News | Anorak - Part 8

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Dalian Atkinson: Black Lives Matter, stereotypes and blaming football

Dalian Atkinson: a look at repotting on the former Aston Villa footballer who died after being hit by police tasers.

The Guardian: “Dalian Atkinson death asks hard questions of police and football”

Can football be blamed for one man’s death in unusual circumstances?

Death of former Aston Villa striker focuses spotlight on Taser use, racial stereotyping and support for ex-professionals

Are we in danger os stereotyping the police? Atkinson was black. Press TV, the biased Iranian broadcaster, leads with: “Two British police officers are under criminal investigation over the death of black English footballer Dalian Atkinson.” The Guardian has linked Atkinson’s death to the Black Lives Matter movement.

For the past year, the 48-year-old had been receiving hospital treatment for a serious liver and kidney condition, with his family making increasingly desperate pleas for help from the football community.

What is the football community? Atkinson played for Ipswich Town, Sheffield Wednesday, Aston Villa, Manchester City, Real Sociedad, Metz, Fenerbahçe, Al-Ittihad, Daejeon Citizen and Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors. Manchester City, for one, are not exactly hard up. The BBC says “Sociedad fans applauded throughout the ninth minute as a tribute to their former striker Dalian Atkinson.” A sign behind the Aston Villa dugout reads: “Dalian Atkinson – Never Forgotten.”

 Geoff Scott, the CEO of the football welfare charity Xpro Life After Sport, told the Guardian that Atkinson’s family had sought financial assistance for his medical care and wanted help to move him to a private hospital.

The charity could not help. But the Professional Footballers’ Association arranged his travel to hospital for more than a year. Atkinson spoke personally to Gordon Taylor, the PFA chief executive, last Friday.

He had been due to see a specialist on Monday, the day he died after being Tasered by police on his father’s doorstep in the quiet Telford suburb of Trench, in Shropshire.

The paper then sees fit to add:

Neighbours have described how Atkinson, who also played for Ipswich Town and Sheffield Wednesday, pulled up outside his father’s house in his Porsche 4×4 around midnight on Sunday.

Nice car. Sounds pricey. But why mention the make and model?

The Sun does the same:

The retired striker, who drove a Porsche, had spells with Ipswich, Sheffield Wednesday and Manchester City and joined Villa for £1.6million in July 1991.

The Birmingham Mail: “Dalian Atkinson new witness: Ex striker was struck with a baton after being tasered”

It has been reported that Atkinson had stumbled towards officers shouting, “I am the Messiah”, before a Taser, capable of 50,000 volt shocks, was used.

We hear from Dave Lewis, who lives across the road from Dalian Atkinson’s father. He says:

“It’s very easy to be wise after the event, but everything had to be done in a split second. The officer who used the Taser had a very difficult decision to make.”

It is. That’s why police are trained to make the right decision.

In the Sun “a man who claimed to be Dalian’s nephew, Fabian Atkinson” says:

“If the police are turning up to a scene where someone is having an argument, they have to be prepared to calm that person and not just go straight for the taser. As soon as you deploy the taser they have to call an ambulance straight away, and try to find out the person’s medical history.

“My uncle was having kidney dialysis, which would have made his heart weaker. The police knew nothing about that. How can they taser someone without calling an ambulance first?”

Is is because “everything has to be done in a split second”? As we wonder why the Sun bothered with that quote, the Birmingham Mail returns to Dave Lewis:

His account differs dramatically from that of another witness, described as a neighbour in national newspapers… Mr Lewis, who lives directly opposite, says he saw one officer draw back a foot as if to land a kick but, if that was the intention, he says it was never carried out. Despite reports that the Taser was used five times on 48-year-old Atkinson, he only saw it used once.

But she heard “boots kicking him”. Mr Lewis:

“His dad let him in and the police came. There was a policeman and a policewoman, no blue lights, and one backed away. It was one-to-one with the other officer. If I was that police officer, I’d have a very difficult decision to make. He was approaching the policeman. If someone rushes at you and they’ve already smashed a door in and the state they are in… well, you’ve got a difficult decision to make.

“I didn’t see the other officer touch him with a boot. The officer did draw a baton, though, and hit him with the baton. Right after that, the sky went blue with the lights from all the police cars and vans.”

Daily Mail:  “Dalian Atkinson: The tragic final days of Aston Villa hero who died after being Tasered by police”

Sportsmail can reveal that the Dalian Atkinson struck by the 50,000-volt weapon was a fragile, ill man, suffering not only from kidney and liver problems but also from pneumonia, who had become convinced that only a doctor across the Atlantic could help him.

The Times: “The tragic silence of Atkinson’s final years”

He had arrived at the house that he had bought for his parents in Meadow Close, Telford, in the early hours of Monday morning. According to his father, Ernest, and his brother, Kenroy, he claimed that he had already killed his siblings and attempted to throttle his father. Kenroy told The Sun that his brother was “in a manic state and depressed, out of his mind and ranting, not in his right mind.” Ernest said he “did not know if he was drunk, or on drugs”.

A neighbour called the police, concerned “for the safety of an individual”. When officers arrived, they struck Atkinson with a Taser, reportedly on as many as three occasions.

And before that.

