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Saturday, May 03, 2014

[OTP - May 2014] House stadium funding package advances with Cuban baseball player provision

A bill that would enable professional sports franchises to compete for sales tax subsidies cleared a major hurdle Friday, winning overwhelming support in the Florida House.

The tax breaks would be available to professional football, basketball, hockey and soccer teams, as well as professional rodeos and NASCAR-sponsored events.

But baseball teams would have to stay on the bench — unless Major League Baseball changes its rules about Cuban baseball players.

Lawmakers added the stipulation in response to media reports that Cuban outfielder Yasiel Puig had been held hostage by human traffickers while trying to establish residency in Mexico in 2012.

Under Major League Baseball rules, players from Cuba must live in another country before they can become free agents. Cuban players who come directly to the United States are forced into the amateur draft, which limits their salaries.

“Major League Baseball [has] inadvertently created a market for human smuggling and the unequal treatment of Cuban baseball players,” said Rep. José Félix Díaz, R-Miami, who introduced the provision with Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach. “We’re not going to give away our taxpayer dollars until this ill is corrected.”

In response, the MLB issued the following statement: “While the sponsors of the bill in Florida blame MLB policies for the role of human smugglers, they do not provide any support for their premise that Cuban players must rely on traffickers to defect to countries other than the U.S. such as Mexico or the Dominican Republic, but would not need the assistance of traffickers to reach U.S. soil.”

 

Tripon Posted: May 03, 2014 at 09:38 AM | 4455 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: otp, politics

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   2201. A Fatty Cow That Need Two Seats Posted: May 16, 2014 at 12:43 PM (#4708177)
I recall students at my school (the year after I graduated, so don't blame me) lost their minds when Big Bird's puppeteer was invitied to give the commencement speech. And, yep:

'Big Bird' keeps the boobirds away The famous voice silences critics of his choice as Villanova's graduation speaker.


Posted: May 17, 2004

VILLANOVA — Approaching the podium, a tentative Big Bird sized up the crowd.

Despite his many valuable insights into numbers and letters, in Spanish and in English, he knew there was a slight chance of hostility yesterday, a faint danger of being booed offstage by the very students who had once adored him.

Some of Villanova University's class of 2004 had reacted in disbelief and anger last month when news broke that their commencement speaker would be Big Bird, or rather, Caroll Spinney, the sentimental puppeteer whose major impact on American life happened while wearing an 8-foot-2 yellow-feathered canary suit and sneaking meetings with an imaginary woolly mammoth nicknamed Snuffy.

Lehigh University had secured the writer Kurt Vonnegut. The University of Pennsylvania had the rock star Bono, who, while not necessarily an intellectual heavyweight, at least had global AIDS activism to lend him gravitas.

"At first I was absolutely shocked," recalled Cara Tarity, 22. "Then, I didn't know what to think. I mean, UPenn got Bono and we get Big Bird?

"But today, all my thoughts have changed. Actually, hearing him speak was amazing. It really did it for me."
   2202. Lassus Posted: May 16, 2014 at 12:52 PM (#4708185)
OH. I just remembered who we had. Newscaster Charles Gibson. Don't remember a word.
   2203. formerly dp Posted: May 16, 2014 at 12:54 PM (#4708186)
I think we'd both agree that regardless of our differences on the issue under discussion here, student apathy rather than student engagement in politics is a far more serious ongoing problem.

Yeah, and that's why when I see student activism, it's encouraging, even if I don't agree with the issue they're being activist about.

and if the administration holds its ground and the speech goes on
Why does the admin have a duty, in your view, to *not* respond to the students? Why does it have a duty to abide by a selection process that excludes student and faculty voices?
But again, I understand the distinction you're making; I just don't happen to find it persuasive.
But it's the distinction being made by the students and faculty-- you're "not finding it persuasive" by saying that they're unwilling to listen to opposing views is the equivalent of telling them they're lying. If the Rutgers prof who said "I would welcome Rice speaking on campus, just not at commencement" protests next year when she gives a speech on campus at a foreign policy conference, I will join you in calling him a liar who is only interested in squashing free expression. Until then, I don't see why we wouldn't take his comments, and the others who've echoed them, at face value.

if voting were to be made mandatory for all members of the university community,
Even if you made the ballots accessible by smartphone, you'd get probably a 20% participation rate. It's impossible to get students/faculty to vote on anything :> Frustrating as hell when you're trying to do research on campus policies.
the voting process weren't patterned on the All-Star game model.
One person, one vote would be easy enough to institute.
===
Didn't you begin your participation here on this subject by maintaining only vanilla commencement addresses and proceedings were in order?
I was being descriptive. Sorry if I wasn't clear.
Dawkins can't say anything that would upset anyone,
He can. He can't if he expects to get invited back, because you want all of those Christians in the crowed in a "buying mood" after the commencement. You can have a beef with this if you want, but your beef isn't with me.
but now you say the speaker can be cross-examined on his beliefs and actions by graduates?
Just me personally, and we covered this upthread: I would love it if the commencement speech was only one of several talks given at the university by the honoree. If Rice, for example, were giving a lecture (with Q&A) moderated by a political scientist the day before the commencement speech, one where the point was not dull platitudes and fawning but serious engagement on difficult questions, that format would be fantastic.
   2204. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: May 16, 2014 at 12:55 PM (#4708187)
Who knows? I'll email you. But if you have a recording of Alkan's Funeral March on the Accidental Death of a Parrot, I'll never say anything bad online about libertarians again.

Where should I send your subscription to Reason?
   2205. Ron J2 Posted: May 16, 2014 at 01:04 PM (#4708194)
#2172 They've released one of the referee's report in full. Very unusual. (and they're looking for permission to publish the others) Having read the url=http://ioppublishing.org/newsDetails/statement-from-iop-publishing-on-story-in-the-times]report[/url] I can see why the paper was deemed as not of publishable quality.

Of note, the quote published in the Times was taken out of context. From the IOP release:

“Summarising, the simplistic comparison of ranges from AR4, AR5, and Otto et al, combined with the statement they are inconsistent is less then helpful, actually it is harmful as it opens the door for oversimplified claims of "errors" and worse from the climate sceptics media side.”

“As the referees report states, ‘The overall innovation of the manuscript is very low.’ This means that the study does not meet ERL’s requirement for papers to significantly advance knowledge of the field.”

“Far from denying the validity of Bengtsson’s questions, the referees encouraged the authors to provide more innovative ways of undertaking the research to create a useful advance.”

“As the report reads, ‘A careful, constructive, and comprehensive analysis of what these ranges mean, and how they come to be different, and what underlying problems these comparisons bring would indeed be a valuable contribution to the debate.”



   2206. Lassus Posted: May 16, 2014 at 01:13 PM (#4708202)
Where should I send your subscription to Reason?

Well I'll be damned. Well done.
   2207. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 16, 2014 at 01:23 PM (#4708214)
and if the administration holds its ground and the speech goes on

Why does the admin have a duty, in your view, to *not* respond to the students? Why does it have a duty to abide by a selection process that excludes student and faculty voices?


Of course it has a duty to listen to protests, but not a duty to act in the way that the protesters demand.

But again, I understand the distinction you're making; I just don't happen to find it persuasive.

But it's the distinction being made by the students and faculty-- you're "not finding it persuasive" by saying that they're unwilling to listen to opposing views is the equivalent of telling them they're lying. If the Rutgers prof who said "I would welcome Rice speaking on campus, just not at commencement" protests next year when she gives a speech on campus at a foreign policy conference, I will join you in calling him a liar who is only interested in squashing free expression. Until then, I don't see why we wouldn't take his comments, and the others who've echoed them, at face value.


