Saturday, November 30, 2013

Diagnosing the Fiasco

The latest issue of The New York Review of Books has a well-reasoned and highly readable analysis of the fiasco associated with the launch of It is written by Sue Halpern, no stranger to the complications that arise at the interface between the objective world (such as the world of computer software) and the social world (such as the world of the intended users of that software). The title of her article could not be more apposite: "The Flop."

This is definitely a case in which failure has many parents. It was not, as I had initially assumed, simply another case of the failure of the Federal Government to engage people with a sufficient skill level to take on a project that required designing and implementing both software functionality and a usable interface to that functionality. Ultimately, it was a far more complicated story of the failure to manage properly a highly complex software development project with the misfortune to be embedded in a complex of both inadequate funding and an ideologically crippled government incapable of addressing problems associated with both funding and people management.

Halpern makes a convincing case that just about every aspect of this project was riddled with incompetence. Furthermore, while she never mentions it explicitly, her analysis is likely to remind many readers of the sign that President Harry Truman had on his desk stating simply:
The buck stops here.
In other words all of her accusations of incompetence can ultimately be directed to a single desk, and that is the desk in the Oval Office.

A Serious Category Error

There was an interview on BBC World Service radio a couple of days ago, which seems to have been conceived to provide some enlightenment over what seems to be a monotonically increasing number of instances of public unrest over discontent with government decisions and actions. I was unable to catch the name of the interviewee, but he made one casual remark about the fact that most countries in the developing world did not really "get" the idea of democracy or the concept of free markets. By lumping these two concepts in a single sentence, he seemed to be implying that the two were related.

I would argue the opposite, which is that they are at cross-purposes. The ideal of participatory democracy is one in which all voices are equal, which means that all decisions are subjected to "the wisdom of the crowd." Cooler heads going all the way back to Socrates (at least as he was depicted by Plato) recognized that this system has some key flaws, which is why most successful efforts at a constitutional government have tried to address those flaws without abandoning the concept of general public participation.

On the other hand, the free market mentality is not about a level playing field. Rather, it is about a worldview that equates wealth with power and encourages a brutal Hobbesian approach to the acquisition of wealth. Within this model, the power of wealth may then be applied to manipulate the public, thus undermining the principles that motivated the formation of a constitutional government. The current state of affairs in our own country would suggest that the power of wealth has succeeded in rendering just about every aspect of government ineffectual to the point of irrelevance.

When we try to tell the rest of the world that we live in a democracy, we are really only talking about a flimsy cardboard stage prop erected to conceal that we now live under a plutocracy.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Classical Music Victimized by Wrong-Headed Misrepresentation (again)

I am in total agreement with Ivan Hewett's latest article for the London Telegraph, in which he launches a no-prisoners assault on a new recording entitled Now That’s What I Call Relaxing Classical. Indeed, I am so sympathetic that I cannot resist throwing some fat into his fire. It concerns an allegedly "classical" radio station (whose call letters I have forgotten, probably for the benefit of all involved) that used to describe itself as providing "music that gives your mind a rest!"

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

ZDNet Serves up its own Turkey

In what may go down as the ultimate act of self-reference, today's ZDNet article entitled "2013 in Review: Tech Turkeys of the year" was presented through a truly hostile user interface based on the worst possible layout.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I Can Haz Better Lerning?

BBC News Technology Reporter Carolyn Rice filed a story about how images of cute cats may have mnemonic value. Apparently, researchers have been investigating the hypothesis that memory retention is enhanced when what needs to be memorized is associated with a cute cat photograph. Here is a screen shot illustrating the principle being applied to learning Spanish:
Note the advertisement on the right.

Innovative Thinking about Revenue

Budget-conscious Republicans may wish to know that the French have taken an innovative approach to creating a revenue stream, as reported today on the Al Jazeera English Web site:
A convicted heroin dealer has been presented with an $108,000 tax bill on his earnings by French authorities, who even gave allowances for personal consumption of the drug and travel expenses.
The dealer, currently in prison in Nancy in eastern France, recently received a demand for payment based on his supposed 2008-11 earnings, his lawyer Samira Boudiba told the AFP news agency.
"He is being treated as if he was a small businessman - it is quite extraordinary," Boudiba said. "How can you tax an activity that is completely illegal?" she said, adding that she was seeking a review of the demand by France's Constitutional Council.
The tax demand received by the prisoner includes a remarkably detailed evaluation of the dealer's likely income and "allowable" expenses, according to the lawyer.
It notes: "Your personal consumption has been evaluated at four grammes per day, which can be deducted from your sales."
It goes on to state that since the dealer's main supplier was based in Namur in Belgium, a total of $2700 a year in travel expenses could be classified as a deductible expense.

Monday, November 25, 2013

An Inconvenient Truth about Making Music

I have been reading Leonard Slatkin's book Conducting Business. The other day I came across a great sentence in which Slatkin compared symphony orchestras to Major League Baseball teams:
Of course, the big leagues are about making money, whereas the orchestras are about trying to lose as little as possible.
Reading this was hardly a surprise, but it made me think. I happened to be teaching at the University of Pennsylvania when the Wharton School of Business launched their arts management program. Thanks to a friend, I had the good fortune to sit in on some of the classes being offered under this specialization. I do not think I can recall that sentence coming up in any of the classes I visited. Indeed, I would be inclined to believe than any mention of losing money violates some fundamental article of faith at Wharton, or any other business school for that matter.

I would therefore be bold enough to suggest that the management of a performing arts organization requires a mindset that differs significantly from one required to manage a leading business venture, particularly when that venture "goes public" and has to worry about shareholders more than customers or employees. Every now and then I hear some grumbling about how adding arts management to the business school curriculum has made things worse, rather than better. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that the profit motive is really out of place in the performing arts. It is not that the performing arts choose to lose money; but, because they will always appeal to a rather limited body of "consumers," the possibility of profit is, at best, very slim.

There is no doubt that every performing arts organization needs at least one bean counter, even if that person is there for the sake of "just getting by." However, counting the beans is an abstract process that has nothing to do with why people are motivated to go into the performing arts in the first place. From that point of view, I would suggest that the very concept of "arts management" is inconvenient, if not dangerous, to those work practices without which the performing arts would not exist.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Something Positive (for a change)

The 50th anniversary broadcast of The Day of the Doctor has now been officially recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records. Here is how the news was reported today by the London Telegraph:
Last night's episode of Doctor Who has received a Guinness World Record for the world's largest ever simulcast of a TV drama.
The special 50th anniversary show set a new world record after being broadcast in 94 countries across six continents following a massive global campaign.
The Doctor Who episode had an average audience of 10.2 million in the UK, which was among the biggest overnight ratings since the programme was rebooted by the BBC in 2005.
In addition to the TV broadcast, the episode was screened in more than 1,500 cinemas worldwide, including in the UK, US, Canada, Latin America, Germany, Russia and Scandinavia.
While I am more of an occasional dabbler than a rabid fan, I was glad to see that today's papers had something closer to good news to offer for a change. There is something to be said about that many people willing to loose themselves in an elaborate narrative of quirky witticisms about the space-time continuum as an alternative to tuning out the world with a pair of earbuds.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Another Thought about Peter Maxwell Davies' Criticism of Educational Systems

I was talking with a colleague about the piece I wrote on Monday, in which Sir Peter Maxwell Davies expressed concern over the number of British youngsters who had never heard of Ludwig van Beethoven. This time I am more interested in the fact that they also never heard of William Shakespeare or Charles Dickens. I remembered that, at the beginning of last month, I had been put off by a composer whose songs sounded as if all he had done was figure out how to match notes to syllables without showing much apparent interest in the text itself. The corollary of never having heard of either Shakespeare or Dickens is that one is also totally devoid of any experience of reading what those authors wrote. Ultimately, what I was complaining about last month was a composer who had apparently not taken the trouble to give serious reading to the poems he was setting to music. Where such "music" is concerned, one had to wonder why a composer would bother to write songs in the first place.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Sir Tim Gets it Wrong Again

Once again the Technology division on the BBC News Web site seems to be providing Sir Tim Berners-Lee with a bully pulpit. This time he is speaking out against surveillance. An article introduced yesterday began with the following summary:
Web creator Sir Tim Berners-Lee has warned that the democratic nature of the net is threatened by a "growing tide of surveillance and censorship".
I assume that the quote marks refer to what Berners-Lee actually said. However, on the basis of his past remarks, I suspect that he believes in "the democratic nature of the net." This would be a dangerous misconception. As it now exists, the Internet is probably the closest instance we have of a viable anarchy. As I observed last month, the very concept of governance is about as alien to the Internet community as you can get. At best the concept receives occasional lip service, but that kind of babble shuts down as soon as any questions about drafting a constitution arise.

In the physical world I am just as glad that I do not live in an anarchy. I may not like much of what government does, but I know that I would like things even less if government were entirely eliminated. In the early days of the Internet, anarchy did not seem to be too risky, since control resided in the hands of those with the necessary technical competence, whose sense of governance involved little more than common sense. These days anything I do on the Internet I do with caution. Common sense no longer prevails, and it is easier for more people to exercise power in more destructive ways. Indeed, anarchy is now so firmly established that the prospect of reining it in through governance is little more than an idle dream. It is about time for Sir Tim to wake up and start smelling the virtual Molotov cocktails!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Smarter the Technology the Dumber the People

It is hard to read the news these days without being overwhelmed by stories whose key actions can be attributed to ineptitude. Whether it involves software development by drones who know how to use fancy automated tools but lack any basic understanding of how code actually works, slaves to CRM systems who misread the input and sign up health insurance for the family dog (whose name was given as the answer to a security question), or a pilot who lands his large-economy-sized 747 at the wrong airport and can't take off because the runway is too short, it would seem that relying on "advanced technology" is creating a new culture of incompetence. E. M. Forster predicted that support technology would break down because people would become so dependent that they would forget about principles of maintenance. However, he failed to consider the possibility that "smart technology" would erode cognitive capacity to the point where people would do dumb things with it. In the spirit of Yogi Berra, one might say that, if Foster were alive to witness the direction his prediction actually took, he would be glad that he is dead!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Representative Word of the Year

Towards the end of every calendar year, the division of Oxford University Press responsible for the publication of dictionaries declares a "word of the year." According to the Associated Press account of the annual selection, the chosen word "best reflects the mood of the times." For those who have not yet seen that report, this year's word is "selfie." Presumably, "the mood of the times" is that, while the economy has not yet recovered with any substance, our capacity for self-indulgence is back up to snuff again!

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Wrong Diagnosis for the Right Illness

I just finished reading an article by Simon Johnson that showed up on the Web site yesterday afternoon under the headline:
Queen's official composer: youngsters are ignorant of classical music because of 'elitist' attitude
The composer in question is, of course, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, who has taken a variety of strong positions over the social dimension of how we experience music. In this case he happened to be endorsing the violinist Nicola Benedetti, who believed that the school curriculum should include detailed analyses of the symphonies of composers such as Ludwig van Beethoven, Jean Sibelius, Antonín Dvořák and Gustav Mahler. Personally, I suspect that Benedetti was following my favorite of Brian Eno's Oblique Strategies, "Go to an extreme, come part way back;" but her rhetorical strategy may have been necessary. Maxwell Davies reinforced her point with the observation that "hundreds of thousands of British youngsters" have never heard of Beethoven. He then went on to note that the same is true of William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens. He thus envisages as future generation of a "vacuous celebrity culture and inane talent shows" (his words cited by Johnson).

Maxwell Davies attributes the cause to a government policy that sees "classical music as an elitist fringe activity." This may be true, but I am not sure that it is a diagnosis of the condition. Benedetti may have hit closer to the mark in the following observation:
Music can be fun and enjoyable, but it also provides a way to go as deep as you can into our history and our understanding of humanity.
As I have argued in the past, there are prevailing sources of authority in both government and business that simply do not want to have a population capable of such "understanding of humanity." They simply want a population of consumers that will rush out to buy every bit of stuff dangled before them as a result of operant conditioning, rather than any extended efforts at reflection. That population is well conditioned by "celebrity culture and inane talent shows," which never rise above the level of visceral instincts. What Benedetti see as a virtue of the study of listening to and analyzing music, the Lords of Consumerism see as a Cardinal Sin. The issue is not one of whether or not the activity is elitist but of whether it encourages one to seek out a path different from that of the manipulated masses.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Is Google Making the Next Generation Stupid?