Atkinson got in contact with the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), the body that looks after players during and after their careers. He applied to their benevolent fund for help covering rent. On his behalf, they struck a deal with his landlord that he would pay three months’ rent but be allowed to stay in New Woodhouses for six.

Football did not let Dalian Atkinson down. That narrative is too simple.

Posted: 22nd, August 2016 | In: News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Caster Semenya is clean: the’dilemma’ of being yourself

Well done, Caster Semenya for winning Olympic gold in the women’s 800m. Much has been made of Semenya’s gender.

Presented her Olympic gold medal by the same organisation that will look to restrict her future in the sport, Caster Semenya stood on top of the podium and smiled broader than ever before.

The finest 800m runner the world has seen for almost decade, there was little doubt that she would depart these Rio Olympics with a gold medal round her neck.

There were three people in that race with what can be termed ‘intersex’ characteristics.

AP says the “result that will only stoke the complex debate over whether women with much higher levels of testosterone than normal should be allowed to compete unchecked.”


Do women who have much higher levels of natural testosterone than normal have an advantage over other women in athletics, and if so, is it unfair?

The athlete said in 2010:

“I have been subjected to unwarranted and invasive scrutiny of the most intimate and private details of my being. Some of the occurrences leading up to and immediately following the Berlin World Championships have infringed on not only my rights as an athlete but also my fundamental and human rights.”

NBC calls her competing a “dilemma”. The New Yorker called her “breathtakingly butch”.

The Atlantic:

No one is accusing Semenya of using illicit substances. Quite the opposite: Some have suggested she should be taking drugs in order to bring her hormone levels more closely in line with those of average women.

Semenya was raised and identifies as female. But according to a leaked medical test, Semenya’s testosterone levels are three times as high as those of most women, and she has internal testes instead of ovaries.

Is surgery the solution? The New York Times:

At the London Olympics, four female athletes, all 18 to 21 years old and from rural areas of developing countries, were flagged for high levels of natural testosterone. Each of them subsequently had surgery to remove internal testes, which produce testosterone, as well as procedures that were not required for resuming competition: feminizing vaginoplasty, estrogen replacement therapy and a reduction in the size of the clitoris.

Olga Khazan wonders:

Still, it’s not considered unsportsmanlike to simply be strange-looking. Countless Olympians are celebrated for unorthodox features that give them an edge in their sports. Much has been made of Michael Phelps’s preternatural wingspan and ultra-flexible feet that turn into “virtual flippers.” Biostaticians have said Usain Bolt’s 6-foot-5-inch height and fast-twitch muscle fibers make him perfectly suited to sprinting. Other athletes have less obvious advantages, like high levels of hemoglobin or diminutive heights tailor-made for tumbling passes.

What to do? Can you make a new division of competition: men, women and intersex?

Posted: 21st, August 2016 | In: News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Brexit: Wile E Coyote does a runner

Jeremy Warner should bone up on low culture. He’s writing about Brexit for the Telegraph:

The image that springs to mind is the cartoon character Road Runner, who keeps on running long after he’s left the edge of the cliff as if still on firm ground, only to look beneath him, realise he’s motoring on thin air, and plunge into the void.




No. The EU are Brexit voters seeing the chance to escape. The trapper is Wile E Coyote. Or is it the other way around?

Posted: 21st, August 2016 | In: News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Media Balls: Arsenal fail to pay penalty at Leicester

Media Watch: a look at monocular football reporting. In today’s match we look at biased views on Arsenal’s away draw at Leicester City. The game ended o-0.


Leicester Mercury:

Leicester City…can feel aggrieved they weren’t awarded a late penalty. Hector Bellerin appeared to trip substitute Ahmed Musa inside the penalty area but referee Mark Clattenburg, who had earlier waved away City’s appeals for a penalty after Danny Drinkwater went down in the area, again said no.

Should it have been a penalty, or two?

Islington Gazette:

There was drama on 42 minutes after Drinkwater appeared to have been tripped by Koscielny as he burst into the box following Cech blocking a Vardy burst, but referee Mark Clattenburg decided it was a fair challenge – much to the displeasure of the vociferous home fans and their execrable paper clappers that seem to be needlessly encroaching on our game. It has to be said the referee made the right decision – just.

Only one penalty claim is mentioned.

The Times:

Drinkwater claimed a penalty, but replays suggested Mark Clattenburg made the right call.

No mention is made of the second penalty claim.

Leicester City FC website:

The loose ball fell to Danny Drinkwater, and while the midfielder appeared to be tripped by Laurent Koscielny in the area, there was nothing given.

The Guardian:

A draw is probably the right result overall, though Leicester should certainly have had a penalty in the 88th minute.

Daily Mirror:

Leicester City had two penalty appeals turned down – one in the first half, which he [the referee] got right by ruling that Koscielny poked the ball away from the feet of Drinkwater. But in the second half he got it horribly wrong. Substitute Musa skipped past Bellerin and the Spanish defender brought the winger down with a clumsy challenge.

The Star was watching a different match:

Shame referee Mark Clattenburg got booed off by home fans. He’d hardly put a foot wrong but has to be said his decision to turn down penalty appeals when Musa was clipped by Holding near the end, looked dubious.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 20th, August 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Media Balls: Liverpool robbed by Burnley

Media Watch: a look at monocular football reporting. In today’s match we look at biased views on Liverpool’s away defeat to Burnley. The game ended 2-0.


