Thursday, March 27. 2014
(partial list, to be updated: please provide corrections and additions):
- Start with a 2/3 supermajority, generated by a smear campaign and inciting mobs to violence
Thursday, September 19. 2013
Bravo to Professor Eva Balogh, whose Hungarian Spectrum has been selected for archiving by the Library of Congress. Eva's historic contribution -- crucial and ongoing -- to exposing and fighting back against the sinister downward forces holding Hungary in their thrall today eminently deserved this historic recognition (and I am sure there will be more): Eva, you have been a tireless critic and chronicler, drawing on your scholarly expertise as a historian, as well as personal experiance and an uncompromising ethical integrity. Végtelen hálával gratulálunk mindnyájan. -- István
Monday, July 29. 2013
How multitudes of people
can gather to gawk daily
at these magnificent, miserable creatures,
all brutally wrenched
from their devastated families
and forced to perform round after round
of cheap Skinnerian circus tricks,
for the rest of their wretched, ruined lives
in holding containers,
tormented day and night
by the bouncing echoes
from their own hopeless sonar cries,
food-deprived and "trained"
to do whatever it takes
to draw delighted cheers
from grinning crowds of humans of all ages...
Did it really require this revealing new movie, Blackfish, to open our eyes to the ugly, shameful fact that this, and all things like this, are wrong, horribly, unforgivably, wrong?
That we provide the mindless market for such heartless abuse, in order to make our children laugh, is as much a condemnation of the sociopathic spectatorship as of the merciless, mercenary management of sadistic sea circuses -- and all their land counterparts.
Perhaps the most chilling anomaly is how the "trainers" -- of whom some, clearly, "turned," eventually, after years of having been willing accomplices to the abuse of these helpless animals -- were themselves "trained" (by the management along with self-deception) to overlook the obvious, in exchange for the fees and the celebrity ("just following orders"? "being professional"?). It seems to have been various blends of venality and sensation-seeking, though some got into it naively, and then got attached to their prisoners and stayed so as to use what little leverage they had to make their fates less worse, rather than abandon them altogether. -- Or maybe that was just what they said for the camera? (I hope not.)
But most macabre of all was that some professed to have become Seaworld trainers to fulfill a dream that Seaworld itself had instilled in them as a child.
to provide sperm
for breeding more orcas
to be wrenched from their mothers
and put into entertainment servitude
for the rest of their miserable lives
to inspire more children
about the wonders of the sea
Saturday, July 6. 2013
Ring 1: 2012: Fidesz Government (i.e., Mr. Viktor Orban, P.M.) decides to use parliamentary supermajority power (yet again), this time to reduce the number of tobacco concession licenses countrywide from 40,000 to about 5,500.
Ring 2: Ostensible pretext: To reduce smoking
Ring 3: Owners of about 40,000 tobacco shops ("Trafiks") countrywide, some of them decades-old family businesses, are informed that all of them will lose their right to sell tobacco and must apply to a nationwide assessment that will distribute the 5,500 licenses that will remain.
Ring 4: The assessment takes place, and the recipients almost all turn out to be Fidesz supporters and their families, some families and individuals being awarded multiple concessions (one each to the husband and wife in one family, 9 to the cleaning lady of another family,).
Ring 5: Almost none of the original 40,000 concessionaires were awarded licenses; almost all those who did win them had no prior experience in the trade: their only common attribute was their Fidesz connection.
Ring 6: News of the outcome emerges; Fidesz denies bias: licenses were awarded to the best qualified.
Ring 7: Testimony as well as tapes emerge of the deliberations in selecting the winners, and the explicit criterion is Fidesz fidelity.
Ring 8: The public demands to see the data on the deliberations.
Ring 9: Orban uses Fidesz supermajority power (yet again), to make the data inaccessible to the public; for good measure, evidence also being systematically destroyed.
Ring 10: July 1 2013: Fidesz preparing to declare its anti-smoking campaign a great success, and to declare Hungary again a model for the rest of the world, as it is in so many other things: finance, governance, justice, constitutionality, and anti-corruption measures.
Ring 11: July 3, 2013: EU votes to put Hungary's government under monitoring for breaching fundamental rights: EU vote is bipartisan, supported by both the left and the right.
Ring 12: Orban uses Fidesz supermajority power (yet again) in a Hungarian parliamentary vote that declares the EU parliamentary vote a biassed, illegal and anti-Hungarian conspiracy of the EU Green/liberal/left under the influence of the international business and bank lobby opposed to Fidesz's utility expense rebate to Hungarian voters...
