A victory for the people against capitalist exploitation in Herefordshire! The breadhead polytunnel merchants who have been covering large swathes of one of the most beautiful English counties with polythene tunnels to grow strawberries all year round, picked by exploited young migrant workers from Eastern Europe, have been told by the high court they need planning permission, and have packed up their polythene and gone, much to the joy of those whose living is made from the tourist industry and all those valuing the countryside. Where once stood row after row of shiny white plastic, there is now bare earth, awaiting the first green shoots of another spring.
The county council had allowed them to erect the monstrous structures without planning permission, as they believed, unlike other councils, that it was not necessary. But amid strong opposition [including celebrity TV gardener Monty Don who lives nearby], they refused retrospective planning permission for a toilet and bathing block the company had built in their arrogance, to go with the rows of ship's containers they had used for two years to house the workers. Apart from being dangerous on a number of counts [no exit other than the front] these were entirely unsuitable for housing people, however temporarily, being baking hot in sunshine, and freezing at night. But that didn't stop the new breed of agro-farmers who are just interested in 'product' and profit. Blame also rests with those who bought the watery, tasteless, chemical-laden fruit all year round, rather than when strawberries are traditionally in season. Having everything all the time spoils people and removes from their lives any chance of looking forward to anything, or any sense of the seasons.
Almeria, the area of southern Spain where all those spaghetti westerns were filmed, is now entirely covered with polytunnels, so much so that it's visible from space. For Herefordshire to go that way would have been a disaster, and I was even contemplating dead of night visits with a sharp knife, a little rural direct action, now no longer necessary.
Harry the Nazi (formerly know as Prince) is off to Iraq soon to get some shooting practice in, and experience the thrill of being shot at. He could have got the same experience in any of the UK's major cities where gun crime is out of control, and the gun ownership is illegal, unlike the army where you get to have your own as long as you only fire it at foreigners. Harry might get lucky and join his mum, but as he's only the spare, that hardly matters a lot to the house of Windsor, or the Wales as they like to be called. Harry was quoted as wishing to go where 'his boys' went, not wishing to miss out on the whole point of his expensive training complete with fetching facepaint effects. As he has a permanent squad of police protection officers, that job is going to take on more meaning as they attempt to put their bodies in the way of any bullets or bombs aimed at the young chap. Quite a dangerous job none of them could have anticipated when they joined the police. Perhaps they'll use SAS, although their training must cost a lot more than a diplomatic squad bobby, so costlier if they get blown away. Of course a tight group of paranoid looking Brits is going to attract attention from the people who, having already heard the news that Harree is coming, must be saving up all their explosives and weapons for the day. Harree spotting could turn out to be a major interest in Iraq, as they only have to be lucky once, whereas poor Hal has to be lucky every day he's out there.
The government responsible for the Iraq debacle and the loss of approx. 100,000 Iraqi lives is now trying to think how it can counter growing gun use in the UK. Might start with the culture of gun worship which so much of the film and TV industry suffers from. Those using guns on our streets have grown up with a diet of gun violence served up daily by way of entertainment. But any time this is pointed out to the luvvies who make the pornography of violence they vehemently deny there could be any connection between their sick 'art' and the reality on the streets.
I thought, on impulse, to tune into Radio 6 on the BBC website and listen to Bob Dylan's radio show - Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour, and I'm appalled and saddened. What a turgid collection of trivial country and western and pop shit, all selected by Bob, and introduced by someone sounding like they're doing a bad Dylan impression crossed with an idiot's idea of what a DJ should sound like. In short, a total phoney. So I read a bit about it and it says on the site:
Bob Dylan goes on a themed musical journey.
Bob Dylan started his radio broadcasting career in the USA in May 2006 with a weekly radio show on XM Satellite Radio, the leading satellite radio service in the US. Both BBC Radio 2 and BBC 6 Music will broadcast the programmes throughout 2007.
Theme Time Radio Hour with your host Bob Dylan features an eclectic mix of music hand-selected by Dylan. The shows also includes interviews and commentary on music and other topics.
So it was for the US market, which partially explains its crassness [eclectic?], but only partially. Perhaps also from brain damage from all the smack he consumed, he certainly displays a lack of any musical taste and plays a depressing collection of talentless Americana like A good year for the roses. Maybe it's just home sickness that's addled his ability to discriminate. In between tracks he chimes in with a faux western accent [they don't talk like that in Duluth Bob] making one thing crystal clear, whatever talent he once possessed, he is certainly not a natural DJ, and comes across as a self-consciously awful phoney which it is totally impossible to equate with the man who wrote Blond on Blonde and Street Legal. I'm depressed now, he was my hero.
