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Saturday, February 14

The effect of Jacqui Smith on 'Fitna' views

This is the increase in blogs posting Geert Wilders' film after Jacqui Smith gave it the 'oxygen of publicity'.

Now at 1,279,896 views.

Serious point. This film contains images which are filtered from 'western eyes' but circulate widely in the rest of the world. This doesn't just mean images of terrorist aftermaths but images of wars we support. Images which turned public opinion against the Vietnam war. Images which allow us to judge wars.

Fitna attacks a religion but all religions have ancient texts which can be misinterpreted. Wilder's problem is in attacking a people rather than an ideology. He critiques Muslims rather than just Islamists. But he does not advocate violence.

Smith, in banning him, is a hypocrite. Not least because she allows violent homophobes entry. And the 'bounce' he enjoys from her actions demolishes her stated purpose.

Cute animals: kingsford the pig

Kingsford Goes to the Beach - Watch more amazing videos here

What's not to like?

This way madness lies ....

Another Thatcher legacy? Or Gordon's?

From a post to the PSF Noticeboard:

Can Local Government accounting be simplified to make day-to-day management of services more businesslike and easier? Do we really need to employ accountants in order to have the IT department charging the HR department for the PC that is sitting on someone's desk in a corner of a room? If someone takes an air freshener to a different building is it really a cost to the organisation?
The poster asks: 'Does it make analysis of the true cost of services difficult?' Er, doh.

Gawd, I hate bureaucracy ...

The Consortium of Pub-going, Loose and Forward Women


Indians outraged at an attack on women for drinking in a bar have gathered together to send a provocative gift of underwear to right-wing activists.

More than 5,000 people, including men, have joined the Facebook group, which calls itself the Consortium of Pub-going, Loose and Forward Women.

The group says it will give the pink underwear to Sri Ram Sena (Army of Lord Ram) on Valentine's Day on Saturday.

It was blamed for the bar attack in the southern city of Mangalore last month.

Pramod Mutalik, who heads the little known Ram Sena and is now on bail after he was held following the attack, has said it is "not acceptable" for women to go to bars in India.

He has also said his men will protest against Valentine's Day on Saturday.

The Consortium of Pub-going, Loose and Forward Women, which was formed on Facebook last Thursday, has also exhorted women to "walk to the nearest pub and buy a drink" on Valentine's Day.

A spokeswoman for the group, Nisha Susan, told the BBC it was giving chaddis (Hindi colloquial for underwear) as they alluded to a prominent Hindu right-wing group whose khaki-shorts-wearing cadres were often derisively called "chaddi wallahs" (chaddi wearers).

"We chose the colour pink because it is a frivolous colour," she said.


Friday, February 13

"This is why I'm not impressed with LabourList"

Dear Derek Draper: what have you started?

HT: Iain Dale

Twitter ...

Where the Scrapbook clips goes to live .. (although I still have the draft posts to deal with).


Wednesday, February 11

Pegah Emambakhsh has asylum!

Oh this is fantastic news. Just been informed that the Iranian lesbian Pegah Emambakhsh, after YEARS, detention and one heck of a fight, has finally won asylum status from the b+++++d UK Home Office.

This is fantastic news and very significant.

Her case has 'gone quiet' over the past year, after a lot of activism which extended to pleas from the Italian Prime Minister. Usually this means the worst - 'go 'home' and stay in the closet' is the message from the Home Office. Including to Iranians lesbians who don't exist according to the Iranian President but in reality face stoning and 'honour' killing.

But here, her lawyers must have out-maneuvered the lawyers in the 'chuck 'em out' section of the Home Office.

Bouncing around the room. This is one in the eye for Jacqui Smith.

Streep on sexism

'Oscars: 26 men and one women = normal. 26 women and one man = what the f**k'

You go girlfriend. Love her.

NSFW: Sony releases new piece of shit machine that doesn't f#&*ing work

Sony Releases New Stupid Piece Of Shit That Doesn't Fucking Work

NSFW: Every swear word ever uttered on The Sopranos in chronological order

the sopranos, uncensored. from victor solomon on Vimeo.

27 minutes of f*****g.

Priceless. And somewhat, er, dedicated.

For the, er, 'socio-political' context of f**k, looking forward to this doco.

Robot killers of doooom!

How TV should do user contribution

Australia's ABC (their BBC) has a fantastic 'contribute' channel which is packed full of photos and video of the bushfires. Much better content showing you what it's like as fire comes over the mountain and of the aftermath than what's to be found on YouTube.

And they're truly shareable! Very impressive, why can't the Beeb do something like this?

This one especially shows you what the wind speed's like.

Sky blocked out and smoke everywhere at Buln Buln

Tuesday, February 10

"I want to live without fear"

My friend, the artist Babi Badalov was deported back to to Azerbaijan by Jacqui Smith a few months back. After going into hiding in Baku for a while, Babi fled to St Petersburg.

As Russia is still a deeply homophobic country, he feared for his safety and entered the EU, making it to Paris where he now lives. Quickly finding support he made this video - activists all around Europe are aware of him and his case.

He has again applied for asylum and I really just hope that France will be more civilised towards him that the UK was.

Babi posts on LGBT asylum news

Who knew?

Great idea from the LibDems. A meme of '25 random things' is going their rounds, post Facebook. Politicians are answering. Read around to get a real flavour of various personalities (i.e. Iain Dale). Hope it catches on.

From well-known slag Nick Clegg we learn:

  • he's eaten fried bees
  • he rides a moped
  • he is a bad ski instructor
  • he did daily transcendental meditation
  • he's a bird killer
  • he worked for Christopher Hitchens
  • he likes mangoes
Good idea (especially the mangoes). Camerooon? How about the Aussie Chaser's War On Everything meme: 'who would you go gay for?'

Result for the future Aussie PM?
Kevin Rudd did make an appearance on the show, and clearly planned his response well in advance. The Rudd man considered Dame Edna for a moment - perhaps not realising she’s a classy country housewife and far too modest for such shenanigans.

He then pondered the possibility of coupling with Kath & Kim’s Kjell Knight, for his “style, sophistication and unique power walk.” I’m not sure whether or not that was Fraud’s way of alluding to Rudd’s secret attraction to his power-walking nemesis, John Howard.

In the end, it appeared that Kjell Knight was already taken by fellow Rove guest, Jason Donovan. Given that, Rudd resigned to the safe answer by claiming that his wife, Terese, was the only one for him. Of course, Rove latched on to the awkward mystery created by that statement, by asking Kevin if that meant his wife was a man. In typically embarrassed fashion, Rudd only chuckled his non-response to that dig.
Owh ... where's slag Cleggy on that meme :} Or trussed up Brown. Or monsieur closet Mandleson ...

Moi? ('25 random things', not 'gay for' ... )

What don't you know from my blog posts?

Beware! Malicious valentine's e-cards

HT: Jack

Barbie's all grown up

.. and a slag.

HT: Toby

Monday, February 9


Beaten into submission (you know who you are!), I'm on it.

Too late to be Paul, I have to be Paolo ('your request, señor?').

Who are we

Strangely proud of Iain Dale today.

Strangely? Because he's a Tory and I'm not. We may both be gay but so what.

What we agree on is that the treatment of Yasmin Alibhai-Brown MBE tells us something is wrong in the UK. (Maybe the gay thing isn't so irrelevant after all.)

Alibhai-Brown is an Independent columist and commentator.

In a highly personal and moving video on the Guardian's site (fix this Guardian, put in ads like the US networks, embedding makes monetisation sense!) she describes her treatment as a Muslim attempting to travel to Scotland.


Tell me you aren't ashamed at what our country has become when a middle aged muslim woman of Asian descent can be treated like this. She was questioned at length by plain clothes police officers who never once told her who they were or why she was being questioned. They frightened her so much she wet herself.

Draper's crowd should be proud of themselves. They rail against imagined racism, yet introduce laws which allow muslim women to be traduced like this. In the video, Yasmin says she loves this country. Hearing how this country treated her, I could forgive her if she had had other thoughts.

Yasmin and I agree on virtually nothing. Where she is right wing (and on some social issues she is) I am not, and where she is left wing I am not. So whatever your opinions of her writings and opinions, I hope you will agree with me, that when this sort of thing happens, for no apparent reason, it is grounds for us all to be concerned about what is happening to our liberties.
I was under the impression that we fought wars so British citizens weren't treated like this.

But to Dale's commentators Alibhai-Brown is NuLabor, someone who deserves this treatment, someone who invited it, someone who does not deserve sympathy. To them, those wars were fought for purely 'British' people, not her.

To them I say that sympathy is a British value. The same value which should be extended to gay men or lesbians fleeing Iran or Iraq — otherwise what are we but just another country? Or just the imperialist country everyone else thinks we are that behaved like thugs, racists and vandals down the years?

Strangely proud to be British in finding this agreement with Iain Dale.

NSFW! Buy Your Own Damn Fries

MashUp. MashUp. MashUp.

+ why has it taken this long? ... the audio book's been out for motherf**king ages!

[Crap techno version that the Daily Mail is talkin' up as it has naughty words innit.]

Obama Tells Beyonce He Likes "Single Ladies," Does Hand Flip. NB: +6'40". Filmed by the great John Legend.

Lifted comment of the moment:
I am a 51 year old white pro life evangelical Chrisitan and I have a crush on him!!!!

Sunday, February 8

Need an accessibility advocate?

I can't think of a better accessibility champion, exponent, evangelist and spokesperson than Stevie Wonder.

From an interview with Popular Science:

Though blind, Wonder has mastered the visually-oriented personal computer—both PCs and Macs. He edits all his music using sophisticated programs such as Steinberg Cubase and Apple Logic Pro. When a program presents a roadblock (for example, not providing audio feedback to direct him), he uses third-party accessibility software or asks [Lamar Mitchell, one of his technology assistants] to write macros that automate complex tasks.

At this year's Consumer Electronics Show, Wonder presented his Vision Free awards to 19 companies and organizations for making products that the blind can use. Some were deliberate efforts, such as a news reading service for the blind created by National Public Radio, iBiquity Digital and radio manufacturer DICE Electronics. Others made accessible products "without even realizing that they were doing it," said Wonder. BlueAnt's V1 Voice Control Headset was designed because even sighted people can't see the buttons or LCD of a device on the side of their heads. But those features also make the Bluetooth headset useable for blind people.

POPSCI: Do you think the blind and visually impaired, and perhaps also deaf and hearing impaired, are more tech savvy because technology helps them in some ways?

WONDER: Well I think obviously it is important for them to gravitate to what can possibly give them some ways into the things that they have to do…For a blind person, if you hear about a thing like a camera that can take a picture of a page and speak it out to you, of course you want to use that.

So the key is for the government to subsidize such things so they are, cost-wise, what a normal person can afford.

POPSCI: Do you think the huge advances in technology in the past ten, twenty years have made life easier or harder for people who have any impairment? Or has it been a mixed bag?

WONDER: I think it's definitely made life easier. But if you're going to make products easier for a person who can see, to have this more convenient, then make it accessible for the person who is blind or deaf. I hear manufacturers say, "Oh, we forgot about that," or "Oh, that's interesting." Well, think! Make your products a convenience for everyone. Be an all-inclusive company.

[Pet peeves?] A lot of the things with a touch screen. It's impossible to use. So if you're going to do that, then maybe provide some kind of overlay that will allow accessibility to the product for users who are blind…

I think the more that people understand and are able to have information, then the more possibility that someone will find a key to peace.

I have this song that I wrote which is called All About the Love Again… And it says:

What if someone made a soda that caused everyone to love each other.

Ummm, oh yeah, sounds good, so good to me

And if just a tiny pill would make us see that we're all truly sisters and brothers

Ummm, oh yeah that sounds so nice to me


You know, GPS is an incredible thing…When I have it on and I'm riding around, I notice the different signs. And I see that the spelling of what they are saying for those names isn't anything like how I thought they would be spelled.

And what I've learned is that because sighted people are able to read all the time and see things, it becomes like second nature…So I understand now why a person who's sighted can really read more fluently—because they are always seeing these letters, seeing these words in some form or another.

And then it allows you to understand the ways and the habits of a sighted world.

HT: Chris


MJ Ray has emailed me to point to an interview on BBC News 24's Click with Stevie.

"We're surrounded by fire ... please send help"

My heart sank today on reading of the death toll in Australia's bushfires. Hundreds of houses burnt to the ground and no end in sight.

I was never close to a bushfire in my time in Sydney but during one year fires raged in both the national parks to the north and south. In the north they spread into the ravines which divide the suburbs, coming within maybe ten kilometres of the city centre.

They were so big that in central Sydney the entire sky at night was red, everywhere you looked except east. And in the air was smoke, embers and bits of burnt vegetation.

Sydney is a huge city, maybe seven times the size of London. And across the whole area people could see and feel these bushfires. This gives you some idea of the scale.

It's the same in Melbourne now, many kilometers from the fires.

To give you some idea of just how terrifying it is to be in the middle of this listen to this call to a Melbourne radio station made by a woman trapped in a house with eight others surrounded by flames. Fortunately this has a happy ending as her young brother manages to drive a tractor through to save them.

There's also a lot of social media reports: Google organised map; Twitter; Flickr; Facebook group.

"One thing about Mother Nature. When she gives you a kick in the guts, she gives you a kick in the guts."
CFA bloke speaking to a community in Victoria
Bushfires in Australia are completely natural. Many plants require them to reproduce and it's amazing to see ravaged eucalyptus forest relatively quickly coming back to life.

But there is real reason to suspect that the combination of a severe lack of rain, incredible temperatures plus very strong winds which have worsened these fires are not entirely natural. Studies have shown an increased risk across south-east Australia due to climate change.

Australia Greens Senator, Bob Brown said:
Global warming is predicted to make this sort of event happen 25 per cent, 50 per cent more.

It's a sobering reminder of the need for this nation and the whole world to act and put at a priority our need to tackle climate change.