Saturday, November 13, 2004

Onward to the glories of the permanent Silkist revolution!

Well, it's been a quiet couple of weeks on the swivel-eyed loon front, since they pulled a fast one on me by getting Kilroy to quit while I was in Spain (his home turf in some ways, of course).

Well, you can't keep the Überloon quiet for long and he might even give fans of bad TV another reason to watch Morgan & Platell on Channel 4 tonight, if this report of his interview on it is anything to go by.
Robert Kilroy Silk said his battle for the leadership of the UK Independence Party was "not over yet", claiming he had signed up enough branches to force an election at a time of his choosing.
Given his eagerness to become UKIP's leader, surely that 'time of his choosing' would be yesterday? I suspect that he may have a handful of branches signed up (and I really have more important things to do with my time than finding out how many are required under UKIP rules) and is trying to flush out any branch, anywhere, who'll back him. Considering that some UKIP branches probably have a membership of one loon and his dog, it might not be too hard.
And he said he would stand as an MP in the upcoming general election, whether for Ukip or a new party.
Woo-hoo! Just Kilroy standing in the election's going to be fun enough, but the possibility of him setting up his own party (he really is history's farcical repeat of Mosley, isn't he?) is just too good to be true.
"I'm going round the country, we have people organising the branches, we already have far more branches than are necessary to force an election signed up. But we want more, and we want to choose our time. The members have to have a revolution in which they take control of the party."
I'm trying to imagine a revolution by the membership of UKIP. The prospect of the political wing of the Rotary Club going into revolutionary fervour and demanding the ascension of the orange-hued one to power fills me with a sense of ... laughter. Deep, long, loud, heavy laughter.
He insisted his campaign for the leadership was not driven by egotism: "I honestly don't want the title. I was offered a knighthood and a peerage and I've turned (them down). The only thing I ever wanted was to have the letters MP after my name."
Two questions:

1) Who offered him a knighthood and a peerage? If the answer's anything other than 'my good friend Mr Joseph who sends me emails, and is also about to donate $20million to party funds once I help him get it out of Nigeria' I'll be rather surprised.

2) If all he ever wanted was to have the letters MP after his name, why did he resign from Parliament in the first place?

In the end, The Poor Man shall triumph

This is parody. This is reality. (via Randy)

Reunited

Via Jonny Billericay, take a look at Fast Times at Electra High, the bastard offspring of Supermodel Personals and Friends Reunited.

Share tips

If this takes off, expect manufacturers of water filters and cheap vodka to report increased sales in the near future.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Never let the facts stop you ranting

According to the Evening Standard:
The car belonging to the man who caused the Upton Nervet rail disaster was in such a poor state of repair that the driver's door often jammed, it was revealed today.

His landlord in Reading, David Foote, said: "You couldn't get out of the driver's side - the door was jammed. It always was, ever since he bought the car two years ago."

His comments came as doubts emerged over claims that Mr Drysdale was trying to commit suicide. Police investigating the tragedy that claimed seven lives, including that of Mr Drysdale, near the village of Upton Nervet, Berkshire, have found no evidence in his private life indicating he wanted to kill himself.

They admit they may never discover whether Mr Drysdale intended to stop in the path of the 100mph intercity train or whether he simply broke down at the wrong moment.

A police source said they are "baffled" by Saturday's incident, adding that a motive for suicide is usually discovered within two days of an incident. "No one we have interviewed has suggested that Mr Drysdale was depressed," the source added. "No one has said he was suicidal. There is just no evidence surrounding his state of mind.

"People have said he was a bit quiet, but he always was. It is entirely possible we may never know what really happened that night." Another former colleague of Mr Drysdale said he constantly forgot to fill the car with petrol. "It happened all the time," she said. "He was happy and loved his job.

"There was just no obvious reason for him to kill himself."
But then, if there is something obviously ghastly about people jumping to conclusions to justify dragging out the old hobby-horses for another beating, there is also something wearily, darkly familiar - something distinctly Cuthbertsonian - about the attitude towards facts that it demonstrates.

The election in rhyme

I suppose one of the good things from the US election is that it's prompted some amusing responses, like this (via Pandagon):
My State is Blue
by Adam Wasson

Today you are joyous while I’m filled with rue
I canvassed, I voted, what more could I do?
I said invasion and you said “rescue”
Your state is red; my state is blue

You protect companies I want to sue
I’m pro-first amendment, you like number two
You promote abstinence; I like to screw
Your state is red; my state is blue

You say “be strong” and I say “be true”
I say “homophobia,” you say “value”
You’re killing health care and I’ve got the flu
Your state is red; my state is blue

You like the Cowboys, I side with the Sioux
My pets go “meow” and your pets go “moo”
You think that crap in the Bible is true
Your state is red; my state is blue

I fought the good fight, did all I could do
There are millions of me, and yet more of you
Oh Cheney, Cheney, you bastard, I’m through
Your state is red; my state is blue

With great searching power, comes great searching responsibility

I tried MSN's new search this morning (yes, it was a vanity search first, and I am number 1) but wasn't too impressed, not least because it appeared slower than Google. However, Tim Ireland, being the sort of person who probably dreams about search engines, goes a little further than most of us and discovers that it seems to be not picking up websites associated with a certain company. And just to follow up on some of Tim's discoveries, I tried a few, none of which returned what you'd expect as the number 1 result - atrios blog, atrios eschaton, gmail. So, if you're out there and using blogspot, it might be a while before MSN users get to see anything you've written.

