News Category

British commuters get free doses of murderous adrenaline with every train ride – study

commuiting adrenline

According to the TUC, the total average UK commute takes up just less than an hour per day (58.4 minutes). Londoners having the longest commute (81 minutes). So does it figure that Londoners make for the better fighter pilots?


Dr Lewis, a fellow of the International Stress Management Association who led the HP research, observed: “The difference is that a riot policeman or a combat pilot have things they can do to combat the stress that is being triggered by the event. But the commuter, particularly on a train, cannot do anything about it at all. So it is this sense of helplessness combined with the stress that is perhaps the most worrying aspect of it…

“At best it’s a dismal experience; at worst it may well have health consequences. How much harm it is doing would depend on how robust your physical system is anyhow and how high your blood pressure goes. We have measured a systolic pressure [the force blood exerts on the artery walls when the heart beats] in the region of 170-180 in some people. These have been occasions when the person we’ve been monitoring has lost their temper and had a serious row. And under those circumstances you can have a heart attack.”

Source: The Times

Posted: 6th, September 2020 | In: News | Comment

Prince Harry and Meghan new Netflix series revealed

The Daily Star is upset. “Show us the money!” it demands. It’s a story about the LA-based Dook and Dutch-ass of Sussex-shire. The paper says they must repay the £2.4m British taxpayers forked out to do up Frogmore Cottage, their official UK residence. They have the cash, having secured a £75m Netflix deal.

The tabloid is outraged. But online, before you read about the Star’s demands for the greedy feckers to pay us back our dough, we read about those, er, trolls unable to appreciate the good work done by the minted hereditary titled toffs’ tireless campaign for equality. A pox on those “nasty keyboard warriors”:

In the tabloid world, Harry and Meghan are now people who you either like or don’t like. You cannot ignore them. It’s not allowed. And the Sussexes would not have it any other way.

“Our focus will be on creating content that informs but also gives hope,” says the couple. “As new parents, making inspirational family programming is also important to us.” Words that surely chime with many new parents pointing a phone camera at their little ‘un and dreaming of a £250 windfall from You’ve Been Framed.

Those Harry and Meghan TV schedules in full:

The Woke Awake Club – rise and shine with Archie

Harry’s Half Hour – Live cam footage of Harry trying to work out how you can be a hereditary peer and a champion for equality without being conflicted. Much hilarity ensues

Grandma’s Army – a look at various weaponry used to maintain social order in the UK, Commonwealth and British protectorates

Palace Break – Harry Windsor plans to bust his brother Wills Windsor out of a prison of living hell

The Frown – Meghan looks disapprovingly at footage of the Royal Family

Posted: 5th, September 2020 | In: News, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment

Christopher Killick: man sentenced for voyeurism in a story that terrifies

In 2015 Emily Hunt woke up in a strange room with a stranger beside her. She was naked. She had not recollection of how she got there. She had never met him before. Five years on and Christoper Killick has been sentenced for voyeurism. His crime was to have filmed his naked and unconscious victim and kept the footage on his phone to masturbate to later. She thinks he drugged and raped her. The Crown Prosecution Service did not pursue that line of enquiry due to what they saw as lack of evidence. Also in the hotel room in London was a rucksack containing “condoms, Viagra and what was thought to be the hallucinogenic drug LSD”, says the Sun. Used condoms were found in the room.

At Stratford Magistrates’ Court, Killick was not sent to prison. He was ordered to pay £2,180 in fines and court costs. He must pay £5,000 in compensation to his victim. He must never try to contact her. He must undertake a 30 month community order, including completing the Horizon program to develop victim empathy skills and 30 days of rehab activity to perform as directed. But he’s free to walk the streets.

“I am very pleased with the sentence passed by the court today and the powerful comments made by the judge,” she says. “The recognition that this was a serious sexual offence, and the acknowledgement of the devastating impact it has had on my life, is the most important thing to me. It is appalling that it has taken five years of fighting to get to this point. I hope that in future no other victim of a sexual offence has to go through what I have experienced.”

Filming a partner during sex without consent is voyeurism. Until this year the CPS had stated filming someone naked in a private room did not constitute an offence if they had consented to being looked at naked. But Emily Hunt had no recollection of having given consent. She did recognise the man beside her. It’s a truly sinister story.

Posted: 4th, September 2020 | In: News | Comment

Jessica Krug is not black

Jessica Krug, a professor teaching history at George Washington University has apologised for claiming a black identity. She is not a “child of the ‘hood”, as her author bio claimed.

The Telegraph has read Krug’s mea culpa published on Medium, noting that Ms Krug is an “expert on Africa, Latin America, African-American history, imperialism and colonialism.” But less expert on self-awareness, it would seem.

“I am not a culture vulture. I am a culture leech,” she says. She blames her “cultural appropriation”, at least in part, on “mental health demons” triggered by “severe trauma”. She sounds more than tad unhappy as she notes, “I have lied in every breath I have taken.” “I can’t fix this. I have burned every bridge,” she adds.

“We are aware of the Medium post and are looking into the situation,” says Crystal Nosal, a spokesman with George Washington University. “We cannot comment further on personnel matters.”

Jessica Krug bio black

Sky notes:

Many attested to meeting Ms Krug under the name Jess La Bombalera. A video posted online under the pseudonym shows her as she criticises “all these white New Yorkers who waited four hours with us to be able to speak and then did not yield their time for Black and Brown indigenous New Yorkers”.

