only when it rains wallpaper, paywalling science you paid for, bringing back the magna carta and other conservative hijinx

glass, rain, muted colors

only when it rains wallpaper

Its a link-fest today.


We will always have the urge to consume more than we need, but recognizing this as a problem is the first step towards recovery. Up to a point wanting stuff, making stuff, distributing it, thinking of clever commercials to get people to buy it or the service and training to be a spec lists about stuff is not just good, it makes modern creature comforts and to some degree standards of living possible. Though western and increasingly eastern society has found that a slice of cake tastes so good, why not eat a whole one and as often as possible. So the planet is headed toward becoming the 500 pond guy the EMT’s have to lower to the ambulance on a crane.


In a bill sponsored by Reps Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Dareell Issa (R-CA) Congress Considers Paywalling Science You Already Paid For.

Should you be able to read research you’ve helped to fund? A few years ago, Congress decided this was a good idea, and approved an access policy that makes most taxpayer-funded research freely available online within 12 months of publication. This modest step toward open access — which, as I’ve written before, is vital to healthy science and science policy — has proven a huge boon to researchers and also to those of us who write about science, while leaving most publisher profits quite healthy.

Now, however, as UC Berkeley evolutionary biologist Michael Eisen relates, a proposed bill threatens to reverse this policy:

The NIH Public Access Policy has been quite unpopular with a powerful publishing cartels that are hellbent on denying US taxpayers access to and benefits from research they paid to produce…. [U]nsatisfied with feeding at the public trough only once (the vast majority of the estimated $10 billion dollar revenue of biomedical publishers already comes from public funds), they are seeking to squeeze cancer patients and high school students for an additional $25 every time they want to read about the latest work of America’s scientists.

Current access is less than ideal. If you remember a paper about something, try to retrieve it, but can’t because it was published 14 months ago. You lost your free opportunity window. Now you see it now you don’t. Your tax dollars paid for a window of opportunity not lifetime access. Not a great compromise, but not bad, publishers have to pay rent too. Now they want tax payers to pay for their kitty litter and cable as well.

New Hampshire GOP Bill Mandates That New Laws Find Their Origin In 1215 English Magna Carta. That would be an important historical document that did guarantee – in the very short time it was initially law – some rights for noblemen-landowners, though not serfs/peasants. Historians have since numbered the passages. In passage or clause 61 established a committee of 25 barons who could at any time meet and overrule the will of the King if he defied the provisions of the Charter, seizing his castles and possessions if it was considered necessary. Kind of a blessing to various political zealots if we can find some actual American barons. This might present a problem “straightaway return the son of Llewelin and all the Welsh hostages.” We already have so many laws based on that passage, more would just be overkill. The Magna Carta also said “To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice.” Conservatives view justice the same way they do the Ten Commandments, as multiple choice suggestions.

back road


Why libertarians must deny climate change, in one short take

Bruenig explains what is now the core argument used by conservatives and libertarians: the procedural justice account of property rights. In brief, this means that if the process by which property was acquired was just, those who have acquired it should be free to use it as they wish, without social restraints or obligations to other people.

Their property rights are absolute and cannot be intruded upon by the state or by anyone else. Any interference with, or damage to, the value of their property without their consent – even by taxation – is an unwarranted infringement. This, with local variations, is the basic philosophy of the Republican candidates, the Tea Party movement, the lobby groups that call themselves “free market thinktanks” and much of the new right in the UK.

It is a pitiless, one-sided, mechanical view of the world, which elevates the rights of property over everything else, meaning that those who possess the most property end up with great power over others. Dressed up as freedom, it is a formula for oppression and bondage. It does nothing to address inequality, hardship or social exclusion. A transparently self-serving vision, it seeks to justify the greedy and selfish behaviour of those with wealth and power.

Taken to its conclusion libertarians and conservatism are taking civilization back to the days before the Magna Carta. I’m in no way suggesting it as a modern remedy, but the tyranny of property owners and their Medieval absolutism eventually ended  almost all by way of violent revolution. Respecting the commons and the practical limits of property seems far less drastic and down right enlightened. Thus as an solution, doomed in conservatarian lala land.

Admitting that Obama has, slowly but surely, presided over the creation of 1.9 million private-sector jobs in 2011 is something the Republican presidential candidates are not about to do. Has anyone seen actual scientific proof, some kind of notarized certificate as it were, that Rick Santorum is not a bed bug. Rick Santorum Tried To Turn Lobbyists Into Cogs Of GOP Machine With K Street Project

Survey Sees Less Misconduct But More Reporting And Retaliation.

Employees saw less misconduct in 2011 than in previous years, but they’re increasingly reporting to others about it and facing heightened retaliation as a result, a survey found.

Corporations and the flakes with pysch degrees in Human Resources do a terrible job at mediating employee issues. Generally they do not mediate – babbling does not count. They either let the issue slide or fire someone. No one wants to do the work of figuring out solutions.

“ Remember that there are only three kinds of things anyone need ever do. (1) Things we ought to do (2) Things we’ve got to do (3) Things we like doing. I say this because some people seem to spend so much of their time doing things for none of the three reasons, things like reading books they don’t like because other people read them. Things you ought to do are things like doing one’s school work or being nice to people. Things one has to do are things like dressing and undressing, or household shopping. Things one likes doing — but of course I don’t know what you like. Perhaps you’ll write and tell me one day.
C. S. Lewis, in a letter to Sarah, his godchild, on 3 April 1949 via Stan Carey at tumblr.

How Romney’s Firm Drove Steel Plant Into Bankruptcy, But Still Profited Thanks To Federal Bailout

A Missouri steel company in which former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s (R) Bain Capital was the majority shareholder went bankrupt, laid off more than 750 workers, and had to turn to the federal government for a bailout of its pension funds in 2001, according to a special report from Reuters.

[  ]…The Kansas City steel mill isn’t the only chink in Romney’s “job creator” armor. American Pad and Paper (AMPAD), acquired by Bain in 1992, closed two plants, laid off hundreds of workers, and eventually went into bankruptcy. Several companies owned by Bain laid off thousands of workers, even as Bain made handsome profits from its investments — and boosted those profits by abusing offshore tax havens in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.

Romney, conservatism, crony coporatism, greed,

conservative at work

He does not do any actual work there, but Mittens is still collecting a pay check from Bain.

Aspiring writers might find it interesting that you will probably not come up with a new plot to add to the 1,462 known plots. Plotto: The Master Book of All Plots

In 1894, French critic Georges Polti recognized thirty-six possible plots, which included conflicts such as Supplication, Pursuit, Self-sacrifice, Adultery, Revolt, the Enigma, Abduction, and Disaster. In 1928, dime novelist William Wallace Cook, author of Plotto: The Master Book of All Plots, did him one better, cataloging every narrative he could think of through a method that bordered on madness. His final plot count? 1,462.

Remembering Judge Robert Carter

When a great man dies who has been your teacher, mentor, dear close friend, and boss when I first became a civil rights lawyer in 1963, the feeling of loss is deep, even if he was 94 years old and had lived a full and extraordinary life. Robert L. Carter was such a man.  Along with Thurgood Marshall, he carefully plotted and argued the Supreme Court cases that led to the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision that signaled the end of Apartheid in the South and open second-class citizenship all over this land.

Just as science builds on the shoulders of giants so does progress and human rights.