31 December 2006

A little help from my friends...

I've been meaning to comment on what's happening in Somalia, but I've realised that I've no idea at all about who's involved, what they want and who's backing which side.

Can someone out there help?

30 December 2006

Caving in to religion

From the Huffington Post:

Due to pressure from Bush Administration officials, the National Park Service is not permitted to give an official age for the Grand Canyon. Additionally, a book claiming the Grand Canyon was created by Noah's flood is for sale at the National Park's bookstore.

To use an old cliché, "It's political-correctness gone mad"?

The sale of Grand Canyon: A Different View was scheduled for review over three years ago, but no such review has been schedule or even requested. The creationist book was the only item approved for sale in 2003 (22 other items were rejected).

These people are trying to change our way of life! We have to victimise and scapegoat them until they learn!

Ahem...

To all the creationists out there, the Grand Canyon is a few million years old.

Most Censored of 2007

Project Censored have brought out their list of the stories that have been most censored by the US media over the past year, which include:
  • Halliburton selling nuclear technology to Iran
  • The Americans torturing people in Afghanistan and Iraq
  • The World Bank funding the Israel-Palestine wall
  • The dangers of GM food have been confirmed
I just wish there was a UK version...

Debt-free!

From the BBC:

Britain will settle its World War II debts to the US and Canada when it pays two final instalments before the close of 2006, the Treasury has said.

The payments of $83.25m (£42.5m) to the US and US$22.7m (£11.6m) to Canada are the last of 50 instalments since 1950.

The last payments will be made on Friday, the final working day of the year.


As we're no longer in hock to the Yanks, does this means that from next year we may have an independent foreign policy?

Iraq on the inside

There's a thoroughly depressing post over on Riverbend's blog about how much of a complete fuck-up Iraq is. From what she says, it appears to be even worse than what's said in the media and that it'll only get worse once Saddam's killed off which will probably have been done by 1st January. I was almost crying when I was reading it...

UPDATE: Saddam's dead. Will things get even worse? What happens to the other trials of his? Will they carry on in absentia?

UPDATE: Juan Cole has 10 ways in which Saddam helped out the US. Do these explain the rush to kill him? Before he was ale to spill the beans

29 December 2006

The ultimate proof of Evolution!

Blogger have just given me a new random question

"Do you believe that forks are evolved from spoons?"

My reply

"No, but sporks are their common ancestor..."

If Blogger approve it, then evolution is definitely true! You don't get them asking questions on creationism/intelligent design, do you?

28 December 2006

The costs of ID cards

From the Sunday Telegraph:

People would be fined up to £1,000 for failing to return a dead relative's ID card, while women who marry will have to pay at least £30 for a new card if they want to use their married name, risking a £1,000 fine if they do not comply.

David Davis, the shadow home secretary, said the fines revelation shows that the scheme "will hit the taxpayer not the terrorists" and is "just another Labour stealth tax".

He said: "It is shocking that the Government is considering charges and fines on people at some of the most sensitive times in life. The Conservatives would scrap this plastic poll tax and invest the savings in practical measures to improve security."

Joan Ryan, the Home Office minister, said that charges would apply "if a person wished to add a married surname to his or her register entry". Based on an estimate of 311,000 marriages a year, that would net up to £9 million a year for the Exchequer.

People would be charged at least £30 for lost or stolen cards. Based on the 930,000 driving licences lost or stolen each year, this would earn the Treasury more than £28 million a year, say the Tories.

In a separate plan that the Tories say could hit millions of students, Mr Reid admitted that applicants will be asked for "all current alternative addresses". Failure to update the register with details such as term-time halls of residence could result in a £1,000 fine.

Just another way to scam the public...

The Telegraph's leader column also states:

Terrorists act by concealing their intentions, not their identities: the three countries in the world that suffer most from terrorist violence [I'm assuming one of them is Israel] all operate ID card schemes.

If there is any doubt in your mind about the efficacy of the proposed system, ponder the following. The one group of people exempt from having to own ID cards will be foreigners who have been in Britain for less than six months. Recall this extraordinary fact the next time you hear a minister blathering about the need to tackle terrorism and control our borders.


ID cards don't prevent terrorism. When will the government take notice?

You've been memed!

