Jesus Camp and other stuff

Anyone who has not looked at today’s Boggart Blog yet should check out my article on last night’s Channel 4 documentary Jesus Camp
and then read this unrelated but complimentary story from Amanda Marcotte at Pandangon about a teacher in the USA who was sacked for showing his class a simple conjuring trick. Christian parents accused him of wizerdry. The hypocrisy makes you puke.

Teacher sacked in USA after showing class a simple conjuring trick.

We Lost This Thing In February it looks as if Hillary Clinton has lost the race for the democratic Party Presidential candidacy. But has she a dirty trick or two up her sleeve. Knowing the Clinton’s reputation for political witchcraft I’m not ruling it out.

Deliberative Democracy and the scientific method go together like chocolate and vanilla. Pandangon again, this time on the way America’s liberals have let the Rabid Right define the political agenda.

Preacher’s Pride before fall A new link for Little Nicky, to Scotland’s leading (so they claim) quality paper. Well they all help the hits keep rolling in.

People Who have done nothing wrong have nothing to fear from CCTV, neither has anyone else.

Every few months since it came to power, The Government has released a new set of crime figures showing that “recorded” crime has fallen. The keyword here is “recorded.”
One of the reasons politicians like to cite for their alleged success in dealing with crime is the success of their policy of installing CCTV cameras everywhere but independent figures released today show that CCTV cameras do not cut crime at all.
There are several very logical reasons for believing the independent figures.

Many of the cameras are not working at any particular crime. This is because they are installed and operated by private contractors financed by Public / Private Finance agreements. This gives the operators an incentive to tick the boxes on the forms without carrying out the necessary maintenance work.

Criminals know where cameras are and commit their offences round the corner.

The fashion industry helps the criminal fraternity. Did you think hooded sweatshirts and Burberry caps were just a fashion statement?

Defenders of CCTV claim the technology is good for identifying wrongdoers by the logos on their clothes. Imagine some lawyer having to stand up in court and say, “In the photograph on the left the jury will see the accused walking in High Street wearing a blue sweatshirt on which a Nike logo is clearly visible. The photograph on the right from the same camera 30 minutes later shows a group of young men robbing an older man. Their faces obscured due to their hood being raised but one is wearing a blue sweatshirt bearing the Nike logo. This must prove beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of the accused.

Yeah right. Any jury would convict.

The cameras are most effective as a weapon against street crime but the images from them are too fuzzy and indistinct to be used as evidence in court. They are best used to monitor trouble spots and direct police patrols to where a presence is needed. Trouble is, so much money has been wasted on this technology, the police forces have had to reduce numbers of feet on the street.

Our Government of control freaks will defend their policy beyond reason of course, they can never admit to failure. To compound their folly, even now they are gearing up to introduce a new generation of surveillance cameras claimed by manufacturers to be capable of zooming in on a target to photograph the iris. The data will then be checked against the biometric information database compiled for the National ID card project.

Don’t know about you, but I am going to be investing my life savings in firms that make sunglasses.

TODAY WE COMENTED ON:
Tim Worstall asks “Who is Justine Bateman?

Crooked house

Crazy Politico

Kyle Smith Online

Guilty of doing nothing wrong

title-4135470

The Population Timebomb
As food shortages threaten to lead to war and humanitarian disaster John Feeney asks the question Little Nicky’s blog posed six months ago, is it time to face up to the need for population control.

Race Issue Dogs Obama
Will the race issue derail the Barak Obama bandwagon before he even secures the nomination?

A Brighter Outlook For The Economy The markets and the people who write about them are amazing. Nine months of consistently worsening financial conditions was dismissed as a “blip.” Now a one day knee jerk surge in share prices has them all scrambling to claim “the recovery has begun.”

Base Instincts The way polls are going across the pond suggests America’s democrats, like New Labour in Britain, have lost touch with their core vote.

Today we commented on…. May4 – 08

Across the pond things are hotting up in the race for the Democratic nomination. But the mud slinging that is going on now is nothing compared to she shit that will be thrown at Barak Obama should he become the candidate.

Huffington: Probing a political paradox; why does the right still set the political agenda?

charisma and leadership (Obama)

Hillary & Bill go Coconuts
http://www.tmz.com/2008/05/04/miley-let-out-of-the-cage/

London Mayoral Elections
http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbtoday/F5963509?thread=5407747&skip=0&show=20

Education in the House of Cards

One of the flagship catchphrases that took the Blair / Brown New Labour project to power was “education, education, education.”
What they delivered was not better nor even more education but a scam, a deception based on league tables which were presented as showing the best schools. Gullible lefties and ambition driven former Thatcherites are easily deceived of course and were ready to swallow the idea that coaching children to pass increased numbers of tests while reducing quality so average grades rose was actually improving education standards when in fact New Labour were busy abolishing real education and replacing it with training.
There was another aspect to the scam of course, a beneficial side effect of the League Tables. The fact that the best schools seemed to concentrate in prosperous middle class areas where most parents could afford books, computers and other learning aids upped property prices in those areas thus helping inflate the housing bubble that was to underwrite Brown’s debt driven economic miracle.
State schools that did well in the league tables appeared to offer as good an education as private schools. This gave middle class parents an incentive to move house rather than fork out thousands to get their kids a better start than the local chav academy could offer.
Thus property prices in the best suburbs were pushed up and they dragged up prices across the whole range of housing.
So the middle class parents who moved now had a decent education for their kids plus a nice property investment. And we all know property values always go up don’t we folks.
Now of course the school league tables stand discredited as employers complain of newly hired University media studies grads. who can barely write their own name while we have to import plumbers, brickies and electricians from Poland and The Czech republic. At the same time house prices are tumbling due to twin dearths: of cheap credit and of fools willing to sell themselves into slavery for the privilege of paying off a mortgage for the rest of their lives.
And the New Labour project is if not yet dead then certainly in extremis.
When a substantial edifice of brick or stone is abandoned it decays gradually, sometimes elegantly.
But when a House of Cards such as the House that Blair built collapses, it is gone without trace in an instant.

