aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Journalist or commentator?
According to an Annenberg poll conducted this spring, about 40 percent of Americans consider Fox News talk show host Bill O’Reilly a “journalist”—while only 30 percent of the people surveyed said they considered famed Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward to be one...Meanwhile, more than a quarter surveyed said that another champion of judicious reportage, radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, was a journalist. Limbaugh said Monday that he was “not really surprised” by the results showing that 27 percent of Americans would describe him as a journalist. “I am America’s anchorman, doing news play-by-play 15 hours a week for nearly 17 years now,” Limbaugh said, “and this is just more evidence that the old media’s monopoly-like dominance is finished.”
Frist refused roll call & where was Saxby?
WASHINGTON - Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) refused repeated requests for a roll call vote that would have put senators on the record on a resolution apologizing for past failures to pass anti-lynching laws, officials involved in the negotiations said Tuesday.
And there was disagreement Tuesday over whether Saxby Chambliss, one of Georgia’s two Republican senators, had supported the measure when it was approved Monday night...Chambliss’ name was added to the list of co-sponsors after the resolution was adopted, according to the Congressional Record. But his office said he had signed onto the bill as a co-sponsor before Monday’s vote.
Bill First, the Republican leader of the United States Senate, vetoed having a roll call vote on a resolution apologizing to victims of lynchings. He tried to hide the resolution in the middle of the night so no one would no about it.
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Supine vessels for government spin
A Daily Dish reader asks about Hannity’s technique:
No one should be surprised or upset that he didn’t ask Cheney whether Iraq is becoming the next Vietnam (there’s plenty of other folks asking those questions anyway). But a journalist of the right should ask him the questions to which conservatives would like some answers. Ask him, e.g., about the administration’s spending habits. He asked him about immigration, but when Cheney said illegal immigrants perform an important function in our economy by doing jobs no one else will do, Hannity should have jumped on him. Why does he think Americans won’t do those jobs?
Conservative Gays in Spain threaten to ‘out’ party members
MADRID (Reuters) - Gays in Spain’s main opposition party could reveal the names of homosexuals in its ranks unless the party backs down from its opposition to gay marriage…
Gay members of the [right-of-center opposition Popular Party] PP who continue to oppose gay marriage run the risk of being “outed”—or forced out the closet—by the party’s Gay Platform, the platform’s president told state radio on Tuesday.
“We are willing to say, you, so-and-so, are a hypocrite ... because you are voting to impede a law that we believe is just and will mean more democracy, more equality, more tolerance and more greatness for the Kingdom of Spain,” Carlos Biendicho said.
PPP defeated again
The Georgia Board of Education overwhelmingly rejected a measure today from state School Superintendent Kathy Cox that proposed requiring school districts to provide parents with a list of extracurricular clubs available to students, giving parents the option to withhold their children from particular clubs.
The board voted 10-3 against the proposal, which critics argued was an attack on gay-straight student alliances on a handful of Georgia’s high school campuses, most of them in metro Atlanta.
Keep up the good work Georgia Equality.
Defining hate speech down
Clif Burns has the definitive retort.
Lynching apology not unanimous
The last time I wrote about Lynching it was reported the Senate would pass a resolution of apology in March.
So they can hide the 12 or so Senators who apparently think it’s bad politics back home to sign onto a resolution that apologizes for not passing anti-lynching legislation sooner. Apparently, southern Senators fillibustered efforts to pass such legislation for years.
I don’t care if they’re Democrats or Republicans, I want to know who isn’t supporting this legislation. We have a right to know, and to know why anybody in either party would permit the basically-secret vote to take place this evening in order to his who these bigots really are.
Crooks and Liars is shocked to find lynching was allowed until 1968:
...from History Matters In the following testimony to a House subcommittee, four Southern Congressmen discussed their reasons for opposing what they deemed federal interference in state judicial responsibilities and defend segregation and the “peaceful relations now existing between white man and Negro” in the South. Congressman Charles E. Bennett (Florida) also offered his historical explanation for lynching. read the full transcript.
I have very complicated, nuanced and still developing opinions on race and the South; they’re not what might be expected and will come out here over time. But I must note the creepy irony that the day of the apology was also the day that an otherwise educated white person used the term “nigger” to my face. For the third time since I moved here I am profoundly unsettled and disturbed.
