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Saturday, September 27

Friday, September 26

Schlepping for Obama

The Great Schlep from Sarah Silverman.

Ahmadinejad on gays

Summary: yes, we have them. They are drug traffickers.

In an interview with Democracy Now's Amy Goodman and the NY Daily News, Iranian President Ahmadinejad finally says that LGBT exist in Iran

Here's the interchange:

I didn’t say they don’t exist; I said not the way they are here. In Iran, it’s considered as a very unlikable and abhorrent act. People simply don’t like it. Our religious decrees tell us that it’s against our values, and all divine laws, actually, believe in the same. Who has given them permission to engage in homosexual acts? It’s considered as an abhorrent act. It shakes the foundations of a society, the family foundation. It robs humanity. It brings about diseases.

It should be of no pride to the American society to say that they defend homosexuals and support it. It’s not a good act, in and by itself, to then hold others accountable for banning it. And it’s not called freedom, either. Sure, if somebody engages in an act in their own house without being known to others, we don’t pay any attention to that. People are free to do what they like in their private realms. But nobody can engage in what breaks the law in public.

Why is it that in the West all moral boundaries have been shaken? Just because some people want to get votes, they are ready to overlook every morality? This goes against the values of a society. It is the divine rule of the Prophets. And then, of course, in Iran, it’s not an issue as big as it is of concern here in the United States. There might be a few people who are known. In general, our country would not accept it. And there’s a law about it, too, which one must follow.

AMY GOODMAN: July 19th is a day that is honored around the world, where two gay teenagers, Iranian teens, were hung. This is a picture of them hanging. They were two young men, named Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni. Do you think gay men and lesbians should die in Iran?

PRESIDENT MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD: [translated] No, there is no law for their execution in Iran. Either they were drug traffickers or they had killed someone else. Those who kill someone else or engage in acts of rape could be punished by execution. Otherwise, homosexuals are not even known who they are to be hung, in the second place. So, we don’t have executions of homosexuals. Of course, we consider it an abhorrent act, but it is not punished through capital punishment. It’s basically an immoral act. There are a lot of acts that can be immoral, but there’s no capital punishment for them.

I don’t know where you obtained these pictures from. Either they’re a network of drug traffickers or some other—or people who generally might have killed someone else. You know that we take our sort of social security seriously, because it’s important. What would you do in the United States if someone picked up a gun and killed a bunch of people? If there is a person to complain, then there’s capital punishment awaiting the person. Or drug traffickers, if they carry above a certain amount, volume, of drugs with them, they can be executed in Iran.
NB: Iran is one of a few countries in world with the death penalty for lesbians and gays. Ahmadinejad is 'mis-speaking'. Drug traffickers? I thought the original excuse was 'rape'? And no, I'm not going to run the photos of Asgari and Marhon again. Google if you must ...
Oh, and both J.Smith and G.Brown believes that Iranian lesbians and gays can "be discreet".

Postscript: Don't piss off Dave!

Letterman Attacks McCain Day 2: "I Feel Like An Ugly Date"

CBS News Executives "Aggravated" By Letterman's Use Of Internal News Feed: Report

Thursday, September 25

Web Search Strategies in Plain English

Queer Fear - Gay Life, Gay Death in Iraq

From Peter Tatchell's CIF article:

Even children suspected of being gay are abducted and later found shot in the head.
But what can I do? Answer: Donate for safe houses.

Jacqui Smith (and Gordon Brown) would tell these people to 'be discreet'.

Comin' home to momma

More of Marcy Kaptur:

Transcript of first video.

Ms. KAPTUR. Mr. Speaker, here is the latest reality game. Let’s play Wall Street Bailout.

Rule one: Rush the decision. Time the game to fall in the week before Congress is set to adjourn and just 6 weeks before an historic election so your opponents will be preoccupied, pressured, distracted, and in a hurry.

Rule two: Disarm the public through fear. Warn that the entire global financial system will collapse and the world will fall into another Great Depression. Control the media enough to ensure that the public will not notice this.

Bailout will indebt them for generations, taking from them trillions of dollars they earned and deserve to keep.

Rule three: Control the playing field and set the rules. Hide from the public and most of the Congress just who is arranging this deal. Communicate with the public through leaks to media insiders. Limit any open congressional hearings. Communicate with Congress via private teleconferencing calls. Heighten political anxiety by contacting each political party separately. Treat Members of Congress condescendingly, telling them that the matter is so complex that they must rely on those few insiders who really do know what’s going on.

Rule four: Divert attention and keep people confused. Manage the news cycle so Congress and the public have no time to examine who destroyed the prudent banking system that served America so well for 60 years after the financial meltdown of the 1920s.

Rule five: Always keep in mind the goal is to privatize gains to a few and socialize loss to the many. For 30 years in one financial scandal after another, Wall Street game masters have kept billions of dollars of their gain and shifted their losses to American taxpayers. Once this bailout is in place, the greed game will begin again.

But I have a counter-game. It’s called Wall Street Reckoning. Congress shouldn’t go home to campaign. It should put America’s accounts in order.

To Wall Street insiders, it says “no” on behalf of the American people. You have perpetrated the greatest financial crimes ever on this American republic. You think you can get by with it because you are extraordinarily wealthy and the largest contributors to both Presidential and congressional campaigns in both major parties, but you are about to be brought under firm control.

First, America doesn’t need to bail you out, it needs to secure the real assets and property, not your paper, that means the homes and properties of hardworking Americans who are about to lose their homes because of your mortgage greed. There should be a new job for regional Federal Reserve Banks. We want no home foreclosed if a serious work-out agreement can be put into place. And if you don’t do it, we want a notarized statement by a Federal Reserve official that they tried and failed.

Second, taxpayers should directly gain any equity benefits that may flow from this historic bailout. We want the American people to get first priority in taking ownership of the institutions that want to pass their toxic paper onto the taxpayers.

Third, before any bailouts for Wall Street, America needs major job creation to rebuild our major infrastructure. America needs assets, not paper. We need working assets.

Fourth, the time for real financial regulatory change is now, not next year. A modernized Glass Eagle Act must be put in place. We need to reestablish locally-owned community savings banks across this country and create within the Justice Department a fully funded unit to prosecute every single high-flying thief whose fraud and criminal acts created this debacle and then forced their disgorgement of assets going back 15 years.

Fifth, any refinancing must return a major share of profits to a new Social Security and Medicare lockbox, where the monies can go to pay for a dignified and assured retirement for every American. This Member isn’t voting for a penny of it. Those who created and profited from this game of games must be brought to justice. The assets they stole must be returned to the American taxpayers, right down to the tires on their Mercedes.

Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join me in cosponsoring my bill to create an independent commission to investigate these well-heeled wrongdoers. Real reform now, or nothing.

Bit of a contrast to Palin, ya'think?

Repost: The Shock Doctrine by Alfonso Cuarón and Naomi Klein

nb: contains strong images.

Don't piss off Dave!

In US politics late night talk show hosts have always held some major sway - that's why candidates want to be on their shows.

So for McCain to piss off David Letterman by pulling out of an appearance at the last minute, claiming "country first" and then appear on a cable TV news show down the road is a really desperate move.

As Andrew Sullivan put it:

You may get away with lying to the rest of us, but this man is powerful enough to expose you - and ridicule you. Here's another surreal moment in a campaign where pop cultural figures are standing up to raw lies and power as effectively as the MSM. More effectively, in fact.
This is the short version.

This is hugely viral.

Here's MSNBC's Keith Olbermann (a personal fave) standing in for McCain on Letterman.


Some cynical commentators have suggested that the entire "I'm shuttering the campaign" move might have been because of this rather 'put your palms on your face' interview with Palin (oh, and this, and this):

Interesting point from Danny Finkelstein in in Times today "this election is not the nail biting close contest that is being portrayed". Well, doh!

After that to Finkelstein point, I added:
Do ya'think journos might have a little, er, self interest here Danny?

Why isn't the electoral map getting much play?

But my second, let's call it nuanced, reaction is to look at what's not being reported.

Like Palin and her 'witchdoctor'. McCain and his lobbyists. The 'maverick' meme'. Zero play for the veterans against McCain. Etc.

'Liberal' US media??? Seems more like a marriage which had been in denial and breaking up these past weeks.

Wednesday, September 24

Postscript: How not to do video about recycling

My post on 'How not to do video about recycling' was reproduced by PSF. This provoked a rather negative but, n'est ce pas, expected response.

Here's how I responded to the commentator's points.

"Firstly: Why is every council doing this separately? Simple. Every council's bin and recycling arrangements is different"
But they're not. Many are the same or pretty much so. What is the efficiency loss in not sending out similar messages? - for one thing. And where can councils connect with other councils doing the same and share cost - for another thing? Answer? Nowhere. That's my point.

Plus there's isn't even one central (web based) resource point where even more generic messaging resources are available.

This is very inefficient when most British people spend lots of time online.

I wish the audit office would focus on shit like this rather than the stuff PSF is currently highlighting ... [NB: Most PSF content is behind a firewall, this comment refers to how the audit office believes council staff are all "potential fraudsters" and thus want their bank details].
"Councils have been given great big dollops of central government money to spend solely on recycling publicity"
Er, this just speaks to the first point I'm making and you expand on this - use of amateurs etc. I found this when looking for centralised resources around marketing around recycling. Including video. The EU actually has a good video (past blog post), but Whitehall?? Whitehall tips on online marketing around recycling? Hello?
"I have to disagree on the Allerdale video"
Point taken, as it's not viral yet. But I was trying to get to the different dynamic which works in this space. What you think of as crappy might actually end up going viral. Allerdale made me laugh - that's a plus.
"All these things require skills that only come with professional training and years of practice"
This is absolutely not true for viral video! C'mon! have you seen utube lately? I have seen enough viral video to recognise in Allendale's a potential viral. It actually looks like some of the professional virals I've seen, who - shock - attempt to evoke amateurism.

Like with most things web I was pointing at entry points, things you can do, to get some audience for video rather than just post it and wait for an audience (which is, truth, what most are doing). But yes, it would probably actually pay - i.e. have an ROI - to hire someone who has-a-clue to promote and advise on what you're making.

But don't confuse this with film-making or other skills. What works in online video is a whole other ballgame and really it's - in what we're talking about here - simply putting your efforts in front of as many possible eyeballs as possible and keep doing it and keep honing. This we just don't do.
"What makes some council officer decide he can stand in a stupid suit and green make-up and be an actor for the day, instead of... er... doing what the council tax-payers expect them to do."
Like what? Excuse me but this is a bit patronising. I would never criticise someone for trying, just offer some tips about how they might get their point over and seen by more people. I'd like to see you face the opprobrium of doning a green monster suit in an effort to stop people littering :] This (poor) guy just needs more tips on how to get that message across. (for one, the vid should be half the length at least, which is pretty easily achieved using cheap video editors).

I would say that UK online video, from what I can see, is still in the 'taking off' stage compared to elsewhere (like, er, France). But having looked around it's clear that the potential audiences - yes, including localised audiences - are huge.

It's another channel with mass potential. I s'pose, given how we're barely if at all in others it might seem a little pointless but with viral video it's amazing how quickly something pops up which, er, 'hits the spot'. and I would be the last to be shocked if this actually came from some enterprising council officer prepared to make a fool of himself. And in a good way!

Project 10 to the 100th

Good ad. Sucked me in.

You could either view this as good ethical corporate marketing or something more. I'm trying to be positive ....

And more ...

The Corpus Clock & Chronophage

Saw this close up today for the first time (HT: Tris) - just as a tourist guide arrived saying "and here is Cambridge's latest attraction."

F+++ing amazing sight.

What is a Chronophage?


Daily Show, August 9, 2004

Dominic Lawson: Here we go again: another dirty fight

Monday, September 22

Music: Norman Whitfield

The legendary writer, arranger and producer past away yesterday.

Marvin Gaye

Gladys Knight & The Pips


Edwin Starr

Rose Royce

Barack Obama’s bold economic recovery plan

Obama Promises To Stop America's Shitty Jobs From Going Overseas

The Onion hitting the spot ...

Sunday, September 21

Both Bosco and Babi deported, government and airline condemned

Cross-posted from LGBT asylum news

Campaigners have lost two gay asylum seekers to deportation over the past two days. Both are returning to unsafe situations where they are at real risk of violence, one has documented evidence of a death threat, and in both cases lawyers for the men believe the deportations are illegal.

The deportations occurred despite assurances from the Deputy Prime Minister to correct unfair treatment of LGBT asylum seekers.

John 'Bosco' Nyombi was deported on a flight to Entebbe, Uganda on Friday evening. He has managed to briefly borrow a phone (he didn't have one) to contact UK supporters and is now in hiding from police.

His story has been featured in the Ugandan Press within the last few days including an up-to-date photo of him.

He is in danger of being murdered by Ugandan extremists who are homophobic and he is in danger from Ugandan government political supporters who murdered Bosco's brother because of his high-profile political opposition.

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission issued an action alert on Thursday because of the escalating violence directed at the emerging LGBT community in Uganda.

Bosco's solicitors believe that the deportation was "an illegal act of the UK Border Agency".

Bosco is a former bank manager who spent the past six years caring for mentally challenged people in Southampton.

Babakhan (Babi) Badalov was deported from Heathrow Airport yesterday afternoon on a British Midlands Airways (BMI) plane to Baku.

The deportation was described by his supporters as appearing to go against the UK Border Agency's rules as they changed the details of Babi’s forced removal at the last minute and did so on a Saturday.

Babi reported being told by a Border Agent, "you make us sick, you're going back where you belong.”

He was due to fly earlier in the day on Azerbaijan Airlines but the airline refused to take him after they were contacted by supporters of Babi. As soon as supporters learned of the change of airline to BMI they attempted to contact them, however many were not able to get through and claim that the Press Officer of BMI's contact number was deliberately switched off.

A medical assesment conducted on Friday had strongly recommended that Babi required a mental health check and an appointment with a neurologist had been arranged. His local MP Jenny Willotts has made strong representations for Babi urging the Home Office not to deport him.

Further, Peter Tatchell, who was contacted by Deputy Prime Minister Harriet Harman, after she was booed at the London Pride Rally in July because of the government's approach to LGBT asylum, contacted Harman about Babi:

He (Babi) is scheduled for deportation despite him being in the process of filing a new asylum claim with fresh evidence. This new evidence includes one of his brothers threatening to kill him on grounds that he had shamed the family by being gay. There are also new witness statements detailing Babi’s history of violent, homophobic persecution in Azerbaijan.

In these circumstances, his removal should be put on hold until he has an opportunity to put forward this new evidence to an asylum tribunal.
Tatchell says that when he recently met Harriet Harman, she and Barbara Follett MP sagreed to examine and assist in the correction of any unfair treatment of LGBT asylum applicants.

Babi emailed the following message to supporters on Sunday:
His supporters said:
If anything happens to Babi in Azerbaijan, British government and the BMI airline will bear the ultimate responsibility for that.

Please write to BMI stating that you will ensure none of your friends and family travel with them in the future, that you will campaign ceaselessly against them, for they have acted selfishly, with no regard to an individual’s health and mental well-being.

Let’s make sure they experience a backlash.
The editor of Scotsgay Magazine John Heim noted that the MD of airline BMI is gay man Sir Michael David Bishop CBE.

In the wake of the deportations, gayasylumuk reiterated its call made on Thursday for two things:
1. maximum embarrassment and a collective 'turning of the back' by UK LGBT and all right thinking people, particularly as the governing Labour Party conducts its annual conference in Manchester next week
2. signatures to the petition initiated by the Rev. Walter Attwood to Gordon Brown []
Noting that the government has flown rainbow flags from Eastern European embassies, they also reiterated their call made earlier this year that:
"Gay and lesbian Labour voters in particular consider changing their vote if the [LGBT asylum] policy isn't changed before the next election. This is one way to get the message through on their hypocrisy regarding lesbian and gay rights issues — when embassies in other countries are flying the rainbow flag they aren't doing this in Tehran, Kingston or Kampala."