31 March 2007

Football follies

You would think that Crystal Palace ought to be able to beat Sheffield Wednesday at home, on a Saturday. Like me you would be wrong.

Palace 1 - Wednesday 2.

Bollocks. Bollocks. Bollocks.

Whatever you do don't embarrass the President

Maj. Gen. Stanley McChrystal of the US Army sent a memo to Gen. John Abizaid a week after the death in Afghanistan of former NFL star Pat Tillman altered Gen. Abizaid of the significant possibility that Tillman died as a result of friendly fire. He told the General that he "felt that it was essential that [Gen. Abizaid] received this information as soon as we detected it in order to preclude any unknowing statements by our country's leaders which might cause public embarrassment if the circumstances of Cpl. Tillman's death become public".

It was not until several weeks after the memo that Tillman's family was informed of what actually occurred. In the interim he was posthumously decorated for heroism.

Fortunately the White House has leapt into the fray and quickly clarified, via a spokesman, that despite the warning in the communication no one could remember informing the President of this and that the President himself cannot remember anything at all subsequent to an incident in Acapulco involving copious amounts tequila and "some sort of powdery substance" when he was in the Texas Air National Guard.

The day the well runs dry

The American government doesn't have a plan for peak oil, a situation that will occur sometime in the next thirty years if it hasn't happened already, and the General Accounting Office thinks it ought to.

Of course, to go about planning for something that your owners , Big Oil if you're the Decider(TM), don't want the American people to think is a possibility, could prove a wee bit dicey.

A WTO ruling the US will ignore

Does the fact that the World Trade Organisation has now ruled that the American ban on off shore internet gambling is illegal mean that the executives of gambling firms, including one arrested just a few days ago in the Dominican Republic, get to go free?

After all the US makes the rules - it shouldn't have to follow them!

A dangerous precedent

A Federal judge has ruled that Creekstone Farms Premium Beef of Kansas cannot be prevented by the government from testing all of its cattle for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease). The USDA currently performs all of the testing done in the American marketplace but only tests a relatively small sample after having reduced its testing by around 90% last year.

The government's pursuit of the case has obviously at the behest of large meat packing companies who are afraid that they will have to follow suit if Creekstone Farms begins advertising its meat as 100% tested and safe.

Isn't this just the "free" market at work?

Where does Smokey stand on this?

I am sure it was just a procedural foul up that cause Bush&Co to illegally alter forest service rules that "expedited logging and energy exploration, weakened wildlife protection, and shut the public out of forest planning". Aren't you?

Who's surging whom?

The American "surge" of troops into Iraq (aka escalation) is well and truly underway but it is not only the Yanks who are refocusing their efforts. It would appear that al Qaeda's powers in the occupied Arab country are growing as well.

Should we call it a draw then?

A modest proposal

I have nothing per se against attempts currently afoot to restart the campaign for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. However, given the recent state of affairs I would prefer, if we are going to spend political capital on amending the US Constitution, that we work to eliminate the electoral college system and move to a direct popular vote for President.

Just think. Had it been in place seven years ago. No Dubya. No Iraq. No lots of other things.

Keeping nuclear secrets

The Islamic Republic of Iran has admitted that it withheld information from the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency, after confidential information had leaked from the IAEA, because it, quite sensibly in my opinion, feared an attack from either the United States or Israel. The IAEA is awaiting a response from Iran over its requests to install CCTV surveillance Iran’s nuclear enrichment plant in Natanz.

Better late than never?

Over fifty years ago fourteen year old Emmett Till was murdered in Mississippi for whistling at a white woman. On Thursday officials final released the results of his autopsy. He had been shot in the head and his wrists, skull and legs were fractured. Two white men were charged with the crime but found innocent by an all white jury. Both men, now dead, subsequently confessed to the crime in an interview in 1956 with Look magazine.

Those who have forgotten, along with those who are too young, may think of this as a primer.

The home of the brave

Two highly decorated members of the 101st Keyboarders, Jeff Emanuel and Victoria Coates, are doffing their pyjamas and heading off to Iraq. They tell us why.

I wait with bated breath for their triumphant despatches from the front although I wonder if they, like the troops, will have to provide their own Kevlar vests.

Sorry seems to be the hardest word

In what may be a first for the Bush administration the Decider(TM) has apologised over the treatment of wounded and recovering veterans of the "War on Terra".

Now that he has learned how there are lots of other things he should apologise for such as:

  • Stealing the Presidency
  • Iraq
  • Guantánamo
  • Tax cuts for the wealthy paid for by spending the surplus
  • American health care
  • Corporate welfare
  • Iraq reconstruction corruption and graft
  • The US attorneys
  • Being a twat
  • Et cetera

The lights go out in Sydney

The bright lights of Sydney went dim last night as the city promoted Earth Hour to encourage residents of the Australian city to reduce their CO2 emissions and thereby reduce global warming. The Aussies have their work cut out for them as they come second, among major nations, in per capita CO2 emissions after the US and ahead of Canada where home heating is more of an issue.

There were no reports of anyone in Sydney switching off the air conditioning.

Ungood news from home

The murder rate in Philadelphia continues to creep upwards with the 99th or 100th of the young year. Of course, thanks to the NRA, none of these murders were committed by guns but only by people with guns. I find that such a relief and I will undoubtedly fear so much safer then next time I fly home as a result.

But will there be 57 varieties?

One of the foods that I love and initially found extremely difficult to find in Britain when I first moved here was sauerkraut. With the influx of Polish immigrants after they joined the EU it has thankfully become much easier to track down. Now American food giant Heinz is set to launch a new line of "superior" Polish treats in the UK under the brand name Pudliszki. Products that will be included in the range will be pork goulash (Yum!), stuffed cabbage in tomato sauce (Yum!) and beef tripe in broth (I'll give it a miss).

Bringing light to the City of Angels

The Los Angeles Police Department is to equip their officers with new torches (flashlights) that are too small to be used to beat suspects while simultaneously brighter than those they are replacing.

Ah, isn't progress a beautiful thing. Now if they would just arm their officers with guns whose bullets are too small to injure anyone perhaps we might start getting somewhere.

Good thing he is an evil-doer...

...because then the fact that he was tortured by Americans shouldn't count. Right? I know that’s in the Bible somewhere.

Effete & limp wristed organisation attempts to call out manly United States

A United Nations human rights expert, Philip Alston, the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, has harshly criticised Iran, the Russian Federation, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Indonesia and the United States over their role in extra-judicial killings. He does seem to have overlooked Israel for some reason.

A propos of United States claims that such acts are part and parcel of the "War on Terra" Mr. Alston said:

"While this argument is convenient because it enables the US to effectively exempt itself from scrutiny, if accepted it would constitute a huge step backwards in the struggle to promote human rights."

This would all be extremely worrisome if no less of an expert than John Bolton were not around to remind us that the United Nations doesn't exists. Whew. That was a close one.

Five more years!

As things continue to fall apart in Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe's party, Zanu PF, has endorsed the 83 year-old autocrat as their candidate for another five year term in the 2008 "elections" for President. What is wrong with these people?

One could legitimately point out that, as a citizen of a country that has "elected" the Decider(TM) to its Presidency twice, I have little room for criticism.

It's a miracle!

I recently wrote a post about the absurdity surrounding the case of the so-called "mystery nun" whose recovery from Parkinson's disease is being used to propel the late pontiff, John Paul II, along the road to sainthood.

Well now we can reveal that the Catholic devotee in question is one Sister Marie-Simon-Pierre, a forty-five year old French nun from Aix-en-Provence. According to her (rather tall) tale she was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2001 and had become unable to write legibly or drive and was in considerable pain. One night in 2005 she scrawled, illegibly, the name of the by then decease Pope on a peace of paper and woke up in the morning cured. She felt so much better the next day, after the late Pope had reached out from beyond the grave and cured her, that she assisted in a Caesarean section birth in a maternity ward. (Remind me not to end up in a hospital where they allow a nurse, who has been suffering from a serious and debilitating disease for over four years, to work in an operating theatre when she comes in one morning and says that she feels better!)

