samedi, mars 10, 2007

Shutdown: This Blog has moved

On 10th March 2005 (8.25 pm) the first edition of J'accuse appeared on the internet. It was entitled "the Kinnie Generation" and was a trip into the unknown. Over two years J'accuse has garnered a little corner of faithful readers, interested observers and its fair share of critics. We look forard to many more years of blogging and hopefully increasing the role of blogging in Malta.

Today, Saturday 10th March 2007, on the occasion of it's second anniversary this blog is moving. No further content will be posted on the blogger version of J'accuse ( All new content will now be added on the Wordpress version (

We thank you for the over 100,000 visits since inception and hope that you will be moving with us to our new home. Do not forget to update your aggregators or subscribe by email to the new j'accuse address in the new site here.

You've come a long way baby!

Thank you.

Last one out switch off the lights.

vendredi, mars 09, 2007

D-Day -1: J'accuse Moves Tomorrow


1. Moving Tomorrow
As if you have not already seen enough of these. This is another administrative notice for those who haave not been checking in for some time. As of tomorrow, Saturday 10th March, I will no longer be posting on the blogger versions of J'accuse, Kinnie & Twistees, the Laughing Fit, Postform and neither will GS be posting on Il Bollettino.

You are kindly requested to point your Favourites Bookmarks, RSS Feeders or daily browsing to the following addresses so as to continue to savour the daily enjoyment that is afforded by these sites:


Kinnie & Twistees:

The Laughing Fit:


Il Bollettino della Sfi*a:

If you do not have an aggregator or do not know what it is I suggest you take a trip to Bloglines or RSS Bandit or or those who like to pay Newsgator. Then come back!

The transfer of the blogs has not been (is not being - as Apu would say) without hassle. Without much complication let me just say that blogs moving from New Blogger to Wordpress (Laughing Fit, Bollettino, Postform) have moved lock, stock and barrel (automatically) with comments and all. The manually moved blogs (this one and K&T) are being patiently transposed post by post. This means that comments will be lost. There's no BIG problem because the blogger equivalents will stay on the net for archivial purposes. K&T archives should be over to the other side by tomorrow (D-Day). J'accuse is a much longer matter since there are almost 900 posts spanning the two years. (Frequent Blogger of the Year Award eh?)

3. The 100,000.
I am pleased to announce that J'accuse will have had 100,000 visitors over two years. As we stand we are 300 visits short of 100,000 on the eve of D-Day. But that does not take into account that the Statcounter was installed a month after J'accuse started - hence we are very much in time to hit the 100,000 target over two years. (How do we reason that? It is safe to assume that in its early days J'accuse had an average hit of 30 a day by the second week... giving us two weeks of 30 a day blogging - around 410 hits.... you see!)

Which leaves us with the competition. It's still open... your 500 words about J'accuse can still win you a J'accuse mug! Keep trying and sending them in to jacques dot zammit at gmail dot com. We're only 300 hits away from announcing the winner.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

jeudi, mars 08, 2007

Shooting Oneself in the Foot

Turtle Dove Stamp

One of my favorite clothing patterns is camouflage. Because when you're in the woods it makes you blend in. But when you're not it does just the opposite. It's like "hey, there's an asshole". - Demetri Martin

Yesterday's events in Valletta are the shameful result of too much pandering to a vociferous, bullying minority. Pre-referendal and pre-electoral wheeling and dealing has led to a situation where no amount of macchiavellian delays involving the EU will appease and ever-more violent mass of imbeciles armed with shotguns.

This still does not seem to have been an eye-opener for "the government". Never mind the "opposition" - it definitely does not have the balls to take a stand on this one. It will continue to try to milk the hunter's protest votes (see Maltastar's sorry report of the events) while hoping to delay facing the music to when it is in the unenviable position of being on the "government" side of the negotiation table. Sant and his minions should learn from PN's sorry experience... pandering to the hunting lobby while in opposition (or government) is a bit like counting on Mintoff's support in Parliament - never really a reliable option.

Here's the government's reaction to a situation where we have hunters physically aggressing journalists and the police:

In a statement late last night the government expressed its concern about the incidents. It said everyone had to respect the right of the police and journalists to carry out their jobs without violence or threats. - The Times

The usual tut-tut naughty naughty. Come now boys... let the journalists and police do their job... please. Thank you. Sorry? One driver broke through a police barrier and drove onto people in Freedom Square... some hunters were seen carrying shotguns... there are uncomfirmed reports of shots being fired... they hurled glasses/bottles and spat at the journalists.... they stole half of Ben Borg Cardona's photographic equipment... surely this deserves more than a schoolboy reprimand?

We cannot expect better from Lino Farrugia. Unless he unequivocally apologises to the Maltese public and tones down his mass of uncouth chickenheads he can no longer be treated with respect. He should not form part of any negotiation table. The hunting lobby should henceforth be treated like terrorists... until there is no longer ANY sign of violence. They should be boycotted and ignored and their demands should never be accepted. They were already negotiating from a weak point... they have blown their final chance to be heard.

Before the only place to see a turtle dove becomes the (probably obsolete) 6c stamp and before the farce of Maltese democracy is really exposed something must be done. We expect the Police to take action. Investigations must be made into aggressors. There must be raids to recover the stolen material. One of the oldest police forces in Europe deserves much more respect than it is getting. Its reaction to yesterday's events will be a first step to this rehabilitation.

The Times
The Times
IM Beck
The Independent
Daphne Caruana Galizia

...and this one is incredible updated 8 minutes before uploading this post... Maltarightnow still has NO news about all this.

This post also appears in the new J'accuse (two more days till blogger site shuts down)

Happy Women's Day

To continue yesterday's moment of leg-pulling and celebrate Women's Day at the same time. Happy Positively Discriminating Day of Pointlessly Celebrating the Obvious and Creating an Excuse to Send a Card or Flowers (Commercial) as well as Giving Dolores Cristina and c. Something to Write About Day!

Send an email to Joe Saliba and Jason Micallef to remind them that today is Women's Day and that they should use this day to remind people how both PN and MLP have loads of nisa in their list of candidates [NOT]....

Seriously... women rock!

mercredi, mars 07, 2007

Scoot Over

To the Laughing Fit (new version) for the latest addition - a parody of Maltese Political Propaganda...

... see you later!

mardi, mars 06, 2007


Note: This post may also be viewed on the new J'Accuse website :

Last weekend's Maltatoday editorial ends with the assertion that "Europe is indeed the new yardstick". Too true. The main reasons I voted for joining the European Union were instances like the current hullaballoo on the Bird's Directive. I knew that the MLPN have become too rooted in the favours for the locals and summersaults for the vociferous pressure groups system. This was accompanied by the nagging suspicion that it would take more than a lifetime or some shock event for people to start shifting their voting habits. So how to get about the necessary change anyway?

Easy. Vote for a system that"imposes" common standards with the most forward looking states on the continent. A system that has targets that are consonant with living in the 21st century and that eventually (and hopefully) become the prodding stick for the reluctant relics in government and opposition to change the song and dance that they have accustomed us to. And Pullicino is right. It may take some time for the first thunderbolt to hit the government. But that is the delay effect of membership. Once the first ECJ decisions start rolling out then the party in government will need a very very effective PR machine to make us all ignore the list of failures that will be automatically generated.

For now the ministers, minions and opposition will feel comfortable naysaying and minimising the effects of the process. It is still all too distant for the easily appeased populace to make any sense of it. They will at first believe their minister's assertions that Malta is right and will defend its position to the utmost. Of course there is nothing wrong with that. Malta has every right to defend its position... what worries me are instances like the Bird's Directive... where it is evident that the government is only delaying a fact known to itself and anyone with a modicum of interest in European Law. Where the honourable members know that they are in the wrong and are knowingly incurring liabilities for the nation. Why?

Hopefully we will have less of that. The European Yardstick will help much in this area. Some have already woken up to this possibility. Reporting... informing and forcing relcutant authorities into action. Take this website called for example.... an interesting exercise in getting things going in Gozo. I have only just discovered it and cannot vouch for all its content but it is an example of the new kind of citizen action we can expect more and more as the new yardstick takes shape.

And good riddance to old ways.

lundi, mars 05, 2007

Rain, Wind and PN's Lorna

Good morning, I hope that you have had a splendid weekend. It's been spiffing in Luxembourg, especially since we have had long periods of sunshine and unprecedented warmth. The park outside 22, Rue de Bragance was regaled with a wonderful shower of rays and showed off it's green glory as luxizens thronged into it's paths and children's voices joined the chorus of happy birds celebrating this early spring.This patch of bright sunshine was just as surprising as the news that Remich is flooded and that the citizens of that riverside town are busy pumping water out of their caves all over again.

