Friday, July 27, 2007

Tour de France - Latest Positions

Standing Rider Rider number bib Team Time Gaps
86h 06' 06" + 01' 50"
3. BLUDD-DOPING Lord 1161 UNFORTUNATE DISCOVERY TEAM 86h 07' 05" + 02' 49"
4. STEROIDO Anna-Bollick 3491 TEAM MERCK 86h 10' 18" + 06' 02"
86h 10' 45" + 06' 29"
86h 14' 34" + 10' 18"
7. GONADOTROPHIN Alotta 44327 MOBILE TEAM 86h 15' 52" + 11' 36"
86h 17' 03" + 12' 47"
9. SULPHATI Amphetamini 21439 ROCHE MATERIEL
86h 17' 47" + 13' 31"
86h 17' 58" + 13' 42"

I've Heard of Competition ...

But this is taking things too seriously :

Two helicopters collided in midair and crashed while covering a police pursuit in central Phoenix Friday afternoon, killing at least two people.

Both helicopters were news choppers from local television stations.

KNXV-TV Channel 15 reported that one of the choppers belonged to the station. The other chopper was from KTVT Channel 3 in Phoenix.

It Takes A Village ... To Abuse and Kill The Village Idiot ...

It looks as though the policy of encouraging those who were once called 'simples' or 'naturals' to live an independent life in the "community" has among its drawbacks that some people will discover the pleasure of abusing and torturing them.

The jury at the Truro Crown Court heard Mr Hoskin, who had the reading ability of a six-year-old, was burnt with cigarettes, walked around on a dog lead and was forced to confess to being a paedophile. He was also forced to eat 70 paracetamol tablets.

The teenage girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the court a plan was then hatched to take him to the top of a viaduct in Trenance Road, St Austell "to scare him". Steven Hoskin, 38, from St Austell, Cornwall, was humiliated and abused for hours by a gang, a court heard. He was drugged, taken to a viaduct and forced to hang from railings. The 17-year-old girl stamped on his hands causing him to fall 100ft to his death.

Darren Stewart, 30, was jailed for life and the girl detained. Another man was convicted of manslaughter. Martin Pollard, 21, had also been accused of murder but was convicted of the lesser charge by a jury at Truro Crown Court. Two 17-year-old boys, who cannot be named, were also found guilty of assault and false imprisonment.

The West Country seems to be a dangerous place for vulnerable people.

Not content with keeping Kevin Davies prisoner in a garden shed for six weeks, his captors also forced him to make a disturbing hostage-style video. In it an emaciated, weak and scared looking Kevin tells the camera he is being fed perfectly. But in fact he was given only a few potato peelings and other scraps and there were traces of weed killer in his body when he died.

Kevin Davies was beaten and burned repeatedly in a shed belonging to Amanda Baggus and her boyfriend David Lehane at a house in Badgers Way, Bream, Gloucestershire, and only allowed out to do chores for his captors. He was found dead at the house on 26 September 2006.

Naval Clash In Firth Of Clyde

I don't remember this last year - the US Navy threatening to blow the Kilcreggan-Gourock Ferry out of the water.

Via Bawbags, who's started posting again after a long layoff. Nice Lovecraftian take on Dunoon, too - described as :

"With wooded hills looming over it, one road in and out, the reliance on river ferries, the general air of decay and it's infamous soapstone carving of Dagon in the town square ..."

Click The Pepper

Anyone know anything about this company, who offer monthly insurance policies for learners ?

They're underwritten by Collingwood, a Gibraltar-based insurer.

It seems like a good product, but you only find out what an insurer's like at claim time. Anyone made a claim with them ?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

An Excellent BBC Programme

Lst week's File On Four, on council housing, was an absolute cracker. Recommended.

Tragically the 'listen again' webcast has been overwritten by this week's edition. But there is a transcript (pdf) with all the ghastly details.

What the programme basically tells us is that Margaret Hodge's allegations on housing were correct. Recently arrived economic migrants and those granted asylum can go straight to the top of the queue - because it's needs-based rather than entitlement-based.

Ms Hodge asked whether that was fair, for asking which question she was accused of using the language of the BNP.

So is Margaret Hodge right when she says that economic migrants with urgent needs, will usually be housed in place of local families who’ve just been waiting a long
time? The Borough’s Director of Housing, David Woods says Yes, but…

WOODS: That statement needs to be qualified. First of coming from abroad first of all you have to have the right to live in the UK, secondly you have to have been here for at least a year and in some cases have worked here for a year.

NORTHAM: And if a migrant family has been in the borough for at least a year, would Margaret Hodges’ case then be right that they would usually get priority if they had multiple housing need ?

WOODS: Yes they would, but they wouldn’t get priority over other local people who’ve got the same priority need and who’ve been here longer.

