Sunday 31 March 2013

Because Everything's Better With Dinosaurs...

And this selection by Tor Books of original and contemporary dinosaur artworks is one of the best compilations I've ever see,.

Sometimes Only Verbatim Will Do...

Some local newspapers like to come up with a snappy headline, and some... don't:

Well, how could you improve on that?
Kent Police’s DS Simon Barnes has reviewed CCTV footage...
This requires the attention of a DS..?!
DS Barnes said: “No-one was significantly injured...
Errrr, no-one was injured AT ALL....

H/T: Martin Thornton via email

April Fool Watch!

Well, which is it? I mean, it's hard to tell, isn't it?

Is it this one:

Or is it this one:

Oh, please, please let it be the second one!

* Yes. I know it's tomorrow! Sheesh....

Sunday Funnies...

Well, it IS science, isn't it?

Saturday 30 March 2013

Rejoice! Rejoice!

Remember Meriden? You should do. It's featured here before.

Well, for once, their dogged defiance paid off - they've won!
Come rain or shine, in temperatures that at one point reached minus 18c, they have doggedly refused to budge, knowing that a few hours of absence could be all it takes to destroy their rural idyll.
Now, finally, they are preparing to go home, after a judge ordered the closure of an illegal gipsy camp that has blighted their corner of Middle England since April 30, 2010.
I shall raise a glass of champagne to you all this Easter!
‘It’s been a long, hard fight,’ says Mr Bacon. ‘In fact, it’s gone on for so long that three of our group have actually died without seeing justice served. Two of our members have got married, too.’
‘It’s frightening, and sad, that someone who is so completely in the wrong can spin the legal process out for so long.’
That's what happens when you have a local authority who considers that identity politics is more important that the votes of the people it is elected to serve.
We are a real community, so everyone has a role keeping this place going,’ explains Zilla Cookes, a local farmer.
Yes. You really are.
Noah Burton’s fields cost him £100,000 when undeveloped. If he could secure retroactive planning permission, a developer would pay around £1 million for them.
His court battle to secure that permission has so far been entirely underwritten by the taxpayer. It has also cost Solihull Council more than £200,000.
No, it hasn't. Solihull Council has no money. That's what it's cost the taxpayer.

And just why does a wealthy man get legal aid?
Mr Burton is already a wealthy man. Before moving to the site, where he lives in a vast motor home which cost more than £100,000, he lived on a £1.5 million stud farm.
He drives a Dodge pick-up truck, with personalised number-plates, owns a collection of classic cars, and hands out business cards which, variously, claim he deals in scrap metal, sells real estate in Greece, and owns a caravan dealership.
Still think the legal aid system doesn't need overhauling, people? And why are we sending HMRC advisers to Pakistan rather than deploying them here?

Gosh! Discipline Works! Who Knew?

Mr Malley added: "At the time of the Ofsted inspection in July, behaviour at the school was rated inadequate. It is my pledge to improve behaviour at Addington so learning can flourish."
And so a strict uniform policy came in. A very strict uniform policy:
One student branded some of the rules "stupid" – but said they seemed to be having the desired effect.
The 15-year-old, who is in Year 10, said: "Taking the coats off, I find it stupid especially when it is snowing and they are still telling you to do it.
"The fizzy drinks, they said they have done it because it makes people hyper: there is a canteen with orange juice and water at break and lunch time.
"We have to walk to the left hand side of the corridor and stand up when the teacher comes in. If you don't the teacher stops you and makes you go back and do it again.
Everyone was really moaning about it at first, but there has been an improvement in the school and people are actually learning as well."
Gosh! No parents ready to claim ‘human rights’ on behalf of their offspring?
Mother Simone Johnston, meanwhile, said the measures were overdue. She said: "I have no issue with the new rules at all; they have been a long time coming and should have been implemented years ago. Maybe then the school wouldn't have the reputation it does.
"In fact, I can honestly say I support the school's new rules."
It’s just amazing, isn't it? I wonder how long it’ll be before someone upsets this particular applecart…?

Missing: Sense Of Duty...

Chief Constable Pat Geenty, the lead for missing people for the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), said: "Whenever we get a call and someone is reported missing, we would normally dispatch a police officer, irrespective of the circumstances of the case. So you see that's a huge demand on police resources."
Yes. And..? Finding missing people is undoubtedly one of those things the police are paid to do.

In fact, ask any member of the public with an IQ above room temperature and they'd say it rated higher than arresting all and sundry in the vicinity of a crime and letting the CPS sort it all out later...
Under the plans, call handlers will class missing persons cases as either "absent", when a person simply does not arrive where they are expected to be, or "missing", where there is a specific reason for concern. This can be that the disappearance is out of character or that they may be at risk of harm.
 And the underclass will cotton on to this as quickly as they realised the ambulance is more likely to come at breakneck speed as long as you make sure to mention 'breathing difficulties' when all you have is indigestion.
Mr Geenty said police are sometimes used as a "collection service" for children who go missing from care homes.
He said: "What we're asking for now is that the care homes act as responsible parents, do the initial work that's required in terms of trying to find out where the missing individual is, and then if they have concerns to ring the police.
"There is an element about reducing bureaucracy, but I am convinced that the change will enable us to focus resources to protect those children that we need to protect."
Now, there's no doubt whatsoever that this problem is a real one - as could be seen at Winston Smith's now sadly discontinued blog.

But the key to that is to push for others to be forced to do their job properly, not for you to change your quality of service!

Friday 29 March 2013

The Gift That Keeps On Giving....

...that's the Jade Lomas-Anderson saga.

Now we have pious demands for legislation and for the authorities to 'do something' by the relatives:
Jade Lomas-Anderson’s uncle said it made him ‘sick’ that because the law on dog attacks does not cover private property, Bev Concannon will probably not face court.
‘Can everyone spread the word we want justice over these dogs and the owners so this cannot happen again,’ ‘Tucker’ Lomas, 29, wrote on Facebook.
Mr Lomas added: ‘This news is making me sick, saying the owners of these dogs might not be prosecuted because it was a private property. Disgusts me. We want justice for Jade.
Now, remember, this is a house she'd visited before, despite the dogs apparently being 'notorious in the neighbourhood'. Didn't Tucker raise any objections then?

We have witch-hunts & vigilante justice:
Miss Concannon, who was out shopping at the time of the attack, is said to be ‘distraught’ and co-operating with police.
One friend, Jayne ‘Pandora’ Acton, wrote on Facebook that Miss Concannon was ‘petrified because of muppets going for her to harm her’. She went on: ‘You are all talking about the dogs being dangerous and I have just read there are lynch mobs looking for her.
‘They are just as bad as the dogs, now leave it to the police.
‘We know it’s not right what has happened to Jade, and it could have been one of her own children, don’t forget.’
And best of all, that favourite of the modern police 'service', the easy target and ancillary 'crime':
Police are investigating a posting by a ‘troll’ apparently mocking Jade’s death. The message by ‘Jake Williams’ said: ‘ I'm upset she didn't get raped/murdered; judging by her pics she deserves it.’
There's more wrong here than can ever be fixed by mere dangerous dog legislation...

Post Title Of The Month

I think everyone had some variation on this, but Richard was undoubtedly the first one I clocked!


