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October, 2012:

No my noble Lord, no.

I’ve never really been a fan of Lord Heseltine, even when I was still engaged by conventional politics.  I couldn’t quite explain it, it was visceral.  But you might have hoped that the epithet ‘older and wiser’ could be applied to the nearly eighty year old peer of the realm.

Having scanned some of the recommendations in his report on growth “No stone unturned” one can only conclude that it would be a vane hope.

From what I can see, it seems we will be transformed if Whitehall stops dolling out money to companies centrally and gives the dosh to another layer of local bureaucracy to pony-up regionally.

Seriously, that’s it.  Continue to coercively extract money from business and give some back in a slightly different, more convoluted way.

The report even fails on its own logic.  If it follows that regional centres will have a better idea what a local business needs (better than Whitehall anyway) does it not follow that the MD of the company being looted/taxed will have a better idea yet what they need?  Thus we can cut out the pointless government middleman and simply abolish corporation tax.  Really m’lord, where do you imagine the money comes from in the first place?

If you want to end involuntary unemployment, abolish said tax and you would be back to full employment before you could say “regional growth fund”  It’s yet another take on the same tired, failed stimulus nonsense and how only the government can help us all.

The media coverage was desperate.  I caught some Radio 5 and one presenter seemed to take exception to the regions being called, er regions.  There was simply no thought to whether this approach was right on a conceptual level.  And if you want the final proof this is nonsense on stilts?

The TUC like it.


You won’t be following the various union and Labor Party scandals that have been simmering here in Julia Gillards Australia over the last few years. Peter Slipper, the sleeziest Speaker Parliament has seen, Craig Thomson, using union funds for hookers and as his piggybank, Michael Williamson, President of the governing party (ex) and yesterday charged with another 28 counts.

Then there is Julia herself, set up a slush fund for her then boyfriend, Bruce Wilson, through which nigh on half a million dollars of union members funds seems to have been siphoned off…

Acted against the interests of her client, and Wilsons employer, the AWU (Australian Workers Union), and didn’t keep her fellow partners informed. Her excuse? She was 33 and a partner in a major law firm, but she was ‘young and naive’, so that’s ok then…

Michael Smith, an ex copper and a radio journalist was prepared to discuss this on his radio program, but a couple of hours before broadcast the Prime Minister rang some spineless hack who was running the station and persuaded him to sack Smith.

No broadcast, and Mr Smith went hungry.

After a conversation with the Prime Minister a story was spiked and the journalist following it was sacked.

How do you pronounce ‘malfeasance in office’?

A brief overview of the issue is here. If you feel like being shocked have a good look, and believe me, it is only part of the whole story.

Anyway, this issue is starting to reach a boil, and Ms Gillard is not a happy bunny.

Today, in Parliament, the deputy leader of the Opposition, Julie Bishop, asked Ms Gillard a question, and the bile, the hatred, the venom which nowadays permeates this Parliament needs to be heard to be believed.

Not a happy bunny at all.

Win or Lose II

Over the weekend, Facebook took down a message by the Special Operations Speaks PAC (SOS) which highlighted the fact that Obama denied backup to the forces being overrun in Benghazi.

Obama dud poster

He will be no ones President

H/T The Bunyip

Eine grosse Nachtmusik

This is for NickM. If this doesn’t have the effect on you that you allowed as how Clint (in “Unforgiven”) should have on every right-thinking boy or girl of most genders, then you got a problem.

For here, HERE is Punch on steroids!

And it perfectly illustrates why great music played greatly doesn’t necessarily require 9000% gain on your amplifier.

I’m dog food. :>)))

By the way: the first hushed section comes to an end at 4:39 and the main theme recommences at once. I wouldn’t do it that way. I would kill all sound at the end of the quiet section–DEEP BREATH–then hit the main theme again. Doesn’t have to be either as harsh or as loud as it was at first, but there should be no elision between the sections. IMO, of course. RAB may differ. *g* (I also think the tempo speeds up ever so slightly, when it shouldn’t.)

I can’t resist adding this, from one of the commenters:

Actually I’m far more awestruck by the introduction. For me, it is like listening to the creation of the universe. I hear the collisions of atoms, stars, galaxies, big bangs followed by majestic nebulae and interstellar particles gracefully expanding. Don’t ever skip the incredible beginning.

Superstorm Sandy

US East Coast readers (like Bod) I really hope you, your family and pets and property is OK. I really do.

Superstorm Sandy sounds like a ’80s porn star. I guess not all blow-jobs are that good.

Sorry, but I’m English to the hilt and bad humour is how we react. To everything really.

If I was religious I’d pray. God knows what else I could do.

Win or lose

He is no ones President


Read more here

Stamping out intolerance

I was watching this documentary last night.  It was looking at the absurd premise that homosexuality is some kind of fault which can be cured.  This was one of those times when you find almost everything on screen ludicrous.  Several of our American cousins, finding a conflict between their religious beliefs and their sexual preferences had taken it upon themselves to seek a ‘cure’ Others seemed to be sent along for a ‘cure’ by parents.

It seems to me that if a book written in the Bronze Age declares your voluntary, non-violent, private relationship with another person to be sinful, it’s time to throw away the book.  As to the parents, if young master SAoT grows up to be an axe-murderer or socialist, I’m not going to terminate any relationship with him, let alone if he happens to be gay.

Then we had the ‘cure’ itself.  Amazingly, hanging about in the woods for a couple of days with a large group of men (with a fairly obvious ‘Brokeback mountain’ vibe going on, it looked to me anyway) was the cure.  You see it turns out that gay men just lack a close relationship with their father (sic) and that’s what ‘turns’ them gay.  I was never that close to the old man when I was growing up, indeed many of my peers would agree that 1970’s dad’s were somewhat distant figures.  But the moment I saw Kim Wilde singing ‘kids in America’ the issue was forever settled.  Indeed, long before that.

So the man seeking the ‘cure’ would say they were a bit upset with dad, and then cry a bit.  Dad would say how sorry he was, cry a bit, confirm that he did in fact love his son, (just so long as he didn’t do rude stuff with other men), they would all hug each other, cry some more and hey presto ~ you’re cured.

I wondered if this was some kind of April-fool type show, but no.  That was the premise.  Then the founder of these courses repeats the same mantra about being gay and lacking closeness with dad (or lesbians, with mum).  Also, because science had not apparently identified a gay gene, well he just had to be right.  If that were true, you would imagine boys brought up by single mothers would be overwhelmingly gay, easy to check I would have thought, but the program makers (who presumably could no longer keep a straight face) didn’t bother.

Finally, the loon who thought this up wanted to bring it to England.  ‘Good luck’ I thought and they tried to advertise their services on London transport.  Mayor Johnson didn’t like this and he doesn’t like intolerance, so, well you can probably guess.  Entirely lacking in self-awareness, in an effort to stamp out intolerance, he banned the adverts.  Yep, ban stuff to promote tolerance.  Entirely the wrong response.

Saddest of all was the young gay bloke of 17. He really wanted to please his dad and Jesus and tried so hard to say “I’m not gay”  He had a girlfriend who really liked him (I was guessing because he wasn’t pressuring her into sex as most teen boys probably do).  And the choice he now seems to face is to live a lie or lose his family.  There is a third choice which many gay teens seem to take, suicide.  Utterly awful stuff.

The name is Cnut, Barry Cnut…

Barry has personally Taken charge of Hurricane Sandy tonight…

If Barry really wants to win the Election, all he has to do is park his pert little buttocks on his Throne on the New Jersey Shore, and tell Sandy to… Change!

Instantly the sky will clear and be filled with rose petals and butterflies, welfare cheques will materialise in everyone’s mailbox and all shall live happily ever after!
Do ya think? Or have I had one too many beers again? Winking smile

Father, Son and Holy Goat.

