What's in Paisley's Pants? Political ramblings about things that catch my attention... (rather than some smutty double entendre...)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Letters to the editor

From time to time, readers of this blog take the trouble to write in an effort to draw attention to their causes, and in the hope that I may turn champion for their cause. I have, in an action of what I feel is admirable ambivalence, reproduced a couple here in order to avoid having to do anything about them.

From: Mrs T Angyeman, secretary to the Federation of Banana Republics
Sir,
For too long now, the term 'banana republic' has been used in a solely negative context. We at the Federation of Banana Republics demand that this practice ends immediately, as the comparisons that are made have a negative impact on our standing within the international community. For example, the council elections in Birmingham this year: 1000s of voting cards were found abandonned and uncounted, disgracing the name of democracy in the country, and what does Judge Richard Mawrey say? That the events would 'disgrace a banana republic'. What sort of impact do you think this has on the image of our member countries? It tarnishes the proud tradition of democracy that many of them have. Take, for example, Nicaragua, one of the founding members of the Federation. Nicaragua successfully held elections, only to have America of all people interfer! This is the America that to elect George Bush had to rely on a group of people mainly appointed by other republicans! And they call us corrupt.
I trust that this letter will go someway to redressing this slanderous behaviour.


From: Mr J Smidge
Sir,
With all the talk of banning smoking in public places, will someone please spare a thought for the passive-smokers out there. Those of us who enjoy sitting in other's smoke, who take pleasure in distinguishing between brands and flavours of other's tobacco. There are those of us who have a nicotine addiction, but cannot afford to buy cigarettes to satisfy the cravings. There are those who are not allowed to smoke by wives, husbands, children, pregnancies etc. and relish the prospect of going to a smoky crowded room to get the merest of nicotine rushes, and to surreptitiously licking ashtrays at the end of an evening. Surely by banning smoking in public places, the government is infringing our rights to smoke passively.

If you have any letters for the editor, please address them to Paisley's Pants etc etc. Alternatively, you could send an email to paisleywhitworth[at]fastmail[dot]fm

Monday, October 24, 2005

What an absolute cunt

I realise this is quite behind the times, but I still think it's worth publishing. From some Christian news website:
Rev. Bill Shanks, pastor of New Covenant Fellowship of New Orleans... sees God's mercy in the aftermath of Katrina... Shanks says the hurricane has wiped out much of the rampant sin common to the city.
The pastor explains that for years he has warned people that unless Christians in New Orleans took a strong stand against such things as local abortion clinics, the yearly Mardi Gras celebrations, and the annual event known as "Southern Decadence" -- an annual six-day "gay pride" event scheduled to be hosted by the city this week -- God's judgment would be felt.
“New Orleans now is abortion free. New Orleans now is Mardi Gras free. New Orleans now is free of Southern Decadence and the sodomites, the witchcraft workers, false religion -- it's free of all of those things now," Shanks says. "God simply, I believe, in His mercy purged all of that stuff out of there -- and now we're going to start over again."

And presumably it's free of lots of poor people, and lots of black people. And the last line in this article?
Shanks heeded warnings to evacuate New Orleans, and is currently staying with friends in the Jackson, Mississippi, area.

Who says there's justice in the world?

If Hurricane Katrina was God's way of ridding New Orleans of gays, witches, blacks and poor people, then surely Hurrican Wilma is God's way to rid the Florida Keys of overweight, rich white retirees... I don't think any pastor will be saying that from the safety of his friends house.

Unfortunate work

For my last post, I had the unpleasant task of going through both the David Cameron and David Davis campaign websites. Not something many people would do voluntarily, I'm sure you'd agree. However, I did find some interesting things.

For example, the outright withholding of the truth in David Cameron's Frequently Asked Questions section - not once does it ask him whether he's taken drugs or not, and that must be one of the most asked questions he's had.

Or the fact that the David Davis site has been cunningly designed to be an absolute arse to use, cunningly reflecting David Davis' personality, in an oh so cunning way.

Again from Mr Davis, the site confirmed for me my feelings that he's just too similar to Robert Kilroy-Silk to be palatable. His voice sounds similar, he looks not too dissimilar, and when he makes a joke during a speech, he has the same smug sneer that flashes across his mouth.

And my visit to Cameron's site really did confirm what a smarmy git he is, and how close to Blair he really is.

So there' the choice for the conservative's - Blair or Kilroy. Unfortunately, the tories have already managed to lose anyone who would support Blair and Kilroy already, to people who are much better at being them than Davis or Cameron are, namely Blair and Kilroy.

British politics: the bastard son of his sister

It isn't half incestuous in Westminster these days. For example, from the BBC:

In a speech in Downing Street, Mr Blair will argue that plans for greater autonomy for schools are a "pivotal moment" for his final term in office.
And from the campaign website of David Cameron:
We need greater freedom for schools to manage their own affairs

And from David Davis' campaign manifesto: (warning: don't click on the link unless you can stomach endless pictures of David Davis gurning out at you. Truly hideous)
And in other countries, there is alos less central direction of public services... Taking power away from the centre and giving it to the people... are crucial steps... if school standards are to rise
(excessive editing there, admittedly, but the meaning isn't changed, honest)

So what is the end product of all this? Well, contrary to popular rhyme that 'incest is best', political incest as seen here only leads to one thing:

Wouldn't you be ashamed if your child looked like that? Charles Clarke - the political equivalent of a fenland foundling. Poor bugger.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Lazy follow up post

Following up this post, I found this quote somewhere, I forget where.
"We have put out a Statement of Administration Policy saying that his advisers would recommend that he vetoes it if it contains such language," White House spokesman Scott McClellan warned yesterday.The administration said Congress was attempting to tie its hands in the war against terrorism.

The use of Presidential veto is considered to be a sign of a weak presidency. As a point of reference, Bush did not use a single veto in his entire first term.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Bush imperilled

The evidence is certainly mounting that Bush is becoming more and more powerless in Washington. The Iraq war, his disastrous performance after Hurricane Katrina, and his unpopular welfare reform are all acting to drag down the president. Politicians in Washington are becoming less likely to support the administration, and power is shifting towards the House and Senate in Washington.

Firstly, Bush's two nominations for the Supreme Court, John Roberts and Harriet Miers, are notable only by their absolute blandness. John Roberts is more understandable. His nomination came at a time when the Senate was busy tearing itself apart over the nomination of Priscilla Owen and others to lower courts, so it seems reasonable to nominate someone who at least has a chance of being confirmed, and at least is moderately conservative. Many on the right weren't happy, but allowed it to pass - the biggest complaint was that Roberts would do nothing to overturn Roe vs. Wade, the landmark abortion case. However, he was confirmed by a 78-22 Senate vote. Miers, on the other hand, looks like having a much tougher ride; however, almost all the complaints are coming from the right. She is yet again a moderate conservative, but she is the moderate conservative that broke the donkey's back, as it were. Right wingers are furious at yet another backward step in the march towards a permanent conservative revolution. The truth is, Bush simply lacks the clout to now get any nomination through that he likes. Instead he must take a more moderate line. (The irony that he is merely reverting back to his original 2000 election pledge of 'compassionate conservatism' is not lost)

The second bit of evidence is that the Senate are putting up more of an opposition over Iraq. In a spending bill, a clause has been added, by a 90-9 vote, that would prohibit the use of "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" against anyone in U.S. government custody, regardless of where they are held. This astonishingly bipartisan vote gives a clear indication of how feelings are swinging in Washington, and around the country too. People are growing fed up with Iraq, and associate Bush with Iraq. With midterms coming up next year, it is crucial for any Senator who is looking for re-election to distance himself from an unpopular president. The coattalis effect, where a president's popularity carries his supporters through in elections, also works in reverse.

Coming up to the 2004 election, Bush was still riding fairly high - anger over Iraq had not set in with the American public. However, Hurricane Katrina seemed to act as a catalyst for anti-Bush feeling, and now resentment is growing. I'm not much of a political historian, but I would wager a fair amount that this must be the earliest into his second term that a president has become a lame duck. It is going to be a long a drawn out last 3 years of his presidency.