Wednesday, 31 July 2013

No Assisted Suicide Decision Still The Right One

The court of appeal has rejected a request by Paul Lamb who is paralysed from the neck down that doctors should be allowed to help him die and its not an easy decision to say that i agree with them.
Paul Lamb had taken on the 'right to die' case originally brought by Tony Nicklinson who suffered 'locked-in syndrome' who died last year.
Lord Judge opposed the appeal and insisted that the law relating to assisting suicide cannot be changed by judicial decision but by the politicians.
In response to the decision, Lamb said: 'I am absolutely gutted by the decision. I was hoping for a humane and dignified end. This judgement does not give me that. I will carry on the legal fight – this is not just about me but about many, many other people who are being denied the right to die a humane and dignified death just because the law is too scared to grapple with these issues'.
A very emotive argument but for me it leaves a massive grey area with people being pressured to commit suicide and it is too big an area to ignore so it's the lesser of two evils and the judges should keep rejecting the appeals.
It may benefit the likes of Tony Nicklinson and Paul Lamb but the right of others to kill you without fear of possible prosecution, that's a potential minefield we don't need to wander into.

Zero Contracts

How ironic that Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley has 90% of his staff on zero hour contracts and also happens to be the owner of Newcastle United who are sponsored by the pay-day loan company Wonga.
That's a nice tie in for the club and the loan business as the very existence of zero-hours contracts means that Ashley supplies the customers for his sponsor by using these unfair employment contracts.
A Zero contract is where you agree to be available at all times to work for an employer, but are not guaranteed any work at all so they put the employee's life at the disposal of the employer with no employment rights, protections or guaranteed pay so you don't know what your pay will be at the end of the month making it impossible to budget or even know if your wages will cover your minimum needs.
You cannot work part time elsewhere because then you may not be available to give the employer the hours they want you for meanwhile the government is able to boasts about how many people are now 'employed' while the taxpayer picks up the bill for subsidising the unfortunate employees who aren't paid enough to live on.
The Government have now agreed to review the use of Zero Hour contracts but that is just an excuse to kick the whole thing into the long grass, what we need is the Labour Party to shout long and loud to expose them for what they are, an abuse by the employer exploiting the workers.
I remember a time when Labour used to be all over that and this is a chance to prove that they are on the side of the workers, not the rich business owners.

Manning Verdict

All Governments know that they have to crack down on anyone who attempts to chip away at their authority as an example to others who could be emboldened to strike blows at them also.
So is the case with Bradley Manning who has been found not guilty of aiding the enemy but guilty on  20 remaining charges meaning that he still faces the possibility of up to 136 years behind bars.
His crime was exposing the secretive and barbaric actions of his government who initiated two horrific wars in Afghanistan and Iraq which resulted in a horrific loss of life which continues today over a decade later with car bombings and sectarian killings.
The perpetrators of the wars were always interested in keeping the consequences of their actions as quiet as possible and when people like Julian Assange, Bradley Manning or Edward Snowden shine a spotlight on their sordid actions, the result is prosecution for the whistleblowers.
America want their wars to be seen as clean and sanitised with them as the good guys and the other side as the bad guys but as the three whistleblowers have shown, war is innocent people being killed, lives being destroyed and cavalier soldiers humiliating, torturing and killing the people they are supposedly there to bring freedom to.
Like the US Government, the armchair warriors of the internet don't want the reality to be seen, the Apache helicopter pilots bombing Iraqi civilians and journalist or the charred remains of a wedding party mistaken for an Al Queada meeting. 
The US government will now be hoping that this will set an example to any future whistleblowers who may be tempted to reveal injustices while America go about their wars.
Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden have courageously sacrificed everything to expose their Government who do not come out of this with any moral integrity whatsoever and after Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan, they never had much to start with.

I'll Skip The Toast Thanks

Due to the Fire Brigade being called out to over 1300 'unusual incidents' in the last few years, they have launched a campaign called 'Fifty Shades Of Red' to highlight how the public should not put body parts in places that they shouldn't.
In the list of strange cases the Fire Brigade have been called out to include a man with his arm trapped in a portable toilet, adults stuck in children's toys, hands stuck in letterboxes and people with test tubes on fingers and vacuum cleaners attached to a certain male body parts.
One of the most common is handcuffs where the key is out of reach but my absolute favourite has to be the call to release a man who had his penis stuck in the toaster.
I can only imagine he slipped on the kitchen floor after his shower and in a million to one freak accident
became intimately linked to the toaster.
All the time men keep putting their most cherished body parts in weird places such as test tubes, vacuum cleaners and toasters we will need a Fire Brigade. And a cereal bowl.

Monday, 29 July 2013

NHS Privatisation Experiment Failed

Privatisation doesn't work example number 184,483: The NHS's 111 non-emergency telephone helpline.
NHS Direct, which had run the predecessor service to the 111 helpline before it was broken up and put out to tender by the Conservative Government, said its involvement in the new service had become financially unsustainable, and four month after it was set up, has handed over responsibility for 11 of the 46 regional contracts for which it was responsible.
NHS Direct had worked on the assumption that it would cost on average £13 per call to cover salaries and other expenses for employees, but then found the actual payment it was receiving for its services was closer to £8.
The Britih Medical Association decribed the nonemergency sytem "an abject failure" and said some part of the NHS 111 service are now in chaos, and urgent action is needed to prevent this from having tragic consequences for patients."
Not surpringly the PM, the same one who ppromised us the NHS was safe in his hand, or any of the Government minterd who supported abandoning the former public service, was available for comment.
Privatiation, always has been and always be an awful idea.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Happy Birthday Curiosity