Quote Of The Month

Microdave nails the 'Hacked Off' affair at Max Farquar's blog:
I’m well aware that our press is not really “Free”, but at least they do occasionally show willingness to publish controversial stories, as I’ll come to shortly. And the aspect of phone & text “hacking” which has prompted this affair would, most probably, never have come about if the accused had bothered to change the default PIN code that all phones and networks provide. Whilst the determined hack might consider every combination of 4 digit numbers until he/she found the correct one, in most cases they simply key in 0000 for Vodafone or 7890 for Virgin, for example.

Post Of The Month

Peter Risdon unveils the New Modern Dictionary especially for warble gloaming enthusiasts...

“It is not right. It is not right at all.”

A have-a-go hero window cleaner who stepped in to help stunned staff at a Poole pet store was bitten twice
No. Not by a pet.
... by a shoplifter.
The human mouth is a reservoir of germs – he’d be better off being bitten by a four-legged animal!
Rob, aged 34, explained: “I managed to rugby tackle the guy to the ground and hold him there. “He was trying to throw punches but nothing connected. Then he bit me twice.
“A shop assistant chased him with me. The shoplifter was threatening both of us and when he bit me he screamed ‘ I've got hepatitis’.”
Married dad-of-two Rob, of Rosemary Road, Poole, has since been given the all-clear from doctors.
I thought about this story as I was having one of my perennial Twitter conversations with people that think shoplifting is somehow a lesser crime:

But this just illustrates what appalling scum shoplifters really are. The do-gooders and bleeding hearts fondly imagine it to be kids nicking sweeties for a dare, or desperate single mothers trying to feed their children; in reality, it's organised (often foreign) criminal gangs or scummy drug addicts.
“People can knock me all day long for stepping-in but I’d do it again,” he said.
We work so hard for the little bit we do get.
“Why should somebody else be able to go into a shop, take something that isn't theirs and think they can get away with it?
I would do what I did again in a heartbeat.”
We need far, far more people like Rob (and like Piotr Mikiewicz), and far, far fewer people like Anthony Cole in this society.
Anthony Cole, aged 32, from Poole, admitted theft from a shop, ABH and common assault at Bournemouth Magistrates’ Court on Thursday. He was remanded in custody until sentencing at crown court next month.
What's the betting? Druggie? It's almost a no-brainer for an ordinary person, isn't it?

Thursday 28 March 2013

I Think This Dead Horse Has Been Flogged Enough…

A mum reported a "suspicious incident" after a man approached her daughter in Poole's Primark yesterday, it has been revealed.
The concerned mum says her child was approached by a man while she was shopping at Primark in the Dolphin Centre on Wednesday afternoon around 3pm.
The mother reported the matter to security staff at the store and the police were called by Primark, she said.

"I want a hard-target search of any Tesco, Blockbuster, Greggs, TopShop, M&S and Post Office in that area."
When asked by the Echo, Dorset Police, the Dolphin Centre and Primark all denied that the incident had taken place.

Our fearless reporter isn't going to leave it at that:
But the Echo tracked down the mum, from Canford Heath, who was shopping for shoes for her three-year-old when the incident happened.
She said: “She was sitting on the bench trying on shoes.
“I carried on looking for another pair of shoes for her. I looked up, there was a male in front of me. He approached her. I went up behind him, he went 'hello' to her.

Wait. That's it? That's all?
She said the man, who was in his 30s and wearing a flat cap looked right and left and behind, then went off when he saw her.
“It was highly suspicious,” she said. However the man did not touch or attempt to grab her daughter, she said.
“It really shook me up,” she said. “I just feel it could have been worse. I have three children and this has never happened to me before.”
No-one's ever said 'Hello' to your child before?

I would say 'storm in a teacup', but of course, I reckon without social media:
The incident has spread around Facebook after a friend of the mum posted an update warning other parents to be careful.
Well, of course it has! No doubt growing in exaggeration as it does so. Chinese whispers upgraded for the technological age!
A spokesman for Primark said: “Primark takes customer safety very seriously and as such immediately reported the mother’s concerns to the police. On this occasion, having reviewed the CCTV the police did not take any further action.”
The Echo has asked police for an updated response and will post it as soon as we get it.
Unless of course it doesn't serve to keep the story going? Well, there's always another one somewhere to occupy the police & waste everybody's time...

Must I Quote ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’ Again..?

Referring to the hanging, Lisa Hashmi, assistant deputy coroner for Greater Manchester (North), said: “I can’t be sure on the evidence I have heard it was not simply another cry for help or call for attention, knowing there were others present in the family home at the time and the potential she would or could have been found at any moment.
Were there any warning signs? Well, yes. She'd done it before and gotten away with it:
The inquest heard that a few months earlier Jade had taken an overdose of paracetamol tablets, though this was not thought to be ‘a serious attempt to take her own life’.
She was seen by her GP and referred to mental health experts, but after the first appointment was cancelled due to staff shortages this was not pursued by the family, the inquest heard.
Mr Stringer said Jade had been grounded after getting involved with ‘some lad who we didn’t think much of’ and said: “There was one incident where she was taken back to her auntie’s by the police...We actually grounded her for that because she was drunk.
“This boy had apparently hit her and assaulted her so we got the police involved.”
Mr Stringer said he had also confiscated Jade’s mobile phone as he did not want the boy to contact her while the police were investigating. He said: “We told her she could have her phone back on the condition we could check it and make sure this lad hadn't sent her any messages threatening her or anything.
“She was in a sulky state and didn't want me to switch the phone on, so it was a bit of a stand-off. “When she didn't get her own way she could have a sulk and I just thought that was what she was doing.”
A regular teenager, with regular issues? Well, yes. For a teenager in 2013, anyway:
Mum Natalie Ingoe said Jade had been a happy and popular child, but she became concerned in 2011 when her daughter started going out more and became involved with an older boy, although they split after a few months.
Ms Ingoe said: “I think there were a couple of incidents later on. I think she’d been to a party and she’d told her dad she’d slept with someone and it had caused problems with her boyfriend at the time.”
Well, cheer up – things could have been a lot worse if she’d lived!

Once More, With Hyperbole!

The 'Mail' often likes to have an 'expert' explain the circumstances behind the awful tragedy it's having a good old wallow over elsewhere, so to sum up the killer dog saga, step forward Guy Richardson, a 37 year veteran of police dog handling and 'independent assessor of dangerous dogs':
The question I am always asked when such a tragedy happens is: why would a dog attack a human? My answer is that we are all guilty of sentimentalising our dogs.
'We' are? A bit of a sweeping statement there? I mean, 'we all' would include working dog owners like farmers and the police, would it not?

And when my family owned dogs, we were always aware they were dogs - animals - and not small four-legged humans. In those days, we weren't unusual in that regard, either.

But our Guy is prone, it seems, to a bit of embellishment:
I encountered one pitbull that spun around on me in an instant, its eyes flashing red and froth spilling from its mouth as it tried to overpower me.
A police dog handler's lot is not a happy one

And I can’t help but groan when I see a sign hanging on a gate — such as the one outside the house where Jade died — saying: ‘Beware of the dog . . . enter at your own risk.’
Which he then contradicts immediately:
The police can’t spot every unstable animal unaided.
Oh, come on, Guy! Some people, it appears, put up warning signs for you! What more do you need?

Guy is, it seems, almost as great an armchair quarterback as the average blogger is said to be. He's certain this tragedy wouldn't have happened if only...
If someone had flagged up those dogs in Atherton to the police earlier, perhaps the town wouldn't be grieving for a teenage girl today.
If neighbours see a dog barking madly at a window in a house or running up and down on the other side of a garden fence snapping at those who pass by, they shouldn't just shudder silently and hurry on.
Bzzzzt! Wrong! On two accounts.

