aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Thursday, June 30, 2005
It never goes away
The explainer on deleting files from your computer:
When you delete a file, all you’ve really done is tell the computer that it can reuse the clusters assigned to that file for something new. The data in those clusters remains intact, until the computer reassigns and overwrites those chunks of disk space with new files. Experts say that the original data can remain intact for weeks or months, depending on the particulars of the system.
But even if you do wipe your disk successfully-and overwrite each of your deleted files-traces of the original data remain. Writing to a magnetic disk is not as precise as one might think; when you overwrite a file, the new version doesn’t completely cover up the old. The leftover data can be read out with certain imaging techniques, like magnetic-force microscopy and magnetic-force scanning tunneling microscopy. Computer forensics experts say it’s possible to recover data beneath dozens of layers of overwriting, and privacy fanatics talk about wiping their disks up to 35 times over to be absolutely safe.
I wonder. Computer forensics seems like a black hole to me. Where are the Barry Sheck and Peter Neufelds of the computer forensics world? Those who look for innocence, not just guilt.
I hear a lot of people being found guilty for what’s on their computer, but I’m also aware that machines are shared, and that things go on on computers that the user has little or no understanding of. There’s url spoofing and spoofing attacks and adware and spyware and…
Again, I’m just a wee bit wary of certainty; reasonable doubt is a good thing.
Google Earth’s true special sauce is the way it allows users to create markers for just about any venue or location, write a note describing it and then share it with the application’s entire user base.
Spain & Canada support marriage
Crooks and Liars has the video and text of Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin in support of the Civil Marriage Act:
Martin: I rise today in support of Bill C-38, the Civil Marriage Act. I rise in support of a Canada in which liberties are safeguarded, rights are protected and the people of this land are treated as equals under the law.
It passed the House of Commons and is expected to become law by the end of July.
And in Spain:
Spain’s parliament today approved legislation allowing gays and lesbians to marry, becoming the fourth country in which same-sex unions are legal.
Spanish lawmakers voted 187-147 in favor of a bill legalizing same-sex marriages, following the Netherlands and Belgium. In Canada, where nine of 13 regions allow the unions, the House of Commons yesterday passed a bill extending the right nationwide.
UPDATE: James Joyner quotes AP:
...Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero noted this in debate before the vote. “We were not the first, but I am sure we will not be the last. After us will come many other countries, driven, ladies and gentlemen, by two unstoppable forces: freedom and equality,” he told the chamber.
And comments, “I suspect he’s right.”
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Why your broadband sucks II
Cable companies have always argued, and usually won, that they own their cables so should be free to do with them as they wish. They have another win this week:
The Supreme Court ruled [Monday] that cable companies do not have to allow rivals to offer high-speed Internet access over their systems.
In a 6-to-3 decision, the court said the law on the matter was ambiguous and that the Federal Communications Commission, not the courts, had the authority to interpret it.
The ruling is a blow to consumer groups who want more competition in Internet services and to the leading providers of slower dial-up Internet service, like America Online and EarthLink. The dial-up sellers have had limited ability to offer faster, broadband service because they have largely been shut out of cable systems, which have been the most popular form of broadband service.
Now the idea would be that, like long distance service, you could choose to buy your high speed Internet access from one of many providers offered over the cable system. And, like long distance, prices would fall and innovation would happen and the service would improve and spread.
So much for that.
But it gets worse. The FCC traditionally ruled phone companies had to share their networks and did so for DSL. Then in 2002 the FCC proposed changing those rules. Now it’s likely the change will go through:
Kevin J. Martin, the chairman of the F.C.C., in 2002 supported changing the D.S.L. rules for phone companies and was expected to now press for their adoption.
“As I have advocated in the past, we should treat D.S.L. provided by telephone companies the same as we treat similar cable modem services provided by cable,” Mr. Martin said in an e-mail interview.
Such a rule could have a significant effect on Internet providers, especially EarthLink, which has 1.5 million broadband subscribers, mainly through phone companies.
The United States lags behind the world in broadband deployment both in terms of price and speed. We were 13th in February. Meanwhile we’re protecting the cable and phone monopolies.
Some cities have tried to take action. Philadelphia has an ambitious WiFi initiative. In February, in Why Your Broadband Sucks, Lawrence Lessig told the story of Governor Ed Rendell of PA signing into law a bill prohibiting municipalities from offering free Wi-Fi. A former Philadelphia mayor, he grandfathered the city’s program in.
