07 July 2010


Happy Birthday, Thaumaturge!

Age does not diminish the extreme disappointment of having a scoop of ice cream fall from the cone.
-Jim Fiebig


  1. I do hope commenting works today. Fingers crossed.

  2. Happy Birthday thauma,

    Christ, this Dutch World Cup run is doing nothing for my liver. We've delayed our drive down to France until Monday to watch it here.

    Keep those fingers crossed for the Netherlands.

  3. Hup Holland Hup!

    This evening, I shall find myself in the unusual position of supporting Germany. Who'd have thought it?

  4. Morning

    Have the blogger ghosts been exorcised yet?

    Happy b'day Thauma.

    Poor old PB - he's been taking a terrible beating but the groan'll be happy - could be a record for comments if it goes on the way it is at the mo.

  5. Happy Birthday Thauma!

    Morning all.

    There are five of us in Denmark? Presume the online counter has taken one for the team and gone on the fritz. hope this means comments work.

    PeterJ - me too. but now the octopus has come out for spain, and i've put a bet on, it could be all over for the BRD. gah.

  6. Happy Birthday, thauma.
    I'll repost a bit of what vanished last night:Buggery, are comments fritzed again. Was congratulating PrincessCC for being red-hot on CiF today (and wondering about a couple of newer posters:am finding tnetennba rather good,and ArecBalrin does make me laugh sometimes)).
    Very late on in the Peter Bracken thread someone has mentioned Tony Judt. Now there's a thinker with some real depth, whose work blows Peter's simplistic Manichaean view out of the water and also correctly demolishes both the fallacy of the liberal delusion regarding foreign interventions of late and that modern capitalism as practised and unlikely to change is of itself in any way liberating (and I'd say we will see a 21st century increasingly marked by authoritarian capitalism, from ever more powerful corporations and their IP 'land-grab' of what is currently common property: read Cory Doctorow on how as the author of a book, he cannot waive his copyright effectively as he wishes)to Chinese ascent, and the deterioration of democracy in the rising BRIC econo-powers.

  7. Morning all, and a very happy birthday to the lovely thaumaturge *bakes a birthday cake for the occasion*

    Regarding football, what's the deal with the octopus, anyway? Why not use a more scientific approach, like tossing a coin?

    Anyway, if I will make it to the match watching, I will cheer for Germany; but it is doubtful, have to cut a film today ...

  8. @Alisdair:

    I read Ill Fares The Land recently, after a mate recommended it. Interesting book. Don’t agree with all of it by any means, but still.

  9. Many happy returns, Thauma.
    Is the UT firing on all cylinders again?

  10. @ swifty. You're right: there's stuff in there which I personally disagree with, but I have to admit that it's an object lesson in writing well, corralling an argument,supplying evidence and covering both specifics and the wider view.
    Right off now, and probably won't be posting for the rest of the day. Pity Me. (That's not a forlorn plea, but where I'm off to, for a meeting: Co.Durham has some of the best place names, including the sublime No Place).

  11. A very Happy Birthday to you Thauma - may all your Moomin Dreams come Trooo.....

    Am helping a neighbour out this morning who is threatened with eviction.... she's in a bit of a state, naturally. But will be back later.

    Bitterweed - I composed a careful thank you re: the PE vid and the gremlins got it yesterday.... fingers crossed this post will be there.

    One thing I will say for PB's thread - it's got people talking.

  12. Duke:

    I have a bright orange bike helmet - people have been tooting. If yer liver is suffering, the old Rooibush Tea is a good liver cleanser.....

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  14. La Rit bonjour to you. I made coffee but I think my liver would be better for a litre or two of rooiebosch later, that 3l bag in box of Mondovino got squeezd to its last drop .
    Off to gregg/claire Allen XXX

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  16. Happy birthday Turgilator! x

  17. La Rit
    Thanks, I think I saw it first time round... thanks anyways !

  18. Bugger it. Managed one post on the Gregg thread (recommending some really useful stuff on the Brighton Benefits Campaign site here), and now Cif keeps telling me I'm not signed in when I am, and stops me posting anything else.

    Who do I mail to complain to again?

  19. "Who do I mail to complain to again?"

    May as well send it to:


  20. @BW:

    "May as well send it to:


    I think Seaton's moved to the States, probably won't get to him.

    Should get to me, though.

  21. Happy Birthday Thaumaturge!

    So, hands up the person who kept pressing the button yesterday saying: "What does this one do?"

    Who do I mail to complain to again?

    I always find it fun to send it to:


    It's not that anything gets done through using this process, but it's hilarious getting his replies, which usually follow the same pattern -

    "It's nothing to do with me. Why are you being so horrid to me? Why are you hiding behind that pseudonym? Read the rules and regulations and follow the correct procedures and you will not have anything to worry about. You only have yourself to blame. Perhaps your time would be better spent just supplying us with free content, rather than taking pot-shots at editorial and moderation staff. I fucking hate you. You bastard! Just fuck off! FUCK OFF!"

    On a lighter note concerning the collapse and disintegration of the internet yesterday, was I the only one to receive garbled emails which did not seem to belong to me?

    I had one from George W Bush which said that my new Green Card was in the post for all the lovely things I had said about America and all the nasty things I had said about stupid sand countries.

    It wanted to check whether my address was P Bracken, Paris, Texas, France, Yoorp.

    Another one (mysteriously signed Shitdribble - who he?) said that a new world government of philosopher kings was being formed and they were planning to launch a new New "Brighter, Faster, Longer, Aaahhh!" Labour Party on the world, would I like to take up the position of junior trainee tea-boy.

    Again, it seemed to be aimed at one Peter Fern-Briton.

    Another one came from Alan Rusbridger.

    It said: "You broke the Pluck Clickometer. Pop in and have a chat when you are next in town. I like the cut of your jib. Pull up a seat in the boardroom and name your price. The Guardian needs saving and you are just the chap to do it."