In over 1000 words of ‘me’, she begins:

To an escalating degree over my adult life, I have eschewed my lived experience as a white Jewish child in suburban Kansas City under various assumed identities within a Blackness that I had no right to claim: first North African Blackness, then US rooted Blackness, then Caribbean rooted Bronx Blackness. I have not only claimed these identities as my own when I had absolutely no right to do so — when doing so is the very epitome of violence, of thievery and appropriation, of the myriad ways in which non-Black people continue to use and abuse Black identities and cultures — but I have formed intimate relationships with loving, compassionate people who have trusted and cared for me when I have deserved neither trust nor caring. People have fought together with me and have fought for me, and my continued appropriation of a Black Caribbean identity is not only, in the starkest terms, wrong — unethical, immoral, anti-Black, colonial — but it means that every step I’ve taken has gaslighted those whom I love.

So she taught whilst black, drove whilst black, shagged whilst black, wrote whilst black and all those other things that being black mark you for for special group status amongst white liberals. And academia lapped it up. And , no, she’s not a black Jew.

Previously: meet Rachel Dolezal – and him.

Posted: 4th, September 2020 | In: News | Comment

Soup and Shakes to fight the calorie counting hordes

When all else fails, attack fat people. It’ll take more than prodding to get the chubsters into shape. And the Guardian says, “It’ll take more than a soup-and-shakes diet plan to tackle obesity in the UK.” Such is the demonising of fat people you wonder why border patrols haven’t yet introduces a Hole In the Wall-style admissions policy. If you can slide though the right-sized gap, you can enter the UK.; if you can’t you can head to the USA. As the Telegraph notes, Britons “more likely to ‘fat-shame’ obese people than Americans.” That’s the power of guns for you – plus memories of the Dust Bowl and potato famine. A nation of immigrants remembers why it arrived, and over a stack of pancakes and syrup vows never to return.

Julian Baggini is unimpressed with all that ready grub. He wants to tell us about the “twin scourges of processed foods and food poverty”.

The human body is such a homeostatic, self-regulating system. Deprive it of calories and it starts to burn fewer of them, and tries to horde away any excess as fat. So all the time the dieter is congratulating themselves on their weight loss, their body is wondering what the hell is going on, and doing all it can to reverse it.

Hordes of calories – the one attacking your dinner plate?

‘Hordes of fat’?

…we have lots of evidence that people get fatter when they eat more highly processed foods, especially refined carbohydrates. They are also slimmer when they eat more home-cooked meals. So a serious anti-obesity strategy would require the government to take on the food industry’s promotion of highly processed foods.

He supports the government controlling what you can put inside your own body. To become the correct shape he wants “controls on business and greater redistribution of wealth”. Limit choice and the proles will thank their betters. One size fits all.

Posted: 2nd, September 2020 | In: News | Comment

Je Suis Charlie: Charlie Hebdo republishes Mohammed cartoons

Remember all that ‘Je Suis Charlie’, the outpouring of solidarity after the deadly attack by Islamists on the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. The mag published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. On January 7 2015, in response Islamists murdered 12 people. This week Charlie Hebdo republished those cartoons, all 12 of them. “Tout ça pour ça,” says the headline – “All of that for this.

Je suis charlie

Very soon 14 people will go on trial accused of helping the two Islamist attackers carry out their massacre. Hebdo has honoured the victims in the best way it can, by championing free speech and the right to cause offence – by mocking oppressive piety in all its guises, showing us how dumb humanity can be and that what we revere might just be another human with an active imagination. That does not mean you can be gratuitously offensive and rude. You need to make a point about shared humanity for satire to work best.

Too many who marched beneath the banners “Je Suis Charlie” are less champions of free thought and speech than they are against Muslims, possessed of monocular vision and the ugly inability to treat people are individuals, lumping all Muslims as something uniquely other and wrong.

People have asked the magazine to republish the images. And many doubtless just delighted in poking Islam and would be upset where their own beliefs caustically lampooned. But, as the magazine’s editorial says, the time was not right. There was no point.

“We have always refused to do so, not because it is prohibited – the law allows us to do so – but because there was a need for a good reason to do it, a reason which has meaning and which brings something to the debate,” it says. “To reproduce these cartoons in the week the trial over the January 2015 terrorist attacks opens seemed essential to us.”

cover anniversary hebdo

Lead image: Pallbearers carry the casket of Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Bernard Verlhac, known as Tignous, decorated by friends and colleagues of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, at the city hall of Montreuil, on the outskirts of Paris, Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015

Posted: 1st, September 2020 | In: News | Comment

Adele: Bantu Knots fail to distract editors from singer’s stomach and breasts

Jerry Sadowitz once told a rude joke about Princess Diana, lampooning the obsession with women’s looks and fashion choices: “Breaking News – Princess Diana has put her hair in a bun and her **** in a toaster.” The singer Adele has put her hair in Bantu knots and her body in a bikini. “Happy what would be Notting Hill Carnival my beloved London GBJM,” said Adele as she brought a bit of carnival to her garden in Beverly Hills.

