" Madam Miaow Says: June 2010

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Blast Furnace And The Heatwaves reunion in Scarborough



Just returned from an idyllic long weekend in Scarborough to see the Blast Furnace and the Heatwaves reunion gig, their first for 32 years. Or, as they call it, their 'reignition' gig

It was a magical few days. The lads had been scattered across the globe as far away as Sydney, Australia, but they gathered for an emotional get-together in a perfect setting by the seaside. It was Charles Shaar Murray's (AKA Blast Furnace) birthday, the sun even shone for us, and I won a fearsome battle with a dodgy oyster.

Kevin Allen (bassist) organised everything — thank heavens for Skype — and he and his missus, Angie, were warm hosts. They laid on a surprise birthday party for Charles after the gig, where he discovered he's been bought a hookah for his big day. Cue many jokes about band excess.

Charles Shaar Murray, Blast Furnace and the Heatwaves
The cast:
Andy Eastwood as Blitz Krieg (guitar, backing vocals)
Kevin Allen as Dee Bass (bass)
Nigel Elliott as Tom Tom (drums)
and
Skid Stuart (harmonica) as himself.

Marc "The Exorcist" Jefferies, who plays with The Plague and Crosstown Lightnin', drove the desk helped by the lovely Jan. Andy Higgins took the video above.

Anna Chen with Andy, Kevin, Charles and Skid of Blast Furnace and the Heatwaves

The support band were an awesome group of local teenagers including Kevin's son Jordan Allen on guitar, playing a set featuring material from, among others, Jimi Hendrix. It climaxed in the most amazing extended version of The Surfaris' Wipe-Out with thirteen-year-old drummer Miles giving a bravura performance which I videoed and shall be posting shortly.

Friday, 25 June 2010

East Asian food blog moves to Blogger: Chinese ginger garlic marinade

After a week at WordPress, I'm moving my new blog, Anna Chen Eats, to Blogger. If you haven't had a look, please do check it out and do all the usual subscriby things if you like it.

To give you a taste, this is my latest post:

Chinese ginger and garlic marinade: basic and easy

Here's a Chinese marinade my dear old Dad taught me when I was knee-high to a grasshopper, Grasshopper.

It's a basic one made from crushed garlic, grated ginger root, brown sugar and soy sauce. Dark soy is usually used in marinades but, as this one is being used in a stir-fry with seared salmon, I went for the light soy. Remember that light soy is a bit saltier. I've also added a few crushed chilli seeds for a variation on the theme.

UK Chinese often use Golden Syrup instead of sugar. You can experiment with a dollop of honey as well, although that's an interesting fusion rather than traditional Chinese cooking.

INGREDIENTS:
1 small bulb crushed garlic,
1 heaped dessertspoon grated ginger root,
1 heaped dessertspoon brown sugar
Half cup of soy sauce (light used here)
Optional: Half teaspoon chilli seeds

Chinese marinade with ginger, garlic and sugar
From the top, clockwise: crushed garlic, chilli seeds (optional), brown sugar, grated ginger root.









Chinese marinade with ginger, garlic and sugar
Note that the main ingredients are in roughly equal proportions. Mix together with soy sauce to make a paste.









Chinese marinade with ginger, garlic and sugar
It should look something like this, a thick sauce. OK, you're ready for cooking.









USES: In stir-fries. To marinade meat or fish, make it a bit thicker by using less soy sauce, remembering to score the meat first. Make fresh each time, although the salt in the soy sauce should mean this is good in the fridge for a few days.

CHEAT POINT: If you are in a rush or have run out of fresh root ginger, you can use a dessertspoon of powdered ginger instead.

More at Anna Chen Eats — East Asian Food

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

VAT rise as LibDems aid Tory attack on the poorest

VAT rise bombshell from Tories & LibDems in June budget
It's official. The poorest ten per cent in Britain will see their shopping bills rise and lose the most as ConDem make up the deficit their banker friends caused by raising VAT to 20 percent and cutting our public services. Nick "Ramsay McClegg" Clegg just helped push through the most draconian budget in decades despite all their promises in the run-up to the election, and gave his party their Clause Four moment.

I listened to Vince Cable squirming last night on C4 News as he was quizzed over the LibDem election pledge not to hike VAT as it is a regressive tax that hits the poorest hardest. We were treated to the usual politicians' weasel words, "I may have said that but that's not what I meant". Humpty Dumpty can make words mean whatever he wants, whenever he wants.

I wonder how the LibDem party faithful feel now when you can search on the internet for "libdem vat election ad" and find the unequivocal image above plastered all over their websites. I wonder if there'll be a swift spate of deletions as this part of their bid for political power gets airbrushed out of history. Will it be like Chinese art during the Cultural Revolution, when a person's party loyalty could be measured by the size of the red tractor in their landscapes? In this case, the rebels feature it prominently, while the greasy-pole ascenders minimise or delete it altogether.

More weasel words as David Cameron learns from 1984 and mangles the English language, calling this budget "progressive" when all the evidence shows that it is no such thing.

How progressive is it to raise a tax where the richest ten percent pay one pound in every £25, while the poorest ten percent pay one in every £7? Not just VAT: by a ratio of four to one, the deficit is being paid for by those who did nothing to cause the recession. Why not raise top rates of tax? Even under Thatcher the top rate was 60%. The only crumb of comfort is the rise in the threshold where you start paying tax, but this still means that the poorest end up paying the most when all the changes are taken into account.

Child benefits have been frozen for three years and public departments cut by 25% , while Morgan Stanley joyfully declares the "Austerity Budget" a big win for business. The corporate tax rate falls 1% per year from 28% to 24% by 2013/2014 but a levy on the banks balance sheets rises to only 0.07% by 2012.

Despite a rise in Capital Gains tax by 10% to 28%, Morgan Stanley says:
In general, we thought this was a sensible, balanced and business-friendly budget, which is actually likely to result in an effective tax cut for UK PLC of c. £2.3bn by 2012/13.

And The Daily Telegraph reports the Planet Business rubbing its hands with glee:
Dismissing fears that increasing taxes and cutting public spending could send the country back into recession, the Institute of Directors (IoD) said the Chancellor had "faced up to the challenge", while the British Chambers of Commerce hailed the strategy as "courageous".

Moustache-twirling, bean-counting, avaricious creeps, the lot of them. But this is to be expected of the Conservatives because this is what they do and that is why more than two thirds of the electorate voted left of centre. In empowering them, Clegg has just crapped over everything the LibDems are supposed to stand for.

We all know by now that 23 out of 29 members of the cabinet are millionaires, including Clegg. One of them is George Gideon Oliver Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer who gave us yesterday's budget, and heir to the wallpaper brand of Osborne and Little. One of the blizzard of tweets yesterday wished for 100% tax on inherited wallpaper fortunes. I've always disliked the company's bland tasteless metallic nouveau-riche designs (explains a lot) and I'd be happy just to see him take a pasting and then get hung.

And a moment of silence for poor old Billy Bragg, a decent man criminally misled by his own wishful thinking.

VAT rise as LibDems aid Tory attack on the poorest

VAT rise bombshell from Tories & LibDems in June budget
It's official. The poorest ten per cent in Britain will see their shopping bills rise and lose the most as ConDem make up the deficit their banker friends caused by raising VAT to 20 percent and cutting our public services. Nick "Ramsay McClegg" Clegg just helped push through the most draconian budget in decades despite all their promises in the run-up to the election, and gave his party their Clause Four moment.

I listened to Vince Cable squirming last night on C4 News as he was quizzed over the LibDem election pledge not to hike VAT as it is a regressive tax that hits the poorest hardest. We were treated to the usual politicians' weasel words, "I may have said that but that's not what I meant". Humpty Dumpty can make words mean whatever he wants, whenever he wants.

I wonder how the LibDem party faithful feel now when you can search on the internet for "libdem vat election ad" and find the unequivocal image above plastered all over their websites. I wonder if there'll be a swift spate of deletions as this part of their bid for political power gets airbrushed out of history. Will it be like Chinese art during the Cultural Revolution, when a person's party loyalty could be measured by the size of the red tractor in their landscapes? In this case, the rebels feature it prominently, while the greasy-pole ascenders minimise or delete it altogether.

More weasel words as David Cameron learns from 1984 and mangles the English language, calling this budget "progressive" when all the evidence shows that it is no such thing.

How progressive is it to raise a tax where the richest ten percent pay one pound in every £25, while the poorest ten percent pay one in every £7? Not just VAT: by a ratio of four to one, the deficit is being paid for by those who did nothing to cause the recession. Why not raise top rates of tax? Even under Thatcher the top rate was 60%. The only crumb of comfort is the rise in the threshold where you start paying tax, but this still means that the poorest end up paying the most when all the changes are taken into account.

Child benefits have been frozen for three years and public departments cut by 25% , while Morgan Stanley joyfully declares the "Austerity Budget" a big win for business. The corporate tax rate falls 1% per year from 28% to 24% by 2013/2014 but a levy on the banks balance sheets rises to only 0.07% by 2012.

Despite a rise in Capital Gains tax by 10% to 28%, Morgan Stanley says:
In general, we thought this was a sensible, balanced and business-friendly budget, which is actually likely to result in an effective tax cut for UK PLC of c. £2.3bn by 2012/13.

And The Daily Telegraph reports the Planet Business rubbing its hands with glee:
Dismissing fears that increasing taxes and cutting public spending could send the country back into recession, the Institute of Directors (IoD) said the Chancellor had "faced up to the challenge", while the British Chambers of Commerce hailed the strategy as "courageous".

Moustache-twirling, bean-counting, avaricious creeps, the lot of them. But this is to be expected of the Conservatives because this is what they do and that is why more than two thirds of the electorate voted left of centre. In empowering them, Clegg has just crapped over everything the LibDems are supposed to stand for.

We all know by now that 23 out of 29 members of the cabinet are millionaires, including Clegg. One of them is George Gideon Oliver Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer who gave us yesterday's budget, and heir to the wallpaper brand of Osborne and Little. One of the blizzard of tweets yesterday wished for 100% tax on inherited wallpaper fortunes. I've always disliked the company's bland tasteless metallic nouveau-riche designs (explains a lot) and I'd be happy just to see him take a pasting and then get hung.

And a moment of silence for poor old Billy Bragg, a decent man criminally misled by his own wishful thinking.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Vagina dentata rape deterrent

rape deterrent condom vagina dentata
Holy crap, we have to go this far?

Dr Sonnet Ehlers says:
It hurts, he cannot pee and walk when it's on. If he tries to remove it, it will clasp even tighter.

I can see a lot of holes in this one.

Vagina dentata rape deterrent

rape deterrent condom vagina dentata
Holy crap, we have to go this far?

Dr Sonnet Ehlers says:
It hurts, he cannot pee and walk when it's on. If he tries to remove it, it will clasp even tighter.

I can see a lot of holes in this one.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Anna Chen Eats: my new Asian food blog

East Asian food ingredients, Chinese, Thai sauces and pastes
Last night over dinner with friends at Shanghai Blues in Holborn, accompanied by the smoothest of smooth Rioja Reservas, conversation turned to the blogosphere. I thought: I eat. I cook. I know ... I'm going to start a new blog focusing entirely on food.

It's called Anna Chen Eats, and I'll be reviewing restaurants, interviewing Chinese chefs and restaurateurs, and writing about my own culinary endeavours.

My first blogpost is about what basics foodstuffs you need in the kitchen if you want to cook up a storm at a moment's notice. Hope you pay me a visit. Feedback most welcome.

Now to get to grips with those widgets. My sidebar is looking very sad.

UPDATE: Anna Chen Eats East Asian Food blog has now moved to Blogger.

Friday, 18 June 2010

BP Spills Coffee: sea floor "fractured beyond repair"



Great video doing the rounds that sums up industry ineptitude over the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

OK, laughs over. Steel yourselves for this, for what it's worth:

"Scientists Warn Gulf Of Mexico Sea Floor Fractured Beyond Repair"
A dire report circulating in the Kremlin today that was prepared for Prime Minister Putin by Anatoly Sagalevich of Russia's Shirshov Institute of Oceanology warns that the Gulf of Mexico sea floor has been fractured “beyond all repair” and our World should begin preparing for an ecological disaster “beyond comprehension” unless “extraordinary measures” are undertaken to stop the massive flow of oil into our Planet’s eleventh largest body of water.

According to Sagalevich’s report, the oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico is not just coming from the 22 inch well bore site being shown on American television, but from at least 18 other sites on the “fractured seafloor” with the largest being nearly 11 kilometers (7 miles) from where the Deepwater Horizon sank and is spewing into these precious waters an estimated 2 million gallons of oil a day.

Interesting to note in this report is Sagalevich stating that he and the other Russian scientists were required by the United States to sign documents forbidding them to report their findings to either the American public or media, and which they had to do in order to legally operate in US territorial waters.

As a prominent oil-industry insider, and one of the World's leading experts on peak oil, Simmons further warns that the US has only two options, “let the well run dry (taking 30 years, and probably ruining the Atlantic ocean) or nuking the well.”

I don't know this source (supposedly the Kremlin) and I'm not sure that the nuclear option is viable for a raft of reasons. And we are talking about a great depth of solid rock said to have been damaged. But it does look as if the pipe itself is doomed. And that sets up a whole load of additional problems.

UPDATE: Saturday 19th June 2010. Naomi Klein on the hole in the earth and the "hubris at the heart of capitalism".
If Katrina pulled back the curtain on the reality of racism in America, the BP disaster pulls back the curtain on something far more hidden: how little control even the most ingenious among us have over the awesome, intricately interconnected natural forces with which we so casually meddle. BP cannot plug the hole in the Earth that it made. Obama cannot order fish species to survive, or brown pelicans not to go extinct (no matter whose ass he kicks). No amount of money – not BP's recently pledged $20bn (£13.5bn), not $100bn – can replace a culture that has lost its roots. And while our politicians and corporate leaders have yet to come to terms with these humbling truths, the people whose air, water and livelihoods have been contaminated are losing their illusions fast.


UPDATE 2: Saturday 19th June. Although we're venting our collective anger at the arrogant Tony Hayward, he has only been at the BP helm since 2007. Part of his brief has apparently been to correct the culture of cost-cutting negligence and irresponsibility overseen by Lord Browne during his ten-year tenure as Chief Executive and a lifetime spent with BP. This same Lord Browne is now on Team Cameron, leading the onslaught on the poor through its policy to claw back as many of the gains made by the British working class as they can muster before being kicked out on their fat behinds. Meanwhile, the wealthy, many of whom brought on the recession, remain unscathed. Given the size of the calamity in the Gulf of Mexico which looks increasingly due to BP's cavalier attitude to safety, my view is that Browne should be banged up in prison with the other criminals, not flouncing about in ermine. BTW, he's one of Tony Blair's mates. Quelle surprise!

Big Oil and global pollution. We need renewables fast.

