Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Scientific research to order

February 19, 2007

Some types of Cocoa is good for blood supply to the brain and, as a result it may help to ward off the onset of problems such as memory loss and dementia. On the face of it, this is very good news for everyone and we should all dash down to our favourite shop and buy tins of coca and products with cocoa amongst their ingredients. It makes sense, doesn’t it?

However, perhaps we ought to take a closer look at the research first. Who has funded this research? None other than Mars Inc. For those of you who do not know what this company does, it may surprise you to find that they produce sweets and animal foods, amongst other products. Nothing surprising in that you might think. However, we you look closer at these products, particularly the sweets, such as M&M’s,” it might not surprise you to learn that most of these contain the type of cocoa that the scientists are sounding their trumpets about.

Far be it from me to doubt the works of scientists, but might I be forgiven for thinking that this is a case of science being made to fit the product of the financial backer? Perish the thought.

the Brit 

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Nudity and Penis lead to fines

February 10, 2007

Hi Grit

I was wandering through the weekend news when I noticed two unusual items. The first of these involved a university student in Cambridge (UK). As you know we have recently had a lot snow. Thus, this particular student thought it would be appropriate to build a snow sculpture on one of the university lawns. However, instead of creating a suitable work of art, such as a snowman or igloo, the student plumped for a more original work, a penis. He was apprehended by police and given a fixed penalty for causing a public offence. I think this was a bit harsh bearing in mind that the structure would melt, therefore it can hardly be classed as fixed. No doubt he was trying to melt the ladies hearts.

The other story, which can be seen to be linked with the first, concerns a New York man who has been accused of riding nude in a ski-lift gondola and indecent activity. The man’s excuse was that the weather was too warm for clothing.

It is a weird world.

the Brit

Tony Blair double standards

February 5, 2007

Hi Grit

As you may be aware Tony Blair is not only Prime Minister, but also the leader of the labour party (I think they are similar to your republicans). One of the key policies of this party is equality for the masses and the working class. However, from a recent news article that I read it appears that this equality does not apply to ones beloved rulers.

The article in question informed us that Tony Blair and his wife are buying a new house. In itself that may not be noteworthy. However, this is not his only property, nor it is his second or third. In fact, it is his fifth home! At £800.000 ($1.6 million) it is obviously not your average two up two down terraced house either.

Correct me if I am wrong my friend but I do believe that this is a blatant case of double standards.

1) Part of Labour policy is to eradicate homelessness, but he has 5 homes, which denies 4 families a

2) Many labour politicians have complained that owners of second homes are the main cause of rural community destruction. Does this mean that there are at least four communities that Blair does not like?

3) Part of the Global warming concern is land use. Blair’s occupation of five homes in my view, signifies his lack of commitment to this project.

4) Another aspect of the Global warming debate is conservation, particularly of energy. Bearing in mind that, by law, every one of these homes has to be protected by our secret service, which by the way continues after he leaves office, has Blair not increased by fivefold his personal carbon footprint?

5) First time property buyers in the UK are being squeezed out of the market by house price increases. House prices are influenced by, among other things, the income of the people who move into the area. Celebrity status, whether we like it or not, affects house prices. Is Blair therefore not contributing to the class divide?

Funny how I have a complaint to match each house. However, whilst the price tag is no problem for his and his wife’s joint income, I have to say that this level of irresponsibility only contributes to the public’s anger over the politicians actual double standards. How can they expect the really important people, YOU AND I, to trust their judgement and words when they so blatantly promote one law for the politicians and another for us?

I should add of course, that there is a glimmer of hope that Tony Blair will increase his number of homes to six in the near future. This might occur if he is charged with a criminal offence over the “cash for honours” scandal. One can but hope.

the Brit

Children to fight in Iraq

February 4, 2007

Hi Grit

It seems like the UK government has made another enormous blunder, this time putting under 17’s in harms way. It has been reported that they have sent 15 children on active service to Iraq, at least four of which are young girls. This despite the fact that there are UK and UN regulations prohibiting children seeing active duty of this nature.

The governments position is that it was an oversight as if this justifies the error. Whoever was responsible for this act of stupidity should be brought to task immediately. These sorts of oversights are inexcusible, especially when they put our children in danger.

the Brit 

Tony Blair and the real reality

January 30, 2007

Hi Grit

Over here we have today a real “reality” programme playing out and this time it stars the PM Tony Blair. You will remember the “cash for honours” scandal of a few weeks ago. Well last week an aide of Blair’s from Downing Street was arrested for alledgedly deleting e-mails from the computer system. Today Lord Levy, Blair’s fundraise was arrested, this time for conspiracy and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

The noose is getting tighter and, unless he is very lucky, Tony Blair could find himself in a very different position from the one he holds now. The long arm of the law does not recognise the offenders position in life (hopefully!).

the Brit

George Bush and the ladies triangle

January 27, 2007

Hi Grit

Although there has been no Clinton-type impropriety during George Bush’s Presidency, he must be wondering what he has done to become embroiled in a triangle on ladies.

