December 31, 2003
I have just found this old page of random links on a server - I have taken out dead links but I haven't got time to check them all today. No responsibility of what you will find is taken.
Advice - click the "Open links in a New Window" box on the right sidebar here.
(Cool 3D Pong game)
http://english.pravda.ru/main/2001/07/14/10131.html - this seems to be just a Green Ink article, not sure why it is here.
Clean the F**king Kitchen - a simple guide
This was called CLeaning The F**king Kitchen for Dummies until the lawyers got involved. http://www.antimodal.com/flash/critters04.html
http://www.bigideafun.com/penguins/arcade/spaced_penguin/info.htm (REALLY COOL GAME)
Swearotron http://www.rathergood.com/swearotron.html (For use when talking to Sales)
As the year ends let me try and pull together some threads I have started.
The biggest threat we all face is Islamic terrorism, my optimistic view is that this desperate and bloody revolt is the work of a people who know they are beaten. They are Luddites raging against the machine, they know that western culture and "liberal" values are, with the help of technology, winning the battle for minds. And as always Luddites eventually lose.
In my own fair part of the Wiltshire we had a revolt not long ago - and I will leave you with a quote about The Captain Swing Riots which draws in my threads of 19th century rural suffering (it wasn't just Ireland), the stoic nature of us English and the notion that even we have our breaking point and then we turn to revolt (but even then with restraint).
"At the beginning of the 19th century the lot of the agricultural labourer in general, and those from Wiltshire in particular, was miserable. The decline in their standard of living, which had begun in the late 18th century, was continuing apace. The agricultural depression that set in at the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815 worsened an already appalling situation and left many people destitute. Matters declined further with the gradual introduction of machinery, both on the land and in the factories, and the labourers realised that these would deprive them of many of their traditional sources of income. In 1813, Thomas Davis prepared a report on the state of agriculture in Wiltshire by revising a previous work of his father’s published in 1794. He was the steward to the Marquis of Bath of Longleat, and of the labourers he states:
"It is a melancholy fact that ..... the labourers of many parts of this county ..... may be truly said to be at this time in a wretched condition. The dearness of provisions, the scarcity of fuel, and above all the failure of spinning work for the women and children have put it almost out of the power of the village poor to live by their industry. The farmers complain, and with reason, that the labourers do less work than formerly, when in fact the labourers are not able to work as they did at the time when they lived better".
Things got worse during the years that followed. When that great radical William Cobbett visited the Pewsey Vale and the Avon Valley in August 1826, he was appalled at what he found. He prophetically recorded:
"In taking my leave of this beautiful vale I have to express my deep shame, as an Englishman, at beholding the general extreme poverty of those who cause this vale to produce such quantities of food and raiment. This is, I verily believe it, the worst used labouring people upon the face of the earth. Dogs and hogs and horses are treated with more civility; and as to food and lodging, how gladly would the labourers change with them! This state of things never can continue many years! By some means or other there must be an end to it; and my firm belief is, that the end will be dreadful."
Four years later the working man had had enough of poverty and hunger. By this time his conditions were worse that before or during the Napoleonic Wars and they were suffering from "appallingly low wages, bad conditions and incredibly long hours of work". The recently introduced thrashing machine would deprive him of one of his main sources of winter work and so, faced with a generally uncaring ruling class, he took matters into his own hands. The normally passive and quietly suffering labourers of Wessex had, for once, had enough...
Another view on THE SWING RIOTS
Top Ten War Films
Quickly off the top of my head here is an Englishman's list
The Great Escape
Ice Cold in Alex
The Wooden Horse
Battle of Britain
The Cruel Sea
Bridge on The River Kwai
December 30, 2003
My type of pilot
Mr Free Market posts about Sky Marshals, here is the audio clip he was missing...
House of Dumb has a good Fisk of the Educrats - let me quote a little:
Turns out the biggest issue facing our train wreck education system isn't rampant illiteracy, endemic bullying, ideological marking, non-existent teaching standards, corruption in the testing process, pervert teachers, drug abuse, bogus sickness claims or appalling personal hygiene.
An unprecedented clampdown on parents who take their children on holiday during term-time has been ordered by Charles Clarke, the Education Secretary.
He is being backed by head teachers' leaders, who are telling schools to review the policy of authorising breaks of up to two weeks, which are viewed by some parents as an entitlement.
Ha! As if you're entitled to do what's best for your kids. Everyone knows that they're government property, you just borrow them. Besides, they only have them for 42 weeks a year, so that missing almost 5% could make all the difference (although constant halts for 'in-service training' have no effect whatsoever, of course).
Funny how 'heads teacher leaders' aren't so finicky about local control when it's someone else ox being gored. Also ironic since, given the sickness rates among the teachoids, restricing them to two weeks a year would be a major achievement.
But I suppose teachers ought to be the bloody experts on Holidays - take this whinge on Long hours
He describes his working day as starting at 8.40am and not finishing until 4.15pm with only 35 minutes break for lunch. One day a week he teaches nine 40-minute lessons and sometimes is required to attend meetings which can last as long as 70 minutes
He asks whether there are any regulations limiting the number of teaching hours a teacher is required to do.
Excessive workload leading to high levels of stress and low morale is a recurrent theme in the modern workforce, but nowhere is it more prevalent than in the teaching profession.
Can you believe it - up to NINE whole 40 minute lessons, wow! that is SIX hours of work, thank God that is only one day a week.
But the slavery has limits:
Teachers in maintained schools have to be available for work for 195 days in any year, of which 190 shall be days on which 'he may be required to teach pupils'.
The maximum number of hours for full-time teachers (other than head teachers, deputy heads and advanced skills teachers) under the direction of the head is 1265.
(Source: School Teachers’ Pay & Conditions Document 1998)
1265 hours - even the French average 1535 hours a year while the Americans average 1976 hours.
Oh and then they do their training during School term rather than in the 14 weeks they have off.
"INSET or Baker days
INSET or In-service Training days were introduced by the then Tory education secretary Kenneth Baker (hence Baker days) so that headteachers could bring all their staff together for training purposes. They should be an important tool for headteachers to help staff maintain and develop their professional skills and knowledge for whole school development planning.
The organisation and timing of inset days is at the discretion of the individual school and each school is expected to take local circumstances into account when planning the times. Usually they are timed to be at the beginning or end of the school holidays, as this often results in less disruption.
Attendance is voluntary
The secretary of state recognises that teachers may not want or be able to attend INSET days and expects headteachers to respect individual teachers choice and to have respect to equal opportunities."
Equal opportunity to be a skiving git I suppose - and let's not mention the sick day record!
But let us remember that this is probably all good news, kids are bright enough to see if you are a workshy-statist-corduroy-wearing-sandal-shuffling-perpetual student you end up being a teacher. Get a job, work hard, party hard and life is a lot more fun.
Seeing Red on Planning
I keep trying to work up a reasoned argument and suggestions as to how the planning system could be usefully reformed. Dr Madsen Pirie's experience - see Adam Smith Institute Blog - Planning in detail - seems mild by most but at least he had the balls to fight it. My planning application is in at the moment and I just say yes to their "suggestions" - I once fought and won a nine year battle with them and don't have the energy to do so again.
So my reasoned suggestion is - sorry I can't do it, the Tourette's keeps trying to cut in - deep breath - Before we had planners people built nice house, villages and towns which we now preserve, Five Year Plans belong in Stalinist Russia, - No I can't hold it.. THE ONLY GOOD THING ABOUT PLANNERS IS THAT COME THE GLORIOUS DAY THEY WILL HAVE MADE SURE THAT THERE ARE ENOUGH LAMPPOSTS FOR US TO HANG EACH ONE INDIVIDUALLY.. sorry I will go and have a lie down now.
Unmasking the totalitarian tale of Pigling Bland
Beatrix Potter is a favourite author of mine and of my daughter - the videos are also well made.
The stories are of real animals in that they hunt each other and eat other animals ( The horror on a baby sitter's face when she learnt that Jemima Puddle-Duck is saved from the Fox by a couple of hounds was a joy!), and there is a certain darkness in some of the stories, which is both good for and enjoyed by children.
One story The Tale of Pigling Bland was never one of my favourites and seemed a surprising choice to be made into a video. But my three year old loves it and so I know it well know.
Times Online - Newspaper Edition has a great article on the tale:
"THE closing days of George Orwell’s centenary year provide an opportune moment to consider the totalitarian — or Stalinist — dimensions of Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Pigling Bland." which reveals new dimensions to it, and maybe makes it an educational choice for our children.
Unmasking the totalitarian tale of Pigling Bland
By Guy Liardet
THE closing days of George Orwell’s centenary year provide an opportune moment to consider the totalitarian — or Stalinist — dimensions of Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Pigling Bland. Orwell wrote in Animal Farm: “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”
Conversely, at Potter’s Pettitoes Farm, the anthropomorphised piglets control nothing; the farm is not generating the agricultural surplus even to feed its own — “four little boy pigs and four little girl pigs are too many altogether”. “Yus, yus, yus,” said Aunt Pettitoes, “there will be more to eat without them.” So there has to be a transport, a cull of the disenfranchised.
Pigling Bland and his brother Alexander are sent off to market with various minatory strictures about their behaviour and the all-important “pig papers” — their licences to go to market — which have been obtained from the police after “no end of trouble”.
“And remember,” they are gratuitously told, “if you once cross the county boundary you cannot come back.” An atmosphere of political tension has been created. What happens after “market” is not discussed.
On the way the brothers eat their picnics and indulge in horseplay. The pig papers get mixed up. They sing the famous ditty, “Tom, Tom the piper’s son, stole a pig and away he run.”
“What’s that, young sirs? Stole a pig? Where are your licences?.” This is a heavily policed society; the brothers have run into the uniformed police foot patrol inevitably to be found on this quiet country lane between town and farm. Alexander cannot find his papers and is escorted away in police custody.
Pigling Bland proceeds on alone, finds he has Alexander’s papers in his pocket, panics, gets lost and has to spend the night in a henhouse. The owner, significantly named Mr Peter Thomas Piperson, is an ill-favoured prole, operating on the margins of economic viability and the law. He arrives to select some hens for market and finds Pigling Bland. He makes a singular remark, “Hallo, here’s another”, and seizes Pigling by the scruff of the neck.
Piperson’s plans for Pigling are conditioned by the fact that “the hens had seen this pig” and might betray him to the authorities. To cut a long story short, he returns from market slightly drunk and fails to lock up properly. Pigling Bland thus meets “the other”, a perfectly lovely little black female Berkshire pig called Pig-wig. “Stolen,” she replies to Pigling’s inquiry.
They escape, starting before dawn as the hens might shout to Mr Piperson. The sun rises while they were crossing the moor and revealed a beautiful landscape. “That’s Westmoreland,” said Pig-wig. Pigling no longer wants go to market, he wants to grow potatoes.
They must get to the bridge and the county boundary “before folks are stirring”. They keep under a wall, having seen a man ploughing.
Disaster! Here unfolds a scene akin to countless nerve-racking tales of borders and escapes from oppression. Between the two fleeing pigs and the boundary, a tradesman’s cart comes up the road. Pigling feigns a bad limp. The horse shies and the pair are noticed. “Hullo! Where are you going to?” It is, of course, a given that everyone has a Stasi-like interest in everyone else. “Are you deaf? Are you going to market?” Pigling nodded slowly. “I thought so. It was yesterday. Papers? Pig licence?”
The grocer’s jurisdiction apparently allows him to demand and read these examples of statist bureaucracy, but he is dissatisfied. “This here pig is a young lady; is her name Alexander?” He decides to drive on and speak to the ploughman — automatically assuming that the ploughman will have a similar interest in the proper management of oppression.
Of course, as in all police states, the grocer would be fully au fait with the status of the boundary, but such a lame pig could not possibly make a run for it.
But they do. They come to the river, they come to the bridge — they cross it, hand in hand — then over the hills and far away Pig-wig dances with Pigling Bland!
That the boundary was not marked by barbed wire, watch towers and tethered dogs expresses the vocabulary of 1913 rather than that of 1984. Let’s hope that Pigling and Pig-wig passed unscathed through the Westmoreland asylum-seekers’ sieve, testing negative for swine-fever, and were able to find a plot in which to plant their potatoes.
