Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Bashar al-Assad.

Il potere logora chi non ce l'ha.

- Giulio Andreotti

Thursday, 26 March 2009

After supper she got out her book and learned me about Moses and the Bulrushers; and I was in a sweat to find out all about him; but by-and-by she let it out that Moses had been dead a considerable long time; so then I didn't care no more about him; because I don't take no stock in dead people.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

happily, the following post at normblog mentions Richard Rorty, which immediately reminded me of Simon's post once on same and Manc outfit Raw-T.

unfortunately, the meat of the post is devoted to yet more parochial rubbish from another Simon, that man Jenkins.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

this is President Obiang of Equatorial Guinea.

he is very good at his job.

his job is the projection and maintenance of power.

quivering with rage as one links to this, but over at the Swots Terry Glavin has found a bunch of extravagantly idiotic Fox News talking heads insulting the Canadian military, which just goes to show any amount of political abuse in the direction of Rupert Murdoch is entirely justified.

"Master Corporal Scott Francis Vernelli, 28, Corporal Tyler Crooks, 24, and an Afghan interpreter were killed and five others were injured as they walked through the dusty terrain. All of the Canadians were members of the same November Company.

The second blast occurred in the Shah Wali Kot district north of the city. Trooper Jack Bouthillier, 20, and Trooper Corey Joseph Hayes, 22, were killed when their vehicle struck an improvised explosive device. They were members of the Royal Canadian Dragoons."

odious garbage here.
truly superb Johann Hari article on Jade Goody

'Words of straightforward snobbish abuse – “chav” and “pikey” – were becoming acceptable again.'

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

A failed asylum-seeker who returned to Darfur under a government repatriation scheme has been murdered by Sudanese security officers after they followed him home from the airport in Khartoum, The Independent has learnt.

Adam Osman Mohammed, 32, was gunned down in his home in front of his wife and four-year-old son just days after arriving in his village in south Darfur.

The case is to be used by asylum campaigners to counter Home Office attempts to lift the ban on the removal and deportation to Sudan of failed asylum-seekers. Next month, government lawyers are expected to go to court to argue that it is safe to return as many as 3,000 people to Khartoum.

But lawyers for the campaigners will tell the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal that people who are returned to Sudan face imprisonment, torture and death. Mr Mohammed, a non-Arab Darfuri, came to Britain in 2005 seeking sanctuary from persecution in Sudan, where he said his life was in danger. The village where he was a farmer had been raided twice by the Janjaweed, the ethnic Arab militia, forcing him and his wife and child to flee their home.

His family in Britain told The Independent that Mr Mohammed witnessed many villagers being killed and became separated from his wife during a second attack on the village a few weeks later. He escaped to Chad before making his way to the UK in 2005.

But last year his appeal for asylum was finally turned down and he was told that he faced deportation. In August last year he was flown to Khartoum under the Home Office's assisted voluntary return programme, in which refugees are paid to go back to their country of origin. He stayed in Khartoum for a few months and then, when he believed it was safe, he travelled to Darfur to be reunited with his family.

Mohamed Elzaki Obubeker, Mr Mohammed's cousin and chairman of the Darfur Union in the UK, said: "The government security forces had followed him to another village, Calgoo, where his wife and child had sought help. They came to the village to find him and then targeted him. They shot him in front of his wife and son."

here in full.
a rare Australian bird

the actresses Alicia Witt (l) and Kelly Reilly (r)

Monday, 16 March 2009

"Moyles, for example, whose endless bloke-down-the-pub patter (and reluctance to play any actual music) normally irritates me no end, came across as genuinely funny and warmhearted, while Cheryl Cole continued her transition in the public's imagination from not-very-talented and quick-tempered reality show winner to beautiful-but-kindly big sister who can remain radiant at 15,000 feet. And who would have thought that 'our very own, the gorgeous Alesha Dixon' (copyright Brucie, 2008) had such a filthy cackle of a laugh?
At times, I wondered what had happened to the determination of those alternative comedians who set up Comic Relief, to do things differently: to raise money in a way that didn't objectify the recipients and instead saw them as active participants in achieving social justice."

Martin In The Margins on Comic Relief.
'Elders of Zion to Retire'

After a humiliating year left most of its financial holdings, as well as the entire civilized world, on the verge of collapse, the organization has re-defined its mission in terms of bridge games and making it to restaurants for the Early Bird Special.

Hoare on Tudjman.
Magas on Tudjman.
If you look to the language in the above paragraph, you can see this same confusion continued and even extended, in that "insurgents" are described as more "sophisticated" because they get more vicious as the American presence becomes less noticeable. Wait: Wasn't the "insurgency" supposed to be a protest against occupation?

Hitchens with a point.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

caught some of Party Animals again - been getting re-shown on the BBC, two years after they originally broadcast it - it's an 8 part drama serial focusing on a group of Labour and Tory researchers and prospective politicians, and two senior parliamentarians in Westminster.

(the cast includes Patrick Baladi as a senior Tory, Matt Smith as a Labour office assistant, and Shelley Conn as an ambitious young Tory.)

the end of the last episode had Stopfordian actor Andrew Buchan (he plays Smith's elder brother, he is a lobbyist) and the Geordie actress Andrea Riseborough (she is Smith's character's colleague, a Labour minister's intern; incidentally Riseborough is good in The Devil's Whore, Channel 4's atmospheric English Civil War drama) falling into bed together after doing coke in a pub bog, and there's a wonderful rather sexy moment as he's pumping away when she greedily sucks his thumb, telling him what they're doing is far better than their original idea for a nightcap (which was to go clubbing).

anyway Buchan meets his deceased father's mate, a seemingly principled (presumably Old, or Old-ish) Labour MP - we can reasonably infer this as the bloke is given a northern accent - in a pub and they are drinking pints (in fact Buchan drinks quite a lot of beer, both bottled and pint glasses) and have plates of what look like chips in front of them as they chew the fat.
later the MP tells Buchan his father would be ashamed that his son works as a lobbyist ("he would hang his head").
it's very realistic, i think, about evoking that particular element of that rather closed world of particular Westminster-area pubs where - among other denizens - bright young things drink beer that will surely one day enhance their waistline, and garble out fractured ideas at one another.

there's a section where Buchan's new client - a genuinely chilling Russian oligarch on the lam from Moscow - makes an implied threat to Buchan about something, and the lengths to which Buchan's character goes to watch his back are inventive, desperate, and all the while sound tracked by ale.

Buchan was in the ITV drama The Fixer (where he plays, er, a fixer) and from what i saw of that - less than a full episode, granted - he was convincing in it, and the show was decent.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Sunday, 8 March 2009

read this.

glad to see it provides a take-down of some disgracefully piss-poor Guardian journalism.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Osler on Scargill
Oliver Kamm re-iterates a very good, basic point in his final paragraph here

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Karadzic not entering a plea is entirely expected.

One can not play games with entire regions and even with the world as a whole. I am abiding.

only when it involves the deliberate policy of massacring several thousand men and boys because you don't like them, eh Radovan.

Monday, 2 March 2009