Firstly, having a dog that barks or runs up and down isn't a crime. Nor - unbelievably - is it a crime to have five dogs in the shit-strewn concrete 'garden' of a council semi. If they are well-fed (preferably on Pedigree Chum & not teenagers) and not lacking veterinary treatment, even the RSPCA won't want to know.

What the hell are the police supposed to do about it?

And secondly, and perhaps most importantly; many a tale I've recounted here has owners bitten while wrestling their (often dead) pets from the jaws of these type of dogs only for the police to shrug and proclaim it none of their affair.
Most owners don’t realise that if their dog bites someone, it’s an offence of ‘strict liability’ — that is, the owner is responsible and could go to prison.
Ah. The weasel word there, 'could'.

Yes, they could. But for that to happen the police would have to take action (and they often don't, that lack of foresight sometimes coming back to literally bite them or their hapless colleagues in the arse).

And the magistrates would have to do their job, and we all know how unlikely an occurrence that is, don't we?

So maybe, Guy, there's your answer to your pontification about why the neighbours didn't report the dogs. They know that, unlike them, the State has no teeth or simply often refuses to use them...

Wednesday 27 March 2013

A Drain On Society, Not An Asset To ‘Diversity’…

…no matter what anyone says:
A popular Poole boat show which brings in £10,000s in sales and attracts 1,500 people each year has been cancelled
Oh dear! Well, the weather so far has been awful and…

… because of a traveller invasion.
They’ve gone now, though too late in the day to save the show:
Chris Chaddock, organiser of the boat jumble, told the Daily Echo: “These lawless people have come into the area. Law-abiding people like us, the landowners and the exhibitors have been penalised financially because of it. It is outrageous.
“This show has taken place in the arena for 10 years and is much loved by people across the south west. They are going to be gutted it is cancelled. I've had people almost crying on the phone because their day out has been spoiled.”
And it doesn’t end there. Does it ever?
Three caravans and other rubbish has been abandoned at the site, leaving landowners facing hefty clear-up costs.
Canford Park manager Sam McKirdy explained: “We started legal proceedings shortly after the travellers arrived and informed the boat show promoters that this usually takes a week plus.
“Soon afterwards they took the decision to cancel, and now it's too late for them to reverse this. It is a shame.
“As private landlords we meet all clean-up costs and the travellers have dumped three caravans and the usual trash. It's a mess, but we'll have it cleaned soon.
“Travellers are always a big concern for us because it is so costly to get them moved on.”
And even if it wasn’t, you’d still be left with the clear-up costs. Because while some councils are (admirably, in my book) happy to fine Mr & Mrs Average up to £500 for spitting, no-one wants to tackle Mr or Mrs Traveller for much greater offences.

And Now It Claims A Life…

An electrician shot himself in the head after discovering sex allegations had been made against him, an inquest heard.
Were they proved false?

Well, no. No-one's interested in that now the alleged perpetrator (who denied it vehemently) is dead...
At yesterday's hearing it emerged Mr Copestick died never knowing the full details of the allegations, although he had strenuously denied any wrongdoing.
He was also unaware no further action was going to be taken against him as detectives had already interviewed the two females making the complaints.
Both females had chosen not to pursue the matter further.
The signs are compelling though, I'd suggest.
Detective Constable Gary Cliffe told the inquest police had not had a chance to interview Mr Copestick about the allegations.
He said: "Two females were seen by police, but neither wished to pursue the complaints."
 And will any investigation be made into them? Surely not! That's too much like work.
Margaret Jones, assistant deputy coroner for North Staffordshire, recorded a verdict that Mr Copestick killed himself.
She said: "We will never know if these allegations were substantiated or unsubstantiated. But it's very clear Mr Copestick said they were wrong. He denied the complaints. He went to the bedroom, using a shotgun, and sadly took his own life."
If it was suicide, it was assisted suicide.

Not Really A Shaggy Dog Story...

...indeed, far from being a tale where 'certain expectations...are simply not met', the sorry tale of 'tragic Jade Anderson' has all the hallmarks regular readers of my blog (and especially my posts on #dangerousdogs) will have come to expect.

The previous warnings about the animals, with the owners in no doubt just what their animals were capable of:
One local added: “Those dogs were always growling and barking in that tiny house. All the local kids were scared stiff of them.”
Oliver Carrick, 15, added: “They’re really mean dogs — they’re never let out of the garden and nobody goes in there.”
The dogs belonged to Kimberley’s mum Beverley. Both were in the house during the attack. Mrs Concannon is a breeder who sells Staffordshire bull terrier pups for up to £200 and has a Facebook page full of fierce-looking dogs.
She tells on her page how her favourite mastiff was so aggressive she had to have him castrated.
The amazing fact that someone can apparently afford to keep five large, powerful, expensive breeds in a tiny council house:
Police said officers were confronted by the aggressive dogs – two bull mastiffs and two Staffordshire bull terriers – when they responded to reports of an unconscious girl at a property on the Hagford Estate in Atherton, near Wigan, yesterday afternoon.
The total lack of control the owners had over these beasts, and their desire to save their own skin when it all goes pear-shaped:
Molly Brewer, 14, one of Jade’s fellow pupils at Fred Longworth High School in Tyldesley said she had spoken to Kimberley’s distraught sister Katrina.
She said: “Jade was eating a pie which she had in her hand. She moved the pie away and the dog went for her throat.
"Then two other dogs were on top of her and biting her legs. Katrina was crying and then went into the house.
She was another minor, it's true.  But the adult showed a similar lack of responsibility:
One local said: “We spoke to Kimberley’s twin sister Katrina who told us that after the attack her mum ran off.
“No one has seen her since. She is scared she’ll be attacked because the dogs killed Jade.”
The amazing vitality of these breeds when their blood is up (or the abysmal marksmanship of police 'marksmen', take your pick...):
“We believe the biggest dog took about nine bullets before it died.”
The classic phrase used about the victim or perpetrator:
A neighbour said: ‘It’s such a tragedy. Jade was a loveable rogue who liked a laugh and a joke. She was a lovely girl.’
The inevitable demands from MPs for 'something to be done' (that 'something' almost certainly collective punishment for owners who don't post a threat that will be ignored or not enforced on the underclass scum):
Speaking to The Independent last night, the Labour MP for Bolton West, Julie Hilling, said the attack should prompt moves to “strengthen the law” around dangerous dogs on social housing estates.
“There are real problems with dangerous dogs and we need to have stronger legislation to control these animals when they are in private property. This is a terrible tragedy and my thoughts are with the family.”
All we are missing is the inevitable chavshrine, and I'm sure that's well under way by the time the post goes up...

Tuesday 26 March 2013

See? It Can Be Done...

Police set a trap for cyclists riding on the pavement along Leicester's Golden Mile yesterday.
Cyclist Yatin Valand, 28, of Belgrave, Leicester, was told to dismount when officers spotted him riding on the pavement. Mr Valand, a printer, said: "This is a dangerous road and it is safer to ride on the pavement – although I know that is dangerous for pedestrians."
 Subliminal response: "Screw those freaks! I'm saving the planet!"
Bhavna Lakhani, who owns a photographic studio in Belgrave Road, said: "I have sympathy with the cyclists and the pedestrians. "I can understand why some cyclists are not happy about riding on the main road because it is very busy here and the traffic goes very fast."
 So, buy a car and keep up.
Ratilal Govind, chairman of the Belgrave United Neighbourhood Watch, said: "This is an issue which people bring up time and again as they are worried a pedestrian will be seriously injured.
"It is excellent to see the police out enforcing the law."
Yes, it is. It makes a refreshing change from them claiming there’s nothing they can do. Are you listening, Essex Police Farce?