Make money fast!

There's an interesting Motley Fool article about the top ten scams (legal and illegal) used to separate you from your hard-earned cash. (via A Councillor Writes)

One I've always wanted to be the target of is number 7 - the fake lottery. I get several emails a week saying that I've won however much in a lottery I never entered, but I've always wanted to get a phone call saying the same just to ask, when they demand several hundred pounds to claim my prize, why they can't just take that from my supposed 'winnings'? (Yes, I could do this by replying to the email, but it wouldn't be as fun) I'm sure they've got all sorts of pre-programmed and made-up excuses to explain why this can't be done, but I just want to see how long I can keep them on the phone and thus do my little bit to harm them by inflating their phone bill just that tiny amount.

It'll happen one day, I'm sure, but like the last time the Mormons came knocking on my door, I'll no doubt be busy doing something else and not willing to give over my time to winding them up to the extent they deserve.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Attempt to get in Private Eye scuppered, film at eleven

I've just realised that I should have called this Fistful entry 'Lithuania is the new Delaware' and seen if I could have got it in Private Eye's 'Neophiliacs' column.

Tanks in the streets of LA?

I live in a garrison town, so I'm used to seeing military vehicles moving about on the streets (though not usually tanks) but even so there's something a bit weird about this. (.mov Quicktime file) (via TBogg, Americablog and MyDD)

It does appear to me that some of the tinfoil hats are being screwed on a little extra tight in the light of this video. Yes, on first impressions - and especially in the country where Kent State occurred - it does seem rather intimidating but, given that the tanks (though someone on MyDD identifies them as Marine Amphibious Personnel Carriers, to be exact) aren't actually confronting the demonstrators and that it seems to be a pretty major road they're protesting by I'm inclined to apply the rule that cock-up is always a more likely explanation than conspiracy. It seems more likely to me that the tanks were being moved to somewhere else in the city [*] and happened to go past a (rather minor, by the look of the video) anti-war demonstration on their way. The troops in the vehicles seem pretty embarrassed at the whole thing and surely if you want to project an image of strength and fear to a crowd, you tend to back it up with something more than a couple of cops on pushbikes?

[*] - True conspiracy theorists might want to start investigating just where they were going: Tanks moving through the streets of LA, eh? At night? What aren't they telling us? Are they hiding the aliens from Area 51 in the Staples Center?

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Is it abusing my right of free speech to call you a fool?

It's a cliched form of complaint, but if I still had a subscription to Index on Censorship I think I'd be cancelling it after reading this piece of trash from their Associate Editor. (via Harry's Place)

Firefox

Looking at my referrer logs over recent months, I've noticed that more and more people seem to be using Firefox rather than Internet Explorer. If you're not one of them, I can heartily recommend giving it a try now that the official version 1.0 is out - regardless of all the other pros and cons, I've found that tabbed browsing makes reading multiple blogs so much easier than it was with IE. Besides, it's a relatively small download (even if you're on dialup, it should take no more than a couple of minutes) and you're doing a little bit to chip away at Microsoft's dominance.

Sitcom trope number 94: dealing with the wacky neighbours

Labour and the Tories' election headquarters will be next door to each other on Victoria Street. Chortle as Alan Milburn pops round to borrow a cup of sugar and finds himself chairing a press conference on Conservative education policy! Snigger as Nicholas Soames pretends to be defecting just to get a lunch in each building! Laugh as each party employs a suspicious number of electricians and plumbers to check the wiring in the wall between the two buildings!

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

So, who's reading this right now?

Via Brilliant at Breakfast (again), an interesting tale of the internet:
A couple of weeks ago, following the last presidential debate, I said some rather inflammatory things about George W. Bush in a public post in my LJ, done in a satirical style. We laughed, we ranted, we all said some things. I thought it was a fairly harmless (and rather obvious) attempt at humor in the face of annoyance, and while a couple of people were offended, as is typical behavior from me, I saw something shiny and forgot about it, thinking that the whole thing was over and done and nothing else would come of what I said.

I was wrong.

At 9:45 last night, the Secret Service showed up on my mother's front door to talk to me about what I said about the President, as what I said could apparently be misconstrued as a threat to his life. After about ten minutes of talking to me and my family, they quickly came to the conclusion that I was not a threat to national security (mostly because we are the least threatening people in the entire world) and told me that they would not recommend that any further action be taken with my case. However, I do now have a file with the FBI that includes my photograph, my e-mail address, and the location of my LJ. This will follow me around for the rest of my life, regardless of the fact that the Secret Service knows that I am not a threat.
(More here and here)

You know, I really want to believe that this will turn out to be a hoax. I think I'd be able to sleep better if it was.

Obscure chinese proverbs

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will starve before mastering the skill, thus saving you today's delicious fish.
More can be found here.

Back to the kitchen, and take off your shoes on the way...

Via Brilliant at Breakfast, it seems that contraception is the next target in line after abortion:
In April, Julee Lacey, 33, a Fort Worth, TX, mother of two, went to her local CVS drugstore for a last-minute Pill refill. She had been getting her prescription filled there for a year, so she was astonished when the pharmacist told her, "I personally don't believe in birth control and therefore I'm not going to fill your prescription." Lacey, an elementary school teacher, was shocked. "The pharmacist had no idea why I was even taking the Pill. I might have needed it for a medical condition."

Melissa Kelley, 35, was just as stunned when her gynecologist told her she would not renew her prescription for birth control pills last fall.

"She told me she couldn't in good faith prescribe the Pill anymore," says Kelley, who lives with her husband and son in Allentown, PA. Then the gynecologist told Kelley she wouldn't be able to get a new prescription from her family doctor, either. "She said my primary care physician was the one who helped her make the decision." Lacey's pharmacist and Kelley's doctors are among hundreds, perhaps thousands, of physicians and pharmacists who now adhere to a controversial belief that birth control pills and other forms of hormonal contraception--including the skin patch, the vaginal ring, and progesterone injections--cause tens of thousands of "silent" abortions every year. Consequently, they are refusing to prescribe or dispense them.

Meanwhile, on another channel

Joining in with the general Berlin Wall theme today, I've got a new post on Fistful about the two times I saw the Berlin Wall, fifteen years and 5,000 miles apart.

Today's rant is brought to you by the letter 'F'

If you're offended by strong language, then you probably won't enjoy reading this. Those of you who aren't offended by certain combinations of letters can make your own mind up about it.

RIP Crazy Horse

Emlyn Hughes - the last captain of Wolves to lift a major trophy (he also had a few successes as captain of Liverpool) - has died aged 57.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Spotlight

The Yorkshire Ranter is one of those blogs that seems to not get as much attention as it should, so I thought I'd do my bit to boost his readership by a little bit by highlighting two interesting recent posts, first on Fallujah and some of the stories from this Iraqi weekend that didn't get reported, and second on the dollar's current position on the international markets.

Tracking

A month or so ago, I was looking for the American Polling Report website and accidentally typed '.co.uk' at the end, rather than '.com' and so discovered that it took me to Anthony's site. 'Ah-ha!' I think 'Clever Mr Wells buys a site name that might get him some extra traffic.'

Turns out that he's even cleverer than that as it now leads to a whole new site of polling data and other psephological goodness.

Making love to a beautiful woman.

Just to prove that Peter Hain is really Swiss Toni:

Early indications

John Curtice's report on how Labour could lose seats to the Tories even without the Tories gaining votes as the result of a Labour-to-Liberal Democrat swing surprisingly isn't put next to a detailed report of how and where the sun rose this morning, but it's on a similar level of interest. That the phenomenon would occur (a party losing seats when its share of the vote drops while its rivals either stay the same or gain votes) wasn't in doubt, but it's of some interest to see what would actually happen.

Still, Swiss Toni gives us an early idea of next year's Labour campaign to attract Liberal Democrat voters. As you'd expect, it's going to be based on a policy platform that appeals to liberal voters, allaying their concerns about Labour's recent drift to authoritarianism while also maintaining their commitment to social liberalism. What's that? You say it's going to be based on fear and a 'vote Lib Dem get the Tories' message? I'm shocked. Shocked, I tell you:
Peter Hain, the Leader of the Commons, said the study showed the dangers of Labour supporters "having a punt on the Liberal Democrats in the mistaken belief that the election will be a cakewalk for us.They would be horrified if they voted to give us a bloody nose but actually elected a Tory MP and possibly even handed Michael Howard a back-door key to Number 10. In key Labour-Tory marginals, this shows that a Labour vote for the Liberal Democrats lets the Tories in."

Sunday, November 07, 2004

More reaction

Hunter S Thompson:
"Yeah, we rocked the vote all right. Those little bastards betrayed us again."

But despite his disappointment, Thompson remained remarkably upbeat.

"Their army is how much bigger than mine? Three percent? Well shucks, Bubba. Now is the time to establish a network and an attitude," he said. "You make friends in moments of defeat. People in defeat tend to bond because they need each other. We can't take the attitude that it's over and we give up. We're still here."
Ken Macleod:
More than half the US electors have voted for smirking evil. They've voted for a President who openly believes he is above the law. They've voted for torture, tyranny and aggressive wars of conquest. They've voted for religious obscurantism. They've cast a vote of confidence in the past four years, and asked for four more years like them. They've done all this because they believe that this is what it will take to make them safe. They've voted against liberty for a little temporary safety, and they deserve and can expect but little of either.

Friends forever...while it's electorally worthwhile