Today Lessig tells of a more hopeful story:
There’s a fascinating and important battle going on in Lafayette, LA. Citizens are pushing a referendum to permit the Lafayette Utility System to sell bonds to fund a project to “expand its existing fiber-optic network in Lafayette to everyone in the city.” The move is being fought by the telcos—who would rather bring much more expensive DSL and cable to everyone in the city. John St. Julien and Mike Stagg have been blogging the fight. There’s a great website explaining it. And today they’ve announced the winners in the ”Fiber Film Festival,” a film contest run to explain the benefits of fiber.
The fight is a tough one. The communications lobbyists will not rest. This week Pete Sessions, a Texas Republican in the US House (and former SBC exec) proposed a bill that would ban cities from running communications networks that compete against private-sector telecom companies.
These companies have a comfortable definition of competition that pits cable company against phone company, mano y mano, and keeps all others out. That’s not competition; it’s a duopoly.
United Church of Christ considers gay marriage
The United Church of Christ biennial national gathering is this weekend in Atlanta and they’re considering endorsing same sex marriage:
On Tuesday, Rev. John H. Thomas, general minister and president of the United Church of Christ, called for passage of the same-sex marriage proposal, his first-ever public endorsement of the measure.
The church’s General Synod “should affirm the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons to have their covenanted relationships recognized by the state as marriages equal in name, privileges, and responsibilities to married heterosexual couples,” Thomas said during a speech at Emory University.
One proposal from the UCC’s Southern California-Nevada Conference asks the General Synod, the denomination’s highest deliberative body, to affirm full civil and religious marriage for same-gender couples. If passed, the UCC’s General Synod would become the first mainline Christian body to support gay marriage.
A second resolution offered by eight congregations from around the country asks the Synod to affirm “traditional” marriage as “between one man and one woman.” A third proposal, from the Central Atlantic Conference, calls for a time of church-wide prayer, conversation and study on the issue…
Debate on the three proposals is expected Sunday, with a vote on the measures coming as early as Monday morning. The 1.4 million-member church has a history of supporting gays in its denomination, dating to 1972 when it ordained an openly gay minister and established a gay coalition.
They have a UCC blog that should be interesting to watch through the weekend. Whatever the outcome, it’s great that they’re considering the issue and that Rev. Thomas has called for its passage.
Via Josh Marshall who adds:
Here’s a good post about how ABC justified running an ad by Dobson’s Focus on the Family after rejecting the UCC’s ad [celebrating their church’s message of outreach and inclusion of gays and lesbians]. And here’s another on the UCC president’s endorsement of a resolution backing gay marriage.
Orbitz says our plane’s on time—we’ll see. If I were a betting man I’d bet that thunderstorms in Atlanta will hold us up.
Breakfast at the Sullivan Diner, then pack up and move out.
Shrook‘s got days of data for me to catch up on on the plane.
Lots of blogging when I’m home this evening I’m sure…
Sunday, June 19, 2005
I mean, you know, Auschwitz? Bergen Belsen? The Soviet gulag? I think they would have been very happy to be allowed to defecate on themselves.
Another reminder for us all: Don’t use the Hitler argument.
Don’t use the Hitler argument
If you don’t think that we’ll be talking about Dick Durbin on Monday, you’re wrong. If you think we’ll be talking about what actually goes on at Gitmo, you’re also wrong. If you think that the Bush admin will lift a finger to correct the human rights abuses there, you’re deeply wrong. And if you don’t think Dick Durbin’s out-of-context quote will raise money for the republican party, you’re absolutely out of your mind… Please please please. Can we please never use the words Nazi, Soviet, or Hitler again? Sure, the republicans will find some other stupid thing to feign outrage about, but let’s not give it to them, ok?
Help him land Chazz Palminteri
My friend Marco Ricci is a brilliant young filmmaker. I got an email update from him the other day. He’s working on a new film, and raising money:
I’m shooting a feature film with John Turturro this September. It’s a project I’ve been working on called The Marconi Bros - it’s loosely based upon my experiences working with the king of Long Island wedding videos. After five years of working on the script my cousin (and co-director) Michael and I decided that we weren’t going to go through five years of development hell in Hollywood, so we gave ourselves the green light and decided to raise the money privately.
