Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Happy New Year All!

And here's to 2014!

The Year In Review: Politics

Not a particularly earth-shaking political year, this one. Call-Me-Dave continued to disappoint, Clegg continued to amuse, and the Left continued to disgust. Huhne was ... well, clearly not humbled!

Same old, same old...

We did, however, see the end of an era.

But 2013 will forever be known as The Year of the (long awaited) Obama meltdown. By now, even the 'Guardian' has to admit it (though only by comparing it to Boooooosh! of course)....

Well, No. What It Actually Highlights...

...is that if people can get their hands on 'free' stuff, they will:
Tim Nichols, a spokesman for the Child Poverty Action Group, said the fund highlighted inequality throughout the UK.
"It's shocking that a fund set up nearly 100 years ago to help the poorest children with such basic essentials as shoes and a warm coat is in growing demand today," he said.
See also...

Blog Title Of The Month

A Christmas tie!


Misanthrope Girl:

Quote Of The Month

The Devil's Knife, on food banks:

MrA: "Not really. It's just that I didn't realise that there were people giving away free food until I read about them in the paper on my way to work."

Post Of The Month

This last month of 2013, Christopher Snowdon takes the title...

Because You Are Only Allowed To 'Shock Revellers' For Certain Things...

It's new year's eve, and out come the usual warning posters, such as the ones that crop up, every year, on the Tube. Makes sense, surely? I mean, it's dangerous to get so drunk that you lose all inhibitions and put yourself in a dangerous situation.

Who could argue with that?

Well, step forward Karen Ingala Smith, of the anti-violence charity Nia:
‘The only ones being helped by the anti-getting-blotto Tube campaign poster are Tube drivers and the only ones who can stop Tube accidents are Tube drivers,’ she insisted.
‘There is no other crime in which victims are made to take responsibility. We know that the vast majority of Tube accidents are not reported to the police and women are less likely to report Tube accidents if they are made to feel that they are responsible.
‘This campaign reinforces the excuses made by Tube drivers as they attempt to discredit the women they run over and to justify their crime.’
Sound bonkers? Well, yes. That's because she is...
Alisdair Calder McGregor, a local Liberal Democrat politician, said the council had engaged in ‘shameful neo-puritan victim blaming’.
The binge drinking posters are part of Calderdale’s ‘Don’t let your night out become a nightmare’ campaign that deals with drink-driving, personal safety and alcohol-related violence. Other images include a dishevelled man holding a bottle with the words ‘Invasion of the Mindless Drunk’.
Strangely, no men's groups could be reached for comment on that one...

Monday, 30 December 2013

The Year In Review: Blogging

Something of a sad year, this one. Although it saw the (semi) return of Constantly Furious and some new and worthy blogs came to my attention, others seemed to fall by the wayside, and concentrate only on other media, such as Twitter.

And, of course, it was the year which saw the loss of Normblog and Anna Raccoon's illness-induced hiatus. So raise a glass with me, as the year begins preparations for turning.

"Absent friends"...

Oh, Don't Be Ridiculous, Love...

...you are kidding, surely?

In the Third World they have devastating floods, corrupt and lazy police, dodgy justice systems, rampant infectious disease...



By the way, that heart of stone? Still got it!
Volunteers from Hope for Food have been doing their own fundraising.
Elisa Cole, 34, is attempting a sponsored exercise and healthy eating challenge to help get the soup kitchen users a proper shelter.
Mrs Cole, who lives in Wallisdown with her husband and three children, said: “I want to raise as much money towards a proper shelter as possible, and I want to be healthy for my kids.
At the moment I am more than 18 stone so there is a long way to go, but I have stuck with it so far. I have to be fit enough for the Bournemouth Bay Run next year.”

So Much For R v Sussex Justices, ex parte McCarthy...

A judge allowed two solicitors accused of trying to cheat the legal system to hide behind a cloak of secrecy for ‘cultural reasons’, the Daily Mail can disclose.
He banned reporting of the case to prevent them allegedly being shamed in the eyes of their community.
'Their community'? Does he mean English people? Or lawyers?

Well, I left a word out of both those excerpts, of course. As well as the giveaway names...
In the latest farce involving secret justice, the pair were told they could enjoy the court’s protection because members of their family would pass judgment if the case was reported.
It is a privilege rarely bestowed on defendants in the justice system, which has operated on the principle of transparency for centuries.
Our justice system has officially become a joke (even faster than the US system). And part of the reason for this is the calibre of people entering it:
At the beginning of the hearings, Miss Khan’s barrister, Glenn Gatland, argued she would not give evidence properly in the presence of the Press because she was afraid of family repercussions.
He said she did not want to criticise her father in public – though she was quite happy to have her mother sit in the public gallery.
I'm actually ashamed to be British today.

Must...Work On...Keeping....STRAIGHT FACE!

*giggles helplessly*

Meanwhile, in other GlobalWarming news...

*rolls helplessly on floor*

Sunday, 29 December 2013

"Everyone was having fun and then an official in a high-visibility jacket came over..."

...which surely is, as MacHeath points out, the sentence that sums up most of 2013, isn't it?
“They said we couldn’t have two Santas in one Christmas market because it would traumatise the children.
“It was absolute nonsense. I couldn’t believe it.
“We were not collecting any money or breaking any rules, we were just there to entertain the children.”
The notion that children from Canvey Island, of all places, might be traumatised by two Santa Clauses (Clausii?) might just cause you to choke on a mince pie...
“I didn’t get the feeling the council wanted to do it or cause any trouble, because we work with them very closely, but they had been scared into doing by some objectors.
“It was such a shame because the people at GMD supplies worked really hard to make the sleigh look fantastic.”
That just sums up so much, doesn't it?

Separated At Birth...

Lots of people were very disappointed with the much-awaited 'Star Wars' prequels, especially the first one, 'The Phantom Menace'.

I rather liked it, myself, though I did wonder where George Lucas got the inspiration for the Gungan race. Especially their leader, Boss Nass:

He has inner beauty...

Well, I need wonder no more, thanks to the 'Daily Mail':

She has .... no. Can't type it with a straight face...
Giving evidence Mr 1 said he was initially worried about making a complaint after Olugbile said she had a friend with supernatural powers.
'I was hesitant to report the issue to management because Ronke (Olugbile's nickname) would often comment that she has someone back home, in Africa, with supernatural powers who will do whatever she says, to the point of killing someone if necessary,' Mr 1 told the hearing.
How vibrant!

Christmas - Traditionally The Time Of Boozy Work Parties...

It's 'no L', not 'no T'...

...and clearly, at the 'Brighton Argus', they are no stranger to such.

Sunday Funnies...

Here's hoping you all avoided these this time around...

Saturday, 28 December 2013

The Year In Review: Film & TV

2013 was a great TV year, at least, if you weren't watching home-grown drama, of which good stuff was few and far between. Most of the really good shows were axed this year.

But for cable or satellite viewers, it was a feast. Even unlikely premises and remakes of foreign shows were well received. For me, the standout show was Sky Atlantic's 'Ray Donovan':


The stellar cast, the taut writing, the slowly-revealed background story and the sense of onrushing doom combined to make this unmissable TV.