First the hair, which has upset a few people on Twitter. Billboard says, “The singer’s hair was intricately twisted in a style similar to Bantu knots, adorned with bright yellow feathers behind her head.” Sky tells readers that there were Bantu Knots, “a traditional African hairstyle in which the hair is twisted into a series of small coiled buns.” Just the thing to join in the celebration of Afro-Caribbean culture in the UK. Unless you have the blinkers on:

That tweet from the “CEO of Ernest Media Empire” was out of kilter with most people, whose views can be summed up best by Ciku Muiruri:

Adele Bantu knots

And in the UK, Adele’s bikini and hair a political matter:

The Times now steps in: “Cultural appropriation describes borrowing styles or items which are significant in a culture that is not theirs.” Did Adele seek permission to put her hair in Bantu Knots and wear a Jamaican flag bikini? And if she did, which body did she submit her outfit to for official approval? Says Naomi Campbell: “She looks hot. As a Jamaican girl myself, my girl has grown up in black culture. People forget she’s from Tottenham.” What if Adele was from rural Hampshire? Would that not give her a pass?

Matthew Phillip, executive director of the carnival, tells The Observer: “Yes, we say black lives matter, but it’s about promoting unity and inclusion. That’s why it was set up in the first place, to bring different communities together from different backgrounds.”

But bigger news than Adele’s hair is her weight:

What price Adele used her hair to distract attention from the media obsession with her weight? Look out for the Mail article, “Why Bantu Knots are slimming.”

Posted: 1st, September 2020 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News | Comment

Harry Dunn: Coward Anne Sacoolas continues to evade justice

The wheels of justice turn slower than the wheels on the car allegedly driven by Anne Sacoolas when it hit Harry Dunn and killed him. Mr Dunn was just 19 when he died in a crash outside RAF Croughton last August. In the aftermath, American suspect Anne Sacoolas fled the UK.

The teenager’s parents have pushed for justice. But nothing has been done. They did moot plans to sue the USA. But now they’ve given up on that. The US state department says it is looking for a “reasonable resolution”. But nothing about the US actions in this matter have been reasonable. They have shielded one of their own. It stinks.

Sacoolas was charged with causing death by dangerous driving in December. The Home Office put in a request for her extradition. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo binned it. The US protects Anne Sacoolas, the wife of a US spook who claimed diplomatic immunity as Harry Dunn’s loved ones dealt with their intense grief. The right thing was for her to stay in the UK and help. But she ran. The US spirited her away.

UK Attorney General Suella Braverman is apparently considering the possibility of a virtual trial or a trial in Mrs Sacoolas’s absence. But that’s not justice. The accused needs to defence themselves. Anne Sacoolas will not do the right thing. She should be made to. She should be arrested.

Harry Dunn’s parents, Tim Dunn and Charlotte Charles, say they “can now see that the US government are working towards” Mrs Sacoolas facing the UK justice system. They can? Mrs Charles tells the BBC: “We are going through a living nightmare and we need closure. We will only get that when Mrs Sacoolas faces our justice system. We can now see that the US government are working towards that end.”

We can feel their pain. And we can see the futility of their campaign.

Posted: 31st, August 2020 | In: News | Comment

John DeBerry Jr. is right: from Kanosha to Portland Washington, America needs guts not violent segregation

Kenosha has been burnt and looted by what the Times calls “Black Lives Matter riots” – “parts of the city looking more like Syria than Wisconsin.” Anger and violence spread after Jacob Blake, an unarmed father of six with warrants for his arrest, was shot in the back seven times by a policeman as he opened his car door. Police say they found a knife in his car. But not on him. Jacob Blake is now paralysed and struggling to live. Police thought it fit to handcuff him to the hospital bed. The shooting of John Blake looks murderous. And in the streets, there’s trouble.

The Times quotes one local: “When you wrap yourself in that flag of BLM and you burn cities to the ground, people will remember. There’s a quiet majority out there.” Another adds: “It’s right that people are out here protesting. But the people burning shit? Nah. That’s all out-of-towners… It’s a mistake, because they make it about the destruction, not the message. Why would we burn our own shit down? The only store where you can get hair products for black folk, it’s burnt up. Why would we do that to ourselves?”

One voice on the HuffPo counters: “…rioting and looting are effective at growing a movement and making an issue come to the forefront. And these riots are destroying what last shreds of credibility President Trump had left, that and his terrible mishandling of the coronavirus, of course.” Adding: “That all of those people came into the streets because of rioting and looting, they participated in rioting and looting – that is the movement. And to say that it distracts from the movement or it’s what the state wants, I think reflects at best a really intense confusion, and at worst an innately anti-Black and anti-liberatory perspective.”

Winning heart and minds in Washington DC. The dignity of Blake’s family is in stark contrast to the childish demands of some protestors

Add to the mayhem Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old heavily armed vigilante. The teenager described in many bulletins as a ‘fan of the police’ is accused of murdering two unarmed men and shooting another. One of the men killed courageously attacked Rittenhouse with a skateboard. You can look at the alleged perpetrator and wonder why anyone sane thinks driving 15 miles to walk around the streets with a huge gun slung over your shoulder is a good idea. Or you look at the victim and shape the narrative to fit an agenda:

The Guardian notes that Rittenhouse has been charged with possession of a dangerous weapon by someone under the age of 18. And then we get two facts which appear at odds with each other:

  1. “Under Wisconsin law, Rittenhouse, who is 17, was too young to legally posses the rifle he was alleged to have been carrying as he confronted protesters.”
  2. “Under Wisconsin law, anyone 17 or older is treated as an adult in the criminal justice system.”

One thing to note: Kyle Rittenhouse and his alleged victims are all white. Is that important? The epithet white is usually used to denigrate. Isn’t it time to stand as individuals?

