Monday, January 23, 2023

Blogging Leave

MARK ALEXANDER: I have been blogging constantly and consistently for a very long time now. As a result, I need some R&R; I am feeling exhausted.

For this reason, I have decided to take a break from blogging for a little while. I need to re-charge the batteries. I therefore ask for your understanding. I shall be back with you as soon as possible. But a little rest will be good for me at this time.

For all the support you have given me thus far, I thank you all kindly. Naturally, all the content of the blog, going back about 21 years, will remain at your disposal.

I thank you for your understanding; and, naturally, for your continued loyalty.

Best wishes to all
Mark Alexander

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Prinz Harrys Rachezug: "Durch das Buch ist Versöhnung mit der Royal-Family in weite Ferne gerückt"

Jan 7, 2023 | Gewalt, Rivalität, Verrat: In seinen Memoiren hat Prinz Harry, 38, Einblicke in das Leben und die Auseinandersetzungen der britischen Royals gegeben, wie sie bislang undenkbar waren. Mit einer seiner Enthüllungen riskiere der Prinz womöglich sein Leben, mutmaßen Beobachter.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Peter Hitchens on Trade Unions, Tony Blair and the End of the Monarchy | Downstream

Premiered Jan 15, 2023 | This week’s guest is an iconoclast, although he may not be comfortable being labelled that way given his devotion to christianity. Among his colleagues on the right, he stands out as someone who is genuinely thoughtful and perhaps as one of the few who could be described as a genuine conservative. Aaron meets Peter Hitchens to discuss abortion, the Soviet Union, and how to make a good cup of tea.

Truth To Power: Brexit - The UK Media Could Learn from France 24

Voici le programme original en français dans son intégralité.

Sajid Javid Calls for Patients to Pay for GP and A&E Visits

THE GUARDIAN: Radical reforms needed to tackle waiting times, says former health secretary

Sajid Javid cited schemes in Ireland, Norway and Sweden as possible charging models. Photograph: Peter Nicholls/Reuters

Patients should be charged for GP appointments and A&E visits, Sajid Javid has said, as he called the present model of the NHS “unsustainable”.

The former health secretary said “extending the contributory principle” should be part of radical reforms to tackle growing waiting times.

In an opinion piece for the Times, he called for a “grown-up, hard-headed conversation” about revamping the health service, noting that “too often the appreciation for the NHS has become a religious fervour and a barrier to reform”.

The prime minister, Rishi Sunak, is not “currently” considering the proposals, Downing Street told the newspaper. » | PA Media | Friday, January 20, 2023

It should be crystal clear to one and all by now that the Conservatives are in the process of dismantling the National Health Service. They will achieve their goals by stealth, dismantling the service one step at a time. First, they will ask patients to pay for GP appointments and A&E. In a short while, they will be demanding that patients make partial payments for operations and hospital stays. Then later, it will be full payments, and so on. This government is shameless. Give all to the 1% and take all from the 99%. What a shower! What a shameless shower! Be sure: The NHS is NOT safe in the hands of the Tories.

If savings need to be made on the NHS, there are plenty of ways that savings could be made. To start with, there are far too many highly-paid management staff. That was caused by Thatcher and her misguided ideas of making a business out of everything.

We need a change of government. This administration is stale. It is bereft of any good ideas. It is also too ideological. Kick the Tories out as soon as possible. – © Mark Alexander

Michael Lambert: Worst UK Government Ever? (After Truss and Johnson)

Jan 21, 2023 | The UK government of Rishi Sunak is incompetent presiding over chaos and collapse. This week the Home Secretary, Suella Braverman confirmed when challenged by a holocaust survivor that she stood by her description of asylum seekers as being an 'invasion'. Sunak responded to six questions from Keir Starmer at PMQ's about ambulance waiting times by criticising the Opposition for not backing his anti-strike legislation. The Chairman of the Conservative Party and former Chancellor of the Exchequer is believed to have settled with HMRC several millions in unpaid taxes.

There is widespread evidence of fraud and corruption and incompetence at the highest levels of government. Whilst we are experiencing a massive cost of living crisis and the economy is collapsing Sunak confirms his main priority is to stop asylum seekers crossing the Channel in small boats.