Luckily John Turturro liked the idea and agreed to play the king of Long Island wedding videos. My friend Dan Fogler (who just won a Tony award for his role in the Broadway musical the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) came on board as one of the other leads. Using their participation we were able to privately raise our $200,000 budget. Since then things have snowballed and we now have an opportunity to get Chazz Palminteri involved in the project - the only problem is we can’t afford to pay him at such a low budget.
We’re trying to raise an additional chunk of cash. I know you all can’t afford to buy in to this, but I’m asking you to forward our plea on to that rich Uncle who is just dying to get in the film business, or that crazy boss who wants to meet a couple of stars, or anyone else who might find this attractive. With our cast and low budget I feel confident that everyone will make their investment back. You can check out more info on our web site www.marconibros.com/invest.
Saturday, June 18, 2005
Boy’s bogus boast used as grounds for school pregnancy test
Nurse Dyanna Eastwood called the girl to her office Jan. 11 and told her that a student at another school had claimed he impregnated her, according to the lawsuit, which claims the girl’s privacy and constitutional rights were violated.
The girl denied that she was pregnant and said she never had sex with the boy, but Eastwood insisted that the girl take the test, according to the lawsuit, which was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Austin. The girl’s lawyer said she was not pregnant.
The story quotes the nurse:
“Search and seizure—alrighty then,” Eastwood said Thursday when reached at her New Braunfels home.
“I remember the incident,” Eastwood said. “Is that how it went down? No, of course not.”
She declined to comment further, saying she wanted to seek legal advice.
And what of the principal?
When the girl’s father asked Principal Chad Kelly about the pregnancy test, the father was handed a piece of paper indicating that “the nurse performed the pregnancy test pursuant to the school district’s interpretation of section 32.003 of the Texas Family Code,” the lawsuit states.
Part of that section states that a child may consent to medical treatment by a licensed physician if the child “is unmarried and pregnant and consents to hospital, medical or surgical treatment, other than abortion, related to the pregnancy.”
NY GOP woes
While Pataki dawdles, the NY GOP squabbles:
With Mr. Pataki lying low, the intraparty tensions have largely centered on the strategy of his handpicked and relatively untested state party chairman, Stephen J. Minarik III, a blustery conservative with a knack for bruising egos. While some party officials say they are energized by Mr. Minarik’s opinionated style, others see worrisome shades of Howard Dean, the Democratic national chairman, in Mr. Minarik’s remarks linking Democrats to terrorism and suggesting that some Republicans are B-list politicians.
I’ll let the Dean swipe pass (NY Republicans should be so lucky) and move on to Jeanine:
Privately, some Republican officials have also expressed concern about Mr. Minarik’s enthusiasm for Ms. Pirro, whose standing in Westchester has been increasingly uncertain. They say she could lose crucial votes from conservatives because of her support for abortion rights and gay rights, not to mention the previous conviction of her husband, Al Pirro, on felony tax evasion charges.
They also wonder if powerful Republican consultants have used their clout to aid Ms. Pirro, mentioning Kieran Mahoney, a longtime adviser to Mr. Pataki who is now working for Ms. Pirro. Mr. Mahoney lost a contract with the state party last year, however, so it is unclear how much influence he has there. Mr. Mahoney declined to comment for this article.
They’d do well to pass on Pirro.
What would Jesus ride?
In The Future of Freedom, there’s a compelling and well argued chapter entitled “The Death of Authority.” In it, Fareed Zakaria sees a populist evangelicalism that coddles its flock. “People are praised, comforted, consoled, but never condemned,” he writes.
Zakaria follows the evolution of Billy Graham from a “fiery preacher of perdition to a benign father figure” that coincides with his rising popularity and move to radio and television evangelizing, the development of Jerry Falwell’s megachurches modeled on shopping centers to “attract the massed to the gospel,” and Bill and Tammy Fay Bakker’s “Christianity should be fun” hedonism, to illustrate the populist democratization and rising politicization of evangelicalism:
What remains of the old Protestant fundamentalism is politics: abortion, gays, evolution. These issues are what binds the vast congregation together. But even here things have changed as Americans have become more tolerant of many of these social taboos. Today many fundamentalist churches take nominally tough positions on, say, homosexuality but increasingly do little else for fear of offending the average believer, whom one scholar calls “the unwashed Harry.” All it really takes to be a fundamentalist these days is to watch the TV shows, go tothe theme parks, buy Christian rock, and vote Republican.
