01 January 2004

BBC re-evaluates its listeners

[source, source]

Listeners to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme were asked to suggest a piece of legislation to improve life in Britain, with the promise that an MP would then attempt to get it onto the statute books.

But yesterday, 26,000 votes later, the winning proposal was denounced as a “ludicrous, brutal, unworkable blood-stained piece of legislation” - by Stephen Pound, the very MP whose job it is to try to push it through Parliament.

[…] the winner of Today’s “Listeners’ Law” poll was a plan to allow homeowners “to use any means to defend their home from intruders” - a prospect that could see householders free to kill burglars, without question.

Mr Pound said, “I can’t remember who it was who said ‘The people have spoken - the bastards’.”

[…] Mr Pound told The Independent: “We are going to have to re-evaluate the listenership of Radio 4.”

Yes, we wouldn’t want the wrong sort of people to listen to government funded radio.

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LA Times reign of error

Oh, what the heck.

I cited this long post in my previous post but for a different reason. The post has a mass of bias, errors and distortions by the LA Times. It’s too much to excerpt but well worth reading. The comments contain numerous other errors as well. It was quite a year for the LA Times. I’d like to say it was part of the melt down of the LA Times, but there’s no real evidence that it’s actually worse — it may simply be people are noticing more.

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Spend first, balance later

[source, source, source]

When the [California] Legislature was trying to figure out what to do about a $38 billion budget shortfall, the federal government dropped $2.4 billion into the Legislature’s lap. Democrats immediately spent all the money — not on fixing the hole in the budget, but on social programs.

I hadn’t heard that before. Kind of puts paid to the whole “the feds should bail out the states” idea, eh?

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Preventing fish based hijackings

[source, source]

I wasn’t prepared, however, for the TSA to stop me right at the entrance [to LaGuardia airport], proclaiming that no small pets, including fish, were permitted through security. I had, however, just received the blessing of the ticket agents at US Airways and pre-assured MJ’s [the fish] travels with Pittsburgh International Airport security weeks before our travel date [emphasis added]. I tried to explain this to the screener who stood between me and the gates, but she would have none of it.

I was led back to the US Airways ticket counter, stocking-footed and alone, where the agents reasserted that they did not see a problem for me to have a fish on board, properly packaged in plastic fish bag and secured with a rubber band as MJ was. But the TSA supervisor was called over, and he berated me profusely. He exclaimed that in no way, under no circumstances, was a small fish allowed to pass through security, regardless of what the ticket agents said.

Couldn’t they look at the fish and see it wasn’t packing a thumbtack?

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THIS JUST IN: Controlling spending helps with a budget

[source, source]

State spending rose 4.6% in 2002 while revenue increased only 3%; that forced states to borrow billions of dollars to balance their budgets. But legislators clamped down in 2003. Spending rose only 1.3% in the first nine months of the year while revenue increased 1.5%.

The fiscal restraint is paying dividends. For the first time in three years, most legislatures won’t have to plug holes in existing budgets this year. Instead, they will focus on next year’s budgets, which take effect July 1 in 46 states.

So those emergency federal funds turn out not to be required. Who’d have thunk it?

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