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Monday, 27 June 2011

Billy The Kid Gets $2.3m

In his biggest ever score, 'Billy The Kid' finally made a big hit of $2.3m .... many times more than all the money he took by crime (which was probably only a few thousand dollars in total).

Sadly for him, this wasn't in his lifetime, and it was only when his likeness on a tintype photograph taken in 1879/80 at Fort Sumner, New Mexico, was sold at the specialist Brian Lebel's Annual Old West Show & Auction that such a large sum was realised.

Billy The Kidd 1879
 Better late than never, eh, Billy?

For the purposes of this blog I tidied up the picture, which in truth is actually rather tatty, but in case you want to see the original and the full story of the sale its on this link.

NB: That's not a 'gunman's stare', its a result of the magnesium powder (flash powder) used to light the subject when taking their pictures in those days.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Urban Myths Strike Again

There are urban legends that take generations to develop, and then there are flash myths .... our new digital lifestyles mean that word of mouth is faster than ever and this is what struck the car salesman of Afghanistan (talking of tuff jobs) ...... an urban legend has sprung up that caused the local car buyers to develop a curious aversion for registration plates containing the number 39.


For some unexplained reason the number 39 is suddenly held as a mark of great shame by Afghan's, but no one knows why anymore, or what the cause of this dislike is. One explanation given is that the taboo started because a pimp had '39' on his number plate, but in which case what about the other numbers on the pimp plate? Another explanation is that it stems from an old way of calculating numbers from letters and numbers into letters called "Abjad" ... but why 39 would be an issue isn't covered by that explanation either.

But despite the illogicality the legend has grown from nowhere leaving owners of new cars with the plates unhappy .... and in Afghanistan that's unhappy.

"I am gutted that my car has a 39 number plate. I have had enough of people's taunts," said Ahmad Ghafor, a taxi driver in Kabul. "It gets worse when I have women customers in the car. Other drivers signal to me or blow their horn saying 'shall we pay you to drop these ladies to my place?'" ... he can't sell the car for love nor money.

Nuruddin Hamdard, head of the Kabul traffic department, told the BBC: "According to law, we have to distribute plate number 39. It is people's ignorance that they go after superstition". Of course this is Afghanistan, so corruption is rampant, and the traffic department officials are charging more than $300 (£185) as a bribe to issue plates with a different number. Other motorists have paid to have their plates professionally altered and the 39 erased despite the fact that this is illegal.

Pimp My Ride Big Boy
Car prices have been hugely affected. Cars worth $12,000 but with plates on number 39 have sold new for only $7,000 .... and the contagion has spread to the non car population.  People also avoid mobile phone numbers with those two numbers as the leading digits because they get crank calls asking for prostitutes. There are even reports of house numbers being changed from 39 to stop people calling to ask for prostitutes ...  (prostitutes are apparently an endless topic of fascination amongst the saddo's of these countries ... it appears to stem from the religion).

There have been attempts to halt the spread of this problem ... Nuruddin Hamdard of Kabul's traffic department says people should get real. "In every Islamic country you can see car plates number 39. We have verses of the Koran starting with 39. I have spoken to mullahs about this - they have no idea and call it absurd and superstition. People are just making a mountain out of a molehill."

But still it grips the men of this country ....... you would think that they would have more urgent things to worry about.

Update: Months later this story hasn't gone away ... the BBC have reported that in November 2011, officials at a meeting of elders in Kabul changed a committee's number after delegates rejected '39', because of an Afghan belief that the number is associated with pimps. Strange that it all started from an urban myth.




Tuff Jobs - But Someone Has To Do Them

When we think of old World War II bombs being uncovered, we automatically think of German bombs in the UK, and not ever about the Allied  bombs in Germany. Of course by the end of the war we had dropped more than 3.4 million tons of bombs on Germany, far more than the Germans had managed to drop here.

So when you think of it, there must be more old unexploded bombs there, then here. In Berlin alone, its estimated that 465,000 tons of allied explosives hit the ground, and about one in eight bombs did not explode*.

Manuel Kunzendorf, Ralf Kirschnick und Horst Reinhardt

So someone has to clean them up when they turn up .... this is where the rather brave Ralf Kirschnick comes to the fore, he is Berlins lead bomb disposal expert. With all the rebuilding of the German capital following reunification and the relocation of government back there following reunification, he's and his equally brave team are busy men as bombs are being uncovered.

