Pope Is Pretty Puissant

universityBack in the ’90s my daughter was showing her academic strengths at High School and, to the delight of her father, also developing in sports and social relationships. But so much of her direction was being primed by her father, the English Major and book reader. The Kid went on to college, earning a double major in English and French, admirable grades and honors, and went on to graduate school to get her PhD in Comparative Literature. She now teaches film studies and various humanities courses in the English Department at a major university. Along the way the idea of concentrating in the Humanities was considered so inane that I felt I had to lend my support.

When I was in Graduate School I studied literature (17th Century Restoration Drama) and learned to program computers at night in an effort to keep food on the table. You would have thought that the combination of Alexander Pope and FORTRAN was strange but the man who hired me explained that to be a good programmer you needed to think analytically and that was the type of thinking you learned in the Humanities.

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Civil Forfeiture: Is It Just Stealing?

Notice the headline from the Washington Post:

Policing-for-ProfitAsset seizures fuel police spending

Police agencies have used hundreds of millions of dollars taken from Americans under federal civil forfeiture law in recent years to buy guns, armored cars and electronic surveillance gear. They have also spent money on luxury vehicles, travel and a clown named Sparkles.

The details are contained in thousands of annual reports submitted by local and state agencies to the Justice Department’s Equitable Sharing Program, an initiative that allows local and state police to keep up to 80 percent of the assets they seize. The Washington Post obtained 43,000 of the reports dating from 2008 through a Freedom of Information Act request. …

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