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Steve Evil
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Postby Steve Evil » Mon Jun 19, 2006 12:55 pm

David Loftus wrote:Weller's book (note spelling, anyone who's looking for it) .



Uhm, yeah. I meant Weller. That is, Weller. With an R.

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FrankChurch
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Postby FrankChurch » Mon Jun 19, 2006 6:47 pm

Loftus, I am anything but a political snob; where the heck have you been man? I want a plumber or union construction worker to be President; Hell, I don't even like the idea of having a President, especially, since we have made the Prez some kind of annointed king. Hell, I'd take Hugo Chavez over Bush any day and Sunday.

I just don't buy into the whole bit about everybody having a valid point. Not everybody has a valid anything. Cartesian Common Sense rules me like a metronome rules Stevie Wonder's head bobs.

Just get a sense of humor David. Not everything is black and filled with scary spiders.

My simple critique on everything political:

1. Economy--Abolish Capitalism, replace it with Parecon, where the worker controls and manages his or her own work. Nobody owns private land, except for housing. Workers meet in democratic councils; everything from wages to days off to who does what at what time are voted on. Majority rules, but there is no boss, no leader, everybody has an equal say, and people are treated fairly, not like they are cogs in some vast machine.

2. War policy--International law based on mutual respect. International criminal court, that would rule fairly on any infraction of international law violations. America and Israel would not be ducking their responsibility to the world. War would have to be voted on by an international defense council, not just the UN. Any violation of international law would make any invasion null and void. Imperial adventures would be a thing of the past. A country can defend itself from direct attack, but that's it.

I'd post more, but I have a life..hehe

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Postby Duane » Mon Jun 19, 2006 7:03 pm

Workers meet in democratic councils; everything from wages to days off to who does what at what time are voted on.


Yep, that's exactly what I want: some pinheaded little wanna-be proletariat group of dictators telling me when I can relieve myself or take a day off. Last I checked, immigrants were risking their lives crossing shark infested waters and 120 degree deserts TO GET AWAY FROM THAT CRAP!!

Ah self-determination. Gotta love it. Or (in your case, apparently) not.

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Postby Eric_Martin » Mon Jun 19, 2006 7:10 pm

Frank suffers under the delusion that the "workers" are all eager, nascent political advocates with valid opinions and sincere desires to make the world a better place.

Power to the people inevitably results in dictatorships, usually vicious ones. When the rich elite run the show, things are generally more peaceable.

When you say things like "a plumber should be president," it forces everyone else to ignore you, since a plumber is not qualified to be president. He (or she) is qualified to fix toilets and leaky sinks.

It's finally a fear of individual success that drives this kind of philosophy. Let's make everyone equal, whether they work for it or not.

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Postby Eric_Martin » Mon Jun 19, 2006 7:29 pm

And before we get into why Bush is qualified to be President, consider that for starters, he was governor of Texas, one of the largest states in the country and one of the largest economies in the world.

Whatever one thinks of his politics or philosophies, that type of elected executive experience and administrative management background immediately makes him more qualified than any plumber, construction worker, or webderlander to be President.

But please, Frank...run. We talk about Ann Coulter all the time, but she's just words. I don't see Ann doing anything but selling babble. Actions are what count, and unlike George Bush, you haven't taken any politically.

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Postby Moderator » Mon Jun 19, 2006 8:37 pm

Eric -

I have to disagree with you on a major point. While yes, Bush was governor of Texas -- the second largest economy in the US (California's economy is larger than all but the top 7 national economies in the world, $1.62T trillion (as of 2005), and is responsible for 13% of the United States 13 trillion dollar gross domestic product (GDP). Texas is $982.4 billion, the second highest in America, or less than 2/3 of California), the governor of Texas enjoys considerably less power (per the Texas Constitution) than does the California governor -- and I would submit that Governor Arnold is absolutely unfit to become president on levels above and beyond his citizenship.

A good manager does not make for a good president of almost any company in existence. And Bush was (and IS), demonstrably a poor manager at best. Being governor of Texas may or may not make him more fit, but it depnds more heavily on his abilties and record than on simple possession of the job.

More to the point: in a historical perspective, Bush was unqualified when he took office, and has demonstrated this repeatedly during his term. History will not only judge him, but will judge us as the society that put him there.

I'm just saying...
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Postby David Loftus » Mon Jun 19, 2006 9:10 pm

_Slipping Into Darkness_, a brand-new police procedural thriller by Peter Blauner, an author I had not encountered before. My wife passed it along The cover has a big splash quote from Stephen King ("One of the best books I've read in a long, long time"), but it's not that fabulous.

Good storytelling, not that great for writing. (Blauner and his publishers commit a VERY common error in misspelling "Juilliard" on p. 69; the odd American pronunciation of the school's name leads people to drop the first "i" all too often.) But I'm enjoying the story well enough. Nice easy break from the De Kooning bio and Pamuk's _Snow_ (which isn't as dense or hard as I was expecting, anyway).