    You can guess the rest.

  22. Don't be so harsh on yourself Swiftyboy!

    Made me titter - as did Atomboy.

  23. Happy Birthday Thauma have a good one!

    off to look at the aftermath of the deluded thread didn't have time yesterday...should be a larf!

  24. frog2:

    A hearty bonjour to you too!

    Ah yes, the squeezing out of the last drops from the carton - I know it well!

    BW ;0)

  25. am listening to 'north by northamptonshire' on radio4. well worth a listen for gently pointed humour...

  26. Royal Society talking sense

    "Primary schools 'need specialist science teachers'

    "The Royal Society says knowledge gaps are exposed at secondary school Primary schools in England do not have enough specialist teachers to provide youngsters with a high quality science education, a report says.

    "A Royal Society study of UK science and maths teaching for five to 14 year olds said every school should have a teacher with a sound scientific background.

    "The study (also) said England's testing regime "stifled creativity" as teachers "drummed" facts into pupils' heads.

    "The report also called for maths tests for 11 year olds to be scrapped."


    Now, I'm laying odds that CiF will commission a derogatory, misinformed and malicious anti-science piece from Simon Jenkins at 2:1

    Any other takers ?

  27. Bitterweed

    The article could go to Andrew Brown blaming the New Atheists for something or other, they like Science you see and want to turn all the children into strident, know it all Scientists.

    Down with that sort of thing, more Jesus stories.

  28. @BW:

    The article would go to Bidisha. "Science" is in and of itself a construct of the patriarchy - you see, she knows for a fact that there are many more male scientists than female ones, so it must be the patriarchy holding back teh womynz. QED.

  29. bitterweed - I'll take that with an accumulator on half the thread being posts about the necessity to teach children proper english first goddamnit, plus LSEScientist turning up to say something peculiar about teh gay.

  30. jen - plus a spread bet on mentions of Dawkins in close proximity to the word atheist, i'd go with over 40% total posts...

  31. on lighter news - the supreme court has damned the 'discretion test' for gay asylum seekers

    less light - am anticipating the upcoming thread in response...

  32. @Philippa

    And @wyrdtimes turning up to ask why primary science education is better in Scotland, no hang on, he already knows the answer...

  33. they've opened the 'live blog' on the search for a murderer to comments. i feckin' despair. after the idiotic decision to do that on the cumbria shootings...

  34. Happy Birthday Thauma! It's my own tommorow, aren't we Cancerians just the beesknees? ; )

    Loved 'The Bracken wakes' Frog! genius. And some of his BTL, (it was me he accused of being unable to read..) spat dummy, toys all out of the pram, 'backed the wrong derivatives this morning did we?' Yuk, yuk, yuk, yuk...

  35. good - comments off on the manhunt. well done nap.

  36. oh god - article up on the discretion ruling.
    [deep breath]
    [goes off to read it]

  37. disability discrimination act

  38. listened to that frog - some bloody horrible stories...

    now they're back to car parts. can't help thinking that more time could have been spent on, y'know, people and that...

  39. discretion ruling article is excellent, btw, and the thread is largely supportive* thus far. hope it stays that way.

    *not that i can see how you'd be against it, but people are odd...

  40. 13 posts in and, on CIF Bingo, it's homosexuality = paedophilia check. Consent. Informed consent. Gah.

  41. Philippa -- I was 'not' surprised by the man who had to wait months for answers to questions about his entitlements while wanting to go back to work still with CLL leukaemia. Amazingly incompetent administration in england.

    clare allan came BTL just now, good to know if anyone has questions for her ?

  42. Good ruling, however I'm a bit suspicious that some idiot will want to check whether homosexual asylum seekers really are homosexual, which could take on Orwellian proportions ...

  43. elementary - apparently the world and his wife (quite literally) will now be claiming to be raging gayers just to get into the country. slightly missing the point of the judgment.

    you say orwellian, but apparently UKBA guidance on 'how to spot a gayer' included references to them reading Oscar Wilde (Woman's Hour did a bit when the Stonewall report on asylum seeking came out).

    because clearly all straight people read Martin Amis.

  44. whether homosexual asylum seekers really are homosexual, Where's the penilepleismograph when you need him?

  45. Funny, I always thought the best way to spot a gay man was finding them engaged in sexual acts with another person of his sex, and even then he might be bisexual.

    If reading Oscar Wilde makes one gay, well, boys, get ready for me!

  46. Afternoon all

    Happy Birthday Thauma!

    @Does anyone know whether Rednorth and Northred on CIF are one and the same person.Methinks they almost certainly are.S/he submitted some great posts on the Gregg thread.

  47. To help in determining gayness, UKBA have just bought some new asylum screening equipment: "Fanny or Tranny".

  48. Where is the Clare Allen thread?

    Have they hidden it like they did with the Gregg one yesterday or am I just not looking hard enough?

  49. aye - UKBA recently assessed someone using their foolproof checklist:
    - likes flamboyant clothing, often featuring glitter?
    - drinks daft cocktails?
    - listens to high energy dance music?
    - interested in fashion?
    - likes dancing?
    - shrieks a lot?
    - works in 'the arts'?

    Yup, OK, mate, you're in.

    Lady Gaga will now be housed in local authority accommodation until a permanent home can be found for her...

  50. @elementary

    There was some discussion on that subject on the radio this morning. In relation to the Cameroon case, the apellant's brief (I think) pointed out that part of the evidence concerned the scars from the attack where a gang of his neighbours tried to cut his prick off after seeing him kiss his boyfriend.

  51. There does seem to be a bit of a gay theme on CIF today.Obviously the blog about Camp David doesn,t count.

    Am steering well clear of the Shoesmith thread.Hard-faced self-pitying mare!

  52. Paul,

    I wondered that myself, I think it is one and the same person.

