Due to the move of the blog to Wordpress posts from Jan 2012 onward will have commenting disabled (when I remember to do it)
Cheers - AE

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Pass the popcorn.

There's just too much entertainment to be had by reading for me to blog right now. I just hope there's a sequel.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Mrs Angry is baking...

... and I can't type with my mouth full.

Friday, 10 April 2009

I'll believe it when I see it.

Another one of Gordon Clown's pet projects in trouble here.
The Times has learnt that the European Investment Bank (EIB) is in talks with developers about a financial rescue package for the £3 billion London Array scheme, which is located in the Thames Estuary.
I'm being picky about tenses here, but I think you'll find it's not located anywhere yet.
Planned to be the world’s largest offshore wind farm, it is a project that has strong personal backing from the Prime Minister.
Ahahahaha. Ahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Ahahahahahahaha.
It's fucked from the very outset then, isn't it?
Gordon Brown wants part of the renewable energy scheme finished before the 2012 Olympics.
Oh great. Got to have the white elephant completed in time for the world to come look at the other white elephant.
The UK desperately needs London Array to fulfil its ambitious target of generating 35 per cent of electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
Pleas for cash to the EIB, the long-term lending bank of the European Union, are a last-ditch attempt to save the project, which has suffered from a number of high-profile companies pulling out and fears over its funding.
The developers have limited the amount they are prepared to fund and, as a result of the credit crunch, banks are reluctant to lend on such large projects.
Even the entry of the EIB may not safeguard the future of the plan to build up to 341 giant offshore windmills generating sufficient electricity to power 750,000 homes.
What the fuck? Has no one at The Times got access to a fucking calculator? It's now Easter 2009, and assuming that they wanted this insanely optimistic scheme complete by the same time in 2012 they'd have just 36 months to do it in if they started tomorrow (which they won't). So even if the finance was magically fixed right now, today, they'd still have to build at a rate of one turbine every three days. Even that assumes that they'd be able to work on it all year round and that winter weather and the occasional storm won't fuck things up, so we should probably say one every two days to be on the safe side. So what are the chances? Not a fucking prayer I reckon. Seriously, if potential investment from Shell and the Middle East has already vanished and the the project hangs on EU funding how much hope is there? By the time fingers are out of arses the rate at which turbines will need to be built to complete the project on schedule will be quite impossible, if it isn't already.

More to the point, if the project was a real goer private investment would be queueing up to put money into it. So doesn't the fact that they're struggling to get the necessary investment for the London Array as well as the fact that there's been a
53% fall in global investment in clean energy between March 2008 and the same month this year
show that these projects simply aren't viable without subsidies? And if they have to be held up with taxpayers money aren't they really the wrong solution to our energy needs?

Welfare cheats have nothing on our MPs.

Post title blatantly stolen from The Telegraph where Gill Hornby likens Westminster to a sink estate full of dodgy scroungers. No apologies for quoting at length:
Benefits cheat Sylvia Rogers claimed £28,000 from the state which, by shrewd investment and careful husbandry she turned into a very comfortable £60,000. She showed up in court this week, provocatively wearing novelty socks with "Show Me the Money" on them, and received a six-month suspended sentence. She should also be fast-tracked on to a women-only shortlist for a safe seat. With such an eye for financial detail, Mrs Rogers, from Wythenshawe, Manchester, would be at home in the Palace of Westminster.
The more we hear, the more it appears that the House of Commons is scarcely different from any other sink estate where everyone's on the make. Before we had digested the news of Jacqui Smith's bath plug (88p) and two – two! – washing machines (£568.95), we had to swallow the details of Shaun Woodward's claims. Mr Woodward is the richest member of the Commons, because he's married to one of the richest women in the country. He has property in London, Oxfordshire, New York and the West Indies, so he's pretty well sorted when it comes to places to lay his head. He also, as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, enjoys the splendours of Hillsborough Castle, which costs £5 million a year to run, and has a hefty entertaining allowance. So, you might be thinking, Shaun Woodward – there's an MP who won't bother claiming every last quid of his £23,083 second home allowance. And inevitably, you would be wrong.
Actually I'd have expected little else. I can't bear the bastard.
Of course, the difference between Mrs Rogers of Wythenshawe and Jacqui Smith, or Tony McNulty – who, you will remember, claimed £60,000 to live with his parents when his own house was nearby – is that the politicians are not actually committing benefit fraud. Ludicrous though the rules are, all these MPs have been acting within them.
Agreed, but it would also have been worth mentioning that the bastards have just made the rules looser still.

