From the monthly archives:

August 2012

#535: 1974, Randy Newman, Louisiana 1927

August 31, 2012

The last song I posted was in anticipation of Hurricane Isaac hitting Louisiana. Now it is over, and New Orleans is girding its loins to put things in order. The investment in the levee system did its work: without that, this could well have been an other Katrina. Not because of the strength of the […]

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The Crisis Within Our Criminal Justice System

August 31, 2012

In the last few days, in the course of conversations with various people, I’ve heard a number of rather worrying anecdotes – first, a solicitor from the Crown Prosecution Service told me about the massive cuts that have been made to the organisation that prosecutes crimes – over a third of all staff are being […]

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Mr East Goes To The Movies: Nostalgia For The Light

August 31, 2012

I was hoping while on holiday to post my reviews of all four films I saw but that I hadn’t managed to do in the hectic weeks before going away.    Unfortunately the wifi connection in my hotel in Greece has proven to be every bit as iffy as the Greek economy.   As a result this […]

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#534:1987, That Petrol Emotion, Swamp

August 30, 2012

The month of August ends with us lads from Allthatsleft in very different predicaments – Bobby is so stressed he’s gone back to sleep; George is living it up mixing with celebs on some fancy Greek island; whilst, poor Jackie has taken his role as ATL roving American reporter to another level, and finds himself […]

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USA Journal 2012 #12: New Orleans

August 30, 2012

New Orleans Louisiana’s 2nd congressional district I wrote in the last post in my series covering my travels around the South of the US that I would pay a shortened trip to New Orleans and get out again before the hurricane became an issue. As you may have gathered, the getting out again part didn’t […]

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West Midlands Boundary Changes Part 5: Warwickshire (including Coventry and Solihull)

August 29, 2012

For the fifth and final instalment in our series on the proposed constituency boundary changes in the West Midlands we turn to Warwickshire, including the metropolitan boroughs of Coventry and Solihull.  Those two boroughs are in the West Midlands metropolitan county, which has been considered together with Warwickshire proper in the Boundary Commission’s review, and […]

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#533: 2004, The Hold Steady, Killer Parties

August 29, 2012

With Jackie South stuck in New Orleans as a result of Hurricane Isaac and the Republicans in the middle of their convention in Tampa in this US presidential election year, this song came to mind as in the summer of 2008 in the run up to the last Presidential election Jackie South and I were […]

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Clegg’s ‘Emergency Tax’: posturing at its worst?

August 29, 2012

Call me a chamais faced grumpy old cynic if you like, but, I’m far from impressed by Nick Clegg’s sudden call for an emergency tax hike on the rich. Now, don’t get me wrong – I want to be impressed, I want to think to myself, good old Lib-Dems putting equality alongside economic necessity, showing […]

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West Midlands Boundary Changes Part 4: Birmingham

August 28, 2012

For the fourth post in our series looking at the proposed constituency boundary changes in the West Midlands, we turn to Birmingham. Birmingham currently has ten constituencies, nine of which include the city’s name and a tenth named for Sutton Coldfield.  The current representation and winning margins are indicated in the map below. As we […]

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#532: 1977, Neil Young, Like a Hurricane

August 27, 2012

Given where I am at the moment, there were only two songs I could really pick. I’ve already posted one in the past, so over to Neil Young.  Wish me luck…

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USA Journal 2012 #11: Louisiana

August 27, 2012

Baton Rouge Louisiana’s 6th congressional district For the eleventh installment in my journal travelling around the US South in election year, I have reached Louisiana, just as (currently) Tropical Storm Isaac looks to be about to do the same.  Naturally enough, it is the all-encompassing story in the New Orleans Times-Picayune (my favourite US paper […]

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Tories and Blairites Unite: The Strange Story of The Warring Eds

August 27, 2012

Yesterday The Independent carried a column by their regular political columnist and Tony Blair biographer, John Rentoul, entitled ‘Forget Dave and George.  The Real Story is The Two Eds’. Rentoul’s piece is curious indeed.   He first refers to the ONS upgrade of the Q2 GDP figures from -0.7% to  ‘only -0.5%’,  implying that this is […]

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USA Journal 2012 #10: We’re goin’ to Jackson…

August 27, 2012

… look out Jackson town! Jackson Mississippi’s 2nd 3rd congressional district A briefer entry in our journal today, from Mississippi’s capital. Jackson is a weirdly empty place at the weekend, and seems a lot smaller than its 230,000 inhabitants would suggest: walking down the main road in downtown felt post-apocalyptically deserted.  The late, great Johnny […]

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West Midlands Boundary Changes Part 3: The Black Country

August 27, 2012

This is the third in our series looking at the impact of the Boundary Commission’s proposals for parliamentary constituencies. The Commission has grouped all of the West Midlands metropolitan county and Warwickshire together in its review, a total of 34 constituencies currently. This is too much to cover in a single post, so we are […]

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#531: 2004, The Czars, Paint The Moon

August 26, 2012

I suppose it could have been Fly Me to the Moon, or Man on the Moon, or Walking on the Moon, or Harvest Moon, or The Killing Moon, or Moon River, or Blue Moon, or Bad Moon Rising, or Moonshadow or Ticket to the Moon, or Moondance, or even New Moon on Monday.  It was […]

