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Friday, November 14

BBC 'real player'?

Just tuned into the News Quiz on iPlayer and faced with Real Player and the most bizarre echo and not terribly good sound.

Isn't this going backwards? One would think. I shall investigate ...

Postscript: From what I can tell, it's picking up my RealPlayer installation and hence playing via that rather than Flash-based iPlayer, based on WMP. However, it's only doing this now, it was the Flash player before, so it must be something to do with my Firefox upgrade. Oh well, at least it plays. Just get bizarre echo when it starts ...

Thursday, November 13

Delegating as deniability

Two great journos going head-to-head. Hur, hur.

Bob Woodward plainly enjoying himself and Colbert spiking the Bush inadequacy.


Can I recycle it? A plea

The government is to fund a website to help people find recycling facilities, as the winner of its Show Us A Better Way competition

Can I Recycle It? will provide information on what can and cannot be put in recycling bins or has to be carted to a recycling centre based on users' postcodes.

This is a really great idea, especially in places where people aren't sure (because information provision isn't very good). It will be a great supplement for often dry or confusing information on poorly promoted local government websites.

But here's my plea. Instead of simply providing yet another website, widgetise the postcode interface so local authorities can bung it on their webpages and be sent off to the Can I recycle it? website. Like Transport Direct does with public transport information.

It would also be great if the website 'cross-sold' recycling messages and sent people back - perhaps using the data local government webbies submit to directgov - to local government website pages about stuff like hazardous waste disposal and locations of recycling centres.

It does sound, though, that this approach isn't in the planning.

Adam Temple, who came up with the idea, suggested that: "if it is in the database, the householder would get an immediate answer. If not, the question could be forwarded to the appropriate person in the local council. That person could then amend the database, and that way the website would gradually get more useful."

Which is the very definition of duplication.

POSTSCRIPT: Shane McCracken has pointed out (I'd forgotten it) that RecycleNow already does this exact same job. EXACT SAME.

Tom, explain quick. Or something will rub off.

Postscript: Picking up on my point about localdirectgov, Andy Key comments that:
you can link to their search with the postcode pre-set (e.g. Recycling near SO23 8US)
And PSF has picked up on this, finding out that the Cabinet Office will instead direct the winnings to RecycleNow!

The rider is that RecycleNow! needs to get some SEO happening as they ain't appearing in SERPs - the reason they were missed as a duplication for Can I Recycle It? in the first place.

I am very much noticing though that no-one is picking up my widgets point. As I have endlessly pointed out, the thing with widgets is that they drive traffic to your website and you don't lose customers along the way. The RecycleNow! is hidden away in a deadzone on their website.

Burma: the UK link

A year after their crackdown, Burma's military dictators remain entrenched, propped up by dealings with Western companies. But the Burmese democracy movement has found a powerful pressure point according to — many of the Generals' West-linked business ventures depend on one insurer: Lloyd’s of London.

Lloyd’s is the world's oldest, most respected insurer, and cares a great deal about its global reputation. By pointing out Lloyd’s blameworthiness as key insurance deals come up for renewal, says Avaaz we can shift their cost-benefit calculations on support to the Burmese regime.

They are calling on people to email and call key decision-makers at Lloyd’s to shame them into pulling out of this dirty trade. This will help undermine the hardliners and creating pressure for human rights and the release of political prisoners like democratically elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The Foreign Office has written to Lloyd's of London chairman Lord Levene to outline its disapproval that Lloyd's brokers are trading with the Burmese military dictatorship.

Avaaz say that, as in South Africa, international pressure on the regime's exploitative ventures could tip the balance; because it's hard or impossible for them to continue without insurance.

Already many big global insurers have stopped insuring junta-linked businesses – after Lloyd’s, the generals will start to run out of options.

NY Times: Iraq war ends

A brilliant satire with a fake website and 1.2m fake copies handed out on the streets.

It's the product of The Yes Men, whose job is:

Impersonating big-time criminals in order to publicly humiliate them. Targets are leaders and big corporations who put profits ahead of everything else.
Famous past hoaxes include Dow Chemical apologising for the Bhopal, India chemical disaster.

