Monday, November 29, 2004

I've added International Cow to the sidebar.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Global warming has affected the Arctic so much that the indiginous peoples have no words for the animal and bird species now turning up in the newly temperate areas.

It seems odd that David Blunkett wants to strip people of their rights and bring an end to the permissive society when he has those rights and that society to thank for being able to continue in his job. John Major talked about a 'back to basics' policy which opened the floodgates on revelations about almost every member of his government taking cash for questions, or amyl nitrate for kinky sex games. Though Blair talks equal guff about being a 'pretty honest guy' journalists have so far restricted themselves to asking him to square the circle of lying to the Commons and the country in order to go to war, not to ask why a guy who insists on 'doing the right thing' has not sacked his home secretary. After all, Don Juan de Blunkett HAS had an affair, with a married woman. He MAY have got her pregnant. And now he's ACCUSED of using his position to get a visa for his lover's foreign nanny. It seems incredible that everyone is currently playing along with how Blunkett wants the situation to be viewed, it is not wrong for him to have sex with the wife of another man, it is wrong for people to complain about that. Although Blair has avoided giving hostages to fortune like 'back to basics', New Labour was supposed to be better than the Conservatives. All this seems to mean is less scandals rather than no scandals. If we have the kind of 'moral' society that Blunkett has expressed a fondness for in the past, he would be out of a job, out of the government and probably left to wander a blasted moor somewhere with a Fool.

Blunkett wants to take away people's right to a fair trial and to allow them to be imprisoned without ever going to trial. Yet for himself he seems to want to be treated under that old and 'insufficient' system. The new measures, we are told endlessly, are to deal with terrorists: One that engages in acts or an act of terrorism (The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons). Blunkett has repeatedly made pronouncements of policy that amount to unlawful (as decided by British and European courts) AND threatened use of force or violence by the organised group known as the police against people with the intention of intimidating and coercing society into supporting the British Government for ideological and political reasons. Is there no reason why, under his own rules, Blunkett shouldn't be locked up to await a trial that never comes?

I forget where I heard it, but someone in the media pointed out that as there is going to be a general election next May, most of Shiteye's insane proposals in the Queen's Speech were not there to be actual proposals but were there just to look good, to appear to be 'tough on terror, tough on what we say are the causes of terror, ie: Muslims', starting the Home Office's pitch to be re-elected next May now. I'm not saying that it's shocking the Government acts in such a way as to get the people of Britain to re-elect the Government, of course not, but yet again, Blunkett is using terror to coerce the people of Britain to vote Labour next Spring.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

You'll be wanting some comicky goodness. No, don't argue with me, I know what's best for you, I know everything. Go to Nelson Evergreen's and read Edith Rock And Hilda Roll Versus The Scary Pop Babies. Then go out and get some crack or something. You'll thank me later.

Band Aid Dilemma. You want this record to succeed, because you feel for the plight of the refugees in the Dharfur region of Sudan and this project is funding aid projects on their behalf. However, you hate this recording and feel your musical ego looming and refusing to be bruised.
The answer?

Buy as many copies of Do They Know It's Christmas by Band Aid 20 as you can afford. It will be released on Monday 29 November.
Destroy them in amusing ways, on camera.
Send us the pictures.

Friday, November 26, 2004

At last, it's the David Blunkett policy generator.

Argh! The Cocking NM cocking E with it's monkeyrogering 'Cool List' and it's continued love affair with feckless slackwit Pete 'Utter Shambles' Doherty and Carl 'Less a band, more an excuse to avoid the dole queue' Barat at number one. Look, I'll say this one more time: THEY AREN'T GAY. That means you can't have sex with them. And giving Doherty any more exposure so that he continues his policy of not turning up to gigs isn't particularly useful to man or beast.

Proud of Based on Proud of and notice, you don't get to opt out of New Labour sending you spam, you have to e-mail someone else to ask them to save you.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

The Ayatollah and the transsexual.

Yesterday's impeachment attempt in full and Simon Hoggart's sketch.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Ukraine on brink of 'civil war'

US Secretary of State Colin Powell said Washington "cannot accept" the election result as legitimate.

I don't know whether this is the US administration taking the piss or whether it's Powell on his own thinking 'sod it, I'm leaving in a few weeks, I can have a laugh. Next up I'm going to complain about Russian forces killing civilians in Chechnya'.

The horror, the horror...

Chris Martin:
It's Christmastime, there's no need to be afraid, At Christmastime, we let in light and we banish shade

Well, it's a Dad's perogative to do things that embaress and mortify their offspring, but does little Apple really need her Dad to have decided that was a good hairstyle AND taken part in BA20? He also seems to be doing a bit of a crazy man stare too, or maybe the night before the shoot he had to get up at 4:00 pm to do a nappy change.

And in our world of plenty we can spread a smile of joy, Throw your arms around the world at Christmastime

Hows about we let the Countryside Alliance hunt Dido instead of foxes?

Robbie Williams:
But say a prayer, Pray for the other ones, At Christmastime it's hard, but when you're having fun

Mugging shamelessly for the camera of course, while lil' Thom Yorke plays the piano.

There's a world outside your window, And it's a world of dread and fear

Hang on, proper singing? That's surely not allowed?

Fran Healy:
Where the only water flowing

Well, that's sorted that out. Fran Healy is Midge Ure's illegitimate son. Discuss.

Fran Healy & Sugarbabes:
Is the bitter sting of tears

Fran Healy & Justin Hawkins:

Hang on, does Fran get to sing with everyone or something? I'm surprised he managed to stay in the booth, I thought he would have got squeezed out by Justin's ego.

And the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom

Which sounds SO six form poetry it's untrue. 'Clanging chimes of doom', Ure?

Well tonight thank God it's them instead of you

That was him going for a restrained delivery apparently. Meanwhile he's flapping his arms around like he's taking flight.

Awww, it's the Artful Dodger! Oops, my mistake, it's
Will Young
who's obviously sorted out what to do when you have 'Chris Martin hair',
& Jamelia:
And there won't be snow in Africa this Christmastime
The greatest gift they'll get this year is life

Ms Dynamite & Beverly Knight:
(Oooh) Where nothing ever grows
No rain nor rivers flow

Group of ten & Joss Stone:
Do they know it's Christmastime at all?

Has anyone thought to ask? That would be terrible, to have gone to all this trouble and no-one thought to ask a bunch of starving Muslims if they are aware that a Christian-oriented event was a month away?

Tom Chaplin (Keane):

Presumerably because we've moved from the Britpop C-List onto the Z-List chancers and at this point no-one in the family knows who's on screen any more the BBC have decided to help out...

Here's to you

Justin Hawkins (Darkness): Raise a glass for everyone

Dizzee Rascal:
Spare a thought this yuletide for the deprived
If the table was turned would you survive

It's like when Madonna rapped, it just doesn't work in the song.

Here's to them

Poor old Busted, they don't even get a whole line to themselves, that's what you get for supporting the Tories you little bastards!

Justin Hawkins (Darkness):

One feels a stage direction has been ignored here...

Underneath that burning sun

Dizzee Rascal:
You ain't gotta feel guilt just selfless
Give a little help to the helpless

Joss Stone & Justin Hawkins:
Do they know it's Christmastime at all?

And here they slow things down for a few shots of everyone watching genuinely harrowing shots of starting African children, so the pop stars can put on their concerned and shocked faces. What might have been moving if all we saw was the footage becomes cheap and tawdry. I don't need one of the Sugababes on the verge of tears to tell me what to feel about the third world. Fuck you all.

Tom Chaplin:
Feed the world

Tom Chaplin & Chris Martin:
Feed the world

Tom Chaplin & Chris Martin & Sugababes:
Feed the world

Tom Chaplin & Chris Martin & Sugababes:
Feed the world

Everyone (in the big studio)
Feed the world
Let them know it's Christmastime again - repeated

Again and fucking again.