TODAY WE COMMENTED ON:
Eleven years after the new dawn, dusk has arrived
A bad day for Labour but how bad. Some think they will bounce back, others think the curtain is coming down on the New Labour project.

News From The Profit Centres
Is the internet killing journalism? Maybe so but not for the reasons this article suggests.

The voice of the people is develish odd
Aristotle may have appeared to argue in supports of “the wisdom of crowds” but the old bubble had never seen the internet.

Boris Town
There is nothing worse than a bunch of Tories with their tails in the air. Well Bojo may be the dog’s bollocks today but give him three months…

Market Forces So the stock markets enjoyed a boost? Already the finance indistry pundits are talking of a rally. How shallow can they get?

Secret Cult of Mormon Sci – fi Fans Amanda Marcotte at Pandangon dismisses fears that the sci fi series Battlestar Galactica is Mormon propaganda.
What next? Will some nut be trying to tell us Blake’s Seven is an attempt to convert us all to Seventh Day Adventism?

The Great Conspiracy and The Parking Scam

One thing that exposes the hypocrisy and deceitfulness of all the weasel words spouted by politicians about “community” is the conspiracy between all levels of government, supermarkets, internet shopping ventures and property developers to squeeze out of existence the independent traders that used to fill our high streets.
The effect of this is to rip the living heart out of communities that have evolved over hundreds of years.
The most noticeable aspect of the conspiracy is the cost and difficulty of parking a car anywhere in town that is in safe walking distance of where you need to be.
On top of that, the draconian penalties imposed on people who stay on a meter two seconds over their paid for time and the practice if contracting out parking patrols to private firms whose untrained operatives are paid bonuses for exceeding revenue targets and we have a driver hostile town centre environment.
Many more people might be happy to leave their cars at home and use public transport had public transport not been all but abolished by Thatcher’s privastising pirates. But that is how the scam works, promise people freedom of choice them remove all choices except compliance with the interests of big money.
Free parking on municipal car parks is a thing of the past and had the property bubble not burst municipal car parks would have been a thing of the past very soon too as authorities raced to sell off all available land to property developers.
Challenge the Town Hall though and a bureaucrat will say that when car parks are sold for redevelopment, alternative spaces are provided elsewhere. This is a fine example of that age old political too the lie that is not untrue. While new parking spaces are indeed being provided these are usually close to a big shed development on the outskirts of town, well away from the traditional town centre. The units available are far too big and expensive for local independents and so are occupied by national and multi-national retail chains. This type of shopping facility had no character, we could be anywhere in our nation and not notice a difference. A Briton in America or an American in Britain would only notice that some of the names are different.
The needs of the shoppers are secondary to the needs of the money men.
Thus when redevelopment in a town is considered, the planning applications of big corporate chains are fast tracked while those of independent stores are bound up in red tape and steered into the labyrinth of local planning regulations.
Town councils have a duty to provide certain things, both as public services and business enterprises. For a town to function as a community, retail areas, public spaces, leisure facilities from sports centres to theatres and pubs are needed as well as those necessary services like waste disposal, street lighting, hospitals and schools.
Neither Town Hall or central government has a duty to pander to the interests of big business, especially when we consider the lengths to which big business will go to avoid national and local taxes.
Local and National administrations are immersed equally deeply in the brown smelly stuff that flows abundantly from all activities where big money is involved. Even the media are complicit. How often do we hear or read that the opening of a new outlet by Wal-Mart, Tesco or one of the other Big Unfriendly Giants of the retail world will create hundred of new jobs in a town. They never seem to mention how many jobs will be lost as small businesses are forced into liquidation or have to downsize.
There is no proof of any conspiracy between business and government as supporters of the rabid right will be keen to tell me. That is the whole point of a conspiracy of course, there is never any proof. The way these factions manage to act so unerringly in each others interests could be down to the most amazing chain of coincidences.
On the other hand people who are planning to help each other to gain dominance in a particular field are hardly likely to issue press releases.
So next time there is a rumpus about parking facilities in your town you must make a choice. Either collaborate with the conspiracy or fight. Refuse to pay your fine.
They can’t put us all in prison.

TODAY WE COMMENTED ON:
When business calls the clunking fist turns into a wee tim’rous beastie
Obama loses momentum

Tales of terror

Marvin Gaye’s Inner City Blues

Blue Gal

A Quiet Day In The Blog Office

No big news stories today as we all all election watching. Will it be Boris or Ken, will the Labour core vote crumble in the old indistrial areas, will the Greens get their well deserved breakthrough in traditional Con /Lib-Dem Nimbyland consituencies.

Who will come up with the most ridiculous excuse for a mediocre performance?

We will be back on the case tomorrow. Meanwhile you might like to check out these stories:

Defining Insanity Hufington Post examines the apparent determination of The Democrats to lose the Presidential election in November. Could it be they have worked out just how screwed the US economy really is?

The cunning Realist on Fuel Price Protests Fuel prices are squezing the “cojones” of those redneck SUV drivers in the USA resulting in protests by drivers going round in circles slowly, thus wasting expensive fuel. But with the pump price still below $4 per gallon we can only wonder WTF they are complaining about.

Live Blog – The Apprentice Last night the stubbly one said “you’re fired” to obnoxious shortarse Kev but are this years crew of desperate wannabes the most repulsively egocentric yet? Would you employ any of them.