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.
WRITES Simon Heffer in the Telegraph on drugs:
I make no apology either for being so uncharitable towards the drugs culture, or for hectoring a government that refuses to deal seriously with it. It causes, on a conservative estimate, 70 per cent of the crime in our country. Mugging, burglary, prostitution and most other forms of vice are linked to it. It provokes violence and murder. Poverty, misery and broken families are its result.
Why think you have to make an apology? Better to make a fist at understanding that drugs and crime are linked because – get his – drugs are, in the main, illegal…
CLAY Aiken, singer, is in conversation with Newsweek magazine. Dim the lights, soften the focus and coat with syrup:
How did you get into a fight with that lady on a plane?
I’m not going to talk about it.
I was just curious because you’ve never talked about it.
I did talk about it.
What about the Kelly Ripa thing?
I’m not going to discuss it.
Did you think it was homophobic?
I’m not going to discuss it.
What do you want to talk about?
I think we’re done.
Can we talk about something fun?
No, we’re done. I thought NEWSWEEK would be more reputable. I’m surprised.
But I think people are curious about it.
It was a year ago. This is NEWSWEEK. It’s not the National Enquirer. I’d hate to have a job where I had to be rude to people.
Says OK!: “So it must be hard being so talented..?”
“Young British rich lead campaign against planned ‘holidaymaker’ airport at Siena.”
There’s a demonstration on the steps of the National Gallery. Not because it’s handy for the club and Hugo has a house nearby for post-protest restoratives but because the Italian bank, Monte dei Paschi di Siena, sponsoring an exhibition of Renaissance art from Siena at the gallery, just happens to be one of the new airport’s backers.
Says the Times: “Most of the protest group are in their late teens or early twenties. Many can recall idyllic summers spent in Tuscany at the villas of their parents or grandparents.”
Their number features: Fred Lambton, grandson of Lord Lambton, “the former Tory cabinet minister who lived out his life in Tuscany after resigning from the Heath government over a call-girl scandal”.
Rose Hanbury (model) and Zita Lloyd (model); Joseph Getty, Sir Paul Getty’s grandson; George Frost, Sir David Frost’s boy; Rollo Weeks (actor brother to Honeysuckle Weeks and Perdita Weeks, also actresses – his name means ‘famous wolf’); Arthur Jeffes, a polar explorer; Marissa Montgomery, founder of the Pussy Glamore lingerie range,;Guinnesses, “Heskeths” (a Germanic tribe?); and socialites.
They are the Save Siena group.
Says Lambton: “I spent a lot of time out there when my grandfather was alive and I have seen what the airport would do. The site is completely surrounded by a national park and has a delicate ecosystem. Building an international airport would be disastrous on so many levels.”
Notes the paper: “Lambton, who has previously fought campaigns against the power of supermarkets and the expansion of Heathrow”.
Thank goodness, say we, that the privileged have taken the time to warn us of the dangers of cheap flights, cheap food and more jobs. If only Zac Goldsmith had been there…
Pic: Siena’s Il Palio horse race in full tally ho!
EXRA Levant puiblished those Mohammed cartoons in his Western Standard magaine. He has brought before a “kangaroo court”, aka the Alberta human rights commission.
Our magazine had published eight of the Danish cartoons to illustrate a story (you can read it here after a quick and free registration) about the cartoon riots and the Western media’s fear of printing them.
The magazine spoke for itself — it’s an artifact; anyone could see the words and pictures we used. Why would the commission ask me about my “intentions”?
Why would my intentions as publisher be relevant in determining whether or not the publication was illegal? The answer is that these “human rights” commissions are interested in what George Orwell called “thought crimes”. If my thoughts were pure, the publication might receive their blessing. If my thoughts were impure, the very same publication would be banned. It’s worse than a limit on freedom of expression — which is when you say or print what’s on your mind. It’s a test of what’s on your mind itself — a limit on freedom of thought.
His opening remarks:
Opening remarks by Ezra Levant, January 11, 2008 – Calgary
My name is Ezra Levant. Before this government interrogation begins, I will make a statement.
When the Western Standard magazine printed the Danish cartoons of Mohammed two years ago, I was the publisher. It was the proudest moment of my public life. I would do it again today. In fact, I did do it again today. Though the Western Standard, sadly, no longer publishes a print edition, I posted the cartoons this morning on my website, ezralevant.com.