Fran Healy:

Group of 10:
Feed the world

Everyone (in the big studio)
Feed the world - repeated to end

Joss Stone:
Ad Libs over outro

Which is a generous way of describing it. 'Gibbering like a loon' is a valid alternative. The problem is that almost everyone decides to throw all they have in to the closing seconds so half the singers are doing their own 'woooooohs', someone's rattling a cowbell, tamborines are being banged, it's a bit of a mess.

Band Aid 1 wasn't a great musical event either. But it had the advantage that it was nearly spontaneous. It was delightfully ramshackle, why else would Francis Rossi from Status Quo be seen on telly giving someone the finger AND in tweeds, as though he's just come from a Dido hunt? That was people just doing something. Band Aid 20 just seems... I don't know, planned? That's not the term I'm looking for, but it feels like everyone involved, who wasn't involved in the first one, thinks "this will help my career".

And the song is shit too. Always was.

Just back from the Black British Style exhibition at the V&A with Janina, who'll undoubtably be expressing her opinion before too long. I completely disagree with Kristen's review on the 24 Hour Museum website. I'm thankful to Janina for getting me in free on her member's card, because having to pay to see such a crap exhibition would have been a real nuisance, even more of one than the people insisting on checking people's bags as they left the museum, presumably to make sure we hadn't decided to nick a piece of Vietnamese pottery to go on the mantlepiece.

The exhibition was quite small, for one thing. This meant that too much got too brief a mention. As with my visit to the Science Museum I found the signs too short and gave no real explanation as to the context of any of it. They were also badly placed in some areas so it wasn't always clear what they were referring to.

Next the exhibition couldn't decide to go with either grouping everything along a timeline or by style, so it started with one and by the other end of the hall was doing it by the other. So, on entering the hall, where do we begin? With the suits that people wore as they came off the Emperor Windrush. Two of them. Then a picture (which you can see in the 24 review) of a black bus conductress. Then some traditional costume-type clothes. Two-thirds of the main hall use packing crates as their stage. Do you see what they did there? When the whole immigration issue is dealt with with the first two exhibits the use of packing crates for the fashion of people who live in this country, are part of communities in this country, may well have been born and spent the majority of their lives in this country becomes offensive. It suggests that these people will never be considered truly 'British'. And also, packing crates? If no-one at the planning meeting had been willing to put their hands up and point out the offensive opinion packing crates gives out surely someone else would have at least suggested suitcases? Packing crates are for things rather than people.

What is Black Fashion? Well, it seems that if I and a black man wore the same t-shirt, his t-shirt would be included by virtue of being close to black skin. It was all rather hermetic, as though this were some exhibit of a remote island people, untainted by contact with any other culture. Who are the black fashion designers? Where are the names? What are the labels? How does Black British Fashion differ from and relate to Black American Fashion? There's no consideration of that here. And when you have a picture of Dizzee Rascal (2003) next to Professor Grif (1986) next to (IIRC) N.W.A (circa 1991) next to a wall of trainers, because their Addidas is very important to da yoof, where was the acknowledgement of how black culture appropriated and fed into other cultures globewide? The 'black power' exhibits consisted of a small box on the end of one of the rows with a picture of Diane Abbot at the '84 Labour conference and a 'Free Angela Davis' t-shirt. And that is it. Black Fashion and religion consists mainly of a collection of hats worn by some woman, a couple of suits that didn't seem special in any way, and photos of the chests of what a male and female member of the Nation of Islam would be expected to wear, they didn't even get to have a full body shot. Yet space is found for costumes worn by some pop group (Mystique?).

No, this was awful. It's an exhibition you'd expect the V&A to put on twenty years ago if all their staff were old white men. In 2004 we should expect much more.

I think billboards like this are indeed stupid. Not because I dislike Bush, but because I think, like the article says, it's a bit like the propaganda of tyranical regimes. However, the difference is that this billboard was put up by a private company. Whereas, in tyrannical regimes these sorts of things are installed by the tyrant. Our tyrnat, er, I mean president, didn't order his done.

All right, let's assume that every day Saddam Hussein woke up and before he could get down to some serious dictating he had to deal with approving Saddam posters, Saddam mugs, Saddam AK-47s, is there any meaningful difference between a society when the dictator demands people do these things for them or a society where the ruler creates the sort of atmosphere where companies decide such things are a good idea to do?

This is also worrying.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Went to the V&A the Science Museum to see Black Fashion the Future Face exhibition. It's a Wellcome Trust thing, so it's in that titchy room on the first floor by the telephone exhibit. I've been there a couple of times now, most recently for the Pain exhibition. This was slightly better, in that the room design didn't make me feel nauseous this time. But there were two main flaws. First, I assume the budget had been used up before signage was decided upon, as most signs were completely unhelpful in explaining the point of most exhibits, often little more than the name of the piece of artwork and the creator. The back wall of the exhibition had a number of exhibits to do with 'future faces', some big pictures of people from some twenty or thirty years in the future about the genetic engineering they'd had done to the future, a brief bit of film about the world's most advanced digital female avatar, a small video screen looping Bjork's All is Full of Love, but no text placing it in context.

There were two video pieces on digital avatars. The one I've just mentioned seemed to be two twenty second pieces of video, one showing a geometric run-through of the piece and the second showing the hi-res avatar. The other was a large head that, I think, was supposed to turn her head to follow you as you walked around the little room she was in. Both these pieces were silent and I'm not sure they were supposed to be, as the inadequate signage for the latter talked about how the creator was supposed to talk about the creation process.

Also, who's idea was it to cram the two computer interactive exhibits in a falsely created corner of the room? One was a game on 'micro-expressions', you pressed a button, saw a head perform a microexpression and then you had to click on what emotion that was. The other was one where you have a digital camera take a photo of your head, tell it your sex, your age and your race and then it would alter the picture, you could see yourself as other races, or a Picasso character or a chimp. So we were all crowded in a corner off the wall of the exhibit to see whereas common sense might have dictated spreading it out a bit.

Despite this lapse the rest of the exhibit was laid out quite nicely, a collection of glass eyes, photos and portraits of people who's faces had been altered by some medical condition such as stroke or illness, and people who'd covered their faces in tattoos or piercings. But what might have been a fascinating exhibition was just an interesting collection of oddments.

Nina wanted my opinion on The 4400 which started broadcasting on Sky One last night. As a general rule, anything Sky promotes the hell out of tends to be crap, the last Voyager episode, the last Buffy episode, the Simpsons episode with Tony Blair... So far the only exception has been Battlestar Galactica. But The 4400, it's this year's Taken. Our two heroes work for the Department of Homeland Security, presumerably because with his maverick approach to life and her hair, if they worked for the FBI the parallels would be just too obvious (That was another crap show Sky overpromoted, the X-Files finale). I don't mind that the American Big Brother organisation du jour is presented in such a benevolent manner, or that when they launch a nuclear attack on an incoming alien spaceship it seems everyone in the US is less than a few miles away from launch sites, or that unlike missile defense most of the missiles supposedly hit their target. It's just that it's not very interesting.

4400 people from around the world have been apparently abducted by apparently aliens over the last apparently 80-odd years. And suddenly, one night, they are returned. Why 4400 will hopefully be explained somewhere down the line (after all, one of the characters last night did question it). Such a large number seems something of a hostage to fate, especially when the non-Americans amongst the 4400 are largely ignored. Indeed last night we ignored 4395 of those abducted.

But so much of the show was pretty obvious from the start. We had the obligatory sequence when people were trying to settle back into life, a woman who disappeared twelve years ago finds her husband has remarried and their daughter believes her stepmother is her real mum. A lawyer who vanished in the late seventies finds his wife dying in an old folks home and his old firm unwilling to give him a job. And the first abductee, taken in the forties, visits her parent's grave.

