Key Posts Category
YOU can filter out the word “porn” from google searches. I know this because my search was blocked when I went to check more information on the Sky News story:
“PM: Child Abuse Web Searches ‘Must Be Banned’ - Internet companies could be forced to blacklist certain words if they do not act on their “moral duty”, David Cameron will warn.
I was curious because a couple of days earlier David Cameron had been talking about crime:
“Your streets, houses and businesses are the safest they’ve been in a generation and are proof that our reforms are working.
“We’ve slashed the out-of-control bureaucracy that has seen police officers spending nearly half their shifts doing paperwork.”
EVERYONE, save for her blessed Majesty The Queen, needs a passport to travel overseas. (A British passport is issued in the name of Her Majesty, so it is unnecessary for The Queen to possess one.) This mean that Her Majesty need not pose for the dreaded passport photo – small relief given that her head is scrutinised on coinage and stamps.
Britishers applying for a passport should submit an exacting photograph:
Your photo may be rejected unless it shows you:
facing forward and looking straight at the camera
with a neutral expression and your mouth closed
without anything covering the face
in clear contrast to the background
without a head covering (unless it’s worn for religious or medical reasons)
with eyes open, visible and free from reflection or glare from glasses
with your eyes not covered by sunglasses, tinted glasses, glasses frames or hair
without any shadows in the picture
In this gallery of passports, we see how the rich and famous coped with posing for tiny picture that would be scrutinised by lantern-jawed officialdom.
Passports issued in the 1950s to John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier Kenned.
The stamps forms an almost perfect target about his head.
FAMOUS people and animals. Do the pets make the famous faces look more of less lovable? Are the pets just props?
SGT Sean Murphy was there when alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured hiding beneath the cover of a boat. He took photos. This one shows the 19-year-old carrying the red dot of a sniper’s rifle laser sight on his forehead.
Sgt Murphy says his pictures show the “real Boston bomber, not someone fluffed and buffed”.
Surely, he means to say ‘the alleged bomber’?
STREAKER of the year is Wati Holmwood, who invaded the St of Origin ruby match, very possibly ruining it. He says: “It all happened so quickly, I don’t know what was going through my head. I just wanted to make it interesting but I stuffed up Origin. A lot of people hate me now.” Probably the same stuff when in 2011 he jumped a fence at the Sydney Football Stadium and interrupted a match between the Wests Tigers and the New Zealand Warriors.
TODAY I took part in a debate about the left’s attitude to Israel at the Jewish Free School in London. My opening remarks are published below.
For me, the most striking thing about the left’s attitude to Israel is how much it has changed, how sweepingly it has been transformed over the past couple of generations. I don’t think there’s any other issue on which the left has so dramatically changed its thinking. In a nutshell, the mainstream Western left has gone from loving Israel to loathing it, from singing its praises to blaming it for all the world’s ills and accusing it of being a uniquely barbaric state.
JUROR B37 sat on the George Zimmerman trial that questioned how Trayvon Martin came to be shot dead. She and her five colleagues cleared Zimmerman of murder. And then B37 got to thinking about her career. How about a book? She got an agent, named Sharlene Martin of Martin Literary Management LLC, notable for her work shilling for Amanda Knox’s ex Raffaele Sollecito.
Martin hoped Juror B37’s book would help the great unwashed…
“…understand the commitment it takes to serve and be sequestered on a jury in a highly publicized murder trial …. It could open a whole new dialogue about laws that may need to be revised and revamped to suit a 21st century way of life.”
Juror B37 went on CNN to for some marketing for her public service tome:
“I think both were responsible for the situation they had gotten themselves into. I think they both could have walked away.”
And then Juror B37 had second thoughts. The market (via Twitter and a peptition on Change.org) had told her that her project was reprehensible:
“I realize it was necessary for our jury to be sequestered in order to protest our verdict from unfair outside influence, but that isolation shielded me from the depth of pain that exists among the general public over every aspect of this case. The potential book was always intended to be a respectful observation of the trial from my and my husband’s perspectives solely and it was to be an observation that our ‘system’ of justice can get so complicated that it creates a conflict with our ‘spirit’ of justice.
