I’ve been too caught up in a genuine academic debate over “UFOs and sovereignty”:http://www.henryfarrell.net/movabletype/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=75&search=UFos over at the Monkey Cage to respond to this quasi-related “query”:http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2008_07/014204.php from Kevin Drum:


bq. According to a poll done to publicize the new X-Files movie, the #1 conspiracy theory (in Britain, anyway) is the belief that Area 51 exists to investigate aliens. … But down at #10, we get this: “The world is run by dinosaur-like reptiles.” What the hell kind of conspiracy theory is that? Dick Cheney doesn’t look anything like a dinosaur.


It’s a conspiracy theory in which Dick Cheney is a _shape-shifting_ “dinosaur-like reptile”:http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/biggestsecret/biggestsecretbook/biggestsecret.htm, that’s what. A shape-shifting dinosaur like reptile who “hunts people down for kicks”:http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/biggestsecret/biggestsecretbook/biggestsecret16.htm in secret federal compounds, to boot. Crooked Timber surely represents the greatest concentration of expertise on this particular set of claims in the respectable blogosphere – see “here”:http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/biggestsecret/biggestsecretbook/biggestsecret16.htm, “here”:https://crookedtimber.org/2004/04/07/shelf-life/, and “here”:https://crookedtimber.org/2004/06/07/i-dont-licke-icke-all-that-much-anymore/ for more, and this “article”:http://www.adequacy.org/public/stories/2002.2.10.183349.284.html, by the mysterious “jsm,” for a fuller briefing on the David Icke phenomenon. Indeed one of our “occasional contributors”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montagu_Norman has actually been identified by Icke as a key member of the international lizardoid conspiracy. Since Icke came out as an actual anti-Semite, I think that our collective researches have ceased. Maybe, given the continued popularity of the theory, we need to start looking at this stuff again …

Letting the gini out of the bottle

by Maria on August 6, 2008

Interesting thought piece in today’s Irish Times; ‘what will life be like for the average Irish middle class family in 2050?’. It is inspired by JM Keynes’ 1930 ‘Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren’.

It’s low on specifics but not remotely tech-evangelist, which makes a nice change. It’s clear we won’t all be driving around in space ships and commuting to and from Mars (energy and everything else being too dear). Interestingly, it predicts Ireland will be physically smaller because of climate change, and also more densely populated. One topic it doesn’t deal with is changes to income distribution.

I have a feeling that with higher prices and the predicted period of economic ‘adjustment’ we can look forward to, the gap between rich and poor Irish/Europeans may come to more closely resemble that in the US. (Bearing in mind that Ireland’s income distribution is probably somewhere between continental European and the US. But I’m not an economist and the writer, Stephen Kinsella, is. In any case, his policy prescriptions call for government actions to help the middle class that might mitigate overall income inequality:

“Well, first, they need to help me save. The more the middle class saves, long term, the more their children and their children’s children will benefit. Second, they need to make sure my children survive, by providing a health service which will make the chances of this more likely. Third, the Government must ensure the natural environment my grandchildren inhabit is as conducive to their happiness as possible, while allowing service sectoral growth and general economic development to maximise the economic possibilities for my grandchildren.”

(By the way, kudos to the Irish Times for finally pulling down the paywall.)

Talk about burying the lead! All the press coverage of Shadow Education Secretary Michael Gove‘s recent speech to the Institute of Public Policy Research focused on the fact that he had a bit of a go at “Nuts” and “Zoo”[1]. But they missed the real highlight of Gove’s speech, which is that he favourably cited CT’s own Harry Brighouse (and some bloke called Adam Swift, who is less newsworthy. Yay Harry.

If you look at Gove’s speech, it’s actually surprisingly socially liberal and sensible stuff – a bit of apologia for the Tory Party’s historical treatment of gays and single mums, a bit of blah about communitarianism and a strong hint that Crooked Timber will be invited to draft future Conservative education policy once they get into power (I may be reading a bit too much between the lines here). I could almost see myself voting for the guy if it wasn’t all so transparently a pack of bollocks. I mean really, the Conservative Party, in office, is going to subsidise unprofitable post offices? I was born during a shower of rain, but I wasn’t born during the last shower of rain. Increased devolution to local government? Subsidised maternity nurses on the Dutch model? I scratch my chin, sir, and nod vaguely in the direction of the marginal rate of capital gains tax. About the only thing in this speech which you’re ever going to see is the education vouchers proposal, and I confidently predict that the administration of that one is going to be cocked up on an epic scale.

But nonetheless, the philosophical underpinnings of Cameronism, in as much as Gove sets them out here, are both interesting and sensible. Worth a look.

Update: Despite the implication given by the title of this post, the Conservative Party are not currently the government.
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