Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Monday, June 27, 2011

It is my responsibility to enforce all the laws that haven't been passed yet.

No, not another speech by Allen West, but the mighty Frank Zappa, with the first two tracks from Joe's Garage, an album inspired in part by the Khomeini regime in Iran who had just effectively banned music.

The title track itself is a wonderful homage to 50s and 60s bands, while the Central Scrutinizer combines clever lyrics ("....everyday activities which may attract...THE DEATH PENALTY....or affect your parents' credit rating....") with quite the funkiest accompaniment you will ever hear.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mercury Residues

I was watching a BBC documentary recently about the rivalry between Harold Wilson and Edward Heath, who took turns being Prime Minister around the time I started voting (and Wilson became PM in the first election I really remember noticing as a kid - maybe I paid more attention because my parents didn't like him).

Anyway, one of the talking heads filling us in on details about Wilson was Joe Haines, who was his Press Secretary for many years. And it struck me that the only reason I knew his name was because of a song by Lal Waterson entitled "A Reply To Joe Haines".

Nearly six years ago I wrote

I can never hear references to the Peabody Mining Corporation without thinking of the Prine song. Songs have to be one of the best ways of getting your retaliation in first with posterity. Who can hear the name William Zanzinger without “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” coming to mind? We remember the names of the “Mississippi Burning” murder victims because of Dylan’s “Oxford Town”. And so on. Mind you, Gore Vidal’s “Myron” technique runs a close second: censor all the rude words out of your story and replace them with the names of pro-censorship Supreme Court justices. Someone recalled it in The Guardian recently when Chief Justice Rehnquist -as in “Huge, throbbing Rehnquist” - died.

and this recollection would seem to confirm my comment then. Here's the song: it made it difficult for me to watch him on the TV without thinking of him as the man who wrote a really nasty homophobic piece when Freddie Mercury died.

And here is Freddie Bulsara aka Mercury, who will surely be remembered long after Haines, Waterson and all the rest of us have vanished into history's offline backups.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

No dogs were harmed in the writing of this post

It appears that the story of the dog sentenced to be stoned to death by the Israeli rabbinical court isn't true.

Well, I suppose it's good to know the rabbis were getting on with important things and not wasting time having dogs stoned.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Blues Run The Game

A few days ago I made the following remark a propos Israeli ultra-orthodox Jews:

One can only suppose that orthodox Jews in Britain feel vulnerable as a minority within a minority, whereas in Israel Jews run the game (apologies to Jackson C Frank for the pun).

It occurs to me that a reference which would have been obvious in my younger days probably needs a gloss now. Which also gives me an excuse to link some amazing cover versions of what was once a folk club standard.

OK. To begin at the beginning. Here is Jackson C Frank performing his most famous song (probably more famous than him: a lot of people must know it with no clue as to its author). he does it so well, it's a marvel that there are any worthwhile cover versions: but there are, as we shall see.

Here are Simon and Garfunkel making the song their own:

There are various versions of the song by Bert Jansch, but this one is a bit special as it has Al Stewart on second guitar:

Equally special for different reasons, here is Nick Drake adding his unique stamp to the song:

And moving away from the usual suspects, here are Counting Crows demonstrating that the song is still very much alive.

Killing non-Jews: a religious duty eagerly complied with by US-funded terrorists

Following on from my recent post on ultra-orthodox Israeli Jews, here is a best-selling (in Israel) book by one of the organisers of the Yitzhar yeshiva (terrorist training camp) in illegally occupied Palestine.

It's fine for us to be killed because we're not following the laws laid down by their imaginary prehistoric Jew Noah.

It's fine for "enemies of Israel" (and we're always being told by Zionists that the whole world is against poor little Israel) to be slaughtered, along with anyone in the same country including babies.

It's OK to carry out amputations on children who throw stones.

Fortunately, the Jewish community in Iran (the ones who refused to be bribed into relocating to Israel) tell the Jewish terrorist leader where he can stick his fake Judaism.

No wonder the Iranians would rather stay in Iran, where the Muslims let non-Muslims live and worship in peace.

And this site reminds us that it was one of the Yitzhar terrorists who fired a rocket at a Palestinian village.