Today's news (which I read as reported by Lance Whitney for CNET News) about Google Play for Education should be taken as a warning that it is probably time for anyone who takes education seriously to return to Nicholas Carr's provocative article for Atlantic Monthly entitled "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" There are a variety of different ways to interpret Carr's thesis and the evidence he submits to warrant his claim. I have written about many of them since the article first appeared. The one that concerns me the most after reading Whitney's article involves Carr's claim that Google is eroding our reflective capacities.

To appreciate the extent to which Carr's claim will apply to future, rather than just present, generations, we need to consider not only what Google Play for Education offers but also what it fails to offer. The former has been fairly summarized by Whitney as follows:
Starting Wednesday, Google Play for Education will be included on the Nexus 7 through the Google in Education program. Google Play for Education offers teacher-approved apps for students, educational videos, and books for those in grades K-12. Teachers can search for approved apps based on grade level and other criteria, buy them via a purchase order, and then deploy them to their students.
The critical part of this description is that the Nexus 7 is the platform. This device is a tablet. Whatever virtues it may have as a reading device, it may be the worst possible technology to cultivate the practice of writing. I mean this in the most general sense of that task: not only assembling words into well-formed sentences but also all the different dimensions of background research (even the most modest of them) that go into figuring out what you want those sentences to say in the first place. Even at the elementary school level, this can (and, by all rights, should) involve practices such as working with multiple sources in an environment in which those sources are conveniently at hand while the writing is taking place. From this point of view, the Nexus 7 is woefully inadequate. Even when the student is reading, it is the worst possible device for allowing the consultation of other material as part of the practice of "active reading."

I would therefore modestly submit that Google Play is not "for Education" but simply for getting kids as hooked on consumerism as their parents already are, dutifully prepared to salivate over technology toys rather than acquiring a toolkit of cognitive skills that will be necessary to reflect on the prevailing problems of the world and then act on them in any meaningful way.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

David Gewirtz Gets a Brand-New Mac without Mavericks

Reading David Gewirtz' DIY-IT post on ZDNet this morning quickly established itself as a working definition of Schandenfreude. The premise behind his story is as follows:
As I mentioned yesterday, I ordered a brand-new, highly maxed out iMac directly from Apple. I waited until after the October 22 Apple event because I wanted to base my decision on the iMac vs. the Mac Pro on as much information as possible.
However, when he fired up the About This Mac window, he discovered that his OS X Version was 10.8.4 (which, as those who follow these things know, is not even the latest version of Mountain Lion).  The Schadenfreude really kicked in with this sentence (including the bold font of the original):
I'm still waiting for Mavericks to download from the Mac App Store.
This led to the following punch line:
Apple's attention to detail is supposed to be legendary. Maybe not so much anymore.
I rather like that word "legendary," since, it most circles, it tends to connote long-held beliefs in things that are not necessarily true. There is, of course, an "Apple of legend" rooted in the announcement of the Mac with one of the best-remembered television commercials of all time. This happened before many (most?) of today's Apple customers were born. Since ours is a culture that celebrates its ignorance of history, that legend has been dead for quite some time. The same is now true of the mythic stature of Steve Jobs.

Gewirtz chose a good punch line. However, it is not just attention to detail that is gone. Attention to larger scale factors, such as entire operating systems it an utter mess, distinguished only by the possibility that the mess may still be less than that of any of the other alternatives "for the rest of us."

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Confidence or Con?

A BBC News report quotes Secretary of State John Kerry on the current round of efforts towards peace in the Middle East as follows:
We have six months ahead of us on the timetable we have set for ourselves and I am confident we have the ability to make progress.
Does Kerry really mean this, or is this just another example of obligatory jawboning. To Kerry's credit, the BBC report also included the following sentence:
Mr Kerry reaffirmed Washington's rejection of Israeli settlement activity as "illegitimate".
I would guess that, in this case, Kerry meant what he said. However, I have to wonder if it will have any effect. It may certainly help in getting the Palestinians to trust him as an "honest broker," which would be a significant improvement over the conditions that I last examined at the end of 2010. The problem is that it is next to impossible to believe that anyone with any power of substance in Israel will take that comment with anything other than a grain of kosher salt.

