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Arsenal balls: Manchester United park the bus and Chelsea never lose

Arsenal are on the up. With four wins and one draw from their past five games, and with just one goal conceded in that period, Arsene Wenger’s team have recovered from their early season defeats to Stoke (in which they were unlucky and robbed by poor refereeing) and Liverpool (where they got the thrashing their abject performance deserved). It also behoves a mention to note that following Arsenal’s 2-0 win over a spark West Bromwich Albion, the Gunners have won eight consecutive home games in the Premier League.

But in the Sun, the forecast at The Emirates remains grim. Therein they are “FALTERING Arsenal”. You “could not disguise just how far the Gunners are falling behind their major rivals. While City, United and Chelsea are brushing opponents aside with contemptuous ease, Arsene Wenger’s team are labouring to see off even the most unambitious of rivals.”

 

Arsenal table

Arsenal “far behind” at one point away from third sport

 

Arsenal drew 0-0 at Chelsea in a game they could well have won, hitting the post and missing an open goal from inside six yards. And that’s the same Chelsea who lost at home to the mighty Burnley. Manchester City were flukey away to Bournemouth, scoring a very late goal courtesy of Raheem Sterling’s boot and a massive deflection, and drew 1-1 with Everton. Manchester United have drawn 2-2 with Stoke, and last weekend beat Southampton 0-1. Of that match the Sun’s sister paper, the Times, called United’s performance “strangely lethargic”. Adding:

Given the lead by Lukaku, United went into abject retreat in the second half when Southampton had the bulk of possession and most of the chances. At the final whistle, United had six defenders on the pitch, while the home side brought on two attackers, a fair reflection of the balance of power.

Manchester United parked the bus. So much for “brushing aside opponents with contemptuous ease”. United and City have yet to play any of their title rivals.

And what of West Bromwich Albion being unambitious? The Evening Standard reports:

Pulis had employed a more ambitious West Brom lineup than might have been expected, with Hal Robson-Kanu and Rodriguez making for a mobile, high-pressing front two.

It’s hardly perfect at Arsenal, but to ignore the facts and stick to a bogus narrative is poor reporting.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 26th, September 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Manchester City, manchester united, News, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Police use story of climbers stuck on Scafell Pike to attack cannabis users

scafell pike stoned rescue

 

Four walkers from Manchester got stuck on England’s highest mountain last weekend because they were too goofed to walk back down, says the Guardian. Stoned on the Scafell Pike’s 3,210-foot “peak”, the men summoned help. Cumbria Police went on Twitter to lament:

 

 

 

But that’s not quite true. Only one of the men had smoked weed, but all had been drinking. Richard Warren, of Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team, never mentioned police involvement when he told the North West Evening Mail: “As a group, they were emotionally feeling very concerned. Half of them had waterproofs. They were totally unprepared for what they had got themselves into. When one of them got unwell because of the substance they had taken, it added further worry.” The paper notes: “It is understood the men had been drinking and one of them had taken cannabis.”

 

 

 

But writing on Facebook, a police spokesperson doesn’t mention the booze:

“Persons phoning Cumbria Police because they are stuck on a mountain, after taking cannabis. Now having to deploy M’tain Rescue, Air support and Ambulance to rescue them. Words fail us…..”

A helicopter was not deployed. But one was placed on standby. Esquire reports:

Police worked with the Wasdale mountain rescue team to help bring the men down to safety at 9.45pm, with police adding in a second post on their Facebook page: “Persons rescued by MRT, after becoming incapable of walking off mountain due to cannabis use. MRT volunteers putting themselves at risk to prevent harm.”

Were police called?

Someone using the Twitter name “Samuel Coleridge” says he was one of the rescued men. He tells ITV:

“At the time of making the call we were panicking, cold, wet and hungry and knew if it went dark it was going to be hard getting down.

“I can’t remember exactly how the emergency call went, but I did tell them it was only one of the four of us who had collapsed and was out cold and that we had been drinking and that he had smoked some cannabis.

“My biggest concern now is that our names could be leaked, as we’re all working individuals and I wouldn’t want to risk that. Also most of our families have put two and two together which has caused plenty of headaches…

“There wasn’t a huge costly rescue operation launched as reported by the police. They made out a helicopter, police officers and ambulances were used, but there were none. The only truth was mountain rescue were alerted and we met them near Boot not on the mountain.

“Of course we are sorry for taking up the time of the mountain rescue team. We carried him down as far as we could and only called as a last resort. We fully appreciated their help and support, because we mentioned cannabis on the emergency call the whole situation was blown way out of proportion.”

But if you pick the facts to present it as a police operation mopping up after doped dopes so much the better…

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


Lavinia Woodward’s mitigating factors: she’s not black, male and poor

Lavinia Woodward, 24, has been in court for assaulting her boyfriend – she stabbed him in the leg with a bread knife after throwing a laptop, a glass and a jam jar at him. Should she go to prison? “No!” rules judge Ian Pringle, who reasons that because Woodward is bright and wants to be surgeon, a stint in choky might damage her career. You and anyone sane might baulk at being treated by a surgeon with a history of stabbing people with kitchen equipment – taking work home with her? – who suffers from an emotionally-unstable personality disorder, a severe eating disorder, and alcohol and drug addiction.

Might it be that the victim, one Thomas Fairclough, a Cambridge graduate Woodward had met on the dating app Tinder, took one for the team?

 

lavinia woodward

She’s presented as someone we should envy – the blonde ‘toff’ laughing in the face of justice. That’s ugly. She seems far from happy.

 

But Woodward remains at large. Judge Pringle thinks she’s possessed of an “extraordinary talent”. Dwayne from the council estate can go to prison for his crimes, on account of being normal or even blow par; but Lavinia was really terribly good at school so when she gets into drugs and knife crime, it’s all a dreadful waste of potential that society cannot bear. So for pleading guilty to unlawful wounding she receives a sentence of 10 months’ imprisonment suspended for 18 months. Well, so goes the tabloid narrative.

Pringle is sympathetic to Lavinia, telling the court: “It seems to me that if this was a one-off, a complete one-off, to prevent this extraordinarily able young lady from following her long-held desire to enter the profession she wishes to would be a sentence which would be too severe. What you did will never, I know, leave you but it was pretty awful, and normally it would attract a custodial sentence, whether it is immediate or suspended.”

Judge Pringle seems to believe that because sentencing aims to protect society and help to rehabilitate the offender, jailing a bright student would be counterproductive.

Pringle has more to say to the young woman at Oxford Crown Court:

“There are many mitigating features in your case. Principally, at the age of 24 you have no previous convictions of any nature whatsoever. Secondly, I find that you were genuinely remorseful following this event and, indeed, it was against your bail conditions, you contacted your partner to fully confess your guilt and your deep sorrow for what happened.

“Thirdly, whilst you are a clearly highly-intelligent individual, you had an immaturity about you which was not commensurate for someone of your age. Fourthly, as the reports from the experts make clear, you suffer from an emotionally-unstable personality disorder, a severe eating disorder and alcohol drug dependence.

“Finally, and most significantly, you have demonstrated over the last nine months that you are determined to rid yourself of your alcohol and drug addiction and have undergone extensive treatment including counselling to address the many issues that you face. In particular, you have demonstrated to me since I adjourned this matter in May a strong and unwavering determination to do so despite the enormous pressure under which you were put and which has been referred to me by your counsel.”