According to the rules laid down by the Church in order for this to qualify as a "miracle" a person's recovery must be "be sudden, complete and permanent - as well as inexplicable". Normally for something like cancer they have to wait ten years but it seems there is no such rule for Parkinson's. So let us assume that they make him a saint on the basis of this phenomenon what would happen if she relapses? Would he be demoted to ex-Saint? Does this get attributed to him just because she illegibly wrote down his name? What if she had written Osama bin-Laden, John Belushi or Satan? Would they have been credited with a "miracle" and been on their way to sainthood?

Does any part of this process make sense to anyone (who isn't a Catholic)?

Now if Peter Taylor wrote John Paul's name last night and Crystal Palace get promoted this year that would qualify as a miracle!

Doing porridge

Once again proving that the United Kingdom will do anything to be like its Big Brother the United States the prison population in the UK has reached record levels with no sign of a downturn in sight and the authorities are scrambling to find enough places to put them all.

We still have quite a ways to go as the American incarceration rate is about six times higher than the British one. It will give Gordon something to aspire to once he gets to be in charge. If he gets to be in charge.

People v petrol

When Americans are taken hostage by a hostile foreign power the reaction of the British people is concern over the safety of the individuals in harm's way.

When Britishers are taken hostage by a hostile foreign power the reaction of the American people is concern over petrol prices.


Just a note. What the fuck is so terrible about 4 USD for a US gallon anyway? Current British prices are around 90p per litre which works out to around 6.40 USD per US gallon. This is a more realistic price given the damage done by the internal combustion engine.

Gone-zo watch (day 12)

As of this morning US Attorney General and Bush succubus Antonio Gonzales still has a job. Despite his difficulties, what with loyal Bushies contradicting, under oath, what he had told the press, he looks set to survive the weekend. He continues to defend himself fiercely, after all who else will defend him, saying that he is only "fighting for the truth". He says he won't resign and as the Decider(TM) is probably off to his country estate in Texas to clear brush and hunt for Easter eggs he may have another fortnight or so.

Meanwhile in our who-gets-sacked-first competition, England football coach Steve "I've never really coached a winning team and it doesn't look like I'm going to start now" McClaren, would seem to be in serious trouble having been given the poisoned chalice of a vote of confidence from his boss at the FA. I reckon that it is time to start clearing out the office mate.

(To be continued...)

30 March 2007


A high school in Kentucky has removed Beloved by Nobel prize winner Toni Morrisonbecause some folks think that a modicum of profanity and some references to bestiality outweigh its literary merits.


This one goes out to the Decider(TM) and his pet Gone-zo

An example of joined up government

There are lots of folks out there who think that there is nothing to worry about with the government collecting more and more personal information about you. After all you've got nothing to hide right?

Well think about this for a bit and then get back to me.

A special note for NRA members - they probably have all your credit card records so buy your guns with cash. Otherwise they'll know where to look when they come to take them away!


Today is the 27th anniversary of the murder of political activist Archbishop Oscar Romero in El Salvador. Archbishop Romero was a staunch advocate of human rights especially for the impoverished farmers and peasants of his country. He was murdered by members of the Salvadoran military; a military that was heavily financed by the United States at the time. The US could not have been unaware of, and possibly was complicit it, the pattern of oppression and abuse that the military was responsible for.

Abstaining from abstinence

The head of the US Government's Health and Human Services Department Office of Population Affairs, Dr. Eric Keroack, has resigned suddenly after Medicaid officials from Massachusetts took action against him. It is not clear at this time what the nature of that action was. In his five month tenure at the Office Dr. Keroack was ostensibly responsible for ensuring that women had access to contraceptives and family planning. The problem was that he didn't believe in either so could hardly be considered as effective in that role.

I wonder if he used white chocolate or dark chocolate

Cosimo Cavallaro is an artist who has sculpted a 6-foot tall anatomically correct statue of Jesus (sans loincloth) in chocolate that is due to go on display in New York on Monday.

Needless to say the Catholics are less than pleased, although I'm not quite sure if it is the nudity or the confectionary that bothers them. I assume the Protestant community will remain quiet on this one as they have that slightly different version (more gravening, less remembering) of the 10 Commandments and one graven image is much the same as another.

"Stop! Stop damn it! You're killing me here."

Sometimes he is the Decider(TM) and sometimes he is the Proposer(TM). Now his Imperial Majesty Emperor George the First of America and all the Known World and Other Planets tries his hand at stand up and, trust me, it is a painful thing to watch. This is a man who is clearly not at all au fait with self-deprecating humour.

Maxxed to the maximum

If you shop at TJMaxx in the states, or at its curiously named subsidiary TKMaxx in the UK and Ireland, you just might want to check your credit card statements carefully after the discounter admitted that it is likely that someone you don't know has got a hold of your credit card details after hacking into their data systems.

Bias in the Padilla jury pool

What if it proves impossible to find an unbiased jury to try José Padilla? What then? Petition the Supreme Court to allow him to be sent to Guantánamo Bay? "Unlawfully render" him to places unknown for torture and related abuse? Set him free?

What then indeed.

Choose your friends carefully

The Jewish Journal out of Los Angeles wonders if fiery Evangelical minister and seeker of the end of time the Rt. Rev. John Hagee is really the kind of friend that Israel and / or the Jewish community needs after his recent speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Following the "enemy of my enemy is my friend" logic many prominent Jewish Americans think that he is, hence his invitation to AIPAC but not everyone seems to agree. Especially since Hagee really only seems to desire the Jewish state as a battleground for Armageddon.

In related news Rapture Index opened up slightly higher at 160 in light trading. (Note: 160 is the southern boundary of the range that they hopefully describe as "fasten your seat belts" territory.)

It's official - it's an occupation (or is it?)

"Yes it is" says the Saudi monarch and staunch American ally King Abdullah.

"No it isn't" says the US state department, a loyal friend of the House of Saud and saviour of the Iraqi people.

"Yes it is" says the Iraq President and staunch American ally Jalal Talabani. Or does he? The previous link is from an Iraqi satellite TV station. Elsewhere in the Islamic world media in Iran, the United Arab Emirates and the Lebanon are all reporting that Talabani referred to the US presence as "an occupation" with "dire consequences". Outside of the Islamic world I can only find this reference in France and I don't suppose we are allowed to accept the word of "cheese eating surrender monkeys" as credible, are we?

In Britain I have been able to find no mention of President Talabani's remarks to the Arab League anywhere. Nothing in the Guardian, the Times or the Independent or on the Beeb. I couldn't bring myself to check the Torygraph or the tabloids.

CNN cites an Associated Press report that says that the Iraqi President "bristled at the comment" and used the term "occupation" only to note that it had "negative implications". I can no mention of the remarks on any of the other US news networks (although I couldn't bear to search Faux News) and can't find any reference in the New York Times, the Washington Post or the LA Times. You would think that such left wing bastions would be trumpeting the news from their front pages.

I guess I shall have to rely on someone who speaks Arabic to clarify.

Bad fences

One of the most common complaints that the British have about Americans is that they have "no sense of irony". I try and point to folks like Mark Twain and H. L. Mencken but they generally find that insufficient evidence. However if American's are not consciously ironic many find it impossible to live their lives without unconscious irony.

Let us take the case of Golden State Fence Company executives Melvin Kay Jr. and Michael McLaughlin. Their company, one of California's largest fence construction concerns, had worked on, amongst other projects, security fences on the US - Mexican border that were designed to prevent illegal immigrants from crossing over into the United States. Obviously the unintentional irony is that a large portion of their employees were illegal immigrants. The two aforementioned executives have now been sentenced to house arrest, over 1,000 hours of community service and probations for their part. The company has also been banned from government contracts and forced to make significant numbers of staff redundant, presumably the illegal ones.

