Friday, April 29, 2005
Great trip. More later.
Sunday, April 24, 2005
One of the few things I decided not to post about on this blog is politics.
The other self imposed blogging (SIB) ban is on religion. Both of these topics bring out the best and worst in people because of their necessarily partisan views.
............However, I have noticed how this year's hustings has been primarily fought out via media coverage, with very few local posters or stickers from each of the National parties proclaiming their candidate for election. In contrast, most other countries hang bunting, flypost stickers and generally create multi-coloured mayhem on the streets for a few weeks.
P.S. The above SIB ban is also why I had decided not to mention St. Georges Day on Sat. 23rd. April. ;-)
Friday, April 22, 2005
I'm sorry World, I didn't even know we had an "Earth Day". But, today 22nd. April is the 35th. annual Earth Day. You can read more about it here...
The only UK event I can see is a lecture in London on 27th. April about Grey Whales and Orca.
You can click here...
Much scarier, you can complete an online quizz to check your own "ecological footprint".
I did, and my pathetic results are shown below.
FOOD = 1.3 GLOBAL HECTARES
MOBILITY = 2.0 GLOBAL HECTARES
SHELTER = 1.4 GLOBAL HECTARES
GOODS/SERVICES = 1.9 GLOBAL HECTARES
TOTAL FOOTPRINT = 6.6 GLOBAL HECTARES
IN COMPARISON, THE AVERAGE ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT IN YOUR COUNTRY IS 5.3 GLOBAL HECTARES PER PERSON.
WORLDWIDE, THERE EXIST 1.8 BIOLOGICALLY PRODUCTIVE GLOBAL HECTARES PER PERSON.
IF EVERYONE LIVED LIKE YOU, WE WOULD NEED 3.7 PLANETS.
You can check it out here
What can I say, I will try harder.
Thursday, April 21, 2005
Sometimes a life can change in a heartbeat....
Meanwhile, the only certainty is that the sun will always rise and set each day;
and somewhere out there is always a beautiful rainbow.
But first it has to rain before you can see the colours.
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Google now do UK maps. They are excellent as well.
click here... or on my sidebar
Google also offer: if you need to find your nearest Pizza or Soya Milk shop, wherever you are in UK.
....do not worry if you see dogs like labradors or spaniels lurking about.
It's only an experiment in a few schools at this time.
Of course, if you think your child might be experimenting with drugs and you see strange dogs at the gate; be afraid.
It works like this. friendly looking labradors are being deployed at the school gates.
They clock the kids, passively, do the doggy drug sniff thing, then warn their colleagues if they detect the presence of illegal substances.
Meanwhile, covertly, the SAS (I was going to say crack team, but perhaps not) spaniels are checking out classrooms and other buildings for signs of any stashed drugs.
I'm not sure if Jamie Oliver's "scrotum burgers" are on their "banned" list. (scroll down to earlier post)
You can read more here...
What will they think of next ?
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
I've heard this "feral" phrase before, ie, feral children found living in the wild with wolves etc.
I've also read about gangs of children (as young as 7 or 8)together with older kids, said to live in challenging neighbourhoods or "sink" estates, who start fires and then pelt arriving fire fighters and ambulance staff with stones and airgun pellets.
Why would these kids do that ? Surely not "just" because they live in socially deprived areas.
It takes more than social deprivation to act like thugs and criminals against public services, whose sole presence is to render aid and make people safe.
It sounds more like Armageddon, when roaming gangs terrorise and pillage others, who happen to be in their path.
I must admit I thought these "feral" acts were mainly on inner city estates and large towns with well known "sink" estates.
In Manchester, Tim Fensome has been a firefighter for 26 years, yet an increasing part of his working life is spent facing youths hell-bent on abusing and attacking him and his colleagues.
The situation is getting worse" he says. Read more here...
Now, I see that even Wales, that country of rolling hills and verdant valleys has similar problems in "....many small South Wales valleys communities", according to new research for the Fire Brigades Union.
