Here in Donacloney Central Time, circa 1758, it’s just an hour and a half to 2010. Can I raise a glass to you and wish you all a Happy New Year and hope we’ll stick together during the trials and challenges of the coming year. God bless. Your presence makes it all worthwhile.
If music be the food of love, play on. This was my favourite song of 2009. I dedicate it to all of those reading this who are clocking up the years like me. I am 50 next month, but the words of this song speak for me…maybe they will resonate with you, someday.
Back home but exhausted.
My daughter was due to go to a New Year’s Party this evening at a friends house. Her friend lives in the remote hills of south Down and the closer we got to her friend’s house the worse the road conditions became. Ice, baby. Eventually, trying to climb up a steep iced hill, my car got into trouble. The tyres had little grip and I could not move forward. Stuck in the middle of nowhere.
So, I went into neutral and reversed for a mile and a half down this single track lane – without a human soul in sight and an anxious daughter beside me. On several occasions the car slid and stalled but eventually, we got back onto a road that was passable! Home now with a LARGE glass of red wine in front of me. Slowly de-stressing….
2009 was a record-breaking year for Royal British Legion fundraising through the Poppy Appeal throughout the land. What is particularly gratifying is the fantastic amount raised by the RBL in Northern Ireland. In order that my last ATW post of the year ends on a happy, positive note, the amount raised in Ulster was an amazing £1,010,699.80. In an area with a total population of only 1.8 million that sum is one hell of an achievement.
What marks Northern Ireland out from the rest of the country is the spiteful, erroneous and ill-judged campaign on behalf of a violence-nurtured minority who over-compensate with ignorance what they lack in common decency. That means every year the poppy becomes a political symbol to be criticised by people from those same quarters who couldn’t identify real, gallant soldiers (as opposed to filthy terrorists) if their lives depended on it.
Our soliders are risking their lives in far away lands. The wearing of the poppy shows our thanks and appreciation for the work they do. I applaud the efforts of those in Northern Ireland who brought out the very best qualities in that society. They took on the propadandistic voices of republicanism and won. I wish them a very happy New Year.
Have a good evening, dear readers. Whatever it is you’re doing, wrap up warm because it’s a chilly one tonight as it has been for some time. In fact it’s been the coldest December for a decade. You’d imagine the BBC would be able to bring us the news what with it being so keen to tell us all the latest from the world of climate change, but would you believe it, I can’t spot a peep from the rotters anywhere. You don’t get much for your £3billion a year now do you?
You don’t get much on TV either, looking at the schedules. What a pile of old tat they’ve in store yet again. I’d have a good mind to complain if I wasn’t already a tellie tax dodger.
So it’s the sofa of sloth for me and one of these new fangled DVD thingies. Choices and decisions sometimes come easy. War is necessary and it’s been too long since I saw this magnificent, heartwarming tale of sticking it up Johnny Frog. Have fun, whatever you’re up to.
Why, despite the financial crisis, do we still put our faith in economists, asks Edmund Conway.
2009 ought to have been the year that economists well and truly fell from grace. There is surely adequate ammunition to explode any remaining faith in their powers of prediction: the scale of the economic slump, the rise in unemployment, the fact that a small number of extremely rich people have been getting richer while the majority have suffered.
Conway can ask for himself; I wouldn’t pay a degraded Pound for the opinion of a mainstream economist. Look, here’s one:
The problem, of course, is that what these people think of economics is nothing of the sort. Like many beliefs, ideologies and professions, economics goes through fads and fashions and what has held sway since the mid-20th Century is the nonsensical idea of a command economy directed from the central state. This is voodoo, not real economics and the wreckage around us reminds us (yet again) of this folly.
It’s heartening then that as we herald another year of government disaster and catastrophe, light is slowly but surely scattering the darkness. If Conway cares to read the comments below his post he’ll find:
It’s funny how you are discussing all economists in the same way, when in fact there was a large slice of economists, the Austrian School, who advocate rational thinking rather than staring at computer models. They accurately predicted this recession and why. They are typically ignored by politicians and much of the media because listening to the Austrian’s would require fiscal discipline rather than grandstanding with other peoples money.
Austrian Business Cycle theory, Edmund. It’s as easy as ABC.
Perhaps in future you should turn to the Austrian School for answers to your economic questions. They not only predicted this crisis but understand the real root causes.
Mr Conway might have noted that the Austrian School of Economics has consistently rejected the notion that Economics is an empirical science. Further the Mises/Hayek explanation of the business cycle, that manipulation (i.e. lowering) of interest rates by Central Banks leads to unsustainable malinvestments (“bubbles”), not only provides a consistent explanation of “boom and bust” but has led to the school’s marginalisation by the mainstream, many of whom are funded, directly or indirectly, by Governments and Central Banks.
Hallelujah brothers. Apart from health and happiness, my wish for 2010 is that finally (please, finally) the lessons of this still unfolding disaster are realised and real economics somehow ceases to be ignored by the fools and criminals who govern us.
Conservative carnival barker Rush Limbaugh was taken to the hospital complaining of chest pains. Since I am a firm believer in the phrase “only the good die young” I am fairly confident he’ll pull through.
Apparently Rush has been vacationing in Hawaii like his political idol President Obama. There is no word as to the cause of the Rotund One’s chest pain, perhaps the Kahala Hotel announced that the resort’s weekend luaus did not have sufficient red spareribs and mashed ripe bananas to meet his needs. Perhaps Hawaiian Pharmacies wouldn’t take a note from his mother? A poorly made Mai Tai? Maybe his caddy was white.
Actually the idea that his golfing at the Waialae Country Club brought it on would make him the most unfortunate golfer this year, save perhaps Tiger Woods.
In reality, I don’t wish Limbaugh the unhappy end he has wished on others. I hope he recovers and returns to milking his angry followers by exploiting their need for feelings of superiority and stroking their resentments. If it wasn’t Limbaugh it would be someone else. So here is to the speedy recovery of the sad man and may his health care experience be a pleasant one.
Well, it’s been a BUSY year here on ATW.
Top-line. We have posted 4580 items for your consideration. I reckon we must be one of the most prolific blogs on the net. We have had 1.7m hits over the year and a dedicated monthly unique readership of some 50,000 folks, from around the world.
I wanted to say a few words about my fellow writers.
First, the Brits. Pete Moore has been a stalwart on ATW in 2009 and has produced excellent posts on a range of issues, with the economy being a particular strength. Mike Cunningham has published hist first book and I will be reviewing it in January. Andrew McCann continues to be an anchor on ATW providing some very thoughtful commentary. Alison posted earlier in the year and was key to the redesign of the site, her presence is missed by me in these latter months but I understand the reasons.
Stateside, it’s been a strong year. On the East coast, we have the erudite Mahons who has consistently delivered astute and witty content. It was my good fortune to meet him in October and I cannot thank him enough for all he has done for ATW. I am convinced I will persuade him to become a cheer-leader for “Palin in 2012″! Phantom has also been busy this year posting on the blog and has made a really positive impact. It was my pleasure to meet him again this year, and his larger than life presence is much appreciated. Then there is the power-house of Grizzly Mama and Troll – my dear old friends who I met some years ago now. I always enjoy their honest and gutsy contributions to ATW. Moving across the State, Daphne has moved on in 2009 but still visits us and she is always insightful, witty, and classy. Then moving to to West Coast, we have the elegant and decent Patty. Her posts are another plus on the blog and it was my pleasure to finally get to meet her. She is as charming in real life as in her writings.
And then – there is YOU, dear reader. You are what makes this all worthwhile and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for clicking the button and coming here! Without you, this would be much less interesting so a shout out you, as Obama might say.
2010 will prove to be a challenge for us as we seek to keep ATW in a league all of it’s own. I can guarantee it will bring further change in ways you may not expect but hey, that’s part of the fun.
So – to all those who come here – supporters and critics – many thanks for 2009!
The year finishes with Eurocrats and Europe’s governments heading for a new year showdown over plans to block a “routine” pay rise for thousands of highly-paid EU civil servants.
Two days before Christmas, EU ministers voted to halve a planned 3.7% annual increase to 1.85%, insisting that more than 45,000 EU officials should be prepared to tighten their belts and ease pressure on the public purse during the recession – like their national civil service counterparts.
Now European Parliament staff are threatening strikes which will disrupt the crucial confirmation hearings for new EU Commissioners who must be approved by MEPs before taking office. With eurocrats’ unions up in arms, the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, looks certain to side with the staff and take legal action against the member states for trying to block the 3.7% pay deal, which is based on a legally-binding formula the member states themselves agreed in 2004.
So, even though the private sector across Europe is cutting salaries to survive in the age of austerity, the Eurocrats see no reason to derail the gravy train, travelling first-class, at OUR expense!
No. not ATW’s much valued stalwart but the IT consultant taken prisoner by Iraqis and now released. Turns out that Iran was behind the kidnapping and that Moore and his colleagues were moved to Iran within a day or two of being taken prisoner. It seems that the UK government has been involved in behind the scenes efforts to swap prisoners to get Mr Moore released. Just one more murky tale and proof, if proof be needed, that IRAN is the nexus of the axis of evil in this region. Why does our inept Government seek to deny this obvious fact?