Saturday, 31 March 2007

Flickr Of The Day


Aussie Rules
Originally uploaded by Auðunn.
Well, it is the first weekend of the AFL, or Aussie Rules Football, season.

Daily Show and Norwich City

I never thought I would see the two linked. But on the Daily Show, Jon Stewart, while discussing the Iran hostage drama, or 'Iranian Hostage Drama, The Next Generation', talks about how unwise it is to rile Great Britain.

"But don't let their effete affected pronunciation throw you off. You don't think they're gonna get pissed off and strike back?

"This is what they did when Ipswich Town scored the equaliser on Norwich City. That's not even in the Premier League."


Obviously, it's not footage of an Ipswich-Norwich game, the Ipswich fans were too well dressed (lol)! But there was a guy in a green and yellow hat.

The other interesting point was Stewart's pronunciation of Norwich, or Nor-witch as opposed to the usual 'Norrich'. It brought to mind a story that Bill Bryson told about Norwich in Vermont. A generation ago, the city's name was pronounced the same as the English one, but an influx of new residents from outside the area gradually turned the pronunciation to Nor-witch.

The 'Homer Simpson' Defence

Great piece from Andrew Cohen in the Washington Post.

You just cannot make this stuff up. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' former chief of staff, D. Kyle Sampson, spends much of his Thursday deflating his former boss' story about the eight fired U.S. Attorneys and how does the Attorney General respond? By issuing a written statement late in the day that essentially says this: Yes, Sampson may have been keeping me in the loop on the firings after all but I wasn't really paying attention ("never focused" was the exact phrase) to what he was saying. It's the Homer Simpson defense to the Kyle Sampson story and if this were a Little League game they would have invoked the 10-run rule by now and sent Gonzales go home to Texas to once again become a lucrative private attorney.
Fantastic! How can there be anyone who believes a word he says?

Howard's Reaction

And John Howard's reaction to this tawdry affair:

"Whatever may be the rhetorical responses of some and particularly the government's critics, the facts speak for themselves."

"He pleaded guilty to knowingly assisting a terrorist organisation - namely al-Qaeda. "He's not a hero in my eyes and he ought not to be a hero in the eyes of any people in the Australian community.

"The bottom line will always be that he pleaded guilty to knowingly assisting a terrorist organisation.

"He's acknowledged the prosecution could have proved that beyond a reasonable doubt."


Of course he did, John.

I'm sure we'll be hearing a lot more of this in the future. I'm sure that John Howard will be hoping it's after this year's general election.

Hicks to Return to Australia

So David Hicks has pleaded guilty to the charge of knowingly assisting a terrorist organisation. One can only imagine the desperation he must have felt to leave a regime which could hold him indefinitely in conditions which I'm sure will become clear in the coming few months.

He has had to sign a document to say that he had not been mistreated. It sounds like a statement made from a third-world prison.

The deal included a statement by Mr. Hicks that he “has never been illegally treated” while a captive, despite claims of beatings he had made in the past. It also included a promise not to pursue suits over the treatment he received while in detention and “not to communicate in any way with the media” for a year.

Critics said those requirements were a continuation of what they say has been a pattern of illegal detention policies. “It is a modern cutting out of his tongue,” said Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, a legal advocacy group, based in New York, that is coordinating the representation of detainees in many suits challenging Guantánamo detention.

I'm surprised that he has not been gagged until January 2009 which is, as the bumber sticker puts it, 'The End Of An Error'.


Friday, 30 March 2007

Flickr Of The Day

The Belgian Grand Prix Ciruit at Spa-Francorchamps is public road for the rest of the year. The hill at the far end of the pit straight is reallly steep.

Krauthammer Owns Up

Charles Krauthammer, in his Washington Post Op-Ed piece, owns up to the real reason that the neocons want to concentrate on Iraq and forget Afghanistan.

Forget that the Al Qaeda attack was planned and launched from Afghanistan, that Al Qaeda trained its recruits there, that Osama bin Laden, remember him, based himself there.

One is in Afghanistan, a geographically marginal backwater with no resources and no industrial or technological infrastructure. The other is in Iraq, one of the three principal Arab states, with untold oil wealth (my emphasis), an educated population, an advanced military and technological infrastructure that, though suffering decay in the later years of Saddam Hussein's rule, could easily be revived if it falls into the right (i.e., wrong) hands. Add to that the fact that its strategic location would give its rulers inordinate influence over the entire Persian Gulf region, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the Gulf states.
This doesn't sound like the point they were making in 2002 does it?

Thursday, 29 March 2007

Flickr Of The Day


Zuiderkerk - Amsterdam
Originally uploaded by Mor (bcnbits).
A dark day on Zuiderkerk - Amsterdam

Is this true?

I'd read that one of Arlen Specter's staffers had inserted the clause giving the White House the ability to appoint US Attorneys without Senate approval, but I have never seen before the assertion that it was done without Specter's approval.

This is one of the most unbelievable statements I have read recently. A clause can be added to a bill by a staffer and the Senate will vote on it without ever knowing it is there.

One night, before passage of the bill, Tolman surreptitiously inserted a paragraph into the legislation that basically removed Senate oversight and approval of replacements for U.S. Attorneys. Tolman didn't ask Specter and didn't tell Specter or, as far as we know, any other senators. He just snuck it into the bill and none of them knew they were voting for that provision. Is that embarrassing, or what? I think so. And I think it plays a role in why the senators have been pretty mum on this episode. And what made it worse is that the Senate unanimously approved Bush's nomination of Tolman, soon after… as U.S. Attorney for Utah!

Incredible!

Reasons to Run, Al

Firedoglake lists the reasons that Al Gore should run for President, starting with:

  1. Image Is Everything. In 2000, most people thought of you as the class nerd, or maybe just Bill's sidekick. Now, in 2007, you're a rock star. You've made wry appearances on Saturday Night Live, and spoken out eloquently and powerfully, not just about the environment, but about the corrosive amorality of the Bush administration and the Republican party in general. Your passion is infectious, and your campaign would energize and inspire people in ways it never could in 2000.
And it finishes with the plea

One other teensy weensy little request: Please select a different running mate and campaign manager this time.
He has a real presence this year. It was a major mistake to distance himself from Bill Clinton in 2000, whatever problems Clinton had at the time. What a difference the world would have seen if Gore had run a half-effective campaign then.

Radar Love

Classic Rock from the 70s with Golden Earring.

Why Carol Lam was Fired

TPM Muckraker has an excellent summary on the reasons why it believe that Carol Lam, the USA for Southern California, was fired.

