Friday, January 26, 2007

As high as a Humvee's Eye, Yee-haa!


Fuelling the crisis

'I came to this late today, and am surprised that it has generated so few responses, especially with Davos ongoing, and the leader of one of the bigger consuming/polluting countries getting behind what, at first blush, seems better than nothing: 'Big Corn' doesn't have quite the same scary coastline devastating cachet, really.

Not too sure about Greenpeace, but it's nice to see a considered, informative and on the whole thought-provoking piece on the subject by a director of Friends of the Earth.

In the same way as I have my doubts about whacking a fir in the Australian desert to keep on flying, I am so far not too sure how converting the world's food producing acreages into carbon-dioxide fuel generating plants helps much when there is a finite amount of land and a growing population expanding across it.

Especially when a lot that once did support crop growth seems to have gone a bit dusty or underwater of late.'

Pitch Perfect

See an opportunity... grab it!

With apologies for a double post - their system's fault.

Amapedia -- Amazon to take on Wikipedia

I know I rather missed the point, but having heard of neither I decided to give them a go in case I could integrate them with my site, which lets you search for specifications and ideas to make use of... junk!

OK, so these things are not there to find fmcg products. D'Oh!

For what it's worth I'd have to say the Wikki one's homepage, search function and navigation I found waaaay easier than amanadingwhatsis (sorry, the panel doesn't let you scroll to see originals you're replying to, and I don't want to lose this text hitting the go back key)

ps: If you ever do find anything I can hook up with to help save the planet from rampant consumerism, let me know:)

Davos IV (er.. more plebs strike back)

I have been moved to repost to the article on my previous DAVOS blog

"Thank you, icurahuman2

For what it's worth, I tend to agree with your technique and use it here in the UK for my environmental website. Hence I get a pretty good objective information spread between the Times and Telegraph on the right/biz-friendly side, and the BBC, Indy & Guardian on the left/liberal/activist side. The government propaganda machine sort of falls in-between, erring, obviously, left politically, but often quite right where money is involved. I now have a further insight by qualifying to be on their mailing list.

It is too often depressing to see what’s served up by press officers churned out without comment or analysis, almost verbatim, with agenda served simply by inclusion (or not) and editing (see below).

However you can get into whole other realms on top of these, such as societal impacts, when you stray into tabloid or magazine territory, which I also need to and do.

Plus of course there is rich and varied fare internationally, though sadly our budget precludes as many paid subs (online or hard copy) as I'd like for true balance. Especially niche areas, such as business, media or my own.

I've blogged endlessly on the power of omission, and cited this, with EDIT as an oft ignored servant of AGENDA, in such as my blog, 'lor forgive me, on the Big Brother episode -, now moving into its next sorry phase, here and in India at least.

Hence my being a tad dubious on how well served we may be by an exclusive cabal of 'connected’ journalists with, (and I'm sorry to use this as an off-blog opportunity), a slight dig at the informational, financial and environmental ROI's we derive(d) as readers and planet-inhabitters and, as you point out, a weather ear to the masters they serve."

Death and taxes

I hate to be nasty to an old lady, but when the media elite get to mouth off from their pedestal on things they know nothing about, or choose to interpret to fit some cosy view of a world they are privileged to inhabit, I see red:

Dear Ms. Bakewell,

Further to your piece, It is a rare tax that can inspire generosity, and in particular:

Gifts made more than seven years before your death will go untaxed. Now is the time to give some of it away.

I must respectfully diasagree.

Why then, can you not give it away immediately, or in fact immediately prior to passing, on the same basis you espouse?

It simply seems to allow time for a game to be played between the Treasury and a lot of vastly paid folk in the City and Lincoln’s Inn Fields, that most mere mortals cannot consider affording. Guessing the date of one’s demise to ensure the best use of the funds for one’s retirement to that point, and the betterment of those who have helped make it comfortable thereafter, to assist such leeches, their gold-plated salaries and index-linked pensions can not be what you are promoting, surely? You seem to be advocating more the crushing of the majority to penalise a minority (most of whom are immune), and while that may satisfy your view of the world you inhabit, it does not mine.