John DeBerry, Democratic member of the Tennessee House of Representatives, wants people with “enough guts, enough integrity, enough citizenship and love of country” to stop focusing on race:

He’s right.

Posted: 30th, August 2020 | In: News, Politicians | Comment

Daily Express Megan Markle obsession makes Princess Diana statue blush

“Brought back together by mum,” says the Daily Mirror. It’s a story about Prince Wills and Harry Baseball Cap. A royal insider says moves to erect a statue to Princess Diana to mark what wold have been her 60th birthday will “help to heal old wounds”. The Express guesses that Wills and Harry will both be in attendance when the statue is unveiled. And Meghan Markle might be there, too. Today the Express has a scoop: “Meghan Markle’s obsession with Princess Diana exposed by former childhood friend”:

Meghan Markle Daily Express

That just one of many Meghan Markle stories published by the Daily Express today – move that cold be called obsessive:

No fewer than 13 stories today on Meghan Markle – that’s not including the many more Express articles than namecheck her for SEO purposes.

As for being obsessed with Diana, well…

princess diana daily express

Such are the facts…

Posted: 29th, August 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment

Tump for Coronavirus and ‘Get Your Knee Off Our Necks’

How Journalism Works, courtesy of the Washington Post.

On August 28, 2020 at 4:37 a.m., the WaPo noticed a “crowded White House” for Donald Trump’s latest address. The crowd was “largely devoid” of Covid-19 precautions – “few masks, little distancing.”

President Trump celebrated his renomination Thursday with a crowded party at the White House that offered a jarring contrast with a nation that is still widely shut down over fears of the coronavirus pandemic whose spread remains uncontrolled.

On August 28, 2020 at 5:26 p.m the WaPo spotted another crowd at the ‘Get Your Knee Off Our Necks’ march for racial equality:

If the topic is Covid-19, then one crowd looks very much like another crowd, right? The story on the march begins in a different tone to the one on Trump:

Thousands of protesters gathered Friday at the Lincoln Memorial to call for criminal justice reform and racial equality while honoring the 57th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” address from the same location.

Planning began in June after the funeral of George Floyd. Organizers say they want to highlight the civil rights issues of today and bring well-known speakers to address the crowd while also mitigating the spread of the novel coronavirus with strict safety protocols.

It’s not until paragraph 31 in the paper’s live blog, readers learn:

In some cases, there was little social distancing as the crowds moved closer to the Lincoln Memorial and the calls for justice boomed louder from the speakers. Most participants, however, did wear masks.

“Some cases” and “most” Or “few and “largely”? Pick your news. Fed your prejudice.

Posted: 28th, August 2020 | In: News, Politicians | Comment

Ten years of looking for Kyron Horman

kyron horman

Kyron Horman was last seen on June 4, 2010. Him step-mother, Terri Moulton Horman, dropped the seven-year-old at Skyline Elementary School in Portland, Oregon. He made it to the science exhibition. Moulton reportedly posted a picture on Facebook of Kyron standing in front of his tree frog exhibit. But he never made it to class. He was marked as absent. When he failed to arrive home on the school bus, Terry Horman called 911.

There have been no arrests. There has been no sign of him. We cannot be certain if any crime befell Kyron Horman. There are only theories and hunches.

The investigation is stuck, as it has been from day one. Only time moves on. This June, Kyron would have graduated from high school with the class of 2020.

Kyron Horman
In this June 11, 2010 file photo, the family of missing 7-year-old Kyron Horman, from left, Tony Young, his mother Desiree Young, his stepmother Terri Horman and his father Kaine Horman stand together during a news conference, in Portland, Ore.

Terri Horman was married to Kyron’s father, Kaine Horman, for six years. They divorced in 2013. Kyron’s mother, Desiree Young believes Terri Horman played some part in her son’s disappearance. But there is no evidence to support her allegation. And Terri Horman says she is innocent.

“Ten years is hard. I hope we aren’t here in a year,” says Desiree Young. “I want Terri to do the right thing and I want her to end this torture. We just want to bring Kyron home.”

Did he wander off? Says Desiree Young in a TV documentary:

“Kyron does not have very good eyes. He can’t see, so he’s not going to wander around. He’s also very shy and doesn’t trust people right away. That’s just not his style. I know that was a theory from the very beginning. But that’s not Kyron. He wouldn’t do that. He’s a pretty shy, timid child. He has a great wit and a sense of humor, but he doesn’t show it very often to people he doesn’t know. He doesn’t trust strangers. He prefers to be around his family.”


“The last day I saw Kyron was actually two weeks prior to June 4th. He was going to his father and stepmother’s house. But he didn’t want to go back. He wanted to stay with me. It was an emotional exchange. He had to actually be talked into going back. I tried to talk to him a little bit about what was going on, but he was not very forthcoming about what was upsetting him. I even talked to his father about it, but I was dismissed and told I was just overreacting. It was really upsetting and it was the last exchange I had with him. But he knew that I love him and that I was trying everything I could to remedy the situation within my power.”

If you know what happened to Kyron, you might be in line for a $50,000 reward. You can call The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office on 503-261-2847.

Posted: 28th, August 2020 | In: News | Comment

Boris and the Bookshelves – books have been reduced to props

Boris Johnson books Michael Gove

Did you see the books arranged behind Prime Minister Boris Johnson at Castle Rock school in Coalville, Leicestershire. Was the school librarian making a point in their choice of books to backdrop Boris? Titles on the top shelf included: Betrayed, The Resistance, The Subtle Knife, Fahrenheit 451, The Toll, Oliver Twist and Terry Pratchett’s genius Guards! Guards! What could it all mean asked the assembled hacks. “No comment,” said the school, which is, of course, a comment.

“Books seen behind Boris Johnson tell their own story,” says the Guardian headline. “Has a savvy school librarian or English teacher snatched a golden opportunity to have a pop at the PM in front of the nation?” asks a reporter from the TES. “Are the books behind Boris artfully arranged with a secret political agenda and commentary on the current government?” mused the Indy.

What you might not also have noticed is the PM’s words on the exams results fiasco. “I’m afraid your grades were almost derailed by a mutant algorithm,” guffed Boris. “I know how stressful that must have been for pupils up and down the country. I’m very, very glad that it has finally been sorted out.”

That mutant algorithm was coded by human beings. Sally Collier, the head of England’s exams regulator Ofqual has resigned. Jonathan Slater, the most senior civil servant in the Department for Education (DfE), is ‘stepping down’. But Gavin Williamson, the Secretary of State for Education, aka The Mutant, remains. Look for codes and symbols of defiance by all means, but in so doing try not to miss the obvious. Nearly 800 libraries have closed since 2010. Johnson holidayed amid the exam disaster-class, popping up to tell us that he was reading Lucretius’s On the Nature of Things.

Johnson, that school librarian and political pundits dialling in opinions from seats positioned in front of their bookshelves – watching on for signs of wrong-thinking by their peers and enemies – all assure us that books matter. But schoolchildren suffer through the lack of books and formal education. The local library has gone and there’s no longer a free space to sit, read the think. Books have been reduced to props. And that is telling.

Posted: 27th, August 2020 | In: Books, News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment

Manchester United captain Harry Maguire called ‘unsportsmanlike’ by Greek prosecutor

Harry Maguire, the Manchester United, has been found guilty in a Greek court of repeated bodily harm, attempted bribery, violence against public employees and insult. United say he will remain their captain. Maguire says he’s innocent and will appeal the sentence of 21 months, 10 days in prison, suspended for three years. What was a minor incident on a Greek island is all over the news because Maguire is famous. And for that reason Greek lawyer Dr Ioannis Paradissis is invited to address the nation via BBC Radio 4. The prosecutor representing Maguire’s apparent victims tells the Today Programme:

“…[my clients] told me they are still waiting for an apology and they haven’t heard any and this is what I find quite shocking and quite unsportsmanlike, because fair play means when I’ve done something wrong, I apologise.”

It’s personal, no? Maguire might well be a berk, but when the prosecutor goes on the radio and alludes to the famous face’s job as playing some part in the incident, things look a bit odd, unfair even. Why should Maguire be “sportsmanlike” in a criminal court? It’s not sport. He’s not contesting the ref’s decision. He’s appealing a serious criminal conviction.

Posted: 26th, August 2020 | In: manchester united, News, Sports | Comment

How to raise your IQ: afford to live near a green space

The results of the survey are in. The greener the urban child’s world, the higher their IQ. Boffins have produced a paper which looked at linking access to parkland and gardens with doing well in intelligence tests. The work begins:

Exposure to green space has beneficial effects on several cognitive and behavioral aspects. However, to our knowledge, no study addressed intelligence as outcome. We investigated whether the level of urbanicity can modify the association of residential green space with intelligence and behavior in children.

The child in the high-rise apartment is not doing as well as the child living in a house by the park? The Telegraph sees the results:

Being raised in a greener environment boosts urban children’s intelligence and makes them better behaved, a study has found.
Researchers in Belgium found that living near parks, sports fields or community gardens raised city-dwelling children’s IQ levels and that they also exhibited less difficult behaviour. The paper, published in the journal Plos Medicine, found that an 3.3 per cent increase in green space within 3,000 metres of a child’s home was associated with a 2.6 point rise in overall IQ.

Got that? And then take a look at the property prices in you area and wonder why the people who earn the most money choose to live by the greener spaces. Is it because they have higher IQs? Or do they have more money and bigger incomes?

Posted: 25th, August 2020 | In: Money, News | Comment

Madeleine McCann: Christian Brueckner’s pal, hope boosted, and two blond men

At the time of writing, Christian Brueckner remains innocent of any crimes relating to the vanishing of Madeleine McCann. The convicted paedophile is not unique. Everyone is assumed innocent because, as the Daily Star announces in a headline from the ‘no-news is still news’ school of journalism: “Madeleine McCann hopes boosted as charity says ‘no evidence she’s been harmed’.” It can be argued there is no evidence any crime befell the child. All we know is that she disappeared.

The Star is relaying an announcement on the website for the Madeleine Fund. The objects of the Madeleine Fund are:

To secure the safe return to her family of Madeleine McCann who was abducted in Praia da Luz, Portugal on Thursday 3rd May 2007;
To procure that Madeleine’s abduction is thoroughly investigated and that her abductors, as well as those who played or play any part in assisting them, are identified and brought to justice; and
To provide support, including financial assistance, to Madeleine’s family.

Kate McCann and Gerry McCann, Madeleine parents, are listed as two of the company’s six directors.

