Archive for the ‘The Vitriolic Potical Corner’ Category

Cheryl Cole’s Gonna Get You Kerry!

In The Vitriolic Potical Corner on January 29, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Cheryl Cole v Kerry Katona: Tattoo Celebrity Face Off

Dancing On Ice contestant Kerry Katona and X Factor judge Cheryl Cole both used this week’s National Television Awards to show off their latest tattoos. But who will win this week’s Celebrity Face Off?

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Kerry Katona

Photo reprinted from Zoo

Cheryl Cole

Mark Croft


Simon Cowell

Dancing on Ice’s Kerry Katona showed off a back tattoo…

…while X Factor judge Cheryl Cole showed off her new tattoo as well…


As well as being a singer, X Factor judge and Ashley’s ex-wife, Cheryl Cole is also known for her array of tattoos. Her latest piece of body art, unveiled at the National Television Awards, apparently took 11 hours, with the swirly design ‘complementing’ an existing tribal butterfly design. The so-called tramp stamp joins Cheryl’s other tattoos: a tribal design on her hand, ‘Mrs C’ on the back of her neck, a piece of barbed-wire around her thigh, and a mysterious thigh design which may link up to her new addition.

Kerry Katona also showed off a shiny new back tattoo at the NTAs: a sprawling thick black tattoo to cover up a previous tattoo dedicated to ex-husband Mark Croft. Other tats include her daughter’s name Heidi on her neck, a tribal design on her lower back and a flower on her ankle. And we mustn’t forget Winnie The Pooh etched on Kerry’s bum cheek – classy.

Face Off winner round one: It’s difficult to choose a ‘favourite’, but Cheryl narrowly wins.


Kerry Katona is relaunching her career with Dancing On Ice (Pic: Rex Features)

Cheryl burst on to the scene in 2002, when she was selected to be a member of Girls Aloud in TV show Popstars: The Rivals. Five smash-hit albums later and Cheryl went solo, scoring back-to-back number one albums with 3 Words and Messy Little Raindrops. As well as being the face of L’Oreal, the singer/fashionista is also a judge on The X Factor, mentoring  winning contestants Joe McElderry and Alexandra Burke. A favourite of Simon Cowell, she has been repeatedly linked to a role on the US version of The X Factor.

Kerry Katona found fame with girl band Atomic Kitten, but left the band just days before the group scored their first number one single. She forged a semi-successful career as a TV presenter, but her real career boost came in 2004 when she won the third series of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here, and a string of reality shows followed. She lost her contract as the face of Iceland in 2009 after pictures of her taking cocaine emerged in a newspaper, but is trying to rebuild her career with an appearance on the latest series of Dancing On Ice.

Face Off winner round two: They’re both popstars who’ve become reality queens, but Cheryl wins again.


Simon Cowell has taken Cheryl Cole under his wing

In January 2003, just as Girls Aloud were taking off, Cheryl was involved in an altercation with a nightclub attendant at a nightclub in Surrey. The then Miss Tweedy found herself in court charged with racially aggravated assault and assault occasioning actual bodily harm, with Sophie Amogbokpa alleging the star had used racially abusive language. While cleared of racially aggravated assault, Cheryl was found guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, sentenced to 120 hours of community service and ordered to pay £3000 prosecution costs on top of £500 compensation. Since then Cheryl has managed to reinvent herself as the nation’s sweetheart, but has still been plagued by minor controversies. During the last series of The X Factor she came under fire for failing to take Gamu to the live rounds, refusing to choose between acts Katie Waissel and Treyc Cohen, and verbally attacking Wagner live on air.

Kerry Katona and controversy have become synonymous in recent years. Katona was heavily criticised for smoking and drinking alcohol during her pregnancies, but dismissed criticism of her behaviour. In October 2008 Kerry appeared on This Morning with heavily slurred speech, and grew increasingly defensive when it was suggested she may have an alcohol problem. Things got worse the following year when a tabloid published photos of her taking cocaine, and she was promptly dropped from the Iceland television campaign. She has since admitted she would spend days on end taking cocaine with then-husband Mark Croft. We could go on, but it’s probably best to look to the future: Kerry has now ditched Croft, cleaned up her act and is now trying to make amends. She recently went back to the This Morning studios, admitting her previous interview motivated her to sort her life out, and is now hoping to skate her way back in to the public’s affections.

Face Off winner round three: They’ve both had their fair share of controversy, but Kerry has managed to survive more scandals than the tabloids know what to do with.

Cheryl wins 2-1


Bailed WikiLeaks boss Julian Assange has to stay in jail

In The Vitriolic Potical Corner on December 15, 2010 at 6:00 pm


Bailed WikiLeaks boss Julian Assange has to stay in jail |

Judge Beatrice Bolton in F-word rant over dog conviction

In The Vitriolic Potical Corner on December 15, 2010 at 5:58 pm


Judge Beatrice Bolton in F-word rant over dog conviction |

Confidence Regained: Cui Bono!

In The Vitriolic Potical Corner on December 14, 2010 at 2:44 pm

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has narrowly survived a no-confidence motion in the lower house of parliament.

Despite the victory, the future of Berlusconi’s centre-right government remains uncertain because his wafer-thin majority will make it difficult for him to pass legislation.

Shares in media company Mediaset, controlled by Berlusconi’s family, recovered ground and turned positive after the initial vote.

After a year overshadowed by corruption and sex scandals and an acrimonious split with former ally Gianfranco Fini that cost him a secure parliamentary majority, a day of reckoning arrived for Berlusconi after two-and-a-half years in power.

The 74-year-old media tycoon has repeatedly defied the sceptics, shrugging off a string of gaffes and scandals to win three elections and transform Italy’s political landscape since gaining power for the first time in 1994.

© Independent Television News Limited 2010. All rights reserved.



In The Vitriolic Potical Corner on November 16, 2010 at 12:29 am

The Queen opens her photographs to the world on Flickr
25 Jul 2010
The Queen starts using Twitter
10 Jul 2009
One’sTube: Queen’s message on the web
23 Dec 2007
Ewan McGregor backs RAF base
07 Nov 2010
Buckingham Palace forced to remove abusive comments from Queen’s Facebook page
07 Nov 2010
Pope to go on Facebook as Vatican embraces online technology
07 Nov 2010

The “Near Me” application will enable users to find out about Royal events and visits in their area, searchable on a map of the country.

While users will not be able to “poke” the Queen or send her “friend requests”, they will be able to use the Facebook “likes” application, represented by a “thumbs up” sign, to register themselves as fans of the Queen.

Facebook users who “like” the page will receive updates about the Royal Family through their news feed.

The public will also be able to post comments on the page and send the Royal Family messages by writing on the Queen’s Facebook “wall”.

The Court Circular, the record of the previous day’s official Royal engagements produced by the Royal Household, will also be made available on Facebook for the first time.

The Queen is said to have personally approved the plans for her new Facebook page, which will go live tomorrow at 8am.

A royal aide, said: “Facebook is probably the last bastion of social media the Royal Household had not yet entered, and the Queen is keen to be fully signed up to the 21st century.

“All plans for the Facebook page have been sent to the top, and the Queen has very much taken the lead on this.”

A spokesman for Facebook, said: “We’re delighted to welcome the British Monarchy to Facebook. People can now have a direct connection with the Royal Family through their page to see a unique glimpse into palace life.”

The launch of a Facebook page is the latest move by the monarchy to embrace modern technology.

Earlier this year, the Queen launched a Flickr account making more than 600 photographs of the Royal Family at work and play available to the public for the first time.

A Royal Twitter account was launched in 2009 and Royal Channel went live on YouTube in 2007.



The Queen also “podcast” her first Christmas Day message in 2006, and launched a website for herself and other members of the Royal Family in 1997.

At 84, the Queen, encouraged by her grandchildren, is said to be “very enthusiastic” about keeping up to date with technology. She uses a mobile phone, has her own private email address and “surfs” the web.

She has continually moved with the times and in 1953, marked her coronation by allowing television cameras into Westminster Abbey for the first time for a state occasion.



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In The Vitriolic Potical Corner on November 7, 2010 at 1:53 pm



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Beating Procrastination 

Manage Your Time. Get It All Done.

If you’ve found yourself putting off important tasks over and over again, you’re not alone. In fact, many people procrastinate to some degree – but some are so chronically affected by procrastination that it stops them fulfilling their potential and disrupts their careers.

Stop procrastinating with James Manktelow &
Amy Carlson.

The key to controlling this destructive habit is to recognize when you start procrastinating, understand why it happens (even to the best of us), and take active steps to manage your time and outcomes better.

What is Procrastination?

In a nutshell, you procrastinate when you put off things that you should be focusing on right now, usually in favor of doing something that is more enjoyable or that you’re more comfortable doing.

According to psychologist Professor Clarry Lay, a prominent writer on procrastination, procrastination occurs when there’s “a temporal gap between intended behavior and enacted behavior.” That is, procrastination is occurring when there’s a significant time period between when people intend to do a job, and when they actually do it.

How to Overcome Procrastination

Follow these steps to deal with and control procrastination:

Step 1: Recognize That You’re Procrastinating

If you’re honest with yourself, you probably know when you’re procrastinating. But to be sure, take our Are You a Procrastinator? self test.

Here are some useful indicators that will help you know when you’re procrastinating:

  • Filling your day with low priority tasks from your To Do List.
  • Reading e-mails several times without starting work on them or deciding what you’re going to do with them.
  • Sitting down to start a high-priority task, and almost immediately going off to make a cup of coffee.
  • Leaving an item on your To Do list for a long time, even though you know it’s important.
  • Regularly saying “Yes” to unimportant tasks that others ask you to do, and filling your time with these instead of getting on with the important tasks already on your list.
  • Waiting for the “right mood” or the “right time” to tackle the important task at hand.
Putting off an unimportant task isn’t necessarily procrastination: it may just be good prioritization! 

Putting off an important task for a short period because you’re feeling particularly tired isn’t necessarily procrastination either, so long as you don’t delay starting the task for more than a day or so, and this is only an occasional event. If you have a genuine good reason for rescheduling something important, then you’re not necessarily procrastinating. But if you’re simply “making an excuse” because you really just don’t want to do it, then you are.

In his 1986 article “At Last, My Research Article on Procrastination”, published in the Journal of Research on Personality, Lay noted that procrastinatory behavior is independent of need for achievement, energy, or self-esteem. In other words, you may be a procrastinator even if you’re confident in your own abilities, energetic, and enjoy achieving things.

Step 2: Work Out WHY You’re Procrastinating

Why you procrastinate can depend on both you and the task. But it’s important to understand which of the two is relevant in a given situation, so that you can select the best approach for overcoming your reluctance to get going.

One reason for procrastination is that people find a particular job unpleasant, and try to avoid it because of that. Most jobs have unpleasant or boring aspects to them, and often the best way of dealing with these is to get them over and done with quickly, so that you can focus on the more enjoyable aspects of the job.

Another cause is that people are disorganized. Organized people manage to fend of the temptation to procrastinate, because they will have things like prioritized to-do lists and schedules which emphasize how important the piece work is, and identify precisely when it’s due. They’ll also have planned how long a task will take to do, and will have worked back from that point to identify when they need to get started in order to avoid it being late. Organized people are also better placed to avoid procrastination, because they know how to break the work down into manageable “next steps”.

Even if you’re organized, you can feel overwhelmed by the task. You may doubt that you have the skills or resources you think you need, so you seek comfort in doing tasks you know you’re capable of completing. Unfortunately, the big task isn’t going to go away – truly important tasks rarely do. You may also fear success as much as failure. For example, you may think that success will lead to you being swamped with more requests to do this type of task, or that you’ll be pushed to take on things that you feel are beyond you.

Surprisingly, perfectionists are often procrastinators, as they can tend to think “I don’t have the right skills or resources to do this perfectly now, so I won’t do it at all.”

One final major cause of procrastination is having underdeveloped decision-making skills. If you simply can’t decide what to do, you’re likely to put off taking action in case you do the wrong thing.

Step 3: Adopt Anti-Procrastination Strategies

Procrastination is a habit – a deeply ingrained pattern of behavior. That means that you won’t just break it overnight. Habits only stop being habits when you have persistently stopped practising them, so use as many approaches as possible to maximize your chances of beating procrastination. Some tips will work better for some people than for others, and for some tasks than others. And, sometimes, you may simply need to try a fresh approach to beat the “procrastination peril”!

