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‘Harbinger Customers’ back failed politicians and buy bad products – identifying the postcode losers

harbinger customers

Is it peer pressure, rebellion, a herd mentality or something else? The Dace Mirror introduces us to “harbinger customers” who live in “harbinger zip codes”. They buy unpopular products and back losers in elections. They do this often enough to suggest a pattern of behaviour.

First, the findings document the existence of “harbinger zip codes.” If households in these zip codes adopt a new product, this is a signal that the new product will fail. Second, a series of comparisons reveal that households in harbinger zip codes make other decisions that differ from other households. The first comparison identifies harbinger zip codes using purchases from one retailer and then evaluates purchases at a different retailer. Households in harbinger zip codes purchase products from the second retailer that other households are less likely to purchase. The analysis next compares donations to congressional election candidates; households in harbinger zip codes donate to different candidates than households in neighboring zip codes, and they donate to candidates who are less likely to win. House prices in harbinger zip codes also increase at slower rates than in neighboring zip codes.history

Are these people the outsiders, societal outliers? Are they the ones who think outside the box?

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the harbinger customer effect is that the signal extends across CPG categories. Customers who purchase new oral care products that flop also tend to purchase new haircare products that flop. Anderson et al. (2015) interpret their findings as evidence that customers who have unusual preferences in one product category also tend to have unusual preferences in other categories. In other words, the customers who liked Diet Crystal Pepsi also tended to like Colgate Kitchen Entrees (which also flopped).

Fortune does not always favour the brave.

Spotter: bb

Posted: 12th, December 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, The Consumer | Comment


Caroll Spinney as Big Bird sings ‘Bein’ Green’ at Jim Henson’s funeral

Caroll Edwin Spinney (December 26, 1933 – December 8, 2019) gave life to Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street from its inception in 1969 until 2018.

On May 16, 1990, Muppet creator Jim Henson died. That following July, at a memorial service for the great entertainer held at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, Spinney, dressed a Big Bird, sang Bein’ Green, the song Kermit the frog made famous. Stay tuned til the end. It’s heart-warming.

Posted: 9th, December 2019 | In: Celebrities, News | Comment


Senior quotes from a 1911 high school yearbook

Senior quotes from a 1911 high school yearbook

Here’s a lovely old selection of words and aspirations explaining how three students in 1911 saw their lives.

Spotter: Flashbak

Posted: 5th, December 2019 | In: News, Strange But True | Comment


Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers checks his DNA

No chance, then, that Brendan Rodgers will leave Leicester City, a team vying for the title and a Champions League place mid-stream. “I’ll give my life to make the supporters proud of their club,” Rodgers said when he joined Leicester having left Celtic half-way through a season with another domestic trouble on the cards.

The trick for Rodgers, for whom Arsenal is cooed as his “dream club”, is to make Leicester believe his departure is inevitable, the dancing of a talented and ambitious man. The Leicester owners are unsentimental, as the dismissal of title winner Claudio Ranieri proves. They might respect a man who wants to go on to bigger things, having served his time at Watford, Reading and Swansea City before be came within a Steven Gerrard slip of winning the title with Liverpool.

For now, of course, Arsenal are being coached by Freddie Ljungberg, who says he’ll accept Arsene Wenger’s offer of a chat before the Gunners play Brighton. They might discuss Josh Kroenke, the owner’s son sent to Big Co’s provincial London outposts to protect the brand. Kroenke pressed flesh at the club’s training ground last week, barfing out Ljungberg having “Arsenal DNA”. If having Arsenal hard-wired into your genetic code is the recipe for an Arsenal boss, then Kroenke fails his own test. A peek into any Kroenke blood sample would most likely the codes for bank accounts.

Does Rodgers have Arsenal DNA? Did Unai Emery? Maybe examining their stools can tell Josh more about what the future holds for his project. Because right now, he look clueless.

Posted: 4th, December 2019 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment


Hypocrisy! France bemoans US trade tariffs; France wants British trade tariffs

France is upset that the US is thinking about imposing trade tariffs on French cheese, fizz, make-up and handbags. France wants to tax US business. A US ruling into French plans tells us:

The U.S. Trade Representative has completed the first segment of its investigation under section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 and concluded that France’s Digital Services Tax (DST) discriminates against U.S. companies, is inconsistent with prevailing principles of international tax policy, and is unusually burdensome for affected U.S. companies. Specifically, USTR’s investigation found that the French DST discriminates against U.S. digital companies, such as Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon

Messy. And hypocritical of the French, mais no? If France believes tariffs are wrong, it should argue for free trade deal between the EU and the the post-Brexit UK. But it isn’t.

Posted: 4th, December 2019 | In: Money, News, Politicians | Comment


Labour pro-diversity video fails Jews – Corbyn gives succour to anti-Semites

Labour Jews

There are only a relatively few Jewish voters. That might be why in the Labour Party’s video celebrating its commitment towards protecting diversity it makes not mention of Jews either specifically or my implication.

The Labour Party is under formal investigation by The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) over whether the party has “unlawfully discriminated against, harassed or victimised people because they are Jewish.” You might think it would make an effort to allay fears among the Jews that Labour gives succour to anti-Semitism. But not. The advert features a voiceover by Dawn Butler, the shadow equalities secretary. She says goes down a list of people Labour will protect.

Jonathan Goldstein, chairman of the Jewish Leadership Council, says the absence of Jews from the list of minority groups worth protecting is “extraordinary and chilling.”

So why not take the chance to mend relationships in the video?

