Saturday, 30 April 2016
I have ordered a few things from Amazon over the past month, I checked my bank statement yesterday and saw a payment of £79 for "Amazon Prime, to which I never signed up (it is supposed to guarantee slightly quicker delivery times on all orders or something).
I rang the bank to ask what it was about, and - sort of off the record - the lady told me that this had happened to her as well and she knew of plenty of other instances, apparently Amazon trick you into signing up to this somehow and somewhere in the small print.
She helpfully gave me the number to ring - 0800 496 1081 - in order to cancel, which I did, got through after two minutes and the man apologised and said that they would cancel/refund it.
They haven't done so yet, but we will see…
Friday, 29 April 2016
From The Telegraph:
Ginger people have long been the butt of unfair jokes, but a new study suggests that when it comes to ageing gracefully, they may be having the last laugh.
Scientists in The Netherlands have discovered that a gene which keeps people looking young for their age is the same that produces red hair and fair skin.
Researchers at Erasmus University in Rotterdam studied the faces of almost 2,700 elderly Dutch Europeans, and found that those carrying a variation of the MC1R gene looked on average two years younger than they actually are.
First comment in an LVT article on/in/at Salon, a couple of years ago:
This proposal would pass ALL of the land in the country to the wealthy at a far faster rate than it is now.
I make much less than 100K per year but I do own a home purchased many years ago. Making my taxes high enough to replace all other taxes would mean I would have to sell it to someone rich enough to pay those huge taxes. Eventually only the very wealthy would own property and we would all be renting from the over-class.
I've seen this one several times and can only assume that people who say it are hard core Home-Owner-Ist propagandists.
Simple question: "Do you earn enough to be able to afford to rent your own home?" For tenants the answer is obviously "yes", for owner-occupiers with a mortgage it is obviously "yes" and for people who have paid off the mortgage but not yet retired, the answer is almost certainly "yes" as well.
And surely just about everybody can answer "yes" to this question: "If payroll taxes were halved, so your net pay went up by a quarter and there were no sales taxes on the stuff you buy, would you be able to afford to rent your own home, assuming you get a one-third discount on the rent?"
Maybe these poor propagandists are in the one or two per cent of working people who can honestly answer "No" to that question, but methinks they are just full of shit.
Via MBK; from Conservative Home:
Behind much of the coverage of the EU debate is the assumption that voting to leave somehow means putting the Leave campaigners into office.
Hence the interest in what precise alternative we favour. Do we want Britain to be “like” Switzerland or “like” Norway or “like” Canada or “like” Jersey? (It’s worth noting, en passant, that the phrasing of the question demonstrates its silliness: the fact that no two non-EU states have identical deals with Brussels makes a nonsense of the idea that Britain would precisely mimic any of them. Plainly, we’d have our own deal, tailored to suit our own interests.)
I have written before about the sort of arrangement that we could realistically expect. But my opinions are not relevant, because I won’t be overseeing the negotiations. I can point in general terms to the status enjoyed by the other European states that are outside the EU: no tariffs; reciprocal arrangements on healthcare, university access and police co-operation; autonomy in agriculture, fisheries, defence, immigration, criminal justice, culture and regional policy. But my views on, say, how much we should subsidise our farmers matter a lot less than those of the farms minister.
A referendum is best understood as voters instructing their government, rather as a client instructs his barrister. Voting to leave means giving ministers a mandate: we’d be telling them to negotiate our departure on the best possible terms.
Remain campaigners don’t want us to understand this. They want to make the prospect of withdrawal seem as abrupt and as scary as possible. Hence their suggestion that a Leave vote on 23 June would somehow start a countdown, that we’d have two years to negotiate a new deal and that, if no agreement were reached within that time, we’d in some unspecified way be outside all trade arrangements.
I know this one's a week old, but I'll add it to the series anyway.
From The Daily Mail:
ISIS is backing Brexit because it 'suits their agenda,' according to Tony Blair's former spin doctor Alastair Campbell.
He said the Islamic terror group is one of very few overseas players who want Britain to leave the EU, joined only by US presidential hopeful Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Thursday, 28 April 2016
From The Daily Mail:
Denmark is considering a tax on red meat over fears cattle flatulence was causing climate change.
A government think tank said consumers were 'ethically obliged' to change their eating habits in a bid to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
The Danish Council of Ethics said cattle accounted for around 10 per cent of the CO2 released into the atmosphere, while food production makes up around another 20 per cent.
Ho hum, the article only mentions cattle and not pigs.
As we well know (having quickly Googled it), Danish pig farmers export nearly half their output, with a value of DKK 30 billion a year (about £3 billion), so this will knock back domestic demand for "red meat" (presumably more likely to be imported) and hence boost domestic demand for pork and bacon.
Win-win for Danish pig farmers!
... says Dinero.
And he would be completely correct.
Here. (Apologies, I know it's the Torygraph - again).
This broadly confirm my opinion that the USA is as bad as the EU, maybe worse. Which would explain Obama's interventions.
From The Guardian:
With so many loud voices clamouring to be heard in the Brexit debate, there is a risk we will fail to consider those that cannot speak at all – animals. But voting to leave the European Union could have a profound effect on their welfare. Britain has a reputation as a nation of animal lovers, but over the past decade our lawmakers have lagged behind Europe’s in protecting them from harm.
… we have become increasingly reliant on Brussels for strong regulations to protect farmed animals. We have Europe to thank for Britain getting welfare laws for farmed pigs and chickens, such as banning barren cages for battery hens in 2012 and sow stalls – which kept pigs unable to move for most of their lives – in 2013.
Another factor in this debate is what happens to the annual £2.4bn EU subsidies to British farmers in the event of Brexit, around 53% of their incomes, and what that means for farmed animals. If Britain leaves, that subsidy goes, as does farmers’ easy access to the single market. Farming minister George Eustice said in February that the government would pay a subsidy in the case of Brexit. It is unclear how he can promise this, especially as his boss, the prime minister, is still sticking to the line that he has no contingency plans for leaving the EU.
If farmers did end up getting fewer subsidies post-Brexit, the implications for animal rights are poor. Animal farmers are not monsters, and many farms just want to do the right thing – I was raised on one. But as the author Upton Sinclair once said: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”
That last sentence says it all, really. These people have no shame.