    To introduce Gays to the UK here's Colin Poppshed with Gay Desk


    thanks for the wyrdwatch update. Good to see he's still on the warpath.

  53. Regarding the reading of Oscar Wilde, I remember reading the transcripts of his trial when I was about thirteen and wondering why my mother would only grunt and mumble and make theatrical crashing noises with pots and pans when I spoke about it, when she normally seemed interested in whatever else I read.

    It was years later that I understood she was worried that I might absorb homosexuality by osmosis or infection or something, just by reading about something connected with it.

    I think I managed to come out with my masculinity broadly intact and unblemished.

    Fuck, yeah! USA! USA!


  54. aye - being less flip, the woman interviewed on Woman's Hour had been arrested, imprisoned, and gang-raped, and the first authorities she saw after presenting at the border were casualty staff...

    medical and legal evidence (arrest warrants, jail time) is a big part of it - Stonewall accept that cases have to be evaluated, they just want it to be done senstitively and sensibly (pointing out, apart from anything else, that if you've been taught that you are bad or ill for being gay, it's going to be bloody difficult to just pipe up immediately 'I'm gay', particularly if you've got PTSD as well...)

  55. Oh my God, that's horrible, Peter. Just horrible.

  56. bbc muppet (time davy) who tried to shut 6music being kicked all over the park on the media show.



  57. I can't decide whether some of those posters on the gay asylum seeker thread actually believe that gay people find their own sexuality so horrible that they would rather go home and die than snog their partners in front of someone official (not that I am suggesting that this should ever happen) or they are putting in their applications to be on the prove you are gay panel while typing one handed.

    Do lesbians not exist by the way? And do they read Oscar Wilde if they do?

  58. elementary - in know. hence the flip. because it just doesn't bear thinking about.

    puts a lot into perspective. me and my mates are worried about, what? how annoying other lesbians are and occasionally having a drunk shout summat at you. reading about that case, as every other time I've read about that real, life-threatening, horrific persecution, i just think, God, I'm so bloody lucky.

    if all i ever have to put up with is someone being an arse, i'll take that. i mean. i'll take them on, but i'll try not to make it a defining thing. because my life isn't in danger, my liberty isn't in danger. my family won't (haven't) disowned me, my church wouldn't try to exorcise me, the authorities wouldn't see me being attacked and join in.

    bloody lucky. must make sure i always remember that.

  59. "or they are putting in their applications to be on the prove you are gay panel while typing one handed"

    nice one. heheheheheh.

    (ps - the woman i heard interviewed, after a long and harrowing interview, just mentioned, in passing, at the end, that her partner was 'back home', still in prison. the flatness of her voice when she said that nearly did for me. many of the stories I've read involve one partner getting out, and then fighting two battles - one to stay safe, the other to draw attention to the plight of the person left behind.)

  60. On a serious note the amount of homophobia in some countries is appalling.Don,t see any problem in principle in letting gay and lesbian people claim asylum here.But how do you prove you,re gay FFS?

  61. Yeah I shouldn't be flippant about it Philippa but like you say it is too much to get your head round sometimes, same with that woman in Iran who has been sentenced to stoning.

    It is enough to really make you loose hope sometimes.

  62. Yey, the world's working again!! I half expected to wake up in a MadMax film today, so always a relief when that doesn't happen!!

    Happy Birthday Thaum. Hope it's a good 'un.

    Everyone else,

    Don't you ever leave me again, D'ya hear me!? Ever!!

  63. Paul - evidence of assault / sexual assault / arrest / imprisonment / outstading warrants / partner in prison / dead etc is all something that would be taken into account, also evidence of activism, and any other persecution.

    someone doesn't even have to 'do something gay' to get on the wrong end of persecution.

    the appalling thing to me is that they have to suffer something first. but that's the hippy woolly bit of me wishing we should all live in harmony, and all. decent remarks from the Tory on World @ one - that now the focus for gay rights has to be international - we can cope with the small battles still to fight domestically, but pressure to strike down remaining laws against homosexuality (or, as Jen points out, extra-marital sex) is what is needed now.

    the UN needs to grow a pair and point out what the UDHR actually means.

  64. Duke

    Did you see Wyrdtimes post on the Steve Bell thread, he actually got 15 recommends, his campaign is gaining momentum the Engish will be in full revolt by 2096.

  65. "...the UN needs to grow a pair and point out what the UDHR actually means."

    Fat fucking chance, frankly.

  66. swifty - i did mention that i'm a hippy woolly liberal who believes we should all live in harmony?

    don't harsh my vibe.

    (you're right though. obv.)

    right - up to meet the day...

  67. jennifer,

    never saw that, I'll go look. We Jocks quiver under the mighty hammer of the Scots that is wyrdtimes. He should change his name to Edward I.

  68. Paul
    Shoesmith showered herself in shit the day the story broke with that management-speak statement about all correct process having been followed.

    She is exactly the kind of executive who have made Soc Svcs frontline staff's jobs impossible, and sanctioned successive governemnts' contempt for the profession.

    Other professions failed "baby Peter", but I can't imagine any reason why the buck shouldn't stop with the director of one of those services.

  69. @jenn

    Although on the other hand, @horridhelen's suggestion that wyrdtimes should be replaced by a duck puppet got 29 ticks.

  70. Many thanks, everyone! Am having a lovely lazy day. Not even dressed yet, but of course the wine has been opened. :-)

    HB to Turminder tomorrow!

    Not managed to look at the Bracken thread yet.

  71. Happy Birthday Thauma have a lovely drunken day. :-)

  72. Just looking in (again). How does Alain de Botton keep getting away with writing such superficial,glib twaddle, only ever veering between the poles of stating the bleedin' obvious, or making ludicrous pseudo-philosophical,pseudo-poetic linkages that always collapse upon scrutiny? If you want a genuinely erudite cultural commentator, who's thought-provoking and has actually read around (AdB's range of references is remarkably limited), try, for one, Jonathan Meades.AdB simply acts as mood muzak to comfort haut-bourgeois sensibilities.