A story from the Faith and Values section of the AJC today (which also features an interview with Southern Baptist Convention president Bobby Welch in which he calls Jim Wallis an “ignoramus who is wedded to socialist-mandated policies") asks, What would Jesus ride?
It’s hard to be still at Atlanta Fest, a high-spirited, fist-pumping Christian youth festival that combines roller coasters, rock ‘n’ roll and more than 20,000 young people for three sweltering days every summer at Six Flags Over Georgia. The festival, in its 19th year and its 13th at Six Flags, started Thursday and ends today. It draws about half its attendees from Georgia, the other half from about 12 states, mostly in the Southeast.
One of the few places of relative tranquillity was the Prayer Labyrinth, a covered picnic area in the shadow of the Scream Machine..."The irony is to have this beautiful place in all the chaos of the theme park,” said Nancy Thompson, Atlanta Fest’s director of Christian education. “It’s all very focused on the Word of God, and the responses of the kids overwhelm you.”
Not all the Christian teens go to the labyrinth; some have a more freewheeling approach to a three-day bash at an amusement park that’s coupled with marathon evening concerts with their favorite Christian rock bands, including Audio Adrenaline and Third Day.
“Everybody gets so distracted with the rides and everything,” said Kayla Chambers, a freshman at Rockmart High School in Rockmart.
“Some people are just here for the girls in bikinis,” added her friend Anna Burnette.
Indeed they are.
UPDATE: Another example, today in the NYTimes:
Brian Racer is pastor to Laura and Dave Clark and a local opinion shaper on social issues. He is a tall, rangy 43-year-old man with a big mustache and a conversational style that is casual but enormously self-confident. Racer has a vigorous Christianity-in-society approach, which is illustrated by a recent move he made. When Mel Gibson’s movie ‘’The Passion of the Christ’’ came out in February 2004, he, like many ministers around the country, booked a whole theater in the local multiplex to accommodate the members of his church. But the venue itself—comfortable seats, good acoustics, convenient location—clicked for him. He worked out a rental arrangement with the manager of the theater. So now the Clarks and their fellow congregants worship at the Open Door Bible Church in Theater 24 in the Muvico multiplex at the Arundel Mills Mall. ‘’The teens think it’s pretty cool,’’ he said. ‘’After service they can go have lunch at the food court, then come back to the theater and see a movie.’’
Frist is a liar
Why is no one calling on Senator Bill Frist to apologize to Senator Dick Durbin? Sen. Frist, repeating a false headline in the Washington Times, accused Sen. Durbin of saying Guantanamo is “a death camp.” (Frist’s statement, in two parts, is here and here. (pdf)) Read Senator Durbin’s remarks (pdf). He never said that.
Frist also falsely claimed that Durbin said our service members are “committing genocide and war crimes.” Durbin never said that either. Most outrageously, Frist essentially accused Durbin of encouraging suicide bombers… Read on.
Operation Yellow Elephant
From the genius of Jesus General, The rationale behind OPERATION YELLOW ELEPHANT:
I suppose that a number of you are wondering if I’ve been co-opted by the French. After all, one could reasonably assume that OPERATION YELLOW ELEPHANT is designed to embarrass College Republicans. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’m actually trying to help them.
I learned in the last presidential election the importance of turning a weakness into a strength. I think we were all amazed to see a man who had gone AWOL from an undeployable National Guard unit defeat a decorated war hero because he was perceived to have more credibility as a military commander. We can do the same for the College Republicans… Read on
Objective: To motivate the College Republicans to vigorously defend the vital work they’re doing defending the homefront by holding affirmative action bake sales, immigrant hunts, and subsidizing the Scaife funding of Ann Coulter, David Horowitz, and Michelle Malkin (see post below for more detail).
Method: Embarrass the College Republicans by challenging them to volunteer to fight in the war they demanded.
Mode: Nonviolent Leaderless Creative Expression
Target: 56th College Republican Biennial Convention
June 24-26, 2005
Crystal Gateway Marriott
TASK: Ask the College Republican leadership to pass the following resolution at their convention:
WHEREAS, the College Republican membership has always fully supported the war in Iraq;
WHEREAS, we have encouraged the notion that the degree of one’s patriotism is directly proportional to their support for the war;
WHEREAS, by word, by deed and by support of Ann Coulter, David Horowitz, and Michelle Malkin we have decreed that dissent against the war is the equivalent of treason;
WHEREAS, the military continually falls far short of meeting its recruitment needs resulting in a manpower crisis;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT:
The College Republicans organization is officially disbanded until the end of the war;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT:
The College Republicans membership immediately volunteer for military service as infantrymen. Read on.
Via The News Blog.
Friday, June 17, 2005
Billy Graham on gay marriage
From The Advocate:
Cautious even in his more active years, Graham now seeks to shun all public controversies, preferring a simple message of love and unity through Jesus Christ. Asked about same-sex marriage, for instance, Graham replied, “I don’t give advice. I’m going to stay off these hot-button issues.”
Via Gay Orbit: “I get the immpression he really believes what he teaches.”
I’m a liberal
In addition to being a reform Democrat, I am a progressive Democrat. I do not use that term in the sense of the Progressive Policy Institute, and I do not use it in the sense that I am really a liberal who is afraid to call himself such. Further, I also do not use the term in the sense that only those with clear positions are progressives, or only those who believe that John Kerry won the 2004 election are progressives. Finally, and most importantly, I also do not use it in the sense that only those who are willing to be partisans and go on the offensive against Republicans are progressives. For me, the label signifies that I am decidedly and unquestionably on the left wing of the Democratic Party. It is an ideological term...I am a progressive. I am a Leftie, and I am proud of that.
The full post is on why no progressives are running in 2008.
Michael Jackson’s innocence
I come late to the Michael Jackson commentary, and paid very little attention to the Jackson trial, but a couple persuasive articles and the many incredulous “reporters” compel me to do it.
I’ve never believed Michael Jackson was a pedophile. To begin with, he doesn’t fit the profile...it doesn’t ring true in psychological terms. Whether or not he has ever touched a boy inappropriately, Michael Jackson seems too emotionally stunted to act in any grown-up way, including a deviant sexual one. Naive, juvenile, and terribly damaged, he seems pathetically incapable not just of criminal intent, but of adult consciousness.
People tend to throw up hands at Michael Jackson’s multifarious bizarreness. But is it really so strange? The boy was forced to work by a cruel and physically abusive father starting at the age of 7. (If he’d been sent into a factory or coal mine, instead of onstage, we’d have more compassion for him.) As a boy, he was denied what even most abused and underprivileged children have: school, friends, and play.
That’s Jacob Weisberg in his Slate article, Arrested Development. His case has convinced me. I’m equally convinced by Andrew Vachss, a lawyer who represents children, in his NYTimes OpEd, Unsafe at Any Age. He observes that for all the commentary, the case signals no new wave of concern about child protection:
IN the months since charges were filed, I have heard people profess intense anguish that Michael Jackson might “get away with it.” Each time, I asked these people what other possible miscarriages of justice concerned them, past or present? I asked if they knew that in many states, including New York and California, the penalties for sexual abuse of one’s own child are markedly less than those for abusing an unrelated child. I asked each of them if this incest loophole also provoked their outrage; if they were prepared to actually do anything to change such laws. Not one ever answered.
What does the Michael Jackson verdict mean to the future of child protection in America? Nothing. The verdict only underscores one fundamental, persistent truth: when it comes to child sexual abuse, from public perception to prosecution, nothing has changed. Nothing at all.
Finally, I did catch some of the journalists’ badgering of the Jackson jurors. Kos singles out CNN’s Nancy Grace. I saw her in action and agree. I’d also add Catherine Crier and Diane Diamond to the list.
Rush Limbaugh, copyfighter?
But I just want to tell you we’re continually working on it, which at this point simply means monitoring developments in this whole copyright and piracy law. I know the Millennium Copyright Act is what this is all about, and until that’s changed, none of this is going to change. In fact I just saw a story in my RSS reader today that Sony is coming out with a new system to copy-protect their CDs. There’s software on their CDs that will allow a maximum of three dubs, three copies, and then it shuts down. So if somebody goes and buy a CD, they can copy it three times, but that’s it and it’s not on all their CDs. It’s a new technology that they are embedding in the CDs, and of course the DVD industry has gotten even much tougher than the music industry has, but it’s a huge deal and we have looked at it in every which way and that’s what we have been told by the legal eagles.
I keep getting questions, “Why no music?” Let me go through this once again… We simply don’t have the license to give away somebody else’s product, which is what we’d be doing if we downloaded music… We’re always trying to change these things and get permissions from various entities to include their work, but we’re running up against a brick wall because so much piracy is going on out there, and once you steal something, it’s easy to spread it around to your friends and they’re just trying to get a handle on this. So that’s why. If we wanted to write and produce, create our own bumper music and do that, we could, if we wanted to give that away, but somebody else’s we just can’t. So for now it’s audio only.
So is it that the media cartel just “trying to get a handle on it” or is Rush beginning to understand what’s really going on?
The music industry considers the seemingly innocuous act of duplicating a music CD for someone else ``casual piracy,’’ a practice that surpasses Internet file-sharing as the single largest source of unauthorized music distribution. After fits and starts, the industry’s largest players are taking measures to place curbs on copying.
It’s surprising to me that the Mercury News has accepted the record labels’ terminology in this matter. Piracy refers to making unauthorized reproductions of digital media for financial gain - or, stretching the term, for indiscriminate distribution. It is not piracy - “casualÃ¢â‚¬Â� or otherwise - when you buy music and make a few copies for close friends.
Quoting Jessica Litman, author of “Digital Copyright,” in her law review article “War Stories,” 20 Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal 337 (2002):
Under the old way of thinking about things, copying your CD and carrying the copy around with you to play in your car, in your Walkman, or in your cassette deck at work is legal. Borrowing a music CD and making a copy on some other medium for your personal use is legal. Recording music from the radio; maxing different recorded tracks for a ‘party tape,’ and making a copy of one of your CDs for your next-door neighbor are, similarly, all lawful acts. The copyright law says so: section 1008 of the copyright statute provides that consumers may make non-commercial copies of recorded music without liability. Many people seem not to know this any more.
We’re losing because most of us are completely unaware:
This latest bit of news comes on top of the restrictions placed on other uses of digital media:
- it’s a federal offense to back up a copy of your DVD;
- it’s illegal to copy a purchased computer game with DRM onto your laptop or desktop;
- the new generation of digital television may impose similar limits on how you can copy or burn Hollywood programming.
Ernest Miller has more, and expects we won’t bow down to the record companies:
All this DRM will accomplish is to encourage people to bypass it, to download the inevitable DRM circumvention devices. They might be illegal, but they’ll be available on the internet. Or, it will encourage people to use P2P programs to download the music they’ve already purchased. And, once they’re on the filesharing network, why not download a few songs they haven’t purchased? After all, if the record companies are going to make life hard for them with regard to music they’ve acutally spent money on, they might rationalize that they’ve earned some free music.
In other words, record labels will only succeed in encouraging disrespect for copyright law. Thanks a lot, you bunch of short-sighted morons.
Thursday, June 16, 2005
Love in Action v Zach :’(
I’m sure we’re all glad to see the blogosphere reacting to get Zach’s story out and hope something good can come from publicizing the plight he shares with too many people in this country.
Unfortunately, as I read & watched the coverage, I was gripped by a sudden horror that the folks at LIA/Refuge (whatever bullshit inaccurate name they
use to call themselves) could decide to make Zach an example...We’ve already helped put his identity out there (with the best of intentions), but based on the following, maybe we can broaden our future discussion of the topic to address at risk teens and additional programs.
The email asked that I remove the link to Zach :’( ‘s blog. I understood the request, and considered it seriously. A technorati search made up my mind. That particular genie was already out of the bottle.
I’m not as concerned that LIA/Refuge will make an example of him; I think they know that would make their unpopular position more so. But I am concerned that young Zach :’( is coming home now and the media attention will not help. We can’t really know what’s going on in that family.
I don’t think we want a Schiavo-style family saga. Zach :’( is a real person that personifies a real serious issue. The issue needs to be dealt with differently than the person. Be aware of what happens to the person, and be careful not to exploit him in the name of an issue.
