Hey, it’s not my fault that this is news

Well, maybe it is a bit.. but only to the extent that in some small way I may have contributed to a festive, carefree air on the evening of 16 April

Independent – Pandora: Blogger ‘Guido Fawkes’ is led off to the Tower: (Guido Fawkes)… the famously thirsty troublemaker, real name Paul Staines, was up before the beak at Tower Bridge Magistrates Court last Thursday. He admitted driving while under the influence and without insurance after being stopped by the Plod in the small hours of 17 April, driving his wife’s Volkswagen fast and swerving across lanes in south London. He was breathalysed and found to be almost twice the legal limit. Asked by District Judge Timothy Stone whether he had an alcohol problem, Staines said: “Possibly.” Sentencing is on 15 May. It is his fourth alcohol-related offence and second drink-driving reprimand – he was banned for 12 months in 2002 – requiring the judge to consider a jail sentence.

I’m declaring a zinger competition in a vain effort to jump on board this bandwagon or witch hunt or piffling trifle whatever he plans on calling it before swiftly jumping off again. Then we’ll crack on. Promise.

I’ll start a sequential list here. We can argue and vote later:

Unity: “Do they have internet access in Wormwood Scrubs?”
Justin McKeating: “What’s the libertarian argument for driving whilst uninsured and over the legal limit for alcohol?”
Tim Ireland: “Would it help if I turned up as a character witness?”
Bob Piper: “Not only will the judge be considering a custodial sentence… but Gordon Brown has intervened to freeze his wages.”
Professor Paul: “That explains his visitor figures. He sees everything double all the time!
OneHourAhead: “For the story in the Independent go here, for schadenfreude go here, here, here or here, for no comment go here or here.”








Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 26 Comments

Extreme pornography and the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill

JOKE:

Q: What is the difference between kinky and perverted?

A: Kinky, you use a feather. Perverted, you use the whole damn chicken.

FACT:

In the UK, it is legal to have sex with a dead chicken, but not a live one.

(Sexual Offences Act 2003; refers quite specifically to sexual activity with a “living animal”)

FACT:

In the UK, it is (generally) legal to have sex with a live person, but not a dead one.

(Sexual Offences Act 2003; refers quite specifically to sexual activity with a “dead person“)

FACT:

In the UK, it is legal for you to pretend to have sex with a live chicken or a dead person, but soon anyone who looks at photos/video of you engaging in this legal activity will be breaking the law.

No, that’s not a joke… it’s labelled quite clearly:

The Register – ‘Extreme porn’ law could criminalise millions

TRIVIA:

It’s been a whole year since I published anything on Celebrity Bestiality.

LINKS:

The Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill

Cheers to Clive for the heads-up.

I told you so.

UPDATES:

A correction from Scott of loveandgarbage, who says; If you check s 142 you will note that the 2003 Act does not apply in Scotland (the law in Scotland on these topics is based on case law – on the position relating to actions with the deceased see para 5.28 of the following Scottish law Commission report (link) which indicates that there is difficulty in fitting it into any particular criminal act at the moment; and on animals our law the position was established in a case in 1845 that it is a crime to have “unnatural carnal connection with a beast” and whether or not the beast is alive is not specified in the commentaries – and it is suggested in the leading modern criminal law textbook that it is only a crime for a man to do so, the position for women is not clear). Under cl 149 of the new bill the provisions in Part 5 that you refer to do not apply to Scotland.

OK, who wants to be first to point out that Scott’s correction includes a link to a PDF file?








Posted in The War on Stupid | 3 Comments

Steve Grover: the Burger King of sock-puppets!

[NOTE: a lot of this will seem familiar to most regulars… but I’ll only be mentioning one obvious name that came up recently anyways.]

The CIW (Coalition of Immokalee Workers) recently found a spy in their midst. They have also been the victim of a series of anonymous comments questioning their honesty, integrity and motives.

