Friday, 29 February 2008

More cartoonesk fiascos

Do not broadcast critical Islam movie, says Dutch foreign minister (Earthtimes, Thu, 28 Feb 2008)

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

has been correctly or incorrectly attributed to Voltaire, Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen is betraying the principles on which our dearly won freedoms are founded. Furthermore, it is naive to expect that Islamist hypersensitivities are going to go away if everyone behaves for a little while. Another incident reported this very day:

Berlin Exhibition Closes after Muslim Threats (Spiegel, February 29, 2008)

Language lessons

Man who aimed to walk to India forced to quit (Telegraph, Friday 29 February 2008)

Briton makes shocking discovery: In France they speak French!

Thursday, 28 February 2008

US patrol shoots Iraqi civilian

US patrol shoots Iraqi civilian (BBC News, Thursday, 28 February 2008)

Only one today? That's below their average. reports for January 2008:

36 by US forces, 1 by British forces

Innocent - but battling a DNA record

Innocent - but battling a DNA record (BBC News, Thursday, 28 February 2008)

The violation of human rights in the UK by retaining DNA samples of innocent people is apparently a matter of policy. There are many reasons to be sceptical of the present-day EU, but if it weren't for the European Court of Human Rights, what would protect us against the totalitarian aspirations of NuLabour?

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Sudan protests at Danish cartoons

Sudan protests at Danish cartoons (BBC News, Wednesday, 27 February 2008)

Britain plays along with the EU when it is in its interest, and only then. This can be said of many British governments in the past as well as of 'public opinion'. With the growing pressure on Denmark, the past few days would have been the right time to share some of its burden, and demonstrate that the civilised world stands united to defend freedom of expression.

Germany's interior minister Schäuble has called for newspapers in all European countries to print the Motoons. Our newspapers should have done that earlier. Now it is too late. It is a contradiction in terms that a member of a government demands dissemination by the press of certain material in the name of freedom. After Schäuble's ill-conceived statement, it has become difficult to argue to the less sophisticated elements in the Islamic world that not governments but free individuals are responsible for publishing material that others may find offensive.

With the forthcoming publication in the Netherlands of the anti-Islam film by Geert Wilders (notably a member of parliament), also the Netherlands is bound to become a target of Islamist aggression soon, and I fear that it too will find indifference on this side of the Channel.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Fairy cakes

Man dies in cake-eating contest (BBC News, Sunday, 24 February 2008)

Cake-eating contest death warning (BBC News, Monday, 25 February 2008)

A few days ago, there was a report about a man killing himself by stuffing fairy cakes down his throat. Natural selection at work you would say, and that's enough silliness for one week. But now there is a second report about his friend warning the public against killing themselves by stuffing fairy cakes down their throats.

There are a million ways an idiot could inadvertently kill himself. If everyone in Britain reads the BBC News article, there are only 999,999 ways left.

This reminds me of another article:

Belly stud 'almost killed teen' (BBC News, Monday, 1 October 2007)

This was about a freak car crash involving belly button jewellery and a seatbelt. It may have been the first time in history this happened, and it may never happen again until cars are made redundant by teleportation devices. Nevertheless, it was deemed necessary to report:

"But Mr Beadle said his step daughter was determined to make others with piercings aware of the possible risks."

What is wrong with these people?

As all three articles are classified under the Wales section of BBC News, the odds are they were written by the same journalist with a screw loose, who thinks of himself as the saviour of all Britons, by warning us that living is even deadlier than we thought. Thanks, mate!

Friday, 22 February 2008

Quackometer is back

Quackometer is back on a new host!

See also: Quack closes Quackometer (mediawatchwatch, 22 Feb 2008)

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Planet's Burma guide 'unethical'

Planet's Burma guide 'unethical' (BBC News, Thursday, 21 February 2008)

I call for a boycott of Lonely Planet guidebooks until the Great Britain Travel Guide is withdrawn
from sale, or until this country is no longer ruled by a fascist regime guilty of starting illegal wars and locking people up for thought crimes.