Go read the rest, and then have a nice lie down before your blood pressure gets too high.

UPDATE: Just in case here's a reminder of what the thieving cunts are up to.

When the answer is politically embarrassing...

... the solution is to stop asking the fucking question.
Health service staff are no longer being asked if they would want to be treated in their own hospitals, it has emerged.
The question, which revealed how staff viewed the care offered by their own section of the NHS, has been dropped with little fanfare from an annual poll of 160,000 workers.
The decision to drop it comes to light just weeks after a damning report criticised deaths at one healthcare trust where the majority of its staff stated that they would not want to be treated.

Well duh, obviously fixing the fucking problems was never going to be on the cards was it?

Why not just let all the prisoners out and done with it?

Jack Straw, if you let prisoners vote you're a bigger twat than I thought you were, and I thought you were an enormous, possibly planetary scale, twat to start with. This is not disenfranchising people because they live in shit houses or are the wrong colour or don't have testicles or all the other bullshit reasons used in the past for denying someone a vote. People in prison are, with a few inevitable exceptions, in there because of their own fucking choices. I'm not going to get all Daily Wail about it but fuck's sake, you can't fucking expect to commit crime and retain all the fucking rights of regular citizens. I know that losing a vote isn't a disincentive to committing crime but that's not the fucking point. A prison sentence is a temporary suspension of an individual's normal rights: they can't wander out to the pub or spend the weekend at the beach or do almost anything else that citizens may choose to do... and that's because they're in a fucking prison because of their crimes. So what's different about voting for fuck's sake? Some argue that those imprisoned for less serious crimes, situations where negligence rather than malevolence was at the bottom of it, shouldn't lose their vote and that it's all a bit arbitrary. Bollocks. It's more arbitrary to do what Straw is considering, and in fact what we've done here*, and pick a term above which you can't vote and below which you can. I have a vastly simpler and non-arbitrary proposal. If you can get to the polling station you can vote, if not you fucking can't. Simple as that. If it's a minor offence and the ability to vote is a big deal then try to arrange day release for election day or parole before the election. Or a tag. Whatever, but don't start bleating about not being able to vote because your own fucking decisions landed you behind bars. Tough shit.

*The laugh about prisoners here being allowed to vote is that Australia is unusual in that voting is compulsory, and the preferential system we have can force your vote to go to a candidate or party you despise. So I wonder how they'd deal with someone already in prison refusing to vote because not being forced to vote for a bunch of bastards is the only benefit of being inside in the first place.

Ian Tomlinson.

I've been meaning to talk about the tragic death of Ian Tomlinson all week, especially after Mummylonglegs left a comment elsewhere here about the Guardian video. Let's have a look shall we (from here)?
Hmm. Well, as the Ambush Predator points out it's easy to go bananas and say the police killed the poor guy, even though for all anyone knows at the moment he might have had a heart attack on the way home or later that night anyway. It's one of those situations where we can look and say that it might have been brought on early by the police being heavy handed, but equally it might have been natural. People do unexpectedly drop dead sometimes and enitrely without the help of the police. If the investigation finds that injuries inflicted by the police brought on a fatal heart attack then I'd happily see the bastards responsible hung by their thumbs and slowly lowered into a vat of boiling piss, but till then I'm not going to be too judgmental about the causes of Ian Tomlinson's death. Yes, maybe there'll be a cover up but why bother? It sounds like it'll be fucking difficult to prove in court anyway, and if we start thinking about short cutting justice to get at a dodgy and violent copper then we're all fucked. If we want the law to protect us in the future we must accept it offering the same protection to cunts now.

