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Thursday, October 2

Paul Canning hits New Hampshire for Obama

NB: New Hampshire's a swing state.

He's a union organiser from the 'International' Union of Painters and Allied Trades in New England. (Groan on the 'international'). And, yes, I'm a little intrigued to check out the relationship with moi's history ...

You go Paul!

[Oh, and here's the Union blog post which alerted me]

Wednesday, October 1

Arianna quotes CP Snow

"facts are sacred ... but comment is free".

Another British export.

More of Arianna Huffington at Advertising Age.

Music: Yoko Ono 'Walking On Thin Ice'

This was #1 on the US dance charts in 2003, when Yoko was 70yo (nb: avoid all mixes). On the extended 12", Lennon can be heard remarking "I think we've just got your first No. 1, Yoko." The guitar is Lennon and this was his last creative act.

"I knew a girl who tried to walk across the lake / 'course it was winter when all this was ice / That's a hell of a thing to do, you know / They say the lake is as big as the ocean / I wonder if she knew about it?"

Honesty in backdrops


After years of seeing 'diversity', pearls and pants-suits in backdrops to male politicians it's nice to see some honesty coming from the Tories.

Pie chart

HT: Etre

Tuesday, September 30

This just in ...

: Toby

Barack in the Virginia Rain

This really is an astonishing speech, given in the rain in Fredericksburg, rural Virginia. A state which hasn't gone Dem. in the Presidential for over forty years. 26' of Barack worth your time to get an intense flavour of the stump. The intensity in his face is something else.

Only The Daily Mirror and The Guardian picked this up.

Music: Stevie Wonder 'Superstition'

Live on Sesame Street from 1972.

Monday, September 29

US election: where to look

Forget the BBC - I may have mentioned the pointlessness of them as a news source before ...

Here are some bookmarks I have, if you're interested:

memeorandum - brings all the news and blog sources together in a nice, tidy cascade. We definitely need something exactly like this in UK politics coverage.

The Huffington Post - Top Liberal news source

DRUDGE REPORT - Top Conservative news source - what's happening in the polls and the electoral vote

marbury - a generally spot-on UK journos take

Michael Tomasky - - about the only other UK journo worth reading

Mudflats - the best Palin news, and from Alaska

The Daily Dish By Andrew Sullivan
Crooks and Liars
Ben Smith's Blog -
Countdown with Keith Olbermann -
Rachel Maddow
Glenn Greenwald -

And for the online election - techPresident – blogs

And for fun - Wonkette: The D.C. Gossip

Anything I'm missing here?

Alaskans for Truth

Hurrah! After the last anti-Palin rally only got covered on the interwebs, this one on Sunday got covered by the MSM.

Lots more here.

The Rich Are Staging a Coup

The Rich Are Staging a Coup This Morning ...a message from Michael Moore


Let me cut to the chase. The biggest robbery in the history of this country is taking place as you read this. Though no guns are being used, 300 million hostages are being taken. Make no mistake about it: After stealing a half trillion dollars to line the pockets of their war-profiteering backers for the past five years, after lining the pockets of their fellow oilmen to the tune of over a hundred billion dollars in just the last two years, Bush and his cronies -- who must soon vacate the White House -- are looting the U.S. Treasury of every dollar they can grab. They are swiping as much of the silverware as they can on their way out the door.

No matter what they say, no matter how many scare words they use, they are up to their old tricks of creating fear and confusion in order to make and keep themselves and the upper one percent filthy rich. Just read the first four paragraphs of the lead story in last Monday's New York Times and you can see what the real deal is:

"Even as policy makers worked on details of a $700 billion bailout of the financial industry, Wall Street began looking for ways to profit from it.

"Financial firms were lobbying to have all manner of troubled investments covered, not just those related to mortgages.

"At the same time, investment firms were jockeying to oversee all the assets that Treasury plans to take off the books of financial institutions, a role that could earn them hundreds of millions of dollars a year in fees.

"Nobody wants to be left out of Treasury's proposal to buy up bad assets of financial institutions."

Unbelievable. Wall Street and its backers created this mess and now they are going to clean up like bandits. Even Rudy Giuliani is lobbying for his firm to be hired (and paid) to "consult" in the bailout.

The problem is, nobody truly knows what this "collapse" is all about. Even Treasury Secretary Paulson admitted he doesn't know the exact amount that is needed (he just picked the $700 billion number out of his head!). The head of the congressional budget office said he can't figure it out nor can he explain it to anyone.

And yet, they are screeching about how the end is near! Panic! Recession! The Great Depression! Y2K! Bird flu! Killer bees! We must pass the bailout bill today!! The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

Falling for whom? NOTHING in this "bailout" package will lower the price of the gas you have to put in your car to get to work. NOTHING in this bill will protect you from losing your home. NOTHING in this bill will give you health insurance.

Health insurance? Mike, why are you bringing this up? What's this got to do with the Wall Street collapse?