Seriously though, you can tell that idealism has turned into idiocy when it targets books.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Child, 12, guilty of raping boy

Child, 12, guilty of raping boy (BBC News, Wednesday, 20 February 2008)

"A jury at Bradford Crown Court heard a boy aged five was forced to perform a sex act on the older boy, in return for being allowed to play on a trampoline."

Hang on, "forced [...] in return for"? That sounds odd. Another article (from Telegraph & Argus) covering the same case has:

"The boys told the court they had to perform sex acts to be allowed to bounce on a trampoline."

Should the "boy aged five" not be charged with prostitution then?

Unless there is something the news articles do not tell us, this whole story is absurd. It sounds to me the convicted "rapist" is a bully and in need of a good spanking from his parents, but inflicting the trauma caused by a criminal trial on him and on the victims seems unduly cruel. What the BBC article does not mention is that the judge was in fact sitting without formal wig, the counsels were in plain suits, etc., in order not to intimidate the defendant. But a 12-year old kid...!

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Nazi-era singer returns to stage

Nazi-era singer returns to stage (BBC News, Sunday, 17 February 2008)

BBC journalists seem primarily interested in reaching their quotas. Getting the facts straight is not a priority, especially for articles that few people will read attentively anyway. Doing a superficial web search can be enlightening.

"Nazi-era singer returns to stage"

Johannes Heesters has never been away from a stage (in Germany or Austria) for very long. The title should therefore have been "[...] returns to Dutch stage" or something in that vein.

The term "Nazi-era singer" is misleading. Would you call someone who made bread in Paris during the Vichy regime a "Nazi-era baker"?

"who once performed in Nazi Germany"

He made his career in Nazi Germany. He certainly performed more than "once". Comparison with articles elsewhere on the web covering the same story reveals this error was made through incorrect cut-and-paste.

"he performed for Adolf Hitler"

What is known is that Hitler attended some of his shows.

"and visited the Dachau concentration camp"

That he visited Dachau is not disputed, but all historical evidence suggests this was not voluntary and not out of any sympathy for fascism, and during his visit he did not perform a show. It is not even clear whether the visited camp was concentration camp Dachau or military camp Dachau. The phrase is therefore misleading.

"He kept singing for the Nazi regime"

A misleading statement, as above.

The mentioned protests involved about 50 people, so this is much ado about nothing. It is easy to round up 50 people to protest against dihydrogen monoxide.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

American 'culture'

On its front page today, BBC News asks:

Why is Los Angeles so obsessed with troubled singer Britney Spears? (BBC News, Saturday, 16 February 2008)

Why is the BBC so obsessed with (Los Angeles' obsession with) troubled singer Britney Spears?

Restricting myself to the current month, I find BBC News articles about aforementioned individual on 16 Feb, 15 Feb, 13 Feb, 12 Feb, 09 Feb, 07 Feb, 06 Feb, 05 Feb, 02 Feb, 01 Feb. That is 10 articles in 16 days. Is it fair to say the BBC is being a tiny bit hypocritical?

"The God Delusion" for Kids

German Authorities Slam "The God Delusion" for Kids (Deutsche Welle, 31.01.2008)

This is so much fun!

See also: mediawatchwatch.

Friday, 15 February 2008

Newspapers Republish Muhammad Cartoons

Newspapers Republish Muhammad Cartoons (Spiegel Online, February 13, 2008)

After the discovery of a plot to murder a Danish cartoonist, Danish newspapers have collectively decided to republish the Muhammad cartoons, as an unambiguous gesture to support freedom of speech, and to express solidarity with the threatened cartoonists.

A Muslim politician in Denmark said:

"The crisis didn't hurt integration, it opened doors for us -- and in Denmark things have improved quite a bit in the meantime."

We could learn something from this.

