pink shirt press releases

Papers mindlessly reprint Press releases - shocker

Daily mail:
The power of pink: Men who wear shirts of that colour earn £1,000 a year more than those who don’t 

Daily Express:

No doubt there will be other papers covering the same reports findings.

Now why do I have a sneaking suspicion someone in some company somewhere* has an overstock of pink shirts they need to offload? Oh yes... that'll be because I've read 'Propaganda' by Edward Bernays where's there's a whole chapter on who he made velvet a popular fashion choice.

[*Stephanie Thiers-Ratcliffe, International Marketing Manager for Cotton USA - who commissioned the report.]

Housing benefit changes

BBC Wales on 'the Bedroom tax' [video]

A mother who has two children one boy aged 9 one girl 3 years old - but new rules state that because both children are under 10 - that they're supposed to move to a smaller property and the children to then share a bedroom. If they don't or simply can't because there's nowhere smaller to move to, or because they simply can't afford to move, then they get a cut in their housing benefit, and will have to make up the shortfall out of the rest of their already inadequate budget - just as fuel, food prices and everything else is skyrocketing.

Add that to the information that
The UK builds the smallest homes in Europe, according to the government's adviser on architecture. [BBC magazine from 2007]
'Shoebox homes' become the UK norm.
No room to cook dinner or seat guests? Welcome to 'rabbit hutch Britain
showing that these smaller properties are just not there to downsize into - we've a perfect storm looming on the horizon.

So the same way the Govt. is trying to force people into jobs that simply aren't there and punish them harshly when they're not getting those non-existent jobs - they're now about to make people move to non-existent smaller properties and then punish them when they can't. Already councils are housing people in Bed & Breakfast - at great expense to the taxpayer and inflicting misery on people forced to live there because there isn't enough suitable housing... and it's now only set to get a lot, lot worse.

Apple fibs

What did a certain Mr Steve Jobs say about 7 inch tablets back on 18th October, 2010?

... I'd like to comment on the avalanche of tablets poised to enter the market in the coming months. First, it appears to be just a handful of credible entrants, not exactly an avalanche. Second, almost all of them use seven-inch screens as compared to iPad's near 10-inch screen. Let's start there. One naturally thinks that a seven-inch screen would offer 70% of the benefits of a 10-inch screen. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. The screen measurements are diagonal, so that a seven-inch screen is only 45% as large as iPad's 10-inch screen. You heard me right; just 45% as large
If you take an iPad and hold it upright in portrait view and draw an imaginary horizontal line halfway down the screen, the screens on the seven-inch tablets are a bit smaller than the bottom half of the iPad display. This size isn't sufficient to create great tablet apps in our opinion.
Well, one could increase the resolution of the display to make up for some of the difference. It is meaningless, unless your tablet also includes sandpaper, so that the user can sand down their fingers to around one quarter of the present size. Apple's done extensive user-testing on touch interfaces over many years, and we really understand this stuff. There are clear limits of how close you can physically place elements on a touch screen before users cannot reliably tap, flick or pinch them. This is one of the key reasons we think the 10-inch screen size is the minimum size required to create great tablet apps.
Third, every tablet user is also a smartphone user. No tablet can compete with the mobility of a smartphone, its ease of fitting into your pocket or purse, its unobtrusiveness when used in a crowd. Given that all tablet users will already have a smartphone in their pockets, giving up precious display area to fit a tablet in our pockets is clearly the wrong tradeoff. The seven-inch tablets are tweeners, too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with an iPad.
Fourth, almost all of these new tablets use Android software, but even Google is telling the tablet manufacturers not to use their current release, Froyo, for tablets, and to wait for a special tablet release next year. What does it mean when your software suppliers does not (inaudible) to use their software in your tablet? And what does it mean when you ignore them and use it anyway?
Fifth, iPad now has over 35,000 apps on the App Store. This new crop of tablets will have near zero.
And sixth and last, our potential competitors are having a tough time coming close to iPad's pricing, even with their far smaller, far less expensive screens. The iPad incorporates everything we have learnt about building high value products from iPhones, iPods and Macs. We create our own A4 chip, our own software, our own battery chemistry, our own enclosure, our own everything. And this results in an incredible product at a great price. The proof of this will be in the pricing of our competitor's products which will likely offer less for more.
These are among the reasons we think the current crop of seven-inch tablets are going to be DOA, Dead on Arrival. Their manufacturers will learn the painful lesson that their tablets are too small and increase the size next year, thereby abandoning both customers and developers who jumped on the seven-inch bandwagon with an orphan product. Sounds like lots of fun ahead.
 Now can you guess what the rumours are that Apple will be releasing soon? Hope they'll be giving away some Apple branded iSandpaper for the fanboys.