Two mothers brought terror to the playground of a primary school when they became involved in a brawl with another woman in front of children.
Oooh, Yummy Mummy Foxy Boxing! Throw in some mud, and this could be a new trend.

Let's have a look at...


Keep very still, and pray its vision is based on movement...
John Cleasby, prosecuting, said: "This was in broad daylight outside a school with small children in the vicinity.
"It was witnessed by a number of teaching assistants, who were sent out in order to bring the violence to a conclusion.
'In due course the assault stopped and Nyberg and Angus readjusted their hair (Ed: Well, of course! A lady has standards, after all...) and left the scene calmly.'
Before embarking on a scheme to foil the police investigation via Facebook false witness statements...

And why are they always smiling in these outside court snaps?
Nyberg, of Howling Lane, Alnwick, admitted affray and was given a 12 month community order with 60 hours of unpaid work.
Angus, of Windsor Gardens, Alnwick, pleaded guilty to affray and perverting the course of justice and was given six months prison suspended for 12 months with 100 hours of unpaid work.
Mother-of-three Balmbra, also of Windsor Gardens, Alnwick, admitted perverting the course of justice and was given a 12-month community order.
Ah. That'll be why.

Sorry, But You're Too Dim To Be A Cop...

Doug Crossan, 48, said he was horrified when his credit card company informed him of the amount his son had spent on the games in Apple’s online App Store.
Oh, here we go again! And this kid's thirteen, so even less excuse for the parent to whinge about it...
He says Cameron was unaware he was being charged for the purchases and wants Apple to refund the cash. But the technology giant has so far refused, so Mr Crossan believes that by reporting the purchases as fraudulent his credit card company will have to foot the bill.
Bit dodgy, surely? Isn't making a false report to the police a crime, if you do it knowingly?'ve just confessed in the MSM!
Mr Crossan, of Clevedon, Somerset, said yesterday: ‘I am sure Cameron had no intention to do it, but I had to have a crime reference number if there was any chance of getting any credit card payments refunded.
‘In theory the local police station would contact me and ask for Cameron to come in to be interviewed. I could make it difficult, of course, and refuse to bring him in, and they would have to come and arrest him.’
Gosh, he knows a lot about police procedures. Does he watch a lot of tv?
...he is a PC with Avon and Somerset Police.
Well, hold on a doggone minute! Surely the Professional Standards guys will be down on him like a ton of bricks!
Mr Crossan logged the details of his MBNA Virgin credit card with Apple when he used his son’s device to download music.
Cameron then racked up more than 300 purchases on games such as Plants vs Zombies, Hungry Shark, Gun Builder and N.O.V.A. 3.
Many of them are free to download but users can buy in-game extras. In one game Cameron had purchased a virtual chest of gold coins costing £77.98.
 But wait, don't you need a passw...

He would have had to key in a password before each of the purchases was processed.
 Riiiiight. Ooops! Daddy should have a few words..
When his father confronted him, Cameron quickly confessed but said he did not know it was costing money as the games were initially free.
 Ooooh, I perceive the undeniable aroma of bovine by-product! I'm not familiar with these games, but the ones I play always contain a warning that you must confirm you're purchasing stuff with real money.
Apple has refused to cancel the charges, citing parental responsibility and pointing out that iPads contain password locks to prevent accidental or unwanted purchases.
 Good for them!
But Mr Crossan said: ‘I am a father of a studious, polite and sensible 13-year-old who has been duped after uploading free children’s games on his iPod and iPad.
‘Our son is mortified to think that this has happened. I wonder how many others there are in the UK that have suffered at the hands of these apps?’
 Well, not those who read the T&Cs and act responsibly, so that should be OK.
Of his decision to report Cameron to Action Fraud, Mr Crossan said: ‘Really I just want to embarrass Apple as much as possible. Morally, I just don’t understand where Apple gets off, charging for a child’s game.’
Well, for one thing, they are a company. They exist to make money. Just like the police exist to protect society, and not from people's own stupidity, either.

I suspect you'll be hearing about this from your bosses. Dim cops are acceptable, even ones that are so dim they give Constable Savage a run for his money, but what the police force of 2013 can't have is cops who aren't media-savvy.

And, with your rush to the papers to advertise your utter stupidity to the entire world, that's you.

Monday 25 March 2013

I Thought Teenage Students Were Hard Up?

Residents complained they were often too frightened to leave their homes — and the communal grassy areas were messy no-go zones. In some cases the dogs were so neglected they had to be put down.
As tensions increased between young owners and residents, people living on the Sandlings Estate in Haringey devised an “action plan” and applied for government funding to clean up the area.
Because cleaning up after unruly beasts (do I mean the dogs or the teenagers? You decide…) is what government is for
The estate was granted more than £4,200 of Home Office money
Bzzzt! Wrong! It’s OUR money.
…through the Community Development Foundation. The grant was spent on three roadshow-style events that encouraged young owners to come forward, get their animals microchipped and learn how to care for and discipline them.
Halil Ankay, a 17-year-old student who lives on the Sandlings Estate, said his two-year-old Akita, Blaze, had frightened residents with its barking but is now “calm”.
A 17 year old student can afford to buy and feed a large, powerful dog?

Oh, well. At least we aren't buying them the equipment they…


Halil took Blaze to the roadshow, where owners were also given free equipment such as harnesses, collars and leads.
He said: “They gave me a few tips to calm him down, such as covering his eyes if he starts barking and reassuring other people he is no threat to them.They recommended Blaze should also wear a muzzle for other people’s safety and I had him microchipped.
“It’s a good atmosphere on the estate now.”
Is it?
Margaret Clarke, chairwoman of the tenants and residents association, said: “Now, a lot of the dogs are under control and they are not running around so much. The owners are picking up after them and it’s as though they've really learned a lesson.”
‘A lot’. Meaning some aren't?

And why is it considered ‘a success’ if it took a government grant to make people do what they should have been doing in the first place?
Alison Seabrooke, chief executive of the Community Development Foundation, said the area had seen a reduction in complaints about anti-social behaviour involving dogs, adding: “This success speaks for itself.”
Now, other London estates are being invited to see if they are eligible for similar funding through a £30million Community First pot.
Of course they are! Government money is free - isn't it?

Really? I Mean…Really?

Jonathan Stanniland, defending Sawyer, said: "He knows that all he holds dear is in jeopardy because he made a dreadful decision to take matters into his own hands."
Caroline Spedding, defending Chulk, said her client had no idea what was happening, as he thought the trio were on their way to music festival Brisfest before the incident.
A likely story!
Mr Bennett said Sawyer and Chulk had previous convictions for serious violent offences.
I guess they didn’t see those coming either?

"Look, You Shouldn't Have Choice If You Are Going To Use It!"

Parents are being blamed for a rise in the number of children missing out on their school choice.
Oh? And why?
In 66 cases pupils missed out on all of their secondary school preferences, up from 58 last year. But Brighton and Hove City Council has blamed parents for not putting down schools in their catchment area. It said out of the 66 applicants who missed out not one had put their catchment area secondary school.

