30 December 2006

Saddam carries Qur'an to execution...

...and Dennis Prager demands that the former Iraqi tyrant be resurrected and re-executed, this time carrying a bible. Prager claims that presence of Islamic holy text demeans the Christian aspects of death by hanging and says ritual as conducted was anti-American.

Does anyone know where Rod Hull was on Wednesday?

(Yes. I know he's dead")

Nonetheless he is my prime suspect in this crime that was committed in Lancashire. I mean, who else would want an emu anyway?

Bush wish list

Andy Borowitz shares with us his conception of the Decider's (TM) New Year's resolutions:

“I resolve to pay close attention to the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group’s report, as soon as it comes out on a books-on-tape version.”

“I resolve to make sure that by the end of 2007, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki gets to spend more time with his family.”

“I resolve to tell John Kerry that I thought his joke was hilarious and he should keep ’em coming.”

“I resolve to learn how to use the Internets, especially the Google.”

There's more...

When in Rome

It doesn't happen very often so I think it only proper to note that, for today at least, the Vatican and I are as one.

I also agree with the Church of England.

George's hard day at the office

I love the first line of this Yahoo News story about the Decider’s (TM) Herculean effort to devise a solution to the outright debacle that is Iraq.

”President Bush worked nearly three hours at his Texas ranch on Thursday to design a new U.S. policy in Iraq, then emerged to say that he and his advisers need more time to craft the plan he'll announce in the new year.” (Emphasis mine.)

Well George, even though it’s Xmas time and all, you might try putting in a full half day and perhaps you might be able to come up with at least one cogent idea!

As the New Year approaches...

...listen to a voice from Iraq.
"You know your country is in trouble when:

The UN has to open a special branch just to keep track of the chaos and bloodshed, UNAMI.

Abovementioned branch cannot be run from your country.

The politicians who worked to put your country in this sorry state can no longer be found inside of, or anywhere near, its borders.

The only thing the US and Iran can agree about is the deteriorating state of your nation.

An 8-year war and 13-year blockade are looking like the country's 'Golden Years'.

Your country is purportedly 'selling' 2 million barrels of oil a day, but you are standing in line for 4 hours for black market gasoline for the generator.

For every 5 hours of no electricity, you get one hour of public electricity and then the government announces it's going to cut back on providing that hour.

Politicians who supported the war spend tv time debating whether it is 'sectarian bloodshed' or 'civil war'.

People consider themselves lucky if they can actually identify the corpse of the relative that's been missing for two weeks."
Read the rest here.

Those artsy fartsy Geordies!

Residents of which British city, on a per capita basis, are the most likely to visit an art gallery or a museum, go to the theatre or just be generally cultured and arty?

Bath? Nope.

Oxford? Nope.

Cambridge? Nope.

Edinburgh? Nope.

Cosmopolitain London? Nope.

Try Newcastle!. "Ya not taakin shite, man!"

1 I = 28.7 P (where I = "Israeli" and P = "Palestinian")

Palestinian deaths at the hands of Israelis in 2006 have tripled year on year according to Israeli human rights group, B'Tselem. 660 Palestinians have been killed by the IDF so far this year with about half not taking part in hostilities at the time of their death. One hundred and forty one of the dead Palestinians were minors (aka children). Twenty three Israelis, including one minor (child).

More information is available here.

"Barney, we're not in Texas anymore"

When there were reports yesterday of a hurricane headed for Crawford, TX yesterday the Decider (TM) and the missus were driven to a tornado shelter where they cowered outside in an armoured car until the wrath of God, er, storm passed.

Stories that vice-Decider Dick Cheney was moved to an undisclosed location during this faux crisis have not be confirmed.

Topsy turvy world

The Tories continue their journey into uncharted territory after hailing Page 3 girl, Keeley Hazell, as an environmental hero. Her contribution to the cause? Painting herself green and getting her kit off.

Note: despite the fact that she hails from Bromley I've never seen her on the High Street, green, undressed or otherwise.

It could be a tragedy

I imagine that Tony Blair is ruing the day his BA pilot overran the runway in Miami thereby allowing the world to find out that he is holidaying at the home of Bee Gee Robin Gibb. Two MPs, one Liberal Democrat and one Tory, are to ask the parliamentary standards commissioner to investigate whether the holiday has violated the rules of parliament. Even if he did pay full whack where did he raise the estimated £50,000? I mean he only makes £187,000 and after taxes....

"A thug who used terror and war to stay in power"

The above is the headline to an article in the Guardian today. Imagine my surprise to find that it is about Saddam Hussein and not George W. Bush.

Saddam dead

With George Bush's record as executioner par excellence continues this morning with the news that Saddam Hussein was hanged at dawn this morning in Baghdad. I wonder if the Decider (TM) got an erection.

He was, undoubtedly, an evil man but killing him was not the answer although I suspect that there are those in the American government (and others) that are relieved that he has taken many embarrassing secrets with him to his grave.

"Arise Sir Dodgy"

This year's New Year's Honours List is notably short on political party financiers for rather obvious reasons. There's not much of interest really with the exception of Rod Stewart's CBE for servicing women half his age (or less); the 11th in line for the British throne, Zara Phillips, gets an MBE for services to jodhpurs; best of all John Scarlett, the head of MI6 and famed proponent of the "dodgy dossier" on Iraq, receives a knighthood for services to mendacity.

For the terminally bored or enthusiastically royalist the full list (PDF) is available here.

29 December 2006

"Do you want ice in your Coke?"

A sixty six square kilometre chunk has broken off of the Arctic ice shelf at Ellemere Island Canada. The force of the break was so great that earthquake monitors 250 kilometres away detected it.

A White House spokesperson, speaking off the record said:

"Hey. Ice breaks off in my freezer all the time. It doesn't mean that my freezer is any warmer though, does it?"

A hero for our time

Meet Stephen Henderson. He has already served two tours of duty in the Army as a Sergeant in Afghanistan and was honourably discharged twenty months ago. Two weeks before Christmas Henderson, who is enrolled at Northern Illinois University and whose father is waiting for a liver transplant, received a letter from the Army ordering him to report for active duty by 14 January so that he may serve for a period "not to exceed 545 days" in Iraq.

His reaction? Hell no. I won't go.

As yet there has still been no sighting of the Bush twins in uniform.

Meanwhile back in the Theatre of the Absurd...

...the Busheviks push science just a wee bit further to the side by refusing to allow National Park employees from giving an estimate of the canyon's age to visitors. It is possible that they are allowed to say something to the effect of

"Golly I don't know. It looks pretty old to me though."

Ostensibly this prohibition is to "to avoid offending religious fundamentalists". Keeping this is mind I feel that we should report the office National Park Service Grand Canyon website to higher authorities as it tramples on the sensitivities of our fundamentalist brethren and by telling us that "geologic formations such as gneiss and schist found at the bottom of the Canyon date back 1,800 million years".

"Now where's that bloody opera house?"

German insurance salesman (well he’s a trainee anyway) Tobias Gutt has a wee problem with spelling. If you ask him for life insurance you’re likely to end up with wife insurance.

With the best of intentions he set out to book himself a holiday to visit his girlfriend who is living in Sydney Australia. Beaches, opera house, beaches, beer. Unfortunately when he went to book his plane tickets on the internet he misspelt “Sydney” as “Sidney” and he ended up in Montana instead.

No opera house. No Harbour Bridge. No bloody harbour! Oh, and it's fucking freezing!

I'm guessing that he won't make this mistake again anytime soon.

Imperial Liechtenstein

Watch out America! Liechtenstein may be small today but it's growing! It can only be a matter of time before they take on the mantle of the world's only superpower.

Not a minute too soon in my estimation. I mean is there any reason to suspect that Ottmar Hasler would be capable of fucking things up more than GW has?

Hillary Clinton: Doyen of the centre right

I am always amused to hear right wing American commentators like O'Reilly and his ilk describe someone like John Kerry or Hillary Clinton as "hard" or "far" left. By the standards that apply in the rest of the world there are few, and certainly no one prominent, in American politics who would qualify as left of centre at all.

Le Figaro explains. (An English translation is to be found here.)

"Haben Vater, Sie Rover gesehen?"

"I don't know how to break this to you Gertrude but I think your father has a wee drinking problem."

Odd goings on in Red America

I thought that Republicans were supposed to be decent, law abiding, God fearing and monogamous people. You won't find a much more Republican state than Nebraska (it went for Bush over Kerry by more than 2-1 in 2004).

Surely behaviour such as this shouldn't be expected in such a moral climate.

George Bush - villain of the year!

He has already been named as the "Worst President Ever" but he fancies himself to be "The Decider" (TM).

Now according to an AP poll George W. Bush is both the villain and the hero of the year for 2006 although he garnered only 13% to win the later competition even though he managed 25% in the former. Perhaps most worrisome for the lame duck President who obviously has one eye on his "legacy" in the listing of good role models he came in behind Katie Holmes and tied with Mel Gibson.

A taste of the future

The Karimojong tribe of Uganda are nomadic herders who raise cattle and this time of year is particularly trying for them. It is the dry season in their homeland and resources such as grass on which their herds may graze and water are in short supply. This year the competition for these scarce resources has led them into conflict with the Ugandan army. At least forty people have died so far this year and the dry season will continue into February of next year.

As arid regions suffer from increased drought and desertification armed conflicts over grazing rights and water are sure to increase throughout the globe.

So the next time that you are pumping petrol into the SUV take time to think of those who suffer to support your profligate lifestyle.

Mourning, Texas-style

Is there any precedent for a sitting American President not attending the state funeral of a former President? The Decider (TM) has decided to give the Washington services a miss presumably so he can stay at his country estate in Crawford TX and clear brush.

Is he that pissed off over Ford's statement that the invasion of Iraq was "a mistake"?

"If we haven't got enough bodies we'll recycle the old ones!"

The news that the American government is asking for authorisation to return reserve and National Guard soldiers to Iraq after they have already served the maximum time allowed by Pentagon regulations is incredibly disturbing. These are people who have served their country well and beyond the call of duty and yet this evil man still doesn’t believe that he has received his pound of flesh.

Meanwhile the progeny of "the Decider" (TM) continue to serve their Daddy's country in their own way.

Guns don't kill people....

...er, well, maybe they do.

It is (not) good to see that my old home town, Philly, ranks highly in something at least.

Is this kosher?

How long after religious right groups decide that they have a religious objection to eating cloned meat and drinking cloned milk will the USDA reverse its preliminary decisionto allow the sale of meat and milk from cloned animals without any labelling requirement?

One month? One week? One day? One hour?

Coming soon - "GPS for Peace"

The "road map" for peace is clearly dead. I wonder what will replace it.

In the meantime Israel believes that it is acceptable to prevent international aid or other funds that would be used to pay government workers wages from reaching Palestinian territory. The US apparently concurs.

Israel also believes that it is acceptable to arm one side in what would seem to be an impending Palestinian civil war. Again the US seems to agree.

American hypocrisy

Lest we forget, the American government is still working behind the scenes to protect admitted terrorist Luis Posada Carriles. The US is resisting extradition of Posada to either Venezuela, with which it has an extradition treaty and therefore an obligation to comply as Posada is a dual Venezuelan / Cuban national, or Cuba. The government is even considering a request for US citizenship.

Should the government fail to extradite Posada or, in lieu of that, put him into indefinite custody (Guantánamo Bay would be the perfect, if ironic, choice) it will prove conclusively that "war on terra" is indeed just an illegitimate exercise in noveau imperialism.

American science falls behind

The Guardian today features an article describing the absurd situations created in American research facilities, at least those with significant private funding, by the Bush administration's gift to the religious right in the form of the effective ban on human stem cell research.

Communications between different projects in the same facility is restricted or barred. Equipment is ring fenced so that it may not be used by stem cell projects. It's a wonder that the scientists are allowed to talk to each other at lunch; maybe they don't.

Did Jane Jetson have a pair of these?

It is possible that I might be convinced to do the Hoovering more often if I could get my hands on a pair of these. Unfortunately the product is still a few years away from the marketplace but I don't see why I shouldn't let the cleaning wait until then!

Tony's quiet winter break goes tits up

Tony Blair tried to slip off for a quiet holiday break and it almost worked until his plane overshot the runway whilst landing at Miami.

Once the press found out where he was it was a small matter to find out where he was staying. Lo and behold it turns out he was putting up in the lavish waterfront mansion of Bee Gee Robin Gibb.

It all seems innocent enough until one finds out that Gibb is one of those most active and outspoken in opposition to the government's plans to restrict copyrights.

Downing Street insists that the home has been paid for in a private commercial arrangement. Similar waterfront properties in Miami rent for from £10,000 to £40,000 a week. I hope that Cherie's practice is booming because the PM certainly doesn't make that kind of dosh!

28 December 2006

I can hardly wait!

The Decider (TM) is poised to make a statement about Iraq after meeting with his "senior advisers" at his "ranch" in Crawford Texas. Undoubtedly he will tell us how boldly he is ignoring the advice of the experts and doing what he wants thereby proving what a bold and intelligent leader he is.

(Why do they call his place in Crawford a ranch anyway? If it was in New York or Virginia it would simply be "a country estate".)

"You wanna know what about what?"

Via TPM Muckraker the ever expanding list of the things that you wanted to know and the Bush administration was afraid you would ask about.

DIY at Xmas a very, very bad idea

Especially if you don't know what you're doing. Especially if your proposed remedy to your household problem involves the use of fire.

"I would have left it alone” said Charles "Junior" Woodland after burning down much of his house attempting to thaw out the pipes with a propane torch.

"That steak was great. I'll have another JUST LIKE IT!"

If you live in the US you are already exposed, without your knowledge, to genetically modified (GM) foods on a daily basis (unless you eat organic) so I guess there's not much room for argument about the pluses and minuses of allowing cloned food without any labelling.

"Onward Christian Soldiers"

Meet US Congressman Robin Hayes (R - NC). He has a better idea for solving the problems in Iraq. He seems to think that conversion to Christianity ought to do it. After all Christian countries such as the US of A are bastions of peace and tolerance. Just ask Keith Ellison.

Is the surname just a coincidence?

His name is Joshua Bush and he's from Texas. He's seventeen years old and is the prime suspect in a robbery and murder attempt. He has been issued with a search warrant for evidence that is in his possession.

The evidence? A 9mm bullet. Where is the young Mr. Bush hiding this evidence? In his head.

His lawyer is opposing the execution of the search warrant on the grounds of the right to privacy.

Feeling safer yet?

A container of enriched uranium has been stolen in India and is still missing after three weeks. Neither the degree of enrichment of the ore nor the amount contained in the device has been released by the authorities although they indicated that its radiation "could have an adverse effect in an area of 1.5 kilometres".

"They were here just a minute ago"

I am certainly worse than most in terms of misplacing my keys and probably spend a good two hours a week, sometimes more, searching for them only to find that I've discovered a completely new and unheard of place to leave them.

A man in Berlin has outdone even me after having to be rescued from a drain after falling in whilst searching for his car keys.

Well done mate!

First - losing the "war on terra"

Now - losing the "war on drugs".

What's next I wonder?

Skiving off in grand style

A young German woman from Straubing in Bavaria who couldn't face up to the pre-Xmas rush at the fast food outlet where she worked sent a text message to her parents saying that she had been kidnapped.

