Stripping the week 10-14 January 2011

>Last Saturday Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head while speaking to constituents at a public meeting, the bullet passing through her brain. Yesterday she opened her eyes for the first time. Others, including a 9 year old girl born on September 11 2001, and a federal Judge, did not survive. The terrible incident has got Americans questioning the tone of their political rhetoric. Except it seems nobody told Sarah Palin. In her response to criticism over the campaign map which had rifle cross hairs over congressional districts, she accused the left and the media of a ‘blood libel’. This anti-semitic remark prompted much criticism. President Obama gave a deeply moving speech at the memorial service, but only time will tell if he dares to go delve into the debate on gun ownership in America.

In the UK, the political world was camped out in Oldham this week, awaiting the result of the re-run Oldham East and Saddleworth Election. After a tough campaign, Labour held on to the seat by just under 3000, with a little help from their friends in neighboring Manchester City Council, who decided it was appropriate to announce job cuts as people were going to the polls. Labour holding a seat that they should be winning, particularly from opposition, is hardly a political game changer, but it certainly helps consolidate Ed Miliband’s position.

The second MP to face trial over his expenses claims was in the dock this week. Eric Isslely, who lost the Labour whip at the beginning of the case, is the only sitting MP to face charges. He pleaded guilty to charges of false accounting. He will be sentenced next week, having been forced to resign his seat in the Commons, and is likely to be joining former colleague David Chaytor in prison.

Another new jailbird is Edward Woollard, the sixth-former who threw a fire extinguisher seven stories off the top of Millbank tower and into a crowd of police officers and protestors. He was handed down a 32 month custodial sentence after handing himself in and pleading guilty.

Ipswich provided this weeks sporting shot, beating Arsenal in the first leg of their Carling Cup semi final. King Kenny hasn’t turned around Liverpool’s fortunes either, as they lost to Blackpool for the second time this season. Over in Oz, England’s winning run in Twenty20 has come to an end.

Hero of the week: President Barack Obama – When the country needed leadership from him, he has provided.
Villain of the week: Eric Isslely

Reading this week: The Elle interview with Cheryl Cole 
Listening to this week: Dr. Evan Harris being very patient with Hazel Blears on Tony Livesey’s excellent by-election night program on 5Live.
Watching this week: The new series of Glee


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