As for films, well, there were some utter stinkers and the predictable CGI-fests that we've come to expect these days from Hollywood. But the standout for me was 'The Place Beyond The Pines':


Never rated Ryan Gosling much, but he was superb in this.

A Good Reason Not To Allow Your Relatives To Support You In Court...

Lewis Smith, 19, was sentenced to more than five months in a young offenders’ institution after he admitted stealing a £600 rotavator, used for turning soil, from Drudgeon Farm in Bean.
He's not the brightest spark. They never are, are they?
Mitigating for Smith, Mukhtiar Singh (Ed: Oh boy! Furor's gonna love that... ;)) told magistrates his client had recently come out of prison for a previous offence when he went on his “offending spree”.

Mukhtiar, ol' son, I think you're doing this 'mitigation' stuff wrong...
He said: “I ask you to consider whether in light of his offending spree since coming out of prison whether that sentence was effective.
Well, no. Clearly, it wasn't at the point at which he was released! Keep him in next time
“In the last few days his child was born prematurely and is still in Darent Valley Hospital.
Ah, here comes the sob-story!
“There is an opportunity here - the birth of a child and perhaps the birth of a future.”
Not much of one, if he takes after dear ol' dad. But maybe it's just these couple of offences and...

Magistrates sentenced unemployed Smith, who the court heard has Asperberger’s (sic) and ADHD, to 160 days in a young offenders’ institution for the two burglaries. They also took into account 11 offences for handling stolen goods in relation to the items found in Smith’s home.
Magistrate Deborah Read said: “I hope when you get out you can have a fresh start and I’m sure you are very remorseful that you can’t be with your child this Christmas.”
A male relative of Smith, of Beacon Drive, Bean, told the magistrate to “shut up” after the verdict was read.

And What Was That?

One relative, who would not be named, said: “He made one mistake, one little mistake. Three families are now torn apart because of a mistake. I just can’t believe it."
I mean, we should know, shouldn't we? Was it swinging the wheel to the left, or the right? Was it braking too soon, or not soon enough?

Or was it believing that the streets of suburban London are a suitable place to play 'Gran Tourismo' for real?
Another friend, who did not want to be named, told the Standard he was “full of life”.
“I don’t know what to say about all this. He was a lovely guy,” he said.
'Lovely guys' don't, as a rule, drive like maniacs...


Beatrice Denedo now faces Christmas in a Deptford hostel for homeless people after her private landlord booted her out of a one-bedroom Rushey Green flat while she lay in hospital.
Oh noes! At Christmas! How can people be so heartless!?
Mrs Denedo came to the UK from Nigeria in the 1950s on a spouse visa with her husband but the couple, who have a grown up son living in Lee, eventually divorced. She returned to her home country before coming back to the UK 10 years ago, but problems sorting out a visa meant she overstayed.
Earlier this year, her application for leave to remain in the country failed, her housing benefits were stopped in September and the landlord of a flat where she lived for two years issued a 30-day eviction notice. Mrs Denedo says she was in Lewisham Hospital at the time, being treated for scabies from being bitten by a spider in her dirty flat
Wait, what? That’s not how you get scabies! And since when did the NHS have the resources to hospitalise you for that?

And…why was your flat ‘dirty’? More to the point, why was that something the landlord was expected to fix?
She said: "I was too scared to complain about the dirty flat because I thought they would kick me out of it. I was so scared.
"My immigration lawyers said they could not continue with my case because the legal aid had run out. "
Yeah, that’s the thing with lawyers. They always want paying.
Now Mrs Denedo is staying at the Reach hostel in Deptford, though the place is unable to look after her during the daytime, which means she has to look for places to keep warm during daylight hours.
Nigeria’s pretty warm, isn’t it?
Concerned friends have contacted Lewisham Deptford MP Joan Ruddock about the situation but Mrs Denedo, who suffers from breathing problems and other ailments, does not know what the future holds and is concerned about returning to Nigeria while her family remain here.
She said: "I would suffer and die if I went back to Nigeria.
"I could not afford the treatment."
Newsflash, Mrs Denedo – we can’t afford to keep you either.

Friday, 27 December 2013

The Year In Review: Books

This was a year of sequels - the long-awaited sequel to Steven King's 'The Shining' was the standout for me. A dedicated King fan, I was never not going to read it, but the sequel to 'The Talisman' was rather disappointing (at first read), so I approached it with few hopes. And it was a masterpiece.

Also out this year was the sequel to 'A Time To Kill', 'Sycamore Row'. I wasn't as keen on this, but there will - inevitably - be a movie.

And the year I rediscovered an old friend.

*sighs* Yeah, OK, I can wait until you stop laughing! I know, I know. It's become a joke, sometimes for good reason, but, damn it, I wanted to know how it all turned out for Tarl Cabot.

And isn't that the hallmark of a damned good story?

I'm not sure why Norman's 'Gor' novels upset the left so; with their central theme that women crave a strong master who tells them what to do and wear and eat, they really ought to be right up their alley...

He also seems to be the last professor in the US who can actually teach without interjecting his personal agenda, which, as David Thompson reminds us, is rather unique:

He's 82 now, and it seems he's written his last 'Gor' novel. A pity...

Gosh, Whatever Could She Mean..?

Another witness, who was outside the nightclub, said: ‘The paramedics were trying to resuscitate the guy on the stretcher outside the club. He was covered in blood and looked naked. I think the guy was dead when they got him into the ambulance, he looked in a bad way. Armed police were standing outside the venue. It is unbelievable this could happen on Christmas night.’
Yes, it's the festive shooting in, of all places, the West End. Just yards from theatres (including the Apollo) and expensive restaurants...
The Avalon is a nightclub, but also has a bar and a cocktail lounge in its basement. Their website describes the club as ‘a revitalised venue that oozes creativity and class’ which brings ‘a unique and stylish vibe to the heart of the West End’s party scene’.
Doesn't sound like the sort of place that you'd...

She added: ‘I'm worried for my safety, I’d rather just not take the risk with certain raves now. Doesn't feel worth it.’
Say no more...


A teenage girl said she was left feeling “upset” and “uncomfortable” by an assistant at a York shop.
Oh? How? Sleazy sales assistant make a pass?
Lucy, who is a lesbian and celebrated her 19th birthday on Monday, said: “I tend to buy male shoes because I have larger feet than a lot of girls and they are more comfortable.
“I haven’t had any problems with it before and went to the check-out, waited in line.
“When he saw me he asked if they were for me and then went on to say I shouldn’t be buying men’s shoes because I’m a girl, there was a girl’s section for a reason, and he made me feel really uncomfortable for buying something that I liked.”
Whereupon you shrugged it off as just one of those things and carried on with your day, yes?

Ha! Of course not…
Lucy, who is also her mother’s carer, and her friend left the store, but was so shocked by the attitude of the sales assistant that she burst into tears once she got outside.
Oh, man up, princess! Oh. Whoops.

