Inside the home of “fake news”

Last Tuesday, I visited the CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. I don’t have any great insight on CNN Center which will interest LDV readers, except to say that it is absolutely humungous, gives the impression of being an extremely professional organisation and, if you’re ever within striking distance of Atlanta, I would thoroughly recommend a tour.

I booked well in advance for a “VIP tour”. This is a few more dollars than a standard tour and you see a few more control rooms and studios. It is to CNN’s credit that they organise such tours. You can no longer have a tour of the BBC studios in London. Continue reading

Can you guess what this parliamentary appurtenance is?

In the UK, we’re used to elements of the Palace of Westminster reflecting past goings-on. The two sides of the House of Commons are seperated by enough space to accomodate the length of two swords. And there are little red silk loops for each MP to hang their sword in outside the chamber. Continue reading

Nigel Farage proves that he is the ultimate media tart

My photo, taken last week, of the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery, through the water of the fountain in Court Square, where Black slaves were bought and sold.
I have to say that the news that Nigel Farage is backing an extreme right-wing candidate in a Republican primary (mark that: it’s a party primary – not even a general election!) in Alabama, USA takes secure possession of a whole plethora of biscuits. Does this man stop at nothing to get some media coverage?

I was in Alabama this time last week, so I feel the urge to comment on this, if not having the qualification of detailed knowledge of the situation.

First of all, Farage is taking no risks here. Roy Moore, the candidate he is speaking for tonight, is going to win the Republican nomination for the US Senate seat which was vacated by Jeff Sessions when he became US Attorney General. So Farage is saddling up on a horse which is already going to win. Continue reading

Lessons on North Korea from history

A recent visit to the Korean War Veterans’ Memorial in WEST Potomac Park, Washington DC was very memorable. “DC” as they call it is rammed with memorials. Of all the ones I saw on my recent visit, the Korean War one was certainly the most moving. There is a wall where the images of those involved in the war are sand-blasted, plus some sculptures of troops on a recce (see my photo above).

Nearly three million people lost their lives in the Korean War from 1950-53. I doubt whether anything would be achieved by a repeat performance (which is what we seem headed for at the moment). Indeed, I suspect that Kim Jong-Un wants a repeat, given that his grandfather came badly unstuck in the process.

In Sunday’s New York Times, Blaine Harden wrote:

…deep in his dictatorial DNA, Kim Jong-un surely knows the risk of provoking a full-scale war with the United States. It did not go well for his family the last time around. During the Korean War (1950-53), his grandfather — Great Leader Kim Il-sung — cowered in bunkers as American bombs flattened his cities and legions of his people died.

There is also guidance from history as to how perhaps to bring about a peace accord with the North Koreans. When I visited the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta, Georgia, last Wednesday, I read a board which said this:

In the early 1990s, nations around the world feared that North Korea was determined to possess nuclear fuel that would be used for nuclear weapons. The United States had no direct communications with North Korean leaders and threatened economic sanctions. North Korea responded that sanctions might lead to war. In June 1994 President Carter and Rosalynn travelled to North Korea, helped avoid a confrontation, and began talks that led to a new agreement between the United States and North Korea.

The agreement referred to was the “Agreed Framework“. And it should be noted that “President Carter” was not President in 1994 – Bill Clinton was. (Americans use former job titles for people for the remainder of their lives).

But those words are uncannily similar to the current situation.

Surely there is a need for some sort of moderator to open discussions with North Korea. If not the US Secretary of State, why not a recently former President, or, at the very least, Dennis Rodman? The former basketball seems to be the only American which Kim Jong-In is talking to these days.

President John F. Kennedy continues to inspire, 100 years after his birth

My photo above shows President John F. Kennedy’s beloved sailing boat, Victura, with his eponymous museum to the left and Boston’s harbour and city skyline in the background.

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is holding a special exhibition called “JFK 100 – Milestones and Mementos” to mark the centennial of the great man’s birth. Continue reading

A belter of a TV programme on the family history of Noel Clarke

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Back in August, I waxed lyrcially about the history which is reflected regularly in the BBC programme “Who do you think you are?”. I feel compelled to return to the subject, given the sheer awesomeness of the last episode in the current run of this BBC series. Continue reading

The drugs which kill the most have been legalised for centuries, so how will legalising cannabis make much difference?

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It was good to hear Vince recently confirm his whole-hearted support for our policy of legalising cannabis. I also fully support the policy, which is actually quite a “baby step” when you consider the plethora of drugs readily available today – with more becoming available (including via the internet to one’s postbox) by the day. Continue reading