Current Events Rants
Here are some off-the-cuff rants about topics recently in the news:
- Though the results of the OJ Trial are disappointing,
particularly in their implication for victims of domestic violence,
I do see a couple of potentially positive outcomes.
The worst result that might come of the trial outcome would be a public movement
to eliminate defendents' rights. Make no mistake:
OJ wasn't acquitted because the criminal justice system coddles defendents;
he was acquitted because he's rich and famous.
(And secondarily, he was acquitted because domestic violence is not taken seriously.)
Another positive outcome is that soon we'll be freed from the media circus
surrounding the trial; if he had been convicted the media would be feasting upon the appeals for years.
- If police departments want to get convictions in the future,
they're going to have to clean up their acts,
and eliminate the most obnoxiously offensive officers.
- I think that the trial results will help more and more people realize
that those who are rich or famous are subject to a different set of rules than the rest of us
(and can "get away with murder").
Hopefully, this will lead to some more massive social changes.
- The V-chip is a figment of Congress' imagination.
They want to make something that controls Internet access to violent
(and probably eventually sexual and other contraversial) material.
Nothing like this even exists, but they're talking like it does.
In any case, developing it would lead to forms of censorship,
and "dumbing down" of accessible information to a
Internet acces may start to resemble network TV.
- Much of the argument against Affirmative Action
assumes that there are objective unbiased selection tools,
and that Affirmative Action interferes with these.
This argument just doesn't hold water.
- In employment, it is unusual to find a completely objective measure of ability. Employers tend to favor candidates
who resemble themselves
in terms of
socio-economics, race, and gender.
As most employers are
white middle-class males,
eliminating affirmative action will tend to foster discrimination
in favor of white middle-class males.
- In education,
many of the tools used to select the "best" students
(such as SAT or GRE scores)
have shown a clear bias against
students who do not come from white middle-class households.
(see 8/12/95 SF Chronicle article)
Eliminating affirmative action in education
is likely to create bias towards those from white middle-class households.
In addition, part of the "education" that a University provides
is exposure to different viewpoints and cultures.
The elimination of affirmative action is likely to reduce this exposure
and diminish the educational experience of the entire student body.
- A discussion
of the University of California Regents' July 1995 vote against
- The July 1995 closing of New York Newsday
by Times-Mirror Inc.
was the latest in a trend that has been happening for some time:
Newspapers and other forms of electronic communications are just businesses.
They are increasingly being bought out by large multi-national corporations.
Their only allegiance is to their bottom line.
There is less and less coverage of items of local interest.
Gone are the days when newspapers had some tie to their community,
and journalists were motivated by a desire to serve that community.
nostalgically refer to a type of journalism that has died.
(see electronic newspapers and newspaper strikes)
- For many years the
was called a "bomber" by the news media.
Why did the media suddenly begin calling him a
as soon as he distributed a lengthy tract
- The discourse over pornography on the Internet
is full of inaccuracies and mis-characterizations
(such as the
poor scholarship in the study
that Time Magazine focused its recent cover study on).
part of a larger attack on net pornography
and freedom of speech in general.
- Though the threats to free speech on the Net are serious problems,
these threats are fairly easy for Net habituees to recognize.
A problem that is less apparent is the
threat to privacy.
Government control of cryptography
(such as the attempt to outlaw software like
Pretty Good Privacy
and the promotion of a
national wiretap plan
for the Net)
have received quite a bit of publicity.
Corporate attempts to track not only your buying habits,
but your browsing habits as well
(by capturing your "clickstream")
pose severe privacy threats.
Electronic Privacy Information Center)
Return to Howard's Homepage