Theoretically this was a valid excuse for not turning up to work but, as it wasn't true, she spent Xmas being grilled by the police and now faces a thousand Euro fine.

What's a little detour amongst friends?

Israeli spin doctors will undoubtedly be in high gear as they strive to explain away their government's decision to build a new settlement in Gaza despite a fairly unequivocal pledge not to do so as part of the "roadmap to peace".

It would seem that the blasting required to lay the foundations is scheduled to begin at any moment.

Bush seeks counsel

We've all watched NYPD Blue haven't we? So we are all familiar with the term "lawyering up" and that is precisely whatthe Decider (TM) appears to be doing as he gets ready for a Congress that might actually have a minor interest in pursuing its constitutional mandate to oversee the executive branch.

I, for one, can't wait.

Watching you watching me

The US government has few, if any, qualms over keeping an eye on their citizens, legally or otherwise. It seems, however, that they have a completely different attitude when it comes to others keeping an eye on them with those charged with independent reviews and audits of government departments, the Inspectors General, coming under increased and unprecedented political attack.

Is anyone at all surprised?

Get your fizz from champagne

Give up Coke for Xmas. No. Not the Colombian kind. The Atlanta kind. If you drink lots of fizzy drinks, especially those with sugar, you might be better off with a fag.

Think about it.

From beyond the grave

Gerald Ford turns on Bush. Too bad George. I still don't think you'll be able to skip the funeral.

Lohachara - first among many

The island of Lohachara in the Bay of Bengal may not long be remembered but it is, it seems, the first inhabited island to succumb to global warming and disappear. Once the home to around 10,000 inhabitants it has now vanished from the scene. In the area, where the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers form their deltas up to 70,000 people are already refugees from rising sea levels. 17 million people in Bangladesh alone live less than one metre above sea level.

It is not just the Indian subcontinent that is at risk either. Heavily populated areas of Florida and the coast of the Gulf of Mexico are also under threat. This is clearly not the time to buy a shore house.

Spanish prayers

Should Muslims be allowed to pray in the Cathedral at Córdoba (Spain) which was once a mosque and which still contains a mihrab or prayer niche facing Mecca? Any Muslim who stops or bows to pray at the mihrab is generally asked to move on, to make way for tourists with video cameras, by the security guards.

Spanish Muslims have asked the Pope to intervene and allow Muslim worship at the World Heritage Site.

Bush goes green!

Perhaps more accurately it should be said that Bush goes white as the US Fish and Wildlife Service moves to add the polar bear to the list of endangered species. The move is likely to force the American administration to acknowledge and act on global warming.

I wonder what has changed their minds as they usually ignore any scientific advice with which they don't agree especially on environmental matters. Perhaps Dick Cheney heard that they made for good hunting and no one told him that you couldn't just go to a farm in Texas where they released them in front of you and you could call it hunting!

Breakfast grudge match

In the red corner we have the Food Standards Agency of Britain's New Labour government.

In the black corner we have the lobbyists, the assembled scientific experts and the advertising might of the prepared foods industry led out of Battle Creek, MI by the industry behemoth Kellogg’s.

Who will win in the battle of the food labelling? The smart money ain't on the government!

Xmas Day exclusive. Bush reads newspaper!

White House says that"if all goes well books will follow" (reg. reqd).

27 December 2006

On to Guantánamo!

On Xmas day British forces attacked and destroyed an Iraqi jail and police station citing as a reason that prisoners were being tortured there. How far is it to Cuba again?

Will they become citizens posthumously?

Given the Bush twins refusal to serve their country outside of a barroom the American armed forces are considering several dramatic proposals in order to overcome the shortfall in recruiting for even the existing army let alone the new larger army that the Decider (TM) has decided he needs.

One of these measures would entail the opening of recruiting offices overseas and offers of fast track citizenship to recruits.

I think that soldiers such as these are ordinarily known as mercenaries.

Am I pond scum?

As if monkeys weren't bad enough is it now possible that we have evolved from scum.

You only have to look around the US Congress to see that, even if it is true, we haven't really progressed all that far.

Offing Fidel

Surely there must be a law against publicly calling for the assassination of a foreign leader or, indeed, anyone. I eagerly await the indictment of Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) who has admitted calling for the murder of Fidel Castro.


I am disappointed to learn that after the Governator broke his leg skiing that he had to have Doctors repair the damage rather than fixing it himself.

Would he have ever been elected Governor in the first place if the people of California knew that he wasn merely a steroid abusing Austrian rather than a malevolent android?

The MBA administration

Somehow I missed this before Xmas but it seems that, in the interests of running the country like a business, US Secretary of State thinks of the dead, wounded and otherwise damaged American servicemen and women in Iraq as an investment. I wonder what rate of return she is expecting? Perhaps she will issue a prospectus.

As of Xmas day the death count in Iraq has surpassed the number of those who died on 9/11.

It sounds as if we are getting a negative rate of return to me?

2006 - the year of the fence

It all started with Israel wanting to build a wee fence to separate them from their neighbours.

Then the US decided it wanted in on the act and is considering building building a fence to keep the Hispanic neighbours from crashing the pool parties all the time.

Now Pakistan wants in on the act.

Who's next, I wonder.

"I think I have tinitus. The ringing just won't go away."

There's nothing like a nice quiet Xmas interrupted only by the occasional ringing of a church bell. However in Bergen, Norway Vidar Aarhus did think to ring the vicar after the bells kept ringing for five hours.

Said Arvid Andreas Fosse, the local priest:

"They were supposed to ring in Christmas for one hour in the evening. I don't know what went wrong. But I'm surprised nobody called earlier."

Think before you peel

I don't want to catch anyone hoarding onions because it looks like there could be shortage coming.

Crystalline strokes

Let's face it. Meth is bad for you.

People who don't use it know it.

People who do use it know it and it doesn't stop them. Is it really necessary to do more research into just how bad meth is for you?

The hardest working man in show business

James Brown - 1933 - 2006


24 December 2006

Happy Christmas everybody!

I will shortly be off to the Kentish countryside to spend Christmas with friends and their two year old sons. (No - they're NOT TWINS - you work it out!) There will result in a short break from blogging. I should be back Boxing Day or the day after. Have a happy Xmas and try and drink just enough and then a bit.

In the meantime I leave you with a short clip from my favourite anti-carol.

A longer version may be found here.

(Remember Kirsty in your prayers.)

23 December 2006

Back in the USSR

The NY Times publishes the Op-Ed piece by Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann as redacted by the White House.

I feel a Siberian chill coming on.

You're in no hands with Allstate

The second largest insurer in the states, Allstate Insurance, is slowly moving its business away from the coasts. It is alleged to be concerned about the risks associated with global warming.

Don't they listen to our leader? Don't they know that it is a loony, far left conspiracy?

The innocence of youth

Overhead this afternoon on Bromley High Street; a 10 year old kid fighting his way through the frenzied crowds asks his mum "why is it so crowded?".


Did the French twice have an opportunity to kill Osama Bin Laden only to fail to get approval to fire from the US*? Who knows?

The Americans are denying it. This could be because it is untrue or because it is true and they don't want to admit that the intelligence services are still a shambles.

The French are denying it. This could be because it is untrue or because it is true and they don't want to admit that they were taking orders from the Yanks.

*Note to wingnuts - both occurrences allegedly happened in the last 3 years so it is on Bush's watch rather than Clinton's.

Too late for The Ashes I'm afraid

Tennis world number one Roger Federer played a bit of cricket in India yesterday as he toured areas struck by the Boxing Day tsunami.

He's probably good too!