It was a year ago today that NASA successfully landed the Curiosity rover safely on the surface of Mars. 
An amazing feat that you can't help think is something we should have done decades ago.
The Soviets landed a probe on Venus in 1966 and sent up another that landed and sent back readings in 1969, the same year that humans were stepping onto the moon but it took another 43 years until we picked up the thread again which is very frustrating because if we had carried on in 1969 just imagine how much closer to a manned visit to Mars or a colony on the moon we would be today.
We have sent probes to all the planets and most of their moons on budgets a fraction of what is spent on 'defence' and we have found out that the inner rocky ones that may have had an outside chance of hosting us in the future are all uninhabitable for humans.
I'm 44 and hoped i would be living on the moon by now or at least past the stage when we are still landing probes on planets to find out about them.
Hopefully we are entering a new 'space age' where we really move on and make up for lost time.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Proof Of Time Travel

This is a shot from the 1928 Charlie Chaplin film 'The Circus'.
I see a zebra and a window sticker for the film itself and a woman talking on her mobile phone. In 1928. A mobile phone.
Some say she is merely scratching her ear or looking at the size of her feet, it's a man dressed as woman because for whatever reason they needed a lady in that scene and there were only men on the set at that time and he is trying to hide his sideburns or adam's apple.
For me the only plausible theory is that the woman is a time traveller. Yep, that's what i'm going with.

Meteor Watching In August

I'm not going to be around much in August, its the annual pilgrimage to find a dark enough part of this island to get a decent view of the Northern Hemisphere's prized meteor shower, the Perseids.
This year the tent is going up in North Devon which has dark sky status which almost guarantee's a decent viewing of the meteor's if the clouds play along.
Last year we were lucky enough to get 2 perfectly crystal clear nights out of the three when the Perseids were at their peak although our campsite wasn't as far out from the light pollution of cities as we had first thought so we have high hopes that going to the middle of a 267 square mile forest will do the trick this year.
Got the usual problem of what to do with the blog for 31 days but i recently discovered the pending option on blogger so may make use of that or i may just hang a 'on holiday' sign in the window.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Cheering On The Church For Once

After years of wondering just what it was for, finally we find a use for the Church, to put the vile pay-day lenders out of business.
The Archbishop of Canterbury insisted he wants to "compete" companies like Wonga 'out of existence' by expand the reach of credit unions as an alternative.
Wonga said it welcomed any attempt to encourage responsible lending and that it had been instrumental in helping to raise industry standards and then increased the interest rate to 5,853%.
The Office of Fair Trading's (OFT) published a report which is the culmination of a large-scale probe into the £2 billion payday sector, stated they were causing wide spread "misery and hardship" for borrowers.
Shame it took someone who is not our government to tackle the serious problems of these pay-day lenders fleecing the public and leeching off the poor and vulnerable.
Good on you Archbish, this is one time when i don't mind the church wanting to get involved in society so i say good luck to it because the Government sure wasn't going to do anything about it.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Amnesty Condemn America

Long gone are the days when America held any moral authority and after the PRISM surveillance revelations the roasting from Amnesty it received today isn't going to endear it any further to anyone.  
Amnesty International has condemned the White House for its role in detention of a Yemeni journalist who exposed US involvement in a deadly 2009 cluster bombing.
The human rights group is urging the Yemeni authorities to investigate allegations that Abdulelah Shaye, a journalist recently released from jail, was put behind bars because his reports revealed that a 2009 missile attack in Yemen which killed 41 local residents, including 21 children, was carried out by the US and not by the Yemini Government as first claimed.
Shaye was arrested in August 2010 on charges of helping Al-Qaeda and convicted to five years in jail.
He was then given a Presidential pardon within weeks of his conviction by former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Salehand who was then the recipient of a telephone call from Barack Obama who convinced him to reverse his decision.
“Abdulelah Shaye appeared to be a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned solely for his legitimate work as a journalist,” said Amnesty International blaming 'intense political pressure applied by the USA' and attempting to 'override the judicial process in another country' after investigating the case.
Shaye has now been pardoned by the current Yemeni president after three years in prison, a decision which was met with disapproval of by the White House who said they were 'concerned and disappointed by his early release'.
Amnesty International said that they 'reiterate our calls on the Yemeni and US governments to reveal the truth about the incident that is at the heart of the actions taken against this investigative journalist – namely who was responsible for the deaths of dozens of residents in the cluster bomb attack'.
America is not making many friends recently and it's fall, and it will fall as all empires do, will be all the more painful for it.

Monday, 22 July 2013

They Put A Flag On The Moon

I do like the American flag, it's colourful and the 13 stripes are a nod towards better times when Britain ran America and the 50 stars that represent American states now that the British don't run it and it has gone to hell in a handcart.
Of course there are many places you can see The Stars and Stripes such as any marketplace in a Middle Eastern country where one is usually being set fire to and also on the Moon.
Now at some point Aliens will come visiting us and they will probably pass by the moon and there they will see the Red, White and Blue sticking out the moon dust. Or will they?
We all know what happens when you leave cloth out in bright sunshine, it fades, and after 40 odd years i think there is a fair chance that what we have at the entrance to our planet is a large white flag not billowing in the lunar breeze.
Actually, there are six American flags on our Moon, all of which are now a brilliant shade of surrender white which makes me wonder what any visiting alien would think.
If they come in peace then it will probably reassure them that us humans are a lovely bunch of pacifists but if they are coming armed with intergalactic lasers to take over our planet and enslave us all then it isn't really the signal we want to send out before they arrive.
Would never have happened if America had stayed under British rule, mainly because it would have been Soviet Hammer and Sickle flags up there while America sat around drinking tea and wondering what happened to that Polish guy we hired to build our rocket.
Hopefully a Middle Eastern country will develop a space program and send one of their own up there, they will know what to do with a flag and a cigarette lighter and we will be spared an alien race thinking we are surrender monkeys and taking over the Planet.

Great Timing Mother Nature

Cripes, as the newsreader was telling the nation that Kate had given birth to a boy, there was a bright zig-zag of lightening followed by a low rumble of thunder. I looked out the window and there were dark storm clouds moving across the full moon.    
I'm not one for ominous omens but if they call it Damian...

UK Porn Ban: Thin Edge Of The Wedge

I am a firm believer in the thin edge of the wedge arguement where Governments bring in what seems like a harmless or even beneficial legislation and once they are in place, can creep in bigger and more restrictive things and David Cameron's announcement that wants to block pornography from being viewed over the Internet is the thin edge of a very worrying wedge.
Mr Cameron called for some 'horrific' internet search terms to be 'blacklisted', meaning they would automatically bring up no results on websites such as Google and warned that if the search engines didn't obey, he would have to 'force action' by changing the law.
On the face of it, a sensible and responsible decision but once the 'blacklist' is in place, what's to stop them adding in a few more search terms to the list? 
'In the darkest corners of the internet, there are things going on that are a direct danger to our children, and that must be stamped out' he said but what if he or the next Government decide that there are other areas they consider worthy of a blacklist rating, step by step they will be controlling the internet and deciding which sites are offensive and which aren’t.
This is censorship coming on top of the revelations that our Government are already monitoring our internet usage, emails and mobile phone calls and with them now deciding what we can and can't see and read on the Internet, another brick that makes up our civil liberties is removed.
Nice distraction from the Lynton Crosby cigarette packets u-turn scandal though, things were getting tough for the Tories for a moment there.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Superman v Batman

Anything that gets nerds excited is probably eye-rollingly boring to the rest of us and so set your eyes to roll as the big news from Comic-Con (think grown adults dressed as Superheroes) is that Supermen and Batman are to do battle in the next Superman film.
Over 6,000 people turned up to at San Diego's Comic-Con, many in fancy dress like the husband and wife who wore a Superman and Wonder Woman outfit who said, actually i don't know what they said as i was too busy cringing for them being shown on TV dressed as Superman and Wonder woman.
To be fair, everyone has different tastes and if grown adults like to read and dress up and watch movies about Superheroes then that is their lookout so i shouldn't knock it.
Just for the record though I can't see how a man who can move super fast, is super strong and can fly as well being invulnerable to pretty much everything and can fire lasers from his eyes can lose against a guy who dresses up as a bat and wears a belt.

America Declares War On Fish

Man-Fish relations are at an all time low today as US planes jettison four bombs onto the Great Barrier Reef.
Although not confirmed by the White House, this is widely speculated to be the start of a massive aerial assault as part of the war against fish. 
CNN Correspondent Wolf Blitzer reported that in his 30 years of experience, he had never seen anything on the scale of the attack on the fish stronghold.
Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said that the strike had taken place to drive out jihadist fish that had found safe harbour in the Coral Reef, as well as to deliver fishitarian relief.
'President Obama has deployed all available troops to the West Coast of America and troops are currently marching into the ocean to deter any attack from the legions of Tuna and Halibut as per intelligence services information' he continued.
In the UK, Prime Minister Cameron has promised to stand shoulder to shoulder with the United States and after sending 10,000 Reserve Army Cadets to stand outside Sea Life Centres, stated that he would not be seeking negotiations with the fish leaders stating: 'We do not negotiate with those who nibble on innocent swimmers'.
At The United Nations, Colin Powell has just finished his Powerpoint presentation where he declared it: 'An important day for us all as we review the situation under UN security council resolution 1451'.
He went on to show 'evidence' how some fish had been concealing their efforts to produce weapons of mass destruction.
When it was pointed out that his evidence included crude crayon drawings of fish with lasers and clips from 'Nemo' and Shark Tales', he feigned a headache and went to find an Asprin.
Environmentalist's and activist's have declared that the war is illegal and is just about the vast reserves of Omega 3 oil, a claim that the White House have dismissed as 'about as crazy as that rumour that we were listening to all phone calls and reading your emails'. 
Initial reports are that over a million innocent fish have been killed so far.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Why Is Britain So Hot?

As 'furnace' Britain slaps on another coating of suncream and applies wet flannels to the back of it's neck, more and more people are wondering just why it is so hot this summer.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, Canadians are pulling on the wellington boots and holding up umbrella's and wondering just why is it raining so much this summer. 
It seem's that when we have it hot, the Canadians get wet and vice versa as last year it was our turn to spend the summer months splashing in puddles and they turned up to work with the white strap marks and that is actually what happens, only one of us can be basking in high pressure at a time due to the Jet Stream.
The Jet Stream meanders up and down so depending on what side of the Jet Stream you find yourself, your weather is either wet and cold if you are above it while everything below it is warm and dry and until it moves, high and low pressures are trapped over that part of the globe.
The Jet Stream over our Eastern side of the Atlantic has been pushed right up as far as Iceland which means while we are hot and sunny, on the Western side the meandering see-saw effect means it is pushed right down so they are cold and wet resulting in the Toronto floods this week that saw 13cm of rain fall in just 2 hours and caused subways to flood and 50,000 homes lose power.
The MET Office say that the behaviour of the Jet Stream has changed dramatically in the past few years and it now meanders north and south more frequently where before it stayed relatively stable due to the warming Arctic where temperatures have increased at more than twice the global rate resulting in the disappearance of 1.3m square miles of sea ice.
Whether that means the Jet Stream being pushed down over there which means warm and dry we over here or we get the summer of floods will become apparent over the next few years.

Still No Royal Baby

Kate has still not had her baby and the 5 people who care continue to sit on the edge of their seats.

Meanwhile many other women are due to give birth in the coming days who won't dump the baby on a Nanny for all it's childhood years while they get paid millions a year to swan around in Rolls Royce's pretending to be doing good for us all.

