Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Apprentice (UK) 4:6

Oh my God. I really wasn't going to blog about this series but....

National Singles' Day?

THE APOSTROPHE????????????????????? IT ISN'T A POSSESSIVE, YOU PLANK!!!!!!!!!!

Oh. And to celebrate saving the environment...with a greetings card? Which will have a carbon footprint?! Now I've seen everything.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Stop the Hate

Homophobia can be a very overt and brutal thing, it can be something insidious and covert which informs your opinions and actions of someone in a consistently negative way. Both things have to stop being transmitted to children and young people as remotely acceptable. It is not ok to hurt or hate someone for who they are. One way or another it destroys lives.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Dark Knight Awesomeness

In all honesty I've never seen a poster this amazing before. This film is going to catch fire.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

So Sad

Maybe it's just me, but when I normally hear about murders and unexplained deaths in the news I feel largely unmoved. You can't be that moved if you don't know the person/s after all, but I must confess hearing the story of the deaths of Heather Wardle and James Hughes really upset me; it does still.

The police intimated at the outset that Heather committed suicide, but then revealed James could not be found. We all knew what the outcome would be, didn't we, but didn't want to admit it to ourselves? The day his body was found I very nearly cried when I found out. A 22 year old man, so severely disabled that he had a mental age of 18 months, unable to care for himself, and was found in a suitcase in a garden. I'm sorry but this isn't my world.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Spain Keeps Leaping Forward

I don't know about you, but I find this picture quite awesome:

The sight of a pregnant female Defence Secretary inspecting her troops isn't just revolutionary for Spain - it's unthinkable here. It's even more impressive, considering that progressive Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero has now appointed more women than men to his reelected government, and with an eye on this backdrop:

In Spain, women earn about 30 per cent less than men, and take up less than 4 per cent of the places on the boards of the major companies. More than 40 per cent of Spanish mothers of young children work outside the home. Domestic violence persists: during 2007, 71 women were killed by their husbands or partners.

The rise of women in Spanish government and Chacon's assumption of the Defence portfolio originate directly from Zapatero's 40 per cent rule, which prohibits men or women from making up more than 60 per cent of the candidates of any political party that contests national or local elections. It could open spectacular opportunities in local government as well as in the boardroom. Sadly the macho male stereotypes aren't being challenged worth a damn in the UK.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Governator Looks to the Future

In yet another canny move by Governator 2.0 Schwarzenegger, Arnie moves to block an amendment to change the Californian constitution to outlaw gay marriage. A hypocritical move perhaps, considering the Californian legislature passed a gay marriage law, but were frustrated by Schwarzenegger who vetoed it. But it seems that that move might have been more in line with Bill Clinton's allowing the Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA) to pass - making tactical moves in a larger war for gay rights, which in America all depend on timing. Maybe it's just because he sees the writing's on the wall for Bush-style, ultra-religious conservatism - he's already made environmental moves in flagrant opposition to the White House after all.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Gordon Grows a Spine

At long last Gordon Brown, no doubt reeling from being horribly damaged from the PR disaster which was the London leg of the Olympic Torch Relay, has decided to pull out from the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics. Of course he can't help trying to spin this as always having been the case, rather than having changed his mind to limit the damage Sunday's fiasco did to him, but the bottom line is it's the right decision.

The more the outrageous relay stunt goes on, accompanied by brutal, authoritarian defensive statements like Qiangba Puncog's, the worse it'll be for China's reputation. Already bad, they could always stop jailing people like Hu Jia, but that seems not to be on their agenda.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Planning on voting Labour?

It's a two-parter, this. And it's a biggie. From The Independent:

"marriage has never been less popular, as the Government's own statistics revealed last month, and we are fast heading for a situation in which 45 per cent of marriages will end in divorce. Millions of people live in a network of relationships which embraces close friends, blood relatives, step-families and gay couples, suggesting that the populace is considerably more sophisticated in this respect than the political class which governs us. A fifth of women born in 1961 remain childless, many of them by choice, and there is widespread acknowledgement that the maternal instinct is not universal.

...These days, the choice not to have children is as widely respected as the desperate desire to become mothers which inspires infertile women to opt for IVF treatment."

So why then are they restructuring the tax regime to disadvantage just this sector?

"This week, the abolition of the 10p lower rate of income tax which they voted for last year came into force, leaving 5.3 million people on low incomes worse off. The big losers are childless people under the age of 65 earning less than £18,500 a year, some of whom will be paying a couple of hundred pounds more in tax while higher earners benefit from the restructuring of the tax regime."

So in a stroke, Labour alienates 40% (ish) of its electorate? Stupid much or is the whole point of New Labour now purely to try to supplant the Conservative Party rather than improve on them? Gordon Brown's obsession with 'hard-working families' for electoral advantage is blinding him to the now near-absence of social justice provided by the party whose mission statement it is to provide it. It'll bite him on the ass at the next General Election, not to mention the rest of us when (assuming we retain first-past-the-post) the only viable other choice will be the Conservatives, who are even worse.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Iran's Out...Egypt Anyone?

The Mehdi Kazemi case should be reminding people that despite the odd pre-Ahmadinejad baby steps forward, Iran as a nation is still stuck in the dark ages. For witches read homosexuals - 4000 of us at least murdered since 1979. But anyway, we're told by the all-wise W that we're not supposed to like Iran anyway - it's part of the Axis of Evil. So what about our ally, Egypt?

Egypt is forcibly testing, torturing and jailing people living with HIV/AIDS, whilst on a regular witch hunt against gay men. So we like this country who engage in this barbarity, but don't like Iran who do exactly the same thing? Cruise down the Nile anyone?

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Craig makes Bond Hot

I still pine for Pierce when I see his commercials. But seriously Bond has never looked this hawt before. This is just scorchio. October can't roll on quickly enough!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Good Old Naomi Campbell

The woman is clearly mad, and largely quite detestable, but this time? This time Naomi Campbell had spent £6000 on plane fare. She'd expected a certain level of treatment - certainly not to have her bags lost before even boarding on the outbound journey, but as soon as she got on her British Airways flight at Heathrow she got advised that one of her bags was already completely lost. She got angry and got advised to leave, whereupon she lost her temper and the police were called. So far I don't think she'd done anything outright wrong. It was when the police called and she spat in their face that she got arrested. Morally questionable, and certainly a degrading form of assault with no defence. If only she hadn't spat she'd have been a national hero, in the light of Terminal 5's continuing inability to provide service of even the slightest competence.

Paddick for Equality

Liberal Democratic candidate for London Mayor Brian Paddick has championed the Stonewall report on homophobic attitudes in society.

One fifth of respondents think they would be treated worse by police than a straight person if they reported a crime.

One in five think they would be treated worse by a magistrate if they were to appear before one because they are gay.

60% of gay men and 50% of lesbians think they would be treated worse by prison officers if it was known they were gay.

None of this should be a surprise. Whilst little in life is always true, it's very much the case in London that the Metropolitan Police is institutionally homophobic, whatever else Ken Livingstone or Ian Blair would like to believe. The criminal justice system behind it is equally as bad, if not worse. That one is down to unchallenged bigotry and the other might likely be down to poor training and institutional ineptitude doesn't make any difference to the outcomes. And they're outcomes which we don't like to talk about - they make us feel uneasy. It's impressive that Stonewall is at least beginning to put the evidence of expectations together. They should shame our Home Secretary, or rather they would if she only had a soul.

There is a great deal of difference between changing the law and changing people’s experience.

I've spoken to him about my vote already, but if this were to be a bedrock of his intentions as Mayor, it would certainly guarantee it'll go to him.