Friday, January 15, 2010

Haiti is a Mess

A woman ran from the sound of gunshots near Port-au-Prince’s port as a body burned in the street nearby. (Julie Platner for the Wall Street Journal)

Visiting the Big House

Who is he? That's Andy Stern.

Andy who?

Andy Stern holds the distinction of being the most frequent visitor to the White House in 2009, 22 visits by last July alone, and on seven of those occasions, meeting President Obama.

Stern is head of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which gave $61 million to the Obama campaign in 2008. Also on the visitors list were the names Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers, but the White House insisted these were namesakes to the ones made infamous by the press during the campaign.

Distant Erotica

Peter Robinson's eye was hurting, so the doctor takes a look and says: "Something's been stuck in your iris!"

In a faraway land to the east, another earthquake has struck! This time, the tremors shook not just Northern Ireland, but also the Big Barrel of Poor-Taste Metaphors which I was scraping out.

Northern Ireland's First Minister, a prime minister of sorts, was until this week the dour-faced Peter Robinson, whose single-minded ascent of the political greasy pole was matched only by his equally-unpleasant wife, Iris. No, no, no! NOT "Irish" Robinson, her name is Iris. They may live in East Belfast in Northern IRELAND but note carefully, they are not Irish, but British.

OK, to the meat of the stew (no, not an Irish stew!): Peter Robinson, seen above with the AK-47 (the composite image is made from genuine original photos, including the famous one of Peter-with-a-big-gun which he'd rather you did not see) made it all the way from loyalist thug to First Minister, but has temporarily stood down from his job because of the wife.

The Wife: Mrs. Robinson (for yes, that is her name), aged 60, had an affair with a 19-year-old son of a butcher called Kirk McCambley. Adulterous encounters took place at a watering hole called the Lock Keeper's Inn, where McCambley was a chef.

Not only, but Mrs. Robinson seems to have stolen 50,000 pounds of public funds for her young paramour... and then asked him for 5,000 of it for herself. I will now let the good people of Northern Ireland speak (and sing!) on the matter:

Kirk McCambley has publicly thank his late father the butcher: "My da taught me how to palm off mutton and pretend it was spring lamb. He also showed me how to bone, stuff, roll and stitch up an old bird!"

The Department of Health has closed McCambley's butcher shop - they suspect it was the source of an outbreak of mad cow disease!

Do you fancy lunch tomorrow at The Lock Keepers Inn? I hear the young chef does a great orange tart.

There's more. Both Peter and Iris are members of the Democratic Unionist Party, which is associated with the Free Presbyterian Church. Accordingly, Robinson describes herself as a born again Christian, and has publicly stated that "the government has the responsibility to uphold God's laws"; her expressed views on homosexuality caused controversy in 2008: the same week as a gay man was badly beaten in Northern Ireland, Iris said that:
homosexuality was an "abomination" and it made her feel "sick" and "nauseous", and offered to refer homosexuals to a psychiatrist she knew. In a subsequent interview, Robinson defended her views and denied prejudice against LGBT people, saying that "just as a murderer can be redeemed by the blood of Christ, so can a homosexual.... If anyone takes issue, they're taking issue with the word of God."
Some people have said that it's wrong to join this massive opportunity to participate in Schadenfreude, and have counciled sympathy for the Robinsons.

While I can see this point of view, and while I appreciate that Mrs. Robinson allegedly tried to commit suicide when the news broke (that is, when she was found out, not when she felt guilty), her words and actions speak for themselves. It should also be noted that when asked if he knew about the money his wife gave to her lover, Peter said he knew:
absolutely no information about that, nor of any of the other financial arrangements, which is hardly surprising – if somebody is hiding an affair from you, it’s probably not a surprise they are hiding the other arrangements relating to that affair.
Note the ruthless political brain at work: he makes a sly pitch for your sympathy with words that also build up his claim of innocence: "if somebody is hiding an affair from you, it’s probably not a surprise they are hiding the other arrangements relating to that affair."

Or in other words, "even my wife is expendable."

UPDATE: there's more!

"Kirk has been arrested and charged with having an offensive person on his weapon."

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

It Seems 2010 Won't Be Much Better

Haiti in Ruins After Earthquake

An earthquake struck Haiti, yesterday. Thousands have died. How those poor people have suffered before this!

"The poor who define this nation squatted in the streets, some hurt and bloody, many more without food and water, close to piles of covered corpses and rubble" -- New York Times

Monday, January 11, 2010

Welcome To Aqualta

Aqualta is an imagined city, combining New York and Tokyo, after rising sea levels have caused extensive flooding. Times Square Lake, above.