A young Afghan girl was killed when a box of public information leaflets dropped by an RAF aircraft landed on top of her, the Ministry of Defence confirmed today.
The box failed to break apart in mid-air and hit the child, whose exact age is not known. She was taken to a hospital in Kandahar where she later died.
The leaflets were dropped over a rural area of Helmand province by an RAF C130 Hercules on June 23.
According to the story, the leafets were probably either warnings against explosives or information on the presidential election. Poor girl: killed by a box of purple fingers suddenly descending on her head. Kind of sums up the whole enterprise.
Big parade in Beijing tomorrow to mark the 60th anniversary of Communist Party Rule. But what specifically is being celebrated?
This Grand Parade is the first of its kind in the new century. It is a crucial manifestation of the recent victory of the people who have achieved the construction of an overall moderately prosperous society under the Party’s leadership and represents the realization of the great revival of the Chinese nation as a result of tireless struggle.
Sixty years ago, The Chinese People Stood Up. Having stood up, they then went on to establish an overall moderately prosperous society.
You’d have thought that celebrating the establishment of an overall moderately prosperous society would involve squadrons of people marching down the streets waving paying in books, brandishing credit cards and pulling flat screen tvs along on little tow trucks, with elders seated in comfortable armchairs on squeaky castors being pushed respectfully down the boulevard by Confucian Youth. But no: its tanks, missiles and jackboots. Respect our overall moderate prosperity.
It would obviously be too much to expect a bullying, toadying media operation like the Sun to attack Gordon Brown when he appeared to be strong. But he’s been visibly weakening for the past year, and the paper still seemed nervous about changing sides, even when it became increasingly apparent that the illness was fatal. They didn’t attack him when he was strong. They were still scared of changing sides when he was weak. It’s only when he seems to be definitively, authoritatively and absolutely politically dead that they break into the funeral home and shoot the corpse. What courageous tribunes of the public will.
Well, whatever. The Sun doesn’t matter that much anymore. As Roy Greenslade points out, there’s something weak and formulaic about the paper’s change of endorsement. It’s now really just a front for Murdoch’s wider media interests. Considered as a newspaper, it too has the smell of death on it.
Gordon, meanwhile, appears to be getting a bit of post mortem sympathy from the public:
The most interesting other question on the poll was about “that question” by Andrew Marr on Sunday. A large majority of people (73%) thought Marr was wrong to ask Gordon Brown whether he was taking prescription pills and that Brown had a right to privacy. Only 22% said the public had a right to know Brown’s medical details.
I was actually rather surprised by that result – my expectation was that the general public attitude towards politicians is that they should jump through whatever humiliating hoops we demand.
I’m not. There’s a general belief that you should respect the dead, whatever you thought of them in life. What’s interesting here is that when the BBC allowed its agenda to be driven by rightwing blogs, the public, by and large, sided with the Prime Minister.
Once the professors were done speaking, Monaghan went around the table and asked them one by one if he could count on their commitment. They all said he could. Monaghan then promised to throw his financial might behind the project—while he didn’t settle on a specific dollar figure, the numbers he batted around were in the tens of millions. Finally, the group retreated to Monaghan’s office, a two-story suite with raw-silk ceilings and leather floors, for drinks and hors d’oeuvres.
No. Not quite good enough. Hey kids: guess where I improved this story.
Once the professors were done speaking, Monaghan went around the table and asked them one by one if he could count on their commitment. They all said he could. Monaghan then promised to throw his financial might behind the project—while he didn’t settle on a specific dollar figure, the numbers he batted around were in the tens of millions. Monaghan then slowly unzipped his flies and uncoiled his cock on to the coffee table that stood between him and the eager academics, moving his hips to and fro gently as the gathered mouths clustered towards him. Finally, the group retreated to Monaghan’s office, a two-story suite with raw-silk ceilings and leather floors, for drinks and hors d’oeuvres.
Nothing like this actually happened. Call it my tribute to Ogdred Weary. Anyway, the whole thing is a solid account of private education in a competitive society.
The Vatican has lashed out at criticism over its handling of its paedophilia crisis by saying the Catholic church was "busy cleaning its own house" and that the problems with clerical sex abuse in other churches were as big, if not bigger.
In a defiant and provocative statement, issued following a meeting of the UN human rights council in Geneva, the Holy See said the majority of Catholic clergy who committed such acts were not paedophiles but homosexuals attracted to sex with adolescent males.
via. Defiant and provocative, like some blond little minx with a sinful heart and a bottom like a peach. Sorry, Archbish: But they were priests. Priests who wanted to have sex with children and who found opportunity in the church.