The first abductee... Maia Rutledge, is an eight year old girl. Yes, it's the bane of sci-fi shows, the preternaturally intelligent child. The kind that has you screaming at the TV "Will someone shoot her for the love of God!" There should be a law against children in American sci-fi, or a law that something nasty happens to them as soon as they come on screen. What I don't understand is why in Star Trek the captain always beams down to an alien planet with a load of guys in red shirts, why he/she never beams down with a load of kids because those little bastards seem to be indestructible.

After a brief period in quarantine the 4400 are released into the community. This way, when stuff starts going wrong, it'll means Agents Sculder and Mully (I really didn't care enough to learn their names, they are basically an older, divorced Mulder without the wit and a Scully without the scientific abilities or smouldering sexual presence. They also have even less chemistry together than the X-Files duo) have to search them out. This will probably be what drives the show each week as it soon becomes apparent that the returnees are different to normal humans. They have been given a different or unique power whilst simultaneously losing the ability to be at all interested in it or to understand why others might be concerned. Agent Sculder's comatose son's friend is one of the returnees and seems to have some sort of 'life-giving/life-sucking power, which helps when he's attacked by another kid at school for the freakish habit of being kidnapped by aliens. He then spends the rest of the show being annoyed at his brother and his girlfriend being concerned that he half-killed the guy. He doesn't seem to think at any point "Wow, I was literally sucking the life out of him! Cool!" Maia is precognitive, of course, and doesn't seem to realise that if you tell prospective foster parents that they'll be buried in nice cemetaries when they die, or that you don't explain that the reason you're putting your shoes on a chair is because a water pipe will burst during the night, that they might be a bit freaked. The main threat last night was Orson Bailey, the lawyer who caused large telekinetic storms when angry yet seemed to be completely oblivious to the damage he was doing.

What remains to be seen is whether these new abilities is just the excuse for this completely unnecessary show or whether there's some over-arc, maybe one that rips off the rest of Joe Straczynski's Rising Stars concept. There'll be five episodes of this in which we get to find out.

Commons motion to impeach Blair gets go-ahead. Nothing will happen, Blunkett is more likely to propose polcies to extend people's freedoms first, but it'll be nice to pretend on wednesday that people are held to account for the pain and misery they cause.

British racists learn a trick from their Spanish counterparts. As Dwight Yorke, a second-half substitute for Birmingham, warmed up on the touchline of his former club two or, possibly, three Rovers fans are alleged to have taunted him with monkey chants, racist comments and obscene gestures. While The Sun has been complaining loudly about Spanish fans in the last week I can only presume they'll be tracking these guys down to lead the tarring and feathering.

I spent my last ten dollars on birth control and beer,
My life was so much simpler when I was sober and queer,
But the love of a strong hairy man has turned my head I fear,
And made me spend my last ten bucks on birth control and beer.

Two Nice Girls, 'I Spent my Last $10 on Birth Control and Beer'.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

"It is a hard life, being the only goth in the village." [via B3ta]

Elsewhere in the countryside, Blunkett suggests that although fox-hunting will be against the law, police won't make much effort to stop and detain those who continue to practice it. Quoth Shiteyes: "If people are setting out to enjoy themselves and there's a doubt about whether they meant to kill a fox or not, that's one thing,... If they deliberately say 'look, we're going to break this law', then of course the police have to take action." So, just so long as hunters remember to say that they are killing foxes because they are a pest and that the horses, hounds, horns and costumes are described as 'tools of the trade', then they'll be able to get away with it.

It has now emerged that Tony Blair was still pushing for ways of delaying the ban until after the election, even after MPs had voted against it.

Meanwhile, Shiteyes announces new terror measures, designed to allow the courts to sidestep that costly and time-consuming 'evidence' nonsense and imprison people he doesn't like the look the sound of. reports villagers near to Falluja have helped bury women and children that appear to have been killed by napalm, though no verification of whether the US are indeed using that has been made.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Pot complains about the blackness of kettles. There should be more checks on the use of information collected through supermarket loyalty cards, Home Secretary David Blunkett has suggested. In a speech, Mr Blunkett said the cards produced key details about people's shopping habits but were accepted because they were run by private firms. People should not distrust ID cards because they are a state idea, he said.

Although the ID Card scheme is going to be run by private firms under contract to the Government, non? And my supermarket loyalty card isn't used to judge whether I'm eligible to shop in the store. And it was also free to me to obtain. AND I am also under no obligation to have a loyalty card.

People should not distrust ID cards because they are a state idea, he said.

As was the War in Iraq.

You preferred Bush's statements 44% of the time
You preferred Kerry's statements 56% of the time

Voting purely on the issues you should vote Kerry

Who would you vote for if you voted on the issues?

Find out now!

This is depressing. It just goes to show how little there really was to differentiate between Lurch and Shrubya.

It's not easy being a Tory. Labour have stolen all your decent ideas, and the crap ones too. Your party is now as popular as it was when Iain Duncan Smith was in charge, before you knifed him in the back. You can't give full-blooded opposition to Labour over fox-hunting because the majority of the people who support it sit in the other chamber anyway so can't vote for you come the next election. You're even sending out begging letters to Labour MPs for cash to fund... err... your fight against Labour MPs. But it's hard to feel much sympathy in the face of fuckwittery like this: Prospective Tory candidate for Surrey Heath, Michael Gove, calls for the reintroduction of Section 28. (And look at this as well, from Tory Trouble.)
[Section 28 link via Honourable Fiend, via Mink Media.]

Friday, November 19, 2004

Blimes! Electric Six have done a cover of Queen's Radio Gaga. What's the high concept for the video? The lead singer dressed as the ghost of Freddie Mercury, in a graveyard! And people say my ideas are in bad taste...

My Stupid Library User O' The Day Story: A patron has complained because he stood outside, in the rain, for an hour yesterday morning, because he didn't realise we open an hour later on Thursdays and he didn't see the notice with our opening times on. 'Public Libraries= Because It's Our Fault You're So Stupid'.

Kyle: Dude, why is your store called the Indian Burial Ground Pet Store?
Attendant: Well, there was an Indian burial ground here before I bought it
Stan: So you just built your store on top of Indian burial ground?
Attendant: Oh, hell no. First I dug up all the bodies, pissed on 'em, and buried them again upside down.
Kyle: Why?
Attendant: Why? I don't know. I was drunk.

But, through the magic of cut'n'paste...

Loz: Dude, why is this thing called Band Aid 20?
Geldof: Well, it's twenty years after the original Band Aid project.
Loz: So, you just copied the original concept?
Geldof: Oh, hell no. I dug up the original concept, pissed on it, and buried it again upside down.
Loz: Why?
Geldof: Why? I don't know. I was drunk.

To be fair, I haven't actually seen the video yet, but I'm sure I soon will be. This fills me with icky dread though. And the thirty seconds or so you can hear from here suggests that some people were deliberately singing out of time and tune...

This is depressing. Well, not just the prospect of a 'William J Clinton Presidential Centre and Park' but at the bottom, reports on the Democrat post-mortem of their election failure.

For some Democratic strategists, the Bill Clinton model is the only one that will bring them back the White House. This implies a candidate with centrist policies - if necessary stolen from the Republicans - and with an appeal beyond the coasts and the upper Midwest.

As strategists are only too aware, Mr Clinton's two presidential victories were made much easier by his ability to win in the centre of the country and the South. By contrast, Al Gore in 2000, and Mr Kerry this year, failed to carry a single southern state. The lesson they draw is the party must boost its appeal to the Christian community, moderating its position on social issues such as gay rights and abortion.

Precisely the wrong tack to take, if Democrats are willing to swing rightwards to try to get power they don't deserve it. 'Moderating' here being code for 'abandoning', if the big two parties are going to turn on the queer community then they'll have to consider giving their vote to someone else.

But others argue precisely the opposite... Democrats should return to first principles, offering a clear alternative to the Republicans, standing above all for the poor and the less advantaged, and not being ashamed of the label "liberal". By moving to the centre, this school maintains, the party has ceded the initiative to Republicans and lost touch with its traditions.

