Politicans and world leaders making news and in the news, and spouting hot air
The Mail (“Livingstone accused of drinking on duty”) says the London mayor has been “filmed allegedly swigging whisky at official meetings”.
This alleged happening is said to have occurred at 10am while in session with London assembly members. If true, then Ken has broken the Greater London Authority’s code of conduct.
Readers also learn that Ken has been, allegedly, seen drinking “‘an amber liquid’” at a questions and answer session with Ilford voters.
Such is the thrust of political debate that Channel 4’s Dispatches programme claims to have obtained a sample of said liquid and sent it down to forensics. The substance is said to have been 47 per cent alcohol. It forms the pivotal moment of tonight’s TV show.
Was it booze? Or might it be that Ken is recycling his urine? It was he who told Londoners not to flush the toilet. We are faced with the possibility that Ken’s urine is 47 per cent proof, which – and any scientists do let me know – could provide enough venom to power a small car or scooter.
And one final question: if this brew powers Ken, should he paying a congestion charge?
A urine amnesty cannot be far off…
POOR Jade Goody. Had only she not performed so badly in Celebrity Big Brother she would be on hand to help Home Secretary Jacqui Smith through the perils of kebab eating and late-night street walking.
But Celebrity Kebab Shop with Jade Goody remains in the planning stages, and any intentions to have Goody installed as the Government’s Curry Sauce tzar are now deemed too racial even for new Labour.
And so it is that Jacqui Smith, our Home Secretary, is forced to take her life, and meat product sandwich, in her hands and wander into “KATIES kebabs and burgers” in Peckham, South London.
Such a happening gives Smith a useful anecdote with which to thrill the hacks and her fellow MPs. She recalls her visit to the kebab eatery but cannot recall the time. Citizen Smith claims it is “evening”. Ender Ginel, the kebab shop owner, says it was “early evening”.
The Mail siezes on this discrepancy (“Smith stumbles into kebab fiasco”). Having dealt with the differences between “casual” and “smart casual”, it now dives fearlessly into what into the murky world of reservations.
KATIES’ policy is clear: “When we have special customers in here like families we just chuck the troublemakers out,” says Mr Ginel. Adding: “Jacqui Smith didn’t have any problems in here.” At no time was she asked to leave.
Says Mr Ginel: “She just sat there and ate her kebab.”
That Smith then told the world about her adventure with meat on a stick is no matter of public record.
And we look forward to her debating the role of kebabs in the community on Question Time, alongside a contrite Ms Goody…
Some questions for Ms Smith:
Was your kebab hung for 56 days?
Is meat murder?
How do your remove curry sauce from white fabric?
The Hillary Nutcracker
# functional, plastic nutcracker with stainless steel teeth secured inside upper legs to grip and crack nuts in their shell.
# The Hillary Nutcracker will stand upright and has internal stainless steel components and spring.
# Stands Nine Inches Tall
# Feel the Squeeze with Hillary!
THE Barack Obama campaign has released a recording (mp3) it claims came from a Nevada local’s answering machine of an anonymous automated call.
“I’m calling with some important information about Barack Hussein Obama,” comes the voice. “Barack Hussein Obama says he doesn’t take money from Washington lobbyists or special interest groups but the record is clear that he does.”
Hussein. Hussein. Hussein.
“You just can’t take a chance on Barack Hussein Obama.”
Click here to listen to the campaign’s recording of the call.
Asked by the Sundays Times if they would feel safe walking around London late at night, our VIP opined: “Well, no, but I don’t think I ever have done. You know, I would never have done that, at any point in my life.”
Why not: “Well, I just don’t think that’s a thing that people do, is it, really?”
“Well, I wouldn’t walk around at midnight and I’m fortunate that I don’t have to do that?”
