15-29 September, 2004

This entry was posted on
Wednesday, September 15th, 2004
at
9:11 am and is filed
under Uncategorized.

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Date
20040915
Tony ‘King Blair
Time
09:11


(Click here for a desktop version of this image.)

Blimey! We almost did it! (And by ‘we’, I mean we as a nation, not we as a bunch of interwebbers.)

Independent – Blair almost quit because of family pressures, says Bragg: Tony Blair considered quitting this year because “family considerations” were pressing and he was under “colossal strain”, Lord Bragg, the television arts presenter and close friend, said last night.

Guardian – Family stress nearly made Blair quit, claims Bragg: The Labour peer, Melvyn Bragg, whose wife, Cate Haste, co-authored Cherie Blair’s new book on Downing Street spouses, made the claim during an interview with ITV News which caught No 10 on the hop.

ITV – Blair mulled quitting over family: Asked whether Mr Blair had considered resigning earlier this year, Lord Bragg said: “I think that he was under tremendous stress. He was being hammered in the press. Perhaps he had doubts about some policies, perhaps not. But in my view, the real stress was personal and family, which matters most to him. And my guess is that the considerations of his family became very pressing and that was what made him think things over very carefully. That is my guess.”

But it was nothing to do with Iraq, nossir. Family pressures.

Cherie wants the kitchen done over because the energy patterns are all wrong. And this comes just after she finally sorted out the flow in the bathroom. Leo’s well past his first word, but it’s a terribly rude one and he just won’t stop saying it. Euan is kicking up a stink because he’s stuck at Bristol University when he really wanted to learn gun-running at Eton. Kathryn’s started taking an interest in boys, but she’s of age. The real problem is with Nicky, who appears to be taking an interest in girls*.

(*None of this is true.)

Damn it, we almost had him. What killed us then was people like John Reid coming out with a story that pretty much runs as follows:

I certainly didn’t ask Mr Blair if he was considering resigning, because it’s simply not an issue. But I got the very clear impression that he wouldn’t. Because it’s simply not an issue. There is no crisis. I’m here to tell you that there is no crisis. Don’t think for a moment that I’ve been wheeled out because there is a crisis, because I just popped in for this interview on my way to make a cup of tea. I like to drink warm, hot cups of tea when nothing of consequence is going on.

And, wouldn’t you know it, Reid was on BBC radio 4 this morning telling this exact same story. Because Downing St couldn’t possibly comment.

Torygraph – Blair ‘nearly quit over family’: According to the spokesman, Mr Blair still stood by his statement in July that he had not considered quitting as Prime Minister. But Downing Street refused to discuss the substance of Lord Bragg’s allegations or the closeness of his relationship with the Blair family.

Damn it, we almost had him. But we let it go because of the power of denial.

Perhaps it’s time to rephrase the question.

No more “Will Blair resign?”; try instead “When will Blair resign?”

You can ignore the pretence that it’s not going to happen.

In fact, you can help to make it inevitable.

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Date
20040915
An American Election
Time
09:15
Reuters – Bush Avoids Issue of Iran, N.Korea on Campaign Trail: As he campaigns on a platform of having made America safer, President Bush usually does not talk about nuclear disputes with North Korea and Iran that show no sign of resolution. Bush did not mention the two countries, once branded by him as part of an “axis of evil,” in his recent Republican Convention address and he has not made them a campaign staple.

Well, he doesn’t want to reveal that he has no plan, obviously. That you’re afraid is enough. Fear over substance; don’t misunderestimate it.

(Link via Codewolf.)

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Date
20040915
Inneresting
Time
09:19
100 photographs that changed the world. (Well, 28 of them at least. You have to buy the book to see them all.)

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Date
20040915
Only Interesting To Bloggers
Time
09:21
I’m terribly sorry, I’ll read that again; Blair considered resigning because of his family weblog.

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Date
20040915
Video
Time
09:23
DNC Video: Fortunate Son (for Windows media and ReallyCrapPlayer – your mileage may vary).

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Date
20040915
Bush: AWOL
Time
09:36
Kevin Drum: I think it’s time for everyone to give up on this. The memos are almost certainly fakes, they’re sucking up media bandwidth that could be better used elsewhere, and Dan Rather is toast. Besides, there was really nothing in them that told us anything new.

Right on. We can’t have the freepers bleating ‘forgery’ all over the place, because it dilutes the effectiveness of actual evidence….

Unreleased document shows Bush failed to fulfil his commitments: A newly discovered document that was withheld by the White House when it released “all the records” shows that Bush promised to serve in the Air National Guard well beyond the termination of his six year Military Service Obligation. In this document, simply labeled “AGREEMENT”, Bush acknowledges that his training will require “the expenditure of extensive public funds” and in exchange for “undergraduate pilot training”, he agreed to serve for at least five years after the completion of that training…. The source of this document was someone with unquestioned access to it, and there is no doubt regarding its authenticity. There is also no question that it has been withheld by the White House.

I’m not sure if this one is a door slamming or a screen door creaking open. Stay tuned.

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Date
20040915
The Grand & Dirty Game
Time
09:51
I love people who continually insist that nothing of the sort would ever happen, we’re being paranoid and so on – and then immediately switch to “Oh do, grow up – everbody does it!” the moment proof comes to light. I say this because I expect to hear from a few of these people today…

April 30, 2003 – Guardian – Storm over alleged bugging transcripts: During today’s prime minister’s question time, Labour MP Andrew Mackinlay asked Mr Blair if the government still subscribed to the Wilson doctrine – that the security forces should not bug MP’s phones. “I reaffirm the Wilson doctrine but will not comment on matters of security,” Mr Blair replied. Earlier, a Downing Street spokeman said: “We have no idea whether this document is genuine and therefore we have no comment to make.”

September 15, 2004 – Sinn Fein to challenge Blair over listening bug: Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein leader, accused the government of “gross hypocrisy” before tomorrow’s Northern Ireland peace talks after a bugging device was found hidden in the floor of a party office in west Belfast. The device, which was 1 metre 63 cm long (5ft 3in) and disguised as a floor joist, was hidden under carpet tiles in a first-floor office. The party said two live microphones were pointed towards the office and a downstairs conference room where the officials had in the past held meetings with Bill Clinton’s campaign team.

So now Gerry Adams plans to deliver it to Tony Blair. Presumably so he can determine if it’s genuine.

PS – This never happened.

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Date
20040915
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
17:06
1. I always seem to end up in Westminster on unrelated matters just when things get interesting. I think someone is trying to tell me something. (PS – Balders has a word or two on the fox hunting thingie.)

2. Met Boris. Hell of a nice chap. He cottoned on immediately and is Keen. As. Mustard…. you’re in for a treat.

That’s about it for now. Back to the domain issue….

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Date
20040915
The End of Democracy
Time
17:12
Relax. Everything is fine. (Link via ScaryDuck.)

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Date
20040915
Humanity
Time
17:14
It’s an election ploy.

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Date
20040915
Tinfoil Helmets
Time
17:15
The nurses run naked in Portsmouth General. I repeat: The nurses run naked in Portsmouth General.

PS – In 2003, I blogged my plans for May Day. I found police waiting for me. They knew just who I was, which is probably why this happened. Next May Day, I hope to bring a surprise to the table.

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Date
20040915
The War on Stupid
Time
17:22
Scotsman – Al Qaida ‘Duped Allies into Waging War’: One of al Qaida’s aims in its September 11 attacks on the US three years ago was to draw the west into military conflict on Arab soil, Prime Minister Tony Blair’s former envoy to Iraq acknowledged today. Sir Jeremy Greenstock’s comments appeared to give some credence to the argument of critics of the Iraq War that the US and UK played into al Qaida’s hands by launching last year’s invasion.

