Friday, February 27, 2009

Harry Potter is part of the Zionist Conspiracy?

The Fink has excelled himself once more finding this amazing YouTube video from Iranian TV that explains how Harry potter is the work of Zionists because they believe Harry Potter is the coming Messiah.

Via Danny Finkelstein

What is she holding on to?

See post title:

Via email

Exterior design on a different level

I'm going to assume that the exterior designer was laughing to himself after the people paid him for this one.

Ryan-fair?

Via the b3ta boards we have:

Where was I?

Yestedray, Iain Dale asked "Where Were You When You Heard Margaret Thatcher Had Resigned?". I remember it well. I was in a GCSE PE lesson at the Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School.

Mrs Milner was taking the lesson and another teacher, I cannot remember who, came into the hall and said that Thatcher had resigned. There were cheers from much of the class and the teacher and I recall at the time wondering "why?".

An almost honest answer from a Minister

Almost a refreshingly honest answer to a question by Mike O'Brien at the Department for Energy and Climate Change. When asked about the latest dates people could apply for grants under the Low Carbon Buildings Programme he said,

The latest date for new applications from homeowners is 30 June 2010 or when the money runs out, whichever is sooner.
A say almost refreshingly honest because to be fair the money ran out long ago. Everything currently is on tick.

DraperList steals copyrighted images and admits it too?

We all use Google images for searching, but one thing only a complete fool would do is take a watermarked image that requires you to pay istockphoto and then use the watermarked image.

Click Image to see the Watermark

Doh!

UPDATE: Seems the young Tory Bear got the scoop on this earlier this morning.

Doing a bit of DIY?

Doing the rounds across the pond!

New Nail Gun by Dewalt

It can drive a 16-D nail through a 2 X 4 at 200 yards. This makes construction a breeze. You can sit in your lawn chair and build a fence. Just get the wife and kids to hold the fence boards in place while you sit back, relax with a cold beer, and when they have the board in the right place, just fire away. With the hundred round magazine, you can build the fence with a minimum of reloading.


After a day of fence building with the new Dewalt Rapid fire nail gun, most
wives will not ask you to fix or build anything else for a very long time.
Boys and their toys!

Cynicism of the Day

Just a quick throwaway post to start the day, but I couldn't help but notice yesterday that there was quite a bit of commentary that said: yes, Ivan Cameron's death was tragic but, no, PMQs should not have been cancelled and replaced with just statements of sympathy.

This got me wondering that if PMQs had not been cancelled we would have seen commentary that said 'what a bunch of insenstive tossers these politicians are. Shouting like children over the Dispatch Box on a day when such personal tragedy has happened to the Leader of the Opposition and his family'.

Does this make me cynical about politics, cynical about the media, or just plain cynical?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The motion to watch - sadly

In between throwing my guts up into a bucket this morning, I just wanted to bring to your attention a "One too watch" Early Day Motion from the Commons. The motion has been tabled by the DUP MP, Gregory Campbell and at time of writing has one other signature on it, that of his DUP colleague, David Simpson. The motion is titled "Politicians and the Economic Downturn" and reads,

That this House notes the extent of the economic downturn right across the United Kingdom; realises the significant degree of cynicism that exists among the general public in relation to how politicians are responding to the effect the downturn is having on average families, many of whom are facing uncertainty regarding employment and their standards of living; and recognises the need for politicians, irrespective of party labels, as well as all others paid for out of the public purse, to have an obligation in demonstrating value for money approaches in whatever capacity they are employed and to show cost reductions where possible as a contribution towards the exceptionally difficult economic times in the nation.
Now there are two primary reasons why this one is worth watching. First, that should be a motion that literally hundreds of MPs ought to sign, so omission of a signature is a telling sign of attitude.

Second, it will be interesting to see if any MPs that have themselves been involved in dodgy expenses stories decide to sign it. At which point of course the cry of either "hypocrite" or "changed his/her ways since getting caught" will be raised.

My betting is not that many will sign it. Either because they don;t know about it (or do an ostrich and pretend not too), or, more likely, because if they do sign it they will become an instant target for someone to investigate what they spend money on, and the slightest whiff of excessive wastefulness and it will be splashed across the blogs and/or papers - again withthe cry of hypocrite.

In a way the motion is a perfect indictment of everything that is wrong with day-to-day politics. The very fact that a motion saying that is needed makes it a bit like those posters in mens pub toilets that remind you not to go out and rape a woman.
* Government ministers by convention do not sign EDMs, so don't expect to see Jacqui Smith on there.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Will Obama veto or sign?

The Second Amendment of the U.S Constitution is rather explict and clear. Ratified on teh 15th December 1791 its title is the "Right to Bear Arms" and states,

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Currently going through Congress and sponsored by Democrat Bobby Rush is the "Blair Holt's Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2009"which will

prohibit a person from possessing a firearm unless that person has been issued a firearm license under this Act or a state system certified under this Act and such license has not been invalidated or revoked.
Now one could argue that havinmg to get a license for your handgun is not a removal of your right to own one. One could also argue however that the whole point of the 2nd Amendment is to protect against tyranny, thus the state issuing licenses to those it deems suitable does in fact infringe on the framers original reasoning for the amendment.

That, in a nutshell, is why the issue of gun control is such a big flaming red hot potato in the US. And that is why the "Blair Holt's" Bill could arguably be one Obama's first big tests. In my experience of Americans, the issue and principle of guns often transcends party lines.