A vote for Corbyn is a vote for anti-Semitism. The very reals fear is that Corbyn gives racists a platform. He legitimises their rabid bigotry.

Last week at a provincial train station coming back from work, a woman – 60s, white, plainly dressed – started talking with me as I flicked through the day’s papers. She detected a sneer. I said it was for Corbyn. She asked why and said she loathes Johnson for his Islamophobia. She pressed me on Corbyn. So I told her many people believe he’s a racist, and not without evidence. She then – I kid you not – told me: “But his whole life has been dedicated to fighting racism.” But not for Jews, I told her. They are beyond his love.

She then proceeded to explain what antisemitism was and how ‘Zionists’ operate. She used her fingers and lay out her point, explaining nuances between hatred of one sort of Jews (bad Jews – the left index finger) and hatred of another sort (good Jews – the right index finger). Her fingers tapped the counter we were stood close to with force. Attacking ‘Jeremy’ was, she told me, a smear cooked up by those (uniquely barbaric) bad Jews. The good Jews realise their in-house errors and seek to be better Jews (ie: realise they are bad and should learn ‘English irony’).

She was an anti-Semite. That much was plain. Her’s was the casual anti-Semitism of the English provincial parlour, of GK Chesterton and Agatha Christie; the othering of the British Jews as loyalists to a foreign land. I told her it’s not the existence of anti-Semitism that upset me – it exists; move on; grow up; call the bastards out – but the fact that Corbyn could be the country’s leader and give succour to people like her to voice their prejudice without fear of censure.

A vote for him is a vote for anti-Semitism. Simple.

Posted: 2nd, December 2019 | In: News | Comment


Hero fought terrorist on London Bridge with huge Narwhal tusk

Narwhal tusk

Two people were murdered today in another attack on London. The killer was brought to a standstill and taken to the ground by passers-by on London Bridge.

Amy Coop was there. She tweets: “A guy who was with us at Fishmongers Hall took a 5’ narwhale [sic] tusk from the wall and went out to confront the attacker.”

Tour guide Stevie Hurst helped restrain the attacker. He spoke to BBC radio. “We saw a guy being accosted to the floor,” he said, adding that people were “screaming” the attacker had “stabbed a couple of women”.

“Everyone was just on top of him trying to bundle him to the ground,” he added.

“We saw that the knife was still in his hand… I just put a foot in to try and kick him in the head.We were trying to do as much as we could to try and dislodge the knife from his hand so he wouldn’t harm anyone else.

“The guys that were there were absolutely amazing. Heroes beyond belief.”

The suspect was shot dead by police.

Posted: 29th, November 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True | Comment


Jeremy Corbyn isolates British Jews

The Jeremy Corbyn and Jewdas Seder abridged
British Jews send a message to Jeremy Corbyn;’s Labour

Oy vez, Je-rem-meee Corrrrrr-bin. The Labour Party’s leader’s been hit with those allegations of anti-Semitism again and challenged over his commitment to deal with bigots in his party’s ranks. It turns out that parroting the line about his life-long fight for anti-racism and how much he loathes racism and how Jew hatred is wrong (who knew?) isn’t convincing everyone. Andrew Neil posed a few questions on the matter in a Q&A that gave Jews hope that their lot is not being ignored, boosted the Tories and assured Prince Andrew that he is not the worst person in interviews.

Watch the full Andrew Neil interview with Jeremy Corbyn

The full Andrew Neil interview with Jeremy Corbyn. You'll want to see this.

Posted by Conservatives on Tuesday, 26 November 2019

As Nick Cohen says of Corbyn’s unwillingness to apologise to Jews: “The best is to admit its guilt and reform. Labour cannot because Labour’s leader and his supporters are so contaminated by racial prejudice they lack the moral capacity to change, or even admit to themselves the need to change.”

The papers lead with the horror show:

Corbyn Jews

Only the Daily Star and Mirror don’t lead with Corbyn. The Star looks at two big Lottery winners. The Mirror goes for a story on the NHS, those Lottery winners, a recycling “disgrace”, and a chance to win a “giant Olaf toy”, as seen in the films Frozen and Frozen 2. No room for those pesky Jews:

daily mirror corbyn

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis is one of the many upset by Labour’s inability to grasp the situation. His open letter is here in full:


The overwhelming majority of British Jews are gripped by anxiety. The question I am most frequently asked is: What will become of Jews and Judaism in Britain if the Labour Party forms the next government?


The Jewish community has… learned the hard way that speaking out means that we will be demonised… and accused of being partisan or acting in bad faith by those who still think of this as an orchestrated political smear. Yet, I ask myself: should the victims of racism be silenced by the fear of yet further vilification?


The way in which the leadership of the Labour Party has dealt with anti-Jewish racism is incompatible with the British values of which we are so proud. It has left many decent Labour members and parliamentarians, both Jewish and non-Jewish, ashamed.


It is a failure to see this as a human problem rather than a political one. It is a failure of leadership. A new poison – sanctioned from the very top – has taken root in the Labour Party.


Many members of the Jewish community can hardly believe this is the same party that they proudly called their political home for more than a century.


How complicit in prejudice would a leader of Her Majesty’s opposition have to be in order to be considered unfit for high office? Would associations with those who have openly incited hatred against Jews be enough? Would describing as ‘friends’ those who endorse and even perpetrate the murder of Jews be enough? It seems not. What we do know from history is that what starts with the Jews, never ends with the Jews.