Don’t cry…
Lucy’s mother, Emma, who has Fibromyalgia and was not in the store at the time, said: “She shouldn’t be made to feel bad because she likes them and they fit her better, but he made her feel small, stupid and very, very bad, and I have never had my daughter come out of a store in tears before.
“I phoned them for 20 minutes and I got no reply and I’m furious about this. My daughter is a lesbian and buys mens’ shoes because they suit her style.”
Yes, love, I think we got the message about her sexual preference, though why it should have any bearing on her shoe choice or on this incident, heaven only knows…

The store itself seems a bit baffled by the idea that a complainant will go straight to the papers, rather than to them.
A spokesman for the store, said: “I have not been made aware of any complaint but it may have been a light-hearted comment that has been taken the wrong way. If I was made aware of a member of staff upsetting a customer, the matter would be dealt with internally.”
Will that mollify her? Probably not…

Well, Better Give It Up As A Bad Job Then, Love…

Doreen Lawrence admits defeat:
“I frequently get asked whether life has improved for black Londoners over the 20 years I have been campaigning for reform of our police, criminal justice system and state institutions to better serve my community,” she wrote.
“The straight answer is no, not really. ”
Ah, well, you gave it a good try. Time to quit?

Thursday, 26 December 2013

The Logic Of The Irish...

The teenager, who had a nut allergy, ate satay sauce, which contains peanuts, but Ms Sloan said they had thought it was curry sauce.
‘It looked and smelled like curry sauce,’ she said.
‘I’m not blaming the restaurant because there was a sign reading 'nuts contained' but it wasn’t noticed.’
Well, quite. They complied with the law.
Ms Sloan told the Herald newspaper: ‘I’m so angry. I was not given the EpiPen. I was told to bring her to A&E.’
Wait, what? They complied with the law!

Number 48792 On The List Of ‘Things The Guardian Cares About But No One Else Does’…

Women's prisons in England and Wales are undergoing an "epidemic of self-mutilation", with one in four female prisoners having self-harmed, according to a new Oxford University study.
Fazel said while self-harm was a substantial problem across the board, it was a particularly serious issue for women in prison who made up 5% of the prison population but accounted for half of all self-harm incidents: "Moreover, now we know the extent to which the risk of subsequent suicide in prisoners who self-harm is greater than the general prison population, suicide prevention initiatives should be changed to include a focus on prisoners who are self-harming, especially repeatedly," she added.
Naturally, this is grist to the mill for those who don’t believe in prison at all, and especially not for the wimminz…
Frances Crook of the Howard League for Penal Reform said the Lancet figures showed there was "an epidemic of self-mutilation by women in prison". She said it was another sign prisons were unable to cope and stressed the importance of a forthcoming public inquiry into the case of a 17-year-old in custody who nearly died because of repeated cutting and self-injury.
Prisons are ‘coping’ quite well, actually, Frances. If a few criminals can’t cope with the regime, well, they could always try not committing crime, couldn’t they?
"The vast majority of women are either remanded or have committed nonviolent offences and should be given a community sentence focused on the roots of their criminal behaviour," said Crook
"For those who require custody, small secure centres should be set up that help these women away from crime while keeping the public safe."
And if Frances gets her way with female offenders, it won’t be long before she’s finding excuses why men should be imprisoned either…

The True Face Of The Heartless Tory Benefit Cuts…

Since the bedroom tax was brought in she can no longer afford to buy her son a PlayStation 4 for Christmas.
I think we should have a moment of quiet reflections and – stop laughing at the back..!
Miss Taylor, who describes the bedroom tax as “absolutely ridiculous”, suffers from fibromyalgia, arthritis, back and leg pain, two slipped discs, sciatica and depression which, she says, prevents her from working.
And yet Douglas Bader flew in the Second World War on two tin legs…

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"

Here's hoping everyone is having a great Christmas!

Normal service will resume on Boxing Day!

The NHS – Wonder Of The World?

A ten-year-old girl died after a catalogue of blunders at Basildon Hospital, an inquest found.
The usual catalogue of blunders we’ve come to expect from the public sector, actually. Timid, uncaring staff, confused procedures not disseminated correctly, rigid ‘it’s not my job’ attitudes and, oh yes, one extra special little fillip in this case:
A lack of senior nursing staff, no senior doctors were ever at the ward after 5pm and the on call locum consultant Dr Mohamed Ramadan chose to stay at home when contacted.
How nice! Still, at least he’ll get hauled over the coals by …

On call consultant Dr Ramadan no longer works for the trust and is based in Libya, so did not give evidence.
Find someone in Basildon Hospital to take his punishment in his stead, then. Preferably the person who hired him.

If They Ever Remake ‘Shameless’, They Can Set It In The House Of Lords…

Lord Hanningfield, who was jailed for expenses fraud, has defended regularly "clocking in" to claim a £300 daily attendance allowance despite spending less than 40 minutes inside the House of Lords.
Yes. Him again. He really is his own worst enemy, isn’t he?
Confronted about the claims by the newspaper, Lord Hanningfield said: "Lots of peers go in and check in for their expenses, but they are using their expenses for a lot of things, entertaining, meeting people, employing people."
He added: "Clocking in and out of Parliament is only part of being a peer."
"By the time I have people at home to help, time I have people in the House of Lords to help me, I spend something like £150 a day on expenses, so I don't really make any profit."
*grinds teeth*
He said: "I have to live, don't I? I don't do anything else. How do you think I am going to eat, how am I going to pay my electricity bills? "
Get a job?
He told the newspaper: "I can name 50 that do it. I see the same people go in and out as I do. I don't want to be persecuted."
Ah, yes. The ever reliable ‘Everyone else does it!’ excuse.
"Being a lord is not just going in the House of Lords. It's the post you have. I have 15 letters a day, I have all sorts of things like that," Lord Hanningfield said.
15 letters!?
Since October, he said, he had "dramatically" upped his contributions in the Lords - speaking twice and attending committees.
Oh, you poor soul! You must be just exhausted
"Let me explain again…"
What do you mean, ‘again’? You haven’t managed it yet!
"… I was trying to get myself organised after a nervous breakdown, a traumatic period."
Ah. Of course. The final resort of the modern-day scoundrel... :/

Oh, Surely Not?

Police have launched an investigation into mass cycling events in the New Forest, it has been revealed.
They are looking into allegations that the controversial Wiggle rides, which have attracted as many as 2,500 entrants, are breaking the law by causing a public nuisance.
Oh, no. That doesn’t sound like cyclists to you, does it?
Members complained that cyclists were racing on the public highway, defecating on village greens and shouting abuse at anyone who got in their way.
No, no, unthinkable, must be some mistake…
The head of New Forest police, Chief Inspector Tony Rowlinson, said the cycling complaint was being investigated by a senior officer. He added: “The prosecuting authority is the Crown Prosecution Service and we will look to them for a steer.”
Really? I wouldn’t, if I were you. Their track record ain’t so hot…
NPA member David Harrison hit out at what he described as the “anti-cycling” stance adopted by some of his colleagues. He said: “We should be actively promoting and supporting responsible cycling, a much enjoyed, largely peaceful activity that’s a positive for the Forest, not a negative.”
Well, since you needed to add in the qualifier ‘responsible’, I think you can guess why they feel that way.