Does Obama have enough political capital and momentum during his honeymoon period for such a big fight on one of the key wedge issues? If he did veto would Congress get the two-third majority to override it? Might that be an exit route where the law can pass but he avoids being the one to either condemn or condone it?

Why use a Job Centre when there's eBay?

The 23 year old Frenchmen on the right is an unemployed management graduate who has decided, after five months, 300 applications and 20 interviews to take the more extreme route into work. He's auctioning himself on eBay and currently he at €1050.

Apparently he is practical, inexpensive and low maintenance. Nine days are left of the auction so will have to check back and see what he eventually went for.

Hat Tip: Croydonian

One for the geeks

Another little soldier in Heaven

I can't imagine what David and Samantha Cameron are going through right now after their son died overnight.

Nothing more to add other than my thougths are with them.

Nail. Head. Hit.

I meant to post this rather tasty comment from the House of Lords the other day but forgot. It was said by Baroness Deech and it illustrates a beautiful point.

No one can accuse this House of not focusing on the distressing situation in Gaza. In the past 12 months, there have been 161 Questions and Statements about Israel, Gaza and the Palestinians compared with, for example, 33 on Sri Lanka and 24 on Tibet.

I mention Sri Lanka in particular because noble Lords will be aware that recently there was a well attended protest in Parliament Square about the terrible attacks on the Tamils, the hospitals under siege, the killing of 70,000 people and the many more thousands who are trapped and displaced from their homes.

This has attracted little opprobrium and no calls for the obliteration of Sri Lanka or talk of its brutalisation.
Hear hear!
Hat Tip: The Fink

What do the minutes contain?

Having just driven into work and not really having an Internet connection last night I thought I would just pass a quick comment on Jack Straw's decision to veto the Information Commissioner on the issue of Cabinet minutes on the decision to go to war in Iraq.

Firstly, the Tories are bloody idiots to support the Government on this. I'm not saying that because I am, or was against the war - in fact I continue to think the decision to support the US was the correct one. This said the aftermath was bloody (figuratively and literally) incompetent.

However, the Freedom of Information Act was brought in to allow us, the people, to see how and what decisions are being made in our name. The argument that releasing these minutes (which some historians think probably wouldn't contain much of interest really), will somehow undermine Cabinet Government is complete bollocks.

It seems to me, and probably many others, that Straw's argument is a legalistic fudge. This leads to the question of what mught the minutes actually show? The only thing I can is that they might contain something that sheds further light on the Blair/Brown relationship in the run up to war.

After all, if I recall correctly, Brown was very silent on the matter right up to the wire. The minutes may just show - and let's remember these are Civil Service minutes and won't be verbatim discussions - Brown is disloyal and negative light, and to b fair he probably doesn't want anything else negative about him in the papers right now.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Freeing and Taxing the Weed in California?

Whilst Gordon Brown and the Government classify marijuana upwards in the controlled substances league, State legislature Assemblyman Tom Ammiano in California is introducing a legalisation bill. According to SF Weekly the bill would,

remove all penalties in California law on cultivation, transportation, sale, purchase, possession, or use of marijuana, natural THC, or paraphernalia for persons over the age of 21.
Not only that, the Bill will also prohibit state and local law officers from enforcing the Federal marijuana laws. Then comes the killer, the Bill would establish,
a fee on the sale of marijuana at a rate of $50 per ounce.
Is the Bill likely to pass? Who knows. It will certainly do the budget issues in California the world of good if it does.

Raw Stupidity Award goes to Greenwich Council

I've just been looking at the news in my old stomping ground, the London Borough of Greenwich. Greenwich is a Labour stronghold run by a little Hitler type character who is often known to sport a moustache just like the former dictator.

The Council has always excelled in sheer stupidity, and I have just learned that during the snow it surpassed even itself. Whilst Councils were out gritting roads and pavements, Greenwich Council was out using crushed glass, resulting in complaints by cyclists with punctures amongst other things.

Dribblers protecting the nation?

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when I saw the following job advertised on the Civil Service Gateway for a role at MI6.


Not you understand because of the job itself, but because the required qualifications are "5 GCSE grades A-E or equivalent."

Yes that's right, we are willing to employ morons with five E grade GCSEs to help protect the nation. Makes you feel warm, fluffy and safe huh?

So what do you do for a job?

Errr.... interesting job title.

Pointless YouTube channels?

If you click on the image below you will see a screenshot of the Ministry of Justice's YouTube channel. The average video view is about 20 viewings.

Is this really a worthwhile use of public funds? Is anyone looking at these videos other than people in the Ministry of Justice? What exactly is the point of the channel?

Incidentally, the Foreign Office channel is not much better either.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Found wireless networks... click here to view them

Sometimes when people name their home Wifi network you have to wonder about (a) their suitabilty to own a computer and (b) their suitability to even be considered human.

There is right and there is wrong. This is more wrong than wrong itself.
Via tinypic

Real Help "Crap Code" Now!

A new propaganda website has appeared in the gov.uk domain called Real Help Now. I am still trying to figure out if it is a joke or not, or whether someone missed the word "Alpha" from it somewhere. It renders like crap in Firefox and Internet Explorer. Not only are there rendering problems there are code problems and missing files too.

If this site is real then its the Government webmongs that need help. Plus a QA environment and maybe a Staging one too!

UPDATE: Looks like somebody just fixed it.

Best pop-up phishing scam EVER

You deserve to be scammed if you fall for this.

