“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Archive for March 10th, 2011

John Galliano And Bourgeois Taboos.

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Eamonn McDonagh has a good piece on fashion, fashionistas and those who defend John Galliano:

“She doesn’t deny that Galliano expressed admiration for Hitler and wished death on people he believed to be Jews but chooses to divert attention from and minimize the importance of this with irrelevant blather of various sorts. By the tone and content of her remarks she also indicates that her admiration for Galliano has not been diminished by his having revealed himself to be a gross racist and enthusiast for killing Jews.

Of course Oloixarac might respond by saying “Oh that was just John being John, being provocative. No one can possibly believe that he really has anything against Jews, those were just words, and he’s an artist for heaven’s sake, always trying to break through the boundaries and limits on what can be said.”

To which, two responses:

1. Great, he broke the bourgeois taboo about endorsing genocide and expressing grossly racist views. Clap! Clap! Perhaps we can now hope that other creative people will step forward and endorse pedophilia, the random murder of strangers and cannibalism and that Oloixarac will defend them with equal enthusiasm.

2. Great, he broke the bourgeois taboo about endorsing genocide and expressing grossly racist views. And because we respect his ability to think and act for himself we have to believe that he understood the likely consequences of expressing such views and making such threats in posh bars and restaurants in Paris and can have no complaints about his having been sacked by Dior.”

Sir Fred Goodwin And The Super-Injunction.

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News is coming out of Fred Goodwin’s Super-Injunction, which bans any UK media outlet from reporting on Fred the Shred and the fact he is or was a Banker.

It is not too clear what case this relates to, but I would guess (and it is only a guess) it is something to do with RMJM.

I can’t be sure but a Scotsman article on them and Goodwin vanished and it seems that he was employed by the boss of RMJM.

Elsewhere RMJM seem to be falling apart, as a US employee resigns in anger, Building Design covers it here.

This is a copy of the Scotsman article, from the Google cache.

“Leader: RMJM the architect of its own woes

Published Date: 10 March 2011

IT MAY seem that the ongoing troubles at RMJM, one of the world’s biggest architectural practices, is a matter of some internal difficulty of relatively little import to the public at large, but the fate of one of the few Scottish firms with a global reputation should be of great concern.

The collapse of Royal Bank of Scotland and HBoS were major blows to national confidence, as was the revelation that as solid a firm as Weir Group was involved in illegal kick-backs to Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Scotland needs its few big players to perform at the top of their game.

RMJM took a dent with its involvement with the Scottish Parliament project, but the problems were not of its making – it did not draw up the contracts, set an unrealistic price-tag or indeed devise the extraordinary concept. But its architects made the challenging Miralles vision happen, it continued to secure major international projects and stands eighth in the rankings of world architectural firms.

However, since the arrival of Sir Fraser Morrison and his son Peter, its fortunes have been on the slide. The misguided decision to employ Sir Fred Goodwin meant the firm was driven by people with little relevant experience and it was no surprise that as its troubles deepened Sir Fred decided to back off. Now it is in the extraordinary position where mismanagement has led to a mass walkout of senior staff in Hong Kong and a potential strike in the London office.

Maybe it’s time for the Morrisons to move on while there is still a business to sell. “

Also see RMJM: The highs and lows.

Remembering the timeline of RBS’s problems and Fred’s role.

Fred’s replacement, Stephen Hester, is stuffing millions into his pockets, BBC News reports:

“Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive Stephen Hester has been awarded a pay package currently worth £7.7m for 2010.

That includes £6.5m worth of shares that won’t be available for three years. Two-thirds of these are pegged to meeting management targets.

It also includes his £1.2m salary, which has remained the same since he replaced Sir Fred Goodwin in 2008.

RBS made a loss of more than £1bn last year, and is 83%-owned by the UK government.

Under the Long-Term Incentive Plan (LTIP), Stephen Hester is to be awarded 10.1m shares, which are valued at £4.5m at the current share price.

That element can be clawed back, and is dependent on achieving certain targets.