So the German relatives are over staying with us for a couple of days. My little Girl is playing with her new dolls house. The visiting child opens the attic and spots some dolls. "Oh look, dere are some hiding in der attic. I vonder who they are?"
Thank goodness I managed to stifle my automatic response, "the Frank family" otherwise I think it would have been a very frosty evening.
December 29, 2003
Even Better News
The Edge of England's Sword is sharp and cutting in a foreign field:
In 2003, more and more people realized alarmism over climate change is based on uncertain science and bad economics. If that trend continues in 2004, it could be a very good year indeed
More Good News
The econazis suffered a set back when the perverse decision to clear them was reversed and they were fined.
On 15th December 2003 a District Judge in Weymouth, Dorset found 4 anti-GM activists Liz Snook, Olaf Bayer, Richard Whistance and Will Hart guilty of aggravated trespass for attaching themselves to tractors in an attempt to prevent the sewing (sic) a farmscale trial of GM maize near Weymouth in May 2002. The four were given conditional discharges lasting 18 months, 1 person was ordered to pay £250 court costs and the other three were ordered to pay court costs of £1000 each.
Some of the activists are planning to refuse to pay their court costs and are willing to go to prison if need be. Others due to personal circumstances are going to have to pay their court costs and would really appreciate any help that people are able to offer in paying their costs. offers of help should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Yesterdays guilty verdict and sentencing marks the end of a drawn out and contradictory legal process. In March 2003 all 4 activists were cleared of aggravated trespass by the same District Judge. At the original trial, he commented that the four had acted in a "reasonable" way and said "I can see you all have huge knowledge of GM crops and I can see you were acting to protect the land and animals."
However, in November 2003 following a successful appeal by the Director of Public Prosecution, 2 high court judges overturned the District Judges earlier decision, and ruled that the four activists should be sent back to the magistrates court with an order to convict and sentence and them.
Now what suggestions to help them shall I email to them? - "have a bath" springs to mind; oh, if you do go to prison, when the big guy asks if you want to play Mummies and Daddies then smile you have made a special friend...
"I think I'm going to start blogging again soon"
December 26, 2003
I hope this works
Thanks to a tip at The Alliance
"Blog Tips: Spell Checker
I was browsing around last night over at Electric Venom and ran across a post by guest blogger Kevin of Wizbang.
He recommended a new spell checker for IE based browsers called IESpell. So, I followed the link, downloaded and installed the program and gave it a test run."
So I'm doing the same - it could be a great help to me!
December 24, 2003
Like most bloggers I spend a stupid amouint of my time looking to see who reads my stuff and so I was perplexed by my search query log:
24 Dec, Wed, 08:33:13 Google: ceylon+suicide+paris+1903
24 Dec, Wed, 10:18:09 Google: suicide+paris+1903+ceylon
24 Dec, Wed, 10:44:38 Google: 1903 ceylon paris
24 Dec, Wed, 12:29:51 Google: politically correct holiday greeting
24 Dec, Wed, 13:35:34 Google: ceylon suicide paris 1903
24 Dec, Wed, 14:19:41 Google: commonwealth 13 colonies
24 Dec, Wed, 14:28:36 Google: suicide hotel paris 1903
24 Dec, Wed, 14:29:36 Google: Ceylon Paris suicide 1903
Why the sudden interest in Ceylon Paris suicide 1903 ?
The answer is the wonderful King Billy Quiz.
"Scire ubi aliquid invenire possis, ea demum maxima pars eruditionis est"
1. In 1903:
1 who founded the WSPU?
2 what speed limit was imposed on motor cars?
3 who was the Sublime Paralytic, who died of cholera?
4 whose weekly journal began to publicise atrocities in the Congo Free
5 whose residence at Holly Lodge was commemorated by the first blue
6 whose handwritten catalogue described works for sale at their Peckham
7 who was hounded by the Governor of Ceylon to suicide in a Parisian
8 which Franco-Peruvian reached his journey's end on Fatu Iwa?
9 in what was the Chimney-Sweep the first victor?
10 how was Giuseppe Sarto renamed?
2. Which pioneer:
1 was the Oldham egg-collector?
2 experimented with family planning in Hispaniola?
3 achieved whole-hearted substitution in the "great barn"?
4 discovered the anaesthetic and analgesic properties of laughing gas?
5 devised a system of raised point writing at the Institution des Jeunes
6 is now credited with the discovery of the retrovirus which compromises
7 combined a surgical approach to Schizophrenia with Portuguese diplomacy?
8 described his invention in Traité de l'auscultation médiate ?
9 discovered in soil, an agent to counter Koch's bacillus?
10 worked out inheritance in Moravia?
3. Who painted:
1 the church of Auvers?
2 the church of St Séverin?
3 a 404 ft spire with a rainbow?
4 the church of St Jacques near the Quai Duquesne?
5 a Notre Dame lookalike in a "pretty" town by the Seine?
6 a Norman cathedral, more than 20 times, from above a draper's shop?
7 the Confessor's building with a procession of KCBs?
8 Mariakerk, with Buurkerk and the cathedral?
9 the old church in Sundborn?
10 the church at Blainville?
4. Who composed:
1 Alligator Hop?
2 Maple Leaf Rag?
3 Stevedore Stomp?
4 Riverboat Shuffle?
5 Bourbon Street Parade?
7 One O'Clock Jump?
8 Muskrat Ramble?
9 Milneburg Joys?
10 St Louis Blues?
5. What culinary delicacy misleadingly suggests:
1 sugary loaves?
2 Maharashtrian poultry?
3 a citrous dairy product?
4 a North British gamebird?
5 a bunny from the Principality?
6 tarts filled with ground ungulate flesh?
7 a partly concealed amphibian?
8 a lizard from Banffshire?
9 a dachshund in season?
10 satanic riders?
1 is 3.14159?
2 is back to back clothing?
3 represents one millionth of a metre?
4 was the timely creation of Louis Brandt?
5 fraction of serum contains the antigen opposition?
6 cerebral activity consists of oscillations with a frequency of 8-13
7 is the destination of the posterior fontanelle?
8 blockade was investigated by Black?
9 project was devised by van Veen?
10 is a minimal amount?
7. In which town:
1 was Ryan's bridge too far?
2 does a modern bridge recall Gerritszoon?
3 did Mesdag create his suburban panorama?
4 did Freeling's Piet advance to Commisaris?
5 was silence doubly assured by Balthazar Gerard?
6 did Gerard and Anton establish their Incandescent Lamp Works?
7 did the peacemakers cede Gibraltar to Britain?
8 did van Aeken adopt his natal city's name?
9 does the Elfstedentocht start and finish?
10 did the Goblin arrive by mistake?
8. Who or what:
1 was Tashunka Witco?
2 is 4400 foot pounds per second?
3 was devised by Niels and Janne Olsson?
4 supplied St Pancras vestry with eight acres for a cemetery?
5 is a cocktail of ginger ale, brandy and a twist of lemon?
6 was the apparatus instrumental in the escape from a Silesian POW camp?
7 stands where the Alaska and Klondike highways meet?
8 has two daughters crying "Give, give"?
9 nebula is adjacent to Zeta Orionis?
10 was Sir Anthony Meyer?
9. In which city might one wait at:
3 Santa Justa?
4 Santa Lucia?
5 San Giovanni?
6 Santa Apolónia?
8 Sint Pieters?
10 São Bento?
1 bleeds at St Brynach's?
2 is tallest of all at the Hermitage?
3 is Coleridge's Lady of the Woods?
4 did the Jews hang their harps upon in Mesopotamia?
5 Christmas bloomer came from Joseph's staff on Wearyall?
6 was the HQ of the Kentish smugglers Quested and Ransley?
7 provided a perch for the Royal fugitive after Worcester?
8 conundrum was introduced by Archibald Menzies?
9 is St Lawrence's unique feature?
10 shelters the village smithy?
11. Who or what:
1 was the Pontus Axeinus?
2 was that young Mars of men?
3 sticker was succeeded by brown in 41?
4 was Billy's ante-mortem gift from the blind beggar?
5 name was on the lid of a box to be left with Barkis till called for?
6 was acquitted in Mogador on the evidence of Lady Cicely Waynflete?
7 had a particular wish to turn down Moultrassie avenue?
8 blemish arises from the oxidation of sebum?
9 is Leicester's troglodyte cannibal?
10 is Dendroapsis polylepsis?
12. Identify titularly:
3 James Durie
4 Thorkell Mylrea
5 Francisco Scaramanga
6 Zafrillah bin Ismail bin Said
7 Sir Edward Manley
8 Harvey Birch
9 Alec Leamas
1 was Levi, the taxman?
2 was executed at Achaia?
3 is associated with Pecten maximus?
4 was the second martyr after Stephen?
5 was accompanied by his wife on his missionary travels?
6 financed the purchase of the Field of Blood with his reward?
7 may, or may not, have been the Patmos seer?
8 is remembered annually with Simon?
9 was the twin, who needed proof?
10 came on as a substitute?
14. Translate further, to the popular English name:
2 little plum
4 little brother
5 green-footed chicken
6 grass widow on Ithaca
7 swift immerser
8 softest body
1 Angela, Saphir, Ella, ...
2 apples, cherries, hops, ...
3 ..., Nuoro, Oristano, Sassari
4 Rheingold, Walkure, Siegfried, ...
5 Mildred Harris, Lita Grey, Paulette Goddard, ...
6 ... , Norbert Brainin, Siegmund Nissel, Martin Lovett
7 Burnt Norton, East Coker, ... , Little Gidding
8 de Morville, de Tracy, ... , Brito
9 Justine, Balthazar, ... , Clea
10 market, home, ... , none
16. Which waterfall:
1 is Ireland's highest?
2 embraces three county boundaries?
3 is adjacent to a succession of three bridges?
4 is traversed by Lord Tweedmouth's iron bridge?
5 according to Borrow, resembled thin, beautiful threads?
6 saw the Buggane come to grief through a cut apron string?
7 is eddying and whisking and spouting and frisking?
8 can be seen through More's eyes on the Mound?
9 witnessed the death of a sleep-walker?
10 is Skene's overflow?
1 is Ingvar Kamprad?
2 showed that k=A exp(-E/RT)?
3 was represented by Verdi as Renato?
4 was the "curator of the secrets of 82 nations"?
5 successfully absorbed nitroglycerin in kieselguhr?
6 beat Floyd, but was felled by him the following year?
7 marched his invading army across the frozen sea?
8 was tutored in philosophy by Descartes?
9 wrote about an anserine passenger?
10 devised a binomial flora?
18. In 2003:
1 who did 42.195 x 7 in 7/365?
2 who was stitched up after a managerial tantrum?
3 what took Baumgartner 12 minutes and 3 seconds?
4 who scored three golden ducks and one short of a ton?
5 who was tempted to recommend Schultz as a concentration camp commandant?
6 who, sadly, can no longer advise us to eat the hamburger and throw away
7 who got in through St George's after a quick change in the Highlander?
8 whose failure to avoid dying has ruined his career?
9 which diary has given way to capital espionage?
10 how did Sweden score 56-42?
Here is the music you need - and also you can track Santa on his trip tonight thanks to NORAD.
Boxing Day Meets - Hunts across the country are working to make sure that more people than ever before come hunting on Boxing Day 2003.
Many hunts are advertising details of their meet and extending an open invitation for everyone to join them on Boxing Day. Click here to see a list of meets.
Make sure all your friends and neighbours know that they are welcome to join their local hunt on Boxing Day
No Freak Show please!
Samizdata.net has the definitive post as to why we don't want the Olympics in London. I have been trying to tie up a couple of threads to comment on the same for a while.
1) The Royal Mail wants to apologise to us for the strikes so what do they do, promise to do better, welcome competition, send us all a free stamp - no they offer £1m to the London Olympic Games Bid - bastards.
2: There was a report that Sportsmen have emotional retardation and most professionals had an emotional age of 13. Tantrums, inability to tell wrong from right, lying, cheating etc. I have been trying to find the report to link to do but have given up , but I know I didn't imagine it. So is that what we want to encourage our younsters to do - to become emotionally crippled phtsically deformed drug taking whingers? (I'm also convinced that the long term cost of sports injuries is on a par with tobacco - lung cancer kills quickly but dodgy knees go on costing!