That's more like it. Republicans won because they stuck to their principles, Democrats lost because they abandoned theirs. If they think the answer is to take the Republican's principles for their own they should have the decency to stop pretending to stand as Democratic candidates.

So, how much is an ID card going to cost? Shiteyes plays it coy...

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Lady Mallalieu, Countryside Alliance president, described the [anti fox-hunting] Bill as "rank bad", adding: "Its foundations are naked prejudice and wilful ignorance."

Of course it is. Just as the Lord's opposition to an equal age of consent was based on 'naked prejudice and wilful ignorance'. Another Lord described it as being nothing more than a class war. Of course it is. Just as every decision the Houses of Commons and Lords have taken have been part of a class war against the people of the country.

Thomas Heatherwick was on The Culture Show on BBC2 tonight. I was amazed by his rolling bridge in Paddington Basin. When a boat needs to pass through the bridge rolls itself up into a ball and we saw this on the show, it looked beautiful.

Book of Joe on the Folding Footbridge.
Thomas Heatherwick Icon interview.

Anyone looking for wi-fi points should hie themselves to the British Library: The British Library has launched wireless internet connectivity in the public areas of its building at St Pancras. The new service offers wireless internet access (WiFi) throughout the 11 reading rooms, the 225-seat conference auditorium, the café and restaurant and even the outdoor Piazza area. It will enable readers, researchers and business-people to connect to the internet and access email using either their existing service provider or by using the Library's own pay-as-you-go service.

Spiffy! I've thought for ages that this is something libraries should be offering, we have the People's Network, which is all paid for from Central Government anyway (IIRC and only for another few years (IIRC again)). Unfortunately, we've joined other boroughs as a soft target for cuts by councillors who don't believe in free services to the public. If Blair really wanted to move on from the Iraq war, putting money into schemes like this might be a good idea.

It might actually be worth going to Cambridge for the switching on of the Christmas lights this year: Captain Sensible and Dave Vanian [from The Damned] will join the cast of Cinderella on Ice, Star radio presenters and the Mayor to switch on the lights from the Guildhall balcony on Sunday at 5pm.

The Rev Hugh McCurdy... said: "It doesn't seem appropriate to have a punk rock group who boast [lyrics like "I tear into my clothes, sacrifice my soul for anything"], when Christmas is about the giving of one's self and actually celebrating peace and joy and love."

Maybe they need Captain Sensible to lead everyone in a chorus of 'Happy Talk'?

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

I have Sky +! I have Sky +! La la la!

I'm also Bittorenting something called 'Lesbian Favorites- Women Like Us'. I have no idea what this is.

Apologies Accepted. The world responds to Sorry Everybody.

If this is Band Aid 20, what happened to Band Aids 3-19? Freakytrigger reminisces.

Blue State/Red State. Blue State Red State began shortly after Election Day 2004 with a desire to debunk what seemed like a growing consensus in most mainstream and right-leaning media that the re-election of Pres. Bush represented a wide cultural divide. The basic argument against this, in favor of a progressive move forward can be found here. [via Do You Feel Loved?]

I currently have the man from Sky here to install my Sky + box. I thought I was being burnt by Sky before I'd even been hooked up as I received a letter last week detailing the charge for every meter of cable and extra wall-mounted doohickey involved, but when he arrived he confirmed that my free installation is genuinely free. Which is something. He told me a story about how when he turns up at some houses to install Sky the owners are shocked and appalled to find out that as part of the process he will actually be drilling holes in the wall. How exactly do they think the Sky box gets it's signal? Magic?

If you're a Pet Shop Boys fan then you'll probably be salivating at the news that their concerts are being rereleased on DVD (correction: If you're a PSB fan then you'll probably have been a lot less tardy than me in discovering this). I got Performance several weeks ago, which has some of my favourite PSB moments ever, the opening This Must be The Place.../It's A Sin/Losing my Mind medley and We All Feel Better in the Dark with Chris's strip and dance (the extended mix on the enhanced Behaviour album has an extra verse in which Chris confesses he feels 'really horny'. Is it just me or is there something faintly unsettling about the Boys making direct reference to wanting to have sex? Rather like a vicar dropping a 'bollocks' into a Sunday sermon?). The commentary track with Chris Heath is comfortably ignorable though. Although the various things he's done for them in the last few years, the booklets for the enhanced CDs, the commentary track for the Pop Art DVD, have tended to be things that even casual fans who have just read the odd music press interview would know, here the Pets are able to offer almost nothing that isn't either obvious or known from the booklet that comes with the DVD. They chose the songs. They gave them to the director to fashion in to a show. They don't appear to know what the opening scene with the Alpine Symphony actually means, other than it's symbolic. Chris Lowe actually leaves the room in embarassment at the start of We All Feel... If you haven't read them but can find them, the two books he wrote about the Pets on tour are much better, for all that it was a long time ago, and much more entertaining. (And incidentally, the DVD cover claims that I Can't Take my Eyes Off of You has been restored to the concert after licensing issues prevented it being on the video. This is not the case.)

The John Cleese website. And it is run by/for the genuine article, not one of those fansites that have a few old pics and something stolen from the BBC Archive circa 1968, that's so 1994 interweb...

The country that bought you the boyfriend's arm pillow now bring you the girlfriend's lap pillow. Order now for Christmas kids. [via BoingBoing]

Johann Hari seems to have taken it upon himself to point out the lies, distortions, misinformation and other crap that passes for Richard Littlejohn reportage. God knows why. Still, anything to stop him from writting about Derrida. Part One. Part Two. (In the case of this OFCOM ruling on a Littlejohn show, I'm just amused that there was someone out there who was quite happy to watch the show with all of Dickie's right-wing bile but felt it overstepped the bounds of decency to have an expletive uttered on it.)

Diebold are looking after the most important documents in America for the country. If this is anything like their handling of the Presidential election then we can expect an announcement from Bush in a few months time that, lo and behold, the American constitution was already drafted with a clause outlawing gay marriage! The Urban Archipelago. Like all good rants it's at times deliberately myopic, automatically assuming all Republicans in power will fuck things up while all Democrats will be wonderful star-like councillors of wisdom. All seems to rely on some conservative trickle-down effect, if Democrats take over the towns and cities then liberalism will leak out into the countryside where all the votes are. [both via Metafilter]

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

A typical Briton: uptight but witty. Yep, sounds about right, I'm just still confused about this whole teeth thing...

[President Jacques] Chirac, speaking ahead of his state visit to London, said that Britain had gained nothing in return for supporting the US over Iraq and that he did not think "it is in the nature of our American friends today" to pay back favours. It sounds a bit harsh but I think it is essentially correct. Though possibly Blair is not doing this for what Britain can get back as he insists he believes killing thousands of Iraqis was morally justifiable. But when you look at history since 11th September 2001 it's hard to see when we've done anything which hasn't been Blair backing up Bush's latest ill-thought out idea.

Although the Newsnight profile of Colin Powell last night said the one time he'd prevailed in policy was when he got the U.S. to go back to the U.N. for that second resolution and had to give that OHP talk about pictures of what might be tyre tracks and what might be WMD factories and innocent Iraqi dialogue which was supposedly coded declarations of the imminent attack on the rest of the world. Blair was also pushing for this. So we see exactly where Blair stands in the estimation of the current Administration: He's seen to be like the dovish Powell, someone to be ignored and sidelined from policy decisions but handy as a figleaf to show the Administration moving beyond it's American-WASP limitations. Now that is going to be Condi's job.

Monday, November 15, 2004

This is Camp X-Ray: A new film by Damien Mahoney, commissioned last year by UHC to document the Camp X-Ray installation, will premiere on 12th December.