You can read more about this here...
Whilst, Wales has clearly had it's economy shattered by the closure of its mining industry, surely those hard working mining families (and welsh chapel backgrounds) haven't all disappeared, have they ?
What is happening to our society today, that some children are so socially challenged, that they are almost feral in their behaviour towards others?
Where are their role models (parents and extended families) to foster basic decency and social responsibility to others ?
I suppose watching violent videos (or playing shoot 'em up computer games at a young age) and lack of parental control, must create such a distorted sense of reality for these kids, that anything goes....
In which case, ASBO's and youth clubs are clearly not going to have much impact, are they ?
Monday, April 18, 2005
Yup, a brand new little Ford. Just registered and taxed.
Well, that's what the V5 Registration Cert (Log book) that arrived in the post informs me.
Unfortunately, DVLA have possibly screwed up. Our name is not the one that appears on the V5 Cert. It's another name, but registered to our address.
Obviously a mistake, so I phone the DVLA. ...umpteen presses of phone keys to navigate through automated menu options system.....
Oops, chose the wrong option and got a recorded message that did not resolve my enquiry.
Go through the whole umpteen key presses again, ....then I get another recorded message saying "...if you have received a V5 Cert with errors on it, highlight the errors and return document to DVLA and we will correct the information".
1. We do not appear to own a brand new Ford Ka.
2. It seems the DVLA must make lots of mistakes if they actually have a menu option and recorded voice message to deal with V5 errors.
3. Does a real person ever actually answer the phones at DVLA ?
Friday, April 15, 2005
- and their Office Supervisors who have little discretion and even less soul.
May their road to heaven be coated with hot, sticky, tar - as they march to perdition under a blazing Sun. (Sorry, got a bit carried away there)
But, before you judge me harshly - read this story about exploiting yet another motorist in London.
Thanks to Foxinternet for the link - and for his own story (scroll down on his blog to Mon 4th. April)
I knew it was a crow because of the mnemonic someone taught me.
"If you see a crow in a crowd - it's a rook"
and "If you see a rook on it's own - it's a crow"
So it was a crow; standing in the middle of my lane on a fairly busy road, picking at road-kill.
As I slowed down, the crow waited till the last moment and hopped to the kerb, then hopped back and continued its meal after I passed by.
I looked again in my rear mirror at the white van driver some distance behind me and wondered how crows react to fast white vans ?
Thursday, April 14, 2005
1. on Cot deaths.
This time, Prof. David Southall, a well respected paediatrician is lucky not to be struck off by GMC.
He falsely accused Sally Clark's husband of murdering their two young children.
Unbelieveably, he came to this conclusion after seeing David Clark being interviewed on TV !
you can read the latest story here...
2. on alleged Child abuse.
He is also infamous for secretly videoing parents in hospital in alleged "child abuse" cases in 1990's.
Again, many of these allegations turned out to be entirely false and very distressing to parents.
you can read an example here...
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
We can all rely on a basic tenet of English law, that one is innocent until proven guilty. Right?
Wrong ! There are increasing situations where it is clearly not the case in UK, and elsewhere, today.
Terrorism, for one. But that's easy, isn't it ?
The Govt. has to ensure the safety of all by depriving suspects of a chance to deploy bombs or other weapons of terrorism. Even if it means locking up or depriving a few suspect people of their liberty because they *may* be intending to deploy bombs or other weapons of destruction at some unknown point in the future.
Unless, of course, the suspect can *prove* they have no such intentions now, or in the future.
If you ever become a suspect, how do *you* prove you are not going to commit a certain act in the future ? It's a bit like a double negative, only has greater consequences to personal liberty.
How does a grieving parent, *prove* they did not kill their child ?
We have now seen three mothers released from prison, their cases overturned on appeal, up to six years later, for infanticide charges now found to be untrue or the verdicts unsafe.
Another 28 such cases are still under review, pending High Court appeals.
you can read about the latest one here ...
