Line Forms at the Left

Tim Blair links to this remarkably in-depth recap retrospective on the Jennifer Lopez/Ben Affleck relationship which publicly lasted 18 months or at least two movie promo cycles.

Within it we find this job description:

One reason for the final demise of the relationship is said to be Jennifer’s desire to settle down and have a baby. Another, according to Us, was her chagrin at Ben’s partying ways.

My bachelor friends, if you would like to impregnate and perhaps share a house (and bed) for the long-term (two years? three years?) with Jennifer Lopez, send your resumes to:

Jennifer Lopez
C/O United Talent Agency
9560 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 500
Beverly Hills, CA 90212

or

Jennifer Lopez
C/O International Creative Management
8942 Wilshire Blvd
Beverly Hills CA 90211

Please include a photograph.

Barbecuing Your Own Pork

Apparently, the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority that was formed in 1989 to build a megolithic publicly-funded dome stadium to lure a football team is still in business, even though its job was completed in 1995. It’s paying six figures to its members, maintaining a luxury suite in the Trans World Edward Jones Your Name Here! Dome, and setting itself up to be a gravy train for two more decades.

What, you mean the vaunted Civic Leaders are in it to feather their own nests at the expense of the taxpayers? I am shocked, shocked I tell you!

How long until Richard “Il Dick” Gephardt can join in now that his small-potatoes, low-paying political career is over?

Please Your Masters

A bit of candor from a municipal official regarding property rights, that is, the municipalities right to revenue from property superceding an individual owner’s “rights”:

But until now, its attractiveness has not resulted in a use of the land that pleased Richmond Heights, said City Manager Michael Schoedel. Instead, the property had been home to a Steak ‘N Shake, Burger King, a gas station and other similar establishments.

“The Galleria is clearly our bread and butter, and we wanted something across the street that would support it,” Schoedel said.

If the owner preferred to use the land for a Steak ‘N Shake, Burger King, a gas station, and other similar establishments? Who cares what the owner wants? Property rights come from the State’s pleasure.

Daddy, Where Does Petroleum Come From?

Professor Reynolds has the word about people who claim that Bush’s Mars program is all about sending Haliburton to Mars to look for oil.

Honey, if Haliburton finds oil on Mars, there are far greater things to worry about than the rich getting richer.

Such as:
How will the discovery of freaking life, albeit dead and decomposed, on another planet impact the Religious Right’s support of Bush?

Layer Up, Prosecutors; It’s Cold Out There

In this FoxNews.com story, we find (under the heading of “Now, Honey, Do as I Say, Not as I Do”) another example of clever prosecutorial layering:

The 10-minute pursuit Friday morning ended outside Del Mar Pines School with the arrest of Stacy L. Taylor for investigation of evading arrest and child endangerment.

Got that? Child Endangerment. Mother runs off from a ticketing officer, and suddenly she’s under the stormcloud of a nebulous criminal charge.

Any moving violation can now become child endangerment. Speeding? Rolling through a stop? What if someone were to be coming the other way? The Children might have been endangered!

I think this post makes me guilty of conspiracy of child endangerment or perhaps incitement of child endangerment.

What If Seattle Needs a Wal-Mart?

Kim du Toit is all over a story in the Seattle Workers’ Revolution story about Bill Gates buying properties surrounding his home and letting friends and family members live there. In some cases, the original owners are still there, living in Bill Gates’s house.

And this accumulation of property by a capitalist must be stopped, or so the story implies.

But let’s get to the point of the knife. The municipal government’s worried about its money:

If other residents follow Gates’ lead, that could present some challenges for the city of 3,000, said Medina City Manager Doug Schulze. Much of the money the city gets from the state is based on population. If people buy up surrounding houses and don’t have people living in them, the city’s share of state funding might decline, he said.

Ah, yes. Lest we forget, the government has a right to revenue from property owners. Or so it’s assuming.

That’s why your house is worth less to your local government than a dozen empty parking spaces in a Wal-Mart parking lot, and why this local government is beginning to make noise about preventing a man from acquiring property legally. For the neighborhood, and undoubtedly for the Children.

