Burning books

I find it highly amusing (in a bitter and dark way) that the same Muslim countries making vociferous complaints against the shagwit bigot preacher Terry Jones and his frankly stupid idea of burning a Qur’an are exclaiming loudly how it is insulting, provocative, derogatory and disrespectful of their culture (which it is) while showing their displeasure by doing what they usually do and burning flags and effigies. Do they see the irony in this? Does it percolate into their equally bigoted minds that perhaps they infuriate other cultures by mass burnings of national flags and effigies of people they’ve been told to hate? Nope, they don’t because like most such idiots (of any type, creed or any other affiliation) they only ever see the other people doing bad things, not them, oh no.

Meanwhile I read that in Edinburgh a group demonstrated outside the US consulate. Now I can understand they are not happy, but I wondered what they thought would be achieved by demonstrating outside the US building? I mean this isn’t an action taken by the US government; in fact government officials have gone out of their way to condemn the 9-11 anniversary book burning as a stupid and disgraceful act and also tried to appeal to the reverend on patriotic grounds, pointing out that his ill advised actions could lead to a groundswell in attacks against US forces overseas. To no avail. So what did the group protesting outside the consulate here expect? “We have asked the American government to arrest this man, he is causing anti-Muslim hatred and I cannot believe nothing has been done,” commented one of the organisers, Mohammed Asif.

Er, what? Rev Jones is clearly a bigot and intent on provoking more relgious hatred and, let’s be honest, anyone who burns books (religious or any other kind) is a barbarian of the first order in my opinion, but while what he’s planning may make him an uncivilised hate-monger he’s not doing anything illegal and he is free to express himself, even if he expresses himself as a totally bigoted arsebag. Guess what, that means you can’t gag him by arresting him. I despise what he is doing but calling for him to be arrested because you dislike his (legal if distasteful) actions is ridiculous – especially coming from a group who have just enjoyed using the freedom of speech of a Western country to stage a peaceful demonstration but seem to think it is okay to ignore someone they disagree with’s rights to freedom of speech and demand their arrest to shut them up. Not an unusual state of affairs when it comes to religious protestors of any type – witness the Christian ones here over the years who demand stage shows or films they dislike are banned or performers or writers arrested, happily invoking the rights to freedom of thought and belief for themselves while finding it so easy to demand its removal from others. Religion. Should be a law against it.

Meanwhile I can’t help but notice that no-one, be it on this militant fuckwit American church side or the usual flag burning Muslim countries side,  has commented on the worst aspect of this whole proposed book burning – I mean, just what is that going to do for their carbon footprint, eh?

I’m thinking the few remaining, book reading, civilised people should have a counter demonstration against both side and wave some oversized copies of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 at these numpties.

Update: as I was posting this news appeared on the BBC that Jones may be calling off his barbaric book burning, although even if he has he’s managed to stir up even more anger and hatred just with the plan of it, not that it takes much to stir up some groups…

The Broken House

Just how buggered is the United States Senate? George Packer in the New Yorker offers up some depressing reading on an institution utterly ruined by its own labyrinthian structures – both the physical building and the arcane rules and customs – and the increasing ways Senators, rather than doing their actual job of representing the interest of the citizens, spend little time on actual legislation and more on fund raising, publicity or goodness knows what else in their various cubby holes secreted around the building. And when they do troop into the chamber they spend inordinate amounts of time and effort to utilise obscure rules to ruin their opponents’ bills. Democratic choice said your party doesn’t have the majority? No problem, just use arcane old rules to wreck possible legislation by procedural means. Meanwhile important matters simply do not get discussed and dealt with. And they wonder why so many people don’t bother to vote?

