Moving on
Towards Better Times...?


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

50 most loathsome.....

I have just found the link to TheBeast and its 50 Most Loathsome People in America, 2005
I particularly like these:

26. Spammers
Charges: Wasting billions of minutes of time and millions of dollars in bandwidth on the thin hope that a few poor saps will be stupid enough to believe that a Nigerian banker actually wants to give them millions of dollars, or that responding to an unsolicited e-mail is the smart way to refinance their mortgage or enlarge their penis. Every day, we must perform the tedious task of combing through our e-mail and deleting the nine tenths of it which consist of the most retarded marketing in history, along with mean-spirited swindles and ads for the vilest pornography imaginable. All because these jack-offs can think of no better way to support themselves than by pestering the entire fucking planet.
Exhibit A: Your inbox.
Sentence: Faces repeatedly smashed into keyboards until dead; bodies made into actual Spam; greedily devoured by Nigerian bankers.

13. God
Charges: If your answer to the age-old question of God’s existence is "yes," your next question should be, "Why is he such a dick?" After three major natural disasters, not to mention the eternal constants of famine, war and disease, to believe in God is to believe either that He enjoys fucking with us, or at best has totally lost interest in the whole "people" thing. Never calls anymore.
Exhibit A: Mosquitoes, Ralph Reed.
Sentence: Forever listening to an unending stream of idiotic, mundane prayers uttered by the dumbest, most inarticulate people in His creation.

But, of course, we can never forget:

3. George W. Bush
Charges: Simply put, the stupidest man ever to lead this country. Bush’s lobotomized Will Rogers routine is a satirist’s dream, a European intellectual’s caricature of the dipshit cowboy American, all balls and no brains.

________

I think most Europeans would put Bush at no 1.  But there again, I can quite understand why he was beaten by Cheyney and Robertson.

Well worth a look.

posted by summersun70 at 4:56 PM

1 comments



Saturday, January 21, 2006

Intelligent Design?

The concept of ‘Intelligent Design’ seems to me to lack the very basis of the concept – Intelligence.  Therefore I was very interested to read the article below, published in TheDailyEnlightenment .  To me, it sums up very accurately the mass of contradictions inherent in ‘Intelligent Design’. Part of the article is produced here, the rest can be found at the TheDailyEnlightenmentWebsite:

Realisation: Why "Intelligent Design" Lacks Intelligence

…….. Recently, there was much outrage in the academic world when "intelligent design" was proposed by some to be scientific. The theory of "intelligent design" argues that the universe, being so intricately structured, must surely be the design of a super-intelligent being. This belief is creationism, which is based on mere faith. It is the opposite of evolution, which is the largely observable fact that life and the universe evolves over time, adapting to changes of natural conditions. While creationism simplistically believes in a first cause of everything, evolution says what continually reshapes the world is the complex network of fluxing yet interconnected natural and human-made factors which make up the world itself. This is similar to the Buddha's teaching of dependent origination. The belief that nature was created begs the question of "Who created the creator?" If the creator was uncreated, we might as well say nature was uncreated in the first place, that nature naturally sustains itself, while allowing evolution to occur. ……

………..

Creationists usually attribute the suffering and evil present in the world to be the creation of humans; not created by the "supreme creator"... probably to defend the idealised perfection of the creator. Yet logically, this creator cannot be perfect, since imperfect humans were designed by him/her. It is then argued that humans were created perfect, that we "fell from grace". This idea doesn't help either - since it was the creator, not humans, who designed the glaring flaw of "the possibility of evil". If the creator had his/her design constraints, surely s/he is not supreme. Intriguingly, even to creationists, the major onus is on us to relieve our own suffering - since it is us who can choose good over evil, both of which originate from us. Does this not displace the importance of the creator, since it is fundamentally us who can better the world?

