Saturday, 29 June 2013

NHS Catering

Anyone who reads the newspapers recently will have noticed that there seems to be quite a few stories knocking the NHS.
The Government know that privatisation of the NHS is the golden goose but there would be riots of they tried to go ahead and sell the thing to the highest bidder wholesale so they are lopping off little bits at a time and selling those, things like catering.
The strategy is to put out frequent stories knocking the NHS and the drip-drip effect of constant bad news means that at some point the public will be satisfactorily buttered up enough to accept the privatisation plan.
Of course, as we find out again and again and again, privatisation doesn't work, it's a often repeated myth that a private company can do better than a public service for the same price and standards and workforce, it can't without putting up prices, reducing standards or sacking employees.
Today's look-how-bad-the-NHS- story is over how 82,000 hospital meals go uneaten and wasted each day due to the terrible quality of hospital meals but the own goal here is that, as Alex Jackson, coordinator of the Campaign for Better Hospital Food, points out: 'The problem is the huge amount of money paid to outside caterers who inflate their costs and use the cheapest ingredients'.
I suppose some people may be shocked to realise that privatising the food in hospitals to the lowest bidder has in many cases resulted in terrible, unhealthy and poor quality meals but that won't derail the Governments scheme.
Instead of returning to in-house catering without half the funds having to be syphoned off to pay profits and dividends and what's left being spent on actually what they are paid to do which is provide meals for hospital patients, it will be ignored as other stories are found to replace it and the process of softening us up for the sell off continues.   
Privatisation doesn't work and should have no place in the NHS especially where the ability to turn a profit should not even be in the equation

Here Comes The Sun

As i whinge here every year, Summer is my least favourite season but as this is Britain we don't often get the high temperatures of some of the other places on the globe but my thermometer showing around the mid 20s in mid-summer i can handle for a few days and worth it if we get a huge thunder storm out of it.
Spare a thought then for the people in Western USA as the weatherman is saying the mercury is expected to hit 54C or 130F this weekend in California and the officials have set up a number of safety measures such as cooling stations for the homeless and elderly.
200 people were treated for heat problems at an outdoor concert and another 30 hospitalised for heat-related injuries at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas yesterday and rangers took up positions in Nevada to persuade people not to hike.
Zookeepers in Phoenix hosed down the elephants and fed tigers frozen fish snacks. Dogs also treated for burnt paws on scorched pavement and airlines kept close watch on the heat for concerns that flights could be delayed as high temperatures make it more difficult for planes to take off.
National Weather Service meteorologist Mark O'Malley said: 'This is the hottest time of the year but the temperatures that we'll be looking at for Friday through Sunday throughout a lot of the southwestern United States is going to be baking hot.'
I don't know if 'baking hot' is a proper meteorological term but it is something -ing hot anyway.
Stay cool, slap on the suncream and if you are one of those people who insist on asking 'Hot enough for yer?' to everyone, don't, because it is really, really annoying.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Not Reading The Guardian

Those limey pinkos at the Guardian newspaper can't really be surprised. Not only did they publish all the Wikileaks secrets a while ago but now they have been spilling Edward Snowden's beans on the US PRISM spying program so in retaliation the US army has blocked access to the Guardian website for its personnel across the country to preserve 'network hygiene'.
Looking at the Guardian newspaper they are missing out on such limey news as Prince Charles funding falls by 50%, David Cameron is off on a jaunt to Kazakhstan and how the NSA collected US email records in bulk for the past two years under Barack Obama.
Can see why that would be embarrassing so the best way to maintain the land of the free is by denying freedom of the peoplecharged with maintaining their freedom from reading about how their Government is denying their freedom. Or something along those lines.
In my dictionary a tyrannical government is described as 'a Government that uses arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power; abuse of authority, an oppressive or unjustly severe government'. Hard to argue that Obama and his pals are not abusing their authority by secretly going through your emails, photographs, e-mails, mobile calls and texts.
Obama better hope that the NRA and the second amenders don't get their collective brain cells excited and decide that the bit about everyone being armed to the teeth as 'necessary to the security of a free State' has come to pass because he could be in a bit of trouble with the well regulated militia that has decided they are not as free as they thought.
If it does happen, us limeys will read about it first as your internet will be blocked.

Voyager-1 Has Left The Solar System

It has taken 35 years and over 11 billion miles but the Voyager-1 spacecraft is set to leave our Solar System and become the first man-made object to leave our stars domain. 
Using the technology of 1977, Voyager is on course for a star called Gliese 445 but as that trip is another 40,000 years at the present speed of 38,609 mph and Voyagers plutonium batteries are only expected to last for another decade, it probably won't be able to let us know in 42013 if it made it there.
For some reason there doesn't seem to much excitement about Voyager-1 leaving our solar system despite it being a magnificent achievement of the human race.
The Voyager space probe carries a gold-plated audio-visual disc in the event that either spacecraft is ever found by intelligent life-forms from other planetary systems. The discs carry photos of the Earth and its lifeforms, a range of scientific information, and a collection of Earth sounds including a baby crying and Chuck Berry's Johnny B. Goode.
Kudos to the scientist who decided to include that particular song to showcase us humans to our alien cousins, excellent choice Sir.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

