Monday, July 31, 2006

Trivial Foot Stamping

The world just seems to be getting crazier and crazier every day. Is it contagious?

Here in Northern Ireland, DIY chain B&Q has caused a storm in a teacup by issuing staff with new work uniforms displaying the Olympic Emblem containing the Union Jack- the chain is a sponsor of the British team. All staff have complete freedom of choice over whether they want to wear the new shirts or not.

What could be the cause of the fuss, I hear you cry? A British store sponsoring the British team and issuing staff in part of Britain with a shirt displaying the British flag. Where's the problem?

Well, a Sinn Fein Assembly member, a Ms Ruane, has complained to the chain, claiming that staff who chose not to wear the new uniform could be subject to "sectarian harassment" (as if no one in Northern Ireland can tell what part of the community the people they work with come from). She claimed that the company's decision displayed "ignorance". Right.

Ian Paisley Jr responded-

"I welcome the fact that B&Q are standing by their decision on this. I think it only reflects on Catriona Ruane. Coming up to our Olympics in London, this is the sort of thing which has to be welcomed and encouraged."

B&Q has issued a statement too, "they were proud to support and sponsor the Great Britain and Northern Ireland Olympic team."

What's wrong that such a simple thing as the entirely voluntary supporting of the national team in the Olympics makes some people have a temper tantrum? If this is how people act over such a trivial matter, it's little wonder that the world's in the shape it is today.

I Stand With Israel

The banner in the top right corner is available from Jack it's incredibly easy to add to Blogger.

History Repeating

Look how far we've come since the time of the Nazis.

The Mosaic Religious Community has advised its Jewish members against speaking Hebrew loudly on the streets of Oslo or wearing Jewish emblems.

It comes after a Jewish man wearing a kippah, or yarmulke, was assaulted on an Oslo street Saturday. The Mosaic Religious Community wants its members to be careful.

Talk about progress.

No Hate Crime?

The Muslim who murdered one woman and injured five others in a shooting in Seattle will not be charged under Federal hate-crime laws. Instead, he will face murder and attempted murder charges.

Witnesses reportedly heard Haq declare he was an American Muslim. Police have said Haq's statements indicate the shootings were a hate crime.

So the police say it, what's wrong then? Could it be something to do with this?

A law-enforcement source, who is a member of the Seattle Joint Terrorism Task Force and familiar with the investigation, said Haq was not a practicing Muslim.

No, no Muslims here- and just ignore what the suspect himself said when he identified himself as a Muslim American. Possibly he was just a little confused. Of course if a man identified himself as a Christian and then attacked members of another religion, you can be positive that he wouldn't face any hate crime charges- not if he didn't regularly go to church anyway. That makes all the difference doesn't it?

And all that stuff about the way he "then entered the premises and made several statements indicating anger at Jews." Nope, that can't be a hate crime either- he just said he was angry, not that he hated them, right?

I wonder what they would be charging a white man who went into a centre for black people, said he was angry with them and began shooting. Surely that wouldn't qualify as a hate crime if this doesn't?

UPDATE- Looks like this report was false- he has been charged
under the hate-crime law.

Haq also is charged with five counts of attempted first-degree murder in the wounding Friday afternoon of five women at the federation's downtown offices; one count of first-degree kidnapping, involving a teenage girl who was briefly taken hostage; one count of first-degree burglary for allegedly entering a locked facility to commit a crime; and one count of malicious harassment under the state's hate-crime law.

Hezbollah At Work

A letter to German paper Die Tagesspiegel from a Lebanese Shia with thanks to LGF-

I lived until 2002 in a small southern village near Mardshajund that is inhabited by a majority of Shias like me. After Israel left Lebanon, it did not take long for Hezbollah to take have its say in other towns. Received as successful resistance fighters and armed to the teeth, they stored rockets in bunkers in our town as well. The social work of the Party of God consisted in building a school and a residence over these bunkers! A local sheikh explained to me laughing that the Jews would lose in any event because the rockets would either be fired at them or if they attacked the rockets depots, they would be condemned by world opinion on account of the dead civilians. These people do not care about the Lebanese population, they use them as shields, and, once dead, as propaganda. As long as they continue existing there, there will be no tranquility and peace.