UPDATE 3: Sunday 4th July 2010. Lord Browne's former lover is now assisting the American lawyer prosecuting BP and alleging that it is Browne's cost-cutting measures that left to such disasters as the Texan oil explosion in 2005 and the unstoppable Gulf of Mexico oil gusher. He is also the person brought in by David Cameron to lead the attack on the poor and make cuts of nearly £7 billion. I hope this doesn't descend into an orgy or homophobia and that everyone remembers Browne is a scumbag because of his class interest and not his sexuality.

Karate Kid does kung fu: 2010 remake courts China

Karate Kid stars Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan as kung fu master
So there I am in a nice frock and scrubbed up a treat, and the actual event only takes three minutes. A scenario familiar to many of us laydees.

Monday's appearance on the Sky News skynews.com programme, where I was expected to inject wit and knowledge into a round-up of breaking news, was fun but over in a trice. However, I did loads of research (I actually read stuff) and so I am recycling like the environmentally-friendly blogger wot I yam and sharing it here with you.

The chief thing to exercise my noggin was the remake of The Karate Kid taking a staggering $56 million in its opening weekend in the States, nearly double that of the runner up, The A Team.

Far be it from me to review something I have not yet seen. But as the nice Fujianese lady who services our pub hadn't yet stocked up on DVDs of this new release (kids, don't try this at home), you'll have to make do with a first impressions preview that I gleaned from the trailers on YouTube.

I can't understand why little Jaden Smith (as Dre Parker) has been getting such a walloping on the net. Already a veteran of movies The Pursuit Of Happyness and The Day The Earth Stood Still, he knows his cute acting chops. This boy doesn't just cry to order, he can probably ask the director to nominate which eye to do it from. Jaden must have made his parents very proud, especially as the parents in question are Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith, and Will is also the proud producer of the much-moolah generating Karate Kid. A veritable dynasty of blockbuster stars.

In the trailer Jaden looks cute as a button and brought a lump to my throat (no, not used food!) as this little underpuppy, out of his own safe US home environment, has to vanquish the Chinese bullies who are making his life such a misery. Whacks on, whacks off.

Hey, do I spot a schtonking great metaphor in there? Poor iddle Barry O'Bama learning to defend himself against overwhelming odds as the new generation of Chinese whup his ass while they take over world Number One superpower status.

Japanese Mr Miyagi from the original is now transformed into Chinese Mr Han (appealing to the ticket-purchasing pride of several hundred million Han Chinese), representing older Chinese values. The kindly mentor is played by loveable Jackie Chan who trains up the kid in kung-fu. And yet ... the movie is STILL called the Karate Kid. Karate? A Japanese martial art? What's the betting it gets retitled for the Chinese market?

This is basically a retelling of the Wing Chun story which I played out in my own solo show, Suzy Wrong— Human Cannon, when I took it to Edinburgh in the mid 90s. Tiny Wing Chun, a four-foot-something girl, has to defend herself from the local bully and a certain fate worse than death. She is aided by Ng Mui, a buddhist nun, who has spent her solitary bag-lady life observing the animals, and devises a kung-fu form drawn from a fight she sees between crane and a snake. I myself have similarly learnt from the occasional back-garden pigeon rucks with the local cat population, so if you see me pooing myself and shedding clothes (not necessarily in that order), you know I'm up for a fight.

Karate Kid does kung fu: 2010 remake courts China

Karate Kid stars Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan as kung fu master
So there I am in a nice frock and scrubbed up a treat, and the actual event only takes three minutes. A scenario familiar to many of us laydees.

Monday's appearance on the Sky News skynews.com programme, where I was expected to inject wit and knowledge into a round-up of breaking news, was fun but over in a trice. However, I did loads of research (I actually read stuff) and so I am recycling like the environmentally-friendly blogger wot I yam and sharing it here with you.

The chief thing to exercise my noggin was the remake of The Karate Kid taking a staggering $56 million in its opening weekend in the States, nearly double that of the runner up, The A Team.

Far be it from me to review something I have not yet seen. But as the nice Fujianese lady who services our pub hadn't yet stocked up on DVDs of this new release (kids, don't try this at home), you'll have to make do with a first impressions preview that I gleaned from the trailers on YouTube.

I can't understand why little Jaden Smith (as Dre Parker) has been getting such a walloping on the net. Already a veteran of movies The Pursuit Of Happyness and The Day The Earth Stood Still, he knows his cute acting chops. This boy doesn't just cry to order, he can probably ask the director to nominate which eye to do it from. Jaden must have made his parents very proud, especially as the parents in question are Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith, and Will is also the proud producer of the much-moolah generating Karate Kid. A veritable dynasty of blockbuster stars.

In the trailer Jaden looks cute as a button and brought a lump to my throat (no, not used food!) as this little underpuppy, out of his own safe US home environment, has to vanquish the Chinese bullies who are making his life such a misery. Whacks on, whacks off.

Hey, do I spot a schtonking great metaphor in there? Poor iddle Barry O'Bama learning to defend himself against overwhelming odds as the new generation of Chinese whup his ass while they take over world Number One superpower status.

Japanese Mr Miyagi from the original is now transformed into Chinese Mr Han (appealing to the ticket-purchasing pride of several hundred million Han Chinese), representing older Chinese values. The kindly mentor is played by loveable Jackie Chan who trains up the kid in kung-fu. And yet ... the movie is STILL called the Karate Kid. Karate? A Japanese martial art? What's the betting it gets retitled for the Chinese market?

This is basically a retelling of the Wing Chun story which I played out in my own solo show, Suzy Wrong— Human Cannon, when I took it to Edinburgh in the mid 90s. Tiny Wing Chun, a four-foot-something girl, has to defend herself from the local bully and a certain fate worse than death. She is aided by Ng Mui, a buddhist nun, who has spent her solitary bag-lady life observing the animals, and devises a kung-fu form drawn from a fight she sees between crane and a snake. I myself have similarly learnt from the occasional back-garden pigeon rucks with the local cat population, so if you see me pooing myself and shedding clothes (not necessarily in that order), you know I'm up for a fight.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Is BP Oil leak unstoppable? BOP tilting

Boris Johnson, Norman Tebbit and Toby Young, among other priority-warped pundits, may be screeching about BP dividends and imagined anti-British sentiment in the US, but there are more pressing concerns.

On May 14th I blogged about the possibility that the BP Deepwater Horizon oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico may be unstoppable. Now spilling 150,000 barrels a day according to some estimates — not BP's — the nightmare scenario that the entire oil reserve may break open is now increasingly looking like a reality. [EDIT: official figure now around 40,000 barrels per day.] The Oil Drum — a website for oil industry geologists, engineers, technicians and other experts — carries this comment by dougr. I recommend you read it.

Essentially, there are signs that the well pipes below the Blow Out Preventer (BOP) may be being eroded to the point where the seabed collapses and the entire oil reserve is emptied into the ocean.

All the actions and few tid bits of information all lead to one inescapable conclusion. The well pipes below the sea floor are broken and leaking. Now you have some real data of how BP's actions are evidence of that, as well as some murky statement from "BP officials" confirming the same. ... It means they will never cap the gusher after the wellhead. They cannot...the more they try and restrict the oil gushing out the bop?...the more it will transfer to the leaks below. Just like a leaky garden hose with a nozzle on it. When you open up the nozzle?...it doesn't leak so bad, you close the nozzle?...it leaks real bad,
same dynamics. It is why they sawed the riser off...or tried to anyway...but they clipped it off, to relieve pressure on the leaks "down hole". I'm sure there was a bit of panic time after they crimp/pinched off the large riser pipe and the Diamond wire saw got stuck and failed...because that crimp diverted pressure and flow to the rupture down below.

A down hole leak is dangerous and damaging for several reasons.
There will be erosion throughout the entire beat up, beat on and beat down remainder of the "system" including that inaccessible leak. The same erosion I spoke about in the first post is still present and has never stopped, cannot be stopped, is impossible to stop and will always be present in and acting on anything that is left which has crude oil "Product" rushing through it. There are abrasives still present, swirling flow will create hot spots of wear and this erosion is relentless and will always be present until eventually it wears away enough material to break it's way out. It will slowly eat the bop away especially at the now pinched off riser head and it will flow more and more. Perhaps BP can outrun or keep up with that out flow with various suckage methods for a period of time, but eventually the well will win that race, just how long that race will be?...no one really knows....However now?...there are other problems that a down hole leak will and must produce that will compound this already bad situation.

This down hole leak will undermine the foundation of the seabed in and around the well area. It also weakens the only thing holding up the massive Blow Out Preventer's immense bulk of 450 tons. In fact?...we are beginning to the results of the well's total integrity beginning to fail due to the undermining being caused by the leaking well bore.

The first layer of the sea floor in the gulf is mostly lose material of sand and silt. It doesn't hold up anything and isn't meant to, what holds the entire subsea system of the Bop in place is the well itself. The very large steel connectors of the initial well head "spud" stabbed in to the sea floor. The Bop literally sits on top of the pipe and never touches the sea bed, it wouldn't do anything in way of support if it did. After several tens of feet the seabed does begin to support the well connection laterally (side to side) you couldn't put a 450 ton piece of machinery on top of a 100' tall pipe "in the air" and subject it to the side loads caused by the ocean currents and expect it not to bend over...unless that pipe was very much larger than the machine itself, which you all can see it is not. The well's piping in comparison is actually very much smaller than the Blow Out Preventer and strong as it may be, it relies on some support from the seabed to function and not literally fall over...and it is now showing signs of doing just that....falling over.

If you have been watching the live feed cams you may have noticed that some of the ROVs are using an inclinometer...and inclinometer is an instrument that measures "Incline" or tilt. The BOP is not supposed to be tilting...and after the riser clip off operation it has begun to...

... What is likely to happen now?

Well...none of what is likely to happen is good, in fact...it's about as bad as it gets. I am convinced the erosion and compromising of the entire system is accelerating and attacking more key structural areas of the well, the blow out preventer and surrounding strata holding it all up and together. This is evidenced by the tilt of the blow out preventer and the erosion which has exposed the well head connection. What eventually will happen is that the blow out preventer will literally tip over if they do not run supports to it as the currents push on it. I suspect they will run those supports as cables tied to anchors very soon, if they don't, they are inviting disaster that much sooner.

Eventually even that will be futile as the well casings cannot support the weight of the massive system above with out the cement bond to the earth and that bond is being eroded away. When enough is eroded away the casings will buckle and the BOP will collapse the well. If and when you begin to see oil and gas coming up around the well area from under the BOP? or the area around the well head connection and casing sinking more and more rapidly? ...it won't be too long after that the entire system fails. BP must be aware of this, they are mapping the sea floor sonically and that is not a mere exercise. Our Gov't must be well aware too, they just are not telling us.

All of these things lead to only one place, a fully wide open well bore directly to the oil deposit...after that, it goes into the realm of "the worst things you can think of" The well may come completely apart as the inner liners fail. There is still a very long drill string in the well, that could literally come flying out...as I said...all the worst things you can think of are a possibility, but the very least damaging outcome as bad as it is, is that we are stuck with a wide open gusher blowing out 150,000 barrels a day of raw oil or more. There isn't any "cap dome" or any other suck fixer device on earth that exists or could be built that will stop it from gushing out and doing more and more damage to the gulf. While at the same time also doing more damage to the well, making the chance of halting it with a kill from the bottom up less and less likely to work, which as it stands now?....is the only real chance we have left to stop it all.

It's a race now...a race to drill the relief wells and take our last chance at killing this monster before the whole weakened, wore out, blown out, leaking and failing system gives up it's last gasp in a horrific crescendo.

We are not even 2 months into it, barely half way by even optimistic estimates. The damage done by the leaked oil now is virtually immeasurable already and it will not get better, it can only get worse. No matter how much they can collect, there will still be thousands and thousands of gallons leaking out every minute, every hour of every day. We have 2 months left before the relief wells are even near in position and set up to take a kill shot and that is being optimistic as I said.

Over the next 2 months the mechanical situation also cannot improve, it can only get worse, getting better is an impossibility. While they may make some gains on collecting the leaked oil, the structural situation cannot heal itself. It will continue to erode and flow out more oil and eventually the inevitable collapse which cannot be stopped will happen. It is only a simple matter of who can "get there first"...us or the well.

... We need to prepare for the possibility of this blow out sending more oil into the gulf per week then what we already have now, because that is what a collapse of the system will cause. All the collection efforts that have captured oil will be erased in short order. The magnitude of this disaster will increase exponentially by the time we can do anything to halt it and our odds of actually even being able to halt it will go down.

Also carried by Mother Jones. Via @warrenellis and @stevesilberman.

BP is a multinational company, 49% non-British (Edit: 39% owned by Americans), having been privatised by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s. Today's $20 billion fund Obama has made BP put aside for reparations plus future fines are beginning to look like chump change for an industry that may have poisoned irreparably the world's oceans.

Will criminal charges be brought?
Porn, cancer, drugs and gifts at the Minerals Management Service.
Collapsing seabed a possibility.

UPDATE: Friday 18th June 2010. "Scientists Warn Gulf Of Mexico Sea Floor Fractured Beyond Repair"
A dire report circulating in the Kremlin today that was prepared for Prime Minister Putin by Anatoly Sagalevich of Russia's Shirshov Institute of Oceanology warns that the Gulf of Mexico sea floor has been fractured “beyond all repair” and our World should begin preparing for an ecological disaster “beyond comprehension” unless “extraordinary measures” are undertaken to stop the massive flow of oil into our Planet’s eleventh largest body of water.

According to Sagalevich’s report, the oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico is not just coming from the 22 inch well bore site being shown on American television, but from at least 18 other sites on the “fractured seafloor” with the largest being nearly 11 kilometers (7 miles) from where the Deepwater Horizon sank and is spewing into these precious waters an estimated 2 million gallons of oil a day.

Interesting to note in this report is Sagalevich stating that he and the other Russian scientists were required by the United States to sign documents forbidding them to report their findings to either the American public or media, and which they had to do in order to legally operate in US territorial waters.

As a prominent oil-industry insider, and one of the World's leading experts on peak oil, Simmons further warns that the US has only two options, “let the well run dry (taking 30 years, and probably ruining the Atlantic ocean) or nuking the well.”


UPDATE 2: Sunday 4th July 2010. Former BP chief Lord Browne's former lover is now assisting the American lawyer prosecuting BP and alleging that it is Browne's cost-cutting measures that left to such disasters as the Texan oil explosion in 2005 and the unstoppable Gulf of Mexico oil gusher. He is also the person brought in by David Cameron to lead the attack on the poor and make cuts of nearly £7 billion. I hope this doesn't descend into an orgy or homophobia and that everyone remembers Browne is a scumbag because of his class interest and not his sexuality.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Chopsticks At Dawn available on iPlayer until Saturday

Chopsticks At Dawn, BBC Radio 4, on orientalism in Western musicJonathan Walker and Anna Chen

A quick reminder that my BBC Radio 4 programme on orientalism in Western music is on for another five days.