All because, an *expert* medical witness (I could link to reports about Prof. Sir Roy Meadow, but why bother) believed that one cot death case was tragic, two cases were suspicious and three cot deaths in one family just *had* to be murder. He even gave flawed odds of 73 million to one - for two children from one family succumbing to cot death. This *expert* opinion became known as Meadow's Law.
It took outraged medical statisticians, a TV documentary and assorted family lawyers to demonstrate that inherited genes could sadly pre-dispose some children to succumb to cot death.
Not tragic, but slightly worrying....
You can now be stopped at the roadside, by the police, on suspicion of almost anything, and forced to submit to fingerprinting, to determine your identity.
you can read about this here ...
At the moment, this is a police trial in Northampton, but could be launched nationwide in 18 months.
So, don't think it couldn't happen to you, because increasingly, our basic freedoms are slowly being eroded, drip..... by..... drip......
Here's an interesting blog about proxy blogs.
Find out more here.
Can Weblogs Make a Politician Keep a Promise?
Data broker LexisNexis has confirmed that personal information may have been stolen on 310,000 U.S. citizens, or nearly 10 times the number found in a data breach announced last month.
The firm's Anglo-Dutch parent Reed Elsevier determined that its databases had been fraudulently breached 59 times using stolen passwords, leading to the possible theft of personal information such as names, addresses, Social Security numbers and driver's license numbers, but not credit histories, medical records or financial information, LexisNexis said.
Click here to read the rest ...
Monday, April 11, 2005
I started this post thinking about the toe-rags and petty criminals who ruin the lives of ordinary people in little britain today, with their mindless neighbourhood anti-social behaviour, petty crime, car vandalism, house-breaking, mugging, stabbings, drug wars, drive-by shootings.
You know, usual stuff these days.
Then I got to thinking about parenting skills, role models, leadership, civic responsibilities.... and it hit me.
Apart from the usual excuses of teenagers; "...I'm bored", "...nuffink to do rand ere, innit" mentality, lack of job opportunities (that's real enough); we are all shaped by examples around us, aren't we ?
Children have a right to be parented, nurtured, encouraged, praised, listened to; to motivate us to acquire education and life/social skills, which in turn foster aspirations, ambitions and the vision to do something with our lives.
So, arguably, parents (and society) must be failing those children, who see nothing better for themselves than petty crime, ASBO's, petty crimes, violence, drugs, UB40, dole, prison, dole and death.
Here's the thing. Who is motivating our struggling or failing parents and leading by example in our multi cultural little britain today ?
It is clearly not self serving politicians and fat cat tycoons lining their pockets and pensions, is it.
The example here seems to be feather one's own nest and to hell with the rest of you !
Hmmm. I recognise that pattern, don't you ? So, children need stronger role models to succeed.
What about the professionals in society, then.
Teachers, clerics, doctors, lawyers, politicians.... ?
Ah, politicians. The thing is, nobody really believes that politicians are truly honest role models these days. Especially, Ministers in the current Govt. Particularly, Anthony Blair, QC, MP, who is Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury.
What does it say about this society's moral and ethical standards that the Prime Minister, himself a barrister, son of a barrister, and married to a leading barrister; is so easily characterised by his own slippery words as economical with the truth, at best, or a liar at worst, on many of the defining moments in his career ?
Big lies, as in "..why we must invade Iraq, WMD". Little lies, "...I once ran away from home, yer know; slipped aboard a plane bound for Bahamas, yeah, from Newcastle !"
Only, Newcastle Airport never ran a service to Bahamas, ever, at all. So, Mr Blair was lying about his youthful escapades as well.
There are many more lies to chronicle, but they were probably all classified as "spinning the truth".
So, they weren't really lies at all were they.
Well, if regime change in Iraq was not on the agenda and they never did find WMD in Iraq, because they weren't there at the time of invasion; why did we go to war against Iraq again ?
So, why not Iran, N. Korea, Cuba, Libya and Syria, 'cause these are all Geo Bush's hit-list as well .
You can read more here...
I wonder why (not really...) that Burma, Sudan, Chad, Zimbabwe, and other African despotic states of human genocide and economic misery are not on Blair and Bush's To Do list of countries to invade ?
Now we find that 3 Labour Councillors in Birmingham have been found guilty of creating an illegal postal voting scam worthy of any of the above banana republics.
Read the judges summing up story here...
Apparently, the Govt. has known of these corrupt postal vote scams in B'ham (and Leicester and Bradford - and Pendle before that) for some time, yet chose to do nothing. Well, not quite nothing.
Peter Hain presented a formal parliamentary report with recommendations for stiffening up the postal voting system.
This report, inter alia, identified ways of improving security around the process for registering for postal votes, including stiffer procedures requiring documentary proof of ID prior to postal vote registrations.
Cynically, Ministers read the report, but decided that implementing the key recommendations *might* reduce "voter turn-out", so decided against stiffer postal registration protocols.
So, exercise your vote on 5th. May. Choose wisely, 'cause we get the Govt. we deserve.
Whichever colour party gets elected, we must make them more accountable, more transparent.
That's probably as much as we can expect from our politicians at this stage.
Meanwhile, it's up to you, and you, and you, and me, to try and be better role models for the next generation.
What ? Yeah, I know, it's all bollocks till the current neighbourhood gangs grow up or die out.
Thursday, April 07, 2005
In his dreams, maybe. But PM (President) Tony Blair is vying for his 3rd. term of office.
Strangely, there are two other significant Blair figures on the up as well.
In UK, we have newly promoted Ian Blair, new Chief Constable of Met police in London.
Plus, in Toronto, the Police Services Board appointed Bill Blair as their new Chief of Police.
you can read the rest here...
Monday, April 04, 2005
So, the Jamie Oliver school dinners programme on TV has had at least two positive effects.
OK, three if you wanted to hear how much Jamie swears. Because he does. A lot.
Meanwhile, back to the other two....
1. 50% of schools provide pupils with a meal costing no more than 37 pence.
2. 75% of schools spend no more than 50 pence on their school meals.
That's 37p for ALL the ingredients on the dinner plate.
We also learned from Jamie about two culinary delights that had passed me by till now. Turkey Twizzlers (TM) and Scrotum burgers (generic term)
Scolarest, (part of the Compass Group) which supplies 1,400 state schools, wants 55p a day per child for food, compared with the average of 45p nationally for primaries.
But so far, the Govt. has not agreed any more funds for school dinners.
The Education Minister, Ruth Kelly, refused more funding, saying it was up to parents and schools to agree locally on their budget priorities.
UPDATE : Whoah. Heads UP! The Govt. (Tony + a few sofa friends) has suddenly found an extra £280 million for school dinners after meeting Jamie this week.
Of course, that decision has nothing to do with the plans Jamie revealed - that he was looking at options for standing against Tony Blair in his own constituency of Sedgefield.
Apparently, these plans acquired authenticity when Martin Bell (ex independant MP, ex seasoned War Reporter) confirmed he had been approached by Jamie's team for his advice about standing as an independant .
BBC admits they lied about the Dr Who actor quitting...
It's only a small thing, but big corporations (aka bosses with big egos and no moral scruples) increasingly show little respect for their staff.
Nor even for us, the viewers, who pay for the BBC through licence fee income.
So, the BBC, whose success is built on its players, not its managers, has spun another glossy web of deceit by the Untruth spider.
The BBC has admitted it failed to speak to actor Christopher Eccleston before revealing he was going to quit Dr Who after the first series.
"Contrary to press statements, Christopher did not leave for fear of being typecast or because of the gruelling filming schedule," said Ms Tranter.
Jane Tranter, BBC head of drama commissioning, should be ashamed, for herself and for the BBC.
Click this and you can read the rest here...