29 September 2011

Now Serving Number Six...

Just taking a short break from the civil procedure jungle of the HathiTrust lawsuit today (OK, it's a day-long break, but I actually have waiting rooms to wait in, too...). Maybe we'll make it all the way to the bridge at Do Long tomorrow.

  • Not with amusement, but with vast cynicism begun at a briefing at USAFE headquarters in the 1980s "suggesting" that US servicemembers and family members be whisked back to the US after any confrontation with the Italian criminal justice system due to systemic bias against foreigners (and particularly non-Europeans), I must ask whether Amanda Knox might be a witch. At least over here we don't propose to burn criminal defendants because they weigh less than a duck, and therefore float, and therefore are made out of wood, and therefore burn like witches, and therefore are witches. Except in Georgia and Texas, that is.

    All seriousness aside, this is a disturbing example of what happens when the State's pursuit of and right to "justice" becomes corrupted by the pursuit of vengeance. There's no excuse for the murder of Meredith Kercher. Neither is there any excuse for dragging furriners off the street, investigating incompetently, and convicting them for heinous crimes largely because they're furriners. Yes, we do it over here, too; that does not excuse the practice. Neither is it to say that Ms Knox is necessarily entirely innocent; sometimes the cops do frame the guilty, but the State has an obligation to be better than than Captain Queeg. I can't pass judgment on the substance, but the procedure followed by the prosecution in Italy (including the police) was not conducive to obtaining a truthful result.

  • Maybe Simon Cowell should participate in the next Heffalump debate among the presidential candidates. At least according to some foreign journalists, it's entirely possible that no one would know that anything had changed.
  • I remain completely underwhelmed by e-readers, including the apparently orgasm-inducing Fire. I'll consider getting interested with at least three times the battery life (ten hours is nowhere near sufficient for a must-recharge-instead-of-swap-batteries unit), native PDF-with-layout support, at least another 65% drop in price... and some assurance that I can permanently disable whatever wireless is built in and run it solely through SD-card loading, and in particular do so without breaching any purported EUL. It's not the ads that I object to so much as the potential tracking. And even then, it will be just some normal level of interest.
  • Algis Valiunas asks, in a sideways fashion, why do literati show so much disdain about business in their works? Speaking from what I observed in a public (state-financed, for those of you across the Pond) school — and a much higher proportion of our literati have public-school backgrounds than you might think — at least part of it is the scorn heaped upon them by their classmates, parents, and most of the education-system apparatchiks. There are only so many times that a budding literatus/literata can be expected to put up with being told to change focus and do something worthwhile with the future, usually involving traditional business activity... while simultaneously observing, even if not consciously, that the jocks of both genders seldom get the same disdain for their ambitions. Put another way, when one's formative years involved concerted attacks upon one's still-fragile-and-forming self-identity, it's not too surprising that years later one might lash out at the perceived source of the attack.