Monday, June 30, 2008

Two sports journalists' clichés that can now be discarded:
"Spain, the serial underachievers" (or underachievers with other qualifying terms)
"Never write off the Germans".
New clichés please!
The only thought that spoiled my pleasure at Spain's defeat of Germany was that the old racist Aragonés is now a hero. The "No to Racism" slogan on display at every game was a pretty meaningless gesture considering most of the participant teams and their supporters.
Now it's forward to the greatest sporting event of the year, starting July 5th.
'Payslips seen by the Guardian show that one man worked a 39-hour week and took home just £8.80 after his entire monthly rent was deducted in one week, in breach of the law. A second worker was paid £79.20 for a 63-hour week and a third worked 70 hours a week for just £66. As they were registered as self-employed they did not receive holiday or sick pay. One man had £228 taken from his pay in one week for tools. The men each had a further £76.80 deducted weekly as their payment to the "construction industry scheme", which technically registers them as self-employed, meaning their employers have no requirement to pay national insurance.'

'A spokesman for the department for business said that the construction industry was covered by the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate. "The reason we have not extended the GLA [Gangmasters Licensing Act] into construction is because there has been no consensus to do so and we have felt there are more effective ways to tackle abuses in the sector."'

Well no, Mr. Spokesman, it seems there aren't. Another worthless voluntary code that's good for a laugh down at the lodge or the golf club. No consensus means "The construction industry bosses wouldn't wear it".

Sunday, June 29, 2008

"Israel is a strong and close friend of the United States, and is confronting grave threats from Gaza to Tehran." (Barack Obama)

"I haven't checked lately, but last I heard 14 Israelis have been killed by Gaza rockets since 2000, while according to Betzelem, in 2006 alone, Israeli forces killed 660 Palestinians, most of whom are from Gaza. Israeli forces have slain entire families. Since 2000, almost 4,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, half of them children, and more than 20,000 wounded. This doesn't count deaths due to lack of proper medical care and medicines since Israel closed Gaza's borders. So if Israel is facing grave threats, then Gaza's threats are apocalyptic, yet they go unmentioned. Meanwhile, Iran has no army, navy or air force while Israel has the 4th most powerful military in the world with over 200 nuclear warheads and is making practice flights to bomb Iran.
This will be another long 4 years ..." (Yasmine, see link)

Friday, June 27, 2008

The rightward march of Senator Obama is turning into a gallop. He has now come out in favour of capital punishment and has become a fan of the gun lobby (well they do give good "donation"). Ralph Nader finds him to be "too white". Too right! I'm expecting a paean of praise to the Ku Klux Klan any day now.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

"... Obama told the Tesco boss: "It is in your interest to ensure the communities where you do business, and the leaders of the workers in the industry, are heard and that their concerns are heard and respected."
Admirable sentiments from the candidate for change. It would be nice if he said something similar to two of America's biggest anti-union corporations, Walmart and Starbucks.
But hold! What did he say about Hillary Clinton's relationship with Walmart? He criticised her for sitting on the Walmart board for six or seven years, and added "I would never shop there". Immediately after this bold stance Obama's wife resigned from the board of Walmart's main supplier.
Once Hillary was out of the way, Barack laid his cards on the table. "Look. I am a pro-growth, free-market guy," said he, "I love the market." To prove his bona fides Barack has appointed Jason Furman as an adviser. Here's Jason on Walmart:

"Studies have reached conflicting conclusions about the impact of Wal-Mart on local labor markets, with some finding that it creates more jobs than it displaces and others finding that it reduces jobs and nominal wages ["depends who's paying for the research, Jason" Jemmy H.]. Personally, I don't put a huge amount of stock in any of these findings because I believe that Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve decide the total number of jobs nationwide. If anything, the greater competition and productivity growth associated with the growth of Wal-Mart may have played a role in allowing the Federal Reserve to tolerate the high level of job creation in the 1990s.

"But I understand why progressives are so upset about low wages and inadequate benefits. I am also upset by the rise of inequality and the relatively slow economic progress that the bottom 80 percent of Americans have made over the last several decades. I just think Wal-Mart is the wrong place to put the blame or to expect the solution."

I reckon Senator Obama will be singing the praises of Walmart soon.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A week ago a the wife of a terrorist bomber was jailed for 15 years for not disclosing her husband's intent to commit the crime. She denied knowledge but, as she was aware of her husband's extreme views the jury was persuaded of her guilt.

On Friday Michael Ross was found guilty of a racist murder committed 14 years ago. He was a suspect at the time, but his father, a police officer, lied to the investigating officers to clear him of suspicion. A witness who feared to come forward at the time because of the father's police connection, did so at last.
Asked about his father lying to protect his son while a serving officer, Mr Smith said: "It is a decision he has made as a father protecting his son. Given his position as a police officer, that was an extremely frustrating scenario."

Quite so, Mr. Smith, we can't expect a police officer to measure up to the same rigorous standards as a Muslim woman.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Friday, June 20, 2008

How to privatise the education system -
Devise a method of categorising successful schools as failed.
Hand them over to businesses along with large amounts of public funds.
Allow the new schools to issue their own qualifications, in subjects such as burger flipping, shelf stacking, and spying on colleagues.
Recognise these qualifications as equivalent to A-Levels.

Alternatively, just turn the schools into sweat shops, contract them out to the highest bidder (or source of the fattest bribe), and make speeches about lessons learned from the tiger ecomomies of the Far East.
The camera loving charlatan, Raj Persaud, has been exposed as a plagiarist. He claims his dishonesty (or aberration) was a result of pressure induced by taking on too many commissions. Plain English - pressure brought on by greed.
Like so many of these quacks and thimble-riggers Persaud has been promoted by Madeley-Finnegan PLC, motto, "There's one born every minute".

Thursday, June 19, 2008

In the latest crackdown on illegal immigrants the immigration services are going to "name and shame" employers of this infinite source of cheap labour. Oh yes! I heard this on the news so I know it's going to happen.
The King of Tangentopoli strikes again. I wonder if this means Tessa Jowell's old man gets away with it.
(via Jailhouselawyer,

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Having seen the Alex Cox film "Searchers 2.0" the other night and enjoyed it I thought I'd have a look at Mr. Cox's website to see what he was up to. I was wondering after seeing the film why he didn't do more work in the UK. However his perspective on the USA and its denizens is more interesting than all that Hollywood cobblers, so maybe they need his contribution more than we do.
On the site I came across this observation on the candidates in the presidential election. I thought I'd lift it as it chimes with my own opinion.
Murdoch's declaration of support for Barak Obama is perfectly apt. All three 'candidates' and both 'parties' support the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. All three will bomb or invade Iran if pushed to do so. All three will attempt to privatize Social Security. Indeed, I had an interesting conversation with an Obama fund-raiser on the phone. Being a foreigner, I don't contribute to American elections or political parties, but just for the heck of it I told him I wouldn't support Obama unless he promised to shut down the permanent US military bases and pull all US troops out of Iraq. The fund-raiser said Barak couldn't do that; this guy knew all about the fourteen permanent US bases, and he said: "America is a big country. We have serious needs. We're not going to withdraw from the world. Our needs are too great for that."

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

It appears that Murdoch's Bitch is not going to be serviced by the electorate of Haltemprice and Howden* after all.

* This is Hull with an X for "no publicity". The name "Hull" and the term "middle class" are not supposed to feature in the same sentence, you see. Behold, a broken taboo.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Right - 42 days: I suppose everybody's said their piece and moved on. I just want to say that the Parliamentary Labour Party is nothing but a parcel of whores, and dirt cheap compared to the Democratic (sic) Unionist Party.
I don't know what David Davis is up to but it must be in furtherance of some personal ambition. He resigns his seat and then says he'll stand in the by-election he's brought about - and of course he'll win. Apart from the fact that nobody with a chance of saving their deposit will be standing against him,the truth is the electors of Alan cum B'stardia would vote for the Yorkshire Ripper if he was wearing a blue rosette. Murdoch's attack dog (Murdoch's bitch?) will bring a little colour to the media circus. As I recall "colourful" became the Conservative Party's codeword for racist MPs, after "gay" entered became common currency and it was no longer necessary for the press to refer to closet homosexual public figures as colourful (nudge, nudge).
After the disgraceful result some sufferer from phallocephalia contacted the local BBC radio station with the following suggestion: when the next bomb goes off the station should invite David Davis on to justify his opposition to the 42 day detention. NO DUMBO! If another bomb goes off Davis's stance will be proved the correct one.

Afterthought - phallocephalia, I may have coined a word. I must do a word search to see if it exists already, intellectual property and all that.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Interviewer "How did you feel when you heard that Buckley died this year?"
Vidal "I thought hell is bound to be a livelier place, as he joins forever those whom he served in life, applauding their prejudices and fanning their hatred."

Interviewer "Well, it was a great pleasure talking to you."
Vidal "I doubt that."
Naomi Klein on business-friendly Obama and his would-be puppeteers.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Great news! The Raytheon nine (below, June 3rd) have been acquitted by a jury of their peers.

"The outcome of this case has profound implications.
The jury has accepted that we were reasonable in our belief that: the Israel Defence Forces were guilty of war crimes in Lebanon in the summer of 2006; that the Raytheon company, including its facility in Derry, was aiding and abetting the commission of these crimes ..." (Eamonn McCann)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

"Unfortunately for the president, many historians have already reached a conclusion. In an informal survey of scholars this spring, just two out of 109 historians said Bush would be judged a success; a majority deemed him the "worst president ever."

This via "Angry Arab" (

Sunday, June 08, 2008

A couple of things that caught my ear over the weekend -

"Sitting Bull says history is nothing more than disrespect for the dead."
Buffalo Bill and the Indians (Robert Altman, director)

"Women got my number
But they don't call 'cause they don't care"
Waymore's Blues, Part II (Waylon Jennings)

"And we hold these truths to be self-evident
Number1, George W. Bush is not president
Number 2, America is not a true democracy
Number 3, The media is not fooling me."
Self-evident (Ani DiFranco)
"He was rushed to an NHS hospital in Salisbury," Everett explains, "only to be put in a filthy ward where he had to wait three days for a scan. He was then discharged on the point of death without a diagnosis. We were horrified. They did f--- all."
Rupert Everett on his father's illness. Many of us could tell horror stories like this. I have one I'd love to tell if I could find a way to do so without making big trouble for individuals.
Everett has other targets; the Catholic Church, the military and those who volunteer to serve in it. How much of this is genuine indignation, and how much is a need to épater les bourgeois it's impossible to say. His anger over the treatment of his father must be real. If only we all had access to a safer alternative to the "reconfigured" NHS.
And Sharon Stone is "deranged"; suspicion confirmed.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

The Tony Blair Faith Foundation - that should bring in the megabucks and keep the the "straight kinda guy" in the manner to which he's become accustomed as a sponger extraordinaire.
Has anyone in the UK an atom of faith in this dishonest, deceitful, sanctimonious hypocrite?
Still, top marks for brass neck.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Angry Arab writes:
If Obama is elected president, I am sure that he would order the bombing of some Arab or Muslim country in the first year of his presidency to 1) prove that he really is not a Muslim after all; 2) to underline his patriotic and militaristic credential; 3) to prepare for his second term run; 4) and to receive a standing ovation as soon as he enter AIPAC's convention hall.

I agree, but I don't believe Obama will be elected. If he isn't assassinated, and that's a distinct possibility, he will lose to the white man. We are talking about US politics. Obama is a pathetic heap, who has already expressed his approval of - NO! - enthusiasm for, Israeli war crimes. His boast earlier on that he had received millions more in donations than Clinton2, was just a revelation that he is deeper in hock to the ruling elite than she is. That would scupper any attempt at social reform that was ever contemplated (if any ever was). Change OK, change for the better - forget it!
I open the latest copy of the Radio Times and what's the first thing I see - a photograph of the loathsome Cilla ("I love Thatcher") Black. I turn the page quickly and see Terry ("I'm an English knight") Wogan. I move on; Michael ("How's your sex life?") Parkinson. It gets worse; a bloody big picture of the embodiment of evil herself - Thatcher! And to add insult to injury Plastic Features Ronaldo, a spoilt millionaire footballer I loathe even more than Snotnose Terry and "Drug free" Ferdinand. Answer the call of Real Madrid you lens loving poseur!
This edition of the Radio Times was directed at me personally. It could only have been made worse if Brian Ferry and Nobo had been added to the parade of malevolence, bad taste and self-regard.
Recently a correspondent complained in the Letters Page that the magazine had become a Doctor Who fanzine. Come back Doctor, I beg you.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Sunday, June 01, 2008

'Asked whether his first romantic encounter was homosexual or heterosexual, Vidal replied that he had been "too polite to ask".'

The old fellow's in good form. Robert Chalmers' interview covers a lot of well trodden ground, but he elicits some remarks worth recording.