Sunday, 18 January 2009
Wednesday, 5 March 2008
And we start with the news that hundreds of thousands of families have just found out if their children have gotten in to the schools of their choice. Of course the politicians seem to spend all day debating how they can make sure parents get “the right to choose” but for me that rather obviates the real question: why do we have schools which parents will happily move house and open a court case to get their kids away from? And of course these schools end up full of the kids whose parents can’t be bothered to find a good school for them. So to add to the misery of knowing your parent’s don’t give a stuff about you, you end up at a school even paedophiles would think twice about going to.
A nurse who murdered four elderly patients has been ordered to spend at least 30 years in prison. The BBC coverage was quite cautious – describing him as “evil” in inverted commas. I think once you’ve murdered four, you’re pretty definitely evil. He killed the four women by giving them an overdose of insulin and was caught out when a particularly bright doctor noticed that they weren’t diabetic.
Karl Taylor is also facing a minimum 30 years in jail after he murdered Kate Beagley after meeting her for a date. His defence team actually had the nerve to argue that she “became hysterical and threw her throat against his knife more than 30 times, thus technically committing suicide”. Now there are times in my life when things have gone wrong for me emotionally and I’ll not deny that I’ve been hysterical. I might have shouted angrily, stamped my feet, or even slapped someone who was pissing me off. I have to say I’ve never been quite hysterical enough to attack a knife with my neck. How stupid do they think jurors are? Your honour he sucked the bullet out of my handgun with his magnetic force field.
Culture Minister Margaret Hodge has said the proms are not inclusive enough and attract too narrow a section of society. Yeah, they’re the proms, they’re classical music concert, what did you want, the Royal Philharmonic singing Bob the Builder, Can He Fix It? This is yet another part of the on-going search for some defining icon of Britishness which the racists in power can then use as an excuse to deport anyone who isn’t caucasian. Instead Herr Hodge of the Gestapo praised Coronation Street as an icon of a common culture. Well I must say when I watch northerners arguing in a grubby pub in a street with a higher murder rate than Beirut, it does make me proud to be British. Well it would do but of course I don’t watch Coronation Street cos it’s rubbish. David Cameron said he thought the proms were a great symbol of Britishness because of all the flag-waving. This of course means he’s talking about the last night of the proms which is basically a concert for those stupid enough to enjoy Coronation Street but too inbred to have the opposable thumbs required to operate a remote control. Personally I seldom bond so closely with my fellow Brits as when we’re engaged in a heated debate slagging off both groups.
A judge in Japan has thrown out a conviction for destruction of property against model Serena Kozakura after she demonstrated that her boobs were too big for her to have crawled through the hole in the door used by the alleged intruder. Well I can’t help thinking the possibly the real issue was that after the evidence had been presented the judge was in no fit state to make important decisions.
Some good, if long overdue and too incremental to make much real difference, news, the minimum wage is to rise 3.8% to £5.73 an hour in October. This will mean that those working full time on minimum wage will continue to be able to afford free food and walking to work.
Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly has admitted that concerns about privacy, fairness and enforcement for her road charging scheme could not yet be satisfactorily answered. The programme plans to launch hugely expensive satellites to track every single car in the UK , every single minute of every day and charge them for using the roads. Satellite and surveillance equipment makers are unbelievably in favour of the scheme. Everybody else in the country with half a brain has noticed that if you want to charge people for using the roads, you can just raise the tax on petrol. This has the added advantage of taxing those who use a lot of petrol more and those with more efficient vehicles less. Ms Kelly said, "People legitimately raised concerns about privacy, fairness and how any scheme would be enforced. We don't have all the answers to those questions yet. We can't introduce this without having answers to those questions.” I’m thinking she meant “Come on boys, everyone can see these proposals are completely stupid so you’re gonna have to bribe me hard if you want them through...”. Watch this space though, sometime in the next few weeks we’re going to hear “Tonight’s headlines and Jordan has gotten her boobs out, as this detailed footage shows ... and we’re all getting road charging whether we like it or not ... and in London three men with beards have been arrested and accused of trying to blow up the whole country with a big dirty/nuclear/chemical* (*delete as appropriate) weapon. The men are expected to be held for three days and then let go after we admit we’ve got no evidence and only arrested them so people wouldn’t think the met were doing nothing about terrorism.”
Monday, 3 March 2008
A Labour MP has suggested that in the wake of the Ipswich murders brothel and prostitute visitors should be forced to leave a DNA sample. Which is odd because if there’s one thing I imagine most guys leave after visiting a prostitute, I’d say it was a teaspoonful-sized DNA sample.
Other political pundits have suggested the solution which would actually work – criminalising men who pay for sex. You see most prostitutes don’t actually want to be prostitutes. Hence why these kinds of jobs aren’t normally discussed at school parent’s evenings and careers fairs. “Well Mrs Jones, Jessica hasn’t got very good grades in her mock GCSEs but she does have a really nice pair of tits so we think a vocational program may be a good idea to help get her onto the streets and earning a decent wage. She could do a six-month apprenticeship, following an experienced sex worker and making notes, then eventually look to set up her own offices. What do you think? Well yeah being a child care assistant is another option...” So a law telling women they’re not allowed to work as prostitutes doesn’t have any effect because they’re all doing it under duress. They not going to turn round and go “well I really do want that crack and my passport back but since i heard about the early-day motion in parliament, i’m starting to reconsider...”
On the other hand guys who visit prostitutes have a fair amount of control over the matter. If they have a burning and uncontrollable urge to let off some sexual steam but don’t want to visit a sex worker they can simply pop down to Blockbusters and get the Hollyoaks box set out.
A British chef who works as a TV presenter in the US has been fired from his job after elements of his CV turned out to have been falsified. Robert Irvine was a presenter on Dinner: Impossible, a show where chefs have to make meals in difficult circumstances, like after they’ve run out of hummus and pitted olives. Seriously if you’re making a show called Dinner: Impossible and it’s not film in a refugee camp in Darfur, it’s bullshit isn’t it?
Anyway what’s great about the story is the scale of the lies Irvine got away with. He said he had a castle in Scotland, he said he had cooked for US presidents in the White House, he said he was a friend of Prince Charles and that he made the wedding cake for Charles and Diana’s wedding, including icing illustrations of their family histories onto the sides of the cake. He then insisted on being introduced as Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, which everyone knows is a character in Star Trek. And the thing is he made five series of his TV show before anyone started to smell a rat. Irvine has come out and apologised for his false statements, I’d be out there laughing my socks off going “You guys fell for all that? Is there some sort of post-humus Jeremy Beadle award for best long-running prank”.
David Cameron has said he would build an extra 5,000 prison places. Which would be enough to accommodate about half of the members of his own party convicted of fraud, money-laundering and fox hunting. He also said he wanted charities to do more to get prisoners off of drugs. Yeah great, that’s the trouble in this country – charities not working hard enough. I think you might find that before they can do any more work charities need some money.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said the presence of foreign forces in Iraq is a humiliation and an insult to the region. The he said that only regional forces should be in Iraq, for example Iranian forces. Mmmm. What an interesting example. So just for example, he thinks his own troops should be running Iran, with who as their leader? Could it be – for example – him?!
Monday, 25 February 2008
An inquest is being held into the death of a man who collapsed during a fairy-cake-eating competition at a nightclub in Swansea. Reporters asked officers from the local constabulary if they had found any clues. They replied “hundreds and thousands”.
In a survey 71% of school children admitted being bullies. Which does mean competition has hotted up in the search for suitable victims. A few years ago you had to be ginger, dressed in ADSA clothing and have a lisp to expect to have to trade in your lunch money to avoid a kicking. Now even a hole in your jumper or a lack of a comprehensive knowledge of text slang is enough to see you begging not to be given a wedgie. The news, though worrying for pupils and parents alike has been hailed as excellent news by captains of industry who have seen middle management ranks depleted over recent years.Travel
Motorists will be targeted by a new generation of road cameras which work out how many people are in a car by measuring the amount of bodily fluid it contains. The rather sinister idea uses cameras which work by sending an infrared beam through the windscreen of vehicles which detects the unique make-up of blood and water content in human skin.
The idea is to catch out lone motorists who use car-sharing lanes and try to fool existing CCTV road cameras by placing mannequins in passenger seats or fixing photographs to windscreens.
The technology, originally developed by evil vampire armies, means that while the mannequin-photo strategies will no longer work, you can still use the car-sharing lanes if you have a corpse in the boot.
A suicide bomber in a wheelchair killed a top policeman and wounded four others in an attack on the police operations centre in the Iraqi city of Samarra today. You know your security is lax when a dude in a wheelchair slips through.
A care worker has lost her job over claims she used her mobile phone to film two old ladies fighting in a nursing home. Bolton council bosses have confirmed a full investigation has been launched and the carer is no longer employed at the home.
Now, as a legal precedent, what does this mean? Companies using CCTV seem to be allowed to film just about anything, as do the government and the police, but individuals who film stuff will get in trouble?
I can just see it now, Al Qaeda demanding punishment for all the people who filmed the airplanes flying into the World Trade Center. Or more likely it’s just the care home covering their tracks after realising somebody might notice the appalling conditions they in which they keep their patients? Surely the investigation should be into the care home who let two elderly women end up fighting.
Nine senior American directors of top international companies are preparing to quit Britain over the controversial "non-dom" tax proposals, the Daily Mail reported. The directors work for companies including Bank of America, McDonald's, Ernst & Young, and Bear Stearns and earn well over a million pounds a year and don’t pay taxes on it. So frankly I think at very least we’d all feel better about ourselves if we didn’t have to share our public spaces and services with them.
The nine are all threatening to move back to America, where they would actually have to pay a lot more tax on their earnings than the proposed £30,000 rate being proposed.
The Mail claims: "They are going to sell their houses in Mayfair or Kensington and Chelsea , dumping them on the market at an already difficult time. Then they will take their business overseas. Well, if they actually own multi-million-pound houses in Mayfair or Kensington, they can afford to pay as much in taxes as a highly-qualified an experienced hard-working UK-based professional who earns £90,000 a year. And anyway a drop in the housing market would be great news for all the young families finding it hard to get on to the property ladder.
The Mail adds, "Competing cities such as New York , Geneva ... and Frankfurt , would welcome these wealthy non-dom businessmen with open arms." That’s because New York , Geneva and Frankfurt would love to tax them.
You would think anyway given their usual coverage that the Daily Mail would be in favour of foreigners leaving British soil. Or could it be that the owners of the Daily Mail are all non-dom tax-dodgers...? You decide...
Thursday, 21 February 2008
A group of Italian scientists are researching the G-spot and the female orgasm. This already begs a few questions about the way these scientists are funded. It would have to be Italy wouldn’t it where some bright spark wanders into the higher education funding bureau and says “I want to study female orgasms and I’m going to need a lot of money”. Mmmm. Anyway they have “discovered” that in those women who have vaginal orgasms there is an area of the vagina where the tissue is thicker. This they claim is proof that the G spot exists and can be scientifically located. I have an alternative theory. I think those women who experience vaginal orgasms spend rather more time rubbing their vaginas and maybe that thickens up the bit of the vagina that they rub the most. Call me Einstein but I’d be prepared to bet good money that the thicker bit of the vagina is, ooh, about a finger-distance in.
The Doctor behind the research believes it will lead to the development of (and I quote) “a simple, rapid and inexpensive method [to determine] if a woman has a G spot or not”. I can think of another simple, rapid, inexpensive way to find out if you’ve got one girls – give the damn thing a good rub and see what goes off.
Another piece of BBC non-news. Turns out that what babies are fed for the first few weeks of their life can affect the way their brain develops. Really? So let me guess, feeding babies mostly gravel and amphetamines would be bad for them?
Steven Schkolne, an IT Professional from LA has invented a new sport called “speedcabling” in which competitors race to untangle a mesh of electronic cables, such as those found underneath many multi-appliance office desks. The first competition winner Matthew Howell said his technique was like going down rabbit holes and that (and I quote) “[you have to] really call on the element of air”.
In response David and I here at the podcast have invented our own new sport. It’s called “work out which one of those two is the biggest nutter”.
In fairness you have to give some credit to Schkolne who obviously realised his desk was a tip and rather than clear it up managed to convince a bunch of people that it was a sport. If any listeners want to take up competitive doing-Kate’s-ironing or cleaning-Kate’s-kitchen they should get in touch.
Home secretary Jacqui Smith has unveiled new plans to make many migrants to the UK complete a probationary citizenship phase. During this period they are expected to prove they have blended in to British society by collecting two ASBOs, having a fight in a car park over a spilt pint and eating until they are medically classified as obese. Language tests seem set to be introduced and here again the pass mark is easy to define, when asked if they’ve taken any language lessons the true Briton will take offence and angrily demand “are you calling me gay?”. Then they’ll be welcomed into the country with open arms and offered a job with the Conservative party.
In Northern Ireland the Rev Ian Paisley is expected to resign shortly from his role as first minister and retire. The thing is Ian Paisley is quite a scary bloke, especially in terms of that frightening accent he has. I pity the local pensioners club who will soon be greeted with [Paisley’s voice] “I WOULD LIKE TO PLAY CARPET BOWLS. DO YOU HAVE THE FACILITIES FOR THAT”. I think sales of colostomy bags to Northern Irish hospitals could be about to sky-rocket.
Wednesday, 20 February 2008
And a group of US-based scientists say the first stars in the universe may have been dark. Fair enough but I think I might need to go and check my definition of “star”. I think it has to be bright and shiny to be a star, I think what they’re talking about are vast lumps of anti-matter. It’s like Kylie Minogue is a star but Michelle McManus is a vast lump of anti-matter. Aww mean.
A 70-million-year-old fossil of a giant frog has been unearthed in Madagascar by a team of UK and US scientists. The creature was the size of a "squashed beach ball" and weighed about 4kg (9lb). “It’s a real shame it’s extinct”, said a French researcher brandishing a knife and fork.
The coroner investigating the deaths of four British soldiers in a roadside bomb blast in Iraq has called for better protection for troops. The Ministry of Defence responded saying there was "no such thing" as perfect protection. Oh well that’s all right then – we’ll all be using that excuse next time. “I ran over your kid, but hey, no-one’s perfect!”. Also there is a way offering perfect protection to our troops in Iraq. That’s by not marching them off to an illegal war in the first place.
A San Francisco court has ordered the closure of the website, Wikileaks.org This is the whistle-blowing website which allows people to anonymously post leaked materials with the goal of discouraging “unethical behaviour” by corporations and governments. The site has been doing a fantastic job so far of sharing documents revealing information about torture at Guantánamo Bay, and of what must be called for legal reasons, “possible evidence”, by which I mean “clear obvious irrefutable evidence” of companies colluding, polluting and thieving.
Now a case has been brought against the website by a Cayman Islands-based bank. Now before I explain the case any further lets play “guess who the good guys are”. Is it (a) the tax-haven-based private investment bank? Or is it (b) someone else. Scores later.
The bank claimed that a “disgruntled ex-employee” stole documents violating banking laws on confidentiality. Since when did banks have laws? I mean employee guidelines, sure, but laws are supposed to be set by governments aren’t they? And why would a bank need confidentiality “laws”? What exactly are they hiding?
The documents “allegedly” (i.e. really) detail how the bank helped people evade taxes and launder money. The first of these is a way of ripping of ordinary tax-payers and the second is used by criminals and terrorists alike to move their money around and make it untraceable. But for some reason the courts have decided that the breaking the banks internal confidentiality code is the bigger crime.
This is a bit like if you were filmed murdering someone or shagging a child and you managed to get off scott free and instead sue the owner of the camera for filming you without your consent. If that’s ever happened to you then thanks for listening to the podcast, Michael Jackson and OJ Simpson.
And you really have to ask how dim the police are in South Wales. A seventeenth teenager has been found dead in Bridgend, having taken her own life. At the ensuing press conference Assistant Chief Constable Dave Morris told reporters “We have found no suggestion of any suicide pact”. Right – what about the seventeen dead bodies. Surely that’s a clue. He went on to say “I would like to put to bed any suggestion within the media that we are investigating suicide pacts or suicide internet links”. No? Well you should be mate. Thinks it’s worth at least checking isn’t it? Before anyone else dies.
Tuesday, 19 February 2008
And the BBC reports that psoriasis care around the UK is inconsistent. They interviewed a number of doctors and patients all of whom were trying really very hard not to describe the quality of care in the UK as patchy or flaky. The report is actually pretty gruesome with claims that even basic things like bathing and showering facilities were insufficient, patients are having to apply potentially dangerous creams and lotions themselves and counselling is unavailable to many who want it, including those feeling suicidal. The government responded saying it was up to primary care trusts to choose local priorities for improving services. True enough, but it was the government who established the primary care trusts, assuring us at the time that treatment wouldn’t be affected. It’s kind of like if you’re supposed to be running a kitchen and someone asks why the dishes aren’t washed and you respond with “it’s up to junior members of kitchen staff to prioritise cleaning duties in their own areas”. You’d get fired, of course but then that’s an important job, running a kitchen, not a trivial one like running the country’s health.
Fidel Castro has stepped down as Cuban leader. The move prompted both Gordon Brown and George Bush to announce their hope that this would lead to democracy in Cuba, and that Cuba may sometime soon have a popular leader elected fairly by the people. Unlike the US and the UK. In case the Cuban people are still failing to see the benefits of a western democracy Bush has erected a small theme-park-style attraction in Cuba where the spoils of capitalism and democracy can be seen. It’s called Guantanamo Bay.
Mark Dixie, the man accused of murdering Sally-Anne Bowman really needs to think a bit more before he stands up in court and says things. Remember the story so far – his DNA is all over Sally-Anne’s body. He claims he didn’t kill her but he did have sex with her corpse as he was wandering home. Giving evidence yesterday he explained, so we wouldn’t all be totally horrified by his claims. He now says he didn’t realise she was dead until after he’d had sex with her. You really know your sexual technique isn’t up to much when you only realise afterwards that the person you’re shagging is dead.
The government’s counter terrorism watchdog has suggested that control orders – placing suspects under virtual house arrest should last no longer than two years and instead suspects should be given ASBOs. Now I’m not a fan of the ASBO, much as I dislike seeing behooded youths spitting, swearing and congregating in underground car parks kick cans about, I don’t think it’s the sort of thing that legislation solves and nor do I think that it’s a policy that stands any chance of being fairly implemented. The problem with ASBOs for terrorists however is isn’t it stretching it a bit to describe blowing up innocent people as "anti-social"?