Glenn Beck is leaving Fox News, but not, I'm afraid, leaving us alone.
FOX NEWS AND MERCURY RADIO ARTS ANNOUNCE NEW AGREEMENT (New York, NY) Fox News and Mercury Radio Arts, Glenn Beck’s production company, are proud to announce that they will work together to develop and produce a variety of television projects for air on the Fox News Channel as well as content for other platforms including Fox News’ digital properties. Glenn intends to transition off of his daily program, the third highest rated in all of cable news, later this year.
[...] Two of the options Mr. Beck has contemplated, according to people who have spoken about it with him, are a partial or wholesale takeover of a cable channel, or an expansion of his subscription video service on the Web.
Reports this week that Joel Cheatwood, a senior Fox News executive, would soon join Mr. Beck’s growing media company, Mercury Radio Arts, were the latest indication that Mr. Beck intended to leave Fox, a unit of the News Corporation, when his contract expired at the end of this year.
Notably, Mr. Beck’s company has been staffing up — making Web shows, some of which have little or nothing to do with Mr. Beck, and charging a monthly subscription for access to the shows.
He's not going away. Frankly, this is part of the not-that-slow collapse of the whole "tv network" paradigm that the internet is forcing. "TV' isn't going away as fast as traditional publishing, which is going away much faster than the traditional music distribution business, but it's circling the drain rapidly with streaming and direct deals for iPads and tablets and phones and all sorts of streaming.
Below, the worst of Glenn Beck, but why he's not stupid about media. Laugh and weep.
Well, my month back in Mississippi is wrapping up and it's been nice to have to opportunity to go out an eat a lot. My high end experience was going to Cochon, by the NOLA convention center for crawfish pie, smothered greens, wood roasted oysters and a brisket sandwich, accompanied by a Lazy Magnolia Southern Pecan (draft!). And while I could have happily driven down there for lunch any number of times, I didn't have to, as my small Mississippi town now has so many dining options that a month of lunches with my dad, (and, when not too busy, my brother joining us from work) hasn't exhausted them all. Po' boys and crawfish, catfish and hush puppies, pulled pork sandwiches and BBQ ribs, gumbo, jambalaya and red beans and rice with real boudin. My town also just voted to allow restaurants to serve alcohol with meals this year, so I was occasionally able to wash it down with one of the aforementioned Lazy Magnolias or something from Abita. Amazing.
The Friends of Genre Convention (FOGcon) is a literary-themed San Francisco SF/F con in the tradition of Wiscon and Readercon. Each year we’ll focus on a new theme in speculative fiction and invite Honored Guests ranging from writers to scientists to artists. We will build community, exchange ideas, and share our love for the literature of imagination.
Whether a glass-edged utopia or a steampunk hell, the city plays a central role in many works of speculative fiction. It can be an arena for conflicts between cultures, a center of learning or vice, a court of power and corruption. In its gutters and government buildings, the city reveals the values a society claims and those it actually honors. Because the city is open to everyone, it’s a place where new things can happen. No wonder it is such a rich topic for so many writers.
John Emerson's guest post raised a number of issues, but as it was talking about media and the left's relation to it, what it highlighted for me was the tendency of the Left (for certain values of Left) to always have to find a balancing point between the calling out different aspects, even if they are your allies, or waving the banner of solidarity. More sarcastically, one could say that I was wondering why the standard formation for a firing squad on the Left is a circle.
Two items came up that I think are related to it. The first is via LGM and it concerns the fact that the academic journal, Gender and Politics, refused to accept for peer review a paper about research related to questions of the LBGT community and said in the letter that it was not going to accept any research on those questions. An open letter written by an academic in the field is included.
I'll start off by saying that this is a pretty stupid thing, and I stand by that. However, in the LGM comments, one person notes that this is one aspect of a debate in a lot of areas and notes that, despite the stupidity of the above, the move from Women Studies to Gender Studies to Gender and Sexuality studies returns women to an invisible state. The commenter says "So I think there are legitimate political concerns at work here but they are going about addressing them completely incorrectly and in a way that is likely to do more long-term damage."
Another area where this manifests itself is in the question of how race is defined. The NYTimes had this Room for Debate section which discusses the question of the Education Department's new mixed race category. I don't care too much for the format, it is like a little sampler tray of opinions, but it is instructive to see who is talking about it and what they are saying. The participants are (in order they are listed, but the NY Times basically has the pieces linked in a circle, so you can start with any of them and move around) are
Of the contributors, Shelby Steele and Susan Graham (who I had never heard of) are the most enthusiastic advocates of the mixed race category. Other interesting points were raised but the simple fact of Shelby Steele advocating this deserves some attention.
Gayl Jones, an African American writer whose books I highly recommend (Corregidora and Mosquito are two must reads) once said something to the effect that diversity was simply whites way of trying to dilute blackness. It's not hard to see her point when you see Shelby Steele waving the flag of mixed race categories.
I think one reason that the Left always has these problems is that there is a constant tension between the question of having solidarity and demanding your own space. There is not a simple template to be placed on these questions to derive an answer. Each instance has to be examined for its own history and peculiarities.
Albert Camus wrote a short story entitled the Artist at Work, In the collection of Exile and the Kingdom. In it, an unknown painter finds success late in life and is unable to cope with it. He secludes himself from his family and friends and works, isolated, in his loft. He collapses, partially from exhaustion, but also because he hears the sounds of his family laughing, and life in the outside world. As he is being checked out by the doctor, Camus tells us that the painting he has locked himself away with is a canvas blank except for a small word in the center, too small to be read, except that it could either be solitaire or solidaire. So it remains.
One Thousand and One Nights (Arabic: كتاب ألف ليلة وليلة Kitāb 'alf layla wa-layla; Persian: هزار و یک شب Hezār-o yek šab) is a collection of Middle Eastern and South Asian stories and folk tales compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age. It is often known in English as the Arabian Nights, from the first English language edition (1706), which rendered the title as The Arabian Nights' Entertainment.
The work as we have it was collected over many centuries by various authors, translators and scholars across the Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa. The tales themselves trace their roots back to ancient and medieval Arabic, Persian, Indian, Egyptian and Mesopotamian folklore and literature. In particular, many tales were originally folk stories from the Caliphate era, while others, especially the frame story, are most probably drawn from the Pahlavi Persian work Hezār Afsān (Persian: هزار افسان, lit. A Thousand Tales) which in turn relied partly on Indian elements. Though the oldest Arabic manuscript dates from the 14th century, scholarship generally dates the collection's genesis to around the 9th century.
All--Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I blame Red Dead Redemption and getting the first kid off to college.
Crossposted from HuffPo.
I read Huffington Post daily, and not just because they were nice enough to allow me to blog. I like the spread of news available; it gives a good balance to other news sites.
However, I keep looking for something on a serious internal debate inside the U.S. military, which has yet to be discussed outside of the cloisters of the Pentagon--an ongoing discussion of the ability of the U.S. armed forces to disobey orders they don't like.
We aren't talking Me Lai, or Dachau, or waterboarding. We aren't talking the ethical, moral, and legal requirement of military officers to disobey orders that are unconstitutional, violate U.S. or international law, or are obviously of such crass evil to be disobeyed out of hand.
No, we are talking about an underground current in the U.S. military's officer corps, in which some officers believe that their legally elected civilian leaders can be disobeyed if the individual officer believes the order to be "immoral."
In the newest edition of Joint Forces Quarterly, Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Milburn openly states "There are circumstances under which a military officer is not only justified but also obligated to disobey a legal order."
While this might be music to the ears of some, thinking that Milburn is referring to "illegal" wars in Iraq and/or Afghanistan, that is not what is being batted around the officer corps. No, Milburn's argument is being used by the adherents of the Disobey Lawful Orders School to support resistance to the ending of Don't Ask/Don't Tell.
Well, so what? This is what. The American people, since the 1970's, have depended upon an All Volunteer military. The result has been a very professional, well-trained, and highly respected force that literally can dominate nearly any adversary on the modern battlefield with ease. However, it also created a separate professional military caste, with its own language, belief structure, and living on their isolated compounds separate from many of the issues that plague non-military communities.
Add to this that, due to misguided and short-sighted policies by many of our liberal universities, ROTC was banned from campuses and the armed forces banned from recruiting...ostensibly to show that the military would get no support from said institutions until gays and lesbians could serve openly. The result, however, has been somewhat different. Instead of military officers coming from a wide variety of educational, social, and religious backgrounds, we have a military caste that is predominantly white, Southern, evangelical Protestant and staunchly Republican.
Was this the Department of Agriculture or IBM, would we care? No, most likely not. The problem is that IBM or the DoA does not possess nuclear missiles, tanks, machine guns and warships. We have, basically, allowed for the politicization of the "managers of violence" (as said by Samuel Huntington in his classic work, The Soldier and the State).
The U.S. military today is not the military of the civil rights era--we cannot expect, as Ike, JFK and LBJ did--to send in the 101st Airborne to enforce laws that some officers found distasteful and "immoral," such as the right to an equal education and the end to racist terrorism.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is a real problem. We can discuss a senatorial candidate's teenage witchcraft for fun and profit, but things suddenly get very real and very dangerous when we discuss the possibility of armed troops disobeying the orders of the President. When I taught military history at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, I would tell my students that "the first time a tank shows up on the Capitol steps and begins spraying machine gun bullets, our democracy is over."
It is my opinion, after 24 years of military service, from the rank of buck private to Lieutenant Colonel and after three wars, that the role of the professional officer is to obey the "orders of the President and the officers appointed over me." It has been that way since the Roman legions--you take the King's Shilling, you obey the King's orders. Our entire civil-military structure is based upon that one truth--that the orders of civil authorities are the highest form of authority. If an officer disagrees with a policy or order, they have the right to resign their commission and take the issue public. They do not have the moral, ethical or legal right to disobey but still wear the uniform.
The military is not the same as the other branches of government or the civilian world. They have their own laws, rules and system of control. You can, for example, commit adultery in the civilian world, and your punishment (if any) will happen in divorce court. In the military, you go to jail. The same for a broad swath of transgressions that would see minor in civilian life--from littering to going to an off-limit bar. Why? Because the system requires absolute obedience to authority--and it requires it most of all from its senior officers.
I leave you with this essay, written by Major General Charles Dunlap (USAF, Retired) many years ago. For the good of our Republic, let us hope that the warning of Major General Dunlap, and others, is heeded well before we listen to the words of Lieutenant Colonel Milburn and his ilk.