Thursday, 31 December 2009

Psychic Predictions: 2010

On Mount Sinai, Moses heard disembodied commandments while on Mount Hira, Muhammad spoke to the Archangel and in his front room, Craig Hamilton-Parker of the Psychics & Mediums Network has been hearing voices telling him of what will unfold in 2010.
As Mr Hamilton-Parker and his wife, Jane, have appeared on numerous television programmes, have written 15 books on the subject and charge £1.50 per minute (credit cards accepted) per telephone call to contact your dead relatives, they also describe themselves as 'the most accurate and sincere mediums working in Britain today' so we should expect good things from their 2010 predictions.

So after staring into the swirling mists of the next twelve months, the Hamilton-Parker team offer us these predictions:

1. Bin Laden dies.
2. MP caught in indecent act in public toilet.
3. Secret human cloning experiment attempts to clone famous person.
4. X factor (UK) in 2010 will be won by a group of friends who were choir boys together.
5. Iran gives up its quest for a nuclear bomb.
6. Celebrity is kidnapped and a ransom demand made.
7. Barack Obama expresses an interest in holistic healing and ‘world healing’ becomes a dominant theme and key phrase to his 2010 speeches.
8. Higher than normal tremors on San Andreas fault line.
9. The last Big Brother series (UK) ends with tragedy as someone on set is seriously hurt.
10.Japanese bullet train terrorist attack attempt is foiled.

So avoid the Bullet train, South California and any public toilets if a Member of Parliament is in there. I shall return later in the year to see how many the Hamilton-Parkers have got right.

Psychic Predictions 2009: The Review

Almost the end of the year so time to look back and see how the mediums of One World Psychics got on with their predictions for 2009.

1. There will be an assassination attempt on Barack Obama. Nope
2. Gordon Brown will be forced out of office and an early election will be called. Wrong again, the big lump is still there.
3. A dam will burst in the Far East – maybe China. Not as far as i know
4. Victoria Beckham will become pregnant with a daughter. The only baby she was seen with this year was her husband David.
5. There will be a knife attack on a top celebrity. Didn't hear of one.
6. Tsunami in Asia or perhaps an earthquake possibly in Malaysia. No big wave or houses shaken in either places.
7. Funerals for Bill Cosby and Robbie Williams and a close call for Nicole Kidman. Bill is still not being funny, Robbie is still making naff songs and the only call Nicole got was from the Church of Scientology asking for their books back.
8. A serious terrorist attack in the UK and less serious attacks in Germany. Although there are plenty of people wanting to blow us and the Germans up, none did it this year.
9. Obama's first year overshadowed by a scandal involving his wife's financial dealings. Overshadowed by not actually changing anything, but not by his wife's money dealings.

10. A large number of C of E bishops convert to Catholicism simultaneously. Close, the Pope made an offer to C of E members to cross over to Catholicism but no mass conversion as yet.

11. Kate Winslett to win an Oscar for best actress. She did. Well done.

One and a half out of 11 which is still a bit rubbish seeing as they are supposed to have a direct link to the future but better than the last few years when they bottomed out completely. Still rubbish though.

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

The Noughties: Palestine & Israel

After the initial hope during the Camp David talks in 2000, Israelis and Palestinians descended yet again into murderous waves of violence with the suicide bombings of the second intifada following Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Mount Temple at the start of the decade to the horrific aerial bombardment of Gaza at the end.
Yasser Arafat died amidst many conspiracy theories of Israeli involvement while his nemesis, Ariel Sharon, fell into a coma and is now locked into a vegetative state.
Hamas democratically came to power and were instantly ostracised while Israel continued their settlements expansion on Palestinian land, conducted military incursions and assassinations inside Palestine and constructed a wall to pen the Palestinians, and the suicide bombers, inside.
While support for Israel stayed strong in America, its already poor reputation elsewhere plummeted following the Lebanon conflict and then the devastating bombing of Gaza in 2009 which was officially in response to the Hamas rockets landing in Israel but was widely believed to concern the then upcoming Israeli election which returned Benjamin Netanyahu to power.
The Goldstone report for the UN labelled both the Palestinian and Israel leadership guilty of war crimes and heavily criticised Israel for its violations of international law and crimes against humanity in its policies towards the Palestinian people before and during the conflict.
At the end of 2009 we don't seem any closer to a lasting peace then we did in 2000 despite the intervention of Barack Obama and Israels Ally America, to oversee a peace deal. Palestinians and Israelis are still dying, truces come and go and any criticism of Israel is still shouted down with cries of anti-semitism although the sting has been neutered by over use in trivial cases.
What has changed is that Israel is increasingly seen as the country with billions of aid given to it by the world largest military power bullying, bombing and shooting at the poverty stricken desert people barely able to feed themselves.
The noughties saw Israel trying hard, and failing, to justify the continuation of its policies of the past 60 years towards Palestine to the rest of an increasingly sceptical world.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