December 23, 2003
who has a stronger stomach than me and actually reads the Guardian reports that Polly Toynbee has been had for a sucker by the Nigerian scam artists - and she is stupid enough to admit it! Go and read and enjoy, but don't blame me if you splutter port and stilton over your keyboard. Because the best part is - George Bush is to blame for it all!
Dr Madsen Pirie at the Adam Smith Institute is worried about his Brazil nuts. He blames the EU for banning them. Strangely the International Tree Nut Council make no mention of such a ban. Now I believe in blaming the EU for all the ills of the world - as a first approximation it is an acceptable truth. But I worry the good Doctor has been had. What I did find is that Food Quality News
reports that "measures to ensure unshelled Brazil nuts from Brazil, that contain aflatoxins above regulatory levels, do not enter the EU" as well as "aflatoxin-contaminated Chinese peanuts, Iranian pistachios and Turkish figs, pistachios and hazelnuts do not enter the European Union"
(The Decisions have been enacted into English law by The Food (Peanuts from China) (Emergency Control) (England) (No. 2) (Amendment) Regulations 2003, The Food (Pistachios from Iran) (Emergency Control) (England) Regulations 2003 and The Food (Figs, Hazelnuts and Pistachios from Turkey) (Emergency Control) (England) (No. 2) (Amendment) Regulations 2003, which came into force on 31 July 2003. - Sorry I couldn't find the Brazil nut banning measure!)
Now as a student of Forest Sciences I alway regale my guests with the news that that Brazil nuts ONLY grow on wild trees and are actually your real live food gathered from the Amazon Rain Forest by Genuine Natives - which sort of instills a bit of glamour to them, I suppose.
But then I notice the Grauniad having to publish an apology:
"We exaggerated the height of the brazil nut tree, Bertholletia excelsa, in a report headed In a nutshell, this species is endangered, page 5, December 19. We said it achieved heights of up to 150 metres (about 500 feet). No tree reaches such a height. It should have read 50 metres (about 160 feet). "
That is because you were using the STUPID metric system which means you couldn't visulise what you were writing about.
But maybe the tree is endangered, No, it seems that prices are just too low: In 2002 it was reported:
"Firstly, we had historically high prices for two years and that encouraged the Brazil nut collectors in the interior of Brazil and Bolivia to press further into the jungle to take out anything that looked like a Brazil nut. Ultimately they brought out enough nuts to put the market in an oversupply position and the price advance came to a screeching halt and slowly but surely the market started to inch its way down. The road to the lows that we saw late last year and early this year turned into an expressway as buyers stopped buying and sellers became more anxious to sell. This past January, as the shellers in Brazil, Bolivia and Peru began to assess the new crop, it became apparent that with prices being so low it was not profitable for them to advance money to the collectors to go deep into the jungle to pick up the Brazils. There was absolutely no incentive for them to do it."
So the Adam Smith Institute should be celebrating the shortage - Honest market forces are at work, the toxins are genuinely nasty (and maybe it is a case where government intervention is required) and as the market swings back the Indians will cherish the trees as a cash crop again and not chop them down.
I published the original slur in good faith and am happy to correct the record. Sincere apologies:
A letter purporting to be from Elsie Owusu, who was awarded an OBE earlier this year for her services to architecture, was published on our Letters page (page 27, December 2 2003). The letter was in fact a forgery and should never have been published. It was not written by Ms Owusu and she does not hold any of the views expressed in it. The letter falsely alleged that Ms Owusu was considering returning her "honour" because of what she saw as English disregard for black concerns. It said that unless she was persuaded that her OBE was a symbol of hope for young black women, she would shortly be returning it. Ms Owusu has no intention of returning her OBE which she was honoured to receive. We apologise to Ms Owusu for any distress and embarrassment caused by our genuine mistake in publishing this letter.
Why I won't be celebrating Kwanzaa
Trying to find why AOL is blocking emails I need to send I came across this article in The American Spectator.
Firstly it confirms my belief that AOL SUCKS. and secondly it gave me the details on something I was dimly aware of - that Kwanzaa as a festival is a fraud, a Marxist fraud at that, recently founded by a torturer in sordid violence, paranoia, and mayhem some three decades ago in a section of America that has vanished down the memory hole.
And here just to annoy the censors is the banned poem:
'Twas the night before Kwanzaa
And all through the 'hood,
Maulana Karenga was up to no good.
He'd tortured a woman and spent time in jail.
He needed a new scam that just wouldn't fail.
("So what if I stuck some chick's toe in a vice?
Nobody said revolution was nice!")
The Sixties were over. Now what would he do?
Why, he went back to school -- so that's "Dr." to you!
He once ordered shootouts at UCLA
Now he teaches Black Studies just miles away.
Then to top it all off, the good Doctor's new plan
Was to get rid of Christmas and piss off The Man.
Karenga invented a fake holiday.
He called the thing Kwanza. "Hey, what's that you say?
"You don't get what's 'black' about Maoist baloney?
You say that my festival's totally phony?
"Who cares if corn isn't an African crop?
Who cares if our harvest's a month or two off?
Who cares if Swahili's not our mother tongue?
A lie for The Cause never hurt anyone!
"Umoja! Ujima! Kujichagulia, too!
Collectivist crap never sounded so cool!
Those guilty white liberals -- easy to fool.
Your kids will now celebrate Kwanzaa in school!"
And we heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight:
"Happy Kwanzaa to all, except if you're white!"
Guess who is No 1 on Google for Miserable Failure now!
Ho ho ho.
December 22, 2003
News from the Left Coast
Keep an eye on the earthquakes - there has been a 6.4 in the last hour or so.
"initial reports indicated a few unspecified injuries, a structure collapse and otherwise mostly minor damage."
Hope it stays that way!.
So there I am sat in the pub on a lovely sunny Sunday morning in December.
The pub is an old thatched building in a pretty Wiltshire village. The beer is good, the food can be excellent, as can be the company. And I recalled a comment left on the blog from an American about not having seen inside an English pub. So here you are. I hope that you all have a great Christmas and joy wherever you meet your friends and family. And I will still be sat here waiting to be served - do you think they have seen through my disguise?
Getting ready for Xmas
While we already have ours cooked, I thought this might be useful for anyone whose Castle is not completely ready yet.
Who is Louis Galvez?
I woke the other day with theis quote floating around in my head "When you remove the pin, Mr. Hand Grenade is no longer your friend." I don't know where I heard it so I googled it. A couple of site credit a Louis Galvez with being the author.
But when I Google Search: Louis Galvez I don't get an answer as to who he was. It is not often my searching lets me down, so do you know who he was, and where the quote came from?
December 21, 2003
Always look on the bright side of life
Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi has said the European single currency has yet to deliver any economic benefits.
In an end-of-year press conference, Mr Berlusconi said the euro had "so far produced many negative effects."
- But it is all OK because the future will be different!
"Get a Grip"
North Wales Police has come under repeated criticism from both the public and former officers for its push to catch speeding drivers in the area.
The Chief Constable, Richard Brunstrom, was told by retired assistant chief constable Elfed Roberts to "get a grip" and focus on catching criminals.
No that would be too difficult, real criminals are nasty and violent and work unsocial hours - much better idea to alienate the normally law abiding...
December 20, 2003
You couldn't make it up!
A Black Country postman is taking legal action over claims he pulled a muscle carrying too many letters.
Alan Pugh is accusing University of Wolverhampton lecturer George Chryssides of being inconsiderate after allegedly posting 270 letters in a city centre post box.
Mr Pugh, 53, who works for Royal Mail's Wolverhampton depot in Sun Street, claims he had to take a week off sick due to a pulled muscle and lost £286.96 in pay.
Dr Chryssides, who is denying liability, said he assumed postmen knew how to deal with full post boxes.
No comment needed!
December 19, 2003
Things that are difficult to say when you're drunk . . .
Things that are VERY difficult to say when you're drunk . . .
b) British Constitution
c) Passive-aggressive disorder
Things that are DOWNRIGHT IMPOSSIBLE to say when you're drunk . .
a) Thanks, but I don't want to sleep with you.
b) Nope, no more booze for me.
c) Sorry, but you're not really my type.
d) No kebab for me, thank you.
e) Good evening officer, isn't it lovely out tonight?
f) I'm not interested in fighting you.
g) Oh, I just couldn't - no one wants to hear me sing.
h) Thank you, but I wont make any attempt to dance, I have zero
i) Where is the nearest toilet? I refuse to vomit in the street.
The Shortest Day
Don't listen to the misinformed! amaze your friends! Bore the whole pub! this year the shortest day ISN'T the 21st - it is the 22nd.
The Sky This Week tells us:
As we await the coming of the winter solstice on December 22nd, we can take some comfort in the fact that we have now experienced the earliest sunsets for the year. Since our time-scales are based on the position of a theoretical Sun versus the actual Sun's apparent path in the sky, the times of earliest sunset and latest sunrise don't correspond with the theoretical Sun's position, giving rise to the discrepancy. Rest assured that the shortest day will indeed fall on the 22nd, but for now enjoy the later sunset times.
December 18, 2003
John Vidal and Paul Brown
Wednesday December 17, 2003
International Contrarian Award goes to Sceptical Environmentalist author Bjorn Lomborg, who this year was accused by a Danish scientific committee of gross negligence and "not comprehending science". It said: "Objectively speaking, the publication of the work under consideration is deemed to fall within the concept of scientific dishonesty."
- Ha Ha Ha, do we get an apology tomorrow!
The rest of the awards are as stupid:
Unsustainable Development Award goes to the transport secretary, Alistair Darling. This year, he continued to preside over a crumbling public transport system, while increasing fares, protecting the motorist and reinstating the roads programme. To cap it all, Darling came up with an expansionist aviation white paper, with its new runways and ludicrous forecasts for ever-increasing air travel and the prosperity this will bring to Britain.
- Diddums, why ludicrous? What protection for the motorist?
Brass Neck Award goes to Thames Water, which has the leakiest mains in the country, with an astonishing 50%-plus wastage rate in north London - more than Leeds uses in a year. Unrepentant, the company revived plans for a giant new reservoir next to the Thames, near Oxford.
- May be not everyone in London wants to be a smelly unwashed Hippy, and presumably the leaked water is recycled through the aquifer or is it lost for ever?
Bjorn Lomborg Contrarian Award goes to Senator James Inhofe, of Oklahoma, who went to the climate talks in Milan and announced that global warming was "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated". As chairman of the US Senate environment committee, he will have been aware of the recent World Health Organisation report that stated that climate change was already killing 160,000 people a year - a figure that is soon expected to double.
Sounds like he is talking sense - note the difference between "Global warming" code for human caused change and "Climate Change" a natural process. And if for one moment we accept the 160,000 figure, that is not many people on a global scale, when the money spent on Kyoto could save millions if applied to supplying drinking water for instance.
Senator Inhofe Services to British Contrarianism Award goes to Claire Fox, panelist on the Moral Maze BBC Radio 4 programme and director of the Institute of Ideas. Fox and her erstwhile Living Marxism (LM) chums have had a shrill year trying to undermine the "precautionary principle", organic food and Kyoto, which they say are against progress.
Hey sounds like these "Living Marxists" talk sense, and I always thought Marxists didn't - what is going on?
Newcomer Contrarian Award goes to Ceri Dingle, also part of the LM network, whose slogan is: "Let's forget about Kyoto. We want the poor driving Ferraris!"
Abso-bloody-lutely, are you sure you are a Marxist?
Stuffed Shirt Award for Reintroduction goes to the landowners, and others with vested interests, who have resisted so stubbornly the reintroduction of the beaver in Scotland, an important and fun addition to Britain's wildlife.
Now I like a bit of beaver as much as the next man, but why "important"? Beavers do illegal damming of streams and cut down trees without permits, they are not just fun cuddly creatures. And for a balance we would need at least one large carnivore introduced as well to control their numbers as I doubt trapping will be allowed.
Red Kite Award for Reintroduction goes to the Great Bustard Consortium, a coalition of amateur enthusiasts and scientists, chaired by a former policeman and set up only in 1998, which will reintroduce the birds to Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire next year.
Amateurs indeed, it has been tried before a couple of times, I hope it works this time but it has nothing to do with real wildlife management. - Do you think they will be fat enough fopr next Christmas?
Jonah Bad News Award goes to the International Energy Agency, which predicts that China's increase in greenhouse gas emissions from 2000 to 2030 will almost equal that of the rest of the industrial world put together.