gadgets gadgets gadgets

Well, the new iPhone is out - at least this time it looks different enough from the last one so the early adopters can brandish it around and those easily impressed will notice and make appreciative 'cooing' noises, A taller screen - or is it wider? The camera now has a panorama function. But it's all a bit underwhelming really.

Dan Lyons (Creator of the 'Fake Steve' blog)writes: Apple's iPhone launches no longer excite

Then I found this by Woz "I wish my iPhone did all the things what my Android does." which is faintly damning.

Soooo as far as the hype (or should I say tedium) goes I still really want a Galaxy Note II and a Nexus 7.

Samsung gadgets

New Samsung gadgets - mmmmmm. And there's new Galaxy note out? And a camera that lets you edit them and upload them to the 'nets...

Now if only I was a multimillionaire.

Daily Mail is at it again

Quarter of those claiming sickness benefits have a criminal record in 'truly alarming discovery'

I left this comment (they tend to disappear from to time to time I've noticed)

This is what is known in propaganda school as a 'smear campaign' - it's very revealing how the DWP manages to release these little snippets of information at very crucial times. Maybe it's because the Government was getting a little scared that the strikes over the closure of the Remploy factories was garnering a little bit too much sympathy from the general public. (since it undoes all that previous propaganda tainting the disabled as workshy when they're oh er... fighting to stay in work) - or it's because they're about to announce yet another round of cuts on disability benefits... but obviously something now suits the government for the public to think of the disabled as criminals. Shame on the Daily Mail for spreading this disinformation.  For a change how's about trying doing some proper research and actual journalism rather than rewriting press-releases from the DWP?



So just what have we got as a nation to feel proud about at present? OK the Jubilee and the Olympics for those so minded offer a maybe welcome diversion from the stark realities of our everyday lives, but they are little more than hollow escape from our real troubles, and these are stacking up by the bucket load.

Bankers plot response to bonus threat

Oh noes! Boo-hoo. The bankers if they get their bonuses limited - they'll move somewhere else. Really?
Where to? Let them. They can go and wreck someone else's economies.

A new poverty pimp firm is on the block

Things haven't been going too well for E4e lately but what of fellow poverty pimping company Maximus. Oh look - their parent American company been fined for various acts of fraud and fiddling the books even before they've started here.

and their dodgy dealings go back decades: Low-rated firm fights to keep rich county work (30th October 2008) just shows how much lobbying and money they paid out trying to keep lucrative contracts - donations to political parties. (Sound familiar?)

You'd think the UK unemployed folk deserved better than this. Nah. I have no idea why our Government insists on copying American ideas 5 or so years late and after they've seen to fail. There must be a parliamentary time warp where they live 5 years behind the rest of us... or something.

welfare p-r-o-p-a-g-a-n-d-a

Why Tiffany, 24, knows how to get UK off benefits... Thanks to the Wisconsin workfare scheme David Cameron would love to emulate in Britain.

This is the comment I left:
The Mail has to go all the way to America to find one success story on how welfare-to-work is supposed to work. How much did it cost to send the journalist on that little trip? (Or was it just copied out of a press release?) So can we hope for a similar article set closer to home interviewing a few of the people of the 97% that the likes of A4e totally failed to help? I doubt it somehow.

As for the article itself - urgh. Propaganda covered in syrupy nonsense.

