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News | Anorak - Part 10

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What happens when you tap on a shark screen that say ‘don’t tap on the shark screen’

 

Sharks get a tough run with humanity, whether it being fins made into soup, teeth worn as necklaces or the cultural approbation / plasticface that saw the biggest shark role in Hollywood history played by a machine. At the International Spy Museum in Washington D.C., visitors are advised against tapping on the glass. This is, of course, an invitation to tap on the glass, which one shark feast-sized human did:

The Huffington Post:

The display is part of a museum exhibit called “Earth Redesigned.” The show includes the vision of fictional character Karl Stromberg of the James Bond book and film “The Spy Who Loved Me,” and his ideas about a post-apocalyptic war world beneath the sea.

“What would Stromberg’s world be like?” the museum asks on the display’s webpage. “Find out as you experience the residents in our virtual shark tank … but be careful — you never know when one might attack!”

Wait for it…

Posted: 28th, October 2017 | In: News, Strange But True, The Consumer | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Australian government moves to outlaw satire

Juice Media makes “Honest Government Adverts” that lampoon Australian politicians and policies. It’s all a little dystopian – there are videos on dying koalas; mass pollution killing whales; corporate greed; torture – often following adverts for very expensive watches and consumer goods, like Capri Sun, the sugary drink served in a non-recyclable polyester, aluminium and polyethylene carton.

So much for the satire:

 

 

And despite being a lot better mannered than most Australian politicos, the actual Australian government wants to quieten Juice Media’s voice on pain of law. It’s only satire if the Government says it is.

Juice Media tweets:

The Dept of the Prime Minister has received complaints from members of the public raising concerns that the content on this website may be “mistaken for Australian Government material … It would be appreciated if you would ensure that The Juice Media productions do not use the Australian Government logo to avoid The Juice Media productions being mistaken for Australian Government material”.

 

 

 

Electronic Frontier Foundation has more:

The proposed legislation does include an exemption for “conduct engaged in solely for genuine satirical, academic or artistic purposes.” But, as critics have noted, this gives the government leeway to attack satire that it does not consider “genuine.” Similarly, the limitation that conduct be “solely” for the purpose of satire could chill speech. Is a video produced for satirical purposes unprotected because it was also created for the purpose of supporting advertising revenue?

Government lawyers failing to understand satire is hardly unique to Australia. In 2005, a lawyer representing President Bush wrote to The Onion claiming that the satirical site was violating the law with its use of the presidential seal. The Onion responded that it was “inconceivable” that anyone would understand its use of the seal to be anything but parody. The White House wisely elected not to pursue the matter further. If it had, it likely would have lost on First Amendment grounds. Australia, however, does not have a First Amendment (or even a written bill of rights) so civil libertarians there are rightly concerned that the proposed law against impersonation could be used to attack political commentary. We hope the Australian government either kills the bill or amends the law to include both a requirement of intent to deceive and a more robust exemption for satire.

Spotter: Juice Media,

 

Posted: 28th, October 2017 | In: News, Politicians | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Spurs fan throws cup of wee at West Ham fans

Who threw the urine? Stories abound that a fan of Tottenham Hotspur allegedly threw a cup of urine during Wednesday’s Carabao Cup defeat to West Ham.

This video has been doing the rounds.

 

 

A Spurs spokesperson tells everyone: “This behaviour is completely unacceptable. We are currently investigating and working to identify the individual.”

How hard can it be?

You can profile the man using this colour chart favoured by Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, who evaluates the chracter of his players based on their urine.

 

 

Turns out he’s a ‘champion’…

Posted: 26th, October 2017 | In: News, Sports, Spurs | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Prisoner sues guards for mocking his 91-hour long boner

erection man

Dustin Lance was serving a stiffy sentence

 

For a mere 91 hours Dustin Lance, 32, held an erection. The prolonged boner – the effects of a pill seconded from a fellow lag –  caused Lance, in his words, “unbearable pain”. His bellend will never be the same again.

And his feelings are hurt, too. Lance says prison guards “repeatedly mocked him while denying him medical treatment”. What with this being America, he’s called in the country’s first emergency service: the lawyers, and is suing Pittsburg County jail in McAlester, Oklahoma.

Lance, who was serving time for burglary and possession of a controlled dangerous substance, says after being admitted to hospital, doctors “told defendants the plaintiff needed to be seen by a urologist specialist” immediately. But Lance says instead of rushing him to specialist care, deputies took him back to jail to organise a recognisance bond and”further delayed the treatment”.

Lance is seeking the entirely reasonable sum of $5 million damages. He really is going to stick it to The Man, and keep on sticking it until the sun goes down, comes up, goes down…

Posted: 26th, October 2017 | In: News, Strange But True | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Carabao Cup balls: Arsenal and Manchester City in fake news epidemic

You can make a story out of anything. Take the Sun’s news that “Arsenal and Manchester City face disqualification from [the] Carabao Cup”.Why?  Well, the Sun says they stand accused of “making too many substitutions in extra-time”. It’s the ‘CARABAO KO”.

 

the sun arsenal carabao cup manchester city

 

Readers are told:”Arsenal needed extra-time to beat Norwich 2-1 and City saw off Wolves in a penalty shootout but both are waiting to discover if they broke rules over subs.”

The rules are, according to the Sun:

‘The Premier League giants made four changes — two in extra-time — and the Canaries will demand clarification from the Football League. Four subs are a novelty for cup ties this season but the rules imply only one can be used after 90 minutes.’

Arsenal and City have ready-made defences should the matter reach the legal stage. Bristol Rovers, Bournemouth, Brighton Burnley, Brentford, Portsmouth and Cardiff City all made two changes in extra-time in the Cup’s earlier rounds.