It has everything to do with it. This so-called "collapse" was triggered by the massive defaulting and foreclosures going on with people's home mortgages. Do you know why so many Americans are losing their homes? To hear the Republicans describe it, it's because too many working class idiots were given mortgages that they really couldn't afford. Here's the truth: The number one cause of people declaring bankruptcy is because of medical bills. Let me state this simply: If we had had universal health coverage, this mortgage "crisis" may never have happened.

This bailout's mission is to protect the obscene amount of wealth that has been accumulated in the last eight years. It's to protect the top shareholders who own and control corporate America. It's to make sure their yachts and mansions and "way of life" go uninterrupted while the rest of America suffers and struggles to pay the bills. Let the rich suffer for once. Let them pay for the bailout. We are spending 400 million dollars a day on the war in Iraq. Let them end the war immediately and save us all another half-trillion dollars!

I have to stop writing this and you have to stop reading it. They are staging a financial coup this morning in our country. They are hoping Congress will act fast before they stop to think, before we have a chance to stop them ourselves. So stop reading this and do something -- NOW! Here's what you can do immediately:

1. Call or e-mail Senator Obama. Tell him he does not need to be sitting there trying to help prop up Bush and Cheney and the mess they've made. Tell him we know he has the smarts to slow this thing down and figure out what's the best route to take. Tell him the rich have to pay for whatever help is offered. Use the leverage we have now to insist on a moratorium on home foreclosures, to insist on a move to universal health coverage, and tell him that we the people need to be in charge of the economic decisions that affect our lives, not the barons of Wall Street.

2. Take to the streets. Participate in one of the hundreds of quickly-called demonstrations that are taking place all over the country (especially those near Wall Street and DC).

3. Call your Representative in Congress and your Senators. (click here to find their phone numbers). Tell them what you told Senator Obama.

When you screw up in life, there is hell to pay. Each and every one of you reading this knows that basic lesson and has paid the consequences of your actions at some point. In this great democracy, we cannot let there be one set of rules for the vast majority of hard-working citizens, and another set of rules for the elite, who, when they screw up, are handed one more gift on a silver platter. No more! Not again!

Michael Moore

P.S. Having read further the details of this bailout bill, you need to know you are being lied to. They talk about how they will prevent golden parachutes. It says NOTHING about what these executives and fat cats will make in SALARY. According to Rep. Brad Sherman of California, these top managers will continue to receive million-dollar-a-month paychecks under this new bill. There is no direct ownership given to the American people for the money being handed over. Foreign banks and investors will be allowed to receive billion-dollar handouts. A large chunk of this $700 billion is going to be given directly to Chinese and Middle Eastern banks. There is NO guarantee of ever seeing that money again.

P.P.S. From talking to people I know in DC, they say the reason so many Dems are behind this is because Wall Street this weekend put a gun to their heads and said either turn over the $700 billion or the first thing we'll start blowing up are the pension funds and 401(k)s of your middle class constituents. The Dems are scared they may make good on their threat. But this is not the time to back down or act like the typical Democrat we have witnessed for the last eight years. The Dems handed a stolen election over to Bush. The Dems gave Bush the votes he needed to invade a sovereign country. Once they took over Congress in 2007, they refused to pull the plug on the war. And now they have been cowered into being accomplices in the crime of the century. You have to call them now and say "NO!" If we let them do this, just imagine how hard it will be to get anything good done when President Obama is in the White House. THESE DEMOCRATS ARE ONLY AS STRONG AS THE BACKBONE WE GIVE THEM. CALL CONGRESS NOW.

To be a Republican today ...

HT: Toby

To be a Republican today you need to believe:

1. Jesus loves you and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.

2. Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush's Daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him, and a bad guy when Bush needed a "we-can't-find-Bin-Laden" diversion.

3. Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is Communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.

4. The United States should get out of the United Nations, and our highest national priority is enforcing U.N. resolutions against Iran

5. A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multinational drug corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind without regulation.

6. The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches, while slashing veterans' benefits and combat pay.

7. If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won't have sex.

8. A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle our longtime allies, ("That's just old Europe- Donald Rumsfeld---Freedom Fries, --etc.) then demand their cooperation and money.

9. Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy, but providing health care to all Americans is socialism. HMO's and insurance companies have the best interests of the public at heart.

10. Global warming and tobacco's link to cancer are junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools.

11. A president lying about an extramarital affair is an impeachable offense, but a president lying to enlist support for a war in which thousands die is sol id defense policy.

12. Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution, which include banning gay marriages and censoring the Internet.

13. The public has a right to know about Hillary's cattle trades, but George Bush's aviation and driving records are none of our business.

14. Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you're a conservative radio host. Then it's an illness and you need our prayers for your recovery.

15. Support for "Executive Privilege" in perpetuity for every Republican ever born, who will be born, or who might be born.

16. What Bill Clinton did in the 1960's is of vital national interest, but what Bush did in the '80's is irrelevant.

17. Support for hunters who shoot their friends and blame them for wearing orange vests similar to those worn by the quail.

Scrapbook clips catch up

Shockingly slow catch-up ... so sue me!

