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Conspiracy vs Cockup

Sir Bernard Ingham, who was Maggie Thatcher’s press secretary, had a good line about conspiracy theories. “Many journalists have fallen for the conspiracy theory of government,” he said. “I do assure you that they would produce more accurate work if they adhered to the cock-up theory.”

Metric vs Imperial

As things stand in the metric system, 1 cubic centimetre of water contains 1 millilitre, weighs 1 gram and takes 1 calorie to warm by 1 degree Celsius. A cubic inch of water, meanwhile, contains 0.58 fluid ounces, weighs 0.58 ounces and takes 0.0036 British Thermal Units of energy to warm by 1 degree Fahrenheit.

Prejudice

At the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, visitors are introduced to various racial, ethnic and religious stereotypes through a visual presentation. Then you are asked to enter the exhibit, either through a doorway marked “Prejudiced” or the other marked “Unprejudiced.” The “Unprejudiced” door is locked.

Political Correctness

Bette Midler, the Hollywood star, who called for a handy way to keep track of who should be on her ethical enemies list. She tweeted this week: “I’m exhausted trying to remember all the products, corporations and villains I’m supposed to boycott. Can someone please create an app for that?”

In a new book, Academic Freedom in an Age of Conformity, Joanna Williams, a lecturer at Kent University and education editor of Spiked, argues that academics are leading the attack on freedom of speech. “Instead of an intellectual robustness to challenge and debate views, academics are instead teaching that words can inflict violence and oppression and should be censored,” she said. “It is precisely because I disagree with sexism, racism and homophobia that I want an open forum where everyone can debate them and not drive them underground, where they become more attractive to people.”

Politics and Presidents

Jay Leno commenting on protests over Iraq war - In California 50 women protested by lying on ground naked spelling out word "PEACE" - Leno's comment: "Right idea, wrong president"

Wars

During the War of 1812, an American ship captained by Charles Barnard discovered some British sailors who had been shipwrecked in the Falkland Islands and who weren't aware that the U.S. and Britain had gone to war. Barnard informed the British survivors that they were at war with each other, but agreed to rescue them anyway. When Barnard and his overly-trusting crew left the ship to gather supplies for the extra passengers, the British survivors apparently thought, hey, we're at war, stole his ship and left the Americans stranded on the island. They weren't rescued for more than two years.

The Battle for Castle Itter in the Austrian North Tyrol village of Itter was fought on 5 May, 1945 in the last days of World War II. Troops of the 23rd Tank Battalion of the 12th Armored Division of the US XXI Corps led by Captain John C. "Jack" Lee, Jr., anti-Nazi German Army soldiers, and recently freed French VIPs defended Castle Itter against an attacking force from the 17th Waffen-SS Panzer Grenadier Division until relief from the American 142nd Infantry Regiment of the 36th Division of XXI Corps arrived.

The French prisoners included former prime ministers, generals and a tennis star. It may have been the only battle in the war in which Americans and Germans fought side-by-side. Popular accounts of the battle have called it the "strangest" battle of World War II.

Politics and Presidents

When columnists including George Will and Stanley Fish asserted that President Obama's frequent use of 'I' and 'me' betrayed his arrogance and self-absorption, Liberman did the counts and showed that Obama actually used those pronouns far less often in speeches and press conferences than did any of his recent predecessors.

US Politics and Vice-Presidents

John Adams, the first man to hold the post, under George Washington, declared it "the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived". A later incumbent described it as "not worth a bucket of warm piss". On the other hand Lyndon Johnson, advised by a female colleague not to swap his powerful position as majority leader in the House of Representatives for the job, responded: "I looked it up: one out of every four presidents has died in office. I'’m a gamblin' man, dahlin', and this is the only chance I got." It paid off.

American Exceptionalism

The West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin has a character in his latest drama, The Newsroom, who rounds off a soliloquy about American decline with this zinger: “We lead the world in only three categories: number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real, and defence spending.”

American Politics

(Ron Reagan jnr)"Having your father shot on national television - that would be on the downside," Ron notes dryly. "But that's nothing new in American history. We're a violent country. We can point fingers at Sarah Palin - and that can be fun - but it's a deeper, broader problem. This is an America that doesn't take mental health seriously, and is awash in guns and obsessed with violence."

American Politics

Why do things never change?
Short answer: Money
Long answer: Moooooonnneeeeyyyy

American Politics - John Oliver Last Week Tonight Show

"I can clearly see that this game is rigged," Oliver proclaimed, in the voice of a typical American citizen, "which is gonna make it really sweet when I win this thing!"

Writing about Politicians

Everything a journalist says about a candidate’s prospects or even his or her place in the political order should be heavily discounted. Like the sportswriters assigned to the Kentucky Derby, they excel at gathering useful information for their readers to use to make their bets. But the actual coverage of the chaos that is a horse race is so daunting that sportswriters don’t attempt to write about the race in real time. Any veteran observer of the Derby, the Belmont or your local pony track knows that a snapshot of the horses in the first curve or the backstretch doesn’t necessarily tell you that much about how the race will later end. If only political writers were as humble.

Denis Thatcher once boarded a train on a carriage reserved for a psychiatric hospital outing. He sat down until patients boarded at Reading and the nurse started to count his group. “One, two, three, four. . .” he began, before reaching Thatcher. “Who are you?” he asked. “I’m the prime minister’s husband,” Thatcher replied. “Six, seven, eight, nine. . .” the nurse continued without pause.

US Politics

California lawyer Jonathan Frieman finally got his day in court in January, but a Marin County judge quickly rejected his argument that he is entitled to use the state's carpool lanes accompanied only by a sheath of corporate papers in the passenger seat. (During the 2012 Republican primaries, Mitt Romney famously asserted a corporation's general right under the law to be treated as a "person.") The judge decided that the state legislature's carpool law intended only to reduce traffic clutter and that driving with no passenger except corporate papers was unrelated to that goal. Frieman told reporters that he had been carrying the papers around for years, hoping to be challenged.

US Politics

Among the things responders mentioned in Public Policy Polling's October release as being viewed more favorably than the U.S. Congress were hermorrhoids, DMV, and toenail fungus. The same firm's polling earlier in the year showed Congress less likeable than root canals, head lice, colonoscopies, and Donald Trump, but back then, Congress did beat out telemarketers, ebola virus, and meth labs.

(Fark comment on)US Conservatives

They were mad when blacks were given equal rights to whites. They were mad when women got equal rights to men. They were mad when black and white folk could marry. They were mad when women were given control over their own bodies. They were mad when everyone could get an equal education. They were mad when it was suggested that everyone be given full health care. They continue to be mad because they are pants sh*tting afraid that they will no longer be important or special.

Before signing the trade embargo against Cuba, JFK sent his press secretary out to buy a 1000 Cuban cigars.

German Political Protest

German protestors stuck little American flags in every piece of dog poo they could find

Danish Politics 1

The nativist Danish People's Party called in November for an anti-immigration film that featured bare-breasted women sunbathing, as one way to convince religious fundamentalists abroad not to immigrate to Denmark.

Danish Politics 2

In the 1994 Danish general election Jacob Haugaard stood for parliament as a joke. His manifesto included free beer, nicer Christmas gifts, more Renaissance furniture in Ikea, Nutella in all army field rations, continuous green traffic lights, the introduction of several whales into Randers fjord, the right to impotency, a tail wind on all cycle paths and the reclassification of people without a sense of humour as disabled. To support his candidacy he wrote a book entitled If Work is Healthy Give it to the Sick. The practical joke backfired, however, when this fine man not only got elected with a staggering 23,253 votes, but also had one of his manifesto policies made law: Nutella in all army field rations. The stunned new MP for Aarhus said: "It was all a practical joke, honestly. I guess people elected me because my promises are just as trustworthy as those of conventional political parties."

French Politics

In 2008, French President Nicolas Sarkozy sued a doll company for issuing a likeness of him that buyers could stick pins in.

Switzerland

Last year, a hijacked Ethiopian Airlines plane flew unescorted through Swiss airspace before landing at Geneva. The Swiss air force failed to scramble because the incident took place on a Sunday, and its combat aircraft are available only during office hours on weekdays.

Ukranian Politics

Emerging democracies have experienced brawls and fisticuffs in their legislatures as they learn self-government, with Ukraine perhaps the most volatile. When some legislators rose to change party affiliations in December, a fracas broke out, and, according to Yahoo News, "Images . . . showed a scene that resembled a WWE pay-per-view event, with parliament members using full nelsons, choke holds, and other moves familiar to American wrestling fans." In fact, a man with the same name as a WWE heavyweight ("Rybak") had just been elected speaker, and the country's well-known boxing champion Vitali Klitschko was in attendance (as a member of a minority party called "Punch"). (One 2010 brawl in the Ukrainian legislature sent six deputies to the hospital with concussions.)

British Politics

British class system - ruling class doesn't rule, working class doesn't work and middle class thinks far to good to be middle

British Politics

The briefest perusal of Britain's most comely MPs calls to mind the maxim of Jay Leno, the American chat show host: politics is show business for ugly people.

(A retiring British civil servant)

He was also happy to leave behind the appearances before select committees. “I quickly learnt that the success at Select Committee was to be Boycott and not Botham. I doesn’t make an enjoyable experience for anyone though.”

British Politics

The statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square in London is electrified to stop pigeons sitting on it.

British Politics

I spent a day in Kendal during the election campaign with Tim Farron, the man tipped to succeed Nick Clegg as Liberal Democrat leader. Everywhere we went, people called out to him by name. The personal vote did not insulate many Lib Dems against electoral disaster but Mr Farron survived. One reason he did is a trick that other MPs might copy. Mr Farron has made a habit of packing bags on supermarket check-outs, usually as a charity event. His day’s work at Morrisons got him good coverage in the local paper, and he meets more people in a few hours on the checkout than any amount of canvassing on the streets.

British Politics

(after the Brexit campaign) ... hecklers seemed to follow Boris Johnson wherever he went. They were there as he left his house in London at 7.30am and chanted “Liar, liar, pants on fire”, as they adorned the railings of his house with white underpants printed with pictures of his face.

Harold Wilson said his problem was he’d been around for so long, he could see the same problems coming around again, and he couldn’t think of any new solutions.

Indian Politics

The U.S. Congress may suffer dismal popularity ratings (less savory than head lice, according to one survey), but it is saintly compared to India's legislatures, which contain six accused rapists at the state level and two in the national parliament. Thirty-six local officials, as well, have been charged with sexual assault (according to India's Association for Democratic Reforms). In fact, the Association reported in December that 162 of the lower Parliament's 552 members currently face criminal charges. The problem is compounded by India's notoriously paralyzed justice system, which practically ensures that the charges will be unresolved for years, if not decades.

Chinese Politics

A high-level policy document released by the Chinese government in September detailed plans to use technology to monitor citizen behavior to such a degree that each person would receive a "social credit" score (similar to a "FICO" score in the U.S. but covering a range of conduct beyond financial) that would be the basis for allotting perks such as government support in starting businesses and whether parents' children are eligible for the best schools. "[K]eeping trust is glorious," according to the document, and "good" behavior promotes a "harmonious socialist society."

African Politics

The Guinness Book of Records recognizes the presidential election of 1927 in Liberia as the most fraudulent election reported in history. Although there were only 15,000 registered voters in Liberia at the time, Charles D. B. King, received 234,000 votes and won.

Politics and Presidents

Arnie would make a great Am president -
1) He could be his own security detail
2) He'd be following in the tradition of those other great Am presidents Ronald Reagan, Harrison Ford and Charlie Sheen
3) He'd be second ESL president after George Bush

Politicians

When politicians face a problem, they usually try papering over it with a PR campaign before doing anything more drastic, like trying to fix the problem. This is because, to the politician, the problem is actually the public's perception of the problem.

Politicians

Candidates enter politics wanting to be authentic and change things. But once the candidates enter the campaign, they stop focusing on how to be change-agents. They and their staff spend all their time focusing on beating the other guy. They hone the skills of one-upsmanship. They get engulfed in a tit-for-tat competition to win the news cycle. Instead of being new and authentic, they become artificial mirror opposites of their opponents. Instead of providing the value voters want - change - they become canned tacticians, hoping to eke out a slight win over the other side. Competition has trumped value-creation.

Politics

Liberals worry that they're unworthy of their possessions. Conservatives think they're entitled to everything they've stolen

Politics and Power

Tony Blair said that there was an irony of being a government leader: "You begin at your most popular and least capable, and end at your least popular and most capable."

The Green Party is occasionally criticized for its overrepresentation of whites and upper-income people, who are less likely to flinch at the added costs of environmental protections. In October, the Green Party candidate for governor of Illinois, Rich Whitney, was shocked to see that the sample ballot for the November election mistakenly displayed his name as "Rich Whitey." (Corrections were made in time for election day.)

Boundaries

Good fences make good neighbors. When ethnic groups clash, we usually try to encourage peace by integrating them. Let them get to know one another or perform a joint activity. This may be the wrong approach. Alex Rutherford, Dion Harmon and others studied ethnically diverse areas and came to a different conclusion. Peace is not the result of integrated coexistence. It is the result of well-defined geographic and political boundaries. For example, Switzerland is an ethnically diverse place, but mountains and lakes clearly define each group's spot. Even in the former Yugoslavia, amid widespread ethnic violence, peace prevailed where there were clear boundaries.

Politics and Money

Who would have thought that saving the planet was so lucrative? When he lost the 2000 US presidential election, Al Gore had assets of around $1 million. Since then he has made at least $50 million from books, speeches and shrewd investments in green technology (including at least $15 million worth of Google stock.

Environmentalists

Ecofascists are the kids who were bullied at school - the people with no dress sense or social skills - they know they'll never get ahead in real world so they want to change the rules. (JC, of course)

We All Forgot to Vote

Since the dawn of democracy we have waited for the definitive election in which no candidate polled any votes at all. It finally happened when Pillsbury in North Dakota held a council election on June 10, 2008 at which no one voted, not even the people at the ballot station. It is the first time that six candidates have stood and not one of them has got in. "Everybody has got a job and they’re busy," said the mayor of this small rural community, who was going vote for himself but had crops to tend.

The treasurer of Idaho County, Idaho, turned down the November suggestion of local physician Andrew Jones - that more cancers might be early-detected if the county sent colonoscopy suggestions to residents along with their official tax notices. The treasurer said residents might find the reminders "ironic."

If Iran gets nuclear weapons

It will quickly discover what all leaders of all nuclear powers know: that the weapons themselves are the bluntest of instruments. Nuclear states cannot use nukes to force non-nuclear states to comply with their demands. If they could, nuclear and non-nuclear states would not fight. Nuclear weapons failed to compel the surrender of Saddam Hussein in either 1991 or 2003. They failed to force the Serb cession of Kosovo in 1999. American nuclear weapons failed to cow the Vietnamese in 1965 and Chinese nukes failed at the same task in 1979. Sometimes, non-nuclear states actually start wars against nuclear powers. Nuclear weapons did not deter Syrian and Egyptian attacks on Israel in 1973, nor did Russian nuclear weapons deter Georgia in 2008. The biggest difference between these examples and the Iran is that the nuclear power, in all of these cases also possessed overwhelming conventional superiority. Given that Iran doesn't even have conventional superiority over neighborhood foes, suggestions that Iran can bully its neighbors with its nuclear weapons range fall somewhere between absurd and ridiculous.

The point about China and Vietnam in 1979 is pretty telling.... North Korea's Kim Jong-Il, perhaps not history's greatest monster but almost certainly the world's craziest living dictator, has actually had nuclear weapons for either two or five years, depending on whether you believe the first test worked or not, and yet has not only failed to bring South Korea to its knees but has failed even to compel anyone to, say, provide his country with enough food to fend off malnutrition.

Protest Politics

If the shoe fits, throw it. Or so many people in India seem to believe these days. Taking a cue from Iraqi journalist Muntather Zaidi, who earned a year in jail for his "real-time editorializing" after hurling both of his shoes at then-President Bush, India has witnessed a flurry of flying footwear in recent weeks. These missiles of malcontent have left politicians on edge and prompted inquiring minds to ponder: Why can't journalists aim better? Do they get their shoes back? And is this so endemic that shoe hurling will become a required subject at journalism schools?

Politics and Welfare State

Study by U of Melb showed that people who have grown up in welfare-dependent homes have multiple disadvantages. Worse of all health (higher rates asthma and hospital admissions) and education (3x more likely to be suspended from school, lower rates post-school qualifications and entry to university) measures. And more prone to risky behaviour (and so higher teen death rates) and lower work ethic.

He is quick to concede that evolutionary psychology can sometimes be unpopular: "We can appear to be saying that this is what ought to happen, whereas most of us believe that understanding the nature of evolutionary systems doesn't necessarily mean approval, but helps us to design more appropriate political systems - that is, ones that are fairer and have a better chance of working."

Politics and Welfare State

59yo man disabled with cerebral palsy in Denmark reckons govt should subsidise brothel visits along lines of meals on wheels bc has a basic right to have sex at least twice a month.

Politics and Insults

Hungarian recipe for an omelette: 1) first, steal a hen ...

Politics and Bigotry

According to a 2007 University of Ulster report, Northern Ireland has the highest proportion of bigoted people in the Western world. The research was based on a survey of 32,000 people in 19 European countries, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the US. The main targets of Northern Ireland's bigots, it found, were homosexuals, followed by immigrants or foreign workers.

African Politics

Really, Colonel Gaddafi of Libya is a one-man freakshow unto himself, the weird and creepy carny-class among the stage of world leaders, so when he does weird crap like walk around all day with 200 beautiful models and then try to convert them to Islam by dinnertime, it sort of raises the bar for his own level of bizarre behavior to the point that it's sort of easy to miss a lot of it. But when he called on the United Nations to abolish the entire country of Switzerland earlier this year, well, that raised more than a few eyebrows. Experts felt it was retaliation for an incident earlier in the year when his son was arrested in Geneva for assaulting a chambermaid, but insiders think it's just as likely part of Gaddafi's ongoing war on cheese.

American Politics

(article in Vanity Fair about Sarah Palin, referring to Republican Party ...) She is by far the best-looking woman ever to rise to such heights in national politics, the first indisputably fertile female to dare to dance with the big dogs. This pheromonal reality has been a blessing and a curse. It has captivated people who would never have given someone with Palin's record a second glance if Palin had looked like Susan Boyle. And it has made others reluctant to give her a second chance because she looks like a beauty queen.

She has the good fortune to have traction within a political party that is bereft of strong leadership, and whose rank and file often demands qualities other than knowledge, experience, and an understanding that facts are, as John Adams said, stubborn things. It is, at the moment, a party in which the loudest and most singular voices, not burdened by responsibility, wield disproportionate power.

American Politics; courtesy of a FARK thread

"It's imperative they think we're at odds over our beliefs and ideas, despite the fact the beliefs we parrot aren't really our beliefs at all just a way to keep voters entranced and sheepish and following our lead so we can do what we really want to do, which has nothing to do with what any of those farksticks we call constituents want. Even more imperative is we make sure they think there are serious, polarizing dividing issues between us and the Dems as we can't have people realizing we are all the same wolves in the same suits with different lapel pins and our only belief system is based on empowering ourselves. People can't find out we are all the same clueless douches, on both the right and left with no grand ideals, honor, or direction to take to make the nation whole because it's in our best interests to keep it divided over petty issues so they don't see the real enemy is in fact us"

Celebrity Politicians

Al Jenkins stood for mayor of Salt Lake City in 1939. Although he entered the mayoral race late, never spent a cent of his own money and never made a single speech, he won the election.

It may have been because he had a great car:

the mammoth Mormon Meteor III. Built on a 142-inch wheelbase with specially-made 22-inch Firestone tires, it used the same Curtis 12-cylinder airplane engine from the Mormon Meteor II. The car was nearly 21 feet long and was once again engineered by Augie Dusenberg. It was designed to run with two airplane engines, although only one was ever installed. It generated 750 hp at 2,000 rpm and its top speed was 275 mph. It was estimated that it could run at 400 mph with front and rear supercharged engines installed. It had a 112 gallon gas tank and got three and a half miles to the gallon at 200 mph.

Here's a prettier version of it:



Local American Politics

Washington, D.C., resident Nicole Pugh, arriving at her polling station in November with the sole intention of casting a vote for mayor, noticed a line on the ballot asking her choice for Advisory Neighborhood commissioner, even though no candidates were listed. On a lark and with no knowledge of the office, she wrote in her own name, and that evening was informed that she had been elected, 1-0, to an office that had been vacant, through apathy, for the previous 14 years. Though other Advisory Neighborhood Commission positions are contested and the candidates quite active, none is paid, and they work mostly via meetings.

Violent Protest Politics In America

The alternative is for one side to go on characterizing the other as heartlessly indifferent to women's rights and health, and the other to continue calling abortion murder and physicians like Tiller "baby killers." It is on this latter stream of argument that the heaviest responsibility rests. Over the years, no abortion-rights advocate has physically harmed an antiabortion partisan. Since 1973, antiabortion extremists have killed eight times.

Politics

TMZ is following Rule 4 of Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals": Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian Church can live up to Christianity.

Citizens Part 1

A new opportunity for citizenship arose after the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906, when all birth records for the state were destroyed. Suddenly Chinese men who were already in the U.S. could claim that they'd been born here. (This was important, because until 1943 it was against the law for Chinese to become naturalized citizens. So many men claimed U.S. citizenship this way that it was said for it to be true, every Chinese woman in California pre-1906 would have needed to have given birth to 600 sons.)

Citizens Part 2

This loophole was a boon, for it allowed Chinese men to return to China as U.S. citizens, report that their wives had given birth to a son there (a child born to a U.S. citizen abroad is automatically eligible to be a U.S. citizen) and receive a piece of paper creating a "paper son." This document could then be used by a real son or sold to a friend, neighbor, relative or total stranger. The paper sons adopted their new surnames, then came to the U.S. as citizens and lived with their new families as sons and brothers. Later, they were able to bring in wives and children and sometimes even bring in paper sons themselves.

Political Correctness

Problem with PC is its tenuous grip on common sense - starts out with good intent but rapidly becomes surreal eg kindy kids can't use potato stamps any more because Maori believe food is too important to be used as play thing

Political Correctness

Daily Telegraph reported that 45 officers from the Lancashire county police were assigned to help install speed indicator signs but only after being sent to a two-hour class that included safety instructions on climbing a three-foot ladder. Said a spokesman, "If we didn't do it, and people were falling off ladders, we would be criticized."

Political Correctness and Hiring

As Tim Harford, the economist, has put it: "American employers are like car insurance companies." The vast majority are sensible; they know that colour is skin-deep. Yet they also know that the legacy of two centuries of discrimination has left black people with a serious social handicap so that they are, on average, less qualified than white people. Ideally, employers would love to test each candidate individually for suitability, but they operate in a competitive market where time is money. So what do they do? In a hurry, they associate white skin with higher quality and ask more white people to attend inter views.

Political Correctness and Environmentalists

The truth is, environmentalists are just not attractive. They're not winning, engaging, amusing or empathetic. They are ranty, repetitive, patronising, demanding, deaf, weirdly bonkers and smelly. Environmentalists are the nutters with degrees in composting who sit next to you on the bus. But that's not their real impediment. The real killer thing is the schadenfreude: the naked, transparent, hand-rubbing glee with which they pass on every shame, sadness and terror. No disaster is too appalling or imminent that the green movement can't caper and keen with a messianic glee. Take George Monbiot, the Malvolio of the green movement, who, as I've pointed out before, would be a geography teacher if it weren't for the amazing good fortune of imminent apocalypse. Every week, he sifts the minute details of demise, like a jolly self-congratulatory Scrooge. Most of us would rather drown with the polar bears and Bangladesh than get in a lifeboat steered by Monbiot. This is a real problem. Or, rather, it's a serious blockage on the road to solving the real problem. Eco-advocates are viscerally unconscionable people. The enormous, vicarious pleasure they get from frightening folk makes them repellent, and they get all hurt when we don't thank them for it. Nobody wants to trust a future to a bunch of malcontents who plainly have so much of their self-worth and cachet invested in it all going to hell in a recycled handcart. This isn't merely a question of presentation, or marketing, or tone, or spin, this is serious cultural blindness and childish arrogance. Green campaigners are a larger part of the problem than jumbo jets and cow farts, and if your children drown or die of thirst or skin cancer, well, you can just blame George Monbiot for being so crawlingly unattractive (AA Gill)

Political Correctness and Environmentalists

Farming systems such as organic that seek to share land between crops and wildlife inflict greater damage on biodiversity than conventional approaches that maximise crop yields, a major study has revealed. Such 'land-sharing' methods typically deliver lower yields than intensive farming and they require much more land to produce the same amount of food, scientists at the University of Cambridge and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds found. This means that important wilderness habitats must be destroyed to create extra farmland, which easily outweighs any small benefits of making fields friendlier to wildlife. The research, conducted in Ghana and India, found that most species of birds and trees, common or rare, would have higher populations if farms were kept as small as possible and managed to produce maximum yields.

Political Correctness

Paulo Serodio said that in 2006, he told a professor and classmates that he was "white, African, American," which he says accurately reflects the fact that he was born in Mozambique but later became a U.S. citizen. He said some classmates and staff members at New Jersey Medical School found it offensive that a Caucasian man would call himself "African-American" and that the fallout led to harassment and eventually his suspension from the school. Serodio, who lives in Newark, said some school employees and students told him not to describe himself as "African-American." In the aftermath of his comments, Serodio said, flyers were hung around the school mocking him, he was assaulted and his car was vandalized.

Political Correctness

Ms. Courtney Mann, the head of the Philadelphia chapter of the white-supremacist National Association for the Advancement of White People, and who is a single mother who works as a tax preparer, was rebuffed in an attempt to join a Ku Klux Klan-sponsored march in Pittsburgh in April, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Though she has been in the NAAWP for at least four years, the Pennsylvania KKK Grand Dragon turned her down for the Klan march because Mann is black. "She wanted me to send transportation [to bring her to the rally]," said the Grand Dragon. "She wanted to stay at my house [during rally weekend]. She's all confused, man. I don't think she knows she's black."

Political Correctness

Britain's Local Governments Are Afraid of Everything: (1) The Bedfordshire and Luton Fire and Rescue Service issued rules recently requiring the use of long poles to test high-up fire alarms because letting the firefighters use stepladders might lead to injuries. (2) The South Kesteven District Council decided in May to no longer hoist the oversized Flag of St. George outside Bourne Town Hall on St. George's Day because of the "risk" involved in using an 8-foot ladder on a plinth above a spiked gate

Politicians

Politicians have time and energy to think up some great insults - Winston Peters "George Hawkins is living prove that any man with half a mind to become a minister can do so" and "There's a train leaving at 5pm. Be under it." But David Lange gave him back: "Winston is only MP to be named after a concrete block."

Politics

(an analysis of oratorical techniques used by a conservative American radio host) The seven propaganda devices include:
* Name calling -- giving something a bad label to make the audience reject it without examining the evidence;
* Glittering generalities -- the opposite of name calling;
* Card stacking -- the selective use of facts and half-truths;
* Bandwagon -- appeals to the desire, common to most of us, to follow the crowd;
* Plain folks -- an attempt to convince an audience that they, and their ideas, are "of the people";
* Transfer -- carries over the authority, sanction and prestige of something we respect or dispute to something the speaker would want us to accept; and
* Testimonials -- involving a respected (or disrespected) person endorsing or rejecting an idea or person.

Lighter Politics

It's time to take action. I'm going to buy a bumper sticker

Politics is an excellent career, unless you get caught

Israel a place of too much history and not enough geography

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Book Extracts on Politics