Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Some progress on the job front.

I've sent my CV off in reply to seven adverts I have spotted that interested me over the weekend. I'm going to send out a general mailshot tomorrow. So far I've had four calls to discuss and two interviews set up from them. One for tomorrow and one for Friday.

Quite positive so far but that's the CV at work the next bit is down to my bubbly personality so that will be interesting.

It's the political equivalent of 'Snow on the Line'.

Just reading about the number of police complaints rising by 44%. Of course it is nothing to do with changes in the way that the police do business. It is all to do with the way the complaints are recorded and the improvement in accessibility which allows more to be recorded. Yeah, right. I suppose it is easier for people to make a complaint as they are thrown on to the street after being arrested for some trivial offence. Especially when they actually class themselves as innocent and not your fingers in the till innocent but genuinely innocent caught up in politics.

So nothing to do with lack of action on real crime, persecution of motorists and the way some of our police handle themselves. So that's all right then. Business as usual. Read more here.

The sad part is that most coppers want to do a good job and solve crime but the are continually stymied by the namby pamby handling of convicted criminals by the courts and their own PC management. Who would have thought it PC PCs. We need to stop this trend of turning our police force into jackbooted thugs for the government before all our trust erodes and the police are treated like how I would imagine the KGB were treated in Russia. A place we will look back on as a leading light in freedom. How things have changed.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Maybe it is just me.

I was browsing the blogs and read this article about iraqis being killed for wearing shorts and I found a bit at the bottom that tickled me. It's not really all that funny but it brought a smile to my face.

'15 members of Iraq's taekwondo team were kidnapped between Falluja and Ramadi, west of Baghdad, said a member of the Iraqi Olympic Committee'

Now according to everything I have seen in movies and read in books these guys must be among the best martial artists in the country. Why have they not overpowered their attackers and escaped, taking the dead or bleeding bodies of the kidnappers to the law.

Maybe it is just me.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Finished my days tasks.

I've just revamped my CV. Had a quick look through some of the recruitment sites I have looked at over the years and sent my new CV off for three jobs.

Tomorrow I will update the sites I'm registered with and look for a few more jobs.

Forgot how boring all this was.

Got to have a plan.

Can't help it but I've got to have a plan for everything. Latest is that I have decided I'm going to look for a new job. Not sure about taking the VR though.

So today I'm updating my CV. Not done this for over ten years. In fact the last time I did it was when I got bored in my role as IT Director at a security company and decided it was time for a move. This was in 1993. Since then I've had three roles but each one I was invited to apply for so I didn't have to revamp my CV. So it's well out of date, reads like a school report and takes up four pages. Much, much more than the recommended norm of two pages. So I'll probably take a while fixing it up.

As well as doing that, I'm going to look on the web to see what is out there. There are a few sites now handling the type of roles I have experience in and hopefully, some will have decent jobs in the NorthWest. If not looks like I'll be on my bike. The only place I'm not interested in is London. Hate working there. It is OK for an occasional visit when I can aim to be there for 10:30 and leave for 14:00 but not for part of the daily routine.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

What does this mean?

This article talks about the number of desertions in the UK armed forces over the last few years. The implication seems to be that the number has increased because it links to a new law, of course, that forbids military personnel from refusing to serve in the occupation of another country.

Clearly a lot of armed forces are querying the legality of our Iraqi venture. The new law must be because they don't want the same hassle in our new Iranian venture. Oh dear.

Yet another area where we are hearing that there are no problems and yet we need a new law. I know our current leaders love generating new laws but there must be some reason behind this. I suspect that things are worse than they are making out. What a surprise.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Change in priorities.

A few weeks ago the company I worked for offered a VR package out to all staff in line with it's plans to streamline the operation. If accepted a severance figure would be offered subject to your acceptance. So after a delay, one day about three weeks ago I got fed up and applied. In the meantime it seems there is quite a bit of interest but not enough to stop them looking at making some redundancies compulsory.

Today the reply came back from my enquiry. I'm eligible for the package. That means they do not see me being key to their future business. Not really a surprise. In addition the payment was less than expected although I've only been five years in their employ so it wasn't too much of a surprise. Taking into account my notice period plus a top up bonus it works out I'll have enough to live the way I do now for 9 months. Although I'll get taxed on my notice period the rest is tax free.

I've got a week to make a decision to accept or reject the offer. So I've now got my thinking cap on and trying to decide on a new role or sticking with the old one. Five years ago it wasn't a issue I would have been gone in five minutes. Now I'm thinking of the baby and the fact there are few interesting jobs in the NorthWest. Ho hum! It's going to be interesting.

Friday, May 26, 2006

A risky business mountain climbing.