The tale of Rio Tinto and the Troglobites

Mining mega-giant Rio Tinto has run up against a wee problem in its plans to "develop" a huge mine in Western Australia. Scientists have discovered a number of previously unknown species of troglobite, a blind spider-like critter only seven millimetres long, on the site and local environmental authorities have rejected the plans for the iron mine fearing that the species would not survive. Rio Tinto will appeal with a spokesman saying

:"It's a significant project, so we will be appealing...It's just part of being in the mining business. We support the EPA process in general."

This leaves unsaid the obvious fact that if God had wanted this animals to survive She wouldn't have hid them so close to iron ore.

"Oh shit. He was on our side."

A UK resident and Iraqi citizen, Bisher al-Rawi, who has been held at the American run Guantánamo Bay Summer Camp and Leisure Facility for nearly five years without charge, is to be released. Why? Well it seems that he wasn't guilty of anything, despite being a known evil-doer, and that furthermore he had served the British government as a liason between MI5 and London based radical Muslim cleric Abu Qatada.

I'll bet he doesn't even get as much as a "sorry mate" or even a coveted Guantánamo Bay Summer Camp and Leisure Facility souvenir beach towel.

Gone-zo watch (day 11)

As of this morning US Attorney General and Bush succubus Antonio Gonzales still has a job but the question on everyone's lips is "what did Gone-zo know and when did he know it?" Clearly he is not long for this world but I am worried that if the Decider(TM) decides to sack him on Sunday none of us will believe him and will just suspect it is an elaborate April Fool.

Meanwhile things aren't looking good for the other contestant in the who-gets-sacked-first competition, England football coach Steve "I've never really coached a winning team and it doesn't look like I'm going to start now" McClaren, with the news that some of his players had to hide from supporters during the side's less than impressive first half performance against the feared Andorran national side in mid-week.

My money's still on McLaren!

(To be continued...)

29 March 2007

"And we're not giving back the land we stole I don't care what they say"

As expected Israel has rejected the most recent Arab peace proposal which included recognition of the Jewish state inside of its original borders.

I side with the College Republicans on this

Just don't tell anyone, OK?

Republicans at the San Francisco State University aren't going to be disciplined by the University after they held a demonstration in which they walked on depictions of the flags of Hamas and Hezbollah. A student filed a grievance based on the fact that the flags contain the Arabic word "Allah". The President of the group is likely to be dishonourably drummed out of the 101st Keyboarders after he said:

"It’s the very essence of our country ... the ability to disagree and still live in a civil society where everyone still functions even if they disagree with each other."

Should the complaining student wish to retaliate I recommend that he or she hold a demonstration where they walk on pictures of Jesus and Ronald Regan.

Faking it?

Chris Murray has not been flavour of the month in Downing Street for some time. He was the former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan until he was recalled after criticising the human rights record of the regime there.

Now he is claiming that the so-called proof that the British government has claimed it has that the fifteen sailors were in Iraqi waters when they were seized by Iran is based on a few wee falsehoods. So it is much like the rationale for the illegal US invasion of Iraq then.

Feeling safer yet?

In an attempt to strangle state's rights (so I am sure that all loyal conservative Republicans will be with me on this) the chemical industry is fighting a provision in a supplemental spending bill that would allow individual states to set higher standards than the Federal government as regards security at chemical plants. In a statement I completely fail to understand Jack Gerard, president of the American Chemistry Council, tells us that

:"This isn't about states' rights; this is about national security...What does the environmental lobby have to say about security? Have they all of a sudden morphed into security experts in this country?"

As far as I can tell he is saying that tighter security at chemical plants, but only in selected states, would make the country less secure. You have to admit that this is daring reasoning.

By the way the chemical industry is confident that they will get their way.

Satan comes to Eurovision...

...and the Christians aren't happy. The Swiss entry in the competition DJ Bobo will perform a song called "Vampires Are Alive". According to Thomas Feuz of the Federal Democratic Union:

"The song is bad from our point of view...the song has a destructive meaning and we want it stopped."

Thomas, of course it's bad. It's entered in Eurovision for fuck's sake. Have you ever watched the programme?

Note for Americans: if you have never seen the Eurovision Song contest I urge you to make an effort to do so. It is simultaneously some of the absolutely worst television you will ever see and yet it is oddly hypnotic. Maybe it's the drugs.

It's a shame he'll miss the moules frites!

Not to mention the fritessaus. Yum!

It is with a sad heart that I tell you that "Swift Boat Veterans Against the Truth" financier, Sam Fox, has withdrawn his name from consideration for the US Ambassadorship to het Koninkrijk België / la Royaume de Belgique. Too bad. As he is a mate of the Decider's I am certain he knows no Dutch and hardly a word of French anyway.

Is there a National Bring-a-gun-to-work Day?

If it isn't now it should be one soon as more and more states pick up the National Rifle Association's advice and pass laws that prevent business owners from banning guns from their premises. Of course I believe in most of these cases you will find that the legislatures themselves are exempted. It looks as Florida will be next. Frankly I'm surprised that they didn't pass one already. Their law does have an extra twist in that also prevents employers from barring porn from their car parks.

So if you want to have a wank in the car on the way home and then shoot someone because of your guilt over your onanistic addiction you'll be all set.

This is where things get complicated

A 29 year old woman from Shrewsbury (pronounced Shrowsbury for the Yanks) has appeared in a magistrate's court accused of bigamy. Suzanne Mitchell married Caroline Beddowes last February but it believed that she is still married to a man at the time.

I'd give her the benefit of the doubt. In all good faith she probably believed, greedy bitch that she must be, that she was entitled to one of each.

In the heart of Bush country

A significant number of students, faculty and administrations at that known revolutionary hot bed Brigham Young University in Utah are extremely displeased that the anti-Christ himself, US Vice President "I'm a Big Dick" Cheney is going to be the featured speaker at this year's graduation ceremonies.

According to the story in Provo's Daily Herald at this point the University has "no plans to eliminate Cheney as a part of the graduation ceremonies". That will undoubtedly come as a great relief to the Veep's Secret Service detail.

As if things weren't bad enough

The number of homeless people in New Orleans is now double the level it was before Hurricane Katrina and the number of available shelter places is dramatically lower. On any given night around 12,000 people are living on the streets including families with young children as well as people in their seventies and eighties.

Hey George. It sounds like time for another fly over or maybe even a photo op. What do you think?

Making charity history

The World Food Programme has announced that it planning on stopping distributing food aid to 70,000 people in Djibouti due to a lack of supplies. It needs 6 million USD in order to be able to continue the operation until the end of the year and 1 million USD immediately to prevent them having to shut the programme down. It takes the US about 10 minutes to spend 1 million USD in Iraq destroying people's lives. Wouldn't this be a better use of the funds?

Who is counting?

A freedom of information request shows that the Chief Scientific Adviser to the British Ministry of Defence warned government officials against criticising the Lancet study of Iraqi civilian casualties that estimated that over 650,000 lives had been lost as a result of the illegal American led invasion and occupation. He described the methodology that the study used as "close to best practice" and said that the "study design is robust." A statistician at the Department of International Development also said that the method used in the survey was "tried and tested" and, if anything, could lead to an underestimate of the number of deaths.

Over to you Tony.


Fresh faced Tory leader David "Where is my parting today?" Cameron has to suffer the embarrassment of taking down his GREEN wind turbine from his home in North Kensington after the local council pointed out to him that it breached planning regulations because he had attached it to the wrong side of the chimney.

This is why DIY is a bad idea. It's always best just to hire a professional straight away.

A flaw in the argument

Iran's Foreign Minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, says that he doubts that the US would "dare attack Iran". That is all well and good. However if he is basing this argument on the assumption that the United States is run by a sane and rational human being I think we have a problem.

Let the market decide!

I know that it is illegal for me, as an American citizen, to smoke Cuban cigars or to drink Cuban rum, but is it within legal boundaries for me to agree with Fidel Castro. Because I do.

If we allow neo-liberal, "free" market Capitalism to have its way then, as I have said already, when it comes down to a choice between your Hummer and a hungry child your Hummer wins. And the child? Don't worry your pretty, little head about it because the market knows all.