…………

Ironically, if it is a rule that "there must be a creator", it means this uncreated rule precedes the "creator". This rule, being a law of nature, implies that nature precedes the "creator", that no "creator" can precede nature. Since nature precedes the "creator", of course the "creator" is not the "creator" of nature. This simple proof shows that no one can create nature, and that there can be no "creator". One cannot affirm that an intelligent designer exists simply by observing the universe; one can only say there is some intelligent observation - which is that much "unintelligent" when the observer concludes there is an intelligent designer simply because the scheme of things seems intelligent. A truly intelligent observer would realise that a truly intelligent designer, if s/he exists, would surely not design unintelligent elements such as pain and "the lack of intelligence"! Interestingly, the Buddha did tell us about how, in the course of the beginningless evolutional cycles of the world, a god would naturally mistaken himself to be the creator. Instead of focusing on the vague and unfair concept of all beings being originally born with sin, the Buddha taught that we innately have "original sinlessness" - Buddha-nature - the primordial potential to become fully free of suffering, to attain True Happiness. Incidentally, the Buddha is the only religious founder who taught that all his followers can fully evolve into perfection like himself. Thus is the Buddha truly compassionate and wise, who thoroughly deserves his renowned title - "The Teacher of Humans and Gods."
- Shen Shi'an

Example of non-creationism : WhereDoesWaterComeFrom

Read preface with open mind first : MoreThoughtsOnCreationism

posted by summersun70 at 4:10 AM

1 comments



Tuesday, January 17, 2006

No 'tolerance' here

Government rejects European-style prostitution zones

By Kate Holton 17th January 2006 msn-news-uk

LONDON (Reuters) - The government has rejected plans to set up so-called "tolerance zones" for prostitution, saying a worldwide study had shown there was no evidence they offered greater protection for women.

Instead, the government announced plans on Tuesday to relax laws on brothels so that prostitutes could work together in the same premises.

But an international campaigning group for prostitutes said the new laws did not go far enough to prevent sex workers suffering rape and violence.

………..

The International Collective of Prostitutes (ICP) had urged the government to decriminalise the world's oldest profession and a former Home Secretary, David Blunkett, published plans in 2004 to change the law.

Instead, the Home Office said on Tuesday it would work to protect women in the sex industry and help them find alternative work.

It will also target the men who traffic women from abroad into the sex industry.

The Home Office said the London market was "saturated" with migrants working in brothels.

"Prostitution blights communities and the lives of those who participate," MacTaggart said. "Women involved in prostitution often have very limited choices in life. They come from difficult backgrounds, might have drug problems or nowhere safe to live.

Germany and the Netherlands have legalised some brothels and set up zones where prostitutes can work. Prostitution is not illegal in Italy or France.

…………

Citing the example of New Zealand, which decriminalised prostitution in 2003, the ICP had argued a similar policy in Britain would destigmatise sex work and make prostitutes safer by keeping them off the street.

"In New Zealand women are now much more able to report violence," IPC spokeswoman Niki Adams told Reuters.

"The numbers of reports of rape and violence have increased from prostitute women because previously they were deterred by the thought they might face prosecution themselves.

"Also a lot of women have been able to get off the streets and work in premises. It is much safer to work inside rather than out.”

See the rest of this article here: newsbox-msn-uk


My Comments:

The UK Government had a real chance to help prostitutes by deciminalizing prostitution and thus giving sex workers real access to the law and the ability to work in safer conditions as a result.  But instead they let their prejudices get the better of them.

It is obvious from the comments made by MacTaggart and the Home Office that they still see prostitution as  something ‘shameful’ and undertaken in all cases by women from a type of  ‘underclass’ who should really be doing something else as a profession.

Yes, many young women who come here to live are tricked into prostitution by unscrupulous men and women who exploit the women’s needs to provide a better life for themselves and their families, but these new laws will not help them at all.  And for all women who work as prostitutes, the new laws still leave them prey to police harassment and the whole ‘protection industry’, because their  work will still be classed as ‘criminal’.

This Government claims to be ‘forward thinking’ and non-discriminatory, but these weak new laws show their true thoughts on this issue - and these are as old as misogyny itself.



posted by summersun70 at 9:20 AM

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Sunday, January 15, 2006

Doesn't anyone care?

