Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Pet Peeves #2

Pet Peeve #2: I Want Brilliant NHS Health Care And A Fantastic Police Force, But I Don't Want To Have To Pay For Any Of It!

You know the type. The people who always complain about how certain services they want aren't good enough, but whine when they are asked to pay tax. I'm sorry, but how else are we supposed to fund heathcare, the police force and education without tax money? This is not some magic fantasy land where everything is free.
Don't get me wrong, I am all for lowering taxes, if possible. If there is places where money is going to waste than this should be identified and changed. But I am much more in favour of making sure that every citizen has quality healthcare, a good education system and a well-run police force than I am making sure they have lower taxes(obviously within reason).

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Drug Use As A Crime

I, personally, think that making the use of drugs a crime is a bad idea. I think not only is it bad for the drug users themselves it is bad for society as a whole and it is also bad for the ever-sacred taxpayer.

Reasons it is bad for the drug users themselves is pretty obvious. If one buys drugs off the streets it is impossible to actually know the contents of the drug, meaning that the drug could be cut with anything including harmful substances. It creates a stigma in which it is harder to get help for a drug addiction. Putting drug addicts in prison is bad for them -- it is not the help that they need to recover from this. Not only this, but a prison sentence ruins further life chances, meaning that if an addict recovered and tried to live a normal life with a normal job, they would find employment difficult to find. Although former addicts may find it hard to do this anyway, a conviction makes it more difficult, and regarding the non-addicted drug users it would definitely have an impact as they could function normally in society prior to conviction.

Obviously the main negative impact on society is the crime factor. People often resort to crime to get another fix, and drugs are sold by the generally corrupt and the profits may go towards funding other illegal ventures.

I think it negatively affects the taxpayer. The first reason is that prison sentences are in the long run more expensive than rehabilitation for drug addicts. Rehabilitated drug addicts can then go on to lead a normal life meaning having a job and paying tax, thus less tax for the rest of us.
Locking people up in prison also effectively makes them unemployable, because very few people are prepared to employ an ex-con and they have also been out of the jobs market so to speak for the duration of their prison sentences. This means that a person locked up for a drug offense might end up stuck on benefits, costing the taxpayer money.
The other point is that if drugs were legal they could be taxed in a similar way to cigarettes or alcohol, again, making more money for the government meaning either taxes could be cut elsewhere or spending could be increased.

Do not get me wrong: I don't like drugs in general and I would never choose to do them. But other people will, no matter how illegal they are(indeed, perhaps because they are illegal). I think the best way is to make them legal and safer(ie. cut with less crap, in more controlled doses, etc) and set up programs for rehabilitation and better programs of education about drugs. At the end of the day, the best one can really do is to educate people and let them make their own choices, to draw an analogy re: sex education, the best we can do is to tell children about condoms and birth control and how effective they are, the negatives of STDs and the risk of pregnancy, oral and anal sex and how they can still spread disease et al. and then hope that they take this advice into account when they have sex.

NB: I think it is fairly clear, but some of these points apply only to people who actually suffer with addiction, and others apply to drug users in general. Of course, these two things are different, in fact, "drug use" is fairly heterogeneous a category but it tends to be all lumped in together.

Friday, 16 May 2008

Pet Peeves #1

This will be a new section I'm adding to my blog to complain about things I find very annoying.

Pet Peeve #1: Natural Foods Are Good For You!

I loathe it when foods are advertised as being "100% Natural" or some such. This does not mean that they are better for you, although that is what is implied by such advertising. This is a blatant appeal to nature as the claim is not argued. More than being a fallacy, it is not even true, in fact it is more likely to be the opposite. People who argue natural food is good are forgetting their selfish genes. With the exception of fruits(who want to be eaten in order for the seeds to be excreted and thus spread) plants have no desire to be eaten. So they develop measures in order not to be eaten, ie. evolving toxins. It has been hypothesised and corroberated that this is the reason for morning sickness during pregnancy - to prevent the embryo being affected by these toxins.(see S. Pinker, How The Mind Works, The Penguin Press 1998, p.39-40).