Calling them to account

Is there any doubt in the mind of anyone , who is not directly associated with Bush&Co, that the United States is violating international law at Guantánamo Bay?

So what the hell do we do about it? Impeachment of the Decider(TM) is one possible step but, in my mind at least, it is not sufficient. He must be made to pay a higher price for these criminal acts and there are others (e.g. Rumsfeld, Gonzales) who share the culpability as well. What recourse do we have?

Airport 2007: Rogue Satellite

You are seated comfortably in 37A, a window seat, trying to kill the time on your flight to Auckland, when, suddenly, flaming space debris goes shooting by your window.

Do you scream? Is there a sick girl on board? Where's Charlton Heston?

This is the 21st century right?

How then to explain that the plans to make the late Pope a saint of some sort hinge on testimony that he somehow cured a French nun of Parkinson's after he was dead? How do we know this?

One night before going to bed she wrote his name in an illegible script asking for mercy and the next morning her penmanship had improved considerably.

Give me a break. I don't like to scoff at other people's beliefs but this is just downright silly. If you want to make him a bloody saint then make him a bloody saint but don't make shit up to try and justify it.

I don't know what to make of this

A creationist museum outside of Cincinnati Ohio seems to be evolving even before it opens. Shouldn't the pseudo-scientific institution have come into being fully formed like everything else around it?

Paramiltary purges

The Ulster Defence Association, a Protestant terrorist group in Northern Ireland, have purged their paramilitary brigadier and his political adviser in South East Antrim. For reasons I have never been able to understand there has not been the same pressures on the so-called "Loyalist" paramilitaries to disarm and come in from the cold as there has been on the Republican side.

World's oldest profession assualted in Pakistan

I wonder what the Christian right position will be on the abduction of a Pakistani woman, suspected of running a brothel in Islamabad, by fundamentalist Muslim women. After all the young women are saving the residents of the capital city from the pleasures of pleasure. They should be all for it, right?

The strange goings on in Shooting Star Lane

A cul-de-sac in Bozeman MT has found itself inundated with tumbleweeds and had to use snow plows to dig themselves out.

Stories that the Minutemen were sending several dozen heavily armed vigilantes to Bozeman in order to search the thistles for undocumented aliens and other terrorists cannot be confirmed at this time.

Important information about tumbleweeds can be found here.

Perhaps they could try putting posters up on trees

Authorities in Kent County MI (USA) have misplaced about 15 million US gallons (12 million Imperial gallons) of partially treated sewage. They can't find it anywhere.

Maybe some sniffer dogs could help?

And in the Malvinas

Argentina has said that it will cancel an agreement with Britain over gas and oil exploration in the waters surrounding the Falklands/Malvinas because

"it has meant no advantage whatsoever for our country... on the contrary, it has exposed Argentina to continuous unilateral and illegal measures on the part of Britain."

Perhaps this will give Tony a chance to go out in a blaze of glory by pretending to be "Milk Snatcher" Thatcher and send the Navy off for Falklands War II. (It would probably be renamed Malvinas War I should the Argentines win.)

Meanwhile in Persia

The tension surrounding the capture of fifteen British sailors by Iran in the Persian Gulf continues to ratchet upwards after the captives were paraded on television. Iranian is demanding that Britain admit that the boats were in Iranian waters when they were taken. Britain refuses to do so and claims that they can prove the opposite.

In the meantime oil companies are smiling as oil prices head northwards again and the American Navy thought it would stir the pot a bit as it engages in exercises nearby. 300 Spartans have also been spotted gathering in a pass on the Greek mainland.

I have a bad feeling about this.

Cut v uncut

The UN is recommending mass circumcision of men in the battle to fight AIDS after studies in Africa indicated that circumcised males are 60% less likely to contract HIV than those who are not.

Now for the humour:
  1. The Guardian linked to above notes that "circumcision is a sensitive issue". Snigger, snigger.
  2. The same article includes a handy dandy section at the bottom laying out the history of the ritual procedure. This states that "in the 1800s removal of the foreskin became widespread in Britain and the US to prevent boys masturbating". As someone who was at one time an adolescent male I can state unequivocally that this was remarkably ineffective.

Gone-zo watch (day 10)

As of this morning US Attorney General and Bush succubus Antonio Gonzales still has a job but now they are snipping at him from everywhere including underneath!

But I am still picking his rival in the who-gets-sacked-first competition England football coach Steve "I've never really coached a winning team and it doesn't look like I'm going to start now" McClaren to be unemployed first after the national side's less then sterling performance against lowly Andorra last night. This is a country with a population of around 70,000 people for God's sake. Only about a third of those are actually Andorrans and the rest are Spaniards. That is less than a quarter of the population of the London Borough of Bromley where I live. I wonder how Bromley FC would fare against them.

(To be continued...)

Join the Army nigger faggot!

I should like to think, and I do think, that this guy is indeed a bad apple. At least I hope so.

At the very least I would think that his comments might just be covered by the "don't ask - don't tell" policy.

28 March 2007

Quote of the day

"Ninety percent of everything is crap."------ Theodore Sturgeon

Obviously Mr. Sturgeon is an optimist.

Well no one ever called it "The Boy Scout State"

As someone who lived in Pennsylvania for thirty seven years I am completely unsurprised by the news that the state is completely unprepared for any emergency.

Get out of Texas while the going is good

Texas Governor Rick Perry has signed the Shoot-to-Kill Bill which gives the already heavily armed, and often angry, Texans sweeping new powers to, well, kill other human beings. According to the governor:
"This is reasonable legislation."
Reports that Governor Perry was wearing a Kevlar vest at the time could not be confirmed.

"I am the blamer - goo goo g'joob g'goo goo g'joob"

The Decider(TM)/Proposer(TM) has come out and said that the Congress will be to blame if funds for the "surge" troops in Iraq are delayed after he vetoes the bill to provide the funds. Saith the great man:

"If Congress fails to pass a bill to fund our troops on the front lines, the American people will know who to hold responsible."

I reckon he ought to know as it is him and his minions, under the direction of the dark underlord Karl Rove, who will be doing the blaming.

This (soon to be?) un-United Kingdom

With less about a month to go before elections are held in Scotland a new poll gives the Scottish Nationalist Party a double digit lead over the Labour Party. Whither the Union? Will Queen Elizabeth the Second of England and Wales and Queen Elizabeth the First of Scotland become just Queen Elizabeth of England and Wales?

Should the Scots split off on their I think it would be a good time to ditch the monarchy as well (I think I'm breaking a law by endorsing that). I mean you wouldn't want to go to the trouble of changing all the money, the stamps, the passports and the stationery twice would you?

No culpability - no accountability

A US Federal judge has dropped a lawsuit against former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and others for torture not because there wasn't a case to answer but because "authorizing monetary damages remedies against military officials engaged in an active war would invite enemies to use our own federal courts to obstruct the Armed Forces' ability to act decisively and without hesitation".

Sad news indeed.

This is a true case for "regime change"

Something has to given in Zimbabwe and it has to give soon. Government goons broke into Morgan Tsvangirai's office today and arrested the opposition leader yet again.

Snakker du norsk?

Are Americans more of a polyglot group that I would normally have given them credit for or is Google's inclusion of this story in the "Recommended" section for me in the US suggest a problem with their algorithm?

Let my sailors go

Iran is to release the one woman amongst the fifteen British sailors that they have seized, alleging that they were violating Iranian waters. There is no suggestion as to when the other fourteen sailors would be set free.

The British government is now claiming that they have proof that the boats where in Iraqi waters when they were seized.

As far as I know the British government has not attempted to refute Iranian claims that, even if they were indeed in Iraqi waters when they were seized, they could have penetrated Iranian territory within forty five minutes.

Stinking up the joint

Stewart Laidlaw of Dunfermline has been banned from his local pub, Thirsty Kirsty's, for excessive flatulence. Mr. Laidlaw blames the smoking ban in Scottish pubs for his troubles. When everyone was smoking no one seemed to mind or perhaps notice is a better choice of words.

Let's make a deal!

