Tragedy Or Accident

Barack Obama was visiting a primary school and he visited one of the classes.

They were in the middle of a discussion related to words and their meanings.

The teacher asked the president if he would like to lead the discussion on the word ‘tragedy.’

So our illustrious president asked the class for an example of a “tragedy…”

One little boy stood up and offered: “If my best friend, who lives on a farm, is playing in the field and a tractor runs him over and kills him that would be a tragedy.”

“No,” said Obama, “that would be an accident.”

A little girl raised her hand: “If a school bus carrying 50 children drove off a cliff, killing everyone that would be a tragedy.”

“I’m afraid not,” explained Obama. “That’s what we would call great loss.”

The room went silent. No other child volunteered. Obama searched the room. “Isn’t there someone here who can give me an example of a tragedy?”

Finally at the back of the room, Little Johnny raised his hand. In a quiet voice he said: “If the plane carrying you and Mrs. Obama was struck by a ‘friendly fire’ missile and blown to smithereens that would be a tragedy.”

“Fantastic!” exclaimed Obama. “That’s right. And can you tell me why that would be a tragedy?”

“Well,” says Johnny, “It has to be a tragedy, because it sure as hell wouldn’t be a great loss … and you can bet your black ass it wouldn’t be an accident either…”

Zip Lock Bag

Good tip:

We went with friends to a restaurant on Sunday for lunch and sat in the patio section beside the store.

We happened to notice zip lock baggies pinned to a post and a wall. The bags were half filled with water, each contained 4 pennies, and they were zipped shut. Naturally we were curious!

The owner told us that these baggies kept the flies away! So naturally we were even more curious! We actually watched some flies come in the open window, stand around on the window sill, and then fly out again.

And there were no flies in the eating area!

This morning I checked this out on Google. Below are comments on this fly control idea. I’m now a believer!

Zip-lock water bags 

#1 Says:
I tried the zip lock bag and pennies this weekend.. I have a horse trailer. The flies were bad while I was camping.

I put the baggies with pennies above the door of the LQ. NOT ONE FLY came in the trailer. The horse trailer part had many. Not sure why it works but it does!

#2 Says:
Fill a zip lock bag with water and 5 or 6 pennies and hang it in the problem area. In my case it was a particular window in my home. It had a slight passage way for insects. Every since I have done that, it has kept flies and wasps away.

Some say that wasps and flies mistake the bag or some other insect nest and are threatened.

#3 Says:
I swear by the plastic bag of water trick. I have them on porch and basement. We saw these inNortheast Mo. at an Amish grocery store & have used them since. They say it works because a fly sees a reflection & won’t come around.

#4 Says:
Regarding the science behind zip log bags of water? My research found that the millions of molecules of water presents its own prism effect and given that flies have a lot of eyes, to them it’s like a zillion disco balls reflecting light, colors and movement in a dizzying manner.

When you figure that flies are prey for many other bugs, animals, birds, etc., they simply won’t take the risk of being around that much perceived action. I moved to a rural area and thought these “hillbillies” were just yanking my city boy chain but I tried it and it worked immediately! We went from hundreds of flies to seeing the occasional one, but he didn’t hang around long.

George’s Difficult Spring

MORNING BRIEFING – By Benedict Brogan (Daily Telegraph).

It is proving to be a difficult spring for George Osborne. Today he faces sniping from his own side and questions from Lord Leveson. The Chancellor will be on display – and potentially not in a flattering light – at the inquiry (he’s on after Gordon Brown who starts at 10am).

This morning’s headlines are uncomfortable for him. A small but vocal number of Tory MPs are pursuing a campaign against him which, they claim, reflects the disillusionment of a wider number of backbenchers who think the Chancellor no longer cuts the mustard. Following his intervention on Sunday when he warned that the euro crisis was putting Europe at risk of long term stagnation, his colleagues have attacked him for using the euro as an excuse for his poor performance.

Outspoken Eurosceptic Douglas Carswell started it with a blog post on his website Talk Carswell titled “The Chancellor has it 180 degrees wrong”. The Independent has an interview with him in today’s paper. Mr Carswell makes some further stinging rebukes of Dave and George’s administration – but also of Parliament calling it “supine, spineless, dominated by spivery and spivs”.

David Ruffley, another Tory MP and member of the Treasury Select Committee also added his concerns: “We can’t just say the eurozone is destroying confidence in the UK and nothing can be done.”

The Treasury will doubtless point out that Mr Carswell hardly represents the Tory mainstream, but that would be to miss the point: his latest outburst is the public tip of a bigger iceberg.

We’ve put “Stop blaming the eurozone crisis, Tories tell George Osborne” on the front page – as has the FT with “Osborne told to stop using eurozone alibi”. The story is also carried in the Mail and Guardian. The Mail has put a column by Alex Brummer beneath its story on this, saying “He can’t blame Europe for all our problems”.

The Chancellor gives his Mansion House speech on Thursday, which gives him a chance to turn things around. And it gets worse: have a look at what Grayson Perry says about him in Mandrake.

Leveson will be gripping this week, at least for those in the village. Today it’s one of Westminster’s longest running grudges marches in parade, with Gordon Brown and Mr Osborne both up.

