30 November 2006

Just say no to extra-planetary emigration

I wouldn't normally be so arrogant as to disagree with someone as intelligent as Stephen Hawking. However I think he is completely wrong about this. We shouldn't be allowed to go off and fuck with other planets until we've learned to take care of the one we've got. Just any other other ten year old!

"I just can't concentrate with them pointing at me like that. Let's send out for some muesli."

J. Everett of Auckland, N.Z. is an angry man. An important business meeting of his was disrupted after his clients got distracted by the surgically enhanced breasts of a woman on a nearby billboard. The advertisement was for muesli breakfast bars. The New Zealand Advertising Standards Board agreed saying

"people should not be portrayed in a manner which uses sexual appeal simply to draw attention to an unrelated product".

So I assume that enlarged bazooms would have been acceptable had the ad been for brassieres or breast implants.

The world is getting too weird for satire

If I had read this somewhere other than The Onion I could have been sucked into believing it was true.

I'm more than "24 hours from Tulsa"...

...and I'm glad!

"If I had ever been here before..."

I've never thought of déjà vu a purely a visual thing and as I never bothered to find out what causes it I didn't know that scientists had agreed that it was related to delays in data flows to the brain from one eye as opposed to another.

Now they are not so sure. A blind man studied by researchers at Leeds University apparently experiences déjà vu with his other senses such as smell. Akira O’Connor, one of the researchers says

"It is the first time this has been reported in scientific literature"

But does it seem like the first time...

I haven't thought about this for a long time

I've lived in Europe for almost fourteen years now. When I first moved here it took some time to get used to the bank notes which are different sizes for different denominations.

When I would comment on it my friends would ask me "what do blind people do in America". My usual answer, after some reflection, was that "I guess they get fucked"!

Now one of those damned activist judges has ruled that government has to do something about it. Not a moment too soon in my estimation.

Driving whilst legless

Douglas Bader would be proud of this man. 80 MPH in a Vectra is impressive even if you've got both legs.

It's only rock & roll but I like it

Coming soon to a city near you!
I've never really thought of the Bush family fixer, James Baker, as a rock star but it seems that he may have aspirations in that direction. It appears that Iraq Study Group members are so pleased with their studio work that they are planning a triumphant American tour to celebrate.

The question on everyone's mind is whether they will opt for small intimate venues, mid-sized indoor arenas or have monster blow outs in outdoor stadia.

"Hey. Has anybody seen Yuri?"

Everyone loves a fire drill don't they? It's always on a day that it is pissing down with rain and then you have to trudge off to find your designated meeting point where some unfortunate office junior has to try and work out if you are all there.

Two questions about this particular exercise:

1.) Where do they meet?
2.) Who do they call if someone's missing?

Maybe this guy can find Osama

It would certainly be an embarrassment to the US security services. But then what isn't these days?

Just say it ain't so

Lebanese citizens, who obviously haven't been following the Bush/Blair position on Iraq, are concerned that their country may be slipping back into a civil war.

Had they been paying attention to the Ruler of all He Surveys and his minion they would know that if you simply refuse to ignore the existence of a thing it just goes away...

It ain't figure skating folks

But ice hockey now has a reason to be in the sights of those who would protect us from those insidious gay folks and their damned icky agenda. Bob Knight of the Christian Media Center is upset that the NHL have given their stamp of approval to a film tentatively called Breakfast with Scott about a gay ex-professional ice hockey player.

You would think that Christians would be more worried about the violence. I guess not.

Apparently Mr. Knight’s suggestion that the script be rewritten so that the story would be about an ex-gay professional ice hockey player was rejected by the producers.

Nutters for Bush

Suddenly I seem to understand everything. Just go read this. All will be revealed!
Now if we can just figure out how to get all Bush voters onto anti-psychotics perhaps things will begin to improve!

"Won't you be my neighbour?"

George W. Bush seems to be having a bit of trouble making friends of late. The latest incident occured when he tried to make small talk with newly elected Democrat, James Webb of Virginia. Bush tried to schmooze Webb by asking him about his son. Webb basically told him to fuck off.

Come on George. Republicans didn't want to be seen with you before the election. What made you think that Democrats would want hang out with you afterward?

Helping the helpless!

I think that this guide (PDF) will be of immeasurable help to the Operation Save Wal-Mart (from the fags) people. So I thought I should send it to them.

Dear sirs,

Even as far away as Britain I have heard of your courageous campaign to save Wal-Mart shoppers from the insidious influence of those unrepentant sinners whose sexual preference isn't Biblically approved. I was however when I stumbled on the attached document. It appears that those who do not yet realise that they ought to be ex-gays have rated the American retail sector by how friendly each business is to those with their repugnant tastes.

It turns out that your focus on Wal-Mart may be misplaced. Their ratings, and let's face it that until they give up their life style choice and embrace Jesus they are in the best position to know, suggest that Wal-Mart is not among the most gay-friendly business out there.

They trail behind Best Buy, Sears / KMart, Walgreens, Borders, Whole Foods, Costco, Staples, Home Depot, Target and the entire Supervalu chain. (I don't understand why they didn't rate Ikea - perhaps that is just a given!)

So I think that you should get out there and start boycotting these other friends of Satan. Operation Save Best Buy! Operation Save Borders!

By the way you should also throw all of your weight behind the good people at Meijer Supercenters. They have a gay-friendly rating of zero. You can't get more Christian than that.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Note: before you go assuming that I am some evil British pooftah you should know that I am the proud bearer of a 100% heterosexual American passport!

Florida election fraud killing dolphins

Dolphins are dying mysteriously in Florida bays and scientists are puzzled as to the cause.

Given that they are highly intelligent and sensitive creatures I think I have an answer. After the recent failures of democracy in the "Sunshine State" perhaps they are just embarrassed to be there and are losing the will to live.

To think she used to be such a lovely girl

Why is Ann Coulter now so full of hate? Her latest column (not for the faint of heart) fumes at American airport security for its lack of racial profiling of Arabs. The most recent incident that seems to have upset her regards the six Muslim imams who were removed from a US Airways flight for well, praying and being Muslim. Amongst other things she no-so-subtly refers to all Muslims as liars.

However I did have some sympathy for her and for the lovely passengers on the flight that refused to fly with these obviously evil men after she tells us that witnesses said the men "appeared to be either Islamic fanatics or U.S. Army chaplains on leave from Guantanamo". I'm sure that I wouldn't want to fly with a chaplain from Guantánamo either.

She also informs us that "the only reason Americans feel guilty about 'racial profiling' against blacks is because of the history of discrimination against blacks in this country". Perhaps, Ann, most of us simply feel that racial, ethnic or religious profiling is simply the wrong thing to do.

Perhaps she needs an anger management course. If she gathers up all her friends such as Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly maybe they can get a group discount!
Oh, and Ann, here's a fashion tip for you; never wear white before after Labor Day and never wear black cocktail dresses before noon!

Better music through chemistry

Scientists believe that they have uncovered the secret of the unexcelled sound produced by the string instruments made by Antonio Stradivari in Cremona over 300 years ago.

It seems that he treated the wood with wormwood. Artemisia absinthium is also the main ingredient of traditional Absinthe. Could there be a connection?

American martyr passes unnoticed

Nearly a month ago Malachi Ritscher burned himself to death in public in Chicago as a protest against the Iraq war. His message was barely noticed getting nearly as much coverage as a traffic report as a political act.

Searches of American newspapers yield the following results:

NY Times - 1 hit (yesterday)
Washington Post - 5 hits (all yesterday)
LA Times - no hits
Chicago Tribune - 3 hits
Chicago Sun-Times - 1 hits

We should not let his death be in vain.

Requiscat in Pace.