This morning we woke up to a constant pissing of rain from the heavens but the long hours of sunshine stocked up during the weeked could not be so easily obliterated by this sudden change - even more so since we will all be cooped up in our offices and any extra sunshine would have gone wasted. There will be no raining on our parade. But enough about the matter... let us back to things Maltese and more particularly to the forthcoming local council elections.

Here at J'accuse we have oft pointed a not-so-bony accusatory digit towards the big fish in the electoral pool for throwing oh-too-many candidates at the electorate without separating the eedjits from the democratically electable. A letter to today's Times by a candidate Paul Aquilina (PN) does prove our point. Let me say that I do not know the chap in question - and that if I ever had the pleasure of meeting him he did not leave a sufficiently memorable mark on my mind for it to recall his face as soon as the name was read...

Anyways.. his letter to the times deserves the Lorna treatment... if only for a nostalgic return to methods past. Voilà mesdames et monsieurs ... the créme de la crème of PN candidates live from Malta in 2007:

Why vote PN
Paul Aquilina
[Do note the title. Could have ben phrased better no? I mean. Why vote PN? Yes. Why bother? Sometimes brevity tends to be the assassin of the spirit of the phrase (as Lorna would undoubtedly say). Why You Should Vote PN would have been less comprehensive but more comprehensible title.]

For the March 10 local elections the Nationalist Party will be presenting to the public a group of 121 ladies and gentlemen, coming from all walks of life [Aha. Let the public be presented I say. We have ladies and gentlemen... it's almost like the opening of a circus... ladies and gentlemen of the public we present you the ladies and gentlemen of the candidates list... can you picture Joe Saliba with a Dali -like moustache and a whip?].

They include lawyers, notaries and law students, medical doctors, architects, accountants, businessmen, senior bankers, civil service officials, university lecturers and teachers, company directors, private sector employees, students, youths, self-employed, housewives and also a few pensioners. [What? No Bearded Lady? I want my money back. Well... we have the butcher the baker and the candlestick maker of course. There's the lawyer, the notary and the half baked lawyer. Grrrrreat. Civil Service officials... wahey. Then there is the great set of hodge-podge employments at the end... Youths! Housewives! and the few pensioners thrown in! Jeezus. Doesn't the list smack of (a) patronising bull and (b) I wanted to come up with an iindicative list but then I did not want to hurt any of my fellow candidates so I mentioned ALL the jobs they do.. tenkjuverimuch].

These people possess a vast experience [That famous vast experience... I wonder how the Youths compare to the Housewives and the Pensioners?] as well as great intellectual knowledge [Ta-da... it's the hunting season for Wankellectuals... here we have the lowest of the grades... not just a wannabe intellectual but one who has no idea what intellectual really means!]. Some of them also shoulder professional responsibilities in their line of work [The others just sit around on their asses and get paid for doing **** all because they are blue eyed boys with the best pedigree!]. This group of candidates further enrich the PN in terms of quality [Hmm. Enrich the PN in terms of quality - sounds like an artificial additive] and in its endeavours to guarantee serious management in local government.

I regret to say it is quite the opposite in the Labour Party camp [ Opposite to what exactly - to having the circus of contestants? to having intellectually knowledgeable individuals? to having enriching factors to the endeavours of ... whatever?] where administrative and other problems during certain council meetings are not unknown [Could a vaguer accusation be levelled? I mean what council meetings? Local Council? Aren't they made up of mixed councillors? And anyway... can you really say this after all that has been in the news?]. In my opinion the responsibility lies with the MLP leadership; only they decide who to accept to represent their party [As against PN who accept all the flotsam and jetsam of electoral hopefuls so long as they shoulder their professional responsibility, are intellectually knowledgeable and write ridiculous letters to the times]. It all depends whether they want serious and professional people to run local councils, as the PN does. [Does it? I mean... not to really really rub it in... but you are not doing a very good job of proving the contrary Paul!]

We have read in newspapers of councils with a Labour majority facing huge problems [True. And I have also read in the newspapers of councils with a PN majority making a whole cock-up of respnsible management too], even involving the police in one case [Involving the police? How dare they? Did they ask them to help or what?]. We also hear about Labour councils squandering public funds and engaging in partisan politics [Tut tut tut... PARTISAN POLITICS (read using John Cleese tone of voice)... .now what is that exactly Paul?]. We hear of councils refusing to renew the employment contract of employees simply because they are in some way affiliated to the PN as is their right [IS it the right of councils to renew the aforementioned contract or is it the abovementioned employees who have a right to be affiliated to the PN? The question is intellectually knowledgeable of itself... it is also shouldering its own responsibility.. I think the question could actually run for elections in a non-partisan manner!].

We also read about financial deficits incurred by Labour local governments, the inability to follow the correct procedures when awarding tenders, disregard to the Local Councils Act, confusion and situations whereby local wardens issue an excessive number of tickets.
It is the opposite where there is a PN majority; financial results in the great majority of PN-led local councils are positive with that of Gzira leading the PN group and ending the last financial year with a surplus of over Lm32,000. [Tadaaaaa.... Gzira has a positive financial record hence all PN councils have a positive financial record].

Voters are urged to use their right to vote and choose [Choose life] responsible and professional people, the like [ OH no.... the like that are found] that are found in the PN list of candidates.


Mein Gott in Himmell! Unbelievable? Not really... it's run of the mill candidates.... And Aaron F should be thanking his lucky gods that I have not butchered his presentation of Youth Candidates for the local council. He is just as infected with this logorrheic mode of circum tauri for the masses. We deserve much more than this.

The management of the PN and Labour camps are under the general accusation of neglecting their duties towards the electorate when it comes to selecting candidates. J'accuse openly accuses the executives of the two main parties of thinking they can easily take us all for a ride by throwing this quickly assembled crowd of wannabes at us and hoping that one or two of them stick and manage a Local COuncil haphazardly for the next few years.

Shame. But at least we get our silver lining... letters like this are precious fodder for our Blog... just keep them coming lads! Ir-rebha taghna tkun!

samedi, mars 03, 2007

Everything but the Mug

This will be the 881st post on J'accuse since 10th March 2005. We are about to round the corner into the last 1,000 hits before we reach the frugal milestone set by ourselves - 100,000. Sounds big doesn't it? By general blogging standards it is a drop in the ocean. Spittle on the side of a giant's lips. You get the drift. We are nothing and we are still intent on celebrating our nothingness in style.

Many of you have already started adding the new j'accuse to your aggregators. Kinnie & Twistees, The Laughing Fit, Bollettino and Postform also moved - in case you have not noticed. A while back I had offered an interesting prize competition for the 100,000th hit... with absolutely no response. Which is not so spiffing. We have not given up....

A J'accuse (original - with original webaddress - potential collectors item) Mug (with pic as seen above) is still up for grabs to the reader who sends in the most interesting 500 words or less on one of the following topics:

1) 10 reasons why I like J'Accuse
2) 10 reasons why I hate J'Accuse
3) Why I want a j'accuse commemorative mug so badly
4) What I'd like to see for the next year in J'accuse

Send your 'essays' to jacques dot zammit at gmail dot com.
Final results to be announced after the 100,000th hit on J'accuse.

happy saturday and don't forget to upate your aggregators

vendredi, mars 02, 2007

Alternative Council Politics

With Fausto's admonition still ringing in my mind I was about to type out a whole post criticising alternattiva's program for Local Council Elections as being shallow and generic. Unfortunately (for Fausto) that was before I discovered that the alternattiva website also contains a different programme for each candidate in each locality. Surf over to alternattiva's site if you are interested in more details.

To be fair I think that Harry's article in today's Times puts too much stress on the AD vs MLPN. Why? Because at the end of the day we are talking about Local Councils where the quality of the individuals often is a more determining factor than the party they hail from. Local Council members can either be party puppets placed there for the number or individuals with a genuine love for their locality with a real interest in making Haz-Zghir (little village) a better place. Both PN and MLP have been stung by backing Mr Anybody for the sake of number (or thanks to an uncanny popularity such individuals enjoy in their little fiefdom). Just look at all the Mayoral gaffes in different localities which end up being an ugly smudge on the relative party's very own Local Council Conduct. If you still don't know what I am talking about think of the Zebbug (Gozo) mayor and his illegal dumping or the Qala Mayor's brainwave at creating that lovely beach out of building debris.

