Thursday, September 30, 2010

Have those bloody brothers gone? Can I start watching television news again?

As older brother squeezed the breath out of younger brother and spoke quietly into his ear I was reminded of the scene in "The Godfather II" when Michael Corleone bear-hugs his younger brother and says "I know it was you, Fredo. You've broken my heart."

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Earlier this month "I described the world according to fleming" (a banished bore). This blogger alleges that the fleming Weltanshauung is not a one person disorder.
(Click on map to enlarge)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"Senior Conservatives are understood to have put pressure on Mark Thompson, the BBC director general and Sir Michael Lyons, the chairman of the BBC Trust, not to broadcast the programme in the lead-up to the general election."
And what do you know? Thompson and Lyons obeyed orders.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

I do have form on this topic - disappearing languages - but it's a great help to find a comment which states the case and marshals the arguments efficiently and without the rancour that marks my outbursts. So I quote -
Aside from literature (most languages do not even have a written form)
the loss of even a single language entails the loss of a wealth of songs rituals and histories -- an entire culture, so to speak. Effects on cultural identity, education and regional and national politics are profound.

Then there's the dissolution of indigenous cultures' store of knowledge about local plant and animal life -- which, especially in the Amazon area and Black Africa are relatively unmined by biology and medical science.

And of course there's the loss to linguistics. Typological studies reveal the vast diversity that exists in the phenomenon of human language, and the often alien-seeming modes of expression and intricacies of grammar and phonetics. A minority of the world's languages has been studied in enough detail to enrich our understanding of how the mind works in organising thoughts and mental constructs into language. Australian Aboriginal languages, Siberian languages and some Native American languages are often cited to illustrate the often fundamental differences with more familiar languages (European languages, Chinese, Japanese), but there are bound to be more fantastic languages out there.

Losing languages is also a severe impediment to tracing the spread of human populations and large-scale migrations, since accounts of these are based on comparing evidence from archeology, history, genetics and linguistics. Charting the spread of languages is key in understanding historical migration patterns; the settlement of the Americas or the Austronesian homeland question are fine examples. While the interrelations between Indo-European languages are generally well understood, the patterns are generally less clear for any other language family out there. Each undocumented language that dies out before it has a chance to be studied means that the number of clues about linguistic kinship is greatly diminished (imagine reconstructing Indo-European without Sanskrit, or Greek).

There are a number of organisations that attempt to document languages and revive them. The most prolific one that I am aware of is Wycliffe, which study small and endangered languages in order to translate the bible into them. I'm not so sure that Wycliffe are doing an altogether laudable job -- from a linguistic point of view, that is. Nonetheless, even with their limited linguistic focus, they're doing invaluable work in preserving at least some of the diversity of human languages that we don't know about yet.
Procter & Gamble – on its Israeli website announces that the corporation gives
“Generous donations to [Israeli] organizations, “especially for disabled children”
* gives donations of “Tens of thousands of product units,” (i.e. Always and Alldays feminine pads), to various Israeli hospitals and schools; funds the awarding a prize for the best clinical research in the field of dermatology in order “to encourage the level of research and to improve the quality of life in Israel”
* gives donations to the Ramat Gan Safari (a zoo) as a way “to support relationships between children and their parents”
* funds educational projects for teenage girls, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, on the subject of sexual maturity
* cooperates with and donates to the Quality Week of the Israel Technical Institution.
(Youth Against Normalization)

I wonder if P&G donates anything to help Palestinian children crippled and maimed by the Israeli Defence (sic) Force, or to the hospitals that try to care for them when not being bombed?
Rhetorical question, I already know the answer. If they support the rogue state they are by default enemies of the Palestinian people.

