Monday, July 31, 2006
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Neither the mainstream media nor Kofi Annan have mentioned it, but Hizballah has attacked UNIFIL observers twice this week.
Details at LGF.
"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?
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
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!
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
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?
"I'm going to kill him."
"You can try, but in this town nothing stays dead for long."
"Well then...in 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.
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
Monday, July 24, 2006
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.
“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
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.
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.
Friday, July 21, 2006
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."
Here's the plot summary-Alien creatures emerge from the sun and attack Earth.
Is it bad that I actually want to see this?
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
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.
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
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
"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
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
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.