-- Despite the fact that it was one of the highest profile federal investigations being undertaken at the Department, Lam's investigation into Duke Cunningham and others is never mentioned in the Justice Department emails that have been released. Not once. This must have been discussed at the highest levels, but we've seen no record of those communications.

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Flickr Of The Day


From last week
Originally uploaded by Semmie.
A Flash of Colour.

The sea looks fantastic.

Classic Billy Connolly

Wildebeest

What is AG Saying?

This from Dan Froomkin:

As for his interaction with the president, Gonzales was full of vague qualifications:

"PETE WILLIAMS: You mentioned the conversations with the president. What role did they play in deciding which US Attorneys would be on the list?

"ATTORNEY GENERAL GONZALES: As far as I know, Pete, they did not play a role in adding names or taking off names."

More careful parsing from the Attorney General. What he's not saying is that Bush agreed that these are the people he wanted fired.


The Real Cost

An FOI request this week by the BBC established that the British government accepted that the John Hopkins study on Iraq civilian deaths since the invasion was essentially accurate in that 650,00 civilians had died.

Both the British and American goverments had stated that they didn't consider the figures 'anywhere near accurate' and not 'a credible report'. However, it now comes to light that the UK Government's own Department for International Development disagreed.

They concluded that the study's methods were "tried and tested". Indeed, the Johns Hopkins approach would likely lead to an "underestimation of mortality".

The Ministry of Defence's chief scientific adviser said the research was "robust", close to "best practice", and "balanced". He recommended "caution in publicly criticising the study".

When these recommendations went to the prime minister's advisers, they were horrified. One person briefing Tony Blair wrote: "Are we really sure that the report is likely to be right? That is certainly what the brief implies?" A Foreign and Commonwealth Office official was forced to conclude that the government "should not be rubbishing the Lancet".

And the response to this at the time?

Tony Blair was advised to say: "The overriding message is that there are no accurate or reliable figures of deaths in Iraq".
I believe that Tony Blair must secretly grieve the loss of life but I'm not sure a conscience exists in the White House, particularly the Vice-President's office.

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Flickr Of The Day

Perfect light.

DoJ Aide Refuses to Testify


Is this the Monica Goodling in question? Seems likely, an alumna of a Regent University - Christian Leadership to Change the World!


Monica Goodling, an aide to Alberto Gonzales, has refused to testify before Congress in case she incriminates herself. Obviously, she believes that something illegal has been going on.

In the letter, Ms. Goodling’s lawyer, John M. Dowd, questioned the fairness of the panel and cited the possibility that she might be a witness in a criminal inquiry, although there is currently no known criminal investigation into the dismissals.

A Justice Department official said that senior agency officials were “concerned” about Ms. Goodling’s refusal to testify because “we had agreed to make Department of Justice officials available to the committee.” The official said Ms. Goodling, who is on leave, had not obtained advance approval for her decision.

Andrew Sullivan has received a very valid response to the refusal.
The solution is therefore to offer her immunity from prosecution for any actions her testimony might disclose, and then compel that testimony through subpoena. This is fair, because even if she could be found participating in a conspiracy to mislead Congress, what we already know of the situation makes it extremely unlikely that she was the originator of any such conspiracy. It is also effective, because while it would immunize her from jeopardy for anything she has done already, it would NOT immunize her from perjury charges should she fail, now, to tell the truth. And she is likely to have knowledge of some pretty central truths.
And she is on indefinite leave, what is that for? Is it just to keep her out of the limelight for a while.

Monday, 26 March 2007

Flickr Of The Day


Enter Lightning, Stage Left
Originally uploaded by jimhankey.
Phoenix Storm

Ethanol Is Not The Answer

I've always missed the logic of replacing petrol (gas) with ethanol. With a large proportion of the planet's population struggling to feed itself, how selfish is it to convert part of your food supply to fuel production. And will it make any difference?

In a Washington Post article David Tilman and Jason Hill argue that the increased use of ethanol in fuel is pushing up corn prices in Mexico making the staple food unaffordable to the country's poor and will lead to the destruction of the Amazon rainforest as more a more land is cleared for corn production. This in turn will lead to more global warming as one of the world's great carbon dioxide sinks is destroyed.

Besides which:

If every one of the 70 million acres on which corn was grown in 2006 was used for ethanol, the amount produced would displace only 12 percent of the U.S. gasoline market. Moreover, the "new" (non-fossil) energy gained would be very small -- just 2.4 percent of the market. Car tune-ups and proper tire air pressure would save more energy.

Can Gonzales Look Any Less Credible?

So, it turns out that far from not knowing what his subordinates were doing at the DoJ, Alberto Gonzales was actually at a meeting on Nov 27th to discuss firing a group of US Attorneys.

We've seen it over and over again and we saw it Friday night, when the Justice Department tried (but clearly failed) to whisper to the rest of the world the news that Alberto Gonzales was more closely involved in the firing last December of eight U.S. Attorneys than he told us he was last week. If the Attorney General's reputation and status were shaky before this latest revelation, surely this morning they are downright dissolved. Why? Because now he is established in the court of public opinion if not yet in a court of law either to be a liar or a fool. Either he misled us all, via live television a la former President Clinton, when he told us two weeks ago that he wasn't involved in these sorts of conversations, Or he wasn't sharp enough to remember his presence and role at this meeting and comprehend the notion that,eventually, this information would tumble into the public realm.
With absolutely no credibility left, why is he hanging on? Does he think this is going to go away if he covers his ears?

A Culture Of Fear

An Op-Ed in the Washington Post by Zbigniew Brzezinski highlights the strategy of fear that has been used by the White House for the last six years to push through its agenda. Remember the duct tape, the colour-coded alerts, the mushroom cloud threat, the thwarted Al-Qaeda attacks that never were?

The culture of fear is like a genie that has been let out of its bottle. It acquires a life of its own -- and can become demoralizing. America today is not the self-confident and determined nation that responded to Pearl Harbor; nor is it the America that heard from its leader, at another moment of crisis, the powerful words "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself"; nor is it the calm America that waged the Cold War with quiet persistence despite the knowledge that a real war could be initiated abruptly within minutes and prompt the death of 100 million Americans within just a few hours. We are now divided, uncertain and potentially very susceptible to panic in the event of another terrorist act in the United States itself.
It's going to take a long time and a completely new approach from the next administration to win back the trust of the American people and the rest of the world.

