Archive for March, 2011
Anyone who knows me will know I’ a sucker for UFO and alien stories. Having had extraterrestrial encounters myself I’m very open-minded about the whole thing. So when I saw a story entitled ‘Aliens to drop in on royal wedding’ it was a no brainer. My mouse moved and I clicked on it.
In essence for those of you who don’t want to read the link, the story says that UFOs are often spotted near big events and have been spotted more often than usual in both Libya and Japan in recent weeks. Those aliens watching our world play out like their own personal soap opera – the little scamps. Add to that sightings over the English Channel have increased in the past few weeks. Those aliens clearly wanting to do some dummy runs to make sure traffic isn’t a problem for the big day. I only just realised that we had three Bank Holiday’s in eight days – score. The aliens must know of the traditional problems with Bank Holiday traffic in the UK.
Major George Filer is a retired pilot from the RAF who now runs the National UFO centre. I had no idea we had one of those. I’d like to go there and have a bit of a chit-chat about Rendlesham Forest. However he seems to be convinced that the alien fraternity are interested in the Royal Wedding. Considering most English people aren’t that seems far-fetched but hey.
I know when I see the snippets on the news I’ll be looking for one thing and one thing only – aliens!
Now if I go to the window and look outside I can see the ground is wet. I’m wearing a hoodie inside the apartment. Clearly it is not warm outside but today is officially the start of summer – in my world anyway. Despite yesterday a couple getting married in the snow at Busch Stadium – the home of the St. Louis Cardinals, today is the start of the Major League Baseball season and the start of America’s favourite summer-long drama.
At 6:05 BST this evening I shall be settling down on the sofa to watch the opening game – my New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers. The Yankees having been bounced out of the playoffs in the American League Championship Series last year are looking to regain the World Series crown they won in 2009 but they will not start out as the favourites. With Boston having brought in AL MVP candidates Carl Crawford via free agency and Adrian Gonzalez via a trade, it is the Red Sox who open up as the AL faves. In the NL the Phillies have a rotation for the ages with Roy Halliday anchoring a staff that also includes Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels. Joe Blanton is also in the rotation but no-one seems to care about him as he’s not great – unlike the other four.
Now obviously whilst what goes on in real life is important – today also marks day one of the long fantasy baseball season. This year I am in five leagues. Four of them holdovers from previous years. It is the sixth season of UKL2, a league where I’ve made the playoffs twice and made the final once – only to be beaten by the evil banker and my long-time friend Neil H. This year my squad looks ok but I wouldn’t place me up there with the favourites. Two years in a row of poor results have left me feeling jaded but when the season rolls around hope springs eternal.
It is also the fifth year of the Dynasty League. Another league I’ve not yet won despite dominating it in its inaugural season only to lose on the final day when AJ Burnett crapped the bed in a start and cost me ERA and the league in one foul swoop. The most depressing part of that? I traded him away and have since traded for me back. Luckily this year is the last year I have him contracted for so this should be my last year with him. This team I feel great about. It is good enough to make the playoffs and has a chance of winning it all.
Next up is Pete J’s league named Cider for Toddlers. A league I have won twice – in 2007 and 2009 so it should be my turn again, right? This teams looks good on paper. Deep rotation with power arms and a nice lineup that should be competitive. The lineup might just be my most balanced (I’m known for being power heavy) so we shall see.
Fourthly it is the baseballfan.co.uk official leagues and I’m in division one and I’m also the reigning champion having won the league last year. That draft was on Sunday – my final draft – and it took forever and a day. I drafted second in the snake which is never good. I seem to have missed out on a premier 1B which is very unlike me. However it’s not my worst team ever and again should be ok on paper. Is it title worthy? Meh. Last year I was bottom after six weeks and adrift but still won at a canter. So patience is a virtue.
Lastly I entered a Public League this year for the first time in years and got the best team on paper I think I’ve ever had. The team is stacked and balanced. If I don’t dominate and win this league then either my players are having a very bad year or they got injured. Even Pete J who normally criticises my teams at every possible juncture was impressed at that team – certainly when he saw I had four closers as well.
So there we have it. People always say the most boring this to hear about is another persons fantasy team so apologies.
To end I’ll just say that Cameron’s comments on Ed Balls during #PMQs yesterday are pretty much spot on.
If someone retweets a link on Twitter I think I’m more likely than most to click on it. If someone retweets a link saying that it is the best thing that I’ll read today then it is a no brainer. I hovered over the link and saw it was from the Daily Mail so I knew it had to be whack but what I clicked on even surprised me.