I returned from abroad with my young family several years ago to help my mother tend my dying father, and now find myself fitting in her care around trying to generate a living and establish the foundations of a comfortable retirement for my wife and myself - to avoid being a monetary burden, at least, on our future family members. This has required many career and financial sacrifices on our part, some of which have benefited the state already. It has to an extent been my choice, already with the support of my mother’s inherited income, to pursue a dream of a better future for my nearest, dearest and, I’d hazard, others. But by not being the beneficiary of all my Mum may end up leaving me will not make things easy, and will run contrary to a lot of the ‘logic’ you seem to hold so dear, in terms of family cohesion or avoiding future calls upon the state.

Depending on your view, I have either done very well or very badly. I have looked after both my parents' interests pretty well, a fact recognized by my mother who is more than happy for me to take over her finances in my name and look after her as part of the family she helped establish, and of which she is very much part.

However, despite having an Enduring Power of Attorney, as her sole heir (in addition to her grandsons, for whom I am trustee to her bequests) I doubt the Court of Protection would view this move as in her best interests. And, unless I have missed something, neither would I. I love my wife very much, and she me. But I am too old to be a total romantic. Things can change, especially as careers come to a close and kids leave. It is just possible therefore that having handed over her gift my mother would find half of it (and a large % of what I have committed to devote to her care until she passes on), going... elsewhere.

So I am afraid I cannot accept your statement is as you would have it. And, frankly, that a lot else behind your piece as being either fair or just in the circumstances I, and many others, have had to commit to. The current system still benefits those able and willing to avoid the proceeds of their ancestors' slave trade or other ennobled efforts (how much tax do Messrs. Fayed, Green or indeed many highly-placed Government supporters contribute again?). And while I am sure you are an exception, I can think of a view media celebrities of stage, screen and print, with oft-quoted egalitarian views, who I suspect have a speed dial to a good adviser with a nifty way to ensure the Tuscan villa doesn't come into the reckoning. Not all of the beneficiaries of a more equitable solution are the descendants of the rich, be they old money or nouveau (as you polish your Guillotine, be careful who the mob comes for next), and it frankly smacks of idealistic meddling to claim otherwise, at least in the terms you do.

Yours sincerely, an illogical crackpot (by your definition, at least),

I am juggling a lot, including making work, on terms that are of my choosing, but by any measure would destroy her beliefs, logic and defences. Trouble is, those with nothing to lose (gold-plated, index-linked ones) are setting the system and being supported by dewy-eyed, fabulously wealthy media types like her who think they know what's best for 'us'.

The Gloucester Old Spot now departing Terminal 3..

Keeping promises is not easy. With two 10-year-olds on monitoring duty I can attest to that.
Being kept to them is another matter. Hence I repeat, with two 10-year-olds...

So why is it that politicians are not held to the same scrutiny and, believe me, pressure, should they stray from a previously agreed path for no good reason?
I'm sure there is some tracking system, and I know 'media with memory' will trot out a corker to spice up an interview, but how about a simple, online table of what has been said or promised, and what has been ignored or reneged upon subsequently? I dunno, something like (worth the £4.99 reg. fee alone!). Purely factual. What was said, or done. And the follow-up. No end point. Maybe a section to allow for an explanation of a revision.

Now this preamble could be deemed to be unfair to the piece that inspired it, and the person it is about. It is not meant to be. Because, of a lot I've read of late, it makes a lot of sense, seems to put right a lot that's wrong, and I'd support it. I just hope it is going to happen when the time comes. So I will wait.

Because openness, and the ability to discuss and change things are fundamental to a democratic system. Yet in the name of Gord knows what, (pun slightly intended), we are seeing an erosion of such principles at every turn.