Politicans and world leaders making news and in the news, and spouting hot air
THE Dude asks: “Why does the Government have a target to cut the smoking rate to 21% by 2010? What possible business is it of the state’s what legal products people buy and use?”
NICOLAS Sarkozy is at the Paris Agriculture Show. Says he: “We want it to be recognised among world heritage.” He wants French food to be listed by Unesco as part of the world’s heritage.
Old Mr Anorak pints out that dining with separate courses, rather than with all presented at once as in a buffet (service à la française) was brought to France from Russia (service à la Russe), which, being partly Asian, was no doubt influenced by China.
Anorak recalls how is was Mr Sarkozy’s predecessor, minute-man M. Chirac, who opined of British cuisine: “One cannot trust people whose cuisine is so bad” and “The only thing they have ever done for European agriculture is mad cow disease.”
Old Mr Anorak has been eating the great British faggot for 35 years and has only needed three courses of emetic and five stomach pumpings. Whereas he is certain remnants of Tripes à la mode de Caen will never fully leave him. As for the sheep flambé dans la rue, he can never forget.
But the event was overshadowed by Sarkozy swearing at a man, possibly a French farmer, as many Brtions have done through the ages:.
When Sarko approaches while shaking hands with the crowd, the man on the left says: “Don’t touch me”.
Sarko replies: “Then get lost”.
The man: “You dirty me when you touch me”.
Sarko: “Then get lost, pauvre con.” This translates as “stupid a-hole”.
Or trou du cul a la mode…
IN a vote more loaded than George Bush at a frat house paarty – and a Daily Express phone poll – Raul Castro has been unanimously selected to succeed his brother Fidel as leader by Cuba’s National Assembly.
Anorak understands Raul was the only nominee in a vote.
Says Raul: “The commander in chief of the Cuban revolution is unique, Fidel is Fidel, as we all know well, he is irreplaceable.”
Raul, 76, and his vice president, 78-year-old Machado Ventura, will breathe new live and vigour into the Cuban Government after Fidel Castro, 81, stood down…
Tabloid Baby, Anorak’s man in LA, takes a look:
Lorne Michaels’ Saturday Night Live has never displayed much worry about white castmembers playing “blackface” (think Darrell Hammond as Jesse Jackson). But in the case of Barack Obama, who made a cameo appearance in the last episode before the WGA strike, there was some hand-wringing in the media about the need for a regular, politically-correct Obama character, and, with young Kenan Thompson too fat for the role, rumours that a tall, lanky African-American Obama player was about to join the cast (a chubby white girl as added to replace Maya Rudolph instead).
In the end, they used Fred Armisen. Any controversy was immediately deflected because the makeup was laugh-out-loud good. And they sidestepped the “blackface issue” on a couple of counts: Armisen didn’t need more than a light bronzing, as both he and Obama are of mixed race heritage (Obama with a white mother and Kenyan father; Armisen is Venezuelan on his mother’s side and part Japanese).
By the way, last night’s SNL episode was one for the time capsule: the first consistently- funny show since the fifth episode of the second season (and as a reminder, Steve Martin made an appearance). The sketches were tight and actually laugh-inducing, and with the exception of Carrie Underwood’s subpar performance (why do the musical acts always sound so bad on this show while there’s never a problem on Conan?) and Tina Fey’s desperate Hillary-flogging during the news segment, the show held up to the end! As it was the first fresh SNL since the start of the Writers Guild Strike, the solution to SNL’s quality control problem is obvious (Ben Silverman take note): cut back Saturday Night Live to once every 16 weeks.
Can anyone do Gordon Brown? And has Janet Brown ever worked since Maggie was gotten Out! Out! Out!
You can’t watch Anorak TV, on-demand clips of Are You Being Served? or Barack Obama channeling Bob the Builder.
Pakistan has blocked access to YouTube because of content deemed offensive to Islam, like Danish cartoons, Benazir Bhutto speeches and, as reported, a soon-to-be-released film by Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders, which portrays Islam in a negative light.
“They asked us to ban it immediately… and the order says the ban will continue until further notice,” says Wahaj-us-Siraj, convener of the Association of Pakistan Internet Service Providers.
“Users are quite upset. They’re screaming at ISPs which can’t do anything. The government has valid reason for that, but they have to find a better way of doing it. If we continue blocking popular websites, people will stop using the internet.”
“Quite upset” and “screaming”. What happens when they get upset, angry even?
Touchy Thais & Turks
Pakistan is not alone. Thailand and Turkey have temporarily blocked access to YouTube.
Thailand became upset with clips deemed insulting to Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej. These clips are now edited out.
In Turkey, clips insulting former Turkish leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk were ill met by the authorities. Insulting Ataturk, the founding father of modern Turkey, or “Turkishness” is an offence which can result in a prison sentence.
In Morocco Fouad Mortada was jailed and fined after he insulted the King of Morocco’s brother on the web. No video appeared on YouTube, Mortada’s words alone being enough.