I'm not saying that they're "lying" when they say that it's only the commencement speech (or commencement honor) that they're objecting to. The issue for me isn't anyone's sincerity; it's whether or not the administration has to defer to the wishes of a faction in deciding whether to cancel a commencement address.

if voting were to be made mandatory for all members of the university community,

Even if you made the ballots accessible by smartphone, you'd get probably a 20% participation rate. It's impossible to get students/faculty to vote on anything :> Frustrating as hell when you're trying to do research on campus policies.


What, after all that preceding publicity and uproar? 20%? Even after the voting were made mandatory?

Well, if that's really the case, then how on Earth can you maintain that the number of students and faculty who protest speakers are representative of anyone but themselves?

the voting process weren't patterned on the All-Star game model.

One person, one vote would be easy enough to institute.


But it would be impossible to mandate a vote? Please explain this to a 21st century citizen who sees that both Amazon and the U.S. government are capable of knowing the names of every person who's ever ordered a Victoria's Secret cat-o-nine-tails from the fundraising wing of the Taliban.
   2208. Canker Soriano Posted: May 16, 2014 at 01:29 PM (#4708216)
Harold Ramis. And it was completely unmemorable. I'm sure he was funny.
   2209. Morty Causa Posted: May 16, 2014 at 01:30 PM (#4708217)
So? Do members of the campus community have a duty to keep their mouths shut when the institution decides to publicly honor someone they find objectionable? Why do students and faculty have to listen to views they find objectionable while potential commencement speakers have no reciprocal obligation?

Of course they shouldn't be required to keep their mouths shut. They've got the right to protest the choice of speaker(s), and if the administration holds its ground and the speech goes on, they've got a right to protest in non-disruptive ways during the ceremony.

Everyone has their rights. This isn't about rights so much as it is about simple courtesy and tact at a ceremonial public occasion--but that is a two-way street. In the final analysis, you can invite who you want. If he accepts that invitation, he can say what he want. Maybe he shouldn't say certain things, and maybe you the student shouldn't react in a certain childish way, such as booing him for what is tangential to the speech, but there you are. The selection process should have meaning and effect, and it can be said to be at least morally binding on both parties.
   2210. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: May 16, 2014 at 01:36 PM (#4708222)
OH. I just remembered who we had. Newscaster Charles Gibson. Don't remember a word.


I'm stunned anyone can remember those things through the hangovers.
   2211. CrosbyBird Posted: May 16, 2014 at 01:50 PM (#4708230)
But it seems empirical fact that all languages are based on identical genetic foundations (because any human child can acquire any human language). Why would such a central human feature be so universal, if race has such a pronounced effect?

I think "having a language" is really a byproduct of intelligence and socialization. Wolves have a language (crude by human standards, and full of non-verbal aspects, but they certainly communicate with each other). Once you get to something that complex as a behavior, you might as well ask "why do all human beings have the genetic programming to have two legs?"

Also worth noting: language is very differentiated in isolated populations. Some languages are sound-based, some are character-based, some read left-right, some read bottom-up, etc.
   2212. Lassus Posted: May 16, 2014 at 01:56 PM (#4708233)
I'm stunned anyone can remember those things through the hangovers.

Like Varys, I remember everything. Not drinking helps.
   2213. zonk Posted: May 16, 2014 at 02:00 PM (#4708235)
Speaking of Varys, I just moments ago finished book 5... working from home has its privileges... so I assume now I have to wait 5 years for book six that will also be so cumbersome and meandering that Martin will split it up into 27 books?
   2214. formerly dp Posted: May 16, 2014 at 02:04 PM (#4708237)
Of course it has a duty to listen to protests, but not a duty to act in the way that the protesters demand.
I don't get this insistence on the administration having an obligation to do whatever the #### feels like with the commencement speaker. If the protesters make compelling arguments, and those arguments resonate with the campus community, why should the admin stubbornly march foward?
What, after all that preceding publicity and uproar? 20%? Even after the voting were made mandatory?
I'm just laughing at the technical challenges of making a vote mandatory. We can't even get students, and some faculty, to read their e-mails. Some people are going to care who the commencement speaker is, others aren't. I'm not terribly invested in it myself, but I can see how some would be.
Well, if that's really the case, then how on Earth can you maintain that the number of students and faculty who protest speakers are representative of anyone but themselves?
Both faculty and students have representative structures of governance, complete with elected officials and everything. Crazy, but it's true.
But it would be impossible to mandate a vote? Please explain this to a 21st century citizen
What's the turnout going to be in the midterms later this year? 40%? It wouldn't be "impossible" but there would be no political will to get it done. Why make the vote mandatory? Is the US system of government any less legitimate without a mandatory voting system in place? (there's a compelling argument that says yes; do you sign on to it?)
===
you can invite who you want.
Who is the 'you' here? That's part of the problem. The process are idiosyncratic-- it doesn't make sense to have a one-size-fits-all response to the outcomes.
The selection process should have meaning and effect,
Why? If the process doesn't permit input by the students, faculty, and staff (IOW, by the members of the community the honoring the honoree), why should it be treated as legitimate and respected as sacrosanct?
   2215. CrosbyBird Posted: May 16, 2014 at 02:06 PM (#4708239)
Oh, I'm perfectly fine with the ruling given the rules. I'm simply philosophically biased as I have always thought a caddy was ridiculous and even unfair. If you can't carry the clubs and make the decisions yourself it should affect the score. I guess it's not really Martin's fault I'm not convinced.

To me, Martin's situation is pretty solidly in that gray area between clearly fair and clearly unfair. I would have deferred to the PGA on this issue, because I think they are the proper organization to determine whether not having to walk between holes creates a competitive advantage in the sport. The SC decision seems like overreach to me. Although since the stakes are relatively low, it doesn't fill me with outrage. I'm happy for Casey Martin and mildly annoyed that the PGA chose to stand on that particular wall, even though I would have preferred that the SC do something like reluctantly rule against Martin.

If you're never making decisions that uphold the law but force you to hold your nose a little bit, I don't think you're properly living up to the responsibilities of being a judge.

   2216. Mefisto Posted: May 16, 2014 at 02:07 PM (#4708240)
Speaking of Varys, I just moments ago finished book 5... working from home has its privileges... so I assume now I have to wait 5 years for book six that will also be so cumbersome and meandering that Martin will split it up into 27 books?


Book 6 is due out next year. As for the rest, well....
   2217. Lassus Posted: May 16, 2014 at 02:08 PM (#4708241)
so I assume now I have to wait 5 years for book six that will also be so cumbersome and meandering that Martin will split it up into 27 books?

He has a lot more people to answer to now, and the report is 2015. Just two more books, I think that's right.
   2218. Mefisto Posted: May 16, 2014 at 02:08 PM (#4708242)
Oh, and now that you've finished book 5, you can safely go to the Westeros site and find out everything you missed.
   2219. Randy Jones Posted: May 16, 2014 at 02:10 PM (#4708246)
Martin has said he will finish SOIAF in 7 books and book 6 is supposedly going to be out in 2015. However, book 4 and book 5 were both delayed 2-3 years from the time he originally said they were going to be finished.
   2220. The Good Face Posted: May 16, 2014 at 02:10 PM (#4708247)
Everyone has their rights. This isn't about rights so much as it is about simple courtesy and tact at a ceremonial public occasion--but that is a two-way street. In the final analysis, you can invite who you want. If he accepts that invitation, he can say what he want. Maybe he shouldn't say certain things, and maybe you the student shouldn't react in a certain childish way, such as booing him for what is tangential to the speech, but there you are. The selection process should have meaning and effect, and it can be said to be at least morally binding on both parties.