It seems to me that this is the most important issue that George Bush has to face during the last two years of his term, namely how to deal with the ladies. In the past three months suddenly, out of seemingly nowhere, he has been placed in the middle of a triangle of female attackers.

First there is the leader of the house Ms Pelosi, who has made plain her disagreement with the way that he is conducting the Iraq war and a number of other issues. In fact, it is difficult to find an issue where there is any vestigage of agreement between the two.

Next comes Ms Merkel of the EU, seeking to promote a single US/EU marketplace. One only has to look at the imperfections of the EU’s own region wide policies to see how successful that will be. This despite the fact that there is no consensus of opinion in favour of it from the individual nations involved.

Lastly, Hilary Clinton has entered the fray. One of course has to wonder about her utterances of returning the core values back to American life, especially in view of the husbands antics whilst he was in office.

Whilst I am in no way a chauvinist, I have to wonder how Bush is going to cope with this new position he finds himself in. Having spent the last six years discussing issues with male politicians, with whom he shares a similar daily word output, how is he going to fare in a position where he has to discuss these with ladies, who researches have proven to have a word output of at least 2.5 times that of a male?

the Brit

US Presidential race – confused

January 25, 2007

Hi Grit

I may be a little dense, but I am having real trouble working out who is doing what in the race to become your next President. Firstly people seem to jumping jumping on the band wagon. As far as I can see there are now three democrats involved, including Hilary Clinton. I have yet to catch up with who is running for the other side, but no doubt that will come to me in the next few days.

Also, it appears that everyone is leading on the same home policy, home care. Assuming that the Iraq situation is over by then, won’t this be just a little confusing for the electorate?

Oh I will also be looking to see how much money is being thrown at the election campaigns as well.

the Brit

State of the Union and George Bush

January 25, 2007

Hi Grit

At the risk of getting shot down in flames, I am going to comment on George Bush’s state of the union address, over which there has been a lot of criticism. There are those who say that it was weak or that it showed a turnaround in his opinions. However, I disagree with these comments. I have been comparing his speech this year with the one he gave in 2003 and have come up with some surprising results.

Domestic affairs

I can find little difference between what George Bush said this year against what he said in 2003. He is asking for issue such as health care and immigration to be placed at the top of the list in terms of social issues that the country needs to deal with. Is that wrong? As has been mentioned in many areas of the media and other posts here, the rich do seem to have an easier and less taxed ride that the ordinary populace. Of course, that comment applies to the UK as well.

Environment

Way back in 2003 Bush recognised the need for industries such as the automobile manufacturers to address environment issues. His latest speech asks the same of them. They have the money and technology to make the changes but failed to address the issue. Today he is asking the question again.

Business

In 2003, George Bush outlined the extensive steps that the government had taken to curb the abuses of business, referring to legislation such as the Sorbanes-Oxley Act. In 2007 he is asking for business to continue to improve their social responsibility efforts.

Terror

It appears from the 2003 speech that there was cross-party support to fight the threat of terrorism and, more importantly, the war in Iraq. Now all that appears to have changed. Has George Bush changed his stance on that? Not as far as I can see. If he is to be credited with nothing else, it appears to me that his consistancy has to be admired.  Again I would comment that the same position appears to have evolved in the UK.

Does his address this year reflect a change of emphasis? No I don’t think so, neither is it the speech of a “lame duck” President. In this speech he is reiterating many of the tasks that he set the US in 2003. The only difference is that now he is saying to the democrats “Okay, you have control, now use it to make our country better.” The problem is whether the new regime will take heed or not.

Whatever side of the US political divide people are on I personally think that they cannot label George Bush as either weak or inconsistant. However, from other political discussions that I have read, this is not a position that one can attach to all US politicians.

the Brit

Christian religion and child cruelty

January 25, 2007

Hi Grit

This post may not be popular with some, but I think it is a subject that needs to be aired. It was brought to my attention by a news item concerning a church minister who is actively promoting child cruelty amongst his congregation.  The minister has allegedly actively condoned the action of a father who branded his child because he thought the child was a witch and, in other cases he has encouraged parents to send unruly (what he calls “witch-children”) back to africa so he can pray for them to die!

Whilst this may be an extreme case, child cruelty and sex abuse in the church is not a new phenomena.  Over the past few decades in the UK there have been a number of cases of child abuse involving the clergy. In those situations, as in this case, there is one significant omission – reaction from the church! I cannot recall the church making any definitive and meaningful statements on the issue. They have not come out in public and set forth a plan to investigate, address and combat the incidence of child sex abuse by the clergy. In addition, they need to publicly and loudly condemn such abuse. I know that someone will correct me if I am wrong, but in the UK I have yet to see one case where the church has instigated an action against a child abuser in their midst and made it public.

In my view there are two issues here. Firstly, the church needs to implement a strategy to limit the potential for acts of child abuse. This could be done by better training of the clergy, including a more detailed psychological appraisal of clergy applicants. Strict regulations and guidelines should also be introduced in respect of the way in which the clergy is allowed to act and interact with children. Why should they be treated any different to other professionals who deal with children?

The second issue is celibacy. A large portion of the Christian church promotes the ideal that their clergy must be celibate. In these cases it is a matter of dictate rather than choice. It is no defence to say that people have the choice not to become clergy. If they have a calling to a become a minister in a particular church, this should not be denied by their need to have a sexual partner or companion. It is blatant discrimination. Furthermore, such a position is not supported by the scriptures. These types of religious sexual restrictions provide the temptation for child abuse.    

It would seem that the clergy does not like to air its dirty linen in public, but we are talking here about child abuse, and there is no justification for hiding this behind closed doors. In the UK in 2001, a national vetting body was proposed for the clergy, following 26 criminal cases of clergy child abuse, and that is potentially just the tip of an iceberg. There are two issues here. Firstly, it is not a totally independent body, which is should be. Secondly, it is amazing how little information regarding the findings of that organisation has published in the past five years.

The US Christian churches have also made the issue of prosecution of the clergy in child abuse cases more difficult, as an article in 2002 shows. Laws have been passed, perhaps unwittingly, that allow the church to continue to hide the child abuse actions of their clergy.

The peoples relationship with the church is meant to be built on faith and trust. It is apparent from these issues that there are those within the clergy who abuse that faith and trust in respect of their actions towards children. The Christian church, by its actions and inactions, is condoning that abuse and it is time this was bought to an end. The Church, like all other social, political and commercial organisations, should be subject to independent public scrutiny.

When Jesus said “Suffer the children” he did not intend the word “suffer” to be taken literally.

the Brit

PS: For those of you interested on the issues of child abuse and what can be done about it, please visit the site “Child protection: serious business” listed on our blogroll.

The BBC

January 24, 2007

Hi Grit

The complaints against the BBC have been raging for years. Its charter is to provide public service broadcasting throughout the nation. It is funded purely by the public, with everyone who owns a TV set having to pay an annual fee of £131 (soon to be £151). However, since its inception the BBC has built a large organisations, which has at least 4 TV channels, numerous regional channels and a massive internet site. The development does give it edge over other media.

From a busines viewpoint one has to admire the way they have built their empire, and there is no doubt that the quality of their programmes is generally superior to the other media. 

Howevere, there is some merit in the complaints that the Guardian are making. There is a bias in the BBC against those who do not agree with their viewpoint and this is the way that they ensure control of controversial subjects, and to a certain extent sway political opinion.

the Brit

Shilpa Shetty

January 19, 2007

shilpa.jpgShipla Shetty is the Indian person involved in the Big Brother racist incident, the victim. For those who don’t know Shilpa is a famous Indian Bollywood star. She is now tipped to be the winner, which should extend her fame in Europe.

the Brit

Jade Goody evicted

January 19, 2007

In under an hours time Jade Goody will be evicted from the Big Brother, despite having tried tjade-1.jpgo make her peace with Shilpa. The first house ever to come out on a Friday eviction to total silence and no crowds to greet her, and the first housemate to create international headlines because of her actions.

In the next few days Jade will find out the extent of the damage that she has inflicted on her career. Having said that, she has stressed tonight, and it has been accepted by Shilpa, that she is not a racist and she has apologised. Let’s hope the world will take that on board as well. The two people involved have made up, let’s hope the media now can let go of it as well.

the Brit

Scottish Independence

January 17, 2007

scottish-flag.jpgHi Grit

A bit of background my friend. On the 1st May 1707, the Scottish people signed to join the union. All was seen to be happiness and happiness and hugging. They benefitted from our industrial wealth, although they still kept that little bit of celtic individuality.

Thus, everything went well as we moved through the ages, fought off the horrible people from the hinterland twice and moved towards the information era. However, unbeknown to us, the era of oil exploration was beginning to light some ideas in the minds of those few Scottish people who thought the English were beneath them. Whisperings began to rumble in dark corners of the Scottish drinking troughs.

Then some bright spark decided that, as a lot of the oil was being dug out of the North Sea, which was close to their coastline, wouldn’t it be a good idea if they could control it all. This despite the fact that English companies did the exploration. So began the fight for a return to independence, which was achieved, in limited fashion, a few years ago.

The rumblings have continued ever since, as they now wish total independence. So you may well be right. Our land might return to the days of battling between the Scots and English, throwing buckets of burning oil at each other. Of course, the UN will have to step in, if only to stop us wasting a precious fuel resource.

An aside. Our Royal mint, which makes all  the coins, has chosen this year to make a celebration coin to mark the 300th anniversary of the union. Seems like a waste to me.

the Brit

Catching up with the Grits

January 16, 2007

Hi Grit

Playing catch up! The work art of impossible timelines seem to have afflicted me this month. Everyone wants their tasks done the day before yesterday. However, all up to date now and no-one can ask for more, until the ‘morrow.

Like inel, I think the snap addition is great, saves a lot of key bashing. Now all I need is a thought processer that can transmit from my brain (what’s left of it), so that my keyboard can progress the work unaided.

the Brit

Laws in the UK

January 14, 2007

Hi Grit

Just thought I would clarify a few things on the law. With regard to the RSPCA they, like other organisations have the ability to take action against people over issues that arise, as in the case of the dog, and get these cases to court. Similarly, individuals can take action against others, neigbours etc, for incidences such as the smoking situation I mentioned in an earlier post. These actions, usually classed under nuisance and the law of Tort, are usually taken through magistrates court and can, in some cases, lead to custodial sentences. However, depending on the severity cases can also be heard in crown courts.

There is no intermediary system of deciding whether cases going to court have any basis or not. Additionally, in most of the nuisance cases the onus is “guilty until you prove your innocence,” unlike the criminal code which is the reverse.

We also have several civil situation with optional penalties (the option being exercised by judges of course). For example, if you abandon your car for any reason, the penalty is decided between £2,500 in fines or 3 months in prison. Noise nuisance – the authorities have the power to remove the offending equipment, or take you to court, where other options come into play.

UK law is quite complex and in many areas can be seen to be quite irrational.

the Brit

UK rights of the individual

January 14, 2007

Hi Grit,

Your post regarding the Fat dog brought to mind the ways in which the rights of the individual in the UK are being eroded at an every increasing rate. It now seems that not only is an Englishman’s house no longer his castle, but what they do in it and with their family and pets is coming under increasing attack. Whilst I would be the first to attack cruelty to animals, I would have thought that a) this situation could have been dealt with in a more sympathetic manner. If the couple were overfeeding the dog it shows how much they love it. However, as I said this case is not isolated.

1) Smoking in your own home is coming under potential legal attack because the fumes might escape into a neighbours house and contaminate their air. I am no scientist, but is it possible for odourous fumes to travel through brick, plaster and paint or wallpaper?

2) Parent inspectors. Parents are no longer trusted to bring up their children, so the government have introduced a system whereby they can send inspectors to evaluate the position and potentially take over.

3) Cameras follow us everywhere we go, on the roads, in many of our gardens, especially in built up areas, and in our cars.

4) The police have thermal imagine equipment that can effectively see through walls. At least they can identify human shapes and their actions by heat source. The mind boggles.

Am I being skeptical or is this all a ploy by the therapy professions to increase the client base, because at the rate things are going, the numbers of citizens who need therapy as a result of all these intrusions will see a dramatic rise.

the Brit

Bend it like Beckham

January 12, 2007

beckham.jpgHi Grit

You may or may not have heard that one of our most famous footballers, David Beckham, has just signed a five year deal to play for a football (soccer) club in LA. Of course, the package might be a little difficult to live on at 80 pence ($1.60) a second, which equates to £500,000 ($1,000,000) a week.

posh.jpgWell in case it gets a little hard to make ends meet, playboy have offered his wife a job in the magazine. Something about centre pages I think. Whilst I would not know what the going rate for that is, I am sure it will not be chicken feed.

You know your people over there should really look at the salary rates you pay some of your celebrities 🙂

the Brit

Poker – Skill or chance

January 11, 2007

Hi Grit

Knowing how hot the subject of Poker is over there, I thought you would like to know that it is coming under legal scrutiny here as well. The history is that for games of chance in the UK you need to have a gaming licence, irrespective of whether you are a business or a club. Well, one gentleman has been taken to court because he ran a poker school without such a licence. However, he claims that Poker is a game of skill. The jury are now deciding the matter.

If the man loses it is going to have a serious impact on all the pubs and clubs that allow poker schools.

the Brit

Language confusion

January 8, 2007

38872-french-public-toilet-0.jpgHi Grit

To “take a leak” in the UK means to relieve oneself. However, this may be a trifle difficult if some disreputable plumber has removed the toilet facility. Much as I am loathe to admit it, it appears the the French have got it right. All they do is provide a hole in the ground, which is difficult to steal.

the Brit

Britney on the rocks

January 5, 2007

Hey Grit

It seems that Britney is not doing too well in terms of fans. Her official website has closed, and this is said to be due to her fans reaction to the latest publicity surrounding the star.

However her publicist says that some of the reports are misrepresented. I wonder how one can misrepresent photos?

the Brit