Bikes v. the car-centric world

Ticketed for riding his bike not in the bike lane, one man fights back - hilariously: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzE-IMaegzQ

Beauty salon for children creates a stink

"A beauty parlour has become the first in Britain to offer makeovers, fake tans and facials exclusively for children and toddlers, it has emerged," says everybody's favourite Conservative broadsheet The Daily Telegraph before going to list the services available at the salon, Trendy Monkeys of Brentwood, including "fruit smoothie facials, mini pedicures, manicures or make-up application, hair “up-dos” and haircuts." And all this in the same week as the Government's new proposals to combat the sexualisation of children! Keen eyes will note that brazilians and vajazzles do not appear.

Trendy Monkeys. Doesn't look all that sexual, does it? Unless monkeys in tutus do it for you. They probably do for some people, but we'd prefer not to Google anything like that just in case we see images.

Apparently, girls as young as one year old can be treated to ""Princess pamper parties", which costs several hundred pounds" which begin with them and up to five friends being "picked up in a pink limousine" and taken to the salon, where doting parents "can pay for extra services including spray tans while having a photographer follow them around."

Professor Judy Hutchings of the Centre for Evidence Based Early Intervention told the paper that the salon represents "not just the sexualisation but the commercialisation of children." We dislike the sexualisation of children as much as any other normal adult, but the commercialisation bit is stretching things a bit far. The same could be said about The Beano, Ladybird books, Dinky cars and all the other kiddies' products that were with us in that delightful bit of the 1950s with the rosy glow around it, when children were innocent creatures of joy and light and went around with scabby knees saying "brilliant!" and drinking lashings and lashings of ginger beer. Precisely the same thing is going on in the half-timbered cottages of the Black Forest where Geppetto hand carves toys for sale to tourists, in the Tridias shops that were so beloved among the upper middle classes for their traditional toys and lack of the latest kill-em-up videogames, and everywhere else that toys or anything else marketed at and for children has ever been sold.

Tellingly, the Toryrag points out early on in the story that the salon, which opened last weekend, "is located in an area featured in the ITV reality television show The Only Way Is Essex." Two members of the cast were in fact at the opening of the salon, as revealed by The Daily Mail which, predictably, takes a similar line to the broadsheet and has a picture of the celebs in question in Marbella ("Marbella? How vulgar!"). Which rather begs the question: what do we have here? A story which raises legitimate concerns over the way children are being raised in modern society or an opportunity for the newspaper's readers to enjoy a spot of "haw haw, look how tasteless the working classes like the ones in that dreadful programme (which none of us watched, of course, because we're much too highbrow) are, aren't we so much better than them?"-style upper middle class snobbish solidarity over their breakfast coffee this morning?


Israel shoots Golan Heights protestors 2

As suspected, further information to have come to light following the incident in which an uncertain number of "unarmed" Syrian protestors were shot dead by the IDF after rushing the border fence in the Golan Heights prove that all those who preferred to grab an opportunity to attack Israel apparently have an agenda of their own - or at the very least, need to learn to wait for the facts rather than make themselves look stupid with kneejerk reactions - it seems the "unarmed" protestors were in fact armed with molotov cocktails which they threw at the soldiers, setting off landmines in the area. It also transpires that, just as many of those who attacked Israel said they should have done, the IDF did in fact fire tear gas and stun grenades in an effort to contain the protestors using non-lethal techniques before firing warning shots and, eventually, aiming at human beings.

Once again, people - remember it's always best to wait for more information before reacting.


Israel shoots Golan Heights protestors

Israel faces yet more international criticism after IDF soldiers opened fire on protestors as they attempted to breach the border fence with the Golan Heights. Tragically, on of those shot dead was a 12-year-old boy - may Allah have mercy upon him. The total number of people killed varies according to which report one chooses to read, with the BBC stating 4 and Yahoo News, who have decided to go with the figure reported by that highly respected, impartial and utterly free of governmental control source Syrian state television claiming 23. Another 325 were injured during the incident during which a large number of people, despite repeated warnings to stay back, rushed towards the fence.

Cue condemnation across the internet and the usual reader comments comparing Israelis to the Nazis - "Israelis (not all Jews), and Nazis, do you spot the difference?" says Mr. Unemployed in the comments section of Yahoo's report, a comment which is actually rather atypical since the writer at least has the ability to recognise that "Israelis" and "all Jews" are not the same thing.

Imagine that this angry crowd has made it clear that they wish to destroy you. Suddenly, they all rush towards you. Are you willing to assume they're all unarmed or would you prefer not to take that risk?

I've got a bit of a hangover this morning, but even so the difference is glaring and easy to spot. The Nazis attempted the wholesale extermination of several ethnic minorities, along with homosexuals, the mentally ill and those who held political beliefs other than Nazi fascism. Israel did precisely what any other nation would do when faced with a group consisting of several hundred people attempting to illegally cross its border.

In fact, since most of Israel's neighbours have made it quite clear that their primary aim in the complete and final destruction of both Israel and the Jewish people and have been the source of various suicide bombings, terrorist attacks and rockets aimed at Israeli civilians, it could even be argued that in taking the time to warn the protestors before shooting, the IDF showed admirable restraint and determination to prevent the loss of civilian lives (something the Arabic governments and military of the surrounding nations aren't especially well known for doing). That the protestors were unarmed counts for nothing - when several hundred people, who you know want to destroy you, suddenly decide to rush at you, you really don't have the option to assume none of them have weapons or bombs concealed about themselves.

What would have happened had this have taken place not in Israel but in any other nation in the world? Google "US border patrol kills Mexicans" for the answer. One of the stories you'll find is that of Anastasio Hernández Rojas, a 42 year old husband and father of five, who was shot with a Taser before being brutally beaten to death whilst in the custody of the US Border Patrol. Had you ever heard of him before? Nope. Nor had we. Wonder why the USA wasn't accused of war crimes and compared to the Nazis afterwards? Or after 15-year-old Sergio Adrian Hernandez Huereka, shot and killed after he and a group of other teens threw rocks at Border Patrol officials, rather as Palestinians sometimes throw rocks at Israeli soldiers, confident that the world will accuse Israel of brutality if they defend themselves.

Yet another case of Israel being subjected to double standards by those who seek to delegitimise the country, her right to exist and everything she does in her attempts to protect her citizens. Who, let us not forget, are made up of Jews, Muslims, Christians and assorted followers of other faiths, each and every one of them permitted under Israeli law to practice their religion freely in a complete contrast to the Arabic states where anyone following anything other than the state-approved branch of Islam can expect to be suppressed.