“I am sorry, could you please repeat that?”

It is not often that something leaves me with my mouth gaping open as I struggle for something to say, but the following quote made by Jack Ablin succeeded.  The BBC news item is titled  ‘Dow industrials hit pre-crash 13,000 landmark’.  Mr Ablin’s astonishing intellect was bought to bear and the remarkable insight that has been reported, is as follows;

“I think it’s a momentous day for investor confidence,” said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Harris Private Bank.

“What this number implies is that the financial crisis, that we were all losing sleep over, it never happened because now we’re back.”

I am sure that I heard a collective cheer echoing around the world from the millions of unemployed and homeless who suddenly realised that actually the financial crisis never happened and they can all go back to their previous lives.

Some final considered advice.  If you have any money in Harris Private Bank, it might be a good move to take out as soon as you can before Mr Ablin invests it.

To read the news article click this link.

To leave your thoughts on Jack’s Facebook page you can go here

Or you can read Jack’s bio here

Laura Dekker – why Holland has no modern heroes

Laura Dekker the 16-year-old Dutch girl, is about to complete her circumnavigation of the world in her twin masted sailboat ‘Guppy’.  This young girl is remarkable.  At the age of 6 she was sailing a small boat across lakes, at 13 she sailed from The Netherlands to England, and back.  She is the youngest person to ever have completed this trip.

So why my comment in the headline?  When it became public knowledge that Laura, then aged 13 was planning this trip, in jumps Dutch authorities – Netherlands Youth Institute.  Without meeting her and without talking to her they made a court application to have her removed from her father and locked up in a secure facility to prevent her from leaving.  When this failed, they went back to court four more times.  Fortunately the judiciary had more intelligence than the Youth Institute.  So eventually, she is free to go and heads off on her adventure.  It would be reasonable at this point to expect that the authorities expended their energies on how to support this remarkable young girl, but no, earlier this month truancy officers issued her father with a summons claiming that the schoolgirl had been failing to complete her homework on time.  She doesn’t always have access to the internet and her time is usually preoccupied with storms, sleeping and the safety of herself and Guppy.  Frankly I find it amazing that the authorities here have not reached the conclusion that any 14-year-old that can learn all the skills needed to sail a boat single-handedly around the world, would probably not benefit from a standard Dutch education.

So having done something of this magnitude, you would expect that Laura is about to return to a heroes welcome in Holland.  Sadly not. Instead Laura chose the Dutch Caribbean island of St Maarten as the arrival point because she feared the presence of social services if she returned directly to her native Netherlands

The opportunity that Laura presents for this country as a symbol of determination, skill, intelligence, spirit and individual courage is clearly not as important as this years version of “Voice of Holland” where the country goes into a frenzy to vote and applaud someone who will slide into utter obscurity within 6 months.  It cannot come as any surprise that Laura says that although she loves the Netherlands, she is unlikely to return because she finds it too stifling – now there is a surprise!

I do have to point out that Laura was actually born on a boat in Whangarei Harbour, New Zealand 🙂

You can read the full news article on the BBC website.  You can also read her story on her own website here.


Lets distract the ‘little people’

I find it interesting that when a country like The Netherlands begins to face real challenges such as the current economic outlook which require bold, intellectual responses the fine voted leaders resort to a campaign best described as distracting ‘the little people’.  It seems to be a tactic that is almost built into any politicians DNA, avoid talking about something that either a) “I might be held accountable for”,  or b) “I might confirm that I am an idiot because I don’t know” or c) “If they think about it in too much detail I might get voted out because somehow I am associated with this mess”.

So what have they come up with over the last couple of weeks.  Well the first one that has been causing considerable debate has been the horror expressed by politicians that anyone would want to have two passports.  Yes, TWO passports.  It would seem that if you have a Dutch passport then you have a divine responsibility to reject all others.  However, because this wasn’t a widely held belief amongst those with multiple passports, they made a law stating that you can only have one.  Exactly how having 2 passports is detrimental to your Dutch state of mind is not clear, however it is clear that for a number of Dutch politicians this is a considerable issue and it must be STOPPED.  What the morons haven’t thought through is that if you don’t tell them they will never know.  I have always found it interesting that people can attach so much of an emotional investment in a piece of paper.

The second one has been another debate in parliament about University courses being taught in English. Apparently English is becoming popular because “it is chic and because of globalisation”.  Halbe Ziljstra, the junior education minister added that  ‘if the subject requires teaching in English, it is logical to do so.’ However, if English is not necessary it is not beneficial to ‘pour an English sauce’ over a lesson, he said. Clearly this man has a bright future!

A lot of this idiocy is in reaction to Geert Wilders and his ‘anti-anything’ stance, however as I remind my daughters who are at school in this country and both think that Wilders is a fucking idiot,  he is in parliament because people voted for him.  That is what bothers a lot of people here, the fact that there is enough morons in Holland who actually think this is a good thing and confirms my original observation, when the going gets tough “wind up the little people”.

Troy Davis – Justice in the ‘Land of the Free’

Today, Wednesday September 21 the state of Georgia is going to execute Troy Davis who was convicted for killing an off duty policeman in 1989.  So far, so good.  Reading this headline one might think “Serves him right”.  The family of the dead policeman certainly do.  “Justice was finally served for my father,” said Mark MacPhail Jr, the victim’s son. “The truth was finally heard.”

However if you spend a little more time to read the background, you will understand why I have to write this post.  Since the original conviction in 1991, seven of nine witnesses who helped convict him during the original trial have either changed their testimony or recanted. No murder weapon was ever found and no DNA evidence or fingerprints conclusively linked Davis to the shooting.

Even more astonishingly at a rare 2010 innocence hearing – ordered by the US Supreme Court – two witnesses said they falsely incriminated Davis, while two others told the court another had confessed to being the actual killer.  US District Court Judge William T Moore Jr said there was not enough evidence to vindicate Davis or grant him a new trial.

Of course the fact that Troy is an African-American living in Georgia has absolutely nothing to do with this.  What leaves me almost speechless is the utter fucking hypocrisy of so many Americans.  I will bet $100 that every member of the parole review board and the judges like William T Moore Jnr all go to church every Sunday, pray to God to save themselves and yet somehow manage very successfully to ignore some of the central tenants of their faith.  If Jesus appeared before them and held the mirror up to their faces to see what they have become they would probably execute him as well for being ‘un-American’.

One thing that I do know for sure, the term ‘Capital Punishment’ means that those with the capital don’t get the punishment.  Talk to Dominic Strauss Khan.

God save America – (why the fuck would she)?

Television: I simply don’t get it.

I have the luxury of living on the 6th floor of a building which is slightly higher than most of the buildings within my area.  Because of a park in front of the house I get a 180 degree view, with other apartment buildings on the 3 sides in front.  I sometimes stand and observe the pattern in people’s lives. Come home from work, switch on the TV, cook dinner, eat dinner (with the TV), clean up and then sit and watch TV for the entire evening, go to bed, get up – rinse and repeat.  This happens (with minor variation) 7 days a week.  The was a person (he has since moved) that actually used to sleep in front of the TV, which was turned off only when he went to work.  On average people are watching TV either directly or in-directly 5 hours a day.  Every year they spend an equivalent of 76 (24 hour) days, watching TV.  Add in a further 7 hours sleep each day and that totals 182 full days per year – comatose.  I simply don’t get it.  There are articles decrying how western culture is becoming “Dummed down”, why might that be?  Children with high levels of tolerance to graphic violence, why might that be?  People with no real idea who they truly are and what they really want from their life, why might that be?

The best thing you can do if you truly want to begin to live your life consciously is throw away the television!!  Reclaim your life.

This video says it all.