Monday, 27 July 2009

The Wizard Of Oz

The film The Wizard of Oz was released in 1939. Even though Judy Garland and Edgar Yip Harburg won Oscars it was not a commercial or a critical success, the New Yorker said of it that it had "No trace of imagination, good taste or integrity" and the New Republic said it was full of "Freak characters". The success and the cult of the Wizard of Oz was to come later when in 1956 CBS leased the film from MGM for television. They had been after Gone With The Wind but settled for The Wizard Of Oz. The films popularity grew with television

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Tuesday, 14 July 2009

The news that eight servicemen have been killed in Afghanistan within a 24 hour period has given the opposition something else to batter the Government with. The charge.. that they are not sending the troops out with proper equipment (but I wonder would they have done any better)? If any Government is going to send its troops out to war the least they can do is provide them with proper equipment. One of the problems is apparently that soldiers are apparently using land rovers that where designed to be used in the Northern Ireland troubles. (a totally different sort of military campaign). I believe in Afghanistan troops on the ground say they need more tanks and helicopters.

However if you look at this from a historical perspective, roughly 20,000 men died on the first day of the Battle of the Somme in the 1st World war. So from an numerical point of view eight people does not seem to be an awful lot. In fact, you could say that we are getting much better at protecting the people who we send out with an expectation that some of them may die a sudden and violent death. When I say 'we' I mean our Government. There is also the argument that were soldiers are concerned there is a percentage expected to die in conflict, after all part of their job description is to go to places where there is conflict to protect the interests of their country. So taking the law of averages into consideration it makes sense that some of our soldiers will die. This is something in reality that we cannot get away from. In any war lives will be lost and any Government prepared to go to war accepts that soldiers' lives are expendable

Image via Wikipedia

It is however, when you see their photographs on the television news and you realise that some of them are barely more than boys of eighteen. Young men who haven't even begun to live their lives that you wonder why those people in Government justify sending such young people out to fight, to kill and to die. Last week eight soldiers died. Now there is a debate on whether people would be willing to pay extra income tax towards giving the armed services the extra equipment that they need. Most people understandably want their troops brought home.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Freedom to Smoke

In 'Two Concepts of Liberty' Isaiah Berlin states "To coerce a man is to deprive him of freedom".

A week or two ago the European parliament was voting on taking the anti smoking ban a step further by banning smoking outside the workplace, pubs, beer gardens and such places. The fact is that they are doing everything possible to penalise the smoker short of outlawing it altogether. it is understandable enough that it has not been outlawed after-all it is still a lucrative source of income for Government and what Government wants to be responsible for criminalising a sizable proportion of its citizens.

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