British newspapers have not published the cartoons. Out of respect for minorities you say? Open an arbitrary newspaper. How much respect for minorities do you see? I've long since come to understand that the British media act out of pure self-interest.

Perhaps we don't really care about freedom of speech in that crappy little country at the Baltic Sea with a GDP that is a fraction of ours. Besides, according to our benevolent leaders, freedom of speech is overrated anyway.

Ministers deny 'soft touch' claim

Ministers deny 'soft touch' claim (BBC News, Friday, 15 February 2008)

The government is arguing with a 'think-tank' over who has the most deranged right-wing views. A Cabinet Office spokesman said:

"The government firmly rejects the claim that the United Kingdom is a fragmented society."

I choose not to be in the same fragment of society as Gordon Brown and his cronies, thank you very much.

Net firms reject monitoring role

Net firms reject monitoring role (BBC News, Friday, 15 February 2008)

Who will rid us of these dilettantes at BBC News?

The first two paragraphs are clear and say everything there is to say. The government wants ISPs to check the contents of Internet traffic for infringement of copyright, and the ISPs correctly say that they can't, because the law does not allow them to look at contents.

The remainder of the unnecessarily long article goes on and on and on until the very end about an entirely different issue, namely management of the volume of Internet traffic.

Moreover, the text is sexed up with an irrelevant image of the launch of a space shuttle.

This is even worse than the usual mediocrity that we associate with the BBC.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Apology over Holocaust statement

Apology over Holocaust statement (BBC News, Thursday, 14 February 2008)

Council chief Alan Jones wrote in a newsletter:

"They now join the ranks of those who believe the earth is flat, that the Holocaust never happened, and those who dress as pirates to worship the Flying Spaghetti Monster and his noodly appendages."

Although he apologises, he doesn't really seem to feel bad about it:

"When taken in context, I would be surprised if people were to take offence at my comments, but if some have, I apologise unreservedly."

The Flying Spaghetti Monster is a joke. It is a tasteful and clever joke, and it serves serious purposes, for example to ridicule the American creationist scum who demand 'equal time' in science classrooms. But it is a joke nevertheless, especially if one adds "and his noodly appendages". To mention this in the same sentence as the Holocaust is unfathomable bad taste and shows a complete lack of historical awareness.

Alan Jones is supported by Amshid Ahmadi, chairman of the council's Black and Minority Ethnic Employees Network, but something tells me the latter may not have much understanding of recent Western history either.

I strongly believe in free speech and I don't think Alan Jones should be lynched, nor fired from his £157,000 council job, nor legally prosecuted (he may want to stay away from Austria though), but I do feel he should be given a prominent spot in the proverbial Hall of Shame for all eternity.

Blessings of British law

9/11 case pilot can claim damages (BBC News, Thursday, 14 February 2008)

A man whose life was ruined through a miscarriage of justice (if 'justice' is a meaningful word in the context of the British legal system) has had to struggle for 6 years to get recognition for his right to compensation, and the government is still fighting back, on the argument that it was all the Americans' fault.

Lotfi Raissi's mistake was that at one time he may have been at the same place as one of the 9/11 hijackers. Simple question: how many white people with western European names have spent one minute in jail merely for crossing paths with any of the 9/11 hijackers. Anyone?

We find a glimmer of hope, and no more than that I'm afraid, in a temporary setback for the government's attempts to prosecute thought crime:

Five students win terror appeal (BBC News, Wednesday, 13 February 2008)

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Energy supplier chagrin

I keep getting phone calls and house calls from con artists hired by British Gas to convince me to buy electricity from them, with the most crazy cock-and-bull stories. I rate the intelligence of people who fall for that crap rather low, somewhere between National Lottery players and Big Brother viewers, so I'm sure to tell the swindlers to go know themselves in the biblical sense before terminating the conversation.