After the articles on the climber and the flak he has been getting for leaving someone to die on Everest it seems like another couple of guys have died or been at risk there. Read more here. With two on this one expedition so I'd be concerned when expedition leader Alexander Abramov said 'Come with me. It'll be OK'.

I was confused to read 'Another member of the climb, German Thomas Weber, died shortly before reaching the summit' Err. before reaching the summit? To me that means he reached the summit after he died. Does this make the climb a success?

From what I can gather it seems Everest is now more crowded that Piccadilly Circus on a busy night. With a row of bodies alongside the path and people apparently keeling over every time they see a space. Bit like Germans looking for a sunbed in Spain except this time they really don't leave at the end of the week.

If Everest was in the UK this sort of thing would never happen. Nope. We would prosecute anyone left alive and have them in court tied up for months so anyone else would be scared to give it a go as a team. Although after the first, while the court cases were being prepared, we would have the place cordoned off and ban any sort of climbing within two miles. We are good at that. Can't do anything constructive but we can stop and ban better than anyone else in the world.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Is that not the problem?

Tony Blair, who knows all, has stated that the young must research Sex. Read more here.

Maybe it is me but is that not the problem? Too many people on practical and not enough theory. But from what I have read on my travels the issue is the theory is not being taught in school properly and is based on just basic sex with little being taught on contraception and the lovey dovey side of it.

So basically what you are told to do is the real basics and then go and find out more on the Internet. After a quick theory at Chick with Dicks dot com they think screw this lets have a go at what we picked up in class. Come on, what else do they think is going to happen?

After comments like this we will see a surge in schoolgirl pregnancies in nine months especially with a school holiday next week so they have plenty of revision time.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A self assembly chair.

A chair for those of us, like me, that don't actually like doing any real work.

Go here and watch the video. True or not it looks good.

Now, I would have been a lot more impressed if it hadn't started off in one piece and collapsed.

How far we have fallen. Or is it?

Now I know the article is by Amnesty International, I know it's also going on about the terror attacks and how our governments have responded with deception to push the war on terror. Trampling over human rights and being taken to task by ordinary people as well as the courts and the media. I know others out there will give this a good review and the article can be read here.

I read it and wasn't going to comment until I thought about this one thing they mention. 'Rising number of attacks by armed groups in India, Iraq, Jordan and the UK, which the report says are "inexcusable and unacceptable"' A direct quote from the article.

What the hell! Are things so bad in the UK that we are comparing unfavourably with hellholes like Africa and large swath's of the Middle East and Asia. We are being compared directly with the sectarian violence in India and Jordan and a war in Iraq but clearly more violent than the war in Afghanistan and the places in Africa where people are routinely murdered in tribal issues. I just don't believe it. I know things are bad but that is stretching it.

I've looked at the report, albeit a quick skim, but I can't see where the journalists get the data to include the UK in this particular area. Unless, they are talking about the increase of armed raids on innocent people by our security services. Mmmmm. Even that would be stretching it. Something is going on with our journalist. He must be extrapolating something he sees, and I don't, or is just making it up.

One other thing I read in the report the implication we don't care about women because the conviction rate is 5.6% of the reports of rape. Well I don't want to start with that but if that is the sort of interpretation we want to put they will not getting any money off me. Err, OK that won't make a difference but it makes my stance plain. This sort of statement also makes me question the other conclusions drawn by them.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

How people views will change.

Evan Harris, a former hospital doctor now a politician, has come up with a suggestion that medicines tested on animals should have a label on saying so. The view is that if people knew what was going on then they would come to accept animal testing. Other views are that it won't prove animal testing is required and could lead to putting people off taking medicine. Read more here.

I also have a view. A couple in fact. The first is that this is a ploy to remove the support of the fanatics by showing the benefits of animal testing. As usual it is pointless and doomed to failure.

The second view is that Animal Testing should be avoided where possible. Minimised as much as possible and used only where necessary. The dividing line is identifying risk to humans. Any risk or unsure then a full test is mandatory. This means that things like eyeliner can be modified and providing only certain components are changed, it can be computer tested and released. Final decision on tests to a responsible body. Of course with this comes risk and all products must be labeled 'Not tested on animals'. Most cosmetics probably don't need testing nowadays. I could be wrong though. The key caveat is that users using such material cannot sue the suppliers unless they have misled the testing team and screwed the results. Onus on the supplier to show compliance. Lack of evidence or botched results leading to a massive compensation claim. Only problem is that who will look after these people. A discussion for another time.

For myself I could live with some things not tested on animals and others where I would only want things that have been fully tested on animals. I would take a certain amount of risk compared to testing my cream for piles on poor animals eyes just in case it should get in my eyes. I'm not willing to take the same risk with my heart pills so want them fully tested.

At the same time the research that was ostracised is already gone. No longer do we see rabbits and dogs smoking all day as a test. To be honest I don't think there should be any testing like that any more. That particular test result is well known. Test for the new wonder drugs and modified drugs as necessary.

