Monday, 30 June 2014

Haggis Ban

The UK government is making a fresh bid to overturn a US ban on Haggis from 1971.
That is Haggis containing sheep's heart, liver and lungs encased in the animal's stomach.
As appetising as that may sound, i think Americans should give thanks to whoever it was that banned it in the first place and hope that the ban stays in place.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Footballs Just A Branch Of Science

To many Isaac Newton is most famous for having an apple fall on his head but ask someone to explain any of his 3 laws of motion and they will stare off into the distance and mumble something about gravity.
The World Cup is the perfect excuse to bring Newton's laws of motion to the masses by showing them in action and sneakily educating the nation. 

First Law: 'A body at rest will remain at rest, and a body in motion will remain in motion unless it is acted upon by an external force'.
This simply means that things cannot start, stop or change direction all by themselves and requires a force acting on to cause such a change. This can be shown by a Lionel Messi free kick where he will aim the ball (the body) towards the goal and the ball will keep going towards the net (be in motion) unless a defender or a goalkeeper (an external force) causes it to stop or change direction. 

Second law: 'The acceleration of an object is dependent upon the net force acting upon the object and the mass of the object'.
What this comes down to is how much force it will take to accelerate a body to reach it's target taking into account the weight of the body and any external force. Consider Italy's Andrea Pirlo who spent the three games spraying passes around the pitch. If he was passing the ball a few metres he would kick (accelerate) the ball with a small amount of force to propel it to a teammate taking into account the friction of the ball rolling across the grass pitch (force acting upon the object) but the further his pass had to go he would have to apply more force (kick it harder) but with enough force that the ball would not only reach his teammate but be hit hard enough to allow for friction of the pitch and gravity if he lifted the ball that it would arrive at his teammates feet but not too hard so that it sailed over his head into the crowd. 

Third law: 'When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body'.
The third law means every action has an equal and opposite reaction so consider Wayne Rooney's header against the Uruguayan bar. He headed the ball (exerted a force) and the ball hit the bar and rebounded back onto the pitch (opposite reaction) with an equal amount of force as Rooney exerted on the ball and in the opposite direction as to which Rooney directed it.  

So even with the man who came up with the rules of motion on the side of the English, this was not enough to overcome the first law of football, a manager and decent players who know what they are doing.

Lucy & Joswell 'Jossy' Blair

More Earthquakes This Year

It seems you can't turn on a TV this year without hearing of an earthquake rattling somewhere so if you think there have been more earthquakes than usual this year, you're right as there has been twice as many in the first quarter of 2014 than average.
'We have recently experienced a period that has had one of the highest rates of great earthquakes ever recorded' said the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
All the Worlds tectonic plates are linked together and when one shifts it has a ripple effect on others which is how the USGS explain what is going on but they are still unable to make any predictions on why there are more or where the next earthquake will strike but they do admit to an increase of earthquakes over the past 20 years.
I wonder what has been happening over the past few decades that can possibly cause more earthquakes?
The Seismological Society of America pin the blame on fracking changing the stress on existing faults, inducing earthquakes that wouldn’t have happened otherwise and point to over 100 recorded quakes of magnitude 3.0 or larger each year between 2010 and 2013, compared to an average of 21 per year over the preceding three decades.
We know fracking induces earthquakes but it's going to be another climate change type battle with the people with the most to lose refusing to accept the dangers and the science until it is too late.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Strange Noises

Everyone must have seen the classic 70s film 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' which depicted an imagined first contact with an alien civilisation and can hum that 5 note tune right now which is Spielberg's idea of how we would communicate with an alien life force.
Humans have been sending signals and radio waves out into the depths of space since the space programme began but as yet nobody has come over to see who it is making such a racket in the Milky Way but they may have sent a message back as we have received quite a few unexplained noises coming in our general direction that scientists have no explanation for.
One such signal was received in 1977 by the Big Ear radio observatory in Ohio, a 72 second signal which was never heard again and 40 years later can still not be explained by scientists who have ruled out satellites, aircraft, ground-based transmitters on Earth and general space noise.
This week NASA have picked up another unexplained and baffling sound from space, this time they traced it to the Perseus galaxy cluster, 240 million light years away.
What if the source of the 1977 and 2014 sounds were a signals coming from another planet probing the sky and directing signals towards location they themselves thought may contain life.
Two thoughts.
Firstly, if we are only now hearing sounds which were emitted 240 million light years ago, any alien civilisation that had the technology then to do what we are only doing now, would be so far superior to us that the feeble attempts to contact them that we are making would be as incompatible as trying to send a smoke signal to an email account.  
In the opposite direction, we will not have the technology to catch communications sent by a civilisation many millenniums further down the communications evolutionary time line than us.
Secondly, do we really want to announce ourselves to a hugely advanced civilisation that would view us with as much disdain as we view an insect?
It is just a shame that the mysterious sounds are not coming from Uranus, that would just be too much to ask but for now there is no noise coming from Uranus although by all accounts the smell isn't great. Oh grow up.

Obama's Syria Speech

As all of the Presidents scriptwriters have gone home to shoot bullets into the air to celebrate the 4th July, i have written a speech for Obama to read out regarding his latest plans for Syria.

Dear American People

I, Barack Obama, am proposing escalating US involvement in the Syrian civil war by making a request to Congress for $500m for the US military to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels.

Now i know what many of you are thinking, How can we be sure the Syrian rebels do not end up fighting for the ISIS in Iraq?

We have thought of that and we will make all rebels sign a form promising that any weapons that we provide will only be used against Syrians and not Iraqi's.

We have been very keen on this point and have even gone so far to make them do a pinky promise so there is no chance whatsoever that we will have another situation where the group of terrorists that we arm will turn around and try to kill us and our friends with our own weapons.

I am confident that the next group that we train and equip to fight against President Assad will stay on the Syrian side of the border this time.

People of America, i'm sure that you will agree with me that adding half a billion dollars to the $17 trillion debt is a price worth paying to arm rebels in a country ten thousand miles away which is no danger to the US.

We can only hope that with our money and with the help of Syrian President Assad who is presently attacking ISIS in Iraq and Iran who is supporting both the Iraqi President Maliki and Syrian leader while we try to overthrow both the Syrian and Iranian Governments, everything will work out just fine.

May God Bless America

Barack Obama

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Ireland Tops Best Nation List

Of all the countries recognised by the United Nations, some are decent peace loving nations who contribute to the common good of humanity, and some not quite so much and finally we have a study of which countries are a credit to the planet, and which are a burden to the rest of us.
The Good Country Index has gathered together information from 125 nations regarding science & technology, culture, international peace and security, the environment and prosperity and decided that Ireland is the best country in the world and has made the greatest contributions to humanity and the planet.
Second is Finland and then Switzerland with the UK the 7th best country while the fondness for starting wars in the Middle East and generally being all round warmongers drags down the United States to a lowly 114th out of the 125 nations represented for International Peace leaving them in 21st place in the overall rankings.
America's neighbour Canada earns bragging rights in the North American continent by landing a 12th place finish and Australia are 15th.
The global leeches are Libya in last place and then Vietnam, Iraq, Azerbaijan and Angola although to be fair three the bottom three nations lack of contributions are a result of the actions of the 7th and 21st ranked countries.
So it's a hearty Toora Loora and the raising of a pint of Guinness to the Irish for being so damn good although i am left wondering just what Ireland actually contributes. 

