Nworbie writes: Some people on this blog are insufficiently aware of the superiority of Scottish culture over all others. So I offer this thread , in which a BBC Scotland reporter live tweets a libel trial in which Stuart Campbell, an SNP blogger (based in Bath, possibly the Englishest city in England) is suing Kezia Dugdale, a Labour politician, for libelling him.
Political scientists once believed that the hatred between different factions of the Scottish Labour party was, as it were the 10,000 Scoville Unit standard of political hatred. But since the rise of the SNP, these estimates have been revised. Not even the loathing of members of the Westminster parliament currently have for their own colleagues can compare with the hatred between the SNP and Labour. Both sides, of course, despise the Conservatives. Well, everyone hates *them*: for many years there was only one Conservative MP in the whole of Scotland, even when the country was governed by Conservatives in Westminster. That MP, David Mundell, came out as gay late in life and is now the only openly gay cabinet minister in London. The BBC suggests that he is known to his colleagues as "Fluffy". He has a son, Oliver Mundell, also a Scottish Conservative politician.
The supposed libel started when the SNP blogger expressed the wish that Mundell Sr had come out before fathering Mundell Jr - a novel twist on the Baby Hitler trope. Ms Dugdale, who is herself a lesbian, expressed in her newspaper column the view that this was homophobic. Mr Campbell sued her (not her paper) for defamation, claiming that to be called "homophobic" was a grave slur on his character.
Evidence was then called as the nature of Mr Campbell's blog:
Mr Dunlop [Dugdale's lawyer] reading previous tweets from Mr Campbell, including one making reference to "any sanctimonious wankhole" - "what is a wankhole?" Mr Campbell says it would be "a hole into which one might wank"
Heebie's take: I've got an atrocious head cold at the moment, and trying to read some of the scanned in pages made me feel like my head was exploding. But there is surrounding text which is in focus, so it's still worth reading.
Otherwise you might miss bits like:
Court now examining Mr Campbell's blog post about "becoming the squirrel" (after a brief discussion of what "squirrel" means in this context). He accepts, as the blog post notes, that he had said a "mean thing" about Oliver Mundell.
(It's also extremely extremely long but I don't know if you have to finish it.)
This is a neat little clip that shows the relative sizes of all the major cities since 1500. (It's hosted by FB, but you can watch without being logged in. I can't find a nonFB version, but I think this is the guy who made it.)
London really had quite a heyday, didn't it?
I wish Elon Musk weren't such a bozo, because I'd love to buy a car outside of the established channels. I recently sent an email to two dealerships, saying that I want to buy this car, let me know when you have it in stock. This is the easiest possible scenario for a sales organization. The customer has come to you, he wants to buy, he knows what he wants to buy, and he has shared all this information with you. Even if your company has provided you with no good tools, you can handle this with any free online calendar or todo list.
They both fucked it up. The first dealership spammed me regularly, then stopped communicating. The second started off promisingly, with an actual human telling me they'd let me know when it was in, but then sent me an email saying they hadn't heard from me in a while and they didn't want to spam me, so goodbye.
But, this is what they know and I know: it doesn't matter. I still have to buy from them.
I know Republicans are craven liars, but watching the lefties (actual lefties, not Democrats) I follow on Twitter gloat about how the collusion story has been exposed as nothing but scaremongering about Russia (and I don't even mean Greenwald!) has been something else. These people realize we haven't seen the report yet, right? And they know that the only summary we have is from a guy who got the job literally because he sent the White House a memo saying (I paraphrase) "I don't think the president can obstruct justice; you should totally hire me." And they know that a bunch of people have already been convicted of collusion-adjacent felonies, right? There are ten righteous people, and none of them are on Twitter.
All that said, AOC really is fantastic.
1. Pokey's friend lived two doors down. It's really nice when your kid can just step outside and play with other kids, without any arrangements from parents. Unfortunately, the boy and his single mother got evicted this past weekend, so they're moving away. It turns out that the landlord's kid is coming to college at Local State U, and so the landlord is going to let his kid live there, and so he evicted Pokey's friend and the mom.
Isn't that convenient for the landlord's son? That's so great that rich people have so much power and control over their lives.
2. Here is a handout from the local high school. The top is a little hard to read, but like it says, the bullet points will help clear up your questions. Especially the 5th bullet point.
Chris Y writes: Is this a good thing or a bad thing?
Grade inflation is bad, yes?
Government getting involved, not good either?
Is there any movement towards this sort of thing over there?
Professor Dame Janet Beer, president of Universities UK, said institutions were determined to tackle unexplained grade inflation, but warned against confusing grade inflation with student and teaching improvement.
Heebie's take: Hooboy. Here there are accreditation agencies instead of government agencies, which are frantically scrutinizing colleges and universities to prove their merit, avoid having their power usurped by the government, and maybe even protect students from predatory colleges, even though it's very easy to tell which colleges are predatory based on their for-profit status.
- Grade inflation is real.
- The only way to detect it is to have a standardized test.
- Then the test will be gamed and "when a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure", etc.
Sometimes there are good reasons for grade inflation. Should I be giving a Harvard-level difficulty class at Heebie U? Of course not. I should give a class that fits my students, where a hard-working, talented Heebie U kid can get an A, and a mediocre Heebie U kid can get a C.
Other times, there's a set canon and the difficulty can't really change, and if you get a group of highly talented students (or a high quality teacher) then larger numbers of students do deserve As.
Fortunately there is a simple answer: GPAs are overly important when you have too many people scrambling for too few opportunities. Decrease the importance of grades by fixing poverty and inequality. Grade inflation is a casualty of larger societal ills - it can't be solved in isolation, and it would resolve itself if we dealt with the real problems.
Mossy Co writes: Perhaps a new Brexit thread is in order? For a hook to hang it on, here's an article by some dude at the Guardian. I was intrigued by this:
England before Thatcher was not a meritocracy, but it was, perhaps, something like a Herrenvolk meritocracy: even if only the upper middle classes were allowed to run the country, competition within those classes was unremitting. They did not have the option of failing upwards.To what extent was this actually true? What mechanisms prevented upward failure, and why did they break down? The article cites essentially moral decay, which obviously is part of the story but I can't believe is all of it. Also interesting:
Warnock remembered social conversation as a kind of slalom run down icy slopes. Her own brother, she said, "made me familiar with the terror that I might not have understood what he said, or especially not have seen whether or in what way it was supposed to be funny".Though producing a useful quickness this behavior also enforces pecking orders, which can serve equally to promote genuine rigor (as implied here) or bullshit point-scoring; I was reminded of St Aubyn's Patrick Melrose novels, which make the sterility of such wit a major theme, whose subjects are Herrenvolk, and whose central father-son relationship exactly straddles the the Thatcher divide. Last, this book looks interesting.
Heebie's take: it is always safe to assume I need help with Brexit posts, or international posts in general.