Buisness people everywhere

When asked recently on radio-four about the English Cricket Board's accepting money from Allen Stanford, Frank Cottrell Boyce came back with an interesting perspective:

New Zealand's new copyright amendment

I blogged earlier about zealous politicians trying to turn off internet connections to prevent copyrights from being infringed. Politicians in New Zealand seem to be about to pass a law that would allow internet connections to be severed just on an accusation alone. Freedom groups are portraying this as assuming guilt just on an accusation: this has to be wrong by any standard. What is the excuse? It is too difficult for ISP's to prove that copyright is being infringed. I don't live in New Zealand but this type of policy should be shown the contempt it deserves.


The Root Of All Evil: Richard Dawkins

Dawkins as always provokes a response: he seems to me to be religiously anti-religion. Disecting religion as though it were a lab-rat, he misses much recent research. Religion is not irrelivant or the evidence of belief alone can cure: no matter what the belief is in. Recent evidence has shown this.

Ideas and metaphor

The The Word-Nerds have an interesting pod-cast explaining a well used metaphor in politics: The Ship of State. This dates back to Plato's republic. I've heard this metaphor reused in different ways by different authors recently. They point out that governor has its roots in the Roman word for Helmsman.

It shows how a good metaphor can be very powerful. It provides ways of talking about areas of the problem that everyone understands. It allows you to quickly express complex ideas and emotions. For example if you're sailing close to the wind then it implies more work, rougher sea and a narrower margin of error. Rocking the boat can be easily understood as something like sabotage; although in calm seas could be a joke. There are many.

To speak is to listen: Livingstone and Outrage

The Mayor of London was recently suspended for a month by an adjudication panel over comments he made to a Jewish reporter. He likened the reporter to a concentration camp guard. It appears that Livingstone felt that he was a fascist, or at least the Evening Standard is. This case is not as simple as it first seems, the reporter may well have been a fan of Livingstone.


What is the fuss about identity cards?

I have to admit to having mixed feelings about Identity Cards. Liberty who campaign for human-rights have an active campaign against them. The primary reason is that they are an erosion of civil liberty, but also:

  • They cost too much: they're set to cost hundreds of millions, as much as £18billion. They argue the money would be better spent invested in the police.
  • Choice: people aren't being given a choice. Although the govenment is dancing round the issue, saying that there is an option. But hindering those who don't take up the card.

The golden age of education

Education is close to every parent's heart. I can remember when I was at school, education was just as important then--- parents seemed often dissatisfied with the quality of education on offer. Consistently wanting the best schools for their children. It may be that there is no such thing as a perfect educational system. But parents always seem to cringe when the subject of problem kids are brought up. Why is it that there are a great number of schools where students aren't there for learning. The reasons are complex but one reason must be the culture; classrooms might end up in a shambled for exactly the same cultural reasons as city centre's turn into a brawl on a Friday night. It's not purely the school, although it contributes. If schools act as a stand-in parent when the real parents are out at work then there needs to be co-operation between the parent and the school. As far as "problem" kids go, if the parents have no ethics then how likely are children to have them. Pushing the limits is what children do though, and some of the worse behaved become the key contributors to society. It is important though to distinguish between not doing well at school and being disruptive--- you might not be doing to well, but don't drag the class down with you. There were notable underachievers at school; I heard for instance Einstein was not considered to be a good pupil. Partly because he was already preoccupied with what he was interested in. Everything else that the school demanded he learnt, he wasn't interested in. There is a difference from having a direction and no direction at all.


Politics and the Crowd

For many years now there have been movements against the sort of forgeign policy that America employs and the type of rhetoric that is employed to create change. Interesting people with a history of speaking out against US foriegn policy seem to have far more prominance recently. Noam Chomsky seems to be sold in every major bookstore, films like The Corporation, Fahrenheit 9/11 are in mainstream cinema--- rather than reserved for the art house and Pinter wins the nobel prize.

Pinter, appart from being a playwrite, has been a consistent critic of american policies over the years. Indeed he used his Nobel Lecture to openly critise how America has shaped global politics since the second world war. He suggests that the movement against this power is growing. Pinter though reminds me of some way's of Chomsky though--- both are highly literate and well educated. You could say they are both linguistic geniouses; Chomsky single handedly revolutionised the study of language and Pinter... well... won a more than one prise for literature. The point that they make and also they miss to a certain degree is not everyone is as clever as them--- although it is true to say that america goes to extremes--- some of their policies are blunt and too the point so there is no mistaking. Sometimes rhetoric and deplomacy don't work because the other side, not america, is not engaging in diplomatic channels.


Pursue your dreams

Tumble out of bed and stumble to the kitchen
Pour myself a cup of ambition
And yawn
and stretch
and try to come to life.
Jump in the shower
and the blood starts pumping
Out on the street
the traffic starts jumping
With folks like me on the job from nine to five.
Working nine to five
what a way to make living
Barely getting by
it's all taking and no giving.
They just use your mind
and they never give you credit
It's enough to drive you crazy
if you let it.


Did religion hold society back?

There has been interesting comparisons about the Americas: the rising of North America as dominant and more progressive compared to South America is more than religion. It has been put down to the tendencies of the Spanish and Portuguese to have more hierarchy; there were definitely rules and classes. Where, on the other hand, North America benefited from the contributions of all in society. When talking about religion it is possible to always look at the fanatics but it has also enabled some to do the most amazing things. There is a type of educated person who embraces the commonality of the world religions in a spiritual way. This has a lot of benefits and actually deep down I think it strikes the cord of nobility. If a person is to be truly a king among men he doesn't try and argue people out of their beliefs. First of all it's bad politics and second he illustrates he's not the leader. The relationship between those in power to religion is different from the average churchgoer--- there is a relationship between humility before God and power. It is a very useful political device; I do not doubt that politicians do believe. But it’s also useful to them.

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