Michael Gove talked about people living beyond their means, and Labour spending too much on welfare, and claimed this justified the Tory/LibDem cuts cuts cuts workfare cuts.
Michael Gove used to work for Rupert Murdoch as a journalist at The Times, until he was selected as the new Conservative candidate for the safe seat of Surrey Heath in the 2005 election.
Gove and his wife Sarah Vine, had bought a nice house in Kensington for £430,000 in 2002.
Between December 2005 and April 2006, Michael Gove used the Additional Costs Allowance (meant for an MP to claim for their second home) to claim more than £7000 for furnishing this house:
Around a third of the money was spent at Oka, an upmarket interior design company established by Lady Annabel Astor, Mr Cameron’s mother-in-law.
Women Under Siege is an independent initiative documenting how rape and other forms of sexualized violence are used as tools in genocide and conflict throughout the 20th century and into the 21st.
20 children have been killed in Connecticut, and six of their teachers, all women. All of the heroes are women: the school secretary who warned the other teachers and was shot, the principal who tried to disarm the shooter and was shot, the teacher who was shot when she put herself between the shooter and her students.
[The heroes of Sandy Hook Elementary School: Rachel Davino, Dawn Hocksprung, Anne Marie Murphy, Lauren Russeau, Mary Sherlach, Victoria Soto.]
Mother Jones – A Guide to Mass Shootings in America:
Since 1982, there have been at least 62 mass murders* carried out with firearms across the country, with the killings unfolding in 30 states from Massachusetts to Hawaii. … Just under half of the cases involved school or workplace shootings (11 and 19, respectively); the other 31 cases took place in locations including shopping malls, restaurants, government buildings, and military bases. Forty three of the killers were white males. Only one of them was a woman.
I was on the train last night from Helensburgh to Waverley. By the time I got on, the train was more or less empty: I picked the nearest empty group of seats so that I could take the giant Eskimo coat of warmth off and was about to settle down to reading Darwin’s Watch and texting Kreetch, when I noticed something weird on the window for the seats opposite.
Taking a closer look, I realised that they didn’t just look like chocolates stuck to the window, they were chocolates that had been stuck on the window. Someone had taken five little moulded chocolates and fixed them on the window glass.
I just took the Official Practice Citizenship Test and got 11 out of 24, which would in real life be a fail, another £50, and my passport taken off me til I passed. (I did better in the Guardian’s mock version of it. What that says about me….) For what it’s worth, I would probably fail Fleet Street Fox‘s citizenship test: too many sports questions, though the correct answer to (5) is actually either a, b, or c so long as you take tea seriously.
5. An American offers to make you tea. Do you -
a) explain why the water needs to be boiling, not tepid; why the bag is added first, not last; and how long your personal preferences require the tea to be stewed
b) accept and politely hope for the best
c) refuse on the grounds they haven’t a hope
Plus there’s the larger citizenship question: to dunk or not to dunk. That ought to be the thousand-words-or-less essay question instead of some nonsense about Wimbledon.
If you’ve gone anywhere near the Internet in the past few weeks, you’ve probably seen a mocking reference to the pink/purple Bic “pens for HER”. They even made Newsround.
Via Angry Black Lady Chronicles:
- Before I bought this product I couldn’t write but now I’m an engineer. Mind you, I only design pink, flowery bridges, motorways and sewers. Blue ones would be wrong wouldn’t they.
- I think this is what they call “product failure.” Gendered razors I get. What woman doesn’t enjoy a nice shaving strip while scraping the hair off their legs? But pink gendered pens? Come on, son. Either come at me with a ribbed-for-her-pleasure pen, or don’t come at me at all. Pink alone ain’t gettin’ it done, IYKWIMAITYD.
Crates and Ribbons also adds pics from Early Learning of their gendered toys, and points out:
Children aren’t born knowing what is expected of their gender. Boys aren’t born believing that it’s shameful to be a girl. Through the toys that we make for them and the messages that we send them, they are taught about their roles and status every day. And when they grow up, they will pass it on to their children in their turn, unless we make an effort to end this cycle and make gender roles a thing of the past.
