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.

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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.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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….

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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….

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040209
Education
Time
11:55
Is this educational? How about this?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040209
Yet Another Lame Quiz
Time
12:01
Which America-Hating Minority Are You? (Link via vgnwtch.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040209
How Weblogs Work
Time
12:37
Bloggers thrown out of NY eatery let off Googlebomb to show their displeasure.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040209
Flash Thingies
Time
13:47
1. What, no soldier suit?

2. Ahahahahahahahaha!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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….

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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….)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Date
20040119
In The News
Time
09:54
Would-be burglar caught wedged in chimney (includes pictures).

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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…

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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.

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Date
20040120
Virus Alerts
Time
10:44
Slashdot provides some informative linkage on the new virus blogged yesterday.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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…

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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.

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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.

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Date
20040120
The Impeachment of George W Bush
Time
18:59
And so it begins….

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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….

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Date
20040121
In The News
Time
11:00
Bugger the truck; save the beer!

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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!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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).

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040126
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
11:11
The Independent – Saddam’s WMD never existed, says chief American arms inspector David Kay.

The Telegraph – Saddam’s WMD hidden in Syria, says chief American arms inspector David Kay.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040126
On This Day…
Time
11:14
Today is Australia Day! This year marks the first time I’ve even pretended to care.

Oh, and yesterday was International Internet Free Day. I missed it, yet somehow ended up participating by default. Lucky me.

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Date
20040126
In The News
Time
11:19
Convenience store clerk charged with larceny after snatching a winning $20,000 lottery ticket from a customer and giving her only $100.

Also; Police arrest man for indecent exposure after he leaves a photo of his genitals – along with his cell phone number – taped to a drink machine.

Heh. I was wondering just the other day why there aren’t any flashers targeting photo booths and leaving a quad-print of their wedding tackle behind…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040126
Consume!
Time
11:48
The sheer cheek of the copy on ads like this amuses me no end, but at the same time I worry about the poor saps that are taken in by this rubbish.

Yes, this is a ‘classic retro style’ typewriter being offered for the incredible price of £49.99 – you save £1000.00 ‘on the cost of buying a computer’.

And spare ribbons for only £5.99 each! Bargain!

The fun continues: ‘Ideal for those who don’t want to spend over a thousand pounds on a computer and a printer and then there’s the electric bills.’

This ‘fabulous gift for all those who remember the good old days’ is offered to the public by Bright Life UK. I’m pretty sure this is the same company who brought us the UK-version of the ‘marketing breakthrough’ that is the GFX-100 indoor TV dish antenna.

Bright Life UK have been slapped over the wrist for running misleading print ads in the past, but I’m amazed that they stopped short of making the perfectly legitimate claim that this ‘rare classic’ typewriter is invulnerable to computer virus attacks.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040126
Consume!
Time
12:48
I. Must. Have. This!

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Date
20040126
‘Is That Real?’ Etc.
Time
14:29
Yeearrrrrrrrgh! Run! Run for your lives! (Do feel free to try this at home….)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040126
‘Is That Real?’ Etc.
Time
17:11
Baby dragon discovered in a garage in Oxfordshire, southern England. There’s a nifty close-up here.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040126
Google
Time
17:27
A good question from Tom: Why is this necessarry?

Well, to be fair, the BBC really could have picked a better first subject for the so-called experiment, but AdWords does have its applications, and immediate/short-term coverage of a vital range of search terms just like this happens to be one of them.

The BBC enjoys excellent newslink coverage on these queries, and this article and this feature enjoy 5th and 6th place respectively, but that’s just for ‘hutton inquiry’. There are also many people who search for ‘hutton enquiry’, ‘hutton report’, etc. etc. etc.

The BBC is just making sure that no matter who searches for what relating to the Hutton Inquiry, that the page they want to show will be visible for all manner of search queries. Perhaps one might ask why they feel *that* is necessary… but the cost (as with the demand) appears to be minimal; about 4p per click.

Unless of course some entrepreneur decides to make their mark with a run of ‘I Survived the Hutton Inquiry’ t-shirts tomorrow… or some twit reads the Guardian article and decides to up the bidding just to piss Auntie off.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040126
Tony Blair’s Email
Time
17:35
I have decided that, should Tony come a serious cropper on Wednesday, I will finally start answering some of the (very) persistent people who are still emailing the hoax email address. I can pretend that he’s barricaded himself inside No. 10 and seeking kindred spirits to help him take back the country. Or that he’s determined to ‘blow the gaff’ on the top-secret plans of shape-shifting lizards that really rule the world before they come to take him away.

Or I can email all of the people who’ve sent him email like this and ask if perhaps they can put him up at their place for a while:

—– Original Message —–

From: javaid hameed

To: tony-blairATprime-minister.co.uk

Sent: Tuesday, January 20, 2004 2:46 PM

Subject: sir please help me

Respected sir,

I am very poor I have no job, I am the only person who is eligible to earn money. Here in Pakistan unemployment ratio is very high.

We are six brothers and sistres I am the only son all my sisters eligible to get married

so I need money to full fill my family need, Now in thease circumstance I am very diappionted from my life.I heared from my friends in Pakistan many job apportiounties in UK, so do me this favor .

I will be thanks full to you for whole life.

I hope your response will be positive.

Sir, i do my work very Honestly sir please give me any job like sweeper ,loder, kitchen cleaner,etc.

Sir please please give me a one chance.nobody help me please help me

Thanks

Javaid Hamid.

PAKISTAN

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Date
20040128
Virus Alerts
Time
10:33
Bloody hell, what a morning… and rotten bloody viruses appear to have hit big at the Best Possible Time. I take it you’re all aware of MyDoom. I’m fully updated and protected, but there’s hundreds of the buggers clogging up my mail server. If you emailed me yesterday, hang in there. I’ll dig out the important stuff soon enough.

delete

delete

delete

delete

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040128
Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch
Time
10:35
Sun leaks report into leak that judge insisted not be leaked!

If it’s genuine, I’m sure Hutton will have something to say. If it’s not, I’m sure the PCC will want to give them a good gumming. It’s just a shame there isn’t a law against barefaced cheek.

Trevor Kavanagh, political editor for The Scum, was on Radio 4 this morning and actually said that they didn’t have an agenda – either for Tony Blair or against the BBC. Right…

Roll on 12:30….

UPDATE – Here’s a picture for you that may have a very short shelf life. Enjoy it while you can: click here to embiggen.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040128
Consume!
Time
11:20
The Guardian – The price isn’t right: Supermarkets don’t sell cheap food, we just think they do – and they’re ruining local economies.

So I’ve noticed. The cheapest, nastiest 6-rasher packs of bacon on offer at the local Tesco and Sainburys don’t even go below £2. My local Londis has a range of wonderful 6-packs starting at £1.09 – you used to be able to get it cheaper and better from the High St butchers… but it closed down this time last year.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040128
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
11:26
A MyDoom/Norag virus alert, of course.. and the New York Post reporting on Al Franken ‘bodyslamming’ a Dean heckler. I see a few more reports popping up here and there, but so far every printed response has been from the right. Proof of the overwhelming influence of liberal media, no doubt…

*ahem*

Also, there’s this: Confessions of a Car Salesman.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040128
In The Courts
Time
11:30
Lawyers wrangle over evidence in $1.5 million ‘cat attacks dog’ trial.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040128
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
11:35
I gave another SEO seminar yesterday (sorry, forgot to warn you of possible non-bloggage). It was my first all-day seminar, and it gave a lot of elbow room to make it clear what this whole SEO/viral/weblog/community malarkey is all about. But my throat hurts.

Anyway, from there I toodled off to the public meeting that launched an inquiry into MPs and blogging. Juicy quotes follow, but you can find a far more comprehensive report from Bill Thompson here.

Clive Soley: “I think it will take off, actually. I think it is a very good way of communicating.”

Tony Benn: “The media never report what is said in a public meeting…. this information can now come back into the public domain.”

Tom Watson: “Political weblogs are starting to set an agenda in parliament, and that’s got to be a good thing.”

For the doubters, I present to you Tom Watson’s adjournment debate on RFID, which I think contains the first link-credits ever afforded in parliament.

While waiting to gain access to the mysteriously full Stranger’s Gallery (which is where I got my little souvenir), I found myself in the lobby as the vote went through for top-up fees. Blair manages to turn the leader of the rebellion and still only squeaks by 5 votes? Battle won, strength of troops revealed in the process. I can’t see that being a good thing in the long run.

I saw and heard lots (for instance, the police were very worried there would be trouble inside as people left the gallery) but the highlight for me was meeting and shaking hands with Tim Yeo.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040128
Animal Kingdom
Time
11:39
Intelligent parrot displays signs of telepathy! Wordlab begs to differ.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040128
Only Interesting to Bloggers
Time
11:43
ScaryDuck reports on the Popbitch whispers that Belle De Jour is ‘a well known young British author ‘. The Popbitch thread he references appears to have been pulled or blocked.

UPDATE – No, broken. Now fixed. You can read the relevant chatter here.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040128
Tony Blair’s Email
Time
11:46
Heh. Cheers to Abnu for pointing out this article, which claims that Bill Clinton only sent two emails during his time in office. One of them included the very important message; ‘test’.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040128
A Blog Is Born
Time
12:05
Meet Claire Potter. She’s a Lib-Dem Councillor on Worthing Borough Council. And now she’s also a blogger.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040128
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
12:45
BBC: Lord Hutton said he had decided that the question of whether intelligence about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction justified going to war fell outside the scope of his inquiry.

Bugger!

Oh well. Back to the central question of the inquiry; who was primarily responsible for the death of Dr Kelly? Lord Hutton points the finger at… nobody!

Oh, but we can now expect an inquiry into the leak of the conclusions of the inquiry into the leak that started it all.

But no independent inquiry into the decision to go to war – a decision based on what appears to be the government cherry-picking and/or influencing intelligence, currently being fed to us as an ‘admission’ that they trusted poor intelligence.

Instead, we have this.

Ho-hum.

The full report should be available here sometime soon.

And what of Tony? Well, it’s beginning to look like he’s going to be in power forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever….

UPDATE – The Guardian – Hutton delivers damning verdict on BBC.

This is really starting to stink. My only consolation is that The Scum may be too busy fending off a legal battle to proceed as you might expect. But I’m not holding my breath.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040128
Tinfoil Helmets
Time
16:13
Mydoom overtakes Sobig.F as biggest computer virus ever

The Sobig.f virus was first detected on August 18, 2003 – during the 2nd week of evidence to the Hutton Inquiry when we first started hearing from core members of the government. Now we have Mydoom, just as the final report is published.

I’m just saying is all…

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Date
20040128
Seems Fair…
Time
17:03
Reuters – BBC chairman resigns after Hutton report

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Date
20040128
Video
Time
20:41
This guy should run for President.

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Date
20040129
Photoshopping
Time
08:55
Like a lot of other people at B3ta, I did some ‘shop-venting yesterday. As ionicus notes, this was a highlight. The Sun/BBC post prompted the most discussion, but outright shoutiness soon became tiresome.

My personal venting was as follows:

After the delivery of the report

Like a Hutton on a string…

New BBC Test Card

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Date
20040129
Told You So
Time
09:20
Well, I was close

Bloggerheads Jan 22: 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?

Lord Hutton: In the context of the broadcasts in which the “sexing-up” allegation was reported and having regard to the other allegations reported in those broadcasts, I consider that the allegation was unfounded as it would have been understood by those who heard the broadcasts to mean that the dossier had been embellished with intelligence known or believed to be false or unreliable, which was not the case.

Tony Blair: That is how this began: with an accusation that was false then and is false now. We can have the debate about the war; about WMD; about intelligence. But we do not need to conduct it by accusations of lies and deceit. We can respect each other’s motives and integrity even when in disagreement. Let me repeat the words of Lord Hutton: ‘False accusations of fact impugning the integrity of others … should not be made’. Let those that made them now withdraw them.

Nice to Tony to take a phrase aimed at the media and fire it across at Mr Howard like that. Anyway…

The Guardian: Mr Blair quoted Lord Hutton as saying that No 10’s need for a powerful dossier might have “subconsciously influenced … members of the JIC to make the wording of the dossier somewhat stronger”.

The BBC is under fire for a culture and structure that allows for spectacular moments of significant failure. What of the government? Is it really so mired in spin, that this level of influence can actually be described as ‘subconcious’…?

Oh, and we’re still waiting for the progression from ‘we did not unduly influence this document’ to ‘we were right’ (tempered with ‘but the intelligence was wrong’), but the twist is coming.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040129
Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch
Time
09:22
Bit a a gentle start from The Scum, perhaps because they know they’re in a for a roasting themselves:

The Guardian – Sun faces investigation into how it obtained leaked copy

The Independent – Leak or sting? ‘The Sun’ refuses to name source for report

Tony Blair has been getting all angry and shouty about people pointing the finger at him, but, boy, this pro-Blair tabloid with a blatant anti-BBC agenda sure got the day off to a cracking start, didn’t it? There’s been such a furore over the anti-BBC footing that what criticism there was of the government in the report (that has been very carefully worded but could not be denied without ignoring publicly-accessible evidence) barely made it to the surface. Oh, and the report made no ruling on the validity of the causes for war – but it is here – on a vindicated high – that Mr Blair wants to draw the line and move on.

Whitewash? Pah! How about ‘avalanche’?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040129
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
09:38
The Oscar nominee list is out! Try to pretend you care.

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Date
20040129
Welcome To The 21st Century
Time
09:39
Reuters: A Danish biotech company has developed a genetically modified flower that could help detect landmines and it hopes to have a prototype ready for use within a few years. The genetically modified weed has been coded to change colour when its roots come in contact with nitrogen-dioxide (NO2) evaporating from explosives buried in soil.

Landmine safety and flowers? Diana is smiling at us from heaven with Baby Jesus and a host of angels. The birds are singing. Even the slugs are happy….

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Date
20040129
Animal Kingdom
Time
09:44
Everybody loves exploding whales. They’re blubber-tastic.

UPDATE – More on this from the biased liberal money-wasting shirt-lifters at the BBC.

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Date
20040129
Seems Fair…
Time
09:48
Tree surrenders its life to protect young Christians from hoards of paedophiles that might lurk behind it.

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Date
20040129
Spam
Time
09:55
ZDNet: Stopping Spam should be simple, if we can just stop all the open relays, eradicate the viruses that open them up, patch every last bit of software to reject spam, stop anyone buying anything from these con merchants and lastly hunt down the spammers and hit them over the head with old fridges until they promise to stop. Stop sending spam, or stop breathing, I’m not fussy.

There’s also some stuff about cats in there, if you’d care to wrap your head around it and keep it warm.

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Date
20040129
Art
Time
10:04
A cool domain name and some extraordinary art here. My jaw’s on the floor. This front-pager by B3tan Fragger isn’t half-bad, either.

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Date
20040129
In The Courts
Time
10:15
Apple accused of stealing apples.

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Date
20040129
Music
Time
10:24
A sturdy girl is what you need (1.1 MB WMA file). There’s also a 2.1MB MP3 here and other wonders to be discovered here.

That’s the good news. Now, the not-so-good.

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Date
20040129
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
10:41
Former top US weapons inspector David Kay: “…the intelligence service believed that there were WMD. It turns out that we were all wrong, probably in my judgment, and that is most disturbing.”

Oh, the poor dears! Obviously, they were mislead by the intelligence community. Oh, and their own subconscious, no doubt.

More from The Scotsman, if you want to get your teeth into it.

Beware of ‘admissions’ that are in themselves yet more lies. And don’t be fooled by misdirection and suggestion.

Oh, and don’t be afraid to point out that us silly misguided peaceniks who questioned the validity and reliability of intelligence before a single bomb was dropped saw our opinions dismissed on the basis that we had an agenda.

UPDATE – Here’s a little something from Feb last year showing the kind of intelligence/media on-message-massaging that was going on at that time. It also clearly shows BBC bias at work.

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Date
20040129
Yet Another Lame Quiz
Time
12:49
Ooooh, I like this one. I like this one a lot:

What is Your UK Movie Rating?

I’m rated 12A. Greasy Chip Butty is rated 18. The filthy bastard.

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Date
20040129
Updates
Time
12:52
I should let you know (just so you don’t start dragging the river) that this afternoon I’m taking off to enjoy a well-earned and long-overdue 4-day weekend. I hope to leave something interesting behind. We’ll see what the day brings.

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Date
20040129
Bunch of Stuff
Time
14:42
Heh. I haven’t been to OffMessage for a while, but just popped over to see two great finds.

The first led me on this trail:

After a lifetime of plotting in the bottom of drawers and boxes, the Lego people are planning to take over the world. Will they start with bigots who hate pink Lego or the mad scientists who hack, carve and paint Lego people for their own twisted pleasure? No matter. Strike they will, and with Cthulhu as leader, mercy will become a relic of times past. Your only chance is to strike now. The LEGO FAQ does not reveal why the Yellow Ones are yellow, but it does tell you that if you wash them, their faces come off.

Soap! Water! Freedom!

*ahem*

The second was a (SFW) fetish site for men who like to watch girls stranded in the mud. From here I went no further. Some areas of the web are best left unexplored…

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Date
20040129
Seems Fair…
Time
16:04
Woooosh Thunk! *Thud*

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Date
20040129
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
19:02
The Guardian – The Hutton saga is a sideshow. The real issue is who will pay the price for war and occupation.

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Date
20040129
“The same thing we do every day, Pinky…”
Time
19:04
Here you go; this should keep you busy. See you Tuesday.

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Date
20040129
BBC
Time
22:10
Ahahahahahahahahaha!

Campbell named as new BBC director general! Catch it while you can. (Link via Wibbler.)

UPDATE – What are you hanging around here for? I’m done now. Really! Get writing!

Essay assignment:

What the BBC means to me an why I won’t let that c**t Murdoch take it away.








Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

02-15 January, 2004

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Date
20040102
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:12
Funnily enough, it all seems to revolve around the New Year:

CNN hit us with the news that Earth is no longer slowing down and we’ve missed out on our 5th bonus leap-second in a row. (Bugger. I had big plans for those 5 extra seconds.)

LSSU’s 2004 List of Banished Words is out, as are the ‘top search query’ lists for Google and Yahoo.

Oh, and this panorama of the fun in Times Square, NYC is pretty cool – but for added realism, you need to click on the picture, keep your finger on the button, then push your mouse to the far left and occasionally let it drift uuuup then down, uuuup then down….

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Date
20040102
Conservatives
Time
11:06
Michael Howard spells out political beliefs in ‘I Believe’ list.

I’m not surprised at all that this began in the mind of an advertising ‘genius’, in that it seems to promise so much, but really offers very little.

The list can be seen in full here. It also dominates Howard’s online profile today. His choice of The Times for a two-page advertisement showcasing the list is interesting. Murdoch may very well be on their side come the next election and sweeteners like this can’t hurt matters. I should also note that The Sun chose among its highlights my favourite non-belief:

I DON’T BELIEVE

That one person’s poverty is caused by another’s wealth.

But isn’t it curious that a man with all these beliefs still doesn’t know quite what to believe when it comes to the illegal war on Iraq and the ‘missing’ WMDs? Still, I’m sure he’ll make his mind up once he knows which side his bread is buttered on.

Speaking of which…

I DO BELIEVE

That I’ll have some toast. With a little bit of jam. Yes, that’s the ticket.

UPDATE – Philip’s done a damn fine job of decoding the list; it’s worth reading in full.

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Date
20040102
Follow Up
Time
11:13
Serial horse molestor sentenced to nine months. He is also ‘prohibited from owning or possessing domestic animals’ for life. Sadly, nobody throught to take away his little stepladder. (The law is an ass! And begging for it, the little trollop…)

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Date
20040102
The Interwebnet
Time
11:17
Wired.com – 101 Ways to Save the Internet

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Date
20040102
Does What It Says On The Tin
Time
11:21
I can’t see the point of www.how-to-keep-your-new-years-resolution.com, really. I’m also confused about the pet and hammock connection….

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040102
The Future
Time
11:26
The Independent – predictions for technology in 2004

Boston.com – a look ‘back’ at 2004

The Guardian – 101 things to do in 2004

Did everybody phone these in, or what?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040102
Spam
Time
11:32
Wow, this looks like an amazing product….

As far as I can tell, you unwrap the patch, stick it to your chest and a few seconds later – bingo! – your penis grows to an enormous size, and changes shape so it looks like a Playboy centerfold. With no legs. Growing out of your crotch.

Damn, that’s sexy. I’m getting a pitifully small (and non-woman-shaped) erection just thinking about it.

Hell, they could sell these as quit-smoking patches, too. You can’t buy cigarettes if you never leave the house…

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Date
20040102
Corporate Wisdom
Time
12:03
Go to www.sl-am.co.uk (the online presence of Swiss Life Asset Management) for what is quite possibly the warmest welcome one can expect from a website.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040102
Consume!
Time
12:29
These new U.S. stamps are just the ticket for final notices, sympathy cards and anthrax-filled envelopes.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040102
Normal People
Time
13:15
Meet Roberto Marinos, Greek demi-god. He wants to send you his used underwear, show you pictures of his sister, and share his thoughts on health, lifestyle and lovemaking.

Many will be forced to turn their heads from the glare of his beauty, but if you shield your eyes and forge ahead, you’ll find the links page, which reveals yet another sibling – Alexandros – who, despite being judged unworthy of a primary navigation link, is still happy to pose with his brother, is quite accomplished at hiding/holding his own genitalia, and scores points for the neat trick of actually turning green when in the company of a beautiful woman. He also appeared in ‘a sensuous movie of short duration’ in his early twenties.

The whole family are into Gorean philosophy, it seems. If you’ve not heard of it before, this mostly involves hedonism, slavery ‘play’, eroticism and very, very bad art.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040102
Does What It Says On The Tin
Time
16:19
Relive the horrors of past weddings at uglydress.com, home of the maxipad slipper.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040102
Activism
Time
17:05
Are you ready for Monday?

Are you ready for Monday?

Are you ready for Monday?

Are you ready for Monday?

Are you ready for Monday?

Are you ready for Monday?

Are you ready for Monday?

Are you ready for Monday?

Are you ready for Monday?

Here are some hints & tips if you’re short on ideas, resources or targets.

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Date
20040105
The Working Title Party
Time
08:51
I forgot to mention that the BBC got back to me with a nice rejection letter regarding the WTP. Channel 4 and Endemol appear to have liked it, though.

Spot the difference:

Bloggerheads – 13th Oct 2003: Over a 12 week period, we run an online forum that allows members of the public to propose and vote on articles that will form a draft manifesto for the Working Title Party. We also call for participants in a first stage of auditions to find this country’s next great political leader.

The Guardian – 4th Jan 2004: The producer behind the reality TV hit Big Brother is in talks with broadcasters about a political version of Pop Idol – a nationwide show designed to choose a brand-new candidate for election…. The project coincides with the separate launch next month of an internet-based political party, www.yourparty.org, which will start with a blank sheet of paper and ballot thousands of online ‘participants’ to come up with a genuinely popular manifesto. It hopes to stand candidates – strictly bound to implement that manifesto – in the European elections this June.

Incidentally, yourparty.org was created 15th Dec 2003… but perhaps they had this idea all along and just took a long time to decide on a domain name.

Yeah, that’s likely….

Right, who do I talk to about my royalty cheque?

More from Tom.

UPDATE – And now, even more.

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Date
20040105
Only Interesting to Bloggers
Time
09:04
Actually, not very interesting to anyone…

The Big Blog Show – The Internet’s 1st Reality Blog!

Will it be on TV? No.

Are there any prizes? No.

Is a group-blog anything new? No.

Is there any point? No.

Incidentally, BigBlogger would have been a much better name.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040105
Follow Up
Time
09:12
Greek demi-God Roberto Marinos appears to be a little peeved with all the extra attention of late…. his site is still up but external links to anything but the front page redirect to hitler.org like so.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040105
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
09:20
Tony Blair decribes Iraq as a ‘test case’ in the fight against ‘brutal and repressive regimes’. This illegal war sets no precedent. Nothing to see here. Move along.

He also took time out in Basra to thank the troops for saving Iraqis from a brutal regime. I am sure they will be well rewarded for their efforts.

Nice to know also that flying our PM into Iraq for a pre-Hutton political offensive is perfectly safe. Me, I was under the impression that we were on a a mega-high-double-secret-probation terror alert.

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Date
20040105
Christianity Watch
Time
09:25
God tells Pat Robertson that pResident Bush will be ‘re’-elected in a landslide.

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Date
20040105
The War on Terror
Time
09:37
CNN: Many visitors to the United States now face a demand for fingerprints and photographs as a government program intended to fight terrorism takes effect Monday. The new program covers those overseas visitors who are required to have a visa to enter the United States… Citizens from 28 countries, mostly in Europe, aren’t required to carry a visa if their visit is less than 90 days. Visitors from those countries are exempt.

Unless, of course, you’re a journalist.

Happy times. Alert times.

Al Qaeda threat to nuke NYC discovered on website.

Incidentally, the BA223 alert also came about as a result of ‘web chatter’. That the FBI and CIA are woefully short of translators probably goes some way to explaining why the alert managed to single out a child, an elderly Chinese woman and a Welsh insurance agent.

Flight number? Got it.

Seat numbers? Got ‘em.

Date? Well, we’re not entirely sure about that. It could be the 5th of January or the 1st of May…

Details? We’re working on that; what we can tell you at this stage is that all those squiggly lines look downright aggressive!

More at LNR – Come fly the friendly skies.

UPDATE – Speaking of alert times… Wordlab discover the Vigilant Watch.

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Date
20040105
Pretend You Care
Time
10:07
Looks like Britney’s career is all but over.

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Date
20040105
Good News
Time
10:26
Here are two small steps in the right direction….

BBC – US army ends Halliburton oil deal

NY Times – Afghan Council Gives Approval to Constitution

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Date
20040105
In The News
Time
10:34
Irwin-hating started before the baby-baiting.

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Date
20040105
The Liberal Media
Time
10:58
Phew! That was a close one!

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Date
20040105
Flash Thingies
Time
14:29
Not all Americans are stupid. Take the quiz. Know your place.

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Date
20040105
Search Engine Optimisation
Time
17:07
I’m trying to sort out a few short case-studies on the subject of consumer power and search engines. The Say NO to CafePress site is so far the most impressive, not only as a search result, but in bringing about change… but does anyone know of a site that out-does a major brand for most searches and/or a search result like this that has forced change in an ‘offline’ brand?

Oh, and the whole CafePress thing got me curious. I was wondering how long this very special store would last, given how jittery they are about copyright….

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Date
20040106
Activism
Time
08:57
Well, I can’t pretend not to be disappointed. In the end we saw more closed minds than we did locked doors. Take a look at the majority of comments regarding Guantanamo Bay Lock-Up Day to see what I mean… oh, and do note that Every Single One of these comments was made anonymously. Some through anonymous proxies, just in case.

(Yes, the worldwide liberal conspiracy is that scary, folks. We have tentacles in everything, so you’d better watch your fucking step!)

You may also note that – so far – not one comment has been made challenging any post on the subject of illegal detention (apart from maybe the occasional searing use of inverted commas, brutally disarming the word ‘illegal’).

