Describe Bloggerheads in two words or less

Tch. I prefer the term ‘freedom-fighting’ and they know it.


(Heads-up via Wibbler, who also brings to our attention a wonderful way to get shot.)

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“Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job… at taking the heat off me.”

Raw Story – Email to Brown claims Bush was happy former FEMA head was taking heat for Katrina response: An “embarrassing email” leaked by former FEMA head Michael Brown to CNN quotes President Bush as saying at a Cabinet meeting held shortly after Katrina that he was pleased that Brown was taking most of the heat for the federal government’s roundly criticized response to the hurricane. “I’d rather they beat up on him than me or Chertoff,” President Bush allegedly said at the meeting, referring to the head of the Department of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff. The sender also thanked Brown for “diverting hostile fire away from the leader.”

Related posts:
Sep 5 2005 – White House swings into action…. to shift blame
Sep 6 2005 – Inhuman scum
Sep 7 2005 – Katrina: it is worse than you could possibly imagine
Sep 8 2005 – New Orleans declared public relations disaster area
Sep 12 2005 – Whatever it takes (except sacking my mates)
Sep 13 2005 – Weblogs by (former) residents of New Orleans
Sep 14 2005 – A slightly chilly day in hell

Posted in George W. Bush | Comments Off on “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job… at taking the heat off me.”

A few quickies

BSSC – Supporting WMD: So Gordon has announced that he wants the UK to retain an independent nuclear deterrent thus prejudging the “debate” we’re all going to be allowed to have on this. Hurray! Is he Prime Minister already then?

No, he’s not. And he never will be. There, I said it.

For all those who missed goat-face on Newsnight. There are differing views on how this turned out for Coulter/Paxman here.

More SOCPA fun with fraidy-cat Blair.

UPDATE – The UK Today – The Man Who Would Be King: But last night was the final straw, the moment when it was confirmed that saving the Labour Party would be achieved by just the removal of Blair, but would also hinge on stopping Brown from becoming leader… This matter has nothing to do with national security, nothing to do with using state finances wisely, nothing to do with making the world a safer place. This is politics at its most unpalatable. This is Brown standing up and saying “Look at me, I’m hard!”. This is Brown pulling Blairs balls out of the fire. Again. Above all, this is a betrayal by New Labour. This just confirms what I have suspected for some time now; that Gordon Brown must not become Labour Leader or Prime Minister.

Oh, and have another quicky…

BBC – US confirms Heathrow hijack plot: An official US report has confirmed al-Qaeda planned to hijack flights from Heathrow and fly planes into the airport and a Canary Wharf skyscraper. Reports of such a plot had surfaced in the media before but have not previously been confirmed… In February 2003, military vehicles were deployed to Heathrow Airport to deal with a suspected terrorist threat, a move which proved controversial. It is not believed the deployment was linked to the same Canary Wharf plot confirmed by the US report.

UPDATE – And another for laptop users.

Posted in It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely! | 2 Comments

Funding mentals

Observer – Schoolgirls are forced to take off chastity rings – or be ordered out of lessons: Heather and Philip Playfoot have spent almost two years in dispute with Millais School in Horsham, West Sussex, over their 15-year-old daughter Lydia’s ring. While the school’s uniform rules forbid jewellery, they argue that the rings – given to teenagers who complete a controversial evangelical church course preaching sexual abstinence – hold genuine religious significance… Her ring came from the Silver Ring Thing, an evangelical initiative recently introduced to Britain from the US, with which her parents’ local church is involved… The issue has now been taken up by the Tory MP Andrew Selous, chair of the Conservative Christian Fellowship, who raised the wearing of purity rings with the Schools Minister Jim Knight in the House of Commons last week.

Well done, Andrew Selous… you bold Warrior For Christ, you.

The UK Today – The Silver Ring’s The Thing: Silver Ring Thing promotes a highly suspect doctrine, in a manner that is almost cult-like. To try and use legislation in the manner suggested in the article would be to set a dangerous precedent, and I would give my wholehearted support to the governors of Millais School in Horsham, West Sussex.