The Noughties: Climate Change

Back in 2000, climate change was down the list of concerns for the new century. Outside of Green and Environmentalist circles, it was one of those subjects that people acknowledged but as green as they got was to fill up their cars with unleaded petrol.
Something happened between the start and the end of the decade because now it's ringing alarm bells at the top of the International agenda.
One man who must take a bow is Al Gore and his 'An Inconvenient Truth' film. He gave some gravitas to the catastrophe that environmentalists warned we had been sleep walking into for years.
Suddenly, it seemed that people began taking notice of the science and the warnings of the crisis the planet faced if we continued on the current path.
The worldwide floods, hurricanes, heatwaves, fires and droughts began to come into focus and the drip drip of scientific data struck a chord, especially when the European heatwave claimed 30,000 lives and brought it much closer to home.
More studies linked weather extremes to man-made emissions although cynics claimed warming was natural or linked to sunspots but still the science continued to hammer away at the consciousness with the Met office announcing that 11 of the last 13 years had been the warmest on record and the 2,000 UN climate scientists of the IPCC announcing that climate change was man-made.
China officially overtook the US as the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter in 2008 and the image of the polar bear on rapidly shrinking ice flows became the standard.
Recently we had Copenhagen where the Worlds biggest emitters came together to 'Save the Planet' before it was too late. Nothing came of it but at least it raised awareness of the problem even further.
The sceptics and those with an agenda continue to put out disinformation about the science behind climate change, some just flatly denying it is even happening, but the wheels are in motion and the momentum should see us limit the amount of damage we have wreaked upon our home.
It may not be enough and the force of nature will see more deaths and destruction as the planet reacts to our actions but we have made great strides in this past decade and at least we have the small comfort of knowing that it won't be as bad as it could have been although worse then it would have been if people had been paying attention a decade earlier.

Monday, 28 December 2009

The Noughties: Religion

Religion plays no part in my life or in the lives of the wide majority of Brits in general but God and his kin seemed to have a renaissance period during the 2000's.
It always seemed to hold sway with most of the Middle East and with large swathes of people in America but with the introduction of George W Bush to the Presidential seat in 2000, religion made a comeback.
To my ears it always sounds strange hearing a leader mentioning God in his addresses and Blair successfully managed to hide his faith from the public for a long time but when it was revealed, he was roundly mocked as a religious nutter.
The zenith seemed to be when George Bush told Mahmoud Abbas "God told me to strike at Al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East'.
With Al Qaida claiming the same God telling them to declare Holy War against the West, it became very confusing to work out whose team he was on as both claimed they were carrying out his wishes.
Islam was thrust into the spotlight after the World Trade Towers attack and the Koran was dissected by Westerners looking for proof of its evil intentions. Muslims, regardless of their beliefs, were all tarred with the same brush and widely vilified while attacks on Jews increased with Israels actions in Lebanon and Palestine throughout the decade.
Christians and Muslims seemed to be at loggerheads with both accusing the other of atrocities, the Iraq and Afghanistan war seen by the residents in those areas as a modern day crusade.
The idea of Intelligent Design was offered up as was Scientology with its idea that souls reincarnate and have lived on other planets before living on Earth.
Because of the brief resurgence of religion and the 150th Anniversary of Charles Darwin 'Origin of Species', high profile Atheists stepped up to proclaim the demise of God with increasing assertiveness. Best selling books from authors such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens stuck the boot in even harder as did the Atheist bus campaign that told us that there's probably no God now stop worrying and enjoy your life.
Religious intolerance from all sides raged throughout the 2000's and with fatal consequences in many cases which seems to keep it on the trajectory of religion being hijacked by fundamentalists and proving to be the problem and not the cure.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