From a website with – *gasp* – the word socialist in the title:

The Bush administration and other governments, including the Australian government, are seeking to change the relationship between individuals and the state—in fact, seeking to reverse it completely—and to turn the clock back 800 years on fundamental legal conceptions that have governed individual-state relations.

But that doesn’t matter, because they’re just a bunch of ragheads.

Ho-hum.

Well, that’s one outstanding success followed by one dismal failure. Time to surprise everyone and swing in from the right…

Next, we go for the balls of a well-known pornographer.

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Date
20040106
South West Trains
Time
10:02

Lots of traffic is rolling in thanks to a shiny new search result about a dismal service and lots of people wanting to complain about it…

The two Bloggerheads articles about SWT are results number 4 & 5 for ‘south west trains’ in Google… and one is 3rd in Yahoo.

I’ve received several emails from dissatisfied customers as a result. The one quoted below is pretty typical.

Ideally, I’d like to set up a permanent and indexable forum for such things, but for now I’ve made an update to the most recent SWT page to add information outlining how people can complain to – and about – the rubbish service of South West Trains.

From: Fulcieri Maltini

Sent: Mon, January 05, 2004 18:25

Subject: SWT and South Central

Dear Tim, congratulations for your battle against the rubbishness of the South Central trains.

On 31st Dec at 17.25 we boarded in Leatherhead the train to Waterloo. All carriages were freezing. 5 to 8 Celsius (same as external temperature shown in my car when parked). At Epsom, I did knock the door of the driver and asked him to heat the train. No way, he said, heating does not work. We froze for almost one hour with consequences still suffered today (cold, flu and cough). I wrote a letter of complaint to SWR.

Today in Dorking we were waiting for the 16.46 train to Waterloo (my wife had to take the 18.20 Eurostar to Brussels). All signs indicated trains cancelled. Talked to the station master who spent 10 minutes on the phone. At the end he said that there was a mistake. The 16.46 was running but nobody knew about the others. Most likely they were cancelled do to engineering works.

In the station master’s office there were five (repeat five) South Central green employees (all wearing very smart uniforms – they must have been top officials) and nobody tried to explain the malfunction.

When home I went on South Central site but no information are given on today’s malfunctions. However on the SWT website there was a list of engineering works that apparently had paralysed Clapham Junction.

I wish to congratulate you for your campaign and strong actions.

But how can we move the train passengers to react against such arrogance and malfunction of essential services? We should organize a strike or a march against the headquarters of the train companies. The Brits are too lazy and complacent. In France (from where I come) we would have made marches and strikes all around the Country. This country must wake up. We did it against the war in Iraq. Why can’t we do it against the railway companies and Network Rail?

The bit about Zero Information is spot on. A lot of SWT customers had to get home and watch the news to find out just what the hell had happened. I know that this delay was cause by a crane accident under Network Rail, but the main beef I have always had with SWT and the like is this disgraceful lack of information.

They treat us like cattle… it’s time for passengers to grab the bolt-gun and show them who’s boss.

The Evening Standard transport protest portal is a good start, but what we really need is a categorised (company by company) forum that’s fully indexable by search engines. That way, when people search for South West Trains, they’ll get the full story. When people search for Thameslink, they’ll see that the level of service is close to criminal. And so on…

Some of these people will be customers, some will be journalists. All will be able to see the full reality of the crap service we’re subjected to (instead of the usual ‘number of complaints’ statistics these companies trot out).

Slowly, it will have to sink in that privatisation has all but destroyed our rail system, and the wankers profiting from this are robbing us blind.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040106
Flash Thingies
Time
10:22
You know, I used to be a fan of Stickdeath.com -even if XiaoXiao did it so much better. But now – after this – they’ve lost me. Dark humour is fine, but Rob Lewis’ politics are pretty clear in this collection.

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Date
20040106
Advertising Genius
Time
10:37
Heh. This is a nice find by FunJunkie.

Incidentally, BUGA UP have some great hints and tips on taking similar action yourself.

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Date
20040106
Animal Kingdom
Time
10:42
Pets with bags on their heads? This time those Muslim fanatics have gone too far! (Link via Ultimate Insult.)

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Date
20040106
The War on Terror
Time
10:44
Right now I’m busy reading Al Franken’s Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them.

Chapter 17 is spot-on. In fact, here it is in its entirety. Enjoy.

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Date
20040106
Fame Is Good
Time
10:48
LNR on celebrities, alcohol and foolishness. I’m very disappointed in Britney, myself. For the full replay of Friends, she and Jason should have invited the press to watch them eat a lot of grapes.

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Date
20040106
It’s War! And Totally Justified At That!
Time
11:36
To be read in full: this excellent and remarkably coherent rant by ScaryDuck.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040106
Search Engine Optimisation
Time
11:44
The Straits Times – Googlebombs subvert the Net to air political views… or just for a laugh is a pretty good read, but only *hints* at the implications for none-too-popular corporations (found via Black Triangle).

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040106
Consume!
Time
13:14
Yeee-hah! Ride ‘em cowboy!

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Date
20040106
Google
Time
15:48
Relax, we knew this was coming… it’s just suddenly big news in the city is all.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040107
People Is Stupid
Time
09:06
OK, here’s how it works; conservatives shamelessly pander to the lowest common denominator, but when a liberal dares to point that out, he or she is branded an elitist.

It’s a bit strange over on this side of the pond, because Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch currently supports the left (which pretty much behaves like the right under Blair’s cartel), but in the end it’s still rags like The Sun that drive the majority of public feeling on any given issue.

I’ve said it before; I’ll say it again… We. Need. A. Broadsheet. With. Tits.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040107
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
09:08
The finalists have been announced for Bush in 30 Seconds. ‘Desktop’ is a cracker. I’ll have leisurely browse through the rest later today. Do email me if you see one that warrants immediate attention.

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Date
20040107
Tony Blair
Time
09:12
Even if there is a big bloody lie behind it (Blair needs to engineer a win in London; he thinks bringing Livingston back in from the cold will do that) it’s still fun seeing Mr No Reverse Gear admit that he was wrong.

I missed the footage of this. Did he do it like Fonzie?

I was wr…

I was wr-wr-wrrrrr…

I was wr-wr-wr-wr-wrrrrr…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040107
Consume!
Time
09:19
Victoria’s Secret accused of selling used lingerie. Snail trails at $50, skidmarks free.

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Date
20040107
Christianity Watch
Time
09:21
I may very well have to retire this category after today. How can I possibly top ass-kicking nuns and naked Bible study?

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Date
20040107
Lurning
Time
09:27
A student giving a presentation to his economics class provided some fake $10 bills as a study handout. He failed to collect them after class. Now try to guess what happened next

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Date
20040107
Fame Is Good
Time
09:30
See the paperwork from Britney’s marriage. Still no mention of how many grapes were eaten.

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Date
20040107
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
09:33
CNN: The Army will prohibit troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan from retiring or leaving the service for other reasons for up to 90 days after arriving at their home bases.

This, presumably, lets them relax and get back into a positive frame of mind before they meet with the Retention Officer.

How long will all of this last, do you think?

In completely unrelated news, South Korea has been granted primary jurisdiction over the 37,000 U.S. soldiers still stationed in that country for serious crimes committed when they are off-duty. FYI, the Korean War ended over 50 years ago.

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Date
20040107
The End of Democracy
Time
09:54
SFGate – How the Secret Service protects Bush from free speech

Just let that sink in for a second. The Secret Service are acting not to protect the pResident, but to protect him from visible dissent. They are being used to drive propaganda enforcement – and this kind of activity comes out of the budget for the mostly-bogus ‘War on Terror’.

The story of 65-year-old retired steel worker Bill Neel seems awfully familiar:

The police cleared the path of the motorcade of all critical signs, but folks with pro-Bush signs were permitted to line the president’s path. Neel refused to go to the designated area and was arrested for disorderly conduct; the police also confiscated his sign.

If you’re new to Bloggerheads, I should probably point out that Bush wanted to bring Free Speech Zones to Britain.

They (mostly) didn’t get away with it in London, but – with Blair’s full cooperation – a Free Speech Zone was set up in Sedgefield for Bush’s only ‘with real people’ photo opportunity.

And they have the nerve to accuse us poor, misguided peaceniks of appeasement…

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Date
20040107
Consume!
Time
11:03
It’s still live. Who do you think will be the first to complain?

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Date
20040107
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
12:39
From Tom

Scotsman.com: Lord Hutton is to make a statement this afternoon on Downing Street’s late submission to his inquiry into the death of weapons expert Dr David Kelly.

I’m reminded of Lionel Hutz for some strange reason…

“Your Honor, I’d like to call all of my surprise witnesses again.”

Oh, and it just me, or are Karl Rove and Alastair Campbell brothers under the skin?

Alastair Campbell (from a diary entry about a conversation with Geoff Hoon):

“GH and I agreed it would fuck Gilligan if (David Kelly) was his source.”

Karl Rove (overhead speaking about an unknown political figure):

“We will fuck him. Do you hear me? We will fuck him. We will ruin him. Like no one has ever fucked him!”

That’s politics for you. Sooner or later, everybody gets fucked. One can only wonder at the language Tim Yeo uses to describe me behind closed doors…

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Date
20040107
OK, So I’m a Star Wars Geek
Time
14:22
Natalie Portman says Kenobi/Skywalker fight in Ep3 is ‘pretty sick’… and by ‘sick’, I think she means ‘good’ – and to shake ones booty means to wiggle ones butt.

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Date
20040108
Anyone but George
Time
09:12
Oh, you want to get biblical, do you? Fine. David. Goliath. We’ve got truth on our side, but that’s no guarantee with scum like Murdoch on their side. Watch yourselves. And don’t go doing anything stupid like waiting it out until the election. Impeach now.

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Date
20040108
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
09:14
Tony Blair says he would have to resign if he lied to parliament over his role in the outing of Dr David Kelly. But… but… but… Tony – what would we do without you?

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Date
20040108
Arrogance of Established Media
Time
09:48
The Daily Star (a wank-mag for builders that isn’t even worthy of the title ‘tabloid’) has been busted ripping off website content wholesale. The feature was The Worst Movie Sex Scenes Ever and you can see the original here.

TimeMachineGo broke it to the bloggers, and there’s a buzzing link cosmos, but Robert Berry of RetroCrush (the original author of the hijacked content) has removed the article in question.. probably because the Star’s legal team is now involved.

This isn’t anything new. The Daily Mail has been busted stealing content from TV Cream and presenting it as their own work.

The Mirror won a bloody award for this front page image. If you can’t quite make out the date, it says ‘June 13, 2002′. Here it is #(being posted to B3ta 5 days earlier (note: the claim of authorship repeated in this post is also turned out to be false). Here’s me having a little rant about that way back when.

They tracked down the original creator (Carl Baldwin) after the fact and gave him a small credit of Page 7 or something the next day. Big deal. They also named him at the awards ceremony so they didn’t look like complete jerks, but they still accepted the award for ‘Picture of the Year’ for something that turned up in their Inbox one day. I would hardly call that ‘outstanding achievement in journalism’.

B3ta’s subsequent interview with Carl Baldwin reveals that he got a free lunch out of the deal. And The Mirror got to keep the award.

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Date
20040108
Art
Time
09:50
9 drawings done by an artist under the influence of LSD.

The report on Picture 5 is a classic, and they just keep getting better from there:

“Upon completing the drawing the patient starts laughing, then becomes startled by something on the floor.”

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Date
20040108
Google
Time
09:55
The Guardian has some tips on better use of Google. It’s all part of the Google/Carr/Guardian consPiracy.

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Date
20040108
It’s War! And Things Is Getting Ridiculous!
Time
10:05
Ahahahahahahahahaha!

Geoff Hoon has been awarded the Distinguished Public Service Award by Donald Rumsfeld!

The timing is delicious.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040108
Conspiracy Watch
Time
10:22
Space.com – Orbiter Photographs Viking 1 and Pathfinder Landers on Mars’ Surface. I’m inclined to be sceptical. After all, Space.com also claim to have similar images of the Apollo 15 landing site, and we all know that each and every one of these landings was faked. Right?

Oh, come on. You know as well I do that – despite what you may read in the New York Times – that the world is run by shape-shifting lizards.

Let me give you a quick run-down, using the tragic death of Diana as a focus-point…

Diana’s chosen role as an outspoken critic of landmines pitched her against the lizard-people’s greatest asset – the military industrial complex. She also started sleeping with swarthy types. Only those of pure Aryan blood have undergone the genetic modification required by our masters that will – within 5 generations – breed out independent and critical thought. This explains everything from line-dancing to Britney Spears, but I digress…

The point is that – from this point on – Diana’s days were numbered.

You know the old adage about penguins and polar bears never being pictured together because polar bears don’t live in Antarctica? This is a lie! The reason polar bears are never seen in Antarctica is because they are working undercover! I won’t distract you with the reasons why penguins don’t wish to be photographed with them but I will point out that Antarctica is the primary seat of the lizard-people’s civilization. Deep under the Antarctic Ice Cap is a fully functioning city that that was draped in secrecy thousands of years ago – Atlantis.

Atlantis, Antarctica. Antarctica, Atlantis. With me so far? Good.

An elite polar bear hit squad had been tailing Diana for months before they finally made their move in Paris.

To ensure a ‘clean’ hit with little cause for suspicion, the team split up and arranged ‘accident black spots’ in numerous locations around the city.

The subsequent inquiry focused heavily on the mystery Fiat, the phantom explosion, and the rampaging paparazzi, but nobody made the connection between the faulty wiring in a bedside lamp at Dodi’s central Paris apartment, the banana-skin on the floor in the Imperial Suite at l’Hôtel Ritz and a missing street sign.

UPDATE – If you wish to read something equally ridiculous, click here.

UPDATE 2 – Enjoy many a word of wisdom from LNR.

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Date
20040108
Only Interesting to Bloggers
Time
11:05
Another year, another round of weblog awards. As bored as I am with it all, I would like to win just one of these. I haven’t scored a trophy since my Under-8’s Rugby Most Improved Player award. And nobody’s nominated me for The New Statesman New Media Awards, either. You ungrateful bastards. You’ll miss me when the polar bears finally come my way, you mark my words…

FFS, I didn’t even rate an MBE for all my hard work making pornographic images of the PM’s wife. What is the world coming to?

I’m not asking for much this year; just a little more credit and a lot more money.

UPDATE – Martyn is a sweetie. Right…. who’s next?

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Date
20040108
Video
Time
11:16
Via Wibbler we find this video of a report on “a network called ‘Internet'” from Oct. 8, 1993.

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Date
20040108
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
12:37
A must-read from Mother JonesThe Lie Factory (requires payment or subscription).

Lt. Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski, 43, a now-retired Air Force officer who served in the Pentagon’s Near East and South Asia (NESA) unit in the year before the invasion of Iraq, observed how the Pentagon’s Iraq war-planning unit manufactured scare stories about Iraq’s weapons and ties to terrorists. “It wasn’t intelligence—it was propaganda,” she says. “They’d take a little bit of intelligence, cherry-pick it, make it sound much more exciting, usually by taking it out of context, often by juxtaposition of two pieces of information that don’t belong together.” It was by turning such bogus intelligence into talking points for U.S. officials—including ominous lines in speeches by President Bush and Vice President Cheney, along with Secretary of State Colin Powell’s testimony at the U.N. Security Council last February—that the administration pushed American public opinion into supporting an unnecessary war.

Cherry-picking intelligence and using it out of context to make it sound more exciting? Pah. It’d never happen here.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040108
Civil Liberties
Time
13:16
Somehow, I missed this little pre-Christmas nugget: A huge new database is being created in Whitehall, giving officials unprecedented knowledge of the daily lives of all UK residents who have ever paid tax or national insurance or received social security.

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Date
20040108
Photoshopping
Time
13:32
Slashdot.org – Photoshop 8 has built-in ability to detect images of American/Euro currency and prevents use of such files.

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Date
20040108
The War on Terror
Time
13:41
Bloody hell… now we can’t even take a dump in peace.

Oh, and the Bush administration says it’s going to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to throw out a federal appeals court ruling that requires them to release ‘enemy combatant’ Jose Padilla.

Here’s the good bit… they want to keep the reasons why a secret. All of them.

Parts of cases have been kept private in the past, but I can’t for the life of me recall an instance where the entire filing was kept secret.

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Date
20040108
Photoshopping
Time
16:16
It’s been a while. I thought I’d try my hand at some propaganda this fine and sunny afternoon….

Click here to see the new version of the $20 bill.

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Date
20040109
Bunch of Stuff
Time
11:30
Sorry, folks. Busy morning. I do, however, have a few minutes to spit out the following:

I got a copy of this press release yesterday that points out that the Yourparty.org initiative may break electoral law. Tom has picked up on it, so has The Guardian. The plan for The Working Title Party included an interactive manifesto, but the idea was to give both the potential candidates and the articles of the manifesto a public airing before cutting them loose.

Working at it from the other direction (i.e. bringing politicians to the web), Tom and I are right now trying to organise a seminar for Labour MPs on the benefits of weblogging. Similar seminars will be available for the Lib-Dems and the Conservatives (though for the latter I may have to drop Tim Yeo case study).

Right, next…

I’m very disappointed that our government is only working to secure the release of the Britons detained at Guantanamo Bay (you can see a full list of their names here). Surely we should insist on due process for all of them as a matter of principle? No? Then how about in the interests of legality and political stability?

BTW, I love the description of seven of them being a ‘medium risk’. A good thing they’ve been subjected to the highest level of security, then…

And yet more…

I couldn’t help but peek at The Sun again this morning. Today’s Page 3 girl is ‘shocked’ at Greg Rusedski testing positive for the performance-enhancing drug Nandrolone. I don’t know about you, but these new opinion captions on Page 3 crack me up. Never mind the news; forget the editorial and the opinion columns, I want to know what the girl with the tits thinks!

Almost there…

I have to admit to being stumped about Bush’s new immigration policy. With 3 million unemployed in the U.S., it certainly does appear as if he’s simply importing some easy votes (and here’s someone having a little shout about that). Then again, maybe it’s simply a conscription drive on behalf of McDonald’s (with the border patrols being replaced by roaming gangs of recruitment managers).

But perhaps – just perhaps – the amnesty will be followed by the crackdown. You had your chance, now we get tough and kick a few doors in. It’s warranted, right?

Robert McSwain had a few thoughts along these lines, and was kind enough to drop me a line about it:

Upon further reflection of the illegal immigrant legalization thing, I believe that it is most likely a plan to identify and locate any possible or potential terrorists from the illegals living and working here. To be sure, there probably are some who might be sympathetic to terrorist aims among the illegal population but what may be more dangerous is that even if marginally successful this will probably be used as a model for smoking out anyone (no pun intended) who opposes any government policy. A vast surveillance machine is no good without its intended targets identified or suspected. This is simply another push into the totalitarian police state that we are fast becoming and just like the German citizens of pre WWII Germany they mostly were simply unaware of what was growing in their government and people until it was too late.

Finally…

A call to arms for Americans living abroad.

Oh and thanks to Tom and Justin for their nominations. Keep ‘em coming. 2004 is the year of Zero Modesty. The more people who know about what I do, the easier it is to get things done.

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Date
20040109
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
12:41
A heads-up from ScaryDuck:

Iranian Journalist Credits Blogs for Playing Key Role in His Release From Prison: Call them self-referential. Call them elitist. Call them blowhards. Call bloggers whatever you want, but you can’t deny that they can make a difference, especially when they band together for a serious cause. In the case of jailed journalist/blogger Sina Motallebi, the Iranian and American blogospheres came together to get publicity and thousands of signatures on an online petition. The result? Motallebi, 30, was released after 23 days in prison and recently left Iran for Europe.

Careful. The last thing you want to do is encourage us….

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Date
20040109
Consume!
Time
12:50
Pranksters hack into the wireless frequency of their local Burger King and refuse service to drive-through customers because they’re ‘too fat’

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Date
20040109
Only Interesting to Hardcore Geeks
Time
12:56
Neil Gaiman reads ScaryDuck! That’s pretty cool.

The same post leads us to some great takes on tapestries over at SomethingAwful and this site, which lets you make your own.

UPDATE – Also many a grin to be had in SomethingAwful’s It Came From Outer Space collection… and while we’re on a photoshopping kick, this week’s B3ta challenge; finding new jobs for TV has-beens.

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Date
20040109
Photoshopping
Time
16:44
What do you think Dubya will be doing this time next year?

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Date
20040112
Guantanamo Bay
Time
09:14
It’s a damn shame this editorial is subscription-only; it deserves a wider reading…

The Independent – Human rights and the release of the Guantanamo detainees. This points out that the reason why these detainees are scheduled for release (rather than trial) in the UK is that the latter would ‘would imply that all of the Guantanamo detainees had the right to have the evidence against them tested in a civilian court.’

It closes with this superb quote:

The longer the sorry story of Guantanamo goes on being made up as it goes along, the more apparent it becomes that the Bush administration has lost its way in the struggle to contain anti-American terrorism. That struggle, waged in defence of the highest ideals of liberty and democracy, has been contaminated by the contradiction of those very ideals at Camp Delta.

The camp where 600+ inmates are being detained without trial, legal representation, or access to the ‘evidence’ against them, has been operational for two years. Human Rights Watch chose to mark this happy anniversary with the following statement:

The Bush Administration has attempted to turn the forty-eight square miles of its naval base at Guantanamo Bay into territory beyond the reach of any law and outside the jurisdiction of any court. In its treatment of the detainees at Guantanamo, it has been unwilling to fully apply international humanitarian law (often called the laws of war), has flouted international human rights standards, and has fought hard to block judicial review by U.S. courts of the legality of its detentions. It has failed to articulate a clear legal framework which it applies to the detainees and which acknowledges their human rights and the government’s obligation to respect them.

Me, I’m sending the inmates a nice fruitcake. With a file inside it.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040112
Flash Music Video
Time
09:14
JPEG Baby has been discovered by the Literotica Discussion Board (NSFW, obviously).

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040112
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
09:17
The Conservative IT team has learned nothing from Tony Blair’s Big Abortion and many other similar debacles.

Read Tom Watson’s post on their failure to spend a measly £5 to protect cutredtape.co.uk.

The ammunition used in this exercise (a previous post by Tom) was an obvious first choice, and it’s there at the top mainly because of his connection with the online community. Another reason why, if you’re an MP, you need to look into this.

Somewhat relevant is something I mentioned to Wibbler over a beer or two on Friday:

Every time Tim Yeo appears on television or gets some major press coverage, 50+ new visitors find the Tim Yeo weblog, because it’s the top search result for ‘tim yeo’ in Alta Vista, AOL, Google, MSN and Yahoo. That’s over 95% of search engine coverage.

Tim Yeo, you are my web-bitch…. but it’s not too late to apologise.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040112
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
10:04
The Guardian Media Diary noted on Friday the 9th that Kilroy’s republished anti-Arab article is an strong indication that Richard Desmond’s recycling/cost-cutting policies have well and truly infected the Express group of newspapers. Regular readers of Private Eye will know that he already does this on his wide range of top-shelf titles (regularly reprinting slappers of yesteryear as fresh totty whenever hairstyles will allow). This is an amusing, but misguided notion.

The Independent notes that this incident may endanger Desmond’s planned bid for The Daily Telegraph. This is an encouraging, but misguided notion.

Me, I’m of the opinion that Labour Party donor Richard Desmond engineered this in order to embarrass the BBC and muddy the waters just as the results of the Hutton Inquiry come due.

Blair has already softened his ‘I would resign if I lied’ assertion with the ‘totality’ gambit and even started backing down on his WMD assertions in preparation for this. I’m sure he also has The Sun standing by, ready and eager to nail any criticism of the BBC for – as we all know in this black & white world – if the BBC was wrong then Tony Blair was right… and the war on Iraq will therefore be seen to be justified (despite what the forever-labelled-as-biased BBC may wish to tell you).

It’s all going to be very messy. You’ll want to keep your bullshit-meters on full power.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040112
Photoshopping
Time
10:08
The new Bloggerheads Impeach-a-Bill prompted Dave Halligan to pipe up with another fine example of counter-fascist currency:

Blood Money (front)

Bloody Money (back)

Also, Joe Smith wrote in with more information on the issue that prompted the ‘shop:

Re: Photoshop and banknotes. Some months ago I tried to print a £5 note with someone elses head on, the print job stopped halfway through after printing the words www.rulesforuse.org . I’m using PS7, and tried various file formats all with the same result. I thought it can’t be possible to hide the instructions to cancel the print in a JPEG or other format. Even if I concealed the banknote as part of a larger image like a landscape, it would print normally till it got to the bit that was the note then stop as before. Eventually I found, via a fair bit of Googling, my printers’ manufacturers, Hewlett Packard taking the credit for this. The detection software came installed on my 5500 printer – and unlike PS, I actually bought the damn printer. I’ve just found a concise explanation of how it works (PDF only).

Oh, and you all remember this, right?

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Date
20040112
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:24
“My six-year-old daughter is on the CAPPS (Computer Assisted Passenger Pre-Screening) list as a security risk”:

My daughter was scared and shaken up by the ordeal and told us that she “hated it.” At least the security people were polite to her. But they were like polite robots, unable to laugh at the fact that someone had mistakenly pegged a little girl as a potential terrorist. No, they insisted that she had to take off her shoes and get patted down and have a wand passed over her body and have her Hello Kitty suitcase opened and examined with a fine toothed comb.

I’m reminded of an MPEG of a clip from the ‘Road to Rhode Island’ episode The Family Guy that did the rounds less than a week after 11/9 (please note correct formatting of date). The sequence has since been cut from that episode (for broadcast and on the DVD release) by Murdoch’s media machine, but you can still see a copy of it here.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040112
Photography
Time
10:32
Sorry for the heavy focus on politics today. Here’s a little something-that’s-not-politics for you:

The Decline of Fashion Photography – An argument in pictures.

Oh, and you may wish to find out what score your name would get in Scrabble. Not that you’d be allowed to use it. Unless, of course, you’re me. But you’re not. Suffer.

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Date
20040112
Page 3 – Words of Wisdom
Time
10:38
Today’s Page 3 girl is upset to hear that Col Tim Collins is leaving the Army. Says Zoe (22, from London, wearing underwear by Showgirls): “He is a born leader and I’m sure that whatever he does he will get the same well-deserved respect.”

UPDATE – A quick giggle for those of you who do succumb to The Sun from time to time.

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Date
20040112
The Impeachment of George W Bush
Time
10:52
Tony’s not the only one desperately trying to find a not-quite-reverse gear. Colin Powell has finally admitted that there was no hard proof of links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qa’ida, contrary to his claims before the illegal invasion of Iraq.

We also have this:

Paul O’Neill in Time

Paul O’Neill on CBSnews.com

Paul O’Neill in The Independent

Read it. And this (sorry, subscription time again – but well worth it):

Jonathan Raban: George Bush is using the ‘war against terrorism’ to justify frightening change

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Date
20040112
Can Weblogs…?
Time
11:03
Can Weblogs Get Their Own TV Show enjoys a new lease of life at LostRemote.com

Cheers, Steve.

Actually, I now have plans for a low-budget television station… but I’m keeping it under my hat for now.

Kind of on this subject… French Connection should sue Murdoch’s team for the not-at-all-original branding genius that is fxuk.tv

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Date
20040112
Fame Is Good
Time
11:09
Paul Carr – You can write but you can’t hide : Journalism can be a dangerous business. Not as dangerous, perhaps, as firefighting or soldiering or opening letters addressed to members of the European Parliament, but still pretty risky. Especially if you write nasty things about nasty people.

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Date
20040112
It’s War! And Things Is Getting Ridiculous!
Time
18:53
US jet accidentally drops bomb on… Yorkshire!

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Date
20040112
Party Time!
Time
19:06
I’ve just received word that the next Circle Line Party is in the planning stages. Do get in touch if you’d like to attend, so I can keep your email on file for any secret-squirrel information. Perhaps, if you’re up for it, we can all go as a group or dress to a theme.

(Strangely, I get the feeling that the authorities are going to be much harder on the event this time around. Perhaps we should bring an MP or two along. Or maybe even the mayor.)

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Date
20040112
Tolerance
Time
19:22
Chavscum.co.uk – a field guide to Britain’s peasant underclass.

I recognise that picture on the front page. It’s from Thinkofthechildren.co.uk

A connection, or outright thievery…?

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Date
20040113
RWCs
Time
09:08
Following on from the Paul O’Neill story yesterday (here’s a fresh link for you) we have this wondrous bloggage:

Powerblog – Lid Blown Off O’Neill Suskind Hoax (which is a load of crap, BTW)

The first interesting thing to note is the link cosmos, which begins with the widely-read Instapundit (includes prominent links to the Fox News website and a blog titled ‘Biased BBC’) and the equally rabid Little Green Footballs (you should already be familiar with LGF; they were a big fan of Chasing Bush, and prompted the bulk of our hate mail).

What’s just so wonderful about this is the wannabe army of the right is trying to convince us that it’s Paul O’Neill and Ron Suskind ‘attempting to perpetrate a massive hoax on the American people’….

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Date
20040113
Anyone but George
Time
09:24
I was pondering on the finalists for Bush in 30 Seconds over the weekend, quietly exercising that small part of my brain that used to enjoy making really awful television commercials.

In My Country has a powerful message and Wake Up America was my favourite by far, but I forced myself to think about reaching a wider audience and hitting them where it counts. The only real choice on this front was Child’s Pay, as it has the kids-meets-hip-pocket double whammy, and I really wish that I’d blogged that now because yesterday it was announced as the winner. Oh well. I’m sure you trust me.

You can see the winners of each category on the front page of bushin30seconds.org today, but that collection of finalists is also worth a fresh look, even if you saw it last week – as it’s been expanded to show the finalists in all categories.

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Date
20040113
Church & State
Time
10:12
Last week I had a jolly time breezing through Al Franken’s LIES: And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, but the chapter on Bush’s abstinence-only sex education program really threw me for a loop. I actually had to go back and read it again. Was this real, or was there some Merkin-based humour that I was missing?

It was real. And last night I watched the Channel 4 program that I taped on Sunday; Texas Teenage Virgins. (Great title, isn’t it? Be careful when researching this programme on the Interwebnet; it may just bring up a few questionable search results.)

There was Pastor Ed Ainsworth looking straight into the camera and telling us that condoms had holes in them (“They’re porous, with the fibres, and the latex going in all directions, y’see!”) and a bunch of very confused children in Lubbock, Texas who are forbidden to receive any kind of sex education at school for fear that it will promote promiscuity. Instead, they get regular doses of this. Oh, and they can receive pre-marriage counselling a few days before doing the deed which teaches them – amongst other things – that ‘men are microwaves and women are slow cookers.’

Convenient for the church that teenagers need some form of outlet for ecstasy; because it plays right into their recruitment drive. Again with Pastor Ed, preaching to a bunch of teenagers – eyes closed, swaying in a state near to orgasm – as he passes through them with the talking in tongues and laying on of hands. At this stage we quitely reminds ourselves that it is Muslim extremism that threatens our very way of life…

Of course, kids being kids, they find a way to make do. Even those who have made their pledge for purity find ways to justify anything from frottage to full-blown anal sex… which goes some way to explaining why the teenage pregnancy rate has dropped a little in that neck of the woods, but the transmission of STDs is still on the rise.

There’s some info on this in this Washington Post report on the subject and a wide range of informative links at this GetDonkey.com post, pointing out that Bush wants to make his abstinence-only sex education a nationwide policy. A couple of UK viewers in a similar state of disbelief have already found this bloggage and left comments. If you also saw the programme, you may wish to join them.

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Date
20040113
Normal People
Time
10:13
One for Wibbler (not that I can talk).

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Date
20040113
It’s War! And You Just Volunteered!
Time
10:16
Germany Set to Abolish the Draft. For you, ze var is over!

To help balance things out, Bush is warming up for U.S. draft. Oh, and the U.S. military’s small-arms ammunition plant is running at near capacity.

OK, that’s gun-fodder and ammo sorted. Now all we need is a new playground….

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Date
20040113
Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch
Time
10:23
Clive Soley still has his teeth sunk into News International. Good for him.

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Date
20040113
Spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace
Time
10:25
Kids! NASA wants your rocks!

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Date
20040113
The War on…..
Time
10:26
The War on Drugs. How’s that going then?

Alternet.org – Top Ten Drug War Stories of 2003

OK, how about the War on Terror? I hear that’s going swimmingly!

Washington Post – Study Published by Army Criticizes War on Terror’s Scope

BBC – US war in Iraq ‘strategic error’

Oh dear. You can read that report in full here. It addresses, amongst other things, the administration’s ‘postulation of the terrorist threat’… but I’m sure those WMDs will turn up someday.

Sorry? What’s that? Oh…

The Guardian – US disbands Iraq team looking for WMDs

Ho-hum. No matter. At least we still have The War on Porn to look forward to. Fear is on the rise and the prospects look good.

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Date
20040113
Page 3 – Words of Wisdom
Time
10:33
Today’s Page 3 girl (Nikkala, 21, from London) is ‘horrified’ that Juan Sebastian Veron has been burgled and says: “It shows that anyone can be a victim of burglary, no matter how rich or famous.”

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Date
20040113
Christianity Watch
Time
10:46
Church of ‘Elvis Priestly’ celebrates one-year anniversary.

BTW, I had this mad idea about taking a Spice Girls tribute band on the road with spiffy new pure-white outfits and a religious theme. They could sing songs like If You Wannabe My Saviour and Christ Up Your Life.

What? Why are you looking at me like that?

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Date
20040113
Photoshopping, Death, Fame, Etc.
Time
11:37
Harold Shipman found dead in cell (Wibbler found it first).

The next few hours on the B3ta messageboard should be interesting…

UPDATE – A link for the archive. Shipman reposts and reactions start from this point on. First post on the subject is here. The honour of the first obit goes to the BBC, with The Independent only 10 minutes behind.

Please, please, pleeeeeease let tomorrow’s Page 3 editorialette in The Sun carry a comment on this….

UPDATE – And so it came to pass (in my head, anyway). Posted to B3ta.

UPDATE 2 – Front page! That’s the ticket…

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Date
20040113
Fame Is Good
Time
13:39
Here’s a shot at worldwide fame that you can’t possibly pass up; and all you have to do to qualify is be reasonably presentable and show a willingness to stop breathing (link via Greenfairy).

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Date
20040113
Normal People
Time
15:41
Gentlemen… raise your glasses!

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Date
20040113
Tony Blair
Time
17:01
Tony was answering questions live on the radio this morning and I wasn’t informed? Pah! I’ll have to make do with the replay at 7pm, then.

Thanks for link, Martyn. How about sending it to yesterday when I could have used it?!

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Date
20040114
Page 3 – Words of Wisdom
Time
09:28
Bummer. No tit-tastic editorialette about Shipman today. Instead, the issue is survival!

Michelle (20, from Oldham) is furious over MP Clare Short’s ‘new rant’ about banning Page 3. Michelle said: “She should listen to my fans who tell me how much I brighten up their day. She’s just a jealous old battleaxe.”

The Page 3 girls get to speak further on this matter on page 15, where a range of glamour models all agree that Clare Short objects to soft porn in a daily newspaper purely because she is fat and ugly and daren’t brighten someone’s morning herself. To illustrate this point, they have ‘shop of Clare topless… and a picture of the back-end of a bus.

The Sun Says (subtitle: What To Think) makes it clear that this view comes not from the top, but from the topless, by saying:

Page Three girls say their arch-critic Clare Short is just “jealous”. They also call her “fat and ugly”. And who are we to disagree with their verdict? Page Three girls are intelligent, vibrant young women who appear in The Sun out of choice and because they enjoy the job. Unsurprisingly, millions of our readers — men and women — enjoy looking at them.

They also enjoy looking at them when they do more hardcore work… and continue to enjoy looking at them in The Sun while this goes on. Until any given girl makes too much of a name for herself, at which stage The Sun will simply disown her for fear of being revealed as the first step to a wonderful and empowering career in pornography.

A good example is a young lass by the name of Rebekah Parmar Teasdale (NSFW), who was out in the cold and then back in the fold the moment they needed a girl by the name of ‘Rebekah’ gracing Page 3 on new editor Wade’s first day to let the lads know that it was business as usual under the new regime.

Given that many readers of The Sun are so thick they can barely read the headlines (I’ve actually read a Sun survey that asked how many readers did this), I would even dare to suggest they hoped to convince some of them that this lovely young thing was the new editor (instead of the grizzled old hypocrite we’re all familiar with).

Incidentally, the new regime has now been in place for a year. You can read all about the good Rebekah Wade has done for Britain in this time by reading this article in that filthy pinko rag The Guardian.

Clare Short is unlikely to be devastated by this round of name-calling, but all the same I’m going to take the time later today to send her a message of support and maybe even offer my help.

I support a woman’s right to strip for the camera. Shock, horror… I personally enjoy looking at naked flesh from time to time. But I still object to this kind of material saturating the mainstream, and I have a biiiig problem with the hypocrisy of a ‘conservative’ paper (that still can’t bring itself to print the word ‘fuck’) using soft-porn as a springboard for their right-wing garbage and outright lies.

But of course I’m only saying all of this because I’m fat and ugly. And I don’t have any tits.

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Date
20040114
Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch
Time
09:31
One might very well wonder why Rupert Murdoch chose today to launch an attack on Clare Short:

The Independent – Short says Blair must resign if he loses fees vote

But, as we all know, Clare Short is a ranting loony and a control freak. And the main issue of the day is tits…

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Date
20040114
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
09:35
Welcome to Mars. Have a good look around.

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Date
20040114
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
09:37
The Guardian – News agency demands inquiry after American forces in Iraq allegedly treated camera crew as enemy personnel

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Date
20040114
The Impeachment of George W Bush
Time
09:47
The New York Times points out that ‘a few months of good news doesn’t excuse a consistent pattern of dishonest, irresponsible leadership.’

Neither does making pie-in-the-sky promises about going to the Moon, Mars, etc.

C’mon America, lead the way. Stand tall. Impeach!

Even if you’re a Republican, it makes sense. These crooks are poisoning the reputation of your party. This could lead to years of Democratic rule.

UPDATE – Incidentally, the George W Bush Photoshopping Gallery was updated late yesterday with some more recent works. Enjoy.

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Date
20040114
Photography
Time
09:55
Now then … where did I leave my bike?

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Date
20040114
South West Trains
Time
09:55
Geoff hasn’t asked for it, but he’s about to get a shedload of help from me on the SEO front. I want people to search for ‘south west trains’ and find his site.

The angle is wonderful (and it’s just what I would be doing right now if I were continuing to suffer under SWT on a daily basis); he’s clocking up every hour of his time that they waste.

Pop over and visit to see the early days of a wonderful idea.

UPDATE – SWT is calling for new members of their passenger panel. You’re welcome to go this way if you want to, but its aims aren’t in keeping with mine. I want an end to rail privatisation. Failing that, I want Stagecoach and SWT nailed to the wall for their continued failure to deliver.

UPDATE – Toby Bryans has also answered the call! Good man, that Toby. He plans to keep a log of delays on his regular journey from Queenstown Road (Battersea) to London Waterloo and show them in easy-to absorb chart form. There’s not much to see there at the mo, but he did bring us this wonderful story to tide us over:

Evening Standard – Ministers ban rail report: A Government report laying bare the dreadful state of Britain’s rail network is so damning ministers have stopped it being published.

So, it’s not as bad as we think. It’s worse.

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Date
20040114
Anyone but George
Time
10:08
Seriously, why would you trust a mean drunk with power?

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Date
20040114
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
13:22
Not bad for a man who has his staff do most of the blogging for him.

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Date
20040114
The Big Conversation
Time
13:36
Martyn has coughed up with a link to the full MP3 of Tony Blair’s live question time with a few lucky voters on LBC 97.3FM yesterday (MP3, 6.3 MB, 54 mins dur.).

Why did we not hear about it until it was too late? Well, it was only announced Monday afternoon on air, in the LBC Listener Club newsletter and on the website, but it’s ‘just one of a series of events around the country’… so keep your ears peeled for a similar hit and run on your local radio station.

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Date
20040114
The End of Democracy
Time
13:46
London Met bans elderly council tax protestors from marching on Downing St. The only reason given was a vague reference to ‘health and safety concerns’. Authorities have tried this kind of bluff on other groups before, but it always falls apart when you put a bit of pressure on. So this isn’t a ‘no’… it’s a test of the organisers’ mettle. If they want it badly enough, they’ll have to fight for it (and win some media support in the process).

Otherwise, they’ll just have to be happy with the rally.

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Date
20040114
A Blog Is Born
Time
13:59
Hey, folks. I’d like you to meet Larry Grant, who’s just made his first post on the first business-based blog to roll off my factory floor. Go visit. Be nice.

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Date
20040114
Photography
Time
15:22
I know you’re just dying to look inside the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office photo gallery. Highlights include a rather empty-looking detention centre and pictures of old badges and patrol cars.

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Date
20040114
Photoshopping
Time
17:29
What Will George W. Bush Be Doing This Time Next Year? could very well turn into an ongoing series….

Posted to B3ta.

UPDATE – A cool game via FunJunkie on a similar theme:

Escape from Alcatraz

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Date
20040114
Normal People
Time
17:51
This is a work of genius: the ‘my computer is full of potatoes’ scam. Destined to become a classic.

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Date
20040115
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
08:59
This isn’t a new story; it’s just been revived by the release of the (taped) diary of the soldier concerned. That, and his widow no longer seems content with an apology that’s already been refused… and can you blame her?

Widow of soldier who died for lack of equipment calls for Geoff Hoon to resign

This poor chap had his body armour taken away and reassigned to a front-line trooper. During a riot in Basra, he was shot and killed. The armour would have saved his life.

I just heard on the radio that Geoff Hoon has stated that all troops in Iraq have sufficient equipment ‘when going into battle.’ But if you’re on security patrol, you’re screwed. Nice wording there, Geoff. That’s your butt covered.

The Independent reports that Nicholas Soames, the Conservative defence spokesman, said that ‘body armour and other equipment had not been ordered in time because the Prime Minister wanted to hide the decision to go to war from his backbenchers,’ but Private Eye readers will know that the situation is even worse than this. They reported – just before the conflict in Afghanistan – that troops on training exercises in a nearby desert region were being forced to buy their own desert boots, or suffer with ‘bake in ten minutes’ Army-issue black.

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Date
20040115
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
09:00
Adage reports on the release of bushin30seconds.org ad. It’s due to be aired ahead of next week’s State of the Union address and MoveOn.org are negotiating with CBS to gain airtime during the Super Bowl. CBS have all but said ‘no’.

Also, here’s Matt Drudge with a shamelessly right-wing report on the bushin30seconds.org awards ceremony. We’re guilty of hate-crime again.

Oh, and the account given by Paul O’Neill that RWCs are busy telling everyone is a hoax has been corroborated by and un-named official who was present at the same National Security Council meetings immediately after Bush’s inauguration in January and February of 2001.

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Date
20040115
South West Trains
Time
09:13
The Independent has a leaked copy of the suppressed rail industry document blogged yesterday. What is supposed to be a factual report has been scrapped after its fourth rewrite, as it still fails to deliver a politically-convenient message to an unwitting public. Sound familiar?

If any other readers are regulars on any service – not just South West Trains – and wish to run a diary of failures similar to Geoff’s or Toby’s, do get in touch.

You provide the voice, I’ll provide the audience. Search Engine Optimisation isn’t just for selling tat.

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Date
20040115
Only Interesting to Hardcore Geeks
Time
09:22
Here’s the full story of “net send * Hey!” kid, as reported at Slashdot.

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Date
20040115
Church & State
Time
09:25
I remind you again; it is Muslim fundamentalism that endangers our very way of life:

New York Times: Administration officials say they are planning an extensive election-year initiative to promote marriage, especially among low-income couples, and they are weighing whether President Bush should promote the plan next week in his State of the Union address. Several conservative Christian advocacy groups are pressing Mr. Bush to go further and use the State of the Union address to champion a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage.

The Guardian: American Anglican traditionalists are plotting the break-up of their national church and the creation of a new fundamentalist church in the wake of its consecration of the openly gay bishop Gene Robinson.

The last time we had a schism like this, a bunch of folks had no choice but to head off to the New World (I’m not saying they were bumgays, I’m saying there was a significant difference of opinion is all). With no undiscovered corners of the world remaining, perhaps this explains Bush’s interest in colonising other planets.

Heh. Colon-ise. Ur-anus.

(OK, I’m done…)

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Date
20040115
L33T Hax0rs
Time
10:36
Greenfairy was the subject of a kiddy-crack the other day, and last night it was Tom Watson’s turn. It looks like an automated attack, formed of nonsense text with random submission details (from random/spoofed IPs) and the repeated line; ‘I’d just like to say, keep up the good work, Tom, and thanks for being a great guy! Labour is rad!’

You can click here to see this comments thread, which I’m leaving up (for now) for reference purposes, but do be warned that it’s not really worth reading and – with 647 nonsense comments – its a pretty hefty download.

My initial reaction – mainly due to the ‘rad’ content – was to suspect a single kiddy-hacker who misconstrued the purpose of the Teens page. That, and an attack from a group usually leaves a referral trail leading back to the forum (or even a mailing list, if you look carefully) where the attack is prompted.

Once the comments facility on this top post was closed (and another ‘no comments’ post was added above it), the attacks ceased. Another indication that it was an automated ‘set and forget’ attack. There are automated bots designed to deliver comment spam; this appears to be a derivative of those. There are traps designed to stop such attacks. Those of you familiar with Tom’s site will know that it boasts a few modest glitches. Now seems as good a time as any to set a developer on these and install a security measure or two. Until now, the site has relied heavily on trust and goodwill. That’ll learn us…

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Date
20040115
Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch
Time
10:47
If you only blog one thing today, blog this. (Apologies again for the lack of permalinks. Feel free to prompt me to set up a static page – or set up your own so I can throw traffic that way. We’ll need a home base or two as matters progress.)

The Sun has stepped up its attack in Clare Short. Last night they sent a bunch of glamour models and photographers to doorstep her at her home.

They proudly report on this today and have also reacted by putting barely-concealed boobage on the front page (where any kid who walks into a newsagent can see it). They also call on readers to sign ‘a nationwide petition to ensure that one of Britain’s greatest traditions remains’. The print version of this petition features yet more glamour models and a photoshop of Clare Short in her undies, as does this new dedicated page on their website.

The first celebrity endorsement comes from darts player Andy ‘The Viking’ Fordham, who is quoted as saying: “Clare Short should keep her nose out of Page 3. The girls put a smile on everybody’s face. It is just harmless fun.”

Their editorial today targets her comments as ‘stupid’ and glaring headlines on Pages 4 & 5. declare she is Short on Looks; Short on Brains, but quote of the day goes to ‘Page 3 favourite’ Nicola Tappenden, who said: “How dare she. She is degrading us.”

Pot, there’s call for you on line one from a Mr Kettle….

This shamelessly harsh attack (designed to discredit and harass a known critic of Tony Blair) makes me mad enough to spit.

To all journalists, MPs and ‘helpless’ members of the public who read this blog…

1 – Most important of all, you need to send a message of support to Clare Short. Don’t just sit there and think what a jolly good idea it is. Do it. Right now her office is no doubt being inundated with hate mail from brainless twats who have been whipped up into a frenzy. She needs to know that she has us onside.

2 – Do what The Guardian has already done and write about it.

3 – Prepare yourselves for combat. Rebekah Wade and her leash-holder Rupert Murdoch cannot be allowed to get away with this kind of behaviour.

Oh, and Rebekah? Do you remember killing the print version of an article on my blog (and promptly discontinuing the ‘blogging’ series) in your paper in September of last year when I posted this image on my front page? I’m sure you have an inkling of what your kiddie journalist tripped over, otherwise you would have just skipped me and continued the series. My advice; next time to start a war, try to choose a more defensible position.

UPDATE

4 – I’m quietly simmering and considering for now, but feel free to email me with simple messages of support or ideas for turning this around so it knocks Wade square on her grizzled butt. Normally this kind of thing would be beneath contempt, but this is being done to discredit Clare Short just as she’s about to play a very important role on the subject of student fees and the release of the Hutton Inquiry. That particularly needs to be brought to light.

UPDATE 2 – Ooooh, look at all the angry people over at B3ta. I didn’t even have to start this one. Rebekah Wade sure is an unpopular lass… one can only wonder why.

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Date
20040115
Anyone but George
Time
14:49
Michael Moore endorses Wesley Clark: I have decided to cast my vote in the primary for Wesley Clark. That’s right, a peacenik is voting for a general. What a country! There are times to vote to make a statement, there are times to vote for the underdog and there are times to vote to save the country from catastrophe. This time we can and must do all three. I still believe that each one of us must vote his or her heart and conscience. If we fail to do that, we will continue to be stuck with spineless politicians who stand for nothing and no one (except those who write them the biggest checks).

Well, at least he’s off the Oprah-can-win-it kick – but I’d much rather a call to impeach. (Link via Steve.)

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Date
20040115
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
15:54
Lord Hutton’s report goes to the printers on 19 January and will be published in Parliament on Wednesday 28 January.

The Guardian reports that ‘the six interested parties’ (the government, the BBC, the speaker’s counsel, Dr Kelly’s family, and BBC reporters Andrew Gilligan and Susan Watts) will receive theirs on the 27th.

The Scotsman notes that the 27th is also the day of the university tuition fees vote.

1 – I predict leaks from the 19th onwards. Perhaps even a copy left in a field somewhere…?

2 – Heh. I’ll be in Westminster on the 27th. If only there were a device that could digitally record and display levels of tension….

UPDATE – I wonder how much it would cost to get some personalised balloons made up and hire a tank of helium? I’d love people to be walking past the front of the House and Downing St carrying special messages.

“Don’t Panic” springs to mind…

UPDATE 2 – The more I think about this idea, the more I like it. They’ll be just like placards, only fluffier.








Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

15-31 December, 2003

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Date
20031215
Online Marketing
Time
09:37
Paul Carr is spot on about pop-ups and sustainability. I also love his early lead-in on the subject of touchy ‘viral’ marketers. I think the fact that they actually have (or had) an advertising spend with outlets such as The Friday Thing shows that their viral mechanisms aren’t really all that viral, in that they need a serious jump-start just to enable them to stagger from the operating table.

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Date
20031215
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
09:38
Gutless wonder John “I’m personally not in support of the death penalty” Howard has publicly backed the death penalty for Saddam Hussein, thereby cementing his place in history as an appeasing butt-muncher.

Mr Blair’s special representative in Iraq, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, made the UK stance on this clear by telling Radio 4: “We would have no part of a tribunal or a process that had the death penalty as one of its penalties.”

A pity, then, that Camp Justice appears to be the ideal place to hold the man while they interrogate him. We’ll just have to make do with standing by and allowing it to happen elsewhere.

UPDATE – And so we will.

On the subject of interrogation… Saddam has a plan (otherwise he would have fought tooth and nail or topped himself) but so does the Bush Administration, who are sure to focus on a confession regarding WMDs. If they get this, they won’t need evidence, because they’ll have ‘Proof’.

On the subject of violence… expect more. Those who wish to make it clear that they’re not fighting in Saddam’s name will want to make a bold statement. They may need a week to get their ship together, but you can bet something big is on the way.

On the subject of Bush’s addressBlah-blah-blah freedom, blah-blah-blah democracy, blah-blah-blah close by – yet again – linking the illegal war on Iraq with the perpetual war against terrorism.

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Date
20031215
Viral Marketing
Time
10:04
Tom Watson’s Teens page has claimed yet another victim, the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, who uses it in this Guardian article to make his point that ‘the brain just isn’t ready to vote at 16’…

Tom has, quite rightly, taken him to task and suggested that even learned minds shouldn’t be above doing a little research… especially when such minds seem unable to detect irony without assistance.

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Date
20031215
A Blog Is Born
Time
11:51
Someone has started stalking Julie Kirkbride.

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Date
20031215
Photoshopping
Time
15:45

Ladies and gentlemen… we got one!!!!

Posted over at B3ta, where the poor sods have been inundated with an endless stream of ‘Saddam as Santa’ images since late yesterday.

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Date
20031216
Bunch of Stuff
Time
10:32
Bloody hell, it’s going to be a busy one this morning…

Still, I just have time to direct you to the new trailer for Spiderman 2. (My goodness, the strain of those mechanical arms must be rough on the spine…)

Topping Blogdex today is a slew of ‘Saddam captured’ links, along with the Torygraph reporting on the timely discovery of ‘proof’ on an Iraq/911 connection. Iraqi (coalition) officials refused to disclose how and where they had obtained the document, but I’m willing to bet that a fireproof shoebox is involved somehow. Every past memo and/or leak of this nature has proved to be faked/groundless; so I’m inclined to question this one, too. The timing also makes me suspicious, in that – even if the memo is proved to be a fake – the idea itself (presented at the height of our joy over Saddam’s capture) is sure to stick in the mind.

Time to remind ourselves who the real war criminals are and what their overall strategy is. (Warning: contains traces of tinfoil.)

End rant. Another coming… hang in there.

Stating the obvious: PowerPoint Makes You Dumb

Giving till it hurts: Salvation Army’s Santa Monica captain cops flak over his million-dollar house.

Aaaand here comes Rant No. 2:

You should check out this hilarious collection of clips showing Arnold Schwarzenegger whoring himself to the Japanese. (Save a copy or two to disk if you can. Arnie is reportedly trying to have these removed).

One of the products (currently illegal in the US and the UK) is an ‘energy’ drink chock-full of nicotine goodness. The website (and almost every external reference to it) gives the product’s name as Arinamin V, but its real name – according to Takeda, the Japanese pharmaceutical giant that makes it – is Alinamin V.

Amusingly, the drink is not listed on the company’s website under ‘Ethical Drugs’, but under ‘Other Products‘.

You’ll also be happy to note that Takeda has subsidiaries in the UK and in the US. The happy human faces of the company make clear that Takeda has ‘an entrepreneurial spirit’ (as opposed to an ethical one), so perhaps Arnie can have a quiet word with his mates and get this much-needed tonic on western shelves sometime soon.

