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EARTH days is almost upon us.
Tim Blair spots Earth Day’s grim switch off:
I hope that the initiative can be expanded until one day the people of big cities such as Sydney and Melbourne can once again enjoy the light of the heavens on many days each year, unobscured by a wasteful blaze fuelled by a black, polluting rock.
Says he: “If they wanted to enjoy the light of the heavens they’d probably live elsewhere other than Melbourne or Sydney. It isn’t difficult in Australia to find a place unobscured by ‘wasteful blazes’.”
In London you can see the air move. It’s reassuring…
It’s about a politician basking in reflected glory. A section is about Winston Churchill. The book is released just as McCann visits the UK. It’s a big pat on the head for the UK, America’s special pals.
Not that we care to know about Winston – the first man on the moon:
ONE in three UK children think Winston Churchill was the first man on the moon, says a survey. And 72 per cent failed to pick out the Moon in a series of pictures.
John McCain is made of cheese…
How To Be A Blogger – Glenn Reynolds:
Fit blogging into the holes in your schedule. “Deal with the rest of your life first,” advises Glenn Reynolds, a law professor at the University of Tennessee who posts constantly throughout the day on his site, Instapundit.com. The volume and regularity has helped make his political opinion site one of the most popular on the Internet. “The blog is best handled by inserting it into the small bits of free time that rest among the bigger chunks of your work.” Mr. Reynolds slips in posts between classes, as a break from writing law review articles and during slow time at home.
It’s the headline that one may respond to by asking: And how big of a threat is terror?
Anorak can assure you that the threat of terror is huge. And that if flu is a bigger threat it is no small wonder that you are not already a victim.
The Express says “ministers fear a global attack” of flu that has the “ability to wipe out more than one in 100 of the total population”.
Gordon Brown has set the wheels is motion to scupper the power of flu, specifically with a 1,000-strong civil defence force, which will scour the coastline for any sign of flu virus.
If you see the virus, you should follow the correct procedure:
A. Wrap a scarf about our face
B. Cover your head and as much of your body as possible with clothing
C. Run screaming about the streets shouting “You are all going to die!”
As a result you will soon be spirited away to a secure room free of germs and all signs of life…
The reason is… Well, let’s see if you can guess. And do note that the headline appears in the Daily Express. Is it:
a) To look for blonde children?
b) To act as surprise witnesses at the Princess Diana inquest?
c) Because the Cornwall Tourist Board has twinned the shire with Tehran?
d) Because it reminds them of home?
The answer is d), although we should not discount any of the other options, nor option e) - To slaughter the locals in their beds in a revenge attack for the film 300.
To Cornwall. As the Express says: “Villagers in Porth, Cornwall, usually hear nothing louder than the sound of seagulls or the lap of the waves on the beach.”
Or, indeed, the gentle pssst!-pssssst! of a drug dealer, the soothing hum-hum-thrppp of a jetski race or the uep-eup-eup of young bucks and their lady friends decorating the streets in a lively technociolur yawn.
THIS is a neat round up on the McCann-Express legal position in today’s’ Guardian.
The Guardian has a lot of recent experience with libel cases having lost the famous Aitken case…then, a few years later, having the moral justification of seeing Jonathan Aitken, a former Conservative Minister, branded a liar and jailed for perjury.
Strangely, one of the newspapers involved this week, The Star, has also had a fairly topical high profile libel and later rebuff case. Jeffrey Archer won a libel case against it. He was awarded, again curiously, £500,000 and was later proved to have lied in court and was jailed for perjury.
The innocent Doctors McCann have not appeared in court and have not committed perjury.
Today’s article is highly recommended reading.
I hate to be seen to be a smart alex but we did tell you so, first and before anyone else thought of it…Team McCann’s lawyers may have seen it coming around the same time.
Explainer: The legal position
THE UNIVERSITY of Sydney is a “sustainable university”.
It has sent this email to its students (thanks Kim A):
Between 8pm and 9pm, Saturday 29 March, the University of Sydney will be switching off its lights in support of Earth Hour.
This symbolic act, which began in 2007 as a local Sydney initiative to raise awareness about the need for action on climate change, has been embraced by communities around the world making Earth Hour 2008 a global event.
