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News | Anorak - Part 8

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London House Prices Are Falling, Hurrah!

Or is is hurrah at all? For if London house prices are falling doesn’t that mean lots of people are going to get screwed by their mortgages? And thus we get to one of the great economic problems, there is no way to please everyone.

House prices in parts of London that were once at the epicentre of the UK property boom have fallen as much as 15% over the past year in fresh evidence of the impact of the EU referendum.

Figures from Your Move, one of the UK’s biggest estate agency chains, reveal that the average home in Wandsworth – which includes much of Clapham, Balham and Putney – fell by more than £100,000 in value over the last 12 months.

So, start from what we all would say is the largest housing problem we’ve got in Britain – no one can afford the damn houses. At least no one normal, on a normal income, can afford to buy a house. Therefore we’d really rather like the price of houses to fall.

So, we vote for Brexit, all those foreigners get cold feet about living here and house prices fall, Huzzah!

But we all know what happens next, don’t we? There will now be endless complaints about negative equity, about how people are being bankrupted because their houses are going down in value. Thus we’ll get all the more usual cries that government must do something to keep house prices up.

We could just say this proves you can’t please all the people all the time but that would be trite. We actually want to know what it is that government should be doing about all of this. The answer being nothing. They cannot win, there’s no right thing for them to be doing. Better by far if they simply retreat from the whole sector. Just leaving houses and their prices to the markets and when asked the government can just shrug and insist “Nowt to do with us, is it?”

No, really, what else can they do?

Posted: 19th, March 2018 | In: Money, News | Comment


Manchester United are not getting rid of 10 players this summer

Fancy making a guess at how many players are heading out of Manchester United this summer? The BBC says it’s ’10’. the source for the Beeb’s news of this mass exodus of talent is the ever-trusty Daily Express. The Express, of course, is riding high on the back of its scoop that this winter would feature cold weather and snow. Sure enough, the UK was gipped by the ‘Beast from the East’. Yes, the paper forecasts bad weather on its front page around twice a week but this time it was right. It might well be right again – Madeleine McCann will be found; dementia will be cured with rhubarb; the summer will bring a heatwave; and ten footballers will leave Old Trafford at the end of the season.

 

daily express clickbait manchester united

 

The Express lists the players heading to the exit: Luke Shaw, Juan Mata, Ander Herrera, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Daley Blind, Matteo Darmian, Marouane Fellaini, Michael Carrick and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. It then tells us that the ten will be replaced with just five: Gareth Bale, Toby Alderweireld, Danny Rose, Willian and Fred. Will that happen? Reason says no. But we did have that snow…

 

daily express clickbait manchester united

 

Of course, in the clickbait world of online journalism, pretty much any claim, however outlandish, can be countered by another outlandish claim, So here’s the Metro to tell us that Fred has already agreed to join Manchester City:

 

fred manchester city

 

And if you don’t believe the Metro, well, you know who else told us Fred is on his way to City? Yep. The Express:

 

Daily Express, Feb 9 1018

 

The Express offers no source for its story of ten players leaving United. But over in the Sun, we read: “Manchester United reportedly set for summer clear out with Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera, Chris Smalling and Anthony Martial among NINE facing axe’”. The Sun does cite a source: the Daily Mail. And it reports:

Luke Shaw may as well start planning a joint leaving-do with Matteo Darmian and Daley Blind this summer…

Ander Herrera, Anthony Martial, Juan Mata and Chris Smalling are among those who cannot guarantee they will be at Old Trafford beyond this summer, when United will also have to replace Marouane Fellaini and Michael Carrick.

And from that the Express got its scoop of ten players leaving Manchester United.

Now… anyone know if it’s going to be sunny this July?

Posted: 19th, March 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Nordstrom denies liking ‘Dick’ DS tweet

Now that every brand is also a publisher, we can cock a glance at the twitter account of Nordstrom. Who they? Well, according to the company’s website, they are visionaries with “an incredible eye for what’s next in fashion”, possessed of a “passionate drive to exceed expectations”. They’ve been in business for around 100 years. And they’ve now confirmed that they did NOT “like” a tweet that said the “DS” in the computer game system “Nintendo DS” stood for “Dick Suck.”

 

Nordstrom denies liking 'Dick' DS tweet

 

“The DS in Nintendo DS stands for Dick Suck,” said Nick Wiger. “The idea was, playing it was as fun as gettin your dick sucked. 3DS, as fun as 3 dick sucks.”

That was followed by someone operating under the name ‘KatieMetzi’, who offered: “Um, this appeared in my feed because @Nordstrom liked it?”

“Sorry for the confusion, Katie,” Nordstrom fired back. “We can confirm we have not liked this tweet.”

 

 

These are heady times for big brands on twitter, where reputations can can trashed in a trice. Why do they bother?

Posted: 19th, March 2018 | In: News, Technology | Comment


Anna Campbell died fighting for the Kurds and the West

The media has not led with salutes and tributes to Anna Campbell, a 26-year-old British woman killed in Syria. The British government has not made protestations to the Turkey regime for killing her. Campbell was a member of the YPJ, the all-female Kurdish military unit allied with the People’s Protection Units (YPG). She was killed on 15 March in Afrin, which has been under bombardment by Turkish forces. Turkey says the YPG is associated with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Turkey says the YPG are nothing but terrorists.

 

Anna Campbell kurds

Anna Campbell

 

Anna Campbell was in Syria to help the Kurds build a nation and defeat Islamic State, the group that murdered 130 people in Paris, 86 people in Nice, 32 people in Brussels, 12 people in Berlin, 14 people in San Bernadino, 22 people in Manchester, 8 people in London Bridge, 5 people in Westminster and 16 people in Barcelona.

She died fighting the people who murdered so many. She died doing the West’s dirty work. But there’s no words of praise for Anna Campbell in the lead news bulletins on TV and radio.

Her father tells the BBC: “She wanted to create a better world and she would do everything in her power to do that. I told her of course that she was putting her life in danger, which she knew full well she was doing.”