The statement, read out by Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican's permanent observer to the UN, defended its record by claiming that "available research" showed that only 1.5%-5% of Catholic clergy were involved in child sex abuse.
That’s “were involved”, ie actually abusing. What about if we add the ones who’ve managed to resist temptation, so far? And what about the priests who abuse children in other ways? And where do lay brothers fit into the statistics? The bottom line here is that the priesthood is a celibate institution that has taken responsibility for educating children. As such, it’s going to attract people who have very good reason either to want to remain celibate or to be in a position where they can sexually abuse children, and have archbishops making excuses for them.
This was in response to a submission by the International Humanists, or somesuch. If the archbish is correct about the other religions this rather goes to prove their point about the dangers of religious education.
You know, if the Catholic Church insists on preventing people who want to have non-exploitative sex from joining its clerisy, it could do worse than get out of the education business and offer itself as a refuge for paedophiles who want to get out of the way of temptation. After all, no one’s found a better solution to that problem. If it insists on its right of access to children while flaunting the probability that five per cent of its clergy are active child abusers, the secular authorities could do worse than ending that right of access immediately.
BNP leader Nick Griffin has claimed that the English Defence League is being manipulated and directed by Zionists to create a race war on the streets of Britain. Trying to distance the BNP from any potential problem, Griffin and his deputy Simon Darby have set out in an audio message their position on the hooligan-based group.
via. Obviously this can be taken as revealing of the BNP’s actual outlook. It’s even more revealing than you might think in the sense that rival far right groups have always accused each other of being manipulated by Jews. Before World War Two, Maurras, the leader of Action Francaise, accused the actual Nazis of being a Jewish plot to discredit "respectable" anti-semitism. Relatedly, one of the odd things about anti-semitism is how recursive it can be, one example being the Khazar lunacy in which Jews are accused of not being really Jewish, this being an example of how typically Jewish they are.
Nick Lowles adds:
Griffin is scared, though not necessarily for the reasons he gives in the interview. The EDL, backed by the Daily Star, is gaining momentum and the BNP could lose out. The hooligans following the EDL are increasingly voicing their contempt for the BNP, believing the fascist party is more interested in good jobs in Brussels than in defending the white race back home. There is now talk of the EDL turning itself into a political party and the BNP is getting left behind.
I’d figured the junge kaempfer of the EDL as being a BNP cutout. No official sponsorship, but overlapping membership and a campaign that basically serves the BNP's objectives. This is a technique that Griffin might have picked up in his Third Position/political soldier days. But that isn’t incompatible with the above. Arms length projects provide opportunities for alternative fuhrers and have to be reined in. Griffin may be doing this in ways compatible with the general outlook of the wider fascist milieu.
And that’s the really depressing implication of all this: that we have an actual stalhelm.
Alex is starting a nepotism wikitype thing. Minor contribution: I take it that it’s well known that BBC economics editor Stephanie Flanders is related to the Cockburn clan as the niece of Alexander, Patrick and Andrew. Maybe less well known is that she’s the step-granddaughter of Jean Ross, the model for Sally Bowles in Goodbye to Berlin.
I doubt that’s the kind of thing which impresses commissioning editors, but it certainly impresses me.
Last week, the Tory culture spokesman let it be known that he thought it would be a good idea if the BBC treated membership of the Conservative Party as a qualification for employment. Yesterday, Andrew Marr asked Gordon Brown if he was going blind and taking medication for his mental state, a theory energetically promoted on rightwing blogs. Strike one in the culture war.
How things change. It’s not all that long ago when Gordon Brown was Mr Gravitas, and Very Serious People were pretending to take his books about “courage” seriously. Dave Cameron, meanwhile, was a public school PR buffoon, and the “Westminster Village” cited by Andrew Marr as the source for his question to the Prime Minister was awash with rumours of his recreational drug use. But the time wasn’t right for that: he hadn’t properly established himself as leader of the opposition yet, let alone Prime Minister, and if you kick a man before he’s properly up you lose the value of the story.
The cycle of disillusion seems to be a lot quicker of late. It took a dog’s age for Blair’s image to decay. Brown’s decayed visibly, with the speed of a chemical reaction, to quote Orwell on the aristocracy. A similar fate awaits Cameron. The rightwing blogs and their big media co-dependants don’t like him very much. They just think of him as a vehicle. On the other side, all the people the Tories are forcing to pander to them now will want their revenge and will take it as soon as they think they can get away with it: “Prime Minister, the Westminster Village is awash with rumours that past drug use has affected your judgement…”
Mere speculation, of course, with no basis in fact. But what difference does that make? Dave will have his pigfucker moment somewhere down the line over something or other. Marr’s question yesterday started the clock ticking. It’s now only a question of when.