Sarah Palin's enemies are automatically added to the Endangered Species List.

calendar   Thursday - September 25, 2008

Family barred from burying their dead stepfather on a Saturday … because he isn’t a Muslim

I can’t even pretend to understand the reasoning behind this.

I know there are cemeteries dedicated to one group who may own that burial ground. I don’t have a problem with that except to say ,,, the dead don’t know. Do they? But okay ....
I had an aunt and uncle from two different religions, neither of them practised (that I was ever aware of) the faith they were born in.

When my aunt passed away, when it came time for burial my cousins discovered only later, that my uncle wouldn’t be allowed to be buried next to her because he wasn’t of the same faith.  I don’t know how that all came about, that is. Why cousins weren’t aware unless the request of my aunt was for that particular cemetary.  But I thought the whole thing rather stupid since my uncle wasn’t a serious practising Catholic anyway. Jeez .. two dead folks in the ground ... why should it make a difference?

Family barred from burying their dead stepfather on a Saturday ... because he isn’t a Muslim

By Chris Brooke

Last updated at 1:24 AM on 25th September 2008

The family of a 75-year-old man have been refused permission to bury him on a Saturday because he is not a Muslim.

Harold Lemaire died last week and his family wanted the service to be held this Saturday to make it easier for far-flung relatives to attend.

But their plans were scuppered after the council said only Muslim and Jewish funerals are allowed on weekends and bank holidays.

Sheffield City Council offers the ‘extended service’ to Jews and Muslims because their faith and traditions require the dead to be buried as soon as possible.

But as Jews cannot bury their dead on the Sabbath – from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday – it means that effectively only Muslims can use the service.

Other local authorities are also understood to offer weekend burials only to Jews and Muslims.

However, Mr Lemaire’s family accused the council of discrimination and Islamic groups also backed calls for everyone to receive equal treatment.

Mr Lemaire’s stepdaughter Jean Maltby, 56, wanted a Saturday ceremony so her brother Stephen, 54, who lives in Dorset, and relatives in the Isle of Man could attend the service at City Road cemetery.

Mrs Maltby said: ‘It’s 2008 but there seems to be a group of rules for one section of society and a group of rules for another.

‘I am not criticising Muslims, my criticism is directed at Sheffield City Council. It’s another case of political correctness gone mad.

‘This type of attitude will only alienate one section of society against the other, it’s a stupid policy and one that needs changing.’

Religious ruling: Sheffield’s council-run City Road Cemetery buries non-Muslims only on week days.

She said the funeral had now been switched to tomorrow. Her funeral director, Michael Fogg, said: ‘I am not a racist, I have Muslim friends, but what the council is doing is operating a two-tier system and this will only alienate people against Muslims in the city.

‘Bereavement is a sensitive issue and the council needs to re-think its policy to make it fair to everyone.’

His view was supported by Abdool Gooljar, president of the Sheffield branch of the Society of Islam.

‘The last thing we want to do is cause more upset at the time of bereavement, and I would urge a rethink so everybody has the right to bury their dead when they want,’ he said.

‘I, firstly as a Muslim and secondly as a citizen, do not want preferential treatment.’

Martin Green, senior bereavement services manager for Sheffield, said: ‘The council recognised the specific cultural and religious needs surrounding burial and has been offering an extended burial service to the Muslim community.

‘This degree of flexibility is in line with services offered by major cities throughout the UK.

‘The service was reviewed and agreed last year in consultation with representatives of other religious communities, a cross-section of elected members, and local funeral directors.’

The council confirmed the weekend service was also open to Jews.


Posted by Drew458   United Kingdom  on 09/25/2008 at 04:13 AM   
Filed Under: • RoPMAUK •  
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calendar   Wednesday - September 24, 2008

2 beat 2 blog

Tired. T. I. D. Tired

You know that scene in every Army movie where the recruits screw up and have to scrub the latrines with a toothbrush? I now know how they feel. Expect that they have the advantage of being 19, and I’m far more than twice their age.

I had a window cleaning project today. A whole house. Turned out to be 34 single glazed, 1956 Anderson Spiral Sash double french paned double hungs. So each window panel had either 9 or 12 panes of glass. Little panes are a big pane. I did them all. With a 4” squeegee. Son of a bitch. My hands are really sore and tired. So are my feet, since this house is on a hill; I spent the entire day either up an 8’ step ladder or at the top of a 20’ extension ladder. And I have to go back tomorrow to finish the 3 piece aluminum add on storm windows, also circa 1956. You know the ones. They have that little slide latch in the bottom that was designed to break fingernails, then the outer upper storm window goes in the 3rd slot in the aluminum frame, the inner lower storm goes in the second slot, and the screen goes in the third slot. And they all don’t exactly fit, so it’s a magical balancing act to keep the dinky little metal tab in the corroded old slot, and not drop the window two stories straight down.