As they move from smokey wood fires to electric cookers
Chico Mendes International Protester Award goes to Lee Kyung, the Korean farmers' leader who committed ritual suicide at the World Trade Organisation talks in Cancun to draw attention to the tragic effects of unfair trade rules. Runners-up are the 150 Mexican farmworkers who stripped naked and invaded their parliament. The British award goes to Martin Forwood, who chained himself to a railway line at Barrow in protest against the import of Italian spent nuclear fuel and was fined £250.
Ken Livingstone Local Politician Award goes to Ken Livingstone, for successfully introducing the congestion charge - but the judges stipulate that the London mayor may be stripped of the accolade if he persists in backing a £500m road bridge over the Thames that will add to pollution in some of London's poorest areas.
The Happy Mule Award for GM goes to the British government for its stubborn persistence against all scientific evidence, public opinion, and opposition from supermarkets in voting for the import of GM sweetcorn. It was agreed this month to get in before regulations protecting the consumer.
"all scientific evidence"; my arse!
Houdini Political Escapism Award goes to former environment minister Michael Meacher, for the GM farm-scale trials. Designed to get the government off the hook in its first term, the four years of scientific trials into whether GM was good for the environment turned up firm results. Having insisted that science should be paramount, the government seems to have no alternative but to say no to GM oil seed rape and beet.
Get someone who understands long words to explain to you what the trials proved - it was nothing against GM, but showed the effects of different herbicide policies.
Goof Award goes to Margaret Beckett, the environment secretary, for her plan to abolish English Nature as part of sweeping reforms of how services to rural Britain are delivered, and failing to recognising the crucial role it has in defending sites of special scientific interest against crass development.
Oh great, they have got rid of a QUANGO - do you really believe that after this reshuffle there will be LESS bureaucrats protecting us?
Most Bizarre British Month Award is shared between seven this year. January had the warmest day since records began; February was the second sunniest in 42 years; March was the sunniest ever; Britain had its warmest April in more than 50 years; June was the warmest since 1976; August saw the highest temperature ever recorded - at Faversham, Kent; and September was the sunniest in more than 40 years.
And December has the most 2003 Christmases in it of any month - meaningless stats.
Local Environment Group Award is shared between Impact, the small Teesside group that opposed the entry of the "ghost ships" from the US, and Ban Waste, for its long campaign against an incinerator in Newcastle upon Tyne. A runners-up award goes to TCC, a coalition of community groups in Wrexham, north Wales, that has fought against the building of a giant incinerator and forced the company to modify its plans.
Any chance you can round all these "community" groups up into one big hall for a "special" prize giving - now that would be useful!
Missed Target Award goes to English Nature, the government's statutory advisory body on nature, which is responsible for the upkeep of Britain's 4,112 sites of special scientific interest. Last week, it was revealed that more than 40% are in a ropey condition - the target stipulates that 95% must be in favourable condition by 2010. At this rate, it may get there by 2022. Runner-up was the British government for increasing carbon emissions through burning too much coal.
Ropey being a precise scientific term that I obviously missed when I studied. I think it translates as 40% of site managers want more money to put up signs and gates.
In a Good Cause.
Local news that cheered me up this morning:
FOUR teenage girls are being handcuffed together for the day to raise money for Hammer Out, the charity set up to raise funds for research into brain tumours.
Good for them, pink fluffy handcuffs, pretty young girls, anything I can do to help, my dears?
Steady Tiger! - having lost a very good friend to a Brain Tumour I am very pleased to see the much maligned local youth trying to help.
"Jesus like a suicide bomber" - BBC
I heard a promotional snippet on the radio for this program this morning.
BBC - Religion & Ethics - Jesus
A talking head said that it was "an awful simile, but that Jesus was like a suicide bomber in that he believed his death was the important thing". (from memory).
I'm no theologian but I believe the technical term for that is bollocks and offensive bollocks at that.
Let us assume that Jesus did see his death as the important thing he had to do and, so contrary to teachings, arranged it, so it was a type of suicide.
I can think of three suicide scenarios:
Despair - not applicable.
Suicide Bombing - the aim is kill other people as well as your self, It is an act of hate. I think Jesus was trying to save other people.
Heroic self sacrifice, - falling on a handgranade to save the rest of the platoon, a father saving children from a fire, helping people down the stairs of the Twin Towers. They are acts of love - Now that is an analogy that should be used.
The BBC is full of people who see Suicide Bombers as romantic heros in the struggle and so it would never have occured to them what a twisted and disgusting simile this is.
Good news for truth, science, the environment and Lomborg believers.
What took them so long to find the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty were dishonest? - if they had any sense of decency they would recant and resign. For a whole year the Greens have used this smear, and I bet will continue to do so.
A large Carlsberg I think for lunch - no maybe that is a sacrifice too far!
December 17, 2003
I can only echo the Adam Smith Institute Blog in wishing the aeroplane a Happy Birthday.
As with the car it has given us the freedom to travel cheaply. The enormous benefits of this can not be understated, but they can be opposed. It is not the environment that the Moonbats care about, it is people choosing to travel how and when they want to. If only they were happy to wait for the state to provide rational travel arrangements on a pre planned basis life would be so much more controllable.
Of course such controls shouldn't be applied to really intelligent people, such as the Moonbats, as their travel is important and for the good of the world.
Exhibit 1: George Monbiot, an environmentalist, wrote a piece in yesterday's Guardian calling for "a day of international mourning. December 17 2003 is the centenary of the world's most effective killing machine."
.. he tried to apply the killing point to civilian flights, saying that commercial planes are a "weapon of mass destruction" because of their environmental effects.
Exhibit 2: George Monbiot, author of Manifesto for a New World Order, speaks in Sydney on Tuesday 15 July 2003 at 6.30 pm, the Valhalla, Glebe
Fiercely controversial and yet utterly persuasive, what Monbiot offers is a truly global perspective.
George Monbiot has held visiting fellowships or professorships at Green College, Oxford and the Universities of Bristol, Keele and East London, in (respectively) environmental policy, philosophy, politics and environmental science. He is currently visiting professor of planning at Oxford Brookes.
This event is co-sponsored by Oxfam Community Aid Abroad, Gleebooks & The Adelaide Festival of Ideas.
Open the envelope!
Highlights from The EURSOC Awards for outstanding services to Euro-dissidents.
In Third Place: Donald Rumsfeld
On the 22nd January, Rumsfeld highlighted the divisions in his famous speech on Old and New Europe:
Germany has been a problem and France has been a problem, Rumsfeld told Washington's press corps, but you look at vast numbers of other countries in Europe, they're not with France and Germany... they're with the US.
You're thinking of Europe as Germany and France. I don't. I think that's old Europe.
In Second Place: Sweden
on the 14th September, they delivered a whopping No vote, defeating the Yes campaign by 14 points - on a higher than expected 80 percent turnout.
In First Place: Polish PM Leszek Miller
This award was going to go to French president Jacques Chirac. No-one has done more to advance the cause of Euro dissidents in 2003.
However, Miller's defence of his country's voting rights takes EURSOC's first award because his stance and the EU's response to it demonstrates so many things that are wrong about the union.
The Irish Famine
Many years ago before I went up to Oxford to study Agricultural Science my wise old Tutor, Dr.Dawkins, set me to research The Irish Famine. The famine is still being used as a rod to beat the English up and maintain the Irish as a victim nation. As always the truth is never pure and never simple but it is a long way from the mythology that is spread - for instance by Law in New York:
"History teaches us," said Governor Pataki, signing the relevant law into effect in 1996, "that the Great Irish Hunger was not the result of a massive failure of the Irish potato crop but rather was the result of a deliberate campaign by the British to deny the Irish people the food they needed to survive."
If you care about the truth, whether it is about science, economics or history, pull up a chair and read : John Derbyshire on the Irish Famine on National Review Online
Not a lot of people know that.
"everybody knows" that the US played a major role in arming Saddam Hussein.
- but the facts are different..
The Daily Ablution: How the US Armed Iraq - And the Importance of Being Bearded
Welcome to a new blog:
I hope it helps to dispell the ignorance around the MMR debate. Very few things get me as angry as the Middle Class anti-science hysteria around MMR.
And it opens up a new debate by calling for "compulsory innoculation and vaccination of children attending state schools in the Great Britain". I suppose there is a case for making vaccination a criteria for attending school, but my old libertarian soul gets twitchy whenever I see the word compulsory, especially in relation to medical procedures.....
December 16, 2003
French Fighting Men
Blackfive - The Paratrooper of Love asks about the French Fighting Forces.
It reminded me of one the scraps the Old Man had been involved in; The following is "researched" from oob_operation_exporter_1941
Please go to the site for a full story - this is just a taster.
Exporter was the British code-name for their invasion of Vichy French Syria in June 1941. The attack was prompted by the recent Vichy decision to supply the anti-British rebels in Iraq with arms..
At the beginning of June, Britain managed to scrape together what she considered as sufficient force to overwhelm Vichy resistance. It was hoped that the presence of a Free French column among the invaders would soften the blow and render serious fighting unnecessary -- In spite of the disarmament clauses of the armistice, the French force remained largely intact and moreover, had been been thoroughly purged of British sympathizers in the wake of Mers el Kebir, Dakar, and England's various efforts to bring the French colonies over to the Free French cause. Those who remained regarded the Free French as traitors, had been embittered by the various British attacks on French forces and possessions, and were motivated to redeem the honor of France. What Britain had hoped would be a relatively bloodless demonstration of force turned into a small but hard-fought little campaign. Three Commonwealth battalions were virtually wiped out, and Commonwealth and Free French losses totalled 4600 men, while for their part, the French suffered six thousand casualties before deciding that their position was hopeless, that honor had been thoroughly satisfied, and that they could lay down their arms. To put these figures into perspective, British losses suffered in the concurrent Operation Battleaxe conducted against Rommel totalled only 969 officers and men. At a time in the war when Britain was deploying only very small forces overseas, Exporter was one of her bloodier fights.
As the campaign unfolded, it rapidly became clear that (a) much of the Free French division was unreliable, and (b) that the Vichy French were determined to fight and very much able to do so. The two infantry brigades of 7th Australian originally present plus the 5th Indian Brigade were obviously totally inadequate to the task at hand. Numerous additional forces were thrown into the fray.
- And The Wiltshire Yeomanry was amongst them.
It was a nasty little campaign, the only light relief is a story I heard that the Defeated Vichy French Foreign Legion said fair enough can we sign on for the Free French Foreign Legion.
So I popped out at lunchtime to buy a sandwich from the local corner shop, I was only a couple of minutes and when I came out there was a Traffic Warden writing a ticket.
"Please, I've only been a couple of minutes, it's Christmas, give us a break, please".
"Started writing the ticket, can't not complete it now - you know the car shouldn't be parked here".
"Look it's not a dangerous place".
"I've got rules I have to follow."
"That's what the Nazi's said".
"The tyres look a little low to me Sir, I think I had better report them."
I think I might have swore at him a bit more then as he started filling out a third form.
"Look it is no good getting angry at me, your car's been done and that is that!"
"My Car? - it's not my car, I walked here from the office".
So the news is that Britain and the UN are coming over all feeble at the idea that the Iraqi's might want to demand the Death Penalty. Now this refusal to get involved will hamper the holding of an internationally recognised trial. Now I'm as much a wishy washy liberal as the next man on the Death Penalty, but standing in the way of justice being done and seen to be done for the sake of principles is a cop out.
Moufawak al-Rabii, a human rights activist and Iraqi Ruling council member, said it would be a matter of a few weeks before a tribunal was ready to try Hussein, although other members insisted it could be several months.
If the US was not ready to hand over Hussein, Iraqis would be able to demand him once they become self-governing, Mr al-Rabii said.
"We will get sovereignty on June 30th," he said.
"I can tell you, Hussein could be executed on July 1st.
Microsoft has gone to extraordinary lengths to remove a swastika symbol that is in a font they released - in case it offends someone. (See extended entry)
Now Buddhists still use it to symbolise the feet or footprints of the Buddha. The symbol, which was also used widely in the ancient world including Mesopotamia, Scandinavia, India and the Americas, became common in China and Japan with the spread of Buddhism.
And if you were writing about the Nazi's it might come in useful.
And of course the much maligned Kipling used it:
His use was completley unrelated to Nazism, and he ordered its removal as Adolf rose to power.
