Saturday, October 16, 2004

Technical reading

I don't usually read tech blogs, mainly because I don't understand a lot of what they're talking about but after reading this article on Google's new desktop search (which sounds useful, and will be even more so when it supports Firefox and other file formats) I followed some of the links and found this post speculating about how Google may be developing an operating system (though not necessarily in way we currently understand an OS to be) which was inspired by this post about how Google works including the astonishing (to me, anyway) information that Google currently sues uses around 100,000 servers - by way of comparison, I was reading Daily Kos the other day and Markos was saying he'd had to buy a fifth server to deal with their traffic of around 500,000 visitors a day. When you realise just how mind-bogglingly huge an operation something like Google it's somewhere between awe-inspiring and slightly scary.

Edit: Corrected a typo just in case anyone thinks I'm alleging Google unleashes the lawyers on 100,000 people a day (thanks to Dave for the spot)

'I'm not going to be your monkey'

Jon Stewart's appearance on Crossfire is one of the hot topics of discussion amongst American bloggers today and the video's now available in several places, such as Media Matters for America.

Anyway, watching that gives me an idea. Not wanting to sound too Tim Ireland-ish, but it needs a bit of research and (gasp!) work so don't expect anything for a couple of weeks, though that's also because I'm heading off on holiday next week.

Law report

Would anyone be surprised if every UKIP MEP was in court for some reason or other by the end of the year?

First, there's the alleged housing benefit fraud, then the attempt to get a publication by Richard Corbett and Britain in Europe pulped for saying nasty things about them, then Kilroy suing someone over an old Chris Morris piece and now an allegation of sexual harrassment against Godfrey 'dirty fridges' Bloom.
Last night Mr Bloom denied indulging in any sexual harassment, specifically rejecting the claim that he touched the student's leg, and said he would consult lawyers on the issue. He added: "I was not sitting at her table. My wife was at the dinner, there was no impropriety. The whole thing is complete and total nonsense. It has been concocted. She is following a political agenda. It was a grotesque abuse of hospitality."

However he did not deny making all the comments cited and, when asked if he had said "big tits, very feisty", Mr Bloom replied: "Possibly".

I always wondered how they did it

No doubt something everyone else has seen many times before, but here's Google's explanation of its PigeonRank system:
By collecting flocks of pigeons in dense clusters, Google is able to process search queries at speeds superior to traditional search engines, which typically rely on birds of prey, brooding hens or slow-moving waterfowl to do their relevance rankings.

When a search query is submitted to Google, it is routed to a data coop where monitors flash result pages at blazing speeds. When a relevant result is observed by one of the pigeons in the cluster, it strikes a rubber-coated steel bar with its beak, which assigns the page a PigeonRank value of one. For each peck, the PigeonRank increases. Those pages receiving the most pecks, are returned at the top of the user's results page with the other results displayed in pecking order.
And the only possible punchline is: I salute our new pigeon overlords.

'The Las Vegas of ranting'

Unlike those who complain about it from the comfort of their own keyboards, the Yorkshire Ranter has strayed into the belly of the not-quite-beast and reports from the European Social Forum:
When you enter the Forum, it's like leaping into all the demos in the world. Every well meaning little .org you can imagine and some more have camped. There's a Palm Court but, littered with thin people sleeping, extremist leaflets and beer cans, it looks like the revolution just happened and failed. Despite all, though, I couldn't help but feel that slowly rising edge of angry campaigning. Here are a swag of ideals and a world of banners. Here is friendly warm chaos. Here is optimism, and extremely poor translation.

It lasted until we got into the action.

We had a couple of ideas of what we wanted to see, and maybe take part in - after all the wristbands say DELEGATE, not TOURIST. The mob at the "plenary" on Palestine was so huge and the podium yelling so offputting, though, that we ditched that one. We took a while to trace a seminar on "Ending the Occupation: Liberating Iraq". When we found it, it was in the grip of a string of manic ranters. First came a woman who turned on the panel with the mike, turning her back on the "DELEGATES!" who weren't among the initiate of her own grievance and yelling. Then, a succession of three SWP boys. No coincidence there. One railed wildly at the failings of a movement based on mass demonstrations. Strikes were the thing. His union? The National Union of Journalists. One can see the situation conference in Northwood. "..and the NUJ has refused to handle any war-related stories, sir. [Long, defeated pause] ....Well, Charlesworth, I suppose...this is the end...I think I shall telephone the Prime Minister and inform him that we must ask for an armistice."
You should, as they say in the more erudite blogging circles, peruse it in its totality.

