16-31 August, 2004

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Monday, August 16th, 2004
at
11:09 am and is filed
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Date
20040816
In The News
Time
11:09
Barring general fuck-ups, the rule is as follows:

If you have a well-kept secret, it won’t hit the news unless someone in your inner circle breaks rank.

If you have an ‘open secret’ that’s pretty much common knowledge, it won’t hit the news unless a newspaper journalist/editor/owner breaks rank.

So the Blunkett Has Affair With Married Woman story is a very curious beastie indeed.

My first thought when the news hit BBC radio on Saturday afternoon (but wasn’t repeated for the rest of the day, mind) was that Blunkett had finally gone too far for someone’s taste and the knives were out.

The next day, the only newspaper to give it serious coverage was the Murdoch newspaper (curiouser and curiouser) News of the World.

News Of The World – They’re both madly in love: Cabinet Minister David Blunkett and his secret married lover met on Wednesday of this week as their three-year affair reached crisis point. Since they were introduced in 2001, the woman —who is in her 40s and has one child—has been the great, passionate love of his life. They meet discreetly in London and, during his rare breaks from a huge workload as Home Secretary, have found time for romantic getaways at his Derbyshire cottage. But she has a family to care for and divorced Mr Blunkett, who famously reads his papers in Braille after he was born blind, is committed to long hours at his job.

And so it goes on. Apart from one or two rather detached references to the as-yet-unnamed husband, the story focuses almost entirely on a true love that will not be denied. There are further references to how hard Mr Blunkett works, the couple’s “huge reservoir of love and affection,” how Mr Blunkett “has fought adversity all his life” and the huge challenges the couple have had to face especially when you consider how hard Mr Blunkett works.

An associated editorial entitled ‘A very human face of power’ assures us that “the Home Secretary’s love affair with a married woman cannot be condoned – but neither is it a matter for resignation.” It goes on to describe David Blunkett as a “human and vulnerable figure.”

Were the story ‘in the open’ and covered by every other newspaper, you could easily classify this beyond-soft coverage as damage control – but there was barely a mention in any other newspaper. Yesterday or today.

So was this a spectacular own-goal… or something else?

Most of today’s coverage reports on the NOTW report and throws in reactions from Blunkett and Blair. We’ll take a look at those in a moment. First of all, you may want to take a quick peak at the only (minor) expansion of the story outside of the Murdoch group, which appears to be suggesting that this was very close to an ‘open secret,’ and/or that the “human and vulnerable” Blunkett is actually about to have a serious breakdown…

The Mirror – Blunkett’s Secret Love: Friends believe the strain on the Home Secretary over his three-year relationship with a married mother in her 40s is beginning to tell. Mr Blunkett’s “irritable and tetchy” moods have alarmed party colleagues for nearly two years. They talk of him “hitting the roof” at the slightest problem. And they worry that he is not recovering properly from a serious operation 20 months ago. One said: “It would make sense that he was also struggling to cope with a very intense but problematic relationship at the same time. “Goodness knows, that is difficult enough for the ordinary man or woman in the street but if you are a public figure and you are trying to keep things private it must impose the most awful strain.”

This article closes (after many a statement from unnamed friends) with a quote from Mr Blunkett that says: “Anyone purporting to speak about my private life does so without knowledge or authority.”

You can read more of that statement here, but you certainly won’t read that snippet about people speaking about this private life “without knowledge or authority” in today’s Scum (scroll down to the bottom of the article linked below and note what parts of this statement they do and don’t use just before we move on).

The Sun – I told him I was tall and blonde: One insider said: “The future of the relationship is unresolved. They are torn. It’s a far from perfect situation but there’s a deep love. They’re finding it terribly hard to deal with. Neither of them knows what the future will hold. It’s actually a very, very sad situation for all concerned. The relationship isn’t going any further forward — but neither is it over. Like any affair it’s an extremely complicated situation. Other people’s lives are affected”…. Another source said: “The meetings have always been at his place, normally in London and very occasionally, Derbyshire. He has one of the busiest diaries in Government but when time allows there are romantic moments. None of this rests easily with David. He has a deep conscience. But this is no casual fling. He’s totally in love with her.”

There it is again…

A deep and profound love. Two people, struggling against hardship. One of them a hard-working civil servant (and, just in case you’re in any doubt, Blunkett’s picture caption mixes his hardships and his hardworkliness; “Dedicated … hard-working Home Secretary Mr Blunkett with guide dog Sadie”). The only difference is that this time the husband is not mentioned at all.

This story is coming from the Murdoch group, but it’s more than soft. In fact, it’s beyond fawning.

At this stage, you may wish to cast your mind back a week or so and consider these thoughts on painted pictures.

While we’re in the past, let’s also consider that last week was a very bad one for Blunkett, what with us finding out that evidence obtained under torture is admissible in our courts and Blunkett’s none-too-popular proposals that including making every offence and arrestable one.

And, if you search for news relating to Mr Blunkett in a real newspaper today, you’ll find (still) no mention of the affair, but heavy focus on the following…

UK ‘sleepwalking into Stasi state’

BBC – Watchdog attacks ID card scheme

But both of these originate from a story in The Times – yet another Murdoch newspaper.

Times – Beware rise of Big Brother state, warns data watchdog

If your head is starting to hurt, soothe it with the knowledge that the report would be public knowledge anyway, but for reasons that have yet to become clear, this dog chose to drop the stick in front of The Times first.

But the affair… ah, yes, the tragic tale of true love beset by hardship… was this also about to come out? Had someone threatened to blow the whistle?

Perhaps the as-yet-to-be-mentioned-beyond-the-abstract husband was foolish enough to signal his intentions. We shall see.

However, unless something like this turns up, we’re left with a rather uncomfortable possibility… that this is some kind of bizarre self-outing. A David Mellor moment – but instead of a family portrait by the gate, David Blunkett and his mistress are the photo opportunity. And the purpose of it all is to convince us that David Blunkett is human.

UPDATE – Pondlife – How blind is love? Oh, and did you notice that I got through all of the above without a single cheap shot about privacy issues…? No, I didn’t think so. All that effort and nobody cares… mutter, grumble… Oh well. Speaking of cheap shots….

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Date
20040816
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
11:30
Inside Al-Qaeda’s Hard Drive! Sorry, no porn.

We The Media – O’Reilly’s blog begins to take shape.

Electoral Vote Predictor 2004: Kerry 327 Bush 211 – hope springs eternal.

John Perry Barlow 2.0 – The Thomas Jefferson of cyberspace reinvents his body — and his politics: We have to re-engage in the political process we have. Democracy actually works. You could make the argument that it’s working too well in America — people are really getting exactly the government that they want. That is to say, the people who bother to engage themselves in the really tedious work of being a political activist — having meetings in church basements and putting signs on people’s lawns. I have grave misgivings about John Kerry, but I certainly don’t have misgivings about Kerry that equal the terror I have about another four years of Bush. What he’s done to aspects of the Constitution that are there to assure individual rights is breathtakingly bad.

I wouldn’t describe them as grave, but I also have some misgivings about Kerry. A fair amount of indifference sometimes, too. In fact, his value to me can be summed up in one simple picture.

Call it simplistic if you like, but I prefer mild concern to abject horror.

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Date
20040816
Inneresting
Time
11:54
I just checked out the claim by The Scum that; “Kimberly (Fortier) sat next to Mr Blunkett… at a Buckingham Palace state banquet for President Bush in November 2003.”

A look at the seating plan for the banquet not only confirms this… it also shows that Charles Kennedy was seated directly opposite Karl Rove of all people.

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Date
20040816
Activism
Time
12:04
Guardian/Observer – New York ready to unleash fury on Republicans : (Anti-Republican protestors) run a ‘snitch line’ where people involved in the convention can leak details of events and where delegates have been staying. The protesters are widely believed to have infiltrated several people into working at the convention who will smuggle information out. Moran’s plan is to send out teams of activists to disrupt as many events as possible.

Heh. Ring any bells?

UPDATE – The site mentioned in this article can be found at rncnotwelcome.org – good luck to everybody dodging the Permit Police.

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Date
20040816
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
12:12
1 – The background thing I was working on? Didn’t work out. I’ll give more details (but not too many) later.

2 – Please welcome the proxy-blog for Gordon Brown!

3 – The next Tory target for the ‘free MT weblog with the works’ offer is going to be… Boris Johnson. I need to dig through some scraps of info that have already been coming in about this later today. Fun should begin tomorrow. Cheers all.

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Date
20040816
Photoshopping
Time
17:09
“Romeo, Romeo! Oh, wherefore art thou Romeo?”

(Couldn’t be helped. Posted to B3ta.)

Also, some cutting satire for you and a short-but-sweet news update…

PA News – ‘Blunkett Affair’ Woman Appeals to Media (I bet she does, I bet she *does*): In a brief statement, issued through her solicitors, she warned that she “will not hesitate to take action in respect of intrusive media coverage of her private life”.

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Date
20040816
The War on Stupid
Time
17:48
Michael Howard evicted from Tory House of Turmoil! (This includes what may very well be the best political photoshop ever.)

It’s rather convenient, then, that the far superior and more enlightened version of Tories in Turmoil offers you a chance to pick his replacement. (Actually, it’s nothing to do with covenience. Or coincidence. It’s just genius at work, is all.)

Go visit (and pretend that your vote actually counts for something).

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Date
20040817
In The News
Time
08:06
Telegraph – Blunkett ‘affair’ woman threatens to take legal action: The woman who is alleged to be having an affair with David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, threatened yesterday to take legal action against newspapers which intruded into her privacy.

Yes, well… best of luck with all of that…

From Bloggerheads Mon, August 16, 2004: But the affair… ah, yes, the tragic tale of true love beset by hardship… was this also about to come out? Had someone threatened to blow the whistle? Perhaps the as-yet-to-be-mentioned-beyond-the-abstract husband was foolish enough to signal his intentions. We shall see. However, unless something like this turns up, we’re left with a rather uncomfortable possibility… that this is some kind of bizarre self-outing. A David Mellor moment – but instead of a family portrait by the gate, David Blunkett and his mistress are the photo opportunity. And the purpose of it all is to convince us that David Blunkett is human.

Hmm, this’d probably do it….



The Sun – Blunkett lover in baby turmoil: David Blunkett’s secret lover is five months pregnant, according to friends. Married Kimberly Fortier, 43, has been telling pals for weeks about the unplanned baby. American Kimberly is due to give birth at the end of the year. Friends say she is now in an “emotional state”. It is not known whether she will stay with husband Stephen Quinn, 60, or devote herself to the 57-year-old Home Secretary.

Assuming it’s all true, of course.

Let’s play Spot The Denial: Last night a Downing Street spokeswoman refused to discuss news of the pregnancy. She insisted: “This is a private matter. We have nothing to add.” But it was reported that Mr Blunkett would “stand by” Kimberly. He has told aides he feels confused after his secret relationship has become public.

Nope, can’t see a denial in there – but that last bit is amusing. Perhaps the confusion stems from a formerly-held conviction that they controlled Murdoch and not the other way around. Perhaps not. A look at the Sun’s editorial today takes us to interesting places. Just give me mo and we’ll return to that. After this…

Yesterday The Mirror parroted most of the Sun/NOTW material, but didn’t have anything new to add apart from this hard-hitting investigation into Blunkett’s first kiss. Today, they appear to be credited with the pregnancy revelation. This is backed by Sky, but the online chappies are a bit slack with the updates. I’ll bring you the link when she goes live.

UPDATE – Yup, here it is. Times two…

Mirror – Blunkett’s Lover Pregnant: Mr Blunkett suspects news of the affair was leaked by an enemy within the Labour party. He is said to be “bewildered” as to how it got out.

If it was leaked by an enemy, how come everybody who has been talking to the newspapers is described as a ‘friend’…? Oh well, no matter. Let’s hear from some more of them and hope some sense will come of it…

Mirror – Home Secretary’s Agony: I Will Stand By Her: Home Secretary David Blunkett will put his career on the line to stay with pregnant lover Kimberly Fortier, friends said last night. The 57-year-old pledged to stand by the American, despite the damage an affair with a married woman could have on his political future. One source said: “He’s so deeply in love that he wants nothing to come between him and Kimberly, even a child.”

And so on and so forth, until we get to this wonderful passage: He has always had a reputation in Whitehall as a workaholic but one insider said: “It is as if he feels there is not much time left in his job and he is rushing to get everything done. It’s very hyper.”

There you go, folks – that’s it in a nutshell. Blunkett has been working to crush civil liberties with all speed so he can get the nursery done in time. Or something.

Back to that Sun editorial, because what really piqued my interest in the Sun/NOTW reportage was how heavily they laid on the ‘hardworking yet vulnerable human being who has struggled through adversity’ muck, especially considering all the inhuman and inhumane stuff Blunkett has been tolerating, proposing and accepting lately.

