16-31 March, 2004

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Date
20040316
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:24
A well-deserved chart-topper this morning:

City officials city fall victim to Internet hoax, consider banning items made with water.

To learn more about the threat of dihydrogen monoxide, the “odorless, tasteless chemical” that can be deadly if accidentally inhaled, click here. Or use any search engine, most of which present this Snopes entry on the first page of results.

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Date
20040316
Activism
Time
10:32
Flashmobs with a purpose: Protests in Madrid organized by SMS, chatrooms.

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Date
20040316
Guantanamo Bay
Time
10:33
Sydney Morning Herlad – US frees 26 from Guantanamo Bay: The US military today said it had released 23 Afghan and three Pakistani citizens from the US Navy prison for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, leaving about 610 still in detention. In a brief statement, the Pentagon did not say specifically why the 26 were let go, but said each case was reviewed separately to determine whether a prisoner was of further intelligence value to the US and whether he was believed to pose a threat to America.

I love bold-assertion-with-zero-details about one of them going ‘back to the fight’, it’s almost as if they can’t resist tacking on an ‘I told you so!’

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Date
20040316
Spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace
Time
10:43
Once again, astronomers make life hell for astrologers. Blood will be spilled one day, you mark my words.

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Date
20040316
The Bush Administration
Time
10:45
The Scotsman – Bush Administration Accused of Manufacturing the News: The Bush Administration is being investigated for producing “ready made” television news packages in which actors were paid to pose as journalists, it emerged today. “TV news releases” were sent to local stations to be run as part of main news programmes. But Federal investigators have launched an investigation into whether the adverts were “propaganda”, amid allegations that they were an attempt to “manipulate the press”.

UPDATE – More on this here at the New York Times and here at The Guardian (latter link requires registration).

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Date
20040316
Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch
Time
11:05
Once again, we turn to The Scum for Blair’s lies in their purest form. Today’s editorial space is devoted 100% to convincing readers that the Spanish have flip-flopped at the whim of terrorists, when in reality what cost Jose Maria Aznar his job was one callous manipulation of the terror threat too far. Blair has also manipulated the threat in many questionable ways, and is very worried about parallels being drawn. That’s why The Scum finds it so very important that they set the tone with this today:

WHAT is Tony Blair to make of the extraordinary outcome of the Spanish election? Putting it bluntly, it is the first time a terrorist act has toppled a government. A nation believes it can opt out of the war on terror. Like their new Prime Minister, Jose Zapatero, the Spanish are living under a dangerous delusion. He has convinced 43 per cent of his shell-shocked voters that the war on Iraq is to blame for the carnage in Madrid. Now he promises to pull 1,300 Spanish troops out of Iraq in July. It is unpleasant to criticise a nation at a time of great mourning, but what the people of Spain have done is very wrong. Their country was not targeted by al-Qaeda because it supported America and Britain. The Muslim terrorists are out to destroy the modern way of life which they hate. Their wicked acts have precious little to do with events of the 21st century. The Muslim fanatics of al-Qaeda want to turn the clock back to the Dark Ages. They are fighting a war which, in their warped minds, began 500 years ago. New York, Washington, Moscow and Madrid have been attacked. But so too have Islamic countries like Turkey, Indonesia and Iraq. This is truly a war on the world and we are ALL in it. In Britain, there are many who use Blair’s perfectly proper support of America as an excuse for sniping and sneering at the world’s only superpower. They are everywhere — on the left of the Labour party, throughout the Lib Dems, in the Guardian and at the BBC. They are content to shelter under American firepower but like all who would occupy the moral high ground, they are overcome by altitude sickness and feel the need to empty bile over their protectors. There are even some in Government who seem to waver. So where does this leave Blair? The Prime Minister has acted with great courage and skill since the horrors of 9/11 awoke the world to the threat it faces. He was entirely right to give full backing to President Bush and our great ally across the Atlantic. No one should delude themselves that Britain would have been a safer place if we’d sat on the fence like Germany and France. Blair deserves the country’s full support.

The poor ‘shell-shocked’ voters. They deserve our full sympathy because they’ve just been blowed up, but you have to admit that they’re acting a bit loopy. Kind of like that hysterical Clare Short woman. And let us not forget 911! With great courage and skill, Blair took the hand of the shell-shocked Americans and invaded Iraq to reduce the threat of terror by doing away with an evil dictator who wanted us blowed up as well. The only way to fight terrorism is to support Tony Blair 100% and believe everything he says!

(What do you mean there’s no link between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda? They both want to see us blowed up! What further proof do you need?)

UPDATE – I haven’t commented on their ‘hooray for taking the law into your own hands’ front page, but somebody else has. Pfft!

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Date
20040316
Consume!
Time
11:10
Now the Spanish are all traitorous socialists, what is to become of the this classic dish? Will The Supreme Court have to step in again, banning the unholy combination of onions and eggs, or will simple rebranding suffice?

‘Liberty Omelette’ has a nice ring to it, but I prefer the snap of ‘Broken Egg Breakfast’…

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Date
20040316
Anyone but George
Time
12:10
Time’s guide to ‘the suddenly fast and loud presidential race’ is a jolly good read, but if you want to retain a fair and balanced level of input, you’ll want to start by watching Kerry and Bush’s campaign output side-by-side.

Also interesting is this somewhat belated side-by-side video of Dean and Bush. The Bush segment is drawn from this video of him looking somewhat squiffy 6 years after he gave up drinking. Alone. Or gave up drinking alone.

Me, I’m not too fussed about whether or not he took a drink at a wedding in 1992. Or when he choked on that pretzel. Hell, I wouldn’t even blame him for taking a few drinks this time last year. I’m even OK if he is drinking every day right now and lying about it.

What I have a problem with, and what I think we have a right to know, is how often is wakes up hung over in strange rooms like this one and how long it takes him to get out. Without cheating.

UPDATE – It took me 45 minutes. Having your view change every time you click somewhere that’s not-quite-near-an-object is a right pain in the arse, but don’t let it stop you poking around. Oh, and cheers to Mirjam for the Crimson Room link. It’s not as if I have any work to do.

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Date
20040316
It’s War! And You Just Volunteered!
Time
12:11
Slowly but surely…

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Date
20040316
Video
Time
12:20
Some very cool aircraft footage courtesy of the plane-lovin’ folks at the Alexis Park Inn.

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Date
20040316
Normal People
Time
12:49
Meet Ulrich Haarbürste. He likes to write stories about Roy Orbison being wrapped up in cling-film.

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Date
20040316
The War on Terror
Time
13:23
What every atrocity needs is a snappy name. It doesn’t have to be original. Just snappy.

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Date
20040316
Richard Desmond Is a Pornographer
Time
13:31
The Indepenedent – BoI withdraws funding for purchase of Desmond adult titles: Bank of Ireland yesterday confirmed it had pulled out of a deal to finance the £20m acquisition of 45 of Richard Desmond’s adult magazines by the publisher Remnant Media following protests from its customers.

Poor Richard, just when he had some lovely bunnies lined up….

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Date
20040316
Photoshopping
Time
14:08
Farkers invited to post their ‘technical best.’ Proceed with caution; it’s a big download from multiple servers.

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Date
20040316
Spain: Beacon of Democracy
Time
15:49
Luke from Expats just got back from Spain and has posted the following in reaction to all the ‘terror wins’ and ‘Spaniards are cowards’ garbage:

“I could not say this more clearly: The Spanish were not voting in fear, but in defiance.”

“The word on the street was that Aznar had been caught with his hand in the cookie jar, and that as of 5PM on the day of the bombings functionaries within the Spanish government had been told from on high to exploit every opportunity to blame ETA. Aznar himself called several newspapers (including Britain’s Observer) to personally press this line. This was too much for the Spanish to take.”

“… the PSOE did not ‘win’ in the traditional sense. Aznar and the PP lost, because the Spanish people had had enough of deceit and opportunism, and they wanted their country back. In the clearest street-level grassroots sense of the phrase, they voted with their feet.”

Well said, that man.

UPDATE – You may also wish to give Peter Kilfoyle a moment or two of your time.

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Date
20040316
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
16:19
Yes, but what was the donkey doing in southeastern Afghanistan in the first place? Sorry, that whole backpacking to learn computer skills and meet a wife story just won’t wash. Everybody knows that donkeys are a bit queer and love a bit of barnyard servicing. Chase me! Chase me! You couldn’t make it up. Etc.

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Date
20040316
The War on Terror
Time
16:41
Yahoo! News – Bush says foreign troops should stay in Iraq.

The best bit is this quote: “…al-Qaeda has an interest in Iraq for a reason. And that interest is they realize this is a front in the war on terror.”

This is an excellent example of the new line that Iraq and the War on Terror are linked (and therefore have always been linked) because of the terror attacks happening in Iraq. Because it’s a front on terror. That we helped to create by illegally invading that country after claiming that it had links to terrrorists.

Infuriating, isn’t it?

UPDATE – Spain’s new socialist Prime Minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero says here: “Military intervention in Iraq was a political mistake. It divided more than it united, there were no reasons for it. Time has shown that the arguments for it lacked credibility. You cannot bomb by chance. You can’t lead a war with lies.”

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Date
20040317
Bunch of Stuff
Time
09:56
I have a lot to get on with today, so you won’t be seeing much of me, I’m sorry.

Here are a few snacks to keep you going.

Topping Blogdex: David Blunkett the Great Humanitarian strikes again.

Google has just gone live with another significant update to their algorithm and it looks like most clients will be very happy with the results.

One thing I always check on after an algorithm change is how my long-term generic query project is going. This time last month, the Universal Church of the Interactive Network had just climbed to 62nd place for the generic query ‘religion.’ Today it’s in 43rd place. Slowly but surely… (Oh, if you search for it in Google.co.uk and specify pages from the UK only it’s 3rd.)

What else, what else…?

Ah, here we go. Email:

YourParty has launched with a new site.

The Movement had a record deal, but the company they were signing with went bust. Then their manager dumped them. Then they got thrown out of their studio. Oh well, at least they’ve got their health.

On the subject of bands, you’ll love what The Descendents are up to. Check out the growing flyer archive and wonder at how fantastic other ‘old guard’ sites could be with a little extra typing and scanning. (Link via Ultimate Insult.

Mark Cuban has a weblog. Who he? Hrm. Perhaps I should make a living out of selling weblogs to rich eccentrics. I tried to start up with Prince Charles last year, but didn’t get very far.

I have no idea what this guy is banging on about. As far as I’m concerned, the world was created – human beings, Grand Canyon and all – at 9am on October 23rd, 4004 BC.

Wibbler would like to bring this proposed bill to your attention. He also invites you to watch Donald Rumsfeld squirm after a failed bluff about what he may or may not have said about Saddam being an imminent threat.

UPDATE – More on this from Metafilter

Finally, take a look at what I was thinking this time last year. Difference between now and then? Now you can send email to Tony Blair. Not that he’ll listen. The arrogant, lying, appeasing tosspot.

Sorry, just spitting some bile from the moral high ground…

*cough*

Meanwhile, the police warn us of terror attacks but the police are working ever so hard to stop them and citizens are being asked to keep an eye out for suspicious bags and we don’t have any bins on the London Underground, just a few thousand hidey-holes where I’ve seen litter lay for months on end but they’ll be searching passenger bags anyway, no doubt a little bit extra over the weekend but the measure won’t be used to harass protestors, anti-terror laws have never been used to do this and they are there to protect us from terror attack but an attack is inevitable and we’re all going to die.

And breathe….

I’ll be marching this Saturday, and urge you to do the same. The map of the route is hidden here.

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Date
20040317
Photoshopping
Time
10:24
Ooooh, look what The Guardian is up to.

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Date
20040317
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
10:43
A coward and a traitor! He deserves what’s coming to him if he fails to present himself for Guard duty.

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Date
20040317
The Interwebnet
Time
10:48
Via The Fix comes this handy registration bypass tool.

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Date
20040317
Christianity Watch
Time
10:57
Toby wishes to bring to your attention this, a far more disturbing bill in the works.

UPDATE – But, as we all know, the only dangerous fundamentalists are those who wear towels on their heads. God is love, right? With his Word as law, what could possiblye go wrong?

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Date
20040317
Trains
Time
11:22
Via The UK Today, we learn of louder whistles that will make the trains run on time. How about bigger sticks to beat the passengers with? Or guard dogs to chase the lazy buggers on and off the carriages? To cries of Mach schnell! Mach schnell!

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Date
20040317
Normal People
Time
13:08
Have you seen an Angel today?

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Date
20040317
Photoshopping
Time
13:45
The Coca-Cola Nazi Advert Challenge now has a special home all its own.

Send them your art.

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Date
20040317
OK, So I’m a Star Wars Geek
Time
14:12
Huzzah to FunJunkie for discovering these free paper models of Star Wars vehicles.

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Date
20040317
NSFW
Time
15:58
– Go to www.financepage.co.uk

- Click ‘Focus’

- Look for the hidden ‘s0e’ link in the graphic above ‘The Market’

- Every link you follow in that next section – with the exception of the panic button – is NSFW.

I can’t help but wonder what the point of this subterfuge is. Nudie pictures are still easy to spot as nudie pictures, even if they are surrounded by dull finance-oriented graphics.

I can see this becoming common knowledge very soon, too. So your IT manager will know exactly what it means when he sees repeated downloads from financepage.co.uk in your HTTP logs.

UPDATE – Here’s what the B3tans made of it and here’s the chap who built it.

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Date
20040317
The Bush Administration
Time
17:16
Hooray for Henry Waxman for bringing us The Iraq on the Record database, which contains ‘237 misleading statements about the threat posed by Iraq that were made by President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary Rumsfeld, Secretary Powell, and National Security Advisor Rice.’

The full report is available for download as a PDF file, or you can just access what you need via the handy lie-finder. The Washington Post reports.

Brilliant. Now who will build one of these for Blair, Hoon, Straw, Campbell and all their mates?

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Date
20040317
11/9 (please note correct formatting of date)
Time
17:34
*cough*

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Date
20040318
Updates
Time
11:21
Busy. Work to do. Need filthy lucre. Art-wank sector of my brain going into overdrive for the march on Saturday. Plus a new project for interwebnet.org in the final stages of development. I may blog this afternoon. Then again, I may not. Cheers all.

PS – Confession is good for the soul. Happy Anniversary.

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Date
20040318
Bunch of Stuff
Time
12:36
A clear-headed post on the current cries of ‘Appeasement!’

An enlightening post on Lisa Myers’ ‘Why didn’t Clinton kill Osama when he had the chance?’ story

Riding high on Blogdex:

1. Watch Rumsfeld squirm, courtesy of MoveOn.org

2. The Iraq war lie-finder.

3. Don’t click on http://www.sunrise-adams.biz/ – it’s only there because of comment or referral spam and will repeatedly try to install a porn downloader on your ‘puter.

4. Localised searches from Google. Only useful if you live in the US.

Calpundit’s move to washingtonmonthly.com (see top link) is also charting well. As is this report on the Al Qaeda statement that allows right-wingers to scream ‘Appeasement!’ and left-wingers to giggle at Al Qaeda’s endorsement of Bush. A relevant flame-war is here, if you have the stomach for it.

Hands up who would believe a story written by The Sun based on a letter addressed directly to them from the U.S. Embassy?

Thought so.

Here The Scum dutifully reports on the ‘guilt’ of four freed Guantanamo Bay detainees, complete with ‘fair and balanced’ headlines such as ‘ENEMY ON OUR STREETS’ and ‘ENEMIES WITHIN’.

This comment at The UK Today nails it.

Oh, and today’s Page 3 girl in The Sun has some thoughts on the budget. Natasha (21, from Torquay) welcomes the move to ‘sweep away Whitehall waste’. She says: “I don’t want my tax wasted on pen-pushers and bureaucrats. The axe should fall next on those silly politically-correct council jobs.”

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Date
20040318
Photoshopping
Time
15:47
A little treat for you on this special and happy day.

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Date
20040318
Normal People
Time
16:22
I was looking for a picture of a sock. I found a picture of George Harrison meeting a man who is wearing a sock.

From ‘The Life Story of the Singer from Deep Purple’. This site also includes a How Pure Is Your Devotion To Deep Purple? quiz.

I’m going home now.

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Date
20040319
Flash Games
Time
09:20
So cool and so fun that it’s already old news. Yet another awesome Yeti/Penguin game.

Hint: Angle it right, and the seals do their best to help out.

(Link found via Funjunkie; game is already 3rd on Blogdex.)

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Date
20040319
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
09:23
Looks like people just can’t get enough of tracking the lies of the Bush administration and watching Donald Rumsfeld get caught out. They still hang in there at 1st and 2nd place respectively (but the Yeti/Penguin game is sure to crack the top spot within an hour or so).

A new chart topper for you: 100 Most Often Mispronounced Words and Phrases in English. My favourite is – and always has been- forte.

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Date
20040319
The Bush Administration
Time
09:27
I hate to draw yet another Nazi parallel, but I can’t help but feel that very soon the U.S. is going to suffer from a massive brain drain.

365gay.com – LGBT Federal Workers Lose Job Protections: Gay and lesbians in the entire federal workforce have had their job protections officially removed by the office of Special Counsel. The new Special Counsel, Scott Bloch, says his interpretation of a 1978 law intended to protect employees and job applicants from adverse personnel actions is that gay and lesbian workers are not covered.

And it’s just persecution we’re dealing with here, but an administration that’s less-than-helpful or openly hostile to scientists that dare to engage in actual science. The state of the economy doesn’t help either. Things are look up, you say? Then why is Donald Trump looking to make a buck by trademarking the phrase You’re Fired?

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Date
20040319
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
09:47
MySociety awarded £250,000 by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. This post includes a list of projects submitted by the public that now look very likely to go ahead.

That’s quite inspiring. Do I dare chase funding for some of my less subversive projects?

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Date
20040319
Sex, Sex, Sex (the boys are marching)
Time
11:01
Man sues after ‘male enhancement’ product fails.

On a somewhat related note, Jessica Pivik laments the decline of the hand-job.

Stop laughing at the back! You know very well how committed the Bush administration is to curtailing teenage pregnancy and the spread of STDs. That’s why Bush is seeking to double funding for abstinence-only education. But the effectiveness of the programme is in question and this new round of funding looks like it’s going to some people who may not have the control of STDs as their highest priority.

Take Denny Pattyn, founder of the Silver Ring Thing, for example. He believes that we’re approaching the End of Days and it’s his duty to recruit as many souls as possible. He’s not concerned with the physical health of his charges, because he’s not entirely sure that this will be an issue for very long. He is instead primarily concerned with their spiritual health. Fair play to him, but he has no business taking funding that’s earmarked for the control of pregnancy and STDs.

So I think it’s time for a compromise. I think it’s time to grasp the nettle firmly and introduce a programme that will win hearts, minds and souls across the country while limiting teenage pregnancy and the spread of many common STDs.

I call this programme Hand-Jobs For Jesus.

Those who wish to take part, please step forward for the laying on of hands.

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Date
20040319
Activism
Time
11:09
Ther’ll be a report later this afternoon about what I have planned for the march tomorrow. Some posters (old and new) will also be available for download. Hang in there.

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Date
20040319
Rebekah ‘Red Mist’ Wade
Time
15:21
On the subject of Rebekah Wade and the downloading and publication of child pornography to shift her papers and boost her ego…

For background see:

Bloggerheads – Wed, March 9, 2004

Bloggerheads – Wed, March 10, 2004

Now, agreement and some extra data from from Private Eye No. 1102 (19 March – 1 April, 2004):

On May 8 last year, after police decided to give (Pete Townshend) a caution plus five years on the sex offenders’ register, (Wade) wrote a furious article insisting that he should have been charged: “A court should decide whether Townshend should be punished.” Why take such a hard line? Because, Wade thundered, “every person who views child pornography – even if only once – creates a market for the evil peddlers of filth”.

Thanks entirely to Rebekah Wade, every reader of here paper has now viewed child pornography, even if only once. She has thus done far more to “create a market” for it than anyone else in Britain. According to her own logic, Inspector Knacker should prosecute the flame-haired filth peddler without delay.

But it suddenly occurs to me that – for this to happen – one of us may need to file an actual complaint. So, who wants to play hardball with the ginger-freckled one?

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Date
20040319
Consume!
Time
15:23
From Toby:

BBC – Coke recalls controversial water: Coca-Cola is to recall all bottles of its Dasani water in the UK, after levels of bromate were found to exceed legal levels, Reuters has reported.

Funny because they deserve it. Hilarious because they put the stuff in there.

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Date
20040319
Activism
Time
15:30
Tony Blair says: “The idea that if we were to give in over the issue of Iraq that would be an end of the matter in so far as they (possible attackers) are concerned is completely and hopelessly naive.”

He just doesn’t give up insulting us and our intelligence, does he?

*sigh*

1. Granted, changing our Iraq policy will not stop us from being a target for terrorists. But the invasion of Iraq certainly didn’t help matters, now did it? Hooray to Hans Blix for coming right out and saying it.

2. That’s not the f**king issue, and Blair knows it. The issue is his manipulation of the terrorist threat for political gain. It screwed Aznar, and he’s next if he keeps it up.

Many of us still remember the note on which this War on Terror started. The 11th of September, 2001 was a great day to bury bad news. Jo Moore may be long gone, but the culture remains.

Oh and remember the tanks in Heathrow during the week before the million-strong march? We still haven’t been told why. Was it stage management or mismanagement? Either way, it places us at greater risk.

Right. Saturday…

The march will start in Hyde Park (Speaker’s Corner) and proceed to Trafalgar Square (here’s a map of teh route if you need it and a webcam facing Trafalgar Square if you want to view the final assembly from out of town).

I have the following to hand:

50 A4 ‘One Down, One And A Halfwit To Go’ posters

Click here to download a copy for yourself

25 A3 ‘Deaf To All Reason’ posters

Click here to download a copy for yourself

25 A3 ‘Guilty of Treason’ posters

Click here to download a copy for yourself

The posters print out as A4. Enlarging to A3 is a doddle if you have access to a suitable photocopier but – as you can see – I’ve planned on something a bit bigger.

This just in: The Rasterbator is as awesome as it seems.

Two hours. One tarp. One can of spray adhesive. 90 sheets of A4 paper.

Result: One 2m x 3m poster showing exactly why we went into Iraq.

Oh, and a fume-induced hallucination of Tony Blair and George W Bush having rough sex on my kitchen table while Osama bin Laden spanks them both screaming: “Who are you? You’re my *bitches*, aren’t you?”

(ahem)

I also have two unmade posters, one of Bush the 911 hero and one of ‘Deaf To All Reason’.

The plan will be to try and put one or both of these up ‘live’ (as an art/wank installation and performance piece) on a suitable section of protective hoarding as the march passes through town and/or as it arrives in Trafalgar Square. (These are slightly smaller and, using my trusty staple-gun, will come together much faster than the sticky mess you see before you.)

If this looks unpossible, doesn’t work out, or if I’m cautioned for disturbing the tourists again, then I have the other posters for distribution throughout the crowd and my large back-up that you see here.

(As massive as this poster may look in my kitchen, I’m sure it will appear somewhat tiddly when I reach Trafalgar Square, but I’m emotionally prepared for that.)

I hope you choose to march tomorrow. If you do so in London, I hope to see you there.

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Date
20040319
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
15:37
Would any Bloggerheads readers care to subvert American Candidate? If so, sign up now. We’ll nut out the details later.

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Date
20040319
I Believe In The BBC
Time
16:02
Dot Journalism – Beeb defenders rally online. OK, so it’s not the New York Times, but it’s a nice piece and Jemima picked up on an off-the-cuff remark about Rupert Murdoch that pleases me more every time I look at it: “He’s got his massive media networks – we have our little web pages.”

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Date
20040319
Bunch of Stuff
Time
17:25
A brilliant find, courtesy of NTK. Please note the source of the only errant arrow on this page and which way it’s pointing.

The latest B3ta newsletter, another spark of light in my otherwise dreary afternoon, leads us to this brilliant game that challenges you to shoot the Invader Nuns as they emerge from the Mother Superior Ship and this, the rather NSFW Labour Government Scandal Generator. A few more towels on the bed wouldn’t go astray. Just a thought.

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Date
20040322
Activism
Time
10:01
Not arrested. Just busy. Here’s something to tide you over.

Something to chew on: Many people I talked to on Saturday were urged by loved ones not to attend just in case they got blowed up. The fear factor is sure to have had an effect on numbers.

UPDATE – Here you go; Luke got some shots off, too.

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Date
20040322
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
13:05
The Guardian – History will damn them: In the past 12 months, deserters from the Bush/Blair cause have revealed piecemeal the reality. War was planned long in advance against a soft Arab target that nobody much liked.

But, hey, why wait for history when we have Richard Clarke and Jimmy Carter?

CBS News – Did Bush Press For Iraq-9/11 Link?: In the aftermath of Sept. 11, President Bush ordered his then top anti-terrorism advisor to look for a link between Iraq and the attacks, despite being told there didn’t seem to be one. The charge comes from the advisor, Richard Clarke, in an exclusive interview on 60 Minutes. “Frankly,” he said, “I find it outrageous that the president is running for re-election on the grounds that he’s done such great things about terrorism. He ignored it.”

Actually, he did worse that ignore it; once threat became reality he manipulated it. Once he’d finished shitting his pants and reading that story about a goat, that is.

This thread over at Atrios should give you an idea of the impact of this interview. RWCs are already lining up trying to discredit Clarke. He’s in for a rough week.

UPDATE – Here’s a response from renowned bastion of truth, Condaleeza Rice.

The Independent – Carter savages Blair and Bush: ‘Their war was based on lies’: Jimmy Carter, the former US president, has strongly criticised George Bush and Tony Blair for waging an unnecessary war to oust Saddam Hussein based on “lies or misinterpretations”.

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Date
20040322
11/9 (please note correct formatting of date)
Time
13:24
If memory serves, these screen shots from 911 survivor disappeared pretty sharpish last time they came to the fore. You may have to be quick to see them.

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Date
20040322
Interesting Times
Time
14:07
BBC – The killing of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. What’s your reaction?

Mine (in order of occurence):

1. Shit. Fan.

2. Another day of explaining that “bad man gone” does not equal “all is well”…

3. The flame war at Fark should be interesting.

2. Liar.

3. Hyprocrite.

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Date
20040322
Only Interesting to Bloggers
Time
14:10
Six Apart is launchingTypekey, a comment authentication service designed mostly to do away with impersonation and comment spam. Find out more about what it is and what it isn’t.

Also, Six Apart and Ublog SA have signed an exclusive representation agreement in Europe.

Of slight interest to non-bloggers; is this the first blogged proposal?

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Date
20040322
Art
Time
14:23
A wonderful exploration of our world and how much of it is media and/or information space. This is why you have a headache when you get home.

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Date
20040322
Activism
Time
14:26
Another image from Saturday for you. I really should do a full photo report when I get the chance, but I’m bust juggling toy cars and mustard sachets right now.

Don’t ask…

Charting well on Blogdex (mostly thanks to a plug on LGF) is a collection of protest signage complete with sarky commentary.

1. Yes, quite of few of these do miss the point, hijack the issue or rate as completely hatstand.

2. The right has its fair share of crazies and idiots, too.

The Guardian – Hain demands security investigation after scaling of Big Ben: In a statement yesterday Harry Westaway said: “I just hope people recognised we just wanted to make a statement about the war and not about security.” Greenpeace spokesman Ben Stewart said: “If our actions have exposed a security flaw – and we are not really convinced that they have – then that has got to be a good thing for everyone concerned.”

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Date
20040322
Page 3 – Words of Wisdom
Time
14:41
Never mind the suitcase bombs, just going to hospital can kill you! (Assuming, of course, that you actually make it to hospital.) You will fear the killer bugs, so says Melanie (23, from Watford): “People need to feel safe in hospital. There’s a growing feeling hygiene standards on the wards are not as high as they were a generation agao. With all the money thrown at the NHS recently it’s startling to see a killer bug spread so rapidly.”

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Date
20040322
Coming Up
Time
14:50
This Observer report on Saturday’s demonstration includes “assorted Big Issue sellers” in its list of those in attendance.

However, what the reporter fails to mention is that the people selling Big Issue were fraudsters one and all. More tomorrow.

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Date
20040322
Activism
Time
16:20
More photos of the London demonstration via Indymedia.

The Bush/Hero poster features in Collection No. 6. Reason/Treason combo appears in this, the 2nd photo report.

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Date
20040322
Art
Time
16:58
OK, done with the mustard. Now I’m onto toast.

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Date
20040323
Seems Fair…
Time
10:29
During the demonstration on Saturday, there were a number of women doing the rounds in Trafalgar Square, touting The Big Issue.

The selling or buying of this magazine in such circumstances did not seem at all out of place. In fact, this article in The Observer casually lists the sellers as part of its ‘all types’ rundown.

The problem is that not one of these people was a genuine and authorised vendor of The Big Issue.

I knew this straight away because I recognised the ‘uniform’ from an encounter well over 18 months ago:

- Babe in Arms

- Kids In Tow

- Scarf On Head

- Lots & Lots of Gold Teeth

- Fake Vendor ID (or, in this case, no ID at all)

A quick word on that last encounter; I may have been a little harsh on the bogus vendor. This practice robs The Big Issue and authorised vendors of income, but this scam is almost certainly gang-related, so the children and the women involved are victims themselves.

Hell, I’m even willing to be admit that they may be homeless or at risk of homelessness. If this were the case, they would be more than welcome to sell The Big Issue, I’m sure… but I’m also sure that dragging babies or children around at all hours of the days and night would violate the Vendor Code of Conduct (available via this web page) in that it places these children at risk and is certain to ‘bring The Big Issue into disrepute.’

The Vendor Code of Conduct also insists that vendors refrain from ‘aggressive behaviour or offensive language’ and that they carry and display a badge whilst selling.

So, call it a knee-jerk reaction if you like, but as each and every seller of this type has told me to ‘fuck off’ when I’ve asked to see their ID or questioned its authenticity, I’m of the opinion that they would not make suitable vendors even if they did wish to apply.

Moving right along…

The big question, especially considering that profit is the motive, is where do they get their stock?

I think I may have the answer and – regrettably – it’s not a pretty one.

Again we turn to the Vendor Code of Conduct, which forbids the supplying of magazines to ‘suspended vendors, non-vendors for re-sale to the public, vendors who have been refused magazines from the distribution outlet’ or anyone else who intends ‘to sell on your behalf.’

1. Consider how many immediately visible aspects of this scam play on human weaknessneses. It’s pretty likely the supply line also relies on exploitation of the weak-willed.

2. If organised gangs were raiding distribution outlets on a regular basis, I’m pretty sure The Big Issue would have no problems publicising these crimes and tackling the problem, but I’ve emailed them a number of times about this and have never received a reply, so I don’t think it’s too unreasonable to assume that a significant amount of re-selling is going on and The Big Issue is either hoping that it won’t come to light (it will) and/or that the problem will simply go away (it won’t).

Of course, that’s just an opinion at this stage. It’s strengthened by a lack of any reply from The Big Issue, so perhaps you’d care to get in touch with them today and ask them for clarification.

Wherever this stock is coming from, the problem of unauthorised vendors should be a priority for BI, but this gang appears to be well-organised and well-established. Why let them continue when they stand to do so much damage to the magazine and the people it helps?

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Date
20040323
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
11:18
Here’s an unofficial transcript of Richard Clarke’s appearance on 60 Minutes.

Meanwhile, as yet another whistle-blower shows what Bush’s War on Terror is really all about, RWCs continue to bleat that the ends justify the means, thanks in no small part to this selective collection of placards including some that – I do agree – are ignorant and/or offensive in the extreme. And, of course, this tears every argument we have against the war to shreds, which makes for very handy conversation fodder when you want to avoid talking about yet more damning evidence against the Bush administration and the lies that are finally, publicly, falling apart.

John McGuinness says it best: You’ll notice that Lileks never engages serious opponents to the war — nope, it’s always a silly celebrity, a college kid on a web board, or a silly protestor.

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Date
20040323
Richard Desmond Is a Pornographer
Time
11:21
Telegraph – Bank forced to apologise over ‘porn’ acquisition: The bank pledged to review its lending policies after admitting that it extended more than £5 million of debt financing to Remnant Media. The company used the cash to buy the adult magazines from Mr Desmond, whose portfolio of top-shelf publications included Asian Babes, Readers’ Wives, Mothers-in-Law and 60 Plus.

All very embarrassing, but it seems like Desmond has offloaded his porn just in time for the big bid. ‘Seems’ being the operative word. The latest issue of Private Eye suggests that this is little more than an ‘arm’s length’ deal and Desmond is retaining his adult channel Television X and the adult contact magazine Forum, so I think he still qualifies as a bonafide pornographer… but soon I’ll be asking for your opinion.

UPDATE – And it’s sure to be very interesting when I do. I didn’t know that Desmond owned Attitude magazine. It also passed me by that Desmond’s Star has been lambasting gay storylines on TV in the same week he launches a new soft-porn channel Gay TV. Cheers, Scott. Keep your eyes peeled. We’re about to have some fun with Mr Desmond.

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Date
20040323
Normal People
Time
11:29
Cheers to Abnu for this wet-yourself funny look at Hot Or Not listings.

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Date
20040323
Only Interesting to Bloggers
Time
11:31
New Technorati beta launches. Well, it looks much prettier…

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Date
20040323
The Happy Poster Project
Time
11:35
A lot of traffic is coming in to The Happy Poster Project via Atuu Sees All and I can see why; that’s one very fine link log he’s got there. Bookmarked for the blogroll….

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Date
20040323
Rebekah ‘Red Mist’ Wade
Time
11:40
Sun sez ‘Our Boys in Flames’ under attack from ‘Revenge mobs’ in Basra : British troops were set ablaze in a firestorm of fury yesterday over the assassination of Muslim terror boss Ahmed Yassin. Fourteen soldiers were injured – three seriously – in petrol-bomb attacks by hate-filled mobs screaming Yassin’s name in the southern Iraqi city of Basra.

Ah yes, this would be that Iraq/911/Terrorism/Palestine link, then. Nothing to do with frustration over unemployment and poor amenities in that region.

Too bad there’s no Page 3 girl today. I’d really like to hear some bare-breasted thoughts on the matter.

(For fine commentary on that adjacent statement by Lord Greville Janner, see this post at The UK Today.)

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Date
20040323
Established Media
Time
12:01
Tch. They’lll let anyone be a journalist these days.

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Date
20040323
Animation
Time
12:06
You’ll probably need broadband to enjoy this totally awesome 1258-frame GIF.

UPDATE – More can be found here.

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Date
20040323
Art
Time
12:11
Cover Art from Pulp Magazines, Periodicals and Vintage Magazines. and The American Gallery of Psychiatric Art. (Links via The Ultimate Insult, both bookmarked for future photoshopping fodder.)

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Date
20040323
We’re Not At Home To Mr Cockup
Time
12:16
Read all about the doctor who left his patient on the operating table so he could cash his paycheck.

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Date
20040323
The Interwebnet
Time
12:18
We can only hope that Karl’s drivers are at least half as good as his banners.

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Date
20040323
Flash Games
Time
12:19
Homeland Insecurity; fun and educational. Roll, click and learn.

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Date
20040323
Guantanamo Bay
Time
13:39
I laughed milk out of my nose when I first heard that Capt. James Yee had been cleared of all charges of espionage because of ‘national security concerns’. (You might want to take a few minutes to compare some media coverage on this.)

That War on Terror solves just about everything, doesn’t it? Clears any drain, removes any stain…

Actually, I’m beginning to think that Capt. James Yee will be remembered as the nexus between between the War on Terror and the Bush’s upcoming War on Porn, especially considering the grudge-f**k the Army still plans on subjecting him to, no doubt in order to damage and discredit him.

What other reason can there be? If it’s Army policy to publicly stamp out sexual impropriety in such a way, how do you explain their shielding of the men accused of prisoner abuse in Iraq?

UPDATE – You’ll also note that this latest round of charges against Capt. Yee has made just about every news service. But we don’t hear much about this, now do we?

Female GIs report rapes, assaults by fellow troops. Pentagon accused of foot-dragging.

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Date
20040323
In The Courts
Time
14:00
Dane Carlson has an interesting idea for anyone wishing to dodge jury duty in California. I’m warming up my man-nipples just in case.

(Of course I’m kidding. I’ve done jury duty before and would do it again in a shot. But yes, I *am* playing with my man-nipples. Because it’s fun.)

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Date
20040323
Google
Time
15:00
Yahoo Style Porn Search Engine YaSEXHoo! Copies Booble Idea: Once again, porn people are playing “come and get me” with large web sites and Internet entities, looking for law suits to build their traffic via online news outlets making a big hoopla over the whole thing.

Oops. Forget I said anything, then.

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Date
20040323
The Bush Administration
Time
15:46
I was working overtime cutting out images of cars (fun game on the way, folks) so I missed the Newsnight interview with Richard Clarke. There’s a RealPlayer version here, but I think I’ll live with the transcript on this same page. (I hate RealPlayer so much that I’m not even willing to install an old slightly-less-hijacking version.)

RICHARD A CLARKE: I have had to stand up to people in the past, never to a president, but I believe there are certain lines that you don’t cross, and one of them is you don’t make up intelligence and you don’t cherry pick intelligence to suit your political agenda.

JEREMY PAXMAN: Are you saying that he made it up?

RICHARD A CLARKE: I am saying that the President and his administration have given an impression that Al-Qaeda was involved with Iraq in a serious way, and that perhaps Iraq had something to do with 9/11.

Curse the BBC and their anti-American agenda; they didn’t prompt him to use the word ‘subsconciously’….

(Cheers to Adam for the heads-up. You’re one step ahead on my missus, mate. Can you cook?)

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Date
20040323
Activism
Time
16:00
The Rasterbated posters from Trafalgar Square have been included and ‘cooled’ in the Rasterbator gallery.

More photo collections are turning up at this Indymedia feature. I may just submit mine to this collection, as I’m pretty sure I won’t have time to draft a full photo report like last time. At least not this week.

These are quite powerful images and you can see some more large pics of the Bush/Blair mega-poster in this new collection.

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Date
20040323
Flash Thingies
Time
16:15
Bwahahahahahahaha! Simple and clever always does it for me.

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Date
20040323
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
16:21
Do you remember the first time you read ‘Dear Raed’? To be honest, I had to dig into my archives to trigger my memory. And I never quite cottoned onto him as a writer.

Riverbend, on the other hand…

I’ll never forget the first time I read this. (Though it was the same day that I invoiced Tony Blair, which – I must admit – does help with the mental filing.)

This recent entry also deserves your attention and should be brought to mind every time you’re told how much happier Iraqis are now they have mobile phones, satellite dishes, flunjers, capdabblers and smendlers:

A year later and our electricity is intermittent, at best, there constantly seems to be a fuel shortage and the streets aren’t safe. When we walk down those streets, on rare occasions, the faces are haggard and creased with concern… concern over family members under detention, homes raided by Americans, hungry mouths to feed, and family members to keep safe from abduction, rape and death.

And where are we now, a year from the war? Sure- we own satellite dishes and the more prosperous own mobile phones… but where are we *really*? Where are the majority?

We’re trying to fight against the extremism that seems to be upon us like a black wave; we’re wondering, on an hourly basis, how long it will take for some semblance of normality to creep back into our lives; we’re hoping and praying against civil war…

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Date
20040323
Only Interesting to Bloggers
Time
16:42
Typekey: do you want the patriot-act paranoia, the hilarious rant or the voice of reason? Your call.

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Date
20040323
The Bush Administration
Time
16:50
Listen to Rush Limbaugh blowing Dick Cheney live over the radio. Sorry, there’s no other way to put it.

UPDATE – Pandagon’s post on this interview and attacks on Richard Clarke in general is worth reading in full (comments and all), as is this jolly good fisking of the White House response.

Seriously, guys. Impeach. Impeach. Impeach.

Now.

Please?

Look at how much changed in Spain in three days. In Israel in two. There are over 7 months until the election.

Look how ruthless this administration is. Look at how clumsy they are. What makes you think that they’re not going to do something incredibly bold and downright f**king stupid between now and November?

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Date
20040324
Flash Thingies
Time
10:39
Via one of many foreign blogs that have recently discovered The Happy Poster Project

Opera Baby!

It should make your morning. Cheered me up no end.

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Date
20040324
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:43
Mark Pilgrim’s TypeKey rant and Six Apart’s response to user concerns in FAQ format take out the top positions.

A Wired article on RRS feeds is climbing fast.

(guilty look)

There’s also a 5-year-old boy who took a bag of marijuana to school and was sprinkling it over a friend’s lasagna like oregano before being collared.

But the one to catch you should be this very interesting article by two chaps who have been purchasing old ‘wiped’ hard drives and retrieving their data. Prepare to shudder: In fact, only 10 percent of the drives I purchased had been properly sanitized. Much of the data we found was truly shocking. One of the drives once lived in an ATM. It contained a year’s worth of financial transactions—including account numbers and withdrawal amounts—from a organization that had a legal requirement to not divulge such information. Two other drives contained more than 5,000 credit card numbers—it looked as if one had been inside a cash register. Another had e-mail and personal financial records of a 45-year-old fellow in Georgia. The man is divorced, paying child support and dating a woman he met in Savannah. And, oh yeah, he’s really into pornography.

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Date
20040324
South West Trains
Time
11:01
A month after completely screwing up a meeting with 16 MPs and their researchers, South West Trains have attempted to make up for it with a form letter and £10 in travel vouchers.

Way to placate me, SWT. Your form letter doesn’t even give me details of the incident that caused the delay.

- What caused the points failure?

- Why was the delay more pronounced than with most other point failures?

- Why did it take you 30 minutes just to decide that we should go backwards because we couldn’t go forwards?

FFS… the letter also promises me that 2004 will be ‘a time for genuine improvement in performance’ and informs me of shiny new rolling stock on the way very soon. Meantime me and everybody else on their network pays top dollar to sit (maybe) in carriages that are decades-old and held together with wood screws and electrical tape.

Today I discover via this post at Annie’s London Underground Tube Diary that SWT is up fro an award (Rail Station of the Year) at tomorrow night’s first-ever London Transport awards.

I’m tempted to go down there and do a little picketing and heckling. Just to be mean, I can use my travel vouchers to pay for 89% of the train ticket there and back. What do you think?

UPDATE – Ooh, now you’ve gone and done it. I already have a placard in mind: YOU GET BACK-SLAPPED, WE GET BUTT-F**CKED! Keep feedback coming in.

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Date
20040324
The Bush Administration
Time
11:31
It’s the right-wing press to the rescue!

Murdoch’s New York Post goes with the ‘Richard Clarke is a fantasist’ angle.

The always-balanced National Review begs for a fisking on this one.

Can I start?

“At the height of the presidential campaign season, Clarke has made irresponsible and untrue allegations that the Bush White House was indifferent to the threat posed by al Qaeda in the months leading up to the 9/11 attacks.”

As Atrios points out, the White House was responsible for a 3-month delay on Clarke’s book. The timing of its release is their fault as much as anybody’s.

You can run the URLs for both of those articles through Technorati to see a bunch of RWCs accept and endorse this bull and bluster without question if you like. They’re already describing the 9-11 Commission as a ‘joke’ because they know what’s coming.

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Date
20040324
Christianity Watch
Time
11:43
Yes! Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!!!

Something else to brighten your day…

BBC – Monty Python’s Life of Brian to go head-to-head with Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ: Adverts will challenge Mel Gibson’s blockbuster with the lines “Mel or Monty?”, “The Passion or the Python?” Distributor Rainbow said it hoped the film would “serve as an antidote to all the hysteria about Mel’s movie”.

Huzzah and hurrah. The intelligent application of satire and hatstand in the ongoing fight against Extremism.

I do believe I will try to write a nice email to one or all of them. Terry Jones looks like a good start.

(Heads-up via ScaryDuck.)

UPDATE – Terry Jones can be reached through Casarotto Ramsay & Associates (contact Jenne@ or Abby@ ). Now I have place to send it, it’s time to draft my email.

UPDATE 2 – Email drafted and sent.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040324
The War on Terror
Time
11:57
You know those anti-piracy trailers at the start of home videos? The new one over here at Airstrip One by FACT: The Federation Against Copyright Theft (which has also been running in cinemas since February) has a well-evil demon chappie with a maniacal grin processing his pirate videos in a foundry (as you do) and stamping his illegal copies with a big branding iron in the shape of an ‘X’ (as you would expect).

The voice-over boldly warns us that “video piracy funds terrorism”…

As usual, we turn to this pinko broadsheet for an enlightened view: A sceptic might accuse Fact, which is funded by distributors and cinema chains, of scaremongering to protect industry profits…. Rita Katz, a leading US investigator of terrorism finances (says), “I have never found, in any of my investigations, any terrorist attacks financed by the grey market” in counterfeit videos, DVDs or music.

UPDATE – Kuro5hin – Congress: File-sharing and piracy linked to terrorism?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040324
Page 3 – Words of Wisdom
Time
12:18
Today is a cracker: Katie (19, from Liverpool) says ‘pop hunk’ Enrique Iglesias should not worry if he is under-endowed: “It’s not size that’s important, it’s what you do with it. And Enrique has got a nice bum and nice body so that makes up for it. Even if he has a small willy, it wouldn’t put me off him in any way.”

UPDATE – The Sun article on this subject wonders what Anna Kournikova makes of the whole thing and goes on to speculate on the size of other celebrity lunch-boxes.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040324
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
12:29
Well said, Balders.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040324
Consume!
Time
12:31
The Ultimate Insult todays gazes in wonder and the riches within Sam’s Toy Box. Me, I’m not all that impressed. Does he own a Merlin? No. He also appears to live life without any Lego, the poor dear.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040324
Doing The Rounds
Time
12:43
Martyn found this joke in the most recent Newsnight newsletter and wanted to share:

“Doctor, Doctor, I think I’m going deaf!”

“Really? What are the symptoms?”

“…?!?… They’re a cartoon family on TV…why?”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040324
Flash Thingies
Time
16:11
Grow. Up.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040324
Michael Carroll
Time
17:49
Michael has been ordered to pay £70 costs and submit himself to a 12-month drug testing order.

The Sun is all over it, of course, describing him today as having ‘swaggered’ out of the courtroom, which is a complete lie. It was actually more of a saunter.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040325
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:19
Two from the left:

Slate – Dick Clarke Is Telling the Truth – Why he’s right about Bush’s negligence on terrorism.

Richard Clarke terrorizes the White House: In a provocative Salon interview, the former terrorism czar fires back at the Bush administration, blasting its “big lie” strategy and “attack dog” Dick Cheney.

One from the right:

FOXNews – Transcript: Clarke Praises Bush Team in ’02

You’re all grown-ups. Make up your own minds.

Also charting well this morning:

A county in Oregon has banned all marriages – gay and heterosexual until they can decide who can and who cannot wed and Victor Hanson argues that liberals are fat-walleted and all talk, while with Republicans ‘you know what you get.’ Watch RWCs chew it up with glee.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040325
Flash Games
Time
10:23
Waste an entire morning playing with Lego. (Link via Funjunkie.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040325
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
10:26
A Calendar of US Military Dead during the Iraqi War.

This link came via the happied-up IdleType, who also features this incredible collection of manipulated ultrasound images.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040325
Art
Time
10:33
Some demented cartoons for you.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040325
Richard Desmond Is a Pornographer
Time
10:39
You may have noticed this header/headline at Bloggerheads in the past.

However, I must shamefully admit to basing this assertion my own personal opinion, formed from quite limited research.

All of that changes from today. In fact, you are quite unlikely to see this header/headline again until the following has reached a satisfactory conclusion…

The nex project for Interwebnet.org aims to settle this matter once and for all:

Is Richard Desmond a Pornographer?

(We) intend to establish exactly what role – if any – pornography played in the building of his empire, and what percentage of that empire is currently involved in the production, distribution or broadcast of pornography (be it soft, heavy, big, bouncy or otherwise). We will then balance this with the sector of his empire that is not involved in the production, distribution or broadcast of pornography (be it soft, heavy, big, bouncy or otherwise). In each case, we will attempt to calculate how widely the porn and non-porn material was distributed and what monetary profit was gained from each activity.

By doing so, we hope to establish whether the title ‘Richard Desmond the pornographer’ is fair, if it applies now, and if it should apply when he finally unloads some, none or all his adult-oriented interests on the long and arduous path to respectability and knighthood.

There’s some poster and magazine insert action to enjoy, but if you really want to get your hands dirty, you’ll need to help with the research.

We want numbers, we want facts. Send anything verifiable in and we’ll run it past the public.

Cheers all.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040325
Consume!
Time
10:54
Make your old banger into a supercar on a budget of £30. The reactions to his plans and their realisation are hilarious. As is the design solution for the dual exhaust. This guy’s a bloody genius of the highest order.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040325
Interesting Times
Time
12:37
I can see the need to show him to the media, but the parading of this boy still made me feel uncomfortable. And is it just me, or does that third shot look like an album cover?

UPDATE – I’m also amazed that Rebekah Wade isn’t foaming at the mouth over the release of this filthy child pornography.

UPDATE 2 – Well now we know; it’s not just me.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040325
A Blog Is Born
Time
13:08
Noam Chomsky now has his very own weblog and RWCs are already lining up for a comment flood. Beware the attack of the mental giants.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040325
The War on Terror
Time
13:28
Jose Aznar – “But before I go, just let me say this…”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040325
Interesting Times
Time
18:24
‘Little bomber’ fascinates Israeli media. Crikey! It’s Jade with a fuse!

*shame*

(Stands in corner. Looks through wall.)

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Date
20040326
Bunch of Stuff
Time
10:28
A busy one today. I have a keyword research project to start and a game to finish. There’s a lot of other stuff going on, but filthy lucre comes first.

I did manage to get get this off my chest this morning, but have no time to comment on Tony’s brave PR exercise or Lawrence Lessig’s freebie read.

I have some fun in mind for Tim Yeo, but that’s going to have to wait for a bit. Still, it’d be nice to know how many readers actually live in or near his constituency. Got a mo? Drop me a line.

I’m thinking of using the mighty Rasterbator to do a huge Happy Poster, but I’m trying to find a place to do it with *permission*. And it’s not turning out to be easy.

If you want to help out, the best thing you can do is provide some grist for the mill on this:

Is Richard Desmond a Pornographer?

Googling can reveal some interesting bits and bobs, but we’re really after the stuff that isn’t being published and/or broadcast online.

If you know a journalist; ask them what they have to hand. I’m willing to bet that a lot of research has been done and not a lot done with it.

Another thing you can do is talk to anyone you know who reads OK! magazine *and* either the Daily Mail or The Express and get me a quote regarding what they know about Richard Desmond (please provide with your quote a first name, age and county of residence).

I promise you, just asking will be fun. But try not to upset the poor dears…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040326
The Bush Administration
Time
11:30
CNN – Bush pokes fun at himself at dinner.

Guardian – Bush jokes about search for WMD, but it’s no laughing matter for critics.

Washington Post – Democrats Call Bush’s Comedy Skit Tasteless.

But hey, that’s OK. As FOXNews notes, it ‘segued into a sombre ending’…

Aaand cue the inevitable ‘thread of infinity’ at Fark.

For me, the contrast between this and Richard Clarke being the first (and so far only) government respresentative to apologise at the 9-11 Commission speaks volumes. As does Rush Limbaugh’s attempt to label the apology as ‘arrogant’. See how well this ties in with the ‘self-important fantasist’ theme?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040326
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
12:26
At the top, Noam Chomsky’s new blog, which today has closed comments after an invasion by freepers, footballers and assorted RWCs.

Under that, 100 movies that deserve more love, and a wide variety of views on Richard Clarke’s testimony:

Washington Post – Clarke Stays Cool as Partisanship Heats Up.

Time – Richard Clarke, at War With Himself.

Slate – Richard Clarke KOs the Bushies.

New York Post – Clarke’s Collapse.

There’s lots to chew on this over at Oxblog today. A sample: Now, if Clarke were so persuasive, why did Charles Krauthammer, Rich Lowry, and Romesh Ratnesar (of Time) have such an easy time coming up with compromising material? One reason is that the Bush administration has been remarkably forthcoming with once-classified material that helps discredit Clarke.

Meanwhile, Atrios brings us this article about the Republican rush to discredit Clarke and Kevin of Calpundit wonders Who’s going to be the next administration turncoat to go ballistic on George Bush?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040326
Inneresting
Time
14:23
Toilet paper.

Tissue paper.

That’s all I have to say about that.

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Date
20040326
Friday Afternoon
Time
15:30
Damn. I hoped to have a sneak preview of that game ready, but no dice. You’ll just have to wait.

Check out the latest B3ta newsletter instead. It’s got demented eBay shoppers, Post-It note madness and Magic 8-ball dissection.

Oh, and I found this great time-waster over at Bingobowden. Have fun.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040326
Normal People
Time
17:36
Meet John Paul Riley. He’s into wrestling and amatuer philosophy. Could be worse.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040329
Weblog ‘Marketing’
Time
09:53
My greatest fear about the Raging Cow campaign was that it would be held up as a great success, leading to a number of copies based on this flawed model. Think how bad comment and referral spam has gotten in the last 12 months. God forbid we should be invaded by tosspots with a serious budget.

That’s why I’m happy to be a small part of at least one curriculum.

(For an example of how fast a bad idea spreads, see Howard Dean’s campaign-site-posing-as-personal-blog, cited every other day this time last year as Political Weblog Prime. This detached approach was quickly adopted by Wesley Clark and George W. Bush.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040329
Google
Time
10:09
Google has gone live with a more streamlined, minimalist look on the front and throughout the results (which should look even neater once the last of the ‘sponsored’ listings fade away). Search options and service extras are enjoying a bit of a new push as part of this makeover, and Froogle has also graduated to the front page, suggesting that it’s finally about to come out of beta status, ready for a little regional testing.

Strangely, they’ve shunted their version of the ODPthe Google Directory – right into the background. This includes the removal of the category links previously displayed under resulting sites with ODP listings. I can’t see this move being a popular one, unless they have a superior directory of their own just about to go beta.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040329
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:11
Back-of-the-neck tingles await you in this report of of a rummage through Stanley Kubrick’s archives. They sound like they rival Tony Benn’s. How many scanners and researchers do you think it would take to put the whole shebang online?

After a quick and totally justified nose-picking, we see a similar sentiment being raised with this request for audio recordings of Lawrence Lessig’s new book. Right now they’re all but done. It took 3 days.

Another ‘successful’ blog-spammer pops their head up, before Elena’s photo report of a motorcycle tour of the Chernobyl area make a welcome return to the chart. It’s hosted with Angelfire, which means that this small amount of attention is sure see the site temporarily disabled for excess use of bandwidth in about 15 seconds. Go and see it while you can. (And if you can’t, bookmark it so you can see it tomorrow.)

Climbing fast: A new group-blog on the subject of evolution and the opportunity to send an email to your future self.

I’ll leave the Bush/Clarke content for another post.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040329
The Bush Administration
Time
11:05
The Independent – Clarke fends off White House dirty tricks: After a week of relentless attacks on its credibility, the White House is desperate to muzzle Richard Clarke, the former counter-terrorism chief who claims that the Bush administration was too preoccupied with Iraq even in its first months in office to pay proper attention to the most immediate threat to national security. Shutting him up, though, is not proving easy. None of the usual attack-dog techniques – character assassination, intimidation and reciprocal mud-slinging – has entirely worked on Mr Clarke, though it has not been for want of trying.

This article covers or references a lot of the Clarke-bashing listed here as recent chart-toppers on Blogdex. That they charted so well is a testament to how even our beloved two-way channel can be manipulated if you have enough brown-shirts ready and waiting to whore your links. Interestingly, a quick look at the link cosmos (through Blogdex or Technorati) for most of this propaganda shows a trail that begins at Instapundit and/or Little Green Footballs. I look forward to what they have to say when this criminal gang is finally voted or thrown out of office. Me, I’m betting on a modicum of denial.

Happily, the best chart performer on this issue today is this transcript of Richard Clarke on Meet The Press. Back-tracking (mostly through Technorati) reveals a number of people who actually watched Clarke deliver one answer after another. This contrasts nicely with Bush’s recent bumbling and fumbling appearance on the same show.

Actually, the latter transcript is worth another look for an entirely different reason, especially as the interview begins with a question regarding Bush’s reluctance to launch a commission to look into ‘intelligence failures’ leading up to Iraq war. You also have to keep in mind how (ahem) open and forthcoming his administration has been with the 9-11 Commission. Then take a look at this quote and think about the resources they threw into trying to destroy Richard Clarke.

“And… but I will continue to work hard to unite the country. I don’t speak ill of anybody in the process here. I think if you went back and looked at my comments, you will see I don’t attack. I don’t hold up people. I talk about what I believe in, and I lead, and maybe perhaps I believe so strongly in what we are doing around the world or doing here at home.” – George W. Bush, Feb 8 2004

But of course we’re not allowed to call him a hypocrite or a liar. That would be a personal attack. And quite possibly a hate crime.

UPDATE – Want more? Snigger at Condi Rice giving her best ‘cat’s bum’ face, visit Atrios to watch him nail her lies and take a look-see at this Time feature on Condi, Bush and Clarke. Finally, you might want to read Kevin Drum’s report on Clarke’s book (and the many comments that follow).

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040329
Consume!
Time
11:07
There is nothing I could say to make this funnier. No, wait… perhaps there is. Your savvy burglar knows about decoy/hidden wall safes, book safes, rock safes and can safes. Now a determined burglar, fresh from his hunt through the garden for out-of-place looking rocks and his scan of your walls and shelves for known-brand decoys, will be reduced to sniffing undies to determine authenticity. Then again, perhaps a quick rummage would reveal the crinkly presence of bank notes in your daks.

Hmm. My advice is to buy a pair and slip a mousetrap inside. Just to add injury to insult.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040329
11/9 (please note correct formatting of date)
Time
11:18
Frank Rich: Faux journalism is the White House’s new ally: There is no point in bothering with actual news people anyway, when you can make up your own story and make it stick. No fake news story has become more embedded in our culture than the administration’s account of its actions on Sept. 11. As The Wall Street Journal reported on its front page this week – just as the former counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke was going public with his parallel account – many of this story’s most familiar details are utter fiction…. Yet the fake narrative of Sept. 11 has been scrupulously maintained by the White House for more than two years. Although the administration has tried at every juncture to stonewall the Sept. 11 investigative commission, its personnel, including the president, had all the time in the world for the producer of a TV movie, Showtime’s “DC 9/11: Time of Crisis” The result was a scenario that further rewrote the history of that day, stirring steroids into false tales of presidential derring-do. To shore up the Karl Rove version of Sept. 11 once Richard Clarke went public with his alternative tale on last Sunday’s “60 Minutes,” the White House placed Condoleezza Rice on all five morning news shows the next day. The administration is confident that it can reinstate its bogus scenario – particularly given that Rice, unlike Clarke, is refusing to take the risk of reciting it under oath to the Sept. 11 commission.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040329
The Bush Administration
Time
11:24
Read about this bunch of liars.

Read about them calling Richard Clarke a liar.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040329
In The News
Time
11:28
Woman traces obscene phone caller and corners him in a public phone booth.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040329
Goodbyes
Time
11:30
Keep half an eye on the B3ta messageboard today for any number of references and tributes to the recently departed Peter Ustinov.

UPDATE – Here’s mine.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040329
RWCs
Time
11:38
ProtestWarrior.com: Proud to turn a blind eye to the idiots on their side.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040329
Interwebnet.org
Time
11:41
Is Richard Desmond a Pornographer? is already 4th in Google when you search for his name. More specific searches (such as those looking for a connection between Mr Desmond, his adult channels and his adult magazines – recently sold or otherwise) more often than not bring us up in the top spot. This situation will only improve as we expand on the content and keep asking that all-important question.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040329
LOTR
Time
12:13
The Lord of The Rings: ‘see spot run’ version.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040329
Advertising Genius
Time
13:19
Dragon ‘hoax’ turns out to be a complete fabrication.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040329
Told You So
Time
17:21
*sigh*

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040330
Activism
Time
09:57
CNN – Group protests outside Rove’s house: Hundreds rallied Sunday outside the home of Karl Rove, President Bush’s chief political adviser, urging legislation that would allow undocumented immigrants who graduate from high school to legalize their status and qualify for in-state college tuition. Emira Palacios, the group’s co-chair, said Rove agreed to meet with group leaders in his garage but then chastised them for protesting in front of his house and scaring his children.

His children?

Washington Post – Demonstrators Swarm Around Rove’s Home: (A protestor) said that Rove was “very upset” and was “yelling in our faces” and that Rove told them “he hoped we were proud to make his 14-year-old and 10-year-old cry.” A White House spokesman said one of the children was a neighbor.

Pfft! Just goes to show that you can’t keep a good liar down.

Run either or both of these links through Technorati and you’ll see a lot of bleating about how this is going too far.

Karl Rove has rights! Why can’t these people go through proper channels like the rest of us? Just who do they think they are? Won’t somebody pleeeease think of the children? And so on…

1. Perhaps these people would be less inclined to harrass Karl Rove at home if the current administration’s policy didn’t involve curtailing the average citizen’s legal right to protest and be heard.

2. Karl Rove was thinking of the children. He saw their presence as leverage, and even enhanced the truth a bit to make the most of his moral objection.

This is a telling symptom of public frustration. I have the feeling it’s going to be a long, hot summer.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040330
Google
Time
10:00
Google introduces Personalised Search. Potentially useful to many, but not to me. I need – and like – my data raw.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040330
Christianity Watch
Time
10:02
Republicans are outraged that John Kerry would use the Scriptures as political leverage. This day just keeps getting better and better.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040330
11/9 (please note correct formatting of date)
Time
10:08
Washington Post – Rice 9/11 Testimony May Be Released: After resisting for months, White House officials worked yesterday to negotiate a compromise that would allow public release of national security adviser Condoleezza Rice’s testimony before the independent commission looking into the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, according to administration aides. These aides said the White House believes Rice’s refusal to testify is becoming a political problem and officials are looking for a way out. The leading possibility is for Rice to submit to another private session with the commissioners and allow them to release a transcript, the aides said.

This is why things like media control and Free Speech Zones are so vital to the Bush administration. Just take a look at what happens when we’re allowed to make a little noise.

UPDATE – More on this from Kevin Drum.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040330
The End of Democracy
Time
10:11
Wired – How E-Voting Threatens Democracy

There goes your vote. Oh, and here comes searches of your home or office without any of that pesky warrant nonsense.

Today is a good day to decide to impeach. Just think about it; that’s all I ask.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040330
Only Interesting to Bloggers
Time
10:16
Some bloody good advice for anyone operating a weblog and wanting to build their audience.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040330
Video
Time
10:20
Trunk Monkey makes me want to invest in a depreciating asset, and the Suburab Auto Group is a name I trust. I mean, they have a 9-11 memorial on their front page; what more could you want?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040330
Only Interesting to Hardcore Geeks
Time
10:30
Did Evan Bayh’s web designer steal John Kerry’s style sheet?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040330
Page 3 – Words of Wisdom
Time
10:31
Finally, a tit-tastic editorial that actually sounds like it came from the model herself:

Today Ruthie (22, from Kent) is suspicious about male scientists who claim housework beats cancer. She says: “I’m sure this study is just a plot by men to get their wives and girlfriends doing the housework.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040330
Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch
Time
10:37
When Tony Blair manipulates the terrorist threat to justify an illegal invasion of Iraq, The Scum is there, full blast, with ‘Our Boys’ and ‘Let’s Get Saddam’. But when the issue is Europe, just watch how fast the tune changes: It is wrong for the Prime Minister to use terrorism to scare us into believing the European constitution is good for Britain.

Littlejohn comes out all guns blazing, too, and asks: Why is the proper response to a terrorist outrage in Madrid handing over the running of Britain to an unelected, unaccountable bunch of foreigners?

More:

He insists it is a “tidying-up” exercise, nothing that we should worry our silly heads about. Anyone who argues otherwise is “dumb”, he adds contemptuously.

Sorry, Dick. You’re not allowed to play this game and wonder out loud if Clare Short might be going a bit bonkers. Oh, and we all remember you sneering at ‘Guardianistas’ with their Bliar placards…

Blair is lying. Not spinning, not economical with the truth. Lying.

Finally:

He is proposing to rush this through without a referendum. It is the act of a dictator not a democrat.

That would be the referendum that your boss plans to subvert, then?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040330
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
12:13
Bloggers used in attempt to unseat incumbent Republican in Pennsylvania.

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Date
20040330
Photoshopping
Time
12:20
Last night a special music and ‘shopping project hit me like a bolt of lightning. It’s going to take some time, but it’s definitely going to be worth the effort. It’ll be bigger than JPEG Baby and The Star Wars Photoshopping Project combined. I may have to do the flash meself – or I may have to ask for a little help bringing the final show together. Flashers: let me know if you’re lurking and want to play.

PS:

Useful.

Wonderful.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040330
Normal People
Time
13:01
Surely there are more efficient (and hygienic) ways to distribute pornography…

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Date
20040330
Useful
Time
13:05
Via Off On A Tangent comes this handy fast food conkulator. Now you only need to carry your laptop and the Interweb around with you all day. The Interweb can get a bit heavy, what with being made up of 10 billion or so pages and all, but you shouldn’t be afraid of a little heavy lifting. The exercise will do you good.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040330
Tolerance
Time
13:43
Chavs now have their very own category in Yahoo.

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Date
20040330
Spam
Time
14:29
Bwahahahahahaha! (Link via Balders.)

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Date
20040330
Literature
Time
14:36
Pfft! Woof!

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Date
20040330
Normal People
Time
17:17
Jeezum crow! If you went to DragonCon 2001, you would have found this waiting for you. And this. And this.

You’d think at least one of them would have the decency to dress up as Chewbacca.

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Date
20040330
The Bush Administration
Time
18:01
Tharrr she blows! Rice to testify in public and under oath to the 9/11 commission.

The fun thing is she won’t be able to say anything in public that contradicts what she said in private.

Also on the positive side, though Bush & Cheney will still be testifying in private, they won’t just face the two co-chairmen, but the entire commission. Including Bob Kerrey.

More from Atrios, who is also questioning the latest attack on Richard Clarke – a gay smear.

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Date
20040331
Bunch of Stuff
Time
09:57
Must finish fun driving game. Must finish boring specification document.

Flash Thingies

Farewell, Sloganator…

Must finish fun driving game. Must finish boring specification document.

Viral Marketing

The Adventures of Seinfeld & Superman. Fighting for Truth, Justice and American Express.

Must finish fun driving game. Must finish boring specification document.

Christianity Watch

“Mass isn’t a time for people to voice their opinions about what they agree with or disagree with.” Showing anti-gay propaganda is fine, though.

Must finish fun driving game. Must finish boring specification document.

South West Trains

Passengers yearn for the return of British Rail. Two words: election issue.

Must finish fun driving game. Must finish boring specification document.

The Bush Administration

This Is Not America. Fa-la-la-la-la.

Must finish fun driving game. Must finish boring specification document.

11/9 (please note correct formatting of date)

Condi Rice will testify under oath before the 9/11 commission. But there are hitches…

Must finish fun driving game. Must finish boring specification document.

NSFW

Action figures that get a lot of action.

Must finish fun driving game. Must finish boring specification document.

It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!

Iraq: Focus switches from finding WMDs to finding A Possibly Imaginary Intention to Develop Weapons of Mass Destruction Preliminary Programmes.

Must finish fun driving game. Must finish boring specification document.

Anyone But George

Salon.com asks is Bush is creepier than Nixon. Bush did get a little Nixon action, you know….

Must finish fun driving game. Must finish boring specification document.

Music

All hail the beatbox harmonica!

Must finish fun driving game. Must finish boring specification document.

Seems Fair!

Wal-Mart stocks Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will, but not Robert Greenwald’s Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War. Apparently the latter has been deemed unpatriotic. No matter. Wal-Mart do stock a wide variety of more mainstream fare, including D.W. Griffith’s The Birth Of A Nation

Must finish fun driving game. Must finish boring specification document.

In The News

Ongoing hoax prompts string of restaurant managers to strip-search employees and/or customers.

Must finish fun driving game. Must finish boring specification document.

Art

The Circus of Disembowelled Plush Toys.

Must finish fun driving game. Must finish boring specification document.

Civil Liberties

The UK Today on Blair’s crackdown on ‘Britain’s 5,000 most prolific criminals.’

Must finish fun driving game. Must finish boring specification document.

Sport

Fruit Fly Fight Club!

Must finish fun driving game. Must finish boring specification document.

Video

Download the entire original version of Night of the Living Dead. Brains are the new black.

Must finish fun driving game. Must finish boring specification document.

Huzzah!

Tom Watson has been promoted to the role of Uncle. And, just to show that there’s no preferential treatment on this blog…

Must finish fun driving game. Must finish boring specification document.

Inneresting

Tabloid photos from the Los Angeles Herald Express (1936-1961)

Must finish fun driving game. Must finish boring specification document.

Follow Up

Afghan soldier who had sex with a donkey released without charge. And still without a girlfriend.

Must finish fun driving game. Must finish boring specification document.

The War on Terror

MI5 agents foil bomb plot. Security sources are playing down suggestions of any direct link between the arrested men and al-Qaida, but The Scum runs with a ‘Home Grown Bin Laden Gang’ headline today. When’s someone going to arrest them for possession and distribution of large amounts of fertiliser?

Must finish fun driving game. Must finish boring specification document.

To work!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040331
Flash Thingies
Time
11:43
Spring is here! Enjoy Koit’s view on the fantabulousness of life. (Erm, but if you’re viewing it at work, do use headphones.)

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Date
20040331
Photoshopping
Time
11:48
Funnier than a turnip shaped like a thingie.

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Date
20040331
Cool, Just Cool…
Time
13:34
Vroom! Does this look familiar?

Whoever decided to go live on the site for the Batman movie with just these images of the Batmobile, I doff my cap to you. Also nice to see that Warner Bros. aren’t wasting time with unnecessary domain names.

(Main link via Ramblings and Revelations.)

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Date
20040331
Weblog Marketing
Time
14:38
The effect described is real, but as usual Andrew Orlowski has the wrong end of the stick and his conclusions are skewed rubbish.

1. Google is improving its link-diddling detection every day.

2. Any Googlebomb that other bloggers consider to be objectionable will soon prompt a competing Googlebomb. Example.

Having a web presence is somewhat akin to having a vote online. Don’t have a web presence? Tough. No vote for you. I’d like to think that’s fair; you’re either part of the ecosystem or you’re not.

Also, if you have a more influential presence, it usually means there are more people watching what you’re up to. There aren’t a lot of political shenanigans you can get away with without a fair amount of support, and you’d want to be pretty straightforward about any commercial links.

Andrew Orlowski is also pretty good at blog-bashing, but blogs themselves only have a marginal advantage. Any pronounced effect involves the involvement of other people. Yes, weblogs make this level of involvement more efficient and immediate, but without the people, you’re lost.

Try diddling links for commercial purposes in any automated fashion (or in a way that is clearly out of order) and you will either get slapped down by Google or more angry people than you can shake a link at.

So there.

UPDATE – Also on this topic, and fresh to my Inbox: Martin Lloyd’s case study of his MBA Blog

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Date
20040331
Updates
Time
17:29
Boring specification document complete. Game time tomorrow.

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Date
20040331
Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch
Time
17:37
Well, well, well… look at what The Scum is up to.

It’s no surprise, really – but it is nice to see Rebekah ‘Red Mist’ Wade asking such a thing in the weekly reader survey, just in case.

Do you think she’s losing her nerve?








Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

01-15 March, 2004

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Date
20040301
Page 3 – Words of Wisdom
Time
09:34
Actually, I’m amazed they took this long…

A few papers (here’s one) noted over the weekend that a whispering campaign has been deployed to taint Clare Short’s quite serious charges by suggesting that perhaps she’s gone a bit barmy.

The Scum, by digging up this bucket of cold sick with a quick phone-poll of MPs, feel bold enough to come right out and say it. Today’s Page 3 editorial is a whopper: Today Anna (22, from London) is delighted that Clare Short’s barmy bid to ban Page 3 girls is doomed to fail. Anna said: “This shows what nonsense she has been spouting. Hopefully this poll will make her shut up at last. She should keep her prudish beliefs to herself and leave us alone.”

Yes folks, you can safely ignore the crazy lady who wants to take your tits away and is telling such nasty stories about our PM.

The super soaraway Scum reveals the following on the facing page: RANTING Clare Short has been accused of treachery by Britain’s top civil servant…. Last night, one critic even suggested she needed a PSYCHIATRIST while others labelled her “bitter” and said her credibility was zero.

Labour MP George Foulkes also backed this claim that it was her credibility “at rock bottom” and not Tony Blair’s, but the final flourish (and a Cheek of the Week award) goes to Alastair ‘fuck Gilligan‘ Campbell: “It’s very sad that people who have been in positions of authority now behave in a way that just reveals a bitterness that is very, very deep.”

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Date
20040301
It’s Law! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
10:19
The Independent 28 Feb – Clare Short: Was Attorney General leant on to sanction war?: The suggestion, however, that the Attorney General’s opinion may have been manipulated is very serious. There is no doubt that the way in which a truncated opinion authorising war appeared at the very last minute was very odd.

Indeed.

In fact, I’m curious to know why Lord Goldsmith needed two sides of A4 in which to say “Oh, go on then…”

The Independent 29 Feb – Revealed: Attorney General changed his advice on legality of Iraq war: Lord Goldsmith’s full opinion on the legality of the war has never been made public. The desire to keep it secret is believed to be the main reason why the Official Secrets Act prosecution of Katharine Gun, a 29-year-old former employee of GCHQ, the Government’s monitoring centre, was abandoned at the Old Bailey last week. The case could have revealed that in November 2002 the Attorney General believed Britain required specific authorisation for war from the UN Security Council, but that he later changed his stance.

And for what reason? Could he have been subconsciously influenced?

The Guardian 29 Feb – Beware smoking Guns: The reason why many think that Tony Blair remains one leak away from resignation lies in what is known and supposed about the legal advice he received just before the war. Gun’s lawyers were determined to get their hands on it.

And it may very well come to light…

Torygraph 1 Mar – Major calls on Blair to publish Goldsmith’s war advice: John Major added to growing pressure on Tony Blair to publish the Attorney General’s full advice on the legality of the Iraq war yesterday after a respected Labour peer said Washington ordered it to be made more hawkish shortly before the conflict began.

UPDATE – Well, perhaps not

Will the magic of spin & secrecy save Teflon Tony again? I keep turning on the television and expecting to see live footage of 10 Downing St…

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Date
20040301
It’s War! And Totally Justified At That!
Time
10:21
The Guardian – Report Clears Australia on Iraq Claims. Basically, everyone’s sticking to the same story. It wasn’t cherry-picked or influenced intelligence, it was bad intelligence. And there’ll be an inquiry to establish that as soon as possible.

A clear gap has been shown between what was known and what was presented to the public but this was part of a “more moderate” push for war than used by the US or the UK, so that’s OK….

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040301
Video
Time
10:41
Life moves pretty fast…

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Date
20040301
Church & State
Time
10:42
Washington Post – Bush Ejects Two From Bioethics Council: President Bush (has) dismissed two members of his handpicked Council on Bioethics — a scientist and a moral philosopher who had been among the more outspoken advocates for research on human embryo cells. In their places he appointed three new members, including a doctor who has called for more religion in public life, a political scientist who has spoken out precisely against the research that the dismissed members supported, and another who has written about the immorality of abortion and the “threats of biotechnology.”

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Date
20040301
Christianity Watch
Time
10:45
Shrimp, crab, lobster, clams and mussels are an abomination before the Lord! This is a lovely piece of work. Now all they need to do is find a picture of Dubya tucking into some heathen grub and they’ll be set.

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Date
20040301
Guantanamo Bay
Time
10:49
Freed inmate claims ‘cruel and unusual’ punishment. Patriotic US music including Bruce Springsteen’s Born in The USA blared day and night, according to the former inmate.

(And before you start, Born in the USA can be described as patriotic, just not very nationalistic.)

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Date
20040301
Tony Blair
Time
11:01
Some good stuff over at The UK Today lately; including a post about Cherie’s clearly bollocks claim that Tony once did it tough on the streets.

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Date
20040301
Google – The Adsense Trial
Time
11:14
The Ultimate Insult appears to have lost its Adwords account because of what was said in this one comments thread, where – in response to the news that Scott had lost his job – several folks used the ‘f’ word.

I’m sure you’ll pardon me for saying that Google is being a bit fucking precious. You will, but Google won’t. In fact, I’m willing to bet they’ll be along sometime soon to withdraw the whopping great $21.50 I’ve earned so far whoring out my site.

FFS, isn’t there someone at Google in charge of not stuffing up the brand before the float? Things seem to be going from bad to worse at the mo. Even their central database is screwed beyond all recognition.

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Date
20040301
The Happy Poster Project
Time
11:22
Lots of submissions to get through. I’ll update the poster selection and bring you a report on the Guildford hit sometime this afternoon.

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Date
20040301
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
12:26
Dean team described as ‘dysfunctional political family’. And a money pit.

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Date
20040301
The Happy Poster Project – Guildford
Time
17:13
The Saturday mission was called on account of sickness. Even the rescheduled mission on Sunday was left to me on my lonesome, but in the end I was glad I didn’t take the kids… the experience was pretty soul-destroying.

I’m not sure what things are like in your neck of the woods, but in my local High St, there are very few local interests. In fact, with the exception of some boutiques (who have a big rod up their butt about minimalism anyway) just about every store belongs to a larger chain and the manager needs to check with head office before wiping his or her arse. (Or, they can just say ‘no’ to everything, which saves everybody a lot of time.)

What I soon found out was that – in Guildford High Street – giant messages like 50% OFF, EASY CREDIT NOW and YOU BUY PHONE NOW are fine, but there simply isn’t room for just a few millimetres of happiness. Full-stop. No exceptions. I don’t care what you’re not advertising.

(Folks, do keep this in mind next time your favourite chain store runs a campaign pretending to be your friend or a champion of the community. They’re a bunch of lying, uncaring c**ts.)

About halfway down the High St, I gave up and just started half-heartedly handing them out for display in the staff room. However, I soon realised that I was cheating myself (and others) and decided to hit North St with a renewed sense of porpoise.

It didn’t last.

The Tell It Like It Is Award for this mission goes to the young chap in Game’s North St store who pretty much set the tone for this leg of the trip by saying flat out: “Get real, mate. It costs sixteen grand to put a poster in that window!”

Actually, he seemed strangely proud of this, as if his ability to reject me on the basis on my inability to pay 16K somehow distanced him from the five-and-change he gets paid each hour to look at the inside of this same window.

Ho-hum.

The folks in the bargain Homeware UK store just down the road were much nicer, and came good with the first full window display of the day. I was so chuffed, I stopped to buy some batteries.

Onwards and upwards, I continued the climb up North street and was rejected by every storekeeper, with the exception of one brave soul in MVC who risked his manager’s displeasure by decorating an interior pillar.

A greater degree of success was to be had off the main drag, but it was Sunday, so not all of these stores were open and even those storekeepers I did find that were able to operate with some autonomy were suspicious that their off-broadway window-space was about to be hijacked by some clever-clogs marketing campaign. I can’t really say that I blame them, with increasingly cheeky advertisers and a going rate of about sixteen grand a window on the main drag.

Pizza GoGo in Chapel St was the last notable success. They were very happy to see a friendly face and more than happy to host a poster, so I have no problems at all pointing out that they have a much wider delivery area than you would expect and await calls from hungry peeps in outlying villages. Their number is 599 999. (I haven’t tasted their pizzas, but they’ve got friendly staff and happy windows, and that has to count for something.)

I’m hitting a smaller town next time around, and hoping for a greater degree of success.

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Date
20040302
Established Media
Time
08:58
Paul Carr – Why Drudge is bad for online journalism: “…we need to be much, much more proactive in hunting down genuine scoops, even if that means tearing ourselves away from Google for two hours to hit the phones and pound the streets. Only then can we hope to undo the Drudge effect and allow online journalists to take their rightful place on the media landscape, competing head to head with Fleet Street’s finest.”

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Date
20040302
Inneresting
Time
09:04
Why do the Oscars pretend to run overtime every year?

Oh, and what does ‘kumbayah’ mean?

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Date
20040302
The War on…..
Time
09:07
I think there’s a number of valid comparisons between the rise of fascism in the 1930s and what going on in America right now, but this hijacking of Anne Frank’s diary as part of a brainwashing curriculum in North Korea disgusts me.

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Date
20040302
Does What It Says On The Tin
Time
09:22
www.downingstreetsays.org

UPDATE – Now the subject of a BBC article. Cheers to Andrew for the heads-up.

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Date
20040302
Literature
Time
09:28
Summarise a novel in 25 words or less. I swear some of these have been ripped off from a similar exercise summarising movies.

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Date
20040302
Art
Time
09:30
Whittle something nifty and sell it via an Art-o-mat. (Latter link via Partial To The Bean.)

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Date
20040302
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
09:35
Oscars blah-blah, winners blah-blah. Mel is the devil, no, liberals are just being intolerant… no, it is true, Mel is the devil!

Ah, here we go…

A little girl feels no pain and – remarkably – the world feels no fear.

Monsters lurk in our oceans and are marching on Norway, but we’re more excited about past puddles on Mars.

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Date
20040302
The Interwebnet
Time
09:46
Pew Internet Project releases report on content creation.

The summary of findings has bloggers as 2% of the online population, which corresponds with this release by ClickZ. You can see comments and number crunching here and here.

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Date
20040302
Consume!
Time
09:59
Coca Cola admits to selling bottled tap water. Beats ground water.

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Date
20040302
It’s War! And Things Is Getting Ridiculous!
Time
10:02
The Guardian – Howard ends Tory support for Butler inquiry.

I don’t need to say it; Charles Kennedy says it for me: “There is no question that the Conservatives increasingly would like people to forget their principle-cheerleader supporting role in the build-up to the Gulf War with Iraq.”

(Cheers to Mark for the heads-up on this quote.)

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Date
20040302
11/9 (please note correct formatting of date)
Time
10:06
New York Times – Sorry, Right Number: Bush officials act as though they own 9/11, even while refusing to own up to any 9/11 mistakes. Because of 9/11, they think they can suspend the Constitution, blow off investigators, attack nations pre-emptively, and keep Americans afraid by waging a war against terrorism that can never be won.

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Date
20040302
Bunch of Stuff
Time
10:08
Share some SFW pornography with your imaginary girlfriend.

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Date
20040302
Tolerance
Time
10:14
12 Reasons Same-Sex Marriage will Ruin Society

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Date
20040302
Christianity Watch
Time
10:17
Some sod attacked a defenceless (if 60ft high) apparition of the Virgin Mary Oh well. No matter. There’s plenty more where that came from. I even hear that they grow on trees.

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Date
20040302
Spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace
Time
10:23
The Guardian – Mission to Planet Rumsfeld: If Bush wins a second term, the weaponisation of space is expected to get under way, finally realising Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars” dream. The 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which outlaws the use of weapons in orbit, will go the same way as the anti-ballistic missile treaty – another strand of global governance unravelled in pursuit of the war on terror.

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Date
20040302
The Happy Poster Project
Time
10:27
The Happy Poster Project has so far reached 14,463 people.

It’s 2nd in Yahoo for ‘happy poster’, 1st in Google for same and 4th for ‘happy posters‘. Biggest referrer (by far) is the latest B3ta newsletter.

Reports are coming in of a lot of office/window action, but we need more people to bite the bullet and hit the High Street. I’m also getting some email from folks (some nice, some not) suggesting:

a) that I’m being a tad naive

b) that maybe I should try to include a political message

Best submission to date (it still cracks me up) is this late entry by Robbie.

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Date
20040302
The Bush Administration
Time
11:48
New York Times – Administration Dismisses Rumours That U.S. Kidnapped Aristide: The Bush administration ridiculed any suggestion today that former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti had been spirited out of his country under force by the United States military.

Under force? Never! Under duress? Well…

This report from Palm Beach Post contains many a giggle. Here are two. Follow the links if you don’t see the joke.

“He was not kidnapped. We did not force him onto the airplane,” Powell told reporters at the State Department. “He went onto the airplane willingly. And that’s the truth.

Later, Powell’s assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere affairs, Roger Noriega, went further, telling the NBC television network that Aristide “has proven to be erratic and unreliable.”

This mirror of an article by Jeffrey Sachs in the Financial Times provides an entirely different view to the one being fed to us via most news outlets.

So are we looking at necessary intervention, or the closing chapters of clandestine manipulation?

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Date
20040302
Useful
Time
12:15
…and to shake your booty means to wiggle one’s butt.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040302
Privacy
Time
12:50
RFID Tags in New US Notes Explode When You Try to Microwave Them

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Date
20040302
Michael Carroll
Time
13:51
With any luck, Michael is on time, and right now waiting outside the right court.

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Date
20040303
Virus Alerts
Time
08:47
Watch out; there’s virii about!

Two variants of NetSky – Netsky.D and NetSky.E – caused some concern yesterday, but this morning I also spotted some rather nifty social engineering from a new virus/variant.

You can read the full specifications for this virus – Beagle.J – and view variations of email content in this alert page but here, by way of example, is pretty much what you can expect to see….

I spotted these emails as bullshit straight away because I’m the ruler of my own domain (and subsequently everything@ when it comes to emails) but I’m sure this little trick will prompt many web users to open such attachments without a moment’s thought.

(Note – ‘bloggerheads’ has been change to ‘bloogerheads’ so I can show you the whole email without having to dick around with spamblocks.)

—– Original Message —–

From: administration@bloogerheads.com

To: manic@bloogerheads.com

Sent: Wednesday, March 03, 2004 7:20 AM

Subject: E-mail account disabling warning.

–> Dear user of Bloogerheads.com gateway e-mail server,

–>

–> We warn you about some attacks on your e-mail account. Your computer may

–> contain viruses, in order to keep your computer and e-mail account safe,

–> please, follow the instructions.

–>

–> For details see the attached file.

–>

–> In order to read the attach you have to use the following password: 74502.

–>

–> Sincerely,

–> The Bloogerheads.com team http://www.bloogerheads.com

–>

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040303
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
08:50
Topping the chart this morning are those exploding banknotes from yesterday and a bunch of other familiar stuff. Kind of new is this CNN report on the blogging figures released by the Pew Internet and American Life Project and climbing fast is The Passion of the Christ: Blooper Reel .

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Date
20040303
It’s War! And Totally Justified At That!
Time
10:00
As Tessa Jowell announces there won’t be a ban on junk food advertising in a speech to the advertisers who make shedloads of money from this practice, she asks us simple voters not to look for easy blame or a quick and easy fix, and instead urges us to look at the complexities of the overall problem.

Meanwhile, here are Tony Blair’s thoughts on the recent atrocities in Iraq. As it turns out, this is a simple case of good vs. eeeevil: “….if there was any clearer struggle between good and evil, it is between those on the one hand who want to build Iraq as a decent country in which people from whatever religious quarter can live together in freedom and in peace on the one hand, and on the other those who would destroy that and replace that by religious hatred.”

Me, I’m going to dare to look at the complexities of the overall problem.

For instance, where does Tony Blair sit with regards to the racial/economic hatred being touted by tabloids? (Including his primary mouthpiece The Sun, and the Express, newspaper of Labour party donor and pornographer-about-town Richard Desmond.)

And what of the recent behaviour of his allies (read: masters) in Iraq?

Couldn’t the Bush-backed call for a ban on gay marriage be described as a campaign of religious hatred?

Doesn’t casting a right-wing Christian view as law restrict ‘people from whatever religious quarter’ living together ‘in freedom and in peace’…?

I also can’t help but wonder – given the role Blair played to facilitate events – if he or Bush feel any responsibility for these deaths?

From George W. Bush’s address to the nation, Sep 8 2003: “Two years ago, I told the Congress and the country that the war on terror would be a lengthy war, a different kind of war, fought on many fronts in many places. Iraq is now the central front. Enemies of freedom are making a desperate stand there — and there they must be defeated. This will take time, and require sacrifice. Yet we will do what is necessary, we will spend what is necessary, to achieve this essential victory in the war on terror, to promote freedom, and to make our own nation more secure.”

From George W. Bush’s speech to the Heritage Foundation, Nov 11, 2003: Our men and women are fighting terrorist enemies – thousands of miles away, in the heart and center of their power – so that we do not face those enemies in the heart of America.

Now I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that Bush is claiming that making Iraq a terror magnet was his intention all along and that this is a good thing in that it protects the folks at home. So much for the latest justification for the illegal war – that this was all done out of concern for the Iraqis.



We now take you live to Downing St for a report from Brian Gumby…

Bush smart man. Blair help him smart too. Blair good man. Sleep rough once. Terror attack happen in Iraq mean terror attack not happen in US. Or UK. But terror attack in UK inevitable. So we lose freedom. My brain hurts! No matter. Is good thinking. Is also news good for Iraqi peeps who we went in to make life betterer for. We build country Iraq as place of peace and freedom, but first we use country as battleground with ragheads, OK…?

(Argh! Me have rag on head! Must fight war on terror! Hit self on head! *thud*)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040303
Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch
Time
10:49
Remember when The Scum could back its harassment campaigns with actual wit? Yesterday they had veteran Sun ‘journalist’ Tim Spanton chase Clare Short around town in a bug suit, shouting such witticisms as “Now you know what it’s like to really be bugged!”

Ha.

Ha. Ha.

No, please stop. I fear my sides shall split.

This Slate piece has a few words on the tabloid take on the affair, so I’ll leave the rest to them.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040303
Bush: AWOL
Time
10:51
So that’s it, then? We’ll never know? Look forward to this being presented as ‘I answered that question….’

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040303
Updates
Time
11:01
The SWT campaign page is coming together. It’s got a nice grass-roots angle.

There are also some more Happy Posters to add.

Both will have to wait for a bit… perhaps some new stuff will come your way this afternoon. Work first. Google’s bounced back with some significant (and quite positive) changes to its database and I have to track a bunch of changes, write reports, and like that…

Here’s two bits to keep you busy:

Did Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger violate Federal Election Law?

The pesky matter of the legality of the war on Iraq may crop up in another court case, this one involving protesters charged with criminal damage at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire on the eve of war.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040303
Normal People
Time
15:22
Faces, faces, so many faces! This test will probably end up getting you on a mailing list so venture forth, but do operate with caution. There’s some strange faces to see, some fun to be had and some learnin’ to be done.

As it turns out, about 10% of men share my taste in women. I have an eye for noses. Oh, and I dig Ecto-Mesomorphs.

Meet 4004-ff_03. She’s my kind of woman. Apparently.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040304
Viral Marketing
Time
09:45
I subscribe to a few Chinwag lists, one of which is Viralmonitor, an alert list for those wishing to release or keep tabs on the latest online viral marketing campaigns.

Normally less than a quarter of what gets released on this list gets blogged here. Today; a special treat… I’m going to show you everything from the last two days so you know why that’s the case.

‘Stoned Criminals’ – This is too perfect to be anything but staged, but it does raise a smirk.

The King Size Creme Egg Campaign – This hurts my brain. A marketing campaign for a Cadbury product that ‘is not affiliated with Cadbury in any way’…? It’s a decidedly amateur look, but this site has been produced by professionals. And, to their credit, they have been smart enough to hide the WHOIS data. But are they trying to win business, or disguise what is essentially a combination of market research and promotion for a new product? You tell me…

‘Tango por 2′ Trailer – The only thing viral about this is the ‘send to a friend and win’ feature. There’s no compelling content, humour or hook at all. It’s almost as if they started with the assumption that viral=flash and went no further. You’d want to offer something pretty significant for me to want to burden my friends with this empty and pointless bit of flash, but what’s the prize? A free beginner’s tango lesson! I’ll try to contain my excitement…

Here’s a lesson for beginners while we’re on the subject of ‘send to a friend and win’ features. In the age of weblogs, you’re a bloody fool if you don’t also include a ‘link to this and win’ feature.

Finally, I’m going to leave you with this NSFW effort, promoting The Doghouse. The lesson (I thinks) is that if you forget things like anniversaries and birthdays, you will end up a lonely old tosser.

My lesson is that you need to combine your viral mechanisms with link generation that’s of benefit to the core site. Unless of course it’s something naughty like this, in which case the less peeps who know about the connection the better.

(Oh, while we’re on the subject of NSFW material and lessons, take a look at this site, promoting ‘exclusive companionship in any major city or holiday resort’. Then take a look at this B3tan thread, where myself and others praise the virtues of the site’s best feature; JPEGs that show you a picture of each escort and exactly what she will or won’t do for dollars. An indispensable aid to the decision-making process. The tart-carders could learn a thing or two from this operator (even if they know sweet bugger all about basic site security).)

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Date
20040304
Passing On? Not Bloody Likely!
Time
09:54
And they’re OK folks!

My favourite boots are back on my feet and I can do the happy dance once more. Check out that grip, ladies and gentlemen.

The adhesive used in the resoling process appears to be of the kind variety. I’ve been booted up for well over two hours now and not a single tingle has been felt.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040304
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:50
Topping the chart is a gadget blog that should tick over nicely.

Also on the loose; Kerry’s the man, and he’s on the lookout for a VP. Rove’s team know who they’re up against, so campaigning has begun in earnest.

The cartooning world also has a treat or two for us. Here’s a searchable database of every Calvin & Hobbes strip ever published. Looking for transmogrifiers? No problem. Bless you, Martijn Reemst.

And finally…

(sings)

The Singhsons…. plong, plong-plong-plong… (Hey, I recognise that cow!)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040304
Only Interesting to Bloggers
Time
11:03
Wow. Woo! Wibble?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040304
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
11:06
FFF – Bush’s War Story Is All Wrong: President Bush likes to say that if his war critics had their way, Saddam Hussein would still be in power. But if we are to believe the president, the same thing can be said about him: if he had had his way, Saddam Hussein would still be in power. (Cheers, Scaryduck.)

Oh, and as was pointed out yesterday, he claims he’s doing this for the benefit of the Iraqi people, but he has deliberately made Iraq the central front for the war on terror in order to protect the folks at home. Here, Back to Iraq reports on a surge in anti-Americanism across Iraq following the attacks on Shi’ites.

UPDATE – Ben (who has been happy-spotting in Bath and saying nice things to poster-hosting shopkeepers) wishes to remind us of Bush’s “Fuck Saddam. We’re taking him out.” moment from March, 2002. You’ll see a CNN link there. This incident was also referred to by Time magazine. There’s also an article at Counterpunch that claims this proves he’s a drunken idiot, but this is clearly absurd. We have no proof he was drunk at the time.

The Guardian – Top BBC resignations astonished Hutton: The law lord was convinced he had produced a “finding of fact” which was even-handed in criticising both the BBC’s “unfounded” reporting and weaknesses in editorial control and the Ministry of Defence’s failure to provide “duty of care” towards Dr Kelly.

1. I’m sorry, but the word ‘subconscious‘ still sticks in my craw.

2. Of course, it helped that The Scum helpfully set the tone early on with their leak of the report (on another leak) that wasn’t supposed be leaked.

3. There was supposed to be an ‘urgent investigation’ into that leak. How’s that going?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040304
Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch
Time
11:31
Today’s Page 3 editorial is only mildly amusing. Zoe (22, from London) is impressed with Prince Harry’s work to help AIDS victims in Africa (by turning up to have his picture taken and planting a peach tree in an orphanage). Zoe said: “Harry is using his position to promote a really worthy cause. It should make us all feel proud of him. And his trip goes to show us just how much he takes after he mum.”

By contrast, Richard Littlejohn is all class today. Helping the ‘kill Clare Short’ campaign along on behalf of Tony Blair (here The Scum reports on a ‘deluge’ of MPS wanting to boot her out in response to her ‘ranting’), Britain’s Queen of Denial has this to say: All you need to know about this self-serving sneak is that she gave up her own son for adoption because a baby got in the way of her ambitions, even though she subsequently married the father… How did Blair ever expect loyalty from a woman who was callously incapable of giving her loyalty to her own son?

Jane Moore keeps up this fresh attack with the following: Clare Short is the worst of the lot. Politically ambitious, she gave her son up for adoption and devoted herself to Labour, eventually securing herself a trusted place in the Cabinet. Outspoken from the start, we bore a grudging respect for her principled stance. Then, in a triumph of political ambition over principles, she voted in favour of the Iraq war. Her political colleagues have never forgiven her for such blatant double standards and, judging by her unhinged behaviour in the past fortnight, she’s never forgiven herself either.

It’s a classic case. Woman betrays child, country; goes a bit bonkers.

I have two words for this outright character assassination:

Beneath. Contempt.

And you can’t pretend it’s a tabloid and therefore doesn’t matter… not when this attack is being engineered by the new ‘non-spin’ Downing St. What you’re seeing in action here is not the behaviour of Murdoch or Wade, but the wishes of Tony Blair. He daren’t make Short a martyr, so he has to make her a pariah.

UPDATE – Oh, the latest Sun Reader Panel survey seems to suggest that the site is in for a bit for trim… starting with Bizarre.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040304
Christianity Watch
Time
11:37
MSNBC reports that John Debney, who composed the music for The Passion of the Christ, did battle with Satan while writing the score. Oh, and CNN reports that Passion is getting too much coverage. Best ignore that last link, then.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040304
Michael Carroll
Time
11:40
Heh. Check out the bling-bling on Michael. Spend it, baby!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040304
Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch
Time
11:50
Rupert Murdoch prepares to decide who will be the next leader of this country. Oh, but it’s all very low-key. Not a big deal. Your vote still counts. Yes, of couse we’ll still be driving policy, don’t be ridiculous…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040304
The Happy Poster Project
Time
11:53
The Happy Poster Project has been blogged by the BBC. Twice.

This image submitted yesterday by Funny Car still makes me smile. I hope the caption does it justice.

I’m still trying to decide on my next Happy Poster mission, but Princess Erin The Mighty has advised me of her plan to distribute some A4 happiness on her upcoming trip to Hong Kong and Taiwan. I can’t wait to see pictures.

UPDATE – South Wales is also covered. Perhaps I should start a map….

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040304
South West Trains
Time
12:05
The TOC Class Action Campaign begins here. Webmasters in a position to take on Thameslink, Virgin, Arriva, etc. etc. should get in touch now.

I suppose it would also help to have a lawyer look over our proposed information collection process. If you wear a silly wig to work, we could do with a quick inspection. Cheers.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040304
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
12:11
Welcome, David Boothroyd, Labour Councillor for the Westbourne Ward of Westminster City Council.

UPDATE – David was swung over to weblogs by the information presented at the meeting that SWT trashed on the 24th of Feb, so I guess we managed to do some good after all…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040304
Compare
Time
13:49
Here is the news and here is the 100% fact!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040304
11/9 (please note correct formatting of date)
Time
14:22
Bush: what did he know and when did he know it? If the flash show is a bit slow and heavy for you, check out this text timeline instead.

You know, thinking about Paul Carr’s comments in The Guardian, it occurs to me that an interview with the teacher in this class (Sandra Kay Daniels) would be jolly interesting thing… even if only to settle the ‘How long did Bush sit there and do nothing?’ question. I’d also be curious to know if his eyes were spinning clockwise or counter-clockwise.

UPDATE – Oh yes, this is totally appropriate.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040304
Spam
Time
15:27
Do you ever get any spam promoting child pornography? Yes? Then you may need this.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040304
Bunch of Stuff
Time
15:42
Some quality finds at The Ultimate Insult (as usual). This collection of WB cartoon title cards will come in handy one day soon, I’m sure. In the meantime, I can just stare at the clouds and keep a sharp eye out for Jesus.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040305
The Interwebnet
Time
09:37
A Netizen’s Guide to Humour (Your Basic Primer on Satire, Mockery, and Name-Calling…)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040305
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
09:40
I know you’ve seen the Bush/Cheney ads, but with all the fuss over 11/9 imagery, it also pays to run the URL by Technorati and see what others are saying.

(I’ll have a little something to say about this later today. Speaking in photoshop takes time.)

Also charting well is this article, which has recently been removed after some denials, some rephrasing, some ‘clarification‘…

Apparently, Republican congressman Tom Cole said or suggested that voting against Bush would be like supporting Adolf Hitler during World War II, and that, “If George Bush loses the election, Osama bin Laden wins the election.”

It’s all a bit messy right now, but if you want to dig in, then these posts at Atrios, Calpundit and Talking Points Memo are your best bet.

Remember; you are not allowed to compare George W. Bush to Hitler. That is a hate crime.

UPDATE – More on Bush’s 911 whoring.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040305
The War on Terror
Time
10:06
Tony Blair thinks we’re not taking the threat of terror seriously. But look how seamlessly his argument weaves into justification for the war on Iraq. (I don’t need to remind you that there was no link between Iraq and terrorism before Bush & Blair made a market for it, do I?)

Blair wasn’t as shameless and Bush about selling the phantom Saddam/911 connection, but he and his government have manipulated the terrorist threat for political gain and in doing so they have increased the likelihood of attack and made us more vulnerable, because a great many of us now have trouble believing anything that comes from Downing St.

(Perhaps it’s time for a new angle. May I suggest “The sky is falling!”…?)

UPDATE – The UK Today also has a thought or two. Go visit.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040305
Tolerance
Time
10:22
See some pictures from a massive anti-gay marriage rally. Includes a shot of a stall selling Adam & Eve NOT Adam & Steve t-shirts.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040305
Inneresting
Time
10:25
Subway systems of the world, presented on the same scale. Who wants to submit the 3-pixel-wide image for Sydney?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040305
Viral Marketing
Time
10:33
The (mostly) complete history of the Yeti/Penguin game. Includes variations on distance and theme, and details of servers melted along the way.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040305
Activism
Time
10:40
Beware: genius at work.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040305
Tony Blair
Time
10:46
The Guardian – Better Clare Short than the politics of yah-and-boo: At his monthly press conference (Blair) chides her for being “utterly irresponsible” in her allegations about British bugging of the UN, but adds that this is “entirely consistent” – leaving the impression that a mad Brummie virago had somehow wandered into the Labour cabinet when he was looking out of the window, and her years as international development secretary had nothing to do with him.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040305
South West Trains
Time
10:55
Launching the TOC Class Action Campaign on an existing page turned out to be a smart move.

It’s only a day old, and Google and Yahoo have already seen and indexed the new version.

This page, calling on victims of South West Trains to start online diaries, is 3rd in Google and Yahoo for the search query ‘south west trains’.

It’s also the top search result in both databases for ‘complain trains’ and ‘trains complain’. The zone is owned.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040305
Normal People
Time
11:26
The Eads family believe in George W. Bush.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040305
Photoshopping
Time
13:14
And that’s all I have to say on the matter.

(A big version waits for you at B3ta.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040305
It’s Law! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
13:30
Hans Blix: “I don’t buy the argument the war was legalised by the Iraqi violation of earlier resolutions.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040305
Flash Games
Time
13:51
Nigella Bites!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040305
Scam Alert
Time
14:10
—– Original Message —–

From: admin@panamatrix.com

To: Undisclosed Recipients

Sent: Thursday, March 04, 2004 4:57 PM

Subject: Your credit card will be billed at $22.95

–>

–> Your credit card will be billed at $22.95 weekly and free 3 pack of child

–> porn CD is shipping to your billing address. To cancel your membership

–> and CD pack please email full credit card details to

–> abuse@panamatrix.com

UPDATE – It’s not the first time they’ve tried this, either… Whoops, there goes another one. And another. And here are the reasons why you shouldn’t trust an email like this, spelled out very very carefully, just in case you left your brains in your other pants.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040305
Useful
Time
14:25
Why you shouldn’t let Real Player anywhere near your computer. (Link via Simon Willison.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040305
Tony Blair
Time
17:14
A jolly good speech. It even mentions a few issues he’s previously refused to be drawn on. But it still relies on selective memory and is diluted by all the lies, all the spin, and all the failed line-drawing that preceded it.

I won’t be at all surprised if the public decides now is their turn to turn a blind ear.

I love this last bit. Tony’s obviously preparing for a big week next week: “Which brings me to the final point. It may well be that under international law as presently constituted, a regime can systematically brutalise and oppress its people and there is nothing anyone can do, when dialogue, diplomacy and even sanctions fail, unless it comes within the definition of a humanitarian catastrophe (though the 300,000 remains in mass graves already found in Iraq might be thought by some to be something of a catastrophe). This may be the law, but should it be?”

Translation: OK, so we may have broken international law…. but perhaps that international law was wrong!

Yes. Terrorism means we live in a different world now. Nobody has ever used terrorist tactics ever ever in the history of the planet. This is totally new. This calls for totally new rules. Which means that we have to throw out all the old ones. And if Tony believes this in his heart then it must be true.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040308
It’s War! And Totally Justified At That!
Time
10:42
Just a few hours after I graciously blogged that ‘Blair wasn’t as shameless and Bush about selling the phantom Saddam/911 connection,’ he goes ahead and uses it as his Big Stick when drawing his latest line in the sand.

The Guardian has a run-down on media reaction. The Scum, unsurprisingly, back him to the hilt and colour in the tasty bits so you can see all the blood on the door-knob:

The Sun Says – March 6, 2004: All the legal nit-picking by the Left totally misses the point. What mattered was that Saddam Hussein was an unstable lunatic intent on building a deadly arsenal to threaten the West. It was the THREAT, said Blair, that was the crucial issue. By ignoring such threats, the West placed itself in mortal danger…. There are madmen who would love to blow you and your family to pieces.

So the threat Tony was talking about all along wasn’t an immediate threat, but a potential one. Is he moving the goalposts or is stupidity catching?

I’ve expressed this sentiment about the pre-emptive doctrine before, but it was nice to see it in print in Saturday’s Independent:

Sir: Tony Blair has just produced the most cogent argument in favour of vigilantism: if I and my “allies” live on an estate plagued by gangs and we believe that our government and judiciary are paralysed by indecision and debate, then it is incumbent on us to deal with the problem.

BRIAN REID

Oakham, Rutland

From this same edition, comes this article that closes with a quote from Charles Kennedy: The Prime Minister was accused by the Liberal Democrat leader, Charles Kennedy, of mixing the issues of global terrorism and Iraq to construct a justification for the war. Mr Kennedy said that “many people in this country would be very concerned” if the Prime Minister adopted President Bush’s doctrine of pre-emptive attack.

‘Concerned’ isn’t the word I’d choose. Try ‘alarmed’ or ‘appalled’ and you’d be closer…

UPDATE – The Guardian – Blair’s vision of a new world order is critically tainted: Blair is right about the need for a new global compact in which the UN is willing and able to make good the promise outlined in the universal declaration of human rights. He is wrong if he thinks he can achieve it in alliance with a neoconservative American government only interested in democracy and human rights as weapons to advance its own interests.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040308
The Happy Poster Project
Time
10:47
On Saturday I completed a very successful Happy Poster mission to Godalming, but the full report will have to wait, I’m sorry. (I took a bunch of photos, but the disk I used to transfer them to work is corrupted.)

Still, we have this short report from Rik, posting from points rural, and this wonderful email from America:

i’ve been putting the posters up around my dorm, like on the doors of my neighbors and junk. but the one i’m most proud of is the one i placed above the men’s urinal. not just because of how giddy it made me feel, but because i’m a girl, and i had to sneak in all stealthy like to do it. here is a picture of alice above the urinal in platt hall at lewis and clark college in portland, oregon.

dana

Rik’s link and a few new posters will be added to the main page sometime soon.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040308
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:56
The Exorcist in 30 Seconds (re-enacted by bunnies) and what looks like referral spam topping the chart.

Also, Bush makes his case with fake firemen in his incredibly straightforward and honest camapign ads while the Republican National Committee is busy intimidating TV stations by claiming that they would be in violation of FCC rules if they air ads from MoveOn.org: “Now that you have been apprised of the law, to prevent further violations of federal law, we urge you to remove these advertisements from your station’s broadcast rotation.”

You might want to take a few minutes to find out what other people think of that.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040308
Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch
Time
11:45
Rupert is more than ‘the media tycoon we deserve’. And want. Apparently.

Is he really preparing to switch support to the Tories?

Well, today’s coverage in The Scum of Howard’s ‘lower taxes, reduce government and embiggen the nation’ speech reads like a rather pleasant overture. Too bad the cow on Page 3 refuses to play ball.

Howard’s speech failed to electrify Corina (19, from Oxford). Instead the young pretty uses her empowering platform to express her shock at the latest scandals to rock racing. She says: “I love having a bet but these allegations make you wonder if it’s worth it. If races are already decided then punters are throwing their money away.”

Actually, perhaps I’m selling her short. This quote could just as easily be taken as a reference to Murdoch’s role in the next election…

UPDATE – A grab from the front page of today’s website has been sent to Viz for Up The Arse Corner

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040308
The Interwebnet
Time
11:45
Congratulations to Viz for finally getting a halfway decent webshit together, but a lot of the same problems remain…. and whose stupid bloody idea was it to use frames?!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040308
Consume!
Time
11:48
I remember Ugly Stickers. They made it all the way out to the furthest reaches of the colonies, so they did. (Link via Ultimate Insult.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040308
Tony Blair
Time
11:50
The Independent – Foster ridiculed over claims that Caplin influenced Blair

The Guardian – Conman’s claims are nothing but a load of pants, scoffs No 10

And here, for no reason whatsoever, is a quote from a completely unrelated article: “Innocent until proven guilty is absolutely right. However, the fact that nine players put themselves in a position whereby they were even close to a situation of this sort reflects a severe lack of judgement.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040308
Yet Another Lame Quiz
Time
11:57
Maybe later, when I have an hour to kill…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040308
Guantanamo Bay
Time
12:00
Cuba? It was great, say boys freed from US prison camp.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040308
Activism
Time
12:01
“We call, as a matter of the greatest urgency, for the broadest unity against the alarming rise in racism and fascism in Britain today.”

Linked without hesitation.

Signed without fear.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040308
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
12:05
Congratulations to Tom Watson who’s been on Movable Type for a full year now. This post outlines and links some highlights.

UPDATE – Also, take the time to welcome the latest blogging councillor, Bob Piper. I’m going to have to start a bloody directory soon…

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Date
20040308
How Weblogs Work
Time
14:30
Found via Doctor Vee; a story about a story.

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Date
20040308
Games
Time
14:55
Not as easy as it looks. (Via Rogi.)

Oh, and remember Spyhunter?

Here’s a free online version in Flash. There’s another version by Cotse floating about. Most copies of this appear to be executable versions that are – stand by for irony – loaded with Spyware, but the original version hosted at Cotse.com is clean and dandy.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040308
Only Interesting to Hardcore Geeks
Time
16:52
I know it’s old, but I tripped over this on my travels today and it still makes me laugh.

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Date
20040308
Christianity Watch
Time
17:25
The C of E is launching an online parish and is looking for a Web Pastor.

Abnu thinks I should apply, but as an Eclectic Agnostic, all I’ll be allowed to do is shout advice from the sidelines.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040309
The Happy Poster Project – Godalming
Time
10:48
You know, I always liked shopping in the High St of Godalming, and now I know why…

On this Happy Poster mission, I took my eight-year-old son with me. He started out keen, but got a bit worried when the cold-hard reality of what had to be done sunk in, so we took it easy, went with the flow, and ignored places that would almost certainly say ‘no’.

This basically meant that we bypassed banks (scum) and boutiques (minimalist freaks), but as more and more people said ‘yes’, he started taking any rejections in his stride, so eventually we took a few long-shots with large chain stores and were pleasantly surprised on at least two occasions.

Things started off well enough with a series of acceptances for staff rooms, interior notice-boards and the like. We also got a few “I’ll have to check with the boss on Monday” replies, but things were tick-tick-ticking along merrily, so we weren’t too bothered by this or the general lack of window displays.

Or the cheery chappie in Shoecare:

“May we put a poster up in your window?”

“No!”

“Oh. Do you have a staff room?”

“NO!!!!”

That’s Shorecare, folks. 75 High St, Godalming (01483 428575). They repair shoes. And they care. They’d appreciate your business, and sell shoelaces for a low, low, £1.99 a pair.

*ahem*

Highlights:

Our first poster went up in the window of Tread Footwear.

As we started backtracking on the opposite side of the road, we noticed that the poster we had left in the care of The Surrey Bookshop had made its way to the front window. For the record, The Surrey Bookshop was already ahead on points for being one of the last remaining independent book stores in the local area, but we love them even more now. (I’m sure it doesn’t need to be pointed out that WH Smith said ‘no’….)

Andrew Charles, the butcher. Again, ahead on points, and again, no problems with a poster. This is one of the most popular butchers in the area, and you can normally expect to see a queue forming out the door on a Saturday. We’re big fans of their ready-to-cook minted lamb casserole.

Things dried up a bit towards the bottom end of the High St, but we did manage to place this poster, which you may find a bit difficult to spot.

Back across the road, we also had two unexpected successes with staff members in Apollo Video and Halfords who dared to challenge company policy by placing a simple A4 sheet of happiness in the front window. (Sadly, when we returned to Godalming the next day, we saw that both of these posters had been removed, no doubt by sour-faced management types.)

If you get a chance today, I would ask you to raise your glasses in tribute to the heroes of Halfords. Men who have refused to succumb to corporate programming. Men who know the value of community spirit. Men who know that the world needs a message, and that message isn’t ‘”1/2 OFF EVERYTHING!!!”

Bless them. Bless them one and all.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040309
Yet Another Lame Quiz
Time
11:18
OK, I finally took the time. I’m a soft-core libertarian. With effort, I may harden and become pure.

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Date
20040309
Animal Kingdom
Time
11:22
Dead penguins aid research. Shuffle-penguins stifle boredom. Big penguins do whatever they like…

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Date
20040309
Flash Thingies
Time
11:30
How to flame in fluent German.

Also, in keeping with the recent bloggage of The Exorcist in 30 seconds with bunnies, allow me to present Big Bunny and Making Fiends.

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Date
20040309
Photoshopping
Time
11:33
Theme: Great cattle of 80’s pop.

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Date
20040309
Consume!
Time
11:33
UK grocery shoppers are spending up to a 6th of their food-shopping budget on packaging.

On the way into work I heard Sainsburys’ new ad on the radio. The theme song is Harvest for the World.

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Date
20040309
The Bush Administration
Time
12:03
Here are some surprises and treats for you:

Dick Cheney able to channel someone with sense of humour.

George W. Bush not an evil liar, just an overconfident doofus.

Kerry go flip flop…? Bush go flip-flop-plop-plop!

Drudge gets desperate for dirt; trawls Kerry site for swear words.

And finally, Ornicus on why the press are AWOL on the Bush/Guard issue: The culture in most newsrooms now has created a de facto conservative bias, simply because no one wants to counter the popular memes emanating from the (right-wing media attack machine), since to do so runs the risk of being suspected of “liberal bias.” So when Team Bush decides to stonewall on their candidate’s military records, no one has much incentive to push harder.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040309
Google
Time
12:27
Take a peek at the new-look Google.

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Date
20040309
Criminal Genius
Time
12:30
A man in Manitowoc, Wisconsin has been posing as a beer distributor and taking neon beer signs away for ‘cleaning’. To date, none of the signs have been returned, and police believe that many of the thefts are going unreported.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040309
Weblogs & Journalism
Time
12:38
Calpundit now blogging for cash.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040309
Tony Blair
Time
12:40
GM food is on the way. Whether we like it or not.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040309
How Weblogs Work
Time
12:49
How News Travels on the Internet.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040309
Rebekah ‘Red Mist’ Wade
Time
17:31
To think I almost missed Rebekah Wade’s red mist rising in today’s Scum: A photographer has sparked fury by exhibiting naked snaps of her daughter – which are feared to be attracting paedophiles. The Sun today publishes one of her 63 graphic pictures and also a photo from a child porn website. And we ask readers: Can you tell the difference?

The editorial goes on: What kind of mother puts on public display photos of her young daughter in the nude? American photographer Betsy Schneider says it’s art. But as The Sun so graphically illustrates here the difference between art and child pornography is NIL.

We’ll let the apparent assertion that all art is child pornography slide by. Instead, I’d like to focus on The Scum publishing a photo from a child porn website.

First of all, it needs to be pointed out that the downloading of child pornography is actually permitted in some cases under the News International Internet Policy. The relevant extracts are pasted below for your reference:

Limited, occasional personal use (of the Internet) is permitted, provided it uses only a trivial amount of system resources and of your time, does not interfere with personal or general productivity, and does not breach any legislation or constitute a disciplinary offence…..

Prohibited Acts:

The following are strictly prohibited:

* Accessing, downloading, displaying or distributing pornography except, as described above, for legitimate journalistic research where authorised by a Managing Editor;

Downloading, displaying, disseminating or attempting to download, display or disseminate materials of a racist, sexist, sexual, pornographic or otherwise offensive nature is strictly prohibited and could result in disciplinary action….. It is realised that there will be rare occasions when strict application of this rule would prevent legitimate journalistic research. In such circumstances, to protect yourself, News International and the title for which you work, you must have the agreement of your Managing Editor before you begin your research.

Wade, being the rabid anti-paedo-scum crusader that she is, will have cleared the pursuit, download, censorship and subsequent display of this image in a second. But, in her haste, has she forgotten that the downloading and/or printing of indecent images of children from the Internet has been ruled as an offence under section 1 of the Protection of Children Act 1978?

1.– (1) It is an offence for a person–

a – to take, or permit to be taken, any indecent photograph of a child (meaning in this Act a person under the age of 16) ; or

b – to distribute or show such indecent photographs; or

c – to have in his possession such indecent photographs, with a view to their being distributed or shown by himself or others

The image will have been censored by a graphic designer, but how many computers did it pass through before this happened? Is the core image available via the network?

Me, I say we take no risks with paedo scum and report this to the authorities immediately. They should have no problems getting a warrant authorising a nice policeman to: enter (if need be by force) and search the premises … and to seize and remove any articles which he believes (with reasonable cause) to be or include indecent photographs of children taken or shown on the premises, or kept there with a view to their being dis­tributed or shown.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040310
Guantanamo Bay
Time
08:51
The Independent – Guantanamo suspect walks free, but four others are detained for questioning: Four British Muslims released from Guantanamo Bay were detained last night and one was released after the military aircraft on which they were travelling touched down on British soil.

One of them has – on top of being detained – has already been collared by publicist Max Clifford. Bloody hell, now he’s really in peril. And so are we. Look forward to an ‘orange is the new black’ feature in the next edition of OK! magazine…

Now, on to the four left behind at Gitmo…

Guantanamo four are ‘too dangerous to free’: The four British Muslims who are to remain at Guantanamo Bay are too dangerous to be released, an American official was last night reported as saying. All four trained at al-Qa’ida camps where they learned bombmaking, methods of assassination and urban warfare techniques, making them a “serious threat” should they be released, the source said. The highly unusual step of releasing details of the charges against the men had been taken to counteract opinion expressing concern over the conditions in which detainees were being held at the prison camp in Cuba.

I love how the public has been made aware of the charges (for reasons of political convenience) when this same information has been kept from these men for upwards of two years.

The justification for this airing of confidential information was given by an unnamed source (natch) from the Bush administration. Who, I should remind you, get awfully touchy when WWII references are made about them : “If the British Government had captured Luftwaffe pilots bombing London during the middle of World War Two, they would not have given them lawyers to argue that they were innocent.”

Right-wing twit that he is, Richard Littlejohn agrees with this entirely and, after repeating this quote, he writes: Some soft-headed people still refuse to accept there’s a war on. It’s not a conventional war, but it’s a war nonetheless. And there are different rules in wartime.

There’s a war on? What was all that ‘mission accomplished’ stuff about then? And there are rules? Hang on a sec, I’m going to have to look this up. I’ve never heard anything so ridiculous in my li…

No, wait…. Well, I’ll be darned, he’s right! There are rules that apply during wartime!

And the Guantanamo Bay detentions are in breach of a number of them.

I repeat: Only one detainee needs to be innocent for this to be a tragedy. All of them could be guilty, but their treatment over the last two years would still be illegal.

We close with the kicker from The Scum’s Queen of Denial: What if they decide to take out their frustration at being held in a prison camp for two years by driving a truck bomb into the Bullring shopping centre or detonating a Semtex waistcoat in Selfridges?

Behold the mighty voice of righteousness and self-fulfilling prophecy!

Heh. The details and local place-names are a nice touch, too. That’s a ‘blood on the knob’ moment that would do Rush Limbaugh proud. I wonder if Littlejohn has a poster of Limbaugh on his wall. Or perhaps his ceiling…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040310
The Interwebnet
Time
08:52
Sharon Dyson, blah-blah, Trevor Luxton, blah-blah, Claire Swire, blah-blah…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040310
The Happy Poster Project
Time
09:01
The Happy Poster Project looks set to hit the streets of Greece after front-page linkage at this popular portal.

That’s the language barrier cracked again, then.

BTW, several new posters have been submitted, including one in Dutch. Apologies that they haven’t gone up yet. Time isn’t on my side.

UPDATE – Heh. One can only wonder where they get their links. On the front page of Pathfinder today: Beware the Cola Ninjas and lighter-theft etiquette. Both of these links appeared alongside the Happy Poster Project in B3ta newsletter #124.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040310
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
09:19
The Libertarian Purity Test is still holding the top spot. Just under this is news of a new drive that will let you burn data and a label onto a CD.

Just under that…

From the right-thinking media, who wish to protect you from rich people and well-funded interest groups:

New York Post – Mrs Kerry’s Cash Connection: To hear some folks tell it, families of the 9/11 victims have risen en masse to denounce President Bush for using brief images from Ground Zero in his campaign commercials… But now it turns out that this whole furor is driven by a tiny group that’s motivated by a far-left agenda and a festering hatred of the president – and has some quite dubious financial ties.

Says the Murdoch-owned newspoaper with absolutely no ties to the Republican Party or the Bush adminstration…

From the filthy liberal left, who insist on finding fault with everything:

New York Times – Promises, Promises: Despite a string of dismal employment reports, the administration insists that its economic program, which has relied entirely on tax cuts focused on the affluent, will produce big job gains any day now. Should we believe these promises? Economic forecasting isn’t an exact science, but wishful thinking on this scale is unprecedented. Nor can the administration use its all-purpose excuse: all of these forecasts date from after 9/11. What you see in this chart is the signature of a corrupted policy process, in which political propaganda takes the place of professional analysis.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040310
Criminal Genius
Time
09:36
Meet Alice Regina Pike, who tried to pass bogus $1 million bill at her local Wal-Mart. Check out Rush Limbaugh working this into his spiel (click the audio link for full effect).

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040310
The War on Drugs
Time
10:07
Charlize Theron likes to smoke her grass through an apple (includes some NSFW links), and good for her. Cucumber hashpipes are pretty nifty, too. As are bongs made from rockmelons. Ask Tim Yeo. He knows.

UPDATE – Please note that massive hookas made from watermelons should not be attempted after pulling an all-nighter, as their construction involves the use of large, sharp knives. Yes, I speak from experience…

Oh, and also featuring some dodgy NSFW links, via The Ultimate Insult we find an alphabetical listing of drug slang.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040310
Video
Time
10:26
Hooray for midget bullfighting!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040310
Flash Thingies
Time
10:29
A soothing classic, brought to mind via Funjunkie.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040310
Photoshopping
Time
10:32
Inspired by the many tall tales of the Bush administration and triggered by Al Franken’s Pepsi Sydrome sketch, which features this wonderful exchange:

Reporter #1: Is it true that the president is 100 feet tall?

Spokesman: Nooooo! Absolutely not!

Reporter #2: Is the president 90 feet tall?

(beat)

Spokesman: No comment.

Click here for a large version.

UPDATE – This image has been front-paged at B3ta. Always a kick. From The Magic Donkey. Who may or may not be of the Republican variety…

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Date
20040310
Consume!
Time
11:26
Yorkshire couple name their child ‘Diot Coke’…. in 1379.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040310
Rebekah ‘Red Mist’ Wade
Time
14:16
From today’s Sun editorial: Many readers were shocked by the child porn picture we printed yesterday. That was our intention. The vile exploitation of innocent children IS shocking. So is the irresponsible attitude of photographer Betsy Schneider, who puts making money from what she calls art before the well-being of her own child. People like her don’t understand the horrific consequences and the frightening scale of child pornography. They don’t realise how many hundreds of thousands of children are emotionally and physically scarred for life. It is because of the suffering of all those little ones that The Sun makes no apologies for its actions. Already, perverts have used their phones to copy Ms Schneider’s explicit photos and then broadcast them on the internet. The Sun will not rest until it has jolted the world into stamping out this evil tide of filth.

Rebekah Wade is talking out of her ginger-rimmed freckle again. This alarmist claptrap blows ‘the frightening scale of child pornography’ well out of proportion and is itself deeply irresponsible.