Monday, 23 December 2013

On The Twelfth Day Of Christmas, The Overbearing State Gave To Me…

overreach just because they can:
Sriracha sauce “is a great American story, it’s the American dream: he uses these fresh peppers, quality ingredients, nobody is complaining, there’s no problem with the safety of the product and then boom, all of a sudden the state decides he’s got to stop selling it,” says Daren Bakst, an agriculture regulation expert at the conservative Heritage Foundation, in Washington.
“Bottom line is that other businesses and consumers need to understand the rationale for this: did the state overreach, was it using sound science, were there other options, was it just arbitrary? Regardless of whether you care about this sauce, you do care about what the business environment is going to be like in your state.”
Well, of course it did! No point in having power if you don’t use it, pour encouragers les autres, eh?

Also pressure to conform or else, the arming of its enforcers for trivial incidents, pointless gestures to undermine personal responsibility, regulation of every tiny detail of our lives even when safety’s no longer an issue, rushed-through ‘feel good’ policies that fall at the first hurdle, the total inversion of previous guidelines as a result of media hysteria, expansion through scaremongering, confusion over competing rights and equality legislation, rigid application of ‘weapons policies’, prosecution via hindsight and justice system intransigence.

For The Children..?

History of a kind was made last week. A doctor appeared before a medical malpractice tribunal in Manchester accused of performing surgery to mutilate the genitals of female babies or young girls.
A medical malpractice tribunal? Why not a court of law? I thought the CPS was supposed to be hot to trot on these cases?
British campaigners against the practice often point admiringly to the more repressive approach adopted in France. Britain has purpose-made laws against female genital mutilation (FGM) but there have been no prosecutions. France has no specific laws against FGM but there have been 29 trials and 100 convictions in the last three decades. We and the French often do things differently. On this issue, are the French right?
Well, why not look at what effect it’s having? Is the incidence of FGM actually reducing in France? There’s anecdotal evidence that it is indeed working:
Has legal repression worked in France? Koudedia Keita, the Malian-born president of a French pressure group against FGM, “Corps en Marche”, believes that it has.
“By the nature of this practice, it is difficult to be sure, but yes, it is my impression that female mutilation has been reduced enormously in France,” Ms Keita said.
But we know the progressives scorn anecdotal evidence (until they want to use some, of course!). So, are there any figures?
In the early 1980s, analysis of the examinations showed that if a mother had been “excisée” (mutilated), there was an 80 per cent chance that her daughter would also have been subjected to FGM. A survey in 2007 suggested this had been reduced to 11 per cent.
Of course, it isn’t all stick and no carrot. It is indeed a multi-pronged approach.
France’s action against FGM is not based purely on repression. There has been an intensive campaign of education. Health and education professionals have been trained to be aware of the problem. Girls are systematically examined for signs of FGM during health checks carried out on babies.
So, who could possibly argue that France isn’t leading the way, then? Well, there’s always one, isn’t there?
Amnesty International, which has campaigned for a Europe-wide approach to FGM, does not believe that legal repression is the answer. Christine Loudes, director of the Amnesty campaign “End FGM” told The Independent: “The debate in the UK about more prosecutions misses the point. Legal repression, although it may have its place, is not the best answer.”
“We need to work with the communities where this happens to try to change attitudes, not to drive the problem further underground. Since the instigator or perpetrator is often the parent, legal action leads to double victimisation of the child. We should consider the best interests of the children before we rush to send their parents to prison.”
That’s a rather odd reason, isn’t it? Would it be applied to any other crime against a child? Would it apply to those abused by their parents?

And if not...why should it apply here?


Remember this story?

Well, thanks to the utterly bonkers, criminal-coddling justice system we have, there's another chapter:
Giving his ruling, Lord Justice Pitchford (Ed: Yes, he has previous...) said Poison had not been on a leash, but was safely secured in a locked house and was only able to escape and attack when police broke down the door.
'It is our view that these facts raised for decision by the jury the issue whether Mr Robinson-Pierre had done or omitted to do anything that contributed to the dog being dangerously out of control in a public place,' he said.
Which, if you're thinking this now gives criminal drug dealers license to own vicious banned dogs as protection against police serving warrants, well, congratulations, you're smarter than most high court judges.

Mind you, having cleaned the bathroom yesterday only to discover a hole in my rubber glove, so is what was under one of my fingernails, so don't look too smug about it...

Sunday, 22 December 2013

On The Eleventh Day Of Christmas, The Overbearing State Gave To Me…

...pressure to conform or else:
Off licences are being urged to stop selling “super-strength” alcohol in an initiative launched by Camden council and the Met police.
A pilot scheme will ask shops in the King’s Cross, Bloomsbury, Holborn and Covent Garden wards to volunteer to stop selling drinks such as lager and cider with more than 6.5 per cent strength.
Yes, it's that tactic again.
It is hoped that this will help reduce antisocial behaviour, crime and bad health.
And absolutely nothing to do with the police wanting a quiet life (i.e. not having to do their jobs) I suppose?
Abdul Hai, Camden’s cabinet member for community safety, said he hoped retailers could be persuaded by showing longer-term benefits such as reduced shoplifting, increased takings and a safer environment for customers and staff.
I'm not quite sure how reducing your stock is going to result in increased takings, but I'm not a 'cabinet member for community safety', I guess...
Chief Inspector Penny Mills said: “With the support of local businesses, we can achieve a reduction in anti-social behaviour, protect the health and wellbeing of the most vulnerable in our society and improve the quality of life for those who work, live and visit Camden.”
"And all it takes is for you to surrender to the authorities your right to sell a certain item! Just this one. We won't be back to ban you from selling any others.

We promise.

You can trust us, can't you?"

Also the arming of its enforcers for trivial incidents, pointless gestures to undermine personal responsibility, regulation of every tiny detail of our lives even when safety’s no longer an issue, rushed-through ‘feel good’ policies that fall at the first hurdle, the total inversion of previous guidelines as a result of media hysteria, expansion through scaremongering, confusion over competing rights and equality legislation, rigid application of ‘weapons policies’, prosecution via hindsight and justice system intransigence.

The Inevitable Result Of 'Soft Porn' Type Food Adverts?

You know the ones, some sultry minx purring 'This isn't just any joint of lamb'...
A man who was caught masturbating in the meat aisle of a Sainsbury's store has been banned from every supermarket in Britain - unless he is supervised by another adult.
Yes, that rather odd condition again.
The incident put Freitas in breach of a sexual offences prevention order (SOPO) he had been handed for exposure in 2010, which also took place in a supermarket, the court heard.
But was that one a Sainsbury's..?

That's Rather Odd...

...it's usually the leg:

Sunday Funnies...

Since it's Christmas, let's have some tunes...

  An oldie:


 Followed by something topical:


Saturday, 21 December 2013

On The Tenth Day Of Christmas, The Overbearing State Gave To Me…

...the arming of its enforcers for trivial incidents:
A teenager was shot with a Taser by police after been wrongly accused of carrying a gun.
Sean Lawless (Ed: Stop laughing at the back!), 19, of Rutherwick Rise, Coulsdon, claims officers handcuffed him and pinned him to the ground in Brighton Road, Purley, before firing the electroshock weapon into his back.
The ‘accusation’ didn’t, it seems, come from a legitimately-worried member of the public.
Mr Lawless, who suffered cuts and bruises during the arrest, suspects he was set up and still feels wary about going out. He initially decided not to lodge a complaint but is now considering doing so.
He said: "It was a set-up. Someone made a false allegation. Someone told me to meet them in Purley and when I did the police came and told me to get on the floor.
I was already in cuffs when they tasered me. The police officer must have had a bad day. It hurt quite a lot. I’ve still got the marks now."
This is not a new phenomenon. It’s been reported in the US press and US blogs, where it can have even more potentially-serious outcomes.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman confirmed a taser had been used on Mr Lawless, but would not comment on allegations he was handcuffed at the time. However, it is understood officers dispute the claim.
Mmmm. I bet they do.

Also pointless gestures to undermine personal responsibility, regulation of every tiny detail of our lives even when safety’s no longer an issue, rushed-through ‘feel good’ policies that fall at the first hurdle, the total inversion of previous guidelines as a result of media hysteria, expansion through scaremongering, confusion over competing rights and equality legislation, rigid application of ‘weapons policies’, prosecution via hindsight and justice system intransigence.

And This Is Why Call-Me-Dave's An Idiot...

A boy aged ten was being bullied so much at school he tried to escape, his mum has claimed.
Even when he was removed from Baynards Primary School in Tiptree he was subjected to offensive messages...
Via post? Text message?
...on Facebook.
Ah. Which, being under 13, he shouldn't even be using. Not that anyone will point this out to cretins like our Prime Minister.

Still, now his mum knows she will remove his access immediately and...



Mrs Dubbini has met with headteacher Nerys Maidment and a governor, but says she did not feel reassured and subsequently contacted the police.
An Essex Police spokesman said: “Police have received a report of a child being harassed on social media.
“Officers have made an appointment to take a statement.”
Well, of course you have! It beats finding real crimes to tackle, I suppose...

The ‘Indy’ Soldiers On With #FirstWorldProblems…

…and it’s that perennial favourite of the chattering classes – ‘girl toys’ vs ‘boy toys’:
In November last year, the campaign group, Let Toys Be Toys, was formed with the aim of persuading shops in the UK and Ireland to stop using signage that divides along the gender divide. So far, it's succeeded in getting 13 retailers to agree, including big hitters such as Toys R Us, Sainsbury's, Tesco, Hamleys and Debenhams.
Ah. And are you representative of the millions of parents out there searching Toys-R-Us for that special gift?
Tessa Trabue, one of 10 parents who make up active membership of the campaign, is particularly proud that Boots removed the "boys" signage from above the science toys as a result of their pressure.
The mechanisms of the campaign are simple but effective. "[It's] a mixture of us and our supporters taking images and tweeting pictures from shops," she explains. As soon as those images are out there, the group follows up with letters and phone calls.
"For the majority of stores this has worked," she says.
"Often when we point it out to them, there's a genuine look of realisation, and they say they haven't meant to alienate children from playing with certain toys."
I guess not. You just have a loud voice.
Trabue appreciates that sometimes it's hard for shops to make a decision on how to organise toys, given that the packaging shouts one gender or the other. That's a subject the group is going to tackle in the new year.
Whatever happened to the WI? Ladies, wouldn’t jam-making be a quieter, gentler, less aggravating pursuit?

Do you really have that much spare time on your hands?
But given that the group has nearly 5,500 followers on Twitter, the purchasing power they represent already seems to be an inspiration for shops to think more creatively about layout.
5500 followers, eh? Amateurs...

But it’s all about finding that elusive little thing that makes you feel superior to everyone else, really:
Earlier this week, historian Dr Thomas Dixon, of Queen Mary, University of London, posted a picture of the latest toys from Lego on Twitter: "I love Lego, but not this. Violence for boys; pets and trees for girls…"
I got in touch with him about what he feels the ramifications are for children, and he emailed back, assuring that he is not an expert, just a parent and Lego-lover who is frustrated.
"For me," he writes, "the sadness is the limitation being placed on children's development and imaginations by this kind of thing. Many parents can see through it and try to ignore it. But each individual advert is part of an all-pervading fog of cliché and prejudice, which is very hard to escape."
Yes, you're the special one. You can see this stuff, all the other, dimmer parents can't.
… we need to become cognisant of an insidious trend that is dictating what our children spend their time doing in their formative years. It doesn't make sense.
Oh, blimey, another one!
Once you start to notice, it becomes very clear how prolific this pernicious practice is: I had a little gulp this week when I saw that even good old Kinder Egg has pink and blue versions.
Oh, calamity! And look at the stick you get if you dare try to suggest 'Look, ladies, is this really so important?'...

Friday, 20 December 2013

On The Ninth Day Of Christmas, The Overbearing State Gave To Me…

...pointless gestures to undermine personal responsibility:
Fast food restaurants are being lobbied by the council to offer healthier food alternatives as part of plans to crack down on one of the borough's biggest killers. Council bosses are looking to reduce the level of heart disease in the borough with a third of deaths attributed to it in Croydon each year.
And if they refuse?
Dr Mike Robinson, director of public health, said one of the first ports of call will be to liaise with fast food outlets to offer alternative options. Those who offer healthier options will have the chance to display a Heart Town sticker in their windows to show they are affiliated with the scheme.
And if they say 'Thanks, but no thanks'..?
Coun Mead added: "We have concerns which is why we are introducing Heart Town, you cannot force people to change. You can only encourage them.
"Doing this for five years gives us the opportunity to support people and get them to take responsibility for their health."
And when they don't?

Also regulation of every tiny detail of our lives even when safety’s no longer an issue, rushed-through ‘feel good’ policies that fall at the first hurdle, the total inversion of previous guidelines as a result of media hysteria, expansion through scaremongering, confusion over competing rights and equality legislation, rigid application of ‘weapons policies’, prosecution via hindsight and justice system intransigence.

I Am Woman, Hear Me Whine…

…and wrap myself in the warm coat of victimhood:
A leading gender-equality campaigner has said she will lodge a formal complaint with the Crown Prosecution Service, accusing it of releasing details of her case to the press before contacting her.
Her case being, of course, that people were mean to her on Twitter:
In a tweet posted earlier in the day, Criado-Perez wrote: "Well that's pretty awesome. CPS informing press about charges ahead of me. About the level of victim-support I've grown to expect."
You’re not a ‘victim’, love. This is a victim.

They Always Turn On You…

…nah, not another dangerous dogs post. This time, povertyblogger Jack Monroe is getting some stick from her acolytes for agreeing to star in an advert for… *gasp* …a commercial company!
Since the news of my six-week collaboration with Sainsbury's has emerged, I feel I should have gone into hiding in a rather large 13p can of tinned potatoes, refashioned as a tin hat, to avoid the hate mail and expressions of disappointment that are littering my inbox and Twitter feed.
Waah! Waah! They don’t like me any more!
And what could be more honest than knocking dinner up out of half a chicken from the supermarket I shop in and have blogged about? It's less an advert and more a one-minute documentary about making your food go further.
Yes, absolutely. That’s what Sainsbury’s are known for – documentaries. Why, they are the Attenborough of the supermarket world…
As for the accusations that everybody has a price? Mine is £1,653 for six weeks' work. My actual fee is higher, identical to what the other three bloggers in the campaign are being paid, but I am keeping £1,653 to myself – the equivalent of the living wage for the six weeks that the campaign will run for.
…if I was in it for the money I'd have leapt at the first advertising deal offered to me almost a year ago for an upmarket butter brand, and all the 50 or so since then. I didn't. Am I guilty of selling out? Hardly.
Hmmm, I wonder how many of those offers came in while she was suckling at the public teat. And why - if, as we are lead to believe, it's such a hard life on benefits - she never took up the offers..?

