More stuff

May. 26th, 2009 02:28 pm
dc: Me, in a pub.  (sandwiches!)
One thing I mean to say yesterday and forgot was, unusually, that the Kirk had got it right. Glad I didn't, because they've gone and got it wrong again. As [personal profile] pickwick said the other day, the CofS is the least irritating, bigoted and authoritarian of the churches I know — but there's still a lot of bigots in there. :(

In politics, many want to see a fairer electoral system. Not (unsurpriisingly) David Cameron, who says, Proportional representation takes power away from the man and woman in the street and hands it to the political elites. — what, you mean we would lose the sensitive reflection of the popular we have in the current system? The system where if you don't live in a marginal seat your vote is pretty much irrelevant. Chicken Yoghourt hits the nail on the head: always be suspicious of someone talking disparagingly about ‘political elites’ when they’re a member of the political elite themselves.

More off-the-wall (well, bridge, really) news from China. A suicidal man in Beijing was holding up traffic (for hours), causing much irritation, so an angry passer-by pushed him off. (He didn't die.)

This made me smile: there are only two people in the world who know the secret, and they never travel on the same aeroplane.

Life is still a bit taxing at the moment. Today, up early again to get my father to the hospital. I believe he is having endoscopy about now, and later in the week there should be scans. On Friday, my parents are getting a stairlift installed, which will be a lot of help for my mother. Meanwhile, I am going to be getting ready for my holiday — this is pretty much the first proper holiday I have had in years. Two or three weeks away.... Nice. I am really looking forward to it. I wish this neck/shoulder pain would bugger off, though.

Pah. Yesterday was the 25th May, and I didn't notice. (Mentally, I am still thinking it's April, even though I know it isn't.) Well, I had no lilac. I had a reasonably priced egg, I suppose.

I may have said this before: I've been re-reading some of Iain M. Banks's stuff, and it is so much better on a second reading... which, given how good it is on first reading, is saying quite a lot.


May. 25th, 2009 05:13 pm
dc: Me, in a pub.  (sandwiches!)
One of the annoying things about not being properly online most of the time is not being able to properly follow the news when it's interesting — as it has been recently. At the Iain M. Banks/Ken MacLeod event in Balloch* last Friday, they were wondering whether or not there might be a revolution of sorts in progress. Maybe... At least PR is now being talked about by more than the usual suspects. And without PR, how can the system be made remotely trustworthy? As more than one person has noted, the MPs who were most diligently abusing the expenses system were the ones with the safest seats. It is astonishing that so many MPs still seem not to understand what is pissing people off so much — no satirist would ever have tried to pull off something like Anthony Steen's comments. The Archbishop of Canterbury's suggestion that the humiliation of MPs should stop seems to me to miss the point. Many will now be wondering whether the point has not been adequately made — it's not been anything like adequately made if there are still MPs wondering what right the public has to know what they are up to with their expenses. A bit of humiliation for some seems overdue: maybe it will provoke some humility.

The one real worry about the timing of this is that it might boost the BNP's vote in some areas; not likely in these parts, but in bits of England, maybe. That would be a very depressing result. Good for the Archbishops of York and Canterbury for speaking out against the BNP: I wouldn't normally like faith leaders doing something like that regarding party politics, but if the BNP are going to claim that Jesus would vote for them, it's fair enough for the bishes to counter that.

It would be good to think that we are about to see a major reform of the political system to make it more representative and inclusive; but who knows? As Iain Banks said on Friday, Lenin said there would be a revolution, but not in his lifetime... in 1916.

Anyway, tomorrow going to take my father to hospital; I would like to think he would be sorted out before I go off on holiday, but I wouldn't bet on it. (I travel a week on Tuesday.) *sigh*

[*Which was fun, by the way, and we got some interest for [ profile] satellite_2 too.]
dc: Me, in a pub.  (Default)
Martin is going!

[ETA: Meanwhile Gordon Brown said no Labour MP who broke expenses rules would stand at the next election. — is that the most meaningless commitment ever, given that breaking the rules isn't exactly the issue?]
dc: Me, in a pub.  (Default)
It would be difficult to argue that the world is not a better place for no longer having Saddam Hussein in it, but it is probably a much worse place for his having been executed. The death penalty is barbaric in any case, but when applied to someone like Saddam Hussein it is simply stupid, too, risking creating a martyr of a monster. All that would be true if he had had something remotely resembling a fair trial, which he did not. To make matters even worse, the execution was carried out on a date which could have been designed to inflame sectarian tension in Iraq. I am going to stop here, it is too... there should be a word for a combination of profoundly depressing and thoroughly infuriating. Much more (and much more eloquent) comment can be found elsewhere. As often is the case, the LJs of [profile] nhw and [personal profile] autopope are good starting points.
dc: (Doctor)
The Independent has a way with striking front pages, but today’s was exceptional. Under the headline Middle East: Who backs immediate ceasefire? were two boxes. One, Yes, contains the flags of 189 countries. The other, No, has only three flags surrounded by white space: Israel, USA, and... us.

It is enough to make you weep with rage.

Yesterday I was talking to a friend with whom I do not always agree on political matters. He thinks, for example, that the US Supreme Court’s decision regarding Guantanamo Bay was the wrong decision. He has consistently tended to be more critical of the Palestinians than the Israelis. Even he, though, thinks the behaviour of Israel at the moment is egregious.

Why can’t our government see that? Why does our government think that now, the time when Israel is bombing a country with nothing like the ability to stand up to them, is not an appropriate time to criticise them?

There is, apparently, an anti-war march tomorrow in London, Glasgow and Edinburgh. I gather [ profile] fjm is planning to go on the London one, and I can certainly understand the impulse...

But what is the point? We have seen enormous numbers on the street protesting against the Iraq invasion, both before and after the assault on Iraq started. It made no difference whatever. Short of Knacker of the Yard arresting him for corruption regarding the honours system, he is secure in power until he chooses to go. While he is secure, he shows no inclination to listen to anyone he does not want to listen to. As the marchers are not rich Americans, media tycoons, etc., why should he pay attention to them? The news reports will underestimate the turnout, if they report it much at all. The only good thing is that people can say: We were not for this. Perhaps that is enough. But aside from that the futility of it all is depressing.

On a different matter: Wyatt Twerp was given a specially made cowboy outfit?


Oh, for satire to be back... or at least Spitting Image.

There is a headline of a story in today’s Independent which caught my eye: Why are fewer students from poor backgrounds going to university?

It seems to me the answer is bloody obvious: the junking of the grant system. The words grant and grants are nowhere to be found in the piece.

Well, if I were at school now, I probably would not be going to university. Educationally, I am a product of a comprehensive school (a good one) and a university which I got to by means of the student grant. Without it, my parents could not have afforded to send me to university (although they might have tried to find the money, I have no doubt). When I was at school, we knew that if we had the intellectual ability, we could get to university. We did not have to think about accrueing thousands of pounds of debt in order to do it.

That was all a bit ranty, sorry.

Oh... fuck

Jul. 18th, 2006 07:51 pm
dc: Me, in a pub.  (Default)
Just on the news... Israel is now saying that Iran was involved in the Hezbollah kidnapping of their soldiers.

It's just getting worse and worse.
dc: Me, in a pub.  (Default)
The Sunday Times is out today, with the bit about Witchfest in it. It could have been so much worse.

At Witchfest, some of us were a bit bemused by the Geddes-Wards’ talk on fairies. Or faeries, rather. In Scottish folklore, you see, fairies are not the sort of creatures you want taking any interest in you, and you certainly wouldn’t go inviting them into, well, any space where you were. However, I can now see the great usefulness of having that sort of talk: you get a man, a woman, and two kids, all in crushed velvet, etc., and you clearly have a much more photogenic scene than anything involving a big, beardy guy with a staff. I feel like someone just turned up with the “get out of jail free” cards.

The article itself is not too bad, although at no point am I accurately quoted. Some stuff attributed to me I did say, but it has been edited in such a way that the meaning is more or less altered. I did not mention Harry fucking Potter! On the other hand, I was not so worried about what the reporter would write as what the editor and sub-editor would get up to.

Yep, they fucked us. Well, me, anyway. The intro paragraph has a fairly sarcastic ring to it, but what made me yelp was the Inside box on the front page of the Ecosse section. It says: Witch doctor: A former medic is one of Scotland’s top wizards.

Oh, fucking fuck fuckity-fuck FUCK!

(Do I need to mention that I heard no one use the word wizard all day? That I told them I would not even use the word witch to describe myself? That I made no claims to being the top anything?)

The basic text, as I say, is not too bad, but it suffers from the usual thing of a reporter who does not actually know the subject trying to get it right, and not quite doing it. I have never seen any newspaper report about anything I knew about which did not suffer from the same thing, so I guess this counts as a reasonably fair article. It certainly lacks one annoying feature which used to be a staple of such reports: the balancing comment from a member of a mainstream religion (or, a load of bigoted bollocks from the more extreme clergy of the Church of Scotland).

From a different perspective, Thor and Clutha both get mentioned, as does Óðinn (who will no doubt be pleased), so that in itself is good.

dc: (Doctor)
There was some stuff I should, probably, have been doing today, but as it is the first day I have felt normal — tired, but normal — since last week, I thought I would take it easy. So, relaxing, doing nothing much, a couple of hours having coffee with [ profile] ambersrequiem passed happily, back home to do nothing much for a bit more. Didn’t even watch the news today, I thought, just relax... And of course, today is the day Lord Levy gets arrested! Tony Blair’s bosom buddy, the Labour Party’s Mr. Moneybags, is arrested and released on bail.

I have said for a while that this government could well be written up in history books as one of the most corrupt ever. Oh, David Blunkett has just appeared on TV speaking out in Levy’s defence; well, he is a man of unimpeachable integrity, isn’t he?
dc: Me, in a pub.  (Default)
Reykyavík is to get three new places of worship in the next few years, assuming the Environmental Committee passes the applications. The Association of Icelandic Muslims wants to build a mosque, and the Russian Orthodox Church wants a church. More interesting from my point of view is this:
The Association for Medieval Norse Paganism (ásatrú) is set to receive a 1,500 - 2,000 square meter lot for a 700 sq. m. temple. The temple will include additional facilities for the congregation, a forested area close to landmark Perlan is the lot currently under discussion for the Pagans.

[From: IcelandReview]
dc: Me, in a pub.  (Exterminate All Heathens!)
I’m very pushed for time, as has been the case a lot recently, but this Freudian slip from Sky did tickle me enough to want to post it:

dc: Me, in a pub.  (Default)
The BBC are reporting a "security incident" on the Central Line at Mile End Tube station. The area is cordoned off. Obviously, Central Line services are suspended; I hope [ profile] highstone isn't trying to get anywhere today.

UPDATE: [11:33] - A man has been arrested and the station is being re-opened.
dc: Me, in a pub.  (tanngrisnir)
Here's the link to the BBC news page:


BBC1 has switched to News 24, and there are eyewitness accounts on it. It seems the man was running onto the train, stumbled as he tried to enter it, and was shot by three armed plainclothes policemen. Police aren't saying much about their shooting of the man as yet.
dc: Me, in a pub.  (Default)
A train has been evacuated at Stockwell, passengers heard gunshots and were told to evacuate the train.

An eyewitness has said he saw armed men (plainclothes police?) pursue a man who looked like someone of Pakistani origin onto the train and fire five shots into him, almost certainly killing him.

The shooting of a man at Stockwell has been confirmed by the police.
dc: (Doctor)
Sir Ian Blair, Metropolitan Police Commissioner, has asked Londoners to stay where they are, not to try to get anywhere, to take pressure off the transport system at the moment. (News 24)

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