The end of the affair

You know how it goes. First one member of a relationship starts to worry that the other party doesn't have their heart in it.

Then the second member, offended by the first party's lack of trust, shows up late to dinner.

In an attempt at reconciliation party one says that party two is "just the one for me" but party two fails to reciprocate.

It's all going to end in tears isn't it? I don't think that I can stand the pathos and melodrama. I think I'll just see what's on The Discovery Channel.

Colombian corruption

George Bush is fast loses his circle of friends in Latin America as more and more countries counter the right wing trend and elect a mixture of progressive, reformist and indigenous governments.

Now one of his staunchest Latin American allies, Alvaro Uribe of Colombia, is under pressure as links between legislators and a member of the government and right wing paramilitary groups have become public.
I'm sure GW will continue to support his good buddy and continue to pour hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid into the country to the detriment of all.

Rose coloured genes

Mankind is searching for the "cancer gene". There is disagreement over the existence of a "gay gene". There may or may not be a "genius gene".

I think it is time that some scientists took samples from US President George Bush and British PM Tony Blair and went looking for the "delusion gene". There must be a hereditary factor that predisposes these Western "leaders" to be unable to see what is staring them in the face.

Yesterday we had the President pulling the al-Qaeda genie out of the bottle again to point the finger at the terrorist group for being responsible for all of the problem in Iraq.

He was followed by the British prime minister telling us that NATO forces are winning in Afghanistan.

I expect to here about progress soon!

All roads lead to Moscow

As the mystery deepens around the death of ex-Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko we have had the discovery of the precursors of WMDs in the posh London neighbourhood of Mayfair.

Now British investigators have found traces of Polonium on two British Airways jets that have been used on the London-Moscow run. British - Russian relations are in jeopardy after minister Peter Hain criticised the Russian government's "huge attacks on liberty".

Undoubtedly there will be much more to follow.

29 November 2006

The heat (will soon be) on

I am not a climate expert but I am certain that this is not good news!

Elizabeth de la Varga…

...welcome to the no fly list!

"I am shocked, shocked I say!"

Mexico’s new president Felipe Calderon is packing his cabinet with his mates and cronies. Reminds me of someone but for the life of me I can’t think who?

Doctor? Schmoctor. Who needs it?

Eric Keroack, nominated to be the US birth control tsar, is no longer an accredited OBY-GYN. I guess that means he has had to stop practising his love!

Revisionist history

US Major General William Caldwell said yesterday that there was not a civil war in Iraq at this time "because the government is still functioning".

This should please American scholastic publishing companies who will now have to replace all of those high school history books that suggest, with no basis at all, that the United States had a civil war in the nineteenth century.

Forget Bull Run (I & II). Forget Appomattox Court House. Forget Antietam. Forget Gettysburg (and Lincoln's address). Forget Sherman's march to the sea. None of that actually occurred.

"Welcome to the My Pet Goat wing

Stories abound that the G.W. Bush Presidential Library will end up in Dallas, Texas and that is may cost in the neighbourhood of 500 million USD or roughly 250 million USD for each book that he has read to completion.

Rumours that the institution will be a replica of a one room school house so as not to dwarf the book collection can not be confirmed at this time!

Same story - different spin

"British Terror Trial Traces a Path to Militant Islam" New York Times

"Briton tortured into confessing bomb plot: lawyer" Vive Le Canada

"British Muslim tells of torture in Pakistan as US officials stood by" the Guardian

Curiously neither the NY Times nor the Canadian story mention the presence of American officials at his torture or questioning (choose one based on your own prejudices).

Stay away from Stare Kiejkuty

If someone offers to send you on a holiday to Poland and the flight is to Szymany airport or the hotel is in Stare Kiejkuty my advice is that you oughtn't take them up on the offer.

The European parliament's investigation into "extraordinary rendition" is complete and several governments, including the British government, have been found to be complicit. Over 1200 rendition flights passed through European airports.

I will now hold my breath until charges are filed.

Millions for kebab shop owner - Eurofighters for the Saudis

So BAE may have cheated a bit in order to get a contract for the Eurofighter from Saudi Arabia. So what.

Everyone will end up happy. The Saudi Princes, and good friends of the Bush family, will end up will millions of pounds of much deserved and undoubtedly much needed cash. Wafic Said doesn't have to go pack to flogging kebabs to drunk Londoners on a Saturday night.

Think of the jobs!

28 November 2006

"Yankee go home!"

That seems to be the general thrust of the message communicated by Iran's supreme leader Ali Khamenei to Iraqi President Jalal Talabani during discussions in Tehran.

I wonder how Talabani will translate that for GW.

"Did you invite him? I know I didn't invite him!"

Do you think that the attendees at a First Amendment awards dinner in Vermont looked up at the speaker's table and wondered just what the fuck Newt Gingrich was doing there?

Well if they didn't wonder before he spoke they certainly wondered afterwards!

Obviously they don't believe in the REAL god

How else can one explain the fact that the Religious Society of Friends (aka the Quakers) have been nominated for an award as the most gay friendly organisation in the UK. Readers of the Pink Paper will vote for the award winner over the next month or so.

Go Quakers!

I wonder

Do you think either Bush or Blair now lie awake at night, unable to sleep, wonder "what have I done" and just weep?

Asbestos - good and good for you

At least so the US Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) would like you to believe.

The department issued, after six year's work, advice warning automotive workers that asbestos in brakes could be harmful to their health. Three weeks later a former OSHA executive, now working for the auto industry, called for the warnings to be removed but the scientist responsible would not. He was then threatened with suspension if he did not remove the warning. He still did not.

OSHA now wants the health advisory to include reports, unsurprisingly funded by the auto industry, which says that asbestos is cool.

How blatantly in servitude to big business are they willing to be?

God's little acre

So exactly what is a Christian Real Estate network anyway? Do they sell only to Christians? Buy only from Christians? Discounts only for Christians? What?

Someone should investigate.

Iraq pantomine

Iraq is in the throes of what may be the worst civil war in half a century. To quote one scholar "there's a consensus...I certainly don't know anyone who argues otherwise at this point."

Well he may not but I do!

"Oh yes it is!"

"Oh no it isn't!"

The war in Iraq is a failure

We knew that. However Richard Haas opines in an article in the November/December issue of Foreign Affairs that it may be a failure in a way that many of us did not anticipate. He suggests that as a direct result of the Iraq war the period of unrivalled American in the Middle East is coming to an end and, although the US will still be the strongest single influence, US hegemony will increasingly be challenged by other states such as China, Russia and, disturbingly, Iran. He also argues that Israeli power is declining and that a viable peace process for the region will not exist in the foreseeable future.

Sad but important reading.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow

Results of the EU investigation of claims that CIA illegally flew suspects from European airports to secret prisons around the world is is due to be released at a press conference in Brussels tomorrow afternoon (CET).

The findings, expected to say that the US kidnapped suspects and flew them out of Europe with the full knowledge and complicity of some EU governments, are unlikely to make pleasant reading for the Bush administration or those governments involved.

Details when available.

Join burglars against pornography

News from the great white north that a burglar in the town of Red Deer, Alberta rang police during a break in after finding a considerable stash of child pornography on the victim's computer. Over 13,000 pornographic images were found on the computer of one William Mitchell, now in custody.

Dennis Prager asks....

..."Why are Atheists so Angry?

So I thought I would selflessly do some research on Mr. Prager's columns and find out if he is ever angry:

28 November - "America, Not Keith Ellison, decides what book a congressman takes his oath on" - Mr. Prager is very angry that new Muslim congressman, Keith Ellison (D MN), is planning to take his oath of office with his hand on a Koran. "He should not be allowed to do so -- not because of any American hostility to the Koran, but because the act undermines American civilization." I wonder how he would feel to find out that should I ever be elected I plan to take my oath with my hand on The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins.