The Noughties: 9/11

It's not only the end of the year but as the year ends in a 9, it's also the end of the decade so we can expect to read lots of lists about the best and worst of things over the last 10 years.
The first thing that comes to mind when i look back at the decade just gone is the 2001 World Trade Centre attack. The fallout from that day shaped the rest of the decade in almost every conceivable way.
Such was it's impact that it wouldn't do it justice to include it in a post with other events from the last ten years. It defined and overwhelmed the decade entirely.
It spawned the 'War on Terror', distanced the United States under the administration of George W Bush from a large portion of the rest of the World, fatally wounded the premiership of Tony Blair and left so many people dead and dying that the number is counted in the hundreds of thousands.
Within less than a month of the atrocity, the bombs were falling on Afghanistan although the White House focus had always been on an even more controversial target, Saddam Hussein and Iraq.
With the Afghanistan War underway, Bush and Blair embarked upon on a massive effort using spin and deception to persuade the public that the trail of guilt for 9/11 somehow led to Baghdad, an argument that fractured long held global alliances.
Despite Bush standing beneath a banner declaring 'Mission Accomplished' in 2003, the continuation of the Iraq and Afghan wars cast a long shadow over the entire decade. Bush won a second term much to our surprise but the depth of feeling against the war in the UK, along with confirmation that Saddam did not have weapons of mass destruction as warned, broke public trust in Blair and saw him bounced out of power by his own party with the lowest ever ratings for a Labour Prime Minister.
All the while, 9/11 instigator Osama Bin Laden remained, and remains, at large and terrorists have attacked and killed in Madrid, Bali, Mumbai and London.
American troops are still in Iraq whose citizens face suicide missions and truck bombs on an increasing scale while Afghanistan is a killing field and the decade of war there has achieved nothing and only transplanted the disease to Pakistan.
At the end of the decade, terrorism is more of a threat than ever, Iraqis are being massacred by an enemy that was not there prior to our intervention and as the western troops death count rises, we are making plans to cut and run from Afghanistan and leave it to it's horrendous fate as we did in Iraq.
Hopes were high that the new American President would bring some sense to proceedings but with his decision to expand the war in Afghanistan by sending in a further 30,000 troops, the events of 2001 look as though they will continue long into the next decade.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

So Here It Is, Merry Christmas

I have no problem wishing a Merry Christmas to anyone whether they are Christian, Atheist, Jehovah Witness or Muslim.

Never has anyone who doesn't celebrate Christmas said to me that they were offended or explained that they won't actually be celebrating it. Every time they have replied back in kind or said something about enjoying the break from work.

Not that i am being deliberately belligerent, just handing them a kind, warm sentiment because i do hope that regardless of what you believe, or don't believe, i hope you have an enjoyable time over the Christmas period so Merry Christmas to everyone, i hope you all have a great time.

Except for the bankers. I hope they have a rotten Christmas.

Everyone else, have a good one and see you the other side of Boxing Day.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Christmas Number 1

Welcome back to Christmas Hits of the past.
This next piece comes in 6 movements, 5 verses and 2 choruses and a middle 8 and its fascinating to note how the composer, Mr Zack de la Rocha, blends the electronic bass with the lyrics as they begin, 'Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me'.

Once again we have seen the power of the internet to stick two fingers up to the establishment, in this case Simon Cowell and his annual hijacking of the Christmas number one.
Rage Against the Machine would not be my first choice of song to stiff Cowell with at Christmas, personally i would have chosen something that at least had a few jingle bells in it or one of the classic guitar anthems like Teenage Kicks or Holiday in Cambodia if that was the direction i had to go.
This also has the added bonus of stopping the instantly dislikeable Miley Cyrus, whose song it was originally, from any reflected glory. Double bubble as the young people say.
Rage Against the Machine have pledged to give all profits of the single to the homelessness charity Shelter, and will perform a free victory gig in the UK to thank those who bought their single.
The defeated Joe McElderry is taking some time off to ponder his next move which is widely expected to include a South Shields job Employment Office.
Well done Britain, and that's the second time in a week i've said that. Where's my medication?