“Now that I am returned to my family and to society in general, I have realized that the best direction for me to go is away from writing any sort of book and return instead to my life as it was before I was called to sit on this jury.”
Martin did a reverse ferret:
“After careful consideration regarding the proposed book project with Zimmerman Juror B37, I have decided to rescind my offer of representation in the exploration of a book based upon this case.”
“I have realized that the best direction for me to go is away from writing any sort of book and return instead to my life as it was before …”
And that’s a woman seen as a peer of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman deemed fit to judge them…
WHEN Asiana Flight 214 crashed onto the tarmac in San Francisco, Oakland’s KTVU cranked up the journalisomobile and “confirmed” the names of the pilot and crew.
ACCORDING to 1980s pop culture stereotypes, anyone who likes computers is compensating for being a socially clueless nerd who cannot get laid. Kudos to pop culture for evolving beyond that, but why the hell are today’s gamer boys trying so hard to revive old stereotypes?
For over a week now, male gamers have been freaking out over news that a woman— 19-year Microsoft veteran Julie Larson-Green — has been named the new head of the Xbox division. Not that the company is any feminist utopia (or dystopia, depending on your preference); it’s the same Xbox which, just last month, got called out by Anita Sarkeesian for introducing its new line of games and “revealing to us exactly zero games featuring a female protagonist for the next generation”.
WE’RE not looking for sharks in the seas off Britain this silly season. We’re looking for former footballer Paul Gascoigne having a drink, or “committing suicide”, the Sun calls it.
THE Sun today calls on Britain’s pub landlords and shopkeepers to help save Paul Gascoigne’s life — by refusing to sell him alcohol.
THANK Zod for the Internet, especially Twitter, because without them you’d be hard-pressed to know anybody here in America is rooting for poor Edward Snowden these days.
There’s a disturbing divide in the national opinion—you can find exceptions in either case, but for the most part it looks like the Twitterati overwhelmingly supports Snowden while the mainstream media can’t stand him. At least not mainstream editorial boards; the Washington Post’s went so far as to call for Snowden to surrender and quit leaking information (some of which the Post’s own news team had already published).
To be fair, though, the Post did later run an op-ed piece by alumnus Daniel Ellsberg, exposer of the Pentagon Papers, in which Ellsberg argued that “NSA leaker Snowden made the right call” when he fled the country.
WHEN Andy Murray won Wimbledon some of you might have picked up the whiff of misogyny. Had he really ended the 77 year wait for a British Wimbledon Champion? Was he the first British champions since Fred Perry built a T-shirt brand in 1936? Whisper these names Virginia Wade (1977), Jamie Murray (mixed doubles, 2007) , Jonathan Marray (mens doubles, 2012), and Angela Mortimer and Anne Shilcock (ladies doubles, 1955).
But Murray’s a man. And it’s all about the men. Those headlines came thick and thicker:
Times: “Murray ends 77-year wait for British win.”
Telegraph: “After 77 years, the wait is over.”
Daily Mail: “The moment Andy ended Britain’s 77 year wait.”
Daily Mirror: “Andy ends our 77-year wait for Wimbledon glory”
Daily Star: “Murray ends 77 years of hurt”
And on it goes….
Council wants to ban the ‘intimidating’ England flag – St George’s Cross makes you look white working class
WELWYN and Hatfield Community Housing Trust wants it tenants to stop flying flags. It says the flags could be “intimidating“. But they can be flown when they are in reactions to national celebrations or a sporting occasions.
Trust spokeswoman Simone Russell tells the WHTimes:
“There are properties that have big flags hanging outside and while we encourage it during events such as the Jubilee; at other times it sullies the look of the area. Flags can be intimidating and can create a negative feeling… tenants must not hang or fix signs, banners or flags on the outside of the property, outside windows or on balconies, without our permission”.
Fair enough about the no flag if they are against the rules. You can’t hang sheets and towels from balconies at many blocks of flats. But the part about flags being intimidating is odd. In case readers should be uncertain what kind of flag the council has in mind, the BBC illustrates its story with the Flag of St George stuck in a window. The WHTimes features a Union Jack and “local mother” Rachael Blythe, of Nursery Hill, Welwyn Garden City saying:
“I will not let my landlord strip my child and myself of our rights and personal choices. I will fight this to the bitter end. This is a disgrace. Flying my country’s flag is my human right and I will continue to fly it for the foreseeable future. When the Queen takes her Union Jack down I will take mine down.”
