Tuesday 31 May 2011

Well, I Suppose It's A Novel Excuse...

Jo Sidhu, for McCloud today, told the court a discretionary life sentence was not merited in his case, because he had restricted the abuse to one victim and not gone after other children.
Nice try, I suppose, but it'll never wor...

Three senior judges, sitting at the London court, today agreed to replace his life term with a less draconian sentence of imprisonment for public protection (IPP).

Let's Put On The Show Right Here In Paris!

The plight of families facing eviction from Dale Farm traveller site will be raised by three actresses on a Paris theatre stage.
Kika Markham, widow of Four Weddings and a Funeral actor Corin Redgrave, Anna Carteret, 68, police inspector Kate Longton in Eighties cop show Juliet Bravo, and Argentinian actress Stella Maris, will take part in a special show.
Yes, I've heard about those 'special shows' you can see in Paris! I bet there'll be a packed house for...

When shall we three meet again?

Oh, maybe not!
Kika said they hoped to give a repeat performance of the show in south Essex, in support of the travellers.

She said: “We are doing a performance on the persecution faced by Roma people in France, in Europe, as well as at Dale Farm.

“We will talk about Dale Farm, video footage of evictions will be played as well as newspaper reports read out.

I will read out Corin’s speech, when he had a heart attack in Basildon.”
Well, I bet that'll be a real show-stopper...
"At Dale Farm, the people have not been allowed to settle after they bought their own land."
Well, no, sweetie, owning the land is only part of the necessary legal hurdles; it's planning permission that is needed, and that's what they haven't got.

And aren't going to get.

My Heart Bleeds For Them, Rob…

Rob Owen (chief executive of the St Giles Trust) disagrees with the conclusions drawn over the re-offending rates for short-term prisoners:
Our charity works on the frontline with prison leavers, offering practical support and training opportunities. Short-sentence prisoners are unable to access the same level of support as those with longer sentences and are often released homeless, mentally distressed and with very little money to survive on.
Prison is supposed to be a punishment, you know. It’s not supposed to set you up for life. Might I suggest the old answer, ‘Don’t get sent there in the first place!’..?
Obviously no one should be soft on crime and the public are understandably very fearful about becoming victims of it. But these services prevent thousands of unnecessary future victims.
So you claim. They also keep many people – like yourself - in employment.

Now, please try and tell me that’s not a factor in your pleading, so I can laugh in your face.
The article states: "Clarke said both prison and non-custodial sentences needed to do much more to address the underlying causes of crime, such as drugs and mental illness."

One man we helped had more than 80 convictions and had been in and out of prison for much of his adult life; when he was last released, more than 18 months ago, we supported him to get proper housing and address his drug problems. Today he is resettled and a much valued, highly effective staff member at our trust, helping hundreds of other prison leavers make a similar transition.
One swallow doth not make a summer, yet it seems one anecdote doth indeed make data…

You Don’t Have To Be Hopelessly Naïve To Be A Judge…

…but it clearly helps:
Former drug addict Billy Parry, 35, was caught red-handed by police while inside a house in Pegasus Road, Blackbird Leys, shortly before Christmas last year.
But despite having four previous convictions for burglary stretching back to 1994, Parry was given four months to complete a rehabilitation course.
It’s a wonder he didn’t give him a few quid from the poor box for his bus fare…
Sophie Murray, defending, said her client has made “every attempt” to turn his life around.
Apart from keeping his nose clean and staying out of other people’s houses, I guess?
Judge King adjourned sentencing until September 23 and reserved the case to himself.

He said: “Looking at your abysmal record, I have some reservations, and I don’t know if you will fulfil your obligations. ”
Oh go on – hazard a guess, at least!

Monday 30 May 2011

What’s The Rotherham Equivalent Of ‘Duelling Banjos’?

Well, whatever they are, I hear them playing…
Laura Wilson, 17, had a brief relationship with Ishaq Hussain, 22, who lived close to her before giving birth to their daughter in June last year.

Sheffield Crown Court was told that Hussain failed to acknowledge the child as his own and did not offer any support, leading to friction between Laura, her family and Hussain.

Things came to a head last October when she went to Hussain's house and told his family he was the father of the child, prosecutor Nicholas Campbell QC said.

Hussain and his friend, who also had an affair with her and was said to be her first love, plotted to kill her, it is alleged.
OK, here's where you may need to get a pen and paper and draw some diagrams...
Laura's older sister, Sarah, looked upon Hussain as being 'like her brother' in the mixed ethnicity area where they lived.

Before the affair, Laura had fallen in love with Asghar and they had a sexual relationship. They resumed the affair after Laura had the baby with Hussain.
OK, you may need more paper at this point...
Laura struggled at school and played turant, 'but she embraced life with gusto, she was an attractive and popular girl,' Mr Campbell added.

Laura began drinking with Fay Williams had also had a daughter with Hussain. They knew one another before falling pregnant but then they became firm friends.

They realised Hussain would never marry either of them and Laura was only interested in Asghar.
*screws up paper and throws it away*

I give up!

"Hush child go to sleep, it's only the sound of a gun..."

Police launched an armed response after three men, including one who was believed to be armed, were seen near Brighton Aldridge Community Academy (BACA), in Falmer yesterday afternoon.

A member of staff at the former Falmer High School dialed 999 after seeing the men and pupils were ushered into their classrooms.
Fear of another Hungerford or Dunblane clearly in their minds, no doubt.

But no. It was just what you really should expect if your school is in the middle of a rural community:
But when the police helicopter located the men it was discovered the gunman was using a legal air rifle to hunt rabbits.
Whew! Panic over, right?

The mother of a 13-year-old pupil said: “My son said it was a boy chasing three rabbits with a gun.

He apparently fired the gun and a lot of pupils saw it.

“It is really worrying. I’m really worried about how this could have happened.”
And she's not the only nervous nellie:
pcdoc1, Brighton says...

I have a daughter at the school and hearing about firearms being seen was very scary. The teachers have not even mentioned about the incident and we didnt know if our daughter was safe untill she arrived home.

Guns kill even trained firearms experts have been known to make mistakes.

The police might as well put a notice up in this paper saying anyone who wants to do some shooting go to baca school and enjoy yourselfs!

Trying to reason with people like this is utterly futile, though some commenters try anyway. It falls on wilfully deaf ears:
lana18, says...

for all u inconsiderate prats that obviously dont have kids ,it was a very scary time.For us as parents it is a worrying time! when u hear a gun man is about in baca and u only live down the road with kids ,it is scary not knowing what would happen next,so keep ur stupid comments to ur selfs,cos u all know it all dont u mr i am perfect people ,air rifle or gun either are scary and dangerous!
I can only hope the school does a better job with your kids than it clearly did with you, lana18...

But this is the sort of hysteria and overdeveloped sense of danger that leads, inevitably, to this sort of nonsense:
illagers in Oxfordshire are smarting after being hit with a ban on using a starting pistol to send off competitors in a centuries-old race.

A shotgun was once used to start the Great Shirt Race, which is held at Whitsun and features two teams pushing prams round Bampton's pubs and drinking half a pint of beer at each. But in 2000 that was replaced with a starter pistol after pressure from police.
Now they've been told that because the starter pistol, an Olympic .380 BBM, can be converted for criminal use they cannot use that either.
The issue seems to be a change in the law (as a result of these converted weapons being used in several street murders) and since the starting pistol is now a licensed weapon, and no-one in Bampton has the appropriate license, they cannot use it.

Bet you feel much safer as a result, villagers. Right?

Blog Title Of The Month

Goes to Pavlov's Cat, for this wonderful use of alliteration:

A career writing 'Sun' headlines surely beckons... ;)

Quote Of The Month

From The Grim Reaper:
"Those of you watching the Baftas on Sunday night will know that in the only award voted for by the public, the unimaginatively titled Audience Award, the winner was The Only Way Is Essex.

Many luvvies are devastated and bemused by the news. They expected that the winner would be Downton Abbey, starring that fine actor Hugh Bonneville.