Monday, December 31. 2012
I’ve just read the timely recent observations in Hungarian Spectrum by Princeton University's international constitutional scholar, Professor Kim Lane Scheppele, as well as her earlier excellent lecture on the new Hungarian constitution (delivered at CEU nearly a year ago).
Professor Scheppele's insights were and continue to be astute. But one point on which she does not seem to be realistic is her insistence that the problem of undoing the profound damage being done in Hungary by the current governing party's electoral supermajority and its increasingly autocratic leader's use of that supermajority power can and hence must be solved by Hungarians alone.
On the contrary, Hungary’s long history of red/white polarization and scape-goating has clearly culminated, in the latest pendulum swing, in the entrenchment of the white side’s ideology — a primitive, parochial, petty, punitive and increasingly paranoid world-view — in a quackish new constitution drafted, adopted and since amended at will nearly 2000 times by the governing party's supermajority.
Undoing this systematic, cumulative and self-perpetuating damage would require far more substantial and unified internal opposition now than Hungary seems capable of mustering (including the election of a supermajority in the opposite direction, under increasingly self-serving election restrictions voted into law at will by the ruling supermajority).
If global scrutiny and support on behalf of democracy and justice are not ratcheted up dramatically, Hungary will become ever more inextricably engulfed by the opportunistic tar-baby that a plurality made the fateful mistake of embracing in 2010.
(International sanctions would certainly be infinitely preferable to an unopposed descent into dictatorship -- or to civil war.)
Friday, November 30. 2012
On Monday November 26 2012, a Hungarian MP, Márton Gyöngyösy, deputy leader of the extreme right "Jobbik" Party, called for the creation of a race-based list, on the grounds of risks to Hungarian national security.
This all-too-familiar burst of base bigotry from the Jobbik party in Hungary's parliament has deflected attention from an even more ominous event that passed unnoticed, in the very same place, on the very same day: Electoral gerrymandering designed to keep the governing Fidesz Party in power.
As Marton Dornbach points out below in his remarkably insightful commentary from the Hungarian Spectrum -- reproduced in full and slightly updated by the author -- Fidesz is just playing "good cop" to Jobbik's "bad cop".
The two right-wing parties are only distinguishable by the fact that Jobbik's hallmark is psychopathic bigotry, whereas Fidesz's hallmark is psychopathic opportunism. Both are sinking Hungary deeper and deeper, downward and backward, toward an ugly, resentful autocracy and xenophobia to which Hungary is no stranger, and from which it has not yet made the sincere effort to dissociate itself that has been made by the other nations of Europe.
Hungary has a majority of decent, fair-minded people, like every other nation in the world. It is not beyond hope that world outrage at this pair of incidents may help them to rally against these two pernicious parties, Fidesz and Jobbik, that have already done Hungary so much harm, and oust them decisively, once and for all, in the next election, despite Fidesz's shameless and disgraceful efforts to make this so much more difficult to do.
Here is some background reading on last year's symptoms of Hungary's downward trajectory already noted in this blog:
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Hungary's Philosophy Affair: Bringing It All Out Into The Open
Monday, December 19. 2011
The straw poll on whether or not to continue the American Scientist Open Access (AmSci) Forum (and if so, who should be the new moderator) is complete (the full results are reproduced at the end of this message).
The vote is for (1) continuing the Forum, under (2) the moderatorship of Richard Poynder.
The AmSci list has now been migrated to http://mailman.ecs.soton.ac.uk/mailman/listinfo/goal where the BOAI list is also being hosted.
AmSci Forum members need not re-subscribe. All subscriptions have been automatically transferred to the new host site.
The name of the list has been changed to the Global Open Access List (GOAL) to reflect the fact that Open Access is no longer just an American or a Scientific matter. It has become a global movement.
The old AmSci Forum Archives (1998-2011) will stay up at the Sigma Xi site (indefinitely, I hope -- though we do have copies of the entire archive).
The new GOAL archive is at: http://mailman.ecs.soton.ac.uk/pipermail/goal/
Below are the complete results of Straw Poll on whether to continue the Forum, and on who should be the new moderator:
AGAINST CONTINUING AMSCI:
ARIF JINHA: I believe it would be better to have one forum, the BOAI. This forum has developed a doctrinal bias defined by the values and personality of its leadership. Though the leadership is to be commended for its credibility and vigour, it is not without its blind spots. It has not always OPEN to a diversity of perspectives. AMSCI is driven by assertive and competitive advocacy for mandates over Gold OA publishing. The rush to conclusion on the right path is premature and overly authoritative in its expression, therefore it is alienating. In truth, we have only really got started with the web in the last 10 years and authority is completely flattened by the learning curve. The BOAI is much wider in its representation of Open Access alternatives, it is therefore more neutral as well as having a wider reach for the promotion of Green OA. It means less duplication and less work devoted to instant communication, giving more time to develop a rigorous and scientific approach to meta-scholarship in the digital age.
FOR CONTINUING AMSCI:
DANA ROTH: I would disagree with Arif Jinha, in that it is the 'assertive and competitive advocacy for mandates over Gold OA publishing' that make AMSCI such an interesting listserv.
Friday, November 25. 2011
In September 2011 the AmSci Open Access Forum went into its 14th year. I think I have been moderating the Forum long enough, and so I'm stepping down as moderator, effective the end of December.
Subscribers will vote on whether to continue the AmSci Forum or whether the other two OA Forums (SOAF and BOAI) are now sufficient to air views on OA.
I will of course remain active in OA and will be posting to the existing Forums (and AmSci, if it continues) and/or the OA Archivangelism blog whenever the spirit moves or the occasion calls!
Friday, July 22. 2011
Assuming the world has not gone entirely bonkers (and the US Attorney's Office has not contracted terminal wikileakimania), the charges against Aaron Swartz will be dropped...
[UPDATE (2013): Alas, they were not, with tragic results: Adam Swartz 1986-2013]
...as they have been by JSTOR once it becomes clear that he was (as I hope!) only data-mining what he downloaded, not redistributing it.
Breaking into a locked room and computer at MIT is not ethical except if something far more important and justifiable is at stake -- but Swartz will be pardoned for that peccadillo too.
Yet access to retroactively scanned journal article databases is definitely not the same sort of "primal right" as access to current, born-digital articles, where the access is willingly provided by their authors, at no cost to themselves or the user.
In other words, author give-away is not the same thing as user rip-off.
Back-scanning and archiving services may well be over-charging, substantially, relative to their expenses, and that should be challenged and remedied, but the remedy is not theft.
I hope the JSTOR downloading caper will not be conflated or even associated with the legitimate worldwide efforts by researchers to give and get open access to one another's own refereed research.
Friday, July 1. 2011
"Peter Suber: Leader of a Leaderless Revolution"
Open and Shut [& Information Today]
1 July 2011.
Congratulations to Richard Poynder for another timely, incisive and insightful OA interview.
And heartfelt admiration and gratitude to the undisputed leader of the leaderless OA revolution, Peter Suber!
…Which doesn't prevent me from mentioning two minor strategic matters!
(1) It is a good idea to recommend, as Peter does, that non-Green publishers channel any opposition or apprehension they may have concerning OA or Green OA self-archiving mandates into embargoing Green OA self-archiving instead of lobbying against Green OA self-archiving mandates.
But I don't think it's a good idea to encourage Green OA publishers like Springer (or Elsevier, or APS or any of the other 60% of publishers who are already Green on immediate, unembargoed Green OA self-archiving) to backslide into embargoes rather than lobby against Green OA self-archiving mandates!
Let those publishers who wish to lobby against Green OA self-archiving mandates do so, if they wish. The benefits -- to research, researchers, their institutions, their funders, the R&D industry, students, and the tax-paying public -- are so overwhelming that lobbying against Green OA mandates is extremely unlikely to be successful, especially regarding institutional mandates. For whereas not all research is funded, virtually all of it, funded and unfunded, originates from universities and research institutions. Anti-mandate lobbying has had some success in delaying the adoption of Green OA self-archiving mandates at the government funder level, but it has no leverage at the institutional level.
(2) The broad-spectrum, low-selectivity, pass/fail mega-journal certainly has a potential niche today (whether OA or non-OA), but not only is that not the only way, the best way, or the most economical way for researchers to provide OA for their articles (Green OA self-archiving is), but it does not provide the level of quality control that the users of the top journals in each field need and depend on: Deferring that for "postpublication" peer review is not only the equivalent of embargoing it (and with a much less certain outcome), but it deprives authors of the level of immediate scrutiny and feedback that they expect and need from today's top journals, while also depriving users of the immediate indicators of a paper's quality level.
The immediate purpose of OA is to free the entire hierarchy of peer reviewed journals, such as they are, from access-barriers for all potential users: the purpose is not to flatten the peer review quality hierarchy and wait for pot-luck thereafter!
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