I had to break my playdate to go play guns tomorrow too. Oh poo.

Plus they want to do the windows on the carriage house apartment. And come back next week to do the windows on a mansion that this lady is caretaker of. See, the Mexicans have spent the last month and a half painting that place, but they don’t do windows. So how about that? I’m doing the jobs illegals won’t do. Go figure.

Beer. Burger. Chips. Laundry. Shower. Sleep. See you around.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 09/24/2008 at 07:19 PM   
Filed Under: • Miscellaneous •  
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A harrowing account of her time in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. (one hell of a brave woman. RIP)

Heck of an item to start the morning blog with but this is a must. I booted without even checking emails first, which I normally do.

No Brit I bet outside this woman’s family and perhaps friends, knew her story.  She wasn’t the only very brave lady to face this ordeal to be sure.

But this happens to be her story, and I want to share it with all of you.  I’ll be quite honest about it.  I can’t say with absolute certainly and no doubts whatever, that I’d have had what it took to survive the same ordeal.  Who can predict until faced with it?
Don’t forget as well, this was a generation of women who could take for granted that no matter what, men would do all they could to protect them. And even at worst, women and especially nurses wouldn’t be slaughtered like cattle by soldiers.  Rape was always a possibility of course. But these women must surely have been brought up short and taken much by surprise at the mindless cruelty of the Japanese soldier against unarmed women who were never even combatants.  For example ....

In her book “Sisters in Arms, Brit nurses tell their story” by Nicola Tyrer, she recounts an episode where a group of British nurses were captured after wading ashore when their ship was sunk.  The Japs then forced the women back into the water, whereupon they opened fire on them killing almost all.  When the Japs left, a few survivors made in back to shore and one of them had a bullet go clean through her. She somehow survived the war and also was able to hide her injury from another Japanese patrol who later captured the few nurses who survived the original shooting.

So then .... Mrs. Phyllis Thom ... age 100 ....  A testament to bravery .... RIP .... From a most respectful Yank.


Phyllis Thom
Nurse who produced a harrowing account of her time in a Japanese prisoner of war camp after the fall of Singapore.

Last Updated: 2:06AM BST 24 Sep 2008

Phyllis Thom: in the camp, kept her spirits up by singing hymns

Phyllis Thom, who died on September 6 aged 100, was a nursing sister caught up in the Japanese invasion of Malaya in December 1941; the diary she kept of her three-and-a-half year internment, now in the Imperial War Museum, is all the more harrowing because of its abbreviated nature.

At the beginning of December 1941, Phyllis Briggs, as she then was, was one of four nursing sisters at the General Hospital in Alor Star, North Malaya. On December 8 her life of parties, dances and boat trips was rudely shattered by the arrival of Japanese bombers, followed soon after by troops crossing the Malayan border.

All the European women were evacuated, except for the hospital staff, who remained another four days to discharge the patients. On December 12, the nursing sisters were given the password “Curtain fallen” and joined the convoy south, travelling along roads jammed with refugees and dotted with burnt-out cars and rickshaws.

In January, Phyllis Briggs was evacuated to Singapore and assigned to a maternity hospital now used for air raid victims.The sight of a Chinese woman with half her face blown away and maggots crawling out of what was left of her nose was one she never forgot.

On Friday February 13 1942, as the Japanese bombardment intensified, she boarded the Mata Hari, a cargo ship with accommodation for nine passengers which sailed out of Singapore harbour with 320 aboard. There followed a hair-raising voyage, during which the ship had to dodge attacks by Japanese bombers. Two vessels that had been in Singapore harbour at the same time, the Kuala and the Vyner Brooke, were sunk. But as dawn broke on the third day, the Mata Hari was spotted by a Japanese destroyer and there was no option but to surrender.

Put ashore on the island of Banka and separated from their menfolk, the women and children were detained overnight on a jetty without food or water, huddling together to keep warm. As Japanese soldiers wrenched off rings, watches and other valuables, Phyllis Briggs knotted the jewellery she had into a head scarf and tied it under her hair for safety. It was to prove invaluable later as a means of bartering for food and medicines.

The following day they were transferred to a makeshift camp at Muntok, originally built for coolies in the tin mines, comprising a number of windowless stone buildings with sleeping accommodation consisting of raised concrete platforms, and rudimentary sanitation.

There they were joined by the survivors of other captures and sinkings, including Vivian Bullwinkel, the only survivor of a group of 22 Australian nurses who had waded ashore to the island after the sinking of the Vyner Brooke, and were massacred by Japanese soldiers.

Over the next three and a half years Phyllis Briggs was moved from camp to camp, enduring hunger, illness, the loss of friends, and arbitrary cruelties meted out by Japanese guards. At Palembang, Sumatra, she became seriously ill, passing blood, and nearly died.

Yet twice a day she had to line up for a roll call, a ritual known as “Tengko” (the answer required from prisoners): “We had to bow to the guards as they came by. If we did not bow low enough we would get a face slap”. Ration lorries came up the hill every day and the food, often rotten and full of weevils, was thrown on the road. “The best rations came on the Emperor of Japan’s birthday: four prawns each, one banana and a piece of pineapple!”

Phyllis Briggs did what she could to help the sick and dying. To keep her spirits up she joined a choir and sang hymns, a favourite being The Captive’s Hymn, written by her fellow internee, Margaret Dryburgh: “Father in captivity/ We would lift our prayer to Thee./Keep us ever in Thy love/ Grant that daily we may prove/ Those that place their trust in Thee,/ More than conquerors may be.”

Margaret Dryburgh died on April 21 1945 aged 54. The story of the choir inspired the film Paradise Road (1997), with Pauline Collins as Margaret Dryburgh.

By 1944 death had become an everyday occurrence, and entries from Phyllis Briggs’s diaries of the time convey the mixture of tragedy and black comedy that were characteristic of camp life.

“May 3 1944: Mrs Colley ill. Mrs MacLelland died. May 11: Mrs Curran Sharp died. I ate chopped banana skins for the first time, which helped to fill a corner. Every day fresh orders from the Japs about gardening and grass cutting. July 4: Felt ill and fainted again. The Japs complain that the children pull faces and laugh at them. More threats to cut rations. Mackenzie ill with dysentery. July 19: Still no rain – water ration reduced. Baby Darling died very suddenly. July 27: Grace Guer died. She had only been ill four days – a great shock to us all. She was young and pretty and had kept fairly fit. A high official visited the camp so we had to do up the dormitories and sweep the road. July 31: Capt Siki made a speech – the black market must stop – we continue to work hard and we must obey all orders.”

At one stage there were so many dying that the grave diggers could not keep up: “In the end the children were the strongest and it was they who did the digging.”

Phyllis Briggs was perhaps most affected by the death of her friend Mary Jenkin, whose husband Charlie had died in a men’s camp, but who was determined to keep going for the sake of her son in England.

On August 16 1945, a day after Japan’s unconditional surrender to the Allies, Mary Jenkin succumbed: “At about 7pm the last thing she said was “I can’t do any more – I’m going to join Charlie,” Phyllis Briggs recalled. “I spoke to her and said I would see Robert, her son, when I got home to give him her love and to say how brave she had been – she gave a little smile – then soon after became unconscious and died within an hour.”

It was not until August 24 that the Japanese camp commander told the survivors that their captivity was over. But Phyllis Briggs’s ordeal was not. Evacuated to hospital in Singapore, weighing six stone, she shared the task of telling husbands from PoW camps looking for their wives that they had died. Later she discovered that Tony Cochrane, a young sailor to whom she had become engaged in 1941, was missing, presumed dead.

Phyllis Mary Erskin Briggs was born in Bexhill-on-Sea, Sussex, on June 14 1908 and spent her childhood in Paris, where her father was chaplain of Christ Church in Neuilly-sur-Seine and of the British hospital in Paris. Both her parents died while she was still in her teens and she was brought up by an aunt and uncle in northern England. She trained as a nurse in Manchester and at King’s College London.

After the war she returned to nursing in Malaya in June 1946 and in 1947 was married to Robbie Thom, who became head of the Malayan Police Special Branch and a security officer in British Guyana before independence. After his death in 1967, she settled in Bournemouth, where she worked as a volunteer for Barnardo’s.

She is survived by two daughters.

In honor of this woman and ALL her sisters, trained to bring comfort and healing where they could, and who faced instead of appreciation, the mindless unreasoning brutality and violence of their captors during WWII.

So many if not all of them are gone by now.  Women armed only with some medical training and their faith, against armed killers.  This would have been true of the many nurses of other nations as well.  But the situation faced by the women in this theater of war was particularly bad, as we know today.  Although stories were leaking out by 1944-45 if not before.

