Something to think about

To all Republicrats: If you look at the insane amount of spending out there, have you considered that this may in part be a result of this? Everyone who talks about reforming government corruption begins and ends at campaign finance reform. It may be worth it to think of how much payola would be corrupting the system if the government wasn’t hemorrhaging cash like it was suffering from financial Ebola. The price of campaigning has skyrocketed because there is a definitive value on a Congressional vote, and there is no consequence for representatives to reward their cronies. These people are already ethical bottom-feeders, and any naive reliance on campaign finance reform ignores the fact that buying a vote on the hill is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. For anyone outside the Congress, that’s enough money to find a way to skirt the law.

Perhaps, I dunno, we might enforce existing influence-peddling laws and prosecute these pay-to-play congressmen? Just a crazy thought.

Sorta like setting an oil derrick on fire to protest global warming

Boing-Boing tells us of a lil Canadian think-tank report. The Conference Board of Canada (sounds so official, I trust them already) who’re self-characterized as “the foremost, independent, not-for-profit applied research organization in Canada. Objective and non-partisan. We do not lobby for specific interests” (you know they’re independent, they said so.) had been paid by the province of Ontario to do a study on the “Digital Economy.” So they applied their foremost independent research to produce an objectively non-profitable report.

Now they might be non-partisan, or lobby for specific interests, but it seems that the report they plagiarized came from an agency that is and does.

From Michael Geist:

[The Conference Board’s] claims should take a major hit based on last week’s release of a deceptive, plagiarized report on the digital economy that copied text from the International Intellectual Property Alliance (the primary movie, music, and software lobby in the U.S.), at times without full attribution. The report itself was funded by copyright lobby groups (U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network, Copyright Collective of Canada which represents U.S. film production) along with the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation. The role of the Ontario government obviously raises questions about taxpayer dollars being used to pay for a report that simply recycles the language of a U.S. lobby group paper.

I’ve piled on plagiarists here before, but you’ve sunk to a new low if you’re plagiarizing language specifically to be alarmist about the piracy of intellectual property. So asshats all round.

Ten Commendments for writers who blog

Inspired by a couple of panels I was on at Marcon:

  1. Never post anything you wouldn’t want read by your boss, spouse, child, or grandmother.
  2. Never “correct” reviews of your work.  You can ignore them, or point out they exist, but don’t start an argument with a critic.  Even if you win you lose.
  3. Don’t pimp your work on someone else’s site unless invited to do so.
  4. Never write anything, even private e-mail, in anger.  Assume any e-mail you write will be posted on someone’s blog. (see #1)
  5. Don’t game the system.  i.e. Don’t have your fans vote you up on Amazon, Digg your site, or post glowing comments on review sites.  Any short term gains will be eclipsed when you’re found out.
  6. Never threaten legal action unless you’ve already retained an attorney who is prepared to file suit on your behalf.
  7. If you quote another blog, give credit.
  8. Accept the fact that someone is always wrong on the internet.  This cannot be fixed.
  9. Don’t insult the fans.
  10. When in doubt, post a top ten list.

Lost again

The long weekend allowed me to finally catch up and watch the season finale of Lost. I thought it was impressive, not only in the elaborate head-trip they managed to pull, but in the way it provides, like the last two finales, not just a wrap-up of the prior season, but as a setup for the next. I also liked the way the ending had echoes of the last finale. Before I go on, I must warn: MEGA-EPIC SPOILERS AHEAD.
Continue reading “Lost again”

Back from Columbus

SigningI’m back from doing the panelist thing at Marcon.  And in the picture I’m playing the author-on-display with Toby Buckell, Paul Melko, and Charles Findlay.  Charlie ended up selling way more books than the rest of us combined (the bastard).  Still a fun time, and it’s nice to hang out will fellow writers, solitary profession that this is.

For a change, a politician who is not corrupt

This does not mean the guy does not have issues. May I present, for your consideration, Andrew Mizsak, 28 year old member of the Bedford School Board, who also works as an independent political consultant. Perhaps he’s done consulting for his mom, who serves on the Bedford city council. If he has, I hope he doesn’t charge her much, she is his mom, and he’s still living in her house rent free.

Yeah, this guy’s on the school board and still lives at home. Shouldn’t school board members like, have kids or something? Not be kids?

Ok, some might say, “maybe you got it wrong, maybe his parents moved in with him?” I would have to respond by saying, if that’s the case then it is even more bizarre that the police were called in to a domestic disturbance between him and his 63 year-old dad over the junior Mr. Mizsak’s refusal to clean his room.

Let that sink in.

It gets better.

From the police report, after the cops arrived, “Andrew was sent to his room to clean it. He was crying uncontrollably and stated he would comply.”

Punchline: his dad decides not to press charges because he didn’t want to ruin his political career.

(via Weird Universe)

Or not

Well, my editorial phone call was deferred until probably next week, so space opera is deferred. This is probably a good thing, gives me a chance to concentrate on Marcon and my release party for Prophets. (When is it, you ask? Well it is 4pm on Saturday in Room 501 in the Hyatt Regency Columbus.)

Shifting Gears Again

Going to talk about Heretics with Sheila @ DAW this evening, and go over (hopefully minor) editorial rewrites. This means I have shifted from medieval werewolves back to post-singularity space opera. . .

I’m this far from writing about post-singularity werewolves. But that’s another novel.

Star Trek

Since I think I have to turn in my SFWA card if I don’t express an opinion on this movie, I went this weekend.  And well, IMHO, it rocks.  That is probably old news to everyone, and my opinion is probably no surprise to anyone who knows my history as a J. J. Abrams fanboy.  In fact, everything I’ve heard negative about this movie can boil down to being upset that it became a Hollywood summer blockbuster movie (a genre unto itself).  That, in fact, is probably the major change that was done to the franchise in this reboot.  This Star Trek has completely removed the not-so-subtle utopianism that ran through most of everything else Star Trek related.  While I may be a pariah in Trekdom for saying this, but good riddance.  It was always the weakest element of the show, after the ensemble and the action-adventure elements, the proselytizing and philosophy of the show always induced the most cringe-worthy elements.  The choices made were ones that enhanced the strengths of the original show, which was a wise decision. And I am impressed at the best use of time travel in any Trek story: as a tool to explain why the reboot doesn’t have to slavishly follow the previous 40 years of continuity.