Friday, 19 July 2013

England Ladies Team As Bad As The Men

For a country that invented the game, England really does suck at football.
This summer our Under 20's, Under 21's and now our ladies teams have all been turfed out of International competitions at the first hurdle without winning a game and the men's senior side are looking at a play-off place after struggling in a group that contains the footballing powerhouses of Montenegro and Ukraine.
Most galling is the failure of the England ladies team to even scrape through the group stages because we were supposed to be quite good, beaten in the final last time around. 
Now, our players are climbing back onto a plane to arrive back in England while the competition carries on so it's time to do what we have been used to doing with the mans team at tournaments and choose another country after our own has been knocked out.
Making up the final eight are Iceland, Sweden, Italy, Germany, Norway, Spain, France and Denmark which are all countries that i don't really have a problem with, but it has to be Sweden for me.
Kom igen Sverige!

A Cough Doesn't Mean Lung Cancer

You may have stop noticing your cough' says the TV advert, 'but if you have had it for 3 weeks or more it could be lung cancer'. WTF!!!
It does go on later to say that it probably isn't but you should get it checked out anyway with a big THINK CANCER slogan filling the screen but how is that not highly irresponsible?
Doctors waiting rooms will now be full of people coughing and spluttering convinced that they have a lung full of malignant growths and a course of chemotherapy is the only answer when a few spoonfuls of cough medicine is all that's needed.
Woke up with a bit of a headache? It could me a brain tumour, probably isn't but get it checked anyway. THINK TUMOUR!! 
I would suggest that 99% of coughs is purely down to the person having a cough and not lung cancer but scaring people into already overcrowded doctors waiting rooms with a simple, got a cough, think cancer, is a poor move. The MacMillan Cancer Support has a long list of lung cancer symptoms such as:

    a continuing cough, or change in a long-standing cough
    becoming breathless and wheezy
    coughing up bloodstained phlegm (sputum)
    chest or shoulder pain
    weight loss
    a chest infection that doesn’t get better
    a hoarse voice
    a dull ache or sharp pain when you cough or take a deep breath
    difficulty swallowing
    feeling extremely tired (fatigue) and lethargic
    the ends of fingers becoming larger or looking more rounded (clubbing)
    swelling of lymph nodes (glands) in the neck area.

Would have been more responsible to have the advert saying if you have noticed two or more of these symptoms then get checked by a doctor rather than cough=cancer which must have caused panic in anyone who has a cough for a few days.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Zimmerman's Stand Your Ground Defence

I don't know much about the details of the Trayvon Martin shooting but the 'stand your ground' defence has been mentioned many times and my understanding is that it means you can shoot someone in self-defence if you feel your life is threatened.
It seems that Zimmerman felt his life was in danger and shot and killed Martin and so he is innocent.
I again mention that i don't know the fine details except that America has some completely crazy gun laws but the 'stand your ground' defence that i heard explained was that you could claim it in self-defence.
As Zimmerman armed himself, left his car against police advice to do so and initiated the altercation with Trayvon Martin, i'm not sure how he could then claim he was merely standing his ground in self-defence.   
If he had stayed in his car then nobody would have been killed in self-defence or otherwise so surely Zimmerman manoeuvred himself into a position where he initiated the conflict where he could claim self-defence.
Isn't this a red light for anybody in America to pick a fight with someone and then shoot them dead when they retaliate and claim they felt their life was in danger?
Maybe i'm missing something here.

None Of Your Business Sam Cam

As if we haven't got enough problems with one Cameron making such an almighty hash of things,m along comes another one another one shoving their nose in.
Senior Government figures are saying that David Cameron's wife, Samantha, is pushing him to do more to tackle the Syrian conflict, it has been claimed.
She has pushed for a tough response to the humanitarian crisis after travelling to the region in her role as a charity envoy.
Not that Samantha will be volunteering to do it herself so she should keep that big nose of yours out of it. It's bad enough we have to put up with her useless husband doing his best to ruin the country without her sticking your beak into affairs that have nothing to do with us.
The politicians should politely point out that the unelected wife of the Prime Minister trying to dictate our foreign policy is a no-no and suggest she if she is lost for something to do then maybe she should take a spin around this country and see the damage her husbands policies are doing here and push him into sodding off and let someone else run things. 

Monday, 15 July 2013

Staying Cool On Hot Summer Nights

As Britain has officially become as hot as the surface of the Sun, it has become difficult to get a decent nights sleep but luckily there are lots of people willing to give tips on how to cool down and not just lay there flipping around the pillow trying to find a cool spot. 
A fan would keep you cool but you then have the drone of the fan keeping you awake and if you throw open the windows you wake up with an insect party in your bedroom.
Something i was told a while ago was putting your pillow in the fridge an hour before you go to bed (or just the pillowcase if the fridge isn't big enough) and that works fine if you drop off in the first 30 minutes or so.
Other helpful tips from around the internet is to not strip off but wear loose-fitting cotton or silk nightclothes as natural fibres wick away moisture from your skin.
Leaving blinds down or curtains closed during the day will keep the sun out and not heat up the bedroom and running your wrists and hands or feet under the cold tap for a few minutes will bring down the bodies temperature as will hugging a hot water bottle filled with cold water.
Putting the mattress on the floor supposedly helps as that is where the coolest air is as the warm air is lighter and will rise leaving all the cold stuff lower down.
Standing under a freezing shower might sound like the quickest way to bring your temperature down but apparently your body will react to a dramatic change like this by trying to preserve heat by shutting down the blood flow to the skin and trap the heat inside rather than let it escape. A tip is wring out a flannel with cold water and sleep with it on exposed skin or go to bed with damp socks on
Finally sleeping on your side exposes more body surface and gives off more heat.
All good tips for keeping cool in the summer heat and i have been told that a human can go two nights with broken sleep without it impairing your abilities and by the third night you will be so tired you will sleep through anything.

