Monday, April 21, 2014

Octogésimo octavo...

Or Ochenta y ocho (88), eighty eighth...many happy returns Elizabeth II. Her Majesty the Queen celebrates her 88th birthday today, in commemoration of which this new portrait by David Bailey has been published (it was taken last month at Buckingham Palace and commissioned on behalf of the government's Great Britain campaign).

May I be so bold as to say that the "grinning granny" image suits Her Majesty, described by Bailey as a "very strong woman" with "very kind eyes with a mischievous glint". During the day the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery fired a 41 gun royal salute (Green Park*) and later a 62 gun salute from the Honourable Artillery Company at the Tower of London**. Eighty eight facts about Elizabeth II from Royal Central  HERE, e.g. The Queen is the only British Monarch to have visited China and proved she is and was always ahead of the game by sending her first email in 1976!

In case you wondered:
* The standard Royal salute is 21-guns; another 20 guns is added when the salute is from a Royal Park or Palace.
** The 62 gun salute is the aforementioned 41 guns (the Tower is a Royal Palace) plus 21 for it being from the City of London.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Oasis of oddness...

Blurred vision? How else to explain the very interesting 'aberration' of the Lib Dem result in the graph below: Sebastian Payne's article about Britpop (the "an outer-suburban, middle-class fantasy of central London streetlife, with exclusively metropolitan models" [Jon Savage]) in The Spectator yesterday: "Britpop 20 years on: the Tory voters who love Oasis".

The article highlights a YouGov poll that asks questions about the quirky musical 'anti-grunge' sub-genre; the results are split depending on region, age, gender, 'social grade' and UK political party voting intentions: however Oasis wins hands-down in ALL sections apart from those intending to vote Lib Dem (graph) in which Labour and Conservative are relatively equal, UKIP similar split but the Lib Dems the complete opposite (maybe the poll was taken in Lewisham Lib Dem club?).

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Occasional objicient...

[edit, title and image added 11/04/14] Venezuela and telenovelas. Corny, cheesy soap operas are as much a part of Latin American life as caudillos and coups (mix of languages that English uses there!). My own first direct experience was "Y la Luna también" (Ruddy Rodríguez, image) back in the 1980s. There is an interesting and sad juxtaposition of this way of life written by Venezuelan playwright and essayist Ibsen Martínez in the New York Times.
"In Venezuela, the violence is driven by gangs that were, originally, organized around petty drug businesses in the slums... Many of these gangs have been co-opted by the Chavista government and given an innocuous name: colectivos, a misleading word with progressive overtones of communal solidarity. In fact, colectivos are now feared paramilitary forces that harass street protesters and are responsible for many of the 39 casualties during recent demonstrations." 
..."Every so often, filming is interrupted when a cast or crew member receives a text message alert that some staple is available at a nearby supermarket. The studio empties before the rationed stock of toilet paper, milk or corn flour runs out. Many Venezuelan telenovela actors also moonlight as theater players, but rampant kidnappings and armed robberies have cast a melancholy, self-imposed curfew over Caracas’s once glamorous night life, limiting what actors can do off the set."
Hat-Tip: Caracas Chronicles.

Ocando's Orinoco opus...

Posting still light but concerned about the ongoing situation in Venezuela, STILL not getting the coverage it should...if the other end of the political spectrum was doing even a tenth of what Maduro's thugs are doing then there would be wall to wall widespread reporting.

Ocando Casto is an investigative journalist with a career spanning more than 20 years and has covered public corruption, drug trafficking, money laundering, immigration and - last but not least - extensive research on the presence of [edit] 'Chavismo' in the U.S., the focus of his new is book 'Chavistas en el Imperio: Secretos, Tácticas y Escándalos de la Revolución Bolivariana en Estados Unidos' (Chavistas in the Empire: Secrets, Tactics and Scandals of the Bolivarian Revolution in the USA). Hat-tip: The Devil's Excrement. It is really a series of anecdotes and is probably the same as could be said of any corrupt and evil regime over the years but it does highlight - for those unaware - the gross champagne socialist hypocritical thieving scum mentality of what passes for Venezuelan government. Translations will be available.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Open-mindedness over oligophrenia...

Don't be an April Fool: Question Everything. There is not much better advice for anyone these days: the more we think we know the less we probably really do know: "many Westerners feel that, without this [24 hour news] constant input, they would be woefully uninformed", so writes Jeff Thomas at International Man:
"The average news programme features a commentator who provides 'the news,' or at least that portion of events that the network deems worthy to be presented. In addition, it is presented from the political slant of the controllers of the network. But we are reassured that the reporting is 'balanced,' in a portion of the programme that features a panel of 'experts.'"
No prizes for guessing who I'm thinking of but of course there are more. Especially true is the chapter Evolution of Indoctrination:  "In bygone eras, the kings of old would tell their minions what to believe... 
...Today, a far more effective method exists...In a democracy, there is always an "A" and a "B." This illusion of choice is infinitely more effective in helping the populace to believe that they have been able to choose their leaders and their points of view."...
"To consider that the event that is being discussed may not only be being falsely reported, but that the message being provided by the pundits may be consciously planned for our consumption."
Question Everything...

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Often overlooked...

Oh well, springing to the defence of A.C.E. Wenger again: yesterday's 6-0 trouncing in AWs 1000th game as manager of Arsenal was a bitter pill and has brought out all the bile and shit again; amazingly - as any footy statistician now knows - 50 percent of the EPL goals Arsenal have conceded this season have been in just 3 away games; what's more, all 3 were early kick-offs, hmmm. However, as I have written before, Arsene Wenger has overseen a team that for 17 seasons has averaged better than 3rd position (2.65); for 17 seasons the club has had European football with only Real Madrid beating Arsenal for consecutive seasons reaching the 2nd stage of the Champions League ...and, the cherry on the top is the table below (obviously AF had more than 1000 games at Manure but the comparison is with the first thousand). [edited 23/03/14] These are all things a whinging Portuguese parvenu - at a club that has had 12 managers in the same time - whose minions cherry-pick clubs for him to move on to as he is too scared to hang around for too long at the same club for fear of failure, can only dream of...oh well, feeling better this morning..

Saturday, March 22, 2014

OAS/OEA opaque obloquy...

Well it's not opaque really, it is clear as crystal: the OAS is corrupt, emasculated, inept and as about as much use as a chocolate teapot; in fact not even that because at least you could eat the teapot. "La OEA silencia a la oposición venezolana" [La Nacion, Spanish] , "Permanent Council of the OAS silences Venezuelan opposition" [El Pais, English]. "We do it for transparency" said the sinister fuckwit Venezuelan representative Roy Chaderton {facepalm}; you may remember him calling other delegates mentally ill. Argentine ambassador Nilda Garre said "There is need for us to discuss this"; her being Kristina's bitch you'd expect nothing else. Brazilian ambassador Breno Dias da Costa missed his own irony by "We don't need to allow the OAS to become a circus", oops too late Breno, you just did.

Another point, albeit moot: is it 'fair' that Antigua and Barbuda (pop. 82,000) has the same vote equivalence as Mexico? Or that Saint Nevis and St. Kitts (pop. 52,000) has the same vote as the USA or Colombia or Canada?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Obscurantist Owen's obstrobogulous offensive...

Offensive in more ways than one: on the one hand his attack is using the exact tactic he claims 'the Right' are using by his ludicrous statement that "the claim of [BBC]'liberal bias' is a clever fairytale that allows the right to police the corporation and set the wider political agenda" and on the other hand such overt stupidity is offensive to almost anyone. naturally the exact opposite is true: his headline in the Guardian is "It's the BBC's rightwing bias that is the threat to democracy and journalism" (no, stop laughing, he did write that!) yet the blatant, continuous and worsening left-wing bias is certainly a threat to democracy (e.g. its chronic pro EU stance) and journalism (how much more omission, lies and agenda-setting can it possibly get away with?). He states "The truth is the BBC is stacked full of rightwingers" and then, most amusingly, goes on to list all of 7 people that include only one 'real' right-winger but also the old chestnut ("was chairman of the Young Conservatives" [sic]) Nick Robinson and wetter than wet Chris Patton: I hazard a guess that Owen himself is more right-wing than Chris Patten. I've been trying to read the comments but already at 1333 the system has probably crashed (well, I can't access it to add my tuppenyworth).

Off on a tangent, the picture I use is intentional: I wonder what his thoughts are now on threats to democracy and journalism in Venezuela...and after reading this I suggest he find out about Venezuela first. 

Offices of orifices...

LOL. At the risk of sounding cynical, the UK in common with rest of EU didn't seem to mind the violent coup d'etat in Kiev (caused partly accidentally on purpose by the same EU) and how could we possible expect them to recognise a fair referendum: the UK won't let it's own people have one and the EU only accepts the results it likes.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Omnipresent opposition overview...

Another graph, just to add to these as a reminder, from Migration Watch. And of course in case you get your main news from the BBC and wondered why they were suddenly interested in immigration numbers; it's all very well them giving time to New Labour idiots to pontificate on government targets but they weren't interested for 15 years or when in 1997 New Labour tripled net immigration (it hasn't come down since). And in case you were confused by the deliberately misleading graph here the one on the left in this blogpost (click to enlarge) gives the real context; also see more context HERE from page 6 of the Office for National Statistics publication [pdf file], for some reason the BBC thought 2003 was a good start point, can't think why, can you?