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2003/February
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DEPARTURES

   First of the Line Lost Returning From Orbit

Columbia, 2003/02/01, CNN pictureNASA built a prototype space shuttle and called it Enterprise to keep the Star Trek lobby happy. But it was smaller than the real thing and it lacked engines and the only time it got off the ground was strapped on top of a Jumbo jet.
   The launch of Columbia on Sunday, April 12th was the most eagerly anticipated event of 1981. The first launch attempt was scheduled for April 10th but it had to be postponed due to a timing skew in the spacecraft's general purpose computer system. Two days later, on the 12th, Columbia took to the skies on a 2-day mission, which it survived with just the loss of a few of its thermal tiles.
Columbia, 2003/02/01, CNN pictureTwenty-odd years later, the first of the space shuttles came back to Earth as a fiery meteor, breaking up in a manner reminiscent of the Mir space station. The Commander, Rick D. Husband, pilot William C. McCool, Mission Specialists Kalpana Chawla, Laurel Clark and David M. Brown, Payload Commander Michael P. Anderson and Payload Specialist Ilan Ramon all lost their lives. And NASA was back to the dark days of the Challenger disaster of January, 1986.
   The spacecraft broke up at 200,000 feet while travelling at 10,000 mph. Terrorist action was dismissed fairly quickly and within hours of the disaster, there was talk of an ageing airframe failing even though space shuttles are supposed to have a life of at least 100 flights and this was only Columbia's 28th. No doubt the 'experts' will come up with some sort of an explanation eventually, but it looks like we're back to the Apollo Syndrome again -- the Great American Public loses interest in space, the politicians cut back on NASA budgets and try to shift the cash into areas which will get them re-elected, the administrators stop listening to the engineers when they point out safety concerns and devise improvements to the spacecraft -- and more astronauts die.


ROMILEY NEWS

Phone Persecutors Plague Romiley

Romiley has been under assault by bogus telephone callers. Residents have been rushing to answer their telephones, only to find that the line disconnects when they lift their receiver. Most times, dialling 1471 results in an announcement that the number was withheld. Sometimes, however, the calling number is given as 01525 631 630.
   Who are these people and what is their game? Many people fear that the 'number withheld' calls come from burglars, trying to find out which houses are unoccupied. When the number of the caller is available, it has been suggested, anyone who tries ringing it could find himself or herself connected through to a premium line charging £10 per minute.
   What can we do to protect ourselves from this assault? Sadly, not much at the moment, Romiley's put-upon residents have found.


TRANSPORT NEWS

"U-Turn If You Want To," And We Do!

Two Inches of SnowThe Highways Agency and the government shocked the nation by admitting that their maladministration was responsible for the chaos in the South-East caused by two lousy inches of snow at the end of January. New Labour's Customer Relations Department has put a new strategy in place, explained Mr. Albert Hussein, the principal spokesman for Downing Street's Public Enlightenment Executive.
   "If anything goes wrong," Mr. Hussein added, "it's bound to be a screw up by some government department or other. So admitting maladministration right away results in the government getting a small kicking -- as opposed to the much larger kicking which it gets after lying initially and being found out."


FINANCIAL NEWS

Students Can Say Bye-Bye To Debt Misery

Students were discouraged even more from going to university when New Labour pulled up the ladder even more by introducing top-up fees, which could leave graduates facing a debt of £20,000 for an 'ordinary' course or £50,000 for a medical degree. But a recent revision to the laws of the land has provided a loophole.
   The totally legal counterblast is simple -- a graduate just has to declare himself or herself bankrupt to make the debt go away. The bankruptcy could be discharged 'within a year', leaving the system-beater free to get on with his or her life free of a crushing burden.
   Even better, there is some evidence that going bankrupt is liable to cause less damage to the graduate's creditworthiness than struggling to service a massive debt. So the really cheeky graduate can then grab a bunch of store cards and credit cards of all sorts, run them up to the limit and go bankrupt again. Of course, anyone who does this isn't likely to get the benefit of the doubt again so this once in a lifetime spree will have to be worth it! But no doubt some with try it and Vice-Prez Blair will cop for the blame for another administrative blunder.
   Ain't life grand?