Your number

The world's population is expected to hit seven billion in the next few weeks. After growing very slowly for most of human history, the number of people on Earth has more than doubled in the last 50 years.
The BBC has one of the greatest webpages on the Internet where you can find out where you fit into this story of human life by filling in your date of birth.
When i was born i was the 3,601,852,773rd person alive on Earth and the 77,682,028,766th person to have ever lived since history began.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

UK Government Tobacco Links

 “I believe that secret corporate lobbying, like the expenses scandal, goes to the heart of why people are so fed up with politics. It arouses people’s worst fears and suspicions about how our political system works.” Prime Minister David Cameron, MP, speaking in February 2010

Lynton Crosby is an adviser to the Government, he also owns a lobbying firm CT Group and the job of a lobbying firm is to try and influence decisions made by officials in the government. One of his customers is Phillip Morris the cigarette manufacturer.
Sounds dodgy immediately but it gets even more sleazy.
Lynton Crosby was hired by the Government as an adviser and this week the government revealed that it was overruling it's own Health Ministers to shelve plans to introduce plain packaging on cigarettes.
Last week it was announced that e-cigarettes are to be classed as medicines and the e-cigarette companies subject to tough new tests before they can sell their wares, a decision that benefits the tobacco companies who are seeing their profits hit by the adoption of e-cigarettes.
All very reminiscent of the Blair/Ecclestone affair when Bernie Ecclestone, then in charge of Formula 1 motor racing, 'donated' a million pound to to the Labour Party and months later, Tony Blair, then Prime Minister, changed Government policy to Mr Ecclestone's advantage: Formula 1 would be exempt from the general ban on cigarette advertising at sporting events.
Is there anybody out there in a position of authority who isn't screwing us over for a profit?

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Poetry War

As i have stated here many times, i dislike poetry. I especially dislike poetry that doesn't rhyme which seems the whole point so just to annoy me, the man formerly known as the Archbishop of Canterbury and now just plain old Rowan Williams has written a poem about organ donation of all things.
He does give a detailed explanation of what the poem means but doesn't mention once how none of it rhymes and if you have to explain it then you have obviously missed the point.
The poem is called 'Host Organism' and begins:

I have been living
under the layers
of grain and moisture,
earth in my nostrils
and the years ahead
sitting like hard
pebbles in my gut,

and then it just meanders along for another 12 lines not rhyming and mumbling about birds dropping seeds. 
Call me old fashioned but poetry is easy, any idiot with a basic grip on the English language can make lines that rhyme so to prove my point, here is my effort which i have called 'My Heart Won't go on'. 

To die before you think your ready,
isn't what anybody would like,
But if you're ladder feels unsteady,
Or you own a motorbike.

There are ways you can help lots of folk,
Be patched up as good as new,
As they unwrap you from the massive oak,
They can take bits from what's left of you.

If you fill out a donor card today,
Your life won't be greatly improved,
But when you arrive at that fateful day,
You'll be dead with nothing to lose.

Your organs could help all of society, 
If your bike slips away in the rain,
But if you're a fan of Spurs or Stoke City,
Nobody will want your brain.

Flag Burning Returns

As long as i can remember the television news would show people burning the British and American flags somewhere around the World but that has been strangely missing recently so it was nice to see the practise has not gone out of fashion and the people of Egypt have rediscovered that Old Glory goes very well with a box of matches. 
The anger and flaming stars and stripes are coming courtesy of the former President Morsi supporters who blame America for bankrolling the people who removed their man from power last week and their mood wasn't improved when it was announced that the US still intended to deliver F-16 fighter jets to the Egyptian military as well as continuing the $1.5 billion aid cheque.
Supporters of Morsi, protesting his removal, have been carrying anti-Obama posters.
'I have no problem with American people, I have a problem with American politics that tries to interfere with the way we want to live and that is not right' said one member of the Muslim Brotherhood taking a break to refill his cigarette lighter presumably.
Anti-American feeling is increasing in Egypt and not just amongst the people who go home smelling of smouldering flag, the Pew Research Centre concluded that eight out of 10 Egyptians are negative towards the US, with just 16 percent having a positive attitude towards the United States.
When it comes to President Obama, nearly three-quarters are unhappy with the way he handles American foreign affairs but he isn't doing so well in his own country with a Quinnipiac University survey released today putting approval for Barack Obama’s foreign policy dropping to an all-time low, with just 40 percent of Americans backing the president’s handling of international affairs.
For the reason America aids countries that hate them when it is $14 trillion in debt itself, you will need to ask Israel who have urged President Obama to keep subsidising Cairo.

PC v Tablet & Netbook

Global personal computer sales have fallen for the fifth quarter in a row, down 11% from this time last year and the blame is being put on tablets and netbooks.
I did once have a netbook but found it slow compared to the PC and the tablet even slower so they got passed down to the kids.
Netbooks and tablets seem to be just any use for Internet surfing and checking email if you don't mind a bit of a wait and being close by a plug to recharge the battery every few hours and in the case of a tablet, an on-screen keyboard so anything other than that, they are not really much use.
I have always used Mac's and PC's, not that i understand them, but it seems if you buy anything else you are not getting anything other than a glorified smartphone for triple the price but then maybe i am missing something.
As the price of a decent PC are only marginally more than a netbook, i do wonder why you would pay all that for something that does a fraction of what the extra £100 will give you.
Apart from it being small enough to carry around with you and not being restricted to sitting in one place, why bother with a tablet just to check email and read websites? I don't get it.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Royal Mail Sell Off

The Royal Mail made a profit of £403 million last year, money that went into the public coffers but the Government have decided that in future, instead of the public getting the money to pay for schools, roads and hospitals, it would be better for the money to go directly into someones bank account instead. 
Royal Mail is to be privatised as the Government announced today: 'Now the time has come for government to step back from Royal Mail, and allow its management to focus wholeheartedly on growing the business'.
What they didn't say was as happens with all privatisations, a small number of wealthy people will make more money from the privatisation and the service will deteriorate and the workers who are not made unemployed in an inevitable streamlining, their pay and conditions will worsen and the service will get more expensive.
Maybe i'm being pessimistic and what will evolve will be a superior and cheaper service but then you would have to ignore all the evidence of previous privatisations and nobody is that daft.
This is just yet another transfer of public assets from us all to the wealthy dressed up as something good for the public because privatisation doesn't work, it's a con as any trip on a train or glance at your water/gas/electric bill will testify.
NHS next.

MP's Pay Rise

David Cameron has rejected a proposal for MP's to receive a 12% pay rise to around £74,000 a year.
Downing Street said the prime minister would tell the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority that the overall cost of politics should go down and MP's should not receive a pay rise while public sector workers face restraint.
The prospect of a pay hike comes while the expenses abuses are still being dealt with and is especially galling when the rest of the country is suffering austerity measures and public sector workers pay has been held down to a 1% increase.
I now wait to hear the first complaint about this from some greedy backbencher. Go on, i dare you.

Arming Our Biggest Threat

Syria wasn't supposed to be like this, it was meant to be another Libya.
Hijack a popular protest and when it turns violent use the violence as a pretext for a 'humanitarian intervention' in the form of a no-fly zone and then bomb the Government armed forces into surrender and mop up the rebuilding and oil contracts.
Only this time Russia and China said no, Al Queada are on the team we are supporting and they have videoing themselves eating the hearts of their enemies and using chemical weapons which means the Obama and Cameron have got themselves into a bit of a pickle.
Even Colin Powel and one of his legendary sham PowerPoint presentations can't save this one now that the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) have reported that the greatest threat to Britain is the elements fighting against the Al-Assad Government in Syria.
Britain's security and intelligence chiefs ast MI6 decided that 'al-Queada elements and jihadists in Syria currently represent the most worrying emerging terrorist threat to the UK and the west. There is a risk of extremist elements in Syria taking advantage of the permissive environment to develop external attack plans, including against western targets.
Russia said on Wednesday it had proof Syrian rebels used Sarin in a missile attack on Aleppo in March and the ISC expressed 'serious concern' over the elements trying to acquire sarin, ricin, mustard gas and VX.
Two years on since the uprising, the Syrian army are rolling back the 'rebels' and America and the UK find themselves in a bit of a quandary.
Arming the people who our own intelligence are described as the biggest threat to us doesn't sound particularly clever so it seems Obama and his mates have got themselves into something that they can't get themselves back out of again.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Bin Laden's Hat

Arsenal fan and major International Terrorist Osama Bin Laden was last seen slipping off the side of an American battleship in May 2011 but the official Pakistani Osama Bin Laden report has thrown up some interesting points. 
Around 2002, a Pakistani traffic policeman stopped the Al Queada leader for speeding but let him of with a ticking off and let him drive away again and the most searched for man in history evaded detection from from the Worlds most sophisticated satellite and surveillance systems by wearing a cowboy hat. 
The third floor was built illegally without planning permission but due to staff shortages in the local town planning office department, it wasn't tackled.  
Unbelievably that the most recognisable and hunted man on the planet managed to evade capture for a decade simply by wearing a big hat but then the CIA may have been confused by the Arsenal fans singing 'Osama, woah-woah, Osama, woah-waoh, he's hiding in Kabul, he loves the Arsenul'.
The Gooners got it wrong because he was in Abbotaland in Pakistan not Afghanistan. Nor was he, as one Spurs fan said, hiding undisturbed in Arsenal's trophy cabinet since 2005.
If i was Edward Snowden i would be looking up the telephone number for the local Moscow hat shop straight away. 

Wrong Decision By EUCHR On Whole-Life Sentences

I have never understood the point of a concurrent sentence when a criminal is convicted of two or more crimes and the judge sentences him/her to a certain period of time for each crime but the sentences may all be served at the same time.
So if someone murders four people he/she gets a life sentence for each but instead of four 25 years sentences so he/she serves 100 years, he/she gets one 25 year sentence for all of them.
The judge can designate a whole-life sentence which will see the criminal behind bars for the rest of his/her life and Jeremy Barber was one of three prisoners challenging his whole life sentence which he received in 1985 and the European court of Human Rights today decided that whole-life jail sentences, without any prospect of release, amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment of prisoners.
The judgement said: 'For a life sentence to remain compatible with article 3 there had to be both a possibility of release and a possibility of review' which means that the sentence must be reviewed after 25 years.
As uncomfortable as it is, i agree with the Prime Minister and his colleagues who have come to say that they 'profoundly disagree' with the verdict.
There are 50 prisoners on whole-life sentences including Ian Brady, Dennis Neilson, Steve Wright, Peter Tobin, Dale Cregan, Rose West, Peter Sutcliffe, Mark Bridger, Peter Tobin and Robert Black and it is beyond me how anyone can argue that these abominations should ever be released and shouldn't rot in prison until they die.
If the UK is forced to comply then i sincerely hope it will just be lip survice and it will be a parole hearing after so many years for lifers, an inevitable ruling that they are unfit for release and pencil in the next parole hearing in 20 years and repeated until death.
The EUCHR has got this one very wrong.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Serves Them Right

Long story short:

Four men in Indonesia set an animal trap.
Tiger Cub caught in trap.
Family of tigers chase men.
Men run up tree.
Men still up tree 4 days later while tigers wait at the bottom.

Don't you just hope there is a woodpecker pecking away at there heads as they sit there.  


Sunday, 7 July 2013

The Failing Of Democracy

The demonstrations and Government removal going on in Egypt highlight what, for me, is the major failing in Democracy in that once the Government is in, they are there for the duration regardless of how dire they are.  
The majority of people didn't much care for the religious way, lack of jobs created and the tanking economy that Morsi was overseeing and built up such a head of steam that the military intervened and removed him.
My biggest gripe about Democracy is that the voters have no way to force another election if the party who won turn out to be a disaster and it is only four or five years later we get to vote again.
What should be introduced is a way to remove a Government if they turn out to be a shambles or if the manifesto they promised before the election day turns out to be a pack of lies or if they are as corrupt as the last Government.
We are inundated with polls so why not have a poll made up of all polls which if support falls below a certain percentage, an Election is triggered.
No need for demonstrations or the military airing it's hardware in the streets, just the will of the people who the Government by all accounts is supposed to be representing us and if the people think you are lousy, off you go.