NORTHAM: So when she says that a recently arrived migrant family with multiple housing needs will usually get priority over a family who may have lived in the borough for three generations and are stuck at home with the grandparents, she’s right?

WOODS: She’s right provided she means by recently arrived, people who’ve been here for the qualifying period.

NORTHAM: Do you want to rethink that policy as Margaret Hodge clearly thinks you should?

WOODS: I think it’s very difficult to move away from a position where we allocate housing on the basis of need.
So there's no doubt that if you've arrived in Barking with damn-all from Kurdistan, got asylum then brought over wifie and five kids, you're in and the locals are out.

Not all councils are like Barking and Dagenham. One of Hodge's points, echoed by Lib Dem Lynne Featherstone , was that it isn't just the evil racist whites (who could probably be ignored) moaning about unfairness. In Newham borough, not exactly a white ghetto or BNP stronghold, the leader Sir Robin Wales has an innovative strategy, bending the law to its limits by putting as many applicants as possible into the 'priority' category, then allocating by time on the list.

The elected Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, regards the needs-based allocation system with nothing short of disdain.

WALES: Essentially what we’ve got at the moment is a race to the bottom, What we do is we allocate properties on the basis of how you present yourself to a local council, so you walk in and say I’m homeless you get a greater priority then you walk in and say I’ve managed to do something for myself but I’m still looking for a council property. And so the whole way we allocate is unfair, it doesn’t necessarily enable us to support aspiration.

NORTHAM: Are you telling me that you don’t think there are people who are genuinely homeless and need urgent housing?

WALES: Well what do you mean by that, do you mean there…

NORTHAM: I mean they haven’t got anywhere to live?

WALES: Yeah and then we’d house them, we’ve got private sector accommodation we’d get them in. We’ve got almost, we’ve got…

NORTHAM: But they wouldn’t have access to council housing?

WALES: Ah they would, they’d have access to council housing on exactly the same basis as everybody else…

NORTHAM: They’d have to wait?

WALES: They’d have to wait the same as everybody else, but what they would do is get into the private sector. That seems to me right and we should support that.

NORTHAM: Even an elected Mayor can’t instruct his housing department to break the law. But the Council has devised a way of trying to minimise the impact of the law giving preference to needs. It crams as many applicants as it can into the priority band, well over two-thirds of its 28,000 strong waiting list, and then treats them strictly in order of waiting-time.

WALES: We’ve got 19,000 in priority and we try and put as many people in there as possible so that we can have a fair system…

NORTHAM: A fair system meaning?

WALES: The fair system would be the longer you wait the higher up the list you are. Now I think people understand that, if you say look we’ve all got to wait it’s a queue, you wait in the queue and when your turn comes you have a chance that’s the right way to do it at least partially.

NORTHAM: And the way that you’re doing it is to put as many people as possible into the priority band?

WALES: Yes, yes absolutely.

NORTHAM: And you’re allowed to do that within the law are you?

WALES: We operate absolutely within the law but we try and push it the furthest we can because we believe that everybody should have the same fair access.

NORTHAM: So you say that you’re pushing the law as far as possible does the law need to be changed?

WALES: Absolutely, the law should be changed to allow us to do the allocations policy we want, we think we should have local discretion but even if the Government doesn’t want to do that we think something round queuing is fair. People understand queues. The British people are essentially fair minded people and if you say to them it’s a queue you’ve got to wait your turn they understand that.

The needs-based system rewarded not only the unfortunate, but the feckless and criminal. It's (along with a needs-based benefits system) created the underclass.

When applied in a world of open borders, it's creating an 'otherclass'.

Frank Field the MP for Birkenhead, has become a trenchant critic of the current housing law. He argues that the system of allocation according to need serves to make losers out of the very people who should win.

FIELD: I object to the way council houses are allocated. The vast majority of my constituents in Birkenhead do and my guess is in the country as a whole in that they feel the form of allocation is unfair, people believe that it’s wrong as a primary aim to give that scarce resource on the basis of need rather than on the basis that I’ve actually earned my right to that. That society goes round because people work, because people play the game, because people are decent citizens and that should be rewarded rather than ‘ah look I’m actually homeless or I’ve managed to persuade people that I am deemed to be homeless therefore I should shoot to the top of the list’.

NORTHAM: So your view is that the law which currently places emphasis, great emphasis on the priority of people in need, your saying that law is simply wrong?

FIELD: I’m saying the law is wrong, I’m saying that we in Parliament should actually change that law, that we should reward citizenship we should give it a greater weight than we should award being deemed homeless.

NORTHAM: Are you recreating the 19th century distinction between the deserving and the undeserving poor here?

