Politicans and world leaders making news and in the news, and spouting hot air
Marketing manager Nicola Baker explains: “The Culture Guide has proven to be enormously popular with cultural organisations and the public. It has also been an excellent form of promotion of the Hull City of Culture bid and was used extensively as a backdrop on the day when Hull was announced as the winner, being featured on national and international media reports.
“A large number of groups and individuals contributed suggestions of people, places and events for inclusion. Poppy Morgan is an acclaimed actress – albeit in the adult film industry. She won Best Female Actress of the Year at the 2006 UK Adult Film and Television Awards in London. This guide is clearly not about condoning porn but it is about celebrating Hull’s diversity of culture and entertainment.”
The Gaffer Tapes
THIS week Sports Minister Helen Grant became the latest politician to execute the self-destructive manoeuvre we shall refer to as ‘live quiz fail’ – the embarrassing failure to correctly answer questions pertaining to one’s own specialist field. Ms Grant, who claims that sport is in her DNA, was asked a series of simple quotations such as ‘Who is the current female Wimbledon champion?’ and ‘Which team won the FA Cup this year?’ A seemingly harder question concerning Maidstone United FC was put to her because the club resides in her parliamentary constituency – although ‘Manchester United because it’s my favourite club’ as she declared in the interview.
TORY MP Nadine Dorries tweeted a Sunday Mirror reporter who had doorstepped her daughter, as reported by the Mirror:
“Be seen within a mile of my daughters and I will nail your balls to the floor… using your own front teeth. Do you get that?”
Whoaah! So much for freedom.
ERIC Pickles. It’s nominative determinism, no? Pickles. What odds the top Tory would share a name with a mainstay of the chip shop?
The story is that the MP’s Department for Communities and Local Government splurged £40,000 on serving biscuits at meetings.
“The figure was for part of our hospitality budget. When we have meetings, if people come from a long distance we’ll give them tea and biscuits. The rise comes down to one of my fine civil servants putting the wrong thing in the wrong column. It is still a 94 per cent reduction though compared to Labour’s spending in the department. I’m not playing a jammie dodger here. I even bring in my own tea bags to work. I wouldn’t accept anything from another person.”
What about advice, would you accept that?
JOHNNY Cash made a list of “Things To Do Today”.
Do to-do lists work?
Benjamin Franklin made a list. He tried too hard, say John Tierney and psychologist Roy F. Baumeister in Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength. (Via.)
Franklin tried a divide-and-conquer approach. He drew up a list of virtues and wrote a brief goal for each one, like this one for Order: ‘Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.’
When, as a young journeyman printer, he tried to practice Order by drawing up a rigid daily work schedule, he kept getting interrupted by unexpected demands from his clients — and Industry required him to ignore the schedule and meet with them. If he practiced Frugality (‘Waste nothing’) by always mending his own clothes and preparing all his own meals, there’d be less time available for Industry at his job — or for side projects like flying a kite in a thunderstorm or editing the Declaration of Independence. If he promised to spend an evening with his friends but then fell behind his schedule for work, he’d have to make a choice that would violate his virtue of Resolution: ‘Perform without fail what you resolve.’
Franklin wrote his list in 1726, at the age of 20. It’s more of a set of rules than a list. (Source: The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin; Image: Benjamin Franklin, via.)
TEMPERANCE. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
SILENCE. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
ORDER. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
RESOLUTION. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
FRUGALITY. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
INDUSTRY. Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
SINCERITY. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
JUSTICE. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
MODERATION. Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
CLEANLINESS. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
TRANQUILLITY. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
CHASTITY. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dulness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
HUMILITY. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
Woody Guthrie made lists:
“Wake Up And Fight”
Jonathan Swift made this list in 1699:
Not to marry a young Woman.
Not to keep young Company unless they reely desire it.
Not to be peevish or morose, or suspicious.
Not to scorn present Ways, or Wits, or Fashions, or Men, or War, &c.
Not to be fond of Children, or let them come near me hardly.
Not to tell the same story over and over to the same People.
Not to be covetous.
Not to neglect decency, or cleenlyness, for fear of falling into Nastyness.
Not to be over severe with young People, but give Allowances for their youthfull follyes and weaknesses.
Not to be influenced by, or give ear to knavish tatling servants, or others.
Not to be too free of advise, nor trouble any but those that desire it.
To desire some good Friends to inform me wch of these Resolutions I break, or neglect, and wherein; and reform accordingly.
Not to talk much, nor of my self.
Not to boast of my former beauty, or strength, or favor with Ladyes, &c.
Not to hearken to Flatteryes, nor conceive I can be beloved by a young woman, et eos qui hereditatem captant, odisse ac vitare.
Not to be positive or opiniative.
Not to sett up for observing all these Rules; for fear I should observe none.
The Zeigarnik Effect is the tendency to experience intrusive thoughts about an objective that was once pursued and left incomplete (Baumeister & Bushman, 2008, pg. 122). The automatic system signals the conscious mind, which may be focused on new goals, that a previous activity was left incomplete. It seems to be human nature to finish what we start and, if it is not finished, we experience dissonance.
A study done by Greist-Bousquet and Schiffman (1992) provided evidence for the Zeigarnik Effect. In this paper, the authors stated that there is a tendency or “need” to complete a task once it has been initiated and the lack of closure that stems from an unfinished task promotes some continued task related cognitive effort. The cognitive effort that comes with these intrusive thoughts of the unfinished task is terminated only once the person returns to complete the task.
Tierney and Baumeister address that anew:
[It] turns out that the Zeigarnik effect is not, as was assumed for decades, a reminder that continues unabated until the task gets done. The persistence of distracting thoughts is not an indication that the unconscious is working to finish the task. Nor is it the unconscious nagging the conscious mind to finish the task right away. Instead, the unconscious is asking the conscious mind to make a plan. The unconscious mind apparently can’t do this on its own, so it nags the conscious mind to make a plan with specifics like time, place, and opportunity. Once the plan is formed, the unconscious can stop nagging the conscious mind with reminders.”
BACK in 20076, David Cameron was all for “green crap”, and we’re not talking about that unusual pile of poo on the rug.
Before he was PM, the leader of the Conservative Party led a team of huskies on the Scott-Turner glacier on the island of Svalbard, Norway. Cameron was visiting the Norwegian glacier to see the effects of climate change.
He went there by plane.
A year later, Dave got a wind tubine on his London pad:
Dave was green. Make no doubt about it. He started to be seen riding a bike.
His chauffeur chugged along behind. In the car: Dave’s shoes.
And he told us:
Can it be – and let’s stretch your minds – that Dave never did give a toss for the Greenies, that he was just using the trending topic to look in touch with public opinion? It wasn’t about detoxifying the planet; it was about detoxifying the Tories…
WHEN JFK died, the Dallas County Hospital sent out a letter to all staff. It had been a momentous time:
THIS is what David Cameron has to say on his crusade to rid the internet of porn:
“I’ve said what I’ve said about Page 3 and the Sun and I haven’t changed my views. But should we do more to try and help parents to protect their children from legal pornography on the internet? Yes I think we should, and again last week we made some big progress on that.
“You can control your children’s access to newspapers and books and magazines. The problem with the internet is that our children are all online and they’re using YouTube and they’re searching for videos and the rest of it and there’s a danger that they can stumble across really quite, sometimes hardcore legal pornography…
How hard is it for the kids to see a newspaper with racy images in it? Not very:
AUSTRALIAN MP and Opposition spokesman for resources - get this – Gary Gray (the man’s name is a master of efficiency both in government and Scrabble) has been eating his own hair. Or maybe he’s been eating something found on his hair, like grubs or jam?
IN 1988. Democrat Michael Dukakis rode an M1A1 tank in 1988. He wanted to be President. He looked like a fool.
Vice President George H.W. Bush laughed his socks off. And his team went to work.
Roger Ailes, now at Fox News, ran Bush’s media team. The Boston Globe wrote on The Brains Of The Bush Offensive Strategist Roger Ailes Remade The Candidate:
The idea came to Roger Ailes in the middle of the night, an apt moment of inspiration for a media Prince of Darkness. Why not use footage from one of Gov. Michael S. Dukakis’ most maligned campaign photo opportunities in an advertisement for Vice President George Bush?
Thus, the most recent negative television commercial produced by the Bush campaign shows a helmeted Dukakis riding in a tank, looking like Snoopy, as Elizabeth Drew of the New Yorker put it. The ad ends with a tight shot of Dukakis, wearing the helmet and a silly grin, and the words: “Now he wants to be our commander in chief. America can’t afford that risk.”
Ailes laughs with pride when told the ad is brutal in its contempt for Dukakis.
He knew and his son knew, too:
HOW’S David Cameron getting along on Twitter. Well, you dip your toe in the effluent and it comes up yellow…
THE Gettysburg Address happened 150 years ago. On November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln made his speech at a dedication to the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, where thousands of Union soldiers were laid to rest. The Gettysburg battle saw federal forces fighting back a Confederate invasion of Pennsylvania.
MARTIN Bashir apologises for his comment on Sarah Palin. Bashir works for MSNBC. He’s not a journalist. He’s an opinion massager blessed with all the circumspection of a dog eyeing a lamppost. Bashjir said Palin has the “well-established reputation as a world class idiot”.
PRESIDENT John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas on November 22, 1963.
Close to the shooting was a man carrying an open umbrella.
OPRAH Winfrey tells the BBC that President Barack Obama attracts “disrespect” because he’s black.
“There’s a level of disrespect for the office that occurs. And that occurs in some cases and maybe even many cases because he’s African American. There’s no question about that and it’s the kind of thing nobody ever says but everybody’s thinking it.”
Mr. Obama clearly misspoke when he said that.
Can you clearly misspeak?
The NYT regrets the error and now reports
The split between lawmakers and the White House reflects the dilemma the president finds himself in as he seeks to follow through on last week’s acknowledgment about his incorrect promise on health care coverage.
DAVID Cameron’s in India. Caption this:
ONCE, politicians were thrilled with their speeches. They’d be written down and shared and MPs would pat themselves on the back, all the way to the House of Lords.
However, the Conservatives have been acting really weird and looking for all the world like they’re ashamed of their past.
They have attempted to erase a record of all party speeches from the internet; the ones given in the decade before they came to power. What are they up to?
THE other week I watched a troop of people working out how they could make poppies appear over the banner mastheads of every single one of their websites without having to re-upload all the images through the CMS. I sat there pondering who would actually complain if it turned out that your website didn’t have an extra little graphical adornment for a few days a year.
It’s the mask sported by anti-capitalist protestors. It is also the mask from the film V For Vendetta:
A shadowy freedom fighter known only as “V” uses guerrilla tactics to fight against his terrorist, totalitarian society. Upon rescuing a girl from the secret police, he also finds his best chance at having an ally.
The Warner Bros film cost $54m to make.
A cut of every mask sold goes to Warner Brothers. Another cut of every one sold on Amazon goes to Amazon – the company that paid £2.4m in corporate taxes last year, the online retailer’s accounts show, despite making sales of £4.3bn.
The tax bill was almost as much as the £2.5m in government grants Amazon received over the same period, according to a Companies House filing.
So. Buying that mask to wear as a protest against capitalism and corporate greed profits the very companies you dislike.
Rubies Costume Company, which makes the mask, sells around 100,000 a year worldwide, and 16,000 in the UK, according to spokesman Steve Kitt, who seems a little concerned that any association with activists might harm the company’s image.
“We sell over 100,000 of these masks a year, and it’s by far the best-selling mask that we sell,” said Howard Beige, executive vice president of Rubie’s Costume, a New York costume company that produces the mask. “In comparison, we usually only sell 5,000 or so of our other masks.” The Vendetta mask, which sells for about $6 at many retailers, is made in Mexico or China, Mr. Beige said.
Mr. Beige said he did not know why the mask was so popular until recently. “We just thought people liked the ‘V for Vendetta’ movie. Then one morning I saw a picture of these protesters wearing the mask in an online news article,” he said. “I quickly showed my sales manager.”
The masks are being manufactured in bulk in a factory in Brazil.
Isn’t this all a little… hypocritical?
The pro-Anonymous account @youranoncentral tried to stem Twitter’s tide:
“Hey look everyone, our masks were made in some factory in a developing nation. We are the only hypocrites.” (see here)
And a number of people came out with views similar to Reddit user sayheykid24, who wrote: “How do people think the masks were made? Did they think they were lovingly handcrafted by anti-corporate artisans, or something?”
It’s true that Anonymous are not the only hypocrites. But not all hypocrites are entirely dependent on having a moral leg to stand on. Some, like big corporations, have other resources. But punishing other people’s bad behaviour is Anonymous’s recruiting message – join them, they suggest, and you are on the side of the good guys. This means that the group stands and falls on its integrity – and if it can’t afford to play by it’s own rules, it certainly can’t afford to break them.
How can Anonymous break out of the system?
Just be careful who you buy the ink, pinter, paint and paper off?
HOW’S Obamacare working out for you?