The Sunday Times is talking with…
a) Anna Nicole Smith
b) Maggie Smith
c) Victor Lewis Smith
d) Lady May Abel Smith
e) Jacqui Smith
f) Will Smith
Answer after the jump…
EX Lib-Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell is joining the board of SCOTTISH AMERICAN INVESTMENT COMPANY. The company’s nickname is Saints.
You can find the Scottish American Investment Co. plc in the fiance pages under… SCAM.
No panic. No need. Chances are that your details have already been lost or stolen. Although, granted, this will provide data thieves with a second piece of identification.
In November last, HM Revenue and Customs managed to lose two unregistered and unencrypted discs being sent to the National Audit Office. The disc held the details of 25million people.
Incredible. Like you we marvelled at how so much information could be contained on just two discs. Technology moves on. In the 1980s, say, the HMRC would have lost 100-odd discs, the number falling in 1990s to five or six discs, possibly in a single commemorative box set.
Now just two discs. Where we go from here can only be guessed at but there is every chance the names, address and favourite colour of everyone in the world can be printed on a grain of sand. And then lost.
As for the stolen laptop, it contained details of anyone who has expressed an interest in, or joined, the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and the RAF.
“The information held is not the same for every individual,” says the MoD. “In some cases, for casual enquiries, the record is no more than a name. But for those who progressed as far as submitting an application to join the Forces, extensive personal data may be held, including passport details, National Insurance numbers, drivers’ licence details, family details, doctors’ addresses and National Health Service numbers.”
Nick Harvey, Lib Dem defence spokesman, says: “If anybody is entertaining lingering support for the idea… surely this would worry anybody into realising that you cannot trust any system you invent to store this much data in one place.”
Better, perhaps, for each any everyone one of us to commit our personal data to memory and for backup tell Andi Bell, The amazing memory man, or a white elephant…
ALL eyes on Las Vegas.
Barack Obama is warning on the dangers of gambling. He says it carries a “moral and social cost” that could “devastate” poor communities.
On Saturday, Nevada, which holds its presidential nominating caucuses. And odd ting to say of an insuitry that gies so mnay local voters an income.
Obama’s agonist Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton sees the good in the gaming industry.
“There’s a fundamental question here,” said the Rev. Tom Grey, executive director of the National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling to the LA Times. “Until this point, Obama’s statements seemed to suggest that he did not buy into the industry arguments that this is a product like golf or Starbucks that should just go on Main Street. And Hillary, by attacking him, seems to have come down clearly on the side of the industry that this is economic development.”
Casino cold be a vote decider. And in Nevada, Clinton ahs the deep stack.
In an interview Thursday with The LAT, Clinton described the gambling industry as an “economic development tool” and said that “for many places in the country, it seems to be an important part of what they are trying to do to revive and maintain an economic base.”
Of the downside, said she: “Any human activity has social costs, really…Life is filled with trade-offs, and you have to do the best you can to balance the pluses and the minuses.”
And decide for yourself…
Nicholas Sarkozy is not naked, but dressed in the Emperor’s, if not new then washed and ironed clothes of white shirt, black trousers and leather brogues.
Those of us used to seeing Sarkozy in his swimmers will be surprised and perhaps even a little shocked at his unfamiliar get up.
Some may even be angry. Not a day passes without Sarkozy provoking a riot and as he applies his cufflinks, one expects to hear news of a disgruntled Frenchman setting alight to his Renault Megane.
Sarkozy is then pictured peeping out through some net curtains. Does he fear he is being watch, in which instant he may get a fright if he were to turn and set eyes the Hello! snappers. Sarkozy’s look of insouciance creates the illusion that this is nothing special and every day he really does look in the mirror, have someone hand him a hairbrush and sit behind a massive desk.
Stephen Kinnock, the director of the St Petersburg office of the British cultural centre, was stopped by police on suspicion of drink-driving after his car was followed home on Tuesday night. Mr Kinnock was detained in his car for an hour after pleading diplomatic immunity against a breath test, until the British Consul-General arrived to secure his release.
“I am always filled with disgust when I think of that family. Neil Kinnock who was part of the Santer Commission which resigned en masse for being shitty, corrupt fuckers now heads up the British Council.”
Kinnock. Gravy. Train.
It was “just 20 SECONDS from disaster”, says the Mail. The Express sees 136 passengers on board the Boeing 777.
The Mirror says “only 19” people were hurt. All “152” saved, says the Sun.
We were “25 FT FROM DISASTER,” says the Mirror.
Well, not us, rather Gordon Brown who was being driving around Heathrow Airport when the plane zoomed over, just 25 ft over Mr No.10’s head.
MIKE Huckabee is a professional Christian, but, as Volokh notes:
From a Beliefnet interview:
And the same thing would be true of marriage. Marriage has historically, as long as there’s been human history, meant a man and a woman in a relationship for life. Once we change that definition, then where does it go from there?
“Christians and modern Jews do not approve of polygamy, but surely anyone who believes in the Bible has to acknowledge that it attests to the widespread existence of marriage between a man and multiple women. (Nor is Huckabee just saying ‘a man and a woman’ as a slip for ‘heterosexual’; immediately after this, he goes on to distinguish ‘a man and three women.’)
Huckabee is so certain of the history of marriage. So certin that he can only be wrong…
Now to the pages of the Rocky Mountain News. “Joke leaves ’em gasping,” says the headline. “Obama quip stuns Citizen of the West banquet crowd.”
It’s the National Western Stock Show’s annual Citizen of the West banquet.
A Mr William R. Farr is pretending to read telegrams congratulating this year’s award recipient, University of Colorado President Hank Brown. He retrieves a piece of paper and says: “I have a telegram from the White House.”
What does it say?
“They’re going to have to change the name of that building if Obama’s elected.”
“I gasped,” says Gov. Bill Ritter, who was sitting at the table with Farr.
“I think it was uncalled for and atrocious,” said U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, who was also in attendance.”
Matt Drudge considers this story important enough for inclusion on his page of clippings
(“Racial joke about Obama leaves Colorado banquet crowd gasping…”)
The Anorak notes the cover of this week’s Private Eye magazine. Thereon is Barack Obama saying “Black house here I come”. Hillary Clinton tells him: “I’m going to find some dirt on you.” Says Obama: ““I’m whiter than white”.
Offended? Of course you’re not. What is of interest is the reaction of the politicos (sharp intakes of breath) and the media (outrage and shock).
Racial comments begin to look a lot like porn: if you all agree to love it, it’s fine; if one of you likes it in the wrong setting, then it’s embarrassing; and if no-one admits to liking it, you can grab a magazine and scurry home…
WHEN she’s not crying, Hillary Clinton’s knocking ’em dead in the aisles:
“Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen and welcome aboard the maiden flight of Hill Force One” said the former First Lady as the plane took off from Las Vegas to Reno, Nevada. “My name is Hillary and I am so pleased to have most of you on board.”
Hello, Bucket residence. It goes on:
“In a few minutes, I am going to switch off the ’Fasten Your Seat Belt’ sign. However, I’ve learned lately that things can get awfully bumpy when you least expect it – so you might want to keep those seat belts fastened
“And in the event of an unexpected drop in poll numbers, this plane will be diverted to New Hampshire”
Women in comedy. Politicians in comedy. Discuss:
“If you look out from the right, you will see an America saddled with tax cuts for the wealthiest and a war without end. If you look out from the left, you will see an America with a strong middle class at home and a strong reputation in the world.Once we’ve reached cruising altitude, we’ll be offering in-flight entertainment: my stump speech in its many variations.
“Once again, thank you for joining us on Hill Force One.We know you have choices when you fly, and so we are grateful that you chose the plane with the most experienced candidate.”
[Insert joke about Bill Clinton and the cockpit here]
GEORGE Bush can turn the desert to rain. Now for the milk and honey:
It’s been a chilly welcome for America’s president: The Mideast, known for blazing sun and scorching winds, has been hit with an uncharacteristic wave of heavy rain, frigid gales — and even a smattering of snow.
If President Bush thought he would escape Washington’s winter weather when he jetted to this region for eight days, he should have stayed home. It was nearly the same temperature in Washington, where it briefly snowed on Tuesday, as it was in Saudi Arabia — about 40 degrees.
The weather affected Bush’s trip from the get-go. During his first stop in Israel, morning fog grounded his helicopter, forcing him to take a motorcade to the West Bank from Jerusalem. His plane touched down in the United Arab Emirates on Saturday amid heavy rains. In the Saudi Arabia capital of Riyadh on Monday and Tuesday, the president was greeted by overcast skies and temperatures hovering around freezing.
It is the inconvenient truth. The frozen Bush…
TRACY Flick Is Hillary Clinton:
TO Mike Huckabee, a question, via The Hill: “If you are president in 2009 and Congress brings you a bill to outlaw smoking nationwide in public places, would you sign it?” That from MSNBC host Chris Matthews.
Huckabee: “I would, certainly would. In fact, I would, just like I did as governor of Arkansas, I think there should be no smoking in any indoor area where people have to work.”
He called it a “workplace safety issue”. Huckabee added that the “same reason that we regulate that you can’t pour radon gas into a workplace is the same reason that we shouldn’t allow people to pour the toxic, noxious fumes of a cigarette into a place where people have to work.”
Clear? But now…
PETER Hain is..:
All Mr Hain would be without his office, and the preening vanity it bestows on him, is a noisy, smarmy, unprincipled ex-student agitator whose contribution to our good governance remains not even debatable: for most of us could not, for the life of us, start to imagine what real or illusory achievements he has that might be debated.
His only function in life at the moment seems, I fear, to be a standing reminder to us all of the utter absence of leadership in the higher reaches of our politics today. To say that he was too busy (for which read too important) to deal openly with the small matter of £103,000 in donations is simply laughable.
And those are his better qualities…
HILLARY Clinton says living in the the White House is like being in prison.
“I don’t feel lonely,” Clinton said. “But I do feel sometimes isolated. Because when you are in these positions that I have been in, it can be very isolating. It is one of the reasons I put on the dark glasses and the baseball cap and go out of the White House. President Harry Truman once said that the White House was like the crown jewel of the American penal system because you can feel confined.”
Of course, she’s not right – prison is full of villains, you can’t leave prison when you like (unless the president parsons you) and only the spouse is entitled to conjugal visits…
CHRISTOPHER Hitchens notes how Hillary Clinton got her name. Why are we interested? Because, if true, it says something about the way she operates:
Seeing the name Hillary in a headline last week—a headline about a life that had involved real achievement—I felt a mouse stirring in the attic of my memory. Eventually, I was able to recall how the two Hillarys had once been mentionable in the same breath. On a first-lady goodwill tour of Asia in April 1995—the kind of banal trip that she now claims as part of her foreign-policy “experience”—Mrs. Clinton had been in Nepal and been briefly introduced to the late Sir Edmund Hillary, conqueror of Mount Everest. Ever ready to milk the moment, she announced that her mother had actually named her for this famous and intrepid explorer. The claim “worked” well enough to be repeated at other stops and even showed up in Bill Clinton’s memoirs almost a decade later, as one more instance of the gutsy tradition that undergirds the junior senator from New York.
Sen. Clinton was born in 1947, and Sir Edmund Hillary and his partner Tenzing Norgay did not ascend Mount Everest until 1953, so the story was self-evidently untrue and eventually yielded to fact-checking.
And the Clinton part of her name is proving useful, too…
The State Visit will begin on 26 March 2008 at Windsor Castle and will last until 28 March 2008.
And the Sun’s Fergus Shanahan reports that “snooty courtiers” (are there any other kind?) want separate rooms for Sarkozy and his leggy lover Carla Bruni. This, we are told, is because they are unmarried.
Perhaps a compromise can be reached and two single beds be divided by a bedside table, or a member of the household cavalry?
But, hold on, five pages earlier, the same paper reports: “Sarkozy has wed his Carla.” Surely now the President and his wife can share a double bed and not have to meet in secret by the big tree…?
CAMILLE Puglia is America’s answer to Germaine Greer. Writing for Salon, she notes on Hillary Clinton:
Hillary’s willingness to tolerate Bill’s compulsive philandering is a function of her general contempt for men. She distrusts them and feels morally superior to them…
It’s no coincidence that Hillary’s staff has always consisted mostly of adoring women, with nerdy or geeky guys forming an adjunct brain trust. Hillary’s rumored hostility to uniformed military men and some Secret Service agents early in the first Clinton presidency probably belongs to this pattern.
As Clive Davis notes, “I like the use of ‘rumoured’ and ‘probably’ in the same sentence.”
For someone so full of firm opinion, a paid commentator, this sounds a lot like mindless chatter.
Today the Independent plugged a book from the Centre for Policy Studies entitled Lexicon of Contemporary Newspeak.
A sample given is: “We do need to have a debate about it … We have to have a very big debate about this” said Harriet Harman when asked on the Today programme whether paid sex should be made illegal. When asked for a view, she called for a debate.
The Newspeak politician is like Ms Paglia, and many journalists, all uncertain, fearful of making a decision and trusting their own authority.
Of course, this all gives credence to the bloggers, who can feed off so much uncertainty. The people who post comments on websites can be said to “fuel the debate”.
The point of the debate is lost. It is just a mass debate, an onanistic din of voices all vying to be heard but lacking any authority or objectivity.
This article will of course now form part of debates on journalism, Ms Paglia, the use of the world “objective”, the web, Anoraks, men and women, and the ever popular debate on sex.
Let’s have a heated debate!
“SCIENTISTS have created a beating heart in the laboratory in a breakthrough that could allow doctors one day to make a range of organs for transplant almost from scratch,” notes the Times.
No need to donate, like Gordon Brown wants us to. Why not just the State a test tube and the encouraging words “Go for it!” instead?
THE plan so far: Gordon Brown wants to take your organs.
For now, the talk is of waiting for you to first die, although do you really need two kidneys, two eyes (Gordon has made it to the top with just one) and two arms?
Indeed, now with hands free phones, Polish gardeners and Filipino maids, middle class women might need no limbs at all, and can surrender them to people who really need them, like our Olympic hopefuls, pensioners and builders.
Make body part sales tax deductible and the trade may yet take off and aid the UK’s balance of trade.
To the present, and Brown is in the Sun stood beside the headline: “I saw pal nearly die waiting for heart. Donor let him live.”
“British peoples are a giving lot,” says Gordon, noting the Blue Peter bottle tops appeal and donations made to good causes via the National Lottery.
“A friend from school was within a few hours of dying because there was no donor available,” says Gordon, whose heart aches. “People were doubting the operation could happen. Then an organ was found hundreds of miles away. A life that could have been lost now flourishes.”
The moral of the story is clear: the exiting system works just fine.
Thanks for sharing with us…
IN “The Globalization Election”, Fred Siegel writes:
Clinton’s slide in the polls began when she muffed a debate question about whether she supported New York governor Eliot Spitzer’s proposal to issue driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. But when, in a subsequent debate, Obama botched his answer to the same question, he suffered no political penalty. That’s because Clinton draws her support heavily from white and black working- and middle-class voters who feel threatened by the double bind of increased internal and external economic competition. Obama’s core constituency, by contrast, is made up of people who have benefited from outsourcing and immigration, so the issue of illegal immigration doesn’t cut against him.
As Clive Davis notes, “there’s a clear class divide”…