Rather counter intuitively he does not wear protective clothing because he says it would do nothing to protect him from an exploding bomb (I hear what he's saying but .....), and of course rusty bombs are inherently unstable, so its something of a miracle that he's here to tell us about his job. I suspect he would rather just be killed cleanly, rather than be left seriously maimed, but I am only guessing at that.

Anyway, a salute to all the bomb disposal teams around the world .... mad as hatters the lot of them, but very brave.

* The reason for high proportion of unexploded ordinance is that the British and Americans tested their bombs in a part of Scotland with particularly hard ground. When they tried them out on the softer earth of Berlin, they sank into the ground .... so now they are lying there waiting to go off or be uncovered.
     

A Balanced Budget

With the imminent collapse of the Euro, because a number of the member states such as Greece, Portugal, Spain, and Ireland had not been running a balanced *budget, then the news that California has finally found the way in which to force the politicians, with their noses in the trough, to behave, might be good news.

They brought in a law (Proposition 25), last year, to stop the California legislature from constantly missing its annual budget deadline, and to concentrate the minds of their greedy masters, they added a provision that the politicians will not be paid until the state budget balances ....

Of course politicians being politicians, they still squabbled about the budget, and were happily trying to overspend with a dodgy budget agreed, when the law suddenly came into effect ..... they are now no longer being paid, after the state State Controller John Chiang, agreed with Governor Gerry Browns determination that the budget they had approved was not in fact 'balanced' as the law required, and was in fact $1.8bn overspent.

Budget Hero or Villain?
This decision means all 120 elected members of the State Assembly and Senate will not be paid their wages, or their living allowances, until they pass a balanced budget. At the moment there is stalemate, but its believed by observers, that when they see their first empty pay cheques arrived (or rather fail to arrive), then the politicos will suddenly make the necessary compromises and balance the books

This seems a likely way forward for all those bent politicos in Europe as well .... budgets must be balanced from now on.

*It should be noted that Britain under the Gordon Brown economic stewardship also racked up a massive budget deficit  

The Wrong Arm Of The Law

A gang of four male intruders, with balaclavas and kitted for violence tried to break in to a house where two men (a father and son) and the boys girlfriend were residing. There was a fight, the two men fought off the intruders and in the process one of the burglars was killed (or rather died of a stab wound) after being stabbed .... as usual the police turned up well after the event despite getting a 999 call during the attempt to break in, and promptly arrested the householder his son and the girl.


The police chief, superintendent Kevin Mulligan even expressed his shock at the 'tragic' incident resulting in the death of the (scumbag) burglar. It truly makes you despair of Britain .... and all this after the current Prime Minister declared that he was going to reinforce the law to protect homeowners defending their property. "We will put beyond doubt that homeowners and small shopkeepers who use reasonable force to defend themselves or their properties will not be prosecuted." .... weasel words, when the police and courts continue to interpret 'reasonable force' as meaning any force. The police officer in this case for example said "Within the existing legal framework, you can use reasonable force to protect yourself - the emphasis on reasonable."

Can you imagine the terror of having four men in balaclava's trying to break in to your house? They are not cat burglars, or chancers (who would have run away when challenged), no this is four men who don't care that there are people in the house, and therefore most certainly intend to harm the occupants .... and all this useless arm of the law can say is that  "the emphasis" is "on reasonable" while they try to defend their lives and their property .... he even added that he "didn't believe that members of the public are at risk."

Well that must come as a reassurance to those who this policeman considers are 'members of the public', but for the rest of us, like people who live in houses being burgled for example, it must be a grave concern that this man is the police officer protecting them.

In fact he seems to have a stock response to every death on his patch of socialist paradise .... after a fatal shooting on his beat, he suggested that "One firearm incident, especially one this tragic, is one too many". Then there was that time that there was another fatal stabbing on his beat in Salford ... "This is a tragic incident and we understand how this can cause alarm to the community. However, I would like to reassure residents that there is no general threat to them as a result of what happened". Or then there was yet another death by stabbing, which he said was a "tragic incident". Mr Mulligan apparently stressed that such incidents were "rare" ..... well, obviously not that 'rare'.