Correct. It's childish petulance on the part of the protesters when they claim they didn't get to vote on the speaker. The process for selecting such speakers was in place long before any of the protesters; if it's such a big deal, their remedy would be to separate themselves from the school, just as libertarians who throw hissy fits about not wanting their tax dollars to pay for whatever are free to separate themselves from society.

This is especially bad form coming from people who claim they want to live in a diverse society.
   2221. Lassus Posted: May 16, 2014 at 02:15 PM (#4708250)
However, book 4 and book 5 were both delayed 2-3 years from the time he originally said they were going to be finished.

I'd love to think the new attention has focused him and made the release date more accurate, but who knows. I only started randomly opening up the books for fun and to skim them after watching the series this whole time. I'm completely spoiled as of last month.
   2222. formerly dp Posted: May 16, 2014 at 02:17 PM (#4708251)
if it's such a big deal, their remedy would be to separate themselves from the school,
Libertarians are free to participate in a process of shared governance. The protesters were not afforded any such options. And the school doesn't want students "separating themselves"-- as we discussed above, your ideal commencement is a complete and total lovefest, intended to cull positive feelings toward the institution that will promote a "culture of giving," as the administrators like to call it.
This is especially bad form coming from people who claim they want to live in a diverse society.
It only appears that way if you're bad at thinking.
   2223. The Good Face Posted: May 16, 2014 at 02:23 PM (#4708261)
Martin has said he will finish SOIAF in 7 books and book 6 is supposedly going to be out in 2015. However, book 4 and book 5 were both delayed 2-3 years from the time he originally said they were going to be finished.


I have no idea how he's going to wrap things up in just two more books unless the books in question will be over 1500 pages each. Alternatively, he could drastically change his writing style and/or get an actual editor who'd force him to trim some of the voluminous padding he's relied on in the past couple of books, but those both seem unlikely. Martin is as close to a big swinging dick as fiction writers get nowadays, and the publisher pretty much just gave him free reign on the 5th book, much to its detriment.

Anyway, I'll be surprised if he has book 6 out in 2015. His recent track record of meeting deadlines is terrible, and he's both old and rich now; one questions his motivation.
   2224. Mefisto Posted: May 16, 2014 at 02:26 PM (#4708268)
Book 6 was originally due out this year, so it's already been pushed back.
   2225. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: May 16, 2014 at 02:30 PM (#4708269)
His primary motivation at this point would be to not have the embarrassment of having HBO script writers finish his master work for him.
   2226. BDC Posted: May 16, 2014 at 02:30 PM (#4708272)
Once you get to something that complex as a behavior, you might as well ask "why do all human beings have the genetic programming to have two legs?"

Also worth noting: language is very differentiated in isolated populations. Some languages are sound-based, some are character-based, some read left-right, some read bottom-up, etc.


Crosby, your first point is valid. Spoken language is essential to being human (and human language is utterly unlike any other known animal communication), and all humans encountered possess it to equal degrees. That fact (not seriously challenged empirically as far as I know) is a major reason to think that there's no great essential difference among populations in cognition or social behavior. (Speaking of classical music, the universality of musical ability, another trait unknown in other animals, is another.)

As to the second point, there are major differences between character-based and alphabetic writing systems, for instance, but they are purely cultural. The spoken languages in question are equally natural and can be equally well acquired by any human infant.
   2227. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: May 16, 2014 at 02:32 PM (#4708273)
I'm pessimistic about Martin finishing. The fact that he's told the HBO producers the storyline and noted publicly that they don't need him to finish and the fact that he seems easily distracted on side-story writings and the encyclopedia, suggests to me that he doesn't see much urgency. And I know he's reportedly in good health, but he's also a dude in his mid-60s that looks like Chris Christie's weight on a 5'6" frame.

Even if he does finish the final books, I'm not positive that they don't end up simply being novelizations of the later seasons of the HBO show. After all, he gave them the rough outline, maybe HBO fleshing out the plot can do the heavy lifting for him.
   2228. Mefisto Posted: May 16, 2014 at 02:37 PM (#4708275)
I agree with TGF and DJS that it's touch and go with GRRM, but my guess is that he'll finish it just barely.
   2229. The Good Face Posted: May 16, 2014 at 02:38 PM (#4708277)
Libertarians are free to participate in a process of shared governance. The protesters were not afforded any such options.


And the protesters knew that going in. The process wasn't subject to direct voting on their part, but they only had an issue with their lack of participation when they didn't like the result. A process that people only accept when it produces results they like leads to terrible outcomes.

And the school doesn't want students "separating themselves"-- as we discussed above, your ideal commencement is a complete and total lovefest, intended to cull positive feelings toward the institution that will promote a "culture of giving," as the administrators like to call it.


Nonsense. The Rutgers hissy fit came from the faculty, not the people the university hopes will kick in money down the road. Faculty, especially in the humanities, are a cost center, and keeping them happy should be a low priority. They can, should and will be replaced with low paid contractors in the near future. Hell, it's happening in the present.

This is especially bad form coming from people who claim they want to live in a diverse society.

It only appears that way if you're bad at thinking.


Non-responsive as usual.
   2230. tshipman Posted: May 16, 2014 at 02:45 PM (#4708282)
His primary motivation at this point would be to not have the embarrassment of having HBO script writers finish his master work for him.


Never have I seen so much attention devoted to such a mediocre product.
   2231. The Good Face Posted: May 16, 2014 at 02:48 PM (#4708285)
His primary motivation at this point would be to not have the embarrassment of having HBO script writers finish his master work for him.


What's he have left to prove? He's sold a gajillion books, the books are a wildly successful TV show, he has critical acclaim and respect, and he's old and rich. I do think he wants to finish the series, but I question his willingness/ability to keep his nose to the grindstone long enough to do it.
   2232. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: May 16, 2014 at 02:54 PM (#4708292)
The Patriots are descending on Washington DC as predicted! The Obamunists have only days to resign and flee in disgrace or face the wrath of the American Spring!

Follow it live on video! Tell your grandchildren how you were there (virtually) when the millions of true Americans converged to take their country back!
   2233. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: May 16, 2014 at 02:59 PM (#4708297)
Never have I seen so much attention devoted to such a mediocre product.


You've clearly not followed the careers of Stephen King or Micheal Bay. Blood, sex, ice wights and dragons. It's fun. Also, kinda rapey.
   2234. Ace of Kevin Bass Posted: May 16, 2014 at 03:00 PM (#4708298)
Never have I seen so much attention devoted to such a mediocre product.


Completely agreed. There's so much better fantasy out there.
   2235. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: May 16, 2014 at 03:00 PM (#4708300)
And I know he's reportedly in good health, but he's also a dude in his mid-60s that looks like Chris Christie's weight on a 5'6" frame.


Good health for a bean bag, perhaps.
   2236. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 16, 2014 at 03:03 PM (#4708303)
People who want to suppress speech they disagree with often go to great lengths to claim it isn't about freedom of speech, and such is the case here. They claim it is about "process", but there would have been no outcry if the same process produced Hillary Clinton. They claim it is about "the fee", but many speakers have received far higher fees without protest. They claim it is about "honoring" a commencement speaker, but that is little more than the a grudging admission that banning all speech you disagree with is too much for a supposed academic institution, such speech will be reluctantly allowed (but see the exceptions, even this can be an issue) but not too prominently, never in anything as prominent as speech that the pro-suppression crowd agrees with. Imposing an ideological test for commencement speakers, or speakers in general, is a bad idea, but that is exactly what the speech suppression crowd is calling for. They tip their hand by adding their own insults and epithets to the "discussion", calling Dr. Rice a war criminal. Of course, she is no such thing, since the left-wing brownshirts making the charge are not empowered to so much as issue a jay-walking ticket. It's just another way for these folks to say they strongly disagree with Dr. Rice.

