30 April 2007

Wolfie to leave cheaply?

According to Ray Story Paul Wolfowitz wants to make sure he gets the 400K USD bonus he is due on 1 June before agreeing to leave.

By today's standards 400K barely qualifies as a handshake let alone a golden one!

The Decider(TM) ♥'s Wolfie!

He hasn't got many friends left but World Bank President received a hearty show of support from Bush and his minions this morning prior to meeting with the Bank's board where, if he has any honour, he will resign.

Hey - the Beeb does baseball!

The BBC website has a story about the unassisted triple play by Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. It includes a brief explanation of what it calls the "unusual feat". I can't wait for Sports Illustrated to do an article on the googly!

Science gone mad!

In a world that is absolutely filled with millions upon millions of young boys was it absolutely necessary to invent artificial snot? Don't they have enough to go around? Aren't we overlooking a virtually limitless natural supply of something we will now have to manufacture?

This Safer World - brought to you by Bush&CO

The US State Department is set to release its annual report on terrorism and it will show that there has been a 29% increase in terrorist attacks in 2006 as compared to 2005. 45% of the world's 14,000 (that's 38 a day folks) attacks were in Iraq.

Anyone want to bet this goes out late on Friday afternoon?

Mixed marriages just don't work

That is why I think that the candidacy of Abdul Dean, a Muslim, who is running for a Scottish regional seat as a member of the Christian Peoples Alliance Party is doomed to failure.

Up close and personal

The question on everyone's lips is will high ranking American and Iranian officials actually talk to each other when they both attend a conference on Iraq's security in Egypt next week.

On everyone's lips but mine that is! What I want to know is whether they've booked senior statesman Senator John McCain as the musical entertainment.

Looking to do something different this summer?

Tried of basking on the beach or camping with the kids? Can't handle one more trip to Disney World? Why not give Captain Bert's Biblical Betrothal Camp a try? But hurry as places are strictly limited. If you are an unmarried couple seperate trailers are de rigueur so plan accordingly.

Blind pilot flies from London to Sydney...

...says he was trying to get to Anglesea.

April is the cruelest month

The US death toll in Iraq has topped 100 in April making it the worst month so far this year. As far as civilian casualties go it would seem that even the Iraqis have stopped counting.

What's the matter with Kansas (or is it Missouri)?

Yesterday four human beings were shot and killed in a shopping mall in one of the Kansas Cities. Today if when I go to the KansasCity.com news home page I find nary a mention. The featured story is about a legislative initiative to repair university buildings. In the "More from the Star" section the first mention I can find is the sixteenth listed story.

Is Kansas City such a dangerous place that this isn't news? I admit I haven't been there since the early 80s but it certainly wasn't like that then.


From the department of "isn't news supposed to be something we didn't know already" come reports that Blacks and Latinos are more likely to be searched and arrested by police after a traffic stop than whites. Anyone surprised?

Looking for a way out

Beleaguered World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz is due to meet with the Bank's board today and everyone seems to be looking for an easy way out of the crisis that has been bubbling away since the news became public that the randy Wolfman arranged for a cosy secondment at the US State Department, under US Vice President "I'm a Big" Dick Cheney’s daughter, with a hefty wage increase for his paramour who was also a Bank employee. The International Herald Tribune reports today that it is possible that Wolfowitz could resign in return for an acknowledgement that he acted in "good faith" and the Bank's ethics watchdogs were aware of what he had done and had approved of the moves.

Why treat churches with kid gloves?

There has been a settlement between the state of Pennsylvania and some Christian organisations who had sued the state because they were prevented from using a state sponsored job site to find employees. Why were they prohibited? Because they want to insist that all of their employees must be Christians so Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Taoist, humanists, agnostics and atheists would be specifically discriminated against. The settlement will allow them to use the site and to discriminate.

What I do not understand is why churches (I won't use the term "religions" as I think that is too broad based) and other church related institutions are treated in this favourable way whereas other institutions are not? I even think that one of the attorneys who fought the case against the state agrees with me. Timothy Tracy is quoted as saying that "the right of a religious organization to align itself with individuals of shared belief is as central to that organization's mission as other viewpoints are to nonreligious organizations". If I understand him, and he was not quoted out of context, he is saying that all employers should be allowed to discriminate based on belief so that a scientific publishing company should be allowed to exclude those who do not believe in evolution from their workforce and that oil companies should be able not refuse to hire those folks who believe that the Earth is only 7,000 years old as it takes millions of years to make fossil fuels and this would be a sign that they don't believe in the product.

If that is not what you are saying Mr. Tracy I would appreciate it if you would clarify your remarks.

This is wrong. Just plain wrong.

City of Brotherly Love

Do you know what makes me saddest about the horrorific murder rate (none of them killed by guns of course!) in Philly this year (1.2 per diem)? It isn't even news in Philly. It is as if it is acceptable and there is nothing that can be down about it. There were four murders at the weekend taking the toll so far this year to 137 and, according to their websites it isn't even mentioned on the front page of either the Inquirrer and barely gets a mention in the Daily News.

Old MacDonald had a pharm

The Guardian has a rather interesting article today about the genetic modification of crops with the intention of producing medicines and drugs, also known as "pharming". I confess to mixed emotions about genetic modification in general but I do not suffer from the knee jerk opposition that many in the green community or on the left seem to do. I do think that GM foods have great promise in helping the world, especially the poor, feed themselves but not in the hands of huge multinational corporations.

As presented in this story the use of crops to produce medicines that could not otherwise be produced inexpensively enough to aid the emerging world would seem to have enormous potential, again not in the hands of huge multinationals.

There is also much to fear. We have to ensure that they stay out of the food chain. The recent experience with GM rice in the United States clearly indicates that that country's protocols in this regard are woefully inadequate and, given the lack of uproar over the incident, are likely to remain that way.

Care, in the form of governmental regulation with harsh penalties that would include explicitly defining the criminal responsibility of corporate executives and boards and ensure custodial sentences, needs to be taken to ensure that:
  1. No products are released without sufficient testing to ensure that they products, foods or pharmaceuticals, present no danger to humanity.
  2. That all products are marketed in a manner that ensures that they are labelled as genetically modified and that all down stream products (i.e. crops and / or livestock that are fed or treated with GM products) are identified as such
  3. That sufficient safeguards are in place and rigidly complied with so that these products cannot "accidentally" get into either the human or animal food chain
  4. That sufficient safeguards are in place and rigidly complied with so that these organisms cannot cross breed with other strains and in this matter be released into the wild

The unreality based universe

The Guardian today has a short story about the new "alternative" web sites that are springing up for those who scorn much of what is out there for religious or philosophical beliefs. These sites, such as GodTube, Conservapedia, CreationWiki and the curiously named Ditty Talk (a "Christian My Space Alternative"). The article quite adequately describes a couple of these sites as "just like Wikipedia but are free from the unpleasant left- liberal bias that tends to accompany the truth". Of course the Guardian is a charter member of the hard left main stream media and ergo anything that they publish must immediately be discarded and/or condemned.

Tenet speaks

Former CIA director George Tenet has a new book out entitled At the Center of the Storm. He has given a combatitive interview to CBS's 60 Minutes. It is clear he is an angry man and I sense in him more credibility, even if I don't always agree with his positions, than most of those he worked with.

The Bushies, of course, "say it ain't so".

Only in America

For the well heeled amongst California's prison population things can be a good bit easier than they are for the rest of the population. For 75 to 125 USD a day (£35 - £60) you can get a cell upgrade that keeps you away from the "real" criminal element (i.e. those who are Republicans) and where you may be allowed a laptop or an IPod. You will be called a "client" rather than a prisoner by the "staff" (aka guards).

