A well-written and persuasive argument for more rational thought in how society approaches the question of free markets vs regulation. The author's reA well-written and persuasive argument for more rational thought in how society approaches the question of free markets vs regulation. The author's recommendation falls squarely on the side of more regulation, based on the concept of maximizing total benefit across all members of society. Too bad no one that makes US policy is likely to read it and take it seriously, since there's no incentive in our political system to actually maximize the total benefit to society over the narrow interests of a particular law-maker's re-election constituency....more
Very interesting study! The book is very well laid out and the data is presented well. Clearly the results are going to be more palatable to the politVery interesting study! The book is very well laid out and the data is presented well. Clearly the results are going to be more palatable to the politically conservative, but I think everyone who reads this will find useful information, regardless of political persuasion.
The numbers and conclusions about the amount of liberal-leaning people in the media is very convincing. 93% supporting Democratic candidates is a huge tilt! The supporting information showing how this impacts media bias is convincing as well. The overall argument is that the majority of the media is not intentionally biased, but that the bias is there nonetheless, and the data presented certainly seems to support this.
The only major conclusion reached in the book that I'm not sure I agree with is what a "no media bias" America would look like. The logical argument is well laid out as it relates to the media bias, but I think there may be some additional factors not taken into consideration. Media bias isn't the only factor in the movement of voters on the liberal/conservative continuum.
I can certainly understand how anyone with liberal-leaning political views would be hesitant to pick up this book. But I think they'd be better off for doing so. It will give you a better understanding of why the "liberal media" is still a common phrase, and perhaps also a bit of a window into what things are like from the conservative viewpoint....more
Meh. If this had been a book set anywhere other than Pern (or other much-loved sci-fi/fantasy world), I probably wouldn't have finished it. The characMeh. If this had been a book set anywhere other than Pern (or other much-loved sci-fi/fantasy world), I probably wouldn't have finished it. The characters are sappy, there's very little dramatic tension, the time travel meme is simultaneously way overused and limited in arbitrary ways, and a lot of the descriptions of personal relationships reads like a "non-traditional sexuality is ok" pamphlet. In large part it feels like we've read this before in Dragongirl and Dragon's Time.
Having said all that, it's still Pern. There are still dragons. It was kind of neat to see a book from the perspective of a rider of a "lesser" dragon (a blue) instead of the "royalty" (queen/bronzes). There are a few points which give nods to previous (and in my opinion, better) books.
If you're a Pern fan and have read all the rest of the books, this one's worth it for completeness. Otherwise, I wouldn't bother....more
Joe Abercrombie's First Law series is what George RR Martin's Song of Ice and Fire would be if you strip it down to the bare essentials. Three books,Joe Abercrombie's First Law series is what George RR Martin's Song of Ice and Fire would be if you strip it down to the bare essentials. Three books, only two major sides competing, a dozen or so major characters. Personally, I prefer Joe's version, if only because you can get through it in a reasonable time.
There's no clear-cut hero or villain in this tale. Everyone does some good, even if only by accident. Everyone is a right bastard at times, which is usually no accident. Those who survive to the end aren't the most deserving, and those that fall aren't the least. There's a lot of blood, and people doing evil things to one another. And there's also mercy, and kindness, sometimes in the most unexpected places. A lot like the real world, in fact.
I can see how some may complain that the ending to this third and final book in the series is dragged out. There's a lot still to read after the great sweeping changes affecting nations has been laid to rest. But I feel that last bit was the most thought-provoking, as we learn how the survivors find their places in the world.
If you're at all a reader of epic fantasy, you owe it to yourself to read the First Law trilogy....more
Lofgren is a Republican staffer who started in the 80s and gradually grew disillusioned with the direction the party moved, eventually retiring and wrLofgren is a Republican staffer who started in the 80s and gradually grew disillusioned with the direction the party moved, eventually retiring and writing this book. He's very up front about this, and uses lots of anecdotes from his time on Capitol Hill in the writing. The majority of the book rips into just about every aspect of the current Republican party, with frequent asides pointing out how the Democrats aren't any better.
Underlying everything is the primary point of the book...there's too much money in politics. Whether it's superPAC contributions or defense contracts or fundraisers in Washington, the money drives everything. Lofgren's suggestion for a fix makes sense to me, but I can't see it ever being enacted since it would have to somehow make it through the very system that it's trying to fix....more
I struggled to make it through this trilogy. Lallo's writing style, which I really enjoyed in his science fiction series (Bypass Gemini and Unstable PI struggled to make it through this trilogy. Lallo's writing style, which I really enjoyed in his science fiction series (Bypass Gemini and Unstable Prototypes), felt unrealistic and forced in this fantasy setting. I did a decent amount of skimming over the overly-wordy sections, especially some of the pages-long fights.
The story itself is a fantasy opera. There's very little in the way of unexpected twists, plenty of temporary angst but little real loss, and the good guys always seem to come out all right. No deep social commentary or convoluted plots here. The setup in the first book was interesting as the world was described and we met all the characters, but the last two thirds of the trilogy provided very little new until the very end.
Having said that, I did still finish all three books. Perhaps that's because I'm a completionist, but I really was interested in how Lallo was going to wrap up the plot. I found the ending to be satisfying in terms of the overall plot, leading pretty much where you knew it was going all along.
I can't really recommend the Book of Deacon series, though I'm sure there are some who would enjoy it. It just doesn't do anything particularly well, and nothing at all new....more
The model put forth by Richardson is an interesting concept, but it was difficult to follow and doesn't seem convincing to me. It's presented as a metThe model put forth by Richardson is an interesting concept, but it was difficult to follow and doesn't seem convincing to me. It's presented as a method for logical and scientific thinkers to consider spiritual things, but it still relies on non-testable hypothesis. While I appreciate the effort that Richardson put into his model, I don't see how this non-testable, complex model is any better than a simple profession of faith....more
Another good Riftwar-universe story. I've been reading through all the Riftwar books and I think I've discovered what makes them good (for me, anyway)Another good Riftwar-universe story. I've been reading through all the Riftwar books and I think I've discovered what makes them good (for me, anyway). It's the introduction of new realms - sometimes entire worlds, sometimes new areas on an existing world. Every time one of these books takes us to a new realm, it's kept my attention. The books that try to set new stories in existing realms seem to fall a bit flat.
This particular story spends plenty of time in the worlds of Midkemia and Kelewan, but the really interesting stuff is a journey to another plane of existence. The realm of the Dasati is quite a distopia. Lots of plot I don't want to spoil, and even more coming in the third book of the Darkwar Saga, so suffice it to say that the journey into that realm is one of the more interesting places that Feist has sent his magician Pug....more
The blurb on this book says "..they will have you laughing like idiots." It's right. This book is hilarious. I recommend it to anyone that needs a lauThe blurb on this book says "..they will have you laughing like idiots." It's right. This book is hilarious. I recommend it to anyone that needs a laugh, as long as you're not easily offended by junior-high-school-boy-level language and humor, of which there is plenty. It's not all bodily functions, though, plenty of other funny stuff in here as well....more