Monday, 31 December 2007

Hoping You Have A Good One

Another used up calendar dropped into the bin to be replaced by a fresh, clean one and so i want to wish everyone who has visited this blog in the past year all the best for the coming year.
I expect there are some who have disagreed with every sentence i have typed or we have crossed swords over something at some instance but to them and everyone i have met during my time blogging, whether we have agreed, swore at each other or just plain not seen eye to eye on anything, i hope you all have a great 2008 and it brings everything you wish and more.

Sunday, 30 December 2007

Taking Aim At Hunters

Another on an ongoing series of concurrent posts concerning the differing views of the ideological left and the right by Cody of It Is What It Is and I. We have decide to put forward our opposing views on hunting.

Back in the days before supermarkets or corner shops, man had to undertake the hunter gatherer adventure in order to survive. Regrettably, some members of society have not cottoned onto this concept as they continue the unnecessary, premeditated and cold-blooded killing of defenceless animals.
Hunters argue that it is not just about killing. They claim that the camaraderie, nature appreciation and exercise are just as important a part of the hunt as the actual killing, or attempted killing, of the target animal.
The overwhelming majority of the planets population can appreciate and learn about nature and also contribute to nature conservation efforts without having to kill things, a camera proves to be an excellent invention for this purpose.
The banning of fox hunting in the UK reflected modern society's abhorrence of cruelty to wild animals which has, for too long, been veiled in the cloak of tradition. Some traditions deserve to die and chasing animals for miles across fields before allowing your dog pack to rip the beautiful animal apart or taking aim at a grazing deer with a high powered rifle is one that deserves to whither and die.
Hunting has contributed to the extinction and near extinction of countless animal species all over the world with almost 16,000 mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish on the endangered list of threatened species and many more hunted out of existence.
By far the most bizarre justification some hunters put forward to try and justify their blood lust is that the kill is quick, painless and prevents the animal suffering an even worse death by disease or being eaten alive by predators.
Using the same logic a serial killer is actually doing his victims a huge favour just in case they went on to develop heart disease or cancer.
Future generations will look back on some things in disbelief, just as we look back in disbelief at cock fighting, bear baiting and badger digging. One of the things on which they will wonder is why, at the beginning of the third millennium we were still debating whether it was right and proper to allow people to kill animals for fun.

Cody's pro-hunting posting is here

Saturday, 29 December 2007

Another Fatal Dog Attack

Yet another attack on a child by a dog. This time a year old baby boy has been mauled to death by a 10 stone Rottweiler.
The thirteen-month-old was killed when the dog snatched him from the arms of his young cousin at his grandparents home and carried him into the garden.
Once again we hear the same old story from the Police after the tragic event.
"What we know at this time is that the dog was a family pet, a two and a half year old female Rottweiler, which the family had owned for about six months. It had interacted with members of the family including children, and had showed no previous signs of any aggression."
"All breeds of dogs are animals. They do revert to animal instincts. If a dog is confronted with a situation they are not used to, they can react unexpectedly," explained a spokesman from the British Kennel Association.
Sadly, people continue to keep dogs like Rottweilers or pit bulls as pets so we will continue to hear such stories as these for the foreseeable future.
Rottweilers are not banned by the Dangerous Dogs Act and while the common mantra is to blame the owners and not the breed, some breeds are certainly more inclined towards violent outbursts.
The UK does not keep details of attacks by breeds but the American Veterinary Medical lists Pit bulls as the most dangerous breeds for fatal attacks in the US followed by Rottweilers, German shepherds and Huskies.
A rottweiler, if treated properly, will behave itself, like any other dog. But there is one obvious difference. If a 10 stone rottweiler attacks, as we have seen in far too many occasions now, the result is fatal.
Surely the safety of your loved ones should come above some macho status symbol, guard dog or fashion accessory.

Friday, 28 December 2007

America's Greatest Band Are They?

There has been an advert running on the radio stations here since before Christmas for the Eagles Greatest Hits album and is being advertised as being by "the greatest band to come out of America".
Now that sure is a big shout considering that America is responsible for almost every decent band that has graced the world stage, certainly in my lifetime.
I don't know what criteria the advertising guru's were working to when they decided to label The Eagles as Americas finest but take out the excellent single "Hotel California" from their discography and i am struggling to name many more Eagles hits.
Maybe it is an age thing and i was too young to appreciate the Eagles 70's heyday but if we are going to be bandying about labels such as "Americas Greatest Band" i don't think The Eagles would be figuring in many peoples top 5.
Our own definition of 'The Greatest' being purely personal, i expect everyone will have different bands in mind according to the style of music we enjoy listening to and most of mine would come from the guitar based groups of the 80s and 90s.
The likes of Guns N Roses, Ramones, Nirvana and The Offspring would battle it out for top 5 placement but my sticky lapel badge would go to a band who have been consistently brilliant from their first album to the latest over a decade and a half later.
Ladies and Gentlemen, i give you my "Greatest Band To Come Out Of America"....Green Day.
From "Dookie" through to "American Idiot", a Green Day album has been almost a permanent fixture on my Stereo, tape deck and CD player through the 90's and 00's.
With their latest album selling in excess of 15m worldwide, they seem to be finally getting the recognition they deserve and while i appreciate that their brand of music may not be to everyone's tastes and their singles have never bothered the top end of the charts that often, Billy, Mike and Tre would knock The Eagles into a cocked hat.
But then that's just my opinion and maybe the years of playing Basketcase too loudly has damaged a few brain cells.

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Talking To The Taliban

Before the news of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto overtook events, the scorn was aimed at MI6 and the EU representatives for daring to hold talks with members of the Taliban.
I assume the people most outraged are the same ones who howled in horror when we met with the IRA, or with Gadaffi, or Kim Jong il. Of course we have to meet with these people because otherwise the only solution is military and with over 5000 people killed in Afghanistan in 2007, most of them civilians, that should be an option we seek to end immediately.
The Taliban are from from what anyone could describe as an ideal Government but prior to 2001 and the granting of safe haven to Bin Laden, the Taliban were not on most peoples list of bogeymen. The US were on more than friendly terms in the late nineties when meeting to discuss the proposed oil pipeline running through Afghanistan and even offered to go home and leave the Taliban in control of the country if they handed over Bin Laden.
Post 2001, the Taliban leadership has become a more hardcore ideological group but the main body are little more than cannon fodder, prepared to scratch the back of anyone prepared to make them a better offer and that should be our plan. Offer a better way out for the vast majority who have no affiliation to the former Government and are just in it for the money.
After 6 years there is a military stalemate with neither side winning and only the death toll advancing so we should be talking and making deals to our perceived enemies until support for the Taliban is scaled back far enough for it to be not considered a threat to the countries security.
The only alternative is the continued killing and hoping we can kill them quicker than they can recruit new members and chancing that we don't inadvertently take out innocent citizens as we do it therefore improving the appeal to young Afghans bent on revenge.
As we seen many times before, it does not matter how many troops we put on the ground, how many lives we expend be they ours, there's or civilians, the fight will go on and on until we change our direction because the talking option is the only one the we have left unless you are one of those who actually advocate an endless war from the safety of your own armchair.

Hunters Go On Hunting

According to the Countryside Alliance, over 200,000 people turned out to support it's annual Boxing Day tradition of slaughtering foxes.
Despite the 'sport' being banned in 2005, the red breasted and small brained among us continue to gather their horses and hounds and chase foxes across the countryside until it is to exhausted to continue and is then ripped apart by a pack of frenzied dogs.
The Countryside Alliance said: "A lot of the support you'll see today is about people who don't like the fact that this is an illiberal piece of legislation, they don't like the fact that the reasons for it were completely unjustified. So they're coming out to support the rights of individuals to carry out a perfectly reasonable activity in the countryside."
Unless you live in a cave and rub two sticks together to make fire, it is impossible to defend hunting of any nature but to call fifty men on horseback and as many as a hundred hounds chasing down a fox a 'perfectly reasonable activity' goes to show what mentality we are dealing with.
The hunt saboteurs have changed tact to compensate for the law change and now film the hunters breaking the law with a view to taking them to court so we can hopefully see some of these morons in the dock.
Meanwhile, lets hope that none of the hunters fell off their horses and spent Boxing Day evening having limbs set in plaster. That would just break my heart.

