Merging Technology and Politics...
I've been writing intensively about the Oracle PL/SQL language since 1994, and I have had a wonderful time doing so. Over those years, however, I simultaneously grew a little bit weary of using the same, tired set of examples again and again (employees, orders, etc.), and very concerned about the state of the world as we approached the end of the 20th century and push into the 21st.
Given those twin "preoccupations", I decided back in 1999 to offer in this, my fourth book, examples that are decidedly different from the usual. I integrate into my technical presentations topics ranging from the state of health care in the United States to the strength of the gun lobby, from wage structures to environmental issues. I believed that even if you don't agree with the positions I have on a particular issue, you would find that this "breath of fresh air" material might help you engage with the technical material.
This turned out to be quite a controversial move. My publisher, O'Reilly and Associates, received much criticism for publishing such a book; some people vowed to never again buy an O'Reilly book. Others appreciated the examples or respected my decision to take a different approach.
Remarkably, the reaction of Tim O'Reilly (owner of O'Reilly and Associates) to the criticism was to invite me to write an article explaining my motivation for writing this book as I did. You can find it at: http://www.oreilly.com/news/feuerstein_1000.html. If you have trouble finding it there, it is also available on my site here.
As the Bush Administration seeks to exert global dominance, every person committed to democracy and justice must find ways to speak out, to express the fundamental humanity that makes us moral beings as opposed to simply mammals. You probably won't get much out of the technical content of this book, but I hope its political content motivates you to take your own action, in your own ways.
Here is a quick guide to the politicized/humanized examples in this text:
Page(s) Topic (sorry formatting got munged from Word and I don't have time to fix it up right now)
27-28, 58, 66, 86 Excessive CEO compensation
30-31 The outrageous California "three strikes" law
42-44 Police brutality
67-68 Possible NATO war crimes committed during bombing of Serbia
70-72 Inhumane US corporate health care system
15-16, 84, 87, 147 War criminals. My personal favorite in the book: on page 16, I describe Henry Kissinger as a war criminal for the secret bombing of Cambodia.
84-85, 91-93 Pollution by automobile
87 Inadequacies of US food inspection system
88-89, 104-106 Insanity of US gun laws
94-96 25X&NOMORE: What if upper management could only make at most 25 times that of the lowest paid employee?
147 More humane food delivery system
207-209 Use of prison labor to bust unions
215-217 Imprisonment and execution of innocents
231-232 How the rich get richer...