Monday, 12 May 2008

4-1 To The Championship: Birmingham v Blackburn Rovers

I confess I had a dilemma before this game started: it was rather hot yesterday and so i needed a hat. Unfortunately, the only two summer hats I have are an England hat and a "Birmingham City: Pride of the Midlands!" hat. The dilemma was thus: which hat was the least embarrassing? (Went with the England hat in the end.)
Basically, what had to happen was this: we had to get a better result than both Reading and Fulham. Reading had the incredibly difficult challenge of having to play Derby County at Pride Park, while Fulham had the "eyes of the F.A. Cup" Portsmouth side. Bugger!
In the end, all 3 of the above teams won, meaning that we were relegated to the Championship(which was de facto sealed at the Villa away game in my opinion.)
So what did I think of the general season performance? The defense is the main problem with the side, it is just poor, particularly centre defense. We are incapable of shutting up shop and defending out a game. We also play the long ball up too much, we don't pass the ball very well at all.

Moments of the Season(compiled from memory so if I've forgotten something please forgive me!)

This list is only compiled from matches I actually watched either at the ground(1/2 season ticket) or on Sky(excepting "Worst Moment of The Season".) Home matches unless otherwise specified.

Best Goal of the Season: Sebastian Larsson versus Tottenham Hotspur(away): an absolute beauty in the last seconds of the game to get us three points.

Almost Goal of The Season: Franck Queudrue versus Manchester City: an overhead kick from about 16 yards saved by the 'keeper.

Cock-up of the season: Joint award: Ridgewell back header versus Sunderland(away); Muamba back-pass versus Manchester City.

Lucky Decision Of The Season: penalty we got against Manchester City.

Funny cock-up of the season: Ridgewell versus Newcastle United. He expected a free-kick to be given, so he caught the ball, but because the free-kick wasn't given, Ridgewell was penalised for handball.

Lacklustre(ie. crap) performance of the season: versus Sunderland away.

Worst Away Kit of the season: Chelsea - ridiculously bright kit that was fluorescent yellow! I wonder if they were sponsoring campaigns to make sure you are seen by cars at night cos no driver could miss that kit!
Honourable mentions: Spurs - not quite as bad as Chelsea's, though; Manchester City - purple kit. Man. City are sky blue at home, purple away. Those colours are a bit too close really. It was actually a bit tricky to spot the difference between our blue and their purple on TV.

Goal-scoring performance of the season: Forssell hat-trick versus Tottenham.
Honourable mentions: Zarate v. Man City; Jerome v. Blackburn with a brace each.

Defender of the Season: Stephen Kelly. Played every minute of every game(I think). Is one of the few defenders we've got who can actually defend!

Midfielder of the Season: Sebastian Larsson.

Striker of the season: I'm not really sure who to pick. In the games he played(not loads admittedly) I'd be tempted to go for McFadden. Forssell has also had his moments though Forssell needs better service than what he gets. Zarate has got good skill but he is a bit too selfish; needs to pass a bit more.

Idiot of the season: Newcastle United's "Fat Bastard" who had his shirt off in a 7.45 kick off in March! Alternately, Liam Ridgewell for cocking up a lot.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Sam Harris' Research

If you haven't already, you may like to take some internet surveys to help Sam Harris do studies on the brain and religious faith: check out this link.

Hypocrisy Meters Explode All Across Britain

Birmingham, England - There has recently been a hypocrisy meter crisis across Britain, the repercussions still being felt in the most severely affected areas. "It was terrible." one affected woman said earlier today, "It was about 11.50 on Tuesday night and suddenly, that highly prized hypocrisy meter I'd bought just exploded." In a production plant in Aldershot, two workers were killed in a mass explosion of the latest shipment of meters.
The crisis has been linked to a showing on the British Channel 4 of the film Jesus Camp. One commentator said "My meter could take it when I read about Eliot Spitzer, but it just couldn't handle Haggard."

Monday, 5 May 2008

The Thrilling New Sequel To "Bend It Like Beckham" Finally Released!

The classic DVD "Hoof It Like Birmingham" out now!

Watch in awe as long balls go straight through to the opposition 'keeper or defender!

Gasp as a pass goes all the way out of play for an opposition throw in!

Hold your head in your hands as another good chance for an attack goes begging!

See ya in the Championship next season!