News | Anorak - Part 10

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We don’t just report off-beat news, breaking news and digest the best and worst of the news media analysis and commentary. We give an original take on what happened and why. We add lols, satire, news photos and original content.

Yoko One says Jihadi John must not go down in history as the person who destroyed The Beatles


jihadi john yoko ono


Yoko One has something to say about Islamic State gropup, or whatever the BBC calls Jihadis nowadays. Having learned that alleged IS executioner Mohammed ‘Jihadi Jonhn’ Emwazi is part of a trio of Brit fanatics dubbed The Beatles, she says:


“I thought that was very distasteful. That’s why it is important for me not to be a couch potato. I have to keep on doing something because the other side will take over –  people who are really not understanding what beautiful things we have in this world and want to destroy it. And I’m not going to let them destroy John Lennon or The Beatles.”

No, Yoko. Let’s leave that legacy to someone else.

Maybe, given their secretive nature and remarkable rise to power, the trio can be called The Who, Bros or Bananarama. Or how about a trio we can all hate, like Top Gear, The Goodies or Harry, Ron, and Hermione?



Posted: 5th, July 2015 | In: News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Man dies after launching fireworks off his head to celebrate 4th July

fireworks death


To Maine, where The Bangor Daily News reports that 22-year-old Devon Staples died at Fourth of July celebrations.  Police says Staples stuck a mortar tube on his head and set it alight. He was killed instantly.



Posted: 5th, July 2015 | In: News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Parents failed to notice baby daughter drifting 1km out to sea on inflatable crib

Baby sea drift inflatable crib

Drifting off


Melda Ilgin was found in her inflatable crib 1km out to sea off the coast of Ayvacik, Turkey.



Melda’s parents had forgotten about her.


Baby sea drift inflatable crib

Baby sea drift inflatable crib

Posted: 5th, July 2015 | In: News, Strange But True | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Keeping up with the Danczuks: Simon speaks to the Sun as Karen locks him out

Karen Danczuk might have the t*ts, but it’s her estranged husband MP Simon Danczuk’s supplying the titillation. He’s been talking to the Sun, which thunders:

I fear she shared her selfie with Ben for five months, says Simon Danczuk

EXCLUSIVE: MP’s hell over claims of his wife’s affair

From being ‘campaigning Simon Danczuk’, the MP for Rochdale has in recent days earned a new epithet – he is “DEVASTATED Simon Danczuk”.

And his talking to the Sun will come a surprise for the Indy’s Simon Kelner, who opines loftily:

How he must have been anguished to see the most intimate details of his marriage picked over in lurid detail, and with lip-smacking salaciousness, in the pages of our national newspapers  (not this one, obviously).

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Posted: 5th, July 2015 | In: Celebrities, News, Politicians | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Portland’s Weed the People event gives visitors free marijuana

You cannot sell non-medical marijuana in Oregon. But Portland’s Weed the People event can give it away to anyone 21 and over who had $40 for entry:

The alcohol-free event lasted for seven hours, as attendees mulled around to test out smoking devices; relaxed on comfy chairs and listened to records in a “chill out area”; and waited in a line that wound through the inside of a warehouse to enter the “Grow Garden”, the highly secured and roped off area where they could pick up their free goodies.

It all sound a little like being processed into a cult, a kind of real ale event for tokers.

Posted: 4th, July 2015 | In: marijuana, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: Arsenal chase £7m Pedro for £24m

Transfer Balls: Are Arsenal trying to buy Barcelona’s Pedro?

The Telegraph says Arsenal “are exploring the possibility of signing Barcelona striker Pedro Rodriguez”.

This is hardly breaking news:

Telegraph, December 14 2014: “Pedro ready to wing his way to the Emirates Stadium”

Telegraph, April 28 2015: “Arsenal transfer news and rumours: Club to launch £24m bid for Barcelona’s Pedro”

Telegraph, May 18 2015: “Arsenal transfer news and rumours: Gunners poised to sign Barcelona’s Pedro in cut-price deal” of £10.5m.

Telegraph, May 20, 2015: “Barcelona forward Pedro Rodriguez is being offered to Premier League clubs for just £7 million

Having told its readers that Arsenal will bid £24m for player with a £7m price tag, the Telegraph adds:

Pedro’s future at the Nou Camp has been a source of much speculation for months, despite him having signed a new contract that expires in 2019 at the start of June. That deal was believed to have retained the striker’s buy-out figure at an eye-watering £110million

Such are the facts…

Posted: 4th, July 2015 | In: News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Clarke Carlisle is innocent: Sun links suicidal football pundit to the death of man who saw him ‘die’

clarke carlisle suicide


The Sun has a story about a man who died.

A VAN driver plagued by nightmares after witnessing Clarke Carlisle’s suicide attempt has died.

We are invited to make a link between the dead man and Clarke Carlisle, the former footballer and chairman of the Professional Footballers’ Association who attempted suicide last December.

Chris Kilbride, 24, swerved to avoid the bloodsoaked footie ace after he walked in front of a lorry in December. The dad of two was forced to quit his job after suffering flashbacks and later spoke of struggling to cope with the trauma.

