29 September 2008

Buy Credit Crunch- Now With Two Banks!

Suspect I'm not the first to make cereal jokes in relation to the current situation.

The FTSE 100 has closed below 5,000 for the first time since I don't recall when. For me, that's the indicator that this has gone beyond bad and is now into very bad.

When this is over (it'll have to be at some point), I guess we're going to be citing this as one of the major failures of the Bush administration and making sure something like this never happens again.

Stupid, stupid banks.

I can't honestly see us winning the next election at the present time, Brown or no Brown.

24 September 2008

Gordon Brown is Ruth-less

So, Ruth Kelly is resigning as Transport Secretary, using the old "spend more time with her family" reason.

Probably is the case, but the timing is a tad inconvenient for Gordon.

Next week, Dave gets his conference. Tell me, Mr. Cameron, what are you going to cut to please big business?

21 September 2008

International Day of Prayer For Peace

Today is the International Day of Prayer for Peace, so I thought I'd weigh in on a particular area area that particularly needs some peace right now- the Middle East.

Israel is getting a new Prime Minister, who may change things there. I hope.

I think there are two things that needs to happen-
  • The Israelis need to alter their counter-terrorism strategy radically so that they do not create more terrorists than the ones they remove.
  • The Palestinians need to show willingness to accept Israel's existence (Hamas) and make serious effort at stopping this terrorism.
With regards to the former, the Palestinians may well be, in some regards, the victims, but that does not excuse their actions or lack thereof on some issues.

Israel also should not be using past suffering as an excuse for its own actions. While they are certainly entitled to a state, they still have to keep to the rules of civilised politics.

I have some concerns over the viability of a Palestinian state- especially one cut in twain by Israel. Like Weimar Germany, this tends not to work too well. Perhaps someone ought to build an oil pipeline to the West Bank.

This has lasted 60 years. Let's ensure it doesn't last 60 more. People are going to need to compromise.

Thoughts are welcome.

06 September 2008

Thoughts on the US election

With Labor Day on Monday, the US Presidential Election campaign will kick into an even higher gear than it has previously.

I think this process goes on for far too long. It ought to be shortened, which would help in terms of turnout and avoidance of boredom.

Perhaps I haven't been following this enough, but the partisan rancour of 2004 is somewhat reduced. Clearly the lack of George Bush is a factor there. Notice, however, how the Democrats are trying to tie McCain in with Bush by saying that he votes with him 90% of the time.

This is a bit of a stupid figure. A lot of votes in Congress are on largely uncontentious subjects, like congratulating Olympic medallists, confirming appointments (OK, that's sometimes contentious) and adjournment stuff.

I don't know, really, why members of Congress have to be physically present to vote these days. Sure, they should turn up every so often, but with the power of modern telecommunications, remote voting can't be too hard to do.

My major concern with Obama is his lack of experience. He will have, in January 2009, four years in a national level (Senator, Governor, Vice-President) role. For those citing Palin, she's not running for President- and Governor has a better skill set than a first-term Senator. I'll get on to McCain's health in a bit.

His policies seem generally (I say generally) good, but his attitude seems wrong. For those making Tony Blair comparisons, it grates after 10 years. He seems a little, well, slick.

It may sound like heresy to some, but JFK wasn't as good as some make out. Bay of Pigs for example, was a decision made on grounds of popularity and look what happened. His morals leave something to be desired too...

I don't like either candidate distorting the viewpoints and statements of the other. McCain on tax policy and Obama on the 100 years in Iraq thing. Both are better than this.

McCain has experience, but being a war hero does not qualify you to be president. That said, the Green Bay Packers thing in Vietnam (giving the names of a football team to interrogators as those of other pilots), great.

Biden's a good Vice-Presidental candidate, I give you that. Apart from the Neil Kinnock thing- and the gaffes.

Palin's an interesting choice. The college guys might consider voting Republican- which is all I'm saying on that. Her views are another issue, although I oppose abortion for social reasons. The actions of her family are ultimately irrelevant. They also prove that neither abstinence or safe-sex sex education work just as they are.

McCain's health. He's 72 and statistically has a 1/3 chance of dying within eight years. He may die, he may not. That's an argument, however, for rapidly training Palin as a potential POTUS, not voting against him.

I'll back Obama, as a social democrat does, but I'm not expecting miracles from him.