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October, 2010:

The Fist of God

Is this genuine?

The sex act called fisting is a source of confusion and misconceptions for many Christians. This is unfortunate, because it means that many Christian men and women are depriving themselves of what could be the most spiritual sexual experience of their lives. Like anal sex and BDSM, fisting is often mistakenly associated with the gay community or is considered a sex act too extreme to be appropriate for Christian couples. Not only are these views incorrect, but fisting actually has a scriptural precedent, as we will show.

The whole website is a hoot. The stuff on threesomes, masturbation and an agenda for Christian porn are…

… Awe inspiring. To say nothing of the idea that anal sex is a a suitable way to preserve a hymen for the wedding night.

Suffice to say this is almost certainly NSFW.

PS. I honestly found this totally accidentally.

Pointless

(S+C) x (B+F) / (T-V).

Well, what does that formula calculate…

Hitting break-even for a Bussard fusion reactor?

The fundamentals of a scramjet?

Or buttock loveliness?

Click to know.
(more…)

Letter to the New York Times Books Review

A theme that runs with approval throughout Jonathan Alter’s review of recent books on modern “liberalism” is that “liberals,” in contrast to their mindless Cro-Magnon opposites, overflow with ideas (“The State of Liberalism,” Oct. 24).

Indeed they do.  But these ideas are almost exclusively about how other people should live their lives.  These are ideas about how one group of people (the politically successful) should engineer everyone else’s contracts, social relations, diets, habits, and even moral sentiments.

Put differently, modern “liberalism’s” ideas are about replacing an unimaginably large multitude of diverse and competing ideas – each one individually chosen, practiced, assessed, and modified in light of what F.A. Hayek called “the particular circumstances of time and place” – with a relatively paltry set of ‘Big Ideas’ that are politically selected, centrally imposed, and enforced not by the natural give, take, and compromise of the everyday interactions of millions of people but, rather, by guns wielded by those whose overriding ‘idea’ is among the most simple-minded and antediluvian notions in history, namely, that those with the power of the sword are anointed to lord it over the rest of us.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux

H/T Cafe Hayek

Utter fuckin cuntulated bastard!

But none of us here are the least bit suprised by this , are we?

We knew what to expect from the oily potato faced twat the first time we laid eyes on him, didn’t we? Blairwitch 2.

You promised us a Referendum on the Lisbon Treaty didn’t you iDave, you twisted two faced bastard! We didn’t get it did we? Then you promise us that the next time the EU starts to monkey with the rules that affects our national interest, we would get a referendum on that. You were fuckin lying wern’t you? You love the bloody EU, fess up you cunt!

We are already roped into an EU Budget increase of 2.9% that we cant do anything about. Qualified majority voting you see, terribly sorry electorate, we tried, we tied! And now they want 6% more!

Lord Tebbitt has warned iDave not to do a Vichy, but he’s talking to himself isn’t he? Lord Tebbitt is in a different party to iDave. iDave is a CINO. Any old plausibily will do, he wouldn’t know a Conservative principle if it bit him in the arse and called him uncle. He is a principle free zone.

Oh and we are so pleased that Baroness Ashton is going to move into some shiny new offices, at a cost of ten million a year, with her cadre of EU diplomats arn’t we? She does such a sterling job you see. But if a global crisis turns up, let’s hope it is not after 8pm or at a weekends, because Baroness Partime, the monoglot moron, has apparently pissed off home, leaving the phone off the hook.

As usual Dan nails it here

I have signed the pledge, feel free if you are as pissed off as me.

I WANT MY FUCKIN COUNTRY BACK!

Walk between the raindrops, baby.

THEIR mini break is said to have cost £20,000 – but for Wayne and Coleen Rooney it has been worth every penny.

Where did they go? Mars?

Long-suffering Coleen, 24, yesterday revealed that their romance is back on track.

Oh, magic! It’s just like Romeo and Juliet without the tragedy.

Speaking at their seven-star resort hotel in Dubai, she said: “We came out here to get away from everything. We wanted some time away.

So she gave an interview. I am so buying this narrative. It’s about as credible as Bill Clinton sleeping on the sofa after the Lewinsky thing broke. I have seen the White House. I have indeed been told to eff off by a cop whilst trying to take a picture of the gaff. It is not a one bedroom house.

“Don’t you think me and Wayne deserved this break after everything?”

