Sunday, 31 December 2006

Any last wishes?

Think I will take my life in my hands and put this up. Be nice now folks - no sending Mrs WTMW e-mails drawing it to her attention.

I've just repeated it to show what a leisured life we men used to lead.

Instructions to a wife.

Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have be thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they get home and the prospect of a good meal is part of the warm welcome needed.
Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you'll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.
Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.
Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives. Run a dustcloth over the tables.
During the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering to his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.
Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Encourage the children to be quiet.
Be happy to see him.
Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.
Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first - remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.
Don't greet him with complaints and problems.
Don't complain if he's late for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through at work.
Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or lie him down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.
Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.
Don't ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.
A good wife always knows her place.

Saturday, 30 December 2006

2007 - Almost there


So. almost another year gone and I am still above ground. I guess that will have to be the Good News. I have never understood the drive to come up with a set of Resolutions at the start of a New Year. If something is a good idea or in need of implementation into one's life then it should be set in motion without awaiting a new season. There are many other new beginnings in a year; why not choose Spring to plant new ideas or ideals?
I suppose that I have always been lucky enough to be able to recognise the things I can achieve, differentiate them from those that I cannot and then leave that selection process alone. No point in tilting at windmills whose vanes are rusted in place. This property and attitude means that I can ignore much of what goes on outside my own immediate circle. The events in the wider world still interest me but neither inspire or demand that I actually do anything. I do reserve the right to be critical but doubt that I would respond to any call for les citoyen to storm the barricades. This must, in personal terms, be a Good Thing. The world is a totally fupducked and there are very many barricades that would have attracted me in previous years. This reticence (or acquired wisdom?) is something I find comforting and unpleasant in equal parts. I would dearly like to be part of that comradeship of combat but can get by with standing at the window shaking my Zimmer frame.
This life-style of mine seems to have been carried over into the genes of my children. They have encountered problems but attack these as challenges and do not see them as burdens. I hope they will always realise that a difficulty only becomes a problem if tolerated.
What would I ask for in the New Year? Leaving aside the obvious Peace On Earth of course. Has to be a selfish personal request. My Black Dog is incapacity - either mental or physical. I doubt that I'll be reciting Plato at 93 whilst engaged in pleasuring some young lady of 65 but that would be the ideal. I hope that what I have done with my medical notes and in other ways will ensure that I do not end up plugged into a 13 amp electrical outlet like a coffee machine. Please can I have the bed nearest to the cleaner's station.
That is about all I would really ask for.
As for anyone who has stayed the course and got this far. What about them? The answer has to be to hope that they all get whatever they might ask for. So - there you are; a free hand. But remember the other old adage, be careful what you ask for.




Friday, 29 December 2006

Big event - do not miss this

Just in case your boss refuses to give you time off for the Big Drop Day, make do with this.

Nice thing to know

When sudden disaster strikes, it is comforting if one knows what it is that has gone wrong. Believe me.

This old feller must be grateful he stuck to his work all those years ago when his work was being threatened by young girls with pony tails and jitter bug routines to set the blood racing.

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Physician - heal thyself

Be a good boy

My mum used to say when I was a small lad that if one complied with social conventions, no harm would result. This was just after she caught me 'writing' my name in the snow by peeing. However, that sort of thing was always reputed to have other associated angers - electrified fences for example. I was often tempted in the wilder parts of my hill-walking jaunts just to splash and dash on the sheep control fences. Maybe it was the story of this sort of thing?

Sabotage

Without going into the rights and wrongs, there is a large body of opposition here in UK regarding requirement that we all have ID cards allied to all sorts of gizmos such as iris recognition. So, may be an idea to think of a way to have a ID card but not have it identify you - know what I mean?

Thank you. You can go now

Sometimes, just sometimes, I think that the internet tells me more than I really wish to know thank you.

Thursday, 28 December 2006

Hang 'em high

Gets more like a spaghetti Western every day! And, this is the administration that we think is the thing that will run the country keeping it stable enough for long enough for us to say "All Over" and run for the roof to get on the helicopter. Oh no - that was how the other place ended wasn't it?

Get serious - II

This follows on neatly from my last previous post.

Nuff said?

Get serious

Nice to see that we are really serious with this anti-terrorist thing.

The police side is that it is no offence to hold extremist views. We have - it seems - evidence from intercepts but cannot use it because of concerns about civil liberties.

And all this when the boss of the Met police has said that the threat level of a significant terrorist action is high and increasing daily.

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Not evil - just misguided

Wednesday, 27 December 2006

I've been robbed

I wrote an e-mail to a friend the other day in which I expressed my preference for Gingerbread Men as there was always “that little bit extra” Seems I am going to be denied that luxury now the p.c. police have struck. Surprised they were allowed to retain the description 'Ginger' which is sometimes used as an insult.

So near and yet so far

I had heard bits of the story of the family who got stuck in snow in America but only a very small bit. The husband decided after some days with his stranded vehicle to hike out and see if he could get help. His wife and kids stayed with the car. A cell-phone engineer's tip was not heeded for two days and a hotel refused to give credit-card and cell-phone information to police in the search for the missing California dad. It is chilling to think just what was going through the minds of the lost family in those last moments. Eventually, the mother and kids were found almost by accident but the father died from hypothermia just a very short distance from salvation. As a wanderer in the sandy deserts, I was instructed to stay with vehicle in the event of any problem and to set fire to the spare tyre so as to attract attention to myself. We always carried extra water. Who the heck would imagine that those sort of survival skills would be needed on a vacation journey in one of the most advanced countries of the world.

Tuesday, 26 December 2006

Wanted

I know I was supposed to be having a duvet day but this item (below) made me fall out of bed laughing so I'll let you have it while it's hot.

My main and first thought is how the heck the relevant police department will find a way to display an illustration of the stolen item in the Crime journal? And what about the future of the Turin Shroud Enterprises Inc if we get good DNA from any recovered item?

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Any useful leads to Madonna please

Sunday, 24 December 2006

It's Holiday Time

Whether you are a Winterval person, a frantic Happy Christmas-er or attender of Midnight Mass

HAVE A GOOD BREAK

Hostilities are suspended until the whole thing is over and I feel safe to venture out from under the duvet.

Follow that star

I don't think it is blasphemy.

Different folks - different strokes

We here in Europe have to see things American through the media filters. The papers print what sells.

The US Marine Corps stand charged with employing soldiers responsible for a considerable number of civilian deaths at a place called Haditha. It has been presented as troops running riot following an attack upon them. My guest blog sets out to show just how difficult it is to get truth in such cases. Note especially the comments of the US contractor as to veracity of Iraqi witnesses. This has a resonance with me. We knew that it was very likely that a civilian "witness" would lie and did the extra digging to get to the truth.


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Another view of events at Haditha

Saturday, 23 December 2006

Same hymn book, different page

I'm just listening to announcement that UN has imposed sanctions on Iran.

Seems that The Free World is convinced that Iran is developing a warlike use for atomic materials. Because of this, we are doing the sanctions boogie.

Doubtless the assessment of the threat came from intelligence sources.

Just like the info re Iraq and WMD and 45 minuties.

Look where that has got us.

Tony Blair

Brought to you by The Friday Thing.

