Best war machine ever.

Jul 9, 2005 | | 0 comments |

Kudos to Steven Spielberg, who has finally redeemed himself for the last 20 minutes of "AI" with the excellent War Of The Worlds. We went to see it last night. The story was as good as its ever been, but Spielberg's vision of the Martian Tripods was just goddamn scary. He's also pulled off the best reveal in film for a long time as the first tripod emerges from the ground under an intersection. The design and scale of them is truly massive and, for the first time, a genuinely terrifying vision of mechanised warfare the likes of which, if it ever really happened, would render all of our military powers totally useless.
The sound engineers on the film need to get some sort of award. The tripods sounded like they were powered by a rhythmic combination gas turbing and jet engine, and the martian 'trumpet' signal was just blood-curdling. This is an absolute must-see movie if you like sci-fi, and it will be heading to our DVD collection as soon as possible.

George's thought for friday.

Jul 8, 2005 | | 0 comments |

Taking the Italian piss.

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Some joker is taking the piss at work today. Check out the little Italian scooter in the bike park.

Of profiteering hotels and scared Americans.

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It's nice to know that in the face of yesterday's bomb attacks in London, the closure of the transport system and the massive human suffering, hotels in the area were kind enough to triple their prices for those unfortunate enough to be stuck in London. Yes, profiting from human suffering is alive the thriving in London.
Commuters said they were appalled, and thousands chose to walk for hours to reach home rather than stay the night in a hotel. £80-a-night hotels shot up to £250 a night. Nice.

What's truly sad is that despite published statements today indicating no link to Iraq, no link to Al Qaeda, no link to muslims and no evidence of suicide bombers exists (ie. it could very easily have been the IRA), America has knee-jerked into panic again. Why is it that Americans panic so damn easily? The news last night told us how local law enforcement had stepped up vigilance on the tram system here in Salt Lake City. Then they interviewed a few people, all of whom expressed the same sentiment : they were worried about using public transport and didn't think it was safe any more. The report finished by saying that Londoners were now living with the new reality of being more vigilant. I've got news for you - Londoners as with most people in England have been used to being vigilant for decades thanks to the IRA.

Oh come ON! People in London, where the attacks actually happened, are using the tubes and buses today just like they did two days ago. Yet people in white-bread America are afraid of using their own public transport system? Why? Why do Americans panic like this? Is it a symptom of 4 years of fear and oppression from B*sh? Are people really so brainwashed now that they're afraid of everything? I hate to break the news to you, but if you live in America and are afraid of using public transport based on a bombing in a different country (where IRA bombings are common), then your president has done a far better job of terrorising you than any extremist group could ever hope for. You're afraid to step out of your front doors because the "President" and his stranglehold on the mass media have programmed you to believe everything is dangerous. That in itself is a truly sad state of affairs.
One Man And His Blog expresses this sentiment perfectly with a quote from the supposed attackers and a photo of the clearly panick-stricken English waiting for a train the next morning. Click here to see what I mean. The Americans are in a fit of panic. The English are not. Yet the attack took place in England.

What's worse is that when I express this sentiment, people say to me "oh but you didn't have 9/11 in England." No, we didn't. Instead, we had to live through 20 years of IRA dominance, sometimes to the tune of 2 bombs PER NIGHT. 9/11 was tragic, yes, but tell me how many terrorist attacks on Americans, inside America, have happened in the last 20 years. (ie. not including the African embassy bombings). 10, 20, 30?
No. The original attack on the WTC, Oklahoma City (which was an American in case you'd been brainwashed into forgetting that), and 9/11 (the official version of events of which is now so shaky that I doubt that the government is a squeaky clean as they'd like us to believe). That is three events.
Now look at the history of the IRA in my posts from yesterday. Sixty in the same time period. The simple fact of the matter is that the average American has no idea what terrorism is. Be thankful that this is the case. I hate to think what America would be like if there were bomb attacks inside America at anything approaching the frequency of IRA operations, if everyone was vigilant to the point of suspecting any and every person of being a potential terrorist, and every unattended bag as being a bomb. That's the reality of life in England and has been for decades. It's actually one of the many factors we considered when leaving the country.

