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Monday, May 30, 2005
By Steven L. Taylor

Ok, it ain’t perfect, but it is functional and at least close to correct.

More fixes later.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Well, I am in process of migrating to 1.5.1.2.

The template should be fixed by the end of the day.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Via the Houston Chronicle: SMU lecturer takes heat for telling blog

Earlier this month, Elaine Liner, an adjunct professor who taught writing and ethics classes in SMU’s public relations department since 2001, revealed in an online publication that the blog was hers. Liner, who writes freelance theater reviews for a Dallas weekly, also let it be known that in late March she was told her contract to teach at the school would not be renewed.

Ironic that she taught ethics.

And there are reasons why blogging about work, especially in detail, is a bad idea.

I actually do question whether the blog had anything to do with her firing–since she was not renewed in March, but didn’t go public until May. Given that most people don’t know what a blog is, the odds that the departmental admin found her blog and figured out that it was hers, and then decided to fire her over it is pretty slim.

So says SMU:

School officials said Liner was not invited back for reasons other than the blog, although they would not discuss specifics. Rita Kirk, chairwoman of the public relations department, said she wanted to move the department toward hiring more full-time faculty. Liner, listed on a campus directory as a lecturer, is still working toward a master’s degree.

Indeed, for a school of SMU’s prominence to be hiring someone sans even a masters degree to teach is pretty bad. Especially given that in a population the size of the DFW Metroplex that finding qualified adjuncts can’t be all that hard.

Indeed, her public discussion of the blog seem far more aimed at self-promotion than of fighting the good fight for free speech.

Along those lines this concluding quote isn’t very endearing:

“I heard the two words every writer waits a lifetime to hear,” she said. “Movie deal.”

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By Steven L. Taylor




James Joyner has President Bush’s Memorial Day Address and a list of Blogospheric tributes.

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Sunday, May 29, 2005
By Steven L. Taylor

Via ABC News: Wheldon Holds Off Patrick, Wins Indy 500

The best previous finish by a woman was 9th by Janet Guthrie in 1978. The story at Indy all month has been Patrick, only the fourth woman to race at Indianapolis, and Sunday was no exception.

After starting fourth and becoming the first woman to lead a lap at Indy on lap 57, she stalled the engine in the pits on her Honda-power Panoz on lap 79, falling to 16th, last on the lead lap.

In all honesty, it would be hard to care less (for me) about auto racing of any kind. However, Danica Patrick at least made for a story–that and she is on Letterman’s team.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Via the BBC: French voters reject EU charter

Almost 55% of people voted “No, with 45% against, according to final interior ministry figures.

The vote could deal a fatal blow to the EU constitution, which needs to be ratified by all 25 members states.

Wowie.

Can you say “great example of confederal government?” Yes, I bet you can. (Can you also say “not the United States of Europe”? I bet you can as well).

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By Steven L. Taylor

Via Reuters: Hariri slate sweeps Beirut poll, turnout low

Candidates led by the son of slain ex-premier Rafik al-Hariri won all the seats in Beirut in Lebanon’s general election on Sunday, a government source said.

[...]

Saad al-Hariri’s anti-Syrian bloc had already won nine of the capital’s 19 seats in the 128-member parliament before the vote because they were not contested. The source said candidates on Hariri’s list had taken all 10 undecided seats.

[...]

But voters denied Hariri the high turnout he sought in the first polls in three decades with no Syrian troops in Lebanon. Interior Minister Hassan al-Sabaa put the turnout at 28 percent.

The capital had a 34 percent turnout in 2000, when Hariri’s father, then cooperating with Syria, also swept the board.

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By Steven L. Taylor

There are two pieces on the Mobile Register’s op/ed page this moring that create an interest study in contrasts, and underscore two different visions of the state of Alabama and its future.

One, Alabama needs foreign investors like EADS is aimed specifically at oppossing a provision in a bill pending in Congress that would block the building of European-owned an aircraft assembly plant in Mobile, the other, CAFTA accord won’t be good for Alabama, in oppossed to the Central America Free Trade Agreement, on the basis that it will damage Alabama’s poultry and textile industries.

The first striking fact is that both are about globalization and its impact on Alabama, economically and politically. However, what especailly struck me is that the first piece is making an argument about the need to increase the number of investment in this state based on industry, while the second is concerned about textile and agricultural jobs–i.e., one is forward-looking, the other’s gaze is stuck in the rear-view mirror.

I wholly understand that people lose their jobs as the economy evolves, but it is also true they can gain them as well–often better ones, if a given local economy properly adapts. And while I recognize that these two op/ed’s and their subject material are not presented as an either/or proposition, it does strikes me that there are two clear streams of thought in this state. One is profoundly conservative, i.e., what we have had is good, and should be preserved and if part of what that is is textile plants and chicken farms, then that is what we should keep. Another is more progressive, which is that we, as a state, ought to be promoting industrial investment. However, given the general small-”c” conservatism (and traditionalism) in the state, coupled with the fact that agricultural interests are politically strong, we tend to find the former position being more powerful than the latter. (The fact that we are unwilling to maintain adequate public education, which is a disuasive force for outside investment, is another issue, but one that re-inforces the situation).

The irony is that with globalization, Alabama, like many Southern states, is positioned to use its own comparative advantage to attract investment. That advantage is relatively cheap labor and a relatively low cost of living/doing business, but with a population that at least has a basic education. One may, for example, be able to take a textile mill to Honduras, but one cannot build a Hyundai plant there (at least not with great ease). In plainer terms: if a company needs a place to build a manufacturing facility in a First World situation to tap into the US market, then Alabama is a potentially great place to go, as it is far cheaper than building a plant in, say, Detroit, because the cost of land, labor and so forth are cheaper here than in Michigan. As such, the government of our state should be working hard to promote such investment in our state.

Let’s face facts: a job at a manufacturing plant pays better and helps out the local economy (i.e., helps create more jobs) than does a job at the t-shirt plant or the chicken farm.

The forces that many decry as taking those t-shirt jobs out of Alabama are the same economic forces, in a general sense, that brought Hyundai (and its numerous plants factories) to Montgomery and the surrounding area. That is to say, lower trade barriers in a global economy mixed with the specific comparative advantage of Alabama vis-a-vis other locations.

The supreme irony (to me) of the Hyundai move to Alabama is that the substantial economic boon that the plant and its associated businesses have brought to the area are from a company that is based in a country that up and until recently was considered part of the Third World. That should help put Alabama’s general economy into context and make plain that our future shouldn’t be vested in textiles and poultry.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Via the BBC: Beer mat ads to recruit priests

The Church is launching a recruitment campaign that will use beermats in pubs and posters on the London Underground to promote the priesthood.

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By Steven L. Taylor

From today’s Birmingham News:

Pryor not out of the mainstream
Sunday, May 29, 2005
STEVEN L. TAYLOR

Would it shock you to learn that when President Clinton was in office that he nominated individuals to the federal bench who reflected his own philosophies and views on topics such as abortion? Would it be a surprise to learn that historically the norm has been for presidents of both parties to seek out candidates for the bench who share their basic ideological perspectives?

This is what we should expect from any president. A President Kerry would have appointed judges of a substantially different ideological tilt from those of President Bush.

The whole thing is here.

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