Saturday, November 28, 2009

And Now We Come To The End Of Broadcasting For Today ...

... this station is closing for the night, and we'll be back with you tomorrow. So for now we'll leave you with some going-to-bed music. Did I mention that I love female voices ?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Friday Night Music

As Barack Obama tells it :

More than once, my mother would point out: “Harry Belafonte is the best-looking man on the planet.”

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Enfants de la Patrie (again) ?

I've written about this sort of thing before. Now even the Indie is noticing :

"No," he said. "I'm not watching the match. I never watch France play football. The team disgusts me because they are not really French."

What did he mean, I asked (although I knew exactly what he meant). My neighbour mumbled something about not liking the team because they didn't sing the Marseillaise before matches (something that has not been true for more than a decade). What he really meant was that there were too many non-white faces in the line-up (seven out of 11). I pointed out that every single France player in the now infamous main de Dieu World Cup qualifying team was born in France and mostly in Greater Paris. He looked embarrassed, made a "so what" hand gesture and walked away.

That same night thousands of young people from the poorer suburbs of Greater Paris poured on to the Champs Elysées to celebrate the fact that their country had qualified for the World Cup finals in South Africa next summer. These were French kids, born in France, but they were not celebrating France's morally-challenged victory over Ireland. They were celebrating – boisterously, and at times violently – Algeria's victory over Egypt in Algiers.

Guardian :

As the evening went on, more than 12,000 Algerians poured on to the Champs Elysées, which was closed to traffic as youngsters danced on the roofs of cars, chanting "One, two, three, Vive l'Algérie", and throwing fireworks into the dank November night. "I can't believe it," I was told by Samia, a 20-year-old student. "I've never seen anything like it. It's not just about football. It has to be about something else."

About midnight it became clearer what that something else might be. Armed police had by now gathered around the Arc de Triomphe, trying to break up the crowds. They were met with taunts, stones and fireworks. The party soon degenerated into a riot and the cries of "Vive l'Algérie" were replaced by the familiar battle cry of "Nique la police" (**** the police). The police responded with teargas and baton charges.

There were 60 arrests, and similar scenes in Lyon and Marseille. The violence carried on and by Friday morning the police reported that more than 200 cars had been burnt in the suburbs of Paris.
You have to remember that the same night France had cheated their way past Ireland to qualify. Yet the centre of Paris belonged to (violent) young French citizens who identified as Algerian.

Couldn't happen here, of course :

"You can cry now miserable Egyptians! We proudly defeated and humiliated you and we have now qualified for the worl cup 2010 in South Africa. You are the most hated people in the Arab world! Worse than jews."

Mr Indie - a chap called John Lichfield - seems to have been mugged by reality :

I have lived in France for almost 13 years. I adore France and I adore the French. I have to admit, however, that I have found the events of recent days – Sarko's crusade, Henry's handball, my neighbour's comments, the celebrations by French-born Algeria fans and the brutal response of the CRS – rather unsettling.

Eleven years ago, I was one of those who wrote admiringly of the Brown-White-Black France which won the World Cup. I, and many others, suggested that their victory might soften race relations in France; that other brown and black French kids might be encouraged to feel French; that white French kids would grow up with brown and black French heroes.

Since then, we have learned better.
Guardian ditto :

The sourness surrounding the Algerian victory seemed such a long way away from the famous "rainbow" French team of 1998 that beat Brazil in a glorious World Cup final at the Stade de France... This moment was hailed as the beginning of a new era in French cultural life. Eleven years later, that moment seems to belong to a very distant past. Indeed, the divisions in French society seemed to have hardened since then.

Laban doesn't think the lessons to be drawn are any different from last time :

So what, you may say. Why should we care about what happens in a far-away country of which we know little ?

Because their problems are ours. There's a terrible symmetry between the children and grandchildren of immigrants to France, much more radicalised, violent and discontented than their grandparents, and those to the UK.

Reality 1, Satire 0 (Again)

It's got to be the number one item on every prisoner's Christmas wish-list - their freedom.

But there was incredulity today when it emerged that one convict is actually going to have their wish granted - as first prize in a raffle.

The lucky inmate whose ticket is drawn in the £1 draw will be able to spend a day on the outside, enjoying themselves to their heart's content.

It is a reward being offered at Kirkham open prison in Lancashire in return for helping to prepare a Christmas dinner for elderly residents at a nearby day centre.

More 'Education'

a sad but by no means unusual tale via (of all people) Stephen Fry. No, I don't subscribe but enough people do.

But it's the comments that strike me.

Anyway, I'm one of those supply teachers, freshly arrived from Australia with a few years under my belt and a sense of freedom to supply teach. I ended my first week with a stiff drink and let go of the breath I was holding in for the whole week.
Wow. Didn't expect the utter lack of discipline, planning and chaos that I've so far seen at EVERY school i've been to.
My only slight objection to this very real piece of writing is when you mention about teachers who arn't afraid of taking charge. While I am only speaking on my behalf as a teacher I can see in this day and age when panic and pandemonium about our children's safety is at ridiculous level, teachers hands are, literally, tied behind our back.
I was warned, do not touch a child not even if they are in danger when I went for my interview. Excuse me?! I haven't followed that advice, especially in the half or dozen times so far I have physically squeezed myself in between two boys out and out fighting in the classroom and pulled one off the other.
I think the problem is, there is an absolute disrespect for teachers and the job they do. Students fight back with you, say the most horrible things to eac other explode wit anger at the smallest thing and constant endanger themselves and others with vicious fights and taunts right in front of my face. Now as a supply teacher I take it with a grain of salt, I mean everyone knows when your "proper" teacher is away its time to play, and I employ EVERY behaviour management technique in the book. Most of the time it works, once or twice though its been shaky and then what?
Its hard to control a child's behaviour when he has no respect for the situation or te boundaries, when they would rather hurtle themselves in a blind fit at another student in the class over them answering a question before they could.
The pent up anger and agression that is shown in students is a very worrying thing for me to witness, and I think before we worry about test scores and multimillion dollar equipment and classrooms we need to look at what sort of support can we give these children, and what sort of home are they coming from.
I as always feel sorry for the half or more of the class who have to sit and deal with this daily occurrance, and think what is it like for you??

I am (was) a teacher but found that many of the schools that I did work in it was just as you had described - crowd control and prevention of fights or breaking up fights. I loved teaching but due to physical health problems could not cope with 'THAT' kind of teaching so I now work in a bank!! I so wanted to teach those that wanted to learn - who had a thirst for it and an ever inquisative and enquiring mind - children who constantly questioned - these are the children who needed me - not the ones who could not be bothered or had no interest.

There are schools in inner London which have multiple playgrounds separated by skin colour. The pupils separate themselves this way, and the school has no choice but to supervise the 'black' playground with black staff and the 'white' playground with white staff, otherwise severe disruption occurs.

While I believe my own school isn't as bad as this, I see some of the things you describe regularly. The real trouble-makers are not tackled early enough or with sufficient seriousness. The result is the layer of kids that misbehave because they see others doing it - and would stop if their examples were excluded - remains. And yes, the easy targets are often picked on by some staff instead. I am a teacher. I regard myself as a professional, but the institution that is Education clearly does not agree. I teach in a culture of blame - it's not 'the management' that's at fault, it's those of us at the chalk face. I suspect all the 'good' teachers left the school you refer to a long time ago, probably fed up with the same thing I am.

I currently work as a bus driver. The level of abuse that myself and my colleagues have to tolerate on a daily basis from school children in our local area is obscene. If these renegade bullies talk to their elders in such a manner, what hope to the more vulnerable children in the classroom have?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Calm Down, Yazza !

Yazza has two personas for her two main media outlets

Indie : "I blame white men"

The world only feels right when women are removed from the public space. We know that is what the Taliban believes. The discouraging truth is that all nations would dearly like it if women went back indoors again to seek and find total fulfilment in babies and baking and these days 24-hour sexual availability.
Chance would be a fine thing. But not 24 hours. One wouldn't like to be doing a 10-hour day and worrying about the Home Front.

But of course, on the big picture Yazza is right. Throwing acid in the faces of schoolgirls Taleban-style is exactly like criticising the appointment of Baroness Ashton as EU foreign minister.

Daily Mail : "I blame the permissive society"

(And I love persona 2 as much as I hate persona 1)

But it's not just Belle de Jour who (for a good price) gives the punters what they want, is it ?

(via Julia M)

Monbiot - "Phil Jones Should Resign"

I presume readers are already aware of "Climategate", the leaking of a large number of emails from the University of East Anglia's servers - which mails reveal a pattern of highly dodgy activity among professional warmists, particularly Phil Jones of the Climate Research ("then hide the data or tweak it") Unit. Refusing 'unbelievers' access to the raw data, including attempts to work round FOI, trying to get editors sacked and sceptical researchers' access to university resources withdrawn - that is just appalling. My emboldening below :

At 09:41 AM 2/2/2005, Phil Jones wrote:

I presume congratulations are in order - so congrats etc! Just sent loads of station data to Scott. Make sure he documents everything better this time ! And don't leave stuff lying around on ftp sites - you never know who is trawling them. The two MMs [McKitrick, McIntyre] have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I'll delete the file rather than send to anyone. Does your similar act in the US force you to respond to enquiries within 20 days? - our does ! The UK works on precedents, so the first request will test it. We also have a data protection act, which I will hide behind. Tom Wigley has sent me a worried email when he heard about it - thought people could ask him for his model code. He has retired officially from UEA so he can hide behind that. IPR should be relevant here, but I can see me getting into an argument with someone at UEA who'll say we must adhere to it ! ...

UPDATE - all the mails and files (and many news stories) linked to from here.

I'm not an AGW sceptic, btw, but an agnostic. That doesn't mean I think that chucking large amounts of CO2 into the air is a wise thing to do without knowing the possible consequences. And I agree that the consequences could be apocalyptic (the fate of Mars, which it is now believed once had huge oceans, is ever before me), so a precautionary approach is wise. I'm sure human activity makes a difference - the crucial question is 'how much difference' - and 'how much difference compared with 'natural' changes' ?

In the Guardian, noted warmist George Monbiot :

It's no use pretending this isn't a major blow. The emails extracted by a hacker from the climatic research unit at the University of East Anglia could scarcely be more damaging. I am now convinced that they are genuine, and I'm dismayed and deeply shaken by them.

Yes, the messages were obtained illegally. Yes, all of us say things in emails that would be excruciating if made public. Yes, some of the comments have been taken out of context. But there are some messages that require no spin to make them look bad. There appears to be evidence here of attempts to prevent scientific data from being released, and even to destroy material that was subject to a freedom of information request.

Worse still, some of the emails suggest efforts to prevent the publication of work by climate sceptics, or to keep it out of a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. I believe that the head of the unit, Phil Jones, should now resign.

and in the comments :

I apologise. I was too trusting of some of those who provided the evidence I championed. I would have been a better journalist if I had investigated their claims more closely.


But if the science is that "settled," why refuse to disclose the data? If global warming so obvious and incontrovertible, why be in such a panic about FOI, why talk openly about re-defining "peer review", why threaten to (or actually) delete data?

I agree. It is exactly for those reasons that Phil Jones should resign. There's a word for his lack of openness and control of the data: unscientific.

"But where is it now?"

Sarah harks back to the days when 'people kept the laws and were polite and courteous. We didn't have much money, but we were contented and happy.

'People whistled and sang. There was still the United Kingdom, our country, which we had fought for, our freedom, democracy. But where is it now?!'

Sarah Robinson, who joined the Royal Navy when she was 18, says the Britain she once knew no longer exists.

The feelings of Sarah and others from this most selfless generation about the modern world have been recorded by a Tyneside writer, 33-year-old Nicholas Pringle.

Curious about his grandmother's generation and what they did in the war, he decided three years ago to send letters to local newspapers across the country asking for those who lived through the war to write to him with their experiences.

He rounded off his request with this question: 'Are you happy with how your country has turned out? What do you think your fallen comrades would have made of life in 21st-century Britain?'

What is extraordinary about the 150 replies he received, which he has now published as a book, is their vehement insistence that those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the war would now be turning in their graves.

There is the occasional bright spot - one veteran describes Britain as 'still the best country in the world' - but the overall tone is one of profound disillusionment.

Read the whole thing.

Nick, if you want to improve that website, (where you can buy the book) drop me a mail.

'If my fallen comrades could return to this country today, they would wonder who the victors were'

'They were the people we fought for - our folk and our country. For today's society I would not have done it.'