Now this sort of thing happens all over the world, usually in the developing world (and one suspects Italy as well) but the scam is not so brazen. In order to receive special treatment a "client" has to discretely slip large amounts of cash or drugs to a "member of staff" and the relationship generally lacks official sanction. Only in America would this be an opportunity for the state (or a private prison) to open up a new "revenue stream" in order to "maximise investment" and taxpayer (or shareholder) investment.

It can only be a matter of time before they offer loyalty card schemes; stay 1000 nights and get a free conjugal visit! This is so nineteenth century don't you think?

See it before it melts!

Antarctica is the final frontier, at least on this planet, the last wilderness and the continent that is least likely to be ticked off as having been visited even by globe trotting travellers. But tourism there is on the increase and it is not doing it any good. So hurry up and see it whilst it is still there and by doing so you ensure that it will be gone just a wee bit sooner!

Gone-zo watch (day 42)

I wonder how US Attorney General and Bush succubus Antonio "Gone-zo" Gonzales spent the balance of his weekend after being heckled at his law school reunion on Saturday night? Even at the reunion, which should have been a triumphant return for Gone-zo, one suspects that he wasn't, as he should have been, at the centre of a cluster of "friends" and others kissing up to the government's most powerful lawyer. I suspect he was treated as if he were poison. Well I'm sure he has another exciting week ahead of him trying to make the world understand how such an inept and incompetent toady ever got the position in the first place.

England football manager Steve "I've never really coached a winning team and it doesn't look like I'm going to start now" McClaren is still lying low and rooting for Gone-zo.

(To be continued...)

29 April 2007

You're not exactly free to go

More than 20% of the America's guests at Guantánamo Bay Beach and Leisure Resort have been cleared but not released as there is nowhere for them to go.

I guess that they are lucky they are in such a nice place with excellent conditions. Maybe they can even wrangle an upgrade to business class!

Just because you're paranoid

What is the fixation of the American right wing with the Clintons? It is hard to fathom. Is it because the husband managed to defeat them twice and they are concerned that the wife might repeat the success? Whatever the reason they have a new home on the internets: StopHerNow.com. I hope their tubes don't get all clogged up. I have already signed up for their email updates and look forward to endless hours of entertainment.

12.5% isn't bad

A survey of eight Iraqi reconstruction projects declared as success by the Americans has found that only one of them was still functioning. In at least one case the review came only six months after the last successful inspection. I wonder how many of these were Halliburton jobs.

Why should Wolfie be any different?

It is always the cover up that seems to be the downfall of the arrogant and the greedy; two traits that apply to beleaguered World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz in spades. Documents released by the Bank's ethics committee show that Wolfie tried to "cover his tracks" as regards his intervention in the employment and compensation of his lover.

Iraq update

Iraq suffered 2.22 Virginia Tech Equivalents yesterday as suicide bombers killed seventy one people in Karbala. The toll is only 1.33 VTEs if you use the three fifths of a person rule for brown people as enshrined in the US Constitution.

Like dominos I imagine

Expect all hell to break loose in Washington DC next week if the defence in the case of accused madam Deborah Jeane Palfrey decides to go through with its proposed strategy of naming names of customers. Washington gossip has it that "Randy" Randall Tobias, the State Department official who resigned on Friday once his name came out, will not be the only casualty. Figures who could be named include White House and Pentagon staff, lobbyists and Congressional staff. I would expect both Republicans and Democrats to be nervous over this as lust has no political affiliation that I know of.

How do you know that a young child is going to grow up to be a Republican?

If their first words are "I won't resign"!

1001 reasons American must be armed at all times - number 233

How will unarmed Americans be able to protect themselves, their families and their cable television when crazed wild deer break into their homes? The story does not note whether the animals were wearing Kevlar® and therefore one has to assume that, in addition to weapons, the American family must keep armour piercing ammunition on hand as well!

What to do, what to do

This is just speculation of course but I am trying to work out which way the Decider(TM) will decide to decide to go should Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul ultimately claim victory in the country's Presidential election leading the Turkish military to defend secularism. This could be a very difficult choice for Mr. Bush. On one hand he has his "Freedom Agenda" and theoretically supports democracy. On another hand he is no fan of secularism and prefers "faith based governments". On the third hand (why did elect a mutant President?) he sure doesn't look positively on Islamic governments especially is they are popularly elected without the intervention a judges appointed by one's father.

Crystal Palace reborn*

South London is the forgotten part of the capital, most of the posh bits are north of the river and those of us who live to the south have to remember to take our passports with us when we travel up London. So it is with great pride that I announce that Isambard Kingdom Brunel's water towers that once powered the fountains at Crystal Palace are to be rebuilt as wind turbines. For those of you who do not know the history of South London, and that will be most of you, the Crystal Palace was originally erected in Hyde Park for the Great Exhibition of 1851. At the close of the exhibition it was re-erected in the distant southern suburbs near Sydenham where it remained until it burned down before WWII. (Yeah - I don't know how crystal burns either.) The foundations can still be seen in Crystal Palace Park which is a just short ride on the 227 for me. The dinosaurs, described in Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything as the world's first theme park remain even if they are no longer scientifically correct.

*Note: I am not referring here to my football side, Crystal Palace FC, who are languishing in mid-table obscurity in the Championship and are unlikely to be "reborn" or promoted anytime soon.

A very royal surge

Not to be outdone by the Americans the British are going to have a troop surge of their own. As you may or may not know by now Prince Harry, third in line to the British throne and the grandson of German and Greek immigrants, is to be deployed to Iraq after much ministerial hand-wringing. Of course his grandmother is very concerned about his well being and, in order to ease her concerns, the military is to send a extra group of special forces troops to keep him safe. Not only that but he after two months will get to go home and help organise a concert to honour the anniversary of his mum's death. Not every soldier gets that, do they?

Gone-zo watch (day 41)

It happens to all of us. There are times we have social obligations but we just want to stay at home, put our feet up, pop a beer and watch a little telly but, recognising our obligations, we put on the monkey suit and go anyway. That must describe how US Attorney General and Bush succubus Antonio "Gone-zo" Gonzales felt when deciding whether to go to his law school reunion at Harvard. What happened? Some protesters showed up and ruined the evening for everyone.

The other contestant vying for second place in the who-will-get-sacked-first England football manager Steve "I've never really coached a winning team and it doesn't look like I'm going to start now" McClaren probably just stayed home.

(To be continued...)

28 April 2007

The Trojans of Terror

Classrooms at a Community College in Iowa had to be evacuated yesterday because of a suspicious package. The package turned out to be condoms. Since the students had all had only "abstinence only" sex education none of them had ever seen a prophylactic before, including the pregnant ones.

Americans agree...

...that climate change is really someone else problem. As a representative of the rest of the world I would like to personally thank each and every one of you very much indeed for all of your hard work and willingness to sacrifice.

Better safe than sorry

Increasingly irrelevant US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is in Norway to speak on issues related to Afghanistan, Kosovo and the Middle East. "Why Norway?" you ask. Do you have any idea how dangerous those other places are?

"I guess that means I'm in the clear"

At Human Events Online Pat Buchanan absolves himself of any responsibility for the recent tragedy at Virginia Tech in an article entitled "Too Much Tolerance". If there was ever a more intolerant man than Mr. Buchanan I would not like to meet him. In fact, I would not like to meet Mr. Buchanan either despite the fact that Hunter S. Thompson used to like to get pissed with him.

Dissent in aisle 14

Should we worry that Wal-Mart is hiring former military and government intelligence officers as part of an operation to identify real or perceived "threats" to the world's largest retailer? The targets include "suspect individuals and groups". At least if they spot any of these folks shoplifting Wal-Mart will be ready to act, eh?

One to a customer

Neither the United States nor Israel want to give up using cluster bombs. The UK doesn't either but in the future has pleged to use only so-called "smart" cluster bombs which have a much lower rate of unexploded bomblets.