TONY'S CHRISTMAS TOUR: PEACE OFF
=
The Prime Minister's announcement this week that he wants a
proper job after he leaves Number 10 was met with some approval.
'It's about bloody time,' was the sane person's response.
'Whatever I do afterwards, it has to have real purpose to it,'
said Tony of his retirement plans. If he'd only said that all
those years ago when he gave up being a lawyer to become a
politician, we might not be in the mess we are now.
Meanwhile the Blair Premiership continued on its meandering,
meaningless way, like an elderly, senile and incontinent tomcat
looking for somewhere to pass away with a scrap of dignity. The
Middle East was Tony's destination to sprinkle the seasonal magic
fairy dust of peace on earth and goodwill to all.
To be honest though, like Christopher Reeve's final and piss-poor
Superman movie, Blair's 'Quest for Peace' should have been
laughed out of town. (It certainly seems to have been largely
ignored.) Take his passive-aggressive attitude towards Iran, for
instance. Only a month ago he was saying 'a new partnership is
possible' with Iran. He said as much this week but then called
for an 'alliance of moderation' across the region to reign in
Iranian extremism. (Nothing to do with the Bush Administration
refusing to engage with Iran, it goes without saying.)
Just who the 'moderate' Middle Eastern members of this 'alliance'
are going to be isn't quite clear. Is it Turkey, who he visited
last Friday, with its refusal to acknowledge its genocide of the
Armenian population in 1915, its persecution of the Kurds and
where it's a crime to insult 'Turkishness'? How about Egypt,
where Blair was on Sunday and where he likes to holiday, that
likes to lock people up for criticising the government, beat pro-
democracy protesters and where torture by the security services
is widespread?
What about the United Arab Emirates, from where Tony gave his
'alliance of moderation' speech on Wednesday, with its hereditary
system of government, widespread abuse of migrant workers,
flogging as a punishment and censorship of the press? He clearly
didn't mean Palestine whose democratically elected government he
refuses to recognise. Er, Iraq? Some 'alliance of moderation'
this is shaping up to be. If this was Star Wars, Darth Vader
would have parked the Death Star and gone for a fag, safe in the
knowledge that the rebels were doing his job for him.
Meanwhile, in Iran - founder member of Blair's 'Arc of Extremism'
and not a venue on his 'Out With A Bang 2006' farewell tour -
democratically-held elections delivered victories for the
moderate and reformist parties and gave short-arsed gobshite and
Holocaust-denying president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a slap in the
chops. You have to laugh. Blair spends the week shaking the hands
of various blood-soaked princes, torturers and other anti-
democracy monsters in order to try and sort Iran out and all the
while it's working hard to do the job for itself. It's a funny
old world.
And Blair's world is shrinking. Yet, with fewer and fewer people
telling him what a great job he's doing and more and more queuing
up to tell him straight just what a blood and shit spattered
hellhole he's made of the place, he sails blithely on. He's
starting to look like Sam Lowry at the end of Terry Gilliam's
movie, Brazil: humming to himself in his self-concocted fantasy
world while horror and degradation still swirl around him.
While Tony was leading his charge across the sands of Arabia and
beyond, no less a figure than Iraq's vice president accused Blair
of having been 'brainwashed' by George Bush. And after all Tony's
done for Iraq as well - what an ungrateful bastard. According to
Tareq al-Hashemi, Blair apparently agreed with him on a timetable
for troop withdrawals only to change his mind after seeing Bush.
Well, Tony did say this week that 'when I first started in
politics, I wanted to please everyone, and you can't please
everyone'. They say that if you try to please everybody you end
up pleasing nobody. That said, it's difficult to think of anybody
Tony's pleased since arriving at his decision to stop trying to
please everybody. Anybody reading this who has recently been
pleased by Tony, can you get in touch - we'd like to have you
stuffed and put in a museum.
And then came the report from the Chatham House think tank which
said the Iraq war had been a 'disaster' and a 'debacle', and
Blair had made the 'mistake of offering unconditional support for
US initiatives in foreign policy'. Using a phrase that should be
carved on New Labour's tombstone, Foreign Secretary Margaret
Beckett described the report as 'threadbare, insubstantial and
just plain wrong'. We imagine she should know, working for a
Government that's produced more than a few dodgy dossiers its
time. '45 minutes from doom,' anybody?
The think tank, previously a respected and grand enough platform
for speeches by the likes of Gordon Brown, is now reduced to the
status of wrong-headed whiner for having the audacity to express
an informed opinion. Like so many others. Outgoing UN Secretary
General, Kofi Annan: he was against the war so MI6 bugged his
office. Weapons Inspector, David Kelly: told a reporter that the
'45 minute from doom' stuff was cobblers, was fed to the press by
the Government, killed himself. Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw:
said 'I don't see any circumstances in which military action
would be justified against Iran, full stop', was demoted. You can
see why so many people around Blair keep their traps shut, like
being a member of Frank Sinatra's famously toadying entourage,
one word out of place and the good times are over. Sometimes
unpleasantly.
Just why Blair thinks he's the man to bring peace to a region
whose various and complex troubles have foxed the world's
greatest thinkers for over four thousand years, and who he thinks
might be listening to him, is for minds more psychoanalytical
than ours to reason. After Iraq, his selling weapons to any mad
bastard with oil and a chequebook, and his cosying up with
torturers and dictators, it's like putting God - a dead-beat dad
if ever we saw one; knocking up some poor young girl at
Christmas, then disappearing into thin air - in charge of the
Child Support Agency.


- The Friday Thing


Hello Hello Hello What's all this then?

Police condemned over fruit caution. And they wonder why the respect for the forces of Laura Norder are at an all time low. Whatever happened to exercising discretion? This 'result' will figure in B'liar's statistics when he next needs to lie about how his strict new methods are cutting crime. And, in the background, a man wanted for murder walks past dressed as a woman.

Friday, 22 December 2006

Good will to all men

This is just a comedy blog - or is it? Comes from a member of that wonderful profession of lawyer.

MANDATORY HOLIDAY WEALTH TRANSFER PROGRAM 2006

To: Attorneys

Once again, we're all forced by social custom to help the less fortunate among us afford food and shelter for the holiday season. Below are some guidelines for holiday tipping. Just as we do regarding your bonuses, feel free to adjust based on your subjective evaluation of people's performance, whether or not it bears any resemblance to reality.

As previously explained in the memo titled SALARY SHARE CALCULATION FOR HOLIDAY BONUS PURPOSES (12/18/06), one "share" as listed below is equivalent to 0.01% of your salary plus bonus, before taxes. Thus, if your salary+bonus is $200K, one "share" for purposes of these guidelines would be $20. Your personal secretary: 10 shares Each secretary (up to 4) in your local secretary pool: 2-3 shares Secretary coordinator (the woman with the funny looking hats): 3-5 shares, if you have changed secretaries multiple times this calendar year and required her assistance. Any paralegals you work closely with: 10 shares Document pool workers you can identify by sight: 5 shares The pastry guy with the narrow eyes: 1 share The hirsute woman who cleans the offices: 2 shares or some leftover food The copy machine repairman with the bad breath: 1 share if he has been of service to you in the past year, otherwise you are better served avoiding him Creepy security guard: 3 shares Hiring partner: 10 shares, or a nice bottle of wine

You should try and refrain from handing your gifts out before Christmas Day, since we want to encourage attendance at work by you and also by the people in line to receive the gifts. If they stay home, they deserve whatever gift penalties they end up receiving. In addition, please give them checks instead of cash -- most of them do not have the self-control to save their cash until they get home and will spend it on drugs and beer instead. We want to try and avoid a repeat of last year's Secretary Rave on the 38th floor conference room. Best wishes for a billable holiday season


Innocence


Just look at her eyes and tell me how you can explain to her what is happening.

Merry Christmas - pah! humbug so far as she is concerned.


Wednesday, 20 December 2006

Would you buy a car .... Part II

Well, would you?

Comes from this lady but you might need to register if you go there.

Police work

The writer of the Guest blog is a serving police officer who fell foul of his Force's policy on blogging. He did not just curl up and die. He moderated some of his criticism of police methods and got top cover from a media publication

Good thing we did not lose him. This is just the latest in a number of good articles where he puts across the police view well.

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A police officer writes

DNR

This is back-up for the reason I carry a ID tag with "Do not resuscitate" instruction

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Do not resuscitate

Would you buy a used car from this man?

This is reproduction of an item in a national paper. In full as it may require registration.

Long time since we could say that an Englishman's word was his bond I know but this moron is dragging everything down to his bent level.