I also found it interesting that the firms that test on animals don't like it either but see it as a necessary evil. Bit like taxes and government bureaucracy. It's too expensive, takes too long and causes them too much grief. Mmmm, just like government bureaucracy. People do get upset about rabbits with tumours. Computers have been used more and more to cut testing down to a minimum but we still need tests. At this point we have no alternatives. It is testing on animals or on humans. Animal rights believe it should be on humans as we are the end users. It does make logical sense but we also eat animals too should we stop that. Most people would draw the line there because that does inconvenience them. Both uses are for our own benefit and we try to do our unwanted tasks behind the scenes so we can ignore what goes on to keep us in our cozy little lives.

But when you look at it closely, in reality animal rights is one of the areas where the terrorists have for all intents and purposes won. Nobody nowadays does any more testing than they need to by law. Data is published and shared and the minimum amount of animal distress is allowed. There are only the die hards now who are persecuting this and most people now have a view that animal testing is bad. A necessary evil. How PC we are now and we are still being pushed along further.

From this point of minimal animal testing, reached maybe ten years ago, the pendulum has started swinging the other way. Public support is swinging away from these fanatics. Nevertheless, we will never get back to the waste of life we had before and rightly so. Computer simulations are cheaper and quicker with less hassle. Technology and understanding have moved on. Now it is only the fanatics who continue to push to zero testing. Let the fanatic animal rights people boycott what they don't want. Let's also identify treatments that were pioneered on animals. Let them boycott them also then we can see where they draw the line as they miss out on the benefits gained from those deaths.

As far as the labels go; who cares. All those companies concerned already have labels saying 'Not tested on Animals' or 'Our test subjects were all politicians' to alleviate concerns. Give them the choice rather than forcing them to meet a political agenda. Let the government imprison these nutters rather than attempt to remove their already waning support. These people don't need encouragement they are driven by their own beliefs.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Oh goody! Justice based on personal feelings.

'Victims may decide inmates' fate' are the headlines. The text says plans for this are being considered by our new Home Secretary. Read more here. This is sure to be a good votewinner. It will allow revenge to be used against criminals and thus ease the victims torment a little. Unfortunately it will only be used against a certain element of the criminal class and only by certain elements. A few people will raise a media frenzy about someone and they will get punished out of all proportion. Who will speak up for Justice?

Isn't justice supposed to be blind to weigh up the crimes and mete out punishment. I'm all for crime and punishment but it needs to be consistent which it won't be under this stupid proposal. If they punished correctly in the first place then people would not be complaining. Let them put people in jail for life and mean it. Not life and out in six years. People see no justice and complain. The reply is this sort of political crap. Still not justice but people who want to can persecute and get their revenge. Victims are happy because they see a punishment being made. Government are happy because they are not getting moaned at. Who cares about the guilty? Well to be honest no one, not even me. Whatever they get it should have been more anyway.

Let's get rid of all this which just makes a mockery of Justice and make the default punishments fit the crime and them make then do the time. That way crime will come down, either they will be locked up or too frightened to move. Costs may soar initially but longer term it will be better. People won't moan then either.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The pendulum of government.

It's one of these double edged swords that created problems for ordinary people and most of the time it makes things worse overall.

When the Soham killer was unmasked and it became clear that there was a risk that people such as Ian Huntley were still in the system calls were made, by the government to clamp down. Ian Huntley has been previously identified as a risk yet had been allowed to work with children. The big pendulum of government swung into action and it was decreed that everyone working with children would go through a Criminal Record Check. At that point a lot of people who were providing free help in the schools were now required to go through the CRC. A lot refused, some did and were refused and a lot went ahead and were passed. Now I believe there are a lot less helpers in schools now than there were and that can only impact on the children.

Almost as an aside it also appears that some people have been falsely accused of having criminal records and that has led to lost jobs. Read more here. You could argue that this is a small price for a society to pay to protect it's children but how many criminals have been falsely identified as cleared. Both are only to be expected in any system that is prone to errors.

It only takes one upsetting case to create these laws with no guarantee that we will be any better off. The only thing we can guarantee is that it will cost us all money, it will create more jobs in government and it will make mistakes that will impact real people. It's only results will be a number of how many passed or failed, which will not relate to the intention at all and how long it has run without a similar case. Then in the future after another case, such is human nature, we will hear of it's failings and how we need to change things and spend more as it must never happen again.

Such is the price of getting government involved in anything.

Notice everything is Terrorism now.

The Iraqi PM has vowed to tackle Terrorism. Read more here. This seems to be the mantra of every government now. They can clamp down on all their dissidents under the banner of terrorism and get international support.

I'm not really sure what to call the violence in Iraq now. It's bordering on so many things. As it looks to me like it's a civil war then is it terrorism? If it is because of the foreign invaders than again is it terrorism?

I still think the only way to fix this is to leave. OK the violence will continue but without our troops it will soon settle down. Of course the chances are we would end up with a different government and one that won't be friendly to us but I don't see there being a lack of people wanting to hit out at the foreign invaders even after this amount of time. The longer we stay the more they see it being permanent.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

What is a Legacy?

I was reading this article by the BBC on Blair's legacy for schools and was left actually wondering what a legacy was. So I looked it up on Wiktionary. It said Noun : 'Something bequeathed, left, or established for future generations'. Well he has left something for future generations. I wouldn't have put it as bequeathed or established as that sound like something positive was coming your way. It also said Adjective : 'left behind; old or no longer in active use'. Well that is more like it.

Where I was confused is that I actually thought that his legacy was the educational system where he was looking at actually raising the standard for education in the UK. Nope, it is simply that he has got rid of all those comprehensives, where incidentally I got a good education, and replaced them with specialist schools, city academies and city technology colleges. What? That is his legacy. After 10 years in office he has screwed up our educational system and produced a couple of generations who can not read, write or do sums as well as making the qualifications of the ones who can do well worthless by adjusting the figures to make it look like more are doing well. Knowing this, and knowing we all know his claim to fame in the educational area is that he converted all our comprehensive schools into other schools quicker than the previous lot converted grammar schools into comprehensive. Whoopie Do Dah. Unbelievable.

Finally something they can take to court.

I was reading this about the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay plotting and attacking the guards. Seems they were winning at one point too. Read more here.

On the plus side the US finally has something they can take to court. It must show how desperate they are that they were willing to do this. Let's face it they must have known that escape was out of the question. They clearly wanted to kill the guards and get killed in the process. After all who wants to spend the rest of their lives in a hellhole.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Less of a concern than they think.

One of the things I do like about living at this time is the amount of new technology and ideas that are being bandied about. OK, I'm not as happy when a super new microwave system is converted into a crowd control device but such is the price of progress.

I was looking at this article on a fly by wireless system they have installed in a test plane and are looking at installing in passenger planes in the future. Read more here.

Now one of the concerns raised is that it would be easy for some bad guys, terrorists are not mentioned here, to jam the links which would clearly be bad. The author wouldn't be happy flying in one of these for a while.

The jamming problem raises one of the issues I always have with journalists. Why do they always have to raise negatives in every article? The issue which leads to the development is that more and more is being crammed in and space for wires is short and installation difficult. So they automatically go from hundreds of wires to none. Even if the scientists manage to sort out anti jamming the aeronautical engineers would still would be concerned because, well the list is long but for one thing there are natural issues which cause interference. Of course our brainboxes in the development areas and in the aerospace companies wouldn't want to roll this out as fully wireless when they can put in much safer tried and tested systems. A middle of the way path which even our author would be happy with would be to hard wire in the critical components. Links to engine, ailerons, rudder etc. and have the wireless handle the critical tasks like the pilots cup of tea button and the TV controls. Thus the wiring would be limited in scope and any issues with the wireless connection would have the biggest impact on the complaint department because the service would drop.

Anything that reduces costs both setup and running must be good for everybody. I bet bluejackers will have some fun with the first few systems out.

All our local crime will be solved soon.

Reading in our local paper it seems we are introducing a new violent crime fighting initiative. Great. Then I read the fine print. It seems that we are setting up an amnesty for knives. Whoopie Do Dah. That will fix it. Seriously though, the police are going to collect knives from law abiding citizens and actually believe that will reduce violent crime.

One of the statements was 'Look around your home, check your sons' and daughters' rooms, if your friends carry knives or your relatives have sporting knives they no longer use then this is your chance to get them out of circulation and stop them falling into the wrong hands'

Great just search everyone else's personal spaces confiscate their property and then get rid of it because, as we know, there are no legitimate reasons to have knives.

I've carried a knife around since 1985, old fart that I am. I also have a collection of knives, sad fart that I am. I just have a thing for knives. To date only one idiot has been injured by one of my knives. Now I have really sharp knives of various lengths, some outside utility knives with long strong blades with gutting hooks, a couple of axes, swords etc. This wasn't even a special knife just a working tool. Yup, I stabbed myself whilst cutting opening a cardboard box with a stanley knife. A savage assault but only the guilty was injured.

Of course we all know what will happen here. People will still get stabbed and threatened by blades. Next thing we will have an ineffective law regarding them and before you know it many law abiding citizens will be criminals.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The next two stages in Ian Blairs, hopefully short, working life.

The next two stages, all in one day. The first is the inevitable shifting the blame and misdirection. Read here. The next is the digging the heels in and just refusing to accept any blame or calls to resign. Read here.

