75 1 min 9 yrs

Looks like everyone’s busy. Have yourselves an open thread then, one decorated with a snap of England tighthead Dan Cole holding back the Welsh pack with his outstretched arms. More of that on Saturday please. House rules apply.


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75 thoughts on “ATW OPEN THREAD

  1. This is is a very small story, unworthy of any buildup.

    My company has switched from bad coffee made from individual one cup envelopes to very bad coffee made in battery acid pots.

    I won’t touch the new stuff, so have taken to grabbing a large ( never ” grande ” )Starbucks Pike coffee on the way into the office. It’s expensive but it is seriously good coffee!

  2. We use Alterra ( alterracoffee.com ) in the office, it’s drinkable.

    But my job used to take me to lots of different companies as a consultant so I got used to drinking what ever hot brown caffeinated liquid they served.

  3. We just stopped using the Alterra envelopes. I didn’t love them. But they’re better than anything that sits in a pot all day.

  4. My normal alternative is the Au Bon Pain location at Maiden Lane and Water St. But they still haven’t reopened after Sandy.

    It is a very slow flood recovery here….

  5. Pete.
    As an Englishman I will be pleased if England win.
    If Wales do I shall be delighted!

    England struggled against Italy. They still don’t seem like a settled team. Wales has a much smaller talent pool to draw on. They play with passion, they don’t give up.
    Sam Warburton, Leigh Halfpenny, George North, Alun Wyn Jones, Cuthbert, Biggar and Jenkins
    I wish them well. Should be a fantastic match.

    The Agit8eds drink Carte Noir and Alta Rica instant. We like our coffee strong.
    Best coffee I ever tasted was Jamaican Blue Mountain back in my Merchant Navy days.
    I hate Costa and Starbucks with a passion. They are commercial rip offs, trading on consumer snob appeal rather than value for money.
    I hope they go under.

  6. This is is a very small story, unworthy of any buildup.

    On the contrary, I was hanging on your every word! 🙂

    This Pike Coffee isn’t something I’ve heard of. I have a crazy amount of coffee paraphernalia in my place but increasingly I’m using a simple cafetiere. Aldi do some very good and reasonably priced beans which pretty much does the trick for me, unless I want an espresso in which case I’ve a machine that does that!

    I was in Lyon recently and absolutely everywhere I went the coffee was top notch. I wish it was like that here.

  7. Pike Place is a new Starbucks coffee. A little less strong, less ” burnt ” but it’s a good honest coffee.

    I have a Japanese friend who roasts his own green coffee beans. Too much work for me.

  8. I take a jar of Tesco’s own brand freeze dried coffee granules into work and coffee mate…… Loooovely 🙂

  9. Has anybody noticed that Miss Israel is black. Some would call that ‘progress’ but I would be cynical and say that it was an attempt by Israeli authorities to deflect criticism from their (understandable) attempts to prevent black imports from breeding – and this is why:


    You can’t tell me that the Ethiopian falasha is better looking than those other (very European) beauties.

  10. mairin2 –

    Locks are happy to put their heads in there. It’s the least sensitive part and it means their brains can’t roll out of their ears.

    Agit8ed –

    In hindsight I’m not too annoyed at the shabby performance vs Italy. We know why it happened. Morgan’s injury means no natural No.8 so blindsides are having to fill in. This has disrupted the back row and means we’ve lost his forward momentum. Breaking the gain line less often means slower ball, and the Italians played very well too.

    Maybe it will put them in a better mindset than if they’d whipped Italy by 30 points.

    Every Taff’s worst nightmare must include England clinching a Grand Slam in Cardiff, so I’m anticipating a hugely physical game. Croft is back in, so that should be the lineout shaping up better than recently. Owen Farrell’s back, so we won’t be having much of that nancy boy passing stuff.

    My worry No.1 is Marler vs Adam Jones in the scrum. Jones has been spot on this year and if Marler doesn’t have a great game he’ll give away penalty after penalty.

    My worry No. 2 is Chris Ashton getting isolated against either North or Cuthbert out wide. Ashton couldn’t tackle a legless midget, and both Welsh wings are human trucks. We’re in big trouble if we’re relying on his stopping power.

    It’s a 50/50 game as far as I can see. England have been the better team for a year, but Wales are more experienced, have been improving since the horror show against Ireland and are playing at home. All in all, I have no idea what the outcome will be, but I won’t be happy if we lose.

  11. BBC America will be showing the Wales v England rugby match at 1pm Eastern if anyone on this side of the Atlantic is interested.

  12. Allan

    The best way to stop black girls from breeding is to tell them that only you are allowed to be the father !

  13. Wales have recovered well from their big slump in form last year, and apart from a poor first half against Ireland have done well this year.

    They have the momentum, but England are probably a better side on balance.

    So I’ll go for England by 5- 10 points.

  14. On a different topic- is anyone enjoying any really good TV shows at the moment? I prefer high quality TV series to films I think.

    I’m currently into Game of Thrones (filmed mostly in Northern Ireland) which must be one of the most ambitious shows ever made.

  15. Pete,
    I don’t think Ashton has lived up to his earlier promise and doesn’t deserve

  16. Ross
    we quite enjoyed the two part “Shetland” this week and Midwives is really well done.

  17. “I take a jar of Tesco’s own brand freeze dried coffee granules into work and coffee mate…… Loooovely ”

    not everybody has class Colm.

  18. I may not have class. but I have taste !

    Ps – I too thoroughly enjoyed ‘call the midwife’ if that’s the programme you are referring to

  19. Colm,
    Yes that’s the one. I felt they really captured the attitudes of that time. A sense of serving and vocation. I was living in Poplar in 1964, only for a hew months, but it was very different to how it is now.

  20. Agit8ed

    I doubt if it was that true to life. I like the programme but it’s certainly very twee and cosy and stereotypical of working class life. A 21st century view of what 1950s life was like

  21. Since it’s open call, I have a question.

    For those of you living in countries with nationalized medical care, how is it paid for? To wit, how much is your payroll tax, percentage-wise, if that’s how it’s funded? If it’s not, how does the government collect funds and at what rate?

  22. Daphne

    Here in the UK it just comes out of regular income tax which is for the average earner 20% of taxable income. There is no specific health payments made and it isn’t calculated as a seperate percentage. We also pay something called ‘National Insurance’ which funds the state pension and welfare benefits and that is about 9% of income.

  23. Daphne –

    Imagine the federal government taxing you directly for everything. That’s how it is. What’s spent on the commie slaughterhouses comes directly out of this.

    According to the NHS beancounters, the per capita cost is £1979 in 2010/11. That would be about $3000 per capita, or mega-bucks per productive worker, or 50 quid per pensioner starved to death.

  24. Daphne

    Pay no attention to Pete. He has become a parody of himself, probably deliberately.

  25. So you pay a fixed income tax rate of 29% across the board to fund healthcare, state pension and welfare?

    I’d like to say that sounds very high, but when I add up my polyglot of federal and state taxes (including a few dozen fees), I’m paying in nearly the same amount at the end of the day.

    I ask because my property taxes are going up again to fund my city’s health care district, a tax that keeps local hospitals open and operating due to so many uninsured patients overwhelming their financial capacity to meet demand.

    My state is also refusing to expand medicaid (poor people’s health insurance) under Obamacare despite the clear advantage to property owners like me. My local property taxes rise every year to make sure poor people receive health care and hospitals remain open. I’m near $500 bucks a pop on my $350K small home. Do the math. In a small city of 1 million, of which 3/4 own property valued at a median price of $200K+, indigent health care is a staggering burden for the middle class to maintain.

    The cost of treating the uninsured is going to bury this country.

  26. Daphne

    The 29% is on income above around £8,500 which is the tax free amount of your incme and it funds all government expenditure. In addition we pay a local ‘council’ tax which is based on the value of property roughly and is around a £1,000 for each household a year. Our property tax only covers local council services not health or welfare.

  27. Daphne

    UK taxes are 20% basic rate plus 11% nic, so 31% for most. The basic rate starts at £8,500 approx and the nic starts at £7,000 approx.

    For the rich, the tax rate increases to 40% on incomes over (approx) £40,000 and nic drops to 2%. Anyone who has more than £150,000 pays 50% on the excess (soon to reduce to 45%) and 2% nic on the top slice.

    As with the US tax system, there are numerous deductions against taxable income. Most are genuine and legal, but there are still a lot of scams, dodges into “tax havens” etc.

  28. Daphne

    We also have local taxes called rates / council tax. These are typically £1,000 – £5,000 for domestic premises and can be much more for commercial premises. But crucially, they are based on a % of property values 20 years ago and no government has had the political cajones to revise the values.

  29. Daphne –

    “So you pay a fixed income tax rate of 29% across the board to fund healthcare, state pension and welfare?”

    It’s not across the board. Income above a certain threshold is looted at 40%, and above a higher level the state takes a 50% cut. National Insurance is still levied on top. These are just the income taxes. Just about everything else we do with post-tax income is taxed also.

    A particular fav is fuel. We fill our cars with post-tax income, a 300% fuel duty is levied on the sale, then a Value Added Tax is levied on the prices which has already been inflated by the 300% fuel duty. About 20 quids worth of fuel will cost about 70 quid because of taxes.

    Apparently this is an example of how oil firms are ripping us off.

  30. Daphne

    We also have Vat (sales tax) at 20% on most goods and services. The only exceptions are things like food, health, education, insurance, financial services, and transport.

    The total tax take in the UK is (I think) about 45% of GDP. This compares to (I think) 35% in the USA and an average in the EU of about 48%. Unsustainable? Yes, unless we want to end up like Russia in 1950, and that didn’t end well.

  31. There are huge variations in taxation within the US

    Wild variations in state and or city income tax / service charges / highway tolls / property tax

    There are many in the NY suburbs who pay $ 15,000 or more in property tax. Don’t understand how this is accepted.

  32. Ok we can moan about taxes but are any of us really suffering? I am biased because I am reading a book about real life in North Korea at the moment. It is jaw dropping. We don’t know what suffering is, or real State control. Nowhere near it.

  33. Phantom

    Yeah, Vat started at 8% in 1972. But it has always been Tory governments that increased it. Thatcher increased it to 15% in 1979 and Cameron made it 20% in 2010. Several EU countries have rates up to 25% on some items. Oh the joy of being in the EU.

  34. Few here would be suffeing

    I pay plenty of tax but I appreciate the privilige of living in a society where there are. good public services. They beneffit us all.

  35. 20 percent sales tax, wow.

    No wonder many here oppose the VAT concept.

    We’d have that kind of jump too.

  36. Phantom

    It doesn’t apply to most foods, transport costs, books, newspapers, and childrens clothes though.

  37. Phantom — Any local knowledge about the anti-police brutality protests in Flatbush, Brooklyn?

  38. Petr

    That area is far from me.

    My understanding is that the NYPD claims that the ” youth ” who was shot did indeed have an illegal gun. We”ll see.

  39. Its a buzzword as used here

    He was a teenager, but he may have been a gangbanger or gangbanger stooge too

    Use of the word youth here is an attempt to portray the cops as child killers before investigations are properly begun

  40. He was a boy who was shot dead. He may or may not have been armed himself but let’s not smear him when he’s barely cold.

  41. I don’t smear him

    I don’t know what happened

    I only point out that words like ” youth ” here are used as a weapon by the Sharpton types. Watch very carefully the words that are used and how they are used.

  42. I’m aware of the subtleties of language. In this case ‘youth’ is entire appropriate. When police shoot dead a minor, it’s really ok to include that fact in any account of what happened.

  43. If he really was walking around my streets with a gun he was a very bad guy up to no good, not a sweet young boy on the way to shoot some hoops.

    Lets see what we learn.

  44. Let’s take the fact that neither of us knows what happened as in the bag.

    I think when one reports the incident, it’s important to include the fact the he’s a minor. That much we do know for certain. ‘Youth’ is an accurate description.

  45. If a minor is carrying a gun does he deserve to be treated differently to an adult with a gun ?

  46. No. But his young age is part of the story, and it’s a legitimate thing to report.

  47. best coffee I used to get at the airport. You go upto any coffee stand and ask for a Night train. It was a large 20oz cup of the dark roast of the day with a double shot of espresso added. (I always added a dollop of cream)It was $1 for any airport employee.

    At home I drink espresso, (I have a very nice Krups Machine) when out whatever the dark roast in the local shop will do in large amounts.

  48. Wow, it sounds like you guys are a are lot higher taxed than I am.

    My property taxes run at $6K, the $500 figure specifically goes towards the hospital district to fund indigent/uninsured patients.

    20% vat on top of the state’s normal take? That’s obscene.

  49. Colm, on March 15th, 2013 at 2:11 AM Said:

    If a minor is carrying a gun does he deserve to be treated differently to an adult with a gun ?

    Depends. If he is using it in a criminal act, he should be shot with the same equality of any adult. Preferably a double tap to center mass.

  50. Colm, minors have a separate court if they’re under sixteen and haven’t murdered anyone.

    Never the less, we still send them to prison.

  51. ” I like the programme but it’s certainly very twee and cosy and stereotypical of working class life. A 21st century view of what 1950s life was like.”

    Agreed to an extent Colm, but many of that generation were still very deferential to people in authority, even us working class peons. We had tugging the forelock practice regular after morning assembly… 😉
    You hit on something that puts me off a lot of modern “period” films though. The film makers get the backgrounds right but often fail with the attitudes. Downton Abbey was a case in point.

  52. My prooerty tax is less – about $4200 a year – property tax is the one area where we are taxed less than other places

    But they sure ,ake up for it with the city and state income taxes, and eveything else, incl high bridge tolls etc

  53. where I grew up outside Philly in Drexel Hill the average property tax was $1200 a month. Average house price $200,000.

  54. ‘It goes in one ear and out the other’: Prince Charles reveals he’s been having Arabic lessons for six months so he can read the Koran

    What an unbelievably stupid man. But I’m sure he’ll impress the lefties, who are just as stupid if they think that appeasing the Muslims is going to make them like us, or assimilate into our culture, or even not hate our culture as much.

  55. Oh no. I’ve just checked who’ll be the referee in Cardiff tomorrow.

    Worry No.3: Steve Walsh is the ref.

    That’s Steve Walsh who was once suspended by the IRB for his “inappropriate behaviour” towards England, and that’s not the only aggro we’ve had with him. We might have beaten Wales last year but for some bizarre decisions. Not to suggest it’s just us. It’s the Steve Walsh who was suspended for “verbally abusing” Ireland’s Shane Horgan and who had a “physical altercation” with Conrad Smith recently.

    The most important match of the year, and they’ve given the whistle to a nutter.

  56. Appeasement never works for the simple reason that it implies a willingness to yield and an unwillingness to fight.

  57. Pete,
    Paddypower are offering odds of 5 to 1 on a Welsh win..
    Ladbrokes 5 to 4.
    I am not a betting man, but….

  58. Hey Pete…re: the lock. IMHO…it’s a great place to be before the scrum starts to crumble! I’m a bit sensitive about it. While playing hooker, I once gave a lock a concussion…sadly she was on my own team.

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