Speech suppression is an ugly business, so it's not surprising that those in favor of it try to cover their tracks.
   2237. formerly dp Posted: May 16, 2014 at 03:03 PM (#4708304)
The process wasn't subject to direct voting on their part, but they only had an issue with their lack of participation when they didn't like the result.
Maybe they assumed it would be someone banal and trivial like it usually is? The admin went out and knowingly chose a speaker who has sparked controversy when she's been asked to speak at other commencements.
The Rutgers hissy fit came from the faculty, not the people the university hopes will kick in money down the road.
That's completely inaccurate. There were both student and faculty groups upset by the decision. The faculty passed a formal resolution; the students organized protests.
Faculty, especially in the humanities, are a cost center,
Hey, TGF took a pot shot at Humanities profs! That, like, never happens...

When you operate on the star system, like Rutgers does, it's a good idea to keep relationships between faculty and admin positive-- helps with recruitment, especially if you can't be competitive with salary. That whole "work environment" thing.
   2238. BDC Posted: May 16, 2014 at 03:04 PM (#4708305)
I'm pessimistic about Martin finishing

Why? He's got the golf cart, he's probably on the back nine already.

Wait, this thread continues to confuse me.
   2239. Lassus Posted: May 16, 2014 at 03:04 PM (#4708306)
You've clearly not followed the careers of Stephen King or Micheal Bay

Truly unfair. King has been an excellent storyteller over his career, better than most. Has he produced plenty of dreck? Of course, with that much output, how could he not? But he deserves his accolades and his money for his talent.
   2240. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: May 16, 2014 at 03:04 PM (#4708307)
Follow it live on video!


Has Clapper waved to us yet from the throng?
   2241. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: May 16, 2014 at 03:05 PM (#4708311)
Truly unfair. King has been an excellent storyteller over his career, better than most. Has he produced plenty of dreck? Of course, with that much output, how could he not? But he deserves his accolades and his money for his talent.


If only he didn't dress up like an idiot.

Oh, wait -- that's my get-off-my-lawn attitude toward Lady Gaga.

(As I've noted before, I like King a lot, except for the Dark Tower stuff. I don't think I've got the fantasy gene. Which is why George R.R. Martin hasn't written anything since, I guess, Armageddon Rag, AFAICT.)
   2242. Morty Causa Posted: May 16, 2014 at 03:11 PM (#4708316)
   2243. zenbitz Posted: May 16, 2014 at 03:14 PM (#4708319)
Stanford invited GRRM to give 2010's commencement speech but it's not ready yet. On the plus side, no protests.
   2244. Morty Causa Posted: May 16, 2014 at 03:15 PM (#4708320)
Didn't the PGA, or whoever the authority was then, make Ben Hogan walk the entire course the first time after his car accident. I'm not sure if he made an official request.
   2245. tshipman Posted: May 16, 2014 at 03:15 PM (#4708321)
You've clearly not followed the careers of Stephen King or Micheal Bay. Blood, sex, ice wights and dragons. It's fun. Also, kinda rapey.


Stephen King is certainly also a disorganized mess. At least King had the common decency to not write a million sequels.
   2246. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 16, 2014 at 03:21 PM (#4708329)
The Washington Post Election Model gives Republicans a 77% chance of capturing the Senate. They currently have it as 53-47, with GOP pick-ups in Montana, South Dakota, West Virginia, Louisiana, Arkansas, Alaska, Iowa & Michigan. Only change from earlier methodology is that they have begun to factor in fund raising.
   2247. formerly dp Posted: May 16, 2014 at 03:21 PM (#4708330)
Speech suppression is an ugly business, so it's not surprising that those in favor of it try to cover their tracks.
Condi lover's gonna Condi love.
   2248. Morty Causa Posted: May 16, 2014 at 03:22 PM (#4708331)
Crosby, your first point is valid. Spoken language is essential to being human (and human language is utterly unlike any other known animal communication), and all humans encountered possess it to equal degrees. That fact (not seriously challenged empirically as far as I know) is a major reason to think that there's no great essential difference among populations in cognition or social behavior. (Speaking of classical music, the universality of musical ability, another trait unknown in other animals, is another.)

As to the second point, there are major differences between character-based and alphabetic writing systems, for instance, but they are purely cultural. The spoken languages in question are equally natural and can be equally well acquired by any human infant.


Is there any way that your position on this matter can be falsified? Populations of all animals (all life, really) are grooved to their environment. Some become new species, some become a form of sub-species, some sub-sub-sub species, etc.,but they change. Why is that so difficult for people to grasp, if only as a matter of principle. Nothing is purely cultural. Culture is the expression of traits, and traits come from--where?
   2249. The Good Face Posted: May 16, 2014 at 03:23 PM (#4708333)
Maybe they assumed it would be someone banal and trivial like it usually is? The admin went out and knowingly chose a speaker who has sparked controversy when she's been asked to speak at other commencements.


A former Secretary of State? The head of the IMF? These are not controversial people, they're about as banal and establishmentarian as it gets. No, it's a case of accepting the process when it yields favorable results and throwing a hissy fit when it doesn't. It's amusing, because that's exactly what many lefties accuse the GOP of doing.

That's completely inaccurate. There were both student and faculty groups upset by the decision. The faculty passed a formal resolution; the students organized protests.


As we've already established, the faculty can be safely ignored, since the vast majority of them could be immediately replaced by someone younger, hungrier, cheaper and more qualified. As for the students, you yourself said that at best you could maybe rouse 20% of them to bother voting, so we'd be looking at perhaps 12% of the student body who actually gave a damn? If only 12% of any group is unhappy with your decisionmaking, you're doing fine.

Hey, TGF took a pot shot at Humanities profs! That, like, never happens...


That's not a shot. Just reading the writing on the wall for you.
   2250. The Good Face Posted: May 16, 2014 at 03:27 PM (#4708335)
Completely agreed. There's so much better fantasy out there.


There's better stuff out there, but Martin's work is very, very good. Especially the first 3 books.
   2251. Publius Publicola Posted: May 16, 2014 at 03:27 PM (#4708336)
SC Sen. candidate on Civil War: The North was an abusive husband the South wanted to leave

Lindsey Graham’s challenger in the South Carolina Republican primary gave a speech in the state Senate on Wednesday in which he likened the American Civil War to a domestic dispute that escalated to murder.

During a discussion concerning the passage of the state’s annual budget, Lee Bright began talking about the Civil War, which he claimed “was kind of family against family, and I didn’t get corrected until probably I was in my twenties, when somebody said, ‘That wasn’t a civil war, a civil is when it’s one people attacking their neighbors, and this wasn’t about people attacking their neighbors.’”

“This was a war,” he continued, in which “basically folks in the North decided that — kind of like a marriage, the South had decided it wanted to separate, and the North said, ‘We’re not going to separate, and if you want to separate, we’re just going to kill you.’”

“That’s kind of how that worked out,” Bright said, “but that side’s never told in our history books because if you, um, Napoleon — Napoleon, one of my favorite quotes that Napoleon said was that ‘history is the agreed-upon fable.’”
   2252. Morty Causa Posted: May 16, 2014 at 03:28 PM (#4708338)
They tip their hand by adding their own insults and epithets to the "discussion", calling Dr. Rice a war criminal. Of course, she is no such thing, since the left-wing brownshirts making the charge are not empowered to so much as issue a jay-walking ticket.