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Climate No Change

After 2 weeks of climate change negotiations, we end with a deal where our leaders will look at doing something at some point in the future. What a crock.
Blame, as usual, has to be apportioned and as the USA is the second highest polluter, it is that particular country that is having fists waved at it in anger. The cult of Obama has suffered another blow.
I feel that the blame should be sprinkled liberally around because everyone seemed more concerned with looking after their own vested interests than actually achieving anything for the benefit of everyone but i point the finger primarily at China.
It is the number one polluter in the world and yet it wants to be treated as a 'developing' country and even demands the right to not have its promises monitored by an independent party.
All the major players at the conference waited nervously for each other to budge but when nobody did they were able to come away, shrug and say they tried and give the nod to their countrymen to carry on churning out the Carbon Dioxide and making some lovely money.
Regrettably, these guys will be safely in their graves when the results of their actions begin to hurt their children, and then devastate their grandchildren.
Now i guess it will be down to Mother Nature to take care of herself over the next few decades and that isn't going to be pretty and a lot more uglier if you are a resident in one of the many places on the globe prone to flooding or drought.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Another Headache Mary?

I always felt a bit sorry for Joseph. He was an older man with a teenage girlfriend who had just told him that while he was out, God had came down from heaven and impregnated her with man's Saviour.
Luckily for Mary, she was shacked up with probably the only man in the history of mankind who went "I'm okay with that' and then went about hiring a donkey to take his wife to Bethlehem. The donkey salesman probably told him it was a baby stallion. If he was around today he would probably be excitedly replying to emails from Nigerian Colonels requesting his bank details.
Now he is suffering again at the hands of the New Zealand church with the poster depicting him in bed with his wife Mary while his wife dreamily thinks back to her former lover.
Not one to have a sense of humour over these things, the Catholics are having a moan.
"Our Christian tradition of 2,000 years is that Mary remains a virgin and that Jesus is the son of God, not Joseph," she told the New Zealand Herald. Rub it in the poor blokes face why don't you.
It does make you wonder why God chose a teenage girl, unmarried, a virgin and in a relationship to aim his holy ejaculation at. There must have been plenty of other women he could of got in the family way and not caused a rumpus. Did he get her permission first?
God moves in mysterious ways and judging by that look in Josephs eyes, he knows that a half bottle of wine and the Roman soldiers uniform just wasn't going to cut it anymore.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

2009 Person Of The Year

Time magazine have handed the 2009 crown for Person of the year to Ben Bernanke for the job he did preventing an economic catastrophe. I guess they mean the economic catastrophe that we did get as opposed to the economic catastrophe we could have had.
It isn't that easy to pick out anyone who really deserves it from 2009 although there has been some men and women who have made us sit up a bit this year and not all for good reasons.
2009 was probably kindest to Susan Boyle who began the year as a strange looking Scottish woman and ended it as a strange looking Scottish woman with a number one album.
The sudden exposure put her under as much strain as her waistline put on her ankles but after a trip to the Priory, hairdressers and beauticians, Simon Cowell knocked out a SuBo karaoke album of ballads and show tunes and tried to make her into the new Elaine Page.
Not that i begrudge Boyle her 6 months of fame, good for her and i hope she makes enough money to keep her cat in tuna for the rest of its life but enough already.
As much as Cowell and Piers Morgan may tell us, our own ears prove that she is nothing more than an average singer who would be embarrassed up against the likes of Katherine Jenkins or Leona Lewis who are this country's best warblers.
Well done SuBo, now retire gracefully please.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Come Back Soon Tzipi