This kind of thing amuses me and infuriates me in almost equal measure, especially when it comes to childhood favourites like Lego. When the Lego Group knows from its own research that at least 38% of their potential market is girls, and yet they refuse to market real Lego kits to girls because their marketing managers “know” that girls like dolls, not building things, something is deeply wrong. It takes a huge kind of processing error to ignore your own research and act surprised at falling sales.
Revd Matthew Firth preached at St Matthew’s church in Ipswich, where he was Curate, on 13th May 2012. As of the new term, he will be working Chaplain to the University of Cumbria in Carlisle:
There is something which I believe the Lord has been speaking to me about for a few months now, and it’s based on what I think is one of the most chilling verses in the Hebrew Scriptures. Judges 21:25 says this: ‘In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.’ I therefore want to say something about The King, the Kingdom, and rebellion against the King and his Kingdom…and of course I’m talking about Jesus and the Kingdom of God.
(For full text, see Matthew Firth’s Sermon.)
(For Matthew Firth’s tweeting against equal marriage in January, see Firth’s Tweets. For the rebuttal of his scientific nonsense, jump to Narth Science.)
The chaplaincy page at the University of Cumbria website says:
While the chaplaincy has a distinctively Christian flavour to it and seeks to provide opportunities for students and staff to explore the Christian faith, we also want to be a pastoral service which is well and truly open to everyone, regardless of faith or belief. So, if you do want to explore the Christian faith, we would love to accompany you on the journey. But if you are simply seeking a safe space, a listening ear or personal support, we would love to be of help in that too.
Yesterday, I babysat my nephew for a few hours. When I arrived, he was in tears. He had woken up in a strange place (his parents are visiting his grandparents): his mother wasn’t there: he’d wet his nappy: and he was hungry. Because he’s three, he responded to this concatenation of awful circumstances by sobbing, loudly and non-stop, while I picked him up, washed him, changed him, collected his picnic tea, and pointed out to him that we were now going for a walk to the park and quite possibly a bus ride and then he would see his mother. He’d stopped sobbing by the time we got to the front door, and before we had gone five minutes down the road to the park, he was skipping.
I mention this because we don’t treat children exactly like adults. Had I come across an adult in such misery, I would not have treated him as I treated my small nephew: I was pretty sure I knew what was making him miserable, and the best thing to do seemed to be to take away the causes of his misery even if he was sobbing as I did it.
Bikers Against Child Abuse:
The origins of BACA are recent, Mopar says. The incident that kicked it off took place in Utah, circa 1995. A child psychologist and clinical play therapist, whose ride name is Chief because he is a Native American, came across the case of an abused boy who was so traumatized he refused to leave his house. Chief made a house call to see what was going on with the child. He soon discovered that the only thing that piqued the boy’s interest was when Chief mentioned his bike. Then his eyes lit up.
Knowing he was on the right track to help this child, Chief gathered together his friends from the local Harley Owners Group and the next Saturday, 27 HOGs descended on the boy’s home. Looking out the window, the child was in awe and, for the first time in weeks, he ventured outside to see the bikes.
It wasn’t long before the boy was outside playing and riding his skateboard all over the neighborhood. It was an amazing and rapid transformation and a new tool in the recovery kit. BACA was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization the next year.
The Turing Festival is being held in Edinburgh, 23rd-25th August, to celebrate the centenary year of Alan Turing, “father of modern computing”:
Turing is a non profit festival that brings together the digital technology and the web into the world’s largest arts and creative gathering in a celebration of digital culture and creativity. Named in honour of Alan Turing, father of modern computing, the festival moves beyond traditional tech conferences to explore the ways in which technology is affecting all aspects of culture and society.
The keynote speaker is Steve Wozniak. Okay, cool.
On Friday 24th August, at Our Dynamic Earth, the Interactive Scotland@Turing “Connected World” Day Conference will be held, which:
aims to capture the hearts and minds of developers, business leaders and digital technology champions from across Europe. Run as part of the internationally renowned Edinburgh Festival, InteractiveScotland@Turing is the main digital conference of the Turing Festival.