There is absolutely nothing to suggest that Madeleine has been harmed. Madeleine is still missing and someone needs to be looking for her. She is young and vulnerable and needs our help. We love her dearly and miss her beyond words

“There is absolutely nothing to suggest that Madeleine has been harmed. Madeleine is still missing and someone needs to be looking for her. She is young and vulnerable and needs our help. We love her dearly and miss her beyond words.”

The story is not one of hope being “boosted”, rather of hope being maintained in the absence of evidence to the contrary.

Over in the Sun, Christian Brueckner’s “friend” “has spoken of his horror at finding videos showing him raping an elderly woman”. The pal, named only as Manfred S, was “tracked down to Portugal by a German documentary”. For some reason we hear about the precise contents of one video, as if we need to know more than it was a “brutal rape” involving torture. Manfred “immediately alerted police about the videos which were found in Christian B’s house after he broke in while his pal was in prison.”

The paedophile rapist is a depraved criminal. This we know. But the Mail thinks we need to know more:

Madeleine McCann prime suspect was found with secret stash of 391 child porn photos and 68 vile videos, as court records reveal the full horror of crimes that landed Christian Brueckner in jail

As news of the sick bastard’s behaviour oozes into titillation, the Olive Press has an exclusive:

So too the Sun:

How does this link to the missing child? The Sun:

In Madeleine’s case, two sisters saw two blond men outside her family’s rental apartment in Praia da Luz hours before she disappeared.

One had blue eyes, like Christian B, while the other had green eyes.

According to police sources, Christian B and a mystery man of similar height were spotted drinking at a festival in the Algarve village of Messines ahead of the 2017 incident.

In March 2019, the Sun reported:

madeleine mccann blond man

Jayne Jensen told the Netflix documentary The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann: “[My sister] was walking just slightly in front of me and then she stopped and looked back at me and motioned with her head. And it was here we saw the two men. I caught up with my sister and I said what was that about? She said – ‘Well, two single blonde men on their own’, which just made me chuckle. But they were wrongly placed, and that was that, until later that day when we had heard that Madeleine was taken it was only then piecing back – who were these guys?”


She said her and her sister “can’t be the only ones who saw them” and believes the men were there will the sole purpose: to take Madeleine.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 24th, August 2020 | In: Madeleine McCann, News, Tabloids | Comment

Manchester Untied captain Harry Maguire ‘threw a swing’ in Mykonos

Manchester United captain Harry Maguire has been spending part of his summer hols in a police station on the Greek island of Syros. United say Maguire is “fully co-operating with the Greek authorities” following an “alleged incident” on the neighbouring island of Mykonos. The Greek authorities claim Maguire was one of “three foreigners” arrested after an altercation with police officers.

The Sun says Maguire reports the allegation that on “a boozy break” to a “flash” resort, Maguire “punched a cop and tried to bribe officers in a bust-up in Mykonos”.

Manchester United captain Harry Maguire arrested
Greek police “Confirmed” the allegation?

We hear from Mykonos Police spokesman Petros Vassilakis:

“All of the three were arrested but during the effort to do so, the other two, including the football player, got violent also. They threw down at least two policemen, hit them with their fists and kicked them.

“I can’t tell you what they were telling us. All English swear words against the authorities and against the work of the police.”

The Mail’s report has the Greek police spokesman talking about swings and roundabouts:

Harry maguire fight

Maguire is to appear before a local prosecutor Saturday morning at 11.00am. Maguire’s lawyer said he denies all wrongdoing.

Posted: 21st, August 2020 | In: manchester united, News, Sports | Comment

Disaster prone Boeing 737 Max is gone; all hail the Boeing 737-8 (the same plane with a new name)

No need to worry, passengers. The Boeing’s 737 MAX jet, the not all that good plane grounded after two fatal crashes which killed 346 people – Boeing was accused of concealing information about the plane from regulators during the approval process – is no longer. It’s now a Boeing 737-8 aircraft. This year, customers have cancelled more than 400 orders for the 737. They can now order a much better 737-8, which is just like the other one but with a safer ‘8’ in the name.

It’s working! Boeing have issued a press release:

“Despite the current crisis, it is important to think about the future. To that end, we have agreed to order additional 737-8 aircraft. Following the rigorous checks that the 737 MAX is undergoing, I am convinced it will be the best aircraft in the world for many years to come,” said Grzegorz Polaniecki, general director and board member, Enter Air.

That’s two of the jets sold. Now to find people will to ride on them…

Posted: 20th, August 2020 | In: Money, News | Comment

The Government and Ofqual cheat at exams because they get away with it every year

The Education Secretary, Ofqual and the Prime Minister have punched the air in delight. They have given full throat to their support for an education system that prioritises the system over the customers. Never mind the hundreds of thousands of students unfairly downgraded by an algorithm – thousands who failed an exam they were prevents from taking – and enjoy the graphs that shows how this year was much like every other. But every other year is also wrong. The system is not fair. The system for grading students in exams is inherently unfair. The algorithm understood that and went with it.

Debra Kidd looks at why 40% of children had their A-levels grades reduced by the system:

Ofqual decided that this was acceptable because in a normal year you would expect around 40% of young people to “underperform”. The algorithm’s reliability percentage was roughly in line with the reliability of putting young people into an exam.