Friday, January 20, 2023

BBC Journalist Has Hilarious Response to Harry Book

Jan 7, 2023

Michael Jackson : I Just Can't Stop Loving You | Official Video

Sep 2, 2011 | Views on YouTube: 5,394,242

Democracy Now! Jeremy Corbyn on Freeing Julian Assange, the Working Class, Brazil, Peru & Ending Ukraine War

Jan 20, 2023 | In Washington, D.C., human rights and free speech advocates gather today for the Belmarsh Tribunal, focused on the imprisonment of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Assange has been languishing for close to four years in the harsh Belmarsh prison in London while appealing extradition to the United States on espionage charges. If convicted, Assange could face up to 175 years in jail for publishing documents that exposed war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Five major news organizations that once partnered with WikiLeaks recently called on the Biden administration to drop charges against Assange. We speak to British MP and former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is in Washington, D.C., to participate in the Belmarsh Tribunal, about Assange and freedom of the press. We also cover the state of leftism around the globe, from labor rights in the U.K. and Europe to the war in Ukraine, to political unrest in Brazil and Peru.

Democracy Now! Top US News & World Headlines — January 20, 2023

What’s It Like to Be Gay and a Priest? I Feel Like a Second-class Citizen in the Church of England

THE GUARDIAN – OPINION: The church made me answer prurient questions in order to be ordained – and if I were to enter a civil marriage, I’d essentially be sacked

Charlie Bell (right) and his partner. ‘Piotr and I won’t be getting married any time soon. The Church of England doesn’t want us to just yet.’ Photograph: Charlie Bell

In many ways, my partner and I are quite boring and conventional. We may have met through a dating app – very 21st century – but otherwise there’s been nothing particularly scandalous or unusual about how we do things. Quite frankly, most people wouldn’t bat an eyelid.

Except, of course, for the fact that I’m a priest in the Church of England – and that’s where the problems begin. For while the rest of the country seems able to see the clear and unambiguous good that springs from same-sex relationships, the church continues to drag its heels. For years, in fact, it has told us that there’s nothing good at all about our love for one another – that it’s something to be shunned, embarrassed about, even erased. Our love is, ultimately, a problem.

The poverty of such a view has become increasingly obvious to those within the church and without, but the bishops of the C of E have resolutely refused to say anything at all for years. They - including those bishops who are secretly gay – have been cowed into silence by threats from those who oppose same-sex marriage. A few years ago, in 2017, they finally said something – recognising that the church’s record had hardly been positive towards LGBTQ people but coupled with a firm refusal to do anything about it. And the clergy of the C of E told them to get stuffed. » | Charlie Bell * | Friday, January 20, 2023

* Charlie Bell is an Anglican priest in the diocese of Southwark and a Fellow at Girton College, Cambridge


Archbishop will not give new prayer blessing for gay couples: The Archbishop of Canterbury will not use proposed new prayers to bless same-sex couples. »

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Democracy Now! Top US News & World Headlines — January 19, 2023

Jacinda Ardern Resigns as Prime Minister of New Zealand

THE GUARDIAN: Labour leader to stand down no later than 7 February, saying she ‘no longer had enough in the tank’ to do the job

New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, has said she is resigning, in an unexpected announcement that came as she confirmed a national election for October.

At the party’s first caucus meeting of the year on Thursday, Ardern said she “no longer had enough in the tank” to do the job. “It’s time,” she added.

“I’m leaving, because with such a privileged role comes responsibility – the responsibility to know when you are the right person to lead and also when you are not. I know what this job takes. And I know that I no longer have enough in the tank to do it justice. It’s that simple,” she said.

Her term as prime minister will conclude no later than 7 February but she will continue as an MP until the election this year. With video » | Tess McClure in Auckland | Thursday, January 19, 2023

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

British Tits

The Incredible Shrinking Man: Rishi Sunak’s Gut Reaction Is Always Wrong

THE GUARDIAN: The prime minister has chosen to pick a fight with the nurses – a battle he’s never going to win

Week after week, Sunak gets dismantled by Keir Starmer. Photograph: House of Commons/PA

Rishi Sunak is the incredible shrinking man. The more you see of him, the less there appears to be. When he became prime minister, he had the appearance of a moderately successful – if rather over-eager – tech bro, brought in to save the Conservative party from itself. But that was a chimera. Because Rish! isn’t even that successful. He’s a politician with the fatal flaw of not being very good at politics. A man unable to convince others that he inhabits their world. Now he’s just a ball of need. Desperate to be liked, but unable to make an emotional connection with voters.

To be fair, Sunak has the odds stacked against him. It’s not entirely his fault the Tories voted for Liz Truss rather than him. Though imagine how useless the Conservative membership must think him to be if they went full on Trussterfuck. It’s not his fault that Putin invaded Ukraine. But he has to take the blame for the Tories’ record of 13 years in government when it’s hard to think of anything that works better now than it did in 2010.

And it’s a unique talent to make every bad situation worse. His gut reaction is almost always the wrong one. Take the strikes. Everyone knows the endgame. The unions and the government get around a table and agree a compromise. Everyone except Rish!. He has chosen to pick a fight with the nurses and paramedics. A battle he’s never going to win, because almost the entire country has already picked a side. And it’s not with the government. When nurses pay has been eroded over such a long period – some are using food banks to get by – and their union calls for strike action for the first time in its history, then a stand has to be taken. » | John Crace | Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Rishi Sunak is like an overgrown 6th former! In actual fact, he’s a tw*t (supply your vowel of choice), to boot. After the pandemic, knowing how important nurses and other medical staff were to us, nobody in his right mind would pick a fight with essential workers such as these. Especially when the prime minister is so liberal with funds for CEOs of energy companies, and their henchmen, refusing to tax them to the full extent. Are CEOs of energy companies more essential to the economy than nurses? I repeat: What a tw*t!

FFS, pay the nurses and other medical staff a decent living wage/salary! You, Sir, are a disgrace! Anybody who has any decency is on the side of the nurses. Decent people are NOT, and cannot be, on your side. Redistribute the wealth of the nation fairly and equitably. Stop favouring those who have robbed the nation blind! – © Mark Alexander

‘God Save the King’ Doesn’t Fall from Jamaican Lips So Easily. Soon We’ll Be a Republic

THE GUARDIAN: Barbados beat us to it, but this week our prime minister made throwing off the colonial yoke a top priority. It won’t be easy, but watch this space

King Charles and Jamaican prime minister Andrew Holness at Buckingham Palace, London, September 2022. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/AFP/Getty Images

Britain, take note. A post-Elizabethan era is taking shape here in Jamaica. And it looks like a republic. “The government will be moving with haste and alacrity towards transforming Jamaica into a republic,” said our prime minister, Andrew Holness, on Monday. “Please move ahead with speed,” he urged his minister of constitutional affairs. If there are obstacles, the government will do whatever it takes.

But then, the signs have long been there. Little or no notice was taken in Jamaica of the Queen’s jubilee last year. There was no bunting, no official party at King’s House. The main celebration was a big party celebrating a different jubilee – the 50th anniversary of The Harder They Come, the Jamaican feature film that introduced reggae and Rastafari culture to the world. But our most notable celebrations in 2022 honoured the year in which Jamaica also celebrated 60 years of independence from British colonial rule, with many activities, memorials and galas honouring that national history. » | Barbara Blake-Hannah | Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Post-Brexit Britain is beginning to look pretty sick, isn't it? Sick and feeble. – © Mark Alexander

Two Beautiful Gay Men; One Beautiful Expression of Gay Love

Zwei schöne schwule Männer; ein schöner Ausdruck homosexueller Liebe / Deux beaux hommes gays ; une belle expression de l'amour gay

With many thanks to Tumblr on Pinterest for this truly delightful photo.

Democracy Now! Top US News & World Headlines — January 18, 2023

Special Address by Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission | Davos 2023

Jan 17, 2023 | The World Economic Forum is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation. The Forum engages the foremost political, business, cultural and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. We believe that progress happens by bringing together people from all walks of life who have the drive and the influence to make positive change.

‘Tax Us Now’: Ultra-rich Call on Governments to Introduce Wealth Taxes

THE GUARDIAN: Disney heiress and actor Mark Ruffalo among ‘patriotic millionaires’ who addressed world’s elite at Davos

Abigail Disney was part of a group of 205 millionaires and billionaires from 13 countries to sign the letter. Photograph: Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

More than 200 members of the super-rich elite are calling on governments around the world to “tax us, the ultra rich, now” in order to help billions of people struggling with cost of living crisis.

The group of 205 millionaires and billionaires, including the Disney heiress Abigail Disney and The Hulk actor Mark Ruffalo, on Wednesday called on world leaders and business executives meeting in Davos for the World Economic Forum (WEF) to urgently introduce wealth taxes to help tackle “extreme inequality”.

“The current lack of action is gravely concerning. A meeting of the ‘global elite’ in Davos to discuss ’cooperation in a fragmented world’ is pointless if you aren’t challenging the root cause of division,” they said in an open letter published on Wednesday. “Defending democracy and building cooperation requires action to build fairer economies right now – it is not a problem that can be left for our children to fix.

“Now is the time to tackle extreme wealth; now is the time to tax the ultra rich.” » | Rupert Neate, Wealth correspondent | Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Church of England Bishops Refuse to Back Gay Marriage

THE GUARDIAN: Bishops resist change that would allow clergy to marry same-sex couples but propose civil marriages can be blessed in church

The Church of England has rejected demands to allow clergy to conduct same-sex marriages but is proposing that couples who married in a civil ceremony may have their union blessed in church.

The C of E released “historic plans” on Wednesday outlining a proposed way forward after decades of bitter and anguished division over sexuality. The proposal, endorsed by bishops this week, will be put to the C of E’s governing body, the General Synod, next month. » | Harriet Sherwood | Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Court Battle Looms as UK Ministers Block Scottish Gender Recognition Law

THE GUARDIAN: Nicola Sturgeon says her government will ‘vigorously defend’ legislation by seeking judicial review of decision

The UK and the Scottish governments appear set on a major court battle on constitutional powers after Westminster ministers formally blocked a law passed by Scotland’s parliament creating a self-identification system for people who want to change gender.

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, said the decision by Alister Jack, the Scottish secretary, would “inevitably end up in court”. Announcing the decision to the Commons, Jack also said he expected the issue to be decided this way.

Jack told MPs he was making the so-called section 35 order under the 1998 Scotland Act, which created the devolved parliament, which meant the gender recognition reform Scotland bill would not receive royal assent.

The Welsh first minister, Mark Drakeford, said the decision to use a section 35 order marked “a very dangerous moment”, adding: “I agree with the first minister of Scotland that this could be a very slippery slope indeed.” » | Peter Walker, Political correspondent | Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Conversion practices ban will include transgender people, Donelan confirms: Latest government U-turn on policy comes amid row over Scotland’s gender recognition bill »

London will Gender-Gesetz in Schottland verhindern: Transpersonen sollen in Schottland bald einfacher ihren Geschlechtseintrag ändern dürfen. Gegen das Gesetz hat die Regierung in London ein Veto eingelegt. Nun droht ein langer Rechtsstreit. »

Dimitra’s Dishes: Phyllo, Eggs, Cheese & Pasturma: A Delicious Breakfast Pita

Jan 17, 2023

Get the recipe here.

Der Bitcoin steigt über die 20 000-Dollar-Marke. Ist der Krypto-Winter damit schon wieder vorbei?

NEUE ZÜRCHER ZEITUNG: Die bekannteste Krypto-Währung Bitcoin hat am Wochenende bisweilen mehr als 21 000 Dollar gekostet. Anleger fragen sich nun, ob die Branche den Untergang der Krypto-Börse FTX bereits verdaut hat.

Der Kollaps von FTX letzten November kam einem Erdbeben in der Krypto-Welt gleich. Hinzu kamen die steil steigenden Zinsen. Diese beiden Faktoren führten dazu, dass die Kurse vieler Krypto-Währungen markant fielen. Allen voran der Bitcoin-Kurs. Der Wert der gemessen an der Marktkapitalisierung wertvollsten Digitalwährung brach seit letztem April von rund 46 000 Dollar auf 16 000 Dollar ein. Am Wochenende hat der Bitcoin die 20 000-Dollar-Marke aber wieder überschritten. » | Isabelle Wachter | Montag, 16. Januar 2023

Democracy Now! Top US News & World Headlines — January 17, 2023

Reputations: Coco Chanel | BBC Documentary

Mar 18, 2019 | This is a documentary about Chanel's life and legacy. @ 35:57, it includes an interview with Karl Lagerfeld about the first appearance of the Chanel suit.

Some sound clips are missing because YouTube automatically strips out copyrighted music/soundtracks and this also strips out narration.

This documentary goes into detail about how Chanel reinvented herself because of a simple misspelling of her name at a childhood convent.

Margaret Thatcher (1988): The Woman at Number 10

July 1988 | Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher agreed to speak to Richard Carleton just before she left 10 Downing Street for her visit to Australia in 1988. This exclusive interview was Mrs Thatcher's first appearance on 60 Minutes since her famous, 'Who says I'm pig-headed' clash with George Negus in 1981. | Producer: Gareth Harvey

Monday, January 16, 2023

Can There Be a More Beautiful Expression of Gay Love Than This? | Reupload

Peut-il y avoir une plus belle expression de l'amour gay que celle-ci ? / Kann es einen schöneren Ausdruck schwuler Liebe geben als diesen?

With many thanks to Alexsandre Portier on Pinterest for this very beautiful, meaningful and expressive picture of two men in love.

Anyone who can object to this expression of love is absolutely and totally benighted. He/she is also bigotted in the extreme. Grow up! Live and let live! Liberate yourselves from the shackles that bind you! Gay love is something very beautiful. Gays are how they are because the inerrant God made them that way. Don't try and buck God's desires, God's creations! You cannot worship God and deny his creations at one and the same time. If you do so, you are a hypocrite. – © Mark Alexander

Top Hat, Mark Sandrich, 1935 : Heaven | Reupload

Cast: Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, Edward Everett Horton | | FilmStruck brings you the best indie, foreign, cult, classic, silent and hard-to-find films and is the exclusive streaming home of The Criterion Collection.

Dimitra’s Dishes: Mediterranean Lemony White Bean Salad

Jan 16, 2023

Get the recipe here.

Gina Lollobrigida, Italian Star of the 1950s and 60s, Dies Aged 95

THE GUARDIAN: Actor, photojournalist and sex symbol was best known for appearances in films such as Beat the Devil, Solomon and Sheba and Buona Sera, Mrs Campbell

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda in the 1956 film of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Photograph: Allstar/Cinetext /Allied Artists

Gina Lollobrigida, the Italian actor once called “the most beautiful woman in the world”, has died at the age of 95 Corriere della Sera reported the news, saying she had been “hospitalised for some time”.

Through the 1950s and 60s, Lollobrigida was one of the world’s most desired performers and starred in a large number of European and American films opposite many of Hollywood’s leading men of the day.

Born in 1927 in Subiaco, in the mountains east of Rome, she was the daughter of a furniture maker. In her teenage years she did some modelling and entered beauty contests, and in 1947 placed third in the Miss Italia pageant. On her entry form for that competition, she wrote that she had a talent for acting but that she wanted to do something serious with her skills. » | Alan Evans | Monday, January 16, 2023


L’actrice italienne Gina Lollobrigida est morte : Coqueluche des paparazzi, héroïne de roman-photo au début de sa carrière, elle a accédé ensuite aux premiers rôles auprès des plus grands metteurs en scène et joué avec Gérard Philipe, Burt Lancaster, Yul Brynner. Elle est morte le 16 janvier, à l’âge de 95 ans. »


Klarer Kopf, wildes Temperament: Zu ihrer Zeit brauchte man für wahre Berühmtheit so viel Schönheit wie Talent. An diesem Montag ist Gina Lollobrigida, die selbstbewusste, große Filmdiva, im Alter von 95 Jahren gestorben. »