I would suggest to anyone who thinks this is a good idea that perhaps they should move to Southern Lebanon where, as a result of the recent Israeli invasion, there is a least one unexploded bomb for every resident.

"Go on out and play kids. Just don't play in traffic."

I'm sure he can do it!

This is the geezer, Ray Comfort, shown here with religious philosopher and C list actor Kirk Cameron, who on 5 May 2007 is going to prove the existence of God. It should be ever so exciting don't you think. Don't forget that is 5 May 2007. Put it in your Crackberry.

I would like it to be known that I am an atheist and I am constantly having nightmares about bananas! The man is a genius.

And now for the Scientology

Vertically challenged actor Tom Cruise and his young Stepford wife are helping to ensure that emergency workers who laboured so courageously on and after 11 September 2001 can get Scientologically detoxified. I can just picture L. Ron Hubbard beaming down on the two from on high.

I saw some of his comrades out on Bromley High Street earlier today. Perhaps I should go get one of their free "stress tests". Or perhaps not.

Lest we forget

In case you were under the impression that Iraq was the only crisis and/or disaster on the world stage today this link will take you to an interview with Paul Rusesabagina on whose story the film Hotel Rwanda was based. It makes one wonder how much good we could actually be doing in the world if we weren't pouring limitless billions of USD and the lives of thousands of Americans (and tens of thousands of others) down the drain in Iraq.

I like having a Congressman I actually voted for!

I received the following email from my Congressman, Joe Sestak (D - PA), this morning in response to an email I had sent him thanking him for his work on Iraq.

Dear Mr. Stringer,

Thank you for contacting me to express your views about our current engagement in Iraq . I greatly appreciate your input, and I apologize for the delay in my reply.

As a Member of Congress, it is my responsibility to represent my constituents' concerns and interests and to provide them the honorable and enthusiastic service they deserve. I truly value your input and suggestions on issues before the House. In a representative government such as ours, it is essential that I know what your thoughts and views are on these issues.

As you may know, I firmly believe that Iraq is a tragic misadventure because it was never a clear and certainly not a present danger for our nation. We are now on the road to nowhere in Iraq , and our current policies are doing nothing but taking us farther down this path. We need to do the following things in order to extract ourselves from this situation:

1) Decrease the dependence of the Iraqis on us, both politically and militarily, so they are able to shoulder the burden of their own security when our troops are no longer present

2) Acknowledge and accept the evidence that increasing troops in Baghdad will not work. This is something we have tried time and again but which has failed to curtail the violence. The resolution to this civil war is dependent upon the political decisions that need to be made by Iraqi leaders to cease the sectarian violence - not on the number of troops we have in the country.

3) Finally, we must stop overextending our military. We have an army at home that is nearly broken because of the strain of multiple deployments to Iraq . Continuing a military engagement will further hinder our readiness, and divert attention and resources away from our global security concerns in North Korea , Iran , Afghanistan , the Western Pacific and the Middle East .

The bottom line is that we must set a deliberate timetable for the redeployment of our troops from Iraq . This plan to redeploy will serve as the catalyst for the Iraqis to accept responsibility for their country and will allow us to better address our strategic security interests throughout the rest of the world, as well as here at home. We must also have the confidence to work with Iran and Syria , as well as other regional nations, which have an interest in Iraq becoming stable as we redeploy our troops. They do not want to have millions of dislocated Iraqis overflow the border like two million already have nor do they want a proxy war between their majority Sunni and Shia populations if each side were then to support the different Iraqi Shia and Sunni factions causing the sectarian violence in that nation.

These are all steps that I have laid out in legislation that I have sponsored - H.R. 960, the "Enhancing America's Security by Redeployment from Iraq Act." This binding legislation sets the end of 2007 as the date certain for our redeployment from Iraq . The rationale for doing so is clear - only the Iraqis can bring about the needed reconciliation in their country. Their political leaders must take the difficult political steps needed to cease the violence, by building coalitions among competing sects, ensuring minority rights, balancing power between provincial and central governments, and sharing oil revenues among all regions in Iraq . We simply cannot do this work for them.

While the redeployment specified in my legislation will be carried out to enhance the global security interests of the United States and to improve our military readiness, it will not apply to: special operations forces assigned outside of Iraq that conduct targeted counter-terrorism operations or periodic support operations of the Iraqi security forces in Iraq; air forces assigned to locations outside of Iraq that conduct air operations over Iraq; or other military liaison teams that operate within Iraq.

In addition, H.R. 960 calls for the United States to take a leadership role in the diplomacy and negotiations necessary to bring regional nations together to ensure a stable Iraq . It also calls for the convening of an international conference of nations with the goal of providing economic aid for rebuilding Iraqi infrastructure and other reconstruction efforts that are key to its long-term stability.

The fact of the matter is that everyday we are in Iraq , our overall security goes down. Afghanistan is again prey to terrorists as the Taliban has begun to control the Southern Provinces. North Korea has exploded a nuclear device, Iran is bent upon developing one, and the Middle East is in a perpetual state of conflict - while we have failed to address the center of strategic gravity in the future-the Western Pacific, where China is emerging diplomatically, economically and in other areas.

We simply cannot afford to continue on our current course any longer. There is a better strategy - one that will better address our security interests both abroad and at home - and as your Member of Congress, I will work to ensure that it is implemented.

Again, I appreciate you taking the time to share your views on this matter of utmost importance to our nation's security. If I can be of any additional assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me again. If you would like to receive regular updates on these and other Congressional issues, please visit my website at http://www.house.gov/sestak to sign up for my e-newsletter. I look forward to our future correspondence.


Joe Sestak
Member of Congress

This is vastly superior to all those years of "Crazy" Curt Weldon.

A useful primer

Media Matters for America has a handy little guide to the myths and outright lies propagated by the climate change deniers. Commit it to memory as it will undoubtedly come in handy when having a fag with a right wing nut outside your office's back door on Monday morning.

Whatever you do don't mention the war

At least not until September. I am certain that the Decider(TM) will be far too busy until then what with the cook outs, the brush clearing and all.

In celebration of this insightful decision I give you the finest example of not mentioning the war known to mankind.

Bye bye Wolfie bye bye

World Bank President must surely be spending his weekend packing up the office. Today the Washington Post reports:

A World Bank committee investigating president Paul D. Wolfowitz has nearly completed a report that it plans to give the institution's governing board, concluding that he breached ethics rules when he engineered a pay raise for his girlfriend, three senior bank officials said Friday.

Friday evening, the committee was debating whether to explicitly recommend that Wolfowitz resign, according to the sources, who spoke on condition they not be named, citing an ongoing probe into leaks.

Wolfowitz is scheduled to appear before the committee with his attorney on Monday morning and mount his defense, and the bank's 24-member board of directors will convene that afternoon to discuss the report. The sources suggested that a vote by the board could come that day.

Through his attorney, Wolfowitz vowed to continue the fight to keep his job. "He will not resign under this cloud," said his attorney, Robert S. Bennett, when told of the imminent completion of the committee's report. "He's not going to give in to these coercive tactics."

I note that his defenders, of whom there are fewer and fewer as time passes, always seem to suggest that he did all he could to avoid the conflict of interest. They completely ignore the one thing he could, and should, have done and that is to refuse to accept the position because it would create a conflict of interest. Since he chose not to take that path then we he reaps is what he deserves.

Oh dear

Randall "Randy" Tobias, the Bush administration's head of foreign aid has suddenly decided that he needs to spend more time with his family and less time with high priced hookers. After all he is 65 and probably needs the rest. Besides if we link foreign aid to "abstinence" should we link the dishing out of foreign aid to the same?

How did I miss an earthquake?

Admittedly it wasn't a very big one and Californians will undoubtedly thumb their noses at it but surely I should have felt something. Perhaps it has to do with my uncertainty as to whether I really live in Kent. The Royal Mail says that I do but both my phone number, an 0208 prefix, and the Mayor of London say that I live in London instead. I do have to drive about four or five miles away from town to reach the "Welcome to Kent" sign if that is any indication.