The United Kingdom may or may not be involved in secret negotiations with the Pakistani state over an an exchange of suspects which would see the main suspect in the plot to bomb trans-Atlantic flights, Rashid Rauf, returned to Britain. The trouble with the behind the scenes discussions is that the Pakistanis are asking for the transfer of up to eight people that they claim are involved in an uprising in the country's province of Baluchistan which is, surprise, surprise, rich in oil. One of those that the Pakistani's are seeking is Mehran Baluch of the Baluchistan Rights Movement. Mr. Baluchistan is a British passport holder and a human rights worker who often speaks before United Nations organisations on alleged human rights violations in Baluchistan.

But I reckon if one of our allies in the "War on Terra" says he's an evildoer then he is an evildoer damnit and there's not much else we can do other than turn him over. I am sure that the Foreign Office will ask the Pakistani government to torture him politely and in the best possible taste.


The Israeli security forces seem to have the British vice-consul mixed up with their own former ambassador to El Salvador after they strip searched the British representative before he met with the Israeli Premier. There is no mention of whether they got the plastic glove out.

Hey, at least they told Janet Rogan, yes it was a woman, that they were sorry.

Gone-zo watch (day 9)

US Attorney General and Bush succubus Antonio Gonzales still has a job but he cuts a lonely figure indeed.

Of course his rival in the who-gets-sacked-first competition England football coach Steve "I've never really coached a winning team and it doesn't look like I'm going to start now" McClaren has a dicey task in front of him this evening as his over-rated squad face the ever danger-less Andorra, ranked 163rd in the world, and anything less than an overwhelming victory and a clean sheet is just an invitation for him to join the dole queue.

(To be continued...)

27 March 2007

Snow has cancer

White House spokesman Tony Snow's cancer has returned. I wish him well.

Remember - if he goes back to work after the surgery it is just a publicity stunt like that damn Edwards fellow.

Who says everything's bigger in Texas?

I don't think they have any 869 g (nearly 2 pounds)/ 20.5 cm toads in Crawford do they? They do have some pretty big slimy things though.

White House loses 600,000 terrorists!

I actually don't believe the headline to this post. I was just trying out how I would have written it if I were a right wing nut, a Democrat was in the White House and this story hit the press.
Note: I thought using the Washington Times as a link was a nice touch!

Twin Cities promise not to be New York

St. Paul MN will welcome dissenters with the same fervour that they welcome convention goers when they host next year's Republican National Convention. If not fervour exactly than at least the "same respect and honor afforded to conventioneers" if a proposed city council resolution is to be believed.

Or perhaps it just means that they will have surveillance on everyone and not just the protestors. Next year's Republican conventioneers should take that into consideration before they trundle back to the hotel room with the young member of the sex of their choice who isn't their spouse or life partner.

Note: I am in no way insinuating that Republicans are more likely to “trundle back to the hotel room with the young member of the sex of their choice who isn't their spouse or life partner” than are Democrats. I am just insinuating that they are more likely to be hypocritical about it so long as they don’t get caught out.

Why the profit motive is dangerous in health care

If an insurer is publicly held it has a legal obligation to its shareholders to ensure that claims aren't paid thereby enhancing what is the only allowable pursuit - "shareholder value".

Eventually the clients die and go away.

Is this a tax or a "user fee"?

Filoftea Popescu of Romania was mistakenly declared dead by the state in 2005. Now it is going to cost her a month's wages for the state for put it right. It hardly seems fair. I mean you shouldn't be able to charge the dead anything and as far as the state is concerned...

Brzezinski on the "War on Terra"

In his opinion piece for the Washington Post Zbigniew Brzezinski is absolutely correct in stating that the phrase "War on Terra" (I've used Bush's own phonetic spelling) has created a "culture of fear in America".

But wasn't that the intent? Unlike sheep frightened humans are easier to herd.

Isn't it standard procedure to hear the question first?

How can Monica Goodling know that she will need to avail herself of the US Constitution's Fifth Amendment if she doesn't know what the questions are? Or does she, as a loyal Bushie, just know that she won't be able to resist lying under oath?

Herbal hooligans get banned

Chelsea FC's prohibition on celery tossing ("tossing" as in "throwing" as opposed to "tossing" as in "wanking") has led to three supporters being banned.

Referees had included "celery tossing" in their reports from earlier matches at Stamford Bridge.

Can someone please tell me...

...just where in the Torah it tells us that ganja isn't kosher?

Tony Benn v John Bolton on Question Time

And in my opinion the result is Tony Benn on a TKO. True passion and, well, truth will win every time.

Blessed are the warmakers?

In this week's edition of the New York Review of Book George Soros discusses yet another Bush&Co failure in an article entitled "On Israel, America and AIPAC". I sure the wingnuts have their attack knives pre-sharpened for the event.

Pity the class of 2007...

...at St. Vincent's College in Latrobe PA. They have been chosen to suffer through a speech from the Decider(TM) at their commencement in May. An earlier article that I read, from before the announcement, stated that they had moved the ceremony to a Friday to increase the likelihood that the Proposer(TM) would come. Can't he work a Saturday every now and then? Now all those Mums and Dads will have to take an extra day off of work to see Junoir graduate and we all know that Yanks don't get a great deal of annual leave.

And I don't want to hear about anyone trying to slip Dubya a Rolling Rock either. He's not supposed to be drinking.

Keeping Guantánamo full

I have no doubt that the transfer of a terrorist suspect from East Africa to Guantánamo was done entirely within international legal standards; arrest warrants, extradition and so forth. Totally confident I am.

This could be a tricky one Rev. Falwell so think before you speak

I wonder how the "we love Israel but hate gays" lobby is going to take the news that the Jewish Theological Seminary is going to begin accepting openly gay and lesbian students. To quote Arnold Eisen, the chancellor of the Rabbincal institution:
"Pluralism means that we recognize more than one way to be a good Conservative Jew, more than one way of walking authentically in the path of our tradition and of carrying that tradition forward."

I can't wait

I am all a titter with anticipation as I await the strongly worded defence that the American National Rifle Association will undoubtedly offer for the actions of Phillip Thompson, an aide to Senator Jim Webb (D - VA), who was arrested and has been charged for attempting to bring a loaded hand gun into the Senate office building in Washington DC.

How dare the Capitol Police violate his God given Second Amendment rights in this way. I am outraged, outraged, I say!

Going, going, gone

Lawrence Small, the head of the Smithsonian Institution is now the ex-head of the Smithsonian Institution. The former banker seemed to think that he was still working in the commercial sector, at least when he submitted his expense claims. Good riddance. Perhaps this time we'll get a scientist back in charge but with Bush making the decision that is not at all certain.

God made him do it

Indicted, and as yet untried, money launderer Tom DeLay claims that God has made him the man he is. Well I'd say She has a lot to answer for!

I'm overdosing on Schadenfreude

News that ex-Reagen budget director and proponent of the "trickle down" theory David Stockman has been indicted on a number of federal charges of financial malfeasance related to his tenure on the board of auto parts manufacturer Collins & Aikman brought a smile to my face. He is free on 1 million USD bail.

It's a wonder that his prosecutor wasn't one of US Attorneys on the list.

Why does the Tillman family hate America?

Why do they want to dredge up all of this ancient history that will just embolden the enemy and encourage them to attack America?

Why, I ask you!

What this doesn't mean

As I anticipated those on the right are using David Hick's guilty plea to one charge of "providing material support for terrorism" as some sort of proof that Guantánamo Bay is full of "evil doers" as the Decider(TM) / Proposer(TM) likes to tell us. They seem to ignore the rather obvious to me argument that after more than five years in custody with little or no access to the outside world, almost no contact with his family and having been very harshly treated, if not tortured, he has opted for a path that gets him out of American hands.

Galloway off the hook?

In a move that will undoubtedly piss off some, especially Republican, members of the US Congress after he made mince meat of them when he testified before them Respect MP George Galloway is not to face a police investigation on charges that he violated the rules of the UN's oil-for-food programme in Iraq. He could still face charges from the Serious Fraud Office unless he can prove his relationship to BAE Systems which is, as we all know, exempt from such trivialities.


