Gorgeous George, how are ya

by Daniel on May 7, 2005

A few thoughts on Galloway’s victory in Bethnal Green & Bow, below the fold. More detailed psephological analysis, including how me and Martin Baxter got it so wrong[1] tomorrow, but somehow the BG&B result seemed more important to me than the rest of the election.

[1]Yes yes yes and how the betting markets got it so right, are you bloody happy now James.
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The Wreck of Modell Deutschland?

by Henry on May 7, 2005

The _Economist_ does its little bit to try to shut down the “Capitalism debate” that’s starting to happen in Germany. Franz Müntefering, who’s chairman of the German Social Democratic Party, has compared certain financial firms to ““swarms of locusts that fall on companies, stripping them bare before moving on,” and the _Economist_ plays the Nazi card.

THE metaphor of the swarm of locusts devouring all in its path is as old as the Bible. But when politicians, particularly German ones, use it today to attack groups whose behaviour they don’t like, it is hard not to be reminded of Nazi propaganda against “social parasites” and “blowflies”. Such comparisons, even though they are by no means signs of anti-Semitic thinking, are especially regrettable when uttered so close to the anniversary of the end of the second world war.

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Science is not a Courtroom

by Kieran Healy on May 7, 2005

PZ Myers has a “useful roundup”:http://pharyngula.org/index/weblog/comments/heres_where_to_find_out_whats_going_on_in_kansas/ of the current round of “hearings” on evolution “that are going on”:http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/05/education/06cnd-evolution.html in Topkea, Kansas. He also points to “Red State Rabble”:http://redstaterabble.blogspot.com/, where you’ll find on-the-spot reports. The usual Creationist/ID guff is in full flower. The funniest sideshow is the appearance (at local taxpayer’s expense) of Mustafa Akyol, “an Islamic ID proponent from Turkey”:http://www.pitch.com/issues/2005-05-05/news/feature_1.html and all-round scheming pain in the neck. As a sociologist, these fights for footing in the public sphere and for control over things like the school curriculum are interesting for all kinds of reasons — knowledge, power, rationality, all that stuff. But personally I just find them depressing. The most annoying thing about the whole clown show is the legalistic format chosen for the “hearings,” with cross-examination of “witnesses” and other pseudo-courtroom theatrics. Such rubbish. It just feeds the he-said/she-said storytelling format that lazy reporters like best, never mind the legal profession’s tendency to believe that their adversarial methods are the best way to come to the right conclusions about any given question. Lawyers have a lot to answer for.