If George Tenet refuses to fall upon his sword he must be pushed!

Former CIA director George Tenet’s new book is due out Monday and it is already causing a storm of controversy as he apparently refuses to do the honourable thing and accept the blame for the catastrophe that is Iraq. He instead suggests that Bush and his minions had decided to illegally invade with or without the aid of the intelligence community and that Mr. Tenet’s now infamous “slam dunk” remark did not have any influence. Of course there are some who find all of this to be just "self-serving revisionism" and somehow manage to associate it with Sheryl Crow.

"Hmm. Now just where did I put those darn documents?"

How much do you wish to wager that the White House won't remember where they put these documents related to the death of Pat Tillman that the House Oversight Committee would like to see?

Why is the Alabama Free Militia like Luis Posada Carriles?

Because despite all evidence to the contrary the press doesn't seem to want to refer to them as "suspected terrorists" despite the fact that a raid of several member's homes in Alabama yielded "nearly 250 grenades and improvised explosive devices and 2,500 rounds of ammunition". Alice Martin, a not-yet-sacked US Attorney, announced the arrests and said that the group, which is considered violent, " just have a beef with the government". Let us see how the press describes these lovely men shall we?

The Huntsville (AL) Times - "anti-government militia"

The Sand Mountain (AL) Reporter - "anti-government group"

The Birmingham (AL) Times - "a group"

The esteemed Washington Times - - "a militia operation"

ABC News - no categorisation at all

So the Feds arrest five men who have a "beef with the government" and who have been "stockpiling weapons" including explosives not to mention drugs and it's no big deal. They must be white Christians.

Abdul Hadi al-Iraqi to face American justice

The US has released news that it has in its custody Abdul Hadi al-Iraqi who is said to be a high ranking al Qaeda operative and that they are transferring him to Guantánamo Bay Beach and Leisure Resort where he will undoubtedly receive humane treatment, get a free and fair trail and work on his tan all without unduly taxing the legal community.

I am not saying that Mr. Hadi is not in all probability a not very nice person. I am just saying that with the process so stacked against him that irrespective of the outcome I will always harbour a suspicion that justice has not been served.

To boldly go where only Gene Roddenberry has gone before

Today the ashes of (not really very good but incredibly lucky) actor James Doohan aka Star Trek's Scotty are due to be launched into their final frontier. A moment of silence if you please.

My advice for the good women of Indiana

Do not, under any circumstances, marry this man. Trust me on this. It will all go pear shaped in the end.

Are we up for it?

A UN study due to be released next week and previewed by the Guardian today is to say that the world has the resources; scientific, technological and financial; to defeat climate change if we are willing to put our minds to it.

Read it and get to work will you?

Fußball und Fruchtbarkeit

Want to increase your country's fertility rate? Do well in the World Cup. Apparently the positive emotions increase the odds of pregnancy and if your side does well the old man will probably be up for shagging. It seems to have worked for Germany at any rate.

What's a country to do?

A state that takes human rights seriously in the 21st century (sorry for eliminating the US from the discussion straightaway) clearly has a difficult path to follow. Imagine that your country is host to some individuals that you seriously believe have strong associations with terrorism but you have insufficient evidence to charge and try them. Normally you would deport them to their country of origin but in this case their home state is suspected of abusing and torturing suspects and depriving them of other human rights such as the presumption of innocence and access to a fair trial. (No - they are not Americans!) Then someone in the government comes up with a bright idea. You will deport them to their homes but before you do you will get their government to sign a little letter promising not to torture the deportees. After all there is no reason to distrust a country that abuses its own citizens is there?

But then your damned activist judiciary gets in the way and says: "Sorry mate. We can't trust these geezers and you've got to set the men free." I can't wait to see the next idea they come up with.

Gone-zo watch (day 40)

US Attorney General and Bush succubus Antonio "Gone-zo" Gonzales has managed to stagger, reeling and rocking, into another weekend whilst still hanging onto his job but it seems that some folks are still dissatisfied. I hope he has a relaxing weekend before he wades back into battle on the Monday.

Steve "I've never really coached a winning team and it doesn't look like I'm going to start now" McClaren has also staggered into the weekend still employed largely by keeping his head down.

(To be continued...)

27 April 2007

An interesting new theory

I'm going to have to give this some thought. One Ms. Mary Grabar, over at the ever enlightening Townhall.com, puts forward the idea that guns don't kill people but the liberal arts do. A someone who majored in English Literature at University I think this means I'm supposed to go out and commit mass murder now if only to prove Ms. Grabar correct.

Is Google taking political positions now?

Today I noticed that on the Google News World page that a story entitled "US Papers Friday: Aiding the Enemy" has positioned next to it the photograph from this article. Do they know something that I only suspect?

The Washington Times misleads me!

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that this headline* did not lead me to an article about Alberto "Gone-zo" Gonzales's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee!

*"D.C. region seen as prone to blackouts"

War is good!

Oil wars are even better. At least they are if you are ExxonMobil whose profits leapt to 9.28 billion USD for the last QUARTER! For those of you who are shite at maths that comes to 1.2 million USD a second! Not bad eh?

Wackos, wackos everywhere and not a mole in sight

As if the suggestion that the US Constitution should be amended for the purposes of regulating violence on television wasn't barmy enough now we have someone named John M. Snyder that Congress should prohibit Federal tax funds going to any institution of higher learning that doesn't allow students to pack heat! In the words of this obviously obsessed and possibly unstable man legislation could be written that

"could provide that on any college or university campus receiving federal funds, students or faculty there who have state issued permits to carry concealed firearms will not be prevented by institutional officials from carrying them."

I don't think Mr. Snyder goes far enough. I think that taxpayer financing should be kept from any college or university that does not REQUIRE students to carry concealed weapons! Why should taxpayer funds be spent on security and police to keep people safe when it is a citizen's responsibility to take care of that him or herself.

The other curious thing about this news release is that was issued by an organisation that calls itself "Christian Newswire". Is this a religious issue? Has God told us to carry automatic small arms with us everywhere when I wasn't listening to what She was saying? I don't get it.

Why does the Bush administration hate the Second Amendment?

I am waiting for the bile and vitriol to start spewing forth from the headquarters of the National Rifle Association in opposition to a proposal from the Bush administration that would allow the Attorney General the discretion to deny TERRORISM SUPSECTS the "right" to buy guns!

A common sense approach (except for that bit at the end)

Robert Peters, president of (my kind of) Morality in the Media, issued a statement yesterday applauding the FCC's report relating to children and violence in broadcast media. Fair enough. I think we can all agree with that. I think it is hard to argue with the statement that American children are exposed to too much violence (and not enough sex!) on TV. (OK, OK the sex thing is my addition to the argument. I've been watching European TV for fifteen years!) Then just when I think I can agree with all of this the top of his head explodes and madness comes pouring out. Towards the end of his statement we get the following:

Failing that [more activist right wing Supreme Court Justices], the Constitution will have to be amended to clarify that the First Amendment does not prevent government from enacting reasonable legislation to protect children from entertainment that is harmful to them."

I always thought conservatives were supposed to be big on personal responsibility. Whatever happened to parental responsibility, eh?

Maximising shareholder value - the Abbot Labs way

Abbot Laboratories, one of the founding members of Big Pharma, is holding a gun to the head of the Thai government over medications for AIDS/HIV.

Some may call it unethical but I say “Unethical my arse - it's just good business!”

Freedom on the march!

I think that the Decider(TM) should take a good hard look at the new constitution proposed for Thailand. Perhaps he could get a few pointers. I'm sure that he would be more than happy to operate under a system that would, as described by the Christian Science Monitor, prevent "future politician from using a popular mandate to challenge the status quo. Instead, the framers appear to favor a partial democracy that reins in the powers of elected representatives and keeps their ambitions in check." It's not exactly that dictatorship you were so looking forward to but it is certainly headed in that direction!

