Saturday, 6 August 2005
I think I have been around the block a bit. Dealing (police professionally) with ladies of the night and vice in cities where no holds are barred. Hong Kong, Tokyo, Korea, Port Said, dock areas in Germany. Brothel raids. Anti-vice re STD. I'm sure you get the picture. Including the activities of the brutal and licentious soldiery. However, the blog next to me was very explicit. Not just versions of missionaries actions but exploitation of just about every human orifice. It didn't turn me on, off or pending but I wondered if some bored young kid were to hit the next blog key on their page? Apparently, the 'next blog' is not constant but is a random page. As a grown-up who derives nothing from porn or such, I have no view on censorship but if there are many more such pages out there, my view could change inasmuch as it applies to kids.
Seems I have a very high level reader - of my blog re moving computers and my luck changing anyway. Had a small knock on my security door this morning with repeat of the neck spasm and some other funny things just as I had right before they did the bypass. Saw the doc. and there is some irregular heart movement so I have to sit out the line dancing and carry a nitro-glycerine spray until I can see the regular MO on Monday. There is a wikipedia article on Atrial Fibrillation for those who demand gory detail - Anyway, all is well now. SWMBO is prepared to reduce the level of required discipline, the medical services here are bloody marvellous (the emergency doctor has just rung me to check if I'm OK!) and I've been down this road before.
Friday, 5 August 2005
This comes from a guy who can always be relied upon to have something interesting and/or funny to say. I can't imagine that the Capital of Peachtrees has snow at this time of the year but whoever got it - well spotted.
As he says - "this dick in a truck pulled over in front of me"
Synopsis is basically that most gulls don't bother to learn more than the simplest facts of flight--how to get from shore to food and back again. For most gulls it is not flying that matters, but eating. For this gull, though, it was not eating that mattered, but flight. Flight is the metaphor that makes the story soar. It is about the importance of seeking a higher purpose in life, even if your flock, tribe or neighbourhood finds your ambition threatening. By not compromising his higher vision, Jonathan gets the ultimate pay-off: transcendence. Ultimately, he learns the meaning of love and kindness.
I have absolutely no idea what dragged this story out of the 'filed' section of my brain and allied it to this morning's confrontional gull. I cannot recall having made any reference to Seagull since those days but I only had to do a small Google to set out the synopsis above. Now, if only I could recall that blonde girl's walk into the woods with me in 1953 - I'd be a happy man. But then, none of that is on Google.
Thursday, 4 August 2005
SWMBO wanted to set up an extension of her quilting empire. OK. Problem was she had set her eyes on the room where Mr. p.c. ruled. I managed to squeeze a quick foxtrot oscar out through her grip on my neck but it was clear that her mind was made up.
So, unplug zillions of wires and cart kit and caboodle down to my study. Connect everything in what seemed to be some sort of logical order. Power connected to all the things that need it. Pushed the little button whilst looking out of the window in case I put a curse on it by watching. It all worked - and I've got some cables left over. The old p.c. room I left for my lady to clear up and I've made a note in my Palm thingy to tidy up my study.
The good Lord will strike soon - there is too much going my way. Keep this up and I could cut the depression tablets down to maybe a dozen a day!
Hazel Blears, the home office minister responsible for counter-terrorism, visited Oldham this week to talk to Muslim
communities about their concerns following the London bombings.
She met leaders from the community at Oldham Civic Centre on Tuesday. "I have
met young Asian men from a wide range of backgrounds, and young women too, not just the usual kind of community leaders who usually talk to me," she said at the end of the meeting
What the lady needs to understand is that Asian males have absolutely no respect for anything said by those of the female sex. Their mothers? - maybe. Her - no way
Another idea from 'way back then' was the method of storing fine wines. There were few available, they were expensive and consumption was restricted to a few what we called toffs. However, I was never instructed to handle wine in the manner shown on Big Brother. Mind you, I'm only going on the reports - I'd rather penetrate my eyes with scorpion stings than watch such tripe. I lived in a Big Brother-world called Medway Towns so have no need to tune in.
After drama of no computer, I wasted no time on sorting my iPod and matching it with the iTunes library. Amazing - it all installed first time and everything is working beautifully. I need to adjust the way it runs - 42 Willie Nelson tracks all after one another get me into such a laidback state I'll get bed sores on my bum. Only hiatus was when it asked for serial number of the player. Using my strongest glasses I managed to see where such a thing might be. Adding two magnifing glasses to the specs meant that I could read what I needed. Obviously engraved for teen-age eyes.