UPDATE: John’s got an explanation and a list.
UPDATE: AJC says it was Frist who refused the roll call…
I saw The Chris Matthews Show this weekend and was struck by how skewed it was. (Topics: Are Howard Dean’s insults doing his party good? Thought Kerry was smarter than Bush? Guess again! Chris’s thoughts on Australian heroes in Hollywood.)
Most particularly striking was the partisan vehemence of Vogue magazine senior writer Julia Reed, who I had never heard of before. From Media Matters:
In the course of criticizing Dean, Reed referred to Republicans as “our side.” Reed has written a profile of President Bush’s daughters for the August 2004 issue of Vogue and has described herself as an “acquaintance of the family”:
REED: I think, when he said this is just a diversion to keep from talking about the issues, but he’s making himself a diversion. No one in America knows who Ken Mehlman is—he’s chairman of the RNC—because he’s quietly running around raising money. Howard Dean is going to raise money for the Republicans if he keeps on talking like this—I mean, he’s igniting the base on our side—I mean, on the Republican side.
And about those college grades?
In addition, Matthews focused the panel’s attention on Sen. John Kerry’s (D-MA) recently released college record which shows that Kerry earned a slightly lower cumulative grade-point average than President Bush in four years at Yale. But Matthews did not mention that the grades were simply a part of a larger document release that included Kerry’s full military record, which definitively proves that Swift Boat Veterans for Truth’s allegations against Kerry during the 2004 presidential campaign were baseless.
Monday, June 13, 2005
Bloggers, know your rights
Whether you’re a newly minted blogger or a relative old-timer, you’ve been seeing more and more stories pop up every day about bloggers getting in trouble for what they post… Freedom of speech is the foundation of a functioning democracy, and Internet bullies shouldn’t use the law to stifle legitimate free expression. That’s why EFF created this guide, compiling a number of FAQs designed to help you understand your rights… The goal here is to give you a basic roadmap to the legal issues you may confront as a blogger, to let you know you have rights, and to encourage you to blog freely with the knowledge that your legitimate speech is protected.
An ominous encroachment on the First Amendment
Forty-four states now enforce some version of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, first drafted in 1979 by the National Conference of Commissions on Uniform State Laws. According to the NCCUSL, the law classifies as “trade secrets” company information “of commercial value” that “is not generally known to others and is not readily ascertainable by proper means.” According to an excellent March 28 article in the Mac-oriented publication MWJ, those laws and related court rulings have established that “trade secrets are information, and information is property.” Publishing or even sharing that information, then, is legally tantamount to abetting theft.
In May 1998, for example, the Cincinnati Enquirer ran a damning 22-article investigation of the Latin American activities of Chiquita Banana, the company whose checkered history south of the border originally inspired the term banana republic. The series, which alleged bribery, cover-ups, and other malfeasance, was never challenged on the facts. Yet the paper retracted the whole package, apologized, and handed Chiquita a $14 million settlement after the company falsely accused reporter Mike Gallagher of “stealing” 2,000 internal voice mails. (He had actually obtained them from a willing inside source.)
Gallagher was summarily fired. Far from defending him, the nation’s journalism reviews and media critics joined Chiquita and the Enquirer in denouncing his “ethics.” ("On the question of stealing voice mail,” Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times media critic David Shaw told Editor & Publisher, “you don’t do it.") No major newspaper, to my knowledge, ever followed up on Gallagher’s reporting.
They’re all working for giant companies that have plenty of their own trade secrets. Like my friend, they think this an entirely reasonable First Amendment exception, “That’s capitalism, that’s how the market works.”
So on the blogger as journalist question, do we restrict the protections to journalists?
I think the First Amendment should be applied as broadly as possible, I want the government to have less power to compel information from citizens, and I want maximum latitude in my work...If bloggers are left unshielded, that will only serve to enlarge an already conspicuous paradox: that the people with the most press freedom seem the least willing to use it.
The future of video blogging
“How is some little tiny digital camera the future of video?” (imaginary friend)
Most digital cameras shoot stills and video but how many of them are tiny and shoot good quality stills and video? This camera does both 5 megapixel stills and 30 frames per second at a 640 X 480 resolution. What does that mean? It means the video quality is good enough to watch on a television.
“That’s great but who cares? My current camcorder does that too.”
Your camcorder does a great job of recording events but it fails at when it comes time to do anything with the footage… The process of shooting video directly to disk (hard drive or a memory card) eliminates that arduous process of logging and capturing video footage from tape. Every time you start and stop shooting video on this little camera it creates a new video file. This file becomes like any other file on a hard disk… In the near future consumer level video editing systems will be able to create automatic movies for you. Just think of how you create slide-shows in iPhoto now…
Duncan calls it Smart Automatic Movies. If you’re at all interested in this kind of thing you have to go and read every single word of what he has to say. He is 100% right. I particularly like this:
I’m a tech nerd and I have Final Cut Pro and all that editing jazz and video is still far too time consuming. This changes with this little camera. The combination of ultra portability and direct to disk capture of these new hybrid still/video cameras will bring a whole new world of possibilities for the consumer level video world not unlike what has happened with digital photography.
And, I might add, just as bloggers have impacted journalism, once those who were limited to being “consumers” become “producers” they will shake up TV big-time. Remember what cable did to networks? Look out!
A voting ban that goes too far
City Journal, normally a fairly sane conservative publication, has a piece up strongly arguing that anyone ever convicted of a felony is a felon for life, and should never be allowed to vote--with a lengthy rant about how allowing felons to vote will help Democrats and hurt Republicans.
While there is a certain irony to the notion that Democrats seem anxious to boost the convict vote because they know it will help them, I have to say I find Republican attempts to ban anyone who was ever convicted of anything to be, uhm, what’s the word? Oh yeah: draconian.
What on Earth ever happened to the mentality in this country that once you’d worked off your sentence and paid your debt to society, you were a free man (or woman) and no longer persecuted?
A smoking ban that goes too far
June 13, 2005—ALBANY - Thousands of New Yorkers living in public housing could soon be banned from smoking in their apartments.
Brooklyn Democratic Assemblyman Felix Ortiz said his legislation would immediately require public housing complexes to make 50 percent of their apartments smoke-free.
By 2010, smoking in the projects would be outlawed completely, Ortiz said.
Via The News Blog: “I hate smoking myself, but this is ridiculous.”
Public television: use it before we lose it
A repeat telecast of Frontline’s Is Wal-Mart Good for America is scheduled for this week. If you missed it, catch it this time (check local listings). Here’s my reaction to the program: excellent. This is what I call must see TV.
Sunday, June 12, 2005
Appealing to the base
I have noted here and there that if there is a lesson to be learned from the Republicans, it’s that appealing to the base works. Now I’m for real here, I’m open to hearing an articulation of an opposing view on this, but I’ve heard none. I just hear that the dems should be building bridges and must be drinking the Kool Aid if they think it’s a good idea to back Howard Dean, while Karl Rove’s a genius architect for skillfully, if cynically, appealing to the Republican base.
Maybe Digby’s put his finger on it:
[On Meet the Press this morning] Gwen Ifill pointed out that while Dean is popular with the rank and file, the Washington Democrats are very upset. The Knights of the Botox all made it quite clear that while Bush catering to his base is a smart strategy, they agree with the DC Dems that catering to the filthy Democrat rabble is quite beneath any civilized politician. But then, as we all know, Bush’s base are Real Americans while the Democratic base consists of a bunch of godless, bi-coastal, terrorist sympathizers who are waaaay outside the mainstream. All 49% of ‘em. No way are Judy, Gwen, Father Tim, and Dean Broder associated with those treasonous bastards. Why, everybody on Nantucket practically lives on pork rinds these days. (Atkins, don’t you know.)
We will have to post it over a couple of days, but I am confidant each of you will enjoy it as much as we did. We covered border control, Linda Foley, Hillary Clinton, Howard Dean, democrats, the technology revolution, Mr. Speakers current book Never Call Retreat and even got to hear a little about my favorite President: Ronald Reagan!
I want to start everyone off with this video that we were very fortunate to get. We were allowed to video tape the former Speaker while he was on the phone conducting an interview with Bill O’Reilly for the Radio Factor. Even though I know now what Bill’s questions were, I want to give it to you the way we saw it, not knowing the questions and just watching Mr. Gingrich answer. I think it’s much more enjoyable that way.
Via Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice: “Increasing, video bloggers are offering some of the most interesting and must-view sites on the Internet… Original video blogging opens up a new frontier.”
Where there’s smoke…
It looks like Frist chief of staff Eric Ueland was prescient when he said, in another context, “We are moving into ‘here there be dragons’ territory.”
Via Oliver Willis.
UPDATE: And in other Frist news, it looks like it was he refused to have a real roll call vote on the anti-lynching resolution.
Saturday, June 11, 2005
No Refuge for gay kids
Crooks and Liars points to this blog from 16 year old Zach :’( writing about coming out to his parents, who are now sending him to a $2,000 two week ministry called Refuge which is “designed to minister to adolescents struggling with broken and addictive behaviors such asÃ¢â‚¬Â¦homosexuality.”
Refuge is a program of Love in Action International, Inc., whose website states, “There is no such creation as a “gay” or “homosexual” person.”
Is it any wonder the suicide rate among gay kids is so high? Zach :’( writes:
I went numb. That’s the only way I can get through this. I agree, if you’re thinking that these posts might be dramatized.. but the proof of the programs ideas are sitting in the rules. I pray this blows over. I can’t take this… noone can… not really, this kind of thing tears you apart emotionally. To introduce THIS subject… I’m not a suicidal person… really I’m not.. I think it’s stupid - really. But..
I expect Zach :’( will make it through, and I’m deeply sorry he has to. But I see this as an essentially positive story. Yes, he’s at the camp, but this all happened because at 16 he chose to come out to his parents, and he chose to write about it on a blog. Good for him!
Now the blog is getting widening attention (Mike Ditto to Talk Left to Alas, a blog and Crooks and Liars to...) Zach :’( got over 350 comments (so far) filled with incredible support, including a listing of all the local elected officials and media (copied here in the extended entry). Crooks and Liars links to a local TV news story which solicits comments that are overwhelmingly supportive and best of all, a local gay group is at the camp protesting.
The Religious Right can poke their finger in the dyke, so to speak, but strong as the gay marriage amendments and Parents Permission to Participate bills (here and elsewhere) make them feel, they’re fighting a losing battle. There’s a flood of gay and lesbian people coming out loud and proud and they’re not going to go away.
Like King David
“I appreciate your comments but like King David in the Bible I will be a better mayor now. I will be more focused and more driven to see this city succeed in all areas. My faith in Jesus Christ and the Lord tell me this will be done.”
John says, Hallelujah, he’s been CURED!
Oh, I’m sorry, that’s very nice and all, but gag me. This man has yet to come clean with what he’s done, and we’re to believe he’s a-okay because he just found God:
“My private life is my private life,” he said on Friday.
Uh, no it’s not. You didn’t think OUR private life was so private when you tried to repeatedly legislate against it, including supporting legislation to fire gay state employees. Funny, but OUR private life wasn’t so private to you back then. But now that everyone knows you’re a fag too, suddenly you’re Mr. Private Life King of the World. Well, bite me.
Kilgore & Drum on Dean
My basic take on Howard Dean’s DNC chairmanship is simple. After the 2004 elections, Dean had a choice. It would have been the easiest thing in the world for him to have assumed leadership of an abrasive and divisive faction of the Democratic party, as a proto-candidate for the 2008 presidential nomination. But instead, he chose to pursue the difficult and often thankless job of party chairman, building on the aspects of his 2004 candidacy that virtually all Democats appreciated: small-dollar fundraising, and grass-roots efforts to expand the ranks of party activists. For all my differences of opinion with Dean’s 2004 campaign, his self-sacrificing choice afterwards earned my respect, and my loyalty.
Via Kevin Drum, who adds:
I don’t want Dean to go over a cliff with this kind of stuff, but his reputation as a straight shooter allows him to say things that other people are only thinking, and his role as party chairman forces the press to pay attention. This is a good thing.
Initially, of course, it doesn’t look that way, but guess what happens after the initial firestorm has died out? With news hook in hand, reporters will get to work. Does James Dobson control the agenda of the Republican party? Are Republicans overwhelmingly white? Do party leaders work against the interests of the working class? This is exactly where we’d like the focus to be: on our issues, not theirs. After all, the answers to these questions are inevitably going to be bad for the Republican party.
UPDATE: Dean’s raised more money than Terry McAuliffe.