Tuesday, November 11

Another Ministerial foot in mouth

Cross-posted from LGBT asylum news.

In an article about how the UK government 'challenges' the homophobic administration in Kingston Jamaica, UK foreign affairs (DFID) minister Gareth Thomas said the following about LGBT asylum seekers from that country.

"Every case has to be looked at on its own merits. You need to unpick the details of what was alleged to have happened." [Our emphasis]
The article in points out that Thomas has directly challenged Jamaican homophobia, specifically and correctly citing it as an issue in fighting HIV.

But it also inadvertently cites the disconnect at the heart of the attitude to LGBT asylum seekers in the UK's government:
Asylum of course is a Home Office matter - DFID's work tends on the whole to be more positive.
In other words, as we have always said, the Home Office says one thing and the Foreign Office another.

Monday, November 10

Music: RIP Miriam Makeba

Zenzile Makeba Qgwashu Nguvama Yiketheli Nxgowa Bantana Balomzi Xa Ufun Ubajabulisa Ubaphekeli Mbiza Yotshwala Sithi Xa Saku Qgiba Ukutja Sithathe Izitsha Sizi Khabe Singama Lawu Singama Qgwashu Singama Nqamla Nqgithi was her full name.

In 1963, after testifying against Apartheid before the United Nations, her South African citizenship and her right to return to the country were revoked. She has had nine passports, and was granted honorary citizenship of ten countries.

She died shortly after taking part in a concert organized to support writer Roberto Saviano in his stand against the Camorra.

Sunday, November 9

Super Obama World

Bounce, Obama! Bounce! Jump! Watch out for the lipsticked pigs!

Postscript: Election stars .. and Doofuses

The election in one-liners. From
This. Fucking. Election

Power concedes nothing without demand
Frederick Douglaas

The festive scenes of liberation that Dick Cheney had once imagined for Iraq were finally taking place — in cities all over America.
Frank Rich


Nate Silver. And (it's a trio that does it, not just Nate). Proven with their on-the-money final calls on the electoral vote and percentages. Traffic went through the roof and the MSM came calling. And if he doesn't get a 'Webbie' award, there's no justice.
Rachel Maddow. A power butch dyke is now the most respected voice in US TV news. Wow! (as she might put it).
Hillary Clinton. Glass ceilings well and truly shattered. Redemption in Denver and, later, Florida.
YouTube. Ok, here's Huffpost's round up of the best. As Techpresident pointed out, just Barack's vids alone ammounted to $46m worth of free advertising.
Techpresident. By far the best place to follow how the Internet MADE Obama. Cannot emphasise this strongly enough - he would not be President-elect without the Internet - and glad to (finally) see some acknowledgment of this gamechanging fact in the MSM.
The web. Not only because without it there would be no Obama, and not just because of the bright light it shone on dirty tricks and lies (Arianna's point), but that the change it's brought will continue on - he himself has said that he wants to continue the momentum after he's elected and use the tools in government, this was in his half-hour infomercial. I'd also note that groups like moveon and sites like dailykos and huffpost will be used as tools to rally support for change. The dems don't have a filibuster proof senate majority so to get things like health care change they will use the web and all the tools. Here was Obama's email to his list post victory: "We have a lot of work to do to get our country back on track, and I'll be in touch soon about what comes next."

Tina Fey. Who? You'll know soon enough. Here's her best SNL comedy sketch.
Jon Stewart. Yes, he's a funny guy but his clip compilations were absolute political genius and skewered consistently throughout the campaign.
Web news. Now the main source for the young and, as Pew just showed, now bigger than newspapers overall.
Mike Gravel. Mad, mad, mad. Brought a touch of Dada to the campaign. Bless.
Doris Kearns Goodwin. The historian always ready with an anecdote.
The Onion. For their perfect satire of network news.
Guiliani's drag. Remember that? And then he had the nerve to attack 'cultural elites' in Minneapolis?
David Axelrod. "The past is not prologue we've shattered that".
Romney's dog. Remember this? The one he tied to the car roof?
Red State Update. Just crawl-on-the-floor funny pisstake on 'Appalachia', here they go on the dog:


The BBC. And it all came to a ignominious end on election night itself. Did anyone watch? I have documented how, frankly, biased the coverage was but it was all to one end, the traditional one of pretending it's closer than it is just to make a story where there isn't one. In the primaries it was 'Clinton still might win' - when she had no statistical chance. In the general it was 'McCain still might win' - when the polls said otherwise. One of the key things i spotted was just who BBC America editor Justin Webb linked to - the MSM, consistently. This isn't the sort of approach the beeb has preached about.
"Here's the deal". The 'go to' line for far too many.
Clinton. She redeemed herself but the depths she and her supporters lowered themselves to needs recalling. This included her extensive gay following. Oh, and Bill.
The MSM in general. Keith Olbermann made this point well, if you look at McCain's gaffes vs Obama's it is clear that a different standard was being held. If Obama had made anything like as many (remember Lieberman wispering in his ear when McCain stuffed up to a camera in Iraq about who the enemy was?) he would have been toast.
Joe the plumber. Simply an idiot.
Matt Drudge. At the end he was touting his number's - but they'd been beaten months before by the web's new stars, led by Huffington Post. His major league screw ups and blatant bias can only damn his chief selling-point: that the MSM follows his lead.
PUMAs. Clinton's 'loyalists' damned and screwed by Clinton herself. Until September they screamed the same anti-Obama rubbish as McCain ended on (see image, right).
Capitalism. McCain condoms?
Lieberman. And now comes the reckoning.
Reverend Wright. When the shit hit the fan I actually listened to his speeches and he made a lot of sense. When he took his show to the national Press Club he was nothing but an egotistical showpony.
Green screens. As in McCain's weird appearance in front of one. Should. Be. Banned.
Voter suppresssion. Americans can but hope something will change but it likely won't, Robert Kennedy Jnr and many others leveraged the web to shine a spotlight on this year's suppression efforts. Plus Obama's teams were right-on-it. As I predicted, it counted for nothing in the end but it shouldn't take overwhelming numbers to just about win. (Plus to get on the ballot in the first place).
Six hour waits. For a Brit, this is madness. But Americans haven't yet done anything about what is actually an international shaming
Robocalls. Some reported getting literally dozens a day, more if you were unfortunate enough to live in New Hampshire. They got worse as McCain's campaign got more desperate and were the hollow centre to any claims he ran a 'decent' campaign.
Holograms. CNN's election night tecnowizzadry just highlighted for me the emptiness of their core content. The journalism I watched? MSNBC. Plus they were actually tomograms and the presenters couldn't see them.
Ralph Nader. There is always a space to the left of the Dems but Nader proved he's not it with his narcissistic final (?) run this time. To see how broke his political space has become check this interview where he calls Obama an "Uncle Tom".
Palin. n'est-ce pas, and all she represents for the future of the GOP. As the bloodletting begins on the right, former speechwriter David Frum has a very interesting piece 'Republicans face fraught choice between two roads to revival' and the parallels with 1997 and the Tories are ripe. The argument is that they need to ditch the social conservatism. One good thing though? Because of her we met the brilliant Muckracker and his Mudflats bog - and now we now lots more about the weird and wonderful world of Alaskan politics.

And finally ...

Rachel Maddow's brilliant take on the funniest moments of the campaign:

And some of my posts from the past (arrrrgh .. ) year
and a half:

Great videos

Absolutely fabulous
Anonymous woman sets Palin to Lloyd Webber.
Cleese on Olbermann
One long cackle.
Wassup 2008
One of the very best virals came right at the end.
Red State Update With Joe The Plumber
Election funnies
Barack and McCain do a 'roast'.
Scary Americans
(and Less scary Americans)
Paul Canning hits New Hampshire for Obama
(He's a union organiser from the 'International' Union of Painters and Allied Trades in New England.)
Barack in the Virginia Rain
One of his top three speeches.
Michael Palin for President
Hilarious SNL Palin vs Couric skit
Barack Obama’s bold economic recovery plan
'Stop America's shitty jobs from going overseas'.
Red State and others take a pop.
Harriett vs Hillary

Great Clinton video that I suggested Harriet Harman might want to take lessons from.
Dems 101
Comedy genius from Robert Klein on Olbermann.
"He will make Cheney look like Ghandi"
Strong anti-McCain viral.
Oh. Knarly

Paris Hilton weighs in.
NSFW: He Said It First

He called her a 'c+++'?!?
Genius viral

"I love cheap Chinese crap", "if people want clean water, buy it in a bottle".
The Empire Strikes Barack

'You're my only hope'.
Whilst Hillary and Obama bash seven types of crap ...

Early anti-McCain virals.
Don't Think of a Black Man

Clinton's campaigns 'never noticed his blackness ... '
More McCain comedy riffs

Featuring Letterman and Red State Update.
A message to Ralph Nader from anonymous

First as tragedy, then as farce ...
The audacity of hope
Another of Obama's great speeches - from the 'bully pulpit' at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
"I Got a Crush...On Hillary" (take that obama girl!)

"Fat and Dumb"

Mike Gravel as the Dada candidate.
"I Got a Crush...On Obama"; By Obama Girl

This was from June last year!
Vote Different

Very early anti-Hillary mega-viral.

Daily Show clips

The gift from heaven
Palin: she'll be missed (by comics).
Stewart on 2008 'swiftboating'.
Behind the scenes at the conventions
The, er, 'gay' side of the GOP.
PUMAs meet child psychologists

Healing the Clinton supporters.
Barack has ladyparts!

John Oliver on the Primaries

Ralph Nader on the Daily Show

John shows respect; NB this was from March.
The CNN/YouTube Presidential debate

Jon sets the tone.

My analysis

Snatching victory?
My answer to Tatchell on vote stealing fears.
"I should have laid a bookies bet when the odds were a lot better."
The only poll that counts
The electoral vote.
When in doubt .. (or losing)
Turn to fear - and race.
Will McCain drop out?
Got that one wrong!
Barry in Hawaii, BBC rubbish again and why Hillary lost.
BBC US election coverage - and another thing ...

Nothing but spin.
The Obama=Muslim smear: The London connection

Where it all started.
Obama: good for the gays?

Sky joins BBC in misreporting US Primaries

If it's not close, where's the story?
Great moments from the campaign trail

Obama and the Jews and how a DNC committee meeting turned into high drama.
Follow the worm

The history of the instant, on-screen voter reaction 'worm'.
Hillary's nuclear option

When Tomasky still thought she had a nomination chance.
Americans: don't look to BBC for unbiased election coverage

No Internet, no Obama

You betcha!
Could a British teacher ever do this?

A New York teacher discusses Obama in the classroom - this post sparked a lot of interest.
Turning web buzz into votes: how Obama does it

Going into detail on Obama's web roots.
Rewriting history over Rwanda
One of Hillary's lesser known 'misspeaks'.
More Obama speech reaction - it's positive but you won't read about it
His speech on race pushes up his polls but most of the UK media miss the boat.
Postscript: Obama addresses race: hear the whole speech, not the BBC's meme

More on the BBC's bias.
Obama addresses race: hear the whole speech, not the BBC's meme

Are Hillary's wins bad news for web campaigning fans?

Turns out not.
Climate Change nowhere in US Elections and the world should worry

Fetid pools mark the 'new America'

Some 'sub-prime' crisis coverage from January.
Web oiling US campaign, not so much in London

Comparing the primaries with the London mayoral race.
And so, the Macaca turns ..
Guiliani and Romney hit below the waterline by YouTube.
Evolution of a political web 'brand'

Another early analysis on the Obama and Hillary web ops.
Attack ads move onto YouTube?

US Prez election: Web Video Reviews Are Mixed


Postscript: Don't piss off Dave!

Don't piss off Dave!

Alaskans for Truth
Wassilians on Sarah.
Republikan police state
'Preemptive strike' hits activists at the GOP convention.
The West Wing analogy still holds
What Rev. Wright actually said

America's pompous journalists

When they collectively went for The Scotsman.
UK searching for Obama

Election viral video numbers go boom

Hillary is not the 'devil'

When AP tried it on.
Hillary mocks Obama

'The Sky Will Open, The Light Will Come Down'
The Tweety Effect

The sexism against Hillary.
Postscript: Obama and accessibility

The Battle to Control Obama's Myspace

Democrats drop Fox News