Yesterday I wondered out loud if Wade and her staff had acted in breach the Protection of Children Act 1978 by obtaining kiddie-porn and passing it around their office as part of the process of research, selection, censorship and design before publication. Today, the Sun ‘makes no apologies’, and ups the ante by distributing the images it claims should not be distributed: An undercover Sun reporter took 13 of the American snapper’s pictures of daughter Madeleine into the chemist’s branch in Birmingham High Street. He handed the images over on a CD and asked for the one-hour developing service.

Boots were operating according to guidelines published by a trade body known as the Photo Marketing Association International. These guidelines leading to the identification of these images as possibly pornographic by the local Boots chemist (who always get these things right) does help The Scum make their case about art/porn, but it kind of pisses on their argument about distribution.

Also, this matter has been reported. The relevant authorities are considering what action – if any – they should take. It has gone well beyond the point where public awareness plays a valid role. Wade having yet another shouty-crackers fit about paedo-scum after the fact does not serve the public interest, it only serves her ego and the circulation of her ‘news’paper.

The added publicity they’re drumming up to sell papers (while shaming the woman who ‘puts making money from what she calls art before the well-being of her own child’) makes it far more likely that young Madeleine will be ‘emotionally and physically scarred for life’ as a result of all this, and the ‘ten thousand copies released over the Internet’ claim pales into insignificance next to the three million or so copies distributed by The Scum yesterday.

Censored or not, the images would certainly be defined by Section 1 of the Obscene Publications Act 1959 as something that may ‘tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it.’

How many readers of The Scum looked at these images yesterday and thought “Phwoarrrrr!”…? How many thought “Well, if it’s *that* common, I shouldn’t have any trouble finding some myself!”…? And so on. I know these two scenarios sound pretty far-fetched and buy into Wade’s picture of your typical paedo-scum draped in raincoat and legs a-quiver as he roams the streets looking for children to abduct, but it’s also possible that someone will become fixated on this young girl as a result of the coverage. Not to abuse her, but to saaaaaaaaaaaaaave her! Hell, damage could be done to a child simply by exposing them to this stark imagery and ‘monsters on the loose’ text that accompanies it.

The point is that there are all sorts of possible effects on all sorts of people that Wade has no way of predicting. The only thing she can know for certain is that distributing millions of versions of this image to the general public greatly increases the statistical possibly of this child – or any child – being traumatised or placed at risk as a result.

And for what? What purpose does this outrage serve at this stage other than to increase fear beyond all proportion and boost circulation?

I agree with her on one point; the vile exploitation of innocent children IS shocking. And you can see it in action every time Rebekah Wade starts foaming at the mouth about it.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040310
Flash Movies
Time
14:57
A little treat for you on No Smoking Day.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040311
Activism
Time
09:58
Meet Mike Emmons. He’s just a normal guy who has had a gutful. But he needs to escape from those frames and hook up properly as a blogger.

UPDATE – Wow, look at all the people slagging him off as a US traitor. There’s even some guy there who goes by the name of ‘Tim Ireland’… do I need to point out that it’s not me?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040311
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:00
Top spot: This Bush/Cheney poster generator helpfully suggests that you ‘please change your entry’ if you try to enter custom text like, say, ‘War Criminals’… but here’s a bunch of stuff you can get away with.

In 2nd place today, this reprint service from Corante, which is only there because every blogger working for that company features it. It’s just the inclusion of plug text in the standard design they share, so I don’t think it was planned… but still, it looks a bit average.

3rd is CNN reporting on the million-dollar-bill woman.

Further down but sure to rise is the story of the chap who bought a new mobile and ended up with Chris Rock’s old phone number.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040311
Guantanamo Bay
Time
10:09
Reuters – Guantanamo Britons freed: Police have freed all five Britons flown home from Guantanamo Bay prison camp as the former terror suspects began denouncing their U.S. captors amid questions about why they were held for two years.

Meanwhile, media outlets that by and large ignored their plight when they were locked up are bidding like mad for access now they’re free. Makes you proud, doesn’t it?

Consider this: the Bush administration only felt compelled to release information relating to charges against the four who are still being detained because they were losing the PR war. With some solid media backing, these men could have been freed much, much earlier. By reporting responsibly and doggedly now, the media can help the 600 others who are being held without charge, without rights, and without recourse. But I’m not holding my breath.

UPDATE – More thoughts from The UK Today.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040311
“The same thing we do every day, Pinky…”
Time
10:19
It’s been nine months since Tim Yeo and I first crossed swords. He still hasn’t apologised. Maybe he doesn’t understand quite what’s happening, so I’ll explain it again. The Tim Yeo weblog is the top result on searches for his name in just about every search engine on the planet. There’s even a new category for Tim Yeo in the ODP that features it.

Result? Every time he appears in a major news story (which happens a lot now he’s the Shadow Minister For Everything) thirty to fifty new people turn up at the weblog, wanting to find out more. But all they find out is that he’s my web-bitch.

*cough*

Also, it’s almost 12 months since MPs voted to appease Bush. I’m still trying to work out how I’m going to mark the anniversary on the 18th, but marching on the 20th looks like a plan.

UPDATE – More protest info from unitedforpeace.org

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040311
11/9 (please note correct formatting of date)
Time
10:21
Some comments on the Bush/WTC picture blogged yesterday. How dare I exploit such a tragedy…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040311
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
10:32
Salon.com – The new Pentagon papers: A high-ranking military officer reveals how Defense Department extremists suppressed information and twisted the truth to drive the country to war.

They’ve done away with the usual adview/registration rigmarole just for this very special article. Isn’t that nice?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040311
Music
Time
10:38
George Michael has announced that he’s retiring from the music business and plans to release all future songs on the Interwebnet – for free.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040311
Bunch of Stuff
Time
10:40
The Guardian has been a jolly good read of late. Some highlights:

Poor lighting and Post-it notes on display screen blamed for £5m sub crash.

Murdoch makes his move on Five.

US study of teenage sexual disease destroys basis of virginity crusade.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040311
I. Want. My. Windmill!
Time
11:57
Government’s chief scientific adviser speaks out: “In my view, climate change is the most severe problem that we are facing today, more serious even than the threat of terrorism.”

Downing St asks very nicely if he would limit the number of interviews he gives on this subject.

Government’s chief scientific adviser denies he was gagged.

All very jolly, but this is what really caught my eye…

Sir George King on energy research and what’s being done about it: “We found something very unnerving, which was that faced with the climate change issue the UK’s investment in energy research had dropped very, very sharply, and the reason for that is very simple. The Central Electricity Generating Board had been privatised and the utilities shut down the research laboratory they inherited.

Isn’t privatisation wonderful?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040311
Consume!
Time
13:19
Hah! Found by Scaryduck

To discover the secret ingredient that makes Coca Cola’s new bottled tap water so expensive, simply:

1. Go to www.dasani.com

2. Click on ‘downloads’

3. Hover your mouse over the woman

UPDATE – Twenty minutes later and I’m still chuckling. I love the look on her face. She’s totally ready for the money-shot.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040311
Established Media
Time
13:26
Guardian introduces registration: We also hope that by taking a minute of your time to register, we can keep the site free of charges for the foreseeable future.

You may as well register now. I link to this filthy pinko broadsheet at least twice a day, and I’d hate to inconweenience you at some later stage.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040311
Photoshopping
Time
14:22
Sigmund Freud was walking through the park one day when….

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040311
Google
Time
15:03
A much-needed and well-written warning: Google provides a remarkable level of access to any screen doors you may leave banging open.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040311
Normal People
Time
15:16
Hooray for the Bristol Concert Wind Band and their top-notch testimonials.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040311
The Happy Poster Project
Time
15:49
Oops.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040311
Consume!
Time
15:55
From the maker of Playboy Barbie and Bondage Barbie comes ‘commemorative’ boob-flash Janet & Justin dolls.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040311
Don’t Mention The Nazis
Time
17:19
Bush’s Gay Marriage Ban – I’d Leave the Country, but My Wife Won’t Let Me.

A good article. A fabulous illustration. More by Mirko Ilic can be found here. (Cheers to Dave for the links.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040312
Art
Time
09:26
Some lovely and subversive images sent in by Charlotte. I know I’ve probably blogged them before, but they’re worth another look.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040312
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
09:27
Topping the chart is news of the new USB Swiss Army Knife. Please be warned that, even with up to 128MB of memory, you could still wake up forgetting what you did with the knife after you used the corkscrew a few times.

The rest of the chart is old news, bad news, and more fools watching hardcore porn while they drive.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040312
Inneresting
Time
09:33
Your chance to interview a virtual Hitler. Your mileage may vary…

Why did you kill yourself?

My wife and I killed ourselves in May 1945 because we were convinced that the Russians would torture and humiliate us if we were caught alive.

Where’s the gold?

I’m currently sitting in cyperspace. It’s really nice here, actually.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040312
Photoshopping
Time
09:51

###########################

Man oh man, I’m going to have a *lot* of fun with this poster enlarger today.

###########################

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040312
Christianity Watch
Time
09:57
Man cuts off penis and runs down street, screaming “Repent, repent, fornicators.”

If only others could be as dedicated to the Lord:

Study finds that teenage virginity pledges are rarely kept.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040312
It’s Law! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
10:05
Shades of George Galloway…

Anti-war activist Susan P. Lindauer accused of spying for Saddam.

The Smoking Gun has the paperwork.

A free plastic whistle for the first person to spot a thread that says this proves all anti-war activists are traitors and/or all protestors are terrorists.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040312
11/9 (please note correct formatting of date)
Time
10:13
See a storyboard of the latest Bush/Cheney ad.

Read about Bush squandering the trauma of ‘911’.

Wonder if FDR would have done the same.

UPDATE – Annoyingly, the Guardian article references Bush’s bullshit trifecta comment.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040312
Consume!
Time
10:21
The UK Today reports the following: For anyone who missed out on the secret ingredient in Coca Cola’s Dasani tap water, it is now too late. Someone responsible for the website as obviously picked up on thread posted by Scaryduck and spotted that spunk has a completely different meaning this side of the Atlantic.

A good thing that I got a screengrab, then.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040312
Animal Kingdom
Time
10:30
Beware the squirrels!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040312
The Hutton Inquiry
Time
10:39
We’re still waiting for the results of Lord Hutton’s ‘urgent’ investigation into the leak of some of his conclusions to The Scum that so conveniently set the tone for Tony and his cronies.

I called the DCA Press Office. It was hard enough to get an answer at all (I’m not from a newspaper, and therefore have nothing to do with media or publishing, y’see) but I pressed for one and got it. Kind of.

They have no idea how long it will take. No idea at all.

I don’t sense a lot of urgency. I think a little pressure is called for…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040312
Richard Littlejohn: Queen of Denial
Time
10:52
It’s official, Richard Littlejohn is an arse of the highest order. Speaking today on the ‘Tipton Taliban’, he says:

Their cover stories simply aren’t credible. One seems to be claiming he went to Afghanistan to look for a wife. All the women wore burkas under the Taliban, so how could he tell which one he fancied?

OK, so perhaps that was a joke. It’s hard to tell if someone’s smiling when their mouth is spattered with foam. Let’s try this instead:

But were they ill treated? Conditions at Camp X-Ray didn’t strike me as much worse than the average American jail. At least they didn’t suffer the indignity of being forced to play prison bitch to a 22-stone rapper doing a 15-to-life stretch for a drive-by homicide.

Hmm, that might be a joke. That, or one of the countless references to homosexuality that make it to print in his column courtesy of his cock-hungry subconscious.

Mind you, I think he managed to take his mind off sex with men and be serious long enough to say:

Their main grievance is that they weren’t allowed access to lawyers during their interrogation and the Geneva Convention wasn’t followed to the last dot and comma.

Last dot and comma? Their detention and treatment was in breach of 15 articles! That’s a lot of dots and commas.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040312
Established Media
Time
12:57
The Times – The web diary, the book deal and the very happy hooker: The internet diary of Belle de Jour, in which a 28-year-old call girl describes her sexual exploits, began as a web sensation and has now earned it’s author a six-figure publishing deal. But who is the author? And is it even a she?

Tut-tut-tut, silly Times journalists….

1. Repeat to yourself 50 times a day until you get it right; “It’s = it is, it’s = it is, it’s = it is, it’s = it IS!

2. You wouldn’t want to do anything stupid like credit the source of the speculation, now would you?

What is about newspaper journalists? They seem to see the Interwebnet as this broad, fuzzy wasteland where credit, sources and copyright don’t count. (Link via someplace on the web.)

UPDATE – Is fair point. Me words no always ferpect neyther.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040312
Google
Time
13:53
Nice try, Searchking.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040312
The Happy Poster Project
Time
13:55
Two new posters have been added to The Happy Poster Project.

Oh, and I forgot to mention yesterday that several walls, doors, corners and noticeboards at Westminster Palace are now much, much happier. I’m kicking myself that I didn’t take a camera with me. Next time…

Right now I’m wondering where I’ll get away with an absolutely massive poster.

UPDATE – Well, well, well, look at what we have here.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040312
Photoshopping
Time
14:38
Beware the demon seed!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040312
Bush: AWOL
Time
14:40
Finally, the truth can be told: Where Dubya Really Went in 1972

(Link via Bingobowden, which also leads us to this excellent Steve Bell cartoon on the subject of bug-boy Blair.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040312
Normal People
Time
16:24
B3ta interviews the Disney Tattoo Guy.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040312
Video
Time
17:43
This is a knock-out commercial, but I wouldn’t have been able to hunt it down without help from TTR2, because mine was sent as an attachment with the credits chopped off.

If you’re releasing a promotional video or flash thingie online:

Should you host it? Maybe.

Should you expect it escape? Almost certainly.

Should you watermark it throughout with a name or URL? Definitely.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040315
Weblog ‘Marketing’
Time
10:13
Oh, FFS. Another marketing genius stumbles into the wonderful world of weblogs…..

Found via this referral spam activity this morning; a crappy spamblog on the subject of ‘Britney Spears Nude’.

It’s part of a wider selection of blogs, all linking to each other and run by the same person. Not unlike the pioneering efforts of Iron Hank, but with a central theme of celebrity nudity.

Anna Kournikova Nude, Christina Aguilera Nude, Janet Jackson Nude, Jennifer Aniston Nude, Jennifer Lopez Nude… you get the idea.

The content is a selection of news articles on each celebrity in question (easily done – even with this many subjects – via Google’s News Alerts and the ‘Blog This’ feature on their toolbar) but for the nude content each title/URL promises you have to follow the same link on each site:

http://www.nudecelebblogs.com/nude/

This leads you directly to an (affiliate) sign-up page for SecretCelebs.com

The core site itself at nudecelebblogs.com is posing as an open directory of blogs on a nude celebrity theme, but the ‘contact us’ graphic has no link, and neither does the ‘add your blog’ graphic. A look-up on this domain name’s link cosmos reveals what appears to be yet more referral spam activity. (Oh, the top listed blog there is http://paris-hilton-video.blogspot.com/ and you can see a past history of referral and comment spam for this URL here.)

The domain WHOIS data is as follows:

Domain name: nudecelebblogs.com

Administrative Contact:

XC Appliance Mart

X C (xiang_chow@hotmail.com)

+852.27892541

Fax: +852.27892512

91823 Xixiang RdClear Water Bay, Kowloon 00000

HK

I’m publishing this because the email address led me to this Usenet posting clearly showing that it’s not his first ‘pretend content’ portal, but it does look to be his first foray into weblog spam.

I’m starting with a complaint to Blogger.com, but considering the community-based nature of the new format he’s chosen to exploit, perhaps we should think of a special and personal way to welcome this lovely man to our corner of the Interwebnet.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040315
Only Interesting to Bloggers
Time
10:18
SXSW came under fire from Boing Boing and others for some distinctly anti-blog policies (including no photography and no wall-juice for laptops). Joi Ito blogs the policy changes that followed a bit of foot-stamping.

Also, inspired by The Blog Heckler, NOT Abercrombie Chick takes on Hot Abercrombie Chick.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040315
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:26
What’s your favourite celebrity’s favourite swear word? (2.9 Mb Flash show; requires sound. NSFW without headphones.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040315
The Bush Administration
Time
10:32
Jamaica? No, he went of his own accord. B-bm, tisch!

And, in completely unrelated news…

The Independent – US revealed to be secretly funding opponents of Chavez: Washington has been channelling hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund the political opponents of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez – including those who briefly overthrew the democratically elected leader in a coup two years ago.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040315
The End of Democracy
Time
10:44
Sketchy reports and some coverage coming in about riots on northern Iran. The right is delighted.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040315
Viral Marketing
Time
10:52
Making a site look as crap as possible can work; but you do need to have some content to back it up. More Of The Same with a new image doesn’t work at the best of times.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040315
Anyone but George
Time
10:59
BBC – Kerry demands debates with Bush. You’ll love the way Bush’s team takes the moral high ground.

Also, here’s a picture from the set of the latest Bush/Cheney commercial.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040315
Established Media
Time
11:01
Here comes the London News Review.

You’ll need to register to read Paul Carr’s article on why big marketing budgets aren’t necessary for magazine launches. He’s right, you know. Online markets can provide a significant groundswell. Especially when you can whore your new mag in The Guardian and count on people like me to comment on it.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040315
Page 3 – Words of Wisdom
Time
11:55
Today Krystle (21, from London) says the government is right to crack down on booze bingeing. She says: “We all like to enjoy a sociable drink now and then. Like everything lese, booze is fine in moderation. But some people are out of control. It’s got to stop.”

Is this a subtle message from Wade to her hacks? According to most reports, being the equivalent of a genius in Canary Wharf simply involves staying sober in the afternoons.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040315
The War on Terror
Time
12:17
Mark Steyne (who, I suspect, was on crack when he wrote this), assures us in this wonderful piece that we can’t blame our governments for the increased threat of terrorist attacks because of their role in Iraq war because the ragheads want to kill us all anyway. So there you go.

BTW, the illegal actions of our government play no role in fostering sympathy for terrorists, thereby increasing the threat of a successful attack on our country.

*cough*

The right wing view this morning appears to be that the Socialist win in Spain is a win for terrorism and do you know what? I agree. The bombing was a vital catalyst in an unprecedented swing against a party holding an absolute majority.

But only because the Popular Party government tried to manipulate the tragedy of last week’s bombing. The votes cast against them weren’t the result of the bombing itself, but the way they tried to exploit it.

Not believing in any government’s take on the terrorist threat does not mean that I don’t believe in terrorists or the threat they pose. It simply means that I don’t believe that government.

UPDATE – Similar thoughts from Atrios and Calpundit.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040315
We’re Not At Home To Mr Cockup
Time
12:25
Wired – Bush Site Unplugs Poster Tool : The campaign changed the tool Thursday so that users could no longer enter their own messages, but only select from a pull-down list of states and coalition groups. The campaign didn’t respond to requests for comment.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040315
Tony Blair
Time
14:56
It. Wasn’t. Me. Now stop asking. Please.

Oh, but I do have something special planned for Saturday. If anyone wants to meet up, it’s do-able. I’ll be in pretty much the same place for most of the day.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040315
Flash Games
Time
15:46
Wheee-spronggggggg-flumff!








Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

16-27 February, 2004

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040216
Activism
Time
10:45
I was quite depressed to discover during my recent trip to Devon that street spam (primary source: Herbalife) had reached all the way into Combe Martin Bay, but it reminded me of my mini-adventure back in November, trying to get a message or two onto the streets. The signs I put up lasted less than a week. Nearby street spam was left untouched.

I was going to get clever with a semi-disguised effort along the lines of ‘Dump Blair now, ask me how’, but other stuff got in the way. Then, on the trip back from my little break, I spied more than a few roadside memorials and I considered doing some memorials for a few of the casualties of the War on Terror and the illegal side excursion into Iraq. Things like truth, integrity, civil liberties, safety, and so on.

It didn’t take me too long to reject this idea as being:

1. A little bit off

2. Art-wank

3. Not terribly effective

So now we’re back to square one; the straightforward delivery of clue-by-fours.

Let me share a few bits and bobs I read over the weekend that caught my eye, so you know where my head is at…

Boredom – the last line of defence for a government on the rack (requires subscription): One Cabinet minister I spoke to last week calculated that something like 2 per cent of the vote could drift from Labour to the Liberal Democrats at the next election, because of Iraq. If that happens, perversely, the main beneficiaries will be the Conservatives, who hold second place in most marginal seats.

And, if you remember, did not raise a squeak in the lead-up to the illegal war, despite there being plenty to squeak about. This was left up to Lib-Dem and Labour MPs. Speaking of which, a letter from Glenda Jackson appeared in the same paper, giving Tony a right old bollocking over this sorry state of affairs:

Butler inquiry will not judge Blair’s role in Iraq war

And, this morning, I happened across this, some thoughts from Madeleine Bunting that I heartily agree with:

Let Blair pay the price: The time has come for New Labour to lance the Iraq boil – before the left is irrevocably split.

And, my-oh-my, isn’t this interesting..

No 10 unease at Brown’s contacts with John Kerry: John Kerry, the frontrunner to challenge George Bush for the US presidency this autumn, has held a series of private meetings with Gordon Brown. The Senator set to win the Democratic nomination has links with the Chancellor stretching back over a decade.

New messages hit the street starting tonight.

If you want to help, drop me a line.

(Updates to follow.)

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Date
20040216
Photoshopping
Time
10:49
I was impressed enough that Snopes already had a file on the Kerry/Fonda crowd pic from last week but, as Steve notes, they also have a file for a new faked image, showing Kerry and Fonda on the same podium.

Scott was kind enough to cough up this NewsDay article on the subject.

My photo of Dubya doing battle with jet-eating sharks has yet to hit the headlines…

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Date
20040216
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
11:07
It’s all love and trousers!

Love: Did you send an anti-Valentine? I didn’t. But someone did try to send a link to this MP3 to Tony Blair over the weekend. Oh, and marriage is about love. Hey, who knew?

Trousers: The Torygraph beefs up their Kerry coverage with quotes from ‘friends’ of Alex Polier. One of the quotes appear to be lifted directly from this Scum article. Speaking of The Scum, their latest nuggets on the matter are also charting well. They claim that Alex Polier taped an interview with ‘a US TV network’ in December, and that this network is ‘sitting on the tape until it has enough evidence to back her story’. Hmmm, some good inside info there. I wonder which US TV network they’re talking about…

UPDATE – The Evening Standard looks set to go to print with suggestions that it’s the ABC network, but ABC have refused to comment.

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Date
20040216
The War on Terror
Time
11:25
London News Review: The meaningfulness of the term ‘terrorist’ is the latest victim of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Doggedly, Israel sticks to its guns in describing the Palestinian fighters as “terrorists,” while they (the ones with the tanks and helicopters) are “the army”.

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Date
20040216
The Impeachment of George W Bush
Time
11:27
A lovely quote this, what a shame it comes from Al Sharpton: “Clearly, Bush lied. Now if he is an unconscious liar, and doesn’t realize when he’s lying, then we’re really in trouble.”

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Date
20040216
Flash Thingies
Time
11:32
Just keep adding stuff and pretend that you know what you’re doing.. You’ll get along fine, trust me.

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Date
20040216
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
11:37
Meet Paul Cumming, Conservative councillor for Malvern Hills and Andrew Brown, Labour councillor for Blackheath.

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Date
20040216
Church & State
Time
11:41
Did you enjoy purity day?

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Date
20040216
Bush: AWOL
Time
11:49
DailyKos – Was Bush kicked out of Guard?

Calpundit – Were Bush’s National Guard files purged of potentially embarrassing material back in 1997?

Bottle of Blog comments on the latest eyewitness accounts to come to light.

That should be enough to keep you busy for a while….

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Date
20040216
Tim Yeo
Time
12:00
How do the Tories plan on cutting expenditure, but protecting health and education? Easy. They plan on putting the Shadow Minster For Everything in charge of the lot. He’ll take the classes, do the surgery, wipe the floors and wash the bottles. A bit of a handful, even for a demigod, so perhaps its a good thing that he may be forced to cast aside a few of his other commitments well ahead of time.

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Date
20040216
I Believe In The BBC
Time
14:25
The Scotsman – Ministers urged to rule out BBC’s national break-up: The government was under pressure yesterday to rule out plans to end the BBC’s 80-year-old existence as the UK-wide institution. Leaked Whitehall documents revealed the government has considered breaking up the corporation into “separate entities for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland”. The internal memoranda, published in the Sunday Times, also showed that the government is considering a wider role for the broadcasting watchdog Ofcom, bringing the BBC under its jurisdiction. The move would end the practice whereby the BBC governors ensure the corporation’s impartiality and accuracy.

Oh, if you’ve submitted a BBC statement in the last few days; apologies… I’ll get them up soon.

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Date
20040216
Spam
Time
15:18
Martyn has an interesting heads-up for us…

The Times reports that a legal loophole is protecting a spammer/scammer… before going on to list a bunch of identifying details, just in case a reader may wish to track him down.

I had his father’s address and phone number in about 60 seconds. If I were in any doubt, I could use the photo they provide or this helpful description of his house before hurling a brick through his window: “… he lives in a brown-brick three-bedroom terraced cottage, built in 1885, with a stained-glass unicorn on the front door, in Bedford Street, St Neots.”

Now, I hate spammers as much as the next guy and have even urged people to reach out and touch a spammer myself, but this is a very naughty thing for a newspaper to do. According to the ‘rules’ what govern newsypapers, The Times are due for a gumming, and you can bet this long-time conman is sharp enough to know how to play the victim.

UPDATE – Some background on the lovely Peter Francis-Macrae is available from ninet.co.uk and you can see an old version of his Dot Com Avenue site in the web archive. There’s no archive for registereu.com, but you can see a copy in Google’s cache here if you’re quick.

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Date
20040216
Flash Thingies
Time
16:07
It’s Dishonest Dubya, the action figure that lies like a bastard! Comes complete with four fetching outfits and a nifty pretzel-retching feature. (Link via Toby ‘How late was my train?‘ Bryans.)

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Date
20040216
Google – The Adsense Trial
Time
16:57
Over the weekend, 2,642 ad impressions were served. This resulted in a total of 11 clicks (0.4% click-through rate) and earned me just over two Yankee dollars. Total earnings to date: $6.55

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Date
20040216
The Dress-Up President
Time
17:28
Bush did the ‘Gennlmen start yur engines!’ bit at NASCAR on the weekend. To let the crowd know just how important it is to stay alert to the threat of terror, his plane did a fly-pass over the speedway and his motorcade did a lap before he addressed the crowd. Dressed in a racing jacket, natch.

He also said this to a sports interviewer who asked if he’d like to drive a stock car. “I’d like to, but I’m afraid the agents wouldn’t let me. I flew fighters when I was in the Guard and I like speed.”

What a f**king liar. It’s nothing to do with what the agents will let him do. He doesn’t drive stock cars because he’s afraid… of the ever-present threat of shark attack.

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Date
20040216
Church & State
Time
17:48
Newsweek – Something About Mary: As director of vice presidential operations for the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign, Mary Cheney makes an inviting target. In 2000 the Cheney family insisted that Mary was a private citizen and off-limits to the press. Even so, her presence seemed to bolster the “compassionate conservative” image the Bush-Cheney ticket hoped to portray. After her father became veep, Mary joined the gay-friendly Republican Unity Coalition and gave speeches encouraging the GOP to reach out to women, minorities and gays. “We can make sexual orientation a nonissue for the Republican Party, and we can help achieve equality for all gay and lesbian Americans,” she said in an April 2002 statement. But when she joined the ’04 campaign last year, Mary quit the coalition and seemed to fade into her own undisclosed location. Now that Mary, 34, is a senior campaign official, the Web site hopes to shame her back into the spotlight.

The site is here. Speak now, or…

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Date
20040216
Photoshopping
Time
19:14
Had to be done.

(Posted to B3ta.)

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Date
20040217
The End of Democracy
Time
10:03
The Guardian – Hi-tech voting machines ‘threaten’ US polls: The criticisms centre on three issues: the machines offer no record of how a vote was cast – so no prospect of a repeat of the “hanging chad” fiasco of the 2000 election; the accuracy with which they record votes has been called into question; and they could be vulnerable to computer hackers.

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Date
20040217
RWCs
Time
10:04
New York Times – Subject of Campaign Rumor Denies She and Kerry Had an Affair : The woman at the center of unsubstantiated rumors that Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts had an extramarital affair released a statement on Monday in which she denied any romantic involvement with him.

You may want to have a quick peak at what the Torygraph and The Scum printed yesterday, then note how selectively they use the quote from Alexandra Polier: “I have never had a relationship with Senator Kerry, and the rumors in the press are completely false. Whoever is spreading these rumors and allegations does not know me, but should know the pain they have caused me and my family.”

The Torygraph today: “I have never had a relationship with Senator Kerry, and the rumours in the press are completely false. Whoever is spreading these rumours and allegations does not know me.”

The Scum today: “I have never had a relationship with Senator Kerry. Whoever is spreading that does not know me.”

So much for the pain, then. Water under the bridge. Bygones. Fish wrappings. And so on. C**ts.

UPDATE – You can read her full statement and an accompanying statement from her parents here.

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Date
20040217
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:18
Kuro5hin – quick, superficial look at the style and content of the leaked Windows 2000 source. (Focuses on developer comments which contain some telling confessions and many sweary passages such as; ‘If you change the tabs to spaces you will be killed! Doing so f**ks the build process!’)

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Date
20040217
Seems Fair…
Time
10:24
CNN – New scholarship created for whites only.

The application requires an essay on “why you are proud of your white heritage” and a recent picture to “confirm whiteness.” Further, it warns that “evidence of bleaching will disqualify applicants.”

You’d almost think they were going out of their way to make a statement…

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Date
20040217
Inneresting
Time
10:32
Explore some ghost towns. (Link via Ultimate Insult.)

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Date
20040217
Tony Blair’s Email
Time
10:39
—– Original Message —–

From: arapmoifamil AT caramail.com

To: tony-blair AT prime-minister.co.uk

Sent: Monday, February 16, 2004 5:00 PM

Subject: BUSINESS PARTNER

–> Dear Sir,

–>

–> I am Gideon Arap Moi, the son of The former president of Kenya

–> Mr Daniel Arap Moi. I came to know you in the course of my

–> search for a reliable And GOD fearing partner, and I decided to

–> contact you,Because I believe you are a reputable person and I

–> feel You can help me and my mother over this confidential matter.


[snip]

Heh. Reputable, huh? Do you think maybe I should tell him?

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Date
20040217
Established Media
Time
10:43
No tabloid format fro The Guardian. Oh well. I’m still keeping my fingers crossed for a broadsheet with boobs in it.

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Date
20040217
The Interwebnet
Time
10:45
Matt Jones brings us this quote from Marc Smith, a sociologist who works for Microsoft: “If you’re 1 in a million, then there are 768 of you on the Internet…”

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Date
20040217
In The Courts
Time
10:50
Waiter awarded $15,000 after boys kicks him in the groin. The kick came after the little dear threatened eatery staff with a knife. The waiter was left with acute epididymitis and erectile dysfunction.

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Date
20040217
Coming Up
Time
10:56
Simpsons movie due in 2006.

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Date
20040217
Does What It Says On The Tin
Time
10:58
Well, almost. Theft-proof car stolen.

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Date
20040217
I Believe In The BBC
Time
11:00
This Fark thread relating to reports that the government plans to break up the BBC makes for interesting reading.

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Date
20040217
Photoshopping
Time
11:04
I woke up with this in my head at about 4am. You can seem the embiggened version in all its glory here at B3ta.

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Date
20040217
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
11:10
Marina Hyde has an obvious beef with Private Eye. So how is it that Tom has ended up as the meat in the sandwich? I’m confused…

As for the suggestion that a self-effacing man like Tom mentions the most significant misinterpretation of the Teens page because he’s being boastful…. well, I think perhaps Marina is having a bit of a shouty day. (Erm, but that’s off the record, m’kay?)

I’ve heard Tom tell this story before, and so have many of you. You know the context in which he uses it. Private Eye getting it wrong and admitting it helps to establish that the Teens page is a joke. And when he tells the story, he always has this unmistakeable tone of amazement in his voice that he would get such an apology.

All of this makes me wonder if Marina actually listened to the radio show to hear this ‘boast’ first-hand.

UPDATE – Oh, and The Guardian never, ever gets things wrong. And they’ve replied to every single email that I’ve sent them about errors or omissions they have made regarding myself or this website. Obviously.

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Date
20040218
It’s War! And Things Is Getting Ridiculous!
Time
11:02
These are not happy times for the truth.

In too many cases to cite here (especially on the radio, which is very hard to link to) several reporters have been talking about this faked photo as if it’s the only photo, thereby suggesting that this, the photo that enjoyed much wider circulation mostly thanks to that jerk Rush Limbaugh isn’t real. Sure, the genuine photo is equally meaningless (Kerry is three rows back from Fonda and this happened two years before the Hanoi episode) but it irks me to see lazy one-week-behind journalism in action. The Guardian – to their credit – mention the original photo, but it’s a passing mention at best.

This would, I would think, leave one vulnerable to claims of liberal bias. Or laziness. Given the effect this release has had, one could even speculate that the second (faked) photo came from liberal quarters in an effort to discredit the first.

The Kerry/intern rumour, sparked at Drudge with very little substance, was referred to regularly on Murdoch’s Fox News within hours of it being posted and then given magic legs by one of his British rags and widely distributed via the Interwbenet. They’re still banging on about it today, suggesting that denials were only made because pressure was brought to bear.

Now we have Moby calling on people to play the ‘dirty-tricks’ game and Larry Flynt circulating a rumour that Bush arranged an abortion for a girlfriend in 1970.

(Ooh, lookie. An transcript of a relevant interview with Larry Flynt. And here was me just saying that radio was difficult to link to…)

For the record; I don’t want to be on either team if this is the game they want to play.

Meanwhile, both Bush and Blair appear to have successfully taken recent findings and admissions regarding their illegal war off the air.

If you were reading bloggerheads last week, you actually watched this happen. (You may also note how fast The Scum drop their online content back into the subscription-only archive.)

The Sun – Wed, February 04, 2004: “What will the anti-war brigade do if the latest inquiry doesn’t go their way? March on Westminster? Strike at the BBC? Join the Lib Dems? It’s time we stopped looking backwards, and gave up trying to rewrite history. A poll shows 69 per cent of the public think it was right to get rid of Saddam Hussein. Enough said. The WMD non-issue is a major distraction for Tony Blair when he should be concentrating on real problems that affect real people … Like the NHS, education, transport, immigration and £50billion of squandered taxes. When is someone going to get excited about that little lot?”

The Times – Thu, February 05, 2004: Mr Blair’s spokesman said: “This does appear to be a bit of an attempt to rewrite history and to inject another element of controversy into this.”

The Scotsman – Mon, February 09, 2004: Prime Minister Tony Blair today began a series of initiatives he hopes will switch the political focus back on to the domestic agenda after weeks of speculation and fall-out from the Hutton Inquiry.

This isn’t the first time Murdoch’s newspapers have helpfully staged a convenient arena while pretending to confront Tony Blair. Those of us with long memories remember very clearly how The Scum ‘demanded’ Blair focus on asylum seekers. This just happened to be during the time when evidence was being given to The Hutton Inquiry, and hey – what do you know – Tony listened… and it was The Scum wot won it.

Of course, there are a few alternatives to the Murdoch/Blair machine, but, as The Guardian notes, the largest of these – the BBC – is being effectively gagged on the subject.

The question of Bush’s war service, the gaps that remain unexplained despite the recent release of ‘all’ documentation, and the very strong indications that these may have been ‘scrubbed clean’ in 1997, centre on a very important issue in that Bush playing solider has been an important propaganda tool before, during and after the illegal invasion of Iraq.

But it’s the illegal war itself that should be the main issue.

If you commit your country to war, the very least you can do is make damn sure that you’ve crossed the i’s and dotted the t’s… but Blair & Hoon’s best defence had them unaware that the public and parliament were being mislead over a small and insignificant line of distinction between weapons that would be a threat if we invaded and weapons that were a sufficient threat to warrant invasion.

Be they outright liars or dangerous incompetents (who diddle the facts ‘subconsciously’), this makes their position as a ruling government largely untenable – even if it only comes down to the matter of public trust (a currency that they will have trouble operating without).

I’m far from bored. I’m as mad as hell. And I don’t think we can trust the government on domestic or foreign policy until this matter has been cleared up.

Fuck the rumours. I want the truth. And I want it to be given a bloody good airing.

(PS – Tony Blair picks his nose. Pass it on.)

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Date
20040218
2004 – The Year of Zero Modesty
Time
11:08
New Statesman has a ‘highlight’ feature to enhance the growing list of nominees for their 2004 New Media Awards. January’s featured site was the Can Do Exchange.

It’s not too late to add your thoughts on this site or any other.

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Date
20040218
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
11:16
I don’t care what you’ve seen on the teevee or heard on the raydio, you shouldn’t shake your Polaroid pictures. (How nice to see that this is newsworthy.)

Also, we have what appears to be the first exploit based on the leak of Windows source code and a sad farewell to Webmonkey.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040218
Bygones
Time
11:27
The Guardian – Iraq oil cash funded MPs’ campaigns: These files do not implicate Mr Galloway in personal corruption. Nor do they suggest that Mr Dalyell and Mr Reynolds, who always paid their own way, had any knowledge of what was going on.

But you can bet that’s not how many of these people will be playing it.

1. Indications are that these documents are authentic; but if they’re not they won’t be the first of the fakes.

2. Speaking of past relationships…

3. Don’t you love it how RWCs dismiss pretty much everything that comes from The Independent or The Guardian as ‘liberal bias’… until something that suits their agenda comes along and they immediately tout it about with their very own layer of bias?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040218
Mildly Amusing
Time
11:43
The Rumsfeld fighting technique vs. Bush Yoga. Which be the better fitness regime? Choose now!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040218
In The News
Time
11:52
London News Review – Dead Kid On The Block: About 40 police officers were injured by rioters protesting about the death of 17-year-old Thomas Hickey, who died after a police chase. Or who didn’t die after a police chase. Depending upon who you believe. And were the rioters actually protesting about the death of a young boy from their community, or were they just bored and drunk? Again, it depends who you believe.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040218
Music
Time
11:55
A special link for those of you with hangovers: the world’s best drum solos. Also, check out Shakespeare in Hell, a death-metal band that bases its music on the works of Shakespeare, right down to ‘taking the lyrics verbatim from the original Elizabethan text…’

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040218
Google – The Adsense Trial
Time
12:03
[edit – stats removed]

It’s just been pointed out to me that the Google Adsense T&Cs expressly prohibit the disclosure of any/all ‘click-through rates or other statistics relating to Site performance in the Program provided to You by Google’…

So no more stats for you to chew on, sorry. I’ll just have crunch them privately for a few weeks and then let you know whether I think the program sucks or not. I’m sure you trust me, and I’m sure Google will benefit greatly from such a black and white ruling.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040218
Google
Time
12:15
I wanted to send a ‘calm blue ocean’ gift to the lovely Marinda Hynde, so I searched on Google for unpinchable knickers.

1. I was amazed to discover that nobody sells such a thing (or even sees fit to discuss it).

2. Check out the alternative search that Google offers.

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Date
20040218
Vote!
Time
12:54
Gay Penguin for President!

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Date
20040218
Photoshopping
Time
14:10
Bush has some difficulty with zombies. You’ll want to see this cracker, too.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040218
Inneresting
Time
14:39
Atrios on Bush, Flynt & Drudge. Who aren’t sleeping together by the way.

UPDATE – Tony Blair really does pick his nose, you know…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040218
Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch
Time
14:51
The latest Sun Reader Survey is out. Here’s an interesting snippet from last week’s survey: “Looking back on the last set of stories you reviewed, 63% of you thought the Hutton report was a whitewash, while 60% of you said you were looking forward to reading the revelations in Jordan’s upcoming autobiography.”

No. of times Jordan appeared on the front page last week: 3

No. of times the Hutton Report appeared on the front page last week: 0

Remember the fuss they made when 1% of their readership called in to agree that Muslim cleric Abu Hamza should be booted out of the country? It was front-page news for two days running!

63% of their readers thinking that the Hutton report was a whitewash barely gets a mention… apart from an editorial that assures them that they’re all bored with it and it’s time to move on.

Oh well. It’s not as we expected them to do otherwise… and even if they end up losing readers as a result, I’m sure a few CD/DVD giveaways will keep circulation ticking over (see partial screengrab of the latest reader survey to your right or a wider grab here).

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040218
Google
Time
18:22
Credit to Shak, who knew how soon this was coming:

Slashdot – Yahoo switches search engines: Yahoo! in the last hours dumped Google and rolled out a brand new search engine mainly based on Inktomi search technology and Overture sponsored results. On Monday Yahoo! also launched its own crawler, called “Yahoo! Slurp”, which replaced former “Inktomi Slurp”.

UPDATE – Most of my core/client search results hold up equally well in the All New Yahoo, and I also noticed the following similarity to the database it left behind.

UPDATE – Yahoo Press Release. The XML/RSS site syndication looks dead interesting. Do I dare climb down from my dinosaur and make use of it?

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Date
20040219
Established Media
Time
10:30
The timing may not be the best, but I have a serious bone to pick with Private Eye.

You’ll note on their website that they helpfully publish ‘a small selection from the joke pages’ which, quite simply, just isn’t good enough.

To their credit, Eye got online pretty sharpish, and had an all-singing all-dancing site in 1997 or thereabouts, but it was pretty top-heavy and didn’t do them a lot of good. After that, the web presence was – and is – pretty perfunctory.

What the Eye needs, and what their readership deserves, is an online version complete with archive. That way, if I wanted to find out what they said about Tim Yeo in nineteen-ninety-dot, I could simply enter my username and password (obtained from paying for an enhanced subscription or a special online-only subscription) and search through the database to see any relevant entries.

Even if you wanted to approach it on a modest scale, this facility could also be used to serve the general public. Take, say, 500 or so worthy names that have had a suitable level of coverage and present a flat version of ‘result’s pages that can be picked up by indexing robots.