You mean, like those guys who continue to say Clinton committed the crime of perjury?
   2253. tshipman Posted: May 16, 2014 at 03:29 PM (#4708339)
There's better stuff out there, but Martin's work is very, very good. Especially the first 3 books.


The first book is pretty good. Second book is okay. Books 3-5 range from bad to crap.
   2254. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: May 16, 2014 at 03:31 PM (#4708343)
Should Ralph Nader have to answer questions about his role in electing George W. Bush?

Still chewing on that bone, Andy? Ralph Nader's role in electing George W. Bush had about the same culpability and centrality as someone in the year 2130 turning on a hair dryer and killing the last polar bear.
   2255. BDC Posted: May 16, 2014 at 03:34 PM (#4708345)
Is there any way that your position on this matter can be falsified?

Sure! You could find infants from one population who could not learn the language of another. It's entirely possible but hasn't been observed. And with immigration and cross-cultural adoption, there's lots and lots of data.

I don't have a position here so much as I'm relaying the known facts. They're entirely open to contradiction from new evidence.
   2256. rr Posted: May 16, 2014 at 03:35 PM (#4708350)
Faculty, especially in the humanities, are a cost center, and keeping them happy should be a low priority. They can, should and will be replaced with low paid contractors in the near future.


Heh.

___

As to the issue, the faculty and some students protested something they didn't like, and the admin--the people with the power--for whatever reasons (probably business-related) made the call on what to do about it, and Rice, trying not to make waves and not needing the 35K anyway, graciously backed away. I don't know if the Rutgers folks wanted to instigate some systemic change in how the speaker is chosen, but I doubt it, and like fdp suggests, most people on a campus don't care that much about who speaks at commencement anyway.

So, basically, the fact that these people at Rutgers didn't want Rice at their big year-end party/ceremony (and remember Rudolph Bell, one of the profs, a history guy, who was key in the protest said that Rice was welcome on campus to exchange ideas in other arenas) and spoke up about it in an organized way, bugs some guys/offends some sensibilities here, for different reasons, depending on the guy (ideology, loyalty, personal animus towards the liberal elements of academia, dislike of bureaucratic CYA decision-making) but that is all that side has to argue--personal sensibilities. No one was materially harmed, no one's free speech rights were compromised, etc.
   2257. Lassus Posted: May 16, 2014 at 03:35 PM (#4708351)
You want to talk slow output, Gaiman is emulating Martin with his Sandman Overture. Anyone else reading it? It's awesome, but oy.
   2258. tshipman Posted: May 16, 2014 at 03:40 PM (#4708354)
Rice's continued freedom from trial for war crimes offends me more than her giving some shitty talk at a college, personally.
   2259. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: May 16, 2014 at 03:42 PM (#4708357)

Completely agreed. There's so much better fantasy out there.


Interesting. I consider it tied with Tolkien for the best fantasy ever written.


The first book is pretty good. Second book is okay. Books 3-5 range from bad to crap.


I'd say Book 5 is the best of the series so far.
   2260. The Good Face Posted: May 16, 2014 at 03:44 PM (#4708359)
Spoken language is essential to being human (and human language is utterly unlike any other known animal communication), and all humans encountered possess it to equal degrees. That fact (not seriously challenged empirically as far as I know) is a major reason to think that there's no great essential difference among populations in cognition or social behavior.


That is one mother of a non-sequitur. Opposable thumbs are also essential to being human, but the ubiquity of opposable thumbs across humanity doesn't really tell us much about regional evolutionary differences. Just because there's a shared trait that includes an entire set doesn't mean that set shares ALL traits.
   2261. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: May 16, 2014 at 03:46 PM (#4708361)
You want to talk slow output, Gaiman is emulating Martin with his Sandman Overture. Anyone else reading it?


I picked up the first two on comic book day. Haven't read them yet.
   2262. Ron J2 Posted: May 16, 2014 at 03:50 PM (#4708366)
#2231 Was reading Brandon Sanderson's blog post about the Wheel of Time series being nominated for a Hugo. Quoting now:

We want you to vote. We want you to be part of the process. But let me speak frankly to you: if you don’t intend to read and investigate the other nominees and participate in a wide variety of categories, you are doing the awards a disservice. I would rather have the Wheel of Time not win than have it be given an award as part of a thoughtless shoving match.

In this, I wish to hold up George R. R. Martin as an exemplar. He wants dearly to someday win a Hugo for best novel, a distinction that has eluded him. I’ve heard him speak about it. The thing is, he could win the award in a heartbeat; he has by far the biggest fanbase in our community. If he asked them each to pay for a Worldcon supporting membership and vote only for him, he’d win by a landslide.

He’s never done that because he knows that this award has only as much integrity as we give it. So long as you are willing to vote superior works by other authors above works by your favorite authors, you are doing the award justice.


All this to say, Martin does have a motivation. Whether it'll be enough to overcome the other isues is a valid point.

   2263. BDC Posted: May 16, 2014 at 03:51 PM (#4708367)
Just because there's a shared trait that includes an entire set doesn't mean that set shares ALL traits

Of course not. But that trait is central to human nature, crucial to human uniqueness, recently evolved, and at the heart of all human social interaction and culture.

One can extrapolate too far from this observation, but I'm just adducing language because it is at the center of a lot of universal-egalitarian theory. It's a major explanatory hurdle for those who want to segregate human populations by their supposedly innate social traits. And the data that confirms the universal nature of language – the ability of an adopted infant to learn the language of another population, or an immigrant to adopt a new language and in turn a new culture – also presents explanatory hurdles for racialists.

   2264. Morty Causa Posted: May 16, 2014 at 03:54 PM (#4708370)

Just because there's a shared trait that includes an entire set doesn't mean that set shares ALL traits.

Indeed. Not only that, but clearly different sets have traits in common.

You don't determine differences by considering only those traits that are the same.

2255:

You're skirting the point. Why do you think it's impossible for evolution to create different groups, with different traits, within a species. Why wouldn't growing up in different universes mean differences?

You were already informed that the human brain was hardwired for language long before the period that Wade writes of. And language in different peoples are not the same in all particulars. Why does that mean nothing to you?

How about written languages? Not all people developed that. Is that another one of those things that means nothing to you?
   2265. tshipman Posted: May 16, 2014 at 03:56 PM (#4708372)
Interesting. I consider it tied with Tolkien for the best fantasy ever written.
...

I'd say Book 5 is the best of the series so far.


Wow. You must be really opposed to traditional narrative structure and plot. I'm glad you could finally find a book that suited your taste.
   2266. Lassus Posted: May 16, 2014 at 03:58 PM (#4708375)
Wow. You must be really opposed to traditional narrative structure and plot.

So in the genre, what do you consider superior written in the past 10 years?
   2267. CrosbyBird Posted: May 16, 2014 at 04:03 PM (#4708379)
I'm stunned anyone can remember those things through the hangovers.