(Yes folks, we’re straying away from gossip and towards actual news!)

Scotsman – Increase in state databases ‘a threat to civil liberties’: Hazel Blears, a Home Office minister, who yesterday revealed plans for the systematic tracking of the children of criminals in England and Wales, rejected criticism of the government’s approach. “What we are trying to do is put in place some very practical measures to make sure that we have got identity cards so that people are using the right identity. “We know that there are some pretty serious and organised criminals out there who use false identities to traffic people, to launder money, to do drug smuggling,” she said on Sky News.

Take a look at the government line and which broadcaster is helping to feed it to the public. Then take a look at today’s editorial in The Sun (quoted in full below):

The age of the real Big Brother (NOT the TV series) is arriving later than George Orwell envisaged. But there is no stopping it now. In his novel 1984 Orwell predicted an all-powerful snooper state which knew everything about everyone. Soon a mass of cross-checking databases and ID cards will give the Government and big business details about us all. But it is not all bad news. The tax-dodgers will be exposed. The money launderers nailed. Uninsured drivers tracked down. And illegal immigrants exposed. The advance of information technology cannot be turned back. But we’re still an open democracy. And it is up to all of us to make sure we watch the snoopers … just like they are watching us. You can be sure The Sun will be on guard.

NOT the TV series. Glad they cleared that up before telling me I had nothing to fear. Otherwise I may have ended up not-fearing Endemol or something.

Anyway, it’s all being done for a jolly good reason. Page 3 girl Melanie (22, from Watford) even pre-empted this assurance by saying yesterday that she wanted the government to get tough on benefits cheats. She said: “I am staggered how they are ripping off the country. The government should come down very hard on anyone making fraudulent claims.”

So, what are we left after all of that?

Blunkett – Going through some difficulty, but he’s a jolly good chap who struggles through adversity. He’s also hard-working and vulnerable. But virile, byt the looks of things. Did we wention that he had struggled through adversity?

ID cards and Information Databases – Bit scary, but needed to target dole-cheating scum. Besides, that nice Mr Blunkett is in charge. It’s a tough job, but if anyone can struggle through adversity…

The Sun – There to protect us should the government ever step out of line. As it has always done in the past.

UPDATE – Anthony Wells digs up two early media references to Blunkett and Fortier.

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Date
20040817
The End of Democracy
Time
08:12
Washington Post – Chavez Defeats Recall Attempt: Leaders of the coalition against Chavez, who has governed the country since 1999, summoned followers to the streets to protest what they said was vote fraud. But former president Jimmy Carter and a team of international monitors said the voting appeared fair and accurate.

LNR – Pity Venezuela: if Chavez had to pick a private company, why was it SmartMatic?: Any politician worth their salt now knows it’s probably worth a punt to say that an electronic election went wrong somehow. And when they do, we need an answer. This won’t come if you use private companies, whose technology will be a commercial secret. It’s especially iffy when the company is a donor to one or more political parties, as we’ve seen in America.

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Date
20040817
Weblog Marketing
Time
08:17
This all seems desperately familiar….

New York Times – Warner’s Tryst With Bloggers Hits Sour Note: But as is sometimes the case when marketers try to insinuate themselves into online communities, the company’s approach did not go as planned. Warner – which was part of the Time Warner media empire until February, when it was sold to a group of investors led by Edgar Bronfman Jr. – ran into a culture clash with the small world of MP3 blogs, annoying some of the very people it wanted to win over, especially after one or more people at Warner apparently posted anonymous messages to make it appear that ordinary music fans were defending the label.

Be honest. Be transparent. Have something to offer. Or don’t bother. It really is as simple as that.

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Date
20040817
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
08:23
Top link today is this ‘next blog’ link – a new web-ring-thingie feature from Blogger that has link-magically also given participants a rare (if randomised) shot at the top spot on Blogdex.

Then it’s Kerry-probing, Conservative-bashing, more Kerry-probing… Ah, here we go – this is almost enough to make me care about sport…

1 – Free tickets on offer to stop near-empty stadiums being shown on television

2 – Great big gobs of greasy grimy gopher’s guts

Also, there’s the Moonie Times refusing to give up on those WMDs and yet more good nes on the democracy front…

New York Times – Suppress the Vote?: State police officers have gone into the homes of elderly black voters in Orlando and interrogated them as part of an odd “investigation” that has frightened many voters, intimidated elderly volunteers and thrown a chill over efforts to get out the black vote in November.

Investigating voter fraud in order to commit electoral fraud? Only Bush would be so bold. (Or am I thinking of Darth Vader…?)

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Date
20040817
The War on Stupid
Time
08:51
Pandagon – Annie’s Got A Gun: Annie Jacobsen, discredited paranoid and the white woman who actually made herself seem like more of a terrorist than the 14 Arabic men she says were acting suspiciously, is back, desperately trying to prove her point. She interviews Billie Jo Rodriguez, apparently also a passenger on the flight, and the results are hilarious.

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Date
20040817
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s…. oh FFS…
Time
08:53
Independent – Blair faces Labour conference walkout over invitation to Iraqi Prime Minister: Tony Blair was warned by a member of Labour’s ruling national executive he would face a walkout protest if he goes ahead with plans to invite Iyad Allawi, the leader of the interim Iraqi government, to the Labour Party conference.

Meanwhile…

Independent – Najaf, city of defiance

Back to Iraq 3.0 – A Chat with Iyad Allawi

Oh, and Bush is finally bringing some troops home… from Europe and Asia. Ah, what’s the diff? Troops is troops.

Did anybody else watch this election/policy speech? He damn near took credit for winning WWII, the Korean War, and the Cold War.

He also kept the Iraq/terror/911 link/lie ticking over: “Before September the 11th, the ruler of Iraq was a sworn enemy of America. He was defying the world, firing weapons at American pilots who were enforcing the world’s sanctions. He had pursued and he had used weapons of mass destruction. He had harbored terrorists; he invaded his neighbors; and he subsidized the families of suicide bombers. He murdered tens of thousands of his own citizens. He was a source of great instability in the world’s most volatile region. He was a threat.”

But what was most interesting was what he said just before this…

“Today, because America and our allies have sent a strong and easy to understand message — (laughter) — the leader of Libya has abandoned his pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, and America and the world are safer.” – George W. Bush, August 16, 2004

Gadaffi spies gave ‘terror cash’ out in Britain *during* peace talks with Blair – Guardian, August 15, 2004

State Department retracts terrorism assertion – Corrected report to show ‘sharp increase’ – CNN, June 10, 2004

I know, I know – he doesn’t read the papers. Still, you’d think his scriptwriter would pick up a clue or two…

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Date
20040817
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
09:52
OK, same deal as before. There’s a full MT weblog up for grabs (with free installation, design and consultation) if the right Tory MP chooses to reach out and grab it. This week’s target is Boris Johnson – but we’re going to try a slightly different tack with Boris, for a number of reasons:

A – Boris is a busy man

B – Boris has been known to get flustered when put on the spot

C – Boris is also caught up in this whole Blunkett/Fortier affair

So dropping a bunch of ‘hassle’ emails on the man is unlikely to do any good. Especially this week. We also have to consider the rather short reply from his staff, received by Shane McCracken following this email, which was sent to all the MPs who had proxy blogs in early August…

I am sure you are aware of the weblog that has been set up for you at the address below:

http://www.wibbler.com/boriswatch/

I have a strong interest in democracy and in particular e-Democracy and I was very interested to know your views on the site and what if any plans you had regarding it. I was hoping you could answer the following questions that have also been put to the other seven MPs who similarly have “proxy” weblogs.

1. Were you aware of the site before this email?

2. Were you aware of the concept of weblogs or blogs before the site had been set up for you?

3. Do you have any immediate plans (within the next 3 months) to set up your own weblog?

4. Would you consider asking the author to close down the site?

5. Do you feel the benefits of the weblog (transparency of your policies, feedback from constituents, unmediated communication) would make it worthwhile your time writing one (15 minutes per day on average)?

I hope you can help on this short informal piece of research.

And here’s the reply…

We are setting up our own site for Boris

Melissa Crawshay-Williams

Boris Johnson’s Office

So, here’s what I’d like you to do…

(SNIP)

UPDATE – Stand down! Stand down! I’ve been in touch about this and Melissa is keen. Boris is (reportedly) keen. Hosting issues are being discussed. This looks very, very promising….

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Date
20040817
Useful
Time
11:06
Gray’s Anatomy – browsable by thumbnail. If you want to save time, most of the rude pictures are here.

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Date
20040817
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
15:17
Cheers to Anthony for yet another dynamite heads-up today…

Take a look at the poll they’ve got running on the front page of Conservatives.com:

Poll: What would you most like to see from conservatives.com in the future?

- more local news

- new video content

- extra news from Parliament

- blogging

- more campaign support

We’re finally getting through. Now they (almost) know that they want it. But do they know what it is?

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Date
20040818
In The News
Time
09:42
Finally, someone spares a thought for the husband! According to The Sun he was delighted to discover his partner had become pregnant. But somehow they neglected to put the emphasis on was

The Sun – Blunkett rival ‘over moon’: The husband of David Blunkett’s lover told friends of his delight when he found she was pregnant, it emerged last night. The Sun revealed how American Kimberly Fortier, 43, has been having a three-year affair with the Home Secretary. But news she is five months pregnant has thrown their relationship into turmoil. Her husband Stephen Quinn, 60, spoke to pals about the baby before the affair became publicly known. A former colleague of Mr Quinn said: “Stephen told lots of people that Kimberly was expecting another baby and he was naturally thrilled. He was over the moon that she managed to get pregnant again.”

What I love about this – what really, really pumps my nads – is that this story is (supposedly) about the husband, but The Sun seems more concerned with the effect the baby is going to have on the relationship between Ms Fortier and our beloved Home Secretary. They don’t even speculate on what the husband’s (ahem) revised opinion might be.

Speaking of opinions, let’s take a quick detour through some thoughts from the now-emerging columnists…

Sympathy vote for ‘so-in-love’ Blunkett on adultery policy – where the writer in confused about a general lack of frothing at the mouth from the champions of family values. Oh, and a final thought is spared for the husband and child.

Double standards? – where the ‘If he were a Tory…’ point is raised and it is pointed out that; “if someone proves themselves to be incapable of resistance and capable of deceiving some poor husband for three years, it does show something about their character.”

And now, back to the meat…

So far, it’s all sources, pals, friends, close aides and insiders. The only statements we can put a name to have come from Kimberley Fortier and David Blunkett. It’s Mr Blunkett’s that I want to take a closer look a right now, because it make a clear reference to all of those pals, friends, close aides and insiders:

“Anyone purporting to speak about my private life does so without knowledge or authority.” – David Blunkett (from a statement released on Sunday).

But the story was broken – in the most forgiving and fawning way possible – by News of The World, a known ally of (and unofficial distributor of information for) Downing St. This established a very forgiving tone that has held quite well to date.

Theory One – The small matter of pregnancy made this long-standing affair impossible to hide, so the story is being deliberately leaked and managed by David Blunkett, and/or with his full knowledge and authority. So if we return to his quote with this in mind, it has a certain smack of denial about it….

“Anyone purporting to speak about my private life does so without knowledge or authority”….. really. For True.

And now, a quick word from someone purporting to speak about his professional life…

“( A source/friend said that) Mr Blunkett suspects news of the affair was leaked by an enemy within the Labour party. He is said to be “bewildered” as to how it got out.” – Mirror, Aug 17

Please pardon me for treading over old ground again. I am going somewhere with this. In fact, this time I’ve added some extra italics to help you along…

But the story was broken – in the most forgiving and fawning way possible – by News of The World, a known ally of (and unofficial distributor of information for) Downing St

Theory Two – The small matter of pregnancy made this long-standing affair impossible to hide, so the story is being deliberately leaked and managed by Downing Street, without David Blunkett’s full knowledge and authority.

Perhaps it’s even a little bit of One and Two (i.e. Blunkett is reluctantly being compelled by Downing St to run with the spin – as opposed to thinking with his penis).

The only other explanation that remains at this stage is that the editor of News of the World and/or Rupert Murdoch decided that the scoop was too good to ignore, but they should go really, really easy on poor old Mr Blunkett, who only committed the sin of following his heart. And destroying a marriage. And compromising his integrity. And allowing his personal life to interfere with his work.

UPDATE – Then again, perhaps this is why most media-peeps are going so easy on Mr Blunkett… but Vijay Dutt is in for a surprise if he thinks this latest affair has involved anything close to typical tabloid behaviour.

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Date
20040818
Normal People
Time
09:48
Meet the people of Malmesbury. I trekked as far as Belinda Sherwood & the Sherston Girls, but went no further. Perhaps your courage will be greater.

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Date
20040818
Flash Games
Time
09:53
Simple things please even those of us who are out of our tiny minds. (Link via FunJUnkie.)

