Month: May 2018

T.S. Elliot thought Orwell was a bit of a Trot

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Evolution of Metros in China & Taiwan: 1990 – 2020

The extraordinary ways weather has changed human history

Mostly Economics

Fascinating interview of Andrew Revkin who has written this book on history of weather. I mean how little we know of fundamental things such as weather which pretty much shape everything around us.

I think that most of us feel like we’re pretty much in control most of the time. But one thing we can’t control is the weather. How much has weather determined the course of human history?

On every level, climate change on long time scales has really powerfully shaped human history; it’s in the section in the book on the exodus from Africa. People at Columbia and other universities looked at things like seabed records in the Red Sea or near North Africa and found that there’s sort of a wobbling weather pattern over time. The Sahara Desert, as National Geographic has written about many times, was sometimes grassland and green. There are stone carvings there, people…

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Crisis, headache, or sideshow: how should the UK government respond to the Scottish parliament’s decision to withhold consent for the Withdrawal Bill?

The Constitution Unit Blog

mcewenDifferent political actors have responded to the decision by the Scottish Parliament to withhold its consent for the UK government’s showpiece EU (Withdrawal) Bill in very different ways. Professor Nicola McEwen discusses the options open to both the Scottish and UK governments. 

After much deliberation, the Scottish Parliament voted by 93-30 to withhold consent for the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, the main piece of UK legislation paving the way for Brexit. Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens accepted the SNP government’s charge that the Bill undermines the devolution settlement and the principles on which it was founded. On the same day, the National Assembly for Wales voted by 46-9 to grant consent for the Bill, with the Welsh government arguing that the amended clause 15 (formerly clause 11) and the agreement they reached with the UK government ‘defended and entrenched’ devolution. Only Plaid Cymru disagreed.

Consent was sought from…

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Panagiotis Doudonis: Constitutional Conventions and the Italian President

UK Constitutional Law Association

The great political and constitutional turmoil caused by the President of the Italian Republic’s choice to veto the appointment of a Eurosceptic finance minister, and subsequently to appoint Carlo Cottarelli as designated Prime Minister to lead a technocrat caretaker government, brings out the importance of conventional regulation for continental European countries. The Head of State plays an enhanced role in the Italian political system, which is characterized by frequent changes in government, a norm that has been verified and augmented during the crisis years. It seems, though, that current developments suggest that the President has reached the outer limits of the powers conferred to him by a mixture of vague constitutional provisions and conventional rules.

The discussion regarding the existence of conventions outside the UK constitutional edifice seems nowadays to be settled. Although Freeman formulated conventions as part of the British constitutional ‘peculiarity’, Dicey himself was the first to point…

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Code of Military Conduct

Almost Chosen People

The things you find on the internet!  Jack Webb in a 1959 video explaining the US Code of Military Conduct.

American POWs have a long and honorable history of making life as difficult for their captors as possible:

“The Americans were what might be called bad prisoners. A group of 14 were brought in one day and when asked about their units refused to talk. They refused to work and talked back to the officers, much to the annoyance of the officers and the concealed delight of the men.”

—Paul Heinman, German soldier in World War I

US Code of Military Conduct

Article I:

I am an American, fighting in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense.

Article II:

I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command, I will never surrender the…

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