This is a definite one for the “couldn’t make it up” files. Just read the whole thing because I can’t comment any further.

But if you are in the market for a holy goat and have the price of an Aston-Martin you now know where to get one.

Oh and it’s organic BTW.

Vote with your lady bits

So, which one is really the parody?

H/T Catallaxy Files

Eine kleine opinion on Musik ….

People at Samizdata have gotten to discussing Bondiana–James Bondiana. The talk has turned to music. I’ve spent the whole afternoon, including time at the Library (a.k.a. YouTube) doing highly necessary research, writing a comment. But it would’ve hijacked the discussion completely, so you lucky Kitty Kounters are going to get it instead. (It is possible that some of this is a bit tongue-in-cheek. But which parts? And how deep is that cheek, anyway?)

The issue arises because people are (snark!) wasting time discussing which of the entirely forgettable “Bond Songs” is “best.” Hmph. :

In my earlier remark at Samizdata about the James Bond theme (Kitties: I love it!), I meant the ongoing movie theme music, not any of the “songs.” (Everybody can hate me now, but none of them comes close to the level of, say, the Wagner “Wesendonck Songs.”* Or of “Summertime” when sung “straight” and not tricked up to the point of vandalism–a great rarity, may I say, most vocalists and arrangers seeming to think they’re better composers than Gershwin. *frown* Or “Bali Ha’i” as sung by Muriel Smith in the movie–per Wikipedia, she is not credited. *nother frown*)

Below, the URL for Mr. Barry’s conducting of the Bond Theme as a stage performance. Not so hot–no where near edgy enough: very little “snap” (–or “punch” as dancers might, or might not, say: Think of the Ann Reinking’s “Everything Old is New Again” routine from the movie All That Jazz; Eleanor Powell had it too mostly–no one always has it–but “snap” has to do with sharp emphasis precisely placed on the precisely-correct beat…Kurt Browning had it on the ice after coaching by his wife, ballerina Sonja Rodriguez…. Photographers, the best ones, also recognize “snap” (the technique and artistic goal, not perhaps my term for it!): a small portion of the image brought out (“punched”) for extra attention. Ansel Adams really owes his reputation to his mastery of it–IMO *g*. –Well, combined with his grasp of each of his compositions as a whole.) “Snap” adds edge and power, because it uses ultra-high contrast borne of extreme precision to compel attention. Yet there’s a fine line, because if even slightly overdone it collapses into mere boring mannerism…. That’s why to be effective, Snap requires equal attention to its placement within the work as a whole–it’s the telling and compelling detail in the Big Picture.

The YouTube sound quality here is way too shrill. The bit I remember from the best sound track has a very rich, deep, smooth sound to it–along with the Snap….

Of course, this sort of “piece” is more of a starting idea for a concerto or a rhapsody, rather than a full-blown work of art. It’s still “popular music”–but at its best, light-years better than most. :>)))

Here’s the best example of “snap” that I can think of, off the top of my head. (Forget the images, they’re mostly an unfortunate distraction.) Again not the best sound quality, and the orchestral background particular in the last several seconds is a ghastly error, an attempted gilding of the lily that ends up as a refutation of all the music that’s gone before!, but the rest is perfect. Herb Alpert really did Get It! :>)))) **Applause**

Now there is lagniappe, in the way of what I think to be some purely beautiful music. Miss Schwarzkopf, accompanied by Gerald Moore, singing the first of the Wesendonck Songs…and this is not her best recording of them IMO (she is not always on pitch)…but beautiful even so.

–Next up in that playlist turns out to be Kirsten Flagstad singing “Solveig’s Song”–heh…I sang it myself once upon a time, when there was some talk of a future in opera–although not to Miss Flagstad’s standard! A recording I haven’t heard…glorious.

I leave you with Miss Callas’ rendition of “Pace,” in a perfectly glorious recording. Enjoy! (I listened to a rendition by Renata Tebaldi just before this one…and this one is better. *g*)

It may amaze you to know…

… that your dear blogger here is now an officially ordained minister of religion. Seriously. I mean really seriously. This cost nothing and for $5 I can get a letter of good standing that enables me to conduct marriages in several US states and some European countries (not the UK). Unless the couple are gay, lesbian or transgender of course (perhaps depending on place – I dunno). The celebrant of course can be any of the above. The Primate of all Ireland (I just find the title funny) himself can be gayer than a tree full of monkeys. Can’t be a woman though. The General Sin-Odd says “No!”

And yes, loads of them are Friends of Dorothy. My brother did archaeology at Durham University and that has a big Divinity School. Utter hive of buggery. Once went to a party there and it was all public school geezers in full evening-dress handing around amyl-nitrate. It was the last night of the Proms. Botting to the rhythm of “Britannia Rules the Waves” was not something my comprehensive school education prepared me for. We made our excuses and got kebabs instead.

Anyway, as an ordained Minister in the The Church of the Latter-Day Dude I do find it odd that I can fill out a web form and marry heterosexual couples but not homosexual couples (the later as far as I am aware). To be honest I find it odd that I can legally marry anyone, anywhere. But it shows something.

The religious organisation I work for (the Quakers) are (after tedious debate – and they make an Ent-moot look “hasty”) want the ability to conduct homosexual marriages. They can’t under law despite being one of the few religious organizations in the UK permitted to conduct heterosexual marriages. So, as I have argued before here, to little effect, this is not a gay rights issue as much as a religious freedom one (they are not alone: Reformed Judaism and most Methodists and a few others are also on this team).

A few months ago an edition of “The Friend” – the Quaker paper popped through the door and carried a very nasty story from Birmingham. A lesbian couple of Quakers wanted a civil partnership. They wanted to get married but they couldn’t, obviously. They wanted it, their church was fine with it (we have gay and lesbian couples round here all the time) but da state says, “nyet”. So they look for having a civil partnership at their place of worship instead… Council says that’s a change of use so requires a health and safety evaluation and that’ll be 800 quid… Because the council regards a CP as different from a wedding for the porpoise of taking ze piss. Possibly they had the monies ear-marked for a “celebration of diversity” but I don’t know and that would be too delicious to even speculate upon.

(Actually I can’t – I haven’t been arsed to send-off the $5 – probably ultra-dudist, that – but I shall – I can provide the dressing gown and the creature feet – you bring a White Russian – deal?).

And then we can go bowling.

And the Dude abides.

Handbag harpies

I have been taking part in a discussion about Prime Minister Gillard and her widely viewed attack on the Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott, delivered on the floor of Parliament.

Just thought I would share my latest badly written response:

You said: “with his snide reference to Gillards childlessness, Abbott was not doing his job. He revealed that he’s a low animal who’s not fit for decent company, let alone high office”

Well, this is the problem.

All you are able to provide as justification for the bilious smear and hatred which so many spew is this and no other items.

That you are trying to present this trivia as justification for Ms Gillards extended hate filled abuse of Parliamentary privilege demonstrates how thin is the case against Mr Abbott.

Ms Gillard rose up through Labor and labour politics, both, and from that background she knows exactly what sexism and misogyny are, and she knows, beyond any rational dispute, that Mr Abbott does not measure up to what she has experienced from her own associates on a decade on decade basis.

M Gillard is a liar, incessant and venomous. She presents herself as a feminist, and as a strong woman, but seeks to hide behind the fact she is a female as a defense against the criticisms which are both part and parcel of her role, and which her constant dishonesty and incompetent handling of that role so amply justify.

Having reached the pinnacle of her profession by fighting her way through the snakepit of labor politics, Ms Gillard now presents herself as a victim. The Labor Prime Minister of Australia, veteran of the ALP power struggles, is actually asking the rest of us to see her as a victim, a delicate petal getting an attack of the vapours when the Leader of the Opposition makes comments which are mild in the extreme compared to the hatred, bile and abuse which so many progressives, including Ms Gillard herself as well as many of her associates, spew towards anyone who questions whatever ill thought out and spendthrift nonsense they are putting forward today.

What an insult to the intelligence.

Let’s face it, no one in this government has had to face the sort of filth which the left directed to John Howard and his government on an almost daily basis.

If she were truly a feminist Ms Gillard would distain taking the foul approach she does; that she shows no such distain is contemptible.

As Ms Gillard, and other female members of Cabinet, uses their sex as a political weapon, using it to lie, smear and defame as well as to deflect criticism, it is appropriate to use gender specific terms to describe them – Gillard, Roxon and Plibersek – the handbag harpies, the hate mongering harridans of the front bench.

What a putrid shower this lot are.

The end of the BBC?

Being a voluntaryist, I don’t care for government.  I most especially don’t like taxes, coercively extracted with the ever present threat of violence for non-compliance.

It’s probably fair to say there’s no tax I like, but if there is one tax that is the bête noir, the worst of the worst in a crowded field, it’s the telly tax, otherwise known as the licence fee.

Whilst I do not encourage anyone to break the law in the UK, (massively asymmetric struggle, the bastards have all the guns and power) I cannot hep but admire the chutzpah of people I see on ‘Youtube’ simply telling the licence inspectors to get off their land.

However, whilst I’ve always hated this nonsensical charge, the latest revelations of child sex abuse and enablement (as well as for some reason, seeing fatty Patten ambling along) means I cannot pay these swine another penny.

So I have resolved to subscribe to ‘lovefilm’ instant which means you can apparently stream or download various stuff over the internet and rent any amount of DVD’s you care to.  I will however disconnect and throw away the satellite receiver and thus be unable to receive live broadcast TV.

This I understand, discharges my need for a licence.  Do Kitty counters concur with my understanding of the law?  Also, an oddly friendly and agreeable girl in PC world told me that all I need do is buy an HDMI cable to connect the laptop to the TV (both have said ports) and hey-ho, I can use the TV essentially like a big computer monitor to watch lovefilm, Youtube etc and my average broadband speed of about 3meg should suffice.  Do Kitty Counters concur with miss yummy from PC world?

I will keep you updated about my success or otherwise, and if this works both technically and practically (I can’t believe there is any terrestrial live output that I can’t live without but who knows), is this a way we could effectively defund the Beeboids?  Could a blog/Youtube/twitter campaign finally nail this twentieth century anachronism once and for all?

The opposite of camouflage.

Almost all serious warships defend themselves with CIWS guns and missiles and also with chaff and flares. Tanks trundle around firing off smoke to confuse IR seekers. Aircraft also deploy chaff and flares and have done since at least Operation Gomorrah – the RAF’s complete destruction of Hamburg. It was codenamed “Window” at the time.

Guns and missiles target things. Chaff and flares do something else. They are in a sense the opposite of camouflage. Camouflage is about not being seen. Launched counter measures and some of the electronic types such as used by the Luftwaffe’s Tornado ECR or the USN’s EF-18 Growler are about making your-self super-visible. Yes, the other side will see there is an armoured column but the smoke will obscure the individual vehicles. The radar reports when chaff is deployed and will result in ther othe guys seeing something wicked this way coming but individual aircraft – forget it!

And that is what I think Savile did. It is entirely imaginable that a seemingly perfectly normal man is a sexual predator of kids. He hides behind normality (camouflage) of I dunno, reading the Telegraph, having a wife and kids, a Ford Focus and a dull but respectable Job. He wears M&S clothes and is the sort of bloke you could walk past in the street without batting an eyelid. We all know such people. Some of us are such people. Very, very few of us are kiddie-fiddlers. That’s the point about camouflage. You know the credit sequence from “Dad’s Army”? They have foliage in their helmets. Now we all know most foliage doesn’t shoot back. That is how camouflage works.

