Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Unlikely image of the week
What the hell is Ron Paul all about?
Really round one to Ken?
Curse of the Reptile
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Brutal but inevitable?
Conway - what should Cameron do now?
Monday, January 28, 2008
Selling the message
Good luck with that
These dramatic pictures, taken near Seal Island, in False Bay, are part of a decade-long campaign to promote positive awareness of great white sharks, which are classed as "endangered" largely due to being hunted by man.
It's a worthy ambition, but one that I think will be hampered by a few small problems.
I might be being pessimistic on this, but who is going to look at this picture and think 'All my negative images of the Great White are clearly irrational. I will now have only a positive image of this 15 foot torpedo with teeth'?
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Dodging a bullet
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Have England really slumped?
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Looking at the wrong things
Monday, January 21, 2008
Mandy Rice Davis moment of the week
It would make a very interesting study to draw up a list of some 20 or 30 criteria and compare the findings in a typical state comprehensive and a typical private day school. It would become obvious why people are so keen to get their children into private schools (assuming they can afford it) or into the best state school (as a second best) if all else fails.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
More on Hain
Things fall apart
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Narratives and constructs
Simpson in Zimbabwe
Monday, January 14, 2008
Friday, January 11, 2008
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Really don't understand this
Ms Harman said: "Many members say they find it unacceptable, and we know the public don't accept that MPs decide by voting their own pay and pensions. We therefore intend to review the procedures for setting MPs' pay and pensions in the future, with a view to examining options that find objective criteria for pay determination within a framework that does not require members to vote."
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Lame tales of temper
Former United Nations Assistant Secretary General Gillian Sorensen remembers being backstage with Giuliani in 1995 when the New York Philharmonic performed a concert marking the UN's 50th anniversary.
"Suddenly, the mayor saw Yasser Arafat in the audience," says Sorensen. "The mayor went ballistic. He totally exploded. He turned red in the face, he started waving his arms, he yelled at his trembling aide [Randy Mastro] as if he were a worm, he yelled at me. … He jumped up and down."So Giuliani objected to having Yasser Arafat as an invited guest of the city of New York - can't say I blame him. He was a murderous corrupt old dictator, and this story redounds more to the discredit of the UN than it does to Giuliani. Next?
Former Mayor Ed Koch remembers, "I got a call from Giuliani during the gubernatorial election between Pataki and Cuomo. I had been on the radio criticizing [Giuliani's] administration for taking down Pataki's placards [but not those of Giuliani-backed Mario Cuomo's].… Rudy [calls and said]: 'Ed, you're all wrong about the placards. It's against the law' ... I said, 'Rudy, I know it's against the law. I'm the one who initiated that law.' ... He says, 'Don't interrupt me.' I thought, who does he think he is? So I took the phone and I put it in the crook of my arm, and I started to do other things that i needed to do."
So Ed Koch is an arrogant and rude dickhead. Rudy doesn't even lose his temper here, it's just an 'ooh aren't I great' story from Koch. Seriously, I don't doubt that there are loads of stories of Giuliani losing it in unnecessary and major ways - so concentrate on them rather than these. These just look rubbish.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
OK - so what am I not getting?
Partly, I suppose, this is about narrative again - Clinton was always going to be vulnerable on this given her backstory. Partly it's about race - though I think David Aaronovitch is perhaps being a little harsh when he describes it as a triumph of misogyny over racism - in that it might make people, especially self-defining liberals, feel warm and fuzzy when they say that they support a black man for the Presidency. But when you look closer, what is there to see?
Obama is a one-term senator, with very little to suggest a track record of governance. Perhaps, as Chris Dillow would say, this is irrelevant. The President does not 'run' the country, and there's no reason why he should. But it is at least troubling that the head of the Executive of the most powerful country on Earth should be quite so inexperienced at politics. It may be that all this is nonsense - that Obama really is the offspring of Reagan and Kennedy and that a new Golden Age is approaching. I can't help feeling, though, that if the Republicans keep their heads and select either McCain or Giuliani as candidate the Democrats might just regret the triumph of hope over expectation.
Monday, January 07, 2008
Iowa, New Hampshire and beyond
Thursday, January 03, 2008
Cricket, drinking and bribery
But if the cricket was hard, it was as nothing to the drinking afterwards. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of the opposition were Muslim Asian sides, who didn't even eat with us, let alone have a pint after the game. So we were compelled to hold ludicrous numbers of awards and forfeits after the game. 'Acting like Douglas Jardine' was one new award that season, and there was only ever one winner...
Unfortunately, public transport in Africa being what it is, I had to drive home after these sessions. There are no drink-driving laws in Zambia. On the back of whisky bottles it says 'We do not recommend the operation of heavy machinery after excessive consumption of alcohol'. I presume light machinery is fine. The beer, coupled of course with the light-fragmentation/head-out-of-window thing I mentioned earlier, led to some slightly hairy drives home, but I always managed it. This was largely because, the one time I nearly didn't get home (because I was at a party) it only took until 11pm for the hostess to take all her clothes off. If I was going to go to a car key party, I thought I'd better have slightly better keys... Oh, and the girlfriend thing as well of course. This meant that I was the man who 'made his excuses and left' in fine old News of the World style.
But drink driving was a way of life out there - two quick stories illustrate this, one involving me. After another cricket match (we won, I scored 80 odd - these things are important) we all went clubbing in Lusaka, which was almost exactly the same as going clubbing in, say, Oxford. I heard one of the guys shout over.
'Hey Pommie' which was, originally, my usual form of address, 'we're lining up shots - you want one?'
'No thanks mate,' I yelled back, 'just get me a beer, I'm driving.' It's moment like that you realise that you've acclimatised too well.
The other, rather more extreme one happened on my first weekend in Lusaka, at a party at the High Commission. A tall, bald bloke called Kevs was holding forth about the braai he'd been to the day before.
'We got there for 11 man, and by 3 all the fuckin' beer had gone, so we had to go onto shorts. By 10 all there was left was tequila - I tell you man, I was so pissed that when I drove home I had to get someone to drive behind me to make sure I didn't go in a ditch!' I never got that bad - but give me a year...