A quick mishmash

OK – because of the impending Liverpool versus Chelsea game, together with a daughter that really didn’t want to go to sleep this evening, I’m left with approximately 8 minutes to blog.

Part One: Two bands pull out of Coke Zero Fest.

Bullet for my Valentine and The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, two of the headline acts for the Coca-Cola Zero Fest 2009, have pulled out at the last minute. Studio commitments to complete their new studio album and personnel changes were given as reasons for the late cancellations.

Two days notice. Utterly disgusting. Don’t bother coming back – I wasn’t looking forward to hearing your hits… erm… whatever those hits were. I can’t even be arsed to google.
If I’m honest, I was going to use your sets to queue for a burger with everyone else who was using your sets to queue for a burger.
Oh – but also thank you, because, in order to fulfill their promise of 12 hours of music on Easter Monday, the organisers have organised the real professional bands who everyone was wanting to see (Panic! at the Disco, Snow Patrol and Oasis) to deliver “extended performances”. Get in.

Part Two: Quota photo, as supplied from here, via here.


Alan Aubry – Down Memory Lane

The set features self protraits of Alan at various places (mainly) in and around Cape Town.
Very unusual and very cool. And somehow the remote cable only adds to it.

The one above is my favourite and only works because the horizon meets the frame at exactly halfway.

“Zuma Free”

… with every R100 spent.

Not really, obviously. That would just be silly.

But an air of despondency and self-pity has settled over many of the more dramatic South Africans on the internet this morning. That’s because of this headline in today’s Sunday Times.

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JZ: Free

Unsurprisingly, I have a few remarks to make on this.
Firstly, that this has been coming for an awful long time. These people should really have got used to it by now. So quite where the shock and the outrage has come from, I’m not sure. Presumably, they’ve been living in a tent in the Karoo for the past 6 months. “Welcome back”, I guess.
Secondly, this is a report in the Sunday Times. Now, I know that it’s a bit of a pain, but I prefer to wait until the following week before passing comment on Sunday Times‘  stories. That’s just to give the editor time to print a retraction and an apology, together with the worthless assurance that it won’t happen again. Why weren’t they up in arms last week when iol.co.za reported: “Zuma Charges to be Dropped“?
Thirdly, the official NPA announcement (for what it’s worth) is due tomorrow at 10:30. If you want real pity, then Monday morning is always a good time to get it. Everyone’s in a bit of a sombre mood anyway and ready to join in a nice session of mutual commiseration.

It’s Monday and our President-in-waiting isn’t being charged with corruption. And it’s raining. And petrol went up last week. And the dog’s ill. And we lost the cricket. And Spar only had green bananas. And…

Finally, despite all these people wanting Zuma “to have his day in court”, they have already reached their verdict long ago. I mean, obviously, he’s guilty, isn’t he? Isn’t he? Why else would he be fighting at every possible stage to stop the case going to court? Proof of guilt, isn’t it?
Well, put yourself in JZ’s position for a moment. Let’s just suppose that you or I were charged with fraud or corruption or money-laundering or racketeering for a moment. Or even all four. And let’s say, just for the sake of this example, that you were innocent of those crimes. I don’t know about you, but I would be doing everything possible to get those charges against me dropped as soon as possible. I’d be taking every legal step I could. Wouldn’t you? Of course you would, particularly if you felt the system was primed to work against you.

With the NPA announcement tomorrow that they’re going to drop the charges (as we’re expecting), this matter could be finished. Nothing more to be said or done. Of course, unsatisfactory for some, yes. But you’re never going to please all of the people, all of the time. The justice system has not been raped, although many would like you to believe it has. But then, many of those people still believe that JZ is guilty of rape, despite his acquittal three years ago. So what is their word worth, anyway?

There was never going to be an easy way out of this mess. But if South Africa is ever going to move forward, there had to be some route taken. Much like petulant football players chasing the referee after a dodgy offside decision, moaning about it is futile. There will be no change of mind, no disallowed goal; you are merely prolonging the story for no real reason, save the detriment of the country – which helps no-one.  

Time to move on, SA.

Look out Zuma!

OK, so he may have other things on his mind today, but Jacob Zuma must also now face the fact that ex-pats are going to be voting in the April 22nd election, as predicted in 6000 miles… January 27th post.