My uncle was a navigator on a Liberator bomber during WW2.  His plane’s name was FLAK ALLEY.  The plane was badly shot up on a raid over the
Polesti oil fields and crash landed in an English farm field.  He was badly injured and wounded by flak.

I remember how happy our family was, especially my grandmother, as his crew (and others) had already been issued gear in preparation for transfer to the Japanese theater.  Nobody wanted to face the Japs and be captured by them and I guess the civilians already had heard the stories.

So this is a tiny place out of the whole world where I’d like those wonderful and brave women to be remembered. And their stories told and retold.
The holocaust isn’t the only outrage that needs remembering.


Posted by Drew458   United Kingdom  on 09/24/2008 at 02:49 AM   
Filed Under: • UKWar-Stories •  
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calendar   Tuesday - September 23, 2008

Pelosi the Socialist Speaks Out

The Party Is Over

That’s right. It’s over. San Fran Nan was in her faded glory today, laying down the new rules for all the comrades in the finance industry. Socialism has arrived with a heavy hand, and Nancy P was there to rub salt into the wounds as hard as she could while doing her end zone victory dance. The woman is a red. There can be no doubt about it at all.

The party is over. The party is over for this compensation for CEOs who their golden parachute as they drive their companies into the ground. The party is over for the disparity in our country between the CEOs making almost immoral salaries and not being interested in lifting other people up. The party is over for financial institutions taking risks but at the same time privatizing any gains they may have while they nationalize the risks asking the taxpayers to pick up the tab. So we can’t even consider any legislation that the Republicans send us unless it ends, addresses, and reforms compensation for chief executives, officers; unless it has protection for the taxpayers, that’s our responsibility. Certainly we want to stabilize the market, but we want to do so at the same time as we protect the taxpayers. We want to insulate everyday Americans from the crisis on Wall Street. In order to do that we must have independent oversight. The party is over for this no regulation, no supervision, anything goes, so called free market which has taken us to this place. Clearly the Bush economic policies have failed. Do we need any further evidence?

Not to put too fine a point on it, but isn’t “no regulation, no supervision, anything goes” the basic definition of a “so-called” free market? So part of the Pelosi Fix will include a Ben ‘n Jerry’s salary cap for all the Big Bosses. And lots of Big Brother oversight and rules and regulations. Financial institutions take risks. That’s what they are there for. It’s called investing. And, please correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this bailout the government’s idea? Or did the big houses come to Uncle Sugar, hat in hand on bended knee?

Yes, I think these guys are paid way too much. By about 4 extra zeros on their paychecks. And I think the guys who trash a company and then bail with millions ought to be shot. And I think these incentive payments to executives is way out of proportion. But that’s what goes on in private business. It isn’t any of the governments business. So, while I might ordinarily agree with Ms. Pelosi on these items, I’m going to call her out and label her the nearest thing there is next to a communist. Because she WON’T stop playing the blame game on this. Lizzen up beyotch: you are ALL to blame. You. Reid. Bush. Wall Street. Washington. Fix the mess. Fix it now. Don’t add a single bacon slice worth of pork to the package. Not a dollar. And then resign in disgrace. Seppuku comes to mind, but I’m not sure you had any honor to lose in the first place, so that’s too easy an out for all of you. You ALL let this happen, made it happen, watched it happen ... and played partisan politics and blocked a myriad of bills for YEARS that would have stopped or at least mitigated this disaster. So sod off. You’re Firedtm. Now go away. Leave now, and never come back!


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 09/23/2008 at 05:39 PM   
Filed Under: • GovernmentInsanityPolitics •  
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Through The Eyes Of A Child

“It’s the public school system,” Dalton says. “Let’s be honest, it’s full of liberal loons.”

11 year old suspended for wearing anti-Obama shirt to school

I think this kid deserves a whole basket full of attaboys!

An 11-year-old in Aurora says his first amendment rights are being trampled after he was suspended for wearing a homemade shirt that reads “Obama is a terrorist’s best friend.”
The boy’s father Dann Dalton describes himself as a “proud conservative” who has taken part in some controversial anti-abortion protests. Dalton says the school made a major mistake by suspending his son for wearing the shirt.

“It’s the public school system,” Dalton says. “Let’s be honest, it’s full of liberal loons.”

imageThe school district told the student, Daxx Dalton, that he had the choice of changing his shirt, turning his shirt inside out or being suspended.

Daxx chose suspension.

“They’re taking away my right of freedom of speech,” he says. “If I have the right to wear this shirt I’m going to use it. And if the only way to use it is get suspended, then I’m going to get suspended.”