Monday, 24 December 2007

Brown: A Christmas Carol

Twas the night before Christmas, and a stirring pierced the chill air outside of the Chamber of Commerce as a young army wife carrying a young child approached the Prime Minister.
"Please Sir," ventured the woman, "My husband is in Iraq and on the matter of Christmas . . ."
"Bah!" interjected Brown. "Humbug! He will pass the period over Christmas fighting to make us all safe from those Al Queada types we filled their country with."
"But we are his family . . ." persisted the mother.
"We shall mark Christmas my way" bellowed Gordon. "and that is an end to it. Be gone"
And so it seemed until Brown's passage to his bullet proof Jaguar was impeded by a hideous apparition. "Margaret Thatcher" he whispered, "What dost thou want with me?"
"Three spirits shall visit you this night," intoned the repulsive spectre. "Heed them, if you persist in this refusal to embody the spirit of empathy, you shall suffer my fate of dragging your baffling decisions behind you on a heavy chain as you are removed sobbing from office.
"Be gone" shouted Gordon, concluding he must have eaten too many mince pies and returning home to settle into as deep a sleep as a man who had just lost 25m peoples tax records possibly could.
On the stroke of midnight the curtains of his bed were drawn aside.
"I am the Ghost of Christmas Past," replied this vision in the guise of Winston Churchill. The room dissolved, and they came upon a once-familiar scene. "Edinburgh University" gasped Brown.
"Yes," intoned the spirit. "But though it be Christmas, the place is not quite empty. Who is this, hunched over his tattered copy of Das Kapital, dreaming of establishing Socialism in Dunfermline?"
"Haunt me no longer!" wailed a stricken Gordon as the ghost melted away.
Dong! On the stroke of one, Gordon came upon a rotund, John Prescott trying to pick egg shell out of his hair.
"I am the Spirit of Christmas Present," laughed this vision, "Come, let us press our ears to a cabinet meeting and observe your friends plotting to replace you."
"But who is that?" asked Gordy, pointing to a little fellow alone in the corner studying a map of the Occupied Territories.
"That is Tiny Tony," sighed the spirit. "He suffers from illusions of grandeur."
"But tell me he will overcome it," pleaded Brown.
"I cannot" came the sad reply.
"Be gone!" wailed the Prime Minister.
Dong! Dong! Two o'clock, and the final visitor appeared shrouded in a deep black garment that concealed its face, nothing of it was visible save one outstretched hand.
"Rupert Murdoch" whispered a terrified Gordon. "Are you the Spirit of Christmas Yet To Come?" The figure nodded.
"Lead on..." he murmured. With a jab of its bony finger, the spirit flicked the
television set to Sky News. A ticker ran across the bottom of the screen.
"Labour Party: there will be no mourners for him," ran the ticker. "He was even worse than Tony Blair."
"No!" wailed Brown. "Worse than Blair! I am finally persuaded! Oh spirits, i will not shut out the lessons that you teach. Oh, tell me I may wipe away the writing on this ticker!"
And that is the story of how Gordon Brown stopped being such a Bush toadying liability. He was out after the next election, of course, but that is another story.

Sunday, 23 December 2007

And to All A Very Merry Christmas

Christmas comes but once a year which is probably just as well according to the British Society for the Prevention of Accidents who calculate that over the 12 days of Christmas around 80,000 people in Britain will be hospitalised.
The season of joy is also the season of strange accidents and weird injuries from Christmas trees, paper chains, tinsel, holly, ivy and sprigs of mistletoe.
Some injuries are inevitable such as sharp knives in the hands of a tipsy cook but other accidents are linked to the more innocuous features of Christmas with 2000 injuries last year caused by Christmas trees.
So for those of you not being handed a breakfast menu and asked what time you will be requiring your bed bath, I wish you a very merry Christmas and hope to see you again the other side of Boxing Day.

Friday, 21 December 2007

Bye Rudy, Hello Mike

With supporters distancing themselves quicker than his hairline from his eyebrows, Rudy Giuliani has been removed as the US publics favourite Republican and has been replaced by Mike Huckabee.
With his colourful background which included hilariously marrying his own cousin, Giuliani was a God send for anyone wanting to mock the right wing of America but the fickle finger of fate has decreed that Rudy is not going to be plonking his hair restorer in the White House bathroom cabinet.
Instead, and showing a penchant for the magnificently foreheaded, it has decided that Mike Huckabee become the right wing's choice for getting resoundingly beaten by Hilary or Obama instead.
With such a rich source of childish humour now out of the running, us lefties have had to hit the internet to find out about this Huckabee chap. Turns out that the Arkansas Governor has got himself quite a checkered background himself.
Dodgy use of a personal expense account, Ethics Commission appearances, banning evolution from the classrooms, anti-gay comments and freeing rapist who go on to re-offend.
Reaching out for the female vote may be a problem with the revelation that he signed his support to a church statement that read "A wife is to submit graciously to the servant leadership of her husband."
As expected from an American conservative, Huckabee puts his recent success down to divine intervention with the big guy upstairs lending his support to the campaign. The same big guy i guess that the present incumbent has chats with. Usually about how he is the most unpopular President ever.
The hapless Giuliani may be gone but his replacement seems to be of an equal calibre.

Putin The Great

Any award that includes such unsavoury characters as Adolf Hitler, Stalin, George W Bush and Deng Xiaoping as it's past winners is always going to be a bit on the controversial side and Time Magazine has not let us down with this years 'Person of The Year' award going to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Cue much harrumphing from everyone who failed to read the part of the award that explains that the magazine aims to recognise the person who has had the greatest influence over world events, not just those who have made a positive contribution.
Putin was hailed for his "extraordinary feat of leadership in taking a country that was in chaos and bringing it stability".
Time said he was "choosing order before freedom", however, acknowledging concerns about his style of leadership but you cannot deny, Putin has certainly dragged Russia back to the big time following its slump during the Yeltsin years.
Personally i would of given it to the runner-up in the shape of Al Gore who not only won an Oscar for his film An Inconvenient Truth and the Nobel Peace Prize but forced the greatest danger we face in environmental issues to the forefront of the political agenda.

Monday, 17 December 2007

British Pull Out Of Basra

Gosh us Brits are great. Seriously, we really are some of the darn nicest people in the world. Take a look at Iraq for example. In we went without a care for our own safety to make everything better for those poor, downtrodden Iraqi's and now with our mission accomplished we are striding back out again leaving behind a land of daffodils and fairy castles. Yep, we rock.
If only real military 'victories' on the ground in Basra were as easy to conjure
as the sickening propaganda successes we've seen on our television screens over the last few days.
Gordon Brown can spin it anyway he likes, the bottom line is we have left Iraq, and Basra, in a worse state than we found it. And we are leaving our mess behind for them to clear up.
The scale of the chaos we have abandoned them to has been revealed by the Basra Police Chief who told the ITN News ""They left me militia, they left me gangsters, and they left me all the troubles in the world."
He described the breakdown of law and order in Basra with the murder of women for being unIslamic. "They are being killed because they are accused of behaving in an immoral way.Some of them have even been killed with their children because their killer says that they come out of an adulterous relationship."
Not quite the picture that has been painted by the British Government who called the timing of the handover as "appropriate."
The only good to come out of this outrageous debacle is that the right wing militarists have been so thoroughly discredited that they have been forced to accept that we cannot forcibly impose our values on other races or religions.
As for this British Government, it was complicit in over 1 million Iraqi deaths, 4 million refugees, Iraq's society destroyed, the countries infrastructure destroyed, the presence of terrorists where there was none before and a country covered in DU and cluster bombs.
Feel as proud of yourself as you like Mr Brown but don't you dare try and portray this as anything but an unmitigated disaster from start to finish.

Reuters

Monday, 10 December 2007

Where Have All The New Xmas Songs Gone?

It was about a fortnight ago in the middle of Sainsbury's that it happened. Suddenly, and without warning, i suddenly felt Christmassy. The reason for this unexpected turn of events that led me from 'damn, it's raining again' to 'wow, it's almost Christmas' was the first bars of festive music.
I think i even smiled at the checkout boy rather than eyeing him suspiciously as i entered my chip and pin number.
Christmas is probably the only time of year you can get away with humming songs sung by Cliff Richards or Bon Jovi without your image suffering terminal meltdown but most of the decent Christmas songs that clog up the ears this time of year are all decades old.
The 70s and 80s were the high point for the sound of sleigh bells on three minutes of some bloke singing about snow or calling someone a scumbag and maggot as The Pogues did in Fairytale of New York.
So where are all the new relentlessly jolly or teeth rottingly sweet Christmas songs? Pushing to one side Cliff Richards (someone, please), our charts over the last decade have been almost as dry as Betty Fords liquor cabinet when it comes to seasonal tunes.
Come on you pop stars, there are only so many times i can hear Merry Xmas Everyone as I step into a high-street shop. Put down the pretence that your far too cool to do Xmas, pick up your guitar and write something jingle belly, comforting, familiar, and irritating.
Everyone except you Spice Girls, you have overdone your irritating quota.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Xmas Everyday

The presents, tree, decorations and the Disney version of Scrooge on the TV. As wizzard lamented in the 70's, don't you wish it could be Christmas everyday? Fulfilling the dream of the glam rockers is a place called North Pole in Alaska where it is indeed Christmas all year round.
The town of North Pole was established in the 1950's with the sole intention of attracting tourists and the toy industry to the home of Santa Claus. To this end, every shop and business has something to do with Christmas, the town is festooned with decorations all year round, and a sizable proportion of the adult population spends their days decked out in elf costumes.
As any letter simply addressed to Santa, North Pole ends up here, the local schoolchildren in the sixth grade even have replying to the hundreds and thousands of letters sent to Father Christmas as part of the curriculum.
Its biggest attraction is a gift shop named Santa Claus House with the world's largest fiberglass statue of Santa Claus outside. Street names include Santa Claus Lane, St. Nicholas Drive, Snowman Lane, and Kris Kringle Drive and all the street lights in the city are decorated as huge candy sticks.
Of course, the city came to prominence last year when a group of children were foiled in a Columbine style high school massacre so maybe basing your towns philosophy on glam rockers is not that wise after all.