More bollocks from Labour on Fair Trade

It's that time of year again where sel-righteous angelic lefties start baning on about Fair Trade bloody Fortnight. We have Douglas Alexander talking crap on LabourList about how it is a wonderful thing. Apparently,

Fair trade is fundamental to a fair world, a vital route out of poverty for millions of people across the globe.
Correction Mr Alexander, free trade is fundamental to a fair world. Free trade is the vital route out of poverty for millions of people across the globe. The only reason fair trade needs to exist in the developed world is because of protectionism.

The protectionist racket that is the EU and NAFTA ensure, beyond doubt, that the developing world will never be able to trade with us fairly. Fair trade gives them penauts extra and simply makes people like you think you're being lovely and nice.

The most hilarious thing about the Fair Trade zealots in the Labour Party is that their own leader even warned against the dangers of protectionism, yet they all actively support Fortress Europe which puts up massive barriers to trade and ensures that the developing countries are on an uneven footing from the outset. According to Alexander

Families across Britain will rightly be taking care over their shopping bills this year. During this Fairtrade Fortnight I would encourage shoppers to also consider the power they have to play a part in changing lives for the better – there has never been a more important time to do so.
Here's a better idea, how about self-righteous Labour Ministers and supporters consider the power they have to end the pernicious status quo that keeps the downtrodden nations they claim to care about so much from selling to us at lower prices than our own subsisidised farmers?

The rank hypocrisy of the Left on this subject is truly astounding. Gordon Brown said "protectionism protects nobody". Not so, it protects the EU and the US from having to face competition from the developing nations that are then patronised with fair trade bollocks to cover up the collective guilt of the Left.

Fair trade does not guarantee a better deal for Third World producers. What it guarantees is that the protectionism of Left can continue whilst they can absolve themselves of the guilt that creates the need for such schrmes in the first place.

We hav som bad nuz 4 U

Following on from last weeks post about chlamydia screening and the "wii for a wee" competition, it has come to my attention that Hounslow NHS Trust has taken it one step further to be "down wiv da kids". Anyone aged from 16 to 24 can have a free chlamydia test and have the results sent to them via text message.

One hopes that it will be in txt speak, such as "U hav got chlmyd, go 2 d doctRz" or "yor gf wiL not b :-) w U". Good clean young adults will presumably get "U R clr of chlamydia. w00t!".

DWP Information Security currently not "fit for purpose"?

Whilst happily browsing through the latest posted jobs on the Civil Service Gateway, I couldn't help but spot and read the detail of this from the Department for Work and Pensions which is advertising for a "Head of Information Security and Compliance" role. The advert says,

We are seeking a talented individual who can provide the leadership and professional expertise to ensure that we develop and embed the fit for purpose frameworks across the organisation.
So they need someone to embed "fit for purpose frameworks across the organisation" by implication meaning that currently the department information security is not at all "fit for purpose".

Refreshingly honest of them I thought! Mind you, they did have an IS officer that was foced to send out the following email less than a year ago.

A sign of the credit crunch times?

Clearly the switchboard is going crazy at the Insolvency Service.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Changing the US Constitution by proxy?

It was the year 2000 that saw George W Bush win the presidency of the United States and it was also the same year that saw the Left, from mainstream to extreme decry the Electoral College system in US when placed against the popular vote across the county.

Not only had Bush 'stole' the election with the hanging chad fiasco in Florida - epitomised in the Michale Moore polemic Farenheit 911 - but he had 'stolen' the election because more people in the country had voted for Al Gore than him. The quirk of the college however, which sent votes based on state popular vote results meant Gore lost and Bush won.

I can remember the online discussion boards at the time going into apoplexy at the apparent 'democractic deficit' that meant someone who got less votes nationwide could still make it into the Oval Office and become the most powerful Head of State in the world.

The Electoral College for all its faults of course was, quite rightly set up, to maintain the Federal nature and power balance based on population of the Republic that is the United States of America, and for that reason it does kind of make sense in terms of the institutional construction of the nation. The question is whether the USA is really still that loose Republic anymore.

Arguably it could be considered that it is not. The Federal State does, in many respects, now take precedence over the individual states in many areas. Of course Constituitonalist would argue that the structure of the original remains enshrined in the Constitution and whether it appears the Federal State has more power is meaningless to the reality.

The reason I am writing any of this is the news that the state legislature in Iowa have decided to change the law on how their Electoral College votes will be decided in Presidential Elections. Rather than sending their seven votes to the College on the basis of who wins in the state, they have said they will send their votes based on the nationwide popular vote. They will only do this however when states totalling 270 college votes have changed their own rules too.

There is an interesting dimension to this change. The US Constitution itself is very difficult to change. However, if all the states decide to change the basis on how they send their college votes for the Presidency the Constitution can be changed by proxy.

It is politics at its very best. Whether it will work of course remains to be seen. I would imagine there will be strong opposition from some of those key states that often decide the Presidency. Especially if a large state with a high vote count in the College voted for the person that didn't win the popular vote. Which brings us back to where this post started. Florida in 2000. It's certainly food for thought.

Friday, February 20, 2009

An eye for an eye?

People may have noticed that it has been light blogging over the past couple of days. This is because it is currently half term. Apologies. In the mean time here is a rather quaint eye for an eye story from Iran.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

An example of an honest CV

I believe this is quite old, but it remains a great example of how to have the most honest of CVs - unlike former spin doctors.

If memory serves me correctly, Howard Marks wrote about a guy from Canada that he worked with before being busted.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Got the clap? Become a gamer!

I discovered something highly amusing last night which made me giggle like a child and even saw me picking the phone up and calling fellow blogger Croydonian just to share the chuckling. It would appear you see that there is a National Chlamydia Screening Programme you see.

Now that in itself is not amusing of course. The fact that lots of people are getting the clap should not really be laughed at. However, the means by which different county are trying to get people to take the test is what amusing.

You see, I have just learned that in Bedfordshire, letters are being sent out to those who are under 25. The letter also contains one of those little, shall we say, piss pots. The recipient is asked to provide a sample and be entered into a competititon.

The prize? A Nintendo Wii, and yes, they really do bill the competition as "A Wii for a wee". Did I laugh? Why I rolled around the floor in hysterics, mainly because I'm a puerile child that still find fart jokes amusing.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

WTF?

I really don't know what the f*** they do!

WTF Group

Visiting Order for Ms Jowell?

I'd say Tessa Jowell got off lightly with her "I never discussed the extra £400K mortgage, honest guv" defence.
Wonder if she will apply for a Visiting Order?

Faith in Obama's stimulus hits rock bottom?

Taken outside Little Rock, Arkansas.

Clearly they think the fiscal stimulus is going to work!
Via Keith Elder

WARNING: Using your hand and voice can get you arrested?

Via Flickr

Death by a hundred cuts - how Labour slashes local services

One oft he areas it seems that Labour is hoping to make a dividing line withthe Tories is the classic "Tory cuts". In an article posted by Sir Jeremy Beecham, Leader of the LGA Labour Group on LabourList he calls on Labour councillors and activists to let them know about Tory and Lib Dem cuts.

You'll note that he does not mention Labour cuts because as we all know the Labour Party never cut anything right? Wrong. Take a look at the budgets over the last few years in the London Borough of Greenwich for proof.

Only just before Christmas there was outrage from the local Unison members that the council was to cut funding for Childrens Services. This was a matter of weeks after the Baby P incident. Now there are school closures in the name of "reconfiguration".

Just thought I'd point this out. If anyone else living in a Labour controlled area is experiencing service cuts do add them in the comments.

Has Draper been politely fired as Labour List editor?

It would appear that Labour List may soon be saved from the car crash that it was facing under the editorship of Derek Draper. I say this based upon something that has appeared on Draper's Wikipedia article. It was added a couple of days ago by a user called Philiphonour and says

"A rumor that Derek has been asked to handover control of Labourlist by influential Labour party insiders is yet to be confirmed."

Could this be the same Philip Honour that is a big name in Labour Student circles and is also a contributer to LabourList by any chance?

If Labour List has politely fired Draper then, for want of a better phrase, "things can only get better" for the site. Having said this, could it possibly be that there is a deep split within the ranks of the site and Labour Party about the Internet strategy?

UPDATE: How interesting, Philiphonour has applied to change his username on Wikipedia this morning to Londonwriter1984 for reasons of anonymity.

Can't imagine why!
Hat Tip: Via comment from H17

UPDATE II: Well his account has been changed and he got told off for his edit.

I've changed your username.

I know you're a newbie, so here's a gentle message: edits like this are not in line with Wikipedia policies. Please do not insert unsourced speculation about future events, especially where a living person is involved. --Dweller (talk) 12:19, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

Naughty boy!

A phonecall threat and a quote with sub-text?

You can't beat a good cliche in politics, and the one that springs to mind right now is that your opponents are in front of you but your enemies are behind you. That old chestnut has never been more true for Alex Hilton (aka RecessMonkey and editor of LabourHome) after he received a threatening phonecall from someone high up in the Labour Party.

The call was pretty straightforward it seems, he was informed in no uncertain terms that he should disassociate himself from any friendship or business relationship he has with Guido (Alex owns shares in Messagespace who deliver the ads on this site). Alex says,

I have been told that if I don't extract myself from Messagespace I will be painted as endorsing every offensive comment or article on the Guido Fawkes site, that of Devil's Kitchen, Iain Dale and every other right winger on the system.

I have been told that I don't have Labour values by owning shares in Messagespace though, frankly, I feel more guilty about not checking where my tiny pension pot is invested. I have been told that there will be a campaign to rubbish me in the Labour Party and this will inevitably reflect badly on Labourhome.
How marvellously Stalinesque huh? Interestingly, the other person involved in LabourHome and MessageSpace, Jag Singh, says in the comments at LabourHome that he too has been threatened with much the same thing.

Frankly such action is pretty disgusting. After all, who you are friends with privately is your business. What's more, in a time of deep economic recession, is it not utterly insane that people in Labour Party - the Labour Party - would be effectively ordering someone to quit their job? I am thinking of Jag Singh here who works for Messagespace on the tech side.

Seriously, for the sake of tribalist political bullshit, he is expected to go from earning money to not earning money? The talk of Labour values from whoever is making the threats is complete and utter bollocks on that point I'd say.

Whilst we're on the mysterious threatening caller, there has been some speculation around who it might be, so I just want to take a look at the three current possibilities that have been thrown out there.

  • Derek Draper: Has a motive given he has been made to look a complete fool in the last week by Guido et al. Also renouned for being a nasty and pretty vicious bully in between being a psychotherapist.
  • Charlie Whelan: Back on the scene with LabourList and in general. Bully like Draper. However doesn't really have the motive unlss following orders from someone else.
  • Tom Watson: Hates Guido with a passion but is it likely a Cabinet Office minister would get his hands dirty in this way? Probably has an alibi that he was visiting Gordon to give him a present anyway.
I took the liberty of giving Alex Hilton a call last night to see if I could get anything out of him (I consider him a friend in case you were wondering), as you'd imagine he was not willing to tell me anything. He did however give me a quote which, on reflection this morning, I think throws another possible name into the fray for that phonecall. Alex said, quite deliberately I might add,

I'm not going to play a David Kelly game where you throw names at me and I confirm or deny them.
How strange to make reference to the David Kelly strategy? For those that can't remember, that was when Alastair Campbell and Tom Kelly essentially let journalists throw names at them until they got it right in relation to the late Dr David Kelly. Make of Alex's comment what you will. Is there a sub-text to it about the identity of the caller?

Either way, I think Alex and/or Jag should out the person that has threatened them. Firstly because the threat is, as is clear from Labour supporters on LabourHome, absurd. And secondly, as Jag points out in the comments, it's a great example of why people don't want to get involved in politics.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Most accurate pie chart in the world

Perhaps Brown could take some lessons from this before he runs off his dodgy statistics?

Via Photobucket

Derek Draper's offensive comments towards the mentally handicapped have to stop NOW!

TO EVERYONE ON THE WHOLE WORLD WIDE WEBBY SUPERROADWAY TUBE!

Last week many bloggers and commenters held Derek Draper to account for running a crap website that is making him the laughing stock of teh [sic] interweb.

Sadly Derek Draper has this weekend proved himself to be even more offensive and objectionable.


To the right is a screenshot (click for large version) of comments by Derek Draper that refer to anyone who he disagrees with as a windowlicker, and then a sudden back tracking as he realises how stupid he has been to attack the mentally handicapped.

I have no doubt that sections of the blogosphere will accuse me of picking a fight, or seeking vengeance for Draper's attack on my blogging chums over the past week.

However, I, you, we should not - and cannot - ignore this.

Because this goes beyond personal abuse. It's about these people not being treated unfairly by a psychotherapist who claims to care but when angry starts to insult the mentally handicapped!

This is not about politics anymore, its about decency goddamit it! We mustn't let this go on or the world and society that we have built will collapse under the pressue of these nasty Labour people!

DO YOU UNDERSTAND!!? WE MUST STOP DEREK DRAPER'S ATTACKS ON THE MENTALLY HANDICAPPED TOGETHER!!!!!!


Everyone must stop linking to LabourList NOW!!

Remember this is about these guys below as much as it is about moral righteousness!


This post was brought to you by Taking the Piss Productions. Taking the piss online since 1743

Only on ebay!

It's amzing what some people try to sell.

These are Sunchips if you were wondering.

Peekaboo!

Not the best PR move in the world

Has anyone ever heard of Bridges TV? It is an American TV channel that was set up by a Muslim man and wife to tackle negative perceptions of Islam in the media. There may even be a UK version of the channel on Sky it seems.

Anyway, the founder and Chief Executive Muzzammil Hassan has found himself in a bit of hot water. Having set up the channel to show the positive side of Islam and tackle those negative perceptions, he has been just been charged the second degree murder of his wife who was rather unfortunately beheaded. Apparently she had just filed for divorce.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Comment is free-for-all

I've just read the most incredible thread on LabourList about comments at Guido's website in his latest caption competition. I will add links later as I'm writing this post on a phone and then emailing it, but if you have a chance its worth looking at.

Basically there are demands for Iain Dale and ConservativeHome to remove their links to Guido as some of the comments made in the caption competition were 'racist'. I put that in quotes because some of the examples were not, in my view racist, whilst others were.

However the whole point of online discussions, be they via bulletin boards, IRC or blog comments is surely free debate, so I don't understand why they should be removed. Challenge them at source instead.

Strangely, the demands for link removal by Labourlist has not included the mainstream medias linkage to Guido, perhaps that is being demanded privately, who knows.

It's rather sad though that such fear of ideas and thoughts, however odious one might find them, actually exists at all. Rather than tackling the problem with argument, the scream of 'racist' goes up and the words are closed down.

It's almost as if there is this view that racism or any other prejudice can only be dealt with through speech prohibition. That is more wrong than the arguments being prohibited surely? It essentially states 'we are in charge of what you are allowed to think and say'.

With that said I thought I would clarify my comment policy once more. If you wish to be racist in the comments here. If you wish to mock the disabled or the terminally sick then you are free to do so. Likewise anyone that might be offended by your comments is free to bitchslap you verbally in response. That is what debate and being adult is all about.

If a comment of these sorts is made and I don't respond to it with outrage it does not mean I condone or support the comment. Evidence that I have not taken a contrary view is not evidence that I do not hold a contrary view. It is simply evidence that I'm lazy sometimes, or I have a life and better things to do.

It's worth noting that if you start demanding I take a view on something - either in the comments or by posting on another blog - that will be the quickest way to ensure that I don't. I'm quite stubborn you see and if you order me to take a view on something I will deliberately avoid doing so just to annoy you even more.

If you link to kiddie porn, warez or torrents of copyright protected content then you'll be deleted. If I think a comment is potentially libelous then it may get deleted. Apart from that you can say what you want.

UPDATE: Something which I missed this morning is the way Guido's caption competition choice this week is being touted as having been deliberately chosen to garner racist jokes.

On the contrary, it was chosen because the kid is holding a up green blob to Gordon's nose that looks like a bogey and we all know about Gordon and his nosepicking habits. Still, never worth letting the truth get in the way of a "OMFG look at the racists!" type Interweb hysteria.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Good and Bad - which one are you?

Who concurs and who does not? Please provide your gender so we can see if there is a clear split?
Via CurrentConfig

Minister for Digital Funkyness admits he's an online disaster - potentially

Pies. Ate.

When a rat is cornered it strikes?

How amusing that a motion like this should be tabled in Parliament at a time when MPs are constantly facing hassle about their own expenses.

That this House believes that all banks which have received public funds and in which the British taxpayer now owns more than 50 per cent. of their value should be governed by the same Freedom of Information rules as Parliament; and calls on the senior management of these part-nationalised banks to publish their receipts for expenses in full.
If one was truly cynical one might think that the words "lets make those bastards be the story instead of us" crossed somebody's mind huh?

Counterfactual Thought for the Day

Let's play a little game. Let us imagine for a moment that a small group representing less than 1% of all Christians in the world decided to interpret the Bible in an extreme and violent way and began to use it to justify attacks on Muslims and Jews around the world.

Now let us imagine that a European Jew/Muslim politician produced a film of these attacks and juxtaposed them against the following verses in the Bible presented with sub-headings thus:

On the treatment of Non-Believers

"If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods . . . thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people . . . If thou shalt hear . . . Certain men . . . have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods . . . Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants ofthat city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword"(Deuteronomy 13:6-15).
On the rule of war and engagement

"And when the Lord thy God hath delivered [a city] into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword: But the women, and the little ones . . . shalt thou take unto thyself . . . But of the cities of these people, which the Lord thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth"(Deuteronomy 20:13-16).
On the treatment of the enemy

"[W]hen the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance of them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord ..." (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).

“And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both males, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men who were before the house. And he said unto them, Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain: go you forth. And they went forth, and slew in the city” (Ezekiel 9:5-7).
On the subjugation of women

"And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and sayunto them, When a man shall make a singular vow, the persons shall be for the Lord by thy estimation. And thy estimation shall be of the male from twenty years old even unto sixty years old, even thy estimation shall be fifty shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary. And if it be a female, then thy estimation shall be thirty shekels. And if it be from a month old even unto five years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male five shekels of silver, and for the female thy estimation shall be three shekels of silver. And if it be from sixty years old and above, if it be a male, then thy estimation shall be fifteen shekels, and for the female, ten shekels" (Leviticus 27:1-7).

“Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence" ; (1 Timothy 2:11-12).

"Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church" (1 Corinthians 14:34-35).
On the treatment of errant children

And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die" (Deuteronomy 21:20-21).

"For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death" (Mark 7:10).

"And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death" (Exodus 21:15).

"And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death (Exodus 21:17)."
On the treatment of fatties

And the people stood up all that day, and all that night, and all the next day, and they gathered the quails: he that gathered least gathered ten homers: and they spread them all abroad for themselves round about the camp. And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord smote the people with a very great plague" (Numbers 11:32-33).

"The wrath of God came upon them, and slew the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen men of Israel" (Psalms 78:31).
On the treatment of those that mock others appearance (the One-eyed Scottish Idiot Rule)

"And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them" (2 Kings 2:23-24).
On engaging in sex during menstruation

"And if a man shall lie with a woman having her sickness, and shall uncover her nakedness; he hath discovered her fountain, and she hath uncovered the fountain of her blood: and both of them shall be cut off from among their people." (Leviticus 20:18).
On the rape of a female virgin

"If a man finds a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days" (Deuteronomy 22:28-29).
Now ask yourself this question. Would the politician making this film be banned from entering the United Kingdom for fear of causing public disorder and outrage amongst the non-fundamentalist Christian majority?

What would be more important? The principle and defence of free speech? Or the belief that everyone has the right not to be offended? You can probably guess what my position is. Now please excuse me whilst I hide behind the pews from the shrapnel that a grenade like this may inevitably cause.

Update: Quick declaration of interest. I am not a Christian. I have however read the Bible, the Koran, and the Bhagavad Gita.

Update II: Have added some more examples to the list just for added point-making purposes.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Labourlist - not so independent?

Today sees the official launch of the Labourlist website - what this means is they remove the word "beta" from it and it pretty much stays the same as it is. As is clear from the website, LabourList likes to bill itself as Labours "biggest independent grassroots e-network". Ask yourself this question though, how independent can it really be?

This morning, Labourlist and Derek Draper hosted another of its breakfasts, titled "New Labour, New Media". The event took place at Labour HQ, it was sponsored by Tangent Labs.

Bloggers’ Breakfast: “New Labour, new media”

Thursday 12th February 2009

Media Centre, 39 Victoria Street, SW1H 0HA

7.45 Coffee, fruit and pastries

8.00 Chair's introduction - Derek Draper

8.05 Welcome - Ray Collins, Labour Party General Secretary

8.10 Introductory remarks from panel: Lord Mandelson, Douglas Alexander MP, Tom Watson MP, Sue Macmillan and Greg Jackson

8.30 – 9.30 Q & A to panel

9.30 Informal networking over coffee

10.00 Ends
Now lets look at ConservativeHome. Has ConHome ever hosted a special breakfast for Tory bloggers at CCHQ? No. Has ConHome ever provided an event with access to Shadow Cabinet members at CCHQ or elsewhere? No. That is because ConHome really is independent of the Conservative Party. LabourList on the other hand uses the party headquarters for its meetings.

Of course, there would be nothing wrong if LabourList avoided trying to make the claim that it is independent. However, the fact that LabourList's website is hosted on the same server as official Labour Party attack sites like "David Cameron's Economic Policy can only lead one to draw certain conclusions.

Their own legal and financial statements make it clear that they know they're skating a thin line as they admit they're discussing their status with the Electoral Commission. They claim to be funded by advertising but there are no adverts on the site. They claim to be funded by sponsorship but there is no evidence of who is sponsoring them. ConHome is funded by Stephan Shakespeare, that is a known and transparent fact.

LabourList may not receive money direct from the coffers of the Labour Party, but lets not forget that the Labour Party itself, along with many of its high profile members, have not exactly been "whiter than white" when it comes to funding transparency and following the rules.

Until LabourList comes clean and clears its own name about how it is funded its independent integrity will always be questionable. Is it any surprise so many in Labour blogosphere are slagging it off?

Did Draper eat all the porkie pies?

I see Derek Draper got rightly stitched up by Guido last night and this morning for having a CV that was less than clear about where he actually went and studied. Derek's defence as well is rather amusing because he's quibbling over the use of "at" and "in" when put with Berkeley as a town version a collage [sic].Here's the thing that I guess Derek doesn't get it, it's all about that little thing called perception again. By omitting to tell people that he went to some Institute rather than UC Berkeley in the way he did he has, as Iain noted, done the classic of "I went to University in Oxford" when he really went to Oxford Poly but is playing on the name for prestige.

It's a bit like me saying that I spent some time at Eton College when I was younger. It's not a lie, I stayed there for three days and took the Kings Scholarship and Assisted Places (scrapped under Labour) exams and didn't get in, but if I didn't tell you that bit you'd never know.

What I remain confused about though is Draper saying he has an M.A in Clinical Psychology. Surely clinical psychology would be an MSc rather than a Master of Arts?

Once a bullshitter always a bullshitter?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

They're so vain! I bet they think this post is about them!

Have just stumbled upon something truly hilarious. The Labour Campiagn Shop has a section which sells photos of its MPs and PPC for either £10 or £20 a time and makes them available for download.

Interestingly, of the Cabinet, Hilary Benn, Ed Miliband, David Miliband, Alan Johnson, John Denham, Jack Straw, Shaun Woodward, Douglas Alexander and Alistair Darling are not available (shame!).


Now, putting aside the rather amusing vanity of the whole thing, the shop states,

You will receive an email with download instructions once payment is cleared. There is a limit of maximum 10 downloads within 7 calendar days after the point of purchase.
Alternatively you could just download one and then copy it lots and lots for as long as you like. Will still cost you at least a tenner though. Heaven knows why they've bothered with such an idiotic restriction.

Death by Urine Injection

The mind boggles at this strange world we live in.

A Bolivian woman has died from an injection of urine allegedly administered by her friend as a form of health therapy, a prosecutor said Tuesday. Investigating prosecutor Oscar Flores told The Associated Press that 35-year-old Gabriela Ascarrunz died Saturday of an "infection caused by urine that was injected by fashion designer Monica Schultz."

Local newspapers reported that Schultz, who is known across Bolivia for her clothing lines, is a practitioner of urine therapy — a form of alternative medicine using human urine for cosmetic purposes or to treat various diseases. Some people rub it on their skin, while others inject or drink it.
AP News

Come fly with me! - part deux

Some more interesting stuff on the air miles covered by the varying Government depatments. HMRC seem to do a hell of lot of domestic flying compared toeveryone else - must be all those management consultants they pay hundreds of millions too I guess.

Graph and Hansard spotting courtesy of Croydonian.

How many zeros?

Am almost lost for words with this little gem

Stephen Timms: During the years 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2007-08, HMRC spent a total of £254,470,000 on consultancy services
That approximately £10 for each individuals data records the incompetent sods lost!

DWP admits to wasting money but still calls it investment?

Now here's a marvellous example of Government wasting money on IT projects and for once, actually admitting to it. In 2004, the Department of Work and Pension embarked on a project called the Benefits Processing Replacement Programme and the contractor for the project was IBM.

In 2006-07 the project was abandoned having cost the taxpayer £143 million. Now here's the amusing thing, according to the DWP Minister, Jonathan Shaw,

Of the total investment in BPRP, £73 million of the £143 million has been of continuing value to the Department. This is detailed in the Jobcentre Plus 2006-07 annual accounts.
In other words, £70 million of the money spent has not been of any continuing value, i.e. almost 50% of the amount spent was completely wasted.

Note also the way the whole sum is called "investment"? This is the classic New Labour redefinition of a word in practice. Investment actually means the use of money or capital in order to gain an appreciative value of some sort.

Here, the DWP is admitting that £70 million of the total spent did not provide any appreciative value, but they're still going to use the word investment to define it anyway.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cheap as chips?

Here's another great website from the Government that just screams big waste of money. It's part of another of the Government's consultation on eco-towns. The site is largely static and simple images and linked with the odd embeddded flash movie and form to provide feedback.


Cost? £76,786. Clearly Reading Room (the designing company) saw them coming.

If that is strong then what is weak?

Last year, the Goevrnment did a competition caleld Show us a Better Way that was driven by the Power of Information Taskforce and wanted ideas for how information could be better presented to the proles. Basically crime maps and that sort of thing. According to Tom Watson, in a written response in Parliament "[t]he Show Us A Better Way competition generated a strong public response, with over 450 entries."

Now, if you please excuse my rampant cynicism, if 450 responses from an electorate in excess of 20 million is considered a "strong" response, I'd hate to know what level of response would have been considered weak. I'm now left wondering what the cost of the website and operating the competition actually was.

Perhaps a kindly MP's research assistent may read this and ask the question. Fingers crossed!

Because he's not worth it!

According to a response by the one-eyed Scottish idiot, his office has spent nothing on haircuts, make-up, hairdressers and make-up artists.

No shit, it shows.

Raplog on Labour List

Via Iain from Raplog.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Google Earth on Google Chrome

Poor!

30 Days to Death - Suicide 2.0?

I am assuming that this is a wind up of some sort. The guy is doing videos and a blog journal for thrity days before he commits suicide. Currently he is on Day 16 and reading the first entry he will be emailing the link to his family and friends right before he does the deed.

Presumably, if this is real, then his family and friends might actually find out about it before he does it.

30daystodeath.com

Update II: Having watched a bit more I have a straneg feeling that this might be some sort of bizarre viral attempt. Can't be sure though and I guess after 30 days no one will know anyway if it is for real. Atleast not initially.

The End is Nigh!

You have to love the gallows humour of people in Weymouth.

Reuters

BBC Top Gear merchandise tested on animals

Via Seven Nation Army

Can perception be more dangerous than reality in politics?

I think it's fair to say that in light of the latest expenses scandal surrounding the Home Secretary, along with the ongoing issues around "Lords for Hire", the real problem that politicians face these days is as much about perception as it is about actual action. If you can be perceived to be conflicted in some way, that can, after all, be just as damaging as actually being guilty of acting in an inappropriate and unparliamentary way.

Take for example, David Lammy MP, the Minister of State for Higher Education and Intellectual Property. Part of his work remit involves responsibility for "developing and implementing through the Intellectual Property Office an intellectual property system that promotes creativity and innovation in the UK". At the same time, Lammy also registers with the Commons authorities that he receives financial "support towards the cost of employing a social policy research assistant" from Lord Alli and Lord Hollick.

Now, according to Register of Lords Interests, Lord Alli, amongst many other renumerated directorships, is a paid Director of Chorian Ltd, which "through its subsidiaries, engages in the ownership, development, and management of intellectual property brands." Meanwhile, the Register notes that Lord Hollick is a Director of Honeywell International Inc which amongst the many things it does has an international intellectual property arm.

Now, I'm not making any suggestion that any rules have been broken by either David Lammy, Lord Ali or Lord Hollicks, but in these matters, as I said above, perception can often be just as important as reality for the contemporary politician. It's a bit of tightrope to be sure.

Snip snip?

I accept fully that this is a rather puerile post to be doing, but I just couldn't resist. You see, I've just discovered that the Labour MP for Brighton, Kempton, Desmond Turner has registered a freebie in the Register of Members Interests.

Apparently he received a free medical examination from a company called Preventicum - yes they really are called that. A quick search on their website suggests they don't however do vasectomy procedures. Did Mr Turner have a lucky escape?
Note: No picture with this post to protect the innocent.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Draper the Toff? No! Never!

I see that Derek Draper has been banging on all weekend about how Iain Dale is a vicious racist because of the whole Thatcher Golliwog saga, which, when you look at it rationally, and with a non-partisan hat, really comes down to little more than generational and contextual use of linguistic formula - much like most of these little scandals that the Labour elite like to use to play up and make out that if you're right wing you are by definition a jackboot wearing Nazi in the closet.

On a different note, Derek Draper has also decided to actually start Twittering properly and posted something the other day at 4.42am that really did make me chuckle at the hypocritical Northern monkey. Putting aside the fact that the post was done in the wee small hours - presumably his new kid is keeping him up or he's jerking off to Internet porn - he chose to post the following,

# we are not toffs. we are NOT toffs. WE ARE NOT TOFFS!!!
http://tinyurl.com/dg5tnu
4:42 AM Feb 6th from web.
If you follow the link you will see the results of a Google image search which shows Tories at their Black and White ball, most of them not wearing ties and wearing suits, with lots of ladies looking glamorous, as you'd expect at one of these bashes. Of course, for Draper, because they are Tories they must be toffs right?


Then I noticed a Twitter update from Phil Donohue is reply which linked to this this picture of Draper (presumably with his wife (I'm not into GMTV it's shit so wouldn't be able to recognise her even if I tried)), wearing a black tie on a red carpet and generally looking like a posh git himself. Does that make him a Toff? Well if you follow Draper's logic it does I guess.

On the other hand, what it really illustrates is how pathetically out of touch and hypocritical the northern monkey actually is. The common man after all goes to so many red carpet bashes right? Mind you they're normally on the other side of the barrier to protect the likes of Draper from their inherent diseases - they are just proles after all.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Republican official send out dodgy email joke

A GOP official in Tampa Bay, Florida appears to have got herself into a bit of hot water after sending out an email that said,

I'm confused

How can 2,000,000 blacks get into Washington, DC in 1 day in sub zero temps when 200,000 couldn't get out of New Orleans in 85 degree temps with four days notice?
Whoops!

Adobe is watching you?

Either this is, ironically, a photoshopping of Photoshop, or Adobe Photoshop has some very clever and cool recognition technology built in.

BBC Weather be damned!

I've just been looking at the weather report and maps from the BBC for where I live. Apparently it's been raining this morning and is stil raining. No it is isn't!

Waiting to cross a humpback bridge which I gave up on in the end because I got bored


This road was clear two hours before this picture was taken

I guess it will stop eventually.


 

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