And before you think hey, you’re not American, what does it matter to you that they can’t actually deliver the Great Democracy that they like to tell us all they do better than everyone else? Because some of those possible acts that get screwed up affect other nations – financial reform, foreign policy and aide, environmental protection. And because this sort of nonsense goes on in pretty much every parliament and senate in the democratic world to a lesser extent – and there’s that old worry that it will only get worse both here and there. And it doesn’t help anyone who believe in democracy if the institutions meant to serve it turn out to be full of self serving arseholes with no interest in representing the people and doing a good job. And you thought Mr Smith had a hard time when he went to Washington? (via Nick Smale)

C**t of the Day

Shrub Monkey performs an invaluable web service on his blog and Twitter with his Cunt of the Day, selecting a recipient for the not so coveted award on a daily basis, from a field of, let’s be honest, vast numbers of potential candidates. Today’s COTD was Andreas Laun, Roman Catholic archbishop of Salzburg, who declared that the tragic deaths at the recent Love Parade festival in Germany were god’s punishment for a lack of faith. Yes, seriously, this senior office bearer of the religious organisation which has spent decades protecting it’s many kiddy diddling members said that. As Shrub Monkey points out it was bad enough when a religious lunatic in Iran (no shortage of those, obviously) claimed sinful women caused earthquakes (perhaps he misunderstood the term ‘did the earth move for you?’ often used when spending time with such sinful women). But this is a presumably educated man in Western Europe in the 21st century. Yes, I know, as a priest he is more susceptible to be lead by stupid superstitions than most, but even so, Shrub Monkey is bang on, what a cunt, right up there with similar ‘caring’ so-called Christians who made simialr claims about AIDS in the 80s when it was predominantly confined to the gay community and they proclaimed it was god’s judgement.

(apologies for the use of the C word here, but it is the name of the blog and the award, so it kind of has to go in…)

pedestrians Vs Cyclists Vs motorists

Walking home from work this evening – number of car drivers who ignored the red lights and drove through the green man on crossings: 3. Number of cyclists who ignored them and cycled right through a crossing when green man is on and people crossing: 2. Number of arsehole motorists who bump car up onto pavement instead of parking properly and so blocking half the way to pedestrians: 4. Number of ignorant cyclists weaving in and out among people cycling on the pavements: 3. Wilful ignorance, lack of consideration and stupidity unfortunately fairly common.

The tram debacle

The mess caused by the imposition of a tram line in Edinburgh (and it is an imposition – citizens were not consulted, there was no referendum, probably because the last major city transport referendum – congestion charges – the citizens voted against the council’s wishes and they don’t want that again) is even more of a joke this week. Last week the main contractors walked off the job just as they closed Princes Street, the busiest main street of the capital, supposedly for almost a year. Which doesn’t help the struggling shops and other businesses on Princes St now buses have to be laboriously diverted (adding longer to journeys – especially for those of us who have more than one set of major tram works holding us up every sodding day) and also makes a mess of a busy street and putting off tourists. Just what’s needed in a rough economic climate.

Bus journeys into town were already down as folks avoided coming in because of the tram chaos, now this. And although the council and the contractors are blaming each other while trying to negotiate a resumption of the work the bloody useless eejits in the council have left the diversions in place all bloody week so we’re all being shoved through more sodding long diversions even although there is no work being carried out and no good reason to put us to this extra hassle every day. I think that shows the attitude the planners actually have to the people of Edinburgh and how little they care about the stress and hassle they are putting citizens and businesses to.


Itunes software screwed up recently – like many sites there is censoring software to ‘protect us’ and like many sites using this garbage it screws up regularly (so all sorts of harmless files or websites get censored or blocked). Danny Kaye’s “I thought I saw a pussycat” had pussycat turned into p***ycat, while, even more ridiculously the ‘Killer’ part of Queen’s Killer Queen was censored, so was Johnny Cash’s Christian name and the word ‘teen’ in Smells Like Teen Spirit. As the BBC notes ‘killer’ was censored while ‘murder’ was allowed through by the software. Well f**k me, if that isn’t the dumbest piece of s**t.

Please use an alternate route

Even more bloody roadworks announced in Edinburgh. Major disruption, we’re sorry for inconvenience, please plan to use an alternative route, the usual platitudes as if the utility companies give a monkeys, really. Well I would use an alternate route except I can’t because you twats have ripped it for the bloody useless tramline you are forcing on the city which will be no use to most of the residents. And how nice of the tram bastards to rip up two huge junctions on the busiest bus routes at the same time to make things even better and then the utility companies ripping up one of the main alternate city routes while that’s going on, what great timing. And to garnish this mess on the way home tonight I saw them ripping up the junction near my home and putting in temporary lights. The same junction spot that’s been ripped up four times in the last year. Useless, sodding, incompetent eejits.

Palin’s great grasp of geopolitics

When first announced as the Reptile Party’s Vice Presidential candidate one of the first criticisms about Palin – apart from most everyone outside Alaska (which is most everyone, not the most populous state) – was who the hell is she? The second was that she had bugger all foreign policy experience and has only been out of the country once and that was to a meet-the-troops special. Her spin doctors replied, unbelievably, by saying she was governor of Alaska, with Canada on one side and Russia across the sea on the other, so obviously she did know a lot about foreign relations. Understandably anyone with a brain found this hilarious and it did no end of harm to the perception of Americans abroad where most of the rest of the world assumes most Yanks no nothing about anything outside their own borders and are culturally ignorant. Which I know from personal experience isn’t the case, but it is a general stereotype which she just confirmed to many.

Even more unbelievably she is still spouting this crap line (and bear in mind the Reptiles have been sniping at Obama for his supposed lack of foreign policy experience, compared to McCain, who has experience dating back to a diplomatic mission during the Boer War). This was her on US TV last night – nice to see the Reptiles following up the Chimp’s presidency by continuing to draw on candidates who are sharp, intelligent, well informed and erudite…

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“Cities are like volcanoes, they always have to move. If they don’t they’re dead.”

This rather peculiar and somewhat nonsensical comment comes from Allan Murray, one of the architects behind the highly controversial ‘Caltongate’ scheme proposed for Edinburgh, which would see a major redevelopment of the Old Town leading to the Royal Mile, including demolishing some listed buildings (which also happen to be home to people as well as listed). Strangely enough the company behind this attempt to dump a pile of bland, featureless architecture in a historic World Heritage site has attacked the people opposing this ill-conceived plan as ‘thoughtless’, while commenting that it is right for democracy to have a say while then dismissing some 2, 000 complaints against them, from private individuals and from important heritage groups. Democracy obviously suits the developers only when it agrees with them, otherwise you are just being ‘thoughtless’ and emotional (gee, some folks will lose their homes, imagine being emotional over that?!?! Eejits).

The architect who came up with this strange ‘argument’ in favour of his development (which he obviously has a huge vested interest in) above is also responsible for incredibly dull, featureless modern creations in the city already, which have nothing in common with the city environment or any distinguishing features that would make them stand out from a hundred other developments anywhere else in the modern world, exactly the sort of boring design that makes our cities look so dull and repetitive, and which in a historic city like Edinburgh is worse than dull, it is cultural vandalism. We’ve had, huge, ill-advised developments dumped on us before and they still blight the city, it is completely right that people are wary of them, especially in an area like the Old Town. That caution doesn’t mean the city can’t continue to evolve and develop, just that we should be very, very careful how and where we do it and I get the impression the developers are more interested in money than protecting the community in that area and our historical nature. I’m not Prince Charles and have no wish to see only more Neo-Classical architecture, but in World Heritage sites like the Old Town and New Town it is always advisable to err on the side of caution. If a developer wishes to work in that area they should expect that, it shouldn’t be a surprise to them.

Oh and Mr Murray, volcanoes don’t so much move as erupt and explode. The ground around them may move as a result of their eruptions but the volcanoes themselves not so much (other than the ground moving by floating over the hot liquid rock below, but all ground does that). And I don’t think you want to include cities and active volcanoes in the same sentence because that’s a scenario which doesn’t raise connotations of flourishing life, rather images of destruction, so I’m not sure what point you were making there. Unless it was a Freudian slip acknowledging your oversized development in a sensitive area will be destructive and leave scars on the city for years, just like a volcanic eruption would. Quite why the council approved this in the face of mass rejection by affected citizens and heritage groups I have no idea; if I was a cynic I’d be checking for brown envelopes slipped under doors…

The sentence for reading is death

Well, it is in bloody Afghanistan at any rate. Journalism student Sayed Pervez Kambaksh has been sentenced to death for reading. His crime? He downloaded a text which – gasp of horror – said that Muslim fundamentalists (those whacky, zany guys, what will they think of next!) who beat people around the head with their own fucked up interpretation of the holy Koran and use it to legitimate their severe repression and control of women were completely wrong and were acting contrary to the teachings of the Prophet. Gee, I can see where they might get a little annoyed at a document saying they might be wrong – after all these are the same shagwits who respond to a simple cartoon by killing people and demanding some beheadings. They aren’t just misrepresenting the teachings of their own religion, they are just fucking stupid, violent fools clearly terrified of women and carrying AK47s as a substitute for their very small willies.Take their guns off them and lock them in a room for a week With Anne Widdecombe, that’ll teach the buggers.

Oh but it gets better – this death sentence was pronounced by a religious court in Afghanistan (and surely that is contrary to the central Islamic tenant of learning for them to stop people reading??). Now it is bad enough that any country is stupid enough to still consider it civilised to allow religious leaders to hold people to trial (no, don’t give me excuses about respecting other cultures, this is just bloody wrong and utterly fucking stupid, its something moronic from the medieval period and they need to learn this. I respect other cultures as long as they aren’t bloody stupid). But then the case was referred to the Afghan secular government. The nice ones we put in power and are holding in power with the blood of our troops (the same troops their president recently said were failing, the same troops that are all that is keeping his arse from being filled full of Taliban bullets because his own troops are incompetent twats) – and they upheld the sentence. Yes, that’s right, the person we put in power to replace those muderous fundamentalist fuckwits, the Taliban, said yes, kill this student for daring to read something we don’t like.

Er, remind me again just why the hell we have our troops being put through the dusty meatgrinder in this godforsaken cesspit of a country? The Independent has an online petition up to give to the Foreign Office to demand they take some action – please consider signing it. (link via Yvonne)

Look, I’d had a lovely supper and all I said to my wife was that bit of halibut was good enough for Jehovah… I don’t think it ought to be blasphemy just saying ‘Jehovah’.” Monty Python’s Life of Brian.

The Bin Liner speaks

As another 9-11 anniversary comes round the psychotic nutters of Al Wanker wheel out the sad and pathetic figure of the Bin Liner once more, because obviously he and his murderous band of bastards haven’t caused enough pain but they have to mouth off as relatives of the dead try to remember their loved ones. First time in ages this cowering coward has stuck his head out of a hole for long enough to make a message (if he is happy to send young Muslims out to die, allegedly for their faith, why is he so scared he’s been hiding himself for years?) and to make sure we didn’t miss it there were plenty of trailers for the last week (got digital? Press the red button to hear a murderous, incoherent rant of rage now!).

What were the chances he was setting up to go on the air and say “sorry”? Sadly the old shagwit was only on to mumble the same load of old toss about how it is the duty of the faithful to attack infidels (although clearly not his duty, he’s too important and has to prove his devotion to Allah by hiding in a cave somewhere). Oh and he also had to go on TV to advertise Mohamed 9000, the new hair dye for Muslim men that seamlessly blends gray hairs to your natural hair colour.

Midget glues dick to hoover at Fringe

Captain Dan the Demon Dwarf from the Circus of Horrors at the Edinburgh Fringe had to be taken to hospital after something went wrong with his act, part of which involves dragging a vacuum cleaner across the stage with his willy. A Fringe act, a stage, a hoover, an exposed cock and superglue = trip to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. The irony being the Circus of Horrors is almost next door to where the hospital stood for decades, before moving a couple of years back (the old grounds are being redeveloped for ‘mixed’ price apartments – in other words they will all go to rich buggers) so Captain Dan and his superglued dick and vacuum would have a much longer ride to the new hospital at the edge of town (handily placed for almost no-one in the city). Ouch. The lengths some men will go to get sucked off :-)…