This year’s conference theme is “Our Connected World” where you will hear from a line-up of international speakers who will address the opportunities and key issues facing businesses across a range of areas including the future of platforms, data analytics, the social graph and the emergence of developer tools.
Article 22: Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.
I have the Opening Ceremony, Isles of Wonder, open in the corner of my screen at this moment – the industrialists have just arrived on Glastonbury Tor, and Isambard Kingdom Brunel is about to speak Caliban’s speech from The Tempest. Thanks to BBC iPlayer and the licence fee, I can watch any part of it I wish, from now til 12th January 2013. And I would never have thought that this would actually be something I would want to do.
As SharedPast summarises it
My expectations of the London Olympics’ opening ceremony were so low that, I suppose, I would have been impressed if it had featured Boris as Boudicca, driving a chariot over the prostate figures of the Locog committee. (Actually, now that I think about it, that would have been fairly entertaining.)
I haven’t changed my mind about the Olympics or Dow Chemical, but Isles of Wonder is a magnificent piece of performance art. The whole Olympic ceremony impressed and delighted me – to say “beyond expectations” is meiosis: I had sat down to watch it in a negative mood about the Olympics, cross about the money, and fully expecting to spend Friday evening making bread, doing laundry, only a quarter of my attention on the TV.
Ms Mongrel wrote in Bring me my chariot of fire:
Despite my cynicism, I do want things to go well. I want the Olympics to be a success for example, and I was really pleased at the spectacle of the Opening Ceremony. Continue reading
The British are second only to Americans in being the kind of foreigner who is an international stereotype for never understanding any language but English. (An English secretary, who understood French pretty well, travelling with her boss, who spoke only English, took advantage of the situation to eavesdrop on the English company’s competitors discussing the terms of the deal in French, sure that neither boss nor secretary could understand them. True story.) Still, the stereotype holds up alarmingly well: over two-thirds of the UK population are English-speaking monoglots: and thanks to Doctor Who and Star Trek, this is practically an interstellar stereotype.
“To create a constitutional order that reflects a broad public commitment to a more inclusive, egalitarian, and communitarian way, and to mark Scotland out as a ‘progressive beacon’, the following additional provisions might be considered:”
1. Enhanced constitutional rights (c) Cultural rights (ie for Gaelic, Scots)
Cultural rights isn’t just language, of course, but language is likely to be the most contentious of the cultural rights issue, both by those who take for granted it should be English and those arguing for Gaelic and/or Scots.
More and more the international festivals in Edinburgh in August seem primarily for tourists – the days are long past when you could get home from work, decide you felt like going out to a show, and pick something from the Fringe programme that was handy to get to and would cost a fiver or less for an hour or two – and when concessions for students, under-16s, unemployed, and pensioners meant half-price, not “so we’ll knock a quid off the £12 or more we’ll be charging you”. But once upon a time that was do-able: when I was reading Hamlet for Higher English I could and did go to all the perfomances one year on the Fringe, and it didn’t cost my parents their life savings the way it would if an enthusiastic schoolkid got the idea of doing that this year. We should keep the Scottish BBC funded by licence fee. We should be investing in written and spoken Scottish culture.
I also liked Kenneth Roy’s trenchant finish to his three-part dissection of the current state of Scottish newspapers in the Review, earlier this year:
The Scotsman needs to win back all the broadsheet people – the ones who take those decisions, the others who influence them – and move out from there to the idealists and teachers and artists, the many thousands of us who are alienated by the state of our mainstream media. We are there for the taking. We wait for something better. We long for it every day.
Can this be done by the Johnston Press? Clearly not. They talk not of newspapers, but of products. They have failed journalism and they have failed journalists. Their grave is fit only to be danced on. I suggest the Eightsome Reel. I issue this challenge to the wealthy patriots of Scotland, of whom there are many. Get out there, form your consortium, convince us of your honourable motives, and make a reasonable offer to this lot’s bankers to take a great newspaper out of their hands. Better still, let’s have a trust along the lines of the Guardian’s, safeguarding the paper’s interests and supported by all who care about Scotland.
But what language is our culture? Continue reading