Unfortunately for him the ball is rolling. Will he run down a rabbit hole and weasel his way out or will be get run down? I can hardly wait to find out although I suspect he has a few weasel tricks up his sleeves.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I think they are fudging a few facts.

An article I read about Blair admitting that he has failed on crime was a bit interesting.

One paragraph says 'Labour's record on law and order has been tarnished by a string of high-profile cases in which prisoners released early from jail have committed murders while on licence; the failure to deport more than 1,000 foreign criminals; and confusion over Labour's human rights legislation following a court decision that nine Afghan hijackers should be allowed to stay in Britain.'

Now call me stupid but all these have been in the last few weeks. Is the article trying to say that up until this point everything was hunky dory. After all it does say that it was tarnished by these issues. I think not.

Read the article here.

Looks like Hamas's financial troubles are over.

Seems they are now recruiting more people into the government so clearly their financial issues are over. A new security force is being funded along the lines of a police force. Read more here.

From what I can gather there is the government and all it's many departments. There is seemingly markets and shops with a few farmers and that's it. Everybody else is either a suicide bomber or collecting benefits. From the sound of things split 50/50.

There doesn't seem to be any industry or major agriculture over there yet they must have a similar sort of climate to Israel and I understand from those who have been there that there are major agricultural areas and thriving industries.

Maybe instead of just sending them money we should break the endless cycle and create some infrastructure that they could use. Maybe then there would be less suicide bombers.

Could this be the first Blair on his way out?

Looks like it is the beginning of the end for the head of the Met. Ian Blair has been criticised by the chairman of the Metropolitan Police Constables Board, Peter Smyth. Read more here.

Could this be the start of the end for our much loved head policeman? Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

You are with us or against us.

Seems like the US is putting pressure on little countries using terrorism as an excuse. Pretty much the same as what our government does to us. It now looks like any country that does not put themselves fully behind the US War on Terror is going to be punished.

Of course Venezuela is not in the USs good books at the moment anyway so this looks like a nice easy target. One that will gain him some much needed popularity points as well as taking a swipe at them by imposing sanctions. And, as a bonus, with at least the semblance of an excuse. Win win for the US. Read more here.

Now of course the standard question is, when will he do the same thing to China and Russia? Let's not hold our breath. If they don't do the same to others it only supports the claim of bully tactics. Next it will be the import of any US technology. No iPods for these people. No wonder so many countries hate the US because the interfere at will in the internal politics of so many countries. Can even the US handle having so many fronts to fight on?

Exporting freedom and democracy. You have just got to laugh.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Oh dear. Do I see a self defence plea.

It seem that our murdered PC took the knife she was killed with out of her own home. Read more here.

I seem to remember that the one who escalates the situation is the one at fault. So walking out of your house with a knife when there seems to be no reason to do so could be interpreted as escalation.

I can see the defence now. My client defended himself from a knife attack. The woman was accidentally stabbed in the leg and knowing who would get blamed my client made a run for it. Of course he had no intention of doing any harm to the woman. Of course, the sad part is that this statement is probably true and looks like one loud mouth is facing a murder charge. Would the situation be as bad if she had not brought out the weapon? Imagine if it was you outside and an aggressive woman approached you with a knife.

This could easily be a case of accidental death. Guy won't go to jail. The politicians will talk about a criminal getting away with murdering a nice looking PC and although justice may be done it will not seem that way. We will have another knee jerk bit of legislation coming out where if you have a hoodie or the victim is a policeman then you will be found guilty without benefit of a trial.

It's going to get messy and justice may take another leap in the wrong direction.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

What a surprise another law amendment.

Seems the government is going to amend the human rights law which will allow them to perform acts which they can't do now because the rights of humans get in the way. Read more here.

What a bunch of b4$^4&ds. I bet they are pleased with themselves now they can send people back to be killed or tortured all because there were a few high profile cases where the judges ruled in line with the current law against the governments wishes.

They should have come up with alternatives for the few who do abuse the system and targeted their legislation. Of course to target is to discriminate and we can't be seen to do that.

Is there anything that they won't screw up in their quest to keep a few people happy. The few people who are prepared to make a big fuss and redirect the media away from the real issues on to the ones they want to raise out of all proportion. So much for they won't govern by the media. What was really meant was they use the media to guide their policies. If it goes against what they want to do, 7/7 inquiry or Blair resignation then they will ignore it because they can't govern by the media. Where it lines up with their policy they will push it through because the people want it, introduction of draconian legislation and where the public don't care about the people they will make examples of them to show they are tough on whatever, deporting people who have been in the UK most of their lives.

I wonder if I can get asylum in the US.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Looks like my investments have doubled in value.

Unfortunately, it's not as exciting as you thing and a major disappointment to me.