Sunday, 25 March 2007

Flickr Of The Day

Rogers Waters - Dark Side Of The Moon Tour

Close Guantanamo Now

He just doesn't get it, does he? The damage done by the imprisoning and torture (or 'harsh interrogation') has completely eroded America's standing in the world. How can the USA lecture anyone on their human rights record when their own record is so abysmal.

There is no chance of anyone now receiving any sort of fair trial and any 'evidence' is tainted.

From a NY Times Editorial today:

It was distressing to see that the president has retreated so far into his alternative reality that he would not listen to Mr. Gates — even when he was backed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who, like her predecessor, Colin Powell, had urged Mr. Bush to close Guantánamo. It seems clear that when he brought in Mr. Gates, Mr. Bush didn’t want to fix Mr. Rumsfeld’s disaster; he just wanted everyone to stop talking about it.

If Mr. Bush would not listen to reason from inside his cabinet, he might at least listen to what Americans are telling him about the damage to this country’s credibility, and its cost. When Khalid Shaikh Mohammed — for all appearances a truly evil and dangerous man — confessed to a long list of heinous crimes, including planning the 9/11 attacks, many Americans reacted with skepticism and even derision. The confession became the butt of editorial cartoons, like one that showed the prisoner confessing to betting on the Cincinnati Reds, and fodder for the late-night comedians.

As Andrew Sullivan has been repeating - "The point of torture is now and always has been only torture".

Eating Out in Norwich

A good guide from the local Evening News on eating out in Norwich. A lot has changed since I left but it's good to see a few of the old stalwarts still going.

NYP Suspend Civil Liberties

The treatment of protesters in New York during the Republican National Convention in 2004 has been well documented. What has been less well known was the length to which the NYPD were prepared to spy on individuals, however peaceful their intentions. No-one has a problem with intelligence gathering on potentially violent protesters but this went way beyond - it almost seemed to be an offense to demonstrate any anti-Bush sentiment.

These included members of street theater companies, church groups and antiwar organizations, as well as environmentalists and people opposed to the death penalty, globalization and other government policies. Three New York City elected officials were cited in the reports.

In at least some cases, intelligence on what appeared to be lawful activity was shared with police departments in other cities. A police report on an organization of artists called Bands Against Bush noted that the group was planning concerts on Oct. 11, 2003, in New York, Washington, Seattle, San Francisco and Boston. Between musical sets, the report said, there would be political speeches and videos.

“Activists are showing a well-organized network made up of anti-Bush sentiment; the mixing of music and political rhetoric indicates sophisticated organizing skills with a specific agenda,” said the report, dated Oct. 9, 2003. “Police departments in above listed areas have been contacted regarding this event.”

Not a report that would have raised eyebrows coming out of a 1960's East Germany perhaps but not what you would expect in the land of freedom.

Where's Rob?

A brilliant piece of theatre at Yankee Stadium

Nick Anderson's Iraq Archive

I think this sums up the past 5 years very succinctly. It really brings home how we got into this mess and how it has deteriorated over the years.

I was particularly struck by the cartoons of 9th July 2003 and 31st August 2004.

Lie And (Don't) Pay Later

Have you noticed an interview technique employed by politicians where, if the interviewer makes a statement or asks a question that is contrary to their position they will just flat out lie. The interviewer is put in the position of contradicting a politician (or trying to) when that are almost sure they are right but not confident enough to correct them.

It used to be enough to change the subject, or answer a completely different question, but occasionally, they'll just lie. A prime example of this was the visit of John Bolton to Jon Stewart's Daily Show. Now full credit to John Bolton for going on the show, but when they were discussing having different points of view in government, Jon Stewart raised the subject of Abraham Lincoln, who had invited opponents into his administration. John Bolton, because he had been making the point that George W Bush should be surrounding himself with like-minded people, told Jon Stewart that he was historically wrong.

Jon Stewart was obviously not 100% sure of his facts to contradict so had to carry on with his point negated (He did get back the next day, but most journalists don't follow up). I've seen and heard other examples of this but can't remember the subjects. I'm going to keep an eye out for these and report them when I find them.

Saturday, 24 March 2007

What We're Fighting For

From The Cunning Realist, a link to the Baghdad Country Club - a little bit of WASP heaven in Iraq

Friday, 23 March 2007

Flickr Of The Day


rain clouds over langdales
Originally uploaded by ty mawr.
The view across Elterwater to the Langdale Pikes in England's Lake District.

A Bunch Of Pussies!

The genius of Stephen Colbert

Priceless Sir Alex Ferguson

Sir Alex Ferguson, Manager of Manchester United, completely ruined a BBC interview with Middlesborough's manager, Gareth Southgate, when his tirade to a Sky Sports journalist was picked up in the background.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

Lord Ferg: "F*****g b@stard."
Geoff Shreeves: "Don't talk to me like that."
Ferg: "F**k off to you."
Shreeves: "Don't talk to me like that. Don't even think about it."
Ferg: "Don't you think about it, you ****. F**k off. Right?"
Shreeves: "Listen, are you going to do the interview in a professional manner or not? Do you want to do it or not?"
Ferg: "You f*****g be professional. You be professional. You're the one."
Shreeves: "I'm entitled to ask. Cristiano [Ronaldo] gave the right answer."
Ferg: "F***ing hell with your answers."
Shreeves: "Don't talk to me like that. Go away. If you want to behave civilly, fine. Don't talk to me like that."
Ferg: "F**k off."

Lord Ferg indulges Sky's Geoff Shreeves in some light-hearted Glasgow patter after the MU Rowdies' FA Cup win over Middlesbrough. The BBC was later forced to can their interview with Gareth Southgate when their microphones picked up Ferg's volley of abuse.

Priceless! From the inimitable 'Fiver', the daily football email from the Guardian.

Bob Woolmer Murdered

I'm having a hard job taking this in. Bob Woolmer, coach of the Pakistan cricket team was murdered in his hotel room in Kingston, Jamaica last weekend.

An excellent tribute to Woolmer, by Lawrence Booth of the Guardian here.

Political Interference

Just in case you might have thought that politics doesn't enter the Department of Justice, Sharon Eubanks, lead prosecutor in the major lawsuit against the tobacco companies spoke out yesterday:

Eubanks said Congress should not limit its investigation to the dismissal of the U.S. attorneys.

"Political interference is happening at Justice across the department," she said. "When decisions are made now in the Bush attorney general's office, politics is the primary consideration. . . . The rule of law goes out the window."

Major contributors via the 'K' Street Project demanding their just rewards from the administration.

Nutcase

I know this is saying something, but, surely, this is the biggest nutcase in Congress.

