Sunday, 2 November 2008

Diana Watch

The shame, oh the shame, I agree with the Daily Mail. On one issue I would like to point out but never the less it’s one to many. In my defence I bought up the problem first. They, however, missed the point so spectacularly that it made me laugh. Saturdays headline was about 50% of local councils are using Anti-Terrorist legislation to spy on us. This is a good point, I made it a couple of weeks ago, but their story was not this scary point but that they are doing it in order to keep an eye on your bins and when you put them out and what you put in them. Why are the Express and Mail so obsessed with rubbish collection? I think it’s so that their readership can hide their embarrassment. Once a week their bins should be emptied without the possibility of a bin overflow revealing the evil reading matter that is held within. As I said a couple of weeks ago, unfair and unjust laws are fine until they are knocking at your door.
I don’t really want to talk about the Russell Brand/Jonathon Ross “I fucked your granddaughter” story but there are a couple of points, 1) when it was broadcast only 2 people complained, 2) it was a pre-recorded show so someone should have edited before it went out, discipline that person that person but no one should have been fired or resigned, 3) the Mail on Sunday hates the BBC and Jonathon Ross because he gets paid a lot so they have a vested interestand an axe to grind, 4) The Mail is now using this as a reason to print pictures of Georgina Baillie, Google image search her and the first 2 entries are from the Daily Mail website, they love Satanic Sluts, 5) this is the most important point I think, the BBC is staffed by wimps. For gods sake start standing up for yourselves. Stop bowing down to the tabloids. I am assuming that now we are only going to have “Songs of Praise” 24hrs a day and there will no more BBC3, not all bad then oh and 6) Jonathon Ross has become one of those embarrassing middle age man who wants to be “down with the kids” and doesn’t want to be seen as a parent but as a friend.
Enough now because it has dominated the news this week so much so that I didn’t know that an earthquake killed 160 people in Pakistan and that there was a car bomb in Spain because these things were less important than 2 blokes and an answer phone. What does scare me slightly is the power of the press on an issue that isn’t really that important but they made important, so much so that it dominated the news cycle and it even had the Prime Minister commenting on it. A press that has the power to get people fired has the power to demonise any sections of societythey wish. This was shown on Simon Schama’s program The American Future: A History were a small town newspaper turned against the Chinese population of the town during the Great Depression, after the Chinese helped to build the railroad across America, and they needed someone to blame so they chose the immigrants. The owner of the paper took against the Chinese and run a hate campaign against them and harassed local businesses so that they fired their immigrant workers until all the Chinese left the town. I’m using this example to make a wider point.
Rambling again, sorry. Important news, last Sunday the Palestine football team played its first international home game in a stadium in the West Bank. Before this stadium was built, from about $4million donated by Fifa , their home games were played in Jordan and training was in Egypt because the team was split between the West Bank and Gaza. The Israeli travel restrictions made it difficult to gather in either part of their fragmented homeland. The palyers form Gaza were still only allowed out to train with the rest of the team in the West Bank 2 days before the game and they had missed the last 18 international games because of the travel restriction.

By Wednesday morning it will all be over and Barack Obama will be president elect, $1 billion will be have spent and 140 million people will have voted, out of the 202.7 million people eligible too. 69% of the electorate will have voted so however wins, unless there is a massive landslide in the popular vote which there won’t be, won’t really have a mandate to rule. And this is supposed to be an election that has “gripped” America, the “most important election for a generation” and people still can’t be bothered to vote. Although it doesn’t really matter about the popular vote. It happens here in England and any other country that doesn’t use a one man one vote system, the party that gets the most votes doesn’t always win.

I am now going to steal someone else’s format/idea, its Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science column from the Guardian if you’re interested, and talk about a sort of scientific survey and how it was reported on television. A report came out this week that said, and here I quote from the BBC and ITV’s morning news programs, “Light drinking is ok in pregnancy”. What does light drinking mean? Later they mentioned 2 units but how much chardonnay is 2 units? Not mentioned. The survey, as reported, said that children of Ladies who had a bit to drink whilst pregnant did as well and, in some cases, better than the children of those who abstained in some cognitive tests. Now all of these things are true but they missed out on some quite significant caveats. They didn’t tell you that most of the women who consumed 1 or 2 units a week were, compared with abstainers, more likely to be better educated, from higher income households and were less likely to have smoked during pregnancy. The study didn’t take into account data on miscarriages, stillbirths and neonatal deaths. For more information about how poorly this was reported and the poorness of the study in general go to

If you didn’t realise that you have no control over your life and that big companies are out to screw you we have had lots of examples over the last few weeks. Both Shell and BP have made incredable profits whilst failing to pass on the failing price of oil to consumers. Whilst the oil price has continued to fall OPEC has decided to produce less oil in an attampt to push the price back up again and the Royal Bank of Scotland will still by paying it’s workers up to £1.79bn.

To cheer us all up herwe some awards,

The My God You Make It Much Harder Than It Needs To Be Award,

This goes to Lewis Hamilton who has become the youngest driver ever to win the drivers championship. He wasn’t going to win it until about 3 corners from the end when he managed to pass Timo Glock, in slightly odd circumstances, and finishing 5th.

The Surprising Statement of the Week Award,

This goes to Dido who said on the BBC, “I’ve been experimenting musically.” I believe the full quote, not broadcast by the BBC after advice from the controller of radio 2 was “I’ve been experimenting musically but have decided to carry on releasing the same dull, uninspired, insipid, boring, lyrically trite radio friendly unit shifters as before.”

The Award For A Service I Didn’t Know I Was Missing But Now You Come To Mention It How Did I live Without It,

This goes to a new service as featured in today Sunday Telegraph, although it may have been the Sunday Times, which was a 24 hr on call Philosophy Help line. If you’re having a metaphysical crisis at 3am and, let’s be honest, most of us have, these are the people for you.

I’ve rambled again this week, sorry, blame cider and a lack of focus and significant other, she’s in Kent for the weekend.

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