Saturday, May 09, 2009
(I wouldn't bother with the Youtube comments if I were you, btw. The first page was enough for me.)
I understand the reasoning. The frosting cuts down light emission, making them less efficient. As of course does a lampshade. How long before the EU bans those ?
A spokesman for the Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs said: 'From September 1 it will be illegal for manufacturers to sell frosted incandescent bulbs to EU retailers. Anyone who has them in stock can still sell them off."
As Livimg Streets (formerly the Pedestrians Association - I do hope they're not another fake charity) put it :
When you think about a romantic dinner, what's one of the first things that comes to mind? Probably candle light. Now imagine a scene in a prison cell, in which somebody is being interrogated - what comes to mind now? It's probably the harsh bare light bulb. Lighting affects our mood. It can help us feel relaxed, friendly, warm. Or it can make us feel agitated, nervous, cold.
• Barbara Follett, the multi-millionaire Tourism Minister, claimed for private security patrols outside her London home costing more than £25,000. The parliamentary fees office, which is supposed to monitor claims, warned Mrs Follett that her claims may appear "excessive" if made public, but she was not deterred, saying she felt unsafe in Soho after being mugged.
Now this really gets me mad. How many people get mugged in London each year ? According to the Met's rolling 12-month total, "Robbery - Person" is running at 29,318 incidents to March 2009.
29,000 a year. They really meant it about being 'Tough On Crime', didn't they ?
Victims of crime get nothing from the taxpayer except derisory sentences for those who prey on them. Are this lot going to turn into good guys when they come out after their two years each ?
But we are taxed to pay for a millionairess to feel a bit more comfortable in her expensive home, when all over the country poor pensioners live in fear in their own homes.
She should resign. But they all should and none of them do, so all we can do is express our disgust at the ballot box.
M. Poujade was right.
"Throw the rascals out !"
Friday, May 08, 2009
The Shins - New Slang. Strange lyrics :
Gold teeth and a curse for this town were all in my mouth.
Only I don't know how they got out, dear.
Turn me back into the pet that I was when we met.
I was happier then with no mind-set.
And if you'd have took to me like
A gull takes to the wind.
Well, I'd have jumped from my tree
And I'd have danced like the king of the eyesores
And the rest of our lives would have fared well.
You may recall I posted music here - and blogged here - about the King of the Boogaloo, Pedro Gutierrez aka Pete Terrace.
However he wasn't the only contender for the throne. Here's Pete Rodriguez, 'El Rey Del Boogaloo'. Let Powers and Princes contend.
"Hear me now, let's get it straight. Boogaloo, baby, I made it great. Because I gave it a Latin beat ..."
I Like It Like That.
When he wasn't ruling his mighty Land of Boogaloo, he could salsa with the best of them. Don't get him mixed up with Pete 'El Conde' Rodriguez, by the way - quite another kettle of chillo.
I'm a sucker for any Latin American music containing the words 'Ay Ay Ay'. El bugalu lo bailo !
This seems to have turned into a Latin post, so let's move a little further South. Some twenty five years back, long before salsa classes arrived in the UK, I picked up at a car boot sale a thin vinyl LP on the Discos Fuentes label, from Medellin, Colombia, a place better known for cocaine and gang warfare. Early Sixties at a guess. 'Cumbias Y Gaitas Famosas de Colombia' it was called - and blimey, you can still get it on the Web from the same company, though the track listing seems to have changed a bit.
Here's one of my favourites, in glorious lo-fi (after all, I don't want to provoke the wrath of Sr Fuentes and his extended family).
Ay Ay Ay ! Suena La Timba !
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
Not much to disagree with there. Spain's had, what - five amnesties ? Strangely, they get bigger and bigger.
The "amnesty" will simply send out a signal to the waiting millions, nay, tens, hundreds of millions, that if you blag your way into the UK, you need only keep your head down for as long as it takes for your sheer numbers to become a political and logistical embarrassment, whereupon the next one-off and absolutely, irrevocably final amnesty will take place.
Just consider the thousands who camp out at what is effectively Nouvelle Sangatte. Listen to the interviews. They have paid serious money to work their way across Europe in the hope of reaching what, despite all attempts at dissuasion, they genuinely believe to be some kind of El Dorado.
Worse, they also feel a sense of entitlement to be here, usually based on some woolly but unshakable notion of reparation for what the British have historically "done to their people". These guys are not simply attempting to break into the country for their economic improvement, they are exercising their perceived birthright. They are entitled, they believe, to the house and the benefits payments they expect to receive in the UK. The feeble attempts of the British authorities to exclude them are no more than an incomprehensible and unwarranted annoyance.
It is an attitude which finds echoes across the world.
You do not stem that determined flow by saying, "Look chaps, we're full now. Yes, we know we managed to find room for the last lot, but no more. Be good fellows and just bugger orf, will you. What! Wait a minute! No! Stop that man! — Oh dear. — Perkins, just, er, quietly increment that Absolutely Non-negotiable Limit again, there's a good chap."
An amnesty will not stem the demand; it will exacerbate it. I see nothing in the actions or intentions of our government to address that consequence.
He then strolls down to the Square to take a look :
People were handing out Union flags along with the leaflets, which struck me as a bit impertinent, to be honest. And there was even, Gordelpus, a feeble rendering of "God Save the Queen". Sorry, guys, I'm not convinced.
Obviously somebody's idea is to paint these "undocumented workers" as patriotic types simply dying to wrap themselves in the flag of the Mother Country. The various lefties blogging the rally aren't convinced either :
My bit of the demo had huge numbers of people waving Union Jacks, which was slightly disconcerting. I saw one banner for Algerian Refugees that was one huge Union Flag and frankly I'm not going to be the one to say that's wrong. Context is everything and if people want to use national symbols to help them press for being treated as equal citizens, well that makes sense to me even if I'm not used to it.
Although when a rousing chorus of God Save the Queen went up I did find myself rocking back and forth muttering to myself "It's alright, it's alright, they don't really mean it" although probably quite a few did.
I think the translation is : 'this patriotic display's a bit creepy, even though I know it's just a show'.
Lots and lots of the marchers were carrying small and large butchers’ aprons to affirm that they have as much right to be treated with dignity as anyone else. You’d need to be a seriously ultra-left idiot to tell them that they were wrong to do so.
Translation : 'if it fools a few useful idiots, then it's acceptable as a (transitional) tactic'.
Slightly tangential, but an interesting-if-true comment on the current Labour troubles at Socialist Unity :
It's true that on economics the BNP are probably to the left of Labour. I don't know if the BNP are still campaigning as 'the Labour Party your grandparents voted for', but you could mount an argument that major BNP gains might force NuLab into adopting more radical, worker-friendly policies - if only to provide an alternative opposition to the current political consensus that globalised capitalism is the only game in town.
A little birdy told me that some BIG things are happening within the Compass circle right now. A number of MPs within the circle of Compass are preparing to make moves after the Euro Elections, but only if the BNP make a significant breakthrough, they believe this would be enough for them to put forward their centre-left manifesto, and believe it would be enough to inspire the Labour grassroots to get fully behind a Compass candidate in the event of the Blairites looking to oust Brown.
The source suggests that the Compass MPs don’t have the bottle to publically make moves against Brown, however they do have a contingency plan in the result of a Labour leadership contest, followed by a General Election. My source also affirms that Compass would have a swift General Election in the event of their candidate winning.
They believed personally that the Compass candidate would come to an agreement with Cabinet Brownites to prevent the move of a Blairite candidate such as James Purnell from putting forward a reactionary, anti-welfare policy agenda which would be little different from BNP populism, and we can see evidence of Blairite figures moving in this direction already. However they could (or would?) not confirm who the Compass candidate might well be.
Trouble is, I can't see that the Labour left as currently constituted is capable of any radicalism which can actually attract votes. On lefty blogs lately the most reviled figure in the Labour Party has been James Purnell - because he suggested that those receiving disability benefits because of their alcoholism could have them cut unless they tried to clean up.
Now to most working people that's a no-brainer. Why should an alkie or smackhead actually get greater benefits than someone who's unemployed and trying to find work ? But to what passes for the left these days, it's an outrage, attacking the most vulnerable in society etc. The party of the working class is now the party of the non-working class. I just can't see that playing well on the doorstep. Any more than I can see this lot of same-olds inspiring the voters.
No, Labour are knacked no matter what. The Tories will win the big prize and form the next government. The fight will be over the smaller prizes.
And while I'd love to be proved wrong, I reckon about two years before the Tories are also in the electorate's bad books. After all, they won't have the head-start of goodwill that Blair had in 97.
Monday, May 04, 2009
The court heard how Kirsty Ashley and a large group of friends surrounded Stephen, who was 16 at the time of the attack and did not know them. Ashley accused him of assaulting his girlfriend. There was no evidence to suggest this was true. The gang backed Stephen up against a glass panel while Ashley slapped and punched him, before trying to set his hair on fire with a lighter.
Two days later she was arrested, searched and the earring (ripped from the victim's ear - LT) was found. She claimed to have found it on the floor.
So far, so everyday story of oxygen thief. She didn't get sent down - after all, she's only 16. And she's pregnant. Although to be fair, she lives in a council children's home, so statistically she's likely to end up inside sooner or later. I wonder how her baby will turn out ?
It's the comments which provide the only entertainment in the whole sorry tale.
Those clever chaps at Blood and Treasure (who share my low opinions of the NWOBJ) actually did some experimental work to see if it were true. I think the verdict is 'not proven'.
Via them, a chap called George Smith who also asks if things are true. An interesting blog - a kind of Yankee Alex Harrowell.
True New Labour values. Former Scottish first minister Jack McConnell looks back over ten years of devolution to its crowning glory.
You do have to worry about the mental state of a man who considers a smoking ban the finest achievement of ten years of government. Was it for this that Keir Hardie and the Red Clydesiders fought - for the right of a publican to go to jail if drinkers light up in a Scots pub ?
Jack McConnell rates the smoking ban as the crowning achievement of the Scottish parliament, which marks the 10th anniversary of its first meeting this month ... McConnell said: "I was so proud. I was proud of my country, proud of the people and proud of the parliament. It was a defining moment in that first 10 years."
More New Labour snouts in the trough.
A Labour peer who lives in the East End of London has claimed about £100,000 in parliamentary expenses on a flat in Kent that neighbours say has been unoccupied for years.
Baroness Uddin, who worked closely with Tony and Cherie Blair, has been claiming allowances intended for peers living outside London although she resides only four miles from the Lords.
Inquiries by The Sunday Times have established that the baroness bought a two-bedroom flat in Maidstone in 2005 and has named it as her main home to claim almost £30,000 a year in accommodation expenses from the House of Lords.
Residents from the five other flats in the same block as Uddin’s property all say they have never seen her there. They could see through the windows that the bedrooms were unfurnished.
Ms Uddin seems an archetype NuLab figure :
Born in Bangladesh, Manzila Pola Uddin came to Britain as a teenager and went on to become a community worker and social services officer while pursuing a political career that saw her rise to be deputy leader of Tower Hamlets borough council in the early 1990s.
She was made a peer by Tony Blair in 1998 and took the title “Baroness Uddin of Bethnal Green in our London Borough of Tower Hamlets”. Aged 38, she was the youngest woman in the Lords.
As a campaigner on women’s and ethnic minority issues she has become part of the new Labour establishment, befriending Cherie Blair. Her Facebook friends include the cabinet ministers Harriet Harman, Hazel Blears and David Miliband and Alastair Campbell, the former spin doctor.
More vote fraud :
Raja Khan, 52, of Oban Court, Montem Lane, was jailed for three and a half years after admitting conspiracy to defraud the returning officer and perjury. He has since been expelled from the Conservative Party. Gul Nawaz Khan, 58, of Richmond Crescent, pleaded guilty to perjury and was jailed for eight months. Mohammed Basharat Khan, 46, of Mirador Crescent, admitted conspiracy to defraud the returning officer and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. He was jailed for three years and four months. Arshad Raja, 53, of Broadmark Road, was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud the returning officer. He was given an 18-month prison sentence.
Now the sentences are good, even when you halve them and knock off 18 days. It's the kind of thing that will encourage the others - for a time, at least. According to "the electoral commission" there was less fraud in the 2008 elections - full report here.
Via Cranmer, an interesting paper on the success of the homosexual activist group Stonewall.
And finally, the American lefty singer, activist and songwriter Pete Seeger is ninety years old. While he should IMHO face a musical tribunal for popularising Kumbayah, against this must be set a number of services to music, including his fine tune to the poetry of Idris Davies. More jangly Sixties guitars, electric this time. I know they can't pronounce the name right, and there's a total disconnect between Depression South Wales and a bunch of amiable middle-class American stoners, but the Byrds do a lovely job on Bells of Rhymney.