Saturday, April 20, 2013

Boston 6 months from now

Time Magazine 17 April 2013
What will we think of the Boston atrocity 6 months from now?

Will it be this letter on the New York Times website today?

Kenneth L. Zimmerman of Huntington Beach, California can’t believe that a 19-year-old kid has held an entire city hostage. In order to capture Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, one of the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing, all subways, buses and trains in the Boston area were shut down; universities and schools were closed; residents were told to stay inside their homes; businesses closed down. More than 9,000 law enforcement officers from multiple agencies accompanied by police dogs scoured the area looking for the suspect, conducting door-to-door searches.

You’d think that a foreign country had invaded, he says.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Today's funeral arrangements

Night-time dress rehearsal for Thatcher funeral. Credit:
"We haven't come here to insult anybody, we have come here to tell you there's a different point of view than the one that the media have been pushing and ramming down our throats all the week.

"Our families are markedly insulted of the eulogising of a woman who absolutely destroyed our communities."

The words of miners’ union leader David Douglas, from a passionate address to the crowd in Trafalgar Square at an anti-Thatcher party on Saturday 13th, quoted in Morning Star Online.  “Ex-miners have last word at capital party” was the headline.

Meanwhile Mark Rowe ‏@MarkRowe10 tweeted that when North Korean Kim Jong II died (Dec 2011) UK media ridiculed mourners saying they are all being forced to mourn with no dissent allowed.

Daily Telegraph: What about Clement Attlee?

But let's give the last word to the top Tories’ favourite paper.  On 10th April The Daily Telegraph's columnist Peter Oborne dismissed as flimsy official denials that Thatcher is getting a state funeral. That's what it is, and it’s a mistake, he said. The decision to acknowledge Lady Thatcher, but not Clement Attlee, makes the Queen appear partisan. (Don't forget this is the Daily Telegraph and these things matter to them.)

Here's an extract:-

So the question arises: what’s so special about Maggie Thatcher? Defenders of next week’s funeral arrangements say that she was a “transformational” prime minister. This is true. But so was Clement Attlee, who introduced the welfare system and the National Health Service, thus fundamentally changing the connection between state and individual. Yet the Queen did not attend Mr Attlee’s funeral, a quiet affair in Temple Church near Westminster. According to a 1967 report in Time magazine, “all the trappings of power were absent last week at the funeral of Earl Attlee … there were no honour guards or artillery caissons, no press or television, no crush of spectators. Only 150 friends and relatives gathered for a brief Anglican ceremony in honour of the man who had shaped the political destiny of post-war Britain.”

The decision to acknowledge Lady Thatcher, but not Attlee, makes the Queen appear partisan and is totally out of kilter with the traditional impartiality of the modern British monarchy.

Poster circulated on social media that originally appeared on the front page of The Daily Telegraph (only joking)
No assistance for funerals

By the way, according to the Morning Star, miners' leader David Douglas claimed in his Trafalgar Square speech that during the 1984-85 mining strikes, Thatcher's government had "instructed the social security that no miner's families had to have assistance for funerals."

Uncanny echo of another Daily Telegraph article, this one from 16 July 2012. “Pauper's funerals increase as Government rejects half of welfare applicants” was the headline over a report of a sharp rise in pauper's funerals consequent upon the Government rejecting half of applicants for a state funeral grant. Maybe the Telegraph isn't such a bad paper after all. My Dad (which isn't a surprise) never read anything else. And my friend Mark reads it. For the sport, he says.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Stop Monsanto patenting tomatoes

Patented tomato image promoting the Avaaz petition.
1,610,404 have already signed. They want 2 million
I'm not a huge fan of online petitions, of which Avaaz sends out at least one a week. But Eva Novotny of Scientists for Global Responsibility is insistent that this one needs support. It's against patenting of seeds by corporations like Monsanto - even seeds of conventional vegetables. Monsanto alone, she says, owns 36% of all tomato, 32% of sweet pepper and 49% of cauliflower varieties registered in the EU.  The company long ago stated that its aim is to control the entire food chain.  We must not allow this to happen, says Eva. I agree, and I’ve signed, and I suggest you do too.

Find the petition here

Here's the publicity Avaaz sent out. Yes I  know it's a bit shrill but I believe they're on the button.

It’s unbelievable, but Monsanto and Co. are at it again. These profit-hungry biotech companies have found a way to exclusively ‘own’ something that freely belongs to us all - our food! They’re trying to patent away our everyday vegetables and fruits like cucumber, broccoli and melons, forcing growers to pay them and risk being sued if they don’t.

But we can stop them from buying up Mother Earth. Companies like Monsanto have found loopholes in European law to get away with this, so we just need to close them shut before they set a dangerous global precedent. And to do that, we need key countries like Germany, France and the Netherlands - where opposition is already growing - to call for a vote to stop Monsanto’s plans. The Avaaz community has shifted governments before, and we can do it again.…