I've had the pleasure/misfortune of being tagged by Davide at the Nether-World into a meme about the seven things I did this year, so here goes:
  • Getting a new job: at the start of this year I was working for a crappy insurance company in Manchester dealing with even crappier personal injury "claims". A few months later I'd got my current job dealing with the money side of law - trying to see how much money can be claimed off the winning side for the solicitors who've won a case (it's a lot more interesting than it sounds). I'm working with better management and better people (to the people I liked who have left/planned to leave the insurance company, we all know who I'm talking about...);
  • Moving out of my parents' house: as I was working for the insurance company, I was still living with my parents, but as my current job is in London, I decided that I had no real option but to move down to the Village in order to be able to do it, as the commute would be a bit too excessive each day... so here I am living in Wimbledon. I like it: lovely area, not too far from central London, near work and not "out in the sticks" (read zone 4-6);
  • Political activism: before I moved down to London I'd never really been politically active, yes, I was writing on here, but it was all talk, no action. Since then I've joined the monthly SCOPA protests as well as launching a petition on our Dear Leader's website to scrap Crown Copyright (as well as signing ones relating to ID cards, SCOPA and a proper investigation into the 7th July bombings among others);
  • Setting out my plans for the world: this kinda links into the political activism, but I'll list it separately. As a response to that Euston Manifesto, I created my own Manifesto (but I didn't name it after a train station, in fact I don't appear to have named it at all... I'll call it the Wimbledon manifesto, as it's the station I use most often);
  • Realising people do better posts than myself: guess it happens to everyone who owns a blog, but it just means you have to up your level or post... see for example, my post on the albums of 2006 vs Obsolete's one on the same;
  • Enhancing my music obsession: before I moved down here, I hadn't been to a gig for a few years; party due to being at law college and having no money and Chester being a musical wasteland and due to living with my parents who live too far from Manchester for gigging to be practical. Since I've moved down here I've more than made up for it, as I've gone to some bands I'd heard of (!!!, Jeniferever, the Stills), some I picked out of Time Out on their recommendation (the Fallout Trust), Wimbledon's weekly indie-night and some I was dragged along to kicking and screaming, but ended up enjoying [naming no names, cough, Davide...]
  • Not fulfilling the requirements of this meme: I don't know enough people to pass it on to seven other bloggers (the one's I do know have already had it passed onto them), but I'll pass it onto Cocaine Nights, SXSE, $2 a day and Mama Junkyard.

27 December 2006

2006: A Musical Odyssey

Well another year has almost finished. To coincide with this momentous event, once again I’ve decided to review the CDs I’ve got and gigs that I’ve been to over the year.

Albums

Before I list my albums, I must point out that, due to reasons of personal bias, I’ve excluded three albums: (Fiery Furnaces: Bitter Tea, Sonic Youth: Rather Ripped and Thom Yorke: The Eraser) as it’d be unfair to compare the other stuff to my favourite band that no-one’s heard of, my favourite band ever and the solo album of the singer from my favourite current band… Anyway, let’s get the stuff reviewed shall we?


Be your own Pet: Be your own Pet

Noisy, shouty, punky and, er, young-y.


Beck: The Information

Odelay-esque, but with the added bonus of a cover that comes with stickers, so you can make your own unique artwork. Is this helping the fans become creative/show their support, or just laziness on the part of Mr. Hansen?


Cansei de ser Sexy: Cansei de ser Sexy (a. k. a. CSS: CSS)

Fit Brazilian women (one of whom has the appropriate name “Lovefoxxx”!) do NY disco-rock. I wish they would “make love and listen to Death from Above”…
The Fallout Trust: In case of the Flood
No, not a homage to New Orleans, but slightly dramatic indie-pop, with a very nice looking keyboardist…


Flaming Lips: At War with the Mystics
Typical Flaming Lips – weird psychadelia.



Futureheads: News & Tributes
Not as up-front/immediate as their debut, as it takes longer to get into it. It’s still as good though, but a pity their record label dropped them. It happened to BRMC, before coming back with “Howl” so don’t let it get you down!


Hot Chip: The Warning

Slightly nerdy indie-dance electro-pop from the mean streets of Putney! Local band!


Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan: Ballad of the Broken Seas

Her who was in Belle & Sebastian with him who was in the Screaming Trees get together and go all folky.


Jeniferever: Choose a Bright Morning

A lot more blessed-out than their live performances (see below), but just as good!


Junior Boys: So this is Goodbye

Canadian electro-pop.


The Knife: Silent Shout

Weird Swedish brother-and-sister duo does even weirder electro/synth stuff. This is possibly why it’s my album of the year. One question: how can you share your mothers’ health?