But that's their choice! You can't expect to give people choice and them whine when they take it. Can you?
The council’s cabinet member for children and young people Councillor Sue Shanks said: “Our catchment area system means that our young people are getting the chance to go to a school that’s near to them.
A chance they clearly don't want to take up. Maybe the closest school to them isn't very good?
“I know that all our schools work hard to help every child achieve so I am sure our children will receive a good education wherever they go to school.”
Clearly, that view isn't shared by your voters...

Sunday 24 March 2013

(Not The) Glamorous Granny Competition

The horse meat scandal may have left us wary of what we might find in our food packets, but one grandmother was especially shocked to discover a “doorstop-sized” wooden splinter in her frozen veg.
If the term ‘grandmother’ conjures up an image of an apple-cheeked, white-haired old lady, well, this is 2013 and this is Dagenham…
Michele Robertson, 39, was cooking a hearty winter meal for her two grandchildren, Paul, four, and Ruby, three, as well as Ruby’s heavily pregnant mum Rachel Convoy, 20, when the “wedge of splinter wood” fell into the pan last Tuesday (March 12) afternoon.
“It’s just unbelievable,” said Michele, of Bentry Road, Dagenham. “It was like a doorstop.
“It ruined the dinner but it has also worried me because the kids could have ended up with splinters in their stomachs.”
Ummm, why? You didn't cook any, did you?

Weep For The Modern Day Jean Valjean….

King, speaking in his own defence, said: "There have been times when I have been struggling to put food in the cupboards.
"I don't make a habit of doing this kind of thing."
Which is just as well, because the cupboard’s really no place for…ice cream!

Yes! Really!
Rebecca Dalby, prosecuting, said King had paid for the rest of his shopping, but attempted to leave the store without paying for the ice cream.
Because everyone deserves ice cream, and if you can’t afford it, why, just steal it!

"Grrrrr! Woof, Woof! Whine.."*

* Translation: "Look, Sarge, they, errr. 'fell down the stairs in the custody unit'. Know what I mean?"
A police spokesman said: “Police dogs perform a vital role in policing and are highly trained to respond to a variety of situations including searching for offenders and missing people, recovering important evidence, disarming or detaining violent suspects and controlling hostile crowds.
You just know, when you see a comment that starts like this, a fuck-up of immense proportions has occurred  don't you?
“On two occasions, when off duty in Caistor St Edmund and four months later, whilst tracking a suspected burglar in Norton Subcourse, one of our police dogs instinctively used its training techniques when confronted with a sheep and cat respectively, regrettably resulting in their death.
Ummm, I think the point is it didn't 'use its training techniques'. Surely? Because isn't part of that training supposed to discourage it from this sort of behaviour?

A photo of police dog training, now suspected to originate with the Photoshop Rapid Response Unit...
“The dog, a two year old German Shepherd with a strong track record of achievement, was immediately removed from active duty and has been subject to three separate safety tests, which have all concluded that he poses no risk over and above any other police dog.”
That's ...ummmm... comforting. I think?
The spokesman said: “Officers liaised with the owners in each case and agreements made to offer compensation and make amends.“
No doggy IPCC to drum the brute out of the force then?

Sunday Funnies...

Well, I went cold turkey one day...but I'm now hooked on the iPad version of 'The Sims' instead!

Saturday 23 March 2013

Well, Not Quite, Surely?

David Eager, defending, said Hayter had been left full of remorse.
‘He accepts he was solely responsible for Kayleigh’s death. That will lie heavily on his conscience for the rest of his life.’
There is no doubt that he was the one driving like a maniac after a seven-hour drinking session, and was twice the drink drive limit when he crashed, yes.

But…was he solely responsible? If only the child had had a parent to ...

Kayleigh, who had already posted a message on Facebook saying ‘I think I'm going to die’, was told by her father Scott Lawrie not to be so stupid.
 Mr Scott said ‘While the defendant paid for his petrol the boy and Kayleigh told Scott Lawrie they wanted to get out of the car because they were so frightened. Scott Lawrie told them not to be so stupid.
This was after Hayter had twice almost careered off the road, and forced an oncoming pick-up onto the verge when he took a bend on the wrong side of the road.

I wonder if Scott Lawrie had cause to regret those words when they then called at a filling station, Hayter clipped the central pump island before reversing back and almost hitting another vehicle, and then tried to fill up with diesel instead of petrol before accelerating away with such speed the wheels spun?

It seems to me Scott Lawrie should have a lot on his conscience too, always assuming he has one.

It’s A Funny Old World…

…when if you acquire more animals than you can comfortably house and feed adequately, you’re regarded as a ‘hoarder’ and the RSPCA and mental health teams get involved, where if, like Bradley Ariza, you have more children than your salary and housing will comfortably allow, the NSPCC and social services don’t want to know.

And you will be regarded, by the ‘Guardian’ who gives you a column to complain at length about the unfairness of it all, as a ‘family in poverty’:
After the rent, food, shopping, clothes and activities for our children (clubs, music lessons etc), so they can enjoy their lives to some extent, my girlfriend and I have to go without food fairly regularly.
Well, why have three, then? I mean, I'm assuming they aren't triplets?

There’s the usual complaints about rising fuel costs and food costs and the increase in private rents (because the landlords aren't supposed to be making any money, oh no, they are supposed to provide for free…) that you’d expect.

But no-one addresses the issue of why does this chap keep breeding!
If I am being honest, there is a case for making it financially easier for people to work more. From my perspective though, the problem is not that we are getting too many benefits. The problem is that as soon as we try to work our way out of the grip of the welfare state, we lose so many benefits, and incur so many other costs; transport, childcare etc. Yet instead of helping people, there seems to be this obsession with punishing those on benefits, as if being poor is some sort of crime.
It isn't. Deliberately making yourself poorer and then whinging about it should be.

Signs Of The Times…

This one is particularly irritating:
Guidance on how to deal with bullying on the buses, and what to do when your friends are in danger of distracting the driver, is being issued to every school in Essex.
Naturally, the one that’s really most important (especially for other innocent road users!) comes second behind the one that’s flavour of the month…
Essex County Council has just launched B Safe B Cool The Collection, a DVD of 16 cartoon and real-life short films, plus interactive resources. It has been issued as a way of keeping up with the demand from schools on giving pupils advice on dealing with problems they face on the journey to and from school, of which bullying is top of the list.
So, schools are ‘demanding’ this, are they?
Cllr Kay Twitchen, Chairman of Essex County Council, said at the launch: "I was at the start of the new Young Essex Assembly recently, and yet again tackling bullying is their number one priority.
"Staff do all they can to stop it happening in schools…
Do they? Do they really, Kay? Are you sure about that? And even when they do, the policy is likely to be bonkers...
… but have no control over what occurs on the journey to and from school.
"I hope seeing these films will help pupils realise they are not alone, and that adults do realise it's a problem.
"I want them to feel able to tell their mum, tell a teacher, tell a friend and get some help.
"I feel so strongly about this, and worried about how sad it makes young people feel.
"I hope this goes some way to show them it does not have to happen."
Good grief, woman, get a grip!
Gillian Mills, the county's passenger transport co-ordinator, said: "We have made this film individually over the years but they have never been brought together as a collection.
"The aim of this new resource is for schools to use it in their curriculum, maybe incorporate in their PSHE or transition lessons
In their...?

I had to Google that! 'Transition lessons' are still a mystery though.
"Children when they are in groups without an adult sometimes need guidance and education on how to behave."
Given the number of school trips I've observed on public transport that 'without an adult' was redundant.