It’s crass of the Sun to link the two events when the full facts are not known. We know practically nothing of Mr Kilbride. But to the Sun his entire life is encapsulated in a single episode involving a TV pundit.

Coroners in Leeds confirmed that Chris died on Thursday, but refused to give further details.

What say the dead man’s loved ones, they who knew him best?

His partner Brooke Bleasby declined to comment yesterday at their home in the city.

But the Sun ploughs on:

He called 999, helped tend to Clarke’s injuries and comforted the lorry driver, who was in shock and had glass in his eyes.

The Sun quotes Mr Kilbride:

But speaking in February, Chris said: “I’m going through hell. He did what he did because he was in a bad place. But the consequences of his actions have now put me in a similar place.”

The Sun has edited Mr Kilbride’s comments. What he said was:

“I can’t believe he ­survived. I expected him to pass away. I said to myself, ‘If he survives I would like to meet the man.’ I don’t have any hatred towards him. He did what he did because he was in a bad place. But the consequences of his actions have now put me in a similar place. I’m not angry at him. Everyone deals with things differently. But because he did that, I’ve now got to deal with it.”


“The driver was absolutely hysterical. He kept saying, ‘He just walked out and jumped. I couldn’t do anything about it. I couldn’t stop.’ He had glass in his eyes, he couldn’t open them. But I think he was trying to cry. I was trying to keep him calm and he was in a bad way. I can’t imagine what he is going through now. I’m going through hell so it must be so much worse for him.

The only word we hear from Clarke is that he is “shocked and saddened” and offered his condolences to Chris’s family.

As for the man whose lorry hit Clarke, well, your heart goes out to him.

This is one man’s story:

It was around midday on 31 March 2012 that Nik Douglas’s life changed forever. The 37-year-old train driver was travelling through Northallerton station on the way to Newcastle when he saw a man in his sixties standing alone on the platform.

He thought nothing of the lone figure, turning instead to check the opposite platform. By the time Mr Douglas looked back again, the man was crouching on the tracks in front of his train.

“I remember screaming just before the impact,” Mr Douglas recalls, his face blanching. “I was going at 125 miles an hour because the station wasn’t one we stopped at.”

He slammed on the emergency brake and – in a panic – stamped on the floor beneath his feet, as if trying to brake a car. “I was trying to make it stop quicker, but there was nothing I could do.”

For the next six months he was off work with post-traumatic stress. “When I was on my own I’d burst into tears for no reason, I found sleep hard and I’d have flashbacks during the night and day,” he says. “I could be in a room full of people with a really good party atmosphere but feel alone, isolated. That’s one of the biggest things I remember, feeling alone.”

Suicide is not painless.

Posted: 4th, July 2015 | In: News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Karen Danczuk and Simon’s twitter divorce: RT if you want a sex tape

Karen Danczuk nude naked ambition t-shirt gymKaren Danczuk is entertaining Sun readers. In ‘BUSTED’, the estranged wife of vainglorious paedo-hurning MP Simon Danczuk, the Sun reports:

KAREN Danczuk spent more than seven hours with her personal trainer as he stayed the night at her house. Athletic Ben Bate sneaked into the 31-year-old’s marital home late on Thursday — just five days after she split with husband Simon, a Labour MP.

Photos of the man are captioned:

Karen works out in the park with personal trainer Ben
Ben outside Karen’s house on Wednesday evening
He walks into the house
Looking out of the window shortly before midnight
Personal trainer leaves in the early hours

Thrilling stuff that any private dick should appreciate.

The pick of the photos, however, is the one labelled:

Wearing T-shirt for Ben’s gym

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 4th, July 2015 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Obama goes soft on kidnappers: copy the Israelis and bind the nation

james foley obama ransom


President Obama wants to stop the law that prosecutes families of American hostages for paying ransoms. He said:

“These families have already suffered enough and they should never feel ignored or victimised by their own government.”

A good move?

John Boehner, a senior Republican Congressman is unsure:

“We have had a policy in the United States for over 200 years of not paying ransom and not negotiating with terrorists. The concern that I have is that by lifting that long-held principle you could be endangering more Americans here and overseas.”

Diane Foley, mother of journalist James Foley who was murdered by ISIL in 2014, adds:

“We really feel that our government needs to have a clearer policy and be more upfront about what they can and cannot do, or will and will not do. We felt like we were in the dark a lot.”

Frank Gardner:

Although the US Government has made enormous efforts to secure the release of its citizens kidnapped in the Middle East, it failed to communicate these effectively to the next-of-kin. Relatives were given confusing and sometimes contradictory information from different arms of govt…  The adoption of a single ‘fusion centre’ inside the FBI as a point of contact for families brings the US closer into line with Britain, where the FCO’s Counter Terrorism Dept takes the lead on all overseas kidnap cases.

David Forsmark and Timothy Imholt ask: “Did Obama Reopen Middle Eastern Slave Markets by Executive Order?”

No. But carry on…

In real life, no American family has ever been prosecuted for paying ransom; but apparently the president wants to make sure that the terrorists know for sure, and that they can get their money without that nasty FBI getting in the way…

Let’s cut Obama a break and suppose that he is doing this out of a misplaced humanitarian impulse. It is easy to understand where his heart is — if you don’t live in the real world.

Somehow he thinks this makes hostage families feel better. If their loved one is taken, and the asking price is $2,000,000 and they can write that check, why shouldn’t they be allowed to? This is a free country after all!

…anyone who knows how government works know that this is a first step on the pathway to the U.S. entering into full-on blackmail payments by Uncle Sam.




Daily Beast: “Can Obama’s New Plan Save 30 American Hostages?”

No. It’s saves time if you answer all questions as headlines with ‘no’.

The British don’t pay kidnappers.

The brother of the taxi driver Alan Henning has said the family were “gagged by the government” until shortly before his death, and the parents of the murdered US photographer James Foley say they believe the US and UK governments are “condemning their citizens to death” by ruling out ransom payments.

He told the BBC:

“You’re not going to find them by dropping a few bombs in Iraq. We need send ground forces in to find out where these monsters are – the sooner we do it, the sooner the killing stops.”

Mr Henning said the family had been “gagged by the government and the Foreign Office” over the kidnapping. “It’s been a living nightmare, keeping it quiet for nine months,” he said. Mr Henning added: “I’ve hardly slept, I’ve felt physically sick. We’ve seen the campaign… if this was done, say, six months ago it could have done more good.” … Mr Henning said it was “disgusting” the family had not been allowed to speak until recently.

The New Yorker:

They were the parents of five Americans who had been kidnapped in Syria. The Federal Bureau of Investigation had warned the families not to talk publicly about their missing children—and the captors had threatened to kill their hostages if word leaked out—so each family had been going to work and to church month after month and reassuring colleagues and neighbors and relatives that nothing was wrong, only to come home and face new threats and ransom demands. After hiding the truth for so long, the families were heartened to learn that others were going through the same ordeal, and they hoped that by working together they might bring their children home.

The families had mixed feelings about ransoms. The Foleys were already seeking pledges (and eventually obtained nearly a million dollars’ worth). The Kassigs stayed up late worrying over the morality of giving money to a terrorist group—yet their only child’s life was at stake, and ISIS was already rich. “If we had been able to come up with any ransom, it would have been much smaller than what they were getting daily from the oil fields,” Paula observed. Carl Mueller felt that the government was putting its precious policy ahead of their daughter’s life; Marsha, however, didn’t want ISIS to receive another cent, and didn’t think that Kayla would, either. The Sotloffs were considering a ransom. Barfi privately thought the practice misguided. “You’re funding terrorism,” Barfi told me. “What happens if ISIS uses the money to fund an attack?”

This was the logic behind U.S. policy, and yet the government has paid ransoms to criminal organizations, such as drug cartels. Every Federal Reserve branch in the U.S. maintains a stash of bills to be used to pay ransoms. Corporations routinely take out ransom insurance for employees stationed abroad, and the F.B.I. even facilitates such payments. It’s only when the kidnappers are part of an acknowledged terrorist group that payments become illegal.

The Guardian:

The UK government says it will not pay ransoms to organisations that have been proscribed by the Home Office, as to do so would be unlawful, and may also breach UN sanctions. There are additional concerns that terrorist groups would use the money to fund their activities, and that payments could create a market that would result in more British citizens being kidnapped.

Last year the Home Office reported that kidnapping for ransom was an increasingly common terrorist tactic. More than 150 people, including 13 UK nationals, had been seized by Islamist groups over the previous five years, and al-Qaida affiliates and other organisations were estimated to have been paid at least $60m (£37m).

The Foreign Office has been attempting to build an international consensus in favour of refusing to pay ransoms to terrorists.

The Telegraph:

A third British hostage held by Isil extremists has said in a video that he has been “abandoned” by Britain as he appeals for the government to “negotiate” with his captors. The hostage says in the footage that he has been held for two years and that his “fate lies in the hands of the Islamic State”.
He says that that he will be making a series of “programmes” in which he seeks expose the “truth behind Islamic State” and how the West is embroiled in “yet another unwinnable conflict”.


The Telegraph looks at two other approahes:


The French, Italian and Spanish governments, along with others in Continental Europe, have a long record of directly paying ransoms. These deals have secured the freedom of at least nine captives in Syria alone. Considerable sums are involved: al-Qaeda has made at least $125 million (£75 million) from ransoms since 2008, according to a New York Times investigation. Much of this will have come from European governments. In particular, al-Qaeda’s affiliate in North Africa has probably raised most of its funding by selling captives to European countries.


The approach taken by Israel’s government is unique. On the one hand, it will bargain for the release of citizens and make extraordinary concessions: no less than 1,027 Palestinian prisoners were exchanged for one Israeli corporal, Gilad Shalit, in 2011. Israel will even make deals to recover the remains of soldiers killed in battle. But there is a vital qualification. Regardless of any deal, Israel will relentlessly hunt down and kill anyone who abducts its citizens. Its forces may also kill or rearrest the prisoners released in the bargain. On Thursday, a Hamas commander involved in Shalit’s abduction was killed in Gaza.

The Israeli policy seems sound. You know where you stand. But, then, the whole nation needs to buy into it.