In just the first paragraph - "she now works as a bank teller"... mmmmm that'll work fine here then, oh no hang on... banks have been shedding staff here like crazy. And there's even more lay offs in the pipelines. Strike one.

'A miraculous change of fortune' - well, yes of course miracles happen every day... oh wait, no they don't. That's why they're called miracles. Definition of miraculous: Occurring through divine or supernatural intervention) So strike two. The Wisconsin programme isn't working then - is it. It's up to God and fairies.

Then it's blah-blah-blah, Cameron is a god amongst men, and single American mom's on welfare are a drain the US economy... sort of waffle.

then we get: "Britain currently has a voluntary Government-backed work experience scheme, which Mr Cameron’s proposals hope to build on."
That's voluntary as in 'you do this -or we stop all your 'benefits' including your rent - so you'll be homeless, begging in the street' -that sort of voluntary.

As the Wiscon Programme - well, funding has been cut on it already... (March 20, 2011) and oh, lookee here - it's being threatened with closure altogether in one place.

and I found this academic study:
'Wisconsin works'?: race, gender and accountability in the workfare era. which shows that there's a lot more to the programme than this fluffy-wuffy Daily Mail article.

If the cap doesn't fit

but that's alright - because it will free up more housing for the people who can't afford to buy any more ... er... hang on.

US dream a myth! The price Americans pay for growing inequality

US dream a myth! The price Americans pay for growing inequality - The Economic Times:

The UK tediously follows whatever the US does - and we don't even have the masses as well brainwashed as the majority of American people are.

God it's depressing.

Two strikes and you're out

Two strikes and you're out: Jobseekers who fail to turn up to interviews or drop out of work programmes will be forced to carry out unpaid work | Mail Online:

Golly. We must be living in the middle of a boom - with factories opening everywhere clamouring for workers - shops on the high streets opening up every day desperately needing staff - houses, schools, etc. being built on every corner of spare land needing builders and plumbers and electricians - roads being built - infrastructure being repaired - yup. Everything must be going so well we even have to get terminally ill cancer patients being put to work for the last weeks of their lives in case we fall behind.

Or else we're in the middle of a double-dip recession - and the economy is being handled so badly and so many taxes going uncollected [Vodaphone has just been let off paying a few billion - AGAIN] - and we're so busy handing over billions to help keep the Euro afloat for a few more months - that we've decided somehow the unemployed are to be blamed for being unemployed and must be punished for it.

The trouble is there are only a few times you can kick a dog before it will turn on you. And this Govt. is kicking the poor and disadvantaged so often they're storing up so much resentment - they're going to get a real shock when the pack turns on them and rips their throats out. What will they have to lose? Their unpaid jobs? Their benefits? The choice is becoming whether to starve to death on the streets or get put in prison...

[Oh and as usual there are some bizarre comments by the Daily Mail readers on this...

"why should I go to work every day for the feckless to swan around in a nice new car, have a holiday, buy the latest gadget when I can't afford to, and I am the one going to work 40+ hours a week."

-writes someone who obviously has no idea.]

Aaah e-magazines

 Remember when the first iPad came out? I remember the excitement by Rupert Murdoch who thought it was going to be the future of publishing make him rich... well, richer. Now he's disappeared his Sun and Times papers behind a paywall.. and his relevance to political life has diminished and I wonder how his 'Daily' the iPad news magazine is doing... I don't think they ever even bothered to launch an UK version, I've not heard anything since the launch - so I'm guessing it can't be doing very well..

Then I happened across this piece:

Why Publishers Don't Like Apps

Written by someone who likewise started out being excited by the idea of an iPad magazine - only to find it really frustrating and abandoned it in favour of an online HTML 5 version.

