Sep 30, 2005

on the labour party gang raping justice like so many leicester city footballers...

following yesterdays sinister advances on Lady Liberty, it seems that Tony is wasting no time getting his stringy little cock out and raping the shit out of this ever-more troubled mistress. while the britain slowly shakes itself awake after labour's coma-inducingly sanitised rally, the folk in charge are already drawing up a whole bunch of powers to fit Blair's lock-up first, ask-questions-later "justice" policy.

First there's this.

Instant Asbos: much greater use of injunction-style "interim asbos" granted to the police without evidence or witnesses having to be heard or the defendant informed. Bans and restrictions remain in place until a full court hearing.

now i don't want to sound like i'm criticising our esteemed police force (hell anyone that can find enough space to fit 7 bullets in the back of a Brazilian's head is deserving of some credit), but unless every bobby is dixon of dock green i think this is probably open to a little abuse.

Extending £80 and £40 fixed penalty fines handed out by police officers for rowdy behaviour to 10 to 15 year olds [...] those who do not pay or go to court will face fines of £120 and £80.

So essentially when some unlucky 14 year old with a vodka and red bull under his belt mouths off to a PC with more ASBOs than comebacks, he's likely to get himself slapped with an sodding huge fine (and fair enough some will say). but here's the real kicker, the police are free to fine anyone they see fit if said person should suggest perhaps that they were unfairly treated there is the threat that their fine can almost double if they should have the audacity to legally defend themselves. dirty harry policing at its very worst... well do you, punk, do you feel lucky?

Extending existing powers implemented in January 2004 to close down crack dens by giving police wider powers to evict drug dealers first and insist they can only challenge the police action in the courts later.

Again, defending people from evil drug pushers... yadda yadda yadda... isn't catherine zeta jones good in that movie traffic etc. but really? this shoot first ask questions later policy is just not cricket. it amounts to a culture in which police incompetence, bullying, racism and brutality (all of which we know they are entirely capable of in spades) is given free reign to cause far more damage than ever before, safe in the knowledge that ruined lives, damaged reputations, and dead brazilians can be swept under a their big police carpet.

and the traditional ID-card/CCTV defence that if you haven't done anything bad then you don't have anything to worry about is simply fucking absurd (for example, try telling that to david mery). it essentially relies on the constructed fantasy that there are Good People (who need defending) and Bad People (who do bad things to the Good People) and that because these Bad People are, well, Bad they don't deserve really deserve any rights. but when tony blair talks about 'deciding who comes first', in the real world there is no Burglar Bill figure who we're pipping at the post. we are racing ourselves. which means that while we may come first, we also invariably have to lose. it is our rights that are being taken away.

Blair's rhetoric is fucking bollocks. justice is not dickensian (its much older than that). and if all the above is Tony's vision of contemporary justice, then he's been getting a hard on from one too many judge dredd comics.

and while he and George W continue to doodle war plans on the back of the decleration of independance, we will all suffer.

Sep 27, 2005

and its not as if he even makes the trains run on time

buried deep within Tony Blair's labour party key note speech is a rather interesting (and frankly worrying) assertion that in its little old understated way, radically redefines the basis of liberty and citizenship in britain.

The whole of our system starts from the proposition that its duty is to protect the innocent from being wrongly convicted. Don't misunderstand me. That must be the duty of any criminal justice system. But surely our primary duty should be to allow law-abiding people to live in safety.

oh so, preventing innocent people from being arrested is still high on Tony's list of Important Things He Should Probably Do, but now its no longer primary. so if there appears to be a threat to our safety (say, a brazilian man in coat that's so last season) then its well and dandy that the foundation of civil liberties be discarded. and how exactly is it that we decide when we are and aren't living in safety?