By Francis Elliott, Whitehall EditorPublished: 17 December 2006

Detectives investigating alleged corruption in BAe's dealings with Saudi Arabia believe that the probe was being bugged, The Independent on Sunday has been told. A source close to the investigation made the remarkable claim as Tony Blair's defence for stopping it on the grounds of national interest began to unravel.The head of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) disputed the official claim that the investigation was unlikely to result in charges. Robert Wardle said he had a "different view" from Lord Goldsmith. The Attorney General told Parliament on Thursday that he had agreed to close the case after he had "obtained the views of the Prime Minister and the Foreign and Defence Secretaries" on the effect the probe was having on Anglo-Saudi relations.But in fact Tony Blair personally took charge of efforts to pressure the Attorney General to drop the probe.

He ordered supportive assessments from the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office. These were then presented to the head of the SFO and formed part of Lord Goldsmith's "public interest" justification for calling off the probe.The Prime Minister's determination to stop the SFO investigation has left the detectives working on the case furious. It was the fact that the probe was progressing well that caused its closure, they believe. Some 15 officers from the SFO have been working for more than three years on allegations that BAe bribed foreign officials. The investigation, led by assistant commissioner Helen Garlick, was about to take possession of banking documents in Berne, Switzerland.One senior figure who had been helping the SFO said the investigation's security had been repeatedly compromised. "I was told by detectives that the probe was being bugged. They had reached this conclusion because highly confidential information on the inquiry had been reaching outside parties."The claim will fuel suspicions over the forces brought to bear on the SFO to call off its investigation since BAe's chief executive, Mike Turner, was forced to deny claims the company had used a £60m slush fund to bribe Saudi officials.

The alleged fund arises out of the Al Yamamah contract secured by Margaret Thatcher. It is said to have earned BAe Systems, Britain's biggest defence firm, and its predecessor British Aerospace, £43bn over the past 20 years.Investigators were about to gain access to Swiss banking documents that, they believed, could have provided strong evidence of corruption. Last month Mr Turner said the Saudi government had halted commercial talks over the £10bn Eurofighter deal because of anger over the SFO inquiry. It is believed that the story was orchestrated by Lord Bell, who has run a PR campaign on behalf of the defence firm and the Saudi royal family.It was claimed scrapping the contract for 72 Typhoon fighters would threaten 50,000 jobs. But international law forbids countries from using commercial considerations to exempt firms from anti-corruption prosecutions.The exemption helps explain why Mr Blair ordered the preparation of a special Cabinet Office report, arguing that Britain's security was at stake.

Whitehall sources say Downing Street was keen that Des Browne, the Secretary of State for Defence, and Margaret Beckett, the Foreign Secretary, shared responsibility for the decision to scrap the inquiry. But they were only asked for tightly defined assessments of the effects of a downturn on defence and foreign relations.Yesterday Mr Blair said: "Our relationship with Saudi Arabia is vitally important for our country in terms of counter-terrorism, in terms of the broader Middle East, in terms of helping in respect of Israel and Palestine. That strategic interest comes first." He said the probe would have led to years of "ill feeling between us and a key partner and ally and probably to no purpose".Campaigners will decide tomorrow whether to mount a legal challenge.

The investigation, led by assistant commissioner Helen Garlick, was about to take possession of banking documents in Berne, Switzerland.One senior figure who had been helping the SFO said the investigation's security had been repeatedly compromised. "I was told by detectives that the probe was being bugged. They had reached this conclusion because highly confidential information on the inquiry had been reaching outside parties."The claim will fuel suspicions over the forces brought to bear on the SFO to call off its investigation since BAe's chief executive, Mike Turner, was forced to deny claims the company had used a £60m slush fund to bribe Saudi officials.

The alleged fund arises out of the Al Yamamah contract secured by Margaret Thatcher. It is said to have earned BAe Systems, Britain's biggest defence firm, and its predecessor British Aerospace, £43bn over the past 20 years.Investigators were about to gain access to Swiss banking documents that, they believed, could have provided strong evidence of corruption. Last month Mr Turner said the Saudi government had halted commercial talks over the £10bn Eurofighter deal because of anger over the SFO inquiry. It is believed that the story was orchestrated by Lord Bell, who has run a PR campaign on behalf of the defence firm and the Saudi royal family.It was claimed scrapping the contract for 72 Typhoon fighters would threaten 50,000 jobs. But international law forbids countries from using commercial considerations to exempt firms from anti-corruption prosecutions.The exemption helps explain why Mr Blair ordered the preparation of a special Cabinet Office report, arguing that Britain's security was at stake. Whitehall sources say Downing Street was keen that Des Browne, the Secretary of State for Defence, and Margaret Beckett, the Foreign Secretary, shared responsibility for the decision to scrap the inquiry. But they were only asked for tightly defined assessments of the effects of a downturn on defence and foreign relations.Yesterday Mr Blair said: "Our relationship with Saudi Arabia is vitally important for our country in terms of counter-terrorism, in terms of the broader Middle East, in terms of helping in respect of Israel and Palestine. That strategic interest comes first." He said the probe would have led to years of "ill feeling between us and a key partner and ally and probably to no purpose".Campaigners will decide tomorrow whether to mount a legal challenge. Source: The Independant

Tuesday, 19 December 2006

No to ID

After a considerable amount of huffing and puffing defending a new ID card scheme that would have cost billions, the gubmint has decided that we already have most of what we need allowing us to get the same result at far less cost. An example of the way they throw our money around is the disclosure that £35M has already been spent on IT consultants to get us to the aborting of the grandiose cock-up.

Monday, 18 December 2006

Sable

My lovely dog is an Internet star

The Man writes again

I make no apology for passing on what this man says. Not enough people get the benefit of his views.

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Uncle Fred says a mouthful. And, you should buy his books.

Sunday, 17 December 2006

Tiny url

This is here as a Public Service. Clever little piece of kit.

Enter a long URL to make tiny:



How can we win?

One of the (few) benefits of the sort of media reporting we have now is its world wide spread. Events in far away lands get to us within a very short time. This ease and speed mean that we get to know of things that may have escaped us.

Even in some cases where the gubmint might prefer we do not get updated.

All that airport bother and vast expense seems to have been based upon dodgy intelligence.

All those qualities a leader should have - where are they?

Just further comment on how El Presidente rules his Empire.

Maybe I was right after all?

Mrs Welcome to MY world is a member of a quilting circle. They all get together twice a fortnight and have a good old gossip, drink tea and make quilts.

All ladies of a certain age. All very similar in outlook. Very closely bonded. As a self-imposed exercise I set about writing the tale of a quilters circle where the members were all lesbians and the craftwork was just a cover for their activities. I was quite pleased with it and a few trusted members were shown the finished item. There must have been a lightness of touch as it was well received.

I thought of it as just an exercise. However, as the Guest Blog may indicate, strange things can well be simmering under the surface of any like minded ladies who can use an innocent past time as a cover to what they really get up to

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As ye sew, so shall ye reap.

6th July 2007 - 50 years


Planning is in hand -
further updates to follow
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Up up and away

There was a hot air balloon up over Berwick as we drove in today. It was a fine sunny day and with that almost endless landscape one gets up here. Fine and clear.

Reminded me of the sort of balloon I would have chosen if I had gone into the sport. This guy really had cloud-hopping capability even though he is just playing with the surface of the water. There was no drama in what he is doing here - everything was under control. He brought it down just enough to dip the end of a toe into the water and then he was up, up and away.

Super. Worth money. Posted by Picasa

Kipling puts 6 tarts in a box


The current investigation into the seemingly-serial murders of prostitutes in Ipswich has suggested that the women now dead were working to sustain their heroin habits. I detect a little bit of fluffiness here but will leave that for now. What this 'new' knowledge has done is lead to calls for drug use to be legalised or regulated in some other way. Theory seem to be that if these unfortunate females did not have to sell their bodies to fund a £500 per day habit they would not have been so vulnerable.
I am a little bit cold on this theory. There are vast numbers of women who live in abject poverty who do not just say 'fu*k it, I'm going on the game'. They get by. Getting by may seem a poor target in sociology terms but I am here contrasting their position with the girls who decide the street is the answer. They have found a way to obtain £500 a day. Those who do not get exposure to the under-life that is vice or drugs over-emphasise just how degraded these women must be. The drive for the money overcomes the self-respect. We have no way of knowing that merely giving a woman the drugs she seems to crave will balance out the – to her – simple way of earning a large sum of money. They have no asset other than their raddled body. Their education is generally unfinished and there is no alternative employment. Easing the pressure to earn does not mean they will suddenly turn into hordes of Mother Teresas or Lady Dis. Knowing that she is sitting on a gold mine will not make it easy to sit at home surrounded by kids and empty Buckfast bottles whilst watching CSI Bangalore. They are quite capable of creating some other activity that requires regular injections of easily earned cash.
If we give heroin to working girls, it will not be long before other users seek to obtain what they will see as their democratic rights to freeby drugs. The latest figures I can find regarding drug use in UK suggests that it is really only a very small minority who indulge. The media headlines about a drug threat sell papers but do not convey the scale of the situation. There can be few other minority activities – about 2% - where we would spend such potentially vast sums to achieve no really guaranteed result. The homicides in Ipswich are already leading to a wider discussion regarding prostitution. Not before time but any such legislation changes should not be undertaken in a knee-jerk reaction. Some thought needs to be given to the pimps and other third-parties in the commercial sex industry. They are in it for the money and legalising drugs will do them no favours.

Saturday, 16 December 2006

Microsh*t

Slashdot is asking for answers to the question "Why do people hate Micro$oft?"

I think Old William S. had it right long ago with 'Let me count the ways' but they sure do draw a lot of stick. My personal bitch is the habit that MS products seem to have where they change configuration overnight. I'll be working on something, save it and power down. Come back next day and my work is still there but has a completely changed layout or a foreign font has insinuated itself like a Vaselined garter snake.

I'm not geek enough - in fact, I'm totally non-geek but it does seem to me that their products seem to demand more disk space than similar products from another supplier. Firefox and Thunderbird are the main examples I can think of. I'm using Open Office to replace the MS Office suite and that seems a lot slimmer.

Whilst the opportunity to have a bitch is always appreciated, I cannot see Uncle Billy changing much.

Friday, 15 December 2006

Great day for news

Well, looks as if we can all sleep safe in our beds. It seems that what was possibly the biggest conspiracy theory of all time has crumpled down into dust. Diana, Princess of Wales was not murdered by Phil the Greek. As is the way with most such "seekings of the real truth", the report that she died as the result of a drunk chauffeur being allowed to get behind the wheel of her car is still disputed by Fayed.

This country used to be known for it's integrity in public and private matters. Successive governments have driven that ideal into the dirt. What must be the final nail in the coffin came yesterday when the gubmint bowed to blackmail from the Saudi authorities. We were investigating allegations of corruption in a massive, multi-billion, air defence contract with them. They knew what the result would be so they threw their Teddy into the corner and threatened trade sanctions if the inquiry continued. So, that is a few more detectives free to look into allegations that someone mocked a Muslim.

And here is a strange thing. On the day that these two events would grab the limited attention span of the average tabloid reader, B'liar gets interviewed on the honours for money allegations. Once again, Labour's spinners have had some success in covering dodgy dealings. Coincidence of course.

Were it not for the fact that I find a corn on the forehead unbecoming, I'd join the ranks of Islam. Even with things the way they are now, they have more honesty than the rats who claim to be our Government.

Wednesday, 13 December 2006

Old Big Mouth speaks yet again

B'liar is recommending a no-fly zone in Darfur.

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain would agree to a no-fly zone over Sudan's Darfur region as part of a U.N. sanctioned "Plan B" to halt violence and a humanitarian crisis in the African state, Prime Minister Tony Blair's spokesman said on Wednesday.

Blair's spokesman quoted comments made by him during a visit to Washington last week, in which the prime minister said the option of a no-fly zone to help the people of Darfur should be considered as part of possible sanctions against the Sudanese government if it did not agree to a U.N. peace plan.

In my ignorance, I had understood it was the Jangaweed gangs that were the main trouble. These used to be something like refugees from the set of some Few Dollars More-type movies set who have evolved into a sort of militia. Still mounted on camels or horseback they get around and do most of the damage. They get a better penetration and have time to stop and do a bit of rape before getting round to the arson and murder. Something the Sudanese aircraft cannot do. These are the forces that need to be eradicated.
Still, it is a further bit of posture politics by the master of smooth. As an old boss of mine used to say, “Any assistance short of actual help”

Some interesting comments from those who may have to get involved in his new game.

That settles it

The meeting in Iran for holacaust non-believers has attracted condemnation from B'Liar and the new boss of Germany.

She has said that it happened. That should stop the debate dead in it's tracks. The accused has confessed. From the horses mouth eh?

Sobbing in Saudi

Interesting insight - if correct - from Saudi where the media is rigidly controlled.

They jump on the bandwagon of the Baker report to go back to the dog's vomit that is Israel/Palestine and demand this be settled before much else.

One would have thought that with all the armed might they have that they would not worry about their co-religionists in Iraq but would go in and protect them.

Ah - but that would involve doing something rather more than standing on the sidelines. Given the dissent there appears to be in the Royal family, now is not a time to kick over the apple cart.

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Sulking in Saudi

Tuesday, 12 December 2006

Bit of stupidity

Don't normally take much notice of this sort of thing but, they do seem to have got it right!
I think I would have liked to be the cowboy?

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Monday, 11 December 2006

War as an art

Nice way to get a dig in on the Baker report re the (lack of) options for Iraq.

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Ancient Chinaman he say .......

Youth of today

I have only a couple of grandchildren in the teenage range. Going on the lack of criminal talent amongst my own children, I cannot see that this revelation will ever become personal to me.

Just how screwed up can kids get that footware matters?


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Boo Hoo Sob Sob

Hail & farewell

Well, seems someone liked him.

Sunday, 10 December 2006

Imagination

Don't quite know what to think about this bit of a blog. That the writer has an imagination cannot be denied. Just offer it to you as an example of some of the weird stuff that is out there. Her other blogs show same sort of weirdly-connected mind. May be just too many electrical impulses?

From an American soldier in Iraq

Don't have a link for this - sorry.

All I would add is - OK, so this is the problem. It suggests what should be done. How will the New Thinking get into the main stream minds?

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The Ugly American (Advisor)

A Soldier's Story
by MAJOR BILL EDMONDS

For just a minute or two, step into my life. I am an American soldier in the Army Special Forces. I have just returned from a one-year tour of duty in Iraq, where I lived, shared meals, slept and fought beside my Iraqi counterpart as we battled insurgents in the center of a thousand-year-old city. I am a conflicted man, and I want you to read the story of that experience as I lived it. In the interest of security, I have omitted some identifying details, but every word is true.

Routine and Ritual

I wake in the cold and dark of each morning to the sound of a hundred different muezzins calling Muslim men and women to prayer. These calls reverberate five times per day throughout a city the size of San Francisco. Above this sound I also hear two American helicopters making their steady patrol over the rooftops of the city and the blaring horns of armored vehicles as they swerve through dense city traffic. As a combat adviser and interrogator, I find these contrasts very appropriate for the life that I now lead.

This morning, on the Iraqi base in which I live, I walk 100 feet from my bedroom to work and back again. These are the same 100 feet I will travel month after month for one year. During every trip I smile, put a hand to my heart, sometimes a hand to my head, and say to every passing Iraqi the religious and cultural words that are expected from a fellow human being. In Iraq, one cannot separate Islamic culture from the individual. They are intrinsically woven into the fabric of daily life, but for most Westerners, they seem abnormal. I sit in smoke-filled rooms and drink sugar-laden tea in small crystal glasses. I spray tobacco-scented air freshener, kiss cheeks three times or more, allow the Iraqi on the right to pass through the doorway first. I know never to inquire on the health of a wife or elder daughter. I even hold hands with other men.