(Link via Abnu, who is one of those naive peaceniks who sides with terrorists.)

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Date
20040916
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
09:52
Guardian – Iraq war was illegal and breached UN charter, says Annan: The United Nations secretary general, Kofi Annan, declared explicitly for the first time last night that the US-led war on Iraq was illegal. Mr Annan said that the invasion was not sanctioned by the UN security council or in accordance with the UN’s founding charter. In an interview with the BBC World Service broadcast last night, he was asked outright if the war was illegal. He replied: “Yes, if you wish.” He then added unequivocally: “I have indicated it was not in conformity with the UN charter. From our point of view and from the charter point of view it was illegal.”

BBC – Iraq war illegal, says Annan : He has said from the beginning the invasion did not conform with the UN charter – phrasing that was seen as a diplomatic way of saying the war was illegal. Our correspondent says Mr Annan’s relationship with the US might be made a little uncomfortable for a while following his comments, but both sides are likely to want to play it down. US President George W Bush is due to speak at the UN General Assembly next week.

The reaction? Predictable:

Australian PM rejects Annan’s claims Iraq war ‘illegal’, criticises UN

Patricia Hewitt: Iraq War ‘Lawful and Necessary’

What you have to watch out for here is the Resolution Two-Step.

Blair makes much of the fact that resolution 1441 was passed unanimously; it allows him to suggest that we had international support.

Here he is, side by side with Bush as this favourite claim of his is pushed forward: ” And in respect to Iraq, we should not forget Resolution 1441 that was passed in the United Nations, in which the entire international community accepted the threat that Iraq constituted.”

Here he is, selling it himself in the House of Commons: “We expected – I expected – to find actual usable chemical or biological weapons shortly after we entered Iraq. We even made significant contingency plans in respect of their use against our troops. UN resolution 1441, in November 2002, was passed unanimously by the whole Security Council, including Syria, on the basis that Iraq was a WMD threat.”

However, (skipping quietly over the phantom menace of WMDs) resolution 1441 does not authorise force. It was deliberately worded that way. And it was only this wording that allowed the resolution to be passed unanimously (if at all).

Blair and his cronies will then slip through the next sentence (much like Patricia Hewitt did this morning) stating that “Iraq was indeed lawful and why we believed it was necessary to uphold those UN resolutions” (please note the curiously plural aspect of that last word).

Scotsman – Attorney General Advised Blair War Was Legal – Butler: According to the Attorney General, the existing UN Security Council resolution 1441 – and the earlier resolutions 678 and 687, passed at the time of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait – already contained authorisation for military action in this case, without the need for a fresh resolution specifically triggering war.

And that’s the guts of it, really. But there’s another bluff to it. Blairites are also fond of repeating the mantra that they published the legal advice they received. But this advice has not been published in full and remains an official secret. And one can only wonder why…

Guardian – War chief reveals legal crisis: It emerged last week that an earlier draft of the advice, produced around 7 March , prevaricated on whether an invasion of Iraq was legal without a second United Nations resolution. The Attorney-General was then ‘sitting on the fence’, said a senior Government legal source. He was forced to redraft this advice as the countdown to war continued. The Observer has discovered that Goldsmith flew to Washington in early February for a crisis meeting with his American counterpart, John Ashcroft, to discuss the war’s legality.

Sunday Herald – US told UK Attorney General to alter legal advice on Iraq war: The attorney general initially told Tony Blair that an invasion of Iraq would be illegal without a new resolution from the United Nations and only overturned his advice when Washington ordered Downing Street to find legal advice which would justify the war. The devastating claim will be made by eminent QC and Labour peer Baroness Helena Kennedy in a television interview today.

If the case is sound, sound enough to base a war on, then why not publish the advice in full?

Because… This. War. Was. And. Is. Illegal.

And you can’t wheel out the moral case about Iraq being better off without Saddam and us liberating the poor suffering Iraqis (and here we skip over the minor issue of the detention and torture of soldiers and civilians) because this poor legal standing is one of the major factors in the mess Iraq has become. It also lends terrorists legitimacy in some quarters. This was bad for Iraq and bad for the so-called War on Terror.

Blair wanted a second resolution. Legally, he needed it. But in the end he had to make do with a hodge-podge of decade-old resolutions that had nothing to do with the situation in Iraq as it stood on the eve of war.

And he’s been getting away with this bluff ever since.

Enough from me. Let’s get back to the news…

Independent – Annan declares Iraq war illegal and warns of election credibility: Lord Goldsmith argued that the threat from weapons of mass destruction was one of the reasons for justifying action under UN resolution 1441. However, the Iraq Survey Group is expected to confirm that no evidence of WMD has been found. Elizabeth Wilmshurst, the number two in the Foreign Office legal team, resigned in protest at the case for attacking Iraq in a pre-emptive strike, a week before the war began. It has also been claimed that the Foreign Office fears that its legal justification for the war on Iraq could be open to legal challenge as a result of the ruling in the International Court of Justice against the construction of Israel’s security wall.

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Date
20040916
The Animal Kingdom
Time
10:00
Let’s go snake-hunting!

Let’s tease leopards! (1.5Mb WMV file)

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Date
20040916
Useful
Time
10:03
This Is Broken – “A project to make businesses more aware of their customer experience, and how to fix it.”

(Link via famous and nonfamous strangers.)

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Date
20040916
The Environment
Time
10:06
Pardon my cynicism.

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Date
20040916
The Interweb
Time
10:06
Hooray for Geoff and his shiny new iPod!

Also, Spam is 100 years old.

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Date
20040916
The End of Democracy
Time
10:08
From Steve Garfield’s video blog…. (channels Bee Gees)…. Some-one’s breaking laws… in Massachusetts…

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Date
20040916
Only Interesting To Bloggers
Time
10:18
Belle de Jour calls it a day now the book deal’s in the bag. I think we’ve all been had.

This link comes to you courtesy of ScaryDuck who (brace for fanfare) who – after “fifteen years writing on media news and human rights”, gets his first-ever by-line on an ‘And Finally’ piece on Star Trek. Kahlesste kaase!

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Date
20040916
John Howard: 2nd to Fall?
Time
10:19
Australian politician injured by too much handshaking while campaigning. (Link via Baked Bens.)

I’ll have more on the Australian election later today. Possibly tonight.

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Date
20040916
Useful
Time
10:22
AltWeeklies.com – news and arts reporting from more than 100 alternative newsweeklies.

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Date
20040916
Video
Time
10:29
HoldThemAccountable.com is going into bat, taking on the issue of the Bush administration’s incompetent execution of the war in Iraq. The site features previews of ads that air in Wisconsin and West Virginia on Monday. Go see.

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Date
20040916
Bush: AWOL
Time
10:32
Kevin Drum on why the forgery claims matter not a jot.

Also, an interesting exchange for you (please note the impeccable source):

Q Scott, on the National Guard documents on “60 Minutes,” the First Lady says she believes these are forgeries. The RNC has accused the Democratic Party of being the source of these documents. Knowing then what you know now, would you still have released those documents when you did?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, that’s a hypothetical question, John. We received those documents from a major news organization. We had every reason to believe that they were authentic at that time.

Here’s Atrios asking the same question I asked a few days ago: If the basic thrust of the memos was false – if, say, Bush came forward and said “Hey, wait a minute! Those can’t be real! I never disobeyed a direct order…” then why would our dear Scotty say such a thing?

