Sunday, 11 October 2009

Diana Watch

So let me get this straight, did the Nobel Committee give Barack Obama the peace prize for what he wants to do? I want to bring World peace and invent a cure for cancer but no one gives me a prize for that. The closing date for entries (yes even the Nobel Prize has a closing date) is sometime in February, which was about a fortnight after President Obama took office. I'm sure that he is a great man and will achieve great things but come on, a Nobel Peace Prize for 2 weeks work?
The problem is that people, I'm looking at you Fox News and most Republicans, will see this as a reason to bash him. They will see it as proof that he is giving away American power and influence. That he is buddying up (I believe that is the American phrase) to leaders and Countries that are not America. That others from outside of the US have some influence over their President, (some see the prize as the rest of the world saying “well done, carry on like that. We (the rest of the world) like what you are doing”) who they are going to criticise what ever he does. If he bought JFK back from the dead and sat down to dinner with God it would be called a political gimmick.

Ah, political gimmick. A phrase that should haunt Chris “It's like The Wire round here” Grayling, Shadow Home Secretary, to his political grave (see, I'm fair minded, not actual death, just swift political death).
This week, when told that Ex-head of the British Army Sir Richard Danet was joining a political party as an advisor he, for some odd reason given Sir Richard's constant hectoring of Gordon Brown, though that it was the Labour party and said that he hoped it wasn't a “political gimmick”.
The fun thing was that he was, in fact, joining the Conservatives. This was, of course, not a political gimmick or stunt but a very welcome and important appointment.
Later that day he went on to announce another poorly thought through, headline grabbing, short term policy. His “brilliant plan”, increase tax on cheap, high strength alcohol such as beer and cider. You'll note, not spirits.
These plans just won't work though. They don't tackle the problem of why people drink but nobody wants to tackle this problem because it is hard and complicated. It won't be sorted out with just a tax increase or a “crack down on anti-social behaviour”. If he had done some proper research rather than just reaching for his copy of “Tory Knee-jerk Reactions” he wound have found that this sort of scheme was tried in Australia and it didn't work. Spirits sales went up by 50%. Young people got drunk on them instead.

Before I leave the Nobel's completely, let's big up Chinese born British scientist Charles Kao who has won Nobel prize for physics for perfecting Fibre optic cables. He is sharing the prize with 2 others who invented the chip/sensor at the centre of the digital camera that converts light into digital data.

Many companies stand for nothing except making money and we should have no time for them but Apple have done something a little bit interesting. I would like to say that I read this in the Washington Post but I didn't, someone posted a link on Twitter.
Apple have left the US Chamber of Commerce because of it's position on climate change. IE Apple think it's a bad thing and something should be done and the Chamber of Commerce don't.
Now this may not seem like that much but Apple is a massive company and has a lot of money and, therefore, influence and it is standing up for what it believes in and taking it's money with it. This will leave an Apple shaped hole in the finances of the Chambers of Commerce and may make them think about their position a little more carefully.
Another company that has been thinking about it's position is Waitrose, a UK supermarket, which has this week pulled it's advertising from Fox News and related companies after it's customers complained about them using these channels. Their complaints were, of course, about Glenn Beck and Waitrose giving his programme and channel money.
Does anyone not know about Glenn Beck? My God he is horrid. He cries. That's his thing. On air. About pretty much anything. Let's have a look at that shall we,

awful isn't it.
It is not just this that normal people have a problem with; there is also his easily bought opinion. Before he took his current job on Fox he did a series of “bits” on how bad the US health system is. He had an operation and didn't find the whole thing much fun,

However, now that he is on Fox and taking the Murdoch dollar he is perfectly willing to completely switch his position saying that it is the best health care system in the World.

Ok ,vested interests and all that, lying to keep your job is one thing and at least it took about 18 months (and a new employer) to change his mind but he can change his mind much more quickly than that.

President Obama is a racist, I'm not saying he's a racist, he's a racist. All in about 3 minutes. Nice work.
Then gaze upon this incredible amount of squirming when he was asked about it and what he meant by “white culture”.

His show has lost an awful lot of advertising since his “Obama is a Racist” outburst.

Because of the, usual, high levels of cynicism that goes on here I would like to do an “and finally” style story.
I'm not a sentimental person, although I do have a square vase that I won't get rid of despite the fact that it is cracked because it was given to me by a friend, but this warmed my heart. Ed Miliband, Climate Change Secretary, was on a Russian radio phone in show to talk about well umm, climate change. One of the callers claimed to be a Miliband as well. They had a little chat and it turned out that she was, indeed related, albeit distantly, to him.
So what else could he do? After the phone in show he went round to see her. They shared a cup of tea and some photographs. She showed very little interest in what he does for a living.

The Award for Surprising Statistic of the Week,

Paris may be my favourite place in the World. We had our honeymoon there. I wanted to move there and still do. An apartment in Montmartre would be my dream. Close to my favourite restaurant in all the world. The art, the food, the architecture, it is fantastic. Heck, I also love the French. The way they dress. Their disdain for the rest of the world's culture.
So why on earth can you know get a big Mac at the Louvre?
This is a perplexing question but I learnt something this week. Despite the mutual antagonism on both sides of the Atlantic, France seems to have the most McDonald's outside of the US.
Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! It can't be true! Tell me it's not true! Oh well may have move to Italy. I could write about Silvio Berlusconi every week then, at least he's funny, unlike Gordon Brown. Although it is possible that Berlusconi is beyond satire. Surely he's a cartoon character.

The Award for Hypocrite of the Week,

This goes to one of the directors of the Tax Payers Alliance, Mr Alexander Heath , who, it turns out, pays no tax in this country.
For those who don't know the “Tax Payers Alliance” ( I put them in inverted commas because they claim to represent tax payers but these nasty little Right-Wing reactionary rent-a-quotes certainly don't represent me.) they pop up to criticise any Government spending plans or are always “shocked” when some wastage is found in Central or Local Government.
If you don't pay tax you can't complain about OUR taxes are spent, simple as that. In the way, if you don't vote, you can't complain about the Government, which was a favourite of my Grandma.

The Award for Least Surprising Thing of the Week,

Really GMTV, what did you expect to happen?
A GMTV presenter say “fuck” live on air. Twice. Well it was more like “fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck”, followed by, when the cord snapped tight and pulled him skyward again, “fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck”. This is what happens if you let a man, who has never done it before, bungee jump live on air.
To be honest, having now seen the footage and not just relying on the Daily Mail's website, he only really said “ffffffffffuuuuu” twice but they still apologised for it. There were, of course, calls from the puritanical press for the reporter to be sacked. Oh do please stop it. A mistake was made and an apology was given, no one died, please leave it at that.

The jump is about 4 minutes in.

The Award for Amusing Quote of the Week,

106 year old woman is to be moved from her nursing home to another one. The Council want to close hers because it doesn't come up to standard. Her family went to the high court to try and stop this but failed. After the hearing her son made a statement and said that he was worried that “she would die before her time”. She's 106, “her time” was sometime last century.

Ok, I’m off now, have a good week my friends.

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