Clip shows

Can anyone explain to me just what the point of the UK Music Hall Of Fame is (beyond the banal, like filling two hours of Channel 4's airtime)?

Given that there's already a Rock'n'Roll Hall Of Fame (which is actually quite interesting to visit) one would assume that the UK Music Hall Of Fame would concentrate on, well, music from the UK (the clue should really be in the title there). So obviously the first five artists automatically included as 'founding members' are The Beatles (pretty obviously), U2 (well, we're talking about people involved in the music industry so Irish independence may have passed them by), Madonna (well, she now lives in the UK), Bob Marley (well, Jamaica's in the Commonwealth and, again, why should the music industry notice that their holiday resort's in a separate country) and Elvis (who spent a grand total of 80 minutes in the UK in his entire life). So, what is the point? Aside from the Beatles (who'd probably make a similar list compiled in most countries) there's nothing specifically 'UK' about this list - it's not even as though they're non-British acts ignored in their homeland and championed here. It's just yet another list of 'bands/albums/songs the music press say you should like' type that seem to be in Q magazine and it's ilk every month and a chance for the usual talking heads to appear on yet another Channel 4 clip show telling us all about things we already know in mind-numbingly boring detail. Anyway, go see the London News Review who express the pointlessness of the whole thing just as well.

Given the number of 'Top 10/50/100' type shows we get inflicted on us in their desperate craving to fill schedules, how long will it be before Channel 4 spot another bandwagon and give us the 'Top 100 Blogs'? And if they do, please all resist the temptation to appear on it, OK?

Looking forward

Over at The Poor Man there's a call for Jon Stewart in 2012, based on many things including his latest interview:
STEWART: Yes. "How are you holding up?" is a real suck-up. And I actually giving him a hot stone massage as we were doing it.

CARLSON: It sounded that way. It did.

STEWART: You know, it's interesting to hear you talk about my responsibility.

CARLSON: I felt the sparks between you.

STEWART: I didn't realize that -- and maybe this explains quite a bit.

CARLSON: No, the opportunity to...

STEWART: ... is that the news organizations look to Comedy Central for their cues on integrity.
And despite not being an American, I think I know who his running mate should be:
My only suggestions are that, if you do, don’t mention soccer (football). Also, resist the urge to include gratuitous insults about American beer (dishwater). This is a common cultural misunderstanding. Foreigners often assume that when Americans say “football” (“American football”) they mean “soccer” (“football”), and, similarly, when they say “beer” (“diluted old lady pee”) they mean “beer” (“beer”). This is a cultural misunderstanding which arises because foreigners are stupid. The American term “beer” (“tincture of ass milk”) refers to a completely different beverage than what other people call “beer,” which Americans call “yuppie beer”. If one approaches American beer (essence of Dennis Rodman’s gym socks) on its own terms, without the expectation that it has some relation to beer beer, it really isn’t that bad. And Canadian beer (distilled ichors of moose nads) is worse.
Stewart/Editors in 2012!

Friday, October 15, 2004

The day Kilroy lost his mind (again)

Oh, this is fun (via Europhobia): Kilroy threatens to sue the webmaster of UKIndependence.org. From the B3TA newsletter:
: KILROY THREATENS TO SUE
Over silly web gag

A few months back we brought you Mystery Bob's
little bit of mischief. He'd taken a bit of
footage from a comedy DVD and stuck it online
with a domain name suspiciously similar to
the UK Independence Party.

They've got in touch. And they're not happy.