And this is while the Coalition tensions bite again. On Dispatches, Lib Dem Lord Oakeshott said “Clearly Mr Hunt should have resigned some time ago” – you can read our report here.

Vince Cable, however, seems to have gone in for some compromise. The FT reportsthat he will pledge to make it easier to fire people today through ‘compromise agreement’ rather than the ‘no fault dismissal’ plans laid out in the Beecroft report.


And there’s more bad news for George, the Times (£) has splashed on a poll showing that 80 per cent Brits want a referendum on Europe – with 50 per cent of those thinking it should happen straight away.

But is it good for us? In a surprising turn, the Guardian reports that Open Europe – a Eurosceptic think tank – believes we should stay in the EU. An exit would pose “unpredictable political and economic risks.

And Tory MP George Eustice agrees. In a piece for the Guardian, he argues that it’s better to reform the EU from the inside.


Labour could be profiting from this news run today, but instead there are few embarrassing stories about them.

The Mail reports that the Shadow Chancellor ordered a survey – costing thousands of pounds – into whether or not people like him.

Labour party sources said the results found that Mr Balls is still seen as a turn-off by many, both politically and personally. The Mail on Sunday commissioned its own survey – and it showed that Mr Balls is seen as ‘uninspiring, untrustworthy and unlikeable’. Oh dear.


Ed Balls will be relieved that Ed Miliband also looks silly. The Guardian reports that he visited Bradford on the Saturday to speak to those who switched from voting Labour to Respect.

He met with a group of Muslim women, one of whom had been on the TV show “Make Bradford British” – a much-criticised reality TV experiment that stoked racial tensions in the West Yorkshire city. He responded “Great!” He’d clearly not watched it.


Theresa May has clearly regained her mojo after the dates debacle – today’s she’s making a statement on immigration rules in the House at 3.30pm. The Mail says she’s “declared war on judges who refuse to deport foreign criminals because of their human rights” and the Guardian says she’s “ready for showdown”.

They report that she would seek the backing of parliament to give priority to deportation above the right to family life enshrined in article 8 of the European convention on human rights.


And finally, perhaps Dave should be ‘chillaxing’ more – the stress of the job is clearly getting to him. The Sun has splashed on a story about how he left his daughter Nancy behind in a pub on the weekend.

An “insider” from the pub said: “You’d have thought someone would have done a headcount or something.”


PPS Conor Burns tweets:

“@Conor_BurnsMP: Just having a drink with Lady T and going through the Sunday papers”

Wonder what she made of George’s ‘blame the eurozone’ piece in yesterday’s Telegraph?


Latest YouGov/Sunday Times: Conservatives 34%, Labour 42%, Lib Dems 7%, UKIP 9%

The Independent has splashed on a poll that shows


In The Telegraph

Boris Johnson: Hail Mayor Mike and the paper cups that will not runneth over

Andrew Gilligan: London Olympics 2012: get set for the gridlock games

Leader:Michael Gove is right: we must do better

Leader: The world is watching

Best of the rest

Alex Brummer in the Mail: George Osborne can’t blame Europe for all our problems

George Eustice in the Guardian: Britain can do better than leave the EU. We can change it

Mary Ann Sieghart in the Independent: A referendum is coming. So why doesn’t Cameron take the lead?

Ian Birrell in the Guardian: The Tories are becoming the ‘nasty party’ on immigration


Today: Parliament returns from break.

Today: Annual conference of the GMB union. Brighton Centre.

10am: Gordon Brown and George Osborne at Leveson Inquiry. The Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand, London

2.30pm: Defence questions.

3.30pm: Theresa May makes a Commons statement on immigration. House of Commons.

Don’t blame the eurozone, George. The real cause of our problems is the UK’s toxic debt legacy

The Chancellor blames the eurozone crisis for Britain’s poor economic performance, Ed Balls reckons it’s a recession entirely of Downing Street’s own making in that too much austerity was imposed too soon, while the Tory right think the Government has been insufficiently bold on supply side reform.

However, the true reason why Britain’s economic recovery has lagged other G7 nations lies somewhere else – it’s almost wholly down to still subdued household consumption. Household spending has failed to recover as robustly from the post Lehman crash as in other major economies. No really – this accounts for virtually the entire difference.

You can argue about the causes of this phenomenon. The rise in VAT and other forms of indirect taxation certainly didn’t help, further adding to inflation at a time when prices were already being squeezed higher by a weak pound and higher commodity costs. With nominal wages rising only marginally, disposable income has suffered its worst and most sustained fall since the 1920s.

Read more….

Syrian troops ‘using helicopter gunships’

According to the Britain based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the aerial assault has targeted the strategic river crossing of Rastan, a town that lies on the main highway linking Damascus to the north.

Rebels began regrouping in Rastan after enduring significant bombardment in Homs, and have resisted repeated government offensives for months. The Observatory and the Local Coordination Committees also reported government shelling in the central provinces of Homs and Hama, the southern region of Dera’a, the northern province of Aleppo, and suburbs of the capital Damascus and Deir el-Zour in the east.

The Observatory reported the deaths of four civilians and an army defector in shelling in the area of Ashara in Deir el-Zour, and said another eight unidentified bodies had been discovered nearby. It reported three dead in the Hama shelling.

Further clashes with rebels have led to violence which has killed 29 people across the country on Monday.

Read more….