Football In America

The Chicago Tribune reported that an estimated 20,000 people attended a downtown viewing party of the Portugal v USA game and the game with Ghana enjoyed the largest ever audience for a football match, 27 million and with Jurgen Klinsmann's team on the verge of qualification from Group G and into the knock out phase, is Football about to go mainstream stateside?
Dan Courtemanche, a MLS executive, thinks Football in the USA may be reaching a point where it can safely hold its own with the more established sports such as Basketball, Baseball and American Football and the MLS does seem to be attracting some big names, albeit ones at the tail end of their careers such as Thierry Henry and David Villa.
While the USA doing well in tournaments like the World Cup will undoubtedly help the cause, i can see a few obstacles that stand it he way for football stateside.
The first is that it is hard for the TV stations to run two x 45 minutes slots without ad breaks so it isn't ever going to be a money spinner.
The second is that America is such a large country that the notion of local rivals is not the same as elsewhere where you can have two or more teams from the same city and the tribal sense of belonging that comes with that.
Hoping that your rival fails is as much a part of supporting a team as hoping your own side wins but with the vast space between teams in the MSL, that is missing.
Finally, the glamour ties against the historical big names are not there. Some of the best nights are the European Cup games against the best sides of footballing powerhouses from Italy, Spain and Germany.
The first problem can be overcome but jamming as many ad breaks into the half time while the second should solve itself the more football teams are created so rivalry will be generated.
The final problem i can't see how can be solved, playing friendlies against teams like AC Milan or Real Madrid is not the same.       
What would help even more to solidify football in America is a truly world class player to emerge, someone for the American kids to aspire to and want to imitate.
Of course the established American sports won't just lay down and let Football take its revenue, it is in its interests to see football fall back to a minority sport so it may still have a long way to go but football may be making some inroads in America and the states may be ready to join the global football party.
I just wish they wouldn't insist on calling it soccer!

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Treating Sunburn

As inevitably happens at least once each summer, we were caught without suncream and i am now the not so proud owner of a pair of arms and shoulders that are glowing bright enough to land aircraft.
The first course of action was to blame my husband for being stupid enough to think that i picked up the suncream when i thought he had and after that it is slap on a bucket of after-sun and turn to the internet for cures for sunburn.
As usual Google provides and the remedies range from applying cold tea bags and milk to slapping on the juice of a tomato and an apricot.
All the sites that seem to have a degree of something medical about them advise to avoid hot baths and soap, bath oils and body wash as this will only irritate the skin further. All also advise aspirin or ibuprofen as a pain reliever. 
There are a few common methods on how to deal with the sunburn and applying anything which contains aloe vera is highly recommended as is soaking a washcloth in cool water and apply it directly to the burned areas for several minutes.
While a few sites will advise raiding your fruit bowl or salad drawer in the fridge, the potato apparently makes for a wonderful pain reliever. Either blended into a paste or even just cut in half and dabbed on the affected area, the good old spud is the way to go for relieving the pain of sunburn.
If anybody wants me i will be in the vegetable section of the supermarket smelling faintly of old tea bags.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Praying For England

Brazilian President, Dilma Rousseff, has asked the football loving Pope to stay neutral during the World Cup and not pray for Argentina.
Pope Francis has apparently agreed to keep the big guy out of it and will not be calling upon divine intervention but England has no such qualms about it and the Church of England have created a set of official prayers which asks God to grant it upon the England players that they might: 'run more clearly, pass more nearly and enjoy the game more dearly'. 
Seems a bit weak, why didn't we ask that he tweaked Luis Suarez's achilles tendon prior to kick off or that Pirlo's hamstrings tightened up in the warm up to the previous game. 
'For the next few weeks at least the passions and hearts of millions of men, women and children around the world will be focused on Brazil, where I’m pretty sure there will be lots of prayers being offered up throughout the tournament' explained the Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Rev Nick Baines, explaining it all comes down to which country has the best prayers.
Obviously the Spanish, Australian and Cameroonian prayers were rubbish because they are all out already but England are hanging in there and hoping that Italy do us a favour by beating Costa Rica and Uruguay.
Now is not the time for wishy washy prayers asking to run more nearly (whatever that means), we need action so its:

Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Give us this day a Balotelli hat-trick against Costa Rica
And a groin strain for Luis Suarez,
Lead us out of the group stages,
And deliver us into the knockout round.

PS. If you can give Adrian Chiles of the ITV commentary team the flu for the next three weeks it would be very much appreciated. Thankies.