British Browns v Buccaneers preview

With the clash between the Premiership football sides owned by the owners of American football sides (Aston Villa v Man U for the uninitiated) having just kicked off I share with you the concerns of the Guardian’s Barney Ronay as to the potential impact that this injection of American football money will have on proper football:

Spike that pigskin

The standard football goal celebration is long overdue a makeover. Expect tearing your shirt off and making a shushing gesture to be replaced by the NFL standard mass Bill Cosby-style funky jive dancing, provocative "spiking" of the ball in the opposition six-yard box and a 30-stone centre-half in tight, shiny trousers doing the Bruce Grobbelaar spaghetti legs.

Soak the manager

The traditional handshake to be phased out in favour of sneaking up behind the gaffer and pouring an enormous tub of Lucozade Sport over his head, thereby ruining (a) his extremely expensive black cashmere overcoat; and (b) any chance of that improved contract offer.

Half-time spectacular

It's time for football to raise the light entertainment bar. The standard penalty-shoot-out-with-club-mascot-in-goal could easily be replaced by a 15-minute musical extravaganza starring Eminem, Barbra Streisand and Metallica, with at least one flesh-flashing "wardrobe malfunction" plus a heavy metal version of God Save The Queen. We can keep the raffle though.

Jazz up the roster

Having endured over a hundred years of professional football players with names like Alf, Gary and Keith, an injection of NFL exoticism can't come soon enough. Look forward to a future England XI made up of men called things like Chuck Tieclip and Jamal Johnson-Cheeseburger III.

Break it up a bit

Regularly exhausted by being made to concentrate for a whole 45 minutes, football supporters would welcome a US-style dumbing down into easy, bite-sized chunks. Expect to see Premiership games interrupted every two minutes by George Foreman trying to sell you his revolutionary fat-draining pasty-warmer.

Get some specialists in

Gridiron squads are all about specialisation: kicking teams, kicking return teams, Sunday afternoon at 3.42 with the wind from the south-west teams. Expect Premiership clubs to respond by employing a player whose sole job is to hoof the ball absolutely miles every 10 minutes while everyone else rushes after it. Although, those who saw Martin O'Neill's Leicester City may suspect he's already thought of this one. Barney Ronay

Popularity of burgoo falling

Kentucky concerned!

It sounds absolutely revolting in the original recipe at least.

"Bush Reste Bush"

It says it all really.

English translation is available here.

Irony alert!

Story headline from Anarkismo.net:
The Role of an Anarchist Organisation

Rockhopper penguin numbers plummet

Is animation to blame?

Jeb waxes nostalgic

Dubya's brother Jeb is now officially unemployed and possibly homeless. He has to move out of the Florida governor's mansion today.

Apparently he will miss the towels. Maybe he can pick up a part time job in a laundry.

The generals change their minds

Ain’t gonna let nobody turn me ‘roun’
Turn me ‘roun’
Ain’t gonna let nobody turn me ‘roun’
I’m gonna wait until my change comes

Don’t let nobody turn you ‘roun’
Turn you ‘roun’
Don’t let nobody turn you ‘roun’
Wait until your change comes

I say I’m gonna hold out
Hold out, hold out
I say that I’m gonna hold out
Until my change comes

I promised the lord that I would hold out
Hold out
I promised the Lord that I would hold out
Wait until my change comes
In military terms isn't volte-face just a fancy term for retreat?

Anyone for calamari?

Japanese scientists have captured a live giant squid for the first time. Well, it was alive for bit; then it died. I wonder if they're good to eat...

I think this is actually a subtle form of infiltration

Am I right to be suspicious about the assistance that current and former members of the law enforcement community across the world seem to be providing to users of illicit drugs these days or is this just cannabis induced paranoia?

"This is a test of the emergency call up system"

Is it getting drafty in here or is it just me?

Dresden and victor's "justice"

A new book by German Jorg Friedrich entitled The Fire: the Bombing of Germany 1940-45, a best seller for four years in Germany, has just been released in English. Its main topic is the bombing of Dresden and other German cities during World War II and raises the question of whether Churchill and "Bomber" Harris were guilty of war crimes. I intend to get a hold of the book and give it a read. I'll let you know what I think.

The war crime question needs to be seriously discussed as regards Hiroshima and Nagasaki as well.

Persecuted ExxonMobil finally catches a break

Much put upon corporate giant ExxonMobil has had the punitive damages assessed against it in the Exxon Valdez oil spill law suit cut by 2 billion USD. The San Francisco based 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (I thought that was one of those dangerous liberal courts) ruled in the oil company’s favour in reducing the original damages from 4.5 billion USD.

ExxonMobil feels that the award is still too high and may appeal. The remaining 2.5 billion USD represents only slightly over two days of sales based on 2005 turnover. Not very punitive in my book!

El Gordo comes to Rebollo de Duero

The residents, numbering about twenty five, of the small Spanish village of Rebollo de Duero have won the lion's share of an €18 million lottery jackpot in El Gordo which is Europe's biggest lottery.

Well done you lot and "Feliz Navidad".

The perfect gift for (In)Curious George

It isn't exactly Where's Waldo but if either of the twins have a sense of humour Dubya will find a copy of Where's Bin Laden? under the Crawford Xmas tree on Monday morning. It should provide the erstwhile terrorist hunter with hours and hours of entertainment. Actually it should provide an infinite source of amusement given his proven inability to find the tall, distinctive Arab in a non-Arab country.

The book is apparently a surprisingly strong seller in the UK.

Another rift in the "special relationship"

Despite sharing languages that are kissing cousins and their governments having that "special relationship" that they so like to brag about there are many, serious differences between the British and American peoples. Things such as warm beer, a Friday night curry, orderly queuing and the definition of football separate us.

Not the least of these differences in is their differing attitudes toward religion. One of the reasons I always note for my remaining here for fourteen years is that, as an atheist, I find that my religious beliefs, or perhaps better stated the lack thereof, are treated with more respect here and never with the scorn that was often the reaction in America.

Most Americans, by a sizable percentage, define themselves as religious. Now a new survey of British attitudes shows that not only are most British not religious, despite the fact that most people still identify themselves as Christian, but that more than 80% believe that religious faith does more harm than good versus only 16% who believe the opposite.

I would think that it will be a very long time, if ever, before this gap in thinking is closed.

22 December 2006

Who elects these people and why are they allowed to vote?

Once I am become a benign dictator and am justly and sanely ruling over America you needn't worry about things like this.

Until then, unfortunately, people like Congressman Robin Hayes (R - NC) will have a say in how the American government and the world are run. He thinks that we can bring victory and peace to Iraq if only we would convert the Muslim heathens to Christianity.

That kind of thinking has worked so well in the past.


This report highlights new research into occupational injuries and sword swallowing that must be considered an early front runner for an IgNoble Prize.

Just a thought

Would this guy be amused if he found out he was related to this guy?

Probably not.

Iraqi voices

The BBC website has a selection of posts from Iraqi blogs. Go have a read.

Meet the new Rip van Winkle

His name is Vance McDonald and seems to have been asleep at least since the invasion of Iraq.

In his column he quite seriously states that:

"The Saddam Hussein dictatorship was directly associated and supportive of the dark Islamist fascist perpetrators who attacked America and committed mass murder on September 11th 2001."

"He was...actively exploring ways to join forces with the al Qaeda movement."

"He was joined to the Islamist fascist goal of conquering and enslaving mankind in Sharia tyranny. Hussein and his ilk, in fact, were principals in the Islamist fascist terror movement."

It is hard to imagine that one man could be so completely misinformed AND given an outlet to speak.

God bless America.

"Don't look now but I think Father Christmas might be on fire"

If you're Swedish you are used to things around you being generally safe and secure (think Saabs and Volvos). This year it turns out that this may now be true for anyone donning a false beard in order to play Father Christmas.

So have a safe Xmas and keep Santa away from open flames!