Young people underperform for a number of reasons. The room is too hot; they have a panic attack; their Dad/Grandad/Dog died (forget mitigating circumstances – as far as exams go there’s a time limit on grief). Maybe they forgot to look on the back page of the exam paper and missed that 15 point question (looking at you, son). Maybe their girlfriend dumped them that week (looking at you, husband). Maybe it was a bad day for hayfever. All these factors conspire to ensure that around 40% of young people are disadvantaged every year not because they weren’t capable of success or because they didn’t know the content, but because they had a bad day. What’s our response? “Them’s the breaks. Tough luck.”

Even once they’ve left the exam hall there are circumstances working against them. Ofqual’s own analysis of the 2017 and 2018 exam papers showed a 50% unreliablity factor in the marking of English and History papers. But no-one changed the marks unless a child had stumped up the cash to pay for it. The fact is that the system relies on things going wrong in order to maintain the appearance of rigour. We can’t have too many passing after all – what would that say about our standards? I’m not sure, but I do know what it says about our morality.

It has taken an absurd situation to make these glaring inequalities obvious. In effect what Ofqual unwittingly wrote into its algorithm at an individual, human level was a random allocation of a dead dog/breakup/hot day/panic attack and this is clearly crazy. It explains why teacher grades were not ‘optimistic’ or ‘generous’ but more likely to be a real reflection of what a student could achieve and what they knew. If anything, what those teacher grades showed us was how badly we’ve been underestimating our young. Will there have been a couple of centres who pushed their luck? Probably. 40% of them? No way – not when they knew that their results would be compared to the last three years’ performance. That was the moderating control on the system – fair or not.

Create a system of failure to prove the system works? It might have sounded a little far-fetched before this summer’s exam results arrived, making liars of teachers and fools of pupils. But it is all too plausible. And no the children get no right to appeal. The clock is ticking and the Government and Ofqual have said nothing. They want and expect it to go away and the children are shunted along the conveyer belt.

Posted: 17th, August 2020 | In: News | Comment

Arsenal sack Sanllehi from the absurd ‘head of football’ job

Arsenal have sacked Raul Sanllehi from his job as – get his – “head of football”. The new head of football is managing director Vinai Venkatesham, who used to work as an oil trader. “Working with Vinai, we have built a top team for the future,” says Sanllehi, who arrived from Barcelona three years ago. “I’m proud and pleased with my contribution over the past three years.”

He joined Arsenal in November 2017, a replacement for the terrible Ivan Gazidis, the American whose talk of leading a “catalyst of change” under the god-awful Kroenkes saw the post-Wenger Arsenal tumble down the Premier League table.

Since this announcement in November 2017, Wenger, Mislintat, Gazidis and now Sanllehi have all left Arsenal. How’s that for sound management and planning? The Kroenke gamily remain in charge – more is the pity.

Sanllehi’s departure coincides with the club’s internal investigation into how and why they signed Nicolas Pepe, 25, from Lille for £72m. Sanllehi was part of the key team that recruited the hapless but likeable Unai Emery. Arsenal have demolished their scouting network and turned for help in recruitment matters to agents. What could possibly go wrong?

Posted: 15th, August 2020 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment

A-Level disasters: Gavin Williamson’s enema sees education secretary buried in a matchbox

“Increasing the A Level grades will mean a whole generation could end up promoted beyond their abilities” – Gavin Williamson

Gavin Williamson

Gavin Williamson is a politician so shallow he could drown in his own spit. To paraphrase Christopher Hitchens, if they gave the Tory MP Conservative Member of Parliament for South Staffordshire and Education Secretary an enema, you could bury his remains in a matchbox. Today Williamson has been declaring his pride in the youth whose exams he fudged and failed, and the teachers he patronised and ignored. The A-levels results are in and are too many are a travesty.

Students predicted As and Bs have been given Cs and Ds. According to Williamson and his enablers, the data does not lie. Graphs and trends are more important than individuals and teacher assessments.

Maybe this will be the moment when things change, a stark awakening to the hopelessness of industrialised higher education. Get your A-levels, kids, and you too can be a dullard. Work hard and you too can get into heavy debt at university.

Is this the day when the kinder who’ve been sat on the education travelator since they could first hold crayons in their fists realise it’s time to get a life? Those A-levels… they might not be worth anything. Hard cheese, you teenagers, who instead of copping off, copping out, chasing endorphins and finding new ways to get off your faces worked head down on your A-levels, those exams that open the portals to university but in themselves are worthless. Hard cheese that you became anxious about the big tests, developing a psychosis and eating disorder, fearful of not reaching the promised land of three or four years more education, that rosy-fingered dawn of part-time jobs and more books. Hard cheese on parents who bought into the higher education mis-selling and thought youth was wasted on fun and adventure. Oh, to live the dream of spending the carefree, fanciable years accumulating debt and text books, staying in school until you’re into your 20s and emerging in a state of shock at how the system has sucked your life away and ended so many dreams and opportunities.

Screw higher education. Don’t resit and buy into their dream of creating debt products from cheeky, cock-sure youth. They’ve not been bothered to educate you for five months. They won’t start now. Get off the sausage factory conveyer belt. Have fun and learn from experience while you can. A-levels are useless. A stranger in a home office can give you a grade based on guessing and graphs designed by a computer model. Your result is worthless. Tell them you know. You’ve seen the truth. Do not agree to play any more. And watch their world crumble.

But you took the A-levels and now you want that validation the exam-based system promised. You want to know that two years of your youth have not been wasted.

