Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mathematical and Economic Ignorance

From "Scottish Business Insider" and parroted by the never-surprised-by-their-incompetence at al-Beeb:

Profits at Scotland's main companies plummeted last year by 182%, according to a new analysis.

However, the number of the country's top 500 corporates that increased their profits was nearly as high as the number who saw them fall.

The steepness of the fall was due to the crises at the Royal Bank of Scotland and Halifax Bank of Scotland.


Profits can't fall, never mind plummet, by more than 100% before they stop being profits and start being losses ...

I suppose they mean that overall losses this year were 82% of last year's profits but it is too difficult to tell.

Friday, January 22, 2010

More Reverse Burden of Proof

Okay, the vile disease is spreading. The "The Immigration (Leave to Enter and Remain) (Amendment) Order 2010" has been introduced and this enables automatic gates to be used for certain classes of entrant - hence "grant or refusal of leave otherwise than by notice in writing". No stamp in your passport (unless you have a visa.) Quick, convenient, to everybodies' benefit - travellers, officials etc.

Until they catch somebody who's been through one of these gates and say "prove how you came in to the country". You have no access to the UK Borders Agency systems or the airline systems and even if you had kept your boarding card, that is only evidence that you checked in for a particular flight (it could trivially be alleged, for example, that you merely changed flights at Heathrow - therefore never actually entered the country.) But, still, from the explanatory note:

where any question arises under the Immigration Acts as to whether a person has leave to enter the United Kingdom and the person alleges that the person has such leave by virtue of passing through an automated gate under article 8A, the onus shall be on the person to show the manner and date of entry into the United Kingdom.


I'll note that in the other cases from the 2000 SI, as originally implemented, you were either given leave to remain by telephone or by a notice to a responsible 3rd party. In both these cases, I would assume that you would have had some documentation of your initial entry to the UK in your passport - which is what you have to prove - when and how did you enter the UK. It is the "leave to remain", subsequently granted and which you are not required to prove, that comes without a document.

Bastards. Just evil bastards. I'll note that this cunting thing is a draft - I hope, but strongly doubt, that they'll fix it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Is There a "Laffer Curve" for Po?

That's 'po' as in 'po-faced'. Virtuous dullness. Not quite causally the same as cretinous over-politically correct but practically indistinguishable in effect.

Hat-tip to Julia in her comment on one of Leg-iron's posts. Which led me to the not-particularly-strange-for-there post on il-Liberal Conspiracy. A bit of sincere irritation by a militant feminist after a particularly antediluvian example of the breed Councilor Uselessus, sub-speechies Fossilus Tori - rape jokes just aren't funny. Not, 'shouldn't be' - just 'aren't':

Because they’re not. Ever. They never have been and they never will be.

Probably leading to a bit of mild bansturbation. Which led to the most hilarious comment thread - made even more so by the inevitable trashing of it by Mr Sunny 'Dissenters Delendum Est' Hundal.

She's wrong of course. Rape jokes might be 'usually inappropriate' and even 'usually unfunny' - but some of them are and in some contexts, they may even be appropriate. Anyway, it got me thinking. Away from LC and Tax Research UK, we understand the Laffer Curve for taxation - like most great explanations, it is actually quite trite. (Explanation for those who haven't heard of it: If you (the govt or who-ever - the local baron even) levy no tax, you have no income. If you levy 100% tax, then no-one works in the formal economy, there is no point, no income. Some tax, some income. There are lots of distinguished arguments about the shape of the curve, where the maxima might be, and how human behaviours work dynamically around the underlying end-point curve - it can take a couple of years to arrange a migrants visa to Australia or New Zealand for example, so even if you decided to leave because of a swinging tax rate, you may need to keep working for a while ...)

Is there an equivalent for humour? You insult everybody - they get up and leave (or never buy a ticket to another of your shows). You insult nobody (and most jokes have a butt - even if it is the teller or their stereotype) and you are so ridiculously po-faced even Sunny would think you are boring. Where is the Laffer maxima for humour? How can you estimate it? And it's not a Laffer curve for humour - it's the opposite - a Laffer curve for anti-humour, 'po', if you will allow me to abuse the language so.

  • It clearly varies per audience - jokes that are acceptable amongst friends may be more acceptable in the pub than in the workplace. Unacceptability makes people squirm - even ones who actually found it funny.
  • Amongst a group of new acquaintances, more care is needed until the most uptight ones have gone to bed (or had half a Babycham and turned into wibbling heaps.)
  • On the interwebby thing - well, you can find somebody who will be offended by almost anything (Youtube user kenjosmes commenting on this video, for example.)

Anyway, some pontificating - I'd rather have Anjem Choudry and Pat Condell, Ben Elton and Jim Davis, Peter Tatchell and Iris Robinson, even Sunny Hundal and, well, I can't think of anything vile enough to be his opposite - than I would having them banned.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Oh, Not Too Long Now

More drivel from the most expensive of the Westminster tarts, our very own Eric Joyce:

Most regular folk in Scotland see Gordon for what he is – a decent man who wants the world to be a better place, especially for the less well-off.


Different world, mate. Most 'regular' folk in Scotland see Gordon for what he is - a typical politician. Blindly clinging to the tribal loyalties of the 1920s, poisoning everything he touches, incapable of admitting error and, now, the hero of the middle classes.

For crying out loud, I'm going to be voting SNP whenever Gordo's nails finally give way and the election flies out of his stifling grasp - the fucking nationalists - just to try to get you, and him, out.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Spam Title of the Day

"Has the cold snap frozen your sales pipeline?"

It hasn't frozen the delivery pipeline either, although it got close from time to time ...

Utterly Crap Law

The Holocaust (Return of Cultural Objects) Act 2009.

At no point in this act does it mention where the goods might have come from, who they might have belonged to, or how they were obtained. As long as the Advisory Panel says so and a politician agrees.

I have no problem with Museums being permitted to return 'stolen' property - even, perhaps, required to return it - libertarian adherence to fundamental property rights, and all that. But nowhere in this piece of appalling legislation does it require that the goods designated were initially seized, as the Title would have you believe, by the Nazis from Jews (or any other victims of the holocaust - although I suspect that the rich amongst the many persecuted were either Jewish or homosexual.) From 1933 to 1945 - any time, any place, anything. As long as yet-another-quango says "do it".

Friday, January 08, 2010

And Better!

Oh, if it wasn't so damn icy, today would be a smug day!

Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman has been fined £350 after pleading guilty to driving without due care and attention.

It Just Gets Better!

George is clearly missing the atmosphere of the (Not-Really-A)-Celebrity house:

Respect MP George Galloway has been deported from Egypt.

The Bow and Bethnal Green MP was reportedly trying to return to Gaza to help members of a humanitarian convoy who had been arrested.


That brought an even bigger smile (okay, smirk) to my face than England's lucky escape yesterday.
 
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