May 7th, 2009


Book meme - the answers

The answers to yesterday's book meme:

  1. Frith, Pipkin, Blackberry - Frith is the sun god, and the other two are rabbits in Watership Down by Richard Adams. Well done djm4 for spotting it first.

  2. Pastor Williams, Decuman, Lord Stansgate - Williams is the American Ambassador, Decuman an older schoolboy and Lord Stansgate the unseen head of the Holy Office in the alternative Catholic England of Kingsley Amis' The Alteration, as guessed by an anonymous visitor posting from a German IP address.

  3. Bruce (the father), Helen (the mother), Joan (the girlfriend) - one of two that nobody got, but if I had given Bruce and Helen's surname - Bechdel - it would have been obvious that this is Fun Home by their daughter Alison.

  4. Ulysse Mérou, Zira, Arthur Levain - Mérou and Levain are space explorers; Zira is one of the indigenous inhabitants of the planet where they crash, the only one of the three whose name is also used in the film version of La Planète des Singes by Pierre Boulle (in English, Planet of the Apes). Well done, burkesworks.

  5. Duncan, Colin, Malcolm - the other one that nobody got. Again, if I had given their surname - Makenzie - it would have been obvious that this is the cloned patriarchal family running Titan in Imperial Earth by Arthur C. Clarke.

  6. Bendico, Don Calogera, Ciccio - Bendico is the dog, Don Caolgero the mayor and Ciccio the church organist whose vote was stolen in Il Gattopardo by Giuseppe di Lampedusa. Well done again, burkesworks.

  7. Lake of the biology department, Atwood of the physics department, Captain Douglas - I didn't want to make it too obvious by including the other scientist, Professor Frank H. Pabodie of the engineering department, in H.P. Lovecraft's investigations At The Mountains of Madness. My German visitor got this one first.

  8. Thorn, Gran'ma, Bartleby - Thorn and Gran'ma are the key humans, and Brtleby a semi-domesticated rat-creature, in Jeff Smith's graphic novel Bone, as bugshaw spotted almost immediately.

  9. Rupert Potter, Benny Golightly, Selina Potter - the three children who are the central characters of Patricia Wrightson's wonderful Australian urban fantasy, An Older Kind of Magic, identified again by my German visitor.

  10. Ellen Emmett, Phil Graber, Dr Moreby - Ellen and Phil are two of Conrad's companions, and Dr Moreby their cannibalistic captor, in Roger Zelazny's first (and Hugo-winning) novel, This Immortal / ...And Call Me Conrad; once again spotted by my German visitor (could it be Mrs Tilton?).

Thanks for playing, all, and I've been fascinated to watch this on other people's ljs.

Telecoms package fails over internet users' rights

European Voice:
MEPs rejected the package because it would have exposed internet users to the blocking of their accounts as a penalty for illegal downloading. A parliament amendment inserted to protect these rights was removed just days before the vote, in a meeting between the Parliament, the Commission and the Council of Ministers. The parliament plenary rebelled against this move.
European Parliament:
A user's Internet access cannot be restricted without prior ruling by the judicial authorities, insists the European Parliament reinstating one of its first-reading amendments.
The Czechs are pissed off:
It is evident that the whole package has become hostage to the pre-election campaign of a part of MEPs. The issue of internet users’ rights, which was behind the decision of the MEPs not to respect the compromise, is indeed important and needs to be discussed thoroughly. However, the telecoms package is not the right place to deal with it. The question has nothing to do with the aims and purposes of telecoms market reform.
[Comment: Indeed, how dare MEPs pay attention to voters' wishes, just because the member states wanted to sneak some repressive legislation into a proposal where it didn't really belong?]

Liberals claim credit:
Sophie in ´t Veld (D66, Netherlands) said: "I am very pleased that the EP did not bow to the attempt of the Council to use the back door to insert a rule restricting the access to the internet."
Of course, the Liberals can hardly claim sole credit: 407 MEPs voted in favour of their amendment, with 57 votes against and 171 abstentions. Congrats to all who contacted their MEPs on this issue - the Czech government clearly identifies us as the villains of the piece! In particular, of course, kudos to La Quadrature du Net for their eternal vigilance.

That crucial vote

I realised that the roll-call for the telecoms package vote had in fact been published. Below the cut, I have listed the MEPs by group (since that's what is on the parliament site) with the Brits in red, the Irish in green and the Belgians in blue. Apologies for any mistakes or omissions.

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Sorry, Ms Thyssen, you may be my neighbour but you've lost any chance you might have had of my voting for you; I'm all the happier to support Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck with my vote come June 7th.

The British MEPs who voted against or abstained were all Tories or ex-UKIP.
The Irish MEPs who voted against were all Fine Gael.
The Belgians who voted abstained were CD&V, and the one who voted against is MR (though he now says this was a mistake).