric. If the people speak, is that socialism? No, it's democracy in action.

    #196. fluffytale: "Oh dear DC what is up. What did them strangers do to jolly old England? Bring in a headscarf, ring some bells? your so anti religion but you want the pomp of the church but not the mosque."

    Where did you get the idea that I'm anti-religion? If people want to believe in superstitions, let them, it doesn't bother me so long as they don't force their beliefs on others. I was brought up C-of-E and in a High Church to boot, and flirted with Rome for awhile in my teens. It was the theatricality I liked, but as an adult realised that it was not all it was cut up to be. I don't object to mosques, indeed we once lived in Woking where there was then and is now a mosque. I loved the sound of bells pealing (greatly missed in the USA) but they were not electronically amplified as are calls to prayer for moslems. I was once in Arabia and all the mosques that I saw had great loudspeakers attached to them - that's not something I would care for in England. The citizens of Oxford have had just that problem, resulting in complaints against the excessive noise. At least bells are musical - and in a language everyone can appreciate and understand. Except my mother, who hated them!

    "I always liked the call to Preyer., shame if we lost that as well."

    See above, if that's what you mean.

    "DC I'm still shocked at the " ain't half hot mum " post."

    You've lost me there. Have a # for it?

    "Would you ban the cross as well while banning others."

    Why ban the cross in Britain? The church is Established and is there by right. That may be changed in years to come, but outward symbols are meaningful only to the believer.

    "A good thing civil unions."

    Amen to that! At least California has Domestic Partnerships, very, very similar. But I'm not convinced that a piece of paper is important in the twenty-first century, marriage as an institution seems outmoded to me. With the divorce rate so high, it appears that many others agree.

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  • 203. At 06:41am on 21 Aug 2009, Madridexpat wrote:

    Fluff

    You might review post 141 as you may have done an injustice in 143. Post was not actually referred for anger or anything like that, more for computer idiocy on my part(trying to post a broken link to a UKGov doc) .

    but not terribly important in any case...we seem to have moved on to health care while I slept

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  • 204. At 08:21am on 21 Aug 2009, kecsmar wrote:

    Nice to see some of the "old names" following you to the UK Justin.

    I wonder if those that criticised you, for bring a Brit in the US and commenting on US 'issues' that only a US citizen/national would know about, follow you?

    I now live outside of the UK....i went back for the first time in 3 years recently. Very very odd, not the place it was...no one seemed to be happy or smiling...endless bureaucracy...everything has become expensive (not as expensive as here in Japan).

    Still..helps to broaden the horizons :)

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  • 205. At 08:47am on 21 Aug 2009, EagleFlying wrote:

    #152...David_Cunard.. You asked me about the lack of conveniences.
    I'm in Berks, not too far from Ascot, in a nice neighborhood. Perhaps you live in a larger house, but an American refrigerator cannot fit in my tiny kitchen. I'm disabled, so the conveniences I miss, the normal person may not miss. I miss top-loading washing machines that are big. The only place to fit a washing machine in my house is under a counter, thus I have to practically kneel on the floor (actually I do) to put in clothes and take clothes out. One load of laundry in my American machine equals 2 loads in this UK one. Not a big deal unless you suffer from muscle problems, I guess. The cooker has the oven part near the floor, again causing me to practically squat. My American cooker was higher up. My water faucets don't have the hot and cold water integrated properly (and this house is not old, it is only about 15 years old). They both exit the same faucet; however you either burn your hands or freeze them, depending on how you move them beneath that one tap.

    Windows don't open up and down, so you can't put a window airconditioner in. We had to buy a portable one for the hot days, as no breeze gets through our house because of its location. This was crucial for me, since I pass out in heat, due to medical conditions. Again, a normal person probably would not find the lack of window a/c's an inconvenience. I hate the fact I can't go eat out in a pub because it's hot as hell in there on hot days. Restaurants in my USA town were air conditioned. Although people who have more money in the UK probably have better heating in the winter, ours still uses bricks to heat up. I found this really strange when I first arrived, it reminded me of what may have been used back in my grandparents' day.

    Another inconvenience, although minor... is your stores don't stay open long. I think there is one food store that stays open late near me. Most stores in my area close down at 5:00 p.m. I don't know why. In America our stores are open until 9:00 or 10:00 p.m., with diners open 24 hours so you can always get what you need. Because stores close early here, everyone rushes around on the weekends and most places are overcrowded. What happens if you need something during the week, like... a part to fix an appliance? I guess it waits for the weekend.

    Oh, and there wasn't room for a clothes dryer in my house (we have no garden for a clothesline to be put up), so the dryer ended up down in the garage. LOL This was fun when I had to walk outside in the rain in order to put clothes in the dryer. Luckily, we eventually had a door installed right in the house to the garage, but that was expensive.

    There are other inconveniences, but this has been enough for now. Obviously I have coped, I still love England, I love my neighborhood, too. I think it's a bit challenging for anyone with a disability, though. No offense intended to anyone. But you could use some good pancake houses over here. *smile* I find the Engligh people charming, I love the weather (yes, I really do), my area seems to have most of the rain go right around it. I actually have had a nicer summer here than back in the states. I'm happy I moved here to be with my fiance. I look forward to eventually becoming a British citizen.

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  • 206. At 10:50am on 21 Aug 2009, U14109315 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 207. At 10:50am on 21 Aug 2009, U14109896 wrote:

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  • 208. At 11:02am on 21 Aug 2009, U14109315 wrote:

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  • 209. At 11:04am on 21 Aug 2009, Seraphim wrote:

    Swedes are actually very good at standing in line. When i was there we waited for like 5 hours in a queue and though it was obvious that those further back in the queue wouldnt even get what they came for, there was no sneaking in front at all. Due to that I now consider a queue as something Swedish rather than something British ;-)

    However French and other Southern Europeans didn't seem to get along that well with this "odd" system of waiting in a line.

    I think it is actually true that Americans are in general a bit more polite asking how one is doing etc. At least 3 friends who each spend one year in the states told me that as well. However they mentioned that a big chunk of this friendlyness is fake and that while Europeans may be harder to access (not all of them of course) you at least know better the value of your relationship to someone. That may be something though experienced only by foreigners as Americans ay well be trained to know the difference between a friendly and caring "hey how are you doing?" and a cold and faked one. That is something you probably won't leanr in 1 year practice.

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  • 210. At 12:39pm on 21 Aug 2009, threnodio wrote:

    On the subject of waiting in line, I have lived in eastern Europe for some years and you people have no idea about queues. I met someone here who tries to get sick the same day he goes to the bank so that he only has to take one day off work for waiting time.

    What I have noticed here however is that the current generation of American visitors tends to be polite, patient and respectful of the locals - in marked contrast to the popular caricature of the over-weight, loud mouth bore of 30 years ago. The Brits, by contrast, are becoming more borish and loutish by the year. Maybe it's a sign of the US coming of age and the UK becoming old and crotchety.

    We have enjoyed Mark Mardel's Euroblog over here for some years and, if he remains true to form, you won't be disappointed. Justin, thanks for your inciteful comment over the years, even if you have occassionally been a bit trite and the rose tinted glasses might have been allowed to slip a more often. It's been fun all the same.

    But Swindon? Talk about going from the sublime to the rediculous!

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  • 211. At 1:02pm on 21 Aug 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    The ideological opposition to universal healthcare in the USA ignores the fact that we already have very large programs designed to care for the elderly, the poor, and 3 million government workers. If government-run healthcare is unacceptable because it is a socialist system we should dismantle Social Security, MEDICARE, MEDICAID, government-provided healthcare for military personnel and civil servants, government subsidies to farmers and corporations, federal government aid to states, government tax breaks to banks and corporations, etc.

    Most of the opposition is influenced by fear that we may lose what we currently have and by political opportunism. The GOP is exploiting the fears and prejudices of the elderly and uneducated to gain congressional seats in 2010 and improve their chances in 2012.

    Unfortunately, the GOP "swift boat" tactics are succeeding again and they are likely to achieve their goals even if it means preserving a system that is too expensive, unfair to a large segment of our population, and unsustainable for our corporations and industrial might.

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  • 212. At 1:09pm on 21 Aug 2009, john-In-Dublin wrote:

    # 205 EagleFlying wrote:

    "My water faucets don't have the hot and cold water integrated properly (and this house is not old, it is only about 15 years old). They both exit the same faucet; however you either burn your hands or freeze them, depending on how you move them beneath that one tap."

    I remember reading some article on foreigners' impressions of Ireland, and the point was made - by a Pole I think - that they couldn't understand why we so often tend to have separate hot and cold taps. It is crazy - especially now, when they're telling us to wash our hands thoroughly in hot water to try and fend off Swine Flu.

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  • 213. At 1:11pm on 21 Aug 2009, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    193 Allmymarbles--The current system actually penalizes those who don't have insurance. If the government made a law that private patients must be given a rate exactly equal to what insurance companies pay, minus the surcharge for bookwork necessitated by insurance companies, it would suddenly be much more affordable to have no insurance. Such a bill will never pass Congress, unfortunately, because insurance companies have too many lobbyists giving out perks to compliant congressmen.

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  • 214. At 1:20pm on 21 Aug 2009, SONICBOOMER wrote:

    Ah yes, that whole 'NHS is Evil' thing.

    This is from the people who cited Stephen Hawking as an example of someone who would have died long ago had they relied on the NHS.
    Let's see, Hawking is British and has used the NHS since the onset of his illness (which should have killed him by the end of the 1960's).

    On the news recently, some swivel eyed fool saying how the NHS 'sucks' before citing some almost racist assumptions about us British, that clearly could only come from someone who has never been abroad.
    Another screamed about how no way would he 'pay' for health care for 'them'.
    Meaning fellow citizens, not bad for a nation whose right wingers drone on about how 'Christain' they are.

    A funny kind of Christianity, with all the 'difficult' and unselfish parts expunged. Replaced by hate filled distortions of other parts.
    I'd rather live in a Europe where maybe the churches are less full, but through the various methods of delivery, the nations here ensure health care for all.

    It's a moral thing for many of us, myself included.
    A system that tries it's hardest to deliver health care regardless of the economic situation of those who need it, can only help the general economic efficiency and well being of the society.
    Reagan once said on his 'trickle down' economics, a rising tide lifts all boats , presumably meaning large and small.
    Well logically that also appliers to health care.
    Or is that another example of this 'smorgasboard' morality?

    It is amazing how certain buzz words, though completely untrue, can work on so many.
    Joseph Goebbels would have approved and admired.

    I bet they don't mention that the UK has a higher average lifespan and lower infant mortality too.
    Maybe we should be dismayed that the NHS ranks at 18 out of 191 nations health care, as defined by the World Health Organization. Which presumably accounts for everyone not just the better off. A lot better than where the US in though, at 37.

    My own experiences since the onset on Rheumatoid Arthritis in early 2000.
    Let's see how this stacks up with the claims of the system I am using ,to what the GOP says.

    1) I was diagnosed after three months of illness, American actress Kathleen Turner was after one year, but this illness is different for everyone, so despite her no doubt having access to the best the US can provide, this was not a factor.
    But, as soon as it was suspected (after weekly check ups with my GP), I was in a specialist unit the next day, for confirmation and the start of treatment.
    No waiting for months, so we'll call that GOP lie no.1

    2) Throughout I have been offered multiple options for treatment methods. GOP lie no.2

    3) I was told from the start, and since, 'there are no restrictions on the sorts of medication available'. I am kept informed of new developments in medication too. GOP lie no.3

    4) I have been offered, if I want it, alternative hospitals, GOP lie no.4

    5) Time with my Consultant is not limited, GOP lie no.5

    6) The hospital is clean, has modern facilities, looks a bit 1960's stained concrete outside, but not inside, where over the years I have seen several refurbishments. GOP lie no.6

    7) I have annual x-rays, bi annual bone density scans, these are appointments but I chose when I give blood tests, which I provide 2 or 3 times between each consultation.
    GOP lie no.7

    8) After my initial week long stay, which confirmed diagnoses and started medication treatment, there was also a period of extra help such as hydro-pools, exercise and nutrition advice, until my recovery made them, within weeks, in the case of the hydrotherapy, superfluous. GOP lie no.8

    9) The range of medications, which includes three separate disease modifying drugs, is provided free since this is a life long condition. GOP lie no.9
    Free that is at delivery, I pay my taxes and N.I. of course, and my treatment ensured I was soon back working and paying that tax and N.I. which is what is called a virtuous circle I think.

    Now the NHS treats in one way of another, a million people each day, so there will be mistakes and sometimes neglect.
    Are they pretending this is totally absent in the US?

    By all means have a debate on the future of US health-care, but don't drag other nations systems into it, it only displays dishonesty, arrogance and ultimately, insecurity.

    Would we do the NHS the way it is now, from today and not in 1948?
    Probably not.
    However, the claims being made about the NHS by some in the US now, exactly mirrors what the vested interests in the UK said in 1948 too.
    They were wrong, most would be mature enough to subsequently admit this too.
    And in the next two decades the health of our nation improved at an unprecedented rate, far faster than medical advances could alone account for.

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  • 215. At 1:39pm on 21 Aug 2009, dceilar wrote:

    Welcome back to blighty Justin!

    I hope being one of the hosts on the Today programme pays you enough to afford the cost of the petrol needed for your big car!

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  • 216. At 2:00pm on 21 Aug 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #214 - SONICBOOMER

    My life partner of many years was unfortunate to have a transfusion of infected blood while overseas and contracted hepatis B and C. As a result, she developed chirosis which necessitated a transplant. In mid-procedure, she suffered pulmonary hypertension but extraordinarily survived. She was the first recorded case of someone surviving under such circumstances and the subsequent treatment was experimental but successful. The hepatitis C unfortunately returned aggressively and a new treatment using interferon was used in an attempt to eliminate it prior to a second graft but sadly, she died before this was possible. There were other complications including the onset of diabetes. Her treatment involved several hospitals, support across a range of disciplines at consultant level, two surgical teams, four years of very expensive drug treatment and extended periods of hospitalization.

    All of this was taken care of by the NHS and the level of care and the expertise that was brought to bear was extrordinary. When she came to live in the UK, she chose voluntarily to pay National Insurance contributions and thereby earned entitlement to the free treatment and social benefits when she became too ill to work. The UK system gave her 4 years that she otherwise would not have had. She was a United States citizen.

    Now I repeat this story for one reason and one only. As a European, I have no intention of getting involved in the debate about how the US plans the future of it's healthcare. It is a domestic issue. But I do say this. The level of criticism verging on contempt that has been evident in the US debate for the NHS is pure propaganda. It simply is not true and people who are using such arguments to further their political case should be ashamed of the degree of misrepresentation they are employing.

    I have no idea why my indentity is being masked as 'You' but I customarily sign as Threnodio.

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  • 217. At 2:05pm on 21 Aug 2009, Mincepie Murderer wrote:

    Justin, get out of that gas-guzzler and take a few country walks. Say hello to people you pass there, and they'll say hello to you too.

    I assume the American practice of saying hello to everyone whose path you cross on the street is because there's hardly anyone there - most people aren't walking but driving gas-guzzlers.


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  • 218. At 2:25pm on 21 Aug 2009, dceilar wrote:

    It seems clear that these 'NHS is Evil' GOP fascists don't give a damn about their 'fellow Americans'. They would rather let millions of Americans live in perpetual fear for the rest of their lives than pay a cent more tax. What would Jesus do? Would he say only the rich and healthy can have access to a doctor? When these pseudo-Christian plebs see the sick and needy they would rather walk on by than help them.

    I hope Obama and the American moral majority do not give in to the fascist bully-boy tactics of this uneducated and immoral minority.

    We live in hope!

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  • 219. At 2:37pm on 21 Aug 2009, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    Threnodio--"I have no idea why my indentity is being masked as 'You' but I customarily sign as Threnodio."

    LOL, it happens to all members once signed in. I think it may be a recent change in the BBC. I don't see any comments written by TC, they're written by "you".

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  • 220. At 2:41pm on 21 Aug 2009, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    Sonicboomer, threnodio, & dceilar--If you go through all the comments I have written you will never find me saying that the NHS is evil, or that it doesn't work for Brits. I just don't see how it could possibly work in the US with all the self-inflicted disease that occurs here. I also don't see any way of paying for it.

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  • 221. At 3:13pm on 21 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    To those that want to understand the plumbing peculiarities of the UK when it come to hot and cold.

    It is a safety feature to prevent water from the Hot system going back into the mains.
    It could be contaminated and so contaminate the mains.

    There are other ways and if you want a mixer tap you can Buy one.
    Just as you can buy a shower.

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  • 222. At 3:48pm on 21 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    DC your Idea of racial integration sounds like from the set of ain't half hot.
    condescending just a little.



    " I miss top-loading washing machines that are big"

    use huge amounts of water and energy.
    now being replaced across the states with frront loaders.
    This is the problem with the USA -wasteful in the extreme.
    revoltingly so.


    Madrid.lol


    Yes on reflection you did attack.
    I do see you point and am sorry those doing surveys didn't do the ones I would like.

    I have followed JW for some time.His comments and views are so skewed it amazes me.
    Animal cruelty.
    Live transport over the seas. where is that these days?
    Fox hunting where?

    you mention Shoots.
    well guess what. America shoots animals.
    there are bounties on every blue jay here for filbert (hazelnut) "stealing"
    I lived in rural UK as well.
    Yes there are problems.
    But in the random survey of life how many do you know that put kittens in letter boxes with small detonation caps.
    This is random sampling of life.
    Without the Guns of america it is harder to Kill a cat30 ft away.So how many are shot in the UK in town.
    Air guns yes talk to a vet that has served the animal hospitals in both counties.

    Shit millions die because they have no bitter taste additive to anti freeze here which is added through out euope.(apparently)
    You can say anacdotal.
    but the stats thrown up earlier on violent crime are rubbish. The daily MAIL really. OK a little Fox like.

    forgets that shouting at others is a crime in the UK.Not measured. in the states Guaranteed.

    A nice letter but seems to miss reality to allow them americans to wander around thinking "How great it is" well I rarely met Brits so delusional to go on about the UK like that.
    Here they have a flag on so many houses you would assume the BNP had taken over if it were in the UK.

    The slavish following of the states has led the UK into a war of choice that has increased racial tensions and animosity to the west.
    see if less were agreeing with all americans at all time Just because they are americans . maybe they would learn.
    Can't upset them though.

    I live here. It is home now.
    And I don't like leaving crap in the living room floor so I'll work for change.
    you can go on about me attacking but Justin was the one who made ridiculous comments like" maybe O should be H VP because he beat her in a election."

    Go check policing levels heer. those in the UK that moan are lucky. 2 hours for the cops to get to many crimes in oregon. Huge state. but still the local cops don't care.
    Now should I get on an anti cop rant . because I can. there are a few real bad cases in the UK but how many execute people in train stations. beat homeless people for being handcuffed and compliant?

    I like your angle but will strongly disagree with you assumption that what I say is extremist.
    Brits see more because they live on top of each other.
    (good thing for the planet) americans don't see because they love their space.
    I live in one work in the other. Live city work rural.
    I see. I'm not blinkered. I see the beauty I see nice peopel fighting animal abuse. but I see a general acceptance.
    try walking into the pub and telling the guy next to you you shot 20 cats last night.
    If when asked why and they reply. "I hate cats"

    try admitting to killing 20 jays or crows."cause I hate them"

    Acceptance of violence is part of america.




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  • 223. At 3:51pm on 21 Aug 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #220 - trueconservative

    My comment was an observation about the way the debate is developing, not anything personal to you. However, to we Europeans, it remains something of a mystery as to how the richest country on the planet can complain it cannot afford something that most of the developed world regards as a basic human right. I doubt whether anyone could argue against the quality of healthcare in the States for those who can afford it. It is a socio-economic argument, not a clinical one.

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  • 224. At 4:02pm on 21 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    TC you do know that many don't have kids these days because they KNOW we are too successful a creature.
    so the families with 8 kids seem Normally to be religiously conservative. "breeding for the lord"

    It angers those trying to be responsible to the planet.
    oh how a few condoms may save the planet.

    still some like in China say having too many kids is a sin.(ok back fired at one) In this day and age.

    shame. After all it's not kids that kill the planet and big families are fine by me. It is important that all famillies don't take more than they need. so when I see 8 kids in a family with ATV Two monster trucks to take the ATV to the dunes 2 hours away and the trailers I do think. "wow how the hell do they afford that;)"
    and "sick" at the same time.

    I do like the fat tax idea though.Also recommend getting rid of subsidised bio terrorism that is the modern agri chemi food system .

    I'd love to get all great america, but they have yet to show the side that is great. and it is getting bloodier now things are in the dumps.

    PS you talk of unhealthy life styles.

    remember work Kills.
    And more in the USA than UK.
    Miners. when was the last UK mine death?
    Industrial illnesses are so prevalent at a Aluminium smelter near here that the workers are retired at 55 and with full medical. rather than make the place safe.

    All them chemicals fine for once and a while used all day.
    spray paints and no mask?

    (yes Madrid it is crap in UK as well but still better than here.Yes anecdotal big deal I've worked them.Both places)






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  • 225. At 4:42pm on 21 Aug 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #205. EagleFlying: "I'm disabled, so the conveniences I miss, the normal person may not miss."

    I'm sorry to know that, but it sounds to me as if you need to have your kitchen remodeled. There are tall, narrow refrigerators ("columns") which are available and ovens can be located separately in a cabinet, as in the US. All American stand-alone ranges/cookers have ovens which are low to the ground, so most people have to stoop a little. Regarding faucets, have them changed, it's simple enough to do. Front-loading washing machines are the "latest" innovation in America, long after the UK, because they clean better, I would think of that as a convenience - and is it such a big deal to load twice with less clothes? Surely not. About the drier - why not buy one of the popular machines that washes and dries all in one unit? They're rarely seen in the US (I have one though) but are readily available in the UK. Slow to dry but done overnight it's a small miracle, everything washed and dried in one go. Highly recommended.

    "Although people who have more money in the UK probably have better heating in the winter, ours still uses bricks to heat up."

    Bricks? I never heard of such a thing! What do you do with them? Buy an electric space heater, they even fit directly on to the baseboard (skirting board). I can't help you with the a/c since it's rarely hot enough to need it, but you should enjoy the winters when it is cold and damp. You'll just have to adapt to opening and closing hours; there was a time when everything was closed on Sunday, Wednesdays were "early closing" at noon and few shops were open on a Saturday. Not all the British want the "conveniences" of America although they certainly like and emulate much of what America has.

    "But you could use some good pancake houses over here."

    Heaven forbid! One of the most dreadful culinary creations; no IHOPs for me! But teach Brits to make a decent BLT or meat-loaf, to put more filling in sandwiches and to use more, much more, ice in drinks!

    I suggest you drive (or take the bus) into Reading and visit John Lewis (formerly Heelas) in (not "on"!) Broad Street and check out their kitchen appliances (basement level) or go on-line to find what you want. There is really no need to suffer - and if all else fails, call social services, they can help in all kinds of ways.

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  • 226. At 4:50pm on 21 Aug 2009, Dark Side of the Goon wrote:

    I've been mulling DC's answer to my question and it turns out he remembers a Britain significantly different from the one I remember. This isn't surprising; personal experiences are personal. David's Britain is a teeny bit too PG Wodehouse and my memories of the UK rebel and remind me about nights in Newport, or Leeds, or central London, where common sense about alcohol was notoriously absent from all concerned. I've also got no problem with the Call to Prayer, as long as I get to play mine through loudspeakers too. I'm currently using "All Along The Watchtower".

    I agree with DC that in the attempt to allow all cultures an equal voice we run the risk of drowning out the one that was there first. Ironic, really, given what Britain did to various parts of the rest of the world, but it does at least make you sit down and wonder what British culture really is. Given the patchwork nature of the UK, is talking about "British" culture as meaningless as trying to find one example of American culture? Or are we really talking about protecting England and Englishness before the ever malleable nature of that identity undergoes another shift? Doesn't this raise the far thornier issue of how much assimilation we require from immigrants? What can any nation ask of incomers?

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  • 227. At 5:11pm on 21 Aug 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #214. SONICBOOMER: "Would we do the NHS the way it is now, from today and not in 1948?"

    You have the incorrect date - the NHS Act was passed (despite the Conservatives opposing it) in 1946 but came into force in July 1948. However, much of that has changed and there has been a move toward some kind of privatisation; for example, the removal, under Thatcher, of geriatric wards and the elderly being placed in nursing homes for which they are obliged to pay - despite the Coughlan judgment of 1999.

    Health care was considered to be a right, as you say, a moral issue, as was and is free education. American contributors might care to read the 1942 Beveridge Report in which the "five giants of Want, Disease, Ignorance, Squalor and Idleness" were to be attacked. Perhaps today America needs a twenty-first century Beveridge.

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  • 228. At 5:12pm on 21 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    213, trueconservative.
    "If the government made a law that private patients must be given a rate exactly equal to what insurance companies pay, minus the surcharge for bookwork necessitated by insurance companies, it would suddenly be much more affordable to have no insurance."

    I am one of the few in favor of eliminating health insurance altogether. The reason our costs are so high are manifold. (1) Health care does not operate on supply and demand. It is a monopoly. (2) It is not in the interests of the insurance companies to keep prices down, because costs get passed on to the insured. (3) HMO's are profit-making organizations. (4) The overheads of operating the system are horrendous. (4) Gouging by drug companies. Drug costs in America are the highest inthe world, and that includes American-made products. (5) The FDA works hand in glove with drug companies. (6) Doctors push drugs and unnecessary tests because they make money on them. (7) Some doctors submit phony bills and are reimbursed for them. (One eye doctor submitted a bill for $23,000 for a routine eye exam, claiming esoteric tests - personal experience. ) (8) Congressmen receive money from private health insurers and drug companies.

    Were the governmen were to take over health care costs would go down. But Congress would only pass a bill that would keep their benefactors happy. So no help there. In any case, anything run by our government is, by its very nature, inefficient and therefor costly.

    I would love to get rid of health insurance altogether. Then doctors and drug companies would have to bargain for our custom. Prices would plummet and care would improve.

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  • 229. At 5:26pm on 21 Aug 2009, funnyYouMakeMeLaugh wrote:

    My British education taught me that all Americans (other than Native Americans - of which there are very few left because the European settlers did away with them) are in some way distant descendants of other nations - mostly European nations.
    All this whining and complaining about the USA AND about the UK is quite disgusting. They're 2 completely different places - they both have their negative qualities and their positive ones. The USA is no better than the UK for what it has or doesn't have, just as the UK is no better than the USA for the same reasons. They're different, end of story.
    You can't compare the crime rate in one with the crime rate in the other - it's like comparing apples to oranges, so why try? Stereotype says every American carries a gun - I don't think this is anymore true that the stereotype that every Brit carries a knife.
    Also, you can't criticise the USA's claiming to be the 'free world' when the UK owns 20% of all CCTV cameras in the world!
    Everyone is entitled to their opinion of both places - I agree with that... but it's funny to see people getting criticised for their opinion. It's even funnier to see people criticising others for criticising others! lol
    As far as the UK not having it's share of animal cruelty - that's just not true... we just prefer to 'turn the other cheek' to royalty, not sportsman.

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  • 230. At 5:51pm on 21 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    funny you make me laugh.
    there is no stereo type brits carry knives.

    there is outrage at the number appearing .
    crime rates can be compared but the statistics are skewed.

    The Brits may have more cameras. but for "free world" I suggest you look to see how many are locked up in jail.

    Again there are less "free" people in the USA than the UK.

    And if you think hunting with dogs for foxes in the UK and the anti hunt etc is big .
    Just remember that it is still legal to hunt Cougar, bob cat ,coyote and bear with dogs in many if not most states.
    Brits comparing the Hunt to the annual hunt in the ststea is a joke.
    Fox hunting WAS huge politically in the UK.
    Non Starter here.
    Your reality is so British it is funny.

    What do you think is shot with all those hunting rifles in the states.
    (PS elk tastes GREAT)
    Same with cougar and bear. Bear fat makes Great pie crust.

    people shoot food here for the winter larder. not raised on a farm.FREE.
    there would be that argument if the US did not Still raise so many cattle in feed lots.

    You can laugh but ten there's a phrase for people that sit around laughing at serious issues.

    What is more without discussing the issues nothing gets done.
    If it is not recognised.
    Plenty of AA(drinkers version) members learn that one.


    PS not all americans carry Guns. But I bet more carry guns than people carry knives in the UK. (well maybe the swis army;)

    You can dream you're right but your not.


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  • 231. At 5:52pm on 21 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 232. At 6:30pm on 21 Aug 2009, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    Fluffytale--It is interesting that you criticize Americans who have large families and American policies that lead to early deaths practically in the same breath. Don't these factors together have a leveling effect?

    228 Allmymarbles--I agree with you on health care far more than I had thought. Realistically speaking, I can't imagine insurance lobbyists allowing such a law to be passed. Also, it might be good to let people have the option of personal medical calamity insurance--so that no one would be stuck with a huge bill for a helicopter ride and hospital stay after some major accident.

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  • 233. At 6:31pm on 21 Aug 2009, SONICBOOMER wrote:

    216, sorry to hear of your loss.
    A small comfort is that you both did not have to deal with health insurance companies and financial concerns.

    220, I also was not aiming any of my comment at you, rather at the health Swift Boaters who are telling lies and spreading fear.

    I agree that a US 'NHS' would not work either, the story of how the UK NHS came to being is forged in WW2 and the tacit agreement that after that conflict, things would not go back to the 1930's.
    At least from the Labour part of the wartime coalition, though Beveridge himself was a Liberal, (in the old British centerist way).

    Most British know the NHS is not perfect, though polls which show serious concerns also often show that the personal experience of the respondents have very high satisfaction rates.
    You still have the option of private healthcare here too, many companies provide it.

    Sure some do have to come to the US for treatment, only a few and often for cosmetic style treatments,not for life threatening stuff, but also others come to the UK for specialist treatment from the NHS.

    There is in the US, a health care plan than many Europeans would recognize, it's for the US politicians on Capitol Hill!

    One may be a 1946 Act Of Parliament, the other a part of the US Constitution.
    But, most British feel as passionately about the right of free healthcare as many Americans, to varying degrees, believe in the right for them to bear arms.

    So when mud is slung at the NHS, when you see Americans protesting about something that not only seems morally right to us, but also would benefit many of those angrily protesting, it's looks bizarre.
    And that's the crux, chances are a portion of those on the streets waving banners, will find their health insurance providers one day try to restrict or weasel out of covering for something serious, and/or end up being bankrupted by health costs, or worse still.

    We have a saying about 'Turkeys not voting for Christmas', but there you see it, on TV.
    The obvious manipulation by super rich, highly influential with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo, is to be expected. (And if it bankrupts the US eventually, so what?)
    But they also manage to convince more ordinary people to back them?


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  • 234. At 6:43pm on 21 Aug 2009, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    222 Fluffytale "millions die because they have no bitter taste additive to anti freeze here which is added through out euope.(apparently)"

    Have you been spying on my neighborhood? Actually, it has been a few years since stray cats in the area started dying mysteriously and a rumor went around that it was a neighbor purposefully leaving out antifreeze. Thankfully, my family's two (spayed) cats were spared. However, I haven't heard of anyone blowing cats up. One thing you didn't mention is that some people drown kittens because they can't afford to spay their cats. Those with debatably more humane hearts leave their excess kittens in a cardboard box on somebody's doorstep. That way they can honestly say they didn't kill the kittens.

    About bluejays and crows being killed. You should call your state game commission. It is probably illegal. In Pennsylvania, there are only two types of wild birds that can be killed by anyone at any time: House sparrows and Starlings. Both of those are nasty, invasive birds that came over from Europe. They are killing off bluebirds and other beautiful, native species:(

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  • 235. At 7:14pm on 21 Aug 2009, mike wrote:

    Unless you have actually lived in the US and UK you will not appreciate the perceptions of crime and Justin's article. I was born and raised around the North of England, subsequently moving to London and Brighton before settling in the USA.
    I now live in Las Vegas, not the most pleasant of cities in the US with numerous problems. BUT I still feel safer and more secure here than I ever did in the UK.
    The threat of violent crime in the US and UK is relatively low and dependent on where you live. However, my seven years of residency in the US, leads me to conclude that lower level, petty crime is very much lower in the US than UK. Breaking and entry, car theft and robbery seem to be less prevalent in the US in my experience-of course there are areas where these things exist.
    But for want of an example, my daughter left her bike outside for an whole week whilst we were on holiday this summer. The bike was in full view of a busy street and left on an unfenced lawn. No-one took it. My feeling is if something isn't nailed down in the UK it gets taken.
    I see building sites in the US, where machines and materials are left unattended overnight. This would hardly ever occur in the UK.

    I put this down to the court system in the US. It is relatively easy to sue through small claims for damages. I think of an instance in Brighton, UK, 10 years ago, where a couple of seven year olds threw stones at my car, leaving some damage.
    In the UK there was nothing to be done. If the same instance happened here, I could easily sue the parents (or child) for the damage.

    If there is any observation I can make about the UK and US, it is the pettiness of crime and misbehavior in the UK that makes life less than satisfactory. Most of it is caused by the anarchy of weekend city-centers and drinking culture. It seems people in the US have to take more responsibility for their behavior.


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  • 236. At 7:19pm on 21 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    LOL TC.
    maybe.
    so the plan is to keep breeding because we can let industry kill them off.
    Interesting. sounds rather un christian to me.
    but interesting.
    On animal cruelty.

    I've lived in both enough to see that there is always cruelty.
    but in the states it is so common as to be unnoticed.
    Some of you live in fantasy land if you think there is more cruelty to animals in the UK than the US. (per capita)
    That was the fantasy land that I started taking Justin up on.

    That fantasy of a peaceful nation.

    apparently some think the purpose of this blog is just to rub up the journo.say how good he's done.
    I was interested in what the BBC had to say on american matters.
    the angle of the news coverage here in the states.
    the blaten bias that is seen.

    the inaccurate observations and sometime pretty near to racist reporting.



    233 sonic. yep them turkeys will vote for any holiday:)
    (admittedly there are no laws that say holiday pay is required.

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  • 237. At 7:25pm on 21 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    tiger boy get out of the city.

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  • 238. At 7:29pm on 21 Aug 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #233. SONICBOOMER: "the story of how the UK NHS came to being is forged in WW2 and the tacit agreement that after that conflict, things would not go back to the 1930's."

    You forget to mention that the Government of the time, which commissioned Beveridge in 1941, was led by Winston Churchill, a Conservative but former Liberal. Had the Conservatives not opposed the NHS provision, think how different all might be today! Labour can't take all the credit for it, even though they implemented its provisions. At the time, there was just as much scepticism as there is now in the USA. It wasn't until Margaret Thatcher came into office that the NHS began to unravel, although even she realised that dismantling it would be political suicide. Now that she appears to be suffering from some form of dementia, I have often wondered how she and her family would feel if she relied entirely on the NHS for care - she could very well lose her home, as tens of thousands have since her time. Her contributions to British society taste more sour by the day - it wasn't just removing free milk for school children or the disgrace of the Belgrano affair, but the entire me-generation and conspicuous consumption aspect of her actions. In my opinion, history will show her in a far different light from the sanctified persona that she attained in recent years. State funeral? No way!

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  • 239. At 7:42pm on 21 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    232, trueconservative.

    I think it would be ideal if a person could self-insure, that is, allocate a specified amount of money (monthly, yearly, or whatever) to a special account. That account would be reserved for health care and not subject to income taxes. Funds are drawn from the account to meet medical expenses. No profit, no overhead - just health care. And you could choose any doctor you wanted. This account could also be used to buy disaster insurance.

    In an ideal world....

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  • 240. At 7:49pm on 21 Aug 2009, Dark Side of the Goon wrote:

    @235 the pettiness of crime and misbehavior in the UK that makes life less than satisfactory. Most of it is caused by the anarchy of weekend city-centers and drinking culture. It seems people in the US have to take more responsibility for their behavior.

    "drinking culture" - what larks. Lest we forget, until the introduction of coffee in the later 1600s (and subsequent improvements in the water supply) Britain was drunk -all the time-. So was the rest of Europe, which explains quite a lot when you stop to think about it. In fact, it's only in the 20th and 21st century that we've stopped to wonder whether all this alcohol is a good thing.

    (Also, given that you live in Vegas and that Vegas contains The Strip I don't think you can call anything that happens in a UK city center at a weekend "anarchy". The only way the UK could rival the Strip is if the entirety of London decided to go on a monumental session at the same time and then took in a show on the way home.)

    If you're seeing Plant left unattended in the US it's because the security guards are armed. These days, a lot of petty crime goes unreported. Working nights in a Circle K used to be a high risk job, because you could more or less guarantee that someone would come in with a gun and hold the place up. You ran a very high risk of being shot. These days, Circle K's policy is that no one's life is worth a case of beer or the contents of a cash register, so if you want to do some cost-free shopping you can walk into a Circle K, or a 7-11, take what you want and walk out without being stopped. The assumption is that you will become violent if stopped.

    The local news here has, in the last couple of weeks, been rife with stories of employees fired for being "Have A Go Heroes". A guy from Best Buy, a Bank employee and a convenience store manager have all been fired for preventing a petty criminal committing a crime. So not only is the US more prone to petty crime, it's actually considered to be a part of the cost of doing business and an inevitability rather than a rarity.

    The UK also has a small claims court and you could certainly pursue the parents of the stone throwing kids for damages. The USA is very much more litigious than the UK, to the point where I carry Legal Insurance to make sure that if I need the services of a lawyer I can meet the costs. It means that if I feel the need to make a civil case out of something, I can. Hence the number of frivolous lawsuits - we sue because we can, and because you never know - and the number of people who bring legal actions because they're looking for free money. It's interesting that daytime TV in this area is full of ads for personal injury lawyers and DUI lawyers.

    ...what were we saying about alcohol, again? Law firms that specialise in getting you out of trouble when you've driven drunk! Mind you, the penalty for that in Maricopa County is a trip to tent city and the tender mercies of Sherrif Joe. Safest not to drink, really.

    The impression this leaves me with is that no, Americans are no more likely to take responsibility for their actions than anyone else. The difference is that Americans are more likely to seek redress through the civil courts. Did we forget the recent story about the young woman who sued her college because she didn't get a job? Personal responsibility is about the person, and YMMV when it comes to individual behaviour.

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  • 241. At 8:43pm on 21 Aug 2009, WolfiePeters wrote:

    I remember moving from Texas to the Netherlands and the shock I generated by greeting people in lifts or corridors. It’s something to do with population density. It was bigger than the shock from my ‘driverless,’ RHD, British car in the US.

    Violence is something that tends to be exaggerated. We British imagine that it is much worse than it really is in the US, in the UK and most other places. A lot of foreigners are very surprised to find the UK so peaceful. They listen to the BBC News and imagine there to be a death by stabbing in every town, every day.

    I’ve seen the health systems in a lot of countries. If you get the best in the US, it’s definitely wonderful treatment, but that applies to private medicine in a lot of places, though not everywhere. If you cannot pay in the US, things can be very bad. I cannot say that the often praised, state regulated, privately insured systems found in some European countries are particularly efficient or successful. They can produce the worst of both worlds: the patient is treated as if he is receiving something for free, though he has paid via his contributions. And also paid for the insurance companies’ costs and profits.

    Apart from the poorest members of our society, we all pay for our NHS treatment as well. Maybe, we should remind the providers of that sometimes. One thing I learnt in the US was that inappropriate effort in monitoring and controlling costs can be as great cost burden as the thing you are trying to operate. There might be a lesson there for the government and the NHS.

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  • 242. At 8:45pm on 21 Aug 2009, SONICBOOMER wrote:

    David, I'm no fan of much of what Thatcher did, but I do excuse her with the Belgrano.
    Since that vessel was the southern half of a pincer attack, the northern being their aircraft carrier, but the attack unravelled because aging catapults and no wind over deck, meant they could not launch bombed up A4 Skyhawks. Which could have, unlike from land bases, attacked in multiple directions at the same time.
    But if the wind improved later......

    The carrier had been tracked by a RN sub, but a sudden fog bank and the waters being too shallow in that particular area to effectively use sonar, meant it was lost and there was a frantic effort to find it again.
    To the south, the Belgrano group was moving in and out of the Total Exclusion Zone, this time a looming underwater mountain range threatened to lose sonar contact from the RN sub tracking her.
    The actual order to sink came from the Task Force commander, but with submarine operations it had to go through London.

    Weeks before, it had been made clear that Argentine forces within the TEZ would be attacked for sure, but if outside anything but Argentine coastal waters, might also be attacked if deemed necessary.
    Later, the commander of the Belgrano admitted he would have done the similar in the same position as the Briitsh.

    I do agree that how she handled it was arrogant and bound to raise concerns.
    But then when the islands were invaded she had to be told by the First Sea Lord that no, it will take 3 weeks, not 3 days to get there, no we do not have large carriers anymore, no there are not any bases within range for RAF tactical aircraft.

    But, the biggest failing was not doing what Jim Challahan had done 5 years before, when stirrings of a possible invasion became apparent, he sent a nuclear sub and prepared some surface vessels to go south, but also let it be known this was happening.
    Which was a deterrence.

    Sorry to veer off topic some, but I do think it is a rather British trait to beat ourselves up about this.
    I doubt that school teacher who had that famous interview in the 1983 election, with Thatcher, had any loved ones with the Task Force.
    That Thatcher did effectively lie was really another aspect of the sort of ignorance that led to the war in the first place from her.

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  • 243. At 10:09pm on 21 Aug 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #242. SONICBOOMER: "David, I'm no fan of much of what Thatcher did, but I do excuse her with the Belgrano. Since that vessel was the southern half of a pincer attack, the northern being their aircraft carrier, but the attack unravelled because aging catapults and no wind over deck, meant they could not launch bombed up A4 Skyhawks."

    Since the Belgrano was sailing away, Thatcher's actions were probably criminal, but she vigourously defended them, as can be seen in these interviews with Diana Gould and David Frost - to whom she was very rude, treating him like a schoolboy rather than an eminent broadcaster. No small wonder that she was reviled by many - and that adopted, exaggerated English upper-class accent didn't help one bit. With dementia she's paying a high price for everything she did.

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  • 244. At 00:11am on 22 Aug 2009, Reuben wrote:

    I liked Thatcher, when she was PM, but I have to admit I don't know much about her. I'll have to read up on her.

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  • 245. At 01:49am on 22 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    243, David.
    "No small wonder that she was reviled by many - and that adopted, exaggerated English upper-class accent didn't help one bit."

    I admit to a love of all sort of accents. Earlier today I watched a clip of Jon Stewart's. Barney Frank was at one of those idiotic town hall meetings. A woman asked him a loony question. He answered in one of those low-class, harsh, regional accents that are fading into history. He asked her her which planet she came from. She went on talking and he told her that he couldn't talk to her because it was like talking to a dining room table. It was his low-down regional blunt speech that was effective. Had he spoken in upper-class Harvard patois he would have sounded distanced and snotty.

    I used to be able to spot exactly where people came from by their accents. Now, with increased broadcasting and mobility the voices are beginning to dull and blend. When I first heard a Georgia cracker it sounded just like a firecracker. I was thrilled. Bye, bye Georgia cracker. Bye, bye Brooklynese and the historic present ("So I sez to him, I sez....").

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  • 246. At 02:13am on 22 Aug 2009, SamTyler1969 wrote:

    #230

    Fluffy Jack Rabbit,

    I just googled Cougar hunt on the international interweb and not only is it legal it has absolutely nothing to do with animals at all.

    Oh yeah, now we're talking.

    Pervert Sam

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  • 247. At 05:47am on 22 Aug 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #245. allmymarbles: "I used to be able to spot exactly where people came from by their accents."

    Just as Professor (My Fair Lady) Higgins could. I think that today he would have a very hard time determining from whence people came. If you ever watch British newscasts or listen to them, you will find that many who have quite normal accents now use short As rather than the long A associated with Southern English pronunciation - cast and fast instead of cahst and fahst. It sounds pretentious to me since the rest of their speech is not Northern, but the BBC tries to level the speech pattern. Mrs Thatcher apparently took speech lessons to rid herself of the Grantham dialect she had originally and then adopted the affected accent that can be heard on all of her pronouncements. Affectation seems to have driven her entire career. And Tony Blair emulated her well, although nominally on the other side of the aisle. Neither are a credit to their country.

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  • 248. At 07:07am on 22 Aug 2009, DJRUSA wrote:

    Thank you Justin for your good work.Your blog was the only place on the BBC website that when reading about America, It actually sounded like the country I live in.

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  • 249. At 09:08am on 22 Aug 2009, SONICBOOMER wrote:

    David,it was never illegal to sink that powerfully armed ship, no mater what direction it sailed, (and it was changing course often enough), since it was outside Argentine coastal waters and they had been warned.
    There was never any serious suggestion that any kind of war crime had been committed those who know about these things, it was not dubious in the same way as Iraq has been.

    Oddly, it was the Argentine navy who had been most for the invasion, who had also a major hand in the repression in Argentina's 'Dirty War', the 'Naval Technical School' being a notorious torture chamber.
    Not so hot on fighting an actual naval conflict though, after the Belgrano they pretty much stayed away, ships, their effective and modern German built subs, even the (Exocet armed) Escorts of the Belgrano did not do a basic anti sub response or hang around to rescue Belgrano crew members.

    Another aspect with Thatcher I found distasteful, was at the Falkland victory parade in London, she effectively pushed the Queen aside to take the salute.
    Forgetting whose armed forces they actually are, and who the members of which swear alleigence to.

    But before the conflict started proper, AL Haig had given up on his Shuttle Diplomacy, since the Junta were often boozed up in meetings, when he thought he had something to take to London, then only to find a note passed by the Argentine foreign minister would refute anything he thought had been agreed.

    Of course in the end, the hubris that came out of those events would sink Thatcher eventually.
    Once her own party had enough of her, but they collectively suffered a 15 year nervous breakdown after doing the deed.

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  • 250. At 12:11pm on 22 Aug 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #243

    Was Thatcher reviled by many? I know in the U.S she is generaly regarded as the 2nd or 3rd best PM in the last 100 years. Churchill is first.

    But considering chamberlen, Ramsey, The Iron Lady was a great Western leader.

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  • 251. At 12:15pm on 22 Aug 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #245

    Barney Frank has always been arrogant and condescending.

    when he moved into his district when the Pope forced Father Drinan to resign he bristled if you call him a Carpertbagger.

    He has refused to accept any blame for the Fannie Mae melt down. He got a free ride from the media when his SO ran a escort service from his Washington Home.

    Now the Nazi question was stupid but many of the so called Progressives refuse to answer the legitimate questions.

    such as: Considering the goverment ineficency running anything related to commerce, Why should they be trusted in managing healthcare?

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  • 252. At 12:23pm on 22 Aug 2009, funnyYouMakeMeLaugh wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 253. At 3:21pm on 22 Aug 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #249. SONICBOOMER: David,it was never illegal to sink that powerfully armed ship, no mater what direction it sailed, (and it was changing course often enough), since it was outside Argentine coastal waters and they had been warned."

    Tell that to Diana Gould! Thatcher did not use your reasoning when defending her actions.

    "Another aspect with Thatcher I found distasteful, was at the Falkland victory parade in London, she effectively pushed the Queen aside to take the salute."

    There's a story that on one occasion when the two were to be at some event, that Mrs T's secretary called Buckingham Palace to enquire what colour The Queen would be wearing, so as not to clash. The reply came "Her Majesty never notices such things!" I don't think there was much love lost between them and it must have irritated Thatcher (and later, Blair) to know that there was someone one step higher.

    #250. MagicKirin: "Was Thatcher reviled by many? I know in the U.S she is generaly regarded as the 2nd or 3rd best PM in the last 100 years. Churchill is first."

    And I feel sure that Britons regard Jimmy Carter as one of the best presidents . . . Mrs Thatcher was/is famous for saying "there is no such thing as society" which pretty much sums up her attitude to the people of the United Kingdom. Neither presidents nor prime ministers can be judged solely on foreign policy matters, it's what they do domestically which is of greatest importance - and is what voters remember.

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  • 254. At 4:23pm on 22 Aug 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #253

    And I feel sure that Britons regard Jimmy Carter as one of the best presidents . . . Mrs Thatcher was/is famous for saying "there is no such thing as society" which pretty much sums up her attitude to the people of the United Kingdom. Neither presidents nor prime ministers can be judged solely on foreign policy matters, it's what they do domestically which is of greatest importance - and is what voters remember.


    Do British people regard Carter as such? Since most the U.K does not suport left wing dictators like Chavez and do not support Islamic terrorists (like Cater does) I would like to see stats.

    Now from what I have read which would be less than a U.K citizens Thatcher did well on the economy.

    Carter was a disaster in every way and despite credit that he is given was actually an impediment in the Egypt Isreal peace treaty.

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  • 255. At 4:29pm on 22 Aug 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #180
    Morality and ethics mean a lot more than going to Church, claiming to be Christians, working 60 hours a week, and owning a house in suburbia. I find our propensity to intervene in the internal affairs of other nations immoral, I consider our adventurism and greed immoral, I consider the inhumane way we treat undocumented immigrants immoral, and I consider all those preachers and priests that engage in unbecoming behavior a bunch of hypocrites whose behavior is more in line with the values of the Anti-Christ than with the man they purportedly venerate.

    Although I would agree going to Church or another religous institution 1 day and not acting ethically the rest of the week is hypocritical. I disagree with a most of the comment.

    The debt that the rest of the world ows America morally and financially will never be repaid. It's time for the rest of the world to acknowledge the genorisity when natual disaster strikes, the fight against Islamic terrorism and other acts.

    Without what you call adventurism The U.N would allow dictators and terrorists to run amok.

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  • 256. At 4:43pm on 22 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    DC I'm with Sonic on the belgrano. I wish there was no war there. Thatcher was warned to take measures pre-emptivly as Sonic suggests to ward them off with a force in the area. Ships had been sunk with most on the crew dying. There are big stakes when it is an Aluminium ship that catches fire.
    There were Exocete missiles being used , from the militaries point of view. Ships were real targets. unlike the last few wars.

    She was evil enough to want that war.
    But Thatchers Gone ding dong

    254

    I bet you you BBC membership more people in the UK like Carter than dislike them.

    Willing to give up the blog over that one if the stats can be found?



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  • 257. At 5:09pm on 22 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    St Dom sorry to say somehow your well reasoned post upset the cart and the it seems that the usual is about to happen.;)
    I liked it but apparently it didn't.

    So Enjoy the new blog when it happens and good luck with the health care.
    Apparently we are in a dictator and terrorist free world now because the UN has been ignored by them that ignore it most.

    So world peace is about to break out and we can all concentrate on avoiding helping our fellow man by keeping certain wars going for old times sake.


    enough seriousness here's some classic humour. it's the U that does it.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XadrF1A9N5E&feature=related
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ReIAna459sg
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGEBLcKD3Ec&NR=1


    one for the right.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWOLCqg_0KQ&feature=related

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  • 258. At 5:15pm on 22 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    This ones great.
    thatcher at her best.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XflDMm0FLpc&feature=related

    see the other way from the states. Now of course many are used to the private . never knew the public for it's good and it's bad

    I bet some here would read this class publication
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76Wn-rcyvXQ&feature=related

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  • 259. At 5:40pm on 22 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    247, David.
    "If you ever watch British newscasts or listen to them, you will find that many who have quite normal accents now use short As rather than the long A associated with Southern English pronunciation - cast and fast instead of cahst and fahst. It sounds pretentious to me since the rest of their speech is not Northern...."

    The word "aunt" is pronounced "ant" in America. Northeasterners with a very low-class, squeezy nasal accent, in an attempt to sound high-class, will often pronounce it "ahnt." It is quite wonderful, like a hiccup in the middle of a sneeze. (I shouldn't have said low-class. We don't have classes in America.) Also, they might call our native nut, the pecan, a "pekahn" (accent the last syllable), instead of a "peekan" (accent the first syllable). Interestingly, in the south it is a "pekahn."

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  • 260. At 6:20pm on 22 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Oh and the clincher on thatcher.

    not that it upset anyone.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GYDe3i2WCI&feature=channel
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yB39qURz0u4&feature=related


    lol and while we talk of debate.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_5LIFrx_kM&NR=1

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  • 261. At 6:27pm on 22 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    255. At 4:29pm on 22 Aug 2009, MagicKirin wrote:
    ref #180
    Morality and ethics mean a lot more than going to Church, claiming to be Christians, working 60 hours a week, and owning a house in suburbia. I find our propensity to intervene in the internal affairs of other nations immoral, I consider our adventurism and greed immoral, I consider the inhumane way we treat undocumented immigrants immoral, and I consider all those preachers and priests that engage in unbecoming behavior a bunch of hypocrites whose behavior is more in line with the values of the Anti-Christ than with the man they purportedly venerate."


    This diatribe applies to rabbis and jews too presumably, some of whom have proven to be rank hypocrites, the Chief Rabbi of the UK being a particular example.


    "The debt that the rest of the world ows America morally and financially will never be repaid. It's time for the rest of the world to acknowledge the genorisity when natual disaster strikes, the fight against Islamic terrorism and other acts."


    And there would not be an America without the UK, so presumably the world should defer to the UK.

    Thanks! Except for the fact there would be no UK without the Anglo saxons, who came from er Germany and Holland.

    So the world owes a vast debt to Germany! and Holland!

    "Without what you call adventurism The U.N would allow dictators and terrorists to run amok."

    Yes the UN has failed to prevent Israel from committing any of its atrocities.

    But that might change.

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  • 262. At 6:33pm on 22 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    251. At 12:15pm on 22 Aug 2009, MagicKirin wrote:
    ref #245

    Barney Frank has always been arrogant and condescending.

    when he moved into his district when the Pope forced Father Drinan to resign he bristled if you call him a Carpertbagger."


    As opposed to rejoicing?



    "Now the Nazi question was stupid"


    Oh since Mr Frank is a "jew" by your definition - the question was a little more than stupid wasn't it?

    To associate a jew with the Nazis to score a political point is pretty disgusting and shows you the half-mad nature of the opposition.


    " but many of the so called Progressives refuse to answer the legitimate questions.

    such as: Considering the goverment ineficency running anything related to commerce, Why should they be trusted in managing healthcare?"

    Because healthcare isn't commerce.

    More interesting is the question why do the same people who howl and bay that the US armed forces (whihc are run by the Govt) are near to god suddenly believe that the US cannot run a govt healthcare system.



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  • 263. At 6:54pm on 22 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    yep its time to say goodbye

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  • 264. At 7:16pm on 22 Aug 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #259. allmymarbles: "We don't have classes in America."

    Glad to see that you're in a humourous mood this morning; no classes in America - tell that to the residents of Bel Air or Martha's Vineyard! Of course, many of them have no class in the other sense, but nevertheless they consider themselves "upper".

    As for American accents, I've had to learn to understand many of them and on occasion am obliged to say tomayto or ban-anna in order to make myself understood.

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  • 265. At 8:05pm on 22 Aug 2009, SONICBOOMER wrote:

    I'd rate the US as a more deeply divided society than the UK, in fact than most major Western democracies.

    Certainly more than the Scandinavian ones, who also happen to have less crime, less teen pregnancies, less STD's, better childcare, better than the UK, here certainly better than the US.
    Ah, but these are bunged up, economically failing nations perhaps?
    No, consider Sweden, 9 million of them, SAAB, Erikson, Volvo, Scania, IKEA, punches above weight culture wise too.

    Or what about those 'socialist' (but with centre right governments), French and Germans. coming out of recession as I type, considering it was the UK/US dominated, too little regulated, casino capitalist, financial sectors that caused the recession in the first place, their criticism has been quite muted really.

    Of course, if you are doing well enough to have a new Porsche every year, you have no healthcare worries in the US, for you it IS the best system.
    Unless;
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/aug/21/healthcare-provision-us-uk

    David, if we had fought previous naval engagements the way the self appointed expert Diana Gould wanted, Napoleon might well have won, certainly Hitler's navy might have prevailed in their attempt to cut off the UK from the Atlantic supply line.
    We may also have lost in the South Atlantic, maybe that result would have pleased her?

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  • 266. At 8:29pm on 22 Aug 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    Simon21 wrote:
    251. At 12:15pm on 22 Aug 2009, MagicKirin wrote:
    ref #245

    Barney Frank has always been arrogant and condescending.

    when he moved into his district when the Pope forced Father Drinan to resign he bristled if you call him a Carpertbagger."


    As opposed to rejoicing?

    (how about the fact that Hillary Clinton at least lived in NY a short time before she ran for Senate)




    " but many of the so called Progressives refuse to answer the legitimate questions.

    such as: Considering the goverment ineficency running anything related to commerce, Why should they be trusted in managing healthcare?"

    Because healthcare isn't commerce.

    (But helathcare has to manage finances and resources and from the complaints of the car dealer reimbursement for cash for clunkers the goverment can't manage)

    As far as the U.S armed forces they have done more for peace and justice than the U.N or the Elders HRC or amnesty International


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  • 267. At 8:32pm on 22 Aug 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 268. At 8:53pm on 22 Aug 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #265. SONICBOOMER: "David, if we had fought previous naval engagements the way the self appointed expert Diana Gould wanted . . ."

    Can you fault her argument? Mrs T spouted the same platitudes about "our boys" to both Frost and Gould and I submit that they were the last thing on her mind.

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  • 269. At 10:09pm on 22 Aug 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    red #265

    SONICBOOMER wrote:
    I'd rate the US as a more deeply divided society than the UK, in fact than most major Western democracies.


    Depnds on your criteria. I have not seen anything recently compared to the riots in France the last couple of year.

    And if you look at the largest nations in the world based on population there is a far great racial divide in Russia, china, India than in the U.S

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  • 270. At 10:16pm on 22 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    264, David.
    "As for American accents, I've had to learn to understand many of them and on occasion am obliged to say tomayto or ban-anna in order to make myself understood."

    Many years ago in Iran, an English-speaking Iranian was trying to have a conversation with an American but couldn't understand what he was saying. I stepped in to help. The American was from the deep south and had a very strong accent. Even I had some trouble until I got into it. The Iranian must have thought I was really dumb, or maybe not a real American.

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  • 271. At 10:25pm on 22 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    264, David.

    The Scandinavians have a double-toned language, which is to say that it is almost like singing. You have to get the notes right. When I first went to Sweden I was bothered by not being able to speak to speak to people so, even considering my short stay, I started to take lessons. I loved zoos and visited one. I wanted to find out where the monkeys were. I asked in primitive Swedish but no one knew what I was saying. The word for monkeys is "aporna" (sp?). But I said it flat, without any inflection. Several people put their heads together, figured it out, and sang the word back to me. I love language!!

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  • 272. At 10:30pm on 22 Aug 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 257, Fluffy

    Unfortunately, the chances of meaningful healthcare reform in the USA are slim to none. Ideology, the indoctrination that produces the "we are the greatest" mentality, the demonization of government that began in the Reagan era. and the pervasive influence of corporate America on government policies all but guarantee the preservation of the status quo regardless of its consequences.

    Allegations of government ineptitude ignore the successes of our space program, the effectiveness of our military forces, the smooth running Social Security and MEDICARE programs, the Veterans Administration, our Weather Service and many other departments and agencies that deserve recognition for a job well done and are instead criticized by political opportunists whose goal is to guarantee the financial well being of their donors to stay in office.

    Instead of making health care accessible to everyone and eliminating the burden of medical insurance on our corporations, we will continue to deal with insurance companies, decisions made by insurance clerks approving or rejecting medical procedures recommended by doctors, high insurance premiums, companies hiring part timers and temps to avoid having to provide benefits to reduce cost and increase profits, rejection because of pre-existing conditions, etc.

    Judging by what I see on TV most of the opposition to reform comes from senior citizens terrified of the probability that their MEDICARE coverage is going to be adversely affected if reform takes place. The irony is that senior citizens are the only segment of our population that will not be affected by healthcare reform in any way.

    I find it amusing to hear the same people that accuse President Obama of being a big spender criticize him for proposing the elimination of wasteful spending in MEDICARE to help finance universal health care.

    Well, at least the economy seems to be doing a little better. Who knows, we may recover the way Germany and France have and with a little luck we may qualify for uninterrupted lending and credit from China.

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  • 273. At 10:37pm on 22 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:


    266. At 8:29pm on 22 Aug 2009, MagicKirin wrote:
    Simon21 wrote:
    251. At 12:15pm on 22 Aug 2009, MagicKirin wrote:
    ref #245

    Barney Frank has always been arrogant and condescending.

    when he moved into his district when the Pope forced Father Drinan to resign he bristled if you call him a Carpertbagger."


    As opposed to rejoicing?

    (how about the fact that Hillary Clinton at least lived in NY a short time before she ran for Senate)


    That means Mr Frank should accept being abused?

    Why is that because he is jewish?

    carpetbagger (a term you plainly do not understand like terrorism, peace etc) is a term of abuse. Mr Frank has every right to object to abuse.




    " but many of the so called Progressives refuse to answer the legitimate questions.

    such as: Considering the goverment ineficency running anything related to commerce, Why should they be trusted in managing healthcare?"

    Because healthcare isn't commerce.

    (But helathcare has to manage finances and resources and from the complaints of the car dealer reimbursement for cash for clunkers the goverment can't manage)"


    So the US department of dfence does not manage a budget or finances?

    Wow. Is that what you think?

    "As far as the U.S armed forces they have done more for peace and justice than the U.N or the Elders HRC or amnesty International"

    So why do you beleive the US government is so incompetent then?

    Do you think the US armed forces are run by the Colombian government?

    As usual that was easy.


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  • 274. At 10:42pm on 22 Aug 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 275. At 10:42pm on 22 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    267. At 8:32pm on 22 Aug 2009, MagicKirin wrote:
    ref 3261

    Simple Simon if you would actualy read the comments instead of spouting your ususal hatread of Jews (unless the Jews criticize Israel and support Islamic terrorism) you would have read that I said all religous insitutions."


    Hmmm when did the world's jews elect you to act as their spokesman? Are you claiming to be the last Hasmonean?

    Are you head of the Likud party all of a sudden?

    Someone with the issues about black people, Palestinians, South American indians, poor people shouldn't really crow about the prejudices of others



    "Well the U.N without the U.S blocking would have protected the missles from Lebanon and Gaza and put all the blame on Israel. The latter which they did."

    The missiles from Lebanon were fired in self defence and brought home to the Israelis that the "natives" can fight back.

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  • 276. At 10:48pm on 22 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    271. At 10:25pm on 22 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:
    264, David.

    The Scandinavians have a double-toned language, which is to say that it is almost like singing. You have to get the notes right. When I first went to Sweden I was bothered by not being able to speak to speak to people so, even considering my short stay, I started to take lessons. I loved zoos and visited one. I wanted to find out where the monkeys were. I asked in primitive Swedish but no one knew what I was saying. The word for monkeys is "aporna" (sp?). But I said it flat, without any inflection. Several people put their heads together, figured it out, and sang the word back to me. I love language!!"


    It is a fascinating subject. David Crystal writes well on the development of English

    He relates he was rung up by a London firm who had heard of his eminance
    who wanted to start an ad campaign and were looking "to buy" some good adjectives.

    The study of english of course is pivotal to gaining an understanding of history. The simple fact for example that English contains no bretonic words (apart from one - bin) is often taken to mean that the Britons were annihlated by the AS invaders.

    No one is able to accept this, genocide is largely a modern 19th 20th century phenomenon, but the problem, why English exists as it does remains.

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  • 277. At 10:58pm on 22 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 278. At 11:10pm on 22 Aug 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #275

    Another lie from you.

    the missle were fired by Hezbllah a terrorist group not the Lebanese goverment.

    Hezbollah put the entire Lebanon nation is peril and only Israel's mercy and restraint kept the country from becoming a crater.

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  • 279. At 11:12pm on 22 Aug 2009, Noliving wrote:

    I disagree saintdominick, the demonization of government began with the founding fathers.

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  • 280. At 11:12pm on 22 Aug 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 281. At 11:30pm on 22 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    278. At 11:10pm on 22 Aug 2009, MagicKirin wrote:
    ref #275

    Another lie from you.

    the missle were fired by Hezbllah a terrorist group not the Lebanese goverment."

    So Israel's killing of Lebanese soldiers was another crime - since these were not attacking Israel (but they were arabs)

    Thank you for admitting that.

    You are in a hole aren't you?

    "Hezbollah put the entire Lebanon nation is peril and only Israel's mercy and restraint kept the country from becoming a crater."

    So lebanon was not in peril? Or was it?

    Instead of posting contradictory, illogical guff why not admit you hate the fact that "arabs" can fight back.

    I believe general Custer and Lord Chelmsford also had similar views.

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  • 282. At 11:34pm on 22 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 283. At 11:40pm on 22 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    276, Simon.

    The best way to hear what a language sounds like is to not be able to speak it. When I first heard Arabic I thught the people were angry with each other. It is all full of gutterals, consonants and harsh sounds. What I think of as a masculine language. Farsi was very different - like birds singing - all vowels and lilts.. The French of the Middle Eas and, to my mind, feminine. Once you speak these languages you don't hear them in the same way anymore.

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  • 284. At 11:41pm on 22 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    279. At 11:12pm on 22 Aug 2009, Noliving wrote:
    I disagree saintdominick, the demonization of government began with the founding fathers.

    Hardly the founding fathers were very keen on government. Soon after becoming pres Washington led an army against his own countrymen larger than the ones he had led against the English.

    Most of those opposed to the government are nothing like - they love the armed forces which are paid, run and administered by a government they effect to despise.

    You get this phony agin the government attitude in Oz. Usually from those (cockies, so-called independent businessmen) who are the first to run howling and bleating for subsidies, special exemptions, etc when things turn pear shaped.

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  • 285. At 11:47pm on 22 Aug 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 286. At 00:04am on 23 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    285. At 11:47pm on 22 Aug 2009, MagicKirin wrote:
    ref #281

    No Simon I hate the fact that Arab nations in the Middle East get a free pass for harboring terrorist group."

    Terror group for you meaning anyone who dares to question white Israeli superemacy in any way.

    Amnesty international and the red Cross are terror groups to you.

    SO do you hate the US for harbouring and financing Irish/Iranian/Latin American terror groups?

    And answer my question who elected you spokesperson for jews? Simple enough


    They like you find it acceptible to kill Jews.


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  • 287. At 00:13am on 23 Aug 2009, Noliving wrote:

    134: fluffy, whether or not you wish to accept it the statistics show that the violent crime rate of UK is nearly around 5 times that of the USA, your answer is that of course is because the US doesn't have as high of reporting of crime such as gun crime or knife crime, or some things such as weilding a knife in public are not crimes like in the states as a result it is lower, however though I seriuosly doubt that because of those reasons its is nearly 5 times lower then that of the UK.

    You don't seem to get it with the line. Neither one is right and neither one is wrong. It is all based upon culture, there is no real such thing as right or wrong it is all cultural. You actually did call me in a sense "nomorals" in a post previous to your 134 one by suggesting that type of behavior that I was explaining/defending as immoral. Whether your wish to accept it or not you would be considered a rude person in east asia.

    As for the indian example, you really don't understand indian culture. It really has nothing to do with a foreigner making a demand that makes the native mad. If you were an indian and asked another indian the same question they would give you the same response. Another example would be from japan. Lets say your japanese, using sarcasm is generally seen as impolite in all situations, even though a lot of cultures in the west use it for humor. Another example from japan would be if you want to fly and the plane is full, they won't tell you the plane is full they will suggest that they think it is better if you take the train or something else, why? Because being so direct with the word no or with some type of negative response is generally considered rude.

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  • 288. At 00:22am on 23 Aug 2009, Noliving wrote:

    I still disagree simon that they were very keen on government considering the fact that the articles of confederation were so weak. When you look at the amount of checks an balances in the constitution you can see they were not keen on government and the weakness of the articles of confederation that preceded it they were not.

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  • 289. At 00:42am on 23 Aug 2009, Noliving wrote:

    134 fluffy: Also your example of evidence that there is a lack of crime reporting in the US is because your town that you live in that is a town you have yet to identify in the US doesn't report crime as a result it applies to all of the US? You do realize that for example over the past decade there has been a steady drop in the number of incidents involving guns in the US, it use to be around 1 million but it is now around 400k.

    Here is a chart from the department of justice showing that reporting of crime has actually been increasing for the past decade or two. So you can't really say that the US violent crime rate is so low compared to the UK violent crime rate because the US doesn't report them, that just isn't true.

    http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/glance/reportingtype.htm

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  • 290. At 01:43am on 23 Aug 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #286

    In regard to supporting Latin america terrorists groups that is your hero Dictator Hugo who supports FARC.

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  • 291. At 01:50am on 23 Aug 2009, Lincoln Hawk-s wrote:

    #104
    Andypost

    It's not like i keep a journal of nasty crimes that I know of mate, but once you start discussing a subject like this and thinking it doesn't take much effort to recall that a roomate was beaten to death or that my wifes' work-mate was in critical condition from a shooting or that her former boss watched one of his employees shot during a robbery. Those kind of "statistics" don't need to be "kept".

    In answer to your question of geography, most of my time in UK was spent in south-west Scotland and then quite a few years in various towns in south-east England. In the US I have spent time in a number of ststes but mainly the mid-south and heartland.

    As far as not knowing what crimes are happening in your area, maybe you should. I occasionally check a website that gives info on what sex-offenders are in your zip code, it gives names, photos and their crimes. I live in nice, quiet part of a city in the mid-south (according to locals and cab drivers I speak with) and I was shocked to see just how many there were, (there may well be just as many in a similar UK area but I have no idea.

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  • 292. At 02:15am on 23 Aug 2009, Lincoln Hawk-s wrote:

    #124
    Eagleflying wrote:
    "At least we can defend ourself against a dictatorship if one arose"

    This always makes me laugh. This is far from the first time I have heard an American use this as justification for citizens being armed. Why this fear and paranoia?
    It seems Americans have an inherent fear of everything, oppressive British governments, oppressive American governments, Russians,Illegal aliens, the mythical "big black man" , Gays, Hippies, anti-gun activists everything and everybody is trying to destroy "their" country. Problem is, it's not their country, it is every "Americans" i.e someone somewhere along the line came here of their own free will lured by the promise of freedom and liberty and the opportunity to shape their life how they see fit in a society where "all men are born equal" and sooner or later the conservatives will not be able to "conserve" their great American traditions beacuase they are rapidly becoming the minority and there is not much can be done about it.

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  • 293. At 02:35am on 23 Aug 2009, Lincoln Hawk-s wrote:

    ....erm, I forgot about the slaves. Sorry

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  • 294. At 07:14am on 23 Aug 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    Perhaps I have misjudged Justin's choice of home - this photograph of a Lovely Cottage near Swindon could well be suitable for a BBC star. Whether it has all the conveniences found in an American house is another matter!

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  • 295. At 08:52am on 23 Aug 2009, SONICBOOMER wrote:

    Eagleflying, you might well be under a dictatorship now, a corporate one.
    Their lobbying power will always beat your vote.
    Though they are skilled in duping many ordinary Americans that their interests are the same.

    As for the idea that a bunch of NRA types could do anything about the force of the armed state, with all the military power it could bring to bear, I think maybe watching too many silly films like 'Red Dawn' informs that myth.




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  • 296. At 10:52am on 23 Aug 2009, Bridau wrote:

    You are obviously blinded and fooled by the white, middle class American myth of freedom.

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  • 297. At 11:34am on 23 Aug 2009, Its_an_Outrage wrote:

    Fluffytale - This is the first time I've read this blog. When I started to read your posts I thought you were crazy. Now I'm not so sure.

    Best.

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  • 298. At 12:11pm on 23 Aug 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #295

    Don't limited your concern of lobbying to corporations.

    Yes they do have too much influence:

    But so do

    Labor Unions look at the recent thug like action of the SEIU at town meetings
    The ACLU
    the NRA
    ETc

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  • 299. At 3:16pm on 23 Aug 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Apologies to all wishing Justin Webb all the best and thanking him for the good time in his blog - for the short interruption. Treat it as a short interruption. Since European blog is still closed and English speakers are condensed here :o) I'll post here.
    Today Europe marks an anniversary of Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, 23rd August, and BBC has also an entry on it, an article in the frontline news. As it has been selected a special day in the EU calendar by the Parliament Assembly of the European Council, to mark disasters of Stalinism and nazism together for the Europeans, on one, "Molotov-Ribbentrop" day.
    As a Russian - no no and no and disagree strongly.

    1. Tossing Stalin and Hitler together in relation to the 2ndWW is demonisation of the USSR and its current successor - Russia.
    Demonisation of us, modern living Russians - to which I object.

    2. This formal EU decision to mark disasters of Stalinism and nazism together, equalling Hitler and Stalin, effectively - nazi Germany and USSR - is a ball thrown in order to unite Old Europe and New Eastern Europe - at the Russia's, ours, expense.

    The thing is the old Europe still (vaguely) remembers the horrors of nazism and that there was a difference, between USSR and Hitler Germany -during that war. To put it softly.

    While for many "new" European countries - their national heroes were nazi heroes, and they are very un-willing to remember "minor details", between nazi and the Red Army, in the war.

    Namely that Russia fought nazi Germany, and at the expense of 28 million people loss, of which 8.5 was army loss and 20 million - civillians loss under nazi occupation - won. Defeated nazism.

    It is very pretty to unite 2 warring countries as "all the hell", "close friends", "no difference", "two allies" except it is cynical and wrong.
    Bosom friends hardly spend 4 years in bloody war with the kind of loss both Germany and Russia sustained in the battle.

    Tossing "Hitler and Stalin" together - means Germany did not attack USSR and means there wasn't a Victory Day.

    3. I don't understand why the English professor of history who wrote an article on the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact today on BBC is so alarmed by the fact that USSR stroke a deal with Hitler, and labels it a great shame, the very fact.

    Striking deals and formal agreements with Hitler was not a USSR/Stalin/Molotov prerogative - to the opposite - long before Stalin stroke his deal with Hitler - Britain and France did, the Munich agreement. Showing the way, and setting an example. Dividing Checholslovakia - a USSR friend, because of slavs in Slovakia and Slovenia - and formally passing it over it to Hitler.

    Second, during that very summer - Poland signed a formal agreement with Hitler - taking a part of Chechoslovakia to itself, from Hitler hands, and annexed it, and brought in Polish army there. That very Poland leading the way now, in accusing Russia of "setting an example how to divide Europe". Instead of looking at itself. But the fact of Polish annexation of Chechoslovakia - in own, Polish, history - Poland does not want to remember flat.

    Third - Estonia and Latvia signed deals with Hitler. Date - 7 June 1939. Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Latvia and Estonia sat at the talks' table with Ribbentrop first - and signed their own deals, successfully. Latvian and Estonian "non-aggression pacts" - with Ribbentrop.

    With all respect - Russia/USSR did not pave the road to signing deals with Hitler in 1939 - but was the last in Europe to do so.

    4. Stalin did not shake hands with Hitler, and never gave him his hand. In the age when symbolism was so important - he knew you don't do that - and didn't. British and French PMs - though did.

    Stalin did not attend Hitler's birthday party on 20 April 1939 - Latvia and Estonia did. Heaps of photos of kisses and embraces. I have a photo of the Head of Estonian General HQ, Nicolaus Reek, attending the party, and bending down to the ground top Hitler, all in sweet smiles.
    This was followed by German military delegations visits to both Latvia and Estonia in June 1939, and their military deals, preparing both countries as likely future platzdarm for German army.

    5. In the secret protocols to the very harmless in itself formal "Molotov-Ribbentrop non-agression pact" (in the pact itself there isn't a word that, say, a modern Russia would not sign with modern Germany, or any other world country) - there is no mention type "Germany takes this Russia takes that".

    The hyped "secret protocols" is a 1 and a half page - look up in wiki - consisting of only 4 articles. None of which says "we take this you take that". Read it and try to "divide" any thing, according to the "secret protocols". All it says about the four Baltic countries - Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Finland - is that "the northern boundary of Lithuania shall represent the boundary of the spheres of influence of Germany and USSR".

    I am local. I can't place where is Latvia, Estonia and Finland according to that. Northern boundary of Lithuania - it is close to us in St. Petersburg. Appears then that Lithuania itself is German. "Whose" is Latvia and Finland and Estonia - no mention in the famous "secret protocols", for which we are blamed so much, and no idea.

    Read the protocols - and try to figure out yourself whose "area of influence" is Lithuania, according to them, and what to do with the other 3 countries of which there is no mention of any "boundaries" or geography.

    6. As a simple reminder to people acquainted with history in a selective anti modern Russian mode. The Eastern part of Poland that USSR took by fact, by army, in 1939 - was Russia just 20 years before that. In 1920 this Russian - not any "Polish" land - was simply Russia. Russian Empire. Tsars and all, Romanovs. During 300 years it was plain - Russia. And during 20 years - 1921-1939 - it was Poland. As annexed from us by the Polish during the Russian-Polish war after the revolution, when Russia was weakened by the revolution and the Civil War.

    Stalin simply took back in 1939 what was Russia back in 1920.

    7. Modern Russia blamed in all sins possible does not benefit from the "fruits" of the - won't even say those "secret protocols" - because they are vague and don't define unquivovcally a thing, but "political interests are", "political interests will be" - but the fruit of the real by fact Red Army take of Polish-ex-Russian lands, on 26 August 1939.

    That "Polish" land now constitutes territories of Ukraine, Lithuania and Belorussia. If Poland is still so unhappy - and can prove to these 3 countries that the land taken away by Styalin from Poland in 1939 - was truly Polish - let Poland place claims to Belorussia, Ukraine and Lithuania. Russia doesn't have an inch of that Stalin "grab", and never had. The lands were passed over to the three USSR republics/now independent countries by Stalin at once, back in 1940. That is, BTW, why Baltic countries' parliaments voted to join USSR. For the land Stalin took away from Poland and returned back to them.

    May be Lithuania will agree to return to Poland its capital city Vilnius back, but I doubt it very much. More likely, they'll tell that the land was always inhabited by the majority of Lithuanians, throughout the centuries, and Stalin returned it back to them in 1939 correctly.
    Same will say Belorussians and Ukrainians - that it was not ever any "Poland", except for the short period 1921-1939.

    8. Yes, it was profitable for the USSR back in 1939 to agree with Hitler, even vaguely and un-reliably, better than nothing, as by taking the 3 Baltic countries into the USSR and kicking Poland back to its proper size the USSR borderline returned back to its Russian Empire times. Namely - from 200 to 500 km more Eastern, than it stood in July 1939.

    These extra 200 to 500 km saved us literally when the war began. Hitler attacked from 6 entry points at once, aiming a Blitzkrieg, to take both Moscow and St. Petersburg within 1 month from crossong the border.
    Red Army was totally beaten, smashed and ran, during the Blitzkrieg. The end of the war could well have been back then, within exactly 1 month as Hitler planned. Extra 500 km distance from border to St. Petersburg saved the city - as army from Russia elsewhere had time to come over to protect the city. Otherwise Baltic fleet would have been trapped in the Gulf of Finland at once, and that'll be it.
    Moscow Hitler would have never been able to take "within 1 month" - but Leningrad - easy.
    And without Leningrad - who would know how long would Moscow have stood.
    Morally - that'll be a heavy blow - capital of the Russian empire for 3 hundred years, 2nd biggest Russian city.

    All had own interests in that war - and Russian interests were clearly to have the border further off West.
    ________________

    Sorry for the interruption.
    ________________



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  • 300. At 3:27pm on 23 Aug 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    PS Hitler's order to the army to take Poland was issued by fact and is dated on paper August 22nd and this is the date when it was passed over to the troops.
    On this day Ribbentrop didn't even fly to Moscow to agree and sign the deals yet but was in Berlin.

    From this follows that either Hitler was dead sure he'll agree with Stalin later on somehow, or that he didn't care a fig - would Moscow sign or not. But attack Poland anyway.


    Anyway, should Molotov sign, should he not - Hitler army would attack Poland

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  • 301. At 3:57pm on 23 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    294, David.
    "...this photograph of a Lovely Cottage near Swindon...."

    Oh, David, picturesque maybe, but awful to live in. There are almost no windows to look out on the dreary weather.

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  • 302. At 4:00pm on 23 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    296, huwawa.
    "You are obviously blinded and fooled by the white, middle class American myth of freedom."

    I must be pretty dim. I thought the entire western world shared the myth of freedom.

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  • 303. At 5:17pm on 23 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 304. At 5:18pm on 23 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 305. At 5:44pm on 23 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    eb alice. good to see you over the pond.
    hope the stay is fruitful and enjoyable. the weather is nice the company is mixed and well some off it is mixed up.
    don't check out the sites they are rather run down not.

    Don't step in the kirin.

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  • 306. At 5:50pm on 23 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    303 & 304, Simon.

    How unlike you to misbehave. There is obviously another side to you.

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  • 307. At 5:51pm on 23 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    302 Marbles come now. you know the Brits never fee free. the source of much of the music the world enjoys, and poetry.

    Brits are as free as their buddies in the US. just notwhen it comes to guns,

    because the less violent society that when faced with an economic meltdown went and bought guns as a responce. that peaceful nation where people are free and unthreatened , rearmed and supplied with as many rounds of AP rounds.

    That is the free society.
    The Brits just have mundane rights like the right to have a beer.
    a puff and a poke.

    But don't ever think Brits are delusional as the americans in thinking how Free they are.

    They live on an Island. the Expression of freedom is to get off it for a while.
    (But not too long;)
    A few weeks here and there.
    Many that are clued up as to the states know that they are free er to have Holidays (paid holidays , not the american one where the boss says "there's no work this week so keep in touch"

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  • 308. At 5:58pm on 23 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    No living you quote the most unreliable source in the Daily Mail. No Brit with an ounce of honesty considers the marjory doors paper to be accurate.
    Any brain dead let alone not living person could ell you if the stats you have say 5 times higher you are misled and off on a crazy.

    Brits complain if the neigbours shout.
    if they say the F word in there . that is a verbal assult. registered as assult.
    then take that Brits live right on top (literally) of each other (great no complaints keep it up keep density high land coverage low) and do see and report more than in the country where frankly the police DO NOT EXIST.

    Keep dreaming you have the statistics.

    Or an ability to read and interpret those statistics.
    Or the questions that were used to make them stats.
    Keep up and the whole kitchem may turn up to refute your numbers;)

    You think the American health system won't kill as many as the Brits I bet.

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  • 309. At 6:02pm on 23 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    276, Simon.
    "No one is able to accept this, genocide is largely a modern 19th 20th century phenomenon,"

    Not really. How about Hulagu Khan (brother of Ghengis Khan) who ravaged Persia? He gave the order to kill every living thing in the great city of Nishapur - men, women, children, and animals. The city was to be so leveled that he could ride across it on a moonless night and his horse would not stumble.

    And then there is the Inquisition. Are heretics a genus?

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  • 310. At 6:05pm on 23 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Free screenings of the "RED DAWN"

    (GTA quote)

    It's an outrage.

    the answer is we all are.
    look we are blogging.
    I probably more so than most.
    well except I know I'm loopy. Others seem to think they are making sense.
    I hope not to.though I do hope to make a point.

    I prefer MAD.

    Best to you to.

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  • 311. At 6:15pm on 23 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Marble come again.
    look out the window at the rain? in the winter.
    there is a word that gets left out in the states because it hardly exists.
    Cozy.
    sitting by the Aga making tea chatting. puffing over the table.
    Another cup love.
    yes please dear.



    PS free screenings of the Documentory "red Dawn"( forgot that important word.)

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  • 312. At 6:29pm on 23 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    No living.
    the UK had 643 murders last year population 60 odd million.

    US harder to find info upto date but lets say
    2002 easy to find
    there were 16,200 murders with only 300 million odd people.

    I am no mathematician . I admit that. but it does look like if the reality were shown you would look like a person with NO facts. just a Daily mail quote.(really I may be american but I'm not that stupid. Stupid enough to take the DM stance on anything. )

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  • 313. At 6:32pm on 23 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    well there is one story that The DM has probably got right. somethign to do with BBC giving jobs to their buddies.

    not that this is the right place for that. then again why not Isael has crept in again.

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  • 314. At 6:35pm on 23 Aug 2009, WebPendragon wrote:

    Very glad your returning,maybe now we will get some objectivity from the BBC Correspondent.Would be nice to see some real analysis rather than just being told how great another Country is when one is living on a British Tax-Payer funded expense account.Many American Friends of mine have a somewhat less sanguine view of their Country than you have.Of course they have to fund their own Medical Care,deal with Creationists,Gun nuts and a Culture that is even more anti-intellectual than our own.

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  • 315. At 6:54pm on 23 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    311, fluffytale.
    "in the winter there is a word that gets left out in the states because it hardly exists. Cozy. sitting by the Aga making tea chatting. puffing over the table."

    Some people need the sun more than others. I wonder if it has to do with coloring. My fair daughter loved the dim light of England. But the dank depressed her dark mother. A Swede once proposed to me, but I knew that if I lived way up there I would become just another suicide statistic.

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  • 316. At 7:03pm on 23 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    312, fluffytale.
    "there were 16,200 murders with only 300 million odd people."

    Why is it that I have only seen a drawn gun once in America in my long life? And it is not as though I have led a sheltered life. The shootings seem restricted to gungs and gansters. I am all in favor of them killingl each other. It saves the state a lot of money and we are called up less frequently for jury duty.

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  • 317. At 7:13pm on 23 Aug 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #301. allmymarbles: "...this photograph of a Lovely Cottage near Swindon...."

    "Oh, David, picturesque maybe, but awful to live in. There are almost no windows to look out on the dreary weather."

    Perhaps that's the reason! When such houses were built, glass would have been a very expensive commodity, so that too may account for the lack of windows. However, it's not always dreary weather, summers can be glorious even if they don't get as hot as, say, California or even New York. But the cottage is very romantic don't you think? The only place I have seen which approaches southern England in terms of being green and pleasant is Arkansas, where I once thought of moving. But the humidity!! No sir - pretty countryside but unbearable for me, so back to Sunny Cal. And the desert, to where I am moving, is dry and the heat easier to tolerate.

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  • 318. At 7:22pm on 23 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    316

    Marble that let the poor shoot each other attitude belittles your intelligence.

    Those are figures from the US Gov.
    americans kill each other way more than Brits kill each other.
    sorry if those statistics don't take in the verbal assaults the Daily mail includes.

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  • 319. At 7:28pm on 23 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    On the cottage.

    I bet there are many miles of footpaths to enjoy during all weather.Unless the joys of obesity are more appealing.
    Not so easy to walk around the US. where you have to have your house with a view because you have to drive to a national park to find somewhere free to walk.

    New yorkers can congregate in C.P. but really it's not the same as a walk to the pub across the fields.


    Pendragon. we can but hope .

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  • 320. At 7:40pm on 23 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    318, fluffytale.
    "Marble that let the poor shoot each other attitude belittles your intelligence."

    I said "gangs and gansters." Almost all immigrants who arrived on these shores were poor. Fewl become criminals. And as for the present-day poor. Some are so because of circumstance. Others are poor because of choice. Third-generation welfare recipients are poor because of choice. I offer them zero sympathy.

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  • 321. At 7:55pm on 23 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    317, David.

    Yes, the long summer days of England can be glorious and are not at all humid. What most people don't realize is that, in spite of the drizzly nature of Britain, its rainfall is not that great. For instance, London gets 24 inches, whereas New York City gets 49, more than twice as much. Yet no one thinks of New York as being gray and rainy. That is probably because we get huge downpours followed by blue skies, instead of persistent drizzles.

    Make no mistake. I like Britain and have close connections there. What I don't like are its dark dank winters. Well, I don't like New York's long, cold winters either.

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  • 322. At 7:56pm on 23 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Marbles.
    Those were the murders and non negligent homicides.
    they didn't include the cops killings that were judged OK.
    Don't try excusing the vast differences in the classes of america. you sitting in your newyork apartment (probably with a guard). others in their gated communities as having no class system(which I suspect was a joke right) and then start talking like that.

    Try being really poor.

    Not the coddled refugee of the revolution against another dictator .
    Black on Black Violence is excused by the racists in the same manner you excuse the gang on gang violence.

    Who makes the Guns. who sells them guns.
    who keeps the drug gangs going.

    ALL republican.
    the repub war on drugs. the repub gun lobby.

    I would add when I see someone on state funded health care saying no to others. I say I don't care if you live.
    When I see people that would rather have a motor boat for he odd weekend rather than health care for the kids I say "let them die".

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  • 323. At 7:58pm on 23 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    317, David.

    Why did you become so enamored of Arkansas? If if were not for my vast family in the northeast I would move to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. The air alone is a drug. And as for beauty....

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  • 324. At 8:11pm on 23 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Marbles don't forget the number of poor that arrived here because they were criminals.

    sent by the UK when they had that attitude of round the poor up and send them away ,there's blight of them.

    Now the homeless guy shot while sleeping in the park. by them " I hate the poor scroungers" kids.(young men.)

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  • 325. At 8:34pm on 23 Aug 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #323. allmymarbles: "David. Why did you become so enamored of Arkansas? "

    They elected Bill Clinton! No, it was some property I very much liked in Hot Springs, 50 miles from Little Rock and the countryside was gorgeous. Couldn't have bought it here for anywhere near ten times the price. No L.A. style freeways, quiet and peaceful. It reminded me very much of my childhood in southern England, so there was an element of nostalgia. I can't say that the natives were very friendly when it came to looking at other properties, but in any case the weather/humidity took it out of the running.

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  • 326. At 9:48pm on 23 Aug 2009, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    Allmymarbles and David Cunard--A ways up the blog one of you'n's was saying something about how sad it is that accents are almost all. You'd be amazed by the English spoken in my area. The Pennsylvania Chermans speak wondterful goodt English.

    Chust choking.

    LOL.

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  • 327. At 10:58pm on 23 Aug 2009, torontojim wrote:

    Thanks so much Justin. Good luck back in England. We'll miss your work covering the US.

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  • 328. At 11:52pm on 23 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    322. fluffytale.

    You are going off half cocked and making assumptions about someone you don't know. I am the granddaughter of immigrants. All of those poor people worked like dogs. None of them wound up in prison or brawling in bars. Anyway, without welfare (although there were many charitable organizations). they had to work hard or starve. They worked hard. And no, I don't live in a gated community or a Manhattan penthouse. In fact, I no longer live in Manhattan. And as to your assumption that I am rich - I have been rich and I have been poor. I admit rich is better, but don't care that much.

    And, political correctness be damned, I consider any able-bodied person who is on extended welfare to be a bum.

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  • 329. At 11:56pm on 23 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    326, trueconservative.

    Yes, dialects persist, albeit watered down. Listen to a Minnasotan or North Dakotan and you hear a hint of the Norwegian lilt.

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  • 330. At 00:02am on 24 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    309. At 6:02pm on 23 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:
    276, Simon.
    "No one is able to accept this, genocide is largely a modern 19th 20th century phenomenon,"

    Not really. How about Hulagu Khan (brother of Ghengis Khan) who ravaged Persia? He gave the order to kill every living thing in the great city of Nishapur - men, women, children, and animals. The city was to be so leveled that he could ride across it on a moonless night and his horse would not stumble.

    And then there is the Inquisition. Are heretics a genus?


    A few points.

    1. Wiping out a city is not the same as wiping out an entire ethnic group (there were plenty of cities in India that were not annihlated by the Mongols). Atrocities certainly ocurred before the twentieth century.

    Certainly ethnic groups were wiped out - the Caribs, the Orang Hiya but most of that was due to disease.

    The fact is that before the 19th and twentieth centuries civilisations did not have the capacity to annihlate whole groups of people.

    The AS certainly didn't their entire migration is said to have only numbered 100,000 but the native britons may have come to 3 million.

    Yet it remains true that the religion, language etc of the majority evaporated completely - it remains a major historical mystery.

    2) As for the inquisition - it certainly did not seek to annihlate ethnic groups, but heretics who could be found in every group.

    Incidently the inquisition did not order the burning of admitted jews, moslems etc, it was after heretics only.




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  • 331. At 00:07am on 24 Aug 2009, Prof John Locke wrote:

    you did a great job in America, now you are back to present the Today programme, will you promise to give this government a hard time and actually for once get them to answer a question....!

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  • 332. At 00:08am on 24 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    330. Simon.
    "The fact is that before the 19th and twentieth centuries civilisations did not have the capacity to annihlate whole groups of people."

    But they did their best. Ethnophobia is not a modern development.

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  • 333. At 00:09am on 24 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    Posting:
    290. At 01:43am on 23 Aug 2009, MagicKirin wrote:
    ref #286

    In regard to supporting Latin america terrorists groups that is your hero
    Dictator Hugo who supports FARC."

    As opposed to your hero Ariel Sharon - who was
    condemned by his own parliament for being involved in two of the worst massacres in recent ME history.

    Can't remember Chavez helping fascists kill semites.

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  • 334. At 00:41am on 24 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    332. At 00:08am on 24 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:
    330. Simon.
    "The fact is that before the 19th and twentieth centuries civilisations did not have the capacity to annihlate whole groups of people."

    But they did their best. Ethnophobia is not a modern development.


    No this is an important point.

    "Did their best" is not s historical point - they didn't whatever their intentions were or might have been.

    The importance of this issue lies in the fact that many presume genocide was practically a yearly event in the ancient/medieval world simply because one culture replaced another.

    It is often used in the case of Islam for example where one is routinely told that a small army from Saudi Arabia (20,000 max) somehow managed to annihlate every other people from the ME to Spain and replace them with moslems.

    Apart from not explaining how 20,000 swordsmen could kill 10 mill Egpytians (not to say Byzantines Jews etc) how could they find the time to repopulate the country - they may have liked a good time but surely that is a lot to expect of any group of men no matter how virile.


    Of course the answer is acculturalisation - the people didn't change, the religion did. In the ME for example the Palestinian people would at one time have been largely jewsih.

    This is what makes Britain so intriguing. No other country in the Roman Empire changed so completely - and there is still no explanation why.

    There may have ben catastrophic population loss - but this would have effected the AS as well.

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  • 335. At 00:53am on 24 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    334, Simon.
    "This is what makes Britain so intriguing. No other country in the Roman Empire changed so completely - and there is still no explanation why."

    Myriad invaders might explain it. You had wave after wave after wave. And they did not ravage and leave. They stayed. Isn't that also what made English such a rich and flexible language?

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  • 336. At 01:06am on 24 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    335. At 00:53am on 24 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:
    334, Simon.
    "This is what makes Britain so intriguing. No other country in the Roman Empire changed so completely - and there is still no explanation why."

    Myriad invaders might explain it. You had wave after wave after wave. And they did not ravage and leave. They stayed. Isn't that also what made English such a rich and flexible language?


    No English is still basically a form of frisian (frisians could apparently talk to Northumbirans up to the nineteenth century) and contains practically no Britonic elements. There is more Norman French in English than Briton, though the Normans were a tiny minority.

    There is also the fact that Britannia was a christian province yet when Augustine landed the only christians he found were in Wales.





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  • 337. At 01:08am on 24 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Marbles I have heard your story before .
    from you. so don't assume I know nothing of it. I know as much as you have let out.If you were to end up the victim should I assume it was your fault though?

    YOU said that most murders were gang related violence. You tried to suggest that only the guilty die of gun crimes.
    Your flippant attitude to violence kinda proves my first point of contention with Justins assumption america is so much less violent than the UK.

    "316. At 7:03pm on 23 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:
    312, fluffytale.
    "there were 16,200 murders with only 300 million odd people."

    Why is it that I have only seen a drawn gun once in America in my long life? And it is not as though I have led a sheltered life. The shootings seem restricted to gungs and gansters. I am all in favor of them killingl each other. It saves the state a lot of money and we are called up less frequently for jury duty."


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  • 338. At 01:41am on 24 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    also marbles this has been nagging at me since your comment.

    but before I go off half cocked ,you will notice I said newyork. Not Manhatten.
    you will also notice I said apartment not penthouse.
    further more I would draw to your attention to the phrase "others in their gated communities"in my post 322.
    I also said "really poor"
    While you talk of immigrants, were those that arrived after the fall of the shah treated like criminals and harassed every where they go?
    Were they far more likely to be arrested than a white guy.

    Maybe now with all the ill feeling americans have to immigrants of all types.
    You were lucky to have nice folks.So was I.
    others aren't.


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  • 339. At 01:48am on 24 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Why do I never see lessons in making them bootstraps.
    It's hard to pull something that isn't there. Can't find Bootstraps.com 's site with the picture of what they look like.
    Oh well I wonder if duck tape works.

    On those corrections I mentioned above. surely as a journo you can read and not twist when replying?

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  • 340. At 02:19am on 24 Aug 2009, timinbrooklyn wrote:

    Hi Mr. Webb ... we shall miss you and your astute observations of the American scene more than you can ever imagine. I've been here almost 40 years and there are still moments when they amaze me, for good or otherwise.

    If you need some "Bundles from America" (living in or around Swindon for heaven's sake) then just let us know ..... a small recompense for all the great reporting that you did whilst living in DC and explaining all the minutiae of la vie americaine.

    We look forward to hearing from you wherever the bosses there decide your great talents can be used best.

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  • 341. At 03:05am on 24 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    fluffytale.

    You really are het up, aren't you. No doubt you feel that young girls with no husband and a clutch of children are victims. No doubt you feel that someone who can only earn minimum wage has every reason to become a drug dealer. Something has happened to personal responsibility, but it doesn't have to happen to me. You can freely give your tax money to these "victims." But I resent every cent that leaves my pocket for these purposes. Many feel as I do, but they know if they speak that people will revile them. I am too old and too honest to care.

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  • 342. At 03:11am on 24 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    fluffytale, more.

    My mother was abandoned by my father and left to care for five children. She worked, and when we were old enough we took part-time jobs and pitched in. The eldest three, of which I was one, worked our way through college (and part of highschool). My mother did not look to live on handouts. She was not a bum, We were not bums. And our children are not bums. I leave the instutionalized welfare losers to their fate. They think they are clever to live off the government. They are not.

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  • 343. At 03:26am on 24 Aug 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #340. timinbrooklyn: "we shall miss you and your astute observations of the American scene . . . all the great reporting that you did whilst living in DC and explaining all the minutiae of la vie americaine."

    Quite obviously the writer has only very recently read this blog and the comments thereto. It has never appeared to me that Justin had a grasp of la vie Americaine since he reported from a privileged perspective, popping hither and thither to make a brief report, in the same way as the Duchess of York reported about Northern Moore. Who else would grizzle about not flying with Mr Obama? Ordinary people never do that!

    #259. allmymarbles: "We don't have classes in America."

    Glad to see that you're in a humourous mood this morning; no classes in America - tell that to the residents of Bel Air or Martha's Vineyard! Of course, many of them have no class in the other sense, but nevertheless they consider themselves "upper".

    My earlier comment (above) was proved earlier today: I had a very nice, farewell brunch at the Hotel Bel-Air. The setting is delightful, peaceful, colourful and one of my favourite spots in all of Los Angeles. An (ugly) Rolls Royce Phantom was parked in front along with a bevy of other high end vehicles. All "upper class". This was spoiled because the lady at the adjoining table, probably in her thirties, ate with her mouth open. No "class". Q.E.D.

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  • 344. At 03:51am on 24 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Marbles. so yes you prove my point. your mother did not encourage your father to molest you. then beat you for complaining. you did well.
    she didn't just kick you out of the house at 16 or 18 because" you done grown get out."
    She wasn't addicted to a list of prescription drugs that passed into your blood system while you were growing up (not just rec drugs).

    You couldn't be pushed into violence.
    or to walking into through a neighbourhood without a gun when young and not of any gang or the right gang?
    Varsity teams are they gangs?

    Your attitude is too simplistic. they are all victims of their own behaviour.
    Charitable organisations?
    they can help but not the state?
    If you take from the charities your all right. but if you take from the state you are a criminal.?


    "Third-generation welfare recipients are poor because of choice. "

    You know the one word that describes this sentence.
    two word version has "absolute" in it as the first word.

    yes I object to anyone that will ignore the reasons for murder to prove how hard they had it.
    any one that would callously throw away and dismiss 16000 lives over their own vengeance and what ever emotion it is that drove that comment earlier about the gangs.

    Unless you meant it as a joke . in which case oh how amusing.




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  • 345. At 04:33am on 24 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    344, fluffytale.

    Have you lost all sense of morality? Do you not believe in free will? Are we guilty of our own transgressions or do we pass the buck? You have become very American, Jack.

    When the first of my children was leaving for America to attend college (she had not lived in America since she was six, and then only briefly), I told her that whatever went wrong in her life, Americans would teach her to blame her mother or society. But when you look in the mirror, I said, the only person you will see is yourself.

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  • 346. At 05:48am on 24 Aug 2009, Jim McDermott wrote:

    Justin, I particularly enjoyed your inference that a cheery 'good morning' goes down well in the US (and like a lead balloon here). I can only speak from the perspective of my two and a half years in rural, easy going Manhattan, but good natured exchanges between passing strangers wasn't a particularly intrusive part of my experience there. As for the American car, I understand the attraction. There's something exciting in attempting a European bend in a machine that handles like a mattress with a cotton bobbin at each corner.

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  • 347. At 05:52am on 24 Aug 2009, Jim McDermott wrote:

    'You can freely give your tax money to these "victims." But I resent every cent that leaves my pocket for these purposes. Many feel as I do, but they know if they speak that people will revile them. I am too old and too honest to care.'

    Surely, Allmymarbles, you meant to say 'too bitter and unchristian to care'?

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  • 348. At 06:07am on 24 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    347, peeved.

    I was talking about institutionalized welfare of the hale and hardy. I am not bitter, merely cynical, and since Christians, (or Jews, or Moslems) are neither more moral, nor immoral, than other people, please do not equate religion with morality.

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  • 349. At 06:40am on 24 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Shirly non.
    marbles. why the Jack.
    He's crazy we all know that! ?

    here's a great bit of american advice
    " try using this rope that I tied around your neck earlier to pull yourself up with."

    Kids off from boarding school are not in the least under privileged. Well a few scholarship kids they use as a tax write off to help with the inevitable debate on the "charity" status of their school.

    I never remembered what killed the trainer for Mr ( in prison tried convicted no slander guilty) du pont.

    what if they paid taxes and only killed one person in a life while you who would deny health benefits to all but the wealthy. (american system) possibly leading to the group sanctioned murder of thousands (statistically speaking) through what could be considered negligent homicide depending on the nation.

    yes I'll use extremes to point out that however hard you want to prove that all straps are tight in your place they are a result of as much luck as good judgement.
    And again I thought you more intelligent than the comments suggest.

    Bitter and unchristian do spring to mind as Peeved jim suggests.

    Your kids went to boarding school didn't get multiple prescriptions.beaten raped and pushed around every day by the local cops.while being dosed to the eyes with "help"
    one day the insurance runs out and then you have an addicted kid on the loose without meds.
    Thats many kids in the states.
    then they enter an age where they statistically are more likely to get shot.
    Just TRY to see there are victims out there and htat you can shift the focus to me being of NO morals etc. but IT IS YOU THAT KEEPS INSISTING 16000 DEAD DOESN'T MATTER.Time for you to find that church again

    ( kid dead . eugene. shot by 4 cops for waving knife while coming off DRUGS made by some other generations system.mum called them to stop him hurting self.
    They didn't introduce medical pharma hell to the world. that was another generations contribution to the joy of living.)

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  • 350. At 06:47am on 24 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    "Are we guilty of our own transgressions "

    I wonder how many dead gunshot or homicide victims were the guilty?

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  • 351. At 08:02am on 24 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    350, fluffytale.

    Non sequitor. You are being cute.

    Most homicides, at least in my neck of the woods, are gang, or ganster, or drug-related. Are there others? Yes. Is the occasional bystander killed? Yes. Is the occasional wife bludgeoned to death by her husband? Yes. But the latter cases are the ones that make the headlines simply because they are not that common. The slime-killing-slime stuff doesn't rate much print, but that is what fills up the morgues. You just can't rant statistics without the background.

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  • 352. At 08:05am on 24 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    349, fluffytale.
    "Bitter and unchristian do spring to mind as Peeved jim suggests."

    Read my #348 response to peeved.

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  • 353. At 11:55am on 24 Aug 2009, arclightt wrote:

    Justin: Thanks for your comments about this country. May God bless you and your family as you transition back to the UK. Probably the largest thing you have illuminated is that America is as complex as every other nation on earth, with some challenges common to all humanity and some that are uniquely American. It surely cannot be reduced to a sound bite, or to the oversimplified visions of life promulgated by its two political parties and their partisans.

    All: I have received some useful insights from the back-and-forth on this page, and I thank you for your perspectives. Sure, I have filtered out plenty of chaff, as has everyone else; however, it was well worth it to find the nuggets of truth to chew on. I hope that we may share more observations again at some point; in the meantime may God bless all of you as well as you and your families move into the future.

    Until we chat again...

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  • 354. At 12:01pm on 24 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    348. At 06:07am on 24 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:
    347, peeved.

    I was talking about institutionalized welfare of the hale and hardy. I am not bitter, merely cynical, and since Christians, (or Jews, or Moslems) are neither more moral, nor immoral, than other people, please do not equate religion with morality."


    And don't associate morality with income. Of course some people abuse the welfare system - do not multimillionaires abuse the tax system?

    Welfare exists because of the gross inequalities in our society. Despite the legend it is not the welfare recipients who ask for government subsidy while award in thenmsels

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  • 355. At 12:45pm on 24 Aug 2009, dekehoustie wrote:

    After spending last week in Scotland, I would be interested in getting an American persepective on the release of the Lockerbie bomber and the subsequent fallout - especially the letter from the Director of the FBI.

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  • 356. At 1:53pm on 24 Aug 2009, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    Allmymarbles--There are things totally beyond people's control that can really affect whether they become rich or poor.

    About drug addicts/gangsters killing each other off. Do you realize that is greatly affected by a person's race? A lower percentage of African Americans and Hispanics are drug addicts than white Americans, but people more often suspect Blacks and Hispanics of being drug addicts. This makes it much more likely that they will get caught by the police for it. I know it would be nice to assume that everyone who commits a crime in this country has an equal chance of getting arrested, but it is not so. White people, who tend to have more money (also due partly to societal prejudices), are often better able to hide drug abuse. For instance, with money it is possible to drive around to many different dentists with the same toothache trying to get prescriptions for Vicadon (sp.?) or other pain killers. They can do the same with Ritalin for their hyperactive children and few people will suspect that they actually snort it. Basically, the people who deserve to be in jail most are not necessarily the ones who are there.

    About murders: Many murders are not at all deserved. Murders aren't too common in the area where I live, but I struggle to think of even one that was deserved. Certainly not the 4 yr old who was killed by her step dad (or mother's boyfriend? I forget) just because she cried for too much attention. Also not the 20 yr old woman who was stabbed to death by her neighbor (his only excuse was "The drugs made me do it").

    Anyway, if we figure that some people are stupid and deserve to kill each other off with no protection, how do we determine who is worthy of life and who is not? Where you see slums other people may just see ordinary homes. Such determinations would be very subjective. The whole concept of letting some people get murdered is flawed.

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  • 357. At 2:30pm on 24 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Marbles. I'm not being cute. and really don't care about the words used to illustrate your lack of morals over this glib dismissal of 16000 dead for your view point that your bootstraps were pulled up all on your own.

    So we say unchristian. trying to worm out of saying 16000 deaths don't matter because they deserved it.

    OK so you have the morals of a ..... what would be appropriate for a person who thinks "let all the inconvienient die."
    There I was defending you as a rightous person. what a mistake.

    No different from naming an ethnic group and saying they are all terrorists.
    I suspect that somewhere you were taught that life was cheap, same as the thugs you say deserve to die.

    This is AMerica we are talking about.
    The country that glorifies the killer, the country that takes a police force and turns them into shooters.
    here in our town, the cop that shot the kid with the knife got a medal(kid really was no threat but to himself).

    Kids grow up to respect the concept of " well I shot him"
    "justified hoicide"
    your attitude that would allow cops to shoot them helps perpetuate the concept that "killing is OK if for the right reason"

    It is then just a step before some white supremacist walks into a holocaust museum and kills someone because he thinks his cause is just.
    the gang members say" look the cops kill people that get in their way"
    look GW bush has killed more people than any other murderer in the USA.
    He sat as Gov on the death penalty cases and didn't read the reports allowing innocents to die.
    Imagine Knowing the people he killed and having the like of you calling them murders.


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  • 358. At 2:49pm on 24 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRC4ziQpb5I

    Here's someone who has a good tale.

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  • 359. At 2:50pm on 24 Aug 2009, saintDominick wrote:


    Misconceptions are not limited to crime and drug abuse, the same is true for welfare and food stamp recipients. The overwhelming majority of recipients are white and many have no intention to go to work.

    On the issue of welfare, I don't have a problem helping those in need for a finite period of time - e.g. 3 months - until they find a job, but I don't believe in handouts as that only perpetuates dependence on government assistance. Welfare recipients should be forced to work, at least 4 hours a day so that they can look for work and at the same time earn their keep.

    While it may be true that most gang members in urban areas are black or Hispanic I believe organized crime is controlled mostly by white people.

    I moved to a small city in Florida when I retired 8 years ago and I have never seen any criminal activity. I have read of a few incidents in the local paper, but there are mostly robberies and drug-related crimes. The only murder we had made the headlines for weeks. The idea that the USA is a crim-ridden country is, in my opinion, an exaggeration.

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  • 360. At 3:21pm on 24 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Good point Simon. the rich ripping the world off and have driven many to desperation all around the globe causeing more deaths. more murders. more wars and turf battles than all the gangstas .

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  • 361. At 3:56pm on 24 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    St dom I'll go with it maybe not being crime ridden. but for sure more violent than the UK.

    America still has a death penalty in many states!

    That kinda shows how un violent the society is.
    They put kids in prison then death row until recently.

    DEATH ROW
    Not a British problem.
    With NO evidence that state sponsored murder works as a deterrent. it is vengeance , pure ruthless vengeance.
    condoning murder because it is sometimes OK to kill.
    Not a last resort in order to prevent imminent deaths.
    Then they wonder where people get the Idea that murder is OK.

    When the war started I was here.
    I'd never seen such bloodthirsty desire for vengeance.
    Thank god I was brought up in nice old grumpy UK where most people thought war was vengeful and to be avoided.


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  • 362. At 3:58pm on 24 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    lets bankrupt everyone until we can get them to work as slave labour.

    At least you support giving them access to the doc as well.

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  • 363. At 4:07pm on 24 Aug 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    297 Its_an_Outrage wrote:
    "This is the first time I've read this blog."

    Sorry you couldn't join us earlier - you've missed all the fun.

    Thanks Justin for the chance to engage with so many interesting and frustrating people from all over the world.

    Perhaps you could start a similar blog on UK-US stories so we can carry on frustrating each other!

    Best wishes for your future back in Blighty - hope the NHS looks after your son! Now there's another whole can-of-worms just waiting for some comment.

    Ciao tutti.

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  • 364. At 4:50pm on 24 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    359, saintD.
    "On the issue of welfare, I don't have a problem helping those in need for a finite period of time - e.g. 3 months - until they find a job, but I don't believe in handouts as that only perpetuates dependence on government assistance. Welfare recipients should be forced to work, at least 4 hours a day so that they can look for work and at the same time earn their keep."

    Like you I see welfare as a stopgap, not as a way of life. .

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  • 365. At 6:20pm on 24 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    wow marbles, so your response to 16000 deaths was. unemployment is "not a way of life".
    there's some shifting sands.

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  • 366. At 6:24pm on 24 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    Fluffy.

    If I understand you correctly, you are saying that if government is crooked, and if big business is crooked, and if the rich are crooked, then the little man has a right to be crooked too. Does that mean that you and I should go on welfare, even though we are able-bodied. You see where this is leading, don't you?

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  • 367. At 7:36pm on 24 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    364. At 4:50pm on 24 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:
    359, saintD.
    "On the issue of welfare, I don't have a problem helping those in need for a finite period of time - e.g. 3 months - until they find a job, but I don't believe in handouts as that only perpetuates dependence on government assistance. Welfare recipients should be forced to work, at least 4 hours a day so that they can look for work and at the same time earn their keep."

    Like you I see welfare as a stopgap, not as a way of life."


    Just get a basic fact. Unempplyment means there are more applicants than jobs. End of story.


    It is therefore impossible for the unemployed to all become employed - because there are not enough jobs.

    If one wants to test this proposition then offer a job and see if no one applies.

    The trouble, as George Orwell noted in the 1930s with "competition" as a sacred principle is that some will inevitably lose, clearly not all can win.

    And human beings being what they are do not tend to starve to suit others, but rather will attempt to surivive by any means.

    This is why welfare was introduced. If there is any doubt look at the chaotic nature of western society before it was introduced - the enormous crime rates, the violence, the endemic disease. It was not introduced for altruistic reasons.

    Adequate welfare is vital for keeping modern society together.

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  • 368. At 8:04pm on 24 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    359. At 2:50pm on 24 Aug 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    "I moved to a small city in Florida when I retired 8 years ago and I have never seen any criminal activity. I have read of a few incidents in the local paper, but there are mostly robberies and drug-related crimes. The only murder we had made the headlines for weeks. The idea that the USA is a crim-ridden country is, in my opinion, an exaggeration."

    That rather depends on what you mean by "crime ridden". For example most US schools are not shot up by deranged students, but is this any comfort for parents of students killed in such massacres - and surely one is enough.

    In the US (as in other countries) that perception can depend on your class. Certain it is that Florida has a serious crime rate.


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  • 369. At 8:11pm on 24 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    367, simon.
    "Just get a basic fact. Unempplyment means there are more applicants than jobs. End of story."

    Why does everyone persist in misunderstanding what I am saying? I am talking about institutionalized welfare, not those unfortunates who are temporarily unemployed through cutbacks, but those who have not worked in years, or decades, or generations. Nor am I talking about the disabled, or abandoned old people. My subject from the first has concerned able-bodied persons who do no want to work and who live off the system.

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  • 370. At 8:46pm on 24 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    369. At 8:11pm on 24 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:
    367, simon.
    "Just get a basic fact. Unempplyment means there are more applicants than jobs. End of story."

    Why does everyone persist in misunderstanding what I am saying? I am talking about institutionalized welfare, not those unfortunates who are temporarily unemployed through cutbacks, but those who have not worked in years, or decades, or generations. Nor am I talking about the disabled, or abandoned old people. My subject from the first has concerned able-bodied persons who do no want to work and who live off the system."

    The myth of the "sturdy beggar" began in Henry Viii's reign when he destroyed the only welfare system existant in the UK at that time.

    It is largely a myth. The number of people who are content to live on welfare is tiny. Welfare is not so generous as to guarantee an easy lifestyle, it is a fraught existance with penury always in the background.

    20 years ago in NSW a conservative polit aimed to prove the myth of "dole bludgers" and advertised jobs on his station.

    He was suprised at the vigorous response (only long termers could apply)which even came from Freemantle. Most hilariously he even received applications from Koories whose laziness and preference for welfare he had taken as a given (the fact that some might be descended from the original owners of his vast acres escaped him - all the successful applicants were white).369. At 8:11pm on 24 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:
    367, simon.
    "Just get a basic fact. Unempplyment means there are more applicants than jobs. End of story."

    Why does everyone persist in misunderstanding what I am saying? I am talking about institutionalized welfare, not those unfortunates who are temporarily unemployed through cutbacks, but those who have not worked in years, or decades, or generations. Nor am I talking about the disabled, or abandoned old people. My subject from the first has concerned able-bodied persons who do no want to work and who live off the system.

    Are there people who like to live in poverty - humanity is a strange beast some people apparently enjoy physical pain, others love inflicting it on others. SOme put on medieval clothing, vow to sleep with no one, own nothing and spend most of their time in prayer. So yes there will be some who find dirt and privation appealing.

    But very very few. And if we can tolerate people dressed in Indian garb who bang cymbals under our noses and call on us to give all our posessions to Lord Krishna, we can surely tolerate them.


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  • 371. At 9:14pm on 24 Aug 2009, Dark Side of the Goon wrote:

    Interesting side topic on the development of English.

    I think the disappearance of Bretonic sounds is entirely explicable, because they don't really disappear. Welsh, Cornish and Scots and Irish Gaelic preserve some of it; I think the Roman occupation from 43AD to about 450AD, the habit of stationing legions from other nations in a province and then settling veterans in towns means that you quickly run into a situation where a lingua fraca needs to be adopted in order for everyone to be understood. And there's Latin, just waiting.

    The Angles and the Saxons didn't wipe anyone out; their contribution to Britain's genetics shows that - it's relatively small. I think you have to look elsewhere for reasons why their language and culture suddenly proliferate, and one option you've got is that they filled a vaccuum. The Legions have gone, Rome has gone. things are rough and the Saxons are a military machine that's hard to stop. Or perhaps they represent stability and security, and they're better than whatever the alternative is.

    Something similar happens when the Normans show up. One of my favourite linguistic twists of fate happens thanks to French. The Normans install themselves as feudal overlords and immediately are the People To Be Like. If you want to be part of the In Crowd, you learn to speak the language, and the difference comes to us in a unique way. The French like to call the English "Les Rosbeef" - and the word Beef is a corruption of Boeuf, which is what the Norman nobles found on their tables when they sat down to meat. On the other hand, the post-Saxon peasants actually raising the animals still referred to them by the more germanic name - Cow. They also referred to the meat of the beast in the same way; but anyone who was anyone would much rather tuck into beef than cow, hence the dichotomy. The name of the foodstuff survives, I suspect, because everyone wants to eat luxury food and the name perpetuates as a kind of aspirational thing.

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  • 372. At 9:30pm on 24 Aug 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 367, Simon

    "Just get a basic fact. Unempplyment means there are more applicants than jobs. End of story.

    It is therefore impossible for the unemployed to all become employed - because there are not enough jobs."

    In the USA we consider a person to be unemployed when they lose their job. In most cases, people that are laid off are eligible to receive unemployment benefits for a pre-defined duration which, I believe, varies from state to state but in most cases average six months. Financing is provided by the federal and state governments. Extensions in the duration of unemployment benefits are often granted during severe recessions, such as the one we are currently enduring.

    Bear in mind that quite often persons that lose their jobs remain unemployed for a long period of time because they refuse to accept jobs in other fields, because they don't want a long commute, or because they refuse to accept a pay cut or a worse benefit package. If people were a little more flexible I am convinced that our unemployment rate would not be as high as it is. There are a lot of jobs available, they may not be great jobs, but most offer enough compensation to provide for the basic necessities of a family.

    Welfare was curtailed severely during the Clinton Administration. Recipients constitute a tiny minority of our population and include people who don't want to work and opt on receiving handouts to subsist, people who are psychologically impaired, or drug users.

    I sympathize with those who lose their jobs and have problems finding another job on short notice. My youngest son was affected by the recession when the manufacturing company he worked for went bankrupt and it took him 6 weeks to find another job. He took a $10K a year pay cut, but he is earning enough to support his family and has a good benefit package, which considering the fact that his only son is severely handicapped is a critical consideration for him. He collected unemployment while unemployed which, although not enough to cover all his expenses, it helped a lot. I support our unemployment program and believe it should be kept and improved.

    I have no sympathy for chronic welfare recipients. I had to work my entire life for what I got and it enfuriates me when I see my tax dollars going to parasites.

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  • 373. At 10:02pm on 24 Aug 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 374. At 10:19pm on 24 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    370, simon.
    "The number of people who are content to live on welfare is tiny. Welfare is not so generous as to guarantee an easy lifestyle, it is a fraught existance with penury always in the background."

    There are valid recipients of welfare. Those who have lost their jobs, for instance, and need a stopgap until they can find employment.again. Another group would be those destitutes who are unable to work because of physical or mental disability or because of extreme age. In fact, this group should be better taken care of than they are.

    You apparently have little knowledge of how the welfare system works (how it actually works, not how it is supposed to work). You have never known a welfare recipient who works on the side, or deals drugs, etc.. You have never known a welfare recipient who has a husband that she claims abandoned her and who has actually not aabandoned her and is supporting her. (A little extra government money never hurt.) He often keeps a separate residence so that she will not lose her benefits. You have never known a young woman who has children knowing she can expect welfare to provide for her and them. This is often what her mother did and seems perfectly natural to her. These people have been in the system so long that they know how to manipulate it.

    I am not against welfare. I am against the abuse of welfare. It is a popular myth that poverty is synonymous with virtue.

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  • 375. At 10:21pm on 24 Aug 2009, Wendy wrote:

    Your comments really resonate with me. With my husband and son, we relocated last year to Chicago for my job and the Mid West has been overwhelmingly friendly to us. I no longer fret all the time that my car will be broken into in the supermarket, or that I will be intimidated by a crowd of youngsters as I pop to the Co-Op for a paper. I never EVER hear the F word here - and it makes me shocked to my core when I travel back to the UK to hear it incessantly. There's a level of ease living here that I love. Respect is high on the agenda - I got bumped into in the mall when I first arrived and a hooded youngster (yes, they're not banned from shopping centers here) turned to me and said "I'm so sorry, Maam, are you okay". The idea of that happening in my home town of Portsmouth is laughable. I'd have been sworn at, at the very least. Teachers are called sir and maam, they don't tolerate bad manners or bad behavior at my son's school. It's not nirvana, there are neighborhoods I wouldn't want to live in, but overall I feel safe here in a way I haven't for too long at home in the UK. We need to seize our country back from the slovenly, ill-mannered, foul-mouthed minority who have taken over and make Britain Great again. Then, I'll be home.

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  • 376. At 10:53pm on 24 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    372, saintD.

    A very good post. We understand each other.

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  • 377. At 11:33pm on 24 Aug 2009, moionfire wrote:

    Good riddance ! I am so bored with the never ending european(I include Britons) quest to "understand" americans and american society only to up with simplistic, outlandish and often unintentional condenscention.

    Why don't you do this to other groups- why the double standard ???...

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  • 378. At 00:01am on 25 Aug 2009, torquenada wrote:

    Having discovered this blog only recently, I read all the comments, mainly to discover that there are people like the stupidly-named FluffyTales, neither fish nor fowl (British or American) and who can't spell or put a coherent sentence together, spoiling for an argument no matter what anyone writes, amongst various others (though by no means all of the others) who don't seem to realise that a commentator on what s/he sees of a country is NOT an apologist for either that country or his or her own, merely an observer, from whatever privileged or other position s/he happens to be in.

    Justin Webb may have been trite, jejune and/or seeing things with a pinkish tinge, but he did a damn sight better than a lot of us in portraying what a bastard and attractive nation the modern polyglot America can be and his contributions to the global understanding will be missed.

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  • 379. At 00:21am on 25 Aug 2009, torquenada wrote:

    370. At 8:46pm on 24 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote: "The number of people who are content to live on welfare is tiny. Welfare is not so generous as to guarantee an easy lifestyle, it is a fraught existance with penury always in the background."

    Not the case in the UK, Simon. There, you will find families who do not work and have never known their grandparents or parents work; they have been two generations on the dole. Unfortunately, the State will pay out and not ask questions, political correctness means that one can no longer criticise someone for living off the state, it is denying their "inability to achieve working satisfaction".

    Sink estates in parts of the country are no-go areas for the police and the idea of residents thereof engaging in paid and legal employment is laughable. But still the state pays out. What can be done about it, I do not know, but it does create lots of anti-feeling, as reflected in the post at 375 from jasperkitten1; she is obviously pleased to be where she is now and I don't blame her.

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  • 380. At 00:55am on 25 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    379. At 00:21am on 25 Aug 2009, torquenada wrote:
    370. At 8:46pm on 24 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote: "The number of people who are content to live on welfare is tiny. Welfare is not so generous as to guarantee an easy lifestyle, it is a fraught existance with penury always in the background."

    Not the case in the UK, Simon. There, you will find families who do not work and have never known their grandparents or parents work; they have been two generations on the dole. Unfortunately, the State will pay out and not ask questions, political correctness means that one can no longer criticise someone for living off the state, it is denying their "inability to achieve working satisfaction"."


    Sorry complete rubbish. The number of applicants for each job?


    "Sink estates in parts of the country are no-go areas for the police and the idea of residents thereof engaging in paid and legal employment is laughable."


    Yes that is because they are all poor, unlike "nice" people who live in "nice" areas and speak proper and are well brought up.

    Do you remotely think it is correct to right off whole groups of people because of where they live? DO you think they live in run down areas because they like poverty? DO you like poverty?

    Oh and "sink estates" hmm aren't all, those in welfare living the high life in Surbiton?

    "But still the state pays out. What can be done about it, I do not know, but it does create lots of anti-feeling, as reflected in the post at 375 from jasperkitten1; she is obviously pleased to be where she is now and I don't blame her."

    And you assume all these people are poor and on welfare because only poor people have no manners - stands to reason doesn't it.

    If this lady visits some parts of Chicago and Baltimore and San Francisco (anywhere in the latter case) she will be luck to escape with her life much less a please and thank you. And that is because of the hideous deprivation, not because the people are intrinsically evil.

    These people who go to the US see part of it and conclude it is an earthly paradise do so with their eyes closed. After being importuned regularly in scenic San Francisco by people who should not have been out of a hospital ward, much less scratching a living on the street I for one lost my rose tinted glasses.

    Mind you Vancouver was disgusting in this respect as well - we were assured that they "come here for the warm weather" as if that was an explanation.


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  • 381. At 01:25am on 25 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    374. At 10:19pm on 24 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:
    370, simon.
    "The number of people who are content to live on welfare is tiny. Welfare is not so generous as to guarantee an easy lifestyle, it is a fraught existance with penury always in the background."

    "There are valid recipients of welfare. Those who have lost their jobs, for instance, and need a stopgap until they can find employment.again. Another group would be those destitutes who are unable to work because of physical or mental disability or because of extreme age. In fact, this group should be better taken care of than they are."


    Here here.

    But again the basic mental failure to grasp the point that endemic unemployment is caused by too few jobs.

    What is hard to understand about this? 1 job 2 people No matter what you do one person is going to be unemployed aren't they? End of story.


    "You apparently have little knowledge of how the welfare system works (how it actually works, not how it is supposed to work). You have never known a welfare recipient who works on the side, or deals drugs, etc.."

    I have already said welfare recipients are human beings like you and me.

    Ergo some are not nice people. But to suggest that the majority are somehow uniquely corrupt or comptemptible is a little prejudiced is it not?

    And forgive me but in the UK, OZ etc drug dealers and criminals (certainly the consumers of drugs) are not all welfare recipients. Nice people can be criminals too.

    "You have never known a welfare recipient who has a husband that she claims abandoned her and who has actually not aabandoned her and is supporting her. (A little extra government money never hurt.) He often keeps a separate residence so that she will not lose her benefits."


    As compared to the number of mothers abandoned and told to live in pverty for the crime of being a woman and bearing children. How dare they! If women insist on having wombs and not forcing a bigger male to wear condoms they get what they deserve (and their kids too of course).

    Nice for the fella though.

    " You have never known a young woman who has children knowing she can expect welfare to provide for her and them. This is often what her mother did and seems perfectly natural to her. These people have been in the system so long that they know how to manipulate it."


    I have never known this. It has been quoted as an urban myth. You see in the UK and Oz most women need a man to have children, its not a thing they can do without er assistance. So two people would need to be involved in any nefarious scheme (male and female).

    And having children is not exactly an easy thing, as those who have had them know.

    The idea that one would conceive to live a life of grinding poverty is a bit curious.

    "I am not against welfare. I am against the abuse of welfare. It is a popular myth that poverty is synonymous with virtue. "

    As opposed to the idea that people enjoy privation?

    Tell me does Ethiopia, Kibera etc strike you as happy contented places?


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  • 382. At 01:34am on 25 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    I sympathize with those who lose their jobs and have problems finding another job on short notice. My youngest son was affected by the recession when the manufacturing company he worked for went bankrupt and it took him 6 weeks to find another job. He took a $10K a year pay cut, but he is earning enough to support his family and has a good benefit package, which considering the fact that his only son is severely handicapped is a critical consideration for him. He collected unemployment while unemployed which, although not enough to cover all his expenses, it helped a lot. I support our unemployment program and believe it should be kept and improved."


    Excellent, but you do realise your son having got his job means that others didn't and they might have families and needs too.

    I have seem unemployment close up, I have seen a whole plant sudenly get told they were redundant.

    Oddly enough I did not see rejoicing shouts of yippee and welfare for me.

    I have seen peope and relatives traumatised by the experience and I have read of people ending their lives over it and yes others taking to drink and drugs.

    Its easy to say get a job to the unemployed, when one has one, but how does one respond when employers find someone too old, too young, too asian (an asian name on a job application is conceded to be a big no no as numerous tests have shown) or not good looking enough - and do not pretend this does not happen in buckets.

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  • 383. At 02:30am on 25 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    381 & 382, Simon.

    I admire you simon. You have never known a bum or layabout in your life.

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  • 384. At 03:47am on 25 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    lol marbles . yes I can see where it's leading.

    you trying yet again to excuse your flippant disregard for 16000 lives.

    I'd say case closed.

    Throw the murder raye in the USA and change it to a discussion on dole scroungers.
    None of the murders I heard of in town were Gang related. they were domestic and traffic disputes (one case cops killing kid , i mentioned).
    You turn it to "it's the Proles , they ruined it all for us.
    "
    No worry about massive rip offs. How many robbed for medical care I wonder.


    Turn it into a class war if you like America just loves a bit of institutional violence.

    Keep going on about distractions from your comment.

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  • 385. At 03:57am on 25 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    PS University education and the SO CALLED "professions" are over paid.
    the journalists did such rubbish work most of america thought the wars justified over WMD claims.
    The Bankers.Need I say more.
    The shrinks. well they get loads and never cure any one
    the lawyers. probably do a better job than the others so we all hate them.
    The techno people keep making more things to throw away when if they learnt to program they could get the old machines working better( kudos to the fruit for trying for t he first time in years)
    The car engineers made more cup holders and little logos to cover up the break lights but never got it more efficient.
    The insurance industry all just said one thing and did another.
    Doctors......


    So why does a "graduate" get paid so much.
    it seems the world is full of jobs badly designed that are held together by the skills of the WORKERS.

    Don't talk about responsibility.
    When the wage difference stretched to ridiculous proportions .Did you get as up in arms. people suffer because they are under paid. I 'm not sure you understand that.


    The most intelligent person I ever met would have been in so much trouble in the states they would have him on ritilin by 14 and on prozac by 18.
    Thanks for him he stayed in the UK.

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  • 386. At 04:10am on 25 Aug 2009, DougTexan wrote:

    Sorry to see you leave the USA,.. I hadn't signed in for quite a while having neither time or opinion worth any others time, (you do attract some of the nastiest liberals and some of the finest minds,)but I have enjoyed reading your blog, and the seeing the opinions and quirks of those who I feel I know from the sidelines.

    Shout out to marbles, jackforge, ed, seanspa and MAII.... oh and arizonagal, schooler and Guns'n'religion...

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  • 387. At 05:02am on 25 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    OK, Simon. I've got it now - rich is bad and poor is good.
    OK, fluffytale. I've got it now - we are all victims.

    Goodnight, Sweet Princes. I am off to bed.

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  • 388. At 08:43am on 25 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    383. At 02:30am on 25 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:
    381 & 382, Simon.

    I admire you simon. You have never known a bum or layabout in your life."

    Can't say the same I'm afraid, I do not respect people who from a comfortable background despise and judge others for suffering.

    But hey prove me wrong - put your money where your mouth is. Offer a job in an area of high unemployment - and tell us if no one answers the ad.

    Better yet try to live on benefits and tell us how wonderful the lifestyle is - the travel the fabulous meals etc

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  • 389. At 08:51am on 25 Aug 2009, EastPumpkino wrote:

    Now back in the UK I find myself utterly at sea - I say hello to people I pass in the street. They lunge on, muttering insults. We'll get used to it. But we will never forget the kindness of America. In Swindon buying a car the other day (yes, life has changed) the conversation turned to a familiar theme but one that endlessly fascinates me - the relative peaceableness of the American life, guns and all. Too many Brits seriously think that America is violent. It isn't. Most America lives are free of violence and the threat of it in a way no life in Swindon can be. Why that's true is a subject all of its own (religion, gun ownership, moral fibre, space, social cohesiveness?) and one worthy of a future study.

    ______________________

    Hahahaha

    I guess that is why people from the non-West would no less like Americans, despite once in a while there would emerge such figures as a Bush Jr or Chenny.

    Do hope to see you soon, Justin, by the way!

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  • 390. At 09:04am on 25 Aug 2009, Alaskahome wrote:

    Justin, welcome home. My wife and I arrived back on 23rd from visiting our other home again in Alaska. We bought property there in 2003 which we restored. We were there for 5 years. Many friends, a safe environment (no one locks their doors)and the biggest threat were bears and moose that frequented our "yard". The first thing that I saw as I arrived back in the UK were the dire warnings that applied to anyone who used abusive language or actions against the employees of the UK Border Agency. The UK is indeed a riskier place to live, as the government has clearly lost that stalwart principle of democracy - that those who rule should fear the people who elected them.

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  • 391. At 11:39am on 25 Aug 2009, david_mktgDIGITAL wrote:

    Welcome back Justin.
    I had to smile at your comment about people passing you by. I saw you in Waterstones in Piccadilly a few months ago and wanted to say hello, simply because I enjoy your blog and your reporting style. But of course, my apparent English reserve told me to let you browse unhindered amongst the books.
    Next time (if ever) I'll be sure to say hello.

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  • 392. At 12:05pm on 25 Aug 2009, jamesmc0556 wrote:

    Justin - welcome back. As an Ulsterman who spends most of each working week in London I can empathise with your comment about unfriendly people. Nodding or saying hello is the norm at home - after 8 years I still have difficulty controlling my natural instincts when I am in London.

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  • 393. At 12:40pm on 25 Aug 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 394. At 12:48pm on 25 Aug 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 382, Simon

    "Excellent, but you do realise your son having got his job means that others didn't and they might have families and needs too."

    My son had five job offers while he was seeking employment after being laid off. Three were from small companies that seemed very vulnerable to the current economic situation, one only offered medical care for the employee, which was unacceptable to my son since my grandson has cerbral palsy, the other offered a loweer salary but an excellent benefit package and produces a state-of-the-art product that augurs prosperity and stability for a few years...until the Chinese copy it and puts them out of business.

    My objections are not aganist helping people that are unemployed and desperately seeking employment, but against those who prefer to sit at home, watch TV, get drunk, take drugs, and let the government pay their keep year after year including when jobs are plentiful and for hire signs are everywhere. I had to work for what I have, I don't see why I should support irresponsible parasites.

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  • 395. At 1:29pm on 25 Aug 2009, whosaidjazz wrote:

    #202 - David Cunard

    As a resident of Oxford (I live within a mile of the mosque in question) I have to correct you on the call to prayer issue. At no point has there been an amplified call to prayer in East Oxford. There was a scandal that went national that suggested one would be put in place, but even that was pure conjecture if you refer to the BBC link below:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/oxfordshire/7343986.stm

    There was another example of an Oxford story that went national last Christmas when it was suggested that political correctness was preventing the council from using words like "Christmas" when it came to decorations etc in the city. This too was completely untrue and this was eventually shown to be the case.

    Stories like this absolutely disgust me, and in some ways are more dangerous than overt racism because they are supposedly "built on facts" and explained in a particular way almost seem reasonable. This is absolutely not a personal attack on you, but I felt the need to supply the facts of the matter.

    From a personal point of view I was a regular reader of this blog (and all your comments, from the ravings of MAII to the extremely wise views of SamTyler) and will miss them to a certain extent. I wish Justin well in his future roles.

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  • 396. At 3:10pm on 25 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Hey DougtheTexan.
    Jacksforge is unavailable these days but I am sure he would send his best regards to you the family.

    WhosaidJazz.
    I was wondering if those stories about shouting the call to prayer were real.
    It would be an obvious breach of the criminal justice bill to amplify sound useing artificial means at a place where many were gathering without the required permits.
    Also as someone who lived in Oxford for over ten years I wouldn't have thought the community was that antagonistic.
    Living in the cowley Road area I only occasionally saw conflict and it was started by racist whites making comments.

    Glad to see a different side to those stories that get repeated.
    On the racism. yes it is scary the rationalisation of racism .


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  • 397. At 3:41pm on 25 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Marbles. I think the point of my post was you are changing the subject but fine ,I'll go . along so while we talk of dole scroungers how about elitist family politics.
    How about a guy rejected to run the baseball commission cause he was useless, getting to run the country and bring about two wars of choice (sorry to O . but it was a war of choice ,maybe not now) and economic down fall of GM and the others by dropping the SUV tax rate to make big useless gas guzzling monsters sell like hot cakes.Even though at the time there were a few alternatives that could have been encouraged that were heading in the right direction.
    this led to massive environmental cost here in the states and through the power of the american media spread the desire to drive big and high to all in the world . Steering all those, without the benefit of environmental debate in their nations (Ex soviet block gulf states and anywhere they could) to yearn for the americans car(look JW in on it as well).
    This led to the need for more gas and was driven by artificial means of Tax rebates.


    or how about the dodgers. wow Sport pay. I'll jump in there.
    Actors mansions have always been to big if they do to well.
    How about them scroungers.
    Work don't kid me.