 

carabao cup arsenal man city

 

A quick look at the rules tell us that Arsenal and Manchester City did nothing wrong:

10 Substitutes

10.1 Subject to Rule 10.2, in all matches, each team is permitted up to seven substitutes of whom not more than three may take part in the match.

10.2 Where any match goes to extra time (in accordance with the provisions of Rules 14.4, 14.5 and/or 14.6), then subject to the League having obtained the prior approval of the International Football Association Board (IFAB) to the application of this Rule, each Club participating in that match will be permitted to use an additional substitute (in extra time only).

And having suggested that Arsenal and Manchester City could be booted from the competition because it failed to understand the rules, the Sun then notes:

‘The Gunners made a total of four subs, making use of the rule that you can use one added change when a tie heads to extra-time. Arsenal made TWO in extra-time, causing some debate among Twitter users to suggest that Arsene Wenger had broken the rule.”

Isn’t new media crap and full of fake news, eh. It’s nothing like the trusty, subjective and truthful old media, is it? (Yes, it is, ed).

 

Posted: 25th, October 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Manchester City, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Albert Einstein’s tip to a bellboy sells for £1.3m

In November 1922, Noble-Prize winner Albert Einstein (March 14, 1879–April 18, 1955) was in Japan to deliver a series of lectures. At Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel, Einstein was greeted by a bellboy delivering a message. With no cash to hand, Einstein wrote a note on a sheet of hotel stationery and handed it to the man. “Stilles bescheidenes Leben gibt mehr Glueck als erfolgreiches Streben, verbunden mit bestaendiger Unruhe,” he wrote. (Translation: A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness).

 

einstein letter bellboy japan million

 

 

 

albert einstein letter auction japan tokyo 1922

 

He told the messenger that if he was lucky, the notes would become valuable. On October 24, the courier ‘s nephew sold the letters at auction for $1.56m.

Via Winners  and Flashbak, which has more.

Posted: 25th, October 2017 | In: Money, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Jared O’Mara is the worst of mankind

jared o'mara

 

I’m relieved Labour MP Jared O’Mara has been exposed. To think that young Bear Payne will one day read the crude remarks made by this man about his dearly loved mum, Cheryl Cole – a national treasure – is appalling. O’Mara, MP for Sheffield Hallam, told an internet bulletin board as recently as 2004 that he fancied an orgy with Chery’s old group Girls Aloud, said Michelle McManus won Pop Idol “because she was fat” and imagined jazz star Jamie Cullum being “sodomised with his own piano”.

Rightly Labour is looking into O’Mara’s words. “The party is investigating Jared O’Mara MP in relation to comments and behaviour which have been reported from earlier this year,”says Labour.

“If only he’d just slagged off Jews and denied the Holocaust, this would have been a storm in a tea-cup and easily ignored,” says on insider. “But he spoke about Cheryl and Sarah and the ginger one whose name escapes me, and there can be no excuses when it comes to commenting on Great British celebrities.”

And that’s not all. A woman called Sophie Evans bravely told the BBC’s Daily Politics she had met Mr O’Mara on a dating app and there had been “no hard feelings” when things didn’t work out between them. The BBC adds:

Mr O’Mara, who was DJing in a nightclub, made comments to her that “aren’t broadcastable” and called her an “ugly bitch”, she said.

Blimey. That’s from the broadcaster that shows us Mrs Brown’s Boys and EastEnders. It really must have been terrible – beyond god-awful. On yer knees, bitch O’Mara. Repent.

Mr O’Mara says it is “categorically untrue”.

But we’ve heard enough, No smoke without a pre-vape shafting, as they say. And in an open letter to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Justine Greening, the Education Secretary and Equalities Minister, thunders: “Violent, sexist and homophobic language must have no place in our society, and parliamentarians of all parties have a duty to stamp out this sort of behaviour wherever we encounter it, and condemn it in the strongest possible terms. It is time you step forward, as leader of the Labour Party, and send a message that this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated.”

Perish the thought Girls Aloud and a row between a man and his ex can be used for political gain. Indeed, Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable says it’s only right Mr O’Mara has the whip removed. And who more reasoned and sober than he?

Says O’Mara: “I’ve stood down from the Women and Equalities select committee… I think it’s the right thing to do. I don’t think I can continue on that committee when I feel so deeply ashamed of the man I was 15 years ago.”

Oh, don’t beat yourself up, mate. Girls aloud were pretty shaggable back then.

Posted: 24th, October 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The shaming of Max Stafford-Clark: lewd comments cost a disabled old man his job

No sooner is the secret out that a powerful Hollywood producer has been using his position to force himself on starlets than we read of Max Stafford-Clark, currently 76 years young and no longer with the Out of Joint theatre company following a complaint of sexual harassment.

Out of Joint staffer Gina Abolins tells the Guardian that Stafford-Clark told her: “Back in the day, I’d have been up you like a rat up a drainpipe but now I’m a reformed character. My disability means I’m practically a virgin again.”Between 2006 and 2007, Stafford-Clark suffered three strokes that left him disabled and partially blind.

“I felt really victimised actually,” adds Abolins. “That was him exerting his power over me in a crude manner. I felt really bullied and objectified.”

Good that this old man who suffers from brain damage following a stroke has been shunted out. Stafford-Clark can take his stick, his wheelchair, his regret and his pseudobulbar palsy and get thee hence.

A quick glance at Wikipedia tells us of his condition:

Pseudobulbar palsy is a medical condition characterized by the inability to control facial movements (such as chewing and speaking) and caused by a variety of neurological disorders. Patients experience difficulty chewing and swallowing, have increased reflexes and spasticity in tongue and the bulbar region, and demonstrate slurred speech (which is often the initial presentation of the disorder), sometimes also demonstrating uncontrolled emotional outbursts.