 

The judge never said she was “too clever” for prison. Only newspapers did.

 

So the “highly intelligent” young woman – someone you might suppose can understand the weight of her crime better than most – doesn’t go to jail. Which appears to be a lesson for us all: don’t be poor, black and male. But it’s not that simple.

Lavinia Woodward should not be envied. She appears to be struggling and have suffered. And the media exposure must be challenging, especially to someone who appears unhappy in her own skin. It’ll be interesting to see what occurs when someone less bright and less blonde than Lavinia Woodward charged with similar crimes stands before the judge – and if the tabloids report their trials at all, let alone deem the cases worthy of front-page news. We might not like the story of the “toff” who “escaped” prison for “being too clever”, but that might be something to do with our own prejudices.

That’s another lesson for us all: if you want to be on the tabloids’ front pages and ride high on the news cycle: do be blonde, female and young.

 

Posted: 26th, September 2017 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


A ‘very disgusting bodily fluid’ was found in soap dispensers

I once worked a biscuit factory. After an hour in the job, I swore never to eat that brand of biscuit again. Whenever I now see someone eating one, I wince and can’t look away. But maybe the taste of ‘personal extras’ are what keep the punters coming back?

Doubtless someone using the toilets at Detroit Metro Airport smelt their palms after washing them in ‘soap’ and thought “nice”. The rest of us are left wandering what the authorities mean by an “unusual substance” discovered in the toilets’ soap dispensers. It’s a “very disgusting… bodily fluid” they say. Which one?

We don’t know. But to be on the safe side all soap dispensers at Detroit airpot have been replaced, and we’d advise against washing your hands and to be on the look out for anyone sexually aroused by anything with a pump action. And that includes the NRA.

Spotter: Click on Detroit

Posted: 25th, September 2017 | In: News, Strange But True | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Poppy monoculture: a draconian silence falls over Wembley

Without any hint of irony the Daily Telegraph hears that England – the national football side rebranded ‘The Three Lions’ – are allowed to wear pictures of poppies on their shirts and calls it a “major victory for the British game”. England might not win many meaningful football matches but when it comes to decorating our tops, decades of hurt have been undone. On November 10, England will wear poppies on their shirts as they play – get this – Germany at Wembley.

Before last year’s Armistice Day, FIFA banned England and Scotland — as well as Wales and Northern Ireland — from wearing the poppy, the symbol of remembrance, for matches on that day. FIFA says “political, religious or personal” designs should no infect the national shirts. But England and Scotland players wore them anyhow, albeit as black armbands with a poppy motif.  Odd, no? Football is about rules. It’s all about rules. Without rules there is no sport. Flouting the rules is no small deal.

Rory Smith notes that “Until 2009, it was rare for British club teams to display a poppy on their uniforms at this time of year… A campaign led by the Daily Mail that year changed all that. The intention, of course, is an admirable and honorable one: to show that football, as the slogan goes, remembers. That is not, however, necessarily the effect. Wearing a poppy is designed as an individual act; when it becomes compulsory, it loses not just much of its impact, but some of its meaning.”

An act of remembering in a minute’s contemplative silence became enforced duty. And it became political. Theresa May called it was “utterly outrageous” that FIFA should rule on poppies. The FA says “common sense” has won. The Sun calls it “VICTORY – Poppy ban KO-d as FIFA sees sense”.  “POPPY VICTORY,” declares the Express. “POPPY POWER,” hails the Mail. “Sportsmail ran a successful campaign in 2009 for all Premier League clubs to have the poppy emblem on their shirts, which is now commonplace.” No. It’s compulsory. And anyone who objects is portrayed as morally repugnant.

In 2010, Celtic fans protested a decision for their club’s shirt to feature the poppy. Their banner declared: “Your deeds they would shame all the devils in hell. Ireland, Iraq, Afghanistan. No blood-stained poppy on our hoops.” Celtic vowed to ban he protestors. The Sun called them “hate mobs”. Don’t sing sectarian chants about past battles and loss, goes the top-down directive, but you must wear the poppy.

This is not about heartfelt remembrance, giving private thanks to the sacrifices of so many for our freedom (to choose) and supporting the armed forces; it’s about public displays of group think and compliance.

 

Posted: 25th, September 2017 | In: Back pages, Broadsheets, Key Posts, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Leland Melvin writes and Roseanne Barr flees as Donald Trump reviews NFL games for poor anthem singing

Donald Trump wants sportsmen to stand up straight and give full throat to the US National Anthem. Trump’s directive is not an attempt to best Kim Jong-un in the battle to be the most controlling leader, rather because a few players in the National Football League (NFL) have turned the pre-match anthem into a form of protest.

Says Trump on twitter: “If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!.. Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now… he is fired’?”

Let’s got further. As the cameras pan along the line of anthem and non-anthem singers, how about adopting a decibel-o-meter? Any players mumbling, not singing loud enough or humming something from the current Top 40 will be shot. To further test patriotism, the anthem will be played at random moments in the game. Anyone failing to stop instantly, place their palm to their heart and sing will also be shot. This offer will then be extended to cheerleaders, crowd members and through a ‘Retweet’ system linked to electrified Anthem Chairs, eventually the people watching at home.

Trump will then set up a commission to review past matches to check for inappropriate singing and non-singing. He willl put a bounty on Roseanne Barr, whose rendition before the San Diego Padres v Cincinnati Reds in 1990 game was described by President Bush as “disgraceful”.

 

 

As everyone prepares to die by the third quarter, it’s time to hear from Leland Melvin, the astronaut and former footballer:

To Donald Trump

I believe in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of this country even though at the time they were drafted, their tenets of life, liberty justice for all and eventual freedom of speech, religion, assembly, press and petition amendment ratified in Dec 1791, only applied to a select group of people and not ones that looked like me.

Donald Trump, I listened to your Alabama rally rant and could not believe how easily you say what you say.

We have become numb to your outlandish acts, tweets and recent retweet of you knocking down Hillary Clinton with a golf ball that you hit.

Donald Trump, your boorish and disgusting actions are not funny. They actually promote violence against women especially when your followers act out what you say.

I used to walk the grounds of UVA in Charlottesville, VA as a graduate student only to watch in horror as those same grounds became a battlefield being trod by Nazi and anti-Semitic worshippers armed with assault style weapons ready to fight to make America White again. (their words). You actually said there were nice people on both sides. People armed and ready to kill other Americans for the purpose of eradicating Blacks, Jews, Hispanics, Mexicans, Asians, Latinas and even the first real Americans, Native Americans to make America Great Again were “nice people”?

Comparing this to what you say in condemnation of an unarmed black man peacefully protesting by exercising his constitutional First Amendment rights by silently taking a knee is appalling, unnerving and reprehensible.

Today, you called Colin Kaepernick “a son-of-a-bitch.”

You said he should be fired.

You are calling his white mother a bitch.

The strong contrast in language for a black man and a Nazi is very telling. Do you have any sense of decency or shame in what you say to the American people that are part of your duty to serve respectfully with dignity, presidentially?