I proclaim my submission to God and my relationship to reality by saying "God willing" when referring to any future event. I say "God bless you" every time someone takes a seat. I eat with my hands, standing up, taking food from communal bowls. I attend work meetings where socializing is always the first priority. I hear the expressions "upon my mustache" or "by my eyes" or "over my head"--signifying the most binding and heartfelt of oaths. One day, I ask an Iraqi friend how many relatives he has and he answers, "In the city, maybe a thousand."

I have slowly come to realize that in Islam, and in Iraq, every action is worship. Every single thing that a person does--not just prayer or the time spent in a mosque but every action--is in fact an act of veneration. So yes, many things are different here. Yet we all have become friends--good friends--in part because I am here; I honor them and their religion by going out of my way to show them respect. Not all Americans act this way.

Many Americans assume that if a person does not speak English, it implies a lack of intelligence or some mental simplicity. We usually speak up only when spoken to. We attend meetings to pass information in the most efficient ways possible; our goal is always to decrease time while not losing content. For most Americans, God is intensely personal and religious utterances are not considered appropriate in a group of strangers. Our society is established on the principle of separating religion from state. In America, tobacco is quickly becoming a social taboo, and most men do not hold hands. If we are the first to arrive at a door, we enter first. We go on dates to meet future spouses--this is a cultural activity that I try again and again to explain. Also, Americans are a pragmatic people. We calculate the merit of an action first by its utility. In Islam, such a philosophy is immoral, and this truth is clearly manifest in the current clash between the Muslim and the postmodern worlds. So yes, we are very different. Yet if I look closely, with eyes wide open, I see that we are in some ways very much alike.

I jogged this morning around the small Iraqi base where I live. It was 6:00 a.m. and mildly warm. I wore very revealing blue Nike running shorts with ankle socks while listening to Limp Bizkit on my iPod. I slowly passed a small group of Iraqis and they all just stared, unsmiling. As I came closer, with a huge smile spread across my face, I put my hand to my heart and said, "Peace be upon you all," (in Arabic of course) while gasping for air. They all, in unison,
completely changed and beamed smiles, waved, talked, gave me a thumbs-up and replied, "Peace be upon you."

Insurgents

On this small plot of land where I live, next to the Tigris River, in the very center of an Islamic metropolis, I help find and then interrogate terrorists alongside the Iraqi officer whom I advise and with whom I also live. We interrogate hundreds of suspected terrorists over many, many months. One of my responsibilities is to insure that prisoners are not abused. This I have done.

But for a year I have also been an observer of an immensely complicated situation. I am a soldier who fights alongside Iraqis, and I interact daily with and hear the words of Iraqi soldiers, civilians and insurgents alike. Through their eyes I see the strengths, foibles and faults of my military and culture.

Sometimes I wish for the return of my ignorance. If no one else can understand my distress, I hope other Americans who fought shoulder to shoulder with other cultures--the French, Filipino, the Nungs and Yards and tribesmen of Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Cambodia--will understand.

From my seat in a dark basement room I understand that many of those who terrorize have always hated the Americans. But being Muslim is definitely not a predisposition for violence; quite the opposite for most Iraqis.

Why is it that many have slowly transformed over three years from happily liberated American supporters, to passive supporters of the insurgency, to active fighters of the American "occupation"? "I love Americans but hate your military," says a college professor turned insurgent. "Americans have come here because you want our oil and because of your support of Israel. You bring democracy, but the Iraqi pays the price." These were the first words I heard from a man I will call Ibrahim.

The Iraqi Army had captured him. He was angry, and for the first time he was sitting face to face with the American soldier whom he hates beyond reason. That was two weeks ago.

Yesterday, I put two red plastic chairs outside in the sun and spoke with him again. This time, I believe I am not the American soldier he has come to hate. This time I am "Mr. Bill," and it is now hard for him to hate me. I can see and sense his inner turmoil. For Ibrahim and for me, it is hard to hold on to the hate when the once-indistinct face becomes a real person. Later, he admits to having been deceived about the evil that is the American soldier. For two weeks I have spoken Arabic with him, started and ended every interaction with the required cultural and religious sayings, and demonstrated knowledge of his religion. For two weeks I have shown Ibrahim that I respect him as both an Iraqi and as a Muslim.

"It is how you act," he says, "and how we are treated that makes me fight. For many Iraqis this anger at you is just an excuse to kill for money or greed. But for most others, they truly feel they are doing what is right. But you give them this excuse; the American military gives them the excuse." So now terrorist leaders pretending to be pious Iraqis target this very common base anger, Iraqis fight and civilians raise their fists to salute the Holy Fighter.

"Two years ago I saw Abu Ghraib and what Americans did to women. I became an insurgent," whispers a man I call Kareem, another civilian turned insurgent.

"You come into our homes without separating the women and children, or asking the men politely if you may enter. Almost every hour of my life I hear some noise or see some sight of the American military. Soldiers talk with Iraqis only from behind a gun, from a position of power and not respect. Last week American soldiers got on a school bus and talked with all of the teenage girls. You had them take off their hijab so you could see their faces. You do not respect our women. This is the biggest of all problems of yours. You do not respect our women. How can we believe that Americans want to help when you do not even respect us or our faith?"

I later tell Kareem that these soldiers thought a person hiding a bomb was on the bus. This was obviously too little and too late. Perceptions are what count and word of American soldiers demanding to see the faces of Muslim women streamed from cellphone to cellphone across an entire city. Perhaps different from other past insurgencies fighting in different societies, within Iraq and over years, negative perceptions are what transform a citizen into an insurgency supporter and then into an insurgent. Now I drive throughout the crowded city alternating between shooting a machine gun and throwing Beanie-Babies to waving children. I think that at least the children are out in the streets and most are still waving. But even this hopeful sight is disappearing.

Last night the Iraqi Army captured Ibrahim's cell leader and brought the two together in the same small room. For Ibrahim, this was a very traumatic moment, for he saw that the pious Muslim man, whom he followed but had not met, was in fact a 27-year-old tattooed common criminal. Ibrahim began to weep when he realized he had been deceived. A greedy and immoral man who killed for money while pretending to be religious had skillfully manipulated Ibrahim's anger at Americans. Before Ibrahim was turned over to the Iraqi authorities, I saw him teaching soldiers to use their new office computer. He was helping them to type up his own written confession. But Ibrahim's transformation is an anomaly. Such a confluence of peaceful events does not often turn an insurgent away from the insurgency. Most insurgents continue to fight the hated American soldier whom they have never met. Their hope is that the American soldier will just go away.

Bursting Bubbles

I have slowly come to understand that if we are to succeed in Iraq, we must either change the way we perceive and treat those we want to help or we must disengage the great percentage of our military from the population. The Iraqi base where I now live was once a small American base. The anxiety and distress of American soldiers in years past are scratched in the ceiling over my bed.

"The mind is a terrible thing...," "keep a sharp look-out during your descent," "happiness is a temporary state of mind," "control is just an illusion" and "nothing is as it seems." Across the room, on another wall, next to another bed, are other words from another soldier.

They read, "My score in this War: Arabs=10, cars=10, houses=3."

American soldiers are angry and frustrated with Iraqis. Iraqis are angry and frustrated with Americans. Many Iraqis just want American soldiers to go away, and I struggle within myself not to agree. Day after day I observe the interactions of Americans with Iraqis and am often ashamed. I see that required classes given to all American soldiers on cultural sensitivity do not work; 100,000 or more American soldiers daily interacting, engaging and fighting Iraqis within their own society for more than three years will inevitably create a wellspring of citizen hostility. In this war, none of us can change who we fundamentally are.

American military culture interacts with Iraqi Islamic culture like a head-on collision. And massive deployments of American soldiers fighting a counterinsurgency now hurts more than it helps. When we focus on the military solution to resolve a social problem, we inevitably create more insurgents than we can capture or kill. As a consequence, real "Islamic terrorists" subverting their own tolerant religion will use this popular anger and sense of resentment to their advantage. As much as they hate and fear us, they also say that we cannot just leave the mess that we have made.

"I know the American military cannot now leave Iraq," says another captured insurgent whom I will call Muhammad. "If you did, we would all start fighting each other until one person killed enough enemies to come out on top. When I stop seeing your military shooting at civilians on our streets and I stop seeing Iraqi soldiers and policemen as your puppets, then I will stop fighting."

Muhammad may be naïve and living in a bubble of projected motivations and false perceptions. But his bubble burst when he was captured and plucked from an insular society. My own bubble burst when I was taken out of my society and put into Muhammad's. Military leaders tell us to "focus on training the Iraqi soldiers and policemen to fight, and do not fight the insurgency yourself." Yet if the citizen is angry with us, won't this anger just transfer to the very people we train and fight with? What if we are unintentionally assuring that the Iraqi soldiers and policemen will have someone to fight against if we leave?

The Iraqi civilian I speak with says that is so. In the eyes of many, there is now no difference between the American on patrol and the Iraqi policeman or soldier who is with the American on patrol. If the citizen believes that the American military is an "occupying power," won't he now perceive the Iraqi policeman or soldier as this occupier's puppet?

American soldiers do live within self-imposed bubbles of isolation. These are called American bases and are where the greatest percentage of soldiers live and never leave. These bubbles are far different from the universe of Muhammad and his colleagues. We know that Muhammad's beliefs about who we are and what motivates us are mostly false. His first perceptions are defined by culture and religion, careful words of terrorist leaders, and a thousand channels of satellite television beamed into the homes of almost every Iraqi. It is then our behavior that contributes to these negative perceptions. Our self-imposed isolation and the citizens' perceptions may be all that the insurgency needs to continue and be successful.

I have come to realize that we isolate our soldiers from the societies in which we operate. We airlift and sealift vacuum-sealed replicas of America to remote corners of the world; once there, we isolate ourselves from the very people we are trying to protect or win over. An Iraqi once told me, "How you treat us must be like how African-Americans felt."

If you're an American soldier in Iraq working as an adviser, ask yourself this:

Is the Iraqi I live and fight with not allowed to enter any American facility?

If you are a military adviser or training to be an adviser, look around where you eat:

Are the Americans on one side of the room and the Iraqis on the other?

Do you even eat with Iraqis?

Do you go out of your way to avoid eye contact and thus not greet the Iraqis you walk by?

Do you try to learn their language or follow their customs?

Do you habitually expect Iraqis to share intelligence and then not respond in kind?

Do you distrust them?

Last week I read an article in an American newspaper that described a very common scene. Getting ready to go on a mission with an Iraqi policeman, a young American soldier snaps at an Iraqi officer and says, "Get off the cellphone."

Then this same soldier turns to another American soldier and says, "He is probably warning a terrorist that we are coming." It may not be racism, only ignorance combined with frustration and paranoia, but to the Iraqi, it sure does feel like racism.

To play the role of a combat adviser--something American military personnel are increasingly asked to do--is to live within a foreign culture and to train and fight with a foreign military. Many American soldiers are not capable of such an important role or mission. The job is long, very difficult, and set within a very austere, hostile and unfamiliar environment. The adviser becomes culturally isolated and so requires a unique personality combined with extensive training; but most lack this expertise and inclination. It's a sink-or-swim job, and most candidates sink after only a few months. They then retreat inside the shells of themselves and soon become combat advisers who do not interact or even advise.

They thus form adviser teams that are dysfunctional and counterproductive. They exist until the day arrives when they can return home to a place that is familiar, where they are not hated.

The Tightrope

American soldiers now patrol the streets with extreme caution and quick reflexes. They have come to think that every Iraqi who runs a red light or does not yield is a terrorist. They shoot at or accidentally kill civilians, which then creates one more insurgent and three more insurgency supporters. I know this cause-and-effect explanation is simplistic for an immensely complicated situation, but you get the picture. I will never fault American soldiers for their actions and reactions; it really is dangerous out there, and no other nation could ever ask for such service and sacrifice from its citizens. Yet I also try not to fault Iraqi civilians, for their truth is just as valid to them
as is mine to me.

I have seen firsthand why I cannot create stability by force within an Islamic society and why many say democracy cannot be brought by force but must evolve.

To be a moral person in a protracted counterinsurgency is my daily struggle, one in which I am asked to instill social morality on a culture that is not my own.

So what is the balance between taking charge in Iraq and/or abandoning the country? Our best response is to pull the American soldiers back and push the Iraqi soldiers/policemen forward as quickly as possible. I feel the urgency of this mandate as I type these very words on this small Iraqi base among Iraqi soldiers. As I told Ibrahim, the captured insurgent, "I want to leave your country. The only reason I stay here is because Iraqis are dying and you insist
on fighting. All we want to do is to help."

I naturally assumed he understood this. Well, he had not, and most do not. This message is one that is lacking and one that Iraqis surely need. So I find myself balanced on a tightrope bridging a deathly height. As Iraqi intelligence officers once explained to me over hot tea, "It is a race to see which of many possibilities comes first; the competency of an Iraqi Security Force with a stable and competent government, or the formation of a monolithic and deadly insurgency or civil war, both of which would prevent the latter."

In Iraq, I wish to survive and to succeed. Yet as the days pass, my hopes increasingly become mutually exclusive: The insurgency gets more effective; the citizen anger at us and the Iraqi Security Force becomes greater; the fractions in the society grow deeper and more violent; the American public becomes more impatient as the war is perceived as less legitimate and the conditions to form a stable Iraqi government become more elusive.

So I run along this rope as if in a race to get away. I run knowing full well that my speed comes only at the sacrifice of my balance. I long for the tranquility of normalcy, the comfortable, the understandable, and so I want to run from Iraq. So what then can I do besides serve admirably and hope for the best while fearing the worst?

The Iraqi officer I advise once said after months of frantically working to capture terrorists, "You need to just relax. You are here, so there will always be another terrorist to capture. Sit and drink some tea with me."

I doubt he was intentionally being prophetic. As a soldier who lives with an Iraqi, I do hope to one day just sit and drink some tea with him. To sit and talk of family without a worry in the world. But to do so, I must do more than just train, advise and fight with my Iraqi friend. I must go out of my way every single day to disprove the "Ugly American" label that is attached to me. I must approach every personal interaction as a singular opportunity to battle the insurgency and then realize that my interactions with each and every Iraqi do have very lasting and very strategic consequences.

Where do we go from here?

I cling to the hope that sometime very soon, we will disentangle ourselves from the current armed conflicts and then come to realise that there are very few military methods capable of successfully dealing with internal disorder or internecine struggle. The daily slaughter in NI ended when both sides accepted there was no military solution, Cyprus and Aden may have been others and Iraq/Afghanistan look to be headed down the same route.
The United Nations is exposed as an expensive talking shop. Whilst there have been some successes where the UN has achieved some benefit, these are outweighed by those instances where UN has been exposed as a toothless watch-dog. Nations concentrate on their own interests and form alliances only as needed to achieve their own selfish aims.
The super-powers have lost much of their influence. The events around 9/11 seem to have been based upon Islamic disgust at American actions and influence. The UK has now reduced itself like a Gordon Ramsey sauce until our armed forces is classified as a defence force. Russia has sufficient problems with former USSR member states to keep them busy. China has a monster standing army but seems likely to achieve all they want to commercial means rather than military adventure. India and Pakistan will keep each other amused. The proliferation of nuclear weapons will, hopefully, lead people back to MAD which did work in the past.
So, what is the alternative? Swords into ploughshares has a nice sound to it. As it applies to UK, we might retain a small Army but the main military resources would be formed into a militia. The Army would ensure that the pure military techniques and skills would be ring-fenced against the sort of loss that might occur from the militia concept. Engineers would be employed to improve infrastructures at home and in what are now regarded as 3rd World countries. Logistics would be in support of the engineering effort in addition to the services needed by the standing Army. We have seen the benefits afforded by a disciplined force when introduced into natural disaster scenario.
I am not going to detail this redeployment of our armed forces. There is – I regret – sufficient fuzziness and (maybe) clouded thinking in what I have written but I am sure there are others who should be able to pick this up and run, walk or limp with it.
With the dreadful increase in our ability to guarantee death from military weapons and methods allied to fighting amongst the civil community, we sure as hell cannot carry on as we are doing right now.

Treated badly

Nice article in Sunday Times today. Well, not nice in content but nice in the points raised. Trouble I see is getting it into the self-satisfied brains of our politicians as they munch their way through the marmalade and toast en-route to the sports sections.

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How many people know of what is here written? How many care?

Saturday, 9 December 2006

Democracy rules - OK

This is the sort of thing that deserves support. Good old agitprop!

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Demonstrate legally

Free Hugs

On my own admission, I go down as a miserable old bugger. However, there is something about the Free Hugs - what is it? Campaign, Movement, Party, Whatever. I don't even know why it impresses me but I'd be happy to give or get a Free Hug. Just follow even some of the links - especially the UTube ones and you might see where it could, just possibly, be doing something good.
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The Free Hugs story starts here. Check out the links

Times they are a'changing

The general publics' attitude towards those members of the armed forces serving in dangerous places seems ambivalent. This may seem illogical. An article in today's Daily Telegraph has a good try at explaining why this should be.

Now here it is - Merry Whatmas

My daughter is currently on a Corporate freeby in Dubai. Shows the benefit of getting an educashan. She is staying at the top hotel there. We were talking about the place and she mentioned that the hotel's Christmas programme is massive. It will be fully celebrated as Christmas and not as some nebulous holiday such as Winterval or some such so as to avoid offending those with a non-Christian faith. In addition, all of the shopping malls are decorated for Christmas – again by name.

So, this just increases my annoyance at the sort of measures that various authorities and organisations are taking here in Great Britain to avoid the dread word and concept of Christmas. It is ignorance that leads them to do it but it is a festering sore and B'liar would be better employed imposing some of his talents for instant legislation if he were to stop this sort of rubbish.

Friday, 8 December 2006

Men of Principle or Blind Mans Bluff?

Every day, there is more and more reasoned debate on things in Iraq and Afghanistan. It seems that at times, there is no other topic beyond where do we go now or what do we do next? The government of other things must be on hold when the elected leaders are so fixated on these two arena.

So, are they principled or lost in the maze?

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Just another in volumes of the same

Way to go

The results of the study group as presented to POTUS Bush seem to attract little criticism thus far.

So, why is it that I find it to be based upon events that I cannot see as ever getting off the ground, still less proceed to any result. To invite discussion with Iran and Syria over the future shape of Iraq seems doomed to fail. They will insist upon concessions that our side cannot meet. Syria will want Golan Heights reclamation at the very least. Iran has a list of 'wants' where even a choice of runners would take far longer than we have in face of the rapidly deterioration situation in Iraq.

The Palestine/Israel situation will always put a total knock-down on anything being resolved in Middle Eastern strategy.

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Don't believe me? Just read what this guy has to say.

Tiny minds

Just now and again I come across something on the web that stops me dead in my tracks. I think I am quite blase and at ease with the wonders of science. Having seen those early computers that took up the space of a detached house to do something now included in my cell phone, I take development in my stride.

Or, so Ithought until I read this blog from my muse Gemmak. I have spent a heck of a long time just gazing at this and following one little blob. I keep coming back to it; I am sure half the hits on her counter are mine. I marvel at anyone coming up in the first place with the idea of creating this and stand in awe at what it must have taken in time and buttock-clenching tension to get it right.

Only shadow of doubt. What if the individual who did this decided to go crook? That is enough to postpone my internet banking for another year.

Thanks to Jane for posting this.

Thursday, 7 December 2006

Now I know why I am sleeping better

Something that has impinged deeply into my everyday life has been dealt with. Today is the first day of the rest of my life (who was it who used to say that? Some hippy, mantra-chanting mob?)


"The BBC reports that Dr. James Anderson, of the University of Reading, has finally conquered the problem of dividing by zero. His new number, which he calls "nullity" solves the 1200 year old problem that niether Newton nor Pythagoras could solve, the problem of zero to the zero power. Story features video (Real Player only) of Dr. Anderson explaining the "simple" concept."

Wednesday, 6 December 2006

iPod Moments

I have an iPod

I use my iPod a lot

I have most of the accessories for my iPod

I WILL not be getting ALL the accessories!

When the time comes

Just shows that one had better live the life one is dealt - never know how it is going to end up.

Blog censorship

I tried to draw attention to a politically-inspired hint of blog censorship. Not a very good idea I reckon but this lady has come up with her opinions that are very valid.

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Cleaning up after the bloggers

Tuesday, 5 December 2006

Messing about with the NHS


The Wizard Of Con is at it again. Here he uses two reports to announce changes in the NHS. Just how many of the 'driven-past' hospitals have spent how much in upgrading facilities that will now be ignored? Concentrating resources in a few hi-tech locations may be outwardly sensible but there is the 'all eggs in one basket' syndrome. MRSA, union problems and local utilities can put a expensive and dedicated site out of use very quickly. One of the strengths of the last Christmas Rush on intensive care units was the ability to shuttle patients around from receiving hospital to one which had bed space available.
In addition, there is the perfidy angle of this gubmint. Very soon, they will produce their usual slanted statistics 'clearly showing' that the driven-past hospitals really do very little and can be closed. They will need to do something to find a saving that will permit their desired 66% pay rise for those democratically elected to serve the populace. Yeah – tell me about it.

Two reports by government advisors, Sir George Alberti and Professor Roger Boyle, published today, both conclude that traditional A&E departments are not the only option when dealing with life-and-death situations. Professor Boyle, the national clinical director for heart disease, found that specialist centres providing hi-tech treatment, which may be further away for the patient, could save an estimated 500 lives of people suffering heart attacks.


These could help prevent 1,000 further heart attacks and result in 1,000 more stroke victims avoiding death and disability each year.
His colleague, Sir George Alberti, the national clinical director for emergency care, also said there should be fewer hospitals trying to do everything, and "more convenient and appropriate care closer to home" for people with less serious conditions. Mr Blair described the reports as a "compelling and vivid account" of ongoing hospital reforms.


A separate report by the left-of-centre thinktank, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), argues that campaigns to save services at local hospitals could cost as many as 1,000 unnecessary deaths a year.
The thinktank, which is close to Downing Street, says patients with heart attacks or severe injuries are more likely to survive if the ambulance takes them past their local district general hospital to a more distant specialist centre.
It says that the expensive and complex treatments and highly-trained staff needed to deal with these emergencies in the most effective way would be better concentrated at regional specialist centres, rather than spread more thinly around local facilities.

Smile - you're on camera. Maybe

CCTV was introduced whilst I was engaged in commercial management. My security background meant that I was always suspicious when the salesmen came calling at my door. Insurance requirements usually meant that we had to install them but the surveyor had to convince me when he produced his solution. I can think of some four situations where we had cause to refer to the tapes and only once did we get anything that could be of use in the investigation.

So, it is interesting to see what a 'proper' policeman has to say a number of years after my Philistine attitude to the damned things.

Mind you, we did have some fun with one particular camera. It overlooked a rear doorway that, at night, was used as a place of work for the local prostitutes. The battle I had over that one was in resisting provision of a loud speaker so that my guards could award points for technique and performance.