Larrikin Love: The Freedom Spark

Skiffle, folk and punk mixed together somewhere around the western part of Greater London…


Liars: Drum’s not Dead

So are the tunes! Only kidding, I like albums that consist of stuff which verges on the unlistenable – I’m the sort of person who raves about Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music, which probably explains a few things…


Mission of Burma: The Obliterati

New York’s punk/funk veterans go even noisy than before! Yay!


Mystery Jets: Making Dens

Like Larrikin love, but with less folk and more pop. What is it with the area around the western Thames?


Oneida: Happy New Year

Weird US band do an album that appears to be based upon English Mediaeval folk music… but with punky guitars…


Polysics: Now is the Time

Mad Japanese band – a mixture of electro, rock and metal! Fantastic live as well (see below).


The Rapture: Pieces of the People we Love

I didn’t like their debut as they just annoyed me; however, they’ve more than made up for it on this one! Think Radio 4 (when they were good), without the politics, or !!! less the cowbell. “Gotta get myself into it” and they did!


The Secret Machines: Ten Silver Drops

Less shoe-gazing than their debut, more prog.


The Sleepy Jackson: Personality. One was a Spider. One was a Bird

The new Brian Wilson? Well, he’s as mad as him, and his music’s just as orchestral, so who knows?


Spank Rock: Yoyoyoyoyo

If you can’t tell from the title, it’s a hip-hop album! Not NWA-style “Pop a cap in yo’ ass, mutha’fucka”, more party hip-hop.


The Sunshine Underground: Raise the Alarm

Named after a Chemical Brothers’ song (from their Surrender album, if you’re interested), but they don’t sound like them. They’re more indie/dance-rock; think Bloc Party less the politics.


The Strokes: First Impressions of Earth

Are they the forgotten men of New York? Not when they make albums like this!


TV on the Radio: Return to Cookie Mountain

I guess the best way to describe this lot is “Shoe-gazing barbershop quartet”…


The Victorian English Gentlemen’s Club: The Victorian English Gentlemen’s Club

They’re right when they say “Ban the Gin” – it’s the devil’s drink… well, OK, it comes second to a Flamin’ Houman (Brandy, Tequila and Tabasco sauce!)


Yo la Tengo: I am not Afraid of you and will Beat your Ass

Appalling title, but great music! Feedback, ballads and hard rock amongst others. They’re Sonic Youth-esque, but not as good (but I guess that’s unfair, as few/if anyone is).


Young Knives: Voices of Animals and Men

Like a punky, nerdier British Sea Power… they could only be British!


Gigs

!!!: Islington

Pronounced “Chk-chk-chk”. They’re one of many New York disco-punk bands that have been noticed in the past few years, but the gig was more like a late-80s/early 90s rave! Gig of the year.


Bonkersfest: Camberwell Green

Free mid-summer festival. From what I remember, it was a boiling hot Saturday and there was a lot of free-jazz – yay! – and just general noise. I hope they have another one next year.


The Fallout Trust: Islington

See their album review.


Jeniferever: Kilburn and Kingston

A Swedish band who are a mixture of Sigur Ros and My Bloody Valentine. They look like a bunch of physics students, but make a wall of sound! I was so impressed that I saw them twice in under a month and bought their album on top of their performances.


Polysics: Islington

They’re fantastic, but they had the misfortune of having the gig during the spell in the mid-summer when we had the record temperatures, which kinda spoiled it. Also the venue doesn’t have air-conditioning and the venue refused to leave the doors open!


The Stills: Shoreditch

Canadians do miserable mid-80s English indie-band – think Cure, Echo & the Bunnymen, but with a bit more of an upbeat side.


Transglobal Underground: Old Street

Davide at Nether World dragged me along to it, as they’re his mates, and I’m glad he did! A mixture of house/rave music and what gets termed “World music”, i.e. that which isn’t based on a rip-off of Chuck Berry riffs. On the down side, due to a lack of public transport in central London (!), I had to walk from the gig venue all the way to Vauxhall station in order to get the bus, instead of getting a bus from Liverpool St to Vauxhall, as was planned… bah!


Yo la Tengo: Kentish Town

2½ hr, including 3 encores, of feedback, indie-pop, piano ballads, and various other types of music.

Also various other obscure bands – so obscure, that I can’t remember their names! – in places in central London and the weekly Thursday gig night in Wimbledon.

UPDATE: See Obsolete for his list, which has a lot more detail than my list....

UPDATE 2011: I've created a Spotify playlist of these.