The worst case scenario

Jul 7, 2005 | | 0 comments |

Lets suppose for a minute that today's bombs in London were the work of some bunch of disgruntled middle-easterners. I still don't think it was - it was too organised. But lets say it was.
What if they were aiming to demonstrate the worst case scenario? Cripple the transport infrastructure, knowing it would bring the city to a stop. Knowing the emergency services now have their hands full, dump something nasty into the water and a couple of well-placed bombs to kill the electricity grid.
It doesn't bear thinking about if that is the case.

My money is on the IRA, something to do with the G8 summit, or some disenfranchised French group pissed at losing the Olympic bid.

The IRA for the historically-challenged.

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In case anyone wonders why I believe today's attacks to be the work of the IRA, here's a little history lesson.
IRA bombing 101. Those items in bold were in London. Those in red/bold were IRA attacks on London transport, just like today.

Friday, September 30, 1983


Terrorists destroyed stores, filling stations, bars and government offices in a bomb and arson blitz across London, police said today. No injuries were reported. Police Inspector Jim Boyd said damage was estimated at "tens of thousands" of dollars. Police blamed the outlawed Provisional IRA.



Saturday, December 17, 1983


A terrorist car bomb exploded today outside famed Harrods department store, killing at least nine people, including four police officers, and injuring scores of Christmas shoppers and others in the area, authorities said. Police said they believed the outlawed IRA set off the blast in a holiday terrorist blitz.



Friday, October 12, 1984


(AP) -- Two large explosions early today heavily damaged the Grand Hotel where British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her government ministers were staying during their Conservative Party's annual convention. Neither Thatcher nor any of her ministers was hurt in the blasts but the centre portion of the hotel collapsed. The IRA later claimed responsibility.



September 1989.


(BBC) -- An IRA Bomb at the Royal Marines Music School in Deal, in the South East today exploded killing 11 and wounding 22.



February 1991.


(BBC) -- The IRA today fired a mortar bomb at Prime Minister John Major's London office. Although the mortar went off and damaged nearby buildings, no-one is injured.



Saturday, November 16, 1991


(UPI) -- A high-powered bomb with "the hallmarks of a terrorist attack" exploded Friday night in a London suburb outside a concert by a British military band, killing at least one person. "The incident has all the hallmarks of a terrorist attack." The bomb exploded in the historic cathedral town of St. Albans, about 25 miles north of London. The IRA later claimed responsibility.



Tuesday, December 03, 1991


(UPI) -- A firebomb attack on a central London store has heightened fears that the Irish Republican Army has begun a pre- Christmas bombing campaign on mainland Britain. Scotland Yard confirmed Tuesday that an "incendiary device" had been found in Littlewoods department store in Oxford Street, central London, at around 8 p.m.



Sunday, December 08, 1991


(UPI) - About a dozen firebombs exploded early Sunday at shopping centers in two English cities in a wave of pre-Christmas attacks that police say caused little damage but bear the hallmarks of the Irish Republican Army. At least 10 firebombs, similar to those used by the IRA, ignited in Blackpool, 190 miles northwest of London.



Saturday, December 14, 1991


(UPI) -- Three bombs exploded Saturday in one of Britain's largest shopping complexes at Brent Cross in north London, causing extensive damage but no injuries. The bombs exploded early this morning before shoppers or shop assistants arrived. It had not yet been established if the outlawed Irish Republican Army was responsible.



Thursday, December 19, 1991


(UPI) -- A car bomb planted by the Irish Republican Army exploded near the High Court in the center of Belfast early Thursday, causing extensive damage, but no injuries, the Royal Ulster Constabulary said. The blast, which was heard up to 20 miles away, badly damaged the court house and surrounding buildings.