Liverpool Post:

Ragnar Klavan’s cross-field pass didn’t do Nathaniel Clyne any favours and as Burnley pressed, the full-back coughed up possession cheaply.

The Times:

Nathaniel Clyne, Liverpool’s England full-back, was badly at fault, with a poor pass deep in his own half finding only Gray who, in turn, fed Vokes.

Burnley Express:

Gray picked up the pieces from Nathaniel Clyne’s poor pass, fed the ball in to his strike partner and, with Dejan Lovren or Ragnar Klavan not even in close proximity, Vokes swept the ball beyond Simon Mignolet from the edge of the box.

Liverpool FC website:

Nathaniel Clyne’s pass infield from the right flank was stolen by Gray

Clyne was not at fault. Clyne was robbed!

Posted: 20th, August 2016 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Media Balls: Chelsea benefit from ‘stunning’ ‘poor pass’ to beat Watford

Media Watch: a look at monocular football reporting. In today’s match we look at biased views on Watford’s home defeat to Chelsea. The game eded 1-2.


Watford Observer:

The difference was to be two mistakes. Heurelho Gomes let a Eden Hazard shot squirm away from his body which substitute Michhy Batshuayi pounced on for the equaliser and with three minutes of normal time remaining, a poor pass from Adlene Guedioura was seized on by Cesc Fabregas and within seconds Diego Costa had netted the winner.

A poor pass and a mistake led to the second Chelsea goal, says the Watford local newspaper.

Chelsea FC website:

Fabregas was the instigator, winning possession on the edge of his own box and instantly threading a beautiful, bending pass that sent Diego Costa racing clear. The striker kept his cool as he bore down on goal, slipping his shot under Gomes and putting the Blues ahead very late on. He was quick to thank Cesc for the stunning through ball.

A great pass and cool led to the second Chelsea goal, says the Chelsea FC website.


The Times:

Yet, as if they were Hertfordshire’s most ardent Trotskyists, Watford exist in a state of permanent revolution and yet more change is afoot: before kick-off new arrivals Younes Kaboul and the Argentine winger Roberto Pereyra were paraded to muted delight.

Watford Observer:

An already upbeat atmosphere was lifted when new signings Roberto Pereyra and Younes Kaboul were paraded on the pitch before kick-off

Such are the facts.

Posted: 20th, August 2016 | In: Back pages, News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: Lukaku wants Chelsea, commits to Everton, goes nowhere

Transfer balls: The BBC says Everton striker Romelu Lukaku, 23, “will turn down Chelsea to stay at Goodison Park for at least another season”.

The BBC claim links to the Daily Mirror, which is adamant:

Romelu Lukaku is staying with Everton… The news is a massive boost for new boss Koeman.

All good news, then, for Everton fans. Much better than when the Mirror told them:

29 Jul 2016 – “Chelsea closing on transfer of Everton’s Romelu Lukaku as Toffees accept the striker wants Stamford Bridge return.”

27 June 2016 – “Arsenal transfer news and rumours: Romelu Lukaku wants Gunners move – but is the price too high?”


mirror lukaku everton



Chelsea have had a £57million bid for Romelu Lukaku rejected by Everton – but are confident of agreeing a deal to re-sign him this summer. The two clubs are haggling over a fee, with the Toffees holding out for a club-record £75million. But they have finally accepted the 23-year-old striker is determined to rejoin the club they bought him off two years ago.

All wrong. Lukaku is a Toffee.

But hold on. The BBC has more news:

But Koeman has admitted that he is preparing a Plan B, in case the Belgium forward leaves the club.

That story links to the Daily Mail, which says:

Everton are planning for life without Romelu Lukaku in the eventuality their striker departs this month. Chelsea are heavily interested in the 23-year-old and Ronald Koeman has targets lined up should they bow to a mega offer, as with John Stones and Manchester City.

Such are the facts.


Posted: 20th, August 2016 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Dog passes the fermented herring test (video NSFL)

This is a Not Safe For Lunch video of a dog being treated to its first encounter with fermented herring:


Malin Jonsson from Umeå in northern Sweden spotted her French bulldog, six-year-old Ella, begging for food during a recent surströmming party.  But after only sniffing a piece of the fermented herring offered to her, the pet seemed to speak for many people with the way she reacted.  “Eating surströmming is an important tradition in my northern family this time of the year. I have an older bulldog, Ernst, who is an avid surströmming lover and shares the delicacies with us every year. When Ella had been begging loudly for a while she got the chance to taste it. We know how strong the craving can be,” she said. “I was very surprised by her reaction. I had expected that she would enjoy it, obviously,” Ella added.


fermented herring dog


Posted: 20th, August 2016 | In: News, Strange But True | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Culture Kalash: Pakistani tribe doesn’t like Muslim migrants

There is trouble in Pakistan. The Kalash tribe is threatened:

Hidden up in the mountains near Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan, the Kalash tribe loves homemade wine and whiskey, dances for days at colorful festivals, and practices a religion that holds that God has spirits and messengers who speak through nature…

But over the past century, Muslims from modern-day Pakistan and Afghanistan began moving in. Now villagers say their Kalash culture and religion are threatened by forced conversions, robberies and assaults.

New arrivals not wanted by locals. The BBC says the Kalash was founded by settling armies of Alexander the Great.  Adding:

“Unlike most of Pakistan, where even eye contact between unrelated men and women can be taboo, the Kalash express themselves freely. Children of both sexes play together and women breastfeed in public.”





CNN has more:

Loveless liaisons hold no appeal for the spirited Kalasha women: “We choose our husbands, and if they don’t treat us well, or it doesn’t work out, we can leave and find a new partner,” says Gul, as her two friends, teenage mothers Farida and Asmar, nod and blush.

Back to the issue:

“We are scared,” said Yasir Kalash, the manager of a hotel here in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. “They capture our lands, our pastures and our forests, and sometimes take our goats and women …

“We are afraid in the next few years we will be finished.”

In 2009, the Telegraph reported:

While Sikhs, Hindus, and Christians were slowly driven out of Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province by Muslim militants, the Kalash were free to drink their own distilled spirits and smoke cannabis. But the militant maulanas of the Taliban have finally caught up with them.

If you need to forcibly convert anyone to your beliefs, you are wrong.

Time to revisit Christopher Hitchens’ 10 Commandments for 21st Century living:

I: Do not condemn people on the basis of their ethnicity or color.
II: Do not ever use people as private property.
III: Despise those who use violence or the threat of it in sexual relations.
IV: Hide your face and weep if you dare to harm a child.
V: Do not condemn people for their inborn nature.
VI: Be aware that you too are an animal and dependent on the web of nature, and think and act accordingly.
VII: Do not imagine that you can escape judgment if you rob people with a false prospectus rather than with a knife.
VIII: Turn off that fucking cell phone.
IX: Denounce all jihadists and crusaders for what they are: psychopathic criminals with ugly delusions.
X: Be willing to renounce any god or any religion if any holy commandments should contradict any of the above.


Posted: 20th, August 2016 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Jew stabbed: media turns Islamic terror into a mental health issue

In Strasbourg an Hassidic Jews has been stabbed. News is that the attacker has “mental health issues”, much like the knifer in Russell Square, London, did. Does failing mental health lead to stabbing people in the street? Of course not. But the media reports suggest it does. Dangerous stuff:

The Express: “Rabbi knifed by man shouting Allahu Akbar in French religious attack

A JEWISH rabbi has been stabbed by an attacker shouting “Allahu Akbar” in the city of Strasbourg, sparking fears France has fallen victim to another Islamist-inspired terror attack.

Not to be confused with a Hindu rabbi.

The attacker, who is understood to have been arrested, shouted the Islamic phrase meaning God is great during the attack, according to reports in French media. The 62-year-old victim, who is described as belonging to the orthodox Hasidic sect, was injured in the attack in the Jewish Quarter, 500 metres from the Great Synagogue of Strasbourg.

Was the attacker an Islamic Islamist?

Named locally as Chalom Levy, he took refuge in a nearby bar before being taken to hospital.

The Telegraph: “Jewish man in Strasbourg injured by knife attacker who ‘shouted Allahu Akhbar’

Jewish man wearing a skullcap was stabbed on the street in the eastern French city of Strasbourg by an attacker who reportedly cried “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest) as he carried out his assault.

A skullcap. He’s a Hassidic Jews. He was wearing more than a yamukah to identity his ethnicity.

The 62-year-old named Chalom Levy, regarded as a “local hero” by his community after pulling a woman out of a blazing car some years ago, had just stepped out of his home in the Jewish district to do some shopping for the Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest on Saturday.

The Indy:

He has been taken to hospital to be treated for a stab wound to his abdomen, which missed any vital organs.

After visiting his friend, Mr Samama said: “He’s in shock, when I spoke to him he was crying. He told me he thinks it’s a miracle, he told me ‘I think God saved me today’.”

“A man with a knife ran up to him and shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ and then stabbed him in the stomach,” a local rabbi and friend of the victim, Mendel Samama, told the Telegraph.

“He tried to stab him again – he clearly wanted to kill him – but Chalom somehow managed to get away,” he said.

And then the inevitable excuse:

The suspect, said to be mentally ill, is believed to be known to police in relation to another attack on a Jewish victim in 2010.

Mental illness forces you to stab Jews in the street?

The Daily Mail:

A rabbi has been stabbed in Strasbourg, allegedly by a Muslim.The attacker, who has been arrested, shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ — God is great — as he stabbed…

The attacker is believed to have a history of mental health issues.

A source to the investigation told French station BFMTV that terrorism has been ruled out, however they are unsure of the man’s motive.

Officers have ruled out a terror motive for the attack and believe the suspect has suffered serious mental health issues.

When did poor mental health become an excuse for attempted murder?

Posted: 19th, August 2016 | In: News | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Madeleine McCann: ‘Sick’ tweets from The Sun and Fruity King

It’s been a slow summer for news of Madeleine McCann, the missing child who was once a mainstay of the summer news cycle. The Sun, however, has news:

SICK MADDIE SLUR Online casino mocks Madeleine McCann’s family in sick tweet about Man Utd’s new £109million signing Paul Pogba


madeleine mccann sick



Fruity King said the football club’s decision to buy back the player was ‘worse’ than leaving Maddie alone


The vile tweet, sent to Fruity King’s 2,264 followers, was published in the same week it was announced British police have stopped their forensic investigation into Maddie‘s disappearance.

And it might be as sick as this from 2013:


madeleine mccann sick tweet


Madeleine McCann is missing. There are no suspects.