Hospitality

It is normal for immense hospitality to be shown to visiting police-officers from another country.

However, I reckon that the British officers now in Russian will look askance at any suggestion they have a night out which includes a cosy supper in a sushi bar?

Oh doctor I'm in trouble

Guesting today is a doctor working for the NHS. Seems he does not quite find the NHS hype living up to the actuailty.

Still, I should worry - I've got my Do Not Resuscitate tag around my neck and the 'no artificial feeding or rehydration' note on my documents so I should not cause them too much bother.

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It is not an easy life

Good news is no news

When much of what the MSM carries is doom and gloom in Iraq, it seems that there are some good things going on. I suppose it is the old adage that good news does not sell papers but one would have thought that when there is activity to crow about, someone would have picked it up.

The other thing the article suggests is that there was a targetted, intelligence-led, offensive. This sort of work taken time and patience but can yield impressive results.

Monday, 4 December 2006

A newer view

The blogger here, sounds a little despondent and fed-up. Up until my last lot of The Black Dog depression, I had similar doubts and ideas. The danger is that in many ways, it can be comfortable to relax and let karma wash over one. As a retiree, it is even easier as attitudes can be indulged in ways that would have led to big problems whilst a wage slave.

I reasoned that just a few years back, I would have been moving heaven and earth to get out of acceptance and it was unhealthy not to do so.

If the cap fits - wear it. It may help YOU

Oh to be in Scotland

Living up here in Scotland, there are many benefits. I came here because I liked the place (and those bits of nearby England) but thought that devolution would lead on to full independence. It may yet.

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What I mean by benefits

Can Johnny come out to play?

Thank the Lord that my children are long past grown up status and that the grand-children are all teenagers and more. Were I to have to live in the atmosphere as described in the guest contribution, confrontations would be a daily event.

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Children of today don't know they're .......

Santa soldiers

Just got back from sending off a few parcels to our troops out in Iraq. The gubmint has dropped all defences and is transporting parcels free of charge. Free that is so long as each one does not exceed 2 kilograms in weight and is within a standard size. I had to have two bites at the cherry as the first parcel was well in excess of the permitted weight. Finally beat the red tape by sending three packages.

I cannot understand the weight limit bit. Where is the difference between 100 parcels weighing a total of 400 pounds and 50 parcels weighing 400 pounds? Obviously, there is a risk that some nut will try and send a bloody big box weighing 50 kilos but I cannot think so. The factor is the transport of freight totalling 400 pounds; how that total is packed must be immaterial. Maybe the weight per box is limited just to ensure fairness when the parcel staff play the "let's see how far we can kick the parcel" game?

My other query is, do they weigh the body bag when they send home the soldiers killed in the politicians' stupid war?

Comment on our times


I can understand what the poster of this "Secrets" message was getting at.

When I compare the sort of thing I see described as "kicks" today with the fun and games I enjoyed as a young person, I can understand the frustration that may lie at the bottom of some of the modern age's antics.

As the man sings

"I'd trade all of my 'tomorrows' for just one 'yesterday'.

Sunday, 3 December 2006

Name changed for your protection

I see that this is entitled as being a blog to protect bloggers

Very advanced - I see they blog in code.

Castro party


This is a crowd shot at the party organised to mark Castro's birtheday.
Bet they all went home and claimed that they had had a jolly good time.
The man himself did not show at any of the events held to mark the occasion.
But then, if I were an absolute dictator, I'd choose a dark-skinned cigar roller and a few of her best efforts over some rave up such as the one these people seem to be at.

Friday, 1 December 2006

Your mileage may vary

We get reports from 'Back at Base' about how well the process is going of getting Iraqi troops and police to do their own dirty work. Bush says, and B.Liar yaps much the same, that we will not leave until they can look after themselves.

So, from the front line reports, it will be a hot night in winter before that state is achieved. If America is struggling with theivast resources, what hope do we have?


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Struggling to teach the unteachable

Priorities - follow on

I think/hope that I lack the meanness of spirit to fully agree with my Guest blogger but he does make a point I can understand. I hope he is mistaken but he does have history on his side.

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Just publicity to distract too much attention?

Offence monitor

Just to remind you what the various levels mean:
LOW Meaning - We are slightly miffed, although we are not sure why. We think we are not as popular as we would like to be.Non-Muslim response - Tread very carefully and do not offend usConsequence of non-compliance - We will get very cross and stamp our feet
GUARDED Meaning - We are quite offended, because people are generally picking on us.Non-Muslim response - Stop making jokes about usConsequence of non-compliance - We will rant on about "Islamophobia" and "Orientalism", although we don't understand what those words really mean
ELEVATED Meaning - We are definitely cross, because people keep blaming us for 9/11, Parisian cars getting torched, Saudi women getting stonedNon-Muslim response - Pretend that these things have nothing to do with Islam or Muslims, tell everyone how we brought algebra to 9th Century SpainConsequence of non-compliance - We will cause even more mayhem. Did you leave your car out in the street?
HIGH
Meaning - We are extremely offended by a particular individual or countryNon-Muslim response - That individual or country must apologizeConsequence of non-compliance - Individual; Fatwa, assassination, or both. Country; Boycott (unless you export things the Saudi Royal Family are consumers of), and Saudi newspapers write a long string of boring and repetitive articles that you will never read but will drive Saudi readers to distraction.
SEVERE Meaning - We have had enough of your rudeness and ridicule and have gone completely ballisticNon-Muslim response - We demand that the Pope and President Bush go down on their knees and apologize personally for every rude thing that everyone has ever said about us over the last 1400 years, and promise that it won't happen againConsequence of non-compliance - We will cease the export of oil, therefore depriving the numerous Saudi Royal Family of all income, we will cease the import of all cars, tanks, airplanes (military and civil), computers, building technology, infrastructure and general professional expertise, and we will stop visiting Western fleshpots like the South of France, the USA, London..... Honest. We will. We really mean it this time. Just you wait. We really will. You better believe it. We're not kidding. We're telling you. Honest. Don't make us do it.....Anyway, we are now on....






Priorities

Brown's new son has cystic fibrosis. Devastating news for any parent and it must be a double blow for them both after losing a child some while back. However, they are getting good treatment at an early stage which should postpone the day their son dies of his condition. It would be dreadful if they were forced to watch their child deteriorate in the face of medical assistance being withheld.

However, that situation is exactly what is happening to patients at the other end of the age spectrum. The committee which decides upon who gets what drugs and when they get them has ruled that the initial onset of Altzheimer's will not be treated with medication that can delay the progress of the condition. The practical result of this can only be that sufferers and their loved ones cannot hope for anything that assists in delaying the more distressing phases. And when they get to that dreaded situation, they may then be given drugs which hold them there. I can think of no more inhumane treatment.

Thursday, 30 November 2006

Read this

Yes - I know I said today was a rest day but ............ I was never one for resting anyway.

What dragged me out of my torpor was this item on a tough love scheme. I am sure any American readers know of this guy and he did come to London earlier this year. I can quite understand he was not impressed!

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Tough guy sheriff

No milk today thank you


Today has been declared an official rest and maintenance day

Wednesday, 29 November 2006

Happy days - Afghan style

So, it's not enough that Iraq is going to Hell in a handcart. Now we have 'difficulties' in Afghanistan.
Bliar is asking for a bit more action from our nominal NATO allies down where the fit is hitting the shan whilst at the same time officials are saying that the Taliban have won and we should do some sort of deal with them. Whilst this is going on, we get the NATO Commander (speaking from the safety of the bunker under his desk in Belgium) saying what a wonderful job Pakistan is doing. I suppose that by comparison with the NATO troops, any sort of action seems wonderful – even inaction.
How the hell this can be called a coalition I know not. In the meantime, the troops at the sharp end carry on – underfunded, badly resourced, not appreciated.