Friday, 7 December 2007

Applauding Hugo Chavez

Hugo Chavez has been taking a bit of a knocking recently as his proposed plan to serve more than two terms took a bit of a fall this week.
The opponents of the Venezuelan leader hammered away at the claim that the new constitution would make Chavez president for life when actually he was proposing the same rules that operate here in Britain, namely to serve as many terms as he was democratically elected for.
Of course it serves the capitalist countries and big business leaders to play down and even vilify the system that would see them knocked from their lofty perches which a wide uptake of Socialist ideology in most of the world would do.
Since Chavez was elected in 1998, we have seen the first serious attempt at a modern form of Socialism and only the most blinkered of McCarthy era relics would not admit that Chavez has made a mighty fine fist of things so far.
He inherited a country devastated by two decades of poverty and driven by oil revenues, increased social spending by ploughing the money into health care, education, food provision, employment, land reform, culture and the environment.
To compare 1998 to 2006 figures make astounding reading.
1628 doctors in 1998, 19,571 today while there was 250,000 free school meals in 1998 in 2006 there was 1.8m.
Access to education has dramatically increased, including more than 1 million people participating in free adult literacy classes, leading to Venezuela eradicating illiteracy by UN standards.
55% of the population was in poverty in 1998, 30.6% in 2006. The Venezuelan economy has grown by 76%. Inflation is down from 120% in 1998 to 20% now.
Don't expect those bent on condemning Chavez as a power crazed megalomaniac to applaud these impressive achievements but the rest of us can maybe agree that he has set about solving the problems of the most vulnerable in Society, namely the poor and sick and has laid the groundwork for a country where the majority and not the few, reap the most benefits. As it should be.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Bush's Iran War Plans Collapse

See those round things bouncing off into the distance? That would be the wheels coming off the Bush Administrations attempt to bounce 1000lb bombs off the top of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's head.
The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), which collates the work of the 16 American intelligence agencies, have issued a report that Iran has no nuclear weapons programme.
"Tehran's decision to halt its nuclear weapons programme in 2003 suggests it is less determined to develop nuclear weapons than we have been judging since 2005," it said.
The gnashing of teeth in the Bush and Cheney house must of been deafening as their efforts to convince the World that Iran was on the brink of unleashing nuclear Armageddon on us all fell flatter than a sumo wrestlers armchair cushion.
Bush and his vice-president have been forcibly claiming that Tehran is bent on
achieving a nuclear weapon, with the president even warning in October of the risk of a third world war if action was not taken soon.
With Bush today telling a press conference that he had been aware of this information since August, it throws up two very interesting thoughts.
Firstly, why was the USA, Britain and France pushing for tougher sanctions against Iran a few weeks ago and warning that "A wait-and-see approach is not an option" if they knew, or at the least Bush did, that Iran was not building nuclear weapons? Also to be considered is what is to come of the sanctions that have already been imposed?
Secondly, and most appallingly, our leaders have once again been exposed as fantasists who were willing to unleash another devastating war, killing hundreds of thousands while increasing the risk of terrorism and hatred of the west based on outright lies.
In 2003, the UK and USA said Iraq had WMD's and Saddam said he never. In 2007 the UK and the USA said Iran was building a Nuclear capability, Ahmadinejad said he never. Both times the UK and USA have been exposed as the liars.
We can only thank the heavens that at least this time it didn't take over a million dead Middle East residents to expose our morally bankrupt and breathtakingly dishonest leaders.

Reuters

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Conservapedia

Imagine, if you will, a world run by right-wing conservatives. A world where Fox News is said to have "gained the reputation for reporting the news in an unbiased manner" and where Adolf Hitler's Nazi Party was the result of the theory of evolution.
Scary indeed but there is such a place where the right wing congregate free from the unpleasant left-wing views that tends to accompany the truth.
Conservapedia looks just like Wikipedia but was created by religious activists to counter 'liberal bias' in Wikipedia which they claim to be anti-Christian.
Unintentionally hilarious to anyone who is not an evangelical right winger frothing at the mouth, there is a statistics link on the main page that leads to the most viewed pages.
So what are the top 5 right wing issues that concern our more gullible and soft headed number? Gun control? Socialism? Atheism? Removing the Main page, the top 5 most viewed pages are:

1 Homosexuality? [2,018,819]
2 Homosexuality and Hepatitis? [519,571]
3 Homosexuality and Parasites? [498,737]
4 Homosexual Couples and Domestic Violence? [374,858]
5 Homosexuality and Gonorrhea? [333,457]

The introduction on the subject of homosexuality sets the tone nicely, stating that "homosexuality has a variety of negative effects on individuals and society at large."
Conservapedia. Where topics are debated and everyone agree's it's the the gays fault.

Reuters

Friday, 30 November 2007

Aberdeen Sends Trump Packing

The Scottish have a bit of a reputation for having short arms and long pockets when it comes to money. Fair enough they also have a reputation for being drunk all the time and the men wearing skirts but having a scrooge like devotion to money is what we on the more sober side of Hadrian's wall mock them about.
That stereotype may be in danger now after Donald Trump came waving his wad about in the east of the country only for the locals to tell him to take his money and his dubiously coloured hair and sod off.
The billionaire planned to build a £1bn golf course on sand dunes in Aberdeen but salmon fisherman, Michael Forbes, refused to sell his 23 acres of land that sat slap bang in the centre of the proposed golf complex.
Seeing his dream swinging in the wind, Trump offered £450,000 for the land with a salary of £50,000 a year for some unspecified job thrown in. Forbes refused. All he wanted was to be left in peace and quiet he said.
Trump's business team then set about smearing Mr Forbes and it was this that seemed to seal the fate of the doomed development.
Complaints to the council surged as the city folk stood behind Forbes and yesterday's ruling that the application for the development had been refused, ensured Trump's vision would have to be carried out elsewhere.
Defending against accusations that the Trump team had lost the support of the Aberdeenions through arrogance and patronising the locals, a spokesman arrogantly said "We were not arrogant. We set certain standards. It may be incomprehensible to smaller minds, but we have always set high standards. We presented them with a plan and hoped they could open their minds, but it was too much for them" he sniffed.
Trump had conducted a charm offensive among local business leaders and politicians, but was the "architect of his own downfall" with his outspoken views on the locals as one windswept woman told Sky News: "When you move into a neighbourhood, you should seek to get on with your neighbours. He chose to ridicule the lifestyle of someone who was quietly getting on with his life. People around here don't like that."
Good for you Mr Forbes and the good people of Aberdeen. I would buy you a drink but it seems the pockets in my trousers are just too deep for my short arms.

Palm Beach Post

Ich Bein Americans

What with all this talk of America going down the tubes i began writing a post about inviting you yanks back to the bosom of Mother Britain. Searching for inspiration, i found a letter on the Internet that has been around for years and is accredited to John Cleese inviting the same and setting out conditions for your return. Very amusing but the reply offering Britain to become a state of the USA if we can satisfy the following criteria had me laughing like a blocked drain. Here is an abridged version.

1. There is no such thing as "UK English". UK English is the relic of a defunct colonialist power which attempted to impose British English linguistic superiority on a nation which has a higher number of English speakers.

2. Your should learn to distinguish the American and Canadian accents. To make life easier for mainland America, all British films and TV programs must use American vocabulary and accents; Scotch characters will wear plaid, Irish characters will have shamrocks on them, Welsh characters will not be used since we don't have Welsh Americans, and English characters will wear bowler hats and pinstripes.

3. The British film industry will no longer portray all Americans as cowboys, rednecks, trailer trash or Beverly Hills billionaires. You can have Hugh Grant back. He's a lousy actor and we don't want him either. All British films will be made in Hollywood where the weather and scenery are better.

4. You will learn your new national anthem "The Star Spangled Banner". It shall be sung every morning at kindergarten, high school, university and your places of work. Your Union Flag will be hung up any damn way we wish so stop bitching about it being upside down. If there was meant to be a right way up you should have made it simpler.

5. Hunting with packs of dogs is banned. Instead, you will go hunting with a pick-up truck, some six-packs of beer, two coonhounds and enough guns and ammo to equip a private militia.

6. Beer is to be served cold. The warm, flat drink you call beer is properly termed 'ale' and the FDA have determined it to be unfit for human consumption. You will also learn the difference between crackers, cookies and biscuits to avoid causing unnecessary confusion.

7. It is compulsory to sue somebody at least once per year.. It is compulsory to have therapy three times each week and to recover false memories of your childhood which allow you to sue your parents and/or your therapist. Therapy will take the place of speaking to family members.

8. You will not have guns. In the eyes of Mainland Americans you are wayward children. Children are not permitted to play with firearms unless they have a legitimate reason to do so i.e. they plan to gun down the population of a small town (self-defense) or slaughter every living creature within a mile radius (hunting).

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Celebrity Endorsements

As the US election enters that nail biting final 11 months stage, nothing encapsulates the nature of politics better than than the traditional scramble to sign up duff celebrities to one's cause. And there's nothing which so neatly confirms a star's self-love as the belief that their patronage matters.
Congratulations, then, to the Obama campaign which this week followed its enviable acquisition of Eddie Murphy and Tom Hanks to it's cause by getting an endorsement from Oprah Winfrey.
There does seem to be a culture of celebrities crossing into politics blissfully unaware that most voters don't really gives a toss what they think about fiscal policy just because they have been on TV at some point.
USA Today has a list of who the main contenders for the Presidency have managed to bag for their cause with Obama seeming to lead the way as the man the Hollywood celebrity should be seen with this season.
Jennifer Aniston, Morgan Freeman, Tom Hanks, Tobey Maguire, Edward Norton, Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Ed Norton, Gene Wilder, Michael Douglas, Steve Martin, Paul Newman, Paul Simon, George Clooney, Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and of course Oprah have all nailed their colours to the Obama mast.
Hilary Clinton can rely upon Hugh Hefner, Chevy Chase, Jerry Springer, 50 cent, Barbra Streisand, Christie Brinkley, Barry Manilow, Rosie O’Donnell and Rob Reiner to give her a foot massage when the going gets tough.
It seems that backing a Republican is as popular as a condom machine in the Vatican because poor old Rudy Giuliani only has the endorsement of two celebrities, Kelsey Grammer and Adam Sandler although he has been backed by Pat Robertson and his legion of crazed religious fundamentalists.
It seems that the world of celebrity is telling you to stick to the day job Rudy. Whatever that is.

Reuters

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Low Expectations From Annapolis

Of course any peace conference is a good thing but as the Annapolis meeting between long term foes kicks off tomorrow, my expectations for any kind of settlement is very low.
The fact that it comes at the end of the Bush time in office stinks of a last gasp attempt at a decent legacy, much the same way that it came at the end of Clinton's presidency.
If the US, and lets be frank, it is only the US who can reign in Israel, was resolved to end the decades of conflict between the two it would be better served dedicating more time than a hurried assembly of antagonists less than a year before the chairman vacates the seat.
There has already been some uncomfortable squirming about the declaration of principles for peace before the event even starts so i hold out very little hope of any consensus when the thornier issues reach the table.
The principal victims of any failure will be the impoverished Palestinians. The onus is always entirely on them to conjure up sweeping reforms that must be achieved while in the grip of a military occupation, behind a heavily fortified wall encroaching deep into their land and while subjected to the abject loss of their freedoms.
What we must bring out of this conference, whether it is deemed a success or a failure, is the momentum to try again and to keep going until a solution is reached. We have had far too many false dawns only for it to collapse into further killing and recriminations.
With Palestine divided between Hamas and Fatah, it will be difficult to demand that Mahmoud Abbas crack down on the rockets being fired into Israel by the people he is in the midst of fighting a civil war against but if Israel can make the movement towards ending the occupation and ensuring a state of Palestine free from Israeli checkpoints and incursions it will strengthen his hand considerably when dealing with his own dissidents.
If this fails we cannot give up trying because since the Clinton meetings imploded into infatida seven years ago, over 4000 Palestinians and 1000 Israelis have lost their lives in fighting and we cannot allow a repeat of such tragedy.

Government & God

One of the starkest differences between the top job on either side of the Atlantic
has been brought into the open by the former Prime Minister, Tony Blair.
In the documentary, The Blair Years, Tony admits that he was afraid to speak out about his faith while he was prime minister for fear that voters would regard him as a "nutter".
While in America, anyone wanting to run for President would need to be seeped in religious belief to even get off the starting blocks, in the UK it would sound the death knell for anyone with prospects of appearing in Government.
"Christianity is common in US politics but if you talk about it in our system and, frankly, people do think you're a nutter", he says with his mind obviously returning to the embarrassing ridicule he received from all sides when it was mentioned that he prayed with George Bush and the more sinister line of questioning he received when Bush said that God had told him to invade Iraq.
With the danger being that the politician makes decisions based on their faith and allows themselves to be guided by their religious beliefs rather than hard facts, long may we mock anyone who comes to Downing Street clutching a bible.
Religion has done, and continues, to do so much damage around the World, we can only benefit from a lack of the God Squad deciding things for us.

Monday, 26 November 2007

The Oxford Debate

For some, the problem with freedom of speech is that anyone then has the right to freely say things we may find abhorrent, such people as the convicted Holocaust denier David Irving and BNP leader Nick Griffin.
Both have been invited to address a meeting tonight on the freedom of speech at the Oxford Union, much to the exasperation of many who are calling for the event to be cancelled.
Presumably they would prefer to pretend such extreme views do not exist and would prefer the students were not exposed to the views of the BNP, rather they spend their educational lives in a the protective bubble of academia.
To my mind there is no doubt that the debate ought to take place. Such poor ideas have to be aired in order to be repudiated by argument and debate. We need to ridicule the outlandish and dangerous outpourings of the likes of Irving and Griffin because repressing or pretending that they don't exist is not an effective answer.
A quick trip around the blogosphere will show just how many offensive and downright idiotic views there are out there spoken by the ignorant, deluded or just plain misinformed and although we can ignore them on this medium, it proves that these views do exist in our societies.
Let the likes of Griffin and Irving speak and let us debate them in order to defeat them and hold them up as ridiculous fabrications of unreasoning minds.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Sett På Du Sverige

Since England have been sent skittering buttocks-first at speed out of the European Football Championships next summer, us Anglo-Saxons now have the added conundrum of which country to switch our allegiance to.
I consulted my Welsh, Scots and Irish friends who are old hats at dealing with their country failing to qualify for international events and they are at a loss also, because they usually just cheer for whoever are playing against England at the time.
Some of us have some link to other nations through ancestry, relatives or marriage so the leap to adopting another Euro-nation is not that tough but what of those of us with just English blood running through our family trees? Which of the 16 other countries should we contemplate having a short and passionate fling with next summer?
Croatia and Russia knocked us out so they are first to feel the tip of my size 5's. My next whittling exercise are places that never make it off the starting blocks as places to holiday. Bye Greece, Poland, Romania & Turkey.
Countries with a right wing Government are removed next so Austria, France, Italy and Switzerland are all handed a Simon Cowell-esque put down before being sent from the room.
The Portuguese manager was all set to become England manager before changing his mind and leaving us to appoint the useless lump who got us into this mess so Portugal can take a hike and take the bull stabbing and goat throwing Spanish with them.
I would be asking to be ostracised and probably boiled alive if i backed Germany considering they have an unnerving knack of making our players look even more pathetic than they actually are so we are left with the orange wearing Netherlands or the yellow clad Swedes.
I love everything about Sweden and it is where Santa lives so slice me another piece of knäckebröd, put some ABBA on the CD player and pour me another stor stark because Sweden, that is my foot you can feel rubbing against your leg under the table.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Beware Blonde Conversation

A long time devotee of paying someone an extortionate amount of money to keep my naturally light brown hair full of blonde highlights, i was amused to read about the study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology that found men become more stupid after talking to blonde women.
There has been a long held view that being blonde meant that a woman was not overly blessed in the brain-cell department and the report's conclusion is that the stereotype of the dumb blonde is so firmly ingrained in the male psyche that men subconsciously become more stupid than they really are when they see one.
The research was based on tests carried out at Paris Nanterre University where men were shown pictures of women with different coloured hair, then made to take a general knowledge test. Those who had been shown pictures of blonde women scored lower marks than those who had been shown pictures of brunettes and redheads.
My first thought was how could the intelligence of anyone who engages his brain according to the hair colour of the female he is talking to was ever at a recordable level in the first place but then i thought i would just shout out some names of famous blonde's that dispel this rumour about being blonde means being dumb.
So step forward Britney Spears, Courtney Love, Jessica Simpson, Paris Hilton, Hilary Duff, Baby Spice, Christina Applegate, Pamela Anderson....oh what's the point, i give up.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Headline Of The Year

When you see a headline like 'Man found guilty of having sex with a bicycle' two questions form in your mind. Why and more importantly how?
Robert Stewart was discovered in his room by two cleaners at the Aberley House Hostel in Ayr, south west Scotland, in October last year.
"He was naked and holding the bike and moving his hips back and forth" said the stunned cleaner who caught and reported him.
Mr Stewart never explained why and it might be best left to our own imagination how.

No Surprises Here Then

Why does this story from that seat of Woman's Human Rights known as Saudi Arabia not surprise me.
A 19 year old woman was raped 14 times by seven men. In court the men were sentenced to between 10 months and five years for the offence. The victim was sentenced to 90 lashes as punishment for riding in a car with a man who was not a relative.
The woman appealed and the judge agreed that receiving 90 lashes for being gang raped was outrageous so he ordered her to receive 200 lashes instead and jailed her for six months.
She is expected to appeal again as soon as she appoints a new lawyer because her original one had his licence revoked for backing the woman's appeal against the original decision.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Band Made In Heaven

So there was God and i sitting on his cloud and pondering what to get Jesus for Christmas. The little nipper has got everything he could ever want when he suddenly the big guy hits upon the idea of bringing together the finest dead musicians in heaven for a Happy Birthday Jesus concert.
God being a bit on the lazy side, delegated it to me to set off and track down the best dead people for a five piece band.
I don't know many drummers, apart from The Who's Keith Moon and Led Zeppelin's John Bonham who have croaked so i was about to plump for one of them until i remember the great drumming on 'Wipe Out' by the Safari's. Luckily, Ron Wilson died of a brain aneurysm in the 80s so i give him the sticks and plonk him down behind the drum kit.
The bass player was a choice of another dead The Who musician, John Entwistle, Pistols Sid Vicious or Phil Lynott from Thin Lizzy. Lynott it is then.
Rhythm guitar was handed to Joe Strummer and lead to Jimi Hendrix with a warning to not do any of that weird feedback crap or he is out. And put that joint out hippy.
Frontman is a toughie. The ultimate in cool Kurt Cobain or the ultimate showman Freddie Mercury. Freddie gets the nod.
So my final line up for the best band made up of famous dead musical types is:
Ron Wilson (Drums), Phil Lynott (Bass), Joe Strummer (Rhythm Guitar), Jimi Hendirx (lead Guitar) and Freddie Mercury (Vocals).
First up on the playlist, "Sympathy for the Devil", that should go down a storm up here.

Unplugged And Unenthused

There were a lot of good things about Nirvana. The studio albums, the image, the handsome Kurt Cobain and the whole Grunge scene that they sat proudly atop of.
The one thing that was not so good, and it has not improved with age or repeated listening, was the Nirvana Unplugged set.
With the release of the DVD the debate has started up again about just how good it was but i remember being disappointed at the time and as much as i enjoy watching Kurt Cobain sat on a stage playing his semi-acoustic guitar, it still fails to enthuse me.
Nirvana's music was all about the several thousand decibels of power behind them and the Cobain formula of soft verses and raucous chorus.
Everything about this performance just seemed tepid and while we waited in vain for the big hits like Teen Spirit or Lithium, we got Jesus doesn't want me for a sunbeam, The man who sold the world and a handful of vague, unknown songs and it just left an empty feeling.
I am not knocking the Unplugged series, i thought Alanis Morissette was outstanding, as was REM, but if Cobain had not taken his life shortly afterwards, this set would be viewed as a mistaken diversion from the real thing.
Their strength and appeal was in their energy, drive and pounding guitars but this album gives a false impression and will sadly be forever placed alongside their far superior output.

Reuters

Monday, 12 November 2007

Hitching Our Star To Bush Again

Their has been a distinct cooling of relations between the UK and the US since the heady days of Blair hitching his star to the American President only to see it destroy his reputation and political career.
Gordon Brown, in this evenings foreign policy speech, has failed to heed the fatal mistake of his predecessor and cosied up to the George Bush regime, stating that Britain's most important relationship is with the United States.
I do not know what led Brown to reach this conclusion but as he was an integral part of the Government when the Iraq adventure began, he could not of failed to notice that when push came to shove, Britain's opinion in 2003 counted for nothing.
Nobody could of batted their eyelids and played footsie with George Bush more than Tony Blair but he did not achieve one iota of shift in US policy before jumping headfirst into the debacle with him.
After such rejection, Brown should be aware that he has to be cautious about putting the stamp of approval on the special relationship as long as Bush is in the White House, even more so with overtures of another ethically shaky US led conflict starting up in the Middle East.
Where Blair failed, Brown seems to think he can succeed but if he assumes he can make us matter more than we actually do to the American Administration he is deluding himself.
We are a minor player with very little clout in the World and piling in with the most right wing and divisive US President in living memory will not endear us to anyone or enhance our already battered and bloodied reputation.

Clinton's Turn To Be Embarrassed

The American election is still 12 months away but the way things are heading it is going to be a case of whoever does themselves the least amount of damage who will be the one left standing next November.
Hillary Clinton is the latest to be hiding a red face after a member of her staff was caught out in Iowa planting a soft question in the audience.
The Clinton campaign was forced to admit that it had set up the question on climate change at a rally last week.
After Clinton spoke, a student in the crowd was invited to pose a question. "As a young person, I'm worried about the long-term effects of global warming. How does your plan combat climate change?" the student asked.
Clinton went into her well rehearsed answer and all was well and off she went to check if her husband was bothering the interns.
A few days later the college website reported that the student had been encouraged to ask the question by a Clinton employee which prompted the emergence of a second case emerged of the Clinton campaign planting questions.
"This is not standard policy and will not be repeated again" said a Clinton spokesman before not adding "not now that we have been caught out anyway".

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Another Lie Falls Over

Remember those Iranians the US army arrested a while back whom U.S. officials accused of being members of Iran's elite Quds Force, therefore proving that Iran was funding, training and arming extremists fighting American forces in Iraq?
The cheerleaders for war made quite a noise about it at the time and rebuffed Iranian statements about them being merely diplomats.
Really stoked up tensions between Iran and the West those arrests as i recall.
The news now reaches us that they have been released because as the statement said "They no longer pose a security risk and to be of no continued intelligence value."
So were they actually members of the Quds Force helping to kill our troops who have seen the error of their ways and have been released after a short spell in a US run detention centre or has someone been telling us yet more lies to rack up the call for military action against Iran?

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Another Book Top 10

The Costa Book Awards have issued a list of the top books that us bookworms like to read again and again. The Harry Potter series tops the list and i can proudly say that i have never read as much as a sentence from any of JK Rowlings seven books. Neither have i ever read the book that came second, Lord of The Rings. No particular reason why i haven't picked up either of these two from a book shop or library, i just never really fancied them. The top ten are:

1. The Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
4. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
5. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
6. 1984 - George Orwell
7. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
8. The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
9. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
10. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

The only one i have re-read out of that selection is 1984. I do think that there are so many great books that i have to yet to read that i would rather plow through them rather than revisit the classics.
The fact that nothing by Shakespeare puts in an appearance while Eric Blair is sitting proudly at number six only strengthens my belief that rather than teach students outdated Shakey tales, they should be replacing him with the much more relevant to today Orwell.

Different Types Of Military Crackdowns

Gordon Brown has been strangely quiet on what is happening in Pakistan and the President/Commander in Chief of the US Military took his time to give the Pakistan Military Chief/President a hard time about being head of the military/President at the same time.
Compare that to Burma where we condemned that Government for it's lack of democracy and the crackdown on protests quicker than you can say 'how many sniper rifles can i put you down for?'
Following Musharraf's military coup in 1999, the UK restricted arms exports to Pakistan but we kissed and made up after it became such a vital cog in the war against terror.
Last year we sold him £75m worth of military equipment and exported goods worth over £500m. UK's exports of goods to Burma in 2006 amounted to £3.2m.
The British Government responded with calling for sanctions against the Burmese Government for their military crackdown while the Pakistan Presidents crackdown is to be given fashion tips and told to take off his uniform.
Obviously, beating and jailing protesting Burmese Monks is a much worse Human Rights violation than beating and jailing Pakistan judges.
About £500 million pounds worth of exports worse actually.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

You Must Be Proud Rudy

Presidential hopeful, Rudy Giuliani, has gained an ally in his campaign for the hearts of bible thumping Americans, winning the backing of the leading gay-basher of the Christian right, Pat Robertson. So who has the favourite for the Republican nomination got backing him in his corner and do they share the same values on:

Women
Robertson described feminism as a "socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."

September 11th
Robertson said that the 2001 terrorist attacks were caused by "pagans, abortionists, feminists, gays, lesbians and the ACLU."

Homosexuality
Robertson stated that the acceptance of homosexuality could result in hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, terrorist bombings and "possibly a meteor."

Foreign Policy
Robertson said of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez: “I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war, and I don’t think any oil shipments will stop."

Muslims
Robertson stated that Muslims want global domination and that the outpouring of rage elicited by cartoon drawings of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad "just shows the kind of people we're dealing with. These people are crazed fanatics, and I want to say it now: I believe it's motivated by demonic power. It is Satanic and it's time we recognize what we're dealing with."

Hinduism
Robertson called the religion of Hinduism "demonic" and said that Hindus should be barred from entering the United States.

Academia
Robertson said left-wing professors in the United States were "racists, murderers, sexual deviants and supporters of Al-Qaeda."

Environmentalism
He accused the National Association of Evangelicals of teaming up with "far left environmentalists" in stating that global warming was caused by humans and needed to be mitigated.

Well done Rudy, you got a real diamond there acting as cheerleader. Can't see how you can fail with Pat watching your back.

Nothing Changing

With the upcoming peace conference between Palestine and Israel, the pro and anti both lobbies are sharpening their tongues ready to blame each other if it flops and as the concurrent posts Cody and I put up recently shows, my sympathies lay more with the Palestinians than the Israelis.
Even more so when headlines like 'Israeli bid to cut Gaza electricity' fill the newspapers.
It was only the Israeli supreme court that has delayed a move by Israel to cut the electricity supply to the Hamas-administered Gaza Strip, after appeals from 10 human rights organisations.
The appeals argued that cutting the supply of electricity to Gaza would be illegal collective punishment because Israel controls most of Gaza's electricity and all its fuel after the Israeli air force destroyed the only electric power plant there last year.
Also reported yesterday was that, despite the Israeli government's commitments to the contrary, Israel is building intensively in its West Bank settlements.
The report said there is now construction in 88 settlements, despite halting settlement growth being one of the first steps Israel was supposed to take under the US-backed "road map" peace plan.
I am finding it impossible to see Israel as the victims here.

Put That Wall Back Up!

Of course there are many forms of Government and being the brainwashed Marxist loving Stalinite that i am, i would have all you capitalist pig dogs eating turnips and toiling in fields all the live long day.
Luckily for you, i have as much chance of starting a Communist revolution as i have of become Pope but as the populations of countries such as Burma, Georgia and Pakistan march for Democracy, is it such a great thing to be demanding?
Best people to ask would be those who have lived under Socialism and Democracy and ask them which they preferred.
The Forsa Institute did just that in Germany and found only 3% of people who originated from East Germany said they were very satisfied with the way that democracy worked.
The poll by the Forsa institute showed that 73% of those from the east believed that socialism was a good idea in principle, but had been poorly implemented. Over 90% argued that they enjoyed better social protection during the GDR era.
The revolution is gaining pace comrades, order more turnips in preparation.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Gloriously Crazy Laws

If you live in Ohio and have plans to paint the town red with a mackerel or a salmon tonight, you had better think again because you could end up before a judge. Similarly, if you die while in the Houses of Parliament you could be in big trouble.
I love these old laws that probably seemed a good idea at the time but now just seem bloody stupid. It being illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament was voted the most crazy in a UKTV poll but it must of been pushed hard by some of these which are still enforceable.

You can be imprisoned in Britain for placing a postage stamp upside-down.
In England eating mince pies on Christmas Day is banned.
If someone knocks on your door in Scotland and asks to use your toilet, you are required to allow them.
In the UK a pregnant woman can legally relieve herself anywhere she wants.
In Indonesia, the penalty for masturbation is decapitation
A male doctor in Bahrain can only examine the genitals of a woman in the reflection of a mirror
In Switzerland, a man may not relieve himself standing up after 10pm
It is illegal to be blindfolded while driving a vehicle in Alabama
In Florida, unmarried women who parachute on a Sunday could be jailed
Women in Vermont must obtain written permission from their husbands to wear false teeth
In France, it is illegal to name a pig Napoleon

And finally, my personal favourite. In Ohio, it is illegal to get a fish drunk.

Monday, 5 November 2007

Bonfire Night

Up and down the length of the country, the English did their bit for Global warming tonight by lighting huge fires and setting off million of tonnes of gunpowder.
Guy Fawkes was the original terrorist but it is quite possible he was nowhere near the House of Lords and was fitted up by the Metropolitan Police after being wrongly trailed from a block of hovels.
The fear of further terrorist outrages allowed the government of the day to curtail civil liberties, stir up religious hatred and bring in draconian measures, a knee jerk reaction that is hard for us to imagine happening with our Governments today. ID Card anyone?
King James I decreed that "The discovery of this fiendish plot shall be celebrated evermore," although i don't think he had teenagers chucking bangers at passing buses in mind when he said it.
In order to halt said younger teenagers setting up mini explosions in the doorway of Woolworths at 1am, they banned the sale of fireworks to under-18s which is very responsible of our government to want to keep us safe from exploding things that cause harm.
Of course any teenager with a particular hunger for blowing things up could alternatively visit one of the arms fairs we hold regularly and buy rockets, ground-to-air missiles or helicopter gunships. That would get the net curtains twitching.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Female Bloggers Going AWOL

Moving around the blog world there is a pretty even split between male and female bloggers.
Being a political animal i do tend to rotate towards the blogs that offer opinions on current affairs. Nothing shocking in the discovery that there are some seriously disturbing opinions being spouted on blogs out there. Whether the authors actually believe what they say or if it is just bravado afforded by the anonymity of a computer screen is something i hope i never find out it if turns out to be the former because some peoples solutions to problems are bordering on psychotic.
What i have noticed, and was confirmed when i stumbled upon the BlogCensus website, was that fewer than one in 20 of the political and current affairs blogs are written by women.
A quick straw poll taken among friends was that the no-holds barred, anything goes atmosphere that prevails in blogging proves to be intimidating enough to keep the 'fairer sex' away from putting there opinions out there to be picked over, debated and often ridiculed. The finding that the number of women writing personal weblogs outnumbered men by two to one bears this out.
In the two years or so that i have been blogging i have seen as many as eight or nine female bloggers change the flavour of their blogs away from what could be deemed political or at the very least involved voicing an opinion. About the same again have stopped blogging altogether so there is some truth in the assumption that the majority of us females do prefer to play it safe with our blogs and avoid criticism of our thoughts and ideals.
I am glad to say that there are some of us feisty, opinionated females letting our opinions hang out and absorbing the plaudits and brickbats but there seems to be such a disproportionate number of men doing the subjects that affect us all, it seems we are happy to leave them to knock lumps out of each other's opinions as long as we are left alone.
If you have an opinion then just say it loud and say it proud ladies because i know we are just as outspoken, forthright and psychotic as most of the men.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Met Guilty But Chief Staying

'Nineteen catastrophic failings that led to the death of an innocent man' summed up the judge as he found the Metropolitan Police Force guilty of putting the public at risk that day at Stockwell Tube Station.
"I intend to continue in my post" said the head of the Met minutes after the damning verdict on the force he leads.
What the trial into the the shooting of Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes shows is that nobody is going to be held accountable for a catalogue of fatal mistakes and sheer incompetence inside our Metropolitan Police Force.
Police Commissioner, Ian Blair, not only oversaw the shooting of an innocent man but he attempted to cover it up afterwards.
After the shooting, he telephoned the Chairman of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and wrote a letter to the Home Office stating that "the shooting that has just occurred at Stockwell is not to be referred to the IPCC and that they will be given no access to the scene at the present time". In the UK police shootings are routinely investigated by the IPCC. He also made a false statement claiming that a warning had been issued prior to the shooting.
The trial also contained a smear campaign against the victim where he was painted as a drug user and cast doubts about his legality to be in the country.
Ian Blair's defence that it was an 'isolated tragedy' would sound more believable if a year later under his watch, another innocent man was not shot during a bungled raid on 'suspected terrorists' in Forest Gate.
The wrong man was killed by the ineptitude of our police force and someone has to be held accountable to restore public confidence and to show that lessons have been learnt and if the situation ever surfaced again, our police would be more competent in dealing with it.
The buck has to stop with someone and as the head of the police force responsible, Ian Blair should think himself lucky that he is being called upon to resign and not just sacked.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Another Media Target Crumbles

There is something compulsive about watching a person pushed so far past their limits that they implode in glorious technicolour and if they do it in front of a camera lens then all the better. It is human nature, however uncomfortable, to sit transfixed as the culmination of months or even years of spiteful smears drive a person to react irrationally and 'lose the plot' so we can all tut loudly and shake our heads in disgust at the drama queen.
It wasn't that long ago when Britney Spears walked into a hairdressers, grabbed the shaver and sent her long blonde locks tumbling to the floor. Years of media abuse, accusations and relentless pressure had taken it's toll on a young lady who had gone from bright young thing to train-wreck in a few short years.
Now we have another celebrity, hounded by the media, making a very public meltdown that you would have to have a heart made of stone not to feel just the slightest tug on the conscience for.
I cared not one jot for either Paul or his estranged wife Heather, the former i always considered overrated while the latter came across as cold and carried the air of a spoilt child. Media darlings when they were wed, Heather became a target of some of the most hateful smear campaigns when they split and the protective barrier that being Mrs McCartney afforded her came tumbling down.
The fact that she lost a leg when hit by a police motorcyclist became the main focus of the jokes over the last 2 years as the vicious press articles branded her a prostitute, gold-digger, porn queen, liar and worse.
As she sat on the sofa with her voice cracking and telling of how she and even her 4 year old daughter had received death threats, she looked a broken and defeated woman, unravelling before our eyes.
Like Britney when the pictures emerged of her breakdown reached our newspapers and television screens I felt the media had taken things too far. Seeing Heather hounded into such a state for having the temerity of falling out of love with a former Beatle is shameful.
Cold and spoilt she may be but nobody deserves the horrendous treatment she has been forced to endure these last couple of years. I may not warm to her but I wish her all the best.

Buffy Guide To Staying Safe Tonight

As the proud owner of every Buffy and Angel episode ever made, i feel properly qualified to pass on advice if a creature of the night tries to rip out your innards or turn you into one of the undead whilst you sleep in your bed tonight.
By far the most popular Halloween character you may encounter is a Witch.
Although they may possess the power to turn you into as frog, witches were killed by the thousand back in medieval times and are basically just warty women with pointy hats so if a woman with a big nose and dressed all in black climbs through your window tonight, after first checking it is not Jennifer Aniston, a blunt object to the noggin should cool her heels permanently.
Vampires are the living dead, forced to feed on the livings blood. They fear sunlight, the cross, fire and a stake through their heart. Their weakness is they always only go for the neck jugular so either sleep with a stake within handy grasp or wear a neck brace.
Come the full moon anyone can change into a ferocious werewolf which can only be killed by a silver bullet. Unless there is a full moon this evening you are safe from having your intestines being used to decorate your bedroom walls. If it is a full moon then a silver bullet is your only salvation so you better start melting down that cheap jewellery.
Demons come in many shapes and forms but they all have something in common, they can be killed in many ways from fire to decapitation. They may come from hell and be super strong but they tend to be easily distracted. The old "Look out, behind you" ploy will give you more than enough time to grab a handily concealed battle axe and remove it's ugly head.
Ghosts are just rubbish. They can’t hurt you and the only thing they can do is make scary noises. This can ruin a good night’s sleep, but it can’t hurt you.
Zombies are the walking dead but there drawback is they are as dumb as a bag of spanners and unless you are wearing lead boots, trousers and coat, you could easily outpace the slowcoaches before they get the chance to eat your brain. Fire or a bullet in the brain will stop them in their tracks.
Mummies are just zombies wrapped up in bandages, which makes it slower and more flammable than a regular zombie. Hopeless.
Probably the least welcome thing you could find looming over you in the dead of night is a robot. Whether they are cyborgs from the future, aliens or escapees from a local tourist attraction out to kill all of mankind, robots are notoriously hard to kill. Not only are they metallic, but they are always immensely strong and impervious to fire, bullets, hitting with blunt objects or swords and have clear, logical thought which anticipates your every move.
You cannot outrun it so the only chance you have is to confuse it's circuits with
some bizarre and confusing logic that will fry it's computerised brain trying to figure out. Reading out the lyrics to any REM song will work fine.

Stay safe this Halloween night.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Yep Channing, We Speak English Here

Sportsmen are generally thought of as not being the sharpest knives in the drawer but Miami Dolphins player Channing Crowder utterances make a block of butter seem like a razor's edge in comparison to him.
Maybe he has been on the receiving end of a few too many tackles or perhaps he should have his chin strap loosened slightly because when you admit to not knowing people speak English in London, something has gone wrong.
"I couldn't find London on a map if they didn't have the names of the countries," he said.
"I swear to God. I don't know what nothing is. I know Italy looks like a boot. I learned that."
Pushing even more of his feet into his mouth he added: "I know London Fletcher. We did a football camp together. So I know him. That's the closest thing I know to London. He's black, so I'm sure he's not from London. I'm sure that's a coincidental name."
David Beckham is said to be ecstatic because finally he has found someone he can stand next to and actually call a dumbass.