Chopsticks At Dawn
13:30 Tuesday 8th June 2010
BBC Radio 4
Presented by Anna Chen
Written by Anna Chen with Dr Jonathan Walker
Produced by Chris Eldon-Lee and Culture Wise

LISTEN NOW ON BBC IPLAYER UNTIL SATURDAY

Item at Socialist Unity

SKYNEWS.COM TONIGHT 7 - 7:30PM

Also, I have a five-minute spot tonight on the Sky News programme, skynews.com, reviewing the blogosphere. Starts 7pm.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Bread, circuses and football fever: do I care about the World Cup?

Football as gladiatorial combat, World Cup 2010
Football — the continuation of war by other means.

The trouble with football (collapsing a whole long list into a handful of bugbears) is that its mindset bears an uncanny resemblance to the belief in "my country/party right or wrong". It appears designed to programme the collective brain out of thinking and nuance, making those same synaptic connections that can only deal with black and white, binary three-minute hate. Us (good) and them (bad).

Coming out of the Second World War, which devastated huge swathes of the globe, we valued our intellectuals and artists for helping to make the world a better place. Nowadays, changing social conditions means social engineering, militarising society and the creation a nation of gladiators. From Sky to Skynet, turning you into a combat machine. Prepare to be assimilated.

It's like living in Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Existence reduced to sex and death as we close ourselves down. All hail the sacred ground where you mash the opposition into the dirt, whether on the field, in the ring or at the dispatch box.

Laurie Penny writes a very funny miserablist piece on the upcoming World Cup in the New Statesman — Why I Despise The World Cup — and makes the point that, while we're staring at the bread and circuses spectacle of the World Cup (on at a television near you from today), this is the reality for those of us who swallowed the red pill.
Young people are in crisis, poor people are in crisis, unemployment stands at 2.5 million, the Labour movement is still leaderless and directionless, and there's a brutal train of Tory public service cuts coming over the hill.

To those who cry that this is a proletarian pastime, whatever it was, it ain't now.
... football is no longer the people's sport. Just look at the brutal contempt that the police reserve for fans, or count the number of working-class Britons who can afford to attend home matches, much less the festivities in South Africa. Then there's the uncomfortable fact that the World Cup is only and always about men.

Er, and the WAGS. Don't forget the frocks and the shopping, a crucial component of any major footballing event.

Do I really want to identify with massively overpaid narcissists and their big-buck masters? How does victory for one set of businessmen over another set improve my life?

I love the artistry of great footballers. Watching George Best run rings around his opponents like he was occupying a different time and space was a joy to behold. But the small local football team that was part of the community is a myth, destroyed when British soccer emulated the American sports system and became a money-spinning industry, making your passion something that could be bought and sold. It bears the same relationship to the beautiful game as porn does to sex. So your team can spend millions on a talent from Nowheresville, Abroad? Well done. That means you are the best because some oligarch had deep pockets.

An irate Nick Cohen quoted Orwell at me (cheeky!) because I said I wanted both sides to lose this Saturday when England plays the US, accusing me of being ashamed of being English like the typical lefty wot I yam. But he misses the point. Which England does he mean? The England having its safety net dismantled by the Tories and Ramsay McClegg? Or the England that produced some of the best art and culture in the world with the post-war democratising of the state?

I cheer England on in athletics because it isn't about two sides crushing each other. It really is the best man or woman winning through skill and it is possible to appreciate the accomplishments of the winner even if they aren't on your team. Same with British culture when we do something great in film or music.

There's no point admonishing detractors of the sport for somehow not being patriotic.

To riposte with an Orwell quote of my own: "If we really want to punish the people who weakened national morale at critical moments, there are other culprits who are nearer home and better worth chasing."

I'll probably succumb, though, and watch the bloody thing out of curiosity and an indulgence of my own pack instincts, despite Loved One insisting the only thing worse than watching a team sport is playing one. For those about to die over control of the TV remote, I salute you. I wonder who'll win.

Republished at Liberal Conspiracy.

Bread, circuses and football fever: do I care about the World Cup?

Football as gladiatorial combat, World Cup 2010
Football — the continuation of war by other means.

The trouble with football (collapsing a whole long list into a handful of bugbears) is that its mindset bears an uncanny resemblance to the belief in "my country/party right or wrong". It appears designed to programme the collective brain out of thinking and nuance, making those same synaptic connections that can only deal with black and white, binary three-minute hate. Us (good) and them (bad).

Coming out of the Second World War, which devastated huge swathes of the globe, we valued our intellectuals and artists for helping to make the world a better place. Nowadays, changing social conditions means social engineering, militarising society and the creation a nation of gladiators. From Sky to Skynet, turning you into a combat machine. Prepare to be assimilated.

It's like living in Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Existence reduced to sex and death as we close ourselves down. All hail the sacred ground where you mash the opposition into the dirt, whether on the field, in the ring or at the dispatch box.

Laurie Penny writes a very funny miserablist piece on the upcoming World Cup in the New Statesman — Why I Despise The World Cup — and makes the point that, while we're staring at the bread and circuses spectacle of the World Cup (on at a television near you from today), this is the reality for those of us who swallowed the red pill.
Young people are in crisis, poor people are in crisis, unemployment stands at 2.5 million, the Labour movement is still leaderless and directionless, and there's a brutal train of Tory public service cuts coming over the hill.

To those who cry that this is a proletarian pastime, whatever it was, it ain't now.
... football is no longer the people's sport. Just look at the brutal contempt that the police reserve for fans, or count the number of working-class Britons who can afford to attend home matches, much less the festivities in South Africa. Then there's the uncomfortable fact that the World Cup is only and always about men.

Er, and the WAGS. Don't forget the frocks and the shopping, a crucial component of any major footballing event.

Do I really want to identify with massively overpaid narcissists and their big-buck masters? How does victory for one set of businessmen over another set improve my life?

I love the artistry of great footballers. Watching George Best run rings around his opponents like he was occupying a different time and space was a joy to behold. But the small local football team that was part of the community is a myth, destroyed when British soccer emulated the American sports system and became a money-spinning industry, making your passion something that could be bought and sold. It bears the same relationship to the beautiful game as porn does to sex. So your team can spend millions on a talent from Nowheresville, Abroad? Well done. That means you are the best because some oligarch had deep pockets.

An irate Nick Cohen quoted Orwell at me (cheeky!) because I said I wanted both sides to lose this Saturday when England plays the US, accusing me of being ashamed of being English like the typical lefty wot I yam. But he misses the point. Which England does he mean? The England having its safety net dismantled by the Tories and Ramsay McClegg? Or the England that produced some of the best art and culture in the world with the post-war democratising of the state?

I cheer England on in athletics because it isn't about two sides crushing each other. It really is the best man or woman winning through skill and it is possible to appreciate the accomplishments of the winner even if they aren't on your team. Same with British culture when we do something great in film or music.

There's no point admonishing detractors of the sport for somehow not being patriotic.

To riposte with an Orwell quote of my own: "If we really want to punish the people who weakened national morale at critical moments, there are other culprits who are nearer home and better worth chasing."

I'll probably succumb, though, and watch the bloody thing out of curiosity and an indulgence of my own pack instincts, despite Loved One insisting the only thing worse than watching a team sport is playing one. For those about to die over control of the TV remote, I salute you. I wonder who'll win.

Republished at Liberal Conspiracy.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Chopsticks At Dawn: May Kway original of Rose, Rose, I Love You



Here's a YouTube recording of May Kway Oh May Kway by Miss Huey Lee, the original Chinese song that became Frankie Laine's hit, Rose, Rose, I Love You which I featured on Chopsticks At Dawn, my Radio 4 programme looking at orientalism in Western music.

Several people have now contacted me to let me know that they were aware that the song had Asian origins. So thank you all. It was a lovely example of a song that respected the culture it came from.

Thanks to Charlie Pottins for tracking it down.

Chopsticks At Dawn: May Kway original of Rose, Rose, I Love You



Here's a YouTube recording of May Kway Oh May Kway by Miss Huey Lee, the original Chinese song that became Frankie Laine's hit, Rose, Rose, I Love You which I featured on Chopsticks At Dawn, my Radio 4 programme looking at orientalism in Western music.

Several people have now contacted me to let me know that they were aware that the song had Asian origins. So thank you all. It was a lovely example of a song that respected the culture it came from.

Thanks to Charlie Pottins for tracking it down.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Joe Wong Mainland Chinese Comic In America



"President Obama was offered the Nobel Peace Prize while he was waging two wars. And he accepted it. You can't get more badass than that. Unless you give the prize money to the military."

LOFROR

New Chinese immigrant to the US, Joe Wong, addresses the annual Radio & Television Correspondents' Dinner, to an audience including Joe Biden.

Thanks to Denis

Joe Wong Mainland Chinese Comic In America



"President Obama was offered the Nobel Peace Prize while he was waging two wars. And he accepted it. You can't get more badass than that. Unless you give the prize money to the military."

LOFROR

New Chinese immigrant to the US, Joe Wong, addresses the annual Radio & Television Correspondents' Dinner, to an audience including Joe Biden.

Thanks to Denis

Monday, 7 June 2010

Chopsticks At Dawn: BBC R4 Tuesday 8th June for 7 days

Chopsticks At Dawn, BBC Radio 4 studio, orientalism in Western musicPhoto of Anna, Jane Ng and Ben Chan at BBC Broadcasting House (Thanks Ben Chan)

Chopsticks At Dawn: orientalism in Western music
13:30 Tuesday 8th June 2010
BBC Radio 4
Presented by Anna Chen
Written by Anna Chen with Dr Jonathan Walker
Produced by Chris Eldon-Lee and Culture Wise
More here

LISTEN NOW ON BBC IPLAYER FOR SEVEN DAYS

"The cuddly face of dehumanisation. A bit like golliwogs."

I always wondered how it was that those cartoon strains of cod Chinese music used to have me running for cover when I was growing up. Siouxsie And The Banshees' Hong Kong Garden, David Bowie's China Girl, Carl Douglas's Kung Fu Fighting, they're only a few examples of the sort of orientalism in music that was the bane of my young life. Who needed crude verbal epithets when a few bars of plonkery could do the job?

I asked my friend Dr Jonathan Walker, a musicologist and damned fine pianist, how certain configurations of a few notes could be so potent in their effect. What he told me led to a fascinating journey through the development of a musical trope that was loaded with meaning, much of it not very positive.

From its basic building blocks of pentatonics (the black notes) and parallel fourths all the way to Debussy and Ketelby, Jonathan reveals how, had Western music begun to represent other cultures at an earlier stage in history when Chinoiserie was greatly admired, we might have ended up with a musical equivalent of the willow pattern crockery, or the Brighton Pavilion. As it is, it coincided with the Opium Wars and Yellow Peril fever, so the results were hardly complimentary.

You can see how this all pulls together in the arena of propaganda in the opening title sequence of the movie Inn Of The Sixth Happiness, starring Ingrid Bergman as missionary Gladys Aylward, and Curt Jurgens as the Chinese General (!). Made in 1958 during the Cold War, various motifs in Malcolm Arnold's score merge with the visuals to create a subtext, climaxing in the dramatic appearance of the film's title in vivid scarlet text reminiscent of American takeaway menus, and accompanied by billowing clouds of steam that could be opium smoke or dragon's breath. Listen out for the "cruelty" chords as associated with ancient Rome and the mysterious Orient. It's brilliant and quite funny.



I was joined by academics Derek Scott of Leeds and Rachel Harris of SOAS who help to find out exactly what was going on with the representation of Asian Pacific people — and Chinese in particular — in the culture. Chi2 funsters Liz and Sarah Liew add their childhood reactions to the mix. And musicians Ben Chan (Big Yellow Band) and Jane Ng, who wrote Pagoda Of Dreams, show us how they merge East and West in their compositions.

Jonathan Walker

BBC preview and Listen Again for seven days here
(Pic of Anna at BBC page by Sukey Parnell)

Pick Of The Day: RadioTimes, Observer, Sunday Telegraph, Time Out, Mail On Sunday. Also daily choice in the Times, Telegraph and Independent, Tuesday 8th.

Daily Telegraph
Anna Chen reflects, through gritted teeth, on representations of Chinese music, the ingy pingy clichés as used by everyone from George Formby to David Bowie, demeaning a culture which, in other fields, we respect. This isn’t a dreary sermon, though. It’s a lively, rueful journey through aural conditioning. Why do some sounds suggest the Orient to us? She listens to Ravel and has the pentatonic scale (as played on a piano’s black keys) explained to her as a short cut to something that to Westerners signals “east”. But there’s more to it than that.

Recording with bronchitis

Item at Socialist Unity

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Canine protesters join Greek demos: dogging the barricades

Stray dogs join Greek protestersPic by Nikolas Giakoumidis, AP


From "No Dogs Or Chinese" to dogs who are warmly welcomed by their human comrades. Just when you wanted a story combining pets and politics, here's one from Paw Print Post about the street dogs in Greece who fight side by side with the anarchists.

They are popular with the public and one, Kanellos, even has his own Facebook page with 1,900 fans and a song dedicated to him. The Internationale unites the human race. And furry friends.

Also at the same site: cat saves woman during a pit bull attack.

Canine protesters join Greek demos: dogging the barricades

Stray dogs join Greek protestersPic by Nikolas Giakoumidis, AP


From "No Dogs Or Chinese" to dogs who are warmly welcomed by their human comrades. Just when you wanted a story combining pets and politics, here's one from Paw Print Post about the street dogs in Greece who fight side by side with the anarchists.

They are popular with the public and one, Kanellos, even has his own Facebook page with 1,900 fans and a song dedicated to him. The Internationale unites the human race. And furry friends.

Also at the same site: cat saves woman during a pit bull attack.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

No Dogs Or Chinese: it's a sign

No dogs or Chinese sign in Shanghai park
To the charming visitor to this blog who is demanding that we Chinese should refrain from discussing aspects of our own history (comment here) because he, "As a Jew who is well aware of REAL victimization" says "get over it." And I say "Phooey!" In fact I say, "Hong Kong Phooey with brass nobs on." (Yes, I am well aware of my spelling but nobs is what I mean in this instance.) Thank goodness that my very good Jewish friends do not share your competitiveness in the suffering stakes.

Our "real victim" friend angrily denies there was any such thing as a sign saying, "No Dogs Or Chinese/Chinamen", relegating it to a Bruce Lee movie invention. He might be interested to know that Huangpu Park in Shanghai was closed to Chinese until 1928. The sign as oft quoted is a poetic compression of the actual sign which stipulated it was for the Foreign Community only, and that dogs were forbidden. You see? Essentially, "No dogs or Chinese." Shorthand foregrounding the salient bits. Easy to understand. Hope that helps.

No Dogs Or Chinese: it's a sign

No dogs or Chinese sign in Shanghai park
To the charming visitor to this blog who is demanding that we Chinese should refrain from discussing aspects of our own history (comment here) because he, "As a Jew who is well aware of REAL victimization" says "get over it." And I say "Phooey!" In fact I say, "Hong Kong Phooey with brass nobs on." (Yes, I am well aware of my spelling but nobs is what I mean in this instance.) Thank goodness that my very good Jewish friends do not share your competitiveness in the suffering stakes.

Our "real victim" friend angrily denies there was any such thing as a sign saying, "No Dogs Or Chinese/Chinamen", relegating it to a Bruce Lee movie invention. He might be interested to know that Huangpu Park in Shanghai was closed to Chinese until 1928. The sign as oft quoted is a poetic compression of the actual sign which stipulated it was for the Foreign Community only, and that dogs were forbidden. You see? Essentially, "No dogs or Chinese." Shorthand foregrounding the salient bits. Easy to understand. Hope that helps.

The world responds to Israel's Gaza Aid attack

Now that the Freedom Flotilla survivors from the Gaza Aid convoy are coming home and bearing witness to what happened during the attack, the overwhelming picture is of a military force that was firing live ammunition from helicopters before soldiers even landed. The footage Israel has been showing to narrate their version practically unchallenged in the Western media is not the beginning: it was scene two. What Israel presents as rampaging murderers are human beings fighting for their lives having already been shot at.

In one report:
Mattias Gardell, professor of religion and spokesperson for Shiptogaza.se, said the Israelis shot live from the air, gave wounded no treatment. He said activists threw away Isreali weapons, and he fears activists drowned.

Abused, humiliated and beaten. People still missing. And Abandoned by Britain.

While international leaders dither and make excuses for Israel — refusing to condemn, colluding in their lies, and even demanding the aggressors conduct their own inquiry — other responses reflect our common humanity.

A French cinema chain cancels Israeli film, replaces it with one on RachelCorrie. (Via @Avinunu)

A Swedish port workers' union boycotts Israeli ships and goods.
(Via @TenPercent)

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said on Saturday Israel's blockade of Gaza was illegal and should be lifted.

Around the world there have been mass protests against Israel's illegal attack, including thousands today in London. But the bravest protesters must be the 6,000 demonstrating in Tel Aviv.

UPDATE: Sunday 6th June. Gaza aid convoy survivors tell of shooting from helicopters before the soldiers landed, contradicting Israel's account. Aid activist's film footage missing. Kidnapped by Israel, abandoned by Britain.

The world responds to Israel's Gaza Aid attack

Now that the Freedom Flotilla survivors from the Gaza Aid convoy are coming home and bearing witness to what happened during the attack, the overwhelming picture is of a military force that was firing live ammunition from helicopters before soldiers even landed. The footage Israel has been showing to narrate their version practically unchallenged in the Western media is not the beginning: it was scene two. What Israel presents as rampaging murderers are human beings fighting for their lives having already been shot at.

In one report:
Mattias Gardell, professor of religion and spokesperson for Shiptogaza.se, said the Israelis shot live from the air, gave wounded no treatment. He said activists threw away Isreali weapons, and he fears activists drowned.

Abused, humiliated and beaten. People still missing. And Abandoned by Britain.

While international leaders dither and make excuses for Israel — refusing to condemn, colluding in their lies, and even demanding the aggressors conduct their own inquiry — other responses reflect our common humanity.

A French cinema chain cancels Israeli film, replaces it with one on RachelCorrie. (Via @Avinunu)

A Swedish port workers' union boycotts Israeli ships and goods.
(Via @TenPercent)

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said on Saturday Israel's blockade of Gaza was illegal and should be lifted.

Around the world there have been mass protests against Israel's illegal attack, including thousands today in London. But the bravest protesters must be the 6,000 demonstrating in Tel Aviv.

UPDATE: Sunday 6th June. Gaza aid convoy survivors tell of shooting from helicopters before the soldiers landed, contradicting Israel's account. Aid activist's film footage missing. Kidnapped by Israel, abandoned by Britain.

Friday, 4 June 2010

China and workers rights: women strikers detained

Women factory workers in China
One step forward, another step back.

I want China to be a strong nation — look what happened to it when it wasn't. Never again do I want to see it on its knees, wracked by famine, torn apart by civil war, having chunks bitten out of it by every nasty imperial power that wants a bit of the action. Never again do I want to see signs saying, "No Dogs or Chinamen" in its own land, or wars forcing its people to take opium, or beheading contests of its civilians held by fascist invaders. This is a sentiment felt by most Chinese, for many of whom these events exist in living memory.

But China has to be strong in spirit, not just in might. Remember Spider-Man: with great power comes great responsibility. China once held the idea that all its people should share in its good fortune (and, in a spirit of internationalism, hoped that the rest of the world would rise on the same tide). So it is deeply frustrating to learn, following the encouraging news that China is allowing the Honda strike at four plants to take its course unimpeded by the state, that there's another strike where 20 women cotton mill workers in Henan have been detained by police.

The China Labour Bulletin reports:
The strikers have four basic demands: That employees get a fair share of the proceeds from the restructuring of the enterprise and the sale of assets; that holiday pay and bonuses conform with the provisions of the Labour Law: that wages (especially for front line workers) be increased and that workers get paid annual leave; and that elderly and infirm workers be allowed to retire early on a basic subsistence allowance.

Seems a pretty fair group of demands in a country set to be the new superpower and where a tiny stratum of lucky bleeders are rolling in untold riches.

China has lifted 600 million people out of absolute poverty. But every yin has its yang. In this Golden Age, reminiscent of America at the end of the 19th century, there are also (at the last count) 6,000 yuan billionaires, many of whom are the children of the bureaucrats who once ran the state assets now in private hands. Princesses ride around in Lamborghinis decked out in the style of Hello Kitty (yum! Classy!) in futuristic cities that have sprung up overnight, so I think the communists could chuck a bit more wedge the workers' way.

Not that the West can crow. Microsoft have been treating one set of teenagers as slave labour so they can provide amusement for another set of teenagers with production of the Xbox. And it took a damaging barrage of negative press over the spate of suicides at the Foxconn factory that services Apple for Steve Jobs to agree a thirty percent rise in wages, whatever he may say about the factory being "pretty nice".

I've said it before and I'll say it again: capitalism in all forms is destructive. Capitalism is the exploitation of man by man, and Communism is the exact opposite. In post-millennial China, they've managed to combine the two.

Meanwhile, it's June 4th ... er, May 35th. I do believe that there is an anniversary today. Jamie on "incident recalled". He also found this fascinating item illustrating the cat and mouse game between authorities and dissidents.

UPDATE: Renegade Eye informs us the Honda workers have returned to work but named today as a deadline for agreement to their demands.

UPDATE 2: Newsweek: " ... Lee Chang-hee, at Beijing's International Labor Office, predicts that unions and collective bargaining are inevitably going to become part of China's landscape, driving up wages." "'We used to think it was some version of the American Dream—liberalize, open up, grow. But then you had your crisis. We can say, it proves we're strong. But where do we go now?'"

China and workers rights: women strikers detained

Women factory workers in China
One step forward, another step back.

I want China to be a strong nation — look what happened to it when it wasn't. Never again do I want to see it on its knees, wracked by famine, torn apart by civil war, having chunks bitten out of it by every nasty imperial power that wants a bit of the action. Never again do I want to see signs saying, "No Dogs or Chinamen" in its own land, or wars forcing its people to take opium, or beheading contests of its civilians held by fascist invaders. This is a sentiment felt by most Chinese, for many of whom these events exist in living memory.

