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December 25, 2011

Publishers move to stop libraries from offering e-books

My local library here in Oakland has ebooks, but you cannot read them on your portable devices. They open in a proprietary browser add-on on computers only. This makes them less than useful, except as reference. For Libraries and Publishers, an E-Book Tug of War - NYTimes.com
And that is a source of great worry for publishers. In their eyes, borrowing an e-book from a library has been too easy. Worried that people will click to borrow an e-book from a library rather than click to buy it, almost all major publishers in the United States now block libraries’ access to the e-book form of either all of their titles or their most recently published ones. Borrowing a printed book from the library imposes an inconvenience upon its patrons. “You have to walk or drive to the library, then walk or drive back to return it,” says Maja Thomas, a senior vice president of the Hachettte Book Group, in charge of its digital division. And print copies don’t last forever; eventually, the ones that are much in demand will have to be replaced. “Selling one copy that could be lent out an infinite number of times with no friction is not a sustainable business model for us,” Ms. Thomas says. Hachette stopped making its e-books available to libraries in 2009. E-lending is not without some friction. Software ensures that only one patron can read an e-book copy at a time, and people who see a long waiting list for a certain title may decide to buy it instead. . . .

December 08, 2011

Air force dumped remains of hundreds of soldiers in landfill

During the Bush years, that is. It stopped in 2008. Still, somebody should get fired a lot for this. I'm not a fan of military intervention, but these guys gave their lives for their country and deserve respectful burials. Report: Air Force Dumped Ashes Of At Least 274 Troops In VA Landfill | TPMMuckraker
The Air Force reportedly dumped the ashes of at least 274 U.S. troops in a landfill in Virginia before it ended the practice three years ago, according to records obtained by the Washington Post. Documents obtained by the Post indicate that 976 “fragments” from 274 troops were cremated and incinerated by the Dover Air Force Base mortuary, and then disposed of in a Virginia landfill between 2004 and 2008. In June, 2008, Dover changed its policy and now buries cremated remains in urns at sea. Dover is currently the subject of a separate federal investigation for alleged “gross mismanagement” of remains.

December 01, 2011

Lawyer suspended after trying to hire legal secretary who would also be required to have sex with his entire firm

He was suspended for a year but not disbarred? One-Year Suspension for Lawyer Who Sought "Secretary With Benefits" - Lowering the Bar
In a not-at-all surprising decision on Monday, the Illinois Supreme Court accepted a hearing board's recommendation that an attorney be suspended from the practice of law for at least one year. In addition to other alleged ethical violations, the attorney sought to hire a secretary who, in addition to general secretarial work and some paralegal work, would be required to have sex with the lawyer and his partner. [L]aw firm looking to hire [an] energetic woman for their open secretary/legal assistant position. Duties will include general secretarial work, some paralegal work and additional duties for two lawyers in the firm. No experience required, training will be provided. Generous annual salary and benefits will be provided, including medical, dental, life, disability, 401(k) etc. If interested, please send current resume and a few pictures along with a description of your physical features, including measurements. . . . [I]n addition to the legal work, you would be required to have sexual interaction with me and my partner, sometimes together sometimes separate. This part of the job would require sexy dressing and flirtatious interaction with me and my partner, as well as sexual interaction. You will have to be comfortable doing this with us. . . . The next step is to set up an interview. When are you available to interview? I am free to interview today. Please let me know what your availability is. Lastly, we've actually hired a couple of girls in the past for this position. But they have not been able to handle the sexual aspect of the job later. We have to be sure you're comfortable with that aspect, because I don't want you to do anything that you're not comfortable with. So ... we've decided that as part of the interview process you'll be required to perform for us sexually (i didn't do this before with the other girls i hired, now i think i have to because they couldn't handle it). Because that aspect is an integral part of the job, I think it's necessary to see if you can do that, because it'll predict future behavior of you being able to handle it when you have the job.... Thanks for your interest.