Let’s ask the Stretford End that question eh? Or perhaps Nobby Stiles who just sold all his memorabilia. When Stiles was at Manchester United he was paid a princely £3 5 shillings a week. Most of it has been bought by Manchester United and will wind up in the museum at Old Trafford so that’s fitting. God knows what Rooney will leave to Manchester United – used condoms tart cards and a pie? Amongst Stiles stuff of course was his World Cup medal. On the basis of Mr Rooney’s recent dismal performance in South Africa then I think that is out of the question.

“Wayne and I are fine. We just want some peace and quiet and some time by ourselves.”

Coleen was left shattered earlier this year by claims that the Manchester United star cheated on her while she was pregnant with their son Kai by sleeping with two prostitutes.”

I really don’t know. Is this genuine? We are well into WAG-land here. I mean that is low and far be it from me to comment on the intimate arrangements of others though I suspect I’d feel happier if Coleen had given Wayne the “Full Mrs Woods” or Sir Alex had concluded pay negotiations by kicking Rooney so hard in the scrot bag he’d look like he had three adam’s apples.

In a bid to save their marriage, Rooney cancelled a £90,000 25th birthday party last weekend to fly off with Coleen for a romantic break.

I assume that was in Liverpool. 90 grand in Liverpool would… buy Toxteth.

Yesterday she broke her silence to dismiss claims she had given her husband the cold shoulder during the trip.

Cold shoulder? It would have been the cold steel if it had been me.

She revealed that the mini-break had been such a success that they planned to renew their marriage vows in a lavish ceremony next June.

Direct me to the vomitarium. I assume this renewal is courtesy of Hello!.

It will mark the third anniversary of their wedding at a 17th Century palace in Santa Margherita Ligure on the Italian Riviera.

Well Lakshmi Mittal’s daughter got married at Versailles so…

Coleen believes it will help her finally bury the pain.

I should not read the Express. The only reason I looked it up today was because it had some storming headlines which I alas couldn’t find in the online version. Robson Green has apparently given up his pursuit of fame which is excellent news to anyone in the UK with a TV.

She played a vital role in her husband’s change of heart over leaving Old Trafford which netted him a new, £230,000-a-week, five-year contract, making him Britain’s highest-paid footballer.

Call me Mr Cynical but… Who the Hell needs to be persuaded to earn nigh on a quarter of a million a week to play footie? I mean the Gods upon Olympus don’t earn that much and it will buy Mrs Rooney a heck of a lot of shoes. Enough to make Imelda Marcos look like some form of guttersnipe. This whole spectacle is grotesque.

A family friend said: “Coleen was pivotal in his change of mind. He listened to her and realised she was right.“It was a sign he trusts her with his future and that had a big impact on her. She is ready to draw a line under the scandal and move on.”

I guess there are less honest ways of paying for sex than using ladies of negotiable affection.

This is sordid beyond belief. And I’ll tell you why it’s really obscene. This is soap opera for real. The Coleen and Wayne show is a show and a brand and Wayne’s two make-ups – with his woman, with Manchester United strengthen the brand by adding spice, drama, a little controversy. Would it be unfair of me to suggest they break-up to make-up? It’s almost real life as performance art and I don’t mean Rooney’s seriously Wayning performance in the six yard box. The Rooneys are all over the front pages of the papers. Front, not back. Wayne Rooney is selling something other than his soccer skills and Coleen is essentially an equal partner. He is not so much the number nine as find out more on page nine. It is perhaps fitting that English uses the word “partner” to refer both to the person you share a bed with and the one you share your business with.

Because nobody is telling me Coleen isn’t the priciest prostitute Wayne has engaged and nobody is telling me that he needs her because otherwise he doesn’t have a front-page story arc. Of course he could have a back-page story arc instead but that would mean being fit and sticking a hat-trick past Chelsea. It’s just like pimps. If I ever get back my copy of “Pimp“* by Iceberg Slim (who was a pimp in ’40s-’50s Chicago) then I can quote but the rules are essentially that you have to put out to rake in. The sharp suits, the Cadillac are not just bling. They are tools. They are tools in exactly the way an electrician has screwdrivers and a chef has knives.

