Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Ryanair. Immoral bastards.

Congratulations to cheapo airline Ryanair. Not only do they cheapen airline tickets they cheapen society with their sordid view of the world.

They're not afraid of controversy and their 'Back to School Fares' advertising campaign is one in a line of intentionally offensive adverts aimed at gaining media inches, using the theory that there's no such thing as bad publicity. But lets be fair to them, the advert fits their target market profile of male readers looking for cheap flights to seedy sex tourism hotspots.

Now it has positioned itself as:

Ryanair - the 'Carry On' airline and the carrier of choice for perverts!

Also, with the refusal to respect the decision of the Advertising Standards Authority's ruling over their 'schoolgirl' ads, Ryanair has helpfully highlighted how powerless and pointless the voluntary code system is, and that industry simply cannot regulate itself or be expected to be socially responsible.

Since they are so vehemently anti censorship, I'm sure that Ryanair will respect my opinion that they are greedy immoral fuckwits who cynically encourage fantasies of child sex to sell plane tickets.

Seriously fucking creepy.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Fire on waste mountain

Last year Councillor Michael Clare, Lead Member Environment, Housing and Transport on South Tyneside Council, declared that no waste incinerator would be built in South Tyneside.

In today's Sunderland Echo, we have a bit of a revelation:

"Secret documents seen by the Echo reveal officials are looking into burning the city's rubbish, along with Gateshead's and South Tyneside's, to create energy in the way power stations generate electricity by burning coal and gas."

Otherwise known as incineration. But not to worry South Tynesiders, Coun Clare is there to protect us. Or perhaps not.

Fiona Brown, project director for the Waste Management Partnership, said:

"... a number of possible sites for the waste treatment facility have been identified in all three council areas, but the partnership could not reveal the locations for "commercial reasons" in case the land had to be bought."

All three council areas.

To be honest we don't really know what's going on. The three councils involved have buttoned up the waste strategy under the cloak of commercial confidentiality. Several Freedom of Information requests have been rejected. Not to protect the commercial interests of the companies involved - but to protect the three councils.

Sunderland council is debating the strategy tomorrow, and council papers issued in advance suggest that the public may be asked to leave the public gallery during the debate.

Local democracy in action.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Escape from Justice

Killer and tyrant General Suharto of Indonesia died in his bed, instead of rotting in a jail cell. Suharto, aided in his campaign to crush his opponents and rip off his country by the UK, US and in some measure, Australia, has evaded justice. But rather than denouncing Suharto, the world's politicians have been gently ambiguous to the point of being kind.

An indication that the change in government in Australia hasn't really changed the its approach to Indonesia was evidenced in Kevin Rudd's sickly euphemistic quote:

"The former president was also a controversial figure in respect of human rights and East Timor, and many have disagreed with his approach."

'Controversial' eh? Is that controversial like Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein and Pol Pot or controversial like an offside decision? What a simpering fuckwit. Rudd had an opportunity to make a break with the past and say it like it was. He didn't, and joins Hawke and Keating in a role-call of Australian prime ministers licking corrupt Indonesian backside.

He's not alone though, the United States ambassador to Jakarta Cameron Hume continued with the controversy theme, saying, "Though there may be some controversy over his legacy, President Suharto was a historic figure who left a lasting imprint on Indonesia and the region". Given that the US supplied Suharto with a list of people to bump off when he seized power in 1965 and endorsed the brutal 'annexation' of East Timor in 1975 I guess he also refers to the US government's legacy of collusion which left the lasting imprint of the hundreds of thousands of graves of those murdered.

Our own government has been fairly silent on Suharto, other than Miliband sending a message of condolence to the Indonesian government. What did it say? Sorry the murdering bastard is dead? Can we sell you some guns? And this not long after him signing Amnesty International's book marking the 60th anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights. Right on Dave, power to ya!

But Labour's support for Indonesia's oppressive regime is not new - this was the regime for whom Robin Cook sold his principles and integrity - for the price of some Hawk jet bombers. Cook got a great deal; in 1997/98, the UK was the biggest supplier of arms to Indonesia.

I suppose sooner or later evil dictator groupie Margaret Thatcher will announce her sorrow at Suharto's death (assuming someone can prise her dusty soulless bones out of her coffin), and probably dribble some barely coherent revisionist bollocks about how he turned Indonesia's economy round and fought communism. She said it about other evil bastards like Reagan and Pinochet so I think I'm fairly safe. "One of our very best and most valuable friends", she once said of Suharto. Valuable indeed - he bought a shit load of weapons off us to terrorise Indonesia and the countries he invaded.

If there was a hell, there would be a nice long hot poker reserved just for him and his back passage to become acquainted with for eternity. There isn't; instead the mass murderer and thief is being given a hero's funeral and the dubious plaudits of morally vacant politicians the world over.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Holocaust Memorial Day - light a candle

I can't say it better than the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust:

"Nazi ideology was founded on racism, anti-semitism and discrimination, creating a fascist state that rejected human and civil rights. The evils of prejudice, discrimination and intolerance continue to exist in Britain. We have lessons to apply today, as individuals, communities and institutions within our society. Hate crimes and attacks against people because of race or ethnicity; sexuality; disability; or religion continue to take place. HMD acts as a reminder to all of us of our responsibility to protect the civil and human rights of all people in our society and around the world."

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Hateful bastards

It's sad to see actor Heath Ledger die so tragically, but frankly I don't really care about his celebrity - but I can appreciate the work he has done. Let his family and friends celebrate his life and mourn his passing with respect and dignity.