This would present a solid result in Google for searches relating to any given person/company/organisation and/or their past activities/alliances. The results would, of course, be presented in extract form. To see the whole entry, you could pay a one-off fee or take out a subscription.

This enhanced subscription model would make it easier for readers to find and share important information. It would also give them something new and exciting to cancel the next time they get their knickers in a twist.

A well-conceived system, properly marketed, could pay for the data entry and start producing gravy in a very short period of time.

Unless of course Private Eye relies on the fish-wrapping principle as much as any tabloid….

*cough*

So, here’s a snippet that I can’t link to and am forced to scan. The Eye also reports that ‘Lord Inge, chosen by Tony Blair as one of the five members of the Butler Inquiry into intelligence on Iraq, has resigned from a firm that employs former intelligence staff following questioning by Private Eye.’

I’d like to find/improve/build an indexable reference page that focuses on those chosen to judge where intelligence went wrong and Tony didn’t, but I’m incredibly busy today. Any links to confirm or clarify these claims to help matters along would be appreciated.

Also, if you’d like to make your views known on the matter of an Eye archive, you can get in touch and make your feelings known by using this ‘contacts’ page.

Be nice. That nice Mr Hislop fellow was obviously putting this to bed when Marina had her little flap the other day, so I’m sure he can do without an invasion of shouty people.

Cheers all.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040219
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:32
Topping the chart; how to cheat on the latest sugary-drink promotion in the US and news that Dean has called it quits (there’s a related post at his weblog).

There are also quite a few links to Yahoo’s minimalist and Googlesque search interface, but this has been around for a while. The database is new, though, and it’s turning up all sorts of wonderful results.

Take for example the Universal Church of the Interactive Network. It’s been a long, hard climb in Google, but currently the UCIN is 62nd in that database for the single generic search term ‘religion’. In the new Yahoo database it debuts at 50.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040219
The Bush Administration
Time
10:47
Wired – Scientists Claim: Bush Distorts Science: The Bush administration has distorted scientific fact leading to policy decisions on the environment, health, biomedical research and nuclear weaponry, a group of about 60 scientists, including 20 Nobel laureates, said in a statement on Wednesday.

PS – The Grand Canyon is only a few thousand years old.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040219
Animal Kingdom
Time
10:55
Animals on the London Underground; both real and imagined.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040219
Consume!
Time
10:57
Subscribe!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040219
Only Interesting to Hardcore Geeks
Time
10:57
Women is spacesuits! (Helmets… so many helmets…)

Link via Ultimate Insult.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040219
Education
Time
10:59
Proportion project goes astray when teacher asks students to compare their Mum’s head, waist and bust measurements to that of a Barbie doll.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040219
Retro
Time
11:01
Crack open some cereal boxes of yore.

Link via Everlasting Blort.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040219
Breaking News
Time
11:06
Independent – Government to give go ahead for GM maize. Whether we like it or not.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040219
Corporate Wisdom
Time
11:08
Disney: How much for those Muppets in the window?

Speaking of puppets, this is a good for a giggle (requires Quicktime).

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040219
Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch
Time
11:13
Take a look at the ‘news’ page of The Scum today and see how many articles are appeals for ammunition from the readers themselves. Did we miss a round of layoffs or something?

Also, there’s another shameless plug for There’s Something About Miriam. A photo-special this time. But all in good fun. Or in the name of social science. Or something.

The editorial is a blast, as usual. After giving ‘immigrants who drive death trap cars’ what for, they go on to say the following about our dear leader and his adventures in Europe: We don’t doubt Tony Blair means what HE says about the need to adapt to a rapidly-changing global economy. But it isn’t possible to take Old Europe’s deadly duo, Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroeder, seriously.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040219
Tony Blair’s Email
Time
11:26
–> —– Original Message —–

–> From: kerrie m*****

–> To: tony-blair AT prime-minister.co.uk

–> Sent: Thursday, February 19, 2004 11:04 AM

–> Subject: kerrie m**** -email

–>

–>

–> Dear Tony Blair

–> I am sending this email to advise you about our

–> countryside.

–> the comunity at w******* have done out best to keep our surroundings alive

–> and wll. you have repaid us by not cutting down our forests and woods, now i

–> would like to ask if you could try and stop trees being cut down around

–> public places or near nature.

–>

–> i sent you a letter similer to this two years ago when you sent some

–> information to our school.

–>

–> yours sincerely,

–> kerrie m*****, age 10

Dear Kerry,

Your email ended up at the wrong address, but did not go to waste. I’ve shared your important message regarding trees and nature with my readers (minus any identifying information, of course).

If you’d like to send a copy of this email to Tony Blair, you’ll need to do so via this website:

http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/Page821.asp

I hope school is going well for you, and I wish you luck with your trees.

Regards,

Tim Ireland

www.bloggerheads.com

PS – Tony Blair picks his nose. Pass it on.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040219
Consume!
Time
12:04
Lottery winner Michael Carroll is in the news again. This widely-circulated AP story on his recent legal complications has a lot of people searching for background information and arriving at the Michael Carroll needs more money! page.

The Mirror reports that Michael is receiving counselling courtesy of Camelot, just as others have when a mind-boggling amount of money fell on their heads.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040219
Virus Alerts
Time
12:32
The Register – Netsky B is very pesky: A new, more dangerous version of the Netsky worm is making the rounds on the Internet. The bug, which goes by the name Netsky-b or Moodown-b, is a modified version of NetSky-a that surfaced earlier this week. Initial ratings from the likes of Symantec, Network Associates and F-Secure suggest that the malware is a medium- to high-grade threat; and early reports say that the worm is spreading quickly.

I suspected as much. I got two very strange bounces from two different mail servers with ‘local problems’ yesterday, which is usually a sign that something new is on the loose and clogging up the works.

Symantec have some info and a removal tool here.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040219
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
13:30
CNN – Iran’s bloggers fear clampdown. That’ll learn ‘em to interfere with the natural order of things.

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Date
20040219
Would You Believe…
Time
13:39
Heh. I’m glad I didn’t see this earlier this morning:

Officials in Botswana urge people wishing to commit suicide to “use trees” and not trains.

I’m sorry, but when I go, I want to take as many trains as possible with me.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040219
Photoshopping
Time
14:29
I have no idea how I managed to miss this. Cheers to James for the heads-up….

Help liven up the build-up to the US elections by entering The Guardian’s photograph-doctoring competition.

In this context, why yes, I do wish to play…

Open Outlook

Create New Email

Attach

Attach

Attach

Attach

etc….

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040219
Flash Games
Time
16:03
Sod the waiting game; let’s play Hungry Hungry Hippos!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040220
Bunch of Stuff
Time
09:53
Yesterday’s Guardian was a bloody good read:

Catherine Bennett goes soft on Tony Blair’s Big Abortion. You’ll have to scroll down past the bit about Zoo and Nuts (whose core marketing messages are, respectively, “Women! Your men are dumb! Buy this and keep them happy!” and “F**k off, bitch, I’m reading”) to get to it. Here’s the meat:

Even now, the site often bears little relation to what passes for current affairs. There is no mention of Hutton, for example. Nothing on the BBC. Iraq. Iran. Civil liberties. And yet, on planet Big Conversation, something has changed since those first, sunny days of undeviating congratulation. Slowly, disappointments have surfaced; a cloud of dissatisfaction has settled over this once bright exercise in positive thinking. The Big Conversation is becoming the Extended Sulk, sunk in gloom over tuition fees and council tax, inadequate benefits, speed limits, poor pensions, the existence of other people.

1. As she notes herself, there’s very little substance getting through

2. The issues that are filtering through are strangely in keeping with Tony’s new domestic agenda

3. We have public belligerence to thank for what has made it to the surface; not the concept or design of the ‘conversation’

Careful with that planet, Mr President: (The Bush administration) has used science selectively… has a narrow view of America’s global duties, and its views on global warming are influenced by the fossil fuel lobby.

Selective use of input in order to serve an agenda? Gosh, that sounds awfully familiar. Can we look forward to an inquiry into the failure of our scientists to act on global warming sometime soon?

Tories shun BBC chairman panel: The Tories made it clear last night they would not support the appointment of a party grandee as chairman of the BBC and spurned an invitation to help scrutinise the process.

Doubts were expressed about the government’s advertisement for the position, which stated that the new chairman would need to act as “an effective link between the BBC, government and parliament”. The word ‘link’ has since been changed to ‘bridge’, and we’ve been told to stop arguing about semantics.

Watch ‘em….

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040220
SEO
Time
09:56
Yahoo! Birth of a New Machine

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040220
Consumer Power
Time
09:58
Grey Tuesday: Tuesday, February 24 will be a day of coordinated civil disobedience: websites will post Danger Mouse’s Grey Album on their site for 24 hours in protest of EMI’s attempts to censor this work.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040220
RWCs
Time
10:38
Toronto Star – `Heads should roll’ over Iraq: Richard Perle, a chief proponent of last year’s U.S. invasion of Iraq, yesterday called for the chiefs of the Central Intelligence Agency and the U.S. Defence Intelligence Agency to step down because of their faulty conclusions that Saddam Hussein possessed mass-killing weapons. Perle, a close adviser to U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, said top officials made no attempt to skew the intelligence about Saddam Hussein’s alleged weapons of mass destruction. Instead, he implied, top policymakers relied in good faith on the conclusions of the intelligence agencies.

!

I say again:

!

Ah, but we’re just getting started…

Fair and balanced Fox reveals Democratic candidates touting ‘populist notions’ live in mansions!

So privileged. So distant….

Well, they’ve lost my vote. What America needs is man like Bush, who does everything he can to stay in touch with the people.

Always reliable National Review reveals Bush tried to volunteer for Vietnam: Of the four pilots I spoke to who flew with Bush in the Texas days, Fred Bradley knew him best. They had met before going off to the year-long ordeal of pilot school, and entered the 111th at about the same time. Both were junior lieutenants without a lot of flying experience. But the inexperience didn’t prevent Bush — along with Bradley — from going to their squadron leaders to see if they could get into a program called “Palace Alert.” “There were four of us lieutenants at the time, and we were all fairly close. Two of them had more flight time than the president and me, said Bradley.” All four volunteered for Vietnam (Bradley doesn’t remember whether he and Bush actually signed paperwork, but he specifically remembers both Bush and himself trying to get into the Palace Alert Vietnam program.) Bush and Bradley were turned away, and the two more senior pilots went to Vietnam.

*ahem*

From a transcript of Bush’s recent Meet The Press interview:

Tim Russert: But you didn’t volunteer or enlist to go.

President Bush: No, I didn’t.

Besides, concludes the writer Jed Babbin (deputy undersecretary of defence in the first Bush Administration), we don’t need a solider in the White House, we need a leader!

Yes, but what we have now is a man who isn’t really the leader and likes to dress up as a soldier.

You can read a flaming Fark thread here if you like. Keep your head down and your bullshit meter on full. Nuggets include why Rush Limbaugh didn’t get to do battle with Charlie and this late observation from Dr Strangelove: I just hope that Dubya remembers to remove the MADE IN THE USA stickers off of the WMD’s that will inevitably be found buried in the desert…say Octoberish…

Finally, check out what Calpundit has cooking on Bush’s file. The truth will out.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040220
Guantanamo Bay
Time
11:01
The Independent – After 772 days, five Britons face freedom from Guantanamo Bay.

The Independent – ‘We want answers: why have they been held so long without charge?’

Tough call for the government….

1. Setting them free calls into the question the judgement of the US government, who held them for over two year without trial or evidence. And for what…? (FFS, they have to be questioned by police upon arrival before it’s decided what to do with them. Probably their first taste of a legal process since they were locked up.)

2. Arresting them and holding them indefinitely (and/or for indefinite questioning) under the Patriot Act of Airstrip One pretty much gives us our own branch of Gitmo.

3. Arresting them and subjecting them to a trial sets a precedent that will make it difficult for the US to keep the remaining prisoners locked up without such rights.

UPDATE – Sun tries and convicts men who have been held without trial.

Ah, there’s a nice clue. We don’t arrest them for terrorism, we instead arrest them for treason. That gives the US an impenetrable ‘chalk & cheese’ defence:

“The traitors we gave back to their country for them to deal with. The terrorists and illegal non-conforming-combattle-ants, we’re continuing to hold.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040220
Activism
Time
11:19
A noble cause and all (praise be to the semi-colon), but the idea of sending flowers and buying t-shirts? Seems a bit icky to me…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040220
Inneresting
Time
11:27
Does mixing drinks get you drunker? I know it makes you sicker…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040220
In The News
Time
11:29
Man arrested for watching porn while driving. Before you ask; he had both hands on the wheel. The charge related to the visibility of the screen from outside the vehicle.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040220
Art
Time
11:34
Blimey! Age Maps kick arse!

Two photographs of the same person, from their child & adult years, spliced together to make… exactly what I don’t know, but it’s bloody wonderful!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040220
Spam
Time
11:40
Prankster plays with the Viagra pushers.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040220
Photoshopping
Time
12:40
A little project I have in mind. Chew it over. Send feedback if you like.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040220
Consume!
Time
14:05
Cup of tea, anyone?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040223
What a Bunch of Bankers
Time
10:17
We went into our local branch of Lloyds TSB this Saturday. We had a pretty hefty check to bank, and – being overdrawn to the limit – wanted to withdraw a small amount of money against it. To pay for repairs to our boiler, that packed it in last Wednesday.

We were given the usual ‘talk to the hand’ treatment about clearance, but the bank has been able to show some level of discretion about this in the past, and it was a bit of crisis, so I was sure we’d be OK.

Wrong…

We got stonewalled by the teller and the ‘help’ staff (after queuing for both), so I asked to see the manager.

The Branch Manager wasn’t in, so we got a Personal Account Manager instead. She told us that the computers had said ‘no’, a 4-day-clearance stood and only such-and-such a department could help us, but it was closed on a Saturday.

1. This was a cheque from another bank!

2. Need money. Fix boiler. It cold. Savvy?

3. Why isn’t the manager here?

4. Closed on Saturday? That’s a big bloody help.

Answers:

1. I’m sorry, sir, but our clearance policy…

2. I’m sorry, sir, but there’s nothing I can do about that…

3 & 4. You know, sir, we don’t *have* to open on a Saturday at all….

We later found out that such-and-such department was open on a Saturday morning after all, which makes her a lying so-and-so. Or an incompetent.

Without personal service and discretion, just what are we paying these people for? We may as well do business directly with the database that tells them what they can and can’t do… so this week the missus and I will be looking at a switch to online banking.

Smile.co.uk currently has a big marketing push about ease-of-transfer, which is obviously a big issue, but I’ve also heard some good things about egg.com

Personal recommendations and any tips would be welcome.

UPDATE – Yes, this does count in smile.co.uk’s favour. A lot.

Oh, and look forward real soon to a special web page explaining why we (and a bunch of other people) switched from Lloyds TSB. People who search for these worthless tossers need to know what level of ‘service’ they provide.

A highlight would be the time they sent our new (unsigned) cards and PIN numbers to the wrong address. Twice. In the end, the manager had to deliver the cards to our door to ensure that we got them. We advised him that we planned to make a complaint to the ombudsman, but he asked us to wait until they could provide us with a full report. They never came through. Perhaps they thought it would just go away.

Well, they were close….

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040223
Consume!
Time
10:19
Motley Fool – Why The ‘EuroMillions’ Lottery Is Rubbish (link via Wibbler).

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040223
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:22
Ralph is running.

See Ralph run.

Don’t run, Ralph, don’t run!

Something has to be done about the poor choice provided by the two-party system, but this isn’t the election for it.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040223
Civil Liberties
Time
10:59
Thomas Keneally on the inhuman immigration policy of Australia. Ends with a nifty quote; “When the only way you can make a policy work is to lie, then it’s a policy best not embarked upon.”

On that note…

The Independent – Guantanamo Bay – Sooner or later they will have to admit there is no evidence.

Especially when they’re latest line of defence over the Iraq lies is that there may have been a failure in intelligence. This evidence, that so far no even the prisoners have been allowed to see, would that have come from the same intelligence services?

On that note…

Belmarsh Prison; easy to get to, not so easy to get out of. And yes, you should bloody well care. It may only be filthy ragheads (who are ‘bad men‘ to a man) today, but tomorrow…

The Guardian – An authoritarian state is in the process of construction: Shouldn’t this government’s strident moves towards corporatist, directorial government give us pause? The time has surely come to formally delimit the powers of the different actors – government, parliament and judiciary – in the constitution. The home secretary relies on the fact that most of us are not affected by his illiberal experiments to govern by way of the exception. We remain docile in the face of his extraordinary measures against those we are encouraged to consider as outcasts. But if he is allowed to continue imposing measures unsuited to our liberal conception of the state, how long will it be before we too become “the other”?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040223
Consume!
Time
11:00
Finally, a urinal worthy of expensive rock-candy!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040223
The Bush Administration
Time
11:01
New York Times – Taking Spin Out of Report That Made Bad Into Good Health: The Bush administration says it improperly altered a report documenting large racial and ethnic disparities in health care, but it will soon publish the full, unexpurgated document. “There was a mistake made,” Tommy G. Thompson, the secretary of health and human services, told Congress last week. “It’s going to be rectified.”

Yes, there was. Yes, it is.

I was greatly saddened not to see brazen use of the word ‘subconcious‘, but there you go.

*ahem*

Moving right along to the next report…

Observer – Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us: A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs and obtained by The Observer, warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a ‘Siberian’ climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world.

Why wait for climate change? If Bush wins the next election, riots will follow as sure as night follows day.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040223
Election Antics
Time
11:17
Why is everybody shooting their bolt so soon? Surely we shouldn’t be capturing Osama until October? Oh well. Either Bush is worried that it’s alll about to come unravelled or someone is warming up a nice, comfortable rat-hole.

The UK’s Sunday Express claims that Osama bin Laden has been found and is surrounded by US special forces in an area of land bordering north-west Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Here’s some background from The Washington Post.

Back to Iraq has some useful links, and will no doubt follow the story with interest.

For the record, the story was sparked by “a US intelligence source.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040223
Only Interesting to Bloggers
Time
11:26
A blogger reports on his meeting with George W. Bush.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040223
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
11:29
Welcome to the fold, Phil Bateman, Labour Councillor for Wolverhampton City. Your housewarming gift is some free advice:

The frames must go.

In fact, I’m not listing you here until you get rid of them. Tough love, sorry.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040223
We’re Not At Home To Mr Cockup
Time
11:35
Remember all the headlines generated by the notion of ‘fat tax’ last week?

Government slims down figures in ‘war on fatties’: … when the Department of Health declared that 900,000 people on incapacity benefit were clinically obese, at a cost of billions to the taxpayer, several newspapers gorged on the figures. But yesterday the Government admitted that, due to “an administrative error”, it had overestimated its numbers by 1,000 times. Slimming its figures faster than a WeightWatchers programme, the health department revealed that the number of obese claimants was not 900,000, but actually 900. And the weekly cost was not £70m, but £70,000.

Oh well. Water under the bridge. At least you didn’t subconciously overstate the risk posed by another country in order to justify a pre-emptive strike.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040223
The Happy Poster Project
Time
11:41
A lot of politics today, so here’s the happy bits right at the top (for distractions, you may have to hunt elsewhere).

As you’ll note from the orginal fielding of the idea for zero-politics maximum-happy posters/flyers at B3ta, Rich from FunJunkie was first out of the gate with some late-Friday-afternoon antics using the draft poster.

With a minor change to the draft image (I think I made it scarier, not happier), I went out myself on Saturday to spread a little joy in Guildford.

1. Yes, you do feel a bit of a dick asking to put a ‘happy’ poster in someone’s shop window, but it soon passes.

2. Many who said ‘no’ to the front window offered to put it up in the staff room.

3. For this to spread properly, there does need to be a central URL printed on the poster so peeps know where to get their own. Bloggerheads may not be the best place for this.

So, after some workworkwork I gotta do today, I’ll be making plans for a suitable home and fishing around for the happiest ‘shops on offer.

Cheers all.

UPDATE – I thought it might be a nice idea, but not a central one, to cover some street spam with this stuff. I know of one Herbalife poster that’s been in place in a Guildford bus shelter for over 2 years now….

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Date
20040223
Ah-nold
Time
12:01
SFGate.com – Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to band same-sex marriages to halt ‘civil unrest’. Hmm, the same logic could have halted the illegal invasion of Iraq. Too bad he’s not the…

No, don’t say it. Don’t even think it…

Boston.com – Schwarzenegger says foreign-born citizens should be able to run for president

UPDATE – Do read the former link in full. Arnie’s comments sound like they were penned by Rush Limbaugh: “We cannot have mayors all of a sudden go hand out licenses for various things. In the next city, it’ll be handing out licenses for assault weapons. In the next, it’ll be someone handing them out to sell drugs.”

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Date
20040223
Told You So
Time
17:15
The Scum is having a big DVD giveaway of great British sitcoms. They begin today with Fawlty Towers. As an extra kick in the guts, this and just about every other show on the giveaway list was brought to us by the BBC and/or features in their current Best British Sitcom series.

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Date
20040223
Scam Alert
Time
18:12
Here’s a nifty new scam. I just got this in my Inbox.

Looks to me like they’re after greedy/stupid sods who think they can redirect the refund to their own credit or debit card.

If you’re in any doubt, go directly to usaeasypay.net or firstusabill.com (both of these domain names were registered 3-5 days ago, BTW) and you’ll see the same refund notification for the same individual item. On the front page.

—– Original Message —–

From: order@usaeasypay.net

To: Undisclosed Recipients

Sent: Sunday, February 22, 2004 8:40 PM

Subject: We have problems with your order!

–> Hello, Dear client.

–> ———————-

–> Your order ID: 2488917620

–> ———————-

–> 02/12/2004 You have ordered the notebook (New P3 Direct 17″ Wide TFT

–> Notebook-with Pentium 4 3.06GHz Power)

–> with free-of-charge delivery.

–>

–> We are very sorry, but we can’t deliver it to you in promised terms, because

–> we have problems with our delivering company.

–> Your order can not be delivered earlier than in 28 days.

–> Sorry for inconveniences.

–>

–> You have been billed and if time of delivery do not arrange you,

–> you can cancel your order and refund money here:

–> ———————-

–> http://www.firstusabill.com/clients/cn.php?refund=qergl4wthwt3746grbwjf

–> ———————-

–> Your money will be returned to you without any fee.

–> If you have any questions you can e-mail here: help@firstusabill.com

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040223
Photoshopping
Time
21:11
The Happy Poster Project is go. I’ll be busy tomorrow; do what you can to entertain yourselves.

UPDATE – Heh. This will make your day. Do go for the full midi+ effect; it’s well worth it.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040225
South West Trains
Time
10:24
Yesterday afternoon I headed off to London to address a room full of Labour MPs and/or their staff on the value and potential of weblogs.

I left with plenty of time in the pot, but I didn’t count on both ticket machines at the far side of Guildford station being ‘exact change only’ and for the ticket window to be closed. Cheers, SWT.

A staff member finally picked up his ticket machine, but his hipster module couldn’t issue Travelcards, so I had to trek all the way to the far side of the station to buy one. I missed two trains as a result. The next train arrived on time…. and then got stuck less than a mile from Waterloo station behind another train that suffered a points failure. It took SWT a full half-hour just to decide to take us backwards to Vauxhall and let us off.

I was delayed by over an hour and – as a result – arrived at Westminster with only 10 minutes of the arranged time remaining.

Thankfully, Tom was on hand to run through the bulk of my presentation. I took over and did what I could to make the right points as fast as possible, but I’d regard the meeting be a washout.

No ticket refund can make up for that. No apology from South West Trains can give that vital hour back.

SWT owes me for this and countless other delays that have had a direct or knock-on effect on my work or personal life, and I’m sure I’m not alone.

In the next few days, I’ll be starting a campaign page to show passengers how easy it is to set up a blog and document delays on their line and what it costs them on each occasion in terms of time, money and distress. These blogs, like Geoff’s and Toby’s, will come to dominate searches for the individual train companies over time and raise a lot of awareness as a result, but that’s just the start. With a number of carefully documented journals running over a period of 6-12 months, we have the beginnings of one hell of a class action lawsuit.

SWT and their ilk simply aren’t up to the job, and they’re costing this country billions of pounds in lost man-hours. It’s about time we brought this to light and hit them where it hurts; with a solid kick to the profit margin.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040225
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
11:16
White House – President Calls for Constitutional Amendment Protecting Marriage

CNN – Bush calls for ban on same-sex marriages

NYT – Bush Backs Ban in Constitution on Gay Marriage

It’s official; he’s the most dangerous fundamentalist on the planet.

Ho-hum.

I missed Grey Tuesday, but you can still enjoy some handy tips for writers and the story of the woman who said ‘I don’t!’ to a very public marriage proposal.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040225
I Believe In The BBC
Time
11:17
Tory-commissioned report calls for the dismantling of the BBC.

Here’s some good background on the report and the people behind it. From the BBC website, which the Tories also have plans for.

You can see a breakdown of the report here.

And see the Tories disowning the cat they set on the pigeons here…

Torygraph – Time to be nicer to the BBC, say Tories: The Conservatives moved to reposition themselves as friends of the BBC in its battle with Labour last night by backing away from plans to scrap the licence fee and break up the corporation.

Murdoch’s Scum newspaper today carries a report on the report by the guy who wrote the report. Nice to see some objectivity creeping into view. I especially like the way the tail states that ‘David Elstein is the former head of Channel 5,’ but completely fails to mention that he’s also the former head of Sky programming.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040225
Corporate Wisdom
Time
11:19
The Guardian – The corporate stooges who nobble serious science: It looks like a conflict of interest and his failure to disclose it was wrong. But the crime for which he is being punished is everywhere. The scientific establishment is rotten from top to bottom, riddled with conflicts far graver than Dr Wakefield’s.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040225
Normal People
Time
11:29
Meet Bill Miller. He wants to start a family. And he has a plan.

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Date
20040225
Civil Liberties
Time
11:31
Reuters – Blunkett says terror attack inevitable.

So are explosions on the sun, David.

The Guardian – MPs urged to reject no-trial detentions: Parliament’s joint committee on human rights yesterday made a last minute call for MPs to vote down today the bid by home secretary David Blunkett to renew his powers to detain suspected foreign terrrorists without trial.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040225
Page 3 – Words of Wisdom
Time
11:35
Page 3 editorials went missing for a bit there with all the Valentines Day specials and lingerie features and what not. When they did return late last week, they mostly babbled on about non-issues such as who did what on TV and where Posh & Becks may or may not choose to live… but today, Page 3 returns with the hard-hitting opinions we’ve grown to love.

Today, Katie (19, from Liverpool) is ‘horrified’ at the thought if EU health tourists clogging our NHS and says: “The government should do something to protect the health service from these freeloaders.”

UPDATE – The Scum continued their shameless promotion of Sky One’s reality TV show There’s Something About Miriam yesterday, with Miriam on the cover and a lovely topless image inside as part of a special ‘Would you be fooled?’ feature. A sidebar even seeks stories from readers, asking ‘Have you pulled a trannie?’ – so we can look forward to more, I’m sure. We can also look forward to Miriam being chewed up, spat out and then ground into dust as soon as her usefulness has come to an end.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040225
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
11:54
Back to Iraq – Chalabi to U.S.: “Thanks, suckers!”: “As far as we’re concerned we’ve been entirely successful,” Chalabi is quoted as saying. “That tyrant Saddam is gone and the Americans are in Baghdad. What was said before (about WMD) is not important.”

LA Weekly – Interview with Karen Kwiatkowski: Though a lifelong conservative, Kwiatkowski found herself appalled as the radical wing of the Bush administration, including her superiors in the Pentagon planning department, bulldozed internal dissent, overlooked its own intelligence and relentlessly pushed for confrontation with Iraq.

Boy, that subconcious influence can be a right bastard, can’t it?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040225
NSFW
Time
12:00
Oooh, look: bunnies!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040225
Photoshopping
Time
12:01
We now have a full and suitably jolly set of images hosted at The Happy Poster Project.

The one you see now comes to us courtesy of Robin. I’ve also sent an email to the owner of this website to see if we can use one of her lovely images of a happy fox & badger.

Put a poster up today. You’ll feel so much better…

UPDATE – The page is already the top search result in Google for ‘happy poster’.

SIDEBAR – B3ta tells us: British comedian/campaigner Mark Thomas is putting on an exhibition in London of lost images from the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. Coke were closely involved with the Nazi government, even developing Fanta for the German market. Unable to track down photographs of Coke’s sponsorship of Hitler’s Aryan sports-fest, he’s had to turn to the likes of us for material.

Not wanting to disappoint, I sent them a large version of this little number.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040225
SEO
Time
12:15
I’m going to be putting the new search engine Freesearch through its paces over the next few days.

Freesearch comes to us courtesy of Shakil Khan. We’ve yet to share a beer, but we’ve communicated lot by email and in UKNM, and he certainly knows his beans.

The Register has kindly reported on his recent findings regarding the use of sweary words, as has The Daily Record.

UPDATE – My first beef is that the database for the image search is a bit out of date. The only image it’s snapped up from this site is the old logo. Mind you, Google only just updated their image database a few weeks ago, after close to 12 months of the same, increasingly unreliable data.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040225
OK, So I’m a Lego Geek
Time
12:31
Bloody hell! Star Wars diorama overload! (Link via Sarcasmo’s Corner.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040225
Video
Time
13:00
A couple of Quicktime videos for you; a top-notch Budweiser ad and a copy of the Nutrigrain ‘Feel Great’ TVC that came and went so quickly last week on Blogdex when the host site fell over. (Both links via Off on a Tangent.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040225
Christianity Watch
Time
13:11
When can we expect the next book, then?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040225
Pretty Pictures
Time
13:52
Phwoarrr! Check out the wheels on her!

Oh, and check out this excellent animation. More can be found here and other wonders by the same maker can be found here.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040225
Art
Time
14:35
Bestest. Toilet. Ever. If you flipped the mirrors the other way around, this would be great for cottaging exhibitionists.

Speaking of which… Richard Littlejohn has been bitch-slapped for using sweary words on sillyvision. (Latter link via Joe.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040225
Photoshopping
Time
14:43
Blimey, this is a bit of an average crop. I don’t mean to be snarky, but sheesh!

(I do like that John & Yoko one, though….)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040226
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
10:17

The Independent – front page

Whistleblower: Cleared

Government: Accused of cover-up

Case for war: An official secret

The formal decision not to continue the prosecution of the former GCHQ officer came within five hours of her legal team seeking disclosure of the legal advice given by the Attorney General, over the Iraq war. James Welch, the solicitor for the civil rights watchdog, Liberty, acting for Ms Gun, said: “Our case was that any advice the Government received on the legality of war was relevant to the case and we were prepared to go before a judge and argue for it to be disclosed.

“What Katharine would have said, had this case gone to trial, was that she honestly believed that the Government would not have gone to war if they thought going to war without a second resolution was unlawful. So, if that is the case, we wanted to know what the assessment was in government as to whether it would have been lawful or not.”

The Guardian – front page

Spy case casts fresh doubt on war legality

… the Guardian has learned that a key plank of the defence presented to the prosecutors shortly before they decided to abandon the case was new evidence that the legality of the war had been questioned by the Foreign Office.

It is contained in a document seen by the Guardian. Sensitive passages are blacked out, but one passage says: “The defence believes that the advice given by the Foreign Office Legal Adviser expressed serious doubts about the legality (in international law) of committing British troops in the absence of a second [UN] resolution.”

It is understood that the FO legal team was particularly concerned about the lack of a second UN resolution authorising the use of force and pre-emptive military action.

Now, us misguided peaceniks knew this before the war, and said so.

Take a look at this Guardian piece from March 15, 2003: We must not let ourselves be deceived by Downing Street’s false argument that UN resolution 1441 justifies an Anglo-American attack on Iraq without the need for a further resolution. Last October, Washington originally put forward a resolution specifying that failure by Saddam Hussein to fulfil UN demands for his disarmament should be dealt with “by all possible means” – code for automatic use of armed force. This was totally rejected by France, Russia and China. In November, after six weeks of haggling, the present resolution 1441 was passed, stating that a material breach by Iraq would entail “serious consequences” – not code for automatic war. Moreover, France, Russia and China, in accepting resolution 1441, formally stated that they did so only on the clear understanding that it did not carry with it any automatic recourse to war without a further security council decision.

That’s why Bush & Blair had to push for a second resolution, and that’s why the bugging was in place.

Will there be a repeat of the 45 minute fiasco? Will the government actually dare to claim that they didn’t know the war was illegal at the time… or that they didn’t consider it to be an issue because nobody was talking about it?

UPDATE – It’s bears noting that the front page of The Scum today is dominated by the important issue developing around Posh, Jordan, extensions, highlights and implants.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040226
Guantanamo Bay
Time
10:21
The US has filed the first charges against Guantanamo Bay detainees. But only two of them, and only after two years of unlawful detention. They have been charged with ‘conspiracy to commit war crimes’ and will face a military tribunal.

Now the good news… even if they’re cleared by the military tribunal they may still be kept in detention if they are considered a ‘security risk’.

Please excuse me for channelling Jenny Tonge, but I’d like to think that – were I detained without rights or recourse for two years – then I might very well consider becoming a security risk for this reason alone.

UPDATE – LNR on the five Britons that may be released perhaps sometime soon and then may or may not face a trial or further unlawful detention.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040226
Christianity Watch
Time
10:57
It’s not shaping up to be a great day for God.

For a start, the IMDB has withdrawn his author credit for The Passion of Christ.

You can still see the references that triggered the original authorship listing, as well as a mighty fine record of publicity, but somehow it’s just not the same.

We also discover today that only 31% of Brits believe that he is the only true God.

Many will want to blame those heathens at the BBC. Me, I blame his sales team.

There are close to 38 million Christians in the UK, and the antics of the Roman Catholic Church leave a lot to be desired. Ditto for the Church of England (also know as ‘Catholicism Lite’). Set up at the convenience of one monarch, and now headed by a monarch with funny ideas about the law and a brood that have considerable trouble controlling their genitals, I can see why a faith so poorly defended might suffer.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040226
Inneresting
Time
11:07
An online museum of early electrical appliances from the UK. (Link via Ultimate Insult.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040226
Updates
Time
11:09
After going largely unnoticed for well over two years, the misspelled link to Romenesko’s has finally been corrected site-wide.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040226
Consume!
Time
11:15
FunJunkie are conducting a study of the number of Revels contained in each pack and the frequency of the six individual flavours.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040226
Flash Games
Time
11:25
Follow the box.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040226
Page 3 – Words of Wisdom
Time
11:26
Today Melanie (23, from Watford) is ‘full of pride’ for the war heroes who received medals from the Queen yesterday. She goes on to say: “Their exploits were an inspiration. They deserve all the praise they get after going beyond the call of duty ro topple Saddam.”

Warms the heart, doesn’t it? Deeper into the paper, in the main editorial section, we have open praise for Trooper Christopher Finney, the 19-year-old soldier who won the George Cross, which closes with: “The Armed Forces are full of men and women like him, who put duty and true comradeship before self. Contrast Finney and the other Gulf heroes at the Palace with the armies of pathetic yobs who roam the streets causing mayhem.”

Ah, me. I thought they’d forgotten about the yobs. Oh, and it’s probably worth mentioning that what Chris Finney did to deserve the award was to stop his comrade from getting shot by U.S. warplanes.

SIDELINE – The same editorial also laments the watering down of Blunkett’s terror laws, blaming ‘the whingeing liberal Left and the human rights lawyers’ who are forcing him to act agsint his better instincts: He can rest assured that the British people are on his side. They are not interested in nit-picking debates about suspects’ human rights being broken.

The Scum. Blair’s lies. Purest form. Every Time. Until Rupert changes sides….

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040226
We’re Not At Home To Mr Cockup
Time
11:46
The U.S. is sinking $62m into a TV-based propaganda project which centres on a new TV station for the Arabs world.

Funded by the U.S. government, it’s produced in Virginia and meant to compete with Qatar-based Al Jazeera and Dubai-based Al Arabiyya.

And, in keeping with the Bush administration’s love for suitable euphemisms, it’s known as Al Hurra, which means ‘the free one’…. unless of course you add one small dot to the Arabic letters that make up the logo, which changes this meaning significantly.

(Heads-up via Scaryduck.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040226
Photoshopping
Time
11:58
The Happy Poster Project continues apace. This heartwarming image comes to us courtesy of Will. I also managed to get permission to use the fox & badger picture blogged yesterday.

I’ve talked with my sons. We’re going on a joy-spreading mission this weekend. Both of them are thrilled.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040226
Google
Time
12:04
Nifty site that lets you compare Google & Yahoo results side-by-side.

I’ve had a good play with Freesearch, too. The most interesting search result so far is for ‘religion’. Take a look at No. 4…

Today, I’m going to try to rely on Freesearch rather than my Google Toolbar. I’ll let you know how I get on.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040226
Updates
Time
12:21
My outgoing mail is playing silly buggers. If you’re waiting for an answer from me today; don’t.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040226
Flash Games
Time
12:48
This is a wonderful (if gory) take on the Yeti/Penguin game. (Link via Ramblings and Revelations.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040226
Virus Alerts
Time
13:01
My outgoing mail problem is almost definitely connected to the spread of the new variant to bring joy to our lives, Netsky.C

UPDATE – It’s not. I did receive 5 copies of it this morning, but I’m well-protected and it’s not what’s screwing up outgoing email. Co-inky-dink is all it is. Someone made some major changes to the network/mail settings yesterday and I have some rather individual needs that were overlooked. Still, I took the time to do a full scan on my ‘puter and empty the virus vault. Just look at how many of the little suckers have come my way in the last month or so!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040226
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
15:31
Blogdex was broken this morning, so here now is a belated post of chart-toppers:

A Chicago Sun Times reviewer has awarded Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ four stars… and also described it as “the most violent film I have ever seen.”

There’s a web-publishing format doing the rounds and somebody has found and explanation for that loud ‘whoosing’ sound last month.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040226
The Happy Poster Project
Time
16:40
Ladies and gentlemen, the first major blow has been struck!

The shopping centre in Bath is now a guestimated 2.9% happier. Too bad about the stuck-up ratbags at the town-end of Walcot Street.

Huzzah for Andrea, Joe and all the happy shopkeepers.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040227
Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch
Time
09:50
I was reminded last night of what I’d said about the fate of glamour models such as Rebekah Parmar Teasdale, who got by just fine showing some pink and getting down with some steamy girl-on-girl action in other publications until such photos became widely publicised. Then she became an un-person.

What the equivalent of pink is for a lass like Miriam remains untested, but I’m pretty sure most Scum readers would find the full lunchbox distasteful enough to spark moral outrage. And a fair amount of morbid or guilt-strewn curiosity.

Of course, publicity and awareness is the key, but we also have those lovable search engine spammers and porn merchants to deal with. Only one naked image makes the rather unique name ‘Miriam’ hot property, and I’ve been advised that more than a few of these naked images exist. In fact, they appear to be pretty common. So common that a picture of Miriam ended up in the B3ta Female of Shemale? quiz (Miriam appears 3rd down on the left).

All issues of gender realignassignment and sexual orientation aside, just the fact that she would dare to bare more than the acceptable, harmless and inarguably empowering amount of flesh allowed on Page 3 is enough to trigger a simple shut-out, but I’m willing to bet that – once the show finishes on Murdoch’s Sky One – it’s going to be open season.

What you have to remember is the curiosity factor. If Rebekah Wade thinks she can sell more papers by including blurred images of Miriam’s weenie under the banner of outrage, she will do so. With relish.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040227
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
10:21
What should we make of Clare Short’s claim that that Britain eavesdropped on the UN secretary general, Kofi Annan?

As an ex-minister, is it her duty to keep quiet about security matters she was privy to during her time of service? Yes.

As a public servant, is it her duty to disclose relevant information if the intelligence services were acting improperly or being used improperly by the government (subconsciously or otherwise)? You bet.

Check out The Independent and The Guardian by all means, but to get to the heart of this matter you need only turn to The Scum. There you will find exactly what the government wants you to take on board, and it’s quite telling:

The Sun – main editorial – Friday 27th Feb 2004:

Clare Short has committed the ultimate act of treachery. She has betrayed the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, the Labour Party and the country. And according to the Prime Minister, she has put lives at risk. By revealing matters of national security which she gleaned while in Government, she has probably broken the Official Secrets Act, too. Tony Blair says her behaviour is “deeply irresponsible”. That’s putting it mildly. What the Leftie loudmouth has done is bloody disgraceful. Despite his brave face, Blair is highly embarrassed by the claim that Britain bugged the phone of the head of the United Nations. The fact is that all major countries spend a lot of time, money and energy spying on others. It’s not necessarily sinister but is more a common sense precaution, particularly when a war is imminent. For a former Cabinet Minister to blab like this is unpardonable. Short knew exactly what she was doing on Radio Four — she has been itching to put the boot in ever since Blair sacked her. The PM should follow the example of Tory leader Michael Howard, who immediately kicked out MP Ann Winterton for making a sick racist joke. Blair must give Short the boot from his party, too.

Translation: How dare she make such a claim! But, just in case she can prove it, here’s a little groundwork to help along the case for justification.

Not that they’ll get very far with that…

Australia’s ABC reports that the British or US intelligence services monitored former United Nations chief weapons inspector Hans Blix’s mobile phone whenever he was in Iraq. In this interview with Richard Butler who also claims to have been bugged, the former chief weapons inspector had this to say: “If they’d bugged the Secretary General and Clare Short has made pretty clear that they did because she read the transcript, it was not true to say that that was legal. There is an agreement with the United Nations, the Headquarters Agreement, that says that those places, those premises, those persons, will be inviolable. It is not true to say that this activity, if it occurred, was within the law.”

