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Thursday 11 January 2007

Dealing with email spam

It surprises me the number of friends who tell me that they get 200 spam emails a day or something similar. I get very few.

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Filed under: Net & technology — GS @ 7:08 am
Wednesday 25 October 2006

Questions that Manchester Pride, Marketing Manchester & the Manchester Evening News don’t want to answer

On 18 August 2006 I wrote to Manchester Pride with the following questions. I received a reply from Marketing Manchester, saying that I would get a ‘prompt reply’ just as soon as Pride was over. More than two months later I am still waiting…

Here is my letter:

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Filed under: LGBT,Manchester — GS @ 1:14 pm
Thursday 24 August 2006

Greg Palast on ‘The Fear Factory’

I’m going to tell you something which is straight-up heresy: America is not under attack by terrorists. There is no WAR on terror…

Greg Palast on why fear sells better than sex and how The War on Terror is the Weapon of Mass Distraction. Read it here.

Greg Palast’s investigative reports appear on the BBC, in The Guardian and in Harpers. However, research costs money and he ‘ain’t too proud to beg‘.

Work in progress includes:

1. The untold story of the New Orleans flood.
2. Shoplifting your vote: November 2006 fix.
3. The next oil war.
4. [Confidential.]


Filed under: Politics — GS @ 7:57 am
Wednesday 19 July 2006

There’s a £50 fee to be in the Manchester Pride parade this year

If you want to take part in Manchester’s annual gay pride parade this year you will have to pay £50 + VAT. No, this isn’t a fee for businesses — they already pay more than £1000 to be in the parade.

It is a charge for every non-profit group and individual. Whether you are unemployed, disabled, poor, retired, have HIV, you will have to cough up more than fifty quid to walk through the streets of Manchester and celebrate being lesbian or gay.

When I saw the report in this morning’s Independent newspaper, it took my breath away.

It is bad enough that the cynical, money-focused people who run this event these days, fenced off the gay village and introduced an entrance fee back in 2003. In 2006 that entry charge is up 50% for many people, from £10 to £15.

But this latest stunt has to be the final straw. The signs are that they are selling fewer tickets each year. Money raised for charity in 2005 was the lowest figure since 2002. They seek to mislead the public over their costs.

It’s time for everyone to boycott Manchester Pride and force a change and go back to the roots of this event.

I believe that the biggest threat the gay community in Britain faces now, comes from the people who dream up schemes like this. Those who seek to make money from us at every opportunity. They are only interested in people who can pay.

The current organisers have completely lost sight of what Pride means.

How is it that other sections of the community in Manchester can hold parades and events that are free? But when it comes to the gay community we are told we must pay tens of thousands of Pounds in costs for security, street cleaning etc.?

Why is it that the gay village has to be fenced off with a high entry charge because it is serving alcohol, when alcohol can be served at other outdoor events in the city centre which are not fenced off?

If the City Council can tweak the byelaws to block off public roads in the gay village for a whole weekend, how come it can’t tweak the laws that relate to alcohol?

This is discrimination 2006 style. The gay community can be beaten and threatened into paying this money by businesses, the Police and Manchester City Council — all of whom say Pride won’t go ahead unless we agree to their terms (just look back to what happened in 2002 when the event was almost cancelled).

No other section of the community in Manchester is being hit in this way.


Filed under: LGBT,Manchester — GS @ 12:08 am
Friday 28 April 2006

So far Iraq has cost $1000 for every person in the USA

“The Iraq war has already cost the United States $320bn (£180bn), according to an authoritative new report, and even if a troop withdrawal begins this year, the conflict is set to be more expensive in real terms than the Vietnam War, a generation ago…

Iraq will have consumed $101bn in fiscal 2006 alone, almost double the $51bn of 2003…

Even if everything goes relatively smoothly, costs until a phase-out is complete could top $370bn.”

The Independent

Yes, 320 thousand million Dollars so far… Slightly more than one thousand Dollars for every person in the USA.

All for what exactly?

And even more staggering…

‘According to the Treasury Department, the forty-two presidents who held office between 1789 and 2000 borrowed a combined total of $1.01 trillion from foreign governments and financial institutions. But between 2001 and 2005 alone, the Bush White House borrowed $1.05 trillion, more than all of the previous presidencies combined.’

Rolling Stone magazine


Filed under: Politics — GS @ 12:48 am
Wednesday 1 March 2006

Manchester Pride 2004 – just 34.5% of Operation Fundraiser ticket money went to good causes

Today I received some official figures for Manchester Pride 2004 via my Member of Parliament. They appear to show that only about 34.5% of Operation Fundraiser ticket money from the event went to good causes. The rest was spent on costs. So far I have been unable to get figures for collection bucket money. I don’t know where that is included.

Currently the Operation Fundraiser website states:

‘Once again in 2005/06 50% of the money raised by Operation Fundraiser at Manchester Pride will go directly to Community Futures’

From the figures that I have seen for the years 2003 and 2004, and the information I have now received from Manchester Pride, that statement from Operation Fundraiser appears to be untrue. I don’t see how they can say 50%.

If you’re wondering why I had to involve my MP. The answer is because Operation Fundraiser will not give me information.

In 2004, Operation Fundraiser collected £331,192 from ticket sales at Manchester Pride. They handed over 50% of that money to Manchester Pride to cover the cost of running the event. Leaving £165,596.

Operation Fundraiser Annual Report 2004-2005 - no mention of a ££165,596 that was handed over to Manchester Pride towards running costs

Operation Fundraiser’s ‘Annual Report’ leaflet, which they distributed last August, was misleading. In it they add together the £165,596 ‘net proceeds’ Pride figure and a £43,812 figure (for other non-pride fundraising and donations). Giving a ‘total income’ of £209,408.

Then they deduct their own costs of £79,982. Leaving just £129,426 for good causes in 2004.

The true costs in 2004 were £165,596 handed over to Manchester Pride. Plus £79,982 of Operation Fundraiser’s own costs. Total costs: £245,578.

Therefore we can say that out of ticket sales and non-pride year-round fundraising (£331,192 + £43,812), Operation Fundraiser spent 65.5% (£165,596 + £79,982) on costs and only 34.5% (£129,426) went to good causes.

I don’t know where collection bucket money is in all of this.

In the Operation Fundraiser ‘Annual Report’ 2004 leaflet, they don’t mention the £165,596 that was handed over to Manchester Pride. By doing so, they give the public a false impression of what percentage of income goes to good causes. They make the situation appear much better than it really is.

Interesting to note that, although Operation Fundraiser handed over less to cover the running costs of the event in 2004 than it did in 2003 (£200,000 in 2003 and £165,596 in 2004), Operation Fundraiser’s own costs in 2004 are some £20,000 more than the previous year (£59,520 in 2003 and £79,982 in 2004). A 33% increase in running costs in one year. Why?

Which leaves a final figure for good causes in 2004 that is just £1,736 more than the previous year. Quite a coincidence… Sometimes it feels as if there is a ‘glass ceiling’ on the amount that is allowed to go to good causes each year.


Filed under: LGBT,Manchester — GS @ 4:41 pm
 
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