Friday, 8 January 2016

The new sound bites of political campaigning and other news and view

Political GIFs Are the New Sound Bites This Campaign Season - Every few decades, a piece of technology comes along that alters political campaigning. It happened in 1924 when Calvin Coolidge showed that he was a natural on the radio, which many historians believe helped him win the presidency. Technology disrupted the presidential election again in 1960, during the nation’s first televised debate, when John F. Kennedy, who was essentially an unknown senator at the time, destroyed Richard Nixon’s presidential bid because Kennedy was telegenic and confident, and Nixon was not. And it’s happening again in 2016, although the technology in question is not some newfangled social media platform or a magic app for getting out the vote. It’s the lowly animated GIF, which stands for Graphics Interchange Format.

Among the most popular could be called theTrump Faces GIF, which featured Donald J. Trump contorting his face into a dozen different shapes during the second Republican debate, hosted by CNN last September. Reacting to Jeb Bush’s comment that Americans would not want “such a hothead with the nuclear codes,” Mr. Trump is seen rolling his eyes, raising his eyebrows, mocking surprise, feigning laughter and otherwise exuding smugness. It’s an image that made Mr. Trump seem funny and even likable.

This Politician's Philosophy: No Perks For You - It's a hard life for Tanzanian public officials these days. No more driving your limousine to villages. No more flying first class to meetings in Europe. You can't even send Christmas cards on the taxpayer's dime. President John Magufuli, elected in October, has banned these things. He canceled the country's Independence Day celebrations, saying it would be shameful to spend millions of dollars on fancy parties and military parades in a country battling cholera. And he even restricted the amount of refreshments allowed at official meetings. ... The president's love of austerity has even inspired a hashtag:#WhatWouldMagufuliDo Tanzanians are posting photos of tongue-in-cheek money-saving measures: using office markers as a cheap fill-in for eyeliner, replacing a broken iron with a hot water kettle to get the wrinkles out of a shirt, arming the military with bows and arrows. Saving money is just part of the 56-year-old president's agenda. The former teacher and chemist is also battling corruption and trying to improve services in Tanzania.

When China Stumbles - Paul Krugman writes: So, will China’s problems cause a global crisis? The good news is that the numbers, as I read them, don’t seem big enough. The bad news is that I could be wrong, because global contagion often seems to end up being worse than hard numbers say it should. And the worse news is that if China does deliver a bad shock to the rest of the world, we are remarkably unready to deal with the consequences.

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