Friday, 26 October 2007

Shame On You Mr Brown

The journey is underway down George Bush's well worn path to yet another war as the US President ups the stakes in the brewing conflict with Iran.
Bypassing the United Nations once again, the US administration have taken it upon themselves to impose further sanctions on Iran for its nuclear program and the first leader to come out in support of the policy is our very own Gordon Brown.
Fantastically oblivious to the two wars still raging that we began while he was standing behind Tony Blair, Brown is happy to drag us back onto centre stage and position us firmly in-line to wage war with Iran in the near future.
The main aggressors of US, Israel and UK, claim that Iran's nuclear program is a cover for the development of an atomic bomb. Iran insists it only wants to produce electricity. The United Nations' nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, says it has found no evidence to support the trio's allegations.
Of course we have been here before with trumped-up fears (mushroom clouds over American cities, 45 minutes away from a chemical attack) and frauds (WMD's, yellowcake) to get our backing for attacking Iraq.
The amount of caveats and innuendoes in George Bush's speech this week are proof enough that he knows that the provocative accusations are built on very shaky ground.
"Our intelligence community assess that Iran could develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States and all of Europe before 2015 if it chooses to do so, and the international community does not take steps to prevent it, it is possible Iran could have this capability. And we need to take it seriously now."
Maybe such terms as "could develop", "if it chooses", "it is possible" in one sentence is enough to get our Prime Minister dashing to stand beside George Bush and replace Tony Blair as the Presidents poodle, but as the saying goes, 'fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.'
So shame on all of us if we allow him to do it again with Iran. Meet the New Prime Minister, exactly the same as the old Prime Minister and just as willing to spin us into another devastating war based not on the facts of the IAEA but on the could's and possiblies of the same people who lied and cheated to turn Iraq into the horror show we see today.

Reuters

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Miami Or New York?

The last time anyone rushed a tight end at Wembley was backstage at a George Michael concert but this weekend the usual sound of footballers gelling their hair and fiddling with Alice Bands is being replaced by whatever sounds American Footballers make. Pass me another handful of cream doughnuts judging by the size of some of them.
90,000 grid-iron fans will take their seats at Wembley this Sunday to watch Miami Dolphins take on the New York Giants as the Americans bring their national sport to our shores.
I don't know how it has gone down in America, but fans of the Dolphins and Giants would have every right to be aggrieved that they have to splash out hundreds of dollars and fly across the Atlantic to watch their local team play or watch it on TV at some ungodly hour.
Putting to one side the obvious marketing reasons for the trip over here, it seems to have quite a following for a sport that has almost no exposure in our media and is generally dismissed as rugby for cissies by the rugby playing fraternity who are in turn generally dismissed as drunken upper class idiots by the rest of us.
As it is Liverpool's turn to get beaten by my team this Sunday evening i will be watching that on TV instead but having carefully considered both the Giants and the Dolphins, taking into account form, balance of the teams and reams of stats i will plump for the Miami Dolphins. They have a better badge after all.
Go Dolphins.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

You Say Pajamas...I Say Pyjamas

When i first began using Microsoft Word, the default setting was American English and my text would be criss-crossed with angry red squiggles until i stopped swearing long enough to change the setting to UK English. So why is American English and UK English so different?
A big thank you to a fine English Language graduate for the below explanation.
Apparently is is all down to a chap called Noah Webster and his 1828 American Dictionary.Webster was an advocate of simplified spelling and the popularity of his dictionary dictated many of the spellings in U.S. usage.
The major changes included changing "our" to "or" (flavour/flavor), "re" to "er" (theatre/theater), "ce" to "se" (device/devise), "ogue" to "og" (catalogue/catalog) and "ise" to "ize" (realise/realize), plus an assortment of things like the use, or not, of hyphens, the double "l" replaced by a single 'l' on some occasions and vice versa on other occasions and the silent 'e' dropped from some US spellings (ageing/aging).
When you throw in the issue that some words are spelt completely differently (cheque, draught, liquorice, pyjamas, yoghurt) it is any wonder we can understand each other at all.

So there you go, it isn't a spelling mistake, it's just the English spelling and i am sticking with that excuse.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Only The Nicest People For Our Queen

Buckingham Palace has 53 bedrooms and 78 bathrooms and the Queen gets lonely rattling around inside with only her dotty husband and a few corgi's for company so every now and then the Government organise a bit of a knees up for the old dear and call it a State Visit.
The last one was in March when she had those awfully nice Ghanese Presidential types over to stay so to stop her from going stir crazy and taking potshots at the staff, they have organised another one for the end of the month.
So how to decide which head of state is going to be dining on fish and chips at the Royal household with Liz and Phil at our expense?
Obviously the leader would have to reign over a country renowned for its oppression of women, practising strict Sharia religious law and banning all other religions, torturing prisoners and handing down death sentences to homosexuals.
If they hold regular public executions it would strengthen their chances as would a recommendation from Amnesty International of a total disregard for any Human Rights. Hmm, lets take a look at that list of dignitaries again. There we are, a perfect fit.
Welcome King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, the kind of evil tyrant we can abide.
One's that we do multi-billion pound arms deals with.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Dr Watson Stris Up Eugenics Debate

Scientist James Watson has become embroiled in a row over his claims that black people were 'less intelligent than white people' and that this was borne out by people who have to deal with black employees. Widespread condemnation for his comments from his peers saw his speaking tour cancelled and his trip lasting as long as it took him to get off one plane and jump back onto another back to the States.
Although he did not say as much, the highly uncomfortable Eugenics debate temporarily poked its head out of the sealed cupboard it had been stuffed into.
Dr Watson was in no way actively promoting eugenics, but his use of the same language used by many throughout history to justify the control of breeding started up a short but fierce debate in the newspapers.
Probably the most famous eugenicist was Adolf Hitler but the unsettling truth is that many of the great and good were not averse to a spot of eugenic thinking themselves.

Alexander Graham Bell supported the compulsory sterilization of people deemed to be "defective variety of the human race".
George Bernard Shaw wrote that we ought to be allowed to tackle the Jewish question by admitting eugenic experiments weeding out any strains they think undesirable.
HG Wells called upon those involved in the eugenic world to 'not be squeamish’ about inflicting death on the unfit. Wells list included persons with mental disorders, bodily deformations and alcoholics.
Virginia Woolf described a walk on which she met “a long line of imbeciles”. She wrote that 'it was perfectly horrible. They should certainly be killed.'
Winston Churchill lobbied for compulsory sterilization of the mentally handicapped: "I feel that the source from which the stream of madness is fed should be cut off and sealed up before another year has passed."

I find the whole idea of eugenics abhorrent but if anyone disagrees with me, they will find themselves in some good company.

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Concurrent Postings

Big thank you to Cody for his suggestion that we do a concurrent posting on the different views held on the support, or lack of, for Israel in America & Europe.
It was a great learning experience for me due to the mostly patient and eloquent explanations from the commenters, so thank you to everyone for your involvement. Your contributions are as always, greatly appreciated.
I know the comments on Cody's posting spiralled off into another area thanks to some indefensible things being mentioned but the person involved has been rightly pulled up short so it has been dealt with.
That matter notwithstanding, this partnership seemed to go so well, we have decided to do a few more USA v Europe posts concerning things that have us scratching our heads about each other.
Hopefully we can touch on some fun, controversial and just plain silly subjects. I would especially like to find out how the hell you yanks managed to mangle the English language at some point (it's spelt doughnut, not donut) but until then thank you for making the initial joint posts a joy to take part in.

Stick It To 'Em England

Something us English do well is suddenly become interested in something when we are doing well at it.
I include myself in this terrible fickleness because i am planning to be within sight of a television screen tonight to watch our boys take on the Springboks in the final of the Rugby World Cup.
Where once were just posh fat men jumping on each other while clutching a (or each others) funny shaped balls, now our finely honed athletes are bravely giving there all for their fellow countrymen.
Personally, the rugby World Cup only came within my radar when we somehow made it into the Quarter Final and the imminent clash with the sheep worrying Aussies loomed over the horizon.
All i know about rugby is man gets oval shaped ball, man gets hit by larger man. Continue until a big man manages to fall over behind the posts. Simple really.
So i will be there staring at a screen and willing on the fat men dressed in white because we are doing well and us English are great at getting behind our sporting heroes.
Of course, if after 10 mins we are behind and getting our arses spanked by the South Africans we will all switch over en masse to Strictly Come Dancing.
We are fickle like that.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Cuzz?

George Washington is famous for chopping down a cherry tree with his hatchet but i can only imagine Barack Obama is hunting down the biggest chainsaw he can find to hack at his family tree now that a dirty little secret has been found dangling off one of the branches.
Before you could say 'a full blood transfusion please', the wife of Dick Cheney could have derailed the Obama roadshow by revealing that her husband and Obama are related. Oh, and part French.
In what must of been one of those glorious 'Oh Bugger' moments in the Barack household, Lyn Cheney revealed that Dick and Obama are eighth cousins and descendants from a garlic muncher who emigrated from France in the 17th Century.
Of course you cannot choose your family but it certainly shows that the Cheney blood is running through the Illinois Senator's veins when Obama mentioned recently that he would have no qualms about dropping a few bombs on Pakistan. Cousin Dick would of been very proud of that one.
The Obama campaign staff tried to make light of the relationship by joking about every family having a black sheep but they will wait nervously to see if the Senators aspirations are hit by this bombshell. A bombshell sent courtesy of a Cheney so nothing new there then.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

What Kid Could Want More For Xmas?

Remember back in your childhood when action figures were cool? Barbie & Sindy had accessories and cars and a horse, action man had an eagle eye and guns and that cute camouflage suit.
Recent action figures have included Dr Who, Spiderman and Buffy who come with a range of dialogue so you can not only defeat the daleks on the back of the sofa but hear the witty banter from the shows.
Yep, action figures are cool to anyone under 10 but all that is about to change because between the Supermans, Bratz and Barbie's is a newcomer to the overcrowded market.
Boasting a great turn of phrase including the memorable John 3:16 and the
unforgettable Mark 12:30, is Jesus.
Looking more like one of the Bee Gee's than the son of god, the plastic toy is about to land in an ASDA Wal-Marts near us soon and just in time for Christmas.
The American firm that believe our kids are ready to put aside the neat toys for their crap ones, also offer a talking Mary and Daniel (complete with lion) are launching 'Biblical Dolls' in Britain after much success in its home country.
I predict that persuading our nations children that they want a foot tall plastic Jesus which recites bible phrases will be as successful as persuading them they want to kiss the auntie with the bad breath and the five o'clock shadow, but there is hope yet if you follow my advice.
You can either give him an eagle eye or give him a cape and some super powers because an action figure whose action is handing out fish and bread just ain't gonna cut it.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Israel Palestine - The Euro View

Following recent debates, Cody and I have decide to do a concurrent post on the topic of the Israel Palestine conflict and put forward our view on why there is a difference of opinions on either side of the Atlantic. Cody's can be found here.

Plainly, there is today a vast gulf between European and American attitudes towards the Israeli Palestine conflict in the Middle East, but it is hard to recognise the argument that European sympathy for the Palestinians is no more than anti-semitism.
Such was a short lived attempt to paint any criticism in the media as anti-Jewish, a group of prominent British Jews broke away from the country's Jewish establishment, arguing that it puts support for Israel above the human rights of Palestinians, smashing the dangerous myth that if you criticise Israel, you are criticising Judaism as well.
The media gives us the facts and we have to decide whether to accept, refuse or set about hunting for our own take on them.
Our press does have left and right leanings but it was Sky News, owned by the Murdoch Corporation and one of the most right wing pro-American media’s we have here, that was the largest critic of Israel’s actions in Lebanon a few summers back.
In America, the powerful ‘Israel Lobby’ is blamed for influencing the dearth of facts that the media put out to the American public. Ex President Jimmy Carter said: “The many controversial issues concerning Palestine and the path to peace for Israel are intensely debated among Israelis and throughout other nations - but not in the United States.”
In this weekends newspapers, Tony Blair was quoted as saying that after his visit to the West Bank that he was shocked and taken aback at the depth of the Palestinians' distress caused by the occupation.
So is the lack of sympathy in Europe for the Israeli cause down to the full facts being presented in our media and not in America because of the shady Israel Lobby?
Could it be that to criticise Israel’s actions in America is to invite being called out as anti-semitic while we here have no such problem and are much more freer to berate anyone we see meeting out punishment we deem as in breech of Human Rights?
The Palestinians are criticised just as heavily here when they fire rockets into Israel but as Israel is seen as an occupying army illegally seizing and building settlements on Palestinian land, defying UN resolutions, killing innocent Palestinians with rocket attacks, holding over 9000 Palestinians in its prisons, destroys farms, bulldozes homes and businesses, builds a monstrous wall deemed illegal by the international court of justice that moves another 10% of Palestinian land onto Israel territory amongst numerous other violations, maybe Israel just has more to be criticised for.
You cannot make an informed decision without all the facts as was shown by the Iraq adventure but with the shrinking of the global community, the days of what we hear and see being controlled by the media is coming to an end.
Whether we want to go looking for an alternate view is another thing altogether.
For an American view on this subject CODY BONES

Reuters

Friday, 12 October 2007

Incovenient Peace Award

Alfred Nobel developed one of the most destructive things known to man so by way of an half-arsed attempt to balance out his karma, he dreamt up the peace prize.
This is to be awarded to "the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses".
Unless there is a hidden line about knocking out a film about global warming, i fail to see how Albert Arnold Gore Jnr is deemed a worthy recipient by those crazy Scandinavians.
The talk has been that when Al picked up the Award he would be persuaded to remove his hat and throw it into the ring as a Presidential candidate.
I could grudgingly swallow campaigning against global warming being equal to campaigns for human rights or mediating peace deals between warring factions if Gore makes his move and sets his sights on the White House.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Cleveland Shooting. Why?

News of yet another high school shooting. This time a 14 year old gunman, apparently upset about being suspended for fighting earlier this week, came to the school with a gun in each hand and began firing.
I don't want to get into a debate about the American gun laws, that argument gets an airing with every alarming occurrence, what i find so shocking is what state of mind these kids are in that they see arming themselves and killing innocent people as way of revenge.
What is it that makes a person explode with such violence and without thought for his fellow human beings that he will grab a weapon and start shooting?
Drugs? Upbringing? Culture? Stress? Gangs? Media? Video games? Access to Guns? Music?
It is an age-old nature V nurture debate whether these killers are simply bad human beings or that their actions can be linked to a corrosive influence.
I strongly believe rather than being born bad, we are shaped by our surroundings, our influences and experiences. The idea that we are somehow creating humans with such little regard to their own life and that of others and whose first answer to life's difficulties is to blow away as many of his fellow students as possible before he is blown away himself, deeply unnerving and horrifying.

Lords Discuss Anti-Americanism

There has been an undercurrent of anti-American feeling swirling around since i can remember but it was always low level and not particularly powerful. However the undercurrent has turned into a rapid over the last few years and has reached such proportions that it even rated a question in the House of Lords today.
Lord Saatchi asked Her Majesty's Government what was their assessment of anti-Americanism in the UK and larger world.
The debate between the Lords threw up many reasons why according to the 2005 Pew Trusts research poll, anti-Americanism is deeper and broader than at any time in modern history. They seemed to conclude that their is a plethora of issues that come together to explain why the rest of us outside of the USA fail to hold up America as a shining example.
I can explain it in 3. Bush, Iraq and Israel.
The term anti-Americanism seems too wide ranging, it is obscene to be anti an entire nation and what i see as i travelled about Europe these last few years is an overwhelming feeling of anti-Bush, not anti-America.
George Bush's arrogant gung-ho military style, recent foreign policy with regards to the middle east and unwavering support for Israel is what i would point to in order to explain why America has fallen from its pedestal in the eyes of the World. It is also the exact three reasons that saw Tony Blair fall from grace and airbrushed out of history by his own political party.
Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, extraordinary rendition flights and supporting Israel unquestioningly have done damage to America's reputation but the wheel will turn and and things will change.
Another Administration with other policies will help to restore America as a place to be applauded and not heckled which will unfortunately continue until George Bush's time is up and he finally turns out the light on his stint as President.

Dangerous New Twist In Iraq Debacle

As if the Iraq situation was not enough of a debacle already, it could be taking a new and dangerous twist as Turkey prepares to invade the north of the country.
The Turkish military have been granted permission to conduct operations against the PKK army of Kurdish fighters holed up on Iraq's border with Iran.
The PKK has killed 15 Turkish soldiers and 12 civilians in ambushes in south-eastern Turkey in the past 10 days and the military have been pressing the Turkish Government for the nod to go after the militants in Iraq.
Nozad Hadi, the governor of Iraqi Kurdistan, warned Ankara "If Turkish troops decide to enter into Kurdistan territories, their decision would be wrong and they would sustain heavy casualties and material losses."
Just as the American and British Governments try to draw down the number of troops in Iraq and portray an image of calm returning to a devastated Iraq, a new front seems to be opening up.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Jesus Against Homosexuals

Who could possibly be against making inciting homophobic hatred illegal in the UK?
Who, outside of the expected extreme right wing groups, could possibly go out of their way to throw a spanner in the works of the Justice Secretary's decision to make it an offence to rally hatred against people based on their sexuality?
Step forward and accept your prize the Christian Church who are threatening to block it's passage through the House of Lords thereby stopping it dead in it's tracks.
Churchy groups are arguing that Christians who criticised gay sex could be jailed for up to seven years. Far be it from me to suggest the Christians just refrain from criticising homosexual practises thereby not spending the next 7 years eating porridge.
Luckily there was a law passed earlier this year that outlawed religious hatred otherwise anyone could just say the Christian Church is run by a bunch of $%*/>'s and @^&!!~ who need to get their gullible noses out of the Bible and stop spreading their message of hatred against homosexuals. The dimwitted T*$?!*'s.

Monday, 8 October 2007

I'm Just A Poor Boy, Nobody Loves Me

There is only one song that i can think of that references Scaramouch, the fandango, Galileo, Figaro and Bismillah and it has just been voted as the best video ever in an O2 poll.
For it's time it was a cracker with the famous image of the four upturned faces of the band members singing along to the Faustian plot line of the song.
Almost a third of those quizzed in the survey said the video for the rock opera-style song was their top choice.
Michael Jackson's Thriller came second with 13% of the vote, just pipping Justin Timberlake's Cry Me A River, which received 12%.
Now i don't want to knock Bohemian Rhapsody and i know it was groundbreaking and ushered in the age of music video's but was it the greatest ever?
The song is definitely worthy of topping any best song list but apart from the Scaramouch section, it is mostly the band on stage with Freddie at the piano.
My personal top choice for best music video would be REM's Caravaggio inspired video to 'Losing My Religion' based on a novel about an angel who falls down from heaven and how his finders lock him up and display him as a freak show.
AS Freddie himself said, magnifico-ooo-ooo-ooo.