Here are some things that I read recently, and some thoughts on those things.
This was one of the most interesting things that I read in 2015, about murders in Chicago, and the efforts of students and faculty at Northwestern University to exonerate the man convicted. I think that it highlights a lot of problems with our society and our criminal justice system, and also gives me a new perspective on some people at NU (while I was there). The people involved are really interesting, and it’s basically impossible to predict how this story would end from the beginning. I highly recommend reading this one.
Here’s another thing from 2015 that I found to be really interesting. It makes some interesting points about how politics works in the US, which is probably just basic Political Science 101, but for some reason it was news to me. And, rereading it, I can’t quite get those ideas to stick in my mind. They are really counter-intuitive. Another interesting thing about this is that apparently Tim Urban has a blog and exemplifies nerd culture. So that’s a thing. I don’t know what it means that we live in a society with essentially no people who are moderate, and no people who are independent. But I suspect that it’s bad.
I read The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck while I was traveling. I liked it, although the hip dialog felt painfully dated, and not in a fun Jane Austen sort of way. But, y’know, styles change with the times, etc., etc. It was an excellent book, though, especially because of how well Steinbeck distills a complex social problem into just a few characters, a few scenes, and a few bits of spare dialog.
I’ve been reading things about the people who are occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. What a mess. My take on it at this point is that some people had a legitimate complaint about the government going too far in prosecuting people, and adhering too closely to mandatory minimum sentencing. This article from The Atlantic did a good job with that. But I am really disgusted that when people peaceably assemble in this country, they are often met with state-sponsored violence (e.g., protesters in Ferguson, Occupy Wall Street), but when protesters show us armed, and commit crimes, no one does anything. Yet. I’m hopeful that there will be some arrests, some fines, and no violence. The birding lawyers should be able to take care of that, thank goodness. And at least old wrestlers are trying to keep things in order, thank goodness. Okay, last thing, just some comments from the locals.