When the Goldstone report recommended that signatories to the Geneva Convention arrest and prosecute individuals who set foot in their country and were responsible for human rights and war crimes violations during the Gaza conflict last January, i was hopeful that someone, somewhere, would feel the collar of those involved.
What i didn't expect was Britain to be the one to make an attempt to nab them but the British courts it was who issued an arrest warrant for Israel's former foreign minister and member of the war cabinet during the Gaza offensive earlier this year, Tzipi Livni, over war crimes when she was expected to turn up on our shores at the weekend.
As it was she got wind of it and cancelled but i am immensely proud that it was my country that made a grab for her.
We do have recent history here of attempting to bag the Israeli's accused of war crimes with an attempt to arrest Israel's defence minister, Ehud Barak, only foiled because he is a serving minister and was afforded diplomatic immunity while he was here.
In 2005, a retired Israeli general, Doron Almog, returned to Israel after landing in London and refusing to leave his aeroplane because he was tipped off that police were on the tarmac waiting to arrest him.
Other Israeli leaders, including former military chief Moshe Yaalon and ex-Shin Bet security chief Avi Dichter, have cancelled trips to Britain in recent years for the same reason.
Israel hit back over the Livni arrest warrant warning that until the matter was resolved senior officials would not be visiting the UK.
Israelis prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, called the warrant absurd and there has been calls for the the recall of Israel's ambassador to Britain.
The Goldstone report concluded that it found Israels actions during the the war to be 'a deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorise a civilian population and could lead a competent court to find that crimes against humanity, had been committed'.
Let us hope that Israel has received an uncomfortable reminder of international anger over the excessive Gaza war and i am proud that Britain has sent out a strong message that it will stand up for international law and justice. Well done us.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Evil Chavez At It Again

Since mostly all liberals are weed smoking hippies who pine for Communist Russia and want to see Israel wiped off the face of the Earth, it is no surprise that the lefties love Hugo Chavez.
Now they are getting all excited again because the chubby dictator is screwing the West once again with his Socialist toy fair.
In a deliberate snub to every decent American, he has taken food from the mouths of millions of Venezuelans to spend government money importing 124,000 toys from China and is selling them at 20% of their price to hard up parents for their children's Christmas presents. The evil bastard.
Toys include dolls, puzzles, prams and remote control cars with Barbies being the most sought after present.
The industry minister, Simon Daoud El Saden, said the merchandise was being sold at cost, stripped of speculative retail mark-ups. 'It is a way to control and lower prices.'
Chavez called the event 'a victory over rip-off capitalist toys' and even Chavez's political opposition lauded the bargain toys.
"It's positive, many people will benefit," said Antonio Ledezma, the mayor of Caracas.
The man is a threat to everything us right wing maniacs stand for and must be stopped. Today it's handing out dolls and tomorrow it's copies of Das Kapital and attempting to instill a fairer, more just system on the World.

Sunday, 13 December 2009


'I have got no doubt Saddam is very bad for Iraq, but on the other hand I have got no doubt either that the purpose of our challenge from the United Nations is disarmament of weapons of mass destruction, it is not regime change.' Tony Blair 2002

It was with much amusement that during the Iraq War build-up, anti-war protesters had the good fortune to have someone to rage against whose name changed from Blair to Bliar with such little effort.
The main charge against Blair was that he lied to take us to war. Some of his justifications came unravelled almost immediately such as the yellow cake and links with Al-Queada and others were being rubbished as time went on such as Saddam's WMD's and the 45 minute claim.
Speaking on BBC One's Fern Britton Meets programme, Tony Blair was asked whether he would still have gone on with plans to join the US-led invasion had he known at the time that there were no WMD.
He said: 'I would still have thought it right to remove him. I mean obviously you would have had to use and deploy different arguments, about the nature of the threat.'
At least we now know from his own mouth that even if he had been aware there were no weapons of mass destruction he would still have felt justified in launching the Iraq war and used other reasons to justify it.
Firstly it makes a mockery of when Blair stood up and told Saddam that he could stay in power if he handed over those elusive WMD's, that was never going to happen because he and George Dubya had already planned in advance Saddam was being removed however they had to justify it.
Secondly, regime change is illegal under International law and this proves that it was what the whole debacle was about. Bush and Blair arrogantly declared themselves World Policemen, flouting world opinion and the United Nations to become Saddam's judge, jury and executioner.
The self righteous, sanctimonious arrogance is sickening but listening to the ongoing Chilcott enquiry, i have very faith that Blair will be sufficiently grilled by the committee that seems increasingly unwilling to ask the pointed questions.
Blair has admitted that he blatantly lied as a cover for regime change in Iraq. How much more evidence do the people in the Hague who draw up the list of leaders to be charged with War Crimes need?
It must only be a matter of time before Blair gets the tap on the shoulder and a policeman tells him 'Mr Blair, You do not have to say anything, however it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something you may later rely on in court...'.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Rage Against The Cowell