It means a complete change of thinking.

too right it does tony. a thinking that allows the government carte blanche to rape the shit out of the criminal justice system by blowing some hot air about any clear and present danger that they might wish to construct.

it doesn't mean abandoning human rights; it means deciding who comes first.

possibly the most worrying of all. tony doesnt think we need to abandon human rights (so, no orange boiler suits and dirtied korans on the Isle of Man then), just fuck with them a little when they feel the need. and what control is there over when they feel the need?

none. none whatsover. if tony and his storm troopers think we're a threat, any of us, then innocent until proven guilty all such nonsense melts like an icecream on a sunbed. and that damp unpleasant puddle left over is the shameful remains of the british government's respect for its people.

oh and tony, in Government 'that noise around you' is, frustrating as it may seem, fairly importan. if you took the time to listen you'd realise that what you dismiss as noise is the sound off millions of angry people, angry at you, and the policies you are instituting in our name. and to imagine you 'just have to persevere with the things that really matter' shows the kind of blinkered arrogance that will truly be your legacy when you finally sweep out of the oval offi... i mean, 10 downing street.

short and too the point

if i have to hear one more crap production of a shakespeare play described as using a contemporary/updated setting to highlight the timeless quality of the play someone's going to get stabbed.

Sep 25, 2005

burn down the studios, hang the blessed programmer.

television these days, is pretty fucking dire.

where are the glory days of david attenborough stumbling through bug infested jungles? of john thaw drinking his way solidly through an episode of Morse? of channel 4 throwing hip young things (and janet street porter) at air space and money and watching as Curt Cobain tells the word that Courtney Love is the best fuck he's ever had?

alas, sadly no more.

now it seems all the channels are competing in their attempts to dredge the very depths of cliched, superficial and fucking fucking awful programing. anything of any value is consigned to the digital outback while Vernon Kay (that puss-filled lesion on the diseased face of broadcasting) prances gaily through the gaudy neon streets of terestrial television.

BBC 2 offered the perfect example this evening as they devoted their prime time, sunday night 8 till 9 slot to two shows so shamelessly pitched at zoo-reading neolithic 'man' as to be insulting.

first up we had the 'Best of Top Gear'.,a show which at its best still recalls memories of the three boys in school who'd blindly bully and out-do each other in some vainglorious dick-measuring contest to the chorus of smug chuckles from their assorted audience of friends (alas, i was i admit one of those friends). but tonight (it being a special night) they conducted the particularly pointless macho endevour of racing a ferrari across Europe to switzerland against two people flying and taking public transport to the same destination. now, beyond the simple truth that this celebrates the worst kind of boy-racer dangerous driving (and in doing celebrates these consequences), what exactly are these pricks trying to prove? that we should shun public transport because we can get somewhere sooner by just driving our cars a little faster, using a little more fuel? are these gentleman genuinely suggesting that the best thing for the future is if we clogged the roads with a few more unnecessary cars, driving a little more unnecessarily fast? no. of course they aren't. its just a pointless testosterone fuelled stunt that further supports the constructed notion that this is how 'men have fun'.

and that seems to have been the theme of this hour of programing as Top Gear was followed by a new show called mechannibals. yes. that's right. mechannibals.

First in the brand new series championing the ingenuity of Britain's real life backyard inventors, this show follows two families competing to create the best machine to decimate a garden shed. [S]

essentially, this show consisted of men ripping apart various practical appliances in their own homes (washing machines, scooters etc.) to build a machine to destroy a shed. but the show seemed less interested in the ingenuity of the machines themselves than the tearful protestations of wives and children who had to watch as their menfolk, blind to their pleading and their quite obvious upset, ripped apart anything and everything with the final goal of destroying a wooden hut (with the reward of supplying their family with a uneeded improvements on the machinery that they have just destroyed). with glee the director shows us how men while away the hours constructing pointless machines while their long suffering families looked on. you could almost hear the 'wahey's and 'get in their my son!'s of the Top Gear studio audience.

and once again, the main point of all this is simply that this is what men do. this is what men do to have fun: they read FHM. they 'have a fuck about'. they do dangerous, pointless, selfish things at the expense of everybody else. and there's no shame in these this, in fact, if you want to be a man, you want to enjoy the smug acclaim of lads and ladettes alike, you must do these things too. you must.

an audience can only be as smart as you let it be.

please, people of the BBC, people of Granada, people of Channel 4, let us be smarter.

let us be better than we can be.

and never fear my friends, for there is hope.

Sep 16, 2005

in the words of Mr Michael Stipe, its the end of the world as we know it (but im not all that happy about it).

thanks to those wannabe orwellian's in charge of anti-terrorism legislation we have finally drop-kicked any pretense that history is more than a crudely constructed narrative to keep the powerful, well, powerful.

i think nosemonkey puts it pretty well.

It also - again, technically - for the first time creates the concept of "official history" as historic groups who used tactics which could be considered "terrorist" (the chartists etc.) would now only technically be considered such if they were on the Home Secretary's official list. A perfect cop-out for any history students presented with "Were the Suffragettes' tactics terrorist in nature?" type questions - just put "No - because Charles Clarke says so".

nothing like the shameless abuse of language by those in authority to really kick the day of with a smile.

Sep 15, 2005


while not new to me, this piece of work might tickle your interest.

a utopia i created a while back.

input greatly appreciated.

their arts aren't in it

i happened to find myself watching an inconsequential little show on BBC 2 yesterday called Art School. quite impressively, in its ever-so-brief 30 minutes it managed to demonstrate a whole variety of things that are wrong with the public perception of art, or more specifically the Daily Mail-led grab-your-torch-and-pitchfork philistinism in the face of any conceptual art.

in everything but it's name, Art School is essentially the beeb pandering to ITV's shameless tactic of carpet bombing any formula or idea with generic celebrities (and you can be sure that if this show were on ITV it would be called Celebrity Paint-a-thon or something equally awful). a variety of bemused 'stars' (ulrika johnson, john humphries, keith alan and the one that's not dead from Two Fat Ladies) are given a crash course in a modern art school, with each scene bookended by talking heads giving their advice on art.

now one of the fundamental problems with this show should be already obvious. two friends of mine who are on one of the best art courses in the country are presently wading through the middle of an intensive 5 year long period of study. 5 years. to reduce the work and development that is covered such an extended period of study down to less than a week renders the entire process absurd. no one would think of getting a bunch of pointless nobodies in Celebrity History school into a room with a couple of important dates and asking them to demonstrate how these reinforce the power-centric narativisation of history. yet with art this kind of reduction is entirely acceptable. and it is acceptable for one reason; namely that bbc, and the daily mail et al, feel entirely justified in refusing to take any art Post Andy Warhol seriously.

the media constructs a parodic caricature of modern art rammed full of dirty beds, shameless attention seekers and men in polo necks nodding furiously in empty white rooms, while the lone voice of reason in this carnival of superficiality is, of course the media folk (all agog with their Emperor's New Clothes fantasy) screaming 'look... it doesn't mean anything. its all rubbish.'

hence in this show we see this same absurd parody constucted, as john humphries rummages in dustbins and takes poloroids of trees, and we are enjoined to smirk contentedly at the how ridiculous it all is. and just to add insult to injury, who might the talking-heads experts be, the defenders of their art in the face of these bemused celebrities? oh wait. its another bunch of celebrities who happen to pick up a brush once in a while. under the mind numming caption actress/artist, we are forced to suffer the likes of Jane Seymore and Vic Reeves waxing lyrical on what makes an artist. because in the mind of the beeb, art is that simple. it is someone who has painted once. and to give it any pretensions to a serious (and studied) endevour is just plain silly (after all, at the end of their 'degrees' their only going to be fobbing us of with more dirty beds and piles of poo).

it is exactly programes like this (and undending articles in the papers that can't decide between amusment and outrage at the thought that someone could make art out of a bed, or bricks, or elephant dung) that have as their consequence the shameful public response to the Saatchi warehouse fire. whereas a similar disaster destroying say, the origonal manuscripts for Salmon Rushdies Satanic Verses (or even the Harry Potter books) would be treated with sadness and respect, because art is so parodied and belittled the response in this case was the very worst kind of ignorant smugness.

oh what a shame, they burnt a soiled bed.

a triumphan return

the humblest of appologies for my absence so soon after arriving but assorted troubles, mainly of an electronic nature, have resulted in my desperate lack of posting.

but, in a move that will send corks popping in the Devil's Kitchen, i am returned with a couple of issues for your perusal.

Sep 9, 2005

hail to the chief

i am alas, a tad busy today with that potent combination of cricket and literary research, but those wandering aimlessly in search of enlightenment should head towards rhetorically speaking, where resident liberal-in-chief bookdrunk, has his heckles up in the most eloquent of manners.

first on the subject of the alarmist "baby with two mothers" headlines that have been flying around and the ludicrously apocalyptical reaction of everyone's favourite foaming-at-the-mouth reactionaries LIFE ( "When Christians show up, babies are saved.")

Sometimes it's good to try and understand something before you declare an attempt to end disease as 'abhorrent and contrary to public opinion'. It's hard for something to be contrary to public opinion when we've only just heard about it; I'm also not sure I can trust the condemnation of people who havn't apparently paid any attention to what this research actually does. Idiots.
and secondly, he gives a nice update on the hunger strike/desperate plea for civil rights at guantanamo bay/the land that justice forgot.

The military authorities have not commented on the allegations of further abusive behaviour, pausing only to argue that 'only 76 prisoners at the base were refusing food'. So only 76 people feel that they have to threaten to starve themselves to death for basic human rights. That's alright then.

so in essence this post can be summed up as "yeah... what he said."

and he has a full time job.

what a trooper.

Sep 8, 2005

zoo story

divided by the thick plastic zoo-glass of incomprehension, the beatnik alt-folk musician and the New York times reporter gaze wide-eyed at each other, both wondering which of them it is that is the exhibit...

TONY: Your song "Little Boys" is about wanting to marry little boys...
Devendra Banhart: Okay, let me explain myself. When we were recording the record, my friend said to me, "You know, man, they're going to play this record in Starbucks." And I said, "Well, I'm going to write a song that will guarantee that will never happen." Then that night we watched the movie Chicken Hawk: Men Who Love Boys, about NAMBLA, the North American Man/Boy Love Association. At the same time, swimming in my head was the idea of a song about a schizophrenic hermaphrodite with the male and female physical characteristics in one body, but also the male and female psychologies in one body. So the first half of the song is from the male perspective, and then it switches, and the second half is from the female perspective.
TONY: Aren't you worried about getting a reputation like Michael Jackson's?
Devendra Banhart: You mean his reputation as the King of Pop? That would be great!

props to music blog stereogum for pointing out that lovely little bit of interview zen.

bad 'bad science'

for a good long while one of my favourite columns in The Grauniad has been Ben Goldacre's Bad Science, a beautiful weekly snipe at the mindless nonsense that forms almost all science journalism. With everyone's favourite mistake ridden rag about to sumersault into the realm the modern newspaper this week my friend gets a whole double paged spread to wax lyrical about what's wrong with science reporting.

his central thesis seems fairly sound one in my mind. that what passes for science in newspapers is an infantile parody of science that sees white coated figures appearing from a basement laboratory intermittently to declare a new breakthrough/danger/piece of fluff nonsense about the formula for the perfect boiled egg.

So how do the media work around their inability to deliver scientific evidence? They use authority figures, the very antithesis of what science is about, as if they were priests, or politicians, or parent figures. "Scientists today said ... scientists revealed ... scientists warned." And if they want balance, you'll get two scientists disagreeing, although with no explanation of why. One scientist will "reveal" something, and then another will "challenge" it. A bit like Jedi knights.

