Saturday, 31 July 2010
Friday, 30 July 2010
All budgets have pressure. I don't think there's anything particularly unique about the Ministry of Defence.Mr Osbourne owes me a new keyboard and monitor that are now strewn with cheap Chardonnay. How the blazes a man can occupy No. 11 without knowing that defence of the the realm is THE central purpose of government and takes precedent over all others never fails to astonish me.
Update: Dr Liam Fox wades in.
Update: A modest proposal.
In other news, questions are raised about why the deuce, much as Miss Hendricks makes a grown man bite his fist, Mrs Featherstone doesn't do something truly useful like resigning and demanding that her busybody "equalities" cabinet post be abolished for the interfering, condescending, waste of time and money that it is.
Aside from the blasphemy angle, it tends to put people off.
Thursday, 29 July 2010
The barefaced cheek of Mr Tunsar Gahndi to demand the "return" of the diamond as "atonement for the colonial past" is breathtaking in itself. First off, the British Empire is something to be celebrated, not look upon with shame and requiring atonement. If it hurts Mr Ghandi's sense of self-esteem that India was once part of that empire, then that's his own look out and he should take up a hobby or something.
As for "returning" the Koh-i-Noor diamond, it is the rightful property of the Crown, having been given to Queen Victoria by the Honourable East India Company that took it by right of conquest (as it had by others in the stone's bloody past) during the First Anglo-Sikh War and the transfer of possession was agreed in the Treaty of Lahore. To give it to India would not be to "return" it, but to surrender it, If India really feels that keenly about getting their hands on it, I suggest they mobilise an invasion force to seize it rather than hide behind Mr Gandhi's repellant modernist tactic of trying to shame the victors in a previous war into falling into the worn old liberal fallacy that the only proper stance for a Westerner is to refuse to take his own side in a dispute.
Any any rate, it never belonged to India in the first place, so there's no "returning" it to them. It was previously the property of the Maharajah of the the Sikh Empire of the Punjab. If anyone gets it, it would be his descendants.
By the bye, if Mr Gandhi is so upset by empires, what about stumping for independence for the Punjab? How dare he sit idly by while it remains crushed beneath the Hindu heel of New Delhi!
For me, the remarkable thing is that Mr Cameron actually stood up for Britain rather than bawling that he'll have the diamond wrapped up straight away and sent off by return post, thank you very much, sir and can I do anything else while you're on the line?
Maybe he remembered to take his meds today.
Update: For an excellent (though very personal) account of how the Koh-i-Noor came to Britain, see here.
One must move with the times, as they say.
Wednesday, 28 July 2010
The Eu is in thrall to a collection of demented technocrats who think national sovereignty is dead and that religion of whatever flavour is sure to follow. It's an empire that has become decadent before it's even established with no means of defending itself culturally. Letting into it a nation with a completely foreign culture that is increasingly under control of Jihadist factions is no problem? Even in a time of peace, which this isn't, that smacks of all the foresight of Julius Caesar at the Ides of March. Does Mr Cameron want a replay of the Battle of Tours in the streets of Europe?
Trade or fight beside the Turks when our interests merge, but share open borders and governance? Madness.
Update: BBC headline:
David Cameron describes blockaded Gaza as a 'prison'The man is insane–and I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt.
Update: Going "full idiot".
I am, however, a firm believer that as woman has marched forward in the world, it is the inalienable right, nay duty, of man to defend the sacred borders of his study. Granted, mine is the eastern half of the office at Chez Szondy, but the principle is the same.
On the topic, Art of Manliness looks at various masculine retreats. I particularly like Andrew Carnegie's study. Update a few fittings, add some swords, and make a couple of the oak panels swing out to reveal hidey holes for the electronics, the humidor, and the brandy and I'd be quite happy.
Tuesday, 27 July 2010
Normal services will resume shortly.
Monday, 26 July 2010
Part of the reason is that in the summer the weather is "nice" as in "What are you doing sitting inside on such a nice day?" I'll tell what I'm doing; I'm staying out of the miserable heat, the shirt-damping humidity, and the unrelenting sunshine that comes down like a hydraulic press. That's what I'm doing. Who was the lunatic who decided that standing out in the sun when it's 82 degrees Fahrenheit is "nice"? Probably the same one who claimed that walking through driving sleet on a dark night in December without a hat and coat was "brisk". It isn't "nice". It's hot and sticky and horrible. It means forgoing real clothes in favour of polo shirts and shorts that make me look like either an Italian fascist who fell through a time warp, or a middle-aged boy scout–especially if I'm wearing walking boots.
Worse, all of this heat and humidity encourages nature to stop being picturesque and turn aggressive. Grass starts growing like it has back orders to fill, insects that I've never heard of start showing up in droves, brambles launch an anschluss against any open ground within reach, weeds pop up like... weeds, and battalions of slugs assault my vegetable garden in wave after wave of suicide missions, which is a bit pointless because the rabbits have got there first. All of these need dealing with and that often involves sharp implements; some of them motorised and that tends to frighten me.
But what really gets on my wick is that summer makes people want to ask me to do things. I don't mean errands, though there are enough of those, but things that are supposed to be fun, but never are. When the thermometer creeps above 75 degrees, the most fun that I want is to sit on a shaded bench outside an ancient pub called something like the End of the World somewhere in G K Chesterton country drinking a pint of Guinness. If there's a local cricket match going on, that's a bonus. If not, I'll settle for a copy of the Sunday Telegraph and a pencil for the crossword.
What I don't want is what I usually end up with, which is the dreaded day out. In the winter, a day out means a trip to the dog park or the beach. I get to dress in tweeds and my favourite felt hat and the dogs and I get a chance to collect our thoughts because the only people we encounter are the sort who enjoy going to the beach on a grey day in January with three degrees of frost. It's quiet, it's peaceful, I have my notebook in my pocket, and there's a flask of tea waiting for me in the Blazer. In July, a day out means driving through the heat to one beach only to find that there's not a hope of finding a parking space and then driving another thirty miles to a different beach that we should have gone to in the first place. Of course, everyone else has their bathing suits, but I don't because the first beach was actually a bird sanctuary where you have to walk half a mile out to sea before the water is over your ankles and I just settled for shorts. So, there I sit on the beach, which is about as attractive for me as sitting in the middle of the Sahara at noon. That's not entirely true. In the Sahara I'm unlikely to be surrounded by a bizarre collection of humanity that make me doubt, in the words of P G Wodehouse, that man is God's last word on the subject of creation. So, I sit huddled under what little shade the umbrella affords while with one hand I keep the wind from blowing said umbrella away and using the other to hold my Terry Pratchett novel that I can't seem to concentrate on for more than five seconds. I suspect that is due to my discovery that cheese and pickle sandwiches are not a great idea when picnicking on the Anvil of God.
And don't get me started on garden parties.
Perhaps the only saving graces of summer is that it makes beer and G&Ts much more refreshing, smoking a cigar in the garden is actually welcome because it drives the mosquitoes away, and when the leaves finally begin to turn it makes me feel like Noah spotting that olive branch with "land ho" printed on it in the bird's beak. It almost makes not being able to sleep because I've sweated so much that my skin feels like a brined turkey almost worthwhile.
Sunday, 25 July 2010
Saturday, 24 July 2010
Friday, 23 July 2010
Now we learn that Deputy Prime Minister Nicholas Clegg doesn't listen to the radio. With the usual battiness that one comes to expect of the Liberal Democrats, Mr Clegg set up a website where visitors could nominate the New Labour legislation they wanted repealed. And then the numbers came in. Was it some obscure business regulation? Something about anti-terrorism laws? Nope. By an incredible margin, the demand was for the smoking ban to be lifted.
Lo, and did Mr Clegg run away quickly and silently.
I am flabbergasted by the criminal irresponsibility of successive governments regarding the defence of Britain. Defence now makes up a mere six percent of the budget spending a mere £36 billion a year, and is less than half of other major expenditures, yet Whitehall still imagines that it is some sort of bloated cash cow that they can hack bits off of at will. How anyone can claim that Britain cannot afford to defend itself when the government pays for sex-change operations, subsides an entire underclass that neither sows nor reaps, flings wads of cash at pointless "green" ventures, hands over another fortune to the EU so it can treat the UK like a vassal state, and Lord knows what other insane waste of public treasure.
Defence of the realm is the first and most important priority of government. Period. If it fails at that, it is no longer legitimate. Britain's defence budget is criminally small and cutting it further is compounding the felony. If anything, the defence budget should be tripled and the bureaucrats and Euphiles who batten onto the MOD should be banished. If Mr Fox is wondering how to pay for defence, here are a few suggestions:
- Leave the EU.
- Repeal every law passed under New Labour that is not reaffirmed by vote of the current Parliament.
- Abandon defence procurement programmes meant to "enhance ties with Europe" or to sweeten the books of another government department.
- Make increasing the strength of Britain at the best value for money the sole priority of defence procurement. Nothing else is to be considered.
- Provide the MOD with the clear goal of achieving a minimum of unit for unit capability parity with the United States. Adjusting for needs and force size, if America can do it, so can Britain.
- Set defence capabilities at needs plus 30 percent to allow for casulaties in major conflicts. This will also provide a cushion against further economic crises.
- All combat operations are to be paid by funds separate from the standard operating budget.
- Remind lawmakers by means of a sound beating about the head and shoulders with a rolled up copy of the Telegraph that the armed forces are not a social engineering laboratory and all experiments cease now.
- Do the same to anyone who thinks that Britain is a social engineering laboratory.
- Make social engineering a major felony.
- The focus of all defence policy will be to make Britain and our friends feel secure and our enemies wet themselves.
- Treat all public employees the way Britain treats veterans. That should help improve one while trimming the other.
- Remove all fit young men from the dole. No exceptions. If they need a job, point out the army recruiting office.
- Tell men who father bastards that they are responsible for keeping them, not the state. If they refuse to shoulder their responsibility, put them to work building the prisons to house them and send their wage packets to their families.
- Point out to young women that "single mother" is a tragedy, not a career and will be treated as such in future with the best interests of the child the first priority.
- Give a dumbfounded look when anyone asks why the housing benefit office is boarded up.
- Sack every other person in every government office who isn't wearing a uniform or holding a stethoscope. If anyone howls about unemployment, point out that a huge skilled work force has just been freed up to create wealth rather than consume it.
- Cut all foreign aid that does not provide a direct and obvious benefit to Britain.
- Cut taxes to the bone, give people their money back, and tell them that Nanny has quit and they're responsible for looking after themselves and their brethren. Point out that charity is not a primary concern of government, nor does government hold a monopoly on its exercise, and that nothing prevents private citizens from doing so.
- Remove all immigrants from public benefit. In the event of complaints, offer a discount coupon on a single ticket to Calais.
- As the NHS becomes increasingly more sclerotic, point out to people that there is such a thing as private insurance and they might want to look into it before the bureaucratic-heavy government scheme implodes. Base future health policy on the assumption that implosion is not far off.
- Secure, well-paying job with a fat pension: Government employees, pick any two.
- Inform corporations that government subsidies not related to national security or temporary emergencies are merely the product of a deranged imagination. Meanwhile, cut taxes and regulations with an eye toward freeing up capital and encouraging competition, especially for small businesses.
- Remind lawmakers by means of a sound beating about the head and shoulders with a rolled up copy of the Financial Times that the goal is to increase revenues, not raise taxes.
- Require all immigrants on entry to provide proof of employment by a British firm in an officially required trade and the posting by them or their employer of a £10,000 bond refundable with interest in five years. All immigrants will be required to annually purchase government bonds valued at ten percent of their income until reaching age 65 at which time the bonds may be cashed.
- Encourage a similar bond scheme expanded to include private investments for all citizens with an eye toward reducing government old age pensions.
- Energy policy means cheap, abundant power. Electricity is generated by coal, nuclear, gas, and hydroelectric plants. Wind and solar are for sailboats, the Outer Hebrides, eccentrics, and private firms that think they can make a profit out of them. They are not a consideration for powering the national grid and they are never to be subsidised.
- Basically, redefine the welfare state to mean taking care of the truly needy (as in widows, orphans, the lame, the halt, and the blind) that no one else is able to care for; not supporting an underclass.
- Redefine regulation as making sure that businesses play by the rules and compete with one another without despoiling the commons, not producing an army busybodies and a wilderness of pointless rules that hamper most businesses and all individuals while allowing a few corporations to use government power to crush their competition.
Update: Someone is listening.
Thursday, 22 July 2010
Wednesday, 21 July 2010
Amazingly, U of E is looking for some poor bastard to live in the thing. No doubt the purpose is to see how long it will be before he takes an axe to the computer, burns the place to the ground, throws away his shoes, evolves into a bird, and flaps away resolved never to set foot upon the ground again.
Cornucopias’ printing process begins with an array of food canisters filled with the “cook’s” foods of choice. After a meal selection has been made using the device’s multi-touch translucent screen, users are able to see their meal being assembled while simultaneously manipulating real-time parameters, such as calories or carbohydrate content. Each ingredient is then piped into a mixer and then very precisely extruded, allowing for very exact and elaborate combinations of food.All very impressive, but since it's still merely a concept and MIT is reluctant to depict the theoretical resulting entree, I suspect that whatever is selected, the end product will invariably resemble a warm, soggy rice cake that tastes like beets.
Once each ingredient has been dropped, the food is then heated or cooled by Cornucopia’s chamber or via the heating and cooling tubes located on the printing head. In fact, the ability to hyper-localize heating and create rapid temperature changes also allows for the creation of meals with flavors and textures that would be impossible to replicate with present-day cooking methods.
Share and enjoy.
Tuesday, 20 July 2010
Then along comes items like the Journolist scandal and we find that water or no water, there actually is a conspiracy afoot.
Still, the wound must be staunched, as they say.
Monday, 19 July 2010
It turns out that this is not an isolated phenomenon and that the United States suffers as badly, if not worse, from the same disease. In the American Spectator, Angelo M. Codevilla has a longish, but highly readable examination of America's self-appointed false elite. Meanwhile, Victor Davis Hanson has his own take on the soft-handed bunch, Jonah Goldberg talks about and Ed Driscoll elaborates on how, despite the false elite, the rules are changing.
Excellent. Now that we've isolated the bacillus on both sides of the Atlantic, perhaps we can come up with a cure.
What's interesting here is a comment from "Geoff", site visitor, who points out that Milton Keynes has purpose-built cycle lanes that are separate from the roads so that motor and pedal never meet. Without realising it, Geoff has hit upon the solution: Send all those spandex-clad pillocks and their over-priced, titanium-framed navigation hazards to that collection of architectural atrocities known as Milton Keynes and leave honest motorists and pedestrians in peace.
Cyclists and Milton Keynesians can sort out for themselves who is a punishment visited upon whom.
Sunday, 18 July 2010
Saturday, 17 July 2010
Friday, 16 July 2010
We Europeans live life at least partly in the past tense. We are fearful and careworn: experience tells us, we say, that this might not work.Very good. Now that we've heard from a "European", perhaps we can get the opinion of an Englishman.
On the rabbit front, I returned fire this afternoon by spreading animal repellent around the yard and garden. It's non-toxic stuff; a mixture of dried blood, bone meal, and cayenne pepper. It's also a very fine powder that the wind picks up and scatters everywhere–as I found out afterwards when I washed my face and DEAR GOD IN HEAVEN WHAT THE HELL IS THAT? MY EYES! MY EYES!
Not exactly a load of buckshot in the face, but not a bad second.
I'd rather have one of these than a ton of "compassionate" anti-discrimination legislation that treats disabilities like an ethnic identity rather than a condition to be overcome. A burst of good sense from the Kiwis.
Update: And here's one from the chaps in weapons development who've been reading Starship Troopers again.
Update: The British were there first.
I will admit that it looks impressive, but as it's a double-decker, I must ask whether the gentlemen at Priestmangoode have taken the trouble to measure the average British railway tunnel. This seems like something of a tight squeeze.
Thursday, 15 July 2010
Wednesday, 14 July 2010
Having seen enough films about how this sort of thing turns out, I expect to take a few shotgun blasts to the face before this is over.