Daxx’s dad agrees with him and is encouraging his son to stand his ground.  “The facts are his rights were violated. Period.”

Aurora Public Schools would not talk about the case but said the district “Respects a student’s right to free speech, such as the right to wear specific clothing,” but administrators say they review any situation that interrupts the learning environment.

Paperwork submitted by the school district says Daxx Dalton was not suspended for wearing the shirt, but for willful disobedience and defiance.

The boy’s father says he intends to pursue a lawsuit against the district.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 09/23/2008 at 05:21 PM   
Filed Under: • EducationPolitically-Incorrect •  
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The online advantage

Fox News is reporting this morning ... breaking news ...

Wowzers. The Kernell story is 6 days old now. Hey Fox, sit on it much? But at least they are reporting it. Finally. Can’t say that about all the other news channels. And media bias? You have got to be kidding me. This was news 10 years ago. More.

The Internet - Plug in. Log on. Open your mind. tm

In other could-be-creepy news today ...


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 09/23/2008 at 08:41 AM   
Filed Under: • News-Briefs •  
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A 14th-century recipe book compiled by King Richard II’s master cooks is to put online.

PLEASE tell me I’m not the only one here who thinks WOW!!!!!!!!!!!! and gets all kinds of XCITED over ancient stuff like this.
What’s so amazing is that any of these things have lasted so long and been preserved so well over time. 

Quite often btw, treasure hunters with those metal detector things keep finding artifacts from ancient Rome and even before. I haven’t a clue how they manage to ID some things, but they are able to. From pottery to coins and weapons and even ancient graves long lost.

We have a Bronze Age burial ground just at the end of our short street here in the village. The mounds are plain to see and I often have to walk through the site to get to a friends house, who lives just beside it.  This place has so much history and so much natural beauty. Wish I were able to tour further afield as there is so much more to see and photograph.

King Richard II’s recipe book to go online
A 14th-century recipe book compiled by King Richard II’s master cooks is to put online for the first time to give modern-day chefs an insight into the delicacies of the Middle Ages.

By Nicole Martin, Digital and Media Correspondent

The book is one of 40 rare manuscripts that are being digitally photographed and put on the internet Photo: University of Manchester’s John Rylands University Library

Forme of Cury, which was written in 1390 in Middle English, details more than 200 recipes that were cooked in the royal household, including blank mang (a sweet dish of meat, milk, sugar and almonds) and mortrews (ground and spiced pork).

The book is one of 40 rare manuscripts that are being digitally photographed and put on the internet by the University of Manchester’s John Rylands University Library.

Other Middle English manuscripts include one of the earliest existing editions of the complete Canterbury Tales by Chaucer, John Lydgate’s two major poems Troy Book and Fall of Princes, and 500-year-old translations of the Bible into English.

The work, which will be carried out using a state-of-the-art high-definition camera, will begin next month and is due to be completed by late 2009.

Jan Wilkinson, the director of the John Rylands library, described the library’s manuscripts as “a research resource of immense significance”.

“Yet the manuscripts are inherently fragile, and until now access to them has been restricted by the lack of digital copies. Digitisation will make them available to everyone,” she said.

“For the first time it will be possible to compare our manuscripts directly with other versions of the texts in libraries located across the world, opening up opportunities for new areas of research. We hope that this will be the beginning of a wider digitisation programme, which will unlock the tremendous potential of our medieval manuscripts and printed books for the benefit of the academic community and the wider public.”


Posted by Drew458   United Kingdom  on 09/23/2008 at 05:08 AM   
Filed Under: • Amazing Science and DiscoveriesFun-StuffLiteratureUK •  
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Euro MPs are preparing to vote on proposals for European Union regulation of blogs .

Anyone critical of the left and the EU and those working and speaking out against membership in the EU.

Euro MPs to vote on anonymous blog ban
Euro MPs are preparing to vote on proposals for European Union regulation of blogs with the aim of countering a “dangerous” and unregulated blogosphere.

By Bruno Waterfield in Brussels
Last Updated: 6:41PM BST 22 Sep 2008

Marianne Mikko, an Estonian centre-left MEP, is concerned that growing numbers of blogs are being used by individuals with “malicious intentions or hidden agendas”.

“The blogosphere has so far been a haven of good intentions and relatively honest dealing. However, with blogs becoming commonplace, less principled people will want to use them,” she said.

Mrs Mikko has proposed that bloggers should be required to identify themselves and that some popular blogs should come with a declaration of interests.

“We do not need to know the exact identity of bloggers. We need some credentials, a quality mark, a certain disclosure of who is writing and why. We need this to be able to trust and rely on the source,” she said.