We should debate whether the internet should be completely free of restrictions? The Anorak says it should be. In any case, it’s hard to be secretive on the web and if you do anything truly appalling Goldberg and McCann can come round and get you.
Better, perhaps, to argue as to what constitutes an insult and why royals and presidents are so easily offended. And what it says of the media in those countries?
Is Pakistani, Thai and Turkish TV so much Watercolour Challenge and Countdown weekenders? And if it is, are the over-sensitive foreigners getting a better deal than us?
MICHAEL Martin is in the mire
trough: “Commons aide quits after admitting he lied about Speaker’s wife’s expenses | the Mail on Sunday“
Pressure on Mr Martin to step down grew following the sudden resignation yesterday of his £2,000-a-day official spokesman, respected former Whitehall mandarin Mike Granatt.
He says: “A speaker needs to pay a spokesman £2000 a day? Hang’em All.”
RALPH Nader has announced plans to run again for the US presidency.
“Dissent is the mother of assent, and in that context I have decided to run for president,” Nader, who turns 74 on Wednesday, said on the NBC program Meet the Press.
POOTER Geek spots “Apartheid For Nice Middle-Class People”
If Harriet Harman has her way and we start legislating so that UK political parties can run racist lists of prospective parliamentary candidates then I’ll be looking for a seat to stand in as an independent against one of the token blacks.
Police will be able to seize high-value assets from suspected drug dealers as soon as they are arrested under plans to be unveiled this week by Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary.
If you are suspected of a crime the [police can seize your assets.
Law-enforcement agencies will be able to take cars, televisions, laptops and expensive jewellery belonging to big-time offenders. Such assets can currently only be seized at the end of a criminal process, by which time drug dealers have often disposed of them.
Perhaps the goods are sold to pay for a decent defence lawyer to escape a wrongful arrest? Perhaps Jacqui Smith, who admits to having smoked cannabis, thinks seizing dugs is better than walking the dangerous streets looking to buy them illegally?
A Home Office spokesman said last night: “Our starting point will be that all criminal gains should be removed from offenders. For example those criminals buying commodities to avoid the circulation of cash could have their assets seized before they have chance to disperse them. Seizing ill-gotten gains is critical to reducing the incentives for crime.”
Great plan. Only, how do the police know which is an–ill-gotten gain and which is not? And if the suspect is found not guilty can they sue the police for depreciation of their assets?
IT really is this easy to parody the Race for the Whitehouse:
>> We protect your identity while maximizing political impact <<
Back our defense fund by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with your pledge!
For press reportage of the case, see Google news
MICHAEL Martin is in the trough:
The pressure was heaped on Mr Martin as it emerged that he claimed a second-homes allowance on his constituency house in Glasgow – even though he has no mortgage on it.
It was reported the Speaker, whose London home is his lavish grace-and-favour apartment in the Commons, has claimed more than £75,000 from the Additional Costs Allowance over the past six years.
This usually goes towards mortgages or rent, but can be used for other expenses such as maintenance.
Anti-sleaze campaigner Martin Bell said: “If you live free in a grace-and-favour home, you shouldn’t need public help to run your second home. The Speaker should announce his retirement.”
STUDENT walks seven miles to cast their votes in Texas:
“Texas Republicans have worked overtime to make it harder for key Democratic voting groups to vote and be represented fairly. The redistricting games they’ve played are infamous. And for the Prairie View A&M University precincts, they put the early-polling place more than seven miles from the school.”
“So what did the students in this video do? They shut down the highway as they marched seven miles to cast their votes on the first day of early voting.”
The release: “Two pupils from every sixth form and college in the country will be able to visit Auschwitz and learn about the Holocaust thanks to £4.65 million of funding’ (DCSF press release, 4 February 2008)
As the Sun reports: “Mr Cameron complained yesterday that despite a £4.7million boost for trips, schools still had to fork out £100 per pupil.”
Says a Tory spokesman: “School trips to Auschwitz are a brilliant idea. However, by announcing these trips without providing the necessary funding the government has – in classic fashion – hidden the detail in the small print. Under a Conservative government these trips would be funded in full and schools would not have to find £100 per pupil from their budgets.”
Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, issued his won press release:
“This is a truly disgraceful remark by David Cameron and he should apologise immediately for the offence he has caused. Anyone who has seen the horrors of Auschwitz at first hand knows what a life-changing experience it is. To call the announcement I made of £4.65 million to fund visits by school children over the next three years a ‘gimmick’ just beggars belief. In trying to make this issue into a matter of party politics, David Cameron has shown once again that he not only lacks judgement but also a basic sense of decency.”
It’s not about party politics, says Ed Balls in a, er, Labour Party press release.
