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Archive for July, 2009

Irani Redux

One of the recent episodes of The Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade has a really great discussion about the current situation in Iran.  For any one like myself still trying to follow the situation there (without the benefit of speaking Farsi) this is a really amazing resource.  I’ve only been listening to the Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade for a few months, but it continues to amaze me – it is one of the few alternative media sources I’ve found that still has a real sense of honesty to it (and by that I mean they don’t pretend to be fair and balanced but they still have journalistic integrity).  In this way I’d consider it something akin to the radio equivalent of a glossy magazine that comes shrink wrapped with Democracy Now.

BTW: For the Irani situation skip to 43 min’s into the podcast.

Links to the most current radio feeds for the shows mentioned for those with iTunes / pod-catchers:

Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade
Democracy Now

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Your Moment of Zen

I expect Amy Siskend is already trying to book a slot of Fox News to defend Palin’s literary credentials 😉

Edit: DMCA lameness, go here instead.

WTF? Meet The Mega Birther.

July 30, 2009 6 comments

I give Yes To Democracy major kudos for exposing the stupid Birther movement. They are the best at it.I doubted even they would have predicted this madness.

I guess it should have been expected. I guess that the home of all 100% false rumours linking the then Candidate Barack Obama to imaginary whitey tapes and worse, just had to get in on the stupid.

The short term collective home for the Birfer Bigots, TexasDarlin, Polarik and TechDude has been feeling left out of this Birfer nonsense.

With Berg and Taitz throwing crappy law suits at each other, Agent Flowbee Johnson would need something big to enter this level of stoopid. Orly has made TV appearances displaying her level of stoopid. In fact it would have to exceed PUMA levels of stupid.

It does that and more.

Mega Birther

Agent Flowbee uses this “Hawaii Birth Certificate”

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

to prove Barack Obama is hiding one big thing.

The one big thing we should have all spotted from the start,

according to Flowbee, Barack Obama is

white

Yep. That is why Agent Flowbee thinks Barack Obama is “hiding” his birth certificate. Seriously. Look and wonder at the stoopid.

So, welcome to the World of Agent Flowbee, where black is white and white is black, night is day, up is down and where Birfers march ever onward towards complete insanity!.

Where there is proof positive Barack Obama is white – because Agent Flowbee says so. This is just so on par with the Whitey Tape for its stupidity.

As I pointed out the other day one fact Barack did not want in front of the public was his adoption by the Indonesian muslim, Lolo Soetoro. This does not disqualify him from being President.

His name was originally recorded as BARRY not Barack.

Here’s another kicker. His race was listed as “white.” Tough to be an authentic black man when your birth certificate states you are white.

Well done Larry, for proving stupid has no bottom rung.

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The Free Market In Jail

John Harris’ recent post at the Guardian about the UK governments increasing use of outsourcing predicts that:

“by 2014, 25% of prisoners could be the responsibility of private firms”

Despite his rather shoddy efforts to pin the blame for this on Thatcher – rather than the current Labour regime – he does raise what I consider to be the most important point about this issue:

“The prospect of more private prisons underlines warnings that contracting-out will soon threaten control of policy.”

This should be a no brainier for anyone with even the most rudimentary understanding of how business and politics works.  Privatising prisons sets up a feedback loop that leads to more prisoners – a loop that becomes increasingly difficult to break the longer it exists.  Even a 100% state run prison system is going to be resistant to the lowering of prisoner numbers (due to lobbying by employment unions and other factors) but add in large, politically well connected, outsourcing groups to the mix and the situation becomes absurd.

The US has a part privatised prison system and also the largest prison population in the world, it has some of the longest sentences for drug related crimes and a drug problem so big it requires military intervention in other sovereign nations.  Recently a US judge was jailed for taking kickbacks from a juvenile detention centre, considering that most of the kickbacks paid are legal (in the form of lobbying) this case is just the tip of the iceberg.

