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The absurdities of cut-but-don’t tax in Louisiana: The governor’s latest suggestion is to increase some tuition and fees and to “develop tax breaks for businesses that donate directly to college campuses,” according to nola.com/the Times-Picayune.

budget_hub lsu(Apparently the cuts include prepositions.)

The Picayune’s reporter explains these proposals by saying that “Jindal, who is considering a run for president, doesn’t want to approve any budget-solving strategy that could be considered a tax hike by the national anti-tax advocacy groups. The governor’s restrictions require that a new tax break be introduced for every tax break that might be rolled back or shuttered in the state.”

Mission: to be adequate to destructive reality

“A. Alvarez, responding to the almost dementedly black poetry of Ted Hughes’s Crow in 1970, wrote this: ‘Hughes now joins the select band of survivor-poets whose work is adequate to the destructive reality we inhabit.’    … a kind of manifesto.

 tedhughes1

“To be adequate to the destructive reality we inhabit — not superior, not necessarily therapeutic, but adequate. Capable. Durable. There.” James Parker, Bookends, Sept. 16, 2014. New York Times Sunday Book Review. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/21/books/review/when-discussing-books-what-does-taste-have-to-do-with-it.html [I can’t find a credit for the photo, but it’s posted in several blogs and in an article in the Galway (Ireland) Advertiser.]

Chicken Little is right, this time.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/07/us/governors-tactics-at-center-of-louisiana-budget-vortex.html

Even the New York Times noticed how badly the state of Louisiana is operating. Unfortunately, the accompanying picture was of Gov.Jindal surrounded by young people thrusting their portable computers at him. (Are those things communicators or phasers?)

So many rumors and doomsday suggestions are flying around that it’s a wonder anyone here without a fat 401K can stay sane, let alone get any work done. The bill for anti-tax ideology is now due: because the state will not tax in good faith to pay for itself and its educational, health, cultural, infrastructure, and other needs for a functioning society, those functions are deteriorating, perhaps on their way to collapse. As another writer said recently, it’s easy to keep a budget balanced if it doesn’t have to pay for anything. Americans for Tax Reform and Americans for Prosperity are working hard against taxes, but they don’t need to use a hospital, state park, library, police station, school, college, or highway in Louisiana. They probably aren’t even staying in hotels and eating at restaurants, though the taxes on their rooms and meals would not stop the destruction of the public state of Louisiana.

 

the Wayback Machine

Read the article in this week’s New Yorker (January 26, 2015) by Jill Lepore about Internet archiving, the digital historical “record,” link rot, and the disappearance of the WorldWideWeb. It’s titled “The Cobweb.” How long will the magazine’s link last, I wonder?

I archived this blog a few minutes ago, but given the unreliable nature of non-profit funding, how long will even archive.org be in existence?

wayback machine

Enigma

I went to the movies yesterday. This is big news from me, because the last film I saw in its entirety was Jet Li’s Hero. Before I go back to a movie theater, I must buy earplugs.

The Imitation Game. Not the best title for the film (I would have called it Enigma), but the acting and cinematography were excellent. Direction was less satisfying, and the plot structure unnecessarily choppy, leaving the central mystery of  Alan M.Turing’s life unsolved. One nitpick: why is a woman under the control of her parents in WWII Britain wearing so much makeup?

I have started a project about the history of information technology and war, so the film did double duty as fun and food for work. It was pleasing to find in our library the 1983 book on which the film was based, by Andrew Hodges, plus a very short summary of his work, titled simply Turing (in “The Great Philosophers” series from Routledge).  Hodges’ writing seems to be as concrete, logical, and honest as Turing’s work, and more so that the reductionism of the film. I look forward to reading the book.

All this plus popcorn and a large coke! A scholar-librarian’s life is not boring, and library books are not dusty.

Resistance Is Futile?

Today’s reports that Louisiana higher education funding may be cut by one-third is striking fear into the hearts of administrators and employees. It’s absurd to eliminate one-third of higher education. Yet how have politicians and administrators responded? Not with a loud “YOU MUST BE CRAZY,” but by trying to figure out what else might be cut.

My suggestion is to sell the LSU football team to the NFL. Its price would be at least a billion dollars, since the average NFL team is worth $1.43 billion, according to Forbes magazine. The current state government has cut $673 million of higher education funding since 2007; the suggested $300-mil cut would bring the total to about a billion dollars.

As you can tell by the title of this weblog, I love the Tigers. But cutting more college and university budgets won’t solve the budget problem, and it would create a far more severe one. A less dramatic solution is to reenact the Stelly plan.

Send your ideas to the governor or to your state legislators. Act now.

Am I Charlie?

Violence is a failure of reason, a moral error, a sin, an ineffective last resort for the will to power, a cause for fear and a spur to courage.

I want to be as fearless as the French weekly Charlie Hebdo. “All is forgiven,” says its cover after the attack. But violence itself cannot be forgiven.

 American Library Association (ALA) President Courtney Young’s statement  cites the organization’s Code of Ethics and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in affirming the need for freedom of speech without fear of dangerous reprisal, as she “condemns in the strongest possible terms yesterday’s attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris and the deaths of the twelve people there.”

707192-une-charlie hebdo cartoon.

In a time when libraries, journalism, speech and reading are being commodified into vehicles for advertising and commerce, I am pleased and honored by the official position of the American Library Association. Although I don’t care for ugly cartoons and crude humor, I do care for courage to speak truth to power.