The Silver Ring Thing is a Christian recruitment drive dressed up as a health initiative. At least, that’s the position they needed to maintain while they were earning federal funds in the U.S. (to the detriment of health and education services involving actual education about health). But when they reach a tricky moment like this, suddenly it’s All About Faith? Puh-lease!

The following cannot be repeated enough… Denny Pattyn, founder of the Silver Ring Thing, is a lying scoundrel and a danger to children.

Here’s proof from the man himself. When he spoke these words, he was well on his way to earning over a million yankee dollars in federal funding on the basis that his was a ‘health and education program’…

Denny Pattyn: “I believe that the end of the world is approaching very quickly and I believe that Christ will come back. I think about that. I think that I might just be living in the Last Days…. We’re not really putting our energy into abstinence as much as we’re putting it into faith. Abstinence is the tool that we’re using to reach children.”

Even with frank admissions like that on the record, it wasn’t until August of last year that this finally happened…

Washington Post – Federal Funds For Abstinence Group Withheld: The Bush administration yesterday suspended a federal grant to the Silver Ring Thing abstinence program, saying it appears to use tax money for religious activities.

Denny Pattyn is not out to protect young children from unwanted pregnancy and venereal disease (remember; this is his lead pitch and the foundation of his former federal funding)… what he really wants to do is get as many recruits as possible before Jesus returns and starts calling the troops home, even if it involves breaking the 2nd, 7th and 8th commandments in the process.

I’m sorely tempted to introduce a special programme for all children who wish to take a solemn vow in opposition to this abuse of faith, with personalised rings that read; “GO FORTH AND MULTIPLY*”

(*Intended as a special euphemistic message to Denny Pattyn, obviously. Let’s not insult the kids by assuming that they’re stupid.)

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Who will rid us of this overspent beast?

Guardian – One answer and many questions: Labour is now demonstrably a party in need of change. It is hard to see how its morale and political fortunes will improve significantly while Mr Blair remains leader. There is no evidence for any such shift of mood in the latest polling. To believe otherwise requires a leap of faith from the party and the electorate in the prime minister, which neither shows the slightest sign of wishing to make. This is not to say that things will necessarily get much worse for Labour, but they seem unlikely to get any better, even if England were to win the World Cup. The longer Mr Blair remains, therefore, the greater the danger for Labour that the demoralisation and political alienation will deepen. Mr Blair’s continuation at the top of his party increasingly appears like an act of vanity.

Or – if you want to put it another way – there’s a job that needs doing, and no-one in the Labour Party appears to have the ability, will, brains and/or guts required to take it on.

People are going to remember that, no matter what change (finally) takes place.

Posted in Tony 'King Blair | Comments Off on Who will rid us of this overspent beast?

The signal-to-noise rationale

The Boston Globe – Sending shameful signals: “No question Guantanamo sends, you know, a signal,” President Bush said last week. “It provides an excuse, for example, to say the United States is not upholding the values that they’re trying to encourage other countries to adhere to.” This frank admission is anomalous, of course, because President Bush intends to maintain the prison complex in Cuba indefinitely. And every day that he does so, the signal sent grows louder.

You may recall Bush’s recent press conference with Tony Blair where he ‘admitted’ a ‘mistake’. In context, his primary concern was not about what he had done, but what he had said… and that; “in certain parts of the world it was misinterpreted” (his further nod to the mistake of Abu Ghraib blatantly ignored the mistakes behind it, and included a false claim that the people responsible had been brought to justice).

This is more of the same; an assertion that Guantanamo Bay is not a mistake… but in certain parts of the world it’s misinterpreted.

So what we’re hearing here is nothing but noise deliberately designed to ease minds and pass blame as the true signal becomes harder and harder to ignore.

Posted in George W. Bush | Comments Off on The signal-to-noise rationale


Independent – The ugly truth about everyday life in Baghdad (by the US ambassador)

Juan Cole – US Embassy Document (full text)

BSSC – Our Man In Iraq

Posted in It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely! | Comments Off on Stoppers!

