Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Miss Great Britian: Wot Tosh (but Funny)

There is a very, very funny article on Miss Great Britain online - I laughed a lot, so much I had to read it aloud to friends. So I guess on the plus side the one good thing to come out of Miss Great Britain is this article!

Enjoy, here's a sample;

Backstage, the geography was faulty. Miss St Albans wasn't from St Albans, she was from Watford. Miss Newport wasn't from Newport, she was from Swansea. "The Swansea title had gone so I did Newport," said Miss Newport. And they all went to pageants all the time - some had multiple titles, like a disease. Miss Bournemouth was also Miss Photogenic. Miss Torquay was the Face of the English Riviera (I didn't know the Riviera had a face). "Last year I was Miss Personality," said one girl with no personality at all. I wondered if she would have to surrender her title that year to a breadboard.

They told me stories. Miss Dorset once dated a football player whose ex-girlfriend ripped out her hair extensions in a nightclub toilet. She was also surprised because they had all been spray-tanned the previous night. "They sprayed so many of us," she simpered, "that the hotel air-conditioning system crashed due to overload." Miss St Helens stood in front of a mirror listing her perceived physical defects to me: "Makeup, hair, posture, bum, boobs, legs, walking." The only degrees here were degrees of self-loathing. The fear was real.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Denial Watch: Wrong and a Bit Evil

There is a new documentary out that is getting lots of press attention; Age of Stupid. It features the last man of earth looking back on why we failed to act on global warming. It had it's première here in Bristol too.

Not to be out done, the denialosphere is trying to muscle in on the act with it's own offering, the oddly titled 'Not Evil Just Wrong'. Here's what on post on Bristol Indymedia had to say on it;

A new Irish film claims that climate change guru Al Gore is an alarmist and that those who think they are saving the planet are only hurting the poor. IF THE ADVANCE publicity is anything to go by, Not Evil Just Wrong will do for Al Gore what Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 did for George W Bush.

Riiight. The attempted comparison with Fahrenheit 911 is now a denialosphere talking point - try googling the two titles and you will see what I mean. The problem is that there appears to be no substance to back it up. Look at this Google Trends search of the two titles by comparison;

Not Evil Just Wrong is the tiny smudge of blue in the bottom-right that is so small it barely resisters. Now I know F911 has been out a while, but Not Evil Just Wrong has a loooong way to go. Like the other claims of global warming creationism, it is a fantasy of what they would like to be the case.

Now let's compare it to Age of Stupid. First off take the the number of official press reviews listed on each of the film's official film websites;

Not Evil Just Wrong: 2
Age of Stupid: 61

Again, Not Evil Just Wrong has a loooong way to go to beat Age of Stupid, never mind the much bigger Fahrenheit 911. Next using Google Trends to analyse the public searches for the two titles again, we get the same picture of a film that has a very, very narrow appeal; denialists - though you never know, it might change...

As for the content of the film, well it relies on the the DDT myth that has been busted and the director has a simplistic analysis that; CO2 grows plants therefore it is not bad. Still what would you expect from a duo who's last film, 'Mine Your Own Business' suggests that local communities really love having mines built next door and evil rich western environmentalists are the real problem.

Wrong and a bit evil too.

No Justice, No Peace

So the government launches a new, new (and new) counter-terror initiative Contest Two. Well this one, like all the other ones, is doomed to failure. Why? In a word, Palestine. Our (and the US) government has been pouring billions and billions in troops, aid, support and schemes like Platform 2 over the last 8 years to combat radical terrorism and what have they got to show for it? Iraq is not in full-on civil war, but still violent, riven and bloody and every day there are several attacks on US forces. In Afghanistan the most advanced military force in the is bogged down to a stalemate by a mixture of part-time farmers with AK47s and a bunch of religious zealots. Given the money and resources the US/UK has, it's frankly embarrassing. But they have the guns, but not the understanding.

Here is the UK, the government wants moderate Muslims to act as a block of the radicals. That's a sound strategy as if there is no supportive community it is hard for terrorists to thrive. But (and this is a big 'but') you have to have credibility with that community for them to trust you. And Neo-Labour - the Labour of Iraq, Afghanistan, George W Bu$h, Guantanamo, MI5 torture collusion and selling weapons to Israel - simply does not have it.

