Friday, May 27, 2005


Shut it, Beefy

Botham really does talk a a right load of crap.. good to see him exposed.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


Fools in Hemel

They made 'light sabres' by filling flourescent tubes with petrol.


They might not survive.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


How the Right Lie About Science: A Case Study, from Little Green Footballs

I have considered this before; both in general, and in the case of the leading conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh.

The purpose of the radical right is the proliferation of ignorance. This is most evident in relation to science, particularly evolution and climate change.

Little Green Footballs and its commentators have provided the most spectatular case study.

Their source says:

"I understood instinctively that getting two scientists to agree at what time the sun is coming up tomorrow is—at best—difficult. But here were tens of thousands, from around the world, all agreeing on one issue: that there is no scientific evidence of man-made global warming.
The numbers of scientists staggered me—17,100 basic and applied American scientists, two thirds with advanced degrees, are against the Kyoto Agreement. The Heidelberg Appeal—which states that there is no scientific evidence for man-made global warming, has been signed by over 4,000 scientists from around the world since the petition’s inception."

This piece is posted with approval. One of the commentators summarizes: "Well hello! How nice to finally hear some experts agree about this!"

I'll repeat from the source:
"The Heidelberg Appeal — which states that there is no scientific evidence for man-made global warming.."

Ahem. The Heidelberg Appeal does not mention 'global warming' and does not contradict it.

This is perhaps why 49 of the 72 Nobel Laureates who were signatories to its bland exhortations also signed the "World Scientists' Warning To Humanity", which DOES mention Global Warming and says of it:

"Uncertainty over the extent of these effects cannot excuse complacency or delay in facing the threat."

Go back to LGF. Glance through the comments section. I can't list all of it, but there's some fabulous proliferation going on. It almost matches the previous day, where about a dozen of them agreed that the Nazis were left wing.


Why Aren't We In The Sudan?

'Not on my watch' said Bush, about the Rwandan genocide. We've known for a long time that the Sudanese state is conducting genocide.

John Cole is amongst those raising the question.

Green Left Weekly is one of those proffering an explanation, including the somehow comic quote: "Nicholas Kristof pointed out on May 4 that US President George Bush had not publicly uttered the word 'Darfur' in the previous 113 days". Bush has been holding secret meetings with General Salah Abdallah Gosh, who many suspect directed the genocide.

Sen. Jon Corzine is trying to do something about it.

I can't answer my question. The UN Charter begins as follows:


to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and

to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and

to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and

to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom..


Friday, May 06, 2005


The UK General Election: Part 2 (What was that all about then?)

The Labour candidate in my constituency put a document through my letterbox which summarises the election very well.

"What issues do you want me to focus on if I'm elected to represent you?" she asked.

Then she gave some options:

Social Housing for Key Workers
More leisure facilities for young people
Better access to higher education and training
Protecting the train link to Burnham [there is one?]
Fighting swimming ban in Prom Park

Without shame, and with due respect to my vital swimming rights, I confess that these are not my priorities. That's the way the whole election has been fought: as though the country is not facing any issues of great significance. (It should be noted that, in Scotland & Wales, the election is no more than an opinion poll on the performance of the executive and the assembly. Adding Northern Ireland, where the major parties dont stand, a whole swathe of Britain is not even pretending to vote on their government's priorities).

Unfortunately, however, there are one or two questions a government might have to think about: Global warming; Nuclear Proliferation; Ongoing genocide in Sudan; the relationship with Europe & the Constitution; relations with US; future defence alliances; Nuclear power; TRANSPORT(!); subsidiarity and the British constitution; (ERAs/ PR?); Iraq; the march of theocracy; the pensions crisis..

With the exception of the Liberals, who propose to make the pensions crisis worse, none of the parties made much of these issues.

The Labour party, for the most part, has no opinion: Where it acknowledges an issue, it has commissioned reports on it to be delivered after the election.

Instead, we get immigration, and Prom Park. Yes, the immigration system should be 'well managed' rather than 'badly managed', but I no more expect to be asked my opinion about it than on the Government's next stationary supplier:"The management election".

There are reports of 100,000 people being imprisoned as slaves in Niger, and the Government there has recently arrested the leading anti-slavery campaigner. In Sudan, whilst the decades of genocide continue, a newspaper editor is threatened with execution for 'insulting a prophet'.

I don't necessarily know what to do about this. My problem is that politicians on all sides aren't even pretending to either. They are hoping that we will see assume that they have reached a consensus on most things and are arguing on points of difference. But I don't believe it. They just don't know what to do and don't want to judged on their plans in these areas.

Some time ago, a Government scientific advisor gave his view on what is the biggest problem facing the world. It wasn't 'swimming in Prom Park'. So no, bitch, I don't want you to represent me on it.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


The United Kingdom General Election: Part 1 (I disagree with all the parties)

Our regular reader will have noticed a lack of interest in the General Election.

Discontented cliches such as 'they're all the same' are really not my style, but i do have a problem with this election. Cyncism has prevailed, but the source of my discontent has been hard to define.

There is a quite separate problem to be dealt with first:

I disagree with all the parties.

The Labour Government has repeatedly disgraced itself in ways I considered unforgivable: Dishonesty over the war; fox-hunting; sectarian schools; new mega-blaspemy law etc.., but, worst of all, the incredible, deliberate catastrophe of postal-voting.

The Tory party generally seems similar but worse (even more sectarian schools; war without any pretence of justification) with the addition of the crazy tactic of leading their campaign on immigration. They are trying to take votes from the BNP & UKIP, not Labour.

If they had asked my opinion, I would have suggested to them that there might be more discontented Labour voters than racist nutjobs. And that most of the racist nutjobs were voting Tory anyway.

I was, last month, considering voting Tory for the first time in my life, largely out of respect for my local candidate, John Whittingdale. This stopped when Michael Howard tapped me on the shoulder 20 or 30 times to tell me he was, contrary to all expectations, primarily concerned with immigration when he wasn't battling gypsies. Thus the City and the CBI back Labour (noting correctly that the free movement of people is kind of important in industries like, tourism, education &, erm, everything else).

The Liberals offer nothing to wage earners: their 'Moloch' policy is to take from the mouths of children (via their income-earning parents) and hand it to the elderly, no matter how wealthy they are. They want both a local income tax and, erm, more income tax.

The lib-dem election leaflet that came through my door is primarily designed to appeal to the elderly. (Scrapping Council Tax, Saving Local Post Offices, Free Care for the Elderly, Increased Pensions, Faster Diagnosis of Cancer and Heart Disease). The Tories, again, follow along with more crinkly give-aways. (Let's get this straight - Tell me I'm wrong: current retirees did not pay for their retirement through National Insurance payments. They paid for the smaller number of less long-lived elderly people who received pensions when they were working. People working now are paying for their pensions, and will also have to save for their own, whilst buying houses at record high prices and raising children.)

But none of this would be a special problem to me. It's supposed to be like this. I just pick the least bad option. There's something else. More tomorrow.

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