21 December 2006

US to free loads of documents

From the International Herald Tribune:

At midnight on Dec. 31, hundreds of millions of pages of secret documents will be instantly declassified, including many FBI cold war files on investigations of people suspected of being Communist sympathizers. After years of extensions sought by federal agencies behaving like college students facing a term paper, the end of 2006 means the government's first automatic declassification of records.

Secret documents 25 years old or older will lose their classified status without so much as the stroke of a pen, unless agencies have sought exemptions on the ground that the material remains secret.

Historians say the deadline, created in the Clinton administration but enforced, to the surprise of some scholars, by the secrecy-prone Bush administration, has had huge effects on public access, despite the large numbers of intelligence documents that have been exempted.

So, in the US freedom of information increasing, while in the UK, the government is trying its best to destroy the FOIA...

For once, I wish we would copy something the Yanks are doing.

Drugs are good...

From People PC:

A preliminary study of the active ingredient in psychedelic mushrooms has found it is effective in relieving the symptoms of people suffering from severe obsessive compulsive disorder, a University of Arizona psychiatrist reports.

Dr. Francisco A. Moreno led the first FDA-approved clinical study of psilocybin since it was outlawed in 1970. The results of the small-scale study are published in the latest edition of the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

But in each of the nine patients in the study, psilocybin completely removed symptoms of the disorder for a period of about four to 24 hours, with some remaining symptom-free for days, Moreno said.

As I've said before, mushrooms were banned by the Drugs Act 2005, so now the government appears complicit in making people suffer from mental illness...

Facts? What's them?

Pravda (aka the Sun) is having a campaign to ban Muslim women from wearing veils, due to what they and others claim, was someone escaping through customs while wearing one.

Just make 'em wear special symbols on their clothes, you know that's what you want...

As Reuters point out:

Asked whether Mustaf Jama had used a full Muslim veil to evade checks, a spokesman for West Yorkshire police said: "It's a possibility. He could have been wearing a pantomime horse outfit as well. But until we get him, we won't know for sure."

Of course, it's not like the Sun to let facts get in the way of a moral panic/tabloid-stoked outrage (see Obsolete for more)...

Bad and worse news...

From the BBC:

Tony Blair has said Iran poses a "major strategic threat" to the Middle East and is "deliberately causing" problems.

Unlike a certain country which invaded it for no reason whatsoever?

See also:

Moderate Muslim states must form an "alliance of moderation" to counter Iran and challenge its influence, UK prime minister Tony Blair has urged.

He called on the world to "wake up" to the monumental struggle between the forces of moderation and extremism.

At the end of his Middle East tour, Mr Blair said the ideological battle was the challenge of the 21st Century.

Hmm... it looks like he's kicked-off the official build-up to a war which, as Jack Straw said, would be "Nuts" (because of which he was fired)... I guess he's swapped the letters "N" and "Q".

Worse news:

Turkmenistan's authoritarian president Saparmurat Niyazov, who ruled the Central Asian country for 21 years, has died aged 66, state TV has reported.

Mr Niyazov, who named cities and airports after himself in a personality cult, left no designated successor.

My - and everyone else's - favourite dictator has died! What will become of the people of Turkmenistan? Will they no longer have the honour of calling a loaf of bread after the leader's mum? Will the days and months no longer be named after his family? We can only hope so!

UPDATE: Here's a quote from the official statement of him passing on:

"The glorious years during which the Great Serdar ruled the Turkmen people confirmed his heavenly faculty to foresee and his ability to determine priorities. His unique abilities in the art of leading the nation revealed his talent as a diplomat and a wise and humane person,"

We'll miss you!

Sign here

On the Dear Leader's petition website there's a petition to ban energy-wasting lightbulbs. Sign it and help the planet.

The Lone Carol Singer

I've stuck photos on Flickr from last night's SCOPA Carol Service/Protest. I'll do a proper write-up over the weekend...

UPDATE: I'll only do a short write-up on what happened as it's been more than adequately covered by Davide, Rachel and Tim, amongst others, and there's not that much to add, apart from the fact that I'd already decided on my SCOPA form to protest against carol singers - I was being seasonal, I didn't know at the time that Tim had this planned!

This was the coldest one yet - guess the freezing fog that's hanging around the Village and south-east England didn't help. It was more a case of keep moving and try and prevent frost-bite, even if you're not actually protesting...

