“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, June 14, 2010

There is Only One Way to Silence the Vuvuzela

World Cup 2010: BBC may offer vuvuzela-free matches

South Africa defends plastic horns which have sparked global debate over loud drone and are selling out in Britain

The BBC was investigating the possibility of transmitting an alternative "vuvuzela free" version of its World Cup coverage tonight, as the fierce debate over the buzz of the horn looked set to be heading for football grounds all over Britain.

As players, fans and coaches weighed in on whether the loud drone of the plastic horns was an annoying irritant or joyful expression of African culture, South African organisers hit back and encouraged visiting fans to export them back to their own countries.

At the same time, fans in Britain have been snapping up the horns at the rate of one every two seconds and suppliers claimed the UK had been gripped by "vuvuzela fever".

"Vuvuzelas are here to stay and will never be banned," said Rich Mkhondo, a spokesman for the local World Cup organising committee. "People love the vuvuzelas around the world. Only a minority are against vuvuzelas."

The Premier League and the Football League said there was nothing in their rules to stop supporters bringing them to English grounds but the decision would rest with individual clubs.

"There is a good chance they will end up in our grounds because people will bring them back from the World Cup," said a Football League spokesman. "It is a matter for individual clubs, as is the case with drums and other musical instruments."

The drone of the vuvuzela has sparked an international debate since the tournament's launch on Friday, with broadcasters inundated with complaints and arguments raging on radio phone-ins.

The BBC has received 220 complaints and, while it is committed to reflecting the atmosphere in the stadiums on its main coverage, it is believed to be looking into providing a so-called "clean" feed that would strip out the majority of crowd noise, via the red button.

South African organisers insisted today they were an important part of the atmosphere and would not be banned, despite the World Cup organising committee chief executive, Danny Jordaan, saying at the weekend that he personally preferred the sound of singing.

Critics have argued that the constant drone masks the ebb and flow of the game and drowns out the noise of the crowd.

The Danish goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen said after today's match with Holland that the constant noise meant he had to be no more than 10 yards away from his teammates and have eye contact to pass any messages.

Following his opening game, Argentina's Lionel Messi said: "It is impossible to communicate, it's like being deaf."

But the South African goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune, mindful of the value of home advantage, said after his team's opening match that there weren't enough vuvuzelas in the stadium and called on supporters to make more noise.

Even in South Africa, opinion is divided. Some put the wave of international criticism down to the effect of vuvuzelas being blown by enthusiastic visitors rather than the more expert exponents at South African Premier League matches.

But the organising committee called on overseas fans, who have been snapping up the horns, to export them.

"The vuvuzela is now an international instrument," said a spokesman. "People will buy them and stuff them in their suitcases and take them home."

England fans in the UK appear to be heeding his call; Sainsbury's sold 22,000 red vuvuzelas – or "Vu Vu horns" as it brands them – in 12 hours before England's game – one every two seconds. The supermarket chain has ordered 25,000 extra horns but thinks it may run out before Friday's game against Algeria.

There were none left at Sainsbury's in Emmersons Green, near Bristol. A few miles away in Chippenham, Wiltshire, half a dozen remained on the shelves.

Mike Brown was buying two for his children. "I could be making a terrible mistake but I think I'm going to have to make a rule that they can only blow them during the actual games. But the kids wanted them and I can't resist it when they get excited about something like the World Cup."

Amazon said sales had increased by 1,000%. David Broughton, from Northamptonshire-based company, said the country was gripped with "vuvuzela fever".

"We sold 1,000 online over the weekend. Someone in Dubai has asked for 10,000. If anyone knows of half a million vuvuzelas lying around, they could get very rich," he said.

World Cup organisers tried to draw a line under the issue of whether the instruments were good for the tournament. "This is a world event hosted by South Africa. As our guests, please embrace our culture and the way we celebrate," said the spokesman.

"You either love them or you hate them. We in South Africa love them."


  1. Speaking of blowing:

    Does money grow in wind farms?
    Wind turbines are a poor way to harness energy - but a very good way to generate public subsidies, says Andrew Gilligan.

    Read more

  2. I had no idea they are called vuvuzelas. I did know that they are a curse upon pro soccer here. Also bugles and drums.

    Doubtless entire battles have been fought with less noise and infliction of misery upon the innocent.

    Not so bad when watching on television (though I've not watched on BBC). Muted to a mildly annoying buzz...Like thousands of bagpipes warming up in the distance. For better than an hour and a half.

  3. It's understandable that folks would be skeptical about this, given BP's performance to date. But recall that the administration has arguably gone out on a limb in being over-protective of BP, at considerable political risk to Obama.

    BP is going to do what it can to preserve a state of affairs where the White House is basically giving it the benefit of the doubt. If the White House needs to demand an escrow account to demonstrate Obama's hands-on leadership, BP is not going to foul that up by picking a real fight.

    I could be wrong, but I just don't see it coming to a real legal confrontation.

    Escrow Account

  4. The US has the largest installed wind power capacity in the world (we just passed Germany), we get 2% of our electricity from wind, and by 2030 this will be 20%, which is roughly what we now get from nuclear.

  5. Halifax County is teaming up with Dominion Virginia Power to build a pilot demonstration facility for solar power.

    The Industrial Development Authority of Halifax County says the planned facility would generate about 4 megawatts of power and be the largest integrated solar-battery facility in Virginia.

    Dominion plans to ask the State Corporation Commission for permission to build the facility. It estimates it will invest up to $27.9 million on the project.

    Halifax Co., VA

  6. "We are just a victim, we would like to make our position clear here, we will inform our position, concerning that issue," said Pak Tok-hun, the North's deputy UN ambassador.

    Our correspondent says there is still no agreement on what to do.

    Security Council members China - North Korea's strongest ally - and Russia have not yet commented on the investigation.

    Cheonan Warship

  7. As Iraq's new parliament convened more than three months after the national elections, the falafel vendor just outside the towering walls of the Green Zone remained resolutely unimpressed. Like many Iraqis, Raad Kadhim Nouri, 35, doesn't think much will change for the better anytime soon.


    "Frankly, I don't expect anything good from them," Nouri said. "I just want one thing.

    I don't want the mystery. They should open every single closed door and every single closed window."

    Appointing Leaders

  8. Norway, the world's top exporter of fishmeal and oil for livestock and aquatic farming, has conducted research on how to integrate whale products in to the manufacturing process.

    Norwegian scientists have also researched the use of whale oil for pharmaceutical and health supplements such as omega-3. And at least one clinical trial is testing its efficacy for treating rheumatoid arthritis.

    In Iceland, the government recently recommended the creation of an industrial park in Hvalfiroi where fin whales could be transformed into meat, meal and oil.

    Whale Products

  9. The escalating violence in Mexico frightens away tourists and worries the United States, which is giving millions of dollars in anti-drug aid, equipment and training to the Mexican army and police.

    Some investors have frozen funding for factories in cities on the US border, especially in Ciudad Juarez, the most deadly place in the drug war and just across from El Paso, Texas.

    Last Friday was the most violent day yet of Mr Calderon's presidency with 70 drug-related killings, including the murders of 19 addicts at a rehabilitation clinic in the northern city of Chihuahua.

    Gun Battle

  10. Killing the addicts in rehab, jeez. A rehabbed addict isn't worth the time.

    Posted by: Troglodyte
    Jun 14, 09:10 PM
    Fox is reporting that Obama refused help from BP to build berms for Louisiana, and refused skimmers from various countries. The justification was that the equipment would not be manned and owned by Americans, which he could have gotten around by waiving the Jones Act. If true, this bolsters the theory that the administration is making the disaster as bad as possible in order to get a new tax in place, further destabilizing the economy. Everything he is doing is damaging the country, manufacturing a crisis that he can use to grab more and more control. He is demonizing BP, the oil companies in general, any company that makes a profit, George Bush, the banks, etc., so he can appear to be the white knight.
    The voters elected an egoist with no experience. He promised to "fundamentally transform" America. We are being prepared for transformation into a third world country with centralized governance, ruled by fiat and unfettered by a constitution. Elections have consequences. We have only ourselves to blame.

    Obama will use Tuesday night's speech to politicize the oil disaster.

  11. Message sent, stay on drugs, or die.

  12. Federal investigators must determine if BP Plc took risks “beyond industry norms” with the Gulf of Mexico well that exploded and caused the worst U.S. oil spill, Exxon Mobil Corp. Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson said.


    BP, the biggest oil producer in the Gulf of Mexico, made five “questionable decisions” aimed at cutting costs and speeding completion of an overdue project in the days and weeks preceding the disaster, U.S. Representatives Henry Waxman of California and Bart Stupak of Michigan wrote in a letter to BP CEO Tony Hayward that was released yesterday.


    John Watson, chief executive officer at Chevron Corp., and ConocoPhillips CEO James Mulva are scheduled to testify at today’s hearing in Washington. Lamar McKay and Marvin Odum, the presidents of the U.S. units of BP and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, respectively, have also accepted invitations.

    Dramatic Departure

  13. It was felt as a gentle rolling motion in Los Angeles, Long Beach and Orange County. San Diego's Petco Park swayed during an earthquake, and the public address announced asked that everyone remain calm.

    The crowd cheered.

    The quake follows a series of temblors that struck Southern California over the weekend, including a pair of moderate earthquakes that rattled a desert area east of San Diego. Residents in downtown San Diego could feel the ground rumbling during at least one of the Saturday quakes.

    Southern CA.

  14. South Korea's SBS TV station, which says it has the World Cup broadcasting rights for the whole peninsula, failed to reach agreement with the North about showing the games amid the political tensions.

    It was unclear where the North obtained its footage.

    South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported Tuesday from South Africa that the sport's governing body FIFA had signed a deal to try to air the games live in the North.

    S. Korea World Cup Win

  15. Sam, it has been pretty obvious that Team Obamamerica was going to politicize the Deepwater Horizon fiasco. Never been a doubt.

    Obama is not an engineer, not a welder, nor a crane operator.
    He is not an "Oil Man". Not even a good swimmer, let alone a deep sea diver.

    So when the calls went out, here at the EB, oh, a month or so ago, for Obama to "Do Something", what did you all think he was going to do?

    Other than politicize the criminally negligent activities that BP has been engaged in, on the Deepwater Horizon platform and their subsequent attempted cover up of both the criminal activity and then the scale and scope of their man made disaster.

    It's going to be entertaining to watch.

    Growth Energy

    spread the word.

  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

  17. You all want to beat Obama, "Green Ethanol" from feed stocks other than corn, is the stick to use. Sweet sorghum or switch grass sowed on an industrial scale as agricultural energy, with a preliminary target of bringing 250 million currently fallow farmland back into production.

    It sould be a big political winner, and we're going there, anyway.
    It is just a matter of time.

    There is no other liquid energy alternative to petroleum, other than ethanol.

    The Federals have declared the "War on Oil".
    Drilling HAS halted.

    Growth Energy is a proactive group committed to the promise of agriculture and growing America’s economy through cleaner, greener energy. Growth Energy members recognize America needs a new ethanol approach. Through smart policy reform and a proactive grassroots campaign, Growth Energy promotes reducing greenhouse gas emissions, expanding the use of ethanol in gasoline, decreasing our dependence on foreign oil, and creating American jobs at home.

    Interesting that: Gen. Wesley K. Clark joined Growth Energy as co-chairman in January 2009.

    A knowledgeable political opportunist if ever there was one.


  18. "In my years defending our great nation, I realized that America will never be truly safe as long as we depend on fossil fuel from other countries. Growth Energy is focused on the potential of agriculture and how it will strengthen America's energy security and grow our economy. Ethanol is more than a fuel, it's a solution."

    General Wesley Clark (Ret.), Growth Energy Co-Chairman

  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

  20. We need your help. The success of the ethanol industry depends on the strength of our collective voice. Grassroots advocacy is our most powerful tool to inspire important change. Your actions will help set the record straight when it comes to ethanol production, and motivate leaders to embrace a greener revolution.

    Lovin' every minute of it.

  21. Grassroots advocacy is our most powerful tool to inspire important change.

    And they're rollin' with TV ads, on the Starbucks Morning Joe show.

    Goin' Green, Baby, Goin' Green

    That's Entertainment!

  22. At this pivotal time in history, we joined together and created Growth Energy because:

    * We believe ethanol is our nation's growth energy. It's renewable, realistic and clean burning.

    * We believe a strong biofuels industry will create American jobs and stimulate economic growth.

    * We believe we can continue creating cleaner and greener fuels through 21st century technology and innovation.

    * We believe biofuels will stimulate the growth of sustainable agriculture worldwide, providing crops for both food and fuel.

    * We believe that an energy independent America is achievable and ethanol is the most important first step to making it a reality.

    * We believe in America, enhanced by ethanol.

  23. All of the new engines being designed, and built, today, have one thing in common. They're made to be modified to Flexfuel, easily.

    These engines have been in development for 5, or 6 years. Small, 4 cyl, turbocharged, direct-injected, variable valve timing are the keys to maximizing ethanol.

    George Bush met with the leaders of GM, Ford, and Chryser early on. They discussed the "peaking" of oil, and the need for the next series of engines. The rest is history.

    The first True "flexfuel" comes out this fall. The Buick Regal with the 2.0 L Turbocharged, Direct Injected Engine. It will get, essentially, the same mileage on E85 as on gasoline.

    The next iteration, in late 2011, will have heated injectors, and will achieve the Same mileage on E85 as gasoline.

  24. Gee, now that rat has found his new website, I gotz to get that spam filter fixed.


  25. Saw Gibbs on the Starbuck Show, when asked about Obama and clean energy, well ...

    The response went to solar and wind.
    Not a word about fueling our fleet of 300 million vehicles. Not a word about integrating the next generation of vehicles and the fuels required with the current fleet.

    Oh no.

    Gibbs skirted the issue, the Coffee Club let him.

    It is where the "Environmental & Political Left" is most vulnerable.

    Tactically, it's pure Alinsky, turned back on them.

  26. There's a note of Panic around the anti-ethanol blogs the last few days. They realize the Gulf Spill is a "game changer," and they don't know what to do.

  27. If you believe there will be a change in the US fuel composition, buy Waste Management.

  28. The "Environmental Left" hates ethanol. They want Huge Government Programs telling me, and thee, how much solar, and wind generated electricity we can use, and what, and where we can drive/travel.

    The idea of 300 Million yahoos driving around on fuel from 3,000 small, homegrown refineries makes them want to jump off an oil rig.

  29. If I were the CEO of BP, I would be in court this morning and file a Chapter 11.

    The news can hardly get worse and the Obama Administration is determined to break the company.What do they have to lose?

    LONDON (MarketWatch) -- BP's credit rating was slashed a staggering six notches by Fitch Ratings on Tuesday, just hours before its top U.S. executive is grilled in front of Congress as worries over how much the company will have to pay for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill grow.

    BP's /quotes/comstock/13*!bp/quotes/nls/bp (BP 31.27, +0.60, +1.96%) /quotes/comstock/23s!a:bp. (UK:BP. 354.20, -1.25, -0.35%) credit rating was knocked to BBB from AA, leaving the oil giant's rating at one of the three major agencies just two notches above junk status. BP was put on negative watch for further downgrades.

    Fitch, which had cut BP's rating just two weeks ago, said the main driver was the Obama administration's insistence that claims being paid out of an escrow account.

  30. There's a lot of "whistling past the graveyard" going on. Insurance rates will be so high that all "offshore" drillers will have to "Self-insure." How will the stockholders feel about Exxon drilling a mile below the sea surface when One Accident can put them out of business?