Posted: 3rd, July 2015 | In: News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

John Palmer: police thought top villain shot dead in his garden had died from natural causes

John Palmer brinks mat shot


John Palmer is dead. He was dubbed the ‘Goldfinger’ due to his alleged links to the £26 million Brink’s-Mat bullion raid on a Heathrow security warehouse in 1983. Most of the stolen booty has never been located.

Mr Palmer was shot dead in his garden.

The Times:

Essex police have launched a murder investigation after initially treating the death of John “Goldfinger” Palmer as non-suspicious.

He was shot dead in his garden. Would it be suspicious had Mr Palmer been stabbed in the library or beaten to death with a candlestick in the observatory?

Palmer, who was once dubbed Britain’s richest criminal, was found dead in the garden of his home in South Weald, Brentwood, last Wednesday. A spokeswoman for the force said that police and paramedics apparently missed the gunshot wounds in his chest because Palmer had “pre-existing injuries due to recent surgery”.

Eh? Police mistook a fatal gunshot wound for a surgical scar?

“Closer inspection raised doubt and a post-mortem examination was conducted to establish the cause of death,” she added.

The BBC:

Paramedics were called to John “Goldfinger” Palmer’s Essex home to reports of a cardiac arrest on 24 June. But a post-mortem examination on 30 June revealed the 64-year-old convicted conman had been shot in the chest.

The killer(s) had a mere six days to make good their escape and cover their tracks.

When asked if the crime scene had been compromised because of the delay in starting the murder investigation, Det Ch Insp Werrett said it was “challenging”.

This is a gun. This is a knife wound. Discuss.

The police officer added:

“However, we do have a crime scene and we’re deploying our specialist forensic and search officers around that crime scene,” he said.

What do we know of the dead man?

In 2001 he was convicted of running a £30 million timeshare fraud from his base in the Canary Islands. He conned thousands of British and European tourists who thought they were buying into Spanish holiday homes. At time of his conviction, he was said to have been worth £300 million, putting him on a par with the Queen at 105 on The Sunday Times Rich List.

Where was she on the night of…


Posted: 2nd, July 2015 | In: News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

The Dukes of Hazzard was never an advert for the ‘American swastika’

dukes of hazard ban


So toxic is the Confederate Flag that re-runs of The Dukes of Hazzard are forbidden. The TV show featured the General Lee car with its Confederate flag design. When the bansturbators make a move it’s good to ask why.

Variety says the ban is “clearly a response to the broader movement to withdraw the flag from official settings and in pop culture, given its historic connection to slavery and the Civil War. The push to remove Confederate flags and Stars and Bars icons came last month in the wake of the slayings of nine African-Americans in a Charleston church allegedly by a 21-year-old white supremacist.”

Did the Dukes of Hazzard make him do it?


Tim Teeman writes:

What is achieved by activist Bree Newsome scaling the flag pole outside the South Carolina state house, and removing the Confederate flag?


What is achieved by TV Land banning reruns of The Dukes of Hazzard?


The first was a courageous, clever act of civil disobedience protesting the endemic, poisonous racism that lay at the heart of the Charleston massacre, with its roots in the South’s slavery-stained, Klan-stained past…

The second is a TV show, with two “good old boys” performing memorable car stunts and the grinning stupidity of Roscoe P. Coltrane. A dumber show, far further down the symbol food chain.

Do you confuse reality and fiction? Do you read works of literature as documents?

The flag is in a public space, central to a community. People have to walk past it, like it or not. The TV show is something you choose to watch or not watch, on a station you can choose to watch or not watch. The decision to remove the flag is right, the decision to strike the TV show seems extreme and wrong-headed, but entirely in keeping with our times.


A modern conservative  twist on an 80s classic

A modern conservative twist on an 80s classic


We are absolutely crazy about banning stuff. Sometimes the bans are in the public interest, like the Confederate flag flying over the court-house.


In our culture of instant offense, we ban before we think. However, banning isn’t a sign of strength or resolve, but an admission of defeat, of showing how little we have engaged with whatever the bigger issue that belies the ban.

Banning things is sign of insecurity. If you can no longer out-debate the bigot, then you’ve lost the argument. Banning is cowardly. It makes a martyr of the banned. It also makes it more attrative to anyone looking for a counterculture punch. The Dukes of Hazzard should wear its ban with pride.


In a recent interview with THR, Dukes of Hazzard star John Schneider defended the series’ use of the flag. “Labeling anyone who has the flag a ‘racist’ seems unfair to those who are clearly ‘never meanin’ no harm,'” he said. His co-star Ben Jones has also come out in defense of the flag, saying it represents the “indomitable spirit of independence.”

Well, now it does.

Teeman adds:

Instead of asking or addressing the roots of violent racism in the South in 2015—far too difficult, far too intimidating—we focus on symbols. If we take a flag down, if we remove a TV show from the schedules, it shows we are doing something. It shows our hearts are in the right places…


Our culture today is entirely reactive, as if collectively we are 24/7 being tapped on our knees by little doctors’ hammers, primed to agree or disagree on whatever issue commands our attention in the moment.



It’s a good image. And if your knee doesn’t jerk upwards at the right moment, you are sick.


