2007 — 26 Apr: it's déjà vu all over again

Setting to one side the matter of my sluggish start this morning...

  1. download and burn the iso image of Ubuntu 7.04.
  2. bang it onto the Gateway's second disk, obliterating ruthlessly all traces of Xubuntu ditto, even though it's less than 36 hours old. (Step 2a: accept and install the first batch of updates that have now turned up.) Restart just 'cos you're paranoid.
  3. use the Restricted Drivers Manager to enable the nVidia driver.
  4. open a terminal and type gksudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf then change the first resolution entry in all screen modes to read "1920x1200". Save the file. Exit the terminal. Restart the system.
  5. Relax and enjoy the native resolution of your new Ubuntu desktop. Should I try KDE now?
  6. Realise it's 11:30 and you haven't even written your diary entry yet.

Call this a democracy?

Let's recall, with some pleasure, the storming out of a TV studio (quarter of a century ago) by a "here today, gone tomorrow" minister of War. (Sir) John Nott1 is today to be heard on the BBC national wireless voice system saying the war in Iraq (and whether or not Prince Harry serves there) raises constitutional and political2 issues. How can that be when we don't have a written constitution? Add to this the fact that today's Guardian reports (Sir) Nigel Sheinwald "the prime minister's top foreign policy advisor" telling an Old Bailey jury yesterday:

Rex Tedd, QC: Was it important to preserve confidentiality if there are frank admissions of illegal behaviour by some world leader?
Sir Nigel: That did not apply in this case.
Rex Tedd, QC: If [there are] discussions between world leaders — no matter how illegal or morally abhorrent any aspect of the discussions may be — that should have no bearing whatever on whether the cloak3 of confidentiality continued to apply?
Sir Nigel: No, I think the confidentiality rule applies.

Richard Norton-Taylor

It's not just us, of course (well, not me, more UK politicians and advisors)... 'Condy' Rice has written (to be more precise, members of her staff have written) three letters in the last month to the Democratic chair of the House Oversight Committee that wants to question her about a White House assertion4 that Iraq was busily buying uranium from Niger for bombs. This was, of course, one of the justifications for the invasion of Iraq. The Committee is about to hit her with a subpoena. She claims to be shielded, not by a cloak of confidentiality, but by the constitutional principle of executive privilege. Well, at least her country has a written constitution, that can (I assume) be inspected.

Are we allowed to say "shambolic mess" (just as predicted) or will that get us locked up in the Tower of London?

Charity bookshop haul

At least one of the gods of serendipity must have been beaming on me as I found myself in Eastleigh yesterday, where I alighted upon...

I was so ill when we returned home, almost everything I ate producing violent sickness, that it is astonishing my health should not have been considered a primary object. A few weeks of healthy life on moors or by the seaside, with freedom from the gnawing mental misery and depression under which I suffered, would probably have restored me; a visit to German baths might have cured me, and saved years of ill-health. Had the family only had any practical common sense! But, on religious grounds, it was thought wrong to contend against 'the wonderful leadings of God's Providence' — pain was 'sent' to be endured, sickness as a tractor to draw its victims to heaven...'

Augustus Hare

... and came home just a few pounds lighter!

Meanwhile, thank you Mr Postie:

Day 174  


1  Yes, indeed, remember him?
2  "The war is not popular," apparently! That's odd, did somebody not notice the 2,000,000 or so citizens (subjects, technically) who protested on our streets and in our cities at the time?
3  I suppose we're not even allowed to know whether this is Romulan® cloaking technology.
4  Long-discredited, I trust you remember.
5  As Christopher Morley puts it in the Introduction: "There is no greater compliment to be paid the right kind of friend than to hand him [my friend Carol, in this case] Saki without comment."
6  Curiously, my 1980 Bodley Head edition of The complete works of Saki omits this story. Don't ask!