• In Romania, imprisoned politicians, footballers, and pop stars are writing books to shorten their sentences, abusing a loophole in local law:
Gica Popescu, a former star footballer convicted of money laundering, is on the verge of early release after penning no fewer than four titles…Most of the work has met with derision. Mr Copos, who wrote about the matrimonial alliances of medieval Romanian rulers, was accused of plagiarism. Mr Becali produced a picture-heavy book about his relationship with Steaua Bucharest, the football team which he controls. Realini Lupsa, a pop singer, wrote about stem cells in dental medicine.
Bad news, though! You won’t be able to lay your hands on these no doubt brilliant works—the publishers only tend to print enough copies to show the parole board.
• More on Zoltan Istvan, who is running for president on a transhumanist platform (and in an “Immortality Bus”): “When I asked him if he would want to be replaced by an AI politician,” Scott Beauchamp writes over at Pacific Standard, “Istvan’s response was upbeat and matter-of-fact. ‘Yes, absolutely,’ he said.” But, asked Scott, “How would the AI know which policies to implement and which laws to uphold?” The answer seems to be, basically, who cares! A recent poll says we like politicians less than cockroaches! Corey Pein wrote about the mouthbreathing Machiavellis capitalizing on this hatred on the Baffler blog.
• A very happy Plan Your Epitaph Day to you! Rodney Dangerfield’s gravestone reads “There Goes the Neighborhood,” a joke mined by Rick Perlstein in the title of his salvo about presidential libraries in issue 28. Why not celebrate by revisiting the piece? “There’s no reason to expect,” Rick writes, “that Obama’s library won’t, like those before it, become a partisan political clubhouse, deftly skirting the requirements of the 1939 Hatch Act that no politics take place on federal turf.”