links for 2008-10-30

30 October 2008

links for 2008-10-24

24 October 2008

links for 2008-10-20

20 October 2008

Powell, Obama, McCain, Bush and Indigestion

19 October 2008

So Colon Powell has backed Barack Obama for US President. He had apparently been disturbed by the negative tone of Mr. McCain’s campaign, which has sought to promote the idea that Barack Obama is “palling around with terrorists,” as Sarah Palin so diplomatically put it (a Socialist palling around with terrorists nonetheless). Of course this is Sarah Palin whose foreign policy experience comprises her proximity to Russia (oh and Canada too) – although she’s never met Russian delegates (maybe she wouldn’t think Obama a socialist if she had?).

Not only that, but Palin has no idea what the Bush Doctrine is. Now then, Powell “once considered as a potential candidate for the White House himself, fell out with President Bush over being forced to make the case for Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction to justify the invasion of Iraq”. This is Bush, the conviction politician, who knew what he wanted and went for it – not because he listened to people, but because he listened to his gut:

Leaders make things happen and they don’t need to ask permission. Isn’t it the job of a good leader to think the big ideas, take the long view, and make his vision a reality? Well, yes, provided said leader has formed his thoughts through rigorous research, consultation with experts, and deep, careful thought. Bush’s method? “I’m not a textbook player,” he says, “I’m a gut player.”

So there we have it. Bush listened to his gut and went to war in Iraq. Great.

So there we go – Barak Obama who offers a “calm, patient, intellectual, steady approach” or McCain supported by pro-Iraq advisers – offering Bush’s gut something to think about. Surely, Dubbya, it couldn’t have just been indigestion when you were listening to your gut could it? I know who I’d be more inclined to believe.

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I think this review means I now have to read Bob Woodward’s “The War Within” – not sure if that’s a daunting or exciting prospect.


links for 2008-10-19

19 October 2008

Oh well, that’s alright then

19 October 2008

Since my last post, Homophobia, the City, the Church and why it’s wrong, I saw that Reverend Peter Mullen published a column saying “Why I was wrong”. He says

“I much regret making some off-colour jokes about homosexuals on my website and I have offered a full public apology. I made those remarks and they are the responsibility of no one but myself. I repeat, I’m sorry I wrote what I did.”

I’m pleased to hear he apologises for his remarks – saying “Let us make it obligatory for homosexuals to have their backsides tattooed with the slogan SODOMY CAN SERIOUSLY DAMAGE YOUR HEALTH and their chins with FELLATIO KILLS. In addition the obscene “gay pride” parades and carnivals should be banned for they give rise to passive corruption, comparable to passive smoking”, and “There ought to be teaching films shown in sex education classes in all our schools. These would portray acts of sodomy and the soundtrack would reinforce the message that it is a filthy practice”.

Of course – in his apology – he goes on to say he supported the decriminalisation of homosexuality, but that gay people should stop there. He implies his main point is about Gay Pride similar parades (although it only appear to be ‘in addition’ in his original comments). He says that he opposes “the corrupting influence of the promotional parades of homosexuality by such as Gay Pride demonstrations”.

The Reverend is making the same snide assertions that are damaging as Section 28 did in the 1980s. He implies that homosexuality is promoted (as if people will become gay through watching and enjoying a pride parade) and thereby implies gay people should not be allowed to seek equality. He ignores the destructive way that being made to be, not just feel like, an outsider is damaging.

The Reverend himself talks about the suicide of Shaun Dykes in an earlier column, but ignores the fact that comments like those he makes can have a damaging effect, as I very clearly set out in my last column:

This is one week after Shaun Dykes, a gay teenager in Derby, was goaded and jeered by a crowd – filming him on mobile phones and shouting “jump you [followed by a stream of expletives]” – into killing himself (a story which made very little press) and another similar suicide in Manchester. It is also the same week as a United Nations committee has called on the UK to take “urgent measures” to fight intolerance of gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans young people.

Thank you, Reverend, for your apology but – whether you meant it or not – you should know better and realise what damage you do. As I said last time, your comments are nothing but damaging.


On London

17 October 2008

I recently received a link to the Boston Globe’s website, oddly enough, which – thinking about the end of the Beijing Olympics – has been looking forward another four years to London 2012. They have published some amazing photographs by aerial photographer Jason Hawkes which show my city at it’s best:

I must admit, I am very much a city boy. I love the way cities look and feel, even if they’re not seen in such a beautiful way as the nineteen pictures on the Boston Globe website. They’re places of surprise, where you never know what will be around the corner. They’re places where people have to mix, where you’ll share the same space, the same air, as someone you would never normally associate with. The heterogeneity of cities brings together a diversity of people creating a dynamic social mixture and cultural variety all of its own.

Even the least loved – not that agree that Birmingham, where I spent a lot of time growing up, is an ugly city – have relationships with people. But the relationships are not neutral. They’re personal. An individual’s relationship with the city is not just the physical. It’s about people, and places, and their interaction.

I love living in London – where children speak over 300 different home languages, where people come to find not just their fortune, but themselves. It’s easy to forget, stood on the Northern Line each morning – especially in a world of economic upheaval – that the city is more than just bankers and lawyers (and each of them has their own identity somewhere beneath the pinstripes).

It’s the yummy mummys of Knightsbridge, the suburbanites of Bromley, Brent and Barnet, the Indians of Brick Lane, goths of Camden, indies and dirty-fashionistas of Shoreditch, gays of Soho (and older gay men of Earl’s Court and lesbians of Stoke Newington), the Pechkamites, Claptonites, Kentish Towners and riches of Richmond. And it’s about how they all interact with where they are, as well as each other.

I never fail to be fascinated, walking along the street, who I see. I sit in a coffee shop, look out and wonder where the old lady’s going, what the schoolkids have been up to today, and why the rich bald man’s driving a 4×4 down Camden High Street, speeding through the red lights – what’s he got to rush to?

Try it sometime. Change your perspective.


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