New Body Screeners in use in London:
We are living in a dystopian nightmare

Steve Watson - January 12 2006

A high-tech body scanner for detecting would-be terrorists has been unveiled at London's Paddington station ahead of a four-week trial, the BBC reports.

Passengers will be randomly selected to pass through the seven-metre box at the Heathrow Express platforms, while baggage is also screened.

Other technology being tested includes advanced closed circuit television systems programmed to sound an alarm when they spot suspicious behaviour.

The implementation of such technology represents a giant leap into a total surveillance Big Brother society. People are faced with walking into booths raising their hands above their heads like they're a criminal and being electronically scanned by a machine that produces a naked image of their body.

………………….

"It's one of those things we have to endure these days" comments one man. "Anything to make us feel safer" whimpers an elderly lady whilst giving the most naive bootlicking smile you can imagine. And this is precisely the point, the general public will accept any level of intrusiveness so long as it gives the IMPRESSION that they are safer, in reality it doesn't make anyone safer it just eliminates your liberty.

Rest assured there are more loving schemes in preparation, as Transport minister Alistair Darling comments "We want to test various types of screening equipment, we want to see whether or not they work in a large railway station. In future we'll be testing other things on the London Underground".

To me this is remarkable because at my local tube station the escalator has been out of order for around a year. So They cannot work a set of moving stairs yet they can quite easily implement electronic state of the art naked body screening equipment.

The reporter announces that the same technology is being used in Jerusalem to prevent suicide bombers getting on buses. Since when did the UK become Israel? We've had one small scale attack on the transport network and suddenly London is being compared with Jerusalem where bombs have been going off on busses almost daily for the last two decades.

………….

See the rest of this article here: info-wars

My Comments:

It truly amazes me how little the majority of people seem to care about losing their civil liberties nowadays.  And their privacy come to that – up till now the nearest most of us got to having our bodies scanned was in the privacy of a hospital consulting room.  Now it seems that our bodies are to be on show for all to see in the name of ‘anti-terrorism’.  Has the elderly lady mentioned in the article not thought of that?

When I first read Orwell, I was a pre-teen and treated his book rather like a science fiction tale.  As I grew older, I realised that Orwell’s vision was produced by his genuine fears for society.  But I thought, unwisely I know now, that people would have more sense than to be fooled into letting the state take over their lives without putting up a fight.

How wrong I was.

Are people ever going to wake up and notice what is happening?  How their human rights are being eroded before their unblinking eyes?  That all it has taken to do this are the combined efforts of a cowboy (albeit a very rich cowboy), his obsequious British deputy and their backers, with their ‘fear campaigns’ and their blatant lies?

I truly despair of the cynicism I thought existed in the hearts of the British people.






posted by summersun70 at 4:16 PM

1 comments



Wednesday, January 11, 2006

If only!

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

posted by summersun70 at 2:55 PM

4 comments




More on BB and Galloway

This has been copied without comment because it sums up how I feel pretty well:

Big Brother's muzzling of George Galloway encapsulates the reasons for our political malaise
  
  Zoe Williams
  Tuesday January 10, 2006
  http://www.guardian.co.uk/
  
  It's rare to come across a TV programme, indeed a cultural experience of any sort, that manages to bring together two points of view you absolutely hate, and pit them against each other. Rarer still for that programme to be Celebrity Big Brother, which normally contains no ideas at all, even by accident. These notions have alighted like ugly sparrows upon the head of George Galloway.
  
  The first is this: that young people, in order to be "engaged" with politics, need to be spoken to in language they understand, via media they have a track record of taking an interest in. Post-internet, post-PlayStation, post-reality telly, traditional campaigning simply won't reach them. This has become orthodoxy. More young people vote in Big Brother than in elections, ergo, politicians must appear on Big Brother. It's daft. I've been to Sainsbury's more often than I've been on a protest march; it doesn't follow that I will only turn up to a march if someone along the route will sell me tomatoes on a two-for-one offer.
  