Bible porn!

As brought to you by the global Jewish conspiracy. It would seem that the Jewish faith has a different Old Testament to the one that Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell read!

A step further

Yesterday Russian President Vladimir Putin said that his country would suspend compliance with a critical military treaty in reaction to American plans to install missile and radar bases in former Warsaw Pact countries. Today he goes further by calling the American weapons "not just a defence system [but]...part of the US nuclear weapons system" and suggested that they could cause "mutual damage and even destruction". I think it is fair to say that he is opposed.

Cruel and inhuman and not justice either

As Amnesty International reports that world executions are down despite over 20,000 people being on death row one has to wonder if it is just coincidental that George W. Bush is no longer the Governor of Texas. In a not unrelated development Iraq has leapt ahead of its mentor the United States to move into joint fourth place with the Sudan. The US slips to sixth.

The Devil's doing

A delegate to the Utah Republican Party conference, what a load of laughs that must be, has put forward a resolution that he believes to think clarifies an issue that is currently of great interest to many Americans. Don Larsen of Utah County Utah, not to be confused with this Don Larsen, uses his resolution, to be debated by the state's prominent Republicans, to point out "Satan's plan to destroy the U.S. by stealth invasion". Couldn't be clearer in my opinion. To quote from his submission:

"In order for Satan to establish his 'New World Order' and destroy the freedom of all people as predicted in the Scriptures, he must first destroy the U.S....The mostly quiet and unspectacular invasion of illegal immigrants does not focus the attention of the nations the way open warfare does, but is all the more insidious for its stealth and innocuousness."

Will this make it to the party's national platform one wonders? One can only hope so.

Peer reviewed religion?

"Best selling" author Ray Comfort tells us that God's existence is not a matter of faith and that he can prove it! I wait with bated breath to be ensured of Her existence.

Good news from Iraq!

I thought I should hurry up and tell you that Iraqi government with assistance from UNICEF, the World Health Organisation and the European Commission is making a major effort to ensure that children are vaccinated against measles. So just in case something goes wrong there it is. Good news. Iraq.

Don't anyone dare to tell me that I'm always so negative!

If Americans didn't have a "right" to guns...

...what would they use to threaten those who want to regulate access?

I think that should settle it once and for all don't you?

Wolfie's bedroom folly continues

Perhaps we should have a new competition to see who has the fewest friends; US Attorney General Alberto "Gone-zo" Gonzales or World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz. I would have initially bet on the former but Wolfie is gaining considerable ground, by losing hosts of friends, at a breakneck pace. Yesterday the World Bank's anticorruption team that was formed by Mr. Wolfowitz said that the scandal swirling around Wolfie and his lover was making there job difficult. They did stop short of saying he should resign but then they do work for him and haven't, as yet, managed to acquire one of those Wolfowitz Special Contracts like Ms. Riza.

Don't forget check your bacon carefully

Whilst the FDA wasn't looking at least 300 hogs that were fed on the contaminated feed at the heart of the recent pet food scandal slipped into the human food. In related news someone best call the Pope as another 6000 of the porcine beasts who may have also had the feed are scheduled to be euthanized!

Lest we forget

Yesterday was the seventieth anniversary of the bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. The incident was famously memorialised by Pablo Picasso in a mural originally painted for the Spanish Pavilion of the 1937 World's Fair.

"and the land of the free" (an occasional series)

The American government has asked a Federal appeals court to allow more restrictions on the access of lawyers to residents at the Guantánamo Bay Beach & Leisure Resort above and beyond the draconian regime that is already in place. The Yanks claim that visits by solicitors "cause unrest on the base". This is probably due to the lawyers giving the prisoners outlandish ideas such as the possibility of their innocence. After all the Decider(TM) long ago decided to decide that these men and boys are guilty Evil Doers.

I don't know about you but that is certainly good enough for me!

Thou shalt have no other gods before me

I'm not certain about this but could it be that the Christian God is undergoing a de-merger process and we will be left with a Catholic God who believes in climate change and that the "faithful" should do something about it alongside an Protestant evangelical God who doesn't believe in climate change and who thinks that those atheistic green folks are trying to put one over on her flock?

The Pinking of Poland

I do not know this but I imagine that Polish Prime Minster Jaroslaw Kaczynski must surely be a darling of the American religious right. He yesterday rejected criticism of Poland's homophobic society and said that it was "not in society's interests to increase the number of gay people". At roughly the same time the European Union called on Poland to put a halt to homophobia and end discrimination based on sexual preference.

I am sure this will all work out in the end. It is not as if they are kilometres apart, is it?

Cold war redux?

Russian President Vladimir Putin has indicated that Russia comply with the terms of the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty, which was negotiated between the Soviet Union and NATO. The treaty limits, as its name would suggest, the numbers of conventional forces on the continent. The Russian suspension is in reaction to American plans to install American missiles on Russia's doorstep, in Poland and/or the Czech Republic, as part of the son-of-the-son-of-the-son-of-Star-Wars.

The world is a little less today

Cellist extraordinaire Mstislav Rostropovich died today at the age of 80. He was a brilliant cellist, a fine composer and a brave resister against the Soviet authorities.

Getting worser all the time

Who forgot to give General David Petraeus the official White House "This Is How Rosy Things Going in Iraq" script? Karl Rove must be slipping to allow this to happen; perhaps he is concerned that a White House counsel that is being investigated for political corruption is going to investigate him for political corruption. Testifying before Congress yesterday the commander of US forces in Iraq he admitted that the situation there will "get harder before it gets easier".

Don't tell ExxonMobil but...

...this April is set to be the warmest on record in England since the English started keeping track of these things nearly 300 years ago. I, for one, am not finding it "delightful" as the weather folks on the telly feel we should find it. I would much prefer highs of 14-15C with it being warm in the sun and rather cool at night. Perhaps I should move to Finland.

Those are some mighty big toes you've stepped on Tony

I have previously noted that I am inspired by the slavish devotion that the Tony Blair government shows to protecting the fragile reputation of British merchant-of-death BAE systems.

My awe is even greater now that I learn the Tony is risking the considerable wrath of the Decider(TM) who has had his Ambassador lodge an official complaint over the cancellation of the inquiry into BAE's alleged corrupt practices.

One does wonder what caused the Americans, usually such good friends to young Tony, to get their knickers in a twist over this. The options are limited. I seem only three probable scenarios:

a) The United States is launching a campaign against corrupt business practices and, in addition to this complaint, have decided to cease offering no bid contracts in Iraq, have severed all ties with US Vice President "I'm a Big" Dick Cheney's former firm Halliburton because of a fear that there would appear to be a conflict of interest and that the Decider(TM) has decided to decided to order World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz to resign.

b) The US is concerned that the sale of advanced weaponry to countries in such an unstable part of the world could lead to wider conflict and ruin the chance for peace in the region. (The BAE deal which sparked the cancelled inquiry was to sell EuroFighters to the Saudis.) The US is set to announce the cancellation of all proposed and previously contracted arms sales to Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirate, Egypt, Qatar, Kuwait and Pakistan.

c) The US is pissed off because they feel that the British deal, corruptly arranged, took the place of a deal between the Saudi's and an American merchant-of-death that could have been corruptly arranged.

After much consideration I have to go with option c)!

I know I can't dance - he doesn't seem to know that he can't

The only way the Decider's behaviour in the White House garden yesterday could be deemed acceptable is if he had been at a family wedding and he'd had a wee bit too much to drink. Well there wasn't a wedding and he doesn't drink, allegedly.

As you watch this remember this is not your slightly embarrassing and intellectually challenged neighbour from a few doors down but the person is generally described as the "leader of the free world" and who has his finger on the launch button of the largest nuclear arsenal in the world.