However, it seems that respect and dignity aren't in one Christian group's vocabulary - the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church. The group, infamous for picketing the funerals of US soldiers killed in Iraq, making their point with placards saying things like 'Gods Hates Fags', has decided to protest at US memorial services for Heath Ledger. They have singled him out because of his role as a gay character in the movie Brokeback Mountain, and have proclaimed that Ledger has gone to hell.

These dopey inbred cousin-fuckers don't know when to shut the fuck up. Sooner or later a US citizen's right to free speech they abuse with their hateful tripe will tragically come up against a US citizen's right to carry a gun.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

You've been framed

A couple of weeks ago Curly commented on the lamentable attitude of some police officers towards photography in public places. I was reminded of a blog entry on prisonlawinsideout, which I've dug out here. These numbskulls in the video below were poised to arrest someone for a law that doesn't exist. Well, not yet anyway.

Whilst many suspect that our police are developing an "arrest first, decide what for later" philosophy, this video suggests that it's closer to "arrest, who cares what for".

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Compass me baby

The Political Compass has hit local blogs and we're all anxious to wear our digitally decided political hearts on our sleeves.

Curly, Bryan and Northern Herald have all had a go. Since the Mindless Sheep Compass website cast me as "you will follow a herd of ambivalent bunnies to places where lemmings fear to tread", I thought, what the heck, give it a go.

I'm still not sure what a libertarian collectivist is though...


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Nuclearsaurus rex

If there was any evidence that Sir David King is fast losing his credibility as a scientist and becoming a corporate whore, it's his assertion that greens are "keen to take us back to the 18th or even the 17th century". This is the kind of bollocks you would expect from loony right wingers.

His new book "The Hot Topic" seems to be aimed at the market that is warm to Bjorn Lomborg's pseudo denial philosophy, one in which the solutions are purely a matter of technology, and ignores the kind of societal changes that are needed.

King is a dinosaur, where his rosy 1950s vision of technology and consumption being the only recourse to tackle climate change.

But don't take it from me. PunkScience puts it much more succinctly.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Gooed fun

Adland has long farmed the popular media for advertising inspiration, then rip it off.

Camelot's Christmas advert featuring the house covered in lights synchronised to music will be old hat to anyone who has seen the original version here. Then there was the Virgin credit card's shameless 'homage' to Danny Wallace's Yes Man concept.

Now we have the new campaign for Cadbury's Creme Eggs "Here today, goo tomorrow", featuring kamikaze creme eggs. Any similarity to the hilarious Bunny Suicides concept is purely coincidental.


Monday, January 07, 2008

Terror Vision

If anything illustrates how badly thought out the concept and operation of the National DNA Database, it's this article from El Reg. David Mery was arrested on the Tube in London in July 2005 for "suspicious behaviour and public nuisance". His crime, carrying a rucksack and wearing a big jacket. Considering the de Menezes killing, at least Mr Mery lived to tell the tale. After he was released without charge, he has fought to have his DNA details removed from the database. His fight has highlighted the complete lack of controls in the NDNAD, which inevitably means that instead of an objectively managed system we have a mechanism that is in the hands of a subjective powerful few, without adequate or open checks and balances.

His website gives a Kafkaesque account of his arrest and subsequent treatment under the much abused anti-terror laws, and the casual contempt the police have towards citizens and their rights. One man's story, one of many, illustrating our slow slide into a police state - all in the name of the War Against Terror.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Snow day

After a minor family medical panic early this morning I retired to Café Nero on King Street for a chill-out coffee. It had just started snowing (again) and I managed to get this shot. By the time I had finished my Latté the snow had already melted.


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Junk fool

I'd hoped not to start the year with a pop at the guardians of high moral fibre and religious doctrine, but this beauty in Sunday's Observer couldn't be missed.

Not content with letting the religious fundies in the developing world hog all the kooky kudos that fanaticalism brings, it seems a few of our home-grown holy men are after the dubious honour of being known as fundamentalist nutters too.

In the past the Roman Catholic Bishop of Lancaster, Patrick O'Donoghue, has challenged both the Trident replacement project and the demonisation of immigrants. On those points I agree with him - they are fair and ethical points to raise.

But now he has authored a report called Fit For Mission which includes descriptions of the measures Catholic schools should introduce to indoctrinate their pupils.

Among his proposals is that crucifixes should be displayed. Pretty much a no-brainer for a Roman Catholic school. You wouldn't expect to go into the MacDonald's Hamburger University without seeing the Golden Arches.

But in a line which will have some African Anglican bishops drooling with medieval appreciation, O'Donoghue stepped into the contraception arena and railed against barrier protection, because of "the deluded theory that the condom can provide adequate protection against Aids".

I wonder if the Bishop could really care less about AIDS, other than as a good 'ole smiting tool for the Big Cahuna as punishment for sex outside marriage, or for chaps engaging in conjoined posterior action. His foremost concern seems to be in ensuring that the young Catholic faithful get it from an early age that they don't do contraception - just abstinence. Pure indoctrination.

As the guide to Fit for Mission says, "All our Primary and Secondary schools should be at the cutting edge of the ‘New Evangelisation’ at every level", and that the "priority of mission must be at the heart of the school ethos". Here's me thinking educashun is wot skools r 4.

If it was just a standard doctrinal issue then it wouldn't be important - in practice most Catholics ignore doctrine on contraception already. Perhaps the Bishop knows that Catholics are drifting from this Papal diktat, so he wants to push his hardline dogma on children to bring the next generations into line. If it's taught in class that condom use is based upon a 'deluded theory', it becomes pure evangelical propaganda - not education.

Hopefully the schools in the Lancaster diocese will ignore this particular direction.

Knowing that children are impressionable and particularly susceptible to repeated messages, the advertising of junk food to children during children's' TV shows has been banned. What about banning the Bishop's junk philosophy from young ears too?