Saturday, July 03, 2004

The gloves come off

Lenin remembers the Bill Hicks quote I should have used in Tom Watson's comments:
I am no fan of the Lib Dems, but perhaps one good reason why crack heads and junkies shouldn’t go to jail is because THEY’RE NOT CRIMINALS. They’re sick. Sick people don’t get better in jail. If some of them are guilty of crimes, then perhaps the answer is to try them for the crimes they are guilty of rather than for the drug they’re addicted to.

You sound like an embittered acolyte of Lord Tebbit, not a Labour MP.

Meanwhile Dave (through whom I found the above quote) comes up with a new word and issues a little challenge:

If you live in Birmingham and have the opportunity to take any photos of our Tom looking even slightly Hitchensed please send them to me. I’ll be happy to put them up.

Unfortunately, the Dupe isn't an answer to this quiz but I'm sure he fits in there somewhere. You're me besht mate, you are, Ahmed. Buy me another drink and then I'll tell everyone just how great you are.

Cidade de Deus

I finally got around to updating the 'Listening/Reading/Watching' lists in the sidebar, mainly because I saw the amazing City Of God during the week and wanted to make sure I recommended it to all of you.

Anyway, while checking out the listing for it on IMDb, I found the following bit of information in the trivia for it, which I found almost as disturbing as some of the film:
One day, during a pause of the shooting the group of kids who played the Runts approached screenwriter Braulio Mantovani and asked him if it was true that the movie would end with their characters controlling the slum. When he confirmed, they asked if he could write a sequel for them to star in.

Wandering off the reservation

How long will Johann Hari remain on Harry's Place with a disgusting attitude like this?
The US continues to support barbaric anti-democratic forces, from Uzbekistan to Saudi Arabia. If Oliver North faced justice, that too would have to change - and the US government doesn't want it. So rejoice with the Iraqi people at the trial of Saddam - but remember that, for today, American justice visits only Baghdad.

Doesn't he understand that the US is the home of all that is Righteous and Good? Doesn't he understand that pointing out any perceived flaws in the US only helps the terrorists?

You know you want it

Look out for light blogging from many people on Monday afternoon as they listen avidly to Five Live to try and win a part in the Hitchhiker's movie.


I've said before that we're living in a fictional universe, probably just comedy fodder for readers of some Onion-equivalent website in the real universe. You've scoffed at my theory before, I know, but how do you feel when you read this story?:
U.S. Secretary of State donned a hard hat and tucked a hammer in his belt Friday, performing a version of the Village People's hit "YMCA" at the conclusion of Asia's largest security meeting.

More here, here or here, if you don't believe me.

There are pictures too:

Who's laughing now, eh?

Unintended consequences

Dave has a good post on extrasolar planets that ends with a great summary of the benefits of science:
Why should the taxpayer fund a project which reminds even me of the scene in ‘Babe’ where the farm animals watch a firework display and go “Ooooh, …. Ahhhh…."? Because since the Enlightenment, personal wealth, comfort, safety, likelihood of children reaching maturity, health, in short every index of the requirements for a good life have rocketed. When all the prejudiced nutcases call the West ‘civilised’ in comparison to the Middle East, what they mean is that we had Newton and Galileo. Science, IMO, depends on serendipity (actually this is my approach to everything: blogging, photography, programming, writing, dating): do a lot of it, and amazing things happen. We need more Hubbles.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Watson Watch

Two things:

1) Obviously, I missed the change in the election regulations, whereby all by-elections now just feature solely a Liberal Democrat candidate. Or, is the Mighty Tom under some strange vow of Omerta whereby Labour's spin doctors have banned anyone from using their candidate's name? Maybe they'll announce it at the same time as they get a local website that mentions a by-election is taking place?

2) Did I miss the post where he says he was getting rid of his mobile phone because of the danger of phone masts? It must make him hard to contact and give the latest party orders to, but I assume he doesn't have one because of all the concern he shows for the effect of phone masts. Otherwise, one would just have to assume that a politician is being incredibly hypocritical, and that can't be true.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Oh Canada, we chew the pulp for thee

Via Pandagon, I discover a story about how Canadians are being warned not to eat their ballot papers when they go to vote.
The issue was of sufficient concern to warrant inclusion in the site's "Frequency asked Questions" section, above answers to such inquiries as "Why should I vote?" and "Am I registered?"

Three Alberta men were charged with eating their paper ballots during Canada's last federal election, in 2000. The members of the Edible Ballot Society were protesting against what they said was a lack of real choice among candidates.

I can't be the only person to be thinking of Adam Yoshida right now, can I? Or is the worry there more that all the foaming at the mouth just makes him look like he's eating ballot papers all day long?

Maybe it's time for Watson watch

It's certainly a place to see the not-so-creeping authoritarianism of the Labour Party come out in force. Today's gem:
They should stick to the issues - like why they don't want crack heads and junkies to go to jail.

Perhaps Tom could stick to the issues, too, and tell us why he believes all addicts should be imprisoned? Or is he too busy claiming that discussing the content of Labour leaflets is 'dirty tricks'?

Monday, June 28, 2004

Tom Watson's memory

And mine as well...thought about this earlier in the week, then forgot to post it. He wrote:
Its been ages since I worked in a by-election. Over the years I've done dozens. Wirral South, Dudley, Tamworth, Hamilton South, Fulham, Islwyn, West Brom West, Falkirk you name it, I've delivered leaflets there.

I'm sure there's at least one constituency missing from there, but then I guess last September was ages ago in the busy life of an MP:

Just to end a perfect day, I will be joining a group of MPs in a visit to the Brent East by-election.

The dangers of negative campaigning

I couldn't help but smile when I read this post by doctorvee. And, thinking about the Hodge Hill by-election, shouldn't Labour be hurrying up to select a candidate, or at least sorting out their own website?

Sunday, June 27, 2004

When is a price increase not a price increase?

I've written before about the idiotically-named One Railway who now run my local train services, and tonight they've really managed to annoy me.

Now, as part of my job I do night shifts, which require me to travel to London in the evening and come back in the early morning. My train ticket for this journey used to cost £16.90. However, One, who promised that fares wouldn't increase when they took over the line, have now got rid of that fare, forcing me to instead buy two single tickets, pushing the cost of the journey up to £31. That's an 83% increase, if you don't want to do the maths yourself.

So, they've lived up to their promise of not actually increasing fares at all, but have managed to increase the cost of journeys by not making certain fares available any more. So, it's not a price increase, but it's costing me 83% more.

Complaints are being made, so we'll see what happens next.

Digging up the past

Whatever happened to Harry's proposed 'people's inquiry' into the anti-war movement?

I presume it's spent the last four months meeting in camera and will soon hand down its ritual denunciations of straw men judgements?