  73. jennifera Clare Allan is in th Society secion, quite neatly hidden .... no VERY hidden .


  74. Thanks frog, they are sneaky buggers aren't they?

  75. @Alisdair

    I liked de Botton's first book (the Proust one), but hated the next and haven't bothered since. Whenever I've read or heard him after that, your analysis is dead right.

    I like Meades too; I have his BBC DVD collection somewhere. Must watch that again.

  76. I recall beer coming out of my nose, whilst watching Meades on the Victorians, discussing the bustle, and it's focusing attention on the posterior, JM sez, "and we do well to remember, no one ever got pregnant from a hot pork enema..."

  77. Shit!!

    It,s the 5th anniversary of 7/7 today !!

  78. Hi ALL,
    An extract of what I just posted up on Waddya -

    'Unfortunately' the Gregg thread is now invisible again . MikeBach just posted this --

    So Gregg what was so difficult in taking the discredited Unum "Pathways to Work" processes and re-writing in English? In the US each state has a DoH that sued Unum and obtained millions in compensation for the patients deprived in benefits. In the UK the DWP appears to work hand in glove with Atos and Unum against the interests of patients. Why? Atos has NOT repaid one brass farthing. Why? "

    That was leading on from my question as to WHY ATOS does not reimburse the costs of Tribunals which overturn its judgement, and WHY compensation for the obvious deep stress and suffering is not made. I made a plea for someone to contact BB on that , or any of the rest of you to contribute what you know.

    In fact I believe this black hole in accountability will make another interesting ATL subject .

  79. Afternoon all

    Happy Happy Birthday Thaum! Hope you have a great day. Will raise a beer to your health later when the sun's over the yard arm.


    ""What does this one do?""

    Hehehe - reminds me of one of my fave cartoons, Dexter's Laboratory

    "What does this button do?"

  80. Frog - you never get costs awarded in those kinds of Tribunals. Same with Immigration Tribunals.

    The best that can happen is that, if the other side concede they were wrong, you might be able to apply for retrospective legal aid in the IAC. But that just leads to utterly ridiculous situations where the Home Office refuse to budge on the most stupid and illegal point imaginable to avoid that happening. The judge just sighs - sometimes tells them they are stupid - but their hands are tied.

    It is wrong. But that is the way it is.

  81. This comment has been removed by the author.

  82. 13th Duke

    Kudos for your pop at Prescott.

    I was thinking of relenting and saying something similar, but now I don't have too!

    Cheers for that!

  83. So never ever any comeback when ATOS gets it wrong , but in the US there is ?

    Something desperately wrong in their contract ?

    ( perhaps deliberately o course ...)

  84. Can I, once again, play the smitten cheerleader, and point everyone in the direction of Atomboy's Open Copy News.....

    Thank you!

  85. What ho everyone. Just a flying visit to say hello and happy birthday to those who are birthdaying. Peas and love, as Ringo would say.


  86. hey tigerdunc! good to see you...

  87. Has probably already been said but great work from leni,princess and frog2 on the Gregg thread.Also from northred who i hope will join UT one day soon.I think all bases were covered and that thread now provides an excellent point of reference for people.

    Very disappointed that the thread saw little in the way of light of day.And spent a great chunk of time shunted on a sub-thread behind Polly.But it,s a start i suppose.And if nothing else the Guardian can,t claim ignorance of the issues as this sorry story continues to unfold.

  88. Oh yes, and one more thing. Today is the day that Marty McFly arrived in the future after hitting 88mph in a Delorean in 1985.

    So watch yourselves when crossin the street. (Shit - was it really 25 years ago that BTB came out?).

  89. @tigerdunc:

    "Today is the day that Marty McFly arrived in the future after hitting 88mph in a Delorean in 1985."

    Actually mate, it isn't (at least, according to the Metro this morning).

  90. *whispering

    It was actually 2015, not 2010.

  91. hi Paul 16.31

    I postedto waddya that Gregg and the MH one by Clare Allan have both been hidden away, no reply from BellaM

  92. afternoon

    Great news about the supreme court giving the UKBA a bashing on gay asylum seekers- and about bloody time too.

    It has always struck me as so weird - for years the HO/UKBA have had an influential LGBT support group called Spectrum. I have never understood how an organisation that will come down like a ton of bricks on any discrimination against LGBT staff (in theory at any rate) could justify their treatment of gay asylum seekers.

    What's sauce for the LGBT UKBA/HO staff is obviously not sauce for the gay asylum seeking gander.

    For instance, given the size of the organisation, there must be gay caseworkers and managers on the asylum teams, how the fuck have they justified the 'showing discretion' argument to themselves? Well they can't now. Good.


    Thanks for the reminder about 7/7 - I had forgotten it was the 5th anniversary. I heard nothing on the news about it this morning.

  93. Frog

    have backed you up and posted link.

  94. James Dixon

    Thanks for that!

    Just to note that there are still some technical difficulties and (a bit like the loverly aSamllWorld for their wonderfulnesses the rich and famous) it now needs an invite for anyone who wants to join in and write or mess around or whatever, but not for commenting.

    If anyone wants one of the coveted, rare invitations which are likely to represent considerable investment opportunities for you and you families and loved ones - and also make useful virtual ornaments to add to your Franklin Mint collections - just email something witty, rude or mildly pornographic to:

    countmein at opencopynews dot com

    and you will either be ignored or it will get lost in the post or damaged in transit.

  95. Countmein, by the way, is not an aristocratic friend of Wybourne from Germany, but my attempt at being achingly hip, with a "Count me in, yah!" type of address.

