Do you remember these? I can still remember my first walkman. Gosh, I felt so cool, to carry my own music around. And taping from the radio. The earthshattering joy of seeing a twin deck cassette deck.
A woman battling her amputee ex-husband for the lion's share of his £500,000 compensation has won her right to over half of his money in a landmark ruling, after the Appeal court declared her and their children's immediate needs were more important than those of the disabled man.
Lord Justice Thorpe ruled that the money Kevin Mansfield received in 1998 after losing a leg in a road smash - five years before he met his former wife Cathryn - ought to be 'available to all his family' and that her needs and those of their children are 'primary' and outweigh his own.
Mr Mansfield, 41 now faces having to sell his home, a specially adapted bungalow in Chelmsford, Essex - to meet the court's order that he pay £285,000 to 37-year-old Cathryn, so she can buy a new home for herself and their two children.
I was really puzzled and bewildered by this. And the immediate reaction was outrage but then the cooler head prevailed. What a terrible decision to make for the judge. Who do you look after first? the amputee? the wife? the kids? as it so happens, it was the kids which came first. And then i put myself in the man’s position and I couldn't. Outrage would have been an easy option and i can only thank the Lord that I am not faced with making such a decision. What a horrible situation. What can you do? not give money to the kids? or force them to live in their dad’s house? One can mumble something about feckless couples who divorce far too easily. What a mess.
What a beautiful picture. Books help you escape a horrible reality and give you dreams. Specially for kids. Excellent imagery.
But I realise I might be over-romanticising it. In the recent riots in the UK, guess which stores were ransacked? JD Sports, Armani, Miss Selfridges, Liquour Stores, Carphone Warehouse. Guess which store wasnt touched? Waterstones or any kind of bookshop. Frikking feral rats. But despite this, there are good kids in there and we see them when we are working with the charities.
These are youngsters who are uniquely alienated from the communities in which they grew up. Nurtured in large part by the welfare state, financially, physically and educationally, socialised more by the agents of welfarism than by their own neighbours or local representatives, these youth have little moral or emotional attachment to their communities. Their rioting reveals not that Britain is in a time warp in 1981 or 1985 with politically motivated riots against the police, but that the tentacle-like spread of the welfare state into every area of people’s lives has utterly zapped old social bonds, the relationship of sharing and solidarity that once existed in working-class communities. These riots suggest that the welfare state is giving rise to a generation happy to shit on its own doorstep.
This is not a political rebellion; it is a mollycoddled mob, a riotous expression of carelessness for one’s own community. And as a left-winger I refuse to celebrate nihilistic behaviour that has a profoundly adverse affect on working people’s lives. Far from being an instance of working-class action, this welfare-state mob has more in common with what Marx described as the lumpenproletariat. Indeed, it is worth remembering Marx’s colourful description in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon of how that French ruler cynically built his power base among parts of the bourgeoisie and sections of the lumpenproletariat, so that “ruined and adventurous offshoots of the bourgeoisie rubbed shoulders with vagabonds, discharged soldiers, discharged jailbirds, escaped galley slaves, swindlers, pickpockets, tricksters, gamblers, brothel-keepers, organ-grinders, ragpickers, knife-grinders, tinkers, beggars and from this kindred element Boneparte formed the core of his [constituency], where all its members felt the need to benefit themselves at the expense of the labouring nation”. In very different circumstances, we have something similar today where the decadent commentariat’s siding with lumpen rioters represents a weird coming together of sections of the bourgeoisie with sections of the underworked and the over-flattered, as the rest of us, “the labouring nation”, look on with disdain.
This is an interesting view.
Germany's Africa policy coordinator on Thursday blamed China's practice of buying up land in the Horn of Africa for contributing to the devastating famine ravaging the region.
Günter Nooke told the daily Frankfurter Rundschau it was clear that "this catastrophe is also man-made."
"In the case of Ethiopia there is a suspicion that the large-scale land purchases by foreign companies, or states such as China which want to carry out industrial agriculture there, are very attractive for a small (African) elite," he said.
"It would be of more use to the broader population if the government focused its efforts on building up its own farming system."
He said that the Chinese investments were focused on farming for export which he said can lead to "major social conflicts in Africa when small farmers have their land und thus their livelihoods taken away."
"Not everything the Chinese are doing in Africa is bad," Nooke said. "Chinese investment has perhaps an advantage: it will show how industrial farming in Africa can be carried out effectively."
He said that Germany supported a gradual phase-out of European agriculture subsidies so African farmers could have a shot at exporting their produce but admitted that there was still strong resistance.
Somalia is the Horn of Africa country worst affected by a prolonged drought - the region's worst in 60 years - that has put some 12 million people in danger of starvation and spurred a global fund-raising campaign.
The catastrophe has also hit parts of Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya and Uganda.
I am not sure this argument holds. The famine in the horn is a very complex beast and for somebody like Gunter to say that this is a problem due to chinese land holdings is very strange.
1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity, by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.
2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.
3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.
4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.
5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work, because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.
Pretty simplistic but then, why make things complex when things can be made simple? Have an Occam’s Razor.
I was thinking about this when hearing about the riots and how the spending cuts helped it and how poverty is driving people to riot and break into JD Sports to nick a pair of sneakers or throw a brick into Carphone Warehouse to steal a mobile. Yep, that’s what poor people do, riot.
This story, as usual, bangs on about how there is a huge growing gap between Whites and Hispanics.
And as Asians do not fit into the dominant discourse about how the whites have been subjugating and racially abusing the blacks and Hispanics, they simply ignore that data. Very amusing. These kind of exclusions are what makes statistics and economics so interesting but when scientists and researchers like this do such dishonest research, then its more amusing and makes one pity towards the researchers rather than the poor blacks or Hispanics. Bah!
Here is the full report. The entire summary completely managed to ignore Asians aside for a small note. And it was explained away by saying that they account for 5% of the population. This drop itself is so interesting, the biggest drop of all.
This is interesting because it seems to give evidence that socio economic factors do have an impact on terrorism.
Prior research has concluded that socio-economic development does not significantly affect terrorism. We take an alternative view. First, we note that a country's socio-economic circumstances affect terrorists’ behavior through terrorism's opportunity costs. We argue that this reasoning also holds in the case of supreme value terrorism. Then, we employ a series of negative binomial regressions for 110 countries between 1971 and 2007 to test the hypothesis that poor socio-economic development is conducive to terrorism. We find that socio-economic variables indeed matter to terrorism, contrary to other results. Our findings imply that countries can benefit from economic development and growth in terms of a reduction in terrorism.
This is, of course, quite high level and when reduced down to specifics, can have difficult results. For example, most of the high profile terrorism is in pretty rich countries (Norway or USA or Saudi Arabia), regions (Punjab in India). So one needs to think more about this.
She was interviewed by a chap on a pretty swish radio station. This radio station seems to concentrate on classical aspects related to Indian culture, history, music and the arts. Very nice.
The interview was for a full hour but I have edited the file to just show the main bits.