Friday, April 30, 2010

The UK Press is different

I usually think much of the difference between the UK and US press is attributable to the nakedly partisan and sleazy nature of the UK tabloids. But even the broadsheets editorialize humorously in subheads of actual news stories:

Guardian: "Lord Mandelson denies incident is a metaphor for Labour's election campaign"

Made me laugh!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Common Misconceptions

List of common misconceptions - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "This list of common or popular misconceptions corrects various fallacious, misleading, or otherwise flawed ideas that are described by multiple reliable sources as widely held. The statements below are not the misconceptions, but are the actual facts regarding those misconceptions."

Most I knew. Some I didn't. Fun either way.

An Election I Can't Vote In

Comments on something about which I know only a little: the UK election. First, from UK Election Trend, polling summaries through today.
UK Election Trend analyzes this graph: "It's too close to call, and it seems like there will be no clear answer till the morning of the 7th. It does however look sure to be a hung parliament of some kind. "

UK Election Trend is fascinating. It's a bit more analytical and seemingly independent compared to the UK Polling Report, which I also visit a lot.

The Tory reaction to a hung Parliament (ditching their planned Party Political Broadcast and doing a pseudo-satire on the horrors of what Clegg and others are humorously calling a "balanced Parliament" ) indicates their utter fear of this outcome. Hilariously, they tried to get Armando Iannucci to direct it.

The sentiment of the UK is apparently more left-leaning than the current 2.5 party electoral system reflects. Perhaps a coalition could rework the electoral system to allow voter sentiments to be more closely tracked. A Liberal-Labour coalition could conceivably change the system and create a permanent minority Conservative Party. I'm pleased that I somewhat align with David Mitchell in that impulse.

The Tories would rather drink poisoned cider than change the electoral system. Their idea for "more democracy" is referenda and initiatives. Not necessarily awful ideas in themselves but which they plan to implement in a horrific manner (look at California for the wreckage left by such a system).

I've been considering why I find this election so fascinating, apart from my rank Anglophilia. I've assembled some reasons.

While the election is important to the UK, the outcome is, in all likelihood, of small consequence to my daily life (unless the BBC is affected!). I can enjoy the ins and outs without being emotional about them. It's hard to do that with elections in my own country.

By temperament and politics, I find the Tories pretty repellent. Labour seems old and tired. So the game-change that came from Clegg's performance in the first debate was thrilling, especially considering the fact that it happened during the first ever televised leadership debate in the UK.

I'd be satisfied if Murdoch took a whacking, and the LibDems aren't tied to Rupert as the other parties are. Murdoch is such a malign influence here in the USA: any comeuppance he gets is a boon to me.

And, ultimately, it's exciting, interesting, and a bit exotic. Yes: exotic, to this American.


Britain has a notoriously partisan press and I'm largely unfamiliar with the inclinations of the major papers. In order to "consider the source," I've often returned to this handy chart from the Guardian listing the parties the various publications have supported over the decades. Most helpful.

Click through for a commendable article about the Guardian meeting regarding their endorsement, as well as a click-sortable (and more legible) version of this table.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Loving Movies

Roger Ebert loves movies. He likes people who love movies.

I find this incredibly moving.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Good Start

Via BoingBoing, this nifty image of Murdoch merged with Cameron.

I suppose the image is in response to stories like this and this. If only enough Americans knew who Rupert Murdoch is (owner of Fox News and New York Post) for this to matter here in the States.

For what it's worth, Cameron's policies are largely to the left of anyone who could reasonably be expected to be President of the USA.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Automatedly Interesting

This UK election is fascinating. As Jonathan Freedland writes in The Guardian:
"No one knows anything." Talk to those whose opinions ordinarily come armour-plated and they'll admit they're flailing.
Not knowing much about the UK's political system, I thought I'd rip off my previous post and do a Google Search Terms comparison (kindly, they used the traditional party colors as their first three designators). Here's the past 30 days in Google search interest. Not surprising, I suppose. Of course, it was the first ever televised leadership debate that started this rollicking change.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Two Mindless Dog Videos

Carnivorous Attack by Golden Retriever Puppies!

Dachshund Attacks Bubbles!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Freemasons, Jews, Gays To Blame

Caravaggio: St. Matthew and the Angel. Wikipedia.

The Vatican really is in a frenzy to blame everyone else for its institutional failings, as Wonkette points out. Yes: Freemasons, Jews, and Gays.

What's next: blaming seductive children?

Not next-- already! From December 2007, comments by the Bernardo Alvarez, Bishop of Tenerife:
His comments were that there are youngsters who want to be abused, and he compared that abuse to homosexuality, describing them both as prejudicial to society. He said that on occasions the abuse happened because the there are children who consent to it.
‘There are 13 year old adolescents who are under age and who are perfectly in agreement with, and what’s more wanting it, and if you are careless they will even provoke you’, he said.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010


Photo by andy_5322 under creative commons

In a store today I saw something that I've seen advertised recently: Dr. Scholl's Footmapper. It purportedly helps one determine which shoe inserts to buy.

I didn't try it, but it did make me think of shoe store gizmos from before my time that I'd heard of. Fortunately, these quaint foot-cancer-inducing machines are documented on the web.
Commerce never rests.
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