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OK, today’s sign of a cultural apocalypse

This one gleaned from the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s Friday Facts, which, though decidedly ideological, are often hysterical. It seems the American Council of Trustees and Alumni conducted a survey of 70 colleges, of which just 15 require their English majors – not their general student populations, mind you, but their English majors – to take at least one course on Shakespeare. Again, I have to ask, Shakespeare? Really? Not Dreiser, Booth Tarkington, Sinclair Lewis or Upton Sinclair (Yes, I have a thing against early 20th-century American realism), but Shakespeare, the apogee of Western Culture and the English language. Now, the literary canon needed to be broken open and made more inclusive, but please tell me there is a place, […]

Only 7 percent? Really?

According to today’s Springfield Republican, just 7% of American adults can name the first four Presidents in order. Not 17%. Not 70%. That’s right, 7%. And not all of the Presidents in order, just the first four, who among other things, drafted the Declaration of Independence, led a military campaign to insure that independence, drafted Massachusetts’ Constitution, which was one of the bases of the United States Constitution, and, finally, composed the Bill of Rights. Now, this has only tangentially to do with Pioneer’s current focus, but my predecessors at the Institute did, once upon a time, publish a report on the state of Civic Education in Massachusetts. Even if they hadn’t, can I just say: Washington, Adams, Jefferson and […]

So which is it?

From the Boston Globe of August 9: Cahill’s sharply worded statement is the most serious political breach to erupt between Patrick and a major Democratic figure since his inauguration in January…. Political insiders say much of the breach between Patrick and Cahill stems from the decision last April by Cahill’s one time top political consultant, Doug Rubin, to join the governor as his chief of staff. The relationship between Rubin and Cahill has been strained as the two offices grapple over several difficult issues…. Yesterday’s public flare-up was sparked when….. From the Boston Phoenix of August 15: Cahill has long been closer to Patrick than most in state government — a source in the treasurer’s office says they worked with […]

Conventional Wisdom Confusion (plus a MS Word bonus)

Organic is good. Walmart is bad. Right? So what happens when Whole Foods (a huge seller of organic items) forces its suppliers to sell through (higher cost) distributors to Walmart, thereby raising prices and limiting the potential market for organic food. So confused… Oh, and that bonus. We get to learn about the Whole Foods tactic from a poorly redacted legal filing released (and subsequently withdrawn) by the Federal Trade Commission. It seems that some poor soul over there ‘redacted’ the sensitive information by using MS Word to turn the background black to match the color of the type. An enterprising AP reporter changed the background color off, revealing the sensitive data.

Fixing Maintenance in Massachusetts

Author(s): Steve Poftak — Publication date: 2007-08-15 Category: Better Government Abstract: The horrifying spectacle of the Minnesota bridge collapse has prompted a national reevaluation of the condition of our public infrastructure. In Massachusetts, two recent reports have found a multi-billion dollar backlog of deferred maintenance. [wpdm_package id=87]