The current row with the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) is indicative of this. The MCB is a pretty sizable group who have worked with the government before. Now they are in a row because apparently the top MCB guy made supportive statements of Hamas. If there was nothing else going on in the world at all, I could understand this. But (again a big 'but') while this war of words is going on the evidence of Israeli war crimes mounts ever higher. I have not seem any word from the government on this at all. Total silence.

So while there is no justice, there will be no peace.

This applies to all - so it would be no good giving in to Hamas's ridiculous demands to destroy Israel. Both sides have to gain (or not loose) enough to make it not worth fighting for.

No justice, no peace. It's counter-terrorism 101.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Rant at Religion

Very interesting rant about religion...that was 'inspired' by a fundamentalist commenting on the sad death in a plane crash of some kids - whos dad ran a clinic that did abortions. Apparently the fundamentalist in question thinks this is their god taking revenge. Nice peaceful religion then - why God didn't give the dad a heart attack rather than killing his kids and a pilot unconnected to abortions, I guess must be him upstairs moving in 'mysterious ways'?

All I can feel is horror at the kinds of monsters who would find grim satisfaction in the death of 6 to 10 year old children, as if it were payback for abortion. At amoral pious hypocrites who would regard this as an opportunity to assault human beings broken-hearted by pain and loss, to proselytize for the bloody-handed god of their death cult, to compound agony with accusations of guilt. There is no humanity left in these sanctimonious creatures, it's been bled out and replaced with fanaticism and dogma.


Once again, I am confirmed in my opinion that Christianity is a breeder of evil, a cesspit in which the most hateful and inhuman commitment to lies and delusions can ferment. Don't ever preach at me about Christian morality: I've seen it, and it is empty of love for humanity, replaced with sanctimonious idolatry and commitment to dead, dumb superstition.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Goatlab Radio Show March '09

This month’s Goatlab Radio Show is brought to you by Parasite, Dan Gusset, Anakissed and very special guest Sam Atki2 (one half of Monkey Steak)! Sam is here to celebrate the release of Monkey Steak’s latest EP on Sleazetone (that’s Chris Murderbot’s funky bad-ass disco label!) and the upcoming MONSTER BASS 2 party that is happening on Saturday 4th April 2009 @ the Black Swan in Bristol. The show also features some exclusive Death$ucker dubplate action and Savage Moon Remixes!!!

Download the show here: Goatlab Radio March 2009


1. Logosamphia - antiJacketRainFromPersia - Gussets Jungle Fury Mix
2. Monkey Steak - Veuve Edouard (Sleazetone) EXCLUSIVE!!!
3. The DSC - WooHaa (Death$ucker) EXCLUSIVE!!!
4. Leafcutter John - Big Black Eyes (Bluermutt remix)
5. Actress - Crushed (Werk)
6. Himuro Yoshiteru - Level 1-4 Remix (Savage Moon Remixes)
7. Bruce Stallion - Screw You (Proboscus)
8. Octa Push - Ai Nadia (dubplate)
9. Monster Zoku Onsomb! - Children of the Atom (Death$ucker)
10. Ec8oR - Gimme Nyquil All Night Long (Digital Hardcore)
11. Dinga Dinga Dee - Israeli Rafael’s Indian Promo

More links...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Neo-Labour's Rubbish Bristol Election Push

Another day and another big of junk mail drops through my door – this time it is the election push for the Ashley Ward of Bristol by Labour – in the form of 'environmental campaigner' Paul Smith.

Paul, who describes himself as an 'environmental campaigner' leads the green charge by telling us about the results of a survey that reports 86% say it is cheaper for a family to travel by taxi than bus and 69% say that public transport is unreliable. No shit. But Paul is on the case, “I am writing to First Bus and the city council to show the results of the survey and demand action is taken...We need to put pressure on First Bus to deliver a better service including the introduction of through ticketing to allow people to get where they want to for a reasonable price.”

Hang on a minute – haven't Labour been in power in the council until a couple of weeks ago? Aren't Labour in power nationally and have been for over a decade now? Reports about the poor service and high cost of First Bus have been around for years and only now the Labour rep is banging on about it. If Labour were any good when in power, why is it not sorted?

So what else is Paul selling himself on? He claims to be the first mainstream politician to get involved in the cycle campaign. Hang on – all the politicians seem to be claiming this issue as their own.