Wednesday, 3 August 2005
The full article is in the Telegraph here. However, these extracts seem to set a sensible agenda from the Man Who Would Be King.
Rather than setting communities against one another, the bombers' actions have united all faiths in facing down this new breed of terrorism. Political parties have also been united in their resolve to defeat the threat - a lesson learnt from Spain, where the political response to the attack on Madrid played straight into the terrorists' hands. The most important thing British politicians can do is to remain united and avoid knee-jerk responses. Any other response would be grossly irresponsible, and could easily encourage more attacks.
The Government has responded over the past month with sensible proposals to tighten existing legislation. Our task is to ensure that these new laws will be effective and workable. The Government has to get them right first time. There is no room for mistakes. But this does not exempt us from a constructive critique of some of the Government's plans. We have reservations about proposals to extend the time-scale of detention without trial, for example. Ministers should also give clearer backing to the police's policy of stop and search, which, while controversial in some quarters, is obviously sensible. Nor should the prevailing political climate stop us proposing extra measures to increase Britain's security without sacrificing fundamental freedoms.
There are five things the Government could do that would gain our support. Firstly, it must secure Britain's porous borders. A new border control police force should be set up to ensure that every major port is manned day and night, to stop people entering the country illegally. Secondly, the Government should urgently review the process by which citizenship is granted. It is totally unacceptable that one of the alleged bombers was given a British passport despite having received a jail sentence and having a long record of bad conduct. British citizenship is a privilege, not a right. Thirdly, the Government should allow evidence from phone-taps to be used in the courtroom, making it easier to convict would-be terrorists and stop future attacks. Fourthly, the Government should appoint a Minister for Homeland Security to deal with the terrorist threat. Finally, ministers must show they are prepared to look again at whether the Human Rights Act stops them from ensuring that Britain is as safe as possible. This should include advocating its repeal, if necessary.
But the terrorist threat will not be beaten by security measures alone. Searching questions now have to be asked about what has been happening inside Britain's Muslim communities, and how the perverted values of the suicide bomber have been allowed to take root. Britain has pursued a policy of multiculturalism - allowing people of different cultures to settle without expecting them to integrate into society. Often the authorities have seemed more concerned with encouraging distinctive identities than with promoting common values of nationhood. The chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality has called multiculturalism "outdated". He is right. We should learn lessons from abroad - from the United States, where pride in the nation's values is much more prevalent among minorities than here. Above all, we must speak openly of what we expect of those who settle here - and of ourselves.
Let us be clear. Non-Muslims have obligations to their Muslim fellow citizens - to strive for equal opportunities for all, to accept the mainstream version of Islam as a part of society, and to reject the vile racism of the BNP and its like. But Muslims in turn have obligations: not simply to condemn terror, as one Labour MP put it, but to confront it.
In the past month, the vast majority of Muslims have queued up to denounce the outrages unleashed upon London. Senior Muslim leaders such as Dr Zaki Badawi, of the Muslim College, have spoken courageously and eloquently. But their thoughtful contributions are undermined by men such as Mohammad Naseem, the chairman of Birmingham's central mosque, who chose to focus his anger on the Government and security services, not on the men who set out to kill Londoners. People such as Mr Naseem do no favours to the Muslim community. After all, Muslims too are in the sights of the Islamic extremists.
Al-Qa'eda's long-term ambition is to eliminate moderate Islam altogether. It is therefore in the interests of moderate Muslims to support such measures as the extension of stop and search, the closing down of websites which support terror, the barring from Britain of clerics who support terrorist activity, and the licensing of visiting clerics.
Religious leaders have a special responsibility when those who commit crimes claim to be motivated by religion. We must acknowledge that there are good imams and bad imams. Most preach the true Muslim faith in a manner consistent with the society in which they live. Others, though, do not represent Islam properly and fail to understand the conventions of British society. Indeed, their aim is to destroy it. The Government must do more to encourage good imams to train here in Britain. Muslims themselves should help root out the bad ones.
Britain has a proud history of tolerance and respect towards people of different views, faiths and backgrounds. But we should not flinch from demanding the same tolerance and respect for the British way of life.
There is another Telegraph article which directly refers to that Shadow government fool I wrote of recently.
"Even more crass was the comment by Dominic Grieve, junior home affairs spokesman for the Conservatives, on the same programme: "I have to say that I find the suicide bombings totally explicable in terms of the level of anger which many members of the Muslim community seem to have about a large number of things." So will you commit mass murder and blow yourself up, Mr Grieve, when you reach a certain "level of anger" about a "large number of things”?
Serious consternation this morning. Went to check overnight e-mail and found pc was 'Off'. We leave it running but it sometimes confuses itself when downloading new virus signatures or Windoze updates so not great problem at that stage. Pressed right buttons and wandered off to 'ablutions'
When I got back the damned thing was demanding a password! Totally new development but I'm game for a laugh so I tapped in the usual set of letters and numbers. Rejected. Little more attention to case and finger poking but still no joy.
By this time my services were being demanded as chauffeur to The Shopping Queen. I blamed her for what had happened so that meant there was no idle conversation on the way to Haddington. No conversation of any sort actually. When we got back, full search of the disks and documentation which is where we note down any unusual passwords. Zilch found.
By now I was beginning to grasp the full significance of what might lay ahead. None of this, no e-mail, no wandering around the blogs of others, no Google Roulette. All my music was on the damned thing - how would I ship it to my iPod; I knew I should not have kept from doing this until my official birthday. Finally, phone call to #1 Son asking for help when he got home.
Then sat in front of keyboard and thought about it. Hah! Zen he say if there is no password that works, then maybe there is no password. Back to sign-on, leave pw space blank, enter. Hello nice music! End of heartbreak.
Tuesday, 2 August 2005
I heard much good comment on Thatcher from Americans with whom I worked and I appreciated her style, However, since she was got rid of. I have seen the party sink lower and lower. The - what can I call it - tone of the party as set by their spokespersons seems so out of touch with the way the world is organised today. An example I saw today is just the latest - this from the Shadow Attorney General:
Shadow attorney general Dominic Grieve has welcomed the plans for the
meetings, Hazel whatnot (Blears?) with Muslim leaders) but said he did not believe they would resolve the problems in Muslim communities. He told the Today programme: "I have to say that I find the suicide bombings totally explicable in terms of the level of anger which many members of the Muslim community seem to have about a large number of things. "I don't quite see how we are going to tackle that. I don't actually think that simply by going round and visiting community leaders you are going to get to some of these underlying issues."
And he said the anger within Muslim communities stemmed from a
"tension between their world view and the world they live in". "I'm sure that something like the Iraq war contributes to it, because after all it is about the intervention of Western countries in a state that is seen as being essentially Muslim and a part of the world - the Middle East - which has a great cultural history which frankly at the moment is poorly reflected in the current state of these countries," he added.
When they live in their world, they are unconcerned about world views. My interpretation of his point is that the indigent occupants of this country should make more concessions to Islamic forces. He cannot see that multicultureism is dead and just needs burial. Even if he was just trying to make some sort of 'yah boo' party political point, he is talking rubbish. I look forward to him getting rifted by Howard but I suspect it will be shuffled under the carpet - or prayer mat.
General: Well, of course, warfare isn't all fun. Right — stop that! It's all very well to laugh at the military, but when one considers the meaning of life, it is a struggle between alternative viewpoints of life itself. And without the ability to defend one's own viewpoint against other perhaps more aggressive ideologies, then reasonableness and moderation could, quite simply, disappear! That is why we'll always need an army, and may God strike me down were it to be otherwise.
[A lightning bolt destroys the general. Cut to outside, where the Hand of God rises into the clouds. A sergeant major stands before his troops.]
Sergeant Major: DON'T STAND THERE GAWPING! LIKE YOU'VE NEVER SEEN THE HAND O' GOD BEFORE!
However, it seems that I might have to get to read it. Things such as this going on where we see more of that conniving non-democratic way B Liar runs things. I am not so naif as to believe that all international politicking should be done at an official and accountable level, but, where some sort of undercover approaches are being made, they should be kept secret.
Perhaps their online version is some sort of Guardian Light?
Monday, 1 August 2005
My poor old bi-polar mind then went wandering off into suicide in general. In the Army I had what is, I suppose, a fairly general young-persons attitude. What a waste, why didn’t they try and get help, what can ever get so bad as to make someone want to do such a thing. Basically though, it was the usual Army stress formulae – shit happens. Move on.
I left the Samaritans because I could not accept their way of doing things. They are non-judgemental and, unless given a lead by their telephone caller, will not intervene. They will still be talking – more listening really – until the voice at the other end fades away or there is a bang. I must have changed since my service years as I could not fit into this listening pattern. I sought to talk callers out of this very final step. I now accept completely that their way is the best answer but is not for the man in the street who is suddenly confronted by someone who might be suicidal. There is a master-class on the web. There is another useful resource here.
The aftermath of suicide amongst relatives and friends may well be guilt or self-recrimination. Did I, should I, could I? Generally, the now-deceased will have gone past seeking help or signalling distress well before the final act. Indeed, it is that 'what the hell can I do' attitude that leads them into fatal self-harm.
I've blogged this because I feel that suicide is so little understood by those who have not themselves walked near to the edge. It is increasing and will sooner or later touch very many people who have never given the subject a moments thought. Do a bit of reading. Try your theories against the research.
Oh - and NO. This is not a cry for help from me so no need to get the Samaritans SO19 abseiling through the study window thank you very much.
Sunday, 31 July 2005
The Truth About Abu Ghraib
Friday, July 29, 2005; Page A22
FOR 15 MONTHS now the Bush administration has insisted that the horrific photographs of abuse from the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq were the result of freelance behavior by low-level personnel and had nothing to do with its policies. In this the White House has been enthusiastically supported by the Army brass, which has conducted investigations documenting hundreds of cases of prisoner mistreatment in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but denies that any of its senior officers are culpable. For some time these implacable positions have been glaringly at odds with the known facts. In the past few days, those facts have grown harder to ignore.
The latest evidence has emerged from hearings at Fort Meade about two of those low-level Abu Ghraib guards who are charged with using dogs to terrorize Iraqi detainees. On Wednesday, the former warden of Abu Ghraib, Maj. David DiNenna, testified that the use of dogs for interrogation was recommended by Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, the former commander of the Guantanamo Bay prison who was dispatched by the Pentagon to Abu Ghraib in August 2003 to review the handling and interrogation of prisoners. On Tuesday, a military interrogator testified that he had been trained in using dogs by a team sent to Iraq by Gen. Miller.
In statements to investigators and in sworn testimony to Congress last year, Gen. Miller denied that he recommended the use of dogs for interrogation, or that they had been used at Guantanamo. "No methods contrary to the Geneva Convention were presented at any time by the assistance team that I took to [Iraq]," he said under oath on May 19, 2004. Yet Army investigators reported to Congress this month that, under Gen. Miller's supervision at Guantanamo, an al Qaeda suspect named Mohamed Qahtani was threatened with snarling dogs, forced to wear women's underwear on his head and led by a leash attached to his chains -- the very abuse documented in the Abu Ghraib photographs.
The court evidence strongly suggests that Gen. Miller lied about his actions, and it merits further investigation by prosecutors and Congress. But the Guantanamo commander was not acting on his own: The interrogation of Mr. Qahtani, investigators found, was carried out under rules approved by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Dec. 2, 2002. After strong protests from military lawyers, the Rumsfeld standards -- which explicitly allowed nudity, the use of dogs and shackling -- were revised in April 2003. Yet the same practices were later adopted at Abu Ghraib, at least in part at the direct instigation of Gen. Miller. "We understood," Maj. DiNenna testified, "that [Gen. Miller] was sent over by the secretary of defense."
The White House and Pentagon have gotten away with their stonewalling largely because of Republican control of Congress. When the Abu Ghraib scandal erupted, GOP leaders such as Sen. John W. Warner (Va.) loudly vowed to get to the bottom of the matter -- but once the bottom started to come into view late last year, Mr. Warner's demands for accountability ceased. Mr. Rumsfeld and other senior officials have never been the subject of an independent investigation. A recommendation by the latest Army probe that Gen. Miller be reprimanded for his role in the Qahtani interrogation was rejected by Gen. Bantz Craddock of Southern Command.
The only good news in this shameful story is that a group of Republican senators, though resisting justified Democratic demands for an independent investigation, are attempting to reform the policy of abuse to which the administration still adheres. Six GOP senators led by John McCain (Ariz.) and Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.) have backed an amendment to the defense operations bill that would exclude exceptional interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay and ban the use of "cruel, inhumane and degrading" treatment for all prisoners held by the United States. The administration contends that detainees held abroad may be subject to such abuse. Attempts by the White House and Mr. Warner to block or gut the legislation failed, and on Tuesday the GOP leadership pulled the defense bill from the floor rather than allow a vote. The administration probably will spend the next month trying to quell this rebellion of conscience and good sense. The nation would be better served if President Bush instead accepted, at last, the truth about Abu Ghraib.
Now, it is not for me to comment on the truth of these reports. What does strike me is the difference between the way the US goes about things and the way our politicians treat British army personnel. If there were these alleged transgressions in a UK military setting, all concerned would be guaranteed a first class seat to the International Criminal Court. Obviously, the Yanks knew what they were doing when they exempted their forces from international war crime legislation.
Just promise me that if I am ever in Rome and need a lawyer, I will get this lady - with her nighty over her bra just like this.
What is it about these terrorists? Maybe it is a plot to show him what he missed by messing up his bomb - no 72 virgins for him then!
Cherie Booth QC 0
Antonietta Sonnessa 15
Red Riding Hood
"Many people believed that the forest was a foreboding and dangerous place, but Red Riding Hood knew that this was an irrational fear based on cultural paradigms instilled by a patriarchal society that regarded the natural world as an exploitable resource, and hence believed that natural predators were in fact intolerable competitors. Other people avoided the woods for fear of thieves and deviants, but Red Riding Hood felt that in a truly classless society all marginalized peoples would be able to "come out" of the woods and be accepted as valid lifestyle role models
I can't come to the phone now because I have amnesia and I feel stupid talking to people I don't remember. I'd appreciate it if you could help me out by leaving my name and telling me something about myself. Thanks.
Sleeping Persun of Better-Than-Average Attractiveness
Long, long ago, there lived a king and a queen, two equal partners in life who shared everything-- including the fervent wish to have a baby. (This was much easier for the king, of course, since he would never have to endure the upheavals of pregnancy, the pain of childbirth, and the miseries of postpartum depression. You could rightly call his wish more vicarious than hers.) But as many times as the king would inflict his baser instincts on the queen, they (or, more accurately, she) remained childless.
One day, as the queen bathed in a nearby river, a frog leaped onto the lily pad next to her. Then, to her amazement, the frog cleared its throat and spoke.
"Although it's probably not a good idea to bring another human being into the world," said the amphibious messenger, "I know of your conception problems and would like to help. If you follow my advice, you will soon be with child."
"Oh, such joyous news!" trilled the queen. "What must I do to prepare myself, frog?! What must I do?! Tell me!!"
"Your best bet is to go the natural route, and for pity's sake, learn to relax! Get some regular exercise, eat more greens and grains, and eliminate animal fat from your diet. later, if you need one, i can recommend a good lactation consultant."
So the queen did as the frog directed, and on the next full cycle of the moon, her body was colonized by the seed of the exploitative monarchy.
Nine months later (not to minimize the physical strain on the queen in the interim), a healthy pink pre-wommon was welcomed into the castle. Many gender-neutral names were considered for her, such as Connor, Tucker, and Taylor, that might have lessened any sexual discrimination she would encounter on her career path (for, while she was born a princess, her parents would never presume to limit her future to one of mindless leisure and privilege). After talking to a few image consultants, they decided to give her the name Rosamond.
Two women began to argue fiercely. One said she objected to Jesus' birth "because it privileged motherhood." The other scoffed at virgin births, but said that if they encouraged more attention to diversity in family forms and the rights of single mothers, well, then, she was all for them. "I'm not a single mother," Mary started to say, but she was cut off by a third woman who insisted that swaddling clothes are a form of child abuse, since they restrict the natural movement of babies.
With the arrival of 10 child advocates, all trained to spot infant abuse and manger rash, Mary and Joseph were pushed to the edge of the crowd, where arguments were breaking out over how many reindeer (or what mix of reindeer and seasonal sprites) had to be installed to compensate for the infant's unfortunate religious character
Oh yeah - I've found a neat definition for MeMe:
meme: (pron. 'meem') A contagious idea that replicates like a virus, passed on from mind to mind. Memes function the same way genes and viruses do, propagating through communication networks and face-to-face contact between people. The root of the word "memetics," a field of study which postulates that the meme is the basic unit of cultural evolution. Examples of memes include melodies, icons, fashion statements and phrases.