So the fear of offending causes madness yet again. - The only upside I can see is that the anti-Bush brigade will find it a tad harder to produce their Bush is a Nazi posters!.
Dec. 12, 2003
Microsoft has learned of a mistake in the Bookshelf Symbol 7 font included in the Microsoft Office System client applications. Due to an unintentional oversight, we failed to identify, prior to the release, the presence of two swastikas within the font. We apologize for this and for any offense caused. Microsoft is taking immediate measures to remedy the issue for all customers.
Microsoft has released a utility today for worldwide download that removes the font.
Again, we apologize to those who have been offended or upset. We continue to work to improve our processes in order to prevent this type of error in the future.
Senior Vice President, Microsoft Office
A small victory
Google Search: "miserable failure"
Ninth position is :
miserable failure - Hillary Clinton the Hildebeest
The original campaign was:
The campaign should back the winner so,
should now be
December 15, 2003
The Librarian replies:
I said I would post his reply - here it is:
Many thanks for your e-mail. For many years now Buckinghamshire County
Council has had a policy of not allowing material of a religious, political
or sexual nature to be displayed in its libraries. This policy arose out of
a desire to be fair, and not to be seen to discriminate against particular
organisations or groups. It was made in the context of requests for display
space from a number of groups, which although perfectly legal, are widely
perceived to be offensive or at least controversial beliefs and policies.
Unfortunately, the implementation of this policy, which until now has never
caused any problems, has been reported by the media in a highly selective way as a piece of crude political correctness designed to be anti-Christian. In
fact the library service in Buckinghamshire, in its book stock, information
service and activities, reflects the multi-cultural nature of our society,
and has very good relations with all faiths and communities.
Please find attached a press release issued on behalf of the County
Councillor with responsibility for the Library Service. Please note that the
policy will be reviewed in the light of the many comments received on this
Community Development Librarian
Pussification of the toilet.
Pussification having been a popular subject in the blogosphere I would like to pass on a thought which has only just occurred to me. And I can't work out why it took so long.
Toilet Paper, Bog Roll, whatever you call it is being pussified. In the good old days it was hard and scraped,
then it went a bit softer, which made life a bit better, but now it has gone all fluffy and shreds at the first sign of work to be done. - why?
And then it struck me, it is no longer being made for the business end but instead it is made for drying Ladies' Front Bottoms.
Don't my needs as a man count for anything, or is it assumed that Girls do the shopping so girls get to choose?
So it is going to be two sorts of bumf in the Castle from now on.
My choice: Andrex Toilet Tissues - Aloe Vera
- Though why my botty needs Vitamin E I am not sure.
"Four killed, 60 wounded as jubilant Iraqis fire in air "
I saw this headline - bit of a downer to survive Saddam only to die from some random round fired by an idiot:
Hatcher's Notebook (1962) by Major General Julian S. Hatcher, a U.S. Army ordnance expert. Hatcher described military tests with, among other things, a .30 caliber bullet weighing .021 pounds. Using a special rig, the testers shot the bullet straight into the air. It came down bottom (not point) first at what was later computed to be about 300 feet per second. "With the [.021 pound] bullet, this corresponds to an energy of 30 foot pounds," Hatcher wrote. "Previously, the army had decided that on the average an energy of 60 foot pounds is required to produce a disabling wound. Thus, service bullets returning from extreme heights cannot be considered lethal by this standard."
If 30 foot pounds doesn't mean much to you, the bullet made a mark about one-sixteenth of an inch deep in a soft pine board. About what you'd get giving it a good whack with a hammer.
It appears that the fatalities so commonly reported in places such as LA are from more "horizontally" fired shots, including the not so random shots.
Orange doesn't suit me.
The government will be accused today by the Liberal Democrats and the Tories of sneaking through retrospective laws that will allow the US to have any British citizen extradited for trial in America without having to prove there is evidence of guilt.
David Blunkett, the home secretary, is using a little known parliamentary procedure to avoid a full scale debate in the Commons or Lords to push through changes to the US-UK extradition treaty he agreed this year.
The changes retrospectively remove the right of British citizens facing more than a year in jail to argue that there is no prima facie evidence linking them to the offence. Only evidence of identification from US police will be required.
But US citizens accused of murder, rape, robbery and drink-driving offences in the UK will be protected from extradition unless a US judge is convinced there is prima facie evidence against them.
David Davis, the shadow home secretary, said: "This seems to be an abuse of democracy. Effectively the government is smuggling a one-sided retrospective change of law through a statutory instrument three days before the Christmas recess."
- Seems a bit unfair to me, but then we gave the same rights to Europe last year - including such bastions of justice as Albania and Turkey so adding the US to the list is probably least of our worries.
Old people are revolting.
There's a Bustle in the Hedgrows of rural Britain, the Council tax rises this year are going to be horrific, I smell revolt in the air.
An entire Shropshire village's pensioner population today told council bosses: "We will not live on the bread-line to pay extortionate rises in council tax."
Every pensioner in Crudgington, near Wellington, has signed a petition to say they will not pay any increase above the rate of inflation to Telford & Wrekin Council.
They say they would rather be hauled to jail with their zimmer frames.
The petition, signed by 30 pensioners from a village of fewer than 50 houses, warns that from January 2004 all direct debit payments by them for council tax will be stopped.
December 14, 2003
In case you missed it.
Saddam's in the bag - confirmed by Tony Blair.
- A big drink this sunday lunch time is in order I believe!
From the ever excellent Samizdata.net
A church has been told that it cannot publicise its Christmas services on a community notice board to avoid offending other religions.
The Church of England may be the established faith of the United Kingdom. But Buckinghamshire county council regards it as a "religious preference group" and the ban was upheld yesterday.
A spokesman for the Tory-controlled council confirmed the distinction, explaining that because the service contained Christian prayers it was against policy.
Margaret Dewar, who is responsible for the council libraries, said: "The aim of the policy is to be inclusive and to respect the religious diversity of Buckinghamshire."
Peter Mussett, the council's community development librarian, said his member of staff was right not to display the poster.
"We have a multi-faith community and passions can be inflamed by religious issues," he said. "We don't want to cause offence to anyone."
The Church of England believes in different imaginary friends to me, but your banning their posters OFFENDS me - what are you going to do about that?
- I will post his reply...
Feeding the fishes is good for the environment.
December 13, 2003
This is worth reading !
*Politically Correct Holiday Greetings*
Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit my best wishes for
an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress,
non-addictive, gender neutral celebration of the winter solstice
holiday, practised within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious
persuasion or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the
religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their
choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all;"
"a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically
uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted
calendar year, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice
of other cultures, and without regard to the race, creed, colour, age,
physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform, or
sexual orientation of the wisher."
(Disclaimer: By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms.
This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely
transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no
promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for
her/himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law, and is
revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted
to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for
a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday
greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement
of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the
wisher who assumes no responsibility for any unintended emotional stress
these greetings may bring to those not caught up in the holiday spirit.)
December 12, 2003
If Mr Free Market can recycle the Beaver story I can post the Groundhog one from alt-Peeves.
"Possession of a GroundHog"
/groundhog n. another name for woodchuck./
/woodchuck n. a North American marmot having course reddish-brown fur./
/marmot n. any of various burrowing rodents of Europe, Asia, and North
As one of the first rites of spring approaches I feel the urge to emerge
from my snug, highly-mortgaged burrow and cast about for shadows. This
day, which as a child, I called Candlemas, was a religious holiday
dedicated to a well-connected infant. On This Side Of The Puddle however,
it has been renamed and dedicated to a somewhat chubby herbivore known as
a groundhog, from whence springeth my peeve.
As a result of fraternisation with the aforementioned species I now have a
criminal record. Something which any employer who bothers to check can
discover. I now answer 'yes' to the question "Have you ever been
arrested?"...for possibly one of the most disconcerting crimes of the
century. Groundhog possession.
/Peeve:/ Inane local ordinances.
When I purchased my abode, I didn't notice the tunnel under the front
stoop. The estate agent didn't bring it to my attention either. Unknowns
dwelling beneath front steps are not Selling Points.
/Semi-related Peeve:/ Listing agents have incredible semantic ability,
I'm certain if my agent had been thinking clearly she could have renamed
my underground resident a "Small Organic Lawn Trimmer."
Once my furnishings were in place and the draperies ordered it was too
late to change my mind anyway. After a few weeks of residence I met my
lodger in the basement flat. and to be candid, being somewhat unsure of
the Local Fauna, she scared the hell out of me. Fortunately the feeling
was mutual and she quickly retired to her quarters...prompting me to push
aside the foliage and discover the entrance to her home.
A call to the local Forestry Department put my mind to rest with regard to
her likely temperament and life went on as normal. Over the next few
years I watched her on the front lawn as her figure waxed and waned with
the season. In the spring she usually had small replicas in tow. We came
to an equitable arrangement over inter-speciatal relations. She didn't
gnaw the flowers, I didn't put the hose down the burrow. We adapted to
one another and lived quite peacefully.
Little did either of us realise what was in store when the new neighbours
moved in. I looked out my office window one night to find a strange woman
poking about my front shrubbery. In an attempt to remain neighbourly I
inquired as to her need for assistance. She responded with: "Do you know
you have a platypus under your porch?"
Platypus?! Ye gawds...I may have moved around a bit, but even I have a
fair grasp as to which continent I'm currently residing upon.
We eventually ironed out the fact that the 'Platypus' was a slightly more
evolved creature and as a well-behaved citizen was unlikely to attack her
over-fed, under-exercised excuse for a cat.
/Mega-peeve:/ That damned flea bitten cat hanging about *my* house
instead of its own, causing my indoor felines to go nuts at the windows.
Two days later, I opened the door in response to a knock and found myself
facing a somewhat bemused Law Enforcement Type.
He promptly handed me a summons to appear at court for "Possession of a
Groundhog". I read my summons. I had 30 days to "remove said animal from
the premises or be found in contempt of court."
"You can't be serious."
"I'm afraid so m'am....we've had a complaint."
"And if I don't remove 'said animal'?"
"For harbouring a fugitive groundhog?! Don't you have traffic citations
to write or something? Is this town so well-mannered that the only
criminals are rodents?!"
/Peeve:/ New neighbours who interfere with established routines and
impose *their* values on me. I fussed and fumed around the house for a
good hour after he left. I briefly contemplated contacting the ACLU but
instead called my attorney. It took him five minutes to stop laughing and
catch his breath. He finally managed to gasp out.
"I don't think you have to worry about deportation."
"Very funny. C'mon, lets have some legal advice...it's what am I paying
Advice was quickly forthcoming. It was determined that I should do
Nothing. This is exactly what I did. Thirty one days later, there was a
knock on my door. My Friendly Law Enforcement Official was back. He had
apparently reconnoitered the area and concluded that 'said animal' was
still in residence and had come to haul me off to jail. Despite my
request for handcuffs and the full lights/sirens treatment, he was
insistent that I drive my own vehicle to The Station. Apparently I didn't
look desperate enough. I did however get my 'one phone call' and promptly
dialled up my Legal Wizard.
"Guess where I am?"
"Shit!! What for? And is anyone listening?"
"Yep...ears everywhere. And possession."
"About ten pounds of groundhog."
"You've been busted for possession of a groundhog?!"
"Justice is swift and sure....now will you come get me before they throw
away the key?"
"On my way...one more question...What are they keeping the
"Hmph! The 'evidence' is still at large. Will you *please* put your
ass in that over-priced, over-horsepowered midlife crisis on wheels and
get over here??? I think they're going to take my belt away..."
I was hauled before a judge and it was determined that as I was unlikely
to skip town, I could be released on my own recognisance, provided I post
bond ($50.00!), the real court date was set for 60 days later.
Point in fact, my arrest took place in September, when they returned 60
days later to hunt down the critter, (Whoops! I mean, 'impound the
evidence'.) she was nowhere to be found.
Not overly surprising for Drear November, the little demon had gone into
hibernation. Technology was applied to the entrance of the burrow (sticks
poked into it....the very latest in Animal Eviction Equipment
Anyone with half a brain knows that once those animals hibernate, dynamite
won't budge them. There was no response from the subterranean chambers
beneath the stoop. After an hour of poking and prodding the Minions of
the Law admitted defeat.
