Thursday, December 21, 2006

Interesting Fact of the Day! No. 5

In case you were every wondering the water ratio in your internal organs, here are some facts for you...

Water makes up greater than 2/3 of the weight of the human body; the brain is 75% water, blood is 83% water, bones are 22% water, muscles are 75% water, and the lungs are 90% water

Woman puts 1 month old child through airport x-ray!

Suffering ducks! Aren't the people who let this happen are supposed to be stopping bombs, terrorists etc?

Check out the full story here

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Interesting Fact of the Day! No. 4

This is quite and interesting one...

Did you know that if you live in the US, you're more likely to die being shot by law enforcement officers, than die from a terrorist act!

More stats on US causes of death!

Devolution - Is it Working?

I think the answer, like that of most essay answers is that it's been a success but only to a certain extent.

To deal with the parliament building first, i'll admit it's a disaster from start to finish but a poorly managed building project is not just a scottish phenomenon. If anything, it was one of the worst estimates in history. Originally estimated to be around £50 million, it did come in at a staggering £432 million and counting. But you also have to remember that the millenium dome was estimated at £399 million and came out at £789 million and the new wembley was originally expected to be around £757 million and is now at around £832 million. So I think we can safely say that it's a feature of many british projects to run over budget. On that point, I really do fear for the London Olympics!

In political terms, devolution has been a step in the right direction. I'm not really a supporter of shortbread nationalist politics as I think that has scotland retained it's identity throughout the union and will continue to do so. It's often conviently forgotton just how much Scotland gained from being a core component of the british empire.

Regardless of the nationalist issues, political and fiscal independence at local level is a framework that can only benefit Scotland and it's people. Particularly when it comes to scottish social issues, Holyrood is in a much better position to make more informed decisions than westminster.

When assessing the success of scottish parliament it's also important to seperate the institution from the administration of parliament. The institution has got some solid foundations in terms of structure, the design of parliamentary procedures that provide a greater say for civic interests and those of businesses. The powers of the 17 committees of parliament have also made the process more transparent to the general public. With a system of proportional representation and a comparitively high number of female members (37%), Holyrood is arguably more representative of the people than it's westminster equivalent.

In terms of administration there have been some problems in terms of political consensus within a coalition govenment and of course the resignation of Henry McLeish. Despite the problems experienced during the debate on tuition fees, the parliament has since repealed the section 28 equivalent in Scotland and reformed long-term care for the elderly. So in terms of social policy, the parliament has made a significant difference to the scottish people.

It's fair to say that it's not been without it's problems but I think that devolution has been a success and regardless of whether Scotland ever achieved independence, I think that this was the best path to take. The country is in a good economic state and despite some evident social problems I think we're starting to get there. However, one of the things that Scotland does lack (and the UK for that matter at the moment) is a strong leader with a clear path that's in the best interests of the country. I fear that regardless of how good the mechanisms of parliament are, without this it won't be as successful as we hope it is.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Anti Social Behaviour - Let's Stop It!

I must admit, as I read this story there were tears in my eyes…

Where ever you’re from and who ever you are it’s worth taking time out to look at this. It really makes you think what kind of a society you live in.

For me, it’s not just the fact that a family like this exists. It’s more that the safe guards were not there within our society to protect a young girl and her parents from this kind of evil. If anything, the current social habitat nurtures people like this. I just don’t believe that the ASBO is the answer. It’s a weak answer to a tough problem.

The authorities had been informed that a problem existed between the two families but like a little child saying, “what’re you going to do about it?” the Connor family realised that there was little the police could do to stop then and continued their campaign of hatred.

The parents are unfit to be parents and as a consequence their children are unfit to be members of our society. The more we let this go on, the bigger the problem is going to get. You can issue ASBOs till doomsday it’s blatantly obvious that it’s not the answer to this problem.

I think there’s a need for a two-fold approach to this problem:

i) We need to send out a clear message that this behaviour will not be tolerated within our society and those who continue in this fashion need to be removed from society.

ii) We need more state influence in the life of teenagers. There are large numbers of parents out there who are struggling to cope with bringing up their children. Whether it’s because of less or no support from partners or lacking the parenting skills required to control their children, we need to face up to the fact that certain areas of society have a problem with this. It’s not something to be ashamed of but I think it should be the government’s duty to support the family unit before supporting wars in far off lands and a larger stockpile of nuclear warheads.

