Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson
The UK needs to wake up to the truths and the spirit of what these two guys are telling America.
The Thames got cleaned up - now its time for cleaning up our political system.
NB - NEW POSTS - below
INTRO: "Like many fellow-citizens I am very angry about the state of British politics, BUT I see it as the greatest opportunity for reform in the last half-century.
We need a grown-up modern political system in the UK. We need to replace the curse of 'dominating Tribal party politics' - with a grown-up, modern, ethical, accountable system run by MP's free to work in an issues-based system - focused on the needs of the constituency and the country - without the distortion of the whipping system and Tribal baggage of the Parties.
This blog aggregates resources and comments in relation to our need to 'REFORM UK POLITICS NOW' which as a 'Programme' = 24 'spokes', with 'Fair Voting' as the hub of the 'wheel'."
Dr Roger Prentice - PS - Oh and also a sprinkling of humour.
The wheel gives us 'DANEP - Demand A New Ethical Politics' - a programme for reforming English and UK politics:
One hub, 24 spokes - the site is primarily centred around 24 common-sense steps, + the hub of Fair Voting - to give England & the UK a modern, responsive, accountable, truly democratic political system .
Fair Voting (proportional representation) is the most important single step of reform – it is then the hub of the wheel of reform, the rest are spokes. Go HERE for full version
1 Establish 'fair voting' - its the key to, or 'enhancer' of, every other reform - 30% of the votes results in 30% of the seats. Electoral reform however is more than PR it needs a UK equivalent of US 'primaries' and MPs who continuously re-new their mandate via ongoing dialogue with local politicians, business people and the constituents generally.
2 Centre on issues-based politics and massively reduce 'tribal politics' - party-based politics distorts the moral compass of MPs - assuming they have one - tribal politics is out-dated & perpetuates the class system - let's have more co-operation & less of the adversarial.
3 Restore the power of the House of commons, its back-benchers and the Cabinet - roll back Blair-like presidential leadership
4 Enable more 'Independents' - Independents can be the only true representatives of the people of their constituency - they are responsible to their consciences, & the constituents - not to Brown or Blair or Clegg.
5 Accelerate fair representation - yes we should have 50 % women - as well as representatives of minorities
6 Demand 'facts before opinions' - the quality and verifiability of the information we and MPs have is vital - put additional resources into getting objective truth - to diminish subterfuge
7 Demand that politicians have the courage to take long-term views - short-term decision-making is closely related to wanting re-election rather than the good of the country
8 Make MPs rewards fair, open & clear - give it to an independent body, and punish cheats
9 Make bottom-up politics as strong as top-down politics - from street-level to parliament - maximize participation, inter-connectedness, frequent consultation and accountability
10 Require focus on fairness, social justice and quality of life for all stake-holders - try to teach MPs that politics is more than economics and quality of life is more that money spent
11 Massively reduce central government - top-down government is not just wasteful it dis-empowers everyone. Push decision-making down to regional county constituency and parish levels. Set standards and accountability and get out of people's way
12 Maximize free voting & secret ballots where most relevant - to enhance conscientious voting
13 Habitually import best practice - from around the world - if its working well in several other civilized countries do it here. Stop re-inventing the wheel!
14 Create a written constitution - keep it simple - keep it away from lawyers
15 Require that the government stop spinning, stop obfuscation - act more and talk less
16 Continue beefing up transparency in accountability – at all levels - require MPs to consult frequently with their constituents - and all other political bodies in their constituencies- recall MPs who perform badly - very high ethical standards for MPs - stop lobbying - make the job full-time - make forming a Constituency Trust compulsory
17 Reform political funding - pay 10p for each vote received last time - that's all. Take extra care that illegitimate sources of funding are eliminated
18 Make voting compulsory - start with persuasion, then make it a law - with a 'none of the above' category
19 Bring in fixed-term elections - stop the 'when will it be' nonsense
21 Support MPs appropriately - celebrate their good work, sack or punish seriously ‘deviant’ MPs
22 Institute Primaries in all elections - local people should choose their own candidates - Independents and/or party candidates. The candidates should have proven service to the constituency from which they are to be elected. Keep diversity - reduce 'career politicians'.
23 Reform the House of Lords - but don't create another mirror of the House of Commons - we want wisdom and experience - not cunning and oratorical fireworks
24 Encourage positive interest in, & involvement in, political process - especially via education in schools & colleges - as an integral part of citizenship
These changes would create my ideal for how our political system operates.
Is Photography Over?
Is Photography Over?: Introduction
Neal Benezra, Sandra S. Phillips, and Dominic Willsdon
Running time: 6 min. 4 sec.
SFMOMA has been collecting and exhibiting photographs since the museum's founding in 1935 and is dedicated to the examination of the medium in all its forms. A major symposium on the current state of the field, held at SFMOMA in April 2010, was the first in a series of public programs on photography.
This page archives the conversation begun in the Is Photography Over? symposium. It includes video of the entire program, complete, unedited transcripts of the proceedings, and the original position statements submitted by the participants in advance of the symposium. Additional responses and reports on the two days of the symposium can be found on our blog, Open Space.
Click on link to find the whole symposium - videos and talks
Smartphones are becoming ubiquitous. Most Guardian journalists are now expected to be able to take a picture with their phone which is good enough to be used in print or online. The use of apps has even crept in with a New York Times photographer using hipstamatic on an assignment.
Good article - CLICK o link to read it
I wrote a while ago about Jake and Dinos Chapman's horrendous and crass portrayal of the physicist Stephen Hawking in their sculpture Ubermensch. I vaguely wondered at the time what a David Hockney portrait of the same great man of our time might look like ... but had no idea he'd actually created one. Visiting London's Science Museum recently I was transfixed by a sensitive, affectionate and acute drawing of Hawking in its 70th birthday display about his life and work.