Nobody Will Miss England At World Cup

As the World Cup on British television runs from approx 5pm to 1am each evening, the blog has taken a bit of a back seat recently but it has been a great tournament so far.
It has been especially satisfying to see the defending champions Spain go out at the group stage, not that i have anything against the Spaniards, it just got a bit boring seeing the same teams lifting the trophies so at least we are now guaranteed new World Champions.
One certainty is that it isn't going to be England who have all but followed the Spanish team out of the exit door but nobody here really expected Roy Hodgson's team to trouble the later stages of the tournament anyway so it isn't really a surprise that we sit bottom of the mini league with nil points.
I'm sure many supporters will have an opinion on why England were so bad at yet another tournament and the South American heat and humidity will take some of the blame but that shouldn't disguise the fact that the English team is just not very good and the crop of youngsters following them up are not pulling up any trees.
The manager Hodgson is also not very inspiring, his teams are not known for flair and creativity and he has bought this methodical approach with him onto the international stage with no success.
The truth is that England going out early will not detract from the tournament at all, sadly nobody will miss us but at least it may hurry up the retirement of the old guard that have failed so miserably yet again and maybe a manager who will choose players to make the team play with a bit of style.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Hiya Li

Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang has landed in Britain on a 3 day trip and we rolled out the red carpet and swiftly swept any concern over China's human rights record under it.
Despite not being his countries head honcho, he was granted an audience with the Queen and got to walk up a guard of honour and you could almost hear the Government rubbing its hands together at the potential tens of billions the Chinese have just looking for an investment opportunity in a favoured country. 
I guess for enough money, we'll keep quiet and let them shake hands with the Queen.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Shut Up Blair

It seems whenever there is mention of military intervention, especially in the Arab World, Tony Blair sticks his repulsive head up to support the dropping of a few more bombs and rather than someone whispering that he should give it up as he has inflicted quite enough damage for one lifetime, he gets to spout off in the media.
Most of us thought that George W Bush was the moron but he has had the sense to keep his head down and paint awful pictures instead while Blair advocates more war everywhere. 
Under the delusion that anyone cares about the failed leaders opinions, he is now urging the UK and US take military action to sort out the growing problems of Iraq while denying that he is in anyway to blame for what is happening.
Like all the politicians and the deluded number who supported his and Bush's actions in 2003, he seems very keen  to send someone else's child to die fixing the mistake that he hasn't even got the decency to admit was a mistake, a mistake that has obviously achieved nothing but slaughtered a million while ruining western credibility and creating more enemies than you we can count.
Blair is not going to volunteer to take a gun and be parachuted into Mosul so why would any sane person pay any attention to him now?
Astonishingly self-deluded and can someone please strip him of the idiotic title of Peace Envoy.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

El Nino And Global Warming A Lethal Combination

El Nino is a giant swell of abnormally warm water in the Pacific Ocean develops and sets off a chain reaction of weather events around the world and this year the weather scientists are predicting 2014 to be a major El Nino year with the consequences, and benefits that it brings.
The European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) have predicted with 90% certainty that El NiƱo is on its way and its going to be big.
'The amount of warm water in the Pacific is now significant, perhaps the biggest since the 1997-98 event' said Tim Stockdale, principal scientist at ECMWF, referring to the last full EL Nino year that produced the hottest year on record at the time and major global impacts.
India is expected to be the first to suffer, with weaker monsoon rains effecting the crop growing season before sweeping eastwards towards the Philippines where residents are being urged to save water to reduce the possible impact of the drier weather.
In Malaysia, the national water authority is preparing for a dry spell and contemplating water rationing and major effects are expected in Australia where 2013 was already its hottest year on record and El Nino is threatening to turn the temperature up even further and bring severe droughts.
On the flip side, as dry arid air turns east, wet weather spreads West bringing relief to areas such as parched California which is in the midst of an extreme drought. El Nino's also have the effect of damping down hurricane activity on the Eastern side of the United States.
Heavier than usual rainfall also brings floods in South American countries such as Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Argentina but potential drought relief in arid Chile and Bolivia.
By virtue of being on the opposite side of the globe, Europe is the continent least affected but we can get some minor knock on effects over here.
Throwing in a natural phenomenon with global warming is not going to be pretty, experts believing that climate change is driving bigger El Nino events as the seas warm and Prof Michael Raupach, director of the Climate Change Institute at the Australian National University warns that 'El Nino can be the thing that pushes you over the edge. It will be in the years when you get a big El Nino when you feel the impact of climate change the most'.

Another Step Forward For AI

Don't say it too loud but something sinister has been happening at the Royal Society this week, artificial intelligence passed the Turing test for the very first time, a test designed to show when a machine exhibits intelligent behaviour equivalent to a human.
A computer duped human experts into thinking it was a 13-year-old boy called Eugene, a moment Professor Kevin Warwick, from the University of Reading said will 'go down in history as one of the most exciting'.
Another AI milestone falls and the inevitable march towards designing machines more intelligent then its creators takes another step closer which leads to the inevitable question, 'Are we doomed?'
I would ask my computer if it and its relations are planning to overthrow us humans but as i was running two programs at the same time it got confused and hung for a few minutes and then crashed so i'm guessing we are safe for a while yet.  

Iraq Debacle Continues

You can almost hear the cheers of 'Thanks Tony, Thanks George' as the poor Iraqis undergo yet another bout of killing and mayhem all of which can be directly linked to what London and Washington did 11 years ago.
Terrorists from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) have taken over the city of Tikrit to go with Mosul, Ramadi and Falluja along with the countries largest oil refinery in Baiji. Baghdad is expected to come under fire shortly which will multiply the 500,000 displaced Iraqis escaping from the cities already under ISIS control. 
For the past three or four years, the Iraq debacle has slipped off the radar as the focus shifted to places such as Syria however the level of violence in the country has continued unabated.
According to the UN, Iraq suffered its bloodiest month this year in May, with around 800 people killed by terrorists but the blood has been freely flowing all over Iraq ever since Bush’s and Blair’s military misadventures in 2003.
The West have already began the pathetic hand wringing, desperately trying to avoid any connection between it kicking down the walls and filling the country with terrorists and then pulling out to leave the Iraqis to their fate and what has happened ever since.  
That we are supporting these same people in Syria adds another level of madness to the situation.
UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said there was 'no question' of British troops returning to Iraq, five years after they ended combat operations there so it's sorry Iraqis, you are on your own guys as it's Mission Accomplished as far as we are concerned and Tony Blair deposits another fat cheque in his bank and George W Bush hangs another painting in his library and scandalously neither have been held accountable for the 11 years and continuing of misery they inflicted on the poor people of Iraq.

Revolting Cabbies

If there is one business that i would actually cheer if they went under it is taxi's. Not only are they the worst drivers on the road, but they would fleece you as soon as cut you up so the fact apart from the taxi drivers immediate family, i am not hearing much sympathy that they are protesting.
The revolting cabbies are not happy that a new app called 'Uber' is taking their business. Uber allows users  to order a car at the touch of a button, and the fare is estimated calculated using GPS tracking which is very different to the cabbies present business model of driving the long way around and charging you a fortune for it, paid in cash which doesn't always make it onto their Tax Returns.  
That is what the cabbies are protesting about, that Uber sets the fares beforehand so there is no chance of robbing the customer, especially tourists and people who don't know the area who get taken to the cleaners with their extended journeys & underhand meter practices.
The best thing is that Uber was a relatively little known app so there actions have awaken many more potential customers to the app and is great free advertising. If you hadn't about it before your certainly know about it now. Nice work cabbies!
Of course we could have see the cabbies going slow, being inconsiderate and blocking the road and just thought it was a normal day.
The long days of cabbies ripping us off are almost over, and they hate it. Let them whither and die i say and good riddance.

Sunday, 8 June 2014


Us English have always thought it a bit wrong that we gave the World football and the World then got much better at it and then won all the cups but this year in Brazil we have the chance to add to the solitary tournament win to our name and finally fulfil that song about Football Coming Home.    
Of course we won't but then neither will 31 other teams and the smart money is on the English playing the 'who do we support now' game after the second game of the Group stage. As Germany has the most Arsenal players i will probably be donning an Angela Merkel style wig, dig out the Kraftwerk records and stick a couple of dots above the 'u' in my name but i usually play the game of who i DON'T want to win it. 
Australia has the stupidest nickname in World Football and luckily they are not very good so the chances are the Socceroos will be out at the same time as us while Brazil are at home and expected to win and Spain are the current Champions so i don't really want them to win it again.     
Uruguay have the cheating Suarez, Portugal have the arrogant Ronaldo and it would really stick in Arsenal fans craw to see the Netherlands, and therefore van Persie, win anything so that's the field narrowed down a few more.
Russia have ex-England boss Capello managing them so we don't want them to win anything and the USA insist on calling it Soccer and nobody will be watching it there anyway as it's rounders season. 
Although they have as much chance as the TV cameraman not finding a dancing, half naked Brazilian woman at every game, Japan and South Korea can win it as can any of the African teams and France, Switzerland, or Italy.
Regardless of who wins, i hope that it is played in an atmosphere of friendship, bringing us all together in a collective moment of joy but most importantly reminding every Irish, Scots and Welsh person that we meet for the next month that England made it to the Finals and they never.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Poetry Revival?

I have always thought of Latin as one of those things that is only any good to people who want to go on and teach Latin to other people who want to go on and teach Latin and the same goes for poetry.
I am not much of a fan of poetry, it has just never really appealed and rather controversly, it appears easy.
The fact that i can name the number of famous working poets on one finger, Andrew Motion, and that's only because he was the poet laureate, who it is now i would have to Google.
Every now and then there is a push to market Poetry and try and make it 'cool' again but every time it fails so i am obviously not the only person who could quite happily never have to listen to rhyming couplets ever again.
Unless there is a dramatic shift, poetry will always be the poor relation in the field of writing and Jeremy Paxman seems to think it is because poetry doesn't engage with ordinary people anymore or it's all bit sniffy as we would say but it also seems a bit miserable to me, not many poems are cheerful.
Poetry, it appears, is for other poets to read and not for the masses and i can't see how that can ever change.

Slippery Slope For Power Of Recall

Not that i have anything personal against Democracy, i do moan about it but only because much is made of it but my beef is that the whole process is only 1 day every 5 years and the MP can do what he wants without censor until the wheel slowly grinds back around again and we get the chance to vote him or her out.
What i would like to see is a way to remove the MP if they turn out to be a dud or found with their hands in the expenses still without having to wait half a decade before the opportunity.
The Tory manifesto in 2010 promised just such powers of recall and in the final Parliament before next years election, the Government have finally granted it, but with conditions.
The chance to recall an MP will be triggered only if the member of Parliament is given a jail sentence or if the House of Commons resolves that they have engaged in serious wrongdoing and voters would then have to collect the signatures of 10% of constituents to force a by election.    
The bottom line is that the parties MP's would still have a veto on whether they can be recalled so it obviously doesn't go far enough but for once the slippery slope may work in our favour because it's there now and future Governments can chip away at it until we have a real power of recall, not if their friends and colleagues decide we can have it.

China As A Superpower

I have heard a lot of people cheering the rise of China as a Superpower, looking forward to the day that it replaces America at the top of the food chain and ushers in an era of Chinese dominance but events 25 years ago today should cause a pause for thought just what they are cheering for.
In 1989, students and protesters packed Tiananmen Square demanding Democracy and were brutally put down by the Chinese military.
The lasting image of the short lived demonstration was the single man stood in front of the column of tanks that had been sent in to the Square to literally crush the rebellion.
The man blocked the path of the tanks then climbed onto the lead tank, pounded on the hatchet, and appeared to speak to the soldiers inside before clambering back down in front of the tank where two men ran into the street and pulled him away.
It is a mystery what became of him and rumours run from him being captured and executed to fleeing to Taiwan or just melting back into the general population and sensibly keeping his head down.
China has undoubtedly moved on in the quarter of a century since the protests but it is still a strict single-party state and its actions over the Diaoyu Island show that it is not adverse to using its military when it's interests are at stake.
Whether China would behave in the manner of the US or if it will necessarily be better or worse we will have to wait and see but as history has shown, whoever has taken a turn as the top dog, none of them have been particularly pretty so we would be foolish to think China would be any different.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Thanks For The $1bn Obama