The University of Sydney is proud to participate as part of our commitment to sustainability that is demonstrated through our research, course offerings and sustainable campus projects. For more information on what we are doing about sustainability, please visit our Earth Hour website.
A website. That runs on power. Best read the electronic message before 8pm.
Campus Infrastructure Services will be coordinating the event and switching off as many non-essential lights as possible, while ensuring that safety and security on our campuses is maintained. There will be some street and path closures to allow as many lights as possible to be switched off.
To ensure that Earth Hour at the University is truly successful, it is important that all staff and students support the initiative by switching off their lights, air conditioning, computers and non essential equipment. This is already a daily habit for many staff and students …
Thank you for your cooperation.
Vice-Chancellor & Principal
Flick a switch on. Student rebellion was never so easy…
AS reported: “Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden will be issuing a new message timed to the fifth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, a militant Web site with close connections to the group said Wednesday.”
“Urgent, very soon by the will of God,” read the announcement of the new message “the response is what you see and not what you hear, by the warrior sheik, Osama bin Laden.”
Bet we don’t see him…
At the Olympics, the Maoists will be dealing with free people from free nations, and there is only so much they can do to control them. It’s not clear they understand this. They’ve been living for decades in a bubble of unchallenged power, and are not very imaginative. The opportunities for embarrassment are endless, and the prospect of it very delicious to anyone who loves liberty. Personally, I hope their stinking Olympics is a huge fiasco, and I see encouraging signs it may be.
“WE are pleased that Express Newspapers have today admitted the utter falsity of the numerous grotesque and grossly defamatory allegations that their titles published about us on a sustained basis over many months.
“The exceptional publication of these apologies, together with today’s statement of full apology in open court before Mr Justice Eady, was the only just and proper response by Express Newspapers following our complaint.
“We also wish to place on record our thanks to Adam Tudor, from Carter Ruck. Today’s result simply could not have been achieved without him.
“Express Newspapers rightly acknowledge that we are innocent of all allegations that we may have been involved in Madeleine’s abduction and we would like to reiterate that there is absolutely no evidence that Madeleine is dead or has been seriously harmed.
“We embarked on this course of action reluctantly, indeed with a heavy heart, as we did not wish the pursuit of it to become a distraction from our sole aim – finding Madeleine.
“Indeed, as long ago as last autumn our lawyers approached Express Newspapers and urged them to show greater restraint in their reporting – requests which went utterly unheeded.
“The distress all this has caused members of our wider family, at a time of great emotional turmoil for them, was also a major factor in our action.
“Their pain over the loss of Madeleine has been compounded by having to witness the irresponsible and libellous reporting that we have successfully challenged today.
“As part of our settlement, Express Newspapers have also agreed to pay damages, by way of a donation of £550,000 to the fund that was established to help find Madeleine.
“We feel it is entirely appropriate that the search for Madeleine will now benefit directly out of the wrongs committed against us as her parents.
“We hope that the Portuguese authorities lift our arguido status in the very near future so that everyone can focus on finding our beautiful little girl, Madeleine.”
ASKS Megan McArdle: “Is there a reason I need to know about the legal, consensual sex acts of various tri-state governors? I know the economy is bad, but surely things are not yet so dire that we must look to our elected officials for pornography.”
THE Croydonian looks at how Jack Straw is ridding the Ministry of Justice of “meaningless” Blair legislation:
The Ministry of Justice (excuse the hollow laugh) is rather pleased with itself, judging from this press release referring to “A major clean-up of meaningless and defunct laws from the statute book is due to be launched in the House of Lords today. All or part of 328 Acts of Parliament masquerading as live laws are to be removed under the Statute Law (Repeals) Bill“.
The emphasis in the release is on East India Company issues, turnpikes and the like, so yes, a cute diary-type story, and duly picked up by the BBC, complete with a visual plug for ‘Black Adder’.
And here is the act itself, listing repeals, in part and in whole, and Blair legislation impacted includes:
- Crime and Disorder Act 1998
- Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001
- Licensing Act 2003
Time offers perspective…
No, not People for Ethical Treatment of Animals – Peta, the Sun’s Page 3 stunna.
“The judge’s ruling shows her up for what she really is, says Peta, who would rather go topless than wear fur…
Pic: The Spine
ANTHONY Minghella has died.
I was deeply saddened to be told about Anthony’s death. He was one of Britain’s greatest creative talents, one of our finest screenwriters and directors, a great champion of the British film industry and expert on literature and opera.
I knew him as a great friend, as did Sarah and our family. He will be deeply missed but his contribution to British culture will be remembered for many years to come – Gordon Brown (Minghella directed a Labout Party ad)
“He wasincredibly talented and so interested in art and making the world better for art. He was very specific and very loving. He was very sweet to his actors. He would kind of massage everybody while he was talking – very tactile and warm.” – Gwyneth Paltrow
“Anthony possessed a sensitivity and alertness to the actor’s process that very few directors have. He directed most of The English Patient with an ankle in plaster, never losing his gentle humor and precision. He delighted in the contribution of everyone – he was a true collaborator. His films deal with extreme aloneness and the redemptive power of love, even at the moment of death. I will remember him as a man who always wanted to get to the heart of the matter.” – Ralph Fiennes
New study says Charles Mansion may have killed more.
House prices being murdered…
ELIOT Spitzer, the disgraced New York governor, has been given a free-sex-for-life pass by Nevada brothel, The Moonlite Bunny Ranch…
There is no room for sexism in a modern political campaign. There is no room for racism either. There is no room for remarks that could reasonably be interpreted as sexist or racist. In fact, given the history of sexism and racism in this country, there is no room for remarks that could even be willfully misinterpreted as sexist or racist… There is no room for comments of any sort by anybody a candidate might have met under any circumstances in the course of his or her life, unless they have been vetted for sexism, racism, rudeness, or the appearance of these qualities by the campaign’s senior staff. There is no room for unfair accusations that the opposition candidate has engaged in sexist, racist or rude remarks, or that anyone he or she has ever met has engaged in such remarks. And of course there is also no room for perfectly fair accusations of this sort, which can be misinterpreted, and usually are.
MARK Steyn on a columnist’s job:
I don’t know why you’d want to be a columnist if you did not appreciate the humor in life. That doesn’t mean being hyper-partisan. You also want to see the comedy in your own side. I don’t like indignation – I don’t think it’s useful. It’s important to be funny about serious things.
The funny writers should be funny about war, famine, pestilence and disease, because it’s an important weapon in discussing those subjects. Someone asked the Ayotollah Khomeini about Islam’s attitude toward jokes, and he said, ‘There are no jokes in Islam.’ We should use jokes to our advantage. Find the comedy in a situation, because that is a good way to change people’s minds on it.
THE Croydonian notes:Azerbaijan has persuaded the UN to pass a resolution “reaffirm[ing] Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, expressing support for that country’s internationally recognized borders and demanding the immediate withdrawal of all Armenian forces from all occupied territories there“.
Given recent events in Serbia / Kosovo, it is intriguing to note that some countries are quite happy to dismember Serbia in pursuit of self-determination for Albanians but will not extend the same principle to the Armenians of Artsakh. So, here are the states which have recognised Kosova but have also signed the Azeri motion:
Meanwhile, all credit to the unlikely list of refuseniks: Angola, Armenia, France, India, Russian Federation, United States, Vanuatu. Our man in NY abstained.
Readers may argue that all dentists put all patients in peril, chiefly when they stick a drill in your mouth. Peril is what dentists are best at.
But not all pleased. Says Michael Summer of the Patient Association: “We receive lots of complaints about dentists whose English is extremely poor and who are difficult to understand. This can lead to errors and mistakes.”
It turns out, though, that the dentists who cannot speak England are not British born but foreigners. This is not indictment of our education system and how easy it is to becoming a dentist by learning the language of dentistry parrot fashion.
It is well known fact that dentists need only master three phrases in English:
“Going somewhere nice on holiday?”
The reply is always the same: “Guggluphug.”
WRITES TB: Thirty years on, Rutlemania is real. We got to sit in last night on a well-attended dress rehearsal of the multimedia concert/stage show that takes the audience through the story of the Prefab Four, as written and directed by comedy and Monty Python legend Eric Idle, set to a truly timeless soundtrack by The Seventh Python, Neil Innes.
The Rhyme Of The Website Moderator – aka Carmen:
I am the very model of an Anorak personality,
I intersperse triviality with tedious banality.
Opinions I have plenty of, both genuine and borrowed,
In all the countless postings, where you, I try to goad.
I hate to lose an argument (by now I should be used to it).
I wouldn’t know a valid point if I was introduced to it.
My learning is extensive but consists of mindless trivia,
Designed to fan my ego, which is larger than Bolivia.
The comments that I vomit forth, disguised as jest and drollery,
Are really just an exercise in unremitting trollery.
I say I’m frank and forthright, but that’s merely lies and vanity,
The gibbering of one who’s at the limit of his sanity.
If only I could get a life, which is somewhat problematical;
If what I said was more mature, or slightly more grammatical;
If I could learn to spell a bit, and maybe even punctuate;
Would I still be the loathsome troll that you’ve learned to hate?
Your intellect I will fritter with my whining and my snivelling,
And you’re the one who spends the time to read my drivelling.
My enemies are numerous, and no one would be blaming you
For naming me, who has the time, to spend abusing you?
But while I have this tiresome urge to prance around and show my face,
It’s simply isn’t safe for normal people here in cyberspace.
So stick me in Old Sparky and turn on the electricity
T’would be a fitting punishment for my egocentricity.
I always have the last word; so, with utmost finality,
That’s all from me, the very model of an Anorak Personality.
With apologies to Gilbert, Sullivan, and anyone else who can’t understand that Moderator’s are human……
IN America: Planned Parenthood of Idaho officials apologised for a “serious mistake” in encouraging a donation aimed at aborting black babies.
They also criticized The Advocate, a right-to-life student magazine at the University of California-Los Angeles, for trying to discredit Planned Parenthood employees in seven states in a series of tape-recorded phone calls last summer.
The call to Idaho came in July to Autumn Kersey, vice president of development and marketing for Planned Parenthood of Idaho.
On the recording provided by The Advocate, an actor portraying a donor said he wanted his money used to eliminate black unborn children because “the less black kids out there the better.”
Kersey laughed nervously and said: “Understandable, understandable. … Excuse my hesitation, this is the first time I’ve had a donor call and make this kind of request, so I’m excited and want to make sure I don’t leave anything out.”
An eminent British neuro-surgeon has been performing complex brain operations using a £30 do-it-yourself cordless power drill at a clinic in Ukraine.
Henry Marsh, a senior consultant at St George’s hospital in Tooting, south London, has used the Bosch 9.6 volt battery-operated hand tool to open up the skulls of his patients to remove life-threatening tumours. Occasionally the battery has gone flat halfway through.
The operation is performed with the patients fully awake – a technique that fell out of use in Britain 50 years ago. Marsh said that Ukrainians could withstand such a practice because they were “very tough”.
The 58-year-old consultant travels to Ukraine twice a year to perform free operations at a clinic run by a fellow surgeon, Igor Petrovich. The handyman drill was used because the local doctors could not afford state-of-the-art equipment.
When working for the National Health Service, Marsh uses a £30,000 compressed-air medical drill, but he said that the Bosch was an effective stand-in. “There’s not a huge difference,” he said. “The drill is Igor’s solution. It’s simply an ordinary drill which he uses with the standard medical drill bits.
“I have used the Bosch drill myself when I’ve been operating with Igor. It’s exactly the drill that you could have in your garden shed. He bought it at a do-it-yourself shop.”
There is a shortage of fully trained anaesthetists so Marsh’s patients are given only a local anaesthetic. This enables him to talk to them to ensure that he is not doing any permanent damage as he drills.
FROM Carmen in the Anorak Forums..
MATTHEW Yglesias finds the Real Obama:
Obama’s going to have a hard time explaining that I take to be the truth, namely that his relationship with Trinity has been a bit cynical from the beginning. After all, before Obama was a half-black guy running in a mostly white country he was a half-white guy running in a mostly black neighborhood. At that time, associating with a very large, influential, local church with black nationalist overtones was a clear political asset . . . . Since emerging onto a larger stage, it’s been the reverse and Obama’s consistently sought to distance himself from Wright, disinviting him from his campaign’s launch, analogizing him to a crazy uncle who you love but don’t listen to, etc.
Obam’as too slick to be caught to easily…