Saturday, 28 June 2008


[yes, i am listening to the Nas debut album]

Brownie is magnificent in this Harry's Place thread (warning: thick fools lurk, and indeed comment, there)

Friday, 27 June 2008

[off the record, you understand]

as part of his incredibly enjoyable 'is shrill' series, Brad DeLong links to a Joe Klein piece at TIME re Lieberman, the Commentary crew, Bush and Cheney & Co.

without getting into very reasonable sharp words for Max Boot (there's an Andrew Sullivan piece up too) and urgently needed words of condemnation for no bid contracts, can we agree to call Joe Klein on 'divided loyalties'?

also, the description of the venerable country of Iraq as an extremely complicated, devout and ancient culture is indeed lovely and true, but with regards to what Klein is discussing, perhaps adding 'a giant Baath torture house' might have been equally helpful and illuminating..

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Muslims and gays

Nazir-Ali not attending the Lambeth Conference.

well there's a surprise. we didn't see that coming, eh?

yes sticking up for his beliefs and within the framework of what he believes he is, of course, in the right, technically *. but come on, you cannot deny me this. Nazir-Ali chats out of his backside about Islam with both fierce stupidity and awful cunning, and now, this, is, well, not a shock.. remember, David Goodhart, in a recent Prospect with the Mai 68'ers feature, rightly excoriated Christopher Hitchens for his intellectual absolutism and lack of interest in progressive incrementalism that makes a genuine difference to people (there again, of course when not writing good science, the function of Dawkins clearly is to write bad atheism, and that's not going to change anytime soon, so Hitch's failings can be balanced against his pugnacious prose which at least remains enjoyable - which is more than can be said for David Goodhart's immigration essay)

* or is he? he could always go, argue his corner, and yes a very blatant point this, but it must be one he's thought of and discounted, his 'red line', which incidentally, is a concept (a term devalued by frequent usage from the likes of Tony Blair or, oh i don't know, Ben Bradshaw, as, say, Robin Carmody might remind us) that has been missing - in some commentary - from certain of the entirely accurate accounts about some of David Davis' regrettable views, no?
also socially liberal people of faith that know about theology, i am sure, could debate with Nazir-Ali until the cows come home and ferociously be able to impress upon him that they are in the right and his views are in fact wrong. though what i know about Christian theology is nothing.
but the fact remains that for all the above window-dressing, Nazir-Ali, in siding with the other conservatives, is getting a theological fig-leaf for bigotry (or, at the very least, opposition to progress), and what makes him so different from the folk across the pond who are also in his church and did go against him with their bold moves.
so give over Nazir-Ali, and your mate in the Telegraph, that bloke whose name escapes me who sometimes writes the most shabby, insulting, witless guff about Islam in some Sunday editions. (though i have not seen one of his bylines for a long time, well over a year IIRC.)

speaking of Hitch, the lovely J-Clo had a little piece up recently on Hitch's far-from-world-beating, tossed-off (Morley writing in the London Telegraph his short gig reviews, as one would say to SR) Slate article about wine in a restaurant. and whilst there are very amusing points put forth (and usage of "margrave") in the piece here, i remain at a loss. (there again, jane is busy engaging with SFJ at a high level, and the merit of sugarhigh! is always everything isn't it, the essays and the asides, all of it.)

simply put, if the cod-psychology (or whatever i should call it) is meant unironically and plainly and, just so as at face-value, then, well..

Saturday, 21 June 2008

the utterly superb Obsolete (who i have only recently discovered, thanks to the equally utterly superb The gaping silence, they being a mate of Pearsall AFAIK, Pears? anyway) writes a sane antidote to tabloid hysteria over the Abu Qatada case here.

Obsolete has also recently written on the govt's former respect chief Louise Casey, which nails what to me seem banged-on points, as whenever you saw Casey back in the day, there was an air of inflexibility about her, it always seemed.
it must be said as we all know that Manchester city council (when not dreaming up tinpot schemes regarding a 'Thaitown' on her northside, similar to her centrally located - small but perfectly formed - Chinatown, or failing to get big screens for sporting events working, or going after office smokers with commendable zeal) hands out ASBOs a bit like Dunkin Donuts selling you a hazelnut coffee and morning bagel

cheaply and frequently (albeit not usually in Spanish)

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

really enjoyed Mentasms on the Irish vote - "Joe-Higgins’ dogged workerism"

Derek feeling - includes, brilliantly, Ninjaman

very happy to read Geeta - Bubble.. (bubble bubble bubble under and over always and over and always)

Monday, 16 June 2008

(see also this .pdf, this, and here.)
A simple but fundamental principle is at stake here: the principle that a policy of mass terror against a civilian population should not be rewarded.

Noel Malcolm, from the preface to the second edition of his short history of Kosovo

Friday, 13 June 2008

RIP Tim Russert

Thursday, 12 June 2008

as i write today, this is from the previous edition of The Zimbabwean (last week to yesterday), but, another instalment of their heroes and villains

1. Shepherd Jani - MDC Senatorial candidate for Murehwa - abducted and murdered
2. Taurai Matanda - shot dead by soldiers at Murambinda growth point, Manicaland
3. 78 year old grandmother, 13 year old brother, plus mother and other relatives of MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa. Savagely beaten for 2 hours by armed soldiers in Gutu
4. Mabel Penisara - wife of election campaign manager for MDC MP Ian Kay. Abducted and tortured, left for dead by a roadside.

1. Mashava - ZPF Murehwa district Vice chairperson - threatened to kill children of MDC officials
2. Colonel Chineta - alleged to have been involved in the murder of Jani
3. Matemachani - war vet - known for his violence, he is now attacking people in Triangle again
4. Sidney Somai - CIO Marondera - jumped out of vehicle and attacked MDC district chairman Potifa Bakaaiman with a rifle butt and then abducted him
5. Colonel Morgan Mzilikazi - led attack on Murambinda growth point, to 'flush out' MDC supporters - leaving one dead, 31 hospitalised
6. Major General Engelbert Rugejo - responsible for the attack on Nelson Chamisa's family
7. Ignatius Chombo - local government minister who has illegally appointed commissions to run towns, ignoring the council elections, predominantly won by the MDC
8. Grace Mugabe - for saying that Mugabe will never step down for Tsvangirai, even if he loses the election.


Robin writes to Auntie
the cricket.

the rugby.


watching boxing in a pub.



stabbing at things.
like foreheads, and leaving a long scar that runs from your right-hand ear - more or less - across the plate of your forehead, all the way to the other side.

arguments about silly things in the backs of cabs that are soon forgotten.

both away and for sport.

some long-distance running. and some middle-distance.

and lots of people 'fun' running, to raise capital for good causes. this is how it goes.

lying to the police. (but our conscience is clear. i think. let me chew it over.)

refusing to help that woman out with loose change.

two boys in prison and another, not. but two were. asking for it, really.

stretched out. alone. shudder to a halt, eventually.

buy some cigarettes and a paper.
leaf through the paper in a frazzled, hormonal hurry.

dicing up food. nutrients.

returning to the same place because their food is just so.

thinking the angles when you are the person the approach is made to. before wanting to get on a train, or a bus, or a coach. and leaving. but not for good. although for a very long time, in all likelihood.
a very long time.
maybe not wanting. but needing. never the less. nonetheless.

ecclesiastical history that was unknown.

a pint.
oh, just a pint.

go on, then. stay for more.
but that has to be it.
(and is, perhaps surprisingly.)

doing the rounds.
and making farewells.