Posted: 19th, August 2016 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, News, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Who thinks this photos from the Independent looks like gay Olympics porn?

“People think these photos from the Olympics look a lot like pornography,” writes Joe Vesey-Byrne in the Indy.

NBC has been censoring Olympic swimmers with the infamous ‘black bar’, and now the games look rather smutty.


Everyone Thinks These Photos From The Olympics Look Like Porn


Not as smutty as the Indy’s lead photos, however, which was from a gay porn film.


Indy gay porn rio olympics


Is sex an Olympic sport yet?

Posted: 19th, August 2016 | In: News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Arsenal balls: José Giménez and Shkodran Mustafi are just stop-gaps in a steady decline

That Arsenal are looking fore a centre-back is daily news in the Press. Arsène Wenger’s side have been talking with Atlético Madrid over Uruguayan stopper José Giménez.

Is he the man to full the voice caused by long-term injuries to Gabriel and Per Mertesacker? Valencia’s Shkodran Mustafi was supposed to arrive at the Emirates this week. But there has been no sighting of the German international.

Although the Telegraph says: “Shkodran Mustafi to have medical on Monday after £29.5m fee agreed.” It also says former Manchester United player Jonny Evans is “free to make Emirates move”. Why would Arsenal want him?

They need something fast. Arsenal look soft. The opening-day defeat against Liverpool showed that the Gunners are no longer a tough act.

Richard Williams sees a bigger problem:

Wenger’s past decade has also demonstrated that, in football at least, good husbandry can be an overrated virtue. Arsenal built a 60,000‑seat home at a cost of £390m. But where once they had a proper football ground, vibrant with history and designed to allow the fans’ passion to influence the mood of a match, now they have an elegant bowl where the emotions are easily disengaged and the most familiar one is dissatisfaction.

Says Wenger:

“If Mertesacker and Gabriel had not been injured in pre-season, we would have been less under pressure to sign a defender but once you are under pressure everybody knows you are, so it makes you weaker. We have been in the market a long time but, if you look around in Europe, all my friends I call are all looking for centre-backs but they cannot find them.

“That is why we also buy young centre-backs to develop, because when you have one or two of the quality to make it to the top it is fantastic because it is a position that is difficult to find, especially at the big clubs.”

True enough, Calum Chambers and Rob Holding, who partnered so ineffectively in Arsenal’s opening-day defeat to a pretty ordinary Liverpool side, point to the future. But neither look like win-hungry tough nuts in the mould of Tony Adams, Martin Keown or Steve Bould.

Only one game into the season and Arsenal look like disappointing all over again.

Posted: 19th, August 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Dalian Atkinson: police crimes, Tasers, mental health and black skin

A round-up of news on the death of former Aston Villa Dalian Atkinson, who died after being hit by police Tasers.

Daily Mail: “Two officers under criminal investigation over footballer Taser death”

That’s a suggestive headline.

The 48-year-old ex-Aston Villa and Ipswich Town player was shot with a stun gun in the street after allegedly attempting to kill his 85-year-old father in his home.

The police acted criminally in defending a man against murderous attack?

Atkinson died 90 minutes after he was Tasered outside the house where he grew up in Telford, Shropshire, in the early hours of Monday.
The retired striker’s death is being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which said it would carry out ‘a full and thorough’ inquiry into the actions of West Mercia Police.

The BBC: “Dalian Atkinson: Police officers probed over footballer death”

No word of criminality on the BBC’s headline. This is a probe.

The West Mercia officers have been suspended pending the outcome of the probe by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, the force said. Mr Atkinson died shortly after being shot following an altercation in Meadow Close, Trench, in Telford on Monday. A post-mortem examination was inconclusive.

What says the police?

West Mercia Police is continuing to co-operate with the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) in their independent investigation into the death of a 48-year-old man in Telford.

Dalian Atkinson tragically died in the early hours of Monday 15 August after a Taser was deployed whilst police responded to an incident in Meadow Road, Trench. The incident was referred to the IPCC, as is mandatory with any death following police contact.

Two of the police officers involved in the incident, who are the subject of a criminal investigation by the IPCC, have been suspended from duty pending the outcome of the criminal investigation and internal proceedings.

West Mercia Police Chief Constable Anthony Bangham adds:

“I wish to express my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Dalian who are going through this traumatic time. I would like to reassure his family and the community that we will fully co-operate with the IPCC. We respect the position of the IPCC and have today suspended two officers from duty.

“We understand the need for answers when a tragedy like this occurs and we will provide the IPCC with all the information they need to ensure a rigorous and transparent investigation takes place. What is now important is to allow the IPCC time to conduct their independent investigation and not to speculate about what took place.

“Local policing Superintendent for Telford, Tom Harding has met with members of the community to offer reassurance and condolences at this difficult time. We want to ensure that the community are fully engaged with and listened to.

“My thoughts are with Dalian’s family and friends, and all those affected.”


Relatives said Atkinson was “not in his right mind”, was suffering a number of health issues and had a weak heart when he was hit with the weapon at about 1.30am. He went into cardiac arrest in an ambulance on his way to hospital and medics were unable to save him.

Tasers. Not very safe at all, then.

The Indy: “Dalian Atkinson was black and mentally ill – we shouldn’t be surprised he was Tasered to death”

Not his heart, then. His head and his skin.

Wail Qasim writes:

In 2015 police in England and Wales used a Taser, whether to threaten or actually discharge it, a total 10,329 times…

He adds:

Black people in this country are three times more likely than their white counterparts to have a Taser used on them. Whilst we only make up around 4 per cent of the population we accounted for around 12 per cent of 36,000 cases between 2010 and 2015. This disproportionately can’t be blamed on the Taser, there must be a prejudice that fuels officers’ use of it.

Qasim’s data is found in a Guardian article:

Home Office data revealed that in more than 12% of about 36,000 cases between 2010 and 2015, the person against whom Tasers were used was black and of African-Caribbean origin or of mixed white and African-Caribbean origin. Black people make up about 4% of the population.

What says the police:

Defending the figures, Dep Asst Comm Neil Basu claimed the majority of the incidents did not involve the use of force. However, he admitted he couldn’t account for the disproportionality of Taser use. “Only three types of the seven uses of Taser actually involve applying force. In 80% of situations it’s never even used and it stops the violence there and then,” he said.

Basu, the National Police Chiefs’ Council spokesman on Tasers, said officers had “world-class training” and Tasers were only used in situations “where there is violence or there is impending violence”.

“I don’t think policing has been surprised by disproportionality in the criminal justice system for many years. Explaining it is a different matter,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “I don’t think it’s a simple equation about colour because if you are Asian, like me, you are less likely to be subject to a Taser than a white person.”

Tasers don’t differentiate between colour and race. But they can kill.

Posted: 19th, August 2016 | In: News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: Manchester City offload Joe Hart to Everton by loan and sale

What news of Manchester City’s ranting goalkeeper Joe Hart?

The BBC says Hart will “join Everton on loan”.

The Daily Mirror agrees that Hart will leave on loans because Manchester City have are buying Claudio Bravo, 33, from Barcelona for £17.4m.

But the Sun says Manchester City are “refusing to let England goalkeeper Joe Hart leave on loan”. They want him gone for good.

Or as the Richmond and Twickenham Times‎ puts it: “Joe Hart’s Manchester City future remains unclear.”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 19th, August 2016 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Periods in sport are no taboo, Serena Williams gets over it

When watching the Olympics, did you think I wonder if she’s on her period? Ross George did. She tells Guardian readers:

My gold medal goes to Fu Yuanhui – for talking openly about her period

Well, if dressage can be a sport, why not your body clock?


Serena Williams period


The swimmer’s admission of what affected her Rio Olympics performance shouldn’t be a big deal, but it is. It’s one more step towards stamping out a pathetic taboo

It’s not a taboo in the Guardian:


Serena Williams period


January, 2015:

Menstruation: the last great sporting taboo

When Heather Watson crashed out of the Australian Open this week, she put her poor performance down to starting her period – publicly breaking the silence on an issue that affects all sportswomen. But why is it still something we never hear about?

January 2015:

My period may hurt: but not talking about menstruation hurts more, Rose George

Menstrual taboo is bad enough for female athletes such as Heather Watson.


Serena Williams periods


May 2015:

On the second Menstrual Hygiene Day, Ellie Mae O’Hagan looks at what NGOs are doing to break the taboo around periods

March 2016:

Bad blood: the taboo on talking about periods is damaging lives

Is the great female athlete Serena Williams wrong?

Posted: 19th, August 2016 | In: Broadsheets, News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Inequality makes you fat and food is therapy

Why are you fat? Why are you not fat? Polly Tonybee knows. She writes in the Guardian:

The Tories must tackle the real cause of obesity: inequality

When fat meant prosperous and jolly and thin meant poor and mean, it was about inequality. Now that fat means you’re poor and thin means you’re on message, it’s all about inequality. The only thing that fits for all is that the rich and knowing want to school you.

Polly want to ban advertising of certain foods to youngsters watching telly.

Obesity is no one’s choice, as everyone wants to be thin: young children now worry about body image, and rates of anorexia – obesity’s evil twin – are rising.

The simple fact is that we eat more calories than we can burn off. When the poor had no cars and central heating, they walked and worked in manual jobs. They were thin. The rich with their hearths, carriages and desk jobs were fat.

To be obese signifies being poor and out of control, because people who feel they have no control over their own lives give up…

It signifies the post-war miracle of plentiful food for all.

It is inequality and disrespect that make people fat…

…the social facts suggest Britain would get thinner if everyone had enough of life’s opportunities to be worth staying thin for. Offer self-esteem, respect, good jobs, decent homes and some social status and the pounds would start to fall away.

This abstraction that being thin means you have more to live for and have higher self-esteem is bizarre, as is the news that being fat means you have psychological issues. Food isn’t eaten because you’re greedy, don’t walk enough, don’t do physical labour and it’s cheap. Food is State-sanctioned therapy. And you’re the victim.


Posted: 19th, August 2016 | In: Broadsheets, News, The Consumer | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Man passes out after having sex with a van

Police say Michael Henson was trying to have sex with a van in Dayton, Ohio at around 8:00pm.


sex with van man

Caught in Transit


A woman who called police claims to have seen Henson pull his shorts down and place his genitals in the front grille of the van that was parked on the street. She says this went on for some time before Henson shambled away and passed out.

Men, eh. Wham. Bam. Thank you, van.

