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Archive for January, 2010

Progressive Party Platforms

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

Here is the Party Platform of 1912 and here is the Party Platform of 1924

Lecture: The Progressive Era

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

Here are my class lecture notes which detail the domestic arena of the Progressive Era.

Google Exits China

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

A note from Google:

Like many other well-known organizations, we face cyber attacks of varying degrees on a regular basis. In mid-December, we detected a highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China that resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google. However, it soon became clear that what at first appeared to be solely a security incident–albeit a significant one–was something quite different.

No more google.cn

Farhad Manjoo from Slate weighs in

On the eve of Hillary Clinton’s speech in response to Google’s decision, Atlantic correspondent and New America board member James Fallows moderated a discussion involving Open Society Institute fellow Rebecca MacKinnon, Foreign Policy contributing editor Evgeny Morozov, Columbia Law School professor and Slate contributor Tim Wu, and Clinton’s senior adviser for innovation, Alec Ross.  Watch this lively panel debate.

Nigerian Oil Protests at Peace, Still Much Work to be Done

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

As militants lay down their arms in the Niger Delta, the battle is on to tackle Nigeria’s other massive ills…

Over the past three months the militants have been giving up both themselves and their guns in unprecedented numbers. The federal government has promised them an unconditional pardon for past crimes, a small stipend to live on and the promise of retraining in order to “reintegrate” into society.

Special Briefing from the Economist

Local Politics and Nuclear Power in the UK

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

BRITAIN, and especially England, is occasionally compared to North Korea (only half-jokingly) as one of the most heavily centralised states in the world. Whitehall bureaucrats micromanage schools and hospitals; local government is dependent on the Treasury for most of its funding. But one bastion of local power has for years stood apart from the trend towards central control: planning, the process by which building projects are granted or denied permission to proceed. Objections from stubborn locals can derail or delay everything from small wind farms and shopping centres to huge projects of national importance. The most notorious example is probably Heathrow airport’s fifth terminal, which languished in the planning system for year upon year before eventually being approved in 2001.

On November 9th all that seemed set to change, as Ed Miliband, the energy and climate-change secretary, delivered the first of the government’s “National Policy Statements” on infrastructure. These will inform the work of the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC), an independent body set up last month. Led by Sir Michael Pitt, a veteran planner and local-authority boss, it will take over responsibility for planning nationally important projects from March 2010. Decisions that used to take years will, in theory, take just months or even weeks, with public involvement drastically curtailed.

Read on here

Salmond, SNP and Bluffing

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

TO JUDGE from the awe with which he is regarded by his rivals, Alex Salmond, Scotland’s first minister and leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) is a politician of wizard-like cunning. Look, they say, at the scandal over the release of the Lockerbie bomber. Saltires were waved in Tripoli and brickbats hurled from Washington; yet, even as he insisted the decision was Scotland’s alone, Mr Salmond contrived to deflect much of the blame onto Gordon Brown. Their deep fear is that Mr Salmond will conjure Scotland into independence.

Read on from Bagehot

This is a rick editorial that dances across many of our APCG themes.

China’s state-owned enterprises: Nationalisation rides again

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

Do state firms have too much power? case in Hebei stirs debate

Lectures: The Politics of the Gilded Age

Saturday, January 9th, 2010

After the calamity of the Civil War, the United States was a nation in transition– from a rural to an urban society, from the fourth among the industrial nations of the world to the first. While many Americans welcomed the changes as progress to a new era, others worked twelve hours a day, seven days a week to earn a salary that was insufficient to feed, clothe, and house their families.  The term “The Gilded Age” comes from a novel of the same name published in 1873 by Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner, which, though fictional, is a critical examination of politics and corruption in the United States during the nineteenth century.

Perhaps we shall call it the “Era of Good Stealings”

Lecture The Gilded Age and Politics of Corruption

Inventions, RxR and Business Methods in the Gilded Age

Steven Pinker on the Language of Swearing (TED)

Friday, January 8th, 2010

Pinker’s deep studies of language have led him to insights into the way that humans form thoughts and engage our world. He argues that humans have evolved to share a faculty for language, the same way a spider evolved to spin a web.

In 2003, Harvard recruited Pinker for its psychology department from MIT. Time magazine named Pinker one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2004.

Watch this video (there are 2 parts, 10 minutes each…here is part two) take notes and respond to these questions:

  • Describe our physiological reaction to swears
  • List the five “Contents of Swears” and explain the emotions that these types of words elicit
  • What are the five reasons that people swear? Are any of these reasons unreasonable? Are there other reasons?
  • Why do we need dysphemisms? What are the functions and dysfunctions of dysphemisms?
  • What are the functions of idiomatic swearing?
  • How and why are swears culturally specific?
  • In conclusion, why do we swear? Oh, and why do authorities try to cease our swearing?

Malcolm Gladwell on spaghetti sauce (TED)

Friday, January 8th, 2010

In this video, Tipping Point author Malcolm Gladwell gets inside the food industry’s pursuit of the perfect spaghetti sauce — and makes a larger argument about the nature of choice and happiness.

  • Why is Moskowitz’s assertion “enormously” important?
  • What does the Grey Poupon story suggest?
  • How does Moskowitz battle with Plato?  (hint: absolutism)
  • What conclusion does Gladwell draw from his studies of Moskowitz? To what extent and in what ways do you agree with Gladwell’s conclusion?

BTW, here is Gladwell on The Ketchup Conundrum from the New Yorker. Awesome.