Yes a story about a semi-detached house in Swansea looking like Adolf Hitler. Really. Sometimes you just have to wonder what is going on in the minds of bored journalists desperate for a filler story in a newsroom late one evening. I doubt any of the journalists discovered the semi themselves so some bored eejit will have e-mailed it in saying ‘look at this bored Daily Mail journalists – isn’t this semi a spitting image of Adolf Hitler?’ and said bored journos have thought ‘blimey that’s an easy filler story that we can knock out in ten minutes and then kick back and relax instead of doing some proper interesting journalism that might enrich the newspaper and stop our soul degrading even further.’
And yet even worse than the story. I’m blogging about it. Seriously what am I doing? I suppose I’m just trying to point out that this might just be the most bizarre and pointless story I have ever read in a newspaper. I know there have been ‘Jesus in my Beer Froth’ articles but any Jesus story has some credence because so many idiots believe it but a house looking like Hitler. Honestly who cares? Has the house taken on the personality of Hitler and in persecuting jews and invading the rest of the street but knocking down its own rooms and evicting the neighbours with poisoned gas? If so that might be quite a story. As it happens it’s absolute codswallop.
Sometimes you are just left speechless.
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Ed Miliband spoke to the #ukuncut rally at Hyde Park today and talk about scoring an own goal. Cuts are clearly not fun and they are causing real strife for real people but sometimes you have to know what real struggle is and comparing the this to the Suffragettes, the Civil Rights Movement in the US and South Africa under apartheid is not fair nor is it right.
I haven’t watched most of the coverage today as I had Cricket, Football and F1 to catch up on so I didn’t even load up twitter until after I’d watched qualifying. Therefore I don’t know what people were saying on there but having seen that video my respect for Ed Miliband has died just a little bit more.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. How Labour managed to screw up their leadership election I’ll never know. It is like when you are going for a job and you just decide a candidate is too good to be true so go for someone else. David Miliband was that candidate. He had everything, was in one of the most important jobs in the cabinet as Foreign Secretary and was seen by the electorate and within the party as the man furthest away from the Gordon Brown inner-circle. He was the obvious choice but the unions decided he wasn’t their man and therefore he didn’t get the gig.
Ed Miliband may well be a very nice bloke but when the public who by and large hate Nick Clegg still prefer him to you then you have an issue. You should be extremely popular. The leader of the main party of opposition who are opposing nasty public sector cuts and still you aren’t liked and then you go and liken the United Kingdom in 2011 to South Africa in the later part of the last century, the Civil Rights movement in the States and the worldwide struggle for women to get the vote. How dare he.
I know it sounds like I really dislike him as a politician but I don’t. I just think he’s woefully out of his depth and the country as a whole needs a strong opposition leader but we just don’t have it at the moment.
I’m still shaking my head at that video and soundbite…
…well that is according to this article in The Independent.
However whilst it seems quite a statement people should look closer at the story. Firstly the quotes are not attributed to anyone. Not even attributed to the infamous ‘unnamed source’ so these quotes could have just as easily been what the guy at the PC next to the journalist thought or what the janitor or cleaner thinks. He does intimate that the quotes came from a man but that is all the information that you are getting.
As for the quotes – wow just how boring are they?
“What we think should happen is that David Cameron debates with Ed Miliband while Nick Clegg debates with our deputy leader Harriet Harman.”
“Clegg’s comments have reinforced our view that the next election will offer the choice between two directions for the country: a Tory led coalition and a progressive majority represented by Labour.”
So let’s break down those quotes. Firstly Labour are saying that in the next General Election that neither the Lib Dems (which is arguably fair) nor the Tories (far less so) can form a majority government. This is what you call at best deluded and at worse a lie. I think it is quite clear that if the Tories (or the Lib Dems) win enough MPs to form a majority government outright that they won’t enter into a coalition. The coalition came about because of two factor, namely the result of the General Election and the economy. Had the economy been in a good state (say 2005) then no doubt the Tories would have formed a minority government.
Secondly the quote says that Nick Clegg should debate with Labour’s deputy because Clegg is the deputy in the coalition. Now again Labour are showing their short-sightedness. When the 2015 General Election campaign starts there will be three parties fighting on a national stage to win a majority in the House of Commons. Although saying that if UKIP put up candidates in all seats (which is possible) then their leader whoever it may be should be allowed to take part in the debates (same for any other party but I doubt any other party will fight in enough seats). So all the people who can be PM should take part in the debates – and as the leader of a party who will fight to form a majority government then surely Nick Clegg should be bestowed that honour?
Also should AV be adopted then there is a very realistic proposition of Labour needing to ally themselves with the Lib Dems to form a government. Heck even if AV isn’t adopted it could happen. The way Labour seem extremely keen to throw the Lib Dem’s under the bus seems like a very big gamble. If the Lib Dems don’t go away and die at the next election then suddenly Labour are without their natural ally. The Tory-Lib pact is not natural at all but is working because of give and take on both sides.
The Lab-Lib pact never got off the ground because Labour were willing to budge on AV+ but that was it – it was to be a Labour led government in every other way. It was like Labour’s negotiation team either wanted the Libs to join the Tories, clean up the mess and return in five years to reap the rewards or they quite simple believed the Lib Dems would never ally themselves with the Tories.
Either way Labour are now very much alone on an island knowing that they are burning their bridges with the Lib Dems – and doing it fast.
Lastly I’ll throw in another quote from the piece.
“While not on the scale of Gordon Brown and “bigot-gate,” Mr Clegg’s gaffe will cause unease in Liberal Democrat circles about how close the party has become to the Conservatives in Government.”
Nice way of likening Clegg to Brown there. Clegg said with his mic still on that the coalition seems to be going well, Brown makes a ill-judged comment badmouthing a voter. They are not alike in any way shape or form. Putting the two situations in the same light is reaching in the extreme.
So to summarise. The piece doesn’t attribute its quotes and is poorly written. If the quote in fact does come from a senior Labour politician then boy are they stupid. Labour have all the ammunition they need to come back strong in 2015 but they are using it all to fight now instead of licking their wounds and planning for the future. When it comes to 2015 they might not have any ammunition left and they may not have many friends to help them out.
Labour activists keep repeating the same old diatribe that the Lib Dems are ‘dead’ and ‘finished’ but the reality is at this point is that boring old rhetoric is wholly inaccurate. This country is a three-way country as it stands and I don’t see any sign of tat changing for the smaller (I do think UKIP could make an impact in 2015 – I really do). So Labour need to stop crushing the Lib Dems and start getting their house in order.
Tell us the electorate why we should vote for you. Don’t tell the electorate why we shouldn’t vote for someone else. The people of this country are getting wise to that trick and the impact of negative politics is diminishing all the time. If Labour want to win a 2015 election they need to tell us why they deserve not and ‘the other lot are worse’ is not something that will get the electorate excited and ready to vote Labour back into office.
I think I went off track somewhere during that ramble. What a shock eh?
As you may know I’m not listed on Lib Dem Blogs any more. To keep up with my blog either subscribe to the site via e-mail on the link to the right of the screen or via any feed software you may use
Now that I’ve been culled from the Lib Dem Blog aggregator because I’m not a card-carrying member of the party (yes I still haven’t joined – one day I’ll get around to it, probably, maybe) I feel more at ease writing about non-political things that crop up in my mind. So on to the song of the year so far. Oh yes it’s my review of the quite erm…shall we say ‘interesting’ song and video by Rebecca Black. If you haven’t had the ‘pleasure then please watch the following video.
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First of all no matter the standard of her voice and the heavy use of auto-tune to make her sound like she’s not as awful as she is, just how bad is the actual song? I think it might just be the worst song I’ve ever heard. Just how many songs tell me in bad English the order of the day of the week? Or how many songs have a whole verse about the hard decision people have about which seat to take in a car? In the video the only seat available is the middle back so unless she’s going to be a whiny bitch and ask people to move then there is no decision to make. Also no-one in that car is wearing a seat-belt, that’s shocking. Seat-belts are cool kids because they save lives.
Away from the song then the singing of it is not great. It’s not as bad as some people are saying but it’s certainly not got much going for it. In a way I feel for her as she has gained a lot of notoriety but on the other hand she’s got notoriety and when you are a 13 or 14 year-old girl trying to make your mark in the music industry then that isn’t a bad place to be. Simon Cowell said he loves it and she’s been on Good Morning America. So hey things could be worse.
However for a $2000 investment and 38million views on YouTube already you’ve got to say that it was a pretty damned good bit of business. I’m ‘looking forward’ to the follow-up release…
I was going to write a blog on Rebecca Black. Maybe I still will later today but in all honesty I’m just putting off cleaning my apartment. It needs a damned good hoover and the kitchen is a tip. I need to do this tonight – after I write this blog. I need to. I need to.
I clearly digress.
Across my twitter feed I saw a link to a piece on Conservative Home about the vote yesterday where only John Baron MP from the party voted against the bill to support and actively back UN Security Council Resolution 1973 yesterday. His opinion seems to have resonated with the grass-roots as looking at the comments they are nearly all in favour of letting things be and allowing Gaddafi to do what he wants. This surprises me in one way but it doesn’t in another.
With harsh times at home people are starting to not care about people overseas. They seem to think that it’s dreadful what is happening in Japan and that they want the Libyan rebels to win but they don’t want to actually do anything about it. We have enough problems at home people say. People think like Iraq it is about oil which is hilarious. If it was about oil we’d let Gaddafi win and keep our oil interests quietly without drawing any attention. We are not putting in an invasion force and will not be divvying up Libya for our own interests. This is purely an intervention to stop mass genocide, which surely is not a bad thing?
But people say it is a civil war so why are we getting involved? They think that unless it is to do with ourselves then we shouldn’t batter an eye-lid. I seem to recall we joined two World Wars when a country wouldn’t remove their invading troops from Belgium and Poland respectively. Neither Poland or Belgium are us. They may not have been civil wars but they didn’t directly affect us. So maybe we should step in when other countries are getting invaded but civil wars and a leader pulling off mass-genocide of his own people is fine?
There was a long debate on a Facebook Page I’m on with many Lib Dems. One of them is Polish. She said that violence never solved anything and we should never be involved in violence. She was asked how she felt about us joining WWII when Germany refused to withdraw their troops from Poland and she said se would always be grateful but that was seventy years ago and we should have learned that violence is not the answer by now. In a perfect world she is right but the world we live in is clearly not perfect.
For example if in the 2015 General Election Labour win but David Cameron will not give up the government and overthrows the Queen to become Head of State and the country revolted trying to overthrow a corrupt PM and he was killing everyone who disagreed with him being the leader of the country, would we want help from the rest of the world to install proper democracy again? Yes I think we would. Just because these events are going on in another country then we shouldn’t just ignore it.
Whilst atrocities are taking place in other countries, Yemen, Bahrain, Zimbabwe and we aren’t doing anything militarily there does this mean we shouldn’t do something in Libya? Just because you can’t do something every time doesn’t mean that when you can you shouldn’t. This resolution went through the UN Security Council and neither Russia or China used their veto. The Arab League and Gulf Council also back the resolution. So this has very broad support across the globe.
I’m no David Cameron fan but I do think he has held himself well in these challenging circumstances. I’m not sure Ed Miliband would have been as good. Gordon Brown I suspect would have been very wary of taking part as well.
Sometimes you just have to do what is right. Protecting innocent people and the right to free speech is right.
As a footnote no Lib Dem MPs voted against the adoption of the resolution. So unlike Iraq where the party had very public misgivings about the invasion, this time with the UN Security council backing they are ok to save lives. Good for them. No surprise that Caroline Lucas voted against the bill though.
That was a tweet I saw come through my twitter feed last night about someone in the Question Time audience who someone deemed was a Lib Dem activist. For the record those tweeting on this were Labour members. Surely that is just a wee bit arrogant? Saying that Lib Dem activists are basically thick? This is what annoys me so much about politics is that tribalism to just so engrained in so many people’s blood that new politics that Nick Clegg preached before the last election is going to be so difficult to achieve.
I think that Labour did some terrific stuff in the past government whilst they also did some bad things. The Conservative’s too have done both good and bad things. No-one if they were to look at every single conflicting policy without knowing the party would choose their party’s policies 100% of the time. However so many people just blinding follow their own allegiances and party all the way even if they don’t actually agree with much of their policy.
I could easily say that I know a Labour member who is racist therefore they all are or that I know a Tory who is sexist therefore they all are. That is the same blanket stereotyping that this tweet used and is to be frank insane and imbecilic. Not all Lib Dem activists are thick. Not all Labour members are racist. Not all Tories are sexist. Every single person is different. I’m sure some Lib Dem activists are thick, I’m sure some Labour members are racist and that some Tories are sexist but honestly.
I know that deep down this blog is essentially pointless but heck – the sub-title of this blog does use that word. In general it just seems like a dumb thing to say. When people truly believe that members or activists of another party are less intelligent than members of their own party then really what can you do? New politics? Not with these dinosaurs about.
All we’ve heard from the political sphere recently is that Nick Clegg is toxic and Ed Miliband is the great new leader of the Labour Party. This seems to be the publics opinions, heck there are many Lib Dems I know who dislike Nick Clegg for daring to enter into a coalition government with the Tories. However the facts may not fit the story. In today’s FT there is a story following a poll by Ipsos Mori on the two leaders and they observe that Clegg is more popular than Miliband.
Yep you read that right. It seems that 40% of people who responded to the poll liked Clegg compared to Miliband’s 36% and both had a dislike rating of 51%. Now when you consider that Labour are ahead in the polls at the moment and when you add up the poll results for Tories and Lib Dems it still doesn’t come to 50% hinting that more people the poll spoke to are not following nor are they pro this government. So when you think of it like that this result is even more surprising considering the general consensus.