But do we?

Posted: 19th, March 2018 | In: News | Comment


Luke Shaw attack splits Manchester United dressing room

Jose Mourinho says he wants to build a legacy at Manchester United. Nothing about his past suggests that he will. Mourinho leaves clubs spent and exhausted. He’s never lasted more than three years in one place.

One player tired of the tiresome manager is full-back Luke Shaw. Mourinho thought it right once again to criticise Shaw in public following United’s FA Cup win over Brighton on Saturday.

A fit Shaw was substituted at half-time. Mourinho says Shaw and fellow full-back Antonio Valencia failed to follow his tactical instructions. “I could have changed both of them at half-time.,” said Mourinho. “…I had to change one and I chose Luke because at least Antonio defensively was capable of good positioning. Luke, in the first half, every time they came in his corridor, the cross came in and a dangerous situation was coming. I was not happy with his performance.”

Reports suggest United players think Shaw is being “bullied” by his pouting manager. Mourinho says only Nemanja Matic and Romelu Lukaku – the goalscorers against Brighton – would escape his anger.  The rest possessed “a lack of personality, lack of class and lack of desire”. When you get schooled in class by Mourinho, you give Dr Eva Carneiro the side eye and check your finger for bits of eyeball.

“I didn’t have many managers in my life but he is special because he wants to win always,” says Matic, in full teacher’s pet mode. “You can see when we lose a game he cannot accept that. Probably that’s why he won more than 20 trophies in his life. It is very difficult to work with him because he always wants more and more. Even if you win the league he wants to win again next season. He is like this and the players need to be ready for that. Because at this high level, at Manchester United and where I used to play Chelsea, the players need to be ready for that because the pressure is big. Everyone expects you to win every game. Obviously it is not possible, but supporters always expect. It doesn’t matter if you are tired or not, supporters want high quality football. It is normal.”

He had us up to ‘high quality’. Mourinho’s win at all costs approach is anathema to the so-called Manchester United way. At Chelsea and Inter Milan, success-starved clubs with no adherence to a style, Mourinho delivering silverware was the be all. Does grinding out a result work at United?

Alex Ferguson used to give under-performing players a blast of the ‘hairdryer’. But always in private. Mourinho makes it all about him. In reviewing Mourinho’s turgid 12-minute speech delivered after United’s defeat to Sevilla in the Champions League, Oliver Holt spoke for many:

Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address lasted two minutes. Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech lasted 17 minutes. John F Kennedy’s Inauguration Speech lasted 14 minutes. Winston Churchill’s ‘Fight on the Beaches’ speech lasted 34 minutes.

Acclaimed as football’s answer to all of them, Jose Mourinho’s self-serving, self-aggrandising, self-regarding, self-pitying, melodramatic, hard-luck claptrap that passed for his attempt at oratory on Friday afternoon lasted 12 minutes. His only theme was Jose Mourinho. He used his moment on the stage to deliver a homage to himself.

Ask not what Mourinho can do for Manchester United but what Manchester United can do for him. His was a dystopian vision of a great football club as a vehicle for a narcissist. His was a speech that denigrated United so that he could vindicate himself. Some managers subjugate themselves to their clubs. Mourinho asks that the club subjugates itself to him.

Holt’s a United fan. They want better.

Posted: 19th, March 2018 | In: manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Biased media won’t save Ant McPartlin from drink-drive shame

The Press has been very much on the side of Ant McPartlin, 42, “getting over an addiction to painkillers following knee surgery”; separated from his wife Lisa, to whom he is prepared to give half of “his fortune“; his condition connived into a campaign we all can take heart from, turning McPartlin from a man who deserves a private life into a role model; his plight told in his own words; a “source” assuring Sun readers that divorce would be “the right thing for his health.” This is “freakishly clean” Ant who in 2013 admitted to having taken drugs. Good old, Ant, then. But things have changed. Ant has been nicked for alleged drink driving.


ant mcpartlin drunk driving

 

McPartlin was arrested on suspicion of drink-driving when his car was involved in an accident in Richmond yesterday afternoon, not far from his London home. He allegedly failed a breathalyser test at the scene. He was taken into police custody at a South London police station.

Worse still: the Mini his Mini collided into was carrying a couple and a three-year-old girl. McPartlin was in the car with his mother, Christine.

Sympathy for Ant will be in shorter supply. But not yet. Old habits die hard. In the Press, the same old tired reporting holds sway. The Mail notes:

The divorce from his wife of 11 years is believed to be costing the star around £30 million of his estimated £60 million fortune.

His fortune. Not ‘their’ fortune.

And in the Sun:

After his rehab stint, which was revealed by The Sun On Sunday, Ant announced he was divorcing wife Lisa, 41, after 11 years of marriage. Legal experts say it could cost him £30million.

Let’s see how long this episode can be spun for?

Posted: 19th, March 2018 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


FA Cup fail: BBC announce Manchester United to play Chelsea and Spurs

And to the live draw for the FA Cup semi-final. Lynsey Hipgrave is the designated BBC blonde sports presenter tasked with announcing the matches. The balls are pulled from U-bend beneath the FA Cup plug hole by Gianfranco Zola and Petr Cech.

The numbers in the hat are – and if anyone knows the method behind the numbering, do tell:

1 – Tottenham
2 – Manchester United
3 – Chelsea
4 – Southampton

They come out in order: 2, 1, 3, 4.

It’s Manchester United v Tottenham. It’s Chelsea v Southampton. Or as Hipgrave puts it: it’s Spurs v Southampton. It’s Man United v Chelsea.

 

 

You had one job.

Posted: 18th, March 2018 | In: Chelsea, manchester united, News, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Danny Welbeck has now dived for Arsenal and Manchester United – now for England

‘The dive gets a big fat 0. Nothing can excuse it, embarrassing,” wrote the Daily Mirror’s John Cross in his awarding of player scores at the end of Arsenal’s Europa League victory over AC Milan. The Sun gave Welbeck 9/10, not mentioning what Cross called Welbeck’s “blatant dive to win a penalty”. Italy’s Corriere della Sera delivered its match verdict: “Affondati da un tuffo” (“Sunk by a dive”).