The intelligent voter in a Local Council election should be seeking out the individual who engages to deliver a reasonable set of promises with the locality at heart. Local Council electors should look beyond the blue, red and green - only pausing for an instant to examine whether MLP, PN or AD backed candidates are within the right structure to deliver what is best for the locality. It is only in this respect that I can see Harry's point that AD programmes tend to contain deliverables that are intelligently constructed and practical - and the track record of quality vs quantity does give AD candidates an advantage over the papable masses that are normally produced by the MLPN clan.

I am not trying to give you two different messages. The message is one and the same. Vote for candidates who seem to know what they are going in for and know what they want to deliver. Vote for candidates who will not put party interest before that of the locality. Such candidates are not only found in the AD camp - definitely. I just have a feeling that the stamp of guarantee offered by AD is not found elsewhere in the political field. AD's size in this campaign is its strength and not its weakness.

Of course you can always do an Alfred Mifsud and ignore the existence of AD altogether. I remember the good old days ofrunning for KSU elections. I used to have a hard time convincing fellow SDM executive members that the content of the electoral manifesto was more important than just bandying around the SDM symbol. Before taking on anyone else using the simple electoral strategy of colour allegiance I wanted to add depth and quality to the campaign. Many times my efforts fell on deaf ears (those who had long before succumbed to the MLPN mantra of "Ir-rebha taghna zgur"). The few times it worked were those that gave me much much more satisfaction.

Incidentally I had a look at the latest KSU website. It seems that eight years on the real value of the policies we started then are beginning to take shape. The KSu executive has understood its role as a moderator and given full effect to its policy forming commissions that are as representative as possible. Beyond the PULSE-SDM (renationalised SDM I would add) rhetoric a group of a few good men and women have understood the benefits of working with a fresh alternative. Well done chaps!

- This post will also appear on the new J'accuse website (beta testing of course)
- Thanks to Kenneth for the feedburner tip. It's working on the new j'accuse!

jeudi, mars 01, 2007

Thank You for Your Patience

There seems to be a general hiatus in the blogworld that can be partially attributed to the Blogger shift to the new Blogger. My bloglines list has gone haywire ... with most blogs seeming to be inaccessible or closed. Right now I feel that every blogpost is a bit akin to a message in a bottle - never too sure about who will eventually get to read it. The decision to shift to a new blogging system has now shifted to action and more will be posted about this in the coming days. until then I am afraid that posting will be as haphazard as has been in the past few days while I dedicated most of my spare time to the gargantuan task of General Blog Déménagement... my blogs are quite literally moving to another site. And that's definite.

For those of you who would like to plan in advance here is a list of a few links you may want to add to your aggregators. For now they will only signal old posts being added as I maually transfer post by post from the archives (which also means that I lose all the comments). There IS a way to export a whole blog to the new site but this can only be done if your blog is in the New Blogger - a shift that is apparently impossible for both Kinnie & Twistees and J'Accuse!!

Anyway... here goes:


Kinnie & Twistees

Il Bollettino della Sfi*a

The Laughing Fit


I am hoping to be able to launch all five sites on the 10th March - the original launching date of J'Accuse for Blogger!

For now keep following for updates on Blogger. And thank you for your patience.

Thank You for Your Patience

There seems to be a general hiatus in the blogworld that can be partially attributed to the Blogger shift to the new Blogger. My bloglines list has gone haywire ... with most blogs seeming to be inaccessible or closed. Right now I feel that every blogpost is a bit akin to a message in a bottle - never too sure about who will eventually get to read it. The decision to shift to a new blogging system has now shifted to action and more will be posted about this in the coming days. until then I am afraid that posting will be as haphazard as has been in the past few days while I dedicated most of my spare time to the gargantuan task of General Blog Déménagement... my blogs are quite literally moving to another site. And that's definite.

For those of you who would like to plan in advance here is a list of a few links you may want to add to your aggregators. For now they will only signal old posts being added as I maually transfer post by post from the archives (which also means that I lose all the comments). There IS a way to export a whole blog to the new site but this can only be done if your blog is in the New Blogger - a shift that is apparently impossible for both Kinnie & Twistees and J'Accuse!!

Anyway... here goes:


Kinnie & Twistees

Il Bollettino della Sfi*a

The Laughing Fit


I am hoping to be able to launch all five sites on the 10th March - the original launching date of J'Accuse for Blogger!

For now keep following for updates on Blogger. And thank you for your patience.

mercredi, février 28, 2007

I want tha' one...*

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

First of all let me apologise for the petulant outburst at all things blogger yesterday. The constant efforts at trying to improve the j'accuse (and other blog) layout led me to a particularly nasty nervous breakdown last night. I promise to be calmer in my approach in the future.

Now to the government. It's great days ahead for Gonzi's group as the Local Council elections (which nobody cares about but everybody talks about) approach. The announcement of Malta's formal application to join Eurozone came with the usual pomp and circumstance. The EU will be examining Malta's application and whether the country's performance falls within the convergence criteria. All's well and good.

And while PM Gonzi was busy hobnobbing with Joaquin Almunia (Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner) his man for Environmental Affairs was busy telling everybody that the EU's system of enforcement is a bit like the Jesuits discipline at SAC. You can try to get away with ignoring it because sometimes it takes oh such a long time to get going. The problem is that like the jesuit, it will catch up with you one day or another and inflict the most heavy of punishments you ever thought possible!

Today we read that the Commission is not very happy with Malta's decision to ignore the Directive concerned for the fourth year running. It has reminded all of us that there is a procedure that has been running against Malta since June 2006 and that this latest move with regard to Spring Hunting does not improve Malta's situation much.

All will depend on the ECJ's interpretation of the derogation given to Malta. In the end it is all about deciding whether there is an alternative to spring hunting - like autumn hunting. Once that is over and done with it will be time for George to go back to the hunters and birdwatchers and explain that this latest interpretation (whatever it is) is the law. More importantly it will be time for Maltese politicians to explain to the general populace that the EU is not exactly a pick'n'mix establishment. You cannot have the euro, the subsidies and flout EU law at the same time. Nope sir. Ich don't think so... as Baron Cohen's latest character would say.

This thinking does not only apply to the hunters and watchers but also to the traders who are infuriated by parallel importation from Sicily, to former monopolies and subsidised operations and most importantly to governments who should wake up, open their eyes and remember that even their legislative activity must conform with EU law.

More than worrying about joining the euro, cabinet, government and all social players should be waking up to the fact that we joined the EU some time ago now... and thankfully there's no turning back.

Now that's a refreshing thought.

* Nota Bene: Title and Picture refer to Little Britain characters Lou and Andy

mardi, février 27, 2007

End of Project

Recent changes on Blogger have prompted me to take a drastic decision with regards to the management of my accounts. I have tried to migrate to the new blogger with all the blogs concerned: J'accuse and Kinnie & Twistees remain stuck in the old blogger. The Laughing Fit has moved but required the creation of a separate gmail account. Same goes for the almost defunct Lamp-Post-Form. I cannot unsubscribe myself from Il-Loghba Sabiha because I cannot access the settings part. As for Gakbu Sfigho's Bollettino... it has moved to the new blogger but not without teething problems.

Therefore all readers are being forewarned that once J'accuse reaches 100.000 hits and the 10th March 2007 (site birthday) is behind us we intend to shut these projects from blogger and shift to pastures new. Research has already begun for better blogging fields. Suggestions and solutions are welcome. Meanwhile we have to find a way how to archive all this *hit!

BTW. Guys like Lanzarote and Ajjut seem to have shifted to new blogger with the added consequence that their blogs are now available only for invited readers. That is the kind of trouble we are trying to avoid.

Thank You.

Carry on... Hunting

It's the latest hot news from the island of contradictions. The Wise Government of the Republic has approved spring hunting. The Cabinet voted in favour of opening another free-for-all on the flying pests that pass over islands for the forthcoming spring season. Unfortunately what should have been a minor point on the agenda of a very busy set of ministers has been splashed all over the papers (electronic or otherwise) providing us with a veritable Bird's Eye View (pardon the capitalised pun) of the rainbow like panorama of Maltese politics. If anything this event proves that half the picture really does not tell much.... or does it? Well.... j'accuse is about to rectify the situation with this in-depth report "Carry on Hunting"...

1. Analysing The Headlines

MALTARIGHTNOW: L-istagun tal-kacca fir-Rebbiegha: Il-Gvern se jikkontrolla
Strong imagery from the PN online rag. Note the reassuring message to hunters and violent protesters... there IS a hunting season and it IS in Spring. Note the appendix to the the BR: the government will control. We are obviously not told what is left to control. We are not told many things but those are pleasures yet to come.

MALTASTAR: Government gives "green" light to spring hunting
Ha!Ha! for that. Don't you just love the pun? Isn't it funny? The opposition e-paper doesn't know which news is best for its readers ears. Like a kid in a sweet shop it just stands ogle-eyed in the middle and stares and drools without much substance. They'd love to criticise the government... but that would mean that they disagree with the hunting season... and that would mean falling into the bad books of the GHKNK... definitely a no go.

THE TIMES: Malta defies EU on spring hunting
An interesting title. No contradictions here. The Times puts its neck on the line and calls a spade a spade. The title is interesting when we compare it to the Maltarightnow reporting of Minister George Pullicino's press conference and his analysis of how Malta stands viz the EU.

THE INDEPENDENT: Cabinet approves spring hunting, final dates to be established
As non-committal as possible. Hey... the cabinet approved it... the dates are still not there. We do not know how to make head or tail of all this. Is the government right? Are the hunters happy? For all the Independent cares.... boq

DI-VE: Government violating national and European Laws - Birdlife Malta
You could be forgiven if for a second you thought that di-ve had reached a conclusion on all this. They preferred quoting the Birdlife press release - and birdlife are rabid indeed.

2. the Content
So let's start with Maltarightnow (MRN). Everything is fine and dandy. First of all this was all done in consultation. The Minister consulted a committee of people who have varying interests in flying things (from snapping their photos to snapping their wings). The decision was taken at a meeting of the Ornis Committee (doesn't that sound ever so environmental?). Turtle Doves and quail can be shot at between 1st April and 20th May.

If the environmental bandwagon was not enough, Vote George Get Birdhunters explained to anyone who was listening that the people had voted in the last referendum and general election to preserve sustainable hunting in spring. We what? Somehow I do not remember the "Let's Preserve Bird Hunting" t-shirts adorning the carcades for the referendum campaign. I do remember voting to get in the EU and finally kick out hunting!!! but it seems that Vote George Get Ugly Surprises seems to think otherwise.

And then there was the funny bit about announcing stricter measures and heavier fines to ensure that the rules are observed. So that's a good one. First we misinterpret the people's will. Then we redraft the hunting rules to get an escape clause regarding when the hunting season begins (under previous byelaws hunting season could only start six weeks after an Ornis Committee decision... now it has been magicked into four). Then we also claim that (a) the Eu rules will not really apply and (b) if they do really apply it will still take the big EU machine very very long to take a decision against Malta in this regard.

Hmm. I promise he said that. Don't believe me?

"The minister downplayed the significance of the EU's infringement proceedings, saying the process leading to a possible fine from the European Court was a lengthy one". (The Times)

"Mr Pullicino explained how the process of remedial action available to the European Commission, which has promised to come down hard on Malta should it allow spring hunting once again this year in what it would consider a breach of the EU’s birds directive for the fourth year running, would take some time to be incurred, if at all applicable. Punitive fines would only result should Malta fail to comply with a decision by the European Courts of Justice*, the last of three steps in infringement proceedings, while so far, the EC has only taken the first step and issued a letter of formal notice." (The Indy)

Ok. I'd love to go on and on. I'd love to be able to see some logic in this new manoeuvre and not a calculated pandering to the GHKNK timed perfectly not to ruffle any feathers (at least not human feathers) before the Local Council elections (just long enough to vote but not long enough not to be condemned by the EU). I can't though.

It's pathetic. People keep on reminding me that a PN government is the lesser of all evils. That a vote for the PN is an inevitable and foregone conclusion if we want to retain a modicum of logic and save our face on the international arena. Will someone carefully explain what difference there is between a defiant George Pullicino vis-a-vis black and white EU regulation and a defiant Iranian Prime Minister vis-a-vis the world community and nuclear proliferation?

George Pullicino may claim to be personally against hunting (and the many threats on the GHKNK site may be more than positive proof to that) but surely his handling of this matter could have been much much much (did I say much?) better.

Last I heard, a flock of turtle doves and quail were flying in the direction of the Ministry of Environment... and just before they were shot down by a trigger happy hunter they had managed to form the following words in the sky....


The Times
The Malta Independent

* The red highlighting in the Indy quote begs the question. Is the government waiting for a condemnation by the ECJ and then acting as though its hand was forced and therefore cannot do but abide with the EU rules? Possible...but we can never be sure.

lundi, février 26, 2007

It's my Penalty...

... and I cry if I want to!

Supercoccolato d'Italia has struck again. Having taken (and missed) his 6th penalty in succession Rigetta wundermensch Totti decided to throw a tantrum. Apparently his failure to score this time was up to some witty subterfuge by the Reggina goalkeeper - a former team mate. It appears that just before Totti struck his latest missing shot, the keeper approached Italy's favourite whinger and told him that shooting the penalty was useless - he would save it anyway by diving to the right. Totti therefore assumed that the keeper would dive anywhere but the right and shot to the right. Unsurprisingly Campagnolo (the sly keeper) saved the shot... thus incurring Totti's wrath. Well... we all know how Totti celebrates his goals... with a thumb in mouth action (stile pacifier)... surely that gives him the licence to burst into a kiddy tantrum should he fail to score a penalty?

In his words (Gazzetta dello Sport):

PARLA TOTTI E' lo stesso capitano giallorosso a raccontare la sua versione dei fatti, dopo la fine della gara, ai microfoni di Roma Channel: "Siccome con Campagnolo ci conosciamo da tanto tempo, è successo che è venuto verso di me prima che tirassi il rigore e mi ha detto 'Tanto te lo paro, lo so dove me lo tiri, alla mia destra'. Visto che mi aveva detto queste parole, io non pensavo che si buttasse proprio lì, pensavo di fregarlo e invece mi ha fregato lui". Sul battibecco avuto subito dopo col portiere della Reggina: "L'ho mandato a quel paese ma è stato un gesto istintivo che mi è venuto. Ero dispiaciuto perchè ci tenevo a segnare. Era importante per me, il gol lo sto cercando da tanto tempo, soprattutto su rigore (è da oltre due mesi che non ne segna uno, ndr). Ma l'importante è che la Roma abbia vinto".

Meanwhile back on the island where real football is played - Valletta trounced B'kara three nil to keep up their surprising pace....

vendredi, février 23, 2007

I'm Afraid of Americans

Aussies taking the mickey out of the Yanks.

Guide 2K+7 for Everyone

Writing in yesterday's Indy, Daphne CG reported that Malta's zeitgeist in 2007 is not what it was twenty or thirty years back. Apparently Malta has burst out of its bubble of not so splendid isolation and is now exposed to cultures immeasurable. Such cultures are both a boon and a threat to the current ways of thinking. The threat side of things is being confronted in all sorts of ways - from court cases involving tangas and transsexuals, to the divorce debate (really, so passe') to adaptation to a common set of regulations intended to better the general state of things in the European continent.

Unfortunately, as Daphne also points out, the country is run mostly by the lesser evils elected from among the unelectables that are proposed every now and then to an electorate that is too stunned by the bursting of the bubble and the discovery of 2K gadgets to react in any other way. The unelectable elected - the survivors of this oxymoronic paradox - run the country (or its oppositin) much to the chagrin of the few who have really shifted into 2007 mode. Their reactions to all sorts of mundane cultural changes would only be seen in a Hamish community that has had cable tv force fed into every household/.

Well. I will comment more on Daphne's article later in the day. For now I have discovered a lexicon of "politically correct" terms thatreaders might find handy. It is taken from an article that I stumbled across while reading ALdaily. Here goes the lexicon... it's long but worth it....


Politically Correct Lexicon

African American: In 1988 Jesse Jackson encouraged people to adopt this term over the then-used “black.” As he saw it, the words acknowledged black America’s ties to Africa. “African American,” says Hill, is now “used more by non-African-American people, who cling to it because they are unsure what word to use.” Sen says, “African American” is favored by “highly educated people who are not black. Whether one uses ‘black’ or ‘African American’ indicates how strong your social relations are with those communities.” And Chris Raab, founder of Afro-Netizen, says, “People who are politically correct chose to use African American, but I don’t recall any mass of black folks demanding the use of African American.”

Asian: The correct term to use for anyone of Asian ancestry. When accuracy is desired, nationality of origin is appended to “American,” as in “Korean American.” Sen, who describes herself as South Asian or Indian American, says that there is “some push around not conflating everybody into Asian. This is mostly an issue among new immigrants. If there hasn’t been time for a generation, it seems to be hard to move those folks to the Asian category.”

Bitch: A word, says Baim, which is “absolutely being reclaimed by a younger generation of women who are asserting their sexuality and control of their sexuality.” Successfully repurposed by Bitch magazine over the past decade, ‘Bitch’ is now becoming passé as less edgy writers like Cathi Hanauer, author of The Bitch in the House, adopt it. Similarly, though more slowly, “slut,” “whore” and “cunt” are being reappropriated. “The young people use those terms all the time teasingly and sometimes to even refer to themselves,” says Hill. “It is more common to hear someone say ‘I am a slut’ than ‘I am a whore.’ ” “Cunt” is gaining currency among some young lesbians, though Baim says it is a word that gets stuck in her throat. “While it is a reclaimed word, it is one I can hardly say, the same way some older blacks have trouble saying the n-word.”

Black: At Colorlines “black” is used with a capital B, while The Associate Press Stylebook advises use of the lower case.

Boi: A word, says Hill, that is “used by young queer people to refer to either young gay males or young females who are presenting as males.”

Brown: A general term for people who are not white. Colorlines uses “brown” in a casual or playful way. “We might have a headline ‘Brown People to the Back’ in a story about restaurant hierarchy,” Sen says. Sometimes used to refer to Latinos, as in the “black-brown” coalition that helped elect Harold Washington mayor of Chicago in 1983.

Chicano: Correct term for people of Mexican ancestry, popularized during the civil rights movement. “We use it to refer to U.S.-born people of Mexican descent,” says Sen. “Mexican American is the more distant, politer thing to say.”

Dyke: A word lesbians have reclaimed. Hill, however, says that among the young it is “on its way out.”

Fag (faggot): The new “queer.” “Like the n-word, it’s a word that can be said by gay people,” says Hill. “I hear ‘fag’ a great deal, especially among queer-identified young people, like ‘don’t be such a fag’ or ‘you are such a fag.’ “

Feminist: “A word that the younger generation doesn’t always embrace,” is how Baim, 44, describes it. A lot of young women, she says, are “feminists but they don’t want to be pigeonholed.” “Feminist somehow became a tainted word along the way,” says Hill. “I have heard a lot of people say, ‘this sounds feminist’ or ‘I used to be a feminist.’ “

Gay: The word used to refer to males and, inclusively, to the whole gender-bent community. “College-age people are more likely to refer to themselves as queer,” say Hill. “People out of college are more likely to refer to themselves as gay.”

Girl: “‘Girl’ is used by older women,” says Baim. “It is kind of nice because it used to be used derogatorily and now it is used in a fun way.”

GLBT: Shorthand for GLBTQ2IA.

GLBTQ2IA: The acronym for Gay, Lesbian, Bi, Transgendered, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Allies. “This is coming from the youth movement, the college campuses, it has not seeped into the whole community at this point,” says Baim, who at the Windy City Times uses GLBT, an acronym the New York Times has not yet seen fit to print.

Guys: Very controversial. Used, especially in the Midwest, when referring to a group of people. “In Chicago that word gets used a lot,” says Hill. And Baim says, “I use it all of the time.” Some feminists, like Andi Zeisler, the editor of Bitch, find “guys” problematic. “We assume the descriptor ‘guys’ denotes a quality of universality,” she says. “It would be hard to imagine a group of men being addressed by their server as ‘hey you gals’ and not taking offense, but the reverse happens all the time.”

Hir (hirs): Gender neutral for him and her. At Wesleyan University, incoming freshmen are instructed to use gender-neutral pronouns in campus correspondence. As one person wrote on the university’s online Anonymous Confession Board, “I am usually attracted only to people of hir original gender, rather than hir intended gender. As such, I’m afraid that I’m, like, viewing hir wrong, or not respecting hir wishes or something.”

Hispanic: “We never use Hispanic,” says Sen. “It privileges the European roots of the identity of Mexicans born in the United States.” Hispanic, however, is the preferred term of people in the Southwest whose families are descendents of Spanish colonists.

Indian: The preferred term for Native Americans. “Indians either use their specific tribal name or use Indian,” says Sen. “You use the qualifier American when you need to distinguish from Indian Indians.”

Latino: (Capital “L,” with “a” or “o” at the end used to connote gender.) Politically correct term for those from Spanish or Portuguese speaking cultures. “We use it instead of Hispanic when we want to refer to many different national groups where there has been an indigenous-European mix,” says Sen.

Lesbian: “The younger generations are less connected with the terms ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian’,” says Baim. “Lesbian is out of favor as a self-identifying label, it means something political, something more rigid than the younger generation is comfortable with.”

Macaca: The latinization of the Bantu “ma-kako,” meaning monkey. According to the Global Language Monitor, former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) helped make this the most politically incorrect word of 2006 by using it to refer to an Indian American.

Native American: Some Indians object to the term, seeing it as a way to linguistically eradicate “Indian” and thus the history of their oppression by whites. “I almost always hear Native American, and in the more enlightened conversations there is usually ‘indigenous’ thrown in there somewhere,” says Lott. Sen says, “Native American seems to be a more distant construction, developed by academics.”

Nigger: “It is a word that white students struggle with and black students use pretty freely,” says Hill. “Young people are much more open to using it, especially young people who are black or who have been exposed to more diverse groups of people.” While Sen says, “I can’t imagine a political or a social multiracial situation where it would be appropriate, but I know that is because I am too old. The word is so prevalent in the popular youth culture, grounded in hip-hop, that I wouldn’t like to predict where that debate is going to end up. But if the popular culture ends up agreeing that it is okay to use, then I think there are a lot of pretty scary implications.”

Queer: Anyone who falls outside the lines of straight. “It has been reclaimed far ahead of faggot or dyke,” says Baim. “It is our buzz word,” says Columbia College’s Hill. “It is how we avoid saying all of those letters [GLBTQ2IA].” REM lead singer Michael Stipe, for example, is queer, not gay. “For me, queer describes something that’s more inclusive of the gray areas,” he told Butt, a pocket-sized Dutch “fagazine.” “It’s really about identity I think. The identity I’m comfortable with is queer because I just think it’s more inclusive.”

Transgendered: (trans) A person who is not presenting as their biological gender. “It is fascinating how transgendered is becoming like an octopus with all the tentacles of identity and personal design. The transgendered movement is burgeoning and fluid, they are creating all of these new ways to define who they are,” says Baim.

Ze: Gender neutral for he or she. As Mary Boenke writes on the PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) Web site: “When talking with Leslie Feinberg, noted transgender author, I asked Leslie which pronouns to use. Ze shrugged hir shoulders and said ze didn’t care.”


Unfortunately we do not foresee the revival of the word "pooftah" in the near future. For those who would really love to see it used by an Englishman (repeated several times on stage)... I definitely suggest Russel Brand's stand-up video... now there's a politically incorrect, queer looking, intelligent bloke if ever there was one!

mercredi, février 21, 2007

Construction Beer

So now the man known to Malta as ic-Caqnu will be making beer. What's next? Caqnu Cheese? We're looking forward for the first reports from our readers telling us whether Caqnu's Beer tastes good!

See Maltastar.

Switching Reader


Still home. Still bloody sick.

Today I am switching my news aggregator for the third time. First it was Bloglines, then I switched to a cool gadget called Vienna, now I have decided that it will be Google Reader. Great news isn't it? Anyway, I played around with the aggregators until I found out that they do what they should logically do i.e. you can export your list of links from one aggregator to another using an .opml file.


The worst thing about this cold is the danger of whiplash injury. I do not remember ever having to sneeze so violently and risk grievous injury to the neck and spine. Day nurse supplies are finishing... will have to pop over to Little Britain later on. Unfortunately (or maybe not) the failure to recover from the rheum means that I will miss the Maltese Boys in Luxembourg night out to watch Rocky Balboa. Sad really.