Tony Bennett, Research Assistant to Robert
Kilroy-Silk writes:

"I represent Mr Kilroy-Silk and the U.K.
Independence Party. You are advised that your
site will be reported to the Police and we are
currently taking the advice of a libel barrister
as to its contents. I am a Solicitor as well as
a research assistant.

"You may wish to consider removing the site
forthwith."

So the battle is on. Should Mystery Bob
capitulate to legal threats? Or should he
stand strong and proud - free to mock silly
old fools who spout racist crap against Arabs?
I can't help but laugh and wonder just what the permatanned fool thinks he's doing - the video on the site is from Chris Morris' Jam and thus, has been seen on national TV and available to buy in the shops for a good year or so - I have a copy sitting on my shelf right now. Now, I'm not a lawyer, but surely the person they should be threatening with legal action is the originator of this (Morris) or the broadcasting comany that put it on the air (Channel 4)? Or have they realised that would be messing with the big boys, so they're just threatening website owners instead?

What the world needs now is Walken

Now this would have been a good debate:
The world is a weird, weird place -- full of psychotics who may or may not mean us harm. We need a President who can help us make our way through this maze of insanity. But, how do we pick such a person? That is the purpose of the Walken debate. The stage is a living room set with the candidates on a soft, uncomfortable couch. The lights are dim. Christopher Walken sits across from the candidates in a straight-backed chair.

Conrad Russell

I thought I'd collect links for some of the obituaries of Conrad Russell. I never met him myself, but it seems that everyone I know of, or have read, who did liked him, which is an achievement in itself. He always seemed like a figure who stepped out of the past combining politics, academia and philosophy in an almost 19th century manner.

Peter Black saw him in action:
I have lost count of the number of times I watched him hypnotise a Liberal Democrat Conference with his wisdom, his erudition and his radicalism.

I served with him for six months on the Party's Public Services Policy Working Group and saw him at work first hand. Part of his magic was that no matter how much he outclassed us in the intelligence stakes, he was always willing to acknowledge a valid point of view and take it on board. He was never stuffy and never arrogant. He was a humane caring man and the world will be poorer for having lost him.
The Times recalls his interesting directions for visitors:
And his directions to his office in the House were unique. “Turn right before you reach the statue of my great-grandfather,” he advised visitors, “then walk down the corridor past the rather sentimental Victorian painting of the parting of Lord and Lady Russell.”
The Guardian reminds us of how he appeared in the Lords:
To describe Conrad as an eccentric is inadequate, though there was plenty of that about him. Those observing him speaking in the chamber from the Lords' visitors gallery might easily have been transported back to 1850: the courtesy of his manner and his honed, elegant use of English being of a piece with his hawkish, distinguished stoop. Anyone seeing him coming or going from the House in a crumpled suit carrying supermarket bags bulging with papers would have been forgiven for not recognising the same man...

already ill, he dragged himself into the House on May 4 last spring to continue the good fight against what he saw as inhumane provisions of the asylum and immigration bill. His contribution that day was studded with quotes from the MP for Knaresborough in the 17th-century Long Parliament, from Sir Thomas Wentworth ("God deliver us from this arbitrary government") and, to balance the verbal feast, a quote from Goldfinger rebuking James Bond.
While the Telegraph reminds us of his antipathy to Blair:
The following year, after Tony Blair claimed that he never gave money to beggars, Russell suggested in a letter to The Daily Telegraph that "he should remember that need may happen to anyone. Belisarius in his day was the best general in the Roman Empire, but ended up sitting at the gates of Rome chanting 'give a ha'penny to Belisarius'. If, after Mr Blair has reformed the welfare state and gone out of office at the moment his pension fund goes broke, I find him at King's Cross chanting 'give a tenner to Tony', I will give to him, even if my gorge rises at it".

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Who, me?

Thus spake the TBogg:
According to this poll tracker, you (yes, you!) are on track to get almost as many votes as Ralph Nader in the Presidential race. As of this posting, you're only 1% behind Nader with three weeks to go. Taking into account the margin of error, you may actually be ahead of him (unless you're Alan Keyes, in which case you probably way behind). That's pretty good for someone who hasn't made it onto any ballots.