21 November - Why I smoke (cigars) - Mr. Prager is somewhat angry that "anti-smoking" zealots are offended by his cigar smoking, which is neither dangerous nor addictive. "There is no issue of addiction regarding cigars or pipes. I have been smoking both since I was 15 years old, and could stop tomorrow if I wanted to." Right.

14 November - The smugness of the war's opponents - Mr. Prager is very angry that opponents of the Iraq war, who are wrong, are occasionally nearly as smug as he is himself.

7 November - Is a gay who opposes same-sex marriage a hypocrite? - Mr. Prager is angry that someone outed a major Christian leader and opponent of gay marriage as an "alleged" gay. "As defined by every dictionary I consulted, Haggard is not a hypocrite."

31 October - Note to angry Republicans: Stay angry, but vote Republican - in what is a disappointment as a Halloween themed column Mr. Prager is angry at Republicans for being angry at Republican lawmakers who are lying assholes. He accuses them of succumbing to their emotions. "One of the great realizations one comes to as the years pass is how small a role reason plays in most people's decisions."

24 October - A vote for Patty Wetterling can hurt children - Mr. Prager is angry at Patty Wetterling, a then candidate for Congress in Minnesota, because he says that she made have told some untruths (Shock! Horror!) in a campaign ad and therefore America's children are in danger. Frankly I couldn't quite follow the argument.

I think that's enough research. I don't think I could take any more.

My conclusions:
  • Mr. Prager is very, very angry
  • Ergo Mr. Prager is an atheist and, by extension, guilty of attempting to deceive honest, God fearing folk into believing that he is an honest Christian.

I'm happy we've cleared that up!

WMD found in Mayfair!

American invasion of London's West End imminent! Bush vows to crush rogue state. Blair vows never to surrender.

It could just be a white Xmas

If only thanks to resourceful and market conscious pharmaceutical exporters in Colombia. The Colombia police arrested two men who were moulding Father Xmas figures out of the white stuff. They also confiscated "festive cups, place mats and other Christmas decorations" made out of a cocaine based resin.

Not to worry. I'm sure some got through!

US Supreme Court v climate change

I can only imagine how this will turn out.

I wonder if the bookies will take a bet on 5-4 for the automakers.

The design delusion

Yesterday's Guardian article on the increasing use of "Intelligent Design" materials within the science curriculum of British schools causes a torrent of letters today. Most of which prove that advocates of this so-called "scientific theory" understand neither science nor the scientific method. A few samples:

The undeniable fact that Darwin's theory has never been proved is not generally addressed because the theory has been given the status of holy writ. - Alick Bartholomew - Bath

To put Darwinism beyond the reach of criticism is, it seems to me, the worst type of fundamentalism - John Ratcliffe - Ripon, North Yorkshire

Where is the evidence that teaching intelligent design or even creationism in schools, alongside Darwinian theory, does any damage at all? Arguing from evidence is surely important in any scientific discussion; why abandon it here? - John Hallett - Nottingham

Berlusconi has a heart!

And it appears to have attacked him. Is it just a coincidence that the sudden attack happened just a day before his trial on charges of tax fraud was do to open? The trial has now been adjourned.

It's a fucking shame. It really is.

News comes to us from America that CBS and Fox have both filed suits contesting the FCC's current regime regulating the use of language and portrayals of sex on broadcast television. Both suits hinge on First Amendment free speech arguments.

The FCC responded that both networks are out of touch with America thereby implying that the FCC is somehow in touch with America. You figure it out.

They also said, specifically in relation to the Fox action,

“By continuing to argue that it is okay to say the F-word and the S-word on television whenever it wants, Hollywood is demonstrating once again how out of touch it is with the American people.”

Done and dusted I'd say.

If "Fox" is the F-word what is the S-word?

Bad news for Al Gore

As part of its hundred birthday celebration the Environment Agency has asked campaigners to name the hundred top eco-warriors of all time. The Guardian publishes the list today.

The former US Vice President (and elected non-President) does come in at a respectable number nine. However that means that he is two positions behind the heir to the British throne, Prince Chuck.

At number one, and deservedly so, is Rachael Carson whose trail blazing book, Silent Spring effectively launched the environmental cause.

Who'll get custody of the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man?

The Torygraph ran a poll at the weekend that shows that the majority of British voters want some sort of devolution or split up of the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland". A higher percentage of English than Scottish voters want Scotland to get its independence.

We'll need a new name, a new flag, a new a national anthem.

Ideally if this is to occur it should be done all at once with the UK breaking up into four nations and ditching the German royal family all at the same time. (Hey look it's going to happen. Can you imagine living in the realm of King Chuck the First?) Otherwise it will go on forever and cost a fortune in new flags and passports.

Imagine that Scotland gets its independence first and monarchy is retained by the balance of the country. The issues that the newly independent Scotland will face will be easy enough to resolve; they've already got a flag, the country will be the Republic of Scotland, Hadrian's Wall will be rebuilt (this time by the Scots) and all they will have to do is pick a national anthem.

For what is left of the UK the problems will be more difficult.

"The Slightly-Less-United-Than-Before Kingdom of Less Than Great Britain and Northern Ireland" is a bit of tongue twister.

The What's-Left-of-the-Union Flag (it should only be called the "Union Jack" if it is on a ship) without the St. Andrew's Cross will be a little lacklustre.

We can keep the anthem if we keep the Queen. No one likes it anyway.

At least the national football teams are already sorted but if Wales becomes independent we'll have to break up the England and Wales Cricket Board. (Are there any Welsh players in the side anyway?)

At least the confusion over nationality in the UK will be sorted out for once and for all. At the moment if you ask a UK citizen what nationality they are they are most likely to reply "English", "Scottish", "Welsh" or "Irish". About the only folks who describe themselves as British are the Northern Irish Protestants and citizens of Asian or Afro-Caribbean descent.

As I type* this....

....I can barely see the monitor as I am sitting in a reclined position at 135◦ as newly recommended by people who know these things in order to avoid back pain.

So all of you who have been sitting ramrod straight all your lives because that's what Mum told you to do kick back and relax!

(*Note: should we still call it typing? When was the last time you used a typewriter? Of couse we still call using a phone "dialing" and floppy discs haven't been floppy in ages.)

Fast forward

Dateline Oslo 28 November 2010

A spokesman for the Norwegian Nobel Committee which is responsible for naming the annual Nobel Peace Prize has announced that the prize is to be permanently retired. The annual gong has not been awarded since 2006 and the unnamed spokesman said that the committee had agreed, after long deliberation and in consultation with the Storting, that there was "no longer any point in even looking for anyone remotely deserving". The monies set aside for the prize are to be used for one big Xmas piss up for the committee members and their families after which they shall retire to specially prepared bunkers near the Arctic Circle where they will quietly await end days.

In other news the Rapture Index has reached a new all time high of 217, 8 below the maximum.

Auntie gets poached

The BBC is in turmoil today after the news that its chairman, Michael Grade, has resigned and is due to take up the helm at ITV. The timing is particularly bad in that it comes due the negotiation over the increase of the annual TV license fee.

I'm sure that the Beeb will survive this latest setback but given its current state of affairs I am less sure about ITV, at least in its present configuration.

27 November 2006

They used to call it plagarism

I guess if you're Winston Churchill then it is downgraded to "borrowing".

This will not work with an Oyster Card

Not that I've tried it.

English crumble

Ok. So my secret plan to retain the Ashes requires a wee tweak. Update to follow (just as soon as I think of something).

More like two civil wars and one something else

King Abdullah of Jordan warns the world that by the beginning of next year there could be three civil wars in the Middle East but then he's counting Iraq as a civil war and we have been reasonably informed by the British, American and Australian governments that that is not what it is. (They've yet to actually explain exactly what state Iraq is in at the moment.)

In addition to Lebanon he counts the Israeli - Palestinian conflict as a civil war when we all know that it is a 100% justified internal security operation.

I mean he just lives there. We shouldn't expect him to know more than a clutch of pundits smug and warm, er, I meant SNUG and warm, in a Washington studio!

"Peace on Earth, goodwill towards men" (void where prohibited by by-laws)

If you're a hippie with a peace symbol on your rucksack or Cindy Sheehan you would do well to avoid Pagosa Springs, Colorado this Xmas season. Bob Kearns, president of the Loma Linda Homeowners Association has sacked all five members of the association’s architectural control committee after they unanimously refused to compel a resident to remove a wreath in the shape of a peace sign. He is now threatening to fine the woman twenty five dollars a day until she complies.

In the spirit of the season I would like to wish you Merry Xmas anyway Bob!

My country needs me (apparently)

Just for fun I went and took the CIA's personality quiz. They think I am an Innovative Pioneer! I think they want me to sign up.

Do you reckon they'll come looking for me? Do you think they know where I am? Hey, who's that at the door?

We interrupt this post for some light music. Yank in London should resume shortly.

I was pretty clever when I was young

However it is quite possble that I wasn't this clever.

Designed in Washington - assembled in Iraq

Before the American invasion Iraq wasn't capable of or interested in exporting Islamic revolution. However the Iraq insurgency is not dependent on funding from outside the country and may, in fact, have surplus funds that could be used to support terrorist groups outside of the country. At least that is what the US government thinks and wishes to keep secret.

I wonder what the state secret is here. Perhaps it is that the war isn't going quite as well as they wish us to believe.

War breaks out all over

Islamists in Somalia and the Ethiopian government are close to clashing in what will likely become a regional war in East Africa. The Ethiopian President has now said that he will not seek Western approval before attacking the paramilitary forces in the neighbouring country.

Good. Just in time for Xmas then.

Too late for Milo

In Joseph Heller's Catch-22 Milo Minderbender is the enterprising mess officer who is making a killing in the black market until he corners the Egyptian cotton market. Unfortunately there is a glut of cotton and he becomes desperate to find a way to unload the stuff. He tries, unsuccessfully, to cover it in cotton and feed it to his men.

Now researchers from Texas A&M University believe that they have developed a genetic engineering technique that would make the toxic seeds edible by humans thereby creating a potentially large new food source.

This is what genetic engineering should be used for not for making corn that allows farmers to dump more herbicide into the soil!

Rice safe! America saved!

In a move sure to shock no one Bayer's genetically engineered rice crop, LL601, has received USDA approval.

This is good news for everyone who has been eating it for an unknown period and now know that they are 100% safe. Bayer had not originally sought approval for the rice after a limited trial but got expedited approval after it was found to be in general rice stocks after experimental controls obviously failed. The company is facing a number of law suits. Good luck!

By the way the long grain rice sold in my local Sainsbury’s now comes from Uruguay rather than America!

It's probably just because they're loud...

...that the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) has booked Rod Stewart, Elton John and Earth, Wind & Fire to play at their annual convention.

It is certainly not because anyone of my generation or near my generation is old enough to be a member.

Don't forget to bring extra batteries for your hearing aids!

When freedom isn't free

The government is planning to proceed with measures to significantly alter the Freedom of Information Act without the public consultation which was promised to Parliament by a government minister. The plans as currently conceived would make it simpler for the government to reject requests on the grounds of expense.

The act is only two years old. So much for open government. We didn't really believe them, did we?

...and on the eighth day God made DVDs

Once again we find the UK stumbling down a path forged by the US. A number of British schools are using teaching materials that promote "intelligent design" in their science curriculum. The government has already stated that these materials, provided to the schools by the optimistically named Truth in Science organisation, are inappropriate for use. The DVDs are sourced from the US and features members of the Discovery Institute of Seattle.

This is clearly not going to help the PM in trying to boost his legacy through his new found love of science.

Clearly Richard Dawkins has his work cut out for him.

The thirty nine shots

Thirty nine shots. Ten seconds. That's all it took for the NY Police to kill an unarmed man on Saturday. The dead man, twenty three year old Sean Bell, was due to be married later in the day. What can one say?

I just wonder who will save marriage from the New York police....

Harbouring terrorists

In the execution of the "war on terra" both Britain and the US have threatened so-called rogue states that harbour terrorists with dire consequences.

I can't wait to see the retaliation they will take upon themselves for harbouring Salah Abdallah "Gosh" the head of the Sudanese secret police who is accused of being complicit in the murder of 300,000 of his countrymen and Osama bin Laden's former best buddy.

Mr. Abdallah has spent time in the US at Langley as recently as last year and in Britain where he has come for medical treatment twice in the past nine months on official visas. The UN has included Mr. Abdallah as one of seventeen Sudanese officials on whom sanctions should be imposed.

Will Tony bid farewell in disgrace?

Could Tony Blair lose his seat in Parliament over Honourgate (aka loans-for-peerages)? There are those who believe that the answer is yes. Under a law that, ironically, the Blair government brought in itself, he would be required to resign his seat if he was found not to have told the truth to or withheld information from the party treasurer about the financing arrangements.

It's just too sweet to contemplate, isn't it? So much for the historic legacy!

26 November 2006

Not so different from the old boss

Meet the newly nominated candidate for the position of US Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates. It's a good thing that he's to run the War Department because he is not exactly a man of peace nor does he seem to have much of a knowledge of or respect for international law.

When he was at the CIA in the 1980s he advocated "dealing" with the Sandinista government in Nicaragua in a four point plan that entailed:

  • US air strikes "to destroy a considerable portion of Nicaragua's military build-up".
  • Warning Cuba and the USSR that the US would not allow further weapons deliveries to the Nicaraguan government.
  • Tougher economic sanctions including a naval blockade
  • Switching diplomatic recognition from the legitimately elected government to the rag tag band of right wingers and oligarchs that comprised the so-called "contra".

It is good to see that we are likely to be pursuing a new and independent course in Iraq then.

Hey! I'm normal!

I have long considered myself horribly absent minded and spend many an hour searching through my small flat for keys, money, wallet, phone, book et cetera et cetera. My method for finding this lost items, which are never to be found in the same place twice, is seemingly random and often ineffective.

Science has leapt to my aid by acknowledging that this is a perfectly normal human behaviour known as the "Levy flight". I am no different than a memeber of the Ju/'hoansi tribe searching for mongongo nuts!

That's made me feel much better!

Now where have I put my cup of tea?

The plot thickens

I hope none of you had lunch or drinks in any of the places frequented by the late Russian ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko at the beginning of the month. If you think you did I suggest that you ring the authorities.

What is clear so far is that Mr. Litvinenko was poisoned with a fairly rare and incredibly toxic radioactive isotope known as polonium 210. The ingestion of even a tiny amount of this substance leads to almost certain death.

What is unclear is who killed him and why. Suspects include:
  • Mr. Litvinenko himself although his motivation is unclear unless the death were accidental.
  • Russian security forces under the direction of President Vladimir Putin
  • Russian security forces loyal to but not under the direction of Putin
  • Russian opposition forces, inside or outside the security services, who wish to damage Putin by implicating him in this crime

Will we ever know? Probably not with absolute certainty. (Can we say we know who killed Jack or Bobby Kennedy with absolute certainty?)

What is clear, between this death and the recent assassination of Anna Politkovskaya, is that all is not well in the Russian Federation.

In the meantime we are about to welcome Russia, with open arms, into the WTO. Oh well, that's only business. It's not personal.

India reverts to type

We, in the West, have begun to think of India as an emerging progressive society with dramatically improved education and a force in the economic world. We generally conveniently forget that much of the country still has an awfully long way to go.

This story of a fifteen year old woman of the Dalit (untouchable) caste who was raped and insisted on a case being opened against her attacker. The problems were that a) she was a Dalit and b) he accused attacker was from an upper caste. She said that the man had threatened to kill her unless she dropped the case.

Last week a man broke into her home at night, doused her in kerosene and burned her alive. Her upper caste neighbours refused to take her to hospital and she subsequently died of her injuries.

In India as a whole there has been no outrage over and little coverage of her killing.

So, if you are so inclined, remember Asha Katiya in your prayers.

US meddling aids the enemy!

The interference of US anti-terror forces in August that triggered a series of arrests in Britain before the security services were prepared to act led to the escape of at least one terrorist cell. The US forced Pakistani forces to arrest a UK citizen over the objections of the British government and forced the hand of the UK authorities.

Yet another victory in the "war on terra".

Lunatic batters down the asylum gates

Northern Irish politics has always had more than its fair share of lunatics and madmen but I have to congratulate the loyalist lunatic, Michael Stone, for his absurd attempt on Friday to derail the current attempts to restate the devolved government. Anyone that can make Ian Paisley appear normal is a true genius!

It would seem that even his former friends at the UDA (Ulster Defence Association) thought he was dangerously unsettled and sent out four hit squads to prevent him from getting to Stormont. Showing their true ineptness they failed and only the unarmed security guards prevented him from bombing Gerry Adams and others.

Interesting a current Google news search for "michael stone" returns 1,060 hits, a search for "michael stone" + paramilitary returns 395 hits whilst a search for "michael stone" + terrorist returns only 10 and one for "michael stone" + terror only returns 6.

In contrast "gerry adams" + terrorist gets 252 hits.

BA and the cross

British Airways has apparently caved under pressure from the CofE over the row with an employee who was suspended over violations of the airline's uniform code. Nadia Eweida remains under suspension for wearing a visible crucifix on a chain. Current BA policy forbids the wearing of personal jewellery that is visible. Ms. Eweida openly wore the Christian symbol and refused to remove it and was subsequently suspended.

Ms. Eweida denies making that she is making a political statement whilst ironically making the political statement that

"Jesus has to be glorified. I am not politically motivated or minded, I just follow the Biblical truth."

BA has announced that it would review its policy and allow the wearing of small religious symbols as lapel badges an offer that the woman has seemingly rejected.

One wonders how open this new policy will be. Will they allow the wearing of Wican symbols for instance or the peace symbol if one's religious or philosophical beliefs demand pacifism. Meanwhile I am sure that the wing nuts are congratulating themselves about their victory over evil and Godless Mammon.

24 November 2006

Crisis! What crisis?

I just noticed that the Reuter AlertNet homepage has a neat little feature. Under "Emergencies" there is a little menu box from which you can select from one hundred and two global crises; everything from "Aceh peace" to "Zimbabwe hunger". There is even one I was completely unaware of Chikungunya . It is it turns out a mosquito borne virus).

102. That's depressing and I'm sure they've missed a few as well.

Object to this!

You're in the Army or, as in this case, the Marines.

You have an epiphany and you realise that you cannot continue to serve without violating your own philosophical and / or religious principles so you apply for conscientious objector status.

You are "interviewed by a military chaplain, examined by a psychiatrist, and questioned by a hearing officer who recommended C.O. status and immediate separation".

Ergo the Marines deploy you to Iraq.

I hope he lives to tell and, even more importantly, isn't required to kill whilst the government is fighting in court what their representatives have said that they should do.

Peace on Earth, goodwill towards men (but not Swedish women)

A nineteen year old Swedish woman, Tove Johansson, who was working with the International Solidarity Movement in Hebron was badly beaten by Jewish extremists whilst escorting Palestinian children home from school on 18 November. The Israeli Defense Force, which was in the area at the time, did not intervene. Ms. Johansson is still in hospital with a broken cheekbone.

The Swedish government has complained to the Israeli government about the lack of a proper investigation.

Fortunately David Wilder, who is a spokesman for the (illegal) Jewish community of Hebron, has written an open letter to the Swedish ambassador which explains everything. Allow me to summarise Mr. Wilder's seven key points as follows:

1.) We are non-violent to the best of our ability.

2.) There have been foreign organisations in Hebron for over a year and we haven't been very violent towards them.

3.) If this incident actually happened it mush have been outside agitators - not us!

4.) Ms. Johansson and her fellow provocateurs were asked to leave the area before the incident occurred (if it occurred) and they didn't. Also it was the Sabbath and Ms. Johansson et al were taking pictures and if they hadn't the incident which may or may not have occurred would not have occurred.

5.) Jews didn't kill Jesus and they didn't say so either.

6.) After the beating, which may or may not have occurred Ms. Johansson was given first aid.

7.) If anyone actually beat Ms. Johansson they were obviously and cruelly provoked by "ultra-extremist anti-Israel and anti-Jewish organizations". We cannot justify unnecessary violence so if there was violence and we have to justify it then it was by definition justified. If the Swedish Foreign Ministry would only make their provocative, anti-Jewish citizens leave then any acts of violence that might or might not take place in the future won't take place because the victims would not be available for violence to happen to them.


Cleanliness is next to dead

A man in Fort Worth, Texas (why is it always Texas?) got upset with a fellow patron in a bar who refused to wash his hands after taking a pee. So he hid in the car park, waited until the bloke came out and stabbed him. Three times. With an eight inch knife.

The man obviously takes his ablutions seriously.

First the good news

Israeli expert says that President Bush has no credibility and can't launch a military attack on Iran.

Now the bad news - since when has Bush listened to experts?

(Oh - the expert also says that Israel could go it alone.)

Taking sides

The US admits that it is working to build up the forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas but it has nothing to do with preparing them for civil war.

"Trust us!"

So long as they don't try sneaking into America

The International Organization for Migrations, a UN group, says that 1,000 Iraqis a day are being driven from their homes by the internecine warfare enveloping their country. The total is over a quarter of a million since February of this year.

Should they get to America I am sure that they will be treated fairly and not determined to be economic migrants. Right?

Shorter Charles Krauthammer

"Americans can't be anti-Semitic. Only Europeans and Muslims can."

The spirit of bipartisanship

Perhaps for the next two years in the US we can expect at least a modicum of oversight from the new Congress. At least there are hopeful signs.

Get your veto out!

Faced with the prospect of two years of a hostile Congress I can say with reasonable assurance that Dubya will use his veto a great deal more often than the once he has managed so far.

It seems that the pharmacutecal companies already have a candidate in mind. Glad to see they are keeping an open mind and waiting until any legislation is actually written.

When London makes a tougher mayor - nature makes a tougher pigeon

Maybe it because of Ken Livingstone's war against the pigeons that haunt Trafalgar Square but I think the birds are, in general, getting tougher. It's not as if they were exactly wimps to begin with.

I just saw one eating the mortar out of an old brick wall. Really!

Two steps back

Russia, hardly a bastion of woman's rights to begin with, is preparing to slide further backwards with proposed legislation that ban a married woman from getting an abortion unless she has the her husband's consent.

One more reason to stay single I reckon.

Trident the soon to be lost opportunity

The British nuclear “deterrent” is based around the Trident missile which is nearing the end of its useful life. The government has promised an open debate on the replacement but the cabinet is swiftly moving into an entrenched position that will call for a submarine based replacement costing in the neighbourhood of twenty five billions pounds or more.

Twenty five billion pounds is a significant amount of money to spend on a weapons system; one that will not function as a deterrent to rogue states or terrorist groups, one that must never be used; one which Britain (along with Russia, France, China and the US) has an obligation to do away with under the non-proliferation treaty.

What better example could Britain make to the world at large as to how to make the world safer than to resign its charter membership in the nuclear club? There will be considerable benefit to the taxpayer as well.

Unfortunately it would appear to be an opportunity that will be spurned.

Murdoch et fils

Today’s Guardian features a profile of James Murdoch, son of Rupert and chairman of Britain’s BSkyB.

It’s headline, “He's an immensely likeable person and that does seem slightly counter to what you'd expect”, is a quote from an unattributed colleague. The underlying message in the quote is, of course, that his is Dad is a (not so) little shit. Hardly news but interesting.

Another victim of man?

The Yangtze baiji, not to be confused with an onion bhaji, is (or was) a fresh water dolphin that lives in the Yangtze River and its tributaries and numbers amongst the oldest fresh water mammals. Unfortunately it may already be extinct. The effects of massive pollution, brutal fishing techniques (dynamite and electrocution amongst them) and the basic push of mankind into its habitat may have proved too much. Scientists are scouring the river in search of extant specimens but it has been two years since any have been seen in the wild.

Here's hoping.

You can find out more at baiji.org.

Just a problem in execution

The noble neocon experiment that is today's Iraq isn't going so well at the moment. Not to worry. The neocons speak with but one voice.

"Our idea was brilliant. Bush is to blame."

Something about rats and sinking ships lingers in the dark recesses of my mind.

23 November 2006

Making the homeless even more homeless in sunny California

I hereby suspend my opposition to the death penalty. I am now in favour of it as a punishment for the heartless and witless Fresno officials who approved these raids before some liberal, activist judge stopped them!

How to ruin a serviceman's or servicewoman's Thanksgiving

Make her or him talk to the President.

Unfortunately the story doesn't tell us what percentage hung up on him.

My secret plan to retain The Ashes

Draw, draw and draw again.

Also pray for rain; lots and lots of rain!

It's not Thanksgiving everywhere

145 dead in Iraq.

7 dead in Gaza.

Botched hostage rescue in Nigeria - British worker dead.

Darfur is crumbling.

Dick Cheney hasn't had a heart attack in Baghdad or anywhere else.

In my name and in yours

As long as this goes on we are all responsible.

(via COA News)

This looks like fun. It's a shame I'm so far from Salt Lake City.

I have a new hero and he's an Aussie as well.

Meet John Safran.

Ouch (II)

I can't begin to imagine how this monk's penis managed to get from Thailand to South Africa on its own! It's like Incredible Journey except with body parts!

Not-so-strange bedfellows

Fundamentalist Christians seem to hate the theory of evolution especially as personified in the person of Charles Darwin.

Who else agrees with them? fundamentalist Islam.

They also share similar aversions to gays, abortion rights and women.

A day in the life of lethal force

A ninety two year old woman lives alone in a house in Atlanta.

As is the woman's God given right the woman owns a pistol.

The police try to break down her door to execute a search warrant for drugs.

Woman (who probably doesn't hear all that well) shoots five cops.

Cops shoot woman.

Ninety two year old woman isn't going to make ninety three.

Guns don't kill people. Search warrants do.

Macaca's revenge

Planning a trip to Washington DC for a quiet stroll along the Mall, perhaps to enjoy the cherry blossoms come springtime? If soon to be ex-Senator George "Macaca" Allen gets his way in his final days you shouldn't forget to pack your heat! Shortly after going down to defeat in the midterm elections he introduced legislation that would allow the carrying of concealed weapons in National Parks. The legislation makes no distinction between wilderness and urban areas. (In my mind the distinction is unnecessary as you shouldn't be able to carry them anywhere!) You will even be able to carry them in Whiskeytown which doesn't strike me as wise.

This early Xmas present has warmed the cockles of gun nuts everywhere!

For a list of places where you may soon be able to stuff a rod in your pants look here.

A day in life of "non-lethal" force

A seventeen year old mentally disturbed man walks down a street carrying a Bible and calling out to Jesus.

Police shoot man with Taser gun (twice).

Man dies.
Jesus weeps.

Giving thanks

Today is Thanksgiving (a fact which I had forgotten until I logged on this morning). We don't get much sense of it here. It is frankly a holiday about which I have long held misgivings as it celebrates, in its way, what is effectively the beginning of a two or three century long campaign of genocide.

Apparently some schoolteachers in America share my ambivalence and are trying to be a bit more sensitive to the other side. I eagerly await the chorus of right wing disdain, scorn and outrage.

I didn't have to wait very long.

Try not to eat too much!

Don't forget to say your prayers

Unless you are booked on US Airways. Oh, and you are Muslim. One of the members of the groups barred from the flight for "flying whilst Asian" was (I assume he has cancelled his membership as of now) even a member of their frequent flyer programme and had been upgraded to first class.

They sure know how to treat repeat customers.

"The President can bomb anybody he likes" (or actually who he doesn't like)

Signalling what could be the advent of a new and humble American president it appears that George Bush has begun to plan ahead. More and more intelligence analysts now believe that he plans to bomb Iran next year.

How does he sleep at night? Hell, how do I sleep at night?


I'm absent minded. I'm constantly roaming about the flat looking for keys, money, book, paper etc.

Nonetheless I have never mislaid my willy!

Appropriate uses of EU veto power

So many EU countries tend to waste their veto power in the European Union on silly things like defence, immigration and foreign policy.

It is good to see that the Czechs, even though relatively new to the EU, understand that the veto should not be wasted and should be reserved for the truly important things in life such as ensuring that beer tax doesn't go up!

Crises in Congo - Congo has nuclear plant

The Democratic Republic of Congo is a country that is teetering on the edge of a return to its long, bloody civil war. The newly elected president, Joseph Kabila, has delivered an ultimatum to UN peacekeeping forces that they have forty eight hours to remove the forces of his rival, Jean-Pierre Bemba, out of Kinshasa or he would order the army to do so.

In light of these events don't you think that we should be a little more than worried about this?

"I'm going to the loo. Will you watch my handbag for ten minutes?"

One would think that if one were the child of a President of the United States of America who, no matter where one goes, is surrounded by agents from the Secret Service that one would not have to worry about one's handbag.

One would be wrong.

Reports that young Bush, who was not identified as either Jemma or not-Jemma, was missing a favourite fake ID, several airplane bottles of vodka, several condoms and a pet rabbit have yet to be confirmed.

Green zone now too dangerous

It would seem that even the so-called massively defended "Green Zone" in Baghdad has become too dangerous for such an important personage as the worst president ever. Mr. Bush wants to meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki next week but must have decided that al-Maliki's place was too much of a dump so he's meeting him in Amman, Jordan instead.

(Note for those of you at home: Amman used to be known as Philadelphia!)

Am I becoming a Tory....

...or is David Cameron becoming me? There's no doubt there are lots of things on which do not now, and probably never will, agree.

However yesterday Mr. Cameron was on form, in my opinion at least. First he called the government out over its inaction on the Darfur crisis and then he quite rightly accused the government of playing politics with security.

I wonder how I will look in blue.

Father may I have "something for the weekend"?

Is it to late to buy Durex? Yesterday they announced a significant increase in sales on the strength of their new sex toy product line and now today it seems that the Vatican may soon change its stance on condom use.

There are many who will undoubtedly interpret this as a sign of liberalisation in the Roman Catholic Church but I am sure that it is just enlightened self interest. After all this will help to protect priests from picking up STDs from altar boys and therefore reduce the church's medical costs.

Surprisingly, as of 11AM they are done slightly on the day. Let me call my broker.

Is this a timetable I see before me?

In a move sure to upset their American friends HM Government, in the form of Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett, has said that it is likely the British troops will turn over control of the south of the country to the Iraqisby spring.

Just to make sure that she wasn't misinterpreted she specifically said that this was neither cutting and running or an announcement of a timetable for a withdrawal but rather were "just some words coming out of my mouth".

I wonder if she had a call from Jim Baker.

22 November 2006

Note to the Americans

If you plan on starting a war in, say, five years times don't count on the British military for backup.

Heh, heh, heh!

This probably won't go over well in the Hassidic community.

Has anyone seen the Halfoat family?

As a kid I certainly romanticised the life of the Native American (then known as Indians) picturing a life of complete and utter freedom on the open plain.

Boy was I wrong and it didn't take me long to realise it either. The life of a Native American, then and now, wasn't something to aspire to.

But guess what? It still sucks!

NASA scientist calls for Exxon boycott

At least that’s the way I read the quote from Dr. James Hansen in this article. Dr. Hansen was awarded the WWFs top conservation award. While working for NASA he was one of the first to identify and highlight the potential causes of and risks of global warming. He featured prominently in An Inconvenient Truth.

He criticises the “scientists” in the employ of ExxonMobil and also the companies adverts including one that crows:

"They call it pollution, we call it life"

He goes on to say that

"It is time to stop patronising that company."

NASA scientist calls for Exxon boycott

At least that’s the way I read the quote from Dr. James Hansen in this article. Dr. Hansen was awarded the WWFs top conservation award. While working for NASA he was one of the first to identify and highlight the potential causes of and risks of global warming. He featured prominently in An Inconvenient Truth.

He criticises the “scientists” in the employ of ExxonMobil and also the companies adverts including one that crows:

"They call it pollution, we call it life"

He goes on to say that

"It is time to stop patronising that company."

I'm afraid to look...

...so I wish someone else would check on Ebay to see if there's a purloined copy of the now pulled OJ book on sale there yet.

Sex sells

I knew I should have invested in Durex. I mean the business could only go up, right?


Robert Altman.

21 November 2006

It's a good thing he doesn't have a Muslim name

Because if he did I'm sure he'd have been whisked off to parts unknown ages ago. I'm talking about Thiago (Thiago? that doesn't sound very American to me) Olson, a Michigan teenager.

Since he's "clean cut", white, probably middle class and on the cross country team at high school the US Department of Homeland Security doesn't seem to be bothered that he is creating nuclear fusion in his basement.

I think it's wrong that Iran, which is a large country, isn't allowed fission and this spotty adolescent is getting away with fusion.

In praise of....

...the older chimpette.

Researchers have discovered that male chimpanzees prefer an older, fuller figured female as a mate.

I see absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Don’t forget that Friday is “Save Wal-Mart from the Pooftahs” Day

I know you’d probably rather go shopping or play golf or just head down to the corner tavern for a couple of brewskies but sometimes you just have to think of the greater good and forget what you want to do.

So this Friday, Black Friday, do something for your country. Go stand in front of your local Wal-Mart and heckle anyone who looks even remotely camp (if male) or tough (if female). This may be your last chance to save marriage from the forces of darkness!

Should they stay or should they go?

100% of Israeli settlements on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem are illegal in the eyes of international law. We all knew that didn’t we?

Now for the new news. 39% of Israeli settlements on the West Bank are on land that is legally owned by Palestinians. Do two illegalities make a legality?

I think not. I say “evict ‘em”.

“So why exactly did you leave the Navy son?”

“They said I wasn’t racist enough sir.”

Matthew 5:9

I can see it now. Early December 2008. While Laura is working with the removers to pack up the Bush family china and both of George's books for the move back to Crawford the soon-to-be-ex-President is sitting in the Oval office watching the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony from Oslo. He is a bitter man. After all he has done to, er, for world peace he has been passed over and his blood pressure rises as he sees Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Bashar al-Assad step forward to accept the award.

They were chosen after theirNovember 2006 summit with the then bitterly divided Iraqi government led to the end of the civil war and insurgency in Iraq. The normalisation of relations between Iraq and Syria was soon followed by the establishment of a free trade zone encompassing first of all of the middle east (including Israel and Palestine) and subsequently Africa, many former Soviet Republics, the Indian subcontinent, Malaysia, Indonesia and nearly all of Africa. (It should be obvious that this bloc also controls a great deal of the world's oil supply!) Peace broke out all over. (The combined Isaeli / Palestinean football side is waiting for approval from UEFA and FIFA to enter the upcoming World and European cup competitions!)

George is going home a bitter man and the is no legacy for Laura to pack.

If I published it

Rupert Murdoch gets lots of opportunities to eat his words but rarely avails himself of them. So we should take a moment and truly savour his his decision to neither air the OJ Simpson how-I-would-have-killed-her TV extravaganza or to publish the supporting do-it-yourself manual.

It is a shame really because Roxanne and some others were launching a campaign to browbeat the publisher, Judith Regan, into donating the proceeds to abused women. Let's not waste their effort. We can still email her and inform her, as if she doesn't know deep down, what an idiot she was in the first place.

"I'll be in the garden shed darling. I'm just knocking a submarine together."

There are lots of creative ways to smuggle drugs. You can swallow little balloons full of them, you can hide them in shipping containers, you can tunnel under the border or you can build yourself a submarine.

I can assure you that I will never want money bad enough to attempt any journey in a submarine that I, or indeed anyone I know, was responsible for constructing.

Bad news for Mark Foley

(Has there been any good news for the poor man lately?) In Franco Zeffirelli's soon to be released autobiography he relates how he was molested by a priest when he was at school but in his words homosexual experiences at a young age

"are not always bad for boys. I don't think they make you homosexual. Sexual choice is made for you early on in life anyway - if you like girls, you like girls."

I guess you just didn't like girls then Mark. Of course Zeffirelli is gay himself.

Bad news for Mark Foley

(Has there been any good news for the poor man lately?) In Franco Zeffirelli's soon to be released autobiography he relates how he was molested by a priest when he was at school but in his words homosexual experiences at a young age

"are not always bad for boys. I don't think they make you homosexual. Sexual choice is made for you early on in life anyway - if you like girls, you like girls."

I guess you just didn't like girls then Mark. Of course Zeffirelli is gay himself.

Going David Blaine one better!

Authorities at a South African prison have learned that just because an inmate has asked for a jar of Vaseline it doesn't necessarily mean that he's taken a fancy to the geezer in the top bunk.

Nonetheless the escape sounds pretty impressive. He was shackled, he broke two bullet proof windows and squeezed out between bars after lubing himself up. This was a guy who seriously did not like confinement!

You go big. You go long and I'll hit one of you behind the Mazda.

There are signs that George Bush is already shying away from the Baker option. Perhaps last week's Newsweek "Father Knows Best" cover story about the President relying on Dad and Dad's mates having to bail him out again had something to do with it.

Yesterday the Washington Post reported details of a new Pentagon strategy document that seems to offer a confusing plethora of options. Sounding a bit like the quarterback in a game of street (American) football there are three primary approaches on offer:
  • "Go big" - send more American troops to Iraq until they outnumber the native Iraqis and Halliburton has built more McDonalds, Burger Kings and Pizza Huts than there are halal butcher shops.
  • "Go long" - send some American troops home but those that remain stay longer thereby justifying the expense of building those not-so-temporary military bases.
  • "Go home - your dinner's almost ready" - aka "cut and run" - fuck off out of there and now - the option seemingly preferred by the majority of Americans and is therefore likely to be ignored by their leaders.

Just plain Scilly

This must surely be the only football league in Britain without promotion or demotion. The Isles of Scilly, pop. 2000, are home to the country's smallest football league. The league has just two teams which play thirteen matches a year and also have two cup competitions. One has to ask why as both sides make the final of both competitions every year!

Of course, in the tradition of great amateur leagues everywhere, they do retire for a few pints and general camaraderie afterwards.

All hail Ryan Howard!

I may have lived in Britain for fourteen years and developed a taste for football (played with the feet!) and cricket but I still miss baseball. Today brings glad tidings.

It's been a long time (twenty years) since the Phillies had an MVP but from what little I've seen of him Ryan Howard richly deserves the award. In that time I have gotten married, gotten divorced and emigrated to another country.

I sincerely hope that this bodes well for the future and maybe, just maybe, they can perhaps build a team around him. The power is excellent but it is the batting average that proves to me, at least, that is the real thing. As a third generation Phillies supporter if there are one or two things I have learned it is patience and a healthy dose of fatalism.

Time will tell of course but I remain unrealistically optimistic.

20 November 2006

Shag for peace!

As someone who has long advocated radical means to achieve peace in this troubled world I am willing to go to almost any extreme if I feel it will advance the cause even a little.

You should not, therefore, be surprised that I am even willing to go so far as to have sex (to orgasm!).

Veteran activists Donna Sheehan and Paul Reffel want to coordinate a "global orgasm for peace" on 22 December. (I'm a bit dubious about this as it is nigh on impossible to get two people to come at the same time let alone millions.)

In any case you can found out more at their surprisingly safe-for-work website www.globalorgasm.org.

No one should get nervous or anxious about this. If you’re a bit rusty and out of shape you still have over a month to practice. Novices welcome! Remember it's for the good of mankind!

What Harriet Harmen said to the deputy US Ambassador (an imaginary monologue)

"We don't like it you kill our soldiers. Please stop. Oh, and you couldn't possibly send a couple of your chaps round to have a word with our coroner, could you? He's getting quite testy because they never show up. It would make Tony look frightfully bad if something doesn't happen and when Tony looks bad then you're boss's boss's boss looks bad.

"Do you fancy some tea? I have a lovely Darjeeling you know.

"And before you go old chap Ken would like to know when you're going to settle your account re the congestion charge. He says he can't leave it open forever. He takes Visa, MasterCard and Maestro but not American Express or Diner's Club."

Who would Jesus torture?

Why do Presbyterians want the terrorists to win? Two separate groups from that denomination plan to host a conference next year to call on the American government to ensure that all of their prisoners are treated fairly and humanely. To quote the Reverend Carol Wickersham, one of the conference organisers, "as people of faith and patriots we must say no to torture".

So whose side is God on anyway?

Good news for science

The British Department of Education and Skills has announced that creationism can have no place in the teaching of science. Full stop. End of discussion.

Charles Darwin will be well pleased.

Climate talks end in failure

U.S. largely to blame. Quelle surprise!

Last week's climate talks in Nairobi ended in no real movement on any issues and the US position continues to be the biggest, if not the only, stumbling block. In order to demonstrate the spirit of openness and compromise that the American team brought to the talks I quote from Paula Dobriansky, head of the US delegation:"

The president is very committed to the policy and strategy which he has set forth...there are absolutely no plans to change current policy towards emissions"

I'm sure someone, somewhere has calculated the tonnes of CO2 emissions that were wasted just in air travel for delegates in order to accomplish absolutely nothing.

A lottery no one will want to win

I have mixed emotions about Charles Rangel's call for a reinstatement of the military draft. Although too young for Vietnam I trained and acted as a draft counsellor for several years, helping those so inclined find legitimate (and illegitimate) means to avoid induction. I never registered myself even though they'd stopped drafting by the time I turned eighteen. Fortunately I was pardoned for this transgression by Jimmy Carter.

I do think that the risk that their own children might have to serve in future wars will temper the enthusiasm of many in the electorate. It might have kept us out of Iraq. John Kerry's failed attempt at humour notwithstanding it is disproportionately the economically disadvantaged that make up the bulk of the "volunteer" army. No matter what we do the truly favourite sons will find a way to avoid service.

I do think however that from a strictly political perspective it is the wrong issue at the wrong time for the Democrats. There are many other priorities that need addressing and there is no doubt that the move would prove unpopular. However, like most American males I do wonder what the Bobbsey Twins would look like in uniform.

It's not as if they are Real Americans or anything

Once the whole continent belonged to their people but over three hundred years a campaign that occupied the border between genocide and ethnic cleansing decimated their population and removed them from their historic lands.

Fortunately when all was said and done Native Americans at least had the US Federal government to look out for them.

MARY AND BILLY BOY HOLIDAY bought their one-room house from a medicine man in 1967. They gave him $50, a sheep and a canvas tent.

For the most part, they were happy with the purchase. Their Navajo hogan was situated well, between a desert mesa and the trading-post road. The eight-sided dwelling proved stout and snug, with walls of stone and wood, and a green-shingle roof.

The single drawback was the bare dirt underfoot. So three years after moving in, the Holidays jumped at the chance to get a real floor. A federally funded program would pay for installation if they bought the materials. The Holidays couldn't afford to, but the contractor, a friend of theirs, had an idea.

He would use sand and crushed rock that had washed down from an old uranium mine in the mesa, one of hundreds throughout the Navajo reservation that once supplied the nation's nuclear weapons program. The waste material wouldn't cost a cent. "He said it made good concrete," Mary Holiday recalled.

As promised, the 6-inch slab was so smooth that the Holidays could lay their mattresses directly on it and enjoy a good night's sleep.

They didn't know their fine new floor was radioactive.

Fifty years ago, cancer rates on the reservation were so low that a medical journal published an article titled "Cancer immunity in the Navajo."

Back then, the contamination of the tribal homeland was just beginning. Mining companies were digging into one of the world's richest uranium deposits, in a reservation spanning parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

From 1944 to 1986, 3.9 million tons of uranium ore were chiselled and blasted from the mountains and plains. The mines provided uranium for the Manhattan Project, the top-secret effort to develop an atomic bomb, and for the weapons stockpile built up during the arms race with the Soviet Union.


At least they can say they sacrificed their health and their lives so the United States could make more and better bombs!

How many Indonesians does it take to guard a Bush?


Feeling safer yet?

Department of unintended irony

Reports are filtering in that several Faux network affiliates in the US are refusing to air the thoughtful documentary If I Did It which documents O.J. Simpson's innocence in the murder of his wife.

Why is he innocent?
He would have murdered her and her companion differently!

Why are the Faux affiliates refusing to air it?

Essentially because it is bad taste!

I have nothing to add.

Where is James Bond when you really need him?

He certainly wasn't in a sushi bar in Piccadilly earlier this month when a former KGB officer, Alexander Litvinenko, who has been critical of Vladimir Putin was poisoned. Mr. Litvinenko is said to have a 50/50 chance of survival. Hospital tests have shown that he ingested thallium.

The Kremlin's response to suggestions that there might be official Russian involvement in the poisoning, as Mr. Litvinenko was investigating the murder of Anna Politkovskaya, is "Rubbish".

One for the conspiracy theorists

Tonight Newsnight on BBC2 will air a segment about an investigation into the assassination of Robert Kennedy. The writer of the piece believes that he may have uncovered evidence that the CIA did it. Allow me to be sceptical.


There are many possible positions that one can take on euthanasia and the right to die. Irrespective of whether I agree with them or not most of them are well reasoned and rooted in a consistent philosophy.

I think most people will agree with me that this ruling by a (damn activist) judge goes too far. Not only has the request by the patient's family to remove a ventilator and feeding tubes been denied but the judge has mandated treatment of the patient with a "miracle" drug. The 53 year old woman, who has been in a persistent vegetative state for over three years, is to be given zolpidem which has had some success in "waking up" severely brain damaged patients. Even if the woman regains consciousness she will most likely suffer from severe mental and physical disabilities.

Time to update the living will everyone.