    This deal is just getting started.

  31. It is the end of off shore drilling.

    Make no mistake, about that.

    Earth Day thinking has become ingrained, in anyone younger than me. The constant drone, in the public schools and in the media has been both pervasive and persuasive.

    71% of those polled believe that Team Obamamerica has:
    "Not been tough enough" on BP.

    Growth Energy is, as the General says, easily marketed as a solution.

    It certainly can be used as a pony, to ride the rising tide of political dissatisfaction with the "Status Que".

  32. Corn Ethanol had a Powerful Lobby. Cellulosic Has No Powerful Lobby. It's not going to be easy.

    If a prolonged recession keeps gasoline prices low (at approx current levels,) it's going to be hard to get the investment to move.

    If prices rise strongly, it's very likely they'll knock us back into recession, and low gasoline prices before anyone can get financing rounded up. See the Problem?

  33. Wolves Scarce During Special Hunt
    Outfitters report two kills in season that ends June 30

    AP--The wolf control partnership between the Idaho Fish and Game Department and four Lolo Zone outfitters has been slow to produce results.....

    "It's difficult catching up with these wolves in rugged country, steep country, and heavily timbered country", said David Cadwallader, supervisor of the Clearwater Region at Lewiston.

    (no shit!)

    The department authorized the special hunt as a wolf control activity, to help reduce predation of the Lolo elk herd.

    The number of elk in the zone has been in a long term decline. In the 1980's surveys showed a Lolo herd of more than 16,000. Last winter's survey predicted the herd now at 2,100.

    Fish and Game says wolf predation is now the primary cause of elk mortality in the zone.

    Fools! They have it down to the point the elk can't reproduce enough to keep going.

    Use poison!

  34. That's why Growth Energy has to become a populist political movement, more than just a profit driven business.

    That $500 billion annual subsidy for the oil industry indicative of the political strength of the Wahhabi fueled status que, here in the US.

    You can not attack the "Status Que" without an alternative.
    The Left is attacking the Oil Economy, and holds out wind and solar as the alternative.
    Which is comical, really. Alinsky would approve, though, as a tactic.

    The political counter move, from the populist and librarian "Right", get green grass a growing, to fuel my new 1962 Jeep Stationwagon.

    Don't fight for the "Status Que" of an oil dominated culture, but for an alternative that is better than "Wind & Solar".
    That maneuver will collapse their lines of communication.
    Steal their storyline.

    A purer form of Alinsky tactical advantage, there has never been offered to the loyal opposition, before.

    Loosening the oil economy's monopoly grip on the throat of the US economy.

  35. Jeff Broin is an Incredibly Impressive young man. He did a Tremendous job guiding his company through the "Crisis" time of Floods, and Rampant speculation in the Price of Corn. He knows agriculture, and he knows the "culture" of the farmers he works with.

    When the big Flashy players like Verasun were gambling on corn futures, and going broke, he kept his head down, bought his corn, produced his ethanol, improved his refineries, and weathered the storm.

    He has the most efficient facilities in the business. When one of his refineries was flooded in his manager was able to run the entire facility from his home PC for three days until the waters subsided. One of his facilities is managed by a man that was hired on as maintenance man.

  36. The important, core issue, devolution of power and authority, from the DC elites to the people of the several States, can be empowered and enhanced by a Cellulosic Ethanol political movement.

    Without many of the future supporters of Growth Energy ever understanding that part of the political quotient.

  37. It's a deal that's made to order for "small solutions," Rat. A very unusual circumstance.

  38. Silence the vuvuzela?


    Evelyn Underhill was a wonderful woman.

  39. Blogger rufus said...

    "The "Environmental Left" hates ethanol. They want Huge Government Programs telling me, and thee, how much solar, and wind generated electricity we can use, and what, and where we can drive/travel."

    and here you preach day after day how the feds "put a still in every district" getting behind ethanol in every way - supply loan guarantees, mandates ect.

    can't you see the irony rufus? at least rat embraces the glorious federal superstructure in this regard.