I never thought I'd see it, but Fox News today criticised George W Bush for being a bit of a lefty.
The article on foxnews.com starts off as a seemingly fair and balanced criticism of Mr Bush, but appearances can be misleading. 'Radley Balko' (are all the names of everyone involved with Fox News made up?) argues that because of Republican investment in roads and health, Bush has betrayed the Reagan years – years when Star Wars clearly was worth more than cancer research.
Mr Balko's blog has even fewer comments than thebadrash.com/ so I'm not sure why Fox News bother what he says… oh.
We watched the Who the F*** Is Pete Doherty? documentary last night on BBC 3, expecting to see Pete come out of it quite well, as he did the notorious Max Carlish doc earlier in the year. And he does… most of the time appearing more or less sober, he can be an interesting man and a witty story teller. But when he was drunk and moody, he became quite aggressive – and this is the bahaviour which must worry fans more than anything else.
While I think that Paul Morely's ridiculous and callous suggestions about 2006 being the last year Pete will be alive were wrong, it does seem that the self-harm and bouts of violence will be what causes him the most trouble in the coming months. In the meantime, he needs to produce a decent album if he's going to be taken seriously again.
[edit - I have corrected a qualified but unclosed sentence in the above paragraph. Thanks to 'anonymous' for their kind assistance]
The weather this August has been mostly terrible. It seems incredible now that we survived Benicassim Festival without being rained on once. At the moment, the climate seems to swing between sweltering 35+ degrees and humid and chilly, but absolutely pissing down.
Spain was never meant to be like this.
But, to be fair, the sunset and the morning after were both glorious.
Sir Ian Blair hasn't really had that good a start in his role as Met Commissioner. The successes achieved by his force in catching people connected with the failed July 21st bombings served to temporarily blot out some more significant failings made before and after the anti-terrorist operations.
While the facts seem pretty sparse on the Azelle Rodney case, it does appear that original claims by firearms police officers that Mr Rodney was about to draw a weapon may well have been unfounded. Is this just another case of a non-white man being shot first, and the proper questions being asked after the act?
The similar (and much more high profile) case of Jean Charles de Menezes has uncovered some worrying details about the way Sir Ian apparently attempted to prevent an independent inquiry into the circumstances of the Brazilian man's killing at the hands of Met officers.
As I noted, it would be better to wait for all the facts to come in before making grand statements about the Met. But I will say one thing: whenever a senior civil servant is involved in trying to prevent an inquiry into his department, alarm bells should ring.
I loved Mo Mowlam. She was one of the only members of the new Labour cabinet who really commanded respect and admiration. She'll be missed.
England are going to win their group, I reckon.
England set the stage for an exhilarating World Cup defeat next year by losing 4-1 to Denmark in a 'friendly' last night. Their stunning performance genuinely pushed the limit of failure by an England side, and sets up the genuine possibility of being beaten by Wales or even me on my own.
Perhaps this was the best possible result. Every two years, people start saying that in the next major competition, England really do stand a chance of doing well. Hopefully, there will be a little less of that this time around, and we'll be able to ignore the World Cup right from the beginning, rather than having to suddenly start ignoring it mid-way through the contest.
Interesting how on yesterday's BBC News 24, the correspondent reporting on the Venezuelan air crash nearly slipped in a big pile of news dung when he was asked about reports that all the passengers were French. As all the passengers were from Martinique, which is a department of France, they were all French. The journalist seemed on the verge of explaining how the passengers weren't really proper French citizens, but then wisely shut his trap.
The Gate Gourmet strike talks collapsed yesterday after memos from last year were leaked, some containing evidence that the management of the company had put in place a plan to antagonise employees until they went on illegal strike, and then sack them. This revelation, along with numerous other allegations about the company's behaviour (including one which claimed that low-level workers were promoted to management roles and then fired immediately – allowing the company to claim it was cutting back on the number of managers) – have totally vindicated all the people involved in the original strike, and the BA workers who struck out of solidarity for them.
Vindaloo tonight, accompanied by some PenedÃ¨s Cabernet Sauvignon and two episodes of Lost. Quite enjoying that, actually. It's almost soothed the pain (shame?) I still feel when I think about how much I enjoyed Point Pleasant, even when everyone else thought it was crap, and then it was pulled (((
Of course it's bad that up to 100,000 (which sounds to me like a pretty high estimate) will have their travel plans affected, but what has happened at Heathrow airport over the last couple of days has been a powerful reminder of the power that working people have. Despite the castration of trade unions, the de-socialism of the Labour party and the general right wing shift in debate and politics, it is still an option to stand up for what you believe in and not cower before 'business paractice' and the threat of people taking your job away.
The strikes in solidarity that grounded British Airways show what happens when you fuck people over. You cannot treat people like that… and if you do, you deserve what ever they throw back.
On a connected note: never trust a man who has no values.
In today's times, Julie Burchill writes a stern rebuttal of the criticism around this year's Big Brother. I agree with nearly everything she says, but as usual find that she's strayed a little close toward defending the indefensible at times.
Saskia made it clear that she didn't like 'foreigners' in her original tape when she was applying to be on Big Brother. She backed it up with statements throughout the TV show that started with caveats like "I'm not racist, but…" and "Look, my grandad was Sri Lankan so I can't be racist…" as well as several other muttered comments which i can't be too sure about. It certainly seems that she is a racist, and I think that Julie Burchill does a rotten job at brushing over the allegations. But then Julie doesn't much care for my style of poncey-liberal egalitarianism. She thinks that anyone who says a young, white member of the working class may be racist is immediately wrong. I understand her point of view. She's defending a section of society (the young, low income whites) which she sees as being continually put down to the benefit of other sections of society.
In fact, I get the impression that Julie Burchill doesn't much like members of any other section of society, be they middle class, Guardian journalists or black. The inexplicable venom she spits about Kemal and Makosi certainly backs up that view… but one must always remember that with Julie, nothing is as it seems. She's a brilliant thinker and writer, and is well known for applying the strategy of looking for any kind of accepted truth, and arguing persuasively for the contrary.
So is she right or wrong? Well I said ages ago that I hoped Antony would win it, so perhaps we're in agreement (Julie calls him 'gorgeous'). But I just want him to win because he seems like a nice guy. Perhaps Julie Burchill's the one with all the political baggage here. Hey, Julie: leave those viewers (and reviewers) alone!
Edit: there's a decent artcle on the clash between ethical psychiatry and entertaining television in today's Guardian.
And for those who didn't already know, coverage of the last evening of Big Brother starts at 2030 BST tonight on Channel 4.
Well, we survived the festival… but I'm glad I had the extra couple of days' break at the end of it. I think I'm still recovering now.
Highlights of the concerts were: Nick Cave, Basement Jaxx, The Kills and Peaches. I didn't see LCD Soundsystem… which I now regret.
I spent an obscene amount of money, drank too much Heineken, and didn't get enough sleep. (Well you try sleeping at 7am when the mercury's rising and the soundsystems just don't stop).
All in all, the festival was a huge success, and we would certainly like to go again. We'll have to see what the lineup's like, but why not next year?!