Our wage-slaves need fuel, too!

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Date
20031216
Normal People
Time
14:25
Hi everyone. I’d like you to meet one poor soul who’s been completely Bush-whacked. I won’t give you his name…. let’s just call him ‘Dick':

From an email on the subject of the war Iraq and possible motivations of the Bush administration:

You question the motives – meaning you are referring to the US or the UK in some way getting money or control of Oil. One – the control of Iraq is/will be back in the hands of the Iraq people – so we are not stealing or claiming anything and Two – if for example a foreign country had saved my country from tyranny I would be fucking grateful and any business or discounted goods or anything I could put that county’s way as a jesture of thanks I believe that would be the polite thing to do.

From an email on the subject of the democratic process and trust in our leaders:

So called ‘peaceful do-goober’s such as yourself who think the whole world is wrong and against them have no hope. Until you understand what is going on and why such unpopular and difficult decisions are made ‘for the greater good’ you will continue to walk around blind without a cane. Decisions will always be made and need to be made independently of the general public knowledge as otherwise nothing would ever get done as the debates necessary would take too long and not be done in time and when necessary.

This not a troll, folks – it’s a genuine and heartfelt opinion. More’s the pity…

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Date
20031217
Updates
Time
09:23
A 14th page has been added to The Star Wars Photoshopping Project. It includes this offering from yesterday in reaction to the many ‘Saddam as Santa’ images posted to B3ta over the last few days.

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Date
20031217
It’s War! And There’s Money To Be Made!
Time
09:26
Attention gullible ‘work from home’ types; envelope-stuffing will make you poor, not rich.

Can you sew? If so, why not take the lead of providers of crap action dolls (click to see the latest ‘captured Saddam’ doll) and make body bags for Action Man dolls? You can get busy immediately and sell them as job lots on eBay, or set up a more concrete shop with WorldPay and OSCommerce.

You’ll not only make a little cash, you’ll be making a valid point.

Oh, and I get 5%, OK?

UPDATE – The military prefer to call body bags ‘human remains pouches’. The U.S. government pays about $38 for each bag, but you can buy them for less at todiefor.biz and keep a few handy in the office, where death lurks around every corner.

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Date
20031217
Normal People
Time
09:43
Meet Steve Walker; he likes to draw with pencils. (Link via the ever-morphing Hanging Day LNR Friday Thing Journal.)

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Date
20031217
And So This is Christmas…
Time
09:47
Enjoy some Christmassy violence, or calm yourself by making a snowflake (latter link via FunJunkie.

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Date
20031217
The End of Democracy
Time
09:51
Ahahahahahahaha! Diebold memos reveal price-gouging culture within company.

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Date
20031217
The War on Porn
Time
09:54
Texas housewife arrested after selling a vibrator to undercover cops. It’s official; the long arm of the law is now lubricated.

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Date
20031217
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
09:56
Bush says Saddam deserves ‘the ultimate penalty’. Just in case we’re not all clear on what that means, and official statement from the White House confirms that he was referring to the death penalty, a policy the UN does not agree with.

Oh well. A least Bush didn’t face the camera and imitate Saddam under interrogatio with a mocking round of: “Oh, please don’t kill me Mr Bush. Please don’t kill me!”

Even if – and I stress if – this happens without US interference, it bears noting that a ‘necessity’ for Saddam’s death exists; driven by the fears of the Iraqi people that he could still somehow return to power… and of course, that has nothing to do with this.

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Date
20031217
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:14
Howard Dean puts on his ass-kicking boots:

Empowered by the American people, I will work to restore:

The legitimacy that comes from the rule of law;

The credibility that comes from telling the truth;

The knowledge that comes from first-rate intelligence, undiluted by ideology;

The strength that comes from robust alliances and vigorous diplomacy;

And, of course, I will call on the most powerful armed forces the world has ever known to ensure the security of this nation.

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Date
20031217
Activism
Time
10:21
Hiroshima survivors dent the recently-restored restored Enola Gay with bottle of red paint. (Posted at Fark, triggering an inevitable flame war.)

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Date
20031217
In The News
Time
10:23
Man calls 911 and insists that police arrest his cat. Police arrived, agreed to search his house for the cat… and found ‘drug paraphenalia’. Whoops.

Also, it’s not a good idea to pay the babysitter with marijuana.

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Date
20031217
Christianity Watch
Time
10:25
Hip hop singer Lauryn Hill has urged an audience to seeking the blessings of God not men. She also slated the Roman Catholic Church for corruption of its leadership and stated quite clearly that she ‘does not believe in representatives of God on earth’.

She made these comments while performing in a concert at the Vatican.

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Date
20031217
Dead Man Walking
Time
10:32
Oh dear… we interrupted Saddam’s blogging. Heh.

According to CNN, Saddam is being a ‘wiseass’ under interrogation, but ‘denied having ties to terrorists or knowledge of weapons of mass destruction’.

When you hear the sound of the bell, please put on your tin-foil helmets…

*ding*

Indications Saddam Was Not in Hiding But a Captive

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Date
20031217
LOTR
Time
10:38
To make the battle scenes in LOTR: The Return of the King more realistic, the computer chappies created more than 200,000 digitized soldiers (plus 6,000 or so horses), all with ‘distinctiveness and individuality’… and the gift of autonomy.

Special effects designer Richard Taylor: “So each of these computerized soldiers is assessing the environment around them, drawing on a repertoire of military moves that have been taught them through motion capture – determining how they will combat the enemy, step over the terrain, deal with obstacles in front of them through their own intelligence – and there’s 200,000 of them doing that.”

Their biggest problem? For the first two years of development, they couldn’t stop the computer-generated soldiers from simply running away.

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Date
20031217
Spam
Time
10:46
Bush signs anti-spam bill. Oh, and I learned the other day that some spambots deliberately target sites that mention the word ‘spam’. Isn’t that nice?

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Date
20031217
Photoshopping
Time
10:50
Steve is doing a little ‘proof of concept’ work for the ‘print on demand’ outfit, Immediart. He emailed me the other day about offering some of my work as enlarged print thingies. I must admit to being dubious, despite previously entertaining some notions of doing this same thing on a much larger scale.

I now hold in my hands some opinion-changing samples. They make it pretty clear that resolution is a major issue, so I’m going to have to do some development if I want to play along – but right now I’m the proud owner of a sodding great A3 ‘signed’ print of Tony Blair in the nude.

What do you think I should do with it… run a test sale on eBay or give it away as a nifty prize?

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Date
20031217
In The News
Time
11:36
The Scotsman: Garden gnome-lovers have been targeted by official-looking letters which threaten prosecution if they do not remove their outdoor ornaments, a council warned today.

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Date
20031217
Doing The Rounds
Time
13:45
Damn and blast it, I missed Monkey Day.

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Date
20031217
Tony Blair’s Email
Time
13:46
Yet another greeting card for Tony Blair.

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Date
20031217
Civil Liberties
Time
13:52
Independent: Vetting loopholes ‘could allow another killer into a school’

BBC: Soham head calls for law change

Isn’t it wonderful that he at least gives a passing nod to civil liberties?

But we’ve still got to protect the children!!!

Really? Then perhaps extended checks should be compulsory for all staff, not just teachers – but setting up a shiny new database that details every allegation made against a person leads us down a very dangerous path.

UPDATE – A ‘shopped comment by ScottyB

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Date
20031217
Dead Man Walking
Time
14:07
Michael Moore on the capture of Saddam and how much saferer it makes us.

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Date
20031217
Doing The Rounds
Time
15:22
This news is spreading like wildfire this afternoon:

Get a free PC ‘in exchange for your commitment to watch up to 3 minutes of advertising per hour of use’.

You’ll pardon me for being less than charitable, but just the thought of it makes me want to shoot myself in the face.

Oh, and where’s my free bloody TV and radio, then?

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Date
20031217
The Big Conversation
Time
15:57
Tomorrow, Vladimir Putin will appear on Russian TV to answer questions posed by the population via the telling-bone and this website. So far, he’s facing 800,000 questions. He may want to get an early start (or do what Tony does and use a ‘happy filter’ that only lets through 0.01% of questions). Cheers, ScaryDuck.

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Date
20031217
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
16:20
Halliburton-KBR feeds troops filthy food. Oh, and Bush had carefully screened troops waiting for him in the mess hall for his ‘surprise’ visit. Others were turned away. But they all love him. Really.

To be fair and balanced (as is said) here is a view from the right. Do take the time to read the comments. My favourite:

When Bush has to order a enthusiastic crowd, his days are numbered.

UPDATE – Read this. Very enlightening. During Chasing Bush is was noted by many Americans that Bush hasn’t appeared in public for years. The love ‘his people’ feel for him is completely staged.

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Date
20031217
The Impeachment of George W Bush
Time
16:46
From the ABC Bush television interview comes this staggering exchange…

DIANE SAWYER: But stated as a hard fact, that there were weapons of mass destruction as opposed to the possibility that he could move to acquire those weapons still —

PRESIDENT BUSH: So what’s the difference?

DIANE SAWYER: Well —

Please – please – can somebody drag this man into a court room?

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Date
20031218
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
09:19
Democrats not doing themselves any favours I

Democrats not doing themselves any favours II

Still, a bit of left-wing shoutiness beats the hell out of right-wing extremism. £5 says that Tom Watson’s on that list.

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Date
20031218
The War on Porn
Time
09:27
This is sure to catch a few beginners and – as some of ou may suspect is the real point of this exercise – quite a few headlines as well. “Hey look at us! We’re doing stuff!”

Part of me also wonders quietly how well-optimised these sites are.

As with the War on Terror, this cause is just – but I dare to question the intent of certain people and organisations would use this cause to clamp down on freedom. And for now, I’m allowed to…

MSNBC – How the Internet could become a tool of corporate and government power, based on updates now in the works:

The Internet’s pre-eminent dean of darkness is Lawrence Lessig, the Stanford University guru of cyberlaw. Beginning with his 1999 book “Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace,” Lessig has been predicting that corporate and regulatory pressures would usurp the open nature of the Net, and now says that he has little reason to retract his pessimism. Lessig understands that restrictive copyright and Homeland Security laws give a legal rationale to “total control,” and also knows that it will be sold to the people as a great way to stop thieves, pirates, malicious hackers, spammers and child pornographers.

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Date
20031218
Google
Time
09:39
Google reaches out to explore and display information that is held offline… and in doing so creates yet another commercial environment for their users.

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Date
20031218
Only Interesting to Bloggers
Time
09:42
The results are in for the Guardian Blog Awards.

After last year’s kerfuffle, they were very careful not to have an overall winner… which is why, instead, they’ve opted for a special ‘catch-all’ award from the judges. This appears to be more or less the same thing to me. Not a beef; just an observation.

The ‘best written’ award went to an excellent blog: Belle de Jour.

This weblog (by a London call girl) is, arguably, a specialist blog… but it’s the writing that makes it remarkable. It even managed to pass through B3ta’s harsh filters. For once, they didn’t care if it was commercial – or even real – it was just Very. Well. Written.

UPDATE – Hmmm. She also looks to be a perfect candidate to publicise this union drive. Oh, and the nod given to Annie was well-deserved. Perhaps if she were more willing to put out she would have pipped Pepys at the post.

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Date
20031218
Church & State
Time
09:55
The man behind the prosecution of the woman who dared to sell sex toys in Texas is County Attorney Bill Moore, who is sure to approach the matter in a fair and balanced manner, being as he is a proud member of the First Baptist Church of Burleson… who are proud supporters of the local not-at-all-biased Pregnancy Aid Center.

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Date
20031218
“The same thing we do every day, Pinky…”
Time
10:09
Evil on a Budget (or, How to threaten the free world on fifty dollars a day).

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Date
20031218
It’s War! And Things Is Getting Ridiculous!
Time
10:31
Computer programmer launches WMD ‘treasure hunt’ based on public documents.

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Date
20031218
Doing The Rounds
Time
10:33
Did you think yesterday’s freebie offer was nifty? This has it beat hands-down. (Please note that adding the word ‘trousers’ here would have resulted in an over-punnage penalty.)

An Australian company is offering men a two-week vacation in Australia in exchange for their sperm.

The offers comes from this company. The catch is you have to stay in Albury while making regular donations.

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Date
20031218
‘Is That Real?’ Etc.
Time
10:41
It’s a wooden Ferrari. And I don’t care.

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Date
20031218
Follow Up
Time
10:42
Yesterday’s link about the computer generated soldiers in LOTR reminded Dave of the killer kangaroos. You’ve seen it, I’ve seen it – but it still makes me laugh like a drain.

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Date
20031218
In The News
Time
10:45
Adams County Waste Reduction & Recycling office take out full-page newspaper ad to combat problem of abandoned urine.

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Date
20031218
Activism
Time
10:47
Here’s one reason why I believe co-ordinated individual action is the the way forward at present:

Salon.com on the violence and intimidation used to discourage traditional forms of protest.

“There is a pattern developing cross-country with regards to the interaction between police and protesters,” says Lida Rodriguez-Taseff, president of the Miami chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). “That pattern sadly involves the police viewing protesters as terrorists and treating protest situations as crisis situations akin to war or combat.”

Endure the ad, get the free day pass, read in full – and prepare yourselves for January 5th.

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Date
20031218
Privitisation
Time
11:04
BBC: Experts warn of blackout danger over the Christmas holidays.

You don’t have to be an expert to see this coming. I stocked up on torch batteries yesterday after a series of rather disconcerting brown-outs over the last few days.

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Date
20031218
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
11:48
Vote 1 Tom Watson and his nifty bobble-hat!

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Date
20031218
And So This is Christmas…
Time
11:55
Another Christmas, another missing Baby Jesus. When oh when oh when will people realise that we need to set up a central database of people who have been heard to express a dislike for nativity scenes to stop this kind of tragedy occuring?

Oh, and here’s some hints on Turkey safety recently posted to Usenet. Useful, if somewhat overlong and misplaced.

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Date
20031219
Normal People
Time
09:56
Meet Patrick Findlay. He’s lonesome. And handsome.

Also, you might want to spend some time getting to know Vaclav Halek. Mushrooms sing to him.

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Date
20031219
Dead Man Walking
Time
09:59
Here you go: a massive collection of cartoons on the subject of the capture of Saddam Hussein.

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Date
20031219
11/9 (please note correct formatting of date)
Time
10:00
The right-wingers are still on their ‘the Democrats have lost it’ kick. Quite a few links on Blogdex target a tongue-in cheek comment made by Madeleine Albright, suggesting that Dubya has Osama bin Laden tucked away somewhere, ready to be ‘found’ just before the election. As fun as it may be to watch Fox News foam at the mouth, the most interesting article on this subject is this one in the Washington Times, that references a number of conspiracy theories voiced by the left and reactions to them. It includes this snippet:

Earlier, Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont, the presumed leader of the Democratic presidential candidates, spoke of “a theory,” which he later said he didn’t believe, that President Bush had prior knowledge of the September 11 attacks and did not take steps to prevent them.

That’s, like, totally nutty.

CBS News: For the first time, the chairman of the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks is saying publicly that 9/11 could have and should have been prevented.

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Date
20031219
Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch
Time
10:12
More people watched Paris Hilton in This Simple Life on Fox than watched President Bush’s interview with Diane Sawyer on ABC. Here’s a jolly good transcript of the moment when she nailed him. What a pity the people who really needed to see this moment weren’t watching.

UPDATE – Heh. Zach has made a Christmas Wish List for everyone’s favourite lean, green shagging machine.

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Date
20031219
Activism
Time
10:18
PETA plans to hand out “Your Mommy Kills Animals” to youngsters whose mothers are wearing fur. The blind spot these people and a faction of the Huntingdon crowd have for human rights really gets on my tits (I’m not a big fan of animal experimentation, but I’m dead-set against the public displays of tortured animals that they set up in busy shopping areas).

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Date
20031219
Online Marketing
Time
10:24
LNR comments on the Metronomy ‘free PC’ offer.

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Date
20031219
And So This is Christmas…
Time
10:25
Best. Christmas. Link. Ever. The RIAA makes Baby Jesus cry.

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Date
20031219
Only Interesting to Bloggers
Time
10:27
Rebecca Blood’s thought-piece requires more thought. Why name Pepys and Boswell? Is that really that difficult to come up with the names of two famous pamphleteers?

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Date
20031219
Guantanamo Bay
Time
10:32
BBC – Double legal terror blow for Bush: The Bush administration has suffered two legal setbacks in its efforts to curtail the rights of those it accuses of being involved in terrorism.

I’ve posted a shedload of related links over at Interwebnet.org

January 5 will be here before you know it. Plan your targets; polish your locks.

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Date
20031219
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
10:42
Salon.com takes a closer look at the latest ‘proof’ of a link between Saddam and Osama. The usual ‘free day pass’ rigmarole is in place, but it’s worth it for the read.

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Date
20031219
Photoshopping
Time
14:47
A special Christmas image for you.

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Date
20031219
Bunch of Stuff
Time
15:05
The latest B3ta newsletter is a cracker. A highlight is the naked MP calendar, which reminds me of the evil thoughts I was having late yesterday afternoon about Tim Yeo…

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Date
20031222
Music
Time
09:06
Abnu quite rightly points out that we should reward the creators of whatacrappypresent.com with a resounding ‘Huzzah!’, so…

Huzzahs all around for the folks behind downhillbattle.org, who are fighting the good fight with a staggering level of dedication, style and humour. You can contact the co-founders and track their successes in the press here.

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Date
20031222
LOTR
Time
09:15
String, or nothing,

String, or nothing,

Baggins, we hates it!

Smeagol; break it down!

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Date
20031222
Perpetual War
Time
09:17
The terror threat level has been increased in the U.S., who are now officially at ‘Ernie‘. Here’s hoping nobody gets an Elmo this Christmas.

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Date
20031222
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
09:20
Wizspark cleverly bring to light the well-known ‘referrer spam’ loophole in Blogdex and in doing so plug their viral event buzz thingies with (ahem) admirable subtlety.

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Date
20031222
It’s War! And Totally Justified At That!
Time
09:50
It really steams my bean that, after constantly patting us poor, misguided peaceniks on the head and telling us that we just don’t understand the complicated forces behind political decisions, that Bush and Blair would so boldly tie Libya’s recent decision to drop their WMD programmes to their ‘success’ in Iraq.

Over to Clare Short, writing in The Independent on Sunday:

The co-ordination of the Blair-Bush press conferences on Friday night claiming a big success in the “war on terror” has a pathetic tone that reflects the Prime Minister’s desperation and the two men’s continuing belief that they can prosecute their “war” with half-truths and deceptions.

This piece goes on to point out how this ‘victory’ was actually achieved and to develop a solid case for concerns we should have about the future, as does this post from Billmon, over at The Whiskey Bar:

Still, I can only shake my head at the incredible twists and turns in what passes for the Bush administration’s foreign policy. It was just a few short weeks ago that Bush was vowing to end America’s past practice of overlooking the sins of odious regimes — as long as they were willing to serve U.S. interests.

Did Saddam Hussein cement his rule without outside assistance? No, he didn’t.

Did the illegal war against Iraq right these wrongs and make the world safe against terrorism? No, it didn’t.

Can we expect an improvement to human rights and/or free and open elections in Libya anytime soon? No, we can’t.

Do you actually have to walk across the horizon to see it? No, you don’t.

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Date
20031222
Dead Man Walking
Time
09:58
Remember this post from last week about indications that Saddam may actually have been a captive?

The Sunday Express has been following this line of inquiry also (via ‘an unnamed Western intelligence source’), as Conspiracy Planet reports. A Yahoo report on this same news is also doing the rounds but, so far, only the Sydney Morning Herald digs a little deeper, dusting a number of Kurdish fingerprints.

Cue Bush and Blair post-fanfare, saying that “It doesn’t really matter who got him, we got him!”, and “It’s time to move on!”, etc. etc. etc.

UPDATE – More (much more) at Metafilter.

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Date
20031222
‘Is That Real?’ Etc.
Time
10:11
Blood-red sky in Edvard Munch’s The Scream attributed to volcanic activity in Krakatoa.

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Date
20031222
And So This is Christmas…
Time
10:32
Tennessee judge allows traffic offenders to sing a Christmas carol rather than pay a fine. Does that apply to seasonal drink-drivers as well?

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Date
20031222
Flash Music Video
Time
10:34
Far out, man. I can see the music!

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Date
20031222
Does What It Says On The Tin
Time
10:35
See what Chimpy is costing you at bushtax.com

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Date
20031222
Established Media
Time
10:36
One of my favourite things ever is when a newspaper rips off a scoop by The Smoking Gun and perhaps – when feeling generous – ‘names’ the source as ‘an American website’. MSNBC helps to correct the balance with this review of recent SG scoops and their coverage in mainstream media.

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Date
20031222
‘Is That Real?’ Etc.
Time
10:47
Meet Bob and Denise. They’re ‘caravanners (and) people too’. They’re also popular. Very popular. Watch out for the big ‘whoosing’ sound.

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Date
20031222
Orwell Was Right
Time
10:53
The Observer: After speed cameras, road humps and mobile phone bans, there could be more bad news for Britain’s motorists. Police are urging Ministers to give them the power to stop vehicles by remote control.

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Date
20031222
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
10:55
Time names the American soldier (a ‘bright, sharp instrument of a blunt policy’) as Person Of The Year.

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Date
20031222
Flash Thingies
Time
13:50
Halliburton: Your Trusted Reconstruction Partner!

And here’s a little something to read for afters…

(Look, I know this isn’t the kind of shafting that makes for good TV, but can someone over there please, please get on with the long-overdue impeachment proceedings? You don’t want to be out-done by Lithuania, now do you?)

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Date
20031222
Doing The Rounds
Time
14:09
WOoOoOOoooOOOooo…

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Date
20031222
It’s War! And Totally Justified At That!
Time
14:45
A nifty ‘shop cartoon and post/discussion on the subject of Bush’s “What’s the difference?” interview.

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Date
20031222
Video
Time
15:15
Yahoo News: In the midst of a film industry crackdown on digital movie piracy, filmmaker Robert Greenwald is urging rampant, unauthorized copying of his documentary criticizing the Bush administration’s reasons for invading Iraq. Greenwald has bypassed movie theaters and television, and instead has organized “parlor screenings” in thousands of homes across the United States with the help of Internet-based liberal advocacy group, MoveOn.org

Want to see it? If you live in the U.S., you can simply click here to find the nearest viewing party.

Perhaps we can get a little viewing party together in London…

Delivery of videos appears to be delayed for most folks, so let me just ask first; has anyone bought a copy already that may arrive faster or – even better – is already in the country?

UPDATE – The link above also features a trailer. Oh, and here’s a full transcript. (Hmmm. I wonder what we have to do to get this broadcast in the UK?)

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Date
20031223
Anyone but George
Time
09:35
I’ve started poking around Democratic Underground lately. Lots of interesting stuff turns up (but from time to time you will need a tinfoil party hat).

One thing that keeps turning up is appreciation for individual entries in MoveOn.org Voter Fund’s political ad contest.

This Bush in 30 secs ad I blogged yesterday still has me laughing 18 hours later (the delivery is right on the money), and I just spotted this extremely well-executed number on the subject of 11/9. However, this entry makes me giggle. OK, so it’s a solid rap, but the guy looks like Mark Lamarr.

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Date
20031223
It’s War! And Totally Justified At That!
Time
09:48
New York Times: As a special envoy for the Reagan administration in 1984, Donald H. Rumsfeld, now the defense secretary, traveled to Iraq to persuade officials there that the United States was eager to improve ties with President Saddam Hussein despite his use of chemical weapons, newly declassified documents show.

But… but.. but.. that still leaves (um, errr) the Rape Rooms! Yes, Rape Rooms were what this war was about! Saddam had Rape Rooms!

(ahem)

You can dig through a growing collection of links and info on this subject here.

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Date
20031223
Only Interesting to Bloggers
Time
09:53
The next version of Movable Type will feature comment registration in an effort to control comment spam.

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Date
20031223
Photography
Time
09:57
An excellent – excellent – Brooklyn-based Photolog that focuses on ‘strange signage, urban decay and general weirdness': Satan’s Laundromat

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Date
20031223
Web Design
Time
10:00
Jakob Nielsen’s Top Ten Web Design Mistakes of 2003.

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Date
20031223
Flash Thingies
Time
10:02
Merry Xmas from a kid who means business! (Requires Flash and a stomach for violence. Link via Ultimate Insult.)

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Date
20031223
Would You Believe…
Time
10:05
Here’s the real reason Libya was desperate to do a deal; they want to host the World Cup in 2010.

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Date
20031223
Activism
Time
10:07
Miami Herald: A judge presiding over the cases of free trade protesters said in court that he saw ”no less than 20 felonies committed by police officers” during the November demonstrations, adding to a chorus of complaints about police conduct.

According to Amnesty International, they also violated a few international laws and covenants on civil rights as well.

This will all come out sooner or later, and we will win back the right to march peacefully, but for now, it’s Secret Squirrel time!

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Date
20031223
In The Courts
Time
10:14
I feel I should warn you that singing in court (as blogged yesterday) doesn’t always guarantee leniency.

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Date
20031223
‘Is That Real?’ Etc.
Time
10:17
Heh. Sarah M. Giles and Sarah Shea on medically-appropriate responses to injuries in nursery rhymes.

Incidentally, brown paper is great for head cuts (which bleed a lot). It’s more fibrous than normal paper, and applying it to a cut can actually help the blot to clot. Seriously. I’m not sure what good the vinegar would do (perhaps it’s there to reduce bruising/swelling) but I read the other day that it’s great for washing squirrels before you casserole them.

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Date
20031223
Photoshopping
Time
13:18
A little non-festive cheer for you. (Also posted to B3ta.)

“Little Mikey never saw his parents again…”

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Date
20031224
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
10:19
Fabulous isn’t it? We’re on high alert, and Bush & Blair appear to be arguing over who gets to fly into Iraq for a heart-warming photo-op.

If it is Bush that flies in, do you think this time he’ll claim to have seen Santa along the way?

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Date
20031224
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
10:24
Why do you think Condoleezza Rice is none-too-keen on tesifying under oath before the federal commission investigating the 11/9 attacks?

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Date
20031224
Flash Music Video
Time
10:39
Disturbing and spooky but ever so woo-some… damn right you better watch out!

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Date
20031224
In The Courts
Time
10:41
BBC: American comedian Lenny Bruce has been granted a posthumous pardon by the state of New York.

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Date
20031224
And So This is Christmas…
Time
10:42
Santarchy.com – “No force on earth can stop one hundred Santas!”

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Date
20031224
Only Interesting to Bloggers
Time
11:00
Newsday: A Brooklyn cop is being investigated over Internet postings that brag about beating suspects, writing phony tickets and ignoring calls to his precinct.

If you go to the blog in question, you’ll find that it’s recently been emptied. Bugger.

No matter. If you’re quick, you’ll be able to scan through this Google cache that mostly reveals an obsession with ‘funny’ NSFW images. More specific searches and cache views allow you to dig a little deeper, which is how I tracked down and verified the post regarding bogus traffic tickets.

