26 November 2014

LA Traffic Is the Link Sausage

Yet another epic-driving whirlwind trip to and from LA: 0100 on Monday to just a few minutes ago. Naturally, the traffic was horrid, including quite a bit of stop-and-go traffic in LA on 405. At 10pm. Not to mention the road deconstruction. In any event, there will be Turkey Awards tomorrow; in the meantime, here are a couple of cocktail weenie appetizers:

  • I'm shocked — shocked, I say — that a white-dominated grand jury in one of the most-corrupt and least-effective white-dominated-county-governments-despite-its-demographics outside the Confederacy (I say that having spent four years there as an undergraduate... with little apparent change since) refused to indict a white cop for even a lesser-included offense when he shot and killed an unarmed black teenaged boy. The real question is this one: If nobody had known the races or job titles of either participant, would the result have been the same? I sort of doubt it (and a walk anywhere near Florissant Valley after dark will convince you of this). This is one of the most-compelling pieces of current evidence for entirely removing the entire justice apparatus from voter control: I think it may still have happened — but both the refusal to indict and the incident itself would have been substantially less likely — if the top law enforcement officials for the city, the county, and the state were appointed professionals and not self-interested politicians running scared simultaneously of seeming "soft on crime" and of police unions with far more bark than nibble. Professionals are not infallible; they are inherently less fallible than politicians, especially partisan politicians.
  • The passionate and eloquent acceptance speech by Ulyssesrsula Kingfisher. Le Guin during long-overdue recognition of her contributions to literature is a cry for the future as much as it is a cry for the present. American publishing is now acting very much like the American automobile industry in the 1970s: Waves of consolidation, fashionable management memes, and a need for sales-and-marketing cred to get promoted above a certain level are resulting in an incredibly fragile industry just waiting for foreign invaders. In this instance, the invaders are those durned furriners from west of the Hudson... and I mean the audience as much as I mean the authors. Censorship of the marketplace is real, and as dangerous as censorship by the government in environments like ours in which the government increasingly proclaims the market is the best regulator... and market success is simultaneously such an important precursor to electoral office.