Labour Home: “It was only a beta-test….” – the ‘home of grass roots Labour opinion’ – is due to launch soon. The opening post that mistakenly credits me with building has been described by the creator as a ‘cunning marketing plan’.

(Don’t feel too bad, Alex; Last week I mistook Labour for Labour because I was scanning documents when I really should have been paying attention to what I was blogging.)

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Labour is ‘listening’ again

Go on, have a go. Make a note of what they delete.

UPDATE – Labour have a new wheeze that saves them all that deletion hassle… they only display a certain number of comments (roughly 15 or so). Older comments disappear into an invisible and impenetrable archive… so only the most recent form of mild dissent is visible to the public.

UPDATE – BSSC – “Let’s ask leading questions”

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John Reid is a gutless thug

The Friday Thing – Paedomania, And Other Distractions: On the steps of the court, megaphone in hand stands John Reid. ‘What do we want?’ he shouts. ‘Longer sentences to placate over-inflated public fears!’ roars the crowd. ‘When do we want them?’ ‘Before the Tories get any further ahead in the opinion polls!’ A group of bereaved parents are then ushered in to have their unbearable grief mawkishly exploited before being despatched back to their obscurity.

NOTW – Sarah’s Law victory: The News of the World has scored a massive victory in its historic crusade to protect Britain’s children from paedophile monsters. Sarah’s Law – which would give parents the right to information about dangerous paedophiles – is on the brink of being introduced in Britain. After a six year battle by the News of the World Home Secretary John Reid ORDERED a review of our campaign and CLOSED 11 bail hostels to child sex offenders. The U-turn follows our relentless campaign to expose the dangers of child sex fiends secretly housed in bail hostels close to schools… In a huge sea change of government attitude, Dr Reid sent shock waves through the police, probation and prison system by declaring bluntly: “I start from the position that information should no longer remain the exclusive preserve of officialdom. I have also asked the minister to study specifically the News of the World’s Sarah’s Law proposals on controlled access to information. I believe the public have the right to protection and they have the right to information.”

Chicken Yoghurt – Did things just get better or worse?: As there’s no details given, no street name or rough location, I don’t even know where to take my petrol bombs and poorly spelt placard.

The Herald – Naming paedophiles: Dr Reid is right to order the closure of hostels near schools (though this creates a new problem of finding suitable accommodation). But he is taking a gamble flagging up disclosure as a possible panacea. As Ms Jamieson’s correspondence makes clear, it is itself fraught with risk. Disclosure could drive sex offenders into hiding. The police and child protection agencies would lose contact, and supervision would cease. As is known, naming names leads to witch-hunts, causes public disorder and hounds people from their homes. Most child abuse occurs within the family, and victims might be discouraged from coming forward (or encouraged to withdraw allegations) because of the potential repercussions from disclosure for the wellbeing of the closely related offender. It is surely no coincidence that 80% of paedophiles comply with registration requirements in the US, compared with 97% in Britain.

The Scum – Reid is right: John Reid is to be congratulated on a bold move which looks certain to give Britain a Sarah’s Law. The Home Secretary has conceded that parents have a right to know the whereabouts of convicted paedophiles. And he has ordered a study of how the law works in the USA. It is six years since demands for the new law began – prompted by the murder of eight-year-old Sarah Payne by convicted child snatcher Roy Whiting. A campaign was launched by the News of the World – vigorously supported by The Sun and its readers. Sarah’s mother Sara bravely set aside her grief to lead the battle. Mr Reid’s moves are a just reward for Sara’s untiring efforts. The Home Secretary has also ordered 60 perverts to be moved from 11 bail hostels near schools and nurseries. These are commonsense measures, but they represent a huge change in attitude at the Home Office. In the past Mr Reid’s department has failed the country on many fronts, and he has a formidable task to put things right. But the step toward a Sarah’s Law is a brilliant start.

Meanwhile… PA – Schools ignore child abusers scheme


1. Haven’t we been here before? Haven’t we learned anything?

2. This is the same government that will dismiss a pressing issue with substance as a media invention at the drop of a hat. But the “We refuse to be dictated to by the newspapers!” get-out is more than a little undermined when they allow a tabloid newspaper to take the lead on the next round of knee-jerk legislation… and actually accept their draft as a starting point!