    What about them mining families that bring us the raw material that you exist on. not just miners but loggers farmer labourers and small farmers.
    All these people that go into a field and get dosed in pesticides so you can have perfect veggies.
    They get sick. they get poisoned.
    Poverty and toxins go together.
    MAYBE that is getting to the dole scrounging layabouts.
    Maybe they can't afford bottled water.
    maybe the rail yard leaked ridiculous levels of poisons into their environment in the old days and they have consumed it for years.
    MAybe they got their dad dead in a mine and are to scared to take the one job locally down a pit 2 miles so YOU and I can live in the light.


    Who brought institutional family scroungers (a myth or such small numbers as to be near negligable in the big picture of GDP) into the discussion.
    I started with Homicides.
    You responded by saying Let them die.
    and since then you have run all over the field trying to justify your hate of the poor.

    Gun victims are not believe it or not deserving of it apart from a few odd domestic type cases.

    Listen to your self try to run around leaping and generalising .
    If you are going to talk of Gangs remember the innocents that die in a drive by . The snitch , that wasn't but the paranoid dealer thought was .

    Try admitting that the comment about the killings was over board. I never said there were not bad apples in every system. .I was mentioning murderers who I would hope were sent to jail when caught.
    It's not I that would rather create a war within my countries borders out of choice.Declare a war within the borders of america without expecting casualties. Or people to take a side.
    Policy causes as many deaths as the people on the streets, but sit in vengeance land and ignore that.
    How many drive by shootings in a country without Guns.
    Who makes them and the money from them.

    Micheal Jackson didn't die of illegal drugs.(homicide?)
    I never said deaths were excused by the world around where people live.
    but I did suggest that you were generalising about murders in a glib way which was vicious.

    On this topic you are so glib about death it is really quite shocking, considering some of your more reasoned posts.


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  • 398. At 3:51pm on 25 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    David digital
    LOL. do give him my regards as well.


    DougtheTexan
    I'm also 100% sure Ed would say Hi if it were not for the unfortunate nature of his status.

    Marbles. lucky I'm not Christian or even pretend to be because Jesus said
    " Poor is good Rich is bad."
    He made quite a point about it really.

    Strange I know that more would hold his Ideas than yours.
    Or the ideals portrayed in the stories.

    You make the typical argument though

    One could easily attack you saying
    " So marbles you say that Rich people are Good ,Poor people are Bad"

    I'd call that snobbery if it wasn't such a classless society.

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  • 399. At 4:02pm on 25 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    This is a message to all those that are just Nuts about nuts.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5ya_Gq8d4Q

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  • 400. At 4:15pm on 25 Aug 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #395. whosaidjazz: "As a resident of Oxford (I live within a mile of the mosque in question) I have to correct you on the call to prayer issue. At no point has there been an amplified call to prayer in East Oxford"

    Thank you for the correction - I should have added one word, thus:
    The citizens of Oxford have had just that problem, resulting in complaints against the potential excessive noise.

    The BBC report contains the words "All we did was just inquire what the planning applications involved, and that was all, there wasn't any formal planning application whatsoever" so that indicates to me there was an intent to do so. The BBC has treated the issue very delicately. If the Bishop of Oxford thought that it was to happen, he must have had good reason to believe so. I think you'll find that there are councils who have had a problem with the word "Christmas", but since England and Scotland are officially Christian countries, I cannot understand their problem, other than attempting to be non-offensive to minorities. And after all, in a democracy, the majority is supposed to rule.

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  • 401. At 4:16pm on 25 Aug 2009, seanspa wrote:

    Hey Doug, I hope all is well with you and your family.

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  • 402. At 5:03pm on 25 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 403. At 6:40pm on 25 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    394. At 12:48pm on 25 Aug 2009, saintDominick wrote:
    Ref 382, Simon

    "Excellent, but you do realise your son having got his job means that others didn't and they might have families and needs too."

    My son had five job offers while he was seeking employment after being laid off. Three were from small companies that seemed very vulnerable to the current economic situation, one only offered medical care for the employee, which was unacceptable to my son since my grandson has cerbral palsy, the other offered a loweer salary but an excellent benefit package and produces a state-of-the-art product that augurs prosperity and stability for a few years...until the Chinese copy it and puts them out of business. "


    Well there you are then. Even the fact that jobs are available does not mean every unemployed person can take them

    "My objections are not aganist helping people that are unemployed and desperately seeking employment, but against those who prefer to sit at home, watch TV, get drunk, take drugs, and let the government pay their keep year after year including when jobs are plentiful and for hire signs are everywhere."


    There are very very few of these people as I have indicated. To reiterate people do not like living in poverty if they have the option not to.

    "I had to work for what I have, I don't see why I should support irresponsible parasites"

    Why should you pay taxes to support policies you disagree with? Yet you do.


    The sturdy beggar is a myth and those few people who do like living in squalor are negligible and cost practically nothing.

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  • 404. At 6:52pm on 25 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    395. At 1:29pm on 25 Aug 2009, whosaidjazz wrote:
    #202 - David Cunard

    As a resident of Oxford (I live within a mile of the mosque in question) I have to correct you on the call to prayer issue. At no point has there been an amplified call to prayer in East Oxford. There was a scandal that went national that suggested one would be put in place, but even that was pure conjecture if you refer to the BBC link below:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/oxfordshire/7343986.stm

    There was another example of an Oxford story that went national last Christmas when it was suggested that political correctness was preventing the council from using words like "Christmas" when it came to decorations etc in the city. This too was completely untrue and this was eventually shown to be the case.

    Stories like this absolutely disgust me, and in some ways are more dangerous than overt racism because they are supposedly "built on facts" and explained in a particular way almost seem reasonable. This is absolutely not a personal attack on you, but I felt the need to supply the facts of the matter."


    Stories like this could have been seen in the 1930s when jews were in the frame.

    The recycled anti-semetic insults hurled at moslmes these last few years is frankly appalling.

    On the BBC you can still hear commentators going on as if all moslems are involved in some dangerous conspiracy to rule the world. They are all in it.

    I was told, seriously, by one individual that moslems did not recieve parking tickets because they had intimidated the police. Although when asked how a moslem vehicle differed from other vehicles (presumably moslem cars had minarets on them) answer came there none, "but it was well-known".

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  • 405. At 7:35pm on 25 Aug 2009, alphamiguel wrote:


    Well goodbye Justin.Pity you couldn't have spoken to some of the indigenous people over there.You know the ones,the ones who were colonized,ethnically cleansed,had their lands stolen etc.The Great Forgetting,right? Didn't want to cloud the dreamtime by taking a trip to the Pine Ridge rez? I am sure that they could have given you their take on life in South Dakota and their considered opinion on various issues like life expectancy health care,mean annual income,black mould,illness, poverty and the rest.Third world right there in the richest country in the world and you not even knowing it.Oh well, perhaps the next reporter can find the time.

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  • 406. At 8:33pm on 25 Aug 2009, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    #397 Fluffytale to Marbles "On this topic you are so glib about death it is really quite shocking, considering some of your more reasoned posts."

    Fluffytale: Some Americans fear spiders; others fear death; almost all fear public speaking. However, practically no American fears public blogging; in fact, many of us are much less inhibited on blogs than we would be in regular face-to-face contact. This causes us to exaggerate our opinions to some extent. I doubt Marbles is truly "glib" when it comes to death; rather, I suspect she has simply not seen much of it, despite her age.

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  • 407. At 8:56pm on 25 Aug 2009, U13817236 wrote:

    You shoulda' said goodbye a long time ago, American arse-kisser! Your ridiculously stilted views of Amerika are those of an over-privileged toff! The absolute absurdity of extolling "the relative peaceableness of the American life, guns and all." is something that only someone far-removed from the everday violence of working class slums could possibly dissemble on about. "Too many Brits seriously think that America is violent." - and they are absolutely right, for those who don't live in posh neighborhoods. Amerika has the largest prison population in the world by far since much of the violence in Amerika is carried out by the state. But that's nothing of course, compared to the overwhelming violence unleashed in foreign lands like Iraq and Afghanistan and Palestine and Latin America, etc. by the Amerikan wehrmact. And Obama is continuing the carnage unabated. You are a discredit to journalism, you're not a thoughtful reporter at all, just a craven Amerikan cheerleader and blatant apologist for unending Amerikan violence at home and abroad!

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  • 408. At 9:01pm on 25 Aug 2009, Immortal so far wrote:

    How about a new blog detailing the transition back to the UK? From what I saw when I tried it (before returning, although I may try again) it's just as alien an experience as the journey out.

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  • 409. At 9:22pm on 25 Aug 2009, Lincoln Hawk-s wrote:

    #394 Saintdominik wrote : "...I don't see why is should support irresponsible scroungers"

    You mean bankers and car manufacturers? They receive far more of your tax dollars ("government welfare") than needy families. It never ceases to amaze me that seemingly intelligent people are so easily manipulated by the easy-target-public-enemy-number1-smoke-screen of the stereotypical work-shy layabout living off "our" hard-earned pay. Though I am not doubting that people take advantage of the system, the amount of public money needlesly given to "irresponsible parasites" in the corporate sector (and subsequently wasted on luxurious travel, bribes, private parties, breast implants for CEO wife, nice car for princess' 16th birthday etc,etc,etc) far more than is given to people just trying to put a cheap meal on their kids plate. Why do people get angry about the wrong stuff?

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  • 410. At 10:31pm on 25 Aug 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 409, When you are the moon

    "You mean bankers and car manufacturers?"

    The parasitic kingdom does, indeed, include a lot more than bums willing to take advantage of naive politicians and constituents to spend their lives doing nothing and surviving at tax payer's expense.

    Bankers and car manufacturers provide a service or product that we can buy or ignore, the same goes for plastic surgeons and many other professions. The difference is that we have a choice and do not have to get what they produce or do. In the case of chronic welfare recipients we support them regardless of whether we like it or not and in so doing we encourage them to remain idle, in poverty, and unproductive instead of preparing themselves to meet the challenges of today and working hard to provide for themselves and their families.

    Yes, poor people deserve help and encouragement, but dependance on indefinite government handouts is not a solution. Train them, help them find a job, and remove the crutches that encourage them to do nothing to help themselves.

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  • 411. At 10:33pm on 25 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    douglas well said.


    TC you may be right.

    Though I'm not too sure, I suspect now she may have lost the ability to see , but at the same time gained the ability to perform for the circus.

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  • 412. At 10:45pm on 25 Aug 2009, Lincoln Hawk-s wrote:

    #410 St.dominik

    Wether we enjoy their products or not our taxes still go to them and in far greater amounts than to poor families/unemployed. What a terrible arguement.

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  • 413. At 11:04pm on 25 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    St dom. to add to the list. How about the highly underpaid NASA workers.
    I bet they live the hand to mouth existence that many working americans live.
    Working 40 + hours of gruelling labour a week for minimum wage. No health care. . Rent through the roof because the owner wants to have more money to give to Bernie to madeoff with.

    Just think of the useful products made by those lawyers.
    divorced households with even more animosity after the "law"yers.

    You mention Bankers . you must be joking.
    right.

    Wall st sucks the blood out of nations.
    literally and figuratively like a bit leach getting fatter and fatter until they "let them go"
    Those medical insurance people they are good people as well eh?
    Sorry we don't ration but your not covered.


    Who makes all that stuff you talk about.
    THE POOR because those that truly make something rarely get paid as if they do.

    Anyway people are disputing the fact that you seem to think it is so prevalent and that it is desired.
    What about all them mental cases that have doctors notes to keep them from work, you know the ones where they sit on a couch and talk to a person for VAST amounts to be told "your rich and isolated so go out and enjoy some life and stop being so square"

    There are SO few permanent dole riders who choose it ,that is is insignificant and to be discounted as crazy when said in reference to 16000 people killed by other humans in the USA.
    Then I have had to disagree with every attempt as the hole got dug deeper and deeper.
    No one likes dole scroungers but I don't advocate killing them or letting them die. Nor do I assume that they are the murderers in the first place.

    Dole lines are not the place for wanted warranted murderers and gangsters.
    which is where she started with this whole" richer than thou attitude"

    Shifting sands

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  • 414. At 11:06pm on 25 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    when you are the moon.

    It is sad that the poor are the easiest to blame in this country of rich excesses.

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  • 415. At 11:07pm on 25 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    410. At 10:31pm on 25 Aug 2009, saintDominick wrote:
    Ref 409, When you are the moon

    "You mean bankers and car manufacturers?"

    The parasitic kingdom does, indeed, include a lot more than bums willing to take advantage of naive politicians and constituents to spend their lives doing nothing and surviving at tax payer's expense.

    Bankers and car manufacturers provide a service or product that we can buy or ignore, the same goes for plastic surgeons and many other professions. The difference is that we have a choice and do not have to get what they produce or do."



    You completely miss the point

    All of these people/industries receive massive funds from taxpayers. But you are happy for this parasitism to continue.

    What they produce is irrelevant.

    There are vast numbers in the US (farmers for one) who receive funds for producing nothing.



    "In the case of chronic welfare recipients we support them regardless of whether we like it or not and in so doing we encourage them to remain idle, in poverty, and unproductive instead of preparing themselves to meet the challenges of today and working hard to provide for themselves and their families."


    Again you have clearly never lived on welfare or met someone who has.

    Apparentl;y "bums" like cold and like suffering.

    This is a grotesque and frankly weird view of humanity.

    Do you like poverty? Being frightened of crime (poor people being victims vastly more than their rich betters) ? Worried how you are going to feed your family? Worried whether your unsanitary accomondation is going to effect your health?

    If you think you would not like this why would you think others would, because they are "bums"?

    As Orwell says this is an attitude born of too much money.

    It is a type of feudal arrogance.

    "Yes, poor people deserve help and encouragement, but dependance on indefinite government handouts is not a solution. Train them, help them find a job, and remove the crutches that encourage them to do nothing to help themselves."

    You think starving people incentivises them

    Two knock out points.

    1) The rich and middle cclass are incentivised by the prspect of greater wealth - but the poor must be incentivised by poverty - the workhouse.

    Not a slight contradiction here pamper the toff but beat the beggar.

    2) The poor as human beings will not die to suit your convenience. People who are hungry, cold etc will attack those who have these things - that is basic survival.

    Attacking the poor may make you feel superior, but all it does is show a profound callousness and frightening brutality.

    Oh and once again the unemployed cannot all get jobs because there aren't enough jobs

    Why cannot you grasp this simple concept.


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  • 416. At 00:04am on 26 Aug 2009, Lincoln Hawk-s wrote:

    St.Dominik

    Corporations get $200 billion in tax-funded federal handouts about 15x more than goes to AFDC (Aid for Families with Dependent Children)

    I am happy for my tax payments to go towards feeding and clothing unfortunate peoples (I'm not religious but am aware that 'there but for the grace of God go I) even if there is a possibility that some may take advantage of the system.
    On the other hand I am not happy with:

    Lockheed/Martin Marietta - Free Smokey Robinson concert for staff = $263,000 charged to government to pay for it, they also tried to get $940,000 for other private company concerts ( Righteous Brothers, Gladys Knight, Beach Boys, Temptations)-they withdrew their requests after public pressure but God loves a tryer eh?
    Lockheed Martin also got $1 billion of public money to cover the cost of plant shutdowns and relocations.
    $20,000 for golfballs for Marietta execs!!
    $8000 for a company xmas party in Tennessee.
    $400,000 for maintenance and operation of their company park.
    $20,000 for referees and scorekeepers for intr-company volleyball and softball games!!

    $278mil in government technology subsidies to Amoco, AT&T, Citicorp,
    Du Pont, General Electric, General Motors & IBM from 1990-1994 while they cut over 300,000 jobs and recorded profits of $24 BILLION in 1994 alone.

    Exxon allowed to claim $300 mil in tax deductions on the settlement they paid when the 'Exxon Valdez' spilled it's oily guts into the Prince William Sound

    $11 million to Pillsbury to promote the doughboy in foreign countries.

    Cities and states forced to clear land, build new roads, upgrade airports, waive local teaxes, construct new sewer & water lines and train thousands of new workers all at the command/threat of a corporation that is making record profits and could easily pay for this stuff themselves.


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  • 417. At 01:52am on 26 Aug 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 415, Simon

    "But you are happy for this parasitism to continue."

    My comments were focused strictly on the pervasive effects of welfare and had nothing to do with tax breaks to corporations, subsidies, allowing corporations to establish bogus tax shelters overseas, etc. I understand, however, why cities and states offer tax breaks to entice corporations to settle there.

    Corporations are no more evil than government. Both are necessary and both provide essential functions and services that we need to subsist in a modern society. The problem, in my opinion, are not the institutions but people in positions of responsibility who abuse the system, their workers, and in the case of government, their constituents.

    I love Europe and its lifestyle, but one of the few things I detest is their perpetual welfare programs. I believe in the value of working hard, saving money, paying cash for the things we get, providing for our families, and not being a burden on anyone. One thing is to help someone in need until that person gets back on his feet and another to support people who have no interest or intention to support themselves.

    I am not a religious person, I am a Democrat, but I am a social conservative and in my little world compassion is not synonymous to naivete.

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  • 418. At 02:32am on 26 Aug 2009, Lincoln Hawk-s wrote:

    St.Dominik

    It's such a small problem though as to be virtually irrelevant, the amount of tax dollars going to people who have no intention of bettering their situation is miniscule in the whole picture of GDP and welfare handouts to corporations who don't need it. The CEO's of these companies come back for more and more welfare to spend on unnecessary stuff like Lockheed Martins $240,000 for private concerts for their staff or $20,000 for golf balls for execs, why doesn't that bother you more than the tiny amount of cash people get for food that MAY be undeserved in SOME cases. I don't get it mate.
    Are work-shy scroungers annoying? Yes
    Are they as common-place as you make out? I don't think so
    Do they undeservedly take as many of you tax dollars as corporations? NOT EVEN CLOSE!!!!

    Also, don't start with the myth that these companies get these tax breaks and handouts and enticements from state and local government because they create jobs which equals more tax payments from workers. Once all the handouts have been totalled up the price to the government per job created rarely makes fiscal sense unless every employee taken on was previously unemployed, moved from out-of-state and would not have found work for the remainder of his working life. Otherwise he would have been paying taxes anyway.

    Forgive me if my facts are wrong on the following but I believe when Mercedes-Benz (Daimler) moved to Alabama they managed to squeeze the equivalent of $140,000+ for each job they created. How long would it take for one of those workers to pay an extra $140,000 in tax dollars in excess of what they would have paid in other jobs had they not taken the one at Benz? Like i said, unless every 1 of the 1000 (i think) new employees was unemployed and from another state it doesn't make sense. Local government politicians go along with the demands of these corporations beacause it looks like it benefits their community and they can tell their constituents they have brought new jobs to the area even though the hidden costs outweigh the benefits.

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  • 419. At 02:56am on 26 Aug 2009, frayedcat wrote:

    Simon, Moonie, St. D. - C'mon - get on the issue about WHOSE THE NEW BLOG GUY and LETS SEE SOME INNOVATIVE BLOGSTARTS NEW DUDE. All the other blogs I see are too rabid.

    And if the topic WERE to be health care reform...
    A. From the "FREE MARKET" gang...a pure free market is going to lead to supply/demand/resources allocation....OMG...that's...[look of horror] RATIONING
    B. From the "STATUS QUO" gang...Premium contibution dollar sum equals scope and availability of services function copay function preexisting conditions function salary...OMG...that leads to...[gasp]...RATIONING
    C. From the "PLATO MAO MARX" gang ... shared resources function equal benefit to the majority function needs of populace function contibution value...[point finger]...RATIONING
    D. From the little critters "NATURE" gang...limited resources, 5 chicks, food for 4...kick the weak one out of the nest. Could that be rationing in a biblical sence?

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  • 420. At 03:00am on 26 Aug 2009, frayedcat wrote:

    And I guess to tie to your comments, it seems to me there is a difference between bartering value for value, and theft. Corporate, and health care service and insurance America, are engaging in theft.

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  • 421. At 03:05am on 26 Aug 2009, Lincoln Hawk-s wrote:

    #407 Douglas
    Great point, well made. Justin Webb, journalist? You're 'avin a bubble

    #414 Fluffy

    Easy targets mate. Nice little smoke screen, common enemy that finds it easy to blame while allowing us to feel a bit superior and self-righteous too " ....lazy so-&-so's. Get a job ya bum!" ( A nice line from Rocky I for any fellow fans :) . Nice divertion of attention from the real perps.

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  • 422. At 04:57am on 26 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    406, trueconservative.
    "I doubt Marbles is truly "glib" when it comes to death; rather, I suspect she has simply not seen much of it, despite her age."

    Why does everyone assume I have led a sheltered life? I have lived through a revolution (which included an armed visit by the Mujaheddin), a couple of coups d'etat, a major earthquake, and have beset by criminals who pointed guns at me. Also someone onece tried to kill me. Fortunately (though fluffytale maight not agree) he was unsuccessful. Gosh. I forgot the that episode with the homicidal maniac.

    I do not talk about these things because they are not pertinent to any position I might take. Nor have they damaged my life in any way. In fact I found many of those events interesting, and some aspects hilariously funny. Mostly they added to my understanding of people and my understanding of life. Was death ever involved? Take a guess.

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  • 423. At 04:59am on 26 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    422, further.

    Whoops! I forgot about the hurrican at sea.

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  • 424. At 06:17am on 26 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    420, frayedcat.
    "Corporate, and health care service and insurance America, are engaging in theft."

    We like to think we have a voice in government. But government is Congress, and Congress is corrupt. Were it not corrupt we would not have corrupt health care, corrupt big business, usurious lending rates, etc., etc. Does it really matter if we vote?

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  • 425. At 09:41am on 26 Aug 2009, juicyzcl wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 426. At 09:56am on 26 Aug 2009, rupertdeBare wrote:

    I look forward to your observations with relish, Justin. Your moral courage is only matched by your prescience : I'll never forget how you told us all - about 4 years ago - to look out for a promising US politician with a strange-sounding name. I don't think anyone here had ever heard of him ; his name - Barack Obama !

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  • 427. At 10:31am on 26 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    417. At 01:52am on 26 Aug 2009, saintDominick wrote:
    Ref 415, Simon

    "But you are happy for this parasitism to continue."

    My comments were focused strictly on the pervasive effects of welfare and had nothing to do with tax breaks to corporations, subsidies, allowing corporations to establish bogus tax shelters overseas, etc. I understand, however, why cities and states offer tax breaks to entice corporations to settle there. "


    Be that as it may this is a form of subsidy and welfare.

    Why approve of one and not the other?

    "Corporations are no more evil than government. Both are necessary and both provide essential functions and services that we need to subsist in a modern society. The problem, in my opinion, are not the institutions but people in positions of responsibility who abuse the system, their workers, and in the case of government, their constituents."


    Does it not occur to you that the reason we have unemployment is because we have corporations who are not interested in employment problems but making profits (and losses on accasion) which will suit the managerial elite that run them.

    Orwell again - we have unemployment for the same reason we have bad teeth because of the society we have created.

    "I love Europe and its lifestyle, but one of the few things I detest is their perpetual welfare programs. I believe in the value of working hard, saving money, paying cash for the things we get, providing for our families, and not being a burden on anyone. One thing is to help someone in need until that person gets back on his feet and another to support people who have no interest or intention to support themselves."

    The reason Europe has its lifestyle and is still, in my experience, safer than the US (though of course large parts of the US [not including San Francisco] are safe) is because it is understood that you cannot simply abandon people in the hope they will dissapear.


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  • 428. At 11:52am on 26 Aug 2009, Dave Cheadle wrote:

    Best of luck Justin. I have to say that a couple of years ago I found your reporting to be almost relentlessly ant-American in tone, but recently you seem to have become almost fond of the place. Not enough for me to want to go through the rigours of the US visa system, but maybe enough to make me think that the place isn't as bleak as you once seemed to paint it :)

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  • 429. At 12:36pm on 26 Aug 2009, alphamiguel wrote:

    'Selfishness is the basis of civilization'

    Not my words,but the words of a Senator sent by the then President to report on the Cheyenne Nation.

    Mr President,you would look far to find a more gentle or caring people in their relations with each other.None live in poverty, none go without food, for it is shared as is the land which they hold in common.
    But it is this that is the problem, for selfishness is indeed the basis of civilisation.

    He then went on to suggest that each family be given 40 acres to farm to get some competition going I guess.Well in order for Europeans to colonize others it had to colonize itself first, so there you have it,immigration into the US on a large scale by de-tribalized colonized peoples who could not understand true freedom if they fell over it.People who satisfied their needs working a two hour day and seemingly enjoying their life was like a red rag to a bull.Not European at all, what with their work ethic and command structure,not to mention their Patriarchal outlook vs the Matriarchal one of the indigenous people.
    Amerika is now a industrial/military society that according to Ward Churchill,from documents he has obtained,has in fact been at war, one way or the other for every year of its existence in direct violation of it's own so called Christian values.

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  • 430. At 12:53pm on 26 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Marbles,
    I never assumed you lived a sheltered exstance.

    which is why I have such a hard time with your reaction.
    If it were the ignorance and sheltered upbringing that TC had suggested I would have more sympathy with you for having so little concern.
    As it is I apply your lesson to you and think in terms of moral wealth and say . yes you are living a poor life.

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  • 431. At 12:59pm on 26 Aug 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 427, Simon

    "Orwell again - we have unemployment for the same reason we have bad teeth because of the society we have created."

    Yes, corporations try to streamline their workforce to reduce operating costs and increase profits, but they are more than happy to hire when business are booming and when new product lines require increases in staffing. Obviously, they are not altruistic institutions devoted to the well being of people and their focus is, understandably, on profits and growth to guarantee their ability to compete and prosper.

    The reason for our high unemployment rate has nothing to do with Orwellian corporate ploys. We are in the midst of a severe recession and lay offs are, unfortunately, one of the consequences of economic downturns.

    I reiterate that my aversion to welfare does not mean insensitivity towards those who have lost their jobs and are seeking employment. I am in favor of improving and expanding our unemployment benefits system. I am also in favor of government stimulus and investment in R&D to create new technologies and opportunities for people and businesses. What I am against is a system that encourages idleness and perpetual dependence on government handouts.

    Regarding the poor, I am in favor of universal healthcare. access to higher education and trade schools for all, and government subsidies to help the poor have adequate housing. To pay for it, I would reduce the DoD budget by as much as 20%, would raise the taxes of those making over $250K a year, and would eliminate corporate tax loopholes.

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  • 432. At 1:04pm on 26 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    St Dom. I never took you as a pull up the straps type.
    (well maybe a couple of times)

    How much does a lawyer charge per hour. Average.
    And when it comes down to it. without them would we be so much worse off?
    I'd say ,that depends but unlikely that it would all be so bad.
    "proffesional ""classes" charging 100's of dollars for their time.
    charging by the min.


    Moon in 418 says it well. Of course they are annoying. but no more than that.
    I know you jumped up and had a volly from all sides on this here but some it seems think dole scroungers are the last problem.

    "ECONOMIC MELTDOWN"

    the solution believe it or not was in no way related to the cry here of
    "becasue all the proles have made us broke".

    Alpha good luck to you and your people.
    Happylaze sends his regards (i suspect).


    Moon yep smoke on shifting sands;)


    I'll take my smoke through glass.

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  • 433. At 3:14pm on 26 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    St dom. glad to read that letter. I thought you had given up on peopel.

    Like I said I never too you for a bootstrapper.

    All because I said america had 16000 homicides and uk 600 odd.
    You got caught in a trail of smoke that Marbles was secreting to cover her tracks I suspect.

    But idleness is never "encouraged" unless it is the ceo's.
    we subsidise all sorts of rubbish in this country.
    there is a federal program for Flood insurance that lowers the rates for flood insurance if states comply with mitigation techniques.
    Why the hell should I at 100 ft above the flood plain subsidies the Idiots that live on it?

    I'd say medical care is provided in a discriminatory way. If a youth was to sue for health care like Medicare (which ever is oldies) because they were being denied health care because of age it would set this country on fire.
    I just listened to oldie retired at and T workers are suing for not being rehired.
    they are being passed over. Boo hoo.





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  • 434. At 3:48pm on 26 Aug 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 433, fluffy

    The only point I tried to make, apparently not clearly enough, is that I oppose long-term welfare benefits. The reason I do is because I believe welfare often stifles initiative, self-esteem, and influences people to become so dependent on it that they simply give up and spend their lives collecting a check from the government rather than making an attempt to better themselves and find a job.

    Regarding CEOs, I don't object to substantial compensation for successful executives who contribute to corporate growth and profitability as that often results in more and better employment opportunities for all, but I think some of the salaries they earn are obscene and I find golden parachutes for failing executives a travesty. What lousy executives deserve is a kick in the rear, not millions of dollars to reward them for their ineptitude.

    I find our love affair with insurance companies baffling. Why should anybody support institutions that increase premiums every year, charge high co-pays, establish caps for people that have been paying premiums for decades, exclude millions of people who can not afford to pay, exclude people because of pre-existing conditions, cancel policies when people have too many claims, and refuse to approve or limit procedures, medication and tests prescribed by physicians? I find it amusing when I hear people say that they don't want to deal with a bureaucrat and that they prefer to go to a doctor of their choosing. I have relatives in Spain, the UK and Sweden, none have ever dealt with bureaucrats and they are all very happy with the healthcare services they receive. It is us that often have to deal with insurance company clerks whose focus is on reducing cost to increase profits, and it is us that can only go to doctors and hospitals within our insurance company network. If we go out of network, we better have a lot of cash to pay for what we get.

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  • 435. At 4:55pm on 26 Aug 2009, The_3_Kings wrote:

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  • 436. At 5:04pm on 26 Aug 2009, The_3_Kings wrote:

    Justin, We must agree with you. Just spent a week in New York, now in Niagara, we spent a lot of our Hols in the US, inc Vegas, its a family place...I was expecting NY to hassle after hassle, just the opposite, people are friendly; inc the taxi drivers, seating and tables everywhere, in London, they would have long gone. We walked miles, Central Park to Ground Zero, totally safe everywhere. What has happen to England/UK?

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  • 437. At 6:20pm on 26 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    431. At 12:59pm on 26 Aug 2009, saintDominick wrote:
    Ref 427, Simon

    "Orwell again - we have unemployment for the same reason we have bad teeth because of the society we have created."

    Yes, corporations try to streamline their workforce to reduce operating costs and increase profits, but they are more than happy to hire when business are booming and when new product lines require increases in staffing. Obviously, they are not altruistic institutions devoted to the well being of people and their focus is, understandably, on profits and growth to guarantee their ability to compete and prosper. "


    SO they have no interest in employment per se as I have said. If corporations could produce with no workers at all (save senior management o'course) they would not hesitate to do so.



    "The reason for our high unemployment rate has nothing to do with Orwellian corporate ploys. We are in the midst of a severe recession and lay offs are, unfortunately, one of the consequences of economic downturns."

    Sorry to burst your rosy bubble but there is unemployment even in the best times. And among certain groups it can be quite high.

    Unemployment is to our system what fleas are to a dog.

    Nothing to do with Orwellian ploys simple fact look at the stats. Too many people, too few jobs.

    You cannot grasp this. I can't make it plainer.

    I appreciate why you can't accept this. It would mean accepting that the system to which you are plainly devoted produces misery as well as wealth. Sorry about that but it is indisputable.

    "I reiterate that my aversion to welfare does not mean insensitivity towards those who have lost their jobs and are seeking employment. I am in favor of improving and expanding our unemployment benefits system. I am also in favor of government stimulus and investment in R&D to create new technologies and opportunities for people and businesses. What I am against is a system that encourages idleness and perpetual dependence on government handouts."


    No welfare system encourages idleness. Poverty is not amusing as you seem to think.

    Welfare is a very precarious and frequently humiliating way of providing for the poor. All welfare system are designed to pay minimal benefits and assume the applicant is a potential fraud.

    And I am sorry to say new technologies will not end unemployment. Its been a part of the system for over 200 years and will remain. It is a necessary part of the system.

    "
    Regarding the poor, I am in favor of universal healthcare. access to higher education and trade schools for all, and government subsidies to help the poor have adequate housing. To pay for it, I would reduce the DoD budget by as much as 20%, would raise the taxes of those making over $250K a year, and would eliminate corporate tax loopholes. "


    No argument here I agree completely but you still have to bear in mind that there will still be unemployment - everyone cannot be better than everyone else.



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  • 438. At 7:17pm on 26 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    437, simon.
    "Welfare is a very precarious and frequently humiliating way of providing for the poor."

    True for those who are in serious need of help, but not for those who are manipulting the system.

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  • 439. At 8:18pm on 26 Aug 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 437, Simon

    Yes, there will always be people unemployed for a variety of reasons, and there will always be poor people, but I believe we should make a distinction between the need to help those who lost their jobs and are seeking employment and those who prefer to sit on their behinds and collect a check from the government.

    In my younger years I had the opportunity to work for excellent companies that treated their employees well, offered competitive salaries and good benefit packages. I also had the opportunity to team up with companies that took advantage of their employees. The companies I worked for had low attrition rates, which resulted in reduced training and recruiting costs and made them more competitive when they bid for government service contracts. When our budget was cut and there was no choice but to reduce our workforce we offered voluntary RIF packages to people who were approaching retirement age to mitigate the effect on younger people who needed a job to support their families. Admittedly, the move was not entirely altruistic, we also wanted to reduce cost by replacing senior employees who typically were the highest earners with younger people who were making considerably less. Those are the kind of tradeoffs and decisions that managers make to stay in business and remain profitable.

    I think it is important to note that quite often the ones that make a difference are the first line supervisors and middle managers because of their close interaction with employees. In the end, corporations are not abstract evil institutions but a conglomerates where people set and enforce policies.

    I think it is also important to understand the difference between automation, which often leads to a reduced workforce and investment in R&D which typically leads to corporate expansion and a larger workforce.

    You believe that the majority of people who go to work every day to satisfy their needs and achieve their dreams must support that tiny minority who lacks self-esteem, a sense of responsibility and who prefers to let someone else provide for them. I don't.

    Again, I am all in favor of helping the unemployed, the poor and the handicapped, but I am 100% against supporting able bodies who prefer to sit at home, do nothing, and let the government care for them.

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  • 440. At 9:05pm on 26 Aug 2009, Reuben wrote:

    St. D:

    When I was growing up in Oregon, my family was poor, (a lot of folks back home still are), so we chose to distinguish ourselves from those laybouts on welfare (the dole) by refering to ourselves as "the working poor".

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  • 441. At 9:35pm on 26 Aug 2009, Lincoln Hawk-s wrote:

    St.D

    Do you think that 'lazy poor people' steal/undeservedly receive as much of your tax dollars as corporations?

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  • 442. At 11:27pm on 26 Aug 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 441, when you are the moon

    I make a distinction between hard working people who happen to be poor, and the welfare parasites that sit on their butts waiting for the government check to come in.

    The best way to help poor people overcome their plight is by offering educational programs for both the adults and their children, including re-training that would allow them to move into professions with greater remuneration. Free healthcare, subsidized housing, and tax breaks are good ways to help them overcome the horrible effects of poverty.

    I was born in Brookly in the 1930s and lived in a 1-bedroom apartment in Union Avenue that was so dilapidated it should have been condemned. We, however, did not beg for alms and sat by the radio listening to FDR's speeches. Both of my parents worked and eventually we pulled out of there, moved to a middle class neighborhood and enjoyed a relatively decent life. What I learned from my parents is that you have to work hard for what you want and that waiting for miracles is nothing more than an illusion that leads nowhere. I can't say that I ever met poor - or rich - people who steal, and the same goes for corporations.

    If the tax dollars to corporations that you mentioned involve President Bush's TARP I believe that program was an absolute necessity that along with substantial infusions of capital by the Fed and President Obama's stimulus package prevented a total collapse of our economy.

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  • 443. At 11:57pm on 26 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    438. At 7:17pm on 26 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:
    437, simon.
    "Welfare is a very precarious and frequently humiliating way of providing for the poor."

    True for those who are in serious need of help, but not for those who are manipulting the system."

    Abour as useful as saying hospitals are good for the genuinely sick but not for hypochondriacs - so lets get rid of them.

    Libraries are good for those who borrow books and return them, but not for those who sell them, so lets abolish these too.



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  • 444. At 11:59pm on 26 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    440. At 9:05pm on 26 Aug 2009, GreySquirrel1867 wrote:
    St. D:

    When I was growing up in Oregon, my family was poor, (a lot of folks back home still are), so we chose to distinguish ourselves from those laybouts on welfare (the dole) by refering to ourselves as "the working poor".

    So why didn't your parents give up their jobs so that others could take them?

    Because that is what wold have happened isn't it? They chose not to, so others remained unemployed.

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  • 445. At 00:01am on 27 Aug 2009, Lincoln Hawk-s wrote:

    St.Dominik
    What state do you live in?

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  • 446. At 00:08am on 27 Aug 2009, Lincoln Hawk-s wrote:

    438-Allmymarbles wrote: "
    True for those who are in serious need of help, but not for those who are manipulting the system."

    Then it can also be said that corporate welfare is good for businesses who really do use the money to create jobs and increase the amount of state taxes paid but not for those who manipulate the system and use the public money irresponsibly and wastefully (and to a far greater extent than food stamps)

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  • 447. At 00:20am on 27 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    Ref 437, Simon

    Yes, there will always be people unemployed for a variety of reasons, and there will always be poor people, but I believe we should make a distinction between the need to help those who lost their jobs and are seeking employment and those who prefer to sit on their behinds and collect a check from the government."


    Again and again I make the point a which you cannot deny that these sturdy beggars are largely a myth in your own mind.

    It is consoling when wallowing in comparative luxury to believe that the poor deserve their poverty and that unemployment does not in fact exist.

    But Candide was in fact a satire not a utopian political tract.

    Get over it or better yet offer jobs.

    "In my younger years I had the opportunity to work for excellent companies that treated their employees well, offered competitive salaries and good benefit packages."

    It could of course be argued that no company that did not exploit its employees could in fact function.


    "I also had the opportunity to team up with companies that took advantage of their employees. The companies I worked for had low attrition rates, which resulted in reduced training and recruiting costs and made them more competitive when they bid for government service contracts. When our budget was cut and there was no choice but to reduce our workforce we offered voluntary RIF packages to people who were approaching retirement age to mitigate the effect on younger people who needed a job to support their families. Admittedly, the move was not entirely altruistic, we also wanted to reduce cost by replacing senior employees who typically were the highest earners with younger people who were making considerably less. Those are the kind of tradeoffs and decisions that managers make to stay in business and remain profitable."

    Yes but only certain people suffer from these "trade offs" do they? The sacrifice is hardly equal.

    And those senior employees are not going to find work easily are they. To lose a job because of the crime of growing old is harsh to say the least.

    I have worked for numerous companies and I have yet to find one that treats its employees fairly and I am not holding my breath. SOme are of course better than others but even with the best as soon as the word "rationalisation" or "sacrifice" is mentioned, it is pretty clear who is going to be doing the rationalising, and it is rarely senior management.

    "I think it is important to note that quite often the ones that make a difference are the first line supervisors and middle managers because of their close interaction with employees. In the end, corporations are not abstract evil institutions but a conglomerates where people set and enforce policies. "

    Amoral policies which are designed to secure profit, not employment or the relief of poverty.

    As I have said, and you again have not contested a corporation that could sack its entire workforce and increase its profits would do so.

    "You believe that the majority of people who go to work every day to satisfy their needs and achieve their dreams must support that tiny minority who lacks self-esteem, a sense of responsibility and who prefers to let someone else provide for them. I don't. "

    Dreams are dangerous things, but everyone has them including the poor and unemployed.

    You presumably do not think the justice system should be abandoned because some judges are corrupt or that universities should be abolished because of plagiarising students.

    COnsquently you concentration on the morality of medicants seems a little over the top

    And once again no matter what you do no matter how the ecomony does there will be unemployed as long as there are more people than jobs.

    And that is regardless of whether the unermployed combine th e gallantry of Galahad with the virtue of St Francis - it doesn't matter - too many people too few jobs its a really easy concept to grasp.


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  • 448. At 00:47am on 27 Aug 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 444, Simon

    "So why didn't your parents give up their jobs so that others could take them?"

    I usually agree with the statements and opinions you make, but in this case I am at a total loss. Unless there is some sort of subliminal message behind the comment above I simply do not understand the logic or the point you are trying to make. I assume it is old age...

    Why should anyone give up his job and become unemployed so that someone else has an opportunity to get it or keep their jobs? The only instance where the latter makes sense involves people approaching retirement age, otherwise it would be economic suicide and the ultimate demonstration of irresponsibility.

    People work because they want to provide a comfortable life for their families, because they want to achieve their dreams, and because they want to save enough so that they don't become a burden to their children when they get old. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being responsible, having work ethics, and trying to achieve whatever goals you have set for yourself. What is definitely wrong, in my opinion, is to sit on your behind and become permanently dependent on the government and society for your substenance.

    If society wants to support their poor - indefinitely - they should demand something in return. Ask recipients of welfare to volunteer X number of hours a day at a Public Library, picking litter on the sides of the road, cleaning parks, etc. Should that happen, I would not be surprised if the number of welfare recipients evaporates overnight.

    Even during hard times, such as the present, there are plenty of jobs, but can you imagine a proud welfare recipient leaving the comfort of their abode and seeking work picking fruits and veggies, doing landscaping work, working in a meat packing facility and doing any of the other jobs those pesky illegals are always eager to accept? Not in our life time. Watching soap operas in the comfort of our air conditioned rooms is far more leisurely and you don't even break a sweat when you open the envelope with the bi-weekly government check. I wonder if they have direct deposit so that those well deserving obese parasites don't have to drive all the way to the bank to cash their checks. Well, at least most banks in the USA have drive-ins and those poor souls don't have to over exert themselves too much...

    As we have both pointed on several occasions the last couple of days, the number of people who opt for government stipends to subsist in perpetuity are a small minority, thank Heavens, which makes this interminable philosophical discussion a bit puzzling.

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  • 449. At 00:52am on 27 Aug 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #222. fluffytale: "DC your Idea of racial integration sounds like from the set of ain't half hot. condescending just a little."

    I'm assuming that you refer to a British, 1974 television show, one which I did not see, so cannot comment on whether or not I was condescending. However, this song
    has gained some currency in the United States and I believe that with a suitable adaptation of the lyrics, it would find ready acceptance by many in the United Kingdom.

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  • 450. At 00:57am on 27 Aug 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 447, Simon

    "And those senior employees are not going to find work easily are they. To lose a job because of the crime of growing old is harsh to say the least."

    I was one of those seniors who took advantage of an "early out" incentive and retired sooner than planned when a reduction in force was announced as a result of budget cuts. Since I was already eligible for Social Security and MEDICARE, and have the good fortune of having a pension from my former employer, I experienced no financial problems as a result of my decision. I was very pleased to save the job of one of my assistants who would have probably been affected by the RIF. He was a middle age man, married with children, and needed a job a lot more than I did.

    There are different ways to be compassionate and responsible; giving handouts to those who are not interested in going to work perpetuates their circumstances, encourages perpetual dependence on others, and solves absolutely nothing.

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  • 451. At 01:16am on 27 Aug 2009, Lincoln Hawk-s wrote:

    442
    St.Dominik wrote:
    "If the tax dollars to corporations that you mentioned involve President Bush's TARP I believe that program was an absolute necessity that along with substantial infusions of capital by the Fed and President Obama's stimulus package prevented a total collapse of our economy"

    No, the welfare i speak of is The $263,000 Lockheed/Martin charged the public for a Smokey Robinson concert for their employees as well as the other $940,000 they would have got for private company concerts ( Righteous Brothers, Gladys Knight, Beach Boys, Temptations)had it not been for the outcry from taxpayers.It is the $1billion Lockheed got to cover the cost of plant shutdowns and relocations and the $20,000 for golfballs for Marietta execs, the $8000 for a company xmas party in Tennessee, the $400,000 for maintenance and operation of their company park, the $20,000 for referees and scorekeepers for intr-company volleyball and softball games.

    It is the $278mil in government technology subsidies to Amoco, AT&T, Citicorp,
    Du Pont, General Electric, General Motors & IBM from 1990-1994 WHILE THEY CUT OVER 300,000 jobs and recorded profits of $24 BILLION in 1994 alone.

    It is the $300 mil Enron got in tax deductions on the settlement they paid for an oil spill into the Prince William Sound

    You said you were born in Brooklyn, If you have any family still in New York state they may be happy to hear that the insanely profitable Chase Bank was awarded an amount of public money that dwarfed even the $650 million to Goldman Sachs to build new offices as well as tax breaks, discounted electrical power & rent subsidies worth an extra $100 mil. The rent subsidy is valued at $50 mil a year for 15 years ($750 mil just in rent subsidies!)

    These are verifiable examples that just scratch the surface of public money being mis-used by corporations, and you are all hot-under the collar about some people getting food stamps they don't deserve. Give me some examples and numbers just like I have done.

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  • 452. At 01:32am on 27 Aug 2009, Lincoln Hawk-s wrote:

    447 Simon:
    "As I have said, and you again have not contested a corporation that could sack its entire workforce and increase its profits would do so"

    CEO's of top 300 companies make 250 X what the average worker makes, they fire thousands of employees as they become even wealthier like
    AT&T's Robert Allen firing 40,000 people while making $16 mil.

    IBM's Louis Gerstner chopping 60,000 jobs and taking home $2.6 mil

    The Scott Paper/Kimberley-Clark merger earned CEO A lber Dunlop a nice $100 mil while it cost 11,000 others their jobs.

    Nestinghouse was allowed to accelerate the "depreciation" of their machinery (which regular schmoes like us aren't allowed to do). It saved them $215 mil in taxes but didn't stop them getting shot of 24,700 workers.

    The rationale behind government "subsidies" (read welfare) is that they will provide more jobs and by extension more taxes at fed, state and local levels BUT, as Time magazine has pointed out, Fortune 500 companies erased more jobs than they created from 1990-2000 while being the biggest beneficiaries of public money - WELFARE!

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  • 453. At 03:36am on 27 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    444, Simon.
    "So why didn't your parents give up their jobs so that others could take them? Because that is what wold have happened isn't it? They chose not to, so others remained unemployed."

    You make no sense whatsoever. Are you saying that the working poor, who are berely eking out a living, should give up their jobs and go on welfare? Then people who may (or may not) wish to work can have their jobs. As Barney Frank would say, "On which planet do spend most of your time?"

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  • 454. At 03:56am on 27 Aug 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #449. This comment has been referred to the moderators.

    Now I know just how PC the BBC moderators are. I had written in response to #222. fluffytale, who wrote:
    "DC your Idea of racial integration sounds like from the set of ain't half hot. condescending just a little."

    Since I never saw the 1974, British television production, I was unable to comment on whether or not I was condescending, but thought that a particular song, to which I provided a link on YouTube, would sum up what many Americans feel about the use - or not - of the English language. I suggested that if the lyrics were altered very slightly to change 'United States' to 'United Kingdom', the same song would find favour amongst a great many British; it is that song which has provoked the Moderators. As an example of the flood of foreign languages, of note is that the (British) Local Government Ombudsman sees fit to produce its information in ten variations: Arabic Bengali, Gujarat, Hindi, Chinese, Polish, Punjabi, Turkish, Urdu and Vietnamese. Quite striking for a nation in which the language of the majority is supposedly English. I do not believe that the nations of which these are their mother languages would routinely provide assistance in English. Presumably those of Continental Europe are deemed to be fluent in English, not to mention the Welsh and Scots.

    For those interested, simply Google "Press One For English". Not PC in the least, but it says what many are afraid to.






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  • 455. At 04:57am on 27 Aug 2009, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    Justin -

    I am glad to have a chance to thank you for this blog, and for your continued fair-minded appreciation of our country. Those who have not been here, or who have not had the opportunity to see the place and visit with the greater part of us, have a good excuse for their hopelessness. Thank you for taking us on.

    KScurmudgeon

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  • 456. At 1:20pm on 27 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    448. At 00:47am on 27 Aug 2009, saintDominick wrote:
    Ref 444, Simon

    "So why didn't your parents give up their jobs so that others could take them?"

    I usually agree with the statements and opinions you make, but in this case I am at a total loss. Unless there is some sort of subliminal message behind the comment above I simply do not understand the logic or the point you are trying to make. I assume it is old age...

    Why should anyone give up his job and become unemployed so that someone else has an opportunity to get it or keep their jobs? The only instance where the latter makes sense involves people approaching retirement age, otherwise it would be economic suicide and the ultimate demonstration of irresponsibility."


    I am simply making the point that the fact that these people got jobs meant others did not get them.

    I am emphasising the issue of competition and showing no matter how keen the unemployed may be they cannot all get jobs.

    We live in a society, other people are supposed to matter. It is therfore salutary and common sense to reflect that someone's success in our society in terms of jobs is someone else's failure.

    "People work because they want to provide a comfortable life for their families, because they want to achieve their dreams, and because they want to save enough so that they don't become a burden to their children when they get old. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being responsible, having work ethics, and trying to achieve whatever goals you have set for yourself. What is definitely wrong, in my opinion, is to sit on your behind and become permanently dependent on the government and society for your substenance. "

    But unemployed people may have very strong work ethics, dreams apirations, etc. But they do not have jobs -end of story

    As I say provide me with the statisitics that show unemployed people like being unemployed.

    The poor do not enjoy poverty.

    Oh and onother thing if you want to talk about dreams and ambitions talk to someone in grinding poverty, the disabled etc. More dreams there than the whole wizard of Oz.

    "Even during hard times, such as the present, there are plenty of jobs, but can you imagine a proud welfare recipient leaving the comfort of their abode and seeking work picking fruits and veggies, doing landscaping work, working in a meat packing facility and doing any of the other jobs those pesky illegals are always eager to accept?"



    Fantasy and myth. You do not understand what unemployment is. There are not plenty of jobs availaible


    Proof - offer one and see what happens. Simple enough.

    " Not in our life time. Watching soap operas in the comfort of our air conditioned rooms is far more leisurely and you don't even break a sweat when you open the envelope with the bi-weekly government check. I wonder if they have direct deposit so that those well deserving obese parasites don't have to drive all the way to the bank to cash their checks. Well, at least most banks in the USA have drive-ins and those poor souls don't have to over exert themselves too much... "


    And the sexual assaults, the illness untreated, the systemtic humiliation. Great fun.

    That is why some unemployed actually kill themselves - the prospect is so enjoyable.






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  • 457. At 1:28pm on 27 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    453. At 03:36am on 27 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:
    444, Simon.
    "So why didn't your parents give up their jobs so that others could take them? Because that is what wold have happened isn't it? They chose not to, so others remained unemployed."

    You make no sense whatsoever. Are you saying that the working poor, who are berely eking out a living, should give up their jobs and go on welfare? Then people who may (or may not) wish to work can have their jobs. As Barney Frank would say, "On which planet do spend most of your time?"


    The point I am making is that with permanent unemployment anyone getting a job robs others of the same prospect, particuarly when it comes to the low paid.

    It is amazing in the 21st century to meet two people who still have no idea what unemployment actually is.

    Have you seriously not see the crowds that gather when jobs are advertised. When some are taken on what do you think happens to the rest? Thety evaporate?

    If you cannot grasp this what elsedo you not understand?

    As regards the sturdy beggar no one has produced evidence that these people actually exist but of course the uneployed and indigent include dishonest people as much as they include scrabble fanatics, would be opera singers, and tin can collectors.

    But all that is saying is that the poor and uneployed are human beings, soemthinig for which they should not be blamed.

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  • 458. At 1:31pm on 27 Aug 2009, Gottin wrote:

    Allow me to begin my comment with this: Please come back again. As a native-born American, I have not yet seen all of my own country and am constantly delighted by surprises in unlikely corners. I can only imagine how it must be for UK and other foreign visitors.

    For those who delight in giving the U.S. a chronic black eye, I can only say, "Look in the mirror." America's founding fathers and mothers had European roots for the most part, although unwilling African immigrants placed their mark upon our language and culture for centuries, too.

    Goodness! I'm a typical American of mixed Scots, German, Dutch, Swedish and American Indian origins. My daughter has all that, plus Polish and Italian. Do you see a common thread here? Please refer to the above paragraph, and then read it again.

    Imagine my delight when the snottier Europeans take a mean-spirited slap at the U.S. Could it just be self-loathing and a wish for self-mutilation by proxy?

    I have been blessed in my lifetime to have made friends from around the world. The words of two African friends echo in my ears from nearly 30 years ago. "America is not perfect, but oh, you are So lucky to live here." I take that as a huge compliment, and a huge personal challenge, from people who grew up without most of the comforts that Americans and Europeans alike take for granted.

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  • 459. At 3:02pm on 27 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    458. At 1:31pm on 27 Aug 2009, Gottin wrote:


    I have been blessed in my lifetime to have made friends from around the world. The words of two African friends echo in my ears from nearly 30 years ago. "America is not perfect, but oh, you are So lucky to live here." I take that as a huge compliment, and a huge personal challenge, from people who grew up without most of the comforts that Americans and Europeans alike take for granted."

    Amd a lot of those comforts depend on exploiting these people and their countries to the max.

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  • 460. At 3:11pm on 27 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Marbles marbles marbles.
    keep at it.
    avoid your statement.
    scream at the neighbours instead.

    OK so by giving up talking the point on violence you started this big herring off from.

    Because america is a more violent place.
    16000 homicides (non negligent) in a year and you blurted a comment about "they deserve it" then when challenged the reaction is to ignore the comment and start off on another topic. failing to establish an argument there another.
    Now this reminds me of a clearly not missed poster or two from the past .
    Now not wishing to draw their poison back I'll avoid their names but arguing with you is turning out to be a bit like a discussion with a certain Ma.




    Bang on grey squirrel.
    The working poor.

    now how did we get to the working poor from.me giving murder figures as a responce to a lame suggetion that the UK was 5 time more violent than the UK.

    Smokey sands in the wind.


    "

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  • 461. At 3:24pm on 27 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Earlier on the people saying Anecdotal evidence because there were no figures. But when confronted with the "stats" they balk. Hell lets change the subject.



    So while I'm off on One. DC

    WHAT sort of bigot are you?

    As it happens I would rather see the information in so many languages.
    I suspect that if you went to India you would see quite a lot of concessions to the Brits there.
    maybe even the odd use of British.

    I happen to think that america threw GW bush into the white house and re elected him because a small vocal minority in the states thought their marriage ( a concept I reject ) was more important than the world's environmental state of the world and then the wars started by bush.


    Could we talk about that before the elections.
    NO why ? because the right to get" Married".
    But still the world suffered under Bush for 4 more years. People were bankrupted.
    and bigotry like the bigotry you exhibit grew in power.


    What strategy Bud.

    Remember there are bigots of every type out there and people in glass houses should not throw stones.
    Fight bigotry against all or be the victim of bigotry.

    Solidarity or selfishness.



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  • 462. At 3:28pm on 27 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    two murders of homeless people now in two weeks. doing well this little town of under 200 000 people.

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  • 463. At 3:39pm on 27 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    move into professions with greater remuneration.


