From Twitter:

What Ahmadinejad needs right now is Katherine Harris, some hanging chads and Chief Justice Rehnquist. Oh yeah, and a totally docile public.

Thanks, Ian!


Sum:**  Forty Tales from the Afterlives is  reviewed  in this week’s Sunday Times Book Review.

… speculating about who, if anyone, created us and what lies ahead of us can be intellectually engaging and, as David Eagleman shows in his new book, “Sum,” very entertaining too. The author, a neuro­scientist with literary leanings, has set out a series of possibilities for the afterlife, described in 40 vignettes, each of which presents a different explanation of who God is and why he or she (or, in some cases, they) chose to create us, and what might be planned for us on our demise. And, for the most part, these intentions are very different from what conventional religion would have us believe. Most of these future options are extremely amusing, highlighting our self-importance and subjecting us to an astonishing range of humiliations, disappointments and surprises. If you are thinking of dying, this book may not exactly increase your peace of mind.

An excerpt from the book is here; a very small sample:


In the afterlife you discover that God understands the complexities of life. She had originally submitted to peer pressure when She structured Her universe like all the other gods had, with a binary categorization of people into good and evil. But it didn’t take long for Her to realize that humans could be good in many ways and simultaneously corrupt and meanspirited in other ways. How was She to arbitrate who goes to Heaven and who to Hell? Might not it be possible, She considered, that a man could be an embezzler and still give to charitable causes? Might not a woman be an adulteress but bring pleasure and security to two men’s lives? Might not a child unwittingly divulge secrets that splinter a family? Dividing the population into two categories — good and bad — seemed like a more reasonable task when She was younger, but with experience these decisions became more difficult.

It looks like great fun.  I could worry about the examples above (men in business; women care-givers), but I’m probably going to get it.


**The author’s favorite thought is Cogito ergo Sum.

Latina president of Texas A&M

is fired resigns. 

A&M is a university within a system; Elsa Murano’s resignation as president is widely viewed as a result of conflicts with Chancellor Mike McKinney, who is the head of the system.  McKinney gave Murano a bad performance review and, in any case, he wants her job to be combined with his.  Behind a lot of it is Gov Rick Perry, who is  said to want to return to A&M as Chancellor when he stops being govenor.  O Molly Ivins, we would love to hear her wit and wisdom take this on.

Some sense of the situation can be found in the Texas Monthly here:

I wonder whether it was Murano’s prying into these political deals that sealed her fate. As long as she followed orders, she seemed to be on solid ground. But when she got into things that had political ramifications, she was in over her head.

Hmm.   And what were those political deals she was prying into?  In fact, they were large commercial contracts drawing on faculty research; her administration had been left entirely out of the loop on them.

Murano was not perfect, but she had a great deal of support within the faculty at the end of her job.  She clearly understood inclusive leadership, while she herself was simply left out of negotiations.

Is her fate as influenced by her being a Latina as it seems to be?  Is she out of a position because she couldn’t stay in her assigned passive role?  If anyone from A&M wants to comment, you are most welcome to do so!