Remember it was only a few days ago that Ed Miliband said he wouldn’t share a stage with Nick Clegg on AV as Nick Clegg was too unpopular yet the facts seem to state otherwise. Will Ed Miliband just brush this off as a statistical fluke or will he continue to believe that he’s immensely popular because that is what the unions keep telling him? This isn’t the first poll of its kind and Miliband doesn’t seem to be getting any more popular.
Between them both Clegg and Miliband can win the AV referendum but their petty squabbles aren’t exactly helping their cause. Tribal politics are so annoying as it gets in the way of progress. Just sort it out and win the AV referendum and then we can move on. If the referendum does not succeed then FPTP is here for the next 20-25 years and MPs can be lazy in safe seats knowing that whatever they do they’ll always get re-elected and that isn’t what anyone (except those MPs) want.
Protesters in Libya and Bahrain are being slaughtered and we still do nothing. I’m sickened to the core.
I know the political world is still scarred from the Iraq invasion and how it didn’t have full UN backing but now we have another glaring situation where fellow human beings are being slaughtered to quell any free speech and nothing is happening. It makes my blood boil and if I were an MP I wouldn’t be able to contain myself. We can all talk and talk and talk and whilst we talk and talk and talk Gaddafi kills and kills and kills and the Bahraini authorities oppress and oppress and oppress. At some point someone has to show the strength of character to do the right thing but no-one wants to do that as they are scared of what the rest of the world, let alone their own people will think.
Sadly we live in a world full of NIMBYs, certainly when it comes to old school third world countries. People feel far worse for the Japanese people who have been crushed by Mother Nature flexing her muscles than they do about people being slaughtered in cold blood for wanting the freedoms that we take for granted. People seem to be thinking that the freedom rebels in these Arab states deserve freedom but that they need to do it themselves whilst we sit and watch. The historian David Starkey certainly seems to think so after his appearance on Question Time the other week. If they can’t win democracy, freedom and free speech for themselves then they don’t deserve it. What horsecrap. What type of idiot thinks that?
Don’t answer that.
I am naive and I know that and in all honesty I couldn’t care. I am idealistic I know and the real world and idealistic values often don’t go nicely together. However I stick by my opinion and that is people are allowed the right to free speech all over the world wherever they are from. Russian, English, American, Japanese, Australian, Kenyan, Indian, Tunisian, Libyan, Brazilian, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu I couldn’t care less – they are all human and all humans deserve the right to live in an environment where their voices are heard without living in fear that free speech will result in arrest or worse.
Yes the Tunisians and Egyptians managed to win that right through peaceful demonstration and no outside help was needed but that will not be the same in every situation. As we clearly see now it isn’t in Libya or Bahrain where the rulers still have the Army and they will happily kill their own people in the name of the government. This is not right. Anyone who thinks it is is someone I will just never fathom. The UN, NATO and the Arab League all want Gaddafi to go and have told him this but he won’t listen. He won’t give up until he’s dead and we all know this. However we still sit and discuss what to do and go round and around and around in circles. All this talk of a no-fly zone will be pointless soon as Gaddafi will have crushed the opposition and doomed these people to a life of misery and pain – that’s if he decides they are allowed to live.
These people only want basic human rights and need our help and whilst we hear their calls we are not doing anything about it. Jo Swinson brought it up in PMQs this lunchtime and David Cameron said he was actively trying to do something but when all is said and done China and Russia will never back any military intervention. They are more NIMBY than anyone and they couldn’t care less. Stephen Dorrell and Sir Menzies Campbell spoke with BBC News after PMQs and both lamented the current situation knowing that time is running out to save these people.
Whatever you think of George Bush and Tony Blair you must admit that in the long run people’s lives were saved by invading Iraq and stopping the oppression. Yes the reasons for war are debatable and the Iraqi people hadn’t stood up as a collective voice demanding change but certain parts of the country were immensely oppressed, trodden down and treated like shit on the shoe by Saddam Hussein. This time the people are loudly saying they want change and are not being allowed it. Not just that, they are being killed for saying it. This is not right and it never will be.
I can understand why the leaders of the major western worlds are not keen to get militarily involved but if they don’t then the rebels and freedom fighters will lose and die. Libya will become a pariah state and will probably become a new home to terrorism, one that has immense oil reserves and money as is even nearer to mainland Europe than Iraq was. Basically if the rebels lose it will be a disaster for both freedom and democracy as well as the safety of the people of Europe.
The time is now to do something. In all honesty the time was weeks ago but as they say ‘it’s better late than never’ the problem being though that never is creeping up on us at an ever alarming rate.