Category Archives: Bad things happen

Call-me-Dave Tough on crime

I’ve left the comment below to tenderhooligan’s blog post regarding this news story. I’m pretty pissed about the rioting which was mindless destruction for it’s own sake but the measured response by law enforcement should be against the perpetrators and the political response should be about the causes of the riot. So far I’ve not seen a politician address that at all.

I’m horrified by this story. The son has been arrested and is facing prosecution and probably a jail term. Fair enough, he committed a crime and society seeks to put in place corrective action and demonstrate a deterrent for future offenders. That deterrent shouldn’t extend to his family who are not responsible for his crime.

I note that Call-me-Dave says that “they’ll have to find housing in the private sector and that will be tougher for them”. Tougher? Yeah, let’s see a family (presumable on benefits or with a low income) raise a few thousand pounds for a deposit and a few thousand more for their first month or so rent.

No, what’ll happen is that they’ll go to the council again and ask for emergency accommodation for the 8 year old and mother (who they are already housing). The council can refuse as an evicted family is deemed “intentionally homeless” but in practice they won’t. They’ll be put up in a B&B or temporary accommodation for 6 to 12 months and go right back on the housing list.

When the son gets released after he finally gets a trial and they let him out for time served or shortly after they’ll apply for accommodation again. As an ex offender he’ll be given preferential housing and the family will end up in another council flat. Maybe even the same one.

Oh and the flat won’t be used for the next eighteen months. Most councils have a policy to keep flats used for crimes empty for a period to deter people who went to these properties (dealers, buyers, etc) from returning. Then it’ll be redecorated at tax payer’s expense and let out again.

The lovely Hil says that the council are within their rights according to the typical council tenancy agreement. Also that there is probably more to this story than is being told. Councils rarely evict based on single incidents.

Another thing. The eviction process is an expensive and drawn out process. Anyone who advices Sartain-Clarke’s mother will tell her to stay in the flat until the bailiffs arrive to evict in order to maximise their chances of being rehoused. That means more cost to the tax payer.

It looks to me to be an expensive and pointless exercise in public relations where Call-me-Dave can say that he is being tough on crime without actually doing anything constructive. Then again I may just be a cynic.

Apparently Call-me-Dave will make a speech about council housing reforms today.

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Women Drivers Part 2

On Monday I mentioned in Women Drivers how Manal Al Sharif had defied Saudi law by driving in public. This brave woman has now been arrested.

Al Sharif, 32, was taken into custody for something that is only an offence in Saudi Arabia: Driving while female.

According to her lawyer, she was charged with “inciting women to drive” and “rallying public opinion.” Al Sharif had launched a campaign to defy the kingdom’s ban on female drivers by urging Saudi women to get behind the wheel of a car on June 17.

She must have known that it would happen and that she would be punished for it. I have to admire someone like that and I’m sure her arrest won’t deter some of her supporters though others are put off.

“We cannot think this would happen to any Saudi woman . . . This is a disaster,” said a young Saudi who had planned to join the June protest. “After what happened with her, I’m afraid. I have to admit it. I don’t want to go to jail.”

Please have a read of the whole article and try to keep the story and struggle alive on Facebook (“I Will Drive Starting June 17”) and Twitter (#Women2Drive), ask your MP (assuming that they aren’t completely worthless) to intervene. The campaign deserves support.



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The Conned

I feel sort of sorry for this guy and for the many people like him. He’s been conned by Harold Camping and his silly cRapture myth. Robert Fitzpatrick spent $140,000 of his life savings to “warn” people about the Rapture. This was his retirement fund, money that he would live on for his old age and he needed to look after himself. Now he has nothing.

I know that I take a lot of glee in mocking Camping when the cRapture failed (predictably) to happen. It is a stupid and wasteful claim that deserved to fall flat on it’s face. Yet for his victims I have to keep some sympathy. Perhaps they will serve as a lesson to future gullible people. Here’s hoping anyway.



Filed under Bad things happen, Religion

Woman Tries to Kill Children, Self to Avoid ‘the Tribulation’

An end times nutter.

Palmdale (KTLA) — A woman slit her daughters’ throats before slitting her own early Friday evening, claiming that “the Tribulation” was going to occur and she wanted to prevent them from suffering through it, officials said.

Lyn Benedetto, 47, reportedly told her daughters to lie on a bed and proceeded to take a knife to their throats.

The suspect then took the knife to her own throat before driving the victims to an unoccupied friend’s house to die.

This is just the kind of crazed mentality that I have so much trouble understanding. It seems clear to me that this woman is mentally ill in some way. Of course I’m not trained in psychiatry or anything but I think you’ll agree that there are some actions that you just know are bonkers.

The recent bollocks by Harold Camping and his followers about the cRapture and the End Times may well have added that impetus to Benedetto so that her dark thoughts of murder\suicide were realised. What sort of thoughts must have gone through her mind to consider that her life, her childrens’ lives and the world would be a better place if her family were bled to death by her hand.

I’ve got to feel sorry for her in a way (assuming that she is actually mentally ill) but my sympathy runs out at the point where her actions hurt others. It really lies with her children who have (or really should have) lost their mother and now have to live with her actions. I have no sympathy whatsoever for the kind of faith that fosters and supports such beliefs that enable this kind of behaviour. None at all.


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Irish Friends and Bad Parents

A bit of fun to start off with because this story made me laugh out loud. Anachronism Queen Liz will be visiting the Irish Republic next week and she’s taking along her Prime Minister, David “Call me Dave” Cameron. That wasn’t what made me laugh though. This was:

Mr Cameron has described her visit as a symbol of the “strong partnership and friendship” between the two countries.

Yeah. Right! All those jokes down the pub about Paddy and Mike that we English don’t tell are certainly not returned with a general feeling of discontent with the English that has pervaded Ireland for well over two centuries. No, we’re the best of friends.

The thing is that the Irish and English aren’t enemies and we aren’t an occupying force in their country any more (OK, maybe a little bit) so there really is good reason to strengthen political and economic ties for both our benefits. Pretending that we’re all chummy is just silly though. Like Dave.

Bad parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, are courting the media again with an open letter in the Sun asking David Cameron (him again) to please do something about finding poor Madeleine McCann. Curiously Kate McCann’s book was released on the 3rd May but let’s not be cynical about this. If it were up to me these neglectful parents would be lamenting the loss of their innocent daughter from behind bars but we don’t prosecute people for abandoning children in a foreign country so that they can get pissed with their mates, do we?


Filed under Bad things happen, Reasons to be cheerful

No Muslim woman casts vote

This is an example of sexism and religion at work. Not that the two don’t often go hand in hand anyway.

Purulia (WB), May 7 (PTI) Not a single Muslim woman today cast vote in two booths specially arranged for them with women polling staff in Para assembly constituency in Purulia district today.

“It is unfortunate that none of the 641 Muslim women came out to vote in two polling booths despite posting women polling personnel as desired by them,” Sub-divisional officer who is in charge of Para constituency, Abid Hussain said.

While Sk Omar (55), a local male voter, told PTI that the women were willing to vote, but their husbands did not allow them to come out, Mohammed Unus (60) tried to argue that the women boycotted the vote for non-development of the area.

Unus, however, cast his vote.

The women had not voted earlier on the plea that they did not have Electoral Photo Identity Cards since they were unwilling to be photographed by a male photographer, District Magistrate A Singh said.

Honouring their wishes a female photographer had been employed to take their photos for the EPICs, Singh said. PTI CORR PR

Their husbands didn’t allow them to vote. Imagine that. Imagine not being permitted to exercise your right to vote. Imagine having your husband limit your freedoms in such a dogmatic way. Imagine being a man who felt that he had to control his wife to such an extent that she was not allowed to travel to the polling station to vote, even though special consideration for your faith had been made.

That doesn’t sound like a positive, loving relationship, does it? Isn’t it past time that the feminist movement reached beyond the West?


Filed under Atheist, Bad things happen, Religion

Sally Army Cheats

The city council of Wellington, New Zealand granted permission to Wellington Rape Crisis for their annual fund raiser. This one day appeal brings in around 20% of the charity’s annual income and goes to help the victims of rape, sexual assault and abuse. They provide support and counselling as well as advocacy for victims and medical centres, police and the courts. They also provide educational resources and referrals to other agencies. Source. All good work and unfortunately necessary.

Wellington require any organisation to get permission to collect money on council land (public highways, shopping centres, etc) which is quite reasonable and no doubt helps to limit swindlers and other bogus charity collections as well as keeping the charity workers in some kind of organised pattern so that everyone doesn’t descend over a single weekend.

The Salvation Army don’t care about that though. They don’t seem to care about the victims of rape or about giving smaller charities a fair chance to collect money. What they’ve done is to compete with Wellington Rape Crisis and defy the council rules by collecting in the middle of the charity’s week long appeal. Another example of Christian charity no doubt.

It makes me wonder if the Salvation Army isn’t getting too big to do good any more. There was a time when I considered the charity to be one of the better Christian charities out there (not that I’d give to a religious charity when there are so many good secular ones out there) but this news is just disturbing. It comes only a fortnight after The Poppy Project was reported to have lost their funding to the Sally Army too (as reported by tenderhooligan). Of course they also have a record of promoting superstition rather than actually helping victims of rape and hold an

International Weekend of Prayer and Fasting for the Victims of Sex Trafficking.

I’m sure that’s a great help. NOT!

If you give to charity please choose one that does some good with your money and treats people fairly. Thank you.


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Boys Denied Cancer Vaccine

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee have rejected a submission requesting that they add the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine Gardasil to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for administration to boys.

When the HPV vaccine first made headlines I did wonder why it was only for girls. I mean it is fairly obvious that you need a cervix to get cervical cancer but men can carry the virus and HPV doesn’t just cause cancers of the cervix. It caused cancers in whatever body part it takes root in. Just because “normal” sex is between a man and a woman and involves penetration that doesn’t mean that it is the only way to have sex. Seriously, look it up if you don’t believe me.