Come to think of it, your Reaper did see footage of Bonneville sitting down at the Baftas, looking slightly uncomfortable. It almost looked like something had been up the man's arse at times - some of you must know the feeling of discomfort I'm talking about, surely. When you just can't get comfortable in your seat..."

Post Of The Month

This month the award goes to Shijuro, for this post showing exactly where our current culture of 'softly, softly' with violent youth has led us to (and continues to lead us)...

"They got little cars, that go beep, beep, beep..."

...but not for long, as one dwarf actor and former Ewok soon found out:
Gibbins, who played one of the bear-like creatures in the 1983 Star Wars film, had the keys to his Ford C-Max stolen by the young thief, who then crashed the car into a parked VW and a lamp post.
But happily, the police actually caught the culprit! And...

...that's where the good news ends. C'mon, this isn't the movies, after all:
Police let the boy off but the 1m (3ft 4in) actor, from Bolton, is feeling the force of his insurance company, which will not pay for the damage as Gibbins failed to declare speeding points on his licence.
The thief was ten, so no doubt the police felt that they had to throw this one back for a while, so it could get a little bigger. No point throwing a tiddler in the keep net, eh?

Sunday 29 May 2011

The Man With No Name…

Magistrates yesterday refused to name and shame a serial teenage immigrant thief – because it could be “harmful” to him.
Are they worried about retribution from the public? Vigilantes?
The 15-year-old Romanian from a family living on benefits has been locked up six times in the past for repeated thieving while posing as a beggar, taking money from victims at cashpoints.
Manchester magistrates locked him up for a seventh time after hearing of eight new offences, including stealing a family’s Christmas present money.

But when asked by the media to name him so that potential future victims can spot him, magistrates refused because “it was not in the public interest” and applied a gagging order.
So, as a result, all teenage Romanians (or Romanian-looking youths) will now be suspect!

Brilliant idea, mags! That’ll foster community harmony a treat, eh…?
Lib Dem MP John Hemming, who this week used Parliamentary privilege to get round an injunction shielding soccer star Ryan Giggs’ extra-marital affair, expressed his fury at another breach of the public’s right to know.

Mr Hemming said: “It is usually a good idea to protect the identities of young offenders because it may help to encourage them back on the straight and narrow.

“But in this case it looks like he is someone who does not want to change his ways and clearly people need to be warned about who he is and what he looks like.

“It is a case of protecting the innocent members of the public so that they do not fall victim to similar crimes at his hands in the future.”
As expected, the local community isn’t too chuffed:
Residents in the city’s Longsight and Levenshulme districts, where the boy has repeatedly struck, demanded he be named. Builder Aaron Daniels, 42, said: “Surely his picture should be published so we can recognise him when he is released and be aware of his scam?”
You’d think, but he has more rights than you…

Including a right to your money:
The boy showed no emotion as victim statements were read out, interpreted by a translator
His father, who is given £460-a-week in benefits, was also in court.
For support? Or on a related charge?
The press asked magistrates to lift reporting restrictions.

But chairman of the bench David McFarland said it was not “in the public interest”.

He added: “We feel it would also be harmful to this young man if any rehabilitation becomes necessary.”
What do they mean, ‘becomes necessary’? Isn’t it necessary (albeit unlikely) now?

Even the defence couldn’t come up with any creative excuses for this one (or felt she needn’t bother, what with the mags falling all over themselves to excuse him for her):
Gillian Kennaugh, defending, admitted the boy had a “horrendous record”.
And there’s little chance of him changing his ways, is there..?

Astonishing Things Seen In Local Newpapers…

Front page story in this week’s ‘Barking and Dagenham Post’:
Witnesses – including borough councillors – told the Post that around 20 far-right activists charged Crown House in Linton Road, Barking, before smashing windows and doors with rocks.
The chorus of disapproval is printed verbatim, as always, and as always, the usual suspects are all there:
Kelvin Williams, of Unite Against Facism (Ed: sic), who was in the building at the time, said:

“They started smashing frontage windows with rocks.

“They were wearing hoodies and covering their faces. This is a street strategy of thugs.”
Well, lord above, Kelvin, if anyone’s well-placed to know the strategy of thugs, it’s a member of the UAF!
Abbey ward Cllr Laila Butt, who was also at the meeting, said: “I was shocked to see racism in my home town after 20 years of living in Barking…”
Really, love? I really can’t think why it should shock you so much, unless you’ve had your head buried in your council papers for all of those twenty years.

Or perhaps, you don’t consider certain cases* to be ‘racism’?
Meeting organiser, Mayesbrook ward Cllr George Barratt, added: “It is very disturbing. Here we are living in Barking and Dagenham, which is a very peaceful place.”
Is it really? Would you like to suggest that to the family of Mr Singh? Or the victims of these two charmers?

Mind you, maybe it’s partly true, but only because a lot of those non-peaceful people commute to carry out their crime, rather than s*** on their own doorstep?

* H/T Laban Tall for background info

Another Odd Judgement…

Louise, who had lived in Haslingden, died after being repeatedly stabbed with a knife and beaten with a large piece of wood in a secluded wooded area behind Towneley Hall, Burnley.

The former Haslingden High School and Accrington and Rossendale College student was living at the Elizabeth Street Project hostel, Burnley, at the time she was murdered.

Before a two-week trial at Preston Crown Court in December 2009, Maw pleaded guilty to murder.

The jury later heard Wood had recruited Maw to kill Louise, who had been ‘annoying him’.

Wood was put behind bars for at least 23 years and Maw was handed a minimum term of 18 years and 35 weeks.
Yes, that’s right. The man who organised it got more than the man who carried it out. Shades of this case, albeit not even an accident, this time, but premeditated murder.

He appealed. And lost. And his hired thug got even less!
Lord Justice Pitchford refused to reduce Wood’s term in light of his key role in instigating the offence.

However, he cut Maw’s term to 16 years and eight months to reflect his guilty plea, youth, and immaturity.
This has enraged the family, who have set up a group to protest their poor wee lamb’s brutal treatment at the hands of the justice system.
Yesterday Gillian Phillips, who spearheaded the FAWN campaign, vowed to continue to fight on Wood’s behalf.

She said: “We will never stop until the truth eventually comes out.”
In the comments, this theme continues:
freeanthonywoodnow, says...

Anthony had a trial that was rushed through court, where all the evidence available to prove his innocence was not used. On the evidence provided, the jury had no choice but to bring in their guilty verdict. The justice system in England prevents us from challenging this.

We feel sorry for the memory of Louise in that the person who bludgeoned her to death actually gets his sentence reduced but her friend Anthony gets penalised for trying to stop him.

We would like to thank all Anthony’s family, friends and supporters for their support and belief in him.

We will continue in this fight for justice for Anthony and Louise and will never stop until the truth eventually comes out.

Anyone wanting to show support to Anthony can do so via freeanthonywoodnow.c

Anyone else affected by the Joint Enterprise Law can contact either ourselves via the website or the joint enterprise website. www.jointenterprise.co/
I won't directly link to the sites, as I don't wish to have it appear that I support their 'cause' (plus, it's an appallingly designed website - he should get a few more years for that alone!).

Sunday Funnies

Since it's the Southend Airshow today, this seems fitting...

Saturday 28 May 2011

Endearing Themselves To The Public Again...

A young woman told yesterday how she risked her life to stop a street robbery – while two police officers sat in their patrol car a few yards away.

Marie Wastlund, 27, was walking home from a night out when she saw three hooded thugs throttling and kicking a woman in view of the police vehicle.

The student waved and shouted to get the attention of the officers – parked only 25 yards away – but they did nothing.
I can't wait to see the excuses offered for this....
So she waded in herself and pulled the thugs away from their victim by their hoods – at which point they fled. Astonishingly, she then had to dial 999 to summon police help and sat cradling the distraught victim in her arms for ten minutes.

At one point the two officers got out of their car but, apparently not noticing what was going on, they got back in again.
Well, Marie, here's what you do next time this happens - tell them they're about to be clamped:
The officers were sitting in their unmarked cars in private residents’ spaces at the Gunwharf Quays marina retail complex.
And so they were clamped. And why not? Aren't they subject to the same laws as everyone else?

They didn't think so. They arrested the clamper.
A Hampshire police spokesman said: ‘Mr Andrews clamped two unmarked police vehicles preventing the officers, who were at Gunwharf as part of a security operation, from conducting their duties. The officers had not left the vehicles at the time they were clamped.
The boss of the clamping firm disputes this:
Andrews, who works for Shoal Enforcement, will appear at South and South East Hampshire Magistrates’ Court in Portsmouth next Friday.
Mike Eames, managing director of the parking enforcement company, denied the officers were in the cars when they were clamped.
‘A member of our staff immobilised two cars parked in private residents’ bays,’ he said. ‘A plainclothes police officer produced his warrant card and requested that both vehicles be released.
‘Our member of staff confirmed he would release the vehicles if the officer would provide confirmation that he was on duty. The officer declined and arrested our member of staff.
‘At no time did the police officer identify himself as a royal protection officer or make any mention of the Queen’s visit.
‘There were no officers in the vehicles during the incident and our member of staff was correctly displaying his licence.’
I think this'll be the only time the public are likely to be cheering on a clamping firm in a court case!

Remember, It's 'I Before E...

...except after C!'

I mean, come on, you got it right in the body text!


Truly, it's a mystery....

"But you can travel on ten thousand miles, and still stay where you are..."

Witnesses said Mr Farah dashed past them with a man in pursuit near the town centre at 10pm on Thursday night.

Seconds later he was shot outside a Samaritans branch in an alleyway on the notorious Fishermead Boulevard estate, where a large number of Somali and Eastern European families live.

Yesterday police handed out leaflets written in Somali in an attempt to calm fears.
I guess the Eastern Europeans can just go ahead and worry all they want?
Mr Hird said: ‘His mother moved him to Birmingham to get away from this but he used to come back and visit friends a lot.’

Another uncle, Sharmaarke Mohammed, 38, said: ‘When I heard he had been killed I thought he must have been visiting his father in Somalia – which is a war-torn country – not Milton Keynes which we thought was peaceful. He was well behaved and likeable, with a lot of friends.’
Move around all you want, but Harry Chapin was right; unless you change your way of life, you'll always be in Somalia. In fact, you'll take Somalia with you wherever you go...

And if the initial police suspicion turns out to be true, there'll be a reason for those 'lots of friends':
Police are investigating a theory that the pair were killed over a drugs dispute. They are thought to have been on the fringes of a Somali gang known for street robberies and peddling Class A drugs.
Local do-gooders are distraught:
Isabella Fraser, 75, a local Lib Dem councillor and chairman of the local equality council, said: ‘It is a great shame...’
Aww, don't worry, love! Looks like there's plenty more in the community for you to fret over!

Losing one or even two of your flock shouldn't upset a good shepherd that much, should it?

Maybe This Is One The Council PR Team Should Have Handled?

Ed Stuckey, 14, was hit in the shoulder with the javelin and was rushed to hospital where it was removed.

Paramedics were called to Norton Knatchbull School in Ashford, Kent, - a selective school for boys - at 3.20pm on Thursday.

Kent Fire and Rescue service had to use a small hydraulic tool - normally used to free people trapped in cars - to remove the javelin from his shoulder.
Ouch! Nasty accident.

But maybe getting the headmistress to give a statement wasn’t wise:
Headteacher Susanne Stabb said: 'I would like to praise the immediate response and actions of our first aiders and the emergency services. They were superb and I cannot thank them enough.'
*stifled giggle*

Yup, He’s A Fruitcake, All Right….

A vandal who scrawled graffiti on some of York’s most historic landmarks has been jailed for the second time.
But this is no spotty teenage yoof in a hoodie; this is a 31 year old man, albeit one with ‘issues’:
They included a cross with Blythe’s initials inside and the words “crucified martyr” “patch” and “monsoon” on York Crown Court; “blythdon” “decraved, depraved” “mind farmed” “robbed” and “it’s my life” among others on Clifford’s Tower; and “google blythdon bent cops” on the Statue of Constantine, outside York Minster.
Blythe’s solicitor Andrew Craven said Blythe acted as he did because he held a particular “view”.

He said: “It is not, obviously, a mainstream viewpoint, but it is deeply held by him. He believes sincerely he is doing this for the benefit of what can only be described as society in general.”
And those views are..?
Last August, Nicholas Darwin, representing Blythe said his client was convinced cancer was the result of babies receiving brain implants.
Blythe denies that he has mental health issues, but the district judge heard York mental health team were concerned he had not been assessed on a psychiatric basis before being interviewed by police earlier this year.
I can save them the time. He’s clearly a loon. Why doesn’t he just get a blog or Twitter account, like everyone else?

And what good is locking him up going to do? Other than take up a place that could be used by someone who has committed a violent crime? Far better to force him to remove his daubings, surely?

Friday 27 May 2011

So, What’s Really Behind This?

Is it lack of available places? Or is it targets related to the policy of inclusion?
A mum says she was devastated to be told her severely autistic son would be sent to a mainstream school, not a special school.
Well, how severely autistic is he?
Lucy McClure, of Maudlyn Road, Colchester, fears four-year-old Frankie will be unable to cope at Kendall Primary School.

Frankie’s condition means he struggles with his speech, he is not toilet-trained and is prone to violent outbursts.
Hmmm, that doesn’t bode well, not least for the other children. I mean, even with one-to-one supp…

Mrs McClure, 26, said: “In the statement application process, it asks for the preferred school you feel would meet your child’s needs.

“I asked for Market Field Special School, in Elmstead Market.

Then I had a call from the head of special needs at Essex County Council to say the panel would like Frankie to attend Kendall Primary, without one-to one support.
Well, that’s nice. How about ‘the panel’ reconsider, in light of the facts? Or maybe spend some time in the classroom with him?
Mrs McClure said she felt Frankie needed specialist care.

She explained: “He has behaviour issues because of his frustration at not being able to communicate, and he will hit out.

“It takes him a very long time to settle into a new place and he is not toilet-trained. He needs specialist people, which is why we want him to go to Market Field.

“They could cater for his needs and he would be around other people with special needs so he wouldn’t feel different. He is going to get bullied, because five-year-olds are not going to be aware of autism.”
No doubt some cretin believes it’ll be ‘character forming’ for them, learning to cope with another child’s disability…
An Essex County Council spokesman said it would meet Mrs McLure’s family next week to discuss the Frankie’s education.
Would love to be a fly on the wall at that meeting….

Keep Death Off The Roads (No, NOT A Cycling Post!)...

But incredibly the court heard that Smith could be handed his job back as his boss was so 'impressed' by his conduct, both before and after the incident.
Philip Hatvani, defending, said the automatic driving ban, which Smith would get for admitting dangerous driving, would be punishment enough.

He said: 'He is going to have to ride out the ban, take the extended driving test, retake his coach test and also get a lorry licence.

'It is going to be particularly hard for this man. He went to a special needs school because he has dyslexia. He has no academic qualifications.

'But he managed to find himself work, to work his way up to become a coach driver.

'He is going to find it incredibly difficult to find any other type of work.'
I'm not sure a man with dyslexia and an unstable temper is really the person to be in charge of a large vehicle...

Especially since it seems his eyesight isn't too good, either:
The court also heard that Smith leaned out of his window and stuck his middle finger up at a witness and a policeman as he drove away.

Easily Answered Questions...

Peter Wilby is baffled by the continuing failure of socialism to make headway as he’d like:
Why aren't we more angry? Why isn't blood running, metaphorically at least, in the streets?
Because we're not all bitter socialists. Next!
But top pay also suggests political failure, particularly on the left. To put it crudely, why can't leftwing parties harness middle-class anger against the super-rich?
Because you can never win (for long) with spite and envy. Next!

