New blog

All new content on my restarted blog is here

Saturday, August 11

Support Channel Four over 'Undercover Mosque'

Channel Four's Dispatches earlier this year sent undercover reporters into British Mosques and filmed preachers saying amongst other things:

“Do you practise homosexuality with men? Take that homosexual man and throw him off the mountain.”

“If I were to call homosexuals perverted, dirty, filthy dogs that should be murdered, that’s my freedom of speech isn’t it? They’ll say: “No”, I’m not tolerant. But they feel that it’s okay to say something about the Prophet.”

“Homosexuality is an abomination against Allah, and all mankind, and I will never condone it. Even though this is the case, I do not believe in disobeying the law when it comes to the way people deal with homosexuals.”

'Undercover Mosque' went to:

A Deputy Head Teacher is quoted saying:

“They talk about integration. There is an overt as well as covert plan, a programme, they talk about, they talk about (sic), ‘you need to integrate’, if you don’t you’re a freak, you’re strange, there’s something wrong with you! Like, like (sic) if you have something against homosexuality they’ve got a name to call you now. You’re a “homophobic” man! There’s something wrong with you! Not with this gay, sorry, a homosexual (laughter) . Which part of this society are we supposed to adopt as our life? Which one?”

According to Stonewall's Recent Report on the situation of ruined life chances for young gay people in schools:

Seventy five per cent of young gay people attending faith schools have experienced homophobic bullying. Half of teachers fail to respond to homophobic language when they hear it. Thirty per cent of lesbian and gay pupils say that adults - teachers or support staff - are responsible for homophobic incidents in their school. Less than a quarter of schools have told pupils that homophobic bullying is wrong.]
All those quoted claimed their words were used 'out of context' or they were merely quoting book extracts and that's not what they really thought.

The Muslim Council of Britain leaped to their defense — these would be the same MCB who actively supported Clause28, and opposed every law reform such as adoption, partnerships and equality for lesbians and gays under the law.

Peter Tachell outlines how the MCB has consistently rejected talks with gay organisations and rebuffed proposals to tackle homophobia within Muslim communities.
"Some of the MCB's tirades against lesbians and gays echo the homophobic hate language of the BNP."

“One reason the MCB refuses to participate in Holocaust Memorial Day is because it objects to the ceremony including a commemoration of what it dismisses as ‘the so-called gay genocide.' The MCB regards the murder of gay people in Nazi death camps as unworthy of remembrance."
The footage starts here. I personally found it very hard to watch..

[Part two-six>] [Other video] [Transcript (haven't checked every word)]

The West Midlands Police have just announced their reaction to the program:

The police investigation initially looked at whether there had been any criminal offences committed by those featured in the programme and following careful consideration by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), West Midlands Police have been advised that there is insufficient evidence to bring charges against those individuals featured within the programme.

West Midlands Police acknowledge the concerns that some parts of the programme may have been considered offensive, however when analysed in their full context there was not enough evidence to bring criminal charges against any individual.

ACC Anil Patani for West Midlands Police said: "As a result of our initial findings, the investigation was then extended to include issues relating to the editing and portrayal of the documentary.

"The priority for West Midlands Police has been to investigate the documentary and it's making with as much rigour as the extremism the programme sought to portray."

The police investigation concentrated on three speakers and their comments in the programme. CPS reviewing lawyer Bethan David considered 56 hours of media footage of which only a small part was used in the programme. She said: "The splicing together of extracts from longer speeches appears to have completely distorted what the speakers were saying.

"The CPS has demonstrated that it will not hesitate to prosecute those responsible for criminal incitement. But in this case we have been dealing with a heavily edited television programme, apparently taking out of context aspects of speeches which in their totality could never provide a realistic prospect of any convictions."

The CPS was also asked by the police to consider whether a prosecution under the Public Order Act 1986 should be brought against Channel 4 for broadcasting a programme including material likely to stir up racial hatred. Miss David advised West Midlands Police that on the evidence available, there was insufficient evidence that racial hatred had been stirred up as a direct consequence of the programme. It would also be necessary to identify a key individual responsible for doing this together with an intent to stir up racial hatred, which was not possible.