I am here at this government interrogation under protest. It is my position that the government has no legal or moral authority to interrogate me or anyone else for publishing these words and pictures. That is a violation of my ancient and inalienable freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and in this case, religious freedom and the separation of mosque and state. It is especially perverted that a bureaucracy calling itself the Alberta human rights commission would be the government agency violating my human rights. So I will now call those bureaucrats “the commission” or “the hrc”, since to call the commission a “human rights commission” is to destroy the meaning of those words.
I believe that this commission has no proper authority over me. The commission was meant as a low-level, quasi-judicial body to arbitrate squabbles about housing, employment and other matters, where a complainant felt that their race or sex was the reason they were discriminated against. The commission was meant to deal with deeds, not words or ideas. Now the commission, which is funded by a secular government, from the pockets of taxpayers of all backgrounds, is taking it upon itself to be an enforcer of the views of radical Islam. So much for the separation of mosque and state.
Read more here.
NO little news that Islamic Fundamentalism is finished:
Melbourne University Law School Masters program has changed its subject “Fundamentals of Islamic Law” to “Principles of Islamic Law”. He He He.
At 2:45 a.m. Central Time, the Gulfstream 2 plane that carried Obama, nine other passengers and two crew members struck a parked Cessna 208 general aviation plane, which can carry 10 to 12 passengers.
“There was minor damage to the wings of both aircraft, although no one on either of the planes was injured”
What’s that talke we hear? A warning, you say? A conspiracy? You thought Obama could fly unaided?
ON The BBC: “US national intelligence chief Mike McConnell has said the interrogation technique of water-boarding ‘would be torture’ if he were subjected to it.”
Any chance of that?
“Mr McConnell said it would also be torture if water-boarding, which involves simulated drowning, resulted in water entering a detainee’s lungs.
He told the New Yorker there would be a ‘huge penalty’ for anyone using it if it was ever determined to be torture.
The US attorney-general has declined to rule on whether the method is torture.
And here is how to, er, recognise it:
SAYS Dlisted: “Mark Ronson and Amy Wino were spotted in London last night doing the usual convenience store drive-by. She’s the British Brit Brit…”
That’s gossips’ slang for Britney Spears. Winehouse is no Spears. Winehouse has talent. Britney Spears – an aggressive, underdressed, fleshy, tarty, attention seeking peroxide blonde – would be less a star over here than just an everyday mum…
THE LA Times says that up to a million people in China have been undone in an ant farming pyramid scheme run by a company with close ties to the Chinese government.
These ants were far more than uninvited picnic guests, [investors] were told. When ground into a powder, they become an aphrodisiac, a kidney purifier and general cure-all, the Yilishen Tianxi Group declared. The ants would earn them a 30% annual return.In reality, critics say, the ants apparently were little more than the bait for a vast pyramid scheme. Over an eight-year period, the company recruited as many as 1 million would-be ant farmers, collecting about $1.2 billion. In mid-December, it filed for bankruptcy…
The company hired as its spokesman Zhao Benshan, a famous comedian and actor who specializes in playing a hick. He has since dropped out of sight.
The boxes at the heart of the ant farming business are made of cardboard with a 2-inch-square plastic window and a small feeding hole framed so badly with duct tape that they look like the work of a careless teenager with a box cutter.
In return for their money, ant farmers were given the boxes, ants and a list of strict instructions: The ants need a spritz of water mixed with white sugar or honey at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. every day. They should be fed cake and egg yolks every three to five days. And they should be kept indoors.
In return, the company would come and pick up dead dried ants every 74 days. Under no circumstances were the ant farmers to open their boxes and look inside, they were told, to ensure that the special Yilishen ants weren’t mixed with inferior ants.
DWT – Driving While Texting. Can you do it? Typing and drving?
Some Virginia lawmakers want drivers to take their thumbs off the keyboards and put them back on the steering wheel while cruising down Virginia’s roads.
They are tackling the problem of drivers who send, read and write messages on cellphones, PDAs and BlackBerrys. It’s a thoroughly modern distraction dubbed Driving While Texting or DWT…
A year ago, they made it illegal for teenagers under 18 to talk, send text messages or snap photos with a cellphone while driving, but they can be cited only if they are stopped for another offense…”I frankly did not even realize that one could do that and drive,” said Del. James M. Scott (D-Fairfax), who sponsored one of the bills. “But I learned quickly from my younger daughter, who assured me that it’s very easy to do.”
Teangers can’t talk on their mobiles while driving but, say, a 68-year-old can? Older people make the laws. Older people are jealous of the young’s talent…
A contest is underway to name the polar bear cub being raised by hand after being taken away from his mother at a German zoo.
The names range from Alaska to Hope or Sunshine, a spokesman for the zoo in the southern city of Nuremberg says. But there are also “traditional names” like Emma, Pauline and Frieda, he adds.
Emma P. Bear. Humanising the polar bears. Polar bears eat their young.
The zoo is holding a public competition to find a name for the female cub, who is reported to be thriving after spending a third day without her mother…Vera.
“We’re getting 15 emails with name suggestions every minute,” says city spokesman Robert Hackner.
The zoo’s keepers have dubbed the cub, thought to be female, Flocke – German for flake, as in snow flake – because of its brilliantly white and fluffy fur.
The pure white German polar bear… What would you call it?
WRITES the BBC’s man in Italy: “The putrid problem of Italian politics
“There has been much public soul-searching and wringing of hands by politicians of all parties since the garbage men gave up collecting rubbish in Naples just before Christmas”
Indeed – “garbage men“. Not dustmen. Not even refuge disposal engineers. But “garbage”.
Are we now speaking American English?
PARIS Hilton is medicre. Paris Hilton is talented.
Fabian Tassano writes:
Some months ago Celia Green wrote about Paris Hilton, suggesting that the case involving her imprisonment could be interpreted somewhat differently from the way most commentators were suggesting. Interestingly, this aroused negative reactions in at least one reader, who complained that Green should not defend a “mediocre airhead”, and argued that Hilton should be viewed critically because “she never earned her fortune, she inherited it”.This misses the point. Hilton is a celebrity because she is good at pretending to be mediocre or ‘stupid’. Contrary to prejudice, it actually takes a good deal of talent to do that. If this isn’t talent of the most interesting kind, blame mediocracy not Miss Hilton. The demand that advantages be “earned” is also illustrative of mediocracy, which insists that only those who satisfy mass taste should be allowed to be significantly better off than average — partly, perhaps, because it makes it easier to insist that they should be answerable to society for their privileges. (The mass giveth, and the mass taketh away.)
Of course, blaming the individual is precisely what mediocracy is about, and it will deliberately create opportunities for doing so. Setting up royalty for the purpose of knocking them down later is a human motivation recognised since Frazer’s Golden Bough, but it reaches a shrill extreme in a mediocracy.
More recently, we had a repeat of the hate-Hilton effect, with Britney Spears, who unlike Hilton did derive her position entirely from ‘earning it’. Green has just written a piece about the case here. Hate can take subtle forms, such as being assessed and evaluated by supposed experts. In this case, the ‘experts’ include our old friend Oliver James.
Of course, Hilton is American Royalty…
ON the Anorak Forums:
A BIRD which had become trapped in a port town tree was rescued by fire-fighters last night, says the Echo in rival town Darlington…and they must have enjoyed reporting this one.
A full crew from the Headland Station in Hartlepool were called to nearby Durham Street to deal with the incident around 6pm.
They used a short extension ladder to reach the bird and cut the branch off with the bird, its feet caught up, still attached.
“PEOPLE in Order” – a film that shows 100 peopl aged from one to 100 striking a drum:
I THOUGHT you paid the bill: “Eavesdropping operations on criminal and terrorist suspects by the Federal Bureau of Investigation have collapsed because the bureau has failed to pay its telephone bills.
“A report by the US Department of Justice revealed that the unpaid costs of wiretaps came to $66,000 (£33,000) in one FBI field office alone.”
Can they hear me laughing?
THE Lord of the Rings – in confectionery:
MY brothers, sister, myself and some of our friends built a scale model of Minas Tirith during the Battle of Pelennor Fields from the novel, The Return of the King, by J.R.R. Tolkien.
What men do…
TWINS seaprated at birth. More here. Dizzy notes:
Some people may have read about the twins that were separated at birth, grew up in separately adopted families, met by pure random chance, fell in love, got married, and then learned they were twins leading to High Court annulment. I have but one question in this crazy and head screwy situation. What on earth possessed the people dealing with the adoption to separate twins? That just seems absolutely crazy to me.
I’m not saying that they could have predicted the randomness of them meeting, but surely separating twins, given what is known about twins, would have quite a psychological impact on them even though they won’t remember their sibling. Would or do they separate twins today I wonder?
Prince Harry’s twin works in harrod’s food halls, they say…
BRITONS are Shafiq Rasul, Asif Iqbal, Rhuhel Ahmed and Jamal Al-Harith have been challenging torture, abuse:
Ruling in a case of four Britons who formerly were detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the D.C. Circuit Court decided Friday that the prisoners have no right to sue top Pentagon officials and military officers for allegedly torturing them and defiling their religious beliefs while they were held at the military prison. The Court applied several different legal theories in rejecting all of the claims of abuse and arbitrary imprisonment, but the end result was that there was nothing left of the detainees’ legal challenge…
The four Britons are Shafiq Rasul, Asif Iqbal, Rhuhel Ahmedand Jamal Al-Harith. They sued former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, top generals, and several Army colonels or lieutenant colonels. They contended that Secretary Rumsfeld had approved harsh interrogation techniques for Guantanamo prisoners, leading “systematic and repeated” torture at the military prison on the island of Cuba throughout their two years in captivity as lower-ranking military personnel carried out Rumsfeld’s authorization. They were released from Guantanamo in March 2004, and returned to Britain. They then sued in U.S. courts under the Alien Tort Statute, the Geneva Conventions on treatment of military prisoners, the U.S. Constitution, and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
U.S. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina threw out all of the claims except that under the religious freedom law, concluding that those allegations could go forward because the Act did apply to the detainees at Guantanamo because of the scope of U.S. control of the military base and prison there, and because the detainees there were “persons” under the Act.
SOME economic analysis from Hillary Clinton: “I think we’re slipping toward a recession,” she said. “A couple of people that I met on the street, they work in construction. They tell me it’s slowed down.”
Hillary’s common touch…
BIG bonuses at New York bank Merrill Lynch. Or not. As reported on CNBC, an employee at Merrill Lynch’s fixed income research group has “inappropriately relieved” himself in reaction to his meagre bonus.
Reported: “In the first place, it wasn’t piss. It was shit. DealBreaker can confirm this much….The way we first heard it is that a guy took a dump in the rest room, stomped in it, and then dragged it all over the place by walking around with it on his shoes.”
Merrill says there was “an unfortunate accident” in one of the stalls.
Has the, bottom, fallen out of the market?
Goes the press release: “The Mayor of London Ken Livingstone today launched London’s first ‘light bulb amnesty’… London’s first ‘light bulb amnesty’ will take place from Friday 11 January to Sunday 13 January, in conjunction with B&Q and British Gas. Londoners can take a traditional light bulb from their home to any of the 28 London B&Q stores and, in return, receive a free, energy efficient light bulb, provided by British Gas.”
The Anorak went to B&Q. We took along an icecap-melting lightbulb. We also delivered a huge knife, a novelty sword, a starter pistol and a massive trunk full to the brim with VHS videos of Old Mr Anorak’s winter training camps with Anorak’s official Thai ping-pong team.
This is an amnesty, after all. With no fear of arrest, we could dump the lot at the door of our local B&Q DIY centre and drive off with a clear conscience and space in the attic.
Of course, we should really leave the car at the door too. It burns fossil fuel and that is bad. So we did.
And then we left our lawnmower, a couple of coffin dodgers from the accounts department who are expelling carbon, albeit softly, an old pencil and seven balloons we found tied to a front door. Balloons are full of carbon dioxide, and will be from now on known as “Rubber Bombs”.
All hail the amnesty…
VIOLENCE in sport. After the cricket sledging this fight during a Russian ice hockey match beween Ak Bars vs. Traktor seems more honest:
REPORTED: “A pair of twins who were adopted by separate families as babies got married without knowing they were brother and sister, a peer told the House of Lords.
A court annulled the British couple’s union after they discovered their true relationship, Lord Alton said.
The peer – who was told of the case by a High Court judge involved – said the twins felt an “inevitable attraction”.
The former Liberal Democrat MP raised the couple’s case during a House of Lords debate on the Human Fertility and Embryology Bill in December.
“They were never told that they were twins,” he told the Lords.
“They met later in life and felt an inevitable attraction, and the judge had to deal with the consequences of the marriage that they entered into and all the issues of their separation.
THE Indian-Australian cricket row boils on: