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Questions Of The Day (Politics)
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Mick Harper
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But why the need to kill quite so many people?
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Mick Harper
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So the James Webb space telescope has just been launched. Two things to note

1) It continues America's policy of naming the most expensive artefacts after the dimmest of people. The most expensive artefact of any kind existing in the world today* is a nuclear aircraft carrier named the Gerald R Ford. The most expensive scientific artefact existing in the world today* (or within a million miles of it) honours James E Webb, the administrative head of NASA 1961-8. (Though, fair do's, he was also Undersecretary of State from 1949–1952.)

2) It continues academia's policy of spending more on one subject, astronomy, than most of the rest combined in order to add to the number of things we can identify of which we can already identify umpteen millions.

* Probably. I haven't actually checked.
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Grant



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Why was James Webb dim? He was chief administrator of the Apollo space programme so surely wasn’t too stupid.

I admit they should have called it the Werner Von Braun telescope but the usual people would have complained
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Mick Harper
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And so to Ghislaine. I haven't been following the sordid details -- tawdry details -- but if I assume that she has been found guilty of (a) paying eager teenagers $200 to give hand jobs to billionaires and (b) conspiracy to fly eager teenagers round the world to have sex/not have sex with princes in the world's most expensive beauty spots, then the thing to do is translate the whole thing into more prosaic terms. Imagine you are a JP/recorder trying the case of a no-name in a magistrates/Crown court. What would you hand down? First time offence? Community service. Sending a message? Six months, suspended for two years.

What will she get? Well, aged sixty, I don't suppose she's coming out.
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Wile E. Coyote


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It's the trafficking element that probably did it for Ghislaine. If it's anything like over here the police and courts are more interested in this element than any later consent issues, once they can show trafficked they think of it as modern slavery so the book will be thrown.
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Mick Harper
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This is definitely the weirdest aspect of, not so much the sex-trade, as the people-trade. Every time a minister speaks we are sure to hear they are cracking down on the evil gangs profiting from migrants' misery. In fact they are the only ones in the whole business who are subject to any adverse criticism of any kind.

Not a word about young men from all over trying to evade immigration controls. Not a word about countries desperate for young men from all over to do the jobs the natives don't want to do and not prepared to do anything effective. Not a word against those wretched 'charities' who do everything in their power to make sure that it is (just about) worth the young men doing it.

Not a word about the liberal intelligentsia who want the young men to do the work but don't want to over-excite the rest of the population who make it absolutely clear they're fed up to the back teeth with the young men. Not a word about the liberal intelligentsia (again) who continue to insist, against mountains of evidence, that the 'young men' are actually families with ickle kiddies fleeing death or worse in their war torn native lands. Not a word against the liberal intelligentsia (last time of asking) who say that even if they are economic migrants they are only poor chaps looking to better themselves and not at all like the local poor chaps who have just burgled their houses to better themselves.

DON'T GET ME STARTED.
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Grant



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It’s interesting that they had only four witnesses who had already received one million plus in compensation. But we are told this had been going on for a couple of decades. At least a hundred girls must have been giving the handjobs for five hundred dollars apiece. These girls could have also been in the running for a serious payout, but the lawyers selected just four.

My guess is that too many of the other girls would have said, “This weird old guy gave us five hundred dollars for a massage with a happy ending. I told all my mates and we had a great time with the dirty old bastard”.
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Mick Harper
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Our own lassies from Lancashire were happy with a burger, fries and a Fanta. Tell Ghislaine that twenty-five years is the tariff if she is found to have been practising her vile trade in her native land.
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Mick Harper
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Maxwell's case raises a question some may say is naïve: why? Jonathan Freedland, Guardian op-ed

Surely not. Right-on Jon having a burst of common sense? Of course not. He was wondering why Ghislaine should not be bracketed with two child-murders, the Arthur Labinjo-Hughes case and the Star Hobson case. Blimey, it's a good job nobody was harmed in the Ghislaine Maxwell case or the book really would have got thrown at her.

I suppose it is too late in the season to say 'Bah, Humbug' but a Happy New Year to one and all, even Jonathan Freedland.
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Grant



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I was the same age as these girls back in the seventies, nearly half a century ago. I went to an all boys school in South London. If any teacher was unmarried we decided he was gay (or poof to use the 70s vernacular) and fiddled with boys. We regularly swapped stories of perverted scout leaders who had touched up our friends, or friends of friends.

What I don’t get is how 21st century teenaged girls in Florida are more naive than we were back in the days of flared trousers and T Rex.
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Grant



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and Happy New Year to you all
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Mick Harper
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How times change. I was the same age as these girls back in the sixties, more than half a century ago. I went to an all boys school in South London. We didn't know what homosexuality was except technically. The chief witness against Ghislaine was trafficked for four years so if she naively didn't know what was going on to begin with she had every opportunity to spot there was a pattern. It was only when discussing how many millions she should get did she learn that technically she had been trafficked.
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Grant



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I suppose you had the Beatles and the Who, heterosexuals to a man. We had Bowie (who was pretending to be bi), Elton John and glam rock
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Mick Harper
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I am afraid I have no idea who these people are. One only gets a five year window to form one's popular music tastes, as with politics, then the shutters come down. As I was leaving 'the scene' I did notice that the next big thing was named for some reason after a popular cooking fat of the time, Trex.
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Mick Harper
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Mr Peter "Pete" Townshend of the popular singing group, the Who, was found to have kiddie porn on his computer but, I agree, that is thoroughly heterosexual. I've always regarded him as a role model so I've been reducing the age of my own preferred sexual fantasies. Try as I might, I haven't got lower than early middle age. We just can't live up to our idols, that's the downside of coming of age in the sixties. Bert Weedon was no help either.
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