- With the recent spike in gas prices here in California — just like during the last five weeks before each presidential election, but curiously not in odd-numbered years — perhaps some energy-efficient air conditioning from a couple thousand years in the past, to start off somewhat whimsically.
- Libraries have been in the news somewhat of late, whether considering what they can lend or keep in their collections or acquire in the first place — especially school libraries in isolated and/or backward communities. Or, for that matter, how to control circulation, especially when extracts are needed for coursework.
- I suppose I should mention a few publishing/entertainment industry follies. It's been more than thirty minutes, so there must be some new ones...
- The contrast between the cost of textbooks in a time of education-funding crisis with the normal result of excessive reliance on the profit motive as a cure for everything: utter failure and deception
- Then, profit isn't always a problem in the arts; it's more a question of to whom than how much or even how or why
- Or how to present published material on the web, or for that matter for purchase.
- Hypocrisy in and around publishing is far from difficult to find, though. Consider Tyndale House's objections that it's a religious institution and not a business, and therefore shouldn't be required to treat its employees like human beings. Horseshit. There is nothing about the wretched, bigoted Left Behind series — oh, you didn't know Tyndale published more than just "inspirational material"? — that qualifies as exempt religious conduct... ok, it does, I suppose, but it damned well shouldn't. In any event, one must also recall that the Klan had religious backing for its positions, as did South African (and Rhodesian) apartheid, and the less said about the politics being masked in religion coming out of the Fertile Crescent (and I don't mean just Islam), the better. I'm not hostile to religious belief, except when it tries to claim privilege and acts like power politics; then, it gets no more respect or deference than any other justification for tyranny and assholery.
- This year's "genius grants" have been announced, and — just as every year — there weren't any applications. There are, as usual, a few statistical characteristics, but the only real way is to just be a genius and hope the right people notice.
- Then there's wealth as an objective, which runs right into the problem with the supposed tendency of the nouveau riche, who worked so hard to become R's "job creators," to flee for lower-tax jurisdictions... an assertion that seems to have little reflection in reality.
- After that pitiful excuse for a "debate," though, here's to you, Mrs. Robinson.
If we really wanted to learn something, it's not the questions that should be disclosed in advance; that just gives more opportunity for rhetorical tricks and outright lying. Instead, it's the facts. Two days (or so) prior to a "debate," the candidates, the interrogator(s), and the public should be handed a factual situation. The rules are simple: The candidates may not argue with the facts in that set situation, but must answer the questions as put to them based on the set facts. This is imperfect as a solution, because sometimes we really do need to know how circumstances get interpreted; it will at least minimize certain kinds of outright lying, though, and allow us to judge the candidates. (And yes, that pun is intended.) In many ways, we don't — and shouldn't — give a rat's ass about how the candidates would have handled the past, with some flavor of 20/60 hindsight and neglect of unintended consequences; we do — and should — care about how they'll handle the unknown, the future.
06 October 2012
The Contents of the Smokehouse
at 20:36 [GMT8]
Time to catch up on a few link sausages that have been hanging in the smoke shack. Some of these might qualify as, umm, "hot links."