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Archive for June, 2013

LordSnowdon

LONDON, BREAKING: Sources say that US security forces may be planning the extraordinary rendition of Anthony Armstrong-Jones, aka Lord Snowdon, as frustration grows over failures to net the famous NSA leaker, Edward Snowden.

“We’re getting desperate for a win here”, muttered our source.

“The bosses want us to get Snowden and they don’t care how we do it”.

“Right now nobody is gonna poop their pants over a small matter like spelling, or whether it’s the right man”

“It’s never bothered us before and now is no time to go rewriting policy”.

Extraordinary rendition

Edward Snowden is presently believed to be somewhere airside in Moscow airport. Although nobody is absolutely certain.

The uncertainty, coupled with being in international territory, make a CIA snatch hard to pull off.

“We are clean out of wigs and false moustaches”, explained a security source. We are rushing supplies over from Langley, but honestly we were not prepared.

The 83 year old Lord Snowdon, meanwhile, is considered much easier to locate, and probably less likely to put up a struggle.

“We put the extraordinary into extraordinary rendition” added our informant, who refused to contact us by phone or online because … well, let’s say he was reluctant.

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Spouses To Have Widespread Powers Of Veto

StopSign

Married and Civil Partners in Britain are to be given widespread powers over their spouses in future, as legislation is revised.

The decision comes as Ministers and Civil Servants become aware of the possibilities, currently being piloted for the partners of transgender people in the Same Sex Marriage Bill.

“We’d never thought of doing this before”, said an excited mandarin. However, now we’ve tried the idea we think it has so many possibilities.

Gender recognition

The proposals being tested in the Same Sex Marriage legislation give spouses a power of veto over whether a transgender partner can have legal recognition of a change of gender.

“We thought the option of divorcing your partner if you don’t like their change just wasn’t enough”, a source explained. “There isn’t the potential to really f*** up the other’s life”.

“Giving them a veto within the marriage is much more effective”, they added.

Social control

“There are lots of things we would rather the public shouldn’t do” added another official, who requested anonymity.

“If we go around making laws to stop people doing things then we get the bleeding heart liberals down our necks, complaining about civil rights”.

“But give a wife or husband the same sort of powers and people seem to be really cool about it. They like the control”.

“We really haven’t scratched the surface with this yet”, he added with a smile.

Precedent

Spousal approval is not a new idea. Women in Britain were at one time not allowed to enter some kinds of financial transactions, such as hire purchase agreements, without a signature from their husband.

That changed with the Consumer Credit Act of 1974. Some officials still think that was a mistake. Since then, married (and then civil) partners have had no formal say over the autonomous decisions of their spouses. If they really didn’t like something it was probably time to end the relationship.

Other countries believe in more control. In some middle eastern countries a wife must have permission from her husband to obtain a passport or leave the country. British officials look wistful as we discuss the examples.

Roll out

“Look, we won’t rush this”, I was assured. “But we are encouraged by how few people have been concerned about letting husbands or wives control their transgender partners”.

“That’s illuminating. We’ll start simple and work up”.

Officials are believed to be toying with the idea of starting with formal processes, like applying for passports or driving licenses.

“People will have a view on whether their partners should be mobile. A lot of marital problems stem from people going off gallivanting. The focus groups suggest that’ll be quite popular.”

“Then there are football season tickets”. It won’t be all that inconvenient for partners to countersign application forms to show their approval.”

“Job applications are another possibility. That’s really important in a relationship. You might not want your partner going after a better job or one that involves them going away more. We think this will help hard working families.”

“After that we’ll probably have a review … do some consultation … see what appetite there is for more”.

“We’ve got a team brainstorming whether we could apply it to families and not just partners. Parents might like more control. Some miss it when their children reach eighteen or leave home. We could have them endorsing loans and mortgages. Maybe even vetoing marriages or civil partnerships”

“If it catches on then we won’t need to legislate in any case. Folks will just presume to control those around them.”

“This is the next big thing in social control”

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Radical Musicians Angrily Reject White ‘Slur’

Piano

Members of the ‘radical’ C-Major musicians movement are reportedly in uproar this week. They are angry at having their notes described as ‘White’.

“I find the term “white” simply offensive, explained one member of the movement, Sissy Scale, speaking outside the annual #RadMaj2013 conference in London.

“Describing our notes as “white” implies that half tones are just normal and alternative sounds”, she added, eyes blazing in anger.

“Our notes are just normal. Normal things don’t need adjectives to describe them.”

“Calling my friend G ‘white’ is like implying that her black neighbours are equally valid.”

“It’s as bad as calling non-homosexuals ‘heterosexual’ or calling non-trans people ‘cis-gender’.

Age old

The argument over what’s normal and not normal in terms of pitch is not new. Historians cite Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Well-Tempered Clavier” (1722) as the touchstone for a movement among progressive musicians, intent on proving that scales based on notes other than ‘C’ were capable of performing the same tunes.

The fashion for basing music on these other scales also gave rise to a movement among black notes, seeking genuine equality.

This was no minor issue. The arguments struck many chords.

As society became more aware of tonal diversity, people even became more accepting of transposers … those who change from the white to the black notes, either permanently or part of the time.

Polychromatic

“Tone is not simply a binary”, explains historian and campaigner Ebony Keys.

“The idea that a tune is born in C-Major (say) and that that is their destiny is clearly old hat”.

“So is the idea that white notes should only blend with their own kind”, she adds.

“The musical is political”.

“The seventies were a big time for discovery and experimentation in the musical liberation movement … synthesisers and the rediscovery of ethnic music, such as in India, opened a vista in which notes could change themselves … white into black, black into white, or indeed places in-between”.

Breakaway

Not all musicians felt comfortable with the vista opened up by the equality movement in the seventies though. Some formed breakaway factions insisting the very opposite of what the evidence suggested.

Among these were the ‘radical’ C-major movement, who claimed to want to overthrow the oppressiveness of conventional keyboards but were uncomfortable with some of the implications.

Notes that had gone flat were ejected from the movement, sparking divisions that still continue.

The C-Majors were very influential for decades … their thinking was embraced by many respected musical commentators without challenging the ambiguities.

Generations have enjoyed the products of black notes and minor keys, whilst still tacitly regarding them as ‘other’ or inferior.

Slow progression

Progression has been slow and many sharp notes are still struck abusively.

However, the days of the C-Majors are thought to be numbered now, with many reasonable audiophiles having turned their backs, appalled by the discordant notes struck in their name.

For now, however, the clashes between neighbouring notes seem likely to persist.

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