(Again, you’ll have to coast past many, many NSFW images to get to it, so I’ve posted the guts in full below for more immediate and worksafe reading.)

“The new commanding officer of the precinct is pressuring us to write more and more tickets. We were officially told NOT to write anymore tickets for headlights and taillights. Most people fix the problem within 24 hours and the ticket would be admonished therefore the City of New York makes no money in the end. So I have come up with a better way of writing tickets. I just write down the plates of the cars that cut me off the the parkways and I send them a bogus parking ticket in the mail. The person will then have to deal with the Parking Violations Bureau and not me. Problem quickly resolved. So, in other words, be careful who you cut off on the road. They might be an off duty cop and they could write your plates down and write you a $150 parking ticket. Have a nice day.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031224
Tim Yeo
Time
11:14
That A3 poster of Tony Blair in the nude is being offered as a special prize over at the Tim Yeo Weblog, and will go to the first person who digs out verifiable transcripts of Tim Yeo’s love poems.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031224
Photoshopping
Time
11:16
This year’s Christmas image is humbly dedicated to Douglas, who is missed (and needed) now more than ever.

Have yourself a Merry Christmas, and please try not to consume more than is good for you.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031229
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
09:44
This Persian photoblog of Iranian quake victims and rescue efforts tops the chart today. The commentary may be beyond you, but the pictures should be enough for anybody. Close behind is The National Iranian American Council’s earthquake aid fund.

Not only, but also…

Keeping in mind that I’ve already warned you about the need for tinfoil party hats at democraticunderground.com:

Democratic Underground Forums – Could US have caused the Iran earthquake?

A mix of instant dismissal and earnest debate here, and – quite interestingly, I thought – details of the U.S. Space Preservation Act of 2001, which calls for a ban on ‘tectonic weapons’… and mind control from space.

(ahem)

Unless it involves “civil, commercial, or defense activities (including communications, navigation, surveillance, reconnaissance, early warning, or remote sensing),” in which case it’s OK. Major League Baseball, the way is open…

Back to the subject at hand… now with a view from the far side of the right:

I don’t want to name and shame (there are a number of flame wars going on that quite simply don’t need extra fanning) but I was sure that there would be a number of trolls on the subject of the tragedy in Iran and whether or not it was God’s will. A quick search in Google confirmed my suspicions, and also revealed quite a few earnest Christians making much of these three almost identical passages from the Bible, all relating to signs that mark the End of Days.

Matthew 24:7-8 (link) :

Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.

Mark 13:8 (link) :

Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.

Luke 21:10-11 (link) :

Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.”

For the record, President Bush has expressed sympathy for Iran, but he has many Christian supporters who believe that the war on terrorism is a battle between good and evil battle predicted in the Bible as a precursor to the Second Coming.

UPDATE – The damage to the Bam Citadel is not as bad as it seems. Oh, and here’s an entry at The Memory Hole on the subject of tectonic weapons.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031229
Royal Rumours
Time
09:49
Meet Australian chappie Michael Abney-Hastings. He’s the rightful King of England, don’t you know…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031229
The Little Guy
Time
09:52
A group of witless teenagers elected unpopular geek Andrew Ironside valedictorian as a joke. Nobody thought he would have the guts to go through with it, let alone stand up to deliver a valedictorian speech that made asses of them all.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031229
And So This is Christmas…
Time
10:03
One for ScaryDuck:

Christmas light display loser tears down his own entry in a rage before setting his sights on the competition winner.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031229
Doing The Rounds
Time
10:07
About.com’s 10 Dumbest Quotes of 2003

DU’s Top Ten Conservative Idiots

Best of B3ta 2003

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031229
Passing On
Time
10:22
Bob Monkhouse passes away peacefully in his sleep at age 75.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031229
Flash Thingies
Time
10:34
Make your own magic garden.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031229
Activism
Time
12:19
The Guantanamo Bay Lock-Up Day message has started to spread amongst LiveJournal users. The entry with the most comments is here, where the safety aspects of the campaign are discussed in a fair and balanced manner. It also cracked the language barrier a few days back.

Lock-Up Day is next Monday, folks. If you haven’t scoped a good target yet, please do so today.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031229
The End of Democracy
Time
14:28
Australian journalist gets a taste of Department of Homeland Security hospitality.

The sign in the CBP office says it all for me: Your Silence Is Appreciated

New Idea is a vacuous woman’s mag, usually referred to as No Idea. The journalist was on her way to interview Olivia Newton John, which is not an altogether unusual occurence. So where’s the problem?

The problem is that she didn’t have a special I-visa for journalists. This isn’t a new thing, it’s just being enforced quite heavily lately – and I’m sure you can work out why.

I love the way this legal site puts it:

The I visa category is for media representatives of foreign press, radio, film, or other foreign information media. The role of foreign media in the U.S. is significant, particularly with the worldwide events taking place after September 11, 2001, where U.S. media need similar visas from countries where they report on international developments. For example, our news media would need to obtain visas comparable to the U.S. I visa to enter Pakistan, Afghanistan, and other countries.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031229
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
15:29
PaulMartinTime.ca is a jolly good spoof of the official site of the Canadian PM at paulmartintimes.ca which is now getting seasonal cease and desist letters from ‘a law firm representing the Liberal Party of Canada’.

The folks from BlogsCanada.ca are polishing their arse-kicking boots. You may wish to join in. (Cheers to Abnu for the heads-up.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031229
The Bush Administration
Time
16:19
Parts of the Patriot II Act are now law. Bush’s team buried nasty bits in other legislation and swept a biggie through on a Saturday afternoon to avoid a Senate Floor Debate. This also happened to be the same Staurday afternoon on which Saddam Hussein was captured.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031230
Flash Thingies
Time
09:24
I don’t care if they do want to eat your spicy brains; violence against zombies (Chapter 1, Chapter 2) is a hate crime. Hate criiiiiiiiime!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031230
Normal People
Time
09:26
Some women are born to wear sweaters. Others have sweaters thrust upon them.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031230
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
09:28
Apart from a bunch of people kicking themselves over this and an appeal from Wikipedia, it mostly looks like a batch of mixed feelings from The Washington Post today.

All is not well in Iraq, and the army appears to be stretched to the point of forcibly drafting its own soldiers, but to criticise Bush is a hate-crime. (They were going to make it a thought-crime to simply not like him and keep quiet about it, but are waiting until the next quiet Saturday afternoon to pass this into law.)

Laying the boot into Howard Dean is OK, though. After all, we’re battling liberal media bias… somebody has to say something.

UPDATE – Boston.com – Hate speech of the left… where Jeff Jacoby insists that comparing Bush & Co. to the Nazis is way out of line. It’s nothing personal, Jeff, just a valid point of reference.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031230
We’re Not At Home To Mr Cockup
Time
09:41
LNR: The Beagle has… oh

Over at the Beagle 2 weblog, they seem to be busy staring at their own bellybuttons. The latest news? Lord Sainsbury dropped by to visit… erm… they got 16.4 million hits on Christmas Day… oh, and someone in the office got engaged.

Meanwhile, The Guardian tries to salvage some national pride by going with the ‘heroic failure’ angle.

UPDATE – Why are we wasting time sending robots to Mars when we should be busy blowing up the moon?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031230
Passing On
Time
09:52
Actor who played ‘Wilson’ on ‘Home Improvement’ dies. They were going to announce it sooner, but couldn’t find anyone to identify the body. B-bm tischhhh….

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031230
Art
Time
09:56
I’ve blogged the Picture of Everything before, yes? No matter. It’s worth looking at again, if only to wonder what exactly is going on between Dr Strangefate and Supergirl.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031230
The War on Terror
Time
10:05
More airport security hijinks; read the incredible tale of the spindly killer goldfish (no doubt identified as a terrorist by his scaly orange coveralls).

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031230
Spam
Time
10:08
BoingBoing points out a new method being used by the PayPal scammers.

Oh, and there’s a new ‘Bank of England’ scam doing the rounds, too.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031230
Bunch of Stuff
Time
10:18
Look at a lot of web pages other people have been looking at… and look at them all at once.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031230
Christianity Watch
Time
10:19
Sharpsword Minstries warns us that; “the internet has given an arena to every screwball that thinks he is the Messiah to vent his twisted mind,” but this pales into insignificance next to the threat of the awful conspiracy to usurp the scriptures.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031230
It’s War! And Totally Justified At That!
Time
10:28
Tom Wright, Bishop of Durham, has nicked my favourite analogy:

“For Bush and Blair to go into Iraq together was like a bunch of white vigilantes going into Brixton to stop drug dealing. This is not to deny there’s a problem to be sorted, just that they are not credible people to deal with it.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031230
Flash Games
Time
10:36
Be a Royal Marine. In your head. The uniform drives imaginary girls wild.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031230
Everybody Loves George
Time
10:42
Oh, and Neil. Neil can do anything.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031230
Civil Liberties
Time
10:49
Wake up America. Please… wake up…. please?

AP Wire – FBI issues alert against almanac carriers : The FBI is warning police nationwide to be alert for people carrying almanacs, cautioning that the popular reference books covering everything from abbreviations to weather trends could be used for terrorist planning.

Check out more from The Washington Post and some reactions at Democratic Underground. Also, this Fark thread contains a neat paraphrasing of the statement often attributed to the German anti-Nazi activist, Pastor Martin Niemöller:

First they came for the Jews

and I did not speak out

because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the Communists

and I did not speak out

because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists

and I did not speak out

because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the almanac-bearers

and I did not speak out

because I was not an almanac-bearer.

Then they came for me

and there was no one left

to speak out for me.

(Damn! Did I just unwittingly compare the Bush administration to the Nazis? Hate crime! Hate criiiiiiiiime!)

UPDATE – Now early-morning mall-walking is a no-no, too. Breathing in and out will be next, you just watch…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031230
RWCs
Time
11:38
Kuro5hin – How Free is Free Republic?

They’re awfully keen to go charging into liberal/left web communities to cause havoc with obvious trolls (all the while bleating about any moderated posts as ‘an attack on free speech’) but the moment you try to make a reasonable comment on their site… *plonk*.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031230
The Interwebnet
Time
11:44
Reuters – Cyber Blackmail Wave Targets Office Workers: Cyber blackmail artists are shaking down office workers, threatening to delete computer files or install pornographic images on their work PCs unless they pay a ransom…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031230
Follow Up
Time
12:29
Stolen Baby Jesus returned with ‘corrected’ skin colour.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031230
Photoshopping
Time
14:04
The Guardian: The Cuban authorities have launched an inquiry into how the official newspaper of the Communist party ran a front page photograph of Fidel Castro which appeared to have been doctored to make him look like Adolf Hitler.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031230
Civil Liberties
Time
14:30
Arthur Sibler on the subject of RWCs and other ‘moral bullies’:

1. “They are the enemies of mind, and of thought — and they are the enemies of truth, justice and freedom in a very deep sense. They are the advance guard of the Truth Police. For them, history does not exist, nor does the past in any meaningful sense at all, nor does the future.”

2. “I want to state one thing very clearly and unmistakably for the benefit of any warbloggers who might read this — particularly those warbloggers and other hawks who strut their self-announced moral superiority and constantly shove it in the face of everyone else, and who act as if any disagreement with their historically ignorant views of the world constitutes some sort of treason. You are the enemies of America — just as you are the enemies of thought, of history, of ideas, of any conception of what genuine liberty means, and how it is to be achieved.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031231
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
10:09
Well, lookie here…

MSNBC: Attorney General John Ashcroft (has) recused himself from the Justice Department’s investigation of the unauthorized disclosure of an undercover CIA officer’s identity.

CNN: Comey, second in command at the Justice Department, automatically becomes the acting attorney general for this case and has the authority to determine how the case is investigated and, if warranted, prosecuted. Comey said he has appointed Patrick Fitzgerald — currently the Chicago-based U.S. Attorney for Northern Illinois — as the special prosecutor to take over the investigation.

The good news is that Fitzgerald is a Republican, but not a total flunky.

Josh Marshall has an excellent post on this subject, which includes the following: It’s always been more or less an open secret who the perps are in this case. And they’re very high-level folks — people with deep influence of the formulation and implementation of policy. And the wrong-doing here is directly related to the execution of policy. So if a crime was committed, and if an indictment is forthcoming, it will bring under scrutiny a whole complex range of wrong-doing (though not necessarily criminal wrongdoing) relating to administration war policy and intelligence manipulation and other stuff we can go into at a later date.

BTW, the results from the Hutton Inquiry are about two weeks away. The BBC is preparing a block and basket, but what of Tony’s camp? Or Gordon’s, for that matter? Interesting times ahead, folks….

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031231
Funny, That…
Time
10:11
Now there’s a bright idea; cleaning the hard drive before dumping your PC.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031231
Consume!
Time
10:11
Where in the hell is my flying car?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031231
Bunch of Stuff
Time
10:12
I tripped over a wonderful link-log called Digital Dialecte this morning. Chock full of quality goodness, it is – and well worth a visit.

Here’s just a few things that I found there:

This Flash game will completely mess with your head, especially if you end up back inside it.

This is 9.6 MB of Quicktime, but will make you smile if you have the bandwidth to deal with it. Cuddles!

And this collection of Dubya photoshops puts the Tim Yeo collection to shame (but watch out for some NSFW entries).

The final discovery should, I feel, be embedded within some text from this post on the subject of racism in LOTR by Lloyd Hart over at Indymedia:

In these times when a homicidal maniac from Texas… has stolen the American throne and called for a “crusade” against the “evil doers” in nations that white people have been invading, terrorizing, raping and pillaging in for 5000 years with zero provocation, I think we could manage some cultural sensitivity in our popular culture which one must acknowledge has a powerful propaganda affect on the general population that participates in it.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031231
Cats = Evil
Time
10:29
Cats suspected of interfering with propane tank and setting off blast that levelled their owner’s house. Microwaving’s too good for ‘em.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031231
Only Interesting to Bloggers
Time
10:32
USA Today – Freewheeling ‘bloggers’ are rewriting rules of journalism

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031231
Oldies But Goodies
Time
10:32
Star Wars Origami rocks. Fear of paper cuts should keep the local sytems in line…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031231
Yet Another Lame Quiz
Time
10:56
I don’t know why, but there’s something very entertaining about watching Star Wars geeks discover the M*A*S*H Quiz….








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Bloggerheads – Year Two

Bloggerheads was born at 10:02 on Friday, December 14, 2001. On this date last year we crunched some numbers and looked at what had been achieved. This year, we get to do the same and run some comparisons:

Number of Posts

2002 – 2,375 posts, approx 8-9 posts each weekday, 1.61MB of raw .TXT data

2003 – 3,055 posts, approx 10-11 posts each weekday, 3.11MB of raw .TXT data

A few more posts, but almost twice as many words by the looks of things. The blog began as a collection of throwaway links and/or comments, but has become a lot more serious(ish) as time has gone by.

Number of Images

2002 – 762 photoshopped images

2003 – 379 photoshopped images

I’d like to think this has to do with a quality/quantity decision on my part, but in reality it had a lot to do with me being modem-bound for 6 months of the year (this makes the necessary image-surfing very time-consuming). Still, the Star Wars Photoshopping Project provided some solid therapy during these difficult times. It also attracted 45,456 unique visitors and earned the top spot for the search query ‘photoshopping’. Tucked in just under that result is my main photoshopping collection, which contains a number of distractions and the small body of work I’m most fond of; the 4007th Project.

I suppose if I had to pick an image of the year, it would be this one of Bush & Blair, as it tells the story at a glance, has been shown all over the web and has been used on protest placards in the UK, Australia, Japan and America. A close second would be the image of Alastair Campbell, released about an hour after it was announced that a body had been found that matched the description of Dr David Kelly.

Number of Visitors

2002 – 101,302 unique visitors to the core weblog

2003 – 294,442 unique visitors to the core weblog

On an average weekday, the core weblog reaches 1100-1500 people. When a big project is on, this can rise to 15,000 visitors in one day. Very few people visit over the weekend, because most people view the blog from work and weekend bloggage almost never happens (one good reason to post this today instead of yesterday). The Army of the Core Faithful (visiting every weekday without fail) has risen from 90 or so to well over 200. (If you are one of these people, be warned that I have surreptitiously planted a keyword into your mind that – when spoken or blogged – will cause you to go forth and do my bidding without question.)

The usual peaks remain in place; one at 09:30 GMT when the bulk of bloggage goes live, and one just after 13:00 GMT when lunchtime kicks in here in the UK and folks start to wake up over in America. It’s also interesting to note that there have been over 500 visitors accessing the site via the gsi.gov.uk or parliament.uk servers (with the bulk of these visits taking place during the Tim Yeo incident).

The biggest referrer by far is Google (with the most popular search query being ‘mustard man’, closely followed by a series of queries relating to Tony Blair’s email address and then ‘star wars’). Fark.com and B3ta.com follow. In all, there were 10,782 websites that sent traffic this way in 2003.

A few campaigns and fun pages began during 2002 (Can Weblogs Reach Ronald Scelson? reached 16,994 people), but nothing really outdid the M*A*S*H Quiz, which just kept on ticking over to attract a total of 45,231 people in 2002. This year, the M*A*S*H Quiz only reached 37,788 people.

However, during 2003, Bloggerheads went onwards and upwards (and forever twirling, twirling, twirling at windmills) with the following experiments, activities and adventures:

Projects, Experiments & Campaigns

JPEG Baby – A Long Song For the 21st Century

93,745 unique visitors

This was an experiment designed to show that a web-hosted flash show was the best way to promote a musical track. Despite being an English-language song (with animation based on these same English-language lyrics) it attracted links from all over the world and – at the peak of link activity – was actually the top search result for the generic search query ‘love song’ (it currently nestles in at 9th). Point proved, I would think.

Tony Blair’s Email Address

51,946 unique visitors

This campaign actually started in 2002 and only reached a few thousand people during that year, but as better and better search results started coming in and interest grew in the later stages (where I was pretty much ropeable and producing pornographic images of Mr & Mrs Blair) it finally drew some impressive numbers – and a result! The campaign was hijacked by Conservative MP Tim Yeo (who continues to pay the price) and my specifications were ripped off by the Downing St IT team, but what really counts is that, with the support of your good selves and two willing MPs, it finally made this publicly accessible email facility for Tony Blair a reality. The campaign also led to my meeting Tom Watson, and the development of the first genuine weblog of a British MP (see below).

Bare Your Bum At Bush

50,780 unique visitors

Part of the Can Weblogs…? experiment that asked; Can Weblogs Chase Bush Out of Britain?, this campaign showed – well ahead of any official announcement – just how welcome Bush would be on these shores. Perhaps not surprisingly, a great deal of link support came from America (and, as a result of overall linkage, this page is still the No.3 search result for the single word ‘bum’).

Chasing Bush (offsite)

122,749 unique visitors

As plans for Bush’s state visit developed and needs changed, the experiment moved on to an emergency first-project for the passive resistance portal myself and a few other willing bloggers were cooking up following the heartening success of the Out Of Order Project and the data I’d collected on the Humanity vs. Anarchy Project. Rich Wild (of FunJunkie fame) deserves most of the credit for bringing the facility into being in record time (and keeping it afloat wherever possible in the face of major DoS attacks) and kudos should also go to the volunteer moderators Johan & Mirjam, Jez, Greenfairy and BigDaddyMerk who so bravely faced the wrath of right-wing extremists, tweaked the nose of terror and chewed through the side of a ship to escape the dreadful spindly killer fish. Interwebnet has since moved on to the next project – Guantanamo Bay Lock-Up Day – and has a list of future targets that should keep us busy well into the New Year.

Tom Watson (offsite)

approx. 125,000+ unique visitors

Tom ran an online diary of sorts before we met, but it was hidden behind frames and his personal entries weren’t archived. His upgrade to Moveable Type and entry proper into the weblog community did not go unnoticed. In fact, the attention-getting Teens page was – I’m sure – surplus to requirements. Still, it was a lot of fun, and managed to sucker The Guardian, The Times, The Financial Times and even Private Eye. Amusingly, it also led to Tom getting several abusive/sincere emails from marketing types, assuring him that he needed some serious help when it came to communicating with today’s ‘switched-on’ audience.

One of the main problems Tom faced before was sharing a name with a famous golfer and being difficult to find in search engines as a result. Now, according to Google, he’s not only the most important Tom Watson on the Internet, he’s also the most important Labour MP.

Even more impressive – to me, anyways – is the highly visible precedent set by Tom, resulting in a number of other MPs taking similar personal and genuine approaches. A pity, though, that American polticians have cottoned onto it without really getting it. (Three days after Tom made his first post, former senator Gary Hart made his, but things started to go downhill on that side of the pond when the majority of US publicity went to Howard Dean, who mostly has staff blog on his behalf. Wesley Clark followed suit, as did George W. Bush. These are not genuine weblogs by politicians. They are, at best, community blogs by supporters and/or glorified press centres.)

And A Few Words To Close…

Oh, I also managed to get a little bit of work done.

However…

I failed – yet again – to make the front page of a broadsheet. The best I managed this year was Page 2 of The Independent – where I was wrongly identified as a member of the CND…

I didn’t finish my first novel. In fact, it’s been sitting on the back-burner for so long that it’s starting to desiccate. No matter. There are more important things in life than creative wank – and I’ve got a new SEO book in mind that should keep me busy for a while.

I didn’t write a top ten single – but would regard JPEG Baby to be a significant step forward. Now I just need to track down that damn elusive Elvis impersonator or someone willing to take on the Top Secret Pop Music Project I’ve been quietly gestating for the last 10 years.

Oh, and I still haven’t successfully engaged my universal micropayment solution. Yet.

Finally, to finish up the post and round off the number crunching, I’d love to be able to list the number of people who’ve started blogging (or have returned to blogging) because of stuff going on at Bloggerheads, but to do so incorrectly and/or without permission is – I think – a little bit off. So, if this is you, and you don’t mind being listed as such for future reference, please get in touch today and I’ll start a list under this line:

————

Tom

Al

Russ

Rich

Martin

James

Tom

John

Steve








Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

01-12 December, 2003

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Date
20031201
The Big Conversation
Time
09:30
The Torygraph: Labour’s Big Conversation is a fix!

I love the closing statement:

Last night a Labour spokesman admitted it had contacted specific individuals to get the website up and running. He confirmed that submissions had been “edited” but claimed that there was no question of cutting out anti-government material.

Heh. That little assertion could be taken either way, wouldn’t you agree?

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Date
20031201
And So This is Christmas…
Time
09:45
The UK Weblogger’s Xmas Party was a real treat and – homeward bound adventures notwithstanding – could not be faulted. Except for the music, which sucked balls.

There are a number of posts about the party, most of which can be discovered quickly and easily via this handy list of attendees. I’ll post links to photo collections as they come together.

Here’s a small collection to get you started, and here’s a posted-when-pissed-post-party-post that’s not to be missed.

UPDATE – A solid collection of party-related links can be found at this post at FunJunkie.

And I’d like to join everyone in saying ‘well done’ to Rich Wild, who organised the event. It was a corker.

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Date
20031201

Time
12:50
Andrew Hewitt has been a busy surfer today. First he piped up with not one (albeit potential) climb-down by the Bush administration but two:

US climb-down on steel ‘imminent’

US ‘set for Guantanamo releases’

Do keep in mind that, so far, these are only promises, and the release of 100 inmates from Guantanamo Bay does not address the human rights violations to date. Nor does it help the 560 or so that will remain.

On a more local note, he later emailed in with this little gem. Having just heard a report on Ian Huntley’s statement on the radio I must point out that there is a damnable ‘due process’ germ in my brain that insists that the horrific result of this incident must not blind us to the possibility that he’s telling the truth about its cause… but that doesn’t stop this from being mildly amusing:

‘Huntley Innocent’ Says New Defence Lawyer Muhammed Saeed al-Sahhaf

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Date
20031201

Time
13:33
Ha! The perfect Christmas gift idea comes to you via TTR2, thanks to their timely discovery of The Screaming Jesus Clock. Finally, a viable replacement for my Mosque Clock.

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Date
20031201
Photoshopping
Time
14:31
B3tans have discovered this absolutely huge collection of kitty-images (don’t click if you’re on a modem – the page is a massive download).

As a result, the B3ta messageboard is going kitten-crazy. Highlights include this sneezing kitten and the AT-ST kitten. Oh, and one evil mouse.

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Date
20031201

Time
16:06
An office bandwidth usage report has just landed on my desk. Yours truly tops the chart (by a long way) with close to 40,000 connections and 665Mb of viewed/downloaded data – in one week alone.

Oh, I got some work done, too….

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Date
20031201
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
16:09
As Tom points out, the Diebold story has pretty much been ignored by mainstream press – the only outcry was online. But we still managed to motivate Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich, who now plans to do something about it.

Click here if you’d like to thank the man personally.

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Date
20031201

Time
17:15
I don’t abuse my keyboard quite as badly as this, but I am pretty heavy-handed, and manage to pound one into submission every 8-12 months or so.

Currently, I have a good collection of back-ups at home. I picked up 6 USB keyboards at £1 each a while ago.

Why so cheap?

Well, some bright spark from the dotcom era thought there would be a few quid in making keyboards with special buttons for ‘GoTo’ and ‘eBay’…

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Date
20031201
Michael Jackson
Time
18:59
Recording devices found in ‘smokers corner’ outside Santa Barbara Sheriff’s office. Clever….

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Date
20031202

Time
09:11
See your site through the eyes of Apple’s Safari Browser.

1. I love the way they’re dealing with the heavy load on their bandwidth. That’s one nifty queue and expiry system.

2. Bloggerheads appears to be invisible. Oh dear…

UPDATE – Rogi assures me that it is visible. Phew! I almost alienated the Betacam users, there…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031202
The Big Conversation
Time
09:16
The LNR Journal is running over Tony Blair’s Big Abortion like a catcher-less mower. The way they’ve chewed up and spat out Tony Blair’s personal message is particularly promising. (Heh. ‘Dear Friend’… it reads like he’s been briefed by a Nigerian spammer.)

Keep an eye out for further mulch and – eventually – quality compost. As I blogged yesterday, the whole thing appears to have been a fix from Day One.

UPDATE – I told there’d be more. Here’s a quick comment from an unbeliever and – hip-hip-huzzah – here’s someone providing an alternative in a more conversational format.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031202

Time
09:23
Joe and Dee – of greatdreams.com – were brought together by ‘positive co-creation’, and believe that we all channel human consciousness and spiritual energy. If you can make your way past the MIDI files, there’s a lot to enjoy here. Oh, and in case you’re wondering if this power of dream intepretation and prophecy is in good hands, I’m sure you’ll be happy to know that they’re on our side.

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Date
20031202

Time
09:31
Justice of the Peace accused of exposing himself to undercover officers in the woods at night. He claims that he had to pee:

“I had to urinate, OK. I have prostate problems. I had prostate problems. In fact, I had prostate cancer.”

Oh, did anyone else catch Absolute Power on the BBC last night? I found myself looking forward to the next episode of a series for the first time in a long time. In fact, I felt this tingling sensation in a dark corner of my brain that hasn’t been stimulated since Frontline.

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Date
20031202
Lunchtime Links
Time
09:41
Great Vomits of the 20th Century! As The Ultimate Insult notes, there are no pictures to fear, only the occasional passage of extraordinarily evocative text.

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Date
20031202

Time
09:45
Wow. The Bush administration actually looks serious about ‘repealing most of its 20-month-old tariffs on imported steel’. Oh. Wait… I missed the word ‘most’ there. I wonder what the exceptions will be…

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Date
20031202

Time
10:16
The site at worldaidsday.org appears to be resting after a busy day yesterday, but linkandthink.org is still ticking.

Also, there’s quite a lot of buzz about over Julie Burchill’s parting shot – a claim of ‘quite striking bias against the state of Israel’ in The Guardian and an article from the same issue by Emanuele Ottolenghi – ‘Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism’.

Here’s a thought or two on the subject of these two articles, and you can follow more here.

My view? I think there are two sides to this little propaganda war. In fact, here’s a solid shot against the Palestinians (all of them are bomb-making gun-toting nutbags, dontcha know).

As dangerous as anti-Semitic views are, you can’t claim outright that it’s the only cause for criticism of Israel – especially as one of the most dangerous things about anti-Semitism is the polarising effect it can have. Would it be better for Israel to believe that they’re above criticism?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031202

Time
10:27
See a bunch of photos of coppers who served in Whitehall in the early 70’s.

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Date
20031202
Yet Another Lame Quiz
Time
10:31
Which Michael Jackson Are You?

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Date
20031202
South West Trains
Time
10:31
Annie’s put up a solid post about my recent adventure with South West Trains. Judging by this and a lot of email I’ve received on the subject, you really have to be a fellow victim to appreciate the level of my indignation.

No answer from Andrew Haines yet. Yet….

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Date
20031202

Time
10:36
Vote on the cheesiest music videos of 2003

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Date
20031202

Time
10:38
Man pays for petrol with nephew. Well, to be fair, he left the boy as collateral when he went to get the necessary cash. Two years ago.

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Date
20031202
Follow Up
Time
10:42
Following on from George Bush visited Baghdad… or did he?

The White House claimed that Air Force One was spotted – and contacted – by British Airways craft on the way into Baghdad. British Airways denies this ever happened.

Here’s a bunch of people arguing about it over at Fark.com, here’s The Independent reporting on the news this visit overshadowed, and here’s some largely unrelated paranoia.

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Date
20031202

Time
10:48
Come back, Bill Watterson – the world needs you!

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Date
20031202

Time
10:49
Young Barbara Bush spotted at gay punk concert.

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Date
20031202

Time
12:28
I’m a danger to society… but you knew that already.

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Date
20031202

Time
12:28
Just about every blog hosted at Blogger.com appears to have fallen on its arse. I haven’t been able to access a single one of these for most of the morning.

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Date
20031202

Time
13:20
From the NHS believe it or not: be careful what you give or get this Christmas….

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Date
20031202
Anyone but George
Time
13:44
Buzzflash: “Bush’s war on terrorism is all image on the surface; and all incompetence, deception and profiteering on the inside.”

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Date
20031202
The Big Conversation
Time
18:13
Ahahahahahahahahahaha! Oh, the interwebnet is just overflowing with wicked and cynical people…

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Date
20031203
And So This is Christmas…
Time
09:02
It’s Christmas snowglobe wrath! You’re the wrath. Enjoy.

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Date
20031203
Doing The Rounds
Time
09:04
To everybody sending this admirably-recycled joke by email: please stop.

George Bush met The Queen, and he turns around and says: “As I’m the President, I’m thinking of changing how my country is referred to, and I’m thinking that it should be a Kingdom”

The Queen replies “I’m sorry Mr Bush, but to be a Kingdom, you have to have a King in charge – and you’re not a King.”

George Bush thought a while and then said: “How about a Principality then?”, To which the Queen replied “Again, to be a Principality you have to be a Prince – and you’re not a Prince “.

Bush thought long and hard and came up with “How about an Empire then?”

The Queen, getting a little annoyed by now, replies “Look Bush, to be an Empire you must have an Emperor in charge – and you are not an Emperor.”

Before George Bush could utter another word, The Queen said: “I think you’re doing quite nicely as a Country”

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Date
20031203
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
09:06
One of our bloggers is missing. What’s the bet that he’s been hassled by right-wing extremists?

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Date
20031203
Feedback
Time
09:11
A short-but-sweet missive from Mrs Willenburg:

Dear Manic,

I am a very big M*A*S*H fan. The sole purpose of this e-mail is to let you know that I loved your lame M*A*S*H quiz. Although I’m not sure that I really resemble Captain Pierce much, me being of the gentler sex, I still thought that it was great. Good job!

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Date
20031203
South West Trains
Time
09:16
I’ve heard back from Andrew Haines regarding my South West Trains adventure. He’s investigating. Right now about half-a-dozen employees are busy getting their stories straight.

On Annie’s London Underground weblog, the comments continue…. there’s also this classic picture of Santa having a sly slash in the subway.

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Date
20031203
Video
Time
09:22
One small change really makes this sincere speech by Tony Blair come alive (streaming WMV file). Cheers, Martyn.

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Date
20031203
In The News
Time
09:26
A 74-year-old man who has been arrested at least 400 times and had his licence suspended over 30 times has been sentenced to 17 years in prison on drunken driving charges.

Also, a woman from Michigan has been charged with animal neglect after officers removed 49 dead cats from her garage.

Finally, here’s The Sun, bringing you the news what matters: Ryanair logo gets a boob job.

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Date
20031203
Porn
Time
09:39
The latest buzz on the porn front (and the subject on many an email in my Inbox) is that Paris Hilton video. To find out what the fuss is about without actually paying for it and/or viewing pornography on your work computer, click here. You’re not missing much… unless you’re a high-tech voyeur and your favourite pastime is viewing naked ladies with your night-vision goggles.

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Date
20031203
Normal People
Time
09:45
Meet Andrea Chempinski, a 29 year old attorney who – for some reason – has decided on a career in website and graphics design. She’s into Douglas Adams, Mickey Dolenz and Corey Feldman.

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Date
20031203
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
09:55
Tom Watson – his position on the sale of organs.

His position is on record; it’s archived, and we don’t need to rely on the interpretation of a newspaper and the (possible) publication of that interpretation online to find out about it. You can even comment on that position if you like.

I’m sure you’ll pardon me for being optimistic about the future role of this format in politics.

UPDATE – A link to this far more detailed post on this topic also turned up on Tom’s blog today. When the definitive history of the Interwebnet is written, I’ll be wanting my own paragraph, yessir…

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Date
20031203
Flash Games
Time
10:04
Best. Online. Driving. Test. Ever!

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Date
20031203
The Bush Administration
Time
10:07
Here’s a bloody good post on the subject of steel tariffs.

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Date
20031203
Search Engine Optimisation
Time
10:15
Googlebombing is alive and well! Cheers, Wibbler.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031203
The End of Democracy
Time
10:21
Diebold backs down! Read all about it at Wired, The Inquirer, Internet News, The Register and Slashdot. (That last link also contains the usual slew of comments. Enjoy.)

This is what happens when we band together and stick to our guns when something is Just. Plain. Wrong.

You’d best keep that in mind, because this is just the start of the fight – but now we don’t have to muck in with one hand tied behind our back.

UPDATE – Wim de Groot has pointed out this excellent piece in the New York Times and the particularly fine close:

The point is that you don’t have to believe in a central conspiracy to worry that partisans will take advantage of an insecure, unverifiable voting system to manipulate election results. Why expose them to temptation? I’ll discuss what to do in a future column. But let’s be clear: the credibility of U.S. democracy may be at stake.

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Date
20031203
Christianity Watch
Time
11:22
Behold the hot-air balloon dedicated to the glory of our Lord, Jesus! (Link via Ramblings and Revelations.)

Are there big rubber patches on the wrists, do you think?

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Date
20031203
Google
Time
12:41
Google News Alert is the mutt’s. I not only use it to stalk Tim Yeo, I have news alerts set up on my name, my website, and the new activism-driven presence at interwebnet.org

This morning I got an email about The Star Wars Photoshopping Project from the chap behind The Scotsman’s Lazy Guide to Net Culture. I sent a reply and was expecting to hear something in 2-3 days. About an hour and a bit later, I got an email from Google’s News Alert feature, which responded to the keyword ‘bloggerheads’ in a news article.

The related article at Scotsman.com was live and Google had let me know about it before my live referral stats even had a chance to squeak.

Like I said; the mutt’s.

UPDATE – Breaking the news on the B3ta messageboard. Includes a large version of this nifty picture of George W. Bush and Marcellus Wallace’s wife doing the twist at Jackrabbit Slim’s.

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Date
20031203
Viral Marketing
Time
15:13
A carefully calculated measure of guilt for you to enjoy.

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Date
20031203
Updates
Time
16:50
Added to the blogroll:

Someone Take The Wheel – Because I admire her focus.

Kuboid – Because he takes looking like Donny Osmond in his stride (and is able to pretend that you are the first to notice).

Zach Everson – Because I don’t believe I’ll need to give a reason once you’ve read his posts on De Beers and the Red Cross. The latter hit me harder than anything I’ve read since this post by Riverbend.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031204
Search Engine Optimisation
Time
09:11
There’s lots of loose talk about Google and Update Florida.

MediaJunk is talking about little else lately. Danny Sullivan is holding on a verdict for now, but provides some good links. Among them is this relatively easy-to-understand flowchart explaining how and why your site may have been (or may yet be) ‘penalised’. I say ‘may’ and include inverted commas on the ‘penalised’ because – as seductive as the assumption may be – I haven’t yet bought into the idea that Google is cynically driving small businesses into Adwords. Yet.

To me, a lot of penalties seemed to have been doled out over incoming link popularity that’s clearly automated. Or, perhaps, clearly automated as far as Google can see. The optimist in me hopes that the test version of this system involves a dictionary of commercial words and combinations because this is where most of the worst offenders operate.

Gateway Pages

Gateway Pages are designed to appear only to indexing robots and not human beings. Often, they’ll be held off-site at a different domain name (because they’re naughty, and if they get discovered they’ll be removed from the database). Because of they’re Not Real Pages, they will never be listed in a directory or voluntarily linked to by a real person. So people who provide such facilities interlink the gateways pages they provide for clients so they work to artificially boost each other’s PageRank.

Downside 1: If one gets discovered; they all do.

Downside2 : This, now, will be detected as automated linkage.

Link Sellers

A whole industry has grown where companies sell multiple inbound links. This practice is not to be confused with link support provided to clients, friends and associates from this single website. We’re talking large networks of automatically generated pages of little merit, not unlike FFA link pages, but in this case specifically designed to alter PageRank (and regenerate themselves at a new location as they get discovered and discounted). This exercise appears to be largely academic, as now Google is detecting not the sites, but the practice itself.

Link Negotiators

There’s a whole other set of people who promise to do ‘research’ in order to negotiate link exchanges with other websites. To give you an idea of how savvy these researchers are, they regularly contact me in the hope that I’ll play ball. This cold-emailing technique irks me, but the result is a step closer to the diverse inbound linkage that Google respects – too bad many overdo it on the keyword weighting, because this too appears to be detectable.

Where does this leave us? Well, right now, nowhere. Shit’s still happening. But…

1) It still makes sense to optimise your page to what it’s actually about, but try to vary the context in which you present your content. Same Page Title again and again and again? That didn’t work before Update Florida, and it’s certainly not going to do you any good now.

2) Connecting with the online community in a genuine way appears to be the only way forward in terms of link popularity.

Finally…

3) To have an influential connection between Adwords and the core database makes no sense for Google. If having an Adwords program somehow improves your standing – or even if the new algorithm merely ensures that commercial enterprises have no choice but to abandon (genuine) optimisation and opt instead for Adwords, then this commercial aspect of Google’s business will be having a pronounced influence on their central database. Be from a legal standpoint or a moral one, they’ll get a well-deserved slap if this is the case.

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Date
20031204
A Blog Is Born
Time
09:15
Meet Steve Johnston. He’s a nice bloke who’s able to talk to old-school marketing bods, but he also possesses an understanding of the Interwebnet (i.e. common sense) that most of these jokers lack. He is therefore a rare beast and to be treated with respect.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031204
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
09:21
Wibbler informs us that Tom Watson is a ‘featured site’ on Movable Type today.

Tom blogged quietly behind frames (and minus an archive) for months-stroke-years before I came along, but his first birthday on the MT format is due sometime early next year. We should have a party.

UPDATE – Looking just now, Tom has a treat for me this morning. Meet Mark Latham MP. He’s the leader of the Australian Labor Party, and he has this to say about Prime Minister John Howard’s visit to George W. Bush:

“Howard is an arse-licker. He went over there, kissed some bums, and got patted on the head.”

Now *that’s* the voice of opposition! I say we get this man a weblog. In fact…

Your mission today is to get in touch with the man and make him aware of the potential of this format.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031204
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
09:37
The inside story of the redevelopment of the Harper’s Magazine website.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031204
Follow Up
Time
09:39
Or did he…?

Washington Post: British Airways said yesterday that none of its pilots made contact with President Bush’s plane during its secret flight to Baghdad on Thanksgiving, contradicting White House reports of a midair exchange that nearly prompted Bush to call off his trip. Honor Verrier, a spokeswoman for British Airways in North America, said two British Airways aircraft were in the area at the time and neither radioed the president’s plane to ask if it was Air Force One.

OK, let’s give Dubya’s team the benefit of the doubt. Instead of lying about going to Baghdad, perhaps they just bullshitted a little bit about the ‘in the air scare’ to give the pointless turkey-run a bit of spice for the news boys.

UPDATE – And now we discover that the turkey at the centre of this photo-op was a fake.

UPDATE – Now we learn the Queen is bodging it a bit, too. Of course, this kind of thing has always gone on… but Bush’s team is so crap at it, now we’re all keeping a sharp eye out for strings.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031204
Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch
Time
09:47
Click here to see the Paris Hilton video! No, not that one, the other one.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031204
Survey Says…
Time
09:50
90 percent of men would choose world peace instead of a bigger penis. So that’s where the spammers have been going wrong all this time.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031204
Normal People
Time
09:52
I don’t know how I managed to miss this one for so long: read a weblog of last meal requests.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031204
And So This is Christmas…
Time
09:55
Radio DJ under fire for proclaiming live on air that Santa does not exist.

I may pay for this myself, but…

You can bluster about hope, love and peace and ‘Yes Virginia’ me until you’re blue in the face… that doesn’t change the fact that Santa was turned into a corporate whore by Coca-Cola and today serves mainly as a child’s introduction to consumerism.

I have no problems with fantasy and faith, but when the story ends conveniently with ‘gimme gimme gimme’, I’m going to start to ask questions.

Hundreds of thousands of families are going to voluntarily put themselves into debt to make the most of a seasonal celebration that was hijacked by the Christian church when they ruled the roost, and is now owned primarily by our new masters.

People are so touchy about this. I remember getting a serving from one of my teachers as a youngster for singing alternative words to Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. I was told to ‘have some respect’… FFS, it’s hardly a hymn. In fact, it’s damn near a corporate jingle.

UPDATE – ScaryDuck on people who overdo it with the outdoor Christmas lights

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031204
Christianity Watch
Time
10:15
So much for the separation of church and state… atheists cannot hold public office in seven U.S. states.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031204
Animation
Time
10:18
More stupid ‘Dancing GIF’ pages than you can shake a stick at.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031204
Web Design
Time
10:23
Oh dear. Fire up your speakers and prepare yourselves for the dramatic sound file that greets you at www.tower-of-london.com (via Martin).

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031204
Tony Blair
Time
10:47
The latest issue of the Popbitch newsletter reports:

Poor Tony Blair. Senior Labour politicians are gossiping that his recent stomach troubles have forced him on several occasions to wear sanitary protection, or “man nappies”. (FYI: There’s a strange rumour going round that Tony secretly had his appendix out at St Thomas’ Hospital)

All stuff and nonsense. Why, Tony is as young and vibrant as he’s ever been. The years are not taking their toll (Tony is immortal) and if there were anything wrong he would be the first one to tell you about it honestly and openly.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031204
Sign Here Please…
Time
11:39
Via Someone Take The Wheel (who today smirk childishly at shadow-penis-puppetry):

The NRA have a blacklist. The lobbying arm of the NRA actually publishes this list of people and organisations that have dared to speak out on the subject of gun control.

Attention all gun nuts! Here’s a list of people that have pissed us off!

Charming.

NRAblacklist.com has more information and even invites you to join the list by signing a special petition. If you’ve got the guts.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031204
Michael Jackson
Time
12:32
Also from Popbitch this week:

Amazon users hammer the recommendations function with interesting suggestions.

Clearly the ‘let us know if any of these recommendations are inappropriate’ button isn’t working as well as it should. Either that, or the die-hard fans are having trouble keeping up.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031204
Consume!
Time
13:50
Own a fluffy animal head and keep it on a stick. Then go for a nice walk.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031204
Photoshopping
Time
14:06
West Bank Monopoly. Heh.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031204
The Passive Resistance Movement
Time
17:32
Hey, guess what? As regular Bloggerheads readers, you get to be first to see the plan for the next Interwebnet project.

This one’s going to be fun, folks. Padlocks at the ready!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031205
Guns, guns, guns, guns, guns!
Time
09:20
Dave would like to warn all viewers of sillyvision in the UK that Bowling For Columbine is showing this Saturday at 9pm on Channel 4.

If you have the time, see it. If you don’t have the time, tape it!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031205
Orwell Was Right
Time
09:23
“I’m watching you, son!” Police helmets to be fitted with cameras.

I feel so much safer all of a sudden.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031205
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
09:24
I knew of the subliminal saturation bombing method, but it wasn’t until I did some serious image-surfing yesterday that I realised how blatant and consistent Shrub and his team are about it (mind you, they don’t always get it right).

Look at any picture of George W. Bush delivering a speech, and you will see in the background:

1) The glorious Stars and Stripes

2) A subliminal message

3) Both

Unless, of course, alternatives such as a national landmark, ‘real’ people or fake turkeys are available… but even on the USS Abraham Lincoln, they couldn’t hold back on a ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner (and when the heat was on they lied their asses off about who was responsible for it).

FFS, Bush and his team even brought their own backdrops with them for the UK visit!

Now you can help to deliver a more fair and balanced view with The Bush Backdrop Generator. Enjoy!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031205
Only Interesting to Bloggers
Time
09:49
Seyed Razavi calls it a day on Blogshares.

I’m sure someone will snap it up soon – but whether the interested party will turn it around or screw it over remains to be seen.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031205
Flash Thingies
Time
09:53
My oh my, it certainly is turning out to be a Bush-heavy day. No matter. This next one is a barrel of fun:

BushFlash.com hosts an impressive collection of thought-provoking animations.

Go and hammer your bandwidth.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031205
Or Did He…?
Time
09:56
The Bush administration has offered a third version of its story about the pilot (yet to be identifed) who spotted Air Force One while it flew to Iraq (yet to be proved).

They definitely, positively, without question, heard from someone with a British accent… someone who hasn’t been heard from since the incident, despite the encounter being given worldwide coverage.

“I say, Ginger! That bally crate looks just like Air Force One, do you think we…YEEARRGH!

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Date
20031205
Activism
Time
10:04
My collection of signs along these lines have all been removed. Well, when I say ‘removed’, I mean ‘roughly torn down’. All of the street spam along the same stretch of road remains in place.

Who needs government interference when you have rabid adherents?

I’ll be working on more robust signs in a new location over the weekend.

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Date
20031205
Christianity Watch
Time
10:09
64 die after ingesting ‘anti-sorcery’ potion administered by Roman Catholic priest.

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Date
20031205
Google
Time
10:11
Farkers react to the ‘miserable failure’ Googlebomb.

Oh, and here’s an early participant in the scheme.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031205
Tim Yeo
Time
10:14
FT.com – Letwin’s ‘conflict of interest’ decision could turn spotlight on Tory colleagues:

Mr Yeo, shadow health and education secretary, has said he would be “disappointed” to give up his chairmanship of Univent, a nursing home operator, but is seeking advice.

You heard him, folks!

Call Tim Yeo at the House of Commons:

020 7219 6366

Call Tim Yeo’s Constituency office:

01473 823435

Email Tim Yeo:

timyeomp@parliament.uk

yeot@parliament.uk

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Date
20031205
Viral Marketing
Time
10:27
It’s overly commercial, but cute – Navigate Santa (via FunJunkie).

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Date
20031205
In The Courts
Time
10:29
Woman gets 10 years for running over McDonald’s manager. She was denied mayonnaise on her cheeseburger, and flew into a violent rage. And you thought I was bad.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031205
The Passive Resistance Movement
Time
10:31
This special report by The Guardian on Guantanamo Bay is charting well on Blogdex this morning. The LNR Journal (now tastefully merged with The Friday Thing) also points us to this:

Bush administration defends detainee policy.

The power Bush wields – to order the capture and long-term detention of ‘enemy combatants’ as long as the (perpetual) war on terrorism continues should not even be questioned, it seems.

Well, I’d dare to f**king question it.

The latest Interwebnet.org campaign launched last night. I invite you all to check it out and make your plans for Christmas and beyond.

January 5th is Guantanamo Bay Lock-Up Day!

This’ll learn ‘em to lock us away in Free Speech Zones….

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Date
20031205
And So This is Christmas…
Time
13:40
It seems to me that Portland is long overdue for another Santa invasion.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031205
Porn
Time
14:02
Did anyone catch the TV special on the Fake Porn Detective? He’s been a hero of mine pretty much since I first set foot on the Interwebnet. Actually, by the looks of things, he hasn’t updated his site design since then, either.

(NSFW linkage – careful @ work!)

But he does fine work of great importance, so I suppose he can be forgiven for his continuing (and quite baffling) use of Comic Sans.

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Date
20031205
Appeasing Bush
Time
14:46
Ha! Today’s Steve Bell cartoon is a classic. Yesterday was pretty solid, too: Turkey, anyone?

I do believe I’ll write the man a nice email and express my thanks.

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Date
20031205
Photoshopping
Time
16:24
I knew I was onto something

Macworld – Photoshop ‘exists because of Star Wars’!

Read the full history of Photoshop here.

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Date
20031205
Tony Blair
Time
20:54
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; to see Blair’s lies in their purest form, turn to The Sun:

HOW much would you pay to keep your family safe from terrorism?

Since September 11, 2001, Britain has spent £5.5billion on the war on terror. For a family of four, that’s less than £400.

A small and worthwhile price to pay.

How much of that was spent on the war with Iraq? (A country that, I need not remind you, had no connection with terrorism until well after the The Illegal War.. which attracted terrorists to – or sparked extremism in – that region.)

Oh, and who do we talk to about a refund if we consider this ‘worthy’ investment to be wasted?

You could try here, but I wouldn’t hold your breath if I were you. You could also try here, but I feel compelled to remind you that Blair is not for turning.

(Bending is OK. Turning is right out.)

Americans await the election. We await the outcome of The Hutton Inquiry. Bush and Blair are sure to have a contingency plan for each crisis.

What is required for a vote of ‘no confidence’? Surely we have enough ammunition as it is?

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Date
20031208
Tony Blair’s Email
Time
09:44
It’s been a while since we browsed through Tony Blair’s Inbox.

This gem arrived on Friday afternoon from some bright spark who:

1) Thinks tony-blair@prime-minister.co.uk is Tony Blair’s email address. It’s not.

2) Fully accepts the forever-suggested but never-proven Iraq/terror link.

3) Cares not a jot for the hundreds being killed (with their properties being destroyed) in Iraq – presumably, because they’re all terrorists.

4) Obviously doesn’t realise that George W. Bush and Tony Blair were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

5) Is probably going to be less than impressed with this ‘humanist and anti-war propagandist’ when his open letter goes a little further than he expected.

His request that GWB and Blair refer to his earlier email (sent almost 9 months ago) is the icing on the cake.

—– Original Message —–

From: LT COL RATTAN S. SEROHI

To: president@whitehouse.gov

Cc: tony-blair@prime-minister.co.uk

Sent: Friday, December 05, 2003 4:25 PM

Subject: AN OPEN LETTER TO THE AMERICAN AND BRITISH CITIZENS

It is only Mr George Bush, the great President of the United States and Mr Tony Blair the British Prime Minister, who could take the bold decisions to use force in Afghanistan and Iraq. No one else could have the courage and convictions to act to save the world from the horrors of terrorism. US action has succeeded to a great extent to dislodge and disintegrate the forces of evil, looming over the world. Soldiers of US and allied forces have gone to war and suffered casualties, for the world to be a safer place to live. It is sad that the US President and also Mr Tony Blair, had to face criticism from their own countrymen. The so called humanists and anti-war propagandists, have failed to realize and understand the horrors of extremism and terrorism endangering the humanity. If this is not curtailed and tackled now, it will be to late.

Mr G. Bush and Mr T. Blair should have been blessed by every noble heart and they should have been recommended for the ‘NOBLE PEACE PRIZE’. That could have been a small token of appreciation by the world community, for their hard work and single handed righteous decisions.

The danger is not yet over. all the civilized nations are facing the scare of terrorism. Hundreds are being killed and properties destroyed, all over the world. We must now realize and extend our whole hearted support to their noble endeavor to isolate and eradicate this deadly menace, if world has to survive to see a better future. Let us not undermine the criminality and evil designs of these terrorists the world over. They have only one aim and one goal i.e. to destroy the peace and harmony of each and every country. Let all the countries unite to back their efforts and share the responsibilities. US and UK citizens need to stand by them to strengthen there hands.

Lt Col Rattan S. Serohi Ex

NOTE: Please refer to my earlier email messages during Iraq war.

Lt Col Rattan S. Serohi Ex

1403, Sector – 37

Arun Vihar

NOIDA – 201303, INDIA

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Date
20031208
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
09:59
New York Post: Struggling 2004 Democratic wannabe John Kerry fires an X-rated attack at President Bush over Iraq and uses the f-word – highly unusual language for a presidential contender – in a stunning new interview with Rolling Stone magazine.

He used one swear word, people. Reason enough for us to reject the entire interview on principle, I’m sure.

Also, a ‘Paris Hilton Video weblog’ appears to be referral-spamming its way up the charts (not counting the one or two links from bloggers who actually believe they’ve published Paris Hilton’s mobile phone number).

Don’t bother visiting, folks. It’s mostly stuff you’ve already read elsewhere and a bunch of NSFW affiliate links.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031208
Christianity Watch
Time
10:01
Heh. If Jack T. Chick were a Cthulhu-worshipper.

Also: Pope shows his true SATANIC nature by appearing under an INVERTED CROSS. Sorry for GETTING ALL SHOUTY, but we are talking about the NEW WORLD ORDER here, folks…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031208
Google
Time
10:08
The ‘miserable failure’ Googlebomb went mainstream over the weekend:

BBC | Newsday | Sydney Morning Herald | Calcutta Telegraph

Oh, and here’s a new version of a familiar email.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031208
Normal People
Time
10:15
Behold the Gallery of Bellydancing Librarians. I think we can slip this one in under 789….