Are either flags intimidatory?
There is no doubting the power of a flag. When Belfast City Hall said it would not fly the Union Flag every day, protests followed. One woman sums up the Loyalist view: “Northern Ireland is British and we’ll fly our national flag.”
Nick Groom, author of Union Jack: The Story of the British Flag, notes how the Union Flag was once threatened by the fascists:
Making the flag inclusive again means everyone flying it — whether as bunting in their bedroom window or on a Sex Pistols T-shirt. This was the genius of Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony: the Queen and Johnny Rotten are both British — and are both profoundly associated with the Union Jack.
Just as Michael Gove is sending a copy of the King James Bible to every school, so each school should also have a Union Jack. It is a symbolic map of the British isles and also a symbolic history of the United Kingdom: it can be used to tell the story of our national history and identity, of the British empire and our multiracial society…
There are no laws or regulations that govern the flag, except at sea. This means that we can all fly it in our own way, even in our own colours. There’s no licensing and no copyright in the Union Jack design and unlike America’s Stars and Stripes, which has strict laws controlling proper use, you can really do what you want with the Union Jack.
Let’s keep it flying everywhere and bequeath to our children not only the sporting legacy of the Olympics but also the heritage of the nation in having pride in our national flag.
On the matter of the Olympics, the gaffe that meant images of North Korean athletes were slapped next to the South Korean flag was regrettable.
In the 1908 Games, also held in London, the flags of the United States and Sweden were not flown at the Opening Ceremony because – get this – no one could be bothered to find them. The Swedes took it in their stride but the Americans, without a hint of the Special Relationship to come, got a flounce on, refusing to dip their their flag towards the Royal Box during the parade
What about that Cross of Saint George? Last year we were told:
St George’s flag is a racist symbol says a quarter of the English
There had been a study in 2012:
The report blames the “extreme street hooligans of the English Defence League” for “toxifying” the St George’s Cross, although it says politicians should also take responsibility for failing to “speak up for the inclusive patriotism of the English majority”.
In 2010, the BBC asked:
Is waving the Cross of St George an act of patriotism, nationalism or racism? With England flying the flag as never before, the distinction appears to have caused some confusion…
The writer was clear:
The flag is a symbol of support for a team and love for a nation. If people choose to fly it or interpret it as a symbol of English superiority or aggression, that is not the flag’s fault. I shall continue to drape a large cross of St George upon my house.
Back to sport. In support of the 2006 World Cup, an estimated that 10.5million Cross of Saint George flags were sold. Was the flag a symbol of inclusion or division?
David Conn saw alienation:
Most black people interviewed said they felt alienated by the flag of St George and still associated it with the BNP. “It doesn’t really show unity, does it?” said one respondent, a woman aged 17. “It’s a bit white.”
“I don’t think many black people flew a flag,” Foster says. “Most of us still feel it is hostile and feel quite threatened by it.” She also noted “not too many” black or Asian faces at the big-screen gatherings – a feature of football crowds generally in England – but says that was partly because the drinking which goes with supporting England is “not black people’s culture”.
Duleep Alliraja had perspective:
Of course the flag still connotes white supremacy for an insignificant rump of no-mark Little Englanders. However, for most people the St George flag has lost its racial connotations. But that doesn’t mean that the champions of a new inclusive patriotism are correct, either. In truth, the flag has been largely emptied of any political content – much like public life itself. It is pretty much just a football flag, a signifier of support for the English football team and very little else. The flag is seldom displayed in any context other than a football tournament. Even on St George’s Day there is no popular enthusiasm for flying the flag.
Charlie Brooker wrote of class and genetic failings:
Nowadays, when you see an England flag on a car, sprawled across a T-shirt, or flapping from a novelty hat, you no longer assume the owner is a dot-brained xenophobe. Instead you assume he’s just an idiot. And you’re right. He is. It’s a great piece of visual shorthand. Imagine the outcry if government passed a law requiring the nation’s dimbos to wear dunce’s caps in public. No one would stand for it. There’d be acres of newsprint comparing Blair and co to the Nazis. We’d see rioting in the streets – badly organised rioting with a lot of mis-spelled placards, but rioting nonetheless.
Instead, every numbskull in the land is queuing up to voluntarily brand themselves. They even pay for the privilege! As brilliant ruses go, it’s the most brilliant, rusiest ruse you could wish for. I can’t wait for stage two, when they’re persuaded to neuter themselves with safety scissors.
The only problem I have with this berk-demarcation scheme is the design of the flag itself. Personally, I’d jettison the big red cross/white background malarky in favour of a black rectangle with the word CRETIN printed in the centre in stark bold text.
What does he mean? Is the flag a sign of your class – one that should be wiped out?
…in terms of flags residential as opposed to flags vehicular, the smaller and grottier the property, the more likely it is to sport a standard. My children have noticed this. They have also commented on how few of their friends at school fly flags on their cars. (It’s true, each morning at the gates, the same convoy of Range Rovers, Jeep Cherokees and massive great Mercs, all bare of patriotic regalia.) Thus has this World Cup introduced two youngsters to the paradox that the more your family has prospered in this country, the less likely you are to display any warmth towards it.
One well-heeled woman, trying and failing to square what to her was the contradiction of our being middle-class metropolitan types and yet simultaneously happy to wrap ourselves in the flag, asked my wife if our car was “an ironic statement”…
It’s peculiar, isn’t it, that in England, unlike any other country I know of, the gain of a little education, a little upward mobility, so often seems to entail the loss of the simple human desire to take pride in place? Peculiar, and sad. Going back to that young Bengali boy racer with his four flags: as he grows up and climbs up, slows down and settles down, I hope such a recoil from the straightforward love of country he feels now is one aspect of Englishness he fails to adopt.
Tony Parsons added in the Mirror:
Don’t kid yourself that the nation is united behind that red cross on a white background. In some quarters the flag is still seen as unforgivably naff – like keeping your coal in a bidet, or going to the corner shop in your curlers, or celebrating your love for your mum with a tattoo.
Some think the St George flag is the province of a certain section of society, like inflatable snowmen at Christmas…
The English are starting to wake up to the fact that the flag of St George is the one and only flag we have.
If we can’t find the passion in our hearts to fly this lovely flag – although dissenters say it looks like a stab wound – then what do we rally round?
You’re not a racist if your fly the England flag. You’re a chav. You’re the white working class. And that’s about as low as it gets…
FART for art’s sake
As The Archers Fartgate rumbles on, we look back at those great ‘iconic’ wind-passing moments from the cultural archives.
When Jezza McCreary recently passed wind in Radio 4’s The Archers, he was not the first character to do so. (It was in the script, by the way – this was no accident.) But it was the first time a character had done it audibly – and actor Ryan Kelly was offered a selection of farts by the sound effects department before picking one that he decided was suitably “fruity” for a man who had been eating steak and potatoes and drinking beer.
In 1973 Peregrine Worsthorne (pictured here with wife Lucinda Lambton) became the second person to say the word ‘fuck’ on British television. Years later, the former editor of the Sunday Telegraph would behave even more unpleasantly on a London Underground train. Sir Perry was annoyed by a passenger eating a burger – his ostensible reason being the odour, but this was no doubt exacerbated by a general disapproval of public eating and a specific disapproval of eating burgers anywhere. In revenge, Worsthorne stood near the man and farted into his face.
Le Pétomane (‘Fart maniac’) Joseph Pujol was a professional flatulist who rose to fame in the late nineteenth century, when he entertained the crowned heads of Europe with his bizarre stage act. Standout moments included sound effects of cannon fire and thunderstorms, playing tunes through a rubber tube stuck up his arse, and blowing out a candle from several metres away. Leonard Rossiter plays the great man here…
Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles achieved legendary status in the Seventies for this spectacular ground-breaking scene.
But Mike Leigh’s 1976 film Nuts In May outdoes it for sordid verisimilitude (0.55.55).
Casual farting is as commonplace as casual violence in HBO’s landmark series The Sopranos. Usually the bowel action takes place in the offices at Satriale’s Pork Store. On this occasion, however, it occurs in more dramatic fashion after Tony tries an Indian.
Former teacher Robert ‘Doc’ Cox was a stalwart of the BBC’s terrible That’s Life! in the 1980s. Ivor Biggun is his musician persona, with a string of releases such as his 1978 hit The Winker’s Song (misprint). You can no doubt guess the subject of his follow-up misprint, I’ve Parted…
During his reign at Liverpool, Gerard Houllier is said to have fined players for farting. Fortunately for Charlie Adams, he left Anfield long ago.
The national treasure famously farted live on Danny Baker’s radio show – famous because he has repeatedly reminded listeners ever since. But Miriam is far from shy about the topic, and can usually be relied upon to raise it at some point in any interview. In this example, Graham Norton, being a gentleman, saves her the trouble…
Jaques Tati meets Le Pétomane in Vic and Bob’s flatulent homage, which ‘aired’ regularly in The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer. (And full marks for that title, by the way.)
Marilyn Monroe and Britney Spears. Both notorious for it, by all accounts.
Candle in the Wind was of course written for Monroe, but had nothing to do with Le Pétomane’s party trick. And neither does this picture.
The aptly named Judd Trump found himself temporarily distracted by a member of the audience during his World Championship semi-final against Ronnie O’Sullivan earlier this year.
Jim Royle’s outbursts are ten-a-penny, so here, for the sake of freshness, is Nana doing the honours.
‘Air time’ is an occupational hazard for those who perform for hours. The fortunate ones get away with the occasional fart. Others are not so lucky, and find their full-blown incontinence immortalised on Youtube. We have no wish to draw attention to their embarrassment, so we will restrict ourselves to these minor faux pas by ladies who seems to have taken it in good heart.
Viz’s revolting Johnny Fartpants clearly wears the fetid trousers in this field, but let’s hear it for our own favourite – the legendary Farting Dogs…
IN October 1978, when Jimmy Savile was in his paedo pomp, seducing kids on the BBC with the vow that Jim’ll Fix It and spinning the discs on Radio 1, Johnny Rotten wanted to murder him. In this clip, John Lydon talks about killing the protected Savile.
The interview features on Public Image’s album Religion Attack. This part about Savile never did make the Beeb’s final cut for broadcast:
DUCHESS Catherine Windsor, nee Kate Middleton, is expecting a baby. The excitement outside the maternity wards at London’s St Mary’s hospital is at fever pitch. They are there to stare. But not only stare. Some subjects have prepared gifts. Let’s take a look at them:
With the big Royal Event of the year hotly anticipated, we love these delightful designs by David Luff. They offer a very affectionate celebration of the new Royal Baby.
Professor Green calls female journalist a ‘fat whore’ for invading his privacy – works for Chinese mobile phone company accused of spying
WHEN The People’s Katie Hind wrote about Professor Green, the singer was upset.
but this woman @katiehind wrote a disgusting article of which the tone was disgusting and belittling and basically gave away my address
She practically printed my address – she’s a fat pig faced c**t of a no news whore.”
It’s an invasion of privacy, then, by a woman who sells herself to her paymaster? This makes her in Green’s eyes a “whore”, a “c**t” and a “fat pig”. He adds:
I had my life and privacy put at risk by this woman and people have the cheek to defend her? what did i ever do to her? these scum bag showbiz journalists need a f**king wake up call.
He then advised:
treat people how you wish to be treated. there’s not another woman in this industry I’ve met who wouldn’t tell you what a gentleman i am.
Hind, The People’s Showbiz Editor and gossip columnist – “She brings you the latest celebrity news from the A listers” – may care to note the Professor’s relationship with a company called ZTE:
Professor Green has partnered with ZTE Corporation to promote the UK launch of the ZTE Grand X dual-core smartphone… This follows a previous partnership between ZTE and the musician in 2011.
Says the Prof:
“ZTE is a great, innovative brand that is really shaking things up with their new mobile phones. With gigs and shows all the time in different countries, I am constantly on the move, so anything that enables people to watch videos, listen to music and play games on their phone gets my vote!”