Is The Dukes of Hazzard really a racist-enough curio to ban? Is that what we think when we watch it? I watched the opening titles tonight, and a sequence of those bone-shaking stunts. It just seemed puerile, harmless.

Daniel P. Finney says the Confederate flag is “basically an American swastika”:

…after the leaders in South Carolina started having a meaningful discussion about the Confederate battle flag on government grounds, corporate America decided to have a meaningless one about what toys they sell.

Retailers including Target, Wal-Mart, eBay and Amazon have said they will no longer sell the Confederate flag or items with the flag on it. The General Lee, the car from the show, has such a flag emblazoned on the top of the vehicle.

Warner Bros., the company that produced the TV series and a couple movies based on the show, said it will no longer license “Dukes” products that feature the flag.

These companies don’t give a flip about racism or those victims in South Carolina. Many of them sell products made by child labor in China.

Amazon isn’t selling the Confederate flag anymore. OK, fine. They’re heroes.

But they sell bronze busts of Joseph Stalin, the Russian dictator who ordered the execution of at least 6 million of his own people. They sell his old banner, the Soviet flag, too.

They also sell English translations of “Mein Kampf,” German mass murderer Adolf Hitler’s racist manifesto.

And they offer T-shirts aplenty of convicted murderer Charles Manson. Also available: T-shirts of history’s most inappropriately lauded figure, Che Guevara. Alas, none size 6XLT.

And you know what? I accept all of it. This is a free country. If you want to spend your money on that junk and put it in your house, stick it on the back of your vehicle or walk around wearing it, that’s your right.

Now. Who wants to see the show?



Posted: 2nd, July 2015 | In: News, TV & Radio | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

The age of knowing: college students fail to study literature because they fear free thinking

Prof. Gary Saul Morson of Northwestern University considers why college students are not longer studying literature. In Commentary magazine he wonders why it is “that students are choosing to study economics or chemistry rather than literature?…Could it be that the problem lies not with the students but with the professors themselves?”

What can students learn from literature that they cannot learn elsewhere? Why should they bother with it? For understandable reasons, literature professors assume the importance of their subject matter. But students are right to ask these questions. All courses are expensive, in money, time, and opportunity costs.

The teacher is failing:

One faults or excuses author, character, or the society depicted according to the moral and social standards prevalent today, by which I mean those standards shared by professional interpreters of literature. These courses are really ways of inculcating those values and making students into good little detectors of deviant thoughts.

“If only divorce laws had been more enlightened, Anna Karenina would not have had such a hard time!” And if she had shared our views about [insert urgent concern here], she would have been so much wiser. I asked one of my students, who had never enjoyed reading literature, what books she had been assigned, and she mentioned Huckleberry Finn. Pondering how to kill a book as much fun as that, I asked how it had been taught. She explained: “We learned it shows that slavery is wrong.” All I could think was: If you didn’t know that already, you have more serious problems than not appreciating literature.

In this approach, the more that authors and characters shared our beliefs, the more enlightened they were. This is simply a form of ahistorical flattery; it makes us the wisest people who ever lived, much more advanced than that Shakespeare guy. Of course, numerous critical schools that judge literary works are more sophisticated than that class on Huckleberry Finn, but they all still presume the correctness of their own views and then measure others against them. That stance makes it impossible to do anything but verify what one already believes. Why not instead imagine what valid criticisms these authors would advance if they could see us?

Banish the trigger warning:

We all live in a prison house of self. We naturally see the world from our own perspective and see our own point of view as obvious and, if we are not careful, as the only possible one. I have never heard anyone say: “Yes, you only see things from my point of view. Why don’t you consider your own for a change?” The more our culture presumes its own perspective, the more our academic disciplines presume their own rectitude, and the more professors restrict students to their own way of looking at things, the less students will be able to escape from habitual, self-centered, self-reinforcing judgments. We grow wiser, and we understand ourselves better, if we can put ourselves in the position of those who think differently.

Democracy depends on having a strong sense of the value of diverse opinions. If one imagines (as the Soviets did) that one already has the final truth, and that everyone who disagrees is mad, immoral, or stupid, then why allow opposing opinions to be expressed or permit another party to exist at all? The Soviets insisted they had complete freedom of speech, they just did not allow people to lie. It is a short step, John Stuart Mill argues, from the view that one’s opponents are necessarily guided by evil intentions to the rule of what we have come to call a one-party state or what Putin today calls “managed democracy.” If universities embody the future, then we are about to take that step. Literature, by teaching us to imagine the other’s perspective, teaches the habits of mind that prevent that from happening. That is one reason the Soviets took such enormous efforts to censor it and control its interpretation.

Read it all – it’s superb.


Posted: 2nd, July 2015 | In: News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Blame the Jews: Greeks says Jews not Germans control their finances

The Jewish quarter, Smyrna, Greece, 1900s.

The Jewish quarter, Smyrna, Greece, 1900s.


In today’s edition of ‘I blame the Jews?’ the Free Beacon reports: “85% of Greeks Believe the Jews Have Too Much Power Over Global Finance“:

Are Greeks turning into Germans?

A new poll by the Anti-Defamation League found that the majority of Greeks continue to hold anti-Semitic views about Jewish control over finance and the global economy, despite a recent drop in anti-Jewish attitudes in other parts of Europe.