Thursday, 19 December 2013

On The Eighth Day Of Christmas, The Overbearing State Gave To Me…

regulation of every tiny detail of our lives even when safety’s no longer an issue:
Lawmakers in favor of keeping the ban say they’re not worried about the safety of passengers. They’re worried about their sanity.
“For passengers, being able to use their phones and tablets to get online or send text messages is a useful in-flight option,” Shuster said. “But if passengers are going to be forced to listen to the gossip in the aisle seat, it’s going to make for a very long flight.”
Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) became the second lawmaker after Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) to offer legislation to keep the ban in place.
“Let’s face it, airplane cabins are by nature noisy, crowded, and confined,” said Shuster, the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
“For those few hours in the air with 150 other people, it’s just common sense that we all keep our personal lives to ourselves and stay off the phone.”
And they are supposed to be the sensible party…

Also rushed-through ‘feel good’ policies that fall at the first hurdle, the total inversion of previous guidelines as a result of media hysteria, expansion through scaremongering, confusion over competing rights and equality legislation, rigid application of ‘weapons policies’, prosecution via hindsight and justice system intransigence.

Fetch My Nano-Violin!

A grandmother had her housing benefit stopped after council officers discovered she owned a £170,000 holiday home in Spain. Zena Cooper, 60, did not tell Basildon Council about the house when she applied for benefits in April 2011.
Caught bang to rights, no excuses, throw yourself on the mercy of the court and…

Despite admitting owning the Spanish home, Mrs Cooper is furious her benefit has been stopped.
She said she desperately needs the money as she was given custody of her six year-old grandson in September. He has special needs and stays at a boarding school from Monday to Friday.
We aren’t told why she was given custody, or where the parents are…
Mrs Cooper said: “Social services said I need a two-bedroom place because of my grandson, but the council won’t help me.
“They said as I have a house in Spain worth more than £16,000 it is classed as savings and I am not eligible.
“I have had it up for sale for two years, but not one person has been interested because the market has crashed in Spain.
“It’s no use to me if I can’t sell it.”
You can't sell it at all? Or you can't sell it at the price you think it's worth?
Basildon Council told the Echo it was made aware of her Spanish home a number of years ago. Officers worked with the Department of Work and Pensions to give Mrs Cooper a “period of grace” to sell up but this has come to an end.
'A number of years', eh? How oddly unspecific...
“I can’t work now because I look after my grandson because of his special needs. I’m just so angry.
“I’m going to write to the Queen about it.”
I don't think she'll take it off your hands...

Who’s Bankrolling This?

Campaigners have set up a series of workshops to teach young people about climate change.
Team v, a group of volunteers from Finchley and Hendon, will run the sessions aimed at encouraging 11 to 14 year olds to become greener and create less waste.
Gosh! How nice of them to give up their free time (and their money?)…

And is that 'Team 5' (in which case, what happened to Teams 1-4?) or 'Team Vee' (which, given that Eighties tv show...)..?
Ashleigh Lamming, Team v leader, said: “If everyone in the world lived as unsustainably as we do in the UK we would need eight planets to support our lifestyles.
“It is not only unsustainable to consume so much of the world’s resources, it is also unjust. We want to show young people that it is possible to live a lot less wastefully than we currently do – and that being green can be cheaper, fairer and more fun.”
Hmmmm. I’m not seeing the fun aspects, personally…
Team v is made up of volunteers between 16 and 25 years old who decided to launch their campaign to encourage Barnet residents to live more sustainably after learning that people in the UK throw away 10,000 items of clothing every five minutes.
Well, so what if they do? Aren’t these things now collected and recycled – I know I've seen plenty of adverts for money for old clothes, and the clothes recycling bins at the local supermarkets are always bulging.

There’s clearly money to be made, too, since they even have theft value!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

On The Seventh Day Of Christmas, The Overbearing State Gave To Me…

rushed-through ‘feel good’ policies that fall at the first hurdle:
Like many other headteachers, O'Sullivan has done little to prepare so far for the introduction of the coalition's new policy. He says he won't find time to plan until he's clear about exactly what he is expected to do.
"These kind of things get announced at a political conference and, as a head, you're absolutely bombarded. With the amount of stuff that comes through to you, you have to prioritise."
And no, this is not a case of truculence and intransigence from a NUT drone, either. The policy is simply unworkable:
Headteachers and governors still believe that it will simply be impractical for most schools – and absolutely impossible for some – to provide a hot meal by September 2014.
An audit by the DfE of facilities and capabilities is under way, but the results are not available to the public.
Lack of funding is not the only problem schools face. Some are in buildings where a new kitchen simply cannot be added on. Others face a sheer lack of space, either for kitchens and storage, or for dining, or both.
You couldn’t make it up, could you?

Also the total inversion of previous guidelines as a result of media hysteria, expansion through scaremongering, confusion over competing rights and equality legislation, rigid application of ‘weapons policies’, prosecution via hindsight and justice system intransigence.

Well, That Takes Most Nursery Rhymes And Fairy Stories Off The List Of Approved Reading...

Primary schoolchildren are to be educated about domestic abuse and healthy relationships.
Is this meddling never going to stop? Not that this is the stupidest idea, as Longrider points out...
The Good Relationships are Equal and Trusting (GREAT) project will be piloted in Stanley Road and Gorse Hill schools, Worcester, along with others in Redditch and Kidderminster, in the new year.
The Worcestershire Forum Against Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence is backing the scheme, under which year six pupils will attend four two-hour sessions.
The forum’s strategic co-ordinator Martin Lakeman said he was happy to support the programme, which will focus on teaching youngsters how to spot signs of abuse and to respect each other.
“Making sure children are aware of these issues from an early age is vital to encouraging healthy relationships in adulthood,” he said.
And some awkward questions during story time, I bet...

Make….It….STOP!!! Part 258796874589

If you see a seven-ft yellow man outside Croydon Council's headquarters - don't worry - he's there to help you.
I… What?
Visitors to the council’s customer service centre will notice a whole family of the bizarre statues at Bernard Weatherill House from 8.30am to 11am.
The giant statues are part of an NHS campaign to stop people going to A&E when it is not necessary and there are better alternatives.
GAH!!! *hurls PC across room*
Croydon’s Clinical Commissioning Group is launching the campaign. It will highlight other options in Croydon where patients can get treatment from including the GP walk-in service at Edridge Road, minor injury services at Purley War Memorial Hospital and Parkway Health Centre in New Addington.
Later in the day, the Yellow Men will be in North End between the main entrances to the Whitgift and Centrale shopping centres, from noon until 5pm.
And a simple sign won't do? A leaflet? No, of course not...
Councillor Margaret Mead, cabinet member for adult services and health, said: “This is a fun and quirky idea which will drive home the all-important messages around when to go to A&E.
“Many trips to A&E are unnecessary, and people can be treated much more quickly and closer to home.
“With winter a busy time for A&E departments, the council wants to support our partners at Croydon CCG to help residents find out about the alternatives available.”
And enrich whichever consultancy team you hired at vast expense to come up with this, I suppose...