What do we know about ZTE? Reuters reports:
ZTE said in March 2012 that it would curtail business in Iran following a report by Reuters that it sold Iran’s largest telecoms firm a powerful surveillance system capable of monitoring telephone and Internet communications. The company is now facing a U.S. criminal investigation over the issue.
The BBC reported:
The European Union is investigating whether China illegally subsidised several of its telecommunications companies – including ZTE – to enable them to grow quickly and overtake the likes of Nokia and Alcatel.
At a recent meeting to discuss the matter, Beijing warned that if Brussels pressed ahead with its investigation, there would be severe retaliation against other western industries such as motoring and agriculture.
The Financial Times quoted a source familiar with the events as saying: “Put it this way: it’s not like they went for a beer after and watched football.”
The Smoking Gun alleged:
The FBI has opened a criminal investigation targeting a leading Chinese telecommunications firm that allegedly conspired to illegally ship hardware and software purchased from U.S. tech firms to Iran’s government-controlled telecom company, a violation of several federal laws and a trade embargo imposed on the outlaw Islamic nation, The Smoking Gun has learned.
The federal probe, launched earlier this year, has also uncovered evidence that officials with the Chinese company, ZTE Corporation (ZTE), are “engaged in an ongoing attempt to corruptly obstruct and impede” a Department of Commerce inquiry into the tainted $130 million Iranian transaction, according to a confidential FBI affidavit.
Officials with ZTE allegedly began plotting to cover up details of the Iranian deal after Reuters reported on the transaction in late-March. The news agency revealed that the telecom equipment sold to Iran was a “powerful surveillance system capable of monitoring landline, mobile, and Internet communications.” Included in the material sent to Iran were products manufactured by U.S. firms like Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco Systems, Dell, and Symantec.
Concerned that they could no longer “hide anything” in the wake of the Reuters report, ZTE lawyers discussed shredding documents, altering records, and lying to U.S. government officials, according to an insider’s account provided to FBI agents by a Texas lawyer who last year began serving as general counsel of ZTE’s wholly owned U.S. subsidiary. ZTE, the world’s fourth largest telecom equipment manufacturer, is publicly traded, though its controlling shareholder is a Chinese state-owned enterprise.
Time magazine asked:
Are Chinese Telecoms Firms Really Spying on Americans?
What says the privacy-loving, anti-whoring Professor?
PS – ZTE deny spying.
LOOKS like the Arab Spring is over in Egypt. President Morsi has been toppled by the military. The Muslim Brotherhood must be a tad disappointed that a secular dictatorship is back in charge. Will they back any new Government? Or will they try to usurp it?
Morsi said “I am prepared to sacrifice my blood”. Things are messy.
The Big Pharaoh explains what is going on:
The failure of Westerners to understand why Egyptians revolted against an elected regime is stemming from the fact that they, the Westerners, are secured in their inclusive constitutions, bills of rights and rule of law. We have nothing of these. We only had one facet of democracy – election – which brought a cultic organization with a fascist twist that decided to cancel the other facets.
So. what about the Obama administration? It’s man has gone. Obama had been supporting Egyptian President Morsi. Obama’s Egypt Policy is confused. He missed the chance to make the USA the good guys. Now he scrambles for irrelevance, at best.
Consider the Washington Post, long considered a VIP (Very Important Paper), one of America’s most prestigious. And WaPo veteran Robert Samuelson is a Very Important Pundit who became an online laughingstock this week after publishing a Very Serious Column suggesting life would be safer and better if only humanity would abandon this newfangled dad-blasted “Internet” thingy.
“If I could, I would repeal the Internet. It is the technological marvel of the age, but it is not — as most people imagine — a symbol of progress. Just the opposite. We would be better off without it. I grant its astonishing capabilities: the instant access to vast amounts of information, the pleasures of YouTube and iTunes, the convenience of GPS and much more.”
THE police in the US of A are armed. They are able to dispense ultimate justice at the flick of a trigger finger. This makes them powerful. It should make them cautious and respctful of their badge. However, it can also make them gung-ho, threatening, bellicose and militaristic.
Radley Balko is author of the forthcoming book, Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces. He’s compiled examples of slogan-heavy T-shirts sold and won by police officers. These include T-shirts that see men as quarry and children as animals: