23 December 2004

First the Miscellancy…

  • The NYT has the semiannual whine about the increasing cost of college today. The problem, though, is not with financial aid per se; it is with the absence of programs to deal with the problem through indentured servitude post-graduation directed work. Back in the 1970s, the government began spending over $44,000 in tuition on me, for which I gave it four years of indentured servitude (at the outset, making less than a Catholic schoolteacher for the privilege of having my butt shot at). ROTC-like programs, however, don't need to be restricted to the military; after all, there's already the Public Health Service. This is yet another instance of people shrieking about true financial burdens without being willing to consider alternate and creative means of meeting the needs. Perhaps we really, really need to push the Urban Teachers' Corps… but only if governments stop paying their consultants and start paying the teachers enough to entice enough of them to become career teachers anyway.
  • Continuing with the NYT, there's more news on the Washington governor's recount. Anybody who bitches and moans that "it's just Democrats" didn't grow up there. I have only two words for anyone who so claims: Slade Gorton. I grew up in King County, Washington; and, sad to say, its electoral history would make Hizzonah duh Mayuh blanche whichever party is at issue. Neither candidate really has a whole lot to recommend him/her; it's just more proof that our two-party system forces a rush toward the center and glorifies a certain patina of corruption.
  • Prof Madison notes problems with copyrights and documentary films (sorry, Furd and Wired, but I'll link directly to you more often when you respectively (Furd) show more respect for the visually impaired with your page designs (Wired) demonstrate some knowledge of and respect for journalistic ethics). This is not, contrary to the assertions generally made, a copyright problem per se. It is instead a problem with the work-for-hire doctrine. All one needs to do is look at the rates charged by the Beckman Archive and Corbis for historical photographs to be used in books—even educational and academic works—to note the problem. The vast majority of the photographs of historical interest in those archives were shot by freelancers, and not by true fulltime employees; and thus should not be controlled by the patrons. But this is really an argument for another few thousand words and few hundred footnotes in a law review.