Newspaper Watch

No, it hasn’t, you idiot bint

The US supreme court has declared war on the Earth’s future
Kate Aronoff
In a major environmental case, the court has made clear that it would rather represent the interests of corporations and the super-rich than the needs and desires of the vast majority of Americans – or people on Earth

What the Supreme Court actually said is that we can’t leave the bureaucracy to make up stuff on the big issues. If there is a big issue, a big policy, then there has to be a clear directive and or mandate from the legislature.

That’s also all the court said. You can have whatever climate policies you like, you’ve just got to pass a law about them first. Which, in a democracy, is probably the way it should be, right?

Polly’s Lament

Whatever happened to my generation? We children of the 1960s burst through every barrier, won contraception and abortion rights, LGBTQ+ equality, equal pay and race discrimination laws – and a lot more. Bliss it was to be alive and so on, as if the dawning of the age of Aquarius would last for ever.

But look at us now. The oldest cohort of voters (70+) are three times more likely to vote Conservative than the youngest (18-24).

That folk wised up as they grew older is something of a shock to Polly. As, of course, she hasn’t.

What actually happened here

In some American work I have to read the dreck where these sorts of things are discussed:

The Washington Post has fired its reporter Felicia Sonmez, who triggered a vigorous online debate this week over social media policy and public treatment of colleagues after she criticized a fellow reporter for retweeting an offensive joke.

The Post said on Friday it would not comment on personnel issues. But a copy of a termination letter sent on Thursday, accusing her of “insubordination, maligning your coworkers online and violating the Post’s standards on workplace collegiality and inclusivity” was published on the Mediaite website and quoted in other news accounts.

One bloke retweeted an apparently sexist joke (“All women are bi – you just have to find out whether it’s -sexual or -polar”) and the cool kids all went mental. He’s on a month’s unpaid leave.

Then all Hell broke loose as all weighed in – absolutely none of them defending the joke nor the retweet (no, really, a retweet). Actually reading what went on it’s Junior High. All the Cool Kids kicking down at one of the nerds who’s said something vaguely socially unacceptable.

The impression I came away with is that we’re simply not dealing with adults here. A fun little pune, or play on words – there is at least a modicum of witty wordplay there – leads to mobs of shrieking harpies.

It’s as if someone has cloned an entire newsroom of Owen Joneses and we all did think the WaPo was better than that.

Of course, of course

It’s the media’s fault, of course it is:

US President Joe Biden has blamed a clickbait culture in the media for the American public’s poor perception of his presidency, during a talk show appearance in Los Angeles.

In a 22-minute interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Mr Biden took a swipe at news outlets for “sensationalising” problems as he insisted that his administration has made a number of major achievements.

Compelling story

Well, I dunno, really, not sure:

In order to practice the French I was studying, I set Paris as one of my locations. One of my matches, Étienne, was 10 years younger than me at 33.
He asked me to dominate him. I described my whip and demanded he get on all fours (“Mets-toi à quatre pattes!”). He made it clear that he wanted me to penetrate him with the base of my imaginary whip, and I made sure to convey to him in detail exactly how I would do it.

and I wanted to get out of the restaurant business, where I’d been a server for several years since my three-year stint in a graduate experimental film program.

43 year old waitress has phone sex.


Do you have a compelling personal story you’d like to see published on HuffPost?

Seriously Guardian, do try and get the numbers right

This shouldn’t be such a difficult concept:

Ukraine produces as much as half the world’s sunflower seeds, a tenth of its wheat and up to a fifth of barley and rapeseed.

Looking at wheat alone, just to keep things simple:

Top 10 Wheat Producing Countries (in tons of wheat produced 2020)*
China — 134,254,710
India — 107,590,000
Russia — 85,896,326
United States — 49,690,680
Canada — 35,183,000
France — 30,144,110
Pakistan — 25,247,511
Ukraine — 24,912,350
Germany — 22,172,100
Turkey — 20,500,000

Ukraine produces 10% of internationally traded wheat quite possibly. But it doesn’t produce 10% of the global crop. These are different concepts and numbers…..but journos and numbers eh, journos and numbers…..

Idiot damn fools

From a PR email:

Hi Tim

Breakroom can reveal that some workers for the Royal Family are being paid £1.93 less than the national living wage (£9.50).
The people-powered job platform has compared the average frontline pay for 1,000s of UK companies and comparing it against this current job opening staff can expect to earn more money working in certain supermarkets, courier positions and for the Royal Mail than working for the Queen.

Breakroom’s data shows that Royal Mail pays its workers 38 per cent more than a royal housekeeping assistant role – which has an advertised pay of just £7.97 per hour.

Amazon, Aldi and the NHS also pay their workers at least 28 per cent more than the Palace.

Working an eight-hour shift at Aldi would leave workers £21 better off than if they worked for the 96-year-old monarch.

The figures also reveal that Network Rail pay their workers an average of £19.62 per hour – £11.65 more than the Queen pays her housekeepers.

Royal Household work comes with meals and accommodation thrown in……be worth having a look tomorrow to see who picks this shite up.


Oh joyous


Harry Corbett was well known for his role as Harold in Steptoe and Son – a show that attracted millions over the years. He also created the famous puppet Sooty back in 1952 and performed with it until 1975, when he reportedly suffered one of his many heart attacks. Sooty was then passed down to Harry’s son Matthew Corbett and then Richard Cadell in 1998 who has recently finished a Sooty and Friends tour.

The star’s daughter Savannah, who was only 14 when he died, has opened up about the puppet master’s final moments.