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Date
20040818
Diversions
Time
09:55
Tiscali takes a look at some odd and unusual road signs.

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Date
20040818
The Grand & Dirty Game
Time
09:57
Some Hartlepool links for you:

- Tories seem to give up without a fight in Mandelson by-election

- Swivel-Eyed Loon Update

- A special ‘focus on’ page from The Guardian

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Date
20040818
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:03
Hmmm, there seems to be a fair degree of self-interest today… and a modicum of self-abuse.

Bruce Sterling – When Blobjects Rule the Earth – the future is already here, it’s just not everywhere… yet.

Wired – ‘Internet’ loses its capitalised status – sadly, this isn’t because we’ve managed to chase off the capitalists.

Washington Post – Blog Interrupted: When Jessica Cutler put her dirty secrets on the Web, she lost her job, signed a book deal, posed for Playboy — and raised a ton of questions about where America is headed.

And finally (as they say), we bring you the good news that a little porn is good for you.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040818
The Bush Administration
Time
10:11
Dick Cheney and the falsified flip-flop: Last week, the dissembling veep kept telling voters that Kerry recommended “sensitivity” toward terrorists. Everyone knows that this claim is pure bunk, but pundits hid beneath their desks, too afraid to challenge Cheney’s fake statement. Result? By Saturday, the veep was playing the rubes extra hard….

This comes to us via Atrios, as does this wonderful linkage about the Bush doctrine at work and news of a little girl who had her first Communion declared invalid, because she has a rare digestive disorder and so requested a wheat-free wafer. And by that, I mean one that wouldn’t kill her (or test her faith, depending on how you look at it).

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040818
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
10:27
Boris news will head you way as soon as it comes in. Please chill. Meantime…

Rob reports on his meeting with Sarah Teather: On Monday afternoon I met with Sarah Teather in her constituency office on Willesden Lane. We spoke about a number of things: blogging (needless to say), engaging with constituents, getting voice for unreported activities, technology as a barrier (for BELD!) and as an enabler (for local people) and also a little project I’ve been working on.

Rob regrets to inform us that the ‘MPs and Blogs’ presentation didn’t get an airing, because Sarah appears to have already made up her mind about weblogs. A shame, really. To be so young and so set in your ways…

Anyway, Rob also brings us a graph showing whose got the most influence online. The high placement of Instapundit surprises me not at all, but it’s heartening to see the filthy liberal propagandists dominating the top ten.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040818
119 (please note correct formatting of date)
Time
10:40
Via BykerSink comes today’s must-read…

The Coincidence Theorist’s Guide to 9/11

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Date
20040818
Compare and Contrast
Time
11:09
Not that Tony Hawks. This Tony only displays dexterity of the mind.

Not that PETA. In fact, they sell knives.

Not Prince William. At all.

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Date
20040818
Normal People
Time
11:15
Eep!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040818
The War on Terror
Time
11:20
Bombs Found on Blair Island: Two explosive devices were found in Porto Rotondo on the Sardinian coast today, just hours after Tony Blair ended a visit to the nearby villa of his Italian counterpart Silvio Berlusconi, news reports said.

Please note that the caller who allegedly provided the tip-off claimed to be from “Proletarian Combatant Groups,” but The Sun ignores this bit, and instead takes this same, short PA release and manages to squeeze in a link to Al Qaeda.

Oh, and am I the only one who hears ‘Blair Island’ and immediately thinks of a hollowed-out volcano?

UPDATE – More details from The Guardian, who describe the town of Porto Rotondo as being “1km from Mr Berlusconi’s Villa Certosa.”

Do correct me if I’m wrong, but I was under the impression that the nearest town to the villa was Porto Cervo – which would place it at least 30km away by road from Porto Rotondo and perhaps 20km by boat. Not that I would split hairs when our Dear Leader’s life is clearly at stake.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040818
Consume!
Time
13:44
Cafe for cats opens in New York’s Fifth Avenue. It’s summer, so this story should be in your chosen newspaper tomorrow (complete with a pun-tastic headline).

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040818
Established Media
Time
15:15
I should have known that Sue Carroll wouldn’t be able to keep her big mouth shut about this Blunkett business (here’s a direct link to the relevant entry for the benefit of the archives).

Please keep in mind that this thoughtful and insightful piece closes with the following: “* I DO feel the newspaper headline I spotted at the weekend – David Blunkett has been seeing married woman for three years – could have been worded better.”

1 – The only article on this subject that was published this weekend was in Sunday’s News of the World. I have a copy right here. Until next Sunday, you’ll be able to check out the online version for yourself. This phrase does not appear anywhere in Sunday’s edition. So there’s no way she could have spotted this ‘at the weekend’ – or at any other time…

2 – Because this ‘poorly worded’ phrase did not appear in any of Monday’s or Tuesday’s or today’s newspapers, either.

3 – In fact, according to Google, the only place it appears anywhere on the web, in Usenet or in the news, is in her own damn column!

In fact, I think we can be pretty sure that Sue Carroll made this up in order to get away with a joke that’s in poor taste without compromising her sanctimonious demeanour. And I’m calling her on it…

To: s DOT carroll AT mirror DOT co DOT uk

From: manic AT bloggerheads DOT com

Subject: Seeing is believing

Dear Sue,

I have been following and documenting media interest in the Blunkett/Fortier affair since the story first broke, but must admit to being confused about the following from your most recent column:

“* I DO feel the newspaper headline I spotted at the weekend – David Blunkett has been seeing married woman for three years – could have been worded better.”

As far as I can recall, the only newspaper to run with this story ‘at the weekend’ was News of the World – and my copy does not carry the headline you mention. Perhaps you have a slightly different copy. Could you perhaps provide me with a scan of the headline you mention and the page it appeared on? I would hate to think that my scrapbook was in any way incomplete.

Regards,

Tim Ireland

www.bloggerheads.com

UPDATE – Anthony sure is making himself useful lately. He just informed me that this headline did appear over the weekend. It was on page 10 of Sunday’s…. Mirror.

It doesn’t appear in the online version of the article, but it does still appear on the front page of that sister-paper’s website.

Happily, no follow-up email is required. All we have to do with sit back and wait to see if Sue points this out. Then perhaps we can ask why she didn’t mention the source in the first place.

UPDATE 2 – Happily II, the Mirror is not alone in gaffeland. In this Daily Mail article, David Blunkett gains sight and loses his voice.

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Date
20040818
Photoshopping
Time
17:16
Oh dear!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040819
Tony Blair’s Email
Time
09:16
For those who came in late: Have a quick peek at this and be advised that Pete Broderick has been emailing and/or CC’ing ‘Tony Blair’ for well over two years now. There are times when I suspect (or, to be honest, hope) that this is all some kind of grand and glorious joke – but chances are these messages are genuine and sincere.

Today, Pete reveals the secret behind Moktada al Sadr’s rise to power…

From: Pete Broderick

To: vice-president@whitehouse.gov, tony-blair@prime-ministerco.uk, president@kremlin.ru, president@whitehouse.gov, marrena.marren@fco.gov.uk, kay.sweet@fco.gov.uk, inquiries@un.org, gerhard.schroeder@bundestag.de, ctc@un.org, clu@fco.gov.uk

Subject: Moktada al-Sadr

Date: Fri, 13 Aug 2004 09:58:01 +0100 (BST)

Hi,

In the first instance, it seems that the young islamic cleric using the name Moktada al Sadr, is in fact a Scientologist, not just any Scientologist, but a senior figure in the HCO Protocol, the Security wing, Colin wayne Jones (born U.k. d.o.b. January fourth 1970). He was responsible for the murder of a pensioner Rosella Middleton, in Birchfield Tower, Birchfield Road, Birmingham, in 1994. He confessed it to me, in 1998. I reported it to Ladywood Police Station in 1998, both through crimestoppers 0800 number. This was while Edward Crew, was Chief Constable, Crew of course was one of the most corrupt Chief Constables the U.K. has ever known, due to his obsession with Verwood, of S.A. A Mentally ill IC3 was framed for the murder by the tail end of 1999. I presume this was soon after Jones came in contact with him, at HMP Birmingham, possibly under an a.k.a.

The conviction came “surprisingly” quick, after I approached the Police in comparison to when the crime was committed.

This of course also prevented, myself receiving the financial reward, of five thousand pounds.

In addition, Paul VI, is still alive, he is in fact JORGE ILES, of [address censored by Manic] B’HAM

He faked his death in 1978, due to his pontifical reign covering the opening of the terrorism that erupted globally, in the knowledge that the both sides of the Cold War, did not originate the Drug Wars, only the corrupt elements Crux Orientalis had running through the three superpowers, and their allies. It is vital for C/O to have him in B’ham, as B’ham is the seat of the existentialist council, they regularly used the underground offices of the local authority, that were used by Churchill, etc during WWII, thatis the main reason that 8 Ethel St, the Scientology base, and Italian Consulate named the Building they are in Winston Churchill House.

Where PIP, is Patrick Fitzpatrick – d.o.b. 18.3.1968 – nominated by Margaret Thatcher, and the HRE thru the Knights of St Columba, and due to him being a spiritual protege of J.Edgar Hoover, Paul Weller a.k.a KEITH BISHOP(RO ring) – d.o.b. 25.5.1958 – is the modern day OTTO, as Cardinal Basil Hume, was considered unsuitable. The present day Cardinal of Westminster is attempting to regain, the Controoler reins of OTTO. Weller is NEO-Nazi, and an archictect of Militant Tendency, hence his invlvement in RED WEDGE. WELLER, was also instrumental in the Union bashing of the 1980’s, and is leading the onslaught against the Firefighters, as a parallel project to that of Startfor.com, that manifested itself most strongly with the veiled attack on Queens, in October 2001. WELLER, as BISHOP, personally led the advance of Cocaine into UK Public Houses, referring intrested parties to the Church of Scientology (RAISE). Such negative innovation by well has led him to inherit Denis Thatchers corporate Empire, as well as drawing him to the attention of Dominic Du Vallon Lohan, and the Riveria Gigolo(Alistair Campbell), and in more recent times Xenia DU VALLON LOHAN, (SKY media/20th Century Fox), who is keen to invest her wealth, that i tied up in the Church of Scientology with Weller. The Wellers Anne, John (a.k.a. Danny fron Ravenscourt park, who lived with temp at the tail end of 1995, onset of 1996, before moving to Cricklewood to share with Matt Mendell),a nd Paul, all agreed to put Nicola Weller, in the Northfield Convent, in order to turn her into a drug addict. This was at the same time that Weller was advancing Cocaine in Birmingham, between 1984-1989. Another avenue was through FOOTBALL Casuals.

One of the reasons Weller returned to Woking in 1999, was his occult beliefs, and Linda Broderick’s/Burnett’s foul up at the Home Office (catering).

While in Birmingham Bishop/Weller became affiliated with Samantha Louise Winn/Bloxham (they met at The Lodge P/H & CoS St Mary’s Row, Moseley), and Colin wayne Jones (Maypole P/h & CoS Moseley).

Weller is the Policy Director Co-ordinator of the Fifth Columnists in the Uk. His financial interests are in prostitution, narcotics, and pornography.

With Respect,

Pete Broderick

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040819
In The News
Time
09:46
The Sun – Blunkett DNA test – with a quick mention of the husband, primary focus on Blunkett’s anguish at not knowing whose baby it is, and a report from some bloke who says he met Blunkett and Fortier while on holiday.

Of course, Murdoch’s papers are handling this with kid gloves (even though it was a Murdoch paper that broke the story), but not every paper is being as gentle. Ex-Blair-pal and pornographer Richard Desmond has been laying the boot in via the Express, and the Evening Standard has – in this less-than-flattering profile of Kimberly Fortier – made a point of focusing on the spin…

Seducing the power brokers : These anonymous sources spoke of how sad and heart-rending it was for two adults to find themselves in the midst of such a complex love affair. “None of this rests easily with David,” claims one source. “He has a deep conscience. But this is no casual fling. He’s totally in love with her.” The “spun” story, it appears, is that marriages do break up, that falling in love can hurt innocents involved. But according to friends of Fortier’s husband, there is another, less sympathetic side to the story. “Of course, people have affairs, but we have to remember that the Home Secretary appears to have engaged in some kind of affair with a married woman who had just had a child,” says one friend.

There’s also this little snippet that found its way online: DAVID Blunkett has asserted his affair with Kimberly Fortier ‘has never compromised my jobs as an MP and Cabinet Minister’. However, the affair does shed a new light on his comments in the foreword to last year’s White Paper on Anti-Social Behaviour. ‘As a society, our rights as individuals are based upon the sense of responsibility we have towards others and to our families and communities,’ wrote the Home Secretary. ‘This responsibility starts in the family, where parents are accountable for the actions of their children and set the standards they are to live by.’ The paper recommends courses to help parents ‘set limits: they have to make sure their children understand the difference between right and wrong.’ It’s not as easy as it sounds, is it, Mr Blunkett?

But the coverage and the tone is still dominated by Team Murdoch. Take a look at this profile from yesterday’s magazine section of The Times to see them in full-tilt…

Times – Lothario, no: but he is a romantic: (After much fawning and some rather interesting theories)…All this makes it easier to understand why now, in his late fifties, Blunkett cannot resist the coup de foudre of first love, with its promise of the fun and vivacity that he missed out on in his youth. His social conservatism must have disapproved — along with half of the population — of having an affair with a married woman with a young child, but in the struggle with his romantic yearning for a deep relationship, love seems to have won out.

Matters are helped by the Independent and Guardian all but shunning the story (with the exception of this hand-wringing moment, of course) but – here and there – the treatment of the story gets close-to-serious focus. Which is a good thing, because that *is* the bloody story. I’m increasingly convinced that this has been a carefully-managed release by (or on behalf of) the happy couple themselves.

Torygraph – The publisher, the politician, and a question of public interest: Certainly, the Sun and NoW peppered their respective stories with sympathetic quotes from apparently well-informed insiders who attested to the strong bond between the pair and the difficulties that they now face. And Mr Blunkett is particularly admired by Paul Dacre, the editor of the Daily Mail (the Home Secretary was guest of honour at a party celebrating the Dacre reign). Not surprisingly, the paper – which could normally be expected to take a high moral tone over married people having affairs, has down-played the story.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040819
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
09:48
It’s the Organizr! It’s DropCash! Two news and exciting tools to help *you* improve your… ahh, who am I kidding?

The Hall of Technical Documentation Weirdness should keep you amused until the boss drops by your desk.

Yahoo is selling child-size ‘Pimp and Ho’ costumes. Can someone please alert the Daily Mail?

And Freedom Of Music Choice is back in the charts. I can’t be bothered finding out why.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040819
An American Election
Time
09:54
New York Times – Just Keep It Peaceful, Protesters; New York Is Offering Discounts: In a transparently mercantile bid to keep protesters from disrupting the Republican National Convention later this month, the Bloomberg administration will offer “peaceful political activists” discounts at select hotels, museums, stores and restaurants around town during convention week, which begins Aug. 29.

Yes, us filthy liberals are known for our violent ways. But get some chicken inside us and it’s all gravy. Or something.

Weirder than that, take a look at The John Kerry Scrapbook, a site that has popped up out of nowhere but has suddenly found a link-audience and is even enjoying (what appears to be) some genuine sharing via Usenet with a day or two of launch.

1 – For a Harvard graduate, she don’t write too good

2 – Sure, there’s no dirt, and the intention appears benign – but it makes Kerry look like an ass

The same question is coming from the left and the right: where did it come from and what is it for?

UPDATE – Atrios of the latest Swift-boat swifties.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040819
Normal People
Time
10:08
A former middle school teacher has admitted raping a 12-year-old student in social studies class and homeroom. Her defence team points out that she feels remorse (deep, deep remorse) and bring forth a medical expert who claims that she ‘lost her perspective’….

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040819
Viral Marketing
Time
10:15
Today, The Ultimate Insult points us in the direction of K-Tel Classics.

I’ve seen this before, and:

1 – K-Tel must have miles of this kind of material in their archives (including some of the classic television commercials). It amazes me that they’re not using it to push their current offer to the music consumer.

2 – I bet you didn’t know that K-Tel now sells drugs. (Hey, it’s all part of being in the music industry.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040819
Inneresting
Time
10:22
And folks wonder what us geeks see in Science Fiction. Women in the future wear spandex, people. Or, failing that, metal panties and nipple guards….

(Please note that this collection also features trash, drug-oriented and gay fiction. Yes, that’s the kind of thing Sci-Fi can lead to.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040819
Here Comes The Science
Time
10:44
How to render the Segway Human Transporter obsolete.

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Date
20040819
Flash Games
Time
12:07
Moody and tricky – scare the crows to stay alive.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040819
Consume!
Time
13:02
Doom 3 – Take a peek under ‘related items’…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040819
An American Election
Time
15:33
A-men! Go, tell it on the mountain! (Cheers to known billionaire Y. Bee for the heads-up on this one. I hope the New York RNC – the first on this site in 150 years for some unknown reason – proves to be as great an embarrassment for Bush as his London visit.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040819
Normal People
Time
15:58
Meet Jerry Querrard. Jerry has found Atlantis, and will reveal the location to the first person who coughs up 8 million big ones.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040819
Humanity
Time
16:03
Florida man tries to pass barrier to reach his home. Police use reasonable force to stop him.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040820
Spam
Time
09:58
Spammers are sub-human scum. That goes for email spammers, Usenet spammers and comment spammers. They have no respect for your privacy, community, bandwidth or site integrity. And there are days when I wish they would all develop a horrible, painful, disfiguring, inoperable form of cancer and die. Slowly. Then I can send them a bunch of ragweed wrapped up in a lovely bow, with a card that reads: “Want to live? We offer cheap rates on generic anti-cancer drugs that work better than the real thing! Lose weight *and* fight cancer while you sleep!”

(Calms down. Reads Comment Spam Manifesto. Makes further plans to spam-proof upcoming comments at Bloggerheads.)

UPDATE – This week’s B3ta challenge: take the subject lines from your spam email and illustrate them.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040820
RWCs
Time
10:05
Independent – Ann Coulter: The blonde assassin: Does Ann Coulter really believe the outrageous things she says? To the pin-up pundit of the American right, liberals are fascists – and all terrorists are Muslims.

OK, let’s be fair and balanced about this. Here’s a postive spin on Ann Coulter by a Christian libertarian. (Hmm. That totally rad hair-do makes me wonder what Mr T thinks.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040820
An American Election
Time
10:08
Chapel Perilous shows us the glory of the subtle rewrite:

“The Oval Office is a powerful place. It’s the kind of place where my mother walks in and feels so overwhelmed, she won’t tell me what to do.”

President Bush, August 10th, Niceville Florida

audience:hehehehehmmmhmm

“The Oval Office is a powerful place. It’s — you know, people walk in and just get overwhelmed by the majesty of this shrine to democracy. I do, on a daily basis. And the only person I know that didn’t was my mother, who walked in and continued to tell me what to do.”

President Bush, August 12th, Las Vegas, Nevada

audience: ahahahahahaha!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040820
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:10
Bear drinks 36 beers and passes out in campground. Yes, but did it manage to sing?

The Yahoo team now has a blog. The comments are… open!

A new twist to Kerry probing. Who knew that a right-wring group that had ‘truth’ in its name would actually tell lies?

Washington Post – Records Counter a Critic of Kerry: Newly obtained military records of one of Sen. John F. Kerry’s most vocal critics, who has accused the Democratic presidential candidate of lying about his wartime record to win medals, contradict his own version of events.

Finally, another big hit from Bad Gas. That’s two chart-toppers in two weeks, folks. (I’d best start sucking up to these guys. They are the future.)

Bad Gas – Doing a Lynndie

- You will laugh out loud.

- You will lose all control of your body as you find yourself pointing and gently flexing your elbows.

- You will smirk.

- You will find it comfortable and continue to smirk.

- You will call a friend who owns a camera.

- They will smirk.

- You will go out looking for trouble.

- You will do all of the above without even asking yourself why.

(Please note that BadGas is getting a hammering today. If the page loads as text-only and/or you have trouble downloading any/all of the image collection, bookmark the page and try again later.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040820
Follow-Up
Time
10:27
Lucky – the rabbit what almost got blowed up – now has a new home. In fact, hundreds of people offered to adopt him. Awwww…..

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040820
In The News
Time
10:33
Right. Blunkett….

The Times lectures us on ethics.

Meanwhile, there’s no mention of Mr Blunkett in today’s edition of The Sun. At all. Perhaps they’ve run out of nice things to say. Or perhaps today is a good day to try and move on…

Evening Standard – Blunkett helped ‘lover’ over passport: David Blunkett helped the woman alleged to be his lover obtain a US passport for her son, it emerged today. The suggestion that the Home Secretary used his position to help married publisher Kimberly Fortier could put him under political pressure for the first time over their relationship. Home Office aides confirmed claims in The Times that he telephoned a senior official at the American embassy to ask for the name of someone she could contact to rush through a passport application. Mr Blunkett then passed the name to Ms Fortier, publisher of the Tory-backing Spectator magazine, with whom he is alleged to have had a secret relationship. There is no suggestion that Mr Blunkett asked for her to be given special treatment but aides today acknowledged that the US officials may have prioritised her case because of the minister’s interest in it.

Here’s a word or two on hypocrisy from The Scotsman, the view from The Friday Thing and some opinions from Mirror readers. At least one of the latter will raise an eyebrow (I also hope that the uniquely vulnerable Mr Blunkett will be able to disentangle himself from this evil temptress).

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040820
Christianity Watch
Time
10:54
ScaryDuck advises us that the rapture is nigh.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040820
Flash Games
Time
10:58
The Invisibility Game! How well will you manage when you can’t see your cursor?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040820
Normal People
Time
11:01
Ahahahahahahahaha! One can only wonder what happened here.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040820
An American Election
Time
11:02
I managed to stuff this link up late yesterday, so here it is again:

NYC to GOP: Drop Dead: Well aware that it is barren soil for their party’s anti-urban, anti-immigrant, anti-feminist, overtly racist ideology, Republican leaders have wisely avoided New York City as a convention site for the past 150 years…. But White House strategist Karl Rove sees the continued exploitation of 9/11 for partisan political gain as Bush’s key to victory in November. That means bringing the big bash three miles north of the hole where the Twin Towers used to stand, where most of the victims of 9/11 were burned, suffocated, impaled and pulverized.

And that’s the guts of it, boys and girls. Bush is still exploiting that nation’s greatest tragedy, and New Yorker’s simply aren’t going to stand for it. Unlike what we saw at the Democratic convention, few of the protests will be partisan… and if they squeeze too tight on where/when protests are allowed, even fewer of them with be peaceful.

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Date
20040820
Art
Time
11:09
Stop Motion Studies should help focus that blank stare that kicks in around lunchtime.

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Date
20040820
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
11:18
Guardian – Abu Ghraib doctors knew of torture, says Lancet report : Army doctors at the Abu Ghraib prison west of Baghdad falsified medical records to cover up torture and human rights abuses perpetrated on Iraqi detainees, the British medical journal the Lancet reported today.

The following may also be of interest…

Washington Post – Abu Ghraib Probe Points to Top Brass: An Army investigation into the role of military intelligence personnel in the abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison reports that the scandal was not just caused by a small circle of rogue military police soldiers but resulted from failures of leadership rising to the highest levels of the U.S. command in Iraq, senior defense officials said… Officials also said that the report implicates five civilian contractors in the abuse, and that Army officials plan to recommend that their cases be sent to the Justice Department for possible prosecution in civilian courts.

And here’s the icing on the cake…

New Standard – Abu Ghraib contractor sees profits soar despite torture probe: Virginia-based homeland security services contractor CACI International, whose private interrogators have been linked to torture at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, said its bottom line increased 42 percent over the last year. From June 2003 to June 2004, which marks CACI’s fiscal year, net income rose to $63.7 million.

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Date
20040820
Photoshopping
Time
13:25
A topical variation on Preparing For Emergencies.

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Date
20040823
In The News
Time
09:50
Mirror: Blunkett suffers from whispers! Blunkett is ditched! Blunkett takes holiday! (Well, who can blame him after a weekend like that?)

As with Friday’s edition, there is no mention – no mention – of David Blunkett in today’s Sun. Interesting, no?

This story reminds me of something

An interesting level of support from the Torygraph: Poor Mr Blunkett, the romantic who has struggled against adversity. Somebody is obviously out to get him.

Iain Macwhirter thinks the story is about tabloid justice aiding democracy (when, in truth, the past week has actually showed us how adept this government is at controlling those same tabloids).

Antony Barnett, Martin Bright and David Smith edge closer with a look at Blunkett’s intimate courtship with the media, but it’s Peter Preston who’s closest to the target after a week of media gameplay….

Guardian – Today’s news is not the end of the affair: It was all what the former Sun editor, David Yelland, called ‘a good old-fashioned Fleet Street barnstormer’ in his Evening Standard column. Except, of course, that Fleet Street has ceased to exist in any good old-fashioned sense – and that this tale was full of bad, new-fangled, evasions. Who was dishing lurid and intimate dirt to the News of the World, Sun and Mirror on eerily orchestrated rent-a-quote basis? The NoW had a ‘source’ who reported the star-crossed couple as ‘deeply in love – though neither know what the future may hold’. The Sun had ‘a pal’ who informed us that, ‘like all affairs, it’s extremely complicated’. The Mirror had ‘a source’ with a hotline to Blunkett’s heart and a ‘well-informed source’ who did the DNA testing bit. Four or five separate sources? Or one, ubiquitous ‘pal’ picking up a different phone to a different editor’s office every day?

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Date
20040823
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
09:55
Aww, wookit all the cute widdle monkeys. Aww, wookit all the cute widdle cewebwities

I’ve dumped Internet Explorer. So have these people.

BugMeNot.com returns! (Neo-Nazi diversions are also explained here…)

Everything else is Kerry/Bush and the wonders of war, which I’m saving for other posts so I can add a little context…

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Date
20040823
An American Election
Time
10:44
A week? Pfft! Three days is a long time in politics…

Independent – ‘Veterans for Truth’ or Republican reptiles? Kerry senses hand of Bush in attacks on his war record: Mr Kerry has filed a complaint with government regulators alleging that Swift Boat Veterans for Truth “illegally co-ordinated with the Bush- Cheney presidential campaign”.

Independent – Veterans prepare new attack on Kerry: Undaunted by accusations that they were spreading lies on behalf of President George Bush’s re-election campaign, a group of Republican veterans of the Vietnam War were preparing yesterday to launch a new television advert accusing John Kerry of cowardice, disloyalty, and worse, during his time in uniform.

And the new TVC contains a surprise guest…

CNN – Bush adviser quits after appearing in swift boat ad: A volunteer adviser has quit President Bush’s re-election campaign after appearing in a veterans group’s television commercial blasting Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry’s involvement in the Vietnam-era antiwar movement.

New York Times – Kerry TV Ad Pins Veterans’ Attack Firmly on Bush: Senator John Kerry released a television advertisement yesterday blaming President Bush for a campaign by a “front group” of veterans that Mr. Kerry said had smeared his Vietnam record, as he intensified his drive to gain control in a fight that some Democrats said could undermine his campaign for the presidency. … hold your breath, good bit coming up…) Mr. Bush’s campaign denied any involvement with the effort by the veterans challenging crucial parts of Mr. Kerry’s war record and sent a letter to television station managers calling the new Kerry advertisement libelous.

This article also says that; Mr. Bush’s advisers said Mr. Kerry’s campaign was engaged in an exercise of six degrees of separation and said they had no connections to the group, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

Well, perhaps you’d care to judge for yourself via this article or this handy wall-chart.

The response from the digital brownshirts? They’ve made a chart, too.

This is the classic “See? Your guy is as bad as our guy, therefore our guy comes out looking good!” defence. Expect to see more of it in the coming months.

Quick diversion; let’s see Bush accentuating the positive…

Sports Illustrated – Iraqi soccer players angered by Bush campaign ads “Iraq as a team does not want Mr. Bush to use us for the presidential campaign,” Sadir told SI.com through a translator, speaking calmly and directly. “He can find another way to advertise himself.” (The article includes a link to offending ad. You’ll love the bit about freedom spreading across the world like a sunrise.)

Meanwhile, back in the main tent, check out this filthy liberal rag putting on a show of presenting both sides.

Washington Post – Swift Boat Accounts Incomplete: Establishing the facts is complicated not merely by fading memories and sometimes ambiguous archival evidence, but also by the bitterly partisan nature of the presidential campaign. An investigation by The Washington Post into what happened that day suggests that both sides have withheld information from the public record and provided an incomplete, and sometimes inaccurate, picture of what took place. But although Kerry’s accusers have succeeded in raising doubts about his war record, they have failed to come up with sufficient evidence to prove him a liar.

Makes you sick, doesn’t it? Why aren’t they burning Kerry at the stake, dammit?

Curse the inaction of the liberal media. Why, if they investigated this properly, I bet they’d find destroyed service records and all manner of suspicious shenanigans.

The final word on this goes to Atrios.

UPDATE – If you want to see the Kerry ads, start with ‘Old Tricks’ before you move on to ‘Issues’.

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Date
20040823
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s…. oh s**t!
Time
11:17
Hooray for the Bush doctrine!

Yahoo – Iran warns of preemptive strike to prevent attack on nuclear sites: Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani warned that Iran might launch a preemptive strike against US forces in the region to prevent an attack on its nuclear facilities. “We will not sit (with arms folded) to wait for what others will do to us. Some military commanders in Iran are convinced that preventive operations which the Americans talk about are not their monopoly,” Shamkhani told Al-Jazeera TV when asked if Iran would respond to an American attack on its nuclear facilities.

That’s one thing that can’t be undone. Here are over a thousand others.

Mind you, these are just numbers. People seem to be forgetting the greatest casualty of this war; Tony Blair’s hurt feelings. Some people even seem determined to take advantage of his good nature…

Guardian – Mother of dead soldier to sue: The mother of a young British solider killed in Iraq plans to sue the Ministry of Defence, claiming officials breached their duty of care to her son. If the case goes ahead, it will be the first time the government has been sued over the death of a soldier in combat…. She wants to go to court because she believes her son’s death could have been avoided if his patrol had been equipped with an electronic signal jamming device which would have stopped the bomb being detonated.

For a full brain-tickle, take a look at this bloggage from January that tracks similar concerns of another war widow and then consider what that same widow has to say now.

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Date
20040823
Activism
Time
11:17
Independent – Bush is ‘exploiting 9/11 for re-election’: With only a week to go, the city is in a stand-off with an activist group called United for Peace and Justice that expects as many as 250,000 people to turn out for an anti-Bush rally next Sunday. The group is suing for the right to hold the march in Central Park. The city is refusing, citing probable grass damage…. Last week, a director of the FBI’s anti-terrorism division acknowledged that the agency expects some of the protests to become violent. The FBI has sent out agents to infiltrate some of the political groups coming to New York to try to uncover their strategies. But no actual plot to cause violence has yet been found.

The ‘keep off the grass’ gambit may remind you of something, but don’t expect Bush to roll tanks into JFK. It’s far more efficient to generate an imaginary terrorist threat from amongst the protestors themselves.

In the public mind, the people protesting a government placing them in danger *becomes* the danger (as part of the anti-terrorism budget is being spent policing the people who are – by and large – protesting the Bush administration’s exploitation/manipulation of the terrorist threat). Hell, it may even turn out that way in reality. Turning the screws in the name of preventing violence often seems to provoke violence. I’m going to be a self-important know-it-all now and quote myself: Take a sweet little kitten and squeeze it. Watch what happens.

UPDATE – FBI precautions for convention worry area activists and New York braced for protests at Republican rally

UPDATE 2 – A Protester’s Guide to NYC! Version 2.0

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Date
20040823
Page 3 – Words of Wisdom
Time
11:34
Big-Brother place-getter Shell Jubin appears with her cha-chas out on Page 3 of today’s Sun and says: “Those who sneer at Page 3 lack intelligence.”

Well, that’s me told.

Turns out it’s art. And empowering art, at that: “It’s beautifully-shot and tastefully pioneered the celebration of the female form. In many ways it emancipated women, letting them exploit their assets, earn cash and keep control. I see it as a modern art form.”

So, ladies, if you want to exploit your assets, earn cash and keep control, I suggest you get in touch with The Sun, let them photograph you topless, and then provide and associated ‘News in Briefs’ editorial that focuses on the evils of concentrated media ownership. See how far you get.

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Date
20040823
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
11:42
First of all, it’s worth noting the nature of this curious blogbeast. Today, poor old Tom takes a beating for pointing out that his comments function can take a beating.

Oh, and there’s this small item…. a bit of housekeeping, as it were….

We are GO for Boris Johnson. I repeat; we are GO for Boris Johnson.

Screen Pages are being very cool about providing the development, but I thought there might be a few interested parties that would want to chip in on the initial design.

The brief is as follows:

- Submit (as a GIF or JPEG) a design concept/template for Boris Johnson’s site.

- Please include the standard weblog functions/aspects (as would appear on a Movable Type platform) in your design, as well as links/navigation for the following static pages – Home, About Boris, Constituency, News, Press Releases, Speeches, Photo Gallery, Conservative MPs Online.

- If you need permission-granted source images of Boris, you have but to ask (but feel free to submit a concept with any available images).

- You have 48 hours from…. NOW!

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Date
20040823
Educational
Time
12:32
What happens if I…

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Date
20040823
An American Election
Time
16:12
Factcheck.org – because sometimes even one dungbeetle can make a difference.

Oh, and this column has some news on hedgefundmistress.com, and an interesting little story about Google and bushhouseofcards.com

Also worth seeing is this comparative study of the two main campaign sites. One focuses mainly on John Kerry, and the other… focuses mainly on John Kerry. A dirty game is the only game they have left. (Latter link via Brian Arner, who also has some thoughts on “freedom spreading throughout the world like a sunrise”. Bush will be claiming to have invented the helicopter next. And the turlet.)

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Date
20040824
The War on Terror
Time
09:45
The Sun – Airport security scandal exposed: An undercover Sun reporter has exposed chilling security blunders — by smuggling a fake bomb on to a jet carrying more than 220 British holidaymakers…. “Had I been one of Osama Bin Laden’s terrorists, I could have wiped out more than 220 British passengers on the Thomas Cook flight to Majorca — and thousands more on the ground below.”

And – had he been John Carter, warrior of Barsoom – he could have wiped out millions of rebel Tharks and turned Mars into a cold and sterile wasteland.

(Oh my God! Mars *is* a cold and sterile wasteland. That must mean that John Carter is *real*!!! OMG! OMG! OMG! Tell your friends! Close the airports! The Tharks are coming!)

The editorial asks the tough questions (i.e. Why aren’t we plugging every hole, watching every citizen, and electronically tagging every child? Why aren’t citizens fulfilling their responsibility to believe every word that comes out of Tony Blair’s mouth?): Within days, our reporter found himself alone and able to do what he liked in the hold of a holiday jet. He smuggled materials into the airport hidden behind the toecaps of his boots. They could have been the ingredients for a bomb. Yet Birmingham Airport was described in a police terrorism probe as being a potential al-Qaeda target. Surely anyone applying for a job with access to planes should face exhaustive screening? Security checks on passengers are not much use if it is easy for terrorists to infiltrate planes through the back door.

Presumably, this didn’t happen in Heathrow because security there detected this ‘terrorist’ (or should that be ‘journalist’?) and gave him his marching orders. But we have no time to quibble over details, because we have this urgent editorial coming in from Page 3…

Today, Krystle (21, from Manchester) is disgusted at the lax security. She says: “With the massive terror threat hanging over this country, it is incredible that this could happen.”

Yes, incredible. In that it is so implausible that it defies belief. (If that is her thought, she should hang on to it…. she’s almost there.)

Keywords: “Terror.. airport.. threat… real…” Why?

UPDATE – Yet another blood-chilling expose for you to ponder on.

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Date
20040824
The Bush Administration
Time
10:00
Washington Post – Goss Backed ’95 Bill To Slash Intelligence: President Bush’s nominee to be the director of central intelligence, Rep. Porter J. Goss, sponsored legislation that would have cut intelligence personnel by 20 percent in the late 1990s.

Slate – Dick Nixed It – Is this why Bush’s intelligence-czar plan is so half-hearted?: President Bush has only tepidly endorsed the 9/11 commission’s proposal for a new centralized director of national intelligence, and now we have an explanation for his half-heartedness. It seems that back in 1992, when he was secretary of defense, Dick Cheney virulently opposed an uncannily similar notion…. The letter – unearthed by Open Source Solution and reprinted this week on Steven Aftergood’s invaluable Secrecy News Web site – makes for particularly poignant reading. If Cheney hadn’t successfully blocked the measure (his letter moved Aspin to drop it), one of the 9/11 commission’s most urgently advanced proposals might have been in place for over a decade before the terrorist attacks.

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Date
20040824
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
10:44
Let’s begin with a few reminders of what this story is really about…

The Gray Zone

The Roots of Torture

Locked in Abu Ghraib

Then move on to today’s openers…

Independent – Soldier will admit role in Abu Ghraib abuse: “I will be pleading guilty to certain charges because I have concluded that what I did was a violation of law,” said (Staff Sergeant Ivan ‘Chip’ Frederick). “I am hopeful that all those within the army who contributed to or participated in the chaos that was Abu Ghraib will also come forward and accept responsibility.”

*clap*clap*clap*clap*

Also worth noting is this Reuters story, which says that; In his statement, (Frederick) said he had no bad feelings toward Army Spec. Joseph Darby, who informed the military chain of command about the abuse, saying Darby did the right thing.

Why does this matter? Well, there are some people for whom the sky refuses to be blue. The type of people who would attack John Kerry for objecting to what was wrong about the conflict in Vietnam.

Reuters – Family of Iraq Abuse Whistleblower Threatened: Relatives of the U.S. soldier who sounded the alarm about abuse of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison said on Monday the family was living in protective custody because of death threats against them. In testimony this month at a hearing for one of the soldiers accused of abusing prisoners, Darby said he struggled with the decision to turn over the photos because he was friendly with one of the accused. What he saw on the CDs containing the photos, he said, “violated everything I personally believed in and everything I had been taught about the rules of war.”

Also happening is this…

Scotsman – Judge threatens to drop Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse case : Colonel James Pohl issued a 10 September target for the government to complete three reports so that they can be used as evidence in army hearings of soldiers charged with abuse at the prison. Col Pohl expressed particular displeasure after being told that only one army criminal investigator had been assigned to review thousands of pages of records on a secret computer server at Abu Ghraib.

A seemingly deliberate go-slow? On something as important as this? Gosh, I wonder what that’s all about…

OK, enough appetisers. The main meal is on its way. Try not to fill up on rolls before it gets here…

MSNBC/Newsweek – A Battle Over Blame: In mid-August, the commission that Schlesinger chairs—handpicked by Rumsfeld from members of his own Defense Policy Board—is expected to issue its final report on abuses by U.S. interrogators stemming from the Abu Ghraib Prison scandal. Newsweek has learned the Schlesinger panel is leaning toward the view that failures of command and control at the Pentagon helped create the climate in which the abuses occurred.

But don’t hold your breath for anything special.

DailyKos – General Fay’s Report On Abu Ghraib Due Any Day Now: The investigation is not being broadened because the investigators ultimately report to people who would themselves be implicated by the investigation. If there ever was a case that cried out for an independent counsel, this is it. Unfortunately, however, it looks like the White House and Defense Department have once again put itself above the law.

Washington Post – Iraqi Teens Abused at Abu Ghraib, Report Finds – Officials Say Inquiry Also Confirms Prisoners Were Hidden From Aid Groups: Speaking on the condition of anonymity because the report has not been released, other officials at the Pentagon said the investigation also acknowledges that military intelligence soldiers kept multiple detainees off the record books and hid them from international humanitarian organizations. The report also mentions substantiated claims that at least one male detainee was sodomized by one of his captors at Abu Ghraib, sources said. “The report will show that these actions were bad, illegal, unauthorized, and some of it was sadistic,” said one Defense Department official. “But it will show that they were the actions of a few, actions that went unnoticed because of leadership failures.”

Yep, there’s your Keep Out Of Jail Free card right there. Leadership failures. Groupthink. All a bit unfortunate, but no actual leaders to blame.

Torygraph – Rumsfeld escapes blame in ‘whitewash’ Abu Ghraib report: “This is a whitewash – a carefully orchestrated one,” said a lawyer who has liaised with military officials involved in the case. “People in the Pentagon have been coming to me in a fury because of the way this has been handled. By naming military intelligence officials as well as the seven military police who have been charged, it will look like action has been taken. But basically it’s still the same storyline of just a few bad apples, way down the food chain.”

This kind of (kind of?) reminds me of the findings of the Butler Report. Blair desperately needed to make a case for invading Iraq with or without the UN, and – via the magic of serendipity – deep-rooted failures in the system somehow magically deliver a flawed (if not fraudulent) document that suited his needs.

Bush and Rumsfeld desperately needed a win in Iraq. One might even be charitable enough to imagine that they actually believed there were WMDs yet to be found. Better intelligence was needed. A decision was made to ‘get tough’. At one stage, they had a memo in circulation that pondered the use of torture, but torture was never authorised. It just so happened that flaws in the system resulted in torture happening by accident.

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Date
20040824
Humanity
Time
10:52
Independent – Human rights: the case for the defence: The Conservative Party launched a campaign yesterday to ‘curb the rights culture’. But can all their charges be taken at face value?

I’m less worried by the house-of-cardiness than I am by the idea that the Tories have been pushed so far to the right that they’ve begun an attack on, erm, rights…

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Date
20040824
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:56
Taking a closer look at the War Medals of George W. Bush. Hooray for this. It reminded me of an idea for a site that was almost lost in the ether. Idea recalled. Email sent. Iron in fire.

OK, what else is there? A Godchecker, a rather (ahem) spectacular arrest in China (with a surpise ending, no less) and some Plame rumours.

There’s also this, which reminds me of this.

Pretty light on the Kerry-bashing content this morning, isn’t it? Apart from maybe yet another ‘Your Guy is As Bad As Our Guy’ moment. Perhaps I can compensate by throwing this in…

Slate – Holiday in Cambodia – The “Christmas Eve” attack on Kerry is cheap and almost certainly wrong.

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Date
20040824
Distractions
Time
11:08
Track how far your cursor travels. As if it matters.

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Date
20040824
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
11:11
Dare you submit a design for Boris Johnson’s weblog? You now have about 24 hours left to conceive, cobble and submit.

(Note – Please do not expect results to be posted publicly. Oh, and I have a function tonight. This may result in a hangover tomorrow. Bloggage may be light.)

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Date
20040824
Inneresting
Time
13:48
Lunchtime!

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Date
20040824
Photoshopping
Time
15:38
Just had a crack at the Boris job myself. It’s a tad impractical, but it has charm…

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Date
20040824
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
15:54
Meet Kevin Davis, the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Kingston & Surbiton.

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Date
20040824
Flash Games
Time
16:22
Ready… aim… fire!

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Date
20040824
Consume!
Time
16:24
Who could possibly say no to a DVD rewinder?

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Date
20040824
Inneresting
Time
16:42
The Happy Poster Project is still doing its job.

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Date
20040825
The War on Terror
Time
09:31
(we assume)

Sent in at 5:30am by a reader who wishes to remain a nonny mouse due to a rather backwards corporate policy regarding Doing Things That Are Not Work…

Mad shit’s been going down overnight. Don’t know if you’ve been up, or heard about this already, but I thought you might like some tasty links.

Right. So reports come in that one Russian airliner has crashed – ‘exploded in mid air’ – and another one is missing. Reports since have confirmed that the second has crashed as well.

The first was *possibly* shot down as it was *possibly* going to *possibly* crash into the *possibly* scarily-named ‘Instrument Design Bureau’ in the town of Tula which *possibly* manufactures *possible* nuclear weapons… though you’d have to be a conspiracy nut to suggest such a thing.

But I digress…

First up, initial reports from the Associated Press jackhammered an Iranian link into our skulls – an example of which is still up on the web here: Both planes were Tupolev Tu-154 jets, the standard medium-range airliner on domestic flights in Russia, other former Soviet states, *Iran* and parts of eastern Europe, according to the Web site Airliners.net.

Later reports removed the reference to Iran – though why it was there in the first place, I don’t know. Turns out that a simple google search for ‘Tupolev Tu-154 + Iran’ throws up Airliners.net as the third link, and the AP monkey has copied and pasted the text. Get where I’m going with this? Like, someone’s received information of a possible terrorist attack over the wires and tried searching for the airplane model involved alongside terms like ‘Iraq’, ‘Al Qaeda’, ‘IRAN’ etc, found a favourable mention and included it.

So why was it taken out? Look a little further through google’s results and you’ll find references to Iran Air Tours, the carrier which owns some Russian-built planes. Then take that, and do a google search on ‘Iran Air Tours + Tupolev Tu-154′. You’ll see that Iran Air Tours in fact owns a newer model called the Tu-154M’ – note the extra ‘m’ on the end – which were manufactured in 1992 and are 20 years newer than the planes which blew up over Russia.

To summarise: two Russian air lines owns some planes which were blown up by terrorists. An Iranian air line owns some completely different planes. Obviously there’s a connection there.

Now shovel that crap down the wires so it gets repeated over and over, read time and time again and broadcast all over the world.

Still, to someone who isn’t an aviation expert it’s a simple mistake to make, and easily ignored when you’re desperate to get a namecheck for Iran into a major story about terrorism.

Still, there’s more, and this is probably bigger:

A Russian virus expert speaking at a Russian information agency conference in Russia reckons ‘e-jihad’ terrorists will try to disable the internet within the next 24 hours (here’s one link and here’s another). Normally I’d laugh at this, but due to this plane crash business, who knows?

Rumour-mongering! I love it!

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Date
20040825
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
09:43
Blogger is 5 years old, plus Adsense has been opened up for hosted bloggers. They ask you very nicely not to pee in their pool, but at the same time allow you to drink from their toilet. Or something. I’ll let John explain the rest.

Remeber it was a Kerry-light chart yesterday? Check this lot out! *Ding*… round three: 1, 2, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7 (BugMeNot is back up if you run into any registration walls along the way).

Now, the inneresting stuff…

Tricks of the Trade – I can confirm the proof-reading trick. It can also extend into the display of copy. I once knew a nightclub promoter who insisted on a certain percentage of posters being displayed upside-down at random intervals. It forced people to decode them (i.e read them).

Please excuse the Doc Brown impersonation… Sixty-one-point-eight megabytes!!!) Nevertheless, if you’ve got Quicktime and a pipe that can deal with the download, you’ll want to check this one out. (You maniacs! You blew it up! God damn you! God damn you all to hell!” And so on.)

Man finds digital camera in spooky woods, displays pictures online. Fog descends. Ghost of owner fails to take bloody revenge.

George Takei travels back to the U.S. internment camp where he and his family were imprisoned during World War II. Even on this profound and deeply personal pilgrimage, he *still* has to dodge geeks.

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Date
20040825
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
09:44
Guardian – Guantanamo Britons to be visited by lawyers. For the first time in two years. Man, I can’t wait to wake up from this nightmare, so can get back to the simple things in life. Like having pride in my country and a modicum of trust in my leaders.

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Date
20040825
Page 3 – Words of Wisdom
Time
09:52
Today, Natasha (21, from Torquay) gets her funbags out in a completely tasteful and artistic way as she ‘slams’ soccer star Wayne Rooney over his “seedy vice girl romps which have pushed fiance Coleen to the brink of a breakdown” She says: I feel so sorry for her. She’s been a tower of strength and doesn’t deserve to suffer like this. I just hope she will overcome this terrible strain.

No doubt the thoughts of the Sun family are also with Stephen Quinn. Perhaps they’ve limited their coverage of Mr Blunkett to this unrelated and fleeting mention today as a mark of respect. Or perhaps they had to make room for this guide to brothels in Newcastle and Manchester.

UPDATE – From The Scum’s recent Hillsborough ‘apology’ : If they want to hate The Sun, then that is their right. We are hardly in a position to blame them. What we find impossible to take, though, is the way some of Liverpool is turning its anger on one of the greatest footballing talents the city has ever seen. Wayne Rooney is one of Liverpool’s finest sons. On Merseyside, his name should be the toast of every pub, street and school. Instead, he is being vilified by some Liverpool and Everton fans…. One view on a Liverpool website is that by telling his life story in The Sun, Wayne has “signed his soul away to the devil.” Another is that he has “accepted 30 pieces of silver.” For goodness sake, give the lad a chance.

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Date
20040825
Flash Thingies
Time
09:57
Wow, that’s one busy tree.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040825
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
09:58
Thank you all for your lovely designs for Boris. I’ll be showing them off today. And taking all of the credit.

(You still have an hour or so if you want to send something in yourself.)

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Date
20040825
Campaigns
Time
10:01
I urge you all to get behind Poons on his Rizla campaign. You can contact Rizla via this form or rizla AT rizla DOT co DOT uk

(Factoid: Where I come from, Orchy bottles are of enormous use to lorry drivers.)

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Date
20040825
Personal Massages
Time
10:31
Oh, hooray for UKNM, hooray for last night and ‘hello’ to everyone I met.

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Date
20040825
Newsflash
Time
12:07
Latest on the Russian jet crashes from AP : Witnesses said they heard what sounded like three explosions before the first plane crashed and suspicions of terrorist involvement were compounded when officials said the Sibir airlines Tu-154 had issued a signal indicating the plane was being seized.

BBC: An FSB spokesman said searches had revealed no signs of terrorism but sabotage had not been ruled out.

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Date
20040825
Foreign Affairs
Time
12:34
Well, it’s not like it runs in the family or anything…

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Date
20040825
An American Election
Time
13:38
Filthiest. Election. Ever.

1. A top lawyer for the Bush/Cheney re(?)election campaign has also been advising the Swift Boat Smear Team.

2. Swiftian caught dead-to-rights in outright lie.

Is it too early to stick a fork in this?

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Date
20040825
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
13:48
From the filthy liberals at the BBC:

Extracts from the Schlesinger report.

The full report (5.7Mb PDF).

A report on the report.

A comment on the report, including a mention of those who would cast Rumsfeld as a hero in this affair.

I’ll leave you alone with your stunned silence.

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Date
20040825
Pluggage
Time
14:00
There’s an excellent, fresh crop of posts over at The UK Today. Go see. (Oh, and don’t forget to vote.)

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Date
20040825
Normal People
Time
15:58
Meet Steve Webber. He’s a walking, talking (and totally convincing) Tony Blair lookalike. ‘Tony’ appears to be marginally more convincing, but somewhat delusional. Neither of them would get past my front door, never mind anywhere near my chequebook.

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Date
20040825
George W. Bush
Time
17:31
The Dress-Up pResident was photographed wearing a ribbon he did not earn.

