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current affairs

Jan Pawel II RIP

Jan Pawel II

A river of tears pours from Poland today… From Lublin, Poland where I am tonight Rest in Peace Karol.

BBC Report

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current affairs

The Government Inspector

Just finished watching Channel 4's The Government Inspector which certainly left Gilligan, Campbell and Kelly all looking rather bad. Some answers were hinted at but many still seemed beyond the reach of the film-maker's apparently detailed research.

I couldn't help feeling as the film ended that I hadn't been given enough to explain why a man like Kelly would kill himself, if indeed he did. A number of family problems were alluded to but not detailed – perhaps that is where the missing pieces of the puzzle lie?

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current affairs

Jimmy Smith RIP

The legendary organist Jimmy Smith has died. This is very sad and yet another legend I've missed out on seeing live before they moved on to the great jazz club in the sky. You've got to respect any artist who in his 70s comes out with an album called 'Dot Com Blues'. It's a fantastic album. At our old offices I used to play it LOUD on the weekends and people from other offices would drop by not to complain but to ask who was playing. Jimmy was a great talent who almost single-handedly pioneered the Hammond organ through the years.

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current affairs

The Rough Guide to a Better World

I'd heard about this extraordinary little book in passing but it wasn't until I picked up a free copy in Brighton's main Post Office that I realised quite how good it was. It's packed with uplifting stories and no-nonsense explanations to globalisation, development and changing to world.

You can download, read or order the book online.

Categories
current affairs

Commitment

Now these guys really wanted to vote… that's dedication.

Categories
current affairs

Getting into the Presidential Debates

The US Commission for Presidential Debates is a cosy little organisation co-owned by the Republicans and Democrats. So no surprise that third-party candidates don't get a voice. They should of course get a chance to broaden spectrum of arguments the American people hear – so they tried to serve papers to such effect on the Commission. However all over the country they were prevented from serving the legal documents by security guards. In fact the Libertarian and Green presidential candidates were arrested as they tried to serve the papers… a totally unacceptable denial of due process in my view.

More…

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current affairs

Anti-ID card Fringe event

NO2ID, the campaign to stop ID cards and the database state are holding a fringe meeting in Brighton this Wednesday 29th September. Starts 6pm at Courtlands Hotel in Hove.

More information…

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current affairs

Pro-hunt madness in Brighton

Today is the big Countryside Alliance demo in Brighton thanks to the Labour Conference (which I will report on fully real soon now). The madness has begun, around midday all roads were closed around the centre and several dead animals were found.

Yes, dead animals. A dead horse was dumped on Queens Road, the main road leading from the railway station to the sea (picture). Two dead calves were dumped by the conference centre (BBC News report). What this achieves for who is unclear. Two men have been arrested but did they want to undermine the pro-hunts people or support them?

I tried getting a picture, but didn't of a massive Countryside Alliance banner by the Clock Tower in central Brighton. Strangely as the conference delegates began arriving the banner mysteriously 'fell' off the scaffolding so that no delegates could see the message. I'm anti-hunting for sports myself but the way banners and posters have been covered up in the run-up to this conference is just appalling.

UPDATE: Some pro-hunting women have jumped in the sea half-naked. Not surprisingly this has got the interest of press photographers. More on Sky News. Thanks to Dave Walsh for most of the links in this post.

Categories
current affairs

Recycling, Statistics and GDP

In an article that mashes together two vital issues Wired News tells us about Nova Scotia's recycling program.

The article fascinates in two ways. Firstly, it reports on a study which shows that Nova Scotia's highly proactive recycling strategy saves the province between CAN$25-125 million each year. Good news in its own right, a traditional analysis would just have seen the cost in starting up a programme which recycles nearly 50% of all the province's waste.

The second theme in the article explores the growing use of alternative indicators to measure progress. GDP just doesn't have the nuance or breadth to properly reflect issues such as sustainability, voluntary work and the time wasted in commuting. The Genuine Progress Index (GPI) as used in the Nova Scotia report tries to integrate these softer factors into a numeric index. This kind of work is vital for pushing sustainability and quality of life up the agenda. As study co-author Sally Walker says “If there's no number associated with something, it's assumed to be zero.”

Categories
current affairs

Bake sales in GDP?

Via Wired News, fantastic come-back from Edwards:

Is Dick Cheney trying to prove he's hip to the internet? Speaking Thursday in Cincinnati, Cheney downplayed recent negative economic indicators, such as unemployment rates and consumer spending, because they miss an important source of income for Americans: eBay. “That's a source that didn't even exist 10 years ago,” Cheney said. “Four hundred thousand people make some money trading on eBay.” Let's hope these folks aren't selling off their belongings to stay afloat. John Edwards, the Democratic VP challenger, responded: “If we only included bake sales and how much money kids make at lemonade stands, this economy would really be cooking.”