  The second argument is very rarely openly framed, yet is visible in all kinds of political discourse. It is that anyone with passion, with a judgmental moral code, with an idea in his or her head beyond "let's all stay calm, and make more money", is inherently foolish; and that such an individual's arguments are only valid if they are totally blameless from every conceivable angle, and in the unlikely event that they prove impossible to decimate with flimsy personal attack, can be laughed at for having anything so old-fashioned as a set of beliefs.
  
  As soon as Celebrity Big Brother started, the Guardian tried to get hold of the Bethnal Green MP through constituency channels. A bit mischievous, this. A surgery had been held on Friday, and of course no MP returns a call in a day - I'm still waiting for Diana Johnson to email me back from November.
  
  In any case, the idea was reinforced that "Gorgeous George" is all style and no substance and is in love with his firebrand image, and that any cause he associates himself with is just an excuse for his attention-seeking. But if this were an MP with a reputation for being jolly - Boris Johnson for instance - no such inquiry would have been made.
  
  This makes it a mug's game to be the person with the trenchant beliefs, since by modern standards you will never be worthy of them. Channel 4, while it denies having any agenda, manifestly intends to excise Galloway's political views. Since day one, when it cut several of the contestants agreeing with the MP about the Iraq war, the Big Brother edited highlights have yet to show him saying anything about politics. And in E4's round-the-clock version, the MP is repeatedly bleeped.
  
  Is he going on about sex and using coarse language? Or is he being censored in a more serious way? Precisely because he claims to have principles, they are deemed worthy of less respect than those of someone who slept with Sven Goran Eriksson. And here is the real reason for the disenchantment with politics among 16- to 24-year-olds: idealists, who might inspire passion or loyalty, or even interest, are cut down for something totally trivial.
  
  Galloway, though, is guilty of falling in with that standard line of "I want to connect with the millions of people - most of them young - who are turned off by conventional approaches. It's the Gen X factor". Not so - it doesn't take blathering populism to hook them, but the very opposite: it takes conviction.
  
  Galloway has conviction as well as Big Brother membership; he emerges from this business more sinned against than sinning. His detractors should be held accountable for political inertia in this country. Yes, the Big Brother machine does get a lot of votes. But let's not become so confused by the word "vote" that we seriously believe 16-year-olds want to run the country this way.

posted by summersun70 at 5:43 AM

1 comments



Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Stirring up the 'news'

Blair criticises BB's Galloway

From: msn-entertainment-news

Tony Blair has joined the growing criticism of George Galloway over his decision to take part in Celebrity Big Brother.

The Prime Minister indicated he would not be happy if a Labour MP had taken a similar decision to join the series.

Asked on GMTV "Would you fancy one of your MPs doing that?", Mr Blair replied: "No." He said he had not watched the anti-war MP on Celebrity Big Brother as he had been too busy.

His remarks came as a row grew over the Respect Party MP's appearance in the show.

Mr Galloway said his participation would be "good for politics" and he believed that politicians should use "every opportunity" to communicate with people.

But local residents in his Bethnal Green and Bow constituency have staged a protest outside his office in east London accusing him of abandoning his responsibilities and demanding he give back his MP's pay for the time he is in the house.

An internet protest campaign – get-back-to-work-george - is calculating how much it costs taxpayers each day Mr Galloway stays inside the house.

Labour Minister for London Jim Fitzpatrick has also joined in the attacks, accusing the anti-war MP of being a "C-list politician with an A-list ego".

The first eviction will take place on Friday.

My Comments:

Blair said one word – “No”.  Wow!  Such insight those guys in the media have to say that this means Blair has joined ‘the growing criticism’ of Galloway!  
Now if only they had such insight when it comes to issues that really matter …..

And as for the Cergis campaign (claiming to be on behalf of “The United Residents of Bethnal Green and Bow”) – I wonder who is really responsible for that?

Whether Galloway was correct in choosing to join Celebrity Big Brother is open to debate.  I can see both sides of the argument.  Yes, maybe MPs should spend their time at their ‘MP work’ rather than appearing on a game show, especially for a length of time (unlike Charles Kennedy [another ‘news item’, of course] who just spent days, rather than a couple of weeks, on programs like ‘Have I Got News For You’). Of course, the rest of them concentrate only on their real work …… don’t they?

But on the other hand, when the mediocre lives of many UK citizens are often spent glued to programs like ‘Big Brother’, then maybe this is the best way to reach them?

Either way, I think this is a case of the right wing media trying to stir up reactions where very few exist.  And thus conversely trying to ‘demonstrate’ how important the media is.

Playing right into Galloway’s hands, one could argue ……







posted by summersun70 at 6:08 AM

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Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Glass Ceiling is Firmly in Place

Women could wait 200 years for equality with men
By Astrid Zweynert

From: newsbox-msn-uk 5th January 2006

LONDON (Reuters) - New Year - same old glass ceiling?

In Britain it could take another 200 years for women to be as powerful as men even though sex discrimination legislation has been in force for three decades, the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) said on Thursday.

Its annual "Sex and Power - Who runs Britain?" survey showed that the number of women in top positions in politics, business, the judiciary and other areas of public life has inched up only marginally from the previous year.

Nearly 30 years after Margaret Thatcher became the first female prime minister, only 20 percent of members of parliament are women and only 11 percent of top company directors are female, the report said.

At the current rate it would take up to 200 years, or some 40 elections, to achieve sex equality in parliament, the report said. It would take another 40 years to reach an even gender split among top company directors and the judiciary.

"Thirty years on from the Sex Discrimination Act, it is time for us to face some stark facts," EOC chief Jenny Watson said.

"Women will not make it to the top in significant numbers unless action is taken to remove the barriers that stand in their way and Britain will continue to miss out on women's skills and talents for another generation.

Even though a third of middle managers and senior officials are now women, Britain's long-hours culture still makes it hard to balance work and home, meaning women are still missing out on the most senior posts, the report said.

The lack of women at the top is all the more striking given that girls now outperform boys at school, women account for nearly half the workforce and more women than men are entering higher education.

Yet, women make up only nine percent of the senior judiciary, 10 percent of senior police officers and 13 percent of national newspaper editors.

While women are reaching critical mass in some areas, such as heads of professional bodies (33 percent) and national arts organisations (33 percent), in most fields there has been little change since the EOC first published its survey two years ago.

More high-quality, highly paid, flexible and part-time work at all levels, including for senior staff, should be brought in, Watson said.

She also called on political parties to use "positive action" to bring in more women.

Watson said new Conservative leader David Cameron had to follow through on his promises to increase the number of female candidates.


My Comments:

This information is depressing, but not at all surprising.  Attitudes towards women in top jobs are still prejudicial in many ways, and our culture does little to help matters.

One only has to spend a little time watching commercial TV to see that gender stereotypes still exist within TV commercials, with adverts for products for ‘the home’ still geared very much towards women.  The same applies to the programs themselves.  Sure, there are ‘token men’ doing what would once have been termed ‘women’s’ work’ and ‘token women’ doing ‘traditional’ ‘male roles’, but it is very much about tokenism (the same still applies to ‘racial roles’ as depicted in the media).  And even in these so-called ‘enlightened times’, the stereotypical ‘woman who makes it’ is usually always inordinately clever, blindingly attractive, and (of course) extremely cunning.  If this ‘superwoman’ has a home life it is always disrupted by her work, thus sending us all the message of how hard it is for women to achieve success and happiness.

No wonder so many women don’t even bother to try to ‘make it’.

The problem is that, alongside the covert (and not-so-covert) messages about ‘woman’s place’, is a realisation that it is hard to make it in our society, damned hard – for both women and men and staying ‘there’ is even harder, because, as the article says, Britain has a long-hours work culture which is slowly killing us all, from the top of the career ladder right down to the bottom.

Who in their right mind wants to increase the stress this brings by ‘going for it’ against the odds?

Not too many women, obviously.

posted by summersun70 at 4:01 AM

0 comments



Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Benefits About to be Hit

Government starts offensive on benefit reform
From: yahoonews-uk

LONDON (Reuters) - Tony Blair's government launched a drive on Tuesday to convince Labour backbenchers to support its plans to reform welfare benefits as it braces for a series of potentially damaging revolts in parliament.

Work and Pensions Secretary John Hutton has appealed to 100 Members of Parliament in a letter highlighting the failings of the current system which, he argues, perpetuates hardship.

He told BBC radio he had drawn attention to the link between high levels of deprivation and claimants on incapacity benefit.

"I haven't come into politics to make poor people poorer," Hutton said.
"I've come into politics to make poorer people have the same opportunities to get on with their lives as other people have and I think that will be the underlying principle (of the reforms)."

The changes to incapacity benefit, to be published later this month, will test Blair's authority after his first parliamentary defeat last year. That was on anti-terrorism legislation.

Many Labour backbenchers fear Hutton's reforms are designed to save money and will simply result in a big cut in benefits.

Analysts say Blair faces a choice of either watering down his plans or losing a vote. He also faces a battle to get through planned reforms in areas including education and pensions.

But Hutton said he knew of no Labour, or other MPs, who supported the current system.
"The truth is, on average people on incapacity benefit for one year stay on it for eight years. And after two years they are more likely to die or retire than come off benefits," he said.

"I think there is a very strong groundswell of opinion saying we need to tackle the problem," he said, adding that he would deal with the reforms "sensitively and carefully."

My Comments:

As someone who was forced to rely on Incapacity Benefit for a while, I am extremely worried about these proposals.  Hutton’s exclamations that benefit changes are not designed to make people poorer sound insincere when reading between the lines of the rest of his rhetoric, which is pure ‘Blairite’ spin.  

Sutton’s notions to “tackle the problem … sensitively and carefully” demonstrate his real aim – to get as many people as he can out to work …. and thus paying taxes and insurance.  These people are a ‘problem’ unless they can ‘pay their way’. Then, and only then, can New Labour even begin to ‘tackle’ its growing ‘problem’ with finding funding pensions in the years to come.

I understand the finances, but why hit those who are obviously sick?  You have to be off work for a considerable time to claim long-term Incapacity Benefit, and you will have had to have endured at least one (probably more) searching questionnaires and interviews in order to ‘qualify’.  Forcing people on Incapacity Benefit back to work before they are able to cope is not ‘sensitive’ and I bet it will not be carried out ‘carefully’ either, considering that those workers in the benefits offices who will have to carry out these measures are already overworked with having to carry out the latest ‘bureaucracy measure’.  Those who are forced back to work will be faced with a future containing nothing but low-paid stressful work as a result of these proposals.

Surely a better, and much more lucrative, policy would be to consider cutting down on ‘defence’ costs?

But that would mean pulling out of Iraq, wouldn’t it?

posted by summersun70 at 7:07 AM

1 comments



Monday, January 02, 2006

For our own good?

Police gain greater arrest powers

From: msn-newsbox-uk

LONDON (Reuters) - Police will be able to arrest anyone for any criminal offence, including minor misdemeanours such as dropping litter, under new laws which come into force on Sunday.

Until now police have had the power to arrest only those suspected of committing an offence carrying a sentence of at least five years in prison.

The new law requires only that the police have reasonable grounds for believing that a person's arrest is necessary. This can include a suspect's refusal to give their name and address.

The changes are part of the Serious and Organised Crime Act 2005, which removes the distinction between "arrestable" and "non-arrestable" offences.

Offences that have until now been non-arrestable include impersonating a police officer, not stopping a vehicle when ordered to do so and making or selling an offensive weapon.

Police will in future be allowed to photograph suspects on the street where they have been arrested or issued with a fixed penalty notice, rather than back at a police station.

"The introduction of a single rationalised power of arrest simplifies arrest powers," said Home Office minister Hazel Blears.

"These tough new powers make a significant contribution to creating a modern, efficient police service equipping frontline officers with the tools they need to fight modern crime effectively and keep our neighbourhoods safe.”


My Comments:

And, of course, “keeping our neighbourhoods safe” is exactly what this new legislation is about ……….. isn’t it?

Well, isn’t it ………..?



posted by summersun70 at 11:19 AM

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