2011 — 22 February: Tuesday

Next thing I know1 it's after 1 a.m. and I'm half-way through "Kings". If I don't stop now, I won't have anything left, will I?


Start the day...

... no matter how grey, by stewing a plum with aplomb for the breakfast cereal. It's 08:14 and looks cool and drizzly out there. Indeed, judging by the accumulated wet stuff I've just removed from the see-through bits of the car this is still no time of the year to be sleeping outdoors. But there are now four daffodils showing a certain eagerness to strut their yellow stuff.

Logic downunder

Or, where does one quake end and another begin?

The Earthquake Commission is expected to treat the quake as a new earthquake, which means it will accept claims of damage for the next 90 days. As at 17 February the EQC had received 181,107 claims and paid out $740 million to claimants from the September 4 quake. This quake has caused much more significant damage.

NZ Herald

It appears god wasn't too keen on the cathedral in Christchurch this time...

I wonder what his opinion of bankers and financiers is?

To understand the significance of this, one has to think carefully about the efficacy of fines as a punishment for a defendant pool that includes the richest people on earth — people who simply get their companies to pay their fines for them. Conversely, one has to consider the powerful deterrent to further wrongdoing that the state is missing by not introducing this particular class of people to the experience of incarceration. "You put Lloyd Blankfein in pound-me-in-the-ass prison for one six-month term, and all this bullshit would stop, all over Wall Street," says a former congressional aide. "That's all it would take. Just once."

Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone

The email just in from Big Bro is pretty scathing:

not quite sure the Earthquake folk have actually paid out anything except
promises. This is another new business, akin to receivership... NZ will
recover from it but this time there will be many scars. Not the least will
be the impression that insurance assessors and the many companies vying
for the reconstruction are somehow linked.

"It's the same the whole world over" it seems.

The company we keep

Oh my goodness...

Which two nations still reserve places in their parliaments for unelected religious clerics, who then get an automatic say in writing the laws the country's citizens must obey? The answer is Iran... and Britain.

The (26 Protestant) bishops owe their places in parliament to a serial killer. Henry VIII filled parliament with bishops because they were willing to give a religious seal of approval to him divorcing and murdering his wives — and they have lingered on through the centuries since, bragging about their own moral superiority at every turn.

Johann Hari in The Independent

There's more good stuff here, too. But now I have to fill in a long set of questions all about dear Mama's house. And pay in my victory refund cheque from my previous energy supplier.

Bureaucracy finished for...

... today, I can now (15:02) kick back with a cuppa, idly wonder exactly when it first started to cost two-thirds of a pound just to post one miserable little A5 envelope with six folded A4 sheets in it, and contemplate two goodies I found in Jonathan's book shop. Not to mention this fascinating piece on modelling analogue audio in a digital age. (Link.)


So I'm now enjoying the Schubert that's being (Simon) Rattled off and another cuppa at 16:49, having just read the Halpern book (which made me laugh out loud several times). What a life, heh?



1  Not that I know much, these days.