You'd think that if Hezbollah did care at all for the people of Lebanon they would know that hiding amongst them offers no protection from Israeli counter-attack: and that they would abandon using the tactic out of concern for those around them. If they cared.

Sunday, July 30, 2006


HotAir is reporting that the situation at Qana in Lebanon might not be as clear cut as the media is currently portraying it. The IDF attack took place sometime before 0100hrs while the building collapsed at 0800hrs. There is speculation that the collapse may have been caused by Hezbollah explosives stored there. Then there's the news that 150 rockets have been fired from Qana into Israel and the video which appears to show rockets being fired from possibly the same building.

I've been relying on the MSM all day for my news as I've been away from home; and the skin-deep coverage just doesn't compare to what can be found online- even at MSM sites. Surprisingly, the Sky News coverage is remarkably unbiased. As a Lebanese official was being interviewed tonight the anchor asked about when the Israelis kill civilians it is by accident and when Hezbollah do it, it is on purpose. The official ducked the question, insisting that the death toll was so large now that no comparisons could be made any more. Shame the reporter didn't think to ask what the official thought the death toll would be in Israel if Hezbollah had access to more modern and efficient weapons than the Katyusha.

CNN is now reporting that Israel is suspending air operations for 48hrs while they investigate what happened at Qana; and it is allowing UN officials to move into southern Lebanon to help evacuate civilians there. And Israel has also called the attack a "tragic mistake"; that may not be of any comfort to the families of the dead but it's more than the families of those killed by Hezbollah could ever expect to receive. Could you ever imagine Hezbollah doing the same thing? Oh, right- their intention is to deliberately target civilians. Shame that this seems to have been overlooked by all of those clamouring for Israel to stop fighting back.

Where were the peace activists all this time when Israel was being daily targeted by rocket attacks and suicide bombers? I don't remember any of them calling for the UN to stop the violence then, I don't recall any pressure for the Security Council to take action, no comments by world leaders agonising that something should be done to stop the killing. Bloody hypocrits.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Hezbollah Attacks UN

I wonder when the UN and Kofi will get around to condemning Hezbollah? I don't think I'll hold my breath waiting.

Neither the mainstream media nor Kofi Annan have mentioned it, but Hizballah has attacked UNIFIL observers twice this week.

Details at LGF.

Beirut Situation

This is really strange- while the BBC and their ilk continue to repeat again and again that the Israelis are destroying Lebanon, the entire country seemingly reduced to rubble overnight, the facts seem to be somewhat different.

"Beirut largely unscathed as Israel targets Hezbollah strongholds".

Vital Perspective also states the following-

"Over the past 24 hours, more than 110 missiles fired by Hezbollah have landed in Israel, including one which landed in a hospital in Nahariya. The IDF carried out over 60 aerial attacks in the same time frame against Hezbollah structures, posts and headquarters, including some used for storage of weaponry, a number of rocket launchers, including a launcher that was used to launch rockets at Afula, trucks and containers that carried weaponry, several Hezbollah weapon storage facilities, several rocket launching sites in southern Lebanon and routes used by Hezbollah to reach these sites. During the day, the IDF also continued firing artillery into southern Lebanon, targeting terror infrastructure in southern Lebanon along the border."

So what exactly is so disproportionate about Israel's response?


I just bought myself a new pocket knife, picking up a real bargain from eBay. It's a Columbia River Knife and Tool Nealy Pesh-Kabz folder. It's a lovely little item- the Zytel grips feel superb in the hand and the knife itself fills the palm really well. It also features CRKT's LAWKS system- an extra safety catch to ensure that the blade stays open no matter what punishment is beign inflicted on the locking mechanism. I'm not sure if it's essential for my own use, but it is comforting to know that it's there to stop the knife accidentally closing on my fingers.