After the usual one hour Tim handed out song sheets and candles and a saxophonist led us in traditional Christmas songs (one of the things I was protesting against!). Tim also passed round a bucket for charity and we raised over £80 plus 75 eurocents.

I should have worn more than one pair of socks - my toes went numb! - but at least we got warmed up in the pub afterwards - yay alcohol! - where Rachel handed out little muffins and I dished out some choccies I had on me (thank you work!).

Hi to the Disillusioned Kid, Rabbit Strike and the Chris from Radio 5's Pods & Blogs site.

UPDATE 2: Indymedia have more pics.

UPDATE 3: Rigmor from Online Again has a post with some more photos for you to enjoy.

19 December 2006

Not one, but three databases!

From the BBC:

The government has abandoned plans for a giant new computer system to run the national identity cards scheme.

Instead of a single multi-billion pound system, information will be held on three existing, separate databases.

Now the information will be spread across three existing IT systems, including the Department of Work and Pensions' (DWP) Customer Information Service, which holds national insurance records.

This might seem a good thing, but, one of the many reasons I'm opposed to the cards is the fact that the data will be linked together. all they're doing is swapping a big, independent database, for several smaller ones, all of which will be linked together - there's no real difference! On top of that, the information in the databases will have errors - what to do if the data in one conflicts with that in another?

Also, once again, the Tories and Lib Dems have the right idea:

Shadow Home Secretary, David Davis, for the Conservatives, said ... the decision to use existing databases was "an admission of what will turn out to be a financial disaster for the taxpayer".

He said Mr Reid "has tried to sneak this announcement out in a written statement that is not subject to scrutiny betrays just how fragile the government's confidence in their own scheme actually is".

Nick Clegg, for the Liberal Democrats, said: "These are sticking plaster measures in which the government is cutting corners to make the increasingly unpopular ID card scheme more palatable.

They can see what a disaster it'll be, why can't Labour?

18 December 2006

Odd timing?

This was out a few days ago, but like a lot of people, I missed it due to the coverage of the Ipswich murders.

From the Daily Mail:

The head of MI5 has resigned weeks before full details of the role of her agents in a surveillance operation involving two of the July 7 bombers are due to be revealed.

Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, whose organisation has been at the forefront of the war on terror, is leaving after more than four years as director general.

The two British-born bombers did not merely pass through the 'periphery' of an intelligence operation monitoring other suspects but were photographed and recorded on several occasions.

More details of the operation are likely to emerge in the New Year.

Let's see what happens...

Rachel has a lot more on the story, including a tip to something I'd not previously heard about called "Operation Crevice". Like she says, the fell through the (Operation) crevice...

Why SCOA should be scrapped

For those of you who don't believe what a waste of time the SCOPA Parliament Protest law is, Rabbit Strike has a commentary of the time she spent in the Police Station just for the "permission" do to summat that shouldn't be of any business of the Police's, namely, having a peaceful protest within 1 km of Parliament. The police have a lot better things to do then ensure people comply with pointless bureaucracy.

We want your soul, well, DNA!

From the Register:

Less than two thirds of people whose profile is stored on the National DNA Database are there for having been cautioned or convicted of a criminal offence, Home Office figures have revealed.

The innocent have nothing to fear...

The news sneaked out on Monday last week, at the height of the Ipswich serial killings manhunt. The Tories this weekend accused the government of burying bad news and called for a vote on whether the innocent should be included in the database.

Jo Moore strikes again!

The National DNA Database is the world's largest repository of human DNA profiles. Anyone who is arrested by the police for any offence has a sample taken for the database. The project has been broadly condemned by civil liberties groups, and by Sir Alec Jeffreys, the man who developed DNA fingerprinting.

In November he said: "Now hundreds of thousands of entirely innocent people are populating that database, people who have come to the police's attention, for example by being charged with a crime and subsequently released."

I'd better have my protest form on Wednesday then...

Budget 2007

From Raw Story:

Iran has decided to use the euro instead of the US dollar in the country's budget for the next Iranian year (21 March 2007-20 March 2008), the news network Khabar reported Monday. Government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham said the switch would be made not only in the budget but also in foreign as well as oil trade, and also assets abroad, in a move to end Iran's dollar dependence.


Guess this means when we can expect the attack... Saying that, why don't they denominate it in their own currency?

Whoops!

From the Times:

Downing Street aides and Labour officials involved in the cash-for-honours inquiry are being investigated on suspicion of perverting the course of justice, The Times has learnt.

To quote Nelson Muntz "Ha-ha!"

