Saturday, September 11, 2010


Lecturer Peter Gumbel, whoever he may be, on the French education system :

"Although the French with their national curriculum have maintained standards and avoided being dumbed down, their system focuses on the transmission of knowledge and doesn't even remotely address the child or their wellbeing."There is more to school than getting good marks, and in Britain schools are not just a about your brain but about sport and arts and finding lots of different ways of excelling. The British system may focus less on results, but it nurtures self-esteem, personality and character".

French schools concentrate on 'the transmission of knowledge', do they ? The swine - call the Emotional Intelligence Police !

You have to wonder what planet he's living on, until you read :

Gumbel, 52, who also works as a journalist, has lived in Paris since 2002 and was prompted to criticise French schools, colleges and universities after putting his two daughters, now aged 10 and 13, into the education system.
In other words, he and his daughters have no experience of UK state education.

UPDATE - Anna Raccon reports that Guardianista Emily Barr finds her poppet similarly trumatised by French education.

ANOTHER UPDATE - could be worse - they could be in a Chinese school :

When my children were 6 and 8, taking tests was as much a part of the rhythm of their school day as tag at recess or listening to stories at circle time. There were the “mad minute” math quizzes twice each week, with the results elaborately graphed. There were regular spelling quizzes. Even today I have my daughter’s minutely graded third-grade science exams, with grades like 23/25 or A minus.

We were living in China, where their school blended a mostly Western elementary school curriculum with the emphasis on discipline and testing that typifies Asian educational styles. In Asia, such a march of tests for young children was regarded as normal, and not evil or particularly anxiety provoking. That made for some interesting culture clashes. I remember nearly constant tension between the Asian parents, who wanted still more tests and homework, and the Western parents, who were more concerned with whether their kids were having fun — and wanted less.

I still have occasional nightmares about a miserable summer vacation spent force-feeding flash cards into the brain of my 5-year-old son — who was clearly not “ready” to read, but through herculean effort and tears, learned anyway. Reading was simply a requirement for progressing from kindergarten to first grade. How could he take tests and do worksheets if he couldn’t read the questions?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday Night Classical (Totty)

I think the word for this is 'lush'.

I've got a lot of RVW's works, the symphonies and the well-known stuff like Tallis and the Lark Ascending, but he wrote an awful lot of music so there's a lot of more obscure stuff around. His Phantasy Quintet is good. When I discovered RVW I found a host of other British composers of the same period - Bax, Bantock, Butterworth, EJ Moeran, Frank Bridge, John Ireland, Warlock. When I get round to it I'll have to get Walter Leigh's 'Concertina for Harpsichord and Strings' onto Youtube - tremendous stuff, and maybe a chunk of Moeran's Cello Concerto.

RVW was a great fan of the pianist (and later Zionist) Harriet Cohen, about whom I knew zilch till I looked her up.

"His letters to her reveal a flirtatious relationship, regularly reminding her of the thousands of kisses that she owed him."

He wasn't the only one. Her rumoured lovers ranged from Ramsey MacDonald to D.H. Lawrence. Einstein called her his 'beloved piano witch'. Alas, she died childless.

What did they all see in her ?

Hmm. OK. Here she is, playing Bach.

Nail Struck On Head

Shuggy :

"What Pastor Jones was intending to do was gratuitously offensive - but what made it potentially insane was the disregard for its consequences. What I find utterly depressing about this whole affair is the extent to which these were taken as a given - a fact of the world to which we have to adjust. In case anyone is unclear about what this is, let me spell it out: the burning of the Koran would have had disastrous consequences because everyone with any sense understands that there are not only people who consider a book to be more more sacred than the lives of their fellow human beings but who are both willing and able to use murderous violence in order to see the incarnation of this belief.

It is the routinization of this - the acceptance of this as a banal fact of life - that I find so absolutely depressing. It shows itself in the comments made by even people who are resolutely opposed to any of the claims made by politicized millienarians. Martin writes, "In their fundamentalism and intolerance, Pastor Jones and the Islamists are mirror images of each other." No, I don't think so. The reason that there was such an intervention over this matter is that everyone understood that if this group of fanatics had burned the Koran, people would have died. But Pastor Jones did not threaten to kill anyone. In contrast, death threats had already been made - not just against Mr Jones, which is in itself insane - but against Americans in general. Because merely being one of the some 330 million citizens of this nation is enough for you to deserve death because of your association with the behaviour of fifty embittered religious eccentrics. "

Absolutely. When some Orthodox Jews burned New Testaments in Israel a couple of years back, as part of their campaign against evangelising by Messianic Jews (who accept Christ as the promised Messiah), then-President Ehud Olmert didn't beg them to desist Obama-style, on the grounds that it would lead to terrorist attacks on Israelis or Jews worldwide. No army chiefs condemned the burnings as putting troops at risk, as General Petraeus did. I didn't see national leaders all over Europe urging Israel to take action. I doubt that anyone from the Israeli Chiefs of Staff got on the phone to the burners.

Because no-one supposed that Christians worldwide would consider that the actions of a few Israeli book-burners was a justification for attacks on any Jew or any Israeli insitution. Had such attacks taken place (there were none AFAIK) they would have been condemned by all - not least by those so vehement against Pastor Jones. No one would have said 'what did they expect if they burn Bibles?'.

But everyone assumes that Muslims worldwide will consider that the actions of a few American book-burners is a justification for attacks on any Westerner or any Western insitution. This view's pretty much internalised by now. While no one would ever say so explicitly, in practice we expect a lower standard of behaviour by Muslims than we expect from Christians - and we adjust our own behaviour accordingly - which is why useful lefty idiots will be demonstrating against the Holy Father who would never dream of demonstrating against Yusuf al Quaradawi.

As Salman Rushdie put it :

"When people ask me how the West should adapt to Muslim sensitivities, I always say - the question is the wrong way round. The West should go on being itself. There is nothing wrong with the things that for hundreds of years have been acceptable - satire, irreverence, ridicule, even quite rude commentary - why the hell not? But you see it every day, this surrender".

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Gun Club Chairman "Had Guns" Shock Horror

OMG !!

Residents on a quiet suburban street were stunned when police found an arsenal of weapons including guns, missiles, grenades and rocket ­launchers.

Armed officers and an Army bomb squad uncovered more than 30 ­firearms in an early-morning raid on a semi-detached house in Worcester.

People watched in disbelief as police also carried out stocks of shells and ammunition.

How could someone amass such a collection?*

The owner of the property, gun club chairman Graham Lane, 65, was arrested on suspicion of possessing an illegal firearm and bailed. Neighbours said they had seen him wheeling a cannon out of the house. Yesterday he insisted all the weapons are fully licensed and only used for historical battle re-enactments.
I see. Could it be perhaps that the chairman of a gun club might own guns?

I don't know why, but I'm reminded of this story.

Hundreds of guns have been found in a semi-detached house in one of the Metropolitan Police's biggest ever weapons seizures.

Pump-action shotguns, M16 rifles, revolvers and antique firearms were among weapons seized during raids on three properties in Dartford, Kent.
The owner of said guns, dealer and historic weapons expert Mick Shepherd, spent ten months on remand before being acquitted on all charges. As far as I know, he's still not been compensated for those months inside and the Met still haven't returned all his property. As you might expect, he's not too chuffed about it and has a very low opinion of the Met and Operation Trident. According to the comments left on my blog post, the media had been alerted to the raid and a Sky News helicopter was overhead as they went in. The front page of the London Evening Standard screamed of the ‘Biggest haul of illegal guns in Met history’. The Mirror called it an ‘Arsenal of Murder’, and newspapers were briefed that the raid was linked to four North London murders.

What's provoked the raid on Mr Lane?

Speaking after being released from police custody, he said: “There are other matters ongoing with the police at the moment but I do not want to talk about them.”
Oh dear. I do hope someone at West Mercia isn't bearing a grudge on some unrelated matter. Alas, these things can happen - it wouldn't be the first time.

One of Mr Lane's children has commented as follows :

"My father is absolutely no threat, not a nutter and has complete confidence that all of his weapons will be returned. It's just unfortunate that his hobby is guns and militaria instead of stamp collecting!

I believe it was a "tip off" from someone (who may have done this before to my father with no success and which hadn't been publicised). Due to the lack of result the first time around, it appears that they've tried again a few months later. Hopefully that person will now be prosecuted for wasting police time.

The bomb squad was called in for a WWII hand grenade which they had found..this was a great toy of mine when I was growing up...of course it was completly deactivated (like all of his collection)...he was going to make it into a table lighter, but didn't get around to it.

The cannon shells were filled with sand and not explosives. Dad didn't want them falling over on anyone whilst giving his cannon demonstrations..the Police were very disappointed to find out it was sand and not powder...

The way this has been sensationalised is very disturbing. My father takes his hobby and his Chairmanship very seriously and has never advertised the fact that he holds firearms due to safety and security reasons. Unfortunately, now thanks to the press, that's no longer the case and anyone and everyone could easily track down the house....that is far more of a safety and security threat than my father will ever be!"

*And will the 'missiles' and 'rocket launchers' mysteriously disappear, as did the 'rocket launchers' and 'nuclear protection suits' did in the (admittedly completely different) case of Mr Robert Cottage?

Oh Dear

"Tinishya, who lives at the family home in Bristol, with siblings Britney, ten, and Alfie, two, left school to give birth".
A world of ruin in a sentence (the family are from Southmead).

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Torment In The Community

In the bleak chronicle of those with 'learning difficulties', tortured and killed in the UK by (mostly) feral underclass youth, I forgot to blog about David Aske, who died of a heart attack in March, bullied to death over a period of ten years or more.

To residents he was a gentle man, a kind neighbour and protective son, but to generations of unruly teenagers he was “Dopey Dave”, a vulnerable man they took pleasure in provoking into a fury.

He collapsed and died from a suspected heart attack on Wednesday evening after confronting several shadowy figures in the front garden who were shouting at him. Last night police arrested a 18-year-old man on suspicion of manslaughter.

One neighbour suggested that “kids” had indulged in “bear-baiting”, effectively tormenting their chosen victim to death and that the bullying had been going on for much of his life.

Over the years his tormentors, some as young as 8, had called at the modest pebble-dashed home he shared with his brother Brian, 63, and mother Rose, 88, throwing eggs and bricks at the walls, kicking in his front door, breaking windows and demanding cigarettes and money. Residents have complained that not enough was done to tackle antisocial behaviour but Greater Manchester Police insisted that officers had gone out of their way to develop a personal relationship with the family and to prosecute offenders where possible.

The police do seem to have done something :

Police insisted they had done everything possible to support Mr Askew, his wheelchair-bound mother, Rose, and brother Brian. They had been to the property in Hattersley, Greater Manchester, 10 times in the last year after reports of anti-social behaviour. One youth – currently in prison – has an ASBO for harassing the family.
10 years of harassment - one ASBO and no-one fined or imprisoned. Is that the police, Crown Prosecution Service, the kids' social workers, magistrates, or a toxic combination? You can see how that tough approach worked out :

It is thought Askew became agitated when two youths broke down a gate and entered his garden on Wednesday evening. Police were called at 9.40pm after the youths tampered with his mother's mobility scooter and a bin.

Officers arrived within nine minutes but discovered Askew collapsed in the garden.
His poor mother. One 'youth' has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter. Possibility of a conviction - zero IMHO. They're just trying to be seen to do something about that open stable door and a missing horse.