Then climate change – an important issue – Paul says, “Now the challenge is to turn targets into action, I work in the environmental sector and want to be part of the debate in the heart of government.” Would this be the same Labour government who for the last eight years allied itself to the most significant anti-Climate Change activists in the world, the Bu$h regime. The same government who approved the third runway at Heathrow and who – via its proxy in SWRDA has, until recently, been using public funds to subsidise airport development in the region.

It is always a hard sell when Labour has been in power for over a decade now and you have to have memory wipes over things like Iraq. Not that I am writing this backing the Lib Dems or Tories – no – not at all, but the tone of Paul's electioneering is an insult to anyone who's memory extends further back than the last week.

Also the idea of the terms 'environmental campaigner' and 'Labour Party' are not ones that sit easily – especially seeing the recent repressive policing of real environmental campaigners while on Labour's watch.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Iraq in the Rear View

Dick 'War Criminal' Cheney, the former U$ vice-president has been talking shit about Iraq. He remarked, "I guess my general sense of where we are with respect to Iraq and at the end of now, what, nearly six years, is that we've accomplished nearly everything we set out to do...."

wtf? What Iraq is now, an Iran-friendly, low-level civil war and awash in blood. Was that his plan? Evil bastard.

Here's a good reply to his bs comments.

Friday, March 13, 2009

All Social Problems Come from Inequality

Very interesting article in the paper about two academics whos research points to inequality as the cause of almost all social problems - now duh, you might say - of course. However it is not (if I understand it right) the fact that some are in poverty that creates the problems - it is the gap between those in poverty and the wealthy that determines the social problems;

Take these random headline statistics. The US is wealthier and spends more on health care than any other country, yet a baby born in Greece, where average income levels are about half that of the US, has a lower risk of infant mortality and longer life expectancy than an American baby. Obesity is twice as common in the UK as the more equal societies of Sweden and Norway, and six times more common in the US than in Japan. Teenage birth rates are six times higher in the UK than in more equal societies; mental illness is three times as common in the US as in Japan; murder rates are three times higher in more unequal countries. The examples are almost endless.

Very interesting stuff:

In Britain, the Labour government, despite its protestations to the contrary, has only maintained inequality at the level at which it inherited it. "They've taken some positive action at the bottom income levels for pensioners and young families," says Pickett. "But the damage has all been done at the other end. Peter Mandelson said early in the Labour administration, 'We are intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich,' and he's been as good as his word."

What is it about unequal societies that causes the damage? [Richard] Wilkinson believes the answer lies in the psycho-social areas of hierarchy and status. The greater the differential between the haves and have-nots, the greater importance everyone places on the material aspects of consumption; what brand of car you drive carries far more meaning in a more hierarchical society than in a flatter one. It's the knock-on effects of this status anxiety that finds socially corrosive expression in crime, ill-health and mistrust.

I liked this bit:

"I've become gripped by Paris Hilton's Best Friend," [Wilkinson] laughs. "It's the perfect example of a dysfunctional, hierarchical society."


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cthulhu Hates Chordates

Best protest sign. Ever. Cthulhu Hates Chordates.

This was from a counter protest to the utterly barmy
Westboro Baptist Church's 'God Hates Fags' protests.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Climate Change Denial Watch - Heartland Institute

UWE, Bristol is currently host to an interesting event about the psychology of climate change - as in why given the pressing nature of the issue, do we have such trouble adapting our behaviour? I'm no expert, but I suspect the issue has a lot to do with the nature of how our minds work and process threat; I include links to two (1,2) YouTube videos that explain the evolutionary psychology view - that the threat of global warming is very slow and very global whereas our threat response system have evolved to deal with fast, immediate and personal threats. It's an interesting subject and I'm keen to see what the research in this area has to say.

Meanwhile on the other side of the planet, the right-wing thinktank, the Heartland Institute, which looks to push free-market solutions to solve societies problems, and must bolstered by the huge success of the free-market ethos in deregulating banking, is having it's own conference on global warming denial. The event is a veritable whos-whos of the denial industry - and most interestingly can only claim a total of three scientists who's work is related to climatology - and given this is the global event of denialism, that's like having an International Beer & Brewing Expo and only having a couple wine brewers in attendance. Not much of a piss-up. The cadre of online denailists have been keen to push the idea that consensus on climate changing is falling apart and more and more people are seeing 'the truth' but if the attendance at the event is anything to go by, it is the total opposite; when announced the event was billed at brining together 1000 scientists, economists and politicians. Then it dropped to 800 and now it seems there is only 600 attending (including that amazing 3-ish proper scientists but lots of amateurs!) - and this given the event is free and held in the land of the free, the spiritual home of denailism - it seems a poor turnout.