Gone-zo watch (day 39)

Yet another weekend is looming over us yet US Attorney General and Bush succubus Antonio "Gone-zo" Gonzales continues to hang on to his job. No matter what happens from this point forward Gone-zo will certainly rank amongst the most inept and least intellectually capable of American Attorneys General. Still his cause cannot be helped that the less-than-liberal seems to notice that Gone-zo has no friends.

Steve "I've never really coached a winning team and it doesn't look like I'm going to start now" McClaren is also still hanging onto the England football manager spot.

(To be continued...)

26 April 2007

I never looked at it this way.

I mean what if God isn't actually ON America's side? What if she is on some other country's side? Let's take Iran as an example. Their President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is suggesting that God, or Allah as she is known in those parts might be on their side instead.

Shit. This might not be good news!

And we haven't even got a (written) Constitution

Yet the British High Court has ruled that a man who has been held by British authorities without charge since 2004 must be released after his lawyers filed one of those pesky habeas corpus petitions that the Decider(TM) is so un-fond of. The court said that his detention was "arbitrary and unjustified".

Only one to a customer!

I'm only going to say this once. Just because a bunch of European socialist scientists have found Planet Earth II doesn't mean we can stop worrying about climate change, nuclear weapons or who will get voted off of American Idol.

We can't OK. If we fuck this planet up that is it. No second chances. No hopping off to this rock orbiting Gliese 581 and fucking up that one too.

No, no, a thousand times no!

"Mummy - why does Rover sleep all day?"

Is the family pet depressed? Does he find it hard to crawl out of his basket in the morning to go for a wee? Is he listless or has he gone off his feed?

For these pet symptoms and many, many more Eli Lilly has the answer!

Prozac for dogs.

Is this a high crime or a misdemeanour?

The White House saw to it that top officials at twenty different government agencies got political briefings on the mid term elections last year. These were seemingly part of a larger effort to ensure that agency staff were kept abreast of Republican political fortunes and undoubtedly needs as well.

A violation of the Hatch Act? Maybe, maybe not. Impeachable? Now that is a much better question!

Who knew the pill popping prima donna was this talented?

His immenseness Rush Limbaugh does like to entertain his audience. This week he brings us "Barrack - the Magic Negro as a bit of light entertainment.

Quite a guy our Rush. I wonder how is erectile dysfunction is coming along.

An up and coming war (or is it just a front)

It will be US ally Turkey v US allies Iraqi Kurds unless something happens to change course. There have already been Turkish air incursions into Iraqi air space and the Iraqi Kurdish freedom fighters, or are they terrorists - I get so confused, are massing forces at the Iraq - Turkey border.

I wonder how the Decider(TM) will manage to spin this as progress; not that I doubt he will at least try.

The invisible hand of the market....

...meets the invisible hand of the regulator and all is well. The US government's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), charged as its name suggests with monitoring and ensuring employee safety, is more or less shutting itself down and allowing industry to "self-regulate" except in extraordinary cases. Of course the health and safety of workers has not been affected favourably by this unannounced shift but profits and share prices probably are.

Swiss guns

One of the places that the US National Rifle Association likes to point to attempt to prove their "guns don't kill people - gun control kills people" argument is Switzerland where all adult men are issued an army weapon that they keep at home after going through their training. Well it is possible they won't be able to do so for much longer; not because the Swiss have started killing each other en masse but because the Swiss don't seem to think that it is a good idea any longer.

Dumb like a fox

I hear yet another chorus of criticism from those damned, treasonous lefties about the fact that Scott Bloch, head of the White House’s Office of Special Council, who is set to launch an investigation into Karl Rove’s political activities out of the White House, has some ethics problems of his own. Mr. Bloch is under investigation himself after a number of complaints from his own staff. (See what happens when you don’t value loyalty über alles?) Mr. Bloch is accused of politicising his own office.

I don’t see why those damn hard left liberals (I think I stole that phrase from Bill O’Reilly) don’t think this is such a good idea. If you are going to go looking for corruption and ethical violations you wouldn’t want some choirboy doing the looking would you? How the hell would he know where to look? You need someone just a sleazy. I say that Mr. Bloch is exactly the man for the job. It's just like hiring hackers to be in charge of internet security!

A bold green initiative from the Bushies

The US Environmental Protection Agency (who says Americans have no sense of irony) has finally agreed to rule on California's request to regulate tailpipe emissions of cars and trucks. However the head of the EPA refused to be drawn as to exactly how long this might take. I reckon it will take just over 634 days.

At least it's not a hooker this time

Hugh Grant has had a previous brush with the law, back in 1995 he was arrested in LA for lewd conduct as a result of his encounter with the less-than-Divine Brown, a local prostitute.

This time he's been arrested for attacking a photographer with baked beans.

Wolfowitz asked to resign?

UPI is reporting that the agency that oversees the World Bank has asked the Bank's president, Paul Wolfowitz, to resign citing the "irreparable harm" he is doing to the Bank.

And take your bloody socks with you!

Calling all editors

Didn't anyone send McClatchy Newspapers the Luis Posada Carriles script? If so, why are they referring to the newly freed man as a "alleged terrorist" rather than the mandated "anti-Castro militant"?

By the way is it just me or is there more than a passing resemblance between Sr. Posada and Andy Griffith during his Matlock period?

The Decider(TM) tries his hand at healing

I'm sure the Decider(TM) truly and honestly decided to decide that it was a good idea for him to call up injured NJ Governor Jon Corzine and wish him well but would it make you feel any better?

Don't the Chinese follow the American press?

If they did they would probably realise that they were seriously wasting their time by inviting the US Food and Drug Administration to share their food inspection expertise with the Chinese are roughly the same time that the FDA is more or less admitting that their expertise is flawed and the US food chain is largely unprotected.

Where have all the constructionists gone?

It used to be that most conservative judges were what are known as "constructionists" in that their judicial philosophy as regards the Constitution and its amendments tries to put themselves into the heads of the framers, or those responsible for the writing of later amendments, to try and determine what their "original intent" was as regards the meaning and to make decisions that do not stray from that irrespective of how much the world has moved on. They were also firm believers in state decisis.

That no longer seems to be the case; at least with the conservative, or perhaps one should say, right-wing, justices on the US Supreme Court. They recently overturned precedent in the decision to allow bans on certain late term abortions to stand and it would now appear that they are seriously considering overturning the McCain-Feingold Reform Act which regulates political campaigns. If they do it will be on the basis that they equate the unlimited spending of money as free speech. I defy anyone to go into the Federalist Papers and related documents and show me something to prove that framers clearly had that intent.

Go on. I dare ya!

Can you blame them?

A poll of citizens of four Muslim nations finds that, in general, they are distrustful of America and its motives and believe that "the United States has an intention to harm Islam [and] undermine Islam". Disturbingly a surprising percentage do not believe that al Qaeda was responsible for the 11 September attacks.

Since Karen Hughes is so capable and she also works for a man who values competence above all else we can only assume that things were much, much worse 18 months ago before she took on the task of improving America's image amongst the world's Muslim people.

I am beyond words

Sometimes I have to tell people, whether here or abroad, that on certain occasions I have been ashamed to be an American. Telling that to the wrong person in the States usually brings forth a seemingly unending stream of vitriol usually followed by instructions to "fuck off back to England". Nonetheless I continue to persist in making the statement when conditions warrant it. After watching this I found it necessary once again. This made me ashamed to be American and I hope that there are others who share my remorse and if there are I hope that they also share the desire see to it that this sort of unforgivable abuse of American citizens and soldiers does not happen again. We should start with demanding the resignation, preferably with a dishonourable discharge, of Lt. Col. Ralph Kauzlarich who so ineloquently described Pat Tillman as "worm dirt" because he and his family didn't have religious beliefs that lived up to the Colonel's high standards.