About 90 percent of the world's fresh water is locked in the thick ice cap that covers Antarctica; if it all melts, scientists estimate it would cause a 23-foot (7-metre) rise in world sea levels. Even a 39-inch (1-metre) sea level rise would cause havoc in coastal and low-lying areas around the globe, according to a World Bank study released this week. And the ice cap is melting. Many millions of people live in coastal regions vulnerable to sea level rise. Much of the agricultural land is below the level that sea level rise is likely to reach. And Al Gore, born again climate campaigner [welcome aboard Al, better late than never huh?] is helping to organise a global series of concerts called called Live Earth which are supposed to raise awareness of the environmental problems. I saw an interview with Al recently, in which he spoke of people using 'these new energy saving light bulbs' to reduce their energy consumption. I've had nothing else fitted in my house for fifteen years Al, dunno why it's taken you so long to hear about them.
My latest website is launched, blackandwhitehouses.co.uk is all about, well, black and white houses. It's aimed at being a central resource and celebration of old and new timber-frame houses and other buildings. The area I live in, Herefordshire close to the Welsh border, or Marches, is full of these beautiful buildings, and there's even a Black and White trail for tourists to travel which starts from where I live, Leominster, and goes round in a big circle and finishes in Leominster. So a ready excuse to travel the trail with my camera, which, on a sunny day, is a nice way to spend an afternoon. Timber-frame building is very much alive and well, although the methods may have changed slightly since many of these old houses were built [many dating from the 14th century] and wattle and daub isn't used any more. But timber-frame, or oak-frame, is still the preferred method of building the 'bones' of the structure even if the timber is new and straight these days, unlike some of the old ones which were constructed from ships' timbers so were somewhat idiosyncratic as the one below illustrates.
Been reading today about Skopje Zoo in Macedonia, and it's utterly depressing. According to Planet Ark, the zoo authorities are concerned about the health of their only chimpanzee called Koko, who suffers from depression after living alone and in miserable conditions for a long time. Efforts to find him a home abroad in another zoo have failed. The only cure would be to find him a female mate, but the zoo lacks resources.
The whole idea of zoos is last century, they have no place in the modern world where ideas of animal welfare have moved on considerably. Purchasing animals in order to put them in cages, ruining their lives and their population in the wild, so humans can take a look at them up close is no way to behave, and visitor numbers to zoos have dropped worldwide. Part of the problem with Skopje Zoo is lack of funds to improve the welfare of animals like Koko shown here, who is alone and lonely, and looks it.
Reality Macedonia is a group of independent journalists and they have more pictures and information here.
In 2004, the Daily Mirror ran a feature on the appalling conditions at Skopje zoo, sparking a lot of activity including from the Born Free Foundation who offered help to try and improve the immediate animal welfare problems and to help the authorities devise a strategy to create a new approach by gradually phasing out the wild animals and creating a more appropriate and attractive visitor centre in Skopje. The Authorities have not responded to any of their offers.
In your pocket the one-stop travel and information portal for Central and Eastern Europe, said 'If your idea of a good day out is peeking over fences at depressed lion cubs and deer wallowing in filthy mud then Skopje Zoo won't disappoint. But, if like most sane people on the planet, you find zoos tasteless freak shows at the best of times you'd do well to steer clear of the place'.
To let the Macedonian ambassador know how you feel, you can write to him here
Macedonian Ambassador His Excellency Mr Stevo Crvenkovski
Embassy of the Republic of Macedonia
25 James Street
Born Free Foundation would like to see copies of your letters and any replies,
Conservation & Campaigns Director
Born Free Foundation
3 Grove House
If Hilary Benn is right and buying flowers grown in Africa is 'doing our bit for the environment', the solution to climate change is self evident; we buy as many flowers as Africa can possibly produce, each and every day throughout the year, Africa becomes a vast flower growing area, and the problem is solved. A little 'bit' for the environment thus becomes a huge 'bit', and we can rest easy and stop worrying. If only green campaigners had realised this simple fact sooner the whole issue of global warming might have been avoided.
Does Hilary Benn qualify as a fossil fool? [tha's the stuff they put in cars in Norfolk].
The government heath fascists are at it again. So obsessed are they with the illegal drugs issue, and having learned nothing over the decades, despite the 'war on drugs' resulting in a vast increase in illegal drugs, they now want to vaccinate children so they are immune to the effects of drugs, including tobacco but excluding alcohol. If drugs were legalised, we could as a society start to repair the damage the ludicrously unnenforceable war on drugs has done, treat people like adults who can make their own minds up, and take them out of ther hands of criminals, which is why supply has swamped the country. It's a modern form of the kind of fascist bigotry that was rife in this country in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries before we got rid of a lot of our religious nutters to America. The move to criminalise drugs came back to us from America where, despite avowing a freedom ethos, is an authoritarian police state which locks people away for life for marijuana offences.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ships Farley Mowat and the Robert Hunter have been engaged in militant confrontation with the Japanese whaling factory ship Nisshin Maru since 0530 Hours this morning. They have rammed a whaler which is in trouble and issuing mayday calls. Good work from the heroes of Sea Shepherd. Anyone wishing to support them can visit the website here to join and make a donation. Members of Sea Shepherd get the opportunity to crew!
The Sea Shepherd press release says:
JAPANESE WHALING FLEET FORCED TO RUN FROM SEA SHEPHERD
ABOARD THE FARLEY MOWAT, 0630 Hours, February 9th, 2007 (0930 Hours, February 8th, PST) –
The Sea Shepherd ship Robert Hunter has closed in on the Japanese whaling fleet. The Sea Shepherd helicopter Kookaburra has flown over the Japanese whaling ship the Nisshin Maru and the three harpoon vessels accompanying it. The identification of the Japanese fleet is 100% positive. The Sea Shepherd ships have covered thousands of square miles and have been searching for the whaling fleet for over 6 weeks.
The Nisshin Maru is the factory ship of the fleet. The kill ships bring the dead whales back to this factory vessel and transfer them to the 130m long processing ship where the whales are butchered and stored. The Japanese whaling fleet plans to illegally slaughter over 900 whales in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary this year – including 935 piked (Minke) whales and 10 fin whales.
This Japanese whaling operation is in violation of many international laws and regulations, including:
• They are violating the Southern Ocean Sanctuary
• They are violating the International Whaling Commission (IWC) moratorium on commercial whaling.
• They are targeting endangered fin and humpback whales that are protected under the Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. (CITES).
Sea Shepherd ship Robert Hunter chasing whaler Nisshin Maru
Robert Hunter on Nisshin Maru port side
Robert Hunter and Kaiko Maru collide
During the confrontation which happened in fog one of the Sea Shepherd's inflatable Zodiac boats and the two crew members onboard were lost at sea. However the boat was recovered after seven hours with the crew members safe and sound.
The pirates of the Sea Shepherd, during the confrontation with Japanese whaling vessel the Nisshin Maru, 'successfully delivered six liters of butyric acid onto the flensing deck of the Nisshin Maru'. This 'butter acid' is a nontoxic obnoxious smelling substance. The foul smell has cleared the flensing deck and stopped all work of cutting up whales. Sea Shepherd crew members also used nail guns to secure metal plates over the drain outlets that let off the whale blood that accumulates on the whaler's decks. The confrontation allowed a pod of whales in the area to escape.
Time for more action against Japan. http://media.seashepherd2.org/
There's still time to sign the petition against the insanely big brother traffic plans to track all cars and charge for road usage by means of sattelites [and making motorists pay for the costof installing the boxes, said to be in excess of £200]. Sign it here. This is part of the government's s-called ;consultation, which is supposed to be a mere publicity gesture, but which people have taken seriously and signed in large numbers - currently over a million and the site crashed this morning. Now let's see how the autocratic bastards cope with this example of people's belief in democracy.
Not that long ago, those wanting to rubbish renewable energy were claiming authoratively that renewables could only ever supply 2% of the UK's energy needs. I begged to differ, saying that eventually all our energy would have to be renewable. With the opening today of the latest Scottish wind farm, wind now supplies on its own 4% of our energy needs, and we have barely started, there's all the offshore generation planned for a start. Add to this photovoltaics, wave power, river power and biofuels, and we begin to see how much renewables could actually provide. The antis are reduced to objecting to windfarms 'because they spoil the view', which just shows how aberated their view really is.
Bernard Mathews is coming in for increasing stick for introducing the virulent H5N1 strain of avian flu into the UK with turkey meat from Hungary. The investigation widens into their lack of hygene practices, and the virus could already have spread to the wild bird population. While everyone was agonising over migrating wild birds bringing it, our Bernard was importing it by truck. If a major outbreak occurs, people will know who to string up from the nearest tree. Bootiful Bernard, just bootiful.
