May 6, 2015 archive
May 06 2015
May 06 2015
Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when
we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.
This Day in History
The hydrogen-filled airship Hindenburg explodes and crashes; Psychologist Sigmund Freud and actor-director Orson Welles born; Roger Bannister is the first athlete to run a mile in fewer than four minutes.
Something to Think about over
We’re born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone.
May 06 2015
This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
Click on images to enlarge
May 6 is the 126th day of the year (127th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 239 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1994, English Channel tunnel opens.
In a ceremony presided over by England’s Queen Elizabeth II and French President François Mitterand, a rail tunnel under the English Channel was officially opened, connecting Britain and the European mainland for the first time since the Ice Age.
The channel tunnel, or “Chunnel,” connects Folkstone, England, with Sangatte, France, 31 miles away. The Chunnel cut travel time between England and France to a swift 35 minutes and eventually between London and Paris to two-and-a-half hours.
As the world’s longest undersea tunnel, the Chunnel runs under water for 23 miles, with an average depth of 150 feet below the seabed. Each day, about 30,000 people, 6,000 cars and 3,500 trucks journey through the Chunnel on passenger, shuttle and freight trains.
Millions of tons of earth were moved to build the two rail tunnels–one for northbound and one for southbound traffic–and one service tunnel. Fifteen thousand people were employed at the peak of construction. Ten people were killed during construction.
In 1802, French mining engineer Albert Mathieu put forward a proposal to tunnel under the English Channel, with illumination from oil lamps, horse-drawn coaches, and an artificial island mid-Channel for changing horses.
In the 1830s, Frenchman Aimé Thomé de Gamond performed the first geological and hydrographical surveys on the Channel, between Calais and Dover. Thomé de Gamond explored several schemes and, in 1856, he presented a proposal to Napoleon III for a mined railway tunnel from Cap Gris-Nez to Eastwater Point with a port/airshaft on the Varne sandbank at a cost of 170 million francs, or less than £7 million.
In 1865, a deputation led by George Ward Hunt proposed the idea of a tunnel to the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the day, William Ewart Gladstone.
After 1867, William Low and Sir John Clarke Hawkshaw promoted ideas, but none were implemented. An official Anglo-French protocol was established in 1876 for a cross-Channel railway tunnel. In 1881, British railway entrepreneur Sir William Watkin and French Suez Canal contractor Alexandre Lavalley were in the Anglo-French Submarine Railway Company that conducted exploratory work on both sides of the Channel. On the English side a 2.13-metre (7 ft) diameter Beaumont-English boring machine dug a 1,893-metre (6,211 ft) pilot tunnel from Shakespeare Cliff. On the French side, a similar machine dug 1,669 m (5,476 ft) from Sangatte. The project was abandoned in May 1882, owing to British political and press campaigns advocating that a tunnel would compromise Britain’s national defences. These early works were encountered more than a century later during the TML project.
In 1919, during the Paris Peace Conference, British Prime Minister David Lloyd George repeatedly brought up the idea of a Channel tunnel as a way of reassuring France about British willingness to defend against another German attack. The French did not take the idea seriously and nothing came of Lloyd George’s proposal.
In 1955, defence arguments were accepted to be irrelevant because of the dominance of air power; thus, both the British and French governments supported technical and geological surveys. Construction work commenced on both sides of the Channel in 1974, a government-funded project using twin tunnels on either side of a service tunnel, with capability for car shuttle wagons. In January 1975, to the dismay of the French partners, the British government cancelled the project. The government had changed to the Labour Party and there was uncertainty about EEC membership, cost estimates had ballooned to 200% and the national economy was troubled. By this time the British Priestly tunnel boring machine was ready and the Ministry of Transport was able to do a 300 m (980 ft) experimental drive. This short tunnel would however be reused as the starting and access point for tunnelling operations from the British side.
In 1979, the “Mouse-hole Project” was suggested when the Conservatives came to power in Britain. The concept was a single-track rail tunnel with a service tunnel, but without shuttle terminals. The British government took no interest in funding the project, but Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said she had no objection to a privately funded project. In 1981 British and French leaders Margaret Thatcher and François Mitterrand agreed to set up a working group to look into a privately funded project, and in April 1985 promoters were formally invited to submit scheme proposals. Four submissions were shortlisted:
a rail proposal based on the 1975 scheme presented by Channel Tunnel Group/France-Manche (CTG/F-M),
Eurobridge: a 4.5 km (2.8 mi) span suspension bridge with a roadway in an enclosed tube
Euroroute: a 21 km (13 mi) tunnel between artificial islands approached by bridges, and
Channel Expressway: large diameter road tunnels with mid-channel ventilation towers.
The cross-Channel ferry industry protested under the name “Flexilink”. In 1975 there was no campaign protesting against a fixed link, with one of the largest ferry operators (Sealink) being state-owned. Flexilink continued rousing opposition throughout 1986 and 1987. Public opinion strongly favoured a drive-through tunnel, but ventilation issues, concerns about accident management, and fear of driver mesmerisation led to the only shortlisted rail submission, CTG/F-M, being awarded the project.
May 06 2015
You stop being racist and I’ll stop talking about it.
White Guy Jack
Tonightly the topic is Tamir Rice, you know, the 12 year old African American boy who was shot dead for having a TOY gun just about 2 seconds after the cop car stopped rolling. Sucks to be Black in the United States I guess, a country of exceptional racism. You stop being racist and I’ll stop talking about it. The panelists are Lavell Crawford, Dean Obeidallah, and Shenaz Treasury.
Hail, hail, the gang’s all here.
This week’s guests-
Aw, who cares what Willie Nelson is going to be talking about? Just make sure you have plenty of munchies and don’t have to take a pee test for the next month or so.
Yup, I really watched the first, in studio, screening of that with Stephen a mere 8 rows in front of me (Which is to say I sat in the back row with him in the front. It’s not that big a studio.).
Brian Grazer gets a web exclusive extended interview. And You Get A New Car! And You! And You! You ALL Get New Cars! That and the real news below.
May 06 2015
I don’t often delve into the dark world of what education in the United States has become since my child was in school in the 70’s & 80’s. But lately it has factored into politics here in New York State and across the country with the advent of Common Core, standardized testing and for profit charter schools that are encroaching on America’s once excellent public system of education. The arguments in the past were mostly over funding, teachers’ salaries and contracts. Parents used to just worry about homework, grades and snow days. Some things remain the same, but now, add to the list: teacher evaluations, tenure, funding charter schools, teaching to tests, vomit and incontinence:
The principals’ letter on the new exams lists a number of problems with the exams and said many children reacted “viscerally” to the tests:
We know that many children cried during or after testing, and others vomited or lost control of their bowels or bladders. Others simply gave up. One teacher reported that a student kept banging his head on the desk, and wrote, “This is too hard,” and “I can’t do this,” throughout his test booklet.
It urges parents to help children who scored poorly understand that it isn’t their fault.
It has become so bad that in NY state as many as 200,000 students opted out of the mandatory testing:
New York’s rejection of the Common Core tests crosses geographical, socio-economic and racial lines.
There are also reports that student opt-outs were suppressed by administrators in some districts, who called in non-English speaking parents and pressured them to rescind their opt-out letters. Parent activist Jeanette Deutermann states that she “was contacted by dozens of NYC teachers who were horrified by the scare tactics being used on parents in their schools, to coerce them into participating in this year’s assessments. Language barriers and the absence of a social media presence resulted in a lack of knowledge about their rights to refuse the test. Teachers reported that administrators exploited this language and information barrier, telling parents that their children would not be promoted if they refused, or that they simply had no right to refuse. This is blatant discrimination at best.”
Despite attempts to suppress opt out, refusal rates were over three times last year’s 60,000, and activist parents are already planning to increase numbers next year. The opt-out movement is spreading across the nation. PARCC opt out is taking off in Colorado, New Jersey and California, especially among high-school students. [..]
Opt out is far bigger than a test refusal event. It is the repudiation of a host of corporate reforms that include the Common Core, high-stakes testing, school closings and the evaluation of teachers by test scores. These reforms are being soundly rejected by parents and teachers.
Leave it to John Oliver, host of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” to hammer home everything that is wrong with standardized testing:
“Something is wrong with our system when we just assume a certain number of students will vomit,” Oliver said. “Standardized tests are supposed to be an assessment of skills, not a rap battle on ‘8 Mile’ Road.”