October 2014 archive

TBC: Morning Musing 10.27.14

Well, I had drain issues so I spent most of my time on that, but I do have one article for y’all. It’s a long one, but it’s a good one.

Apocalypse Now: Seriously, It’s Time for a Major Rethink About Liberal and Progressive Politics

So I am sorry to share my deep-seated opinion, which should jibe with anyone who is paying attention. After decades of engagement in progressive politics and media, it is very clear to me: we progressives, liberals, common-sense people, are losing badly to the conservative business state, the tyranny of massively expanding tech companies, theocratic right-wing forces and pervasive militarism, home and abroad. By virtually every measure, things are getting worse. And things are trending much, much worse in ways we can easily measure, like inequality, climate, militarization of police forces, etc., and in ways that are more psychological and emotional.

No jumping today. Just one good read.

So how you doin’?  😀

On This Day In History October 27

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

October 27 is the 300th day of the year (301st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 65 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1904, the New York Subway opens.

While London boasts the world’s oldest underground train network (opened in 1863) and Boston built the first subway in the United States in 1897, the New York City subway soon became the largest American system. The first line, operated by the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT), traveled 9.1 miles through 28 stations. Running from City Hall in lower Manhattan to Grand Central Terminal in midtown, and then heading west along 42nd Street to Times Square, the line finished by zipping north, all the way to 145th Street and Broadway in Harlem. On opening day, Mayor McClellan so enjoyed his stint as engineer that he stayed at the controls all the way from City Hall to 103rd Street.

History

A demonstration for an underground transit system in New York City was first built by Alfred Ely Beach in 1869. His Beach Pneumatic Transit only extended 312 feet (95 m) under Broadway in Lower Manhattan and exhibited his idea for a subway propelled by pneumatic tube technology. The tunnel was never extended for political and financial reasons, although extensions had been planned to take the tunnel southward to The Battery and northwards towards the Harlem River. The Beach subway was demolished when the BMT Broadway Line was built in the 1910s; thus, it was not integrated into the New York City Subway system.

The first underground line of the subway opened on October 27, 1904, almost 35 years after the opening of the first elevated line in New York City, which became the Ninth Avenue Line. The heavy 1888 snowstorm helped to demonstrate the benefits of an underground transportation system. The oldest structure still in use opened in 1885 as part of the BMT Lexington Avenue Line, and is now part of the BMT Jamaica Line in Brooklyn. The oldest right-of-way, that of the BMT West End Line, was in use in 1863 as a steam railroad called the Brooklyn, Bath and Coney Island Rail Road. The Staten Island Railway, which opened in 1860, currently uses R44 subway cars, but it has no links to the rest of the system and is not usually considered part of the subway proper.

By the time the first subway opened, the lines had been consolidated into two privately owned systems, the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company (BRT, later Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation, BMT) and the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT). The city was closely involved: all lines built for the IRT and most other lines built or improved for the BRT after 1913 were built by the city and leased to the companies. The first line of the city-owned and operated Independent Subway System (IND) opened in 1932; this system was intended to compete with the private systems and allow some of the elevated railways to be torn down, but was kept within the core of the City due to the low amount of startup capital provided to the municipal Board Of Transportation, the later MTA, by the state.[3] This required it to be run ‘at cost’, necessitating fares up to double the five cent fare popular at the time.

In 1940, the two private systems were bought by the city; some elevated lines closed immediately, and others closed soon after. Integration was slow, but several connections were built between the IND and BMT, and now operate as one division called the B Division. Since the IRT tunnel segments are too small and stations too narrow to accommodate  B Division cars, and contain curves too sharp for B Division cars, the IRT remains its own division, A Division.

The New York City Transit Authority, a public authority presided by New York City, was created in 1953 to take over subway, bus, and streetcar operations from the city, and was placed under control of the state-level Metropolitan Transportation Authority in 1968.

In 1934, transit workers of the BRT, IRT, and IND founded the Transport Workers Union of America, organized as Local 100. Local 100 remains the largest and most influential local of the labor union. Since the union’s founding, there have been three union strikes. In 1966, transit workers went on strike for 12 days, and again in 1980 for 11 days. On December 20, 2005, transit workers again went on strike over disputes with MTA regarding salary, pensions, retirement age, and health insurance costs. That strike lasted just under three days.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning


The world’s waiting to be seized

Fucking Idiots!

The Masque of the Red Death

by Edgar Allan Poe

(published 1850)

The “Red Death” had long devastated the country. No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its Avator and its seal – the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution. The scarlet stains upon the body and especially upon the face of the victim, were the pest ban which shut him out from the aid and from the sympathy of his fellow-men. And the whole seizure, progress and termination of the disease, were the incidents of half an hour.

But the Prince Prospero was happy and dauntless and sagacious. When his dominions were half depopulated, he summoned to his presence a thousand hale and light-hearted friends from among the knights and dames of his court, and with these retired to the deep seclusion of one of his castellated abbeys. This was an extensive and magnificent structure, the creation of the prince’s own eccentric yet august taste. A strong and lofty wall girdled it in. This wall had gates of iron. The courtiers, having entered, brought furnaces and massy hammers and welded the bolts. They resolved to leave means neither of ingress or egress to the sudden impulses of despair or of frenzy from within. The abbey was amply provisioned. With such precautions the courtiers might bid defiance to contagion. The external world could take care of itself. In the meantime it was folly to grieve, or to think. The prince had provided all the appliances of pleasure. There were buffoons, there were improvisatori, there were ballet-dancers, there were musicians, there was Beauty, there was wine. All these and security were within. Without was the “Red Death.”

It was toward the close of the fifth or sixth month of his seclusion, and while the pestilence raged most furiously abroad, that the Prince Prospero entertained his thousand friends at a masked ball of the most unusual magnificence.

It was a voluptuous scene, that masquerade. But first let me tell of the rooms in which it was held. There were seven – an imperial suite. In many palaces, however, such suites form a long and straight vista, while the folding doors slide back nearly to the walls on either hand, so that the view of the whole extent is scarcely impeded. Here the case was very different; as might have been expected from the duke’s love of the bizarre. The apartments were so irregularly disposed that the vision embraced but little more than one at a time. There was a sharp turn at every twenty or thirty yards, and at each turn a novel effect. To the right and left, in the middle of each wall, a tall and narrow Gothic window looked out upon a closed corridor which pursued the windings of the suite. These windows were of stained glass whose color varied in accordance with the prevailing hue of the decorations of the chamber into which it opened. That at the eastern extremity was hung, for example, in blue – and vividly blue were its windows. The second chamber was purple in its ornaments and tapestries, and here the panes were purple. The third was green throughout, and so were the casements. The fourth was furnished and lighted with orange – the fifth with white – the sixth with violet. The seventh apartment was closely shrouded in black velvet tapestries that hung all over the ceiling and down the walls, falling in heavy folds upon a carpet of the same material and hue. But in this chamber only, the color of the windows failed to correspond with the decorations. The panes here were scarlet – a deep blood color. Now in no one of the seven apartments was there any lamp or candelabrum, amid the profusion of golden ornaments that lay scattered to and fro or depended from the roof. There was no light of any kind emanating from lamp or candle within the suite of chambers. But in the corridors that followed the suite, there stood, opposite to each window, a heavy tripod, bearing a brazier of fire, that projected its rays through the tinted glass and so glaringly illumined the room. And thus were produced a multitude of gaudy and fantastic appearances. But in the western or black chamber the effect of the fire-light that streamed upon the dark hangings through the blood-tinted panes, was ghastly in the extreme, and produced so wild a look upon the countenances of those who entered, that there were few of the company bold enough to set foot within its precincts at all.

It was in this apartment, also, that there stood against the western wall, a gigantic clock of ebony. Its pendulum swung to and fro with a dull, heavy, monotonous clang; and when the minute-hand made the circuit of the face, and the hour was to be stricken, there came from the brazen lungs of the clock a sound which was clear and loud and deep and exceedingly musical, but of so peculiar a note and emphasis that, at each lapse of an hour, the musicians of the orchestra were constrained to pause, momentarily, in their performance, to harken to the sound; and thus the waltzers perforce ceased their evolutions; and there was a brief disconcert of the whole gay company; and, while the chimes of the clock yet rang, it was observed that the giddiest grew pale, and the more aged and sedate passed their hands over their brows as if in confused revery or meditation. But when the echoes had fully ceased, a light laughter at once pervaded the assembly; the musicians looked at each other and smiled as if at their own nervousness and folly, and made whispering vows, each to the other, that the next chiming of the clock should produce in them no similar emotion; and then, after the lapse of sixty minutes, (which embrace three thousand and six hundred seconds of the Time that flies,) there came yet another chiming of the clock, and then were the same disconcert and tremulousness and meditation as before.

But, in spite of these things, it was a gay and magnificent revel. The tastes of the duke were peculiar. He had a fine eye for colors and effects. He disregarded the decora of mere fashion. His plans were bold and fiery, and his conceptions glowed with barbaric lustre. There are some who would have thought him mad. His followers felt that he was not. It was necessary to hear and see and touch him to be sure that he was not.

He had directed, in great part, the moveable embellishments of the seven chambers, upon occasion of this great fete; and it was his own guiding taste which had given character to the masqueraders. Be sure they were grotesque. There were much glare and glitter and piquancy and phantasm – much of what has been since seen in “Hernani.” There were arabesque figures with unsuited limbs and appointments. There were delirious fancies such as the madman fashions. There were much of the beautiful, much of the wanton, much of the bizarre, something of the terrible, and not a little of that which might have excited disgust. To and fro in the seven chambers there stalked, in fact, a multitude of dreams. And these – the dreams – writhed in and about, taking hue from the rooms, and causing the wild music of the orchestra to seem as the echo of their steps. And, anon, there strikes the ebony clock which stands in the hall of the velvet. And then, for a moment, all is still, and all is silent save the voice of the clock. The dreams are stiff-frozen as they stand. But the echoes of the chime die away – they have endured but an instant – and a light, half-subdued laughter floats after them as they depart. And now again the music swells, and the dreams live, and writhe to and fro more merrily than ever, taking hue from the many tinted windows through which stream the rays from the tripods. But to the chamber which lies most westwardly of the seven, there are now none of the maskers who venture; for the night is waning away; and there flows a ruddier light through the blood-colored panes; and the blackness of the sable drapery appals; and to him whose foot falls upon the sable carpet, there comes from the near clock of ebony a muffled peal more solemnly emphatic than any which reaches their ears who indulge in the more remote gaieties of the other apartments.

But these other apartments were densely crowded, and in them beat feverishly the heart of life. And the revel went whirlingly on, until at length there commenced the sounding of midnight upon the clock. And then the music ceased, as I have told; and the evolutions of the waltzers were quieted; and there was an uneasy cessation of all things as before. But now there were twelve strokes to be sounded by the bell of the clock; and thus it happened, perhaps that more of thought crept, with more of time, into the meditations of the thoughtful among those who revelled. And thus too, it happened, perhaps, that before the last echoes of the last chime had utterly sunk into silence, there were many individuals in the crowd who had found leisure to become aware of the presence of a masked figure which had arrested the attention of no single individual before. And the rumor of this new presence having spread itself whisperingly around, there arose at length from the whole company a buzz, or murmur, expressive of disapprobation and surprise – then, finally, of terror, of horror, and of disgust.

In an assembly of phantasms such as I have painted, it may well be supposed that no ordinary appearance could have excited such sensation. In truth the masquerade license of the night was nearly unlimited; but the figure in question had out-Heroded Herod, and gone beyond the bounds of even the prince’s indefinite decorum. There are chords in the hearts of the most reckless which cannot be touched without emotion. Even with the utterly lost, to whom life and death are equally jests, there are matters of which no jest can be made. The whole company, indeed, seemed now deeply to feel that in the costume and bearing of the stranger neither wit nor propriety existed. The figure was tall and gaunt, and shrouded from head to foot in the habiliments of the grave. The mask which concealed the visage was made so nearly to resemble the countenance of a stiffened corpse that the closest scrutiny must have had difficulty in detecting the cheat. And yet all this might have been endured, if not approved, by the mad revellers around. But the mummer had gone so far as to assume the type of the Red Death. His vesture was dabbled in blood – and his broad brow, with all the features of the face, was besprinkled with the scarlet horror.

When the eyes of Prince Prospero fell upon this spectral image (which with a slow and solemn movement, as if more fully to sustain its role, stalked to and fro among the waltzers) he was seen to be convulsed, in the first moment with a strong shudder either of terror or distaste; but, in the next, his brow reddened with rage.

“Who dares?” he demanded hoarsely of the courtiers who stood near him – “who dares insult us with this blasphemous mockery? Seize him and unmask him – that we may know whom we have to hang at sunrise, from the battlements!”

It was in the eastern or blue chamber in which stood the Prince Prospero as he uttered these words. They rang throughout the seven rooms loudly and clearly – for the prince was a bold and robust man, and the music had become hushed at the waving of his hand.

It was in the blue room where stood the prince, with a group of pale courtiers by his side. At first, as he spoke, there was a slight rushing movement of this group in the direction of the intruder, who, at the moment was also near at hand, and now, with deliberate and stately step, made closer approach to the speaker. But from a certain nameless awe with which the mad assumptions of the mummer had inspired the whole party, there were found none who put forth hand to seize him; so that, unimpeded, he passed within a yard of the prince’s person; and, while the vast assembly, as if with one impulse, shrank from the centres of the rooms to the walls, he made his way uninterruptedly, but with the same solemn and measured step which had distinguished him from the first, through the blue chamber to the purple – through the purple to the green – through the green to the orange – through this again to the white – and even thence to the violet, ere a decided movement had been made to arrest him. It was then, however, that the Prince Prospero, maddening with rage and the shame of his own momentary cowardice, rushed hurriedly through the six chambers, while none followed him on account of a deadly terror that had seized upon all. He bore aloft a drawn dagger, and had approached, in rapid impetuosity, to within three or four feet of the retreating figure, when the latter, having attained the extremity of the velvet apartment, turned suddenly and confronted his pursuer. There was a sharp cry – and the dagger dropped gleaming upon the sable carpet, upon which, instantly afterwards, fell prostrate in death the Prince Prospero. Then, summoning the wild courage of despair, a throng of the revellers at once threw themselves into the black apartment, and, seizing the mummer, whose tall figure stood erect and motionless within the shadow of the ebony clock, gasped in unutterable horror at finding the grave cerements and corpse-like mask which they handled with so violent a rudeness, untenanted by any tangible form.

And now was acknowledged the presence of the Red Death. He had come like a thief in the night. And one by one dropped the revellers in the blood-bedewed halls of their revel, and died each in the despairing posture of his fall. And the life of the ebony clock went out with that of the last of the gay. And the flames of the tripods expired. And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all.

Late Night Karaoke

2014 World Series Game 5: Royals at Giants

Bumgarner and Shields.  Well, I think we all know how this one plays out, don’t we?  I’m not unsympathetic to the Royals, they are victims of an organization and set of rules that disadvantages them.  And I’ve got waaay more respect for Yost than Bochy who is terrible.

So the Giants are will leave San Francisco up 3 – 2 and the Royals will have to sweep in Kansas City and that’s just the way it is.

Last night was an enjoyable blow out if you’re a Giants fan, an ordeal if you root for Blue.

Bottom 1st, Leadoff Walk, Wild Pitch, Steal, RBI Force.  Giants 1 – 0.

Top 3rd, 1 Out Single, Force, 2 Down, Steal, RBI Single, Walk, RBI Single, 2 RBI Single.  Royals 4 – 1.

Bottom 3rd, Leadoff Single, Sacrifice, RBI Single.  Royals 4 – 2

Bottom 5th, Leadoff Double, Sacrifice, RBI Single, Single, At The Corners, Walk, RBI Sacrifice, KO.  Tied at 4.

Bottom 6th, Leadoff Single, Single, Sacrifice, 2nd and 3rd, Walk, Force at the Plate, 2 RBI Single, RBI Single.  Giants 7 – 4.

Bottom 7th, Leadoff Single, Walk, Double Switch, RBI Single with Error, 2 RBI Double, RBI Double.  Giants 11 – 4.

Game Over Dude.

Starting tonight for the Giants is Madison Bumgarner (L, 18 – 10, ERA 2.98).  Post Season he is 3 – 1, ERA 1.40 based on 38.2 Innings Pitched with 22 hits, 3 Home Runs, 7 Runs Scored.

He will be matched for the Royals by James Shields (R, 14 – 8, ERA 3.21).  Post Season he is 1 – 1, ERA 7.11 based on 19 Innings Pitched with 28 Hits, 4 Home Runs, 15 Runs Scored.

I would have pitched Bumgarner last night so he would have been available in Game 6 and I sure as hell would have benched Vogelsong sooner.  As it is we shall leave Baghdad by the Bay with the Giant’s requiring but 1 victory.

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: 101 reasons to love academic ebola by Annieli

It’s an old book, but I was in my local thrift store yesterday and among the other RW books on sale for $1.99, I saw this one and was reminded that I ignored it when it came out but was also reminded that I had a college classmate who edits this line of conservative books, which always seemed odd for someone who had a BMW in college and lived on the upper east side of Manhattan. And having met a couple of the 101 if only as casually as PBO has met Bill Ayers, it continues to baffle me that the false consciousness of the US RW, cannot see education or Liberalism in its classic sense of the Trivium and Quadrivium, rather than reinforcing existing status and class warfare in the basic college curriculum and its prerequisites. The modern college/university is seen by the RW as Educational Ebola, where sharing the tropes of bodily fluids with liberal professors reifies the hypodermic needle model of (banking-style) education where liberal cooties stays with one without the inoculation of RW talk radio and its pastiche of higher education – for example its offering the scholarly heraldry of Photoshop…

The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America is a 2006 book by conservative American author and policy advocate David Horowitz….

Following the Ward Churchill September 11 attacks essay controversy, Horowitz argued that there were many “careers like Ward Churchill’s”. He wrote that “Not all of the professors depicted in this volume hold views as extreme as Ward Churchill’s, but a disturbing number do” and “it would have been no problem to provide a thousand such profiles or even ten times the number.”

The review in the industry news digest Publishers Weekly stated that Horowitz’s “intention to expose the majority of these professors as ‘dangerous’ and undeserving of their coveted positions seems petty in some cases, as when he smugly mocks the proliferation of departments dedicated to peace studies or considers ‘anti-war activist’ as a character flaw… the most egregious crimes perpetrated by the majority of these academics is that their politics don’t mesh with Horowitz’s.

Fortunately there are critiques of Horowitz’s work even as it has become a reactionary cottage industry and without indulging his biography truth does will out, although it is curious that Michael Savage and David Horowitz are never seen at the same time:

http://cdn.publicinterestnetwo…

Nonetheless, there is a spectre haunting Academe, and the reality is that a majority of US college faculty are actually more conservative or grudgingly centrist – in departments that are in the aggregate, predominantly white, male, and decidedly reactionary considering the trend toward more mechanical, menu-driven college degree requirements and attacks on core-curricula / general education requirements. Some of the evil 101 Horowitz cites are retired or passed on so the Pantheon in the eight years has declined since the book emerged yet still supports in spirit the stupidity of RW radio. More interesting is that the democratization of public education not unlike the democratization of suffrage threatens political discourse such that the Kochs through Koch Industries now sponsor a significant number of college sporting events (ESPN College Game Day and The Pac-12 Network) and television channels in their continuing effort to reprivatize it, just as Accuracy in Academia concurrently attacks MOOCs while promoting online efforts to leverage more false consciousness.

Welcome to Conservative University! CU is a project of Accuracy in Academia and will offer free online courses promoting conservative principles. The courses will primarily be geared towards college students, but are open to all lovers of liberty and free speech!

Each course will be taught by expert faculty, will offer continued education resources, class summaries, and an optional brief quiz to test your ascertained knowledge about the class topic.

Thank you for visiting! To see our first course trailer, click here. (“Sex, Lies & Women’s Studies”)

Ultimately, as Activity theory, going to college doesn’t even make one liberal,

Conservatives have been criticizing academia for many decades. Yet only once the McCarthy era passed did this criticism begin to be cast primarily in anti-elitist tones: charges of Communist subversion gave way to charges of liberal elitism in the writings of William F. Buckley Jr. and others. The idea that professors are snobs looking down their noses at ordinary Americans, trying to push the country in directions it does not wish to go, soon became an established conservative trope, taking its place alongside criticism of the liberal press and the liberal judiciary.

The main reason for this development is that attacking liberal professors as elitists serves a vital purpose. It helps position the conservative movement as a populist enterprise by identifying a predatory elite to which conservatism stands opposed – an otherwise difficult task for a movement strongly backed by holders of economic power.

Even if Galileo was a dangerous academic, one can use the global warming denialist movement as yet another example of the less-than-palpable effect of scholarly rationality on public policy in a world that still believes the planet to be only 6000 years old.

The FSFG supports organizations like Accuracy in Academia, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, the National Association of Scholars, the Madison Center for Educational Affairs (their “Collegiate Network” links over 70 student newspapers), the Institute for Educational Affairs and others. These organizations work to transform academia toward the right’s ideological agenda.

The Meritorious Morons in our Midst

I want to make it clear yet again that when I use the word “moron” I mostly mean it in a clinical sense.  An Intellegence Quotient of 100 is simply the average “intellegence” (whatever that measures) of an 18 year old population (which is an arbitrary point at which the brain was considered fully developed by those who designed the standard) and most people cluster around that point, some higher, some lower, and it’s not any more unusual to have a mental age of 14 and a half (an IQ of 80) than it is to have a mental age of 21 and a half (an IQ of 120, we generally call these people “geniuses” though again, what does that measure?).

It is not particularly “meritorious” to be a “genius”.  I’d call it a freak of genetics and mostly a curse but then again I test on the high side of ability to take standardized tests whether I know a damn thing about the subject or not (I do know how to design tests, what answers the tester is looking for even if they are wrong, and absolutely no compunction at all about using the rules to my advantage).

There are people who operate under the illusion though, that merely because “they’re stronger, or meaner, that they can push you around.  I’ve seen a lot of that.  But it’s only true if you let it be.”

This is the logic of Calvinist Predestination– only a certain number of the elect can make it to heaven (pie in the sky, by and by, by and by).  The Lord your God knows you from the womb, every aspiration (it has two meanings, look it up) every act and inaction.  His judgment is made.

What then is a poor mundane to do?  There is only fate, free will a dangerous delusion.

Why, look for signs of God’s favor here in the temporal world.

Are you prosperous?  Well surely that is a sign of your virtuous nature and moral superiority.  And the more prosperous you are the more surely you are among the blessed who will sit at the feet…

Of Mammon.

Not that I believe in any of this crap at all, but didn’t Jesus minister to the poor and overturn the tables of the money changers in the Temple?

Matthew 25:40-

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

And yet we have this persistent myth that wit and perseverance prevail in our great and glorious dream world ignoring the harsh reality that guile, greed, and inbred accidents of birth result in a life of privilege far beyond actual abilities.

The Unattainable Illusion of Meritocracy

by Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism

October 26, 2014

Repeat after me: in complex societies and organizations, merit is a complete illusion. We nevertheless pretend to achieve that for reasons of institutional legitimacy, and also, to the extent we can generally steer people who are fitter on some key axes towards more important or resource-intenisve activities, for reasons of efficiency. Note that this view is also likely to be more satisfying for individuals, since it will encourage those who may be less capable in certain ways that are considered important (intelligence, social skills, empathy) to apply themselves to do better in those areas. So motivated but less “talented” people have an avenue for their energies (il faut imaginer Sisyphe heureux…).

But let’s not kid ourselves that an idea that has all sort of upside as aspiration and ideology actually works.



So what exactly is talent? Educated people like to think of it as intelligence, and that intelligence will be reflected in better educational attainment. But education in America has a lot of credentialing and is mixed in terms of substance (there’s a very strong argument to be made for the educational system that Bonaparte implemented in France, which has sadly decayed beyond recognition, where it made a systematic effort to find smart kids, no matter how poor their background, and track them so that they had as much opportunity to get into the Grandes Ecoles as children who grew up with highly educated parents. Bonaparte is arguably the father of meritocracy as a paramount organizational principle, and that meant uniform delivery of educational “product” throughout French schools. The same lesson would be taught to all fourth graders at 3:00 PM on a particular day all across the country). And “intelligence” is not all of a muchness; it has numerous components that are not well understood or analyzed (testing makes a stab at that on assessing verbal versus mathematical skills). And that’s before you get to the importance of social skills and emotional intelligence. James Heckman stresses the importance of socialization, that students who get GEDs (they pass a test that demonstrates they have mastered the material needed to get a high school degree) do markedly less well than students who complete high school.

The Last Perspiration of Crist

Adapted frpm Rant of the Week at The Stars Hollow Gazette

Democalypse 2014 – The Last Perspiration of Crist

Florida’s gubernatorial race heats up as Governor Rick Scott shows up late to a debate where Democratic candidate Charlie Crist is using a fan to strategically cool his balls

Fan Delays Florida Debate, and Mocking Circulates Online

By Lizette Alvarez, The New York Times

Clinging to caricature, Florida has once again stumbled into political farce. This time by way of a fan, a small black Vornado Air Circulator tucked discreetly – some said improperly – beneath former Gov. Charlie Crist’s lectern during Wednesday’s high-stakes governor’s race debate.

The fan delayed Gov. Rick Scott from taking the stage for seven minutes, in protest of an apparent rule violation. And it led to an almost immediate flurry of social media lampooning, helped along by Mr. Crist who asked, “Are we really going to debate a fan?” [..]

By Thursday, #Fangate, as it was christened on Twitter, had devolved into a predictable campaign montage of finger-pointing, backpedaling, face-saving and, finally, money-raising. That’s because the fan kerfuffle, while seemingly trivial, breezed into the middle of a neck-and-neck race between Mr. Scott and Mr. Crist.

Cartnoon

On This Day In History October 26

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

October 26 is the 299th day of the year (300th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 66 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1881, the Earp brothers face off against the Clanton-McLaury gang in a legendary shootout at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona.

On the morning of October 25, Ike Clanton and Tom McLaury came into Tombstone for supplies. Over the next 24 hours, the two men had several violent run-ins with the Earps and their friend Doc Holliday. Around 1:30 p.m. on October 26, Ike’s brother Billy rode into town to join them, along with Frank McLaury and Billy Claiborne. The first person they met in the local saloon was Holliday, who was delighted to inform them that their brothers had both been pistol-whipped by the Earps. Frank and Billy immediately left the saloon, vowing revenge.

Around 3 p.m., the Earps and Holliday spotted the five members of the Clanton-McLaury gang in a vacant lot behind the OK Corral, at the end of Fremont Street. The famous gunfight that ensued lasted all of 30 seconds, and around 30 shots were fired. Though it’s still debated who fired the first shot, most reports say that the shootout began when Virgil Earp pulled out his revolver and shot Billy Clanton point-blank in the chest, while Doc Holliday fired a shotgun blast at Tom McLaury’s chest. Though Wyatt Earp wounded Frank McLaury with a shot in the stomach, Frank managed to get off a few shots before collapsing, as did Billy Clanton. When the dust cleared, Billy Clanton and the McLaury brothers were dead, and Virgil and Morgan Earp and Doc Holliday were wounded. Ike Clanton and Claiborne had run for the hills.

Aftermath

The funerals for Clanton and the McLaurys (who were relatively wealthy men) were the largest ever seen in Tombstone, drawing over 2,000 people. The fear of the Cowboys caused many Tombstone residents and businesses to reconsider their calls for the mass killing of Cowboys. Although rowdy, the Cowboys brought substantial business into Tombstone.

The fear of Cowboy retribution and the potential loss of investors because of the negative publicity in large cities such as San Francisco started to turn the opinion somewhat against the Earps and Holliday. Stories that Ike Clanton and Tom McLaury were unarmed, and that Billy Clanton and Tom McLaury even threw up their hands before the shooting, now began to make the rounds. Soon, another Clanton brother (Phineas “Fin” Clanton) had arrived in town, and some began to claim that the Earps and Holliday had committed murder, instead of enforcing the law.

The Spicer hearing

After the gunfight, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday (the two men not formally employed as law officers, and the two least wounded) were charged with murder. After extensive testimony at the preliminary hearing to decide if there was enough evidence to bind the men over for trial, the presiding Justice of the Peace Wells Spicer ruled that there was not enough evidence to indict the men. Two weeks later, a grand jury followed Spicer’s finding, and also refused to indict. Spicer, in his ruling, criticized City Marshal Virgil Earp for using Wyatt and Doc as backup temporary deputies, but not for using Morgan, who had already been wearing a City Marshal badge for nine days. However, it was noted that if Wyatt and Holliday had not backed up Marshal Earp, then he would have faced even more overwhelming odds than he had, and could not possibly have survived.

The participants in later history

A few weeks following the grand jury refusal to indict, Virgil Earp was shot by hidden assailants from an unused building at night – a wound causing him complete loss of the use of his left arm. Three months later Morgan Earp was murdered by a shot in the back in Tombstone by men shooting from a dark alley.

After these incidents, Wyatt, accompanied by Doc Holliday and several other friends, undertook what has later been called the Earp vendetta ride in which they tracked down and killed the men whom they believed had been responsible for these acts. After the vendetta ride, Wyatt and Doc left the Arizona Territory in April, 1882 and parted company, although they remained in contact.

Billy Claiborne was killed in a gunfight in Tombstone in late 1882, by gunman Franklin Leslie.

Ike Clanton was caught cattle rustling in 1887, and shot dead by lawmen while resisting arrest.

Later in 1887, just over six years from the time of the O.K. fight, Doc Holliday died of tuberculosis in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, aged 36.

Virgil Earp served as the “Town Marshal,” hired by the Southern Pacific RR, in Colton, California. He lived without the use of his arm, although continued as a lawman in California, and died of pneumonia at age 62 in 1905, still on the job as a peace officer.

Johnny Behan failed even to be re-nominated by his own party for the sheriff race in 1882, and never again worked as a lawman, spending the rest of his life at various government jobs, dying in Tucson of natural causes at age 67 in 1912.

Wyatt Earp, the last survivor of the fight, traveled across the western frontier for decades in the company of Josephine Marcus, working mostly as a gambler, and eventually died in Los Angeles of infection, in 1929, at the age of 80.

A legacy of questions

The issue of fault at the O.K. Corral shooting has been hotly debated over the years. To this day, Pro-Earp followers view the gunfight as a struggle between “Law-and-order” against out-of-control Cowboys; Pro-Clanton/McLaury followers view it as a political vendetta and abuse of authority.

A recent attempt to reinvestigate part of the matter aired on an episode of Discovery Channel’s Unsolved History using modern technology to re-enact the shotgun shooting which was part of the incident. However, the re-enactment did not use 19th century period technology (a late 19th century shotgun messenger type short shotgun, brass cases, black powder). The episode concluded that Doc Holliday may have triggered the fight by cocking both barrels of his shotgun, but was likely not the first shooter.

In April 2010, original transcripts of witness statements were rediscovered in Bisbee, Arizona, and are currently being preserved and digitized. Photocopies of these documents have been available to researchers since 1960, and new scans of them will be made available for public viewing online.

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Ebola outbreak: US nurse criticises quarantine treatment

26 October 2014 Last updated at 00:31

BBC

A nurse quarantined on her return to the US from treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone has criticised the way she was dealt with at Newark airport.

Kaci Hickox said the experience was frightening and could deter other health workers from travelling to West Africa to help tackle the Ebola virus.

Illinois has become the third state after New York and New Jersey to impose stricter quarantine rules.

Meanwhile the US ambassador to the United Nations is to visit West Africa.

Samantha Power will travel to Guinea on Sunday, continuing later to Liberia and Sierra Leone – the three worst-hit countries.




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