Saturday, June 04, 2005

New US Outrage

"American jailers at the Guantanamo prison for foreign terrorism suspects splashed a Koran with urine, kicked and stepped on the Islamic holy book and soaked it with water, the U.S. military said on Friday."

Really, that kind of art is so old hat.

Don't those idiots in Guantanamera know the Turner shortlist has already been chosen ?

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

An Altamont For The Me Generation ?

300,000 people on the streets of Edinburgh at Hogmanay were considered too dangerous. After crushes the limits were reduced to 150,000 and the streets cordoned off.

Now a group of millionaires domiciled in places like Paris and the Caribbean have called for a million people to come to Edinburgh in July for G8 protests. They have called for children to 'bunk off school' to attend (Scottish children will already be on holiday). No word yet on whether their own children will bunk off that Swiss finishing school or French lycee.

Mixed reaction at the BBC.

"It might cause major disruption but who cares?"

"People are going to be crushed to death."

"The protest is for the dignity of human lives and is a gargantuan cause. I believe that Edinburgh should embrace the protest. Over and above this, there should be protests all over Scotland and the UK to show the solidarity of the human race in a such a worthy cause."

"1,000,000 people will simply not fit into the heart of Edinburgh, people are going to die."

"I'm amazed by the number of negative comments."

Negative at Booker Rising.

"Big white men and self-appointed mouthpieces from up high come down to paternalistically save the 'lowly' African, like a bad Tarzan movie. Hmm...."

The Policeman dusts down the riot gear but relishees all that lovely overtime.

"Most officers were looking forward to sitting in a carrier for a couple of weeks not picking up any paperwork until “Sir Bob” decided to open his mouth.

I suspect that any hope of a quiet life has now gone and it will be all hands to the riot shields, much to the disappointment of English officers. "

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Roma vs Africans

Difficult one. Accusations of violence against travellers in the UK are usually considered evidence of bigoted stereotyping by the complainant.

But what if the alleged victims are African ?

Tensions between North Africans and Romas have increased after another man of North African descent was beaten to death last week, allegedly by Romas.

On Saturday, more than 3,500 people demonstrated in a tense atmosphere in memory of Mohamed Bey Bachir, who was killed on 22 May.

French police say eight were injured in Sunday night's violence following the latest killing, which left shops smashed and about 50 cars damaged or burnt out.

Hst-tip - Irene Adler.

It's Hay Time ...

The Guardian Hay-on-Wye Witterary Festival is with us once more. My post from last year still stands.

The Today programme has been plugging the Festival (RealAudio) quite shamelessly. As the BBC site says "James Naughtie visits the Hay-on-Wye's 19th book festival (sic)"

On Saturday James (or 'Jim') Naughtie appeared at the Festival, interviewing Rory Bremner and chairing a lecture by Thomas Friedman of the NYT. The same day John Humphrys talked about the English Language. On Sunday Naughtie hosted a late night debate on our relationship with the US.

So why not get paid twice and interview one of your fellow authors for the Today programme (RealAudio) while you're there ? About the racist English, of course, a subject to which the famously unbiased Naughtie can bring his traditional balance.

Also on the bill - Andrew Marr and Feargal Keane. Oh, and Greg Dyke. These people live in a closed world.

This Seems A Bit Off ...

Imagine an IRA bomb killing Protestants in Ulster. The Loyalist response ? To attack and burn down a McDonalds, killing all its (Ulster-born) staff.

The ostensible reason ? American ambivalence over republicanism and IRA violence.

Seems unlikely. Yet in Karachi six Kentucky Fried Chicken employees are dead - in reaction to a suicide bomb attack by Sunnis on a Shia mosque.

Shi'ite mobs often target symbols of U.S. influence after sectarian attacks as they accuse the government of failing to act to prevent religious violence.

The attack on the KFC outlet came just minutes after attack on the Karachi mosque.

Mobs of angry Shi'ite youths also attacked a hospital, two petrol stations and burned more than a dozen vehicles.

Weird. After all, Americans DID send money to the IRA, and politicians like Edward Kennedy WERE equivocal about IRA violence. As far as I know, the American Government and people could be said to be strongly against Sunni suicide bombers.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Temper, Temper !

Paul Anderson at Gauche seems a bit miffed at the lack of 'left' comment on yesterday's French NON.

" ... there's sweet FA from the Brit blogosphere ... I condemn you all unreservedly as completely, totally and utterly hopeless ... where the hell are you? What do you think?"

The poor things don't know what to think, Paul, that's the problem. It is confusing though - the French left still seem to have a sense of national identity, of French exceptionalism. They seem to want to preserve their culture. How on earth can an English lefty empathise with that ?

The French worry about Polish plumbers taking their jobs - the English worry that there are still one or two white newsreaders.

You'll just have to make do with a post from a born again Poujadiste, ex-Labour Party and Militant, ex-NUR shop steward.

You'd Have To Have A Heart Of Stone Not To Laugh

At one of the factories, the Tat Shing Rubber Manufacturing Company in Shenzen, employees were working a seven-day week for less than the minimum wage, with no annual leave, no right to freedom of association, and poor health and safety provisions, one report said.

At the Fuzhou Xing Chun Trade Company, workers were being paid below the minimum wage and having pay deducted for disciplinary reasons, the other report said.

The product? Make Poverty History wristbands.

Stupidity On An Industrial Scale

To think this guy was a Labour Cabinet Minister. Roy Hattersley in the Guardian on the Williams sisters. Keir Hardie is currently rotating at 11,500 rpm.

In the interests of balance (and sanity), Barry Beelzebub on the same subject.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

That Didn't Take Long, Did It ?

Last week I blogged on the latest bright wheeze of the pro-criminal lobby - giving prisoners free Internet access. In the post I noted the "total media dominance (particularly in the BBC - where Guardian Man reigns supreme) of the pro-criminal view".

And right on cue, here's this week's Learning Curve on Radio Four.

Libby Purves is joined by Steve Taylor, Director of the Forum on Prisoner Education and one of the authors of the report; Per Thrane, a Danish Prison Educator who has pioneered a similar scheme in Denmark, and Barry Sheerman MP, veteran parliamentary education expert and Chair of the Select Committee on Education and Skills, whose major report six weeks ago also recommended more internet access.

Three people who want prisoners to have Internet access.

The BBC. Diversity of everything. Except ideas.

Vive la France !

Eh bien !

Sacre nom d'une pipe !

Liberte, egalite, perversite ! (Not work/child friendly).

Dieu protege la France !