Is there something about the Decider(TM) that they're not telling us?

I only ask because this headline, "Osborne 'intimate' with Bush... and 150 others", piqued my curiosity. Ostensibly it is about the British Tory Party attempting to rebuild their relationship with the Bushite wing of the American Republican Party but I'm suspicious that there could be a coded meaning of some sort.

"We’re not fighting terrorism...we’re sitting here in an air conditioned place"

It is unlikely that anyone will ever accuse US Congressman Jack Murtha (D - PA) of being a great orator. Whilst he is a Democrat, he is a very conservative Democrat and there are any number of issues on which he and I will disagree and disagree strongly. However if anyone, anywhere, anytime has the unmitigated gall to question his true, real and profound devotion to the men and women in the US Armed Forces they must be called out on it. In the clip below he address the House on the Iraq financing bill. In addition to the quote in the title he also calls out McCain on his lame attempt at an IED joke on the Daily Show.

1001 reasons to be a (British Republican) - number 138

Because some people are more equal than others. Now I have nothing against young Prince Harry personally and I do not wish him, or any other member of the British Armed Forces, harm but he has signed up for a career in the Army and should not, indeed must not, receive special treatment simply because of his German - Greek bloodlines!

Why is it I wonder...

...that Andrew Cockburn's forthcoming book about the ex-US Defense Secretary is entitled Rumsfeld: An American Disaster in the UK whereas in the States it is to be called Rumsfeld: His Rise, Fall, and Catastrophic Legacy? Are my countrymen really that sensitive?

Isn't gambling illegal in America?

As I am not a rich person I am probably not considered possessed of sufficient expertise to comment on new record achieved by the Dow Jones Industrial Average yesterday but I will nonetheless. Please excuse me for shouting.


The global "War on Truth"

Why, one is compelled to ask, would the Iraqi government withold statistics on civilian deaths from the United Nations unless they are under pressure from the Decider(TM) and his minions who are desperate to make the "Surge" appear as if it is working?

In related news the United Kingdom government refused a transit visa to Dr. Riyadh Lafta, co-author of the study published in the Lancet to allow him to pass through London on his way to present a paper in British Columbia. The United States had already denied him a visa that would have allowed him to speak at the University of Washington. What is it that an epidemiologist has to say that is so dangerous?

Gordon and Paddy in a tree

In a move to appear more serious about affairs outside of the Exchequer British Prime Minister-in-waiting (and waiting and waiting and waiting) Gordon Brown is to enlist the aid of former Liberal Democrat Party leader and the "Baron of Bosnia" Paddy Ashdown to help him rethink the Iraq strategy and hopefully find a way out of this mess.

Will they bring the Stonehenge set along?

Great news for all of those who believe that an amplifier is not really an amplifier unless it goes up to eleven; Spinal Tap is to "reform" and perform live at Wembley Stadium in the Live Earth concert promoting the fight against global warming.

The nature of secrets

Sir Nigel Sheinwald, a senior Blair adviser, has told a court that the leak of the minutes of a meeting between the British PM and the Decider(TM) in which the two allegedly discussed, with some seriousness, bombing al-Jazeera damaged "Britain's international standing" and put lives at risk. If fact he went further and suggested that these discussions must remain secret irrespective of the "illegal or morally abhorrent the nature of their discussions".

I find this argument specious and dangerous. In reality what suffers the most damage here is not Britain's but the standing, reputations and future legacy of Blair and the Decider(TM).

There's only one Alan Ball...

...but alas no more.

How long before England again, if ever, has another World Cup hero like him?

Gone-zo watch (day 38)

I never thought when I began these daily reviews of the status of US Attorney General and Bush succubus Antonio "Gone-zo" Gonzales's career I certainly didn't suspect I would still be at it after 38 days. Clearly I underestimated the sleazy little amnesiac's desire and ability to hang on to a job that is well beyond his abilities. The Salt Lake Tribune, from out there in the left wing heartland, reports that Senators are asking Gone-zo to emulate the Gropenator and submit himself to a Total Recall experience.

Steve "I've never really coached a winning team and it doesn't look like I'm going to start now" McClaren front is also still hanging onto the England football manager spot.

(To be continued...)

25 April 2007

In the spirit of "no one like's me I don't care"...

...I present beleaguered World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz. The only one who seems to like is, once again, the Decider(TM).

I should say so!

According to a gay Tory MP former British Prime Minister Ted Heath had to be warned off cruising for gay sex or it might "harm his future political career".

Gone too far

Most of Pennsylvania, my home state (I was actually born in Delaware but only spent a fortnight there), is home territory for the National Rifle Association but have pro-gun lunatics finally gone too far by hanging up a banner at the state Capitol that called for the lynching, murder or execution, take your pick, of State Rep. Angel Cruz (D - Philly) who has had to audacity to introduce a serious gun control bill?

I think so. I believe in free speech as much, and generally much more, than the next guy but once you cross the line of endorsing or encouraging violence it is a crime as far as I am concerned. Lock 'em up I say!

Strange but true?

Given the current (lack of) value of the US dollar I find it hard to believe that the US turned out to be the most expensive country in which to buy ten tourist essentials, one of which is beer.

Like ships that pass in the night

As the United States forges back into the past its southern neighbour, Mexico, heads the other way.

I thought you should know

The Guardian's "Diary" column reports today that David Crosby is quoted in the current issue of Classic Rock magazine as saying about the Decider(TM)

"Don't you think there should be a law that you cannot have control of nuclear weapons unless you can pronounce the word 'nuclear'?"

I'm not going to actually purchase this magazine to confirm it.

Corrections and clarifications

I fear I may have misreported yesterday when I said that doctors had failed in their attempts to reattach the penis of the man who had cut it off in a restaurant on the Strand. It seems now that they have managed to sew it back on but aren't sure it will take. In the words of an unnamed urologist:

"Attaching the penis is a very long, complex and painstaking operation"

Should the surgery prove to be a failure they will have to cut the man's member off again.

Schadenfruede alert

Things really are going poorly for the Decider(TM) and his minions these days aren't they? I have the greatest sympathy for the family and friends of Pat Tillman as well as for Jessica Lynch and her family nonetheless I am allowed to take just a soupçon of enjoyment out of the difficulties being caused to Bush&Co by their failures to spin the tragic events surrounding these two brave individuals into good political news. Come on, I am, aren't I?

"We're number two - we're number two!"

It would appear that US Vice President "I'm a Big" Dick Cheney is falling down on the job in his role as America's Greenhouse Gas Emissions Czar (GGEC). Word reaches us that China is now expected to surpass the US, on a total but certainly not per capita basis, as the world's leading CO2 emitter far earlier than expected and perhaps as early as the end of this summer.

Americans, will you take this lying down or will you fill yourself with a good old American can-do attitude (and the Hummer with petrol) and get out there and start emitting like mad before it's too late?

We must have forgot to declare victory!

According to sources at the ever venerable Scotland Yard al-Qaida is doing just fine despite the global "War on Terra" (which we don't mention anymore). How could that be? Everyone else keeps telling us how rosy things are.

"We didn't actually say $50 billion did we? Oh dear!"

It seems that, as usual, the spin was better than the reality as regards the promises of the G8 nations to contribute 50 billion USD to help "make poverty history" two years ago. It seems that most folks forgot to write the cheques.

As long as they got re-elected they probably don't care either. I mean who will remember?

Gone-zo watch (day 37)

The attitude of US Attorney General and Bush succubus Antonio "Gone-zo" Gonzales to the chorus of "get out now mate" from Republicans and Democrats alike reminds me of the old Millwall FC chat - "Nobody likes us - we don't care". As long as the Decider(TM) has decided to decide to continue to think that Gone-zo is alright nothing else seems to matter.

No news on the Steve "I've never really coached a winning team and it doesn't look like I'm going to start now" McClaren front.

(To be continued...)

24 April 2007

The Decider(TM) gets his facts wrong (again)!

He says that Americans didn't "vote for failure". Well enough of them, even if not a majority of them, voted for him didn't they?

Link between abortion and breast cancer refuted

A report in the upcoming issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine tells us that there appears to be no link between either abortion or miscarriage and breast cancer risk. Of course there are those who, without bothering with the science, tell us that those Harvard folks are just plain wrong.

SNL and Gone-zo

And I didn't even know Saturday Night Live was still on. Is it even remotely funny anymore?


Even by Israeli standards (they obviously have never placed a high priority on public relations) shooting a Nobel Peace Prize winner has to be considered a faux pas. Mairead Corrigan was shot with a plastic bullet and tear gassed at a demonstration against the wall that the Israelis are building to imprison the Palestinians.

I'd stick to the computer games

Taiwan has run a computer simulation that says it would win a war with China. If I were them I would stick to the Play Station and leave real war to the big boys.

I'm not this optimistic

Former President of the Irish Republic and head of human rights for the United Nations Mary Robinson is hopeful that the recent tragedy at Virginia Tech will spur the US to support a treaty to limit the world wide trade in small arms. I don't think she should hold her breath.

It is good to know I'm right!

Less than an hour ago I wrote a post that asked the question "Don't they know gun control kills people".

Now I my prescience has been confirmed by no less a luminary than a son (not the gay one I think) of Ronald Reagan who tells us in unequivocal terms that "Gun laws kill". So there!

I guess they wouldn't let Aldous Huxley into the States anymore either

Andrew Feldmar is a Vancouver psychologist. Recently he was headed down to Seattle to visit a friend. He was randomly pulled out of a queue at the US border and when he said he was a psychologist the border guards Googled his work. He had once written an article on the therapeutic potential of LSD which suggested that he had used the drug himself. When the agents found this article they barred him from entry for narcotics use and finger printed him for the FBI. They then ushered him back to his car, made sure he did a U-turn and sent him on his way home.

Some country, eh? It makes my heart swell with pride it does.

Don't they know gun control kills people?

Those left winger Communist anti-American thugs over at the Washington Post are proving their disloyalty to God's blessed land, the United State, by running an article today entitled "Britain's Gun Laws Seen as Curbing Attacks" as if the guns were responsible as opposed to the victims!

They'll be pitching for warm beer, cricket and driving on the left anytime now I reckon.

I can't hear you!

I hope that all of those on the right who made fun of British Cabinet member Hillary Benn when he said that the UK government has stopped using the phrase "War on Terra" as it was unhelpful will also take time out of their otherwise busy schedules to take the piss out of the Pentagon now that they have stopped referring to the "War on Terra" as a long war. According to Lt. Col. Matthew McLaughlin, a spokesman for Central Command, the change "is a product of our ongoing effort to use language that describes the conflict for our Western audience while understanding the cultural implications of how that language is construed in the Middle East...The idea that we are going to be involved in a 'Long War', at the current level of operations, is not likely and unhelpful" (emphasis mine).

I wait with bated breath.

Addendum: Also are these generals, by saying the "War on Terra" is not going to be a long war in fact telling the terrorist, evil-doers and Islamofascists that it will in fact be a short one and ergo all they have to do is wait? That strikes me as "aiding and abetting".

Love the corrupter - hate the corruption

Now that he is knee deep in shit World Bank President and neo-con emeritus Paul Wolfowitz has promised his board that he can change and change he will, damnit, but he won't resign. That and he's keeping Checkers as well!

New name for Gone-zo

The Chicago Tribune has come up with a new name for US Attorney General Alberto "Gone-zo" Gonzales: The Man Who Wasn't There. I'm sure that he will wear his new moniker with considerable pride.

Alien sues US under US Alien Tort Act

Those freedom haters at the American Civil Liberties Union have filed a suit against the CIA on behalf of Khaled El-Masri, a German national, who was "extraordinarily rendered" to Afghanistan where he contends he was tortured and mistreated. El-Masri has never been charged with a crime and was released by the Americans after five months. He was scheduled to attend yesterday's news conference announcing the legal action but the US authorities denied him entry to the country when he landed at Atlanta. Foreigners have the right to pursue redress for human rights violations in American courts under the Alien Tort Act although I do not expect the drafters of the legislation ever envisioned this result.

Anyone want to bet that the government cries "national security, national security" to stop the case getting to court and gets away with it?


Bill O'Reilly has a caught an extreme case. Watch it.

Note his fair and balanced discussion group that consists of Bill (right wing nut case), an author (and right wing nut case) and "commentator" (and right wing nut case). When he was a kid he must at the playground he must have put everybody on one end of his teeter-totter and then couldn't figure out why it never got off the ground!

A monumental idiocy

In a tribute to the George W. Bush Memorial Freedom Wall in Baghdad I give you Jefferson Airplane and "We Can Be Together". (As it is a 70s telly clip the lyrics have been amended slightly.) Don't you just love the psychedelic effects!

Yogi's voice

Salon (yeah - I know you've gotta watch the ad to read it!) shows us the philosopher who is really behind the Bush administration. Yogi Berra.

Frankly - I think that's too flattering to them.

Is surging anything like spiralling?

Yesterday was the deadliest day for American forces in Iraq for over a year and taking April fatalities to the highest level since December last.

Why is Canada more free than America?

At least in Canada there is open debate over the treatment of "detainees" and arguments put forward that the country must halt turning over prisoners to the Afghan authorities where they are abused and tortured. I reckon they won't want to turn them over the Yanks either.

Superman rendered harmless in Serbia!

No I'm not kidding. They've found Kryptonite there. In a mine. Seriously.

Army approves of paganism....

....some bigoted Christians undoubtedly furious!

Meet the new boss...

...same as the old boss, more or less.

David Halberstam - RIP

Journalist and write David Halberstam has killed in a car crash at the age of 73. By some bizarre coincidence at the weekend I picked up a copy of his book The Children at the library but haven't actually opened it yet.

Still some freedom left

A Municipal Judge in Philadelphia has found that fourteen activists who were arrested at the Philadelphia office of ex-Senator (hooray!) Rick Santorum in order to present Pennsylvania's then junior Senator with a petition opposing the illegal Iraq invasion did not commit trespass. The men and women had been arrested before even entering Santorum's office with four of them being trapped in the lift after security guards turned off the power.

For those who thought that bring these charges was a good idea I would like to remind the of the First Amendment to the US Constitution

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Does Bush look good in brown?

In today's Guardian Naomi Klein maps out the Decider's ten easy steps to Fascism. They are:
  1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy
  2. Create a gulag
  3. Develop a thug caste
  4. Set up an internal surveillance system
  5. Harass citizens' groups
  6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release
  7. Target key individuals
  8. Control the press
  9. Dissent equals treason
  10. Suspend the rule of law

Despite Ms. Klein’s arguments to the contrary I am not convinced that he and his minions have, as yet, managed items 3, 8 or 10 although there clearly have been material steps taken that push us in that direction.

So I can only give Bush&Co an impressive but not yet top flight 7 out of 10 on the Klein-o-matic Fascism scale.

Like the mad leading the unstable

The fearless Dave Gaubatz who was so instrumental in helping the Daily Mail's nearly sane Melanie Phillips find Saddam's ever so elusive WMDs, in a non-finding sort of way of course, has moved on to bigger and better things. He has now embarked on a project, reported breathlessly by the Jawa Report, to the pernicious and pervasive influence of Sharia law in America. You can go to his informative website, Mappingsharia.us to find out how you can help in this courageous and necessary endeavour.

I have a hint for Mr. Gaubatz. If you are looking for evidence of the application of American law in a way that fits Qu'ranic principles, especially as regards executions, you probably ought to start in Texas.