    If anyone - frog2, PCC, Leni and others - wants to have somewhere for the "Bash the benefits scroungers and the sick and take their money away" fightback, this can be started as well.

  96. That quacky duck Gove (thank you Steve Bell!) has had to make an apology for the 25 errors in his announcements on resources for education.... hehehe. I thought he was supposed to have a brain.

  97. Think of the dalmatian incident, Shef.

    Wasn't thinking then, was he?

  98. Atomboy

    You're welcome. I genuinely think you're doing some sterling work.

    And, while you're here, I'm going to take this opportunity to admit to being an absolute IT 'tard, and also confess that I'm getting a little confused by many of the shiny new capabilities over there!

    Anyways, if I send an e-mail to the above address, does that entitle me to posting privileges, and, should I receive them, am I legally obliged to actually do something!?

  99. James

    You should be able to sign in OK anyway because you are already signed up. Let me know if not.

    They confuse the hell out of me, too.

    I'm going to bash them with a hammer, though.

    Not legally obliged, but you don't want a visit, do you?

  100. Sheff

    That Lords ruling is indeed a good one. Stirring up some right shite on CiF though. Philippa has been doing a splendid job batting away the bigotted numpties.

  101. frog2

    A few months ago a number of us raised one of the very points you raised on the Gregg thread about the financial comeback on ATOS for getting things wrong.Apparently the ATOS doctors snd nurses conducting these medicals get a bonus for every person declared 'fit for work'.And don,t lose that bonus when an Appeals Tribunal reverses their decision.

    We asked for clarification from ATOS about this -who incidentally had posted a 'set piece' response BTL on that thread..Needless to say they didn,t clarify it.We also asked the Guardian to take up the story and make further investigations.Again no interest from the Guardian.

    Call me cynical but i genuinely believe that the Guardian won,t join the campaign to stop these ATOS medicals until the story becomes more 'newsworthy'- ie until people start dying as a direct consequence of the stress they,ve been put under due to this whole fcuked up mess.

  102. Have posted request for series on welfare reform on waddya.

    Support and suggested refinements needed.
    Must dash. HB Thauma xx

  103. That's not cynical Paul - it's how the meeja works. No horrors = not news.

  104. BB - cheers - have given up now bestiality has been mentioned.

    paedophilia, I was expecting.

    bestiality, that's hitting Scalia* levels of stupid.

    * the numpty contingent shouldn't feel too bad - in his dissenting opinion in Lawrence v Texas, the case that decriminalised gay sex in the USA, in, ooh, see if you can guess what year - no peeking - Justice Antonin Scalia managed to liken homosexuality to incest, paedophilia and bestiality. Strangely, legal training to be a supreme court justice seems not to cover the concept of INFORMED CONSENT YOU UTTER UTTER ARSE.

    ahem. sorry.

  105. Paul 17.21 Missed that one.

    Apart from anything else, it's appalling business practice not to have quality control penalties built into a contract.The administration costs of the Appeals system count, and that's leaving aside the human misery.

    Well we've got about 4 bloody I/P threads up so why not we have another go, taking the lead from MikeBach's post ? Hardly an overdose.

  106. one benefit of the allen thread being hidden away is that the thread is much less hatey than if it were on cif. mind, i think a lot of the 'think of the money!' types are busy on the discretion thread...

  107. Some fucker put this on WADDYA:

    afancdogge and BellaM

    I would suggest that this bashing of the poor and sick is not something which is going to be covered by one people's panel item.

    It actually needs a whole section of The Guardian and CiF dedicated to it.

    Now that Liberty Central has closed its doors because we are all in full possession of all the liberties anyone could possibly wish for, there is a clear space which could be used for this new abuse of the people by yet another government doomed to failure in terms of delivering anything other than the extensive menu of cuts demanded by its paymasters.

    For a start, you need to look at why the poor are now the people being bashed, when it was only a few months ago that all blame was directed squarely at the bankers.

    Anyone remember them? You know, the chaps in pin-striped suits and bowler hats who stole all the money.

    The poor and sick are captive whipping-boys and The Guardian needs to decide whether it is going to join the media frenzy making them into scapegoats or whether it is going to use its brain and whatever journalistic skills it still possesses to analyse the situation rather than just try to out-spit the Daily Mail's hate-fest propaganda.

    The cost of welfare is such an easy target.

    So much easier than the £25 000 000 000 each year trousered by the rich by simply saying: "Tax? Nah, you're all right, mate. I never pay it."

    Perhaps look at whether globalisation is not quite the perfectly beautiful thing we have been told and if we are being clubbed and bludgeoned into learning to compete with slave-markets like China, which, after all, now has the money to rise from being the donkey-jacketed labouring class and start telling us, like the old coal barons, work harder for longer hours for less pay. Like it or lump it.

    This could be something for CiF to either look back on with pride or shame.

    For standing up to be counted or falling down and surrendering before the battle begins.

    If this gets deleted, you will be able to guess the likely direction.

  108. Hi All

    Happy Birthday thaumaturge. How do you stay so young? Shall hoist a pint in your honour.

    As for James Joyce, I've read him too. Still very attracted to Wifey though.

  109. Paul

    So, does ATOS employ there own doctors and nurses then? Where do these medicals take place, in the back of job centres...!?, or in GPs practices? Do regular GPs contract themselves out to ATOS for some extra pocket money?

  110. How long has ATOS been doing the medical for IB, I got put on it about 18 months ago (I think, time frames are not my strong point) and a lot of the things people are mentioning about the medicals themselves ring a bell with me.

    The bit about asking if you came to the interview on your own on public transport for instance, I didn't the centre was miles away from anywhere so a friend took me.

    Only problem is that I was in and out in 10 minutes and got the benefit with no problem so now I think I must be an even bigger basket case than I thought I was.

  111. Leni

    Outstanding post on Waddya, which has been, at least acknowledged, by Bella.