FIELD: Well we’ve got it and that is that the decent citizens are deemed undeserving and I think that’s wrong.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Follow The Money

One of the perennial themes of the Guardianista is the uniquely evil agenda of Rupert Murdoch. I'm not sure his evil goes beyond a common love of money - the only unique feature being his singular efficiency and drive towards that goal.

Take the Guardian's near-monopoly of public sector job adverts. Rupert's boys have noted all the moolah and want a slice of the action.

Wednesday is the Guardian's "Society" section - why not steal a march with Tuesday's "Public Agenda" supplement.

But it's nowhere near as fat yet as "Society". How can they attract more publicly funded types ?

They know their market alright. The biggest feature is an interview with the Howard League's Frances Crook, the Lawyer of the Week is the guy who successfully defended Shambo (until it was overturned on appeal), the back page features heartwarming stories from the social exclusion frontline.

Frances Crook's ideas are a million miles away from Joe Public, who would generally like to see more villains put away, not fewer. It speaks volumes for the capture of our taxes by the Left that she is apparently considered a draw for publicly funded readers.

It's not all bad news though.

"Frances Crook has been burgled twice in the past year"

Cultural Revolution Almost Complete

Never mind the dying off older generation - take a look at the kids :

Casting directors are lost for words because the next generation of British actors just cannot speak proper. The rise of “Estuary English” has left children with the intonation patterns of Lily Allen and Jonathan Ross, regardless of their background.

The decline in Received Pronunciation has not just transformed the presentation of BBC News. Film and drama producers are struggling to fill period roles that require unrepentantly middle-class vowels. BBC One is holding an open casting session tomorrow to try to find two girls to star in a film-length adaptation of the classic children’s novel Ballet Shoes. Victoria Wood and Marc Warren have signed up to star in the story, by Noel Streatfeild, set in 1930s London. But the challenge of finding two ballet-dancing leads who can act, twirl and – most importantly – speak in middle-class accents has defeated the producers.

"We’ve been to drama schools, ordinary schools and children’s agents, but we still haven’t found the right girls," said Susie Parriss, the casting director.

"It doesn’t matter whether you go to public schools or comprehensives, children just speak common estuary now."

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Wave of Hyperbole Threatens England

"LONDON — Much of central England is preparing to be swept under a destructive tide of water Tuesday, as the worst floods in centuries continue to grow in intensity and the British government struggles with a domestic emergency of vast proportions."

The water may have hit some record heights, if it's true that Tewkesbury Abbey hasn't been this depth since 1760. The Gray Monk would know - he's blogging the floods from the centre. But I'm not sure the destructive tide of water compares with the 500 deaths in 1953.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Water !

All day I face
The barren waste
Without the taste
Of water
Cool, clear water

(Along with bottled water, deodorant is flying off the supermarket shelves. Can't imagine why.)

UPDATE - new flood misery for residents of Hull.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Equal but Different

David Farrer compares the attitudes to the national flag of councils in England and Scotland.

Where's David Orland ?

We are as yet some months away from the autumnal French rioting season, but the loss of David Orland's now defunct Faute de Pire blog from Paris will be felt. Let's hope the man returns.

He's got previous. His Faute de Mieux blog disappeared in similar fashion a few years back.

There's a fair amount of his stuff on the web, some archived at

Travel much outside the U.S. and you are bound to meet people who are heavily invested, partisan observers of American domestic politics. You get used to it. This was not the first time I had been cornered on the issue of convicted cop-killer and death-row-celebrity, Mumia Abu-Jamal. Only a week before the incident at the café, I was taken aside by a very drunken Frenchwoman and forced to explain my position on Mumia: how could I possibly justify applying the death penalty in his case ? You mean apart from the fact that he's guilty ? I asked. It was all downhill from there ...

In recent years, the left has increasingly tended to conceive of oppression in exclusively racial terms. In place of Marx's proletariat we now have "the brown people of the earth." And, in place of Marx's "capitalist-bourgeosie" we are offered "the white European male." Class war has become race war and, as in all holy wars, there's satisfaction in believing you're on the right side of history.

For these Marxists gone bad, Mumia fits the bill to a tee. As a teenager, he served as the Minister of Information for the Philadelphia chapter of the Black Panther Party. Later, he worked as a cab driver, moonlighted at a radical black radio station and was affiliated with the notorious black nationalist organization, MOVE. He had cool dreads, wrote underground journalism, and, until recently, was on death row. In him, one could recognize a whole cluster of dearly held left-wing clichés: the grass-roots black intellectual; the despairing race rebel who turns to violence; the victim of white oppression singing from his prison cell. These clichés are the key to Mumia's worldwide success and prove, once again, that there is no end to the sentimentality of the left. For his supporters, Mumia the individual never mattered. Neither, for that matter, did Mumia the criminal cop-killer. No, what has always mattered most is Mumia the image, Mumia the symbol, Mumia the standard-bearer.