Sunday, November 27, 2005

Reported libel on usenet

AIR has reported vicious personal attacks appearing on psi.psychology.psychotherapy. I have never come across this but I have noticed groups of posters (who for all I know could have consisted of one person!) have hijacked usenet newsgroups for the purpose of posting irrelevant material in vast quantities and swamping the group. This was on top of all the spam.

I have shifted to using moderated boards like the education forum rather than usenet now because of this.

I have never been personally attacked although my views have attracted vigorous criticisms - I particularly remember a heated exchange with fascists in Kent whose main issue was they hated people from Sussex!

Friday, November 25, 2005

An unusual thanksgiving message

I received this from a friend:
George Bush has started an unwarranted and disastrous war under
false pretenses by lying to the American people and to the Congress;
he has run a budget surplus nto a severe deficit; he has
consistently and unconscionably favored the wealthy and
corporations over the rights and needs of the population; he has
destroyed trust and confidence in, and good will toward, the United
States around the globe; he has ignored global warming, to the
world's detriment; he has wantonly broken our treaty obligations;
he has condoned torture of prisoners; he has attempted to create a
theocracy in the United States; he has appointed incompetent cronies
to positions of vital national importance.


Would someone please just give him a blow job so we can impeach him?

I am inclined to agree with Bill Hicks. "I wasn't against Bush because of his foreign policy or because of his domestic policy. It was just that I thought he was a child of Satan bent on destroying the earth."

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Cholesterol tests

I have got the information on cholesterol tests from the NHS website. It is as follows
Cholesterol is a body fat, or lipid. It is an important part of a healthy body, being a building block for steroids such as the sex hormones, and the hormones of the adrenal cortex. It is also the basis of the body’s manufacture of bile salts.

Cholesterol is mainly produced in the liver, and has a further use in forming cell membranes and other needed tissues.

Cholesterol is carried in the blood by special molecules called lipoproteins. The three main forms of lipoproteins are:

* Low density lipoprotein (LDL). This is often known as ‘bad cholesterol’ and is thought to promote arterial disease. It carries cholesterol from the liver to the cells and can cause harmful cholesterol build-up if there is too much to be used up by the cells.
* High density lipoprotein (HDL). This is often referred to as 'good cholesterol', and may oppose arterial disease. It takes cholesterol away from the cells and back to the liver, where it's either broken down or excreted.
* Triglycerides.

The amount of cholesterol present in the blood can range from 3.6 to 7.8 mmol/litre. A level above 6 mmol/litre is regarded as high, and is a risk factor for arterial disease. Government advice recommends a target cholesterol level of under 5, but on average men in England have a level of 5.5, and women a level of 5.6.

Evidence strongly indicates that high cholesterol levels can cause narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis), heart attacks, and strokes. The risk of coronary heart disease also rises as blood cholesterol levels increase. When other risk factors, (such as high blood pressure and cigarette smoking), are present, this risk increases even more.

In atherosclerosis, deposits of fatty substances, cholesterol, cellular waste products, calcium and other substances build up in the inner lining of an artery. This build up is called plaque, and it usually affects arteries of small and medium size. The flow of blood through these arteries is restricted as the inside diameter is reduced. Clotting of the blood, which often happens in the coronary arteries during a heart attack, is most likely to develop when arterial walls are roughened by such plaques.

I also found out that the reason for the starving lipids test is that it detects triglycerides accurately which a test from Boots presumably cannot do. So although the Boots test is not inaccurate it does not give the whole picture.

Who says the Internet is all porn?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The offensive charm of Ruth Kelly

Ruth Kelly is engaged in a charm offensive following Blair's defeat over imprisonment without trial, New Labour is keen to "consult" with backbenchers to remove their "misconceptions" of the privatisation agenda for schools.

This is a typical New Labour consultation. "We will listen to your views but the policy is not negotiable." Schools will be handed over to private profiteers and religious zealots. LEAs may not be perfect but even the final vestiges of democratic accountability will go.

After all privatisation has done such a good job on rail safety and hospital cleaning.

It is of course no accident that Opus Dei's acolyte is keen to hand schools over to religious zealots so all that nonsense about teaching evolution can go.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Phosphorous grenades

The army cadets were recruiting at school today. They didn't have any phosphorous grenades on show. The whole situation relating to these grenades is bizarre.

International agreement prevents their use against personnel but the US is not a signatory of the agreement. The British army uses them but claims not to use them against civilians but rather spoilt the effect by adding that they do not use any weapons against civilians. We can only assume the 100000 Iraqi civilians dead as a result of the war committed suicide.

In any case it is hypocritical to applaud indiscriminate bombing of hospitals at the Fallujah massacre and the torture of suspects at Guantanamo Bay and imprisonment without trial in mainland Britain but draw the line at phosphorous grenades. Why are they suddenly so squeamish?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Comments

There have been some anonymous comments on this blog and I intend to let them stand but in future there will only be comments from people to whom I can reply. The individual who commented anonymously was obviously a sneering Blairite capable of nothing but insults.

Comments which are obviously advertising something will also be deleted.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Socialism 2005

For an "old bolshevik" like myself it was encouraging to see so many new young members and supporters gathered together for Socialism 2005. It is also the first time we have had the general secretaries of two trade unions on our platform. An indication that there is some impetus for trade unions to break from New Labour and move towards a new workers' party. Mark Serwotka was keen for his children to have a better choice than Tory or Tory. Matt Wrack talked about the ridiculous position of firefighters being vilified and attacked by a Labour government whilst still paying money into the Labour Party.
It is fair to say that the most moving event of the evening was to listen to the relatives of Jean Charles de Menezes who have campaigned for justice. Their natural shock and sorrow has casued them to campaign tenaciously for justice and for a world where such things cannot happen.

I have never heard Joe Higgins (Irish Socialist Party TD) speak before and his speech and the footage of the Gama workers campaign was an eye-opener and an inspiration.

And Peter Taaffe has lost none of his fire either. He quoted Tony Benn's prediction that the betrayal of Tony Blair like the betrayal of Ramsay MacDonald will be succeeded in 15 years by a new Labour Government with radical policies akin to 1945. Referring to the young members in the audience he said, "This generation cannot wait 15 years." and referring to people of our age he repeated to thunderous applause "This generation cannot wait 15 years."

Friday, November 11, 2005

Blair says he is in tune with public opinion because the Sun instructs its readers to write in and support him. Some public opinion polls support imprisonment without trial for 90 days. And of course he was "doing the right thing" and "being a strong leader" when public opinion was against him on the Iraq War.

In Tony Blair's mind he can do no wrong. Fortunately the rest of us do not have to live there.

Detention without trial is convenient for the police. They no not need any proof before they lock people up. That does not seem a good reason to bring it in.

Prize for cheeky blighters of the day goes to the Tories for saying that New Labour is politicising the police. It was Margaret Thatcher who made it impossible to trust the police by using them as a battering ram against the miners.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

90 days "not negotiable"

Blair has been roundly defeated over the draconian measures he proposed but at the price of an extension of the period for which anyone can be locked up without trial to 28 days.

It was worth it to witness the look of incredulity on his arrogant public-schoolboy chops when he ranted and raved about it after the event.

"Not negotiable", "the only game in town", "inevitable" this is the authoritarian language of New Labour and it has been dented by this event. The changes in public sector pensions "not negotiable" until the threat of widespread industrial action forced a partial retreat.

I agree with Marian Darke about this. Things are only "not negotiable" if we let them be.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Jonathan Porritt lickspittle to the House of Windsor

Jonathan Porritt Lickspittle to the Prince of Wales
According to the Observer "In a book to be published this week, Jonathon Porritt describes the green movement as 'too narrow, too technical, too anti-business, too depressing, often too dowdy'. Porritt, now a government adviser, claims the campaigners must take some blame for the continued failure to stop climate change and habitat destruction, because their overly negative approach has alienated politicians and the public."

The newspaper also described him as "The founding father of the British green movement " and described his attack as "startling."

I am not a member of the Green Party but I must say that calling Porritt "the founding father" is a little excessive. His main role has been to tone down the criticism of the corporations and divert green activists into safe channels.

It is hardly "startling" or even mildly surprising to see that he believes green campaigners should not be anti-business. He probably genuinely believes that cosying up to the corporations will do more than campaigning against them. After all BP now has adverts to convince the public how "green" they are. Green is also a slang term for "naive".


The most that can be expected is a few cosmetic changes for purposes of advertising and of course a few sinecures for former green campaigners...like Jonathan Porritt who now works for Mr Tony Blair as a "government adviser" to polish up Tony's "green" image. This is in addition to the day job as Lickspittle in Chief to the Prince of Wales.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Bush's church condemns war

President Bush and Dick Cheney are facing more opposition about the war in Iraq - this time from their own church. Last week the United Methodist Church passed a resolution calling for the U.S. to withdraw from Iraq. The resolution read in part "As people of faith, we raise our voice in protest against the tragedy of the unjust war in Iraq. Thousands of lives have been lost and hundreds of billions of dollars wasted in a war the United States initiated and should never have fought." The church board also called on Congress to create an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate U.S. treatment of detainees overseas.
(from Democracy Now! this morning)

I am an atheist now but I went to Sunday School as a lad and I must say that is more my idea of what a Methodist ought to be :)

Rome

I saw 'Rome' on BBC2 last night, the most expensive BBC production ever. It seems to be the tabloid version with a lot of sex and violence but then Rome was a violent place in the last days of the Republic.

The history from Julius Caesar onwards is the most interesting and that is what they have concentrated on. Centuries of peace do not make interesting TV - though no doubt they are the best time to actually live in. There is an ancient curse my mother taught me - "may you live in interesting times!"