Monday, December 23, 1991


(Washington Post) - For the second Monday in a row, the IRA paralyzed much of the British capital's commuting network, this time by planting firebombs on the Underground rail system. One incendiary bomb went off under a seat in a subway train at Harrow in northwest London, then another was found in a train in nearby Neasden.



Friday, January 10, 1992


(UPI) - A bomb exploded in central London Friday about 300 yards from the prime minister's office, prompting authorities to close the Whitehall district where government offices are located, Scotland Yard said. Fire trucks and ambulances rushed to the scene, but there were no injuries reported and only minor damage.



Thursday, January 16, 1992


(UPI) - Two bombs exploded in the heart of Londonderry Thursday, signaling an apparent shift in tactics by the Irish Republican Army following stepped-up security measures in Belfast. No one was injured in the blasts shortly before midday, but a government tax office and an insurance company were wrecked, the RUC said.



Thursday, January 30, 1992


(UPI) - An IRA firebomb exploded early Thursday in an Underground train in a south London depot during routine cleaning. Similar devices were later discovered under the seats of other tubes trains in the depot at the Elephant and Castle Underground station.



Friday, April 10, 1992


(UPI) -- An IRA car bomb rocked London's financial district Friday night, killing at least two people and injuring 80 others, Scotland Yard said. A second car-bomb exploded hours later in northwest London, but no one was injured.



Wednesday, October 07, 1992


(DPA) - A bomb rocked the centre of London in the second explosion within 24 hours. The explosion was in area near the Centre Point tower block in Tottenham Court Road in the West End of the city. Firemen said several people were treated for shock but indications were that there were no injuries.



Thursday, October 08, 1992


(AP) -- Two small bombs exploded in residential streets in north London on Friday, the third straight night of bomb attacks around the British capital, fire officials said. Police said the latest bombs, the fifth and six since Wednesday, caused no injuries and minimal damage.



Friday, October 09, 1992


(UPI) -- Two more suspected Irish Republican Army bombs rocked London Thursday night, slightly injuring one man and bringing the total number of attacks to four in two days. The first explosion struck the popular London Dungeon Museum near London Bridge, leaving one man with minor head injuries.



Saturday, October 10, 1992


(UPI) -- The Irish Republican Army Saturday claimed responsibility for three of the latest series of bombings in London, hours after the seventh blast in four days ripped apart a telephone booth in the city center. The latest explosion occurred about 9 a.m. outside the high-security Paddington Green police station.



Monday, October 12, 1992


(AP) -- An explosion shattered a pub during lunch hour Monday in the popular Covent Garden area, minutes after a warning from the Irish Republican Army. Five people were hospitalized with injuries. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the blast in The Sussex pub, which followed seven IRA bomb attacks last week in London.



Thursday, October 22, 1992


(AP) -- Three more bombings in the IRA's latest campaign of violence in Britain's capital injured six people and damaged a train, while a car bomb wounded five people in a Northern Ireland town. Three bombs exploded Wednesday in London, the first on a railroad bridge. That explosion damaged a train and injured three people.



Friday, October 30, 1992


(AP) -- A bomb exploded outside a police station in Glengormley north of Belfast early Friday, injuring 10 civilians and two policemen. The 1 a.m. blast damaged homes and destroyed the concrete anti-blast wall protecting the station, police reported. You can see right into the police station courtyard.



Saturday, November 14, 1992


(AP) -- A hijacked taxi exploded Friday night near the 10 Downing St. home of Prime Minister John Major, causing minor damage and no injuries, police said. Major was in Huntington, 40 miles north of London. Unidentified men hired the cab in north London and one of them pulled out a gun and ordered the driver to proceed to Whitehall.



Monday, November 16, 1992


(UPI) - Police said they found a large bomb in a van abandoned Sunday night at the Canary Wharf office development in east London by two armed men who threatened security guards before fleeing. Police later found what they believed was the men's getaway vehicle, abandoned about two miles away in another part of east London. The IRA later claimed responsibility for the failed attempt.



Tuesday, January 05, 1993


(AP) -- Firebombs went off in four London stores early Wednesday following telephoned warnings from callers claiming to represent the Irish Republican Army, police reported. Scotland Yard said in a statement that nobody was injured. The London Fire Brigade said fires started by three of the four devices caused only minor damage.



Thursday, January 28, 1993


(Reuters) - A suspected IRA bomb blasted the entrance of Harrods department store on Thursday, injuring four people and reviving memories of a 1983 Irish guerrilla attack on the famed "top people's shop." Harrods was evacuated after an early-morning coded warning, a frequent practice of IRA bombers.



Wednesday, February 03, 1993


(Reuters) - A suspected Irish guerrilla bomb exploded on a train in south London on Wednesday, just minutes after passengers were evacuated. Police said no one was injured in the blast, which followed three telephone warnings that a device had been left on a train heading from London to Ramsgate on England's southeast coast.



Monday, February 22, 1993


(UPI) -- A suspected IRA bomb planted near a courthouse wounded two policemen Monday in Londonderry, 80 miles northwest of Belfast, the Royal Ulster Constabulary said. One of the officers was thrown across the street and seriously injured by the explosion, which occurred as he opened a door to a security hut beside the city courthouse.



Sunday, February 28, 1993


(Reuters) - Saturday's small but powerful bomb was planted in a litter bin in Camden High Street and at least 18 people. Four were seriously hurt and were still in hospital on Sunday. In a statement issued in Dublin the IRA said it planted the bomb, insisted it had given an adequate and precise coded warning.



Sunday, March 07, 1993


(Reuters) - The Irish Republican Army (IRA) said on Sunday it had exploded a 500-lb (225-kg) car bomb in the Northern Ireland seaside resort of Bangor, seriously wounding four police officers. Police said the bomb went off without warning early on Sunday in the predominantly Protestant seaside town's main shopping street.



Tuesday, March 09, 1993


(Reuters) - Two policemen and three civilians were injured on Monday night in a blast after the Irish Republican Army stepped up its campaign against British security forces. A suspected IRA bomb exploded behind a wall as police were closing security gates designed to keep attackers out of the town centre of Lurgan in County Armagh.



Saturday, March 20, 1993


(UPI) -- Suspected IRA bombs blasted a packed shopping center in northwest England yesterday, killing a 4-year-old boy and a teenager in the deadliest such attack in nearly a year. Two bombs hidden in garbage cans exploded in quick succession in the heart of the town of Warrington.



Saturday, April 24, 1993


(Reuters) - An IRA bomb ripped through the heart of London's financial district on Saturday, wounding more than 30 people and causing extensive damage to prestige office buildings. The bomb was packed into a construction lorry parked near two bank buildings, the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank and the landmark NatWest Tower.



Saturday, January 15, 1994


(AP) -- Two burned-out furniture stores mark the progress that hasn't been made since Britain and Ireland announced a "framework for peace" in Northern Ireland. Police said incendiary devices set off fires Saturday that destroyed one shop in Belfast and severely damaged another in Newtownards, nine miles east of the city.



Thursday, January 27, 1994


(Reuters) - Fire bombs caused blazes at three stores in a major London shopping street on Thursday but the fires were quickly put out and no-one was hurt. The area around the stores, on Oxford Street in central London, was cordoned off after the fires broke out before dawn.



Saturday, January 29, 1994


(Reuters) - Police said they found two incendiary bombs at a central London store on Saturday and one went off, causing a small fire before it could be put out. Suspected Irish Republican Army (IRA) fire bombs caused blazes at three stores in the same major London shopping street on Thursday.



Saturday, February 05, 1994


(Reuters) - A wave of suspected IRA firebombs went off in the Northern Ireland capital Belfast on Saturday, causing damage but no injuries. The worst attack was in the south of the city, where a wholesale shop was badly damaged in a blaze caused by a bomb. In the city centre a number of firebombs exploded at one supermarket.



Saturday, February 19, 1994


(Reuters) - Fires broke out in several central London stores early on Saturday, causing no injuries, after police defused a firebomb at a record shop. Police declined to comment on the cause of what they called suspicious blazes in at least four stores in the Oxford Street area.



Wednesday, March 09, 1994


(Boston Globe) - Four mortar shells were fired toward Heathrow Airport from a car last night following telephone warnings from the IRA, but police said none of the shells exploded and no injuries were reported. A scheduled Concorde flight from New York touched down on the targeted runway 17 minutes before the attack.



Sunday, March 13, 1994


(Reuters) - The IRA threw air services over London into chaos with repeated mortar attacks and bomb threats, while calling for fresh peace talks on Northern Ireland. The British capital's Heathrow and Gatwick airports were closed for two hours on Sunday night after renewed coded telephoned bomb threats were received.



Saturday, August 13, 1994


(Reuters) - A bomb exploded in a British seaside town on Saturday and police accused the Irish Republican Army (IRA) of an indiscriminate attack on ordinary people. The bomb damaged around 15 shops in Bognor Regis, showering the street with glass and sending up a plume of black smoke.



Sunday, August 14, 1994


(Reuters) - The IRA staged a double bomb attack on the south coast tonight. Fifteen shops were wrecked in the centre of Bognor Regis, West Sussex and a second device was planted under the Palace Pier at Brighton, 15 miles along the coast.



Wednesday, August 17, 1994


(Reuters) - The IRA claimed responsibility for two bomb attacks on Protestant bars in Belfast on Wednesday which caused some damage but no injuries. In a call to a local broadcasting company, the Irish Republican Army said it planted the device which wrecked the Grove Tavern in north Belfast, reputed to be frequented by outlawed Protestant extremist guerrillas.



Monday, August 22, 1994


(Reuters) - Police on Monday defused a bomb left in a litter bin outside a store on Regent Street, one of central London's busiest shopping thoroughfares, a police spokesman said. The area was cordoned off as officers from Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist branch searched for other bombs following a coded warning that three explosive devices had been planted.



Friday, February 09, 1996


(Reuters) - A huge bomb wrecked an office block in a London financial district on Friday. The explosion, in an underground garage of a six-storey office block not far from the Canary Wharf office tower in east London's Docklands area, left 100 walking wounded with eight seriously hurt.



Thursday, February 15, 1996


(AP) -- The IRA claim responsibility for the bomb which went off in central London today. A square mile in the heart of the city was sealed off as police searched for other devices, Scotland Yard said.



Sunday, February 18, 1996


(Reuters) - The IRA said on Monday it had planted a bomb that exploded on a London bus on Sunday, killing one person and injuring eight. The BBC in Belfast said the guerrilla group made the claim in a telephone call to its newsroom, using a recognised codeword.



Saturday, March 09,
1996


(Reuters) - An explosion rocked a central London street near an underground railway station, police said early on Saturday. A spokeswoman said the explosion was near the West Brompton station but she had no further details. A spokesman for the fire brigade confirmed reports of a blast but declined to comment further. An eyewitness in a nearby building said the area had been gently rocked by the blast.



Saturday, March 09, 1996


(Reuters) - A bomb hidden in a rubbish bin exploded in a deserted central London street early on Saturday, damaging buildings and cars but causing no casualties, police said. The blast took place outside a cemetery near the West Brompton underground station, which is opposite the major Earls Court exhibition centre.



Tuesday, March 12, 1996


(Reuters) - The Irish Republican Army (IRA) claimed responsibility on Tuesday for a small bomb that exploded in a rubbish bin in London over the weekend. The guerrilla group claimed responsibility in a call to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) office in Belfast using a recognised codeword. "A device which exploded in London at the weekend was one of ours," the caller said.



Saturday, June 15, 1996


(AP) -- A powerful bomb shattered the downtown commercial district of Manchester on Saturday, injuring more than 200 people. The IRA claimed responsibility. The attack took place just six days after the opening of peace talks in Northern Ireland.