The portrait was done in the linear style of Picasso's 1920s drawings and that meant it must be by ... yes, Hockney.
Click on link to read article
May I reiterate the problem will not work itself out. May I reiterate that it is not a sectional problem. No area of our country can boast of clean hands in the realm of brotherhood. It is one thing for a white person of good will in the north to rise up with righteous indignation when a bus is burning in Anniston, Alabama with freedom riders or when a church is burned or bombed in Birmingham, Alabama killing four, unoffending, innocent beautiful girls. When in Jackson, Mississippi a Medgar Evers is shot down or when in Oxford, Mississippi, some fifteen or sixteen thousand troops are necessary for our courageous James Meredith to go to a university of that state. A white person of good will in the north must rise up with as much righteous indignation when a Negro cannot live in his neighborhood, when a Negro cannot get a job in his firm, when a Negro cannot join his professional society, when a Negro cannot join his fraternity or her sorority. In other words, if this problem is to be solved there must be a sort of divine discontent all over this nation.
There are certain technical words within every academic discipline that soon become stereotypes and cliches. Modern psychology has a word that is probably used more than any other word in modern psychology. It is the word "maladjusted." This word is the ringing cry to modern child psychology. Certainly, we all want to avoid the maladjusted life. In order to have real adjustment within our personalities, we all want the well-adjusted life in order to avoid neurosis, schizophrenic personalities.
But I say to you, my friends, as I move to my conclusion, there are certain things in our nation and in the world which I am proud to be maladjusted and which I hope all men of good-will will be maladjusted until the good societies realize. I say very honestly that I never intend to become adjusted to segregation and discrimination. I never intend to become adjusted to religious bigotry. I never intend to adjust myself to economic conditions that will take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few. I never intend to adjust myself to the madness of militarism, to self-defeating effects of physical violence. But in a day when sputniks and explorers are dashing through outer space and guided ballistic missiles are carving highways of death through the stratosphere, no nation can win a war. It is no longer the choice between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence, and the alternative to disarmament. The alternative to absolute suspension of nuclear tests. The alternative to strengthening the United Nations and thereby disarming the whole world may well be a civilization plunged into the abyss of annihilation. This is why I welcome the recent test-ban treaty.
In other words, I'm about convinced now that there is need for a new organization in our world. The International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment--men and women who will be as maladjusted as the prophet Amos. Who in the midst of the injustices of his day could cry out in words that echo across the centuries, "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream." As maladjusted as Abraham Lincoln who had the vision to see that this nation would not survive half-slave and half-free. As maladjusted as Thomas Jefferson who in the midst of an age amazingly adjusted to slavery would scratch across the pages of history words lifted to cosmic proportions, "We know these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator certain unalienable rights" that among these are "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." As maladjusted as Jesus of Nazareth who could say to the men and women of his day, "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you. Pray for them that despitefully use you." Through such maladjustment, I believe that we will be able to emerge from the bleak and desolate midnight of man's inhumanity to man into the bright and glittering daybreak of freedom and justice. My faith is that somehow this problem will be solved.
In spite of the difficulties of this hour, I am convinced that we have the resources to make the American Dream a reality. I am convinced of this because I believe Carlyle is right. "No lie can live forever." I am convinced of this because I believe William Cullen Bryant is right. "Truth pressed to earth will rise again." I am convinced of this because I think James Russell Lowell is right. "Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne; Yet that scaffold sways the future, And behind the dim unknown, Standeth God within the shadow, Keeping watch above His own." Somehow with this faith, we will be able to adjourn the councils of despair and bring new life into the dark chambers of pessimism. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation to a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. This will be a great day. This will be the day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God, Almighty, we are free at last!" Thank you. [APPLAUSE]
Click on link to read whole speech by MLK
When I first heard that Gandhi was viewed as “the enemy” by many Dalits in India (formerly called “untouchables”), I was dumbfounded. How and why could Gandhi be seen as having betrayed the Dalits when he opposed untouchability even in the face of active discomfort on the part of close associates?
Last month, while I was in India teaching Nonviolent Communication to 120 people, including a significant number of Dalits, I had the opportunity to explore this question further. During a session called “Gandhian Principles for Everyday Living,” a topic about which I have written at length, one of the 60 people present expressed anguish, pain and anger towards Gandhi. He was a Buddhist, like many other Dalits who had chosen to follow the Dalit leader Dr. B. R. Ambedkar in leaving behind centuries of mistreatment under Hinduism.
Click on link to read article
I’m thrilled to announce that Posterous has been acquired by Twitter!
The opportunities in front of Twitter are exciting, and we couldn’t be happier to bring our technology and expertise to hundreds of millions of users around the globe. Plus, the people at Twitter are genuinely nice folks who share our vision for making sharing simpler.
Posterous Spaces will remain up and running without disruption. We’ll give users ample notice if we make any changes to the service. For users who would like to back up their content or move to another service, we’ll share clear instructions for doing so in the coming weeks.
You can find more information answers to other questions you may have here.
Finally, I’d like to offer thanks to everyone, especially those who have been with Posterous since day one. The last four years have been an amazing journey. Your encouragement, praise and criticism have made Posterous better, and I really appreciate everything you’ve done.
Thanks again and I look forward to building great things for you at Twitter.
Good luck - hope we get new goodies and don't lose any of the existing ones!
Good luck and hope we don't lose all the good things about Posterous!