Blog Grab

I will get back to regular posts on Little Nicky Machiavelli’s blog, I promise. Sometime, just don’t hold your breath.

Meanwhile take a look at a few of these interesting items:

Could Barak Obama be about to lose the election before poling day. Hillary Clinton supporting Lawyer Philip Berg has filed a court application seeking an injunction to prevent Obama’s being a candidate on grounds he is not American. rread the details of
Berg vs Obama and decide for yourselves if the allegations that (a) Obama was born in Kenya and has been living in the USA on a forged birthb certificate and (b) that even if his Keyan birth cannot be proved, he lost US Citizenship on being adopted by his Indonesian stepdad.

If only Obama’s dear old Mum, Stanley Anne Durham could have kept her knickers on around foreign guys, he’d be home and hosed now.

A popular history of history A history academic complains about the lack of academic rigour in “pop history”. What a pity one of his fellow academicians who was advisor on the recent bollocks of a series Bonekickers recently published a pice of “academic work” so rigourous it identified The Druids as worshippers of an Anglo Saxon minor god.

Kill all academics before they make comedy bloggers redundant.

Foreigners make The best Food says Michele hanson of The Guardian. Nah then lads,wheer ah come fra’ that’s fightin’ talk. Effing ignorant southerners.

(Michelle) Obama in Denver, Barry in trouble. The Democrats are starting to realise just how much trouble Barak Obama’s campaign is in. Is it too late to save him or dump him?
Here’s a link to another article on the same theme.
Democrat Pundit Predicts Obama Will Lose Well if by choosing a nomark the Democrats have handed America to the Republicans for another four years, we’ll never forgive them.

VIDEO TIME
The People Who Will Decide The US Election. Excellent humour from the Onion defines thev 430 new demographics that will decide the U.S. election.
Would you have guessed that Obama leads by 99% among gay Dads while among wooodwork business owning brothers McCain leads by 81%?

And while we are doing video here’s one on The Obamessiah from The Nose On Your Face

and finally

Its a cool cool summer

Abandon The South – Tory Boy Think Tanks Report Backfires

A few days ago a Tory – Boy Think Tank released a report of stupendous and stunning stupidity that suggested we should all abandon our homes in the cities and towns of the beautiful north because is was….well….the better in every way than the south. We ought to move to the scummy south brayed the Tory Boys in a tone reminiscent of Harry Enfield at his funniest or Margaret Thatcher at her most rabid.
Well it has rebounded on them with a vengance with the publication today of a study on coastal erosion witch suggests large tracts or land in “desirable locations” around the South Coast should be abandoned. The waterlevels will rise as the ice caps melt and the land is tilting, the south-east sinking into the Atlantic as the north rises. It is climate change plus geophysics, a double whammy.

Britain’s crumbling coast

So really it is not the north that is failing but the south that is sinking. And far from abandoning our northern homes we should raise the baccricades, take up our pitchforks and cudgels and prepare to resist an invasion of greedy, humourless, property obessessed, demi-francaise, Tories. They’ll play havoc with the value of our property you know, forcing up prices until we can’t afford to heat our homes or buy our pie and chips.

The publication of the think tank report shows that despite Cameron’s attempts at cuddliness, the Tories are still Thatchers party, braying, witless clowns with delusions of adequacy. We must never forget that.

Barak Obama’s Magic Hat

Many people across the pond are wondering why I, a European leftie, am so irritated by Barak Obama and his fuckwitted Presenential campaign. Americans ten to see every issue as a black and white (oops, pardon!) choice. You Like Obama ergo you hate McCain and vice versa.

Well my politics are more subtle than that. In British politics for years I have managed to hate Conservastive and Labour with equal venom (though I have tilted towards superhating Labour recently.

Now Obama is a strange case. He is so politically naive you can hear more sophisticated arguments from a school debating society. His utterances have a quasi-religious tone that I find puke making and that effing supid, witless, ever present grin make me want to beat his face to pate.

On top of that Obama and his supporters have this annoying tendency to assume problems can be fixed just by saying “we’ll fix it.”

Latest in this line is the pro-choice /pro-life debate on abortion and contraception. An Obama advisor says, “The religious right hate abortion but in twenty years the Republicans have failed to reduce abortions. All we have to do is formulate a policy that will reduce abortions and the evangelical vote will come over to Sen. Obama.