Credit where credit is due
Nine years ago, the Internet was still pretty much in its infancy. But a lot of people - both well-known names and unsung heroes - have helped shaped the Web to what it is today.
And at the ninth annual international Webby Awards in New York this week, one particular Net figure finally received his due: Former Vice President Al Gore.
Officials at the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences honored Gore with the Webby Lifetime Achievement award in recognition of his pivotal role in the development of the Internet over the last 30 years.
I’ve never seen anyone even attempt to seriously dispute the assertion of “no Al Gore, no internet.” It’s hard to imagine, about 12 years after mosiac, that the web wasn’t inevitable. However, it surely wasn’t. There’s a pretty good chance that without Senator big geek Gore we would never have had the “information superhighway.” Sure, we would have had a set of competing walled gardens (compuserve, aol, etc...) which would’ve probably had improved interconnectedness over time. But, I do believe that without Gore (and, of course, others) there’s a pretty good chance that the Web as we know it, or anything similiar, would never have existed.
Yes, thank you Al.
MILLIONS of Americans despise Bill Clinton. They have done so since he became a presence in national politics in the early 1990’s, and they continue to do so today, more than four years after his retirement from public office.
The passion of the Clinton haters is a phenomenon without equal in recent American politics. It is not based on any specific policies that Clinton promoted or implemented during his years in office. It is almost entirely personal… Viewed in historical perspective, Clinton-hatred is not easy to explain. Certainly the Monica Lewinsky affair does not explain it. The people who detested the president after that dalliance became public were essentially the same ones who had detested him in 1992. They merely grew louder.
There is, of course, a simpler argument that some Clinton haters use to explain the persistence of their passion. They say that he was, to put it bluntly, a very bad president—immature, self-absorbed, indecisive in domestic affairs and disastrously weak when it came to representing America in the affairs of the world.
It is this argument that John F. Harris utterly demolishes in ‘’The Survivor: Bill Clinton in the White House,’’ his thorough, readable and scrupulously honest account of the Clinton years. Harris, who was The Washington Post’s White House correspondent from 1995 through 2000, is no Clinton apologist. His portraits of the decision-making process he witnessed reveal a president who indeed lacked discipline in his daily routine; examined and re-examined policy choices endlessly, to the frustration of his advisers; and was fearful about the use of military force abroad, even in behalf of the most defensible causes.
But over the course of 500 pages, Harris also documents the history of a president who, however frustrating he may have been in style and method, usually made the right choices in the end—even when he felt that he was hurting himself politically. The 1993 spending cuts and tax increases, over which he agonized for months, ultimately reduced the federal deficit, reassured financial markets and set in motion the prosperity that marked the second half of the decade. The 1996 Welfare Reform Act, which Clinton signed against the advice of his closest Democratic allies, turned out to be the most successful domestic policy initiative of the 1990’s.
Billy Graham crusade in NY
Mr. Graham is now preparing to venture down the mountain to travel to New York City for another evangelistic crusade - a three-day outdoor revival meeting beginning June 24 in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens.
“Maybe this will be the last crusade I’ll ever hold,” he said in a conversation on his porch that lasted more than an hour, during which he reflected on his own mortality, his close attention to the funeral of Pope John Paul II, his son Franklin’s comments that Islam is an “evil and wicked” religion ("Let’s say, I didn’t say it"), and his regrets, including comments about Jews he made 30 years ago to President Richard M. Nixon that were tape-recorded.
As it happens, that’s Gay Pride weekend. I’ll be there.
Friday, June 10, 2005
A flip Wilson
Does respected cultural critic William Bennett condone this kind of behavior?
Oh, never mind.
The rumor is false
“The Truth About Hillary,” to be published by Penguin’s right-wing Sentinel imprint this month, makes much of Clinton’s supposed lesbian affinities. Klein says that she “embraced” lesbianism and that it “shaped” her politics in a profound way.
Klein also makes much of Clinton’s friendship with Nancy Wanderer, a classmate who came out of the closet. He recounts an episode at their 25th reunion when Clinton - who, Klein says, was “widely rumored” to be a lesbian herself - fondled Wanderer’s buzz-cut hair.
I’d like to take this opportunity to explain that even though my college friend Marco did in fact recently marry, and his wife was seen stroking my bald head, there’s no truth whatsoever to the rumor that I am a heterosexual.