The Pope doesn't want us to forget about hell so I thought I would help!

Does this mean I'll go to heaven and get 70 virgins? What the hell do you mean that's a "different heaven"? How many are there?

Stamping on bullies

Since I made fun of the Guardian's decision to put a bullying story on the front page at the expense of the historic meeting in Northern Ireland I may as well touch on what the article discusses. A Commons education select committee report recommends that a national enquiry into school bullying be undertaken as the committee believes that schools are under reporting cases in order to protect their reputations.

The committee also points a finger at Catholic schools, who have so far "refused to follow government guidelines...[on] homophobic bullying". This must be part of their "hate the sin - bully the sinner" campaign I reckon.

Kelly loses out to Daily Mirror!

The UK's Minister for Communities and Local Government Ruth "I Can't Figure Out What She's Doing on the Front Bench" Kelly has lost in attempt to have the Daily Mirror censured by the press complaints watchdog over their story that revealed that Ms. Kelly had taken her son out of a public school and placed him in a private one. Ms. Kelly had previously been Minister for Education and asserted that public education was the government's number one priority.

The watchdog agreed that the story had been in the public interest and was handled in such a way that it was not an invasion of her or her son's privacy.

Meanwhile in the six counties...

...the Rt. Rev. and (mail order) Dr. Ian Paisley sad down in the same room with Sinn Féin's Gerry Adams yesterday and announced that they had come to a power sharing arrangement that will allow devolution to go forward. Is anyone surprised that Dr. Paisley isn't smiling?

There were also shades of the US - North Vietnam Paris peace conference in that they had to find a special table with a diamond shape that both men could be at the head of the table without actually sitting right next to the other. Bless.

Strangeness on the Guardian's front page

Yesterday was a fairly historic day in Northern Ireland but you wouldn't, for editorial reasons unknown, have known it from the front page of today's Guardian. The stories that they chose to give prominence over the good news from the long troubled province are "Bullying: calls for national inquiry" and "Secret royal wills - mistresses, jewels and cover-ups" whilst Northern Ireland and the historic meeting between Messrs. Paisley and Adams is relegated to page 4.

It isn't like this was late breaking news. Did the editor go down the pub for a Monday evening piss up and leave the decision to the tea lady?

Gone-zo watch (day 8)

US Attorney General and Bush succubus Antonio Gonzales still has a job but now he is admitting, at least I think that he is, that he just a teensy weensy bit about the sackings of the US Attorneys but that he certainly didn't pick which ones got sacked. Well, shouldn't he be making these decisions and not relying on underlings to do so? I mean he is meant to be in charge isn't he?

Meanwhile in the race to see who gets sacked first England football coach Steve "I've never really coached a winning team and it doesn't look like I'm going to start now" McClaren has been summoned to have a quick word with the bosses in the next couple of days. In the meantime the ex-England manager, Terry "El Tel" Venables - never a guy you want minding your back, who is now McClaren's assistant is making unhappy noises.

At the moment I put McClaren at 2-1 on to be the first to go.

(To be continued...)

Ted Stevens's tubes clogged

Internet connection dodgy today. Posting light based on improvement in plumbing.

For your entertainment

Curtis and "People Get Ready"

26 March 2007

Remind me not to move to Bournville

Not because I am on Tesco's side in their dispute with the local council. I just wouldn't want to live in a dry town.

Out of the woodwork

Isn't oversight a wonderful thing? Since the Democrats took over responsibility for Congress the rodent infestation in the administrative branch of the US government is getting a bit more sunlight than it likes. The latest?

J. Scott Jennings, the White House's deputy director of political affairs, gave a presentation to head of the General Services Administration and his forty regional administrators that focused on how they could "help 'our candidates' in the next elections".

Now that is hardly an appropriate use of taxpayers funds. In my opinion of course. Karl Rove probably feels differently.

Es ist verboten

Well at least any controversy is now settled. US Vice President "I'm a Big Dick" Cheney has told us that an early American withdrawal from Iraq ain't gonna happen.

I feel much better. Don't you?

A queston for Scotland Yard

Why did you back down when Prime Minister Tony Blair threatened to resign if you questioned him under caution? Hunh?

Explain yourselves damnit!

Man on the run

Der Spiegel has a profile of Robert Lady, former CIA station chief in Milan, who is currently the subject of an international arrest warrant issued by Italian authorities for his part in the abduction of Abu Omar and his illegal transfer to Egypt where he was tortured. The Italian government is under great pressure from Washington to bring a halt to the trial which is due to open soon with the defendants in abstentia.

There have been suggestions that authorities in the US government, of much higher rank than the agents charged, are also culpable in the case including the increasingly irrelevant Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

I wouldn't be surprised if, all of sudden, the case just went away.

Borat must be well pleased

For the first time the national football side of Kazakhstan has won a competitive match since joining UEFA beating Serbia 2-1 in a European Championship qualifier.

But isn't Kazakhstan in Asia?

1.1 a day

The disturbing news from home is that murder rate for this rate for the city of Philadelphia has already hit 90, an increase of nearly 25% on last year.

I am sure that none of these 90 souls where killed by guns but rather they were killed by people with guns. Makes all the difference doesn't it?

The Philadelphia papers even have a special online section devoted to violence in the city. It is full of cheerful stuff.

Not proof positive

Australian citizen, David Hicks, has been in American custody at Guantánamo Bay (and elsewhere) for over five years, more or less abandoned by his government. For the past year he has been held in isolation and is suffering from both physical and mental ailments. He is due to be "tried" by a military tribunal shortly on charges of supporting terrorism.

It is possible that he may plead guilty to something just to get the hell out of well, hell. Should this occur we cannot allow the Bush apologists to hold this up as a shining example of the successes of the detention system and proof that they have indeed captured only evildoers.

If I were him I almost certainly do the same, assuming of course that I hadn't broken down entirely and that I wasn't non compos mentis.

I hope to hell he sues

The commissioners of the Florida city of Largo have upheld the sacking of city manager Steven Stanton. Mr. Stanton has caused an uproar in the town after announcing that he is to seek a sex change operation. The deeply considered attitude of some local residents is summed up in the thoughts of Jimmy Dean:

"This thing has made Largo the laughing stock of the whole country, it's a disgrace. I ask you who would want to live in a weirdo town but weirdoes."

Well said Jimmy and I do wish you well in your new career in talk radio.

Why we should be thankful that the Iranians captured British rather than US forces

I certainly hope that the issues surrounding the capture of fifteen British servicemen by Iranian forces is swiftly resolved and that they are released, unharmed, forthwith. However a story from today's Jerusalem Post should remind us all that we should be thankful that the incident was played out between British and Iranian forces rather than between American and Iranian forces.

The headline to the article, "US sailors would have shot at Iranians", says it all really. Just what the world needs now; a hot war between Iran and the United States.

Republican Intelligence

No - it is not an oxymoron; at least not in this case. The "liberal"New York Times reports that the NY City Police Department had a "R.N.C. Intelligence Squad" that spent months infiltrating and spying on dissident groups in the run up to the Republican National Convention in 2004. Most of the people under surveillance we simply groups who wished to protest the policies of the Bush Administration and clearly had no intention of breaking the law other than possibly engaging in political speech outside of the designated "Free Speech Zones". The NY Police Department claims that all of its actions were legal. I believe them without reservation. After all they are the police!

In related news the city of NY has asked a court to keep its records of this surveillance secret as the documents "could be 'misinterpreted' because they were not intended for the public".

As the title of a rather entertaining novel I recently read says You Have to be Careful in the Land of the Free.

Dubya's amigos

The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that the US Central Intelligence Agency has information the head of the Colombian military, Gen. Mario Montoya, who is considered a strong US ally, is strongly linked to right wing militias in the country. These militias are terrorist organisations, even the US says so, and are also associated with drug trafficking. The South American country receives 700 million USD annually in aid from the US primarily in military aid linked to the "War on Drugs". General Montoya is also tightly tied to Colombian President Alvaro Uribe who claims as a good mate The Decider(TM) himself! Unsurprisingly the Colombian government rejects the claims.