Danny Finkelstein likes the new Conservative website and, er, so do I. It doesn't actually just adopt the US template (like Paddick did) and has some innovations. Like Danny I fancied the Conservative Wall with its pop out voters.

And two thumbs up for a strong accessibility statement.

Via arstechnica: Fake popup study sadly confirms most users are idiots

Via techpresident: Tracking a Political Meme: McCain vs Paris Hilton. This has some fab animated 'maps' showing the meme's spread across the blogosphere.

Via fivethirtyeight:Intrade Betting is Suspicious. Very interesting post about how some partisans are - apparently - gaming this major online betting shop, one which is often reported on as an impartial predictor.

HT: Tom Watson: Election 08 on Twitter. V. Useful pull-together of related twitter feeds.

These tools were also used to great effect during the Republican convention, where mass arrests, including of many journalists, and 'pre-emptive' raids occurred.

Andy Burnham threatened web regulation in a recent speech, which contained the following daft quote:

"The internet as a whole is an excellent source of casual opinion. TV is where people often look for expert or authoritative opinion."
Half world's population 'will have mobile phone by end of year', apparently. Speaking at a conference, Hamadoun Touré, secretary general of the International Telecom Union, said:
"The fact that 4 billion subscribers have been registered worldwide indicates that it is technically feasible to connect the world to the benefits of information communications technology."
You'd have to think that much of the innovation will not come from the first world in this area (e.g. micropayments). Google has some good ideas though in this recent official blog post.

Two egov 'production' blogs - ones like the BBC's where the team feeds back and sources comment. Parliament and Aberdeenshire.

Very neat website add-on tool. odiogo converts text to speech for download or playing right there.

Another bit of political blogosphere content attracting shut-down notices and legal action, this time in Scotland.
An SNP councillor suing a Labour blogger for mentioning something that was already in the public domain is going to do more harm to the councillor and his party than ignoring it would have done. I hope that Alex Salmond has the sense to publicly distance the party from the individual actions of the councillor, otherwise the SNP will be open to attack for using the law to silence its critics.
Matt Wardman has more detail on blogger Christopher Glamorganshire's sacking from the Welsh Assembly and more from Wales. Plus a Welsh LibDem confirms that the recently worked out civil service blogging guidance doesn't apply to Wales (as they're writing their own)

Search text advertising has taken off big time in 08 election: Our Brand Is Crisis: Prez Candidates Buy Words To Brand Each Other Online.

Electronic voting machines are going to be extensively deployed in the election and a lot of people don't trust them. So a campaign is being organised to get tekkies to sign-up as supervisors - citizen undercover monitoring.

FT on how Google doesn't rule all of the world: It's mainly to do with language.

New York becomes first city to accept photos and video from computers and cell phones for emergency services (they already handle text).

“Internet optimists” versus “Internet Pessimists”
: TLF groups recent books.

Adherents & Their Books / Writings

Internet Optimist

Internet Pessimists

Yochai Benkler, The Wealth of Networks

Andrew Keen, The Cult of the Amateur

Chris Anderson, The Long Tail and “Free!”

Lee Siegel, Against the Machine

Clay Shirky, Here Comes Everybody

Nick Carr, The Big Switch

Cass Sunstein, Infotopia

Cass Sunstein,

Don Tapscott, Wikinomics

Todd Gitlin, Media Unlimited

Kevin Kelly & Wired mag in general

Alex Iskold, “The Danger of Free

Mike Masnick & TechDirt blog

Mark Cuban

And here’s a rough sketch of the major beliefs or key themes that separate these two schools of thinking about the impact of the Internet on our culture and economy:

Beliefs / Themes

Internet Optimists

Internet Pessimists

Culture / Social

Net is Participatory

Net is Polarizing

Net yields Personalization

Net yields Fragmentation

a “Global village


Heterogeneity / Diversity of Thought

Homogeneity / Close-mindedness

Net breeds pro-democratic tendencies

Net breeds anti-democratic tendencies

Tool of liberation & empowerment

Tool of frequent misuse & abuse

Economics / Business

Benefits of “free” (“Free” = future of media / business)

Costs of “free” (“Free” = end of media / business)

Increasing importance of “Gift economy

Continuing importance of property rights, profits, firms

“Wiki” model = wisdom of crowds; power of collective intelligence

“Wiki” model = stupidity of crowds; errors of collective intelligence

Mass collaboration

Individual effort

Academics need guidance on how to make best use of web 2.0 technologies, according to a report from the Universities and Colleges Information Systems Association (UCISA).

UCISA also says that higher education institutions need dedicated local champions to promote and develop the new methods. It calls for academics to be given the time to learn and develop the skills to use technology based tools.

Sunday, September 28

Hilarious SNL Palin vs Couric skit

Saturday Night Live's Tina Fey spoofing Palin's interview with Katie Couric - not so much a send up as a millimeter away from the actual interview.

The word is that her performance in a mock VP debate was so awful that they stopped it halfway through.

One senior McCain aide was quoted as saying, "What are we going to do?" The McCain people want to move this first debate to some later, undetermined date, possibly never. People on the inside are saying the Alaska Governor is "clueless."
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