I think I was still a little drunk at my commencement speech.
   2268. formerly dp Posted: May 16, 2014 at 04:06 PM (#4708383)
A former Secretary of State? The head of the IMF? These are not controversial people
Obviously they are. As evidenced by the fact that they are speakers whose selections generate controversy.
No, it's a case of accepting the process when it yields favorable results and throwing a hissy fit when it doesn't.
When the process returns agreeable results, with speakers who the community found in accordance with their values, why would there be a disagreement with it? In this case, the Board of Govs selected someone whose selection at other institutions had already proven controversial. And they're claiming that in this instance, the values expressed by the Board are not in accordance with those of the campus community.
As we've already established
"As I've already asserted" is not the same as "as we've already established".
since the vast majority of them could be immediately replaced by someone younger, hungrier, cheaper and more qualified.
At Rutgers? The pedigree of those folks is pretty damn high. If you're talking about a lesser school, you might have something, but even lesser schools try to retain their faculty, and to maintain good relations between faculty and admin. Searches cost money; it takes new people a while to acclimate to the environment; ect.
As for the students, you yourself said that at best you could maybe rouse 20% of them to bother voting, so we'd be looking at perhaps 12% of the student body who actually gave a damn?
Andy's question was about a mandatory ballot for all speakers; in that case, at a lot of schools, in a normal year, you'd be lucky to get 20% to vote. Most commencement speakers are fairly interchangeable, and schools that can afford $30K for a speaker are in the minority. You put a controversial figure on the ballot, and you'll get more people voting. I don't know what percentage of the students were against the Rice visit (I'm sure there's a FB page or online poll out there-- students love those-- but I haven't looked). The point is that the admin doesn't want a speaker who is going excite a lot of student and faculty ire. Rice understood that, and very gracefully bowed out. There are plenty of other schools that would be happy to have her--Rice has no shortage of public speaking opportunities.

That's not a shot.
Bullsh!t.
   2269. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: May 16, 2014 at 04:06 PM (#4708384)
Since we're talking GoT and the video game thread is inactive in the moment, anyone interested in both really should be playing the Game of Thrones mod for Crusader Kings II.
   2270. zenbitz Posted: May 16, 2014 at 04:09 PM (#4708386)
The fact that written language appears in multiple places, along side the development of agriculture is evidence that it's primarily technological not innate or biological. Of course the potential of developing and understanding written language is biological, but it is more or less universal (Unless there is a known population group of super-dyslexics?)

Note that agriculture (or I guess... genetic predisposition for the development of agriculture???), in particular, seems unlikely to be a genetic variant since it showed up in the MIddle East and China roughly contemporaneously with very little genetic admixture.

Again, that doesn't make it impossible, but the cool thing about genetics (as opposed to general social science) is that you can actually read DNA and look for evidence of correlated variants and phenotypes. You can even do it HISTORICALLY because DNA is very well preserved (relative to most things).

And finally, for like the 9th time -- a biological or genetic basis for a trait DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY imply that said variance co-associates with "racial groupings". Particularly since the primary way we use to group races is by looking at them.
   2271. tshipman Posted: May 16, 2014 at 04:09 PM (#4708387)
So in the genre, what do you consider superior written in the past 10 years?


To any book of the series in toto?
The Name of the Wind, The Magicians, Among Others, The City and the City, Autumn Bridge, 1Q84, The Windup Girl, would be the ones that come to mind quickest.

For the fifth book in particular?
####### practically anything. That book was awful. It was meandering, with no sense of plot or character, and things happened without a purpose.
   2272. Ron J2 Posted: May 16, 2014 at 04:09 PM (#4708389)
#2266 I'm more likely to re-read Brandon Sanderson's stuff than Martin's. I won't claim the writing is better quality (and The Stormlight Archive threatens to set new standards for ... well if I didn't like it I'd call it bloat. What's a nice way to say that there are lengthy digressions that in no way advance the plot?), just that it is more likely to suit my mood.

EDIT: One thing Sanderson has going for him over Martin in terms of investing in a series: He's very prolific. According to his website he's got 4 books on the go right now. Not quite Simenon of course, but not too shabby.



   2273. BDC Posted: May 16, 2014 at 04:15 PM (#4708392)
Why do you think it's impossible for evolution to create different groups, with different traits, within a species

I don't think that's impossible at all; in fact, that's one way of putting basic Darwinism. I'm skeptical that it's happened in the human species along the lines presented by either traditional or neo-racialists. I don't see the empirical evidence for it. In fact, Wade's argument (from the reviews you've helpfully posted) seems to work like this: Evolution is real. The Negro is highly sexualized, the Chinaman is thrifty, and the Jew is clever. So isn't it possible that they've evolved those traits biologically, under selection pressure?

But I think we can challenge a few of those premises, and the logic is really shaky, too.

language in different peoples are not the same in all particulars. Why does that mean nothing to you?

How about written languages? Not all people developed that


Linguistic universals go pretty deep; the differences among languages are superficial, and immaterial to an infant acquiring two native languages (as many do).

Written languages are wholly cultural technologies. Unless one argument would be that those who first developed them were somehow racially superior …

EDIT: And I see zenbitz has addressed that in #2270.
   2274. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: May 16, 2014 at 04:20 PM (#4708394)
I like Sanderson's work pretty well. I thought Book 5 of ASOFI was bloated and meandered overly much, in much the same way books 4-6 of the Harry Potter series did. When you stop editing your superstar authors, they get off point. That entire sub thread about the possible suitor from Dorne, going east to find Danny, was just utterly pointless crap. But to complain that a fantasy novel is overly long and spends too much time with meandering world building instead of tight, concise plotting is to complain that fantasy exists at all.
   2275. BDC Posted: May 16, 2014 at 04:21 PM (#4708395)
And I should say that zenbitz is right to continually say "that doesn't make it impossible." Indeed, the Industrial Revolution could be the product of a fast-evolving master race of beefeating political economists. But it's also possible that the Industrial Revolution could have been brought about by divine intervention, or by telepathic instructions from the Venusians. We just need to see some positing of evidence for those theories, not just "it's possible so therefore it happened."
   2276. tshipman Posted: May 16, 2014 at 04:27 PM (#4708400)
But to complain that a fantasy novel is overly long and spends too much time with meandering world building instead of tight, concise plotting is to complain that fantasy exists at all.


????????

Why should poor craft be considered a convention of the genre? The heart of SF was the short story for the longest time, and the best SF has always been taut. Even LOTR, bloated as it was with Tolkien's awful poetry, still managed to tell a bigger story in fewer pages.

Martin has main characters running on treadmills for three or four books at a time. How is that enjoyable?

I like some Sanderson stuff (refused to read the WoT). He can be a little sappy for my taste, but I agree that his output speed is a real benefit.

Edit: oh, and book 4 of HP wasn't bloated. That was her best work, imo. Some plot holes, but you kind of have to ignore Rowling's plot holes or they'll drive you crazy.
   2277. The Good Face Posted: May 16, 2014 at 04:27 PM (#4708401)
So in the genre, what do you consider superior written in the past 10 years?


RS Bakker's Second Apocalypse. Gene Wolfe's Soldier of Sidon. Joe Abercrombie's The Heroes is better than anything Martin has produced in the last 10 years.

   2278. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: May 16, 2014 at 04:32 PM (#4708405)
Martin has main characters running on treadmills for three or four books at a time


Edit: oh, and book 4 of HP wasn't bloated. That was her best work, imo. Some plot holes, but you kind of have to ignore Rowling's plot holes or they'll drive you crazy.


I treat the former as you treat the latter. We know that Martin's original plan was to finish up the war of five kings in 'book 1" and then come back to the world "five years later" to address his grown child-characters next steps. In many ways, the HBO series is dealing with the books 2.5-5 material much better.
   2279. BDC Posted: May 16, 2014 at 04:39 PM (#4708410)
Funny, I'm sitting here vaguely taking in comments on George RR Martin, whose work I've never been able to get into more than a paragraph of – and yet my current academic project, proceeding as fast as my commitment to making thousands of BBTF posts will allow :) is a paper on Robert Kirkman's Walking Dead comic books. To me, that's a superb series in terms of plot, world-building, problematic ideology, art, you name it. I guess there are a lot of tastes possible in the SF/fantasy/dystopian realm, which is pretty vast.
   2280. tshipman Posted: May 16, 2014 at 04:42 PM (#4708413)
I treat the former as you treat the latter. We know that Martin's original plan was to finish up the war of five kings in 'book 1" and then come back to the world "five years later" to address his grown child-characters next steps. In many ways, the HBO series is dealing with the books 2.5-5 material much better.


See, this I don't get. You have to ignore Rowling's plot holes because they're things like time travel being used to help pre-teens take a larger course load but not to defeat the ultimate bad guy. Rowling just sweeps that stuff under the rug.

Martin spends hours of my time reminding me that he has nothing to say. You can literally skip all of Denary's chapters from book two up to book 5 and not miss a second of her story.
   2281. CrosbyBird Posted: May 16, 2014 at 04:43 PM (#4708414)
Crosby, your first point is valid. Spoken language is essential to being human (and human language is utterly unlike any other known animal communication), and all humans encountered possess it to equal degrees. That fact (not seriously challenged empirically as far as I know) is a major reason to think that there's no great essential difference among populations in cognition or social behavior. (Speaking of classical music, the universality of musical ability, another trait unknown in other animals, is another.)

Human language is unlike other animal communication, but so is wolf language and so is bird language and so is bee language. There's an incredible nuance of expression throughout the animal kingdom. As is there musical ability among birds and some mammals (wolf howls come to mind). Human intelligence plus technology makes our language more complicated, but we are not unique in communication nor are we unique in musicality.

I would also strongly object to the idea that all humans possess facility with language to an equal degree. I think there's a remarkable spectrum of language ability among humans. Separating that from social factors is very difficult in not impossible, though. Wealth has a great impact on your language ability. The children in wealthy families hear dramatically more words as infants and toddlers than the children in poor families, and tend to develop better language skills.

As to the second point, there are major differences between character-based and alphabetic writing systems, for instance, but they are purely cultural. The spoken languages in question are equally natural and can be equally well acquired by any human infant.

I don't know what it means to be "purely cultural." There have been a number of studies that show that the presence or absence of particular words in language has dramatic effect on perceptual and cognitive tasks. There's a language that doesn't have separate words for blue and green, and people who speak that language tend to have difficulty telling the two colors apart. There's an African tribe that uses cardinal directions: instead of saying an object is to their left, they'll say it is "north" of them (or whatever direction is appropriate); these speakers have an incredible sense of direction.
   2282. formerly dp Posted: May 16, 2014 at 04:44 PM (#4708415)
To me, that's a superb series in terms of plot, world-building, problematic ideology, art, you name it.
Are you caught up? He lost me around #110 or so and I haven't been able to get back into it.
   2283. formerly dp Posted: May 16, 2014 at 04:47 PM (#4708416)
You want to talk slow output, Gaiman is emulating Martin with his Sandman Overture. Anyone else reading it? It's awesome, but oy.
He's only on the second issue? Didn't the first one come out in...November or something? He has been a little busy, but still...
   2284. BDC Posted: May 16, 2014 at 04:49 PM (#4708420)
Are you caught up? He lost me around #110 or so

I've read through the most recent trade volume, which is through #114. The current "All-Out War" plot thread may be a bit over the top, I'll admit. For books at a time, anymore, one rarely sees a "walker," so it's become more of a standard dystopia with lots of combat. OTOH, that's after ten years of continual surprises, so I'm not writing The Walking Dead off yet …
   2285. BDC Posted: May 16, 2014 at 04:51 PM (#4708421)
And I'll add that your elaborations in #2281 are very strong and interesting, Crosby. I'm off to cook and watch me an episode of CSI, another of my series addictions :) Cheers —
   2286. CrosbyBird Posted: May 16, 2014 at 04:55 PM (#4708424)
RS Bakker's Second Apocalypse. Gene Wolfe's Soldier of Sidon. Joe Abercrombie's The Heroes is better than anything Martin has produced in the last 10 years.

I really tried to like Gene Wolfe but I found myself just hating the style of the prose.

I might put Abercrombie's First Law series above Game of Thrones. GoT was just incredible for the first two or three books, and then there was a sharp drop-off. I'll have to check out The Heroes.

What is particularly impressive about Game of Thrones is that the approach is very outside of my wheelhouse. I would characterize it as "barely fantasy"; it's more like The Tudors than Lord of the Rings.

Sanderson is probably one of my favorite authors because of the way he builds a magic system. I read speculative fiction primarily for a cohesive "science." (Magic, of course, being an alternative sort of science.)
   2287. The Good Face Posted: May 16, 2014 at 05:04 PM (#4708430)
A former Secretary of State? The head of the IMF? These are not controversial people

Obviously they are. As evidenced by the fact that they are speakers whose selections generate controversy.


The existence of a tiny minority who object to them does not make them controversial. By that standard almost everyone on the planet would be controversial, rendering the designation meaningless and not worthy of attention.

When the process returns agreeable results, with speakers who the community found in accordance with their values, why would there be a disagreement with it? In this case, the Board of Govs selected someone whose selection at other institutions had already proven controversial. And they're claiming that in this instance, the values expressed by the Board are not in accordance with those of the campus community.


The point of an established decision making process is that people accept its results even when those results are not to their liking. The values expressed by congress are often not in accordance with those of the voting community. Doesn't mean the members of that community get to ignore the laws handed down though.

At Rutgers? The pedigree of those folks is pretty damn high. If you're talking about a lesser school, you might have something, but even lesser schools try to retain their faculty, and to maintain good relations between faculty and admin. Searches cost money; it takes new people a while to acclimate to the environment; ect.


No doubt that's why we see so many tenured faculty quit without having another comparable job lined up. Oh wait, that pretty much never happens other than retirements. The vast majority of humanities professors are fungible; there are swarms of bright young PhDs from elite schools out there who'd kill for a contract, non-adjunct position, let alone a tenure track job, and the better quality the school, the bigger the swarms and the brighter the PhDs. The number of academic superstars any school risks losing are tiny by definition, and most of them are unknown outside their field anyway. Sure, it would be inconvenient for a school to have to replace most of its tenured humanities professors on short notice, but it'll never happen because the tenured folks won't walk away; they have far too much to lose.

   2288. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 16, 2014 at 05:07 PM (#4708433)
No one was materially harmed, no one's free speech rights were compromised, etc.

Left-wingers veto commencement speaker, and no one is harmed? Simply not true. Now Dr. Rice will do just fine, but Rutgers reputation as a middling university will take a slight hit, although not with the speech suppression crowd who have made it clear they are fine with ideological tests for commencement speakers, as long as they get to grade that ideological test. And the principle of free speech, which used to be as strongly supported on the left as on the right, will be just a bit weaker. But let none of the speech suppression crowd object when a speaker they like is disinvited or made uncomfortable, since they really can't argue that their own tactics can't be used by those with different views.
   2289. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 16, 2014 at 05:10 PM (#4708434)
Interesting take on Obamacare by a "prominent Republican pollster":

Why G.O.P. Will Shift to Talking About Fixing the Heath-Care Law

In response to polling data showing that the Affordable Care Act has become more popular, a prominent Republican pollster said that he expected Republicans to change how they talked about the law.

“After the primaries, expect a shift in Republican candidates’ rhetoric against Obamacare,” said Bill McInturff, a partner in Public Opinion Strategies. “Only few want to repeal the law; most want to fix and keep it,” he added.

Mr. McInturff, speaking at the annual conference of the American Association for Public Opinion Research in Anaheim, Calif., was referring to results from survey work his firm does with Hart Research Associates for NBC News and The Wall Street Journal.

Mr. McInturff said he still believed the law would hurt Democrats in the midterm campaign. President Obama’s personal ratings suffered last November after the rollout of the health-care plan. Although there has been some recovery, Mr. McInturff does not believe there will be enough time before the midterm elections to repair the damage. He added that Mr. Obama’s incorrect assertion that people could keep their health-care plan if they wanted had appeared to be particularly harmful.

“It will take two or three years for the law to shake out,” he said. “If the law is perceived as working, it will help the Democrats; if it is perceived as not working, the Republicans will benefit.”
   2290. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: May 16, 2014 at 05:11 PM (#4708435)
Are you caught up? He lost me around #110 or so


I bailed around #78, I think. The utterly glacial pace was just too much (or, I suppose more apropos, too little).

The fact that Kirkman's searing love for Rob Liefeld makes me want to see him set on fire & kicked down the nearest steep flight of stairs probably didn't help, I admit.
   2291. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: May 16, 2014 at 05:14 PM (#4708438)
You want to talk slow output, Gaiman is emulating Martin with his Sandman Overture. Anyone else reading it? It's awesome, but oy.


Not fantasy, but it took William Manchester nearly 25 years to put out vol 3 of The Last Lion. Frankly, I'd given up about 15 years ago.

edit: I see now that Manchester died in 2004. Shows how much I'd been paying attention. Anyway, Vol 3 was finished by another writer.
   2292. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 16, 2014 at 05:28 PM (#4708443)
In response to polling data showing that the Affordable Care Act has become more popular,

Actually, disapproval of ObamaCare has been remarkably stable over a long period. [Set the chart below the latest polls to "Max" and you get a graph going back to November 2009 that is quite similar to the graphs going back 1 year, 2 years, or even the latest results). Also, I doubt if we'd be seeing the endless parade of exemptions, exceptions, postponements, and delays if ObamaCare was actually popular. But 2014 should certainly give us a lot more information on that score.
   2293. formerly dp Posted: May 16, 2014 at 05:39 PM (#4708447)
The existence of a tiny minority who object to them does not make them controversial.
Rice had drawn protests from other campuses where she was invited for a similar functio. The Rutgers admin knew this when they invited her.
The point of an established decision making process is that people accept its results even when those results are not to their liking.
Why would protest a decision-making process that was working? When it broke-- when it produced a speaker that significant portions of the campus community were unhappy with-- people expressed their discontent with it.
No doubt that's why we see so many tenured faculty quit without having another comparable job lined up. Oh wait, that pretty much never happens other than retirements.
That's your standard? Do people routinely quit jobs without other employment lined up?
Sure, it would be inconvenient for a school to have to replace most of its tenured humanities professors on short notice
There are very few individuals in any large organization who are absolutely essential. A TT at Rutgers is a fantastic gig, for scores of reasons. I wouldn't walk away from it over something like this, and I don't know anyone who would. But Rutgers also isn't Yalevard-- they don't have the resources to hang with the big dogs when it comes to salary, and being a state school constrains their ability to offer perks. So part of their faculty recruiting and retention has to be work environment. Top talent, even in the Humanities, will always have multiple offers.
==
the principle of free speech...will be just a bit weaker.
Nah, it's fine. No one has a right to be publicly honored. Rice has plenty of other opportunities to speak, and the people who were against having her give the commencement speech stated plainly they'd be in favor of having her speak on campus in a different format. They didn't say "CONDI RICE WILL NEVER UTTER A WORD ON THIS CAMPUS!". They said they didn't think she was an appropriate choice to receive an honorary degree and to deliver a commencement speech. They provided their reasons, which you disagree with. They are entitled to express that opinion; you are entitled to express yours.
   2294. The Good Face Posted: May 16, 2014 at 05:47 PM (#4708451)
I might put Abercrombie's First Law series above Game of Thrones. GoT was just incredible for the first two or three books, and then there was a sharp drop-off. I'll have to check out The Heroes.


The Heroes is Abercrombie's finest work IMO, a must-read if you liked the First Law.

Sanderson is probably one of my favorite authors because of the way he builds a magic system. I read speculative fiction primarily for a cohesive "science." (Magic, of course, being an alternative sort of science.)


I've heard that about him, but never found his subject matter interesting enough to jump in. If you like cohesive "science" you'd probably enjoy Bakker; a significant element of the series is the slow unveiling of the metaphysics that govern his universe. Plus it's something of an anti-fantasy novel; rather than a hero rising from lowly beginnings and restoring meaning to a meaningless world, you get an anti-villain descending from exalted beginnings and destroying meaning in a world filled with it (that might be a good thing given the world).
   2295. Lassus Posted: May 16, 2014 at 05:54 PM (#4708460)
The Name of the Wind, The Magicians, Among Others, The City and the City, Autumn Bridge, 1Q84, The Windup Girl, would be the ones that come to mind quickest.

Almost half of your books for comparison are sci-fi.

Anyhow, I just can't stand outright high-minded dismissal. It will be interesting to see what Rothfuss ends up with, but I can't imagine many more books out of him, he's almost worse than Martin. Excellent writing, though.


I really tried to like Gene Wolfe but I found myself just hating the style of the prose.

The dreamy wafting style over so many hundreds of pages wears on me as well. I do like the prose, but not the style, if that makes sense.
   2296. tshipman Posted: May 16, 2014 at 06:12 PM (#4708470)
Almost half of your books for comparison are sci-fi.

Anyhow, I just can't stand outright high-minded dismissal. It will be interesting to see what Rothfuss ends up with, but I can't imagine many more books out of him, he's almost worse than Martin. Excellent writing, though.


Speculative fiction is speculative fiction is speculative fiction.

Even if I were to use your silly premise, the first five are pure fantasy.

It's not high-minded dismissal. It's having read all the stupid books and feeling increasingly annoyed by his sloppiness and lack of editing. High-minded dismissal would have been pronouncements about the flaws of the genre or about how unserious it is to read books adapted for TV.

I can't imagine many more books out of him, he's almost worse than Martin. Excellent writing, though.


Second book had Kvothe power-creep issues. He really has to be some awesome fighter? Why?
   2297. SteveF Posted: May 16, 2014 at 06:15 PM (#4708471)
There have been a number of studies that show that the presence or absence of particular words in language has dramatic effect on perceptual and cognitive tasks.

I found this discussion of the subjunctive quite interesting along these lines.
   2298. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 16, 2014 at 06:15 PM (#4708472)
Two more reviews of the Nicholas Wade book:

Stretch Genes (H. Allen Orr, NY Review of Books)

Charging Into the Minefield of Genes and Racial Difference (Arthur Allen, NY Times)
   2299. zenbitz Posted: May 16, 2014 at 06:26 PM (#4708474)
Edit: oh, and book 4 of HP wasn't bloated. That was her best work, imo. Some plot holes


4???? Well, it wasn't bloated... but c'mon -- the whole THING is a non-starter Binding Magical Contract to compete? "OK, I give up".
My kid listens to the audiobooks over and over again.... the more we listen the more critical we get. Personally 7 is my favorite (although it's a bit bloated)
   2300. Lassus Posted: May 16, 2014 at 06:41 PM (#4708483)
Speculative fiction is speculative fiction is speculative fiction.

Disagree.


Even if I were to use your silly premise, the first five are pure fantasy.

But debating it with you seems way too unpleasant, so I'll just disagree.


Second book had Kvothe power-creep issues. He really has to be some awesome fighter? Why?

There was a fun article on io9 about all the things Kvothe still has to get done in book III before the opening predictions are true.

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