Chris Heaton Harris, a British Conservative Euro MP, has rejected any moves to “regulate and restrict independent media sources”.

“Mrs Mikko obviously does not understand that blogs have become the life blood of a vibrant democracy,” he said.

(of course she doesn’t. look where the heck she’s from. she is used to having those above tell her how and what to think. comrade.)

“I hope these proposals are kicked out.”

Thursday’s vote in the European Parliament is not legally binding but is an indicator of growing EU concern over the influence of blogs on the internet.

A recent internal European Commission report, leaked three weeks ago, found that the EU was losing the battle for hearts and minds online.

“Blog activity remains overwhelmingly negative,” it said.

(and the commission will damn well NOT tolerate that by gum and by gosh)


Posted by Drew458   United Kingdom  on 09/23/2008 at 04:31 AM   
Filed Under: • Blog StuffEUro-peonsJack Booted ThugsTyrants and Dictators •  
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‘Many feared dead’ at school shooting in Finland.  (just came through. More later)

Always a great surprise that this sort of thing happens in a country like Finland.
A very ill world.

‘Many feared dead’ at school shooting in Finland
Many people are feared dead after a gunman opened fire at a school in Finland, police said.

Last Updated: 10:13AM BST 23 Sep 2008

Witnesses reported hearing numerous shots, raising fears that many people had been injured at the vocational school in the town of Kauhajoki, 120 miles from Helsinki in northwest Finland.

Police said casualties were likely but gave no confirmation on numbers, national broadcaster YLE said on its website.

The shooter is believed to be in the building still, YLE said.

One year ago a gunman killed six students, the school’s headmistress and a nurse and injured 10 in a school shooting in in Tuusula, 30 miles north of Helsinki, in southern Finland. The gunman then turned the gun on himself and later died from his wounds in hospital.

The gunman, who had posted footage foreshadowing the November 2007 massacre on video-sharing website YouTube, was a student at the school.

In the video, Pekka-Eric Auvinen, 18, described himself as a “social Darwinist” who would “eliminate all who I see unfit”.

See More Below The Fold


Posted by Drew458   United Kingdom  on 09/23/2008 at 04:25 AM   
Filed Under: • Crime •  
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Britons have been ‘stripped’ of civil liberties.  uh huh, right. sure they have.

What liberties exactly? 
It is possible I’ve missed something or more likely I haven’t fallen afoul of the powers that be to test it.
Saying Brits have been “stripped” implies they have no rights at all.  Well, he has certainly exercised his right to be critical. He hasn’t been arrested far as I know.

On the other hand, all this PC garbage and awards made to ppl who have had their “feelings hurt” is far more restrictive as I see things.
I do know there is lots of controversy over the 42 day hold on suspects in terror cases. Is that the only complaint? If it is, and even if unfair, it alone surely can’t be taken as the society being “stripped” of rights.

John le Carré: Britons have been ‘stripped’ of civil liberties
Britons have been “stripped” of their civil liberties amid an “atmosphere of panic” over the threat from terrorism, according to the novelist John le Carré.

By Nicole Martin and Christopher Hope
Last Updated: 12:36AM BST 23 Sep 2008

In a rare public intervention, the spy author criticised ministers for voting to extend the time limit that terror suspects can be held without charge to 42 days.

His comments come only weeks ahead of a key vote in the House of Lords that could see peers throw out the Government’s controversial 42-day proposals.

The writer, who admitted he has a reputation as “an angry old man”, said he was furious that the Government had been allowed to get away with a sustained attack on civil liberties.

“Partly, I’m angry that there is so little anger around me at what is being done to our society, supposedly in order to protect it,” said the 76-year-old in an interview in Waterstone’s magazine.

“We have been taken to war under false pretences, and stripped of our civil rights in an atmosphere of panic. Our lawyers don’t take to the streets as they have done in Pakistan.

“Our MPs allow themselves to be deluded by their own spin doctors, and end up believing their own propaganda.”

He added: “We haul our Foreign Secretary back from a mission to the Middle East so he can vote for 42 days’ detention.

“People call me an angry old man. Screw them. You don’t have to be old to be angry about that. We’ve sacrificed our sovereignty to a so-called ‘special relationship’ which has nothing special about it except to ourselves.”

The writer has been an outspoken critic of Labour’s erosion of civil liberties.

He was one of several figures from the arts and academia who wrote to Gordon Brown in March to protest at the 42-day detention limit.

The open letter, which was also signed by author Iain Banks and fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, warned that “relations could suffer if the Muslim community appears to be ... targeted for prolonged pre-charge detention”.

Campaigners and opposition MPs are suggesting that the terror vote in the House of Lords on October 13 will be tight.

Shami Chakrabarti, the director of the civil rights group Liberty, said: “Mr le Carré is not a lone voice.

“Forty-two days has become totemic of the biggest assault on all our hard won rights and freedoms. It is a shame that it takes a writer of fiction to give the Government a reality check.”

Le Carré said his book, A Most Wanted Man, explores the struggle to find a balance between individual rights and state security and “how far Germany will go in imitating our mistakes.”

The novel, published today, tells the story of a half-Chechen, half-Russian Muslim refugee who is living in Hamburg and being tracked by a series of special agents, who suspect that he may be plotting a terrorist attack.


Posted by Drew458   United Kingdom  on 09/23/2008 at 03:43 AM   
Filed Under: • MiscellaneousUK •  
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calendar   Monday - September 22, 2008

Mr. Pushy

So the woman who was running my weekend league last season really screwed up. She had a computer breakdown and didn’t tell anybody. So the scores and averages were a big mess the last 8 weeks. And there were other problems too. So I got myself elected as secretary. And she quit the league without doing any turnover at all. I had all summer to figure out how to put in a system that was wired tight. I mean, no issues, no errors, no mysteries, and no screw-ups. Nada. Every scrap of paper gets saved in it’s proper place. I have receipts for everything. And I’m Mr. Personality, talking to everyone every week, instead of sitting off in a corner being grumpy like my predecessor did. So far it’s working pretty well, but we’re only 4 weeks into a 35 week season.

This league had half a page of hand written notes that passed for the bylaws. Now they have 2 full typed pages worth. And everyone voted to accept them. Just so there won’t be any misunderstandings.  Even the alley staff are working with me, cleaning the place up a little sooner and making sure our lanes are oiled first. That’s nice.  We used to have to wait for the score card - what bowlers call the standings sheet - to be posted each week so we would know where to bowl and who we were playing. Now I have it posted 5 days before league. And I have it up online in two places. Heck, I can even send it to you via email.

Once I figured out how to upload the scores, I went and looked for the other leagues in my association ( the local grouping of the national organization ) and found that not too many leagues are doing this. Hey, come on man, this is the 21st century already. Every league has a secretary, and every secretary uses a computer to keep track of the scores. And if you have a computer that means it’s almost a guarantee that you have internet access. So now I’m pushing the association administrator to push the associated alleys to push their leagues to get more of them to post online. It’s pretty easy to do, all the bowling software packages can do it, and it gets a lot of pain-in-the-ass bowlers off your back. Plus having all the leagues online lets you keep an eye on how everyone else is doing, which helps for county-wide and association-wide tournaments. Fewer surprises.

But, somehow, to my amazement, I’ve found out that a large number of people who bowl are also people who do not have internet access. How about that? Bowling. Still stuck in the 20th century. Go figure. High tech equipment, low tech users. The Dude abides.

Post your score sheets online. Avoid this kind of problem!


“You think I’m fucking around here? Mark it zero!”


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 09/22/2008 at 02:54 PM   
Filed Under: • Bowling Blogging •  
Comments (2) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  


Stop reading this post and go fill up your gas tank! Take gas home in your pockets if you can! Crude oil prices are going nuts today, skyrocketing over 20%, more than $20 already! Gas prices will leap by this evening!!

Meanwhile, gas shortages continue in a few areas around the country.

It’s the end of the world! For the 3rd time in 10 days!!!!!!!!!!!11111elventy one!!!!


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 09/22/2008 at 02:00 PM   
Filed Under: • Inflation and High PricesOil, Alternative Energy, and Gas Prices •  
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Double Post Plus Good

Peiper put up an excellent link before. If you didn’t go visit Uncle Jay, you really should. Uncle Jay has it all figured out. All in videos you can watch online or download.

Hey boys and girls, it’s time for Uncle Jay Explains The News!

Now here’s the guy who helps little minds understand big news stories: Uncle Jay!”

Uncle Jay explains the federal financial bailout, and guesses at the 3 new government agencies that will be set up to keep an eye on things in the future:

image image


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 09/22/2008 at 10:15 AM   
Filed Under: • Fun-Stuff •  
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Please sir, it wasn’t me sir, it was those Americans who got us into trouble.

The reference in the heading re. it was those Americans, appeared in the hard cover edition of The Telegraph.
But not in the online version.  So I put it there.

Mr. Brown apparently is in some trouble within his own party and the public in general on many issues.
Be interesting to see when and even if, the electorate return the conservs. (Tory Party) to office.  And will it make much difference?

Chris and Lyndon are two who don’t think so.

Labour party conference: Andrew Gimson’s sketch

Gordon Brown sounded like a schoolboy who has failed his exams but has devised a preposterous story which shows that but for one or two unfortunate events which are not his fault he would have come top of the class.

By Andrew Gimson in Manchester

Andrew Marr, who was interviewing the Prime Minister, sounded like a fair-minded head teacher who was trying to get Brown to admit that it has “not been a good year” and that getting record low marks constitutes a crisis.

But Marr started by posing some questions about economics, which for many years was Brown’s strongest subject. Brown said the Americans had let him down very badly with his economics: “A great deal of irresponsibility...has come out of America.”

(My very Brit wife had a comment on this statement which was.  “And he was where exactly, while things were happening here?  On the sidelines most likely saying, givememine,givememine,givememine, “ with regard to the market money tree.  She is quite cynical about politicians generally and believes nothing Labour says. Ever. )

But help is at hand for these reckless people: “I’m going to New York on Wednesday.” This is wonderful news for the Americans, but Marr ventured to doubt whether Brown will be able to do anything, whereupon Brown admitted: “It’s not easy. These are testing times.”

The ominous observation that “these are testing times” was one to which Brown returned again and again as he sought to persuade us that nothing which has gone wrong is anything to do with him. He also informed us that “the world has changed” and “politics in this new digital going to be quite difficult”.

But Brown’s problem is surely that the world has not changed anything like enough: there is still, we find, a business cycle, which mocks his claim to have abolished boom and bust. Brown himself volunteered at one point that “these are cyclical things”.

As the interview proceeded, a forlorn and pleading note entered this errant schoolboy’s voice, as if he knew his excuses were not passing muster. He promised Marr, “I always want to do better and I will do better”. As in Tom Brown’s Schooldays, so in Gordon Brown’s Schooldays a high moral tone is conveyed for the benefit of the youth of today. If there is a latter-day Flashman in this tale, his name is David Cameron.

(Have any of you folks read the Flashman series, by Geo.McDonald Fraser?  Great reading but “Flashman” was not an honorable man and so this isn’t exactly high priase for Mr. Cameron either.  BTW ... if you enjoy history even a little, the Flashman series is a must. And it’s fun too. Flashman of course is a fictional character.  But the way the late Mr. Fraser wrote the series and used his notes at the end of all the books, some professional historians started quoting Flashy as though he were real.)

Brown portrayed himself as a man of the people: “I’m a pretty ordinary guy that managed through an ordinary school to get to university.” The Prime Minister even gave us once more his school’s motto, which is surely a pretty odd thing for a 57-year-old man to do, even if “I will try my utmost” is an admirable sentiment. This was perhaps designed to remind us that Brown did not go to Eton, and his motto is not “Floreat Etona”, but somehow it seemed to suggest that when Brown comes under pressure, he falls back on the dispiriting pieties of his youth.

This is one of Brown’s great weaknesses: his inability to cheer people up. In hard times, a leader has to convince people that tough though things are, if we all pull together we shall win through to happier days.

Brown knows this, but although he can be very good with audiences who he knows already like him, on the wider public stage he comes out with awful leaden formulae, as when he told Marr: “We’re a team and we’re facing difficult world conditions.”

Even for Brown loyalists, the effect of actually listening to his public performances is to induce feelings of despondence rather than hope. It is easy, at this conference, to find dogged declarations of support for the Prime Minister, but when did we last hear anyone express unforced enthusiasm for his leadership?

Marr wondered if Brown was “absolutely sure you’re the right man for the job”, and Brown naturally insisted he is. But by this stage of the interview, one had the feeling that if Marr had said, “You’re in denial”, Brown would have retorted “No I’m not”.

Brown was subjected to one last insult, when Marr asked if he would still be here at Christmas. “Yes of course,” the Prime Minister replied. So that’s all right then: Brown is going to try harder this term and it will not all be over by Christmas.


Posted by Drew458   United Kingdom  on 09/22/2008 at 09:37 AM   
Filed Under: • PoliticsUK •  
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Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
  1. Keep a firm grasp of Right and Wrong
  2. Stay involved with government on every level and don't let those bastards get away with a thing
  3. Use every legal means to defend yourself in the event of real internal trouble, and, most importantly:
  4. Keep talking to each other, whether here or elsewhere
It's been a long strange trip without you Skipper, but thanks for pointing us in the right direction and giving us a swift kick in the behind to get us going. Keep lookin' down on us, will ya? Thanks.


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