10 December 2008

Scarred for Life

Before jumping into the miscellany, I have only one thing to say about Blagojevich's arrest:

Is anyone really surprised?

Perhaps by the timing, but not by the substance. This is even more dubious than the usual collection of sausages! A pox on all their houses:

  • On the Republican Party in general, for Richard Nixon (whose known conduct is remarkably similar to Blagojevich's charges), the Bushes, and the attitude
  • On the Illinois Republican Party in particular, for George Ryan, Jim Thompson, Judy Barr Topinka, et al.... leaving aside the policy/politics problems, none of them are/were qualified for any public office due to their powermongering, psychiatric defects, and behavior
  • On the Democratic Party in general, for the Daleys, the Clintons, the Kennedys, and so many other questionable American political dynasties that I've lost count
  • On the Illinois Democratic Party in particular, for its pantheon of criminals and losers who are — except for the party affiliation — utterly indistinguishable from their Illinois Republican Party counterparts
  • On the two-party system and first-past-the-post elections, which together make this shit inevitable
  • On Blagojevich himself
  • On the FCC, for making Fitzgerald substitute "bleep" for "fuck" at the broadcast news conference yesterday, thereby diminishing the impact of the truth
  • On the Tribune Company, which is at least as partisan (and at least as psychiatrically defective, both individually and collectively, both historically and contemporaneously) as anyone else in this shameful list, given its financial interest in pressuring the state to somehow subsidize the sale of underperforming assets (there's no other phrase that better describes the Cubs!)

Not just a pox. I'm also withholding antibiotics and hoping for visible scarring.

*   *   *

And now, the actual miscellany:

  • The Weekly Standard again demonstrates that orthodoxy is more important than insight with a book review essay on the "authority" of science that — as one would expect from that particular rag — was written by... a nonscientist with no apparent background in the sciences (which, given his affiliation, should surprise no one). Worse yet, he appears to be a disciple (or at least groupie) of Leo Strauss. Those of you with too much time on your hands might ponder the connection between this string of marginally related items and the list at the top of this post.
  • Tips on handling your personal data in the age of hackable databases. Tip number one: learn a language other than English, because a lot of hackers aren't Yanks.
  • Irony alert: Tina Brown blames incompetent management for publishing's problems. Now remind me about what happened to circulation at The New Yorker during her tenure... and why?
  • The Library of Congress has a new front portal, and I don't approve... from its design to its very address, it seems as devoted to collecting information on users as providing information to users. Not to mention that no competent librarian would begin every title in a collection with the same non-article word, such as "my", even while extolling a Microsoft product on the front page. Worst of all, though, there is no obvious link to the collection or catalog from that "new" front page!