Mandy bill

Watering it down a tad...

The Register: Mandybill: innocence restored, fines for copyright cockups.
At least they're going down the path the American Companies went down where they issued blanket injunctions, and other nonsense things.

The Times: Tories and Lib Dems to oppose controversial Digital Economy Bill clause.

That'll be clause 17 - whereby Mandelson can change what 'copyright' means any time he likes (or more like any time there's a free holiday or ride on a yacht with his uber-rich record company/movie company mates going). Rather than grasping the nettle and having a massive complete re-think about copyright laws. But the law doesn't work like that does it? guess it never will so long as it's in lawyers' best interests to keep the status quo.

The Fies Files: Miniature Fakery

Some nice tilt-shifting here
The Fies Files: Miniature Fakery

compact cassettes are back -apparently

BBC: The cassette comes back as art

Pitchfork: This is not a mixtape

My problem is I have a huge stack of cassettes from a time when I had had my record player stolen and couldn't afford a CD player much less CDs (there was a long period of time where CDs - despite being a lot cheaper to produce - were sold at an inflated premium). I've been meaning to transfer them onto the 'puter for years now and never get around to it.

well, well, well

I suppose this shouldn't have come as a surprise. The Press Complaints Commission - after allowing some considerable water pass under the bridge (possibly hoping that people might have forgotten about the initial outrage by now?) have decided to totally ignore all the thousands and thousands of complaints they received.
"the sugar coating on this fatality is so saccharine-thick that it obscures whatever bitter truth lies beneath"

Oh well, I guess the next step is going to have be for someone to take the old poison-pen welding pie-munching munter (if she can do it - so can I) to court for plain old libel. Sue her and the Daily Mail for damages. If the PCC had done their job properly - she would have got off lightly and just had to have to written a proper apology.

Just to point out - The Daily Mail is signed up to 'The Editors' Code of Practice'

Well, let's have a little run through it here:

1. Accuracy

i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures.

[Oh where to begin - it'd be a shorter list to point out where Moir wasn't inaccurate, misleading and distorting information? Otherwise that's a description of her article from beginning to end really.]

ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion once recognised must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and - where appropriate - an apology published.

[Moir never published a follow up apology - merely a self-pitying self-justification for her obnoxious outpourings.]

Get out clause:
iii) The Press, whilst free to be partisan, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact.

[Mmmmmm. Can't help if she'd written something similarly inflammatory concerning race - or religion - she wouldn't have got off so lightly from the PCC. But then, the gays, along with the working class, single mothers and 'chavs' -oh and now bankers are among the few groups that's it's deemed ok for everyone to be nasty about. (Although bankers really do deserve to be pilloried.)]

3 *Privacy

i) Everyone is entitled to respect for his or her private and family life, home, health and correspondence, including digital communications.

[Intrusion into grief - and calling the circumstances of someone's death 'sleazy' -is showing respect is it?]

talking of which:

5 Intrusion into grief or shock

i) In cases involving personal grief or shock, enquiries and approaches must be made with sympathy and discretion and publication handled sensitively. This should not restrict the right to report legal proceedings, such as inquests.

[oh, but she did say sorry to his family for the timing of her article a whole week later - so that's OK then. Get that - an apology for the timing but not for the contents. Classy.]

12 Discrimination

i) The press must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual's race, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability.
ii) Details of an individual's race, colour, religion, sexual orientation, physical or mental illness or disability must be avoided unless genuinely relevant to the story.

[Wow. Complete fail overload here.]

But the PCC thinks - that NONE of these points were breached. Not one.

Worse, they claim pretty much: - 'oh that Jan Moir - everyone knows what's she's like. Oh, and it was buried on page 37 - that section of the paper only the girlies read.' Which totally ignores the fact it was -and still is - up there on their website. Which also gives lie to their claim most of those people complaining had never read the article.

So. Now we see how self-regulation works. I think we can safely say bollocks to that - and get that abolished in favour of a properly wholly independent regulatory body - and definitely one that doesn't have the Editor of the Daily Mail sitting as a chair on the same Commission. Can you say 'conflict of interest'.


'Mail' article on Stephen Gately cleared by PCC.

PCC ruling leaves press in the gutter.

Tatchell attacks PCC ruling on Jan Moir

Former Evening Standard theatre critic attacks newspaper's defence of Jan Moir.

Even the editor of Web user magazine has his say - pointing out the absurdity that while someone can get arrested and charged for just making a stupid joke on Twitter (I mentioned this only the other day) - Jan Moir gets off scott free with flaunting the Press's own Code of Practice.

What did I say already?

oh yes...

I quote myself:
There is so much unemployment around simply because here are far more people than here are jobs for them to do.

and further proof of that is some new thing they've had to invent a new word for:
700,000 Britons swell the ranks of 'underemployed'
The death of the full time job.

I actually think working a lot less hours a week is a great thing - but the lack of pay certainly isn't. Not when interest rates are set to increase, inflation is already rising, and all the banks are getting to be right dicks and squeezing their customers for every penny they can... (like so many of them haven't already had a good boost of free tax-payer's money.)

Ooooh there's trouble ahead.

Ray Gosling

The 'We've-nothing-better-to-do' Police start probing:

The BBC news site:
Murder arrest over Ray Gosling's BBC confession.
The Times article:
Ray Gosling refuses to talk to police after confessing he 'killed lover'
The Independent Article:
Ray Gosling 'in good spirits' amid murder probe.

Will someone pass this article onto Jan Moir

The boy who died for 11 minutes
Every year 600 outwardly healthy young people die from sudden death syndrome.

I know it's a bit late, and I know she's not one to let a bit of factual research get in the way of a snidey bitchfest with big bold headlines - but yes, young men do suddenly and unexpectedly drop dead from congenital heart defects.

Wonder how that press complaints thing is coming along?

news comments link dump

The great university swindle | Jeremy Gilbert | Comment is free |
Government cuts will mean only the richest will get quality education. The rest will be conned into paying more for less

I too was once a benefits cheat ...

Retire at 68? Three-quarters of us will be too ill to even work that long...
Report claims nation's health is so poor that bid to raise retirement age could be stopped dead in its tracks

wealthy ex-MP pontificates about the unemployed

it's pronounced 'Portaloo'

Sighs. So here an ex-Tory gets paid to waffle on about the jobless... because, as you know, a person who's never been out of work - and who get's very well paid to do various media things - and has been in Government and so has consequently read a report or two, and has even read a couple of books by American right-wing 'political scientists' (whatever one of those is) is going to know all about it. Obviously.

I should go through this whole article paragraph by paragraph but here's a few of my quick comments and thoughts on it...

He starts very loftily with a quote from Sir William Beveridge: The state “should not stifle incentive, opportunity, responsibility,...” Good start there, except the state of today, and in Major's day and in Thatcher's day - pretty much does everything it can to stifle everything it can.

Portillo laments that 5 million (which he quickly in the same sentence revises down to two and a half million) haven't had a job -ever, especially under Labour - implying it's all Tony Blair's fault - when in actual fact the problem was started long ago under Thatcher, When she destroyed great swathes of British industry, and systematically crippled the Unions making it near impossible for many to fight for better pay and working conditions etc. The effects of which we're still suffering from today - particularly as NuLabour carried on with her vision instead of doing anything to reverse it. But their pay masters were never going to allow that anyway. (Look to who funds the parties - with their hefty donations and who does the most lobbying to see who really runs the country - because it sure isn't the Politicians.)

"The workless have been immune to programmes of training and mentoring."
No well, (and I speak from experience and from other friends who've been forced onto these "programmes") -that's hardly any surprise - because all these schemes are only ever done on the cheap, the training (if you can call it that) available is only of the most cursory and rudimentary level - providing Mickey Mouse qualifications that no employer has even ever heard of - let alone has much use for. In fact all these courses are designed to do - is massage the jobless figures and make the lives of the unemployed that extra bit miserable and depressing. Oh, and to create a few jobs for either the sociopathic or the well-meaning but ultimately clueless middle-class-guilt-ridden person. But god forbid that at any time should anyone from the Department of Social Security or any MP or whatever should ever take the trouble to actually ASK the unemployed individuals what it is THEY need to get into work? God forbid that they should ever provide funding for real training with real qualifications - because let's face it, those things are expensive compared to begrudgingly handing out meager subsistence-level benefits however long term. Portillo mentions the reform of the educational system, er, yes. Indeed. It's been reformed so that unless you come from a nice wealthy middle-class family - you are forced into taking out crippling loans which will leave you steeped in debt for a large chunk of the beginning of your working life, of course that's if you're lucky enough to have a working life. Most of these reforms have only benefited the middle-classes and excluded the working classes altogether, as the middle-classes have hauled up the ladder of opportunity after themselves. So well done there then.

Portillo then goes on to write a rather weird section back-handedly praising while simultaneously condemning the social reforms John and Ted Kennedy made for black people in the 60s. Apparently, according to this right-wing political commentator (and nearly-racist) Charles Murray, all the welfare provisions for the black poor has totally ruined their lives. I don't quite understood what the intimation here is - is he saying they'd have been better off if they had been left to starve? Or saying maybe if they had got together and rioted more? Surely the black people were poor because they had nothing - they were brought into the US as slaves - given their freedom - which in most cases just meant the freedom to starve to death. But then right-wingers, (who you can guarantee have never experienced poverty or endured real hunger in their lives) are always advocating that the poor have their welfare payments taken away from them - because it will be good for them. Somehow.

Yeah, somehow I'm getting the impression that right-wing commentators are in love with the idea of cheap labour - and the more poor there are, then supposedly the more they will compete and undercut each other to provide ever cheaper labour for rich right-wing company owners etc. So they can get even richer. Not much else concerns them. After all that's exactly how it works in parts of the world where there is no state welfare provision. Oddly enough - the mass poverty doesn't go away there either. But the rich always get richer.

(Nowadays there's lots of talk of getting people to work for their benefits, instead of -oh, I don't know, maybe giving them a proper wage to do that work they'll forced to do. Obviously that thought hasn't occurred to anybody.)

All of which surely goes to prove that all Right-wingers are -let's face it, just complete dicks. Their simple-minded posturings don't really bring much of worth to the debating table. That right-wing commentators exist at all is only testament to the fact that a majority of people will happily pay to hear what they want to hear.

Oh, Portillo's retarded article rattles on - but doesn't begin to address any of the real complexity of the issues surrounding the unemployed which should include:-

  • regional variations. There are whole areas of the UK where one main industry was closed -a coal or steel mine, a major manufacturer that moved abroad - etc.) that have never recovered. Nothing replaced the loss.
  • the minimum wage and the working poor, along with the grim fact that millions in the UK are in work and are not the least bit better off for it financially or even 'spiritually' (Portillo likes it when the poor rely on religious faith. Is it because it's cheaper than paying out welfare I wonder?)
  • In work benefits - should the State be subsidizing companies that can't or won't pay their employees a living wage?
  • he mentions immigration but leaves it ambiguous as to what he really thinks about the issue (maybe the tip-toeing is because he doesn't want to be seen as racist?).
  • the fact that the UK has allowed the financial sector to overshadow and dominate the economy here - rather than finding a balance with the good old fashioned methods of making and selling actual stuff (it's as if we just couldn't be bothered to do that here - not now we're all so post-industrial - instead we let China and India etc. to make things for us - because labour over there is so much cheaper... erm.)
  • which brings us to the issue of ever increasing globalisation, whereby what could and should be local jobs get outsourced aboard.

But once again with the usual tiresome 'blame the victim' stance these articles always take - again and again the big elephant in the room gets ignored - the grim stark fact that maybe, just maybe there's so much unemployment around because... because... *gasp* hold on to your hats - this will shock you... because there are far, far many people around than there are jobs for them to do! *gasp again*

I know!

I'll say it again - to let it sink in.

There is so much unemployment around simply because here are far more people than here are jobs for them to do.

Once we face up to this constantly and consistently ignored fact, then we can genuinely start to tackle the problems, maybe with ways that have never even been tried before. Ones that stand a chance of working. But until then - everyone is just going to go round and round in circles doing the same things  having the same arguments and deploying the half-baked methods that get us nowhere -over and over and over...)

Oh well - I guess it keeps Portillo and his ilk in work doesn't it? Writing all this ill-thought out nonsense for the people who pay to hear what they want to hear -rather than what they NEED to hear. But don't ever let the unemployed have a voice... Oh no.

oh Google - how could you?

after you were doing so well in facing down China's censorship.

Google shuts down music blogs without warning | Music |

Got to love some of those comments though. Some people don't even bother reading the article before weighing in with their mindless parroting -'all copyright violation is theft.' SQWARK! ' you wouldn't steal a CD!' SQWARK!

Idiot makes stupid non-funny joke on Twitter
- and gets arrested for it. Yup, the fascist shift is coming along nicely thank you. So let me get this right - in the UK they can arrest someone for being an idiot on Twitter and consequently mess up his life, but elsewhere in the world security can't manage to stop a man with explosives in his underpants getting on a plane?

it's the little things that show you care

Me: (Thinks: 'Oh poor Kev having to get up so early to drive 2 hours to get to work. He doesn't have time for a cup of tea even. Oh, but that's OK when there's this brand new nifty insulated cup that I've recently bought.) "Here Kevin - at least you can have a cup of tea. But I want the mug back."

Kevin: "Oh thanks Groc. Sure thing. *glug-glug*"

Not so many months later: Guess what I found sitting in the bottom of his kitchen bin.

It's the thought that counts.

currently reading:

Skip's Acorn Treasury

He's a geeky cult tv fan boy - loves Lego, worked on the official BBC website, written a Doctor Who audio book and two Torchwood books 'Risk Assessment' and 'Almost Perfect' and a CD a 'Being Human' book and is a producer now, is very funny and very homosexualist.

And yesterday I'd bought the Doctor Who e-space trilogy dvd boxset thing (oh damn - the official BBC shop website is selling it £4 cheaper than I paid for it. HMV are such rippoff merchants)- and look who's name was on the credit for some of the extras? That's nearly very spooky, sort of.

Mmmm - come to think of it, I hate his guts. The bastard.

That's jealousy talking.

tablet computers

Because I do the drawing and a doodling and the editing of photographs - I've always fancied a tablet computer - because, you know, if you take the time to think about it, graphic tablets have been more a testimony to the human physiology overcoming adversity than they have been practical. But they were always way too expensive and (with the sole exception of a uber-expensive Wacom Cintiq) - so NOT designed for artists. (Way to miss out on a huge potential market segment guys).

So yes I would quite a iPad. But even then - you just know from how it's being sold it's really a passive entertainment device - something to replace books and magazines and newspapers (they're hoping) - and a slightly different way of watching movies and viewing the web. But it won't come into it's own until you can draw/paint/edit photos on it. That will surely come in time, I hope. Although I guess the majority of people are just passive consumers and most of the world is built to cater for them. *sighs*

In pictures: tablet computers | Technology |