Before i Forget : Simon Jones's blog

September 2005

PoliticalThursday, September 22nd, 2005, (10:08 am)

Contrast the style of leadership President Bush has taken in the run up to Hurricane Rita against his rather more laid back approach to leading America in the run up to Katrina and it rather proves the point that his critics were making in shortly after Katrina threw New Orleans and surrounding areas into chaos.

I was somewhat criticised and probably dismissed as a “loony lefty” by supporters of President Bush when I remarked that his leadership running up to, during, and after Hurricane Katrina was anything other than presidential. “President Bush can run the country from his ranch in Texas” I was told, and while I don’t doubt that is the case, my feeling was always that the President failed to act ‘presidential’ when America needed him to. It was a criticism that many made, and many defended.

However as hurricane Rita heads toward the coast of Texas and is upgraded to the most serious category 5, President Bush is being seen sitting in darkened control rooms looking at complex charts and satellite pictures, he’s seen with military and governmental chiefs, he’s being… well, presidential.

Now I appreciate that pointing this out will probably be seen as a highly inappropriate thing to do as heavyweight Rita closes in on Texas to cause who knows how much damage. But the Presidents behaviour this time around is what, I would have thought, one should expect from a President at a time like this. He may well be no more or less in charge than he was before, but either way he looks like he’s in charge this time around. Some might suggest that as unfortunate as this latest hurricane is, it might actually go some way to calming the political storm that surrounds the subject of how Katrina was handled, and that Rita has actually given the President an opportunity to redeem himself with those who were so unimpressed with the way he dealt with Katrina.

Projections for the coastal city of Galveston are pretty grim, and Houston still looks like it will take a severe beating from Rita and the hurricane sweeps inland. Certainly this time around America seems to be better prepared, keen to be ready for anything and perhaps keen not to be seen so woefully disorganised again on worldwide TV news.

I hope that my friends will be safe. I hope everyone will be safe. Good luck “y’all.”

GeneralWednesday, September 21st, 2005, (5:39 pm)

According to Houston Mayor Bill White residents in low-lying areas of the city should evacuate as Hurricane Rita approaches.

I’ve got two couches and half a bed* for anyone who needs a place to stay, though I appreciate it’s a little further than you might like to go.

On a serious note though. I’ll be watching the news and thinking of you all too.

ADDITION [9:38pm]: How frustrating. I just called to find out what she plans to do and she asked if I could call her back in a few mins as she was just leaving work. I did and I just kept getting her voicemail, and now I can only get a message saying “All circuits are busy now, please try your call later. Zero three zero three.”

Houston Mayor orders city evacuation

Faith & ReligionWednesday, September 21st, 2005, (2:47 pm)

The image on the right is taken from a Christian ‘tract’ (promotional literature) that was published in 2004.

The publication, titled ‘The Little Bride‘, a little Christian girl, Susy, rescues two of her friends who are about to get “sucked in” to becoming Muslims. Susy heroically wards off an older boy who is about to steer them into the “dangerous” ways of Islam. After she’s got rid of the boy she then tells her two friends that Mohammed was a pedophile and a liar.

The tract was pointed out as an example of close minded Christian propaganda on a forum I read, and I am inclined to agree. I read it in full and just felt annoyed that such an emotive subject would be used to try to sway people, to win them by default if you like. Most reasonable people will find the idea of pedophilia repulsive, but aren’t there more constructive way to get the message across. If someone gave me this thing on the street I think I would throw it right back at them… ‘in love’ of course.

‘The Little Bride’ Christian tract

GeneralTuesday, September 20th, 2005, (2:45 pm)

Nigel is a quintessentially British name. Though it might not be at the top of the current baby name lists it was popular some years back meaning that the UK now has the largest share of Nigel’s on the face of the planet.

However it now seems that as nice as they all are, computer giant Apple no longer likes the Nigels. News has emerged from The Register tech news website, that anyone wishing to use the companies website to have their new iPod engraved will find that Apple deem the word Nigel to be “Inappropriate.” Some Americans might even go so far as to label the Nigel word “objectionable.”

Strange censorship standards are nothing new at Apple though. The geek-chic Californian nerds grouped Miles Davis in with gangsta rappers on their iTunes music store by preventing browsers from seeing the full title of his 70s classic “Bitches Brew.” “Jesus Christ” would also seem to be a ‘bad word’ if you’re from Cupertino, California, where one can only assume Christian churches are not in abundance.

It’s not entirely clear what is so objectionable about Nigel, perhaps in California calling someone a “Nigel” is just something you never ever do. Thank goodness we have Apple to look after us and keep us from seeing things that might upset us.

Apple iPods
War on the Nigels
Unnofficial Apple blog

PoliticalTuesday, September 20th, 2005, (9:44 am)

The flow of bad news from Iraq is hard to keep up with these days. It appears that almost every day there is another car bomb attack or suicide bomber, more foreign soldiers returning home in body bags, and just yesterday we now learn that British forces storm an Iraqi police station to rescue two British servicemen believed to be held there.

It later emerged that the two SAS officers were in fact not in the police station, but had been released a little earlier to a local militia group. They were rescued from a house near to the police station, but now there are serious questions over the so called ‘close working relationship’ between the occupying forces and Iraqi police.

While British newspapers carry dramatic pictures of yesterdays prison raid yet more bad news comes from the region. An Iraqi journalist, Fakher Haider, working for the New York Times has been killed after men claiming to be police officers abducted him from his home in Basra. And four American security guards travelling in a US diplomatic convoy have been killed in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul this morning when a suicide car bomber rammed their three-car convoy.

The occupation of Iraq by foreign forces is set to last until democracy and security has been established. But as the situation in the country seems to deteriorate with each passing day one wonders just how long that might be. For now at least, any hope of an early departure from Iraq must surely have been put aside.

BBC News coverage of Iraq occupation
Al Jazeera reports on jail break
Iraqi anger explodes in the face of the British occupiers
New York times reporter killed

GeneralMonday, September 19th, 2005, (8:54 pm)

Starbucks President and CEO, Howard Schultz, has been detained by police in Houston, Texas, as concerns grow over the disappearance of 29 year old Erin Davis who vanished from the Houston area after taking a part time job at the coffee giant.

Houston Police Chief, Harold Hurtt, says that concern is mounting for the safety of Ms Davis after she was reported missing from Xanga since early August. A post on the 11th of September, supposedly made by Davis, amounted to little more than a few words leading officials to believe that the entry may well have been made by captures within the coffee giants network. Davis has been seen less and less on Xanga since starting at Starbucks.

Revd. Chuck Western from the ‘Howdy Ya’ll, Lets give it up for God’ Church, says that the disappearance of Starbucks employees is nothing new. He believes that Davis is probably well but has been unwittingly sucked into what he refers to as the ‘CCC,’ an acronym for Corporate Coffee Cult.

“Well, I tell ya’ll what I think. [spit] I think ya’ll find that little Miss Erin is problee’ fine and dandy, [spit] as long as she works all the good Lords hours! [spit] I tell ya’ll, there’s trouble in them there Starbucks places. [spit] They’all a cult I tell ya. [spit] A cult ya hear! [spit] And that there Howard Shots guy, well he’s brain washing them all.” said Revd. Western in his weekly radio appeal for money from the poor.

Boyfriend, John Wossisname, was being comforted at the couples Houston residence last night. In a brief statement to the press Wossisname simply said “Pip sir.” A sign that the strain of worry is beginning to set in.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Ms Davis is urged to contact police immediately.

Erins blog remains online.

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