Sunday, April 06, 1997


(Reuters) - One of the world's oldest and most famous racing events -- the Grand National steeplechase -- was canceled Saturday a half hour before its scheduled start after bomb threats forced the evacuation of roughly 60,000 people from the track and stands. The coded warnings were believed to have come from the IRA.



Monday, April 07, 1997


(Reuters) - Commuter trains, London subways, key highways, and now Britain's premier horse-racing event: The Irish Republican Army stopped them all with a phone call. Renewed sabotage in England has put the IRA and its Sinn Fein party allies in the spotlight once again, and with no dead civilians to explain away.



Saturday, April 19, 1997


(Reuters) - Explosions and bomb threats blamed on the Irish Republican Army snarled rail and road traffic between northern and southern England on Friday but caused little damage. Although no group claimed responsibility.



Saturday, August 15, 1998


(CNN) -- At least 20 people were dead and dozens wounded in a bomb attack in the town of Omagh in Northern Ireland. The placement of the bomb -- near Omagh's courthouse, seen by some as a symbol of London's rule in the British province -- suggested that a dissident republican guerrilla group may have planted the bomb.



Thursday, June 1st, 2000


Shocked residents in west London have told of being jolted awake by the bomb explosion on Hammersmith Bridge. A sophisticated high-explosive device, believed to be between one and two kilos of Semtex, was attached to a girder under the bridge and exploded at about 0430 BST. The IRA have claimed responsibility.



Wednesday, July 19th, 2000


Police have confirmed a bomb was planted near a London Underground station as parts of the capital are brought to a standstill by a series of security alerts. A coded warning led police to a package on the line near Ealing Broadway tube station and they sealed off the area and carried out a controlled explosion.



Wednesday, September 20, 2000


(CNN) London missile attack -- Two explosions close to the headquarters of international intelligence centre, MI6, in central London have been claimed by the IRA. The blasts occurred just before 2100 GMT in the Vauxhall Bridge area on the south side of the River Thames. Later investigation found the explosions were caused by shoulder-launched missiles.



Sunday, March 04, 2001


(BBC) - There's been a bomb attack on the BBC's television headquarters in west London. One man was injured in the blast, which happened as a bomb disposal team was trying to carry out a controlled explosion. The Real IRA claimed responsibility.



March 22, 2004


(BBC) -- A briefcase containing an IRA bomb left in a toilet was the cause of yesterday’s scare that forced the evacuation of thousands of people around Reading Railway Station. The station, surrounding offices and shops were cleared by police after a sniffer dog sent in to check out the briefcase indicated it was dangerous. A military bomb disposal team was called in.

Predictable knee-jerk

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As if you couldn't have predicted this : Homeland Security have raised the alert level here in America to Tang.

Horse running across field. Stable door now closed.

Prophecy isn't particularly calming to the mind.

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See my post yesterday about the London police's incapacity to be able to stop any act of terrorism? Sadly, it only took 24 hours to prove me right. This morning, multiple bombs have gone off on the tubes and buses in London, crippling the city and killing at least 37 so far and injuring over 700. Some previously unheard of group claiming to be a radical European arm of Al Qaeda has claimed responsibility but that seems highly unlikely. This smacks of IRA to me.
If it does turn out to be related to Iraq, perhaps now Blair will listen to the majority of the public, stop supporting B*sh, and get the fuck out of Iraq.
Of course B*sh hopped on the bandwagon instantly and blamed Al Qaeda and trotted out one of his "we must fight terrorism wherever it is" speeches. The simple fact is this : if this is tied to Iraq, then it wouldn't have happened at all if B*sh hadn't invaded the country on a lie. Pot. Kettle. Black. Who is the terrorist to blame here?

It really irritates the piss out of me when people jump to conclusions when stuff like this happens. Remember the bombs in Spain? Everyone instantly blamed Eta for them and it turned out not to be the case. It's the same here. Everyone in the media, and people like B*sh are blaming Al Qaeda yet the people who've claimed responsibility have never been heard of before. That is just so unlikely. What is more likely is that this is the work of the IRA, and some local crackpot has jumped at the opportunity to take responsibility in the name of Al Qaeda.

It's interesting that in the press interviews, someone asked London's chief of antiterrorism if this was the work of Islamic terrorists. His reply was "those two words do not go together." At least that spokesperson has a brain that is still working.

Freedom of speech on trial

Jul 6, 2005 | | 0 comments |

As I predicted in my blog on Monday, a US court today jailed New York Times journalist Judith Miller for refusing to testify in an investigation into the unmasking of a CIA agent in 2003.
The leaking of Valerie Plame's name was a federal offence, yet the name came from someone inside the B*sh camp - probably Karl Rove.
Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is investigating who leaked the name during a row over evidence used to justify war in Iraq. He had argued last week that both journalists, who had looked into the leak, should be jailed for their refusal to reveal their sources.
Simple fact, people : journalists must be allowed to keep sources confidential in order to preserve freedom of the press. By jailing Miller, the US government has effectively drawn a line in the sand on the issue of free speech. Say what you like, but make sure you say what the government want.

1984.

Another right to be stripped away.

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The problem: 40percent of death sentences are overturned in Federal Court. The solution: Eliminate apeals to Federal Court. You read it right. Republicans in Congress have launched a new effort to speed up executions by limiting the ability of those sentenced to death to appeal to federal courts. They've called it the "Streamlined Procedures Act of 2005," and it's been introduced into the House of Representatives today. The idea is that it would limit the ability of defendants facing the death sentence to have their cases reviewed by federal courts in what are known as habeas corpus appeals.
Take a moment and examine the parallels between what's going on in the B*sh/Republican-run country right now versus what happened in Germany prior to WWII.

DISASTER : London gets 2012 Olympics.

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Bribery. That's the only possibility, because nobody who's ever been to London or who lives there would ever be under the misconception that London could host the Olympics.
For starters, neither airport has the capacity or capability to deal with that sort of influx of people. To go on, the transport infrastructure is on its knees already - just with everyday Londoners the trains and buses are over capacity and nothing ever runs on time. It's taken 15 years of arguing to get the cross-London link approved, and almost as long to sort out the Channel Tunnel link. Do the IOC really believe that within 7 years, London can sort out its transport crisis?
What about facilites? There are none. It's all very well claiming 'regeneration of the East End' will solve it, but where's the money going to come from? The damn politicos keep saying it's going to be of benefit to the whole country, then let the whole country pay for it! London already funds the rest of the country to the tune of £20 billion in taxes (the difference between tax paid in London and money spent on London).
Where will the facilities be built? Bulldozing people out of their homes is my guess. The city is gasping, financially - the burden of trying to host the Olympics is going to finish it off.
What about security? Lets not forget that London is a favourite IRA target and not once have the police been able to stop an IRA bomb from going off - what leads the IOC to believe it will be any different in 7 years time? London Police are simply incapable of stopping any major incident or act of terrorism.
This news is also very unfortunate for everyone in the rest of Greater London where there's no planned Olympic activity - all the focus and attention will be lavished on the bid areas for years to come. Everyone else will be ignored, but you can bet all their taxes will skyrocket to pay for this mistake.

It's amazing to see how many people are celebrating this news. They've clearly not thought this through. I bet all the people in Trafalgar square this morning have no idea that their daily lives are going to become an absolute misery the closer it gets to 2012. Everything will get disrupted from simple chores like the weekly shop up to the commute to work. Boroughs will be bulldozed for new facilites. Roads will be closed, security cordons will go up. Local people's ability to do what they want will be curtailed, and taxes will absolutely go up. Anyone who thinks their taxes will stay the same and that the intrusion of the Olympics into their city will be a minor hinderance is going to be sorely disappointed.

London is a polluted, congested, miserable third-world city. How they ever hope to stage the Olympics is a total mystery to me. It should of course have gone to Paris where they already have the facilities and already have a working transport infrastructure.
New York and Paris are celebrating tonight - they don't have to live with the spectre of being bankrupted by the 2012 Olympics any more. London on the other hand has set itself up to fail.

I wonder : isn't it time that Blair and his cronies concentrated on the basics instead? Cleaner hospitals, acceptable class sizes, good quality affordable public transport? They are very keen to get involved in the international issues but domestic problems are as usual being neglected.

N'ka n'ka n'ka n'ka

Jul 5, 2005 | | 0 comments |

Menno de Jong - Tundra -Fierce dub mix. Look it up, download it, you'll know what I mean.

Happy Birthday to me :-)

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36 today. Feels like - well - like it did yesterday, only a little more tired from the 4th July gig last night.
I reckon my dad is psychic. One of the things I had on my wishlist was a home weather centre. Nerdy I know but so what. A couple of weeks ago, he called my wife, and without knowing about my wishlist, asked if she thought I'd like a home weather centre. Weird!
Also got the box-set of Keen Eddie from Paula. Sweet.

Edging closer to banning free speech.

Jul 4, 2005 | | 0 comments |

B*sh is edging ever closer to outlawing free speech. This time it comes in the form of splitting hairs over the definition of "journalist". The Republicans are trying to force through a federal reporter's shield law, which would shield reporters from having to give up the names of their sources.

HR581 and an identical Senate bill, S340 are a double-edge sword. On the one hand, it means that the government can influence reporters to tell the news as the government sees fit, safe in the knowledge that the shield law means the reporter won't give up his source, thus the government could never be implicated in controlling the news.

On the other hand, the wording of the law is such that it would exclude bloggers, freelancers and all journalists "without contracts or those who publish solely on the web". Oddly enough, all the types of journalism which are free of the desire to tell the news as the government would like. Freelancers and bloggers are where the free speech and actual news is reported. Check out my ramblings as a prime example and I'm nowhere near the profile of some dedicated political bloggers. But the implication of this law is that if you write something in your blog and the government doesn't like it, you can be prosecuted because the shield law doesn't apply to you.

These bills are gaining momentum, thanks in part to last week's high-profile case involving an anonymous source who unveiled the identity of an undercover CIA agent. The "anonymous source" is suspected to be Karl Rove after Time magazine folded and handed over the identity. New York Times reporter Judith Miller is so far resisting and because of this, faces jail time. Whilst the shield law would protect reporters like Miller, it would also mean people like Rove could get away with crap like this because they knew they'd be safe from prosecution.

"Write anything you like, as long as its what the government want you to write."

Big trailies in Utah

Jul 3, 2005 | | 1 comments |

A friend of mine from the East coast is in Utah at the moment and we met up this morning to take the bikes on a day tour into the mountains. The route we ended up doing was great. We started in Salt Lake, then went up Emigration Canyon and left at Mountain Dell reservoir. We took the East Canyon over to East Canyon reservoir, which could have gone better. The road had been resurfaced with gravel chips, and at one point we had a rockfall, gravel, rain, oncoming traffic and sheep on the road all at the same blind bend. Anyhoo from there we took SR66 to Morgan, then on to I84 west to the south end of Trappers Loop. A quick pit stop to massage sore bums and top off on fuel and then north through Trappers Loop to Weber, and east on SR39 over Monte Christo to Woodruff. Monte Christo is by far the best biking road in Utah that I've been on so far. From there we took SR89 south and into Wyoming to the town of porn and fireworks; Evanston. And from there it was a long slog on I80 back through the mountains to Salt Lake with a stop at Kimball junction for a very late lunch. The total distance was 211 miles, and on the long downhill on the back of Monte Christo, I discovered the Beemer could do at least 130mph indicated (about 118mph true) and it still had power in the bag. Blind bends, the threat of hidden troopers and the significantly increased possibility of a spectacular life-altering crash slowed us both down after that section though :-)

Best. Batman. Film. Ever.

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We went to see Batman Begins last night. Best Batman film ever. It made Tim Burton's Batman look camp. I especially liked the Tumbler - cancelled weapons research program adapted to become the Batmobile. Sweet.