Saturday, April 01, 2006

Oh how embarrassing- not that Condi Rice has found some protesters meeting her in Blackburn and elsewhere, but that she was forced to sit through a Liverpool Harmonic concert featuring a performance of the Beatles' dirge 'Imagine'. I think today's pols often find themselves forced to pay homage to near worthless pop-culture junk (which is not to say that pop music hasn't got some positives, just that I'd never want it to be mistaken for serious entertainment, and anthems or event marking are not its strong suit).

But the really embarrassing thing was that with almost mind-blowing predictability 'concert singer Jennifer John' slipped from 'Imagine' to 'Give Peace a Chance'. I'm sure Condi wasn't surprised, but I could cringe that the anti-war populists couldn't come up with a more original stunt than that. Another embarrassing thing is that the BBC considered it worth reporting, rather like those parish magazines that insist on informing you that the triangle in the Christmas children's show was pinged by little Johnny so-and-so. That's cute, where appropriate...

> Oh, and I meant to add that I can't stand the fact that the 'performers' freely consented to their profile raising reception of Condi, yet treated a guest like an enemy. It's against humanity.

'Can Western enlightenment and power, embedded in deep cynicism, still prevail over ignorance and self-inflicted pathology energized by fanaticism?

Simply a great article from Victor Davis Hanson

Friday, March 31, 2006

More Peacemaker Pants.

'The deaths of civilians in Iraq may indeed add up to violations of the Geneva Conventions, especially Article IV.'

They are also very sad.

I read with some interest this update on casualties in Iraq from a man behind the 100,000 Lancet figure which has become the basis on which every pro-war type like me has found themselves shouted down. It's hard to argue with the raw power of mass death.

I am sure they figure something like that the figures given by the pro-war people prior to the Iraq invasion were phoney, therefore sauce for the goose can become sauce for the gander.

The trouble is that the figures for deaths before Saddam have not been properly investigated, as is hard to do when the public and the government of Iraq mainly want to avoid going the same way via a bomb or a bullet direct to the head- and they know that unlike the US and UK soldiers, the Islamofascists don't care who they kill as long as the effect is right for them.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

More Notelets I'm afraid

I suppose tomorrow I'll at last have more time to develop some posts on this blog. However, in the meantime here are some vital things to think about.

First of all, take a look at this fascinating exchange between the American Expat and Paul Reynolds of the BBC. I think Scott nails him with the logic of saying that either you report a claim of 100,000 civilian deaths (or more) in Iraq, and examine the methodology critically for the reader's sake, or you don't report it at all. Reynolds' response?

'It was simply a figure. I reported it. . What's the problem?'

Yeah, no big deal.

Then, perhaps even more importantly, take a look at this news from LGF about the Western Standard, Canadian publishers of Mark Steyn's columns, being sued because they published the Mohammed cartoons. Once the law in Anglosphere countries defended innocent people; now it terrorises them. Big news I feel.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Not much time... to write, so a couple of links only.

I promise you a rollicking experience if you visit Dr Crippen's site for his great big round up. Medical blogs have their own slightly disinfected flavour, I've discovered from reading his posts and the subculture of mediblogging which is emerging. They sanitise, or more accurately rationalise, some parts of life which are usual quite unclear, like death and sickness, and at the same time introduce a special kind of randomness and chaos. This round up shows you just what I mean.

Now, have shared possibly the most unsettling, let me direct you to the post which spoilt my morning, from the Belmont club. Not only does it paint a desperate picture of Iraq, it also references respectfully the current bete noir of anti-Beeb blogging, Riverbend.

There you go. Don't get bored.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Some kind of parallel can be drawn from almost every section of this 3 yr Iraq war anniversary report from John Simpson, to some part of this anniversary report from the Beeb's latest award nominated darling, Baghdad Burning.

The only thing that Simpson avoids mentioning which Riverbend mentions is the violence- that is, mentioning it directly. It's typical of Simpson not to overreach with his bias.

Oh, and do check out this post on the subject of 'who is Riverbend?'. It comes recommended by Dave T. from BBBC comments, Cabarfeidh, and the Queen's Own...

Monday, March 27, 2006

I'm a fan of Wikipedia so I liked this post...

My only quibble is how it can avoid the addition of meaningless information because many obsessives are full of minutiae and irrelevant detail. In other words, how can it avoid the trainspotter's redundancy?

Lacking a spine

This is not a post about the BBC's lacking courage. They do, but the metaphor is a bit more literal than that. I'm referring to an interesting article concerning the booming state of the Israeli economy which is paradoxically dominated by the BBC's focus on poverty.

The trouble is, like so many BBC reports, it lacks the spine provided by recognition of fundamentals. So we get a jelly-like rambling commentary telling us how

'Last year, the economy expanded at its fastest rate in years, bolstered by healthy growth in exports, strength in the technology sector and a healthy investment climate.'

You look through the article in vain for the central theme: it is conveyed only in hints about a positive 'investment climate' and how 'a Palestinian uprising sparked a slump' in 2000.

But the real story behind economic growth is the stability brought about by Sharon's barrier policy and unilateral action. Because they will not focus on this, a fundamental issue, they are released to focus on one of their cherished topics, poverty, which enables them to include Palestinian alienation in their 'compassionate' coverage. In doing so they pass over the fact that the gap between rich and poor is mirrored by the gulf between terrorist sponsoring people and law-abiding citizens.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The war de les langues.

Not sure even if that three words of French is correct, but it hardly matters, does it? (actually, to me it would, which is why I ascertained that it should be war 'des langues', but still.)

Agnes Poirier does make at least one mistake in her 'comment is free' entry defending- I think- Jacques Chirac; along with several awkward usages which tend to confirm my sense that English is her second language.

As for the assumption that English is carrying all before it; that may be so, but what kind of English would emerge, and would it be good for Britain, if hordes of people in the world learnt our language the hard way, while we basked in the sense of well-being it gave us?

One crusty old professor (ie. deceased and a theology don) made an interesting comment I came across recently:

'Modern English, it seems to me, is slack instead of taut, verbose and not concise, infested with this month's cliché, no longer the language of a proud and energetic English people, but an international means of communication.'- Prof. Kenneth Grayston.

That was said quite a few years ago (at least pre-1993), and things move quickly in the world out there.

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