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Week 34: Hero – Neil Armstrong

August 26, 2012

This week our hero award goes to Neil Armstrong. This week a true hero died.     While spoilt for choice for villains and prats, we were struggling to identify a nominee for our hero award this week, finding little inspiration from the week’s events.  But with the sad news this weekend of Neil Armstrong’s death […]

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Week 34: Villain – Mitt Romney

August 26, 2012

This Week’s Villain of the Week is Republican Presidential Contender…Mitt Romney US politics has a grim history of race baiting and dog whistle strategies which play to the fears of white America.    From Richard Nixon’s southern strategy in 1968, Reagan’s attack on ‘welfare mothers’, through to the Bush Sr campaign’s notorious Willie Horton attack ad […]

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Week 34: Prat – Congressman Todd Akin

August 26, 2012

This week, our award for the most spectacular prattishness of the last seven days goes to Missouri Congressman and Senate-hopeful Todd Akin This time last week, if you had heard of congressman Todd Akin at all, it would have been as the anti-abortion Republican favourite to win the senate race in Missouri later this year. […]

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#530: 1964, The Zombies, She’s Not There

August 25, 2012

I’m not away in the sun, enjoying a few tracks of a great tune whilst sipping a pre-dinner gin and tonic before a night clubbing. I’m at bloody home, having had a frankly, disappointing Chinese take-away from the new place that’s opened up in town, and Mrs North has made me watch the fecking X-Factor, […]

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So what exactly is rape?

August 25, 2012

In the last week, we’ve heard a number of politicians talk about rape. First off, was brainless Republican, Todd Akin, who appears to think that there is something called, ‘legitimate rape’ – what on earth does that mean? Is there also an ‘illegitimate rape? Is he suggesting that sometimes non-consensual sex can be legitimate? Then, […]

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USA Journal 2012 #9: Mississippi

August 24, 2012

Clarksdale Mississippi’s 2nd congressional district For the ninth in my series of posts from the USA in election year, I have reached the Delta region of the Mississippi, the pancake-flat alluvial plains formed by the continual flooding and new courses of the Mississippi River that stretch between Memphis and Vicksburg. That makes it fertile earth, that led […]

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#529: 2008, Calexico, Two Silver Trees

August 24, 2012

My last Song To Learn and Sing was one which makes me think of long hot summer days.  A song which matched my mood flying out of Gatwick on a swelteringly hot morning for two relaxing weeks away in Santorini, Greece.   Even if that weather was not going to last in the UK, I […]

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Mr East Goes To The Movies: The Hunter

August 24, 2012

While I am away I thought I would try to catch up with a few film reviews that I didn’t get a chance to post in the few manic weeks before my holiday.   Unfortunately I have had to deal with a shockingly unreliable WiFi connection in my hotel in Greece and so it has been […]

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Benefit Fraudsters – are we prosecuting the right people?

August 24, 2012

This week, in the course of my day job, I sat down opposite a single mother, in her thirties, who had never been in any trouble in her life but who had found herself at the wrong end of an indictment containing numerous counts of theft and failing to declare a change in circumstances – […]

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#528: 2012, John Stone, Mama and Budweiser

August 23, 2012

The reliably unreliable Bobby West isn’t able to post his song today, so I get to post a song a day early – which I am a little unprepared for. As you will have read, I’m in Nashville at the moment and being thoroughly immersed in Country.  There are few things better than an evening […]

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USA Journal 2012 #8: Tennessee

August 23, 2012

Nashville Tennessee’s fifth congressional district For the eighth installment in my series of posts as I travel around the US in this election year, I’m in Music City. It is hard to believe that it has been five years since George East and I had a couple of nights carousing through the music bars of Nashville.  What’s […]

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Half of Lib-Dems want Nick Clegg to resign before the next election: how did it all go wrong?

August 22, 2012

A poll by Lib-Dem Voice has revealed that almost half of Lib-Dems want Nick Clegg to resign before the next general election – which does beg the question, what do the other half want? Father Christmas to come and bring them a big bags of toys? The tooth fairy to leave them a shiny coin […]

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West Midlands Boundary Changes Part 2: Staffordshire

August 22, 2012

For the second in our series looking at the impact of the proposed constituency boundary changes in the West Midlands, we turn to Staffordshire.  The current constituencies, including an indication of the majority for the winning party in 2010, are shown below. Staffordshire currently has twelve constituencies, with an average electorate of 70,094: below the […]

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#527: 1999, The Mescaleros, Yalla Yalla

August 21, 2012

In my mind, there are certain people who just shouldn’t be dead. Perhaps its because their deaths were so unexpected, so unhinted at, that I feel a bit cheated, as though I’ve been personally deprived of them. John Peel is in this group, so is Bobby Moore; Robin Cook is another – but, most of […]

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USA Journal 2012 #7: Louisville

August 21, 2012

Louisville Kentucky’s 3rd congressional district Leaving Lexington, I have travelled west through the horse-breeding hills and bourbon stills of central Kentucky to the state’s largest city, on the banks of the Ohio.  I’m in Louisville. Not Louie-ville, and certainly not Lewis-ville.  It’s pronounced ‘Luhr-vul’.  When I got of the train in Cincinnati all bleary-eyed in […]

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