I guess what I’m saying is… Prostitution as generally, traditionally, understood is sex as a saleable commodity and celebrity is not too different because it is coupledom as a saleable commodity. We talk of the Beckhams or the Rooneys as an item and I don’t just mean that in the casual sense we use for couples – “Oh, they’re an item!” but in the commercial sense which pretty much means they have bar codes on their buttocks. In an extremely peculiar way it is rather like the “purple” marriages Hollywood used to engineer. Nobody can seriously believe Wayne could have bagged Coleen except through the celebrity mechanism. I mean she didn’t go for his Wildean wit, his Clooneyesque charm or his Brad Pitt looks because he is alas blessed with none of those attributes. Or even his enormous wallet, exactly. No. It is about the media crafting couples. It is about David and Victoria, Peter and Jordan, Wayne and Coleen. The media can make a fortune (as can the couple) because for some reason we are interested. And it is a form of whoring on a buy one get one free basis. I guess it is as old as the hills. It is very difficult to get much drama out of an individual. “You need a cast darling!” And we all know how marital strife sells. I mean is there anyone on ‘stenders or Corrie who hasn’t played away? I mean Ken Barlow managed to have so many notches in his bed posts he was sleeping on a futon.

It is remarkably Andy Warhol. Not only could Warhol draw. He also knew. Almost. He got it slightly wrong. He should have said, “In the future every couple will be famous for 15 minutes”.

*Seriously recommended. My copy is possibly in Japan. Everyone I know read it.

Not Poodles

I went into a public-’ouse to get a pint o’ beer,
The publican ‘e up an’ sez, ‘We serve no red-coats ‘ere.’
The girls be’ind the bar they laughed and giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again, an’ to myself sez I:
Oh, it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ ‘Tommy, go away’:
But it’s ‘Thank you, Mister Atkins,’ when the band begins to play -

The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
Oh, it’s ‘Thank you, Mister Atkins,’ when the band begins to play.

But have no fear Tommy! You might not get your pint but Golden Wonder have a treat in store for you…

Pot Noeldle is a festive fusion of turkey and stuffing and 2p will be donated from the sale of each pot to pay for Christmas phonecalls for troops abroad.

A Christmas dinner-flavoured Pot Noodle goes on sale today following a trial with British troops abroad.

The Pot Noeldle is a “festive fusion of turkey and stuffing with all the trimmings”, according to the company.

A donation of 2p from every pot sold will be made to the RAF Association’s Wings appeal to support the Miles More Minutes project, which gives troops posted overseas more time to telephone their loved ones over the Christmas period.

The flavour was developed and trialled last year for personnel serving on 27 Squadron after member Sergeant Ian Hobbs said troops regarded the brand as a home comfort.

Squadron Leader Stuart Balfour, head of RAF licensing, said: “The snack is enjoyed by so many of the troops and it’s great to know that every pot sold will help them keep in touch with loved ones at what is a really important time of the year.”

Pot Noodle spokesman Tom Denyard said: “We’re especially proud of the Pot Noeldle. It’s been 12 months in development, with several taste tests involving the troops themselves. It’s the first time we’ve produced a flavour from a homegrown story.”

The Pot Noeldle will sell for £1.10.

Where to start? It sounds ghastly for an opener. I mean really. Is that the best a squaddie can hope for after a hard day being shot at by bearded lunatics half a world a way from Catterick? Is that the best we as a nation can do for folks doing a frankly (in the circumstances) impossible job give them a Pot Noodle. A Pot fucking Noodle! Students don’t even eat them any more. I was a student and I have seen some sights in shared kitchens. I have seen things you people would not believe. A mate of my mate stole a frozen chicken from Sainsburys and my mate proceeded to defrost it by jamming it behind a radiator. This would not be of much note but Andy (I shall shame the guilty) was a student of microbiology. He then jammed the semi-defrosted chicken in the dubious gas oven and got stoned, passed out and the tragic bird incinerated sending black smoke billowing down the stairs – it was like Dresden in ’45. My wife, by the way, has just informed me that she witnessed a similarly unedifying spectacle involving a chicken but this time perpetrated by a trainee chef!

Anyway. That is not my point. I bet you’re glad it isn’t. My point is… I know I sounded sniffy about Golden Wonder’s attempt to help the lads and lasses at the sharp end but if I did it was because they shouldn’t have to. You know what worries our troops deployed abroad most? It isn’t coming home in a flag-draped pine box, it isn’t being maimed or captured. It’s being dumped. We live in an age where we expect communication with our nearest and dearest to be simple, cheap and just there. It isn’t for soldiers out in Helmand. It ought to be. I once had a trans-atlantic relationship and it’s hard but we could speak on the phone and send emails. This is not the C18th where folks would go off exploring and come home to the missus three years later (possibly with “interesting” diseases) but now and our troops have already been given a kick in the gusset by George “The Boy” Osborne. Why no bugger in Whitehall thinks (as I do) that a couple of hundred Super Tuccanos for CAS in the ‘stan might put the fear of Allah up the beards is beyond me. I keep saying it but clearly Liam Fox takes no notice. That’s another issue but even if we can’t do that we can at least, as a minimum, ensure adequate communications for the troops with their wives, husbands and kids. Surely that is doable for a relatively small amount of cash?

I, despite my trans-atlantic relationship, cannot imagine what it is like. Well, I can imagine but I can’t really feel it if you know what I mean. People must be returning after a tour totally alienated because they have seen things and shared things with their platoon that they haven’t been able to share with their family. War causes casualties and amongst those is divorce. If we are going to send the soldiers in to chase gits up hills in a place which if not exactly the arsehole of the entire Universe is at least well within farting distance of it then… Actually it is the arsehole of the Universe and I’ve been to Middlesbrough. More to the point my Dad visited Middlesbrough in the ’60s when it was so polluted the River Tees used to spontaneously get exothermic. I guess though that meant they at least had jobs back then.

Our Stolen Future

Wartime Spitfire pilot, rally driver, commentating on everything from Winston Churchill’s funeral to episodes of Mornington Crescent and presenting Tomorrow’s World in an age where tomorrow’s world was going to be a huge advance in man’s capabilities rather than a massive disaster brought on by man’s hubris.

Commentator Kevin B on Raymond Baxter.

Being able to buy “organic” sprouts at ASDA is no recompense for the lack of a jetpack.

And where the fuck are the my C-beams glittering over Tannhauser Gate? You utter cunts. You fucked it all up didn’t you? For what? I want to know but I demand to know. You took my life (I was born between Apollo 11 and Viking) and puked it out of the conservatory window. For what? What did we get in exchange for it? I want to know. Where did your imagination fail? Where? C’mon tell me right now. Tell me right now why the overseas aid budget is ring-fenced at 0.7% of GDP (practically none of which shall get to the poor) but you can’t afford to fund Skylon.

I’ve only been waiting 37 fucking years. A few years back Labour announced GBP 90 million for “Roof” Kelly to spend on Muslim communities to get them to play nice and promise to not blow shit up (much). Skylon needed GBP 180 million. I despair. The first was raised in the twinkle of an eye. The second…

My regret is different to his. Roy Batty has seen it and regrets the loss. I haven’t had that privilege.

This is the twenty-first century and we’ve got the iPad.

Well, yeah, great.

I guess there’s an app for that.

I don’t want an app. I want a space elevator.

Bill’s soggy biscuit.

We have all lost things. I once misplaced my Maglite for months. I still rue the day I lost a fiver…

But it’s only a torch (which my wife found) and a fiver (which was only a fiver).

This though is something a bit more serious. It would appear Bill Clinton lost the nuclear launch codes.

The President realised he’d lost the codes the day after the Monica Lewinsky scandal first hit the headlines.

Am I the only one that thinks Bubba getting a blow job from the staff is a lot less important than losing the nuclear launch codes? It is the conflation here of the two that fries my shallots. Was one seen as a cover for the other and if so which way around? I bet they aren’t happy in The Kremlin to only learn this one now. “Look Pyotr Ivanovich I told you we could have taken ‘em in the ’90s but…”. Bill ought to have given the codes to the missus. Not the only thing he should have given to the missus but…

I do still believe in a place called Hope. Blind hope. Bloody Hell! I mean it’s not the car keys down the back of the sofa is it?

A Definition Thing

The government’s spending cuts could cost voluntary organisations billions of pounds, the charities’ regulator in England and Wales has warned.

Charity Commission chairwoman Dame Suzi Leather said cutting funding to charities that were providing key public services would be short sighted.

What is wrong with those two sentences? Now unless the Dictionary Fairies have been at my Websters or OED (again – the blighters!) this is a misuse of the English language.

It happens all the time in discourse relating to government. Defence cuts “cost” jobs and all that. If this country is ever going to get on an even keel we have got to start with the language. There has been much talk recently about whether or not the private sector can “take up the slack” of job cuts. Implicit in this is the idea that the private sector is the icing and not the cake, the cart and not the horse. Note that “key public services” phrase. I will bet you dollars to donuts that you own a pair of shoes. Indeed I’ll double that. I bet you own several pairs of shoes (not quite Imelda Marcos but you at least have a computer and the intersection of the set of computer owners and the set of the shoeless is a very small one) and regard shoes as vital. I recall an advert with Gloria Hunniford in which she repeated the sage advice of her mother to always have a good pair of shoes and a good bed because you’re always going to be in one or the other. Few would argue with that. Now unless you are a child (and if you are you shouldn’t be reading this anyway because I use cuss words a lot) your shoes are not only not provided by the government (there is no National Shoe Service) but are in fact taxed by the government via VAT at 17.5%.

You also have electricity from the grid (or you’re peddling like Lance Armstrong on a mountain stage) and food, probably a car, a bank account (iffy there Nick – since the bailouts…) and lots of other things that are generally considered required for modern human existence but not provided by the government. I mean even One Million Years BC Raquel Welsh had a fur bikini. These things are not fripperies. Yes, even the car. I know most people on the planet don’t have one but most people who do have some wheels don’t regard it as just useful for playing Jeremy Clarkson (Assume the voice – “It’s got 800 torques and it sets your underpants on fire”) but as a means to go to work or to the shops to buy food and floor cleaner and things. None of those of course are strictly speaking luxuries. So I buy a bag of pasta at TESCO. That’s living high on the hog ain’t it? No. It’s called not starving. Unless you’re Wayne Rooney, obviously, who needs a quarter of a million a week to keep him in the manner no one eating a pie down the Stretford End can even begin to imagine – I certainly can’t. What could he spend it on? Let’s not go there*. Anyway, the point is an awful lot of vital services to the public (note my alternative phrasing) are not provided by government. Food: no. Water: no. Power: no. Motors: no. Petrol: no. Clothes: no. Defence: sort of – badly**.

Everyone in the private sector*** serves the public one way or another. If they didn’t whatever enterprise they worked for would be short-lived. Indeed the services provided by government (or financed by government – quangos, fake charities etc) are extraordinarily limited in terms of what people actually need. Take the NHS for example. My last dental visit cost quite a lot. Check-up (sound, sound, sound, sound… missing – hardly news to me – I had that out when I was 8), scale and polish (From a hygienist with the mindset of a NAZI gym mistress) and a filling to a wisdom tooth**** and I’m on NHS rates***** yet we still regard the NHS as free at the point of delivery. But it isn’t is it? Not for teeth anyway because if it was I wouldn’t have had to stick my card in the machine – and they don’t provide anaesthesia for the VISAectomy. Anyway my dentist ain’t that flash. He only has a BMW convertible but one must wonder who the NHS subsidy for dental care really subsidises…

Fundamentally I don’t get it. What is a vital service? How has the public(ish) sector managed to lay claim to all of them in the imagination of much of the public when most of the absolute requirements of life are met by private business? Moreover how come about half the country’s GDP is spent by the government on these things. It looks like jolly bad value for money to me. Even moreover the private sector (money grubbing bastards the lot of them – even if they earn less than our tireless public servants and don’t have titanium pensions) are expected to turn a profit which is nice for them and more importantly means their enterprise is essentially self-sustaining. To return to my original point a charity that cannot make ends meet by obtaining donations willingly given from the public is not a charity. It is not sustainable and it probably isn’t because not enough people care about the decline of the Estonian fruitbat. Should they care? Maybe, maybe not. It depends but it is down to the charity to make it’s case off it’s own bat. Indeed the independence of charities is, or rather should be, their strength.

And here endeth the lesson.

Sorry, I did go on some.

*I was a reasonable right-back in my day and will play for a half-time orange and couple of pints with the lads afterwards. Leeds University 5 a side Maths postgrad 4th team. That’s me. I’m not saying I’m any good but if Sir Alex gets me a Jaffa and stands his round after the 90 is up then I’m a lot cheaper. Yes, 4th team. We were bloody awful. The first team were brilliant but they had four Romanians and three were called Radu. They had like left feet and everything. I asked one of the Radus if it was a common name in Romania. He said, “not really”. I doubt I can take this story any further.

**I’m sure you have heard after the farrago of the defence cuts which raised a rather Zen philosophical point – is it really an aircraft carrier if it isn’t carrying aircraft we have the grounding of (the beautifully named in the circs) HMS Astute. According to the BBC this possibly happened because they were using out of date charts. My wife has a 2005 AA road atlas in her 1.0L Vauxhall Corsa. Who are we to complain? Oh yeah, the ones not driving a billion quids worth of nuclear submarine into the Isle of Skye. They should have gone to Halfords and bought a TomTom. Or SpecSavers or something. An aside. Did you know that the UK smoking ban applies to submarines (they are a “workplace”) including the Vanguard-class SSBNs. This is because second-hand smoke is injurious to health. In the context of something with 16 MIRVed Trident missiles that is a sick joke. Moreover do we really want an XO on-board who is choking for a gasper and has the launch keys – “Get me 20 Marlboro or goodbye Moscow”.

***I mean the real private sector not the “third way” private sector. If anyone knows of anything useful Crapita have ever done please let me know.

**** At the age of 37 (Is this turning into the ballad of Lucy Jordan? -Ed) I’m still getting them through which says something.

***** The local dentist only took me on initially as a private patient. This meant things cost slightly more. After a year or so without any major work – any work, thank God – needing I was converted to NHS. Now this meant that the government paid half (roughly) but it didn’t halve my bills. They were just slightly less. Three good science A-Levels, a tatty white coat and a Gerber multitool… I could do that!

Lego, build thyself!

This is supercool…

Now if you could get a Lego 3D printer to build Lego 3D printers…

I’ll get Igor onto it tomorrow.

The kid.

I guess you could call me an early adopter…

I was a physics student when Tim Berners-Lee brought The Web online. My first browsing experience was with Mosaic on a Nottingham University Physics Department 386DX40. We did other fun things with those machines like building Lego robots controlled by QBasic* but it was the web that got me in the end.

The first thing I searched for was… You will never guess so I shall just tell. I typed in “ferrets” and already then there were tens of pages. I knew I was onto something. Not the ferrets. I was not and never have been especially interested in the creatures but I was testing you see. I knew back in early ’93 that this was going to be massive. I felt like Case from Neuromancer just looking at the furry little fellas. This is cyberspace I thought. This is the future in a beige box.

My colleague here Cats like to blog about transformative technologies but I just knew this was something else, something astonishing. The web is truly transformative. Aldous Huxley was wrong by a few letters. The Brave New World is not symbolised with a “T” but a “TCP/IP” and a “WWW”. I was there at the start of the latter and it made me feel like…

Well, when the Wrights launched Flyer I from Kill Devil Hills, NC they got whoever was about to spot the ‘plane and that included the local lifeguards and “a curious teenager who was passing by”… I was that curious teenager looking up “ferrets”. That’s cool.

Sometimes we take-off and it’s good just to be there. It is impossible to understand what it felt like to be Orv or Will when they conquered the skies but we can be that kid and we can be ever thus. I hope so.

To see the centre and know it is not you but still to see…

*I still love QBasic. I must compile some of my cutsey math/physics programs and stick ‘em up here some time. Some are quite fun. The only reason I haven’t is that I was thinking of manually porting them to FORTRAN on a Linux installation and getting them to truly rip but that seems like work. I will do it because I have an ace algorithm for taking piccies and turning them to ASCII – much cleverer than any I’ve seen – I once produced a wall-sized picture of Debbie Harry.

Numbers

Why are all the natural numbers interesting?

The Taking of Prince Harry

For my sins I watched that on C4 last night.

Here be spoilers if you haven’t seen it but then if you haven’t you ain’t missed much so I don’t care.

It was an amateurish production. My wife pointed out a major flaw. The bit where Harry is made to speak to camera by AQ has him say something like, “They tell me we must remove all troops from Afghanistan” whilst beards with big knives prowled. Not the AQ way. If they release propaganda videos of hostages the hostages at least are made to sound like it was their own invention. Harry is also not dressed in pilot gear but in infantry garb. Negotiations are also conducted via his mobile phone (which has the number of the embassy in Kabul). I would be surprised he’d be allowed to take it on missions. I was also staggered at it’s battery life and the fact it could get a signal in “restive” Helmand. I want that phone. I can’t get three weeks out of mine or even reception where I live in suburban Cheshire. It’s a wonder phone (there must be an app for that!). It also of course featured the discussions in COBRA (Cabinet Briefing Room A) and the only woman present (portraying the foreign sec) was the one who, due to her having a womb you understand, continually advocated a deal at any cost to, “Return the Queen’s grandson safe”. Yes, of course women and especially mothers are all like that. Margaret Thatcher was and she introduced our doctrine of paying ransoms and freeing murderous scrotes… Oh, wait! She didn’t did she? Quite the reverse. But then in media-land Margaret Thatcher isn’t really a woman for she lacks the “feminine” qualities that women ought to have.

But all of that is not the big point here. Before broadcast C4 had been hyping the show as “controversial” (which it wasn’t really) which shows how far C4 has slipped from it’s original mandate which was to be – I paraphrase – “a bit like BBC2 but less ‘stuffy’ and owned by ‘The Man’”. Well, this wasn’t a C4 disgrace in the sense that some of that network’s output is. Like many mongers of the “challenging” they do have a defective dictionary in which the definitions of “challenging” and “revolting” are transposed. Who indeed can forget the Jade Goody “kebab” incident? Call me “square” but I want a challenge to my intellect and not to the part of my nervous system that controls the destination of my stomach contents or indeed, at times, my very will to live.

I suppose Davina would call me to the diary room for such heresy.

Anyway, back to “The taking of Prince Harry”. Before the opening credits rolled the C4 announcer warned that it, “May concern scenes that some viewers might find disturbing.”

I didn’t find it disturbing. I wonder what Her Majesty thought? Or The Duke of Edinburgh, or Harry, or William, or Charles, or his uncle Andy (who of course flew ‘copters in wartime in the Falklands War).

If Prince Harry wants to go back to the ‘stan and qualifies as an Apache gunship pilot then fair play to him. I’d love to do it myself because the Apache Longbow is a mean machine (for a ‘copter) and the best CAS aircraft in theatre and the Taliban fear it more than they fear Allah Himself. You seen what that 30mm gun can do? It’s not pretty.

Disclaimer: I played Sid Meier’s “Gunship” to death on my Speccy. On tape!

A tragically missed opportunity – the United Kingdom goverment spending review.

I will not say that there are no good ideas in yesterday’s U.K. government spending review – that I do not welcome some of the ideas for saving money. However, overall the exercise can only be fairly judged a failure – a failure of nerve as much as a failure of intellect. An effort has been made (unlike the utter fantasy world that is current American policy), but it is not enough – not nearly enough, to really deal with the fundemental problems.

What was done was enough to satisfy the bond market presently (to keep the United Kindom’s Triple A rating), but that is a bare minimum – so much more could, and should, have been done.

It is true that some problems were seriously examined – for example the government pension crises (with the raise in the retirement age in 2018/2020). But there was no sense of a fundemental spending review – of thinking for the long term on such matters as health, education or even welfare (although the government has made some moves towards reform on this).

The basic (and brutal) fact remains – U.K. government spending remains insanely high and this spending review will not really bring it down.

Even long discredited ideas such as overseas “development aid” (discredited by such works as the late Peter Bauer’s “Dissent On Development”) are not only maintained but expanded. And absurdities such as the television tax (to fund the leftist propaganda of the BBC) are only frozen – not abolished. Even Crossrail (a project which is violating the private property rights of people in their homes and business enterprises across London) is to be continued with.

Is the government getting out of things that it has no business to be in such as “Media, Culture and Sport” (or “welfare for the toffs” as some have called it) – no, although the budget is being cut.

Has the government really thought out long term defence – the only honest reply can be “no” (aircraft carriers without aircraft – and a lack of clarity about Trident).

Has the government got a clear plan for VICTORY (it appears to a be a forebidden word) in Afghanistan – or are we just spending money (and lives) without a clear aim? Does anyone doubt the answer to that?

Is there any really fundemental rethinking of the long term structure of the Welfare State – see above, the only honest reply can be “not really”.

Is there even a formal acceptance that credit bubble financial expansion (which is where former Prime Minister Brown got his revenue from to finance the explosion in government spending) can not continue?

Certainly not – the government believes that lending should be expanded (i.e. back to the credit bubble) even whilst it increases taxes on saving and its officials, at the Bank of England, sneer at savers and declare they should spend their money (the “demand” fallacy) – no language is too harsh in relation to the wrong headed attitude on this question.

Is there a clear committment to no more bank bailouts? No – the government just pretends that more regulations (on top of the thousands of pages of regulations that already exist) can square the circle of “cheap money” (i.e. lending not based on real savings) and sound banking (we can not have both).

Have we even got out of the money wasting (and wildly regulating) extra layer of government, that is the European Union – NO.

None of the above would be so bad if the spending review had been advertised as a holding exercise.

“Listen – we have to do something now FAST, to stop a panic on bond markets and the costs of us borrowing money exploding. But we are thinking about the fundemental problems of policy and we will come back later”.

But that is not what was done. On the contrary the whole matter was advertised as the great solution – the Duke of York led all his men up to the top of the hill and …. he led them back down again.

All the savage attacks from the BBC (and so on) would have been worth it – if the real long term problems had been dealt with, but they have not. I repeat – it was a holding exercise, better than doing nothing at all. But still a missed opportunity, a tragically missed opportunity.

What would Sir Robert Peel have done in this situation? Or Gladstone? Or even Sir Robert Walpole back in the corrupt early 18th century?

They would idenitfied what was just plain silly (such as “Development Aid” or the “Department of Culture, Media and Sport” and, of course, “E.U. membership” – a club we should not be in, even if it was free) and hit on the head at once. And they would have also looked at what the government could not do in the long term and started to work to reduce the role of the state. Not in a cruel way (Walpole’s enemies said he was corrupt, not that he was cruel, and Sir Robert Peel did more for the starving in Ireland than anyone else – it was a terrible misfortune for them that he fell from office when he did), but still in a fundemental way.

But it is vain to talk in this way – because there simply are not the people of this sort in high positions in politics today. Unlike some (by no means all) of the politicians of the past, the present occupyers of their positions seem to have no long term view of what the government should be doing and what it should not be doing. No clear vision of where they want to go and how to get there – no “vision thing” as President George Herbert Walker Bush sadly called it (and he was talking sadly, he was not seering at vision when he de facto admitted he did not have it). I am not saying they have an evil collectivist ideology – but rather than they just have no clear grasp of what they think would be the correct position to work towards.

I do not care whether the people trying to make the policy judgements are called “conservatives”, “liberals”, “libertarians”, or whatever – what I care about is are the basic problems being dealt with in a sustainable way.

And the grim reply has to be “no”.

The fundemental issues of policy will have to be dealt with at some point (the very viability of the country depends upon it – yes pompous, but sometimes being pompous is appropriate) – but now it will be more difficult, precisely because the government has said it has basically done all that needs to be done. And it has not.

I’ve got an infinite number of baboons…

Every email, phone call and website visit is to be recorded and stored after the Coalition Government revived controversial Big Brother snooping plans.

Meet the new boss, same as…

It will allow security services and the police to spy on the activities of every Briton who uses a phone or the internet.

Well that’s all of us apart from “Mad” Jock MacMad who lives in a yurt in the outer Hebrides.

Moves to make every communications provider store details for at least a year will be unveiled later this year sparking fresh fears over a return of the surveillance state.

Return?

The plans were shelved by the Labour Government last December but the Home Office is now ready to revive them.

Meet the new boss, same as…

It comes despite the Coalition Agreement promised to “end the storage of internet and email records without good reason“.

“Good reason” covers a multitude of sins. My suspicion here is that this will be used to crack down on benefit cheats and tax evasion. Link this into the defence review with it’s new emphasis on “cyber-attack” and yeah… This isn’t about preventing the Chinese PLA’s First Fighting Laptops crippling critical British infrastructure (Our government will do that all by itself. Thank you Beijing but we can fubar the gaff without your meddling).

Any suggestion of a central “super database” has been ruled out but the plans are expected to involve service providers storing all users details for a set period of time.

Oh gods! Anyone who knows anything about the internet will know that makes no difference. I am typing this in England, the server is in Australia and you could be on Mars.

It carries on in a manner that I’m sure you can guess. Vague references to “law enforcement agencies” which since RIPA (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act) means everyone down to the council dustman and to “those engaged in activities that cause serious harm” which could of course mean anything. Prepare for the paramilitary wing of the five-a-day co-ordinators to kick down your door at 4 am and seizing your cheese and Theresa pleasuring herself with a root vegetable over your pr0n stash as she May.

The largest manhunt in British criminal history was for the Yorkshire Ripper. Huge quantities of information, interviews, tip-offs and all the rest were collected and back then it was on card indexes. It hampered the enquiry because it was a total information overload. Ah, you say but they now have computers and data-mining techniques and all that. So do we. The quantity of information we are talking about is horrendously larger. If they really want to store details of every tweet, SMS, PM, phone call, VOIP, email, web-site access, download, torrent, file-share… Then they might as well build a total library. Where’s the best practical place to hide a book? Where’s the best conceivable place to hide one? Here. I hope Jorge is having a laugh.

From the Wikipedia article linked above:

In “The Net of Babel”, published in Interzone in 1995, David Langford imagines the Library becoming computerized for easy access. This aids the librarians in searching for specific text while also highlighting the futility of such searches as they can find anything, but nothing of meaning as such. The sequel continues many of Borges’s themes, while also highlighting the difference between data and information, and satirizing the Internet.

I don’t know whether to join Borges in his chuckles or be very afraid.

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