Any one of Michael Dibdin's Aurelio Zen novels wipes the floor with the Blauner, though.
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus

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Postby Eric_Martin » Mon Jun 19, 2006 10:09 pm

Steve, I'm not sure how Arnold would perform in the White House. My guess he is more centrist than Bush (and he certainly doesn't sop to the religious right) so philosophically he might suit me better. And his wife is hotter too.

But whether or not Dubya or the Gropinator could or do make decent Presidents, both are eminently more qualified than anyone Frank has ever put up as a suggestion. That includes Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky, or rank-and-file members of the electricians local.

Indeed, if history has taught us anything, is that when people with no political or executive experience hold high power, disaster is usually the result. And while Bush may be a dunderhead, and his foreign policy a violent sham, life is not very horrible in the States right now. Considering any random alternative, such as Italy, Bolivia, or Namibia, it's certainly about the best place to live. Sometimes reality rears its ugly head.

Pipe-dreaming for a worker's paradise is something I thought went out of vogue with Mao, but I guess not everyone has been adequately instructed in history.

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Postby Moderator » Tue Jun 20, 2006 9:39 am

We need a separate category on the Forums marked Politics...

Back to Reading: I have a question regarding authors and success, but first some background.

I'm rereading, as referenced above, Piers Anthony's Of Man and Manta series, starting with OMNIVORE. It's an excellent book, vividly written with excellent characterization.

Anthony struck publishing gold with his Xanth books, which were themselves fairly good for the first three or four of them, but he keeps treading back to the trough book in and book out.

I don't begrudge authors building upon a success by creating a series, but to date there are something like 25 books in this one.

The question: At what point does the writing take a backseat to the phenomenon and at what point does a reasonably talented writer move on to something a bit more challenging?

Just fodder for thought....
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Postby Duane » Tue Jun 20, 2006 10:31 am

We need a separate category on the Forums marked Politics...


We may occasionally stray beyond the lines ("who, US?" ;) ), but we're pretty good about getting discussions like this one back on track.

I've been reading Allen Steele's Coyote series. I have the first two in paperback (Coyote and Coyote Rising). If you've missed his series of stories in Asimovs, I definitely recommend these two books, which are collections of the stories (all interconnected).

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Postby Eric_Martin » Tue Jun 20, 2006 11:18 am

>We need a separate category on the Forums marked Politics... <

You're the moderator, pallie. What, you thought it was just sifting through posts to while away your evening? Off the duff you go, create the thread, and cut and paste.

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David Loftus
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Postby David Loftus » Tue Jun 20, 2006 11:18 am

Barber wrote:I don't begrudge authors building upon a success by creating a series, but to date there are something like 25 books in this one.

The question: At what point does the writing take a backseat to the phenomenon and at what point does a reasonably talented writer move on to something a bit more challenging?



Depends on the writer and the books.

I'm sure there are plenty of series out there that are hardly worth reading from the git-go; others peter out after a couple volumes; a bare few (I'm thinking once again of Michael Dibdin's Aurelio Zen mysteries, so far; have read too few skiffy series to be able to name a solid, long-running one) manage to be strong every single time.
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus

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Postby Moderator » Tue Jun 20, 2006 11:34 am

(Amendment to above, according to that irrefutable source, Wikipedia, there are 30 Xanth books.)

David -
Actually, Frank Herbert's Dune books, Asimov's Foundation and Empire and Robots novels and shorts, McCaffrey's Dragon tales, as well as Scott Card's Ender series are all examples of five or more consistently good extended series.

(These adamantly do NOT, BTW, include those books written by other authors in the same universes, only those by Herbert, Asimov and Card.)

There are undoubtedly others, but they're not leaping to mind as quickly. But 30???? That seems to be less creative than both indulgent and greedy. IMHO, of course.

SB
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Postby markabaddon » Tue Jun 20, 2006 2:06 pm

The first Xanth book is the first adult book I ever read and I loved it. I would say that the first 4 books were all well done and stories that were interesting. After that, I think he was just in it for the money, as he uses the same shtick over and over and the characters devolve into caricatures.

I just had a reading experience that really pissed me off. Just finished Joe Haldeman's "The Coming". Haldeman does an excellent job in describing both the science behind some of the astronomical observations and the socio-economic climate of an America about 50 years from now. He sets up this mystery about who sent this message from 1/10 of a light year away and carries the story very well until the end. When he reveals who sent the message, I felt completely betrayed and felt like screaming "that was it, that was what was behind this" and not in a good way.

The ending makes absolutely no sense, and he leaves a bizarre plot point open at the end, related to who sent the message, that completely contradicts other plot points in the story.

It felt like a cheap ending to me, and one unworthy of someone whose writing is generally top notch.
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Postby JohnG » Tue Jun 20, 2006 2:35 pm

It felt like a cheap ending to me, and one unworthy of someone whose writing is generally top notch.


Hate to say it but this is an opinion that could be applied to a *lot* of writers who went back too often to the old well. Niven(and Pournelle, I suppose) springs to mind, as does Heinlein.


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