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27 October 2010

UK's BA chief says boo to US flight security rules

Here are two viewpoints on the same story, one from The New York Times and one from The Guardian (UK).
The Guardian :

Britain should stop "kowtowing" to US demands over airport security, the chairman of British Airways, Martin Broughton, has said, adding that American airports did not implement some checks on their own internal flights.

The NYT :
The United States is making excessive demands for airline passenger screening, including measures it doesn't require on U.S. domestic flights, the chairman of British Airways says.
I read the NYT, WaPo, The Grauniad (British joke) and the BBC news website every day. Most of the stories are just copies of each other. It's interesting to me that in this case, the two stories are not copies at all, and have a subtly different tone and emphasis. Also, the Guardian's story is illustrated with a garish colour photo of the chairman looking stern and exasperated.

07 August 2010

This evil policy, these craven people...

I am so appalled at this latest turn in the saga of Great Britain's immigration policies that I can hardly find the words. You would think after the even worse incidents in France (picture above from a notorious video of French police beating women and children during a protest by immigrants there) that the UK would be keen to be seen as more humane in their treatment of "failed asylum seekers".
I have visions of the scene toward the end of my favourite movie, Lawrence of Arabia, where a British doctor comes upon a marketplace full of dead and dying Turkish soldiers and no one doing anything to help them, and he keeps shouting "Outrageous" in an impotent fury. That's how I feel about most immigration stories I read, but this one really is outrageous, not for naked aggression, as in France, but for an utter failure to do the right thing, for pandering to racist tabloid media, for treating and thinking of asylum seekers and economic migrants as less than human.
After campaigning on the "moral outrage" of children of asylum seekers being kept virtually imprisoned, the LDs as part of the coalition government have helped to hatch this cynical flash-deportation scheme, trying to circumvent both human rights rules and liberal public opinion.

The briefing paper also shows that the border agency is worried that ending the use of detention could give families facing deportation more chance to launch community protest campaigns backed by the media and MPs. It says more police may need to be involved in deportations because "significant public order problems" could follow removals. "The alternative is not to inform the family of the exact time and date of removal, so that they are not prepared. However, this has its own difficulties, which would need analysing and addressing." The document says it is undecided whether a specific time and date should be given, or a longer period of a couple of days.

14 July 2010

RIP Harvey Pekar

In These Times and the NYT cover the death of Harvey Pekar. I loved this film, American Splendor. My British husband "didn't get it." But that happens a lot with him and not just American stuff either.

18 June 2010

In loving memory, Shephard H. Patton, Sr.

My sister Cindy lost her husband of 31 years to cancer on Monday. I was blessed to be able to spend a few hours with them in his last week of life, and painful as it was, to say good-bye. The obituary in the Biloxi-Gulfport Sun Herald gives a hint at what an exceptional man he was.

16 June 2010

A long time coming, but an astonishing result

Bloody Sunday.
If you had told me in the early 1970s that there would ever come a day when any government, least of all the government of the UK, would issue such an honest and devastating assessment of its own actions, I would not have believed it.
Of course, there are those who see it as a step too far in laying blame, particularly when a commanding officer is singled out for blame, while individual soldiers who shot and killed have their identities protected, and those higher up the chain are mostly let off the hook.
Families of the victims have had, for the most part, no appetite for revenge now that the innocence of their loved ones is established. One survivor says "Jail isn't something I can see happening. That wouldn't, in any way, bother me, I have no great desire to see a 60-year-old man go to jail."

18 April 2010

Book Blogging at my other blog

I have reviewed a few books over on Deborama's Book Reviews and Store :E. L. Doctorow's The March, John le Carre's A Most Wanted Man and Dana Spiotta's Eat the Document. Check it out.

27 January 2010

We could call it the Mickey Mouse amendment

Following the SCOTUS decision that corporations have "free speech" rights, Facebook has a got a fan page advocating a Constitutional Amendment to assert that human rights only apply to individual humans. If you think that's over-reacting, or if you tend to be swayed by the fuzzy logic of bone-headed so-called Libertarians on this issue, read the article called Inhuman Rights from McSweeney's Internet Tendency. It is a brilliant example of the argument "ad absurdem", right up there with Swift's Modest Proposal.

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