The perils of churnalism. The Express ran a piece about the daughter opening up etc. Which was then picked up and re-written by Luke Whelan. Who added the bit about Sooty because Mr. Whelan is a kno-nothing – or has just made a ghastly error, your choice.

Tee Hee.

Wonder if this will make Mr. Chakrabortty reflect?

Piers Morgan begged Joe Biden to “drop the whiny insolent brat somewhere over the Atlantic”. Dan Wootton thundered: “Would this rabble-rouser disrespect his own country like this?” The Mail’s resident thinker also didn’t care for Katzman’s PhD in “complexity theory”, which is actually a branch of maths, but never mind. For the record, Wootton hails from New Zealand, where he did media studies and politics. And Morgan often drones on about how much he values free speech and others’ opinions.

For the pundits and the politicians it was all good lucrative fun. Except the story was largely manufactured, and the consequences for Katzman have been devastating.

Now let us switch our example. Say, a certain newspaper running ever more pieces about how poverty is increasing. When what is meant is inequality is increasing. Or how the expansion of food banks shows Tories are bastards – instead of how the little platoons make up for the failures of government. Or that “business as usual” assumption in climate change is actually the assumption of RCP 8.5, the thing we know isn’t going to happen.

That is, the manufacture of evidence to instigate pile ones is not unique to this story about a student and a piccie of The Queen.

But we’re unlikely to get that level of reflection now, are we?

There it is again

Desalination plants, which convert seawater into potable water, have long been considered a possible solution, as residents, developers and policymakers look to capture the water crashing against the California shores.

The Huntington Beach plant has prominent backers, including the state’s governor, Senator Dianne Feinstein, the California Chamber of Commerce and a slew of other state and local officials. But experts say siphoning water from the sea isn’t a simple answer to a complex and burgeoning crisis.

Experts being used as a synonym for activists with a knife blade to grind.

It simply is not true that someone interested in a subject is expert in it.

It’s amazing how ignorant some twats are, really

Just look at BP’s huge Clair oilfield, off the coast of Shetland (near the site of Shell’s Cambo field). BP wants to invest in extending this field – by seeking approval for its Clair South project – but the oil it contains is unlikely to end up in Britain: as noted, the UK exports most of its oil.

Last week, the business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, was full of praise for BP’s plans to extend another, smaller field, Murlach, tweeting: “I’d much rather we source more of our gas domestically.” But we have calculated that the majority – 80% – of Murlach’s small reserves are, again, oil, most probably for export, with a relatively small amount of gas. Most of what’s left in the North Sea is oil. These developments aren’t about providing UK energy security, they’re simply business for oil and gas companies.

And the British government gains vast amounts of tax revenue – as they should, resource rents and all that – from selling British sourced oil to foreigners.

Which parts of government spending should be cut to make up for this loss of revenue?

The Telegraph is going Yankee – Septic – on us

Scotland’s murder rate is the lowest in 40 years – and this is why

Women piled on more weight than men during lockdown – here’s why

“Explain” “Why” “the reason” ……very American headline writing. Places like Salon, Buzzfeed, Vox, worked out that using those words got people to click through.

Of course, they worked this out 5 years back, now use it less – which is when the Telegraph picks it up.


Tosspottery, tosspottery

To Sarah Damaske, a professor of sociology and labor and employment relations at Penn State University, the dynamic is reminiscent of “very old forms of labor”.

“When we see really extreme income inequality, this ability to outsource personal tasks becomes more possible. It becomes more possible for someone who’s at one end of the extreme to purchase the labor power of someone who is at the other end of the extreme when the minimum wage is stagnant for as long as it has been,” Damaske said.

“Which is why it makes me think of those days gone by when people were afforded opportunities via birthright, in kind of a manor-born type of way.”

Trotting out the standard tosspottery. This is about a bloke who makes $80k a year standing in lines in New York.

True, 80k ain’t a fortune in NYC but it’s not minimum wage now, is it?

This is where the Guardian finds Robert Samuel, a 46-year-old former mobile phone salesman, whose job is now to sit in lines for other, mostly wealthy, people. It’s a strange career, but one which has given Samuel a front row seat at some of the biggest cultural events of the last decade – and a job which perhaps sums up the state of capitalism, and inequality, in 2022.

Yeah, capitalism and inequality.

Pre-pandemic, the job was enough for Samuel to earn up to $80,000 a year.

That’s between two and three times what The Guardian pays its worker bees…..

Don’t these people have editors?

Not these days, no.

The valet brought to life by the writer PG Wodehouse, who first started penning stories about Jeeves and Wooster in 1915,

Lord Russell rose to fame in 1940, after he was found murdered by his Swiss valet, and the details of the trial reportedly inspired Wodehouse’s creation of Jeeves.

It was HG Wells with the time machine, wasn’t it?

I do just love this sort of toss

A new analysis released by Oxfam America on Monday, to mark tax day in the US, found US billionaires now own a combined $4.7tn in wealth. Much of this goes untaxed; last year ProPublica analyzed leaked tax returns and found the 25 richest people in the US paid a true tax rate of just 3.4% from 2014 to 2018. The average taxpayer, meanwhile, pays a true tax rate of 13%. It wasn’t always like this. As Oxfam notes, it really wasn’t that long ago that the ultra-wealthy paid their fair share in tax; during the second world war, the federal income tax rate peaked at 94% and was still 70% three decades later. The rich haven’t just gotten richer, they’ve also gotten a lot more selfish.

Note that lovely switch there from the tax rate including unrealised capital gains to the income tax rate only – not including capital gains at all, let alone unrealised ones.

I suspect Ms. Madhawi wouldn’t even understand the point even when you explained it.