It seems that the old copper coins, pre 1992 versions of the 2p and the 1p, are made of pure copper. Copper has now increased in value so much that they are now worth double the face value of the coins. This means that they are worth more melted down than they are worth as legal tender. Of course we have been warned against melting them down. It is illegal you know. Read more here. So the odd coins I have in the big bottle by my bed have doubled in value. Whoopie Do Da. Still not enough to retire on though.

Of course it is not unusual for currency to be worth more than it's face value. Old British notes, still legal tender, can be exchanged for face value at the Bank of England. Selling it privately is a better way to go as many old notes are worth many, many times their face value. This £10 note is worth £42 at the moment with many being worth much more.

I've collected notes for a long time now. Since the Times started a collection set back in the 198x. It's amazing how many well illustrated foreign notes you can purchase for a few quid. I'm going to scan mine and put them on the web but I've not had the time so far. I've build the web site and put the notes details on but so far no piccys. I've got a reasonable collection but don't really get too much time to chase more specimens.

Friday, May 12, 2006

And they deny we are in a nanny state.

Reading items like this and the guy fined for swimming in a non swimming area whilst saving his friend, a hunter reported to the police for taking photographs of his trophy, kids being reported to the police for doing things that kids do, police investigating people for making silly comments, kids being stopped playing conkers and littering is now a serious crime whereas armed robbery is not.

How can they say that we don't live in a nanny state?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

What an idiot.

Went into the garage first thing to fill up with fuel. My bill usually comes to around £50. This time I thought I would buy one of these nice little fuel cans as well. Fills up, gets can and when I get to the checkout gets the card out. What's the pin? Oh Em!. 'Number 7'. Put's card in, tries pin. All OK. Quite pleased that I had remembered in one go I'm leaving when I hear the guy behind me say 'Number 7' What an idiot. Get's to door looks out and in space number 8 sitting quite happily is my car. Who is the idiot now?

Took five minutes to sort our by the two helpful ladies on the tills. The other guy was OK about it. His bill was £5. Queue ground to a halt while it was sorted. 'Sorry' I say sheepishly. 'F*$%^7 idiot' they think to themselves keeping their faces neutral.

It all went downhill after that.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

It is only right that this is not pursued.

Reading this article about the police not pursuing Prescott for misconduct in office.

The example given of why he should be prosecuted is the high profile cases of police officers sacked for having sex on duty. This comparison is clearly wrong.

After all we expect our police officers to be truthful and diligent whilst working. Unfortunately, everyone expects our politicians to be liars and useless. I would rather he was screwing his secretary rather than actually doing work which means he is screwing us all. Less screwing all round.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Progress on the growing front.

Seems my granddaughter now has two teeth. One in the top and one in the bottom. I see pain and anguish ahead. Pain because we are going to start being bitten as she uses this new method of investigation. Anguish because the tables and chairs and going to end up being gnawed. Such is the price of progress.

Sounds like a good market to be in.

I was reading this about a UK businessman selling gallows to countries around the world. Read more here.

Leaving aside all the issues surrounding this legal and moral. I was surprised to learn a basic gallows, pictured in background, as three thick bits of wood and a rope was selling for £12K. Now if they can't even build one of those, even in Zimbabwe, they have no hope at all of progressing to modern technology like drawers and the like.

I'll see if any sea fairing nations on his sales list want to buy a £4K plank so they can execute them at sea.

Oh, and they are banning the export of this technology. You have got to laugh. Gallows humour. But what if they, god forbid, export three bits of thick wood, some nails, a rope and a instruction manual.

Monday, May 08, 2006

An Apple court day keeps the lawyers in pay.

Sorry could not resist it. Seems that even the mighty record companies are not immune to a bit of legal pressure, It also looks like even when they may be in the right1 it makes no difference.

Read more here about how a small, relatively, music company failed in it's logo fight against a computer company. Sad really.

1) Based on no legal knowledge whatsoever but merely a point of view that what was said was right in plain speak and not twisted by legalese to mean the opposite.

Is making things right really an issue?

A few years ago a friend of mine was picked up and taken to a police station because he was walking in an area where a flasher was spotted. He was on his own about 100 yards from his house on the way to the local shop via the back streets. Screech of brakes.... What are you doing here? On the way to the shops. Get in we want to talk. Twenty minutes later he was ten miles away in the 'local' police station. An hour or so later after a fifteen minute 'chat' he was unceremoniously ejected out of the front door of the police station as a case of mistaken identity as the description was so far off it was clearly not him. Incidentally the real culprit has never been caught although after a nine months 'reign of terror' he has been absent. My friend had to make his own way home as the police refused to give him a lift back. Not part of their jobs apparently. Picking them up, transporting them miles away and then dropping them off with no help is clearly within their remit as they do it all the time.

So to find a force that actually pays to return vulnerable people to their homes or where they were picked up is actually good news. As it is a budget item though and worth £20K pa it is now an issue. Read more here.

As we consolidate our forces. More and more people are going to be traveling some distance to their 'local' office whilst under arrest for some nebulous offence. Our new one will be 30 miles away. Is it really being unreasonable to expect a lift home? Is it really acceptable to uproot someone with no money, incorrectly dressed and take them any distance and drop them off? Are we all to prepare like we are in the SAS? I would imagine that real criminals would be prepared or have a plan for this sort of thing but Joe Public? I would start carrying some gold coins and a silk map but the chances are that it would be an arrestable offence to carry gold around. Or more likely the silk, torn from the a silkworm would be deemed as cruelty.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Dissent in the ranks.

It seems that some 50 MPs have signed a petition calling for Blair to define the date for departure. Read more here.

Interestingly enough, the implication is that they want to turn the clock back on his reforms. How are they going to do that? The ones they could turn back are the ones that there is little benefit for them to do so such as fox hunting and firearms laws and the do gooders will be up in arms. The major ones, the ones that cause us so many problems are here to stay. We can't uninvade Iraq, we can't cancel NPfIT, we can't sack all these new central government employees. The pensions and benefits are already screwed. At least a new government would be able to change this and then blame it on the previous government. This one is going to have to blame it on itself. So stick with the policies but maybe temper them slightly or destroy them and get a big list of government wastage at the next election.

In saying that it still seems that there is still a hard core of labour supporters. If so would these changes upset them? The ones that are prepared to actually vote for labour still. Is it because of Blair or just because they are just die hard labour supporters?

What can they do? You have just got to laugh that they are now so far in the hole they can't get out.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

What if...

I love these what if scenarios. Read them here and vote for what you think you would do.

I am fairly consistent with these theoretical questions but in discussions with a guy a few years ago it became clear that the logical thought processes that went into the decision, if you can call my thoughts logical, would use a different set of circuits if the situation was real. The other thoughts going through while, in real time, you made the decision would take many, many more factors into account. In effect freezing your action unless it was black and white. Something like a politician was the guy on the track and there was a puppy on the other. The conclusion then was that in most cases inaction would be the result. Cold consideration over time would take place when time was available.

The one on the BBC site for the violinist was interesting. I wonder what the legal situation would be in that situation. What if, instead of a violinist it was Tony Blair?

A significant time and I slept through it.

This week it was 01:02:03 04/06/06.

And I slept through it.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Back to business as usual. Not even 24 hours.

Went and voted yesterday as promised.

The same lot got in again although one Labour councilor and an independent lost their position. Two Tories got in instead although this sort of thing goes on all the time here.

In the meantime our beloved leaders put the whole lot down to the last weeks couple of scandals and moved a few ministers around to teach them a lesson. So no other issues at all and it's all fixed now. Although it does seem the usual suspects are playing musical chairs. Although Clarke whinging about it didn't do him any favours. Staying in rank doesn't seem to be his style.

So it looks like business as usual. Not even 24 hours have passed and already it is being brushed under the carpet. The only way Blair want's to move on is right at the last minute as a concession at the next election to boost votes. The alternatives for early retirement are a lead injection or a rebellion in the ranks. The rebellion would be the generally preferred solution but I'm OK with a bit of flexibility and alternative solutions.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Time to make a difference.

Just off to vote. To make my mark on a piece of paper when for the last 30+ years the same party has always won. So much for making a difference, making your voice heard and the will of the people. It will be a different issue in 2009. That does change, although, infrequently.

And our area is no boring we only ever have the same regular three parties at local elections. Conservative, Labour and Lib Dems. I think we had an Independent once but he only got about six votes. Bet he would do better in this one.

On the other hand, it is a good walk and I can call in and get this weeks mags. The excitement.

All but one of the MSM have a political story on the frontpage. Either the size of John Prescott's willy, how many prisoners are now underground never to be seen, except to kill again of course, or talking about the drubbing Labour is going to get in these elections. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Why is this just manslaughter?

I was reading about this court martial where four of our guys are on trial for manslaughter over forcing an Iraqi teenager into a river where he drowned. Read more here.

Now in the UK that would be classified as murder, and rightly so. So why are they not being prosecuted for murder?

I particularly liked the bit where it was said '...there was no real guidance as to how best to deal with the problem'. That explains it then. No guidance so they had to play it by ear and common sense and basic morals went flying out of their warrior armoured vehicle. Clearly not guilty then. Don't know why they are wasting their time prosecuting when it should be their parents and schoolteachers in the dock for not instilling common sense and basic morals.

Time for a change but this is not it.

I was looking at the call for legislation on making voting compulsory and thinking it would never come about. Then I thought, why not? It is just as much target setting as most of the other laws being put in place and it won't give the real result we need but it will set a target, the target will be met and more funds will be generated. Read more here. Winners all round, or will it?

The issue really is voter apathy. We as the general public believe that the political system in the UK is so skewed that it really is useless voting. 'No matter who you vote for they always get in' is the popular phase. Whoever gets in will be useless, corrupt and there is very little to chose between them all. This leads to droves of people staying away and not voting.

So useless government gives voter apathy which gives low turnout. Some bright spark then comes up with how to make the government less useless by making going to the voters booth compulsory. The theory behind that must be is it works one way then you can reverse it by changing the one side you can control by force. Thus high turnout means no voter apathy. No voter apathy means the government is wanted. Twisted logic there but it is only to be expected from our spin doctors.

Typical of this lot. Set a target which bears no relation to the problem and monitor that. If it is reached, supported by £1K fines, then claim a success. The public is now interested in politics.

To be honest I don't see any reason why those not interested should be forced to vote but if they did make it compulsory then a lot more people would take up an interest in politics. I don't think our blinkered government actually considers that making people take an interest in what they are doing is not going to lead to better support of them. It would change politics as we know it and is likely to lead to a change in the way we do business.

Based on what this lot have done over the last nine years I believe that this method of Democracy has proven ill equipped to deal with modern times. It is about time we looked at alternatives. Let's get rid of the party politics and get governing by proportional representation. Where no party has a whip, except for entertainment, and the wishes of the people are respected. Can't see the current lot rolling that out.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

How to stop postal vote fraud.

Clearly, I'm a lot thicker than I thought because I don't understand this.

In order to reduce postal fraud in the West Midlands they are requesting the police keep watch at the polling stations which have the most postal ballots. Read more here.

Keep watch. What for? Are we expecting a gang to descent and fiddle to ballot without the people in attendance being aware? Surely they will need to simply monitor the postal side and even then it would be unlikely to impact the number of votes rigged at home by dominating partners, people purchasing votes or gangs putting pressure on families. There have always been concerns for postal voting. None of them would be fixed by a police presence at a polling booth.

Or am I missing something?

The plot thickens.

Seems a prisoner who should have been deported had gone on and killed someone. Read more here. It's not clear if it is one of Clarke's 1000 or not. Could be one of Blunkett's. They will be running round checking the details now and due to the lack of rapid response I assume the news is not good for them. Could be wrong.

Either way. They guy should have been deported. Scum from abroad who break our laws and get jailed should be deported by default. No appeal possible. Straight from the jail to a plane or train and off they go. If they get tortured or killed when they get home then that is unfortunate but they made their choices. A fresh start here wasted.

Is this an abuse of power?

I was reading this article about the Palestinian workers not being able to be paid because the banks are scared of the US response to payments to what is known as a terrorist organisation. The democratically elected Palestinian government. Read more here.

In one way it is good that Hamas is being starved of funds with it's vowed intent to destroy Israel. On the other it is concerning that the US is still able to exert such power over a legally elected democratic government. Has not the US been accused of being a terrorist organisation? For all the talk on democracy and sharing values it has become a bit of a blow that the Palestinians didn't chose who the US wanted. So now we push and push until the Palestinian government is replaced by someone we want. Is this not an abuse of the laundering law?

Somehow I think the middle east will be looking at setting up a banking network which doesn't have the same control by the US. It shouldn't be too difficult. Oil payments go here. No payments, no oil, oil prices go through the roof, western economy grinds to a halt. So I would have thought it would link into the existing network on the back of the Russian banking system. West loses control. All terrorists, drug dealers, DVD copiers get new bank accounts on this system. Hell, I would even get one myself to keep out of the prying eyes of our big brother government.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Lazy day today.

Well, spent today doing nothing. Browsing my normal set of blogs plus being taking down tangents all over the place.

Found out some interesting things, read a lot of different views on politics. Seems the Iranian situation has people less polarised than Iraq. Which was surprising. Spent more than I wanted to on eBay, on books in Amazon and in the DVD stores I frequent which are Sendit and Play. Just as well I've just been paid.

Kids are all out and won't be back till tomorrow so I'm just off to watch a DVD and have a quiet night in.

It's all in the name.

Well it seems that it is really all in the name.

One of the most famous people on the planet gets a difference of approval rating when she uses her hyphenated name rather than her shortened name. No change in politics at all just a name change.

Read more here about how Hillary Rodham Clinton is better than Hillary Clinton.

I did think about this for a minute and it does actually make sense. If you hate Bill Clinton and believe Hillary should sever all ties with him for his dirty deeds then the full name does make some sense. 6% is probably right for a bunch of feminists.

Still interesting though. I think I know what will be on her ticket for 2008.