Still, even if we give them the benefit of the doubt, as we should for the time being, the actions of the police that day are a bit of a worry. This might not be another police fuck up in the style of the Steven Waldorf or Jean Charles de Menenzes incidents, but personally I think they were heavy handed in that video. Even if Ian Tomlinson had been mouthy or difficult with them around the corner and off camera there's simply no fucking excuse, none whatsoever, for knocking someone down and using the stick when he's got his back to you and walking away with his hands in his pockets. I can't see how any reasonable copper could think he was a threat to them right then and there. Let's reiterate - middle aged man, hands in pockets, walking away from the police. Is that a threat? Does that justify one of the coppers charging up behind him, sticking the poor sod and knocking him to the ground? Does it fuck! If there was some honesty from the police and an admission that there was a lot of adrenalin flowing I'd have a little respect, but as things stand it's just an example of outrageous and unnecessary police brutality. It might not have been what led to Ian Tomlinson's death but it was fucking wrong all the same. "It looks ugly" is it so far.

And there's something else. Look again at the copper involved. Look at his/her face. See? No, because the copper who knocked him down is masked, and not the only one. I can't be the only one uncomfortable with the image of masked and helmeted police laying into unarmed and unthreatening citizens with fucking batons. That looks pretty fucking ugly to me as well. I know that a number of officers, supposedly including the one involved, have come forward and are going to co-operate with the inquiry, but it's worth noting that this is after the video came out. Honest regret or damage control? I'll give them the benefit of the doubt there as well, but senior police need to be asked some questions to, mainly what the fucking fuck they thought they were doing fielding masked up stick happy cunt officers to deal with masked up punchy cunt protestors. Next up, the London Fire Brigade will demonstrate how to extinguish fires with a combination of petrol, napalm and plutonium.


H/T to Mummylonglegs.

UPDATE: this stuff chills the soul, it really does.

AND ANOTHER: Officer suspended. Another H/T to MummyLL for that too.

One of those weeks.

There's been no shortage of stuff to blog about, just a lack of time in which to do it. I guess i shouldn't complain. Still, Easter weekend now, and in the spirit of goodwill and yaddayadda some spleen will be vented shortly.

Friday, 3 April 2009

One in ten Americans scare me.

Barack Obama does not seem be a Muslim. He goes to a Christian church, which made headlines during the campaign for the Democrat nomination for all sorts of reasons, and took the oath on a bible. Yet 11% of Americans polled apparently think he's a Muslim. It's not clear whether they think he's a Muslim because all the atom bomb sized clues to him being a Christian somehow managed to escape their attention or because they think he's just pretending and really he's a secret Muslim, and I suppose the latter is at least possible. But you could believe that of potentially anyone including any other US President, at least one of which has done a fair job of inflaming Islamic feelings towards the West in general and the US in particular. Or it might also be that 11% of Americans will believe absolutely anything you tell them if they think it's vaguely plausible (I'm not crowing - the same could probably be said of Brits, Aussies and just about anyone else, but there doesn't seem to be anyone seriously suggesting that Gordon Clown or Kevin Rudd are anything other than what they appear to be). "Gee, he's got a funny sounding name: Obama. Heyyyy, doesn't that sound a bit like Osama to you?" Actually put like that it could also be that 11% of Americans are channelling Homer Simpson.

To be honest this doesn't really worry me. Not really, though what people are prepared to believe in the face of all evidence, or with the lack of any evidence whatsoever, never ceases to amaze me. But as someone who lives a very secular life it is ever so slightly worrying that perhaps 30 million people think that believing in one version of someone that might well not exist is any better than believing in an alternative version of the same hypothetical being. I wonder what they'd think if a President or candidate said that they didn't believe in any version at all, though perhaps accepted the possibility. In the UK or Australia it might not even make the news, but in the US? The picture we get of America from the outside might well be very distorted but it seems that if 1 in 10 are worried about what religion the President is then having no religion at all might be electoral suicide over there. I've said before that I honestly don't care what people believe in if it doesn't involve forcing others to believe the same, but I do wonder if faith being almost a prerequisite for power in the world's largest and most advanced economy is necessarily a good thing.

And on the subject of Americans, in the same way that last September I couldn't understand why I should care that someone who was only the daughter of someone who was only a candidate not for the actual Presidency but only Vice President got up the duff, I don't understand now why I should give a flying fuck what the eventual Vice President's adult daughter sticks up her nose. Did she rob anyone else to buy the stuff? There's no suggestion that she did. Her dad may be especially anti-drugs but why should anyone expect that a 27 year old would necessarily have the same opinion on any issue as her parents? And why does The Times feel I need to know anyway? Nothing to see here, move along, move along.

Google Street View again.

I've blogged this before but I suppose it was only a matter of time before somebody really got their cock in a knot about Street View.
Residents of an affluent village formed a human chain to prevent Google from taking pictures of their homes amid fears the images could be used by burglars.
The spontaneous protest erupted after a van filming digital footage for the internet giant's controversial Street View service was spotted entering Broughton in Buckinghamshire.
Well done. Now every thieving bastard who can read a newspaper will know that the residents of Broughton in Buckinghamshire must have some nice stuff to nick or they wouldn't be worried about the Googlemobile. Staying discreet and avoiding drawing attention to yourselves... epic fail.
Paul Jacobs, 43, who spotted the van in Broughton on Wednesday and rallied his neighbours to take to the street, said he was furious that his home was being photographed without permission.
I'm going to make a reasonable assumption here, and that is that Paul Jacobs home is on a public road or can be seen from one. If so then tough shit. Who the fuck is he to say what can or can't be photographed from public places? If he doesn't like it he should move to a private road out of sight from public places, or alternatively he should dig a hole and put his house in it. But as things stand who the fuck is he to say his house can't be photographed? It's the fucking exterior, the part that anyone and everyone can see when they walk or drive past the fucking place. Does Paul Jacobs expect people to be blindfolded when they pass his property? Does he ask the postman to close his eyes when he delivers the mail or does he hypnotize the poor sod so he forgets what it looks like? Here's how it is: if I can legally walk past and look at it then I can legally recall the image in my mind, and if I can do that then I could, if I was at all artistic, produce a likeness on paper or canvas and this too would be legal. So if I can record the image in my head and reproduce it later what's the big deal if I record it on celluloid or a memory card? As far as I know it isn't a big deal and anyone can photograph anything in plain sight from public areas*. And if I can do it why not Google? I'm fairly indifferent about the company but I repeat: who the fuck is Paul Jacob to grant permission to Google or me or anyone else to go down his road with a camera taking lots of pictures?
"I ran outside to flag the car down and told the driver he was not only invading our privacy but also facilitating crime," he said.
No, you tit. He's not facilitating crime because any burglar can walk down the road with his eyes open and achieve the same fucking thing. And he's not invading your privacy because anybody, including but not limited to burglars, can also walk down the road with their eyes open and achieve the same fucking thing. Google are not poking cameras through your letter box or garden hedge, and you don't own the road immediately outside your house.
"We've already had three burglaries locally in the past six weeks. If our houses are plastered all over Google it's an invitation for more criminals to strike."
As pointed out above, your house being plastered all over Google (which, as someone whose home has been on Street View for months, I can tell you is a colossal exaggeration) is nothing like as big an invitation to criminals as gobbing off to every fucking newspaper in Christendom. Pinning your hopes on the Telegraph not appealing to burglars isn't going to help because it's in The Times, The Grauniad, The Sun, The Mirror, The Daily Wail, The Express, you fucking name it. Anyone who buys a paper, and probably lots who don't but talk to someone who does, now knows that Broughton in Buckinghamshire is not only worth a look since the residents are so worried about burglaries but that at least three burglars have already made successful trips there. Shut your bollocks in the drawer there, didn't you Paul? Anyway, don't the police tell us that burglars are almost opportunists who just wander around looking for easy targets. How does a static unchanging Google Street View image help them? Anyone looking at my place on Street View will see the ivy hedge and the gate but how will they know if there's anything worth nicking, if the place has window locks and alarms, when people are likely to be home, if there's a dog and whether it's a big softy or a vicious bastard, and are there better opportunities elsewhere in the area? I reckon that's what a burglar would want to know and they're going to get little or nothing of that from Street View, but they will get much or all of it from taking a walk around the neighbourhood.

