State secrets for sale

Let’s be fair: Even the James Bond’s of the world goof up sometimes. According to recent news reports, a U.K. computer store has found what it says is a confidential government disc hidden inside a laptop brought in for repair.

The computer was apparently purchased by a customer on eBay, and when a technician at Leapfrog Computers examined it, he found a compact disc marked “Home Office” and “Private and Confidential” lodged underneath the keyboard. (It would have been cooler if it was a microfilm, but microfilm is so 1974.)

Britain’s Home Office is the government body responsible for maintaining law and order, and fighting terrorism. The disc found by Leapfrog was encrypted, so the law-abiding employees called the police.

Is this “four strikes, you’re out!” for the British government? A series of embarrassing losses of public data have been reported in recent months, such as the Department of Health misplacing some 168,000 patients’ information, the Ministry of Defence acknowledging that a stolen laptop might contain sensitive details on some 600,000 prospective military recruits, and tax officials losing discs containing information – including banking records – on nearly half the people in Britain.

Try blaming all that on the intern.

Stand by your ham

Let’s just call it a swine of the times: Again from the U.K., a group of pig farmers have released an on-line ditty dubbed Stand by Your Ham in an attempt to save the country’s beleaguered pork industry.

The song — which reworks Tammy Wynette’s Stand by Your Man — is apparently intended to alert the public to a sector that farmers say is being pushed to extinction by greedy supermarket chains and surging feed prices.

It is now available for download at (and not, unfortunately, from a Web site called

Here, then, are the complete lyrics (just in case you want to oink along):

Right now it’s hard to make a living

Rearing all your pigs for pork and ham

Supermarkets make all the money

We don’t make any money

And that’s quite hard to understand

But if they gave us a little more money

Gave us farmers, a fairer share

Coz we take good care of our pigs

We’re so proud of them

To us they’re more than pork and ham

CHORUS: Stand by your ham

Sausages, pork and bacon

Help us to stay in business

Because, our pigs, are worth it

Stand by your ham

Sausages, pork and bacon

Keep givin’ all the help you can

Stand by your ham

So if you love your British breakfast

The crackling on your Sunday roast

Keep asking for local produce

We work hard to bring it to you

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