I often wonder just exactly what Simon Cowell asks for when he goes for a haircut. His hair is sort of square with an attempt at a centre parting that fails miserably.
A bad haircut isn't all Mr Cowell has to worry about because his usual march to the Christmas number one is under threat by an Internet campaign to get Rage Against the Machine to the Chrimbo top spot instead of the atrocious Hannah Montana song Simon has chosen for the X Factor winner to sing this year.
I'm all for it, i hate the way the whole show is geared towards claiming the Christmas top slot when it should be songs about snowmen and reindeer.
Not that 'Killing in the name of' is particularly festive, I've just read the lyrics and i have no idea what the songs about but it has a killer riff and the singer gets all shouty and that's always a winning combination at any time of the year.
Cowell is hitching his trousers even higher and hitting back. With an apparently straight face he branded the campaign stupid, cynical and dismissive of the shows viewers.
'It's incredibly dismissive of the people who watch and enjoy the show" he said, 'to treat our audiences as if they're stupid and I don't like that.' Indeed, he likes to treat the audience as if they are stupid. We all remember the Jedward incident when he went from hating them to loving over the length of an ad-break.
The Facebook group currently has 548,000 members and the page says to start buying the song as a download from this Sunday, the day the X Factor winner is announced.
Mind you, there is a certain irony to buying a song all about not being told what to do because someone told you to.
I think i'll just buy Merry Xmas Everybody by Slade instead.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Meanwhile In Iraq...

As the Chilcot inquiry rolls on we should not forget to look in on how things are panning out for the people of Iraq.

2 March 2004: Suicide bombers strike Shia shrines in Karbala and in Baghdad, killing at least 181 people.
14 September 2005: Co-ordinated bombings in Baghdad kill 178 people.
23 November 2006: Car bombs kill 215 people in Baghdad's Sadr City.
3 February 2007: Truck bomber at Baghdad market kills 137.
18 April 2007: 183 killed in attack on Shia locations of Baghdad.
7 July 2007: Suicide truck bomb kills 160 in south of Kirkuk.
14 August 2007: Truck bombs kill over 500 Yazidis, a Kurdish-speaking religious minority.
19 August 2009: Suicide bombers hit the finance and foreign ministries, killing more than 100 people.
25 October 2009: Car bombs kill at least 155 people in attacks on government offices.
8 December 2009: Baghdad bombs kill at least 112 and wounded more than 190

Tony Blair and George W Bush must be very proud of the Iraq that they created.

Monday, 7 December 2009

The Lost Copenhagen Post

Day 1 of the Copenhagen climate Change Summit and i had prepared a sparkling witty, thought provoking and altogether smashing post. Then didn't save it and lost it when my computer froze whilst trying to download AVG updates.
It's too much to try and remember what i said but i know i began by stating that people who said the World wasn't flat and that the Earth went around the sun were probably disbelieved at first and even after they were proved right, there were some who still refused to believe them.
The term 'useful idiot' was thrown in here because it just seemed to sum up exactly what i think of people who blindly follow the likes of Richard Lindzen who get well remunerated by those with an interest in denying climate change. He gets a back pocket full of dead presidents, you get wet feet and asthma for all your misguided simpering.
I then linked these strange folks to climate change deniers who, despite all the evidence, continue to shake their heads and think it's all some convoluted Government scam.
Next up was the science bit as L'Oreal say with 800,000 year old ice cores that show that at no point in the past 800,000 years did levels approach today's carbon dioxide concentrations of around 387 parts per million (ppm) and that the fastest increase seen was 30 ppm over a period of approximately 1,000 years which we have seen in just under two decades.
Then i went through the proof of what we are seeing now with desertification, changing weather patterns, the rise in sea temperature, polar ice melts, warmer summers, spread of disease, crop failure, raising sea levels and the loss of eco systems.
It was starting to get a bit long by now so i ended with a short and snappy sentence that went along the lines of if you can look at all this evidence and still say that the climate is not changing, then you are either Richard Lindzen, an employee of Exxon Mobil or just painfully ignorant.
Shame i lost it all, it was quite a good post so i suppose i will have to write about something else instead.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Amanda Knox Guilty