I know I wrote a comment on the Guardian website about just this sort of thing - comparing the new electronic iPad/tablet e-magazines to CD-ROMs which were all the range for about 5 minutes before the internet took off...

oh, here it is:

SXSW 2011: Novelty of iPad news apps fades fast among digital delegates

16 March 2011 6:50AM
CD-ROMs where great weren't they?
You'd get a shiny disk (usually inside a massive cardboard box) and put in into the slot on the 'puter and you had writing and pictures and sometimes sound and little tiny movies. They were going to be this whole new publishing medium that was going to revolutionise everything...
Then the internet happened. It revolutionised everything.
People barely remember CD-ROMS any more.
And when I saw 'the Daily' app thing - I thought 'oh. It's like a news magazine on a cd-rom - only without the shiny disc part' and oh - you can turn it and swipe and... er, ok bored now. It's all a bit (whispers) naff. Good content doesn't need all that whizz-bangery, not really - a normal web page will do just fine. Thank you.
Plus one of the things I've long hated about buying a physical paper -especially the Sundays - is the sheer bulk - having endless section after section of stuff that ends up unread in the recycling bin. Reading the paper on the web is much better - getting to read only the bits I'm interested in... but an app? a subscription? having to download hefty chunks of data I'm probably not going to ever read? with advertising too? This is going to save the newspaper/magazine publishing industry?
I think they could be running up a blind alley there.

More of the UK's money to go to the IMF? (I thought we didn't have any)

Channel 4: Britain commits extra 10bn to international monetary fund

Let me get this right... Every Western country that followed this fashionable Chigaco School Neo-liberalist 'free market decides' 'let the financial sector free' dogma has now got themselves into a massive hole. So we now have the IMF who usually only lend money to bail out countries to stop them defaulting on their debts to the bankers and in exchange for which they usually insist on those countries on cutting their public spending and imposing harsh austerity measures and them selling of all state assets. Of course we're seeing that doesn't really work very well (and if you look into the IMF's history – you'll see it has never worked well – except for the bankers, they got their loans and interest back and the populations were left starving). So here we are in the UK where Osbourne has pre-empted having to go cap-in-hand to the IMF – by doing everything the IMF would have made us do anyway for a loan... without getting any sort of a loan in return. Our reward for this 'prudence' – is to have to give the IMF £10 billion more? Which he'll have to pay for by even less public pending – even more cuts and even more austerity on top of that he's already committed us to. (This money never comes out his rich mate's pockets have you noticed?) Er. Looks a bit like a 'lose – lose – and lose some more' scenario to me.

Isn't it obvious that a collective mass hysteria has infected those people in power – these financiers and bankers – they're behaving like out of control compulsive gamblers – stealing the food out of their own children's mouths to get the money to feed the slot machines or bet on the next turn of the roulette wheel. We need an intervention to stop them stealing our wealth from us. It's got to stop. It will stop but will it be a controlled braking or a massive crash with no survivors?

High Court

Guardian: High court should seize chance to curb government's workfare programme It may not be slave labour, but forcing people to work for free could breach human rights laws I don't hold much hope to be honest, the Judges in charge of the case are going to have the same mindset as the Right-wing leaning over-privileged public schoolboy idiots who came up with the whole idea for stupid scheme in the first place.

Australian Workfare scheme

They've had their own version of Workfare for the past 10 years now... guess what? It's has questionable methods - and is steeped in fraud and corruption. Must be why the Tories are drawn to it.

WIFI or 3G

WIFI being used on smart phones more than 3G. This should surprise no one - but most of Mobile companies have now moved over to limited data plans (500mb or 1 GB a month - woooo, how generous they are. That's about 45 minutes worth of an iplayer program) and are probably wondering why so few people are taking them up on it. They hard sell all these whizz-bang internet connected smart phones but want to gouge you for using them.

DWP don't know nuffin

How many people are on workfare? The DWP don't know. Sounds like they don't much care either.
Meanwhile Emma Harrison's fraudster company is under fresh investigations... still no sign of the DWP cancelling their contracts with them though... probably because they wouldn't know what to do with all the claimants currently on their books.

pocket the difference

ASDA has been taking advantage of free Govt. sponsored workers too. Notably so during the Christmas period and despite assurances these work placements wouldn't have any impact on existing employees - it lead to them losing their overtime.

it's better to be a shelf stacker than a 'job snob' sez IDS

In a breath-taking display of snobbishness himself - IDS has a little rant about his workfare scheme...

According to him:

Apparently ALL young British people are sitting around dreaming of being reality tv show stars...

A shelf-stacker is of greater value to society than someone of the 'commentating elite'... (whoever they are? Do professional journalists count? The next time he's on TV or Radio will he be saying to the interviewer 'a shelf stacker is of greater value than you?) - and it's apparently insulting to professional shelf-stackers who do a worthwhile job -except that -er, an unemployed yoof with no qualifications can do it for far less than minimum wage. Sooo is it a worth-while job or not? If so then why isn't the yoof being paid the going rate for it in the first place. And does it really take EIGHT WEEKS to train someone to stack shelves?

I think we need a whole lot less schemes and a lot more jobs being created actually.

worklessness programmes

Rising unemployment puts Cameron's work programme in the spotlight
The Guardian gets exclusive access to the scheme to get people off benefits – and finds in Hull, some barriers are hard to break.

Why is that then?
Indisputable facts:

1. There are more work seekers than there are jobs. And jobs are diminishing - not increasing.

2. This means potential employers can be as picky about who they employ as they like - there is no obligation for them to take on any long term unemployed person if they don't want to. Yet there are plenty of scope for exploitation. Hence work for free, Interns or forced Work-for-welfare schemes are on the rise. Which in turn means there is even less incentive for employers to take on paid staff as they have access to a ever increasing turn over of free workers.

3. There's been a long term culture of demonizing the underclass, the unemployed, the disabled, etc. - why? simply because it's a lot easier to blame the victim. Every time there's been an economic downturn there's a very brief spell of sympathy for those people who find themselves unemployed for the first time - but which quickly turns to hostility. The mainstream media enthusiastically colludes with this.

 If they want to halve unemployment - it's simple - stage 1.: divide the area's unemployed people into two groups. Stage 2: train one half as employment advisors  - who then can be employed on fixed short term contracts  to teach the other unemployed half job searching skills and train them to be employment advisors. Stage 3: When their contracts end and they become unemployed - employ the now newly trained-up other half to teach the other half job searching skills and re-train how to be employment advisors. Repeat as often as necessary.

workfare or state sanctioned slavery?

So exactly how many graduates do Poundland/Tescos/Primark need to stack their shelves for free? And what's the point of even encouraging kids to go to University if this is the treatment they can expect at the end of it?

Say hello to the 21st century version of neo-feudalism.

Graduate 'made to stack shelves' seeks judicial review

Public Interest Lawyers.

I saw them discuss this news item on 'Loose Women' - and they really laid into this young woman - in the new mentality of  'blame the victim' and demonizing the unemployed as 'dole scroungers'  that's currently all the rage at the moment (I notice there's not so much open rage at the bankers who've taken so much money out of the economy in their bail outs that whole economies are faltering.. but I start to digress).

This woman wasn't being lazy - she already was working voluntarily at a museum - which was a lot more in line in her chosen career path and was giving her experience and references than working in a discount supermaket.  But they were forcing her to work at Poundland and give up the museum position. But that's the point now - after a year of unemployment the 'welfare' state now takes it upon it's self to destroy a person's spirit (not that it isn't already damaged by being unemployed for so long) - you're expected then to take up ANY job... the big lie here of course is that there are millions upon millions of 'ANY' McJobs out there... but there simply aren't. (Otherwise wouldn't Poundland, Tescos etc. be employing people properly instead of offering 'work placements') And this is a young woman who has played the game - she's gone to school, got good grades - gone on to University, taken on the student loans and the debts and found herself voluntary work and after all that - her reward... a slap in the face. Didn't anyone think if she ever wanted to stack shelves as a career she need not have put herself into debt and done all that work... Why wasn't the museum work seen as part of the scheme?

No wonder the youth of today are getting angrier and angrier and occupying here, there and everywhere. They have justified outrage on their side. I'm sure it doesn't help matters when a bunch of 'resting' actresses and has-been TV personalities get paid to sit in a TV studio and pour venomous scorn over someone who's a victim of a society that's disintegrating around everyone's ears merely for wanting to better herself and standing up for her rights.