But China has to be strong in spirit, not just in might. Remember Spider-Man: with great power comes great responsibility. China once held the idea that all its people should share in its good fortune (and, in a spirit of internationalism, hoped that the rest of the world would rise on the same tide). So it is deeply frustrating to learn, following the encouraging news that China is allowing the Honda strike at four plants to take its course unimpeded by the state, that there's another strike where 20 women cotton mill workers in Henan have been detained by police.

The China Labour Bulletin reports:
The strikers have four basic demands: That employees get a fair share of the proceeds from the restructuring of the enterprise and the sale of assets; that holiday pay and bonuses conform with the provisions of the Labour Law: that wages (especially for front line workers) be increased and that workers get paid annual leave; and that elderly and infirm workers be allowed to retire early on a basic subsistence allowance.

Seems a pretty fair group of demands in a country set to be the new superpower and where a tiny stratum of lucky bleeders are rolling in untold riches.

China has lifted 600 million people out of absolute poverty. But every yin has its yang. In this Golden Age, reminiscent of America at the end of the 19th century, there are also (at the last count) 6,000 yuan billionaires, many of whom are the children of the bureaucrats who once ran the state assets now in private hands. Princesses ride around in Lamborghinis decked out in the style of Hello Kitty (yum! Classy!) in futuristic cities that have sprung up overnight, so I think the communists could chuck a bit more wedge the workers' way.

Not that the West can crow. Microsoft have been treating one set of teenagers as slave labour so they can provide amusement for another set of teenagers with production of the Xbox. And it took a damaging barrage of negative press over the spate of suicides at the Foxconn factory that services Apple for Steve Jobs to agree a thirty percent rise in wages, whatever he may say about the factory being "pretty nice".

I've said it before and I'll say it again: capitalism in all forms is destructive. Capitalism is the exploitation of man by man, and Communism is the exact opposite. In post-millennial China, they've managed to combine the two.

Meanwhile, it's June 4th ... er, May 35th. I do believe that there is an anniversary today. Jamie on "incident recalled". He also found this fascinating item illustrating the cat and mouse game between authorities and dissidents.

UPDATE: Renegade Eye informs us the Honda workers have returned to work but named today as a deadline for agreement to their demands.

UPDATE 2: Newsweek: " ... Lee Chang-hee, at Beijing's International Labor Office, predicts that unions and collective bargaining are inevitably going to become part of China's landscape, driving up wages." "'We used to think it was some version of the American Dream—liberalize, open up, grow. But then you had your crisis. We can say, it proves we're strong. But where do we go now?'"

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Let A Thousand Shaggers Shag: China unblocks porn

Oh dear. I was hoping that the next liberating step in China would have been the end of the death penalty. Or the inclusion of some sort of Clause 4 in the constitution guaranteeing workers a share in the means of production. You know, all that old communist stuff.

But in their wisdom, and in a sneaky move to distract the masses from class struggle, the authorities have unblocked porn on the net.

I think I may still be blocked but who cares? Let them hand jive away. At least it relieves tension from the one-child-policy gender imbalance.

Watch out for bad news being buried while a nation judders to a climax. No, not all at once! You'll set off those tectonic plates.

Wanking is not a city in China.

Now, where can I find a picture to use for this blogpost ...?

Let A Thousand Shaggers Shag: China unblocks porn

Oh dear. I was hoping that the next liberating step in China would have been the end of the death penalty. Or the inclusion of some sort of Clause 4 in the constitution guaranteeing workers a share in the means of production. You know, all that old communist stuff.

But in their wisdom, and in a sneaky move to distract the masses from class struggle, the authorities have unblocked porn on the net.

I think I may still be blocked but who cares? Let them hand jive away. At least it relieves tension from the one-child-policy gender imbalance.

Watch out for bad news being buried while a nation judders to a climax. No, not all at once! You'll set off those tectonic plates.

Wanking is not a city in China.

Now, where can I find a picture to use for this blogpost ...?

Israel Freedom Flotilla attack: eyewitness accounts begin to emerge


The UN Security Council condemns the raid on the Freedom Flotilla but refuses to name Israel in a grotesquely absurd bit of politicking.

Meanwhile, Cameron's weasel words: he describes the attack as "unacceptable" and calls for a "constructive" response to "legitimate criticism" of its actions. Ooh, tough! It's obviously having an impact because the Jerusalem Post now reports the Israel Navy as pledging to use more force next time.
"We boarded the ship and were attacked as if it was a war," the officer said. "That will mean that we will have to come prepared in the future as if it was a war."

Everyone except Turkey is placating Israel while 700 international civilians remain kidnapped and held in isolation while the Foreign office dithers.

Eyewitness accounts are beginning to surface as activists are deported, describing how armed IDF rappelled onto the ship shooting as they dropped. Confirmed by three German current and former MPs. Statement from the Greeks. Reports of one Briton injured. Viva Palestina now Tweeting that journalist Kevin Ovenden is missing along with truck driver Sakir Yildirim and presenter Hassan Ghani who is the English commentator on the long video of the attack.

UPDATE: Who started attacking? Arab Knesset member on board the Mavi Marmara says from the magnitude of the attack, Israel wanted maximum number of deaths as a deterrent.

More Britons still missing.

Like Joe Pesci out of control in Goodfellas, plucky little Israel throws its midget weight around like it's steroided up on US dollars and an armoury that includes "unregulated nuclear, biological and chemical programs outside UN observation or control, plus a history of state sponsored assassination". (Thnx, Bob O.)
In March, a visit to the Holy Land by Joe Biden, the American vice president, was spectacularly overshadowed by an announcement that Israel would expand a Jewish settlement in Arab East Jerusalem, a move that precipitated one of the deepest rifts in US-Israeli relations since the 1970s.
On Tuesday, Mr Netanyahu was supposed to be meeting President Barack Obama at the White House to smooth things over. Instead, fearing a repetition of the dressing down he received last time he was in Washington, the Israeli prime minister has been forced to cancel his trip at the last moment.

And that's from the Israel-friendly Daily Telegraph. Yikes!

UPDATE 2: Looks like another protest planned for Saturday which should be bigger than yesterday's.
Protest over the massacre on the Gaza Flotilla
Saturday 5th June
Assemble Trafalgar Square 1.30pm then march to Downing Street and on to the Israeli Embassy
Organis by Stop the War Coalition, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Viva Palestina, British Muslim Initiative and CND

Craig Murray's speech in Whitehall at yesterday's protest plus FT leader

UPDATE 3: Beatings and electric shocks.
“Suddenly from everywhere we saw inflatables coming at us, and within seconds fully equipped commandos came up on the boat,” said Greek activist Dimitris Gielalis, who had been aboard the Sfendoni. He was among six Greeks returned home Tuesday. "They came up and used plastic bullets, we had beatings, we had electric shocks, any method we can think of, they used,” he said. He said the boat’s captain was beaten for refusing to leave the wheel, and had sustained non-life-threatening injuries, while a cameraman filming the raid was hit with a rifle butt in the eye,“ he said. “Of course we weren’t prepared for a situation of war.“ ... Several people who tried to stop the Israeli forces from getting to the bridge were hit by electric shocks and plastic bullets ... “We didn’t’ resist at all. Even if we had wanted to, what could we do?”


UPDATE 4: Is this why everyone's being nice to Israel? Israel stations nuclear missile subs off Iran

UPDATE 5: Sunday 6th June. Gaza Aid convoy survivors tell of shooting from helicopters before the soldiers landed, contradicting Israel's account. Aid activist's film footage missing.

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