See if you can spot the cleverly hidden smear in this statement from Burger King denying their involvement in such things;

“I have no idea what should be secret about helping farmworkers” – Keva Silversmith, spokesperson for Burger King (source)

An entertaining intervention from Mr Silversmith, but the man to watch here is Steven F. Grover, Burger King’s vice president in charge of food safety, quality assurance and regulatory compliance (i.e. ethics).

Steve Grover was last year compelled to withdraw several claims and suggestions that he could not substantiate about the CIW pocketing money meant for workers.

Soon after that, someone was making very similar claims anonymously:

Take a look at this comment by ‘Activist2008′ under an article by Amy Williams:

Activist2008 wrote:

Unfortunately, with a little research you will find that the CIW is a self-serving attack organization that has no real members. See their IRS filing form 990. (http://dynamodata.fdncenter.org/990s/990search/esearch.php ) The CIW creates conflict and spreads misinformation to reap millions in cash. As I read in your article Burger King supports the CIW’s goals and has has tried to work with the CIW. Why don’t you question that with the CIW?. Sounds like you support the unquestioned internet extortion tactics the CIW is so good at. For 6 years the CIW protested YUM, McDonald’s and now Burger King and the workers in Immokalee are not seeing a single penny of the money nor audits. The CIW has accomplished nothing in the last 6 years with its self-serving missinformation and attacks. The CIW is not helping the workers by speading this missinformation and asking others to follow in its self serving attacks.

3/6/2008 1:18:28 PM

Now take a peek at a comment by this same individual under another article by Amy Williams about these and other anonymous attacks being traced back to Burger King:

Activist2008 wrote:

What a paranoid rant, I have never seen such a crock. For the record my comments are my own and have nothing what so ever to do with Burger King. I like how you attack your reader s freedom of opinion and speech! Sounds like my poor little opinion has really made the CIW mad along with their little writer. Tells me that the CIW has something pretty big to hide and might just be up to no good? Instead of the paranoid rant how about proof that the workers are really getting the money the CIW says they are. I suspect changing the subject is a lot easier than that proof!

4/13/2008 9:42:57 PM

We’re really in familiar territory here, aren’t we? There’s an added highlight posted under the equally convincing username ‘humanrights’…

humanrights wrote:

I note that the CIW is always attacking and trying to pick a fight with Burger King, Subway, Whole Foods Chipotle and others? If the CIW was truly about helping workers why are they always on the attack, picking fights and so totally paranoid. Any real human rights group that is truly out to help workers would be happy to have a big company attend their meetings. The company might learn something! Now the CIW is calling that spying! Clearly the CIW must have a lot to hide and I don’t believe they are out for the workers at all.

4/15/2008 3:45:28 PM

Activist2008 was also active on YouTube under the name ‘activist2′. This since-deleted comment was made 3 weeks ago under this video of a CIW demonstration and press conference

activist2 (wrote):

The CIW is a self-serving attack group with no real worker members. The CIW creates conflict and spreads misinformation to unquestioning duped supporters via the internet. The CIW reaps millions in cash from unknowing or duped supporters. Burger King does not hire tomato pickers, you might as well protest yourself for buying tomatoes in the supermarket. The protesters are supporting the CIW extortion tactics to line the CIW’s pockets. Who is really exploiting the workers!

Again, I ask you to compare these comments with a recent view/position expressed by Mr Steven Grover…

Independent – Slave labour that shames America: “We see no legal way of paying these workers,” said Steve Grover, the vice-president of Burger King. He complained that a local human rights group, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers “has gone after us because we are a known brand”. But he added: “At the end of the day, we don’t employ the farmworkers so how can we pay them?”

Now we’re near the really fun bit, and some very, very familiar ground. Watch this:

One month ago, ‘activist2′ posted the following to another CIW video

activist2 (wrote):

The CIW is a bunch of fools who don’t have a clue how the world works. People need jobs and these folks are protesting the wron people.