As a society we should be protecting people from communicable diseases like HPV. It seems to me that immunizing boys and girls will do a better job of this than just immunizing girls. It will certainly help those 5% to 10% of the population who are gay and have sex.


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Gay activism, Unmarried Rights and Retired Police

Ugandan gay activist Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera has been given the prestigious Martin Ennals rights award.

In Uganda being gay is such a terrible thing that some people are trying to bring in special laws against it.

In October 2009, an MP introduced a bill that proposed increasing the penalties in Uganda for homosexual acts from 14 years in prison to life.

It also proposed the death penalty for a new offence of “aggravated homosexuality” – defined as when one of the participants is a minor, HIV-positive, disabled or a “serial offender”.

Nabagesera has campaigned against anti-homosexual treatment despite the murder in January of her colleague, David Kato.

I cannot imagine what it must be like to live in fear of my life for simply loving someone. It is really good that she has been recognised and that this issue continues to be in the news.

This may have something to do with the prevalence of Anglicanism in Uganda. Traditional Christian values aren’t too supportive of The Gay.

Did you know that “Common Law” marriage is a complete myth? I did (but then I am very clever) but what I didn’t know was that the law gives better treatment for couples if they aren’t married. At least at the moment.

A couple, Jones and Kernott, lived together for several years. During this time they bought a house and had a couple of children. Then they split up. Ms Jones decided to keep the house and continued to pay the mortgage but Mr Kernott remained on the deeds.

Years later he decides that he wants a share of the value of the house. Now if they’d married the law would have given him the proportion of his contribution back (about 10%) but as an unmarried couple they are simply subject to contract law and he gets half.

For unmarried couples though, the court had to apply strict legal principles, so joint-ownership meant the property was shared 50/50.

So now you know.

Nicholas Francis QC, head of London family law chambers 29 Bedford Row, said the judgement would be a very important precedent and would underline the importance of unmarried couples deciding how much of the home each owns in a declaration of trust.

That should make things a bit more equal. Another nail in the coffin of marriage too.

Source BBC News.

Her Majesty’s Government continues to make austerity cuts. Some West Midland police are being forced to retire after 30 years of service. What of age discrimination laws I hear you cry? Apparently the police aren’t covered. Anyway David “Call me Dave” Cameron has so carefully planned his austerity measures that he’s taken the issue of forced retirement seriously. NOT.

Oh yes, all you coppers who were forced to retire, come back and work for free. Ha, I imagine that will go down like a lead balloon.

Tony Fisher, who was forced to retire as a detective specialising in tackling robbery, said the cost-cutting move was a “slap in the face” after 33 years in the force.

The former detective constable is among hundreds affected by the plan as part of efforts to save tens of millions of pounds in the wake of government spending cuts.

“I was a detective for 26 years and I just don’t see how that role fits in any way as a special constable,” he said.

“It’s a bit of a slap in the face to get rid of you and then say ‘do you want to come back for nothing’. It was adding salt to the wounds.”

But he added that the force was “between a rock and a hard place”.

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English Baccalaureate and Bureaucrats

It was only last month that we were at the younger Tadpoles’ school and listening to teachers go through Options. They spoke about the brand spanking new English Baccalaureate and about how they hadn’t yet had any guidance from universities, colleges or the Department of Education as to how important they were. For those of you who weren’t at the parent teacher event (and where were you?) the English Bac is comprised of English, Mathematics, a language, two sciences and either geography or history.

Back in the Iron Age when I did my options I dropped French like a rancid garlic sausage covered in flies and I didn’t have the option of learning German (which I wanted to do) or Spanish, Italian or Japanese. These are the only six languages that are spoken in the civilised world as you know and English is the only important one. At least that was how it was back in the day. Another thing we had, along with Technical Drawing, was the choice of doing Chemistry, Biology or Physics rather than Science but times change. You generally had a split between science and technical types (boys) and art and humanities types (girls) and I must say that I’m really glad that kind of silliness is behind us.

What concerns me though, on top of the seemingly never ending interference in education from state, is the setting of apparently random targets. Granted it is state education so they should oversee things but politicians are not educators and educators are the experts here. Someone in power might try listening to them. Just a thought. The Beeb reports that the English Bac is too narrow in scope. It ignores the efforts of those who are less academic and more vocationally oriented and it ignores those who do subjects like Music, Art or Ethics and Philosophy (the old RE).

It seems too that the universities are going to be pressured into altering admissions criteria to look for people with the broad education of an English Bac rather than those who specialise early or those who take alternate routes to their education. The Tadpoles’ school offers GCSEs but it also offers vocational courses like Mechanical Engineering and almost half the Options choices were BTECs. A BTEC doesn’t count towards the English Bac so are students who work consistently through coursework rather than take exams going to lose out on university places? Who knows? The government aren’t saying.


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