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Flickr Of The Day

The Sacramento Rail Trestle Fire

Rove / Myers Testimony

From Dan Froomkin today:

The New York Times editorial board writes: "Mr. Bush's proposal was a formula for hiding the truth, and for protecting the president and his staff from a legitimate inquiry by Congress. Mr. Bush's idea of openness involved sending White House officials to Congress to answer questions in private, without taking any oath, making a transcript or allowing any follow-up appearances. The people, in other words, would be kept in the dark. . . .

"It is hard to imagine what, besides evading responsibility, the White House had in mind. Why would anyone refuse to take an oath on a matter like this, unless he were not fully committed to telling the truth? And why would Congress accept that idea, especially in an investigation that has already been marked by repeated false and misleading statements from administration officials?

"The White House notes that making misrepresentations to Congress is illegal, even if no oath is taken. But that seems to be where the lack of a transcript comes in. It would be hard to prove what Mr. Rove and others said if no official record existed.

"The White House also put an unacceptable condition on the documents it would make available, by excluding e-mail messages within the White House. Mr. Bush's overall strategy seems clear: to stop Congress from learning what went on within the White House, which may well be where the key decisions to fire the attorneys were made."

Quite. This is getting deeper and deeper for Bush. Who would have believed after the mid-term elections that it would be a domestic issue like this, rather than Iraq, that would cause the edifice to start crumbling.

Science - Don't Believe It

From the Washington Monthly (h/t Andrew Sullivan)

House Republican Leader John Boehner would have appointed Rep. Wayne Gilchrest to the bipartisan Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming -- but only if the Maryland Republican would say humans are not causing climate change, Gilchrest said.

"I said, 'John, I can't do that,'" Gilchrest, R-1st-Md., said in an interview. "He said, 'Come on. Do me a favor. I want to help you here.'"

Another one to add to the list. I still find it difficult to take in the lengths that they will go to.

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Flickr Of The Day

A moody shot of Cromer Pier, Norfolk.

Another Desertion from Microsoft to Apple

Another big-name personality jumps ship from Microsoft!

Genetically Modified Mosquitoes

The Malaria Research Institute at John Hopkins University has created genetically modified mosquitoes which cannot pass on malaria. The plan would be to release these mossies into the wild where they would drive out the local malaria carrying mosquitoes and eventually eradicate the disease.

The strategy is likely to be contentious because it would require the unprecedented release of tens of thousands of GM organisms into the wild. But it has raised hopes among scientists, some of whom believe it may be powerful enough to bring under control a disease that strikes 300 million people a year and causes more than a million deaths.


A worthy cause. But so was the release of cane toads into Queensland to combat the cane beetle, I just hope this will be more successful if it happens, but it worries me greatly.

Howard Still Using the Cheney Playbook

Has John Howard ever admitted that there was no link between Iraq and the 9/11 attack? I know that Bush and Cheney have been forced to through gritted teeth but both still include both in speeches. But I don't recall Howard ever recanting.

In a speech marking the 4th anniversary of the start of the Iraq war, Howard talked about the 'lessons' of 9/11

The US is currently moving a further 20,000 troops into Iraq as part of a planned "surge" Washington hopes will help stamp out sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shias.

The bulk of the extra troops will be sent to Baghdad, where the security situation is at its worst.

Mr Howard said Australia should not forget the lessons of September 11, where it was shown that failed states such as Afghanistan could become a launch pad for terror attacks on Western interests.

I'm not sure that creating another failed state was the way to go.

Too Much Time

Someone with too much time on their hands!

Congress Showdown

It looks like this may be it. Finally, a showdown between Congress and the White House. George W Bush, of course, wants interviews with Karl Rove and Harriet Myers with no official record, so it can't be proven later that they had lied. Congress looks like it will stand firm and demand testimony under oath. The NY Times editorialises:

The Bush administration is trying to hide behind the doctrine of “executive privilege.” That term does not appear in the Constitution; the best Mr. Bush could do yesterday was a stammering reference to the separate branches of government. When presidents have tried to invoke this privilege, the courts have been skeptical. President Richard Nixon tried to withhold the Watergate tapes, but a unanimous Supreme Court ruled against him.


For the first time in six years, this administration is being brought to account.

Millions of Flu Shots to be Destroyed

It seems a shame to have to destroy millions of flu shots which will still be active, they could last for two or three years. However, the strain of flu mutates slightly each year so each year's batch has to contain the best guess of the coming flu seasons strains.

Millions of doses of flu vaccine will expire at midnight June 30, unsold during this year's mild flu season and written off as trash. Still perfectly good, and possibly useful for a few more years, the vaccine will wind up being destroyed. This annual ritual is supposed to ensure that Americans get the most up-to-date vaccine, but the leftovers _ more than 10 million of a record 110 million doses produced _ will be destroyed before a new supply is guaranteed.

An Associated Press examination of this long-standing practice raises questions about its consequences. For years, policymakers have talked about letting doctors keep unused vaccine until new doses are in hand, donating leftover supplies to poor countries, or pushing back the expiration date. Wasted vaccine means lost money for drug companies and one stopped making flu shots because of it _ setting the stage for a flu shot shortage in 2004.

Still, there is a cost-saving solution. Keep them for use with creationists - well, the influenza virus can't evolve can it?

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Flickr Of The Day


Had To Plan My Escape
Originally uploaded by Automatt.
HDR shot of San Francisco

Monday, 19 March 2007

Flickr Of The Day


The famous maple
Originally uploaded by Just Peachy!.
What a colour! And what a great shape.

I understand that this tree is famous in flickr circles.

Norwich City 1 Stoke City 0

Another good win for Norwich at the weekend and another goal from Darren Huckerby who is in a rich vein of form. Here's the Radio Norfolk match report with interviews with Peter Grant and Tony Warner (Realplayer required).

Congratulations to Chris Martin for his call up to the England Under 19s, a well deserved accolade for a great couple of months. We all feared the worst when Robert Earnshaw was ruled out for the rest of the season but Chris Martin has really stood up in his absence. I'm trying to remember when a Norwich youngster made such a big impact. The first name that springs to mind is Chris Sutton who could play at the back or up front but really made his name as a goal scorer.

DoJ Partisanship

The Rocky Mountain News outlines the case perfectly:

Let us stipulate that U.S. attorneys are political appointees. They are expected to implement the policy objectives of their ultimate boss, the president.

And while most attorneys expect to serve for no more than four years, they can also be replaced any time at the president's choosing - for any reason or none at all.

That said, fairness in law enforcement is jeopardized if Justice Department decisions are made for crassly partisan motives. And the way Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and the White House handled the firing of eight U.S. attorneys in December sure smells like a partisan job in which the true agenda had little to do with "underperforming" officials.
RMN goes on to say

Carol Lam of Southern California. During Lam's tenure, she emphasized corruption probes, leading to the conviction of former GOP Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham on bribery charges. She also convicted two former council members in San Diego on a strip-club related bribery sting that led to convictions of three former Democratic county commissioners in Las Vegas.

The day the Cunningham investigation implicated another Southern California Republican, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis, Sampson sent an e-mail to White House Deputy Counsel William Kelley calling Lam a "real problem."


The other problem, of course, is that the USAs not fired must have been doing a partisan enough job to satisfy Rove and Co.

Sunday, 18 March 2007

Flickr Of The Day


小格頭 雲瀑
Originally uploaded by Alan Huang.
Beautiful Colours

Classic 'Not The Nine O'Clock News'

A magical sketch from the British comedy 'Not The Nine O'Clock News'.

Bill Maher - Americans' Sacrifice

From Andrew Sullivan, a link to Bill Maher listing the sacrifices made by Americans for the 'war on terror'.

Why doesn't everybody understand what is being done in their name?

Saturday, 17 March 2007

Flickr Of The Day


I was having PB withdrawals!
Originally uploaded by ucumari.
Great Shot!

Some Classic Air Traffic Control Homour

Some oldies but goodies...

A DC-10 had come in a little hot and thus had an exceedingly long roll out after touching down.
San Jose Tower Noted: "American 751, make a hard right turn at the end of the runway, if you are able. If you are not able, take the Guadeloupe exit off Highway 101, make a right at the lights and return to the airport."

It depends on what you mean by 'covert'

It think that's been spelled out very clearly, to answer the right-wing talking heads who have been trying to muddy the waters over Valerie Flame's status.

Rep Elijah Cummings (D-MD) devoted his entire first round of questioning today to clarifying whether or not Valerie Plame was indeed "covert" at the time of her outing. Let this be the video that sets the record straight once and for all.
Crooks and Liars has the video. It's worth watching.

More trouble for Gonzales?

The the furore about the firing of eight US attorneys bubbling along nicely, is another even bigger scandal just about to break.

Dan Froomkin, in his excellent daily White House Watch lists under the heading Cover Up Watch:

The ACLU announces: "Following reports by the National Journal that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales advised President Bush to shut down an internal review of the National Security Agency's warrantless surveillance program due to the possibility that his own actions would be scrutinized, the American Civil Liberties Union today renewed its call for a special prosecutor to be appointed to investigate the program."

In a letter to Gonzales, four Democratic senators ask: "When did you learn that you were a target of the OPR investigation? Did you inform President Bush that you were a target of the OPR investigation? Did you recommend that President Bush deny security clearances to the OPR investigators?"

Glenn Greenwald blogs for Salon: "The plainly illegal warrantless eavesdropping program is still, in my view, the area in which real investigations are most needed. And this obstructed OPR investigation is part of a clear, broader pattern whereby all such investigations into the NSA program have been blocked."

Will falling on his sword be enough?

Former US Attorney Speaks Out

Former U.S. Attorney Bud Cummins speaks out against the dismissals of the other 7 USAs.

TPM Muckraker has the story:

"I've heard every one of the [Justice Department's "performance related" issues with the other dismissed US attorneys], and I'm completely convinced at this point that they are fabricated assertions, and that they were in no way on the table when the decisions to dismiss those seven USAs were made," he told me..."


A few months ago this story would would have been swept under the carpet. The tenacity of blogs like TPM have kept it in the public eye and now the Senate has subpoena power.

Worst President Ever

Donald Trump lays into George W Bush as the worst ever.

"Bush is probably the worst president in the history of the United States," Trump told CNN, lamenting the 2004 Democratic failure to stop Bush's reelection.

"I just don't understand how they could have lost that election."

Crooks and Liars has the video.

Friday, 16 March 2007

Flickr Of The Day


Bouillon, Ardennes, Belgium
Originally uploaded by Londoniss.
You can't beat it. Sitting by the river in Bouillon, in the Ardennes region of Belgium, eating frites dipped in mayonnaise!

The Day Pigs Flew


It must have been a real shock for the pilots landing at Heathrow.

A flying inflatable pig appeared at Roger Waters' Dark Side Of The Moon Concert at Rod Laver Arena last month.

Norwich Supporters' 'Remarkable Loyalty'

Well, we've had nothing to shout about for the last two disappointing seasons, but the fans are turning out in huge numbers to renew their season tickets again when other clubs are struggling to fill stadia.

Why is this? There are several reasons and you need to go back to the dark days of the Robert Chase era. It was a time when the fans were being disenfranchised and alienated by the club. No information, or misinformation were the order of the day. Players were sold to stave of foreclosure by the bank and the club was on the brink. After a life-saving loan by the club President, Geoffrey Watling, in stepped Delia Smith and her husband Michael Wyn Jones. Putting in their own money to provide financial stability was only part of it. Giving the club back to the people has been the major factor - supporter representation, open forums, club roadshows and community involvement are the order of the day.

The club has been transformed in the last ten years and is regularly described as one of the most welcoming in the country. The club has just won two national Football League awards for best club marketing and community involvement.

The club has placed its trust in its supporters and have been rewarded with full houses for the last few seasons and, by the look of it, for the next few as well.

The US Attorney Sackings Scandal Grows

The position of Alberto Gonzales, the Attorney General appears to be getting more and more fragile. With Andrew Cohen detailing his failings here, here and here , the New York Times editorialising about phony voting fraud charges, Karl Rove being linked to the firings and Dan Froomkin adding more detail in his excellent daily column, White House Watch, surely it's only a matter of time.

Waas writes that it isn't clear if Bush knew Gonzales was a potential target of the probe when he intervened. But either way, this is ugly.

If Gonzales told the president he wanted the probe quashed because he himself was in the crosshairs, then you've potentially got Bush personally involved in a cover-up to help his friend. If Gonzales didn't tell Bush that he was a potential target, then the attorney general may have abused his office and misled the president.

John Howard Is Not Happy!

The brilliantly named Minister for Ageing, Santo Santoro has resigned from his post over failure to declare share dealings. John Howard was not looking happy as his attack on Kevin Rudd over ethical matters is backfiring horribly.

Federal Minister for Ageing Santo Santoro has resigned from the Howard ministry over a share scandal.

He told reporters he had written to Prime Minister John Howard tendering his resignation.

The senator had failed to immediately sell off stocks in a biotechnology company after being appointed to his health-related portfolio in 2006.

Mr Howard earlier this week refused to sack Senator Santoro, saying the Queenslander had alerted him as soon as the error was realised, and that he had donated the profit from the shares to a charity.

Michelle Gratton follows up with an editorial about casting the first stone:

But the public saw the Coalition was making a meal out of a modest snack (which in a bizarre twist, cost the Government a minister, Ian Campbell).

Equally, voters sensed that Rudd was glossing things a bit. In the Nielsen poll, only 24 per cent thought he had been completely truthful about his meetings; 53 per cent said he'd been partly truthful, and 10 per cent said he hadn't told the truth at all. But — and this is important — 83 per cent said learning of Rudd's meetings made no difference to their opinion of him.

In other words, people thought Rudd was being less than frank, but they put the meetings in context, decided they didn't amount to much, so were happy to overlook them. From what we know, this seems a balanced call.


Thursday, 15 March 2007

Flickr Of The Day

Posted on Flickr on 14th March.
The ripples are really defined and eye-catching.

Alberto Gonzales, Presidential Enabler

A damning indictment of the Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, by Andrew Cohen in the Washington Post today.

In one case, involving a Mexican national name Irineo Tristan Montoya, Berlow writes that Gonzales told Mexican officials that since Texas had not signed the Vienna Convention the state was not bound to determine whether local police had violated it when they arrested Montoya for murder. Problem is, as Berlow noted, Article 6 of the Constitution states that federal treaties are the "supreme law of the land" and cannot be trumped by state laws or policies. That's first-year law school stuff, by the way.


Loyalty to 'his master's voice' trumps loyalty to his country every time. How much longer can it go on?

Pathetic

Pathetic is the only word that describes the continuing personal attacks by Coalition ministers on Kevin Rudd. Tony Abbott is the latest with a article questioning Kevin Rudd's childhood.

And the Sydney Sun-Herald had questioned his much-told story about the family's eviction from a farm after his father died.

"Rudd seems convinced of his version of events drawn, no doubt, from family folklore. The problem with his story is that it now sounds too self-serving to be true", Mr Abbott wrote.

This appears to me as a desperate attempt to smear an opposition leader doing well in the polls with anything they can think of. It's looking more and more ridiculous and small-minded by the day. I can't believe it will pay off.

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Flickr Of The Day


Napoli
Originally uploaded by .eti.
Naples and the threatening presence of Mt Vesuvius

Google Maps Flight Sim


If you like Google Maps, you'll love this. I've set it up to fly from the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne. Just click the start button to go. Follow the instructions to set it up over your home town.

Norwich City 1 Birmingham 0

A great win for Norwich last night, and from the sound of it, a great goal by Darren Huckerby.

Norwich boss Peter Grant saluted his 'maverick' match winner Darren Huckerby after the flyer's Carrow Road wonder-goal sunk Championship title favourites Birmingham.
Huckerby glided past four Blues' defenders after racing from his own half to fire City ahead 90 seconds into the second period.

Norwich have struggled during this season, but with a couple of good recent wins, and the fantastic number of supporters renewing their season tickets, the future looks bright.

Fair play to Steve Bruce, Birmingham's manager and, of course, ex Norwich City defender who praised both the Huckerby goal and the crowd.

BBC interviews with Darren Huckerby and manager Peter Grant (realplayer required)

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Flickr Of The Day

I've been fascinated by the technique of HDR - High Definition Range - photos on Flickr.

I must try it myself.

The Best Burgers in the World? Probably



If you're ever in Norwich, don't leave without visiting Zak's on Mousehold Heath, home of the best burger in the world. Well, that I've tasted anyway.

Gen Pace Calls Homosexuality Immoral

General Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has called homosexuality immoral and went on to say:

"As an individual, I would not want [acceptance of gay behavior] to be our policy, just like I would not want it to be our policy that if we were to find out that so-and-so was sleeping with somebody else's wife, that we would just look the other way, which we do not. We prosecute that kind of immoral behavior,"

If they start throwing out personnel for adultery, they're really going to struggle to keep the Armed Forces up to quota.

Creationism - Lewis Black style

Lewis Black discusses creationism. Not recommended for the easily offended.

A Contrast in Crime

Two contrasting stories about crime caught my eye today.

In the Times Online today:

A ten-year-boy considered so out of control that he was banned from a school for badly behaved children has become one of the youngest with an antisocial behaviour order.

Lewis Green, who has three criminal convictions, loves to get drunk, and smoke cigarettes and cannabis, and will steal from his own family to fund his various habits.

He has terrorised neighbours in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, where he has threatened other children with knives, stolen bicycles, shouted obscenities at pensioners and abused community support officers sent to impose order.


Meanwhile a Productivity Commission report here in Australia says:

NEVER mind the scaremongering, Australians are feeling increasingly relaxed and comfortable in their neighbourhoods, Productivity Commission figures suggest.

The proportion of Australians who believe physical assault to be a problem in their neighbourhood has plummeted from 56.5 per cent in 2003-04 to 38.6 per cent in 2005-06, according to the commission's 2007 report on government services.

The proportion of Australians who believe housebreaking to be a problem locally has steadily declined from 74 per cent in 2003-04 to 60.6 per cent in 2005-06. And only 57.1 per cent of Australians in 2005-06 regard illegal drugs as a problem in their neighbourhood, compared to 73.1 per cent in 2003-04.

Obviously, our car number plates are right. Victoria, the place to be!

Halliburton to Dubai. Why?

Over the weekend, Halliburton announced that it was moving its Head Office to Dubai.

Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.), ... a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, who said he would seek hearings on the move, added: "I want to know, is Halliburton trying to run away from bad publicity on their contracts? Are they trying to run away from the obligation to pay U.S. taxes? Or are they trying to set up a corporate presence in Dubai so that they can avoid the restrictions that currently exist on doing business with prohibited countries like Iran?"
I suspect that the main reason is found in the next paragraph in the Washington Post article...

People familiar with investigations carried out by the Pentagon and special Iraq inspectors general said there were many aspects of Halliburton's contracts in Iraq that have not yet come under full scrutiny.

Monday, 12 March 2007

Flickr Of The Day


there is a city in the distance
Originally uploaded by -stacey-.
Posted 11th March. A beautiful shot of Toronto.

Putting Melbourne's Trains Into Orbit

As with most cities, Melbourne's train map looks like the spokes of a wheel with all tracks leading to the downtown Melbourne. This however, doesn't support the large number of journeys that don't require a journey downtown.

The route should be an approximation of a circle with a 15 to 18-kilometre radius centred on Flinders Street Station. It could run Sandringham, Moorabbin, Huntingdale, Monash University, Glen Waverley, Nunawading, Macleod, La Trobe University, Thomastown, Broadmeadows, Melbourne Airport, Keilor Plains, Deer Park and Newport. For circle closure and to avoid unnecessary reversing, the circle trains could continue from Newport to Flinders Street to Sandringham and the reverse.

To get some idea of the relative attraction of this route, consider a couple of journeys from Box Hill, to La Trobe and Monash universities respectively. The best public transport times on this route are an hour and a half to La Trobe and 55 minutes to Monash, and either can take a lot longer. With the new orbital railway completed, Box Hill to La Trobe would come down to 20 minutes and Box Hill to Monash would take less than 15 minutes. Both universities could find better uses for the vast area now devoted to car parks.

I've always felt that this could be a solution in London as well with a railway following the M25 with stations where the track crossed lines into London.

Savaged By a Dead Sheep

One of my favourite political sayings came after an attack on Denis Healey, the Labour politician and fomer Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the seventies by Sir Geoffrey Howe when Healey likened it to being 'savaged by a dead sheep'.

The phrase came to mind as I watched Alexander Downer, Australia's Foreign Minister, last night questioning Labour's fitness to govern.

The smear tactics are not working according to the latest polls.

Labour MPs say the electorate is not interested in the Federal Government's smear campaign against Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd.

An AC Nielsen poll, published in Fairfax newspapers today, shows Labor would easily win an election on a two-party preferred vote of 61 per cent to the coalition's 39 per cent.


Sunday, 11 March 2007

Flickr Of The Day


The 'Adam & Eve' pub, Norwich
Originally uploaded by SteeveeGee.
The Adam and Eve Pub, the oldest pub in Norwich.

Alberto on borrowed time?

Is Alberto Gonzales, the Attorney General, on borrowed time?

On appointment, he swore an oath to uphold the constitution and moved from working for the Executive Branch to representing the people. However, nothing seems to have changed and he has consistently treated Congress with contempt, never more so than when he tried to insist that the fact that Habeus Corpus could not be suspended didn't mean that it had to apply to everyone.

With the political sackings of the 8 US State attorneys, he may have taken a step too far. As a NY Times editorial writes:

First, there was Mr. Gonzales’s lame op-ed article in USA Today trying to defend the obviously politically motivated firing of eight United States attorneys, which he dismissed as an “overblown personnel matter.” Then his inspector general exposed the way the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been abusing yet another unnecessary new power that Mr. Gonzales helped wring out of the Republican-dominated Congress in the name of fighting terrorism.
Will this be a bridge (or bridges) too far?

IKEA Ad

What a great ad.

Saturday, 10 March 2007

Flickr Of The Day


glisten
Originally uploaded by dn lpnsk.
What a great shot

Addictive

It's addictive. Well, for a couple of minutes.

Amazing surround sound

You need headphones to listen to this amazing flash program.

This site was 'Stumbled Upon' (a Firefox extension).

EJ Dionne Concurs

Again in the WaPo, E.J. Dionne excoriates the Conservatives for their partisan reaction to the Libby verdict:

Take the rush of conservative organs demanding an immediate pardon of Scooter Libby after his conviction on four counts related to lying and obstruction of justice. Last I checked, conservatives were deeply committed to the rule of law. They said so frequently during the Clinton impeachment saga.

But the conscientious Libby jury had barely announced its conclusions when the Wall Street Journal editorial page and the National Review, among others, called for a pardon because the case, as the Journal editorial put it, involved "a travesty of justice."


Is the Right Blinkered?

I've often thought that politicians and supporters on the right of the political spectrum see things in a much more polarised, black and white fashion than those on the left. I believe that I read a scientific survey a few years ago that indicated this.

Some of the pontificating by conservative commentators over the Libby verdict is just mind-blowing. "It's all a left wing plot" - "Guilty of forgetfulness" - "pardon him now!". Listen to Charles Krauthammer in the WaPo today:

There are lies and there are memory lapses. Bill Clinton denied under oath having sex with Monica Lewinsky. Unless you're Wilt Chamberlain, sex is not the kind of thing you forget easily. Sandy Berger denied stuffing classified documents in his pants, an act not quite as elaborate as sex, but still involving a lot of muscle memory and unlikely to have been honestly forgotten.

Scooter Libby has just been convicted of four felonies that could theoretically give him 25 years in jail for . . . what? Misstating when he first heard a certain piece of information, namely the identity of Joe Wilson's wife.

For lying to cover for his boss, Dick Cheney, that's for what. And it certainly isn't a left-wing witch-hunt. As a reader of Andrew Sullivan writes:

No. The right hand man of the most powerful Republican Vice President in history was done in by a lot of other Republicans. The John Ashcroft Justice Dept agreed with the CIA request to investigate the Valerie Plame leak. Ashcroft’s Republican assistant, James Comey, appointed one of his own, Patrick Fitzgerald, perhaps the only Republican in Chicago.
The only question now is will the whole deception that became the raison d'etre for the invasion of Iraq start to unravel? The yellowcake from Niger, the WMDs that the UN inspectors couldn't find even though Rumsfeld was proclaiming we knew where they were (why didn't he just tell them where to look?), the Al Qaeda-Iraq connection, the Curveball evidence. Where did it come from? Who validated it? Who pushed it?


Thursday, 8 March 2007

Flickr Of The Day


Hummingbird 8
Originally uploaded by Alfredo11.
From the Flickr 'Last 7 Days' selection

Uncurious

The uncurious press has given Uncurious George a pass for the last six years. Dan Froomkin at the Washington Post suggests some questions:

* What did Bush know and when did he know it?

* Did Cheney tell Libby to leak Plame's identity to reporters?

* How involved was Cheney in the cover-up? How involved was Bush?

* Why is Karl Rove still working at the White House?

* What are the ethical standards for this White House? What is considered acceptable behavior and what is not? What is a firing offense?

When will the press ask the questions? Though Tony Snow is probably not the right person to ask!

What Did He Know And When Did He Know It?

In September 2003, George W Bush during an interview in Chicago said "I don't know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified information. If somebody did leak classified action, I'd like to know about it, and we'll take the appropriate action."

Mark Sandalow, of the San Francisco Chronicle writes:

The month-long trial established beyond a reasonable doubt that White House officials at the highest level conducted a campaign to discredit those who questioned their declarations about Iraq's weapon capabilities -- declarations that turned out to be wrong.

And the testimony showed that President Bush was either lying about the White House role in outing a CIA officer at the center of the scandal, or kept in the dark by top aides who deliberately defied his orders to come forward.


Which is worse, that he knew and lied, or that Dick Cheney orchestrated the campaign without informing him?

Wednesday, 7 March 2007

Flickr Of The Day

The McNaught Comet captured over the Eyre Peninsula, South Australia in January 2007

Norwich City 1 Derby County 2

I listened to the game via the internet this morning. Sounded like a great performance which Derby just edged.

Chris Martin continues his wonderful start with another goal plus one ruled out for offside.

Howard's Campaign Backfires

John Howard's cynical and purely political campaign against Kevin Rudd has backfired. The new Justice Minister, David Johnston, has shares in two companies who have employed the disgraced WA lobbyist Brian Burke and, obviously, any contact with him, however innocent, is unacceptable as Ian Campbell, the former Human Services Minister found to his cost.

Within hours of the appointment of WA Senator David Johnston as Justice Minister, it emerged that he had shares in two mining companies — Murchison Metals and Croesus Mining — which have employed Mr Burke as a lobbyist.

WA's Crime and Corruption Commission is investigating the lobbying activities of Mr Burke and his business partner Julian Grill, including their work for the two mining companies in which Senator Johnston has shares.

Despite grilling Senator Johnston on his WA connections, Mr Howard was unaware of the share link with Mr Burke until after he made the appointment.


How the wheel turns!




Moose Brings Down Helicopter

It's a dangerous world out there (h/t Dave Barry Blog)

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

Flickr of the Day


Lightning Storm
Originally uploaded by DerekBBB.
Lightning Storm over Sydney, 4th March 2007

Plan 'B'? There is no Plan 'B'.

The Cunning Realist highlights the fact.
During a White House meeting last week, a group of governors asked President Bush and Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, about their backup plan for Iraq. What would the administration do if its new strategy didn't work?

The conclusion they took away, the governors later said, was that there is no Plan B. "I'm a Marine," Pace told them, "and Marines don't talk about failure. They talk about victory."


Wishful thinking hasn't worked before and it doesn't look like it will work now.

Even the Pentagon is Warning about Global Warning

Can 'W' ignore the Pentagon?

Bob Watson, chief scientist for the World Bank and former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, added that the Pentagon's dire warnings could no longer be ignored.

'Can Bush ignore the Pentagon? It's going be hard to blow off this sort of document. Its hugely embarrassing. After all, Bush's single highest priority is national defence. The Pentagon is no wacko, liberal group, generally speaking it is conservative. If climate change is a threat to national security and the economy, then he has to act. There are two groups the Bush Administration tend to listen to, the oil lobby and the Pentagon,' added Watson.


So, only the oil lobby left.

Falling Ice Closes Expressway

The Gardiner Expressway in Toronto has been closed for the second day because of the danger of ice falling from the nearby CN Tower.

Direct sunlight then began melting the ice. Helped by the wind gusts, chunks of ice began breaking off the frozen concrete walls of the tower, causing great danger to people and vehicles below.

As a result, commuter traffic crept in and out of the city after the police closed the Gardiner Expressway in the morning and kept it closed throughout the evening rush hour.




Sunday, 4 March 2007

Flickr Of The Day


Picture 017a
Originally uploaded by seandfunk.
A daily photo selected from Flickr, sometimes personal, sometimes topical, sometimes just eye-catching. This is Cromer Pier at Sunset.

Stuff History!

Nike had a fantastic series of ads running in Australia in the run up to and during the World Cup. This ad, my favourite, was run before the World Cup started.

Mission Critical

This is what you really call a mission critical fault. H/T to the Good Morning Silicon Valley blog for this story.

If your interested in IT, I'd recommend GMSV, interesting and fun.

Global Warming Update

A prescient column by David Ignatius in the Washington Post looks beyond the effects of global warming on the earth's climate to it's effects on an overcrowded world. He writes:

Or take the problem of rising sea levels: Climate scientists are uncertain how fast the icecaps will melt and the seas will rise. But in Bangladesh, where millions of people live at or near sea level, even a small increase could produce a catastrophe. In a severe monsoon, 60 million to 100 million people could be forced to flee inundated areas, Schwartz warns, producing "the single greatest humanitarian crisis we have ever seen."
How much longer can the US and Australian governments ignore the threat. Only a couple of weeks ago, Nick Minchin, the Australian Finance Minister claimed in an newspaper interview that there remained an "ongoing debate about the extent of climate change". They really need to start thinking about the growing costs of ignoring this. If they think the illegal immigration problem is bad now...

Iraq and Oil

As Iraq's Oil Agreement goes through the process of ratification in Iraq, one wonders who will benefit the most. Certainly, the centralisation of income and equitable distribution to all parties in Iraq is essential for any sort of chance for peace in the future.

Zalmay Khalilzad, the US Ambassador to Iraq writes in the Washington Post today:

The law defines a role for the Oil Ministry that is primarily regulatory, which is the modern standard and which will also harness the market to achieve the optimal development of Iraq's resources. It provides the legal framework to enable international investment in Iraq's oil and gas sectors, a break from the statist and overcentralized practices of the past (my italics). It also requires best practices in environmental protection and field management and development, ensuring that the environment is not damaged and that hydrocarbon assets are not wasted by poor practices of the past.

Phew!

The Championship table is looking a bit more comfortable now after Norwich's win at Barnsley last night.

Chris Martin, the 18 year old striker scored again. He's having a great start to his career. I've seen so many strikers come through the Youth ranks at Norwich, struggle to score at the higher level and never make the grade.

Peter Grant's post-match interview (Real Player Required)

Saturday, 3 March 2007

Tough game at Barnsley tonight

Norwich are at Barnsley tonight - 2am kick-off Australian time. Typically for Norwich, Barnsley have just won their last two games without conceding a goal so I expect it will be a difficult game. I'll find out tomorrow morning.

A Problematic Vista Upgrade

Tim Weber, Business editor of the BBC News website has a few problems upgrading to Windows Vista.

Vista looked slick. Its user interface was clear and set-up seemingly easy. The XP gobbledegook had disappeared from dialogue boxes.

Installing the new wifi driver and anti-virus software was a cinch.

Software worked straight away - whether it was Microsoft Office, Firefox or my very old copy of Photoshop Elements.

But soon the problems began to mount.....