Friday 22 March 2013

Mitigation - Just Phoning It In Now...

Bank worker Christopher Reed has been spared jail after stealing £7,000 from an 81-year-old customer.
He was in a 'low place' at the time and his debts were getting on top of him.
So the money went to pay debts?
"On October 1 he made two more transactions, a £3,650 credit transfer and a £3,490 debit, which was effectively money to buy a car."
He said he acted in panic and opportunistically. He thought the pensioner would not notice. He regretted his actions and felt sick as soon as he had done it.
So he confessed? Ha! No, of course not...
The court heard the theft came to light as the result of an internal investigation.
Stuart Muldoon, mitigating, said Reed had lost his job and now works in Hungary.
I’m sorry..? How is being – rightfully! – sacked for your actions some sort of ‘mitigation’?
Judge David Fletcher said he could just pull back from passing an immediate jail term and sentenced Reed to 16 months in prison, suspended for two years, with six months supervision and the maximum 300 hours unpaid work.
Is he going to be supervised by Hungarian probation officers then?

Look, We Can't Run Society Based On What Makes Your Job Easier!

A plan by WHSmith to sell alcohol at its Leicester railway station branch could lead to booze-fuelled disorder among football fans and street drinkers, police fear.
Oh, here we go again. The police want a quiet life, so banning stuff is first on the agenda.
The retailer has applied for an alcohol sales licence for its shop at the London Road station, but police have called for it to be turned down by city council officials. The council's licensing committee, which is set discuss the matter next month, has received a letter from police inspector Nigel Rixon, of the force's licensing department, raising concerns about the move.
Not because he's too worried about sloshed commuters, oh no. It's that great old excuse - football supporters!
He wrote: "During the football season, Leicester station is a gateway to many travelling supporters attending matches at Leicester City.
"Police provide a policing operation on these days to ensure the safety of those attending the matches and those visiting the city for business and leisure purposes.
"Much of the operation is conducted to meet travelling fans outside the station buildings and monitor and restrict access to alcohol."
Of course it is. Despite the fact that you already know who the main troublemakers are likely to be, blanket policies are the order of the day.
The inspector also said WHSmith falls within a so-called saturation zone where there is an automatic assumption that new licence applications will be rejected because of the high volume of nearby alternative off-licences.
Why? Shouldn't the market decide?
The police have asked if the council was minded to grant the licence it should consider a number of restrictions, including the suspension of alcohol sales during all Leicester City home games and limiting any beers, lagers, ciders and perrys on sale to a maximum 5.5 per cent alcohol by volume (ABV).
That's not just on football days, oh no. That's all year round.

Getting that North Korean feeling again?

Still, surely the doughty Englishman will not brook this state overreach and interference with his rights?
Rail passenger Martin Cash, 42, from Leicester, said: "I don't think it is unusual for shops to sell drink at stations but I can see why the police would be edgy about it.
"If you put alcohol in front of their noses they will take it."

Desperate For Food, But Strangely Mobile…

That’s the food bank users of Sneyd Green:
Mr Reece has lived opposite Wesley Hall Methodist Church for more than eight years, but claims the problem has got worse since the opening of the food bank last year.
He added: "The church has enough spaces for people but they don't use them because they think it's easier.
"But it makes the place look a mess. We need bollards put in to stop people pulling up. You can hardly move for the amount of cars."
Now, some of them will be people dropping off food for these poor unfortunates. But certainly not all of them! Some must, by definition, be users of the service who are clearly able to run a vehicle and (one hopes!) pay for the road tax and insurance.
Seventy five-year-old Marjorie McIntyre has lived in the street for over 16 years. She said: "There are parts of the road marked up with 'keep clear' but people even ignore that, so when my son comes to pick me up he has to park all the way down the street.
"Then when we come back we have to carry all of the shopping in from miles away."
So much for the pathetic gratitude of these poor unfortunates, who are only in this situation due to the terrible Tory cuts...
Project manager Sue Simco said: "I was aware that there has been some concern about traffic. We do have people calling and dropping off food but we would urge them to use the car park. We know there have been some concerns about grass verges and we are asking people to ensure that they park sensitively."
You’re asking the people shamelessly living off other people’s generosity to behave with sensitivity? Tell me, Sue, has that ever worked? Anywhere?

Thursday 21 March 2013

Hapless And Hopeless... Just Like Our Justice System.

Michael Tyler had been released early from prison when he went to a Spar store in Weston-super-Mare, took off his shoes and left.
Bristol Crown Court heard he then turned up in a first floor flat, trying to stash jewellery under a quilt, and told the householder: "I'm looking for Christine. She's fat, with short blonde hair and police want her."
 Is she their type, then?
Judge Michael Roach told him: "You have a poor record, with 37 previous court appearances. You were only just released and the householder found you in her home, burgling it."
Nadeem Aullybocus (Ed: Oh, hai!), defending, told the judge: "He's been struggling with drugs since the age of 15."
Sounds like he’s losing.
"He tells me it is a vicious circle in which he tries to get out of it and lapses. He had served nine weeks of an 18-week sentence, he was released, he was given pills by a friend and he mixed them with alcohol. He doesn't really know what he did. People say he was acting quite strange."
I think the people who keep letting him out are acting pretty strange too…

No, Suzanne, No!

Suzanne Moore in (where else?) The 'Guardian' on the supposed war on single parents:
This new round of punitive measures against single parents – benefit freezes, the closure of access courses – enrages me not only personally but politically. How does pushing them further down the ladder help? The backlash against the welfare state is spoken of in the abstract. Bring it home: it is a seven-year-old whose dinner is a packet of crisps.
That's appalling parenting, not 'poverty'.

The Army Is Well Shot Of Him

A former soldier beat his puppy so savagely that neighbours formed a posse to seize the dog in a dramatic rescue mission.
A Northern Inuit is a pretty rare breed, and expensive. But this is no Sandhurst graduate on a major's salary, oh no.
Details of Mishka's ordeal emerged as jobless Abbey, who claims to suffer from post traumatic stress disorder from his service in the army, was given a six week jail sentence suspended for two years after he was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering.
He was also banned from keeping an animal for five years and ordered him to pay a £250 contribution towards the £5,000 costs of the prosecution and Mishka's kennel fees.
Ah. Lovely. Another case of doleites able to afford expensive animals to mistreat. And let off by the legal system, to boot.
Abbey denied wrongdoing despite four neighbours giving evidence at the trial and claimed he was the victim of a 'vendetta.'
Yes. People get upset when animals are mistreated. And no, they aren't too impressed with your claims of victimhood status, either. You shame your former uniform.
Defence lawyer Mr John Gallagher said his client had two prolapsed discs and could not have harmed the dog.
His arms seem to be working fine to me. He's managing to carry a paper and smoke a cigarette, so mistreating a dog is hardly outside his capabilities.
He added: 'He quite clearly disputes the allegation and my instructions are that he intends to appeal. The witnesses say they heard things but never actually saw him physically hit the dog.
'He says the dog suffered from separation and anxiety problems and whenever it was on its own it would self mutilate and be destructive.
Then why get a dog? Especially an expensive one?
'We know from the expert who gave evidence at the trial that there was no evidence of previous injury. The only injury he could identify was the injury present on the day.'
That was clearly enough. As it should have been.