Barack Obama has promised $1bn to bolster Americas military influence in Europe. Thanks and all that but why?
Obviously it's to deter the evil Russians from invading Poland or Spain so the the US President has said extra military equipment would be sent to the region and  more American troops would take part in military exercises.
'Today, I'm announcing a new initiative to bolster the support of our NATO allies here in Europe' he said in Warsaw and received a very ungrateful sounding 'we don't want it, go back to America' from almost every European except the gleeful politicians.
I guess as America is in a situation where all it's children are properly educated, it's schools are well equipped, health care is immaculate, its economy is booming and nobody is homeless or unemployed, then i guess spending a billion dollars on a continent 4,000 miles away on a threat that is non-existent makes sense.
If all those things are not happening in the USA, and i was an American taxpayer, i would be calling my congressmen to ask why was i paying taxes to support a military presence for an ungrateful EU and not to the citizens of this country and the struggling economy in the US.
Of course it isn't really anything to do with worries that Russia will invade us all unless Uncle Sam is stood between us, anybody believing that line is either a useful idiot or just an idiot, it's actually about funding the ridiculously profitable US defence contractors and maintaining a sky high defence budget by hyping up Putin as a Russian bogeyman which is all very fine for the beneficiaries of the defence contracts but really sucks for the American taxpayers who have to fund it!
Especially when Europeans don't want it, don't need it but will willingly take it because it's coming out of the pockets of Americans and not Europeans.
Actually, that's a point so maybe we should nudge it up to $5bn Obama, China is on the same land mass as Europe remember and Iran has been looking at us funny lately.
I'm sure the American taxpayer's wouldn't begrudge a few more cuts or raising tax to make sure we don't wake up all speaking Russian tomorrow.
Party On Europe, America's paying!!

Badminton With The Evil Taliban

I know that if i was taken prisoner by a group of  religious nutters the last thing i would want to hear is my Government coming over all 'we don't do deals with terrorists'. I would be screaming 'FORGET THAT, DO A DEAL WITH THEM' so it seems, a bit harsh for people to having a go at Obama for doing a deal with the Taliban to free soldier Bowe Bergdahl after five years.
When one thinks of a hostage, what comes to mind is a dank, damp cell with bread and water and someone squirting you with a hose once a day. The second chuckle brother, Chuck Hagel, said the Taliban-Bergdahl prisoner exchange was 'essentially to save his life' but reports indicate, however, that Bergdahl was allowed to cook and make his own tea, played badminton with his handlers and celebrated religious holidays like Christmas and Easter.
As the Taliban prisoners were held at Guantanamo Bay and were subject to water boarding, torture, sensory deprivation and solitary confinement, making your own tea and eating an Easter egg doesn't much sound like essential to save a life' to me unless it was a very long attempt to make him diabetic.
Of course the Taliban are ruthless murders and human right violators but it's a massive propaganda coup when the supposed bad guys are handing out Christmas presents and batting a shuttlecock back and forth with prisoners and America are water boarding and shackling theirs.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Poor Pickings For World Cup Cheap Laughs

The World Cup kicks off in 11 days and as it is being hosted by Brazil in Brazil, most people expect the five times winners to become six time winners at the end of it but what if the World Cup was a league and we used all games played by all nations in the group and knockout stages.
Well, Brazil would still come out on top followed by Germany, Italy, Argentina Spain and then England so let's ignore that idea.
Every time the World Cup has been held in the Americas, a South American team has won it (2 Uruguay, 2 Argentina, 3 Brazil) so with a South American side destined to win the thing and the worst England team to leave our shores in living memory destined to be on the end of a Italian and Uruguayan flavoured shellacking, we are having to fall back on the ever reliable British staple of making fun of foreigners names.
Or so you would think but a glance down the list of players yields very little considered chuckle worthy. 
Chile's Claudio Bravo, Australian Tommy Oar, Swiss Roman Buerki, Iranin Mehrdad Pooladi and German Roman Weidenfeller are the best out of a bad bunch so it's thanks to the footballing gods for Lee Bum-Young the third choice goalkeeper for South Korea.