West Midlands Police have taken account of this advice and explored options available to them and has now referred the matter to the broadcasting regulators Ofcom as a formal complaint.

West Midlands Police has also informed Channel 4 of this course of action.

In other words, because the programme was edited and because we don't think there's a law we can use this makes calling for lesbians and gays to be killed not the point. Instead 'community cohesion' is paramount.

These would be the same police and government which has tolerated murder music, dancehall reggae which is all about how to kill gays and lesbians. It isn't the government or the police which is shutting that down, it's grassroots activism.

I don't believe for one second that all Muslims want me dead — I know Muslim people as mates for one thing — but clearly some do and I can't see why they shouldn't be dealt with the same as the reverse situation.

It's hard to see this as doing anything other than reinforcing the second-class status of lesbians and gays, actually undermining 'cohesion' because it's 'one law for them ... ' and actually encouraging hate speech because clearly it's tolerated.

I find myself agreeing with Charles Moore, Editor of The Telegraph, of all people. He takes apart the 'context' argument to reveal something worse underneath:

I do not know whether the Dispatches programme is right in every detail. But it clearly raises serious, important questions - about extremists in our midst, about the way apparently moderate organisations give them shelter, about the Saudi Arabian network that supports them.

What security agencies call "thematic analyses" show that, at present, the problems of Islamist extremism are particularly acute, especially in prisons and universities, in the West Midlands area.

Yet the West Midlands police and the Crown Prosecution Service decide that the target of their wrath should be not people who want to undermine this country, but some journalists who want to expose them.

Are they fit to protect us?

Postscript: Just redited this a few days later as it had fair few typos. Truth is, I usually recheck for such things but this subject was one I just didn't want to think about again, having felt quesy but determined to post about. Why? a/ these people make me feel unsafe, b/ it's a reminder to an old queen like me that - no - the police aren't really to be trusted (as was clearly understood before but now they make claims). It's also a reminder to me just how tolerated hate speech really is - and hence how far we've really got to go. Which is depressing.

Friday, August 10

Any excuse

This is way past ironic ...

Anti-Gay Lawmaker Tries to Buy Oral Sex From Man From Staff & Wire Services

Posted Aug. 10, 2007 – A Florida Republican, known for his staunch anti-gay positions, got busted recently for allegedly trying to buy some oral sex for 20 bucks in a park washroom from an undercover cop.

So why did he Bob Allen do it?

He says because he was afraid of the numerous Black men at the park. "I certainly wasn't there to have sex with anybody and certainly wasn't there to exchange money for it," the 48-year-old Allen told officers.

Speaking of the arresting officer, Allen says in a tape, "This was a pretty stocky Black guy, and there was nothing but other [B]lack guys around in the [Veteran's Memorial Park in Titusville, Florida.]" He says he was nervous that he was about to “become a statistic.”

You could imagine the reaction in the Daily Show's writers room ... (yes, it's rude)

More excuses for being found with a penis in your mouth ...
Bulemic, accidentally fell, mistook it for a wiener ...

Great Firefox add-ons

I'm a big fan of Firefox and have started using a new add-on which is just brilliant.

Using SEOpen, from one right-click, I can check a page's:

  • Yahoo Backlinks
  • Pages in Yahoo Index
  • Google Backlinks
  • Google Cache
  • Pages in Google index
  • Google Translate to English
  • Google Related
  • PageRank Check
  • MSN Backlinks
  • Pages in MSN Index
  • Alexa Overview
  • Alexa Traffic
  • Alexa Related
  • Alexa Backlinks
  • "Mass Check" multiple sources at once
  • Check DMOZ Inclusion
  • Keyword Density
  • Page Size Checker
  • HTML Validator
  • Server Header Viewer
  • Wayback Machine
  • Check robots.txt
  • Whois Info

This is a bit specialist (ahem) but some of the other add-ons I love can be useful for everyone:

  • TinyUrl Creator
    Very easy copy'n'paste for a shorter URL
  • Tabbrowser Preferences
    Useful things like retrieving closed tabs, copy tab URL
  • Snipshot
    Edit images easily, simple crop, resize
  • Show Screen Captures
    Displays thumbnail screenshots next to external links on a web page, this one I think I'll disable
  • ScrapBook
    Extremely useful to clip pages or text but be even better if I was saving to my web repository, not my hard drive
  • Plain Text Links
    Lets me open a URL from text
  • Menu Editor
    Edit right-click menu
  • Image Zoom
  • IE Tab
    Shows a page as it would appear in IE
  • Groowe Search Toolbar
    Combines Google, Wikipedia (I use that a lot), Yahoo, etal
  • Greasemonkey
    Great developer tool. More >
  • Advanced Dork
  • DOM Inspector
  • LinkChecker
  • ColorZilla
    Copies any colour from a page.
  • DownThemAll!
    Speeds up + manages downloading
  • deskCut
    Puts a shortcut on your desktop
  • Adblock Plus
    Blocks ads (except those served from the site, which some do)
  • What am I missing?

    Wednesday, August 8

    BBC 2.0: 15 Web Principles · slideshare

    Originally plonked this in the middle of another post, was asked to post alone. Very useful I think. Here's the 15 on Tom Loosemore's blog.

    Video back on

    It's back, but this way. God I love the execution of this site.

    The reason it's so good is staff numbers (most of any campaign), money (thank you Hollywood!) and seasoned staff from + Howard Dean's failed 2004 bid.

    Google CEO Eric Schmidt on Web 3.0

    Via KoreaCrunch:

    Eric Schmidt CEO of Google gave a special speech in Seoul Digital Forum. Check out my brief coverage. After speech, one of attendance asked to him what he think about Web 3.0.

    He said web 2.0 is marketing term, but he indicated there is new trends in view of web applications. His view of web applications are very simple, easy, everywhere virus groups to treat all of data.

    Bytes · When managers read - Social networks regionalised - Incentivisation

    Thanks to Jeff Kaplan for spotting this.

    • According to the new Hitwise Election 2008 Data Center, Ron Paul is demolishing the rest of the Republican field with a 44.2% market share in the week ending August 4, compared to 16.1% for Mitt Romney and 11.8% for Rudy Giuliani. On the Democratic side, Barack Obama has the lead with 40.6% compared to 24.2% for Hillary Clinton and 18.4% for John Edwards. When you stack all the candidate websites against each other, Obama and Clinton jointly eat up 43% of the entire market, with Paul in third at 15%.

    • David Wilcox has posted yesterday's Public Sector Forums story about the dodgy bidding process for a new 'online Innovation Exchange for the Third Sector'.
    • Dave Briggs also comments on the innovative bid (which lost, and which Wilcox was involved with) and how they used Facebook.

    Top social networks by global region

    Worldwide Growth of Selected* Social Networking Sites

    June 2007 vs. June 2006

    Total Worldwide Home/Work Locations Among Internet Users Age 15+

    Source: comScore World Metrix

    Social Networking Site

    Total Unique Visitors (000)



    % Change





























    Worldwide Daily Visitation of Selected Social Networking Sites

    June 2007 vs. June 2006

    Total Worldwide Home/Work Locations Among Internet Users Age 15+

    Source: comScore World Metrix

    Social Networking Site

    Average Daily Visitors (000)



    % Change





























    Visitation to Selected Social Networking Sites by Worldwide Region

    June 2007

    Total Worldwide Home/Work Locations Among Internet Users Age 15+

    Source: comScore World Metrix

    Social Networking Site

    Share (%) of Unique Visitors


    North America

    Latin America


    Middle East-Africa

    Asia Pacific


















































    • ClickZ good stuff> The Site Map: Gateway to Optimization + Is Web Analytics Really That Difficult?

    • eGovernment@large talks incentivisation: he thinks financial incentives for doing government business, like paying tax, online "may have had their moment" but he's basing this on "we might have reached the point of critical mass in e-government" because there are hundreds of "government services online."

      Huh? Even 'transactional' can well mean an unusable form, at best, in the current rating mechanisms. That's not really 'services online'. Incentives are about taking this stuff seriously, it's the sort of action a 'normal' website would do, and would have the side-effect of driving usability and driving customer-focus. These sort of baselines always strike me as dodgy. Success/'take-up' is defined against what? Who?

      I would love to know where we really stand against Singapore, Latvia, Canada and others — who's measuring that? (+ no I mean eGov, not broadband take-up).
    > Me: Online transactions: 18% > 25% - how?

    Tuesday, August 7

    Evolution of a political web 'brand'

    This is the new campaign site for Australian Labor Party leader Kevin Rudd. When I saw it I thought Howard Dean's children should sue.

    Hits all the buttons in mostly the right places (grey images set a depressing tone when you're talking'topics'). Very good, but that, it seems, was the old template - video upfront - parodied as:

    Hi, my name is INSERT NAME HERE.

    Come watch videos of me on INSERT NAME HERE TV.

    Join my team!

    Read my blog, even though I never write on it!

    I'm one of you! Look! I even have a Facebook page that I have yet to update!

    Both Obama's and Hillary's sites (one is spending hugely online over the other, guess which?) are now doing something else - could this be new, more 'mainstream' audience effect?

    It's Obama's - and it shows. It's polished 'till it shines.

    The Tories campaign site StandUpSpeakUp has also dropped upfront video.

    The rapidity and ubiquity of this evolution does place something like StandUpSpeakUp in a new context - yet more online consultation, there's nothing actually special about it and it already looks old to me.

    Kevin 07 is ocker (in a good way) but it adds humour - proven virally but sorely lacking elsewhere. It's also broken, design wise. Doesn't really matter - they knicked a brilliant template.

    Looking again StandUpSpeakUp fails on some basic marketing levels ('I'm not quite convinced, convince me' > click away) as well as a rather catastrophic usability error in unclickable images — click insanely on the top's calls-to-action.

    Bytes · How to Deal with MySpace Predators - Coogan's online soap - The Facebook coppers

    Laws Fail to Deal with MySpace Predators

    Larry Magid is pretty upset about the way some states' attorneys general are blaming MySpace for the fact that there are pedophiles and other predators on the site, and proposing legislation that would restrict kids' access to social networking sites. There are predators everywhere. The good news is that MySpace is at least trying to get rid of them.


    Time Magazine ran a scary experiment to see how much personalised information they could easily source about someone.

    What makes these sites controversial is that they gather all this information without your permission. The resulting profiles can be embarrassing or simply wrong. And getting those profiles removed or changed can be impossible.

    The Author, checking on popular site ZoomInfo, "saw that everything from my telephone number to my full name were flat out wrong".

    NYT recommends:

    It's a geographic view of traffic to Presumably live.

    More onDigital Earth on the GEE update:

    Some of the enhancements include:

    • Browser integration with the Google Maps API AJAX architecture, allowing 2D map views to be embedded in any web-based application, so everyone in an organization benefits from the power of Google Earth Enterprise.
    • Performance enhancements amounting to as much as a 10x speedup for vector data processing and better than 2x reduction in server computation for responding to imagery requests.
    • New search framework for integrating geocoding and other search services via Java plug-ins including a Google Search Appliance reference implementation.
    • Regionator for creating Super-Overlays with Regions based KML and publishing them for viewing in any Google Earth client version (Free, Plus or Pro).
    • Security improvements and extended Operating System support including Red Hat Enterprise Server 4 and SUSE Linux 9 and 10.
    They’ve also streamlined the interface and made a handful of other improvements.


    Steve Coogan is behind online soap - sorry, 'interactive online sit-com' - Where Are The Joneses?
    Dawn (Emma Fryer from Ideal), discovers from her dying mother that her father was a sperm donor and that she has 27 sibblings scattered across Europe.

    Not loving the ads in your widget, Steve. Plus ya'gotta make sure the server's up to streaming it otherwise people will drop your widget. It's also crap marketing because it leads you to a flickr dead end ...


    Metropolitan Police on Facebook. They have a 600 strong group which the Mail (boo!) infiltrated. Something, anything wrong here? Nah.

    A Met spokeswoman said last night it appeared that officers had fallen short of their professional standards.

    Those involved could now face a dressing down from their superiors and even disciplinary action if they are deemed to have brought the force into disrepute.