It's Good To Talk

A special mention and a glass of lemonade to State Senator Wendy Davis who filibustered a bill to restrict abortion rights in Texas by talking for over 11 hours, therefore preventing the time for the bill to be passed.
The bill would ban abortion at 20 weeks gestation, place limits on abortion-inducing drugs and introduce other restrictions that advocates say would close 37 of the 42 clinics that provide abortions in the state.
She had initially intended to speak for 13 hours but with less than two hours to go before the midnight deadline, she was finally silenced when Republicans silenced her on a three strikes and you're out rule, claiming she had violated regulations by straying off-topic three times.
To speak for 11 hours with no sitting, food or water or any leaning on a desk or even toilet breaks is some achievement although she did come prepared by wearing sensible footwear, a pair of pink trainers.
Falling short of the required time span, the baton was picked up by hundreds of protesters who cheered and jeered and successfully stalled the bill.
The record for the longest filibuster goes to U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, who spoke for 24 hours and 18 minutes.
How risking laryngitis and a burst bladder became a genuine, official political technique is a bit of a strange one though.

Fracking Is Good For The Economy

I can't believe that all those environmental types are complaining again after the Government announced tax breaks and fast-track permits for shale gas exploration in the UK.
As the Government explained patiently yet again: 'The measures would kick-start the industry in a way that protects the environment and supports communities'.
Fracking will boost tax revenues, create jobs, reduce energy imports and drive down household bills so everyone wins.
Granted fracturing rock with high-pressure liquid to release the gas causes earthquakes, pollute water supplies, blight the countryside, causes buildings to subside and affects house prices but cheaper bills.
Again i grant you that it was said that when oil was discovered in the North Sea energy would be so cheap it wouldn't be worth printing energy bills but that was in the 60s, this is the 21st century.
Of course i also concede that in America where fracking has been going on for over a decade it has led to air pollution and chemicals leeching into the water table and polluting peoples tap water and yes, it has led to seismic activity and subsidence in homes that you cannot insure or sell but consider the profits of the energy companies.
Great news for energy firms and their share holders then, tough on everyone else but if we just keep repeating it will be good for the economy i think we can get away with it.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Sprechen Sie Englisch?

You would have thought that a country that has words such as Wienerschnitzel and Götterdämmerun would welcome a few sensible words from the English language but it seems the Germans are trying to wipe out the use of English in their language.
'To help employees we have given them a glossary of Anglicisms so that they can take a critical look at their everyday speech and put a brake on the inflationary use of English and pseudo-English' said the top knockwurst of Deutsche Bahn, Germany's train operator who has produced a handy guide for its employee's.
We could of course retaliate and throw out all Germanic words from our language but i can't think of many German words that have made the trip across the Channel to infect our language so i will just enjoy the schadenfreude of watching them try and stop the march of the English language.
It almost took off in America (they have a few problems with vowels) and the Australians almost have a basic grasp of it but seem to name things when they are drunk (billabong, dunny, chook) but it may have better luck in Germany where fine English words such as diesel, doppelganger, hamburger and glockenspiel are already ingrained.
Good luck trying to find German words to replace them with. Dummkopfs.

The Elusive Edward Snowden

The US has called on all countries in the northern hemisphere to surrender Edward Snowden to US jurisdiction if he turns up there. Translated it means they don't have a clue where he is.
If only they had some way of tracking and intercepting the messages of everyone in the World. Oh, wait a sec, that's what caused all the problems in the first place.
You can taste the bitter irony.
Keep going Edward wherever you are.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Watching You Watching Me

There is a lot of stuff on this blog, over 1650 posts with a bit of this and that but mostly me moaning and bitching about the sort of things that Governments don't like us bitching and moaning about like dodgy war in the Middle East and how capitalism sucks, what a con Democracy is and how corrupt our Governments are.
Yep, there is quite a bit of that like the fact that Britain has the most CCTV cameras anywhere in the World, 4.2million of them watching us which equates to one per every 14 people.
Of course sitting in your home you are safe from the prying eyes of the cameras up on the roofs, fixed to walls and halfway up lampposts.
Then we found out that the US and UK Governments are listening to all your telephone calls, reading your emails and texts and checking your facebook and twitter pages and logging all your internet activity so you are not even out of range of Big Brother in your home.
Why, we must wonder, is the Government so interested in little old us? Why are we the most closely monitored nation in the World, even more than places like China and North Korea who we like to think of 'authoritive' regimes that keep their own people on a tight leash?
We baulked at the idea of ID cards and a NHS database because we would be giving too much information away but they had it all anyway but this is different, this is all in the name of fighting terrorism. GCHQ need to know that your telephone call to Granny wasn't actually a call to an arms dealer to bid for a sniper rifle and if it really was just a call to make sure Granny didn't need any bread picking up on the way home, you have nothing to fear from the people we voted in to represent us. Still, no harm they check your emails and texts just to make sure though because we can't be too careful these days.
My point is that somewhere there is a list of people who have said less than flattering things about David Cameron, Barack Obama or any of the American or British Governments and as i have said many unflattering things, i wouldn't be surprised if FOAB has a small box ticked against it's name which of course means that your internet log will show you have been here which will get a small trick beside your name also.
Rather annoying if you stumbled across this blog just trying to find out how to ease a bruise (ice pack the affected area, wrap in a bandage and elevate above level of the heart to minimise blood flow apparently) but there you go, you are on a list somewhere along with a tick for that time you took that Michael Moore book out of your local library and another one for when you emailed your pal saying George Osborne was a massive dick for slashing your nan's cold weather payment.
You are, i'm afraid, embroiled in the war on terror and a file has been opened with your name on it just by virtue of PRISM and GCHQ clocking you reading this blog so i'm sorry about that.
Probably best you don't linger and you move slowly away to another website. That's it, click the homepage icon on the top of your browser but be careful as they will be interested to see where you go next, another left wing blog and that's another page in your file so better be safe and Google something like one of the Main Stream Media pages. Not Fox News or The Sun website though, you don't want them to think you are an idiot.   
Okay, good luck, i hope you may have got away with it but to be honest if you got down this far then i'm afraid it's too late for you anyway, Obama and Cameron already know you where here.
Better arrange those mass demonstrations against our over authoritative Governments by snail mail from now on.

Run Snowden Run

Hong Kong flicked America the finger and then Russia and China told it where to go and meanwhile Edward Snowden sneaked further away from the cell beside Bradley Manning.
I'm hoping that soon we will be seeing pictures of Snowdon waving to the cameras from the tarmac of a runway somewhere in Ecuador or Cuba but hopefully the whole Hong Kong to Moscow thing has been a diversion and he's already safe somewhere else.
A for John Kerry sending a threatening warning to China and Russia warning of consequences if they help Snowden escape the punishment the US reserves for speaking out on the evils America does, what are they going to do? Invasion, drone strikes, Putin and Xi Jinping in Guantanamo? After being exposed as engaging in spying on all and sundry, John Kerry really thinks he can make demands of China and Russia?
Obama is possibly finding out that after Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, PRISM, extraordinary rendition, drone attacks and Guantanamo Bay, their clout doesn't run as far as it used to.
You know you are in trouble when most are the World are on the side of Russia, China, Cuba and Ecuador. Keep going Edward and look forward to a Cuba Libre and cigar with the Castro's on the terrace of the Presidential Palace in Havana.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Bristol Channel Wind Farm

The people of South Wales and North Devon have got the hump because the Bristol Channel is soon to take arrival of 240 shiny new wind turbines to generate enough power for 900,000 homes.
The campaign against the project says it will be 'environmentally catastrophic' and 'people don't come here to see the landscape and the horizon covered in wind turbines. They come here for peace, tranquility, rural settings and seascapes'.
Fair enough, how about building a coal powered station pumping out thousands of tonnes of pollution all over your rural setting?
Not keen on that so perhaps a nuclear power station and the pollution that comes with that which lasts for thousands of years and causes cancerous diseases.
Failing that we could always build a massive fracking farm and keep your fingers crossed that you are outside in the rural tranquil setting when the inevitable earthquakes come and you will be okay as long as you don't drink the chemical laced water.
The non-polluting, non-cancerous and non-earth shattering wind farms maybe not sounding quite so bad now i guess. 

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Supporting The Brazilian Demonstators

After many of us said the same thing about Britain paying out billions to host the Olympics last year, i have every sympathy with the people of Brazil demonstrating against the cost of their country hosting the World Cup football tournament next year and the 2016 Olympics while the countries public services are being slashed.
A million demonstrators took to the streets to demand new spending priorities as billions of dollars have been spent preparing for sporting events.
Statistics from Ipece, the Ceará institute of research and economic strategy, show that more than 133,000 people are living in severe poverty in Fortaleza and a third of inhabitants live without sanitation but the Government have built a £150 million stadium in their city, and forcibly removed 5,000 people to do it, so easy to see why Fortalezans are saying stuff the world cup and spend the money on housing, hospitals and education.
I don't agree with the looting and destruction of property that is going on but i agree completely with the Brazilians making life as uncomfortable as possible for the Government unless us Brits whose apathy is quite astounding.
While the UK government are trampling over the sick and vulnerable, eroding away our rights and spying on us, we just sit and take it unlike the Turks, Brazilians and Greeks.
We were promised a legacy while we spent £9 billion on the London Olympics but since last summer all we have seen is public services slashed and public servants sacked but i'm sure the Brazilian public will be spun the same rubbish about how spending billions of their taxes on sports stadiums while they struggle to survive is somehow a good thing.
The threat of large scale demonstrations and disorder about how our Governments fritter away our money on short term events to please the likes of FIFA and IOC instead of their own people should focus the minds the next time these committees are looking around the World for hosts of their events.

Around The World For £4,000

The previous post regarding the ultimate train (and Ferry) trip got me thinking if it is possible to go around the World by land and sea, just how much would it cost?
Using very rough Google searches and translating pages, the figure is around £4025 but that is an extremely rough search of ferry and train companies.
The first leg is straight forward, a Eurostar train under the Channel from London to Paris on the Eurostar (£69). 
From Paris to Moscow will cost £362 on Rail Europe and then a payment of £550 will take you from Moscow to Beijing via the Trans-Siberian Railway and Trans Mongolian Railway.
Once in Beijing the trip begins to become less straightforward. There is a train that will take you from Beijing, through North Korea to South Korea which costs £69 but North Korea is not the stablest of places so whether the train is running or Kim Jong Un and his band of merry men will let Westerners through his country is another thing so you may have to catch a ferry around to South Korea for roughly the same price.   
Once in South Korea there is a joint Ferry, Rail ticket you can buy for £194 that not only takes you across the Sea of Japan but lets you travel from the Southern tip of Japan to Tokyo where you find yourself pondering how you are going to cross the Pacific to America.   
The only ship i could find to make the trip was a cool £1500 and lands in Seattle which is a bit annoying as i was hoping to do the route 66 thing up to Chicago but there is an Amtrak train that crosses from Western USA to New York in the East for £280.
New York to Europe is another problem as there is not a regular service across the Atlantic except the so Queen Mary 2 cruise ship so its a deep dig for £1000 and a week or so later you end up in Southampton and back in Blighty. 

Around the World for approximately £4000 with the costs of crossing the Oceans bumping the price up unless you could cadge a lift on a merchant ship and offer to work your passage by cooking or swabbing the decks. 

Thursday, 20 June 2013

The Ultimate Train Ride

One of the things i do get jealous about when it comes to America is the idea of Route 66, a road that cuts 2,500 miles across America from Illinois in the North East to California in the South West via Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. 
I do have a romantic idea, probably heavily influenced by The Grapes of Wrath book, of loading up a car and just taking off for a month of driving across the vast expanses of America.
There is just not that sort of thing in the UK, a road trip here is mainly Motorway driving between cities but as Britain is only 874 miles long and people walk it for charity, it isn't in the same league really.
There is a drive across Europe but as they drive on the opposite side and i have enough problems driving on the side i know, it would just be a scene of carnage in my rear view mirror as i go around roundabouts the wrong way and speed up the Autobahn on the wrong side of the road.
It was musing this that i discovered it is possible to get a train around the World.
A Eurostar train from London to Paris, Trans-Siberian Railway from Paris to Moscow, Trans-Mongolian railway from Moscow to Beijing, Trang-Saigon Railway from Beijing to South Korea, Ferry from South Korea to Japan, train across Japan, Ferry across the Pacific to Los Angeles, Amtrak's trans-continental train across USA to New England, Ferry from New England to Iceland, Ferry from Iceland to Ireland, train across Ireland and a short ferry trip and train ride back to London and the Reform Club to collect the £20,000 wager 80 days later which would come in handy to pay for it all.     
What a great thought it is though, the ultimate road trip on rails.

Israeli Crimes Of No Importance

The ongoing Israeli apartheid regime and occupation of Palestine is one of the longest running crimes on the surface of the planet and today Israel was once again shown to be far from the mythical land of liberty and human rights that it's supporters try to portray.
A UNICEF report out today revealed that thousands of Palestinian children were systematically injured, tortured and used as human shields by Israel during the past 10 year period.
The report found over 7,000 children aged 9 to 17 were arrested, interrogated and kept captive and 'hundreds of Palestinian children have been killed and thousands injured over the reporting period as a result of the state party military operations, especially in Gaza where the state party proceeded to conduct air and naval strikes on densely populated areas with a significant presence of children, thus disregarding the principles of proportionality and distinction'.
It was revealed that the Israeli Defence Force forced Palestinian children at gunpoint to act as human shields 'Palestinian children arrested by Israeli military and police are systematically subject to degrading treatment, and often to acts of torture, are interrogated in Hebrew, a language they did not understand, and sign confessions in Hebrew in order to be released' the report said.
Children are fitted with leg chains and shackles to appear before military courts, and are often held in solitary confinement. The committee blames Israel’s 'long-standing occupation' of Palestinian territory for the 'severe and continuous violations of the rights of Palestinian children and their families'.
In response the Israeli Foreign Ministry said the latest UN report to point out the abhorrent treatment dished out by Israel as of 'no importance'.
Yet another report to add to the already vast pile of Israeli crimes against humanity.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

I Hear Thunder But What Is It?

In London for the next three days the best and brightest of all thing meteorological are getting together to discuss British weather and just why it has been so bad these last few years.
Up for discussion is the jet stream, sun spots, natural cycles and global warming causing unusual weather events which is all very interesting but my question would be what exactly is thunder?
Although i am not one to argue with a 5 year old, i believe there is more to it than God moving his furniture but it seems nobody can give a proper answer.
Is thunder caused by the lightening heating the air and making it boom as it expands suddenly or by the lightening creating a vacuum as it scythes through the air and the thunder is the air molecules collapsing back together.
I have also been told that as the electricity passes through the air and it causes it to vibrate which causes the thunder sound and another theory is that the shock waves from the lightning bounce off the low hanging clouds to create a series of rumble of thunder. 
As the app at the top of my browser is currently showing a dark cloud with lightening coming from it for Wednesday and Thursday i really should find out if only so i can sound clever to a 5 year old who currently believes thunder is due to God wanting to shift his armchair closer to the window.

Dog Meat Festival

Did you have chicken with your dinner tonight? Beef maybe or a rasher of bacon possibly? Maybe even a bit of dog was on the plate? Dog!!!
Seems that we draw the line at eating dog which is why we are ranting about the annual dog-meat festival that takes place in China this weekend where as many as 10,000 pooches are turned into dog-meat hotpot and served with lychees and grain liquor.
Somehow, killing a dog and eating it is more shocking than what happens on a daily basis to millions of other animals around the world.
If you eat meat than there is no basis to treat dogs any differently than any other animal that is slaughtered for its meat.
If it bothers you that much, go vegetarian otherwise shut up and stuff another horse meat burger into your gob and let the Chinese tuck into their Rover sandwich.

Mission Accomplished For Taliban

As the Helicopters were hastily taking off from the Embassy roof in Saigon as the compound was being attacked by the North Vietnamese, Nixon was speaking of 'peace with honour' and although the helicopters are not landing on the roof of any Embassies in Kabul just yet, they are hovering close by.
After 12 years, 3500 dead coalition soldiers and countless tens of thousands of dead afghans, the US is to open 'peace and reconciliation' talks with Taliban leaders within days after Washington agreed to drop a series of preconditions that have previously held back negotiations over the future of Afghanistan.
A Taliban spokesman said the group was opening the Doha office to 'reach understanding and initiate talks to support a peaceful, political solution to end the occupation of Afghanistan'.
The obvious question is what took them so long? Why didn't they try this approach before and saved the monumental waste of lives on all sides?
The second question is after everything that has happened, they are just going to hand Afghanistan back to the Taliban the same people whose oppressive rule we were liberating the Afghans from all those years ago?
It seems to be a common theme that we go into a country, bomb them to heaven and back and leave when things turn worse then when we started.
As for the young girls and women of that wretched country, it's back to the dark ages for them as the US and UK war wagon rolls on.
The saddest fact of all is that George W Bush told the Taliban that they could stay in Government if they offered up Bin Laden before the first missile was even fired but when they offered to do that, the US declined and war was unleashed.
The war has led us to where we are today with the Americans pulling out to leave the Taliban running Afghanistan.
As we crawl away with our tail between our legs to leave the Afghan s to their fate, maybe we will have better luck in Syria, we are on the same side as Al Queada this time.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Back Again

I go away for a week and when i come back little it seems everything changed.
Firstly, Ahmadinejad is gone and there is a new guy in sitting in his place in Iran. Even the Americans who it seems are lawfully obliged to make a statement on everything that doesn't concern them, have offered a cautious welcome to the election of Mr Hassan Rouhani who is seen as a moderate.
Then the Russian President Putin is in Downing Street saying the UK and US have blood on their hands for wanting to arm people even Cameron described as 'terrorists who pose a great danger to our world' but still wants to give them powerful weapons anyway.
The Russian has said he will arm the Government while the US have said they send will arm the rebels  because 90,000 deaths isn't nearly enough. More petrol on that fire is the only answer it seems for people safely living thousands of miles away.
Then another 1970's presenter, Stuart Hall, after months of describing the allegations as 'nonsense', the victims as 'liars' and part of a vendetta against people in the public eye, admitted to indecently assaulting the 13 girls spanning three decades and involving children aged as young as nine. The outrageous 15 months sentence (reduced from 20 months after his guilty plea) is now being examined by the Attorney General to see if the sentence was unduly lenient.
I think i'm up to speed now although i'm not sure why Ozzy Osbourne is on the front of a newspaper making the number 1 sign, unless the country has gone mad and he has a song at number 1.
I see. Yep, Britain is officially bonkers.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Spying Fallout Bad News For Big Names

I wonder how many Facebook accounts have been closed since the revelation that not only was the information on the social media site being used to keep tabs on citizens worldwide, but that Facebook were actively handing the information to the American Government.
Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, YouTube and Skype were among the nine US companies linked to the secret PRISM spying scheme, which enabled government officials to mine information about individual users directly from their data centres which must threaten their very existence.
All the companies named in the documents denied knowledge of PRISM however reports have emerged that Facebook and Google helped make it easier for the government to access information on its servers by setting up digital 'safe
rooms' and 'secure portals' to allow US officials to automatically retrieve documents.
The latest offering from Microsoft, the X-Box One, with it's 'always-on' tracking via a Kinect "eye," beaming info back to some Microsoft cloud center which, as we now know, is tapped by the government and is sure to have an effect on sales.
The fall out also should have serious implications for the US Government with Angela Merkel reportedly seething that Germany was the most spied on country and the EU describing the gathering of data on EU citizens 'unacceptable',
'illegal' and 'a very serious violation' and is sure to bring in the much vaunted data-protection act that has been on the table for 18 months but was held back as the US companies were trusted with the data they received from the citizens of the EU.
The fall out for all involved should be massive, a sea-change moment when the likes of Facebook, Google and Microsoft and the digital companies that have dominated over the past decade find themselves replaced with more trustworthy rivals.
With the Guardian hinting at even more revelations to come, it spells a disastrous legacy for Obama, the man who promised Hope but will be remembered for overseeing the largest surveillance program of US and non-US citizens in history.

Why The English Football Team Suck

Ever since the England Under 21 team got turfed out of the European Championship  after only their second game, the argument has been that there are too many foreigners standing in the way of emerging English talent.
The fact that Stuart Pearce was denied the best English players aged under 21 was pretty much ignored and the finger of blame is once again pointed at the foreign players blocking the way.
It seems to people with this mindset that the solution is to lower the playing standards of the Premier League because the truth is the British players are not coming through because the demand from supporters and directors at the clubs is instant success and managers haven't got time to develop from within so have to buy  and foreign players are cheaper than English ones.
A manager is not going to look at a players birth certificate before choosing him for his team, if he deems him good enough then he is going to play him regardless if he is English or not.
Fans would soon make their voices heard if their manager played a defence made up of Englishmen but found themselves in a relegation battle while the better defenders sat on the bench. 
The truth is we have only won one major trophy in 80+ years of trying and that was with home advantage so England not being very good is not a new phenomenon.
We failed to qualify for two of the three World Cups in the 70s and missed both the European Championships in the same decade but there was a 2 foreign player rule per team during that decade so what stopped the bright young things coming through then?   
The truth is to have national football success you need to have the extraordinary luck to have a group of great players at the same time and that rarely happens. The French team that dominated the late 1980s and early 2000's being a great example of having the luck of this happening and once the likes of Henry, Viera, Desailly, Zidane, Deschamp and Thuram retired, the French star waned.
England just havent got that Golden Generation of players coming through to replace the ones in the team at the moment and the halfway decent ones who could play at tournaments like the Under 21 European Championships have been promoted to the first team and are deemed above turning out for the under 21's unlike other nations who took and played their best available.
That isn't the foreign players fault or Stuart Pearce's who can expect to be handed his P45 on landing back home by the FA.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Tyranny Yet?

I'm not sure how it is going down in America, but in the UK the Government are forced to whip out the 'If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear' defensively of the exposed sweeping surveillance of UK Citizens.
The Obama Administrations is pursuing the same line as it did against the last person to expose American deplorable actions and are going after the Whistleblower, Edward Snowden.
That the American Government has overseen the huge NSA domestic intelligence system called Prism collecting emails, telephone calls and texts of tens of millions of US citizens regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing should send the Obama administration into a tailspin, and the UK Government if they are found to have shared the data held on British citizens, but it is unlikely we will be witnessing an American or British spring anytime soon.
The war on terror proved to be a wonderfully convenient excuse for these increasingly invasive methods and paranoia by the US and UK Government against it's own people, Orwellian nonsense to keep people preoccupied and kept in order.
Snowden described the actions as 'Turn key tyranny' and tyranny is the abuse of authority so what would we call the blanket interception and storage of the communications of entire populations?
I fully expect a diverting incident in the next week, possibly involving Syria or Iran so we all forget about how our Governments are using the same tactics that the STASI would be proud of.
Be careful what you say, they really are watching you

Sunday, 9 June 2013

I'm A Lazy Blogger

When it comes to Blogging, i am particularly lazy when it comes to attracting new readers. Call it arrogant but i go along the lines of people will find me if they want to read what i say and my stat counter seems to tick along at around an average of 100 views a day.
It really doesn't reflect well on me that i have been here spouting my words of wisdom for years and my readership in mid 2013 is still where it was in mid 2009 and i don't have a problem with that, i am eternally grateful that there are 100 people who find this blog interesting enough to come back to but it does make me wonder why the figures have stagnated.
I did take a big hit when Blogburst closed and accepted the invitation to write posts for International Business Times which turned out to be a waste of time but the most probable cause is the blog content. It has been mentioned previously that the blog is a hotchpotch of everything so it isn't a political or current affairs blog but has a bit of everything from
astronomy to sports to music so it is hard to categorise. A sports fan who would read a post about the Premier League transfer deadline may come back next time to see a piece about Marxism which would be confusing.
I did think about splitting the blog into several smaller blogs but that seemed quite a daunting prospect so left it as it was.
I also considered sticking to one subject but i would have soon bored of that restriction, i like writing about anything and everything that puts a bee in my bonnet.
I will admit that i blatantly ignored my blogroll and i did once have a long list of bloggers that i visited at first but as bloggers left, i never went looking for anymore to replace them. My Google reader has about 5 active bloggers on it where it once had 30.    
Not being on Facebook or Twitter is another failing, i tried it but found the idea of writing the same thing 3 times tedious, i'd much rather spend the time writing something else than editing the original post down to fit on Facebook or Twitter.
I know i am going to have to launch myself on a round of blog visiting to refill my blogroll and be more active (Daniel, i still can't comment at your blog) if i want to increase readership but then i refer you back to my opening sentence.
Any suggestions welcome.

Not Giving Up On Nelson Mandela

In the excellent Full Metal Jacket, as the smoke billows across the fields of Vietnam at the end of the field, Private Joker poignantly says the line: 'The dead only know one thing. It is better to be alive'. 
In the great scheme of things we are only here for a blip which so when i hear people saying things like the supposed friend of Nelson Mandela it really grates with me.
'It’s Time To Let him Go' said Mr Mandela's friend, Andrew Mlangeni 'The family must release him so that God may have his own way. They must put their faith in the hands of God'.
Why, and it is almost almost those with a religious bent, do people want other to die instead of hoping that they get better?
It is something i have never managed to get straight in my head, probably because to me once you go you are gone so instead of 'letting them go', i hope they get better and want to hold on to them for as long as possible.
What if the believers are wrong because they have absolutely no evidence that they are right but they are willing others to shuffle off the mortal coil and go to God, a God they can have no idea is there waiting or not.
What if the doctors held the same view and stopped treating him and 'let him go', there would rightly be outrage. There is a reason why people are not taken to Churches when they fall ill especially when there view is to let people go to God rather than try everything in their power to heal them.
We should be wishing him a speedy recovery and hope that he gets well as i would fully expect if a dead person was given the choice of more time on earth they would take it, as would there friends and relatives so to call for someone to die rather than get better is badly misguided because it is ALWAYS better to be alive and for all your religious beliefs, you don't know so stop trying to hurry up someone else's demise just because of what you believe.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Christmas Countdown

To those of us who get paid our meagre salary monthly, it is 6 more pay days to Christmas which may seem a strange thought when the sun is beaming down and the smell of barbeque's and after-sun fill the air. The last thing many people want to think about while gingerly moving about due to sun-burn is turkey and tinsel but in some parts of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa they have been holding Christmas in July events to get that wintry feeling which we in the Northern Hemisphere have when it comes time to open our presents and stuff our faces with Quality Street. To confuse things slightly, some of the Christmas in August events were moved to July and this year were held in April which proves that Australians should not be left in charge of booking your camping trip, your two weeks in Exmoor in mid-summer will see you trying to light your barbecue on a rainswept day in January. Anyone with any sense of organisation will have already made a start on buying presents and saving with the supermarkets to spread the cost of the festive period by most of us will do the usual and panic around the 10th December and promise to be better organised next year as we stand in a long queue in Marks and Spencer's holding a pair of socks and a sorry looking box of mince pies. As we walk around in shorts and flip-flops, our thoughts will not be turning to reindeer wrapping paper, snow globes and laughing Santa teapots unless you are Australian celebrating Christmas in August in which case Merry Christmas and i hope you don't get eaten by a crocodile on the way home from the Office Party.

Words To Avoid On The Internet

The American Government isn't spying on the US (and UK) citizens, it's carrying out counter terrorism efforts by collecting and storing virtually every Internet phone call, email, text message, Internet searches, social media communications and virtually all other electronic information. That's okay then.
Obama is arguing that the surveillance programs have helped in the fight against terrorism and pointed to a specific plot against New York's subways which ruffled a few feathers at Scotland Yard because they said that it was them who passed on the information to the American Authorities that prevented the subway attack and not Internet snooping.
Obviously there are some words and phrases that if typed into Google will bring you to the attention of the authorities such as Assassination, Dirty Bomb, Militia, Terrorism, Anthrax, Ammonium nitrate or How To Assassinate a World Leaders but there are a host of innocent words that could also see you bundled onto an aeroplane and landing in Cuba wearing a fetching orange jumpsuit.
Luckily the Department of Homeland Security has released a list of keywords and phrases it uses to monitor social networking sites and online media for signs of terrorist or other threats.
The more of the 'alert' words the shadowy types find in an email or electronic communication, the further up the list of potential evil-doers you rise but some of the words on the list are seemingly Innocent but hide evil intentions, such as Drill, Authorities, Stuck, Recruitment, Aid, Watch, Blizzard, Salmonella, Cancelled, Agriculture, Exercise, Subway, Recovery, Southwest, Landing, Cloud, Pork, Wave, Electric and Worm and the mention of North Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, El Paso, Iran, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Nigeria, China, Colombia, Mexico and San Diego which much play havoc with the San Diego Cloud Authorities email system.
I don't understand why the number 2600 attracts unwanted attention but if you are STUCK in the SUBWAY with a bad case of SALMONELLA from a PORK chop whilst on the way to a RECRUITMENT Day in the SOUTHWEST during a BLIZZARD, you may want to rethink sending that text or email.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Why Are UFO's Round?

As i have stated previously, it would be mad to not think that life has only developed on this single planet and not on any of the other billions of billions of other planets in the Universe and it isn't unfeasible to assume that at some point they have not only found us but come and had a look, it's exactly what we are doing.
Now three passenger jets have reported sightings of UFOs above Britain in December and confirmed by Gatwick Air Traffic who spotted six objects they could not identify on their radars before they suddenly disappeared.
The pilots each saw 'two flat, silver discs', flying within 100ft of their aircraft with which makes me wonder why are UFO's almost always round?
All of our aircraft are a bulky shape with wings or rotor blades so if the Aliens have the technology and know-how to come all this way to peek at us and they are using round disk shaped ships, why are we still making our aircraft and rockets the same old shape?
You don't need to be a rocket scientist to see that in terms of any aerodynamic advantage, the best shape is the one we are using so being circular doesn't give any real advantage but a round surface, with no edges would mean it could evade our radar although that theory is shot to bits earlier on in the post when the Air Traffic control radar picked up six of them.
Not being a rocket scientist is another disadvantage when you come to consider does a ship need to be aerodynamic once it is out of the planets atmosphere so is a spinning disc more streamline for travelling through nothing but in that direction lays nothing but a headache.
My own conclusion is that they travel the vast areas of interplanetary space in a rocket shaped craft and then when they get to our doorstep, they send out the reconnaissance ships which are small and round to avoid being detected by Earth radar.  
The other conclusion is that the Aliens may have an immense technological advantage but the concept of aerodynamics has gone over their little green heads.

Thursday, 6 June 2013


Michelle Obama was halfway through a speech at a Democrat fundraiser this week when an audience member started shouting about gay rights.
'One of the things I don't do well is this' the first lady said moving towards the protester and said the person could either, 'listen to me or you can take the mic, but I'm leaving'.
The crowd started shouting for Mrs Obama to stay and the protester was then escorted out of the event.
Not the best reply i have ever heard to a heckler and i have heard of some crackers.
During a particularly poor theatrical version of Ann Franks Diary, when the Nazi's turned up at her door someone in the audience shouted out 'she's in the attic'.
Frank Skinner tells a funny story of how a blind man shouted at him: Your crap Skinner, Get off, you bastard! and then seconds later, 'Has he gone yet?'
Not really a heckle but i once saw a footballer hand his shin pads to a wheelchair fan sat in the crowd at the end of the game. Not sure of he realised it was the opposition fans end but as he turned to walk back to the changing rooms, the shin pads flew through the air and whacked him on the back of the head.
The funniest heckle i have ever heard about was attributed to a fan at a U2 concert and between songs Bono asked the audience for some quiet. Then in the silence, began slowly clapping his hands.
'Every time I clap my hands, a child in Africa dies'. he said solemnly.
A voice from the audience pierces the silence: Stop clapping your f***ing hands then!'
Don't know if it is true but it should be, makes me laugh every time.

Why Not Decimal Time?

The Earth spins around the Sun every 365 days to give us the year while the Earth rotates around itself every 24 hours to give us the days and 7 days mark a week and 24 hours make a day and 60 minutes make an hour and 60 seconds make a minute.
At some point between us humans climbing down from the tree's and today, some bright spark decided on the measurement that we have for time and we have just carried on using the clunky system that we have to add days to every time the date is divisible by 4 so that it doesn't all go horribly wrong.
We realised at some point in the 70s that the system we were using for measurement was unnecessarily complicated and introduced the metric system so why have we not done the same with time and decimalised it?  
Using the system already used by computers, a decimal day would be divided into 10 equal parts and a decimal year would split the year into 10 equal parts which is much simpler to understand than all this imperial nonsense although it would mean losing two months. I opt for July and August, too damned warm for my fair skin.
The Romans used a 10 month calendar, the Ancient Egyptian calendar had a week as 10 days and the French used the same system right up until Napoleon stuck his big nose into things and abolished it.
This is the digital age and everything from your alarm clock to your computer is using decimal time so why are we persisting with such outdated methods when it comes to marking how long it takes for the Earth to go around?
Of course it would mean losing songs such as 1.0 hours to Tulsa, .03 Minutes to Midnight and Working 9.0 to 17.0 but i think it's worth it.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Wrong Mask For Turkish Protesters

It started with a protest against the destruction of a park in Istanbul in order to build a shopping centre but has spread out to become a protest against the Turkish Government and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in particular.
Although there are a lot of factors in it, one of the reasons the Turks are rioting is the increasingly authoritarian stance of Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) in trying to impose conservative Islamic values on the secular country.
Last week the government passed legislation curbing the advertising and selling of alcoholic drinks and have introduced rules against display of affection in public.
Five days of rioting have seen more than 1,700 people arrested in 67 Turkish towns and cities and at least one death.
Strange then that many of the protesters who are angry at the Government imposing religion on them are wearing the Guy Fawkes masks that all the best dressed protesters are wearing these days.
A glance at any history book would show that Guy Fawkes was a religious zealot funded by other religious zealots who wanted to blow up Parliament to usher in a monarchy that would impose strict religious values on the population. 
Might want to rethink that Guy Fawkes as hero symbolism thing Turkey protesters unless you are making a statement that Catholic religious tyranny is preferable to the Islamic flavour.

Nice 'Tache Tim

For reasons we best not go into, i was looking up details of the American sit-com Home Improvement which starred comedian Tim Allen. 
This led onto reading about the cheeky chappie Tim Allen himself who progressed from Tim 'The Tool-Man' Taylor onto The Santa Clause and voicing Buzz Lightyear but not after narrowly avoiding a life sentence for drug trafficking by turning supergrass on every drug dealer he knew. 
It was late 1978 and Tim Allen was arrested at Kalamazoo International Airport for possession of over 650 grams (1.4 lb) of cocaine. He subsequently pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges, and provided the names of other dealers in exchange for a sentence of three to seven years rather than a life imprisonment.
He served 2 years and 4 months and then came out to make films about Santa Clause.
If you had asked me which comedian had spent time in prison for drug trafficking it would have been a long time before i got down to Tim Allen but then i would never have said Rolf Harris would have been arrested for sexual offences so proves what i know.
Oh, also turned out that Pamela Anderson WAS in Home Improvement.

Sweet Nazi Child O' Mine

There seems be some gene in the human make-up that makes us want to be more interested in the bad guys than the good guys.
There seems to be a length of time where the bad guys become less bad and move into a strange zone where they are almost celebrated. Scandinavians sport horned helmets at sporting events to celebrate their Viking heritage and Italians don Roman garb while the French turn their hats sideways and stick their arm in their tunic in homage to Napoleon. All murdered tens of thousands but all acceptable to wear to cheer on their football team. 
At some point in the future, nobody will bat an eyelid when German fans turn up wearing a SS Uniform but 2013 probably is a bit soon unless you are Heath Campbell.
Mr Campbell seems to have a fascination of all things Nazi which went as far as naming his children Adolf Hitler Campbell, JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell, Honzlynn Jeannie Campbell and Heinrich Hons Campbell.
Nice that he has an interest and he proudly showed up at court to win visitation rights to see 18 month old Heinrich wearing a German Nazi uniform.
'I'm going to tell the judge I love my children. I wanna be a father, let me be it," said Mr Campbell.
Asked whether dressing up as a Nazi was likely to help his case, Mr Campbell was confident it would not be held against him: 'If they're good judges and they're good people, they'll look within, not what's on the outside.'
Nope, can't see there being a problem with him being an influence on his children's lives whatsoever.
Oh, wait a sec...

Monday, 3 June 2013

Manning Trial Starts

Finally the Bradley Manning show trial starts today.
I wonder where the helicopter killers he exposed butchering civilians are now?
Maybe in the course of the three months that the trial is expected to last, we may find out.