/Worried-peeve:/ If the police can't apprehend a groundhog, what will
they do when faced with a *real* criminal? And to shorten a tedious
judicial process, the end result was the case being thrown out of court,
charges dismissed, owing to Lack of Evidence.Habeus corpus in an entirely
new light. My money was refunded and I was "Free To Go." The arrest
however, remains on my 'Permanent Record."
/Peeve:/ My tax dollars hard at work!
Spring is fast approaching. The snow is melting, the flowers will bloom,
the birds chirp and to my consternation, small animals will frolic upon my
lawn. And larger animals will once again be knocking on my door. I have
no doubt that what's-her-name next door will be complaining of "Tasmanian
Devils" under my stoop.
It is not outside the realm of possibility that my next post will be from
the Will County Jail as I languish there for 'Obstructing Justice.'Can
anyone send an e-mail with a *literal* file in it?
/!!!!!Peeve:/ The skunk which used to dwell under my shed has found new
accommodations under my neighbour's deck. I can hardly wait for their
first outdoor party of the season.
Have a nice day.
If Tim Lott had ever actually read "The Lion and the Unicorn," he may have noticed these lines - written while German bombs were falling on London :
In intention, at any rate, the English intelligentsia are Europeanized ... In the general patriotism of the country they form a sort of island of dissident thought ... In left wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman ...
How apt, in Mr. Lott's case!
December 11, 2003
More Bollocks to the square inch than..
BBC NEWS | Health | Climate change 'will harm health'
The health of millions will be damaged if world temperatures continue to rise as a result of climate change, says the World Health Organization.
Increasing temperatures will aid the spread of water-borne diseases, and those carried by insects, it predicts.
Even a rise of a few degrees could expose hundreds of millions more people to the threat of malaria, say experts.
In addition, changes to rainfall patterns, could damage agriculture, plunging millions into malnutrition.
This is the bloody WHO who should know better, but let me remind you:
Today malaria is a tropical disease, but until the 1920s it was endemic all over Europe and America. Oliver Cromwell died of malaria, and the disease was mentioned (as 'the ague') in eight of Shakespeare's plays. It was a British army major, Dr Ronald Ross, serving in Madras, India, who in 1898 found that the female anopheles mosquito was the disease vector. Ross's discovery led to new, more effective methods to control malaria.
After the Second World War, Europe and North America used DDT to eradicate malaria. The pesticide saved millions of lives by killing the malarial mosquito - but it never had complete success in the world's poorer countries. Then, following complaints from environmentalists in the 1970s, DDT was removed from the malaria control programme in many developing countries
In 2000, the disease killed more than one million people and made 300million seriously ill.
According to Professor Wen Kilama of the African Malaria Vaccine Testing Network in Tanzania, 'Malaria is equivalent to crashing seven jumbo jets filled with children every day'.
Another Form to fill...
------------, Chief Constable
The ------------- Constabulary
Information of HIGH TREASON committed by Edward Heath, one time MP and Prime Minister.
We the undersigned, ---------------, being British citizens and dwelling in ------ in the County of -------, inform you that Edward Heath committed High Treason, in that he did, during the years 1970 and 1971, conspire with Agents of a Foreign Power, to wit the reprasentatives of the European Union, then called the European Economic Community, to alienate our Sovereignty by agreeing to sign, and then signing, our accession to the Treaty of Rome.
By so doing he;- a) placed Her Majesty the Queen in breach of her Coronation Oath to maintain our ancient rights and customs and b) breached his own Oath on becoming a Privy Councillor to Her Majesty, which oath included the declaration that “No foreign Prince, Person, Prelate, State or Potentate has or ought to have any Jurisdiction, Power, Superiority or Pre-eminence within this Realm”. His action is TREASON on both counts.
Proof that the negotiations did involve surrender of sovereignty, that Heath knew this, and thus that he knew his action was wrongful is to be found in:
1. Heath’s approval of Accession to the Treaty of Rome and his presentation to Parliament of the European Communities Act, 1972, to implement this accession while assuring the People and Parliament that this was just a Trade Agreement.
2. Foreign Office and Cabinet Documents released this year and last under the 30 year rule show that Heath was warned that his negotiations involved the surrender of Sovereignty. Foreign & Colonial Document FCO 30/1048 – 1971 is typical.
3. The British Constitution, starting with Magna Carta of 1215 and expanded by subsequent Constitutional Acts which guarantee to us freedom from foreign or executive oppression or dictation.
We require that you, as the body charged with investigating breaches of the Law, do proceed against Edward Heath and bring him before the Court to answer for his crime.
Signed and Dated:
A true Englishman
Go and explore...
"out of the strong came forth sweetness"
Cold mornings, hot porage (R & A Scott spell their excellent product that way) with Lyle's Golden Syrup and full fat milk - ambrosia!
So who else advertises their product with a rotting carcass that bees have made a home in? - for the modern yoof with out the groundings of a decent education see below.
Long ago the Hebrew tribe of Dan made its home in the land we now call Israel. It was there, near the Mediterranean Sea, that an elder of the tribe became part of a biblical tale that has been retold for generations. His name was Manoah and he and his wife were without child. One night a heavenly spirit appeared before the barren woman and told her that she would soon give birth to a son. The celestial being informed her that her child would be dedicated to the God of heaven from the womb. The divine messenger also told her that in order for the birth to take place, she must promise that the child would never drink wine or spirits and would never shave or cut his hair. (Judges 13:7) With this pact made the divine birth came to pass and the child was given the name Samson.
Young Samson grew up strong and eventually became a military leader of an Israelite tribe. Through divine authority and visions from heaven, he battled against his enemies with his mighty strength. It seemed as though Samson had found his place in the universe until one day God commanded him to fall in love and marry a Philistine woman from the town of Timnah. So Samson and his parents began a trip to Timnah to make his wedding arrangements and along the way a young lion attacked them. Young Samson killed it with his bare hands. Now safe from harm, he and his parents continued their journey and when they arrived in Timnah the lovers looked at each other and were pleased. Arrangements were made and upon returning home to prepare for the big day Samson decided take a side trip to see the condition of his kill. He came upon the carcass and found that bees had taken up residence and had built a beautiful hive full of golden honey. He then gathered some honey as a gift to his loved ones without revealing its source to them.
Soon the great day had arrived and his parents put on a wedding feast for the bride and groom in Timnah. It was at this party that Samson wagered heavily that no one could answer a riddle he then posed to the guests;
Out of the eater came forth food,
And out of the strong came forth sweetness (Judges 14:14).
As no one could possibly guess the answer to the riddle, the Philistines were angered and threatened to hurt the family of Samson's new wife unless she discovered and revealed the solution to that puzzling riddle. His new wife reluctantly did so and when Samson discovered his wife's betrayal and the treachery of the Philistines, it upset him so much that he called upon his super human strength and single-handedly killed a thousand Philistines with the jawbone of an ass. This was Samson's way of settling the debt for the lost wager. The father of Samson's new wife thought that this action was in bad taste and since the wedding night had never taken place, he took his daughter back and ended the marriage.
Twenty years had passed and Samson fell in love again, but this time with Delilah. Almost immediately those cunning Philistines were paying her to discover the secret of his amazing strength. After much nagging and numerous false stories to throw her off track, Samson finally revealed the secret of his seven locks of hair that have never been cut and how they were the source of his amazing strength. With this information the Philistines devised a plan to subdue Samson and the cut off all his beautiful hair.
Then they blinded Samson and he was bound to a millstone as a slave. For a very long time he circled the axis of that millstone like the skies turning around the pole star. Assured of their success at defeating the mighty hero, the Philistines later put Samson on display during seasonal festivities at their wicked temple. The drunken Philistines were taking pleasure in the pain of their captive, but hadn't realized that Samson's hair had grown back. Samson called to the heavens. He asked for his super human strength to return and his prayers were answered. Samson pulled down and destroyed the temple, the wicked Philistines, the false idol and himself with it.
December 10, 2003
They have woken up.
A MAJORITY of voters believe that Gordon Brown has weakened the economy by putting up taxes too much, a new poll for The Times shows today as he prepares to defend his record and deliver an upbeat assessment of Britain's prospects.
The Populus survey gives an unexpected (sic) jolt to Mr Brown's reputation for prudence as he unveils the Pre-Budget Report.
The new poll, undertaken last weekend, shows that three fifths of voters (59 per cent) believe that Mr Brown has weakened "our economy by putting up taxes too much and planning increases in spending that are more than we can afford, though public services have not improved".
Just a third of the public (34 per cent) think Mr Brown has "taken prudent economic decisions that have strengthened our economy and enabled us to afford continuing increases in spending on public services".
Opinion is polarised along party lines. While nearly three fifths of Labour voters re- gard Mr Brown as "prudent", four fifths of Tories, and two thirds of Liberal Democrats, believe he has weakened the economy.
- Note the word "unexpected" as the liberal media yet again miss the feelings of the country.
Thanks to The Daily Ablution for the heads up on Martian Warming / Climate Change.
The story comes from a Nasa
Press Release .
Mars seems to be experiencing a recent Climate Change which is causing warming and ice retreat - sound familiar?
It had never struck me before that Mars acts as a control for Anthropomorphic Climate Change, or will the Greens blame the SUVs for that as well?
December 9, 2003
Not my Flag.
"A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head"
Best read in an Ian Paisley accent.
Ever since 1947, Norway has donated a Christmas tree to Britain as a symbol of gratitude for assistance to the Norwegian people, at home and abroad, during WWII. King Håkon VII spent 5 years in London and many exiled Norwegians came to Britain during the Nazi occupation of Norway. Britain not only provided a home for thousands of Norwegians, but also sent Norwegian radio broadcasts in Norwegian those in Norway who still had radios. These broadcasts were a vital help to the Norwegian underground.
I was keeping this story to be a nice warm cuddly story for nearer the day - but then as I was
stealing researching the story at Anglo Trees the final paragraph caught my eye and the old Tourettes nearly broke out again...
Resistance to the tradition has come from Europeans who regard it as a violation of import restrictions. Environmental demonstrations have been organized around it, people have been chained to it, and some people have tried to cut it down.
"They also serve"
A British Army dog who found a hidden cache of arms, explosives and bomb-making equipment during the recent conflict in Iraq, has been awarded the Dickin Medal (the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross) at a special ceremony in London today.
Buster, a five-year-old Springer Spaniel, is believed to have saved the lives of countless civilians and military personnel by finding the guns, grenades and ammunition hidden behind a false wall during a search of Safwan town in Southern Iraq.
Source Horse&Hound Online
That is what I like to see an Old Fashioned Rugby man holding what looks like a can of Beer!
Luckily they are wearing ID cards around their necks. Just shows important it is to be tagged otherwise no one would have known who they were.
It is going to take a while as Google grinds away but once more over the top - final push - what ho, victory in sight and all that stuff.
ID card Trial
I see that the government has announced the launch of a trial to pave the way for its compulsory ID card scheme.
-More details below
If you'd like to take part in the trial, you can register your interest with MORI. Call Melanie Briere on 020 7347 3023 or email email@example.com.
Melanie - I've sent you an email - I really want to show how
fucking stupid what a great idea this is. I look forward to my card and then we can see what we can do with it - Dear Reader, why don't you apply as well?
The trial will use 10,000 volunteers and test out various biometric elements for the card, including iris identification, facial recognition and fingerprinting.
The volunteers will carry their own card with their personal data stored on it and the results of the trial are intended to set the stage for the introduction of mandatory identity cards, as well as help the government in its roll-out of biometric passports and driving licences.
The trial will last from January to June 2004 and will be run by the UK Passport Service in conjunction with the DVLA and the Home Office. Among the elements under review will be the effectiveness and use of the biometric element, the cost and public reaction.
Beverley Hughes, Home Office Minister, said in a statement: "We are building the foundations for a compulsory national identity card scheme, and are moving ahead with the development and testing of this cutting-edge technology. This large-scale trial into the practicalities of recording and verifying biometrics will play an important part in that process. The issuing of upgraded biometric passports from 2005 will help build the base for the identity card scheme."
The on-again, off-again passage of the ID card scheme has been fraught with political tension and it's predicted that David Blunkett will have to overcome some massive obstacles before he can get the cards into the UK's wallets.