What could be even worse for Gen. Montoya is that this would mean he is removed from US fruit giant Chiquita by only one degree of separation.

Pope Party-Pooper the First

Have you ever been to a birthday party where there isn't someone who doesn't try and ruin the fun for everyone else? I certainly haven't. Well the European Union's 50th birthday celebration is no exception. Who is the spoilsport you ask?

No other than his Holiness and the Bishop of Rome Pope Pius the whatever. He is angry that EU didn't boast of its Christian origins in its birthday communiqué and also that European women aren't breeding fast enough for his liking. There is one problem though in his statement on the European birth rate. Which EU countries have the lowest birth rates? It is the predominately Catholic countries Italy, Poland and Spain. I reckon he'd best sort out his own folks first before lecturing the rest of us, don't you?

So what if it's tacky?

A new online campaign to encourage more young men to become sperm donors is under fire today after campaigners labelled it tacky and tasteless. It features attractive young women in tight T-shirts emblazoned with "We Want Your Sperm", a virtual "toss-o-meter" game aimed at improving the wrist action of would be donors and a promotion for National Sperm Day.

Rather than taking the word of others I think you should visit the site http://www.giveatoss.com/ and judge for yourself!

History in action

The Rt. Rev. (mail order) Dr. Ian Paisley is set to sit down in a room with Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams for the first time today. This could be the break through that the moribund Northern Ireland peace process needs. This is supposed to be happening at Stormont at this very moment. We should know shortly if it actually occurred or if the Rev. Paisley backs out after he finds out that they are meant to be sitting in the same room rather than different rooms at the same time.

The knife in the back

If Gordon Brown didn't realise already that whatever deal might have been hammered out between himself and Tony Blair at that dinner at (the now defunct) Granita restaurant in Islington all those years ago is long forgotten the news from this weekend that his erstwhile boss and lame duck Prime Minister Tony Blair believes that loyal Blairite David Miliband should challenge the Chancellor for the New Labour leadership and could win and therefore become the next Prime Minister.

Tread carefully Gordo.

They may be ginger but we should save them anyway!

Concern grows over the fate of the orang-utan as its habitat in Indonesia and Malaysia comes under great pressure largely due to forest clearance to feed the world's insatiable appetite for palm oil. There may only be a few years left to save them in the wild. We all need to do what we can.

Note: in a case of political correctness gone mad yesterday's story on this subject in the Observer, in a little primer at the end, notes that the name of the primate derives from the "Malay words 'orang hutan', which literally mean "person of the forest". I should like to point out to them that the words literally mean "MAN of the forest". Let's not alter Malay language without the permission of Malays themselves.

Gone-zo watch (day 7)

US Attorney General and Bush succubus Antonio Gonzales still has a job but every times he looks behind him he seems to find fewer and fewer friendly faces. Why is that I wonder?

The only person in the Western world with a more tenuous grip on his job might be England football coach Steve "I've never really coached a winning team and it doesn't look like I'm going to start now" McClaren who saw his side stumble to a nil - nil draw against Israel on Saturday in a qualifier for the European Championship. England will now struggle to qualify for next year's tournament. In the eight matches since Mr. McClaren has been in charge of the national side he has managed victories over only noted footballing powerhouses Andorra and FYR Macedonia!

I wonder who will be sacked first.

(To be continued...)

24 March 2007

And this time he was sober (we think)

Mel Gibson's mouth may once again get him into trouble after he told a professor from the California State University at Northridge to "fuck off" after she criticised his treatment of Mayan culture in his most recent film Apocalypto as erroneous and racist.

Oh dear. I guess we can at least be thankful that Assistant Professor Alicia Estrada isn't Jewish.

A love story for a grey Saturday afternoon

Tamás Szabó is believed to be planning get married soon. For the average Hungarian soldier this would normally not be unusual even if Mr. Szabó is a bit long in the tooth, at fifty years of age, for a first time groom.

It is however unusual if the groom in question is a Roman Catholic bishop. He has had to resign his bishopric and the priesthood for what the Vatican terms personal reasons.

I think it's sweet. Let's all wish the happy couple all the best, shall we?

I do love a man in uniform

In a strange twist on the US Military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy the Philippine National Police force has warned gay officers to act straight or else. A spokesman for the force was quoted as saying:

"If they sway their hips while marching, or if they engage in lustful conduct, I think that will be ground for separation."

And there will be no limp wrists either!

Batten down the hatches

Tropical Storm Risk, a climate forecasting group out of the UK, has raised their assessment of the 2007 hurricane season and are now predicting that US land-falling storms will be 75% above average. Their earlier estimate was for a season that was 60% above average.

Their report (PDF) can be found here.

A bad deal

Sometimes I wonder

I wonder if the Christian right, who always seem to be stressing that parents and not the state or commercial interests, should control what children learn from and are exposed to agree with the decision of U.S. District Judge Lowell Reed Jr. to strike down an anti-pornography law that shifted the onus onto commercial interests to prevent access by children. Judge Reed's decision shifts the burden back onto parents. Where it belongs.

I suspect that they won’t.

Defending the abhorrent

As much as I deplore the message that Heidi Zamecnik, a high school senior in Illinois, was trying to get across when she wore a T-shirt to school that said "Be happy, not gay". Ms. Zamecnik, described as a "Christian with strong religious beliefs", wore the shirt on her school's annual "Day of Silence" which is intended to "promote tolerance of alternative lifestyles" and the school banned her from wearing the shirt.

She is now suing the Indian Prairie School District and wants to wear the shirt again this year on the "Day of Silence".

I believe Ms. Zamecnik's ideas are wrong, misguided and clearly bigoted. However they do not espouse violence, which is the only restriction that I believe can and should be put on free speech, and therefore she should be allowed to express her opinions if she so wishes. Her fellow students are also free to ostracise her if they so wish.

In search of a safer place

According to United Nations statistics Iraqis formed the single largest group of asylum seekers in the world with 22,200 Iraqi citizens claiming asylum abroad last year. This is an increase of nearly 80% over the number from the prior year. So far the United States has taken a truly generous 466 Iraqi asylum seekers since the illegal invasion.

Meanwhile in the Persian Gulf

Iran is claiming that the British forces it seized yesterday in waters off of Iraq had violated Iranian territory and admit to doing so. The Ministry of Defence disagrees.

This brought a smile to my face!

Scourge of democracy, critical cog in the bloodless coup that saw George W. Bush gifted the Presidency of the United States in 2000 and Presidential sibling "Jeb" Bush has been denied an honorary degree at the University of Florida after the school's faculty voted against it. The University's President expressed his disappointment.

Kudos to the "Gatorific" faculty!

Snoopless in Albion

Fans in the United Kingdom are to be denied the undoubted talents of rapper Snoop Dog after the Home Office failed to issue him a visa for a planned tour alongside P Diddy. Mr. Dog was given a police caution at Heathrow last year on suspicion of violent disorder and affray. It is not known if this affected the Home Office decision. A spokeswoman for the singer said that he was "mystified" by the refusal.

Mr. Diddy will bravely soldier on alone.

I bet I know what his explanation will be!

Alberto Gonzales met with senior advisers to discuss the plan to sack disloyal US Attorneys less than a fortnight before the prosecutors were fired despite the fact that Mr. Gonzales has previously insisted that he had not been party to any discussion of the sackings.

The next sound you hear from Mr. Gonzales will undoubtedly be the words "I forgot".

Time to go?

In a move that could signal the beginning of the end for Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe officials of the South African government, previously strong supporters of Mr. Mugabe, yesterday met with members of the democratic opposition. The South African Deputy Foreign Minister, Aziz Pahad, was quoted as saying "it is difficult to see how a total meltdown won't take place".