But the most interesting entry is this entry from two months ago by ‘surfxaholic36′ under that same CIW video

surfxaholic36 (wrote):

The CIW is an attack organization lining the leaders pockets by attacing restaurant companies. They make up issues and collect money from dupes that believe their story. To bad the people protesting don’t have a clue regarding the facts. A bunch of fools!

That second comment was made using the YouTube account of… the daughter of Steven F. Grover, Burger King’s vice president in charge of food safety, quality assurance and regulatory compliance (i.e. ethics)!

Amy Williams – Daughter of Burger King VP says dad wrote anti-coalition postings: Although Shannon Grover also uses the name surfxaholic36 – mostly on social networking sites – she said the anti-coalition posts are her father’s alone. “I don’t really know much about the coalition and Burger King stuff,” she said, reached by phone at the family’s Miramar home Friday. “That was my dad. My dad used to go online with that name and write about them.” Asked if she’d ever written about the coalition online, she was adamant: “No, that was my Dad. That was him.” Steven Grover did not return calls to his home or office, nor did Burger King spokesman Keva Silversmith respond to calls and a request to speak to Burger King CEO John Chidsey.

Click here and scroll down for the rest of that article (it’s under a mirror of the AP article)… oh, and do look out for this comment that appears to be an authentic intervention from Mrs Grover. Watch closely as she plays the victim, lays the smear and makes her threat:

mdmom2008 wrote:

This is a little girl, far from 18 years old! This reporter and publication choose to cross that gray area and speak with her, without parental concent. The reporter, according to my daughter, did not make it clear that the was a reporter, only giving her name and that she was from Ft. Myers. I, as her mother, am livid that the Senior Managing Editor Cindy McCurry Ross allowed reporter Williams to expose the screen name and personal name of my young daughter, exposing her to the dangers of the internet. I am even more so apalled, as Ms. Ross states that she is a mother too, and she understands, but it seems she is more interested in producing this type of yellow journalism, than protecting children and tomatoe pickers alike. She also refused to give me the steps involved to get Shannon’s info. She suggested she close any use of identity they used. So, this child who as you can imagine, has not been to PR training was frightened and still recovering from this incident.

4/28/2008 1:47:59 PM

Later in that same thread, ‘humanrights’ makes a welcome return…

humanrights wrote:

Well it looks like this totally proves what surfxaholic36 was saying. The CIW and their writer at the News Press are far more interested in attacking Burger King and anyone associated with the company than helping farm workers! What does all this have to do with helping farm workers at all. Comrad Williams you ever heard of free speach? My guess is you do not think much of it and would stamp it out if you could.

4/28/2008 10:53:54 PM

Yes, that’s the spirit. You keep reaching for that rainbow… and a bloody spell-checker!

(ahem)

I would like to make my position on this clear if I may:

This was a clumsy, blunt, and downright dirty PR campaign to begin with.

Exactly how much of the anonymously-delivered portion Steve Grover was directly responsible for remains unknown, but he either knowingly posed as his daughter in order to anonymously smear the CIW or (more likely) was doing a little work from home and – like Grant Shapps – used the wrong account during this sock-puppeting attempt.

For that alone he deserves sacking.

Unless of course Burger King are a bunch of bastards who reward such behaviour, in which case Grover should get a raise and his daughter should get a pony (or a car, depending on how old she is)… if she can be convinced to play ball and keep her mouth shut in future.

UPDATE (10pm) – I just spent a few lazy minutes trying to find out how reporter Amy Williams might have made the Grover connection and/or discovered the number for the family home. I got very far, very fast. I tried it again from another angle and quickly ended up with the same information, plus some added details for Mrs Susan/Susie Grover… who will probably shout at me if I show you those details and the names and photos of both of her young daughters that she herself has published online alongside a nickname/email used by Shannon, thereby (*dramatic pause*)… exposing her to the dangers of the internet!

[Psst! At that same location, Steven Grover also makes a contribution which neatly ties everything back to his role at Burger King; the page displays the bulk of Steve’s work IP address next to his entry which is in the range 65.174.40.112-119 and most likely to be 65.174.40.114 specifically.]

UPDATE – A lovely round-up from The Consumerist

UPDATE – Oh, and I really should mention that while Burger King is using the cheapest of tricks to cheat workers out of a pennies, they are also launching a $170 burger in the UK. Class.

UPDATE (30 Apr):

1) My tracking reveals that a few people from the Burger King Corporation dropped by last night. One of them had a bit of a poke around. Hello Burger King, peeps. With you in a sec…

2) All comments from the latest Amy Williams article were deleted at some stage last night. Since then, a number of other comments have been published screaming about the right to free speech, liberal Nazis, etc…. it never gets old, does it? Emailing, watching and waiting today to see what happened to the old comments.

3) Mrs Susie Grover has removed some of the sensitive material that she herself put on the web (this time, it was her turn to exploit Shannon in pursuit of a buck) but I won’t be linking to it or even dropping hints about where it can be found, as it still reveals their home address, Susie’s mobile number and a fax number which is actually their main phone number at home. (She’s the wife of a VP and she can’t afford a dedicated fax line? Burger King must be squeezing every penny.)

4) Most of Mrs Grover’s gripe is likely to come down to the reporter initially assuming that young Shannon was 18, because Shannon claimed to be 18 on one of her main online profiles. If the Grovers can’t be bothered to check their daughter’s public profiles – when not using them to engage in flame warfare for their corporate masters – then they’ve only got themselves to blame and they have no place playing the victim or waving little Shannon in our faces (again).

shannon profile data

5) Psst! Mr and Mrs Grover! You might want to have a quiet word with Shannon about toilet-papering people’s houses. Seemingly harmless pranks like this can end in tears. Perhaps Steve can sit down with her for a bit and teach her how to treat other people with kindness and respect.

6) Hello again, Burger King peeps. Will you be firing Steve Grover over this smear campaign or not? Normally, I wouldn’t expect you to, but a VP using his daughter’s YouTube profile to smear activists looms before you as an international PR disaster. Just something to think about.

UPDATE – One of the photos published by Mrs Grover is a classic of the ‘family portrait at the mall’ genre (right down to Vaseline on the lens), and I wanted to share it with you. I tried a version using facial pixelation, but that seemed too creepy. This is better, yes?

Steve Grover








Posted in Consume!, The Political Weblog Movement | 3 Comments

You’re doing it wrong

Something in this article about (username) Harriet (password) Harman caught my eye…

BBC – Spoof blogger attacks Harman site: Last year, Conservative housing spokesman Grant Shapps was targeted by hackers who broke into his YouTube account to post a message under his name saying the party could not win the Ealing Southall by-election.

Beg pardon? Who did what in the where now?

The person who wrote this article about (username) Harriet (password) Harman clearly did so after scanning, but not reading, this article. Even if one takes Shapps at his word about this – and very few people do – the version of events published on the BBC website is wrong, wrong, wrong, as a mere glance at the comment involved should make clear:

“Okay, realistically we’re not going to win though. Especially since the Tories have just received 5 defecting Councillors from Labour. Don’t quite know how they’ve done it, but the Tories have stolen a march on us this time.”

As you can plainly see, the person making that comment is not posing as Grant Shapps saying that his party (the Conservatives) could not win the Ealing Southall by-election.

Instead, the person making that comment is posing as a Liberal Democrat saying that their party could not win the Ealing Southall by-election.

Jonathan Calder has similar concerns about this poorly-researched nonsense appearing on the BBC website.

I’ve emailed the BBC about it, but have yet to receive a reply.

(Oh, and sorry for the quiet week. I forgot my nicotine patch on a Sunday and a Tuesday two weeks back and made it through most of both days without noticing, so I figured I’d press ahead and have a go at cutting off the regular nicotine supply a little bit earlier than scheduled. Like about 6 weeks ahead of schedule. I’ve been off the patches since the 18th. The only side effect involves brain. Cannot put words together goodly all time. Make blogging tricky.)