Oh, he's all finished with the questions, and on to the statements of fact:
This generation of the middle classes has internalised the values of individualist aspiration, as zealously propagated by Tony Blair as by Margaret Thatcher. It does not look to the application of social justice to improve its lot. It expects to rely on its own efforts to get ahead and, crucially, to maintain its position.
*GASP* How awful...
But as the super-rich stretch further ahead, appropriating, with the assistance of a Conservative-led government, ever increasing proportions of national resources, Ed Miliband and Labour have the opportunity to build a new cross-class consensus for a more equal society.
Ah, yes! Ed Miliband! Well, there's another answer to your second question, Peter, eh..?

Something Even More Curious Than The Defendant's Name...

A man has been convicted of ignoring council orders to demolish a cottage he built without permission.
But leading councillors from the authority that prosecuted him say they will not force him to knock it down.
I guess they figure with a name like that, the poor sod has suffered enough…

You've gotta be kidding me....

…Peter Halliday, Tendring Council’s deputy leader and councillor responsible for finance, said the case against Moonflower was built on technicalities and should never have reached court.
He added: “Neither me, nor council leader Neil Stock, are in the business of pulling down people’s homes. Both of us will be looking at positive ways forward to ensure Mr Moonflower does not end up without a house.
“We will be doing everything we can to ensure it remains standing.
I fully understand the court’s position and the enforcement notice is factually correct. But morally, has the man done anything wrong?
“We don’t think so. He has been caught out by a technicality. It has gone on for 11 years and that’s unacceptable.
“We possibly should have stopped him while he was building it. Are we really going to knock his house down and make him part of the housing issue? No.”
Curiouser and curiouser...

Thursday 26 May 2011

Crazy H&S Fears…

A primary school trip to a mosque was cancelled because of ‘ridiculous’ concerns over terrorist attacks in revenge for the death of Osama Bin Laden.
Ummm, what?

Muslims would attack their own mosque? Or this mosque was such a hotbed of fanaticism the worshippers would attack the children? In which case, why is it ever safe for a school trip?

I mean, does anyone ever stop, think, recite their edict back to themselves and think ‘Oh, that’s not going to sound too good if the tabloids get ahold of it’..?
In a statement released last night, Miss Evans said: ‘I would have made the same decision on planned visits to any building or public place that might have been the target of attacks during this period. My first duty is to the safety of the children in my care.

‘I received considerable support from a number of parents for the decision I made, and at no point did I wish to cause offence to any one sector of the community.’
Could have been worse, love, there might have been geese:
Before being allowed to organise the workout sessions, the instructor was asked to provide a list of potential hazards at Chiswick Business Park, which has attractive landscaped gardens centred around a lake.
After struggling to think of any dangers posed at the location, the woman received a form from the park’s own health and safety team highlighting the supposed risk of injuries caused by a ‘collision’ with wildlife. The form stated: ‘Instructors are instructed to stay clear of wildlife (eg low-flying geese)’.
A spokeswoman for Chiswick Park Enjoy-Work, which runs the private park for about a dozen businesses, said all event operators had to provide ‘relevant’ risk assessments.
In some bizarre kind of job creation scheme for the otherwise-unemployable, I suppose?

"Go on, take the money and run..."

Police evacuated Darwen’s main post office after a radio stunt was mistaken for a robbery.
Sounds familiar!
Hundreds of people were in the town centre looking for the ‘Real Radio Renegade’ - a mystery man with a £4,000 ‘bounty’ on his head - who was posting clues to his whereabouts on the station’s website.

One clue handed out during an hour’s search yesterday was a photograph of the Post Office counter in The Circus.

As crowds dashed into the building looking for the renegade, two police vans with lights and sirens arrived outside and officers cleared the building, fearing a robbery was underway.
I’m clearly unfamiliar with modern bank robbery techniques, but is it really done in huge mixed groups?
A police spokesman said: “Two response officers attended as they were aware there was a lot more people in the town centre than normal, and the post office was cleared as a precaution, though there was no incident.”

Officers have not spoken to Real Radio about the stunt.
Well, no. I'd expect thet're too embarrassed, what with the recent instances of overreaction and red faces...

If A Tree Burns In Porters Avenue And There's No One Around To See It...

...then maybe Stanley Blake has found a cunning way to get round his ASBO:
Stanley Blake, 42, torched the trees growing by the side of Broad Street, Dagenham, on at least three occasions this year.

The blaze damaged a telegraph pole causing a number of homes to temporarily lose their phone line, according to residents living in the area.

Blake, of Porters Avenue, Dagenham, has been handed an Anti-Social Behaviour Order (Asbo) by the council and police barring him from entering Broad Street and nearby Armstead Walk until April 2013.
It's most odd, because his address is given as Porters Avenue, which as you can see from Googlemaps isn't exactly a treeless wasteland:

And even more to the point, at the top of that road, you may just be able to see a park. It's got....guess what?

Yup, trees. Hundreds of them.

So, it's a bit of a mystery why he'd need to go out of his way - all the way to Broad St - to indulge his apparent arboreal arson complex...

How To Escape An Attempted Murder Charge…

…pick a victim who can run fast enough:
On the morning of October 19 last year, the defendant turned up at the shop and drenched one of the owners, Ako Abdullah, in petrol, the court heard.

Terrified about what might happen the shopkeeper ran outside as the shop was set ablaze.
Now, I don’t know what goes through the mind of a CPS officer any more than I know what goes through the mind of a paranoid schizophrenic (because, yes, that’s what he turned out to be) but how is drenching someone in petrol not attempted murder?
The 30-year-old, of Rawstorne Street, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to arson, being reckless whether life would be endangered.
The Polish national was assisted by an interpreter for his sentencing hearing.
Well, of course he was…
Tim Brennand, prosecuting, said Szydlowski was known to the owners of the shop.

In the days leading up to the offence, he had been behaving in an anti-social and difficult manner at the shop.

He was asked to leave on October 17 for openly drinking alcohol inside the premises.
The following day, he returned claiming his MP3 player had been left there.

He made threats to the owners of “I'll burn your shop,” and “I'll blow up your shop”.

The next day he filled a container or jerry can with 10.55 litres of petrol at a garage in King Street, went to the shop and poured the contents over Mr Abdullah.
So, that’s making threats to kill and clear evidence of premeditation.

Hard to see how he’s escaped with a hospital order, isn’t it?
Mark Stuart, defending, said Szydlowski had been suffering from paranoid schizophrenia for some time, probably while he had been in Poland and certainly while in this country.
I guess we should be thankful he didn’t cut someone’s head off.
A consultant forensic psychiatrist gave evidence to say Szydlowski should be subject to a hospital order, with restrictions.
It’s OK, we’ll pay. We’ve got lots of spare psychiatric places for all the flotsam and jetsom in Europe, haven’t we?

Can we leave yet?

Loose Tweets Sink Murder Cases..?

…according to one cop, anyway:
A detective has warned that social networking sites are increasingly hampering major police investigations.
This is apparently due to the ‘gossip factor’ of social media:
Detective Chief Inspector Jes Fry, from Norfolk Police, was speaking after Michael Tucker, 50, was jailed for 26 years at Norwich Crown Court for murdering his partner, Rebecca Thorpe, 28, and hiding her body in a freezer.

The murder happened in the village of Snettisham and during the original investigation there was widespread speculation on Twitter about the circumstances of the killing. Rumours included untrue speculation that Miss Thorpe had been decapitated.
And isn’t pub gossip just as liable to derail an investigation?
Mr Fry said the investigation had been a "complex one" which was complicated by the use of social media. He insisted officers were not Luddites and said he regularly used networking sites himself.
Bully for you!
But he added: "I would just urge members of the public to exercise caution when talking about a major crime like this. It is the same as gossip down the pub except amplified by thousands of times."
Well, quite! It just reaches a wider audience, that’s all. No difference. Instead of Mrs Miggins sharing the details she knows (true and false) with old Ada at the hairdressers, she goes online and shares them with strangers in Brazil, China and Stallion Tackle, Arkansas.

So what? Why is this a problem?
"This kind of misinformation made it difficult to establish whether potential witnesses had read details somewhere or knew them as fact. It also led to rumours which increased the concerns of the local community."
I fail to see how the first is altered by social media, yet not by ordinary gossip. If your questioning doesn't include the checking phrase 'Did you actually see/hear this, or are you relating what a third-party told you?' you probably shouldn't be a detective...

