All entries for Monday 04 December 2006

December 04, 2006

Today

Today I wrote five blog entries, made a 90-second radio piece about a train derailment that didn’t really happen, ate the nicest cottage pie, set up some interviews later in the week, oh… and gave the blog a facelift.

As much as I liked the old blue it was a little… fusty. So this (apparently) is red, with my own little amendments. Let me know what you think of it. Although having spent the past hour coding bits of it, I’m not changing it.


And they're off!

The Race For 2008.

The race is definitely on. Like it or not, the starting gun has been fired on the race for the most visible elected post in the world. The Democrats have broken first, with Iowa Governor, Tom Vilsack, in danger of jumping before the gun was fired.

The Democrats

Barack ObamaThe election for George Bush’s successor takes place on November 4th 2008. A full two years early, 55-year old Vilsack sought to breathe some of the pre-mayhem oxygen by going on a five-state tour outlining his vision for America. It’s a risky strategy, but given his low profile – and, it seems, his lowly chances of winning the Democrat nomination – it’s the best way to get ahead.

While his move didn’t force the rest of the field, comments by another contender are making waves in the Democrat race. Barack Obama, held up as the anti-Bush by his supporters, suggested last month he “might” think about running. Such is his credibility, it’s forced more established names like Hillary Clinton and John Edwards to rethink when they might officially throw their hats into the ring.

Senator Evan Bayh is another hopeful. He reacted to the Obama threat by announcing an “exploratory committee” this weekend. It doesn’t sound like much, but for the serious contenders, it’s their way of proving that they’re serious.

Looking forward, it looks like there will be two themes in the Democrat primaries. One is Iraq. Obama opposed it, while others didn’t. The other is Bill. Not being married to Bill Clinton is – bizarrely – going to be a major asset in 2007-8.

The Republicans

On the other side of the ring, the Republicans are playing much more quietly. They seem to be quite happy watching the Democrats argue and aren’t worried about getting involved yet.

Rudy GiulianiOut in front are Rudy Giuliani and John McCain, but behind them are a number of people few Americans have heard of. That’s not to say it’s a sure thing that these two will make it. Both have ‘interesting’ pasts, with Giuliani fairly unpopular before two aeroplanes hit skycrapers in his city. And McCain is a political butterfly, appealing to some Democrats, but not necessarily to everyone in his own party. They’ll sit things out for a while, but it’ll be interesting to see the incumbent party start the race for 2008 as the underdog.

Perhaps the results of the midterms have made the Democrats think this is their big chance, causing them to rush out of the blocks.

What remains to be seen is whether the American public have the appetite for two years of wrangling, and whether it will damage either party to spend too many months naval-gazing.


Dodgy Headlines #8469

From the frontpage of BBC News Online:

Liverpool nearing Dubai takeover

This leads to a number of questions.

  1. Can the Middle East deal with the crisis in the Gaza Strip and a load of Scousers?
  2. How will transport links between Liverpool and its surrogate city be improved?
  3. Will Liverpool be seeking to import the weather from its acquisition?
  4. How long before Manchester makes a move on Qatar?
  5. Didn’t colonialism die out a few years ago?

The story, by the way, is about the investment arm of Dubai’s government buying Liverpool Football Club.


How to replace Trident, by Prof. Christopher Doidge

Ladies and Gentlemen. Since the 1950s we’ve been whinging about nuclear weapons and how they’re so expensive. We’ve never used one, and frankly don’t intend to. Yet it’s imperative for the survival of our race that we have them.

Well I, Professor Christopher Doidge, have invented a replacement for Trident, which I shall call Trident II. And here, live on the internet, I can reveal it for the first time:

Trident 2

Here’s how it works.

We tell the Russians, Iranians, North Koreans and al-Qaeda that we’re spending £17bn on a new nuclear weapons system. We tell CND (if they still exist) that we’re reducing the number of warheads by 20%. And we continue to tell the Americans that we’re still important, in what will only ever amount to willy-waving.

And then we don’t bother.

We stash the money in the British Virgin Islands (what’s the point of having them if we don’t use them ourselves) and in 2024 ‘unveil’ these clever looking submarines which are actually props from Tomorrow Never Dies. They’ll be empty, but no-one will know.

And so that way we’ll continue to scare the shit out of the Russians, Iranians, North Koreans and al-Qaeda, continue to piss off CND, and be able to pretend that we’re still important. Without actually wasting £17bn on something that we’ll never use.

In fact, it makes you wonder if we even have any at the moment…


Cillit Bang – at last a decent advert… shame it's not by them, then.

I hate Cillit Bang. It is the Pol Pot of advertising. But this is hilarious. Needless to say it has nothing to do with them.

It brings a whole new meaning to “hardcore cleaning”.


"My password exploded…

It’s good to know that the oft-criticised United Nations is tackling one of the serious world issues which we all suspect will kill millions in the coming years. No, it’s not climate change. Not poverty or ethnic cleansing. Oh no…

United Nations password explosion

Now if United Nations envoys and ambassadors earn anything like £100,000 per year, then surely MPs do as well?


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