Besides, there's nothing that Google is doing that is actually new. The Ordnance Survey will have been covering Broughton for decades (latest here if anyone's interested) - Will Paul Jacobs be calling the police about OS I wonder. All minor road names can be obtained from the local A-Z and at several websites, some of which will also have various aerial photography of the area as well. Will Jacobs be complaining about them? And Broughton looks small enough to walk round in an hour or so, which means anyone with a digital camera and decent sized memory card could do exactly what Google's done. Or is he going to call the cops every time someone walks by with a camera, and since pretty much all mobile phones have cameras on these days it would mean he's going to spend a fucking fortune on phone calls.

So what is Google doing that couldn't have been done before? Answer: fuck all, they're just being rather more systematic about it. And where is the invasion of privacy? Answer: there is none because no one can have a reasonable expectation of privacy in public. I think Street View is pointless, a solution looking for a problem. But invasive? Nope. People are getting bent out of shape and there's really no reason. I really have no idea if it's another irrational fear of technology, even though the technology seems to have little practical use for anyone (including burglars), or if it's just the same sort of my-little-world mentality that causes venomous disputes between neighbours over trivial things like an overhanging branch. Whatever the reason the Paul Jacobs of the world need to wake up and realize that any law that prevents Google from gathering images for Street View will inevitably fuck up almost everybody.

*There is the fairly laughable issue of various cunts copyrighting buildings that they have constructed in plain sight of public areas in order to control any commercial photography or prevent it altogether, which personally I think is like leaving your TV on the footpath outside your gate and whinging when it's not there later on - if commercial photography upsets you build the fucking thing in a cave and don't let people in with cameras. I'm not such an extreme libertarian that I'd see the back of all forms of copyright and IP, but this sort of abuse sure as fuck shows a genuine need to reform copyright and IP law and inject some much needed common sense.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Arrested for honesty

The relationship between police and public relies a lot on the public seeing the police as behaving reasonably and therefore being willing to help the police, but this been getting a battering as the police, either encouraged by government or on their own initiative, do more and more to piss the public off. The latest example of police fuckwittery is arresting someone for handing in a lost mobile phone he'd found.
A college student who found a mobile phone while out celebrating his 18th birthday was arrested after handing it in to police.
Teenager Paul Leicester was arrested for 'theft by finding' and detained for four hours....
The teenager was kept by Merseyside Police in Southport police station for four hours and had his fingerprints taken, along with a DNA swab and a photo for police records.
Officers then grilled him for 15 minutes about the alleged 'theft'.
Please be an April Fool's joke. Please!
A police spokesman explained the complaint of theft was subsequently withdrawn and Paul was released without charge.
Complaint? Who complained? As far as I can see there was never any complaint of theft made to the police. They just took it upon themselves to believe, bizarrely, that someone entering a police station of their own free will and handing over a phone they said they'd found was actually more likely to have nicked it.
Sefton Area Commander, Chief Supt Ian Pilling, said: 'Merseyside Police has contacted Mr Leicester in relation to the incident and he does not wish to make a complaint against the police. As a matter of course we are reviewing the circumstances of the arrest.'
A Google search for "Chief Supt Ian Pilling" and "Chief Superintendent Ian Pilling" shows that this is a real person and currently the Sefton Area Commander, which makes the possibility of it being an April Fool prank much less likely. And even if it was a joke the fact that it's just so fucking plausible says everything you need to know about the state of the police-public relationship, i.e. it's in tatters.

Meanwhile Paul Leicester goes free but will no doubt have his DNA retained by the police just in case. Just another one of the millions arrested but never charged whose DNA has been retained. Whether there really is a conspiracy to nick as many people on the flimsiest and most trumped up of charges so that slowly but surely the whole fucking country ends up on the DNA database, or whether the police have simply employed too many fuckwits as officers is irrelevant. The results come out much the same.

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