A Neat Free Resource for Autodidacts

I recently built my honey and me new computers. When I build computers I go for as powerful as I can at a price that is within reason because that way they tend to stay workable with contemporary software for 5-6 or more years. (While that wasn’t the case in the 90s, the rapid change has slowed a bit.)

Prior to bringing up our new machines we had come across Amazon’s Kindle for PCs. It is a free down load. What is not so free are the many if not most of the newly published books.

We basically live in a library with book cases filled with accumulated books both new and used, fiction and non-fiction.

Well Kindle along with the Gutenberg Project have made available huge numbers of books that are no longer in copyright. These are books one may download or read for free on line.

Amazon’s Kindle Reader for your PC or Mac lets you do the same thing with many books they also make available for free.

By The Way…

There is a new translation of Simone de Beauvoir’s work “The Second Sex” that restores it to its full length. (The H. M. Parshley translation has been subjected to many criticisms over the years) The new translation is supposedly closer to intent of de Beauvoir’s language as it is a collaboration that brings a knowledge of both French philosophy and feminism to the project.


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A Heaven-Sent Rent Boy

From the New York Times

OF all wars, only culture wars offer the hope of sheer, unadulterated hilarity. Sex and hypocrisy were staples of farce long before America became a nation, and they never go out of style. Just listen to the roaring audience at the new hit Broadway revival of the perennial “La Cage aux Folles,” where a family-values politician gets his comeuppance in drag. Or check out the real-life closet case of George Rekers, who has been fodder for late-night television comics all month.

Rekers is in a class by himself even in the era of Larry Craig and Ted Haggard. A Baptist minister and clinical psychologist with a bent for “curing” homosexuality, the married, 61-year-old Rekers was caught by Miami New Times last month in the company of a 20-year-old male escort at Miami International Airport. The couple was returning from a 10-day trip to London and Madrid. New Times, which published its exposé in early May, got an explanation from Rekers: “I had surgery, and I can’t lift luggage. That’s why I hired him.”

Alas, a photo showed Rekers, rather than his companion, handling the baggage cart. The paper also reported that Rekers had recruited the young man from Rentboy.com, a Web site whose graphic sexual content requires visitors to vouch for their age. Rentboy.com — really, who could make this stuff up?

Continue reading at: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/16/opinion/16rich.html

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Going to Extreme

From the New York Times


Utah Republicans have denied Robert Bennett, a very conservative three-term senator, a place on the ballot, because he’s not conservative enough. In Maine, party activists have pushed through a platform calling for, among other things, abolishing both the Federal Reserve and the Department of Education. And it’s becoming ever more apparent that real power within the G.O.P. rests with the ranting talk-show hosts.

News organizations have taken notice: suddenly, the takeover of the Republican Party by right-wing extremists has become a story (although many reporters seem determined to pretend that something equivalent is happening to the Democrats. It isn’t.) But why is this happening? And in particular, why is it happening now?

The right’s answer, of course, is that it’s about outrage over President Obama’s “socialist” policies — like his health care plan, which is, um, more or less identical to the plan Mitt Romney enacted in Massachusetts. Many on the left argue, instead, that it’s about race, the shock of having a black man in the White House — and there’s surely something to that.

But I’d like to offer two alternative hypotheses: First, Republican extremism was there all along — what’s changed is the willingness of the news media to acknowledge it. Second, to the extent that the power of the party’s extremists really is on the rise, it’s the economy, stupid.

Continue reading at: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/17/opinion/17krugman.html?ref=opinion

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