Monthly Archives: August 2011

links for 2011-08-22

  • "…scuttlers were routinely demonised by politicians and sections of the press. Victorian gang members were derided as ruffians, brutes, barbarians, savages and "juvenile terrorists"… The demise of the gangs owed less to draconian policing and punishment than to a more forward-thinking response pioneered by former Guardian journalist Alexander Devine, a police court missionary (an early form of probation officer). His "working lads' club" for Hulme and Chorlton-on-Medlock, opened in 1887, inspired a generation of Mancunians and Salfordians to invest substantial amounts of both time and money in new facilities for education, training and recreation for youths in some of the poorest neighbourhoods in Britain."
    (tags: argybargy)

links for 2011-08-20

Yglesias throws out a challenge

It’s interesting to consider that there may be Nothing New Under The Sun –that the problems of the moment have been around once, twice, many times before, in slightly different guises, and that it might just be worth our while to look to historical precedents… if only we can somehow see past the panics of the moment, and develop a bit of perspective. So here’s Matthew Yglesias, commenting on a book about James Monroe and looking back 200 years, and making more sense to me than all the intemperate punditry I’m seeing:

Most voters, and many pundits, seem to …think, with a mixture of condescension and naivete, that policy problems have obvious answers. The failure of policymakers to converge on these obvious answers is attributed to partisanship and the assumption is that if people didn’t have nefarious partisan interests the solutions would be forthcoming. The reality is quite different. Policy problems are difficult and the machinery of government is complicated. You need some kind of organizing institutions to get disparate individuals to work together, and the parties disagree not only because they’re jo[c]keying for influence, but because serious people have principled differences of opinion about what we should do.

I see plenty of “nefarious partisan interests” with big bucks and loud mouths. What I wish I could see more evidence of is the “principled differences of opinion” of which he speaks.

Another much-loved musician

Hossein Alizadeh is one of the (scores of…) musicians I most admire. His Sallaneh (available as an MP3 download from Amazon for $3.96. Incredible) is one of the most endlessly fascinating sonic experiences, at least if you have any weakness for the nuances of the plucked string, and any curiosity about niceties of timbre in acoustic instruments (the instrument, sallaneh by name, has sympathetic strings and was designed by Alizadeh himself).

(here’s a link to one of the cuts on the CD)

Alizadeh’s wonderful 2009 Moon & Fog is available via Spotify, and seems to be lodged at nayzak.blogspot for the rar-empowered/inclined. The instrument here is shurangiz, apparently another instrument developed by Alizadeh. The CD doesn’t appear in Amazon’s Alizadeh oeuvre, but his 2010 If Like Birds and Angels I Could Fly is available via Amazon, and I’m listening to it as I write… This necessity to manage multiple sensory appendages is all very confusing to the Enthusiast, and I am coming to have more sympathy for octopods than formerly.