In reporting on conservative activist James O’Keefe’s latest absurd adventure, major media coverage acknowledged it was a flop and something of a joke, except for the New York Times.O’Keefe held a press conference to announce that his group Project Veritas had released an undercover video of the Clinton campaign allowing a Canadian to give a Project Veritas operative money so that she could purchase a Clinton t-shirt, which was a campaign product that could not be legally purchased by a non-American. At his event O’Keefe presented the incident as if it were a major scandal, while most of the press reported that it was at best a trivial infraction of less than $80.
LAGOS, NIGERIANigeria’s anti-corruption police said on Thursday they planned to file charges against former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney in a $180 million bribery case involving a former unit of oil services firm Halliburton.The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday summoned the country chief of Halliburton and last week detained 10 Nigerian and expatriate Halliburton staff for questioning after raiding its Lagos office.”We are filing charges against Cheney,” EFCC spokesman Femi Babafemi told Reuters, but declined to give any further details on what the charges were, or where they would be filed.
At the first Republican presidential debate last month, the Fox News moderators asked Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker about the Black Lives Matter movement. As we noted at the time, Walker’s answer seemed bland but contained a coded message for regular Fox News viewers : that he had discussed the issue “many times” with Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, a frequent Fox News guest who specializes in denying racial disparities in the criminal justice system and in criticizing the Black Lives Matter movement.
The “official” story that you normally find about “literacy” is that people all over the world are becoming more and more literate, that is, more and more able to read and write. Yet, there is another side to literacy: it is the concept termed, “literacy proficiency” that classifies people according to their ability to understand what they read.A recent survey on this point has been published by OCSE. It is a massive document of 460+ pages that examines the abilities of understanding and processing text by citizens of OCSE countries. The result is a subdivision in 5 “literacy levels,” as you see in the figure at the beginning of this post. You can find the exact definition of these levels on page 64 of the document, but, summarizing, the lowest levels, below 1, 1, and 2, are relative to people able to arrive only at the simplest levels of understanding of a text. Even at level 3, one may be able to perform inferences based on the text being read, but the texts are said to contain “no conflicting information”. Only at levels 4 and 5, some capability of critically discerning data from competing information is required.As usual, whatever you read on the Web should be evaluated with plenty of caution. What is the reliability of these data? Why five levels and not more, or less? What do these results mean? Digesting the long OECD report is not an easy task, but I think that, first of all, we can say what this classification is not: those who don’t reach the highest levels are not necessarily stupid. For instance, my gypsy friends would fare very badly on the test, since most of them are really illiterate, not just functionally. But I can assure you that they are extremely smart, just of a different kind of smartness.Then, the gist of the OECD paper is not rocket science: the tests just measure people’s ability to process written text and extract its meaning And if you are classed at, say, level 2, it means that you failed the tests for level 3, for instance showing that you are able to “construct meaning across larger chunks of text”. And if you are classed level 3, it means you failed the tests for level 4, for instance to identify and define “competing information”. In short, it seems that, everywhere in the OECD countries, most people (typically more than 90% of the population) are not able to critically evaluate contrasting information.
Pope Francis has said Catholic priests will be allowed to forgive women who have had abortions, and doctors who carry out the procedure.However, the measure is just a temporary one for the coming Jubilee Year, which runs from 8 December – 26 November 2016.In Catholicism, abortion is viewed as such a grave sin that it warrants automatic excommunication.The Pope said many women “believe that they have no other option”.He added that he had “met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonising and painful decision”.The relaxing of the rules is being seen as a major shift Catholic Church policy, reflective of the Pope’s outspoken views on compassion and mercy.
Sarah Palin topped herself in her highly anticipated interview with Donald Trump.