Love In Action had a press conference today (news report / transcript / blog). It will provide plenty of ammunition for serious debate. And legal advocacy. Now that they’ve come out (in a manner of speaking), focusing on Love In Action’s John J. Smid and Steve Rice is the best way to help Zach :’( and all the other young people like him.
I’m sure there’s plenty to work with there. (Smid, “I am someone who has lived a life of immoral sexual behavior involved in inappropriate homosexual relationships.") We don’t have to, and should be careful not to, run with old and questionable quotes like “suicide is better than homosexuality” until they are definitively proved.
Custom cakes that violate copyright
Clay Shirky via Xeni Jardin at Boing Boing:
Here’s the sign I saw yesterday morning when getting the daily bread at College Bakery, our beloved local purveyor of pre-Atkins goodies.
Now the decor and ambience of College Bakery are echt Old Brooklyn, so it’s an unlikely front in the copyfight, but the staff said they had to bust out the magic markers because they’d been roped in as the front line of defense against non-licit images of Dora the ExplorerÃ‚Â® and Thomas the Tank EngineÃ‚Â®. I was struck enough by the sign to Flickr it immediately, and it’s stuck with me since then, for several reasons.
First of all, disappointing children is a lousy tactic for a media company. If a child loves Nemo so much she wants a clownfish birthday cake, it’s hard to see the upside in preventing her from advertising that affection to her friends. Second, and more worryingly, this is the very sort of chilling effect that has always been recognized as a significant risk in First Amendment protections. How cool would it be to do a drawing with your kid and have it show up as a cake the next day? Well forget it.
What College Bakery is saying with that sign is “The risk of being sued is so high that we’ll give up on helping paying customers create their own cakes.” This is Trusted Computing for frosting.
Read on. I bet they’d happily assess a per cake license fee… Grr!
UPDATE: WOW! The cake store was such a perfectly illustrative example that it set off a great back and forth thread. Counterpoint: “what you have here is one company (even though it is a small one) stealing from another company (even though it is a large one).” I urge you to read it. I quote only my favorite concluding comment from Eff‘s Jason Schultz in the extended entry. If you can read nothing more, please read it…
Morgan Spurlock’s new show on FX turns the 30 Days concept of Super Size Me into a weekly affair. The first episode was on last night. It follows Spurlock and his fiancÃƒÂ©e, Alex, as they move to Ohio and try to live off minimum-wage jobs.
Columbus just happens to be Brew’s hometown:
Morgan and his fiancee got a little taste of what the real working poor experience in Ohio these days. And it’s bad. They settle in “The Bottoms” - a poor Appalachian neighborhood on the western flood plains of the Scioto River. For 30 days, they struggle just to get by, confronted by crippling hospital bills, working two jobs - walking to save a couple of dollars a day in bus fares.
When I was a kid - most of Ohio was working class. A little down on it’s luck from time to time, sure. Things were pretty bad in the late seventies and early eighties. I remember my Dad working more than one job sometime around then. But it was always “gettin’ by” even if only just.
When I went back to Ohio in October - I was shocked. It’s bad, really bad. The economy has tanked, and places that were already a little rough around the edges are now veritable ghost towns - boarded up businesses, tumbledown apartments, scattered fast food joints hiding behind halogen lights and bulletproof glass.
We also do one about sexuality in America, where we take a guy who’s ex-military, somebody who has a very straightforward view of what homosexuals are—these are people who are sinning against God, this is a sin against nature, these are people who are going to hell because of the choices they make, they are choosing to defy God. And so we take this guy from Michigan, where he grew up, and we moved him to California, to the Castro [in San Francisco], where he moved in with a gay man and really got a firsthand look at what gay culture is like. The stereotypes that he had aren’t what it is.
The future of movie rental
Even before Murdoch completed his acquisition of DirecTV, he told financiers at Morgan Stanley’s Global Media Conference that he planned to marry the satellites above with TiVo-like home recorders below, explaining that “every subscriber will be getting either a free digital video recorder or one for nominal amounts of money.” And, to this end, he placed an order for 20 million digital video recorders for his customers.