*Sneeze - and wipe wet hand on bottom thigh part of jeans*

Anyways. So I am off to try and pick up some files from work. If I do not crash on the way that is... seeing as how I spin off uncontrollably everytime I need to sneeze.


mardi, février 20, 2007

Porci Volant

Dedicated to Fausto Majistral

Shostakovich Minus One

London: February 2007. The first day of the Chinese New Year and a not so casual encounter with three-fourths of the famed band "Shostakovich's Nightmare". Present at the Lemon Tree Pub - a stone's throw away from all the hubbub of Chinatown (and drinking long enough to miss the fireworks)... Job, Ton, Jack and Gringo (sounds cooler that way: actually from L to R Ton, Gringo, Jack and Job). Missing from the picture is guitarist Matthew Cuschieri who had no valid excuse to be in London that day.

The Non-Partisan

Fausto seems to think that J'accuse has fallen into a trap. He has picked on our disclaimer that we appended to the post relating to the launching of Espresso. Fausto lectures us that any blog or opinion columnist worth his salt distinctively tows a particular political line. Which is true. Which is also what J'accuse does. I will never deny that j'accuse tows a very particular political agenda... It's own.

And that is where Thermidor got it all wrong. The mere fact that j'accuse's agenda coincides with that of a new journal that aims at creating a wider platform of expression beyond the folds of MLPN stained propaganda does not mean that j'accuse is suddenly an AD flag-waver.

We do not profess the "independence" of Orizzont or Torca style. No. We have an agenda that is ours and we will step into any area or medium that is convenient enough to plug that agenda. From divorce, to cheap travel, to greener policies, to getting rail to malta, to promiting the by now infamous third alternative.... we have our own mini manifesto that is not subject to any political party diktat.

The same applies to me personally (before J'Accuse existed). My endorsement of Arnold Cassola as EP candidate had very little to do with backing AD per se and very much to do with backing a like-minded candidate with the added bonus of pushing the third alternative agenda - which is not only mine but that of many others.

The difference between non-partisan, individual agenda and the yearning for that faux independence is that in our case we do not have to be apologists for no party. We do not feel compelled to justify ridiculous expenditures on Dar Malta (the price is expensive fullstop - I dn't care what Poland paid 10 years ago). We can criticise all and sundry... greens included (even on their own journal)...

... hell... we do not even hesitate to criticise the only blogger who deemed our blog worth nominating for the Malta Annual Blog Awards... How's that for non-partisan, real independence aye?


I'm back from a wonderful London trip full of food, theatre, Chinese New Year and Spamalot. Many short posts will be put up later today - all related to the trip - and we also have to catch up with a few posts that have appeared here and there featuring this great blog of ours. We have all the time in the world since we have been struck with 'la grippe' (hopefully not aviaire).

In the meantime I came across this editorial on the Times (monday edition). A pleasant editorial dealing with "Truth and Politics" and that seems to have been triggered off by Brian Hansford's declaration that he had to choose between politics and truth.

Funny, but I seem to have read all about this a good number of days earlier... now where could that have been? In any case... it's good to see this kind of argument being picked up by the Times... jolly good indeed.

* And in answer to Kenneth... I disagree - the Google "L" cannot be substituted by a short stub on the end of a strawberry covered in chocolate. It was too displaced to be a substitution. But really... do we really care?

jeudi, février 15, 2007

Brother Norbert fsc

Dear Brother Norbert has left us. I did not spend much time at Stella Maris College, only three years in fact, but in that short time Brother Norbert and his welcoming smile at the door left a great impression. I met him frequently on my visits to the College where my mum still works and recently his eyes used to light up whenever I mentioned the fact that I live so close to his beloved France (and only four hours drive from Lyon).

He has gone to join Brother Peter and Brother Philip - those brothers whose names stick out from my time at the College. The freres are not as conspicuous as the jesuits in the execution of their mission. I have no doubt that they too leave a long lasting mark on whoever is lucky enough to be blessed with their hardworking presence.

God Bless You Brother Norbert!

To fear death, gentlemen, is no other than to think oneself wise when one is not, to think one knows what one does not know. No one knows whether death may not be the greatest of all blessings for a man, yet men fear it as if they knew that is is the greatest of evils. And surely it is the most blameworthy ignorance to believe that one knows what one does not know. - Plato, The Apology, Socrates.

Osing It

I am one of the many people who uses Google at least once a day. If you are a like-minded internet user you would also know that Google regularly changes the look of its simple search page title in accordance to the particular event or celebration on a particular day. Yesterday, February 14th being St Valentine's many will have noticed the cute stylisation of the second G in google (see above) that was transformed into a chocolate wrapped strawberry. Very cutish as Hsejjes would say.

Many, including, myself would not have noticed that this particular version of the google title lacked the "L". Apparently this mistake lasted a whole day and was noticed by hundreds of bloggers who immediately asked "What is a Googe?"

Funny how sometimes the brain takes in a shape and assumes that it is always going to be the same and will ignore a missing particular. I know there are scientific studies about this... I just hope that you will notice that J'accuse will be missing from tomorrow through to Monday (inclusive) because I am off for a four-day visit to Londinium.

Don't be too naughty while I am gone and will someone please feed the godfish?

Be seeing you.

mercredi, février 14, 2007


Having postponed the officious Valentine's dinner by a couple of days (we'll be Shabu Shabu-ing our valentine treat in a Japanese resto in London) I plan to spend the evening in the company of two charming blondes and a couple of lobsters. A bit of joie de vivre and je ne sais quoi is obviously involved... in the meantime let me wish a Happy Valentine to all of you out there... whatever that really means.

Luxembourg Forest Stolen

From :

Forest Stolen

The police have appealed for information concerning a forest of trees that was reported missing yesterday.

The small forest "Glescht" near Mondorf lies about 1.5km from the road, and thieves drove up the laneway and helped themselves to 60 oak trunks which had been felled and stacked ready for transportation to a sawmill. The volume of wood is estimated at 90m3 which has a market value of 13,000 Euros.

The police suspect that the thieves used a car as well as a special transport lorry.

For information, contact the Mondorf police at tel: 24475-200.

Remember Dunsinane?

mardi, février 13, 2007

Malta Joins 'Axis of Evil'

BBC news reports that Italy has just foiled a plan to supply thousands of weapons to Iraqi insurgents. A routine drugs investigation unearthed a veritable weapons ring that moved weapons from Libya to Iraq (presumably through Malta).

J'accuse reports that the although White House was caught unawares by the news, preliminary investigations by Bush's Rapid Intelligence Unit (R.I.D.I.C.U.L.O.U.S) found that Malta is an island Republic in the middle of the Mediterranean. The search had taken slightly more time than usual since the relevant information had confusingly been filed under the heading "Mintoff".

When asked to comment, President Bush remarked that the US was still unsure whether to add Malta to the Axis of Evil - particularly because of its strategic importance in the production of beer. "The people of the island seem to be particularly friendly having recently practically donated a huge chunk of their territory for the construction of a new embassy." - added America's number 1 [omissis].

J'accuse can also the reveal that the Maltese government will shortly announce strict collaboration with its American friends and make sure that any criminals will be brought to justice - preferably on CIA planes - directly to America or Rumania.

Finally, J'accuse can also reveal that the BBC, CNN, NBC and others are closing in on a scoop that will reveal that most Iraqi insurgents were originally trained by US militia during the Iraq-Iran war and that most Iraqi weapons also originated from the US of A.

With friends like these....


* Picture: Maltese supremo Lawrence "Slick" Gonzi seen here posing with Austin "Powers" Gatt... the next faces of the Axis of Evil??

** Nota Bene: None of the information given above is verifiable. All sources are questionable. As we say in Maltese "Ma min rajtek xebbahtek".

[ASIDE] What's all this rubbish in the international news trying to portray Malta as an arms shifting country? Do we really need proof that we would know nothing about this kind of deal? I mean can you imagine if GHKNK (federation of hunters) got wind of this deal? Now how many of you would really bet that the AK 47s would really end up in Iraqi hands and not in those of some triggerhappy cacciatore? Give us a break will you?

Can't Be Bothered

From today's Times of Malta:

Return of Historical Items

No official requests were made in recent years for the return of items of historical importance taken away from Malta, Tourism and Culture Minister Francis Zammit Dimech said yesterday.

He was replying to a parliamentary question by Nationalist MP Franco Galea who asked if any contacts had been made for the return of items taken from Malta during the French and British occupations of Malta, specifically La Valette's sword which was taken to France.



dimanche, février 11, 2007

The Politics of Truth (contd.)