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031208
Thunking Ahead
Time
10:20
The Elephant’s Memory is ‘a pictorial language consisting of more than a hundred and a fifty combinable graphic elements’. See it in action.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031208
Only Interesting to Bloggers
Time
10:24
You may now vote on the Wizbang weblog awards. The voting system appears to have been built by Diebold, but feel free to waste a vote or two regardless.

Also, Tom reports that Jorn Barger has been found alive and well. Again.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031208
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
11:08
Harry Hatchet in The Guardian: Of course a quick glance at the sites of Bush, Howard Dean or Wesley Clark will reveal that in reality the politicians aren’t making much, if any, contribution to the blogs that bare their names – others produce the links and the comment. The in-house blogger has become part of the campaign staff.

That’s an unhealthy trend that I’d very much like to reverse, but let’s look closer to home for a moment…

Here, we have real politicians blogging as real people. That’s a healthy trend that I’d like to encourage but – as Tony Blair’s Big Abortion proves – the risk is still there that the purpose and benefit of this format will be totally misread. This can still go in the wrong direction.

So, the only choice is to stimulate blog growth amongst MPs.

The way I see it, there are two ways to do this:

1) I was against this idea when it was first proposed (I think by Icklesheep), but I think perhaps the time has come for us to stalk our local MPs on a one-to-one basis. I’ve learned a thing or two from stalking Tim Yeo. If I share that knowledge with the world, almost anyone could sign up at Blogger (within minutes), become the top search result for the name of their chosen MP (within days) and blog on their behalf with a few short minutes each day and/or as and when information crops up.

2) Alternatively, myself and an interested party or two could hold an in-Commons seminar specifically targeted at MPs, to show them what this is about and what they’re missing.

I’m still pondering. Let me know what you think.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031208
And So This is Christmas…
Time
11:09
Make each morning brighter with The Holiday Special Advent Calendar (link via The Ultimate Insult).

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031208
Photoshopping
Time
11:29
Oooh, this is lovely:

Minimum wage loyalty.

Equally distracting:

War, Actually…

UPDATE – I had a little fun today, too:

Winning hearts and minds.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031208
Flash Games
Time
14:55
Easy as pie this one, all you have to do is insert the key into the lock. But what happens after you’ve had a few drinks? Zigacktly!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031208
Or Did He…?
Time
17:12
Heh. Thanks to a quick email from ScaryDuck, none of us will miss out on the letter to the editor of the European and Mideast edition of Stars & Stripes from Spc. Damian Torres (2nd letter down).

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031209
Flash Thingies
Time
09:11
Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031209
It’s War! And There’s Money To Be Made!
Time
09:12
The Observer: Halliburton, the engineering group formerly run by US vice-president Dick Cheney, has been given $1 billion worth of reconstruction work in Iraq by the US government without having to compete for it, thanks to repeated delays in opening up a key contract to competition.

That’s OK, you just sit there and wait until the election. I’m sure this bunch of crooks will be quite happy to sit there and let you vote them out of office.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031209
Video
Time
09:15
See the Toronto skyline from dusk to dawn (requires Quicktime).

This same site has still images of the aftermath of the theatre wall collapse that even made the news on this side of the pond yesterday.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031209
The End of Democracy
Time
09:53
Robert X. Cringely reacts to mainstream coverage of the e-voting scandal… and then swiftly moves on to approach the problem purely from an engineering perspective – which still brings up one very awkward question.

I also have this for you: a press release from Diebold that seeks to answer critics (instead of gagging them with dodgy copyright claims).

Good news, right?

Don’t hold your breath.

The only critic answered in this press release is Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, (who is a Republican and a Freemason by the looks of things). Tinfoil helmets on, people…

Blackwell takes Diebold to town over a number of issues, but not the obvious conflict of interest. He makes a number of demands, but – strangely – does not see the need for an auditable paper trail.

Diebold’s reaction: ”Yes, we’ve seen those problems. They’re fixed. No problems here. We look forward to a fair and honest election…”

Matter closed, then.

It appears from this related ZDNet report that the earliest we can expect a voter-verified paper trail is 2005. Or 2006. By which time Bush will be back in and the damage will be done.

Sorry, not good enough.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031209
Mission Accomplished!
Time
09:56
New York Times: As the guerrilla war against Iraqi insurgents intensifies, American soldiers have begun wrapping entire villages in barbed wire. In selective cases, American soldiers are demolishing buildings thought to be used by Iraqi attackers. They have begun imprisoning the relatives of suspected guerrillas, in hopes of pressing the insurgents to turn themselves in.

Innocent civilians. Who just happen to be related to suspected guerillas. I’m sure that’ll go down well.

Meanwhile, here’s a statement that will make you spit gravy…

Newsday via Associated Press: President George W. Bush’s chief of staff yesterday dismissed as “a moot point” any lingering question about whether Bush relied on faulty intelligence to justify the invasion of Iraq.

BTW, I received a total of 32 emails during the Chasing Bush campaign that began with the usual ‘911 – never forget’ but barely paused for breath before saying; ‘The war is over. Get over it.’

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031209
Does What It Says On The Tin
Time
10:09
Take your pick: jesusishitler.com or fakedrpepper.com

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031209
Lunchtime Links
Time
10:20
Man haunted by years of slaughtering chickens spills his guts. And here’s his weblog.

If you’ve read Fast Food Nation, then you should already be cheering.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031209
And So This is Christmas…
Time
10:28
A timely find from The Ultimate Insult: a Christmas message from Ozzy Osbourne.

And, if you have the bandwidth to handle it, this is awesome: Battlestar Galactica: The Game

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031209
It’s War! And There’s Money To Be Made!
Time
13:21
From a filthy, pinko Guardian journalist who should mind his own business:

President’s Business Partner Slices Up Iraq

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Date
20031210
Bush’s UK Visit
Time
09:00
Via Toby we learn that, during Bush’s visit, the policing bill alone came to £4.1 million. While the Met were busy protecting a war criminal, ‘incidents of street crime in inner London boroughs rose from 30 to 180′.

Now I’m wondering what the final bill was for Bush’s enforced photo-opportunity in Sedgefield.

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Date
20031210
Video
Time
09:08
Check out this excellent fan-produced trailer for Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit. It’s available for streaming or download as an MPEG… but modem users should be warned that we’re talking about 19.3MB of data here.

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Date
20031210
And So This is Christmas…
Time
09:12
Eurgh. I’m seriously considering changing this subject header now I know that the Pop Idol finalists plan to butcher John Lennon’s Happy Xmas (War Is Over).

Anyway, FunJunkie suggests that you send a voicemail to Santa.

Oh, and the Hello World Project offers to project your 2 cents onto mountains and buildings across the world with friggin’ laser beams.

Is that 21st-century enough for you? Are you happy now? Good.

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Date
20031210
The Daily Mail
Time
09:20
Because The Daily Mail won’t catch up with the rest of the world until early next year, I can’t show you the latest in a long line of techno-fear headlines. Oh, wait… I can! My typewriter just happens to be hooked up to the Interwebnet, so here we go:

AMNESTY PLAN FOR INTERNET PERVERTS

What? You mean we might miss out on public burnings? No fair…

(As I was typing this, I was infected by a KILLER EMAIL VIRUS and my kids accidentally downloaded 2.4MB of FILTHY WEB PORN.)

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Date
20031210
Follow Up
Time
09:27
A morning full of disappointments: the Esperanto critic has punked out on us.

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Date
20031210
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
09:28
This had everybody jumping yesterday, and tops the Blogdex chart this morning:

Former vice president Al Gore plans to endorse Howard Dean for president.

That’s Wesley Clark’s cue to get his war-boots on and adopt a Starr-like role.

Dean fights for the election (that may or may not take place and/or be rigged), Clark fights for immediate impeachment. A classic pincer movement, you understand…

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Date
20031210
Music
Time
09:35
Proving that the Bush administration is hard on crime and big on substance, US Secretary of State Colin Powell has appointed James Brown Brown to be the first US ‘secretary of soul and foreign minister of funk’.

*ahem*

Speaking of substance, George Clinton has been arrested and charged with drug possession after admitting that he had some in his pocket.

UPDATE – The Smoking Gun makes good with the mugshot.

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Date
20031210
In The Courts
Time
09:39
Nicholas van Hoogstraten has been freed on the basis that – oh, you’ll love this – he could have no way of knowing that the men he sent to rough up rival property developer Mohammed Sabir Raja would actually kill him.

Raja was stabbed five times and shot at point blank range. The autopsy revealed no evidence of finger twisting noogies, chinese burns or nipple cripples.

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Date
20031210
Michael Jackson
Time
09:43
A confidential investigation by Los Angeles police and child welfare officials concluded earlier this year that allegations Michael Jackson sexually abused a cancer-stricken boy were ‘unfounded,’ according to an internal government memo obtained by The Smoking Gun.

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Date
20031210
Normal People
Time
09:45
LNR readers discuss the ever-shouty ‘Sinners and Winners’ man who haunts Oxford Street.

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Date
20031210
It’s War! And There’s Money To Be Made!
Time
09:47
New York Times: The Pentagon has barred French, German and Russian companies from competing for $18.6 billion in contracts for the reconstruction of Iraq, saying the step “is necessary for the protection of the essential security interests of the United States.”

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Date
20031210
Tony Blair
Time
09:49
The Love Calculator reliably informs me that:

A relationship between Tim Ireland and Tony Blair has a reasonable chance of working out, but on the other hand, it might not. Your relationship may suffer good and bad times. If things might not be working out as you would like them to, do not hesitate to talk about it with the person involved. Spend time together, talk with each other.

Lord knows I try…

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Date
20031210
Eye Candy
Time
09:51
Meet Lana Landis. She’s very retro. And that’s about it.

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Date
20031210
The Interwebnet
Time
09:54
Just a friendly warning for you; the U.S. is officially in charge of the Internet. Oh, but the mafia is in charge of spams and viruses.

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Date
20031210
Yet Another Lame Quiz
Time
10:02
Which Historical Lunatic Are You?

I’m Charles VI of France. A lot of a loony, but a bit of a sweetie.

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Date
20031210
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
10:08
Martin Lloyd has a promising little crop of links this morning.

U.S. Authorities have arrested a dangerous terrorist, but nobody cares because he doesn’t wear a towel on his head.

Also, British troops in Iraq are outnumbered by private military contractors. But why should you care?

Well, this how my favourite pink broadsheet puts it: By definition, a private military company is in Iraq… not to pursue US, UN, or EU policy, but to make money.

And that’s got to be a good thing. Without privatisation, our railways would be in a right mess…

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Date
20031210
South West Trains
Time
10:17
I’ve received a reply from Andrew Haines in response to this, but it has one of those confidentiality statements at the end, so I can’t tell you what his email contains.

I can, however, tell you what it doesn’t contain; an explanation for the usual lack of information when SWT services perform under par. Put simply, they’re better off if you don’t know – no data makes it harder for you to complain. If you don’t even know that a number of services have been cancelled, then you may not think to complain at all.

Given that the number of complaints a train operator receives is used as a primary indicator of overall performance, I’ve requested clarification on this point and am polishing my arse-kicking boots…

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Date
20031210
World-Famous in…
Time
13:56
Hehehehe. Now I can add Israel to the list.

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Date
20031210
Tony Blair’s Email
Time
14:31
That crazy lady is still sending Yahoo greetings to not-the-PM’s email address.

UPDATE – Heh. When I look at these, she no doubt gets a message telling her that her message has been viewed. Which probably explains why she just sent another one. What do you think; should I string her along or put her out of her misery?

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Date
20031210
The Interwebnet
Time
16:08
Read this… then read this.

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Date
20031210
Established Media
Time
17:01
Meet Nedra Pickler. She’s the very definition of ‘fair and balanced’, as a quick search should prove.

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Date
20031210
Photoshopping
Time
17:11
BBC: More Afghan children die in raids

One potatochopper’s reaction…

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Date
20031210
Consume!
Time
17:21
One for fans of the Hummer H2. The submissions gallery should have you smiling well into the evening.

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Date
20031211
Tony Blair’s Email
Time
10:24
Congratulations to the Simon Wiesenthal Center who are running tony-blair@prime-minister.co.uk as one of the destination email addresses for this petition to world leaders. As a result, I have been urged by a grand total of 11 form letters to ‘take the lead in establishing any suicide bombing as a crime against humanity.’

It sounds like one heck of a burden, but I’ll do my best…

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Date
20031211
Photography
Time
10:31
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

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Date
20031211
Environmental
Time
10:33
BBC: Australian forestry officials have admitted to killing the nation’s largest tree, by mistake.

The general manager of operations for Forestry Tasmania, Kim Creak, described the incident as a ‘learning experience’….

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Date
20031211
Fame Is Good
Time
10:40
Jennifer Love Hewitt puked her guts up during a White House visit. The upchucking was the result of over-medication intended to address a urinary infection.

From this day forward, I won’t be able to look at a picture of her without thinking about a painful stinging sensation. Because she also got stung by a bee, obviously…

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Date
20031211
Funny, That…
Time
11:00
Pretty women scramble men’s ability to… thingie.

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Date
20031211
Fair and Balanced
Time
11:01
News cameras in Iraq focus on destruction, not reconstruction. Life is good, and getting better.

And now, a word or two from Sgt. Jason Paxton, who has written the following to the European and Mideast edition of Stars & Stripes:

I’m sick and tired of this war. More than 34 Americans have died in the last week. They were killed by those whom we’ve given freedom. In the meantime, a platoon in my company is unable to perform missions because they’re under investigation for accidentally breaking an Iraqi’s furniture during a cordon search.

Why are we even here? I’m a proud American and patriotic soldier, and if my country needs me to fight and die to protect it, then I’m able and willing. But there’s no purpose in us being here. We continue to fight and die every day against an enemy who cannot be pinpointed, and our hands are tied by a command that’s too afraid of bad publicity to allow us to fight this war the way it needs to be fought.

As for the “innocent” Iraqis, if they’re so innocent, why aren’t they telling us where the improvised explosive devices are instead of watching as we drive into them? Either allow us to do our job or send us home where we belong.

Life is good, and getting better.

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Date
20031211
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
11:07
The right-wingers have placed this at the top of the chart with their barely-contained link-joy over claims that Howard Dean is re-inventing himself and being too reactive but – as many linkers are pointing out, the same could be said of proud serviceman and flight commander George W. Bush.

Today, the final word on this matter goes to the renowned political journal, Mad Magazine.

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Date
20031211
Consume!
Time
11:17
Watch a video of all the people who lined up for the opening of Apple’s first Japanese store (requires Quicktime and zippy connection).

See the Beckhams whoring themselves to the Japanese (requires a strong constitution).

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Date
20031211
Orwell Was Right
Time
11:21
False memories now a reality.

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Date
20031211
McDonald’s
Time
11:22
Hong Kong government asks McDonalds to withdraw seasoning from their french fries that may or may not contain a substance capable of altering your genes.

“Pleasing taste, some monsterism…”

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Date
20031211
Does What It Says On The Tin
Time
11:31
See a bunch of beast-reared babies at feralchildren.com

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Date
20031211
In The News
Time
11:32
CNN: No matter where you look, even in some of the remotest parts of the planet, you can’t avoid Monty Python.

Do tell…

Yahoo: A practical joker has stirred up trouble by publishing a Japanese-to-English phrase book with incorrect definitions for every phrase.

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Date
20031211
Normal People
Time
11:35
Galveston residents up in arms as 35th Street street walkers start chasing daytime trade.

Worth it for the anecdotal detail and the tale of the mother-and-daughter camcording team alone, but the true joy lies in the story (and picture) of Robbie McBee, who would turn tricks while her husband slept and return home, claiming to have found the money on the ground.

And now, for no reason whatsoever, here is a clean version of the ‘wife with carton of eggs’ joke.

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Date
20031211
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
11:46
Reuters: The United States will hand over key members of the former Iraqi regime to a special tribunal established on Wednesday, and Saddam Hussein could be tried in absentia.

The Guardian: Israeli advisers are helping train US special forces in aggressive counter-insurgency operations in Iraq, including the use of assassination squads against guerrilla leaders, US intelligence and military sources said yesterday.

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Date
20031211
Weblog Marketing
Time
13:38
And here I was thinking Project Blog was the ultimate in misguided community marketing

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to present to you the glorious wonder of Hyperteams!

The following text is from core site, which is available to anyone invited to join on of these teams via ‘permission-based email’ (in the case of the promotion for Alistair Griffin, this email came complete with a command to download a 626Kb MP3 and play it on a loop):

A Hyperteam is a sophisticated and powerful guerrilla-marketing tool that recruits and manages a ‘team’ of interested fans via the web. Fans/members are incentivised to perform tasks in return for prizes.

A Team can consist of as little as 50 core members or hundreds and potentially thousands of members capable of delivering highly targeted and highly effective ‘peer- to-peer’ marketing on and off-line.

I’ll let ‘incentivised’ slide for the moment….

As a copywriter, what grabs me first is the leading promises of the second paragraph. A team can exist of as little as 50 core members, but potentially thousands. All of these members are capable of delivering the sales message. Heh.

In return for fabulous prizes…?

Hey, does anyone here wanna buy some seeds? No? A subscription to Grit, perhaps?

*ahem*

The attempt at transparency is admirable, but to spell this out in such a way – marketing buzzwords and all – is not unlike giving your sexual partner a clinical rundown of intended foreplay and preferred positions.

In either case, once an arrangement reaches this formal stage, the time has come for actual money to change hands.

The only other alternative is to actually engage and let nature take its course.

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Date
20031211
And So This is Christmas…
Time
13:40
OK, so – mainly because of that bastard Dickens – most of us won’t be able to get around buying gifts for selected loved ones this Christmas… but what I can do for you is save you the huge waste of money and resources normally involved in packing your gift. You’ll only get away with this once, so choose your target and timing wisely.

Rather than buying a £5 gift box, pop along to your nearest charity store and pick up an old jigsaw puzzle. If it doesn’t have a price sticker, add one – and/or the text ‘5 pieces missing’… then pop the actual gift (CD/book/blouse/whatever) inside the box, mix it in with the jigsaw pieces and wrap the lot in whatever scraps of Christmas wrap you can find.

It saves you money, it’s less wasteful, and it gets a great reaction – but you really should be there when the recipient opens it, for reasons that should be obvious.

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Date
20031211
Michael Jackson
Time
14:02
Yes, you too can become an opinion columnist; it really is this easy.

UPDATE – Yes, this is that Amy Fisher.

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Date
20031211
Music
Time
14:15
Enjoy Silence of the Lambs: The Musical

It doesn’t contain the song I’ve Grown Accustomed To Eating Her Face, but Put the Fucking Lotion in the Basket more than makes up for this oversight.

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Date
20031211
Updates
Time
16:56
A belated wrap-up message has been added to Can Weblogs…?, drawing a line under Project 8: Can Weblogs Chase Bush Out of Britain?

I’m going to have a little rest on this front for a while, but new projects will continue at Interwebnet.org

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Date
20031212
Civil Liberties
Time
09:41
David Blunkett has threatened to resign from Amnesty International after the organisation accused ministers of creating ‘a Guantanamo Bay in our own backyard’ by holding foreign terror suspects without trial.

The response from Amnesty International is really quite wonderful:

“We hope David Blunkett will not conclude it is incompatible to be Home Secretary and a member of an organisation that champions human rights, fair trials and international standards of justice.”

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Date
20031212
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:35
References to the anti-terror rallies in Iraq are all over the place this morning:

Healing Iraq has a bunch of photos.

Iraq The Model lays out the intentions of the march and lists organisations that were involved.

Instapundit reviews these two posts and what little news coverage there was.

The Washington Times reports on the rallies.

The Jersey Journal’s report was the first one I came across that actually acknowledged:

1) That the drive behind this march came from American-backed councils

2) That this didn’t stop many people marching about decidedly ‘off-message’ issues such as health, welfare, and a general objection to being illegally occupied, bombed, shot at, and robbed blind

CTV in Canada also acknowledges (ahem) a mix of sentiment.

The sad thing is, not many people will get beyond the facade of these demonstrations, obviously intended to soften the attitudes of misguided peaceniks in the west (and those that try to peel back the green curtain will no doubt in this case be accused of being anti-Iraqi and pro-terrorism).

I was curious to hear what Riverbend made of all this. So was the jerk behind the fake Riverbend blog (who, after being rumbled for pretending to be her, has now taken to attacking her): ‘Will she make a mockery of it or totally ignore it?’

You can read what the real Riverbend had to say here.

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Date
20031212
Consume!
Time
10:38
Hooray for the return of the Innovations catalogue.

(Seasoned surfers will, of course, note a striking similarity to the B3ta quizzes of days gone by: 1, 2, 3)

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Date
20031212
It’s War! And There’s Money To Be Made!
Time
10:44
New York Times: The United States government is paying the Halliburton Company an average of $2.64 a gallon to import gasoline and other fuel to Iraq from Kuwait, more than twice what others are paying to truck in Kuwaiti fuel, government documents show.

BBC: An oil services firm formerly run by US Vice President Dick Cheney may have overcharged US forces in Iraq by some $61m, a Pentagon audit has found.

Iraqis aren’t the only ones being robbed. This money goes straight from the U.S. taxpayer to Dick Cheney’s mates. And while we’re on the subject…

The Onion | Report: Poor People Pretty Much Fucked

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Date
20031212
And So This is Christmas…
Time
10:50
Dead puppies and a ban on letters to Santa… bring it on!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031212
South West Trains
Time
10:53
Oh dear, just as the train companies line up a fantastic photo-opputunity of old trains being scrapped (I watched a biot of this on the news last night) , along comes a real story to bury it:

The Independent – Trains are arriving even later, despite cutbacks to timetables

The number of complaints are down, but we all know why that’s a statistic that can’t be trusted.

Back to the subject of demolishing trains; I’m very happy that new trains are being brought into service, but:

1) I would ask why I spent £300+ a month being ferried about on trains that were 40+ years old (and declared unsafe 15 years ago)

2) I would also question SWT’s policy of introducing a ‘no-smoking’ policy by stealth (in that the new rolling stock just happens to lack smoking carriages or compartments of any kind). Be you a smoker or not, you have to admit that this is just a little bit sneaky.

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Date
20031212
The End of Democracy
Time
11:03
A hail ‘president’ Bush the champion of democracy!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031212
Christianity Watch
Time
11:04
Farkers discuss differing methods for getting rid of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031212
Follow Up
Time
11:09
Responding to the reports that the largest tree is Australia is no more, my Dad writes:

As usual, the journos have got it wrong. The destroyed tree was the largest tree in Tasmania…

Australia’s largest tree is a mallee tree in Western Australia which is only about 4 metres high but covers several hectares. Its root system has grown to this size over hundreds of years and it has thousands of visible stems, but still has only one root system.

It is in a plant reserve, I believe, but after its original discovery about 5 years ago, the locals have kept quiet about it. Otherwise it too would be a victim of a learning experience.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031212
Search Engine Optimisation
Time
11:50
The B3ta version of Froogle went fully live a few hours back and results are now being fed in through the central database on a number of ‘test’ products. That result you see nestled under Amazon is from a client site. I’ll be watching these very carefully over the next few weeks to see if – as some people suspect – catalogue sites are being punished in order to encourage sign-ups to the Froogle service. I know of at least one client result (involving a model number that’s in the Froogle directory but not being served into the central database just yet) that, having previously ridden high as the top search result for months, today does not appear in the central database at all.

Given that Sergei Brin, founder of Google, is on record describing the concept of trusted feeds as ‘evil’, and – as this waddles, quacks and shits just like a trusted feed (even if it is free… for now) – I’m sure you’ll pardon me for having an uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach.

For now, I’ll be advising relevant clients of this change and judging the process of inclusion on a case-by-case basis.

Not that we can actually join in at this stage, right now it looks like UK stores will just have to suck it and see:

Froogle – Information for Merchants:

This beta release of Froogle only supports U.S. online stores with English-language websites and products priced in U.S. dollars. While we plan to offer support for multiple languages and currencies in the future, we want to be sure Froogle offers the best possible experience to users and merchants before we expand the service. We will not be accepting feeds from international merchants until that time.

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Date
20031212
Only Interesting to Bloggers
Time
12:11
It’s… The Web User Christmas Weblog Special! (Brought to you by ILG – selling your body’s chemicals

after you die – and by L’il Sweetheart cupcakes – a subsidiary of ILG.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031212
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
17:58
Expats Against Bush presents an exclusive interview with a National Guardsman based in southern Iraq








Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

South West Trains Does It Again

or
What Happens When you Dare Complain

To:
Andrew Haines
Managing Director
South West Trains

From:
Tim Ireland
30th November, 2003

Dear Andrew,

This was going to be a private letter, but it’s become clear to me after your reaction to my complaint of June last year (which was to send a bunch of flowers to the woman whose life your staff so blithely put at risk) and the treatment to which I was subjected early on the morning of Sunday 30th November 2003 that your company deserves a long-overdue public shaming.

Please bear with me…

I arrived at Waterloo Station in good time for the 00:08 express service to Guildford station. That service was not displayed on the boards. The nearest thing to it was a multi-stop service due at 00:10 that was shown as being 30 minutes late.

At 00:00 I enquired, I would think quite reasonably, as to the fate of the 00:08 service. I was informed by Jobsworth No. 1 that what I saw on the board was pretty much what I could expect.

I avoided naming names last time, but this time I am really – and quite justifiably, I would think – pissed off, so I ask you most humbly to suck this and see:

Jobsworth No. 1: Molly Morgan

Given that the timetable advertised a service that you were not publicly acknowledging as a failed, late, or possibly cancelled service, I saw fit to question the current state of affairs. Enter Jobsworth No.2…

Jobsworth No. 2: Tim Reilly

We’ll hear more from Tim soon, because he’s a plucky young lad, able to hold a man’s gaze, but not above abusing his position of authority in order to stifle valid complaints. Initially, all you need to know is that he intervened at this stage and informed me that The Way Things Were were The Way Things Were.

Andrew, you should know by now that I’m an idealistic chap, prone to impromptu shows of rebellion. The first thing I did as a result was to head to the information boards on the far side of the concourse and inform those staring hopefully at these boards that there was a whole service that had been cancelled without their knowledge, and that they should make a complaint regarding this.

Misguided? Perhaps. Satisfying? Definitely.

By now, it was 00:15. and another service – the 00:23 to Guildford via Clapham Junction, Woking and Worpleston – was long overdue for display.

I went back to the ‘information’ desk and enquired as the fate of this particular service.

I received little in the way of information, or satisfaction, and became quite agitated – especially when Jobsworth No. 3 informed me that this service was ’30 minutes delayed’, but they still saw no reason to advertise this fact on the boards.

Jobsworth No. 3: Rob Boorwell

You know as well as I do that – kept from the information that shows a failure of service – many people will be unable to make a complaint regarding that service. 13 information screens stood empty at ths point (save for a Waterloo Station logo). There was plenty of room to show such a failure, but only one person was complaining about it. Me.

I was soon to find out why, as jobsworth Tim Reilly really came into play. I was informed that my tone was abusive and that the police had been called. I held my ground and enquired in unreasonably reasonable tones exactly what had become of the 00:08 and 00:23 services.

Jobsworth No. 1: Molly Morgan (manning the ‘information’ desk)
“All I can tell you is what you see on the boards.”

Jobsworth No. 2: Tim Reilly (standing not 3 feet from the ‘information’ desk)
“I’m sorry, but you’ll have to ask at the information desk.”

My immediate reaction was to turn to waiting commuters and point out what they could expect if they dared to complain. In fact, I even dared to point out what was at stake and why your staff hoped they would not complain.

When faced with multiple layers of bullshit, I tell it like it is. You know this.

Result? Some hopeful faces, but no action; they knew what was in store.

By now, I also had some drunken RWCs (right wing cunts) getting seriously In My Face for daring to question authority. No effort was made to control these individuals. In fact, the smug look on jobsworth Tim Reilly’s face seemed impossible to shift.

Enter the police…

God bless the London Met. So intent on their duty, they ignored each and every aspect of my quite valid complaint and informed me that South West Trains was – as a result of my ‘abusive’ behaviour – refusing to carry me as a passenger. I was to be escorted from the concourse.

They’re ripping us off blind!
“Not my problem…”

You’re leaving me stranded in London with no way to get home!
“That, sir, is *your* problem.. off we go.”

(Hand on elbow; to make any move from this point on is to Resist and get thrown in clink on a technicality. Smile on jobsworth Tim Reilly’s face defies polite description..)

And so I was led from the concourse to resounding jeers. I was informed by the police that these jeers clearly showed my lack of popularity, but….

The clever clogs did not account on me making my way via the Underground, back onto the platform to the now very late 00:10 multi-stop service (which, in the end, terminated at Walton-On-Thames and had to be completed by bus).

On that trip, I met:

The dozen or so people who congratulated me on my courage but failed to speak up themselves for fear of similar ‘complain and you will not travel’ treatment.

The gentleman who informed me of the Guildford service that left at 11:50, made up of 4 carriages (from the 12 that were available) that was so hopelessly overcrowded that many gave up on it.

The few RWCs – one in particular – who gladly took the time to inform the driver of my unauthorised – albeit fully paid for – presence on board. (Happily, I had made the devilishly clever move of removing my jacket, thereby rendering me invisible to the waiting authorities at Clapham Junction and Wimbledon. If you got burgled or mugged in these areas on this night, it was because police were called away to incarcerate The Man Who Dared To Complain. I do apologise.)

Andrew, I appreciate that you’re an honourable man in a difficult situation, but in this case I’m sure you’ll pardon me for saying Fuck You & The Horse You Rode In On.

There is one reason and one reason only why I choose not to work in London. That reason is South West Trains.

It’s obvious to me after this experience that the main priority in too many employees’ minds is to protect this failing system – and/or their jobs – at all costs. In fact, the few small actions I took following our disagreement last year led to many staff fearing my camera (and hating my guts) but not changing their ways.

(Do you remember the charming sign that greeted customers who approached the staff room at Guildford? And how after I took a photo of that and sent it to you, it was removed? Well, following that minor event and the major one that preceded it, I found that I was being carefully watched by staff and so didn’t need to send anything to you to have an effect. I took a photo of misspelled sign; it was immediately removed. I took a photo of shit on the tracks; this area and this area alone was immediately hosed down. This was fun while it lasted, but it did little good in the end.)

You and I, we have serious issues mostly buried in the past, but I hold your company directly responsible not only for undue stress, but well over 700 man-hours that were lost due to SWT’s inability to provide the service promised to this one small commuter.

Others may not dare to complain (and I’m pretty sure by now that we all know why) but – though I may not be reliant on this service at present – I find it very difficult to understand why I shouldn’t be addressing this as a significant ‘in my backyard’ priority.

You don’t want this; I don’t need it – but the problem obviously needs to be addressed.

I got 21st-century on your ass last time, and is didn’t make a lick of difference. What is it going to take to make you realise that this one commuter out of a thousand can – and will – make a difference if necessary?

[ENDS]

What do you think? Was I too aggressive in the face of simple diversionary tactics, or do I have a justifiable problem with South West Trains and the way they treat people? Send me an email or get in touch with Andrew Haines via customerrelations@swtrains.co.uk and do what a lot of people didn’t this morning because they did not dare – speak your mind.

UPDATES & FEEDBACK
1st December 2003

Wibbler was on the scene, and had this to say:

“Good lord, Tim, you were on the train after me!

“My girlfriend and I arrived at the platform at 10.40pm. The Train Entering Platform 8 was an obligatory 15 minutes late, and this strangely worked in our favour. We rushed to the platform, to be met by a very substandard train, due to stop at Clapham Junction, Surbiton and Guildford, which was plainly a replacement. To make matters worse, if you wanted to get further than Guildford (which we instantly abandoned), the remaining journey had to be competed by a rickety old bus. God help the poor 90 year old couple hoping to get to Liphook before sunrise.

“We were then informed that the driver was still to be found. He was still nowhere to be found 15 minutes later, but eventually he was located. It was then that 4 Drunken Fools decided to board (drunken fools who were plainly less of a problem than you supposedly were). They proceeded to discuss, exceedingly loudly and between gulps of recently-bought champagne, the nights events, and life in general. This included the “fucking temperature”, the “fucking bottle”, the “shit weather” and references to a neighbouring travellers’ grandmother that I dare not repeat. Other topics included differing tastes of semen, their musical favourites (with long, loud demonstrations of each song) and where the “fucking toilets” were. The journey seemed long. We supposed this was because of the Drunken Fools, but it was, as we were later told, because of the engineering “works”. I use the term “works” lightly – indeed as we passed one such engineering location, I noted all 5 of the workers sitting down on barrels, sipping their tea and looking at magazines (the content of these can only be imagined).

“So, we arrived one hour late, in the freezing cold of the winter night. The police, although informed of the Drunken Fools, did diddly about them. Oh, and the driver forgot to stop at Surbiton. You can imagine the words coming out of the Surbitonians on the train as the alighted in Guildford at midnight, many miles from home, with no visible means of getting there.”

James was at the same party as I was that night. He’s provided some quite reasonable points about giving feedback to staff members. He’s right on many points, but – well, I’ll let you read his email first…

“Sorry but I think you were too aggressive in your actions described in your letter. I am a frequent complainer and I have worked in customer services so I have a fair idea of what does and doesn’t work.

“Raising your voice, swearing or using aggressive body language is not going to succeed. For a complaint to be handled quickly and effectively you have to make the person you are dealing with want to help you. By attacking them, their colleagues or whatever you are just going to put them on the defensive and make them want to get a victory over you by not being helpful.

“I know it shouldn’t be this way but it is, and it is extremely rare for someone to change their mind by aggressively pointing out that they are wrong.

“People who work in customer services, especially those who work with the public late at night, are frequently exposed to abuse, assault and all manner of downright evil behaviour from the public. Although I’m sure you were not being abusive (at least not at first) this is the behaviour they expect and when approaching the CS rep, you have to immediately show that this is not what you are about. Complaining calmly and reasonably – in a non-personal manner will be much more successful than insults and swearing.

“Unfortunately the same goes for the letter. The swearing, personal tone and general ‘Ranting’ nature of the text will make it much likely that whoever deals with the letter (and you can be pretty sure it will not be Andrew Haines – at least not at first) will mentally file it in the ‘Nutter’ category and be as obstructive as possible when dealing with your complaint.

“I appreciate that keeping your cool can be difficult when faced with the monstrous lack of helpfulness you experienced but calm, reasoned complaint will get you so much further than having a good shout. Although having a rant can be immediately very satisfying I personally find that it is worth swallowing a little pride and anger to get the result I want.

“Sorry if this comes across as a bit preachy but you did ask for feedback. This is all of course just the way I would approach things and YMMV!”

Not at all preachy, and all points that needs to be raised for a reader of this article that doesn’t know:
1. SWT and I have a long history. I’ve been down the ‘reasonable’ path and have seen little improvement to the service as a result.
2. Me being loud isn’t necessarily directed at staff. Often (and, admittedly, this does annoy the staff) it’s me addressing people on the concourse and explaining to them that (a) they’re being robbed and (b) they don’t have to sit there and take it.
3. The email I sent went directly to Andrew Haines, as we’ve had correspondence in the past. I published the general feedback address on my website and not his personal one as a courtesy. I can be downright nice when I want to be.

And now, a word or two from Seamus:

“go for it.. they say we’re a nation of whingers, may as well prove em right.. i followed your bush hunt and saw what complaining can do.. usually best to get a few people on your side first.. that’s something RWCs do understand..

“being a scruffy bastard i know what it’s like to have a genuine grievance dismissed cos you’re alone.. your opponent can easily point you out as if ‘he’s not one
of us..’ But a few seemingly normal folks together presents them a real challenge..

“so keep complaining.. i’d do it myself but there’s too much to go on about.. and i’ll keep reading”

Seamus is spot on. The system SWT has in place to deal with complaints doesn’t make it clear to the public how badly the situation has deteriorated. I’m sure that if this was clear, people would feel less alone and would therefore be more likely to voice their dissatisfaction with the service. A page that clearly explains how you can (and why you should) complain to South West Trains seems to be in order – as does a public forum for those that wish to express frustration over complaints that have not been addressed to their complete satisfaction. (Oooh, look what I just found over at Annies’ blog, along with this post of support… the Evening Standard gets busy with a serious transport protest portal! It’d be nice to have a special one for SWT, though… something that turns up every time people search for ‘south west trains’ in Google would be especially useful.)

Why is this important? Well, if you fail to complain, sooner or later you lose the right to complain. I’m not saying that we’ll see rubber bullets being used at Waterloo Station anytime soon, but ExpatEgghead notes:

“I admire your restraint. I wish more people were like you. Here in Israel, when people got pissed of at the unemployment office being closed for weeks, the security guard used tear gas.”

FINAL UPDATE

So what did I do after being pushed and pushed and pushed and pushed? I did this:

South West Trains – How To Complain

Come and join us, do.

:o)








Posted in South West Trains | Comments Off

17-28 November, 2003

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Date
20031117
Feedback
Time
09:36
Most of the negativity is being cast towards the petition. The chaps responsible for the majority of this can be found here. They’ve also got some not-so-secret squirrel plans to DoS the system and foul up the intelligence. Opening volley: the core intelligence address has been signed up to many a free mailing list.

I also got this from an AOL user::

Oh, for goodness sake. How about tracking the Queen or Prince Charles instead? Oh, what’s that? She wasn’t even elected there even under “extremely questionable circumstances”? And the Prince is too busy denying something he isn’t at liberty to explain? You mean chasing Bush is more interesting? Gotcha!

Erm, no. Sorry about that.

And this:

Have you stopped to consider what use the charming folks at the Finsbury Park Mosque may put your information to? This isn’t about dodging protests, it’s about dodging snipers and/or car-bombs. I hope you’ve got a good lawyer on retainer. Most countries dislike having visiting heads of state put at risk by morons with some technical skills. Hope you enjoy your chat with MI5 and the US Secret Service!

If there is a terrorist threat (no doubt organised – as you say – by the chaps down at Finsbury Park Mosque) did Bush stop to consider the terrorist target he was creating by putting him, our PM and the Queen all in one place to help with his upcoming election campaign? No.

This is about dodging protests, and one thing this visit has done (before Bush has even touched down) is greatly increase our awareness of the extent to which civil liberties in the U.S. have been eroded, removed or undermined by the Bush administration.

Some nicer email that may help folks understand that this is not anti-merkinism at work, and that these people need our help. In fact, most emails of support and links for this and Bare Your Bum at Bush have come from America.

Joan:

We Americans living under the rule of religiously insane fascists, appreciate the help.

Rosemary:

Thank you for your work. As a very patriotic American all I can say is I love my country but this moron sitting in our White House brings us shame. Will be watching your news reports to see what’s happening because we sure won’t see much here. We need every bit of help we can get from the world community.

Marjie:

I just wanted to say thank you for what you are doing. We in America are being kept down by a media that is in the pocket of this illegal administration. Also, we are totally disorganized in my opinion and too many are in fear. Of course, don’t forget there is about 50% of our population that support this thug.

Inbound linkage is getting us some serious Blogdex and Popdex action. It was poking around the cosmos that led me to this excellent post by Dave Weeden:

Bush Baby’s visit has everything to do with getting a head start in the next election…. If protesting gets us a different president in 2005, it will be worth it. We will be richer and safer for it. Protest against Bush. Your freedom depends on it.

I also found Simon Brunning in my travels. His dad was a founding member of Fleetwood Mac. I’m not saying that’s his only redeeming feature, I just personally regard that to be rather cool.

I got a nice form letter from The London Met, saying:

We do not plan any traffic exclusion zones, and there are no long-term road closures. We will endeavor (sic) to keep disruption to a minimum. There will be short-term road closures, and some areas where the public will not be able to access, but these will only be in place for the shortest possible time, and to ensure safety, security and to allow others to go about their business.

What a pity, then, that Dubya’s business threatens my safety, security and liberty.

Oh, finally, it looks like we may just have some support from a company willing to help out with limited text alerts. Stay tuned.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031117

Time
10:44
When image is everything and timing is important, it’s time to bring out the bold assertions. When you can’t risk saying it overtly, it’s time to leak a memo:

Case closed – The U.S. government’s secret memo detailing cooperation between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.

(UPDATE – Here is the best follow-up on this that I’ve seen so far.)

Rupert Murdoch’s Australian also carries this Weekly Standard piece, but at least they have the decency to put ‘proof’ in inverted commas in the headline.

Because, as we all know, this is primarily an anti-war protest (when it’s not an anti-merkin protest) and ‘proving’ a link between Saddam Hussein and those gosh-durned terrorists makes us all look like naive peaceniks.

Bush used the time-honoured technique of using ‘Saddam’ and ‘terror’ in the same sentence as often as possible during his man-of-the-people interview on Breakfast with Frost. What you cannot say, you must infer.

As for outright lies… I did catch what may be one very interesting whopper:

George W. Bush: “Gosh, I remember going to some nice pubs — when I was drinking man in London.”

Bush has said many times that he quit drinking on his 40th birthday in 1986 and has not had a drink since. He had only been abroad three times before becoming President. Which visit is he referring to and when did it occur?

Finally, a statement he has made a number of times during the run-up to this visit:

“Well, freedom is a beautiful thing, I would first say, and it’s, aren’t you lucky to be in a country that encourages people to speak their mind? And I value going to a country where people are free to say anything they want to say.”

What a pity that he never gets to finish this statement with a brutally honest “Because we sure don’t allow that kind of freedom back in the States, nossir!”

On the newspaper front, Bush’s decision to grant an exclusive interview to tit-tastic tabloid The Sun (also owned by Rupert Murdoch) surprises no-one. That Tony Blair recommended it, even less so.

The content? Well, I hope you have a strong stomach.

The editorial is even worse:

Bush is an intelligent, thoughtful and compassionate man for whom war is the last resort. His enduring love is peace and the freedom it can bring.

Oh, dear God.

(UPDATE – More on this and related Murdoch matters over at the London News Review.)

The truth of the matter? Officials are dreading this trip and damage-control teams are out in force. Looks like Tony picked a bad time to quit spinning.

Most people think the speech to the Houses of Parliament has been called off, but senior MPs have been warned to be ready to ‘clear the decks’ and rally the troops at a moment’s notice. How interesting…

One thing that is set in stone is Bush’s meeting with Michael Howard and Charles Kennedy, the leaders of what pass for opposition parties in this country.

One knee to the groin will drop him, Charles. Just a thought.

UPDATE – Nick wrote in with an intriguing idea. Perhaps all Charles has to do is wave a little fine whiskey in Dubya’s direction. Let him catch the fumes until his pupils dilate and his voice explodes with a dramatic call of: “It begins!!”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031117

Time
10:46
Today, I have to:

- Help where I can to sort a solid back-end for interwebnet.org

- Organise the moderators

- Source/brief our trusted intelligence officers

Please excuse me if bloggage suffers and/or I don’t answer your email.

But before I go…

I’ll be attending the Stop The War Coalition’s alternative state procession (South Bank, London SE1 on the 19th day of November at the hour of 11 o’clock).

I thought it might be fun if a few of us helped to form a decent security force.

Here’s what you’ll need to join in:

Dark overcoat

Dark suit

White shirt

Black necktie

Dark sunglasses

One ‘in ear’ headphone

No need to get in touch or organise – just turn up on time, and dressed for the occasion.

UPDATE – Oh, and I want to set an early precedent with images from mobile phone cameras. If anyone lives in or near Heathrow and wants to capture the arrival, please do get in touch.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031117

Time
11:49
It’s not too late to call this whole mess off, you know:

- Sign the petition

- Email the poodle

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031117

Time
11:54
Tonight: Non Violent Direct Action training Workshop, 7pm London Action Resource Centre, 62 Fieldgate St, London E1 1ES. 020 7377 9088. (includes Legal Observer training for the Resist Bush Tea Party on the 19th).

(Via this exhaustive list of publically-known events scheduled for the George Bush visit.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031117

Time
12:06
Margie Schoedinger filed a lawsuit against George W. Bush in December 2002, claiming that she had been raped. All signs point to her being as mad as a shaved otter, and the media largely ignored the story, but that didn’t stop her turning up dead.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031117
Bush Trekking
Time
13:50
He’s a man of peace, shoot to kill, shoot to kill, shoot to kill

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031118
Bush’s UK Visit
Time
08:36
Let’s put this in very clear terms.

Now is a very important time. This march will be portrayed as simple-minded anti-war sentiment, but in reality it is The Front.

Americans have effectively Lost. The. Right. To. Freedom. Of. Assembly.

Protests have been inhibited by highly questionable methods here, as well. People have been illegally searched and illegally detained. In fact, if it weren’t for the projected doubts of us misguided peaceniks, the ‘security’ needs of the White House on this visit probably wouldn’t have made the news – and therefore would not be an issue, but a reality.

However, that doesn’t mean that Blair’s camp has given up. There is both a charm offensive and a fear offensive.

Charm: Dubya ain’t that bad. He’s a man who loves peace. The police are being jolly decent chaps about the whole thing. Oh, and these people are only marching because they think war is not so nifty.

Fear: But there just happens to be a terror alert. Oh, and terrorists may use the protests as cover (you could get gassed or blowed up). George W. Bush’s security force will have lots and lots of guns. And – leaving the best until last – anarchists are set to run wild in the streets.

The Chasing Bush portal exists only because the government is still in ‘save face’ mode, so will be forced to take the next logical step and restrict the photo-ops George W. Bush wants so badly to safe zones. To achieve safe zones for some of Bush’s wishes (addressing MPs, being seen with Real People who are Happy to see him) some misdirection is going to be called for. It is this misdirection that we seek to subvert.

Already, we’ve been accused of leading terrorists to Bush – when in reality it is Bush himself who has brought the (alleged) terrorist threat here to forward his own ends.

Meanwhile, the administration of both countries continue to use terrorists as an excuse to restrict our right to effective protest.

The Times: Security chiefs are even considering shutting down all mobile phone signals near the President every time he leaves Buckingham Palace in case terrorists try to use a mobile to detonate a bomb

No reference was made to mobile phone blackouts until Chasing Bush was set up. It’s glaringly obvious what’s going on here, but we have to stand strong. Now is not the time to put our fingers in our ears and chant ‘calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean’.

We trusted in numbers alone on the million-strong march and it got us nowhere. America is watching, and the battle is for effective visibility.

The Independent: Tony Blair – “This is the right moment for us to stand firm with the United States in defeating terrorism wherever it is and delivering us safely from what I genuinely believe to be the security threat of the 21st century.”

Given the large number of Americans who have supported our cause and rejoiced because we can voice what they cannot, I’d actually dare to adopt that quote myself. All that’s required is a slight change to the punctuation and a link or two:

This is the right moment for us to stand firm with the United States in defeating terrorism – wherever it is – and delivering us safely from what I genuinely believe to be the security threat of the 21st century.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031118
Dead Blog Holiday
Time
16:18
Things is going to pretty quiet around Bloggerheads for a few days. When I’m not out and about, I’ll be posting or moderating over at interwebnet.org

Cheers all.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031120
Just Do It
Time
11:01
I ask very little of you people, but today I’m going to implore those of you who live in and around London to attend the big march today.

If you want to continue to enjoy the right to assembly and freedom of speech, and inspire Americans who have recently lost this right under the Bush administration, then you need to stand up and be counted.

It’s not anti-war. It’s not anti-American. It’s bare-bones self-preservation.

Be there.

14.00: NATIONAL DEMO AGAINST BUSH. Starts outside University of London, Malet Street, London (map). Finishes at Trafalgar Square where a statue of George Bush will be pulled down. This event will continue until 7pm to allow for people coming from work. For more info see Stop the War Coalition.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031121
The End Of Democracy
Time
14:16
Ladies and Gentlemen, despite all promises and assurances to the contrary, the one thing we all feared – a ‘Free Speech’ Zone – has been established on British soil.

When it came to the crunch, our government caved to the wrong side. This isn’t over.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031124
The End of Democracy
Time
09:13
Jesus H. Christ, they don’t muck about, do they?

The Free Speech Zone in Sedgefield passed without so much as a media blip. Result:

The Independent – Sweeping new emergency laws to counter UK terror:

Fresh measures to deal with terrorist attacks and other emergencies are to be announced by the Government this week, allowing them to over-ride civil liberties in times of crisis.

Sunday Herald – Blair plans new laws to curb civil liberties:

The measures could potentially outlaw participation in a protest march, such as last week’s demonstrations during President Bush’s state visit, making it, in effect, a criminal offence to criticise government policy.

Like, say, if you wish to question the actual source of the attacks. Or the convenience of their timing. Or the effectiveness of government policy on the terrorist threat in general. Or the readiness of our government for such attacks. Or the policy of the government to roll out ‘unspecified’ terrorist alerts every time a major protest is on the horizon, thereby eroding public readiness should an actual threat come our way.

Over the pond, General Tommy Franks has said that if the United States is hit with ‘a weapon of mass destruction’, the Constitution will likely be discarded in favour of a military form of government. Meanwhile the New York Times reports that the F.B.I. has advised local law enforcement officials to report any suspicious activity at anti-war protests to its counterterrorism squads. As an example of possible illegal activities they cite ‘using fake documentation to get into a secured site’ – i.e. trying to bypass the unconstitutional ‘Free Speech Zones’.

Are we still in any doubt about what these draconian measures are meant to control? Sure, the F.B.I. claims such measures are meant to help identify anarchists and ‘extremist elements’ plotting violence, but it’s these new measures that will give birth to such violence. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Bush is already getting away with inferring that the terror/Iraq link must be there, because terrorists are now in Iraq.

Those of us in the UK will want to fight this. Now.

Here’s why:

The terrorist threat is real; but it’s mostly an idea, a tactic. It cannot be fought like a nation.

Taking the wrong nation to task over terrorism – illegally – has only attracted terror attacks to that country and others, and given moral and logistical support to the terrorist cells around the world (that, in may cases, would not have been as widely available had our countries acted with the support of the international community).

Whether the threat is real or not (see: WMDs) it’s wrong for any government to use the fear of that threat to manipulate the public and use it as an excuse to systematically rob us of our freedom.

To all those who would say that such-and-such or so-and-so fought to protect that freedom, and I should be happy to have it; I say ‘right on’. I’d also point out that the time has come for us to fight for those freedoms again. Right fucking now, before it comes to a very unhealthy crisis point.

Last week’s Bush visit – consciously or unconsciously – put the idea into many heads that marching peacefully does little or no good and the only way to get the attention of the international press is to blow shit up. Every sector of society has its extremists, and that worries me some.

The DoS attacks on interwebnet.org and Bloggerheads during the Bush visit were not entirely dissimilar to the practice of book-burning… the forcible removal of material that the far right considers to be ‘dangerous’. Censorship not via direct government intervention, but via the culture of hate and fear that the government has helped to establish.

This is but one indication that matters are way out of control in the U.S. – and our government is guilty of outright appeasement. They think we can influence the Bush administration. We cannot. They fear that the U.S. will become isolated. It already is.

The actions of our government in response to the terrorist threat and the wishes of the White House are both subservient and misguided.

Let’s take the official government line just once, to try and reach its rabid supporters and make them see sense:

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.

A terror attack on British soil that just happens to precede the release of the results of the Hutton Inquiry? On American soil (or near enough to freak people out) just before the presidential elections in the U.S.?

How many of you would ask yourselves whether it was convenient at this stage for the government to let one slip through the net? Given the timing, how many of us would take seriously assertions that our freedoms were being taken from us for our own protection? How many, in such circumstances, would see their only option to be an outright fight for those freedoms?

Even if the government succeeded in a complete clampdown, there would be many who would continue to fight from the shadows.

If such a scenario did come about, it wouldn’t matter who was behind the attack and who did the bulk of the manipulating; the result would still be exactly what Bush claims to be trying to prevent – ‘a chaotic world ruled by force’.

Due to the absence of permalinks and a comments feature on Bloggerheads, a mirror of this post is also available at: http://www.interwebnet.org/post.cfm/post=111

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Date
20031124

Time
09:46
Browsing through The Guardian, I see that it’s going to be an interesting week in print media, but what really excites me is that I may finally get my windmill. While I’m in a spending mood, I may just splurge on some cow magnets, too.

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Date
20031124
Photoshopping
Time
10:49
Wednesday is the first anniversary of The Star Wars Photoshopping Project (the first image of its type was posted here at B3ta). I’ll try to remember to celebrate. In the meantime, here’s a knockout submission from Michael Weidenbach.

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Date
20031124
Bush’s UK Visit
Time
11:08
The Sunday MirrorThe Queen is furious with President George W. Bush after his state visit caused thousands of pounds of damage to her gardens at Buckingham Palace.

Multiple helicopter take-offs and landings churned up the lawns, trees and shrubs ‘that had survived since Queen Victoria’s reign’ were trashed by the rotors, and ‘clod-hopping’ security personnel tromped all over what was left.

Sorry your plants got trampled on, Madge. Perhaps you can spare a thought for our rights…

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Date
20031124

Time
14:01
Michael Jackson launches dedicated news site.

It’s here. Pretend to care.

UPDATE – The timing of the raid and subsequent arrest warrant is still bugging me. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that Bush’s next perpetual war is against pornographers and pee-doh-philes, but they’ve been forming the basis of this case for months. Why issue the warrant when Jackson is off in Vegas? He’s got significant resources, and is therefore a flight risk.

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Date
20031124
Photoshopping
Time
14:19
See the official White House photo essay covering Dubya’s visit to the UK.

You’ll love this one of Bush and Blair waving to an imaginary crowd of well-wishers.

This photo from the pub is my favourite. Tony is such a rascal….

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Date
20031124

Time
16:37
Comment spotted at Salon.com:

“The American flag lapel pin is the new swastika armband.”

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Date
20031124

Time
17:27
A fabulous exclusive from The Memory Hole: see a copy of the pamphlet you receive when you apply for a position at your local draft board.

Start warmin’ up the poor, we is a-goin’ to war!

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Date
20031125
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
09:20
Michael Howard had better start learning how to use this channel more efficiently – and fast!

Take a look at which site – and what post – is top search result for ‘michael howard mp’.

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Date
20031125
The End of Democracy
Time
09:22
Fingers in ears, people…. lalalalalalalalalalalala!