Posted: 19th, August 2016 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Take Hart: Manchester City given lesson in ‘common human decency’ by Joey Baton

When not shouting like the loon on the night bus, Joe Hart is letting in goals for England. Manchester City have seen enough, and are looking to offload the goalkeeper. The Mirror says Hart has told City teammates he will leave before the current transfer window shuts.


hart joe disgusting


On Talksport, former City player Joey Barton says City’s treatment of Hart is “disgusting”. In the pantheon of disgusting behaviour, telling an overpaid footballer prone to clangers he is no longer first choice for his club is not disgusting. It’s sport. Disgusting might be, of instance, stubbing a lit cigar into the eye of young team-mate Jamie Tandy (as Barton did in 2004, when he was on City’s books), exacting common assault and affray in Liverpool city centre (Barton was jailed for his crimes in 2008), and assaulting Ousmane Dabo during a training match row in which the other player was knocked unconscious and punched repeatedly while on the ground (yep, Barton did that).

Says Barton:

“It is not the club I left. The club I left and watch now are two totally different organisations. The club I played for wouldn’t have treated a player that has been a servant for as long as Joe has in the manner that it has. It is disgusting.

“He is a full international, somebody who, probably before City took the money, could have gone on to bigger and better things himself but stayed and wanted to be at City.

“I don’t see what he has done wrong to be treated the way he has. His attitude isn’t terrible. I don’t like this.

“It is common human decency, regardless of how good a coach you are. Why treat him like that?”

If Manchester City are taking lessons in common decency from Joey Barton, they really are in trouble.


Posted: 18th, August 2016 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Arsenal fan signs Riyad Marhez because he read it in the Metro

Modern football fans are in crisis. Get a load of the Arsenal fan who bought a replicate top and had the name “MAHREZ” stuck across the back. That’s Leicester City player Riyad Mahrez, who still plays for the Premier League champions.




The Metro says, “Asad Balal, a long-suffering Gooner, was clearly confident that Arsene Wenger would swoop in to bring the Le Havre winger to the Emirates and even claimed to have inside information on the Algerian’s move to north London.”

Balal knew nothing, which makes him a good candidate for a career in journalism – at the Metro:


Mahrez arsenal



Unabashed by it own dire prediction and reporting, the Metro mocks Balal:

However, Balal was forced into an embarassing [sic] backtrack today after Mahrez signed a new four-year deal with the Foxes and he quickly took to Twitter to jokingly put his Arsenal no.26 shirt up for sale before deleting the tweet and saying he’s sending the shirt to a charity shop.

Embarrassing stuff all round.

PS – buying players is not the same thing as buying players for form a team. The modern fans’ desperation for big-money signings is pathetic.

Posted: 18th, August 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Racism spotted in the dust of Judge Roy Bean’s nooses

bean noose


Can a sign be racist? In Green Country, Oklahoma, Terrance Reed, Sr. Reed spotted three nooses handing from a tree. “When I looked over there, I was like, ‘are those nooses hanging there?'” he tells the local news. This, he reasoned, was an attack on his heritage.

He went on: “If you think of a noose in America, it don’t represent anything about but what used to happened to African Americans. He got the right to do what he wants to do, he’s got a right to feel what he wanna feel, but I got a right to be angry about it too, and I’m angry.”

Blacks were the usual suspects back when racial segregation was enshrined in US law. But whites were also lynched.

“It bothers me. It’s humiliating,” says driver Dennis Varner. “It’s discrimination, and America shouldn’t put up with it.”


Green Country, Oklahoma


The drivers seeing only racism should look at the warning sign. Judge Roy Bean was Phantly Roy Bean, Jr. (c. 1825 – March 16, 1903), whose courtroom was his saloon along the Rio Grande in the Chihuahuan Desert of southwest Texas.

This site says of Bean:

Bean has often been confused with “hanging judge” Parker of Ft. Smith – (perhaps because their slightly unorthodox or creative sentencing). Bean never actually hanged anyone, although he occasionally “staged” hangings to scare criminals. Bean would prepare a script with his “staff” – if they were sober enough – which allowed for the prisoner to escape. Given this “second-chance” – the culprits never appeared before the court again.

In 1972, the New York Times said of Bean, played by Paul Newman in the movie Judge Roy Bean:

The passage of time, if not actual circumstances, has thrust the mantle of freebooting greatness upon Roy Bean, the Kentucky-born (circa 1825) scalawag who, in the 1880’s, settled in what was then Vinegaroon, Tex. Bean immediately styled himself judge and then set about to being law and order to the lands west of the Pecos, principally by hanging those passers-by (a lot of whom were outlaws) who had any money or property to bequeath him.


When young, and in California, Bean killed a Mexican official during an argument over a young woman. Friends of the official didn’t take kindly to this, so they hauled Bean off and hanged him, leaving him to die. Although seriously injured, he was saved from death by the young woman in dispute.

Bean was white.

So much for the racism.

Noose erector Merle Martindale says his sign was merely a warning to any potential thief. Martindale has now removed the sign and nooses down “because he was concerned for drivers stopping to look”.


YouTube link.


Posted: 18th, August 2016 | In: News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Bachabaze, gang rape and Afghan asylum seekers

Do they have Yew Trees is Afghanistan? The Indy has news of a suspected rape:

Four-year-old child refugee ‘raped by Afghan man’ at centre for asylum seekers in Germany

The boy’s dad came running:

He found his son and an old man with their trousers down, the Schleswig-Holsteinische Zeitungsverlag newspaper reported. The father told the court he asked the man what he was doing with the boy, and was told he had been helping him go to the toilet…

The four-year-old later told his parents he had been forced to perform oral sex on the man – an allegation prosecutors have supported with DNA evidence.

Police said the 22-year-old suspect was immediately arrested on suspicion of aggravated sexual abuse of  child.

Is 22 an “old man”?

He denies the allegation, while another Afghan man, 29, denies threatening the victim’s brother with a knife when he tried to stop the attack.

All for the courts to decide.


For centuries, Afghan men have taken boys, roughly 9 to 15 years old, as lovers. Some research suggests that half the Pashtun tribal members in Kandahar and other southern towns are bacha baz, the term for an older man with a boy lover. Literally it means “boy player.” The men like to boast about it.

“Having a boy has become a custom for us,” Enayatullah, a 42-year-old in Baghlan province, told a Reuters reporter. “Whoever wants to show off should have a boy.”

The BBC adds:

In Afghanistan women are not allowed to dance in public, but boys can be made to dance in women’s clothing – and they are often sexually abused…

People call it bachabaze which literally means “playing with boys”. The most disturbing thing is what happens after the parties. Often the boys are taken to hotels and sexually abused. The men behind the practice are often wealthy and powerful.

Tell the police?

In his last phone call home, Lance Cpl. Gregory Buckley Jr. told his father what was troubling him: From his bunk in southern Afghanistan, he could hear Afghan police officers sexually abusing boys they had brought to the base.

“At night we can hear them screaming, but we’re not allowed to do anything about it,” the Marine’s father, Gregory Buckley Sr., recalled his son telling him before he was shot to death at the base in 2012. He urged his son to tell his superiors. “My son said that his officers told him to look the other way because it’s their culture.”

How do you plead?

Posted: 17th, August 2016 | In: News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: pig-headed Chelsea reserve Cesc Fabregas want Real Madrid move

Transfer balls: what news of Cesc Fabregas, the former Arsenal captain who left for his beloved Barcelona and now warms the bench at Chelsea? The Daily Express has some, reporting on August 15:

Chelsea have offered star [Fabregas] to Real Madrid

The Mirror confirmed the news:


fabregas barcelona


One day one and the Sun added:

Chelsea transfer news: Cesc Fabregas wants Real Madrid move and has contacted Florentino Perez

Blimey! Can a the former Barcelona player, a local boy done good, really join the Catalan club’s arch rivals? Have the pig’s heads on order.

No. Wait a moment. The Sun has more news. One day on from the scoop that Cesc wants Real, we read:

Chelsea transfer news: Cesc Fabregas will stay and fight for his Blues starting spot despite being dropped in favour of N’Golo Kante. Blues sources told SunSport Fabregas is NOT seeking a move away from Stamford Bridge and that it is highly unlikely he will leave this summer.”

Not quite, says the Star:

Cesc Fabregas is set to stay at Chelsea after being snubbed by Real Madrid, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus.

Such are the facts.


Posted: 17th, August 2016 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

How to make puppets from cats

You make your own entertainment in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Gerda Osteneck makes puppets from old cat hair. “Boo was a rescue cat we got shortly after I took a felting class,” says Gerda, “and I took one look at her ‘Oh, I want to felt you.'”


cat hair puppets


She explained that the process for felting cat hair is the same as felting with wool. First a pattern is made out of a heavy plastic. Then the hair is wrapped around the plastic, and soapy water is applied. The next step is to massage it all together, causing the hair to become felt.

Nowadays, Osteneck says all the cat hair she collects goes straight into a plastic bag to save instead of the trash can. After she collects enough brown and grey hair from Boo, she makes the felt and then crafts it into tiny finger puppets. Osteneck is now itching to show others how it’s all done.


cat hair puppets


And you can learn the technique. Gerda is teaching cat puppetry at the Neil Balkwill Civic Arts Centre.

“This is the first time I’ve posted a class for it and I’m really quite surprised at the reaction,” she adds. “You don’t have to go out and buy a kit. You don’t have to go out and fill a studio full of equipment. You can just grab your cat and brush, and the next thing you know you’ve got enough materials to make something.”


cat hair puppets


Or if brushing’s not your bag, why not just watch and wait until your cat coughs up a hairball. As we say, you make your own entertainment in Regina…

Posted: 17th, August 2016 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: Shkodran Mustafi arrived at Arsenal yesterday after no bid was made

Transfer balls: Are Arsenal set to sign a new defender? Given the Gunners’ season debut against Liverpool, you’d think hiring another four would be ideal. But the Mil says one is enough, reporting: “Arsenal to sign Shkodran Mustafi for £30m from Valencia on five-year deal in next 48 hours.”

That was published on August 12:

Arsenal to sign Shkodran


More than 48 hours later, the Mail reported:

As Arsenal haggle over £30m fee for Shkodran Mustafi… will he join Luis Suarez, Gonzalo Higuain and Co on list of stars Arsene Wenger missed?




In other words, the Mail was utterly wrong.

Today’s Express adds: “Arsenal have not yet bid for Valencia star Shkodran Mustafi.”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 17th, August 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0