Monday, August 25, 2008

A step too far

Taking the money from those who would find more oil and gas and giving it to those who will consume more oil and gas is an absurdity. And that's what Tim Worstall thinks a windfall tax on the energy companies would be.

67% of Britons in a YouGov poll strongly disagreed with him, and he fears that the government will be willing to pander to the ignorance of the populace in order to garner votes.

His counterblast though is a bit drastic:

Perhaps it's time to revive a saying from one of the good socialists (ie,
one of the dead ones), Bertold Brecht. Time to elect a new people

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Imam of Dibley

From Adam Sherwin:

Have you heard the one about the Islamic comedy sketch that ITV ordered its latest star to remove? Katy Brand was the victim of humourless lawyers who instructed her to delete a harmless-sounding spoof called The Imam of Dibley.

“It was not intended to be offensive,” says the comedian, whose Katy Brand’s Big Ass Show returns on ITV2. “A new imam arrives in a sleepy parish and the comedy arrives from the misunderstandings that causes. But the lawyers said it might be culturally insensitive.”

It’s no laughing matter, argues Brand, 29, an Oxford theology graduate. “The vast majority of Muslims are able to have a laugh at themselves just like everyone else.

Why should they be excluded from comedy? It’s funny that ITV had no problem with a new sketch about a pregnant Jesus’s girlfriend who has to deal with dating the Son of God.”

Rowan Atkinson has expressed similar concerns about comedy censorship. But Brand is particularly peeved to lose her imam of Dibley. “I really liked the outfit.”

Not only Rowan Atkinson. Ben Elton too has accused the BBC of being too 'scared' to allow jokes about Islam.


Cath Elliott wishes Julie Burchill well in her quest for enlightenment but insists that 'Christian feminist' is an oxymoron.

In any society where religion dominates it is women who pay the price: we can argue until we're blue in the face about whether or not any particular religion sanctions so-called honour crimes for example, but what's unarguable is that men's interpretation of religion, and the patriarchal values that religion instills, has led to the murders of countless women. Similarly, it's in the name of religion that girls are denied an education; in the name of religion that more than half a million women die every year because they cannot access safe abortions; in the name of religion that Aids continues its unrelenting progress across Africa, and in the name of religion that women throughout the world remain subjugated, impoverished and denied individual agency.

The Prince and the Paupers

Paul Collier defends genetic modification against Prince Charles and in the cause of famine relief.

Europe can afford romanticism, but the African poor cannot. The return to organic peasant agriculture is an appealing fantasy with disturbing consequences. The GM ban has already persisted for 12 years: how much more hunger must be endured before it is faced down?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

No sob story

I miss miJulie's regular column in the Guardian, but here she is taking a stick to them atheists - for the love of Christ.

The middle wall

“Two prisoners whose cells adjoin communicate with each other by knocking on the wall. The wall is the thing which separates them but it is also their means of communication. It is the same with us and God. Every separation is a link.”
Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace (Lincoln, nb 1997), 200.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Good news from Baghdad

Given my history as an Anglican pacifist, I was hardly a wholehearted supporter of the Iraq war. What I did notice though was the number of people on the political (anti-American?) left, not otherwise committed to non-violence, who could see no possible good coming from the overthrow of Saddam's evil regime.

For them, and for me, this surely is good news.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Health care costs

Tim Worstall offers this to cheer up those who insist that health care costs are rising and will continue to rise evermore.

"It's worth remembering that in the 1940s penicillin was so expensive, because we didn't know how to purify it very well, that it was recycled from the urine of those receiving it. Today, well, "amoxicillin, 21 capsules, 87p; trimethoprim, 28 tablets, 45p".

Friday, August 08, 2008

Being Dead

Still not sure where I'm going with this here blog, but here's a quote from the latest novel we've been reading in our book club.

It's "Being Dead" by Jim Crace. I'll share my introduction with you later, but here's a taster:

'Whatever philosophical claims we might make for ourselves, human kind is only marginal. We hardly count in the natural orders of zoology. We'll not be missed.' Joseph, in a rare display of scientific passion, had told a student . . when she had been too dismissive of the earth's smaller beings. 'They might not have a sense of self, like us. Or memory. Or hope. Or consciences. Or fear of death. They might not know how strong and wonderful they are. But when every human being in the world has perished, and all our sewerage pipes and gas cookers and diesel engines have fossilized, there will still be insects.'

It has always seemed extraordinary to me that when human beings wish to insist on their superiority to other creatures, they invariably select for comparison those very human characteristics that they are naturally bound to excel in. The capacity for prolonged survival in the most extreme conditions is not one of them.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Thus saith MadPriest

"If you don't believe me, read that Bible thing people keep going on about."

Pure poetry!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

An old friend

In the Church Times, Prebendary Neil Richardson writes:

On the subject of homosexuality, the Archbishop of Sudan says that "Our Muslim neighbours view us as completely infidel . . . they think what we are doing in the church is completely evil."
What an opportunity the Archbishop has to witness before his Muslim neighbours to the Christian view of the ultimate worth and dignity of humanity made in the image of God, whether presenting themselves as homosexual or otherwise. I would urge him and the other African bishops to stand up to the sharia-driven punitive attitudes of Islam, and stand alongside those whose human dignity is denied and negated simply because they are not heterosexual.
The Archbishop will need great courage to do this, and support from all of us to face up to the storm. The time has come for Christians to make a stand in the name of the Christ who died on the cross to redeem the world, and embrace and welcome gay and lesbian people everywhere.

Sounds Christian enough for me!

Friday, August 01, 2008


I used to get panic attacks whenever I saw small coins, but the doctor said I was just afraid of change.