UPDATE – A classic piece via LNR: My God, Tony must hate Clare Short. Every time he tries to slip off and quietly break a bit of international law, there she is – shouting and pointing and hissing through her teeth.

UPDATE 2 – A good point from The UK Today: Whether he likes it or not, Tony Blair must accept more responsibility for this state of affairs than George Bush. After all, it was Blair who repeatedly tried to justify the war in terms acceptable to the Labour Party.

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Date
20040227
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:24
Dominating the Top 5 with three separate links this morning is a mind-blowing 8-bit-esque retro-saga in Flash format by Alex Leon:

Mario Bros: Part I (read comments)

Mario Bros Part II (read comments)

For some reason, Part III appears at a new location, here at Flashplayer.com

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Date
20040227
Christianity Watch
Time
10:39
Woman dies of heart failure during crucifixion scene of The Passion Of The Christ.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040227
Free Speech
Time
10:42
Jeff Jarvis on the censorship of Howard Stern: I have been far, far more offended by things I have heard Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson say on our public airwaves but I have not called for them to be banned, even though they are more disgusting and hateful than Stern has ever been.

Oh, and I can’t find a mention of this anywhere in the newspapers, but I can certainly relate, so in it goes…

Activist cleared of all charges relating to ‘F*ck Bush’ protest banner. The arresting officers claimed that the banner, featuring an upside-down US flag and a swastika, could incite racial hatred. A very long Fark thread on this subject brings the usual flame madness, and this quote from Hermann Goering that’s really worth chewing on.

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Date
20040227
I Believe In The BBC
Time
11:05
Have your say on the BBC charter review!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040227
Google – The Adsense Trial
Time
11:08
The Ultimate Insult has been asked to remove their Adwords by Google because because they “may not be placed on sites that include pornographic, adult, profane, or mature content.”

Scott is pretty careful about NSFW material. So am I. But, as Blatant Optimism notes: On the internet you are only ever seven clicks away from pornography. The trick is knowing which seven clicks.

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Date
20040227
The War on Terror
Time
11:18
The US Education Secretary has labelled the largest teachers’ union in that country a “terrorist organization” (Washington Post, CNN) because they dared to lobby – in a spirited campaign, no doubt – against the ‘historic’ education reforms involved in Bush’s No Child Left Behind act.

(Oooh, what a naughty link to include. And here’s me without my towel!)

The statement has since been dismissed as “an inappropriate choice of words” made in jest. (Links via Toby.)

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Date
20040227
South West Trains
Time
11:30
Joe is right. This does explain a lot. (Scroll down and click on “Inconvenient Places to change into a Unicorn #1″…)

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Date
20040227
We’re Not At Home To Mr Cockup
Time
11:31
www.butlerreview.org.uk vs. www.butlerreview.org

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Date
20040227
11/9 (please note correct formatting of date)
Time
12:24
CNN – House Speaker Dennis Hastert to block 9/11 commission extension. He’s afraid that an extension, resulting in the release of conclusions close to the upcoming election, would allow the issue to be manipulated for political gain. *cough*

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040227
Photoshopping
Time
12:33
That’s a curious illustration the PakTribune has chosen for their article. I know recent photos of Osama bin Laden are kind of thin on the ground, but sheesh!

(Do drop me a line if they do anything sensible like change the image. Or include a kitten.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040227
In The News
Time
13:45
Library in Holland, Michigan bans wooden shoes.

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Date
20040227
Photoshopping
Time
16:54
Lethal Passion. Because it had to be done.

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Date
20040227
The Bush Administration
Time
17:31
Miami Herald – Trudeau to Pay $10K for Proof Bush Served: “Doonesbury” creator Garry Trudeau this week stepped into the fray over President Bush’s service in the Alabama Air National Guard, offering $10,000 for proof the commander-in-chief served between May and November of 1972.

Also, Bush’s budget contains 27 glossy photos of Bush. Never mind the quality; feel the worship!








Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

03-13 February

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Date
20040203
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
09:15
The Guardian – A half-truth may not be a lie, but it is still dishonest: Having been so emphatically acquitted of any wrongdoing by Lord Hutton, Tony Blair must be dismayed by the barrage of headlines and opinion polls suggesting that the country at large is far from impressed. A good cover-up requires at least a veneer of plausibility. In failing to provide one, Hutton has not only tarnished his own reputation, he has provoked a backlash far stronger than the one that would have greeted a more qualified government victory.

I’m hoping against hope that they’ve been paying attention to this backlash, and this is why they’re giving Charles Kennedy some ear-time on the focus of the finally-at-last-and-about-sodding-time WMD inquiry. Blair and his team would love to launch this based on the initial assumption that they’ve been cleared of interference. Which they haven’t. Unless you buy Hutton’s very forgiving description of this influence as ‘subconscious’…

Oh, and hands up who didn’t see this coming…

The Guardian – Blair alone after Bush WMD move

Let’s leave it be for the moment that Bush’s inquiry boasts a convenient focus of its own and appears to be a stalling tactic, let’s look at what the misguided peaceniks knew all along…. that Britain was needed in this illegal war to help make the case and give the raiding-party-of-the-willing an air of respectability, but the moment we became surplus to requirements, this relationship based primarily on appeasement would get us screwed in the end.

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Date
20040203
Dead Blog Holiday
Time
09:17
Bloody hell! Look at all this email! Please bear with me as I dig through it all.

If you need something to do in the meantime, go here and vote for Bloggerheads. If you’re new here, you may want to poke around the site first or check out the wrap-up of last year’s activitythen go here and vote for Bloggerheads.

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Date
20040203
Updates
Time
11:45
A massive update to the I Believe In The BBC page. Lots of words, lots of lovely links to follow.

And, just now rearing its head, the voice of opposition. I referenced Hutton, but didn’t mention it directly. Shame on me for my own personal whitewash. And curse my liberal elitism.

Oh, I’ll try to dig through all of the emails later and at the very least send bog-standard replies, but it may take a while…

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Date
20040203
Page 3 – Words of Wisdom
Time
12:20
An interesting allegation from Jackie turns up in the comments thread over at Brussels Blog: “I met the guy who created that ‘I believe in the BBC’ campaign last week, and all he could talk about was his hatred for Rupert Murdoch and how ‘People are stupid’ and can’t be trusted to figure things out for themselves.”

My exacts words, IIRC, were: “You would be amazed at how many stupid people there are in the world”

OK, so perhaps ‘blissfully ignorant’ would have been a little more correct (and not just in the political sense), but the difference between me and Murdoch? I acknowledge it. Given the chance, I’ll often work to correct it. Murdoch exploits it.

Why else do you think The Scum has shifted condensed editorial content to Page 3? They’re more than aware of the readership that only reads the headlines and mostly wants to know more about the girl with her tits out.

Today, (and I’ve scanned this, because there will be many that simply won’t believe it without seeing it) Zoe, 22, from London, uses her empowering platform to tell us that Blair was right to take Britain into the war with Iraq. And good for her.

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Date
20040203
The Hutton Inquiry
Time
12:24
LNR – Lord Hutton : Fair And Balanced

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Date
20040203
Video
Time
12:35
Ahahahahahahaha! Fox reports on BBC Lies! Lies! Lies!

It’s all very clear to me now. The only exaggeration (Lie!) about the Iraq war came from the BBC. The BBC cannot be trusted with its clear anti-war agenda and irrational frothing-at-the-mouth anti-Americanism.

UPDATE – They’re all corrupt, too.

Stick with Fox News, boys & girls. We’re so ‘fair and balanced’, we own the trademark!

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Date
20040203
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
12:44
The Guardian – Blair confirms new WMD inquiryMr Blair paid tribute to the intelligence services, stating that they do a “fantastic job for (the) country”, and adding that intelligence is “not an exact science”.

They have his complete support (insert knife) and confidence (twist).

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Date
20040203
Photoshopping
Time
13:07
Heh. Inevitable, really. An oustanding alteration by Blue Jez.

Well, we have to give the RWCs something to hang on to.

Incidentally, every time you say you don’t believe in WMDs, a chemical or biological weapons factory disappears into thin air.

Hmmm. Actually, perhaps this explains it all….

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Date
20040203
How Weblogs Work
Time
14:54
Given the incredible amount of support the ‘blind faith’ BBC campaign has received, this little bit of synchronicity doesn’t surprise me at all.

Actually, I was planning on writing an eloquent and thought-provoking post on the subject of synchronicity and our growing publishing community this very morning, but I just didn’t have it in me. (In fact, the thought may very well be lost forever. It had something to do with enabling technology and wider awakenings. And steam engines.)

UPDATE – Heh. This comment was just posted to Brussels Blog: Your “BBC Lied, Dr Kelly died” graphic implies that the Corporation may have been involved in Kelly’s death – an allegation strongly refuted by Lord Hutton – and can be construed as a libel. You would be well advised to remove it.

And now we have the synchronisation initially blogged, I have no choice but to acknowledge that his graphic is far, far prettier than mine, and subsequently I’m also clear to say the first thing that struck me about the ‘lies’ graphic: it really does look rather thrown together. And crap.

Kind of like his argument, in fact.

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Date
20040203
RWCs
Time
16:06
Thanks to Luke over at Expats, we now have John Gibson’s reply to the email he received from outraged Brits (in reaction to this outrageous report) to enjoy.

I’d love to tear this intestinal tract apart bit by bit, but I’m sure a modest biopsy will suffice:

John Gibson – “Excuse me, but I watched the BBC’s output during the war, and it was often shocking to see the network’s allegedly impartial reporters and anchors indulging themselves in snide asides about the Americans or President Bush – posing questions that revealed an anti-war and anti-American agenda, not to mention the huge issue of chasing Tony Blair around for the crime of being so friendly to the Americans.”

Excuse me John, but:

1. The Guardian – A survey of the main broadcasters’ coverage of the invasion of Iraq shows the claim that the BBC was anti-war is the opposite of the truth

2. The BBC even covered less protests than most networks.

3. I think I may have caught a snide aside or two. Both of the ones I recall were about ‘friendly-fire’ incidents. That’s not a BBC thing, it’s a Brit thing. We don’t like being shot at by people who are on our side. It’s just not sporting behaviour. Old fruit.

4. Tony Blair isn’t guilty of ‘the crime of being so friendly to the Americans’. He’s guilty of appeasing the man currently pretending to be your President.

5. Why do you hate America?

(Cheers to Web Frog for the handy linkage.)

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Date
20040203
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
16:39
OK, OK, there is other stuff going on in the world. And here it is:

Some sporting event known as the Superbowl just passed me by (and before you freak out, just let me point out that I care even less about Feetball and Crinket and the like). Many advertisements were shown, but this was not among them. Still, there was plenty for people to talk about afterwards.

Tinfoil helmets on…

What were the majority of people talking about yesterday? Right. What else is going on right now? Right.

Do you remember the Madonna/Britney/Christina snog? It happened at the same time Blair appeared at the Hutton Inquiry. (Oh, and when that 1977 interview with Ah-nold escaped from the Interwebnet.) Front page of every paper the next day was…? Bingo.

“I’m just saying is all” defence activated…. now.

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Date
20040204
Bunch of Stuff
Time
11:47
*pant*pant*pant*pant*

Sorry I’m late folks!

Right, what have we got to deal with…?

Inbox: Bloody hell! Again?! *sigh*

Referral Stats: Hm. I think I can safely ignore this twaddle. Oh, here we are! Oh, that is nice…

Right! Brain in gear. Deal-withs tabled. Let’s begin.

Nothing warms the cockles of my heart more than the cracking of a language barrier. Here’s a grab of the ‘I Believe In The BBC’ campaign featured on Hossein Derakhshan’s Persian weblog. Very cheering.

It looks like I’m going to be busy for a bit going through the latest submissions and putting them live, so please bear with me while I get on with that.

In the meantime, just a gentle reminder….

You have voted, yes?

*ahem*

Incidentally, the quote provided by the Guardian is from the nomination submitted by Justin McKeating.

I can’t imagine why they didn’t use mine:

“I deserve this. Gimme!”

UPDATE – The I Believe In The BBC page has been updated with ten fresh entries. The pick of the bunch today is this post by Liam O’Donnel, which has some juicy links and points out that it’s not only television broadcasting that’s under threat from commercial interests that seek to control it, but also radio and our beloved Interwebnet.

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Date
20040204
Google
Time
12:39
Curse us and our liberal elitism:

http://www.google.com/search?q=uk+newspaper

http://www.google.com/search?q=uk+news

(Good to see Google still working in some cases… but that high NOTW placement is a bit of a worry.)

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Date
20040204
Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch
Time
13:09
I watched Fox News for a while last night. It was a constant stream of shit which was a trial to watch, but it pays to know your enema.

What struck me most was the constant repeating of the network slogan:

“Fox News Channel—the network America trusts for fair and balanced news.”

You what?! They what?!!!

But then I took a closer look at the wording. Even if you took as a given that Fox News is shamelessly partisan and deliberately misleading, the strapline would stand up in a court of law. It’s the network that America trusts to deliver this fair and balanced news, whether or not this is actually delivered is not even implied. The extreme weight lent to right-wing editorials isn’t even mentioned.

Speaking of which…

This video editorial by Fox’s John Gibson (you can contact him here) has many people spitting chips at its cheek. That so many people are initially convinced it’s a hoax is a tribute to the level of bile Fox News is getting away with

Given the core issue that drives this editorial, the equal time required to respond to it would involve two minutes of someone calling Rupert Murdoch a greedy, conniving right-wing c**t…. but somehow I don’t think that’s going to happen.

The other thing that struck me after my Fox-fest was how difficult it must be to carry on an intelligent conversation with someone who uses this as their main source of news. Not that this would ever happen. I’d be surprised if someone like this ever actually left the house.

UPDATE – I found this on my travels…

The Fox News Network – Violating the Public Trust I: Contemplating the state of news today, ex-Fox reporter Brian Karem doesn’t pretend to be objective. “Look under a rock,” he says, “and you will see the satanic face of Rupert Murdoch grinning like a Cheshire cat. Murdoch doesn’t know what ethical journalism is. He’s been single-handedly responsible for the lowering of standards and the obscuring of news and entertainment on TV. Murdoch doesn’t know the strong, rich traditions of a free press in this country. He is anathema to the democratic process. I look forward to the day his corporate empire is broken up and sold on the auction block like so many used cars.”

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Date
20040204
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
13:53
Blogdex is broken today. Daypop reveals continued interest in an actual picture of Janet Jackon’s boob. This picture dominated the front page of pretty much every newspaper in the U.S. (not that anything *cough* else is *cough* going on), but was censored in each and every case.

“My God! Look! A boobie!”

“Where?!”

“Silly boy. You’re not allowed to look at it, you’re just supposed to get angry about it.”

“Oh, OK. Say, it is true that Bush’s WMD Inquiry is a stalling tactic, stunted from birth?”

“….. My God! Look! A boobie!”

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Date
20040204
Only Interesting to Bloggers
Time
13:55
James AC Joyce – Why your Movable Type blog must die!

Hardly an inspired rant, but he more thna makes up for it with sheer spunk.

I’d still like to migrate to MT, but I’d a want a few extras, including automatic ‘search and destroy’ of past comments by anyone with a banned IP and the choice to label individual posts as ‘not for indexing’. As the directives say; ‘Thou shalt not pollute or corrupt search engines’

Bloggerheads’ archives are deliberately non-indexable for this reason. You guys know the level of daily output here, and how much of it is time-sensitive and/or covers what’s happening with other weblogs. If I feel an ongoing reference point is required, I get my hands dirty and build a page. It’s a pain in the arse, but it gets the job done.

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Date
20040204
Useful
Time
14:08
Ewwww… where have you been?

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Date
20040204
Richard Desmond Is a Pornographer
Time
14:13
I paused to think on this 2nd post on Brussels Blog yesterday. The original draft of IBITB did contain a passage along the lines of ‘a BBC that is above question would be equally dangerous’, but I dropped it, as I considered that point to be pretty obvious. As it was, many people made the point for me. (The same goes for the shameless exclusion of any reference to the issue that kicked the whole thing off.)

I do have one regret, however… and that is not mentioning the role of pornographer and broadcaster Richard Desmond, whose Express titles have been calling for the abolishment of the licence fee ever since their man Kilroy got the sack. Even if Desmond wasn’t in bed with Blair, the obvious way forward for any paper in this situation would be to carry on as normal and make good use of the new ammo. I knew it was coming, but didn’t want to take the focus off the larger and long-time threat that is Murdoch.

But, as it turns out, Murdoch and his editors appear to be more than aware of strong public feelings for the BBC (and distrust for the government they openly support) and seem to be taking a softly-softly approach for fear of getting their fingers burnt (as they did with Frank Bruno). As it stands, the smaller stinky-fish is making the most noise and he bears watching.

UPDATE – I stand corrected. There is exceptional Hutton coverage in today’s Scum.

(Oh, I have public information campaigns quietly simmering for both Desmond and Murdoch. Here’s a warm-up activity for the folks at home…. Ask any reader of OK! or The Express if they know who owns the title. They probably won’t. Tell them. Point out that he’s a major donor to the Labour Party if you like. Then ask if they know of any other titles, channels and websites that are owned by the same man. They usually won’t. Tell them. Most of them won’t believe you. Or invite you around for tea ever again.)

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Date
20040204
Only Interesting to Hardcore Geeks
Time
14:17
Cruel geeks name their son Jon Blake Cusack 2.0

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Date
20040204
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
14:19
The Independent was a bloody good read today:

Intelligence chief’s bombshell: ‘We were overruled on dossier’

We were overruled, says former intelligence chief, & the result was a dossier that was misleading about Iraqi WMD

Robin Cook – It will be a gross injustice if the intelligence services get the blame

That last one is a subscription link, but well worth a look. It shines a light into all the dark corners Blair would rather we were kept out of. There’s also this, which is lovely, but not-quite-worth-a-quid (and the opening paragraph says it all, really).

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Date
20040204
Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch
Time
14:40
Here you go. Have a peek inside the latest Sun Reader Survey.

Also, there’s this from today’s Sun Says: “WHAT will the anti-war brigade do if the latest inquiry doesn’t go their way? March on Westminster? Strike at the BBC? Join the Lib Dems? It’s time we stopped looking backwards, and gave up trying to rewrite history. A poll shows 69 per cent of the public think it was right to get rid of Saddam Hussein. Enough said. The WMD non-issue is a major distraction for Tony Blair when he should be concentrating on real problems that affect real people … Like the NHS, education, transport, immigration and £50billion of squandered taxes. When is someone going to get excited about that little lot?”

Hell, I don’t know. I’m still thinking about boobies.

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Date
20040204
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
15:05
Bless Tom Watson and his cotton socks for doing his bit to support the BBC in parliament and for this shameless but selfless call for votes.

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Date
20040204
‘Viral’ Marketing
Time
15:55
Tch! Such a lot of noise for such a little biscuit (you can see more genius at work here).

1. I can’t see them getting very far being overly (and overtly) ‘clever’ about this. In fact, this is tragic, even with illustrations.

2. Shame on me for not realising that I could charge large fees for single photoshops simply by renaming them ‘creative pieces’….

So, here we are with the guts of it: “Advertising agency 20:20 London is helping the Lib Dems to develop a communications project detailing how Ken’s time as Mayor of London has led to higher taxes and poor services for the average Londoner.”

You want to take on Cuddly Ken, huh? Sorry, he’s a people person, and so far this clever-clogs campaign stinks of nothing but copy-written charisma.

Hmm, let me see, let me think…. if only there were a format that would allow them to communicate their message in detail as part of an ongoing campaign… perhaps even something that tackled the people-to-people aspect…?

Nope, sorry. I got nothin’.

Well, good luck with it. It looks like fun.

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Date
20040204
Updates
Time
18:21
Meeting tomorrow morning. I shall be late. Again.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040205
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
15:07
Whitewash on the gates of Downing St?

Heckling of Blair from the Strangers Gallery?

The former effort is inspired; the latter disgraceful.

IMO, they should have spoken slower and enunciated…..

*ahem*

Howard: Blair should resign over WMD claim

1. Tony’s cover story seems to have serious implications, but I’d be more impressed by this call for Blair’s resignation if the Conservatives said or did anything worth a damn before the war. They were as much for appeasing Bush as Tony’s cronies were – and I won’t be forgetting that in a hurry.

2. For Hoon to claim that he didn’t see headlines about the 45-minute claim in the Scum – Blair’s most obedient and willing mouthpiece – is ridiculous. Just as an example; remember yesterday’s editorial? I not only blogged the text, I highlighted this passage: “It’s time we stopped looking backwards, and gave up trying to rewrite history.” Today, Tony Blair’s official spokesman spoke thusly: ““This does appear to be a bit of an attempt to rewrite history…” Now, are they following The Scum, or briefing them? In the case of the “45 minutes to doom” headline, do you think The Scum innocently misinterpreted the dossier (easy to do; take a look… chemical/missile/45 mins, it’s all there) or do you think that perhaps – just perhaps – they were briefed on this also?

3. He and his staff may have missed this front-page headline, but somebody sure as heck noticed Andrew Gilligan speaking out of turn at 6:07am on Radio 4. Selective perception, perhaps?

4. Actually, forget the newspapers, forget the eve-of-war speech. What I want to know is what rebel MPs (ding-ding-diddle-ding-ding-ding-ding-ding) were being told that evening in an attempt to bring them onside. Many of them would have needed convincing beyond a 3 line whip. What picture was painted in private corners… and did it involve claims of chemical and biological warheads atop ready-to-fire ballistic missiles?

5. Hooray for Robin Cook, who nailed it in his resignation speech: “Iraq probably has no weapons of mass destruction in the commonly understood sense of the term – namely a credible device capable of being delivered against a strategic city target.”

Oh, one thing I just want to wonder out loud… will the upcoming inquiry into the ‘failures’ of the intelligence services in the lead-up to war also focus on the role played by postgraduate students? They have a lot to answer for, by the looks of things.

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Date
20040205
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
15:21
I’m in a point-by-point mood today. Don’t ask me why.

Anyway…

I knew the word ‘bubble’ would appear in this article somewhere. I was predicting ‘campaign bubble’. I was wrong.

1. I never believed in Howard Dean as a blogger, because he didn’t run a genuine blog.

2. I’ve mentioned that before, but didn’t make a bunch of shouty negative noise about it, because I hoped it would turn and light would dawn on marble heads. Sadly…

3. I still believe in the power of the lower-ranks-up movement in the UK, which has set a very healthy precedent of direct, personal and actual blogging from the elected indyvijules themselves.

4. U.S. Senators are still left without a blog format because of the way things are set up. You can still change that.

5. It has to be noted that Clark *and* Bush launched blogs along simian lines (i.e. ‘monkey see’) and produced equally soulless campaigning wastelands.

6. Nobody listened to me during to dotcom bubble, either. I *am* getting used to that. But I’m ready to chew my own nose off, given the power I know is there. You, me, the next guy, and the guy standing next to him could make a few essential corrections to the world tomorrow if we really wanted to. (Oh, OK – the girls can come along too if they want.)

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Date
20040205
The pResident
Time
15:35
Washington Post – Bush’s Guard Service In Question: While none of the presidential candidates has directly criticized Bush’s service, some Democrats, including Democratic National Committee Chairman Terence R. McAuliffe, have accused the president of shirking his military duties in 1972, when Bush transferred to an Alabama unit. McAuliffe on Sunday called Bush “AWOL,” or “absent without leave,” during that period.

Hey, we already knew about this, didn’t we? Another good reason to get senators blogging…. we need to bring them into the loop.

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Date
20040205
Tim Yeo
Time
16:00
A little bird tells me that Tim Yeo will be on Question Time this evening.

From the site: As shadow culture secretary in 2002 he criticised the BBC licence fee as a “compulsory and regressive television tax” and said the corporation “could carry out its public service responsibilities for a significantly lower sum.”

Here’s more on that, just in case you happen to be in the audience and wish to bring it up.

However…

What I find most interesting is the bit about him having to restate Tory opposition to top-up fees after saying that he had an “open mind” on the subject. Heh. I’ve got a little something better for you. Rather than having an open mind, he appears to have an opportunistic one:

Tim Yeo (in 1988, methinks): “Does my right hon. Friend agree that since graduates generally enjoy above-average incomes it is entirely fair that they should contribute directly to part of the cost of their higher education, especially as there will be protection for graduates on below-average incomes?”

Also, perhaps someone would care to ask how he found time to appear on the programme, given that he is Shadow Secretary of State for Public Services, Health and Education, director of not one, but two companies, plus the writer of many a fine article on the subject of golf.

Give him hell.

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Date
20040205
Page 3 – Words of Wisdom
Time
16:04
Today Krystle (21, from Manchester) says of John Lydon using a naughty word on television: “I couldn’t believe my ears. There must have been loads of young children watching the eviction…. People should not be saying the C-word on telly at 10pm on a family show.”

Says the woman with her tits out…

Actually, she has a point. My young children are always up watching television at 10pm. I’ve tried sending them to bed earlier, but they keeping telling me to fuck off.

UPDATE – You can see more on this subject (and a lot of effing comments) here.

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Date
20040205
Follow Up
Time
16:11
Boobs!

Booooooobs!

Heh. Even the word is fun. Cheers, Peter V.

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Date
20040205
I Believe In The BBC
Time
16:38
The I Believe In The BBC page has been updated with eight more messages of support. I hope the shouty people linking to this little effort notice how many of these messages include actual (*gasp*) criticism and not just blind faith.

And, for the record, today Technorati reveals 26 links to the ‘BBC Lied’ post at BrusselsBlog… and 274 linking to IBITB.

So there.

UPDATE – I’d like you all to meet the next Director General of the BBC. (Link via Tom.)

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Date
20040205
Inneresting
Time
16:48
Let ze Federation of American Scientists tell you all about Ricin.

Also, learn about the tasty goodness of MREs.

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Date
20040205
Comics
Time
16:54
Heh. I knew it. I knew it!

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Date
20040205
I Believe In The BBC
Time
17:15
BBC staff take to the streets in protest at British government “attacks”

Meanwhile, Geoff Hoon looks for a hole to crawl into. Someone should tell him to look up. He’s already in one.

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Date
20040205
Photoshopping
Time
17:37
This is lovely. Really lovely.

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Date
20040205
Updates
Time
17:41
Can I just quickly apologise to all the people whose emails I didn’t reply to today? Erm, and yesterday? Cheers.

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Date
20040206
Tim Yeo
Time
09:36
I watched Tim Yeo take part on Question Time last night. It was a barrel of laughs. Jenny Tonge nailed him twice on Tory hypocrisy over this illegal war thing they’re suddenly so concerned about. (I’d like the think that – were I in her position – I might consider doing the same thing.)

The strange thing was, when Yeo started to defend his position and rattle on about the Good Things such as regime change, he sounded a lot like Tony Blair….

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Date
20040206
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
09:38
James Mills has piped up in the comments under Clay Shirky’s ‘Exiting Deanspace’ post and kindly referenced my empty hyperbole.

Clay was too busy Being Right to notice that the comments came from an elected representative who runs his own weblog, but I’m hoping my own comments will help to correct that.

Howard Dean was shooting too high *and* firing blanks. I’m not at all surprised it amounted to a lot of shouting about nothing, because there was a heck of a lot of shouting and Dean’s blog contains a shedload of nothings. Running a weblog can help an elected representative to get re-elected, but not when it’s used as a campaign/fundraising tool. The secret is in using one to communicate in a way that establishes relationships and helps you to do a better bloody job.

So there.

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Date
20040206
Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch
Time
09:49
The Scum (who appear to have finally cracked it with a successful royal honey-trap) out-do themselves in today’s editorial, which contains a terribly convincing message for Michael Howard: “The Tories will be the losers if Michael Howard continues his attacks on Tony Blair over Iraq’s weapons. People are tired of the whole issue. The war was fought and won, and the rows about the details in dossiers are irrelevant. Howard should turn his undoubted firepower on Blair over issues that might win him votes. He could start with crime, immigration, schools, health, tax and transport.”

Perhaps the money spent on troops (who are still in Iraq, BTW) could have been spent on crime, immigration, schools, health, tax and transport, but that’s by the by…

Also, Richard Littlejohn kicks in with the old one-two, seemingly defending the BBC but getting in an incredible number of shots in the process. I’ve highlighted the fun bits:

“There’s a lot wrong with the BBC — rampant commercialism, institutionalised Left-wing bias in news and current affairs, massive waste, a bureaucracy to rival Soviet Russia, an obsession with being an instrument of social engineering. It needs to be cut down to size.”

“The argument for reform is compelling. In a multi-channel era it’s difficult to argue in favour of an organisation funded by a poll tax, whether you watch it or not.”

“The licence fee is too high, the Beeb tries to do too much. But until someone comes up with a better system, we should hesitate before ripping it up altogether.”

But only a for a few seconds, mind. Murdoch’s a hungry man, and dinner awaits.

UPDATE – Not everybody is treading as carefully as Murdoch and his minions.

Oh, and there’s a little something sent in by Joe, too. Murdoch’s willing servants can sneer all they like about things like the Westwood walk-out (that, quite frankly, wouldn’t be a story without this whole Hutton thing) but why no mention of the reality TV show that set six contestants on the trail of a pre-operative transsexual they thought was a woman? The men quite rightfully took the producers to court, claiming ‘conspiracy to sexual assault, defamation, personal injury and breach of contract’. The matter has been settled out of court and the programme (which shows moments on ‘intimacy’ interrupted only by an unexpected discovery) is now scheduled to go to air. Presumably at sometime around 10pm in a f**king weeknight.

Why no outrage from The Scum? Well, the fact that it was produced for Murdoch’s Sky One may have something to do with that…. Background and further links can be found here.

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Date
20040206
South West Trains
Time
10:40
There’s going to be a live online chat with Andrew Haines (Managing Director of South West Trains) on Monday.

It’s probably going to as open and transparent as Tony Blair’s Big Abortion, but it may pay to fire a few tricky questions his way.

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Date
20040206
RWCs
Time
10:47
Good news for John Kerry. This mud-slinging exercise in Murdoch’s New York Post proves that he’s finally been upgraded to Actual Threat.

UPDATE – Nifty comment thread from Atrios is here.

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Date
20040206
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
11:48
Jimmy Carter has a weblog and Dick Cheney is being probed. Oh, and some guy by the name of Manuel Miranda just took a bullet meant for the Republican party.

Janet Jackson’s breast is still a popular subject. The first lawsuit has been filed and The Amateur Gourmet has a recipe for Janet Jackson Breast Cupcakes, but let’s move on to today’s meaty subject…

CNN – Massachusetts court upholds same-sex marriage: Underscoring its original ruling last November, Massachusetts’ highest court said Wednesday that only full marriage rights for gay couples, not civil unions, would conform to the state’s constitution. The ruling sets the stage for Massachusetts later this year to likely become the first state in the nation to allow same-sex marriages.

The response from George W. Bush is the kicker. Please note the lack of mincing in his words. That sound you hear is one very big starting pistol…

STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

Today’s ruling of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court is deeply troubling. Marriage is a sacred institution between a man and a woman. If activist judges insist on re-defining marriage by court order, the only alternative will be the constitutional process. We must do what is legally necessary to defend the sanctity of marriage.

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Date
20040206
The Interwebnet
Time
11:51
A quiet word on the increasingly awkward subject of Orkut.

Also, FunJunkie is having fun with a new breed of referral spammer.

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Date
20040206
Inneresting
Time
11:58
OK, so if you want to transform yourself into a woman, do you start from the head down or the bottom up?

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Date
20040206
Normal People
Time
12:01
Meet Greg Buell. He invented the Electric Windmill Car, and the government and Big Oil have been working to suppress it – and him – for 22 years. Leslie, who may or may not be his wife or girlfriend of the past, present or future, left him last month, and Greg is very depressed about that. Without his muse, he stands no hope of developing a cure for cancer and a system for gravity control. And that’s just what the government wants, obviously…

Look, it’s a long story, you may just want to make do with the poem that expresses his anguish and move on.

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Date
20040206
Video
Time
12:11
This (*ahem*) interesting version of Sesame Street is 14 minutes long and 24MB in size (Windows Media File). You may want to read through the comments before you commit to it. Me, I’m posting this first, downloading now and planning to watch it over lunch. That may be a mistake. We shall see.

Back soon with a reaction…. have a nap while you wait.

UPDATE – It’s pretty juvenile.. and not in a good way. I want my 14 minutes back.

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Date
20040206
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
13:31
Via a frightened ScaryDuck:

The Guardian – Blair may blog the next election

Operative word being ‘may': Douglas Alexander, Labour’s election coordinator, told Guardian Unlimited he is considering “all means to communicate with the voters directly” for the campaign, including an election blog.

Still, DA does point at Tom’s blog and make some promising noises. Maybe he gets it.

But he should be warned that…

No. No, I think I’ll stop right there.

(I was going to put some free advice here, but have decided not to after the 11 months of fun and games involved with just sorting out a publicly accessible email facility with Blair’s communications team… who still pretend that I don’t exist. And still owe me £2000 for the specs they ripped off.)

UPDATE – Last call for votes! Last call for votes!

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Date
20040206
Flash Music Video
Time
14:48
Let’s rock. (Keep the volume down in the office, it’s got some dangdoodle cusswords in it.)

UPDATE – You’ll be wanting to see the Quicktime video that’s available via this page, too. I won’t ruin the surprise. Let’s just say that it puts my Christ Girls idea to shame.

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Date
20040206
It’s War! And Things Is Getting Ridiculous!
Time
14:55
Heh. Check out Harry’s proposed inquiry into the anti-war movement and the many, many comments that follow. You couldn’t get a better reaction if you pissed on an anthill.

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Date
20040206
Spam
Time
16:08
MyDoom is definitely an address harvester… it appears to have infected at least one person who has my work email address on their computer. Now this address – which previously had been 100% clean – has just begun to receive spam. I’m as mad as hell, and hungry for blood.

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Date
20040209
Passing On
Time
09:45
Like a few million other people in an increasingly toxic world, I’ve developed an allergy to latex and latex-based adhesives.

You can stop sniggering at the back there. Apart from an ill-advised barefoot stroll along a major road (see: tyre particles on tarmac) which had me in salt-baths for 6 weeks and a move-it-yourself adventure with the production company I used to work for (see: cheap adhesive on packing tape) which saw me in cotton gloves for 6 months, my major problem for the last 20-odd years has been shoes.

In Australia, I went through well over a decade of sheer hell. Here in the UK, the climate is a lot more reasonable, but I still have to be very careful with my footwear.

Casual, I used to have that covered. Converse All-Stars did an admirable job, and all that was required was a tidy bit of surgery to remove the rubber ankle support. Sadly, Nike has recently bought Converse and my not-giving-money-to-scum-if-I-can-help-it policy means that – come summer – I’ll have to start looking for alternatives.

Right now, I have more pressing problems.

I’m not sure if you know this, but even most ‘all leather’ shoes are chock-full of rubber. Even those that don’t have a rubber sole directly vulcanised to the leather upper have rubber adhesives holding layers together and/or bits and rubber bobs for the toe moulding, the ankle support, the inner sole, etc. etc. etc.

It’s not something you can see, and – unless you want to enjoy blank looks from store attendants – it’s not something you can ask about. So, unless you can afford custom-made shoes (I can’t), that makes every shoe you buy a gamble.

So I gamble in charity stores.

A quick smell and feel usually helps to detect a glut of rubber in shoes. I admit this is pretty gross, given that we’re talking about pre-loved shoes here, and yes, this practice does get me a few strange looks from time to time, but it’s the only way to avoid major mistakes. However, even with this precaution, I can never be sure about a pair of shoes or boots until I’ve worn the suckers for a few days.

In 1999, my wife located a dynamite pair of suede boots in a charity store in Godalming. Before you ask, she refuses to sniff (so much for love), but on this occasion, she hit pure gold regardless of a disgraceful lack of quality control.

These boots were beee-eautiful! Snug, comfortable… perfect for the office, great for walking around in. No nasty adhesives, and the latex sole was kept well-separated from my feet by and all-leather interior, right down to the insole. I could wear them all day, every day, and not get a single tingle.

Sadly, on Friday, after close to 5 years of faithful service, one of them finally gave up the ghost and developed a fatal lesion of the sole.

My favourite, always-reliable, never-make-my-feet-cry-out-for-mercy suede boots now lie wounded in a corner of the kitchen, facing an uncertain future (I can try to get them re-soled, but there’s no telling what the adhesive involved in that operation will do to my feet).

Still, I *am* left with a few clues and the Interwebnet. ‘Flexa’ is still clearly imprinted on the insole, and this helped me to locate the Italian manufacturer, Rosetti. There’s also what appears to be a model number inside the neck of the boot (41657 D).

Email sent. Question asked. Fingers crossed.

UPDATE – Oh, cobblers! This is one very fast response, but it’s not what I wanted to hear…

—– Original Message —–

From: Mail Fratelli Rossetti

To: Tim Ireland

Sent: Monday, February 09, 2004 2:11 PM

Subject: R: Flexa black suede boots (41657 D)

Dear Mr. Ireland,

We are very sorry to inform you that the style in the picture it’s not available, it was of the collection Fall/winter 1999/2000 .

Best regards.

Fratelli Rossetti S.p.A.

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Date
20040209
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:41
Finally, we get to watch George W. Bush squirm. A bit.

It seems to me that Tim Russert asked some pretty soft questions and failed to nail Bush on a number of points. This is not a man who should be permitted to dodge and waffle (war against terror, war against terror…).

Also, there was no question about the whole gay marriage thing (disappointing, especially following this all-too-clear statement), but the question of his ‘service’ to the nation during the Vietnam War did come up. Finally. With all those all those photo-ops of him playing soldier, this will be a real vote-turner if the truth comes out.

A lot of people will be taking a very close look at George “I’m a war president!” Bush and his claims of solid service this week.

“I flew fighters and enjoyed it…”

Really, and in which dream was that, exactly?

“…and we provided a service to our country.”

What do you mean ‘we’, Chimpy?

What made me smile was his own personal version of ‘Why Do You Hate America?’ that he slipped in there. Referring to people who question his claims of service, he said: “I would be careful to not denigrate the Guard.” and “What I don’t like is when people say serving in the Guard is is may not be a true service.”

We’re not questioning the Guard’s service to the country, Georgy-boy, we’re questioning yours

UPDATE – And now, the response from the right. It appears to mostly involve prayer. Oh, and Washington Post reports on the interview and allows John Kerry to nail a few matters to the wall.

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Date
20040209
Follow Up
Time
10:46
Sharp-eyed Joe took note of the comment by Miranda Suit (‘of the broadcasting standards campaign group Media March’) in this BBC piece on sweary words blogged last Thursday. A WHOIS lookup on their website at goodsense.org.uk led him to what appears to be the force behind this pressure group at christian-voice.org.uk, whose aims are as follows:

- To uphold Christianity as the Faith of the United Kingdom

- To be a voice for Biblical values in law and public policy

- To defend and support traditional family life

- At all times to rely humbly on the blessing of Almighty God

Too bad they’re not based in the US. They’d be sure to get some serious funding under the current administration…

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Date
20040209
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
10:58
Tom declares an interest in libdemwatch.co.uk – right now there appears to be a lot of fuss about nothings there. (You can read what you like into that, BTW…)

Also, Yahoo is catching up, but this category might make more sense with subs for left, right and centre….

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Date
20040209
Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch
Time
11:35
The Scum is a on a big readership drive this week. TV ads are pushing a ‘free and exclusive’ I’m A Celebrity… DVDs (token collect) and all this week their Page 3 girls will show off sexy lingerie ‘to give fellas gift ideas for Valentine’s Day this Saturday’. You can even send nifty text messages as part of what has been labelled ‘Sun Lovers Week’.

The TVCs scream : “The Sun – We Love It”

The promotion is titled: “Sun Lovers Week”

It’s pretty clear what they’re trying to get across here. I’ve half a mind to run a campaign of my own…

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Date
20040209
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
11:37
The Independent – The 45-minute case collapses: PM and Hoon all but nailed on WMD.

The Scum – PM must fight home front: New poll shows ‘the nation’ is fed up with Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Way to go Scum. You keep putting that ‘pressure’ on, boys. It’s time to move on, put this ugly business behind us, look to the home front, and embrace a brave new world of pre-emptive everything.

UPDATE – LNR picks some nits! They also have some thoughts on Flight 93 to share. Enjoy.

UPDATE – And yet more on Blunkett in this debut from Balders, known associate of ScaryDuck.

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Date
20040209
Education
Time
11:55
Is this educational? How about this?

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Date
20040209
Seems Fair…
Time
11:58
Manorama deals ‘frankly and fairly’ with men’s issues. You’ll loved the scaled approach, I’m sure.

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Date
20040209
Yet Another Lame Quiz
Time
12:01
Which America-Hating Minority Are You? (Link via vgnwtch.)

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Date
20040209
Fair and Balanced
Time
12:03
Heh. The BBC – Is there no end to their lies? (Another quality link from Joe.)

Also, Stuart Hughes ponders on the current state of US news media (via Abnu). It’s worse than he thinks. The Bush administration has even taken measures to ensure that no real journalists slip into the US un-noticed. Their latest big catch? Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum, who looked set to blow the whole Latin pop scam wide open before being rumbled…

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Date
20040209
How Weblogs Work
Time
12:37
Bloggers thrown out of NY eatery let off Googlebomb to show their displeasure.

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Date
20040209
Updates
Time
12:54
More comments added to I Believe In The BBC.

Via comments at folk’s I came across a link to this handy transcript of John Gibson’s ‘fair and balanced’ view of the BBC. Also, IAmZero led me to these letters to John Gibson from Gr££dy.

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Date
20040209
Flash Thingies
Time
13:47
1. What, no soldier suit?

2. Ahahahahahahahaha!

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Date
20040209
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
14:37
Browse through some more comments on that Bush interview from Calpundit or, if you’re in the mood for it, a lot of arguing about numbers.

Then check out the house of some crazy lady who never throws anything away and, when you’re done with that, throw some rocks at boys.

Oh, and when you’re done with that

If you haven’t voted for Bloggerheads in Backbencher’s Political Weblog Awards yet, then you have until midnight (GMT) to send an email to backbencher@guardianunlimited.co.uk with ‘Bloggerheads’ in the subject line (or just click here for a ready-made vote).

Then, bring forth your babies so I may kiss them. Be quick, though. I have to shuttle some voters in from the old folks home before their medication wears off.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040209
Anyone but George
Time
15:47
Salon.com – Bush’s missing year: In 1972, George W. Bush dropped out of his National Guard service and later lied about it. With the media finally paying attention, will he now come clean? (Requires subscription or single ad view.)

Now it’s not just dedicated webnetters hunting down the paperwork and Bush has said in front of a nationwide audience that he’s willing to lay open his entire file to clear matters up , I dare to dream of a PR disaster…

Tch! To think that they flew him all the way out to that aircraft carrier for nothing…

UPDATE – Not only did he serve and fight and fly jets, he did it all side-by-side with Elvis. Just before he invented the helicopter. True fact.

UPDATE 2 – Atrios spells out why this matters, and over at MotherJones.com they have a fabbo timeline comparing the military experiences of George W. Bush and John Kerry. Dubya went over the top and dated the offspring of Richard Nixon, but it’s Kerry who got three Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star. There’s no justice.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040209
Christianity Watch
Time
17:00
BBC – Christian question alarms flight: An American Airlines pilot terrified passengers on his flight when he asked Christians to identify themselves and went on to call non-Christians “crazy”. Some passengers on the flight from Los Angeles to New York were so worried they tried to call relatives on their mobile phones.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040209
I Believe In The BBC
Time
18:44
The Guardian – BBC cartoon ignites Catholic fury: The BBC has received “thousands” of complaints about controversial cartoon Popetown from viewers angry at the portrayal of a “corrupt” Roman Catholic church.

Corrupt? The Catholic Church? Never! Obviously this is a deliberately absurd work of fiction. I don’t see what the problem is…

(BTW, here’s the series page at the Beeb website and some background.)

Pope-loving peeps were shouting about this last week. Mario Conti, the Archbishop of Glasgow, dug up some extra ammo so he could tie a cartoon into the question of journalism and said in this 4th Feb letter to The Herald that marking the 25th anniversary of the pontificate of Pope John Paul II and the beatification of insta-saint Mother Teresa with a documentary about the Catholic church being less than helpful in the fight against Aids showed ‘gross insensitivity to the spiritual and historical significance of these moments.’

Okaaaay… respect the pomp, ignore the circumstance. Gotcha.

Fingers crossed that the BBC hold their ground.

UPDATE – Oh, there’s this too…

Radio 4’s John Humphrys had this to say about Alastair Campbell: “I’m not getting into a pissing match with him. I’ve known him a long time. I like him, and he’s loyal, amusing and clever, but he’s tried to destabilise the BBC in a pretty tacky way. Maybe he thought we were an easy target because we’re dependent on the government of the day…. I’m more than happy to have my record weighed in the balance with his. The public can make their own judgments. His triumphalist behaviour has probably helped the BBC.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040210
Consumer Power
Time
09:52
Slashdot – California Man Sues Penis-Enlargement Firms. Links to Denver Post article and feature much discussion.

Related Link: As you would expect, the Do Penis Enlargement Pills Work? weblog (NESFW) that hooked many with its initial scepticism has turned out to be a blatant promotion, with endless keyword-weighted self-reference/affiliate links.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040210
Viral Marketing
Time
09:54
(sings)

The Musical Mystery Quiz is waiting to take you away…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040210
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
09:56
Have you voted yet? Well it’s too bloody late now! Let this be a lesson to you.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040210
Follow Up
Time
09:59
Vegetarian Shoes were recommended by Adam, but a peek under the frameset shows us they’re mostly concerned with alternatives to leather, not rubber.

Alternatives to the original World’s Greatest Boots (by Rosetti) are available at two addresses in the UK:

- 177 New Bond Street, W1

- 196 Sloane Street, SW1

That’s useful information, in that I not only know where to get them, I also have a fair inkling of what the price range will be….

I think the most prudent move is to take a shot at getting the originals resoled and take it from there.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040210
Photoshopping
Time
10:09
George W. Bush dated the daughter of Richard M. Nixon….

I just couldn’t get that out of my head. I had to make a picture to share with the world.

(Note – Some facts may have been changed for the purposes of inner enlightenment.)

Also, found at B3ta: Holy crap! It’s the Squiggel of Death!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040210
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:17
BBC – Spot the fake smiles! Heh. That should come in handy.

That Bush transcript and Calpundit’s fantabbo ‘ARF’ find are also charting well, as is the somewhat over-enthusiastic Christian pilot blogged yesterday, but the biggest news this morning is the release of a ‘next generation browser by Mozilla.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040210
RWCs
Time
10:27
Yes Virginia, there is a sanity clause!

The New Republic – Attention Deficit: I’m not one of those who believes that a good president has to have the debating skills of a Tony Blair or the rhetorical facility of Bill Clinton. I cannot help liking the president as a person. I still believe he did a great and important thing in liberating Iraq (although we have much, much more to do). But, if this is the level of coherence, grasp of reality, and honesty that is really at work in his understanding of domestic fiscal policy, then we are in even worse trouble than we thought. We have a captain on the fiscal Titanic who thinks he’s in the Caribbean.

UPDATE – Read Mackubin Thomas Owens on the whole Bush/AWOL thing. Hardly a debunking, as many folks note in this very long thread at Fark.com… it also ignores the new information that’s come to light, and closes by presenting an opinion as fact.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040210
Art
Time
10:36
This looks promising; Projekt30 aims to take online support for new artists to bring some crackers to the top for ‘bricks and mortar’ display. You can check out the latest online exhibition here and vote on artists on a ‘hot or not’ 1-5 scale. To avoid vote-driving (what, me?) they only offer a random selection of 10 artists at a time.

So, if I were to submit something, what do you think should be submitted?

- A collection of political ‘shops?

- The Star Wars Photoshopping Project?

- The 4007th Project?

- Something else entirely?

UPDATE – Heh. I just tripped over some 4007th fans.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040210
Virus Alerts
Time
10:48
DoomJuice has emerged from MyDoom in an attack on the primary web presence of Microsoft.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040210
In The News
Time
11:02
Truck driver crashes on way to receive an award for driving a million miles without an accident.

11-year-old balances 11 teaspoons on his face.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040210
Flash Music Video
Time
11:08
This flash show for The Beatles’ I Feel Fine is staggeringly beautiful, but you may need to recalibrate your eyes afterwards. (Links via Zfilter and Ultimate Insult.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040210
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
11:13
Tom reports on reactions to libdemwatch.co.uk

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040210
The Impeachment of George W Bush
Time
11:14
BBC – Bush and Cheney top aides testify: Senior aides to the US president and vice-president have been called before an inquiry into the leaking the name of CIA agent Valerie Plame. A newspaper columnist revealed her name last summer, saying White House officials had given him the information about Ms Plame, whose husband Joseph Wilson has criticised the White House. A deliberate leak of an undercover agent’s name would be illegal.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040210
Bush: AWOL
Time
11:20
Salon.com – Bush’s records: Still AWOL : President Bush told Tim Russert all his military records were made public in 2000, but there’s no evidence to support his statement.

The Boston Globe looks over the newer documents (not made public in 2000) and sees credit being given, but for what? The whole ‘when’ thing is a bit tricky, too. The Washington Post is also a bit confused, but they do note something interesting..

Washington Post – Defense Dept. Seeks Bush’s Guard File: The Defense Department has requested that President Bush’s payroll records from his service in the National Guard be sent to Washington from a DOD archive in Colorado, to ascertain whether they can be released to news organizations and public interest groups that have formally requested them in recent days, according to DOD officials.

So these records weren’t released in 2000, either? Oh well. Time to squeeze this and see what comes out.

(If you want to keep up, your best chance is at Calpundit. I have work to do.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040210
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
11:51
The Independent – Jones breaks cover again – Blair raised ‘false expectations’: Tony Blair undermined the global fight against weapons proliferation by raising “false expectations” about Iraq’s arsenal and by marginalising intelligence experts, Brian Jones, the key witness of the Hutton inquiry, has warned.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040210
Flash Thingies
Time
14:26
Do something amazing today…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040210
Only Interesting to Hardcore Geeks
Time
15:02
Finally a role-playing game that makes sense. Forget all of that forest and wizard and goblin rubbish, I want something I can relate to… like waking up naked in a strange house that has its own Commodore 64.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040210
Updates
Time
15:09
1. The semi-munged link to Richard Allan has been updated with the latest URL.

2. Balders (champion of the oppressed and friend of ScaryDuck), should feel honoured. His brand new site The UK Today has warranted inclusion under ‘follow me’ after a mere 4 days and 6 posts. I’m looking forward to seeing a much, much more.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040210
Inneresting
Time
16:28
Die-ins. They’re the new black, baby.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040211
Virus Alerts
Time
09:21
Boy, Jackie is going to love this:

Why do viruses proliferate? Because People Is Stupid!

I know a lot of very smart people that I respect a *lot*, but the many of them are still prone to dodgy emails and websites, because they haven’t learned or – in some cases – cannot grasp/accept how the system works (and how easy it is for someone to get under your skin/guard/radar).

Ditto for more traditional forms of media, but in this case, the ignorance doesn’t come ready-made, it has to be nurtured. Happily, the larger your machine is, the better it is at controlling information that reaches peeps, overtly or covertly:

You can trust THIS. We don’t need to mention (that).

The most correct approach is to acknowledge that education is required and get on with that, but in current circumstances this isn’t going to be easy, and like it or not, most of the time you have to put all indicators such as IQ/education/experience/street-smarts aside and just admit it… People. Is. Stupid.

Not every written word you read is true* and – printed or online – it always pays to take a close look at the source of the information before you do anything dangerous. Like vote or spend money.

(*Feel free to ignore this…)

Anyway, on with some news you need to know:

Microsoft has a message for Windows users: patch your computers quickly. Screen-door technology strikes again.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040211
RWCs
Time
09:28
It’s official; John Kerry is the man who will be taking on George W. Bush. How do I know this? Because Rush Limbaugh is already on the move…

A photo of John Kerry sitting behind (*gasp*) Jane Fonda during an anti-war rally at Valley Forge, PA in September 1970.

I’d be more impressed if it showed them shaking hands. Or better yet, if it showed John Kerry shaking hands with Ho Chi Minh.

*cough*

Oh and someone, somewhere, has a photo of George W. Bush with Richard Nixon.

(Found at Off On a Tangent and sure to spread fast. Freepers can actually be seen begging for it here. This is not going to be a pretty election.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040211
Anyone but George
Time
09:49
New York Times – Bush busted for running carefully edited clips of his Meet The Press interview. Heh. I’ve got a pretty good idea of what it looks like, but I’d really like to see it for myself. I’d particularly like to confirm the claim that ‘the words seemed to have been digitally enhanced, to do away with some stammering’. The pResident is one step away from being a hologram as it is.

UPDATE – CLAIM vs. FACT: The President on Meet the Press and Bush’s Spending Lie. Oh, plus I found someone who saw the video in question. Streamed, by the looks of things. Ho-hum. Also, they’ve taken the precaution of not just removing the relevant post, but also the video file it links to (the file ID was ‘730’). Oh well.

The text from the post, BTW, read as follows:



New Web Exclusive Video: Responsibility

Watch our new web exclusive video, “Responsibility” — where President Bush lays out his vision for America’s role in a changing world: www.GeorgeWBush.com/Responsibility/

Spread the word by sending the video or this blog entry to your friends!

Posted by GeorgeWBush.com at 04:32 PM

Technorati reveals that this post generated two (count ‘em – two!) inbound links.

Moving on…

Atalanta Journal – White House tries to quell criticism of military service. Check out Calpundit to follow this in detail, or check out this nice overview from The Guardian.

Me, I’d want to see documents showing what he did, not just something showing he was paid. I’d also like to see Bush nailed for lying about having released this kind of information in 2000.

Oh, and don’t you find it interesting that no-one who served alongside Bush has stepped forward to confirm his claims?

UPDATE – Yet another Thread of Infinity at Fark.com, with much shoutiness, some new information, lots of bullshit, the red herring of Kerry/Fonda and one quiet nail-head observation on the exciting week Bush is having: “I guess his Teflon just plum wore out.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040211
Only Interesting to Bloggers
Time
10:11
Technorati has a new ‘most popular products’ page. There’s also a zoomable chart of everybody’s favourite pissing contest.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040211
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
10:16
Those rotten pillow-biting pinkos at The Guardian! Rigged! Riiiiiiiiigged!

Heh.

Pretty much one year on from Tom’s launch, and we’re already showing some impressive results – and some heartening diversity.

I’m not sure what the Hansard Society is planning, but I’m of the opinion that this will only continue to proceed in the right direction if we can make a few more of the right people Want To Get On With It.

Later this month, Tom and I are having a special seminar for Labour MPs to show them what this is (and isn’t), what it can do if they connect, and what will eventually happen if they don’t. I’d like to offer this same seminar to Lib-Dems and Conservatives, so if you know of any solid contacts (or if you’re a solid contact yourself) and want to make this happen, then get in touch.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040211
Death From Above
Time
13:20
The killer baskets Balders mentioned yesterday? Here they are in the news and here are some Farkers talking about it. Keep an eye out for the ‘scan and you miss it’ Hitchhikers reference.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040211
The Interwebnet
Time
13:28
Pornographer to sell whitehouse.com website. The kids are reaching school-age, and he wants out.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040211
Photoshopping
Time
14:48


“Oi! Down in front!”

Had to be done. There’s also a Forrest Gump version if you’d care to investigate.

UPDATE – Also, there’s this; Yeeeearrrrgh!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040211
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
15:33
BBC – Rumsfeld ‘unaware’ of WMD claim: US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says he cannot remember hearing the claim that Iraq could launch weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes.

Huh? What? No. Well, not to my recollection… lalalalalalalalalala this isn’t happening lalalalala….

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040211
Goodbye, George
Time
17:22
New York Times – The President’s Guard Service: The issue is not whether Mr. Bush, like many sons of the elite in his generation, sought refuge in the Guard to avoid combat in Vietnam. The public knew about that during the 2000 campaign. Whether Mr. Bush actually performed his Guard service to the full is a different matter. It bears on presidential character because the president has continually rejected claims that there was anything amiss about his Guard performance during the Alabama period. Mr. Bush himself also made the issue of military service fair game by posturing as a swashbuckling pilot when welcoming a carrier home from Iraq. Now, the president needs to make a fuller explanation of how he spent his last two years in the Guard.

Washington Post – Guard Records On President Are Released: But the records — which McClellan said are all the documents that the White House has — do not show the exact nature or whereabouts of Bush’s service during that period. Military experts — including one cited by the White House — said such records should exist. In addition, according to the new documents, Bush was performing service or unit drills at a time when his commanding officers in Houston said they could not evaluate him because “he has not been observed” at Ellington Air Force Base in Houston — as they had written in previously released National Guard records. That report was signed by two officers on May 2, 1973, a day that the new documents show Bush was supposed to have been performing service in Houston.

Boston Globe – The honeymoon is over, Mr. Bush: The press has at last given itself permission to be tougher on misrepresentations that have characterized the Bush presidency since its beginnings…. Bush has had the advantage of a closely allied right-wing press, ranging from Fox News to The Wall Street Journal’s editorialists, the Washington Times, The Weekly Standard, and the talk radio ditto-heads. There is no comparable propaganda machine among his critics.But most reporters, in their hearts, want to play it straight. And, finally, they’ve had a bellyful.

And this is one awkward question regarding one single issue. God bless the emboldened press. If they’re actually willing to take Bush and crew to task, they’ll find stories coming out of every unplugged orifice.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040212
Guantanamo Bay
Time
10:22
Yahoo – 12th Jan: The future of nine Britons held at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay should be resolved within weeks, Tony Blair has said.

News.com.au 12th Feb: Tony Blair apologised today for the time it has taken to deal with nine Britons held at the US military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but insisted they could only return home if deemed not to be a security threat.

1. Why do I have to read about this in a foreign newspaper?

2. The delay seems to be caused by Blair being forced to release these people and/or detain them indefinitely on British soil. The Bush administration is certain to frown on anything silly like a precedent-setting trial.

3. Just the Brits? Blair has some nerve playing The Great Humanitarian.

4. Oh well. At least a few of the kiddies are free.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040212
Bush: AWOL
Time
10:25
USA Today – Ex-officer says Bush file’s details caused concern: As Texas Gov. George W. Bush prepared to run for president in the late 1990s, top-ranking Texas National Guard officers and Bush advisers discussed ways to limit the release of potentially embarrassing details from Bush’s military records, a former senior officer of the Texas Guard said Wednesday. (More on this from Calpundit.)

Also, the White House appears to have dug up someone who served alongside Bush. This letter appears to have been drafted and submitted to the Washington Times (a Moonie newspaper) independently, but just check out that prose, ladies and gentlemen!

Col William Campenni (retired) – ‘Bush and I were lieutenants’: While most of America was sleeping and Mr. Kerry was playing antiwar games with Hanoi Jane Fonda, we were answering 3 a.m. scrambles for who knows what inbound threat over the Canadian subarctic, the cold North Atlantic and the shark-filled Gulf of Mexico. We were the pathfinders in showing that the Guard and Reserves could become reliable members of the first team in the total force, so proudly evidenced today in Afghanistan and Iraq.

No doubt Col. Campenni failed to give any real details of whens and wheres (and failed to credit George W. Bush with the Order of Conspicuous Merit) because of the unnecessary cross-referencing that it would entail.

*ahem*

Atrios laughs

Counterspin fisks

Oliver Willis finds an almost identical letter from William Campenni, dated May 16, 2003. (That’s here, but be warned that this one is rather boring in that it contains no references to jet-eating sharks).

A letter like this that’s almost a year old and the White House couldn’t track this man down? He had to take action & write an independent letter? To the Moonies of all people? Puh-lease!

OK, let’s accept for a moment that Bush bravely flew his rickety, unreliable F102 over the shark-infested Gulf of Mexico…

1. Distance of Bush from sharks: 30,000 feet

2. Distance of Bush from Vietnam: 10,000 miles

“Momma Bird, this is Ladybird! I’ve hit some trouble over the Gulf. They came out of nowhere! Tell my mother that I love h*….”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040212
The War on Terror
Time
11:23
Back to Iraq – Bill Safire strangely uses the Zarqawi memo as proof that Saddam had links to al Qaeda. Instead it’s proof that the U.S. invasion has opened opportunities previously denied to terrorists.

Who’s rewriting history, exactly?

Actually, one thing does strike me about the memo that RWCs are shouting about; the plan to spark civil unrest. I’ve commented on this as a possible tactic being used against the UK and the US, given the seemingly convenient timing of many recent terror alerts (tanks rolled into Heathrow before the million-strong march, a high ‘unspecified’ alert during Bush’s UK visit).

Posted at Interwebnet.org on the 23rd Nov 2003: OK, so the terror attacks are coming from a shadowy cabal that wish to spread disorder and chaos; what better way to do so than to manipulate us in a way that leads to civil unrest and eventually, violent confrontation? The claim of convenient timing does not necessarily point the finger of blame at our government, but it does pose serious questions regarding overall responsibility.

Blair and Bush, in spinning their illegal war and generally using the terrorist threat as a propaganda tool, have actually increased the threat here at home. But that’s just the opinion of one misguided peacenik, you understand…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040212
Christianity Watch
Time
11:24
The Calcasieu Parish School Board have declared tomorrow to be Abstinence Appreciation Day.

Has anyone told Richard Dasen Sr.?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040212
RWCs
Time
11:30
Atlanta Journal-Constitution – Jane Fonda defends Kerry: “Any attempts to link Kerry to me and to make him look bad with that connection is completely false. We were at a rally for veterans at the same time. I spoke. Donald Sutherland spoke. John Kerry spoke at the end. I don’t even think we shook hands.”

Incidentally, the photo was taken in 1970. Fonda made her infamous trip to Hanoi in 1972. Shame on John Kerry and his lack of precognition.

Interestingly, this same article closes with White House press secretary Scott McClellan accusing the Democrats of “gutter politics” over the whole AWOL thing.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040212
Church & State
Time
12:08
Washington Post – Bush Plans To Back Marriage Amendment: President Bush plans to endorse a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as the union of a man and a woman in response to a Massachusetts court decision requiring legal recognition of gay marriages in that state, key advisers said yesterday.

Jesse Taylor has described this as the “Only Straight People Count” Amendment… ‘a Constitutional declaration that heterosexuality is the only valid sexual orientation’, and the comments under this post raise all sorts of questions.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040212
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
12:18
Channel 4 – The unseen cost of the war in Iraq: The true extent of US casualties in Iraq are still unknown. This has fuelled suspicion that the administration may be hiding the true human cost of the war and its aftermath..

No! Really?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040212
Flash Thingies
Time
12:31
The Ultimate Insult has recommended some virtual knee surgery. Me, I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040212
Interesting Times
Time
12:37
Today is a lovely day to be alive and well and living in Elk Grove.

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Date
20040212
How Weblogs Work
Time
15:01
Actually, this is how journalism should work, but never mind…

Oliver Wills: I got in contact with Bill Campenni, known as the witness (possibly) to George W Bush’s missing year…. When I asked him about being stationed in Pittsburgh, not Alabama and the fact that his story leads one to believe he was in grad school from ’71-72 (the same years as the hole in Bush’s record) and thus incapable of vouching for where the president was, his reply? An evasive “Nice Try”.

The White House couldn’t get in touch with him when given 10+ months. Oliver found him in a few hours. I smell plausible deniability. Nice try, Team Bush.

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Date
20040212
Updates
Time
16:43
I’m running AdSense on an evaluation basis.

First beef: I can’t configure the ads to spawn a new window.

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Date
20040212
RWCs
Time
17:23
Matt Drudge (bullshit meters on full) is claiming that Howard Dean changed his mind and decided to stay in the game because he knew that a major story involving John Kerry and a female intern was in the offing.

(Cheers to Expats for the heads-up.)

UPDATE – Atrios reports that FOX News is already running with it… with only one unsubstantiated report from a website to go on.

Which just happens to be the same website that broke the Clinton/Lewinski story.

The related thread at Fark is bound to amuse…. but if you feel you couldn’t care less, then check out some Google logos for non-existent holidays instead.

UPDATE – Drudge was scooped by this much more balanced post from Watchblog. Rumour or truth? Sad thing is, not a lot of people are going to care. Unlike the service-record story, this has cock in it. And even if it’s disproved, the stain (sorry) and doubt will linger, aided by an air of familiarity.

And the timing? Delicious.

An AWOL ‘debunking’ letter to the Washington Times (from a man the White House failed to find but was tracked down by a blogger in a matter of hours). An instant-headline ‘scoop’ by Drudge (based on a rumour that had been doing the rounds for at least a week). On the same day.

Counterspin puts forward this opinion: It was Bush. (Ed note – for ‘Bush’ read ‘Rove‘) And we know it was Bush for the simple reason that the President was having a very, very bad week with this whole AWOL thing. And they desperately wanted to change the subject. Everything else they tried didn’t work. So, voila!

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Date
20040212
Photoshopping
Time
17:40

Inquiring minds want to know….

UPDATE – Forgot to blog this: Calpundit presents an interview with former Lt. Colonel Bill Burkett (who claimed that George Bush’s National Guard files in Texas were “cleansed” back in 1997). Includes (*gasp*) a modest level of corroboration.

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Date
20040212
Interesting Times
Time
22:49
The Independent – Campaign gets dirty as muckrakers turn over Kerry’s personal life and Bush troubles return: The United States election is still almost nine months away. But if recent events are any guide, the campaign already promises to be the dirtiest on record – with much of the muckraking centred not on Iraq, but allegations of sexual infidelity and a war which ended 30 years ago.

This is an excellent (and distanced) overview of everything that’s happened over the last few days.

And we can’t have that, now can we?

Here’s some shameless and titillating right-wing opinion from Bizarro World to balance it out….

Republican cock good (1, 2, 3).

Democratic cock baaaad.

Soldier cock not worthy of inches. Not even when come in box.

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Date
20040213
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
11:07
Drudge, natch. (Also, Ken & Barbie are splitting up).

Climbing fast is the post at Watchblog that scooped Drudge (and also bothers to present the information in context). Credit goes to The Guardian for their ongoing coverage of the Bush:AWOL story, but even this fine Indy piece didn’t appear until after penises entered the equation.

Hell, even I was inspired…

Click here to see a large version of this image in glorious Slandercolour.

The Bush:AWOL story took days to get some coverage in some broadsheets here in the UK. It barely rated a mention on radio or television.

Of course, all of this happened well after the story was being talked about for years on the Interwebnet. But documents weren’t released and the story wasn’t allowed to develop until it was officially in print and a few journalists finally became determined to do their job without the permission of the White House.

But then – just as this story looks set to break wide open – Drudge screams ‘INTERN!!!’ and within hours it’s reported there on Fox and here on Five.

The Scum, who printed Not One Word about the question of Bush’s service in the Guard when documents and questions were flying, is all over this immediately, naming the woman, quoting a ‘clinching’ opinion from her father (“I think he’s a sleazeball!”) and citing past affairs from past Democrats to help along the stink of familiarity. Then it’s back to business as usual, plugging a reality TV show on Murdoch’s SKY One about men being unwittingly set up on dates with a pre-op transsexual.

The BBC, to their credit, haven’t rated this as newsworthy. Yet. But soon they’re going to have to report on the fact that this is being reported.

And there’s the rub.

Many journalists will trip over each other to get to this woman – Alex Polier – and the story will snowball from every scrap they can dig up along the way. Because it has cock in it. And not clean, respectable Republican cock, but filthy uncontrollable Democratic cock. Hypocrisy lives and breeds in the right-wing media machine.

But, of course, we’re not allowed to point this out because it’s a Hate Crime.

Meanwhile, on the actual news front, the analysis of documents, the credibility of same and the chasing up of eyewitnesses who may or may not remember where the ‘war-president’ Bush was in his missing Guard years is mostly left up to the occasional journalist (as opposed to the entire penis-hungry machine) and a bunch of bloggers (many of whom you should be watching today for developments that are actually worth a damn):

Atrios

Calpundit

Counterspin

Oliver Willis

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Date
20040213
Flash Games
Time
11:13
More Yeti and penguin fun. This game is equally fun/violent, but a little more challenging.

UPDATE – Ah, someone’s seen the promise and thrown some development behind this. Check out the brand new Yeti Sports portal.

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Date
20040213
The Interwebnet
Time
11:16
The Register – MS Windows source code escapes onto Internet.

Expect your screen doors to start swinging off their hinges sometime real soon….

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Date
20040213
It’s War! And Things Is Getting Ridiculous!
Time
11:25
Powell loses it with staffer who dares to shake his head at his defense of prewar WMD statements.

CIA offers Iraqis cash-money for ‘detailed information on Iraq’s WMD programs and efforts to hide them.’

(Latter link via ScaryDuck.)

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Date
20040213
Established Media
Time
11:35
CNN admits to overplaying Dean’s scream. It was played over 600 times in four days. And it’s a bit ‘king late for an apology.

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Date
20040213
Church & State
Time
11:37
A secretive quango operating under the Bush administration has declared about 200 television programs inappropriate for closed-captioning and denied federal grant requests to make them accessible to the hearing-impaired. Shows that will now be denied to the hard of hearing include Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie and Scooby Doo. Witches, genies and ghosts? Does anyone else spot a theme here? You can find out more from the National Association of the Deaf if you like. Me, I want to know who’s on that five-member panel….

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Date
20040213
Useful
Time
11:49
The History of the Universe in 200 Words or Less.

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Date
20040213
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
11:52
Robin wonders how someone who isn’t a US citizen (and/or eligible to vote) can have an effect on the upcoming election.

Me, I just do a lot of shouting at people who can vote through my own little channel. But if you don’t have a channel, then Voices Without Votes wants to help you connect with chad-punchers. Cheers, Robin.

Also, Tom blogs on blogging for devolution.

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Date
20040213
Animal Kingdom
Time
12:00
More exploding whales for you.

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Date
20040213
Google – The Adsense Trial
Time
12:03
Yesterday: 1,199 ads served, 10 ads clicked (click-through rate 0.8%) and $2.10 earned. At this rate I may *just* be able to pay for my tracking…. and most of the people who are advertising (especially those selling SEO and blog ‘solutions’) aren’t worth spitting on. I have the feeling the ads will be restricted to areas like this after I’ve collected a full week of data.

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Date
20040213
2004 – The Year of Zero Modesty
Time
12:28
I’m nothing if not gracious.

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Date
20040213
Follow Up
Time
12:29
Wibbler has been on a diet for two weeks and all he’s lost is 14 days. I can relate; especially to difficulties with the ‘no food after 7 rule,’ which only works for layabouts without jobs.

(Psst! Wibbler! Let’s go do this. We can get some nice jubbly boobies for ourselves while we’re there, too. Or an extra willy. Then we’ll be newsworthy…)

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Date
20040213
RWCs
Time
12:39
Salon.com – Matt Drudge and the GOP smear machine are back in the Democrats’ pants (requires subscription or ad view): Late Thursday morning — with George W. Bush’s credibility damaged on several fronts as reporters demanded answers to questions about his National Guard service that should have been asked years ago — the Drudge Report defamed his leading Democratic challenger with a “world exclusive” smudge of personal dirt.

We try to get facts reported and they dismiss it as dirty tricks. They cut loose with a dirty trick, and it gets treated as if it’s a fact (or presented neatly as ‘What if it *is* a fact?’).

Nice system we have going here. I hope the wider journalistic community has actually had that bellyful they were bellyaching about a few days ago, and end up serving Drudge and Rove the enormous ship-sandwich they deserve. Anomalies like this are cause enough for hope.

UPDATE – Well done, the BBC. The first report on this just hit the radio airwaves, and it’s only because John Kerry has released a statement. I’ll bring you a link as soon as I’ve got one.

UPDATE – I really must flush my ears. It was in response to Wesley Clark’s statement. Sorry to get you excited.

UPDATE – Joe notes that, on his front page, instead of linking to the Times article, Drudge links to this itsy-bitsy scan that shows his ‘scoop’ on a front page but conveniently doesn’t show the text where General Clark calls the report “utter rubbish” or the bit that says: Drudge claimed that half a dozen news outlets were investigating the allegations against Mr Kerry, but most of them denied doing so last night.

UPDATE – Ah, here we go…. BBC – Kerry shrugs off intern rumour: “Well there is nothing to report, so there is nothing to talk about,” he told MSNBC television. “There’s nothing there. There’s no story.”

Yes there is. Even if there isn’t, there will be. Where there’s a willy, there’s a way!

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Date
20040213
Photoshopping
Time
13:36
Images of celebrities with phones. You know you’ll need one someday…

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Date
20040213
RWCs
Time
14:47
Washington Post – Bush Campaign Releases Video Attacking Kerry: President Bush’s reelection campaign directly engaged Sen. John F. Kerry for the first time last night with a harsh video calling him “unprincipled” and “brought to you by the special interests.”

Bwahahahahahahahahaha!

You can see that video by clicking here.

1. It looks remarkably like a couple of the top offerings from MoveOn.org

2. The search engine angle is cute. How long do you think it will take us to make some worthy web pages the top search result for “Paybacks“, “Special Interests” and “Unprincipled“? I’d love to see this video withdrawn as quickly as the last one was.

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Date
20040213
Bunch of Stuff
Time
15:15
The latest B3ta newsletter is out. There’s a party and raffle in London tonight. And I forgot about it. Bugger. Now all I’ve got to look forward to is a night in with the family, stacking teabags and teaching the kids how to swear.

UPDATE – This week’s ‘shop theme is Zombies!. You’ll definitely want to check out this incredible first post by Frinky. (But if you think it might be too scarifying for you, there’s some non-zombie felt-covered porcine-porn (and a discussion on copyright to really pump your nads) here.)

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Date
20040213
I Believe In The BBC
Time
15:48
Ahahahahahahaha! I have some bits and bobs that are kind of overdue for inclusion on the I Believe In The BBC page, but – pressed for time as I am – I can only (very) quickly share with you the Bestest. Statement. Ever.

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Date
20040213
Bush: AWOL
Time
15:54
Bit by bit by bit….

Yahoo – Bush’s driving records disclosed: The White House disclosed information in documents Thursday showing that President Bush (news – web sites) had been arrested once for a college prank and was cited for two automobile accidents and two speeding tickets before he enlisted in the National Guard. The accidents and tickets were disclosed for the first time in response to questions about a portion of Bush’s military record that had been blacked out when the file was made public during the 2000 presidential campaign. The traffic violations are significant in the context of Bush’s military career. At the time Bush enlisted in the Texas National Guard, the Air Force typically would have had to issue a waiver for an applicant who had multiple arrests or driving violations. An officer who served at the same time as the president, former Texas Air National Guard pilot Dean Roome, was required by the Air Force to get a waiver for a $25 speeding ticket when he enlisted in the Air National Guard in 1967. There is no record of an enlistment waiver in Bush’s military file.

And: Bush’s military file contained a second document that also asked for information on any arrests. Portions of that page, his enlistment application, are also blacked out.

Finally, just before I toodle, here’s a nifty image presented as a tribute to all the flying Dubya did and the large number of peeps who didn’t see him do it. See you on Monday.

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Date
20040213
Weapons of Mass Distraction
Time
17:48
*cough*








Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

The Silver Ring Thing – The Lies of Denny Pattyn

I watched yet another documentary on abstinence programmes last night, this one from the biased heathens at the BBC. There’s a further outline of the programme from the producer here.

This one focused on the Silver Ring Thing, which already enjoys $700,000 in funding from the Bush administration. They’re seeking further funding ($2m here, $2m there) “to combat the ‘liberal’ message of sex education” – and to take the show on the road to Uganda.

Current funding rules require them to run a ‘non-faith-based alternative seminar’ where funding is ‘directly’ involved. The Christian version ends with new recruits donning a ring inscribed with ‘1 Thess 4:3-4‘… I can’t help but quietly wonder if the alternative seminar features the same $80,000 sound and light show – and the same jewellery – or if it’s held in a small side room with a buffet of cucumber sandwiches and ‘alternative’ rings inscribed with: ‘I’m an Atheist and I don’t give a fuck’.

The guy running the show – Denny Pattyn – was shown organising a university-based debate with dangerous liberal types. He wanted Meg Meeker there to help sell the medical side and offered the time-strapped author a flight by private plane (no doubt funded ‘directly’ by private donations) to get her to this debate. He also announced the following without shame: “I haven’t told them you’ve written a book, because I don’t want them to go out and read it.”

At the very same debate, Meg Meeker dared to claim that she “was not about withholding information”.

These same people lobby to prevent kids 12-14 year old kids from receiving basic sex education. Yet Denny Pattyn’s own 11-year-old daughter wears a ring and is able to spout the STD-fear dogma almost word for word.

There’s more. And I’m grinding my teeth as I write this, so please excuse me…

The question we have to ask – especially given the funding – is as follows:

Is this about education and health, or is this about religion?

At the climax of the rally shown (I’m sorry, but there’s no way you could describe it as a ‘seminar’), Denny Pattyn got very close to the microphone for the Big Sell: “Maybe tonight’s the night you need to make your peace with God. Maybe tonight’s the night you need to settle it. Why not let tonight be the night that when you put on the ring, it’s the same night you say ‘Lord forgive me, forgive me for what I’ve been up to!'”

Forgive me for being unfair. I’m forgetting the ‘non-faith-based alternative’ seminars. Reid Carpenter, a consultant for Silver Ring Thing, is obviously a big believer in their effectiveness, and says at a later meeting: “Without Jesus, this thing is a failure!”

This programme is a blatant Christian recruitment drive – and just in case you have any doubts…

Silver Ring Thing founder and director 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.”

And, when asked if he thinks this is coming if his energy really should be put into an abstinence programme: “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.

He’s not worried about their health. He’s not worried about their future. In fact, he appears to be fairly certain that they don’t have one. Unless it’s with Jesus.

Another fine example of George W. Bush funding the Christian Right, who are neither Christian nor right.

UPDATE – 100 things to do with your boyfriend or girlfriend instead of it.

And, presented for no reason whatsoever, Chapter 3 of George Orwell’s 1984

UPDATE – Hooray. Now the Silver Ring Thing is bringing its lies to Britain.

UPDATE – (Dec 03 2004) Bloggerheads has now been updated so it allows for comments. This is a rather old post, but I used to get email about it every other day (usually from people thinking it to be an anti-Christian message when really it’s about a man who gets funding for a health campaign, but uses for a recruitment drive for his religion of choice). So… I’ve decided to open up the comments here and see if anybody has anything intelligent to say.

Oh, and I really, really want to share this with you:
Beware the deadly trouser snake!








Posted in Christ... | 7 Comments

16-29 January, 2004

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Date
20040116
Search Engine Optimisation
Time
11:07
A handy tip for you: ensure you use correct and descriptive ALT Tags for your images.

UPDATE – A little proof-reading wouldn’t go astray, either…

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Date
20040116
The War on Terror
Time
11:21
Why the colour-coded terror alert levels are a load of useless old toss. (Link via Toby.)

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Date
20040116
A Blog Is Born
Time
11:39
Heh. I think I’ve done the right thing in unleashing Larry Grant. Check out this post on the role and ‘qualifications’ of people calling themselves Mortgage Consultants.

I’m so happy we live in a world where supermarkets are getting into banking… and going to bank is a lot like shopping in a supermarket. You know what I mean; when you ask: “Have you got any such-and-such?” and the usual reaction from staff is for them to join you staring blindly at the shelves.

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Date
20040116
Anyone but George
Time
11:48
Heh. I got a glimpse of Bush in 41.2 seconds last night. It’s superior to the bushin30seconds.org finalists in that:

1 – It’s longer

2 – It dares to tell it like it is

Martin (who I keep forgetting to add to my blogroll) completes the picture with a link to this excellent article at Salon.com

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Date
20040116
Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch
Time
12:54
(Originally posted at 10:52am. Now reposted due to disk error. Are you new here? Want to know what’s going on? See the bloggage from Wednesday and Thursday.)

Oh, FFS…

Offensive No. 1: The Election Ploy

A quote from topless beauty Nicola T: “Clare should concentrate on politics and leave the glamorous stuff to me and the girls.” And to make her point that much more salient, Nicola has allowed Rebekah Wade to talk her into contesting the next election in Clare Short’s Birmingham Ladywood constituency. She was out canvassing yesterday while another topless model harangued Short on the street. She’s standing on a very sensible and clear platform; “Vote for me and save Page 3!” The Guardian has a few words to say on this matter.

Offensive No. 2: Celebrity Endorsements

Downing St was too smart to comment, but they got a bunch of other notables and celebs to wittingly and unwittingly give messages of support. The rather selective quote from Richard Madeley is an excellent lesson in the power of context, but the gem of the collection is from President George W. Bush’s White House spokesman Frederick Jones, who reportedly said: “I think it would be a shame to ban them.” That’s very carefully worded. Bush’s office can always fall back on the ‘right to free speech’ argument, but perhaps someone would care to clarify the statement. Is Bush in favour of boobs, as The Sun seems to be suggesting?

Offensive No. 3: Taking Name-Calling To The Next Level

As you can see on this page (which now also contains some fabulous feedback from rabid readers), Page 3 is ‘the platform that has empowered a string of stunning girls by launching them on the path to fame and fortune,’ and Wade has ‘empowered’ another young lady (Becky Rule from Ealing, west London – thank you, MegaStar) by convincing her to change her name to ‘Clare Short’.

I have to admit; that last one is a bit clever. Even if they drop this issue, this measure allows them to make regular, ongoing snarky comments and show tits at the same time. Again, we must turn to that well-known pinko broadsheet The Guardian for some words of wisdom on this subject: Poor Rebekah Wade is desperate. Editor for a year and the sales haven’t stopped falling. Hence this little wheeze, resurrecting an old feud with Short which provides an opportunity to spread plenty more breasts over her pages. Without good stories, the Sun’s strategy of last resort is acres of female flesh. This latest episode doesn’t even have the wit which sometimes characterised the Sun’s pranks in the past. It indulges that least attractive of the paper’s resources – the vicious personal attack.

It’s not the first time Rebekah Wade has pulled a stunt like this last one. Immediately after the 11/9 atrocities (please note correct formatting of date) she was still insisting that the poor sap of a reporter who had his name changed to ‘Harry Potter’ on her command flounce about town wearing a cloak and carrying a broomstick, which leads us neatly into:

Plan No. 1 – Ask The Nation: Is Rebekah Wade a Sociopath?

A valid question worth publicising, I think. There’s mounting evidence suggesting that she operates devoid of any social conscience. It would be handy to document this on a page that turns up anytime someone searches for her or the grubby tabloid she runs. I think it might even be possible to get an expert opinion or two. I’m not sure if we can actually get the woman sectioned, but the public awareness of her complete lack of scruples could contribute to the following…

Plan No. 2 – Act as Nation: Kill The Sun

This is not as ridiculous as it sounds. Their readership is lower now than it has been in decades (they’re losing ground to the tit-tastic Star). They’re vulnerable. The Australian version of this tabloid folded in ’88 or ’89 IIRC, and public distaste played a vital role. Think about it; every time you consider yourself proud to be British, you have to consider that one of the most influential newspapers in the country has tits on the first inside page. And it’s not something you can simply turn a blind eye to. Our Prime Minister, an avowed Christian (who continually dodges the question about whether or not he has prayed with George W. Bush) feels forced to snuggle up to Murdoch’s rag (and those of outright pornographer and Labour-party donor Richard Desmond) in order to stay in power. Killing The Sun will not stop the tide of tits (and as you’re about to read; this isn’t my problem with The Sun) but it will split the paper market clearly into three classifications; scud-mags, tabloids and newspapers. The Sun currently operates as and/or pretends to be all three. Its influence is pronounced; and based on lies.

Plan No. 3 – Money Talks: Shareholder Pressure

This is an excellent idea from Clive Soley, but we’ll need some serious cash onside to make a difference. Says Clive; “Maybe we ought to swallow hard, buy some voting shares in News International and start a shareholders pressure group within this rather sad organisation.”

By the way, I agree with Clive’s views on censorship and consent, but believe that the exploitative nature of the glamour model business as a whole needs to be brought to light, and that The Sun – forever posing as a moral crusader – is guilty of outright hypocrisy.

Oh, and as for suggestions along the lines that Rebekah Wade be ‘the first against the wall when the revolution comes’ – or, alternatively, when the world goes to ‘hell in a handbasket’ – I can’t really say that I’m on board with that.

I personally would prefer that she’s second in line. She deserves to know what’s coming.

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Date
20040116
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
12:55
Tom reports that The Guardian’s Backbencher column is running its own mini-awards for political weblogs. They’re of a mind that Britain lacks a political weblog with ‘tenacity and influence’…

*cough*thanksverymuch*cough*

I feel I should remind you again that 2004 is the year of Zero Modesty before pointing out that:

1 – It is because of the tenacity of Bloggerheads that you can now contact Tony Blair by email.

2 – It is because of the influence of Bloggerheads that blogs by politicians in this country are written by the politicians themselves and not by members of their staff.

Shameless cut’n’paste whorage follows:

Backbencher is seeking your nominations. There are only two criteria: the blog must be in the English language, and it must be predominantly political in theme. You can nominate your own blog, or one you admire. Just send in your nomination – preferably with a few dozen words of supporting prose – to backbencher@guardianunlimited.co.uk before January 25.

On January 28, the GU Politics team will pick ten of the best and profile each of them. Then we’ll invite you to vote online. We’re not offering prizes to the top-rated blogs. (They probably wouldn’t want them.) Just pretty good publicity.

Fine with me. Publicity counts. I look forward to a day when I can begin important phone calls and emails without having to explain who I am.

Make with the love, people.

Tom, Clive, Richard; I’m looking in your general direction…

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Date
20040116
Harrassment? Moi?
Time
13:05
Well, what do you know? Suddenly, I find myself in possession of the mobile phone number of the woman The Sun team have convinced to change her name to ‘Clare Short’.

I just called her. A transcript follows:

Hello, is this Becky Rule?

Yes…

The Becky Rule who’s just changed her name to ‘Clare Short’?

Yes… who is this?

My name is Tim Ireland. I just have a couple of questions for you.

OK…

First of all, whose idea was it to change your name?


(line goes dead)

Poor dear. She must have gone into a tunnel or something. I may try to call her again later.

Oh, I’ve got her home address, too. It’s a good thing for her that I’m not the kind of scum that would make this information public or turn up on her doorstep with a bunch of photographers.

(Well, there’s only me and my camera is broken, but I’m sure you see my point….)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040116
Tony Blair
Time
14:46
Jose Bono (a current Spanish Socialist Party bigwig) was talking to Joaquin Almunia (a former Spanish Socialist Party bigwig). Presumably neither of them saw that the little red light was on when Bono called Tony Blair an imbecile and “a complete dickhead” on live television.

UPDATE – Found the link to the relevant Torygraph article.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040116
Free Speech Zones
Time
15:00
Bush dropped into Atlanta to lay a wreath at the grave of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I’m sure I don’t need to waste my breath with words like ‘hypocrisy’ and ‘opportunism’…

Hundreds of outraged demonstrators were cordoned off and shielded from view by a row of buses topped with riot police, but the chants, catcalls and boos were clearly audible. For once.

WSBTV reports further on the protest cordon and the two protesters who were arrested for daring to step into the street. CNN also has more.

Oh, and Bush wasn’t invited to the ceremony. He invited himself.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040116
Bunch of Stuff
Time
15:43
The latest B3ta newsletter is out. It contains a link to this Flash game, which is totally unfair, but a lot of fun. There are also some tasty airline meals for you to enjoy.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040116
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
16:01
Courtesy of Dave Halligan… Stan Goff’s ‘Hold on to your humanity’ – An open letter to GIs in Iraq: So here is my message to you. You will do what you have to do to survive, however you define survival, while we do what we have to do to stop this thing. But don’t surrender your humanity. Not to fit in. Not to prove yourself. Not for an adrenaline rush. Not to lash out when you are angry and frustrated. Not for some ticket-punching fucking military careerist to make his bones on. Especially not for the Bush-Cheney Gas & Oil Consortium.

I wonder if he’s sent this to Stars & Stripes

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040116
Normal People
Time
16:31
Meet Bert Hickman. He likes to shrink coins and generally mess with electrons. I say we burn him. Or introduce him to Sarah Jane Newbury.

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Date
20040116
Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch
Time
17:29
Some top-notch ‘shopping for you to enjoy. Support for Short is not thin on the ground.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040119
Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch
Time
09:27
(New to this whole Sun/Short thing? Check out the archives for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.)

Well, Rebekah Wade appears to have backed right off. Saturday’s edition carried no mention of the campaign against Clare Short; today’s issue is equally silent on the matter.

Instead, Page 3 wisdom has switched to more general concerns about political correctness. Katie (19, from Liverpool) thinks that: “Criminals are in prison to be punished. Warders must be able to show that they’re in charge and not have to pussyfoot around inmates.”

The rest of the paper mainly seems concerned about a sudden influx of gipsies and some recent dirt dug up on John Leslie. Oh, and it’s peppered with the usual in-times-of-crisis sidebars featuring snippets from readers explaining why they love their 30p Sun. Splash reminders of how cheap The Sun was also started running on the front page mid-backlash last week.

One would almost think that things are not all well in the tabloid world. Oh, The Guardian also carries a great little snippet in today’s Letters section:

The behaviour of the Sun over Clare Short is hateful (Comment, January 16). If the Sun believes it has a valid defence of page three, it has yet to show it. Instead, it has undermined its position by treating a respected and experienced female public figure with exactly the kind of degrading attitude it claims the paper does not encourage.

Jane Collier

Watford, Herts

The Mail on Sunday (Jan 18th) also carried a comment on this subject from Suzanne Moore:

Quite simply, is the purpose of these pictures to arouse or not? If not, what is the point? If men want to look at images of naked women – and they do – then there are plenty of places they can get them. What used to be the top shelf is now on the middle shelf. What used to be sold under the counter is available over it. Whatever else you want is on the Internet.

Ha! They couldn’t resist a neck-deep-in-filth swipe at the Interwebnet, could they? Also, we should probably gloss over the Mail’s propensity to include scantily-clad totty under the guise of holiday-destination features (cue woman in bikini), articles on weight-loss (cue picture of women in Lycra bodysuits) and thought-pieces on plastic surgery (cue picture of carefully cupped breasts).

Time to move on, then. Or not.

The offensive may have ceased, but the offensiveness continues. Barclay’s swoop on the Torygraph empire removes the urgency from my plans to show Richard Desmond a thing or two about the powers of pamphleteering. I think I may as well switch my immediate attention to Rebekah Wade. Or, I could run the two campaigns in tandem (they’ll be much the same, but very different). We’ll see.

There’s lots of work to be done this week (and bloggage may suffer) but in the background I’ll be busy quietly gathering evidence for that all-important and soon-to-be-widely-publicised question: Is Rebekah Wade a Sociopath?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040119
The Impeachment of George W Bush
Time
09:34
People are right to be outraged. George W. Bush inviting himself to the MLK wreath-laying ceremony last week was the very height of hypocrisy.

Today is Martin Luther King Day. Time to remind ourselves of what this great man stood for and how his words reflect on what’s happening in the world today.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040119
The End of Democracy
Time
09:42
So much for free speech. CBS is set to run two White House ads to play during the Superbowl, but has refused to air MoveOn.Org’s Child’s Pay spot (you can see it here if you haven’t already).

The site screwsoncbs.com is calling for a viewer boycott. Sign the petition, tell a friend.

Alternatively, just ignore the issue and watch the circus.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040119
Church & State
Time
09:48
LNR on Bush’s ‘healthy’ family policy. Warning: article borders on hate-crime. Hate criiiiiiime!

UPDATE – The Memory Hole has more on Bush/Hilter comparisons being verboten

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Date
20040119
Greed is Good
Time
09:50
The Guardian: When the directors of Londis, a chain of mutually owned corner shops, decided to sell it off, they gave its 2,000 franchise grocers the good news – they were in for a £10,000 windfall each. But there was little mention of their own bonuses – £20m between four of them. Now the shopkeepers are fighting back.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040119
In The News
Time
09:54
Would-be burglar caught wedged in chimney (includes pictures).

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040119
South West Trains
Time
09:57
Geoff’s SWT diary is now the 10th search result for ‘south west trains’. Toby’s is 30th and climbing. The workaholic in me is looking forward to writing a case study on the way we as consumers changed the face of the front page results for a specific brand name.

Oh, and it’s not too late to join in…

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Date
20040119
Photography
Time
10:00
As The Ultimate Insult notes, the site featuring recently-released aerial photographs from WW2 – at www.evidenceincamera.co.uk – already appears to have been hammered into submission. Here’s a Usenet post with more info for you to enjoy while we all wait for it to get back off the ground.

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Date
20040119
Seems Fair…
Time
10:07
Microsoft prepares to squash Mike Rowe (17), who dared to secure the domain mikerowesoft.com

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Date
20040119
The War on Terror
Time
10:08
Gore Vidal – The war against lies: How, then, will a people grown accustomed to being lied to about serious matters behave during an actual presidential election, in which billions of dollars have been raised to give us a generally false view of the state of our – their? – union.

I can answer that question with two words… bottoms up!

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Date
20040119
RWCs
Time
10:45
A story about Republican brownshirts gatecrashing a Democratic rally in Iowa and pushing Joan Jett around has been removed from this page. Atrios has a post complete with excerpt from the now-missing article and added linkage that notes:

“Fox News cameras are there at the concert before the disruptions begin. At a small student gathering. Go figure.”

Funny that an article about partisan media manipulation and censorship should be removed like that. I’m sure it’s just a technical glitch.

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Date
20040119
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
11:16
Did anyone else notice that The Simpsons episode featuring Tony Blair – The Regina Monologues (screengrabs here) – was repeated last night, 9 days after its debut screening? Most episodes go for months without a repeat. It’s almost as if they want everyone to see it while he’s still Prime Minister…

It’s also been fun to watch Geoff Hoon under fire from all sides and repeating the phrase “enhanced body armour”, “enhanced body armour”, “enhanced body armour” as if it makes any difference.

It occured to me that Samantha Roberts called for him to apologise and got nothing… but when she called for his resignation she got an apology. Perhaps if she calls for the amputation of a limb she’ll get that resignation…

Or – more likely – perhaps Geoff Hoon will remain chained to his post until early next week, when he himself is scheduled to take a bullet.

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Date
20040119
Photoshopping
Time
13:20
Not that I’m encouraging such anti-social behaviour or anything…

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Date
20040119
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
13:35
Forwarded by Toby

Apache killing video becomes viral news: A graphic US military video showing the killing of three Iraqi people is being circulated via the web after appearing on US TV news channel ABC News.

The story contains a link to the 4.62Mb MPEG – and ‘graphic’ is right. It’s in night-vision, but the end of the footage will knock you for six…

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Date
20040119
Virus Alerts
Time
15:30
There’s a brand new virus on the loose that warrants an alert. I’ve received two copies of this little bugger in the last two hours, and it’s so new that my last anti-virus update (done this morning) doesn’t protect me from it (should I be stupid enough to open the attached .EXE file).

Click here to learn more about W32.Beagle.A@mm.

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Date
20040120
Only Interesting to Bloggers
Time
09:02
The nominations for the 4th Annual Weblog Awards are live. Greenfairy and the London Underground Tube Diary are among the nominees. But I’m not. When do nominations open for the Chopped Liver Awards?

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Date
20040120
Follow Up
Time
09:08
MikeRoweSoft.com has launched an open forum and a defence fund.

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Date
20040120
Doing The Rounds
Time
09:11
Quiz: The US presidency

I’m ashamed to say that I only got 6/10…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040120
Photoshopping
Time
09:12
Way to suck the fun out of life, guys. Please do excuse me for actively promoting your brand all these years… (Link via Rogi.)

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Date
20040120
Welcome To The 21st Century
Time
09:17
Enjoy some cars of the ‘future’ that never quite made it. All very fine and good, but when the hell do I get my long-overdue flying car? FFS, I’m still waiting for my silver jumpsuit…

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Date
20040120
Me Writer. Profeshunal. Make Wurds Good.
Time
09:22
I may be guilty of a few of these offences, but stand ready to claim artistic licence.

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Date
20040120
Church & State
Time
09:41
A whacking great granite monument has been put in front of Winston-Salem’s City Hall. Inscribed on one side is the Bill of Rights. On the other, a copy of the Ten Commandments.

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Date
20040120
Only Interesting to Hardcore Geeks
Time
10:43
You might want to read about the recent adventures of Chris Toshok. He had the FBI and the Secret Service investigating the theft of the Half-Life 2 source code at his door at 6:30am, presumably because of his association with The Hungry Programmers. They searched his house and took his computers (along with a bunch of other stuff) while a couple of ‘soft’ agents buddied up to him.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040120
Virus Alerts
Time
10:44
Slashdot provides some informative linkage on the new virus blogged yesterday.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040120
State of the Union
Time
11:09
Washington Post: The Bush administration’s inability to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq – after public statements declaring an imminent threat posed by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein – has begun to harm the credibility abroad of the United States and of American intelligence, according to foreign policy experts in both parties.

The ‘reality’ of this threat was a major part of last year’s State of the Union address. What dazzling highlights can we expect this year, do you think?

*ahem*

Photoshop theme (or, rather, a series of images enhanced with Adobe® Photoshop® software, intended to evoke an emotive response) – Bush. In. Spaaaaaaaaaaaaaace!

The Independent provides us with a list of items that probably won’t feature: George W Bush and the real state of the Union

If you have trouble understandabulating the whole thing, you may well benefit from the English – Bush Administration Lexicon. Assuming you’re not too drunk to care, that is…

Finally, presented in the spirit of ‘fair and balanced’ reporting, you may want to pick the whole thing apart with studious use of The Bush Conspiracy Theory Generator.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040120
In The News
Time
11:11
I’m sorry, but this is too comical and complex to complicate with a caption: 1, 2

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Date
20040120
South West Trains
Time
11:17
Toby now has prettier graphs and nifty buttons. Geoff is building nicely on his personal accounts.

And, finally, the government twigs that this might be an election issue.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040120
Civil Liberties
Time
11:22
Read more about the Codes of Practice for Covert Human Intelligence and Covert Surveillance. Found by PublicTechnology.net in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard’…

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Date
20040120
Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch
Time
11:27
Whoops. I spoke too soon: Lorraine Kelly mouths off about Clare Short and Page 3

1. She did not ‘relaunch her campaign’, you twit. She was asked her opinion and gave it.

2. So getting your top off is ‘cheeky and sassy but… essentially a bit of fun’? Then what’s your objection to the nude photos of you doing the rounds? Surely you can’t be suggesting that you feel demeaned by their release?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040120
Yet Another Lame Quiz
Time
11:38
Which James Bond vehicle are you?

I’m sure you’ll never guess who’s responsible for this one….

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Date
20040120
Flash Thingies
Time
11:43
Ha! It’s a mad cow!

BTW, this morning I woke up with the framework for an animation/song based in an abattoir and featuring a re-working of I Don’t Like Mondays. It had a Fast Food Nation message with a bit of local spin.

Sadly, I’ve had to put it in my ever-growing list of Stuff That Will Most Likely Never Get Done For Lack Of Time Or Money. Oh, how I long to be independently wealthy…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040120
Photoshopping
Time
14:10
Joe Smith wished to point out one image in particular from the Blair/Simpsons screengrabs yesterday. He thinks this one is right on the money.

Me, I think they missed a trick or two, so here for your viewing pleasure is a ‘missing scene’ showing Tony Blair at the Hutton Inquiry. Enjoy.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040120
Doing The Rounds
Time
14:25
This design/content mixmaster is absolutely brilliant. So far I’ve tried to have Belle de Jour posting on Tom Watson’s site and Dubya posting on mine, but I’m not having a lot of luck with cross-formatting. Have a play yourself and see what you can come up with. (Link via Sam Gibson.)

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Date
20040120
Quality Entertainment
Time
15:07
Finally, a film to please James Bond fans and Super-8 fans!

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Date
20040120
Anyone but George
Time
15:40
Do I really want to be up at 2:15am (GMT) just to watch carefully-crafted lies live on TV?

UPDATE – No. I don’t think so. No good can come of the exercise.

UPDATE 2 – Here’s an alternative drinking game that looks like a lot more fun than the one topping Blogdex – particularly if you plan on having friends around. I sha’n’t be needing it. I shall be sleeping. And I don’t have any friends.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040120
The Impeachment of George W Bush
Time
18:59
And so it begins….

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040121
Yet Another Lame Quiz
Time
09:23
The Which James Bond Vehicle Are You? quiz is ticking along nicely. Notable referrers so far include TTR2 and Greasy Chip Butty. It also got discovered somewhere over at Salon.com’s Table Talk sometime last night. I’m still digging around for the actual thread it features in, but in the meantime here’s a thread from that neck of the woods that talks about nothing but personality quizzes. It was here that I found:

Which John Hughes Character Are You?

I’m Cameron Frye!

(sings)

When Cameron was in Egypt land….

Which Dysfunctional Care Bear Are You?

I’m Bondage Bear!

(sings)

Oh baby let me be,

Your lovin’ Bondage Bear.

Use you leather, whips and chains,

And tie me to that chair.

Oh let me be,

(Oh let him be)

Your Bondage Bear….

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040121
Only Interesting to Bloggers
Time
09:30
Technorati is currently running a test version of its new back-end. I used it to discover Tom Dolan’s very kind (if less-than-subtle) link-whoring.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040121
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
09:34
Winston Churchill’s parrot is alive and well… and still cursing the Nazis.

UPDATE – Churchill’s family claims that this is not his parrot. I’m sure none of us will rest until we get to the bottom of this…

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Date
20040121
Anyone but George
Time
10:10
Well, I’m a man of my word. I slept right through Bush’s State of the Union address. But Martyn didn’t. He noticed that every channel bar Euro News and Bloomberg was showing it. He also noticed that Fox News seemed to be missing the hitherto-ever-present ‘terror alert’ immediately following the address.

Perhaps this is because – as Bush is claiming – pre-emptive action is actually making the world saferer. (Heh. The Guardian also carries a great cartoon by Steve Bell today.)

Yes, praise be to Jesus for saving us from the very real threat of ‘weapons of mass destruction-related program activities’….

You may be interested in the following Democratic Underground threads:

Bush State of the Union Address – What did you think?

After the State of the Union Address, is anyone more committed than before to removing that fraud from the White House?

One comment in that latter thread caught my eye: “This is the most disgusting politicization of our SOTU address I have ever seen”

Well, let’s be fair. It is an election year, and the man has a tough case to make if he wants to actually get elected this time around. Perhaps it’s possible to dig out a worthy comparison or two from this collection of past State of the Union addresses.

CNN has some analysis, as does The Onion.

Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of noise about the many hints of fundamentalist-driven policies on the horizon… but I’m hoping that will change soon.

So, the final word (for now, at least) goes to the Democratic response: (The pResident) has pursued a go-it-alone foreign policy that leaves us isolated abroad and that steals resources we need for education and health care here at home. The president led us into the Iraq war on the basis of unproven assertions without evidence. He embraced a radical doctrine of pre-emptive war unprecedented in our history, and he failed to build a true international coalition.

Note – If all of that is too much for you, try instead this concise summary of the State of the Union address (found at The Ultimate Insult).

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Date
20040121
Useful
Time
10:17
Have you handled a full transcript of Bush’s State of the Union address today? Please be sure to wash your hands afterwards.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040121
In The News
Time
10:25
Police could not locate the family of Joynal Abedin after he was killed in a hit-and-run accident. A good thing, then, that the hospital knew where to send the bill.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040121
11/9 (please note correct formatting of date)
Time
10:30
I suppose this is what is meant by ‘an unprecedented amount of cooperation’.

Oh, that quote led me to Angry Bear who also notes today that: Now, the purported threat to America is not WMD, nor WMD programs, nor even WMD-related programs, but instead WMD-related program activities, whatever that means.

Oh, and reading the transcript, does anyone else notice how seamlessly the terror threat works in with the issue of rebuilding Iraq? The link is that America is also ‘dealing with these (terrorist) thugs in Iraq’ – but those thugs weren’t there until after Bush charged in with his pre-emptive (and illegal) invasion. Can you explain to me again how this is making us all saferer?

UPDATE – Heh. I’ve just noticed that I’ve started a post on 11/9 and then moved right onto Iraq with barely a pause for breath. Damn, he’s got me doing it now…

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Date
20040121
Photoshopping
Time
10:45
Another ‘missing scene’ from The Regina Monologues for you. This one shows Tony Blair this time next week.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040121
In The News
Time
11:00
Bugger the truck; save the beer!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040121
Consume!
Time
11:33
How can you say no to a portrait of you with Stevie Nicks?

(Or, alternatively, a portrait of Stevie Nicks with your cat…)

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Date
20040121
Everybody Loves George
Time
12:01
Salon.com – the ‘no jobs’ pResident (requires subscription or ad view): The Bush years are a study in deliberately wasted effort: Repeal of the estate tax. Tax exemption for stock dividends. Ballistic Missile Defense. The USA PATRIOT Act. The war on Iraq. Each of these initiatives has a clientele. None of them seriously aims to achieve its stated goal, be that economic recovery or homeland security or national security writ large. The method is clear to any who choose to study closely: It is a method of subterfuge and deception. It is the systematic and relentless pursuit of partly hidden agendas, sold to the public with slogans. The tax cuts were not aimed to produce recovery and jobs; they were a reward to the rich. The war on Iraq was not waged to help the war on terror; it was about getting Saddam, as we have now had confirmed by Paul O’Neill’s report on the Iraq agenda Bush carried from the beginning. Missile defense is not about North Korea, and still less about Iran or any other “rogue state”; it’s about the contracts. In all these cases, the decision on what to do came first — then the circumstances of the day were arranged to suit.

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Date
20040121
The ‘Biased’ BBC
Time
12:12
You’d almost think that Richard Desmond has developed a bit of a problem with the BBC. Or that his pal Tony Blair needs some dirt slung around ahead of the release of Hutton’s report next week. Or both.

The front-page headline for today’s Express is a dandy.

One look at it, and you just know that the BBC is about to hire a shouty raghead who wants to blow us all up. And that this has been done to maintain a mad level of political correctness. Or to undermine our way of life. Or both.

The article is about the hiring of Ibrahim Helal, former editor of the Arabic satellite TV channel al-Jazeera. Owned by…?

Owned by the Qatari government.

Not owned by Osama bin Laden. Not even owned by one of his close personal mates who happens to run a huge porn empire on the side.

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Date
20040121
We’re Not At Home To Mr Cockup
Time
15:05
I just got one of my regular ‘local crime’ alerts from the Neighbourhood Watch chappie. It reads:

Theft – An insecure man’s blue mountain bike was stolen from the rear garden of a residential housing building.

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Date
20040121
Flash Games
Time
15:23
Penguins at the ready? Batter up! My personal best: 436.9

UPDATE – Make that 491.1… Oh, and there’s a copy of this game here, too (but this one appears to be a tad sluggish of the sluggage). Cheers, Smoosh. Cheers, FunJunkie.

UPDATE – 534! OK, back to work…

UPDATE – 555.7! The sweet spot you’re looking for is a bounce somewhere between 300 and 350…

Right. Work…

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Date
20040121
Anyone but George
Time
16:10
Hooray for educational eugenics!

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Date
20040121
Tony Blair’s Email
Time
16:40
I’ve got some bloody idiot woman here who thinks that the British Prime Minister needs to be emailed the full transcript of Dubya’s State of the Union address. Just in case he doesn’t already have access to it, you understand…

I swear, one day I’m going to start replying to these people.

First on the list will be the shouty chap who emails every other day (and CC’s everyone from George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin to Interpol and the FBI) with his thoughts on the Catholic Church, drugs & whores… and drugs & whores in the Catholic Church.

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Date
20040121
Consumer Power
Time
17:19
A warning to all UK businesses:

If you try to fob me off with customer ‘service’ via a call centre in India, I will take the time to track down a local landline and hassle you that way. You should also be aware that from this point on, you will be dealing with not one complaint, but two.

FFS!

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Date
20040122
Conservatives
Time
10:22
Ahahahahahahaha! Tories reveal plan to privatise universities. That’s some serious blue-pie-in-the-sky thinking, folks.

Oh, wait. That’s not funny at all. If Blair doesn’t take his bullet like a man, the resulting damage to Labour’s reputation could actually see the Tories get in at the next election – and education could go the way of the ‘always on time and not at all stripped to the bones for profit’ rail network.

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Date
20040122
Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch
Time
10:25
(Post updated with figures that are less silly, but far more entertaining. Cheers, Jon.)

The Sun appears to have all but given up on attacking Clare Short. Since Monday, most of their printing costs have gone towards touting their status as ‘official’ newspaper for the next series of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. But on Tuesday, Rebekah Wade came up with the ingenious idea of choosing a softer target; shouty Muslim cleric Abu Hamza. A smart move, in that his evil eye and menacing hook are sure to strike fear into the hearts of all Sun readers – even those who can’t read.

A hotline was set up yesterday, and the case presented with some niftily-rounded and easy-to-understand numbers. Today, the votes are in… a ‘colossal’ 98.4% want to boot Mr Scary Spongepants out of the country. Victory for The Sun! They’ve found someone that more people hate than their own editor! Or have they?

Let’s take a gander at some recent circulation figures and generously afford Rebekah 3,277,000 readers per day during January. Out of these, 35,935 rang the You The Judge, Jury and Executioner hotline yesterday (making £3593.50 for The Sun and BT in the process). That’s just over 1% of the readership. Not entirely unhealthy (they’d make one hell of a mob if you armed them with bricks and torches) but ‘massive’? Hardly. Yet the The Sun crunch the numbers rather selectively and say that ‘a colossal 35,353 (98.4%) had contacted our You The Jury hotline to vote Yes, Hamza should get the boot.’

And completely fail to point out that this amounts to a mere 1% of Sun readers that care enough to spend 10p on it.

How can this be? This man is eeeeeevil – and he costs the taxpayer £1m a year (or something like that).

Perhaps the remainder have trouble operating touch-tone phones… or care far more about whether or not Jordan gets her boobs out on I’m a Celebrity…

Actually, now I think about it, The Sun ran a similar phone poll last week asking how many readers thought Clare Short was wrong to threaten their right to titillation. I’d very much like to know if more or less readers voted pro-breasts rather than anti-Hamza. Sadly, they don’t appear to have published the response to the previous hotline, so we may never know…

Sidebar: The Sun today takes time to mention the diamond geezers who tried to rob the Millennium Dome, but there’s been no mention of Tony’s Big Idea robbing us and how the Dome sitting mainly empty for the last 3 years has cost taxpayers £30m (with another 3 years of similar costs ahead of us before it’s – theoretically – developed into A Large Useful Building Of Uncertain Purpose).

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Date
20040122
Useful
Time
10:30
Test: How fit is your brain? Mine can bench-press 167 useless facts in 30 seconds.

UPDATE – But it’s not very good with numbers.

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Date
20040122
Follow Up
Time
10:32
Microsoft admits that it may have taken its trademark rights “a little too seriously”… No? Really?

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Date
20040122
Google
Time
10:35
Someone’s looking to get sued. (NSFW)

UPDATE – SMH reports on Booble.com and the ‘unnamed New York-based former internet executive’ who asked that he remain anonymous ‘to avoid being barred from his daughter’s school softball games’. Before you look, yes he’s taken the precaution of registering with this ‘private registration’ firm, so a WHOIS reveals nothing. But I’m sure Google will track him down sooner or later. His ‘parody’ defence is shaky at best.

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Date
20040122
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:38
Everything’s old SOTU news this morning…. but the MP3 of Howard Dean going shouty-crackers has morphed into a hot dance remix.

Oh, and the addictive Penguin-batting game blogged yesterday is sucking productivity out of offices all over the world. You might want to take the time to meet some fellow victims. (Note – this link now requires registration. Sorry about that.)

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Date
20040122
In The News
Time
10:46
Art Garfunkel has been charged with pot possession. We can probably expect an official response on the news section of his website sometime today.

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Date
20040122
Only Interesting to Bloggers
Time
10:52
Explore the hidden wonders of creative link-whoring.

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Date
20040122
Corporate Wisdom
Time
10:56
Finally, the awakening we have all been waiting for! Television advertising on the web looks like it may finally become a reality, and we have not just new technology to thank, but some brilliant new thinking: The new ad technology, from Unicast, an advertising company based in New York, invisibly loads the commercial while unwitting users read a Web page, then displays the ad across the entire browser area when users click to a new page.

Yes, I can see this becoming very popular….

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Date
20040122
Anyone but George
Time
11:17
Atrios stared in incredulous wonder at the ‘weapons of mass destruction-related program activities’ line in Bush’s State of the Union address, and now – thanks to one of his readers – we know that the line isn’t just a line of bull, it’s a plagiarised line of bull. It first appeared in this Detroit News editorial from Monday, October 20, 2003.

Moving right along…

LNR has a take on the State of the Union address, as does Instapundit, but Headline Of The Day goes to Catch, with ‘fair and balanced’ linkage as follows: Why does McPaper hate America?

Catch.com also brings us a link to this cartoon take on the SOTU address. Enjoy.

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Date
20040122
Only Interesting to Bloggers
Time
11:18
What’s this blogging thing all about, then? This one man’s theory; it’s the punk movement all over again. And a party.

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Date
20040122
Seems Fair…
Time
11:25
Authorities in town of Sharon, Massachusetts publish ‘bad check’ list. You can see the list of deadbeats here.

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Date
20040122
Anyone but George
Time
11:29
Curse me and my leftist intellectual elitism: They like Bush, and they are not stupid

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Date
20040122
Christianity Watch
Time
11:41
Bush: All your parks are belong to us. Want to learn about the Grand Canyon when you go to visit? Prepare to see it from a Christian perspective. And by that I mean discover that it was created no more than a few thousand years ago.

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Date
20040122
The Hutton Inquiry
Time
12:08
The Guardian – Five questions for Lord Hutton

And one question from me: If the report finds Gilligan and/or the BBC at fault, will the government at any stage dare to spin this as ‘proof’ that the document in question was without fault?

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Date
20040122
Follow Up
Time
14:21
I just couldn’t help myself. I had to dig into Booble and track down this anonymous Interwebnet executive from New York City.

As I pointed out before, the domain name booble.com is registered with domainsbyproxy.com, who provide an anonymous WHOIS service.

But lo and behold, hidden in the code of the webmaster sign-up page at booble.com (view source and scroll down), we find a clue; what appears to be a leftover scrap in the code in the form of a copyright notice for ‘Charlie Company’.

So, now we dig…

We have no guarantee that charliecompany.com is the URL for this organisation, but the WHOIS for charliecompany.com does reveal an admin contact in NYC. It’s registered to Charlie Company, Inc., but the address given for this is in Canada. Kind of shaky ground so far…

But then we look at the technical contact and find one Abner Krawiczieki, of ‘Sir Rodney Ltd.’

Hosted at www.sirrodney.com is a ‘guide to free and paid porn and erotica’…a link by theme!

The sirrodney.com domain name was registered with… domainsbyproxy.com… a link by provider!

So back we go to that orginal WHOIS for charliecompany.com, whose admin is listed as mailbits.com; an online marketing arm (another possible link) of a company by the name of Bradford & Reed… who appear to be operating as an ISP in NYC.

What do you think… am I getting close?

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Date
20040122
Flash Games
Time
15:07
B3ta’s blogged it, as has The Ultimate Insult. I may as well do my bit to introduce the world to the wonders of epilepsy and plug the eye-burning, mind-spazzing doplhin game as well.

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Date
20040123
In The News
Time
09:34
Well done, Jenny Tonge. Nail on head. Guts to say it. Debate started. Good job all round. But f**k me, you’re going to pay for it.

You may want to get in touch with Jenny Tonge today and do your bit to balance out the hate mail.

Of course it’s a bloody tragedy when someone dies, but how stupid is it to blindly dismiss the motivations of the people who perpetrate these acts? What possible way forward is there without sensible dialogue?

I don’t know if I’d be inclined to become a suicide bomber under these circumstances, but I think I can state with a fair degree of certainty that I’d be one of the first people throwing rocks.

UPDATE – This report by The Independent carries a nice quote from Tonge’s made-necessarry-by-shouty-people clarifying statement: “To say that I understand why they take this action does not mean that I condone it. The world is not listening to the plight of these people. The Middle East peace process is failing Palestinians and Israeli citizens alike. It is about time world leaders took serious action to resolve the Middle East crisis, rather than look the other way.”

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Date
20040123
Told You So
Time
09:51
Labour and Blair see poll ratings plummet

Tory support at 11-year high

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Date
20040123
Anyone but George
Time
09:57
Howard Dean’s shouty-crackers moment has become an issue that may be hard to shake (though this may have helped). Even remixes of it have made the news. Meanwhile, George orders ribs

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Date
20040123
Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch
Time
10:30
The Sun’s Hamza-out-hotline-count is up to a whopping 75,000. That’s 2.2% of their readership. Perhaps this is why the ‘massive’ number of callers is today tucked away in a small corner of the front page instead of covering most of it like it was yesterday. Or perhaps they think they’ll sell more papers with the I’m a Celebrity… battle of the boobs and the tragic news that J-Lo and Ben have split up.

No matter. I’m sure a campaign against Jenny Tonge is being lined up as we speak. Even the Page 3 girls look prepared to move on. Yesterday, Ruth (23, from London) said of Hamza: “He’s a sponger and he has got to go. I’m not at all surprised that The Sun has been swamped with support for its campaign.”

But today, Corina (19, from Oxford) seems far more concerned about the cannabis debate, saying that: “The whole issue has been a complete fiasco and handled very badly.”

She’s right you know. The world would be a better place with teenage glamour models in charge.

UPDATE – I’m a busy busy busy person in the next two weeks, but I really want to get this Is Rebekah Wade a Sociopath? page going. Offers of help bring the evidence together (text/linkage concisely presenting examples like the ‘Bonkers’ Bruno incident and the paedophile campaign during her time at NOTW) would be a very welcome time-saver.

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Date
20040123
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:41
Boston.com – Senate panel’s GOP staff pried on Democrats: Republican staff members of the US Senate Judiciary Commitee infiltrated opposition computer files for a year, monitoring secret strategy memos and periodically passing on copies to the media.

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Date
20040123
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
10:47
Poor old Tom is finally getting his debate about RFID tags, but they’ve scheduled it for right after the tuition fees vote. He’ll be standing up just as 600 MPs leave the room.

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Date
20040123
Flash Thingies
Time
10:52
Five….

Four…

Three…

Two…

One!

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Date
20040123
Fame Is Good
Time
10:56
Ron Jeremy gives his thoughts on life, his career and… the education system?

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Date
20040123
Normal People
Time
10:59
Meet George C. Reiger Jr. He’s Disney’s No. 1 fan – and has over 1000 tattoos on his body to prove it. (Link via Ultimate Insult.)

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Date
20040123
Clowns Are Evil
Time
11:09
Get comfortable, kids. It’s story time. Don’t count on a good nap afterwards, though.

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Date
20040123
Activism
Time
11:17
Finally, a cause to unite us! (Link via Ionicus.)

If you don’t know what ‘goatse’ means, count yourself lucky and move on. Seriously.

UPDATE – Oh, and if you do know what goatse is, then you’ll love this. (SFW)

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Date
20040123
Google
Time
11:39
The database for Google’s image search appears to have been updated for the first time in 6+ months. The first thing I’ve noticed is what a lucky bugger Tim Yeo is. This first page of results could have been much more unpleasant.

UPDATE – Heh. This search result appears to tell a wonderful story.

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Date
20040123
Seems Fair…
Time
15:37
BBC – Tonge sacked over suicide comment: Jenny Tonge has been asked by Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy to quit his front bench following her remarks about Palestinian suicide bombers.

Well done, Charles. Another fine example of your leadership qualities.

I just love the comment from shadow foreign secretary Michael Ancram: “There can never be an excuse for taking innocent lives…”

What, never? No, never? Well, hardly ever…

How do ‘accidental’ civilian casualties fit into that equation? Or shooting unarmed civilian protestors?

I’m not pointing the finger at Israel here, either. Keep your ocean calm and blue. I’m just saying that there seems to be an automatic blind spot any time the magic word ‘terrorism’ is used.

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Date
20040126
Church & State
Time
10:26
I watched yet another documentary on abstinence programmes last night, this one from the biased heathens at the BBC. There’s a further outline of the programme from the producer here.

This one focused on the Silver Ring Thing, which already enjoys $700,000 in funding from the Bush administration. They’re seeking further funding ($2m here, $2m there) “to combat the ‘liberal’ message of sex education” – and to take the show on the road to Uganda.

Current funding rules require them to run a ‘non-faith-based alternative seminar’ where funding is ‘directly’ involved. The Christian version ends with new recruits donning a ring inscribed with ‘1 Thess 4:3-4‘… I can’t help but quietly wonder if the alternative seminar features the same $80,000 sound and light show – and the same jewellery – or if it’s held in a small side room with a buffet of cucumber sandwiches and ‘alternative’ rings inscribed with: ‘I’m an Atheist and I don’t give a fuck’.

The guy running the show – Denny Pattyn – was shown organising a university-based debate with dangerous liberal types. He wanted Meg Meeker there to help sell the medical side and offered the time-strapped author a flight by private plane (no doubt funded ‘directly’ by private donations) to get her to this debate. He also announced the following without shame: “I haven’t told them you’ve written a book, because I don’t want them to go out and read it.”

At the very same debate, Meg Meeker dared to claim that she “was not about withholding information”.

These same people lobby to prevent kids 12-14 year old kids from receiving basic sex education. Yet Denny Pattyn’s own 11-year-old daughter wears a ring and is able to spout the STD-fear dogma almost word for word.

There’s more. And I’m grinding my teeth as I write this, so please excuse me…

The question we have to ask – especially given the funding – is as follows:

Is this about education and health, or is this about religion?

At the climax of the rally shown (I’m sorry, but there’s no way you could describe it as a ‘seminar’), Denny Pattyn got very close to the microphone for the Big Sell: “Maybe tonight’s the night you need to make your peace with God. Maybe tonight’s the night you need to settle it. Why not let tonight be the night that when you put on the ring, it’s the same night you say ‘Lord forgive me, forgive me for what I’ve been up to!'”

Forgive me for being unfair. I’m forgetting the ‘non-faith-based alternative’ seminars. Reid Carpenter, a consultant for Silver Ring Thing, is obviously a big believer in their effectiveness, and says at a later meeting: “Without Jesus, this thing is a failure!”

This programme is a blatant Christian recruitment drive – and just in case you have any doubts…

Silver Ring Thing founder and director 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.”

And, when asked if he thinks this is coming if his energy really should be put into an abstinence programme: “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.

He’s not worried about their health. He’s not worried about their future. In fact, he appears to be fairly certain that they don’t have one. Unless it’s with Jesus.

UPDATE – 100 things to do with your boyfriend or girlfriend instead of it.

And, presented for no reason whatsoever, Chapter 3 of George Orwell’s 1984

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Date
20040126
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:32
Bill Gates is to receive an honorary knighthood for “services to global enterprise”

grmf*

Gates also declared war on Spam recently. Interesting… I’ve been talking to some people following the trail of Spam and it nearly always leads straight back to core providers just like him. All he has to do to stop it is to refuse to provide the backbone of the service.

UPDATE – Slashdot reacts.

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Date
20040126
Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch
Time
10:38
It’s Tony’s big week o’ trials, and here comes Rupert Murdoch to the rescue!

The Sun today runs a a very interesting editorial, in which it claims (with foresight bordering on precognition) that: “On Wednesday Mr Blair faces his second test when Lord Hutton opens his report into the circumstances surrounding Dr David Kelly’s death. The signs are that Lord Hutton will clear Mr Blair of directly contributing to that event. Hutton appears to have got that right.”

They then go on to suggest the suicide may have been prompted by Dr Kelly’s involvement with ‘a California-based Islamic sect’. Involvement or not, influence or not, the way they describe the Baha’i faith has ‘Crazypersoncrazypersoncrazyperson!’ written all over it. And whatever you think of the Baha’i faith, describing it as an Islamic sect is pretty much like referring to Christianity as a Jewish cult. The inference is clear; Dr David Kelly was obviously a shouty towel-head whose only failure was to take a few of us infidels with him.

Oh, and if you’re concerned that you haven’t read about this incredible revelation elsewhere, worry no longer – you can read more about this and Dr Kelly’s troubled youth in Murdoch’s broadsheet The Times.

Was David Kelly assasinated? No. But his reputation seems to be in for a beating.

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Date
20040126
Only Interesting to Hardcore Geeks
Time
10:40
IKEA WALKTHROUGH v2.3.1

You want me to do *what* with the scented candles?

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Date
20040126
Seems Fair…
Time
10:42
The Guardian – Lib Dems petition for Tonge’s return

Today’s paper also carries a rundown of editorials, including the one from The Independent that had me cheering on Saturday morning, which begins: “Charles Kennedy should be ashamed of himself.”

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Date
20040126
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
11:11