Much said about the conviction of Amanda Knox for her part in the murder of British student Meredith Kercher in Italy. I watched the announcement of her guilty verdict and the 26 year sentence and the analysis afterwards on the BBC where the summing up seemed to go along the lines of going by the evidence, she was as guilty as hell and got what she deserved, echoing my own feelings of the case.
Around 1am, as usual, the channel flicks over to the American news channel CBS for an hour or so.
Interestingly, the Knox conviction was being discussed on there also but they had a very different view of events and the question was posed, was Knox a victim of anti-Americanism?
Searching around the Internet, i found American sites that posed this question and it reminded me of the 1997 conviction of the British nanny Louise Woodward who was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter when an eight month old baby died whilst in her care.
The British media was incredulous that a British girl had been convicted of murdering a baby by an American Court. Woodward's sentence was reduced to time served (279 days) and she was freed to return back to Britain where she now works as a dance teacher.
Now it seems that Italian justice is being questioned by some people in America although in this case, the imprisonment of Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend seem a safe conviction.
The change of alibi halfway through the case was the most damning evidence. From being in the other room to 'remembering' that actually she stayed at her boyfriends house that night was probably what sealed it along with the DNA evidence on the knife and Meredith's bra, the confession later withdrawn and the bloody footprint.
Knox always came across as an arrogant woman, a view supported by the Police testimony that she was performing cartwheels, doing the splits and giggling with her ex-boyfriend when she was first brought in for interview.
Being arrogant doesn't make her a cold hearted killer, and being American doesn't make her any more or less guilty but refusing to accept the verdict of a court just because of the murderers nationality is wrong on every level whether they are a British nanny or a pretty American student.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Tiger Woods Is Fair Game

It's an old debate but it's one that crops up all the time in the world of journalism and here it is again with the news that Tiger Woods has been up to no good.
The debate splits down the lines of whether the media should be reporting the twists and turns of Tigers marital affairs or the counter argument that his private life should be kept out of the newspapers.
To me there is a very simplistic answer. If a person chooses to put themselves in the spotlight, then they are fair game. You can't only play the publicity game when it suits so that means the whole package of good, bad and ugly.
Tiger makes millions out his 'nice guy' persona through advertising. For years he has been handsomely paid to get his picture taken wearing a certain make of clothes or appearing on television selling razors so he has actively gone out of his way to make himself visible.
Now that he has been caught out playing around on another ladies fairway, he wants to pull down the shutters and asks for privacy.
For me, Tiger Woods is a completely legitimate target and journalists have every right to report the who, when, how and why of the reasons behind his late night fire hydrant crash.
Woods is the villain of this particular piece, not the people reporting it.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Where's The Change Obama?

It has been a tough week for us pacifists and environmentalist. Hopes for an International agreement to save the planet in Copenhagen next week seem to be dwindling before it even starts and Obama, in his wisdom, seems intent on ramping up things in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
I once had high hopes for Barack Obama. He isn't my President but after the devastating International effect of George W Bush's policies, i thought and hoped Obama would come in and right a few wrongs.
Almost a year on we still have prisoners locked up in Guantanamo Bay, troops continue to occupy Iraq, the Environment is put on the back burner, Israel continues to ride roughshod over the Palestinians, the threats to level Iran continue and he has just expanded Bush's war in Afghanistan.
Obama came to power promising change but i can't help looking at his record so far and thinking we are in exactly the same position as we were under Bush.
For all i know he may be doing wonders in America for his own people, although judging by his figures it seems his popularity is waning dangerously, but looking at him from the outside, he is proving to be yet another in a long list of big disappointments.
I should put it down to him being just another politician who talked the talk to get into office but altered his sights once he got there but that seems a bit harsh when he still has 75% of this presidency term still to go.
Hopefully he will up his game in his second year and show us that he isn't just rehashing the policies of George W Bush and wrapping them up in fancy speeches. I do have a growing sense that the gulf we thought existed between Bush and Obama, is not as wide or as deep as we first thought and the only change i can see is that Obama is more eloquent at explaining his disastrous policies.