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has advised detectives to look into suspected attempts to hamper the nine-month investigation. Some e-mails and documents have yet to be handed over to the police while others have apparently “disappeared”. Some individuals are suspected of colluding over evidence.

The disclosure shows that the investigation has widened to include a suspected cover-up by those around the Prime Minister. Until now, it has centred on the £14 million in secret loans made to the Labour Party by millionaire supporters.

It's always the cover-up that does you in!

Just a small part of England

From the Register:

CNN last week ceded Wales to England in this story concerning the Suffolk murders.












There's two ways of looking at this:
  1. The US stereotypical view that Britain = England, possible as it's CNN
  2. Wales has decided it's better off as part of England, again, possible, but what have we done to deserve them as part of us?

17 December 2006

Best music videos of the year

I'm in the middle of writing a long post giving reviews of all the albums I've bought & gigs that I've been to this year. It'll be finished sometime over the Xmas holidays. Until then, here's Do Copenhagen's list of the Top 50 Music Videos of the Year.

Blair blocked legal prostitution

From the Observer:

Downing Street blocked moves that would in effect have legalised prostitution because the Prime Minister was so concerned that 'hostile headlines' would wreck plans to make sex workers' lives safer.

In a passionate article in today's Observer, Katharine Raymond, a senior adviser to the former Home Secretary David Blunkett, reveals that he wanted to liberalise the law, allowing 'managed areas' for prostitutes similar to those in mainland Europe. Experts say that such areas would mean that sex workers, such as the five women killed around Ipswich over the past month, would be at less risk of attack.

'The uncomfortable reality is that, while these pitiful girls and women cater to an eternal consumer demand, their lives are being put at greater risk by the lamentable failings of both government and law enforcement,' she says.

So, due to Blair not having any balls, those five women in Ipswich are dead. That's even more blood on his hands.

Legal prostitution is one of the things I'll do when I seize power and enforce my manifesto.

Raymond says there was 'opposition from Number 10, which was terrified of a hostile media response'. The paper eventually surfaced only because [David] Blunkett wanted what he called a 'grown-up debate'.


I find myself agreeing with a proposal from David Blunkett... Still, "Stopped Clock" and all...

15 December 2006

State-sanctioned racism

From Haaretz:

In recent years the state has been trying to make the entry into Israel and naturalization of non-Jews more difficult. Six months ago, the justices of the Supreme Court criticized the amendment to the citizenship law barring any family unification involving Arab Israelis and Palestinians. The petition against the law was denied, but the justices argued that the right of citizens to be in Israel with the partner they choose should not be harmed, and that it is necessary to legislate a new and more flexible citizenship law. The Justice Ministry promised to do precisely that.

It turns out that the hope for a more humane law was exaggerated. Now, the Knesset is seeking to extend the temporary citizenship law by another two years, and it will also vote in a second and third reading on the law on illegal aliens, which will prevent the unification of families for those who resided in Israel illegally for as little as a month. In theory, this law is meant to counter illegal immigration; in practice it is another measure for blocking citizenship to those who are not Jews, even if they have family ties with an Israeli.


People defend Israel by saying it's "the only democracy in the Middle East". Is it really a "democracy" if it has race laws, a la apartheid-era South Africa, or dare I say it, Nazi Germany?

The strict immigration policy that Israel is adopting with these laws completely ignores the breadth of possibilities stemming from ties of love and human relationships. Henceforth, the government recommends, through legislation, it is advisable to fall in love only with Jews, or to give up living in Israel.

So, they only want people who are pure-breed Jews in Israel?

No doubt, Israel, too, like all Western states, must formulate a reasonable immigration policy. The difference between such a policy and the hunting down of parents, children and partners of Israelis, most of them living in Israel illegally because of the circumstances, is enormous. A country of immigrants like Israel cannot ignore the slew of human problems that emerge, and family members should not be asked to separate because some of them do not meet the entry requirements. Preventing the unification of families of Arab Israelis with their partners is discrimination of the worst kind. It has nothing to do with immigration, but with the right of every citizen to live in his/her country with his/her partner and children.

I guess they do...

Sign on the dotted line

There's a few more good petitions on Tony "Supporter of corruption in the Middle East" Blair's website:
Sign 'em and also my Crown Copyright one!

The Sixth Commandment

A new video game has come out in which you play a bunch of Christians whose job it is to slaughter the "unbelievers". Can you imagine the response if it had been a game involving, say, Muslims whose job it was to use suicide bombs?

From my time at a C of E school, I've had it beaten into me - sometime literally, sometimes metaphorically - that one of the Ten Commandments handed to down to us by the Lord was "Thou shalt not kill". Whatever happened to it?

14 December 2006

We don't want Intelligent Design

I've previously mentioned about an "intelligent design" group called "Truth in Science" (even for a marketing ploy, it's false!), who are handing out materials in schools to promote their rubbish in science lessions.

They've now been told to remove their stuff by the Department of Education, as it has no place in the National Curriculum, but they can use it in RE lessons, which I can understand - their stuff is based on belief, not evidence, so RE is the perfect place for it.

Unfortunately, they're unable to admit they're wrong:

In a message on its website, it said: "The national curriculum is a minimum standard. It exists to guarantee that every young person receives a basic education.

"Teachers are free to teach more than the minimum requirements of the national curriculum. Even if intelligent design is 'not included in the science curriculum', this simply means that it is not compulsory in all schools. It does not constitute a ban."

We'll force our lies upon your kids whether you like it or not!

The Lone Carol Singer

As well as the monthly SCOPA protest next Wednesday, there'll be a carol service, organised by Tim Bloggerheads, in Parliament Square.

You are cordially invited to a public carol service in Parliament Square at 7pm on Wednesday the 20th of December 2006.

This inclusive service will contain both Christian and secular verse, and is expected to last no more than an hour.

Candles and song sheets will be made available, with donations going to Medical Aid for Iraqi Children.

Please note that if you attend this carol service, it will classify as a spontaneous demonstration (of faith, hope, joy and/or religious tolerance) and there is a possibility that you will be cautioned or arrested under Section 132 of the Serious and Organised Crimes and Police Act (2005).

Click here for more information.

On my SCOPA form, I've coincidently put myself down as protesting against carol singers...

12 December 2006

Soy makes you gay!

From World Net Daily:

Soy is feminizing, and commonly leads to a decrease in the size of the penis, sexual confusion and homosexuality. That's why most of the medical (not socio-spiritual) blame for today's rise in homosexuality must fall upon the rise in soy formula and other soy products.

From the article it's hard to tell if the guy's deluded or taking the piss... however, this may give us a clue

Homosexuals often argue that their homosexuality is inborn because "I can't remember a time when I wasn't homosexual." No, homosexuality is always deviant. But now many of them can truthfully say that they can't remember a time when excess oestrogen wasn't influencing them.

It's part of the homosexual agenda! Is it what Tinky Winky put on his toast?

Sound test

Thanks to Tim Worstall, I came across this:












The Veteran

You scored 84%!

You've picked up the majority of the classic rock basics. You probably have a classic rock collection and can sing along with most of the songs on your local radio station.

This is not the highest score, but it is arguably the best: that subtle combination of impressive knowledge and not being a pretentious geek.









My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 43% on notes

Link: The BASIC classic rock Test written by allmydays on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test


Not bad seeing that all of the question related to music from the 60s & 70s, i.e. "Classic Rock" - music finishes in 1976!

Help end prohibition

The people behind the Transform Drugs Charity have put up a petition on our Dear Leader's website calling for the end of prohibition.

I've signed it and so should you. While you're at it, sign my petition to abolish Crown Copyright.

Isreal admits to having nukes

From Haaretz:

Aides to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, seeking to quell a political storm over an Olmert remark which appeared to publicly confirm that Israel has nuclear weapons, said Tuesday that the prime minister had been misinterpreted and had not violated Israel's traditional policy of "nuclear ambiguity."

The statement, which provoked calls for Olmert's resignation, followed recent comments by newly appointed U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who listed Israel among the nations near iran which possessing nuclear arms.


(see also Yahoo! News)

It makes it a lot harder to condemn Iran for its alleged attempts to get nuclear weapons... I think the whole of the Middle East should be free of nuclear weapons, but this is why it won't happen

11 December 2006

Lactose intolerance and evolution

The New York Times has a article about how the lie of evolution has resulted in certain groups of humans being able to drink milk, and others being lactose intolerant, within the last 3000 years.

Evolution?! We all know that they were created that way! Ahem...

10 December 2006

The Lone Protestor V

According to Rachel, there's a big push for the final SCOPA Parliament Protest which is scheduled for a week on Wednesday, 20th December 2006, 6-7 pm.

The aim is to hand in the forms tomorrow as it coincides with Brian Haw being in Court again over alleged breaches of his own SCOPA conditions. Unfortunately, I won't be able to be at his trial, due to the timing of it, but I'll be handing my form in (word document) to register for the main protest anyway.

For those of you who are able to go to the trial go to Charing Cross Police Station, Agar St, London WC2N and hand the form in by 14th December. If not, like me, you can also post it, preferably by recorded delivery, or hand it in at any Metropolitan Police Station - again by 14th December - and they'll, hopefully, do the rest.

7 December 2006

Non-illegal protests?

According to the Parliament Protest blog comes word of a Bill in the House of Lords (the Public Demonstrations (Repeals) Bill) to repeal, amongst other things, the SCOPA Parliament protest ban. Unsurprisingly, the proposer is a Lib Dem Peer.

I don't think it's likely that it would pass as it'd mean that the government would vote to repeal part of its own Act.

I sent this email to her - hopefully others will do the same:

Dear Lady Miller

I came across a website which mentions your Bill to revoke, amongst other things, the SCOPA Parliament protest ban.

Thank you for proposing this, you have the majority of the public behind you.

I hope it passes as I am only one of many people who have had to waste the Police's time and taxpayers' money by registering in order to use my democratic rights.

Yours sincerely


Let's hope it gets a lot of publicity and passes!

6 December 2006

The compensation culture hits Japan

Kotaku has pictures from the instructions manual for the Japanese version of the Nintendo Wii...

To say the safety instructions are a bit odd, is putting it lightly... That'll learn 'em to try and get more luck when playing video games...

Why do I think "Fight Club" when I see these?

Blair the Broke?

On the Guardian's Comment is Free section is a post about how the Labour Party could get itself out of any liability for money owed to donors who received peerages and force it all upon Bliar and Lord Levy. Aah... the glories of contract law and the Agency Principle:

"If the Agent has acted without actual authority [i.e. they weren't actually told to do the task], but the Principal is nevertheless bound because the Agent had apparent authority [i.e. it was reasonable for the third party to believe that the Agent did have authority to do the task], the Agent is liable to indemnify the Principal for any resulting loss or damage."

Would Labour give Bliar and Levy authority to obtain loans for the - alleged - exchange for peerages?

Dear Dear Leader

There's a few more good petitions on our Dear Leader's website:
Sign 'em, and my Crown Copyright one.

There's also some odd ones, including
  • blood tests to prove your ancestors have lived here for 300 years, and kick out anyone who doesn't meet this (guess the Huguenotes) are fine...
  • DNA samples of everyone in a big database!

4 December 2006

The Spirit of Christmas

Thanks to Chicken Yoghurt, I've discovered how we manage to get hold of new Father Christmases every year...

Even more petitions

Over on our Dear Leader's website are more petitions that people should sign up to:
As well as these, sign my petition to abolish Crown Copyright. I've signed all of 'em, so should you!

UPDATE: There's also one to ensure that politicians can only up their wages if they save money elsewhere, e.g NHS, public transport...

UPDATE 2: Performance-related pay for MPs.

UPDATE 3: Save the NHS by getting rid of unnecessary bureaucracy and actually spending the money on doctors and nurses (!).

3 December 2006

More white terror!

From Orcinus:

Demetrius "Van" Crocker of McKenzie, convicted in April of attempting to obtain a chemical weapon and possession of stolen explosives, was sentenced to 30 years in prison Tuesday by U.S. District Judge James Todd in Jackson.

Crocker, who told undercover FBI agents of his desire to explode a briefcase bomb while Congress was in session, was found guilty by a jury in about 90 minutes in April.

The 40-year-old farmhand and father of two was convicted of accepting what he thought were ingredients to make Sarin nerve gas and a block of C-4 explosive from undercover agents in October 2004.

The maximum penalty Crocker could have faced for the convictions would have been a life sentence. Todd did order lifetime supervised release for Crocker once he gets out of prison.

In all, Crocker was convicted on five charges: one count of attempted possession of a chemical weapon, one count of inducing another person to acquire a chemical weapon, one count of possession of stolen explosives, one count of possession of explosive material with intent to harm an individual or damage or destroy a building, and one count of possession of an unregistered destructive device.

During the trial, prosecutors introduced video- and audio-taped conversations that Crocker had with undercover agents, laced with profanity, racial slurs and Crocker's open hatred of all things to do with the government.


Hmm... a terrorism plot orchestrated by a non-Muslim which has had little, if any, media coverage. Why does that sound familiar?