The interesting thing about the knife is the blade grind- the section of blade at the tip is full thickness; you can see this a little in the photo but it doesn't really give the full impression. The idea behind the grind is to provide the knife with full strength for piercing/stabbing. It's apparently an old Persian design, originally intended for defeating chain mail. On the flip side of the handle is a curvy clip; again this is credited as being a Persian design but it looks a little more Art Deco to my uneducated eye.

In any event it's a solid little knife which stands out a bit from the crowd. And as it doesn't appear to be on CRKT's website any more it may be discontinued. If that's the case, I'd recommend picking one of these up before they're all gone.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Global Warming Spreading

Okay, own up- who's been burning coal and driving SUVs on Pluto?

The last official planet which comprises our solar system is appearing to warm up, according to astronomers. Astronomers aren't sure why this is occurring, as the planet has been steadily moving away from the sun for nearly a decade.

Normally, the planet is so cold that all but a very minimal amount of atmosphere is forced to freeze and remain on the surface. However, observations are suggesting that the planet's atmosphere remains at least as dense, indicating the warming.

Quick, someone call Al Gore!

Police Shame

This is an horrendous story, particularly in light of my previous entry where three police officers turned up to question the parents of a toddler who kicked a ball against the fence of an off-duty colleague for "causing a disturbance". Seems that they can spring into action when one of their mates calls in, but when it's a member of the public it's a different matter altogether. And no, this isn't an isolated incident either.

The family of a three year old girl who was abducted and then repeatedly sexually assaulted are filing a civil action against the police for failing to protect their daughter.

The girl's mother said she was angry that the police had not immediately arrested Sweeney after she told police his name and where he lived in a frantic phone call moments after her child was snatched.

Despite the fact that the police had the necessary information to get to the kidnapper's home, probably before even he did, they failed to take any action. Instead the predator had time to drive the child back to his home and repeatedly attack her. He was only caught later after a police patrol caught him running a red light. And that's not all.

A senior inspector and a superintendent from South Wales Police now face a misconduct panel for failing in their duties. A third officer involved in the case has since retired and will face no further action.

A "misconduct panel". Sounds awfully lenient for such a colossal screw-up. The Independent Police Commission rejected the notion that had police responded immedaitely to the call from the girl's mother that the sexual assault could have been been prevented- which is odd considering that they were given the man's name and address immediately. They didn't even have to do any police work- just go to his house. Instead the IPC noted deficiencies and inadequacies- and then went on to praise the local force for their "positive response" to this light criticism. And why the hell should a third officer escape any responsibility for failing to do his job simply because he's retired? Instead of throwing the book at these pathetic individuals it seems like they'll get off with little more than a black mark in their records.

As infuriating as it is, the police are not the only ones to blame. As always seems to be the case with stories about paedophiles, the scumbag in question here had a record-

Sweeney had already been convicted of sexually assaulting a six-year-old child when he snatched the girl. He was jailed for life but his licence period for the earlier attack had expired just days before he struck again.

What the hell was he doing out on the streets where he had the opportunity to molest another young child? How many times do we have to hear about sex offenders attacking people again before the message gets through that they have no place in our society? Let's just take a moment here- Sweeney, the one responsible for this little girl's ordeal, had previously been convicted of indecently assaulting a six year old girl. How long did he get for that crime? Well, he was released early from a mere three year sentence. So, by the age of twenty four he was back out on the streets and capable of committing his most recent crime. How long will he serve now, with a repeated attack on a three year old, at least his second crime? Will life actually mean life now? Of course not.

In June, he was again jailed for life after admitting four charges of kidnap, three of sexual assault and one of dangerous driving.

John Reid, the Home Secretary, criticised the judge after he told Sweeney he could apply for parole after five years and 108 days but Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney General, said the law had been applied correctly.

The family is due to meet the Attorney General this week to demand tougher sentences for child sex offenders.

So in less than six years he could be back out on the streets. There had been an effort to get his sentence referred to the Court of Appeal but it failed.

Attorney General Lord Goldsmith has decided not to challenge the minimum sentence of a man who sexually abused a three-year-old girl.

Lord Goldsmith will not ask the Court of Appeal to review the sentence because he has concluded it is not "unduly lenient".

So a repeat child sex offender could be out after kidnapping and assaulting a three year old in less than six years and that isn't unduly lenient? What planet is this guy living on?

While the Home Secretary criticises the judge, the judges criticise the government- for setting the sentencing guidelines that they are working by in the first place. Perhaps now the government will be forced to take action to make sentencing tougher- a hell of a lot tougher- for those who prey on the most vulnerable segment of our society.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Police Action

Not the first time that we've heard of this kind of story coming from the UK. I guess it's more important to make sure that an off-duty officer is afforded peace and quiet than to go out and, say, catch some actual criminals.

THREE uniformed cops quizzed a stunned mum and dad for 15 minutes — after their tot kicked a ball at a neighbour’s fence.

Why am I not surprised?

Dead West

I came across the Dead West graphic novel quite by accident, not really knowing what to expect. The back cover blurb is as follows-

"I'm going to kill him."
"You can try, but in this town nothing stays dead for long."
"Well that case I'll just have to hurt him real bad."

As the title suggests, it's a Western complete with a Clint Eastwood "man with no name" character- with poncho- a bounty killer on the trail of a "fat man". Unluckily for him, his quarry leads him into a town overrun by zombies, the undead brought to life by an Indian's lust for vengence on the white men who killed his tribe.

The art work is uneven- some of the characters look so much alike that it's sometimes hard to recognise one from the other- but it's better than a lot of what passes for comic book art these days. It's average, nothing special, save for the odd frame here and there. The zombies do look good though.

The story itself is patchy- there's not a whole lot of character development and many of the characters are little more than blanks. In no time at all the town is overrun by zombies and some of the townsfolk are holed up, waiting patiently for their own end. One nice touch is that the zombies are slow during the day, but faster at night. A fair bit of six gun action then ensues, not all of it illustrated as well as it might have been. At times it felt like I was plodding through the book, not carried along by it.

Having said that, there is something likeable about it. Something I can't quite put my finger on. Perhaps it's the setting and the unusual zombie mythos, but despite its failings, I do like this book. In any event, Dead West is certainly no worse than many of the mainstream offerings coming from Marvel or DC these days.

It could do with being a little longer, stretching the story out over two or even three books to give the characters more time to grow on the reader; as it stands, there's little there to empathise with. None of the characters are that engaging. We all know the Clint Eastwood character from the movies and this one is not really different at all but there's little there to make him remotely likeable. It seems to me that the story needed to be bigger in scope, to give him a chance to prove himself, and to give the reader more time to get involved. A bit more action would have been nice too. If it had been up to me, the bounty killer and his prey would have conducted a few chases/gunfights through the zombie-infested town.

I'd give it a solid 3 out of 5. If you're a fan of zombies though it's certainly one to check out.

Guns and the Press

A couple of stories leapt out at me today.

The first is from Clayton Cramer's blog where he details the way in which USA Today falsified a news account to remove a reference to the fact that a man on a rampage with a knife was stopped by a citizen and his privately held firearm. In the USA Today story the knife-weilder was "tackled", not stopped by a man with a gun. Cramer also stresses that the AP source for the story on USA Today also referenced the gun; so this isn't a case of accidental misreporting but a clear attempt to deceive the public with false information. Where I come from, that's called lying. The story has since been updated with a little thing called the facts, no doubt following complaints.

The second is from The Other Side. Kim du Toit fisked a piece about the dreaded "cop-killer" FN Five.Seven handgun. The NY1 story reported statistics by Queen's District Attorney Richard Brown, who claimed that the recently introduced gun was responsible for the deaths of 425 cops between '94 and '03.
Kim du Toit checked the "facts" and send off an email challenging the claims (the gun in question was only introduced in 2000 and only then to LEOs). To his surprise, and mine I might add, NY1 responded, admitting that the statistics made no sense and they also removed the story from their website, to their credit. They said that they had given credit to the information, seeing as how it had come from law enforcement.

So there we have it- two obvious instances of deliberate attempts to decieve- to lie- to the public on the issdues of guns; once by a major news outlet and once by a District Attorney. While the stories have since been corrected I have to wonder how many people will only have seen the original stories; and taken them at face value? The damage has already been done.

UPDATE - Kevin at Smallest Minority has much more on the subject.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Hezbollah's American Victims

Michelle Malkin's Vent is a must see today, particularly given the battle currently raging in the Middle East.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Airport Checks

LGF reports on Muslims boycotting Glasgow airport because of anti-terror searches and checks. Amazing that Muslims might be singled out for extra attention in an effort to prevent Muslim terror attacks. Sadly the response is this-

Strathclyde Police said it was looking at training to raise awareness of cultural and religious sensitivities.

Of course, a few years ago I used to fly fairly frequently from Northern Ireland to England. I was a young guy with cropped hair in, if I say so myself, very good shape (this was during my military service)- every single time I went through airport security on both sides of my flight I was asked to step out of the line and given closer attention by the security officers on duty. Back then the threat to Britain was coming from the IRA and their ilk so it made sense to focus attention on people like me. I'd have been appalled if our security service were pulling aside French or Australian travellers; it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. And yet this is precisely the sort of attitude that Muslims would like us to adopt now, usually on the grounds that to single out Muslim travellers is somehow "racist".

Strathclyde police never tried to be "culturally or religiously sensitive" to travellers from Northern Ireland (and on my last visit to Glasgow, the security desk set up to keep an extra eye on travellers coming off the plane was empty). Why on earth should they be given extra training to be sensitive now? Were they given training to be sensitive to any other terrorist threat? Are Muslims a special class of person that deserve and require extra-special treatment that other citizens are not entitled to? I don't think so.

Is it "undignified" to be pulled aside and given a bit of security attention? From personal experience, I can tell you that it is not. At worst, it's a minor inconvenience- and it was one that I was quite happy to put up with knowing that the best effort was being made to prevent another terrorist atrocity occurring.

While Muslim groups complain about the treatment, none of them seem to express a similar sentiment- how refreshing it would be to hear a major Muslim group publically state that they understand why security services have to pay special attention to Muslim travellers in the fight against Islamic terrorism, and that it's an inconvenience that they are happy to put up with as a show of their support for the battle against terrorism.


Gee, I guess I need to go order a Liberal-approved tin foil hat. There I was thinking that mass protests favouring Islamic terrorists were a clear sign of the Left's inherent anti-semitism. In fact, it's all a fiendishly cunning plot by Karl Rove to smear Libs. Of course! How could I have been so foolish?

“I came to the conclusion that the hostile comments about Israel on these liberal blogs are not coming from true liberals. Most of the anti-Semitism comes from racism and most of the racism I have experienced has come from the far right, not the left.

“So my conclusion is that the bloggers who violently hate Israel and see it in black and white terms are not really liberals. They may even be anti-Semites, but they are not representative of the liberal community that was so active in achieving racial and ethnic equality. It is a contradiction for a true liberal to be an anti-Semite."

In that case, Karl Rove's mind control machine must be working overtime.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Lebanon-Israel Border

I've been meaning to post this for a few days now but just haven't found the time for one reason or another.

Democracy Arsenal has a piece up about a UN report on what's been happening on the Lebanon-Israel boder.

- Since the withdrawal 6 years ago, there has been a steady stream of violent flare-ups, including deadly missile and mortar attacks by Hezbollah that have provoked Israeli retaliation.

- For its part, Israel engaged in no violent provocations but ignored repeated entreaties by the UN to cease flyovers into Lebanese territory that were prohibited under the terms of their withdrawal.

So, the UN protests Israeli flyovers but does absolutely nothing about Hezbollah rocket attacks. Makes it crystal clear why Israel doesn't want to have anything to do with a return to the status quo, where they are castigated for committing non-violent acts and Hezbollah get free reign to fire rockets at civilian targets.

The UN needs to sort out its priorities fast. As every day passes they provide more and more evidence of their own inconsequentiality in the modern world.

Also from the UNFIL report are these comments-

However, near the Blue Line the authorities have, in effect, left control to Hizbollah. Its members worked in civilian attire and were normally unarmed. They monitored the Blue Line, maintained public order and, in some villages, provided social, medical and education services.

The Government of Lebanon continued to maintain the position that, as long as there is no comprehensive peace with Israel, the Lebanese armed forces would not be deployed along the Blue Line. Areas along the Blue Line were monitored by Hizbollah through a network of mobile and fixed positions. Sometimes, Hizbollah acted as surrogate for the civil administration by extending social, medical and educational services to the local population. On several occasions, Hizbollah personnel restricted the freedom of movement of UNIFIL and interfered with its redeployment.

Double Standards

Funny, I don't remember any mass protests of "hundreds of thousands" of people against Hamas and Hezbollah firing rockets indiscriminately at civilian targets in Israel.

The phrase "anti-semitism" springs to mind.

The great Red-Blue gulf in America is beginning to become apparent elsewhere in the world as the divide grows between those who would confront evil and those who prefer to appease it.

It's sad that in this day and age of so-called acceptance and tolerance that those on the Left who shout so loudly for anti-discrimination are the same people so so rabidly espouse the ideals of anti-semitism. They cannot dare condemn Islamic terrorists who have no qualms about deliberately murdering women and children time and again, who think nothing of indiscriminately bombing innocent people as they go about their daily business- yet when Jewish Israel dares to defend itself against terrorist attack, these are the people demanding "peace" and "ceasefire".

Where were they when the Islamic terrorists blew up Israelis who were out shopping or having a meal? Where were the mass protests against the abhorrent murder of eight months pregnant Tali Hatuel and her young daughters? Why then did they not rush to the streets en masse to demand that Hamas stop the terror? Where were they when nearly two hundred children were murdered by Islamic terrorists at Beslan? Where were they when hostages were having their heads sawed off on video camera to cries of "Allah Ackbar"?

I'm sick to death of the double standards- coming out to protest the actions of America and Israel while failing to condemn a single barbaric act committed in the name of Islam. If they really want peace then they have to be prepared to condemn all the violence- the fact that they do not, tells me that peace is not what they want at all.

.45 Colt

MadOgre has posted a few pieces on his idea for a new shooting sport- essentially Cowboy Action without the fancy dress. It's certainly an appealing concept- although I can see the appeal for the CAS guys and gals who go the whole hog. In any event one of the commenters at his site offered some criticism of the .45 (Long) Colt for defensive shooting. That old round might not be new-fangled and "tactical" but it's ceretainly a manstopper. Recently Box O' Truth tested some cowboy guns and the .45 Colt performed admirably. A 250-grain flat point round nose at 900fps easily met the 12" goblin penetration requirement; and it left a .45 sized hole to boot. A single action wouldn't be my first choice for a home defence gun but a double action .45 Colt wouldn't go amiss. Here's a perfect example of the .45 Colt- a Smith and Wesson Mountain Gun from Collectors.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Business Cards and FTP

War on Guns has a post up about private businesses being advised to prohibit citizens from lawfully carrying concealed weapons on their person in Kansas. David responded by placing a Word document online to enable you to print out a card to give to such businesses; advising them exactly why you are taking your dollars to their competitors.

In a follow up post he provided a copy of the document to print your own cards out via Rapidshare- and he also asked if anyone could mirror the file for when the Rapidshare link expires. I decided to put a copy of the business card up in my own webspace. You can get the Word file here.

It's been a while since I did anything with that webspace and when I went to upload the file with Dreamweaver 4 (yeah, I'm old school) I discovered that the program refused to connect via FTP. All of the settings are exactly the same as the last time I used it so I'm at a loss to explain the failure to perform. In any case, I went looking for an ftp client; I'm happy enough doing what basic things I need to do with Dreamweaver and upload the site files with another program.

I was quickly able to find a neat Firefox extension called FireFTP, a client that opens up right in a Firefox tab. which is very handy indeed. Setting it up is as easy as pie and it's a pleasure to use on my old, slow PC. I'd definitely recommend it if you need a free FTP client. Oh, and it's only a 100kb to download too.

And don't forget about the business cards too. As David says, "Without meaning to reopen an old debate, gun owners should react to businesses that do this with their wallets. Profit margins are generally pretty slim, and if you let a business owner know you have chosen his competitor and are going to make a personal commitment to warn other gun owners, you'll probably see some behavior modification."

Flight of Fantasy

Time for another superb illustration from Adam Hughes. This time it's his version of Catwoman. One of the best things about many of AH!'s cover art is the excellent colouring; I'm not sure who does that particular work but he's very, very good.


I stumbled across this while browsing for some other info on IMDB- a TV movie called Alien Fire which is listed as being still in production.

Here's the plot summary-
Alien creatures emerge from the sun and attack Earth.

Is it bad that I actually want to see this?

Bakri's Terror

You have to laugh. Omar Bakri, preacher of hate, leaves Britain to avoid prosecution and flees to Lebanon. Now, the man who once called for the British State to be replaced by an Islamic tyranny is begging the British to take him to safety.

He also went to Beirut harbour yesterday morning to try to board a UK warship taking British nationals to safety, but was turned away because he does not have a British passport.


Thursday, July 20, 2006

BBC Bias

I watched the BBC news coverage of Bush's veto on the TV last night and the report gave the very definite impression that he had not banned federal funding of stem cell research but actual stem cell research itself. It's a common tactic in the debate but it was so blatant that I was surprised. The BBC's bias seems to be becoming more and more evident as time goes on.

You have to go online to the BBC's website to discover the actual facts of the story. Such a shame that they couldn't have been quite so straightforward with the huge TV audience they get. The TV report not only fudged the details of the story but they also failed to mention at all some other pertient details-

Two other less controversial bills received unanimous backing from the Senate, and were signed into law by President Bush.

One encourages stem cell research using cells from sources other than embryos, and the other bill bans the growing and aborting of foetuses for research.

Of course, they fail to mention that stem cell research can freely be carried out by scientists in the US, just not with federal dollars.

Crime Report

War on Guns reports on the case of an illegal immigrant who shot two young brothers, aged only three and six years old. He had entered the US after being deported to Mexico on his relase from prison-

after spending 15 months of a two year sentence for killing an apartment manager.

Two years for murdering someone? And only serving fifteen months of that sentence? Little wonder that he didn't waste any time in sneaking back into the country after receiving such a ridiculously lenient sentence. Afterall, he had been arrested seven times in the past few years on weapons and gang-related charges. What on earth is there to act as a deterrent to him to not commit any more crimes? If he only gets fifteen months for murdering a man, how long can he expect to do for "merely" wounding two small children?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Flying The Flag

Every year, in the weeks around the 12th of July, many parts of Northern Ireland burst with patriotic colour- red, white and blue bunting lines the streets and Union Jacks and our own Ulster Banner are displayed from homes, shops and tied to lamp-posts.

While I'm not at all interested personally in the marches of the Orangemen and the accompanying bands, it is nice to see the flags on display. One thing that I may have mentioned before, and which seems quite apt at the moment, is the tendency of some Loyalist areas to also fly the flag of Israel. I'm not sure why it began but it seems to me to show a solidarity with another nation beset by terrorist problems- a people constantly under attack by terrorist gun and bomb. And there's also a certain amount of admiration- while the old RUC would stand back and let the rioters throw their petrol bombs, we would watch the Israeli police and military on TV deal with similar problems in a much more direct manner. When I was growing up, I can remember hearing many of those around me advocating similar tactics be used over here. Our police and Army always seemed to be so much more reluctant to actually do anything.

In the same way, there are Nationalist communities around the country where Palestinian flags are flown- along with some murals too. Why this show of support for the Palestinians? Well, it may have something to do with the fact that they identify with what they suppose to be an oppressed people, or it could be that Middle Eastern terrorists have a long history of supporting the IRA with arms and training. I had been hoping to get some photos but I haven't been fit for the drive lately. Perhaps in a few weeks I'll be able to get out and about with my camera.

In the meantime, here's a quick snap I took of an Israeli flag on display in a village not far from where I live; the image is a little blurred because I had to use the less than perfection digital zoom on my camera. The flag above it is a UVF one.

I also found a link displaying some Nationalist murals- one calling Yasser Arafat a "peacemaker" and another showing a PLO and IRA terrorist holding an RPG aloft together; the slogan is "One Struggle". Also take note of the graffiti scrawled on a wall; "Penta-Gone". That was put up by Nationalists the day after 9/11.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Moral Authority

From LGF comes this story of Howard Dean claiming that the situation in Israel is really all the fault of the Republicans; if the Democrats were in power, Hamas and Hezbollah would not be kidnapping, murdering and firing rockets. He then goes on to provide proof of this argument-

"We would have had the moral authority that Bill Clinton had when he brought together the Northern Irish and the IRA."

The moral authority of backing a process that put a still armed and active terrorist organisation into local government you mean?

And, just to show Howard Dean's incredible grasp of the situation, the IRA mostly are Northern Irish too. Clinton didn't need to do any "bringing together", the IRA terrorists are citizens of Northern Ireland already, ignoring our legal and political framework in favour of guns, bombs, murder and intimidation to get their way.

Sure sounds like the Dems idea of moral authority to me.

Friday, July 14, 2006

New Stuff

After the joys of getting a monitor which actually displays colours that aren't shades of black, I was forced to buy myself a new mouse. Not a blogworthy event really- but the process of buying it opened my eyes a little. I was going to just buy a new keyboard and mouse set- and I had my eye on a nice wireless Microsoft Comfort Curve affair. Online it would cost me £30- compared to £50 at the local PC World retailer. Bargain, I thought. Until I factored the cost of shipping the items from the UK mainland here to Northern Ireland. Unlike shipping to anywhere in the mainland for about £4, it costs me £12, a trifle steep for such simple items.

So I went into town and checked out Currys, part of a national retailer chain. Boy, was I in for a shock. Quite apart from the fact that their line was small and consisted of 90% miniscule laptop mice, the price was outrageous. For a simple MS Optical Wheel Mouse their price was £19.99. Online I can get that for less than £7. So even with preposterous shipping costs, it still works out cheaper- is there any justifcation for such a ridiculous mark-up? I used to work building and fixing PCs so I know the way that pricing works, but this is beyond the pale.

In the end I bought myself a black MS Comfort Curve keyboard, opting to offset the shipping by not going the wireless route- and as my wife pointed out the kids would quickly make a wireless anything vanish rapidly from its place on my desk. The only bonus to the extortionate shipping cost was that I placed the order late Thursday afternoon and I had them in my hand Friday morning. And the MS Comfort Curve keyboard is very nice indeed- pluged it in with the PC still running and it picked it up no problem- the Media Player buttons, the Web browser and Outlook launch buttons all worked flawlessly with no need to go searching for updated drivers.

And it was cheaper than buying in town. More and more, shops are becoming places where I browse for items that I'll buy online.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Checking In

It's been two years today since I started this blog- though it seems like much, much longer. I haven't been able to post recently because my back pain's been quite bad. Bad enough that I can't really sit in front of my PC for any length of time. THe bad spot (hopefully) seems to be passing though, so with any luck I'll be able to start posting more frequently in the days to come.

In the meantime, I've just been to the cinema, with the aid of some rather pleasant medication, to see Pirates of the Caribbean- Dead Man's Chest. Personally I thought it was marvellous, much more entertaining than the first movie. It also has some very Cthonic elements; Davy Jones looked like a refugee from Innsmouth (and the make-up was superb, even with that visage you could tell is was Bill Nighy doing the acting) and the Kraken was reminiscent of Cthulu itself.

I'm really looking forward to the third film At The World's End.

UPDATE- Missed this when I first looked at the Wiki entry, but you can read Shadow Over Innsmouth by H.P. Lovecraft online.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Custom Grips

I picked up this picture at the 1911 Forum. It's a Kimber 10mm Eclipse Custom alongside a Ka-Bar Warthog knife. Those distinctive grips dressing the 1911 are made from Mammoth tooth. They not only look great but I love the very idea of them. You can get your own set here.