As I mentioned in an earlier article on this blog, it should be society’s responsibility to bridge the parenting gap that currently exists. By engaging kids in a full curriculum of activities within the community, they won’t have to hang about on street corners and simple problems can be solved with simple solutions.

I just can’t understand the lack of common sense or creative policy making within our government and the opposition parties. Enough is enough…

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Newpaper Pigeon Comments!

OK, here's some humour to break up my rather serious agenda. If you look around the web you will see that i like to add my say to many a newspaper column but the public comments for this story are just a joy to read!

The story is a tail from the surrey comet that addresses their local pigeon comments. Look out for "the big wing theory", "I was saved by a pigeon" and "kill them with axes".


Movie Reviews - Superman Returns

To tell you the truth I think it was a bit pants!

I think that by the end I was hoping for Superman to die. I do love blockbusters but i'm struggling to remember the last good one. To compare it to Spiderman, you really care about what happens to Peter Parker and you hope he gets the girl but in Superman you'd be happy to see all the characters die a la reservoir dogs!

In short, it's too long, not enough action and the characters have no personality

Friday, December 08, 2006

Sex Offender Sentences - Enough is Enough

When on earth are we going to learn? Reading today about another case of a sex offendergetting let out on bail early only to offend again . The case i'm talking about is that of Richard Ewing who had been sentenced to 18 years in prison. In 1995 he was convicted of raping a mother-of-three in 1989 as well as a woman who was out walking her dog in Devon.

He was sentenced to 18 years and let out on license after 10. He has now admitted 2 accounts of rape and 3 other charges. How long are we going to let this go on?

Now first of all, it's worth noting that this is not the fault of the courts or the probation office. They follow strict guidelines that are set out to them and this if this guy behaves well during his stay in prison and completes the necessary courses, he gets released early.

Where we have went wrong and where we have let down both the 17yr old girl and the mother who would've known that he'd been released, is that this guys should never be released from prison and especially not into a situation where he could easily offend again.

Our laws have let these people down and it really is time that something was done about it.

The first question that I want answered is what we are hoping to acheive by imprisoning rapists for 4yr and 10yr jail terms. I can only assume that someone somewhere thinks that by taking someone's freedom away for this period, they will learn their lessons and not have any uncontrollable sexual compulsions ever again? In short, we've got it all wrong.

It's quite obvious that a our methods of punishment (which haven't really changed for hundreds of years) just weren't really designed for this sort of thing. If I steal something, you lock me up (well, if i did it 50 times or so), I learn that if I steal, my freedom gets taken away and I don't steal again. Society believes that I can reform my character and I may have been driven to this by a set of circumstances such as poverty or drug addiction but again I can clean up my act and integrate into society, go into shops without stealing things...

Now, if I molest a child or rape someone, can I clean up my act, can I learn my lesson? After four years in prison would you let me live next to your kid's school or live next door to you? Go on, i'm a reformed character! Exactly, I didn't think so.

I think the first step that we have to take is to acknowledge that not all crime is the same. By that I mean that not all prisoners deserve the "second chance" that we as a society currently afford them. I think that we have to take a stand and say that if you commit one of these crimes, you will not be given a second chance and you will be removed from society permanently. Alternatively, you can release these people in a state that doesn't allow them to commit the crime again. If that means through surgical mean, so be it...

It sounds extreme but really it's just common sense. The world has a massive population and society has a massive burden in providing for everyone. Is it really right to ask the tax payer to fork out £37,500 plus maximum security costs to keep these people?

I know that this country is compassionate in it's nature and I think it's admirable that we choose not to have the death penalty. But again, it comes down to this idea of different levels of crime. I do believe that someone can commit murder, be fully rehabilitated and never come into contact with the courts again. I've read quite a bit of the background of Jon Venables and Robert Thompson who abducted Jamie Bulger. I know that it must be unbearable for the Bulger family but we, again as a society have to accept responsibility for the boy's rehabilitation and hopefully we won't hear about them again. However, I don't believe that people charged with certain types of sexual offence can be reformed. If there's a 1% chance that they will reoffend, they should never be allowed out again. We are compassionate but we have to realise that we owe more to society than we do to them.

Enough is enough, there have been too many of these cases. It's time to put an end to it.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Movie Reviews - Kung Fu Hustle

Kung Fu Hustle, what a film! The first time you watch Enter the Dragon you know you're watching something very different to anything that's come before. It's a similar feeling that you get watching this. It takes the action somewhere that you haven't been before. Nice comedy slant on things and great characters...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Trident Upgrade & the Nuclear Question

OK, so they're wanting to go ahead with the £20 billion Trident upgrade.