But the annoyance continues. Anyone knows a gas supplier that doesn't terrorise its customers with deceitful sales tactics, or any sales tactics for that matter? Please tell me, and I'll switch right away.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Call to scrap 'anti-teen' device

Call to scrap 'anti-teen' device (BBC News, Tuesday, 12 February 2008)

How about the 'anti-adult' devices in about every shopping mall and supermarket, vomiting into your ears the most puerile noise that anyone ever dared to call 'music'? If there were a country in the world where shoppers are safe from such audio terror, I would emigrate immediately.

Sunday, 10 February 2008


Erdogan cheered by 16,000 Turks in Cologne (Trend News, 10.02.08 22:27)

This story, which either hasn't reached the British news sites yet or doesn't interest the British media, bears a remarkable similarity to the recent debacle in the UK. The difference is that the culprit here is not an indigenous church leader, but the prime minister of a country that wants to join the EU.

Erdogan stated during a visit to Germany: "Assimilation is a crime against humanity."

Shall we now discuss the forced assimilation of Armenians who survived the genocide of 1915-1916? Oh right, I forgot, the Armenian genocide never happened, it's all a conspiracy of Western historians against Turkey.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Archbishop under pressure to quit

Archbishop under pressure to quit (BBC News, Saturday, 9 February 2008)

One more observation on the hype surrounding statements from an irrelevant religious leader who suffers from professional delusion:

I'm all for unconditional rejection of Sharia law in all its facets, but could we please not do that on the premise that British law represents the ultimate protection of fundamental human rights? Britain's relation to the European Convention on Human Rights has always been strenuous, and every so often, some right-wing loony calls for the Human Rights Act to be scrapped. Recent 'anti-terrorism' legislation hasn't helped either.

New approach for US army manual

New approach for US army manual (BBC News, Friday, 8 February 2008)

Strange story. A new US army manual puts 'emphasis on winning hearts and minds'. So first bomb the crap out of a country in an illegal war, and then hand out candy to make it up?

Haven't they understood yet that military occupation that is not accepted by the population cannot be made all right by a few policies in an army manual? Want to win the hearts and minds of people? Start by not bombing them and allowing their infrastructure to fall in ruins.

It has often been claimed that the British troops were more friendly and open to the Iraqi population than the US troops. But see what mess they left behind after their retreat from Basra.

Suggested reading: Violations of 'Islamic teachings' take deadly toll on Iraqi women (CNN, February 8, 2008)

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Sharia law and Church of England

Sharia law in UK is 'unavoidable' (BBC News, Thursday, 7 February 2008)

As this is coming from
the most senior bishop of the Church of England, I take this as 'if you reject Islam, then you reject the Church of England'. I'm most willing to comply.

There are bad religions, and there are worse religions. But religions, even those as daft and spineless as the Church of England, are never harmless.

For the rest, I don't understand the indignation in the press about Dr Williams' radio interview. He says stupid things. We already knew that. He's the perfect man for the job of Archbishop. Had he only spoken the truth, they would have made him Prime Minister for the Labour Party.

Europe united?

Finally Europe is united, in the hatred of Tony Blair.

Anyway, let this crook not become EU president, and sign the petition:

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Bishop condemns corpse exhibition

Bishop condemns corpse exhibition (BBC News, Tuesday, 5 February 2008)

Is he kidding? He represents an organisation whose primary symbol is a man being nailed alive to a wooden cross and put up to die a slow, agonising death, and the buffoon is complaining about the "kind of freaky horror show" by Gunther Von Hagens?

Monday, 4 February 2008

High heels 'may improve sex life'

High heels 'may improve sex life' (BBC News, Monday, 4 February 2008)

Loyal BBC News readers will be happy to learn there are no less than two gratuitous articles involving sex today, the second even surpasses the first in its futility.

Happily there are few BBC articles left that carry meaningful content. Heaven forbid, we would have to use our brains!

Workers 'had sex on double time'

Workers 'had sex on double time' (BBC News, Monday, 4 February 2008)

More people accusing each other of having sex, and the BBC is all too happy to provide personal details, including the 'moaning and groaning'.

Does anyone know there is a war on?