UPDATE – The entire ‘Shapps’ paragraph I’ve quoted above has been removed from the BBC article (see comments).

UPDATE – But, as Alex notes, the paragraph was ‘disappeared’ with; “no apology to those of us who complained, no clarification, no correction”.








Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 4 Comments

St George’s Day! Rah!

I’m kind of new here, but as far as I can work out, today is all about giving the BNP a platform in exchange for temporary use of their official trademark.

Well, I do like to play Little Johnny English from time to time, and if I’m to wave the flag today I’d best earn my turn by saying three nice things about the people what own it…

1. I love their ambition:

Petition to: erect a life size statue of Enoch Powell, in Westminster, right next to the one of Margaret Thatcher to mark the 40th anniversary of his ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech.

2. I love their modesty:

The 2008 British National Party Election Broadcast has many charms (lovely smiles at 00:24, 01:14 and 01:21), but my very favourite part appears after the numerous cash promises to hard working people. Check it out right about 02:30 for a glorious “Oh, and we also have this policy on immigration…” moment.

3. I love their confidence:

Who does this remind you of?

Video #1 claiming BNP website is “the most popular in politics” with “more hits than all other parties put together” is followed by Video #2 claiming that this involves “thousands of hits per week”. Might be some confusion there.

OK, that’s three niceties. That means I’m good to go for approximately 30 seconds of flag-waving.

So, for England! Let’s have it, then! Huzzah, I… no, wait… what are you…? What the..?!

Well, can’t have any of that!!! Oi! You there! Come back here! Rah!








Posted in Tolerance | 11 Comments

OGC offers fresh logo chuckles

The Register – UK Office of Government Commerce cracks one off: Quite remarkably, our informant suggested that, having spent the cash, OGC intends to roll out the logo anyway. Well, we contacted the OGC for comment, and a spokesman gamely explained:… “The proposed version, which you have sent over, has been shared with staff, and is now going through final technical stages.”

Tch. I am greatly disappointed that they did not use the word ‘retooling’.

Apparently, this is the result of a year of development! A whole bloody year! I’m in the wrong game.

(If you’re having difficulty seeing what’s obvious to filthy-minded proles like myself, simply tilt your head to the left.)








Posted in Consume! | 5 Comments

UK libel law it is, then

With you shortly.








Posted in UK Libel Law | 3 Comments

Next time you spot a traffic camera…

… remember to wave to the nice Americans.

The Inquirer – Secret pact allows the US to spy on UK motorists: A Home Office spokesman defended powers granted by the “special certificate” on the grounds of “counter terrorism” and national security, as they always do, of course. Speaking anonymously, he said “We would like to reassure the public that robust controls have been put in place to control and safeguard access to, and use of, the information.”… In other words, “Trust us.”

(Ta to PF for the heads-up.)








Posted in The War on Stupid | 1 Comment

The genius from Justice Squad

1. A children’s entertainer is issued with a caution, the Sun screams ‘paedo’ and publishes the guy’s real name, a photo and his location. Next thing you know, vandals are attacking his home and he’s running for cover. The Sun article is published under a banner reading; ‘Sun Justice’, BTW…

2. Of particular interest to Carl and other journalists who read this blog; compare this article from my local newspaper to this article from the Epsom Guardian.

3. Oh, and take a look at what one genius painted on the guy’s door:

No, really… take a close look:

UPDATE – Heh. Still trying to work out if one guy got it right the second time around or if maybe there was a “Gimme that, you idiot!” moment over the spray can (i.e. where the *smart* guy from Mob Justice Headquarters takes over and shows the team the *correct* way to spray-paint the word ‘paedo’ on the side of someone’s house). I suspect the latter, looking at the differences in handwriting spraypainting, and the idea of it makes me smile just a bit.








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

WARNING: you won’t like this

Adults only beyond this point, please; some of the things we tolerate aren’t at all pleasant to think about….








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