Wednesday 20 March 2013

Art For Art's Sake: Rousseau

For so long now, this one has been my screensaver on my work PC - Henri Rousseau's 'Tiger in A Tropical Storm':

Despite his claims to have been to jungle climes in ... errr, Mexico, not known for its tigers or its lush vegetation, it's believed he painted it from trips to botanical gardens and taxidermy specimens, or woodcuts and pastels by other artists.

I first saw it on a trip to the National Gallery to see an uncle who was giving a guest lecture there - his speciality was Van Gogh (who I've never cared for) and what drew me (after the gorgeous colours which just seem to leap out and smack you in the eye) was the sense of movement he's managed to get into the canvas. The foliage seems to be whipping around in the teeth of a gale.

I must call in next time I'm in London with time to spare and renew my acquaintance with it in the flesh - their website tells me it's still on display.

Next month: Heatherwick

Another Twisted Firestarter, Another Pussy Pass...

Mother-of-two Faye Hill who set fire to her boyfriend's home after a row has avoided being sent to jail.
Jason Holt, mitigating, said Hill's relationship with Mr Dunn was 'on-off' and they had argued throughout the evening, when both had been drinking. She went back to the flat with him, continuing some sort of argument," said Mr Holt.
"She was ushered out. It was clear to her at the time of posting the card, not only was Mr Dunn awake, but probably in the vicinity of where it landed.
"She was aware there was a concrete floor, it is not a case where there was a fitted carpet behind the door.
"She had not appreciated she would have caused the devastation that she did."
 But she didn't stick around to see what devastation she caused, did she? And the neighbours that were affected? What had they done to her?
He acknowledged it was likely the offence would warrant a custodial sentence, but asked Judge David Fletcher to consider suspending the term.
Mr Holt said: "She did set fire to the card. The purpose was to mark her annoyance in a symbolic manner, and not to set the fire that ensued.
"She is at a low risk of re-offending, there is nothing to suggest she is a danger to anyone."
Except any other man who has an argument with her...
Judge Fletcher said he could avoid sending Hill straight to prison because there was a lack of pre-planning, a lack of any accelerant used and the offence was committed on the spur of the moment.
How fortunate you are able to avoid your unpleasant duties, Judge Fletcher...

These Are The People That Tell Us...

...we shouldn't cut benefits because of those few purely anecdotal stories about benefit scroungers in the press, let's remember.

Isabelle Szmigin (professor of marketing at the University of Birmingham):
That it might not work, or that some people may suffer more than others from a price increase is not something I dispute. The point is that, whatever the figures tell us about some recent reductions in the consumption of alcohol in the UK, most of us have had experiences of the impact of excessive alcohol that cannot leave us in two minds regarding the need to do more about it.
H/T: Tim Worstall

Attempted Shakedown FAIL!

A primary school teacher whose religious observance forbids her eating non-halal meat says she felt distraught after tucking into what she believed was a fish pie ready meal – only to discover that it contained unblessed meat.
Think yourself lucky, love! Some people* complain when it doesn't!
Muslim Runa Begum bought the meal, which she says was labelled as a fish pie from Tesco Express in Romford Road, only to discover that it was a non-halal meat lasagne.
Oh, no, not straight away! No, no, it's worse than that..
Ms Begum, of Manor Park, said: “I brought it to work for my lunch break.
“When I opened the meal it looked white like a fish pie with the cheese and lasagne plates on top. It wasn’t until I put a bite in my mouth that I thought it tasted like meat and realised it was a meat lasagne.
I have never, ever, seen a fish pie that wasn't topped by mashed potato or pastry, rather than pasta...

But still, this is a Muslim, so cue the OUTRAGE!
“As a Muslim I only eat halal meat, which is my personal choice, and I felt sick to the stomach that I had eaten other meat without my knowledge.
“I felt distraught and angry that they were not be more vigilant with the packaging with what is going on in the media about the horse meat scandal.”
So you thought you'd whinge and shriek about it in the press. That's helpful. Were you hoping to pressure Tesco into a compo claim?

Because if so, you're on a hiding to nothing:
But after investigating her complaint Tesco says their fish pie and lasagne products are made in different factories and that they are confident the products could not have been swapped around before reaching the store.
Tesco can hardly go round checking that some joker hasn't swapped the sleeves on every ready meal, can they?


Tuesday 19 March 2013

Here's A Dictionary Mr Newsome...

...look up the term 'safety conscious' and I'm pretty sure you won't see a picture of your son there:
The driver of the Suzuki, builder Donald MacMillan, of Holmfirth, said he had to stop behind a parked car on Hopton Lane to allow other vehicles to come up the hill. He told the inquest the schoolboy was 'pedalling like billy-o' with his head down.
Steve Green, West Yorkshire Police's principal collision investigator, said the brakes on Declan's bike were 'grossly maladjusted' and 'totally ineffective'. He said the rear brake did not work at all and the front only partially.
Consultant pathologist Dr Julian Ostrowski, who carried out the post-mortem, said that even if the schoolboy had been wearing a helmet it would not have prevented the injury.
And yet, despite all that, the parents have the unmitigated gall to demand that 'something must be done!'
Mr Newsome, 69, said after the hearing: 'I hope the powers that be see the trauma that we have been through and get something done.'
That 'something' being laws to ensure cycles are maintained and helmets work and speed limits adhered to?

No. Don't be silly.
The Castle Hall Academy pupil's devastated parents Kenneth and Harriet Newsome have called for speed cameras or speed bumps to be installed along Hopton Lane.
What possible reason? The only one speeding was your son!
Coroner Roger Whittaker, who recorded a verdict of accidental death, described Declan's death as a terrible tragedy and said no-one was to blame.
 Except Declan, of course. But this is England, and we never, ever point out the obvious, because to do so would be 'insensitive' or 'cruel'. No, no, we cast about looking for someone else to take the blame and any future responsibility.
Mirfield Conservative councillor Vivien Lees-Hamilton is spearheading a campaign for safety improvements in Hopton Lane in the wake of the accident.
She is also helping the family to organise a campaign to make newsagents aware of their safety responsibilities to paperboys and girls.
Because it's the responsibility of the newsagents to check bikes now?

Enough of this horseshit! Let's start placing blame where it truly lies, shall we? No matter how upsetting.

Working Like A Well Oiled Machine, Eh?

That’s our justice system!
A teenager breached an order designed to break up a gang that has terrorised Southend. But the 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, faced no punishment after admitting meeting up with other members of gang Get Paid Daily, or GDP.
I know. I was shocked too!
Charlie Cox, 19, of Beresford Road, Southend, who was among GDP members the teen met in Southchurch Road, Southend, on January 31, was also due at Basildon Crown Court, along with another 16-year-old gang member, for various breaches of the gang injunction.
But the prison service failed to produce pair, despite written requests from the police and defence counsel.
Had they lost him down the back of the staffroom sofa?

Yes, You're Unique. Just Like Everyone Else...

The punk rocker’s solicitor, Lee-Anne Robins-Hicks, said his client was about to make a new release in which he was promoting “music against racism”.
Well, that's a damn funny way to go about it.
Mrs Robins-Hicks said Roberts could not remember anything about the incident.
He had had difficulty adapting to a “normal” life after travelling the country with his rock band and knew at first-hand what it felt like to experience discrimination as a “member of an unique group”.
I don't think refusal to buy your crap records is equivalent to being abused because of your colour, now is it?

Monday 18 March 2013

It Is Indeed An ‘All Too Familiar Story’…

… all far too familiar for my liking, frankly:
Alexander Stampp punched, bit and threatened to kill his partner Roxanne Spalding during a series of attacks over four months. In one of the vicious beatings, the 26-year-old slammed her face into a sink causing a fork to stab into her neck.
'One' of the vicious beatings, you say? Why yes...
Roz Wardell, prosecuting, said: "The relationship started well but after a couple of months the arguments began, with increasing physical violence."
The first attack took place on April 14 at Miss Spalding's flat in Montacute Road, New Addington, when Stampp strangled her to the point that she passed out and collapsed on the floor.
Then, while at her flat on June 13, Stampp punched Miss Spalding in the face. A neighbour saw what happened but Stampp threatened to burn his flat down.
The violence continued on July 24, when Stampp slammed his partner's face into her kitchen sink with such force that a fork in the basin stabbed her neck. Miss Spalding then went to hospital, where doctors also found heavy bruising on her right arm.
On August 4, Stampp beat Miss Spalding unconscious following an argument over websites he had been viewing. Ms Wardell added: "When she woke up she tried to call for help on her phone but the defendant grabbed it."
Hmmm. He's undoubtedly a vicious brute, but is Spalding a slow learner, or what?
On August 24, Miss Spalding went to Croydon Police station and reported her ordeal.
Hurrah! The penny dropped.
Magistrates heard that Stammp's three-year-old daughter had died from a heart defect six years ago. Her death led him to have a breakdown and the end of the five-year relationship with the child's mother, leaving him with "emotional issues".
So? Surely that's nor a ...

But Stampp, of Kynaston Avenue, Thornton Heath, avoided immediate jail – even though the magistrate recognised he had shown no remorse – because he has "emotional issues".
Hamida Ali, of Croydon Labour Women’s Forum, said: "This case is shocking and its outcome is equally shocking. To those involved in responding to violence against women, it’s an all too familiar story. … Sentences like this give women no confidence in taking action."
Yes, it's a familiar story, all right. Just like this one:

Toby Hayden, 27, hit his partner of two years in a drunken rage when a cash machine told him he had insufficient funds to withdraw money.
He repeatedly punched Loretta Butterworth, 22, in an assault that ended only when passers-by heard her screaming ‘please help me’.
A total bolt from the blue?
She added: ‘When I found out that he had walked free my heart sank. I was shocked and angry.
‘He definitely should have gone to prison. He had previous convictions, he had been violent to people before, he was on probation when it happened.’

Perhaps Hamida Ali would be better off telling her unfortunate 'service users' that since the justice system isn't going to protect them, they could try not shacking up with violent men and then acting surprised when the inevitable happens?

I Don't Think You Can Handle The Truth, Mrs Lewis...

A prominent figure in Croydon's black community has called for a full public inquiry into the death of Olaseni Lewis. Nero Ughwujabo, chief executive of the Croydon Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Forum, believes the Department for Health, as well as the police, have serious questions to answer.
Of course he does...
Last month, the Advertiser reported how IT graduate Mr Lewis, 23, was pinned face-down on the floor in a hospital seclusion room by 11 police officers for 40 minutes. He never regained consciousness, and his life-support machine was switched off four days later.
Mr Ughwujabo said the case suggests the NHS's action plan, "Delivering Race Equality (DRE) in Mental Health Care", which began in 2005 in a bid to improve the quality of care received by BME patients, had "not gone far enough."
Oh? Why?
"These incidents are still happening. We don't see evidence that race equality is actually embedded in mental health services provided by the NHS," he added. "We know that black people are significantly more likely to be physically restrained or medicated, instead of being supported with other therapies."
I don't think the mental health staff and police do this for fun, you know? Nothing on TV, so they pop round for a bit of 'restrain the lunatic'?

And I rather doubt they'd feel that a raving white madman was somehow better than a raving black madman.
Sister Kemi Lewis, 34, who co-runs the Olaseni Lewis Campaign for Change and Justice alongside her parents, said her family’s Christian faith has strengthened them since Olaseni’s death. She said: "[We’re] hopeful that we will get some sort of justice and we’ll find out what the truth is. We want change and it needs to be from the top. We don’t want other families to go through this.
And if the truth is 'We had to restrain your brother so he wouldn't hurt himself and others'? Will you accept that?
"This is not the kind of thing that you would wish on your worst enemy, at all."
Mr Lewis' mother Ajibola previously told us how her son was a 'gentle giant' with a 'zest for life'. She recalled: "He had a real sense of adventure and fun. He was a lovely, friendly person and wasn't afraid of new things."
I'm sure he was, when he wasn't raving like a madman. And you've picked a nice smiley photo to tug at heartstrings in the paper.

But I suspect the demeanour and behaviour of Mr Lewis on the night in question was rather different...

I, For One, Welcome Our New Aggressive Youth Overlords!

The crew was called to extinguish a rubbish fire in Griffin Close at around 10pm last night.
While they were putting out the flames, a group of teenagers started shouting at them.
Watch manager Dave Robinson from Burnley Fire Station, said that although the fire itself was fairly minor, there had been some trouble with the group.
Well, that’s why you have large high-pressure hoses, right?

He said: “It was just a rubbish fire but we did get a bit of verbal abuse.
“The last thing we want to do is inflame the situation.
“There are some issues but we are going to engage with the local community and spend some time with them to see is there is anything we can help with.
“We are also going to have a presence in the area to see if there are any issues over the next few days and to let people know we are here to help them.”
Christ, could you be more supine and appeasing if you tried?!

*rips up 'Hot Firemen & Their Hoses' calendar*

Sunday 17 March 2013

I'll Save You The Trouble, Shall I?

In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which enforces the federal Animal Welfare Act, is also looking to understand why the lion turned on the intern.
Oh, probably because IT WAS A LION!

You're welcome.

“You need not to be ghoulish, and luckily we’re not.”

… after police, forensic scientists and archaeologists ascertained the bones were at least 100 years old – meaning there would be no criminal investigation required – Lucy and Joe Hannigan, 10 and nine, invited their classmates at Our Lady’s, Abingdon, to have a look.
Well, I'm all for classroom innovation! But this sent a bit of a shudder down the spine:
More than 100 pupils got a minibus to the garden last week and were offered the opportunity to handle the remains.
That's a bit too detached for my liking!

You Know What Makes Me Want To Chase Someone With A Samurai Sword..?

..bloody grocer's apostrophes, that's what!

Sunday Funnies..

Who said advertising was a cunning and well-thought-out way to hook consumers?

Saturday 16 March 2013

The Things People Say…

George Monbiot on the ethical dilemma of buying a smartphone:
There are dozens of issues… But I will concentrate on just one: are the components soaked in the blood of people from the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo?
Well, I’d hope not! These things are vulnerable enough to getting wet, just with water. Soak ‘em in blood and I think you’d need more than a bag of rice to get them up and running again…

 '30 stone mum' on her dieting dilemma:
She says: 'Sean’s advised me about nutrition and exercise, but I don’t have as much willpower as him. I’m sensitive about my weight so he doesn’t push me.'
He couldn’t! He’d need a bulldozer!

Petrol station supervisor, on the helplessness of the unarmed man:
He added: 'People think that this side of the counter is easy but it is not, it can be frightening. We couldn't go out and help, you can't catch someone who is carrying a knife. How can someone help in this situation without getting hurt themselves?'
I think we'd have to turn to the States for the answer. Or we could continue to wait for the police, who are minutes away when every second counts...