Tuesday, 4 November 2008

I quite believe it

Being married makes you more likely to commit suicide in prison, according to an Oxford University study. Researchers who looked at almost 4,800 cases from 12 countries also found that white males were more likely to take their own lives while in jail.

The findings contrast with research that shows suicide rates are higher among the single and divorced. In 2007 more than 90 people killed themselves in prisons in England and Wales, up from 67 the year before. Psychiatry researchers at Oxford looked at 34 studies of prison suicides, stretching back over 40 years and covering the deaths of 4,780 people.

The largest number of cases were from England and Wales, followed by the United States, European nations, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

92 killed themselves
Up from 67 in 2006
Seven deaths of under-21s
22 of 92 were on suicide watch
44% of prisoners were unsentenced
Figures for England and Wales; Sources: Ministry of Justice/Howard League for Penal Reform

Studies in the general population have consistently shown that marriage plays an important role in reducing the chances of someone taking their life.

But when the prison figures were analysed, the team found that the opposite was true. Those most likely to commit suicide in jail were white, male, married and working before they were convicted, the study concluded.

These prisoners had the most to lose and were likely to be the hardest hit by their sentence, the research suggests.

What this does is spark off in me some of the witticisms connected with the normal hazards of married life even when not banged up.

Q. Why do married men usually die years before their wives?.
A. Because they want to.

Marriage? Prison without bars?

A good pal of mine was on the phone and one of his rugby chums was trying to get him out on the hit and miss.
His reply, " I can't make mate, I'm in the I.F.C. "
His pal, obviously enquiring about what the I.F.C. was.
Reggie, " I'm married now mate and she won't let me out, I'm in the 'I'm Fu*ked Club'

By their stupidity shall ye know them

I have just read something that makes me think we are at the beginning of April (1st to be exact) rather than the beginning of November.
Cat and dog owners are to be told to provide "entertainment" and "mental stimulation" for their pets under new government advice. The code of practice also includes advice on diet and providing "somewhere suitable to go to the toilet". It says owners should watch for signs of stress and advises on introducing cats to dogs without the fur flying.
Owners will not be fined for breaking the rules but failure to comply may be used in animal cruelty prosecutions. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said it wanted to remind pet owners of their responsibilities under the 2006 Animal Welfare Act. The 26 page document on cat welfare begins with a warning to owners: "It is your responsibility to read the complete Code of Practice to fully understand your cat's welfare needs and what the law requires you to do."
Certainly, I have seen the reports of ditzy old women who have 95 cats in a two bedroom house or 30 beagles in a house where the carpet was 6" thick in dog sh*t but they are well outside the terms of DEFRA's latest stupidity. This animal welfare -focussed DEFRA is the same department that slaughtered thousands of cattle rather than use vaccination at he time of the F & M outbreak.
I feel insulted by this but console myself that it was doubtless written by supporters of Brown writing for an intended audience of Brown supporters. Truly Brown Stuff. Do we not need a Code of Practice for aged relatives, family of cancer sufferers, soldiers whose confidence is destroyed by serving their country?

Packing ready to leave

Found in a photograph album at the White House

Stephen Fry

An extremely learned man. His written work is as funny as his spoken word is acerbic and reasoned. But, where he is discussing language, I do wish he would use shorter paragraphs.

Still fighting yesterday's war

Tracking Russian Ships More Vital than Providing Intelligence for British Troops Fighting Taliban.
Problems with the fuel system on the Nimrod MR2 aircraft continue despite the decision to suspend air-to-air refuelling. Britain was forced to pull its Nimrod spy planes off operations in Afghanistan a few weeks ago and has not been able to replace them yet. The reason the two aircraft had to be pulled out differs depending on who you talk to but it is clear that there were continuing problems. The reason they were not replaced was that the other serviceable Nimrods were required for a very old-fashioned Nimrod job, tracking the Russian Navy!
Yes, having spend forever telling us that the role the Nimrods were carrying out in Afghanistan was so important they could not possibly be grounded, RAF commanders ruled that demonstrating the ability to track the Russian ships was more important than providing vital surveillance for troops on the ground in Afghanistan. The Russian ships, led by the nuclear-powered cruiser Peter the Great, were on their way down to the Caribbean to take part in a joint exercise with the Venezuelan navy this month in a move seen as being designed to irritate the US.
President Hugo Chavez has been a constant critic of the US, accusing it of using “terror to fight terror” and claiming last month that America was planning an invasion to remove him from power. The joint naval exercise was “a warning” to Washington, Chavez said. “It is a message to the empire,” he said. “Venezuela is no longer poor and alone. Russia is with us. We are strategic allies.” The Americans initially poured scorn on the idea of Russian ships exercising in the Caribbean, with a State Department official suggesting they were unlikely to “make it that far”. But a visit by Chavez to Moscow last month during which the Russians increased their arms shipments to Venezuela £3bn worth of aircraft, tanks and weaponry refocused attention on the issue.
When US officials realised the size of the fleet leaving the Russian Arctic port of Severomorsk in late September they admitted they would be watching the naval exercises “very closely”. With the Americans determined to know every detail of what the Russians were doing, RAF commanders believed they had no choice but to suspend operations over Afghanistan in order to track the Russian ships, even though they already knew where they were going!
We - the Western powers - do seem to have a talent for fighting yesterday's wars. The main indicator is the purchase of what are now redundant weapons. Trident, large aircraft carriers and high performance fighter aircraft. Meanwhile, our fighting troops lack helicopters and vehicles suited to what we are doing today.

Not with forked tongue

I do not have a lot of time for Paxman. I find him overbearing, bullying and loud. I conceded that he gets better answers from politicians in this way - they are used to it and trained for it - but he uses the same approach to all those he interviews.
However, he has written a piece about the wearing of poppies that I find excellent.

The way things are going in Afghanistan, British soldiers could still be risking life and limb long after Tony Blair has retired to his country house and a seat in the House of Lords.

I shall wear a poppy not because I believe the gun is the best way of settling disputes, still less because I admire the pretence, ambition, folly, vanity or desperation of the politicians who make the fateful decisions.

I shall wear a poppy because an act of remembrance once a year is the very least that those of us who have not been asked to risk our lives can offer those who did not have our choice.
Perhaps he should stick to writing and use his forensic talent there?

Monday, 3 November 2008

A sad love story

This was sent to me as a funny. I can see the joke (maybe not pc but I am not very good at that anyway) but what struck me was that it was a sad story as I can imagine that the mind of the confused like Edna's can work like that depicted here.

The love story of Ralph and Edna.

Just because someone doesn't love you the way you want them to, doesn't mean they don't love you with all they have.
Ralph and Edna were both patients in a mental hospital. One day while they were walking past the hospital swimming pool. Ralph suddenly jumped into the deep end. He sank to the bottom of the pool and stayed there.
Edna promptly jumped in to save him. She swam to the bottom and pulled him
out. When the Head Nurse Director became aware of Edna's heroic act she immediately ordered her to be discharged from the hospital, as she now considered her to be mentally stable.
When she went to tell Edna the news she said, 'Edna, I have good news and bad news. The good news is you're being discharged, since you were able to rationally respond to a crisis by jumping in and saving the life of the person you love. I have concluded that your act displays sound mindedness.
The bad news is, Ralph hung himself in the bathroom with his bathrobe belt right after you saved him. I am so sorry, but he's dead.'
Edna replied, 'He didn't hang himself, I put him there to dry. How soon can I go home?'

Price cuts to improve trading?

Budget airline Ryanair is preparing to launch transatlantic flights for just £8 by buying cheap planes from struggling rivals.The plan will be revealed as chief executive Michael O'Leary announces the company's half year results.

"Economy class will be very cheap - around 10 euros. But our business class will be very expensive. There's always 10-15% who'll pay whatever it costs for a wide seat," he said. The £8 flights - which could begin by the end of next year - would be available for those booking early. Passengers would pay airport taxes on top of the fares.

Ryanair's half-year profits have fallen by 47%, according to figures out this morning.


The budget airline says it will make a loss over the next six months after forecasting a drop in average fares of between 15% and 20%. Falling oil prices and its desire to keep its planes flying with fewer empty seats will drive fares lower.

Ryanair reported half-year profits fell to £170.4m in the six months to September 30, a period when fuel costs soared 101%.

So, a touch of Irish Keynes then? King Cyclops can study this.

This is not the way

I find myself torn two ways here. One says that there can be no excuse for vigilante actions. If the sentence awarded was deemed inappropriate, then that is a price for democracy that framed the laws, the punishment and appointed the Judges. However, I have already suggested a solution to the question of making punishment fit the crime. This involved a court process as now up to a finding of guilt. The Court would declare that X killed Y. Justification (if such a word is appropriate here) would not enter into it at all. The offender would then be released back into the community and, if public opinion deemed it necessary, friends and relatives of the deceased could act as they felt necessary.
Seeing the results of something akin to my solution, I realise it is not the answer.

C U L8er M8 - lol

I have a thing about the whole lol roflmao sub-text that is taking over the vocabulary of so many. It causes me he most displeasure when I see lol as a comment. What on earth does this convey as a comment? Someone has sweated blood getting their thoughts organised as minor literary classics. Hoping to start a discussion of learned thought that will extend their dissertation. Coming back to their post at five minutes intervals. And then - and then - they get the response lol.

However, this lady puts it better than I could. And can I just forestall the budding Monty Python scriptwriter - do not comment on this with lol. Or even roflmao.

Another soldier ...........

Just remember this next time - and I'm afraid that there will be a number of 'next times' you hear "A British soldier died in an explosion today"

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Parades in Belfast

People will claim that the welcome home parade for Northern Ireland based troops was some sign that normality is returning to the province.

I will just quote a remark from elsewhere that coincides with my thoughts on the matter

I don't know who's worse; the taigs who are opposing the R Irish as they are British Army oppressors (even tho 1st Battalion are traditionally war dodgers with Sinn Fein being well known pacifists; or the prods who couldn't give a flying f*ck about us when we were away doing our jobs, but are only out in force to wind up the taigs.

Start of Hard Times?

Amazon.com is helping those who have fallen on hard times and is also thinking of the alternative entertainment for those who cannot afford to get out so much as they used to.
Even so - used?

Trouble on Pakistan Railways