Shouldn't this go to the horse?

Whilst we are on the subject of the British Royal family does any feel it is really necessary to use the New Year's Honours list to give a gong to a royal family member? And all for sitting on a horse whilst it does all the bloody work.

What is it for anyway? Service to toffness?

Saved by the web

It is early afternoon on Christmas Day. You've stuffed yourself with sprouts and turkey and the L-Tryptophan combined with a surfeit of champagne already has you nodding off. How will you stay awake until the most important moment of the day, the Queen's Xmas message?

Not to worry. Thanks to the miracles that are the semi-conductor, fibre optics and the internets, you need not miss a word. This year the message will, for the first time, be available as a podcast.

If you're really keen you can avoid the rush. If you go to www.royal.gov.uk you can pre-order it and it should be delivered to you promptly on 25 December at 3 PM. (Who wants to bet that doesn't go tits up?)

Saudi Princess to be deported from US

I am sure that the Bush administration wouldn't deign to interfere in this little matter. Nonetheless I'll keep a look out just in case.

We pause for an important announcement

If you haven't got a partner* you'd best get out on the pull straightaway because today is Global Orgasm for Peace Day and I'm not certain that solo efforts count. (They're certainly not as much fun!)

I guess this means that all those folks who insist on abstinence as the only way are warmongers, for today at least. Now get out there and get shagging!

*Note to wing nuts - the word "partner" is used in an inclusive sense here and married people are not excluded from having an orgasm with their spouse. There are not excluded from having an orgasm with someone else either but I suggest that they ask for permission first to avoid any unnecessary confusion. Remember - "all spouses are partners but not all partners are spouses"!

All's well that ends well

Sanctions against Iran look to go forward despite Russia's hesitance. When you combine this plans for the US to flex its remaining military muscles I can only assume that this is not going to end well.

Don't fuck with MY subsidy, mate

There have been calls for years that the American system of agricultural subsidies, largely to huge agribusinesses, needs significant reform. The American system, coupled with the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), has led to the problems that now exist in extending any free trade discussions any further. The American system in worth in excess of 15 billion USD annually.

Perhaps there is the political will to deal with it in Congress now. But that will all change once the vested interests get to arm twisting and bribing (aka doling out contributions) and pointing out how all the other subsidies, save the one that benefits them, are anti-competitive.

This is horrible

At best this incident will be the root cause of many a deep neurosis. At worst, well I don't even want to think about the worst.

No room at the inn. No room in the stable.

With apologies to Robert Frost but I am not certain that good fences always make good neighbours. America, a land of immigrants, where an extremely small portion of the population can lay claim to native blood, is trying to slam the door shut. Very few Americans would be able to say that their immigrant ancestors would meet the qualifications for immigration that many of them now believe should be mandated so that their quality of life is unaffected.

Of course the attempts to eliminate or at least restrict legal and illegal immigration have been controversial and little, if any, direct legislative action has been taken. Is it possible that the "War on Terra" (TM) is being used as a smokescreen for more restrictive policies?

Nah! Forget I even mentioned it. The American government would never be so deceitful.

Bush contributor on the loose in Iraq!

It turns out that Aiham Alsammarae, the Iraqi-American dual national and former government minister, who was sentenced for corruption and recently escaped from a Green Zone prison with the assistance of private American security personnel donated to both Bush Presidential campaigns.

Can we judge a man by the company he keeps?

If he's George Bush of course we can!

Happy solstice!

Today is the winter solstice; the shortest day of the year and the first day of winter. Due to subtle shifts in the Gregorian calendar some sixty druids got confused and showed up a day early at Stonehenge. It is not exactly the time of year one wants to spend an extra night on Salisbury Plain.

Today's sunrise: 0803

Today's sunset: 1553

At least tomorrow will be longer!

Whither Turkmenistan

It remains to be seen what the sudden death of Sapurmurat Niyazov, the dictator of Turkmenistan, will mean to the country he ruled with an iron, if strange, fist for the past twenty one years. He has no anointed or obvious successor and most members of the opposition are in exile or in prison.

As the country is host to the world's fifth largest natural gas reserves its former overlord, Russia, while want its influence felt as will China and Western Europe to whom it is a critical energy supplier. Of course, the Decider (TM) will probably want to mosey on through on the back of his faithful mount "Freedom Agenda".

If the Turkmen are not as unlucky as the Iraqis it is possible that things could get marginally better. Maybe, maybe not.

Piergiorgio Welby - RIP

Piergiorgio Welby, an Italian poet and fierce advocate of the right to die, died yesterday after his doctor switched off his respirator in apparent defiance of a court decision last weekend which said that his respirator could be switched off but that his doctors still had an obligation to resuscitate him.

In a country that is home to the Vatican we can expect further developments.

Buon Natale

It seems that there is no end to the controversies surrounding nativity scenes in Italy. Following hot on the heels of the naked porn star we now have gay Barbies and Kens in the Parliamental crib.

It would seem that the war on Xmas is now threatening the gates of the Vatican!

Justice for Haditha?

I wonder if those who trumpet their support of the death penalty will raise their voices in dismay over the fact that none of the eight US Marines charged in the brutal slayings of twenty four Iraqi civilians in Haditha are facing the ultimate sanction.

Somehow I doubt it. After all the victims were only brown infidels. Now had they been white Christians that would have been a different matter entirely.

Some might consider this an omen

It's that time of year folks; time for the year end news. There are the year in review sections, the year end quizzes and, in Britain at least, the year end rankings of babies names.

First the mundane.

The number one boy's name remains "Jack". (Jack? I always thought it was a nickname for John.)

The number one girl's name is now Olivia, overtaking Jessica whose reign only lasted one year.

Now for the omen.

With George Bush's popularity sinking ever lower everyday in the states the evidence of disapproval here is more subtle. Mohammed has overtaken George in this year's rankings coming in at 22nd.

21 December 2006

I have the answer!

At AlterNet Evan Derkacz asks us "who do you root for" in the battle between the Faux Network and the FCC.

The answer is quite simple and comes to us courtesy of the Cold War: Mutual Assured Destruction.

“It’s a Hail Mary to Judas in the end zone!”

Whilst I love Miss Poppy's fine products I think this one is misnamed. It should, of course, be the Jesus Sports Statue - American Football. I mean do you see anyone playing with their feet.

I don't know if any of this is related to (non-existent) climate change...

...but some bears have stopped hibernating whilst at roughly the same time some humans seem to have started.

We interrupt your reverie for this important news bulletin

The American President George W. Bush has said that "the United States remains clear about its purpose in Iraq".

The United States says "maybe we are clear about our purpose but you sure as hell ain't"!

War of words

Bush: Iranians "can do better" than Ahmadinejad.

Ahmadinejad: Americans "can do better" than Bush.

Frankenstein's ganja

Has someone been developing genetically modified marijuana and started growing it in Mexico?

Anyone? Monsanto - do you have anything to say for yourself?

Oh well. We report. You decide.

Night farming in Germany

I think we can safely assume that this gentleman is not a member of PETA then.

I thought Islam was the religion of violence

At least that is what "respected" members of the blogsphere are always telling me anyway.

So how can we explain this then?

Xenophobe or just Islamaphobe? Does it really matter?

"I am a xenophobe", so saith US Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA). Well he didn't say it in so many words but he may as well have. He wrote a letter to a number of his constituents who had commented on the decision by US Rep.-elect Keith Ellison (D-MN) to carry the Koran at his swearing in next month. In this letter he said that, if America didn't adopt his immigration policies, and I quote

"I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States".

There's not much I cab add to that.

Those pesky French are at it again

Now they, along with their newfound friends the Greeks (and you know what they're like), have introduced a resolution into the UN Security Council that reminds "all parties to conflicts of their obligations as regards the protection and safety of journalists".