Nothing’s changed, then. Although it’s encouraging to nhear that the Fernch, Austrian and even the Swiss are less racist than they have been.

Greece—which faces the prospect of economic default at midnight on Wednesday—surpasses Iran and trails just slightly behind Turkey in the percentage of its residents who hold anti-Semitic views.

Can they push for the coveted Number 1 spot?

According to the ADL poll, 90 percent of Greeks agreed with the statement that “Jews have too much power in the business world” and 85 percent agreed “Jews have too much power in international finance markets.” 

In addition, 70 percent said that “Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust” and 51 percent said “Jews don’t care about what happens to anyone but their own kind.” 

They still talk about teh Holocaust? Maybe after the all surivors are dead the Jews will shut up, already. And its good to see that Mel Gibson still has a European fanbase:

One-third said Jews are “responsible for most of the world’s wars” and 41 percent agreed that “People hate Jews because of the way Jews behave.” 

And 59% said people hate Jews for the way they don’t behave. There is much in how the question if asked.

Of course, these days it’s easy to disguise your anti-Semitism as anti-Israel.


Posted: 2nd, July 2015 | In: News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Black man arrested for sticking pro-KKK signs at black church

balck church kkk black man posters Vincent Broughton, 44, has been arrested for allegedly posting KKK signs outside a black church in Colorado. Vincent Broughton is black.

The signs were posted outside the New Covenant church that is predominately attended by African Americans. One sign references the KKK. Another reads, “Black men beware, you are the target.”

The messages were scary:

“We locked our doors this morning, so we were inside, but it shouldn’t be that way. You shouldn’t have to lock your doors in the church, it’s just… I’m speechless,” said Pastor Roland Joyner.


Posted: 2nd, July 2015 | In: News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Boy with pain in ear pulls out four-inch centipede (photos)

Grant Botti, 14, from Bryant, Arkansas, had a huge centipede in his ear. He didn’t know it was there until he felt some pain. He rubbed his ear. He felt something unusual. He pulled it. And out slid a 4-inch centipede.


cenitpede ear


Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 2nd, July 2015 | In: News, Strange But True | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Town raffles chance to Taser city police officials and buy more Tasers

iowa taser police contest raffleThe ducking stool and stocks are so yesterday. For the price of a $5 raffle ticket, locals in Van Meter, Iowa, can win the chance to Taser City Administrator Jake Anderson or Councilman Bob Lacy. All monies got to the Spontaneous Combustion Guild of America. No, better than that: all proceeds will fund the purchase a second police car, a speed radar, more cops and Tasers.

Says Police Chief Bill Daggart: “Most officers will tell you they’d much rather be tased than pepper sprayed. The effects are so short, and it doesn’t burn.”  

And if you hold a lightbulb over your head you can see your brain light up…


Posted: 2nd, July 2015 | In: News, Strange But True | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Nicholas Winton 1909-2015: one man who did the right thing



Nicholas Winton has died. Winton was the Briton who became a lifesaver for hunderds of Jews. He arranged for trains to carry children from Nazi-occupied Prague to Britain.

In 1938 he took a trip to Czechoslovakia. He realised the Germans were coming. He knew the Jews would be sent to concentration camps.

(Not just the Jews, of course. My wife’s grandfather shot dead a German SS officer who had come for him in Domažlice. He ran. In a hideous act of vengeance, the Germans sent his mother and 149 others to the death camps. J-J, by a long way round, joined the French resistance. But the life of the man who became Casablanca’s Charles Legrand is another story.)

Nicholas Winton tasked himself with saving the children. He arranged for passes and impeached British families to give the children a home. Not all of the children found happy homes. Some were used to cheap servants. But they lived.

They were the lucky ones.

On Sept. 3, 1939, Britain declared war on Germany. A train scheduled to depart that day was to carry 250 children. They never made it out. But by then Winton had managed to save the lives of 669 children.

Few of the children that reached Britain on the Kindertransports ever saw their parents again.

Never forget.

PS: on a personal note, I grew up listening to the stories of the saved. Not just the children who had left all family love to start life among strangers in a foreign country. It would only be for a short while. Things would return to normal soon. We’ll come to bring you home. So went the stories as the children were sent away. My neighbour had been smuggled out of Denmark. A friend’s father had passed her off as his own daughter. When the Nazis knocked on the door of her home in Copenhagen, the man, a photographer by trade, hid her in his dark room. He placed her inside a vat of liquid and shut the lid. By luck, hope and above all human empathy and kindness she made it to Britain. She worked hard all her life. She made no fuss. She asked for nothing special. The saved never do. They just want to carry on. It’s up to the rest of us to let them…


Posted: 1st, July 2015 | In: News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Playboy model Viky Xipolitakis and two pilots in hot water for sexy cockpit larks (photos)

Viky Xipolitakis cockpit

‘Have you ever seen a grown man naked’


Two Argentinian pilots who allowed Greek Playboy model Viky Xipolitakis into the cockpit have been sacked. Patricio Zocchi Molina and Federico Matias Soaje, who thought it a good idea to let Viky play with the joystick during take-off, face eight years in prison and a $10 million lawsuit brought by 11 of the passengers.

The Buenos Aires Herald says the pilots have been charged with an “attack against aircraft security”.

But was it worth it?

Viky Xipolitakis

A pair of tits


Ms Xipolitakis, who tweeted the flight, has been banned from flying with the airline for five years. She now sees herself as a victim:

“I never thought I could cause such harm. I am deeply sad. I had a wonderful experience in the flight and never thought it could cause such fuss. I didn’t know I couldn’t go into the cockpit. The pilots should have told me not to. Now I reckon my life has been in danger.”

You reckon?

Screen shot 2015-07-01 at 16.18.17

Posted: 1st, July 2015 | In: Celebrities, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Why Leicester City gave Nigel Pearson the bird

pearson sacked ostrichWhy was Nigel Pearson sacked from his job as manager of Leicester City?

The Sun says the club’s Thai owners “showed him the door over the fallout at the axing of his son”.

They decided to act after booting out James Pearson and two other players last month for making a racist sex tape during a club tour to Thailand.

Is it fair that Pearson should pay for the sins of his ignorant son?

Rory Smith notes:

The man who guided Leicester City to what may be the greatest of the Barclays Premier League’s great escapes might have felt that his remarkable recovery had made him bullet-proof.

Leicester supporters’ club chairman Cliff Ginetta says:

“I’m very shocked. The club are not happy with the way he ran the trip to Thailand.”

Pearson has some form. Last season he took hold of Crystal Palace midfielder James McArthur by the throat. He’d allegedly told a fan to “f*** off and die”. Leicester owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha sacked him. Then his son Aiyawatt reversed that descions. Pearson was back.

He then did something remarkably stupid and bizarre. Pearson attacked journalist Ian Baker for being an “ostrich” after Leicester’s 3-1 home defeat to Chelsea. At a press confernce Baker had upset Pearson by asking the manager to expand on his own comments that the media were less than supportive of the team. Pearson gave Baker the bird:

Pearson: Are you flexible enough to get your head in the sand? My suspicion would be no.
Baker: Probably not.
Pearson: I can. You can’t. You can’t.

As Giles Smith quipped:

A complex piece of points scoring here by Pearson. Not only was the reporter an ostrich, he wasn’t even flexible enough to be an ostrich. Whereas Pearson wasn’t an ostrich, but at least he was flexible enough to be one.

But Pearson wasn’t sacked for being a one-man Bernie Clifton tribute act. Well, so says the BBC:

BBC Sport’s Pat Murphy has learned the 51-year-old’s sacking was “definitely not a football issue”. Murphy said the Thai owners acted because they were concerned about damage to the club’s reputation, while a Leicester statement said the relationship between Pearson and the board was “no longer viable”.

Says Murphy:

“There is no doubt that the image and the reputation of the club in their homeland of Thailand has been damaged by the behaviour of, among others, the manager’s son James on the ‘goodwill’ tour to Thailand.”

Murphy is not exactly best pals with Pearson. After the ostrich horrorshow, Murphy went to a Leicester City press conference and berated Pearson, who came over as chippy and not at all flexible (via).

PM: Nigel, why can’t you be more specific about the criticisms of your players from the media when on behalf of the media of the Midlands we are a bit baffled by that because we think we have been very supportive of the players this season?

NP: Do you? Okay, that is your opinion.

PM: Can you give us a specific example of the disagreement?

NP: No, I don’t feel I want to get into that sort of an argument with you.

PM: You are generalising about us…

NP: And you generalise about me! There you are.

PM: But I am giving you specific examples, I know how supportive the media have been.

NP: Do you?

PM: Yes, having spoken to a lot of the media this season I can’t get this at all that we are after you.

NP: I didn’t say you were. I said there had been criticisms and I will stick up for my players, and always will.

PM: There will always be elements of criticism when you have been bottom of the league for a certain amount of time, but many, many people have been saying you have been unlucky, that things have not gone your way.

NP: I think you are looking at your side of the argument through rose tinted glasses. That is something that I am not going to get into a discussion with you about today.

PM: It takes two to tango.

NP: It does indeed.

PM: You had a go at one of our reporters in my opinion unfairly.

NP: Well there you are. I think we have come in for some criticism and so have I when I think it is unfair. So there we are.

PM: Surely it comes with the territory?

NP: Well there you are then. Absolutely.

PM: When did it dawn on you to apologise? How soon after did you think, ‘ooh I was out of order there’?

NP: Again, I don’t think that is something I need to answer. I have apologised and I would, had it been a more private thing, I would have apologised one to one, but when it has been in the public domain, the public eye I think it is right to do it the way I have done it, and that is all there is to it.

PM: Did you speak to the owners at any stage?

NP: No.

PM: So it was your decision?

NP: Yes.

PM: There is a bit of a charge sheet developing here this season is there not?

NP: Possibly. Is that why you are here?

PM: One of the reasons I am here today is because every week you won’t do the type of press conference that other Premier League clubs do. If you did do it so it was in different sections then I would be here more often. I don’t see why I have to justify why I am here Nigel.

NP: Fine.

PM: The question stands…

NP: And I don’t see why I have to continue to take your one-sided view of this argument.

PM: You put it in the public domain.

NP: Absolutely, yes, I have.

PM: So the charge sheet, does that not bother you?

NP: Not particularly, no.

PM: You must sit back here and think ‘ooh, I have got a few things wrong this season in public or dealing with supporters etc. It is the worst charge sheet of any Premier League manager so far this season in terms of that kind of behaviour.

NP: Okay.

PM: You are in danger of appearing a bully.

NP: Am I?

PM: Yes. And paranoid.

NP: Paranoid? Okay. Anything else?

PM: Well, someone has to tell you.

NP: Okay, you are telling me?

PM: Hasn’t anyone ever told you that before? Has no one ever taken you to one side and said ‘Nigel, I think you are out of order here’?

NP: If they have then that is my business.

PM: Leicester have got such a good reputation recently in particular. So many people say what a great fightback this is. You could have been Manager of the Month. You still might be Manager of the Month.

NP: I don’t see what the point is. What is your point with that? Are you suggesting my job is to pander to your requirements?

PM: Of course not. What I will say to you is that the football world gets a lot of money from via media these days and gives you a very comfortable living, and you could treat them with a little more respect. Disagree with them by all means. Okay, you have apologised now but it has panned out into a big story, it didn’t need to be a big story. It is a 24/7 story all over 24 hours okay. It is all your doing.

NP: Okay. You have obviously been sent here to put your industry’s case forward.

PM: I don’t think I need to justify my motives but when a fellow reporter gets unfairly criticised byt a manager I will defend that reporter, that is instinct.

NP: Fine, and you are doing.

PM: Just as you would defend a fellow manager.

NP: And I will absolutely always support my players.

PM: I just think you are affecting the reputation of Leicester City by your conduct off the field.

NP: Do you? Okay.

You can’t rule out the role of media is ending Pearson’s Leicester City career. Not that the official club statement mentions any specifics:

“The board of directors recognises the success Nigel has helped to bring to Leicester City during his two spells in charge of the club, particularly during the last three and a half years. However, it has become clear to the club that fundamental differences in perspective exist between us. Regrettably, the club believes that the working relationship between Nigel and the Board is no longer viable.

“Leicester City’s owners, Vichai and Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, and the board of directors would like to place on record their thanks to Nigel for the considerable contribution he has made during his time with the club and wish him well in future.”

No longer viable. Ouch!

Posted: 1st, July 2015 | In: News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Lord Janner: justice delayed is no justice at all for Victor Nealon and Sam Hallam

Victor Nealon

Victor Nealon


Lord Janner of Braunstone is to to be prosecuted over child sex abuse claims.

Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions, was wrong. Leading lawyer David Perry QC reviewed the facts and found that Janner should be charged with historical child abuse offences.

The move means Saunders is the first DPP to have a major decision reviewed and overturned. She is toast. She might also see herself as a victim of the times.

But what does it all mean?

The Guardian:

It means Lord Janner could face a trial of the facts, in which a jury hears the evidence against an individual considered too ill for a full trial. This is expected to cover 22 offences allegedly committed in the 1960s, 70s and 80s by Janner, who now has dementia.

What next?

A statement from the CPS said the case against Janner would begin with a hearing at Westminster magistrates court on 7 August.

By then another month will have rolled by. Lord Janner is 86. He’s ill.

It will be the first time that allegations against Janner – which have been the subject of three failed police investigations – will be aired in a courtroom.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 1st, July 2015 | In: News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Someone made this Kim Kardashian sex tape flag for Glastonbury

Kim Kardashian sex tape flag Glastonbury


Did you watch Kanye West at Glastonbury? Good to see he’s overcome the crippling shyness. For that, perhaps, we can credit his wife, the fragrant Kim Kardashian (top notes or honeysuckle or base notes of jacaranda wood and sexy musk). Not a day goes by without Kim showing us one of her body parts, either from a new angle or covered in a rare by-product of the petro-chemical industries.

As Kanye gave full throat to one of his hits, he must have been delighted to look over the throng and see a flag depiciting sweet Kim giving full throat to one Ray J, the co-star of the sex tape that stoked her celebrity and launched the careers of a million Kardashians.

The Indy notes:

Ironically, the incident came ahead of a talk she is due to give on the objectification of women in media in Oakland, California.

Kim is thought to be speaking on behalf of the ‘Let’s Have More Of It’ side of the debate.

Spotter: LadBible

Posted: 30th, June 2015 | In: Celebrities, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Arsenal flop Gervinho’s move to Abu Dhabi Club collapses over demands for a private beach



Former Arsenal player Gervinho has managed to achieve what many thought impossible: he has made the princes of Abu Dhabi think his lifestyle too rich, a tad flashy.

Gazzetta dello Sport says Gervinho’s move from Roma to Abu Dhabi’s Al Jazira FC is off.

An unnamed Al Jazira executive has publicly bemoaned the 28-year-old winger’s ‘obscene’ contract demands. It’s claimed the player wanted a personal helicopter, access to his own private beach and unlimited plane travel.

Add that to a reported €13million fee and the package was too rich for the Abu Dhabi locals.

If only he would have stuck at the air-conditioned rain forest, things would have been easy.


Posted: 30th, June 2015 | In: News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0