    St Dom this is the problem.
    "professions" with greater renumeration.
    the way you say it. the way it works out.problem.

    So america is falling apart because it has NO manufacturing base.
    because everyone wants to be a doctor (whether or not they ever care about people) for the money.

    so now we have the "professions" charging what rates per hour?

    And for what?
    Used to be the welders that constructed the designs of the over paid were paid well as well.
    It used to be considered a skill.
    (BTW average age welder in USA ...56.
    almost out of welders.

    But who would train for a job where they get paid 12 bucks and have no safety equipment for smoke(ventilation) while the office worker getting paid twice as much at least gets a new 300 dollar chair because their arms got sore typing.

    Get off your Educated pedestal.

    PS I Am educated as well.

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  • 464. At 3:47pm on 27 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    PS st Dom

    forcing welfare to work has one effect.
    It looses jobs.
    jjust as "charity shops" shut down local "boutiques" .

    when a ready supply of dirt cheap to free labour is available employers would rather have a freebe worker volunteer that a job seeker. so even the minimum wage goes out the window and the organisation gets free workers.

    Now PLEASE think about it.

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  • 465. At 3:49pm on 27 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Add to that the number of "charities" I see set up in the USA where it seems that most of the charity is to the person who set up the charity so they could have a steady ish job with a wage.

    See while we talk of scroungers how about them Priests.

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  • 466. At 4:14pm on 27 Aug 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 456, Simon

    "As I say provide me with the statisitics that show unemployed people like being unemployed."

    You keep switching from welfare recipients to the unemployed. My objections are to provide assistance to people who do not want to work and prefer to receive a welfare check in perpetuity to support themselves and their families. I am 100% in favor of helping those who have lost their jobs and are seeking employment. I consider the latter UNEMPLOYED and no they are not happy with their circumstances and I am sure all wish they could find a job and return to the lifestyle they enjoyed before they lost their jobs.

    When welfare reform took place in 96 there were over 11 million recipients in the USA. The number declined dramatically to under 4 million; many are adults with physical, mental or emotional barriers that prevent them from gaining employment. Sadly, many are veterans. I believe those afflicted by psychological problems should be institutionalized and cared for, and those who simply don't want to work should be left alone to fend for themselves.

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  • 467. At 4:23pm on 27 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    OK I'll leave the uncorrected UK vs UK debate I posted in 460 because it seems to make as much sense as the opposing arguments.

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  • 468. At 4:29pm on 27 Aug 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 451,

    That's small stuff compared to the billions of dollars we gave to companies like Halliburton, Bechtel, Blackwater USA and others for "reconstruction" and security in Iraq. Most were no bid contracts given to buddies with little to show for.

    You don't have to convince me about the fraudulent activities that have taken place for decades involving massive amounts of taxpayers monies going to corporations and individuals. As far as I am concerned the ones that mismanaged the funds and the recipients deserve to spend the rest of their days in jail.

    Where we part ways is on the idea that we are morally obligated to provide perpetual financial assistance to people who have no intention to go to work. I am in favor of helping the poor by providing access to quality education/training, healthcare, and a decent house to live in as long as they are working or seeking employment. Those who have lost their jobs should also be helped until they get back on their feet. Again, the ones I have no sympathy for are those who prefer to wait for their government welfare check year after year and have no intention to go to work.

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  • 469. At 4:31pm on 27 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    PS some of the biggest money earners in the UK came from a dole Que.
    . That music you all love was supported by the DOLE and the british tax payers. Who have been earning tax back from the international success stories.I wonder if Elton was Ever on the dole?OK maybe not him then.

    Just look as well in the UK to all those that got cheap education (used to be free for the oldies but they didn't want that for their kids). And brought that here to the states.
    I suspect there are some reading this that got the Free education in the UK (oh what a joy , shame it "had" to go.) then migrated to this land of opportunity to give you scrounging americans a hand with your projects.
    All that brain drain was supported by the Brits. but I hear you americans aren't giving any back.
    what sup with that.



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  • 470. At 4:33pm on 27 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    http://entertainment.stv.tv/music/102857-the-proclaimers-from-the-dole-to-family-guy-in-20-years/

    Dole scroungers. eh

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  • 471. At 4:37pm on 27 Aug 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 368, Simon

    "That rather depends on what you mean by "crime ridden". For example most US schools are not shot up by deranged students, but is this any comfort for parents of students killed in such massacres - and surely one is enough."

    You are speaking to the choir. If it was up to me I would get rid of every gun in the country, except for those used by the armed forces and the police, and would make gun sales illegal.

    Yes, I know our Constitution gives us the right to bear arms, but maybe it is time to take a close look at it and make or modify a few ammendments so that they reflect our needs and circumstances today rather than insisting on maintaining laws that were warranted over 200 years ago and are counterproductive today.

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  • 472. At 4:53pm on 27 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    456, Simon.
    "I am simply making the point that the fact that these people got jobs meant others did not get them. I am emphasising the issue of competition and showing no matter how keen the unemployed may be they cannot all get jobs."

    Looking at it another way (assuming the same specialty), those who are most highly motivated are most likely to get jobs.

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  • 473. At 8:57pm on 27 Aug 2009, Dark Side of the Goon wrote:

    @Fluffytale:

    "But who would train for a job where they get paid 12 bucks and have no safety equipment for smoke(ventilation)"

    - answer: anyone who wants to have a skill that, in five years, will be a rarity and who in ten years wants to be able to charge whatever they like for a custom welding job, because no one else knows how to do it.

    Or - no one, since anyone in the know understands that in 20 years we won't be welding things.

    "while the office worker getting paid twice as much at least gets a new 300 dollar chair because their arms got sore typing."

    RSI. It's only funny to people who can still move their arms.

    "Get off your Educated pedestal."

    Ooooo you Working Class Hero. I'll be you were up at t'crack o'dawn, down t'pit for tuppence ha'penny every financial quarter, to trudge home twenty seven mile, up hill both ways, in t'freezin' snow with your only comfort a brass (to rhyme with "gas") band and t'whippet by your side. Bai eck.

    The point being that the cost of living and the available work in the USA favours knowledge workers, who do indeed get paid relatively well, but who make up a certain amount of the working poor. Do you know how high up the pay scale that line goes and how much people can earn whilst still living paycheck to paycheck?

    There aren't that many welders in the USA because it doesn't need that many. It's too expensive to manufacture things here. Employees make unreasonable demands, like being paid in double figures per hour instead of per month, and having benefits like a pension, healthcare, holidays and sick days. What's a capitalist to do? Offshore and outsource. Take the industry where the labor is insanely cheap. You said as much. So don't diss the Cube Rats of the world. Both my grandfathers were miners and they both told me to get an office job.

    Alas, education is now too common and, like all things readily available, worthless. If you want sanity in the world of work, we need to shoot 75% of MBA holders* and make sure we go back to only the top 10% going to university. Make a degree mean something instead of making it an entry level requirement for the food service industry.

    Interesting thing about offshoring: Back in the day, I did IT support (it's why I'm a misanthrope). I smoked, drank and played a lot of World of Warcraft/Counterstrike to relieve stress. Then a whole load of jobs got offshored. Now the people who picked up those jobs apparently smoke too much, drink too much, play far too much World of Warcraft and Team Fortress 2 and want more money, dammit, because the job is so freaking stressful.

    "PS I Am educated as well."
    I hope you're proud of me. I totally resisted the very obvious ad-hominem cheap shot, on the basis that it was an ad-hominem cheap shot and therefore (c) Certain Other Posters.




    *but not in the head. For nearly all MBA holders the brain is not considered a vital organ.

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  • 474. At 10:37pm on 27 Aug 2009, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    #466 St. D. "I believe those afflicted by psychological problems should be institutionalized and cared for, and those who simply don't want to work should be left alone to fend for themselves."

    Regardless of whether you are a socialist or a capitalist, or anywhere in between, you should know that institutionalization is not a good mechanism for dealing with the mentally ill in most cases. For one thing, some psychological problems can actually be TREATED with enough success that the person can eventually go back into the work world. Institutionalization is very different from normal life and it can in itself erode the social and work skills a person had prior to the mental illness. Secondly, in cases where no treatment is successful and long term care is required, institutionalization is one of the crueler options. Assisting the person's family so they can care for the person is best but not always possible. Group homes work in some cases too.

    Here's a little history of psychological treatments in the US: Back in the 1960s, state mental hospitals held many people against their will as mental patients, often in terrible conditions. This was exposed by a study called "On being sane in insane places" by D. L. Rosenhan (you can google that if you want). The mental health industry was radically transformed in the opposite direction and recent follow up studies have found that even people who are actively suicidal are not always admitted.

    Personally, I think institutionalization should be reserved for those who are actively intent on harming themselves or others. Mental hospitals shouldn't just be a dumping grounds for everyone who has hallucinations, delusions, and other mental problems.

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  • 475. At 10:48pm on 27 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    472. At 4:53pm on 27 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:
    456, Simon.
    "I am simply making the point that the fact that these people got jobs meant others did not get them. I am emphasising the issue of competition and showing no matter how keen the unemployed may be they cannot all get jobs."

    Looking at it another way (assuming the same specialty), those who are most highly motivated are most likely to get jobs.

    I assume you are not being ridiculous on purpose.

    Motivation does not create jobs.

    If the job does not exist all the motivation in the world will not get it for you.

    Desperately wanting to mine gold on Everest will not work if there is no gold to be found.

    Motivation, a clean shirt, a ringing pep talk - do not alter facts.

    Facts are frequently difficult things to accept, but accepting them is necessary, certainly before judging others.

    Unemployment means more people than there are jobs. This is what it means.

    ANd unemployment is necessary for the current economic system to function. This is why it has always existed (with the partial exception of the world wars).

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  • 476. At 10:59pm on 27 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    466. At 4:14pm on 27 Aug 2009, saintDominick wrote:
    Ref 456, Simon

    "As I say provide me with the statisitics that show unemployed people like being unemployed."

    You keep switching from welfare recipients to the unemployed. My objections are to provide assistance to people who do not want to work and prefer to receive a welfare check in perpetuity to support themselves and their families. I am 100% in favor of helping those who have lost their jobs and are seeking employment. I consider the latter UNEMPLOYED and no they are not happy with their circumstances and I am sure all wish they could find a job and return to the lifestyle they enjoyed before they lost their jobs."


    Well the vast majority of welfare recipients are unemployed, in fact they nearly all are since if you are in employment you do not get benefits. At least in Oz and UK and I presume in the US as well.

    In any case you are the one making the point about "living on beenfits". I assume you are not talking about the disabled (mentally and physicaly)or the aged ie people who can work.

    Though it ought to be mentioned that when offered work a large number of disabled are only too keen to sign up.

    "When welfare reform took place in 96 there were over 11 million recipients in the USA. The number declined dramatically to under 4 million; many are adults with physical, mental or emotional barriers that prevent them from gaining employment. Sadly, many are veterans. I believe those afflicted by psychological problems should be institutionalized and cared for, and those who simply don't want to work should be left alone to fend for themselves. "


    Reforms to benefits are nearly always made with the aim of restricting them. Its just a matter of redefining the stats. In fact watching the different nations play word/stat games with the figures is hilarious.

    Offer the unemployed jobs - then stand back you will find the number who like squalor about the same as those individuals who like having operations without anaesthetics - negligible and irrelevent.

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  • 477. At 11:06pm on 27 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    471. At 4:37pm on 27 Aug 2009, saintDominick wrote:
    Ref 368, Simon

    "That rather depends on what you mean by "crime ridden". For example most US schools are not shot up by deranged students, but is this any comfort for parents of students killed in such massacres - and surely one is enough."

    You are speaking to the choir. If it was up to me I would get rid of every gun in the country, except for those used by the armed forces and the police, and would make gun sales illegal.

    Yes, I know our Constitution gives us the right to bear arms, but maybe it is time to take a close look at it and make or modify a few ammendments so that they reflect our needs and circumstances today rather than insisting on maintaining laws that were warranted over 200 years ago and are counterproductive today."


    I must confess I am always bewildered by this belief in the "right" to bear semi-automatic weaponry.
    471. At 4:37pm on 27 Aug 2009, saintDominick wrote:
    Ref 368, Simon

    "That rather depends on what you mean by "crime ridden". For example most US schools are not shot up by deranged students, but is this any comfort for parents of students killed in such massacres - and surely one is enough."

    You are speaking to the choir. If it was up to me I would get rid of every gun in the country, except for those used by the armed forces and the police, and would make gun sales illegal.

    Yes, I know our Constitution gives us the right to bear arms, but maybe it is time to take a close look at it and make or modify a few ammendments so that they reflect our needs and circumstances today rather than insisting on maintaining laws that were warranted over 200 years ago and are counterproductive today."


    I have never understood this belief in a "right" to bear arms. The US constitution was also considered to give people the right to own slaves for over 60 years before it was revised.

    And if Jefferson was thinking of arms he was not thinking of repeating weapons.


    It is astonishing that no govermnent has ever acted. After the Port Arthur horror the Oz PM John Howard simply introduced new gun laws practically as the funerals were continuing.

    There was a howl, a few arrests and but the laws were maintained and no one has suggested repealing them.

    After the Prt Arthur massacre the

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  • 478. At 00:21am on 28 Aug 2009, Reuben wrote:

    If you are tired of all the talk about Ted Kennedy that's been going on there's an irreverent picture I found by typing Ted Kennedy into Google image search.

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  • 479. At 01:00am on 28 Aug 2009, Reuben wrote:

    St D. 471:

    "Yes, I know our Constitution gives us the right to bear arms, but maybe it is time to take a close look at it and make or modify a few ammendments so that they reflect our needs and circumstances today rather than insisting on maintaining laws that were warranted over 200 years ago and are counterproductive today."

    The United States Contitution has these things called "amendments" so our constitution has not gone unchanged for the for the last 230 years.

    If you really do think we need another anmendment or two, you are free to tell that to your elected representitive in congress.

    I'm assuming of course that you are a resident of the United States, even if you sound un-American.

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  • 480. At 01:02am on 28 Aug 2009, Reuben wrote:

    Simon:

    Do you really expect us to be able to defend ourselves with muzzle-loading muskets and breach-loaded rifles while drug dealers, gangs and other hooligans are runing a-muck with AK-47s and UZIs?

    Modern semi-automatic weapons are nessecity in order for the free people to remain free.

    But then again maybe you don't want law abiding citizens to be able to defend themselves: maybe you'd like us to be over run by gangs and eventually other nations (who didn't give up their guns).

    Those who pound their swords into plowshares will be plow for those who don't.

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  • 481. At 01:55am on 28 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    475, Simon.
    "I assume you are not being ridiculous on purpose. Motivation does not create jobs."

    Why do you inentionally misunderstand me? I said the more motivated people were, the more likely they were to find employment. Ridiculous? If you are unemployed it is only common sense that going out and hitting the sidewalks it more likely to be productive than sitting on your bum in front of the television. You are purposely being perverse. You adopted a position from the first that was untenable and are too stubborn to back down. It is not like you to be unsulting. So what is the matter with you?

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  • 482. At 02:43am on 28 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Lol Dark side.
    what a wag.
    that RSI that the desk jobbies get, the welders wouldn't be getting rsi from the grinding and welding torches would they?
    As well as poisonous fumes .
    Welding quite frankly will not be replaced in 20 years if we don't have welders to build the plants that make your new machines. Or are we nano bot reliant in 20 years.
    not sure. but I can say that just about every country needs it's own manufacturing.If not I doubt sustainability will be even looked at.
    that's kinda the point, but No worries We'll just wait for Buck rodgers to weld it for us.

    Still we can rebuild america with workers from abroad . Them guys in china can send the bridges over .
    In 20 years at the rate america is going they might well be back to riveting the stuff together.

    IT jobs are easy pray for outsourcing. More so than the bridgebuilders and welders that keep you from falling twenty stories. Hand rails that keep you and the office safe while drunk are welded in the country of use.
    But maybe we don't need hand rails to keep you up. after all in the 20 year future we can have a fence that is powered to keep you in. Force field. There's a dream we can all share.

    Yea down pits you can dismiss because you can't really accept that the IT industry is the industry that will be the easiest to replace by designing computers that actually work.
    Soon the computers will do the job but some skinny guy has to be able to left hand weld in a mirror to get the job done because the guy in the plush office chair with massage support can't figure out hat the weld he "detailed" was neigh on impossible to get to.

    So as a welder Smith I'd say that maybe I do have more in common with a worker at down t'pitt than some office IT worker that thinks the rsi (which just about every welder has) found by sitting at their desk is so much worse than a person holding a machine that spins and knocks the fingers apart.
    Took me two years to be able to open my Hands from the RSI I got.That was after quitting the grinding.
    Never did get that comfy seat though.Nor extraction.

    As for living pay check to paycheck.

    No kidding some overspent. would those be the same families with all the toys they have to OWN because they can't share?

    Thats what it looks like from these forn eyes.
    Over paid then out shooting homeless people in the park the next day for being "scroungers"
    ;)

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  • 483. At 05:51am on 28 Aug 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #473. Dark Side of the Goon: "Employees make unreasonable demands, like being paid in double figures per hour instead of per month, and having benefits like a pension, healthcare, holidays and sick days."

    I hope that was not a serious remark. What is wrong with specialist workers demanding $20 an hour - or trash men for that matter? And shouldn't everyone have the benefits you mention? We have come a long way since the days of Charles Dickens, or perhaps you wish we could return to them - Scrooge reformed but it seems you would wish he had not.

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  • 484. At 06:02am on 28 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 485. At 10:06am on 28 Aug 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #483

    Most people won't argue about a fair wage and salary.

    But in this business climate it is still very difficult to fire bad workers if they have union protection.

    When a service worker does a good job I give them a better tip
    When a contractor does an excellent job I give them a glowing review on Angie's list.

    But you can't fire incomptent teachers of one who are malicious:aka William Ayers, the Duke 88.

    Nor can you fire a federal or state worker without a golden parachute and the one who are they because of connections are more parasitic than most people in finance.

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  • 486. At 12:51pm on 28 Aug 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 479, Grey

    "I'm assuming of course that you are a resident of the United States, even if you sound un-American."

    I was born in Brooklyn, NYC, and I live in Florida.

    Being in favor of gun control or limiting gun ownership to law enforcement officers, being in favor of universal healthcare, opposing welfare, and being a fiscal and social conservative does not mean a US citizen is "un-American". BTW, I was also against the invasion of Iraq from the outset, I believe it is time to pull out of Afghanistan, I am in favor of closing Gitmo, and I sympathize with the Palestinian cause. Imagine that.

    Obviously, our Constitution and its Ammendments can be ammended, but how far do you think I would get if I petitioned Rep. (R) Mica, Sen. (R) Mel Martinez, or Gov. (R) Charlie Christ? The notion that we must be prepared to defend ourselves against external threats, real or perceived, is consistent with the paranoia that has consumed our psyche since the founding of our nation. We went from the threats posed by inconvenient native Americans, to commies, Catholics, Jews, Japanese-Americans, Hispanics, Muslims and God knows what else.

    We have very capable military and police forces that can defend us from external and internal threats. Most importantly, a gun ban would make it difficult for criminals or unstabled to obtain guns and would limit their ability to be a threat to the rest of us. Seeing our country turn into a sequel of Gunfight at the OK Corral is irresponsible and absurd.

    IMO, what is un-American is supporting foreign adventurism, outdated laws that are no longer germaine or adequate to our current circumstances, out of control spending on politically-motivated illusions to remain in power or achieve economic goals, supporting the insurance companies monopoly on healthcare even if it means the exclusion of 15% of our population, high premiums, and dependence on corporate flunkies to judge whether or not we need procedures or medication prescribed by doctors is un-Amer, etc. Such advocacy is not in the best interest of our country and does not contribute to the betterment of our society.

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  • 487. At 12:56pm on 28 Aug 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 485, Magic

    "But in this business climate it is still very difficult to fire bad workers if they have union protection."

    Firing underperforming union members if easier than you think. All a manager needs is a little patience and build a case against them. I did it several times and had no problem justifying my decision and corporate rights against the union and during labor arbitration hearings. Obviously, firing an employee, regardless of whether he/she is a union member or not, must be justified and fair, but in answer to your remarks, it can be done, it just takes a little longer when they have union protection.

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  • 488. At 1:13pm on 28 Aug 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    #487

    Dominick you may be in a more favorable business climate than Mass.

    I can tell you horror stroies on the state side espeically. But will you concur that you can't fire underperforming or bad proffessors?

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  • 489. At 1:35pm on 28 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    . At 10:06am on 28 Aug 2009, MagicKirin wrote:
    ref #483

    Most people won't argue about a fair wage and salary.

    But in this business climate it is still very difficult to fire bad workers if they have union protection.

    When a service worker does a good job I give them a better tip
    When a contractor does an excellent job I give them a glowing review on Angie's list.

    But you can't fire incomptent teachers of one who are malicious:aka William Ayers, the Duke 88."


    Well no sane man would want to remove William Ayers a brilliant teacher and a humanitarian.

    But you are right as regards the extremist Alan Dershovitz, its a pity his passport is not confiscated.

    "Nor can you fire a federal or state worker without a golden parachute and the one who are they because of connections are more parasitic than most people in finance."


    Like yourself for example? Wondeer what most people would think - an ambulance driver over an IFA or trust fund manager.

    Hmmm not difficult.

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  • 490. At 1:40pm on 28 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    481. At 01:55am on 28 Aug 2009, allmymarbles wrote:
    475, Simon.
    "I assume you are not being ridiculous on purpose. Motivation does not create jobs."

    Why do you inentionally misunderstand me? I said the more motivated people were, the more likely they were to find employment. Ridiculous? If you are unemployed it is only common sense that going out and hitting the sidewalks it more likely to be productive than sitting on your bum in front of the television. You are purposely being perverse. You adopted a position from the first that was untenable and are too stubborn to back down. It is not like you to be unsulting. So what is the matter with you?"


    You don't get the point and I will hammer it until you acknowledge it. Motivation does not matter if there not the jobs.

    It is the existence of jobs which is the issue. I genuinely cannot see what you cannot grasp.

    You seem not to want to admit unemployment, and therefore a need for welfare, exists.

    If there are no jobs what you do with your time is largely immaterial.

    My position is common sense. Acknowledge the point what is the problem?

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  • 491. At 1:46pm on 28 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    480. At 01:02am on 28 Aug 2009, GreySquirrel1867 wrote:
    Simon:

    Do you really expect us to be able to defend ourselves with muzzle-loading muskets and breach-loaded rifles while drug dealers, gangs and other hooligans are runing a-muck with AK-47s and UZIs?"

    No I thought the US had a thing caled the law and officers to enforce it.

    I didn't realise it had become Somalia.

    "Modern semi-automatic weapons are nessecity in order for the free people to remain free."

    Free from who other Americans? And what about small field pieces - mortars, HMG?

    You approve of owning these as well?

    "But then again maybe you don't want law abiding citizens to be able to defend themselves: maybe you'd like us to be over run by gangs and eventually other nations (who didn't give up their guns)."

    From who? DOesn't the US have an army or police force?

    Whowere those boys at Colunbine defending themselves against?

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  • 492. At 1:52pm on 28 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    486. At 12:51pm on 28 Aug 2009, saintDominick wrote:
    Ref 479, Grey

    "I'm assuming of course that you are a resident of the United States, even if you sound un-American."

    I was born in Brooklyn, NYC, and I live in Florida."


    One of the most irritating aspects of trying to have a decent discussion with some Americans is the way they suddenly presume to speak for the whole country. Since US presidents rarely post on the BBC, the mental incapacity this reveals is worrying.

    The country seems full of little would-be Napoleons with lunatic delusions of grandeur.

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  • 493. At 1:58pm on 28 Aug 2009, MagicKirin wrote:



    ref #489Well no sane man would want to remove William Ayers a brilliant teacher and a humanitarian.

    (Ayers is a murderer who only got off because of technicality his wife and he are despicable human beings. He is also an academic fraud

    But you are right as regards the extremist Alan Dershovitz, its a pity his passport is not confiscated.


    (Dershowitz area of teaching is the law he happens to be a commited liberal in this area. He just has the courage to expose Antisemites like Jimmy Carter)


    "Nor can you fire a federal or state worker without a golden parachute and the one who are they because of connections are more parasitic than most people in finance."


    Like yourself for example? Wondeer what most people would think - an ambulance driver over an IFA or trust fund manager.

    ( how about a well conected relative who get's a no show job say like Michelle Obama or Caroline Kennedy)

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  • 494. At 2:16pm on 28 Aug 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Magic

    "I can tell you horror stroies on the state side espeically. But will you concur that you can't fire underperforming or bad proffessors?"

    I am not familiar with the circumstances in Mass, but I had no problems disciplining and firing people when I worked in Maryland. It doesn't matter if a person is a union member of not and how up the ladder they are, a good manager can enforce government and corporate policies if his/her decision is based on fact and consistent with established contracts and labor laws.

    I didn't know federal and state employees have golden parachutes. Most are eligible to benefits such as severance pay when they are laid off, but there is a huge difference between what they get and what CEOs and high level corporate executives get. In the case of a justified dismissal because of under performance or violation of policy they get nothing, unless there is a clause in their contract that stipulates otherwise.

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  • 495. At 2:20pm on 28 Aug 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 493, Magic

    "( how about a well conected relative who get's a no show job say like Michelle Obama or Caroline Kennedy)"

    Michelle Obama was a successful corporate lawyer when she met her husband. She does not have a job at the present time and her appearances and advocacies are consistent with those of previous First Ladies.

    I am not too impressed with Caroline Kennedy. The only thing she has going for her is her surname.

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  • 496. At 2:32pm on 28 Aug 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #494 and 495

    In Mass there is rampant pension abuse.

    As far as Michelle Obama she got a 200K raise after Barack Obama became a U.S Senator and after she left they abolished the position. Sounds like a patronage job to me.

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  • 497. At 3:03pm on 28 Aug 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    488. At 1:13pm on 28 Aug 2009, MagicKirin wrote:
    #487

    "I can tell you horror stroies on the state side espeically. But will you concur that you can't fire underperforming or bad proffessors?"

    If a professor is convicted of a crime they can easily be sacked.

    However you cannot simply fire them because you hate their politics and want to shut them up.

    This is what the Nazis and Communists did, silencing the univeresities and of course murdering trade unionists.

    All extremists hate universities. Particularly the humanities.

    The point is that universities are supposed to be havens of free speech and challenging views.

    COnsequently some independence is necessary.

    The US Supreme Court operates in the same way - justices must be allowed to speak and rule without deference to politics.

    Unfortunately the election of some in the US enforcement system makes a mockery of this very crucial concept.

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  • 498. At 3:15pm on 28 Aug 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #497

    So your saying proffesors like the Duke 88 can malign innocent Lacrosse players with no consequences?

    Why should academics be a protected class when they are extremists. Ayers isn't interested in free speech neither are most institutions if you aren't P.C.

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  • 499. At 3:39pm on 28 Aug 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 496, Magic

    "As far as Michelle Obama she got a 200K raise after Barack Obama became a U.S Senator and after she left they abolished the position. Sounds like a patronage job to me."

    There is no evidence or even logic to suggest that Michelle Obama, a woman with an excellent education and experience, did not deserve to become a board member of a corporation and that she got the job because her husband was a senator. In fact, maybe he became a senator because of her corporate connections and professional acumen!

    BTW, the reason she did not exercise board member functions daily is because board members only meet a few times a year. In addition to participating in high level decisions, which are often subject to proxy vote, board members are often a tool used by corporations to impress clients and investors.

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  • 500. At 3:58pm on 28 Aug 2009, tktaylor wrote:

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