Yeah right. It’s just that easy. Like a magician pulling rabbits out of his magic hat.

How Obama can win over the pro – lifers – hufington Post

This article is by another Obama supporter who is not likely to be setting foot on this planet any time soon. Forgetting that the candidate is a deluded fantasist who has not yet stated a policy on anything, let alone the tough issues, how can Barak Obama formulate a policy that will reduce abortions without upsetting the religious right.

The fundies hate recreational sex as much as they hate abortions. The only way to reduce unwanted pregnancies is to offer free contraceptives, condoms, pill, morning aftrer pill. The pro-lifers abhor all of these, their position is abstinence only. The Republicans have failed to reduce aborion is because abstinence doesn’t work, never has, never will.

So what has Obama to offer? Hopes dreams and visions, Bob the builder becomes a gynaecologist? And would he want to offer anything, after all his ex best buddy Jeremiah Wright preaches that Planned Parenthood is a WASP conspiracy to exterminate the dark skinned races.

If you want to abort any influence idiot articles like this may have on your thinking, read my article A Short History Of Contraception (Part 4) which deals with the modern era. (1 to 3, linked from the article deal with earlier periods of history. )
A Short History Of Abortion And Contraception (4)

The Scandal That Will Not Go Away: MMR link to Autism rises again.

About a year ago I posted an item titled The Scandal That Will Not Go Away. It was about the alleged link betwenn the MMR vaccine and Autism and the way that after ten years this controversy has not been resolved.

As anticipated I has a lot of hysterical and emotionally overwought responses from scientists accusing me of not understanding the issue because I was not a scientist.

Wrong on many counts. I was not coming down on either side of the argument, merely asking why the issue keeps resurfacing. I was accused of supporting Dr. Wakefield’s research although I never mentioned him and one boy scientist even tried to tell me that “correlation does not prove causation” is the basis of scientific thinking. All he proved by that was he does not understand the difference between correlation and coincidence.

Well now the Labour government is launching another campaign aimed at bullying doubting parents into having their very young children injected with three potent toxins in a single dose and here is an article from Peter Wilby who claims he is a former editor of some crypto-fascist rag read by Ivory Tower dwelling Hampstead liberals showing us once more that the “scientific argument” supporting MMR consists of nothing more than mud slinging against sceptical voices.

Particularly intersting are the comments though, science fundies on one side and freethinkers on the other. Well I have said many times there are a breed of scientists who are seeking to turn their obsession into a religion. They should beware of coming here and complaining that I treat their irrational certainties with the same scant respect I give to the irrational certainties of Creationists preachers:

And Let them know that I am Machiavell,
and weigh not me and therefore not men’s words…
I count religion but a childish toy, whatever label people put on it,
and hold there is no sin but ignorance.

More on the great MMR scandal from Little Nicky Machiavelli

UPDATE 11 Feb. 2009:
Mary Creagh complains that attempts to bully reluctants parents into having their children vaccinated with the MMR triple shot are met with stubborn resistance and suggestions that the vaccine should be compulsary are greeted with outrigh hostility and accusations of fascism (quite right too).In her article MMR: Why we should follow US policy she makes the usual Big Pharma approved defence of the MMR vaccine complete with lies, misrepresentation, dubious statistics and use of emotive language in an attempt at emotional blackmail. Her case rests on the fact that in the US parents must prove their children are vaccinated against certain diseases before they can enrol them in state run schools.

Fine, but what she omits to mention is in America’s private healthcare system it is much easier to get single vaccines spaced over a longer perion. Crreagh also takes a few swipes at “ignorant working class parents” although figures show it is more likely to be middle class people who are sceptical about the vaccine as (a) they are better informed (b) autism does seem more likely to affect children of middle class parents.
If that is the ony way its supporters can defend MMR then perhaps we should just do away with it.

RELATED POSTS:
Should Kids Who Don’t Have MMR Jab Be Banned From School

Dirty Electricity

There is a capitalist myth gaining currency that electricity is “clean energy.” When we are sucking the watts out of sockets or batteries it is clean enough of course, no columns of yellowy grey smoke rising from tall chimneys, no nasty oily smell as of exhaust fumes from internal combustion engines.

That might seem to confirm the claims of commercial operations promoting the virtues of the electric car or electrical home heating systems but think again. Electricity is not a clean fuel, most of the electric power used for domestic and industrial purposes is generated by burning coal, oil or gas. Power stations are the biggest emitters of CO2 and NO2, running 24/7, pumping these pollutant gases into the atmosphere.

Plus your Prius into the main supply and you can feel virtuous, the generating plant that produced the electricity flowing into your batteries is well away from town so out of sight, out of mind. But the power station is not the only source of pollution drivers of electric cars should be aware of the environmental impact of manufacturing and disposing of Nickel Metal – Hydride (NiMH) batteries. both are absolutely filthy processes. Lithium – Ion batteries would be a better option but for the scarcity of lithium and the abundance of people who want to own cars.

Still, so long as the batteries are not manufactured in our back yard the public relations peoples’ job in persuading us to scrap our perfectly good conventional cars and buy new hybrids or electric cars. We can continue to be concerned without actually changing our lifestyles.

Clean generation systems are the answer but what does The Great Conspiracy come up with? Carbon Capture Systems. Even if the technology works it only succeeds in moving the problem out of sight.

Nuclear power from fission offers CO2 free electricity but pollutes in other ways. So much for electricity being a clean fuel. It is time we stopped letting the media and the evangelists for free market solutions divert attention from the grim realities. As things stand we have no reliable and environmentally friendly way of providing the electricity modern societies need. And the effing Government are pratting about with windmills.

Nuclear fusion would seem to provide and answer but research has not progressed much in the last fifty years.

We will only have abundant clean energy when we are prepared to elect Governments that are not slaves to big business and big finance, that will not prioritise the profit factor but sink public money and human resources into developing power generation technologies that utilise genuinely reliable and sustainable sources, the Sun, tides, river flow.

The Pursuit Of Mediocrity

The Sats results for pupils at KS2 and KS3 were finally published yesterday, amidst continuing grumblings about the marking process.
This follwed hot on the heels of news that secondary schools regularly re-test the children when they enter Y7 as they have found that the grades they receive at KS2 are not compatible with the childs performance generally.
A further concern is that the number of children attaining Level 5, the highest level available to a child sitting a KS2 paper, has dropped.
This has led to concerns that brighter children are being neglected.
Too damn right they are. When Labour came to power in 1997 Tony Blair said his priorities were,”Education, education education.”
The first attempt to get over 75% of pupils achieving level 4 in each of the core subjects was quite simply to lower the pass mark on the papers and make the questions easier.
When SATS were first introduced in 1993 it was impossible to get a Level 4 on the English reading paper without answering what are termed ‘higher order questions’ where to answer correctly a child would have to form an opinion, or read between the lines and give reasons for their answers. All this changed after 1997, it became possible to achieve the pass mark, which was lower anyway, just by answering multiple choice questions, or simple comprehension type questions.
The same applies to Maths and Science where children were expected to be able to explain how they worked out an answer, how they would solve a problem, design an experiment or draw conclusions from a set of data.
However having instigated this change it was still not enough to achieve the target the government had set itself. So then they brought in booster classes. Teachers were asked to identify those children who were at a predicted level 3A or 3B, and these children were given extra tuition, funded by the government, in an effort to boost them up to level 4.
In many cases thase children would be removed from the ordinary class to be taught separately, in small groups, whereas the other kids, now the ones from both ends of the ability range, were left in the classroom.
But the trouble with cramming is that it just doesn’t stick. It’s OK if you’ve got the knowledge there, but if you are trying to get the knowledge in in the first place that is a different kettle of fish, so even though some of the children improved enough to get that coveted level 4 more often than not it wasn’t a genuine improvement, as the secondary teachers soon noted.

Now, 11 years down the line education is once again in turmoil, this year’s SATS ara a fiasco and standards do not seem to improve, only 61% of children who took SATS this year achieved Level 4 in all three subjects. Meanwhile the brighter kids get bored and are turned off education, cruising along without ever being challenged, because despite Mr. Blair’s belief that sleight of hand, smoke and mirrors could convince the public that things were changing it should now be obvious to anyone who cares to look that the only change has been the pursuit of mediocrity at the expense of excellence.

A COUPLE OF MONTHS have passed since fatsally posted this blog and now we read a post in The Guardian that under the title The Truth About Our Schools restates most of what our writer says about education policy imposing mediocrity. As usual it takes a while but mainstream media eventually catches up with Little Nicky Machiavelli and Boggart Blog