The alternative of making yourself very big indeed works rather differently. I am sure many rapists and peadophiles go to extraordinary lengths to hide their preversions behind a veneer of normality verging on dullness. Jimmy Savile clearly didn’t. The bamboozle. It’s an alternative tactic. To put it in crude and approximate military terms. If you want to count the birds all out and all back to home plate for a big raid you can either make the enemy radar show nothing (stealth) or light-up their screens like a Christmas tree (EW aircraft, chaff, flares, whatever). The difference between the two is the stealth raid is invisible* and the alternative is very visible but amorphous and utterly confusing. It’s like this, “Major, we have something enormous coming in from the West”. “Sergeant, can you give me plot lines and numbers?” “Er.. sorry Sir, no. It’s everywhere!”

A completely white screen shows no information in the same way a completely black screen does.

Jimmy Saville was the white screen, the Christmas tree. I always thought his “confirmed batchelor” status and nothing coming out about his sex-life meant that like many celebs of his generation he was gay but didn’t want to come out. Also of course he was such a pantomime grotesque that the very idea of him having sex at all was enough for me to puke. He certainly wasn’t ever anyone’s Brad or Angelina. So he throws up the absurd smokescreen – the cigar chomping, more jewellery than Mr T, marathon runner who does lots of work for charidee utterly weirdo persona. And just like the armoured column with their smoke rockets or the aerial armada with it’s Window he gets away with what he is really up to. And in the same way such a stratagem can be very effective. The RAF did that over Hamburg in WWII and the IAF did much the same taking out that apparent nuke site in Syria a few years back. The opposite of camouflage is frequently very effective. Lots of people thought Jimmy Savile was hiding being gay behind his smokescreen so we didn’t look because we just assumed. This covered the fact he was abusing his charity work to rape spinally injured children. Here Savile was channeling another very bright and very evil man, Goebbels. You recall his dictum about lies? Whoppers are the way forward.

Well, sort of. It’s a bit cleverer than that. Your smokescreen makes people suspect the assumed little white lie so that is where they look so the great lie is not even looked for. And what is really clever is that if there is no little white lie anyway journalists and the like just give up. Especially when the real truth is from the bowels of Hell itself. If 1/10 of the accusations against Savile are true then he was a grotesque human being. We frequently use that adjective to denote extreme horribleness but it is worth reminding ourselves perhaps of the dictionary definition…

gro·tesque   [groh-tesk] Show IPA
odd or unnatural in shape, appearance, or character; fantastically ugly or absurd; bizarre.
fantastic in the shaping and combination of forms, as in decorative work combining incongruous human and animal figures with scrolls, foliage, etc.

Savile was grotesque (common parlance) and hid behind grotesque (dictionary definition). It worked for five decades because the hideous truth was so obfuscated behind a screen of studied weirdness that it was almost unbelievable. Yes he played the loveable English eccentric card as well as the Goebbels one (how can anyone believe he is sexually abusing these kids he raises money for – you’re just saying it because he looks odd – and how dare you cast doubt on a National Treasure!)

It’s a strange cognitive dissonance that someone wily and evil can use to great effect. Consider Michael Jackson. I have no idea if he was a peadophile. Partly because I have no idea how his mind worked. Maybe he was and if so his smokescreen of weirdness was even more effective than Savile’s. I suspect not in Jackson’s case. I think he was just a genuinely very odd man made so by bizarre circumstances (note the difference of the influence of family between the Osmonds and the Jacksons). .

Consider also the case of Gordon “Prudence” Brown, the Iron Chancellor. He spent money like water but hid in clear sight because no grim, humourless son of the manse could spend money like a drunk sailor could they? Now that was camouflage and it worked for a time.

We all for good or ill hide (to an extent) hide behind creations, deceptions, personae we wittingly or unwittingly create (or at times have forced upon us). Some of these are camouflage and some are the opposite. The later often works better than the former. It is misdirection rather than hiding. Ask any accomplished stage magician about that one.

*I’m talking in broad terms for the analogy here.

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