Murdoch plans to digitally deliver movies and other programming from his satellites to home digital video recorders that would be the same quality, or higher (HDTV), than a DVD. Since there are not enough transponders on satellites to stream movies to individual subscribers on demand, Murdoch needs DVRs in every home to make his digital-delivery system work. With DVRs, the satellites can upload movies in the middle of the night in encrypted form onto subscribers’ hard discs without us having to do anything or even be aware of it. (One idea now under consideration at DirecTV is to provide these DVRs with an enormous 160-gigabyte recording capacity. The subscriber would only be told about 80 gigabytes, with the remaining 80 gigabytes reserved for encrypted movies.) Once the movies are placed on the DVRs, a customer “rents” them by clicking on his remote control.
There’s just one catch. To make digital video on demand work, Murdoch would have to overcome a formidable barrier-the 45-day head start that video stores have been given. This so-called “video window” is the result of a long-standing unwritten agreement among studios to delay the electronic delivery of movies for at least six weeks after video stores have had the opportunity to rent them.
Isn’t that called collusion?
What has prevented the studios from closing the video window is, as a top Viacom executive explains, “In one word: Wal-Mart.” Wal-Mart, the single biggest seller of DVDs, does not want to compete with home delivery. The company told Viacom’s home-entertainment division, in no uncertain terms, that if any studio does away with the 45-day video window for a single title, they would risk losing access to Wal-Mart’s incredibly valuable shelf space for all of its DVDs. In the face of Wal-Mart’s retail power (the antitrust term for it is monopsony) the studios have kept the window wide open.
Epstein expects Murdoch will win. Me too.
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
We talked Georgia state politics over dinner tonight with a knowledgeable friend. His take is that of Gov. Sonny Purdue‘s Democratic challengers, Cathy Cox is terrific, and stands a chance, except that a bitter primary fight with Mark Taylor will probably destroy both of them. Taylor, in this friend’s view, is a smarmy but smart old-style southern politician.
Sounds like what we need is the Republicans to self-destruct. (Sonny tried with the Georgia state flag.)
Our friend points to the AJC opinion page today, where Bob Irvin, a former Republican state representative and House minority leader calls on Ralph Reed to, “Please withdraw your candidacy for Georgia lieutenant governor.”
Reed, he says, is “simply too divisive” because of “the ongoing scandal over casino money” which is “only the latest, but not likely the last, scandal to surface.”
Irvin, an evangelical Christian, calls Reed an albatross who could destroy the Georgia GOP majority coalition because he is four things that Georgians don’t elect--a lobbyist, a Washington man, an ideologue, and a career politician:
In the last few weeks, I can’t tell you the number of people who have come up to me and volunteered something like, “I’m a Republican, but I’m not voting for Ralph Reed.” Generally, they live in the suburbs, the decisive battleground in this and future elections, but some of them are in South Georgia.
They are mostly long-time Republican activists, people I have known for 30 years or more in the finally successful effort to build a two-party system. Reed’s nomination will alienate them. His defeat will alienate his naive but devoted supporters. Either way, we’re left with a minority.
Howard Dean says Georgia is still in play. Maybe so.
Where’s our Arnold?
Michael Moore made a lot of sense when, on the Today show back in January, he said:
Where’s our Arnold? Why aren’t we running our Arnold? Why do we continue to run these wonks? The American people--see the Republicans, as much as they berate Hollywood, actually they love Hollywood. In fact, they know that Americans love Hollywood, too, and that’s why Republicans run people from Hollywood. Reagan, Arnold, Gopher from “The Love Boat.” He was in Congress...Sonny Bono...Fred Thompson. They know that Americans love Hollywood. That’s why they run people from Hollywood. And--and when the Democrats run stars: Bill Clinton, the rock star; John Kennedy, the movie star, they win. And when they run wonks, they lose. And they’ve got to start thinking about the people who connect to the average American out there, and who are really--you know, people who move the American public in--in a very visceral way...when we start running people that are beloved by the American public, we’re going to win.
MINNEAPOLIS, June 13 - The swells who showed up before Al Franken’s speech at a Democratic fund-raiser to down finger food and punch were thrilled to see him, all the more so because he continues to make threatening noises about running for the Senate here in 2008...Mr. Franken, who left Minnesota at age 22 but has made a habit of coming back frequently, has suggested he may move his radio show to the state sometime next year. His delivery manages to be caustic and laconic, an unhurried savaging of all that is conservative and Republican, all wrapped up to a trumpeted call to arms.
RELATED: On that same Today Show, I liked what Michael had to say about Hillary too.