Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Republic of Blogs

Via A very public sociologist:
Harry's Place may be removed (or rather have it's DNS disabled) after a 'complaint' to the company that our domain name is registered with. We assume after threats were made on the weekend that this 'complaint' originates from Jenna Delich or her supporters. Though we have not yet seen the complaint submitted, we assume it runs along the lines that pointing out that Ms Delich linked to the website of a known neo-Nazi figure and former Ku Klux Klan leader is defamatory. This is extraordinary since Ms Delich has not denied that she circulated links to David Dukes website. There would be no point since the evidence is in the public domain. Nevertheless, a malicious complaint has been made to the company hosting our DNS.
Now, like Phil, I only ever went to HP to disagree vehemently with their politics - but they were about the only place where a cogent and consistent pro-Iraq war case was being made, and where a counter to the lazy anti-Israel stance of much of the left was being made (OK< I usually point out that I too want to abolish Israel, but only as a part of the no state solution - the world to the workers and all that Jazz).

They deserve their case to be known and support given, lest we all fall prey to creeping self censorship and the debate in the republic of blogs is closed down for good.

Update: Well, they're back seems it all fell apart quite quickly. Normal service is resumed, and David T was even glad to see a HP comment from Benji. Imagine that, never seeing a HP comment from Be... quick, call their ISP, get them closed down again!

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

London Skolars v. Blackpool Panthers

Well, what a game, this was what National League Two looks like.

For the first quarter the teams tussled without crossing the line, and honours were pretty much even. Skolars looked a touch ropey, and gave a couple of unnecessary holding down penalties. Technical faults were to be their undoing.

The Lancastrians ran in the first couple of tries, but Skolars clawed a couple back, to basically end up playing catch up for the hole match.

As the game went on, the Londoners faults began to show through, with an excess of fumbles and knock-ons. The score belies their performance, because unless the try was under the posts, Blackpool seemed incapable of converting.

Towards the end the home side scored an improbably try on the fifth tackle of their set - a ball was thrown back loose into space, picked up, passed on, and then run through - I suspect incredulity stunned the visitors momentarilly. They had used forward kicking before the end of their sets to great effect throughout the game.

There was some poor referreeing, particularly grievous was an icnident in which a Blackpool player swung his opponent around by the head, and didn't get sent off. That was ruddy dangerous.

Skolars lost, but seem set to come above Hunslett in the table - result!

Anyway, all aside:

London Skolars 28-36 Blackpool

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Millionaires charter

It seems there is a rule for the tories, be a millionaire, or don't be in the Cabinet.

Herein vie the Spectator, is the Shadow Cabinet Rich List.Just two of them:
George Osborne

Shadow Chancellor

Inherited Wealth & Property: £4.3 million

Osborne’s father Sir Peter co-founded luxury wallpaper and fabrics company Osborne & Little, and his son benefits from a trust which has a 15% of the business.Osborne Junior stands to inherit a substantial share of this company. The business, which was once a publicly traded company, now conducts business as Interiors Acquistions. In 2003, Osborne and Little de-listed from the London stock Exchange and went private. At the time, it was valued at £12.9 million making Osborne Jnr’s stake worth just under £2 million. A family home in Notting Hill adds around £1.8 million. In addition the couple own a constituency property valued at around £500,000. On his wife Frances’s side, her father is life peer Howell of Guildford, a former Minister in Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet.

David Cameron

Leader of Conservatives

Property and assets: £3.2 million

Cameron joined parliament in 2001. Prior to becoming an MP he was head of corporate affairs at Carlton Television. His only non-parliamentary post was with bar and club company Urbium plc for which he was paid around £25,000 per annum. The couple’s wealth is, however, in property and they own a £2.5 million London home and a £1 million constituency house. His wife earns an income for the family via her position as creative director of upmarket Bond Street stationers Smythson. She netted a six figure bonus, thought to be £300,000, after a takeover of the company. However, the Camerons real wealth is likely to be come at a later date via inheritance from both sides of their family. Samantha’s mother is Viscountess Astor. She is a successful business woman in her own right and holds a large stake in OKA Direct, a furniture and accessories company. Samantha’s father, Sir Robert Sheffield – from whom her mother was divorced in 1975 – is chairman and majority shareholder of Normanby Estate Holdings which is worth £5.2 million. David’s father and grandfather were both stockbrokers which should eventually contribute to the couple’s wealth.
These, apparently, are the people who believe in social justice, in helping the poor - I mean, it's not likely that they would run the country in favour of multimillionaires, or anything. I mean, how could they. It's inconceivable.

The honest party of capital - it's a class war and we know whose side their on.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Striking works

See, told you so!.

Let's hope that the kids in Scotland get the same result.[*]

We have an obligation to each other to push wages up, and to exhert our strength where we can.

A victory for one is a victory for all.

[*] Note the appalling BBC photo of some bins bags on a street, as if this is the winter of discontent again, FFS, it's only a 1 day stoppage. Right into the employers myth of chaos and inconvenience.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Death of a canard?

There can never be a war between liberal democracies - they say - however, both Russia and Georgia are democracies (whatever flaws you can point out in Russia's democracy, you can find equal measures of flaws even in maturer democracies). Of course, the theory may try to save itself by saying that neither are mature democracies, but they do have well over ten years each (and changes of government) to suggest that their democracy is entrenched.

The ugly truth is that the situational logic of nation states plays its usual part, and their specific political form can't halt that - more democracy won't mean peace, only common ownership will.

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Harlequins RL v. St. Helens

This is what Super League looks like.

Two teams with everything to play for - Quins a shot at the playo-offs - Saints, keeping the lead in the League.

the Londoners certainly stepped up their game, fast, rolling play - the ball being flipped, tapped and shot about - no sign of brute force and ignorance. Clearly they were trying to match the style of the league leaders.

And it worked, half time they were 16-10 up, after two quick tries early on. In such a situation, the key is to score the first try of the second half - keep the pressure on and put them under the cosh.

They didn't, the Mersysiders rebounded scoring a try minutes into the second half. there then followed a twenty minute drought, back and forth play end to end sets.

Quins broke. Under relentless pounding from the likes of Pryce and Talau, try after try thundered over the line.

The signs had been there - Quins gave away a few too many holding down penalties. Too many of their sets ended with a player losing the ball to loose ands. Although towards the end both sides engaged in scrappy scrambling for the loose ball, it was Saints who held it together. A champions performance - but the score doesn't do Quins justice.

Harlequins RL 16 - St. Helens 32

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Monday, August 11, 2008

O-settee-ah? O-seesh-ee-ah?

The BBC says the former, the Georgians appear to pronounce the latter. Given the endless fighting during the Kosovan war over the difference between Kosovo and Kosova (I mean, within the British left) I am left wondering if there is a bias implicit in the pronunciation game?

Anyway, another ruddy war - the rules are different here, BBC reporters openly state that Russian forces have hit civilians - were it a Nato force you can be sure they would give balance to the official denial and merely state there have been "reports". The same goes for most of the reporting. But that's just an interesting aside.

Here's the skinny - a heavily armed superpower played for this and got it. It's old, old stuff. They recognise the breakaway republic. They guarantee them, they give them citizenship and claim relationship. Said breakaway republic thus drains rival power, and happens to contain the exit to a tunnel through a nigh impenetrable mountain range so that you can drive a column of tanks into the region easily.

Sit back, prod occasionally, and wait for warrrrr to break out.

Then there's t'other side, I mean Nato. Slowly encircling Russia, recruiting in it's traditional sphere of influence, buying influence over the Caspian oil routes.

I note as an aside that I can only boggle at the psychopathic mindset that it must take to be a General in any army. Any. They sat down and modelled this carnage out. They bought the guns, the tanks, the planes - casually plotting mass murder.

I note that Loonie is pro-Russia, seeing Georgia as a US stoodge, rather than as an independent actor with murderous aims and goals of its own. Mind, no one else seems to be commenting. HP are silent. Osler is silent. Clearly the enemy is at home.

So, for the record - as a socialist I can only aim for one thing from this conflict, immediate peace, irrespective of boundary outcomes. My allegiance is with the workers of Ossetia, Georgia and Russia - the wage-slave hired killers sent to die. The famillies slaughtered. The civillians cut down by the pass and fell of warring great powers. All other analysis aside, nation states are units of property - their wars are wars of property, mafia gangfights for loot. Workers do not benefit from these wars, we only die in them. The only way to stop these wars is to rid ourselves of the property system, and all the conspiracies to murder that are standing armies that stem from it.

The world for the workers, and nothing less.

Update: Young master Stross on the e-war side of things. Macleod has some comments as well. Chris Floyd (Whom Macleod links to) talks sense...

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Monday, August 04, 2008

Another test

The Frank Miller test.
if the proportion of female sex workers to neutrally presented female people in his story is above 1:1, he fails.
Again, doubtless single instances of entire justifiability could be found, but as a genre critique, the more often a sample fails (or approaches failure) the more worried we should be.

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Friday, August 01, 2008

Three tests...

This post from young master Stross has started some difficult thinking.

He applies a simple set of rules promulgated by Alison Bechdel which can be used as an interesting indicative test of movies and gender sensibilities:

1) Are there more than two women characters?
2) Do the women talk to each other?
3) Do the women talk about anything other than men/babies, etc.

It is suprisingly hard to think of any movies that pass the test. now, some, like Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill or Deathproof that do pass the test contain a great deal of sexism - in the latter, the lingering voyueristic camera shots, etc. and even though there are non-male related Tarrantinean conversations, the bulk of the female discussion is still about men, one way or another.

Charlies' Angels movies, sort of pass, but, again, often the discussion is about Charlie (and his ever presence).

Stross also links to Women in refrigerators which looks at the lazy way comics writers turn female characters into victims of rape, torture and violence as distinct from that meted out to male heroes.

What I want to add into the mix is Vladimir Propp and his Morphology of the Folk Tale - or rather, the extrapolation, similar to M.M. Bakthin's Speech genres - which indicate that genres are derived from distinct social relations and expectations - that is, almost, there is an objective genre which propells the author forwards, and that genre is related to the social conditions of the production of the text (as a lot of correspondents noted, a lot of genre fiction is targetted at males, which is likely to depower the female representation).

this, of course, feeds back, as Joseph Campbell's hero's path is pretty much the template for Hollywood actions stories.

The usefulness of this as a line of thought, that once you're aware of it, it can be countered, and Stross intends to ensure his fiction passes the test from now on.

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