It's the inevitable result of so-called 'faith' schools, the King Fahd Academy of Hate in London has textbooks, supplied by Saudi Arabia, full of hate for Jews and Christians, who are, according to one textbook used for indoctrinating 5-year-olds, monkeys and pigs. I wouldn't insult monkeys to compare them with these stupid, unevolved idiots. The King Fahd Academy, in Acton, west London, named after the current Saudi ruler, devotes up to 50 per cent of lessons to religious education and teaches almost all classes in Arabic, with boys and girls following different curricula, a report in the Telegraph reported in 2003, so this is nothing new. After the King Fahd Academy in Bonn, Germany, came under investigation for alleged ties to al Qaeda, the regional commissioner threatened to shut it down. The imam at the affiliated mosque to the academy has reportedly called upon teachers at the academy to prepare pupils for the holy war. Arabs [so Muslims] make up 15% of the population of Bonn and are becoming more and more vociferous and demanding just like in the UK. When are western democracies going to wake up to the threat?
Wahabism is condemned by most muslims as the unacceptable face of Islam, and is behind the current terrorism that stalks the world. Not just because Bin Lardarse is one, but because the Saudi government promotes this particular virulently fascistic brand of Islam across the world, funded by the petro-dollars willingly donated by the world's committed drivers. Before oil made these goat shaggers very rich, they could do little damage except to their own women and children, but now their poison is spreading everywhere, and the present gang of wonks laughably known as the British government have allowed the poison to embed itself in London. The principal of this self-styled 'academy' was clearly unrepentent when challenged on Newsnight last night, claiming in the disingenuous way Islamists often use that the passages are from the Koran and have been wrongly translated and those pages aren't used anyway, despite being told two respected academics had been consulted on the interpretation. She refused to remove the books from the school, but has now recanted amid the outcry and announced they will be. I'm sure there are similarly repugnant passages in the Bible, but thankfully most Christians have moved beyond literal adherence to it and have adapted their religion to the modern world. The sooner this madrassa abomination is closed down and the staff sent back to Saudi.
I've been in touch with Piers Corbyn who is a long-range weather forecaster using sun activity to produce weather forecasts 18 months in the future. His site WeatherAction.com is a fascinating glimpse into the weather, and the charts he's sent me for February make interesting reading. We shall see if February has blizzards in store around the 14th, but I'm unconvinced by his stance onglobal warming, which he says isn't linked to carbon in the atmosphere but to solar activity. Being correct at weather forecasting a few months ahead doesn't make you right on a process that has been going on for a hundred years, but his theories may well provide comfort for those who wish to deny the reality of the polar ice caps melting and violent storms, floods and droughts becoming the norm.
Eerie, dramatic new pictures from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope show newborn stars emerging from 'eggs', rather dense, compact pockets of interstellar gas called evaporating gaseous globules (EGGs). Hubble found the 'EGGs', appropriately enough, in the Eagle nebula, a nearby star-forming region 6,500 light- years away in the constellation Serpens.
Star-Birth clouds in M16: Stellar "Eggs" emerge from Molecular Cloud.
Which kinda puts the antics of a species of naked ape on a rock light years away into perspective, and reduces our pathetic self-obsession to the status of ants.
For fans of Bob Dylan, like me, this youtube video is distracting from such serious subjects as stellar clouds, and well worth a visit. And another unrelated but definitely a laugh is this one. We aren't the only species which laughs.
Youtube is a great place to lose hours of your life. The only downside being too many Americans, and too many pre-pubescents. In fact, too many American pre-pubescents. But 75,000 video uploads every day, means there something for everyone, just a question of finding it. When time has run its course, and the Earth has died, I wonder if youtube will continue to echo round the galaxy, faint traces of an extinct species which didn't quite make it, but had a lot of fun trying.
The new findings at Stonehenge of a village are fascinating, an insight into the builders of the Henge, how they lived, what they ate, and how they partied.
I'm old enough to remember a time when days could pass without once hearing the word muslim. Nowadays, you hear it every day, over and over, and I for one am totally fed up with it. It comes from allowing backward, uneducated, simplistic peasants to come here, and then allowing them to think they're special and beyond criticism, no matter that their deranged belief system allows them to commit suicide and in the process kill innocent people. The current arrests of terrorist suspects has muslims in the streets of Birmingham complaining 'their' community is stressed and under attack. Nothing like how stressed and under attack it's going to be if they don't mend their ways, become British, and stop thinking of themselves as superior to all non-muslims and therefore worthy of special treatment.
The police have even produced a leaflet, in four languages, none of them English [which says it all], reassuring muslims that they aren't all under attack. If they weren't so stupid and paranoid they would realise that it's the terrorists in their midst who have to be rooted out and dealt with, and leaflets wouldn't be necessary. They claim it's a tiny minority who engage in terrorism, yet whenever something like this happens, they all start shouting they're being persecuted and none of those arrested is anything but a hard working normal guy. They all are, up to the second they press the button and blow up a tube train or bus. This time they were planning [allegedly] to kidnap a muslim member of the UK armed forces and film his beheading to put it on the internet along with the other sick jihadist vomit.
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