Via J.S. Mill in HC Deb 31 May 1866 vol 183 cc1554-666:
What I stated was, that the Conservative party was, by the law of its constitution, necessarily the stupidest party. Now, I do not retract this assertion; but I did not mean that Conservatives are generally stupid; I meant, that stupid persons are generally Conservative. I believe that to be so obvious and undeniable a fact that I hardly think any hon. Gentleman will question it.
Filed under: London
Can you solve this problem?
If I give the sum £1,330 17s. 6d., and tell the Members of this House to divide it by £2 13s. 8d., I want to know how many would do it? – Chancellor of the Exchequer, William Gladstone
Answer, so willingly provided by Mr. Hunt (MP): 658
Another good way to study for a Campaigns and Elections exam – read coverage of the British elections.
Via Andrew (the sources for all things British politics, especially as far as Stephen Colbert is concerned):
This just about sums up the state of play right now:
A hung parliament is virtually inevitable. With more than 500 seats counted, the BBC is predicting that the Conservatives will end up with 306 seats, Labour 262 seats and the Lib Dems 55 seats. The Conservatives are currently on 37% of the vote, Labour on 28% and the Lib Dems on 23%.
• Gordon Brown has said that it is his “duty” to try to form a stable government. Constitutionally, he is right. Given that the Tories do not have a majority, he is entitled to form a government and to try to get a Queen’s speech through the Commons. He only has to resign if the Queen’s speech is voted down. (Effectively it’s a confidence vote.) Although some reporters travelling with him think he seems gloomy about his long-term prospects, he claims to be “energised” by the result and Labour have started semi-public negotiations with the Lib Dems about a coalition. Ministers such as Lord Mandelson and Alan Johnson have indicated that they would like to do a deal over PR.
I can’t imagine Brown taking this as a mandate to carry on. But the intrigue is just beginning. Latest results here.
And from the CNN of Britain (given that title because of their impressive use of interactive features) – we have the Guardian’s results map.
Kensington, the constituency that I lived in while abroad has reelected a Conservative MP again in Malcolm Rifkind. Again, the Guardian tops all with it’s electoral coverage at the constituency-level. While yes, Britain is a much smaller country than the US, American news media should take note of the information the Guardian has included on the constituency pages: constituency profile, results for 2010, turnout for 2010, results from 1992 (a comparable election), national marginality, notional results from 2005 (what 2005 would have looked like if it had incorporated the redistricting changes that have affected the 2010 results), and party literature. Impressive.
Filed under: London
The British class fixation did not end in the 1990s. Like Iraqi sectarianism, it is baked deep in the pie. So we get this from the Sun:
The son of a rich banker, [Clegg] had a posh upbringing and an expensive private education. He went to elite Westminster school and Cambridge University. Friends say he is attracted to a Euro superstate because he is only a quarter English, with a Dutch mother, a half-Russian father and a Spanish wife.
A toff and a Euro-weeny! And then there’s the acronym: MPSIA. It means “minor public school, I’m afraid”. And public means private. The Guardian’s Sholto Byrnes puts the boot in to Cameron:
The metropolitan Westminster School, where Clegg went, is just not as grand as Cameron’s alma mater, Eton – which, as Dominic Lawson pointed out on Sunday, has truly become a four letter word. At Oxford, Cameron was a member of the aristocratic, moneyed Bullingdon Club, and his college, Brasenose, was founded in 1509. One imagines that tail coats were, in general, less in evidence at Clegg’s Cambridge college, Robinson (founded 1977); nor that many of his fellow undergraduates were as familiar as Cameron no doubt was with “the sound of English county families baying for broken glass”, as Evelyn Waugh put it.
So basically, David Cameron (leader of the Conservative Party) is more high class than Nick Clegg (leader of the Liberal Democrats). And this should negatively impact the Conservative Party’s ability to connect with everyday Britons. British politicians, like American politicians are as a rule more educated and more wealthy than the average citizen. But in Britain, these class distinctions are a lot more visible than in the U.S. Horatio Algerism did not exist in England until the class structure began to fall in the 1990s, whereas it has existed in colonial days here in America.
And on a personal note. I know Westminster School. I know some lovely English chaps that attended that school. Pretty amazing that they went to the same school as Nick Clegg.
Cross-posted at the BU Roosevelt Blog:
April’s version of BU Roosevelt’s community service program, BU Roosevelt Gives Back, featured Roosevelters partaking in a yearly spring tradition – BU’s Day of Service. This year, the Day of Service, run by BU’s Community Service Center, was expanded to include alumni across the country and around the world, marking the first Global Day of Service.
BU Roosevelters originally planned to head over to the Emerald Necklace Conservency to tackle invasive species of plants in the warm spring sun. A long rainstorm cancelled that site, and BU Roosevelt ended up heading out to Dudley Square’s Haley House Cafe and Bakery to help clean and restock.
Haley House is a soup kitchen, with their cafe and bakery added on in Dudley Square in order to train under-employed women and men from the local neighborhood.
Haley House Bakery Café offers food that embraces cultural diversity and healthy living. We choose foods and recipes that are low in fat and high in nutrients while paying homage to the rich culinary traditions around us. And we support sustainable agriculture, buying organic whenever possible and accepting local organic produce from Haley House’s Noonday Farm and The Food Project in Roxbury and Dorchester. We also serve fairly traded coffee and cocoa from Equal Exchange. And of course we recycle!
And what about economic sustainability for those working toward independence? Through our bakery-training program, at least 10 under-employed, low-income women and men each year engage in a six-month training program. While being paid, these trainees (along with our trainers) prepare topnotch food for both our café and wholesale bakery. Once the trainees have successfully completed the program, we help them get jobs.
BU Roosevelters cleaned the kitchen from top to bottom as well as organized the front of the store, restocked the shelves, and inventoried the tea. In discussing their “homeless” cookies, the organizers of the Cafe and Bakery mentioned that they would love to get an in at BU to sell their cookies on campus. Hopefully, some strings will be able to be pulled with our beloved Dean of Students to make that hope become a reality.
BU Roosevelt looks forward to revisiting Haley House Cafe and Bakery as customers for our end of the year EBoard get together. It’s only a short ride away on the 47 bus, go check it out!
March’s Speaker Series brought Professor Christine Rossell to BU Roosevelt’s Tuesday event in CAS 323A. Professor Rossell, aside from being BU Roosevelt’s faculty advisor, is a professor of political science in the College of Arts in Sciences. She specializes in public policy, education policy, bilingual education, and school desegregation.
Professor Rossell’s lecture was entitled, “Why Government Cannot Fix Our Schools’ Academic Achievement.”
Professor Rossell started out by noting that politicians, Arne Duncan and President Obama included, are confused about education. They claim that schools are failing and are in need of being fixed. However, this presumption is based on misleading evidence.
The misleading evidence? National achievement trends not increasing over time, international comparisons of achievement between the US and other countries, and the inability of educators to improve achievement in poor schools and districts. The politically correct conclusion, Rossell argues, is that schools are failing.
National achievement shows no long-term improvement. This evidence is based on confusion about test scores and what they mean. Test scores are rank-ordered. Mathematically, only 10% can be placed at the 90th percentile (half of the nation will be at the grade level of 50% and half will be below). Norm-referenced tests (the SAT) and criterion-referenced tests (state achievement tests) are essentially the same, correlated to .8. On the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the press reports that only 4% score at the advanced level, evidence that schools are failing. Rossell notes that, the NAEP was designed so that only 4-5% would score at the proficient level. What happens when achievement on tests increases? The test makers renorm the tests, as they did for the Massachusetts achievement test (MCAS) when too many high schoolers were passing on the first try. Rossell concludes, there has been no long-term improvement in test scores because test makers make sure this does not happen!
International comparisons, US does bad. Rossell argues that you cannot compare international tests. Difference in countries on who takes the test, curriculum, tests in different languages are psychometrically different, time on task varies, grade structure varies, metric system usage, and rank ordering on tests. International tests, Rossell notes, has nothing to do with productivity.
Inability of school to convert additional resources to achievement in poor schools. Schools can only explain 20% of the variation in test scores. Students spend only 9% of their waking hours in school. There are strong effects of family, environment, and genes on test scores. For a policy, a large amount of funds would be needed in order to increase the test scores of the poor.
Rossell concludes, we have the schools we want but we do not know it. Schools are sorting machines, sorting students for the workplace. Everyone does not need to be smart in the academic sense; not everyone needs to go to college. Rossell argues that our society does not need any more intellectuals, but we need people who are willing to work hard, be good citizens, and do essential jobs.
Rossell advocates for educational policies that provide support to poor families and children in order to not increase achievement but to decrease crime, child abuse, and grade retention. Her policy includes subsidized childcare at birth, universal preschool at age two, extended day in school, and twenty-four hour child care.
Rossell’s lecture was certainly provocative and entertaining. BU Roosevelt will be holding a debrief along with a discussion on new educational policy initiatives (Race to the Top, Obama’s reforms to NCLB) next Tuesday at 7pm.
Cross-posted at the BU Roosevelt Campus Network.
Over at The Daily Dish, a Friday redesign left everyone on Atlantic.com’s blogs in a tizzy. I do have to say – I don’t like the new look. Blue? Channels? No, thanks! But let’s take the analysis from someone who would know. The Daily Dish – reader comments – featuring BU’s one and only TF, DJ, political science master: Alex Whalen:
@AlexWhalen: Check it out! A letter I wrote to Andrew Sullivan about where The Atlantic’s redesign went wrong is on his frontpage! http://bit.ly/cTPmCm
by Patrick Appel
A reader writes:
I was a Content Manager at America Online back in the mid to late 1990s. Although I had a variety of roles, at the end of my tenure my primary job was to manage one of AOL’s 18 content channels. This was the period just *before* AOL tore down the walls separating it from the rest of the Internet, and *before* the much maligned merger with Time Warner. It was very much AOL’s heyday.
Our model within these channels? To aggregate material by subject matter into a series of always updating headline driven content areas.
The goal? Through a series of redesigns and reiterations, to make the AOL channels – rather than the partners who provided the content within each channel – the primary point of loyalty for our members.
The result? A mishmash of genericized content that diluted the very thing that had made us so successful – the uniquely identifiable voices that, along with basic features such as email and chat, had brought people flocking to the service in the first place.
As just one example, ask the guys at the Motley Fool, one of the commercial Internet’s first true success stories, how it all worked out for them.
I’m sorry to have to say this, but Goldberg’s description of the new site (“a thorough reimagining of what a magazine’s website could be”) could not possibly be more wrong.
What they’ve done to you, TNC, and the rest isn’t new at all. It’s AOL circa 1998. I realize that’s the Internet’s Stone Age, a time no doubt well beyond the memory of most of the people who put this design together, but…. that should underscore the point, right?
You guys are repeating one of the mistakes that I will always believe killed AOL. I have no reason to think anyone there will take my advice – the Senior VPs at AOL ignored me when I fought against this very same model, and they were paying me for my opinion! – but here it is:
Know your strengths. They are your Voices. Don’t bury them. Don’t integrate them under brand names and channels. Make them louder. And clearer. You should be working to bring them front and center. Instead you are pushing them to the back, putting more distance between them and your readers. That is, in a word, insane.
People don’t want a series of headlines. They can get that elsewhere. They want personality. They want community. They want names and faces they can identify and bond with.
The age of nameless, faceless “editors” is over. It has been over for quite some time, even if many don’t yet realize it. People accepted it when the market provided them with no alternative, but as you both well know the moment alternatives became possible they flocked to them in droves.
And most importantly: for the love of all that is holy, please stop trying to “re-imagine” the magazine. That’s an entirely backward looking enterprise. Be the entirely new thing that you ALREADY are. Or, I’m beginning to fear, were.
From the very beginning, the Atlantic was about the voices it contained, and not about the package that they came bound in. Somehow, in the move to the web, this magazine kept that tradition alive. Unlike most of its competitors it found success by combining what it had always been – strong voices in long-form articles provided at a more thoughtful pace – with the Internet’s greatest innovation – strong voices in short-form updates provided in real-time to a community of not-always likeminded souls. I always assumed that this near perfect mix of 20th and 21st century publishing models was the result of some very forward thinking management. With the last redesign I began to doubt that. With this newest one, I’m on the verge of concluding it was all just dumb luck.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe this model will work this time. Maybe the way forward is to borrow a failed model from the past. But, well….
Filed under: Boston University
Bumped from the BU Roosevelt Blog:
BU Roosevelters – Looking to spend those two extra credits that you pay for but never use because you only want to take 4 classes? Would you like to actually get a grade for doing work similar to what you already do in BU Roosevelt? Do you want to take a class with BU’s one and only Dean Elmore?
If you answered yes to all of these questions, think about signing up for SED ED225 Project Citizen, co-taught by Diane Palmer and Dean Elmore, Wednesdays from 6-8.
Project Citizen engages students in their environments, exploring and developing policy solutions to policy problems. The goal of Project Citizen is to create a policy proposal along with the policy implementation strategy for that idea. Sound familiar? It’s a lot like Roosevelt Institute’s policy briefs and Think Impact programs.
If you don’t believe me, take it from Dean Elmore himself – “Roosevelt Institute is Project Citizen except on a daily basis.”
Think about it – it’s a great way to make a difference in the Boston community. Past Project Citizen classes have been instrumental in getting bike lanes on Commonwealth Ave. (those green lines you see across the BU bridge) and recycling bins along the street (that was my class, Project Citizen Fall 2008). What ideas will you come up with?
Filed under: Boston University
Bumped from the BU Roosevelt Blog:
News of the Haiti earthquake has taken the world by storm. Media networks – blogs, cable tv, radio, twitter – are reporting around the clock.
With much unknown about the full extent of the disaster, one can do little but wait and see. But that’s not all. As college students starting our Spring Semesters, it’s highly improbable that we will be able to charter flights down to Port-au-Prince to help with the relief effort. But while we may not be able to give hands-on, there’s a lot that we can do.
The BU Community Service Center has been sending along Goodwill’s list of Haiti aid organizations looking for disaster relief donations.
- The American Red Cross is pledging an initial $200,000 to assist communities impacted by this earthquake. The organization expects to provide food, water, temporary shelter, medical services and emotional support. They are accepting donations through their International Response Fund.
- The Baptist Haiti Mission is operating an 82-bed hospital that is “overflowing with injured.” Donate online to BHM and 100% of your donation will go to the relief effort.
- CARE is deploying emergency team members to Port-au-Prince today to assist in recovery efforts. They’re focusing their efforts on rescuing children who may still be trapped in schools that collapsed. Donate to CARE.
- Donate to Catholic Relief Services.
- Direct Relief is committing up to $1 million in aid for the response and is coordinating with its other in-country partners and colleague organizations. Their partners in Haiti include Partners in Health, St. Damien Children’s Hospital, and the Visitation Hospital, which are particularly active in emergency response. Donate to Direct Relief online.
- Doctors Without Borders is on the ground and has set up clinics to treat injured in Haiti. Donate any amount so they can keep their efforts going.
- Give to the American Jewish World Service’s Earthquake Relief Fund.
- Several of InterAction’s 190 member organizations are working to provide humanitarian assistance in Haiti as it copes with the after effects of the country’s worst earthquake in 200 years. For more information, please contact Tawana Jacobs, 202-552-6534 (office), 202-297-1696 (cell) or firstname.lastname@example.org; or Nasserie Carew, 202-552-6561 (office), 202-241-3814 (cell) or email@example.com.
- International Medical Corps is assembling a team of first responders and resources to provide lifesaving medical care and other emergency services to survivors of the earthquake. Donate online.
- Mercy Corps is sending a team of emergency responders to assess damage, and seek to fulfill immediate needs of quake survivors. The agency aided families after earthquakes in Peru in 2007, China and Pakistan in 2008, and Indonesia last year. Donate online, call 1-888-256-1900 or send checks to Mercy Corps Haiti Earthquake Fund; Dept NR; PO Box 2669; Portland, OR 97208.
- Operation USA is appealing for donations of funds from the public and corporate donations in bulk for health care materials, water purification supplies and food supplements, which it will ship to the region from its base in the Port of Los Angeles. Donate online at www.opusa.org, by phone at 1-800-678-7255 or, by check made out to Operation USA, 3617 Hayden Ave, Suite A, Culver City, CA 90232.
- Oxfam is rushing in teams from around the region to respond to the situation to provide clean water, shelter, sanitation and help people recover. Donate to Oxfam America online.
- Partners In Health reports its Port-au-Prince clinical director , Louise Ivers, has appealed for assistance: “Port-au-Prince is devastated, lot of deaths. SOS. SOS… Temporary field hospital by us at UNDP needs supplies, pain meds, and bandages. Please help us.” Donate to their Haiti earthquake fund.
- Save the Children has launched an emergency relief effort for Haiti. Donate to their fund to provide medical attention and clean water to children and families.
- Ben Stiller’s Stillerstrong campaign will be temporarily diverting all donations to support the Haiti relief effort.
- The UN World Food Programme is gathering all available resources to deliver food to the recently homeless and impoverished in Haiti. Donate now to help bring food to those affected as quickly and efficiently as possible.
- UNICEF has issued a statement: “Children are always the most vulnerable population in any natural disaster, and UNICEF is there for them.” UNICEF requests donations for relief for children in Haiti via their Haiti Earthquake Fund. You can also call 1-800-4UNICEF.
- Donate through Wyclef Jean’s foundation, Yele Haiti. Text “Yele” to 501501 and $5 will be charged to your phone bill and given to relief projects through the organization.’
The simplest thing you can do – text. And are we good that that or what?
For all of you BU students, if you’re looking for something more local, the BU Haitian community will be having a table in the GSU Link of Friday to raise awareness. There is also a vigil planned in the near future. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information as it becomes available.