The return of the eclectic linkdump

– Bid farewell to Brenda, raiser of tough birds.

Septicisle on Jeremy Paxman’s comments on the media and the death of Rhy Jones. Long, but worth it. Via CuriousHamster, who also has this small concern about the impact of media on the investigation.

“Excuse me sir, could you please tell me why you’re watching these children?” (via)

– If any Daily Mail readers are thinking of leaving the country; please, don’t let me stop you… but at least have the good taste not to continue to bitch about British politics from your new bolthole.

Media Watch Watch agrees with Stephen Green shock.

Peter Gasston discovers an unfortunate product name.

Dizzy is at it again. And again. If Bob and Unity play their cards right, they may get a personal video scolding. (Psst! An interesting fact: the police have warned Dizzy about making sweeping generalisations.)

Davblog discovers the Christian religion defined on a t-shirt.

– And, finally, the Daily Show continues in its epic struggle to explain American foreign policy to the masses (via):

– Well, almost finally. You can see the Cheney/quagmire position of old in detail, right here – and the expected response to it (finally) being aired is given a little look-see here.

Posted in The War on Stupid | Comments Off on The return of the eclectic linkdump

Some people are stupid, others merely wish to be

AP – Finnish Boy Fined for YouTube Video: HELSINKI, Finland – A 15-year-old schoolboy was fined Friday for posting a video on YouTube showing a karaoke performance of his teacher and for claiming she was a lunatic.

And by the looks of it, more for the latter than the former.

The relevant Fark thread brings us bad singing of the fun and excruciating kind and reminds me of the joys of rickrolling, the gift that just keeps on giving.

(Fresh rickrolls involving varying levels of effort are still turning up. Even the spammers haven’t killed it. Oh, and this fad has a lot in common with the whole goaste thing, so I’d just like to say congratulations to Pete Waterman for creating the PG version of a man’s gaping anus. )

Posted in Teh Interwebs | Comments Off on Some people are stupid, others merely wish to be

Support the freelancers

Alternet – Flush with Profits from the Iraq War, Military Contractors See a World of Business Opportunities: If you think the U.S. has only 160,000 troops in Iraq, think again. With almost no congressional oversight and even less public awareness, the Bush administration has more than doubled the size of the U.S. occupation through the use of private war companies. There are now almost 200,000 private “contractors” deployed in Iraq by Washington. This means that U.S. military forces in Iraq are now outsized by a coalition of billing corporations whose actions go largely unmonitored and whose crimes are virtually unpunished… The single largest U.S. contract for private security in Iraq was a $293 million payment to the British firm Aegis Defence Services, headed by retired British Lt. Col. Tim Spicer, who has been dogged by accusations that he is a mercenary because of his private involvement in African conflicts. The Texas-based DynCorp International has been another big winner, with more than $1 billion in contracts to provide personnel to train Iraqi police forces, while Blackwater USA has won $750 million in State Department contracts alone for “diplomatic security.” At present, an American or a British Special Forces veteran working for a private security company in Iraq can make $650 a day. At times the rate has reached $1,000 a day; the pay dwarfs many times over that of active duty troops operating in the war zone wearing a U.S. or U.K. flag on their shoulder instead of a corporate logo.

I bet they’ve got a better health plan, too.

Posted in It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely! | Comments Off on Support the freelancers

Bunny-boiler invents stalker to help cement imagined relationship

Finally, Holy Moly coughs up something interesting (the highlight is mine):

You may have read the article last week, Blur star’s stalker hell, in which a woman was cautioned by police for stalking Graham Coxon of Blur fame.

The paper states that Sue Ellingham became “crazed” after “failing to land him”.


We are hearing what really happened was that Graham met her through his website forum, after he had split up from his wife and kicked booze and drugs. He scuttled her several times as part of a casual relationship.

Slowly he began to realise what “casual” meant on her terms. In a bid to remain close to Graham she invented a persona on the forum to stalk and harrass Graham and herself. By sharing a “stalker”, she hoped her and Graham would be drawn together. Here’s an example her invented persona was posting on the forum, directed at herself in order to win sympathy from Coxon and other forum members:

YOU VACANT BITCH! You know very well i would be kinder if you would give me the information I want. But you are such a stupid pathetic excuse for a female. You fucked Graham Coxon and then he fucked you over. It is what he does to women. Yet you still lick his arse instead of kicking it like he deserves. So many women on this board he has fucked over and you stand by him. I shouldn’t use the word women – most of you are only girls. He lures the innocent in with kind words and flirtations. Then he fucks them over. And you all worship him. Oooh, Graham Coxon, you’re so great and i love you. He is a predator ladies. And you stupid fat cow, *** – you know this yet you do nothing to help expose him. You are a fucking idiot. It could have been so simple. But you wouldn’t co-opperate. and everyone is glad you are gone. You are too fucking stupid to even figure out who I am. The both of you. You and Graham should go fuck some more and procreate and populate the world with really fucking stupid children.

It didn’t stop there. She pretended the ‘stalker’ was following them both. She got someone to take photos of herself and Graham on the street and posted them.

Poor Graham didn’t know what had hit him.

To top it all off, she drove to Graham’s Kent farmhouse/studio and caused criminal damage with some highly graphic graffiti. Graham finally went to the police and she got a caution for criminal damage and harassment.

We ask how she got away with just a caution and how she has managed to retain her job, in which she holds a position of responsibility?

But allowing widespread sock-puppetry is just shits and giggles, yeah? A largely harmless activity from which political advantage can be gained from time to time. No harm can come from maintaining a website that allows multiple personas and wholesale abuse, right? I mean, it’s not like Iain Dale would allow the repeated publication of incitement to murder on his website or anything like that, is it?

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 2 Comments

Last chance, Tory chancers

Quite often you’ll see some of these new(ish) Tory bloggers flapping their lips about how the right dominates the blogosphere, and that’s because they have the most interesting things to say, and Labour can’t hope to challenge them in an open and honest arena, blah blah blah.

Well, it’s bollocks; there are civilised and sensible Tory bloggers around, but there’s also a bunch of cheats that misrepresent the opposition’s position, let fly with the most outrageous (and all-too-predictable) abuse, manipulate comments and/or retro-moderate with shameless abandon… oh, and typically they also make good use of multiple personalities… presumably so they may better represent that silent majority we keep hearing about.

But, of course, if anyone from Labour or the Lib Dems tries anything like this (or appears to) this same crowd will jump up and down and stamp their little feet and demand that action be taken.

Because they’re cheats *and* hypocrites.

The best example of this is Iain Dale trying to feed the public the line that Grant Shapps was hacked and then having the audacity to complain about suspected sock-puppetry from Ken Livingstone, but there are many, many others; Dale in particular has a very bad habit of condemning sock-puppetry and/or abuse consistently only when he suspects that it’s being used against him and it’s a pattern that many newbies who learn at his feet follow.

Now, currently (but probably not for much longer) we have a very good chance of sorting a little issue for ourselves; identifying the dipshit who saw fit to impersonate the MP Norman Lamb on Facebook.

But so far, all we’ve heard from Iain Dale is “I didn’t do it!” (Not that I expected any better; The Shapps affair showed that when it comes to sock-puppetry, Dale will choose party ahead of principle.)

Hell, there are several clear indications that whoever did this is a strong supporter of Trevor Ivory, but there’s no mention of this affair at all on Trevor’s website; I’d be expecting a “Sock-puppeting is bad kids, m’kay?” message at least… perhaps even a dose of “Whoever is doing this… you’re not helping!”

Why aren’t Tory bloggers like Iain Dale helping to look for the person responsible? They stand to do the most good, as they’re the ones most likely to have received an email or comment from the culprit under their own name or main ID, but still using the IP address

Sock-puppeting is wrong, right? Or is it only wrong when ‘Nu Labour’ do it?

If you’re not going to take a stand against sock-puppets, you lose the right to bitch about them when they turn up on your website and/or start impersonating you.

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | Comments Off on Last chance, Tory chancers

Asa Bailey continues ‘Conservative’ campaign

Marketing Week – Tory rebels under fire over ‘happy slapping’ viral ads: The campaign, created by viral production house Asa Bailey, uses real mobile footage to “demonstrate the darker sides of life in modern Britain” under Labour. Asa Bailey, founder of his eponymous firm, says: “Conservative backbench MPs commissioned the campaign, but I cannot identify them.”… The two virals are the first in a series of films that will be seeded over the Net in coming months and will be supported by a television ad campaign in the north of England once a prospective General Election has been called.

1. Real mobile footage? Perhaps, but it’s borrowed. The first video bears a bloody website watermark, and thanks to Rachel, I can do this with the second:

Footage of the girl pole-dancing from this ‘campaign’ video can also be seen here, here and here.

2. Conservative backbench MPs commissioned the campaign? As much as I’d like to believe that, I seriously doubt it. For one thing…

3. A television ad campaign? There’s a ban on paid political television advertising in this country. Is he suggesting that the Conservatives are going to waste their party-political broadcast recycling Teh Interwebs Funniest Home Videos, or are we dealing with someone who knows their patter better than their politics?

I call ‘shenanigans’. Again.

(Though I’m happy to be proved wrong. What harm can it do to let the world know that there are people in the Conservative party who are dumber than this?)

Regardless of its official status, this is merely existing material with political slogans slapped onto the end. Even if the 125,657 views in 4 days were an authentic reflection of interest (I suspect some YouTube gaming and/or whoring is going on) it’s interest in someone else’s material, and it’s as likely a pathway to sensible debate as Numa Numa.

Speaking of ‘debate’, you’ll love this; here, YouTube user gratex makes an observation about the recycled nature of the clip and hangs an anti-Tory rant on that same hook.

The response from Asa Bailey under comments (via SexyBritain, one of many YouTube profiles created for this exercise) reads as follows:

Respect! Good points intelligent response, thank you, this starts the video debate. Again big respect.

If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to pull up to a stop right there before I stab something. Repeatedly. In the eyes.

Related bloggage:
Liberal Democrat Voice – How not to campaign on YouTube
Chris K – SexyBritain: Tory viral marketing… or nothing of the sort?

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | Comments Off on Asa Bailey continues ‘Conservative’ campaign

And over here to your right….

Baptists for Brownback – A White Feather For The Cowardly British

If you doubt this is satire (it can be so hard to tell these days), check out the fine-print or the U.S.E. campaign from the same site.

The abortion ticker is real, though… and what a happy little item it is:

Posted in It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely! | 5 Comments

More data on the Tory Sock-Puppet of the Week

I thought we got just a little bit lucky when Google cached this snapshot of Nich Starling’s tracking data from and decided to keep it for a few days.

You can see from the screen capture below that it caught two visits from the IP address

Nich was kind enough to set his comment timestamps to display both time and date, and from there it was a short and simple hunt to see if there were any comments with similar timestamps to either or both visits recorded by Nich’s account.

There was one, and here it is:

James Becks said…

I know for a fact it was a UKIP activist trying to use the group to stitch up Norman Lamb and when everyone realized it was fake they would turn on his rival Trevor Ivory. The person wanted the Eastern Daily Press to blame Trevor and then when it is revealed that it couldn’t have been him no one would believe a word the Eastern Daily Press says about Norman Lamb. It was a long shot way to reduce the credibility of the Eastern Daily Press too making it easier for the UKIP candidate to get elected. By the way the UKIP candidate knew nothing about this.
2:40 PM, August 15, 2007

Unfortunately, all this gives us is a confirmed repeat of this comment, which has reported here as the work of the entity currently known only as

No love for UKIP, supports Conservative candidate Trevor Ivory, has issues with the Eastern Daily Press… nothing new there.

But still, better than a poke in the eye with the blunt stick, eh?

It sure beats the hell out of sitting on your arse and doing nothing about it except bitch and moan about how unfair it is that people think you couldn’t give a flying monkey’s either way.

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | Comments Off on More data on the Tory Sock-Puppet of the Week

Forever twirling, *twirling* toward freedom

The Tories have been back and forth on this hospital thing for quite some time now, and we haven’t seen hide nor hair of the new Shadow Minister for Health. Not so much as a distant cry has reached the press.

Posted in Anne Milton | 4 Comments

I think Iain Dale can identify Norman Lamb’s Facebook impersonator(s)

Iain Dale says; “Whoever has done this deserves all they get when they are found out.”

When they are found out?

Well, there’s genuine outrage for you. Iain’s so annoyed about this that he’s going to sit back and wait for whoever did it to be found.

(rolls eyes)

I think Iain Dale can do better than that… if he wants to.

I think Iain Dale can identify Norman Lamb’s impersonator(s). At least, I think he’s got a better shot at it than most of us put together… and I’m about to explain why:

[Note – As the possibility remains that more than one person is involved, I’ll be referring to the impersonator(s) by their static IP address – – and using this as a name to identify an individual or team/group.]

1. Judging by the varying disinformation has been putting out (i.e. naming/blaming everyone but the Tories), we are almost certainly dealing with a Tory source.

2. Judging by the local knowledge (and support of Trevor Ivory) shown in the Wikipedia edits, we can be reasonably certain that moves in the same circles that Iain moved in when running as a candidate in the same area.

3. The fraudster(s) blundered about under multiple/false personalities with a single static IP address… even after it had been discovered. So they play with weblogs, but they’re relatively new at it or not very good at it. As the premier blogger that most newbies and wannabes never tire of kissing up to, Iain Dale is the most likely recipient of an identity-revealing comment or email from regardless of (1) and (2).

So, to summarise and help Iain Dale along…

Tracking Data

I think there’s more than a good chance that Iain’s tracking data (he uses *three* third-party packages, all for the same site) contains a record of the IP address – if that IP address was used to post a comment under a known profile and Iain has a record of it, we’ll have our man. Or woman. Or men. Or women. Oh, you know what I mean.

Some of this data has already been and gone, so he’ll want to crack on with this sooner rather than later, before the trail goes well-and-truly cold.


Iain can also spend some time thinking about likely suspects who might have emailed him, and might even want to start by checking for messages from any Suffolk Conservative Councillors (who use the same provider as our target). It’s also possible that foolishly emailed Iain under their real name promoting the impersonation in some way (by claiming to have ‘found’ it, perhaps).

Of course, it’s not practical that he go through all of his email… just those from some likely suspects. All he needs to do is look at the source data of messages in his suspect shortlist and keep a sharp eye out for the magic number… the process is so simple he shouldn’t even need Dizzy to hold his hand.

(OK, that last comment was unfair… and unseemly. Dizzy is a clever chap when he’s not trying to be, so perhaps he can think of some faster and better ways to check records and chip in.)

Iain, no doubt, will wonder out loud why he should do anything I ‘order’ him to do on his own personal property lah-de-dah. To avoid burdening readers of both sites with yet another loaded question, I’ll simply answer it ahead of time:

Because, let’s face it, you’re going to come across as a bit insincere if you utterly condemn something without taking reasonable measures to stop or discourage it.

Right, Iain?

UPDATE (6pm) – Iain appears to be claiming here that he did all of this or better before I suggested he do it. But why does he appear so reluctant to take my advice if it’s so clearly in line with his thinking? Who did he tell about his findings? What were those findings? I’d ask these questions and more, but he’s not answering my emails and he appears to have banned me from his website without telling me again. If he’s playing the not-rising-to-the-bait game he’s got a bloody nerve after dumping that “He insinuated!” post that included its own insinuations.

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 2 Comments