"This Is Camp X-Ray" was an art installation consisting of a fully operational, life-size replica of the U.S internment camp at Guantanamo Bay. It set out to challenge our apathy over the prisoners at the US Army's Guantanamo Bay site and investigated the experiences of incarceration and sensory deprivation. It was constructed in the city of Manchester and was operational from Friday 10th October to Saturday 18th October 2003.
(from The UHC Collective)

A table of all reported irregularities in the Presidential Election.

Shrubya coming back to UK again in February. Whilst Blair might have decided to give up trying to draw a line under Iraq and will try to insist it's a good thing for this country, this seems dangerously provocative towards his chances for a third term and seem to conflict with Labour trying to woo back estranged Muslim voters. It's not just Anti-War campaigners that dislike Bush and think he's a moron.

Blah Flowers

Isn't she purdy? Your humble host, as imagined by Bed Head from Barbelith. Now just imagine if you met that working at your local library.

(Full thread here.)

Sunday, November 14, 2004

If you're ever at chez Flowers and you need something to cheer you up, then ask me to do something that involves the manipulation of two objects. The easiest example would be to pass me your empty glass and ask for a refill from the wine bottle in my fridge (I tend to disdain red wine in favour of white). Then see if I come back with a full glass of wine or the bottle. I just went to fill my glass with water from the jug, only to find myself wandering back in to the room with the jug, rather than the filled glass. I seem to do that a lot these days, if it's an early sign of some incipient brain disease could someone tell me so I can enjoy myself saying 'bollocks' to old ladies and priests or shooting David Blunkett before I'm too gaga to care any more?

A little over a week ago 'J' left as a comment on one of my posts: You are so far disconnected from reality. Your apparent position that there is some sort of inherent value to tolerance is downright stupid. Get a clue. Not to mention it is also completely inconsistent with YOUR OWN intolerance of Christianity, the right, and (this next one is a pure assumption) Adolf Hitler. Now, Godwins Law dictates I'm legally allowed to set fire to hirs shoes. I doubt this is going to change hirs mind about me, reading their current first post in their blog suggests a fervent desire that intolerance be the cornerstone of someone's ethical framework. I would invite hir to return and expand on that rather cryptic comment somewhat, perhaps in the form of comments that make some sense?

Good news for Tories at last: Two-thirds of UK whites say they are biased against members of minorities. Nothing yet up on the website of Stonewall who produced the report. But if the Conservative party, reeling from the sacking of one of the few members of it's front bench that the public could recognise, is quick it can capitalise on this hatred of people of a different skin colour, lifestyle or religious beliefs before other rascist parties like the BNP or the Labour Party claim it first.

This coming week sees the start of 'Gorgeous' George Galloway's libel trial against the Daily Telegraph. Ten minutes after the end of the Allies invasion of Iraq a Telegraph writer searched through a looted building and found that, although everything else had been ripped out, a shoebox containing documents relating to Galloway being paid money by the Iraqi regime was all that remained. But interestingly Mr Galloway's legal team, headed by one of the country's most expensive libel lawyers, has not disputed that the documents are genuine, and has accepted that the case be heard by a judge without a jury. (My emphasis)

Really? Now, maybe they are having to do this because they cannot prove they aren't genuine, but I thought he'd already won damages by proving they weren't genuine, so the Church and their lawyers might be watching this case with interest. It seems odd that Galloway seems to be going for a fairly weak technicality, that The Daily Telegraph's reporting of the discovery went beyond what was justified by the words in the Iraqi documents.

Every Gay down in Gayville liked Gay Marriage a lot......
But the Grinch, who lived just east of Gayville, did NOT!!

The Grinch hated happy Gays! The whole Marriage season!
Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
It could be his head wasn't screwed on just right.
It could be, perhaps, his Florsheims were too tight.
But I think the most likely reason of all was
His heart and brain were two sizes too small.

"And they're buying their tuxes!" he snarled with a sneer,
"Tomorrow's the first Gay Wedding! It's practically here!"
Then he growled, with his Grinch fingers nervously drumming,
"I MUST find some way to stop Gay Marriage from coming!"

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Homophobia in America: The right are out to destroy the queer community and they seem happy to go along with it.

Friday, November 12, 2004

10 by 10 is a lovely art/news site. A 10 by 10 grid that updates itself hourly with photos from a range of news websites to show what are the main stories of the hour.

And inevitably, in response to Sorry Everybody, Republican supporters have produced We're Not Sorry. [both via Die Puny Humans.]

There seems to be a quite stunning amount of ordnance exploding outside my windows this evening, I'm thinking of offering my flat up to anyone who wants to get out of Fallujah but is worried about feeling homesick. Happy Diwali everyone!

More election maps for you to shake sticks at. I found the various cartograms especially interesting.

"The Republican party—the party of industrial mega-capitalists, corporate financiers, power brokers, and the moneyed elite—would like to thank the undereducated rural poor, the struggling blue-collar workers in Middle America, and the God-fearing underpriviledged minorities who voted George W. Bush back into office," Karl Rove, senior advisor to Bush, told reporters at a press conference Monday. "You have selflessly sacrificed your well-being and voted against your own economic interest. For this, we humbly thank you."

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Help America Recount.

Getting out the vote is good, but getting a 123 percent turnout is too good to be true. This happened in Fairview Park, Ohio. In Broward County, Florida, voting machines can do the moon walk: They count back-wards, but only on certain ballot measures.

If you want to buy a recount in Ohio you don't need to live do need to be a US citizen and you need to get out your check book. How much is Democracy worth to you...starting next week no one can stop us from auditing Ohio were gonna get em...

As hundreds of anomalies pop up, citizens are thinking:

Who really won? Don’t know. Gotta audit!

Whilst the Palestinians mourn Yasser Arafat, the Israelis re-arrest Nuclear whistle blower Mordechai Vanunu.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Grisly but gripping: The Black Watch Body Count. The protest mentioned is tonight, 5:30, in Parliament Square.

Another US judge rules US treatment of 'enemy combatants' illegal.

A US federal court has ruled that Usama bin Ladin's driver is entitled to a legal hearing on whether he is a prisoner of war... A competent tribunal should have evaluated whether Salim Ahmad Hamdan was a prisoner of war under the Geneva Conventions, Judge James Robertson of the US District Court in Washington ordered in an opinion issued on Monday. The judge added that Hamdan should not be tried unless rules of the military commissions were changed to conform to the Uniform Code of Military Justice... The court ruled in favour of Hamdan's habeas petition and against the US government's contention that Hamdan and other detainees were not prisoners of war but "enemy combatants", a classification affording fewer legal protections.

But this wants to make me parachute my Mum into the Centre for Constitutional Rights:

Barbara Olshansky of the Centre for Constitutional Rights said the judge's emphasis on the Geneva Conventions was a key point in his ruling. "What people in the United States haven't realised is that if we don't comply with them, no other country is required to comply with them, looking at our example," Olshansky said. "That places our own soldiers at risk whenever they are fighting abroad."

Note to Olshansky: Your Government has, from the start, tried to pretend that this is all about defeating people who hate the western values of democracy and freedom. Yeah, I know, but what can you do? Anyway, you can either admit this is all rubbish and that this whole thing is about grabbing oil, stealing the money of hardworking Americans to give to the board of Halliburton and Shrubya's feelings of inferiority towards Papa Bush. OR, you can claim the high moral ground, that this is about freeing the ordinary citizens of Afghanistan and Iraq from tyranny and giving them the chance to decide their future. The drawback to the second is that you have to hold higher moral standards than your enemies which doesn't really square with keeping human beings in rights-free states indefinitely just because you know your enemy would probably do the same with anyone they capture. The United States cannot lecture anyone on standards and morality when they're in the gutter holding people in inhumane conditions and torturing people for no real reason other than humiliation.

Justice Department spokesman Mark Corallo said the government stood behind President George Bush's assertion that the Geneva Conventions did not apply to members of al-Qaida and said with the ruling, "the judge has put terrorism on the same legal footing as legitimate methods of waging war".

No no no he hasn't! It's not about what the terrorists have done, it's about how YOU treat THEM!

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

I can tell just by looking at you that you need a singing hippo in your life. So get it here.

Today the Christian Institute opened the next phase in the Religious Bigots War Against Queers (UK branch). Christian organisations and their friends in the Lords have been trying to scupper the Civil Partnership Bill since the Government announced it was going to happen. The faithful old method they'd used in debates such as the age of consent (someone who looks old enough that even Deuteronomy would call them 'Grandad' and foams incoherently for half an hour about buggery) no longer works so they've had to use different techniques for the same desired effect. Namely, claiming that a Civil Partnership Bill unfairly discriminates in favour of gays and wreck the readings of the Bill by adding many clauses to broaden the definition of 'civil partnership' to include almost everyone, so the bill collapses.

Which leads to the CI's advert in The Times today (evil evil .pdf format I'm afraid). I'd be slightly inclined to agree with them if they hadn't become extremely concerned by the plight of non-married couples only when gay marriage became a possibility. What they can't answer is if they are so concerned about this, why aren't they pushing for seperate lesgislation for the rights of, as in this example, carers? Trying to broaden a civil partnership bill to cover the rights of non-gay people is rather like demanding that raspberries taste more like roast beef. Of course they don't fool anyone for a moment. Take their coverage of the Gender Recognition Bill, concerned almost entirely with trying to make sure that Parliament grants vicars the right to carry on discriminating.

Doesn't it make you nostalgic for the days when your enemies were at least open about their blinkered unthinking prejudice?

On Saturday another [American] military commander referred to the fighters in Falluja, as 'Satan'. "But the enemy has got a face. He's called Satan. He lives in Falluja. And we're going to destroy him," said Lieutenant Colonel Gareth Brandl. I'd feel a lot better if I could be sure he was speaking metaphorically.

Christ in a boob-tube. American parents are having to go to court to try and prevent their children from being indoctrinated by fundamentalist Christian 'Creationalist' dogma.

Meanwhile, in Austin A vote on some middle and high school health textbooks was delayed Thursday after a State Board of Education member raised concerns that language referring to "couples" and "partners" in the books legitimizes homosexuality. Neutrality — the word 'partners' — when you use neutrality, the very purpose of using that language is to be inclusive of homosexuality," [Terri] Leo said. Leo proposed dozens of language revisions that would change the wording to "husbands and wives" and "men and women." Leo's concerns sent publishers scrambling to make last-minute changes. The board is scheduled to take a final vote today on which books to adopt. "Hopefully, we'll be able to satisfy the board's concerns," said Richard Blake, a spokesman for Austin-based Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

No defense of what they might or might not have done, no attempt to explain that homosexual bias might be all in the woman's mind, just money-led bowing to the fundie agenda.

Terri Leo, a Republican board member from Spring, also asked publishers to include language in the books' teacher editions saying that gays and lesbians "are more prone to self-destructive behaviors like depression, illegal drug use and suicide."

Well, when you pull shit like this, of course we are! Get a couple of queer kids, spend the first fifteen to twenty years of their lives telling them they are evil, maladjusted creatures and then see how well they turn out. Now, if they kill themselves, did they do that because they were gay, or because you never did anything to help them deal with that in a positive way?

Monday, November 08, 2004

More ways to hack e-voting machines for fun and profit: Evidence mounts that the Presidential vote may have been hacked.

While the heavily scrutinized touch-screen voting machines seemed to produce results in which the registered Democrat/Republican ratios largely matched the Kerry/Bush vote, in Florida's counties using results from optically scanned paper ballots - fed into a central tabulator PC and thus vulnerable to hacking – the results seem to contain substantial anomalies. In Baker County, for example, with 12,887 registered voters, 69.3% of them Democrats and 24.3% of them Republicans, the vote was only 2,180 for Kerry and 7,738 for Bush, the opposite of what is seen everywhere else in the country where registered Democrats largely voted for Kerry. In Dixie County, with 9,676 registered voters, 77.5% of them Democrats and a mere 15% registered as Republicans, only 1,959 people voted for Kerry, but 4,433 voted for Bush. The pattern repeats over and over again - but only in the counties where optical scanners were used. Franklin County, 77.3% registered Democrats, went 58.5% for Bush. Holmes County, 72.7% registered Democrats, went 77.25% for Bush.

..."In a voting system," [Bev Harris, the Seattle grandmother who started] Harris explained to Dean on national television, "you have all the different voting machines at all the different polling places, sometimes, as in a county like mine, there's a thousand polling places in a single county. All those machines feed into the one machine so it can add up all the votes. So, of course, if you were going to do something you shouldn't to a voting machine, would it be more convenient to do it to each of the 4000 machines, or just come in here and deal with all of them at once?" Dean nodded in rhetorical agreement, and Harris continued. "What surprises people is that the central tabulator is just a PC, like what you and I use. It's just a regular computer." "So," Dean said, "anybody who can hack into a PC can hack into a central tabulator?" Harris nodded affirmation...

And then goes on to prove it.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Despite no obvious further decline in the appalling state of things in Iraq The Iraqi government has declared a state of emergency. Phew! Good thing they didn't do this a week ago eh? That might have been embarrassing for Shrubya, not that it would have had any effect on the Presidential Election.

Does Arafat have AIDS? I can't read the comments at the bottom of the page for some reason, I wonder if they're an accurate representation of the audience of this site?

How about

A Modest Proposal


Otis Ferry threatens that ministers may be killed if hunt ban goes ahead. Isn't it about time these pro-hunt groups got put on the terrorist groups lists and we send bombers in to conduct straffing raids across South Berkshire? What next? Sophie Rayworth using her serious face saying "Parts of Central London were cordoned off today after a telephone warning from the Countryside Alliance Army that bombs had been placed in several key areas"?

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Right, fuck it, I'm getting shot of NTL. Just dashed home to phone their technical support before they close for the weekend only to find they can't figure out anything to get my box working again, and another (ANOTHER!) engineer can't come out before Thursday at the earliest. So I'm shot of them.

The hardest words.

Can organised religion be left-wing at the same time? Isn't Christianity (and Islam) inhrerently conservative because it says the principles everyone must adhere to are from a completely alien culture two thousand years ago and that any deviation from that, no matter if it's because we have a greater understanding of the world, is wrong? So isn't a call for Democrats to get religion essentially a call for Democrats to get conservative and follow Dubya to the right?

Dizfactor explains the problem quite well.

So, look at these graphs comparing exit polls against what was released as the machine counted votes. Now, admittedly this isn't all of them, which I'd like to see, but these alone would suggest that something went awry on Tuesday.

Just a few more thoughts before I give over...

A surprisingly forthright editorial from The Mirror on wednesday. This once-great country has pulled up its drawbridge for another four years and stuck a finger up to the billions of us forced to share the same air. And in doing so, it has shown itself to be a fearful, backward-looking and very small nation... You have to feel sorry for the millions of Yanks in the big cities like New York, Washington, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco who voted to kick him out. These are the sophisticated side of the electorate who recognise a gibbon when they see one. As for the ones who put him in, across the Bible Belt and the South, us outsiders can only feel pity... The self-righteous, gun-totin', military lovin', sister marryin', abortion-hatin', gay-loathin', foreigner-despisin', non-passport ownin' red-necks, who believe God gave America the biggest dick in the world so it could urinate on the rest of us and make their land "free and strong".

Certainly part of the anger is down to self-delusion, British political life is also full of emotion and hyperbole-driven ignorance of the facts, so we like to pretend that we vote on intellectual grounds whereas Thatcher called an election to take account of a popularity bounce when the U.K. won in the Falklands. So there was a mistaken belief that this election was about the issues and the ideas of candidates on both sides when it wasn't. Almost no-one who saw the debates thought that Bush had done well, but we made the mistake of asuming that mattered. The majority of the people who voted for Bush either didn't watch it or didn't care, because their reason for voting for Bush wasn't based on political reality but spiritual belief. And sadly, this meant Kerry, and probably Dean or anyone else who stood against it, was doomed from the start.

So, the question is, will the Republicans be able to mobilise this base again? Is this a generational fluke? If the Republicans swing to the far right, will they get voted in if they promise to first strip women and gays of their rights, then portray themselves as the only ones to keep them stripped?

There's an excellent essay by Simon Schama on 'Worldly America' and 'Godly America' here.

Bush talks of reaching out to everyone, but it's reaching out in the same way as you reach out when you're swinging a punch at someone. It's as one-way as the relationship between the U.K. and the U.S., we give them legitimacy, they give us nothing but headaches. When Bush speaks of everyone coming together, he means that everyone should come together around where he stands.

Someone sent me an email they'd sent after receiving a mail from John Kerry's supporters list after he capitulated to Bush. At this point he wasn't so much angry that Kerry had lost, he was angry at Kerry urging his supporters to come together for the sake of America. He felt angry at what he saw as a betrayal of principle, that in many ways by saying that the differences that had seperated Democrats from Republicans 72 hours previously should be ignored for the good of the country meant that in many ways Kerry wasn't fit to be President. If he should tell his supporters to support policies they were completely opposed to, how could he be leader?

Luckily Kerry wasn't the chief of the left, he was merely someone who they let ride with them for a while. And it seems likely that they will not step down, when they 'report for duty' they actually mean it.

The website for Brian Haw, who took on the Government and won, so they've had to change the law to get rid of him!

Friday, November 05, 2004

And I have no idea if this is true or not but anyway... Average IQs of states and which way they voted.

I'm contemplating the uncontemplatable but, when I already have one world-devouring tyrant in my life who wants to end all existence, what harm does a second one make? I'm ditching NTL home in favour of Sky. As I've mentioned I've had problems with NTL for several months now with my TV picture repeatedly cutting out. Two visits by NTL repairman did not solve the problem. Tonight I was visited by guy number three. He replaced the box this time, started it rebooting, then got a phone call from his mates and decided to leave before it was ready to go. He assured me, at 5:30 pm, that it would be finished rebooting in about fifteen minutes and then would work. At 6:30 it still wasn't working, so I called NTL, they did something and it was ready.

Until about fifteen minutes ago when the screen froze and the controls didn't get any response. Unplugging and plugging back in the box didn't do anything either. And the helpline clocks off at 8:00 pm. I'm working tomorrow so I won't have much time to do anything except call the helpline before it closes for the weekend and hopefully get the box working, again. On Wednesday, my next free day, I intend to phone Sky to arrange someone to install a Sky Digibox and phone NTL to tell them to get someone to come collect their doorstop.

I'm less than thrilled about paying money into a subsiduary of C. Montgomery Murdoch but the base package is about £10 cheaper and has many more channels than NTL, meaning I can now fulfil my lifelong ambition, since this morning, of being able to watch God TV, bringing religious bigotry into homes across the globe. And if I press the digital text button, maybe I'll get digital text, not the message from NTL which I've got since I signed up with them in 2001 saying 'digital text is coming soon'.

Who knows, maybe Sky will let me down on the customer service front too, in which case it's the top of the local shopping centre picking random people off with my automatic rifle time... again.

More stories of e-votes being lost.

Difficulties in verifying fairness in e-lections.

Vote Save Error #9.

Diebold CEO Walden O'Dell wrote as a fundraising pitch to Republicans. In the letter, O'Dell said he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president." Diebold is based in... Ohio.

Kerry won. Yep, blame it on the chads.

Republican operatives hassling voters in Ohio?

Just ask yourself: What would a Republican have done if they lost the election?

Spammer: With 4 more years of Bush coming you need some prozac. Get it here.

[All links from/via BoingBoing]

A call for Christian INtolerence. How come is it that these guys presumerably read their bibles a lot more than I ever have and they come away thinking Jesus would be okay with that?

Woot! Librarians - Britain's brainiest professionals. Oh, you knows it.

Thursday, November 04, 2004



I watched the third and final part of The Power of Nightmares (Part One, Part Two,) last night. Up until two days ago I would have said it was a program that every American needed to see before they voted. That is based on the idea that the majority of Americans who voted on Tuesday were making their decision based on any kind of rational thought process, now I know that's not the case I know it would have been a wasted effort.

It was the most provocative of the three episodes, not only did it wrap up the story of the neo-conservatives and the Islamicists in the dying days of the twentieth century and after the events of September 11th 2001, it also set out to fairly thoroughly show that pretty much everything the U.S. and U.K. had done in it's 'War Against Terror' was a sham.

Al Qaeda did not exist before the U.S. invented it. They did this because they wanted to try Osama Bin Ladin in absentia in the late nineties. The only way they could do that was if he was a member of a criminal organisation, because they were using anti-Mafia legislation. While he had associates in terrorism, he wasn't a criminal mastermind, more a facilitator for others who wanted to cause death and destruction. So they turned to an informant who knew Bin Ladin, who was actually on the run because he'd stolen some of Beardy's money, who helpfully gave them a load of crap in a plea bargain exchange, he got a ton of cash from them, they got 'Al Qaeda'.

Pretty much every case that has come up since then has been quietly dropped, when some men were found with a video of them walking around Disneyland this made a splash in the news, they were eventually released with no media mention several months later. Another group of men came under suspicion when one of them, because he was leaving the country to get married, emailed the others saying he would never see them again, and it was feared he was going to become a suicide bomber.

The problem, as the show put it, was that people in intelligence organisations are made to think that proof might be suspicious, but no proof is damning evidence of conspiracy. So in the case of the groom-to-be, the innocent explanation can't be right. Which is not to say the risk is absolute zero, but the claims of thousands of sleeper cells in America and the U.K., which is such a blatant 'reds under the beds' scare you'd think people would reaslise it's rubbish, is false. But Osama does not send out legions of fanatics, groups of fanatics find their way to him and Osama Bin Saville fixes it for them to have the financial support to do what they want, all they have to do is make sure that they brand it as an Al Qaeda operation. This explains why he's never taken responsibility for 9/11, because he's genuinely not the one that had the idea.

And dirty bombs? Apparently the US Army spent twenty years trying to make a dirty bomb and they gave up, because they couldn't get it to irradiate anyone. The report that the media normally refer to when warning of dirty bombs said the only way someone could become irradiated was that if they stood next to an exploded dirty bomb for a year, without resting, and with no-one doing anything about the bomb.

But hey, so what if The War Against Terror is a sham? Americans can find many other reasons to vote for Bush:

I voted for Bush because I am ProLife and against gay marriage.

This man is anti-equality and wants to kill women by forcing them to stick coat-hangers where they really shouldn't go.

Ever since an attempt was made in the 1770s to tax our favourite breakfast beverage, Americans have never liked being told what we should do, or how we should do it.

This man voted for George Bush because of a 230 year old grudge against Brits. That's impressive staying power.

I believe America is in the middle of a culture war, perpetuated by Hollywood, the media, and elitists who are tearing down the traditional values that are so important to me and my family.

This woman's an American Christian. Even more worryingly she claims: 'he sets a good example for my children'. Which presumerably means she regularly asks her children why they haven't yet started a war against a third world country for fallacious reasons.

I voted for Bush because there is a time for diplomacy and he understands when that is.

Wouldn't it have been more honest to say 'I voted for Bush because he doesn't believe in diplomacy'?

Europe needs to get on board with us or get left behind!

Obviously someone majoring in Business at University...

I voted for Bush because I will not have Bruce Springsteen, Gerhard Schroeder, Osama Bin Laden and Michael Moore telling me who to vote for.

I don't remember Schroeder expressing an opinion but he might have done, I don't know. Bin Laden was giving his support to Bush. But he obviously prefers being told to vote for Bush by Fox News and... President Bush.

But even more scarily we have these two Philosophy majors: During a war a change in leadership may bring comfort to the enemy. Never bring your enemy comfort. While I am a Democrat domestically I would never want to bring comfort to our enemies. and My vote for Bush was a vote against Kerry. I do not like how Bush allows his religious beliefs to run his domestic policies. I had planned on voting for Ralph Nader instead. About a month ago I read the 8,000 word article in the Sunday New York Times magazine that discussed John Kerry's views on terrorism and how he feels it should be handled. Frankly it scared me. Well, firstly I assume that the second one didn't mean that second sentence. But this is basically people who didn't support Bush who voted Bush because of The War Against Terror that doesn't exist.

I voted for President Bush mainly so he would be the one appointing a Supreme Court justice this term. This is what it comes down to isn't it? I want Bush to have the power to make this a land fit for Conservatives until the Rapture shows up.

What should President Bush do now?

Resign, in the name of peace, hope and decency.

Whoops, someone's letting the Europeans give their opinion on Shrubya.

Distopia has a nice selection of armbands who wants to mourn the death of common sense.

Support Hunting With Zombies.

Black Box Voting are investigating whether the computer voting system in the US was compromised.

Fear Bush.

But kids, don't worry! Patrick will be along in a moment to show us how the new world order works. Quote someone, then only let your equally deluded little friends reply.

I am a Captain in the United States Army from Asheville... I'd like to thank each and everyone of you. Now that you've voted the way you did, I can look foward to many more years of aggression, war and death.

Republicans scare me.

With a mandate of full legitimacy at last, George Bush told the world yesterday he would continue to wage an unrelenting war on terror...

The mistake we all made was in getting our hopes up... When people woke yesterday morning, those for whom Bush's overnight gains were unwelcome weathered two sensations: a slug of shock, followed by a surge of recognition. We had been here before. This was 1992, the morning after the general election when, despite hatred for the Tories having peaked over the poll tax, they still managed to bring home a 21-seat majority... Dismally, people asked each other how long they had stayed up the night before. "Until 4.30am," said my friend Jim. "Long enough to start crying like a girl."

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fascist fucks. They just can't help themselves.

[I]nternational monitors at a polling station in southern Florida said Tuesday that voting procedures being used in the extremely close contest fell short in many ways of the best global practices.

Voters across the United States have reported problems with electronic touch-screen systems in what critics say could be a sign that the machines used by one-third of the population are prone to error. Voters calling in to an election-day hotline reported more than 1,100 problems with the ATM-like machines, from improperly tallied choices to frozen screens that left their votes in limbo. Voters in Maryland said congressional candidates were left off ballots, while some in Florida told hotline volunteers that their ballots had already been filled out when they stepped up to vote, watchdogs said. Machines in New Orleans, Miami and suburban Philadelphia failed to start punctually in the morning, leading to long lines at polling places and prompting some to turn away from the polls, according to activists with the Election Protection Coalition.

One thing that does seem very clear tonight -- at least if what I'm hearing from the exits is true -- is that the much-ballyhooed youth vote simply did not show up. Simple as that.

So, there's a fairly simple colour scheme in effect on this blog for the immediate future. The black is fairly self-explanatory, the white is to signify the dove of peace which the White House fairly comprehensively barbecued on the twelfth of September 2001 and the red of course for the blood of the victims of Saddam Hussein, Al Qaeda, Vladimir Putin, Tony Blair and George W. Bush.

Talking Points Memo, as well as pointing out some examples of right wing hijinks on election day also gives a possible reason for Kerry's failure, as I've put above, they just didn't vote.

But that's not the thing. Even if we pretend that all Republicans are evil scum and all Democrats saints who wouldn't dream of cheating, it's still hard to believe that this result is anything other than Bush getting more votes than Kerry. Fraud on the part of the Republicans to strip enough people who were intending to vote Democrat of their rights would have been spotted already. Which is not to say that it obviously hasn't happened. And I expect the Democrats may have been doing similar stuff, though strangely even the Republican news-sites like Fox haven't actually been able to find anything that wasn't Republicans pretending to be Democrats.

But now Democrats seem to be holding on hoping to do what Bush did in 2000, loose the numerical vote but win in the electoral college. Still, though the BBC is practically shouting at any Democrat spokesperson who comes into the studio to give it up already, all the votes SHOULD be count before an official statement is made. It's enough of a mockery of democracy as it is, there's no need to make it worse.

What I just can't get my head around is the idea that Bush has won. The highest voter turnout ever, apparently, and it's full of people who didn't vote in 2000 and they used that vote to say "Well I didn't vote for Dubya last time but I'm voting this time because I think he's the man for the job"? It seems crazy. Still, at least Bush has finally won a Presidential election for once.

And he has a clear mandate, a clear mandate for his policy of destroying the natural resources of this planet, attacking countries he doesn't like, killing his people, destabilising everything with no care in the world because he thinks that even if we, or he, dies, it doesn't really matter because he'll be going to heaven anyway.

I may appear in this blog to be anti-American. I'm not, I'm anti-stupidity, which is why the Christian Church and the political leaders of the U.S. and the U.K. (soon to be a wholly owned subsiduary of Halliburton Inc.) come in for so much grief. But I've never met in person one American who's been a complete arsehole. True, I've not visited the U.S. and, considering the hassle one has to go through, I'm not going to any time soon, but living in London I've come across a fair few. They've all seemed decent people, it's the cranks that don't leave their country. But I always thought the majority of Americans were decent, moderate, liberal people who wanted equality for all, peace and happiness. So this vote, and the decision by 11 US states to amend constitutions to outlaw same-sex marriages, makes me think this is simply not the case. That America is a place where money talks and the values on which the country was founded have been discarded.

Hopefully some time in the next few weeks the Democrats will do the decent thing and rename themselves as 'The Republican Left'. The prospect of Hillary Clinton as a Presidential candidate for 2008 holds no real thrill, America deserves better than for the baton of leadership to be passed between the Far-Right Bush dynasty and the Centre-Right Clinton family. The Democrats need to stop thinking, as they have done since Reagan's second term, that it's better to put forward Republican candidates that call themselves Democrats rather than Democrats with actual left-wing principles. The news media attack anyone who the Democrats put up as a candidate anyway, so why not choose someone next time who will have genuine differences of policy to offer the voters? Why not someone who'll be able to have a better slogan than 'Our Guy: Not Quite as Evil as Their Guy!'?

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

There's a good article from Johann Hari about trying to understand paedophiles a bit more and trying to persecute and burn them at the stake a little less.

British armed police have downed tools in what the media is reporting mainly as protest over the prospect of two colleagues facing prosecution for shooting an unarmed man five years ago. You can see why they'd be upset. This could mean they'd have to think before they shoot, and can't expect to get away scott free for shooting someone who was neither armed nor a danger to anyone. Obviously cruel and unusual.

And an amusing piece on Republicans pretending to be Democrats to try and persuade people to vote for Bush.

I loved this BBC report just for the message I got when I rolled my mouse over the first picture... 'No children were harmed in the making of this webpage'.

The Anglican Church continues it's noble tradition of avoiding talking about divisive issues by suggesting a 'male clergy only' branch of the Church be established. Still, as the people who are offended by female priests are often the ones who are also offended by gay priests, if they can be shunted into a side-wing of the church maybe the mainstream Anglican church can avoid obselescence by finally welcoming Christian queers as full members.

Greg Palast on the dirty tricks to try and tilt the election in Shrubya's favour.

A display of Derek Jarman's manuscripts and notebooks opens this week at the British Library. Not that you'd know it from checking their website. Although the 26 Letters display they do mention looks interesting in it's own right.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Let us try to think of happy things as we await the end of everything.

Sweary Hallowe'en Cactus. [via B3ta]

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