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From the Molehill

Surges, bike battles and movie musings

A friend of The Mole's who is even more down under than The Mole -- in Australia in fact -- has been doing some sums which could provide surprising ammunition to support the US president's current troop “surge” in Iraq.
Up to March, during a period with a monthly average of 160,000 US troops in Iraq, nearly 2900 of those troops were killed, giving a firearm death rate of around 60 per 100,000. During the same period, the firearm death rate for the inhabitants of Washington DC was around 80 per 100,000. So it's about one-third more dangerous for a US soldier to be in the US capital than to be in Iraq.
Those US anti-war campaigners whose arguments seem to revolve around the need to avoid further suffering by the poor innocent US squaddies -- and there are plenty of quite high profile “peace” campaigners who do use that as their main argument -- might perhaps switch their slogan to “US out of Washington!”.

Bike battles

Following last year's High Court success in blocking Metropolitan Police attempts to criminalise the monthly Critical Mass bike rides in central London (for those who file their PNs for posterity, see the July issue last year), the police subsequently lodged a -- hitherto unreported for some reason -- application to appeal against the judgement. The appeal has now been heard, and judgement is awaited.

Movie musings

The Mole is frequently amazed by strange instances of political correctness (using the phrase non-pejoratively) in situations where one might think that the wood isn't being seen for the trees.
The latest James Bond film, Casino Royale, had the regular quota of gruesome murders and other questionable ethics on display. Yet in all the lengthy scenes inside the casino, one thing just wasn't right: not a single person ever smoked.