It is not my place to tell any person how they should vote. I simply pose the following question: What will the result of this election say about the moral compass of our country? I ask every person to vote with their conscience. Be in no doubt – the very soul of our nation is at stake.


And Labour’s response? If you watched the video above, you will have heard Corbyn refuse to apologise. And worse still, as Cohen notes:

Reassurance comes there none. In its place, Labour released its race and faith manifesto this morning. Buried in it was a commitment to ‘enhance the powers and functions of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, making it truly independent’.

It sounded a sweet aspiration until you remembered that Labour is the first party since the neo-Nazi British National Party to be the subject of a formal investigation into institutional racism by the commission. The commission’s lawyers have reportedly received thousands of documents, some from disgusted former Labour staffers detailing how complaints about the party were dismissed or ignored. We know the commission’s lawyers spent hours ‘forensically examining the depressingly mountainous evidence of anti-Semitism within the Labour party’ before deciding that there is ‘an arguable case that Jewish people are being unlawfully discriminated against by Her Majesty’s Official Opposition.’
And the response from Corbyn and his clique is to descend into conspiracy theory and question the commission’s independence.

There was no process in Labour to deal with anti-semitism before Corbyn was made leader, says Corbyn… Well, you know, needs must. Brendan O’Neill asks who sees Neil’s interview, looks at Corbyn’s record on Jews – that mural, the wreath, those ‘friends’, the lesson in ‘English irony’, the Jewish MP hounded out of the party – and still votes for him?

Why do so many decent people want to serve under him as an MP? Vote in Labour moderates to save the Party, say the likes of Tony Blair, a man who claims to be appalled by the racism rife in the party he once led. Egregious balderdash. Vote Labour and you get Corbyn, a man who heads a group lacking in the moral capacity to admit grievous error and move on.

Too often accusations of racism in his Labour are recast as ‘smears’, part of a conspiracy to do him and his down, say the fans. Who runs this conspiracy? Well, who runs all the conspiracies that lead to all your problems. You know who, that’s who. Nudge-nudge. Wink-wink.

But fear not, Jews, because Corbyn knows racism exists in other places and will make sure the synagogues, shops and streets where Jews meet are well defended. But if they breach the Jewish school’s gates, these enemies possessed by a hate Corbyn can neither fathom nor identity, Jews can flee to Israel perhaps – the country Corbyn targets as the epitome of all that’s wrong with the world.

First they protect us for our own good. Then they block our escape route. Not again. Never again.

A vote for Corbyn’s Labour is a vote for racism. Please don’t do it.

Posted: 27th, November 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Suspected anti-semite arrested for Tube Bible readings

You might consider a man reading aloud from the Bible as he stands on the Tube to be a little unwell. The man was filmed on the Northern Line leaning into a Jewish child and his father to inform them Jews are in league with the Devil. The child appeared unaffected by the loon and a man who we can assume to his father gave a wry smile, placed an arm around the boy and didn’t respond.

Are all men in Stone Island hoodies suspected antisemites?

We don’t yet know the name of the rambling fool taking time out from shouting at pigeons in the precinct. But he has been arrested on suspicion of committing a racially aggravated public order offence.

In the video, three people not immediately involved do react. Chris Atkins films the nastiness. A man not seen on camera takes issue with the tosser and is threatened. A woman, we know to be Asma Shuweikh, also confronts him.

“I would have loved more people to come up and say something, because if everyone did, I do not think it would have escalated in the way that it did,” says Mrs Shuweikh. Too true. Too few people get involved. But in their defence the man appears to be troubled and aggressive. Is it worth the risk? But she was brave. Says Mrs Shuweikh: “Being a mother-of-two, I know what it’s like to be in that situation and I would want someone to help if I was in that situation.”

“The Muslim woman didn’t take any shit from him and really, really took him to task, very firmly and persistently,” Atkins said. “In this day and age we are told how intolerant everyone is and all religions hate each other and there you had a Muslim woman sticking up for some Jewish children.”

Why wouldn’t she? What we’re ‘told’ is clearly nonsense. Who’s doing the telling and what’s their agenda?

Any assumption that Muslim woman (she’s wearing a hijab; the Jews are wearing yamulkas; the suspects is wearing a hoodie – headgear and identity: discuss ) would not help is wrong, just is the assumption that a black man (the suspect is) represents all black men. People are accountable for their own actions. The headgear, skin tones and positioning help us to identify the people in the picture, but they don’t explain any of their actions.

Let’s not see people’s identity first and foremost and put them in a lane. See the person, not the hat.

Posted: 24th, November 2019 | In: News | Comment


Art Nouveau and the path to psychedelic 1960s music posters

Art Nouveau posters

All great art contains a degree of copying. Those psychedelic 1960s music posters borrow much from Art Nouveau, which borrowed from the Arts & Crafts Movement. In his 1920 work The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism, T. S. Eliot looks at how imitation is one form of flattery:

One of the surest of tests is the way in which a poet borrows. Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different from that from which it was torn; the bad poet throws it into something which has no cohesion. A good poet will usually borrow from authors remote in time, or alien in language, or diverse in interest.

Martin Hohn, president of the Rock Poster Society, has a word:

“You can draw a straight line between Art Nouveau and psychedelic rock posters,” Martin Hohn, president of the Rock Poster Society, says. “Mucha, Jules Chéret, Aubrey Beardsley. Borrow from everything. The world is your palette. It was all meant to be populist art. It was always meant to be disposable.” He later adds: “What the artists were saying graphically was the same thing the rock bands were saying musically.”

Norman Orr, who did about a dozen posters for Bill Graham from 1970 to ’71, says he was influenced by was the Moravian artist Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939). “It was the sensuality of the graceful, flowing lines of the Mucha work, and the way that the female form was combined with the sensuality of the line work that I found to be most appealing.”

Buy gorgeous Art Nouveau posters here.

Spotter: Kottke

Posted: 20th, November 2019 | In: Music, News, The Consumer | Comment


Prince Andrew on Jeffrey Epstein – as advised by Michael Spicer in ‘the room next door’

prince andrew epstein

Michael Spicer was listening in the next room when Prince Andrew was telling BBC viewers about his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, the now dead convicted peadophile.

Andrew refutes allegation he had sex with a then 17-year-old Virginia Roberts – now Virginia Giuffre.

Giuffre alleges Prince Andrew sweated profusely before the alleged sexual encounter she was “forced” into. But he says he wasn’t able to sweat at the time. The New York Post delivers a great headline:

Posted: 20th, November 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Royal Family | Comment


Jeffrey Epstein: Prince Andrew dry humps for democracy

prince andrew central park epstein
Who got the jacket first?

Having issued the time-honoured non-denial denial, confronted with a televised Q&A into his friendship with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein (now conveniently dead), innocent Prince Andrew duly gave us the sympathetic backstory.

He could not have been engaged in a sweaty dance with a 17-year-old Virginia Roberts at a London night club because he cannot sweat. Why not? Is he a lizard?

He didn’t respond to that rumour, but he did lick his eyeballs and tell the world via the BBC’s Newsnight show that he has a “peculiar media condition which is that I don’t sweat or didn’t sweat at the time.” Was he dancing the ‘dry hump’ at London’s Tramp disco with the young Virginia Roberts, as she was then known before changing into the more tongue-trying Virginia Giuffre? He didn’t sweat “at the time because I had suffered what I would describe as an overdose of adrenaline in the Falklands War, when I was shot at, and I simply… it was almost impossible for me to sweat.”

C’est la guerre.

Perhaps that’s why he chose to conduct the interview in a room at Buckingham Palace vast enough to have its own postcode and an ambient temperature low enough to ensure that cold blue blood stays chilled.

Highlights are many. And Andrew explained his way though the more with the following:

Why had he stayed at the Epstein’s pad for four days?

Prince Andrew: “It was a convenient place to stay”

But why four days?

PA: “… at the time it felt like it was the honourable and right thing to do.”

What about that photo with his arm around Virginia’s waist?

PA: “I don’t believe it’s a picture of me”

Fake fingers?

PA: “I don’t believe it’s a picture of me in London because when I go out in London I wear a suit and a tie… Nobody can prove whether or not that photo has been doctored, but I don’t recollect the photo ever being taken.”

If Andrew were a politician or some other public figure we could eject, things would be interesting. But he speaks as a man who acts with impunity. One is just too honourable. It’s all pretty unpleasant. But the real shocker is that with an election looming, not one leading party thinks it a good idea of tells Andrew and the other aristo spares to, in the word of his mummy, “Naff orf!”

Posted: 17th, November 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Royal Family | Comment


Jeffrey Epstein: Prince Andrew issues non-denial denial over sex with underage Virginia Roberts

prince andrew roberts

Prince Andrew says he cannot recall if he ever met Virginia Roberts – now Virginia Giuffre. He tells the BBC’s Newsnight he has “no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever”. He tells interviewer Emily Maitlis he has nothing to hide.

That’s Virginia Roberts with Andrew in the above photo.

Virginia Giuffre alleges she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew on Epstein’s private island off the coast of Florida when he she was 17 – making her underage and the sex a crime according to Florida law.

Virginia Giuffre claims she was “forced” to have sex with Prince Andrew three times between 1999 and 2002. He denies ever having had sex with her. That much he remembers.

The media tucks in to the man once dubbed ‘Randy Andy’ who hung out with Epstein, a convicted peadophile. Epstein took his own life while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges. That we know because official sources tell us that’s what happened. That’s why Epstein’s dead and unable to act as Andrew’s character witness.

Newsnight Quote 1
Newsnight Quote 2

The papers tuck in:

Prince Andrew Epstein
Epstein andrew

And we’re left to wonder: why is Prince Andrew speaking now?

Posted: 16th, November 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Royal Family | Comment


Jeffrey Epstein: Prince Andrew on the BBC’s Newsnight looks like PR drivel

prince andrew central park epstein

Prince Andrew has been talking to the BBC about his friendship with the not-in-the-least-bit-murdered-convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein. The Duke of York thought it right to tell the BBC Newsnight’s show about how he did absolutely nothing wrong.

The official version of events has it that Epstein killed himself as he awaited sentencing for child-trafficking charges. Epstein, a minted pervert with friends in high places, could take it no more and ended it all. Some allege that he might have been helped along the way. But that, of course, is bunkum.

And if you want more myths, look also at Virginia Roberts (now Virginia Giuffre) who claims she was “forced to have sex with the duke three times between 1999 and 2002, in London, New York and on a private Caribbean island owned by Epstein.” Andrew says this is untrue. At the time Virginia was under-age according to Florida state’s law. Andrew says he not have sex with that woman.

Also making claims against Andrew is one Johanna Sjoberg, who alleges that the duke touched her breast while they were hanging out at Epstein’s Manhattan apartment in 2001. The duke says that too is untrue.

The BBC says its interview with the Prince at Buckingham Palace pulls no punches and leaves “no holds barred”. Really? You might suppose that if something new was revealed in the upcoming interview, the Beeb would have gone big with it. It hasn’t. The show is all. The content is meh. There is no news on the Newsnight scoop.

We might have some questions of our own. Did Andrew know the questions before sitting down with the Beeb’s journalist? Did the Palace’s PR machine not vet the interview for anything that could reflect badly on their precious client? Why the BBC and not another broadcaster? Why now? Why at the Palace and not in the studio?

But let us not be cynical. For those of you not au fait with the story, the BBC presents it thus:

In 2005, the parents of a 14-year-old girl told police in Florida that Epstein had molested their daughter at his Palm Beach home. Prosecutors forged a deal with Epstein in 2008, which saw him avoid federal charges. He instead received an 18-month prison sentence, during which he was able to go on “work release” to his office for 12 hours a day, six days a week. He was released on probation after 13 months.

In 2010, the duke was photographed walking with Epstein in New York’s central park – two years after the financier’s first conviction. Video footage, released by the Mail on Sunday, shows the duke inside Epstein’s Manhattan mansion around the same time.

In a statement released by Buckingham Palace in August, the duke said he was “appalled” by the sex abuse claims surrounding his former friend.

The statement added: “His Royal Highness deplores the exploitation of any human being and the suggestion he would condone, participate in or encourage any such behaviour is abhorrent.”

Nothing to see here – well, apart form a Prince engaging in what could be mistaken for a televised PR stunt. Move on but only after you’ve given the late-night show’s audienec figures a boost…

Posted: 15th, November 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, TV & Radio | Comment


How to buy drugs on the Dark Web

drugs

Jason Kottke directs us to an article on the London Review of Books by Misha Glenny (DarkMarket: How Hackers Became the New Mafia) and Callum Lang called How to Buy Drugs. If you need to ask, right? It gets really interesting when they investigate customer service on the so-called Dark Web:

The internet has dramatically improved the experience of drug buyers. The market share of a dark web outlet depends almost entirely on its online reputation. Just as on Amazon or eBay, customer reviews will describe the quality of purchased products as well as reporting on shipping time and the responsiveness of vendors to queries or complaints. If drugs that a buyer has paid for don’t turn up — as once happened to Liam, the Manchester student — a savvy vendor will reship the items without asking for further payment, in the hope of securing the five-star customer reviews they depend on.

As a consequence, the drugs available to the informed buyer are of a higher quality than ever before. They are also safer. The administrators of DNStars.vip — a site on the open web which you don’t need Tor to visit — pose as ordinary users in order to buy samples of popular drugs from major vendors. They then have the drugs chemically tested to see whether they match the seller’s description.

Kottke points to how technology means cheaper and ‘better’ drugs for the buyers but a lot of unpleasantness making it happen that goes unseen. I;d argue that it depends what you’re buying: a bag of marijuana from a small, domestic grower or a pound of cocaine?

Posted: 13th, November 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, The Consumer | Comment


Amanda Knox is a celebrity at the True Crime Fest ghoul show

What do people who were once caught the searchlights do when the media cycle rolls on? The Star tells us that Amanda Knox has become “pals with penis-chopper Lorena Bobbit”. Unlike knob feller Bobbit, Knox has no epithet, she is merely Amanda Knox, still recognisable as the tabloids’ ‘Foxy Knoxy’, the American who became embroiled in the murder of British student Meredith Kercher in a flat they shared in a picturesque part of Italy. After years of claim and counter-claim, in 2015, Knox was acquitted by the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation of Kercher’s murder.

And now for the weird bit. The pair met at an event called Death Becomes Us in Washington, DC. Think of something utterly tasteless and then scape its bottom before examining the mess for flecks of gold. Fox News calls it a “true crime festival”. A man was maimed. A woman is dead. Lives were ruined. But roll up, roll up, folks. come see the celebs.

“Lorena and I have a lot in common,” Knox told Fox 5 ahead of their panel. “I think the thing that resonates the most with me when we first spoke to each other over the phone is how this is, like, a historic moment in the history of shamed and vilified women. You don’t see shamed and vilified women coming forward supporting each other reclaiming narratives and calling into account all those forces that are turning us into characters that are morality plays, and exploiting our trauma for the sake of profit and entertainment.”

Eh?

“I think that people could be surprised in many forms because… our narratives, obviously thanks to documentaries, we have basically reclaimed our narratives and now people know our story, know the truth, know what happened about our stories. So I think it’s very important to get that message across” Bobbitt told Fox 5…

The women’s conversation at the “Death Becomes Us” festival will be featured on Knox’s podcast, “The Truth About True Crime.”

Good for them, right. But what about crime fest? To Forbes, Knox is one of the “who’s who in true crime celebrities”. It’s run by a company called Brightest Young Things, whose director told Forbes:

I think there’s something, I feel kind of gross saying this, but I think there’s something kind of delicious about it. I also think we shouldn’t ever discount the fact that people are at times a bit morbid. There’s a morbid curiosity to it. Some people think that listening to documentaries is a cautionary tale. I disagree. I just think it’s fascinating from a psychological and human standpoint. How is it that there are people in the world that are doing these things and why are they doing these things?

The Bright Young Things website calls the DC event “cool and special”.

Case closed, detective. Death Becomes Us – this country’s first true crime festival – took over the District for one full weekend of madness, mayhem and murder. We laughed with the boys from Last Podcast on the Left: Side Stories, we baked Homicide Hunter a cake, we got down to business with the Murder Squad and we got a little misty eyed with Amanda Knox and Lorena (Bobbitt) Gallo. Plus, everything in between

Do you get misty eyed when you think of the murder of Meredith Kercher? It’s all very odd. How do people deal with personal disaster and face civil society? Maybe best to leave this ghoul fest to ferment in its own juices, and recalls the words of Carlo Della Vedova, Amanda Knox’s lawyer: “In this case there is no winner. They have rectified a mistake. It was a terrible tragedy in the beginning. Meredith was a friend of Amanda’s, we have to remember that, we have to remember the family.”

But where’s the “delicious” fun in that?

Posted: 13th, November 2019 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Grange Hill can ‘save Britain’ from ‘the cult of Greta Thunberg’

grange hill

Zammo’s smack addition. Roland’s weight issues. Janet’s acting. Gripper’s audition for work at the tax office. Trisha’s fringe. Children’s telly show Grange Hill never shied from tackling the weighty issues of the day. Now the Daily Star want its return to ‘save Britain’ from knife crime and bullying.

The show’s creator, Phil Redmond, is quoted:

Asked if it would tackle knife attacks, trolling, sex grooming and homophobia, he told the Radio Times: “All of them, plus Extinction Rebellion and the cult of Greta Thunberg. But underscoring them would be the root causes – self-worth, bullying, loneliness, isolation. Now, though, they’d be illustrated through the pressures of social media.”

Sounds like a riot. And if it was on Netflix and came with a free voucher for depop, the cool kids would tune in for sure. Failing that the BBC show that went out with whimper will be back to confront the big issues just as soon as hell freezes over – which it won’t so because it’s burning like the rest of the plant (source: Thurberg. G) .

Posted: 12th, November 2019 | In: News, Tabloids, TV & Radio | Comment


A vote for Labour is a vote for racism

jeremy-corbyn-press tv
‘Press TV – First for Jews’

All those social justice warriors and anti-racist campaigns, can you just hold on a mo? Are you really voting for Labour and campaigning for Jeremy Corbyn to be PM? Is racism ok if it’s only the Jew on the receiving end? Is backing a party leader who is either an anti-Semite or a bloke who apparently acquiesces to anti-semitism ok if it means getting the train to run on time? Jew hatred is an evil. It leads to dead Jews.

Hannah Arendt (October 14, 1906–December 4, 1975) understood this. In 1962, The New Yorker commissioned Ardent to report on the trail of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem. Who was the man who had murdered so many? Was he special? Was evil really so humdrum? In 1963, her report was published in Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil.

Thanks to Hitler, anti-Semitism has been discredited, perhaps not forever but certainly for the time being, and this is not because the Jews have become more popular all of a sudden but because not only Ben-Gurion but most people have “realized that in our day the gas chamber and the soap factory are what anti-Semitism may lead to.”

That was then. Now Corbyn gives British Jews lessons in how to be English, likes anti-Semitic art and makes friends with those who would want them all dead. But he says he’s not a racist.

What he said was always the same, expressed in the same words. The longer one listened to him, the more obvious it became that his inability to speak was closely connected with an inability to think, namely, to think from the standpoint of somebody else. No communication was possible with him, not because he lied but because he was surrounded by the most reliable of all safeguards against the words and the presence of others, and hence against reality as such.

But not to worry because Corbyn is an idealist – and the are the kind of people you an believe in:

An “idealist,” according to Eichmann’s notions, was not simply a man who believed in an “idea” or a man who did not steal or accept bribes, though these qualifications were indispensable. An “idealist” was a man who lived for his idea (hence he could not be a businessman, for example) and who was prepared to sacrifice for his idea everything and, especially, everybody. When he asserted during the police examination that he would have sent his own father to his death if that had been required, he did not mean merely to stress the extent to which he was under orders, and ready to obey them; he also meant to show what an “idealist” he had always been. Of course, the perfect “idealist,” like everybody else, had his personal feelings, but if they came into conflict with his “ideal,” he would never permit them to interfere with his actions.

Don’t vote for his Labour Party.

Posted: 6th, November 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Who is the Arsenal fan at the Emirates in the dressing gown?

As Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka told the club’s fans to “f*** off” and Unai Emery flailed and faffed to no visible effect in the team’s 2-2 draw with an enthusiastic but limited and lucky Crystal Palace, a Gooner in the stands stood up. And, boy, what a site to behold he was.

Arsenal dressing gown
Arsenal dressing gown
Arsenal dressing gown
Arsenal dressing gown

Spotter: @AndyHa

Posted: 30th, October 2019 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment


Kurt Cobain’s cherry-burned sweater sells for $334,000

Someone just paid $334,000 for a cardigan with stains and a cherry burn hole in it. The green cardi was worn by Kurt Cobain for Nirvana’s 1993 MTV Unplugged performance.

Kurt Cobain's cherry-burned sweater sells for $334,000
For the imitators

“This cardigan, it’s the holy grail of any article of clothing that he ever wore,” says Darren Julien, CEO and president of Julien’s Auctions. “Kurt created the grunge look; he didn’t wear show clothes,”


Posted: 29th, October 2019 | In: Celebrities, Music, News, The Consumer | Comment


Why Harry and Meghan don’t love us anymore

prince harry meghan
The official photo harry

We love Harry and Maghan, don’t we? You don’t turn out in the wind and rain to wave flags and cheer for just anyone. But the heir’s former spare and his wife have fallen out of love with us. We can’t do right by them. The couple outlined their issues with the plebs in ITV’s Harry and Meghan: An African JourneyThis was woe-is-me TV set against the backdrop of Africa, the go-to place for any jobbing celebs in need of a photogenic poverty backdrop.

Sure they arrived in Malawi by private jet, with platoons of staff, wardrobes of the finest schmutter, hand gels and more jewellery than a company of Namibian miners can stuff down his pants, but their location, the poor, dry Africa of Western made-for-TV audiences, is shorthand for “I feel”. If you want to look caring, a saviour in chinos, head to Africa with a film crew and crumble dust in your fingers. You can use your privilege to raise awareness for things most Africans might well care about less than you do (cheap protein; coal-fired power stations; the tabloid press; buying trees to purify private jet travel; editing Vogue; and inequality).

Away from the palaces, jets and celebrity mates, Harry and Meghan are just like the best of us. And if we were even half decent, we should ask Meghan if she is okay. If Meghan were an athlete, no end of BBC pundits and ex-pros would line up to ask her ‘How does it feel?’. But being a Duchess is tougher than running through the rain in Gateshead. And that’s not a snide comment. It’s true. There are less big game royals than there are champion British athletes (but not champion British tennis players, who are positively regal). And at that rarified level, life must be peculiar. Meghan is a new mum and a new wife living in a new country. We can all relate to her in parts. We can sympathise. One writer says Royals’ “freedom of choice about their lives is almost as constrained as a slave’s”.

It’s not them. It’s us. Maybe ITV can help? Maybe between the ads for discount supermarkets and debt, we can get to the heart of why Meghan is “existing not living”. Can posho news anchor Tom Bradby can tap a blue vein for emotion?

No worries. Tom delivered. He lowered his voice like a guest whispering at a Royal wedding (he’s been to many). ‘How do you feel?’ he asked? “Any woman when you’re pregnant you’re vulnerable,” says Meghan. “And thank you for asking, not a lot of people have asked if I’m OK.”

Why not? My hunch is it’s because most of don’t care. We’re not callous, just not bothered by what the nth in line to the throne and his misses get up to unless its gossipy or weird, preferably both. Meghan’s problem with us might be rooted in not who she married but what she married. They’re not the main event. We’d be happy to ignore them and let them get on with things – but what with all the court cases, photoshoots, TV shows and magazine work, they won’t let us…

Posted: 25th, October 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Royal Family, TV & Radio | Comment


Abortion is not a criminal offence : Northern Ireland joins the 21st Century

Women won’t need to flee Northern Ireland to get an abortion in the rest of the United Kingdom. The province has decided to decriminalise abortion. A woman cold get a legal abortion in Northern Ireland if her life was in serious danger. The law also permitted abortion for victims of rape and incest.

Women seeking an abortion would be judged. And the rules were arbitrary. Criminal offence or public health issue? Who owns a woman’s body? Who knows best?

But at midnight last night, Section 58 and Section 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 – which made abortion a criminal offence – were repealed.

Good.

Posted: 22nd, October 2019 | In: News | Comment


Harry Dunn: Invisible Anne Sacoolas shames America

anne sacoolas

Where is Anne Sacoolas? She’s no longer in the UK. She might still be checking her hair and make-up in a room at the White House, waiting to “ambush” Harry Dunn’s parents. But to the world at large, the middle-aged woman who legged it is invisible. We don’t see her. And we only hear her speak through a hired suit. Says Anne Sacoolas’ lawyer Amy Jeffress: “We are trying to handle the matter privately and look forward to hearing from the family or their representatives. Anne accepted the invitation to the White House with the hope that the family would meet and was disappointed.”

What more private than a televised big reveal? How about this, Anne and Amy: why doesn’t she just hop on a plane back to the UK and go and see Harry Dunn’s parents? Why doesn’t she call the British police? Why doesn’t Anne Sacoolas do the right thing?

Can it be that Anne Sacoolas, 42, is so valuable an asset to the US that the country cannot function without her? She returned to the United States under diplomatic immunity days after the crash which killed Harry, 19. She said she would not flee. But she did.

Meanwhile, Harry Dunn’s parents are behaving with admirable stoicism. “Meeting Anne Sacoolas in the White House yesterday wouldn’t have brought any healing to her or us,” says the teenager’s grieving mother. “We all accepted right from the off it was a tragic accident. She has to live with that”. Mrs Sacoolas should “do the right thing and set an example to her children… Come back to UK soil and face the justice system and then we can all sit in a room and then we can all start the healing process.”

Of course, that is to assume Anne Sacoolas’s children are not entitled diplo-brats learning the vital lesson that you can leave a foreign teenager dead and get away with it Scot-free if you’ve the right spouse and connections.

And get a load of the Sacoolas family’s representative on the world stage. Having laughed off the accident and attempted to turn the horror into a trite reality TV show, President Trump told media: “My meeting with the family, it was beautiful in a certain way. [Mrs Sacoolas] was in the room right out there, we met right here. I offered to bring the person in question in, and they weren’t ready for it… they wanted to meet with her and unfortunately when we had everybody together they decided not to meet. Perhaps they had lawyers involved by that time, I don’t know exactly.”

Such is the level of bullshit that shames the USA.

Posted: 17th, October 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Jewish MP Louise Ellman shows Jeremy Corbyn the red card for racism

MP Louise Ellman has quit the Labour Party. She says Jeremy Corbyn is “not fit” to become prime minister. The MP for Liverpool Riverside MP is “deeply troubled” by the “growth of anti-Semitism” in Labour under his leadership. She “can no longer advocate voting Labour when it risks Corbyn becoming PM”.

This is the same Corbyn who spends chunks of his day supporting hashtags to stop racism at the football. But away from the working-class oiks at the match, Corbyn is ok with Jew hatred when it’s in his gang. Although Corbyn and his tame dame say they can’t see it. And some of Jezza’s “friends” in Hamas (pledge: kill all Jews) doubtless agree with their assessment. But Ellman has heard and seen enough of the blatant and rife Jew hatred in Corbyn’s Labour.

Corbyn racism
Irony overload

“I believe that Jeremy Corbyn is not fit to serve as our prime minister,” she says. “With a looming general election and the possibility of him becoming prime minister, I feel I have to take a stand… Jewish members have been bullied, abused and driven out. A party that permits anti-Jewish racism to flourish cannot be called anti-racist. This is not compatible with the Labour Party’s values of equality, tolerance and respect for minorities. My values – traditional Labour values – have remained the same. It is Labour, under Jeremy Corbyn, that has changed.”

Corbyn racist
“I would support any player walking off as a way of saying: ‘I’m not prepared to tolerate this abuse,’” said Corbyn, who was speaking to the Guardian at a Show Racism the Red Card event.
Uefa is better than Labour

Ellman has shown Corbyn the red card. Faced with relentless racism, the Jewish MP has walked off. The Labour crowd baits the Jews. But Corbyn can hear nothing wrong. Time for decent Labour supporters to leave the field of play. Time to show Corbyn and his apologists the red card.

Posted: 17th, October 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Harry Dunn: hating Anne Sacoolas, star of Trump’s reality TV trap

harry dunn sacoolas anne

Anne Sacoolas only speaks through her lawyer. The suit likes to tell us how pained his client is. How sorry she is. How she is deeply affected by the “tragic accident” that left Harry Dunn dead. How she will do all she can to help British police in their investigation into the teenager’s death. CCTV showed a car travelling on the wrong side of the road when it collided with the innocent teenager on his motorbike.

Harry Dunn’s father, Tim Dunn, puts it better than Anne Sacoolas’s mouthpiece for hire: “She knew Harry had died, she had been told that, and what I really struggle to understand is if you knew that you have killed somebody, you think it is the right thing to flee the country.”

Sacoolas, a mother of three who reportedly had her 12-year-old son in the car when the crash happened, was spoken to by police the day after the crash. Did she, a US citizen, have any plans to leave the country? ‘No,’ came the reply. Her husband is a diplomat. Wary of the abused privilege of diplomatic immunity, police applied to the US embassy for a waiver to allow them to question her. The waiver was refused. And in any case, Anne Sacoolas had fled back to the US. She faces a lifetime of being wrong. But she’ll get over it. Her friends in the US system will help her all they can, in the same way the Mafia help and hide one of their own when faced with allegedly criminal actions.

Anne Sacoolas left behind a dead teenager and a family determined to get justice for the son they loved. Harry’s Dunn’s parents travelled to the US, where Anne Sacoolas is not immune from prosecution.

A moment of horror on a provincial road is international news. Foreign secretary, Dominic Raab urged the US to “do the right thing”. Boris Johnson said, “I do not think that it can be right to use the process of diplomatic immunity for this type of purpose.”

And so Harry Dunn’s parents found themselves in the White House. They met Donald Trump. And then things got nasty. Trump revealed Mrs Sacoolas was in a room next door. “I looked to my side and I saw at least three photographers ready to almost do a press call,” said family spokesman Radd Seiger. A meeting with grieving parents had been turned into a reality TV show. Sick. Callous. Cruel.

But Harry’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, did not plummet into the elephant trap Trump and Team Sacoolas had set for them. They felt “a little ambushed” by the offer.

And so to business. Would Trump order Sacoolas to face the music in the UK? No. Would he show the UK a level of respect a trusted ally deserves? No. Did Anne Sacoolas do the right thing? No. US national security adviser Robert O’Brien told the family that Anne Sacoolas “was never coming back” to the UK, Mr Seiger said.

But Ms Charles remains hopeful. She said after that White House meeting: “When [President Trump] held my hand, I gripped it a lot tighter and I was honest with him and just said… ‘if it was your son you would be doing the same as us’. He actually gripped my hand a little bit tighter and said ‘yes I would be’. And that’s when he said he would try and look at this from a different angle. I can only hope that he was sincere enough to consider doing that for us. He’s the one in control here, but we’re the ones in control of our situation as much as he can be – we still want justice for Harry and we will take it as far as we possibly can to ensure that that’s done. We do feel that we have done as much as we can at the moment.”

Harry Dunn’s family have been given the brush off. Trump has already acted as judge and jury, telling everyone that it was a “tragic accident” and that driving on the “wrong side of the road” is a hazard for all Americans in the UK. In the clip below, US officials laugh as Trump gives his judgement, finding Anne Sacoolas blameless. Hey, “it happens”, says Trump. His fellow Americans shrug and laugh. A teenager with all his life ahead of him is dead. The suspect legged it. C’est la vie. Shit happens:

Insult upon insult is being poured on this country by the US. The country has no intention of putting Anne Sacoolas on a plane to the UK. Anne Sacoolas won’t do it under her own agency. No dignity is being afforded to Harry Dunn and his family. No sense of duty compels Anne Sacoolas and her US protectors to do the right thing. She did not flee the scene in a blind panic. That much would be human and understandable. She was measured. The US has displayed a callous disregard for UK laws and process. And we should all be appalled.

Posted: 16th, October 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment