New blog

All new content on my restarted blog is here

Saturday, October 18

Music: RIP Levi Stubbs

It's The Same Old Song from 1966.

Reach Out! I'll be there!

More recently, in a truly moving performance with Aretha.

Friday, October 17

Caption competition

Election funnies

There's been lots of comment in reports about 'things we don't do in British elections' — y'know, head-to-head debates and the like — here's another thing: roasts:

I don't want it getting out of this room but my opponent is an impressive fellow in many ways. Political opponents can have a little trouble seeing the best in each other. But I have had a few glimpses of this man at his best. And I admire his great skill, energy, and determination.

It's not for nothing that he has inspired so many folks in his own party and beyond. Senator Obama talks about making history and he has made quite a bit of it already. There was a time when the mere invitation of an African-American citizen to dine at the White House was taken as an outrage and an insult in many corridors.

Today is a world away from the cruel and prideful bigotry of that time and good riddance.

I can't wish my opponent luck but I do wish him well.

Contrary to the rumors you have heard, I was not born in a manger. I was actually born on Krypton and sent here by my father Jor El to save the planet Earth.

Many of you -- many of you know that I got my name, Barack, from my father. What you may not know is that Barack is actually Swahili for 'that one'. And I got my middle name from somebody who obviously didn't think I'd ever run for President.

If I had to name my greatest strength, I guess it would be my humility. Greatest weakness, it's possible that I'm a little too awesome.

One other thing, I have never, not once, put lipstick on a pig or a pit bull or myself. Rudy Giuliani, that's one for you. I mean -- who would have thought that a cross-dressing mayor from New York City would have a tough time running the republican nomination?

It's shocking. That was a tough primary you had there, John. Anyway, anyway ...
I can vaguely imagine David doing this but Gordon? Nick?

Wednesday, October 15

Two stories from the other world

One of India’s most isolated tribes, the Dongria Kondh, is preparing to stop British FTSE 100 company Vedanta from mining aluminium ore on their sacred mountain, after police and hired thugs forced protestors to dismantle a barricade over the weekend.

About 150 people had blocked the road in Orissa state on Wednesday after hearing that Vedanta intended to start survey work for a planned aluminium mine which would destroy an ecologically vital hill, and the Dongria Kondh’s most sacred site. Vedanta employees visited the blockade repeatedly, threatening the protestors. On Friday the villagers gave in and took down the barricade, but about 100 are still at the side of the road, blocking traffic when Vedanta vehicles approach.

Vedanta is majority owned by London-based Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal.

Today, Dongria Kondh from all over Niyamgiri, the hill range that would be decimated by Vedanta’s mine, are making arrows and preparing their axes to stop Vedanta reaching their sacred mountain. One Dongria man said today ‘Now our people are very angry. We have to show the Dongria Kondh power to Vedanta.’

When India’s Supreme Court gave Vedanta the green light in August to mine on Dongria land, around 40 Dongrias used tree trunks to block a road leading into their hills, and held banners reading, ‘We are Dongria Kondh. Vedanta can not take our mountain.’

The mountain that Vedanta wants to mine is not only the Dongria Kondh’s most sacred site, it is also integral to the entire ecosystem of the hills, enabling the numerous streams and lush forests which sustain the Dongrias to continue to thrive.


Indians from the Enawene Nawe tribe in the Brazilian Amazon occupied and shut down the site of a huge hydroelectric dam on Saturday, destroying equipment, in an attempt to save the river that runs through their land.

The Enawene Nawe say the 77 dams to be built on the River Juruena will pollute the water and stop the fish reaching their spawning grounds. Fish is crucial to the Enawene Nawe’s diet as they do not eat red meat. It also plays a vital part in their rituals.

‘If the fish get sick and die so will the Enawene Nawe,’ said one member of the tribe.

Companies led by the world’s largest soya producers, the Maggi family, are pushing for the construction of the dams. Soya baron Blairo Maggi is also the governor of Mato Grosso state.

The Enawene Nawe number only five hundred, and live in one village in large communal houses around a central square. They were first contacted in 1974 by Jesuit missionaries. They chose for many years to have very little interaction with the outside world, but threats to their land have led them to campaign vigorously for their rights.


I've commented before about the BBC's - well - shit coverage of the US election and they are still featuring stories about a McCain comeback.

Ain't going to happen.

Much as they, and many others, were talking about a Hillary comeback well after it became statistically impossible.

I should have laid a bookies bet when the odds were a lot better.

I had an interesting conversation about this at the weekend about, essentially, how repthugs might steal the election. My take: a landslide will take care of it. Only in a close election, like 2000 (Florida) and 2004 (Ohio) can they utilise their various tactics to remove Dem votes and result in Repthug victories.

But this doesn't mean they are not trying. The latest sign of desperation is to claim that a voter registration effort called ACORN amounts to a voter stealing effort. Trouble is they are facing a Dem 'ground game', driven by the internet, which has never, ever been seen before. has been traveling around and documenting this, but it just builds on the grassroots, netroots tactics I've been reporting for months.

And this is already playing out in a massive turnout,. In early voting Obama is 23% ahead.

Another meme trotted out by people like - ahem - the BBC's US correspondents is the so-called Bradley Effect. Namely that whites will say they'll vote for the black guy but don't in the end. According to the pundits, this means that Barack needs to be at least 6% ahead to take account of this.

Trouble is that this is a myth, in the primaries Obama consistenttly out performed the polls. Plus although there may be some of this, there is also the reverse.

What has been relied on in the past is, essentially, cheating and it's no less evident this time around.

From the potential for electronic vote tampering - which is being countered by a grass-roots infiltration campign - to a foreclosure-based remove-the-vote effort to:

Despite eight years of federal and state efforts to create a more standardized, higher-tech national framework for election administration, most state votes will still be administered by county election boards whose competence and equipment vary wildly.

"In South Florida you've got areas that are going to be on their third separate voting technology in their third consecutive presidential election," said Doug Chapin, the editor of the non-partisan "Ohio once again is in ground zero for policy changes and litigation."

Florida, the state that has been synonymous with Election Day chaos since the 2000 recount, remains especially troubled despite intense local efforts to remedy its problems. A 2006 congressional election was marred by a dispute concerning more than 18,000 "undervotes" on ballots that registered votes for some offices but not for the congressional race itself. The losing campaign claimed that unusually high number of undervotes was due to a software glitch on "touch-screen" voting machines.

The newest state on the list of potential troublespots is shadowed by a disastrous election in Denver two years ago. Denver County responded by scrapping its machines and reverting to old-fashioned paper ballots and printed lists of voters this year, but critics are still worried about the state's capacity to manage the surge of registrations in a closely fought race.
It is the grass/net roots which is now so huge and so organised which is countering any of this - but in the foreground it's the landslide poll numbers across all the key states which is wiping it out as relevant.

Quote from Ben Smith's blog from a Repthug consultant:
Reagan Dems and Independents. Call them blue-collar plus. Slightly more Target than Walmart.

Yes, the spot worked. Yes, they believed the charges against Obama. Yes, they actually think he's too liberal, consorts with bad people and WON'T BE A GOOD PRESIDENT...but they STILL don't give a f***. They said right out, "He won't do anything better than McCain" but they're STILL voting for Obama.

The two most unreal moments of my professional life of watching focus groups:

54 year-old white male, voted Kerry '04, Bush '00, Dole '96, hunter, NASCAR fan...hard for Obama said: "I'm gonna hate him the minute I vote for him. He's gonna be a bad president. But I won't ever vote for another god-damn Republican. I want the government to take over all of Wall Street and bankers and the car companies and Wal-Mart run this county like we used to when Reagan was President."

The next was a woman, late 50s, Democrat but strongly pro-life. Loved B. and H. Clinton, loved Bush in 2000. "Well, I don't know much about this terrorist group Barack used to be in with that Weather guy but I'm sick of paying for health insurance at work and that's why I'm supporting Barack."

I felt like I was taking crazy pills. I sat on the other side of the glass and realized...this really is the Apocalypse. The Seventh Seal is broken and its time for eight years of pure, delicious crazy....
There isn't much doubt that everything will be tried but there also isn't much doubt that - bar the completely unforeseen - it's all over bar the shouting.

This explains why Repthugs are running for the hills and the excuses are starting to be made.

Monday, October 13

Sunday, October 12

Reader apology

I've had some complaints about the Sarah Palin game which runs below - it loads automatically, along with it's sound. Which is obviously potentially very annoying (unless you like banjos).

Thing is, the game has been linked to from the Alaskan blog Mudflats. This blog has been news central since the Palin VP pick was announced and as a result of the link from there I am getting more hits than I have ever had.

So patience please, dear regulars :]