Michael Jackson’s life and death

‘I’m better off dead. I’m done’: How Michael Jackson predicted his death six months ago | Mail Online

As more and more is revealed about Michael Jackson’s life and death, it is becoming apparent how tragic his last few years were. It is possible that his future, the memories and fan-worship, may emulate that of Elvis Presley. It may also be found that his doctors’ activities in giving in to his demands for drugs may emulate Presley’s demise, as well. What can’t be compared with Presley is his desire to be around young boys, a possible symptom of his father’s abuse, for abuse it was, in not allowing him to be a child. It may be that his parents’ legacy also helped destroy his life in another way, the genetic lung disease, if Halperin is to be believed.

One thing is certain: Jackson could never have managed 50 concerts and the strain of trying to honour his commitments would have killed him. Better that he died before the concerts began rather than begin them and leave his fans with lasting memories of a pathetic old man who could no longer sing and dance. His doctors may have done him a favour by honouring his pleas for ever stronger pain relief; by dying before the London concerts began his fans will never believe that he could not have managed all 50. He will go now down in history as the boy who never grew up, and as the entertainer who gave the world the most incredible pop songs, dancing and videos the world has ever seen.

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BBC Expenses

Mark Thompson defends BBC’s expenses – Telegraph

Thompson is attempting to exclude the salaries and expenses of what he calls talent from public scrutiny. Who is he kidding? The BBC is owned by the taxpayer and every taxpayer has a right to see what money is spent and where it is spent. Where else could a board of directors decide that it would publish some of its accounts but not others.

Here in the South East we have at present a choice between two regional news programmes, one from the BBC and one from ITV. The ITV version is often of more relevance and the news hits the screen quicker than it appears on the BBC’s local news programme. Yet ITV’s local news is under threat because of the reduction of advertising revenue caused by the latest economic downturn. Why should other stations be affected but the BBC, owned by the taxpayer, continue to escape the worst effects of the ‘credit crunch’? The licence fee is levied towards public service broadcasting: what public service is there in paying huge salaries to broadcasters and entertainers to keep them from transferring their talent to commercial stations? If the commercial stations are to survive economic downturns, to ensure there is competition in the field, then some of the licence fee should be held in abeyance during fat years to ensure commercial television’s survival during lean years. This has been considered common sense since the days of the Ancient Egyptians.

If the BBC, and Thompson in particular, is attempting to hide profligate spending then Thompson should be thrown out by his ear and the BBC should lose the income from the licence fee. For us to know what is happening, the government must ensure that the BBC’s accounts are fully transparent. If the government does not intend to do that then the electorate should expel the present government at the next election and vote in a party that does.

The Michael Jackson bandwagon

Michael Jackson: news, concerts, albums, tour dates, reviews, gossip, pictures, downloads – Telegraph

Even the Telegraph, one of Britain’s more intelligent newspapers, has jumped on the Michael Jackson bandwagon. Oh, it’s sad when anyone dies but – come on! he was a pop musician, nothing more.

Was he a medical researcher who invented a cure for an illness? No. Was he an astronaut who forged travel links between Earth and other planets in the solar system? Most definitely not. Was he an engineer who invented a new way of building bridges or and architect who discovered a new method of building cheap, social housing? What he did was entertain the masses, the uneducated multitude who rarely, if ever, watch an opera or listen to a live concert by a famous orchestra. In the great scheme of things he wasa very ordinary player, indeed, and a damaged one.

We saw the same sort of reaction in Britain after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. The same sort of hysteria and religious fervour. But maybe that was a bit more understandable as Diana did some impressive work for charities in promoting minefield clearance and showing that those with HIV and AIDS are not to be feared. How many times did we see Michael Jackson walking through burned-out villages in Somalia or The Sudan? How many times did he call meetings of world governments to plead with them to help alleviate poverty or disease? I can’t instantly recall any, whereas I can when I think of Diana.

No, Jackson was a self-obsessed reclusive, afraid he’d get diseases if he met other people face-to-face. Whacko was, without doubt, the most suitable description ever applied to him. And whacko will describe the obsessive hero-worship that will erupt after his untimely death, behaviour which will verge on that of members of a messianic, evangelistic religion.

Yes, he was a great performer. But let’s keep it in perspective.

Liberties and rights

Republic | Liberties and rights

“The British constitution has never been about the rights or liberties of citizens. It has been about the concentration of power at the top of society. It is that power, which flows from the Crown, that jeopardises our liberties.”

Prince Charles is behaving more and more like his ancestor, Charles I. It is becoming increasingly obvious that he is running his own form of censorship, and there are too many people in Britain, fed up with stories of parliamentary greed and incompetence, who are sleepwalking into a feudalistic monarchy where they will have no power and owe total allegiance to a king who gives not a jot for their health or safety. Charles is so full of idealistic views of so-called ‘alternative medicine’ that he completely misses reality: that before the enlightenment hundreds of thousands of people died each year of illnesses and disease that have, in many cases, been completely eradicated by modern medicine. If Charles gets his way, we will return to the Britain of his ancestor, the woeful and incompetent Charles I. Charles I also thought he was doing his best for the country when in reality he was doing his best for his own family; and he paid a very heavy price for it.

Charles is interfering with planning systems that have been set up by properly elected democracies. There may be problems with parliamentary democracy but the alternative, a monarchy under Charles that acts as little more than a family dictatorship, is becoming a frighteningly possible alternative.

The whole of Britain, including Scotland, Wales and Ireland, underwent a civil war that wrenched the country asunder. Charles seems determined to stage a re-run.

Keep the libel laws out of science!

Sign up now to keep the libel laws out of science!

For centuries, scientists have discussed, criticised and debated scientific issues. At times discussions and debates have become very heated; at times scientists have been accused of being unscientific or fraud or quackery. At some time or other in their careers many scientists will be accused of presenting theories that cannot be proved. It is then up to them to review their work and retest it. If it then comes through attempts to falsify it the scientists concerned will put their detractors to shame.

Recently, a science writer has been accused of libel by the British Chiropractic Association. The writer, Simon Singh, said in no uncertain terms that there was no proof for some of the wild claims made by chiropractors. For instance, it is claimed that chiropractors can cure childhood asthma. The British Chiropractic Association, instead of putting the disputed claims forward for testing, took Singh to court, where the judge, in his wisdom, and who are we to doubt otherwise, ruled that there is a case to be answered.

There is no way that scientific disputes should ever be referred to the courts. The place for settling scientific disputes is in laboratories, in universities and in the field. If claims made for a product or procedure are falsified then science writers have every right to accuse the claimant(s) of inadequate investigations of their own claims or, if there is more than a suspicion that the claims were made knowing they were false, quackery. If the claims cannot be falsified then the writer will be left with egg on his/her face. That is how it should be.

free debate

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