We recently visited Eastern Europe. In Berlin we saw the “Typography of Terror” exhibit, in Poland we toured the Auschwitz Death Camp and the new exhibit at the “Schindler’s List” factory, in Prague we viewed with sorrow the Jewish Museum collection that the Nazi’s forced Jewish religious leaders to assemble and curate as “a tribute to a vanished race” before sending most off to be murdered at Auschwitz. Continue reading
Public-sector austerity in one graph
Fifty little Herbert Hoovers — the fifty states — contribute to making this rescession go on. An Ezra Klein graph comparing state and local employment changes in this recession versus the last three.
A recent study of the speeches of US Congress members and Senators found that the typical level-of-difficulty in those speeches has dropped by more than a full grade level over the past seven years. (For the study results, click here.) The lowest grade levels were among the newer, more conservative members. Of interest to South Carolina District 5 voters, our new Representative John (Mick) Mulvaney had the lowest average reading level score of all 535 members – an average level of 8th grade (7.95 grade level). Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, the son of Presidential candidate Ron Paul (at 8.04), virtually tied the congressman.
An old saying among South Carolina educators – thank heavens for Mississippi. No matter the issue — test scores, teacher salaries, class size — Mississippi was always worst.
But the 2011 combined SAT scores (created by adding the math-reading-writing average for each state) show Mississippi at 1,660 points, South Carolina at 1,436 points and second from the bottom! Once again, a big fail!?? Below is a sample of eleven states. See the problem! (Click here for the original state-by-state data).
We spend 26 days in China during August-September 2010. Just enough to make us feel like experts without really becoming experts. This trip accounts for my pictures of the Shanghai “Pudong” Financial District in the blog header. We saw such tremendous growth and energy in Shanghai, Beijing, Xian, Chengdu, Wu Han and other cities we visited.
Karl Marx advanced the idea of “false consciousness” to explain why people may hold beliefs and behave in ways actually harmful to them. This general principle can be simplified by Upton Sinclair’s observation that ”it is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it.”