Monday, 31 January 2011

listening to Music For Airports and wanted to say out to my dear, dear, dear friend DT, because i was in touch with him during a maudlin moment late last summer in an American airport and this reminds me of him, and more besides

June said she knew there'd be some people from the south here tonight, because some of you guys get out here in California, the damn place is so crazy, you just got to get something to eat some way don't ya

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Orange Book Liberal Democrats should be regarded as no better than Tories.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

via Terry Glavin - who, yes, is on the wrong side of the argument with Graeme here (you have to be absolute on these matters, don't you) - is this piece.

as the heading to Rachel Reid's piece states "Who benefits from Taliban revisionism?
The Afghan government is trying to whitewash the Taliban's image by claiming it no longer opposes education for girls"

Terry is always worth paying attention to on Afghanistan, because of things like this.

There is a lack of proper communication in your country about Afghanistan. They don't see all the good progresses. For me, the hope is for the younger generation. Young men are voting for women. The society is under a big transformation, and there are people who don't want to see this.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

[Amos] Vogel argued that film criticism was suffering because too many critics were from a literary rather than visual arts background 'with the visual serving as illustration of an underlying literary thesis'

- Dan Fox

Friday, 21 January 2011

What could you imagine doing if you didn't do what you do?

John Waters: Being a defence lawyer for the damned in the US court system.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Never, never, never, not one single time do I have a plan.

- Scientist

from the interview by Joe Muggs in the December 2010 issue of The Wire

Sunday, 16 January 2011

last month

this bloke

interesting point here

Kettling is illegal elsewhere and it certainly should be here. I speak as someone who was kettled in Parliament Square and Westminster Bridge last Thursday, one of several thousand people held for nine hours at zero degrees without food, water, heat, toilets.

The widely reproduced photograph of a youth urinating against the plinth of Winston Churchill's statue during the protest over tuition fees provides a disrespectful image, but kettling represents disrespect on a premeditated, industrial scale: degrading conditions of confinement enforcing the shame of performing one's natural functions in public.

from here

Monday, 10 January 2011

very grateful to my friend J for finding the 1985 defence Hitchens made of Chomsky over the Khmer Rouge thing.

a good taster of Hitchens' wonderfully pugilistic style is to be found early doors in the piece (my emphasis)

Sixteen years ago I went to the Examination Schools at Oxford University to hear Professor Noam Chomsky deliver the John Locke Lectures. The series was chiefly concerned with modern theories of grammar, syntax, and linguistics, but Chomsky attached a condition which the syndics of the university could not easily decline. He insisted on devoting one entire, self-contained lecture to the American war in Indochina and to the collusion of "academic experts" in an enterprise which was, he maintained, debauching America even as it savaged Vietnam.

Several things intrigued me about the stipulation. First, I liked the way Chomsky separated his political statement from his obligation as a guest lecturer rather than, as was and is the style at Oxford, pretending to objectivity while larding the discourse with heavily sarcastic political "pointers." There was no imported agenda of the kind one got from Hugh Trevor-Roper, Max Beloff, or John Sparrow. Second, I was impressed by his insistence, which was the inverse of the shifty practice of Tory and liberal scholars, that academics could and should have a role in political life but should state their allegiance squarely.

Friday, 7 January 2011

The UK Tory-led coalition govt's dismantling of govt quangos (look at the useful work, say, the Forestry Commission does) is "not primarily to cut costs" admits Tory MP Francis 'I wouldn't trust me to run a bath' Maude on BBC Radio 4 earlier today.

well at least he's honest, the small state loon.
they really are setting about their task of making the UK a less fair and equal place, hollowing out the safety nets that neo-liberal capitalism in the raw fights against, with some zeal.

what good is it to anyone to stop London schoolchild visits to the London Zoo?

jesus wept.

these people should be given about as much time of day as the preachers that wander Brixton market.

except for George Osborne, who should be interned without charge or something, and whose estate should be disbursed to community projects in Wythenshawe and Runcorn.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

The boss of BP's exploration arm, who quit after the Gulf of Mexico disaster last year, has been hired by FTSE-100 oil giant Petrofac for another major role in the industry.

Andy Inglis's appointment to the board of Petrofac comes just a week before American president Barack Obama's commission is due to publish its findings into the cause of the spill catastrophe.

Inglis, 51, was one of the most senior lieutenants of BP's ousted chief executive Tony Hayward.


that's nice.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

You could try, as you say, to put it on VAT, sales tax, but again if you look at the effect of sales tax, it's very regressive, it hits the poorest the hardest. It does, I absolutely promise you. Any sales tax, anything that goes on purchases that you make in shops tends to . . . if you look at it, where VAT goes now it doesn't go on food obviously but it goes very, very widely and VAT is a more regressive tax than income tax or council tax.

- David Cameron, May 2009

We have absolutely no plans to raise VAT.

- David Cameron, 23 April 2010

Monday, 3 January 2011


heads above parapets: an anonymous declaration from incredibly brave and eloquent Gazan youth

Fuck Hamas. Fuck Israel. Fuck Fatah. Fuck UN. Fuck UNWRA. Fuck USA! We, the youth in Gaza, are so fed up with Israel, Hamas, the occupation, the violations of human rights and the indifference of the international community!

hear hear

in a way, this is a little bit reminiscent of the Black Book (simple analogy, so elastic as to be virtually meaningless, at its widest meaning two documents attempting to speak truth to power; but i did flash on the Black Book and so wanted to mention), though as reading Caity Bolton would indicate, this Gazan statement could well be something bigger in terms of rejecting the status quo (as opposed to the Black Book's authors accepting the dominant paradigm, according to Bolton).

as the always elegant and humane Peter Ryley writes, here are "compelling acts of courage against the abnormality of lives lived in servitude or subject to arbitrary violence".

see them on Facebook here

(i took this image - via a Google Images search for large images of 'joe sacco palestine' - without permission from The Moving Silent blog, run by Karzan Kardozi, and specifically from this page on same blog here.)

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Respeito, camarada!

Gbagbo may be a blustering brute with a hardline wife who virtually talks in hate speech, who has exceeded his mandate and who is trying to fiddle an election, and who may bear overall responsibility for what are some serious crimes, but one of his latest opinions is, obviously, bang on the money (naturally, he's saying anything at the moment, granted)

Amongst today's great global powers, each has its own sphere of influence. When it's something to do with Francophone Sub-Saharan Africa, France speaks and the rest follow