The NHS tells us:

Pseudobulbar palsy

Description

Pseudobulbar palsy results from disease of the corticobulbar tracts. Bilateral tract damage must occur for clinically evident disease as the muscles are bilaterally innervated.

Presentation

Tongue – paralysed; no wasting initially and no fasciculations; ‘Donald Duck’ speech; unable to protrude.
Palatal movements absent.
Dribbling persistently.
Facial muscles – may also be paralysed.
Reflexes – exaggerated (eg, jaw jerk).
Nasal regurgitation may be present.
Dysphonic.
Dysphagic.
Emotional lability may also be present.

A spokesperson for Stafford-Clark offers:

“Occasional loss of the ability to inhibit urges results in him displaying disinhibited and compulsive behaviour and his usual (at times provocative) behaviour being magnified, often causing inappropriate social behaviour.”

Abolins adds: “What I’ve learned from this experience is that appearances can be deceiving and you don’t have to be a fighting fit person to make someone feel bullied.”

Creepy comments from the theatre great, for sure. And there was more:

Other women who have worked with Stafford-Clark said he also made lewd comments to them. Three women, including Abolins, told the Guardian that Stafford-Clark asked them about losing their virginity.

Abolins said the director asked her and another woman the question during auditions for Rita, Sue and Bob Too, in which two 15-year-old girls have a sexual affair with a married man.

And:

The playwright Rachel De-Lahay said she was asked this question in reference to the play on a separate occasion and had “found herself over-talking and rambling through this story”. Later she said she was angry “not because he asked me but because I had answered”.

A woman who worked for Stafford-Clark as a personal assistant in 2016 said the director asked her about losing her virginity several times. Steffi Holtz, 25, told the Guardian the director had a reputation for always being “outrageous”, which allowed him to get away with making inappropriate comments.

Adding:

Holtz said: “The worst thing he said, I was sat at his desk and he said, ‘If you were sat on the desk there in front of me I would eat you out.’ Coming from a 75-year-old man, I was in absolute shock. You feel so uncomfortable … It makes me feel so uncomfortable to even say that.”

Holtz did not make a complaint and left the role after about 18 months. “I didn’t feel brave or confident enough at that time of my life to challenge that authority.”

Lest you think an old man making crude, objectifying comments in an industry where looks matter greatly no great surprise, Abolins adds: “We are at an important time, where people are standing up and telling their stories. If more people can find the strength to speak out, hopefully we can make a real difference.”

Ella Whelan feels that strength. She notes:

We don’t know whether these allegations are true – and we don’t know if it was Stafford-Clark speaking or his brain tumour. But what we do know is that this sexual-harassment panic has gone too far. Are we going to start firing people with Tourette’s syndrome? Will we start locking up dementia patients, autistic individuals or those who can’t manage to adhere to socially acceptable behaviour? In their search for sexual predators, feminists seem to be willing to throw anyone under the bus – including themselves. In championing the idea that women are too weak to stand up to lewd comments from incapacitated individuals, the only thing that Abolins, De-Lahay and Holtz have done is denigrate the idea that women are just as strong and capable as men. That’s not brave at all.

Max Stafford-Clark’s wife has issued an apology yesterday on behalf of her husband:

Stella Feehily said he was not well enough to respond personally and issued a statement about his medical condition, which means that he has “occasional disinhibition… While this is an explanation, it is not an attempt to dismiss his behaviour. He apologises for any offence caused.”

‘Nuff said.

Posted: 24th, October 2017 | In: News | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Who better than MPs to ‘flush out’ Airbnb brothels?

Our elected reps have decided to investigate pop-up brothels. Given the furore over men abusing rank for sex with young women, MPs paying for sex looks like a step in the right direction.

A pop-up brothel is, of course, nothing of the sort. It’s just that prostitutes are looking for new premises, and that means hiring a place through short-term holiday letting places, like Airbnb. We’re not yet at the stage where sex is sold on ‘artisan’ stalls.

The Guardian says, rather specifically, such lets include “holiday resorts and the Lake District”. Well, you can stare at knobbly knees and wander lonely as a cloud for only so long.

It’s not illegal to sell your body for sex in England and Wales. But running a brothel is a crime. Hence: you rent out places in desirable locations and operate on the QT. It’s nothing new. The West End of London is full of “models” in flats they don’t own. It would take a real enthusiast to sell their body for sex when they own a central London flat off Baker Street (current market rate: £1million plus).

The thinking is that the “internet has changed the shape of the off-street sex trade, allowing customers to contact hundreds of workers more easily”. Supply and demand, right?

Labour MP Gavin Shuker, who is chairing the inquiry, tells media: “A lack of enforcement action and a lack of interest from politicians means we normally only see the tip of the iceberg. What we’re hoping to do is flush out the true scale of what brothel-keeping looks like.”

Flush out?

Laura Watson from the English Collective of Prostitutes, takes a different tone: “Closure orders are being widely used and every closure makes it harder for sex workers to insist on decent working conditions. Some have been forced to move multiple times in a few months. They can’t invest in security measures like CCTV, or employ anyone to help keep them safe, and they have less chance to refuse clients – a key marker of exploitation.”

What to do, eh?

Posted: 24th, October 2017 | In: News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Shock and horror as Facebook seeks to make a profit

What do you think of Facebook? It’s pretty good, isn’t it. You can post stuff about your dog, website or uniquely gifted children and watch as people write ‘Bless” and “OMG” beneath the images and breaking news. Having throttled post reach – the number of people who actually see a post from your Facebook Page on their timeline is typically around 5%; and then invited users to pay up to ‘boost’ that figure – Facebook is looking for new ways to charge its users. It’s pay-to-play.

