You know the story of Van Halen and the brown M&Ms right? That their gig contracts in the 1980s included a clause saying the backstage area should be kept clear of brown M&Ms was not some kind of privileged rock n roll excess, but a more prosaic safety matter, inserted into the paperwork as a test to … More Trump’s spelling and brown M&Ms
Apple Removes New York Times Apps From Its Store in China http://nyti.ms/2hTHtWd This is one of the many reasons why I avoid Apple. The company’s central control may keep software and hardware in sync, giving a more reliable product often, but it means it has too much power over what users can use. See also the … More NYTimes: Apple Removes New York Times Apps From Its Store in China
I wrote this in September 2011, as the Libyan regime of Col Gaddafi collapsed, and calls for intervention in Syria began. At the time, the interventionists were on a high. But the conditions that made action in Libya attractive were very different to the conditions in Syria, for reasons I bullet-pointed…. (I have no link as … More Something must be done in Syria. But what?
The finger pointers began coming to Trump Tower in 2004. Donald Trump was making the transition from property mogul to TV celebrity in The Apprentice, and fans would head to his iconic skyscraper on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. There they would point an index finger at the 58-storey tower (where the top floor is labelled 68) and … More Will America follow suit?
I don’t know much about Belgium. But it is extraordinary the way so many terror plots have the country at their heart – or at least some passing acquaintance. There’s a list here. But why? Well Tony Judt wrote this in the NYRB way back in 1999. Plenty of people have been flagging it up on Twitter. Is … More Why Belgium?
Using the term genocide is frequently the last resort of agencies that have run out of ideas. It can do more harm than good – as readers of this blog will know only too well. And now it is being deployed in relation to Burundi. Kate Cronin-Furman and MIchael Broache have this useful overview… Inaccurate understandings … More The G word in Burundi
A lot of guff has been written about the Islamic State in Afghanistan, propelled by local officials keen to keep Western money (and US soldiers) coming and Middle East analysis that fails to take account of South Asian factors. This piece offers a useful corrective, while considering Mullah Mansoor’s status and challenges as head of … More Islamic State in Afghanistan