Sunday, March 13, 2005

If you like NEWSFELCH you'll LOVE. . . .

I have a confession to make.

I have been unfaithful.

It is time to come clean.

I have joined forces with a like minded friend - he shall be known to you as The Realist - to create a brand new blog: Liberal Elite. I shall keep good old NEWSFELCH up and running but the new joint venture will probably be my principal place of blogging activity for the foreseeable future. It's more engaging when you co-write a blog because you each drive the other on. It's a bit like "spotting" someone at the gym. Our competitive streaks will ensure that we try to outsmart or outwit the other and will hopefully lead to a more regularly updated outlet. Our modest initial aim is for there to be at least one new post a day on average between us.

The first post on Liberal Elite is sort of a mission statement outlining what we want it to be, what we're trying to do, etc. This amounts to basically ranting and raving about whatever takes our fancy. We want to address some big issues, respond to news, etc and generally just have fun with the medium. Both the name and the objectives are tongue in cheek.

Anyway, enough of all this. Get yourself over there, add it to your bookmarks and visit every day! Comments are encouraged, nay, mandatory. Let the debates begin!

Monday, March 07, 2005

New Zealand in desire for self determination shock

The New Zealand Prime Minister has declared that, at some point in the future, they expect to drop the British royal family and become a republic. Excellent idea. It has my full and total support. Now, if only we could do the same thing here in the UK. . .

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

We interrupt this broadcast with a special bulletin. . .

Occasionally life just conspires against you. In my case, circumstances have made me temporarily homeless while building work is taking place at my flat. Consequently, I have had to retreat to my parents's gaff for a couple of weeks. Without sole use of a PC, and horrible filter software at work that makes Blogger unavailable, this makes blogging difficult. Therefore to my loyal army of readers (all eight of you. . . ) I must apologise. How your lives can have any meaning without me making pithy comments about this and that I don't know, but somehow we're going to have to pull through this together. . . . Perhaps you could read some of the links I recommend on the right in the meantime. But do come back every now and then, as I hope to get a few thoughts up here as and when it is possible.

Hang in there people. The human spirit is very tenacious. Together we can make it happen.

P.S. Does anyone want a gmail account? I've got 50 of the buggers to give away. You too can join the elite set of gmail beta users. If anyone's interested leave a comment or mail me at the e-mail address on the right.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Gran says: "legalise it!"

If ever there was a case to underline the absurdity of anti-drug legislation, it's this one. Patricia Tabram, a 66 year old woman from Northumberland, takes cannabis in a powdered form up to five times a day because it alleviates back and neck pain, tinnitus and depression far more efficiently than the cocktail of synthetic drugs that she was previously prescribed, and without any of the unpleasant side effects. You'd think a pensioner managing to relieve herself of excruciating body pains and living a more comfortabe life would be a good thing, wouldn't you? She has found something harmless (relative to the toxic alternatives, at least) and naturally occurring that alleviates her condition. Moreover, it is cheaper, freeing up funds that would otherwise be subsidising her expensive prescriptions.

But no. She's branded a criminal and is on bail, charged with possession of an illegal substance with intent to supply. Ridiculous in so many ways. Ridiculous that an elderly woman providing her friends with small amounts so that they, too, can benefit, is defined as a drug dealer. Ridiculous that the police have to waste time, effort and money clamping down on users of such a benign substance. There is no logic or basis for keeping cannabis illegal, all it does is make criminals of people unnecessarily. People who are causing no offence or harm to anyone other than themselves. It clogs up the legal system and wastes the time of the police who could instead be concentrating on more serious matters. For instance, controlling the antisocial behaviour of people who have spent an entire evening consuming the nation's favourite (legal) drug of choice: alcohol.

Personally I'd support the legalisation of all drugs on the basis that the purity could be monitored, thus making them safer; their output could be regulated, thus taking them out of the control of dangerous organised criminals and they could be taxed, thus generating billions of pounds in revenue that could be used to improve our schools, hospitals and, indeed, our police force. A common sense, practical solution that could be used to the nation's advantage. I don't expect any of the major parties to be advocating any such policy in this year's election though. Instead, expect more of the same bullshit arguments and tough talk trying to fight a battle that can never be won.

So let's hear it for Mrs Tabram as she fights the power. Let's hope her case is dismissed on grounds of compassion and in the process it makes a few more people realise the futility of our current drug laws.

The link between man and monkey just gets stronger

Research at Duke University in North Carolina has concluded that male rhesus monkeys will 'pay' to view images of female monkeys on PC screens. From the Observer today:
(Researchers) gave male macaques the choice of looking at images on a computer screen of either a female's posterior or of a socially-dominant monkey. They found that the monkeys would take a cut in their fruit juice allowance for glimpses of either alluring vision.
Now if that doesn't prove the link between humans and monkeys, what does?

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Bad news for republicans

Much eulogising today over the news that two unattractive people in their late fifties have decided to get hitched. Doesn't it just tug your heart strings? Our beloved Prince Charlie and his Rod Hull lookalike Camilla Parker Pens, or whatever her name is, are finally getting married.

The was the news story of the day, week and, I fear, the year. Just look at this. And this. And this. And this. And this. And this. All around the world.

So embarrassing that these people continue to represent our country internationally. So irritating that this is even national news, let alone global. World, for what it's worth, there are millions of people in this country who could not give a flying shite about Charles, Camilla, the ethics of their relationship or what this means for the Church of England. Really. I could not care less if someone held a gun to my head and said "care less about this subject". But we're going to have months of this now, culminating in the wedding itself. One giant yawn for me and all who think like me. On the bright side, at least they are too old to have kids. Just imagine: her face and his ears. It's a scary thought.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Is there anyone home?


At least, that's how I would spell it. You know, that noise you make by blowing through your lips to indicate that you are perplexed.

Sixteen days since I've written anything in the blog. Sixteen days. The desire to write something, anything, just hasn't been there and I don't know why. I have been busy I suppose, and I've been feeling a bit under the weather for the last couple of weeks, but it's not as if there's been a lack of good subject matter either. The elections in Iraq; the Pope being ill; Bush's State Of The Union address; profligate Prince Andrew and his chopper. . . . Oh, there's been plenty of material, but no desire to pass any sort of comment on it at all. Even this piece about creationist retards fighting for evolutionary sciences to be scrapped from the curriculum in Kansas didn't inspire me, and if that doesn't get me foaming at the mouth and ranting, then I don't know what will.

Hopefully normal service will be resumed soon.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Tories unveil shockingly unoriginal election policy

In a real departure, the Conservative Party today outlined the key theme of their manifesto for the coming general election: immigration. What cunning! What nous! Who ever would have thought it? The Tories using immigration as an electoral strategy? Truly, I am speechless at the sheer originality of the whole concept. And where did the unveiling of this masterstroke take place? A full page advert in the Sunday Telegraph. Of course it did, of course it did.

Amusing that, nearly eight years on from being brushed aside from power, being on their third leader and not once increasing their ratings in the polls for any prolonged period of time, the Tories have bravely decided to press on once again with the very policies that kept them unelectable in 1997 and 2001. The contempt I feel for Michael Howard is pretty extreme at the best of times but it takes moments like this to remind me why. Using immigration as a core feature of your election strategy is despicable. Even more outrageous is the fact that his own parents were immigrants to Britain in the 1930s, fleeing from anti-semitic persecution in Romania. Yet he would seek to severely restrict this right to others seeking shelter from similar tyranny. All in exchange for a few more votes from feeble minded little Englanders who have read in the Daily Mail that foreigners want to come over here, get their daughter pregnant, eat without cutlery and take a big poo in their drawing room. Then, they'll be off to claim their welfare money before moving in to a ten bedroom mansion in Surrey courtesy of the British taxpayer.

Michael Howard, you are an odious little turd and, although I have issues with Tony Blair and his government, I still look forward to seeing your party routinely swept aside once again on May 5th. I look forward even more to the inevitable Conservative party leadership challenge on, ooh, May 6th.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

VW Polo - resistant to suicide bombers

This would have been a great, although tasteless, TV ad. It's been officially confirmed as a hoax now, unfortunately.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Set your phasers to "male bonding" setting

Did anyone else see this hilarious bit of news? In the mid 1990s (oh, those heady, carefree times) the Pentagon invested considerable time and energy researching non-lethal chemical weapons. They seriously attempted, in what reads more like a story from The Onion, to develop a drug that would make all enemy fighters irresistible to each other, thus rendering them incapable of fighting. One can already picture the enemy soldiers holding hands, lobbying for marriage rights and taking a sudden interest in home furnishings. Another one of the whacky ideas was to give guerilla fighters severe halitosis so they could not easily blend in with regular citizens (not much use if they were fighting in France, of course, where bad breath is not only common, it is mandatory). Another stroke of genius was the idea to make enemy positions attract swarms of enraged wasps or rats. Quite, quite surreal.

It all reminds me of that routine by Eddie Izzard about the original Star Trek series. Eddie suggests that having only two settings on their phasers - kill or stun - was a bit limited, so comes up with a few more that would have made things interesting: "bit of a cough" setting; "depression" setting; "ice-cream van nearby" setting; "sudden interest in botany" setting; "left the oven on at home" setting.

And people claim the military was under-funded when Clinton was President? Sounds like some people had too much money and time on their hands to me.

Anyway, the British army has had a surefire method of making its officers gay for years now. It's called "boarding school".