The last word on this should perhaps go to the father of the dead burglar, Mr Garry Bennell ....who when asked about the incident, is reported as saying that: “Householders are entitled to protect their own properties from burglars. I would hope to have the guts to protect my property, though obviously I wouldn't want to kill anybody”.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Lenin Arrested And Nicholas II Called To Defence

Lenin arrested and Nicholas II protests .... who would have thought it possible to write that lead? But Sergei Solovyov, a Lenin impersonator in Moscow's Red Square was detained by the police after complaints from street vendors reportedly "aggrieved" by his appearance and foul language - a charge he denied. His partner Viktor Chepkasov, a tsar impersonator who was dressed as Nicholas II, Russia's last Tsar complained that it was 'police harassment'.

Sergei Solovyov, Viktor Chepkasov
He also alleged that the complainants "traded incense and begged for money on the square". One was an Orthodox Christian, and the other a Hare Krishna follower ....   When Mr Solovyov was taken before a judge, accused of hooliganism, Mr Solovyov told police: "I did not use obscene language. I am not capable of such a thing." His defence asked for the two complainants to be produced and also for time to summon their own witnesses ..... at which point Mr Solovyov  fell ill with high blood pressure and was rushed to hospital

Speaking to LifeNews, "the Tsar" said police had been harassing the impersonators for years. "They periodically try to arrest us, on the most absurd pretexts: answering the call of nature in a corner, swearing or insulting a citizen."

Happy together "Lenin" and "the Tsar"
According to reports from Russian new agencies, both "Lenin" and "the Tsar" were arrested in an incident in 2009 along with a third impersonator "Brezhnev" who apparently "betrayed" his fellow look-alikes by writing a denunciation of "the Tsar" .... luckily Stalin wasn't involved in either incident, or there would have been real trouble.

"Lenin" and "Stalin" - Red Square


Another Fine Marital Mess ...

Now I am not going to comment on the allegations in the press about Ryan Giggs the footballer, because its illegal to break any court 'gagging order' in the UK ..... and the 'gagging order' is still in place, despite the UK and Worlds Presses stance on the subject.

No, I am merely posting this comic video from YouTube .... its a Taiwanese Chinese or South Korean TV production company film, that reports on world affairs or news via animations .... they happen to have done a feature on Ryan Giggs

   

... I can't comment on whether its allegations are true or not .... because as I have noted, its illegal to break any court 'gagging order' in the UK.

To Hell In A Hand Basket

The world this week is sadly still as depressing and lacking in 'something righteous and hopeful for a change' (as Oddball would have said)  ... as it was last week, and will be next week.

  • The Labour Party is full of leaks and in fighting, with revelations that Ed Balls disliked Tony Blair and wanted his mate Gordon Brown in power (hardly a surprise, or revelation), and the Miliband Brothers aren't talking after Ed stabbed David in the back over the party leadership (again hardly a surprise) .... its just a surprise that anyone is surprised.  

  • Yet another group of Pakistani  men have been arrested and charge with paedophile grooming of white girls in a northern English town (these offences should be classed as a 'race crime' but isn't, unless its Whites on Asians), this is a problem that has developed as a direct result of mass unregulated immigration, but previous reports of the issue, were often swept under the carpet or under reported by Labour politicians and Labour councils in these northern English towns, because it was not 'PC' to discuss it while Labour were in power.  

  • Germaine Greer has called the British Army 'potential rapists and linked them to the bunch of animals in Gaddafi's army, which has been gang raping women, allegedly as an act of revenge on rebel towns, which she also thinks is a 'demented' claim .... she has never lived in the muslim world (frankly she would likely have been killed or raped years ago if she had), so she has the luxury of saying it isn't happening. All this while blithely ignoring the evidence of the Libyan woman lawyer who was gang raped by Gaddafi's men in Tripoli, and who in her distress went to the foreign press hotel to complain (before being bundled away by secret police), and who was also described as "a drunk, a prostitute and a thief" by regime spokesmen.  Or the example of the mass sexual assault and beating, of US female reporter Lara Logan in Egypt's Tahrir square. Or even those 'demented' charities that are rushing to offer abortions to rape victims before their own fathers, brothers, or husbands 'honour kill' them. I have commented before on the cowardice of the 'women's page warriors' who will attack men of their own culture, but won't challenge the assaults on womankind by an entire religion and culture ..... the cost of this could eventually prove to be very high for the 'sisters of the left'

  • And finally, the Syrians are busy killing each other in yet another bloody uprising, and some of its citizens apparently want to know why 'Christian Armies' aren't attacking the regime and defending them (answer: Russia & China)..... not once have they asked where the 'Arab or Muslim armies' are to protect them from their genocidal regime? This is the same country and people who still regularly calls the US and UK (for that's who they mean by Christian Armies) 'Infidels', 'Crusaders' and 'Kafirs', and is still at war with Israel .... indeed some of them tried to cross the border in to Israel after being bribed to do so by the regime.  Many were killed or injured in the incident, some by Israeli soldiers, but many more by Syrian landmines, which litter their side of the border and through which they were marching .... just another day in the Middle East.    



... in other words, the world is still going to hell in a basket!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Legal Aid Abuse Sinks To New Low

I earn a decent salary, I live in a lower middle class area, I am purchasing my own house via a mortgage, I have no other notable debt, and some savings ...... And I wouldn't qualify for any Legal Aid.  Legal Aid was devised by lawyers in Parliament in 1949, to help the very poor, & those arrested with no means of paying for help. The latest figures suggest that it now costs the UK taxpayer £2bn a year (a higher per capita cost than anywhere else in the world), and is now available to around 29% of adults. The very poor and the very rich ..... but not me and probably not you!

But if you are a Millionaire, or even a Billionaire, you can arrange your affairs in such a manner that you will qualify for Legal Aid in the UK .... Asil Nadir, the Turkish Cypriot millionaire, returned to the UK last August to contest fraud charges that he ran away from 20 years ago. He allegedly secretly transferred nearly £200m from 'Polly Peck' to companies in northern Cyprus in the two years before the group went out of business in 1990. Nadir also emerged as the owner of £25m-worth of properties in northern Cyprus purchased by Polly Peck. The ownership of another £22m of properties was unclear because no owner was recorded ...... and he is now to receive Legal Aid. How any democratic government justifies giving tax payers money to pay for the legal defence team of a millionaire, who allegedly defrauded thousands of their law abiding citizens, is so beyond my grasp, that I actually despair of the UK ..... it has gone completely mad. 

His bail conditions included a £250,000 bail surety already paid to the court, he had to surrender his passport, and wear an electronic tag, and reporting to a police station once a week. He's also prohibited from going near any airport..... why would he? He is living in a £20,000-a-month rented house in Kensington, and his trial is not expected to take place until 2012. Is he getting Housing Benefits as well to pay for the house, or could he live somewhere cheaper and use the savings of £18,000 a month to pay for his own legal defence? or was that too complicated for the Legal Aid Assessment teams to work out?

Of course there have been others ....
  • Jim Morrison, a Scottish millionaire, who was estimated to have a £300 million fortune before his firm crashed in 2009, got Legal Aid.
  • The Maxwell boys, Kevin and Ian, .... got Legal Aid.
  • Ernest Saunders, the only man known to be cured of Alzheimer's, also got Legal Aid.
  • Dr Jawad Hashim, who reputedly owned six homes and employed servants, qualified for Legal Aid.
What have these men got in common?
All Got Legal Aid in the UK.
The crime, isn't necessarily that they get it, after all in some circumstances the Legal Aid Board, which decides on eligibility, cannot take into account any assets, because they are either claimed by the other party in the case, or frozen by court orders, which may leave them technically broke (although assets and funds 'transferred' to family e.g. wife, or funds held in properties abroad, should be counted in the calculation).

No, its the fact that if they win they never are seen to repay the costs to us, which really irks me. Every time this has happened, MP's have promised to reform Legal Aid to stop such rampant abuses, but quietly shelve the reforms, until the next time .... and they wonder why Parliament and MP's are held in such low esteem.

This is so shameful a betrayal of those who pay the taxes (and that means single people working on anything over £7,475pa), to finance this shambles of a justice system, that its hard to think of what else to say.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

German Humour ....

Who said that the Germans don't have a sense of humour?  Yes I know that we have highlighted Henning Wehn as a funny German (but he's lived here for years,  and has been infected with non German thoughts). But racially, the land of Vorsprung Durch Technik is not renowned for 'having a larf' .... especially their police force.

But we may have to review that opinion after German police announced that they are trialling the use of  vultures that can find hidden corpses from  the air .... using their very keen sense of smell to locate rotting flesh. The three guinea pigs are Sherlock, Miss Marple and Columbo but there are a few problems to overcome ...
  • Sherlock sometimes prefers to hunt on foot, rather than scan the ground from above, which kinda slows him down. 
  • The Vultures are just as likely to stop for dead rabbits as humans.  
  • There is a risk that a vulture could start pecking at a dead body and eat the evidence.

