Sunday, July 27, 2008

Love And Death In The USA

First, here's a story about love. Well, sex, anyway.

It's from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution :

Wendy Whitaker's name may be on Georgia's sex offender registry, but her offense suggests she is no predator.

At age 17, while a high school sophomore, Whitaker had oral sex with a 15-year-old male classmate. In 1997, she pleaded guilty to sodomy and got five years' probation.

Whitaker, 28, has moved twice because of the sex offender law's restrictions that say an offender cannot live within 1,000 feet of places where children congregate. Whitaker was recently told by a sheriff she must move again because her home is within 1,000 feet of a church.

I'm thinking - she pleaded guilty to what?

I found the story via the excellent Echidne of the Snakes blog. And the death story is from there as well. Here's a news report from Louisiana:

WINNFIELD, La., July 23 (UPI) -- Louisiana authorities are awaiting the results of a state police report before deciding whether to file criminal charges in the Taser death of a handcuffed man.

Baron "Scooter" Pikes, 21, was shocked nine times by officer Scott Nugent after being arrested on a cocaine charge in Winnfield earlier this year, CNN reported Wednesday.

Nugent, who was fired as a result of the incident, may face criminal charges now that Pikes' death has been ruled a homicide.

Winn Parish Coroner Randolph Williams says Pikes was jolted so many times with the 50,000-volt Taser that he might have been dead before the last two shocks were delivered.

Williams said Pikes was handcuffed and on the ground when the stun gun use began.

Nugent's lawyer says his client followed proper procedure in subduing a man who weighed 247 pounds.

I don't imagine that "Scooter" Pikes was a nice chap. But to die at 21 like this? I don't think there are more painful ways to die than by electrocution. Let's try and ensure that when tasers are used in the UK, they save lives rather than end them.

No Swearing.

The Blog-O-Cuss Meter - Do you cuss a lot in your blog or website?
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Hat-tip: Roger Green

Age Banding - Why Stop With Books?

Having read Sara's post opposing age banding for children's books, I am wondering whether the idea could actually be extended further.

For example - cars. I'm 49, I drive a Vauxhall Astra. It's probably the right car for me - but how about having a discreet age banding included in the model name - like, say, "Astra GT 1500 45-49?" Wouldn't that make my big car-choosing decisions so much easier in future?

And then there's' TV programmes. Which age band is Doctor Who intended for? 8-10? 11-14? 45-49? I'm going to have to keep watching it until they tell me...

What about food ? When our son was 12 he liked Brie. Surely that's really intended for an older person? Why can't they put an age range on the label?

Then there's clothes. And films. And blogs. Shouldn't we forced to put a label on our blogs showing an age range? Only trouble is then is that I would probably be too old for Millenium Elephant. And too young for Lord Bonkers' Diary

Um, maybe let's scrap the age banding idea after all.

Friday, July 25, 2008

A Political Poser

Here's a question to really test your knowledge of fairly obscure politicians:-

Which serving, democratically elected, Commonwealth Premier had previously spent time in jail after being convicted of heroin trafficking?

Unhelpful clue: his party has the initials YP.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

I've Decided To Take On Obama And McCain

Of course it's true - just see this news report:

Belated Hat-tip : Roger Green

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Site To Look Out For

If you are going to be following the US elections this autumn, a good site to look at is

It's main feature is a map of the USA showing the latest opinion polls for each state, and a projection of the electoral college vote based on those figures, plus some analysis.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Moving The Date Of The 2009 County Council Elections

Has anybody else seen this from the Department of Communities and Local Government:

We are seeking views about moving the date of the English Local Elections from Thursday 7 May 2009 so that they take place on the same day as the European Parliamentary elections on Thursday 4 June 2009.

This consultation seeks, in particular, views of councils and other stakeholders on where the balance of advantage lies - holding the local and European elections on the same day or diffferent days four weeks apart. The results of this consultation will help us reach a decision as to whether or not the 2009 local elections should be moved.

A report on this is coming to our District Council all-Tory Cabinet next week, with a recommendation to support the switch.

On principle I think it's better for local elections to keep their own separate identity. When I stand in a council election, I aim to fight it on council issues....

(Incidentally, it's a little hard to find on the Communities and Local Government website anything that says it is a government department or government ministry. Somewhat confusing.)

Monday, July 07, 2008

How To Save Donna

Millennium Elephant's review of Doctor Who's "Journey's End" has imspired me to write this....

Because I really really like Donna. She's my favourite companion of all the ones I've seen - and I can just about remember Zoe as a new companion. Have a look back at Donna in say,Pompeii, and see how much enjoyed and appreciated all that she was experiencing.

I thought the "Time Boy" moment when the new improved DonnaDoctor save the cosmos was just delicious.

But it's not too late to save her... If there's one place that could use her talents, it's the Shadow Proclamation. (Incidentally, why didn't they appear in "Journey's End"? ) They clearly heve some understanding of her condition (they even predicted it somehow ) and if their water can help people maybe they could stabilise her.... and employ her.

Wilf could visit her once in a while. He deserves that. And even her Mum might be impressed.

And having Donna appearing as guest star, talking to her bunch of Judoon sidekicks in Judoon would be simply marvellous. Wouldn't it?


Turn Left... "I'm nothing"....

Super Temp (The Lady is Mine)...

Emotional Donna...

How To Save A Life....


Don't make me go back...

Saturday, July 05, 2008

My Doctor Who Guesses

Everybody's entitled to speculate on tonight's Doctor Who. Why not me?

1) David Tennant will continue playing the Doctor - as the Time Lord will regenerate into the 11th Doctor tonight but keep his existing appearance.

2) Donna the Temp is actually Romana, the Doctor's Time Lord companion from a long time ago. She will regenerate tonight as well ...

Note that Richard Dawkins had a cameo last week , he is the real-life husband of Lalla Ward (pictured below), who played Romana. If so, perhaps Lalla will return to the series to play Romana again in her new regenerated form. In that case , both Tennant and Ward will be playing a new version of the character they have played before. (Does that make sense?)

3. The First Doctor will make an appearance - after all he is the only previous version who has been to the Medusa Cascade.

If I'm wrong on this, and Tennant is leading the series, (shame on him) then maybe the 11th Doctor will be played by Russell T Davis himself... Clues? I'ts obvious that he loves the character, he's just given up the producing role, and he's the best person who could hang around the set and not arouse suspicion :)

You Can Read The Figures, But You Can't Comprehend Them

From Astronomy Picture of the Day:

"How far can you see? Even the faintest stars visible to the eye are merely hundreds or thousands of light-years distant, all well within our own Milky Way Galaxy. Of course, if you know where to look you can also spot the Andromeda Galaxy as a pale, fuzzy cloud, around 2.5 million light-years away. But staring toward the northern constellation Bootes on March 19th, even without binoculars or telescope you still could have witnessed a faint, brief, flash of light from a gamma-ray burst. The source of that burst has been discovered to lie over halfway across the Universe at a distance of about 7.5 billion light-years."
Chris expresses his own views on this weblog.

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