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

On The Sixth Day Of Christmas, The Overbearing State Gave To Me…

…the total inversion of previous guidelines as a result of media hysteria:
Previous “good character” may be considered as an aggravating factor when it has been used to commit a sexual offence, new guidelines drawn up by the Sentencing Council said.
In practice, this means in the future the likes of disgraced It's A Knockout presenter Stuart Hall, who used his fame to commit crimes against women and children, could receive more severe sentences.
Unbelievable? Well, read on:
“Across the justice system, changes have been made to ensure that the alleged offenders' behaviour and the context and circumstances of the incident are scrutinised, rather than the credibility of the victim,” Chief Constable David Whatton, national policing lead for violence and public protection, said.
Now, why would anyone not want to question the credibility of victims?

Also expansion through scaremongering, confusion over competing rights and equality legislation, rigid application of ‘weapons policies’, prosecution via hindsight and justice system intransigence.

I’m Shocked, Shocked That Your Businesses Might Provide The Answer…

Leading dog experts today called for training for owners who can’t control their pets after a couple were attacked on Pendle Hill.
Dog instructor Anthony Holden and award-winning former dog warden Steve Wood said owners needed greater education about the consequences of their dogs’ behaviour.
Of course you do. Any idea who'd provide it?

Oh. Wait.
Miss McKenna said the attack went on for ‘a good three or four minutes’.
She said: “Andy had a bit of an argument with the man but I was too flustered to speak. I just told him to control his dogs, turned my back and ran to the car.
“There was blood all over my legs and rips in my jeans. The adrenaline was pumping and I didn’t feel the pain until we started driving, I was that petrified.”
So, any arrests? Any confiscation of what are surely meeting the definition of ‘dangerous dogs’?
PC Anita Whittle from Lancashire Police confirmed an investigation was underway and said she was due to take a statement from the boxer dogs’ owner today.
I thought so.

All The Usual Suspects…

Hunger in Britain has reached the level of a “public health emergency” and the Government may be covering up the extent to which austerity and welfare cuts are adding to the problem, leading experts have said.
Gosh! Experts, eh?
In a letter to the British Medical Journal, a group of doctors and senior academics from the Medical Research Council and two leading universities …
Ah. OK.
… said that the effect of Government policies on vulnerable people’s ability to afford food needed to be “urgently” monitored.

And the hits just keep on coming!
More than 50,000 people in have signed a petition calling for Parliament to hold a debate on the causes of food poverty in the UK.
The petition was launched on Monday by the writer and former food bank user Jack Monroe.
Yes indeed. That Jack Monroe.
The petition has been backed by the Unite union and the national food bank charity the Trussell Trust.
We have a full house!

Monday, 16 December 2013

On The Fifth Day Of Christmas, The Overbearing State Gave To Me…

expansion through scaremongering:
The risk of criminal activity in the UK food chain is now so great that a dedicated new food crime unit should be set up with investigatory powers similar to the police to deal with it, according to a government report launched in the wake of the horsemeat scandal.
Yes, of course. What could possibly go wrong?
The interim report argues that food crime consists of deliberate organised activity by networks of criminals rather than a few random acts by "rogues" within the food industry. It catalogues a series of ways that organised criminals are able to make huge profits from the food chain due to inadequate enforcement of regulations such as labelling.
I suppose suggesting that we simply start enforcing those existing regulations is too simple?

Also confusion over competing rights and equality legislation, rigid application of ‘weapons policies’, prosecution via hindsight and justice system intransigence.

Coming Over Here, Taking Our Places On The Streets & Our Dogs On A String…

Almost a third of people receiving homelessness support in London are foreign nationals, figures reveal today.
Among the 15,450 the London boroughs help are 4,490 from overseas, with hundreds coming from Europe. The estimated cost the councils bear is between £25 million and £35 million a year.
*grinds teeth*
Among the changes that Mr Cameron announced last week is a plan to make migrants wait three months before claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance — at the moment they can receive it in less than a month.
Meanwhile benefits will be stopped after six months unless claimants have a genuine prospect of employment and beggars and rough sleepers from EU countries will be deported and barred from re-entry for 12 months.
Well, hurrah! Who could argue that this wasn't a good thing?
Lib-Dem MP for Southwark Simon Hughes acknowledged that there was a problem with a disproportionate number of men from European states among the homeless in his constituency.
But he added: “I have asked for clarification that someone who, for a day or a week, may not have a permanent or secure place to stay, will not automatically lose their right to stay in the UK or be criminalised.”

"... launched for one sole issue, armed and engined for the same..."

A mother terrified families at Thame Fair by brandishing seven knives and a meat cleaver when she thought her son had been kidnapped.
Never, ever come between a female and her offspring!
Cathy Olliver, prosecuting, said Ryan had become “irrationally convinced” that the people running the fair had taken her son, who in fact was playing with a friend.
She told Judge Ian Pringle that Ryan took eight blades – four in each hand – and walked through the fair threatening stallholders. Miss Olliver said she was eventually overpowered by security guards and sustained injuries to her head and hand during the struggle.
We aren't told what, if any, injuries they received. Perhaps because she couldn't make up her mind which was her favourite kidnapper-carving knife...
Timothy Boswell, defending, told Judge Pringle his client suffered from a personality disorder which she was able to control with medication.
He said that because of her mental heath problems, sending Ryan to prison could increase the risk of her behaving violently in the future.
A likely story! Who’s going to believe th…

Judge Pringle told her: “You brandished these knives at stallholders and members of the public – the terror you inspired must have been enormous. I hope you always remember behaviour like that is totally unacceptable.”
He sentenced her to six months in prison, suspended for two years, with activity and supervision requirements, and told her to pay an £80 victims’ surcharge.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

On The Fourth Day Of Christmas, The Overbearing State Gave To Me…

confusion over competing rights and equality legislation:
Ms Dandridge added: ''What is very uncomfortable about this argument is you are assuming that we have the right to impose views on participants. If the participants say this is how they want it to be, it is not appropriate for us to disregard their views.
''If people feel more comfortably about sitting separately, and that's invariably the situation that will arise in these cases, then universities have to listen to those views.''
*buys yet more popcorn*

Also rigid application of ‘weapons policies’, prosecution via hindsight and justice system intransigence.

Answers On A Postcard…

The un-named man, who appears to have been home at the time, was left unable to move, but luckily had his mobile phone close by.
Firemen who attended the scene were able to free him from the object successfully, but he did require on the spot medical treatment from paramedics.
The firemen then provided the man, from Newport, South Wales, with “suitable advice” to avoid getting into a similar predicament again, the Mirror reports.
Just what would constitute ‘suitable advice’?

Bit Of An Unfair Headline...

...I mean, none of them are raving beauties, but they aren't exactly dogs eith...

Oh. Right.

Sunday Funnies...

Not quite so funny this week - remember, the State is not your friend...

Saturday, 14 December 2013

On The Third Day Of Christmas, The Overbearing State Gave To Me…

rigid application of ‘weapons policies’:
The incident took place the week of October 14th, when fifth grader Johnny Jones asked his teacher for a pencil during class. Jones walked to the front of the classroom to retrieve the pencil, and during his walk back to his seat, a classmate and friend of Johnny’s held his folder like an imaginary gun and “shot” at Johnny. Johnny playfully used his hands to draw the bowstrings on a completely imaginary “bow” and “shot” an arrow back.
Seeing this, another girl in the class reported to the teacher that the boys were shooting at each other. The teacher took both Johnny and the other boy into the hall and lectured them about disruption.
The teacher then contacted Johnny’s mother, Beverly Jones, alerting her to the “seriousness” of the violation because the children were using “firearms” in their horseplay, and informing her that the matter had been referred to the Principal.
Principal John Horton contacted Ms. Jones soon thereafter in order to inform her that Johnny’s behavior was a serious offense that could result in expulsion under the school’s weapons policy.
Horton characterized Johnny’s transgression as “making a threat” to another student using a “replica or representation of a firearm” through the use of an imaginary bow and arrow.
Sadly, none of these threatened punishments are imaginary...

Also prosecution via hindsight and justice system intransigence.

This Is Why The Term ‘Vexatious Litigant’ Was Invented…

An American animal rights group has launched legal action seeking to grant chimpanzees “legal personhood” , in order to overhaul treatment of the animals in captivity.
I wonder who their attorney is..?

“Our goal is, very simply, to breach the legal wall that separates all humans from all nonhuman animals,” the Nonhuman Rights Project said.
“Once this wall is breached, the first nonhuman animals on earth will gain legal “personhood” and finally get their day in court — a day they so clearly deserve.”
But wait! If they succeed...

Why, that means they'd be subject to our laws? That's going to be fun!

"Somebody call 911!"
The group said New York state was chosen to launch the preceding because of its generally flexible view of requests for a writ of habeas corpus, a centuries-old right in English law used to challenge unlawful detention, by determining that a legal person cannot be the property of another.
And this won't get thrown straight out of court because animals aren't people?

Wow! What do they put in the water in that state?
“These are the first cases in an open-ended, strategic litigation campaign. We're just going to keep filing suits.”
I wonder how they can afford to do this?

Festive Feasts…

Most people enjoy the sight of reindeers (sic) at Christmas.
But a dramatic increase in the number of people who enjoy the taste of Dasher, Dancer and Rudolph is putting pressure on reindeer stocks in Finland, where suppliers are turning down requests for the exotic meat for fear of depleting the forests.
Eat home-grown red, fallow or roe deer then. It’s virtually identical!

Or…here’s an idea for some sustainable farming in the Highlands – they do well there. And since there’s now a demand…
Five years ago there was an outcry when it emerged that the Swedish furniture giant IKEA was selling salami containing reindeer.
But with the foodie revolution putting game firmly back on the menu at home and in restaurants, the squeamishness appears to have faded. The German-owned supermarket chain Lidl is stocking its shelves with £7.99 reindeer steaks this year after a successful trial run in 2010.
I know! They are superb. They also do diced reindeer, so I’m set for Rudolph Stew over the festive season as well. Who’s not happy?

Well, the usual suspects, of course.
Animal rights groups, however, are quick to play up the Christmas link. A spokesperson from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) told ABC that “no one likes the idea of eating Rudolph at Christmas” .
Wrong! I do! And so do a lot of other people, it seems.

Maybe you’d get better support if you dubbed them ‘Snow Kittens’?

Friday, 13 December 2013

On The Second Day Of Christmas, The Overbearing State Gave To Me…

prosecution via hindsight:
… on Tuesday a judge told the jury to find Counsell, 51, not guilty after ruling the case against him was based on hindsight and there was no way he could have anticipated the conditions that were created that night.
That this case ever reached a court beggars belief.

The defendant, who has had his business disrupted and his reputation trashed, is understandably aggrieved:
"The prosecution case against me was based on the suggestion that I should have recognised the risk of something occurring which has never been shown to have happened before, which probably did not happen, and risk of which was not recognised by anyone else."
But wait, you say! ‘Not recognised by anyone else’?

Yes. Indeed so.
"The current authoritative guidance from the Health and Safety Executive contains no reference to any risk posed by firework smoke, whether on its own or in combination with fog.
"The same applies to guidance produced by other official bodies and indeed current guidance provided by the Taunton Deane Borough Council.
"The prosecution experts spent two years investigating the possible causes of the crash, including the interaction between firework smoke and fog. There were unable to find a single example of a case in which firework smoke had previously been shown to pose a danger. "
And yet, incredibly, this didn’t stop the prosecution…
Peter Blair QC, prosecuting, told the jury: "Essentially, the prosecution say they experienced a loss of visibility, generated, we say, by a plume of smoke created by Mr Counsell from his firework display which had built up.
"It was dispersed because of the lack of wind mixed with the humid air and drifted in the direction of the motorway.
"We say people were exposed to an appreciable risk to their personal safety that night as a consequence of the way Mr Counsell prepared for and then went about his business.
"We say that ensuring the safety of people using that motorway needed particular care if you were going to undertake a big firework display involving the use of a substantial volume of these hazardous explosives, which generated a lot of smoke.
"Smoke can have an appreciable effect on reducing visibility - that should be obvious. It didn't take long from the build-up of smoke to the dramatic loss of visibility.
"We say if he had adequately undertaken his health and safety properly, some or all of the consequences which unfolded on November 4 may have been avoided."
I can only assume Peter Blair QC doesn’t possess a dictionary, and so is unaware of the meaning of the word ‘appreciable’. Or ‘obvious’.

Naturally, everyone involved in this is in CYA mode:
Barry Hughes, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS South West, said: “This was an extremely complex case and we worked closely with Taunton Deane Borough Council and sought evidence from experts and many eye witnesses before making the decision to charge Geoffrey Counsell with breaching the Health and Safety Act.
“The burden falls on us to prove our case beyond a reasonable doubt. The judge was not satisfied that the evidence available passed this high threshold and has directed the jury to acquit Mr Counsell. We accept this decision.
“Over the last few weeks the jury has heard from many of those present on the night of the incident. I would like to thank them for coming forward to give evidence as I know how hard it must have been to relive the events of that night. 
“I would also like to thank Avon and Somerset police, who conducted a thorough and detailed investigation. “Our thoughts today are with all those involved in and affected by this tragic incident.”
Are they with poor Mr Counsell?
A statement released by Taunton Deane Council just now reads as follows: The acquittal of Geoffrey Counsell, on the direction of the Hon Mr Justice Simon at his trial at Bristol Crown Court, marks the end of a lengthy investigation by Avon and Somerset Police and Taunton Deane Borough Council.
After the decision, Leader of the Council, Cllr John Williams, said: “I hope that the end of Crown Court proceedings brings some closure for the families, friends and colleagues of those who lost their lives or suffered injury in the terrible events on November 4 2011.
“The Council is now seeking to work closely with the relevant authorities to see if the current guidance regarding large fireworks displays, such as the one at Taunton Rugby Club, is appropriate. We also pledge our support for any changes that may be deemed necessary.
“Our primary concern is to minimise the risks of this type of unimaginable incident happening again.
“On behalf of the Council, I would like to extend my deepest sympathy to the families of the bereaved and the families and friends of all those affected by these terrible events. ”
Does that include poor Mr Counsell?

Also justice system intransigence.