When looking into this one I think it's important to note that Blair, Brown and Beckett (as was the whole Labour party) were not so long ago vehemently opposed to the theory of a nuclear deterrent. So what's happened to make them all of a sudden see it a great way to blow 2% of the UK's annual income?

I do forgive them for this, they just grew up I guess. We all have those great ideas when we're young but as we get older it becomes tougher to stand by these ideals. Obviously power comes at a price, just leave your principles by the door Sir, you won't be needing them in here...

I think it's one of the fundamental problems that I have with what we call democracy, it's a bit of a smoke screen really. We're chatted up, like the look of them then they screw us and next morning they blank us. It's just human nature I guess but no doubt Mr Blair had an idea when he was young that if he became PM he'd do everything right and not end up hated and out of touch like Thatcher and the tories were. Unfortunately as I mentioned before, the public vote only gets you the top prize. To get yourself a shot at the title you have to make all sorts of promises and sticking up for what's right, just and common sense will probably get you laughed at. The corridors of power are no place for the naive Sir, you'll have to toughen up, form relationships...

Anyway, how can it be democracy when we don't get a say in how our money is spent and who or what we wage war with. Yet, it is that very same democracy which we are told that our government (and King Louie of America) are fighting for. Don't question democracy kids because you might end up losing it! It's a tricky position, get rid of Labour and your looking at You (are a) Tube Cameron, question democracy and we end up with Islamic Fundamentalism. You might be asking yourself, was it not communism that democracy was at war with? Yes, it's all starting to sound like an Orwellian nightmare only the twist in the tail is that you thought freedom had won the war, didn't you?

So the question still remains, why is it that whilst the NHS is in trouble, young people are running riot in our streets and our schools are falling to bits, why can we afford to spend this kind of money on something that we just don't need. Mr Blair seems to think that we could still have to defend ourselves from a rogue state with nuclear capability. Excuse me Mr Blair do you mean there's a rogue state out there with WMDs? There wasn't the last time I looked?

At the end of the day, it's all quite sad really. I'm pretty sure that our nation is not a majority of pro-american, pro-war and pro-kill all muslims. We're not fundamentalists (christian or muslim) and we should take pride in this. The edge we should have over everyone else is our wisdom and commitment to our own society and values. It's something to bear in mind before we commit to 25 more years of being King Louie's nuclear stepping stone.

You can say what you want about the french but you wouldn't see them doing it...

Monday, December 04, 2006

Future Music Reviews

I reckon yeh to these!

Torrent The View - Hats Off To The Buskers
Due for release on 22/01/2007
Torrent Jamie T - Panic Prevention
Due for release on 22/01/2007
Torrent The Shins - Wincing The Night Away
Due for release on 22/01/2007
Torrent The Good The Bad And The Queen - The Good The Bad And The Queen
Due for release on 22/01/2007
Torrent Johnny Cash - Live From Austin, TX
Due for release on 15/01/2007
Torrent The Bee Gees - 1st (Remastered & Expanded) (2CD)
Due for release on 22/01/2007
Torrent Talking Heads - The Collection
Due for release on 15/01/2007

Probably nah to these!

Torrent Field Music - Tones Of Town
Due for release on 22/01/2007
Torrent The Cooper Temple Clause - Make This Your Own
Due for release on 22/01/2007
Torrent Cyssero - Protege Of The Game
Due for release on 22/01/2007
Torrent L.E.O. - Alpacas Orgling
Due for release on 15/01/2007
Torrent Dead Raven Choir - Cask Strength Black Metal (2CD)
Due for release on 15/01/2007
Torrent Immortal - Dammed In Black
Due for release on 15/01/2007
Torrent Thesyre - Exist
Due for release on 15/01/2007
Torrent Fabric 23
Due for release on 15/01/2007

Want to learn more about Scottish culture?

If you're from anywhere in the world and you're looking to learn a bit more about scottish humour and culture, take a look at this advert for Irn Bru, it's got it all!

The humour, the patter, the great icons and scenery (in cartoon form) and a drink that'll rot your teeth. Ahh, it's great to be scottish!!

Interesting Fact of the Day! No. 4

Did you ever know (or care?) that the Earth is the only planet that's not named after a god!