Friday, September 24, 2010

From the Angry Arab's blog -

Americans are socialists but they don't know it
"The respondents were presented with unlabeled pie charts representing the wealth distributions of the U.S., where the richest 20 percent controlled about 84 percent of wealth, and Sweden, where the top 20 percent only controlled 36 percent of wealth. Without knowing which country they were picking, 92 percent of respondents said they'd rather live in a country with Sweden's wealth distribution.
"As the new Forbes billionaires list, released Wednesday, testifies, the richest Americans are getting richer, even as the country as a whole gets poorer. After 2005 income inequality continued to balloon."

Linking to this article.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What Scott Murray didn't write, but did write -


Monday, September 20, 2010

The Algerian street cleaners arrested and detained as terrrorist suspects turned out to be ... street cleaners. The muskers searched their gaffs and their works depot for incriminating evidence and came up empty. So someone's been wasting police time. Will they be charged?
This reminds me of the old anti-Irish Prevention of Terrorism act. Any Irish-born shop steward who was giving his employers a hard time would be lifted and held for questioning. After a week of being held incommunicado he would be be given an exclusion order and deported to the Irish Republic. He would have no opportunity to clear himself of terrorism in the courts, so no smoke without fire.
I wonder if these immigrant workers were making a nuisance of themselves at work, asking for a rise or some other concession. I fully expected them to be deported, but their residence and work papers must be in order. Their employer is the unscrupulous outfit Veolia, who I wouldn't trust to run a flea circus.
Maybe I'm just too suspicious.
From the Daily Telegraph via Pseud's Corner, Private Eye (no. 12710) -
"WALTON-HAYFIELD - On 14th August 2010, to REBECCA and MARK, an adorable son, Ignatius Mungo, brother to the Gorgeous Atticus Monty, the beautiful Octavius Klut, and the precious Ptolemy Ned. Deo Gratias.

Sed non parentibus gratias ab infantibus propter nomina.
Poor little buggers.

Friday, September 17, 2010

"In the BBC I joined 30 years ago [as a production trainee, in 1979], there was, in much of current affairs, in terms of people's personal politics, which were quite vocal, a massive bias to the left. The organisation did struggle then with impartiality. And journalistically, staff were quite mystified by the early years of Thatcher." (Mark 'the Plonker' Thompson).
This man really is weird. What is he talking about? I suppose, if you are a rank tory, you would object to the occasional Ken Loach play, and the fact that there were limits to the amount of public money BBC executives were allowed to trouser. None of that cheese-paring at the top now that Mark T's in charge. But in current affairs? When, I wonder, did this perceived left-wing bias end? Does Thompson think the BBC's reporting of the Miner's Strike was biased to the left?
I note that there is no mention in this interview of the BBC's pro-Israel bias, and its reporting of Israeli government and Israeli Defence Force claims as facts.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I read that Sid Rawle has passed away. He was known at the time I first encountered him as John the Baptist. I didn't know him personally, but he always seemed to be around when I was working in London and the Vietnam War protests were at their height. I remember the big demo of October '68 he appeared among the kibitzers watching us parade by. Everybody greeted him cheerfully and he decided to join the march. As he stepped out into the road three big coppers leapt on him and dragged him off, he bawling "DEMAND THE IMPOSSIBLE!"
Usually when a protester was targeted and collared there would be some action by the rest; a punch-up, an attempt to rescue, at the least a barrage of abuse. In Sid's case everybody had a laugh as if the whole thing had been staged for our entertainment. It seemed that, with Sid, nothing should be taken too seriously.
the obituary gives his age as 64. I always assumed that he was older than me. Must have been the beard and the patriarchal get-up.

I've also just learned of the passing of Laurent Fignon, a personal favourite from the world of sport.
Laurent Fignon était un coureur de tempérament, sûr de lui, sans toutefois manifester les excès orgueilleux de Hinault. Sa froideur et ses petites phrases ont contribué à retarder sa popularité. Il aura fallu la tragique défaite du Tour 89 pour le rendre sympathique aux yeux du public. Fignon passait pour un coureur atypique, cultivé, qui savait s'exprimer. Pour cette raison, et parce qu'il portait des lunettes, la presse italienne l'avait surnommé "il Professore".

The English language version doesn't say so much, but here it is -

I always have to compare him favourably to Hinault.
New to me -
Astroturf (alternative definition). I first read it here in reference to the "Ground Zero Mosque" bigots.The explanatory paragraph -
It’s important to note this because the likes of Geller, Spencer and Horowitz present themselves as organic activists. Geller, for instance, describes herself as a mere blogger. It turns out she and the other organizers are more like professional activists, organizing the equivalent of what in American politics is called “astroturf”--manufactured grassroots--backed by powerful interest groups. Politico ’s story revealed that Horowitz has paid $460,000 a year and Spencer $140,000 a year for these “activist” groups. In other words, they are clearly full-time, dedicated rabble-rousers.

Monday, September 13, 2010

ORGANIZED RAGE: The Campaign to end BBC Bias on Palestine: "The BBC’s one sided coverage of the conflict between the state of Israel and the Palestinian people has long been a bone of contention am..."

The BBC has had so many complaints about its Israeli propaganda piece, "Death on the Med", that it has had to set up an internal inquiry on the programme.
"The barons of the media, with their red-topped assassins, are the biggest beasts in the modern jungle. They have no predators; they are untouchable. They laugh at the law; they sneer at parliament. They have the power to hurt us, and they do, with gusto and precision, with joy and criminality. Prime ministers quail before them, and that is how they like it. That, indeed, has become how they insist upon it, and we are powerless in the face of them. We are afraid. If we oppose this motion, it is to our shame."
Well said, Simon Hughes

I remember the by-election by which Simon won his seat in the Commons. His Labour Party opponent was one Peter Tatchell. Tatchell was outed as gay by Murdoch's
tits-and-racism comic, whose editor was the British Julius Streicher. Tatchell denied the allegation, but Murdoch's boys printed lies about him, and published a photograph doctored to give him the appearance of wearing make-up. Tatchell lost the election. He later admitted to being gay, but claimed the the party ordered him to deny his sexual orientation. Simon Hughes has also come out as gay recently. The real reason for the Murdoch smear campaign was that Tatchell was a left wing activist.
So Simon won his seat in Parliament with the help of the untouchable Murdoch.
Funny old world.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

STS Bulletin no.30
"I'm not sure I see a need to apologise."


"I am deeply sorry that people are facing an unexpected tax bill.
Everyone in HMRC is working hard to make this as painless as possible. I apologise if my remarks came across as insensitive. I am working flat out with my colleagues to ensure everyone's tax is correct and the new computer system will help us do this.
"It was this new system that revealed the extent and size of reconciliations required and will help us be more accurate in future but we do not underestimate the distress caused to taxpayers and once again I apologise."

It can also be translated as "Christ! I could lose my job over this. Better do a bit of grovelling."

The millions of people about to be harried and harassed by the penitent Mr. Dave Hartnett's underlings should appeal over their heads to the top man. It turns out he can be persuaded to write off tax arrears given the right circumstances, according to the current edition of 'Private Eye'.
Her Majesty's Revenue enforcers have been in hot pursuit of a little company named Vodafone for a paltry £6 billion. They had the case all tied up, all loopholes blocked, when the company appealed to Mr. Hartnett's better nature.
Quick as a flash Mr. Hartnett cancelled the debt. The revenue's legal team were appalled. They had Vodafone by the goolies and were about to squeeze hard. "No dice," said our Dave, "Concentrate on the little people. I might need a job at Vodafone if those MPs manage to get me sacked for incompetence."

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Christofascist/media whore/nonentity has gone viral. Will he? Won't he? The media, the national government, and assorted clerics dance attendance on him, hanging on his every utterance. What an enthralling piece of theatre.
Will book-burning make a comeback as a political or cultural statement? Jon Henley, in yesterday's 'Guardian', quotes the great Heinrich Heine on the subject, "Where they burn books, they will, in the end, also burn people." (Over in Texas they already do, judicially). Heine could point to a precedent, Old Savonarola. His bonfire of the vanities led to his own funeral pyre.
What can Muslims do in retaliation? If they hold true to their Prophet's teachings they can't burn the Bible. The Old Testament (at-tawrat) and the New (al-anjil) are holy books containing messages from the deity. Still they can always have another pop at the 'Satanic Verses' I suppose.
In fact the Prophet, an illiterate, had a great reverence for the written word. The faithful were enjoined to treat all text with care, and that would include the kafir Rushdie's partly good, mostly bad, fairy tale.

Addenda: i) Muslims might consider burning Blair's book in praise of Blair. Surely nobody would object to that. Even Blair would content if he knew they'd bought and paid for it.

ii. A comment from the Angry Arab -
"I like when the notion of freedom of speech is invoked against haters of Islam. I am aware of the First Amendment, but can you imagine the government and public reactions if a public festival of anti-Semitism was planned anywhere in the US? I mean, freedom of speech did not prevent the US from banning Arabic TV stations and from banning the publication of the memoirs of Abu Dawud. It seems that freedoms of speech are abundantly available for those who wish to spread hate against Islam."

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Next week's Radio Times has an article on the coming papal visit. Among the accompanying photographs is one of the Pope with "his ever-present private secretary Father Georg Gaeswein". Are they hinting at something, or is it my warped mind? The New York Daily News has christened the priest-secretary "Gorgeous George".

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Another war anniversary - the first day of the blitz (on London). My own native city, the most badly bombed after the capital, seldom gets a mention when the story of the blitz is rehearsed by national organs. We were always "a north-east coast town" when our suffering made it onto the national news. Apparently even the Hull Daily Mail reported the bombs that landed yards from its offices as falling on a north-east coast town. I remember my mother once explaining as we listened to the news "That's us, last night." For years after I thought Hull was situated in the North-East (wrong), and that its location on the Humber estuary qualified it as coastal (wrong, I think). An early example of the disinformation coming out of official bodies, though it took me a couple of decades to recognise the danger of believing all that was said by people in authority.
Personal experience involved my mother and myself being bombed out of our home three times, and having to move in with relatives while the house was made inhabitable (and looters helped themselves to some of my parents' possessions). But that was the experience of the greater part of the town's population. "Only six thousand out of ninety-three thousand houses left undamaged after a thousand hours of air raids. One hundred and fifty-two thousand people left homeless, albeit alive. One thousand two hundred and fifty-eight civilians killed and three times that number left injured, maimed and wounded." (Clive Ashman, "Mosaic")
Of course we were in the air-raid shelters while the bombs were falling. I sat bored, surrounded by ladies gripping rosaries and firing off a Hail Mary every time an explosion sounded nearby. The men were all off doing their bit, of course. Where the other kids were, I don't know, the older ones had probably been evacuated.
Edward Gillett in "A History of Hull" writes of "Children on their way to school the morning after a raid collected pocketfuls of shrapnel ..." I was a shrapnel collector, but never managed to keep the stuff. Maybe my mother threw it out.
Some kids found bits of material from shot down barrage balloons, silver coloured, shiny and slippery. There was a gas-works about a mile from where I lived, and the gas-holders were surrounded by the balloons, or blimps as they were sometimes called.
Some film of bomb damaged Hull here -
What the officer and the minister said about hacking ... and what they didn't

Monday, September 06, 2010

The arch-criminal and Murdoch creature, Coulson, is in the spotlight again. The police are thinking about reopening the investigation* if new evidence comes their way. The police were up to their necks in the felonious activity, illegally feeding Murdoch hacks with information from their database. Then the police investigated the alleged wrongdoing and found no case to answer.
Let me make a prediction; if the police do find that there's a case to answer, the Crown Prosecution Service will decide not to pursue it.
Strange that TV reporters keep saying that Coulson denies ordering and approving the hacking, as if that's conclusive. An ex-Whore's Gazette journalist says not so, I've heard him at it. Why does Coulson's word count for more than Sean Hoare's?
A reporter on ITN put it this way. The Conservatives don't want to upset Murdoch, The police don't want to upset Murdoch, other newspapers don't want to upset Murdoch, so further prosecutions are not going to happen.
Broken Britain, courtesy of Rupert Murdoch.

*STS gloss, cover-up.
Wayne Rooney, benefactor of fallen women, is to go to Basel with the other seedy millionaires. I try to care a little but fail miserably.
What interests me about this story is the spelling of the place name. For the first 60 years of my life I believed the name was Basle, and would have spelt it so should the need have arisen. Basel was the German spelling; Basle I assumed was a borrowing from the French before they decided to drop the unpronounced D and spell it Bâle.
I looked in my old atlas, 1964 vintage, and there it was - "Basel (Basle)". So even back then the German spelling took precedence.I delved further back,1934, and it was simply Basle then. Probably remained so during my schooldays, 1943-55. We were doubtless still using pre-war publications in those austere times. So when, and why did Basel replace Basle? And who dictated the change?
There are many such changes, usually unannounced. When did Leghorn become Livorno? And why was the discarding of allonyms only partial; we don't call Rome Roma, Naples Napoli, Genoa Genova.
I remember the change in spelling of Chinese proper names. Nothing announced that I recall, and no comment from the press who printed the new versions without question. I believe the Chinese government officially adopted the Pinyin version of romanised spelling, while previously British hacks had made do with Wade-Giles. I assume these people just continued publishing press releases from the Chinese government news agency without bothering about spelling. "Mao tse-tung/Mao Zedong, Peking/Beijing, who cares, I'm off down the pub." Do I misrepresent British journalism? Probably not.

Afterthought: place name or place-name? I'm never sure. Perhaps both are acceptable.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Update on Hoffman v.Greenstein (21st August, below)-
Jonathan Hoffman has apologised for lying, or not checking his facts, one of the two.
All empty threats then.

The world is divided into two main zones. The United States and the rest. The United States is also called capitalism, because the two are indistinguishable. Anyone who criticises the USA criticises capitalism, and vice versa.
The USA is the social, economic, and political entity that closest approaches perfection. No comparable society exists, has existed, or ever will exist. It is the most beautiful, powerful and successful nation in the whole of history, a state of affairs destined to continue as long as Planet Earth turns.
The other zone, the rest, can be subdivided as follows:
i. Europe, in the grip of socialist idealogues who are in league with fanatical Islamist immigrants.
ii. Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. Populated by dark-skinned people who are incapable of development (losers). Expendable people sitting on recources that the USA wants and will possess.
iii. East Asia, hard-working productive people for the most part. Perhaps a little too ambitious, it may be necessary to nuke them in the future.
iv. Central and Southern America, the backyard, populated by losers. Can be swatted at any sign of trouble.
v. Australasia, ???? fleming's American, if they haven't invaded it he's never heard of it.
Finally ISRAEL, located strategically between Asia and Africa. Populated by Jews and other alien types, but, as the USA's black-ops section in the Middle East it has to be tolerated, even at great expense to the American people.

Fleming is opposed to big government (code for paying taxes). However he is in favour of big armies, big police forces and big prisons. Now a big army is an expensive item, so how to finance it? That's a problem fleming and his kind have yet to figure out. In the meantime they claim that all their taxes (the ones who actually pay them) go to maintain a large mass of unemployed or sick people, who fleming likes to label "losers". When fleming and his kind finally take complete control the "losers" will be left to fend for themselves, and will soon die off. Then there will still be the problem of financing the army, but let's not think that far ahead (in fact let's not think). A similar problem is Israel, costing the US economy £3 billion plus. But these geniuses will figure out a way of supporting Israel without imposing taxes on hard-working Americans (those that are left).

The world according to fleming - he's been cluttering my comments section with rehashed versions of this political philosophy for some time now. No need any more, it's all here in one place. fleming has left the building.