Sunday, 8 February 2009

Diana Watch

How can you score 5 tries and still be rubbish? Who knows but England have managed it. Is this really the team that won the world cup and were then runners up?
I’m not entirely sure that there has been any news this week that hasn’t been snow related in Britain. The first word of pretty much every news bulletin has been “SNOW!” The only time that the news got interesting was when the BBC accidentally played a clip from Christian Bale’s rant without the appropriate beep at 6:55 in the morning.

It made me laugh.

The cockpit tapes from the flight that ended up in the Hudson last month have been realised and they tell us 2 things. 1, it was a bird strike that bought the plane down and 2, the pilot, Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger III, is the calmest man in all the world. His plane has no thrust and he’s gliding over New York but there is not the slightest note of panic in his voice. It is incredible to listen to. Even as he is about to attempt to land his enormous aircraft on a river, nothing. Not a thing. Just a calm, “We may end up in the Hudson “. Remarkable.

There are 2 things I forgot to mention last week. Bob Dylan did a Pepsi advert for the Super Bowl. I know I have complained about people selling out for adverts but Bob Dylan? Oh for fucks sake, make it stop. I know he did an ipod ad but I’m not sure that that really counts because it was sort of an advert for his album at the time but Pepsi? With Will i am from the Black Eyed Peas. It makes me very sad.
The other thing was that Iceland now seems to have the worlds first openly gay Head of State and it’s a woman. 2 underrepresented groups in one. Good work Iceland. It’s another milestone for the world and it means the Daily Mail readers will avoid your beautiful country. I’m on my way.

Do any Americans pay tax? I only ask because it seems that most of the people that President Obama knows seem to have a little trouble with it. Tom Daschle, who was going to be Health and Human Services Secretary, failed to pay $100,000 in taxes for donated limos and has now withdrawn his nomination. I’m assuming that that is a lot of donated limo travel. The new Treasury Secretary, Tim Goithner, hastily had to pay a tax bill of $42, 000 which also included penalties for late payment. These and several other cases involving Obama nominees are a microcosm of a bigger problem in this globalised, corporate world. Tax avoidance is a growing industry and big money can be made by accountants who know how to work it. It is estimated by some economists that, world wide, companies avoid paying some £280 billion. This is, of course, all perfectly legal via an exciting web of loopholes and front companies, all set up with the explicit point of not paying any tax. Governments seem powerless to close the loopholes because if they try the companies threaten to leave the country and take what little tax they do pay and the jobs they create with them to which every country they decided to relocate too. At the moment there is nothing that any singular country can do because it is competing against other countries for that company. If something is to be done then it will have to be a world wide effort and I don’t think that anyone has the appetite for that fight with all the other problems that they are trying to sort out. There does seem to be a bit a flight towards protectionism from a number of countries in the past few weeks, one of these being America. Most economists, even the ones I mentioned last week, will tell you that protectionism, whilst always playing well on the domestic market, just asking some striking power plant workers, was one of the main reasons for the length of the great Depression in the 30’s. It is a very poor idea.
One of the better plans to come out of the Whitehouse recently, on the economic front anyway, was an announcement that top bankers, a term that was not defined, whose bank had taken government bailout money would be limited to a salary of $500,000 per year, with a limit on bonuses. There has been some moaning about this from various banking groups but, as President Obama pointed out, the leader of the free world only gets paid $475,000, so do you think that you are worth more then him?
My favourite counter argument to this limit on pay was made by a very long faced banker who said “you need to pay these bonuses in order to attract the best people. If you don’t pay them the best people will go and work for other people.” I’m sorry? What now? The best people? The best people, as you call them, HAVE COMPLETELY FUCKED WORLD! Sorry about that but he annoyed me.

I’m breathing deeply now and counting to 10 and as I calm down, shall we do some awards?

The Award for Correct Use of Words, Of The Week,

This goes to the composer Howard Goodall who, whilst on radio 4’s The Today program discussing music teaching in Primary schools, used the word “children” all the time. It was so nice to hear the correct word being used and not the rather horrid “kids”, which I hate.

The Award for Thing That Annoyed Me in a Bookshop of the Week,

The book that the film Slumdog Squarepants was based on, which used to be called “question and answer” I think, is now called Slumdog Millionaire. I know it is only a little thing but the author is a bit of a sell-out.

The Award for Ill-Informed Pedant of the Week,

This goes to anyone who criticised Gordon Brown for accidentally using the term “Depression” instead of “Recession” during Prime Minister’s Questions this week. My problem with this, quick distract people from the fact that we have no ideas, fuss is the fact that neither of the words actually mean anything. A recession is defined as 2 successive quarters of negative growth but this definition was made up in about 5 minutes before a press conference some time in the 50’s or 60’s (can’t find out exactly when). It really has no meaning economics wise.

The Award for Most Incredible Thing I’ve Heard All Week,

A 56-year-old American athlete has become the first woman on record to swim the Atlantic. Yes, that’s right, she swam the Atlantic. It took Jennifer Figge 24 days to swim from the Cape Verde islands off Africa to Trinidad. Good lord. I have trouble doing a length of a swimming pool.

Shorter this week, which I think is a good thing, but still too much economics, sorry. Umm, I’ve bought so eco-pants and some bamboo socks this week. When they arrive I’ll review them for you. Significant other is reading the new novel “Wetlands” at the moment and I’m assured that it is filth and more then a little unpleasant. I’ll read it and tell you.
England’s rugby players were substandard, the cricket have just been bowled out for 51, their 3rd ever lowest score, so it all rest upon the football team, who play Italy on Wednesday, to restore national pride.
At the moment I can’t find Clarkson’s column on the Time website so I can’t tell you if my prediction about him using the snow to bash “Global Warming” was right or not. Will keep looking though. Hope you have a good week.

1 comment:

  1. Re. Twitter for Monday.
    Maybe we should quiz with you sometime. We're not all that clever though, and adult company tends to make me dizzy....