These general tips will help motivate you to get moving:

  • Make up your own rewards. For example, promise yourself a piece of tasty flapjack at lunchtime if you’ve completed a certain task. And make sure you notice how good it feels to finish things!
  • Ask someone else to check up on you. Peer pressure works! This is the principle behind slimming and other self-help groups, and it is widely recognized as a highly effective approach.
  • Identify the unpleasant consequences of NOT doing the task.
  • Work out the cost of your time to your employer. As your employers are paying you to do the things that they think are important, you’re not delivering value for money if you’re not doing those things. Shame yourself into getting going!
  • Aim to “eat an elephant beetle” first thing, every day!

If you’re pocrastinating because you’re disorganized, here’s how to get organized!

  • Keep a To-Do list so that you can’t “conveniently” forget about unpleasant or overwhelming tasks.
  • Use an Urgent/Important Matrix to help prioritize your to-do list so that you can’t try to kid yourself that it would be acceptable to put off doing something on the grounds that it’s unimportant, or that you have many urgent things which ought to be done first when, in reality, you’re procrastinating.
  • Become a master of scheduling and project planning, so that you know when to start those all-important projects.
  • Set yourself time-bound goals: that way, you’ll have no time for procrastination!
  • Focus on one task at a time.

If you’re putting off starting a project because you find it overwhelming, you need to take a different approach. Here are some tips:

  • Break the project into a set of smaller, more manageable tasks. You may find it helpful to create an action plan.
  • Start with some quick, small tasks if you can, even if these aren’t the logical first actions. You’ll feel that you’re achieving things, and so perhaps the whole project won’t be so overwhelming after all.

If you’re procrastinating because you find the task unpleasant:

  • Many procrastinators overestimate the unpleasantness of a task. So give it a try! You may find that it’s not as bad as you thought!
  • Hold the unpleasant consequences of not doing the work at the front of your mind.
  • Reward yourself for doing the task.

Finally, if you’re procrastinating because you can’t decide what action to take, and are putting off making a decision because you’re nervous about making the wrong choice, see our decision-making section. This teaches a range of powerful and effective decision-making techniques.

Remember: the longer you can spend without procrastinating, the greater your chances of breaking this destructive habit for good!

Key Points

To have a good chance of conquering procrastination, you need to spot straight away that you’re doing it. Then, you need to identify why you’re procrastinating and taken appropriate steps to overcome the block.

Part of the solution is to develop good time management, organizational and personal effectiveness habits, such as those described in Make Time for Success! This helps you establish the right priorities, and manage your time in such a way that you make the most of the opportunities open to you.

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Click “Next article” below to read about Activity Logs, the next article in this series, and an important tool for analyzing the way that you use your time.

Von Neumann and the Development of Game Theory

The Forgotten Father of Game Theory?

In 1921, Emile Borel, a French mathematician, published several papers on the theory of games. He used poker as an example and addressed the problem of bluffing and second-guessing the opponent in a game of imperfect information. Borel envisioned game theory as being used in economic and military applications. Borel’s ultimate goal was to determine whether a “best” strategy for a given game exists and to find that strategy. While Borel could be arguably called as the first mathematician to envision an organized system for playing games, he did not develop his ideas very far. For that reason, most historians give the credit for developing and popularizing game theory to John Von Neumann, who published his first paper on game theory in 1928, seven years after Borel.

John Von Neumann

Born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1903, Von Neumann distinguished himself from his peers in childhood for having a photographic memory, being able to memorize and recite back a page out of a phone book in a few minutes. Science, history, and psychology were among his many interests; he succeeded in every academic subject in school.

He published his first mathematical paper in collaboration with his tutor at the age of eighteen, and resolved to study mathematics in college. He enrolled in the University of Budapest in 1921, and over the next few years attended the University of Berlin and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich as well. By 1926, he received his Ph.D. in mathematics with minors in physics and chemistry.

By his mid-twenties, von Neumann was known as a young mathematical genius and his fame had spread worldwide in the academic community. In 1929, he was offered a job at Princeton. Upon marrying his fiancee, Mariette, Neumann moved to the U.S. (Agnostic most of his life, Von Neumann accepted his wife’s Catholic faith for the marriage, though not taking it very seriously.)

In 1935, Mariette gave birth to Von Neumann’s daughter, Marina. Two years later, Mariette left Von Neumann for J. B. Kuper, a physicist. Within a year of his divorce, Von Neumann began an affair with Klara Dan, his childhood sweetheart, who was willing to leave her husband for him.

Von Neumann is commonly described as a practical joker and always the life of the party. John and Klara held a party every week or so, creating a kind of salon at their house. Von Neumann used his phenomenal memory to compile an immense library of jokes which he used to liven up a conversation. Von Neumann loved games and toys, which probably contributed in great part to his work in Game Theory.

An occasional heavy drinker, Von Neumann was an aggressive and reckless driver, supposedly totaling a car every year or so. According to William Poundstone‘s Prisoner’s Dilemma, “an intersection in Princeton was nicknamed “Von Neumann Corner” for all the auto accidents he had there.” (p.25)

His colleagues found it “disconcerting” that upon entering an office where a pretty secretary worked, von Neumann habitually would “bend way way over, more or less trying to look up her dress.” (Steve J. Heims, John Von Neumann and Norbert Wiener: From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, 1980, quoted in Prisoner’s Dilemma, p.26) Some secretaries were so bothered by Von Neumann that they put cardboard partitions at the front of their desks to block his view.

Despite his personality quirks, no one could dispute that Von Neumann was brilliant. Beginning in 1927, Von Neumann applied new mathematical methods to quantum theory. His work was instrumental in subsequent “philosophical” interpretations of the theory.

For Von Neumann, the inspiration for game theory was poker, a game he played occasionally and not terribly well. Von Neumann realized that poker was not guided by probability theory alone, as an unfortunate player who would use only probability theory would find out. Von Neumann wanted to formalize the idea of “bluffing,” a strategy that is meant to deceive the other players and hide information from them.

In his 1928 article, “Theory of Parlor Games,” Von Neumann first approached the discussion of game theory, and proved the famous Minimax theorem. From the outset, Von Neumann knew that game theory would prove invaluable to economists. He teamed up with Oskar Morgenstern, an Austrian economist at Princeton, to develop his theory.

Their book, Theory of Games and Economic Behavior, revolutionized the field of economics. Although the work itself was intended solely for economists, its applications to psychology, sociology, politics, warfare, recreational games, and many other fields soon became apparent.

Although Von Neumann appreciated Game Theory’s applications to economics, he was most interested in applying his methods to politics and warfare, perhaps stemming from his favorite childhood game, Kriegspiel, a chess-like military simulation. He used his methods to model the Cold War interaction between the U.S. and the USSR, viewing them as two players in a zero-sum game.

From the very beginning of World War II, Von Neumann was confident of the Allies’ victory. He sketched out a mathematical model of the conflict from which he deduced that the Allies would win, applying some of the methods of game theory to his predictions.

In 1943, Von Neumann was invited to work on the Manhattan Project. Von Neumann did crucial calculations on the implosion design of the atomic bomb, allowing for a more efficient, and more deadly, weapon. Von Neumann’s mathematical models were also used to plan out the path the bombers carrying the bombs would take to minimize their chances of being shot down. The mathematician helped select the location in Japan to bomb. Among the potential targets he examined was Kyoto, Yokohama, and Kokura.

“Of all of Von Neumann’s postwar work, his development of the digital computer looms the largest today.” (Poundstone 76) After examining the Army’s ENIAC during the war, Von Neumann came up with ideas for a better computer, using his mathematical abilities to improve the computer’s logic design. Once the war had ended, the U.S. Navy and other sources provided funds for Von Neumann’s machine, which he claimed would be able to accurately predict weather patterns.

Capable of 2,000 operations a second, the computer did not predict weather very well, but became quite useful doing a set of calculations necessary for the design of the hydrogen bomb. Von Neumann is also credited with coming up with the idea of basing computer calculations on binary numbers, having programs stored in computer’s memory in coded form as opposed to punchcards, and several other crucial developments. Von Neumann’s wife, Klara, became one of the first computer programmers.

Von Neumann later helped design the SAGE computer system designed to detect a Soviet nuclear attack

In 1948, Von Neumann became a consultant for the RAND Corporation. RAND (Research ANd Development) was founded by defense contractors and the Air Force as a “think tank” to “think about the unthinkable.” Their main focus was exploring the possibilities of nuclear war and the possible strategies for such a possibility.

Von Neumann was, at the time, a strong supporter of “preventive war.” Confident even during World War II that the Russian spy network had obtained many of the details of the atom bomb design, Von Neumann knew that it was only a matter of time before the Soviet Union became a nuclear power. He predicted that were Russia allowed to build a nuclear arsenal, a war against the U.S. would be inevitable. He therefore recommended that the U.S. launch a nuclear strike at Moscow, destroying its enemy and becoming a dominant world power, so as to avoid a more destructive nuclear war later on. “With the Russians it is not a question of whether but of when,” he would say. An oft-quoted remark of his is, “If you say why not bomb them tomorrow, I say why not today? If you say today at 5 o’clock, I say why not one o’clock?”

Just a few years after “preventive war” was first advocated, it became an impossibility. By 1953, the Soviets had 300-400 warheads, meaning that any nuclear strike would be effectively retaliated.

In 1954, Von Neumann was appointed to the Atomic Energy Commission. A year later, he was diagnosed with bone cancer. William Poundstone’s Prisoner’s Dilemma suggests that the disease resulted from the radiation Von Neumann received as a witness to the atomic tests on Bikini atoll. “A number of physicists associated with the bomb succumbed to cancer at relatively early ages.” (p. 189)

Von Neumann maintained a busy schedule throughout his sickness, even when he became confined to a wheelchair. It has been claimed by some that the wheelchair-bound mathematician was the inspiration for the character of Dr. Strangelove in the 1963 film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.

Von Neumann’s last public appearance was in February 1956, when President Eisenhower presented him with the Medal of Freedom at the White House. In April, Von Neumann checked into Walter Reed Hospital. He set up office in his room, and constantly received visitors from the Air Force and the Secretary of Defense office, still performing his duties as a consultant to many top political figures.

John von Neumann died February 8, 1957.

His wife, Klara von Neumann, committed suicide six years later.

Dr. Marina von Neumann Whitman, John’s daughter from his first marriage, was invited by President Nixon to become the first woman to serve on the council of economic advisers.

  • Carnahan, T. & McFarland, S. (2007). Revisiting the Stanford Prison Experiment: Could Participant Self-Selection Have Led to the Cruelty? Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Vol. 33, No. 5, 603-614.
  • Haney, C., Banks, W. C., & Zimbardo, P. G. (1973). Study of prisoners and guards in a simulated prison. Naval Research Reviews, 9, 1–17. Washington, DC: Office of Naval Research
  • Haney, C., Banks, W. C., & Zimbardo, P. G. (1973). Interpersonal dynamics in a simulated prison. International Journal of Criminology and Penology, 1, 69–97.
  • Haslam, S. Alexander & Reicher, Stephen (2003). Beyond Stanford: Questioning a role-based explanation of tyranny. Dialogue (Bulletin of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology), 18, 22–25.
  • Musen, K. & Zimbardo, P. G. (1991). Quiet rage: The Stanford prison study. Videorecording. Stanford, CA: Psychology Dept., Stanford University.
  • Reicher, Stephen., & Haslam, S. Alexander. (2006). Rethinking the psychology of tyranny: The BBC Prison Study. British Journal of Social Psychology, 45, 1–40.
  • Zimbardo, P. G. (1971). The power and pathology of imprisonment. Congressional Record. (Serial No. 15, 1971-10-25). Hearings before Subcommittee No. 3, of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, Ninety-Second Congress, First Session on Corrections, Part II, Prisons, Prison Reform and Prisoner’s Rights: California. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
  • Zimbardo, P. G (2007) Understanding How Good People Turn Evil. Interview transcript. “Democracy Now!”, March 30, 2007. Accessed March 31, 2007.

Abu Ghraib and the experiment:


What would Hermione say?

‘Topless’ Emma Watson is the talk of the campus

Emma Watson
Prank: Emma is determined to find out who was behind the fake picture.

A new topless picture of Harry Potter star Emma Watson has been doing the rounds at her American university.

The 20-year-old actress  – Hermione in the film series – is said to be appalled that the snap, apparently of her with a towel around her waist standing by a hot tub, has been emailed between students at the prestigious Brown University.

‘Emma is trying to seek out the source so she can put a stop to it,’ says a friend. ‘She says the picture has been faked.’

Emma’s spokesman said: ‘There have been a number of nude fakes over the past two months. Emma has seen them and finds them tiresome. People should know better.’

Meanwhile Watson revealed she is all grown up –  by declaring: ‘It’s time I got more naughty.’

In an interview following the filming of her final scenes, she revealed how she will be making the most of being a single girl.

She told The Sun: ‘I wished I’d done more naughty things.Three months ago I cut my hair and at that moment I felt I became a woman. I’m ready to start taking risks.

‘I’ve been in love once in my life, but it was complicated. I can’t tell you who it was because it wouldn’t be fair to any others. But I can say I’ve never had my heart broken.

Prestigious: Brown's University campus on Rhode Island where Emma Watson is the centre of attention
Prestigious: Brown’s University campus on Rhode Island where Emma Watson is the centre of attention

‘I like men with quick wit, good conversation and a great sense of humour. I love banter. I want a man to like me for me – I want him to be authentic.

‘But men don’t really ask me out. And I don’t get marriage proposals any more either. It’s not happening there!

‘At the moment I’m just happy to be single. I want to live life to the full. But I’m more grown up and confident now. I’m ready to take more risks. I feel less girlish than ever.’

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

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Carlo Gambino

Carlo Gambino was born on August 24, 1902 in Palermo, Sicily. He arrived in the US in 1921 and settled in Brooklyn with help of relatives and friends who had already made it their home. He would later help his two brothers when they arrived in the US. In the United States Gambino got involved in crime and in 1930 he was arrested for larcency in the operation of the “handkerchief pill game”. By the 1930s he was heavily involved in bootlegging. From the money he made through bootlegging he bought restaurants and other legit fronts. After prohibition in 1939 Carlo Gambino continued the bootlegging and in May 23, 1939 received a 22 month sentence and a $2.500 dollar fine for conspiracy to defraud the United States of liquor taxes. Eight months later the conviction was thrown out and Gambino was a free man again. During the second World War Gambino made millions from ration stamps. The stamps came out of the OPA’s offices. First Carlo’s boys would steal them. Then, when the government started hiding them in banks, Carlo made contact and the OPA men sold him the stamps. All in all by the wars end Gambino had made millions through the stamps and the bootlegging.

Gambino also got involved in the narcotics trade. Gambino traveled to Palermo several times to set up the routes and make the deals. Using Sicilian men Gambino imported the narcotics into the United States. By 1957 Carlo Gambino had moved up in the Mangano Crime Family, he had become Underboss of Albert Anastasia. He also had a loving wife Catherine and three children (two sons and a daughter). 1957 was a great year for Gambino, on October 24, 1957 his boss Anastasia got whacked while he was getting a shave in the barber shop of the Park Sheraton Hotel. With Anastasia gone Gambino assumed leadership of the Mangano Family, exactly his plan since it was Gambino who was behind the Anastasia hit. Listed as a labor consultant to the outside world Gambino was leading his Crime Family into better times.

Gambino was making loads of money by now. In addition to the illegal income Gambino also made loads with his legal businesses. Gambino owned meat markets, bakeries, restaurants, nightclubs, linen supply companies and on and on. Life was great for Gambino. His health wasn’t good but with both his blood and crime family doing well and money pooring in he didn’t mind. RICO hadn’t made it’s grand appearance yet and turncoats weren’t as common as they would be during the 1990s. The government knew who Gambino was and what he did for a living but to get to him was impossible. Gambino who entered the United States as an illegal alien still hadn’t become an American yet and so that’s where the government tried to take Gambino down. They tried to get him deported, but failed time after time. In 1971 Gambino’s wife Catharine died. His health was detoriating fast after that. His heart problems kept playing up and by 1975 Gambino felt it was time to choose his successor.

And there he made the only mistake during his reign as boss of the Mangano/Gambino Family. He chose Paul Castellano over his Underboss Neil Dellacroce. This decision cut the Gambino Family in two factions and would create a power struggle a decade later. But in the end Carlo Gambino is considered one of the great bosses of La Cosa Nostra. He died on October 15, 1976 of natural causes in his Massapequa, Long Island home.

£1 an hour to clear rubbish…new IDS blitz on the workshy

Iain Duncan SmithIain Duncan Smith wants to stop people living on benefits for years without bothering to look for work

The feckless unemployed will be forced

Read more:–new-IDS-blitz-workshy.html#ixzz14bZdpgDJ

he feckless unemployed will be forced to take part in a punishing U.S.-style ‘workfare’ scheme involving gardening, clearing litter and other menial tasks for just £1 an hour in a new crackdown on scroungers.

And if they fail to turn up on time or work hard they will be stripped of their dole for three months.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith will tomorrow unveil ‘compulsory community placements’ in an attempt to stop people living on benefits for years without bothering to look for work.

The ‘Workfare UK’ project will be targeted at tens of thousands of people suspected of sabotaging attempts to make them work.

The measure is a key part of David Cameron’s drive to slash Britain’s annual £192 billion welfare budget.

But Labour MPs condemned the scheme. One said: ‘This sounds like slave labour.’

The scheme is also likely to run into fierce opposition from some Liberal Democrat MPs.

Under Mr Duncan Smith’s anti-scroungers blueprint, employment office chiefs will be given the power to order the long-term jobless to take part in four-week mandatory work schemes.

Instead of receiving their usual £65-a-week Jobseeker’s Allowance for sitting at home doing nothing, they will get substantially less – and will have to clock on and off on time and work flat out.

The Government has not decided how much people on ‘community placements’ will be paid but it is understood the figure will be between £30 and £40 a week – the equivalent to £1 an hour, one sixth of the minimum wage.

They will also be expected to look for a ‘proper job’ for when they complete the scheme. Each participant will be expected to spend at least 30 hours a week on their specified ‘work activity placement’.

Teenage boys in hoods eating junk food in the streetsIf the unemployed fail to turn up on time or work hard they will be stripped of their dole for three months

A Coalition source said: ‘We cannot go on allowing tens of thousands of people to wilfully avoid getting a job. Some go to great lengths to sabotage all efforts to help them find work. That is partly why the welfare bill has gone up so much and it is why hard-working taxpayers get so angry.

‘Some have been out of work for so long that they are literally incapable of obtaining or holding down a job. They have lost the discipline and all sense of work ethic.

‘This programme is designed to address that. It is not intended
to apply to people who have genuinely tried to find work or who genuinely cannot work.

Some people have simply got out of the habit of working. Hopefully this scheme will help them get back into a nine-to-five routine.

‘But is it meant as a sanction? Yes – and we are convinced it will have an effect.

‘All research shows that when sanctions are applied to those who can work but try to avoid it, they soon get the message and get off their backsides.’

The projects will involve all kinds of work, from gardening to clearing litter, repairing vandalised bus stops and buildings and street cleaning.

There are an estimated five million people stuck on various kinds of out-of-work benefits in the UK. Britain now has one of the highest rates of workless households in Europe, with 1.9 million children living in homes where no one has a job.

The proposals are part of a Government White Paper on welfare reform which will herald a bonfire of dozens of complex benefits, to be replaced by a more straightforward single Universal Credit.

Read more:–new-IDS-blitz-workshy.html#ixzz14bZPmiAP

Bernardo Rucellai

Bernardo Rucellai wrote mainly in Latin. Although there is considerable correspondence between himself and Lorenzo de’Medici, Marsilio Ficino and Pontano, he wrote five treatises which have yet to be translated (into any other language): De urbe Roma liber, De magistratibus Romanis, De bello italico commentarius, De bello Pisano, De bello Mediolansi and Oratio de auxilio Tifernatibus adferendo. All but the last are histories.


Cosenza, Mario Emilio. Biographical and Bibliographical Dictionary of the Italian Humanists and of the World of Classical Scholarship in Italy, 1300-1800. Vol. 5. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1962.

Fido, Franco. Machiavelli, Guiccardini e storici minori del primo Cinquecento. Padova: Piccin Nuova Libraria, 1994.

Gilbert, Felix. “Bernardo Rucellai and the Orti Oricellari: A Study on the Origin of Modern Political Thought,” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, Vol. 12, (1949): 101-131.

Gilbert, Felix. Machiavelli and Guicciardini: Politics and History in Sixteenth-Century Florence. New York: Norton, 1984.

Pellegrini, Guglielmo. L’umanista Bernardo Rucellai e le sue opere. Livorno: Tipografia Raffaello Giusti, 1920.

Phillips, Mark. Francesco Guicciardini: the historian’s craft. Toronto; Buffalo: University of Toronto Press, 1976.

In The Vitriolic Potical Corner on November 6, 2010 at 10:27 pm

George Orwell

Chapter I


Mr. Jones, of the Manor Farm, had locked the hen-houses for the night, but
was too drunk to remember to shut the pop-holes. With the ring of light
from his lantern dancing from side to side, he lurched across the yard,
kicked off his boots at the back door, drew himself a last glass of beer
from the barrel in the scullery, and made his way up to bed, where
Mrs. Jones was already snoring.

As soon as the light in the bedroom went out there was a stirring and a
fluttering all through the farm buildings. Word had gone round during the
day that old Major, the prize Middle White boar, had had a strange dream
on the previous night and wished to communicate it to the other animals.
It had been agreed that they should all meet in the big barn as soon as
Mr. Jones was safely out of the way. Old Major (so he was always called,
though the name under which he had been exhibited was Willingdon Beauty)
was so highly regarded on the farm that everyone was quite ready to lose
an hour’s sleep in order to hear what he had to say.

At one end of the big barn, on a sort of raised platform, Major was
already ensconced on his bed of straw, under a lantern which hung from a
beam. He was twelve years old and had lately grown rather stout, but he
was still a majestic-looking pig, with a wise and benevolent appearance in
spite of the fact that his tushes had never been cut. Before long the
other animals began to arrive and make themselves comfortable after their
different fashions. First came the three dogs, Bluebell, Jessie, and
Pincher, and then the pigs, who settled down in the straw immediately in
front of the platform. The hens perched themselves on the window-sills,
the pigeons fluttered up to the rafters, the sheep and cows lay down
behind the pigs and began to chew the cud. The two cart-horses, Boxer and
Clover, came in together, walking very slowly and setting down their vast
hairy hoofs with great care lest there should be some small animal
concealed in the straw. Clover was a stout motherly mare approaching
middle life, who had never quite got her figure back after her fourth foal.
Boxer was an enormous beast, nearly eighteen hands high, and as strong as
any two ordinary horses put together. A white stripe down his nose gave
him a somewhat stupid appearance, and in fact he was not of first-rate
intelligence, but he was universally respected for his steadiness of
character and tremendous powers of work. After the horses came Muriel,
the white goat, and Benjamin, the donkey. Benjamin was the oldest animal
on the farm, and the worst tempered. He seldom talked, and when he did, it
was usually to make some cynical remark–for instance, he would say that
God had given him a tail to keep the flies off, but that he would sooner
have had no tail and no flies. Alone among the animals on the farm he
never laughed. If asked why, he would say that he saw nothing to laugh at.
Nevertheless, without openly admitting it, he was devoted to Boxer; the
two of them usually spent their Sundays together in the small paddock
beyond the orchard, grazing side by side and never speaking.

The two horses had just lain down when a brood of ducklings, which had
lost their mother, filed into the barn, cheeping feebly and wandering from
side to side to find some place where they would not be trodden on. Clover
made a sort of wall round them with her great foreleg, and the ducklings
nestled down inside it and promptly fell asleep. At the last moment
Mollie, the foolish, pretty white mare who drew Mr. Jones’s trap, came
mincing daintily in, chewing at a lump of sugar. She took a place near the
front and began flirting her white mane, hoping to draw attention to the
red ribbons it was plaited with. Last of all came the cat, who looked
round, as usual, for the warmest place, and finally squeezed herself in
between Boxer and Clover; there she purred contentedly throughout Major’s
speech without listening to a word of what he was saying.

All the animals were now present except Moses, the tame raven, who slept
on a perch behind the back door. When Major saw that they had all made
themselves comfortable and were waiting attentively, he cleared his throat
and began:

“Comrades, you have heard already about the strange dream that I had last
night. But I will come to the dream later. I have something else to say
first. I do not think, comrades, that I shall be with you for many months
longer, and before I die, I feel it my duty to pass on to you such wisdom
as I have acquired. I have had a long life, I have had much time for
thought as I lay alone in my stall, and I think I may say that I
understand the nature of life on this earth as well as any animal now
living. It is about this that I wish to speak to you.

“Now, comrades, what is the nature of this life of ours? Let us face it:
our lives are miserable, laborious, and short. We are born, we are given
just so much food as will keep the breath in our bodies, and those of us
who are capable of it are forced to work to the last atom of our strength;
and the very instant that our usefulness has come to an end we are
slaughtered with hideous cruelty. No animal in England knows the meaning
of happiness or leisure after he is a year old. No animal in England is
free. The life of an animal is misery and slavery: that is the plain truth.

“But is this simply part of the order of nature? Is it because this land
of ours is so poor that it cannot afford a decent life to those who dwell
upon it? No, comrades, a thousand times no! The soil of England is
fertile, its climate is good, it is capable of affording food in abundance
to an enormously greater number of animals than now inhabit it. This
single farm of ours would support a dozen horses, twenty cows, hundreds of
sheep–and all of them living in a comfort and a dignity that are now
almost beyond our imagining. Why then do we continue in this miserable
condition? Because nearly the whole of the produce of our labour is stolen
from us by human beings. There, comrades, is the answer to all our
problems. It is summed up in a single word–Man. Man is the only real
enemy we have. Remove Man from the scene, and the root cause of hunger and
overwork is abolished for ever.

“Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not
give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he
cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the
animals. He sets them to work, he gives back to them the bare minimum that
will prevent them from starving, and the rest he keeps for himself. Our
labour tills the soil, our dung fertilises it, and yet there is not one of
us that owns more than his bare skin. You cows that I see before me, how
many thousands of gallons of milk have you given during this last year?
And what has happened to that milk which should have been breeding up
sturdy calves? Every drop of it has gone down the throats of our enemies.
And you hens, how many eggs have you laid in this last year, and how many
of those eggs ever hatched into chickens? The rest have all gone to market
to bring in money for Jones and his men. And you, Clover, where are those
four foals you bore, who should have been the support and pleasure of your
old age? Each was sold at a year old–you will never see one of them
again. In return for your four confinements and all your labour in the
fields, what have you ever had except your bare rations and a stall?

“And even the miserable lives we lead are not allowed to reach their
natural span. For myself I do not grumble, for I am one of the lucky ones.
I am twelve years old and have had over four hundred children. Such is the
natural life of a pig. But no animal escapes the cruel knife in the end.
You young porkers who are sitting in front of me, every one of you will
scream your lives out at the block within a year. To that horror we all
must come–cows, pigs, hens, sheep, everyone. Even the horses and the dogs
have no better fate. You, Boxer, the very day that those great muscles of
yours lose their power, Jones will sell you to the knacker, who will cut
your throat and boil you down for the foxhounds. As for the dogs, when
they grow old and toothless, Jones ties a brick round their necks and
drowns them in the nearest pond.

“Is it not crystal clear, then, comrades, that all the evils of this life
of ours spring from the tyranny of human beings? Only get rid of Man, and
the produce of our labour would be our own. Almost overnight we could
become rich and free. What then must we do? Why, work night and day, body
and soul, for the overthrow of the human race! That is my message to you,
comrades: Rebellion! I do not know when that Rebellion will come, it might
be in a week or in a hundred years, but I know, as surely as I see this
straw beneath my feet, that sooner or later justice will be done. Fix your
eyes on that, comrades, throughout the short remainder of your lives! And
above all, pass on this message of mine to those who come after you, so
that future generations shall carry on the struggle until it is victorious.

“And remember, comrades, your resolution must never falter. No argument
must lead you astray. Never listen when they tell you that Man and the
animals have a common interest, that the prosperity of the one is the
prosperity of the others. It is all lies. Man serves the interests of no
creature except himself. And among us animals let there be perfect unity,
perfect comradeship in the struggle. All men are enemies. All animals are

At this moment there was a tremendous uproar. While Major was speaking
four large rats had crept out of their holes and were sitting on their
hindquarters, listening to him. The dogs had suddenly caught sight of
them, and it was only by a swift dash for their holes that the rats saved
their lives. Major raised his trotter for silence.

“Comrades,” he said, “here is a point that must be settled. The wild
creatures, such as rats and rabbits–are they our friends or our enemies?
Let us put it to the vote. I propose this question to the meeting: Are
rats comrades?”

The vote was taken at once, and it was agreed by an overwhelming majority
that rats were comrades. There were only four dissentients, the three dogs
and the cat, who was afterwards discovered to have voted on both sides.
Major continued:

“I have little more to say. I merely repeat, remember always your duty of
enmity towards Man and all his ways. Whatever goes upon two legs is an
enemy. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend. And
remember also that in fighting against Man, we must not come to resemble
him. Even when you have conquered him, do not adopt his vices. No animal
must ever live in a house, or sleep in a bed, or wear clothes, or drink
alcohol, or smoke tobacco, or touch money, or engage in trade. All the
habits of Man are evil. And, above all, no animal must ever tyrannise over
his own kind. Weak or strong, clever or simple, we are all brothers. No
animal must ever kill any other animal. All animals are equal.

“And now, comrades, I will tell you about my dream of last night. I cannot
describe that dream to you. It was a dream of the earth as it will be when
Man has vanished. But it reminded me of something that I had long
forgotten. Many years ago, when I was a little pig, my mother and the
other sows used to sing an old song of which they knew only the tune and
the first three words. I had known that tune in my infancy, but it had
long since passed out of my mind. Last night, however, it came back to me
in my dream. And what is more, the words of the song also came back-words,
I am certain, which were sung by the animals of long ago and have been
lost to memory for generations. I will sing you that song now, comrades.
I am old and my voice is hoarse, but when I have taught you the tune, you
can sing it better for yourselves. It is called ‘Beasts of England’.”

Old Major cleared his throat and began to sing. As he had said, his voice
was hoarse, but he sang well enough, and it was a stirring tune, something
between ‘Clementine’ and ‘La Cucaracha’. The words ran:

Beasts of England, beasts of Ireland,
Beasts of every land and clime,
Hearken to my joyful tidings
Of the golden future time.

Soon or late the day is coming,
Tyrant Man shall be o’erthrown,
And the fruitful fields of England
Shall be trod by beasts alone.

Rings shall vanish from our noses,
And the harness from our back,
Bit and spur shall rust forever,
Cruel whips no more shall crack.

Riches more than mind can picture,
Wheat and barley, oats and hay,
Clover, beans, and mangel-wurzels
Shall be ours upon that day.

Bright will shine the fields of England,
Purer shall its waters be,
Sweeter yet shall blow its breezes
On the day that sets us free.

For that day we all must labour,
Though we die before it break;
Cows and horses, geese and turkeys,
All must toil for freedom’s sake.

Beasts of England, beasts of Ireland,
Beasts of every land and clime,
Hearken well and spread my tidings
Of the golden future time.

The singing of this song threw the animals into the wildest excitement.
Almost before Major had reached the end, they had begun singing it for
themselves. Even the stupidest of them had already picked up the tune and
a few of the words, and as for the clever ones, such as the pigs and dogs,
they had the entire song by heart within a few minutes. And then, after a
few preliminary tries, the whole farm burst out into ‘Beasts of England’ in
tremendous unison. The cows lowed it, the dogs whined it, the sheep
bleated it, the horses whinnied it, the ducks quacked it. They were so
delighted with the song that they sang it right through five times in
succession, and might have continued singing it all night if they had not
been interrupted.

Unfortunately, the uproar awoke Mr. Jones, who sprang out of bed, making
sure that there was a fox in the yard. He seized the gun which always
stood in a corner of his bedroom, and let fly a charge of number 6 shot
into the darkness. The pellets buried themselves in the wall of the barn
and the meeting broke up hurriedly. Everyone fled to his own
sleeping-place. The birds jumped on to their perches, the animals settled
down in the straw, and the whole farm was asleep in a moment.


Reprinted from the Daily Mail

Miscarriage of Justice

Over 150 arrested in California race riot after minimal jail sentence given to white officer who killed unarmed black man
Last updated at 8:09 PM on 6th November 2010

Police made more than 150 arrests as a crowd broke windows and knocked down fences, protesting a Los Angeles court decision to sentence a white former transit officer to the minimum term for fatally shooting an unarmed black man.

Friday night’s unrest was the latest in the case against defendant Johannes Mehserle, which has provoked periodic racial strife in Oakland since he shot and killed Oscar Grant while trying to arrest him on an Oakland train platform nearly two years ago.

The protests erupted hours after Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Perry sentenced Mehserle to a two-year prison sentence, provoking immediate anger from the victim’s family and friends who demanded a much harsher punishment.

More than 150 people were taken into custody, including the demonstrator on the right, after Johannes Mehserle, seen left in a file photo, was sentenced to just two years in prison for killing Oscar Grant

Family and friends as well as complete strangers were outraged after hearing the sentence

Oscar Grant was just 22 when he was killed by the transit police officer on New Year’s Day 2009

‘Oh my!’ Grant’s mother Wanda Johnson shouted. She burst out of the courtroom saying, ‘He got nothing! He got nothing!’

Grant’s uncle, Bobby Cephus Johnson, said outside court: ‘I do believe it’s a racist criminal justice system.’ But he added that the family was reacting calmly.

An Oakland rally billed as a tribute to Grant turned into a march through the downtown area with residences nearby, where demonstrators broke car and bus windows late Friday night. Some carried a banner reading ‘Justice for Oscar Grant.’ Police helicopters hovered above, shining spotlights on the crowd.

Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts said the protest was declared an illegal assembly after one officer had his gun taken from him in a fight and another officer was hit by a car and suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Officers began making arrests about 8 p.m. and had detained and handcuffed 152 people by the time the protest had died down about 90 minutes later.

Police spokesman Jeff Thomason said officers checking the backpacks of several of those arrested found hammers, pepper spray, switchblades and anti-freeze.

Some residents of the area expressed empathy with the protesters but wished the demonstrators hadn’t taken out it on their neighborhood.

‘They have a right to be angry to an extent, but don’t break other people’s stuff,’ said Mohammed Mofeed, who manages a liquor store about a block from where a large of group of people were arrested.

Demonstrators took to the streets in reaction the involuntary manslaughter conviction

Police forces were out in full riot gear for the demonstration. A demonstrator lay on the ground in protest in front of them

He said that he didn’t agree with the sentence, but didn’t want to see his store or other businesses damaged.

‘If you’re going to protest, protest right,’ he said. ‘Don’t vandalize other people’s property’

Mehserle, 28, had faced a possible 14-year maximum term after being convicted of involuntary manslaughter. At the time of the shooting, Mehserle was a Bay Area Rapid Transit officer responding to a report of a fight.

In making his decision during the highly charged, 3{-hour hearing, Perry threw out a gun enhancement that could have added as much as 10 years in prison and said there was overwhelming evidence that it was an accidental shooting.

Perry said race would not factor into his decision and although Mehserle had shown ‘tons of remorse’ for killing Grant, he would have to account that a ‘young man needlessly died.’

‘I did the best I could with this case,’ Perry told the courtroom. ‘My decisions today will not be well-received by many people. I’m sorry for that.’

Police said they were prepared in case there was a replay of the rioting in Oakland that followed the shooting on New Year’s Day 2009.

During the sentencing Judge Perry acknowledged that, ‘My decisions today will not be well-received by many people. I’m sorry for that

Mayor Ron Dellums said he understood the pain and disappointment sparked by the sentence.

‘It is still my hope that people will express their anger, will express their disappointment, their outrage, their pain in a manner that is nonviolent, in a manner that is not destructive to our community,’ he said at a news conference.

Johnson family attorney John Burris acknowledged a small step was taken by the justice system in sentencing Mehserle to two years, but he said that was insufficient.

‘What you take from that is that Oscar Grant’s life was not worth very much,’ Burris said.

Reaction to the case has drawn comparisons to the infamous 1991 Rodney King beating by Los Angeles police officers, which inflamed a racial divide and led to the disastrous 1992 riot when the officers were acquitted of brutality charges.

Defense attorney Michael Rains immediately filed an appeal. After time already served and good behavior credits, Mehserle will likely serve an additional six to seven months based on California’s sentencing guidelines, the lawyer said.


The demonstrations were compared to the riots that followed the 1992 acquittal of officers accused of beating Rodney King

While the shooting took place in Oakland, the trial was moved to Los Angeles for a fair trial

Mehserle was convicted in July in the videotaped killing of Grant, 22, in Oakland. The case was moved to Los Angeles for trial.

He testified during the trial that he thought Grant had a weapon and decided to shock him with his stun gun but instead pulled his .40-caliber handgun. Grant was unarmed and face down when he was shot.

Mehserle, shackled and wearing a jail jumpsuit, also stood before the judge before sentencing and apologized for the shooting, which he contended was accidental and not racially motivated.

‘I want to say how deeply sorry I am,’ Mehserle said. ‘Nothing I ever say or do will heal the wound. I will always be sorry for taking Mr. Grant from them.’

Prosecutors had sought a second-degree murder conviction, saying Mehserle became angry at Grant for resisting arrest.

However, jurors were given the choice of lesser charges, including voluntary and involuntary manslaughter. In reaching a decision on involuntary manslaughter, jurors found that Mehserle didn’t mean to kill Grant, but his behavior was still so negligent that it was criminal.

The judge rebuked prosecutors for arguing that Mehserle intentionally shot Grant, saying there wasn’t any evidence to back up that allegation. Perry also said he believed the videos showed Grant resisted arrest and many people, including Mehserle’s fellow officers and Grant’s friends, contributed to the tragedy.

‘All of these people share some responsibility,’ Perry said.

In The Vitriolic Potical Corner on October 19, 2010 at 5:13 pm

Klemens von Metternich

In 1822, the Congress of Verona met to decide the issue if France could intervene on the side of the Spanish royalists in the Trienio Liberal. After receiving permission, Louis XVIII dispatched five army corps to restore Ferdinand VII of Spain.

In 1830, the Belgian Revolution against the Kingdom of the Netherlands began. French ambassador Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord presented a partition plan for the Southern Provinces to the Concert, which was not adopted. Nevertheless, the Great Powers unanimously recognized Belgian independence from the Kingdom of the Netherlands at the Treaty of London (1839). The treaty also established Belgian neutrality, which would last until the German invasion of Belgium in 1914.


After an early period of success, the Concert began to weaken as the common goals of the Great Powers were gradually replaced by growing political and economic rivalries. Further eroded by the European revolutionary upheavals of 1848 with their demands for revision of the Congress of Vienna’s frontiers along national lines, the Concert unraveled in the latter half of the 19th century amid successive wars between its participants – the Crimean War (1854–56), the Italian War of Independence (1859), the Austro-Prussian War (1866) and the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71). While the Congress System had a further significant achievement in the form of the Congress of Berlin (1878) which redrew the political map of the Balkans, the old balance of power had been irrevocably altered, and was replaced by a series of fluctuating alliances. By the early 20th century, the Great Powers were organized into two opposing coalitions, and the First World War broke out.

  1. ^ Loemker, Leroy, 1969 (1956). Leibniz: Philosophical Papers and Letters. Reidel, 58, fn 9.
  2. ^ John M. Sherwig. “Lord Grenville’s Plan for a Concert of Europe, 1797-99.” The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 34, No. 3 (Sep., 1962), pp. 284-293.
  3. ^ Georges-Henri Soutou. “Was There a European Order in the Twentieth Century? From the Concert of Europe to the End of the Cold War.” Contemporary European History, Vol. 9, No. 3, Theme Issue: Reflections on the Twentieth Century (Nov., 2000), pp. 330.
  4. ^ Georges-Henri Soutou. “Was There a European Order in the Twentieth Century? From the Concert of Europe to the End of the Cold War.” Contemporary European History, Vol. 9, No. 3, Theme Issue: Reflections on the Twentieth Century (Nov., 2000), pg. 329.
  5. ^ Georges-Henri Soutou. “Was There a European Order in the Twentieth Century? From the Concert of Europe to the End of the Cold War.” Contemporary European History, Vol. 9, No. 3, Theme Issue: Reflections on the Twentieth Century (Nov., 2000), pp. 330.
  6. ^ Spahn, M. (1910). Holy Alliance. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved May 15, 2010 from New Advent.

ANGOLA PROTEST: Late-breaking news — The Angola Protesters ended their fast when one fasting man was taken to the hospital. The protest, however,will seemingly not end there. The protestors say that tough policies toward prisoners inspired by politicians’ efforts to win votes by taking away hard-won privileges is creating a climate of anger that may soon erupt in riots. This would not be because the Angola Protest groups want riots. Indeed, their peaceful protest was to avert the chance of riots by asking officials to listen to inmate’s concerns. We can only wonder at the lack of wisdom shown by those who administrate the Angola prison directly or indirectly. How great a victory is it to refuse to listen to the prisoners and risk riots? There is no threat of riots or organized effort to create any. The fasting inmates, as said, made an effort to lead their fellow inmates in exactly the opposite direction — talking and negotiating — because of widespread discontent. One hopes that a more intelligent approach will be taken toward prisoners in general, and toward the Angola inmates in particular. When will prison officials realize that prison IS the punishment, and that brutalizing inmates by not giving an inch of respect will result in terrible consequences to everyone?

Herman Wallace, Political Prisoner? Revisiting His Claim of Innocence

By Clara A. T. Boggs

Herman told his story for Justice Denied, but in this brief summary, we will only cover the highlights.

Herman was convicted of the 1972 murder of security guard Brent Miller on January 10, 1974. Miller was white, Herman is Black. At the time there was a “Prison Movement” around the country, chronicled in “Death On the Yard,” about Folsom Prison, The San Quentin Six, about the murder of the revolutionary George Jackson and there was the infamous “Attica.” In the swamp of Louisiana, white security guard Miller was killed at Angola Penitentiary. Angola warehoused mostly black prisoners guarded by all-white security guards and personnel, providing fertile soil for injustice against Blacks, and especially for that segment calling itself “Black Panthers.” It is not difficult to imagine that the cards were stacked against Herman Wallace and his codefendant, Albert Woodfox.

After Guard Brent Miller’s death, the security guards who were guilty of having beaten, mangled, and even killed inmates who could not be controlled, began to fear for themselves. They were so fearful that they refused to work unless they could carry weapons. The National Guard was called in to take the places of those who refused to work, but there was still no peace.

On May 5, 1972, Herman Wallace and three other black men were charged with Miller’s death. Prison records show that Herman was in the license plate factory about the time of Miller’s death, with no way possible for him to leave the scene of the crime and be at his job without being seen by security guards at various check-point gates. Inmate witnesses testifying against Herman said blood was all over him, yet as he passed each check-point gate and was given a thorough shake-down, no security guard ever testified to seeing blood on him at any time. He simply was not in the area, and prison records prove it.

Both Woodfox and Wallace believe they were singled out because they had been highly vocal about pushing for change. Their Leftist affiliations made them targets. The press played it up with headlines reading, “A racial uprising where a white prison officer was killed in a Black prison dormitory.”

The controversy caught the attention of the FBI. FBI agents Gill Schafer and Husband decided to infiltrate the Defense Committee formed for Herman, using illegal tactics. Had it not been for the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Herman might never have learned of their plans to forcibly take him from the court room, using arms.

Herman maintains that the State and FBI teams’ investigation was a sham resulting in fabricated evidence and planted witnesses so they could get convictions on him and Woodfox. There was a bloody fingerprint, possibly the actual killer’s: after it was tested against the four men charged, and matched none of them, this test was dropped as if it never existed.

Prison inmates testified, dutifully swearing that no promises were made to them, and that their testimony came of their own free will. Years later, Herman discovered that Warden C. Murry Henderson, a judge, and the Secretary of Corrections, approved and carried out agreements made with those very inmates in exchange for their testimony at the trial where Herman was convicted. He has the documents showing that the prison administration paid the witnesses in cartons of cigarettes a week, in letters seeking clemency and in time cut for others who testified for the State. All of Herman’s information was given to the court in his motions for post-conviction relief.Post-conviction relief motions have so far resulted in little for Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox. Although Woodfox’s conviction was overturned, and he was retried, he lost. Those attending his trial say his voir dire lasted less than a day, and that jury deliberations were a matter of hours.

The State’s actions in this case are troubling. It introduced clothing its own star witness had said belonged to him when he testified at Herman’s trial, but claimed later that the clothing belonged to Woodfox.

The State allowed Harold Vincent, a white inmate not at the prison when Miller was killed, to testify that Woodfox told him he actually did the killing.

Herman’s case has still not been heard, although he has kept pressing forward for a reversal. After conviction, Herman was placed in an isolated cell for punishment and has been there ever since. (Since the non-violent protest, Herman has been taken to Camp J, known as the most punitive unit at Angola.)

In Herman’s own words: “If I was actually guilty of this crime, why would the authorities plant evidence, create false witnesses, discard valuable evidence and then place me in an isolated cell for twenty-six years, denying me of the most basic human needs in this 20th Century? The State and the FBI committed every dirty trick possible to frame me for this murder. They believed I would never find out the truth about their demonic behavior because the FBI and the D.A.’s files were then considered confidential. That is, they were –until R.S. 44.1, “Public Records” was established. I am innocent of the death of Guard Miller, and I vow to fight this farce to the last pulse in my veins.”

To the Man-Child, Tall, evil, graceful, brighteyed, black man-child — Jonathan Peter Jackson — who died on August 7, 1970, courage in one hand, assault rifle in the other; my brother, comrade, friend — the true revolutionary, the black communist guerrilla in the highest state of development, he died on the trigger, scourge of the unrighteous, soldier of the people; to this terrible man-child and his wonderful mother Georgia Bea, to Angela Y. Davis, my tender experience, I dedicate this collection of letters; to the destruction of their enemies I dedicate my life.

George L. Jackson: September 23, 1941 — August 21, 1971


In 1960, at the age of eighteen, George Jackson was accused of stealing $70 from a gas station in Los Angeles. Though there was evidence of his innocence, his court-appointed lawyer maintained that because Jackson had a record (two previous instances of petty crime), he should plead guilty in exchange for a light sentence in the county jail. He did, and received an indeterminate sentence of one year to life. Jackson spent the next ten years in Soledad Prison, seven and a half of them in solitary confinement. Instead of succumbing to the dehumanization of prison existence, he transformed himself into the leading theoretician of the prison movement and a brilliant writer. Soledad Brother, which contains the letters that he wrote from 1964 to 1970, is his testament.

In his twenty-eighth year, Jackson and two other black inmates — Fleeta Drumgo and John Cluchette — were falsely accused of murdering a white prison guard. The guard was beaten to death on January 16, 1969, a few days after another white guard shot and killed three black inmates by firing from a tower into the courtyard. The accused men were brought in chains and shackles to two secret hearings in Salinas County. A third hearing was about to take place when John Cluchette managed to smuggle a note to his mother: “Help, I’m in trouble.” With the aid of a state senator, his mother contacted a lawyer, and so commenced one of the most extensive legal defenses in U.S. history. According to their attorneys, Jackson, Drumgo, and Clutchette were charged with murder not because there was any substantial evidence of their guilt, but because they had been previously identified as black militants by the prison authorities. If convicted, they would face a mandatory death penalty under the California penal code. Within weeks, the case of the Soledad Brothers emerged as a political cause célèbre for all sorts of people demanding change at a time when every American institution was shaken by Black rebellions in more than one hundred cities and the mass movement against the Vietnam War.

August 7, 1970, just a few days after George Jackson was transferred to San Quentin, the case was catapulted to the forefront of national news when his brother, Jonathan, a seventeen-year-old high school student in Pasadena, staged a raid on the Marin County courthouse with a satchelful of handguns, an assault rifle, and a shotgun hidden under his coat. Educated into a political revolutionary by George, Jonathan invaded the court during a hearing for three black San Quentin inmates, not including his brother, and handed them weapons. As he left with the inmates and five hostages, including the judge, Jonathan demanded that the Soledad Brothers be released within thirty minutes. In the shootout that ensued, Jonathan was gunned down. Of Jonathan, George wrote, “He was free for a while. I guess that’s more than most of us can expect.”

Soledad Brother, which is dedicated to Jonathan Jackson, was released to critical acclaim in France and the United States, with an introduction by the renowned French dramatist Jean Genet, in the fall of 1970. Less than a year later and just two days before the opening of his trial, George Jackson was shot to death by a tower guard inside San Quentin Prison in a purported escape attempt. “No Black person,” wrote James Baldwin, “will ever believe that George Jackson died the way they tell us he did.”

Soledad Brother went on to become a classic of Black literature and political philosophy, selling more than 400,000 copies before it went out of print twenty years ago. Lawrence Hill Books is pleased to reissue this book and to add to it a Foreword by the author’s nephew, Jonathan Jackson, Jr., who is a writer living in California.



Money Convertor

Ronni Scotts

In Being In The Moment, Business, Daily Meditations, Media Dailies, Music For Pleasure, Prime Time News, Readers Choice, The Flying Muse, The Master Class, The Vitriolic Potical Corner, This Day In History, To Deal or Not on September 26, 2010 at 6:56 pm

Ronnie Scott (originally Ronald Schatt) was born in Aldgate, east London, into a family of Russian Jewish descent on his father’s side, and Portuguese antecedents on his mother’s.[1] Scott began playing in small jazz clubs at the age of sixteen. he toured with Johnny Claes, the trumpeter, from 1944 to 1945, and with Ted Heath in 1946, as well as working with Ambrose, Cab Kaye, and Tito Burns. He was involved in the short-lived musicians’ co-operative Club Eleven band and club (1948–1950), with Johnny Dankworth and others, and was a member of the generation of British musicians who worked on the Cunard liner Queen Mary (intermittently 1946–c. 1950) in order to visit New York and hear the new music directly. Scott was among the earliest British musicians to be influenced in his playing style by Charlie Parker and other bebop musicians.

In 1952 Scott joined Jack Parnell‘s orchestra, then led his own nine-piece group and quintet featuring among others, Pete King, with whom he would later open his jazz club, Victor Feldman, Hank Shaw and Phil Seamen from 1953 to 1956. He co-led The Jazz Couriers with Tubby Hayes from 1957 to 1959, and was leader of a quartet including Stan Tracey (1960–1967).

During this period he also did occasional session work; his best-known work here is the solo on The Beatles‘ “Lady Madonna“. He was said to be upset at the amount of his saxophone that made the final cut on the original record. In subsequent recordings Paul McCartney restored greater sections into the song.

From 1967–69, Scott was a member of The Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Big Band which toured Europe extensively and which also featured fellow tenor players Johnny Griffin and Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, at the same time running his own octet including John Surman and Kenny Wheeler (1968–1969), and a trio with Mike Carr on keyboards and Bobby Gien on drums (1971–1975). He then went on to lead various groups, most of which included John Critchinson on keyboards and Martin Drew on drums.

Ronnie Scott’s playing was much admired on both sides of the Atlantic. Charles Mingus said of him in 1961: “Of the white boys, Ronnie Scott gets closer to the negro blues feeling, the way Zoot Sims does.”[2] Despite his central position in the British jazz scene, Scott recorded infrequently during the last few decades of his career. He suffered periods of depression and, while recovering slowly from surgery for tooth implants, died at age 69 from an accidental overdose of barbiturates prescribed by his dentist.[3]

He was cremated at the Golders Green Crematorium.

The author Joel Lane is Scott’s nephew.

Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club

Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club at 47 Frith Street, Soho, London.

Main article: Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club

Scott is perhaps best remembered for co-founding, with former tenor sax player Pete King, the Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, which opened on 30 October 1959 in a basement at 39 Gerrard Street in London’s Soho district, with the debut of a young alto sax player named Peter King (no relation), before later moving to a larger venue nearby at 47 Frith Street in 1965. The original venue continued in operation as the “Old Place” until the lease ran out in 1967, and was used for performances by the up and coming generation of domestic musicians.

Scott regularly acted as the club’s genial Master of Ceremonies, and was (in)famous for his repertoire of jokes, asides and one-liners. A typical introduction might go: “Our next guest is one of the finest musicians in the country. In the city, he’s crap”.

After Scott’s death, King continued to run the club for a further nine years, before selling the club to theatre impresario Sally Greene in June 2005.

Selected band line-ups

As well as participating in name orchestras, Scott led or co-led numerous bands featuring some of Britain’s most prominent jazz musicians of the day.

Alan Dean’s Beboppers


Ronnie Scott (ts), Johnny Dankworth (as), Hank Shaw (tp), Tommy Pollard (p), Pete Chilver (g), Joe Muddel (b), Laurie Morgan (d), Alan Dean (vocal).

Ronnie Scott Orchestra

– 1954, 1955

Ronnie Scott (ts), Derek Humble (as), Pete King (ts), Hank Shaw (tp), Ken Wray (tb), Benny Green (bs), Victor Feldman (p), Lennie Bush (b), Phil Seamen (d).

Ronnie Scott Quintet

– 1955

Ronnie Scott (ts), Hank Shaw (tp), Victor Feldman (p), Sammy Stokes/Lennie Bush (b), Phil Seamen (d).

Ronnie Scott Big Band

– 1955

Ronnie Scott, Pete King, (ts), Joe Harriott, Doug Robinson (as), Benny Green (bs), Stan Palmer, Hank Shaw, Dave Usden, Jimmy Watson, (tp) Jack Botterill, Robin Kaye, Mac Minshull, Ken Wray (tb), Norman Stenfalt (p), Eric Peter (b), Phil Seamen (d).

The Jazz Couriers

Ronnie Scott (ts), Tubby Hayes (ts, vib), Terry Shannon (p), Phil Bates (b), Bill Eyden (d).

(On 7 April 1957, The Jazz Couriers co-led by Tubby Hayes and Ronnie Scott, debuted at the new Flamingo Club in Wardour Street, Soho. The group lasted until 30 August 1959).

Ronnie Scott Quartet


Ronnie Scott (ts), Stan Tracey (p), Malcolm Cecil (b), Jackie Dougan (d).

Ronnie Scott Quintet


Dick Pearce (tp), Ronnie Scott (ts), John Critchinson (p), Ron Mathewson (b), Martin Drew (d).

Selected discography

  • 1948: Boppin’ at Esquire (indigo)
  • 1958: The Couriers of Jazz! (Carlton/Fresh Sounds)
  • 1965: The Night Is Scott and You’re So Swingable (Redial)
  • 1965: When I Want Your Opinion, I’ll Give it to You (Jazz House)
  • 1969: Live at Ronnie Scott’s (Columbia)
  • 1977: Serious Gold (Pye)
  • 1990: Never Pat a Burning Dog (Jazz House)
  • 1997: If I Want Your Opinion (Jazz House)
  • 1997: The Night Has a Thousand Eyes (Jazz House)
  • 2000: Boppin’ at Esquire (Indigo)
  • 2002: Ronnie Scott Live at the Jazz Club (Time Music)

See also


  • Clarke, Donald (Ed.). The Penguin Encyclopedia of Popular Music, Viking, 1989.
  • Kernfeld, Barry Dean (Ed.). The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, Macmillan Press, 1988.
  • Kington, Miles; Gelly, Dave. The Giants of Jazz, Schirmer Books, 1986.
  • Larkin, Colin. The Encyclopedia of Popular Music, 3rd edition, Macmillan, 1998.
  • Ruppli, Michel; Novitsky, Ed. The Mercury Labels. A discography, Vol. V., Record and Artist Indexes, Greenwood Press, 1993.
  1. ^ The Man Behind The Club (Retrieved March 10, 2010)
  2. ^ “Ronnie Scott”, Brian Priestley, in Carr et al.
  3. ^ Jazz and death: medical profiles of jazz greats By Frederick J. Spencer. University Press of Mississippi. Page 2010
This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. Please improve this article by introducing more precise citations where appropriate. (January 2010)

[Reprinted from Wikipedia]

Vocalist – General, Vocalist – Bass, Vocalist – Baritone, Vocalist – Tenor, Vocalist – Soprano, Rhythm Guitar, Lead Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Bass Guitar, Drums, Other Percussion, Violin, Trumpet, Saxophone, Keyboard, Piano, Background Singer, Harmonica, Flute, Other, Banjo, Mandolin, Fiddle, Dobro.


John Francis Anthony Pastorius III (December 1, 1951 – September 21, 1987), better known as Jaco Pastorius, was an American jazz musician and composer widely acknowledged for his skills as an electric bass player.
His playing style was noteworthy for containing intricate solos in the higher register. His innovations also included the use of harmonics and the “singing” quality of his melodies on fretless bass. Pastorius suffered from mental illness including a Substance-related disorder, and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1982. He died in 1987 at age 35 following a violent altercation at a Fort Lauderdale drinking establishment.
Pastorius was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame in 1988, one of only four bassists to be so honored (and the only electric bass guitarist). He is regarded as one of the most influential bass players of all time.

Listen Now…

Islington’s dog-walkers should be pooh-poohed | News

In The Vitriolic Potical Corner on September 25, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Islington’s dog-walkers should be pooh-poohed | News.

Tony Sewell: ‘Black children are not victims of racism at school anymore’

Tony Sewell: \'Black children are not victims of racism at school anymore\'

COMMENTS: Tony Sewell

EDUCATION CAMPAIGNER, Dr Tony Sewell has claimed that black children do not fail at school because of institutional racism, but simply because they do not concentrate.

In a controversial article for magazine ‘Prospect’ the former Voice columnist who is also the director of Generating Genius, a charity seeking to get more black boys into university, said that poor parenting was to blame for a black child’s poor performance in school.

Although he admitted that black pupils were once held back by institutional racism, ‘times had changed’.

He writes: “What we now see in schools is children undermined by poor parenting, peer-group pressure and an inability to be responsible for their own behaviour.

“They are not subjects of institutional racism.” He said.

He continued in his harsh attack: “They have failed their GCSEs because they did not do the homework, did not pay attention and were disrespectful to their teachers.”

These views are in stark contrast to those held by Labour leader hopeful, Diane Abbott who once said “black boys do not have to be too long out of disposable nappies for some teachers to see them as a miniature gangster rapper.”

Reading University did admit that some teachers’ low expectations of black boys might be part of the reason why they underachieve.

In 2008, the Department for Education reported that only 27 per cent of black boys achieve five or more A*-C GCSE grades.

Dr Sewell said: “I believe black underachievement is due to the low expectations of school leaders, who do not want to be seen as racist and who position black boys as victims.”

Two tots die after mother locks them in cupboard for 10 hours

Two tots die after mother locks them in cupboard for 10 hours

ACCUSED: Edyan Farah

A MOTHER has been accused of killing her two children by cramming them into tiny cupboard with three of their siblings for approximately ten hours while she visited friends.

Edyan Farah, 28, returned to her home in Indianapolis, Indiana, to find her daughter Zuhur, five, and three year-old son Zakariya stiff and unresponsive.

Lt Jeff Duhamell, of the city’s police said: “It was one of the worst ones I’ve seen-to be placed In closet about 6ft by 18in and a bed pushed against it for a minimum of ten hours, we think possibly a lot longer, and probably not for the first time.

Somalian Edyan claimed that she was ‘not in her right mind’ when she locked her children away.

The bodies were discovered after a family friend became suspicious when Edyan refused to let anyone into her apartment.

Farah’s uncle revealed that when he arrived to the house and looked through the door of the apartment, he saw what appeared to be a dead child on the couch.

This led him to call the police despite experiencing opposition from Edyan who tried to prevent him from alerting the police.

Neighbours revealed that the children looked underfed before the incident. One neighbour said: “Every morning I would hear the little girl say, no, no, like she was locked out the house.”

The surviving three children, aged one, five and seven, have been placed in care.

Tests are being carried out to ascertain how Zuhur and Zakariya died. Toxicology tests could take up to a month.

Churches who give more will receive

Marcia Dixon

Churches who give more will receive

COLLECTION: Some churches ask for much from congregation but don\’t give

Why ministers should take a leaf out of billionaire Warren Buffett’s book

MONEY. IT’S a subject that is always very much on people’s minds, particularly in these cash-strapped times. But while people are interested in getting it and spending it, there’s not as much interest in saving it or giving it away.

However, one man, Warren Buffett – described as the world’s greatest investor – recently gathered together a group of America’s richest men and encouraged them to pledge to give away as much of their fortunes as possible to charitable causes whilst they are alive.

The attitude of these billionaires is a major contrast to some of the churches within the black community that seem to be on a never-ending quest to raise money – usually through their congregations.

A young man recently told me that the thing he remembered the most about his attendance at a church service was the minister’s request that as many people as possible in the congregation give £100!

Whilst most people recognise churches need money to carry out their work, the question that is often asked is, why do they have to make requests for money such a focal part of a service, and mention that they need a ‘special offering’ so often? It has now become an annoying and off-putting part of the public worship experience.

Maybe it’s time for church leaders to take a leaf out of the book of Buffett and co, who are making sure they go down in history as people who gave their wealth away for the benefit of others. Okay, they might be billionaires and have a lot to give away, but that doesn’t mean that those of us who have smaller incomes – including our churches – can’t be known as givers.

Our church leaders should be renowned for what they give back to others, not for their skill in extracting money out of people’s pockets, because one of the things that demonstrates someone has been touched by God is their willingness to give their time, energy or money to others.

More church leaders need to look at way they can serve their members and their community through giving and there’s a blessing in doing this. Not only will God be pleased but church members are more likely to donate more to their churches when they know the money they give is being used to help others.

One church I know invites a charity to give a talk to their congregation every month, and gives them a substantial contribution to fund their work. Others donate money to orphanages, support missionaries or provide funds to congregations based in the developing world.

More churches should also give consideration to setting up grant-making trusts so that they can fund good causes in their respective communities.

Buffett and co have set a good precedent that those with an abundance of wealth can follow. And don’t the scriptures remind us that it’s more blessed to give than receive?


In The Vitriolic Potical Corner on September 24, 2010 at 10:27 pm

BNP Regions Now Equipped to Spread the BNP Message

The British National Party’s Communications Department has equipped the party’s Regional Press Officers with the tools necessary to generate publicity and manoeuvre in today’s complex media world.

“Each regional press officer of the party has been given a highly detailed database of all regional media contacts, newspapers, TV, radio and even prominent blogs and publications,” said National Communications Officer Paul Golding.

“The Communications Department has access to an international database of media contacts, containing some 1.4 million journalists and other news outlets, this was obtained through the generous donations of party members and supporters. If you are one of those who gave to our media appeals, the party thanks you for enabling us to put such a tremendous system in place.”

“Each regional press officer is now in the process of setting up a regional press release system utilising the constantly updated data provided by the Communications Department. This will allow our press officers to generate publicity and drive the party into the news.”

“We have now moved into a completely unknown but very exciting realm with our public relations machine. We have 3 full time staff, dealing with management, media enquiries, design, editorial, media appearances, production (along with their other duties), complimented by 11 regional press officers utilizing multiple IT systems.

“We now have a complete nationwide department, responsible for media, literature, campaigns and cyberspace. It is indeed a most remarkable and complex machine but at last the British National Party are playing in the media ‘big league’ and we are only at the beginning of this journey.”

BNP Regions Now Equipped to Spread the BNP Message.

Nick Griffin and the Queen

Turned away: Nick Griffin was expected to attend the party hosted by the Queen

Queen bans BNP leader Nick Griffin from Buckingham Palace garden party

Sri Carmichael, Royal Reporter

The Queen today barred BNP leader Nick Griffin from her garden party at Buckingham Palace.

The far-Right politician, his wife and daughter were due to be among 8,000 guests this afternoon but, at the last-minute, Palace aides announced that he would be banned for using his invitation for “party political purposes”.

A statement issued on behalf of the Queen said: “Nick Griffin MEP will be denied entry to today’s garden party at Buckingham Palace due to the fact he has overtly used his personal invitation for party political purposes through the media. This in turn has increased the security threat and the potential discomfort to the many other guests also attending.”

A Palace spokesman added: “The decision to deny him entry is not intended to show any disrespect to the democratic process by which the invitation was issued. However, we would apply the same rules to anyone who tried to blatantly politicise their attendance in this way.”

Mr Griffin immediately condemned the decision, claiming it was a reaction to pressure from the coalition Government. He said: “I’m appalled. It’s an outrage and thoroughly anti-British.

“If there are rules about going as a political representative, we have to be told about them. I was told what to wear, where to go, but nothing about this.

“Another BNP MEP, Andrew Brons, has given interviews talking about his invitation and he’s still being allowed to go.” He said he did not “blame the Queen” and claimed Buckingham

Palace was under “enormous pressure from the Lib-Con coalition” to withdraw his invitation.

Anti-fascists welcomed the decision. John Mann MP, chairman of the Commons all-party group against anti-semitism, said: “I fully support the Palace’s actions — Griffin has once again proved he is an embarrassment to his constituents and to our country.”

Mr Griffin was set to attend a garden party last year as a guest of a BNP London Assembly member but pulled out after an outcry.

Downing Street said: “It was entirely a matter for the Royal Household. The Government was not involved.”

BNP chief nominated himself for party

Nick Griffin was able to nominate himself to attend the party using the ticket allocation granted to the European Parliament.

A spokeswoman for Buckingham Palace said all British MEPs are entitled to go and invitations are issued as matter of course when an application is received.

Last year Richard Barnbrook of the BNP received two tickets for a Palace garden party in his capacity as a member of the London Assembly.

He selected Mr Griffin as his guest but the BNP leader pulled out, saying he had “no wish to embarrass the Queen”.


The far right is on the march again: The rise of Fascism in Austria

In Austria’s recent general election, nearly 30 per cent of voters backed extremist right-wing parties. Live visits the birthplace of Hitler to investigate how Fascism is once again threatening to erupt across Europe.


Last updated at 6:52 PM on 18th March 2009

Supporters of far right leader Heinz Christian Strache (pictured in the flyers held aloft by the man at the front) gather at a rally in Vienna

Supporters of far right leader Heinz Christian Strache (pictured in the flyers held aloft by the man at the front) gather at a rally in Vienna

Beneath a leaden sky the solemn, black-clad crowd moves slowly towards a modest grey headstone. At one end
of the grave, a flame casts light on the black lettering that is engraved on the marble. At the other end, an elderly soldier bends down to place flowers before standing to salute.

From all over Austria, people are here to pay their respects to their fallen hero. But the solemnity of the occasion is cut with tension. Beyond the crowd of about 300, armed police are in attendance. They keep a respectful distance but the rasping bark of Alsatians hidden in vans provides an eerie soundtrack as the crowd congregates in mist and light rain.

We’ve been warned that despite a heavy police presence journalists have often been attacked at these meetings. If trouble does come then the mob look ready to fight. There are bull-necked stewards and young men who swagger aggressively.

Heinz Christian Strache
The Freedom Party leader Heinz Christian Strache

This is a neo-Nazi gathering and in the crowd are some of Austria’s most hard-faced fascists. Among them is Gottfried Kussel, a notorious thug who was the showman of Austria’s far-right movement in the Eighties and Nineties until he was imprisoned for eight years for promoting Nazi ideology.

Today he cuts a Don Corleone figure as he stands defiantly at the graveside. His neo-Nazi acolytes make sure no one comes near him and our photographer is unceremoniously barged out of his way.

Ominous-looking men with scars across their faces whisper to each other and shake hands. These are members of Austria’s Burschenschaften, an arcane, secretive organisation best known for its fascination with fencing, an initiation ceremony that includes a duel in which the opponents cut each other’s faces, and for its strong links to the far right.

Incredibly, standing shoulder to shoulder with these hard-line Nazi sympathisers are well known Austrian politicians. At the graveside, a speech is made by Lutz Weinzinger, a leading member of Austria’s Freedom Party (FPO), who pays tribute to the fallen.

This is a gathering in memory of an Austrian-born Nazi fighter pilot, who during WWII shot down 258 planes, 255 of them Russian. Such was Major Walter Nowotny’s standing at the time of his death in 1944 that the Nazi Party awarded him a grave of honour in Vienna’s largest cemetery, close to the musical legends Mozart, Brahms and Strauss.

But in 2005 that honour was revoked and his body moved to lie in an area of public graves. The decision infuriated the far right and made their annual pilgrimage an even greater event.

Today, the anniversary of Nowotny’s death, also coincides with Kristallnacht, the ‘night of broken glass’ in 1938 when 92 people were murdered and thousands attacked across Germany as stormtroopers set upon Jews in an outpouring of Nazi violence.

Some 70 years on from that infamous pogrom, the world faces a similar financial crisis to the one that precipitated the rise of Hitler and, in chilling echoes of Thirties Europe, support for far-right groups is exploding. Hitler’s birthplace has become the focus for neo-Nazis across the world.

And so I have come to Austria to investigate how Fascism and extremism are moving, unchecked, into the forefront of its society.

Last September, Austria’s far right gained massive political influence in an election that saw the FPO along with another far right party – Alliance For The Future (BZO) – gain 29 per cent of the vote, the same share as Austria’s main party, the Social Democrats. The election stirred up terrifying memories of the rise of the Nazi Party in the Thirties.

And just as the Nazis gained power on the back of extreme nationalism and virulent anti-Semitism, the recent unprecedented gains in Austria were made on a platform of fear about immigration and the perceived threat of Islam. FPO leader Heinz Christian Strache, for example, described women in Islamic dress as ‘female ninjas’.

Emboldened by the new power in parliament, neo-Nazi thugs have desecrated Muslim graves. Recently, in Hitler’s home town of Braunau, a swastika flag was publicly unveiled.

Austrian far right leader Heinz Christian Strache addresses a rallyAustrian far right leader Heinz Christian Strache addresses a rally

The FPO wants to legalise Nazi symbols, while its firebrand leader has been accused of having links to far right extremists.

After the FPO’s election victory, Nick Griffin, leader of the British Nationalist Party (BNP), sent a personal message to Strache.

‘We in Britain are impressed to see that you have been able to combine principled nationalism with electoral success. We are sure that this gives you a good springboard for the European elections and we hope very much that we will be able to join you in a successful nationalist block in Brussels next year.’

The message followed on from a secret meeting last May in which a high-ranking FPO politician paid a visit to London for a meeting with Griffin.

The relationship between the FPO and the BNP becomes more worrying as I learn of the strong links between Austria’s political party and hard-line Nazis.

Former Waffen SS officer and unrepentant Nazi Herbert SchweigerFormer Waffen SS officer and unrepentant Nazi Herbert Schweiger

Herbert Schweiger makes no attempt to hide his Nazi views. At his home in the Austrian mountains, the former SS officer gazes out of a window to a view of a misty alpine valley. Described to me as the ‘Puppet Master’ of the far right, Schweiger, 85, is a legendary figure for neo-Nazis across the world.

‘Our time is coming again and soon we will have another leader like Hitler,’ he says.

Still remarkably sharp-minded, Schweiger was a lieutenant in the infamous Waffen SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler, an elite unit originally formed before WWII to act as the Führer’s personal bodyguards.

This is his first interview for four years and the first he has ever given to a journalist from outside Austria. It happens a few weeks before he is due to appear in court charged with promoting neo-Nazi ideology.

It will be the fifth time he has stood trial for breaking a law, the Verbotsgesetz, enacted in 1947 to halt the spread of fascist ideology. He has been found guilty twice and acquitted twice. It quickly becomes apparent that little has changed in Schweiger’s mindset since his Third Reich days.

‘The Jew on Wall Street is responsible for the world’s current economic crisis. It is the same now as in 1929 when 90 per cent of money was in the hands of the Jew. Hitler had the right solutions then,’ he says, invoking the language of Goebbels.

The room is filled with mementos from his past and indicators of his sickening beliefs. His bookshelf is a library of loathing. I spot a book by controversial British Holocaust denier David Irving and one on the ‘myth of Auschwitz’. On a shelf hangs a pennant from the SS Death’s Head unit that ran Hitler’s concentration camps. Such memorabilia is banned in Austria but Schweiger defiantly displays his Nazi possessions.

If Schweiger was an old Nazi living out his final days in this remote spot, it might be possible to shrug him off as a now harmless man living in his past. But Schweiger has no intention of keeping quiet.

‘My job is to educate the fundamentals of Nazism. I travel regularly in Austria and Germany speaking to young members of our different groups,’ he says.

Schweiger’s lectures are full of hate and prejudice. He refers to Jews as ‘intellectual nomads’ and says poor Africans should be allowed to starve.

‘The black man only thinks in the present and when his belly is full he does not think of the future,’ he says. ‘They reproduce en masse even when they have no food, so supporting Africans is suicide for the white race.

‘It is not nation against nation now but race against race. It is a question of survival that Europe unites against the rise of Asia. There is an unstoppable war between the white and yellow races. In England and Scotland there is very strong racial potential.

Our time is coming again and soon we will have another leader like Hitler

‘Of course I am a racist, but I am a scientific racist,’ he adds, as if this is a justification.

Schweiger’s raison d’être is politics. He was a founding member of three political parties in Austria – the VDU, the banned NDP and the FPO. He has given his support to the current leader of the FPO.

‘Strache is doing the right thing by fighting the foreigner,’ says Schweiger.

He is now in close contact with the Kameradschaften, underground cells of hardcore neo-Nazis across Austria and Germany who, over the past three years, have started to infiltrate political parties such as the FPO.

His belief that the bullet and the ballot box go hand in hand goes back to 1961, when he helped to train a terrorist movement fighting for the reunification of Austria and South Tyrol.

‘I was an explosives expert in the SS so I trained Burschenschaften how to make bombs. We used the hotel my wife and I owned as a training camp,’ he says. The hotel he refers to is 50 yards from his home.

Thirty people in Italy were murdered during the campaign. One of the men convicted for the atrocities, Norbert Burger, later formed the now-banned neo-Nazi NDP party with Schweiger.

Schweiger’s involvement earned him his first spell in custody in 1962 but he was acquitted.

A gathering of the Burschenschaften, a secretive nationalist group with far-right tendenciesA gathering of the Burschenschaften, a secretive nationalist group with far-right tendencies

At Vienna’s Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance (DOW), I speak to Heribert Schiedel, who monitors neo-Nazi activity. He tells me that the glue between people like Schweiger and the politicians are the Burschenschaften fraternities. Schiedel draws two circles and explains.

‘In the circle on the left you have legal parties such as the FPO. In the circle on the right you have illegal groups. Two distinct groupings who pretend they are separate.’

He draws another circle linking the two together. ‘This circle links the legal and illegal. This signifies the Burschenschaften. They have long been associated with Fascism and have a history of terrorism. Adolf Eichmann, Rudolf Hess and Heinrich Himmler were Burschenschaften – as are prominent members of the FPO in parliament.’

There are Burschenschaften groups all over Austria and 18 in the capital alone. Their activities range from quaint to disturbing.

At the University of Vienna, members of the Burschenschaften come to pay homage to a statue called the Siegfriedskopf (the Head of Siegfried, a warrior from German mythology). Their ritual takes place every Wednesday.
The university authorities wanted to remove the statue, but the government insisted it should stay as it is a protected monument. Instead, the piece was relocated to the courtyard.

Today, the Burschenschaften have been prevented from entering the courtyard and at the main entrance police stand guard as they hand out leaflets. Dressed in traditional uniforms, the Burschenschaften resemble colourful bandsmen and are a far cry from the shaven-headed thugs normally associated with Fascism.

But the groups have a 200-year-old history steeped in patriotism and loyalty to a German state. In 2005, Olympia, one of the most extreme Burschenschaften fraternities, invited David Irving to Austria.

As other students gather, there is tension in the air. One girl whispers that this group recently attacked students protesting outside the Austrian Parliament against the FPO.

A young student with round glasses and a scar on his left cheek, wearing the purple colours of Olympia, is handing out leaflets. Roland denies being a neo-Nazi but he quickly starts relaying his fiercely nationalist views.

Gottfried Kussel (second from right) among the gathering at the grave of WWII Nazi pilot Walter NowotnyGottfried Kussel (second from right) among the gathering at the grave of WWII Nazi pilot Walter Nowotny

‘The anti-fascists are the new fascists,’ he says. ‘We are not allowed to tell the truth about how foreigners are a threat.’

The truth, according to Roland, is that Muslims, immigrants and America are destroying his way of life.

‘We are German-Austrians. We want a community here based on German nationalism,’ he adds. ‘We must fight to save our heritage and culture.’

The Burschenschaften hold regular, secretive meetings in cellar bars around Vienna. Journalists are not usually admitted, but I manage to persuade a group of Burschenschaften students to let me see their traditions. Once inside, I find myself in a bar filled with 200 men sitting at long tables drinking steins of Austrian beer.

The Burschenschaften are resplendent in the colours of their fraternities. Old and young, they sport sashes in the black, red and gold of the German flag, and as the beer flows in this neo-Gothic building, chatter fills the room and cigarette smoke rises in plumes up to chandeliers hung from a vaulted ceiling.

‘Prost!’ the man sitting to my right toasts loudly. His name is Christian. He is no neo-Nazi thug, but instead a psychology student. His white peaked cap signifies that he is a member of a Burschenschaften group called Gothia.
Most of the men at this table are Gothia, including the man sitting opposite who ordered the beer. He glares at me again. He has long scars on both sides of his face that run from his cheekbones down to the edges of his mouth, and when he sucks on his cigarette he reminds me of the Joker from Batman. Christian has a dozen wounds from fencing, including five on his left cheek.

‘It is a badge of honour to duel,’ he says proudly, before explaining that this is an annual event and that one of tonight’s speeches will be on the ‘threat of Islam to Europe’.

Suddenly, everyone at our table stands amazed as FPO leader Heinz Christian Strache enters.

He is wearing a royal blue hat – signifying his membership of the Vandalia Burschenschaften – and after shaking hands with each of us he sits at the far end of the table. Shortly afterwards I’m asked to leave.

Although the Burschenschaften claims to be politically neutral, FPO flyers had been placed in front of each guest and it was clear this event was a political rally in support of the FPO – an event that would culminate with these Austrians, including a leading politician, singing the German national anthem.

After my encounter with the leader of the FPO among the Burschenschaften, I contact Strache’s press office to question his membership of an organisation linked to far right extremism, and ask why the FPO wishes to revoke the Verbotsgesetz (the law banning Nazi ideology).

In a response by email, Mr Strache replied that the FPO wants to revoke the Verbotsgesetz because it believes in freedom of speech. He denied having any links to neo-Nazi groups and says he is proud to be a member of the Burschenschaften.

‘The Burschenschaften was founded during the wars against Napoleon Bonaparte in the beginning of the 19th century. These are the historical origins I am proud of,’ he wrote.

Back at Nowotny’s graveside I think of the Puppet Master in his mountain home. How can a former Nazi still hold so much political sway? The Burschenschaften are here, too.

There are no ‘sieg heils’ and no swastikas for the cameras, but it’s clear that Fascism is back. These are not thugs merely intent on racial violence, who are easily locked up. These are intellectuals and politicians whose move to the forefront of society is far more insidious.

Through the political influence of the FPO it is entirely possible that the Verbotsgesetz could be revoked – and if that happens swastikas could once again be seen on Austria’s streets.

The ideas and racial hatred that I have heard over my two weeks in Austria are just as threatening and just as sickening as any I have ever heard. And they are a lot more sinister because they are spoken with the veneer of respectability.

The open defiance of these men honouring their Nazi ‘war hero’, and the support they are gaining in these troubled economic times, should be setting off alarm bells in Europe and the rest of the world.


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In Media Dailies, The Master Class, The Vitriolic Potical Corner, To Deal or Not on September 22, 2010 at 2:02 pm

Niccolò Machiavelli

Life and Works
. . The Prince
. . Leadership
Internet Sources

In 1498, Niccolò Machiavelli began his career as an active politician in the independent city-state of Florence, engaging in diplomatic missions through France and Germany as well as Italy. After more than a decade of public service, he was driven from his post when the republic collapsed. Repeated efforts to win the confidence and approval of the new regime were unsuccessful, and Machiavelli was forced into retirement and a life of detached scholarship about the political process instead of direct participation in it. The books for which he is remembered were published only after his death.

Machiavelli originally wrote Principe Statue of Machiavelli (The Prince) (1513) in hopes of securing the favor of the ruling Medici family, and he deliberately made its claims provocative. The Prince is an intensely practical guide to the exercise of raw political power over a Renaissance principality. Allowing for the unpredictable influence of fortune, Machiavelli argued that it is primarily the character or vitality or skill of the individual leader that determines the success of any state. The book surveys various bold means of acquiring and maintaining the principality and evaluates each of them solely by reference to its likelihood of augmenting the glory of the prince while serving the public interest. It is this focus on practical success by any means, even at the expense of traditional moral values, that earned Machiavelli’s scheme a reputation for ruthlessness, deception, and cruelty.

His Dell’arte della guerra (The Art of War) (1520) Machiavelli explains in detail effective procedures for the acquisition, maintenance, and use of a military force. Even in his more leisurely reflections on the political process, Machiavelli often wrote in a similar vein. The Discorsi sopra la prima Deca di Tito Livio (Discourses on Livy) (1531) review the history of the Roman republic, with greater emphasis on the role of fortune and a clear admiration for republican government. Here, too, however, Machiavelli’s conception of the proper application of morality to practical political life is one that judges the skill of all participants in terms of the efficacy with which they achieve noble ends. Whatever the form of government, Machiavelli held, only success and glory really matter.

Recommended Reading:

Primary sources:

  • Niccolò Machiavelli, Opere, ed. by Sergio Bertelli and Franco Gaeta (Feltrinelli, 1960- )
  • Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince, tr. by George Bull (Penguin, 1999) {Order from}
  • Niccolo Machiavelli, Discourses, tr. by Leslie J. Walker and Bernard Crick (Viking, 1985) {Order from}

Secondary sources:

  • Machiavelli, ed. by Maurizio Viroli (Oxford, 1998) {Order from}
  • Harvey Claflin Mansfield, Machiavelli’s Virtue (Chicago, 1998) {Order from}
  • Leo Strauss, Thoughts on Machiavelli (Chicago, 1995) {Order from}

Additional on-line information about Machiavelli includes:

Prescott accused of phone hack rant | News

In The Vitriolic Potical Corner, This Day In History on September 17, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Lord Prescott

Lord Prescott has been accused of “ranting” and wasting public money after he said he would seek a judicial review into the News of the World phone-hacking row.

The Scotland Yard officer who oversaw the investigation into the affair launched a scathing attack on the former deputy prime minister, branding him “nothing special”.

The peer announced on Friday morning that he will ask the courts to examine the Metropolitan Police’s handling of the case after the force refused to provide all the information it held relating to him.

Shadow foreign office minister Chris Bryant, ex-Met deputy assistant commissioner Brian Paddick and journalist Brendan Montague have also issued judicial review proceedings.

In a statement on his website, Lord Prescott said: “It has always been my intention to discover the truth behind this case and whether the Metropolitan Police fulfilled its duty to follow all the lines of evidence. It is my belief they didn’t and I hope the judicial review will finally reveal why justice not only wasn’t done but wasn’t seen to be done.”

Lord Prescott said he is asking the courts to declare that his human rights had been breached, and order the Met to disclose fully any information relating to his personal details. The peer is also seeking damages, which he said would be given to charity.

But speaking on Nick Ferrari’s radio show on LBC 97.3 on Friday, former Met assistant commissioner Andy Hayman, who oversaw the original phone-hacking investigation, dismissed the chances of a judicial review finding anything new.

“We have to get real over this. This is just another episode of Lord Prescott’s rants,” he said.

“You know, he’s nothing special, he was on a list, along with lots of other celebrities and well-known people, held by a journalist – and that’s no different to a contact list that’s being held by any other journalist, come to that.

“Now if – and it’s been reviewed – if I have proved to be wrong, then I’ll eat my words and face the music. But my understanding is, there is absolutely no evidence from that initial investigation of his phone being hacked, so why he thinks he is anything special, I do not know.”

Prescott accused of phone hack rant | News.