Bird Brained Detectives -
Sherlock, Miss Marple and Columbo  

Apparently there is interest in the scheme around the world, but it will never be adopted in the Middle East, where all vultures are classed as Israeli spies   .....
 

Common Sense Outbreak

The 19-members of the The Global Commission on Drug Policy (which includes Mexico's former President Ernesto Zedillo, Brazil's ex-President Fernando Henrique Cardoso and former Colombian President Cesar Gaviria, as well as the former US Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker and the current Prime Minister of Greece George Papandreou, Billionaire Richard Branson, and former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan) has finally come to the same conclusion  as many of us (including us at PC Towers), namely that the 'War On Drugs' has not only failed, but is actually part of the problem.

The Global Commission's latest 24-page report argues strongly that anti-drug policy has failed by fuelling organised crime, costing taxpayers millions of dollars and causing thousands of deaths .... frankly that's putting the failure mildly. Many countries are simply overwhelmed by the power of the drugs cartels which can out fight the states forces ..... or buy them off. The failure has been on such a scale the the the UN estimates that opiate use increased 35% worldwide from 1998 to 2008, cocaine by 27%, and cannabis by 8.5%.

The prime driver of all of this is US, and to a lesser extent, Western demand .... so we are culpable in all of  this misery. The United States alone spends some $40 billion each year on trying to eliminate the supply of drugs. It arrests 1.5m of its citizens each year for drug offences, locking up half a million of them; tougher drug laws are the main reason why one in five black American men spend some time behind bars.

Worldwide, the 'war on drugs' has caused Opium production to simply be moved from Turkey and Thailand, to Myanmar (Burma) and southern Afghanistan, where it undermines the West’s efforts to defeat the Taliban, and finances the killing of NATO soldiers. Indeed the prohibition policies, far from reducing crime, have fostered gangsterism on a scale that the world has never seen before.

Armed Police Commandos Burn Drugs - A drop in the ocean
According to the UN’s  estimate, the illegal drug industry is worth some $320 billion a year and growing. In the West it makes criminals of otherwise law-abiding citizens  ..... its a fact the several US Presidents could easily have ended up in prison for their youthful experiments with 'grass', 'blow', 'weed' or whatever the euphemism was in their youth'.

We also tried various youthful experiments in these waters, but grew out of them, and feel that legalising drugs (for adults, not minors), in the same manner as Tobacco and Alcohol, is the answer .... Legalisation would not only drive away the gangsters; it would also transform drug usage from a police  problem into a public-health problem, which is how we deal with the side effects of smoking and drinking. Governments should tax and regulate the drug trade, and use the revenues (and the billions saved on law-enforcement), to educate the drug using public about the risks of drug-taking, and to treat the addictions.

Recently, Portugal has tried this approach and has seen dramatic and positive results ..... Surely this makes sense to anyone who still has brain cells?

Funny Bunnies

The 'Wimmin' of the Left were wringing their knickers this week when it was announced that Playboy were to re-open their London Playboy clubs ..... so there they were, parading around screaming "Sexism" and other such slogans.


Speaking on behalf of the all the protesting groups, and the 100 or so Wimmin (of both sexes) who had turned up, Ms Long told TV news reporters: "The women see that Playboy are about the exploitation of women. They're about the degradation of women and I think they're rightly angry at the way Playboy is trying to legitimise pornography and bring it into the mainstream. This club is another step in that direction."

Hefner and the Original Bunnies
Hefner says, its the right time to re-open in London. "The return of the bunnies has a retro chic about it. It's back to the 1960s - you know, James Bond, The Beatles and the bunnies".

Compare and contrast these same women groups total silence as the Islamic dominance of men over women is daily paraded across our city streets .....

Male Dominence over Women ... or Religious Freedom
..... they won't protest outside the Mosques that propagate that creed of 'exploitation ... and degradation of women' ....

Luton Muslims ... Supporting Women's Rights
(to be male property)   
Because the men behind this particular type of male oppression frighten them into silence or hiding, as these citizens of Luton demonstrated to a Muslim woman politician who tried to reason with them (that's egg in her hair).

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A middle aged orange male ... So 'un' PC it's not true....