Showing posts from July, 2014

Some Mistake

What's the connection between Oscar Pistorius and the 298 people killed by the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17? Well, it seems pretty clear that the pro-Russian separatists who shot the passenger plane out of the sky were not actually intending to kill 298 perfectly innocent civilians. No, they thought they were killing fellow Ukrainians and that this act was justified because they regard  themselves in a 'state of war' over their future or otherwise within Ukraine. But if these people were ver brought before a court of law, would their defence stand up to legal scrutiny? I think not, because it is essentially the exact same defence as Oscar Pistorius - I/we 'made a mistake'.    Which is some mistake if you ask me, because people who keep high powered weapons at home or even self-appointed Russian separatists both have a duty of care to other people - they are not at liberty to go around killing people and then blame their stupidity and

Black Holes and Empty Heads

Michele Bachmann is a 'barking mad' Republican Senator and darling of the Tea Party in America, so when I read this report on her views about the supposed 'danger of listening to scientists' I knew immediately that the poor, deluded woman was talking 'mince'. Ms Bachmann clearly doesn't like science or scientists which is presumably why she wants to ignore all the scientific evidence about climate change and evolution, for example. So I checked up on what Stephen Hawking had actually said on the subject and it turns out that Senator Bachmann doesn't know what she's talking about when it comes to black holes and event horizons speaking, as she does, as a committed 'creationist'             Stephen Hawking’s Blunder on Black Holes Shows Danger of Listening to Scientists, Says Bachmann BY ANDY BOROWITZ  - The New Yorker WASHINGTON ( The Borowitz Report )—Dr. Stephen Hawking’s recent statement that the black holes he famously describe

Unspeakable Cruelty

I'm not usually squeamish when it comes to the killing of animals for food, but this YouTube video from Animals Australia exposes unspeakable cruelty towards cattle exported to Gaza - and the delight with which people torture these poor creatures is completely at odds with any notion of humane slaughter. The people responsible and those who allow the export trade to continue should be ashamed of themselves after watching these terrible images.

Feeling Good

Here's one of my favourite songs of all time - Feeling Good by Nina Simone. I used to play this in the car when I was driving around from place to place with my children, when they were both quite young and not really into 'adult' music. But do you know what? - they both still love the song to this very day and that makes me feel great.

Spotlight on Sentencing

Here's another example of sentencing policy in the UK where the punishment meted out to a calculating murderer seems not to meet the seriousness of his crime. Now I know that 20 years is a long time in jail, but what I fail to understand is how anyone could even consider that it would be appropriate to release this cowardly killer back into the community in his early fifties. Because his murder was aggravated on a number of fronts - his wife was abused for years, she was murdered in cold blood, there was an organised cover up and attempt to escape justice (which would have left his in charge of three children), and the victim's body has never been recovered.   A crime of such depravity surely deserves a life sentence where 'life' really does mean life, yet the justice system will consider this man's release in 20 years time which is madness if you ask me.    Jealous husband jailed for 20 years for honour killing of his wife By  JONATHAN BROWN  - The Indep

My Husband, My Hero

Hugo Rifkind writing in The Times has an amusing take on Ed Miliband's efforts to spin his way of of trouble when it comes to his leadership of the Labour Party. As Hugo points out during the   2010 Labour leadership contest, the Ed Miliband camp was perfectly happy to portray David Miliband as an out of touch policy wonk with claims that "Ed speaks human", but now that the boot is on the other foot Team Ed is not so keen. And remember that David Miliband won a big majority of votes from individual Labour party members since Ed only 'beat' his older brother with the help of votes from trade union activists, overturning the wishes of Labour's grassroots membership.   So now the wife (Justine) is being wheeled out in a sign of desperation, if not panic although we have been here before, as I recall the toe-curlingly awful moment in 2009 when Sarah Brown 'introduced' Gordon Brown to the Labour Party conference, describing him as 'my husband, m