Better start working on that speech...
I can't remember where I saw it (it was in a comments thread last night, I think) but someone pointed out that Nader is in with a good chance of coming fourth, behind Libertarian candidate Michael Badnarik, who's actually on the ballot in more states (maybe all of them?) and is polling close to the Nader figure.

RIP

Lip reading

In my debate liveblogging, I wondered what Bush and Kerry said to each other at the end - and it seems I'm not the only one. Ignore the commentary around it, as it gets a bit tinfoil-hattish, but it does make you wonder what he wanted to see him about. Probably just some ancient Skull and Bones tradition of what you have to do after you've lost three debates in a row to someone.

Kerry-Bush 3: Tempers in Tempe

OK, liveblogging to start here soon, but while you're waiting, check out the latest news about Cheney and Edwards, both of whom are waiting to be 'tagged in' tonight should their running-mate need help. Both candidates have weighed in at their peak fighting weight, but apparently the news media refuses to cover, or indeed mention, the weighing in, partly because no one wants to see pictures of either candidate stripped to his shorts on a set of scales.

Today's hot question not likely to be asked: Is Vanessa Kerry the good version of Ann Coulter? On a related sidenote, the rather good America (The Book) describes Chris Heinz (John Kerry's stepson, if you're not paying attention) as the VHS copy of the JFK Jr DVD.

Drinking game rules: Every time Kerry says 'I have a plan' or Bush pauses in the middle of a sentence, drink! I'm not going to give cues, because otherwise this post will sound like Father Jack.

I wonder if the Dimblebys watch these debates then go to bed wishing they could moderate something similar over here?

2.07: Clever line from Kerry - Bush 'outsourced' the search for Osama Bin Laden

2.09: 'We relied on a company out of England' - a company run by one of his good friend Tony Blair's cronies, of course

2.19: Is it just me, or does Bush have a wonky mouth tonight?

2.20: And we've already got Bush caught on his first lie - see Atrios and Pandagon for when he said he wasn't that concerned about Osama, which he denied about five minutes in. More info on Kerry's rapid response blog.

2.25: When any US politician talks about 'IRAs' (Individual Retirement Accounts) it always sounds really weird, you know? Especially 'IRA tax cuts'

2.35: Bush: 'We've got to introduce high technology into healthcare' Guess it's time to sell my shares in leech manufacturing companies then.

2.41: What was Bush just murmuring about news companies then?

2.42 'Countries that have federally run healthcare' - and those countries that don't have a federal system? France's health system seems to be working pretty well. Woo! Centralisation!

2.47: With all these numbers that I know nothing about being thrown around, I can't help but imagine this as a kind of Mornington Crescent where they both quote them at each other until one of them calls '97.2%!' and wins.

2.52: Ooh, I thought Bush was just about to say that they were 'increasing the border' of the United States, but it was just a long pause between 'border' and 'security'

2.59: Bush just completely ignores the question about the minimum wage and gives a stock answer on education. George Bush: avoiding difficult issues since ... well, since forever, really.

3.07: Shorter John Kerry: Stop lying about the 'global test', bitch

Reciprocal linking: Tobias is liveblogging over at Fistful

3.14: Is Bush stuck on this 'we must teach kids to read, write, add and subtract' thing? Good to know that he's taking the bold line of being in favour of education, not against it.

3.16: Here we go, time for the 'look at the strength I get from my invisible friend' question. Here's a tip: replace 'God' with 'Giant pink elephant from Alpha Centauri', and see how silly it sounds.

Did he just say freedom for the people of Afghanistan is a gift from the Almighty? Why do I have a feeling that's going to be used by some fundamentalists (of whatever religion) in a not-very-positive way?

3.22: Bush just brought up that the country was divided in 2000 - well, not equally divided, because he was in the smaller part.

3.24: Someone told Bush when he met his wife that he'd be meeting someone interesting. He's still wondering why Mr J Daniels didn't turn up that day.

Closing statements are there last chance to speak to the American people directly and Kerry puts in a damn good speech. Bush: 'There's now an achievement gap in American that's beginning to close' - I think I know what he means, but it does sound like it didn't exist before he came to power.

Overall, pretty much a draw, but Kerry looked the most Presidential throughout yet again - and Bush looked pretty angry at Kerry at the end then (any lip readers in the house?). If people were still watching at the end, Kerry's closing statement was a damn good one, and Bush's looked poor in comparison.

One final update: CNN's quick poll after the debate (and that's a proper survey, not an internet poll) says Kerry 52-39 Bush, which seems to indicate that the viewing public in American saw it as a bigger win for Kerry than I did.

OK, this is the final update: Wesley Clark is being interviewed in the post-debate spin zone on BBC News right now. He has the look of a man who's thinking 'in a couple of months time, you're going to be calling me Mr. Secretary'

Maybe it should be 'register early, register often' just to make sure

Next time you're complaining about how long it takes to fill in your electoral registration form, just be glad that you don't live in one of those US states where people are very willing to help you register to vote - and then throw away your form if you're going to vote the wrong way.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

The people have spoken...

...and they say 'feh'.

Yes, the grand result of my consulting the people on the new design was a big lack of consensus - some of you wanted the old one back, some of you preferred thew new one, some of you disliked both of them and quite a few of you voted for Ralph Nader.

So, I've found a middle solution - there'll be no New Coke-esque return to the old template but I've tinkered with the new one to change the background colour, the header and a few of the font details which should solve all readability issues, but I'm still keeping the general style of the new one. Of course, lots of little bits of tinkering is what got the old template into such a mess code-wise, so I'm merely continuing in that grand tradition.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blogging.

Red mercury

In one of those bizarre coincidences, red mercury seems to be cropping up in a few things at the moment. First, it crops up in the News Of The World as the core of their 'dirty bomb' expose, then I'm reading Jack Womack's Let's Put The Future Behind Us which features the following line:
I believe his father, who was previously in the Ministry of Defence, is at present travelling between Vienna and Berlin, offering for sale bottles of a substance he professes to be red mercury to agents of countries whose names seem little more than the excreta of a romantic imagination
And then it turns out that red mercury - and, it seems, its non-existence - will be featured in next week's episode of Spooks.

Not a bad media profile for something that doesn't exist, really.

The Ministry of Truth wants you!

Mark Oaten wins today's stating the bleeding obvious award by calling David Blunkett 'arrogant' over ID cards, though he missed out 'draconian', 'misleading', 'pointless' and 'money wasting', all of which would also apply. I'm sure you can think of others.

The job advert in question is here, by the way, though there isn't a version of it in English rather than the combined blend of Marketingese and Goverfudge it's currently written in. Still, I'm sure it'll make a challenging job for whichever minion of Satan 'marketing professional' gets it - how do you persuade people that it's a good idea to give up their civil liberties, whilst paying for the privilege, in the name of a scheme that no one can actually give any proof will achieve any of its stated aims?

Christopher Reeve

Via Backword Dave, something I never knew about - in 1987, Christopher Reeve led a protest in Santiago on behalf of actors threatened with execution by Pinochet.

Meanwhile, Digby ventures where few of us would dare to tread and discovers what those charming specimens of humanity at Free Republic had to say about him (via Matt) - and remember, those are the comments that they didn't delete. One dreads to think what they might be saying once they found out he opposed nice Uncle Augusto.

Safe seat candidates

Oliver Kamm may face an interesting dilemma at the next election - Martin Bell or Tony Blair?

Negatives

Just thinking some more about the whole Sinclair Broadcasting thing in the light of the stuff I posted about Russia in the post below, and one thing occurred to me. I was thinking that the despite the fact that the Kremlin and its associates pretty much control all the Russian media, I couldn't find any exact parallel between the pre-election situation in Russia and the US - sure, there were similarities, but not necessarily what I was looking for.

But then I realised what the difference was - while there's a broadcasting bias towards Putin, that time is used to promote Putin, not just to bring down the other candidates. Which got me thinking that Sinclair could have cleared their broadcast schedules for a documentary like 'George Bush's resolve: Just how steely and magnificent is it?' or 'Aren't Texans just wonderful leaders?' but instead of using the time to boost their guy, they use the time to try and get the opposition. Which, of course, fits in with the entire Bush re-election campaign, the main theme of which is 'John Kerry is an evil liberal' and 'Four more years of someone not called John Kerry or Al Gore in the White House'. Though I don't approve of Putin's campaigning and governing methods, his re-election campaign at least centred around him, and how he would be the strong leader and everything else.

However, it seems the Bush campaign can't manage that and in fact seem actually scared of putting their candidate out in front of people in unscripted events - maybe because they're scared Furious George will reappear - or in front of crowds that haven't been vetted for political views. So, because they can't pish the strong leader line, or indeed almost any positive line it seems, they have to tear down the opponent and trash him. Ah, democracy, so good to see it in action.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

You are what you watch

Just a few more links on the case of the Sinclair Broadcasting Group and their attempt to get local stations to pre-empt regular programmes with anti-Kerry propaganda. Josh Marshall has lots on this, and even gets mail from former heads of the FCC expressing their dismay at what's happening:
in a large, pluralistic information society democracy will not work unless electronic media distribute reasonably accurate information and also competing opinions about political candidates to the entire population. Certainly, for the overwhelming number of voters this year, controlling impressions of the candidates for President are obtained from television.

In all countries, candidates for public office governments aspire to have favorable information and a chorus of favorable opinion disseminated through mass media to the citizenry. In a democracy, on the eve of a quadrennial election, the incumbent government plainly has a motive to encourage the media to report positively on its record but also negatively on the rival. But its role instead is to make sure that broadcast television promote democracy by conveying reasonably accurate reflections of where the candidates stand and what they are like.
But then again, you could start trying some black-is-white, ignorance-is-strength rubbish about how questioning this decision makes you the equivalent of a Holocaust denier:
Sinclair, based in the Baltimore suburb of Hunt Valley, decided to air the film after it was rejected for airing by the major broadcast networks, vice president Mark Hyman said. "This is a powerful story," Hyman said. "The networks are acting like Holocaust deniers and pretending [the POWs] don't exist. It would be irresponsible to ignore them."
Still, at least the US isn't Russia:
But the price of that stronger leadership, despite Putin's rhetoric about "people's natural striving for democracy," has been a Kremlin reasserting control over key elements of civil society. Critics and rival candidates charge that, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, never have the odds been so stacked against them.

The Kremlin controls television broadcasting, and while Putin gave up his free allotment of TV time - just as he refused to take part in debates among candidates - the free airtime set aside for Putin's rivals is dwarfed by "news" coverage of every presidential activity.

Observers also decry the wide use of "administrative resources" by the Kremlin and local officials, to ensure a high voter turnout, or to make trouble for rivals on the campaign trail.
Free airtime for candidates? Why, that's almost communistic and treats them as though they're all equal.

Wrestling, abysses and all the rest

Really, words fail me:
At least 11 al-Qaeda suspects have “disappeared” in U.S. custody, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. U.S. officials are holding the detainees in undisclosed locations, where some have reportedly been tortured.

The 46-page report, “The United States’ ‘Disappeared’: The CIA’s Long-Term ‘Ghost Detainees,’” describes how the Central Intelligence Agency is holding al-Qaeda suspects in “secret locations,” reportedly outside the United States, with no notification to their families, no access to the International Committee of the Red Cross or oversight of any sort of their treatment, and in some cases, no acknowledgement that they are even being held.
(via Crooked Timber)

Don't worry, though, I'm sure someone will be along soon to tell us that these were all bad bad men, who thus deserved bad bad things to happen to them, and it's well known that all the rules, regulations, common decency and everything else we throw together and call 'civilisation' only apply to those of us who aren't defined as bad bad men, and so there's nothing for any of us to worry about, because we'll never become bad bad men as there are currently no plans to redefine 'bad' to include us, so we're all perfectly safe. Anyway, you can't be mistaken for any of these bad bad men, for it's scientific fact that they're all brown and you're not, so you won't ever be mistaken for one of them by accident. Not that we ever have any accidents, of course. Oh no, we're the good guys (we must be, it says so on our t-shirts) so everything we do is good and we can make no mistakes.

Pay no attention to the bad bad men and what happens to them. We're keeping you safe. You do want to be safe, don't you citizen? Because if you stop us from protecting you from bad bad men however we see fit, you must want us to be less safe, so maybe you are one of the bad bad men yourself...

Note: David Beckham is not stupid

I have to admit that realising you've got a broken rib so there's no harm done in getting a yellow card, so you'll be suspended for the game you'll sit out injured anyway, is quite clever thinking. However, going out and telling the world (and in person, not even through 'sources close to') that's what you've done is mind-numbingly idiotic.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Your say

Because opinion seems to be mixed about the new template, here's a likely one-off exercise in blogging democracy:













So what do you think of the new template?
I like it - keep it!
I preferred the old one - go back!
I don't like the new one, and I didn't like the old one either
As above, but here's a nice new template I've designed for you
Huh? What? I just came here looking for information on Christians and kilts
I can't read these questions because of colour clashing so I'm voting for Buchanan
I'm reading this via a feed, so I really don't care
I'm a spambot, so I don't care either
I always vote for Ralph Nader on principle
None of the above



Free polls from Pollhost.com


For comparison, the old page view can still be seen on some of the older archive pages as Blogger's publishing keeps breaking down before it gets to them - here, for instance. Voting will go on until I get round to doing something about it.

Apologies

Various real world crises have meant no time to blog today, so to make up for it, here's an interview with Chris Patten full of lots of juicy UKIP-bashing and complaints about the current state of the Tory Party to keep you happy. Throw in an obscure SF cultural reference and some bad attempts at jokes, and you've pretty much got a whole day's worth of blogging from me anyway.

Type when you're winning

Now, I know there's some sort of marketing deal between the New York Yankees and Manchester United, but are there fans of the same breed too? Now, my evidence for this comes from two unscientific samples, but out of the blogs I read, glance at, or otherwise view the only people mentioning the upcoming American League championship have been Red Sox fans (Chris, Steve and the Editors) and I'm hard-pressed to think of anyone who declares themselves a Yankees fan - yet, should they win the chmpionship and the World Series for the nth time, I'm sure a lot of Yankees fans will appear.

Which brings me to the point about Man U - back when I was at University, I saw the FA Cup Fianl in the same place - the Union bar - for two years running in 1995 and 1996. Both years, it was equally busy. However, in 1995 Man U lost to Everton and I noticed that during the game there hadn't been many noticeably United fans, and after the game there were none, yet the year later, when they beat Liverpool, there were suddenly lots of them (they seemed to suddenly appear the moment Cantona scored) but throughout the game, and afterwards, there were many more Liverpool fans around.

Or, in shorter terms, will I not discover which bloggers are Yankee fans until after they've won a series and its safe for their fans to come out and reveal themselves?

Sunday, October 10, 2004

More changes

While I was changing the various bits of code to put Blogger comments in the other night, I realised that this blog was looking a bit tatty - it's pretty much had the same design for the last year and a half - and there were lots of broken and dodgy bits of code stuck in the template. So, I went and got myself a new one. I think just about every other blog I know (except Chris and Atrios, as far as I can recall) has changed their template at least once in the time I've been blogging, so I finally decided to run with the herd and follow suit. If I keep this one for as long as the old one - and I see no reason not to - expect another change around June 2006.

Update: Some people have said there were problems with readability, so I've lightened the shade of the background colour a little, which should hopefully make it easier to read if you were having problems.

Codewords

Following up on Furious George's reference to the Dred Scott decision when questioned about the Supreme Court in last night's debate, there's an interesting disucssion on Daily Kos about how he might have been making a reference to abortion rights:
When Bush made reference to "Dred Scott" he was assuring his anti-choice constituents that he would indeed only appoint Supreme Court justices who would remove abortion rights.

Meet the new blog, same as the old blog

For those of you who are interested, Welsh Liberal Democrat AM Peter Black has moved his blog over to Blogspot, and now has comments as well.