I guess it is OK as long as they exclude al Jazeera.

What would you say to Leah-Beth Richards?

She is an eight year old Welsh girl who has been battling a rare form of cancer in her kidneys since she was two. She has now told her parents, who support her wishes, that she doesn't wish to have any more treatment.

I hope this turns out for the best and that there needn't be a protracted court battle over this. I am sure that there are those, especially in America, who believe that she should be compelled to have treatment (unless she hasn't got insurance of course).

I think that this is one of the reasons I am an avowed atheist. I refuse to allow myself to believe in any superior, let alone omnipotent, being that could allow, or worse yet, cause, this to happen to a child.

Excommunicate Cardinal Carlo Caffarra

Continuing with my Italian Catholic theme let it be noted that the Archbishop of Bologna must be driven from the church after he blessed a nativity scene in his city which shares space with one created by artist Wolfango Peretti Poggi which featured naked porn star and PM Prodi on a bicycle.

I am sure that the appropriate folks will raise their voices in righteous indignation until the church deals with the matter.

And I was so looking forward to watching Serie D(io) action on Sky

I am extremely disappointed to hear that the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, was "just kidding" when he said that the Vatican should be able to assemble a football side capable of challenging the great sides of Serie A.

Oh well. There's always the Kent Saturday Church League.

R2D2 to be "extraordinarily rendered" to Saudi Arabia

Immediately after learning of a British study that says that robots could soon claim human rights the American government announced plans to form an Android Division within the Department of Homeland Security.

The new division will be responsible for the profiling of all domestic, industrial and experimental robots. Those found to have suspicious contacts, such as an assembly robot at a GM factory which was responsible for welds in a car in which Osama bin Laden once travelled, will be declared "enemy combatants" and may be permanently detained at Guantánamo Bay or other, invisible, American facilities or delivered against their will to the governments of allies in the "War on Terra" (TM). The division will also be responsible for illegally monitoring all robotic software on the planet for terrorist influenced code.

An unnamed DHS spokesman was quoted as saying:

"Go ahead give them human rights. Like we would pay any attention to that!"

US finds new reason not to rebuild New Orleans

Hey, it's sinking anyway. Why should we bother?

"Honest officer. I thought it was a buddy of mine."

A dead dear has been spotted at Dick Cheney's Washington home.

Collision course

It could end up as a bit of a grudge match, Leahy v. Gonzales. Incoming Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, Patrick Leahy, has indicated that he plans to call on the US Attorney General to explain why Maher Arar is still on a US watch list, how the US could have got things so wrong and how to resolve the issue.

You will remember Arar as the Canadian citizen who was seized by US authorities at JFK airport whilst in transit home from a holiday. He was delivered to Syrian authorities who tortured him and forced a confession from him. A Canadian inquiry has found him innocent of any connection with terrorism or terrorist.

I guess this is just one more mistake that the Bush administration is too frightened to admit to. It is just unfortunate that it happens to be someone's life.

Quid pro renes

Xmas came early for the dialysis business this year when Bush signed into law a measure that will, among other things, raise Medicare reimbursement for dialysis by 100 million USD annually.

Guess who got their donations.

Welcome to the OK Corral

As usual gun control opponents have come up with a "better" idea when faced a shooting in a public place that may have been prevented with better (or indeed any) regulation and licensing of gun ownership.

This time it is Guns for everybody!

Good thinking Batman.

Dubya panders to his mates

Is it too much to ask that once, just once, before he leaves office will George W. Bush (aka "the Decider" (TM)) actually do something, anything that actually favours the American people over corporate interests?

Probably not before the end of 2006.

Winning hearts and minds

Join the US Army. Travel to exotic places. Don't build nations. Don't earn the respect of the locals. Raid their hospitals.

From the Geneva Conventions:

Article 18

Civilian hospitals organized to give care to the wounded and sick, the infirm and maternity cases, may in no circumstances be the object of attack, but shall at all times be respected and protected by the Parties to the conflict.

States which are Parties to a conflict shall provide all civilian hospitals with certificates showing that they are civilian hospitals and that the buildings which they occupy are not used for any purpose which would deprive these hospitals of protection in accordance with Article 19.

Civilian hospitals shall be marked by means of the emblem provided for in Article 38 of the Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field of August 12, 1949, but only if so authorized by the State.

The Parties to the conflict shall, in so far as military considerations permit, take the necessary steps to make the distinctive emblems indicating civilian hospitals clearly visible to the enemy land, air and naval forces in order to obviate the possibility of any hostile action.

In view of the dangers to which hospitals may be exposed by being close to military objectives, it is recommended that such hospitals be situated as far as possible from such objectives.

Article 19

The protection to which civilian hospitals are entitled shall not cease unless they are used to commit, outside their humanitarian duties, acts harmful to the enemy. Protection may, however, cease only after due warning has been given, naming, in all appropriate cases, a reasonable time limit, and after such warning has remained unheeded.

The fact that sick or wounded members of the armed forces are nursed in these hospitals, or the presence of small arms and ammunition taken from such combatants which have not yet been handed to the proper service, shall not be considered to be acts harmful to the enemy.

It's beginning to look a lot like Xmas

Surely it can't be far off now as the papers and other media are full of predictions ofXmas travel chaos.

Fog at airports! Railway repair works! Motorway repairs!

I suggest staying home and saving the planet!

Make way for Private Jemma and Private Not-Jemma

After years of denying the need GW has now seen the light and decided that America needs a larger army. Given that recruiters already have to cheat on educational and intelligence standards, criminal records and also make promises that can't be kept à la Private Benjamin in order to maintain the armed forces below the levels they target today one wonders how this is possible.

Perhaps George and Laura will prove an example to mothers and fathers across the land by marching the twins down to the nearest recruiting office right after Xmas and sign the two of them up for a tour of the garden spots of Asia.

Christian erotophobia

Stephen Tame was a warehouseman and a devout Christian before he fell at work and seriously injured himself. One of the conditions that ensued, for which he has been awarded £3.1 million in compensation, was a loss of sexual inhibition which led to the break up of his marriage. We are getting more like America by the hour!

G7 a failure

So says Bank of England governor Mervyn King. In speech in Melbourne he suggested that it should be disbanded rather than enlarged into the G8 by the inclusion of China and that its functions should be taken over by the International Monetary Fund after that institution is significantly reformed to remove the stranglehold currently enjoyed by the US and Western Europe. Curiously the story seems to be unreported in America.

The good news is he isn't a bomb...

...he hasn't any cavities and all his limbs are intact.

The bad news is that his grandmother isn't too clever and neither are the security staff who stood by and watched the one month old child be put through the X-ray security screening at LAX.

UAE fights back against the wingnuts!

In a move that is certain to inspire a fierce reaction from a particularly vocal and rabid subsection of the right wing nut-o-sphere the government of Ras al-Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates has announced a new dress code for employees that will, among other things, ban the wearing of pyjamas whilst at work.

How could they so hate freedom as to go this far?

"Yes David. There was a holocaust."

Discredited British historian David Irving has been released from prison in Austria and is to serve the remaining two years and a bit of his three year sentence on probation.

No matter how reprehensible I believe his views to be I strongly believe that it is wrong to ban his, or any other's, speech if it stops short of inciting violence and that Germany and Austria have gone too far with these laws. Mein Kampf, the pathetic ramblings of Hitler's distrubed mind is banned in both countries. I think all Germans and Austrians should be forced to read it rather than being prevented from doing so!

A gift for understatement

I think we can all agree that skydiver Michael Holmes has a subtle way with words. Faced with a 15,000 foot plunge to ground after both his main and his reserve chute failed to open he said to himself "shit I'm going to die" and then blacked out.

It turns out that he was wrong and he managed to somehow survive the fall with just a punctured lung and a broken ankle. Perhaps gravity is somehow different in New Zealand.

Note: I find it terribly amusing that The Sun cannot bring itself to actually spell out the word "shit" in the story, substituting the ever popular "s**t" in its place. This despite the fact that it flashes tits (NSFW) all over page 3 six days a week. Oh well. Its owned by Murdoch. What did we expect?

Remembering the bad old days

We are reminded of that shameful time in the distant past when the US government was so paranoid that the FBI spent considerable taxpayer resources finding out that ex-Beatle John Lennon certainly was not fomenting world revolution.

It is a great comfort to me that I know that nothing of the sort could possibly happen today!

I guess this means the end of the reunion tour

Procul Harem keyboardist Matthew Fisherhas won his court case and been awarded 20% of the song writing royalties for A Whiter Shade of Pale on the basis of the organ riff at the beginning (which in turn was largely inspired or based on JB Bach). The bad news for Fisher is that the decision is only retroactive to May 2005. Its still reported that he should receive a six figure sum.

I wonder why he waited so long. Did the drugs just wear off or something?

Things that make you say "hmmm".

Was the Virgin Mary a komodo dragon?

It seems that the females of the species are capable of breeding without any male participation.

20 December 2006

I wonder where he will end up

General John Abizaid, the highest ranking Army officer in the Middle East, is planning oncutting and running, I mean retiring, in March. He's only fifty five. What do you reckon - a seven figure salary at a defense contractor somewhere?

"It's in Pennsylvania, ain't it?"

Dubya's ephiphany

What do you reckon he will think of next now that he seems to realised that Iraq isn't going quite as well as he has been telling us all along.

Jesus is King!

Or at least he will be if some Polish lawmakers have their way! Unfortunately the Catholic Church in balking at the idea of making Jesus the honorary "King of Poland".

If they need a back up idea I'm sure that the Presley estate would be more amenable to the idea.

Baghdad now more dangerous than Washington DC

Violence in Iraq is at its highest level ever according to a report issued by the Pentagon.

Rumours that Washington DC, Detroit and New Orleans are lobbying for Iraq to be joined to the union as the 51st state so that Baghdad will become eligible for, but not necessarily win, the distinctly un-coveted annual American Murder Capital award cannot be confirmed at this time.

Many American cities are reacting positively to the challenge.

Listen to the Gernerals then ignore them

Doesn't Bush always say that he listens to the Generals and then does what they say needs to be done?

So why doesn't he do just that?

You'd get quite a few pints of Guinness for this much lolly

Can Ireland give Italy a run for its money as the European capital of corruption?

They can if they can find more politicians like the late Charles Haughey the former Irish Taoiseach of Fianna Fáil. An Irish government investigation has found that he absconded with over €11.5 million of public money between 1979 and 1996. That's around €45 million in today's money.

If you're going to steal you should steal big and die before you get caught; both of which Mr. Haughey did.

"If I had ever been here before I would probably know just what to do"

Why do I feel like this has all happened before and that I am simply reliving a prior and recent experience?

Could it be the news that the US is seriously contemplating increasing the size of the American fleet in the Persian Gulf so as to flex its muscles at Iran?

The American state as it is today reminds me of an ex-body builder living with the after effects of a pattern of steroid abuse. It has muscles too big for its frame, a tiny willy, there are signs of brain damage and it probably has cancer.

And he's not even a Yank!

A (former) Air France passenger, Jean-Jacques Jauffret, is suing the airline after he had his waist measured, was told he was overweight and charged for an additional seat last year. M. Jauffret is asking for €8,000 and for reimbursement of the cost of the additional seat. M. Jauffret said that he was "shocked and humiliated" by his treatment.

Humiliated he may have been but he should not have been shocked. M. Jauffret weighs in at a svelte 160 kilos. Would you want him jammed into the seat next to you?

19 December 2006

Not even the Bushies....

...would use the military to break the Goodyear Tire strike. Or would they?

Maybe they can find a way to blame the shortage of armoured vests on the unions. I'm surprised they haven't thought of that!

Maybe Laura doesn't read the papers either

You'd expect better from a librarian, you really would. But then Laura married into the BFEE and it was all down hill from there.

From that damn liberal media Laura wants to hear more positive news about Iraq's schools but it seems that the only news is, well, very, very bad.

Whilst no one was looking

The Bush administration takes another step to ensure that logging and mining companies will have easy access to federal land by gutting the National Environmental Policy Act.

Congress makes laws. The President ignores them. Welcome to the Imperial States of America.

Promises, promises

This is the most compelling reason yet to support Hillary Clinton for President in 2008. Dick Morris says he'll leave the US is Hillary wins the Democratic nomination.

Hey. Wait a minute. What if he comes to the UK?

Go Barack!

"We just want to take a little look"

The American government knows that the Saudi's don't torture anyone. How else could you explain the US decision to return sixteen detainees from Guantánamo to Saudi custody.

So I wonder why the Saudi's have reneged on an agreement to allow Human Rights Watch to have access to their prisons.

Dissecting Christopher Hitchens

He is erudite and well spoken. He is also a drunken arse. So it is always enjoyable to have the opportunity to watch someone pick him apart. Hence I heartily recommend John Barrell's review of Mr. Hitchen's latest book, a biography of Tom Paine, in the London Review of Books.

Do read the whole thing but here are a few snippets to get you started:

"But compared with any other book on Paine I can think of, this one is casual, even perfunctory. Long before I reached the end of what is a very long short book, I was at a loss to know why it had been written."

"...this book, which reads like the work of a tired man. Too tired, to begin with, to check his facts."

"Hitchens’s casual attitude to facts is not compensated for by a corresponding precision with ideas, or any concern for the range, the richness, the complexity of Paine’s thinking."

The hard working American farmer

"Free market" capitalists will tell you that if the prices of the commodity you are producing are declining to the point at which you are not making a profit that this is a signal.

Most American farmers have taken it to mean that it is a signal for them and their associations to spend millions lobbying the US Congress for subsidies and special treatment. What the "free market" capitalists actually mean that it is a sign that you should actually move into other goods or crops, if you are a farmer.

Obviously those American farmers who dealt with this message appropriately and stopped farming soy beans, tobacco or whatever and moved into marijuana have reacted appropriately and have therefore been richly rewarded.

All without subsidies.

We should all give thanks to those ganja farmers out there who have shown the American farmer how the market operates.

An inside job

Meet Ayham Sameraei. He is a dual Iraq-American citizen. He is the former electricity minister of the interim Iraqi government and he was jailed for corruption. Up until this weekend he was a prisoner in one of the few safe places in Baghdad, inside the Green Zone. He is no longer thanks to a crack team of American security contractors who busted him out.

The American embassy says that it is assisting the Iraqi government in looking for him. I'll bet they're not assisting too hard.

Either evolution is true or God hates mankind

I go for the later but I guess the religious have no choice but to opt for the later.

How else can you explain so many new and fatal diseases? AIDS / HIV, drug resistant TB, variant CJD and now variant MRSA.

If anyone can come with an adequate explanation that doesn't involve evolution (or God hating mankind) please let me know! Ta.

Hamleys gets hammered

You make one or two little pricing errors on your website and your Xmas goes up in smoke. At least that is what happened to famed Regents Street toy retailer Hamleys. Now it looks like the warehouse has been emptied and anyone who was planning on picking up a few last minute toys or games late this week appears to be shit out of luck.

18 December 2006

"Is that Qur'an in your pocket or are you out to destroy Judeo-Christian American civilisation?"

Does anyone know what he may have had in his pockets when he was sworn in?

If it wasn't the Holy Bible I say we throw him to Dennis Praeger!

True family friendliness

You know if they just tried the wingnuts wouldn't have to look to far to find things that they would like in the campaign of French Socialist Presidential candidate Ségolène Royal. Most recently she has extolled the virtues of the legally mandated 35 hour work week. What could be more family friendly than that?

You are what you eat

The trouble is you may know it because you don't know what you are eating!

It is still hard to believe that there are no requirements to identify the inclusion of genetically modified (GM) ingredients in products in the US. Virtually all non-organic foods in the states contain one or more GM ingredients but no one is telling the Americans and it seems that they are blissfully unaware of the fact or its potential implications.

You have been warned.

Maybe if they knew they wouldn't be so eager to poison our rice!

Is India the new East Germany?

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall international athletic competitions just haven't been the same. We were always wondering if the East German sprinter/gymnast/shot putter was really a woman.

Well their great tradition continues but it has now moved on to Asia. Santhi Soundarajan, an Indian silver medallist in the 800 metres at the recent Asian games in Doha looks to be stripped of her(?) medal based on the results of a gender test which apparently showed that she did not have the "sexual characteristics of a woman".

Now if I were a misogynist or a male chauvinist running dog I could joke that the gender test included parallel parking (which he passed) and picking the best handbag to go with a pair of shoes (which he failed).

But I'm not.

So I won't.

"How many times do I have to tell you? I don't know where the handcuffs came from!"

19 year old David Griffin of Clinton Iowa was minding his own business and stealing stuff out of parked cars when he was nabbed by the local police. They handcuffed him and took him down to the police station from which he slipped away. He was subsequently recaptured and now, in addition to burglary charges, he is to be charged with theft for stealing the handcuffs he was wearing.

Sounds like he's one for the Army!

I'm confused

When the debate was raging in America over the misguided Medicare drug benefit bill didn't the Bush administration steadfastly refuse to allow price negotiations over drugs?

So why are they now suggesting it for Medicaid?

But he lied to me before!

Why should I trust Colin Powell now after all the lies he told me in the run up to the invasion of Iraq?

Well because, after all this time, he finally agrees with me!

Most expensive hit ever?

British police now estimate that the Polonium-210 used to kill Alexander Litvinenko would have been worth more than ten million USD.

You've really got to want someone dead to splash out that much lolly.

Are you busy Frday night?

Even if you are abandon your Xmas shopping or leave the Xmas party early and do your bit for world peace.

And ladies, no faking please.

Note: please practice safe sex!

Note this date

24 April 2007 will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Beeb's Sky at Night. They have already filmed the 650th show of which host, lovable curmudgeon, Patrick Moore, has only missed the one!

Well done Patrick.

Attorney General's Overseas Corruption Inquiry Checklist

1) Is affected country a critical cog in the "war on terra"?


2) Does affected country have a pending business deal with a major UK arms merchant worth in excess of £1 billion?


3) Does US ambassador of affected country regularly hold hands with the American President?


Attorney General's decision: PROCEED WITH INQUIRY

So why do they talk such rubbish?

A new study has shown that black cab drivers brains actually grow additional cells in which to store "the Knowledge". They still tend to be a batch of miserable racist misogynists in spite of their additional brain power.

Swear off palm oil - save a primate

Our seemingly insatiable thirst for palm oil may mean that we are seeing the last days of the "man of the forest". The huge forest fires in Indonesia, that are probably being lit to clear the way for palm oil plantations, may spell the end for the gentle orang-utan, a close relative of man (should you believe in such nonsense). There may only be a decade left for them to survive in the wild.

There is a gynaecologist waiting at the end of the aisle

A Romanian priest is set to strike a hard bargain with couples who wish to get married. If the woman is not a virgin the couple will be fined up to half a month's wages.

There is no word as to how he will enforce this requirement, although it is self evident when the bride is preggers or has kids already, nor why only the woman has to suffer prenuptial chastity.

Will Gran be coming for Xmas?

How did you spend the weekend? Xmas shopping? Xmas parties?

Well Alice Beer, aged 94, spent the weekend camped outside the Trident base in Scotland along with other members of GOAT (Golden Oldies Against Trident).

I wish her well and thank her. I should be so dedicated! In fact we all should.

How the other half (of a percent) live

Whilst most of Britain struggles to find a way onto the property ladder and the means to buy that starter home a very, very small proportion of British youth get a leg up with a starter palace.

I prefer this Royle Family myself.

They're married! Oh no they're not! Oh yes they are!

The wing nuts are right. Gays will ruin marriage for the rest of us. At least if the ceremony for the civil partnership of Little Britain star Matt Lucas is any indication.

Surely it must have been the first panto-wedding! All I got to wear at my wedding was a DJ.

I'm dreaming of a pissed Xmas

The British love Xmas. The trouble is that they love it so much they drink. They drink a lot! We will average more than 10 units of alcohol a day for the twelve days of Xmas. Somehow that doesn't seem like nearly enough what with Xmas Eve down the pub, Xmas day itself, Boxing Day at the footie, New Year's Eve.

I hope I remember what I get!

17 December 2006

Maybe Santorum was right

If first you let men marry men and then you let dogs marry dogs how long will it be before someone wants you to let men marry dogs.

Why I won't use salad cream!

Especially in public places. You can never tell when something like this could happen!

Surely there must be another "st" word to describe him

An analysis piece in the Washington Post can't decide if President Bush is "stubborn" or "stalwart" with his refusal to change course in Iraq or to admit that he might ever have been mistaken.

I think they should compromise and settle for "STUPID".

A wish for Tom

Dear ex-Congressman Delay,

I know I am not important enough to be named as a leader of the liberal conspiracy but if at all possible I would consider it a great privilege if you would at least include me as an unindicted co-conspirator.

Kind regards,

Yank in London

Quote of the week - III

From The Decider (TM)

“I must tell you, I’m sleeping a lot better than people would assume.”

That fact that he can sleep at all, even with drugs, tells me what a morally bankrupt human being he is.

Quote of the week - II

From the universally famous David Gest, estranged husband of the luverly Liza Minelli.

"I've actually had hundreds of marriage proposals since I left the jungle. It's incredible.

I couldn't agree with you more David. It is incredible.

I would think that whoever these hundreds of deluded folks are that they would be better off picking someone off of death row.

Quote of the week - I

From our own Prince Hal who was speaking about his recent trip to Lesotho:

"We chose Lesotho because it wasn't even on the map, I'd never heard of it."

With apologies to the young royal I feel duty bound to infrom him that it is in one's commonwealth and has been since long before you were born!

Poor Nelson Mandella

You would think that he had suffered enough after all those years in prison and then having to put up with Winnie. It would seem not. David Beckham has thoughtfully sent the great man and ex-President of South Africa a copy of his autobiography for Xmas. He included a handwritten (possibly by Brooklyn) note that said

"To Mr Mandela. It was an honour to meet you. See you soon. David Beckham".

This would seem to imply that the Beckhams are coming to see him. I wonder if Posh will go.

Not Jon Bolton

I am sure that these fine gentlemen are not accusing the "Great Moustache" of throwing his weight around at the UN and actually blackmailing countries using US aid to get what he wants.

Then again as the people responsible for the research are from Harvard they are probably are a couple of those evil professors that David Horowitz is so kind as to warn us about.

New Labour - Old Ethics

I seem to remember that at some point Tony Blair told us we were going to have an "ethical foreign policy". I assumed at the time, foolishly as it turns out, they he meant that they would apply positive ethics based on accepted Western values to their engagement with the world. It seems that I was wrong. The meant that they would apply standard and flexible capitalist ethics. These basically say you can do what you want in the interests of the shareholder or big business if you are in power.

Oh and the police squad running the investigation are convinced that they were being bugged.

Has anyone seen Patricia Dunn lately?