HOME NEWS

More Things Vice-Prez Blair Has Given Us More Of
In The Last 5 Years:

  • Party spin doctor running costs dumped on the taxpayer -- up 71%
  • Special advisor running costs dumped on the taxpayer -- up 100%
  • Maladministration -- the Chancellor's selling off 395 tons of the UK's gold reserve to prop up the euro cost the taxpayer £893,000,000 at the current price.

Government Cracks Asylum-Seeker Problem

"I have given this problem my best shot," Vice-Prez Blair said, "and I expect to hear no more about it. The problem is solved, so let's move on."
   It was left to Albert Hussein, the principal spokesman for Downing Street's Public Enlightenment Executive, to fill in the detail. "Breath-taking in its vision," was how he described the plan. "What will happen is that all 194 countries in the world will be declared safe, so that those bogus asylum seekers who can be, will be deported. And those who won't go will be granted work permits and required to register as a 'migrant job-seeker' and face routine persecution from the DSS."
   Mr. Hussein added that the Vice-Prez's new repackaging approach will make the problem go away 'in a matter of months'.
   "Certainly, before the next election," a few cynics commented.
"A Few Minor Revisions"
Change 'intent' to 'aspiration' and change the time frame from 'in a matter of months' to 'in years to come'. Home Sec. Blunk threw a wobbly when the 'Big Idea' was unveiled and Vice-Prez Blair had to tone it down to keep him sweet.
"A Few More Minor Revisions"
Two days later, the story was -- Cancel Blunk's wobbles, the Vice-Prez's plan is on again!

Government plan for building 200,000 new homes sunk

Minister for Certain Things Mr. T.W.O. Jags recently announced that he had solved the nation's housing problems. He was going to demolish unwanted properties in the North and build lots of new houses in the South. But now, it seems, his scheme has hit the buffers. Mr. Jags planned to site the developments on flood plains in the South-East but the potential developers have refused point-blank to stump up hundreds of billions of pounds to beef up flood defences. They reckon 'infrastructure' is the government's problem. In addition, there's not enough water available to meet the likely domestic and sewerage needs. Oh, dear!

Vice-Prez Puts Tanks on Heathrow's Lawn

Several hundred troops were diverted from training to fight Gulf War II, or fires, to guard Heathrow airport. The 'precautionary' deployment was intended to counter a perceived threat of an attack on an airliner with a hand-launched missile. It also served the secondary purpose of reminding terrorists that the Vice-Prez can get tough when he has to, so it's safer not to mess with him. Although, the conflicting statements coming from government ministers diluted the message to homeopathic levels and left the general public wondering, "What the hell are this bunch of clowns up to now?"
   Pertinent Quote : "In the event of a bomb going off at Heathrow airport, the only people the tanks would save would be the soldiers inside them." Nuff said!

No More Tobacco Advertising

All tobacco advertising became illegal in the UK at midnight on 2003/02/13. Except for Formula One racing, which gave the Vice-Prez a bung and won an exemption for a further 3 years. The Treasury was somewhat reluctant to see any laws which damage the tobacco trade enforced as the effects of smoking require Health Service expenditure of £1.5billion per year while tobacco taxes and VAT bring in £9.5billion., which leaves the government with £8billion per year to waste on Millennium Domes and other blunders.


MALADMINISTRATION NEWS

You're History, Grandma!

The Home office can't get rid of bogus asylum seekers so it's going for softer targets -- like a 55-year-old grandmother, who was born in the USA of a British mother and came to England at the age of 2 with her GI bride mother when the marriage broke up. It was not until her mother died in 2001 that she found that she had never been registered as a British citizen. And when she tried to correct this oversight, the jobsworths at the Home Office gave her a week to get out of the country! Destination? Who knows where!
   It took the combined forces of the lady's MP and a local newspaper to blow a draught of commonsense into the Home Office boneheads. Mrs. Martin now has 'indefinite leave' to stay in the UK.

The MuggerReasons For Keeping Vice-Prez Blair In His Job

The Mugger is seen as the Vice-Prez's heir. His financial tinkering has already caused serious damage to the UK's economy and if he got the top job, he would be encouraged to blunder around even more and screw things up royally.

BlairSpeak Explained

CO-PAYMENT : you've already paid for this through direct taxation and stealth taxation but now we're asking you to pay again.


FOREIGN NEWS

Israel Plays Race Card Against Belgium Over Its
War Criminals

Belgium's supreme court has ruled that Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon can be prosecuted for his part in war crimes. Hundreds of Palestinians died in 1982 when the then Israeli War Minister Sharon let Lebanese militia conduct a massacre in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in southern Lebanon. Sharon was booted out of the Israeli cabinet one day -- and reinstated the next day with another job.
   Israel is now complaining that the Belgian decision is anti-semitic on the grounds that Jews can't be war criminals.

Durban One Freed

Derek Bond, 72, of Bristol has survived being locked up for 3 weeks through collusion between the South African regime and the bunglers of the FBI. The FBI had another Derek Bond on their Most Wanted list and they took their time about confirming that the South Africans had the wrong one. And what did the jobsworths of the British Foreign Office do while Mr. Bone was rotting in his cell? Well, not a whole hell of a lot, actually -- apart from advising his family to keep quiet and especially not to complain to the Press. What's our advice to Mr. Bond? Sue the bastards for $100 million for false imprisonment, stress and trauma -- and make sure you include those craven sods at the Foreign Office in the package. Oh, yes -- and try to avoid being killed by the rush of ambulance-chasing lawyers offering their services for 30% of the pot!


REAL SCIENCE NEWS

Alien Abduction Explained

Alien AbductionAlien abduction stories are a product of a sleep disorder called 'sleep paralysis' -- it's official. This common condition, which is unrelated to mental illness, results in the subject emerging from a deep sleep to become partially conscious of his/her surroundings but unable to move. Dreams may be blended with the subject's state of partial awareness to create what appears to be genuine paranormal experiences.
   Add on a touch of 'false memory syndrome' created if the subject is interrogated under hypnosis by an 'expert' in extracting information buried in the psyche, and the subject can trot out an 'experience' which seems quite real to him/her and which is convincing for those who want to find evidence to support their own beliefs in sinister alien activities.


WAR NEWS
Kabooom!

Government Is Internet Cheat -- Official

Vice-Prez Blair's minions assembled their dossier of condemnation against Iraq by trawling the World Wide Web, Downing Street has been forced to admit. And then they fleshed out their homework by plagiarizing material from reference books on Iraq.
   Mr. Albert Hussein, the principal spokesman for Downing Street's Public Enlightenment Executive, explained all to the world's eager meeja representatives over drinks in his palatial office. "The important thing is that the information was accurate," he said. "The fact that our people presented it in a somewhat dishonest fashion, and didn't give credit to the people who'd actually written it, is a minor side issue.
   "When the world is dealing with someone who may have Weapons of Mass Destruction, some fine detail may become obscured. But Vice-Prez Blair is a jolly fine chap and he thinks he knows what he's doing. As does Prez Bush. Cheers!" Mr. Hussein added, topping up the glasses to prove to the meeja gang what a jolly fine fellow he is.

Stealth Tax Warning

The Mugger has only £1.75billion in his 'war chest' for assaulting Iraq. As the coming war in the Persian Gulf is likely to cost the nation at least £5billion, New Labour's customers can expect to be assaulted with further Stealth Taxes to the tune of £3.25billion (and probably much more).

The Wrong Sort of Paint

The MoD has painted tanks in Germany destined for the desert war with a water-based sand camouflage paint -- which washes off when it rains! An MoD spokesman said that any 'flaws' in the camouflage will be put right when the tanks reach the Gulf. "After all," she added, "if the British taxpayer is paying, we can afford to paint and repaint our tanks until we find a paint system that sticks."
   The government is denying strenuously a rumour that one of Vice-Prez Blair's mates sold him a job lot of 'surplus' paint on the cheap.

Mr. A. HusseinWar Communique No. 42
Dateline : Downing Street -- 2003/02/16

Mr. Albert Hussein, Vice-Prez Blair's Public Enlightenment Executive spokesman, announced that 'business as usual' has been restored to inner London after 'a relatively small demonstration in the city centre'.
   "The reason for the protest remains unclear at this time," Mr. Hussein added, "but it may be a response to Mayor Livingstone's Congestion Charges, which will be introduced tomorrow."

'Peace In Our Time' for 'at least a year'

The war over the euro referendum is off for the moment. Vice-Prez Blair's popularity is now so low -- down 65 points to minus 23% -- that he has abandoned hope of swindling a 'yes' vote past a violently sceptical electorate. Officially, the issue has been pushed to one side to allow the government to concentrate on more urgent matters but few people are buying that line of spin. The Chancellor is claiming a victory for his point of view but nobody is buying his spin, either.

The Vice-Prez Still Doesn't Get It

A haggard Vice-Prez Blair is in full defiance mode and he can't understand why the people aren't going along with his war plans. But what he doesn't seem capable of grasping is that it's not the strength of his convictions that the people are questioning -- it's his competence.
   To quote an expert: "The real issue of the war is the ability of the present Labour Party's leaders to organize it. Spin won't work when the shooting starts. So we're down to the evidence of what Vice-Prez Blair and his chums have done in office when we judge whether he's fit to lead us into a war.
   "His administration has failed to provide our forces with weapons and equipment that work, and proper desert clothing, including boots that don't melt in the heat. The Blair regime has been characterized by its record of maladministration; which has to include making Mr. (Buff) Hoon the Defence Minister. And as he had no credible political objectives, shambles is the only likely outcome."
   Given his record over 6 years in office, it's plain to everyone that the Vice-Prez and his gang couldn't run a whelk stall, let alone a war.


 

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FRIDGELAND -- the main plaza

Welcome to FRIDGELAND!

Let the Fridge be with you when you visit us at Meacher, Lewes, Sussex, to view this largest part of the UK's collection of fridges awaiting recycling. Assembled at great expense to the British taxpayer, the Heritage Ministry is currently seeking National Lottery funding for this magnificent opus with a view to preserving it as a fine example of modern sculpture. The expectation is that the site will soon be designated Tate Meacher by the Arts Council.

  • More than 70,000 derelict fridges to view
  • Over 50 feet tall in places, the mightiest collection in Europe
  • Fun for One and All
  • Abundant cheap parking

Admission FREE to all bogus asylum seekers.
£10 for everyone else.


Special Offer for February 2003 : 4 admissions for the price of 5 for families.

This Month's GarbageThe Garbage

Failing to switch to 'gender neutral language' (not abolishing words like 'chairman') will prevent young people from turning to Christianity, says the Church of England's General Synod.

Anyone who doesn't need to shave every day is 70% more likely to have a stroke, says Bristol University. [Does that include bearded blokes like the new archi-bish of Cantab?]

Paying in excess of £200K and a billion-pound pension to Lord Irvine for being a crony.
He's been shamed giving up £18K of his pay rise but no doubt Vice-Prez Blair will increase his expenses allowance correspondingly so he doesn't feel too impoverished.
Vice-Prez Blair has arranged for his mate to get a pension top-up based on the full £22K pay rise to soften the blow.

Retirement is bad for you, says the government. New Labour's customers are expected to work until they drop.

Heathrow's North Terminal was closed for over 6 hours because of one lousy hand grenade in some mutter's luggage? Clearly a serious sense-of-proportion failure.

"I haven't had a break since Xmas," Defence Minister Geoff (Buff) Hoon said to justify taking a skiing holiday in mid-February while he was supposed to be screwing up preparations for the Vice-Prez's part in the war with Iraq.

 
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 back to topCreated for Romiley Anarchists' League by workers in revolt against oppression.
RAL, February 2003.