December 8, 2003
Rosie Kane, the member of the Scottish parliament who swore allegiance to the Queen with "my oath is to the people" scrawled on her palm, has had to take a month off..
Her break from frontline politics comes after she found herself in tears on a train after an attack on her attendance record during a parliamentary debate.
Scottish Nationalist MSP Stewart Stevenson castigated Ms Kane for speaking fewer than 5,000 words in the chamber since her election, and attending just one out of eight meetings of the local government and transport select committee she sits on. He had calculated that this meant that she had earned £5.59 a word, as her salary was £49,000 a year.
Critics of Ms Kane have pointed out that the Scottish Socialist party stands for the most confrontation style of class politics, of which she is one of the most aggressive and outspoken advocates.
One MSP told the Scotsman newspaper: "Politics is about conflict and it is about attack, both personal and about party policy. If you can't take it you should dish it out."
Obviously I wish this publicity seeking traitorous workshy scrounger all the very best in this festive season - An ounce of finest Seven Shot for instance.
Unlike Mr Free Market my shooting weekend was not a great success.
Last Tuesday my Jack Russells chased a deer and rolled it over. Now there is no way they could do that to a healthy deer so I removed the hounds and the deer ran off. I came back to look for the deer but couldn't see it. Saturday morning my neighbour told me there wasa wounded deer in a nearby hedge - quick look and I had to get the gun out. (Only a 22 but the deer wasn't moving so a clean shot was possible). Took it back to the barn and with help from Tony we cleaned it, (well he did as it is not my idea of fun).
Having found a butcher to joint it we started to skin it but we then discovered its problems - a missing front foot and a stinking gangrenous shoulder. So we dumped it.
It left me feeling depressed in that I should have looked for it through the week, or sorted it better when I first saw it, or done something better.
Somehow I feel responsible for its suffering - it is a strange burden you take up when you start managing wildlife. And that is something that traditional countrysportsmen seem to understand and act on - unlike the cuddly bunny brigade who increasingly set the rules for wildlife management.
And because of them I must emphasis that this story is merely a fable because it illustrates several law breaking activities, though none that I think break any moral laws -(I think if the dogs had chased the deer that would still have been legal).
Wish I had been there!
FREE MARKET FAIRY TALES shows the crowd celebrating the rugby match.
(Oh look a corner of the picture showing the Bush protest has crept in - see if you can spot it!)
The blogs of war are loose!
December 7, 2003
On Pearl Harbour dayKim du Toit's Sunday skin is Betty Grable. I'll raise a glass to her and all the other entertainers of the wartime era. It brings a fond memory of "The Doc" telling a story down the King's Arms. He was on a welcoming committee in India when Harry James and his Orchestra came out to play for the troops. They were all a bit in awe of this Legend and the top brass were there to do courtesies. Harry James came down the steps, stuck his hand out; "Guys, how would you like to shake the hand, that holds the cock, that goes up Betty Grable?"
December 6, 2003
From the front.
The Great Blogger Google Bombing War is off to a great start - remember the lefty liberals launched an unprovoked attack to the Commander in Chief -
The story is on Newsday.com - Miserable Failure? Google Trick Says It's Bush -
honour is at stake -
To fight back you must put this link on your site:
According to Newsday only 36 sites do the Bush trick - we have got at least 12 in the first day - so we are getting there.
"Cry 'HAVOC' and let slip the dogs of war!"
'Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns ï¿½ the ones we don't know we don't know.'
I saw the clip of him saying it again yesterday and all I can do is agree with Michaels' words:
"In the days since, journalists and academics have queued up to assert that Donald Rumsfeld was talking sense, moreover sense expressed in the simplest and plainest words available, ones that the Plain English Campaign should be applauding, not criticising.
The trouble is, Mr Rumsfeld's statement needs work to appreciate, because he's talking philosophy. (You might argue that he left out one category, that of unknown knowns - things we know, but we don't know that we know - but this is perhaps a comment better reserved for a seminar on metacognition.) It would seem that the PEC has put its own foot in its own mouth, again."
It is a shame because the PEC has done sterling work in promoting plain English and it still needs to name and shame - for instance:
The online retailer jungle.com was asked: "Do you still sell blank CDs?". The company replied: "We are currently in the process of consolidating our product range to ensure that the products that we stock are indicative of our brand aspirations. As part of our range consolidation we have also decided to revisit our supplier list and employ a more intelligent system for stock acquisition. As a result of the above certain product lines are now unavailable through jungle.com, whilst potentially remaining available from more mainstream suppliers". So that would be a "no", then?
Posted by The Englishman at 9:50 AM
December 5, 2003
Yah Boo sucks
The England Project proposes a
National Smoke a Cigar Day
This is in response to Doctors wanting to make tobacco illegal - my first thought is they ought to put their own house in order first - "As many as 100,000 people a year catch an infection during their stay in an NHS hospital. " I believe that is an underestimate judging how filthy some hospitals and doctor's surgeries are.
( I don't smoke - but I'm tempted to try a small cheroot for solidarities sake.)
There is a blog campaign out there to link George W. Bush and Miserable Failure in popular search engines. See for instance Archived Weblog Entry - 10/27/2003: "I'm taking part in a new web project..."
And it is working as it is now #1 on Google
So to fight it I suggest that we add the following link as often as we can to our blogs:
They have declared war - we have the power to fight them - go and do it and pass the message on!
Headlines from others.
I was asked how the "Headlines from Others" sidebar item works on this blog - I'm surprised that I haven't seen it on other blogs because it is so easy to do and it provides a useful feature for me, and I think readers find it useful as well. Every blog advertises that you can syndicate it but no one seems to be using the results.
So here is how to do it.
1) Go to BlogStreet : RSS Ecosystem
Go to the bit marked RSS Panel - and login as a new user.
You will now have a page with all the options you need on it.
Firstly "subscribe to a new RSS Feed" - this can discover the RSS feed from most blogs - or else go the blog you want to syndicate and copy the shortcut of the RSS or XML feed ie http://www.anenglishmanscastle.com/index.rdf .
Press add and you have your first feed - the other options are obvious.
At the top of the page there are three options. Edit Template, Generate HTML and Display Panel.
Firstly "Display the Panel" so you can see what your feed will look like. If it is OK then "Generate the HTML" to get the code snippet to insert into the sidebar of your blog. - If you want to make the entries confrom to your blog style "Edit the Template" - it really is that easy.
Posted by The Englishman at 11:29 AM
Churchill - not Larry the Lamb
On June 4th, 1940 in the House of Commons, at the darkest moment in British history, Winston Churchill made one of the greatest speeches in the annals of oratory. It galvanised a hitherto skeptical Commons, and its superb use of language and spirit of defiance affected not only his fellow-countrymen but echoed around the world, not least in the United States. It opened prosaically enough with a factual account of the French collapse, the evacuation at Dunkirk, and preparations for home defence. But he then said his government was determined to "ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone."This single sentence hushed the Commons. He went on:
"Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields, and in the streets; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the new world, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old."
Now for years I have "known" that an actor who also played Larry the Lamb actually did the radio broadcast of this speech - I discovered today I was wrong - there is no evidence he did, it is a myth. It is one of those stories that gets passed around so this post is my part in squashing it.
December 4, 2003
Judicious Asininity points out that Power Line points out this informative speech by Michael Crichton that sheds some light on the "religion of environmentalism" which relies on emotion based decisions that often ignore facts:
- I will just add it is a must read - and that I wrote a long, witty, insightful post on this but the dog ate it, or I pressed the wrong button, so you will have to put up with one of my usual short crap posts instead - just go and read it.
With so many past failures, you might think that environmental predictions would become more cautious. But not if it's a religion. Remember, the nut on the sidewalk carrying the placard that predicts the end of the world doesn't quit when the world doesn't end on the day he expects. He just changes his placard, sets a new doomsday date, and goes back to walking the streets. One of the defining features of religion is that your beliefs are not troubled by facts, because they have nothing to do with facts.
So I can tell you some facts. I know you haven't read any of what I am about to tell you in the newspaper, because newspapers literally don't report them. I can tell you that DDT is not a carcinogen and did not cause birds to die and should never have been banned. I can tell you that the people who banned it knew that it wasn't carcinogenic and banned it anyway. I can tell you that the DDT ban has caused the deaths of tens of millions of poor people, mostly children, whose deaths are directly attributable to a callous, technologically advanced western society that promoted the new cause of environmentalism by pushing a fantasy about a pesticide, and thus irrevocably harmed the third world. Banning DDT is one of the most disgraceful episodes in the twentieth century history of America. We knew better, and we did it anyway, and we let people around the world die and didn't give a damn.
I can tell you that second hand smoke is not a health hazard to anyone and never was, and the EPA has always known it. I can tell you that the evidence for global warming is far weaker than its proponents would ever admit. I can tell you the percentage the US land area that is taken by urbanization, including cities and roads, is 5%. I can tell you that the Sahara desert is shrinking, and the total ice of Antarctica is increasing.
Yum - Local Faggots with Onion Gravy and Mash last night.
Faggots from Boyton Farm: Pure English Meat - without sounding like an anti-globalisation Green you really can taste the difference by buying quality meat from small suppliers.
DECEMBER 3--A Los Angeles judge today threw out Barbra Streisand's $10 million suit against a California environmental group that posted a photo of the singer's cliffside Malibu estate on its web site. In a 46-page tentative decision, the summary from which you'll find below, Superior Court Judge Allan J. Goodman declared that the aerial photo's publication was protected by the First Amendment and, to boot, was not "highly offensive to a reasonable person."
But then no one ever siad she was a reasonable person!
Nice house though!
December 3, 2003
Test from my phone
I'm just trying out
Blog Photo Diary and I can now use my Sony P800 camera phone to send comments and pictures to this blog - memo to self - NO blogging when drunk in the pub
The castle fight
englishman jonny shall
It is very nearly a haiku that defines this blog - but it is actually the top ten search words that have brought visitors here - and you are all most welcome.
Imagine a British National Health Service flowing with French or German levels of funding. This dream, we are promised, will soon be delivered in return for higher taxes. But for the impatient, there is a solution: visit Scotland. For some time now, NHS Scotland has been living in Tony Blair’s promised land, enjoying European levels of health spending. Its NHS budget of £1,300 per head is a full 21% higher than England’s. But instead of being an alluring example of what lies ahead, Scotland warns of disaster.
(I was sent this by email - but I think it was originally in The Spectator - the whole article is worth reading but not by those susceptable to high blood pressure caused by political stupidity.)
Next year it will claim two records: for Europe’s highest state health spending and its lowest life expectancy. It is living proof that the NHS system does not work.
Gordon Brown’s motherland was strangely absent from the list of countries sized up by the Treasury when it examined health systems from around the world last year — a study which predictably concluded that money, not organisation, was the problem. Yet only Scotland shows what happens when cash is stuffed into an unreformed state-run monopoly stamped with the DNA of the late 1940s. It is the only country in the free world to have tried what Brown is now aiming for.
The extra cash is not thanks to any magnanimity. In Scotland the NHS has long been richer than in England, thanks to the archaic system used by the Treasury to divide up public spending: it sends a fixed chunk to Scotland whether it needs the money or not. The result is a generous spending advantage, guaranteed by London politicians, who have for decades shovelled money at the Celtic fringe whenever they feared for the union.
As if by way of apology for the poll tax, Scotland has now been sent its NHS funding early. So next year government health spending in Scotland will work out at 8.7% of its entire economy — the highest ratio in the developed world, according to the OECD, never mind in Europe. Of all Scotland’s health problems, state spending is not one.
NHS Scotland has achieved several benchmarks of which Blair would approve. For every 100,000 people, Scotland has 75 doctors against England’s 55. There is almost twice the proportion of hospital beds and the average Scottish GP has a more manageable list size of 1,400, against England’s 1,840.
All this was true in 1997, even after the years of Conservative parsimony. The chilling warning for Blair, and for the British taxpayer, lies in what happened when the cash started to flow. According to Labour’s tax-raising orthodoxy, cash buys results: more money in the NHS means better performance. This was certainly the logic used to sell National Insurance rises to a suspicious British public last year. According to this theory, NHS Scotland — which gave outpatients an average 41-day wait in 1997 — would start to improve roughly in proportion to the extra amount of cash being injected into the system. Plot the money and results on a graph and there is indeed a link but, as if in a statistical horror story, it goes the wrong way. There is now 50% more money in NHS Scotland, but waiting times have soared to 56 days — an entire fortnight longer.
This is no freak result. Scotland’s waiting times have been creeping up steadily, as if chasing the extra money being force-fed into the system. Treating waiting lists with extra cash has been like treating fire with petrol. Other indicators are similarly depressing. The wait for the walking wounded in a Scottish accident and emergency ward doubled to 40 hours between 1998–99 and 2000–01. So where, Scots might ask, is all the money going? The answer can be found in the hospital accounts. Between these three years, for example, a mysterious bout of inflation has gripped Scotland’s health sector, pushing up the average cost of accident and emergency cases by 30% and theatre surgery by 39%.
The cost surges in some hospitals would not look out of place in Weimar Germany. The price per medical case at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and Glasgow Victoria Infirmary more than doubled over this period — not all of it, it is safe to say, through advanced medical techniques.
Little wonder that Scotland’s health spending bonanza had no effect. It found itself chasing hyperinflation and being unable to keep up with an NHS system that was simply growing fatter and fatter.
At every criticism of their health policy, Labour MSPs point to this extra money, as if this were an end in itself. Labour, they say, has brought more doctors, nurses and investment. This is indeed true — but the staggering truth is that NHS Scotland has not improved as a result. Despite all this money, twice as many patients leave Scottish hospitals intending to make a complaint than patients in lower-funded England.
Mercifully for Jack McConnell, the first minister, the full extent of Scotland’s spending advantage remains a well kept secret. His civil servants have expressed the need not to boast about the extra cash within earshot of envious English MPs. So when Scots watch television news from London, they readily identify with stories about the rundown NHS. Individual shock stories resonate on both sides of the border because, despite the substantial spending levels, there is no perception of quality difference.
Indeed the Daily Record, Scotland’s bestselling tabloid newspaper, conducted a poll in which 85% of its readers suggested raising taxes to pay for the NHS — apparently unaware of the terrible truth: Scotland already has the extra money and the NHS still doesn’t work.
The situation is not likely to improve. The Scottish executive used its devolved powers not for radical reform but for tasks like nationalising a hospital in Glasgow and rejecting Blair’s foundation hospital proposals. Scandalous health statistics — children born in Glasgow have an average life expectancy equal to that of Bulgaria — are shrugged off by MSPs as a regrettable fact of life, in the same bracket of inevitability as the poor weather.
The NHS lesson may be lost on Scotland but it is valuable to England: it shows that the NHS as it stands is a rare structure, capable of swallowing billions with nothing to show for it, short-changing both the sick and the taxpayer. Blair will win his battle with the Lords over foundation hospitals, but this watered-down legislation will mean tinkering with about 5% of the NHS — certainly delivering no changes in time for the general election that is expected in 17 months’ time.
England, also, was never as poor as the chancellor had it believe. Last March the Office for National Statistics admitted to “finding” extra health spending that amounts to some £5.4 billion this year alone.
The promise to lift UK health spending to European averages by 2005, made by Blair on the sofa of Breakfast with Frost, was a con all along. Britain was going to hit this target by 2003 anyway, without spending a penny of Brown’s extra tax.
So England does not have to imagine an NHS with European average levels of funding. It has this already — and is now heading for the same system that has failed Scotland so spectacularly.
Qari Hafiz Sajid Badat a Gloucester man and " devout follower of Islam " is being held for questioning on suspicion of being involved in Terrorism and the Police claimed to have discovered explosives in his house - As far as I know he has not been arrested yet and of course is innocent until it is proven otherwise.
What has surprised me is the public meetings and fuss made about this case by the Muslim community in Gloucester with accusations of racism etc being bandied about.
"Mahmoud Patel, a spokesman for Muslims in the Barton Street area, said he was looking forward to an end to the sense of "limbo" his community was currently feeling....local Muslims insist they are united behind him....Meanwhile Gloucester MP Parmjit Dhanda has confirmed he is to meet Home Secretary David Blunkett in order to pass on the concerns of the Barton Street community."
I really do not understand - if he is innocent then he will be released and life will return to normal* - if he isn't then why would "the whole community" want to be behind him - surely the Muslim community would want to have rid of terrorists becaues the one thing that will lead to distrust of these communities would be the idea that they harbour such people.
I'm waiting to hear a "community leader" say "We thank the police for their robust action and while we believe in this case the man is innocent and we will help him to prove this, in general terrorism is a cancer of society and should be rooted out for the good of all communities both large and small." - But I won't hold my breath waiting.
this is gloucestershire
* I'm aware of miscarraiges of Justice in various terrorism cases over the past thirty years, which is why it is quite proper for a "community" to offer support to help prove innocence"
Who should the Empire Honour?
The England Project reports on someone I have never heard of - Elsie Owusu - who is threatning to return her OBE because:
"One (reason) is the jingoistic reaction in the press regarding the English (not British) rugby victory. The idea of a vainglorious parade is exclusive of the whole ethnic-minority population of this island and redolent of Anglo-Saxon imperialism. This rugby jolly has already cost £I0m that should have been spent on relieving poverty for the black urban underclass, or perhaps funding sports facilities for those impoverished nations forced to compete on such unfair terms. Sports such as rugby must be privately funded by the wealthy few."
I hope the Palace sends her an SAE so she can return it ASAP - I'm sure Jason Robinson amongst others has a better claim on it - and is far better role model for the "black urban underclass".
Born in Chapeltown, Leeds, 29 years ago, Robinson is the son of a beloved white mother and a Jamaican father he never met. His surname comes from a stepfather who drank and beat his family. One of his two brothers has served time for dealing heroin. When he rose to fame as a uncatchable winger with the all-conquering Wigan rugby league side, he found the temptations too strong. The consequences are detailed in his remarkable new autobiography, the best of its kind since Lance Armstrong's It's Not About The Bike. The book also describes the change that overtook his life when he was approached one morning eight years ago by his Wigan team-mate, the great Va'aiga Tuigamala, a born-again Christian whose life seemed so much at variance with Robinson's own.
Inga the Winger told Robinson that in a dream he had seen him standing on top of the world, which suddenly crumbled beneath his feet. It was what Robinson needed to hear. At the time, two girls were expecting his children. One of them, the one he was serious about, had told him that unless he changed his ways, she was no longer interested in him.
Tuigamala's words prompted him to change his life. He became a born-again Christian, stopped drinking, married the girl and committed himself to a family that now includes two sons and a daughter. He has since worked with the homeless and his children are home-educated.
Spare the kids
Futureville CD promotes local government careers to teenagers
Futureville, an interactive virtual community on CD-ROM, has been launched to introduce real careers in local government to 12-16 year olds.
The interactive features on the CD-ROM allow young people to discover the careers in local government that will suit their skills and ambitions, and then offers an insight into the different directions their career may take. It also gives advice on how they can present themselves positively at interviews.
Sir Jeremy Beecham, chair of the LGA, said that Futureville is an exciting way to help young people explore the range of exciting and rewarding jobs that are available in local government. "Young people have a valuable contribution to make to society - we must ensure their voice is heard to create a better future for all our communities."
I would prefer my children to become drug running brigands rather than work for a local authority - have these people no shame in trying to entice the young? "Local government is all about serving our communities" if only!
Woof woof barking!
It is sometimes instructive to be woken up and made to smell the coffee - I have read so much about Global warming and climate change over the last few years and the conclusion of all the sane commentators is the same. Climate change is the norm, man made global warming is unproven but not unlikely, but its effect would be small in the effect of things. Kyoto and the Greens are political rather than scientific, and are bad for the human race especially the poor countries.
So when the ever excellent EnviroSpin Watch pointed me to this week's lead stroy in the New Statesman it was a surprise to come across such an out of date out of touch article. But of course I was forgetting that is what the Greens are. Know your enemy - read it, but have a strong cup of carcinogenic coffee first.
...if we do not take immediate action to slash greenhouse gas emissions, we will in effect condemn our children - and all generations that follow - to a permanently impoverished and more threatening world dominated by extreme weather and ecological collapse.
These dangerous trends continue almost unchallenged. Why? Because we appear to be experiencing a disastrous form of collective denial, more typically found among societies suffering major institutional human rights abuses - such as apartheid South Africa or Nazi Germany - where individuals may understand the reality of the problems, but refuse to accept the implications.
Climate change, unfortunately, matches our evolutionary weak-nesses. Not only is it complex, ambiguous and inter-generational, but it is largely self-inflicted.
We could transform our lifestyles, but only if we recognise and confront the psychological barriers to major behavioural change. A big shift in world-view is essential, and time is running short.
The passive bystander effect stops operating as soon as sufficient people break ranks and become involved. It may become "normal" to eschew cars, to shop locally and to consume renewable energy only.
December 2, 2003
The Department of Health has announced that Levonelle will now be given as two pills taken together - rather than 12 hours apart.
It is hoped this will cut pregnancies caused by women forgetting to take the second dose.
So you forget to take precautions, remember to get a "morning after" pill, but forget again to take the second pill twelve hours later! No worries I suppose, you can always have an abortion on the taxpayer...
Proof God is black - and she has a sense of humour.
The Klu Klux Klan, the white supremacy group notorious for its lynchings of black people and those favouring desegregation, has scored a spectacular own goal.
One of its members has been critically injured after being hit by a bullet fired into the air during an initiation ceremony.
While the organisation is more a subject of ridicule than fear these days, it still holds initiation ceremonies. The latest took place in Johnson City, Tennessee (the state where the Klan was formed in 1866) with about 10 people present. The new member was blindfolded, tied to a tree and shot with paint pellets. In order to make the event more dramatic, Gregory Freeman, 45, fired a real pistol with live ammunition up into the air.
It would appear that the Klan, always dismissive of the laws that entitled all citizens to vote and be educated, also has little respect for the law of gravity. The bullet, having gone straight up in the air, came straight down and hit Jeffrey Murr, 24, in his skull, leaving him in critical condition.
"Using a mobile phone whilst driving is dangerous. Phone calls and text
messages can cause distraction for drivers and can result in loss of
concentration which puts drivers and other roads users at risk. These new
measures will make our roads safer for us all.
"The Executive has for some time used the electronic signs next to
motorways and trunk roads in Scotland to display a variety of safety
messages including advising against the use of mobiles while driving. Over
the next few weeks this message will be given increased prominence. "
So let me get this right - you are going to put TEXT messages up on electronic signs to say it is dangererous to read TEXT messages when driving. - Can I suggest another message - Danger - Lib-dems at work!
December 1, 2003
This may be handy.
or may be not...
The Revd Joanna Jepson, Assistant Curate of St Michael’s, Chester, is taking the Chief Constable of West Mercia Police, Paul West, to court because he did not prosecute when doctors performed an abortion after 24 weeks on a foetus with a cleft palate. In law, an abortion may be carried out after this period only if there is a risk of a severe disability.
- Here's an example of the effects of such a disability - the Rev. Joanna Jepson herself "who had corrective surgery for a jaw disfigurement in her late teens".
- Is that sort of disfigurement really worth killing a baby to prevent?
The old hairy Liberal in me is still wishy-washy on abortion in "real need" cases but this is a horrific example which needs to be prosecuted to push back the boundaries of what is acceptable.
Aunt Bessie or Not?
or is it?
Well here's a new one to me - it is so hard keeping up on all the French corruption stories, but this one is a big one, and is still being covered up!
a title="BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Book delves into frigate scandal" href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3244148.stm">French frigates-to-Taiwan scandal
It has left a trail of eight unexplained deaths, nearly half a billion dollars in missing cash and troubling allegations of government complicity.
And yet 10 years after it first broke, the full story of the "frigates-to-Taiwan" scandal has still to be told.
While investigating judges in Paris have been able to uncover the secrets of a host of other "affaires", from the Elf slush-funds to the details of President Jacques Chirac's private travel, the Taiwan connection remains off-limits.
A government order banning judicial access to key documents for reasons of state security has twice been renewed, most recently in June last year.
In Taiwan, by contrast, the furore generated by the scandal helped bring down the Kuomintang regime in 2000, and the new government has made sure judges have access to all but the most highly-classified documents.
"The reputation of France has been seriously stained," concludes Mr Jean-Pierre (a Frenchman who has written a book about it).
"And when I compare our old democracy with Taiwan, a country where martial law was only lifted a short while ago, I am seized by shame."