Kerala sticks it to the man,  part deux

Those CPI(M) swine in the Kerala state government are once again bolstering their Nazi bona fides, this time by pulling a "krystal nacht"-type manoeuver on Microsoft, that defender of the downtrodden.

From the New York Times (registration required):

In a new attack on multinational corporations, the Communist government in India’s southern state of Kerala is campaigning to eliminate Microsoft from use in public institutions, just weeks after it imposed a ban on Coca-Cola and Pepsi.
Microsoft was not being banned, he said, but the government was actively encouraging Kerala’s 12,500 schools to switch to the Linux operating system, available around the world free of charge.

P.S. Want to see another sexy photo of Bill Gates? I know I sure do, and I've got what you need! From an artistic perspective, please note that in this shot the sexy binder and foreground monitor props have been replaced by a fanned pile of 1.44 floppies, allowing Bill more space to splay himself comfortably across his desk.


Anyone but Michael Ignatieff

I can't believe this guy is the presumptive front-runner in the Liberal leadership race. But then again, Liberals are such a bunch of power-hungry sluts that they would elect Ben Mulroney as leader if they thought it would get them a majority.

Ignatieff's political views on important international issues of the day closely resemble those of the Great Satan's present administration: pro-Iraq invasion, pro-Afghanistan occupation, and a believer in the moral rightness of torture, at least as long as the torturers are in the employ (officially or otherwise) of the Great Satan.

Worse still
, not only is he a war crime enabler, he is dreadfully boring, at least while speaking publically. I saw him on "Question Period" last spring and he was horrible.

To call his performance 'wooden' would be unfair to wood because at least wood has a bit of 'give'. If you can imagine a shorter, swarthier Lurch from the Munsters giving a speech, but with less emotion and his torso tilted to leeward at about 15 degrees, then you can imagine what Ignatieff was like.

But enough! The anti-Michael Ignatieff movement continues to build in preparation for this fall's Liberal Leadership convention. Lots of ammo for rewarding water-cooler chit-chat can be found at StopIggy.com.

An amuse-gueule from StopIggy:

Iggy spends a lot of time in ‘The Lesser Evil” describing how various forms of torture are not really torture at all, including, “forms of sleep deprivation that do not result in lasting harm to mental or physical health, together with disinformation and disorientation (like keeping prisoners in hoods) that would produce stress.” This is all an unpleasant but necessary part of “the war on terror” for Iggy, and he goes on at great length about concepts such as “torture warrants” that would allow U.S. agents to legally torture suspected terrorists. In another article, “Evil Under Interrogation: Is Torture Ever Permissible?” Iggy expands his list of permissible torture to include “permanent light or permanent darkness, disorienting noise and isolation.” For Iggy, what international law calls “torture” becomes “permissible forms of duress”.


Kerala sticks it to the man

The government of the Indian state of Kerala has taken a historic step in the globalisation battle (ie. the rights of local communites versus the rapacious money-lust of international corporations).

Not only have they banned Coca-Cola Co. and Pepsi Co. from operating bottling plants in Kerala, they have taken it one step further and banned even the SALE of Coke and Pepsi products in their state.

From Counterpunch:

The Coca-Cola bottling plant in Plachimada has remained shut down since March 2004 because of community opposition. Government and independent studies have confirmed the presence of toxic waste around Coca-Cola's bottling plants across India. "We will take steps to close down the Pepsi factory in Puddussery village in Palakkad district of Kerala," the chief minister added.

Last week, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a leading public interest research and advocacy group in India, released a study that found a "cocktail of between three to five different pesticides in all samples" of Coca-Cola and Pepsi products they tested in India. On an average, the CSE study said, the pesticide residues were 24 times higher than European Union (EU) standards and those proposed by the Bureau of India Standards (BIS), the government body responsible for standardization and quality control.


Efforts are underway in India to develop regulations that will govern safety standards for soft drinks to ensure consumer safety. The Centre for Science and Environment has accused the Coca-Cola company and Pepsico, as well as "powerful interests in the government", of blocking the adoption of the standards.

"The government of India must also ensure that there are laws that protect our groundwater, and that regulations are in place to put an end to the kinds of rampant pollution that we have seen with the Coca-Cola company," said Amit Srivastava of the India Resource Center, an international campaigning organization.

The Supreme Court of India has also ordered Coca-Cola and Pepsico to reveal the ingredients in their products in six weeks, or face a potential national ban.

On a side note, one interesting statistic I read (that I have no immediate link for) is that it takes 4 litres of good, potable water to produce 1 litre of Coca-Cola.


Hot Rum

Hot Buttered Rum

This weekend, while reading Rum: the Epic Story of the Drink that Conquered the World, I came across a very interesting
sounding recipe for Hot Buttered Rum:

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
.5 cup sifted fruit sugar
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups vanilla ice cream, softened
boiling water

In a small mixing bowl, beat together butter, sugar, spices. Beat in ice cream. Put in container, seal, and freeze.

To serve, spoon about .33 of a cup into a mug, add a jigger of rum, and .5 cup of boiling water.

Why present this recipe to the public? Because I care.


Stephen Harper isn't so smart, after all.

All he had to do was show up at the 16th International AIDS Conference in Toronto, shake a few hands, voice a few platitudes, then sit back and enjoy his improved polls in urban ridings. But no, his angle seems to be a Bushesque "I stand by my principles" 'thing'. And since his 'thing' doesn't seem to include reaching out to the gay or ethnic communites, he isn't going.

I was terrified that he would, in a last minute publicity stunt similar to his Cyprus airlift photo op. But he couldn't make himself do it, even though his presence would reassure nervous Ontario and Québec voters that he is not the mouth-breathing, bible-thumping neanderthal that many continue to suspect he is.

From the Globe and Mail:

Forty million people worldwide are living with HIV-AIDS. The disease is crippling sub-Saharan Africa, and concern is emerging about epidemics in Russia, India and China. In Canada, one-third of all new HIV infections occur in aboriginal populations. Thousands of conference delegates are discussing profound issues of access to treatment. They rightly expected Mr. Harper, as political leader of the host country -- one of tremendous wealth and prestige -- to likewise participate or, at the very least, to welcome and wish them well.

Canadians are engaged in all the struggles of the world around them, not just the military ones. By playing against type, Mr. Harper could have lit up the room. Instead, he is being roundly roasted. "I think part of the problem is that he's ignorant about the issue," said Laurie Edmiston of the Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange. "Mr. Harper, you have made a mistake that puts you on the wrong side of history," said Mark Wainberg, conference co-chair and director of the McGill University AIDS Centre. "It's a lost opportunity to tell the world how Canada feels about this pandemic," said Stephen Lewis, United Nations special envoy for HIV-AIDS in Africa.

Where has Ian McShane been all my life?

He is 65 years old and yet I had never heard of him before Deadwood! Impossible, says I to myself, since I am well nigh omniscient when it comes to the particulars of popular culture.

He is the standout star of Deadwood, my new favourite TV series (thanks to the twin miracles of high speed internet and peer-to-peer file sharing), and apparently he has had a long and successful career in tv and motion pictures.

Consulting the NY Times entertainment database reveals these credits, and incredibly enough I have hardly seen any of them. Of the ones I have, I was too young to notice and he probably had only a couple of lines:

2006 Scoop Actor: Joe Strombel
2004 Nine Lives Actor: Larry
2003 Agent Cody Banks Actor: Brinkman
2003 Terror in Moscow Actor: Narrator
2002 Bollywood Queen Actor: Frank
2001 D.R.E.A.M. Team Actor
2000 Sexy Beast Actor: Teddy Bass
1995 Soul Survivors Actor
1992 Con Man Actor
1990 Columbo: Rest in Peace, Mrs. Columbo Actor
1990 Perry Mason: The Case of the Desperate Deception Actor: Andre Marchand
1990 Turgenev's Month in the Country Actor
1989 Blood Sport Actor
1989 In the Frame Actor
1989 War & Remembrance: The Final Chapter Actor
1989 Twice Shy Actor
1988 War & Remembrance Actor
1988 The Great Escape II: The Untold Story Actor
1987 High Tide Actor
1987 Grand Larceny Actor: Flanagan
1986 Rocket to the Moon Actor: Willy Wax
1986 The Murders in the Rue Morgue Actor
1985 Braker Actor: Alan Roswell
1985 Evergreen Actor: Paul Lerner
1985 Too Scared to Scream Actor: Hardwick
1984 Torchlight Actor: Sidney
1984 Ordeal by Innocence Actor: Philip Durrant
1983 Bare Essence: The Final Chapter Actor
1983 Grace Kelly Actor: Prince Rainier of Monaco
1983 Exposed Actor: Greg Miller
1982 The Letter Actor
1982 Marco Polo Actor: Ali Ben Yussouf
1980 Cheaper to Keep Her Actor: Dr. Alfred Sunshine
1979 The Great Riviera Bank Robbery Actor: The Brain
1979 Yesterday's Hero Actor: Rod Turner
1978 Harold Robbins' The Pirate Actor: Rashid
1977 Code Name: Diamond Head Actor
1977 Jesus of Nazareth Actor: Judas
1977 The 5th Musketeer Actor: Fourquet
1975 Freelance Actor
1974 Journey into Fear Actor: Banat
1974 Ransom Actor: Petrie
1973 The Last of Sheila Actor: Anthony
1972 Sitting Target Actor: Birdy Williams
1972 The Left Hand of Gemini Actor
1971 Villain Actor: Wolfe Lissner
1971 The Devil's Widow Actor: Tom Lynn
1970 Pussycat, Pussycat, I Love You Actor: Fred
1969 If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium Actor: Charlie
1969 Battle of Britain Actor: Sgt. Pilot Andy
1966 The Pleasure Girls Actor: Keith Dexter
1966 Gypsy Girl Actor: Relbin
1964 The Young and the Willing Actor
1962 Young and Willing Actor: Harry Brown

I recognise some titles, "Agent Cody Banks", "Sexy Beast", "Pussycat, Pussycat, I Love You", "If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium", "Battle of Britain", but it is the only last 3 mentioned that I have actually seen. And I don't remember him.

One of my colleagues said that he was "Lovejoy" in a British TV series, so the list above might well be incomplete.

I will look into it.


Are Canadian troops using depleted uranium munitions?

Because, if so, that would suck. I have a hard time understanding the benefits of using ammunition that not only pollutes the environment for, what, a half life of 5000 years or something, as well as poisoning the soldiers firing it, not to mention the surrounding populations that will suffer the resultant genetic defects (essentially) forever?

What is the benefit of DU munitions? Longer range? Greater penetration? Even if true, why would they use it? A fleeing teenager in his or her pajamas will be killed or maimed just as soundly by a good, old-fashioned chunk of lead.

This flippant use of environmentally hazardous materials reminds me all too much of the Great Satan's military/industrial decision to spray DDT (Agent Orange) over huge swathes of Vietnam, as well as bordering countries, in the whimsical expectation that denuding Vietnam's forests of their leaves would allow the Great Satan's aircraft the visibility necessary to ensure that the dominoes will stop falling.

Anyhoo, there is no point in "jumping the gun", so to speak, until I find out whether Canada is using them or not (I doubt it would be proudly broadcasted, if true). If there is no easily available answer on line, maybe I can lobby one of the local NDPers to ask about this during question period in the next parliamentary session.

I'm looking into it.


Interested in knowing what is going  on in Lebanon?

Really going on, militarily at least, minus all the political spin and associated bullshit? I recommend the War Nerd's most recent column- A Hezbollah Upon All of Thee!

The War Nerd is a very opinionated and annoying asshole. Luckily for us, he also has an interesting take on global conflicts, as well as a sense of humour (sort of).

From the article linked to above:

Hezbollah has great soldiers. That's one reason I can't help liking them. They're some of the most underrated soldiers on earth facing what I consider the most overrated military force on earth, the IDF. The Israelis have been coasting on their reputation for a long time, but way back in Gulf War I it was clear they made their record like a Don King fighter, padding their Win column against a bunch of bums. When I saw those pitiful Arab "soldiers" crawling toward US camera crews on their hands and knees to surrender, the first thing that went through my head was, "Whoa, so that's the kind of opponent the Israelis have been showboating against? Well Hell, my high school marching band could've beaten those Arab chickenshits!"

I'm not alone in that conclusion either. One of the top US commanders in GW I called the IDF "a bunch of arrogant pricks who wouldn't last ten minutes on a European battlefield." Well, that bit about a "European battlefield" is another sad case of our NATO obsession, but the point is, the IDF doesn't deserve its rep. It did once, back in 1948 and during Suez, when it was manned by double-tough survivors of the European Jews who were determined to show up the book-nerd stereotype by kicking ass from Haifa to Damascus. Those dudes were truly tough.

But we're talking demographics again, dude. Passage of time, plus difference in birthrate, means that by now the IDF has a thin, real thin, crust of Ashkenazi brains'n'brawn on top and a bunch of flabby mama's boys under them. See, those whitleather-tough survivors wasted their genes on the whole socialist kibbutz commune experiment, had a kid or two, or none. Their kids are old now. Meanwhile, Israel admitted every loser from Russia or Ukraine or Yemen who could claim a grandpa who liked carp or a grandma who carried the overprotective gene or whatever, anything that could make them look Jewish. Half of them were just lying to get out of their native Hellholes, and none of them were willing to die for Israel the way that kick-ass first generation was.