Fighting for the Little Guy

Once again, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch issues the clarion and unfurls the banner of fighting for the little guy. In this case, it’s a 412-pound truck driver fired because he couldn’t fit behind the steering wheel of the truck he was supposed to drive.

We covered this in my collegiate class on ethics and contemporary issues. It’s not discrimination if it disqualifies you from the physical duties of the job. You don’t see many 4’8″ centers in the NBA, nor will you see paraplegics as warehouse pickers. If a person just cannot do the job, the employer has no obligation to continue paying that person for nothing.

But this guy, and his mighty champion paper, want him to retain his position and pay without doing the work. Instead of hanging onto the old, perhaps he should look for new opportunities. Like being a dispatcher, where he can sit all day.

That’s forward thinking, and that’s not what people or the Post-Dispatch do.

Silicon Valley Street Seethes, Whines

(Headline style appropriated from Charles Johnson.)

Speaking of outsourcing, Alan Lacy, CEO of Sears hits the nail on the head, and undoubtedly United States developers will shriek as though it was their collective thumbnails he hit:

But I think, beyond that, to me, a very interesting trend right now is the whole non-U.S. opportunity that’s available, and … if you think about personal intelligence and drive being randomly distributed by population — you know, there are four or five times as many smart, driven people in China than there are in the U.S. And there’s another four or five, three or four times as many people in India that are smarter or as smart or have more drive. And if technology is now going to basically reduce location as a barrier to competition, then essentially you’ve got something like whatever that was, seven or nine times, more smart, committed people that are now competing in this marketplace against certain activities.

Right on, brother. Give the jobs to the cheapest and smartest people you can find.

Don’t like it, fellow IT professional? Get smarter, get faster, get cheaper, or get out of the way.

Never mind. Seething and whining plays better to the id and on the network news.

Book Review: The Book Wars by James Atlas (1990)

This edition of The Book Wars contains advertisements for Federal Express, now more commonly known as FedEx, facing each chapter. The publisher is Whittle Direct Press, and it’s part of a series entitled “The Larger Agenda Series”. It’s out of print, and Amazon’s never heard of it, so no link for you.

Back in 1990, I was starting college, and I read the academia-critical works of Charles J. Sykes (ProfScam and The Hollow Men). So I served my tour in the Curriculum Wars, participating as appropriate, so I’m familiar with the book’s message and the time period in which Atlas wrote it.

The Sykes books are definitely partisan in tone, written to inflame the passions and mobilize the troops. This book, on the other hand, makes the reasons for the other side clear.

Atlas wrote this book somewhat as a response to Allan Bloom’s Closing of the American Mind, which details the fall of the Great Books Curriculum. I haven’t read the primary text, so I cannot comment on it.

In this book, though, Atlas explores the reasons that some of the new hippie English Department personnel (sorry, I mean resources) want to overturn the canon. Essentially, they want to introduce new ways of relating to literature, including literature from underexplored cultures. Some want new veins of ore from which they can mine publish-or-perish papers. Some want to stick it to The Man. Whatever the reasons, Atlas characterizes them more as misguided than evil. Which differs from Sykes.

Atlas defends the canon, but only slightly. He remembers a time when Joe Suburban bought Everyman’s Library editions (or Colliers Classics) of the canon and read them. Some people might not have understood them, nor picked up all the subtlety that professional interpreters would, but they realized that reading the books could better you.

I attained an epiphany while reading this book. The Curriculum Wars really are meaningless. The Old Booksters and the New Diverse Canoneers fight over the hearts and minds of kids who just don’t care. Those who want to read and better themselves will do so. Case in point: me. I read for pleasure and to keep my numble mind occupied. I survived an English Degree no worse for wear.

The real problem is that people just don’t do that anymore. Perhaps both sides have made the books inaccessible through constant obfuscation for publication, or perhaps… well, this book obviously doesn’t speculate on that.

Regardless, the book’s short–under 100 pages less ads–and it inspired me to redouble my efforts to read those great books and small remaining on my shelf. Sykes’ books incited me, but this one inspired me.