    And on that note, the complete breakdown of worldwide communication yesterday gave me a chance to move my 'bi-annual think' up a few months, and after grappling with the usual 'what if we're all actually robots?' question for an hour or two, I gotz to finking about what some people were talking about on here a few days ago, namely:

    the creation of our very own trolling consortium to rival those currently taking over the www from the extreme right!!

    Now, we have a significantly broad area of expertise represented on here, a wealth of passionate, eloquent and determined posters, and, we also have, as far as I can tell, a fair few people who maintain somewhat unusual sleeping patterns/people who play with a GMT+/- differential*.

    Paul, Leni, Frog et al, have already proven successful in pushing stuff over at the Graun that actually matters, and I've also seen many people highlight here a thread that needs significant input from non-rabid-rightwing-cock-knockers 'over there', again, to great effect.

    So, that brings me, admittedly rather clumsily, to my suggestion/request to Montana:

    Would it be possible to perhaps, maybe, have a separate tab or something, where people can park 'alerts' for threads over at the Guardian, or indeed elsewhere, that could do with a touch of sanity, truth, and/or perspective throwing into the mix?

    And then, to compliment that, would it also be possible to have another tab, tassel or pocket for resources that would enable us to collectively collect, and then eventually link, copy or otherwise direct people, to a version of events/statistic/figures/narratives that are otherwise being swept under the 'we're all in this together/only game in town/rightwingnuttery' carpet!?

    Obviously, the first one might be redundant, what with people just hollering on here already working reasonably well, but I do think the second one would be invaluable!?!?

    Anyone else think so?

    *I think I just realised that I don't know what differential really means, so that might be the wrong word to use there. Sorry.

  112. PhilippaB--Good comment on Scalia. Some of the most important decisions made by US presidents are the appointments of SCOTUS judges. Far reaching and long lasting, ( In most cases life appointments ) they shape the country in ways unbeknownst to many, and Scalia has certainly entrenched himself as a right winger with dangerous and scary judgements.

  113. This comment has been removed by the author.

  114. More thanks to all....

    Atomboy, that's an excellent idea. A new subsection of the site pointing out even an abuse a week would be brilliant.

  115. ^above comment removed 'cause Google's a lying bastard!!

  116. Aha AB - knew I liked that person with the funny nick. Now I know why.

    James - I think we already to that, more or less. Being folks of pretty much similar p.o.v.'s we all tend to go onto the same kinds of thread - personal proclivities notwithstanding.

  117. Right, I think that answers my question about tnetennba wot gotzed gobbled by google last night!

    Nice work!

  118. When I grow up, I want to be Judge Judy.

    Just saying....

  119. james

    good idea.

    I think I just realised that I don't know what differential really means

    I thought a 'differential' was a part on all the ancient cars i used to drive that invariably 'went' at the most inconvenient moment.

  120. boudican - what offends me (intellectually) about the man is that he's all 'strict construction' when it comes to stuff like sex, abortion, human rights, and that, but suddenly the otherwise immutable constitution becomes really flexible when he's considering corporate rights to make money, fuck their workers, and stuff.

    man's not human.

  121. BB--Haha, good aspiration, she's more pragmatic and reasonable than the odious Scalia.

  122. lawrence v texas, by the way, the case that effectively legalised being gay in the USA (by rendering anti-gay state laws unconstitutional), was held in....



    am not even touching the syrian thread that just gone up. have opened a bottle of something and might start swearing.

  123. Philippa--Yes, all that and he's not averse to using the constitution for political purposes. Re; The electoral sham that installed GWBush, though he was not alone in that fiasco.

  124. I'm still fighting them on the Lords ruling thread, Philippa. Doesn't matter how many times you say something, another eejit comes along and trots out the same ill-informed rubbish.

    Ah well.

    Boudican - Love Judge Judy. She is awesome.

  125. boudican - oh yes, his finest hour - bearing in mind that rehnquist (he was still CJ at that point?) was so close to falling off the legal perch, he was basically in charge. i was delighted when he didn't get put up.

    and look at who is CJ now. but I was still delighted...

  126. I know, BB, good stuff, and I'm recommending away, but i just don't have the energy to keep swinging...


  127. and then there's this one, where apparently anyone who self-harms should be locked up for everyone's safety.


  128. NAPOLEON K - 18.01

    MikeBach's site all you need to know about ATOS. A real HorrorShow.

  129. Philippa

    I bloody love this bit of the ruling though, at para 78 :o)

    "In short, what is protected is the applicant's right to live freely and openly as a gay man. That involves a wide spectrum of conduct, going well beyond conduct designed to attract sexual partners and maintain relationships with them. To illustrate the point with trivial stereotypical examples from British society: just as male heterosexuals are free to enjoy themselves playing rugby, drinking beer and talking about girls with their mates, so male homosexuals are to be free to enjoy themselves going to Kylie concerts, drinking exotically coloured cocktails and talking about boys with their straight female mates"


  130. the ruling is actually very good - a real sense of engagement (even some wit, for heaven's sake) rather than the slightly sniffy 'well, legally it's ok, but really, i mean, you wouldn't want your servants doing it' tone that used to pervade some of these cases...

  131. frog - think rednorth cited him on one of the threads - read his comment and was just blown away. same as the gwillikers one you pointed to. just quality writing.

  132. BB there's a whole section of Mike Bach's site on the Contract between ATOS and DWP , looks clear that ATOS is breaking it all the time .....

  133. rednorth's on waddya talking about the same thing, after posts from MikeBach.

  134. M. le Grenouille

    I will take a look at it. It seems to me that if anyone were to have legal standing to sue ATOS it would only be the government. As seeing as their "mistakes" seem to be in favour of the policy position, there is not a snowball's chance of that happening.

  135. but then couldn't the injured party sue the government? if they're the ones who are responsible, despite the outsourcing...

  136. ah, of course. can't sue the government.

    rednorth's point about deaths resulting could be worth looking into, perhaps...

  137. bb o well have a look ! X
    P -- you'd think so ..X

  138. Phili-Bee

    You can't sue em. You can get them judicially reviewed, but all that does is to force them to look at it again and, hopefully, change their mind.

  139. I am quite suprised that they haven't come up with the policy that mounting a successful appeal means you are clearly fit for work, I am sure it is only a matter of time.

  140. jen - ha! sssshhhhhhh, don't give them any ideas...

  141. Jen - yeah, I can see that happening too.

    The whole thing resembles the witch hunts of old already, so why not throw the 'if you float, we'll kill you anyway' aspect in too.

    It'd almost be silly not to....

  142. Jenni

    looking at the questionaire thingy it seems if you can answer a question coherently you are fit for work.

    One question is can you raise your arm above you head. If you can do this one arm you can apparently wear a hat with safety - or something.

    I can raise one arm - can do the required salute. My prob is I can't always coordinate one hand with another - peeling spuds is very hit and miss. Once in a garden centre I was carrying small tray of plants - my nerves 'jumped' and I 'threw' them at a woman - soiling her white linen blouse. She was displeased with me.

    I have bone grafts in my spine - cow bone - so anyone calling me a silly cow is partly correct/

  143. jen30 succeed in an appeal to the Tribunal obviously means you can work . Catch 22.

  144. bloody hell, leni, every new piece of information about this system is a new example of arsery of the highest order...

    a 'required salute' is clearly what they are after. just enough to tug your forelock and say "fanks, mister!" when you get thrown thruppence ha'penny and some stale bread...

  145. Philippa

    Problem is this tomfoolery is endemic throughout the system.

    Coupla years Ago I returned from hospital - on zimmer after another spinal op. My son - type i diabetes - had neglected himself and was ill. Got him back on course - managing between us to cook food.

    I asked for Diabetic nurse to call to help out. Came once.

    He told me that in his report he would have to report us both as 'above average intelligence ' and therefore able to work out and maintain his diet. He told us he was overworked, under funded and he had to concentrate on others who didn't understand things like glycemic thingies.

    So it was cook 2 meals - one gluten free.

    i get no benefits but am determined to fight these attitudes as hard as I can.

  146. and you're doing a great job Leni!!

  147. That's bloody ridiculous, leni. Seriously.

  148. ...............


  149. a home-help army, that's what's needed.


  150. (Anyone know why one of the Germans has got a sticker over the badge on his shirt?)

  151. and, on a more frivolous note, come on, Germany...

  152. james - is that the beginning of a joke?

    (if not - which one?)

  153. no - although it could be (and it could be the result of a practical joke...)

    Number 18, Krooooooooos!!

    (Or maybe I'm just seeing stuff!!)

  154. can't see. will look out.

    clearly my betting jinx continues...

  155. arse.

    anyway - third place play-off could therefore have something in it, as every german ball goes up to klose to try to get him the record.

  156. missed it. this could be because i'm not sure i could pick kroos out of a line-up....

    french commentators have been laughing wildly everytime puyol headed it out - took something a bit more agricultural to actually make a breakthrough than all the pretty tiki-taka wotsit. would imagine the final will be a very similar game? which could be immensely frustrating.

  157. It was a bit of a punt betting against Spain though, innit!?

  158. Well that was a bit of a let down wasn't it?

  159. i reckoned the squid had to be wrong sooner or later.

    nah - was just that spain looked they were just winning their matches, and not looking deadly at the finish. lovely tiki-taka, no finish. whereas germany were nailing every opportunity they were given, and just looked great.

    thing is, i know if i support spain in the final, they'll start weebling around in midfield again, van bommel will actually kill someone and not get carded, and the dutch will put something scrappy in around an hour in.


  160. Many happy returns to Thauma & turminder

  161. I must have been spoilt Philippa I expect at least one penalty (preferably last minute), extra time or at least a final five minute frenzy in every match now, decent football is no longer enough for me. ;)

    I've got a feeling the third place play off will be more exciting than the final.

  162. Philippa - I've actually had quite a good World Cup, predictions wise, but I didn't put any money on owt.

    Jen - I quite enjoyed it actually. Although a few more goals would have made it a bit more exciting, admittedly.

  163. last five minutes last night were pretty good, thought uruguay might just bludgeon their way through!

    i liked the game tonight - but it's just kind of frustrating watching spain. i know it's (in theory) testing the weaknesses in the defence, looking for an in, but....it was hardly the raptors testing the fence in jurassic park.

  164. It's like the Arsenal 'trying to walk it in' thing, innit!?

    Spain also seem to do a fair amount of beating the last defender, then turning back into them again, which I tend to do alot of on Pro Evo and FIFA.

  165. no....but are we approaching the magic wall of 200 posts?

  166. Boudican

    Spain in the final eh?Didn,t see that coming although you thought it was a distinct possibility.At least a Spain v Holland final will have two greater contrasts in style than Germany v Holland would have done.My moneys still on a Dutch win.And hopefully Uruguay will take 3rd place.


    We,re all Dutch now !!!


    Sounds like you,ve been through the wars with your spine probs.Hope that,s all OK now.It,s shocking you didn,t get the support you needed when you needed it.Doesn,t surprise me though.There,s a couple in their 80,s living in sheltered accomodation down the road from me.The man is the main carer for his wife who is blind,has dementia and double-incontinence.No family to speak off and very little help from the Social Services.The main support he gets is from his elderly neighbours and the resident caretaker who,s prepared to go that xtra mile for him.And it.s going to get much much much worse as the population ages.

  167. ha! yes - even tonight, a couple of times, clear on, cuts in, dinks out, then.....apparently deliberately turns towards nearest defender like they need the physical contact or something.

    i think they need a hug. that might help.

  168. paul

    obbling happily thru life thanks.

    The availability of care i9s deplorable- both short term and long term.

    Gaps in services have been around for a long time - set to worsen dramatically.

    Knew a kid - met him when he was 12 - the son of 2 totally deaf parents. Lacking any close extended family he arrived at school with serious speech problems - he failed to learn, was bullied. No speech therapy avaiable. This boy was not disabled in reality but was disadvantaged , ignored and neglected by system - resulting in an aquired disability.

    This crisis has been a long time surfacing - many people have had their conditions worsened.
    It seems to me that we are at a turning point in our society. If we let this one go the Britain we create will be unfit for purpose - we will no longer be a single nation.

    Glad Spain won - octopod was right. I am mor in solidarity with the cephalopod than any team - may the best one win.

  169. "i think they need a hug. that might help"

    On that note, sort of, there is that woman in the Spanish dugout, who seems to be in charge of subs and whatnot, and she seems to revel in giving the lads a wee pat on the bum as they come off/go on!

  170. Woman pats man on bum - is this sexual harassment or encouragement ?

  171. ha! saw her - a mother figure for the boys when they're away from home, i think a couple of teams have got one. kind of like a nanny.

    leni - i fear paul the octopus may meet with a nasty accident, from some of the german coverage. possibly involving a barbecue grill and some hot sauce.

  172. Or calamares. Mmmmhmmmm! :p

    Now I'm stuck. Lots of dutchie friends, but they are in Holland. Two very good spanish friends here in London. The latter two are physically close enough to whack me if I support Holland...


  173. I dunno Leni, but everyone seems to be quite happy with the arrangement.

    And maybe, as everyone keeps telling me whenever I look scared at being touched inappropriately here, 'it's a Latin thing'!

  174. Happy birthday everyone.

  175. perhaps the octo has more than divinatory powers. Perhaps he can influence things. Scarey but impressive.

  176. Erm, happy birthday Thaumaturge. Posted first, thought second.

    Bad luck Germany.

  177. Miscellaneous responses:

    --ATOS isn't an American company. No one here has said so, but I know that I've seen people commenting on Cif who seem to think it is.

    --Antonin Scalia is an inhuman piece of shit. As are Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, John Roberts and Clarence Thomas. Despicable, dishonourable, hypocritical slime.

    --Matthew Shepard, Lawrence King -- American homosexuals could probably make a case for asylum in Britain.

    --Yes, of course I can make tabs for thread alerts & resources links. Coming right up.

  178. Hola Phillippa !
    I actually want them both to win the final. I would be equally chuffed, in the same way that I am equally chuffed that Italy and France both went home in disgrace before England.

    I genuinely wouldn't have minded a Germany Holland Final, but I *knew* then that Germany would win, and that's just boring. And as the whole tournament has been nearly as boring as the process of the British public slowly waking up to the fact that Michael Gove is a nauseating little prig with no fucking clue; I want everyone in both squads to amaze me and prove that we can all be winners. Just like the ConDems have.

    No. Hang on. I need to rethink this.

    More wine...

  179. Oh, and:

    When y'all say "Judge Judy" are you really referring to this Judge Judy or is there a British Judge Judy?

    Go Netherlands! Or Spain! I wish they could both win.

  180. ATOS is a french company, which is quite ironic really as France in general tends to have a more humanistic attitude to social welfare.

    Then again, there are plenty of French companies operating here. They run our trains, our utilites etc.

    Anyway, I have been feeling quite listless, apathetic and lethargic, down in the dumps I suppose.

    I have a mountain of things to do, and intersts to pursue, but I just have this block, which causes me to mooch around or procrastinate.

    Well, anyway I am going down south next week to visit my father, my 'summer holiday'. Do a bitta hilwalking on the South Downs maybe.

  181. and just like that there they are - evening montana!

  182. Thanks for those Montana!!

    I suspect the alert thing won't be used so much, but I think the resources one could prove extremely useful.

  183. @Sheff:thanks for the link to the Joe Bageant piece. It's a bit of a polemic with not much in the way of evidence or links but it certainly struck a chord with me.
    Of course the world of finance and economics only makes sense(as far as they analyse it) to the hoi polloi in terms of how to pay the bills each month.

    My brother-in-law is an accountant, so I've bookmarked it to send and see what he thinks about it.

  184. Naps

    you sound a bit depressed.

    When are you off to your dad's? I used to live among the South Downs - lots of good gentle walking and nice pub gardens. Hope you enjoy and go back home refreshed and raring to go.

  185. Montana

    I thought there was only one Judge Judy.The one from NY whose TV 'Courtroom'is in LA.And who i thought was a Republican with all that entails.
    Has she got a UT fan club?

  186. Leni

    An OS map, a flask and a pair of walking boots is the secret of happiness.

    Hopefully next week. Jsut looking at various ways to travel, train, plain or coach. Probably coach.

  187. and with that - good night, all.

  188. This comment has been removed by the author.

  189. NapK
    "ATOS is a french company, which is quite ironic really as France in general tends to have a more humanistic attitude to social welfare."

    There is very little the French won't do for themselves that they would also deny the wider world - check out any recent foreign policy issue from using CAP to destroy African agriculture to monopolising foreign oil and gas interests in Burma while publically decrying the US over the middle East and siding with Russia... very socialist, just not very *internationally* socialist ;-)

    Hope you have a good break. Have just done a couple of weeks of (mostly) cliff walking in the west country. Good for the soul.

  190. although - just got round to reading the bageant piece, and I'm with chekhov - rattling good polemic, but then I'm a big fan of Hunter S Thompson, so I liked it!

  191. Nap-You do sound a bit down.Hope you,re taking care of yourself--he says in stern cyber Uncle Paul voice.A break will probably do you a power of good.So hope you have a good time.

    @Bitterweed-good to see you back.

    Nite all.