Monday, January 29, 2007

X-Ray Imaging.

The Sun reports that-
As part of the most shocking extension of Big Brother powers ever planned here, lenses in lampposts would snap “naked” pictures of passers-by to trap terror suspects.

The proposal is contained in leaked documents drawn up by the Home Office and presented to PM Tony Blair’s working group on Security, Crime and Justice.
Obviously the Sun is shocked, shocked that these might lead to an intrusion into people's privacy, but the more worrying fact to my mind is that five years after 9/11 the government's counter terrorism policy consists of:
  • Put camera in lamp post.
  • Wait for terrorist to show up.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Rape Conviction Rates.

In the light of the rejection by judges of the government's proposals to change the law regarding rape I have been thinking about the oft cited low conviction rates for rape allegations. The proposals themselves are as ever with this government extremely silly and involve things like redefining rape to include things like having sex whilst drunk. Six percent does seem like a remarkably low proportion of convictions to allegations but is it necessarily so or is it merely poor statisitical reasoning to assume it is so?

Suppose a test for a disease is 99% accurate, ie if 100 people with the disease are tested 99 will be shown by the test to have it and if 100 without the disease are tested then 99 will be shown to be clear. However if the disease affects only 1 in 10000 people then how likely is someone who is diagnosed with the disease to actually have it? The answer is of course not 99%, in fact because 1% of the results are wrong and the disease is rare the person who tests positive is around 100 times more likely to be negative for the disease.

So at first a conviction rate of 6% appears extremely low, but because far more women are not raped during a given period than are raped this is not necessarily so. Suppose 500 women are raped in a month and one in 5 report the crime. Suppose also that 10 000 000 women are not raped, but for whatever reason one in 100 000 decide to make a bogus allegation to the police. In this situation half of the rape allegations received by the police would be bogus, despite the fact that only 0.001% of women are anything other than completely honest about the situation.

Now these figures are obviously random, but no more so than the various ministers and columnists who assume that a 6% conviction rate means that the other 94% are examples of the system letting rapists get off. It certainly does not justify newspaper columnists screaming "Any man reading this article can go out tonight, pick out a woman, force her into sex, and be almost entirely certain he will walk free"

There is a strand of thought amoung political extremists that no one ever lies about being raped but recent high profile cases like the Duke Lacrosse case or the Warren Blackwell case or Timothy Gee demonstrate that this is simply preposterous, people lie about all sorts of things. This is why the disturbingly widespread belief that the normal standards required for a fair trial should be dismissed in rape cases is so very wrong.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

"Yeah She's A Whore"

I was reading the story about the Toulouse rugby player, Trevor Brennan, attacking a fan, the Guardian reports that:
One eyewitness yesterday claimed that Brennan, who runs a bar in Toulouse, reacted when fans began to chant that his pub was a load of rubbish. Toulouse contend that a section of Ulster fans was chanting: "Brennan, your mother is a whore," a version backed yesterday by the player's uncle, George Brennan.
[italics mine]
She might well be a whore but it seems like bad manners for the uncle to publicly back the claim.

Monday, January 22, 2007


Labour- Investigate Celebrity Big Brother!
COMMONS Leader Jack Straw today encouraged media watchdogs to launch an immediate investigation into alleged racism on Celebrity Big Brother.

Mr Straw said Ofcom had the power to act now and warned it would be "risible" to wait until the show finished.
Labour- Don't Investigate The Sale Of Peerages!
Senior Labour figures were quick to criticise Scotland Yard's tactics after officers arrived at the home of Ruth Turner at 6.30am on Friday.

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell and former cabinet colleague David Blunkett both said they were "bewildered" and others accused the police of "theatrics"

Sunday, January 21, 2007

N.I.N.A. or M.O.P.E.?

In the Guardian Edward Pearce writes about how much less racist we all are nowadays, one of the points he makes is:
The contemplation of a final solution in Ireland makes those job advertisements, familiar well into the 1940s, "No Irish need apply", seem quite temperate.
However the No Irish Need Apply advertisements would only have been familiar to the sort of people who also see fairies at the bottom of the garden. American historian Robert J. Jensen has examined this in quite some detail as has not been able to find any genuine NINA notices anywhere, as his article "No Irish Need Apply": A Myth of Victimization explains.
The fact that Irish vividly "remember" NINA signs is a curious historical puzzle. There are no contemporary or retrospective accounts of a specific sign at a specific location. No particular business enterprise is named as a culprit. No historian, 2 archivist, or museum curator has ever located one 3 ; no photograph or drawing exists. 4 No other ethnic group complained about being singled out by comparable signs. Only Irish Catholics have reported seeing the sign in America—no Protestant, no Jew, no non-Irish Catholic has reported seeing one.
It doesn't seem much of a mystery to me, some cultures tend towards self pitying fantasies to explain their failiures and justify their aggression towards society as a whole and wildly exagerrated stories of persecution which don't stand up to scrutiny have occurred amongst the Irish in the USA, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It is in many ways reminiscent of the wave of phony islamophobic hate crimes that occurred in the USA after 9/11 which will no doubt be remembered in 50 years time as genuine events.

Adult Bedwetter Confesses.

I curl down deep in my bed, because the nights are strangely damp
- Robert Fisk.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Jade Goody- Worse Than Hitler?

Big Brother's Jade Goody is it seems world renowned as racist bully because of her behaviour towards Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty. Effigies have been burnt. Peter Briffa is maintaining the News of the World CBB blog which is worth a read if you are interested in the programme (which shamefully I am). One aspect which I find bizarre is the debates about whether the bullying is racially motivated or not, surely that is a side issue at best, would a non racial motive make this kind of bully less repellant? I sincerely hope not. Meanwhile here is one of the Jade effigies being scorched:

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Gastro Gets Castro.

Seeing as Cuban thug in chief Fidel Castro is dying of some intestinal disease, it is no longer accurate to say I hate his guts, because his guts are giving him the unpleasant death he deserves. The Independent declares:
Adios Castro? Fears grow for veteran leader's health
Replace 'Fears' with 'Hopes' and the headline will be more accurate. The man has always attracted a curiously witless set of groupies devoid of anything approaching normal human decency and compassion as this remark to a woman whose father was murdered by Castro, Bonnie Anderson, by the former CNN president Rick Kaplan:
I know he killed your dad, but he's still a good guy in my book.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Fat Credits?

Aside from the fact that it is unworkable, patronising and insulting to our intelligence I can't much wrong with this. It's what the nanny state would be like if the nanny was Marjorie Dawes:
Firms could buy and sell permits to make alcoholic drinks or fatty foods under plans being put to Tory leaders.

The system would work along the same lines as carbon trading schemes aimed at tackling pollution.

The proposal, to be put forward at a Conservative summit on social responsibility, comes from an advisory group set up by leader David Cameron.

The advisers say companies that act responsibly could be rewarded by having less government regulation.

Labour Funding.

The shamelessness of the Labour Party is the 8th wonder of the world. If I was being investigated for selling peerages in exchange for party loans then it would simply not occur to me to turn to the beneficiary of a previous donations for favours scandal to bail me out.
Britain's richest man has pledged £2 million to the Labour Party to save it from financial ruin after the cash-for-honours scandal, it was disclosed today.

Lakshmi Mittal, the Indian-born billionaire, is to help the party pay off controversial loans taken from businessmen before the last general election.
It's as if a dog owner gets fined for animal cruelty and raises the money by selling the mutt to a Korean restaurant owner, in front of the judge.

Dissent Crushed!

Just found out that I have been banned from commenting on the now ironically named Comment is Free site under my nom de plume 'Unenlightened'. When you consider the comments they are quite happy to publish this is some feat, the most recent comment I left there was removed despite the fact that it merely expresses disagreement with one of the authors and it is on topic. In response to this article I wrote:
Almost everyone agrees that one of the biggest flaws in the American strategy for invading Iraq is that there were too few troops to successfully contain an insurgency, thanks mostly to Rumsfeld's arrogance. So why has it become the received wisdom that the correct response to events in Iraq is to reduce further the number of coalition troops?

If Iraq is going to have any future oother than more bloodshed then there needs to be a concerted effort to make Baghdad a city where sectarian death squads don't rule the roost and there are clearly insufficient troops to do so at present.

With the dig at Rumsfeld I believed I was being almost Guardianesque and yet I've been banned. Perhaps I should have launched into a tirade about zionazi neocons butchering arab toddlers.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Boys To Men.

Channel 4's website reports that:
Two boys suspected of spraying graffiti have been killed by a London Underground train.
Police said the pair, aged 19 and 21, ran in front of an oncoming train at Barking tube station, in east London, moments after a gang was seen spraying graffiti.
The use of the word 'boys' to describe a 19 year old and a 21 year old comes across a being a very deliberate choice. When a child is killed or maimed on public property then it is legitimate to ask whether some of the blame lies with the operators of the site for not preventing access, because the natural irresponsibility of children has to be taken into account. When Channel 4 describe a 21 year old man as a 'boy' it subtlely misapportions the responsibility for this tragedy on to the owners of the railway station.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Ruth Kelly And Schooling.

It seems entirely reasonable that Ruth Kelly should want her child to be educated in the school which will be of most benefit to him (especially as someone has been letting sex offenders work in state schools). Outside of the Labour Party it seems obvious that schools are there to educate children, children aren't there to provide employment for teachers and education bureaucrats, but Ruth Kelly is inside the Labour Party so the howls of outrage are predictable. Fiona Miller, best known as being Alistair Campbell's partner writes that:
There must be an interesting "back story" to cabinet minister Ruth Kelly's decision to opt into private education on the grounds of her son's "substantial learning difficulties".

Too many questions remain unanswered - how severe are the child's special needs; does he have a statement; was her decision to take him out of his state primary school really with the local authority's blessing; was the provision in her local authority really not good enough?
The reason 'questons remain unanswered' is of course that unlike Ms Miller most people realise that they have no right asking such personal and intrusive questions about a child in the first place. Seeing as Fiona Miller's alcholic partner famously leaked patients' private medical records to the press in order to score political points it is perhaps unsurprising that the harridan takes this attitude to privacy.

Inorganic Food.

I've never been impressed with the organic food movement which is essentially junk science, so I suppose David Milliband should be praised for criticising the movement. Abiola Lapite at Foreign Dispatches remarks that:
Who's ever heard of an "inorganic" food? The very currency of such a content-free phrase tells one all one needs to know about the level of scientific illiteracy in the market targeted by it.

Chip On His Shoulder.

I'm currently reading Antony Beevor's 'Berlin - The Downfall 1945' and thought I would have a look at some of the reviews of his other books on Amazon. This comment about a previous work, Stalingrad, was wonderful:
The author has a massive chip on his shoulder about both Hitler and Stalin

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Saddam Never Made Him Do This.

When you've appeared on television pretending to be Rula Lenska's cat it is quite a feat to demean yourself any further, but George Galloway manages it by simulating sex with a hairy Bristolian comic:

The Galloway humiliation begins around four minutes into the clip, so if an abbreviated version which cuts out the unfunny stuff comes along then it will be useful. The expression on his face is not that of a man who was expecting this or enjoying it.

Friday, January 05, 2007


Blogspot has a feature allowing readers to 'flag' blogs with objectionable content, through my own stupidity I have managed to accidentally flag my own blog, I wonder what happens now.

How Much Is That Doggie In The.... Aggh Get Off!

Following on from my previous post about owners of dangerous dogs being idiots I would like to back up the claim with two pieces of evidence, a news story:
BOSSIER CITY, La. — A pit bull puppy chewed off four of a baby girl's toes while the child's parents slept, police here said Monday.
New born baby, pit bull puppy. The dog was obviously not an animal that predated the baby, they actually decided that after having a baby they should buy a pit bull terrier to go with it! At least one scientific study also backs up the idea that dangerous dogs attract stupid people:
People who own vicious dogs such as pit bulls have significantly more criminal convictions -- including crimes against children -- than owners of licensed, gentler dogs such as beagles, researchers reported on Thursday.

A study of 355 dog owners in Ohio showed that every owner of a high-risk breed known for aggression had at least one brush with the law, from traffic citations to serious criminal convictions.

And 30 percent of people who owned an aggressive breed of dog and who also had been cited at least once for failure to register it had at least five criminal convictions or traffic citations.

This compared to 1 percent of owners of low-risk, licensed dogs such as poodles, beagles or collies, the researchers reported in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence
(second story via Foreign Dispatches)

Iraq Troop Levels.

Almost everyone agrees that one of the biggest failiures of the Iraq war was going in with insufficient troops numbers to maintain a reasonable level of security. In large part this was due to the focus on defeating the Iraqi military rather than terrorists. So if we know that there were too few troops then why has it become the received wisdom that the troop 'surge' that Bush is currently implementing is doomed to failiure and we should be cutting the number of coalition personel? It seems to me that the surge is the correct policy and that only by wresting control of Baghdad from sectarian militias will Iraq be stabilised.

Quote of the Week.

Dumbjon uncovers a member of the educational establishment sharing her thoughts on schooling matters:
The reason that uniform is not popular in continental Europe is that it does still have associations with Nazi youth. Making everyone look the same can of course be associated with making everyone think the same. Whilst we want to have discipline in schools, we certainly don't want to be bringing up a generation of Nazi youth.
Professor Sheila Riddell of the Moray House faculty of education at Edinburgh University should be praised for her courage in uncovering the hidden agenda behind school uniforms.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Note To Stupid People.

When choosing a family pet it is inadvisable to choose Pit Bulls as they are illegal and bred specifically for the purpose of viciously attacking people or animals. If you are too stupid to understand this then it would be for the best if you refrain from being responsible for any life form more advanced than a cactus.

Hanging Around.

One of the overlooked facets of the recent Saddam hanging is the fact that George Galloway has a lost an indefatigable friend. What's more it came as a terrible surprise to him, the day before Saddam went to the gallows George was informed that one of his closest allies would be swinging that night but naturally he assumed that it was a reference to Tommy Sheridan's plans for the holiday season.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Ten Worst... British Newspaper Columnists.

What is the point of general purpose newpaper columnists? They are by and large pompous, ill informed and a complete waste of oxygen. If a writer is neither particularly intelligent or a specialist in a particular field why on earth does anyone want to read 800 words of unoriginal reporting? Reporters as opposed to columnists do at least provide fresh information to a subject, even if they do make it up themselves, but these fuckwits just babble idiotically on whatever topic entered their third rate minds on deadline day whether that is Iraq, Big Brother or Llama farming, or if they've got an agenda to advance they try to steer every subject to arrive at the same pre determined conclusion every single week. Wankers the lot of them.

1: Martin Jacques- Guardian.
2: Yasmin Alibiah Brown- Independent.
3: Johann Hari- Independent
4: Polly Toynbee- Guardian
5: Max Hastings- Guardian & Daily Mail.
6: A.N. Wilson- Evening Standard & Daily Telegraph.
7: Madelaine Bunting- Guardian.
8: Phillip Hensher- Independent
9: Sam Leith- Telegraph
10: Gary Younge- Guardian.

Monday, January 01, 2007


Bombs have been detonated in the Thai capital killing at least two people and the most likely suspects appear to be islamist fanatics. Told you 2007 was going to be a lot like 2006.

New Year's Day 2007 Predictions.

2007 will be very much like 2006.