In science, public opinion and in politics, global warming denailism is in retreat - In February 2009 Michael Shermer, editor of Sceptic Magazine told a packed audience of hundreds in Bristol that the methodological approach of global warming denailism mirrored that of holocaust denial and creationism. In 2006 US Republican strategist Frank Luntz who had written the playbook on global warming denial for George Bush conceded that the science was correct, it is happening and human activity is causing it. In 2008 oil giant Exxon followed suit in admitting the reality and stopped funding junk-sceince campaigns to discredit the consensus.

However in right-wing politics, where the issue is charged with emotion, hate-speech radio host Rush Limbaugh still pushes the same old discredited denial slogans and there has been a huge upsurge in lobbying by polluting industries fearful of loosing their 'right to pollute' as Obama appoints credible scientists to positions of power.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

The Drugs Wars: The Killing that Politics Won't Stop

I don't like to cite the Telegraph much as it's global-warming denialism (amongst other things) annoys me muchly. However in the 7th March Magazine they had a good article about the drug wars in Mexico. I can't seem to find a link to it on their website. Anyway, the article covers familiar territory - the killings, rampant police corruption, the decent into chaos. The article claims that more people are dying in Mexico's drug wars than in Iraq. It is a nightmare for the people living there. This article giving a flavour of events, 'Mexican drug wars create demand for hitman and acid baths'.

The article had a very interesting paragraph as part of a section on how the problems might be solved;

"So what about legalisation? Presumably it would have the same effect as repealing prohibition against alcohol in the 1930s; the end of the black market, the withering away of organised crime and violence associated with bootlegging. By removing the profits from drug trafficking, legalisation would remove the lion's share of Mexico's ailing economy, but all of this is moot because legalising drugs in America is a political impossibility."

Sadly also here in the UK. Witness the mess over simply changing cannabis from class B to class C and back again: Lots of comment from the political elite and zero difference on the street.

Perhaps it is no surprise that drugs are often found linked to black-ops and covert intelligence? Witness the Iran-Contra affair - the US intelligence trading drugs for money for hostages for weapons to support their flawed foreign policy;

[Iran-Contra] began as an operation to improve U.S.-Iranian relations, wherein Israel would ship weapons to a relatively moderate, politically influential group of Iranians; the U.S. would then resupply Israel and receive the Israeli payment. The Iranian recipients promised to do everything in their power to achieve the release of six U.S. hostages, who were being held by the Lebanese Shia Islamist group Hezbollah. The plan eventually deteriorated into an arms-for-hostages scheme, in which members of the executive branch sold weapons to Iran in exchange for the release of the American hostages. Large modifications to the plan were conjured by Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North of the National Security Council in late 1985, in which a portion of the proceeds from the weapon sales was diverted to fund anti-Sandinista and anti-communist rebels, or Contras, in Nicaragua.

Given legalisation/decriminalisation would solve the problems prettily easily - but deprive the political class of a powerful tool of fear and money - is that why such an obvious solution to such a major problem is never tried?

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Private Jails - A Con All Round

The UK has gone gung-ho for private prison providers and the 'service' they offer. There are lots of dangers in this approach - and here is a good example; Judges being bribed to send people to prison to keep the private jail full;

The cases of up to 2,000 children put into custody by Ciavarella over the past seven years - including that of Transue - are now being reviewed in a billowing scandal dubbed "kids for cash". The alleged racket has raised questions about the cosy ties between the courts and private contractors, and about the harsh treatment meted out to adolescents.

Alerted by Laurene Transue, the Juvenile Law Centre in Wilkes-Barre began to uncover scores of cases in which teenagers had been summarily sent to custody by Ciavarella, dating as far back as 1999. One child was detained for stealing a $4 jar of nutmeg, another for throwing a sandal at her mother, a third aged 14 was held for six months for slapping a friend at school....

The prosecution charge sheet alleges that from about June 2000 to January 2007 Ciavarella entered into an "understanding" with Conahan to concoct a scheme to enrich themselves. The two judges conspired to strip the local state detention centre of funding, diverting the money to a private company called PA Child Care which it helped to build a new facility in the area.

To fight this; http://bristolabc.wordpress.com/