Shameful Act

The Times carried a well argued leader column on the Litvinenko Inquiry the other day which made the case that President Putin is pursuing a completely hard-nosed strategy in relation to Russian interests. In other words, a strategy that does not shy away from the cold-blooded murder of an irritating Russian exile in the shape of Alexander Litvinenko, with the leading suspect, Andrei Lugovoi, now firmly ensconced as a pro-Putin supporter in the Russian Duma (Parliament).  Now it is very difficult for civilised countries to respond adequately to this kind of barbarism because the UK was never going to respond in kind or take some kind of military action over the death of just one man. But Litvinenko's deliberate poisoning and terrible death was shameful act that ought not to be allowed to go unpunished in a just and civilised world.         The Litvinenko Inquiry The belated announcement of an inquiry into the murder of the Russian exile demonstrates the failure of a

More Fruitckaes

UKIP has more than its fair share of fruitcakes and loonies as this report from the BBC shows with yet another of the party's MEPs hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons. In this case ex-MEP, Nikki Sinclaire, has been charged with money laundering and fraudulently claiming expenses. Ex-MEP Nikki Sinclaire charged with money laundering and misconduct Nikki Sinclaire lost her European Parliament seat in May this year Former MEP Nikki Sinclaire has been charged with money laundering and misconduct in public office. Ms Sinclaire, 45, who represented the West Midlands for UKIP, then as an independent, will appear at Birmingham Magistrates' Court on 17 September. She is accused of making false and dishonest submissions for travelling expenses and transferring the proceeds of fraud through a bank account. She said she "strongly refuted" the charges and would be defending herself. The offences allegedly occurred between 1 October 2009 and 31 July 2010.'Lu

Balls Up

The BBC reports that the former head of children's services in Haringey Council, Sharon Shoesmith has been awarded £680,000 as a result of her unfair dismissal claim in which the Education Secretary at the time, Ed Balls, played a key part If you ask me, Ed Balls, now the Labour shadow chancellor, owes the taxpayer an apology for his heavy handed intervention in the case. Because as Secretary of State he had no right sticking his nose in where it didn't belong, not least because his motives were all about politics and had nothing to do with child welfare.         Baby P boss Sharon Shoesmith secures £680,000 payout Sharon Shoesmith said she "did not recognise" the amount being reported The former head of Haringey children's services Sharon Shoesmith has been awarded £679,452 following her unfair dismissal claim. Ms Shoesmith was sacked after a damning report into the 2007 death of Peter Connelly, known as Baby P, who was subjected to months o

Waste of Public Money

If it were not such a serious matter, you could laugh at the cheek of two murderers abusing human rights legislation to argue that they had a 'right' to vote in Scotland's referendum on independence.  One thing's for sure, the two people murdered by these two men won't get a vote in the referendum or any other future election, denying them their human rights on a permanent basis including the most important one of all - the right to life.  What a terrible waste of public money and not least because three judges in the Court of Sessions, Scotland's highest civil court, has already thrown the case out on its ear.     Scottish independence: Killers seek referendum vote By Reevel Alderson - BBC Scotland The two prisoners believe they should be allowed to vote on Scotland's future The UK Supreme Court is to be asked to overturn the ban on convicted prisoners being able to vote in the Scottish independence referendum. Two killers, serving life

Paperback Writer

Damian McBride, Gordon Brown's former spin doctor, has drawn attention to a paperback version of his 'Power Trip' book with a description of the Labour Party as a "great, steaming pile of fudge". The original hardback version of Power Trip was serialised in The Mail and the paper has leapt upon McBride's assessment of the current Labour leadership with gusto, which is hardly surprising with a general election only months away.   'No clear idea' and a 'steaming pile of fudge': Ed Miliband under extraordinary attack from Gordon Brown's key aide who warns Labour election plan is 'totally dysfunctional' Labour leader failing to communicate with voters, Damian McBride claims Former spin doctor says Mr Miliband has no persuasive policies Also attacked Labour's refusal to apologise for its record in office  Today's attack comes in updated version of McBride's tell-all memoirs He was spin doctor for Gordon Br