Harris invokes the author Philip K Dick in his article, so in that spirit here’s a sci-fi story of my own: The year is 2030, 75% of the UK prison system is run by private firms.  A majority of voters from every major political party favours the legalisation of cannabis.  Following the success of similar programs implemented across France, Germany and much of South America there is a growing social movement to deal with heroin users by simply providing them with heroin on the NHS and only jailing them if they commit other crimes.  Despite this there is no political will to implement the changes and no laws are passed.  Progressive pundits speculate this is due to every major political party receiving large amounts of funding from private prison companies.

Is this a paranoid dystopian vision? Yes – because when the penal system is being converted into a for profit business linked to large lobbying interests there is every reason to be paranoid.

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Categories: Main Blog - General

Please Minister, May I Have Some More?

Of late, quite a few public officials have wanted to volunteer how especially useless their job is. This is of course good, who ever takes on the reigns of British Government after the next election will indeed face many many challenges and appalling public finances. After all, the Government will want to strip out services areas that have become the Department of Silly Walks.

Step forward, Gill Fine. “Director” of “Consumer choice and Dietary Health” at the Food Standards Agency. Of course as this is a Government Department, her role actually means getting rid of food choice. Her service is consulting on just how to do this right now.

The Government, wants the British public to buy fewer fatty foods and sugary drinks. An admirable aim. The NHS employs people with the same admirable aims, they are called dieticians, but never mind, a little bit of Government duplication is fine.

The British public have not however been buying fewer fatty foods and sugary drinks. That is of course their choice. Well not according to Ms Fine.

English people and that includes me, are all such fat ugly people we can not make up our own minds. In fact we are so fat and unable to do anything by ourselves, we must be forced to do it.

Cakes are easy to deal with. Cut the saturated fat. Tesco has already managed to remove 110 tonnes of saturated fat from their cakes. I would not want to see what that looked like. Of course, it does not tell you how much sugar went in to replace the fat (therefore making it less suitable for diabetics), nor does it tell you of what the increase in food waste was, given that the fat was for shelf life. Anyway thumbs up to Tesco for having slipped past the fact it is selling low fat versions of their full fat cakes and no one noticed.

You may also have noticed that “full fat” drinks have had the amount of sugar they contain reduced, supplemented by Rumsfield’s poison gift to the World, Aspartame. (TM Dr Death). It will be this Department that has encouraged such changes in recipe. (Or as they call it “reformulate”).

The Food Standards Agency is supposed to be independent, set up in the wake of the outbreaks of BSE and foot and mouth disease. So it is of no surprise to learn that Lord Rooker (previously Jeff Rooker), the former food minister, during the Foot & Mouth crisis, is head of it.

He will be paid around £55k a year and will need to work 8 days a month on this quango.

They cannot reformulate chocolate. In Belgium, chocolate is chocolate. The Europeans do not really like what the British call chocolate and thus they ensured that chocolate had to contain some chocolate product as a kind of starting point. The Belgians were the most vociferous about this. The Belgians, who make really bloody good chocolate, tried to ensure that the British product was called something like cocoa based non animal fat sludge product. One thinks that would not have done much for sales. Of course, Ms Gill would have been happy. However I doubt that the Cadbury family would be too happy.

The Ministry of Funny Walks has a solution to that. Make the chocolate companies give us less. Even though I personally could choose to buy less. Who cares about personal choice. Manufacturers will be told to shrink portion sizes. The appropriately named Ms Fine, wants chocolate-based snacks such as Mars bars to be no bigger than 50g compared with the current 58g size and bars of chocolate to be no larger than 40g. Reducing the size of the Yorkie Bar down by over a 1/3rd.

These are some of the current size

  • Mars bar 58g to lose 8g
  • Snickers 58g to lose 8g
  • Dairy Milk 49g to lose 9g
  • Galaxy 46g to lose 6g
  • Yorkie 68g to lose 28g

Remember you will probably still pay the same 🙂

I do wonder if those in the Ministry of Silly Walks know that these sizes can be purchased in “fun bags”?

Anyway these people have form. The Ministry of Funny Walks tried this in 2004. They attempted to ban King Size products just before the last General Election to show Ministers it was actually doing something. Of course they made a complete failure of it andpeople just laughed. Mars kept selling a King Size product, but conveniently provided it as 2 3/4 length bars and renamed it DUO. The good ol’ baby burning French Nestlé, just ignored the Government.

If the aim of the ban was to ensure that stupid people who were unable to break in half the King Size Bar, were now given more freedom by having it broken for them, the Ministry of Silly Walks won. If it was to cut down on the number of king sized chocolate bars – they did so only if you count a name change as abolition.

Even better, the Ministry of Silly Walks wants canned drinks reduced from the standard 330ml (33fl oz) that they are now to the nice airplane stubby 250ml (25 fl oz) and those 330ml fruit drinks reduced to 250ml as well. After all, you would not then buy a 500ml bottle, or two smaller cans if you so chose.

The problem for this official, Gill Fine, is that this thing is about as popular as Gordon Brown selling the Congestion Charge to residents of Kensington and Chelsea. The last time they tried anything like this, it was in the papers for weeks, with Government Ministers putting their names to all the documents. This time the Press Release is left, to the “Director of Consumer Choice and Dietary Health”. Not even a Ministerial rent a quote on the Press release. Of course that press release is amusing.

Ms Fine, declares “We recognise the excellent work already achieved by some food businesses to make healthier eating easier. But to make even greater progress it’s important that everybody gets behind our recommendations on saturated fat, added sugar and portion sizes.

“The food industry regularly reviews its ingredients and processes, as well as portion sizes, and the aim of this proposal is to encourage them to consider how they can play their part in improving public health and helping consumers to maintain a healthy weight.

“What we are not doing is telling people what to eat! What we want to do is to make it easier for people to make healthier choices – to choose foods with reduced saturated fat and sugar – or smaller portion sizes.”

Of course not Ms Fine. Just remember when people make a choice there has to be a choice. Stopping choice is not “enabling” it is not “making it easier” (well it is in kind of a way). It is nannying.

If people want more they will get more. They are not dependent on the Government to make that choice. Therefore the 58g Mars bar instead of becoming 50g becomes 100g. Unless you control how much we buy. Just a few steps away.

I seem to remember a very famous film scene, in which a young boy became somewhat unsatisfied with his “healthier choice”, yep,

this

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It’s all quite simple really…..

July 29, 2009 3 comments

It doesn’t matter how you feel about it, whether you think it’s ok, whether the thought of it repulses you, whether your god tells you it’s ok or not, whether you think your kids will be negatively or positively affected by it. As United States Citizens, we don’t have a choice on whether to accept or tolerate it or not. This is not about your choice or your vote, it’s simply about the Constitution. The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution states the following;

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

That’s right, all citizens have the right to equal protection, it doesn’t say all straight citizens and it doesn’t say all gay citizens, it simply says all persons born or naturalized in the United States, in other words all citizens. Now some people might argue that marriage is a church ritual that should not change to accommodate what they view as a sin, well the minute that marriage was given all the federal and state benefits that it now holds, was the minute it stopped being an exclusive right of the church.
Once rights are given to even just 1 person, those rights must be given to the other citizens as well, equal protection of the laws. If the government wants to restrict the rights of a certain group of citizens, or even 1 single citizen for that matter, then the only fair thing to do is to restrict the rights of all citizens that are currently enjoying the benefit of said law. In other words, take away all the federal and state benefits and protections currently afforded under the law regarding marriage and make it only a church ritual, only then can they call it their own.

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This is how to handle bigots.

A year ago, the House Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee held a hearing on DADT that received wide attention, primarily for the way many of the Congressman Patrick Murphy called bullshit on the supporters of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

This video should be a lesson to all Democrats. This is how you handle bigots. It winds them right up – GET IN THEIR FACES. He goes right for the bigot psycho Elaine Donnelly should be viewed again and again…particulary by those gay group talking heads afraid of appearing “not nice” when they appear opposite Antigay Industy troglodytes on TV:

I initially did not care much for Senator Gillibrand initially, she had some strange backers such as the sick hypocrite Amy Siksind.

However she has now taken up the battle for gay rights in America and whether that is because she is being primaried, I do not know (or care). She initially sought an 18 month moratorium on DADT, but tabled the bill as she could not get support to table it to the Defense Expenditure Bill.

She is now going for the Senate Armed Services Committee. Good on her.

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