Our National Anthem has been edited to try not to offend, because when Francis Scott Key penned the song he watched freed slaves fighting for the British and wrote this stanza:

“And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

I guess if I were a slave back then I probably would have done anything to obtain freedom from my American oppressors who were whipping, killing, raping, dismembering, hanging or releasing the dogs on people like me all under our Constitution.

In 1814 former slaves fought with the British for their freedom from their American enslavers.

Key witnessed a battle from a ship off the Maryland shore at Fort McHenry, which inspired him to write what became our National Anthem.

I served my country not in the military, but as 1 of 362 American Astronauts that have explored the universe to help advance our civilization. Not just Americans, but all humans. I also was briefly in the NFL and stood for the National Anthem with my hand over my heart. What makes us great is our differences and respecting that we are all created equally even if not always treated that way.

Looking back at our planet from space really helps one get a bigger perspective on how petty and divisive we can be. Donald Trump, maybe you should ask your good friend Mr. Putin to give you a ride on a Soyuz rocket to our International Space Station and see what it’s like to work together with people we used to fight against, where your life depends on it. See the world and get a greater sense of what it means to be part of the human race, we call it the Orbital Perspective.

Donald Trump, please know that you are supposed to be a unifier and a compassionate and empathetic leader. If you can’t do the job then please step down and let someone else try. I pray that you do the right thing.

May God bless you.

Sincerely,

Leland Melvin
Former Astronaut and NFL Player

 

Leland Melvin

Leland Melvin

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


Punching fascists and other hate crimes: why Astro Labe ‘attacked’ tony Abbott

Astro Labe has been charged with assault for an alleged attack on Australian MP Tony Abbott.  Labe, a 38-year-old bartender and barista, tells Adelaide Now why he did it. Was it all about Abbott’s opposition to same-sex marriage, something Australians are voting on? At the time of the alleged incident, Labe was sporting a same-sex sticker on his anorak. He says:

“It was nothing really remotely to do with that. It’s just about Tony Abbott – the f***ing worm that he is. All it was is I saw Tony Abbott and I’d had half a skinful and I wanted to nut the c***. I want to divorce myself [from the same-sex marriage issue] — not because I disagree with their stance — but this was nothing to do with that. That’s just my personal hatred.”

 

Astro Labe

Not a hate criminal

 

Is this a hate crime, then?

“I was like ‘Tony, Tony’, I kind of trotted up behind him. I trotted up behind him, ‘I just want to shake your hand’ and just went bang. Kind of missed it. Gave him a fat lip. He got off pretty lightly. He’s just lucky I’m not a violent c***.”

Phew! Lucky escape for Abbott that Labe’s a peacnick.

He goes on to tell Sydney Morning Herald:

“[It] was just a lifelong ambition to headbutt a fascist because I’m a skinhead that likes ska music and hates fascism. He’s an evil c—, I’m an anarchist and I believe in human rights … I headbutted him quite piss-poorly because I was quite pissed.”

If Labe wants to attack a  fascist, why did he go for Abbott, someone who does not oppose democracy in principle? What Labe means by fascist, of course, is anyone he disagree with and finds morally unacceptable. It’s thinking very bit as lazy as his headbutt.

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


Violent Australian bigots have the say on same‑sex marriage

In Australia a debate over gay marriage has turned nasty. Australia’s 16m registered voters are answering a question “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?” We’ll know the answer on November 15th. And whatever the outcome, the result is not legally binding. The poll is being conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, not the body that oversees elections.

It’s popularity contest. The Government will use toe vote to gage what the people want. Greens’ party leader Richard Di Natale said the plebiscite could “give a megaphone to hate and homophobia”. Opposition leader Bill Shorten said a campaign “would be an emotional torment for gay teenagers”.

Indeed, the debate has become brutal.

 

Religion is playing no small part in the row. The Telegraph reports:

Imams and Islamic leaders are ramping up a campaign against same-sex marriage, using their sermons in mosques across Australia to urge the Muslim community to vote no.

Islamic Friendship Association of Australia head Keysar Trad has begun a tour of prayer halls in a bid to thwart same-sex marriage, comparing gay love to incestuous relationships­.

“We might love our mum and dad intensively but you don’t denigrate that love with sexual behaviour,” he said.

Not everyone is as confused as Mr Trad. But, boy, are they ever intolerant. In Canberra, one woman is paying the price for thinking for herself:

A small-business owner has sacked a staff member who came out in support of the “no” campaign in the same-sex marriage postal plebiscite.

Madlin Sims, who runs a party entertainment company in Canberra, said she was taking a stand on the issue, likening it to employing a staff member who posted racist material online.

The sacked contractor was a woman who took photos of events and often posted them on Facebook. “Today I fired a staff member who made it public knowledge that they feel ‘it’s okay to vote no’,” Ms Sims wrote on Sunday.

“Advertising your desire to vote no for SSM is, in my eyes, hate speech. Voting no is homophobic. Advertising your homophobia is hate speech. As a business owner I can’t have somebody who publicly represents my business posting hate speech online.

“1. Its bad for business. 2. I don’t like s**t morals. 3. I don’t want homophobes working for me, especially in an environment with children.

“It’s not okay to vote no.”

And now former PM Tony Abbott has been headbutted by a 38-year-old man wearing a “Vote Yes” badge. The Daily Telegraph reports:

The former prime minister said he was headbutted after attending a private function on Thursday.

Speaking with 2GB radio after the incident, Mr Abbott said he was confronted by one male while walking back to his hotel on Thursday.

“A fellow sung out to me, ‘Hey, Tony’, I turned around, there was a chap wearing a ‘vote Yes’ badge’, he says ‘I wanna shake your hand’,” he said.

“I went over to shake his hand and he headbutted me.”

Mr Abbott said his attacker “wasn’t very good at it”, but said the blow did make contact.

Abott, who earned two Blues for boxing while at Oxford University, is attracting not a lot of symapthy from ‘yes’ voters. This one stands out:

I would *love* to headbutt Tony Abbott. Guess I’ll never get the chance now.

— 🌈Peter Mattessi (@pmattessi) September 21, 2017

Peter Mattessi writes for the BBC. He’s done nothing wrong. He’s made no threats. His views are just part of a debate about love and equality.

 

Peter Mattessi

 

Is the media biased?

The Daily Telegraph has more:

An ABC staff member has applauded the alleged assault on former Prime Minister Tony Abbott by a same-sex activist…

The email was responding to a breaking news alert from ABC News 24’s producer and presenter Jason Om that Mr Abbott had been attacked in Hobart.

Om’s email was titled “Abbott headbutted” and read: “Tony Abbott has told 2GB he was subjected to a ‘Liverpool kiss’ in Hobart by a man who supported same sex marriage.”

The email alert went out at 8.12pm, after Mr Abbott was allegedly headbutted by a man wearing a YES campaign badge who had asked to shake his hand.

Less than a minute later, the reply all from the employee responded: “Good.”

The Australian adds:

An ABC spokesperson said: “The email was unacceptable and the staff member in question, who is a technical operator and not a journalist, has been counselled. It was a one-word lapse in judgment by one person rather than a general reflection of the entire ABC.”

Vote now and vote often.