As "outside observers" we need to recognize that the Executive Branch of our government has little (if any) influence over what happens in Israel. Any influence that does exist at a governmental level derives all of its substance from the American Israel Public Affair Committee (AIPAC). While AIPAC is ostensibly a lobbying organization, we may assume that it can choose to apply its generous budget to objectives other than buying off members of Congress. Indeed, in the spirit of Charlie Wilson, AIPAC could conceivable finance operations in Israel that run contrary to any positions taken by any elected representative of our government.

Meanwhile, public opinion is rallied around the proposition that Israel must be supported because it is the only "real" democracy in the Middle East. (Note the scare quotes.)  Those who continue to embrace this proposition would do well to read Chris Hedges' recent column on Truthdig, a book review of Max Blumenthal's Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel released under the headline "Imploding the Myth of Israel." The bottom line is that what we know about Israel comes entirely from a well-financed propaganda effort and is nothing more than toxic Kool-Aid. Some might even argue that 9/11 was the first serious symptom of its toxicity, but the consciousness industry had thus far been successful in keeping those voices inaudible. Whether or not Hedges' voice suffers the same fate will be up to those of us still willing to read with an open mind.

Sometimes the Rich and Mighty Lose

Here in San Francisco the two ballot measures that would have enabled the implementation of the 8 Washington condominium project were defeated. Apparently, a majority of San Francisco voters (myself included) decided that the rich and mighty do not need another playground, particularly when it cuts off access to the waterfront, one of the best locations for those who like long walks and do not like coping with the hills. I suspect that many voters were influenced by the solid demolition of any pretensions to "public benefit" associated with America's Cup. Through Propositions B and C, many of us had an opportunity to tell the rich and mighty what we think of their conspicuous consumption; and apparently our collective voice was loud enough to be heard.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Modest Proposal for the Bicycle: A Motor Vehicle Without the Motor

Watching Heather Ishimaru's report last night on KGO-TV on expanding the bike sharing program, I found myself thinking again about the extent to which too many cyclists seem to behave as if they were not under the jurisdiction of the same "rules of the road" as motorists. I know this is a hot-button item for all parties involved (cyclists, motorists, and pedestrians). However, I also know that having a system in which bicycle riders are obliged by law (and therefore subject to punishment) to operate their vehicles responsibly to the same degree that motorists are is a major problem that has now crossed the Atlantic Ocean and is invading the United Kingdom as well as the United States.

For this reason I decided to visit the Bay Area Bike Share Web site to see what rules were imposed on members, if any. Fortunately, it was not very difficult to find what amounts to a rental agreement. This is not that different from all those agreements you encounter when you are purchasing software over the Web. In other words it is a very long body of text that just about everyone ignores. In this case I was amused to see that the Web page made use of two colors and three font sizes. It took me a while to work my way down this Web page and to finally land on the following text in the smallest of the fonts:
You represent, warrant, and agree that You are a safe and competent bicycle operator, You are sufficiently fit and physically capable to safely ride a bicycle without any risk to Your health, You are knowledgeable about the operation of a bicycle, and You are knowledgeable about the laws pertaining to bicycles operated within the Counties of San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara. Like any physical activity, riding a Bicycle may cause minor or major injuries or discomfort and may worsen or complicate underlying medical conditions or diseases.
By choosing to ride a Bicycle, You assume all responsibilities and risks for all such injuries or other medical conditions.
From a legal point of view, this establishes that the only person who needs to affirm that an applicant is fit to operate a bicycle is the actual applicant. The idea that any third party should be responsible for validating the applicant's affirmation (as is the case for a motor vehicle operator) is simply not part of the equation.

Like many, I would prefer to see fewer motor vehicles on the streets of San Francisco. On the other hand I have probably seen about as many instances of reckless bicycle operation as anyone reading this text. Isn't it about time that we take the operation of bicycles as seriously as we take the operation of motor vehicles?

Monday, November 4, 2013

From Dante to Yiddish

Antony Shugaar wrote an interesting letter about reading and translating Dante that was printed in the latest (November 21) issue of The New York Review. He establishes his credentials as "a professional translator from the Italian, and a longtime aficionado of Dante." He is commenting on Robert Pogue Harrison's Dante piece in the October 24 issue, specifically to how Dante evokes "a keening sound." He identifies the word "Ahi" in the fourth line of The Divine Comedy as an example of that sound.

The editors ran this letter under the headline "Oy!" In The Joys of Yiddish Leo Rosten insists that"oy! is not ai!" However, he says nothing about Dante or the rather singular spelling that Dante used. Could it be that the most Yiddish of Yiddish words has its roots in Dante?

When Both Parties in Congress Agree with the White House, Something Must be Wrong!

Yesterday's post was written out of a sincere effort to observe that deciding whether or not Edward Snowden is an asset or a liability is no easy matter. It is clear from a BBC News report, updated most recently early this morning, that there are many voices in Germany, in both the government and the press institutions, that have come to recognize him as an asset. Whether or not that trend is simply blow-back from the goring of a precious German ox (Angela Merkel's cell phone), it should provide our own government with issues worth considering.

Unfortunately, the current state of play seems to indicate that the prevailing view in Washington is that Snowden is a serious liability, if not a downright traitor. This has been declared explicitly by White House spokesman Dan Pfeiffer. Meanwhile, both the Democratic and Republican sides of Congress got their licks in during yesterday morning's weekly "Sabbath-Day gasbags" (as Calvin Trillin liked to call it) circuit. Unfortunately, the voice of the Democrats was Dianne Feinstein, whom, in spite of my general voting preferences, has become one of my favorite targets when it comes to any form what amounts to legislation over information. I heard clips of Republican Mike Rogers on Al Jazeera America yesterday. He was no less rabid; but I am not sure that he represented any significant form of authority, informed or otherwise. Is this circling the wagons for protection? It could also be surrounding Snowden with "men with guns" all pointed at him but just as likely to hit someone standing on the opposite side of the circle.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Should We be Biting Snowden's Finger or Looking at Where It is Pointing?

My title draws upon an expression I picked up during my student days at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It was attributed to Warren McCulloch, who was recognized, long after his death, as one of the pioneers of computing based on neural networks. When wrapped up in an intense argument, he was apparently known to say:
Don't bite my finger; look where I'm pointing!
The act of whistle-blowing often involves little more than pointing at something that "everyone knows" but would prefer to disregard. As a result, whistle-blowers are extremely vulnerable to having their fingers bitten. This is particularly the case where "national security" is involved, as I discovered in one of my posts from 2011. Now we have Edward Snowden; and, according to the news from this week, the German government is more interested in looked at where he is pointing than we are.

Thus, by way of retaliation, Dianne Feinstein, Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, decided it was appropriate to run an opinion piece in today's Chronicle under the title:
NSA's call-records program is prudence – not prying
Granted that one man's meat is another man's poison, I have to wonder just how much Feinstein knows about intelligence (in the technical sense of the word) and, more specifically, the complex relationships established in that chain that beings with "raw data" and proceeds through "information" into "intelligence," as a result of what may best be called "acts of interpretation."

Back in the days when laws about communication were being reviewed under the Clinton Administration, there was a rather ludicrous side-show surrounding what was called the Communications Decency Act. Many of us realized that this was a camel trying to get its nose into the tent of Internet censorship. It turned out that Feinstein was a strong supporter of censorship. She saw the Internet as a potentially dangerous environment. Her prime example was that one could go to the Internet to learn how to make bombs. Since this was still a time when Internet access was slow, pricey, and relatively limited, she seemed to forget that, in those days, it was a lot simpler to learn this by going to the public library.

Long before there were networks, there were clever kids hacking into presumably "secure" time-sharing system, many of whom had also figured out how to hack into the telephone company. Many of those kids were subjected to the full force of criminal law. However, in a few of the sites that had been hacked, there were someone in upper management that realized that knowing what these kids know would be useful. This seems to be the German attitude towards Snowden; and, for the life of me, I cannot figure out why we refuse to persist in our belief that the Germans might be on to something, particularly at a time when we should be trying to heal our injured relationship with them.

Friday, November 1, 2013

A Macabre (but Amusing) Juxtaposition

This week's Bay Guardian announces its cover story with the single word
on the cover. Since this is the issue for both Halloween and Dia de los Muertos, this is not surprising, nor is the grim illustration behind the word. What caught my eye, however, was the slightly smaller text below this word:
Given my current thoughts about the practice of politics in this country, I could not help but me amused.