Confusing News Reports

I’m watching a heated discussion of water issues in Flint, Michigan on MSNBC. I’m very confused because people keep discussing the water as if it’s terribly dangerous and there are kids with severe brain damage from it.

But I remember reading very recently that nothing of the kind happened.

Both accounts can’t be true. Somebody has got to be lying here because it’s not a difference of degree. This is hard to figure out.

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It Takes All Kinds

A book I’m being asked to review:

Luis y Mia/Mia and Luis
By: L. J. Zimmerman, Mónica Reyna, Marce Gómez
Category: Children’s Books

Luis y Mia/Mia and Luis is a flip-over book that tells the story of a cross-cultural friendship from each child’s perspective.

Luis is the child of Mexican immigrants and Mia is a White American child.

Their story begins when Mia makes a culturally insensitive remark to Luis. Prayer and thoughtful conversations with family help Luis and Mia move past this rocky start and develop a lasting friendshiuis y Mia/Mia and Luis

I’m probably the last person they want reviewing their book. I do wonder what “the culturally insensitive remark” was, though.

Just to think that somebody will buy it for some poor unsuspecting child.

Table Lamps

I’m a great fan of table lamps. I have a pretty bad sensitivity to light, and overhead lighting is very unpleasant to me. My goal is to stick a table lamp into every corner of the house, so that I can exist in a penumbra as much as possible.

It’s taking time to collect the lamps because I want to get them all for free (I get sent stuff to review.) Today I got a new addition to the collection for the little corner in the hallway:

Post-truth Education

There is a very interesting article over here on how the post-truth approach and a consumerist vision of reality have had a very negative impact on the education system in Sweden.

I recommend downloading the whole article and not just reading the quote at the link.

P.S. Post-truth is a term used to refer to the worldview organized by the belief that there so no truth outside of individual perceptions of truth. Nothing is objectively good or bad and nothing is objectively true. Truth is always individually produced. Meaning that if I say I’m not a middle-aged professor in the American Midwest but a diminutive pink pony with wings, you can’t dismiss the pink pony story as untrue. It’s true if I perceive it to be so.

Book Notes: Meg Wolitzer’s The Wife

I don’t know what possessed me to read another novel by Wolitzer after the disappointment of the utterly uninteresting The Interestings. But I heard a movie was out based on The Wife, and Glenn Close starred in it, and I like Glenn Close. There is almost no chance I’ll see the movie, so I decided to read the novel instead. And oh goodness. Was it bad or was it ever so horrid.

The worst part is that the novel didn’t have to suck this badly. If Wolitzer had cut out about two thirds, threw away the ending, and turned the novel into a short story about the resentful and envious wife of a talented writer – which is the only part of the novel that didn’t feel completely fake – it could have been good.

And that ending, God. I guessed how this sorry mess of a novel would end on page 4. But I hoped Wolitzer would be able to stay away from such a dumb ending. But hey, when did you ever see Wolitzer stay away from anything.

The novel is also kind of anti-Semitic. I don’t know, isn’t Wolitzer Jewish herself? It’s weird.

In any case, the novel had some potential to be OK but it was all wasted. Never again will I touch anything by this author.

Manafort Revelations

The document showed that in October 2012 Manafort hatched a scheme to tarnish the reputation of Yanukovych’s opponent, Yulia Tymoshenko, by spreading the story that Tymoshenko’s supporters were encouraging anti-Semitism and allied with an anti-Semitic party.

Oh, wow, so this was Manafort! I didn’t know that.

Even more interesting is who else participated in hatching the scheme:

Prosecutors say he collaborated with an Israeli official to spread the story that Tymoshenko was allied with anti-Semitic causes to make the administration believe “the Jewish community will take this out on Obama on election day if he does nothing.”

What’s really curious is that nowhere in the article is it mentioned that this was all done on Russia’s orders to sabotage a less Putin-friendly candidate. It all sounds as if Manafort and the “Israeli official” got together and hatched the whole scheme on their own.

Manafort gives enough of the story to make it juicy and provocative but keeps the most crucial parts to himself. The interesting issue here is why Israel is playing on Russia’s side against the US. But you can’t find an answer if you don’t discuss Russia’s role in this story.