We're All Doomed

This evening, a forum on the political aspects of the New Orleans disaster. The speaker cancelled with hours to spare having put her back out. The replacement speaker couldn't get out of London because of a body on the line. Half the usual atendees couldn't come for one reason or another, so there were 11 of us in the room.

So actually we had a very good improptu discussion, with myself as nominal chair, asking slightly dumb questions when the discussion flagged, so someone could jump in and provide the answer. This is my technique of stimulating debate.
Of those who couldn't come, Paul T was simply exhausted after a day being painfully polite to family members.

Ivy - his grandmother - said in her life and her will that she wanted a simple (cheap) secular funeral, with donations to charity instead of wreaths and flowers. The family take this to mean a grand christian funeral with lots of flowers. Because although they didn't speak with her for years at a time, they know what she really wanted.
A quick flick through the virtual papers...

Terrorist groups are giving practical help in Pakistan to recruit members from the grateful. Translation: Nationalist groups who opposed the government and were consequently banned using the standards excuse "links to Al-Qaida" are doing their bit.

The Times has one story about how high court judges are still sexist (duh). Nearby a story about a Su Duku champion, marvelling at the fact that she is female. While The Observer pretends there is a debate over whether men can be friends with women without wanting sex.

In Iraq, the Sunni (the bad guys) have failed to veto the new constitution which gives power to the Shia (the good guys). Blair and Rice promise to "sort out" Iran (prevent it getting nuclear weapons), where the Shia are the bad guys and in control. Meanwhile Blair wants to replace Trident missiles with something more modern.

A future Tory leader may have taken "drugs" as an oxford student. This is vitally important because political leaders must be models of moral probity, otherwise the public might not trust them. Apparantly.

Up to 750,000 Britons could die from Bird Flu in the winter of 2006. Questions about who is most at risk, how transmissible is it between humans, how effective are vaccines and treatments, and how rapidly does the virus mutate don't seem to be answered anywhere.