And as for the second, what is it that concerns you most, actual crime, or public perception of crime?

Wednesday 25 May 2011

Eh? He Crashed A What..?

Click to embiggen...

Soft Justice Is No Justice

A man has been jailed for attacking a young mother after her pushchair accidentally nudged his on a London bus.
About time! I remember this incident, because the CCTV from the bus was released in the hunt for the attackers, and the extreme violence used was shocking:
Hendon magistrates' court heard that Ms de Aguiar had made room for the couple when they got on the No 83 bus in Hendon with their child but then her buggy touched theirs as she moved it back into position.
Boyle launched a four-letter tirade at Ms de Aguiar, spitting at her and threatening to punch her.
Pope smashed her head into a hand rail three times and dragged her across the bus by her hair. He then threw her off the vehicle and kicked her as she lay in the road.
Ms de Aguiar used her child's umbrella in an attempt to defend herself, said prosecutor Priya Valentine, but suffered "repeated and sustained violence".
Pope used "considerable force" to block her attempts to get back to her daughters, aged three and three months, on the bus.
After the attack he and Boyle casually wheeled their pushchair off the bus and walked away.
I guess we're talking many, many months, even yea..

Magistrate Dr Malcolm Cohen jailed Pope for four months and gave Boyle a three-month sentence suspended for a year. She must attend a women's centre for 36 hours and do 100 hours of unpaid work.
Are you kidding me? Did they get the now-infamous 'I'm terribly sorry, I don't know what came over me, I won't do it again, promise...' discount?
Det Sgt Brad Crossley, of the Barnet Beat Crimes Unit, said: "It was a sickening attack on a lone woman with children. Neither of those convicted showed any remorse for their actions either in interview or in court.
So why? I mean, what judge could possibly view this CCTV, look at all the circumstances, and come up with such a paltry sentence? A commenter blames the CPS for charging it as common assault rather than assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Whatever the reason, it's hard not to agree with North Northwester that our so-called 'independent judiciary' is not worth a candle.

Perhaps Magistrate Dr Malcolm Cohen's daughters or female friends are unlikely to ever travel on the bus, and so he cares little for the consequences of his actions? Perhaps his hands really are tied by useless government guidelines? Or perhaps it's something else?

Whatever the reason, those wondering why no-one on the bus helped the woman, or why the bus driver allowed them to escape, should wonder no longer. If 'the system' doesn't care, why should they?

”We are all animals m'lady.”

Jacqueline Windh (scientist and a writer) spoils an otherwise sensible article about the ‘Disnyfication’ of wildlife, and the way this causes conflicts…
Changing human behaviour on the individual scale also had an effect. Due to most people's isolation from the "wilderness", they no longer know how to act there. For many, their only interaction with wildlife and predators is through a TV screen. Confronted with a real wolf or cougar in the wilds of Vancouver Island, rather than experiencing fear and instinctively fleeing the animal, many humans' natural reaction today is to try to get closer to take a photograph.
..with this utter drivel:
Last month, Bolivia announced that it will enshrine the fundamental rights of nature in law. In Bolivian law all natural entities – plant or animal, river or mountain – will enjoy equal rights to those of humans, including the right to life or to exist, the right not to be polluted and the right not to be genetically altered. Ecuador enacted similar, though less specific, legislation in 2008. And last month, the Cambodian prime minister retracted his previous approval for a new titanium mine, reportedly worth billions of dollars, in favour of environmental values.
Yes, you read that right – in Bolivia, you have the same rights as a trout or a tree. I think they’ve been smoking their top export…

And they aren’t the only ones:
… as disconnected as we are from nature in our daily lives, we must remember that we are a part of it, no matter where we live. And our ecosystem affects us, regardless of whether we choose to think about it. Despite all of our technological successes, for the most part, we are a species no more special than any other.
Really? Human beings, with all their infinite diversity and their technological progress, are no more special than a rock hyrax or a tamandua?
For some of us, this is a foundation of spirituality; for all of us, it is a scientific fact.
I’m doubting your version of ‘science’ just as much as I’m doubting that of the tourist who smears jam over his toddler’s face to get a better close-up of a bear in Yosemite….

Calm Down, Calm Down!

Via ‘Angry People In Local Newspapers’, this article, which just encapsulates Liverpool somehow:
A family fled their home in terror after opening a bag of bananas – and finding what appeared to be a deadly spider.
This is, I have to admit, my worst nightmare.
Mum-of-three Mandy was able to grab a picture of the spider from a safe distance before it scurried away in the kitchen.
The first thing she grabbed was...her camera?

Not a glass and bit of cardboard, or even a rolled up newspaper?

I mean, I firmly believe in ‘If you want to live and thrive, let a spider run alive’, but that doesn’t extend to the potentially venomous tropical species…
When experts initially suggested it could be a Wandering Spider – a species which can kill with one bite or trigger spasms – the family was forced out of their Crosby home and into alternative accommodation.
Scousers 0, spider 1…
While other experts now believe the spider could be harmless, the family remain too scared to return home, seven days later.
The family left their College Road North house last Thursday and brave dad Darryl went back on Tuesday night to find it.

He told the ECHO: “We were there for two hours and we didn’t find it. We looked everywhere and in the cupboards.

I’m going up the wall with this...”
Good place to find a spider! Well, if you’ve already looked in the bath, anyway…
Mr Ryan wore protective clothing during his search and used a car wing mirror attached to a fishing rod to try to search every nook and cranny for the spider.
No flamethrower?
He was with Ben Hayden, who runs local pet shop Lounge Room Lizards and Aquatics.

Mr Hayden said: “The only way to say for certain that we have got it is to catch it dead or alive.”
Can Seal Team 6 help? They probably aren’t doing much now…
A Merseyside Police spokesman said: “Our wildlife officer was liaising with the head of the ethnology department at Liverpool Museum to try and identify the species.”
That must have made his day! Thank god for the Wildlife Officer, keeping us safe from rampaging arachnids!
But a spokesperson for Liverpool museum’s ethnology department said it wasn’t possible to be sure of the species of the spider just from the photograph.
The family bought the bananas at Costco, near Waterloo Dock.

The Sefton spokesman added: “As a precaution, Costco arranged for the house to be sprayed using a tropical pesticide and insect monitors have also been set up around the property to try and capture the spider if it is still alive.”
You could always try putting a bounty on its head – this is, after all, Liverpool….

‘Peelian Principles’..?

Sussex Police have spoken of their joy that the Olympic torch is coming to Brighton.
Really? This is why they need a ‘force spokesman’, is it?
A force spokeswoman said: "Along with everyone in Sussex, we are delighted that the Olympic torch will be passing through the county next summer."
‘Everyone in Sussex’? Have you taken a survey?

WTF has this to do with policing?

Tuesday 24 May 2011

MONA Thwarted By Victim's Statement...

Martin Thompson, 53, and son Edward, 18, suffered serious injuries on their driveway after confronting three youths whose target had knocked on their front door begging for help.

Edward, a student, was left critically ill with a punctured lung but was yesterday said to be improving.
Neighbourhood Inspector for West Heath, Vanessa Eyles, said: 'This is a horrific, unprovoked attack on a public-spirited father and son who were trying to stop trouble.

'Our thoughts are with their family at this time. We would urge anyone with information to come forward.'
Which is why you've issued descriptions of the men you are seeking, right? No?

Well, over to the victims, then:
Mr Thompson said: ‘It was just a quiet night in. I heard this kerfuffle outside and there was banging on my door.

An Asian youth came running into the house, shouting, “shut the door, they’re going to stab me”. He was obviously terrified.

Three black people came to the top of the drive, and I said, “he’s in with me now, go away”. But they said, “no”, and they wanted to stab him because he has threatened to stab someone else.
I see...
His father, who suffered stab wounds to the torso, said the incident in West Heath, Birmingham, would make him ‘think twice’ about acting as a Good Samaritan.
It'd make me think twice about living in West Heath, Birmingham...

MONA Thwarted By CCTV....

...see, they have some uses:
Police are appealing for information after a man indecently exposed himself to three schoolgirls on a train.

British Transport Police (BTP) have released CCTV images of a man they wish to speak to...

H/T Pavlov's Cat via email

The Only Way Is Essex The Local Newspaper

A mum has hit out at a school after her daughter was collected without her permission.

Danielle Huggins, 25, is now getting legal advice after Cherrytree Primary School allowed her daughter to leave the premises with another adult, without her permission.
Oh noes! Paedophiles! Stranger danger! Aieeeeee!

Oh, wait…
Miss Huggins’ seven-year-old daughter Kelci (Ed: Ah, I see….) was taken unwell at the school, in Church Road, Basildon.

The school tried to contact Miss Huggins, but because she was having blood tests at Basildon Hospital, her phone was off.

Unable to reach Kelci’s mum, the school contacted her grandad who then sent another woman to collect the child.

Although the other woman was known to Miss Huggins, she did not have permission to collect the child and Miss Huggins claims the woman was able to take Kelci without being challenged.
Well, that’s because the alternate contact was advised and they said they were sending a surrogate. If you’ve a problem with that, why not take it up with granddad, rather than consult a lawyer?
“The school didn’t even challenge this person and it could have been a paedophile for all the school knows.”
Yes, I’m sure they monitor the airwaves around schools for just this sort of opportunity. Wind your neck in, love.
Only Miss Huggins and Kelci’s grandad have permission to pick her up from school.

Miss Huggins said the school had failed to apologise or explain its actions.
She added: “I’m making an official complaint because the person who picked Kelci up could have been anyone and this can’t be allowed to happen again.”
I think you missed the point that she ‘could have been anyone your alternate contact authorised to pick up’, didn’t you?
Following the incident, which happened last Tuesday, Essex County Council, speaking on behalf of the school, defended its actions.

A spokeswoman said: “This child was unwell at school. The teachers and office staff used the contact numbers which had been provided in order to arrange for someone to collect her.

“The officer spoke to the child’s grandad, who said someone would be collecting her from school.

“A short time later the child was collected by someone she knew and was happy to go home with.

“Following this, the child’s mother contacted the school to inform us of her concerns.
The headteacher has offered to meet with her to discuss these further.”
She doesn’t seem to want discussion with anyone who can’t get her 15 minutes of fame or a big payout…

Kipling Was Right About The Female Of The Species...

...Judith Summers certainly proves far more capable than her male colleague, anyway:
As it turns midnight, I’m hiding in my garden behind a tall camellia bush, clutching a weapon. My targets: four villains hiding on the other side of the fence.

They’ve broken into my territory three times today. I’ve had enough — and this time I’m ready for them. As I listen to the sinister rustling of leaves coming from the darkness, my finger’s on the trigger and my heart’s in my mouth.
Well, it seems you've got more balls than Ben Douglas...
Sadly, my targets are too cunning to get caught. They keep me waiting for so long that I eventually give up in despair and go back into my house. I’ve been outfoxed again.
And before anyone gets the wrong idea, she isn't armed in the conventional sense:
In truth, my weapon is an old Super Soaker Tornado Strike water pistol. And the villains? A vixen and her three cubs.
Is she worried about them pooping in her flowerbeds? Have rabbits in a hutch that she thinks might become prey, or chickens (all the rage woitjh the chattering classes, it seems)? No, she's concered about her dog.

Wait. What?
They may look cute in photographs but, as every British farmer knows, foxes are canny predators that show no mercy.

In this case, the prey they’re after is my 13-year-old Cavalier King Charles spaniel George, whom the vixen has been terrorising for months.
Oh, well, cheer up. It's not like other dogs, hunting dogs even, don't have anything to be ashamed of on occasion:

In the past four months, our local vixen has made three totally unprovoked attacks on George, a coward of a dog who’s terrified by the sight of a distant Chihuahua.
Gosh, I can't think why a vixen with cubs might be a bit less than keen on the presence of a dog in her territory, can you?

Strangely, the fox cubs that regularly visit our garden are unconcerned by our cats, even the ones that outweigh them, and so is their mother.
The local council has been no help. Though they’re happy to decree what kind of garden gate I may or may not erect outside my home (I live in a conservation area), when it comes to foxes it turns out their pest control department has no policy.

Instead, they directed me to The Fox Project, a charity which rehabilitates foxes back into the wild.

But rather than advising people how to keep mangy foxes out of their gardens, the charity’s website suggests ways of treating their mange with homeopathic remedies, disguised in honey sandwiches.

Not quite the advice I was looking for.
Oh dear. Though hardly surprising. If I wanted to keep the neighbours' children out of my garden, I really wouldn't expect the NSPCC to be much use at suggesting non-lethal methods, either...

Ya Think?

The scheme may irritate customers who simply want to withdraw cash. But donations will be offered as a separate menu item on the cash machine screen, or as a post-transaction option, and ministers say the process will not interfere with those who are in a hurry.
If I had a penny for every time ministers have said ‘this won’t cause a problem’ and been wrong, I’d have….well, enough to be able to afford to give more to charity!
Ministers say it should be the norm for people to leave 10 per cent of their legacies to charities in their wills.
Ministers can take the sex and travel option, frankly! My will is my business, and none of theirs, just as their wills are none of my business. But, if this goes ahead, I'll stand a drink for any MP that introduces a bill to make their wills published in the MSM by law, front page. Just to see if they follow their own dictates.

Hell, maybe they do, and that's why so many of them seem to get caught fiddling their expenses?
And the Government is to fund websites matching people willing to offer time or resources with local charities and groups.
Oh, great! Government IT, collecting our personal contact data! What could go wrong?
Other plans include encouraging shops and restaurants to adopt ‘round the pound’ schemes, in which customers are encouraged to agree to round up their bills and donate the pennies of their change to charity.
I hereby state, here and now – the charities that sign up to, or support, this scheme, will get not a single penny from me ever again.

Monday 23 May 2011

No, Stop, You’re Killing Me!

A sizeable, irritated beaver has thrown caution to the wind, stretched its legs and taken itself for a jaunt around town.
‘There's a beaver holding up [the] main street,’ said Jason Mercredi on the video he captured of the event.
It looked huge. I always thought beavers would be smaller,’ Mr Keizer told CBC News...
*gasps for breath*
All the beavers I've ever seen have been in water, so you only ever see pieces of them; like, you don't get to see the whole beaver.’

Putting All The (Bad) Eggs In One Basket...

...sometimes has consequences:
Two pairs of ASBO teenagers are the ‘ringleaders’ of gang causing trouble around a centre aimed at keeping wayward youths on the straight and narrow, police said.

The so-called ‘Witches of Whitebirk’ Tori Duxbury and Amanda Holt and brothers Paul and David Stafford were given ASBOs in separate cases after terrorising their communities.

But now police say they are leading a group causing trouble around the Accrington Road Community Centre in Blackburn.
I'm shocked, shocked, I say...
The teens are banned from being in public together, but this does not apply to the centre where they are taking a programme aimed at turning their lives around.
Well, yes. Obviously. But then you'd expect that the centre would have some way of dealing with them while they're there, and it seems that's not the case:
Meanwhile it emerged that the youths had been sent on a number of diversionary activites, including trips the the cinema and bowling alley, playing in football matches and even going on a canal boat at Eanam Wharf with snacks provided.
Spare the rod and spoil the child; the progressives have selective deafness on the first part of that phrase...
Some critics have condemned the trips saying that youths were being ‘rewarded’, but the council said overall the project reduced re-offending.
Clearly, it doesn't.
Neighbourhood Sergeant Mark Cruise said: “You only need one rotten apple and when they are all gathered together the problem quadruples.

“That is the purpose of the recent ASBOs: to take it out at the top.

“I wouldn’t say the scheme is backfiring, but these activities for young people mean nobody is excluded. That means it becomes a place for young people to congregate, similar to off-licences and shops.

“It only takes Tori, Amanda, Paul and David Stafford coming together for things to escalate.”
Not that he's critical of the scheme, oh dear me no!
Sgt Cruise defended the ‘diversionary activities’ which he said gave disadvantaged children opportunities they would not otherwise get.
Opportunities to hang around and make mischief while the authorities wring their hands? I thought they had plenty of those.

But that was rather authoritarian, compared with the utter drivel issued by the council:
David Fleming, manager of Blackburn with Darwen Council's youth offending team, said: “Diversionary activities are offered to young people who are at risk of, or already engaged in anti social behaviour in order to channel them into positive, rewarding and educational pursuits.

“This includes engaging with young people to find positive activities which interest them in an effort to put them on the right track to prevent them offending, causing harm to their communities and damaging their opportunities of gaining employment."
Newsflash, David; IT'S NOT WORKING!
Another resident said: “Having all these like-minded children in one place is a recipe for trouble.
“In these days of austerity is spending such amounts of money taking them out on barges really the answer? ”
Question asked and answered, I'd say...

Newsflash: If The State ‘Pays’ You, It’ll Call The Shots…

…if you don’t like it, get a job and stay off the public teat:
Overweight welfare claimants in the US state of Arizona face paying $50 (£31) fines if they don't follow a dietary regime laid down by their doctor. Is that fair?
If they think it’s unfair, there’s a way out, isn’t there?
Now the state of Arizona is proposing a radical idea. It wants to impose a $50 annual fine for overweight Medicaid recipients who don't follow a strict health regime developed with their doctor. Those with children, and people overweight due to a medical condition, would be exempt.
Expect to see a huge rise in unwanted children and bogus medical conditions, then.
Monica Coury, assistant director at Arizona's Medicaid programme, says the aim is to change behaviour using a carrot and stick approach, in the same way that increasing cigarette taxes reduced smoking.

"It's undeniable that there is a link between obesity and the rising cost of healthcare in America, so we can't be afraid to discuss this issue.

"It's reaching a crisis level in the US and we continue to complain about the rising uncontrolled costs of care - and yet we don't drill down and test some of these concepts."
Monica, there’s little point in the ‘carrot and stick’ approach – some of these people wouldn’t know a carrot if you hit them with it!
Details of how the scheme, put forward by Governor Jan Brewer, would be administered have yet to be thrashed out, and would be agreed if the state gets the go-ahead from Congress.
In other words, it’s a soundbite.

Should it ever see the light of day, it’ll probably be applicable to about 5% of the originally-intended target population, if that.
But Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema thinks the tax is unfair because people like her diabetic grandmother could be penalised because there is no system to determine when a person is or isn't following a medical regime.
If her grandmother is diabetic, then did she not see the bit about those with medical condition-related weight gain being exempt?
Most Americans would agree it's not fair for healthy people to subsidise unhealthy people, she says, but unhealthy people who work for the state and get state health insurance aren't subject to this proposal.
Well, then, the obvious way to fix this is to make them subject to it, isn’t it?

Have you really thought this through?
"This proposal targets only the working poor and elderly, and includes punishing people like my grandmother who aren't unhealthy but have a medical condition."

A better solution to spiralling Medicaid costs, she says, is to lift more people out of poverty by creating jobs in the state.
One problem, sweetie: the government doesn’t create jobs.

And Obama’s government certainly isn’t creating the climate in which jobs are likely to be abundant.

For once, the Libertarian party had the most sensible statement:
This is just another example of nanny-state social engineering, says Wes Benedict of the Libertarian Party.

"If you want to save the state money, which libertarians do, cut Medicaid across the board, but don't single out overweight people and smokers. I wouldn't be surprised if this programme costs 10 times more to administer than it saves."
Quite. Maybe those are the ‘jobs’ that Kyrsten thinks should be created?

Daft as she sounds, there’s always one just that little bit dafter:
The $50 fine alone might not be enough to change behaviour, says fitness expert Lisa Johnson, but it could help encourage doctors to talk about weight issues with patients.

"A recent Harvard study said 61% don't have time to talk to patients about weight loss, so this could have a more dramatic impact on the way doctors see their patients than on the behaviour itself.

"If your wife is nagging at you, you roll your eyes and eat another chip, but if your doctor says you have to lose 10lbs, then you take it more seriously."

Most people have to live with their wives; they only see their doctor once a week. You do the math, as I believe you like to say over there…

But will this, as Longrider fears, only be the beginning? Is it a case of 'Today, the welfare recipient, tomorrow, everyone else'..?

One to keep an eye on. Just in case.

Here Comes The Summer Of Discontent…

Bins will start overflowing in Southampton streets next week after unions warned they were launching strike action in a festering dispute over pay.

More than 180 refuse collectors will walk out for five days on Monday in, what could be, the most severe industrial action in living memory.

When they return, they will not be playing catch-up because all council staff will be working to rule and refusing overtime.
Southampton’s not the prettiest town to begin with; I can’t imagine this will make it any better.
It has left residents fearing chaos and rat infestations.
It sounds like that’d be a welcome price to pay, if these unions are to be brought to heel once and for all.
Unite convenor, Mark Wood, who represents binmen, street cleaners and park rangers, said: “It is going to be wholesale disruption to services, in particular waste collection, and create a backlog of rubbish and waste on the street.

We can strike indefinitely.

It’s difficult to recall anything as big as this in Southampton.”
Comments are, as you would expect, somewhat vociferous…

There are plenty of suggestions for getting around this, including taking your rubbish to the tip. I can’t help, though, but feel that the best place for it would be Mark Wood’s front garden…

Quick, Everyone, Down To Brightlingsea Harbour!

Bring your own lemon juice and Tabasco sauce:
Wild oysters are being dredged in Brightlingsea’s harbour after their razor-sharp shells cut the hands and feet of sailors.

Brightlingsea Sailing Club requested the rock oysters be removed after members suffered injuries while landing and launching their boats.
If only all problems were so easily solved!

Sunday 22 May 2011

Strange Definition Of ‘Progress’…

A paedophile is free to return to his new home in York after he broke the rules designed to protect children from him.
… in May last year, he showed a police officer charged with keeping an eye on him pornographic pictures featuring adults on his phone that he was not allowed to have under the order. There were a further two photos so extreme they were illegal for anyone to possess.

Still, first slip-up?

No. Fourth:
It was the fourth time he had breached the order, having previously talked to a child, tickled another child and made sexual requests.
Recorder Guy Kearl QC said that as the latest breach did not involve children he could spare Fox a return to prison.
Oh, how good of him!
“You do appear to be making significant progress,” he told Fox. “One part of this court’s job is to reward progress and punish misdemeanours.”
Errrr, yes, you mean like possessing illegal pornography?
He gave Fox a community order with two years’ supervision and relaxed the sex offenders’ order so Fox could have adult pornography.
It’s only a surprise that he didn’t give him a couple of pounds out of the poor box to buy some, isn’t it?

Not The Best Example You Could Have Picked, Frankly…

Angus McBride in CiF on privacy laws and the press:
is there really a public interest in the private lives of footballers or entertainers?
I dunno, Angus, why not take a look at the circulation figures for ‘OK’ and ‘Hello’ magazines, before asking a question you clearly don’t know the answer to (something I thought was a bit of a no-no for lawyers)?
In any case, is not the real scandal that ordinary members of the public without access to football-sized wage packets do not have protection against the power of the press? Legal aid should be available to those without the means to hire expensive lawyers.
Well, yes, if your intent is that expensive lawyers should continue to live in the style to which they’ve become accustomed.

Or to which their less-expensive colleagues would very much like to become accustomed…
…the argument continues, not only are privacy laws created by judges out of touch with society, and in the interests of the rich and famous, but the law is in any case unenforceable: in the internet age, privacy is dead. This approach is deeply worrying and essentially accepts that the internet cannot be policed.
Well, that’s because it cannot.
Clearly the internet cannot remain completely unfettered, and indeed it is not. The Twitter publication of people who it is claimed took out superinjunctions was hailed by some as being in the cause of freedom of the press, but it is a contempt of court.
And who has been arrested for it? And charged with it?

Who, Angus?

I’m waiting….

No answer. Oh, well. Guess it remains pretty much fetterless after all.
The fact is, the press has not earned the right to unfettered freedom of expression. I am reminded reading Kate McCann's deeply moving book that on their return from Portugal, having been declared suspects in their daughter's disappearance, Gerry and Kate McCann asked me to visit newspaper editors to explain that there was no truth in any of the allegations made in the more scurrilous parts of the Portuguese press, and that the material was the product of vindictive leaks. I explained to each editor that uncorroborated evidence from a sniffer dog and inconclusive DNA (which could have been attributable to any member of the family) found in the boot of a hire car driven by the McCanns created not even a prima facie case.

It is fair to say that a number of the editors listened carefully and subsequent reporting reflected the fact that they understood that to report the allegations would be immoral, scurrilous and damaging to the efforts to find Madeleine McCann.
Others, however, listened coldly and made it quite clear that commercial pressures trumped completely the rights of these two tragic parents and their daughter.
Mmmm, not that the McCanns have proven themselves immune to the pull of ‘commercial pressures’, eh, Angus?

That book clearly isn’t going to sell itself!

Oh, Well, So Long As They Are 'Considering' It...

Camden council said it was considering prosecuting the shop owners for cruelty and was taking possession of the animals.
Don't strain yourselves by working too hard, will you...

Sunday Funnies

If you're planning a spot of DIY next weekend (weather permitting), these are the guys you have to beat...

Saturday 21 May 2011

Green Councillors Tell Caroline Lucas...

...'Sorry, love, but we'd really like to get back into power, so we respectfully decline your offer to commit electoral hari-kiri':
In an emergency meeting the whole group of 23 councillors decided almost unanimously to evict the group – despite party leader Caroline Lucas stating travellers should be moved on only when there is a suitable alternative site for them.
Now, there's a turn-up for the books, eh?

But the Greens are more solicitous of some other evictees:
Work on The Keep, the new home for archives and historical resources of Brighton, Hove and East Sussex, is due to begin in the summer. However, before construction starts, ecological teams are moving groups of reptiles and slow worms from the site of special scientific interest to alternative areas to allow them to breed.
Heh! I bet a few progressives' heads will go 'pop' at the thought...

Saturday Night’s Alright For Fightin’!

A Sussex Police statement said: “Just after 1am officers went to the High Street after reports of a fight outside the Crown Inn and a few minutes later there were reports of a fight outside the nearby Charcoal Grill in the same street.

“Several 999 calls were received and additional support was required from neighbouring areas in order to contain the disorder, which appears to have stemmed from two separate fights which then overlapped.”
Well, economies of scale, and all that…
Two separate fights merged to form a mass brawl.
The incidents both took place in Lewes, during the early hours of Saturday.
At least there seems to have been no premeditation, unlike a little further north:
Four men have been arrested following an apparently organised mass brawl in a North Yorkshire town involving home-made weapons.
Two 19-year-old men, an 18-year-old man and a 17-year-old youth were arrested following the armed fight in Scarborough town centre at the weekend, which left four men needing hospital treatment.
An armed fight?
The brawl, which involved the use of actual and home-made weapons, took place in several areas, including Columbus Ravine, Hoxton Road and Dean Road Cemetery at about 1.50am on Saturday.
Sergeant Richard Mallinson, of Scarborough Police, said: “This was a large-scale fight between several males which appears to have been organised.

“One of the improvised weapons was mace-likea stick with nails hammered into it.
Someone’s been listening in history lessons, then!

No, Nathan, That’s Exactly Where People Like You Are Supposed To Be…

…albeit they are supposed to be there for a damn sight longer:
An attacker jailed for his part in a ‘frenzied attack’ on a Good Samaritan has been released after serving ten weeks of his ten-month sentence.
*counts on fingers* Well, that’s about a quarter of it, right?

Is he thanking his lucky stars, and keeping his head down? Not exactly:
Speaking candidly at his West Howe home he insisted that he had ‘learned his lesson’ after spending time behind bars in a tough prison.

Alderton said: “I was sent to a maximum security prison in Milton Keynes. People like me aren’t supposed to be there; it was horrendous.”
Oh, poor wee lamb!
“I tried to keep myself to myself as much as possible because I was serving my time with murderers.”
And if your victim had been unlucky enough to die from the beating you dished out, you’d be only one step removed from them…
He described his co-defendants as otherwise ‘decent people’.
I must need a new dictionary, then. My definition of ‘decent people’ doesn’t cover drunken thugs who launch unprovoked attacks on strangers…

There’s A Bit Of A Difference, To Be Fair…

A diabetic paramedic claims he has been discriminated against because his bosses have banned him from working in ambulances.
He said: "I believe this is a clear case of discrimination. They are claiming I'm unfit to drive an ambulance, which is not the case. I’m still driving my car."
Well, yes, but are you driving your car at top speed through red lights with a casualty in the back?

No? Not really the same, then, is it?
Mr Perry took his case to a grievance hearing and ambulance bosses promised to review the risk assessment.

A spokesman for Secamb said: "The Trust has followed the due legal process throughout in this case with trade union involvement.

"We have looked closely at this member of staff's individual circumstances and it has been determined that he cannot be employed in a frontline role which requires emergency driving. This case will be reviewed in the future in light of any change in medical advice."
For once, it’s nice to see them not backing down the minute someone waves the ‘discrimination’ card.

Give Us The Money Or The Taxpayer Gets It!

Cuts to groups providing support to asylum seekers in Oxford will end up costing taxpayers more, charities warned last night.

Groups which support the county’s 2,000 refugees say that if support to people fleeing Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran is cut, social services and the NHS will have to pick up the bill.
If there’s a need that can be met by social services and the NHS, why should the government employ a third party to supply it? What happened to economy of bulk?
… Government funding cuts have caused the closure of one Oxford charity – The Bridging Project, which helped young refugees access education – and two other Oxford groups have had to scale back their services.
If you are getting all – or most – of your income from the government, you aren’t a charity – you’re a fakecharity. And it’s about time someone pulled the plug, frankly.
Amanda Webb-Johnson, director of Refugee Resource, in Cowley Road, said: “There is no longer the infrastructure to support small and medium sized charities. Traditional sources of funding are drying up.”
When she says ‘traditional sources of income’, what’s she referring to? The public?

If so, it’s hardly surprising that they aren’t digging deep into their pockets, is it?

What is surprising is that the government seems to think it has a right to dig into our pockets for them…

Friday 20 May 2011

Reaping The Old Reward…

Peter Tatchell on the white man’s continued burden:
The Commonwealth is a bastion of global homophobia, often bucking the worldwide trend towards sexual orientation equality, with increased state-sanctioned threats and repression in Malawi, Uganda, Gambia, Malaysia, Cameroon and Nigeria. The 54 Commonwealth member states comprise one quarter of the UN membership and one third of all humanity. Of these Commonwealth countries, 46 still criminalise same-sex relations in all circumstances, with penalties including 25 years' jail in Trinidad and Tobago and 20 years plus flogging in Malaysia. Several countries stipulate life imprisonment: Sierra Leone, Pakistan, Uganda, Tanzania and Bangladesh. These 46 homophobic Commonwealth countries account for more than half of the 76 countries in the world that still have a total prohibition on homosexuality.
And that, according to Tatchell, is all the fault of the British Empire:
Nearly all the Commonwealth's anti-gay laws are the poisonous legacy of British colonialism. They were originally imposed by the British government in the 19th century, during the period of colonial rule – and never repealed when the former colonies won their freedom.
And why not? Well, because we’ve brainwashed them, clearly:
The post-independence leaders retained the homophobic mindset of their colonial masters. Today, many of their countrymen and women absurdly proclaim that the legal proscription of homosexuality is an authentic expression of indigenous national culture and tradition.
And whereas the loony left would normally be only too happy to endorse any bizarre belief that a native population held against the forces of modernity, and would regard with horror the notion that it was something imposed on them against their will by the West, for some reason, with this particular cause, that role is reversed.