Posted: 22nd, September 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Manchester United balls: what Maja Nilsson didn’t say about executive boxes

Seats are pricey at Manchester United. Even a footballer on astronomical wages is upset at the cost of watching the Red Devils. The Daily Mirror says Victor Lindelof’s fiancee “blasts” Man United over “‘disgusting £82,000 cost for Old Trafford executive boxes'”.

And where one tabloid leads, another dutifully follows – although in the Sun, Maja Nilsson, for that is she, is reduce to a “WAG”:

 

manchester united  Victor Lindelof’s fiancee

 

The story tells readers:

“Jose Mourinho’s squad can hire the luxury suites for their family and friends at home games with prices ranging from £24,000 to £81,600.”

So the top price is just under £82,000. And what did she say? This:

“Players have the option to rent a box,” Nilsson said on her podcast, called Livet På Läktaren (Life in the Stands). “I’m not even going to tell you for how much, but a disgusting amount. If you don’t buy one you’re considered a loser. But having a box is wonderful. You get your own waiter.”

The story has been removed from both the Sun and Mirror’s websites.

Posted: 21st, September 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Nestlé does not pay nothing for bottling water

You mugs drinking water for ‘hydration’ deserve all you can get. Fruit and vegetable juice are the drink of choice for the health conscious, especially when they’re rebranded as cider, wine and beer. And now via Bloomberg more news to chill water drinkers:

Nestlé Makes Billions Bottling Water It Pays Nearly Nothing For

True enough that the water flows freely

But as Tim Worstall notes, it’s not still free when it arrives at your table or sports bag:

So, let’s consider that other essential for life, oxygen. Say you’re in hospital, and need an extra supply. The people who stuck that compressed oxygen into that bottle and transported it to where you need it not to die. They got it for free! Just sucked it out of the common atmosphere they did!

 

The story is, of course, that bottled water is for idiots. But you can buy what you like. You choice. In 2009, we read that “wine is now cheaper than water”. In 2015, Meurig Raymond told BBC Radio 4’s Today that “milk… is now cheaper than water”.Surely he meant milk was cheaper than bottled water, some of which retails at £80 a litre.

 

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


Liverpool regrets: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain plays and Arsenal fans laugh

Don’t panic, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, the Arsenal player who left the club for Liverpool in a £40m transfer. Four matches into his rosy-fingered dawn and ‘The Ox’ has yet to be on the winning side.

No need to panic, though.

When Gareth Bale was at Spurs, it took 25 matches (!) for him to be on the winning team. The Sun’s Pat Sheehan covered Tottenham’s 1-0 defeat by Everton on 30 November, 2008, writing: “One glance at the score and any Spurs fan will tell you without looking at the line-up that Gareth Bale must have played.” Bale went on to be brilliant.

Of course, the problem is that Oxlade-Chamberlain is nowhere near as good as Bale. He’s a mediocre player who went for a stupid amount of money. Arsenal did very well in getting shot of the nice middle class boy in the final year of his Arsenal contract. ESPN says Arsenal had a “disastrous” transfer window. Balls. They hung on to Alexis Sanchez – their best player – and waved goodbye to the player who has always promised much and delivered less than a geriatric Deliveroo cyclist.

Last night Liverpool were knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Leicester City. And Oxlade-Chamberlain was every bit as ineffective as he was at Arsenal.  Someone has produced this damning compilation of his night’s work:

This is the Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who left Arsenal because he wants to play centrally, rather than waste his talents at wing-back.

Well played, Arsenal. Well played.

Posted: 20th, September 2017 | In: Arsenal, Liverpool, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Antifa bigots are even worse than the neo-Nazi they beat up in Seattle

Prince Harry got lucky. Moreover, Sid Vicious, Keith Moon, Brian Jones, Siouxie Sioux, Ron Asheton, Peter Rabbit, TV baker Paul Hollywood and Paul Dutton, 48, who was ejected from his local branch of Asda in Cambridge after a fellow shopper complained about his attire – a classic formal black suit of the type produced by Hugo Boss in the 1940s and favoured by Hitler’s notorious SS. Had any of those people who like to dress as Nazis been spotted walking about Seattle, they’d have been beaten to a bloody pulp by intolerant, bigoted, lazy-thinking, needy anti-fascist thugs.

 

Nazi Seattle bus

 

Buzzfeed reports:

The person using the @teethnclaws account asked not to be identified, citing concerns over his personal safety. He said he wasn’t aware of who actually threw the punch, but credits anti-fascist Twitter networks for making it happen.

“I would say that we successfully identified, tracked and coordinated to neutralize a clear and present danger to Seattle. Whether we coordinated the actual punch or not,” he said, “I, for one, applaud the anonymous hero.”

@teethnclaws described himself as an active anti-fascist fighter for the last 20 years and said that the punch in Seattle was the coordinated effort of “horizontal organizing between concerned neighbors.” He said nobody knows who threw the punch and that he wouldn’t help anyone find out.

“When anti-fascists, casual or organized, have their identity broadcast they are put in extreme danger,” he said.

This is how our saviours communicate:

 

Nazi Seattle bus

 

Of course the guy in the armband’s a knob. He’s making full advert of that. His swastika is notable and maybe even shocking because of its rarity. The idiot on the bus isn’t at the vanguard of the Fourth Reich.

The white man seen punching the neo-Nazi fool in the face, having joined others in cornering their target and engaging him in conversation, doubtless sees himself as a noble champion of ethnic minorities. He’s the antithesis of fanatical, thuggish white supremacists and their agenda of elitism and violence. He’s pitifully wrong. Like the neo-Nazis they obsess over, the so-called alt-Left celebrates violence in the pursuit of moral superiority, in which the Untermensch are expelled. The cretin in the Nazi get-up is punched because he’s transgressed the limits of what these alt-Left vigilantes deem acceptable speech and dress. Free speech and free expressions are cornerstones of democracy, but neo-Nazis and antifa share a monocular view: agree with us or else.

 

Nazi Seattle bus

 

Nazi Seattle bus

Nazi Seattle bus
Get a load of that guff.
The cod military language  – saying “intel” in everyday conversation is but a short goose-step away from wearing camouflage in city centres and screaming at pigeons. The celebration of violence. The soaring self-righteousness. This mob are more brattish than brave. Get a grip. And get a clue. The man on the bus does not reyupresent a return to Nazism. You are not the embodiment of The Few, a freedom fighter risking it all to defeat censorship, groupthink and the intrinsic superiority of one kind of human over another. You’re a violent thug with a grievance using others to define your narcissism and self worth.
And here’s the thing. Screaming fascist at anyone who debates your world view might make you ever worse than the neo-Nazi goon you hate. At least he’s not clambering over the graves of the genuinely courageous who died fighting for the freedoms you take for granted.

Posted: 20th, September 2017 | In: Key Posts, News | Comments (3) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Chelsea balls: Gus Hiddink never did cry

The Sun enjoys the “Crying Dutchman” pun, using it to describe Dutch football managers who aren’t ever crying. In May 2016, the Sun said “Crying Dutchman Louis van Gaal” was “disappointed” at being sacked by Manchester United. But the hammer-headed Dutchman today returns to the Sun in a feature entitled “The Crying Dutchmen”.

With Ronald Koeman mired at Everton and Frank de Boer already sacked by trigger-happy Crystal Palace with a 100% record of played 4, lost 4, Dutch managers in the Premier League are an endangered species. Both men feature on the Sun’s story on Dutch managers who”‘struggle to set the English top flight alight”.

You could, of course, make a longer list of English manger who have failed to shine in the PL – an English manager has yet to win the Premier League. But it’s the Dutch in the crosshairs. And overlooking Martin Jol, who did pretty well at Spurs (2004-2007), notably becoming the first Spurs manager since Keith Burkinshaw (Spurs manger 1976-1984) to qualify for European football in successive seasons, the paper spots Guus Hiddink.

That’s the same Gus Hiddink who while still managing Russia was appointed as Chelsea’s interim manager in 2009, leading them to the FA Cup. The Sun says he “came back in 2015 after Jose Mourinho was axed but the Blues toiled to finish tenth”.

Toiled?

Hiddink rejoined Chelsea on 19 December 2015, with the club in 16th place. Under Jose Mourinho, Chelsea has lost nine out of sixteen league games. Hiddink set a new record for the longest unbeaten streak by a new manager in Premier League history with 12 games unbeaten. Under Hiddick, Chelsea lost just two more league matches.

Crying? No. Far from it. He was very good.

Posted: 18th, September 2017 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


After Parsons Green, sympathy for the bombers

parsons green newspapers tabloids

 

“Is THIS the Tube bucket bomber?” (Daily Star). Or to put it another way, “ON HIS WAY TO BOMB TUBE?” (The Sun). Or “Is this the Bucket Bombed On Way To Tube?” (Daily Express). To which the answer is ‘Dunno, is it?’

All that cash once earmarked for pre-Leveson shag ‘n’ tells could to be used to investigate jihadis in our midst. But the big-budget tabloids are content with playing catch-up. So around a grainy photo of a figure dressed in a grey tracksuit carrying a Lidl shopping bag in Sunbury-on-Thames, we get to wonder if he’s the one who placed a bomb at Parsons Green station. And, of course, we don’t know what to make of the video caught on a homeowner’s CCTV. We also don’t know why a homeowner in leafy Surrey is filming the street. Is it a dangerous area?

The Express has more on the attack over pages 4 and 5. Two men have been arrested. One arrived in the UK when he was 15, having “fled” Iraq. He was fostered by Penelope Jones and Ronald Jones. The other man is 21. He’s an Iraqi refugee also once cared for by the Joneses. The couple’s neighbour says the lad “wanted to leave home”. Well, job done. Another neighbour says the 18-year-old “seemed a really nice chap”. But he “seemed to be up at unusual hours”. In the Mail, however, he’s a “tearaway” who “was held by police just two weeks ago at Parsons Green station”. The Mirror hears him called “out of control”.

In other news, the terror threat has been reduced from ‘critical’ to “severe”. Just two weeks ago, it was at ‘Armageddon’, what with North Korean threats and Hurricane Irma. We live in hyperbolic times.

Think Of The Children

In the Sun, we get to know the name of the 21-year-old suspect. He’s Yahyah Farroukhm who was pinched at Aladdins [sic] Fried Chicken in Hounslow, West London, not far from his home in Stanwell, which is within inhaling distance of Heathrow Airport. At the time of his arrest, Farroukh was carrying a Kitkat and a drink can, which he dropped. The Mail says he has posted about his passion for smoking weed and anti-Israel images. But if those interests mark your out as a jihadi, then so much the worst for snowflake students and the hard-Left, although neither of those groups would be seen dead with a high-sugar KitKat.

Only in the Mail do we see the story couched as an asylum issue. “Council struggle to cope with influx” of “thousands of troubled teenagers” says the paper. It counts them all: a “staggering 4,2010 asylum-seeking juveniles” in council care across Britain”. The Mail says this is not to say they are all nutcases, just to highlight how many “vulnerable” children could “fall prey to radicalisation”.

A few words from some loon on the internet, and the normal, caring lad morphs into a mass murderer. Well, so goes the narrative. What it misses, of course, is the bit about what draws people towards radical and violent Islam? Why do they think it’s a worthy cause?

Frank Furedi:

Policymakers and the media continually refer to young Muslims as ‘vulnerable to radicalisation’. The term ‘vulnerability’ suggests passivity, powerlessness and gullibility. It suggests, in short, that those called vulnerable lack the intellectual resources necessary to cope with challenges. No doubt there are some weak and confused individuals drawn towards the jihadist subculture. But the reality is that most people who travel to Syria, for example, do so because they are inspired by a cause they believe is worth fighting for. Often such individuals show a capacity for planning, dissimulation, inventiveness and, above all, initiative.

The idea of vulnerability invokes individual characteristics that are often the very opposite to those actually possessed by people making the risky voyage to the Middle East. Contrary to the myth of vulnerability, these young people are – albeit misguidedly – attempting to exercise a measure of agency over their life.

If the would-be killer is so vulnerable – groomed by sick adults – is he recast from perpetrator to victim? It’s not terrorism. It’s child abuse. And how can the vulnerable be protected? The Mail says we should clamp down on Google and all that easy-to-reach knowledge. Yvette Cooper, the Labour MP, agrees. “The internet giants have made it much harder for people to find child abuse images online,” she says. “It’s time they showed the same commitment to tackling terrorism.” See images of child rape and become a paedophile, goes the thinking? See instructions on bomb making and blow up the London Underground. To see is to download and do.

The terrorists will never win, comes the declaration. But if their aim is to reduce our hard-won freedoms and make us distrustful of adults, then the enemy is having some success.

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


NetMums and anal sex – sponsored by Disney On Ice

Following news of swearing on Mumsnet and how advertisers are being unnerved by it, we spot an advert for Disney on rival site NetMums. The adverts entices readers to:

WIN a VIP family ticket to Disney On Ice presents Passport to Adventure, and be part of the show!

The ad is targeted at readers who arrive on a page on which the topic of discussion is:

Thread: blow jobs and takin it up the bum tmi sorri but need advice

 

NEtmums sex disney

 

And it’s not just Disney. A search for ‘Anal Sex” brings up lots of tips on how best to lube up – plus adverts for BMW, ALDI (‘Everyday Amazing’) and Nationwide building society.

 

netmsexums

 

 

And the Financial Conduct Authority, which wants to know if you’ve been shafted:

 

netmums FCA

 

 

It’s what Snow White would have wanted.

 

Posted: 17th, September 2017 | In: News, The Consumer | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


In 1967 the Monkees sold more records than the Beatles and Rolling Stones combined – wrong

Pop musical group, "The Monkees" are shown in this Oct. 20, 1966 photo. At top are: Peter Tork, right, and Mickey Dolenz. At bottom are: David Jones, left, and Mike Nesmith. (AP Photo)

 

 

Ever hear the story about how in 1967 The Monkees sold more records than the Beatles and the Rolling Stones combined? Rolling Stone, that bastion of factual news reporting, told us as much:

In 1967 the Monkees sold more records than the Beatles and Rolling Stones combined.

 

In 1967 the Monkees sold more records than the Beatles and Rolling Stones combined.

 

Incredible fact.

And it must be true because in 1986 the Washington Post told its readers:

In 1967 they sold 35 million albums, twice as many as the Beatles and Rolling Stones combined.

 

In 1967 they sold 35 million albums, twice as many as the Beatles and Rolling Stones combined.

 

In 2016, Vice repeated the fact:

In 1967, The Monkees TV show was a smashing success, and the self-titled album released to complement the show sold 35 million records, outselling The Beatles and The Rolling Stones combined.

 

In 1967, The Monkees TV show was a smashing success, and the self-titled album released to complement the show sold 35 million records, outselling The Beatles and The Rolling Stones combined.

 

The Daily Mail also backed up the fact:

They ended up being pretty much the biggest thing on the planet; in 1967 the ‘Prefab Four’, fronted by Jones, outsold the Beatles and the Rolling Stones

 

In 1967 the Monkees sold more records than the Beatles and Rolling Stones combined.

In 1967 the Monkees sold more records than the Beatles and Rolling Stones combined.

 

The story of The Monkees being bigger than The Beatles and Rolling Stones combined has made it into books:

 

 

And, of course, it’s on Wikipedia. In The Beatles Wikipedians, we learn:

 

Title: The Beatles Editor: By Wikipedians

 

All facts. And all utter balls. Mike Nesmith, one of The Monkees, tells us how the story came about in his autobiography Infinite TuesdayThe Monkees were in Australia. It was November 1977. Nesmith was being interviewed:

As we sat down for the interview, before he asked the first question, I told him that I was going to lie to him. He was taken aback, then seemed a little nonplussed and asked why. I said it was because I didn’t trust the press, that I didn’t expect him to tell the truth, so neither would I …

I said that some of the things I would say would be true and some false, and it was up to him to figure out which was which, according to the normal standards of journalistic responsibility. He asked how he would tell the difference between when I was lying and telling the truth, and I said, “You won’t. That is the point of the lie …”

Then came a point where he asked me about the sales of the Monkees records, and I saw the chance. It isn’t too well known, I said flatly, that we sold over thirty-five million records in 1967. More than the Beatles and the Rolling Stones combined … he diligently wrote all this down, and I wondered for a moment if I had chosen too outrageous a lie to tell, but it turned out it had been just right.

The next day in the paper, there it was, printed as fact.

Nesmith calls the story a “complete fabrication, totally bogus, class-A mendacity lie”. In 2015, Nesbitt told all to Gilbert Gottfried.

 

 

Fake news, eh. It’s nothing new.

Spotter: Tim Blair, Gilbert Gottfried

Posted: 17th, September 2017 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The anti-Israel demo ‘is just an excuse to hate Jews’

The anti-Israel demo 'is just an excuse to hate Jews'

 

You don’t like Israel. Fine. Debate and discuss. March and shout. Being offended and outraged is good for the soul. It’s not hate speech to decry a country. It’s free speech. It’s good speech. It makes you think and seeks answers to hard questions. So answer me this, why does Israel excite the righteous so very much? Why do the knowing want to boycott Israeli goods, academics, musicians and humans and not those of other countries? Why are there not marches against Burma, Saudi Arabia, and Islamists? Is your hatred of Israel a little, you know, discriminatory?

Why is it that when a hangover of Nazis (is that the collective term?) mass in Charlottesville, the Left tell us to #punchaNazi and declare a return to the 1930s – as if a decade is a living, breathing thing – chilling us with dire warnings that fascism is rife and unless we coalesce into anti-fascist groups, America is lost to white supremacists, but when Islamists murder hundreds of people in Europe, the buzzwod is ‘Islamaphobia’?

Censorship is a horror. Anti-Israel protests should be admired for their fervour. But, then, British Jews are seen as soft targets. Muslims less so.

Which leads to other questions: are you locked in a dictatorship of a monocular mind, where reason, tolerance, free speech and independence are trashed in favour of a conformity which says Jews are unique in their barbarism and represent the leading threat to world peace? Would a Jewish state ever be welcome in the Middle East, however benign, unarmed and free? When you say Israel is guilty of a Holocaust against Palestinians, do you aim to show your own ignorance of that horror or just to assault Jews with their own grief? Why is Holocaust Day attacked when Israel is in the crosshairs and riding high on the news cycle as war with Hamas turns civilians into human shields and the dead, so making all Jews guilty and underserving of the vow ‘Never again’?

One Londoner has an idea:

 

 

You aren’t an anti-Semite if you criticise Israel. But it really does help if you are.

 

Posted: 17th, September 2017 | In: News, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Parson’s Green bomb: Islamic State shop in Lidl and read the Daily Mail

The bomb on the London Underground is wrapped in a shopping bag. On the side you can read ‘Lidl’, the name of the German discount supermarket chain. That the bomb – believed to be a peroxide device – fails to detonate fully at Parson’s Green Tube station is blessed relief. But some of the 29 people injured are badly burnt by the explosion shortly after 8am.

 

 

One ay on the media tuck in.

In the absence of a bomber’s face to feature on the front pages, the paper opts instead for the bomb, and with the Lidl carrier bag it was contained within. Once a byword for cheap and trusty family goods, will Lidl become synonymous with terrorism? It’s not as far-fetched as it sounds. Lidl has offered to assist a police investigation. The company states: “We are shocked and concerned to have learned of an incident at Parsons Green this morning and our thoughts are with those affected. We will, of course, support the authorities should they need our assistance in their investigations. We are closely monitoring the situation as it develops over the course of the day.”

Unenviable stuff.

Meanwhile…the Daily Mail blames another brand for an act of would-be mass murder.

ISIS Parsons green Lidl daily mail google

Got that? The Mail says that because knowledge can be accessed through Google rather than simply buying a book, say, or talking to someone on the phone, the messenger is to blame.

Like most of you, I have no idea how to build a bomb. But I did pick up a few pointers in the.. Daily Mail.

 

daily mail parson's green bomb

 

The Lidl coolbag was used to ‘keep the device stable’. Got it.

There’s more. After the Manchester bomb, the Mail captioned a photo: “Suicide bomber Salman Abedi carried the explosive in a metal container, believed to have been in a Karrimor backpack.” The paper said the bag costs £20.

Other tips came:

A 12-volt lead acid battery found at the scene suggest the makers were careful to reduce the risk of it not going off, experts say. It is more powerful than most seen in backpack bombs or suicide vests and is commonly used for emergency lighting.

If you want more, the Mail directed loons as to where more could be found:

AL-Qaeda has published detailed instructions on how to build a ‘hidden bomb’ to use to blow up a passenger jet… In the latest issue of its online magazine, Inspire, the group outlines how to make the bomb from household goods and without using metal components that would show up in airport security checks.

But hold on. The Mail has other news – bigger news:

 

How a hydrogen bomb works: North Korea's new device could yield a devastating blast thousands of times more powerful than Hiroshima or Nagasaki

 

‘Newspaper Giant Triggers Armageddon.’ What you won’t read in the Mail.

 

Posted: 16th, September 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Blitzkrieg: Arsenal fans beyond parody as German ‘Nazis’ invade from Cologne

At last night’s Arsenal v Cologne match in the Europa League, things did not go smoothly. Fans behaved as football fans used to, arriving at the stadium without tickets and in high spirits. Around 20,000 fans of FC Koln arrived with just under 3000 tickets between them.

The sensible move would be to flog tickets on the gate, letting fans be with their mates and follow their side without need to register with clubs, load up credit card details and be processed in a way the Stasi would find a bit much. But no. Everyones needs a seat. And with a seat comes a number. And with that number comes control.

(Cologne’s 50,000 capacity: 50,000 has space for 8,175 standing fans.)

 

daily mail arsenal europa cologne

 

And so it is that 20,000 Germans football fans in London for their side’s first European match since 1992 are portrayed as an army of Nazis. “Thug urinate in street, make Nazi salutes and storm the turnstiles,” says the Mail. If pissing in the street makes you a thug, well, we’re all doomed. The definition of ‘thug’ according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is: “a brutal ruffian or assassin: gangster, tough.” Hold the prison tats, knives, guns and bare-knuckle fighting. You just need a full bladder and a lack of public loos to be a thug.

 

daily mail arsenal europa cologne

 

CARNGE!

And what of the Germans being Nazis? Well, for that there is but one source. “ITV political editor Robert Peston reported Nazi salutes and ‘peeing on doorsteps’.” Jim White on talkSPORT (“FANTASTIC! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU MY FRIEND THANK YOU FANTASTIC! etc…”) introduced “highly respected Arsenal fan Robert Peston”, who complained that the Germans “made a terrible mess” by dropping litter and urinating – “and I’ve got a few mates who live near the ground”.

Deary dear, eh. But Peston’s not alone is being upset. On the BBC website, the corporation has collected a narrow range of views, which were it not for any knowledge of what football now represents – moralising, family-friendly entertainment for a TV audience – we’d think the work of a parodist.

Rachel: “In the Emirates as a home fan. Ashamed of Arsenal right now. All the warnings about turning away fans away and they’ve done nothing. No stewards to be seen. Feeling so intimidated.”

Ade: “Currently inside the Emirates, thousands upon thousands of German fans everywhere around us. Horrible tense atmosphere. Tens of thousands of fans being made to feel very unsafe, including very young children.

Foz: “Got to my usual seats in Club level with my 11-year-old son. Surrounded by Cologne fans. So unsafe we have been moved to the other side of the ground. Worst feeling at football in 40 years of watching home and away.”

Chris: “Currently in the home end at Emirates – away section (corner) full and in full voice. Hundreds of people joining in the singing in the adjacent section behind the goal that should be for Arsenal supporters. Can only assume they are Cologne fans.”

Steve: “Don’t feel safe inside and won’t feel safe outside. Should be called off and the Cologne fans sent packing. Arsenal fans who sold their tickets should be banned.”

All pitiful stuff. But at least in the Sun, Dave Kidd does note:

But this did not feel like the bad old days of hooliganism…. A walk around the outside of the Emirates shortly before the original kick-off time, before the turnstiles finally opened, simply showed thousands of English and German supporters shrugging their shoulders and asking each other politely what the hell was going on.

Blitzkrieg! We march at dawn.

 

Posted: 15th, September 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Fans booted out of Boston’s Fenway Park for waving accidentally racist banner

Hard luck on the four fans expelled from Boston’s Fenway Park during a baseball game yesterday after waving a banner carrying the legend: “Racism Is As American As Baseball.” Ambiguous much? One of the banned banners tells us:

“There were originally about eight people involved who had this idea, and those eight people come from various organizing groups in the Boston area. Mostly groups that affiliate with racial justice causes. And the banner came in response to the racist comments at the beginning of the season at Fenway. But overall, we saw, we see Boston continually priding itself as a kind of liberal, not racist city, and are reminded also constantly that it’s actually an extremely segregated city. It has been for a long time, and that no white people can avoid the history of racism, essentially. So we did this banner as a gesture towards that, to have a conversation about that.”

Here’s the banner:

 

RAcism is as american as baseball

 

The Boston Red Sox make a statement:

“During the fourth inning of tonight’s game, four fans unfurled a banner over the left field wall in violation of the club’s policy prohibiting signs of any kind to be hung or affixed to the ballpark. The individuals involved were escorted out of Fenway Park.”

Spotter: Bleacher Report

Previously:

Posted: 15th, September 2017 | In: News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


If you can pay the fee Facebook will hook you up with ‘Jew haters’

Thanks to ProPublicawe know that you can book adverts on Facebook that target anti-Semites. Most Facebook user of would ignore these ads, of course. Active Nazis are thin on the ground. And as the Jewish joke goes, “If anyone was going to hate us, thank God it’s the Arabs.” But Jew hating is increasingly popular. I am amazed and disappointed that here isn’t more outrage about rising anti-Semitism.

Propublica, whose stated mission is “to expose abuses of power and betrayals of the public trust by government, business, and other institutions, using the moral force of investigative journalism to spur reform through the sustained spotlighting of wrongdoing” has Facebook in its crosshairs.

ProPublica says:

Want to market Nazi memorabilia, or recruit marchers for a far-right rally? Facebook’s self-service ad-buying platform had the right audience for you. Until this week, when we asked Facebook about it, the world’s largest social network enabled advertisers to direct their pitches to the news feeds of almost 2,300 people who expressed interest in the topics of “Jew hater,” “How to burn jews,” or, “History of ‘why jews ruin the world.’”

All this stuff exists offline. And thanks to the internet, readers and collectors of such racist nonsense can be monitored – all 2,300 of them in the gigantic Facebook ecosystem. I’d argue that if Facebook – owned by a Jew – can take their money, then good for them. Free speech and free thought are cornerstones of democracy. If people want to talk about hating Jews and conspiracy theories, let them.

So ProPublica paid £30 for “promoted posts” targeted at those Jew-hating Facebookers.

In all likelihood, the ad categories that we spotted were automatically generated… Facebook’s algorithm automatically transforms people’s declared interests into advertising categories.

Which begs the question: who programmed the computer?

Rob Leathern, product management director at Facebook, has issued the following statement:

We don’t allow hate speech on Facebook. Our community standards strictly prohibit attacking people based on their protected characteristics, including religion, and we prohibit advertisers from discriminating against people based on religion and other attributes. However, there are times where content is surfaced on our platform that violates our standards. In this case, we’ve removed the associated targeting fields in question. We know we have more work to do, so we’re also building new guardrails in our product and review processes to prevent other issues like this from happening in the future.”

Of course, hate speech is free speech. That doesn’t mean you should set out to assault and intimidate people. It means you are free to say what you want and for it to be freely debated in public. Calling something hateful is too-often used to shut down free expression. So what did Facebook do wrong?

Ira Glasser, a former executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, now president of the board of directors of the Drug Policy Alliance, nails it:

How is ‘hate speech’ defined, and who decides which speech comes within the definition? Mostly, it’s not us. In the 1990s in America, black students favoured ‘hate speech’ bans because they thought it would ban racists from speaking on campuses. But the deciders were white. If the codes the black students wanted had been in force in the 1960s, their most frequent victim would have been Malcolm X. In England, Jewish students supported a ban on racist speech. Later, Zionist speakers were banned on the grounds that Zionism is a form of racism. Speech bans are like poison gas: seems like a good idea when you have your target in sight — but the wind shifts, and blows it back on us.

You want to have official endoresment of what can be said? Surely not.

As for Facebook, well, it’s not a public service. It’s a profit-making company not a moralising force for spiritual salvation.

Posted: 15th, September 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Technology | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Venezuela should breed pigeons and leave rabbits alone

Crisis in Venezuela. A Mis-managed economy has created poverty from riches.

Venezuela’s government has urged citizens to see rabbits as more than “cute pets” as it defended a plan to breed and eat them – even as the opposition says this would do nothing to end chronic food shortages.

The questions must be: what do you feed the rabbits; and how do you cook them?

 

rabbits venezuela

 

President Nicolás Maduro went on telly to tell the people that “for animal protein, which is such an important issue, a ‘rabbit plan’ has been approved because rabbits also breed like rabbits”.

As we’ve noted, its not rabbits you need, it’s pigeons, feral ones. In Exeter, England, vagrants are catching the vermin for food. It turn out that when you kill a feral pigeon, more replace it. As  Trafford Council notes:

…for most pigeon problems, lethal methods are totally ineffective. They simply reduce competition for food and shelter, and the remaining birds increase their breeding rates to compensate. Although there is an immediate decrease, numbers soon recover, resulting in an endless cycle of killing and re-population.

And eating, too.

And there’s another problem with rabbits: they are adorable. Mr Freddy Bernal, the country’s minister of urban agriculture, says that lots of rabbits were given to communities to breed for food.  “A lot of people gave names to the rabbits, they took them to bed,” says Mr Bernal.

And lots more can go wrong when you rear rabbit. “Rabbits were introduced to Australia as part of a broad attempt by early colonists to make Australia as much like Europe as they possibly could,” says Greg Mutze, research officer at the Department of Water, Land and Biodiversity Conservation in South Australia. “It was hoped that they would flourish so that the owners could hunt them.” By the 1920s, Australia’s rabbit population had reached to 10 billion.

And, boy, do they eat a lot.

Forget rabbits. Go for pigeons.

Posted: 15th, September 2017 | In: News, Politicians, Strange But True, The Consumer | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arsenal versus Cologne balls: German ‘army invades’ London and media prays for blood

Good fun in Soho as a large contingent of Cologne fans marched along singing their songs. The police didn’t kettle them, send for the attack dogs nor smash their heads in. And so about 20,000 Cologne fans clutching 2,900 tickets between them arrived at The Emirates for the club’s match with Arsenal.

They can’t all get in. So the match has been delayed.

Has there been any bother, then? Lots of fighting and broken class? Patio furniture tossed about the place and blood on the pavement?

A Met Police spokesman tells us: “At around 15:00hrs on Thursday, 14 September a large group of football fans gathered in Oxford Street, W1. The group were at the location for about 30 minutes whilst they boarded public transport to travel to a football match this evening.  They did throw bottles and let off flares, but there was no significant disorder, police were on scene and there have been no arrests. The group has now left the area.”

Bit of a laugh, then. A few berks throw bottles but that’s about it. No more  (surely much less  – ed) than the high spirits you see at rugby matches.

So how does the Daily Mail report on the joyful rowdiness?

Germans invade London: Fights break out as an army of 20,000 Cologne football fans march through centre of the capital as kick-off of Europa League match with Arsenal is DELAYED for ‘crowd safety’

An invading army! The Mail’s ‘Crime Correspondent’ begins his report thus:

Violence erupted onto the streets of London after an army of German football fans marched through the centre of the capital.

Carnage! Or as the small print notes: “footage later emerged of two men being punched and kicked in a street during clashes.” Two men fighting. Call of the RAF. Stand down the nuclear submarine. The war might over as soon as the Hans and Jurgen tire.

At the Ground.

Well, a load of Cologne fans seems to be in the Arsenal end. Good-oh. Lots of atmosphere for a change.

 

And finally… get his down to forensics!

PS – Arsenal fans are flogging their tickets to Cologne fans.

PPS: Reports that Cologne fans arrived yesterday to reserve their sets with towels as yet unproven.

Posted: 14th, September 2017 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Mumsnet embroiled in swearing threat

According to Mumsnet, it is “the UK’s most popular parenting website”. It’s largely monetised through adverts. But the advertisers have begun to look at what the brands are appearing alongside. Turns out that mums who spend their days talking rubbish on Mumsnet are swearing. So ‘bad’ is is that the National Trust and Bulgari are threatening to pull their adds unless it stops.

The Economist has produced a chart of the sweariest places on the site:

 

Mumsnet swearing

 

Swearing is enjoyably versatile. And any moves to sanitise the web are regressive. But the marketeers are only calling for the kind of ban already enforced at football grounds and on the street: in 2016 Salford City Council introduced a Public Space Protection Order that banned swearing on Salford Quays, site of BBC Media City and new quayside homes. Caught using “foul and abusive language” around the Quays and suffer the consequences. The council said it was “satisfied the ban will improve quality of life” for those living in Salford Quays.

But will such a ban make Mumsnet better or worse? Should soft-porn Bulgari get its own house in order first?

 

 

To say nothing of the National Trust’s filth:

 

 

Spotter: EconomistNaked Capitalism

Posted: 14th, September 2017 | In: Money, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Sugar wars: artificial sweeteners inked to diabetes

The latest health scare is that artificial sweeteners are being linked to an increased risk of diabetes. Can it be that the man-made stuff sold as a safe alternative to diabetes-triggering sugar could raise the risk of developing type 2 diabetes?

Research led by Australia’s Adelaide Medical School in Australia, and presented at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Lisbon, concluded that taking sweeteners for just two weeks is enough to make a difference.

Lead author Prof Richard Young explains: “This study supports the concept that artificial sweeteners could reduce the body’s control of blood sugar levels and highlights the potential for exaggerated post-meal glucose levels in high habitual NAS [non-caloric artificial sweeteners] users, which could predispose them to developing type 2 diabetes.”

“This study addresses a very important global human health issue, as artificial sweeteners are food additives commonly used not only by patients with diabetes but also by healthy individuals aiming to manage their sugar intake,” adds Dr Inês Cebola, from Imperial College London, a member of the Society for Endocrinology. “Although generally thought as safe and even beneficial, artificial sweetener consumption has actually been previously associated with weight gain and development of glucose intolerance, which can lead to development of type 2 diabetes.”

The test wan’t all that large – just 27 people were involved.

Emma Elvin, clinical advisor at Diabetes UK, is circumspect. “This is a small study with interesting results, but it doesn’t provide strong evidence that artificial sweeteners increase the risk of type two diabetes,” she says. “We need to see the results of larger trials testing in settings more true to real life before we’ll know more. Consuming lots of sugary foods and drinks is very damaging to overall health and can increase risk of type two diabetes. We would advise people to reduce their intakes of sugar, and artificial sweeteners could be an option to help some people achieve this.”

Interesting, no, that the war on sugar might be creating more problems than it solves. Sugar is a source of dietary energy in many foods. If you eat it excessively it can cause problems, just it can be damaging to take in very large amounts of bread, pasta, oranges and even water. This activist-led campaign to cast sugar as a peril to public health is based on much theory and little fact. Choice is good. Sugar isn’t bad.

 

 

 

 

Well done everyone!

Posted: 14th, September 2017 | In: News, The Consumer | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0