Arbeit Macht Frei. Even the Germans can do irony…
Guido Fawkes: “The Tories now say that they support the educational Auschwitz trips and that they would fully fund them via the Lottery fund. Whatever the substance of the matter, somebody is going to get a bollocking for the original press release…”
RedBox: “Almost unbelievably, as at 2.40pm, the Tories are trying to defend its inclusion. They say the funding annoucement doesn’t add up and they weren’t trying to say the trips themselves were gimmicks, just the government spin. Doesn’t matter: they put “Visits to Auschwitz” under a list of “gimmicks” (itself a gimmick). They should have seen the politics of this
Earlier today CCHQ emailed out a list of “gimmicks” associated with Gordon Brown’s time as PM:
Community kitty for every neighbourhood
Funding for flooding
Honours for sportsmen
Trips to Auschwitz
New Border Police
Reversing 24-hour drinking policy
Police to confiscate alcohol from teens
Engaging the public in policy making
1,300 new train carriages
Protecting Public Spaces against terrorist attacks
British jobs for British workers
Deep Cleaning of hospitals
Screening tests: cervical cancer
Screening tests: C.difficile
1,000 troops home before Christmas
Deportation of foreign nationals
Tenants forced to work
Five hours of culture a week
Netball to be introduced for the 2012 Olympics
Obama and Hillary’s Mistake – The critical point is: what you say about your opponent mainly reflects upon you rather than upon them.
BORIS Johnson video. Some say he’s ‘sexy':
Clinton, 92: “The hits that I took in this election are nothing compared to the hits the people of this state and this country have been taking for a long time.”
Hillary Clinton, tonight: “You know, the hits I’ve taken in life are nothing compared to what goes on every single day in the lives of people across our country.”
Posted: 23rd, February 2008 | In: Anorak TV, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Politicians, Race For The White House, Twitterings | Comments (2) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0
Bill Blanko in the Commons
FIFTY Cent, a rapper, joins the call for Barack Obama to be assassinated:
YOU can stop fantasising about Barack Obama’s assassination.
At the Barack Obama rally in Dallas, Texas, the secret service has stopped screening people for weapons at the front gates.
An hour before the presidential candidate takes to the stage at Reunion Arena, orders are being issued.
Metal detectors are turned off. Purses and laptop bags are unrifled.
Dallas Deputy Police Chief T.W. Lawrence, head of the Police Department’s homeland security and special operations divisions, says the order – apparently made by the U.S. Secret Service – was meant to speed up the long lines outside and fill the arena’s vacant seats before Obama came on.
Good idea. No problem. This is Dallas, no place for a popular Democratic leader to be shot. Lawrence can see the faces of the 17,000 people. It is, as she says, a “friendly crowd.”
No problem. This one’s by the book depository. Sorry, by the book…
David Bossie’s new book, Hillary: The Politics of Personal Destruction (Thomas Nelson, March 2008) lays out a compelling case, questioning whether Hillary tells the truth about herself, her past, and her agenda. Bossie, the former Chief Investigator for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform and Oversight during the Bill Clinton presidency and current president of Citizens United, sheds new light on the woman who boldly declares she’s “in it to win it.”
JOHN McCain is embroiled in controversy. The allegation is that McCain had a more than business-like relationship with an lobbyist. McCain will ‘go to war’ against the New York Times. A round-up here. Across the Pond.
In the New Republic:
Beyond its revelations, however, what’s most remarkable about the article is that it appeared in the paper at all: The new information it reveals focuses on the private matters of the candidate, and relies entirely on the anecdotal evidence of McCain’s former staffers to justify the piece–both personal and anecdotal elements unusual in the Gray Lady. The story is filled with awkward journalistic moves–the piece contains a collection of decade-old stories about McCain and Iseman appearing at functions together and concerns voiced by McCain’s aides that the Senator shouldn’t be seen in public with Iseman–and departs from the Times’ usual authoritative voice. At one point, the piece suggestively states: “In 1999 she began showing up so frequently in his offices and at campaign events that staff members took notice. One recalled asking, ‘Why is she always around?'” In the absence of concrete, printable proof that McCain and Iseman were an item, the piece delicately steps around purported romance and instead reports on the debate within the McCain campaign about the alleged affair.
File under: life in the old dog yet…
SIMON Jenkins on Tony Blair for President::
As Jane Austen said of bachelors, a statesman is always in need of a dinner, not to mention a title and a motorcade. Besides, “leader of Europe” has an irresistible ring. It is a sure bet that, were Blair to be dragged protesting to the throne, he would not demur the crown.
To which there is only one sensible answer. Has the man never read history? His professed ambition is one that invariably ends in tears. Europe has never tolerated being led. It is a continent of cats, not dogs. Diversity is its glory, cantankerousness its defence. It is not a family or a community but a marketplace, a cultural entrepôt. Those who have sought its unity, even as a political metaphor, have come to grief.
He won’t be able to resist…
But mostly they have just been awful. Here is the best awful video to fate:
In second place:
Lu-ur-vee. Let’s dace… the Huck dance…