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Date
20040826
Established Media
Time
08:55
Spin Buster – Ambush!: Why was the press complicit in keeping afloat a story so easily debunked? There have been dozens of press failures during this presidential campaign. But this one, even given the Times’ and the Post’s belated efforts to get to the bottom of things, has to rank as a low point. In the end, the whole ball of wax certainly did nothing to help the mainstream press’ credibility with what is an increasingly dubious audience.

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Date
20040826
Photoshopping
Time
08:58
They’re on a mission from God.

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Date
20040826
NSFW
Time
09:01
Totally and completely not safe for work (in fact, I’d even avoid it over lunch if I were you), but this really is a most excellent cautionary tale.

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Date
20040826
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Educational!
Time
09:05
Current Events teacher punished for using Abu Ghraib images in class : ”I expected the principal to protect me as a teacher from individual parents who are upset over one thing or another,” he said. ”The class was called Current Events, and it [the prison abuse scandal] was the number one current event at the time. The photos were being displayed everywhere, on television news programs, in newspapers. I was doing my duty as a teacher. At least that’s what I thought.”

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Date
20040826
In The News
Time
09:18
Bob Piper has made an interesting comment on Mark Thatcher’s arrest. Daniel Brett has produced a flow chart showing all the people and organisations linked to the alleged March 2004 coup plot. The Sun is more worried about how Maggie is taking it. Today, their Page 3 girl (Michelle, 21, from Oldham) says: “It’s a big blow for Maggie coming so soon after the death of her husband, Denis. The allegations against her son are very serious. I only hope this doesn’t cause Maggie’s health to take a turn for the worse.”

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Date
20040826
Iraq
Time
09:31
Independent – Sistani mobilises his ‘believers’ to march on Najaf in peace bid: The most venerated Shia cleric in Iraq made a sudden intervention in the Najaf crisis yesterday by returning to the country and calling on his supporters to march to the embattled holy city.

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Date
20040826
Tony Blair
Time
09:51
Faith in democracy… rising.

Hope… returrning.

impeachBlair.org: A group of MPs will shortly publish a report which calls on Parliament to impeach the Prime Minister for misleading the people and Parliament over the Iraq war. There will be a press conference at 2pm Thursday 26 August in the Attlee Suite, Portcullis House, The House of Commons.

Updates will follow, of that you can be sure. At this stage, the best I can suggest is that constituents be ready to approach their MP and see where they stand on this issue.

Guardian – MPs plan to impeach Blair over Iraq war record: MPs are planning to impeach Tony Blair for “high crimes and misdemeanours” in taking Britain to war against Iraq, reviving an ancient practice last used against Lord Palmerston more than 150 years ago…. A number of Labour backbenchers are considering whether to back the motion, though it could mean expulsion from the party.

BBC – Blair impeachment campaign starts: In the UK, the power was last used in 1806 and Plaid Cymru MP Adam Price wants to revive it. He is unveiling a report from academics but many experts believe it has no realistic chance of success.

Reuters – British Lawmakers Plan to Impeach Blair: Although it has almost no chance of success and is likely to be seen as little more than a publicity stunt, the plan will throw the spotlight back on the reasons Blair gave the country for going to war, the newspapers said… In 1967 a parliamentary committee recommended the right to impeach should be abandoned as “the circumstances in which impeachment has taken place are now so remote from the present that the procedure may be considered obsolete.” However, the right was never repealed.

Yes, but today, the requirement for the right to impeach seems far from remote. Let’s take a quick break to consider these thoughts from Robin Cook (link via The UK Today)….

Scotsman – Cook berates ‘gutless’ Cabinet for backing war: Speaking in Edinburgh, Mr Cook said that the majority opinion in the Cabinet was against the war in Iraq but ministers failed to speak up for their beliefs. He also claimed that Britain would never have been involved in the war had the Prime Minister held a closed vote of his ministers to find out their views.

And now, let’s get back to the meat in the pudding – the report that’s due for release this afternoon.

Torygraph – Isn’t it time to impeach Blair over Iraq?: They have culled each top-spun, souped-up, over-egged quotation, and set it side by side with what the Prime Minister was actually being told about those WMD. You are left at the end feeling angry and bewildered that Blair should take us all for such mugs. It is not so much that he lied (though many of his statements were at odds with reality): it is rather that he used all his lawyerly arts, and all the trust that is naturally reposed in his office, to communicate to the public a vast untruth.

Hmmm. Sounds like a long-overdue document. And it brings to mind the ever-useful Claims vs. Facts Database.

Scotsman – PM has a case to answer: This report not only details the Prime Minister’s misdemeanours over Iraq but also points to a parliamentary mechanism that could finally hold him to account over the abuse of his office in launching the war.

While we wait for the report, here’s some familiar ground to tread over. Get your blood up. Dare to dream that jelly can be nailed to a wall.

(Incidentally, that quote comes from Boris Johnson – who is also backing this report and the motion to impeach. It’s a funny old world, isn’t it?)

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Date
20040826
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
10:31
Meet Jody Dunn, Lib-dem candidate for the (maybe) Hartlepool by-election.

This is a new ship launched in rough waters, so will result in a fair amount of nail-biting from me.

1. Will blogs be misinterpreted as a campaign tool only?

2. Labour enjoy a healthy margin. If the Lib-ems fail to tackle it, will the blog be grouped with this failure (or maybe even blamed for it)?

3. Tom’s record as a blogger and his role in this by-election further complicates matters.

4. I’m not pointing any fingers, but the Birmingham fight got downright personal and dirty at some stages. God forbid that shoutiness should overwhelm either or both blogs. (See 2)

UPDATE – Here’s what The Guardian had to say about it.

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Date
20040826
Normal People
Time
11:20
‘Fiona’ sure likes those wedding dresses. (Note – I found this when making this lovely picture of Tony Blair in Peach.)

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Date
20040826
A Blog is Born
Time
12:32
Decide for yourselves.

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Date
20040826
The Interweb
Time
12:34
Everybody still here? Good. Carry on.

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Date
20040826
Flash Thingies
Time
12:39
OK, everybody – stop what you’re doing. It’s time for a quick lunchtime quiz.

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Date
20040826
Distractions
Time
13:24
1. Print this.

2. Leave the sign blank.

3. Put it up on a wall.

4. Wait.

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Date
20040826
The Interweb
Time
13:30
What do we want? Wider pipes! When do we want them? Last Tuesday!

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Date
20040826
Copyright
Time
13:35
This Song Belongs to You and Me: EFF has just announced that the JibJab suit has been settled. The resolution was a complete victory for JibJab, which will be entitled to continue distributing the “This Land” animation without further interference from Ludlow.

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Date
20040826
Activism
Time
14:03
It’s official; Bush protestors will no be allowed to walk on the grass. (Cheers to ScaryDuck for the heads-up.)

I think from this point on, we can pretty much take violence as a given. Well done to the Republicans for getting just what they wanted.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040826
Tony Blair
Time
15:12
ImpeachBlair.org is now live. The report is available in PDF format.

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Date
20040826
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
16:18
BBC – US admits ‘bounty hunter’ contact: The US Department of Defense has admitted having contact with a former US soldier, Jonathan Idema, charged in Afghanistan with torturing civilians.

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Date
20040826
In The News
Time
17:21
Kathryn Cramer: Somewhat to my surprise, I find the answer to the timing of the Mark Thatcher arrest: he was getting ready to move to the US where presumably his attempts to liberate the oil of Equatorial Guinea from oppression would be more appreciated.

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Date
20040827
Bunch of Stuff
Time
10:13
I’m building a modest but important page at the moment. Research is required. Also, there’s Work to be done. A long weekend looms and clients have to be reached and nailed on certain bits and bobs before they take off early to brave the motorways.

In the meantime, please enjoy this excellent post on 527s and the difference between a ‘flip flop’ and a ‘change of heart’.

Also, you may want to consider this curious development brought to our attention by Wibbler

Guardian – Booth’s chambers will help impeach Blair over Iraq war: Cherie Booth’s chambers, Matrix, are to draw up the document to impeach her husband, Tony Blair, for “high crimes and misdemeanours” in the run up to the war against Iraq, it was disclosed yesterday… Yesterday Elfyn Llwyd, leader of Plaid Cymru, a lawyer and one of the MPs bringing the impeachment, said: “Matrix will not be doing this work on a pro bono basis, they will receive a full fee. Cherie Booth will of course will be ruled out as it would be a conflict of interest.”

Check out ImpeachBlair.org is you haven’t already, and please be patient with the PDF download, as demand is heavy and error messages are common. (BTW, this document could just as easily have been distributed as an RTF with a much lower file size… and there really should be a HTML version as well. I’ve scanned it already, but a full read won’t take place until this weekend.)

Contact your local MP. Find out where they stand. If you have a blog, publish their response and get them on record. (See Underblog, who has already made a start.) When this is all over (Blair’s premiership, I mean, not this small but exciting chapter of it) there’ll be lots of Labour MPs who will claim that they weren’t really behind the war blah-blah-blah. I for one would like to be able to identify the ones who actually took a stand when they had the chance.

Oh, Jody Dunn enjoyed a warm welcome yesterday, with 22 comments in all, but as Tom H notes: “It seems that Labour have already drafted in a few people to moan about any old thing – even if it has nothing to do with the issues in Hartlepool!”

If you’re not a big fan of digital brownshirts, perhaps you’d care to wander over that way today and make nice or offer the odd voice of reason.

More? You want more? Oh, go on then…

Enjoy a lesbian and gay summer camp in the Rockies, where you can stay in comfortable condos and “hold hands with whomever you want”. You’ll especially enjoy the section on rock-climbing. It has a photo that (I assume) shows the appropriate level of gratitude you should display when your partner catches you on the backup rope.

Man, that’s a lot of effort to find a girl you almost met. But true love works that way sometimes, I suppose.

Speaking of true love (and the trouble it can get you into)…

The Western Mail – Critical promise of British troops given in Sept 2002: These commitments given by the Prime Minister to the US President were not revealed to his Cabinet, to Parliament or to the public. In fact, the Prime Minister repeatedly said that no decisions had yet been taken.

PS – The best reports coming out of Najaf are coming via Back to Iraq. Some heady stuff.

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Date
20040827
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
13:12
Someone has decided that Tom Watson needs a slap, launched Comical Tommy and been rewarded with coverage.

My thoughts on Team Comical Tommy? Well, one thing that strikes me is that they either don’t get the Teens page or they’re determined to use it against Tom in the hope that others won’t either:

“Tom is very sensitive about people suggesting that his “laff riot” web page Teens! should be taken seriously.”

(says the man swinging his handbag)

“Despite the website appearing to make it look like he is an out of touch, middle-aged loser, he would like it to be made clear that he is being ironic and in reality is very much down with the kids. Only for real. Not a joke.”

(I’ll explain it again, just in case there are newbies around: The Teens page was not meant to appeal to teens. It was not meant to be funny to teens. It was meant to be funny to people who communicate online on a regular basis.)

Given the issue/s that prompted disquiet in Tom’s comments, I think it’s pretty clear what quarter this site originates from. Some may even argue that Tom asked for it, after the Lib-Dem bashing that has taken place on his blog and during the recent by-election (you can track some of the disquiet relating to the latter via this post).

Wait… back up…

Also possible is that:

- This is someone from another party or interest group, trying stir things up

- This is someone with no political affiliation, just pure outrage

- This is someone just wanting to start a fight for the sheer hell of it

- This is someone deliberately trying to disrupt the development of political weblogs

(Yeah, I know that last one is pretty unlikely. I just wanted to cover as many bases as possible because I love being right.)

Point. Back. On. Here we go…

What we’re looking at here is a potential catfight that will almost certainly spread to Jody Dunn’s new weblog and others. And everybody who hasn’t taken a side will most likely abandon ship. But not before the newspapers catch on and decide to aid their circulation by cheering or sneering from the sidelines.

This is not healthy behaviour. This is not helpful behaviour. And what matters most right now isn’t who’s behind it or who started it… but who’s going to finish it.

Peace be with you.

(Yes, I know I don’t have a comments feature. Please feel free to empty your chambers in alt.irony, on your own blog or via email.)

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Date
20040827
Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch
Time
14:57
OK, here you go… the best of the Page 3 editorials all in one place. Link away and share it with an audience you love. Please. (With any luck, I’ll be in the Top Ten for ‘page 3′ this time next week.)

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Date
20040827
Updates
Time
15:05
I’ve added a ‘Register To Vote’ button from DeclareYourself.com. You may also wish to have a peek at this page from GWB’s campaign site. (Tch! Somebody forgot to add the words “Vote Often!”)

Hey, while we’re on the subject, here’s an image I cooked up last night that shows the miracle of punctuation.

Oh, and if you can’t make it to NYC next week, perhaps you’d care to attend a party in your local area.

UPDATE – Also of interest…

What if the whole world could vote in the U.S. presidential election?

BBC – Bush admits Iraq ‘miscalculation’: US President George W Bush has acknowledged for the first time that he made a “miscalculation” of what conditions would be in post-war Iraq. Mr Bush told The New York Times that the error was by by-product of a “swift victory” in the initial conflict.

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Date
20040827
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
16:42
The new proxy-blog for Steve Pound has been added to the nav-bar, and the Blog Your MP page. Go and say ‘hello’ by all means.

The following candidates have also been added to the nav-bar, but I can see this becoming very crowded very soon. I may have to launch a directory instead:

Conservative Candidate Iain Dale

Conservative Candidate Kevin Davis

Lib-Dem Candidate Jody Dunn

Speaking of directories, I’ve also added TheyWorkForYou.com more or less as a ‘the rest’ link and a couple of Official Plugs for the new directory Near.co.uk.

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Date
20040827
119 (please note correct formatting of date)
Time
17:38
Toy In Candy Bag Appears To Depict 9/11 Attack (Link via Catch.)

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Date
20040827
Flash Games
Time
17:50
Battleship, anyone?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040831
Tony Blair
Time
09:34
BBC – Blair returns to hectic schedule: Tony Blair will start his first day back at his desk after his summer break promoting Labour’s efforts to tackle anti-social behaviour. In his first official engagement he will try to seize the initiative on the government’s domestic agenda. The prime minister’s busy in-tray includes a set of potentially highly-charged political issues. They include new Northern Ireland peace talks, a possible ban on fox hunting, Labour’s conference and a by-election.

OK, so there is an anniversary to be exploited (so long as nobody uses the word ‘terror’), but yobs and foxes again? I thought these guys were supposed to me magicians of spin.

Oh, wait – there is spark of life there after all…

Independent – Howard fury over White House ban: Mr Howard hit back after it emerged that his calls for Mr Blair to stand down over the Iraq war have enraged the US President. The simmering feud was laid bare yesterday as it emerged that Karl Rove, Mr Bush’s most powerful official, told the Tory leader that he “could forget about meeting the President”…. Some Tories suspect a Downing Street dirty tricks operation to embarrass Mr Howard on the eve of the Republican Convention in New York. “You have to wonder how this got out when it did,” said one.

You have to wonder? You have to wonder? FFS, it broke on page 2 of Saturday’s Sun in yet another ‘exclusive’ from Trevor Kavanagh. The man behind the leak behind the leak. And you have to wonder?

From ‘subtle’ spin to pure muscle… What the bloody hell does Tony Blair think he’s doing putting this kind of pressure on the BBC?

Independent – Dyke unleashes ‘avenging fury’ on Blair Hutton, Campbell and the BBC governors: But it is Mr Dyke’s account of his relationship with Mr Blair that will attract most attention. A former Labour donor who even financially supported Mr Blair’s leadership bid, Mr Dyke reveals the Prime Minister sought to change BBC coverage on Iraq even before Gilligan’s fateful broadcast. He reveals that the Prime Minister sent personal letters to both himself and Gavyn Davies, the former BBC chairman, complaining about the corporation’s coverage. “It seems to me that there has been a real breakdown of the separation of news and comment,” Mr Blair wrote.

Jaw. Floor. Especially when you consider which news provider has the biggest problem with the separation of news and comment.

More…

Dyke: Blair ‘Unleashed Dogs on BBC’ over Iraq

No 10’s ‘vindictive pressure’

Dyke: How Blair betrayed me – and the BBC

Downing Street remains silent after Dyke accuses ‘bully’ Blair of interfering with BBC

That silence you hear is Mr Blair’s wish for privacy (hey, it worked for Blunkett last week) but I think we can look forward to some heady indignation and “He’s just plugging his book!” noises sometime this afternoon.

Related…

I read the report from ImpeachBlair.org over the weekend. Today, I’m going to email the organisers and ask why it’s not available in HTML format.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040831
George W. Bush
Time
09:36
Oooh, look – Bush wearing a ribbon he didn’t earn finally made the news. In one foreign newspaper…

Torygraph – Kerry campaign attacks President over ‘war honour he did not earn’

But – oh dear – linking it directly to the Kerry campaign in the headline? MoveOn.com?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040831
John Howard: 2nd to Fall?
Time
09:45
ABC – PM calls Oct 9 poll: “This election, ladies and gentlemen, will be about trust,” Mr Howard told a press conference. “Who do you trust to keep the economy strong and protect family living standards? Who do you trust to keep interest rates low? Who do you trust to lead the fight on Australia’s behalf against international terrorism?”

Absent or not, I may have to take part in this. Could all Australian readers please check in by email? Cheers.

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Date
20040831
A Blog is Born
Time
09:49
Nosemonkey launches Europhobia – “the musings of a one-time Eurosceptic turned pro-European”. You’ll like Nosemonkey. He owns one of those sense of humour thingies. Keeps it in a box. Even feeds it from time to time.

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Date
20040831
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
09:54
Memory Hole – Justice Department Censors Supreme Court Quote: Anybody who has read many official documents – including those making headlines in the last year or more – has seen plenty of redactions (those portions that are blacked out or otherwise made unreadable). This, we’re told, is for legitimate reasons, such as “national security” or “protecting intelligence sources and methods.” But now we have absolute, incontrovertible proof that the government also censors completely innocuous material simply because they don’t like it.

Plus…

Kerry’s daughters booed at MTV awards – the picture of the Bush twins on the giant screen behind them had nothing to do with it.

Who’s blogging at the RNC?

We’re Not in Lake Wobegon Anymore: How did the Party of Lincoln and Liberty transmogrify into the party of Newt Gingrich’s evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk?

Blogger sacked for blogging… by ‘Friend’ster. Bloggers take action.

Lots more on the RNC. This will be grouped in a dedicated post. Later.

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Date
20040831
Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch
Time
10:02
Page 3 – Model Propaganda reached over 8,000 people this weekend, thanks in no small part to this feature at BoingBoing submitted by Rod.

You can backtrack full linkage via Technorati if you’ve got the knowin’, but the two biggest tickles for me this morning include this cracking of the language barrier and this (ahem) impassioned response.

Incidentally, I was (finally) motivated to put the collection together after watching Outfoxed. There’s an NTSC VHS sitting on my shelf if anybody wishes to borrow it.

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Date
20040831
George W. Bush
Time
10:15
I saw a clip of this hard-hitting Q&A sesssion last night. The transcript doesn’t do it justice, so the following (actual) quote has been edited to give you a better idea of the timing…

AUDIENCE MEMBER: God bless you, Mr. Presi…

THE PRESIDENT: He has, thank you.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: …dent.

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Date
20040831
The War on Terror
Time
10:20
How Long Can the Country Stay Scared?: The DHS’s threat warnings have been vague, indeterminate, and unspecific. The threat index goes from yellow to orange and back again, although no one is entirely sure what either level means. We’ve been warned that the terrorists might use helicopters, scuba gear, even cheap prescription drugs from Canada. New York and Washington, D.C., were put on high alert one day, and the next day told that the alert was based on information years old. The careful wording of these alerts allows them not to require any sound, confirmed, accurate intelligence information, while at the same time guaranteeing hysterical media coverage. This headline-grabbing stuff might make for good movie plots, but it doesn’t make us safer.

And now, a totally unrelated link that should make you feel even saferer.

And, finally, Bush admits war on terror is unwinnable. Especially the way he plays it.

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Date
20040831
Flash Games
Time
10:24
Rooftop is secure. Oxygen supply looks good. Target in view… and we are GO for launch!

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Date
20040831
Activism
Time
10:26
New York Times – Vast Anti-Bush Rally Greets Republicans in New York: A roaring two-mile river of demonstrators surged through the canyons of Manhattan yesterday in the city’s largest political protest in decades, a raucous but peaceful spectacle that pilloried George W. Bush and demanded regime change in Washington.

But, of course, if you rely on Murdoch for news, all you’ll see is the inside of Madison Square Garden. Until there’s violence. Or at least some goofball getting shouty. So I’m sure you can guess what this crackdown nonsense is all about…

CNN – 264 arrested in NYC bicycle protest

A blog entry detailing these arrests, from a guy who took pictures of the cops arresting protestors… and got arrested himself.

Activist bike creator Joshua Kinberg arrested

Bikes Against Bush thwarted

Update on arrest of Joshua Kinberg, Bikes Against Bush

Speaking of goofballs, the Protest Warriors are also on the loose in NYC, which can only help. Here’s a blog entry from of these clever clogs who has trouble understanding some of the harsher reactions. It may have something to do with his assumption that everybody opposed to Bush is a liberal peacenik. More here and a video here. You’ll love watching them defend their attempts to disrupt the march and generally cause trouble with cries for ‘free speech’. I’m not at all surprised that Instapundit find them plugworthy.

*sigh*

Moving right along…

You may also be interested to know that there was at least one geek in attendance.

For more RNC protest coverage, check out Indymedia. While you can…

Secret Service Attempts Subpoena For Indymedia Logs as Part of Harassment Campaign: As was reported in today’s New York Times, the Department of Justice has opened a criminal investigation and is demanding records concerning anti-RNC deleagte posts to this website. Specifically, the DOJ is seeking information on lists of 2,200 RNC delegate names posted to our Open Newswire.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040831
RWCs
Time
10:48
On taking ownership of God… God is Not a Republican. Or a Democrat.

On taking ownership of 119… Mayor kicks off RNC with a flub.

On inadvertently speaking scraps of truth… Bush Calls Iraq a “Catastrophic Success”

And if you need a jolly good lunchtime ponder, juancole.com awaits.

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Date
20040831
The War on Stupid
Time
13:10
This week is your last chance to vote for the next leader of the Tory party. Blair and Blunkett are neck and neck.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040831
Richard Desmond the Pornographer
Time
14:44
Scaryduck has a go at Richard Desmond for having a go at the BBC.

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Date
20040831
RWCs
Time
16:55
What a nice lady. What a clever campaign.

I think we can assume that this is part of the whole ‘Support the Troops!’ thing. And that the other band-aid fell off the gaping wound under her nose.

UPDATE – CNN has a report. Yahoo is carrying the picture. See other people comment on this here, here and here.

UPDATE – Angry enought to want details? OK, I’ve got you covered. Try here, here and here.

UPDATE 2 – Well said, that man.

UPDATE 3 – And again. Never misunderestimate a wingnut’s ability to enrage and inspire.

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Date
20040831
An American Election
Time
17:50
Micahel Moore: The GOP doesn’t reflect America. Or acknowledge reality.

UPDATE – This just in; CNN has spotted an Hispanic woman at the RNC! (This isn’t likely to stay on the front page for long, so I saved you a screengrab.)

Oh, and here’s a whole bunch of pictures from the NYC protests. Poke around here and elsewhere at NYC Indymedia and you’ll see a whole lot more.

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Date
20040831
The (Now Reluctant) War President
Time
18:22
Salon.com – “I’m very ashamed”: The former Texas official who got George Bush into the National Guard apologizes for making sure that young men with important “family names” did not have to fight in Vietnam.

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Date
20040831
RWCs
Time
19:01
This Salon article pretty much says it all about the Protest Warriors. Please note that their input resulted in the only violent incident of the day: Protest Warriors, a Texas-based, right-wing group whose members have crashed lefty demonstrations carrying mocking signs like “Communism has only killed 100 million people. Let’s Give it Another Chance,” sent a contingent to march into the crowd. “We’re about to have some fun,” said Sergio Kadinsky, a 20-year-old Protest Warrior from City College of New York. At first, to their evident frustration, they were ignored or indulged. “They have the right to be here, but they’re jerks,” shrugged McCormick. Soon enough, though, a group of outraged anarchists saw what was going on, tied their bandanas around their faces, and charged, yelling, “Bullshit! Bullshit! Bullshit!” A brief fistfight ensued, during which several of the Protest Warriors’ signs were broken. That was pretty much the extent of the day’s violence.

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Date
20040831
Updates
Time
20:42
Working on getting Bloggerheads II together (at last). Click here for some test logos. Email me with a preference if you like.

Bloggage may be light tomorrow morning. Be warned.

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Date
20040831
Tony ‘King Blair
Time
21:19
Do you like my new headline? It’s dual purpose.

The Herald – Labour peer attacks Blair’s alliance with ‘lunatic’ US: BARONESS Kennedy, the leading human rights lawyer and Labour peer, last night declared that Tony Blair had sold out Britain and lost his moral authority by aligning himself with the “lunatic” government of the United States.

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Date
20040831
George W. Bush
Time
21:29
Heh. That idea I was pondering on last Tuesday was Champagne Unit Veterans For The Truth. The ‘ideal’ proponents didn’t take it on, but no matter – the idea had already occured elsewhere and there’s already a willing team or two on the case:

Cheerleaders for Truth

Pleasure Boat Captains for Truth

I wonder if they’ll get equal airtime….








About Tim Ireland

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