In case you missed it: The Bush AWOL ‘Forgeries': Fonts Do Not Unmake Facts

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Date
20040916
Photoshopping
Time
10:42
A bunch of high-resolution UK roadsigns. Because when I go ‘shopping, I can never find decent versions. But now I can. Yes, this link is mainly for my reference. Deal with it.

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Date
20040916
Proper Gander
Time
10:44
A treat for Australians – a Gutless Johnny poster. You may recognise the basic pic/concept, but when I saw a great source image for Little Johhny Howard last night, its placement was obvious. Just look at the ‘morning after’ regret on the man’s face. Lovely stuff, even if I do say so myself.

You can download an A4-sized poster version here.

I simply didn’t have enough time to get a Flash show together in time for TimeToGoJohn.com, but I hope this will help in some small part.

(Oh, on the subject of Flash shows, I have another in the works and sorted the script, soundtrack, framework and timing last night. The subject? Torture.)

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Date
20040916
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s…. oh FFS…
Time
10:53
Guardian – UK officers linked to torture jail: The Ministry of Defence has admitted for the first time that senior British officers were working closely with American commanders at Abu Ghraib, the Baghdad prison where Iraqi prisoners were systematically abused and humiliated. Two intelligence officers, Colonel Chris Terrington and Colonel Campbell James, were “embedded within” the US unit responsible for extracting information from Iraqi prisoners, the armed forces minister, Adam Ingram, disclosed. Col Terrington is said to have joined the intelligence chain of command at Abu Ghraib in November 2003, when many of the most serious abuses occurred. The admission came in a parliamentary answer to Adam Price, the Plaid Cymru MP who has been pursuing the government over what Britain knew about the serious abuse of Iraqi detainees at the jail.

Heads-up via Perfect.co.uk. You can see the relevant entry in Hansard here. (Bugger. Now I may have to alter my script.)

UPDATE – It might be nice if you could find the time to get in touch with Adam Price and congratulate him. I just did.

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Date
20040916
In The News
Time
14:40
What he said. Every word. ‘Defining moment’ my arse.

UPDATE – And here’s a ‘compare and contrast’ moment for you.

UPDATE 2 – And now we have this.

OK, prepare yourselves… I’m going to ask for calm.

Yes, hypocrisy abounds, but don’t forget The Big One.

Just a few short weeks ago new laws were passed to protect some even richer people who torture and kill animals for profit. Because they don’t want their competitors to know what they’re up to (again, for reasons of profit), a lot of the same research is done many times over. Which means many animals suffer and die needlessly. This is just one factor that pisses on their ‘for the good of mankind’ argument.

Blair has effectively protected one elite group and targeted another. Within a month. Over more or less the same goddamn issue. To take your minds off something else.

Now let me see… what would that be….?

Ah, yes:

Torture. Human beings. Watch this space.

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Date
20040917
Proper Gander
Time
09:59
Writing. With you in a jiffy. (That’s about 1 earth hour as the crow flies.)

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Date
20040917
The End of Democracy
Time
11:54
Well, there it is, folks. The last nail in the coffin. Well done, The Sun.

More here.

It will take a strong man to ensure that this doesn’t turn parliament into an island. Is Peter Hain up to it?

Why don’t you get in touch with him and ask?

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Date
20040917
Only Interesting To Bloggers
Time
11:58
It’s another blogging award! You know what to do, folks. Make with the sweet, sweet love.

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Date
20040917
Tony ‘King Blair
Time
12:00
Fight to impeach Blair gains support

The case against the PM

IthinkIcanIthinkIcanIknowIcanIknowIcan…

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Date
20040917
Flash Music Video
Time
12:01
OK, folks – this is it. This is my final shot before the US election. Next week I’m going to have a little lie down, but I hope I leave you with something valuable and useful in the War on Stupid:

Something Funny Happened On The Way To Abu Ghraib

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Date
20040917
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely! It’s Over!
Time
13:54
The War In Iraq Is Now Officially Unwinnable.

The best we can hope for by the end of next year is “tenuous stability.”

I bet us naive peaceniks get the blame.

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Date
20040917
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
15:04
Thanks to a lead from Perfect.co.uk and Guacamoleville, I find myself staring in disbelief at the just-launched website of Iain Wright, the Labour candidate for Hartlepool.

Why doesn’t he open up with a blog? Well, I hate to be big-headed about it, but perhaps – just perhaps – someone somewhere is/was worried how I would react to his little Shop-A-Yob campaign. (That, or they figured that there was no point building a weblog that would only be used for two weeks.)

Fear of terrorism, fear of crime, it all comes from the same barrel of bulldust. Nevertheless, I wish the manchild well in his endeavours.

(UPDATE – Shopping spammers, on the other hand, is perfectly acceptable IMO. I make no excuses for this outright hypocrisy.)

UPDATE 2 – Oh dear. Shane advises me that the site appears to have been withdrawn. Go to the front page now (5:30pm) and you see this default page from the domain provider ‘DomainsRForever’. £1.98 domains with ad-free forwarding? Bargain!

Wait-wait-wait… it gets betterer. The site appears to be provided by a company called Net Efficiency Ltd (who do quite a lot of work for Labour, by the looks of things). Pfft!

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Date
20040917
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s…. oh FFS…
Time
15:16
Soldiers say they were told to re-enlist or face deployment to Iraq

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Date
20040917
RWCs
Time
15:22
Serial Republican Victim complains for the THIRD straight presidential election of being assaulted and has his family assist. Perhaps. Maybe it’s a complete coincidence and people just don’t like him.

Also see Kicking ‘em While They’re Down.

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Date
20040917
Music
Time
16:00
Something you may want to check out before you get that band-shot done.

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Date
20040917
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
16:37
Boris. Monday. Be here.

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Date
20040917
Flash Thingies
Time
18:22
Pwahahahahahahahahahahaha! If you’ve ever contributed to any message board for any period of time, you need to see this. It totally roxorz teh big ONE11111. (Please use headphones if you’re in the office or with the kiddies.)

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Date
20040918
Tony ‘King Blair
Time
09:44
Oooooh… gossip, gossip, gossip, gossip! I particularly like the ‘Miranda’ theory, but if you’re after relatively sensible discussion on Blair’s daughter Kathryn and the (un)reported suicide attempt, you may find some here. (Please note that I did use the words may and some.)

Suicide and the media (a useful link via the all-seeing eye).

Looks like this is about to break out regardless of pressure from Blair and nicey-nicey treatment from the media. Especially now that it’s been reported that no-one’s reporting it (so it’s bound to be Question Of The Week across the interweb). I got a whiff of this in June, but wasn’t really blogging at the time (or paying attention) so it kind of passed me by. (So it’s sheer luck – and luck alone – that sees Kathryn getting off so lightly in this rant from Wednesday.)

My gut tells me to stick to my initial thoughts:

She’s only 15 or 16, for God’s sake! You don’t want to go swinging her around like some kind of weapon.

Blimey. She’s 15 or 16. That’s a very idealistic age. And there’s no escaping school. She must be surrounded by shouty people. That’s got to suck.

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Date
20040918
The War on Stupid
Time
14:27
To. Be. Read. In. Full.

Ah, me. Those were the days. Remember going out with your Dad to help round up anyone who looked Irish? Remember how we took on the IRA by invading Scotland? Great times.

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Date
20040918
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s… Uh-oh.
Time
16:41
Into the abyss – the week Iraq’s dream of peace fell apart

Secret papers show Blair ‘warned over Iraq post-war chaos’ (more here)

Iraq had no WMD: the final verdict

(reaches for fork)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040920
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely! It’s Over!
Time
09:37
Guardian – Blair: we must win this new conflict: Britain is embroiled in a fresh conflict with Iraq as it battles to quash global terrorism for ever, Tony Blair declared in a stark relabelling of the situation yesterday.

Independent – Optimism in London, carnage in Iraq: Mr Blair said: “Whatever the disagreements about the first conflict in Iraq to remove Saddam, in this conflict now taking place in Iraq, this is the crucible in which the future of this global terrorism will be determined. Either it will succeed and this terrorism will grow, or we will succeed, the Iraqi people will succeed and this global terrorism will be delivered a huge defeat. I do say to people in this new Iraqi conflict, whatever the disagreements about the removal of Saddam, there is only one side for sensible and reasonable people to be on. Now is not the time for the international community to divide or disagree but to come together behind what is happening in Iraq.”

What? Another line drawn under Iraq?

*sigh*

We’re not buying it.

Told you so:

Bloggerheads Sep 17: The best we can hope for (in Iraq) by the end of next year is “tenuous stability.” I bet us naive peaceniks get the blame.

Independent Sep 20: Writing in The Independent today Mr Allawi condemns “sceptics and nay-sayers” and urges “all nations to assist Iraq”.

I love the use of the word ‘crucible’, where ‘hotbed’ would have served just as well.

We did this. We brought terrorism to Iraq (by claiming it was already there). And then we better enabled it by going in without legitimacy.

It’s not a case of “You made this problem; you deal with it.” It’s case of “You are A BIG BLOODY PART OF THIS PROBLEM and we can’t deal with it with you and your bad smell hanging around.”

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; the only line that can be drawn under Iraq will have Tony Blair (and George W. Bush) on the other side of it.

UPDATE – Mark Steyn lays into us cheese-eating surrender monkeys. I love insurgents, I do. Almost as much as I love Saddam.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040920
The War on Stupid
Time
09:38
OsamaSweepstakes.com: We all know it’s coming… at some point in the next couple of months, Dubya and his cronies are going to miraculously ‘find’ Osama bin Laden and present him to the American public as if he hasn’t been sitting around for the last year in Guantanamo under close CIA supervision… and next thing you know, it’s another four years of this bunch of crooks.

My bet’s on Oct 23rd. Which means they’ll probably have to start thawing him out sometime around Oct 10th. (Link via Cynical-C.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040920
Google-Juice
Time
09:44
Eris Bless America

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040920
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
09:45
Nick Barlow also notes the ups an downs of manchild Ian Wright’s website. He’s also pointed us in the direction of this comments thread at Jody Dunn’s blog where it’s pointed out that this appeared in the latest Mercury Reader: “If the Lib dem candidate wants to use her website to attack the people of Hartlepool that is her problem, don’t expect Iain Wright to follow suit. He has more sense and more respect for the town.”

(See Sep 10th bloggage re: “drunk, flanked by an angry dog, or undressed” locals if this is new to you.)

So, going one better than Jody Dunn (who has obviously insulted ‘all’ of the people of Hartlepool, Iain Wright appears to be suggesting that they ‘all’ should be locked up.

And if we’re going to get down to insults to the community, let’s take a comparative look at the candidate’s attitudes to the online community…

Jody Dunn – a two-way channel that invites comments (a feature has been openly abused by Labour flunkies).

Iain ‘Manchild’ Wright – a one-way broadcast page that invites comment (hastily thrown together with a £1.98 domain name and free hosting that barely holds together).

UPDATE – FOCI Vs. MT. MT wins.

UPDATE 2 – Dave at Backword says: Um, aren’t Labour the incumbent party? Why did the present MP let these “drug abusers” and “teen gangs” terrorise Hartlepool?

Want to follow? Watch Guacamoleville.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040920
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:17
Arrrr, I missed it.

Star Wars Vs. Star Trek – Round #672

Why You Should Ignore The Gallup Poll This Morning – And Maybe Other Gallup Polls As Wellthe Gallup Poll, despite its reputation, assumes that this November 40% of those turning out to vote will be Republicans, and only 33% will be Democrat. You read that correctly.

The Official God FAQ

Macaulay Culkin Drug Bust

Kerry campaign accused of ‘doing a Cheney’ – if so, they’re not helping.

Agent behind fake uranium documents worked for France – if so, they weren’t helping.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040920
Bush: AWOL
Time
10:18
Washington Post – In Rush to Air, CBS Quashed Memo Worries: An examination of the process that led to the broadcast, based on interviews with the participants and more than 20 independent analysts, shows that CBS rushed the story onto the air while ignoring the advice of its own outside experts, and used as corroborating witnesses people who had no firsthand knowledge of the documents.

Here’s a close look at those documents from the same paper. And here’s George W. Bush saying that questions should be asked about the documents – but not his service record….

New York Times – Bush Says Questions About Guard Memos Used by CBS ‘Need to Be Answered’: President Bush said in an interview published yesterday that there were serious questions about the authenticity of documents featured in a CBS News report suggesting that he received preferential treatment in the Texas National Guard three decades ago. Speaking publicly for the first time about the documents, Mr. Bush told The Manchester Union-Leader, “There are a lot of questions and they need to be answered… I think what needs to happen is people need to take a look at the documents, how they were created, and let the truth come out.” Mr. Bush stopped short of calling the documents forgeries but said: “I met my requirements and was honorably discharged. I’m proud of my service in the Guard.”

UPDATE Salon.com – Bush in the National Guard: A primer: The flap over dubious documents has obscured the real story. Here it is.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040920
RWCs
Time
10:27
Via NeoSocListen to some interesting Donald Rumsfeld quotes or enjoy this wonderful overview.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040920
The Big Intervention
Time
10:30
Rob has finally got a response from Sarah Teather, which reads: “I think that the British people can serve their judgement on the Prime Minister’s policies – and on [Liberal Democrat] alternatives – through the ballot box at the next election.”

So let’s all sit on our hands until then, OK folks?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040920
Flash Games
Time
10:36
Bah-pah-bah-pah, bah-bah-pah… bah-pah-bah-pah, bah-bah-bah-bah-pah!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040920
Inneresting
Time
10:39
Shades of IsThisYou?…. I Found Some Of Your Life.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040920
Advertising Genius
Time
10:40
Corporate Websites Suck

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040920
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
10:40
Boris. Soon.

We just have to do a whip-round for the 50p in hosting charges….

Meanwhile, something to chew on… If the Libs join up with Lab, can we call them the Labia Party? (No? Not even if Alastair Campbell returns?)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040920
Photoshopping
Time
15:58
Hang in there, folks. We have one last hurdle on Boris’s weblog, and I’m sure you can guess what that is.

While you wait… here’s Iain. He’s terribly local. And tough on crime. Crime that got out of control while Labour was in charge. (Erm… did I mention that he was local?)

UPDATE – Another distraction for you… Lego Tetris!

UPDATE – Pahahahahahaha! Life imitates art: Iain MAD!!!!!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040920
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
17:14
The Boris Johnson weblog is now live.

Cheers to Wibbler for bringing the design to life (and for all the back-breaking back-end work) and to Shane for the initial point of contact (he sent an email to all MPs with proxy blogs in an effort to gauge reactions and raise awareness).

Go and see. Make a comment. Have fun. Our first Tory MP is here at last.

UPDATES:

1. Press Release

2. Aw, shucks!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040920
Video
Time
18:24
Bush Vs. Jesus, now available in video format: Jesus – Wrong For America

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Date
20040920
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
19:10
British Spin is doing a final wobble before falling to the floor. For a number of reasons that are too complicated to list here (but seem perfectly reasonable to me) the author wishes to attempt a newsletter format in its stead.

I urge you to subscribe to the new newsletter by sending an email to:

britishspin AT hotmail DOT com (tell them Bloggerheads sent you)

Two reasons:

1. I’d like to encourage the author to keep plugging away.

2. If I generate enough responses I get to take control of British Spin, thereby expanding my already-mighty online media empire (actually, I’ll probably hand it off to someone who I think will do it justice).

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040921
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
09:29
Wikipedia Reaches One Million Articles.

A “Home Computer” in 2004 (as envisioned in 1954) – funny, but fake.

Google recruiting minions of Gates.

The rest is Bush/Guard/CBS/Memo stuff that I’ll group in a separate post.

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Date
20040921
Compare and Contrast
Time
09:32
Robert Novak – Quick exit from Iraq is likely: Inside the Bush administration policymaking apparatus, there is strong feeling that U.S. troops must leave Iraq next year. This determination is not predicated on success in implanting Iraqi democracy and internal stability. Rather, the officials are saying: Ready or not, here we go.

George Bush April 5, 2004: I just met with Specialist Chris Hill’s family from North Carolina. You know, I told the family how much we appreciated his sacrifice — he was killed in Iraq — and assured him that we would stay the course, that a free Iraq was very important for peace in the world, long-term peace, and that we’re being challenged in Iraq because there are people there that hate freedom.

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Date
20040921
Consume!
Time
09:34
A gripping read, as recommended by The Ultimate Insult.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040921
Bush: AWOL
Time
09:35
New York Times – CBS News Concludes It Was Misled on National Guard Memos, Network Officials Say: After days of expressing confidence about the documents used in a “60 Minutes” report that raised new questions about President Bush’s National Guard service, CBS News officials have grave doubts about the authenticity of the material, network officials said last night. The officials, who asked not to be identified, said CBS News would most likely make an announcement as early as today that it had been deceived about the documents’ origins.

CBS News – Dan Rather Statement On Memos: Now, after extensive additional interviews, I no longer have the confidence in these documents that would allow us to continue vouching for them journalistically. I find we have been misled on the key question of how our source for the documents came into possession of these papers. That, combined with some of the questions that have been raised in public and in the press, leads me to a point where-if I knew then what I know now-I would not have gone ahead with the story as it was aired, and I certainly would not have used the documents in question.

Here’s yet another attempt to link the source and smell to the Kerry campaign, but I still think this whole thing stinks of Rove – especially as it makes Bush innocent in the public eye when – in truth – these documents being fake do nothing to clear Bush. They only serve as a major distraction.

This is still true. Every word.

Here’s a closing thought from The American Prospect: The parallels are obvious when you think about it, and on many levels. I mean, surely, if Rather should resign because “60 Minutes” got snowed by a source and ran a story on documents that turned out to be fraudulent, than Bush should resign after he and his administration made false claims about Saddam Hussein’s weapons program based on documents that turned out to be fraudulent. Right?

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Date
20040921
An American Election
Time
09:37
I’ll let Kevin Drum introduce John Kerry’s speech at New York University.

Also, something to chew on… Are You Better Off Now Than You Were Four Years Ago?

UPDATE – Kerry Speech breakdown.

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Date
20040921
Bunch of Stuff
Time
09:40
Two nifty links from the new Guardian Newsblog:

Derelict London – Not the greatest web design ever, but do perservere. The rewards are considerable.

Corante – When will corporate blogging be recognised as a desirable skill?

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Date
20040921
Advertising Genius
Time
09:43
Whore this site and you could win big prizes! Hooray for marketing zombies.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040921
Activism
Time
09:50
Gentlemen, raise your glasses! (Link via Nick Barlow.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040921
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
09:51
British Spin is doing a final wobble before falling to the floor. For a number of reasons that are too complicated to list here (but seem perfectly reasonable to me) the author wishes to attempt a newsletter format in its stead.

I urge you to subscribe to the new newsletter by sending an email to:

britishspin AT hotmail DOT com (tell them Bloggerheads sent you)

Two reasons:

1. I’d like to encourage the author to keep plugging away.

2. If I generate enough responses I get to take control of British Spin, thereby expanding my already-mighty online media empire (actually, I’ll probably hand it off to someone who I think will do it justice).

Pardon the repeat, but I do have a new thought… this blog would be ever-so-useful as a UK-centric version of FactCheck.org, but whoever did it would have to be pretty neutral politically.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040921
George W. Bush
Time
09:54
Bush Jr.’s Skeleton Closet

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Date
20040921
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely! And You’re Next!
Time
09:55
Here comes the draft, boys and girls.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040921
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
09:57
An incredible welcome for Boris Johnson last night. You can check out the comments on his first post or enter his URL into Technorati to see what people are saying.

Issues of registration are being discussed. RSS is already there, we just need to provide a link on the front page. Someone has already dug it out and fed it into UK PoliBlogs.

UPDATE – Boris is now equal-26th on Blogdex and climbing. Amongst the linkage detected by Blogdex, I found this intriguing theory. There’s also a lovely plug at the Guardian’s Newsblog.

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Date
20040921
Pluggage
Time
11:12
Oi! I said Make with the love!

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Date
20040921
Photoshopping
Time
11:23
Had to be said. He certainly seems to have inherited a lot of problems.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040921
Pluggage
Time
15:44
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy returns to Radio 4, 6.30pm this evening! If you can’t wait, you may wish to pass the time here.

(HINT – This link may ruin the game for you. Use it only in times of dire peril.)

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Date
20040921
Photoshopping
Time
16:49
I felt something was missing from Bush’s UN speech.

I love Condoleezza Rice’s assertion that “there’s no evidence” that Iraq is falling into a state of civil war. Does this remind you of anyone?

(Heh. I will never forget the day I was sitting there, watching the Iraq war coverage, when I first twigged. It was early days, and Baghdad Bob – aka Comical Ali – had yet to become a legend. But there was no mistaking the intention behind his his politely assuring journalists that they were misinformed about something or other… as he deftly brushed his eyebrow with his middle finger.)

I know you have short attention spans, so here are those core messages again:

Iraq – Ignore all of the evidence; there is no sign of civil war in Iraq.

Election – Ignore all of the evidence; for the next four years, Chimpy McFlightsuit will be a capable and responsible man of compassion.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040921
George W. Bush
Time
17:11
Is there something more to Bush’s ‘innocent’ slip-ups?

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Date
20040921
The War on Stupid
Time
17:23
Special offer: I can train you to use a computer and log onto the internet for only a thousand squid a head.

That’s less than a tenth of the usual price, folks. Call now.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040922
Humanity
Time
10:19
(Note – the following article does not link to the video it mentions.)

CNN – Video shows American hostage beheaded: The United States said no women are in the two jails, Umm Qasr and Abu Ghraib, named by the militants. But it does hold two female “high-value detainees” — former members of Saddam Hussein’s regime — at undisclosed locations. The man who read the statement on the video said women are being held in Iraqi prisoners, despite American denials. “Since you didn’t release our sisters, here’s the first infidel,” the man said. He then pulled out a knife. Armstrong was shoved to the ground and his head severed. The video was posted on a Web site that has been used by insurgents in the past.

I’ve seen the video. You may feel you need to, but I urge you to think before you go looking. It’s brutal. And it has the charming touch of an enhanced soundtrack (someone along the line has added audio of a pig being tortured/slaughtered).

1. American denials

Rumsfeld has already hidden a number of detainees. Why should we believe the US when they claim that no women are being held in Umm Qasr and Abu Ghraib? (Note – In February, there were an estimated 150 Iraqi women in US custody. Many Iraqi women appear to have been detained in order to make their husbands surrender.)

2. But isn’t it interesting who has been wheeled out?

Independent – Iraq ‘to release one woman prisoner’: Ministry spokesman Noori Abdul-Rahim Ibrahim denied the decision was linked to a demand by militants who abducted two Americans and a Briton calling for the release of all female Iraqi prisoners. “The Iraqi authorities have agreed with coalition forces to conditionally release Rihab Rashid Taha on bail,” Ibrahim said. “The decision … has nothing to do with the threat made by the kidnappers.” Taha, a scientist who became known as “Dr Germ” for helping Iraq make weapons out of anthrax, and Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash, a biotech researcher known as “Mrs. Anthrax,” are the only two Iraqi women held in American custody, according to the US military.

Though, as yet, we have no confirmation of a release. Perhaps they’re waiting for one of us to dutifully pipe up an ask why such Evil Creators Of WMD should be released (but, as far as I can tell, no-one from the West who sold them the required equipment and technology is in US custody).

There it is, really. Take a close look at what you’ve just seen:

The militants behind these kidnappings and executions did not specify the names of the captors. They demanded the release of “all women in US custody” in Umm Qasr and Abu Ghraib. This reportedly “confused Iraqi officials, who denied women were being held at either place”. (And, as I’ve already pointed out, Rumsfeld has hidden prisoners from the Red Cross. Who’s to say that he’s not hiding some from the Iraqis in these US-run prisons?)

In their place, two women are revealed to be in custody elsewhere. They just happen to be closely tied to the US case for invading Iraq on the basis of the (alleged) existence of weapons of mass destruction (programmes).

While Tony Blair publicly claims to be doing all he can to secure the release of Kenneth Bigley, short of giving in to terrorist demands, it appears that a very dangerous (and indefensible) game is being played in the background.

Again, we come down to questions of legitimacy feeding terrorism.

But there’s more…

3. Using the suffering of the few to terrorise the many.

Trust me on this; view the video of this execution and it will eat away a small part of your humanity. And only one man had to die to have this effect on countless web users. Tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis have died, and this has barely scratched your average conscience. Regardless of what you think about the cause these people support and/or the methods they use, you have to admit that this is a pretty efficient system.

Now take a quick look at what Donald Rumsfeld had to say recently about Abu Ghraib. General Mike Jackson believes that; “the abuse of any individual is to be condemned without qualification.” Donald Rumsfeld does not. But I think there’s something else revealed in this quote…

MSNBC – Rumsfeld defends Pentagon in abuse scandal: Amid allegations he fostered a climate that led to the prison abuse scandal, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Friday that the military’s mistreatment of detainees was not as bad as what terrorists have done. “Does it rank up there with chopping someone’s head off on television?” he asked. “It doesn’t.”

Consider carefully what Rumsfeld has used as a parallel to the instances of torture in Abu Ghraib (where – for reasons that have yet to be fully explained – those tortured were photographed and video-taped).

In one instance, we see a man begging for his life.

In another, we see women begging to be killed.

(See also: Something Funny Happened On The Way To Abu Ghraib.)

UPDATE – My brain still hurts. Please excuse this attempt to cauterise the wound (I couldn’t get ‘dangerous games’ out of my head).

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040922
Proper Gander
Time
10:24
Ick! Ick! Ick! Ick! Ick!

I know you’ve probably seen this before. What’s interesting about this link is the bio, which claims that the artist responsible was “offical (sic) artist for the United States Olympic Committee for the Moscow Olympic Games”… which the US boycotted. Too bad the wrong work ended up on the trashpile.

(Link via Greenfairy.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040922
Tolerance
Time
10:30
Evangelist Jimmy Swaggart Threatens To Kill Gays

Just to refresh your memory, Jerry Falwell blamed “the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle” in part for the September 11th atrocities, and I think that has yet to be topped. (Latter link goes to SFW page on NSFW site. Watch your step.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040922
Consume!
Time
10:36
A partial victory for Gareth Davies.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040922
Told You So
Time
10:42
The Sun Does Not Shine Online: UK tabloid newspaper The Sun has decided to scale back the content available on its website, in order to improve the paper’s falling circulation. As reported by newsletter e-consultancy, managers at the newspaper conducted a survey that discovered the paper was losing about 90,000 readers a day to its website, which offers the same content as the paper but for free.

Bloggerheads Thu, March 04, 2004: Oh, the latest Sun Reader Panel survey seems to suggest that the site is in for a bit for trim… starting with Bizarre.

Cheers to ScaryDuck for the heads-up.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040922
Photoshopping
Time
10:47
The Crayola President. (Link via Idiomatika. The document Bush was working on in this picture is available for viewing here.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040922
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:52
CBS backs off Guard story, McPaper makes rather tenuous link with Kerry camp, what is Bush hiding and more evidence of a Google browser.

Boris has just dropped off the front page, after peaking at equal 14th early this morning.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040922
John Howard: 2nd to Fall?
Time
10:56
TimeToGoJohn.com is now fully live and populated with all sorts of information about the new film project.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040922
Feedback
Time
10:57
How about that? I’m a “socialist moonbat”.

You’d do well to keep your distance. I could explode with a leftist diatribe at any moment.

(Spotted by Nick Barlow.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040922
Punnage
Time
11:00
Next time, take the Peace Train.

UPDATE – Hahahahahahaha!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040922
Activism
Time
11:04
Photos and Videos From Inside New York’s Pier 57 Detention Center. You’re next, folks. Do try to keep your mouth shut.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040922
George W. Bush
Time
11:09
Heh. I was waiting for someone to point this out.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040922
Normal People
Time
11:11
What the hell is going on here? (Borders on NSFW.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040922
Tony ‘King Blair
Time
12:15
Guardian – The case for impeachment – There is no doubt Blair misled parliament over the war: The attempt to impeach the prime minister for his misconduct over the Iraq war highlights the value of using the history of our democracy as a living instrument to preserve freedom today. The idea – first floated in these pages in January and led by Plaid Cymru MP Adam Price – is now supported by his own party, the SNP, the Green party and 20 individual MPs. Matrix Chambers is today giving us their legal opinion on the initiative. Sceptics sneer that the proposal is unrealistic, but the case for it is growing ever stronger.

Link via: Perfect.co.uk

See also: Impeach Blair

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040922
Consume!
Time
14:42
Oh, man. Media scrutiny. What a downer. Aw, maaannnnhere it comes again. Why are they harshing my buzz? I’m totally not up for dealing with this right now.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040922
Humanity
Time
15:30
Middle east Online – Abu Ghraib’s photos displayed in US museums: The shocking photographs of US soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison have made their way into two US museums, creating controversy over the propriety of exhibiting the damaging pictures. The International Center of Photography in New York and the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, cooperated to present an exhibit dubbed “Inconvenient Evidence: Iraqi Prison Photographs from Abu Ghraib.”

From The Warhol’s website: In keeping with The Warhol’s mission to be a “vital forum” for dialogue around contemporary issues, the exhibition will explore and present a diverse range of viewpoints on the meaning and significant of the photographs, the power of images, and the many relevant perspectives surrounding this very contemporary issue.

I wonder how much the prints and t-shirts are selling for…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040923
Consume!
Time
09:13
Hooray for Odeon cinemas, who struggle daily to bring families the latest in wholesome entertainment.

You may remember the chap who saw the official and quite sucky website and – rather than complaining about it – created a more accessible version. You may also remember that Odeon’s reaction was to shut him down and ignore all of his advice.

You may not be aware that Odeon’s film schedules – published weekly in local newspapers countrywide – show a running time under each film that also includes the time it takes to show the advertising without mentioning that advertising. (Typically, this session before the film is 20 minutes long – followed by a 60 second ‘intermission’ – and contains previews, paid ads for fabbo products, and messages from FACT telling us that video piracy funds terrorists.)

Fair enough; at least you know when you can expect to leave the cinema and how much parking your should pay for.

But when the entry says:

Movie Name (U)

187min

…I expect to get 187 minutes of movie for my six-pounds-fifty. And the law is on my side.

The Trade Descriptions Act 1968 (a guide sheet is accessible in PDF format via this page) makes it an offence for a trader to apply, by any means, false or misleading statements. It even specifically defines this kind of thing as a ‘False Trade Description’ in that it misleads the consumer about “the quantity, size or gauge of goods.”

But today I have a new issue to take up with Odeon cinemas…

When we visited my local outlet in Guildford, my children were immediately attracted to the bright, shiny machine you see pictured here. Please note how carefully it is placed right next to the children’s vending machines.

Most folks will be able to spot the mobile phone on offer. What isn’t obvious from this picture is the prizes in the top right-hand corner; a Thunderbirds game for GameBoy and a Harry Potter game for PS2.

I think it should be pretty obvious by now what market this… thing is aimed at. But it’s not a vending machine; it’s a ‘gaming’ machine.

In other words, what you’re looking at here is Odeon cinemas encouraging children to gamble. In return, no doubt, for a juicy cut of the takings.

I’m sure you’ve all seen those hook-and-grab machines that, for a pound, give kids maybe a one-in-ten shot at a toy worth 99p… but this is entirely different kind of rip-off.

The reason high-stakes poker machines are causing such a fuss at the moment is because they (‘tend to’) lead to problem gambling.

I’m sure you’ve witnessed people pumping 20 quid into a machine that pays out a maximum jackpot of 15 quid. Well, you can rest assured that when the stakes go higher, all reason flies out the window.

The government is concerned about this kind of behaviour in adults. I’m sure you’ll agree that children and teenagers are far more vulnerable.

So, there you are; young, keen, and with money in your pocket. That GameBoy game is sitting there, just waiting to be won. How many coins would you pump through the machine before admitting defeat?

On this machine it’s 50p for three spins of the wheel. The number you get on the wheel (which can be positive or negative) takes you up or down the lighthouse. Only a precise hit on ‘win’ gets you a prize. I’d also be willing to bet that this – like many other electronic machines – can have the payout rate adjusted by the manager of the establishment.

Speaking of managers, the one I talked to at Odeon defended the placement of the machine in their cinema with the following statement; “Oh, it does pay out. I’ve seen it do so at least once.”

So there you have it, folks. Gambling for kids of okey-dokey by Odeon. So long as somebody wins from time to time.

The machine is provided by a company called Amuzo Amusements. I failed to check the machine for contact details – and they don’t have a web presence – so let me get back to you on that.

In the meantime, the following contact details may be of use to you:

General Enquiries, Odeon Cinemas Limited – info@odeonuk.com

Alison McCaig, Regional Manager (South-West), Odeon Cinemas Limited – amccaig@odeonuk.com

Luke Vetere, Marketing Director, Odeon Cinemas Limited – lvetere@odeonuk.com

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040923
Useful
Time
09:17
Tracking the fun in Hartlepool? Try by_elections.blogspot.com, from the peeps what brung you the Geocities site British Parliamentary By Elections Since 1945.

You may also be interested in this post on Labour’s ‘fear of crime’ tactics at Harry’s Place (link via Nick Barlow).

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040923
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
09:19
Guardian – After Abu Ghraib: On December 23, the Americans arrested another of Alazawi’s brothers, Ayad, 44. It was at this point that she decided to confront the Americans directly. She marched into the US base in Adhamiya, one of Saddam Hussein’s former palaces. “A US captain told me to come back with my two other brothers. He said we could talk after that.” On Christmas Eve she returned with her brothers, Ali and Mu’taz. “I waited for four hours. An American captain finally interrogated me. After 10 minutes he announced that I was under arrest.” Like thousands of other Iraqis detained by the Americans since last year’s invasion, Alazawi was about to experience the reality of the Bush administration’s “war on terror”.

Link via Backword.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040923
Distractions
Time
09:22
Dress-up Johnny Depp

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040923
SEO
Time
09:23
22 Sep:

Boris Johnson’s site has been live for 3 days.

Thanks to all of those lovely (an unsolicited) inbound links, Google has already picked it up, though it has only (so far) indexed 3 pages: the front page, the press release and the first post by Boris. (Please note how fast Google has indexed these pages and also that it has only – so far – indexed the pages people have linked to. It will dig deeper of its own accord very shortly.)

Currently, the site is:

13th in Google.com for ‘boris johnson’

8th in Google.co.uk for ‘boris johnson’

216th in Google.com for ‘conservative mp’

189th in Google.co.uk for ‘conservative mp’

23 Sep:

The site has been live for 4 days. Google is already digging deeper, and has indexed 30 pages, including the list of Conservative MPs. And we not have new results (erm, as a result) we have better results.

Currently, the site is:

4th in Google.com for ‘boris johnson’

4th in Google.co.uk for ‘boris johnson’

96th in Google.com for ‘conservative mp’

68th in Google.co.uk for ‘conservative mp’

and…

285th in Google.com for ‘conservative mps’

188th in Google.co.uk for ‘conservative mps’

Onwards and upwards. It won’t be too long before the new weblog matches Tom’s results (1st for ‘tom watson’ and ‘labour mp’, 2nd for ‘labour mps’).

From about next week onwards, Boris will be able to post on just about any subject and reach a completely new audience that isn’t even aware of his weblog. Yet.

Welcome to the new chart.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040923
Inneresting
Time
09:25
B3ta has a new FAQ.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040923
OK, So I’m a Star Wars Geek
Time
09:30
You will fear the naked Wookie.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040923
The War on Stupid
Time
09:31
Hooray for John Ashcroft, who has helped George W. Bush fight his War on Terror by securing a grand total of zero convictions since 119 (please note correct formatting of date).

Funny, I could have sworn Bush was winning the war on terror and making us all saferer. I could have also sworn that they’d locked a bunch of people up and had proof or something…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040923
Humanity
Time
09:36
What he said.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040923
An American Election
Time
09:37
Why have so many Vets got it in for John Kerry?

Look out! Incoming Swifties!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040923
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s…. oh FFS…
Time
09:39
MSNBC – Avoiding attacking suspected terrorist mastermind: “People were more obsessed with developing the coalition to overthrow Saddam than to execute the president’s policy of preemption against terrorists,” according to terrorism expert and former National Security Council member Roger Cressey.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040923
Established Media
Time
09:43
The Onion – Al-Jazeera Introduces ‘Lighter Side Of The News’ Segment

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040923
Conspiracy Theories
Time
09:44
Tinfoil helmets at the ready… the internet is about to be closed down. Please try to save as much as you can to your hard-drive now.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040923
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:20
If America were Iraq, what would it be like? – speaks for itself.

Pentagon blocks site for voters outside U.S. – as does this.

PongMechanik – retro hardware gives me a full-on robot chubby.

MarsEdit 1.0 Beta – new tools like this, not so much.

Dear Content Producers and Owners: We lied to you – we did it so you would finance the things we really wanted to build, not the things that you wanted to be built.

Newsweek – The Story That Didn’t Run – they rushed to air with fraudulent documents used against Bush, but what didn’t go to air was a report about… fraudulent documents used by Bush

ABCNews – Kerry: Draft Likely to Return Under Bush – but you and I already knew that.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040923
The War on Stupid
Time
10:23
Being a member of, or supporting any of the following may result in your being detained indefinitely without trial in this country if you’re not a British citizen. But this list, and the list of terrorist groups banned by the EU, is worth a closer look.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040923
Tony ‘King Blair
Time
12:40
The documentary Do You Still Believe In Tony? airs on BBC2 this Saturday at 7:25pm – it invites a bunch of (often former) Blairites to air their current views of our beloved leader.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040923
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
14:15
SMH – US sets ‘sovereign’ Iraq straight on Dr Germ: Just one sentence demonstrated Wednesday where the real power lies in Baghdad: not with the internationally recognised “sovereign” Iraqi government, but with the American “embassy”.

Hey, go easy. There’s a gosh-darned ‘trick’ word in there. Let’s go to the video tape!

While you’re feeling video-happy, check out Bush lying his ass off about what John Kerry said regarding Saddam Hussein.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040923
Inneresting
Time
14:26
You’re a web user. What do you think ideal e-enabled public services should look like?

How dare they ask such a silly question? I want to start spending money now!!!!

(See this post at Perfect.co.uk for more linky goodness.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040923
Diversions
Time
14:41
Name that kitten! Name it hard!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040923
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely! And You’re Next!
Time
17:30
Aaaaand…. cue the theme from Jaws.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040924
Dead Blog Holiday
Time
10:12
It’s been 3 years since I last went on a proper holiday. Sorry the timing sucks, but I’m off as of today.

Bloggerheads.com will return to normal service on November 1st.

I hope the following links and resources will prove useful in the weeks to come:

For news, links and opinion from a UK perspective:

The UK Today | Perfect.co.uk | Europhobia | howlingspoons

For news, links and opinion from a US perspective:

Atrios | DailyKos | Washington Monthly

The Australian General Election

People thinking of supporting ‘Honest’ John Howard at the upcoming general election in Australia probably haven’t been paying attention.

You can help them.

Start with JohnHowardLies.com and be prepared to call others on any bullshit that may spew forth.

Be prepared to wipe many a chin.

Download your ‘Gutless Johnny’ poster here and display it at any location that you consider to be suitable.

See the new film Time To Go John with others or buy a copy on DVD… and show it to others.

The Hartlepool By-Election

This is more important than it may seem at first. With any luck, it will result in another strong message to Blair.

The Labour candidate Ian Wright (pictured here on the lap of his predecessor) was interviewed by the BBC today. He was asked what his stance was on foundation hospitals, tuition fees and Iraq. He dismissed the Iraq question as “irrelevant” and answered all three questions by repeating exactly the same statement. Three times over: “I’m campaigning on a basis of crime and anti-social behaviour.”

This single-issue candidate knows of what he speaks. Shouty Labour flunkies posing as protestors have been harassing staff at Lib-Dem headquarters for weeks – remarkably suggesting that the Lib-Dems are somehow to blame for the problem while being part of the problem themselves (assuming, of course, that there is a pronounced crime problem in the area – Wright’s ‘fear of crime’ platform seems awfully close to the Bush’s ‘fear of terror’ platform to me). But Ian ‘Car Crash’ Wright is a Labour candidate aiming to replace… a Labour MP. Surely if there is a crime problem in Hartlepool, the fault rests with Labour?

Check out By-Elections, Guacamoleville and Jody Dunn’s weblog for the latest information.

The poll to choose the successor of the former cabinet minister Peter Mandelson will be held on the last day of Labour’s conference.

For blogged news from that conference, this post at Voxpolitics should set you in the right direction.

Tony ‘King Blair

Boris Johnson said it best; nailing Blair is like trying to pin jelly to a wall.

But considering what’s at stake, we have to continue to try.

Here’s 11 Reasons Why Tony Blair Must Go

Here’s some people trying to make it so: Impeach Blair

BBC – ‘Impeach Blair’ wins legal backing

In the next few weeks, it might also be fun to count the number of times Blair tries to draw a new line under Iraq and/or goes with his usual bluff of letting people decide “at the polls.”

The American Election

Oh God, where to start…..

OK, here’s a thousand reasons to get you started and a top ten if you’re short on time. But you can focus on any one of these and still come back to Bush’s failsafe platform… the war on terror.

You must fear the terrorists. They want to hurt you. We will protect you. You must not question us, because this helps the terrorists. Who want to hurt you. We will protect you. And so on and so forth until you think you could puke blood.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again now; the threat of terrorism is real – the War on Terror is a lie.

And Iraq was the biggest lie of all. There was no connection between Iraq and terror until Bush invaded that country illegally with a very poor game-plan, thereby creating a playground for terrorists and further material to justify their cause.

George W. Bush and his cohorts have manipulated (and enhanced) the terrorist threat to excuse every mistake, to dodge every responsibility, and to ensure that their supporters profit as everybody else scrambles for cover (or fails to speak out for fear of being accused of… manipulating and enhancing the terrorist threat).

And he gets way with it because of his extraordinary control over the media. Those not right in Bush’s pocket are – for the most part – completely whipped. That’s how the Swift Boat Liars can get so much media coverage attacking Kerry and have the outright exposure of their lies pass most people by. That’s how questions regarding one document could be used to ‘disprove’ claims that he dodged service in Vietnam (and then dodged the service he took to dodge service in Vietnam).

Now everybody has backed off on this issue for fear that it will prove distracting – but me, I think it gets down to the core of Bush’s nature.

Bush is no great hero. He’s a moron. He’s nothing. Given the advantages he has been given in life and the complete balls-up he has made of everything that has come his way, I would even argue that he’s less than nothing. But an impenetrable facade has been built around him that hides these failures and stops people from even asking about them.

After all, to attack the president is to support the terrorists.

The George W. Bush Gallery – feed your eyes and follow the lies.

The Bush AWOL ‘Forgeries': Fonts Do Not Unmake Facts – read, learn and share.

George W. Bush: a coward and a liar – watch the video, follow the links, and pass it on.

OK, here’s the big one…

Bush has made an amazing number of flip-flops, one of the biggest ones being the pursuit of Osama bin Laden:

“There’s an old poster out West that says, ‘Wanted: Dead or Alive.’ . . . The most important thing is to find Osama bin Laden. It’s our Number One priority. We will not rest until we have found him.” George W. Bush – Sep 13 and 16, 2001

“I don’t know where he is. I have no idea and I really don’t care. It’s not that important.” – George W. Bush – Mar 13, 2002

Of course, it’s a real issue now, for reasons that should be obvious.

But beyond this (and one reason why bin Laden was not a priority for some time) is the miraculous mission creep (actually, it was more of a switch) that saw Iraq invaded as part of the War on Terror.

As I pointed out, this actually made the threat of terrorism worse… but it goes beyond even that.

Something Funny Happened On The Way To Abu Ghraib – watch the video and read the article, then pass it around.

It clearly shows that the US has not only encouraged terrorism in Iraq and around the world by their actions, but also brought their own brand of terrorism to that country.

They used torture and terror against people who were not even terrorists themselves (not that even this could be used as an argument for either tactic).

They have held many people hostage, and it could even be argued that they currently hold that whole country hostage.

You cannot fight fire with fire, and you certainly should never use it against custard.

The Bush administration is chock-full of corporate criminals and war criminals. And liars.

They. Must. Be. Stopped.

Never mind democracy that may or may not be coming to Iraq.

Pray instead for democracy in America.

Pray – above all – for reason.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040929
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
16:31
Want more blogging MPs? Then go speak your mind.








About Tim Ireland

Tim is the sole author of Bloggerheads.
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