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News | Anorak - Part 11

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RIP Ricky Jay, master magician and small riot instigator

rocky jay magic

 

Ricky Jay was 72 when he died (June 26, 1946 – November 24, 2018). The actor, writer, historian and close-up magician features in a terrific article by Mark Singer for The New Yorker in 1993. The opening bars are great: 

The playwright David Mamet and the theatre director Gregory Mosher affirm that some years ago, late one night in the bar of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Chicago, this happened:

Ricky Jay, who is perhaps the most gifted sleight-of-hand artist alive, was performing magic with a deck of cards. Also present was a friend of Mamet and Mosher’s named Christ Nogulich, the director of food and beverage at the hotel. After twenty minutes of disbelief-suspending manipulations, Jay spread the deck face up on the bar counter and asked Nogulich to concentrate on a specific card but not to reveal it. Jay then assembled the deck face down, shuffled, cut it into two piles, and asked Nogulich to point to one of the piles and name his card.

“Three of clubs,” Nogulich said, and he was then instructed to turn over the top card.

He turned over the three of clubs.

Mosher, in what could be interpreted as a passive-aggressive act, quietly announced, “Ricky, you know, I also concentrated on a card.”

After an interval of silence, Jay said, “That’s interesting, Gregory, but I only do this for one person at a time.”

Mosher persisted: “Well, Ricky, I really was thinking of a card.”

Jay paused, frowned, stared at Mosher, and said, “This is a distinct change of procedure.” A longer pause. “All right-what was the card?”

“Two of spades.”

Jay nodded, and gestured toward the other pile, and Mosher turned over its top card.

The deuce of spades.

A small riot ensued.

 

Posted: 26th, November 2018 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News | Comment


Brexit: May agrees democracy’s death sentence

It’s not yet a crime to hate Brexit or the EU. It will be, of course. Hating most things is a crime. Most of us don’t rate the Brexit deal Theresa May wants to sign off. But many Leavers and Remainers hate it. The newspapers pick up the scent. They are full of Brexit news. The Daily Mail sums up best: “Let’s just get on with it.” Most of us just can’t wait to get it done and dusted. But what it is is up for debate. Can it be right that May has delivered a deal worse than no deal? The Guardian says the fight continues. The Telegraph focus on the backstop, a melting fudge designed by the EU to stop other countries – they have borders, right – to never leave the group. And the Sun says it’s all just dire. 

 

 

 

Tellingly, the Mirror can’t lead with Brexit because the party it supports, the mess masquerading as Labour, has all positions covered. Their plan is to scupper May’s deal, encourage the great unwashed to vote for Labour in a General Election and then, well, just you want and see. It’ll be great. Jeremy Corbyn, a man who has pushed for Brexit pretty much all his adult life, now says he’s not all that into it and will every bit ‘Remain by another name’ as May, the arch Remainer pretending to deliver Brexit . That 17.4 million of us voted for Brexit in the great rebellion is a minor irrelevance to the powers that be. 

 

mirror brexit

 

Robert Tombs, professor of French history at St John’s College, Cambridge, gives a view that pretty much sums things up:

“May’s deal seems to mean the most extraordinary set of constitutional innovations. It would give, for an indefinite period, power over a large part of our economy and legislation not only to a foreign power but also to an unelected committee. The EU will have the power to decide upon and implement a whole load of laws and regulations. We will be required to accept them and we will have to pay for the pleasure…

…we are putting ourselves in a position where we will have to depend on the goodwill of a body that hasn’t been conspicuous in goodwill since June 2016. The EU has openly said it wants to make life more difficult for us. It has pushed us far enough already. It has made demands that have been accepted by a weak government. I’m sure even the EU could not have expected this at the beginning of these negotiations.

What the EU is clearly and openly worried about is disunity among its members and the possibility of other countries following in our footsteps. We would be voluntarily putting ourselves under the control of people whose interest is to make sure that we are not seen to prosper after Brexit. It is so stupid, it is almost unbelievable.

Spotter: Spiked

Posted: 23rd, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Manchester United sell kit that does not actually exist

man-utd-fourth-kit-leopard

 

Dreaming up news to market the band is hard graft. But Manchester United are very good at it. The Brand are selling a replica kit that does not exist in the real world. The kit is a “digital concept” within the world of FIFA 19. The “Adidas x EA Sports Manchester United” kit has been designated as the club’s fourth kit. But it only exits in the the computer game. The horror show continues as Adidas announce that only “limited quantities” of the hideous neon leopard skin shirt will be produced and put on sale. So if you want to dress like a video game avatar pretending to an actual footballer, get in there fast. Yours for €90.

Bayern Munich, Juventus and Real Madrid are also prepping to flog digital kits to the slack-jawed masses. 

 

Posted: 23rd, November 2018 | In: Fashion, manchester united, News, Sports, Technology, The Consumer | Comment


Women’s March and Corbyn fans agree: it’s ok to hate Jews

The Stranger at our Gate, by Frank Beard

 

It’s ok to be anti-Semitic. This we know, some claim, because Jeremy Corbyn is still leader of the Labour Party. Had Corbyn othered blacks or Asians in the same way he othered British Jews would he still be there? No chance. So to the Women’s March (WM), which will convene on 19 January 2019. Come one, come all. But Jews may not be welcome.

One of the WM’s founders, Teresa Shook, thinks current co-chairs, Bob Bland, Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour and Carmen Perez should leave the organisation. Shook writes on Facebook:

Shook has taken issue with the women’s relationship with Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam. He is no friend to Jews. He has called Hitler a “great man”. This is Farrakhan who told his supporters: “I’m not an anti-Semite. I’m anti-termite.” He says: “The Jews, a small handful, control the movement of this great nation, like a radar controls the movement of a great ship in the waters.” Jews are, says Farrakhan, “satanic“. He says gay sex is a sin. But Mallory and Perez thought it fine to pose for pictures with Farrakhan and post them on the web. Mass outrage did not follow. There was no public shaming. 

The WM responded to Shook’s call by, well, get a load of this. The WM wrote on Facebook:
 “Today, Teresa Shook weighed in, irresponsibly, as have other organizations attempting in this moment to take advantage of our growing pains to try and fracture our network. Groups that have benefited from our work but refuse to organize in accordance with our Unity Principles clearly have no interest in building the world our principles envision. They have not done the work to mobilize women from diverse backgrounds across the nation. Our ongoing work speaks for itself. That’s our focus, not armchair critiques from those who want to take credit for our labor.” 

Calling out Jew hatred is “irresponsible”. She was an “armchair” activist. This is a liberal group that doesn’t like Donald Trump – the ‘America First’ President who says so long as you work with us it’s no problem if you murder journalists, smash women’s suffrage and kill free speech. It’s no problem if you’re a bigot, says Trump, so long as my message prospers. Isn’t that position shockingly similar to what the Women’s Movement says? Don’t worry about Jew hatred and monstering gays. Look at the good we do. Women First!

But thankfully, others see racism for what it is – and they call out those who acquiesce to bigotry as the cowards they are. Now Sarsour tells Jewish and LGBTQ members WM is sorry “for the harm we have caused”. Sorry you were offended. There was no condemnation of Farrakhan. Why not? Is it because it’s ok to attack Jews and tolerate those who do?

Image: The Stranger at our Gate, by Frank Beard (1890)

Posted: 22nd, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Prince Charles dead secret daughter meets Meghan Markle

princess-diana-daughter

 

Know this: Prince Harry’s wife “Meghan Meets Diana’s Secret Daughter!”. This exclusive is brought to you by Globe. Th daughter is Princess Sarah. She was allegedly “conceived in a bizarre fertility test before Prince Charles and Diana wed”. She met Meghan on Mrs Harry’s trip to New Zealand. And that’s huge news for many reasons. 

 

prince charles love child

“FOUND! CHARLES 4 SECRT LOVE CHILDREN!”

 

We’ve been here before, of course. In September 2016, Globe told us Charles has now fewer than “four! secret love children”. They had been “Found!”. So big was this news Globe was tempted to punctuate each word with an exclamation mark. 

We read that Princess Sarah was living in New England, USA. Her “surrogate” mother was “secretly” impregnated by her doctor husband who’d stolen a royal embryo produced by Charles and Diana on the orders of his mum, Her Maj. Sarah discovered the ‘”truth” because everyone told her she was a “dead ringer” for Princess Diana. 

 

princess-diana-daughter

 

But Sarah’s parents and Diana are all dead. And Sarah is also dead. In June 2016, Globe told us: “Prince Charles Murdered Princess Diana’s Secret Daughter!” He did it, allegedly, on May 15. 

So who can we ask to corroborate the story? Meghan? More to follow as Princess Sarah communicates from beyond! the! grave!

Posted: 22nd, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment


The myth of underage problem gambling

The Daily Mail today warns about the “Epidemic of Child Gamblers”. Yippee! The future for betting companies is sound. If there is one industry that has truly embraced the internet it is betting. The Mail understands this. Just cop a load of the offers and inducements to gamble on its website. Kids should look away now:

 

daily mail gambling

 daily mail gambling

 

The Mail is upset by underage gamblers. Apparently 55,000 under 17s “have a problem”. A further 70,000 are “at risk”. One in seven 11-16s year olds bets regularly, which is “worrying”. The cash – on average £16 a week – is risked on bingo, betting shops (online) and fruit machines. And “close to a million youngsters have been exposed to gambling through ‘loot boxes’ in computer games or on smart phone apps.” To say nothing of adverts to gamble in newspapers, TV ads and slogans slapped across football kits. 

But that’s not all. Tim Miller, of the Gambling Commission  – “We regulate commercial gambling and lotteries in Great Britain” – says kids prefer to gamble in “informal environments”, like on private bets between friends and or “playing cars with their mates for money”. In other words: kids are doing what their parents and their parents and their parents did.  

The Gambling Commission’s Young People and Gambling report “reveals that gambling participation by 11 to 16 year olds has increased in the last 12 months but remains lower compared to all previous years. However, the research indicated that more children are at risk of being harmed by gambling”.

 

gambling commission

‘Our children’

 

“Key findings” are:

14% of 11-16 year olds had spent their own money on gambling in the past week, this is up from 12% in 2017 but still lower than rates seen prior to 2017

This compared to 13% who had drunk alcohol in the past week, 4% who had smoked cigarettes and 2% who had taken illegal drugs

The Mail nots that “More than one in ten young people (12%) follow gambling companies on social media”. A pox on social media! It does not relay the report’s other facts, chiefly:

  • 59% agree that gambling is dangerous and only 14% agree that it is OK for someone their
    age to gamble
    • Almost half of young people (49%) said that someone had spoken to them about the
    problems gambling may lead to
    66% of young people have seen gambling adverts on TV, 59% on social media and 53%
    on other websites
    • 49% had seen or heard TV or radio programmes sponsored by a gambling company and
    46% had encountered gambling sponsorships at sports venues
    7% claimed that they had been prompted to gamble by a gambling advert or sponsorship

Isn’t all media part of the “problem” then? The report found that 33% of under 16s had seen adverts for gambling in newspapers. The Mail makes no call to ban such ads.

As for the survey: just 2,619 under 16s were polled. And most “problem gamblers” are aged 16 – old enough to get married and join the Army:

 

gambling

 

Is it a big problem? It all smacks of authoritarianism. And whenever a censor is about, they pull out their trump card: what about the kids? They must be protected. But by and large they seem fine – no worse off than their predecessors. It’s just that now the nippers are presented as victims-in-waiting – abused by the internet, children sit around in a perpetual state of slack-jawed passivity unable to think for themselves. Paternalistic government wants to ban adverts that turn the young on to gambling. And, yep, many of these same knowing politicos and protectors want 16 years olds to have the vote.  

Posted: 21st, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


Bullshit.com: Frenkie de Jong to Manchester City is a ‘done deal’

Transfer Balls: Following the Mirror’s news that Frenkie de Jong had agreed to join Manchester City for £60m comes news in the, er, Daily Mirror that he hasn’t. But he might. The paper of record (surely clickbait factory – ed) says City will have to pay a club record £75m for the Ajax and Netherlands midfielder.

It’s been three days since the Sun said Frenkie de Jong to City was done deal – three days since the Mirror told its readers City “have beaten Barcelona” to the signing. Manchester City “have blown the competition out of the water”. 

 

Frenkie de Jon

Frenkie de Jon signs for Manchester City – BBC

 

frenkie de jong

Daily Mirror says Frenkie to City is done

 

 

Frenkie de Jon signs for Manchester City -

Frenkie de Jon signs for Manchester City – The Sun

 

 

That was all tosh. But worry not because the Mirror has more news: 

 

Frankiede Jong

A day is a long time at bullshit.com

 

The paper reports in an “exclusive”:

Manchester City will have to pay a club-record £75million in the upcoming bidding war with Barcelona for the new Johan Cruyff…

However, Spanish champions Barca are also very keen on De Jong, and several other top clubs are monitoring the rapid progress he’s making this season.

Why is £75m the fee in a “bidding war”? It’s more than the £60m it cost city to sing Frenkie three days ago. 

Posted: 21st, November 2018 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, Manchester City, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Deke Duncan: DJ who broadcast to an audience of one gets BBC radio show

deke duncan stevenage

 

“I genuinely thought this was a well-crafted parody, something that the likes of @serafinowicz & @robertpopper would conjure up, but no…it’s 100% genuine – All hail Deke Duncan from Stevenage,” tweets John Morter. A video from the BBC archives takes us back to 1974. We meet Deke Duncan, the producer, presenter and pretty much most other things at Stevenage’s Radio 77 his wife Teresa can’t or won’t do. With no licence, Radio 77, based in a shed at 57 Gonville Crescent in Stevenage, can only be beamed through a speaker in his living room, where Teresa listens. It might be the most romantic thing ever. 

 

 

This week, Deke Duncan, now 73, was invited to present a show on BBC local radio. He fulfilled his “ultimate ambition” to broadcast to the rest of Stevenage.

“We used to record all the shows and play them back and think – that’s cool – but we couldn’t afford to keep buying spools of tape so recorded over them,” he said. “That house was our ship. We took the fantasy so far we said we must not go out the front or back door because you’ll fall in the sea.” The nautical theme followed his love of pirate station Radio Caroline, which broadcast from a boat off the coast of Essex in the 1960s.

Mr Duncan, who has since moved to Stockport, Greater Manchester, still broadcasts Radio 77 to “the smallest audience in the country” – his wife.

He said he felt “emotional” when station editor Laura Moss invited him to present his own one-hour special over Christmas.

 

 

Spotter: Flashbak

Posted: 21st, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True, TV & Radio | Comment


Massachusetts mayor plans to pickle the state’s first legal marijuana

weed boston

“I am not pickled – but my weed is”

 

From today you can buy weed legally in Massachusetts for fun. The state’s first commercial marijuana stores opened for business. Stood first in the queue was Northampton, Mass. mayor David Narkewicz. CBS News tells us:

When asked whether the purchase is simply ceremonial or it will be consumed, Narkewicz said, “I am actually going to probably preserve it and display it…because it is historically significant.”

It isn’t. Really, it isn’t – not unless you also have the first bag of crips sold in a pub and other humdrum consumables in a home museum to the everyday. A lump of pickled weed is simply a waste of weed.

“There has been marijuana use going on in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for a long, long time. What’s changing is it’s now being regulated. It’s now being tested. It’s now being strictly monitored. That’s really the major change that’s happening,” Narkewizc said.

Ah, smell that – it ain’t freedom blowin’ in the wind, folks. It’s the stench of regulation. 

Posted: 20th, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, The Consumer | Comment


Unions deeply upset that Tory minister Claire Perry allegedly swore

Claire_perry swearing

 

Claire Perry is accused of swearing and shouting at staff. The Guardian carries the news that the … Yeah, she’s the energy minister. Well, done, Claire and Claire’s mum for getting it right. Hard luck the rest of you. The paper’s story is choice:

Trade unions have written to the top official in the business department to raise concerns about claims that the energy minister, Claire Perry, has sworn and screamed at civil servants, the Guardian understands.

Trade unions are famously bastions of polite and civilised behaviour. No-one swears. No-one shouts. Right it is that they and the Guardian alert us to allegedly uncouth behaviour. In a welter of acronyms and counter-acronyms, the PCS, FDA and Prospect unions wrote a joint letter to Alex Chisholm, permanent secretary at the BEIS, noting Perry’s alleged behaviour. Civil servants are not there to be sworn at. What they are there for is to, well, again, shout out your answers; closest to the truth wins a job for life. No swearing. 

 

fuck the guardian

The Guardian says ‘so fucking what’ to saying ‘fuck’

 

fuck the guardian

Swearing is ok if you’re target is one disliked by Guardian readers

 

The paper continues:

It is understood that the complaints given to the unions include claims that Perry screamed and shouted, texted one civil servant to say “Fuck off”, and wrote, “What’s this shit?” on a memo produced by staff. The MP for Devizes became energy minister in June last year, a role that involves attending cabinet.

 

fuck the guardian

Guardian writer auditions for government

 

 

To think a woman who allegedly uses such filthy words is that close to the seat of power. If we’ve learned anything from the Brexit vote it is that liberals love using the words “fuck”, “bollocks” and “shit”, often on placards. There is a time and there is a place. Journalists at the Guardian are understood to be dismayed.

Posted: 20th, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Madeleine McCann: Rangers fans, David Baddiel and ‘active leads’ keep the story moving

That the story of Madeleine McCann has taken on a life of its own is not news. The single thread story – child vanishes – has been spun. But the tabloids love to find a new angle. And they do it in the shape of David Baddiel, the comedian, who “lashes out at McCann trolls”. What he actually did was to see ‘Our Maddie’ trending on Twitter and tweet: “Most people don’t know what it’s like to lose a child and should shut the fuck up.” That’s considered polite discourse on Twitter. But a BBC comic exchanging barbs with fellow twitter users passes for news. And it allows the Star to fill half a page with no news of the missing child.

The Sun also has no news. “‘MADDIE ‘COULD BE ALIVE’,” says the headline. “Madeleine McCann investigator claims missing child could still be ALIVE and hidden in a lair.” Could. Claims. More facts? Can we handle more facts? “David Edgar is convinced Maddie was abducted by a child sex gang and could still be being held in Portugal, where she vanished 11 years ago.” Edgar pulls on his media suit and tell us: “She is most likely being held captive, possibly in an underground cellar or dungeon and could emerge at any time.” 

Is that the “new hope” another Sun story hints to? “NEW MADDIE HOPE,” says the paper. “Madeleine McCann parents meeting with Scotland Yard detectives to discuss TWO ‘specific and active’ new leads.”.The Mirror echoes the news: “Fresh hope in Madeleine McCann search as police pursue two vital new leads.” Both scoops stem from a “Whitehall source” telling the Daily Mail: “Metropolitan Police officers had a sit-down meeting with Madeleine’s parents to tell them exactly where they were with their inquiries. They informed them they had two specific and active leads that still needed to be chased and that although the investigation was taking longer than they initially thought officers said they were confident and hopeful they could get a result.”

Why the source is unnamed is moot. Is it a secret? What are the leads? We’re not told.

But let’s end this round-up with where we began: trolls. “‘MADDIE 0 RANGERS 21’ Madeleine McCann troll slammed after comparing £11.75m search fund to Rangers footballer’s price tag,” says the Sun. It’s a tweet the Sun is happy to reproduce:

“Cost Of Madeline McCann Search: £12,000,000
“Cost Of Alfredo Morelos: £1,000,000
“Goals For Rangers: Madeline: 0 Morelos: 21”

The Sun senses a story. “But a number of people were furious at the comparisons, replying to the post with fury,” says the paper, possibly contains its furious fury. “One person commented: ‘Not a good tweet!!!'” No. A better tweet would be from someone famous or in a position of authority. Then it could be front-page news, and they could be publicly shamed and hounded from their job. Try harder, twitter. 

Posted: 20th, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, News, Tabloids | Comment


Ping Pong the panda bear is racist – Derby school’s stuffed toy in race storm

You can tell a fair bit about someone’s convictions by the form their apology takes. Kevin Gaiderman has been invited to apologise for naming a stuffed toy he brought back from a school trip to China ‘Ping Pong’. Gaiderman is head teacher at Chellaston Academy in Derby. Some parents say the name is “offensive” and “racist”, as reported in the Sun and Daily Mail.  The stuffed cloth’s full title is ‘Ping Pong the Panda of Perseverance’.

Having upset a few parents with a name inspired by his enjoyment of table-tennis, Gaiderman said: “We told leaders of the Chinese school this was what we were calling our panda due to the resilience and sporting connection we enjoyed.” What screams resilience better than a stuffed panda? Get a load of that steely, unblinking gaze.

Mr Gaiderman has published a fulsome response on the school’s website:

I am taking this opportunity to write to you and thank you for the overwhelming support I have received in what has been an incredibly challenging week for myself personally, my family and our school community.

On Wednesday this week, an article appeared on the Derby Telegraph website, relating to the naming of a panda bear brought back from our recent trip to China. The article subsequently appeared in the next day’s edition of the paper and in some national publications.

Whilst on the trip we witnessed great determination and resilience from our students who were experiencing a whole new culture and were involved in a significant amount of travel around China including visiting Beijing, Hefei and Shanghai.

Two of our students had disabilities but coped brilliantly with what was asked of them. Many of the students themselves bought gifts including cuddly toys and gave names to them. Whilst in Hefei 50, our partner school, our students played several sports with students and indeed my Head of PE and I played ping pong (table tennis) against their students. Reference was made to the work we do here at Chellaston on growth mindset and resilience with reference to Matthew Syed’s book ‘Bounce’ and his work nationally in this field which we refer to with staff and students. Matthew being a former international table tennis player (ping pong).

During the trip the panda we purchased was then referred to as ‘Ping Pong’ and it was agreed that on return each week staff could nominate a student who would receive the panda as a simple recognition for their own resilience.

I take great inspiration from my students and staff and my intention was to capture the nature of the amazing young people we are privileged to work alongside, by awarding this token on a weekly basis.

Pandas are synonymous with China as we know – our partnership and friendship with staff and students at Hefei 50 is developing and growing since my visit last year. Indeed, we told the leaders of the school that was what we were calling our panda, due to the resilience and sporting connection we had enjoyed. We have an equal award we give to staff on a Friday briefing which is always received with delight and staff express how much it means to them to receive it. We also sent a full summary of our “first of its kind within the City” visit to China to the DET which, as yet, has not been published.

Once again thank you for your support and enjoy the weekend.

Kevin J Gaiderman – Executive Principal

If you want to show real resilience, next time being back a real panda bear and try to get it to mate.

 

Posted: 18th, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True, Tabloids | Comment


London Ambulance Service snares unisex signs vandal and other Blue Mooners

  1. london ambulance service toilets

 

There’s a scene in Grease, the 1978 film, where the school principle vows to call in the FBI and thereby identify the three  ‘Blue Mooners’ who bared their backsides at the televised dance. The trio showed only their arses but the FBI have special tools and forensics to aid detection. The London Ambulance Service (LAS) also has top people on hand. It’s called in handwriting experts to understand which NHS staff defaced signs making lavatories, showers and changing rooms gender-neutral.

Is it a man, a woman or something else? The LAS’s emergency operators have been advised not to call people “madam” or “sir”, and stop using the prefixes “Mr” or “Mrs” even if callers request it. They should consider using the gender-neutral pronoun “Mx”.

Jules Lockett, head of emergency operations centre training at London Ambulance Service, and joint head of its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender network, is quoted in the Sunday Times: “We did get a lot of people trying to rip the signs down, so we just printed a lot off and were just going round and sticking them back on.” But someone took “a permanent marker into the toilet to make changes on the signs, et cetera, that we’ve put up… What people don’t realise is we’ve had one of our directors who has collected these signs, collected the handwriting and asked for a professional analyst to compare that handwriting with the handwriting they used on their patient report forms, and we have found [a] person.”

Aside from being utterly absurd, the shared facilities are not universally wanted. Nicola Williams, of Fair Play for Women, is quoted: “Whether women have to share their private spaces with men may not matter to Jules Lockett, but it does matter a great deal to other women, including clearly to many of her own staff. This is a classic example of someone trampling on women’s rights and safety and congratulating herself for it.”

How about if Mrs Caller used to be Mr Caller and requires help to a part of the body often unique to one gender? Lockett says “it was sometimes necessary to establish someone’s birth gender because it affected the medical treatment they needed”. Well, yes. But what if they have changed their birth gender? If you get your gender change legally recognised, you can order a new birth certificate with your new gender on it. The rules are here. Right now, to change gender who you must have been “diagnosed with gender dysphoria by a doctor or had surgery to change your sexual characteristics” and have lived in your acquired gender for two years.you are then apprised by a panel. It’s an ordeal for many. One proposed change – aimed at making what the process easier – would allow people to “self-declare” their gender. To say it is to be it. 

But what about women’s right? Does giving people the opportunity to self-determine their gender make women feel safer in refuges, toilets and prisons? But back to health matters? If under the terms of the Government’s Gender Recognition Bill a man can declare himself a that he is in fact a woman, and his birth certificate changed accordingly, how are they best treated in a medical emergency? Does the woman with a penis get a letter inviting her to attend a smear test? Does the man with a womb seek advice on hot flushes and testicular cancer? When do a person’s medical recodes – documented fact – become documented theory?

As for the sign scrawler, the London Ambulance Service says: “There have been a small number of occasions where discriminatory graffiti has been left. These incidents have been reported to managers and investigated.”

Round up the usual suspects:

 

Posted: 18th, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Brexit battle kills democracy as EU’s imperial army wages war

newspapers brexit

 

Congratulations Theresa May for stopping Brexit. The big problem for her is that people noticed, chiefly the millions who voted for Brexit and secondly a few of the public servants whose job it was to make Brexit happen, notably members of her Cabinet who saw the binary choice on offer and resigned. You are either in the EU or out of it. May’s Withdrawal Bill is a deal to stay in. Over 17 million of us voted out. The two things don’t tally. Sign the deal and Brexit has been stopped. 

Brendan O’Neill argues in The Spectator, “If we kill Brexit, we kill democracy itself.” May’s deal “will strangle British sovereignty and reduce us to a craven vassal state that not only has to abide by EU rules but will also lack any mechanism for unilaterally withdrawing from them. A ‘Brexit deal’, they call it. Do not insult our intelligence. Voters are not as dim as you think.” (Has anyone checked?)

Calm down, dear, says Jeremy Warner in the Telegraph. May’s deal is better than no deal or no Brexit, the other two offers on the table. The Withdrawal Agreements is not an end, rather a “staging post on the journey to a more complete form of Brexit”. Sure, Britain can only leave the Customs Union on the EU’s say so but if the arrangements are seen to be “very much against the national interest, then they will eventually unravel, even if that means breaking the treaty”. May’s deal begins the path to Brexit in “an orderly and manageable manner”. Yes, it’s got more holes that a Donald Trump wet dream but it is very British.

Leave it to Westminster to do right, then, a place Marina Hyde likens to “a sort of middle-management Westeros, where mostly terrible actors obsess over court politics, and the electorate are just CGI casualties in the Battle of the Bastards.” 

Brexiteers remain in Cabinet. Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom, Michael Gove, Liam Fox, Penny Mordaunt and Chris Grayling are all there to tell May how wrong she is. An unnamed source told the Sunday Times’ Tim Shipman, Gove is staying “to get this in a better place”. Or maybe he and the rest of them just want a few more days to measure No.10 for their own choice of curtains. Is May prepared for a leadership challenge? Conservative Party chairman Brandon Lewis said: “I think the prime minister is ready for anything.” 

The big issue with the deal is that backstop. The UK and the EU want to avoid a hard Northern Ireland border. So they’ll be a  “backstop” – or back-up plan as trade negotiations continue. The backstop leaves Northern Ireland more closely aligned to some EU rules than the rest of the UK. Got a problem with the UK being broken up? The UK would not be able to leave the backstop without the EU’s consent. Sound like Brexit to you? But not to worry. Things will work out. 

If the EU doesn’t take the hint, we can always go to war. Last week German chancellor Angela Merkel opined: “A common European army would show the world that there will never be war between the European nations.” Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s representative in the Brexit negotiations, tweeted: “I am very pleased that both #Merkel and Macron are now fully behind a European army. We fought for this for many years. In the world of tomorrow, we have to take our destiny into our own hands!” And French finance minister Bruno Le Maire added: “Europe needs to become a kind of empire like China and the USA… technological power, economic, financial, monetary, cultural power will be decisive. Europe can no longer afford to shrink from exercising its power and being an empire of peace.”

Nothing to worry about, then. We are either with the EU or we are with the EU. Vote now and vote often… 

 

Posted: 17th, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


39 years later Khmer Rouge leaders found guilty of genocide

Pol Pot CAmbodia

 

Justice delayed is not justice denied. In Cambodia, former Khmer Rouge leaders Nuon Chea, 92, and Khieu Samphan, 87, have been handed life sentences for their roles in the murder of – get this – up to 30% of Cambodian population; 2.8 million people. Nuon Chea, 92, was Pol Pot’s number 2. Samphan, 87, was head of state. Pol Pot – ‘Brother Number One’ – ran ‘Democratic Kampuchea’ from 1975 to 1979. He and his supporters turned Cambodia into a “land of blood and tears”, where the State organised murder, rape, forced marriage and torture in the pursuit of an agrarian paradise. 

Now two of the swine are in the dock. You see their ages and wonder. Should we bother to try them, these old men? Yes. Never give up. The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), established in 2006 with both Cambodian and international judges, has cost $300m. It has convicted three people: 

In 2010 it convicted Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch, who was in charge of the infamous Tuol Sleng torture centre and prison in Phnom Penh. He is serving a life sentence.

Former Khmer Rouge foreign minister Ieng Sary was a co-defendant with Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea but died before judges delivered a verdict in the first of the two sub-trials in 2014. His wife Ieng Thirith, the regime’s social affairs minister and the fourth co-defendant, was ruled mentally unfit to stand trial and died in 2015.

Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphany enjoyed long and healthy lives. They looked blessed. But now see the butchers brought to their reckoning. That they lived long enough to face the music is our blessing. But why did it take so long to get them? And why not go for all the killers, not just the men and women at the top?

This was not the pair’s first trial. They are serving separate life sentences following earlier convictions for crimes against humanity. So many escaped justice. But these two got it twice. Does that strike anyone as lazy – and convenient?

The former UN secretary general’s special expert on assistance to the Khmer Rouge trials and former US ambassador at large for war crimes, David Scheffer, tells The Guardian that these latest verdicts are “comparable, in Cambodia, to the Nuremberg judgment after World War Two”. 

After the Second World War, we were given the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – but nothing to give it bite. The Declaration told people and nations to keep human rights “constantly in mind”. Or what? How did the the killers get away with it for so long?

In September 1979, the UN voted to retain Khmer Rouge representation in the General Assembly, a post the Khmer Rouge occupied until 1991…

The United States – whose intensive bombing of areas with communist bases during 1969-73 arguably did much to bring Pol Pot to power – pursued a ‘hands-off’ policy, turning a blind eye to China’s continuing support of the Khmer Rouge and the shady activities of the Thai military, which gave its protection to Khmer Rouge top-brass throughout the 1980s and 1990s

For anyone interested in what crimes against humanity means, The Rise and Rise of Human Rights by Kirsten Sellars is really good.

Photo: Images of the Ba Chúc massacre at a Vietnamese museum as the massacre was one of the events that prompted the 1978 Vietnamese invasion of Kampuchea

Posted: 16th, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Cheating wife guilty of trying to shoot, poison and drown terminally ill husband

Ray Weatherall

 

Hayley Weatherall, 32, wanted to kill her terminally ill husband, Ray Weatherall, to be with his best friend with whom she’d been having an affair. Today a jury at Maidstone Crown Court, Kent, found her guilty of conspiracy to murder. The lover, Glenn Pollard, 49, and his daughter Heather, 20, have been convicted of the same charge. How they planned to kill him reads like a game of horribly real Cluedo. Mr Weatherall, who has given 18 months to live by his doctors in 2016, survived a number of attempts on his life. Plots included:

Poison

Shooting him in the face – they tried this one. The bullet lodged in his right cheekbone. He survived. 

A swimming pool heater explosion which left him with second degree burns

Sleeping tablets

Insulin.

Push him overboard during a fishing trip

The BBC:

The conspiracy only came to light when Heather Pollard’s car was found to have been near the marina at the time of the shooting. The court heard both the Pollards had access to guns, with Glenn a registered owner of a rifle found to be consistent with firing the “sniper” shot. Heather Pollard, described as a “devoted” daughter, also carried our internet searches on the best ways to kill somebody and not get caught, the court heard.

Internet searches included “Techniques of silent killing”, “Creative ways to kill someone”, “Insulin shock”, “Sepsis”, “Cyanide poisoning” and “How to kill someone via a wound”. Mr Weatherall is alive. He has brain cancer – a hideous killer, though not quick enough for some. 

 

Posted: 15th, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Boys on bicycles fight with town crier fo his tricorn hat

In yer face, all you fear-mongers with your dystopian stories of youths lost to drugs, iPhones and sexting. In Gloucester a town crier hurled his bell at boys getting some fresh air and exercise on bicycles. Alan Myatt, a town crier in Gloucester for 30 years, survived a confrontation with a gang of keep-fit enthusiasts on bikes who tried to nick his fantastic tricorn hat as he made his way from the suggestively named Gloucester Stroke Club. 

Gloucestershire Live says Myatt (pronounced: ‘My ‘at’, as in “Gimme back My ‘at!”) defended himself by chucking his hailing bell at them. “I thought I’ll get [them] and I hurled my bell… cracking it in the process,” he says. His bell is now only “fit for a doorstop”.

The boys have yet to be identified. But given their lust for tricorn hats, an advert for a job with the promise of Rum, Sodomy and The Lash should bring them running. 

Posted: 15th, November 2018 | In: News, Strange But True | Comment


Jamal Khashoggi: Saudi Arabia plans to swiftly execute all the guilty men

Justice moves fast in Saudi Arabia. By the time you’ve read this, chances are the five suspects charged with ordering and carrying out the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi will have been tried, found guilty of murder and executed. Khashoggi, as you will recall, became newsworthy the world over when he was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October. The country’s prosecutor says 21 people are now in custody, with 11 indicted and referred to trial.

But who is the gang’s leader? Whose idea was it to kill the writer? Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor says it was not Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Deputy Public Prosecutor Shalaan bin Rajih Shalaan said Khashoggi’s body was injected with poison – which killed him, so they say – and dismembered inside the consulate after his death. The remains were then disappeared. 

He says investigations “revealed that the person who ordered the killing was the head of the negotiations team” despatched to Istanbul by deputy intelligence chief Gen Ahmed al-Assiri to force Khashoggi to return to Saudi Arabia from his self-imposed exile in the United States. How the negotiations went is moot.  Gen Assiri and another top adviser, Saud al-Qahtani, have been sacked over the matter. The Crown Prince is, however, ok, and a really terrific bloke who knew nothing about any of it. Anyone who’s says he did, can meet him in Yemen – co-ordinates 15.3694° N, 44.1910° E – at precisely 1:19pm tomorrow. Bring the family. 

 

Posted: 15th, November 2018 | In: News | Comment


Queen eats bananas like a princess

Queen monkey bananas

A young Prince Edward is potty trained

 

What do you want: Brexit, Brexit, Brexit and Brexit or “Her Majesty’s bizarre way of eating bananas”? ‘Nanas it is. As the rest of the tabloids were distracted by Brexit news, the Star delivers the real front-page story: “The Queen eats bananas with a fork to avoid chomping ‘like a monkey’.”  Yeah, just a fork, which runs the very real risk of her being mistaken for an American.

 

The news is revealed by Darren McGrady, her former chef, in a new book. If you want to eat a banana like the Queen, here’s how.

  1. Send staff to buy banana – you can now get them from shops in the UK, so no need for an official trip to The Gambia
  2. Send staff to fetch plate, knife, fork
  3. Wait for staff to place banana on plate
  4. Remove top and bottom of banana with knife (fifth knife from right)
  5. Slice skin away lengthways
  6. Dice into small pieces
  7. Eat with fork

Next week: My Life as a Chimpanzee, by Prince Edward. 

Posted: 15th, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment


Freshly divorced texan blows up her wedding dress

 

Kimberly Santleben-Stiteler celebrated her divorce by detonating her wedding dress. Santleben-Stiteler, from near San Antonio, Texas, laced her gown with 20 pounds of Tannerite, stood pretty well back and shot the dress. If you’re in the area and hear the pitter-patter of something falling on your roof, those are rhinestones.

Ms Santleben-Stiteler is single.

 

wedding dress explosion

…something borrowed…something blew up…

 

Spotter: Star-Telegram

Posted: 14th, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True | Comment


James Bulger: tabloids bring up the body to attack Robert Thompson and stir Blair’s mob

Robert Thompson Jamie Bulger

 

The 1993 killing of James Bulger continues to occupy minds in the tabloids. Bulger, 2, was killed by children, ten-year-olds Robert Thompson and Jon Venables. The latter has been in the news for years (see Anorak passim). But we’ve heard very little of Thompson. And we still haven’t. The news on the Star’s 11 page is is old. We read that when aged 18, Thompson told the parole board he was “desperately sorry” for his crime. Said Thompson;

“I do feel aware that I am a better person and I have had a better life and better education than if I had not committed the murder. There is obviously an irony in this. But it is part of my remorseful feeling as well. I personally wish Mr and Mrs Bulger  and their families to know that I am desperately sorry for what I did and aware of the enormity of it…

“I am deeply ashamed of having played a part in this horrible murder.”

So how does the Star report this news, triggered by yet another TV show on the crime? Is it by saluting the system that appears to work. Thompson has committed no crime since that heinous act. This is what the Government says are the aims of the law and justice system:

The legal system must uphold fairness in society: both in business and for individuals. We want to ensure justice for victims of crime and better rehabilitation for criminals, with a reduction in the rate of reoffending. The justice system must punish the guilty, protect our liberties and rehabilitate offenders.

Rehabilitation works, then. Or as the Star puts it: “KILLING JAMES ‘MADE ME A BETTER MAN’.” And in the Sun: “MURDERING BULGER GAVE ME BETTER LIFE – KILLER’S ASTONISHING BOAST.” Wrong. Badly wrong. And cruel on James Bulger and his parents.

 

Robert Thompson Jamie Bulger

Daily Star

 

Robert Thompson Jamie Bulger

The Sun

 

Tony Blair milked the crime. His role was pivotal in turning a horrendous and blessedly rare crime into a warning to us all. He turned a dead child into a symbol of what we had all become. The judge at the boys’ trial called the crime an act of “unparalleled evil”. The crime became a moral cudgel.

As the tabloids continue to fans the flames, let’s hark back to Blair’s hideous opportunism. Blair was shadow home secretary when he took political advantage of the killing. He hijacked a murder for his own ends. He said:

“The news bulletins have been like hammer blows struck against the sleeping conscience of the country, urging us to wake up and look unflinchingly at what we see. We hear of crimes so horrific they provoke anger and disbelief in equal proportions. The headlines shock, but what shocks us more is our knowledge that in almost any city, town or village more minor versions of the same events are becoming an almost everyday part of our lives. These are ugly manifestations of a society that is becoming unworthy of that name…

“We cannot exist in a moral vacuum. If we do not learn and then teach the value of what is right and what is wrong, then the result is simply moral chaos which engulfs us all.”

One crime said nothing more than the fact: children murder child. Now hear again the words of Robert Thompson:

“One Christmas we had chocolate  decorations on the tree and one night they went… After a while he [his father] told me to get undressed at the bottom of the stairs. And as I stood there naked he walked up to me with a pair of scissors.”

His father threatened to mutilate him.

He was a persistent truant. He was one of seven children living with a violent father and the who’d lost control. And Blair whipped up the crowd. He stole James Bulger’s corpse and repurposed it. It worked. Thompson:

“On my first appearance in magistrates court, a man ran in front of the van I was in to stop it. I was frightened the mob would get me. I wanted to say what had happened but was too frightened to accept the blame.”

“The courtroom was totally packed with reporters. I didn’t feel it was possible to make an admission of my involvement.”

The killers were treated well? Fairly? Justice was served. Conniving political ambition drove the mob. Media fanned the flames. The Bulgers should be allied to move on. They should not have their pain used to sell a story. That’s cruel. Horribly cruel.

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


Police get 6 more months to find Madeleine McCann

“YOU’VE 6 More Months to find Maddie.” You. (Me?!) Yes, you. You might qualify for the huge reward the News of The World posted for information leading to the return of the papers’ ‘Our Maddie’. But that money most likely vanished when the paper was spiked. Of course, its not really about you. The Star’s headline, which you’ve just read, refers to the police working on Operation Grange, the investigation into the child’s disappearance in May 2007.  The front-page news is that coppers have been given a further £150,000 to “chase a final line of enquiry’.

 

maddie McCann reward

No-one claimed the huge reward

 

Wondering what this final line might be, we race to page 7. We hear from the McCanns’ spokesman Clarence Mitchell. He says Kate and Gerry McCann, the girl’s parents, are “very encouraged that the Met Police still believe there is work left to be done in there each for the daughter.” Ergo: the police have yet to find her or what happened to her. We’re told Operation Grange has “cost taxpayers £11.75m”.  And a Home Office spokesman says money will fund the investigation until March 31 2019. Things are “ongoing”. But there not word on what the “final line of enquiry” is.

 

daily star madeleine mccann

 

As for the other tabloids which once featured Madeleine McCann on their front pages, the Sun shows her only on page 8. In a slim, short column punctuated by an advert for an M&S meal deal and news that Goldie Hawn, the actress, is still blonde at 72, we get the figures and news of that “final line of enquiry”. The Express (Page 10) adds news that police have been “secretly visiting Portugal in the past year”. But it’s not a secret is it. Its entirely expected. And in the Mail, nothing.

Madeleine McCann is missing. And that is the only thing we know.

 

Posted: 14th, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, News, Tabloids | Comment


UFOs spotted over Ireland: little green men sought

UFo irelandIreland’s reputation as a haven for little green men has reached far into the cosmos. UFOS have been spotted over the Emerald Isle. The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) is investigating the strange flying objects.

The BBC takes up the story:

(A British Airways) pilot, flying from the Canadian city of Montreal to Heathrow, said there was a “very bright light” and the object had come up along the left side of the aircraft before it “rapidly veered to the north…”(Another Virgin pilot said) there were “multiple objects following the same sort of trajectory” and that they were very bright.

A shooting star, perhaps?

The pilot said he saw “two bright lights” over to the right which climbed away at speed. One pilot said the speed was “astronomical, it was like Mach 2” – which is twice the speed of sound.

The IAA says things will be “investigated under the normal confidential occurrence investigation process”. In the meanwhile, round up the usual suspects and tell RyanAir some new competition has arrived…

Posted: 13th, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True, Technology | Comment


The diamond ring made entirely of diamond

jony ive diamond ring

 

How big is your diamond ring? Well, it depends on the size of your finger? Sothebys is overseeing the sale of a wholly diamond ring created by Apple design guru Jony Ive and Marc Newson. If you want it made bigger, well, save up. And you can all get one because the all-diamond diamond ring is totally man-made:

Creating a ring-shaped diamond is no small feat; the diamond block will be faceted with several thousand facets, some of which are as small as several hundred micrometers. The interior ring will be cylindrically cut out for the desired smoothness using a micrometer thick water jet inside which a laser beam is cast. The finished ring will have between 2000-3000 facets which has never been seen before on a single piece.

The first one will set you back an estimated $150-$250k. If you want a really big one, say for a tunnel into Yemen, price is on application. (Call me Saudi Arabia, I have ideas…)

Posted: 13th, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, The Consumer | Comment