Gone-zo watch (day 5)

US Attorney General and Bush succubus Antonio Gonzales still has a job but his grip on gainful employment might be slipping with evidence released yesterday that he was much more closely involved with the sacking of eight US Attorneys than he has claimed. His case may be further weakened by the news that a former aide, Kyle Sampson, has agreed to testify under oath before a Congressional committee next week.

(To be continued...)

One by one your rights tumble away

If the US government holds you for say three and a half years without charge that time doesn't count, according to a US Federal Judge, towards the constitutional right that American citizens are afforded under the Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution to a "fair and speedy trial". Judge Marcia Clarke ruled that the clock didn't start for José Padilla until he was actually charged with something.

Haggard massage table goes missing

You will have to look elsewhere if you were planning on buying the Ted Haggard memorial massage table as the auction site EBay has pulled the listing claiming that it violates its policy on fund raising. (WTF?)

Mike Jones, the former escort who had offered the table and was planning to donate the proceeds to Project Angel Heart believes that EBay succumbed to pressure from an "ex-gay" Christian group out of Delaware called Transforming Congregations. Their motto seems to be "encouraging transforming ministry to all persons affected by relational brokenness resulting in sexual sin". I must confess that I had not heard the phrase "relational brokenness" used as a euphemism for homosexuality before. It just goes to show that no matter how old you are you can always learn something.

Free to pollute

Just when it looked like we might be getting somewhere the United States and the European Union have agreed the so-called "Open Skies" agreement. Good news? If you're an American airline - yes. If you are someone who cares a bit about the planet you might be worried about the projected 50% increase in trans-Atlantic travel this might engender and its knock on effect on CO2 levels.


"Call me Mr. Black" or the curious case of the missing title

In a courtroom in Chicago the legal team defending Baron Black of Crossharbour (aka Lord Black aka Conrad Black) have taken to referring him as plain old Mr. Black in an attempt, undoubtedly futile, to convince the blue collar jury that he is just an ordinary Joe.

I pity the poor journalist who might believe that these rules apply outside of the courtroom and dares address the great man as "Mr. Black" or even "Conrad". The best he or she can hope for is a repeat of the hissy fit that Lady Black recently had in a confrontation with the media.

A tale of two autocrats

Off to the East in Moscow (Russia not Idaho!) the Russian Supreme Court has ordered the of the Liberal Party, the country's oldest opposition party, effectively eliminating any semblance of a viable opposition to Vladimir Putin.

Meanwhile off to the West in Washington (DC not state!) the Decider(TM)/Proposer(TM), a President with no mandate and without the support of the American people has said that he will veto the Iraq spending bill passed yesterday by the House.

PS3's just flying off the shelves

Yesterday I reported that the HMV on Bromley High Street had forty PS3 consoles for sale. As of this morning they are telling us that they only have thirty six left. So if you want one you'd best hurry. The could sell out by Easter!

23 March 2007

A nation of laws...

...or not as the case may be. The former number two at the Interior Department, under Bush of course, is set to plead guilty to obstruction of justice in the Abramoff affair.

An Ali G break

Somehow I missed this Ali G segment with, among other, the illustrious Ken Hovind. Enjoy.

Shoot the messenger

The Office of the Inspector General of the US Environmental Protection Administration has, in the past, accused the department of manipulating or censoring scientific opinions for political purposes. What to do about that.

The Bush administration approach is to significantly cut the Office's budget and then start making staff redundant before the proposed budgetary levels are approved by Congress.

Good thinking Batman!

A new tack from Tehran

It is not unusual to find the more right wing members of the Iranian press or government blaming the Jews for much, if not all, of what is wrong with the world today. Should we then consider it a sign of a softening position when an article in the Tehran Times decides to blame a conspiracy Freemasons instead?

Does Bush have a brain injury?

George W. Bush is not the most athletic of men, despite his reputation as "macho" amongst the 101st Keyboarders, which probably explains his career as a cheerleader rather than the handsome quarterback. He has fallen off of his bike on numerous occasions and he has even managed to fall off of a Segway, a feat that is apparently quite difficult to do.

Somewhere along the line he has obviously taken a blow or two to the front of his head which may explain his own peculiar morality.

You have been warned!

As things continue to fall apart in Robert Mugagbe's Zimbabwe the government there has given a warning to the foreign press not to peddle "false stories" on security issues. "False" being a Zimbabwean euphemism for "true".

The good Rocky (hint - not from Philly)

I can't imagine that I ever thought that I would one day be singing the praises of the Mayor of Salt Lake City UT but I am. He has taken on a role as an outspoken critic of the damage that George W. Bush ("The Proposer(TM)"/"The Decider(TM)") has done, and continues to do to the reputation and fabric of America. To quote Rocky Anderson:

"President Bush is a war criminal...Let impeachment be the first step toward national reconciliation — and toward penance for the outrages committed in our nation’s name."

My hero! I can't think of anything to add other than "I'm a Big Dick" Cheney's name to the impeachment list.

Breadbasket of the world?

The US General Accounting Office indicates that inefficiencies and poor planning over the past five years have caused the amount of food aid delivered by the US to fall by 43%. For instance the US is now paying 171 USD a tonne (metric ton) to move grain by sea as compared to 123 USD in 2002. That fat, bloated, inefficient bureaucracy (just ask John Bolton) that is the United Nations is currently paying around 100 USD to ship a tonne of grain today.

In addition, US law requires that most, if not all, of the food donated be grown in America rather than in lower cost nations thereby further reducing the effect of each tax dollar spent.

Inefficiency? Poor planning? Somehow this reminds me of something. If this is running government like a business how did any business run by Bush make any money? Oh, I forget, they didn't do all that well.

Want a lap dance?

That'll be £20 + VAT.

PS3 a flop?

There were stories of games fans camping out on pavements to get a good position in the queue when Sony's new PS3 games console went on sale. So what happened? If Bromley is any indication, not a lot. The HMV on Bromley High Street had a sign out front at 9 this morning that indicated that they had 40 consoles available. As of 2 the sign said that they had 40 consoles available.

Maybe it was the rain.

Slavery on the Bush agenda?

Talk of slavery is all the rage this year what with it being the bicentenary of the abolition of the practice in Britain. So one wonders why the Bush administration is weighing in against an appeal decision in the case of Hong Ying Gao who claimed asylum in the United States in 2001 after fleeing China when her mother sold her, as a wife, to a man in her village for the equivalent of 2,200 USD. Ms. Gao claims that the man, to whom she has been promised as a spouse, without her consent, will abuse her.

I have only one question. Is this not slavery? If it is why does the US government want to return her to that in the year 2007? (OK - that's two questions but what the hell!)

Addendum to earlier complaint

To: The Weather God

Dear Sir or Madam,

First of all I should like to thank you for your swift response to my earlier communiqué. Shortly after I sent you the earlier message the snow quite suddenly ceased as is appropriate for springtime. Since you seem to be in a listening mood I thought I would take advantage of such and let you know that I am not all given to fondness for cold, driving rain in any season; winter, spring, summer or autumn. If you would adjust your behaviour accordingly I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks in advance for your prompt attention.

Kind regards,

Yank in London

After all guns are just penis extensions like sport cars

Do you think that when the NRA decided to oppose a House bill that would have banned cockfighting they understood that, at least in this case, the word "cock" refers to domestic fowl and not, you know, penises?

He couldn't win in Pennsylvania...

...but he knows how to win in Iraq or so he says. It is not as if I doubt ex-Senator "Man on Dog" Santorum but, OK, I do doubt he knows whereof he speaks, on anything.

Lifelong learning

According to Russian Colonel General Arkady Yedelev, who head the operational headquarters in the North Caucasus, the US State Department is interested in Russian anti-terrorism techniques in use in Chechnya and plans to send a delegation to the troubled region. According to Col Yedelev:

"The unique counterterrorism system used in the North Caucasus has shaped our state policy and defined roles for all executive bodies in the prevention of terrorism," he said. "The experience has provoked interest among foreigners."

That's right the US is going to study how things are done in Chechnya. This Chechnya. Well they might stumble on something that could come in handy at Guantánamo I reckon.