This he calls a victory for Britain.
Of course it is, George. Just like Isandlwana.
Tuesday, 13 July 2010
Monday, 12 July 2010
How amazing. Given what comes vomiting out of Westminster, I thought that being soused to the gills was a requirement for voting.
Update:It's the only way to explain how this sort of drivel get's a look in.
This being the Beeb, they also take a gratuitous shot at primogeniture, which is "icky", but not a word from anyone with an once of integrity who sees this folly for what it is.
Of course, thre isn't even a peep about the real story of a Conservative party that responds that it is "considering" reform instead of taking a firm grasp of the Mace and loudly declaring that what isn't broken does not need to be mended.
Sunday, 11 July 2010
Saturday, 10 July 2010
Friday, 9 July 2010
Thursday, 8 July 2010
Cynics beware, I am romantic about the National Health Service; I love it. … The NHS is one of the astounding human endeavours of modern times.Having lived under the NHS, I would advise everyone not to panic. Just keep calm, take a deep breath... RUN!
Wednesday, 7 July 2010
But how will this make Muslims feel better about themselves?
It's the fifth anniversary of the 7/7 atrocity.
Given the number of attacks and near misses since then, that we have Jihadists that we can't deport living on benefits, an Afghanistan campaign in disarray, anti-terrorism laws still in place that inconvenience everyone except the Jihadists, a de facto and de juri invasion of Britain that continues unabated, another government that is reluctant to even name the enemy, and a general attitude of grovelling in front of the Faithful instead of standing up for moderate Muslims* and demanding concrete proof from the rest of why they should be trusted an inch, I'd say that we have a very long, hard road still ahead of us.
Meanwhile, to the victims of 7/7, our continued prayers.
*And by moderate I don't mean desiring a new caliphate in Britain, but are circumspect about it. I mean those who reject the goals as well as the methods of the Jihadists, swear allegiance to the Crown, recognise Britain as a Christian/secular state in which Sharia has no place, and intend to assimilate to British society rather than for that society to accommodate them.
Case in point: the city of Everett, WA says that it will make schoolchildren walk up to a mile to school in an effort to save $400,00. Pace that kids need the exercise, it's interesting that the city government isn't going for the alternative of simply sacking five paper pushers.
That's the reason why I prefer most day to day government decisions to be as local as possible. When a borough councilman does something as cynical as this, I take comfort in knowing that I'll probably run into him in the queue at Starbucks tomorrow where I can give him a good bollocking.
From a Nexis search a few moments ago:
Total words about the NASA Muslim outreach program in the New York Times: 0.
Total words about the NASA Muslim outreach program in the Washington Post: 0.
Total words about the NASA Muslim outreach program on NBC Nightly News: 0.
Total words about the NASA Muslim outreach program on ABC World News: 0.
Total words about the NASA Muslim outreach program on CBS Evening News: 0.
If you were to receive your news from any one of these outlets, or even all of them together, and you heard about some sort of controversy involving the Obama administration redefining the space agency’s mission to feature outreach to Muslim countries, your response would be, “Huh?” Among all the news these distinguished outlets have seen fit to cover in recent days, the NASA story has not made the cut.
I was going to say that bias is more often about what's not said than what is, but "bias" is too mild a word for what's going on here.
Update: Beyond parody.
Tuesday, 6 July 2010
A few points: The presenter should learn to speak properly, get himself a jacket and tie, and not be so ludicrously demonstrative. Second, the music should be expunged and the composer lightly shot. And third, I would expect a house of bricks to involve mortar.
Good Lord, what childish rubbish. How the BBC has slid downhill.
Monday, 5 July 2010
- "Re-inspire children to want to get into science and math"
- "Expand our international relationships"
- "Third and foremost, to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with predominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering."
In other news, experts hate rugby, boys, childhood, and all of us in general.
Update: No doubt the "expert" would prefer rugby replaced by something along the lines of this gooey kumbaya moment.
UK committee says fuel prices must stay high to force drivers into efficient carsApparently the committee never considered the alternative consequence of keeping petrol prices artificially high will be for the long-suffering people to chuck the committee and anyone in government who supports them out on their collectivist ears.