3. Monsters! Fiends! Think of the children! Support the troops! (Sorry. Got a bit mixed up there. Can’t imagine why.)

4. Remember: If you voice any objections to these very sensible proposals, it is a clear sign that you support paedophiles and/or that you are a paedophile yourself. (See #3)

A slow hand clap to John ‘Ride-Along‘ Reid for boldly tackling perception ahead of problems, and creating new problems in the process…. one of which is letting these tabloid bastards take the initiative that he rather hopefully claims as his own.

Reid may as well hand Rupert Murdoch and Rebekah Wade the keys to his office and be done with it. FFS, just take a look at how much space The Sun and the News Of The World reserve for self-aggrandisement when they have the perfect opportunity to instead rant further about one of their favourite targets. This speaks volumes about their true priorities.

Guardian – Reid warned of ‘lynch mob law’ over parental access to paedophile details: Mr Reid’s promise to consider a British-version of the controversial American Megan’s law, under which local parents are given full details of child sex offenders released into their neighbourhood, follows a six-year News of the World campaign to name and shame paedophiles and publish the addresses of all 101 probation hostels that house offenders. The campaign raised fears of vigilante attacks and warnings that paedophiles were going underground.

Sunday Herald – Home Secretary focuses on headlines and loses sight of justice and decency: When a government resorts to populism you can be sure it’s getting desperate. As if things were not bad enough in Blair World, the Home Secretary has revealed how morally bankrupt his government is becoming with his naked perusal of tabloid values… Reid’s behaviour is sickening. What next for the man in this position of power, who when Murdoch says “jump” he replies: “How high?”

UPDATE (19 June) – Yet another must-read from Justin… Chicken Yoghurt – Paedogeddon Redux

UPDATE (20 June) – BBC – Paedophile policy ‘not media-led’: Education Secretary Alan Johnson has rejected claims by a top police officer that policy on paedophiles is being driven by a tabloid newspaper campaign. Dyfed-Powys Chief Constable Terry Grange said he was extremely concerned the Home Office had “surrendered” power over policy to the News of the World.

Well, I’m sure we can all trust that nice Mr Johnson…

UPDATE (21 June) – Guardian – Murdoch, ministers, and the red-top agenda

It’s hard to tell what’s going on at the moment; either the tabloids are lying, the government has performed an almighty flip-flop, or John Reid has been cut off at the legs by Downing St. No matter. At the very least, this whole sorry episode has led to the following delicious editorial from Rebekah Wade, and for that alone we should be thankful…

The Scum – Cop’s mistake: Loudmouth police chief Terry Grange blames newspapers for dictating government policy on crime and punishment. Would that it were true! There would certainly be fewer violent thugs and perverts on the loose. But it is not true. The News of the World, supported by The Sun, has campaigned for six years for Sarah’s Law, so parents can keep track of paedophiles. It is only now – after the hideous deaths and living nightmares of too many kiddies – that Home Secretary John Reid is considering action. We will believe it when we see it. But he is responding to public outrage over barmy sentences dished out by dozy judges to criminals who threaten our safety. We didn’t invent these revolting crimes. Nobody could. It is the travesty of justice which lets the guilty off so lightly that has galvanised public fury. In a country where property crime is rated above sex attacks on children, there is a powerful case for Sarah’s Law. Newspapers are entitled to reflect and respond to such outrage… since nobody in power seemed to be doing so. It is up to this government – after nine years in power – to respond in a mature and appropriate way. Campaigning newspapers are a vital component of democracy. They are a major force for good. The Sun, for instance, did the nation a service by campaigning against the euro – and for a referendum on the EU Constitution. That’s our job. And it is the job of policemen such as Terry Grange to stop playing politics… and fight crime. If they were doing it better, we would not need Sarah’s Law in the first place.

Woof! What a scorcher!

Posted in Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch | 3 Comments