Monday, March 17, 2008
The University of North Carolina's Summer Reading Program, where incoming students are encouraged to read a book and discuss it during orientation, has selected Covering for next year's freshman class. I bring up this news because I posted my reaction to Covering here.
I disagree that covering is any form of threat to minorities or to civil rights. I'll again post my conclusion on the subject:
Covering is the civil thing to do. If we didn't, we'd be at each others' throats. If you're strongly anti-tobacco, you don't get in the face of the smokers. If you love cats, you don't try to convert everyone into a cat lover. And if you think homosexuality is a sin, you don't send protesters to a gay man's funeral.
(A few people don't follow these standards of decency. We call them "assholes.")
To elaborate, very few would defend exhibitionists. But those who make no attempt to cover at any time are participating in a different form of exhibitionism. They enjoy parading their differences, even if it hurts other people. As I mentioned in the comments, the polite thing to do is acknowledge another's interests, but don't talk on and on about a topic that someone else isn't interested in.
One of the other books considered for the Summer Reading Program, and unfortunately not chosen, is Escape from Slavery by Francis Bok, a novel that I believe is more important. The book, a recounting of a black Sudanese boy's enslavement by Arabs in modern times, is relevant to important issues for America and the world, particularly the impact of slavery on current race relations and the struggles between Western and Islamic cultures.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Good riddance to bad politicians
I go out of the country, and look at what good news greets me when I return! New York governor Eliot Spitzer has been snared in a prostitution scandal, and will be involuntarily resigning from the governorship. I have yet to understand why politicians can't show restraint when their job is on the line. Maybe that explains why they can't stop spending taxpayer money.
An editorial in yesterday's Wall Street Journal suggests that Eliot Spitzer could end up charged under a 1910 federal law, the Mann Act, which forbids transporting women across state line for "immoral purposes." Now, this law isn't normally used against "johns." But the editorial explains the irony of this situation. As attorney general, Spitzer went after big Wall Street firms using the 1921 Martin Act, a law used to prosecute small-time boiler room swindlers.
However, the Martin Act was convenient for Mr. Spitzer's purposes because of the low bar it sets for bringing cases and the ability it afforded him to bring preliminary injunctions without even having to file a complaint first. Violations bring stiff civil and criminal penalties and, most important, do not require prosecutors to prove criminal intent.
It would be poetic justice for Spitzer to prosecuted under a rarely-used old law, just like he used to do as attorney general.
Labels: Eliot Spitzer
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
In a movie or TV show, when someone darts out into traffic, they'll put their hand on the hood of the car that had to squeal to a stop in front of them.
Like a human would have the strength to stop a thousand kilogram vehicle!
Gary Gygax, co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, has passed away.
Gary Gygax died this morning at his home in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, about 55 miles southwest of Milwaukee.
His wife, Gail Gygax, says he had been suffering from health problems for several years, including an abdominal aneurysm.
Gygax and co-creator Dave Arneson developed the role-playing game in 1974 and it went on to become 1 of the best-selling games ever. Dungeons & Dragons is considered the grandfather of fantasy role-playing games and has influenced video games, books, movies and inspired legions of adoring fans.
Gygax' wife says he always enjoyed hearing from the game's devoted fans about how the game influenced their lives.
I've received notice of his death on multiple role-playing game-related mailing lists, but saw it first on the Actuarial Outpost.
Labels: Dungeons and Dragons