Following court applications by opposition parties (namely the DA and the VF+), the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) backed down on its initial refusal to allow ex-pat voting and – as long as interested people overseas registered their interest by the end of March – allowed them to vote.

Well, the numbers are out and Jacob Zuma and the ANC must be quaking in their boots. A total of 16,300 people are now registered to vote overseas. Assuming a reasonable turnout on the day of say, 50%, that’s about 8,000 votes shared mainly (presumably, anyway) between the DA and VF+. Scary numbers, indeed.

Yes, yes. I recognise that this was an exercise in exercising one’s rights, but honestly, what an utterly pathetic waste of time and money: like the political version of Earth Hour.
I am completely unsurprised that the parties involved have failed to mention the numbers, because frankly, they’re embarrassing. Compare and contrast their response with their spin about “standing up for voters’ constitutional rights” and the fanfare when they won the court ruling over the IEC. You can’t spin figures this poor.

I’m putting this one down as an own goal of note.

Fighting ire with fire

From here, via here.

With the G20 protests taking place in London today, Guido takes us back to previous occasions when demonstrators have bitten off more than they could chew:

WHEN 35 Greenpeace protesters stormed the International Petroleum Exchange (IPE) yesterday they had planned the operation in great detail. What they were not prepared for was the post-prandial aggression of oil traders who kicked and punched them back on to the pavement. “We bit off more than we could chew. They were just Cockney barrow boy spivs. Total thugs,” one protester said, rubbing his bruised skull. “I’ve never seen anyone less amenable to listening to our point of view.”

Another said: “I took on a Texan Swat team at Esso last year and they were angels compared with this lot.” Behind him, on the balcony of the pub opposite the IPE, a bleary-eyed trader, pint in hand, yelled: “Sod off, Swampy.”

Protesters conceded that mounting the operation after lunch may not have been the best plan. “The violence was instant,” Jon Beresford, 39, an electrical engineer from Nottingham, said. They were set upon by traders, most of whom were under the age of 25. “They were kicking and punching men and women indiscriminately,” a photographer said. “It was really ugly, but Greenpeace did not fight back.”

Mr Beresford said: “They followed the guys into the lobby and kept kicking and punching them there. They literally kicked them on to the pavement.” Last night Greenpeace said two protesters were in hospital, one with a suspected broken jaw, the other with concussion.

Classic moments. And I can quite see where those oil traders were coming from. Since my dismissal of all things Earth Hour on here and elsewhere on the web, I have had bunnyhuggers, lefties and bunnyhugging lefties chastising me at every opportunity. Not very pleasant and not very conducive to debate on the subjects at hand. And damn annoying, if I’m honest.

If Earth Hour was so very important, then why don’t they try it every night? Or would that make them miss Desperate Housewives and “Grey’s” (as it has annoyingly become known)?
All about priorities, I guess. Like the hypocrisy of those “eco-warriors” giving their desperately ill child drugs which had been tested on animals. Or the Noordhoek residents who drive 120km round trip to work each day, but consider themselves “green”, because “they do their bit for the environment”.
Oh yes. They certainly do. Probably not in the way they imagine though.

What the whiners about Earth Hour don’t seem to realise (aside from the fact that it made almost completely no difference to South Africa’s energy consumption) is that not everyone chooses to share their point of view. I didn’t go out of my way to waste electricity for 60 minutes. That would have been unnecessarily antagonistic, expensive and equally pointless. I just sat there and watched a bit of Top Gear, while eating a spicy lamb pizza. Apathetic, you might call it. Conscientious objectionism, I might argue.

But even my expressing my viewpoint is apparently not allowed anymore and the vitriol and bile has been free-flowing from the greenies.
Well, sod them. Their continuing insistance that Earth Hour made any sort of difference (especially here) and their ongoing nastiness towards non-participants invite ridicule. If you have more to say, you’re welcome: the comments window is just below.

Bring it, Swampy.  

The Daily Mail quandary

I remember being in the UK. Downing a coffee and heading out into the rain to work. Popping into the hospital newsagents in the morning and buying the paper.
I generally stuck with The Times or The Telegraph. If it was Monday, I might get The Sun for the football news. I wouldn’t touch the Daily Mail, because I didn’t want to read alarmist nonsense about house prices or the latest idiotic health-fad idea, e.g.:

How 40 winks in the afternoon can raise your risk of diabetes.
Daily Mail, 9 March

Diabetes risk ‘soars with lack of sleep’.
Daily Mail, 12 March

Quite. But now, in a sinister turn, it seems that the Daily Mail has run out of bad things to say about Britain and Britons (amazing!) and has turned it’s attention overseas. Peter Hitchens’ piece is arguably the most damning, one-sided, ignorant, pessimistic, alarmist thing I’ve ever read about this country. It’s not the most racist, obviously, because some people have the courage and honesty to at least speak openly about their views, however repugnant those views may be.

I sighed when I got to the standard disclaimer a few lines in:

I can promise you I will be accused of alarmism and pessimism for saying so, and quite possibly of ‘racism’ too.

How many times have I read that? It’s put in there because the piece is alarmist, pessimistic and ‘racist’. And when you point that out, the author can say, “Well, I knew you’d accuse me of that”. Of course, it doesn’t make those accusations any less valid.

The article is also inaccurate on many points. The “African Chernobyl” comment made me laugh – I’m about 12 miles away from Koeberg nuclear power station at the moment and I’m really not scared at all. In fact, I don’t know anyone who is, so where did he get that soundbite? 
The power blackouts indicating “a country on the slide” are long gone, as the nation pulled together to use electricity less wastefully.
The upcoming election is being overseen by the strong arm of the IEC together with international observers – it is not “crooked”.
His comments that we do not hear about crime or HIV or corruption is completely laughable. Would that we could hear about something else for a change.
And finally – that machine gun song – only the most desperate of propagandists have ever been foolish enough to take it literally.

And then on Zuma: jibes about his weight and his “charisma of an ashtray”. This from a man who has Gordon Brown as his Prime Minister.
Hitchens points out that Zuma is a polygamist as if this is unexpected and wrong. Well, yes he is. And in the Zulu culture that’s completely normal. Many from that tribe would probably look at Barack Obama and Gordon Brown and wonder why they only have one partner. This isn’t America or Britain – so why should Zuma conform to your Western norms?
And then the fawning support for (white and Western) “popular and effective mayor of Cape Town and leader of the Democratic Alliance” Helen Zille. I had to read twice and then check I wasn’t reading a DA election ad.

I caught up with her at Stellenbosch University, where she was speaking to an almost wholly white student audience, switching easily from English to Afrikaans. Unlike Zuma, she is a witty, fluent orator. She does not break into song, and critics joke that if she did it would be ‘Bring me my cappuccino’ rather than ‘Bring me my machine gun’.
Her aides, however, point out that she also speaks fluent Xhosa, Nelson Mandela’s language, and that many of her meetings are full of black and brown faces. 

 [Her] diagnosis is impressive, cool and clear. [Her] cure: a real law-governed democracy, is attractive.

Once again – the naïve assumption that Western government is the cure-all South Africa requires. But of course, It won’t happen.

She knows the Alliance must break out of being nothing more than a white liberal party. But alas she is a white liberal, albeit a very impressive one.

Indeed. If only those silly black people would understand that the DA doesn’t stand for “Darkies Aside”. But no – they insist on voting for parties that they choose, instead of the ones that Hitchens would prefer to govern the country. How very trying.

Altogether the worst bit of journalism that I have ever seen. But, of course, there will be those who believe every word, like the Daily Mail readership. And then they’ll tell their friends Roger and Helen over a pineapple juice at the Black Dog on Friday evening, wonder if JZ killed Princess Di and then all worry about how it will affect their house prices. Sad, but true.

So why this “quandary”, then? Surely one just avoids the Daily Mail and its obnoxiously snobbish racist viewpoints?

But no, because the editors (who swore they would never again use paparazzi pictures after that 1997 Paris tunnel incident) drag you in with their loss leader: Kelly Brook in a bikini in the Caribbean.


Kelly – Hello!

It’s unfair, but it’s brilliant marketing. And while I hate to admit it, it’s working on me. I just wish I didn’t have to put up with misleading, racist crap to be able to see skimpily dressed ex-Breakfast TV presenters frolicking in the sea.