Some days ago I blogged about the relationship between politics, politicians and truth. Serenditipitous wanderings led me to an article in the UK Independent (no link - print edition) about Barak Obama - the latest obstacle to Hillary Clinton's quest for her husband's old seat. The article by Rupert Cornwell began with an interesting assertion that fits in nicely with the gist of what I had said in the previous post:

A gaffe, they say in politics, is when someone inadvertently blurts out the truth.

See you on Monday.

vendredi, février 09, 2007

Feasibly Possible

The two words in the title (feasibly possible) caught my attention this morning. I noticed that they seem to be a waste of words since as a matter of fact both words say the same thing. "Feasible" is doable... like "faisable" in French and "fattibile" in Italian. "Possible" means "can be done" as in "doable". See where I am going? Why do we say "feasibly possible" when "feasible" or "possible" could be enough.

I suspect that "possible" qualifies the moment of "feasibility" in a very subtle nuance. "Feasibly possible" thus becomes when the feasibility becomes possible - feasibily referring to whatever it is that should become doable and possible referring to the doability of the feasibility itself.

Right. That solved it. Maybe.

Now for an ad. This month sees the Official Launching of after some months of test publishing. Espresso has a clear green line behind it and is a sort of voice of alternattiva demokratika. No. I have not got a tessera yet... and will probably never do ... prefering to be a one-man influence on all changes possible (or feasible). Anyone questioning the independence of j'accuse should be comforted by the fact that I will write on any paper that allows added expression away from the nodes of power monopolised by they who must be elected at all costs.

So yes. The added benefit of espresso is that you will find a j'accuse column there once a week. Is there anything you could want more in life?

Ok. Ok. No need to answer that one.

Add espresso to your RSS feed or a be a conservative, status-quo-protecting, minority trouncing, wishy-washy, void-of-all-decision-making individual. Or just subscribe on the site itself. Reading new ideas never harmed anyone... until now it has not been feasibly possible to do so.

Short from the Court

Di-ve reports another case from Malta's criminal courts. We do not normally deal with this kind of story but two elements attracted our critical eye:

1. The name. JOSWIL. This should teach parents. Be careful what to call your offspring. You never know when they will get their few moments of fame... and to get caught with a name like that.

2. Then there was the guy who met Joswil outside the restaurant. The witness told the court that when he met Joswil outside he was "full of anger". Dear dear. So what does our witness decide to do? "He tried to calm him down by offering him a coffee but he then left." As usual di-ve regales us with a profligacy of "he"s to the point where we do not know if "he" is Joswil or the witness. Better than that is the genius of said witness. A coffee to calm someone down? Now that's one I had never heard before. He should have been jailed.

3. Do note how the girlfriend's surname changes from Bickle to Bickley half way through the story. A bit fickle don't you think?

jeudi, février 08, 2007

Violence is Stupid

In the early nineties (a nice way to say "around 1991") I used to write for the MZPN magazine for Gozo called "mill-Pjazza" (incidentally a name that inspired Lou to name his eponymous programme - though he would never admit it). Following my clashes with Fr. Cilia at Saint Aloysius' College because of controversial articles I penned in the magazine of the now defunct Ghaqda Liberali Riformista (Lehnek!), "mill-Pjazza" provided me with a second experience facing people who manifestly disagree with what you write.

In the case of Fr. Cilia I (and my Liberal colleagues) had been threatned with expulsion should we continue to disseminate such liberal filth in the hallowed corridors of Jesuit establishments. The treatment reserved to me in Gozo was rather more direct. Having written an article criticising the "sport" of hunting I was the target of a couple of empty beer bottles thrown in my direction while I was attempting to get to my favourite pastizzi place - it-Tapie, in St Francis Square, Victoria.

No matter how far I stretch my limits of tolerance I fail to see anything positive around hunters and hunting in general. To me they remain a step before the great leap to the age of Homo Sapiens. Forget about hunter to hunter gatherer to tesserat tal-partit. They jut got blocked at phase one. Some time last week Espresso had come out with a story uncovering messages of violence on the internet forum of the Malta Federation of Hunters. Today's Times reports that the police are following up on the matter and also interviews Lino Farrugia (Secretary. Hunter's Federation).

Here's what the hunting head honcho had to say when asked to react to messages inciting the use of arms (one message reminded hunters that they are all armed and more numerous than police and soldiers put together)....

"People are angry, they cannot be treated this way and we intend speaking about this on Thursday, (...) It's an expression of anger... no I don't see it as being problematic".

Incredible isn't it. This guy leads a lobby group of 7000 people. He is not a man enough to distance himself from the hotheads within his group. No. They are not the problem he says. It is the law that tries to reign in the animal side of our behaviour that is the problem. It is unfair. You have to understand them he will tell you... they would not be angry if they got what they wanted.

Across the channel another lazy government (the last in a series of governments) has finally woken up to the stupidity of giving in to hooligans, teppisti and violent numbskulls. The new measures should improve il Calcio (though much still needs to be done). Even there we had an idiot like Matarrese saying that deaths are part of the game and that the show must go on. Even there it was a case of a few hotheads thinking they are stronger than the law because they too can be armed.

How long before everybody realises violence is stupid? Whether it is Lehnek!, mill-Pjazza,, J'Accuse or any other medium we will keep on repeating that mantra...

Violence is stupid.

mercredi, février 07, 2007

The True Bandwagon

Interviewed in the Times today, former MLP executive member Brian Hansford states that his decision to bow out of politics and concentrate on his work in the media came at a time when he had to choose between "truth and politics". Nothing new under the sun – it is not only those who like myself endlessly complain about the value void of power-mongering politics, who are aware of this huge crater that has slowly been created. More and more politicians seem to accept the status quo of opportunistic policies, populistic (not always popular) decision making and pacts with the devil's cousin's uncle as being the best way to move. To move – not necessarily forward – but to move on in a battle to occupy the middleground that automatically promotes you as the supposed leader of the country.

"Truth in politics" has always been a euphemism for the "politics of truth", let us not kid ourselves. It was not Mintoff, Mifsud Bonnici, Fenech Adami, Sant or Gonzi who discovered it one fine summer day in Castille. The politics of truth is a game that is as old as politics itself. That is why the person running a National Statistics Office is a crucial pawn in the great battlefield of political truth. You know how it goes… Lies, Damned Lies and Political Party Propaganda… or something like that.

We just have the feeling that the changing face of society has forced the political machines to badly adapt themselves to change. They honed their propaganda machines and polished their spinning and while the new ranks were fed with the most gullible and apologetic lot ever to have mumbled the word partitarju even the old ranks began to believe their own lie. From Bush to Blair to Berlusconi to the people closer to home the new breed of politics is just a very badly recycled old system. New Labour and Surviving Nationalist is nothing more than a regurgitating of old spin channelled through monopolised media and fed to the most gullible – just the right amount to keep out the free thinking persons who want to live in the twenty-first century.

Any threat to this 'hegemony of the stupefying' is quickly countered by a block resistance that mutates in such petty exercises as toying with electoral standards. Thinking different is not an option. Those who do try will be accused of "riding on everybody's bandwagon (and) falling short of saying how (they) would implement what (they) talk about."

To the old guard talking about l-ambjent is still "riding on the bandwagon". To them raising awareness about overdevelopment and excessive building practices is "riding on the bandwagon". To them the right to choose between divorce and separation is the activity of the liberal corrupt. To them the idea of obliging parties to clearly show their sources of funding is a load of claptrap. To them these liberals are oversimplifying the complex and convoluted aspects of politics that would better be left to the experts with a pedigree… to them politics is for the chosen advocates who have a monopoly on truth, on the government and ultimately on the people themselves.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who, when presented with a glass that is exactly half full, say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" – Terry Pratchett, The Truth

lundi, février 05, 2007


So much to blog about but so little time to do so. Or maybe I cannot get my ideas in order with this virus freeriding my body. So I have decided to piggyback onto a post I liked... and which spoke about something that I wanted to blog about myself. Ladies and gentlemen:

Neebother asks for ideas.

samedi, février 03, 2007

Satire at Last

Regular readers of this blog will surely be familiar with our strong belief in all things satirical. In the distant past of the Maltese blogosphere we had our own share of tiffs with those who did not savour the satirical pill too well. Anyways, bygones are bygones and we applaud the decision of the chairman of the National Folklore Commission to reintroduce satire in the national carnival. I used to look at pre-1936 carnival floats with envy - they wasted no opportunity to satirise the politicians of the moment... let us hope that this careful step ushers in a new moment wherein we learn a little more about laughing about ourselves.

Elsewhere a Thermidor moment pokes fun at the Green's aim of 2,000 votes in one district. The Greens become a little practical about their electoral aims and Thermidor goes ballistic. A marked contrast with the deafening silence which shrouded the MLPN agreement on Elections and all things Duopolistic. And since when does mixing national thresholds with districtual ones become a sensible statistical exercise?

Of course it exists Fausto... it's just that you choose (conveniently) to be too blind to see it.

Mediterranean Weaknesses

Went to see my doctor this morning. Seems that I have a virus. It also turns out that since I am a "mediterranean type" I am more exposed to such viruses than the Luxembourgers who have become immune to them by now. I would have thought that three years in the Duchy would have sufficed for the body to decide what new immunities it should develop. Anyways... the sun is shining outside so I am NOT staying inside... will sleep off any sickness during the night but the day is for enjoying.

"Sun is shining.... weather is sweet"

vendredi, février 02, 2007


Don't you just hate it when you get that sickness feeling on Friday afternoon? You have just managed to scrape to a heavy working week and the weekend you have been looking forward to is just a few minutes away... suddenly the alarm lights are ringing - that whistling in your ear, that feverish feeling, that nausea and those weak muscles.

Great. This must mean a weekend in. Guess I will break the no blogging on a weekend rule in that case.

BTW I've changed the pic in the banner. It's taken by Mel.... people skating on the ice rink in Central Park, NY. Changed the one in Kinnie & Twistees too... that's my dad, somewhere near Verdun.

jeudi, février 01, 2007

Liberals of the Island Unite

The promise that Norman Hamilton's column seemed to show in its first appearance in the Times seems to have considerably dissipated. Between Eurovision voting quandaries, weighty considerations about Manwel Dimech Bridge, underqualified radio presenters and a drawl about some book he is reading (summarised by giving us a list of the main characters) there is little to pick on other than the emptiness of the column itself. We could have done without this new addition to the galaxy of opinion writers writing for the esteemed paper.

Which gives me some space to point out a brilliant article by Daphne in the Indy. Incidentally the Indy rarely has more than one opinion column per edition... a stress on quality vs quantity, no doubt. I liked all Daphne's article - from start to finish - especially since there is no attack on Gozo and Gozitanness (or Gozitanity), but I do believe that the conclusion merits reproduction right here (in case you are lazy enough not to read the whole thing):

A government that wants to keep Malta a paradise for bird-shooters, for anti-divorce Catholics of the mealy-mouthed by-the-book variety, and for foetus-fetishists, is a backward-looking one. In seeking to maintain Maltese society in a state of retardation, the government is going to create a massive schism where previously there was homogeneity of sorts. The Maltese who want to live secular modern lives in a Malta that is part of contemporary Europe will wrench themselves away from those who cling to a misguided nostalgia for a mythical island and a way of life that exists only in their imagination.

There never was a blissful past in Malta, just as there never was one anywhere else in Europe. The present is by far the more wonderful, comfortable, convenient, secure, safe and amusing. If we go with it, it can only get better. But we can’t do so as long as the bird-shooters, rosary-fingerers and foetus-frenzied are clinging to our coat-tails and dragging us down. The only way to shake them off is with a pair of scissors to cut them loose, and that, of course, is where the schism starts. The division of the future is not going to be the old one between Labour and Nationalist, but the new one between the liberals who want to inhabit the contemporary world and the illiberal who want to remain denizens of a non-existent past. You mark my words. It’s happening already.

My highlighting of course. The real pity is that in all probability more people will be worried about the fact that the final round of the Song for Europe will only have televoting than about anything that Daphne has to write about.


mercredi, janvier 31, 2007

Gozo Ladies' Circle

In the bygone days of social philantropy where hobnobbing and charity went hand in hand and when the development of one's very own coterie depended on the discovery of a just cause for which to raise funds, in those halcyon days, Ladies' Circles were foremost in this noble activity of dosh-dishing. The Lions' Club never really developed the Lions' Maids (would have been quite a story) but I did find that these organisations had a slightly male chauvinist approach to society. The men were busy Presiding, Secretary Generalling and all that while the Ladies would be a-bakin' the cakes so that later they could be manning the sales stands and raise those few pennies for the paupers.

This unequal distribution of tasks between the males and females of this species persisted right through the eighties and early nineties and has a surviving element with the President's wife's role in the national charity. While President whoever goes about Presiding (which from a distance seems to imply sitting on a funny chair in St. John's Co-C. whenever some big mass is being said) the wife of said President is dragged into the social scene in the Community Chest Fund.

Anyways. After this interesting observation I feel confident enough to inform you that I do not remember what kicked off this rant in the first place. Consider it a morning tick that just came to me when I read di-ve's news item stating that Mme Giovanna Debono has declared 2007 an outstanding year for Gozo. Long gone (by a century or so) are the days when someone could confidently state that Mme Debono's would better serve the country a-bakin' than a-minsterin' (and thank G for that). Less distant are the days when the hypocrytical division of labour hid behind the face of charitable enterprises conjured up for the bakers to bake and sell.

So what? So what I am saying in a most convoluted way is that in the politically correct, emancipated 2000s we can only disagree with mme GD. - without implying anything further. Mme GD is happy that Gozo will have an outstanding year. Why?

1. The hospital will get a better dining room and thus health services on the island will be improved.

2. More courses for Gozitan citizens at the Gozo ministry (expect a Daphne remark about the Bachelor's Degree in Dog Mutilation for Farmers)

3. Then there's the funny one. "Referring to developments of the physical environment of the island" GD tells us that many of the main roads will be given attention (including Ramla Road). Some Nationalist ministers still believe that by throwing in the word "environment (ambjent)" they can get away with anything. While road resurfacing is a welcome activity it is not exactly environmental in the green sense of the word.

Having concluded the whirlwind view of the projects for an outstanding year for Malta Giovanna adds that these are only highlights of the projects that are inline for Gozo. Scary isn't it? I mean the island's economy is not exactly flourishing, the transporation to and within the island is a disgrace and the only thing the Minister can come up with is flower pots in roundabouts and a dining room for the sick. Much as I admire the verve with which GD had taken on the political fortunes of the island that deserves a party of its own I am afraid that ideas have long run dry in the island of strange occurrences.

An intelligent green business plan linking all sectors of the economy and an even greener would have been more of a boon for Gozo. It's not that opportunities are not lacking.

Daphne seems to have that permanent chip about Gozo. Giovanna does not seem to have any concrete ideas for improvement. So much for the Gozo Ladies' Circle!

P.S. And for that wonderful leap into 21st century womanhood read this letter from Veronica Berlusconi to her husband - published today in La Repubbica.

mardi, janvier 30, 2007

Adopt-a-Gay (Take One Get Two)

A Maltastar blunder kicks off this chilly Tuesday. The title "Gay couples to be considered for adoption" struck me as a tad bit inaccurate. Apart from the childish attempt at making its Maltese readers believe for one second that this referred to Malta and not to the UK, the title seems to imply that we could soon be able to adopt a gay couple of our choice... hmmmm.

lundi, janvier 29, 2007

Dilemma Solved

Back home after heavy workday. To cook or to blog? Easy.

Caramelised Eel with sushi rice on the way.

Sorry. Back tomorrow.

dimanche, janvier 28, 2007

Jack and the Beangrowers

I know it's a bit like cheating... but here's a message that I received from Alison of Beangrowers fame:

Hi we're Beangrowers

yep, that band from Malta.

after releasing our first 2 albums in Germany ,
we finally managed, on our 3rd album to get that
very important record deal in the UK.

since January 2007 (in the UK) charts are compiled weekly according to internet downloads.

This is were u come in!

Help us be the 1st maltese band ever to get in the UK charts!!
(even a top 40 would be an absolute dream!)

This is how it works:
Tell all your friends (Il-Maltin kollha!! :) ) about it, and then :
All of u have to buy (sorry, but it's the only way, only 79p!!)
our single I LIKE YOU from between 30.1.07 and 3.2.07
(but even in the weeks after it will count also)

and Maltese Music will be in the UK charts..!!!

it doesnt take too many people as long as they all buy it in the same week.
(only buys from within the UK are counted)

Thanks so much for your support and spread the word !

Ian , Mark & Alison (Beangrowers) (search beangrowers I LIKE YOU)


Seedily Yours