Facebook is testing moving publishers’ posts out of people’s news feeds unless the companies pay thousands of dollars to reach their audience.

The new format is being tried in six countries, including Slovakia, Serbia and Sri Lanka, and moves any posts that do not come from users’ friends and family into a secondary feed unless they are paid for. Paid promotions still appear in news feeds as normal.

Pay or vanish.

The change could wreck the business models of small publishers who depend on organic sharing on Facebook for a large part of their audience. It could also have a big impact on larger companies such as BuzzFeed that create content designed to go viral on the site, as “likes” cause Facebook’s algorithm to promote them in news feeds.

Of course it’ll hurt publishers – that’s part of the idea. But if you pay, you an use the service.

Critics yesterday accused Facebook of devious tactics, in giving publishers a huge organic reach and only later charging for that audience.

It’s not a public service, however long and loud Facebook founder and majority owner Mark Zuckenberg tells us his site is a force for world good. It’s a money-making machine. Facebook wants global harmoney [sic].

Facebook has issued a statement (via Recode):

“With all of the possible stories in each person’s feed, we always work to connect people with the posts they find most meaningful. People have told us they want an easier way to see posts from friends and family, so we are testing two separate feeds, one as a dedicated space with posts from friends and family and another as a dedicated space for posts from Pages. To understand if people like these two different spaces, we will test a few things, such as how people engage with videos and other types of posts. These tests will start in Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Slovakia, Serbia, Guatemala, and Cambodia. We have no current plans to roll this out globally.”

One Slovakaisn user explains:

 

Posted: 24th, October 2017 | In: Money, News, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


‘Pregnant Women’ are taboo and gender fluid children commonplace as the trans movement thunders on

Transgender news features on the cover of the country’s two biggest-selling red-tops. The Sun has news of “fury” at “Government drivel”, which advises calling pregnant women mums in favour of “pregnant people”. Absurd? Of course it is. But is it true? Can it be that a triumph of liberty – the right to be what gender you choose and shag whatever consenting adult you like – has distorted into a tyranny?

 

mum women the sun trans

 

The Government department being ridiculed is the Foreign Office, where civil servants have added their advice to a draft UN human rights paper, warning “the term ‘pregnant women’ could ‘exclude transgender people who have given birth’. Instead, it should be replaced with the term ‘pregnant people’, they suggested.” The Sun musters furious voices to say it’s “nonsense” (Labour MP Jess Philipps) and “drivel” (Tory MP Philip Davies). But it only gives readers a sliver of information about the proposal. It’s not until the 15th paragraph that readers are told:

The intervention came in Britain’s official submission on proposed amendments to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The FCO said: “We requested that the UN human rights committee made it clear that the same right extends to pregnant transgender people”.

That sounds fair, no?

The Times quotes Sarah Ditum, who might not have got that memo:

“This isn’t inclusion. This is making women unmentionable. Having a female body and knowing what that means for reproduction doesn’t make you ‘exclusionary’. Forcing us to decorously scrub out any reference to our sex on pain of being called bigots is an insult.”

But isn’t this just an addendum to the inclusive speech that has men saying “We are pregnant” and attending NCT classes? But, in any case, it’s not true.

In other news, the Mirror leads with the story that “50 kids a week are being sent to sex change clinics”. Is that progress?

sex clinics trans daily mirror

The lead image sets the tone that all might not be well in childhood.

 

sex change daily mirror

 

What about thses figures?

The number of children visiting ­Britain’s specialist clinic the Gender Identity Development Service, hosted by the Tavistock and Portman NHS ­Foundation Trust in London, has risen by 24% to 1,302 in the past six months.

Among them were two children aged four, four five-year-olds and 17 kids of six. In 2016/17 there were 2,016 children referred to the clinic. This is on track to rise in 2017/18 to 2,600. In 2009 there were 97.

Isn’t the key part of that fact the NHS’s involvement, the State’s overseeing role in individual sexual identity and personal liberation? The country has undergone a revolution in sexual liberty. But the movement for equality didn’t end with the decriminalisation of gay sex and the arrival of same-sex marriage; it simply moves on, seeking new things to overhaul. So now the focus is on children, and how they can be altered.

As Brendan O’Neill notes: “The government wants to scrap the current requirement of a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria before you can switch gender and allow for ‘self-identification’. So any bloke could self-identify as a woman, apply for the legal right to be recognised as a woman, and – boom – he’s a woman.” Moreover, you can go back and change your birth certificate, altering it from ‘It’s a boy!” to “It’s a girl!”.

And what began as a glorious pursuit of freedom morphs into something weird, non-sensical and the opposite of truth.

 

Posted: 23rd, October 2017 | In: News, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Jeremy Corbyn on Clive Lewis: context is no excuse in Britain but anything goes in Iran

Jeremy Corbyn tells the BBC about Clive Lewis, the Labour MP recorded telling a man, “On your knees, bitch“:

“Completely wrong, he should never have said it, completely unacceptable comments. He has apologised, I’ve been in touch with him, he’s been in touch with me to apologise personally to me and it’s a message to everybody that this kind of language is not acceptable in any circumstances, any time.”

Here’s the man who used to work for the Iranian government’s Press TV talking about causing offence. (Corbyn earned £20,000 from Iran’s propaganda broadcaster.

In 2011, Britain’s Ofcom media watchdog fined the company £100,000 for airing an interview with jailed Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari, saying the interview had been held under duress and after torture while Bahari — now a British resident — was in prison following his coverage of the 2009 Iranian presidential elections.)

That’s Iran where they execute you for being gay, deny the Holocaust, persecute Kurds and treat women as second-class citizens:

 

 

It’s all about standards, eh, Jezza. And nothing biased in any of it, of course. This is the same Lewis who said of Corbyn’s old paymasters in Iran: “There are far too many in politics today who wish to criticise only countries that fit into a black and white binary world view.”

Clive Lewis told the Commons on October 11, 2017:

“It was quite shocking to listen to the seemingly inexhaustible list of human rights abuses by Iranian authorities. It was quite numbing to hear them all. I think it is right that we focus on human rights, as that issue has been a central thrust of my very short parliamentary career since being elected two years ago, but I would also like to focus on the fate of journalists, both those working inside Iran and those working remotely from the UK. I declare an interest as a former BBC journalist and the chair of the National Union of Journalists parliamentary committee. I do that for the record to state my solidarity with journalists both in Iran and around the world, who strive to do nothing more than ask questions in an attempt to hold power to account.

“As we know, Iran has elections that many other inhabitants of the middle east can only envy. Here I state a truism, but it is essential that we set it down, that elections are only ever one element of a functioning democracy. A democracy where bloggers and reporters must risk their lives and the well-being of their families in order to comment on the political life of their country cannot be seen as a democracy in the true sense. Democracy is not worth the ballot paper it is printed on without freedom of the press. There is a barrier to informing the electorate, as the press provides feedback to the legislature. The often brutal suppression of those speakers also creates a chilling fear that acts as a cancer on all of those forming opinions and the ability to take action in the public arena.

“As my hon. Friend the Member for Torfaen (Nick Thomas-Symonds) mentioned a constituent of his who has been in prison, I would like to mention three journalists who are being held and are on hunger strike. Soheil Arabi has been in prison since 2013 and has been on hunger strike for over a month. Mehdi Khazali was arrested in August and has been on hunger strike since the day of his arrest. Ehsan Mazandarani was arrested in 2015 and has been denied early release despite very poor health. There are many more prisoners I could mention. Their stories make for chilling reading.

“The long arm of control reaches way beyond Iran and stretches as far as those working in our very own BBC, as the hon. Member for Argyll and Bute (Brendan O’Hara) mentioned. Charges have been filed against almost all the Iranian journalists working for the BBC’s Persian-language service in London; 152 journalists have been charged with conspiracy against Iran’s national security and have faced constant harassment and intimidation and an effective freeze on all their Iran-based assets. Those charged cannot defend themselves unless they return to Iran, which they feel unable to do for fear of reprisal. I beg the Minister to raise these names whenever he meets his Iranian counterparts and to push the issues of journalism, freedom of the press and democracy very clearly, as I know he will.

“To end with a general comment, there are far too many in politics today who wish to criticise only the countries that fit into a very black and white binary world view. I am not one of them. I believe it is entirely possible—nay, essential—to criticise and hold to account Iran just as much as Saudi Arabia for human rights abuses and attacks on civil liberties. The two are not mutually incompatible. The same applies to the US and Russia and the questionable choices those Governments continue to make domestically and internationally. In fact, our hand is strengthened and our criticism is more valid when we show neither fear nor favour to any country or regime, wherever they may be, whether they be friend or ally, when defending human rights and civil liberties.”

Anyone see Corbyn’s ears burning?

Posted: 21st, October 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Organic farming wastes resources and what about the animals?

We should all care where meat comes from. Poor animal welfare shames us all. Writing in the Guardian, George Monbiot has an idea:

One study in Britain suggests that, if we stopped using animal products, everyone in Britain could be fed on just 3m of our 18.5m hectares of current farmland (or on 7m hectares if all our farming were organic).

Organic is wasteful, then, right? And if we stop using animal product, where does the fertiliser for organic come from?

The study Monbiot cites is in the Land Magazine. You can read it there, and then know that according to the Soil Association, “Organic means…no manufactured herbicides or artificial fertilisers.”

Poo it is, then. We need farm animals. But we can all agree they must be well treated. Anything less is a curse on our age.

 

Posted: 21st, October 2017 | In: News, Technology, The Consumer | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The immersive supper club in an authentic Hackney pub costs £55

supper club cockney

 

“Just got a PR email about a Cockney themed immersive supper club in an “authentic Hackney pub”, tweets Tom Armstrong. “It’s £55. This is one of the press shots.”

The pub is Homerton’s The North Star.

And I’m outraged, too, as what the knowing and outraged call ‘Poor Face’. Who smokes fags when you can have a spliff?

As for the event:

The Cockney’tivity is a Christmas dining experience like no other featuring three short acts of hilarious festive drama around three courses of delicious food all based in an authentic east end boozer. Walk through the doors of The North Star, take a seat at the Christmas dinner table and watch as the drama unfolds around you. Culminating in a raucous finale that will have you dancing on your chairs with your hands in the air.

It’s what Jesus would have wanted.

Spotter: @TomDisco

Posted: 20th, October 2017 | In: News, The Consumer | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Labour MP Clive Lewis: ‘Get on your knees bitch’ (and try to find the shattered remains of my career)

“Get on your knees, bitch,” says Norwich South’s Labour MP Clive Lewis at a do hosted by Momentum. Labour’s Harriet Harman heard that line and tweeted: “Inexplicable. Inexcusable. Dismayed.” The Labour Party says Lewis’s language “was completely unacceptable and falls far short of the standard we expect”.

 

clive lewis bitch

The Right Honourable Clive Lewis

 

It is? Surely it depends who he was saying it to and in what context it was being said? Left-wing pundit Aaron Bastani tweeted: “I was there. The video has been up at @novaramedia for a month – Clive was saying this to a man.”

Does that make it better?

Mr Lewis later tweeted: “I apologise unreservedly for the language I used at an event in Brighton last month. It was offensive and unacceptable.”

 

 

The Sun says Clive Lewis remark to a man “was met with nervous laughter” in the room and “fury” beyond. Hosts “jokily” told the MP: “Please may I remind you that this is meant to be a safe space, thank you.”

Outrage ensues:

Sam Swann, a 28-year-old actor, to whom Lewis addressed his command, says: “He says to me ‘on your knees bitch’ and it is clearly jovial. The whole event was so brilliant for seeing MPs letting their hair down and fucking around with people who support them. I think Clive Lewis is an absolute legend.”

Lewis is, of course, toast – another victim of what happens when you try to police speech and seek offence in dust ion your attempt to turn the world into a safe space. Yeah – he’s been hoisted by Labour’s petard.

Posted: 20th, October 2017 | In: News, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Everton balls: Oh, come on, we loved Williams chucking his dummy

Argy-bargy at Everton, where the Toffees lost 1-2 to Lyon in the Europa League. The lowlight features the unforgettable sight of an Everton fan in the Gwladys Street end “trying to shove Anthony Lopes, the Lyons goalkeeper, with his right hand” (Times). The idiot compounded his behaviour by cradling a toddler sucking a dummy at the time. There’s thick and there’s wading into a fight against professional athletes whilst holding a child levels of thick.

We’ll get to know this dangerously thick man is. As the Times notes, “The shame game has begun.”

But before that, what happened? As ever the Press seem incapable agreeing on the most bald fact.

 

Everton fight fan toddler

 

Everton fan carrying a CHILD slaps Lyon goalkeeper on his head – Daily Mail

Merseyside Police investigating Everton-Lyon brawl which saw man throw punche while holiding a kid [sic] – the Sun

An Everton fan who appeared to slap a Lyon player while holding a child during last night’s Europa League game has been banned by the club while police investigate the incident. – Daily Mirror

One fan was seen trying to throw a punch while holding a child. – Daily Express

…a fan carrying a child appeared to aim a punch at Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes. – Daily Telegraph

Punch? Slap? Hit or miss?

 

 

Lyons were unimpressed with the Everton showing:

 

 

As for the shame and the horror, the players have spoken:

Everton captain Williams, who was shown a yellow card, told media: “It’s what happens, it’s football. It is what it is. It’s high emotions. We want to win the game, they want to win the game and stuff happens. That was just one of those times.”

He later told Everton FC’s website – where the incident is a described as a “heated exchange – “We want to show fight for ourselves, but more than anything for the Club and the fans especially. We’re disappointed we haven’t got a result tonight because I thought we showed good attitude in how we went about it.”

And Lopes opined: “I don’t think it is part of the English atmosphere to hit an away player. It was no big deal, it happened and that was it. For me it seemed to wake up the fans and they seemed to love it.”

They did. And so did the media. Fans and media love a mass brawl. Chuck in a streaker, a few red cards and the match would have been yet more entertaining – albeit not up there with Zidane’s headbutt or Cantona’s kung-fu kick.

Posted: 20th, October 2017 | In: Back pages, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Couple sentenced for sex in a Domino’s take-away

Daniella Hirst and Craig Smith were filmed “in a sex act and having sex” at a Domino’s pizza take away in Scarborough, Yorkshire. Cancel the weekend in Paris and dinner at the candle-lit eatery, love, if it’s sex you’re after, neon lights and stuffed crust is all the fuel you need.

At Scarborough Magistrates’ Court, Hirst and Smith were each handed 12-month community orders, a curfew for 23 weeks which means they have to remain in their separate homes between 7pm and 7am, with a victim surcharge of £85. Hearing that he’d also have to complete 200 hours unpaid work, Smith asked: “Why do I have to do that extra?” (Accoing to the Burton Mail, Hirst has previous for offences including using threatening words or behaviour and theft. He was out on licence for an offence of wounding when he and Hist romped in the eatery.)

Defence solicitor Scott McLoughlin told the court:

“This footage is on the internet and it will be for ever more, for their children to see. One can only imagine the embarrassment this has caused. This is something that has escaped into the wild.”

Meet the kids: Supreme and Pepperoni.

“When they entered the store, they did not intend to cause any harm to anyone. They were in high spirits. It was completely devoid of customers and no-one initially noticed or saw what was happening. It’s blatant but not as blatant as it could have been. They moved to the right of the store.”

 

Posted: 19th, October 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


#StayBritish – Richard Keys has sage advice for Leicester City

When Leicester City sacked Craig Shakespeare – the Foxes earned the Premier League’s seventh biggest haul of points during his 8 months as manager – former Sky Sports anchor Richard Keys took to twitter to opine:

 

 

That’s Richard Keys, the Britisher who lives in Qatar (not in Britain) where he works for Al Jazeera (owned by Qatari royalty) talking about Leicester City, the club owned a Thai billionaire, which won the Premier League title under the guidance of an Italian.

#StayBritish, indeed.

Posted: 18th, October 2017 | In: News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Jamie Oliver’s sugar tax pushes lazy eaters to fruit juices

Jamie Oliver has fiddled with food every since Tony Blair realised the chef was popular on the telly and grabbed him for a conflab. Oliver has been raging against sugar for some time now. But signs are that it’s not working:

Jamie Oliver’s 10p tax on sugary drinks sold in his Italian restaurants has resulted in a significant drop in sales, a study has found.

Oliver gathers up all the 10ps and invests them in “food education and water fountains in schools”. He’s a food colonialist teaching the slack-jawed and sugar-toothed how to drink from a standpipe and worry about food. Sod the toque blanche and get the lad a pith helmet.

Now the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health tells us that sugar-sweetened drinks flogged in Jamie’s Italian-style eateries fell 11% in the first 12 weeks of the levy. At the end of six months, sales were 9.3% lower than before the tax was brought in.

The odd bit is that fruit juice sales were up 22 per cent – you know, those pricey drinks packed full of sugar.

The study, however, does not tell us how Jamie’s faux Italian outlets have fared as a whole over that period. I did have the misfortune to visit Jamie’s Italian at Gatwick Airport just the other week, and can reveal that his cooked breakfast (‘The Full Monty’) was greasy, unsatisfying, badly presented (it came on an oily skillet), mean (3 nasty little mushrooms; two splats of cherry tomatoes; a drool of beans; two undercooked sausages; innersole bacon; charred squares of potato; missing onions; a dry slice of black pudding; and poached eggs that were well cooked but trimmed to the size of tic-tacs) and expensive (£10.25).

Professor Susan Jebb of University of Oxford tells the Times, Jamie’s experiment was “encouraging news for public health ahead of the introduction of the soft drink industry levy”.

Oh, and this:

Jamie Oliver is to close six of his Italian restaurants after tough trading and the “pressures and unknowns” following the Brexit vote.

Oliver intends to close Jamie’s Italian restaurants in Aberdeen, Exeter, Cheltenham, Richmond, Tunbridge Wells and Ludgate Hill, near London’s St Paul’s Cathedral, by the end of the first quarter of the year.

Blame Brexit, then. Easy.

Posted: 18th, October 2017 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News, The Consumer | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Tabloid Watch: what it looks like when the Sun takes on a local newspaper

hull police the sun

When the Hull Daily Mail reported “fantastic photos of Humberside Police officers having fun at Hull Fair”, the story was upbeat:

Whilst working effortlessly to ensure the safety of the tens of thousands of people who visit the annual event, police officers and PCSOs have managed to find a few moments to enjoy some fair favourites.

A copper was quoted:

“Hull Fair is one of those rare opportunities where it is a fantastic to be a police officer because the people are actually pleased to see you.”

When the Sun spotted the story, its readers were told of a “POLICE FARCE”. And, yep, it was an “exclusive:

 

Hull police the sun

 

People noticed:

 

 

 

 

Posted: 18th, October 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Canadian Parliament scuppers moves to permit drunk canoeing

canoe beer canadaCanada has rules governing drinking in “vessels”, including those “propelled exclusively by means of muscular power”. Get caught over the limit in a kayak or on an inflatable raft and you could lose your driving licence.

Now the Canadian Safe Boating Council has countered moves to end this rule, telling Liberal MP Colin Fraser, “it would send the wrong message to the public to exclude drunk canoeing”. You can be drunk in charge of a bicycle. But you must be sober in a canoe.

The Canadian Criminal Code says only motorized road vehicles are covered by impaired driving laws – but all water-going “vessels,” whether they’re motorized or not, are included:

But the definition may soon be tested in court. Earlier this year, Ontario Provincial Police laid charges against David Sillars, a 37-year-old who tipped a canoe on the Muskoka River. An eight-year-old in the canoe was swept over a waterfall and died.

Sillars is charged with impaired operation of a vessel causing death and operating a vessel with a blood-alcohol level over 80 milligrams causing death, among other counts.

During the committee meeting, Conservative MP Rob Nicholson — a former Conservative justice minister — appeared to cite that case in asking for clarification on what the amendment would do.

In the UK, the law on drunk-boating tells us:

Boaters may be prosecuted under the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 if their actions on the water are seen to be endangering other vessels, structures or individuals and they are under the influence of alcohol.

But there is no law covering being smashed in charge of a canoe, or pedlo.

Spotter: National Post

 

Posted: 17th, October 2017 | In: News, Politicians, Strange But True | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Lysette Anthony and Harvey Weinstein in Trial By Media

Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood mogul accused of multiple crimes against women, is all over the tabloids.

The Sun leads with the “3 Brit Victims”. Alleged victims, of course, a fact given credence with those inverted commas. Weinstein is deserving of a fair hearing. Innocence must always be presumed.

The pick of the alleged victims seems to be Lysette Anthony, a former model and actress, subject of the Sunday Times’ scoop: “Lysette Anthony: I answered the door. Harvey Weinstein pushed me inside and raped me in my own hallway.” That’s a headline and a half. And because it is a headline, it counts as opinion not fact.

 

harvey weinstein

 

Lysette Anthony’s allegations reach use via Charlotte Metcalf, a “close friend” of the actress. The pair went to a police station, where Anthony made her allegation. It’s serious stuff. Her words are weighty, and she should be afforded respect. The sincere hope is that the matter goes to court. Our opinions matter not.

Metcalf writes:

She was nervous but the officers were sensitive and reassuring. Afterwards I sat down with her and she told me the full story which she has agreed I should now make public.

Are we entertained yet? Stay tuned…

We hear that Lysette and Weinstein first met in New York. “Over the net few years she would have lunch with Harvey from time to time when he was in London. At that point she experienced nothing untoward: ‘The lunches were invariably in hotel suites but I felt comfortable in Harvey’s company. We had become friends.'”

And then she claims he attacked her:

“He pushed me inside and rammed me up against the coat rack in my tiny hall and started fumbling at my gown. He was trying to kiss me and shove inside me. It was disgusting.

She tried pushing him off but he was too heavy. “Finally I just gave up. At least I was able to stop him kissing me. As he ground himself against me and shoved inside me, I kept my eyes shut tight, held my breath, just let him get on with it. He came over my leg like a dog and then left. It was pathetic, revolting. I remember lying in the bath later and crying.”

Anthony says she never told the police not her agent. She claims that around a year later, she met Weinstein again. She took her out for dinner. He was “perfectly charming”. He bought her a coat on the way home. “I thought it was his unspoken way of apologising for what had happened,” says Lysette. “I assumed that was that and we went our separate ways.”

And then…?

“From this point on, if I ignored ­Weinstein’s calls the assistants started ringing and if I ignored them his ­assistants called my agent to set up a meeting. What you have to understand is that no one turned down an opportunity to meet Harvey Weinstein. No one. I’d never told my agent about the rape, so it was impossible to explain why I didn’t want to see him.

“The meetings would start with a chat in a hotel suite. The assistants would disappear and then he’d disappear and return in a robe demanding a massage. By then I’d just given up. I knew I was powerless and at least I wouldn’t have to do much. I was just a body, young flesh. It wouldn’t take long and no one knew.”

And there it is, out there in the court of public opinion, the story of the actress and her alleged rapist.

 

harvey weinstein

 

Weinstein the “sex beast”:

harvey weinstein

This has to reach court. Weinstein must have the right to defend himself. And society has the right to judge the matter. Anything less than law-based justice reduces alleged horrific crimes into a nasty form of entertainment…

Posted: 16th, October 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Celebrities, News, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Going fast: the Anne Frank Halloween costume for girls

Why not alarm your Nazi neighbours this Halloween by dressing up in an Anne Frank costume (for girls)?

 

halloween costume gils anne frank

 

 

The costume has now been pulled from shelves.

Public Relations Specialist at Fun.com, Ross Walker Smith went on Twitter to explain:

“We sell costumes not only for Halloween, but for many uses outside of the Halloween season, such as school projects and plays. We have passed along the feedback regarding this costume, and it has been removed from the website at this time.”

Just a clerical error, then. Thanks for the feedback. Who knew flogging a murdered child for Halloween was anything by fun?

And it’s positively tasteful compared to this:

 

 

Spotter: JudeHabib

Posted: 16th, October 2017 | In: News, Strange But True, The Consumer | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Hillary Clinton throws Harvey Weinstein under the bus (with all of Bill’s women)

Did you roll your eyes and let you mouth fall agape when Hillary Clinton told Andrew Marr about Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood mogul accused of rape? There’s delusional and there’s Hillary Clinton levels of delusional:

“I was really shocked and appalled because I’ve known him through politics as many Democrats have. He’s been a supporter – he’s been a funder for all of us, for Obama, for me, for people who have run for office in the United States.  So it was just disgusting and the stories that have come out are heartbreaking. And I really commend the women who have been willing to step forward now and tell their stories.”

This is same Hillary Clinton who allegedly vowed to “destroy” women who accused her husband, Bill Clinton, of sexual harassment – who, according to the New York Times, was part of a devious campaign to see one of Bill’s ‘victims’ branded a “bimbo” and a “pathological liar”. Does Bill get a pass when we talk of sexual predators? Is Hillary so delusional – so iconic – all talk of her being her husband’s enabler is taboo?

She goes on to tell Marr:

“But I think that it’s important that we not just focus on him and whatever consequences flow from these stories about his behavior but that we recognize this kind of behavior cannot be tolerated anywhere, whether it’s in entertainment, politics. After all, we have someone admitting to being a sexual assaulter in the Oval Office. There has to be a recognition that we must stand against this kind of action that is so sexist and misogynistic.”

No. Donald Trump has never admitted to being a sexual assaulter.

She then encourages comparrisons between Trump and Weinstein.

“I’m not a psychologist, I can’t draw that conclusion. There are credible reports from women about both that sound very similar.”

Trump’s “pussy” comment was nasty. He has questionable views on women. But he has not been accused of rape. You know who has? Yep, Harvey Weinstein and…Bill Clinton.

Get a load of this exchange:

MARR: “And this depends on women coming forward and the courage to come forward. And yet in your book the three women, brought onto the stage by Trump, attacking your husband and you kind of dismissed them. Was that the right thing to do, are you sure about that?”

CLINTON: “Well, yes, because that had all been litigated. That was the subject of a huge investigation as you might recall in the late ’90s and there were conclusions drawn and that was clearly in the past.”

But the past cannot be so easily boxed up:

“I was 35 years old when Bill Clinton, Ark. Attorney General raped me and Hillary tried to silence me,” Juanita Broaddrick tweeted from her home in Van Buren, Ark. “I am now 73. . . . it never goes away.”

Harvey Weinstein deserves a fair trial. Hillary Clinton deserves to have her record looked at. Justice must not be denied.

Posted: 15th, October 2017 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Why Brexit is good for tea and tigers

Judith_Kerr_on_September_15,_2016_at_the_International_Literature_Festival_Berlin

 

Hold fast there! No need to flee Brexit Britain, where glorious democracy rules and inspires. I’ve been offered a Portuguese passport – something to do with the Inquisition and the Portuguese being sorry. Mrs Anorak qualifies for an Irish passport. Do we want them? Judith Kerr, author of The Tiger Who Came to Tea and other books – is a Jew who escaped the Nazis. Now living in London, she tells the FT:

“As soon as the vote of Brexit came through half the people I know were trying desperately to work out whether they had Irish grandmothers. But I would never take dual German nationality because I owe this country too much, and I wouldn’t want to dilute it.”

You might not like the result of the Brexit vote, but by god you should rejoice in it.

Posted: 15th, October 2017 | In: Celebrities, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0