So far so good.

However, it seems young benny (or old ben... though i've always imagined him to be statuesque thirty-something in a pair of designer glasses) should stick to his single column of well worded sarcasm. the longer he gos on the more that he seeks to place the blame for this cartoon science at the hands of some absurd 'humanities graduate' conspiracy. in fact, for someone who has spent the last few years (and indeed most of this article) picking apart the oversimplification of science, Goldacre tumbles into the most blatant display of crap reductionism. starting by claiming that scientists (or people who know a bit about science)
only people who are actually going to read science articles anyway, goldacre then constructs a grotesque caricature of the humanities graduate, languidly relaxing with a cigarillo and a glass of port, waxing lyrical on the absence of truth while leafing through a book of keatsian odes.

the humanities haven't really moved forward at all, except to invent cultural relativism, which exists largely as a pooh-pooh reaction against science. And humanities graduates in the media, who suspect themselves to be intellectuals, desperately need to reinforce the idea that science is nonsense: because they've denied themselves access to the most significant developments in the history of western thought for 200 years, and secretly, deep down, they're angry with themselves over that.

I don't need to explain quite how absurd this nonsense is. i don't need to point out that the notion of a cultural battlefield, sciences on one side the humanities on the other, with a no-man's land of silence between the two, is, well, bollocks. and i don't think i need to explain this to my young friend at the guardian either. he is clearly aware of quite how clever it is to counter the parodisation of science in the media with a merry little parody of the humanities himself. didn't anyone ever tell our friend that two wrongs don't make a right?

it's a shame really because goldacre is clearly an intellegent and eloquent enough character that he could take a good stab at reducing the constructed gulf between 'science' and 'the arts' and in doing so greatly improve the coverage of science in the media.

but i guess then he'd be out of the job.

at least i now know that, while not maybe being the grecian figure of my imagination, young benjamin is apparently 'an all right-looking bloke'. well, good for him.

Sep 5, 2005

burn the festival

A note on the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the world's largest festival of dance, theatre and comedy. This year (like every year) it it spread its bloated gut a little further across Scotland's ancient capital. Myself and my friends descended into back into the belly of the beast this year and have only just come back out for air.

Two of these friends of mine told me of a show they went to see a show called Paul Merton's Impro Chums. Not a remarkable show, or a remarkably bad one. It was improvised comedy, so in the words of the 'chums' themselves the show takes audience suggestions to create 'cascades of fantastic tumbling laughter'. So what you get for your money is several people, including the celebrated television comedian of the title, acting funny on a bare stage in a converted room of the edinburgh student union. And here we get to my problem, the price my friends paid of this (the concession price) was £13 each. This, in my mind, is vastly too expensive.

And this is by no means extraordinary. This is now the norm. As an example, here is the list of Scotsman newspapers acclaimed 'Fringe First' winners and the full ticket price.

East Coast Chicken Supper (traverse) - £15.00

Switch Triptych (Assembly) - £14.00

Children of the Sea (botanic gardens) - £12.00

The Devil's Larder (Traverse) - £12.00

Give Up! Start Over! (C venues) - £7.50

Total: £60.50

Now when you factor in the price of a pint at one of the venue bars (Hoegaarden at Traverse theatre bar is £4.30) or the Spiegeltent (same beer £4.70), plus food, accomodation and such like, sixty pounds is a lot to pay for only five short shows of greatly varying quality.

Some people would argueout that people pay that for a single show in London's West End, but in that case you know what you are getting. you are getting a spectacle, not theatre, and in that respect you are guaranteed quality spectacle, if it is spectacle you desire. (Mamma Mia will deliver plus two hours in a beautiful theatre listening abba hits sung well by a large cast) . if thats your thing then thats your thing. but it ain't theatre. at the fringe the one thing you are assured of is that you're not going to get spectacle. so you'll have to hope that theatre is good. and that is where your troubles begin.

The fringe is a vast, ugly (and indeed noisy) haystack in which finding enjoyable needles is very difficult.

whereas in normal circumstances reviews at least can give you some indication, the size of the festival generates a gravitational pull that attracts an almost infinite number of reviewers, (threeweeks, fest, guardian, scotsman, herald, metro, scotsgay, edinburghguide, edinburgh evening news, observer and the independant to name just a few) most of whom spend the rest of the year nowhere near theatre. thus almost any show can and will get an adequate review. And as for the 'acclaimed' fringe firsts, the folk at festbitch more than adequately demonstrated the self-indulgence and snobbery that they represent, in essence nothing more than a scotsman newspaper review with delusions of grandeur. reviews pile up at the fringe like the abandoned flyers and newspapers in the darker corners of edinburgh's ancient streets. to use them as a guide is hopeless.

my own opinion is that the fringe is vastly, vastly too big. a bloated behemoth that is slowly eating itself. People come to town, get swallowed by the royal mile, chewed for ten minutes and spat out the other end covered in show flyers and feeling slightly violated, still none the wiser as to where to go to spend the little money they have left after inflated accomodation prices and inflated drinks prices. still lost as to how to find one good show with which to fill the brief time they have.

And so people have stopped coming for the theatre. they come for the event. the carnivalesque absurdity of a city crammed with actors and students and shameless buskers plying their hackneyed acts. people (even those performing in the ever increasing number of awful generic shows that drown the city in mediocrity) come for the noise and miss the beautiful little shows that the fringe should really be about. like enola. the fringe should be about shows like that. it should be a chance for hoplessly talented young people who wouldn't have one in a regular theatre. people who really care about theatre should be able give everything they have to people that want to see it.

People often mention that Tom Stoppard's Rosengrantz and Guildenstern are Dead premiered at the fringe. it was i believe a production done by students. it is the romance of this idea that still inspires the spirit of the fringe (as manipulated and abused as it is). the idea that you can come and see the beginings of something so great. a ragged ultrasound of the future of theatre (or even hollywood). but you can barely see this any more. enola is one of the few diamonds in an increasingly messy rough. it and others like it arent at the big showy venues. you'll find them in the small places, the places that can still take chances on shows by young groups, the venues that those young groups of talented folk can still afford to be in. that's where they'll be, at the bottom of the fringe pile, hidden under the weight of so much hype and so many paul mertons.

portrait of an american hero.

a note to possible future readers. be assured that there will be more to me than the boring ho-hum of snarky america-bashing. my relationship with the big place across the ocean is far more complicated than that (and probably best analogised in my complex love-hate tussle with that most american of entities the disney corporation - but another story for another post i think). but for the time being i wanted to draw your attention to the obituary (i know... way to kick a man when he's truly down) of Chief Justice William Rehnquist in the guardian today.

now being relatively virginal in regards to the grimier ins and outs of Washington, this gentleman was unbeknownst to me before now. it didn't take long for me to dislike him...

Taking his seat the next year, the split emerged within weeks, when he became one of two dissentients to the historic 1973 Roe v Wade judgment, which legalised abortion throughout America.

yep... that oughta do it. and it continues. it seems that back in the fifties our young friend wrote a paper on the racial segregation that went a little something like this:

"the court faced the fact that the white people in the south don't like coloured people; the constitution restrains them from effecting this dislike through state action, but it most assuredly did not appoint the court as a sociological watchdog ..."

(any bets on billy here being friends with trent lott...?) when it looked like this narrow minded you-stick-to-your-half-and-we'll-stick-to-ours approach to american life might prove damaging to his career, rather than attempt to justify himself, like all good politicians rehnquist tried to fob blame of on someone else. and it worked. soon, our reactionary little troll was the most powerful judge in all the land.

and yet, my new pal william isn't done impressing me yet.

Kleindienst recruited Rehnquist into the [Nixon] administration's office of legal counsel, where he gained a fearsome reputation as the department's most ardent advocate of wire-tapping, government surveillance and preventive detention. [...] At the justice department he had backed the army's intimidating surveillance of [anti-Vietnam War] protesters and had publicly decried the legal action that civil liberty groups had launched against the practice.


In successive cases, he voted in favour not only of states' rights, capital punishment and school prayers, but against abortion and affirmative action.

The thing that worries me however is that in a more liberal pre-Reagan America Rehnquist's reactionary antics were so out of synch with his fellow justices that he became known as the Lone Ranger - a mocking title that cast him as an out of date relic in of bygone era.

but the times how they are-a-changing. soon he was no longer the one dissenting voice of unreason, but became the court's guiding light. and then its voice of reason. so powerful was Rehnquist that by 2000 he could give away the highest office in the land to an unworthy texan with a line in fucking things up.

More controversially, he was later one of the five republican-appointed justices who decided in December 2000 that George Bush had won an electoral college majority in the presidential election, though he was well behind the Democrats' candidate, Al Gore, in the popular vote.

by this point The Lone Ranger was no longer all that lonely. and the epithet itself, in an new dawn of false wild-west inspired patriotism (seen most shamelessly in the faux-cowboy antics of the Republican poster boy himself, George W) was a badge (a sheriff's badge no doubt) to be warn with pride.

so there you have it William Rehnquist. The Lone Ranger. A crusading christian hero for his time, his place alongside Reagan and Bush jnr in the holier-than-thou trinity of conservative politics, no doubt secure.

Sep 4, 2005

the cruelest of wake up calls

america is imploding. years of desperately, hopelessly short sighted environmental policies and crippling defence budgets mean the country finally seems to be reaping what they have been sowing for a while now (longer than just the last 5 years). or at least, those people who have already effectively been abandoned along the way are finally being shown quite how devastatingly little respect they have in the eyes of those leaders who still drape themselves in trappings of liberty and equality.

there is no better example of this than the actions of their president (the tip of an all too large iceberg).

as NOLA collapses into shocking anarchy, it would be hoped that the man who was ushered back into office on the back of his strong-man theatrics (as is well pointed out by bookdrunk) would be (as his office convinced the country he was back in 2001 and again in election) the first down at ground zero, the standard bearer, leading his people out of danger.

instead mr bush had these words for his people.

"We've got a lot of rebuilding to do. First, we're going to save lives and stabilize the situation. And then we're going to help these communities rebuild. The good news is -- and it's hard for some to see it now -- that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before. Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house -- he's lost his entire house -- there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch. (Laughter.)" (via boingboing)

this is of course the same trent lott who wikipedia reminds us was involved in:

Tremendous political controversy [...] following remarks Lott made on Dec. 5, 2002 at Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday party. Thurmond ran for President of the United States in 1948 on the Dixiecrat (or States' Rights) ticket, whose primary campaign issue was the perpetuation of racial segregation in the United States. Lott said:

"I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either."

so George W's ivory towered reassurance to the people (the poor, black people) being shot and raped and starved in the civic centres and superdomes of new orleans is that a rich white segragationist is going to have a fantastic new house.

it can only be hoped that from such a quagmire of indifference some sea change can be affected, whether it comes from an ineffectual left stung into action or from the people themselves, finally confronted with the illusory nature of Bush's patriotic hegemony.

the right would have america believe that to oppose the policies that Bush has introduced is unamerican, that to not support one's troops, or question homeland security, or disagree with any number of other policies is somehow damaging to america. this spell is all too brutely broken however, when it is made apparent that the people with the most disdain for the american people, the real america haters, are those that have the greatest responsibility to protect them.
'There are kids playing guns in the street
and one's pointing his tree branch at me
i hold my hands up
and say enough is enough
if you walk away i'll walk away
and he shot me dead.'

humble beginings for little space away from it all where i can try and scribble some thoughts with a little more patience and structure than is my usual want.

bear with me on this one. we'll see how it goes.