Government and politicians who push the scheme owe students an apology. They owe teenagers the grades that are rightfully theirs. The exam boards ask for extenuating circumstances. Every students has experienced them. The whole year has been an extenuating circumstance. We do not care if a student who might have got a B in Textiles any other year gets an A this year. Give them all their predictive grades. Stop making them live with a lie. And then prick the higher education bubble. It’s wetter than Williamson’s bathtub and, like him, contains nothing but air and emptiness.

Posted: 13th, August 2020 | In: News | Comment

The Age of Mitigating Circumstances: Scotland decides not to shaft 75,000 children over exam results

Great news from Scotland. Having downgraded thousands of school exam results – for exams pupils trained to take for years and were then banned from taking – the Scottish government has bowed to pressure and agreed to accept teacher estimates of scores. The swine had thought it decent and proper to downgrade 125,000 results for more than 75,000 pupils. The boffins ignored individual students and teachers who know their pupils best and reduced education to a data sheet from past years. Grades will now be replaced by the original teacher-predicted results.

Education Secretary John Swinney apologised for the “feeling of unfairness”. It is “deeply regrettable we got this wrong”.

This is, of course, encouraging news for English and Welsh students who are about to be shafted when their GCSE and A-level results come out later this month. Sit tight, kinder, the Cabinet of no talents will see sense.

Posted: 11th, August 2020 | In: News | Comment

Beyond Parody; Independent fooled by Toby Young’s spoof Covid-19 ‘dating site’

In the drive to divide the population into the knowing and the stupid (surely deplorables and non-deplorables – ed), the Indy declares: “There’s now a dating site for ‘lockdown sceptic’.” Those lockdown sceptic idiots (aka the Swedish et al who might questioned why schools shut, exams were canceled and people were locked inside small flats with small children and no outside space) are thinking of mating.

fake news indy

There is a reason as to why the Indy is agog and finds some of the profiles on the new dating site “unbelievable”. That reason is because – get his – it’s a spoof. In the race to shout ‘Look at them idiots!’, the Indy has stepped into an elephant trap. It might even be “Beyond Parody”:

lockdown sceptics parordy
Beyond Parody
Toby Young dating

The Indy’s story is tosh:

If you’re interested in something niche – whether that’s flat earth conspiracy theories or Dungeons and Dragons – there’s probably a dating website out there for you.

That includes the “Covid-sceptical” – essentially people who think that all of this lockdown and fear about a deadly pandemic has gone on for too long, and who want to return back to normal life.

Can “niche” include people who want to portray others as agenda-driven idiots and in so doing present themselves as what they fear? The truth is that it’s just people larking about on a forum called Love in a Covid Climate. Created by Tory columnist Toby Young, the forum is open to anyone who wants to take the mick. Here are a few samples of message of Lonely of Lockdown the Indy thinks are serious:

Covid sex
covidsex 19
Love in a cold climate lockdown sex

But in place of any research, the Indy has a story:

“It’s still uncertain whether or not many of these profiles are legitimate, but people are definitely responding to each other like they are.”

It’s “OKStupid” in the Guardian

The conclusion to the Indy’s article is choice:

Young has defended the creation of his website, telling the Guardian, ““I’ve created Love in a Covid Climate for people who are properly informed about the risk, realise how small it is and want to meet other scientifically literate people who haven’t succumbed to what Bernard-Henri Lévy calls ‘psychotic delirium’.”

So it looks like this dating site isn’t going anywhere.

It’s not a dating site. But it might be in lockdown.

Posted: 11th, August 2020 | In: News | Comment

BBC Breakfast turns migrants Channel crossing into a would-be snuff movie

Where were you when the BBC was on a boat in the English Channel watching migrants trying to stop their rubber dingy from sinking? You might have seen the BBC’s tweet and a short video of its report:

Simon Jones, our man on the scene (in a bigger, dryer boat), talked us through the drama on a “choppy” sea. The migrants were using a plastic container to try to bail out the boat. Faced with people in a “dangerous” situation, what did the man in the bigger, dryer, safer boat do? Yes: he shouted: “Are you ok?” That was after “spotting” (aka looking for and finding) the migrants half an hour earlier, and, presumably, staying close to them.

The BBC’s bloke went full sailing regatta and asked them, “Are you all right?” He then gave them a thumbs up. Not an old Roman Emperor’s signal for them to be spared death at the circus, but an attempt to get some kind of reaction. Jones then asked them where they were from?; “How many people” (on the boat?; under the boat?; fallen from the boat?); and “Where do you want to go?” Not one wag replied ‘Your house” or “Mars”, settling instead on Dover.

Stay tuned for when one boat carrying migrants is capsized by the wash from a TV crew’s launch, and a reporter can lower their voice and talk about a ‘tragedy’.

Posted: 11th, August 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, TV & Radio | Comment

Transfer Balls: Jadon Shancho to Manchester United for £50m, £108m and a moving weekly wage

Jadon Sancho will not join Manchester United this summer, says the BBC. He will remain a Borussia Dortmund player. The German club’s sporting director Michael Zorc tells everyone: “We plan on having Jadon Sancho in our team this season. The decision is final. I think that answers all our questions.”

Or as the papers put it: the deal is on! But how much is the transfer fee? And how much will Sancho earn at Manchester United? The papers have all the facts:

Daily Mail – £108m – £340,000 a week
The Guardian – £90m – £250,000 a week
The Sun – £50m tops
The Mirror – £200 a week wage

Such are the facts.

Posted: 10th, August 2020 | In: manchester united, News, Sports | Comment

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