Welbeck will discover tomorrow whether he will face any retrospective action for that alleged dive. Uefa hold an option to act if the match referee or delegate raise concerns. But there is no word that anyone has done. The Football Association has the power to review the cheating and ban divers for two games. More power to the FA. But they matter not in this instance.

It’s all rather dispiriting. England players diving is all the rage. Gareth Southgate’s latest England squad features the following forwards: persistant diver Dele Alli, Raheem Sterling (“We know that Raheem Sterling dives well, he does that very well” – Arsene Wenger), Danny Welbeck, slippery-booted Jamie Vardy and Marcus Rashford.

As Daniel Taylor notes: “Raheem Sterling and Jamie Vardy have made an art form of initiating contact with the defender and then going down in the penalty area. Marcus Rashford’s dive to win a penalty against Swansea last season was one of the reasons why the FA beefed up its rules.”

Here’s Welbeck playing for Manchester United against Wigan in 2012:

 

 

Diving is a horror. But not enough is being done to end it. The players don’t care. The media admires it – Corriere dello Sport actually made Welbeck man of the match. And the clubs just see it as a marketing opportunity:

 

 

Carry on diving, then.

 

Posted: 18th, March 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports | Comment


Ellen Barkin gets a lift to Terry Gilliam’s Harvey Weinstein apology

When not teaching us how make Monty Python-style stop animation, Terry Gilliam is opining about Harvey Weinstein. The killer line comes: “Harvey opened the door for a few people, a night with Harvey — that’s the price you pay.”

No word from the disgraced movie mogul, last seen nipping into The Meadows in Arizona for treatment to whatever syndrome his behaviour can be filed under. “The Meadows exists to heal your trauma,” oozes the reassuringly expensive clinic, where Weinstein has been housed since last October. We wish him well with his morbid attraction to actors and plant pots.

And here to help Harvey get well is Gilliam, who tells AFP:

“It is a world of victims. I think some people did very well out of meeting with Harvey and others didn’t. The ones who did, knew what they were doing. These are adults; we are talking about adults with a lot of ambition.”

Variety adds:

Gilliam also claimed that some of the women didn’t actually suffer, but used Weinstein to further their careers, and that he knew women who walked out of meetings with the mogul before getting sexually abused.

Meanwhile… on twitter, Ellen Barkin – who starred in Gilliam’s 1998 film Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – tweeted:

 

 

Whatever can she mean?

terry gilliam weinstein

Posted: 18th, March 2018 | In: Celebrities, News | Comment


School canes teenagers for participating in national school walkout

17th May 1972: School children holding a demonstration in Hyde Park against caning in schools. (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)

 

Three pupils at Greenbrier Public School in Arkansas who partook of national school walkout day on March 14, 2018 – part of a protest against gun violence after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were murdered – were reprimanded in the old fashioned way: two swipes of a paddle across the buttocks.

A mother of of the of the spanked students did as she must and took to twitter. @JerusalemGreer tweeted:

My kid and two other students walked out of their rural, very conservative, public school for 17 minutes today. They were given two punishment options. They chose corporal punishment. This generation is not playing around.

This generation got off lightly. Two spanks is not six of the best. When British children walked out of school in 1972,  Prime Minister Edward Heath mobilised MI5 and Special Branch to monitor the schoolchildren revolutionaries. Mr Heath asked Margaret Thatcher, then the Education Secretary, to compile a report which warned: “Some boys and girls are already beginning to develop political attitudes in an immature way…”
The tweeting mother’s son, Wylie Greer told all to the Daily Beast:

Walking out of class at ten on Monday morning was not an easy thing. Many students were vocally insulting and degrading to the idea of the walk-out and anyone who would participate. At 10:00, I walked out of my classroom to a few gaped mouths and more than a few scowls. I exited the building, sat on the bench, and was alone for a few seconds. I was more than a little concerned that I would be the only one to walk out. I was joined by two others eventually, two of the smartest students at the school. We sat outside the front of the building and were approached first by the principal, who asked us “if he could help us” and “if we understood that there would be consequences.” After we answered affirmatively, he went back inside. A few minutes passed and the dean-of-students approached us. He asked “what we were doing,” we told him that we were protesting gun violence. He told us to go inside. We refused.

After the 17 minutes had passed, we re-entered the building and went to our classes. Over the next two hours, all three of us were called individually to talk with the dean-of-students. He offered us two choices of punishment, both of which had to be approved by our parents. We would either suffer two ‘swats’ from a paddle or two days of in-school suspension. All three of us chose the paddling, with the support of our parents.

I received my punishment during 6th period. The dean-of-students carried it out while the assistant principal witnessed. The punishment was not dealt with malice or cruelty, in fact, I have the utmost respect for all the adults involved. They were merely doing their job as the school board and school policy dictated. The ‘swats’ were not painful or injuring. It was nothing more than a temporary sting on my thighs. The dean-of-students did stress however that not all punishments like this ended this way.

I believe that corporal punishment has no place in schools, even if it wasn’t painful to me. The idea that violence should be used against someone who was protesting violence as a means to discipline them is appalling. I hope that this is changed, in Greenbrier, and across the country.

Wylie A. Greer

Class of 2018

Greenbrier High School, Arkansas

The Daily Beast says it tried to speak with Greenbrier Public School, but the assistant principal hung up on them.

Image: 17th May 1972: School children holding a demonstration in Hyde Park against caning in schools.

Posted: 18th, March 2018 | In: News | Comment


Cannabis can cure eczema and psoriasis but the law says tick to the steroids or else

If you suffer from eczema and psoriasis, researchers at the University of Colorado have encouraging news: a compound of cannabis could alleviate your ordeal. The paper’s lead researcher, Dr Robert Dellavalle, says: “There’s a large segment of the population that doesn’t like using steroids, even if they are topical steroids on their skin. [CBD] could be an alternative, natural product for them to try.”

CBD is short for cannabidiol. It’s non-psychoactive. It is not addictive. In 2016, the UK regulatory body the MHRA said CBD was a medicine, meaning anyone wishing to offer it legally in the country should secure a licence. UK law decrees that cannabis possesses no therapeutic value. Sell it without a licence and place yourself in danger of arrest for possession. In short: do not help yourself. If you think CBD helps salve your flaky skin and itchy lesions, know that it doesn’t. Be told.

But the evidence is gathering.

Ian Hamilton, a drug researcher at York University tells MailOnline: ‘There is emerging evidence that chemicals within cannabis might offer potential health benefits. But we will need more than one research trial to be done before we can say whether this works of not.”

In the meanwhile, keep smearing on the steroids. According to the NHS:

Side effects of steroid tablets can include:

indigestion or heartburn
increased appetite, which could lead to weight gain
difficulty sleeping
changes in mood and behaviour, such as feeling irritable or anxious
an increased risk of infections – especially chickenpox, shingles and measles
high blood sugar or diabetes
weakening of the bones (osteoporosis)
high blood pressure
Cushing’s syndrome – symptoms such as thin skin that bruises easily, stretch marks on the thighs, and fat deposits in the face
eye conditions, such as glaucoma and cataracts
mental health problems, such as depression or suicidal thoughts

You’re in discomfort. You want to try a treatment with negligible side-effects. But the State says you can’t try cannabis on pain of law.  The drugs policy is cracked. Whose body is it: yours or theirs?

Posted: 17th, March 2018 | In: News | Comment


Fiery Jack Wilshere has outgrown Wenger’s dull and directionless Arsenal

Let’s not abuse Jack Wilshere for trying to negotiate the best terms at Arsenal. Most fans would agree to an £80,000-a-week deal plus bonuses Arsenal are offering Wilshere to extend his current deal that runs out at this season’s end. But if we thought we could get more, we’d try.

The caveat is, of course, that Wilshere is an Arsenal fan, whose been at the club since age nine. And given theoretic options on offer, most Gunners would take a hungry Wilshere, who fronts up on the pitch, to remain at the club over the moribund and uninspiring Arsene Wenger (wage: £10m a season) and replace the panicky and hapless Granit Xhaka as the team’s fulcrum.

Why does Wilshere need Wenger’s Arsenal? Is Wilshere improving under the Frenchman? Is anyone?

And Jack The Lad has a way out. Everton are ready to pay him a whopping £8 million signing-on fee to join them on a free transfer in June. Will he take that? Surely not. Even a palsied Wenger is better than a pugnacious Sam Allardyce, who’d teach Wilshere what: to better challenge for headers?

Wilshere might have yet to rediscover that burst of pace that took him away from opponents, a skill dented by cruel and lengthy injuries, but he has oodles of perseverance and drive. Arsenal are sensible to temper a new deal given the state of Wilshere’s ankles, but to let go of one of the few players possessed of personality, who connects with fans and looks like he actually cares, would be giving up on much more than one player. It’s be more evidence that Wenger’s regime is ending in abject failure.

Posted: 17th, March 2018 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment


The Madeleine McCann Research Group has a theory

Madeleine McCann: a look at the missing child in the news. Journalist Paulo Reis send us a link to news in the Portugal Resident. We open the link with hope that this is news of what happened to the child who vanished in 2003 and became the media’s benchmark for all missing people, a innocent life reduced to hacks pressing ‘f9’ on the keyboard to generate new sensation where only one bald fact remains: child vanishes.

The most recent story on ‘Our Maddie’ in the British press went like this in the Mail: “Kate McCann’s 50th birthday is ‘tinged with sadness’ as she reaches another milestone without her Maddie… but the family hope the police will continue their search.” Who need fact when you can mine emotion and present it as news?

 

One artist’s impression of the suspect

 

The story begins with new of something called the “Madeleine McCann Research Group”:

A team of independent investigators working over the last decade has come up with what it believes may have happened to Madeleine McCann.

Believes. That it is. No fact. Just belief.

It is independent of the official story. It doesn’t work to the accepted timeline and it doesn’t involve gypsies, blundering burglars, or Eastern European child smugglers.

What it could be, we know not. Maybe she morphed into an ant and crawled away? Well, some people do believe stuff like that happens. And let’s not get started on alien abduction, portals and Lord Lucan.

Says a member of the investigating group, the theory has been run past professionals from all walks of life, time and again.

Nine out of ten plumbers agree with the theory – it could have happened; but only three out of ten architects.

They have communicated their findings to British prime minister Theresa May, and the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick… but the six-page letter laying out what they believe to be “credible evidence” appears to have changed nothing (although it was purportedly forwarded to the Grange ‘investigation team’).

What evidence – and evidence of what?

A new letter, translated into Portuguese – containing all the research, and the “detailed file of evidence” on which it has relied – has now been sent to the Portuguese Attorney General as well as newspaper and website journalists in this country.

We get a lot of stuff in the inbox here at Anorak. Some of it is, shall we say, a little odd. Anyhow, time to hear from an unnamed “source”, who opines: “It is a question of hoping one of them will have the courage to undertake what no-one seems willing to conduct in the UK: a serious investigation into what really happened to Madeleine Beth McCann.”

By “serious” they mean more serious that the highly expensive and involving Operation Grange investigation, which since its inception in 2011 has cost the British taxpayer £11m and come up with zilch? Someone at the aforesaid “Madeleine McCann Research Group” then assures us, “it is important that people follow this logically, and without preconceptions – however shocking the conclusion may seem.”

 

 

Madeleine McCann vanished in 2003. There are no suspects. No-one has been arrested in connection to any alleged crime linked to her vanishing. Innocence is presumed – we all agree on that, I hope. Any less position is detrimental to reason. And if you think you know what happened to the innocent child, don’t theorise on social media, call the police. They could do with a break. And you might even get s slice of that News of The World reward – anyone know what happen to the big pot of cash on offer?

PS: I’ve seen the document. It makes lots of claims based on supposition and what can be best described as educated guesswork. It throws more shade than light. It alleges claims Madeleine McCann was abducted are a “hoax”.

It begins:

From: The Madeleine McCann Research Group
28 February 2018
To: Exma Sra. Procuradora-Geral da República,
Drª Joana Marques Vidal
Rua da Escola Politécnica, 140
1269-269 LISBOA
PT P O R T U G A L

Dear Drª Joana Marques VidalTo:

re: The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann: New evidence of what happened to her

We are a group of mainly British researchers. Most of us have studied the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in depth for the past 10 years. Our members and researchers include many people with professional expertise, such as ex-police officers, lawyers, photographers, computer experts and statement analysts.

No named author appears on the text.

To recap: Child vanishes. Such are the facts.

Posted: 17th, March 2018 | In: Madeleine McCann, News | Comment


YouTube killer gets 180-day prison sentence for fatal stunt

perez youtube shooting

 

YouTubers Monalisa Perez and her lover Pedro Ruiz III had a plan for fame and fortune. Perez would fire a bullet at Ruiz, who would cheat death by holding a hardcover book (an encyclopaedia) across his chest. They found the weapon: a .50 caliber, semi-automatic Desert Eagle, a powerful handgun. It features the largest legal caliber allowed for a handgun in the U.S. Would the book stop a bullet that could piece armour?

Perez and Ruiz thought so. Stood just a foot apart. Two cameras rolled. Around 30 people, including the couple’s 3-year-old daughter looked on. Perez fired once. The book failed. Ruiz was shot dead. Ruiz called 911 and told the operator what had happened. Last December, Perez admitted second-degree manslaughter. The Star Tribune surveys her punishment:

Monalisa Perez’s punishment, as outlined in an agreement to plead guilty to second-degree manslaughter, is a 180-day jail term, and lifetime bans on possessing a firearm or receiving payment for telling the story of the June shooting of 22-year-old Pedro Ruiz III outside their home in the northwestern Minnesota town of Halstad.

The sentence falls below state sentencing guidelines that would have sent her to prison. Norman County Attorney James Brue said that was proper under the circumstances for the 20-year-old mother of two.

 

Monalisa Perez

 

She keeps custody of her two children – and can serve the sentence in 10-day slices.

Is that a tough punishment? Hasn’t she suffered enough?

Posted: 17th, March 2018 | In: News, Strange But True | Comment


Cold case rapist caught after urinating in a plant pot 30 years later

DNA cold case

 

Isn’t technology great? For 30 years, rapist Eric McKenna was at liberty. The 59-year-old had never been arrested for two rapes in England. In 1983 he raped a woman as she walked home alone Gateshead. And in 1988, he raped another woman also walking alone Newcastle. Both times he was armed with a knife.

But then he made an error: in 2016 he took a wee in a neighbour’s plant pot as part of a sustained campaign of harassment.

The neighbour called the police. They swabbed McKenna, of Clarewood Court, Newcastle. The DNA left at the crimes scenes all those years ago matched McKenna’s.

At Newcastle Crown Court, McKenna was handed a 23 year sentence.

Det Con Mick Wilson, of Northumbria Police, tells us: “In the 1980s we did not have the same forensic techniques available that we do now and we have secured a conviction thanks to those developments. McKenna thought he had got away with his crimes, but a neighbourly dispute and a moment of stupidity has landed him in prison for 23 years.”

Isn’t technology great. The police that failed to link two similar rapes, less so…

Posted: 16th, March 2018 | In: News | Comment


Arsenal in Russia, a rerun of the Polonium derby and World Cup boycotts are for football haters

polonium arsenal

 

The quarter-final of football’s Europa League pits Arsenal against CSKA Moscow.

There has been no media balls about the English club boycotting the two-legged match, as there have been copious words on England not attending this summer’s World Cup in light of Moscow’s involvement in the attempted murders of Russian exiles Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter, Yulia, 33, in a chemical attack in Salisbury.

Any debate about England’s participation in this summer’s tournament invites us to wonder why now and not when the Russians allegedly secured their hosting of the tournament through bribes; annexed Crimea; the time Russian club Spartak Moscow referred to its black players as “chocolates”; or when, having seen the extreme violence after a match between England and Russia in Marseille in 2016, “British government officials” feared the fighting that left two England fans in comas was sanctioned by the Kremlin – a prominent Russian parliamentarian hardly quietened such notions when he  tweeted: “Well done lads, keep it up!”?

Labour politician John Woodcock wants “MPs to push for concerted international action over the World Cup… It should [a boycott] be on the table because of the appalling magnitude of what Russia has done.”

So Harry Kane is sacrificed to prove a politician’s point. All the players who dreamt of playing at a World Cup finals miss out because politicians and wonks who see football less as a fun leisure pursuit than a tool for top-down moral education want it.

But at least Arsenal can play on, and take their chances with the all-powerful, conniving Russians – who have moved on rapidly from bringing down the West through a ‘farm’ of nerds on Facebook and twitter, to unleashing chemical weapons in Wiltshire. And the Gunners might have something to fear. The last time the two clubs met in 2007, traces of polonium (the poison used to kill ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvenenko that very same day) were later found at the Emirates…

 

Posted: 16th, March 2018 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment


Snapchat invites users to think about assaulting Rihanna

Snapchat wants to know if its users would prefer to “Slap Rihanna” or “Punch Chris Brown”. There’s no option ‘c’, but if there were it would most likely be: do we know which marketing boffin thought it wise to turn criminal assault into larks? You’ll no doubt recall that in 2009 Chris Brown used his fists to put his then lover Rihanna in hospital. Brown pleaded guilty to felony assault.

Nine years laster, and domestic abuse is rebranded as a leisure activity.

 

rihanna slap

 

Snap, the company that operates Snapchat, tells the BBC that the poll was published “in error”.

“The advert was reviewed and approved in error, as it violates our advertising guidelines,” says Snap. “We immediately removed the ad last weekend, once we became aware.”

 

 

Rihanna used her Instagram account to respsond:

Now SNAPCHAT I know you already know you ain’t my fav app out there! But I’m just trying to figure out what the point was with this mess! I’d love to call it ignorance, but I know you ain’t that dumb! You spent money to animate something that would intentionally bring shame to DV [Domestic Violence] victims and made a joke of it!!!! This isn’t about my personal feelings, cause I don’t have much of them…but all the women, children, and men that have been victims of DV in the past and especially the ones who haven’t made it out yet….you let us down!  Shame on you. Throw the whole app-oligy away.

And just like that Snap’s stock tumbled 4%.

 

Posted: 16th, March 2018 | In: Celebrities, News | Comment


Unilever be gone: Marmite maker leaving Britain don’t matter a damn

The maker of Marmite, Unilever, has announced that it is to give up its UK headquarters and move to Holland. This doesn’t matter a damn. No, really, it’s a triviality of no import at all. It’s also nothing to do with Brexit, They even say this themselves:

Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch group, said on Thursday that Brexit played no part in its decision to choose Rotterdam over London for its single legal base.

It’s always useful to take peoples’ word for such things.

 

Asylum seekers and economic migrants swear by it

 

Unilever has always been a slightly odd company anyway. It’s long been near half Dutch anyway. And it reports its results, does its internal accounting, in euros as well, something a bit odd for a UK company. But then no large multinational is really from or in any one country anyway. There’s some slight importance, mainly due to where the senior execs get to live, to where head office is. Other than that it doesn’t really make any difference.

The factories are going to remain where the factories are. That doesn’t change when HQ moves. The company will still have its shares listed in London. Because you don’t have to be a UK company to do that. In fact, there are FTSE100 members who don’t do any business at all in the UK, they just use the stock market as the place they’re listed and that’s it.

The change won’t even make any difference to taxes collected. Now, as it wasn’t in the past, we don’t tax foreign profits made by companies with an HQ in the UK. We tax only on the profits they make from business in the UK. And we tax companies without a UK HQ on exactly the same basis. Foreign profits aren’t taxed by us, profits made in the UK are.

Unilever moving HQ to Rotterdam makes very little difference therefore. Sure, a few wine bars will miss the spending of the top execs but other than that, pretty much nothing. No factories will move, tax collected won’t change, it’s all a bit of nothing in proper economic terms.

Shrug, have fun over there folks is the correct response.

Posted: 16th, March 2018 | In: Money, News, The Consumer | Comment


RIP Jim Bowen: When Gameshow TV Hit The Bullseye

Jim Bowen RIP Bullseye

 

So it’s farewell to Jim Bowen, my Bullseye Tumblr muse. He was the engine of that show, propping up hours of awkward banter with shy contestants like Colin the carpet tufter from Dridlington (my favourite ever contestant name town and occupation combo) shuffling in their seats, eyes down. They had only come to win a dinner service, maybe a luggage set, they didn’t want all this razzle dazzle.  He chatted to them about their home town, their family, their job, and would valiantly press on whenever the banter couldn’t overcome the nerves and didn’t land, as it once didn’t with a shopkeeper from Diss who took umbrage at Jim saying he had DISS-satisfied customers. The man disagreed (DISSagreed!) Jim explained what he meant. “I know what you meant,” he muttered irritably; right, on with the show!

 

 

Jim really came into his own during the quiz portion of the show, routinely asking anyone who responded to a question with a self doubting tone “are you asking me or telling me?” They would confirm that they were indeed telling him and he was duly appeased. Except for one time, when a woman threw him by saying “I’m asking you”. He paused and in a low sombre voice said “I’d prefer it if you’d tell me”.

He wasn’t very consistent bless him, oscillating between violently and unnecessarily shushing the always silent audience whilst the contestants considered their answer and then occasionally jabbering all over their thinking time. My favourite such occasion was when he asked a woman about a cathedral that had burned down “…which cathedral was it?…it was a cathedral…but…but it’s got another name for a cathedral” MOOOOOOOO. Thanks for that Jim.

 

 

Another classic was when he spent a man’s thinking time telling him he looked like Rumpole of the Bailey. The man looked annoyed at this comparison and then came Bully’s roar which annoyed him further. Afterwards Jim apologised to the glowering contestant for offending him but maintained that he did look like him.

 

 

That man should count himself lucky that at least he didn’t get the I’m surprised you didn’t know that” treatment on a question about STDs.

 

 

The quiz section led to everyone’s favourite part of the night; the famed prize board. Where Jim would get to announce such bizarre prize hauls as “pound puppies and fine wines” (GAMBLE!) and physically drag people to what they had won and also to what they hadn’t won. Like when he pushed two unhappy contestants up onto a beach set and made them sit unhappily in cane chairs so they could watch footage of a holiday they had failed to obtain, having lost all of their other prizes in the process. But they had a good day and that is all that matters. Plus you got a tankard win or lose.

I will leave you with a clip of Jim being serenaded by some very 1980s men for far too long. His face in the middle is wonderful.

 

 

Thank you Mr Bowen for all of the awkward moments, the great chat, the deliberately bad jokes, and for a show that I always find gives me the biggest of hugs whenever I watch it.

James Bowen (born Peter Williams; 20 August 1937 – 14 March 2018).

Posted: 15th, March 2018 | In: Celebrities, News, TV & Radio | Comment


Free expression attacked as protestors invade London University Libertarian event

Students at King College, London, never got to hear American-Israeli writer Yaron Brook, chairman of the Ayn Rand Institute, and YouTuber Carl Benjamin address the school’s Libertarian Society at the Edmond J. Safra lecture theatre. Their talk was disrupted by people dressed in black masks who consider the speakers to be “‘white supremacists” and “fascists”.

The audience rowed with the anti-free activists. Apparently punches were thrown. Students say windows were smashed and smoke bombs let off. A “safe space marshal” (cost per hour: £12*) was injured. And then the whole building was cleared.

 

 

The great irony is that the assault on free expression was reportedly arranged by the authoritarian Antifa – a self-declared anti-fascist group.

This shutting down of debate is  sickness. These censors’ pursuit of a monocular world view is wholly reductive and palpably ignorant of what happens when individuals are intimated and become less free to speak their minds and test their own ideas, however ‘controversial’, in the arena of public discourse.

The Libertarian Soiety has made the following statement:

Last night an event organised by the KCL Libertarian Society invited controversial speakers Carl Benjamin and Yaron Brook. The event had to be cancelled after some people forced their way into Kings College London. The Police attended and we are fully co-operating with their investigation. KCLSU condemns the use of violence in any situation.

Universities create environments in which debate from all sides on issues of political, scientific, moral, ethical and religious significance is possible, and King’s is no exception. Our role is to ensure that all parties feel safe and secure in expressing their views without fear of violence of intimidation. We take our responsibilities to provide a safe environment for free, peaceful and respectful dialogue very seriously. KCLSU and King’s will be reviewing the incident to decide on appropriate action to be taken.

Responding to the incident, Momin Saqib, President of KCLSU said, “I am appalled by the acts that were perpetrated in King’s College London yesterday evening. I strongly respect and encourage the right to freedom of speech, the right to challenge each other and the right to peaceful protest. It is unfortunate that the event was marred by violence by people who took an extreme and an unacceptable approach. My heart goes out to the guards who got physically and mentally hurt and I wish them a speedy recovery.

Universities are places to facilitate intellectually stimulating discussions, environments for constructive debates, places where ideas get tested, which are all done in a bid for the advancement of human knowledge and the betterment of our society. However, any actions which contravene peaceful protest will not be accepted.

Hatred: whether it is based on – race, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity, trans status, socio-economic status, or ideology or culture is totally unacceptable and I strongly condemn it and I will always QUESTION it.

Everyone has the right to protest peacefully but any forms of aggression and violence are completely unacceptable.”

Amid the argy-bargy, someone managed to film a segment:

 

 

Anyhow. If you fancy policing free speech at King’s apply below.

 

 

Safe Space MArshall King's College

Via – ‘a Safe Space breech” [sic]

 

Work as an Antifa free speech patroller is believed to be unpaid.

 

Posted: 14th, March 2018 | In: News | Comment


Poor and white Telford girls are the wrong kind of victims

From Rochdale and Rotherham and Oxford, we’re now reading grim news of horrendous sexual abuse in Telford, Shropshire. The Mirror reports on the claims that over 1,000 girls, some as young as 11, were raped – three were murdered – by gangs of predominately Muslim, Asian-heritage men over four decades. Huge news, then. Or not.

 

Sunday Mirror TElford

Sunday Mirror – Telford

 

One day on from the story only the Daily Mail led with it.  No other paper thought it worth a front page, including the Guardian, which champions the #MeToo movement, and The Times, which went big with the story of how Damien Green MP allegedly touched Tory activist Kate Maltby’s knee and attempted to seduce her. Why is that the suffering of 1,000 beaten and raped young women and girls from an unfashionable part of the world is ignored but so much space is afforded to better off, better educated and better looking victims?

The world knows what actress Rose McGowan says she experienced at the hands of movie mogul and “monster” Harvey Weinstein, but we don’t know what happened to Charlene Downes, the poor, white girl who vanished in Blackpool, Lancashire. Maybe if she’d been seen in the company of a famous face, we would have?

 

Joanne Williams notes on the #KneeToo movement:

The lack of comment on the Telford abuse scandal exposes the hypocrisy at the heart of the #MeToo movement. High-profile campaigners announce time and again that they are not driven by self-interest, but from a desire to help women less fortunate than themselves. Jane Merrick told all because, ‘I knew that by failing to act I was letting down not only my 29-year-old self, but also any other women who may have been subjected to the same behaviour since. More importantly, I would be failing to protect other women in future.’ Kate Maltby made a similar declaration: ‘It is true that I have many privileges that other women do not. That is why I owed it to others to come forward. When we see white, financially secure women saying #MeToo, we should ask: where are the voices that we are not hearing?’ Yet Merrick and Maltby, for all their self-sacrifice and sisterly compassion, have so far had nothing to say about the rape of teenage girls in Telford.

Time’s Up, the celebrity #MeToo spin-off, launched a fundraiser to pay legal fees for victims of sexual harassment and assault seeking justice. The aim, it said, was to ‘lift up the voices, power and strength of women working in low-wage industries where the lack of financial stability makes them vulnerable to high rates of gender-based violence and exploitation’. More than $16.7million was raised in less than a month. The British actress Emma Watson, one of the most generous and high-profile donors, posted on social media: ‘The clock’s been ticking on the abuse of power. I stand in solidarity with women across every industry to say #TIMESUP on abuse, harassment, and assault. #TIMESUP on oppression and marginalisation.’ Only, it seems, some women are more deserving of solidarity than others; some women’s voices are more worthy of being lifted up.

Too true. The story has yet to catch. The Sun cover it lightly on page 27; and the Express on page 11. The Mail uses the horror to give the BBC a kick, citing MPS “from across the political divide” who accused the BBC of “failing to cover the Telford scandal adequately”. What is adequate for what one victim calls a “whirlwind of rape” meted out to her between the age of 14 and 18? The Mail has the story on page 22, after first covering news of a new Harry and Meghan TV movie and Ken Small’s painting, which looks a lot like a Canaletto, but isn’t. Even the Mirror has it on page 5.

 

It’s not all about #MeToo. It’s also about them.

Posted: 14th, March 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Salma Hayek dresses like a Daily Mail reader

The hard working Daily Mail Reporter was helping readers sat in their Comfi-Gowns and support stockings identify the “Worst dressed women” at the Oscars.

Eyes are drawn to Salma Hayek, who came as a “Shiny disaster”. Her “dress was baffling to behold… serving as more of an eye sore than a style statement”. What a horror show.

 

Salma Hayek daily mail horror

 

And you too can get the look because just one line down, the same readers are told: “Shimmer in sequins like Salma wearing a Gucci gown… Whoever said sequins can’t be worn all over on a maxi gown must’ve not seen how good Salma Hayek rocked this one at the 2018 Oscars.”

Who said it? The Daily Mail did a moment earlier.

 

Salma Hayek daily mail horror

 

Baffling stuff.

Price on application.

Posted: 14th, March 2018 | In: Celebrities, Fashion, News | Comment


National Geographic comes clean over its smutty, racist past

It’s now the turn of the dentist’s waiting room to revisit its past with candour. Finally, the old magazines are being cast out. National Geographic has issued a mea culpa over its past. The magazine has hired University of Virginia associate professor John Edward Mason to trawl the archives and expose any and all evidence of racism he can find. Items like a 1916 photo of Australian Aborigines with the caption “South Australian Blackfellows” – “savages” who “rank lowest in intelligence of all human beings”.

Mason notes that until the 1970s non-white Americans were only portrayed as manual workers or domestic staff.

And there was the sex.

“Teenage boys could always rely, in the ’50s and ’60s, on National Geographic to show them bare-breasted women as long as the women had brown or black skin,” Mason tells NPR. “I think the editors understood this was frankly a selling point to its male readers. Some of the bare-breasted young women are shot in a way that almost resembles glamour shots.”

“Through most of its history, National Geographic, in words and images, reproduced a racial hierarchy with brown and black people at the bottom, and white people at the top,” says Mason..

 

 

The magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Susan Goldberg explains why the audit was needed:

I’m the tenth editor of National Geographic since its founding in 1888. I’m the first woman and the first Jewish person—a member of two groups that also once faced discrimination here. It hurts to share the appalling stories from the magazine’s past. But when we decided to devote our April magazine to the topic of race, we thought we should examine our own history before turning our reportorial gaze to others.

Race is not a biological construct, as writer Elizabeth Kolbert explains in this issue, but a social one that can have devastating effects. “So many of the horrors of the past few centuries can be traced to the idea that one race is inferior to another,” she writes. “Racial distinctions continue to shape our politics, our neighborhoods, and our sense of self.”

Times change. Much of the magazine’s photography has been incredibly good. The acid test is in whether or not people are still willing to pay for it…

Posted: 14th, March 2018 | In: News | Comment


Stormy Daniels will reveal all about her candlelit romance with Trump if he returns $130,000 hush money

You know how it goes: you shag the billionaire and take his hush money. Then the billionaire becomes president of the US of And you realise you undervalued your services. And so it is that adult film star Stormy Daniels says she not longer wants the $130,000 she claims Donald Trump paid her to remain tight lipped about their affair. She thinks it best that she return the cash and place her story on the public record.

 

Stormy Daniels

Hush ‘n’ tell

 

Daniels, nee Stephanie Clifford, has laid out her plan in a letter to Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen. She has set a deadline of Friday for the return of the cash. She will then be at liberty to “speak openly and freely about her prior relationship with the president and the attempts to silence her and use and publish and text messages, photos and videos relating to the president that she may have in her possession, all without fear of retribution or legal liability.”

“This has never been about the money,” Clifford’s lawyer, Michael Avenatti, told NBC New. It’s the principle, right? “It has always been about Ms. Clifford being allowed to tell the truth. The American people should be permitted to judge for themselves who is shooting straight with them and who is misleading them. Our offer seeks to allow this to happen.”

 

Generous it is, indeed. And should Trump fall into a a trap marked ‘TRAP’ with huge arrow pointing at it, we can all marvel at how a man who outlined his mating ritual as “Grab her by the pussy” really treats women he fancies.

You can read Daniels’ letter in full here.

 

Posted: 13th, March 2018 | In: Celebrities, Money, News, Politicians | Comment


Former Liverpool star Jamie Carragher cops a suspension for Manchester United fan attack

Photos of Jamie Carragher, the former Liverpool defender, spitting at a teenage girl are all over the media. Given his tongue chewing, whale-voice way of speaking, we first thought the huge spray was Carra’s mouth wrestling with “Ryan Sessègnon scores screamer”. But then the story came that after Liverpool’s defeat to Manchester United, Carragher had been the target of banter as he drove home. Sat in traffic, a passing United fan wound down his window and reminded Carragher of the final score: “Unlucky Jamie lad – 2-1!” The driver was with his 14-year-old daughter. Carragher showed that he’d lost none of his old bile and gobbed at the girl sat in the passenger seat.

It’s all on camera.

 

jamie carragher spitting

 

What happens next is a sign that football punditry is not as far removed from the on-field action as first appears. Team Sky Sports have suspended Carragher. He calls it “a moment of madness” – “four or five seconds I can’t explain”, calling to mind the “It’s not the kind of thing he’d do” defence favoured by manager’s explaining ‘Chopper’s’ studs-up challenge on the opposition nimble midfielder.

Carragher adds:

“It’s devastating for the family involved and I’m sorry for my actions. I called the family, obviously they were upset last night. That is my biggest regret, that a 14-year-old girl was caught up in the middle of this.”

Not in the middle. More full in the face.

And just like in actual football, after the suspension, comes the expert punditry. So here’s former England and Manchester United defender Gary Neville to review the action. “I’ve just watched Jamie Carragher say sorry,” he said. “No excuses, he’s made a big mistake… I’ve been on TV for three years with him and, in my opinion, this isolated incident shouldn’t stop us working together.”

But where are you both going to work?

 

Posted: 12th, March 2018 | In: Liverpool, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment