Members of Congress are often criticized for what they do — or rather, what they don't do. But what about what they say and, more specifically, how they say it? It turns out that the sophistication of congressional speech-making is on the decline, according to the open government group the Sunlight Foundation. Since 2005, the average grade level at which members of Congress speak has fallen by almost a full grade.
Tag Archives | Stupidity
Matt Stopera writes on BuzzFeed:
After Christopher Hitchens passed away, the title of his book, God Is Not Great, started trending on Twitter. Here’s how some people, mostly “Christians,” reacted:
Pennsylvania's state capital Harrisburg has declared bankruptcy, according to a court filing seen on Wednesday, raising the specter of a string of local defaults across the United States. The city — whose finances have been ravaged by the costs of upgrading a once-mothballed trash incinerator — filed late Tuesday to seek protection from creditors. The city reportedly owes around $310 million. According to the Bankruptcy Court filing, Harrisburg has between one and 49 creditors. It also reported a roughly equal amount of assets and liabilities, in the range of $100-500 million. The state of Pennsylvania had tried to force Harrisburg to sell off those assets in order to pay bondholders, but the city council reportedly voted by a margin of four to three on Tuesday to opt for bankruptcy. The result is a rare, but not unexpected, US municipal bankruptcy amid a faltering economy.
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Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have found that when just 10 percent of the population holds an unshakable belief, their belief will always be adopted by the majority of the society.
The scientists, who are members of the Social Cognitive Networks Academic Research Center (SCNARC) at Rensselaer, used computational and analytical methods to discover the tipping point where a minority belief becomes the majority opinion.
The finding has implications for the study and influence of societal interactions ranging from the spread of innovations to the movement of political ideals.”When the number of committed opinion holders is below 10 percent, there is no visible progress in the spread of ideas. It would literally take the amount of time comparable to the age of the universe for this size group to reach the majority,” said SCNARC Director Boleslaw Szymanski, the Claire and Roland Schmitt Distinguished Professor at Rensselaer. “Once that number grows above 10 percent, the idea spreads like flame.”
As an example, the ongoing events in Tunisia and Egypt appear to exhibit a similar process, according to Szymanski.
Is it possible to channel a fictional character? Specifically, the Southern-gentrified blowhard from the Warner Bro.’s 1960’s “Foghorn Leghorn” franchise? Based upon experiments performed over the weekend, I can report a firm and conclusive “yes”. But the ritual requires copious volumes of an obscure Sri Lankan stout called “Lion“. And Mr. Legohorn seems to have quite a bit to say about Wisconsin people and places . . . .
“The behavior on display before us in this instance constitutes a perfect SCANDAL in the eyes of our sacred parliamentary traditions. This method of proceeding cannot call to mind words any loftier or more noble than “poltroon” and “knave”. I understand that the accepted standards of comportment may not be all they could in some of the darker corners of the great state of Wisconsin, but I see no reason to drag them into the sacred halls of our legislature.”
—Regarding the extraordinary violation of Wisconsin’s open meetings law by which Republican majority leader “Big Fitz” Fitzgerald surreptitiously passed Gov.… Read the rest
Recently, we had a situation where a customer persisted in texting in the theater despite two warnings to stop. Our policy at that point is to eject the customer without a refund, which is exactly what went down that night. Luckily, this former patron was so incensed at being kicked out, she quickly called the office and left us the raw ingredients for our latest "Don't Talk or Text" PSA: