Blog or Not?
A statistically improbable polymath's views on politics and culture.
Thursday, May 18, 2006I Also Heart Russ Feingold
Feingold Tells Specter Off w/r/t Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment
It's like Gore and Feingold are having a competition in political awesomeness. I am seriously torn about whether I should be driving to Nashville or Madison in a year.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006I Heart Al Gore
The sound you hear? Maureen squealing like a little schoolgirl.
Monday, April 17, 2006Activism for the Lazy
Because Free Speech is Important
Many of you in the literary blogosphere probably know all about this, but for those of you in the political blogosphere...
The Italian province of Perugia has arrested a journalist for muckraking.
From his co-writer Douglas Preston:
My dear colleagues,
Go. Write. I'll even supply you a letter:
I was gravely disappointed when I learned journalist Mario Spezi had been arrested for slander, defamation, obstruction of investigation, and disturbing the public order by the “Gides” unit led by chief Perugian prosecutor Michele Guittari. I understand that the provincial government of Perugia has previously attacked Spezi on spurious charges; moreover, I understand that Spezi’s forthcoming book “Dolci Colline de Sangue” criticizes the role that Guittari played in the investigation of the Florentine serial killings of the 1970s and 1980s. To my eyes, at least, it appears that Guittari has arrested Spezi for the grand offense of critical journalism.
I have always admired the Italian people’s great contributions to the arts and sciences, from Fibonacci and Dante to da Vinci and Galileo to Fermi and Fellini. It would be a pity if this legacy were stained by overarching officials attempting to deny freedom of expression. I understand that Article 21 of the Italian Constitution guarantees freedom of the press, and I ask you to defend this freedom. Thus, I urge the (Ministry of Justice/Ministry of the Interior) to press for the removal of all charges against Mr. Spezi.
Copy it into a word document, figure out which office you'll send it to first, print, address an envelope (put "Your Excellency" in front of the minister's name, they like that), add 84 cents of postage to the envelope, and repeat for the other office.
See, wasn't that easy?
(cross-posted in various forms to various message boards, etc.)
Monday, March 06, 2006Time to pull out the world's smallest violin
for John Menges, recently out of a job because he won't dispense the morning-after pill.
Except that unlike the women of Collinsville, IL, where Menges's counter at Walgreens was the only game in town for overnight Plan B, Menges has options:
"He could work in a hospital or a mail-order facility or a nearby state [Menges works in Illinois, near St. Louis--MC]," said Robert Buerkl, a pharmacy professor at Ohio State University and an expert in industry ethics. "Why would you want to work in a place where people get in your face?"
I'm not really sure why. Apparently Menges doesn't want to dispense the morning-after pill because he believes it can prevent a fertilized egg from adhering to the uterus, even though there's no scientific evidence for that occuring. (Personally, I prefer my pharmacist to base his or her medical opinions on science, and not on anti-contraception pamphlets, but that's just me.) There are plenty of Catholic hospitals in the St. Louis area which would be more than happy to have Menges as a pharmacist; why is he setting himself up as a victim?
Thursday, February 23, 2006Shameless Candidate Plug
I'm sure all of you know about Cook County Hospital--it's one of the most famous public hospitals in the nation; it's the hospital of last resort; it's the hospital on ER. Unfortunately, it--or rather, as it's now called, Stroger Hospital--is being mismanaged by the Cook County Board of Commissioners' President, John Stroger. (Yes, he named the hospital after his family.) Currently the Cook County public hospitals are severely understaffed; a baby died in the hallway at Provident Hospital because the staff was too busy with other patients. And yet Stroger does nothing.
But Forrest Claypool will. Vote in this primary for Forrest Claypool, for a government that all of Cook County can be proud of.
Tuesday, February 21, 2006Bloggers Have Brought Down A President
Unfortunately, it's Lawrence Summers, not Bush.
And now will come the complaints that feminazis attack any academic who doesn't conform to their beliefs. Yes, well, if you're the president of America's most famous university, saying something that controversial can result in economic consequences--such as alumnae withholding their annual donations. I'm sure that Dr. Summers as an economist understands how people express their political beliefs through the pocketbook.
UPDATE: A few days ago I was wondering if Lawrence Summers's rather pronounced tendency to put his foot in his mouth was due to a mild case of Aspberger's Syndrome. Apparently some at Harvard were already considering that theory, noting everything from his table manners that would shame a first-year to his habit of falling asleep during lectures by world leaders.
Monday, February 20, 2006Those who live in Buckingham Palace shouldn't throw stones
An British MP is trying to prevent Pakistani Britons from marrying their first cousins. Seems that there's a pretty large incidence of genetic diseases among the Pakistani population in Britain, much of it stemming from the common practice of marrying relatives. Now, my first thought to this was: "Wait, marrying your cousin is legal in Britain?"
Then I suddenly remembered: Victoria and Albert. First cousins whose great-grandchildren included the hemophiliac Tsarovich Alexei of Russia and the epileptic, possibly slightly autistic Prince John, "the lost prince".
So if we're going to ban cousin marriage in Britain, let's ban it for all Britons--including the most celebrated cousin-marriers of them all, the Royal Family.