Friday, August 13, 2004

Catching Up

The past couple of days have been pretty non-stop, with short errands turning into hours long trips. Hence the lack of posts of late. I've had very little time to keep track of the news- the big story on CNN at the moment is the resignation of Democrat Governor Jim McGreevey, who has announced that he had a gay affair while married. Two things strike me about the story- one, his use of the term "gay American" rather than just gay, and second, the fact that he not only has a two year old daughter, but another child from a previous marriage. He's a 47 year old man so surely he would have realised a while back that he was gay? I know of a guy who came out of the closet recently, who had previously been married and I can accept that people can be conflicted about their sexuality- but two marriages? Surely it doesn't take 47 years and two marriages to realise that you're gay?

I must admit I've never heard of this guy before, but from the tone of the article it seems that he's come out because of this affair with a government employee, who was threatening to 'out' him. Is this the only reason he's admitting his homosexuality? If this guy hadn't been about to spill the beans, would McGreevey still have pretended to be straight and carried on his affairs? Strange.

This was a good read- seems like the Bush-Cheney campaign is starting to rev up a little and take the fight to Kerry at last. Bush has a reputation for not being a good public speaker but every time I hear one of his speeches I'm impressed- especially with the sense of humour displayed. And Lynne Cheney's comments on Kerry's "sensitive war" are priceless. Absolutely spot on.

Gore continues to rant- this time accusing Bush of appointing a partisan director to the CIA in the form of Porter Goss. I can't imagine Gore would be saying the same if a Democrat president had appointed a Democrat to the post- but then that's the way it seems to be with Democrats today, they're only happy when everyone does and says and thinks the same as them.

Another reason to leave the UK. Hang onto your hats for this one. Only days after a 73 year old was arrested for defending himself against a burglar, it turns out that a couple who were murdered, called the police half an hour before the attack took place. The police arrived at the scene SEVEN HOURS after the call. The couple- parents of a convicted killer, had been subjected to a gun attack last year- and the police knew about that when they were called. The police said that they were more concerned about "not drawing attention to the address". Perhaps if the couple had had the means to defend themselves we'd be looking at some dead goblins now, not a middle-aged man and wife. The actions of the police doesn’t seem to warrant any kind of action or investigation- that’s what gets me. Nothing is going to happen about this. It really feels like law-abiding citizens are being thrown to the wolves. I want out.

I don't suppose that I should really be surprised by this- an Anglican bishop wants a 'nationalistic' hymn banned. He not only confuses love of country, patriotism (which seems to have become a dirty word in the UK of late), with the government that runs it, but he also compares us with Nazi Germany and, to top it all, throws in an insult to Americans too ("the nastier aspects of right wing republicanism in the United States"). But hey, it’s okay- he’s only insulted the conservative part of the population and Americans. Try doing that to an ethnic minority and there’d be hell to pay, but as long as it’s only patriotic Britons and Americans it’s fine. That’s the way it is and it makes me sick. For this bishop to bleat on about a hymn written in the aftermath of World War One when, after a hugely costly war in terms of lives lost, people still loved their country is vastly irritating. That generation made a huge sacrifice and yet they did not condemn their country. Even now it’s still a popular hymn and for him- who clearly does not love his country- to call for it to be banned is appalling. Obviously he does not deserve the rights, the freedoms, that generations fought and died for.

For someone to brandish the Union Jack now in Britain is to be called a racist, a right wing extremist- or to be criticised for flirting with right wing emblems. It's patently ridiculous and for someone to be compared to Nazi skinheads because they fly their national flag is just sad. The only national symbol that seems to be tolerated at the moment is the England football shirt. Outside of that silly sport though, national pride is a thing of the past. It's a sign of the times I'm afraid and I'd be willing to bet that more Union Jacks are flown in tiny Northern Ireland than in the whole of the rest of the UK. Perhaps it's because Northern Ireland has been under attack for so long that we value our country, we appreciate it- a large portion of Britain doesn’t seem to be too bothered.

And finally, some good news- the achievement of a school teacher has inspired her class at a girl's school to take up weight lifting! Three girls at the school are now in the UK's top 10 junior weightlifters. Note the Team Maximuscle T-shirt on display in the picture, they are the UK's leading manufacturer of supplements. Excellent stuff.

It's fantastic to see girls getting involved in a sport that's mainly male- at the gym I go to, an old fashioned weight training place with a couple of stationary bike thrown in amongst the iron for good measure, there are only two women that I've ever seen train there. What’s even better about this story is that the teacher must be one hell of an inspiration to them- and teachers like that seem to be a rare breed now. I wish them all the best. Bravo!

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