29 Dec 2010

The Media sell audiences, not papers or programmes

“The papers sold on their contents and derived their profits from the pennies or halfpennies paid by the readers. Gradually there came a change, almost without the proprietors noticing it. The papers came to depend increasingly on the money they received for advertisements. Larger circulation meant higher advertising rates. Hence circulation mattered in itself, even when each additional copy sold involved a slight additional loss. The reader no longer bought newspapers. Newspapers bought readers.”  The newspaper war of the 1930s, described by AJP Taylor, English History 1914-1945, p387, Penguin

“All the papers that matter live off their advertisements, and the advertisers exercise an indirect censorship over news.” England your England, George Orwell, 1941

5 Dec 2010

Chomsky: transformational grammar and Cartesian linguistics

In psycholinguistics ‘a specific event, Chomsky’s review of Skinner’s book on ‘Verbal Behavior’, was decisive. In the late 1950s, Chomsky, a young professor at MIT, shredded behavourist pretenstons to give an adequate account of language and thus ended their pretensons to explain human beings.'

Psycholinguistics embraced the structuralism of Saussure and an assumption that communication is possible ‘even between people who do not share each other’s language because there are certain formal similarities in all languages. Psycholinguistics sought to relate these formal similarities in languages to the structure of mind and brain.'

Chomsky elaborated ‘a Cartesian theory of language, a theory that presupposes the existence of universal, innate grammatical structures. The result was a concrete research programme for lingutistics, to search out the grammatical universals and to trace how they underlie actual languages  ... Chomsky’s programme - Cartesian linguistics - traced all language to a few innate mental principles which were thought to be in effect a priori in the activity of reason but it faced rival programmes based on research on how children do in fact develop their use of language in different cultures.'

(Roger Smith, the fontana history of the Human Sciences, 1997 p835-6)

24 Nov 2010


The failure of workfare in several countries and US states is documented in research published by the Department for Work and Pensions at http://campaigns.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd5/rports2007-2008/rrep533.pdf

On 22 November 2010 DWP Minister for Employment Chris Grayling said that the DWP would 'not be proceeding' with the Work for Your Benefit pilot scheme.

21 Nov 2010

Jesus and conflict

Dealing with conflict

If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
Matthew 18, v15-17(NIV)

19 Nov 2010

Genocide and mass murder in the twentieth century

Genocides of the twentieth century as recorded by Peace Pledge Union, the oldest secular pacifist organisation in Britain:

near-starvation in Gaza

In 2006 Israel's policy towards Gaza was summed up by Dov Weisglass, an adviser to Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister. 'The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger,' he said

On Thursday 21 October 2010, after a legal battle led by Israeli human rights group, Gisha, Israel released three documents that outline its policy for permitting transfer of goods into the Gaza Strip. The documents reveal a deliberate policy by the Israeli government to allow only just enough food in to keep the population alive at a near-starvation level. 

According to Medialens the revelations about the policy to keep the Gaza population alive at a near-starvation level have not been reported in any mainstream news.