If the share price increases from 45 pence, and above the government’s break-even point of 50p, then Mr Hester and others on the LTIP will benefit from that increase when they are allowed to sell the majority of the newly-awarded shares in March 2014.

Last year, he declined to take an annual bonus, but did receive 8.5m shares under the LTIP.”

So this Banker, along with Fred the Shred effectively won the lottery year-on-year, millions one year and even more the next, and then more, which probably explains Fred’s sensitivity to his failures, which seem to be numerous.

If anyone finds out what the real matter is with this super-injunction, please leave a comment.

Update 1: Slate on Who’s the World’s Worst Banker?

“The result? RBS’s stock (here’s a two-year chart) has lost 91 percent of its value since March 2007 and retains value thanks only to massive government intervention. A job well-done, Sir Fred! “

Update 2: Roy Greenslade contributes:

“Meanwhile, will we read more about Goodwin? I understand the order is very firm indeed and that The Sun’s legal arguments about public interest justification have not found favour with judges.”

Update 3: Slate in France picked up the story, but still no real evidence as to why the super-injunction, L’ancien patron de la banque britannique RBS interdit aux médias de l’appeler «banquier»

Update 4: Jon Slattery argues that the super-injunction has been shredded.

Update 5: RTE News has a snippet:

“FORMER RBS CHIEF HAS ‘SUPER-INJUNCTION’ – British newspapers report that Sir Fred Goodwin, the former chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland, has obtained a secret super-injunction banning the publication of information about him.

The Daily Telegraph says the existence of the injunction was revealed by John Hemming, a back-bench Liberal Democrat MP, during a business debate in the House of Commons yesterday morning.

The paper says his comments are protected by parliamentary privilege, which means he cannot face court proceedings for revealing the injunction’s existence.

The Telegraph says his question raised speculation yesterday about the nature of the information which Sir Fred is trying to protect.”

Update 6: Finally, BBC News picked it up early Friday morning.

The Disgusting Treatment Of A Palestinian Family.

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Thanks to Lisa Goldman for highlighting the disgusting treatment of a Palestinian family in East Jerusalem, Haaretz reports:

“Right-wing Israelis are expected to move into a room in an East Jerusalem Palestinian family’s home on Monday, after a court sided with their claim.

The Hamdallah family and American millionaire and settler patron Irving Moskowitz have been fighting an 11-year court battle over the home. Now, authorities are expected to force the Hamdallahs to evacuate a room and their yard to make way for Israelis, who are likely to encumber their neighbors’ day-to-day routine.

The yard leads to the home’s entrance.

The Hamdallah home abuts Ma’aleh Zeitim, an enclave of 100 Jewish families encircled by a wall deep in the East Jerusalem neighborhood Ras al-Amud. Nearby, a construction project that includes 14 housing units for Jewish families in what was once the West Bank police headquarters is nearly done.

The home and Ma’aleh Zeitim are on land that was purchased by Moskowitz in 1990. The American acquired the property from Chabad and the Volhynia Hassidic dynasty, who proved they owned the land before 1948.

The Palestinian family has lived in the area since 1952. Through his representatives and emissaries in Israel, Moskowitz has waged a multi-year legal battle to evict the family.

Sixteen Palestinians live in the disputed home. A couple and a child live in the bedroom that the court ordered vacated.

“Three people live in this room,” said Khaled Hamdallah, a family member. “We don’t know what to do. I don’t even care anymore. I feel like dying. They want to throw us out completely. The police is with them, the judges are with them. So what’s the point?”

“The settlers used a trick,” said Lecker. “Geva submitted an affidavit [to the bailiff] that does not match the court’s ruling. They will evacuate the room and bring in a family and two armed guard. I think [the settlers] want to make their lives hell until they finally are forced to leave.” “

Written by modernityblog

10/03/2011 at 14:35

The Daily Or Weekly Summary.

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There is a fun way of making an on-line newspaper over at

I have produced a slice of my twitter feeds as a paper, here.


Update 1: Bob has a good collection of things.

Written by modernityblog

10/03/2011 at 02:46

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