If you were wondering how these crazies got hold of the rocket, well, the USA gives tax exemptions to people who fund terrorism.

Even the IDF got fed up with these loons and withdrew their state-funded bodyguards, as the terrorists had started attacking them (for not being Jewish enough? for not making enough use of Palestinians as human shields?) Still, with all the weaponry the peace-loving "settlers" have stockpiled at American expense, why should Israeli taxpayers pay a shekel more for their genocidal fantasies?


Good news from Israel: a rabbi who is a big supporter of The King's Torah has been arrested and taken in for questioning over its incitements to xenophobic violence.

Bad news from Israel: several members of the Knesset are lining up to support him, and there are mass protests on his behalf.

Uncle Jimmy: talking tosh on peacekeepi​ng and the "War" on "Terror"

How often do Russia, China, Iran, Brazil, India, South Africa to name but a few, send forces to defend the downtrodden of this world?

asks Jimmy the ignorant. And he says he genuinely wants to know. OK: Google country-name AND ("peacekeeping" OR "peacekeeper") to see the answer.

In short: extremely often.

And he's STILL on about "Is Osama bin Laden really dead?" Give me strength.....

Then there's his outright lie under "Inexactitude 1". And his utter BS under "Inexactitude 3". So Saddam's killings in the past (of his own people, or of Iranians we paid him to attack) are as valid a cause for intervention as Gaddafi's imminent bloodbath which originally threatened Britons as well as Libyans? In that case, surely the even more blood-drenched history of Israel, including terrorist attacks on British and American targets, illegal development of WMDs and state sponsorship of international terrorism justifies going in and changing its racist and theocratic regime to a democratic one?

Yes, IF WMDs had been in Iraq it would have been dreadful. In the same way that IF Israel had launched a nuclear strike on Edinburgh I'd now be dead. It didn't happen, so in what way is it even peripherally relevant?

Have to love BS's suggestion in his comments that the Guardian supports the Liberal Democrats. LOL! Has he ever read it? Presumably he thinks that because it doesn't want the continuation of Blairism it must be pro-LD. He is clearly totally in denial about the extent to which Blairism has been excised from the Labour Party as a disastrous mistake. And how exactly does he think the proprietors of the Guardian and Independent should "pay" for expressing political views at variance with his own? Perhaps when his fascist revolution comes they'll be shot and their papers closed down?

Then there's his drooling imbecility about the "war" on "terror" (not a war, not on terror).

It isn't a war: it is a blank cheque for British and American governments to behave exactly as they please without regard to any laws, whether domestic or international. The entire purpose of this imaginary "war" is to mislead and terrify the populace so it will go along with whatever is proposed, whether that be torture, assassination, invasion, or wholesale abuse of human rights. It's a tried and tested process: Israel has employed the same methods for half a century or more.

While terrorism exists, the "War" isn't fighting it. While the initial justification for invading Afghanistan was to attack the Taliban who were allies of al-Qaeda, that mission was rapidly diluted by the war on Iraq which (however unpleasant Saddam was) was utterly irrelevant to terrorism. Indeed, the subsequent history of Iraq shows that by removing Saddam (and alienating so much of the Iraqi population) the USA and UK caused a substantial growth in terrorism in the region. Neither Blair nor Bush was interested in fighting terror, or the primary goal of capturing or killing OBL would not have had to wait for a regime change in Washington to be prioritised once more. Meanwhile we propped up a corrupt election-rigging dictator (Karzai), imagining that this would somehow reduce support for the Taliban. The Taliban, hated by a huge numbers of Afghans before the invasion, were now able truthfully to portray themselves as the defenders of their country against both foreign invaders and government corruption. Again, we have lost the battle for hearts and minds, and promoted the terrorism we were supposedly fighting. So perhaps at the start it was meant to be a war on terror, but in the end it was indeed a war only against Islam and Muslims.

If the war is on terror, why does it concentrate exclusively on Islamic terrorism? Most European terrorism comes from regional separatists, not Muslims, while the last civilian death from Islamic terrorism in the USA was on September 11th 2001. "Terrorism" is a fig leaf for an ideological programme: a right-wing attack on multiculturalism fuelled by a hatred of immigration and a desire for a return to an earlier, less brown-skinned, Europe (and USA). How is banning the hijab fighting terror? Or screaming about the evils of sharia law while ignoring the fact that for decades we have allowed the use of religious law to settle disputes in this country via Beth Din courts?

And of course the perpetual elephant in the room is Israel, and the hypocrisy of undertaking a "war" on "terror" which does not so much ignore as actively support that pre-eminent terrorist state, proudly flouting international law since 1967, invading every single one of its neighbours, carrying out assassinations and bombings around the world, developing nuclear weapons governed by no treaties and to which inspectors are denied access. The Obama administration's recent fine words concerning requiring Israel to comply with UN resolutions signals a welcome step in the right direction, but it remains to be seen whether he walks the walk. An international task force rolling into Palestine to remove the Israelis and their terrorist training "settlements": now that would show that there really was a war on terror. A few teams of special forces putting the bulk of Israel's WMDs out of action: that would be a war on terror. To talk garbage about the need to invade Iran because of the threat posed by its non-existent nuclear weapons programme while turning a blind eye to the fully-operational weapons in Israel, as Tony Blair frequently does, makes it crystal clear that any "war" he envisages will not be targetting terror but entrenching it in its regional base.

For Uncle Jimmy, a war against Islam and immigration is precisely the point. A war on actual terrorism would target exactly the kind of racist thugs and Nazi cultists he is so fond of. Jimmy LIKES people who call for the President of the USA to be violently overthrown; who call for the beheading of "leftists" and the blowing up of gays, and who demand that all Muslims convert or be put to death. And he loves Israel just the way it is, believing that its pre-eminence among human rights abusers needs no justification beyond biblical prophecy. So when he asks who will stand against "dictatorships and anti-democracy states and entities", the answer is very clearly "Not BlairSupporter", whose fondest dream is of anti-democratic fascist dictatorships taking hold once again in Europe. Which is of course the real threat to Britain, not the hugely-exaggerated Islamic terrorist bogeyman the Blairs and Mad Mels try so desperately to distract us with.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Malo malo malo malo. Or not.

Serves me right I suppose. Immediately after having a go at Apple on my Facebook page for the appalling performance of their software on PCs (see below) I upgraded to Internet Explorer 9. Which was fine until I tried to post something to this blog, whereupon I found the "Publish Post" button no longer worked. Stillm all hunan knowledge is in the web somewhere, and I easily found several solutions. The one not involving changing to Firefox or Google Chrome was to add blogger.com to the sites listed under "Compatibility View Settings".

So yeah, OK Microsoft suck too. Though their suction is fixable with a little effort.

My Apple rant was occasioned, not just by the fact that nothing on iTunes works simply on the PC (it generally takes several shots to get it to notice when my iPhone is plugged in, and whatever it's doing when it syncs the phone, enabling me to transfer photographs isn't one of them: I have to use Windows Explorer for that) but by the behaviour of Apple Software Update. I checked iTunes and Quicktime, and unchecked MobileMe (which I tried for a while) and Safari (which I don't use). So after waiting quarter of an hour for the installer to perform what is presumably a small upgrade, I started doing other things only to have my system hang up. When I cleared it using task manager, what was the hold-up? Apple Software Update was telling me there were upgrades available that I hadn't installed. Yes, Mr Jobs: that's why I unchecked the fucking boxes. And why should this pearl of wisdom completely hang my system? A vain hope that I'm going to say "Gosh, how much easier this would all be if I had an Apple"? Yeah, right.

P.S. Unless you're an ex-public schoolboy or a Benjamin Brtten fan, you might need the explanation of the title here. (I'm both but the mnemonic is from Kennedy's Latin Primer and we used Marchant & Watson's New Latin Course, so I first encountered it in the opera.)

P.P.S. One of the mnemonics I do remember (though it took me a little while to recall what the listed items have in common) is (and here I recall my Latin teacher's strangely twangy voice saying it) "Names of towns, small islands, domus, humus and rus". And yes, if you Google the phrase the link appears. The Internet really is a marvel.

P.P.P.S. I have now found that the Bold/italic/colour buttons in Blogger's Compose mode no longer work either. OK, moving to Google Chrome until the IE9 problems are fixed.....

Bad Places to be a Woman

Nothing to be complacent about here (or anything other than appalled and ashamed on behalf of women suffering terrible abuses of various kinds), but those who enjoy placing the blame for women's oppression primarily on Islam should note that second and fourth in the list of shame are non-Muslim countries.

And certainly nothing to be complacent about here.

This kind of thing is why India is fourth in that list.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Curious Affair of the Dog in the Rabbinical Court

This story comes at an opportune time just after my post about ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel.

Let's see if this gets much play in the media: because you may be sure that if a dog entered a Sharia court in, say, Iran and was sentenced to death by stoning, there would be columnists all round the world bemoaning Islam's medieval attitudes and animal cruelty.

UPDATE: the story turns out to have been a hoax. See here.

Video Fun: Poor Elijah

A great performance from a great band (and yes, that is Eric Clapton on lead guitar).

I was very lucky in my choice (!) of elder brother. He not only took me to see Dylan, but he whisked me off just before Christmas one year to Liverpool to see Delaney & Bonnie (of whom I hadn't heard) with Eric Clapton (of whom I had). Of course, it being Liverpool, musicians being what they are, and Eric being of the company, while we were standing around the stage door before the show hoping for a Clapton autograph, who should turn up but George Harrison (and yes, his autograph was duly obtained!) He stood quietly and unannounced at the back of the stage playing guitar all night. Awesome.

Thanks, bro.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Glory be to God for dappled things

Thinking of Joyce's Ulysses, I had to share this glorious find. Marvellously geeky, and definitely (as per Gerard Manley Hopkins) "counter, original, spare, strange".

And, of course, pied.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Happy Bloomsday!

Today, June 16th, is Bloomsday, when fans of James Joyce worldwide celebrate his life and work on the day wherein the action of his most famous work, Ulysses, is contained. Sometimes the celebrations are intellectual, sometimes they are massive pub crawls: often they are both at the same time.

Here is a comic-book version, with annotations. It's a work in progress, with only two chapters complete so far, but it shows promise. I have a comic-strip version of T S Eliot's The Waste Land which works very well. (And I've just spotted the iPad version of it advertised in a sidebar on Ulysses Seen.)

The whole of the film version (with Milo O'Shea as Bloom, Maurice Roeves as Dedalus and Barbara Jefford as Molly) is available in 15 8-minute chunks on Youtube. Here is the last of them, with the end of Molly's soliloquy (I just checked and it covers 27 minutes in total):

20,000 Londoners who are glad of Britain's tolerant multiculturalism

I recently watched an excellent BBC documentary about the 20,000 Hasidic Jews living in Stamford Hill, North London. I remember seeing them when I lived in London and sometimes got the Victoria Line tube. It's strange, though, Here is a community which is resolute in its lack of integration, generally speaking English only when necessary. Every part of daily life is governed by religious law; the men have to have beards and ringlets, and must wear black garb and big black hats. The women must dress modestly and cover their hair (often using wigs for the purpose). Men and women may not mix socially before marriage, and in social situations such as wedding receptions the sexes are segregated by a curtain. Many male children are taken out of school early and sent to Israel abroad for intensive religious indoctrination. Marriage outwith the Hasidic community is unheard of, and marriages are therefore all arranged by professional matchmakers. It sounds as alien and uninviting as could be: yet almost all the participants in the programme came across as delightful people, albeit somewhat weird to our eyes.

It just shows what a difference the producer's intentions make. Clearly in this case the intent was to make a sympathetic documentary. Consider, though, how the BBC would probably have approached a similar documentary about a Muslim community. We'd have seen the same lack of integration, reluctance to speak English or to mix with outsiders. We would have been shown the arranged marriages and the sexual segregation, the way in which women are forbidden to shake hands with strangers; the dress code and the hair coverings. We would have been shown the boys sent off to madrassas in Pakistan or the Middle East. Would we also have been shown the kindness, the sense of humour, the willingness to admit to faults? Would we have been shown community members letting their hair down and partying? Of course we wouldn't: and much would have been made of the education at foreign madrassas, whereas the seemingly typical child who had spent five years in a yeshiva in Israel (or possibly one of the settlements) was barely mentioned. I am not suggesting that this documentary should have made the Hasidic Jews out to be sinister or a bad thing: I'm sure they suffer enough distrust and ignorance, like any other community whose neighbours know little of them and see them only as animated costumes. But I wish someone would make an equally positive documentary about one of our less integrated Muslim enclaves. I'm sure we would all learn something. However, given the BBC's notorious anti-Muslim bias, I shan't be holding my breath for such a programme from that source.

Over on Channel Four, meanwhile, I watched a very different programme in the Unreported World series, all about Haredi (ultra-orthodox) Jews in Israel. Normal Israelis despise these guys because they refuse either to work or to do military service, living entirely off government handouts while pursuing their religious studies. However they all have enormous families (up to a dozen children) and as their numbers continue to rocket their influence grows. They organise morality squads in their districts to enforce modest female dress, as well as demanding that women sit at the back of buses away from the men. At least as far as sex-segregated buses are concerned the Supreme Court ruled that any segregation had to be voluntary, but I dare say there is a lot of, er, persuasion applied to women on these buses to make sure they volunteer. I did however love the feisty secular Jewish woman whacking the Haredi guy with a rolled-up newspaper.

Not all spirited women come off so lightly. The programme interviewed a woman who had obtained a divorce, after which she had begun seeing other men. For this crime against morality she was badly beaten up, and told to expect worse if she re-offended. For the Haredim consider themselves unfettered by Israeli secular law, recognising only the law of the Talmudic and the Torah. One Haredi was quoted as saying that the Haredim were the only real Jews in Israel: the rest just happened to be born Jewish.

The differences between the two communities are surely not wholly a matter of directorial attitude. The Stamford Hill Jews might agree with the Israeli Haredim on many things, including treatment of their women, but I doubt whether they would feel unashamed of beating them up. It will most likely be to the Haredim that the Londoners send their kids for religious education, and given the way in which some yeshivas in the Occupied Territories are breeding grounds for Jewish terrorism (as exemplified by the mass murderer Baruch Goldstein, still commemorated as a heroic martyr by many settlers) and hatred of non-Jews, it's likely that some of them will come back as radicalised Zionists. Yet the London Jews do not attempt to ram their moral codes, strict as they are, down gentile throats. One can only suppose that orthodox Jews in Britain feel vulnerable as a minority within a minority, whereas in Israel Jews run the game (apologies to Jackson C Frank for the pun). I dare say a government stipend for studying the laws you propose to follow instead of those made by that government will buy a fair amount of arrogance.

I suppose you could look on both communities as failures of multiculturalism, but that would be a mistake. The Haredim's feelings of superiority to, and alienation from, other Jews is merely a refinement of Israel's constitutional stratification into top dogs and underdogs, or Jews and gentiles. Given that mis en scene, a feeling of superiority by those who in their own eyes are the only real Jews is inevitable. Meanwhile, I believe that one of the strengths of British society is its ability to tolerate difference without demanding conformity.

I think the mistake which Islamophobes like Mel Phillips, Uncle Jimmy (BlairSupporter), Allen West, Peter King and the rest make is to imagine, as it were, that all Jews are Hasidic. And the deliberate lie which the likes of Geert Wilders, Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller and BareNakedIslam make use of to advance their evil agenda is to equate (so to speak) every Hasidic community with the worst excesses of the Israeli Haredim.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Bicycle...Bicycle...Bicycle...I want to ride my bicycle....

I thought this story was wonderful (I tried to embed the video directly but it wouldn't play). Hell hath no fury like a New York biker unfairly fined, and when he has a video camera, a sense of humour, and a willingness to fall over a lot, it's very effective.

Gentleman Jim

As soon as I typed the title of my last post I knew I had to post this. As a child I loved Jim Reeves' records, and I still do.

You can tell your friend there with you he'll have to go

There's been a lot of fuss over the past few days about leaked correspondence that appears to implicate Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls in a plot to oust Tony Blair as party leader back in 2005.

My question is: why would anyone feel embarrassed at being involved in such a wholly beneficial and worthwhile enterprise? If they'd been planning to have him assassinated it would be a different matter, but attempting to remove the man who destroyed the Labour Party (and caused it to haemorrhage votes at every election after he became Prime Minister) is something Balls should be trumpeting from the rooftops.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Proud Dad time

Last night I attended the end of year concert at Stevenson College (a Further Education college in Edinburgh where my son Ruairidh is studying on the pop music course). The general standard was very high, but one or two items especially took my fancy. One was Rhoda Welsh (soprano) singing three of Rodrigo's Madrigals of Love, partly because Rhoda is an extraordinary singer and partly because the pieces themselves are awesome (and I'd never heard them before). Another was the Frazer Mitchell Trio, and here I must declare an interest because my son is their drummer. They did Dave Brubeck's Blue Rondo a la Turk with great style as well as brilliant accuracy: I saw the Brubeck Quartet at the height of their fame, and the FMT did them proud. Ruairidh (accoutred in his jazz hat) has an appropriately cool and impassive air, though Joe Morello always gave the impression he was listening to his drum kit like a bird listening for a worm. No video footage from the concert, but here they are doing BRAT from a few weeks ago in college.

That's my boy....

And here is Victoria de los Angeles doing my favourite of the Rodrigo songs (in ts full orchestral version).

Thursday, June 09, 2011

The World's Most Extreme Foods

Some of these sound beyond even my reasonably adventurous palate.

Cue "Lion King" video

And from the same source, here's one for the Birthers like Uncle Jimmy and BareNakedIslam:

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Traditional family values: not all they're cracked up to be

From the same source as the Sexual Assault Prevention poster comes this:

Next time some dork starts ranting about how Muslims punish rape victims and not rapists (usually including the lie that rape victims are stoned to death in Islam*), I'm going to remind them of this. Being sold to your rapist, forced to marry him, and forbidden a divorce? Sounds great.

*The death penalty is a valid Islamic punishment only for murder, for ex-Muslims taking up arms against Islam, and for adultery where the person is in a valid consummated marriage and there are two male witnesses to the sex act. (Which seems unlikely unless the couple had their illicit sex in the process of making a porn flick.) Other folk get executed in Muslim countries, of course, but their punishments are no more "Islamic" than US executions are. (Indeed since in the USA people are only executed for murder, less so.)

And yes, I am aware that while Jesus did not, on the whole, make a point of contradicting the old Jewish laws, he did have something to say about the execution of adulterers. Which can be generalised somewhat.

You can't please all the people all the time

One of the best pieces of news in recent months has been the arrest, extradition, and trial for war crimes of Ratko Mladic, a man whose contribution of evil to the world has almost certainly been greater than that of Osama bin Laden.

It is perhaps scarcely surprising that in parts of Serbia there is still loyalty to the perpetrator of one of the greatest genocides of our era. Like bin Laden, he could hardly have hidden for years without friends. What is perhaps more surprising, however, is the degree of support for Mladic among American right-wingers, especially those for whom the only good Muslim is a dead Muslim (something Mladic provided in bulk). Pamela Geller, for example, not only praises Mladic as a hero but (in a grotesque echo of Holocaust denial) proclaims that the Srebrenica massacre never happened. The loathsome Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch also propagates the lie that the Serbs were poor maligned victims.

One can hardly mention right-wing Americans who want all Muslims dead without a passing reference to the Bare Naked Islam white supremacist site, where of course Mladic is a hero. BNI has a fetishistic love of pictures of mutilated bodies, so you may want to scroll down through that post. Of course, theres no saying whose bodies they are: she claims they're Serbs killed by Muslims, but it could easily be the other way round, or indeed a bunch of Mexicans killed by a drug cartel. (The pictures come from a pay site which appears to specialise in gruesome death videos and photos, where they were posted by Kelly "Born to tease, taught to please" who describes herself as a "Gore Goddess". So not so much photojournalism as snuff porn. Which seems wholly appropriate for BNI.)

Actually, one of her/its commenters reckons the pictures show Bosnians killed by Serbs, and given the site's notoriety for fake pictures and fake stories it would hardly be a shock. BNI's response to a Bosnian Muslim commenter?

"bosmus, I am truly sorry the Serbs didn’t kill more of you."

And to a (non-Muslim!) Bosnian:

"All you Muslims are liars. Muslims are the cause of 95% of the trouble in the world. Muslims ruin every western country they invade. Too bad the Serbs didn’t finish the job."

Regular readers of EKN will know that I am far from an uncritical supporter of the Muslims in the Former Yugoslav Republic: in particular I have always maintained that the KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army) were utter thugs undeserving of support, though the Serbs were just as vile.

Alone among world leaders, Blair threw in his lot with the Kosovo Liberation Army, the bunch of genocidal terrorists who started an armed uprising in Kosovo which Blair then persuaded other countries to get involved in. The KLA were good at ethnic cleansing but not much cop at actual fighting, and if Blair hadn't backed them to the hilt with weapons and troops they would have received from the Serbs (whose troops were of course every bit as vile) what they had formerly been dishing out to them. But there we are: history is written by the winners, and thanks to TB (and eventually Bill Clinton) the KLA terrorists were the winners. Unsurprisingly their successors in power think TB is the bee's knees and presented him with their Golden Medal for Freedom. Unsurprisingly the biggest ego in Europe accepted this travesty, from a country where (with no pressure from the government, of course) no fewer than eight children were named after him. (Whether at birth or specially for the ceremony we shall never know.)

It's funny to think that the KLA had far better-documented links to both Osama bin Laden and the Taliban than Saddam Hussein (who was known for brutally executing any Muslims he considered extremists, which was any who expressed opinions). Yet Blair armed and trained the KLA while deposing and hanging Saddam.

(Phil has an excellent piece on the roots of the conflict in the comments to that post of mine.)

Uncle Jimmy, of course, is a huge fan of Blair (and hater of Muslims) and went to town on the story of his being given the award by the Kosovars. So I wonder what he thinks of the Muslim-haters he so admires at BNI declaring that he and Bill Clinton were fighting on the wrong side and should have been exterminating those Bosnians and medal-giving Kosovars?

Some might take exception to such a site, or even to my linking to it. Tough. While the British liberal press seems to ignore these sorts of stories for fear of upsetting good, honest, law-abiding Muslims, and while they continue to hunt down Tony Blair as though he is the world’s most wanted escaped criminal, I will find room for the stories at Bare Naked Islam.

So when the world's actual most wanted escaped criminal is captured, and the folk at BNI declare that Tony Blair and Bill Clinton are traitors to Western civilisation for having fought against him....Jimmy goes very quiet and starts posting old speeches of Toe-Nibbler.

Poor sad Jimmy. Exposed as a racist, exposed as an American, and now he can't even rely on his American racist chums.

Sexual Assault Prevention

A friend shared this with me on Facebook, and I couldn't resist posting it here.

Iraq - out, and not before time

An interesting article from LabourList on the Iraq war and why the Labour party needs to cleanse itself of its damaging association with it (courtesy of that nice Mr Blair).

(H/T Owen Jones)

Thursday, June 02, 2011

No, Really,You Will

Imagine a piece of music for six singers (3 male, 3 female) with microphones.

Imagine that each singer is given a set of overtones of a basic note (C in this case) which are the notes they are allowed to use (unless specifically instructed otherwise).

Imagine that the piece progresses by turns like a game: each singer has a number of goes (each man gets 9, each woman 8 - or maybe the other way round, I forget).

As each player takes her/his turn, s/he has to morph whatever the group has been singing up to that point into the shape s/he has been given for that turn. So the piece is constantly evolving in a structured but unrepeatable way. Once the singer has completed his or her turn s/he signals the next player, until everyone has used up all their turns.

Each singer has a collection of words and phrases (names of god from various world religions, days of the week and random phrases in different languages) to be interjected at some point during their turns.

This sounds like a cool sort of musical game, right?

Welcome to the world of Karlheinz Stockhausen (specifically, Stimmung):

Two observations: it was when the first day of the week crept into the mix that I realised that Mr S didn't take himslf over-seriously.

And if you listen to the whole thing, I pretty much guarantee that at some time over the next week you'll catch yourself humming a bit of it. And you'll stop and think "Argh! I'm humming Stockhausen FFS!" And if you listen to it again you'll find more and more bits earworming their way in. Impressive for a piece based on one note!