Congratulations Andy

It was 77 years since a British man last won Wimbledon, the last British winner was Virginia Wade in 1977 and today's date was 7-7 so all the indicators were that Andy Murray would win this afternoon and he duly delivered with a straight sets victory over Novak Djokovic.
All in all a decent weekend for British sports with the British lions also trouncing the Aussies in their own backyard and even Ivan Lendl smiled.
Well done Andy.

e-cigarettes As Medicine

Almost a year ago i switched to an e-cig or 'nicotine delivery system' as the leaflet which comes with my monthly order of nicotine liquid calls its. It isn't the same as smoking a real cigarette but close enough to have won over 1.3 million users in the UK alone and it has the added bonus of not exposing me or anyone in my immediate vicinity to cancer.
It is a fair assumption that the vast majority of 1.3 million Brits who now regularly use e-cigarettes are former smokers and as nicotine is almost entirely harmless (although highly addictive), you would have thought the medical industry would be delighted but not so the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) who are pushing for e-cigarettes to be classed as medicines and the e-cigarette companies subject to tough new tests before they can sell their wares.
Now i have some sympathy with the people who argue with me that e-cigarettes may not be the wonderful things us 'vapers' say they are.
They say we are just substituting one addiction for another which is true and that e-cigarettes can be used as a stepping stone to 'proper' smoking and that the fruity flavours may encourage children to 'vape' and then smoking.
I have yet to hear of anybody who has made the opposite journey and gone from non-smoker to vaper to smoker but it is plausible and i agree that the flavours such as tutti fruity, ice cream and toffee popcorn could entice children to try them out so i do have sympathy with that argument.
My problem is that by classifying e-cigarettes as a medicine, the plethora of small retailers who sale the nicotine and the vaping accessories will be forced to pay millions for the required testing and the licence to sale the nicotine liquid which will close many sites, leaving only those with the deepest pockets to continue which in turn will make it harder to buy the stuff and force many ex-smokers back to cigarettes. 
Seems rather a backward step to reduce the availability of something that has stopped so many people from smoking but therein lies the rub.
The 1.3m ex-smokers no longer buying 'proper' cigarettes leave a huge dent in the profits of not only the tobacco companies but if they are using e-cigarettes to quit, they are not paying out for Nicotine Replacement Therapy such as patches and gum.
In the UK in 2011, nicotine replacement therapies were worth £120m, tax on tobacco products swells the Government coffers by £9bn annually and tobacco companies profits are down (Imperial Tobacco announced that tobacco net revenues are down 5.9% in 2012) so while the publics health may be improving, these three would be the big losers by more people taking up e-cigarettes.
The government, tobacco industry and pharmaceutical companies will never admit to trying to reduce the proliferation of e-cigarettes because it needs the taxes it rakes in from you killing yourself.
The MHRA on the other hand can say that as e-cigarettes are used as a stopping smoking device, they should be classed as a 'nicotine replacement therapy' product and be subject to the stringent demands made on other NRT's.
The MHRA it should be noted is an official arm of the UK Government who have regular meetings with the tobacco industry and recently scrapped plans for plain packaging on cigarette packets after one company threatened to close its UK factory unless it relented on the plan, and the MHRA has strong ties to the pharmaceutical industry where it receives most of its funding and it is also the case that many of the MHRA’s senior staff have connections to the pharmaceutical giants which led to a House of Commons Committee report 'The Influence of the Pharmaceutical Industry' that concluded that: 'These close working relationships over decades have meant that industry views have been much more prominently represented than the interests of patients and consumers.'
So there you have it, the three who would most lose the most from a wide take-up of e-cigarettes are trying to thwart the wide-scale take up of e-cigarettes and if that means denying people addicted to a damaging substance the opportunity to transfer that addiction to a product most medical professionals rate as harmless then they will.
Profits once again trump everything.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Cameron's Text Message Curse

I don't know what type of mobile phone David Cameron possess but someone should take it off him before he causes even more carnage with his 'good luck' texts.
The Curse of Cameron struck yet again Monday as Laura Robson crashed out of Wimbledon just hours after the Prime Minister had sent her a text message of support but then this isn't the first time Calamity Cameron has messed up our sporting dreams.
He text Murray before he was beat by Roger Federer in last years Wimbledon final and then rocked up at the Olympic road race and watched our nailed on gold slip through the fingers of Mark Cavendish, another recipient of a Cameron text.
Our other Olympic hopefuls, Tom Daly, Shanaze Reade and Liam Phillips fell short in their finals and the England Football Team where sent a good luck text just before the 2010 World Cup and niftly got hammered 4-1 by Germany.
On the television behind me, Scotsman Murry is 2-0 down and Scotland's favourite son is not playing particularly well so it could well be the man from Scotland's final appearance at Wimbledon this year.
Gideon, hide Cameron's bloody phone but not until he has sent David Moyles a 'good luck for next season' text.

Another Great Idea From The Keyboard Of Lucy

I think it is fair to say that if the Cubans had a choice, they would prefer to be closer to their ideological comrades Russia and China than the United States of America.
It is probably also fair to say that the Israelis had the option, they would rather be living nearer the shores of North America than in the Middle East.
The answer is so simple i don't know why it hasn't been discussed before, Cuba and Israel do a swap.
America doesn't want belligerent Cuba stuck there off its east coast, it would much prefer a more compliant Israel and Cuba has had 60 years of America trying to invade it and bump off its leaders so everything would be fine on that side.
Likewise, Israel has been at war with all its neighbours at some point in a little over 60 years and nobody in the area wants its stuck there in the Middle East so no problems from that side also.
Being an Island, Cuba has no direct neighbours for Israel to horribly oppress but as Israel is a fifth of the size of Cuba, the sticking point may come that it will be another decade at least until Israel steal enough land off it's neighbours to swap like for like but that's plenty of time for Cuba to wrap it's things up in newspaper and learn what 'Do you want to buy some cigars?' is in Arabic.
America wouldn't have to cough up so much in transporting arms halfway across the World and Russia could finally stick a few of its nuclear missiles on Cuban soil without any hassle from America.   
Everyone's a winner and its economical so the UN should get Raul Castro and Benji Netanyahu on the phone and sort it out.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Half Time

Today is the 183rd day of the year which marks the halfway point in the year so we are as far away from when we made a drunken arse of ourselves on New Years Eve as we are from the next time we make a drunken arse of ourselves on New Years Eve.
As we are also past the point when the Northern hemisphere is closest to the Sun, we in the top half of the globe are in a headlong rush towards colder times with snow days, Christmas and making an arse of ourselves on New Years Eve. 
It is also an opportunity to take a step back and evaluate your year so far with your goals and objectives and to take the necessary action to get things back on track if necessary.
It’s a chance to thinking over the aspects of your life that you might want to improve and vow to make the second half of the year count, to achieve those goals that you set out while waking up with a massive hangover on January 1st after making an arse of yourself on New Years Eve.
It's like a football match where you collect your thoughts in the changing room at half time, consider the first half and devise a strategy for the second half to get the required result.
Alternatively you can say stuff it and just do in the second part exactly what you did in the first and worry about it on New Years Eve when you promise to give up the fags, drink, junk food, lose weight, get fitter, travel more and find a new job and move house and then you think stuff it, i will do that in the second half of the year when you can say stuff it, i will...and so on and so on.

Danny Nightingale Guilty

There seems to be a split of opinion over SAS sniper Danny Nightingale who stands accused at a military court martial of illegally keeping hundreds of rounds of ammunition and a working 9mm pistol at his house.
The defence is that the he had brought the gun back from Iraq in 2007 and had intended to have it decommissioned and made into a trophy but had forgotten due to a brain injury sustained while running a marathon in Brazil in 2009.
Nightingale now claims that the weapon and ammunition may have been planted by somebody else and denies even possessing the pistol and ammunition.
That he passed the assessments and was declared fit for deployment to Afghanistan in 2010 and he had 3 years to decommission the gun but never with the changing reasons how it got into his house pretty much seals it for me that his excuses are bogus. 
He knew full well that to keep the gun and ammunition was illegal and under no circumstances should he have that kind of weapon with that amount of ammunition in his bedroom wardrobe unlicensed and being in the military doesn't matter a jot.
He broke the law, a law that is there to protect us, and he should suffer the consequences for his actions.

Super Mega Jesus

God sed 2 Noah 'i wnt sum1 2 mak a ark. if u do dat pls lt me knw 2nite cuz i cnt w8 any mor.
Noah replied 'Wkd M8, i do dat cuz i cnt swm LOL'

How much easier it would have been if God had spent the time creating Mobile phones all those years ago instead of insects. A decent reception and high quality apps are much more useful to us than a Crane Fly but who am i to tell the big guy how he should have done things.   
The problem with God being too lazy to make sure there was a decent network coverage and squandering his time on mosquito's instead means that if you want to read the Bible, you have to wade through a thousand pages and it is almost impossible to find the good bits but publisher Kingstone publishing have cracked that by producing a 2000 page comic-book version of the entire Bible in the style of a Marvel comic.  
Where Jesus was once a weedy looking chap in sandals, he is now a testosterone-driven muscled Super Jesus curing lepers and the blind with a touch of his hand and a witty one liner.
'Boys are sometimes reluctant readers so these comics and graphic novels are pretty adept at catching their attention and drawing them into the story' explained the Chief executive Art Ayris. 
If i know young boys they will go straight to the pages covering Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot bonking his daughters, Judah having it away with his daughter-in-law and i'm not sure i want to see the pictures of Aholibah and her lovers 'whose flesh is as the flesh of asses, and whose issue is like the issue of horses'.
They might need to tone it down a bit, that sort of material is normally found on the top shelves in the newsagents.
Next up, probably not though, a Marvel style comic of the Koran complete with Mega-Muhammad and the Hindu texts with Groovy Ganesha who has an elephants head which is way cooler than God and his boring man shaped bonce.

Monday, 1 July 2013

How To Punish The Americans

The French, Italians, Greeks and the Germans are not happy that the Americans have been bugging their European embassies and are threatening to pull out of the EU-US trade deal, the biggest bilateral deal ever negotiated, as a way to punish Uncle Sam and its evil empire.
I say to hell with threatening, just ban everything American from crossing the Atlantic and have nothing whatsoever to do with the yanks at all.
With the exception of music possibly. Most of the stuff i listen to is American bands such as Nirvana, Guns n Roses, Green Day, Ramones so we will take their music but that's it, nothing else.
Of course we won't count films, almost all the best actors and actresses as well as all the best films come from over there so music and films but that's it, nothing else.
Okay, TV we will also allow over, would be silly to deprive ourselves of Buffy, Friends, Frasier, MASH, David Hasselhoff, Angel and Big Bang Theory just because their paranoid Government couldn't keep their big flappy ears to themsleves.
Allowances would also be made for soft drinks, American sportsmen, computer software, tobacco, Jack Daniels, Rich Hall and we can negotiate a replacement for Gwenyth Paltrow and you can come and take Ruby Wax or we will just dump her in the ocean somewhere and don't even think about trying to slip Sharon Osborne back onto us, keeping her there is part of your punishment.
I think that's it, so taking it all in account, everything American is banned until you guys stop eavesdropping on us all and until such point, nothing is coming in except the previously mentioned and we will just sell all our crap to the daft Australians instead.
Sorry, quality merchandise.