aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Friday, June 10, 2005
London’s latest fashion
It’s sold as a must-have accessory to give urban SUVs a whiff of the outback. But U.K. officials say drivers who use spray-on mud to avoid identification by police speed cams face hefty fines for obscuring their license plates.
Targeting self-conscious 4x4 owners whose rugged vehicles seldom see obstacles bigger than a speed bump, the enterprising British e-tailer behind Sprayonmud sells the scent of the countryside in a squirt bottle.
Culture warriors on the move
No news here, depressing nonetheless:
Emboldened by the political right’s growing influence on public policy, opponents of school activities aimed at educating students about homosexuality or promoting acceptance of gay people are mounting challenges to such programs, at individual schools, at statehouses and in Congress.
Chief among the targets are sex education programs that include discussions of homosexuality, and after-school clubs that bring gay and straight students together, two initiatives that gained assent in numerous schools over the last decade.
In many cases, the opponents have been successful. In Montgomery County, Md., for example, parents went to court to block a health education course that offered a discussion of homosexuality, while in Cleveland, Ga., gay and lesbian students were barred from forming a high school club of gay and straight youths.
Well, maybe if the gays weren’t so blatant...
Madonna, an idiot
I love it when the rich tell us that money can’t buy happiness:
Once upon a time, there was a book party for MADONNA’s fifth children’s book, “Lotsa de Casha,” the story of a rich yet unhappy greyhound who learns the value of sharing when he finds himself stranded without any money.
The party was at Bergdorf Goodman. Socialites and artists mingled and sipped wine amid the HermÃƒÂ¨s scarves and Kenneth J. Lane jewelry and Isabella Fiore handbags…
“It’s an interesting juxtaposition,” the book’s illustrator, RUI PAES, said of the fancy party celebrating a book about how money doesn’t buy happiness. He emphasized that it was all for a noble cause. “One must see that one is able to do good while living in luxury.”
So has being a rich celebrity made Madonna a children’s author?
“I think she makes the same mistake every celebrity author makes: They think they can write children’s books,” said Ilene Cooper, children’s book editor of Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association.
“Generally it’s just awful, beyond awful,” said Cooper of efforts by celebrities-turned authors.
I liked her better as a pop star, which she characterizes now as part of the painful process she went through on her way to realizing, in Ladies’ Home Journal no less, that she was an idiot.
Thursday, June 09, 2005
The Tyranny of Choice II
He says we’ve got too much choice and that’s bad, and he has a book full of data to demonstrate it.
Last time around, I disagreed with her take on Social Security privatization (and promised to return one day to income redistribution). This time I’m pleased to report that I’m with her on gay marriage:
Schwartz treats commitment as the opposite of choice rather than its complement. By this logic, a market without contracts is freer than one in which contracts are enforced. After all, what if I sell you my car and then change my mind and want it back?
“Social ties actually decrease freedom, choice, and autonomy,” he writes. “Marriage, for example, is a commitment to a particular other person that curtails freedom of choice in sexual and even emotional partners.” So gays who cannot legally marry their partners are somehow freer than heterosexuals who can? There’s something deeply wrong with this understanding of choice. Freedom to choose must include the freedom to commit.
Ultimately, the debate about choice is not about markets but about character. Liberty and responsibility really do go together; it’s not just a platitude. The more freedom we have to control our lives, the more responsibility we have for how they turn out. In a world of constraints, learning to be happy with what you’re given is a virtue. In a world of choices, virtue comes from learning to make commitments without regrets. And commitment, in turn, requires self-confidence and self-knowledge.
Bill & Diane
I’m not looking for politically pristine, but I am looking for an allegiance to journalism over politics. That’s what I don’t see in Tomlinson. Rather, there is a disdain for journalism that he thinks can be remedied by adding a little politics: Rightward politics to “balance” the perceived tilt.
Joe brought up Bill Moyers in his post. In discussing partisanship he writes:
We can just hear the talk show hosts says “But PBS had Bill Moyers.” Yes. But the talk show hosts and many conservatives have blasted Moyers for many years not just for his liberal beliefs but precisely because he had worked in a Democratic administration.
If Joe is right and conservative critics have blasted Moyers “becuase he had worked in a Democratic administration,” what of Diane Sawyer, who I posted on earlier today? She worked in the Nixon administration and later assisted him with the preparation of his memoirs.
I’m not against government, administration, or electoral experience for a journalist, or even a de facto critic of the revolving door. But I do believe in applying and abiding by established journalistic practices and a respect for the institution. Which is not to say they can’t be critical. I consided myself a fan of the Mainstream Media and I’m certainly critical.
But back to Moyers. The guy gets a bad rap! Setting aside that I don’t hear a lot of liberals harping about (or trying to dismantle public broadcasting because of) William F. Buckley‘s nearly 30 year run on Firing Line, here’s Moyers on picking guests for his show:
First, we wanted to do our part to keep the conversation of democracy going. That meant talking to a wide range of people across the spectrum—left, right and center.
It meant poets, philosophers, politicians, scientists, sages and scribblers. It meant Isabel Allende, the novelist, and Amity Shlaes, the columnist for the Financial Times. It meant the former nun and best-selling author Karen Armstrong, and it meant the right-wing evangelical columnist Cal Thomas. It meant Arundhati Roy from India, Doris Lessing from London, David Suzuki from Canada, and Bernard Henry-Levi from Paris. It also meant two successive editors of the Wall Street Journal, Robert Bartley and Paul Gigot [who was invited to become a regular contributor], the editor of The Economist, Bill Emmott, The Nation’s Katrina vanden Heuvel and the L.A. Weekly’s John Powers.
It means liberals like Frank Wu, Ossie Davis and Gregory Nava, and conservatives like Frank Gaffney, Grover Norquist, and Richard Viguerie. It meant Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Bishop Wilton Gregory of the Catholic Bishops conference in this country. It meant the conservative Christian activist and lobbyist, Ralph Reed, and the dissident Catholic Sister Joan Chittister. We threw the conversation of democracy open to all comers.
Most of those who came responded the same way that Ron Paul, the Republican and Libertarian congressman from Texas, did when he wrote me after his appearance, “I have received hundreds of positive e-mails from your viewers. I appreciate the format of your program, which allows time for a full discussion of ideas. ... I’m tired of political shows featuring two guests shouting over each other and offering the same arguments. ... NOW was truly refreshing.”
I don’t want balance, which has become a codeword through which the right both affirms its notion of a left leaning media, and tries to muscle right leaning perspectives onto all programs. Balance is “two guests shouting over each other and offering the same arguments.” Who wants that?
I want diverse views from a broad spectrum. You find that on the Internet. You don’t find that on television; not on the broadcast networks, not on the cable networks. And they no longer want to allow it even in that single one hour program (since reduced to 30 minutes), NOW on PBS. This they want to eliminate in the name of balance. Give me a break!
More GOP potential for CPB
Joe Gandelman points to this article in the Washington Post about the leading candidate for the top job at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Patricia de Stacy Harrison. She’s a high-ranking official at the State Department and former co-chairman of the Republican National Committee. Joe’s comment:
Once again this administration has a huge pool of talent out there from which they could choose. They could pick any number of extremely well qualified Republicans, including staunchly conservative ones, to fill that slot. But they instead are getting ready to essentially throw down the gauntlet and pick the most partisan, divisive choice they can - someone who was actually a co-chair of the Republican party. You can’t get much plainer than that.
The larger issue is that this is yet another example of a troubling take-no-prisoners style of this administration. By picking a former RNC co-chair - no matter how skillful, qualified or thoughtful she may be - they are putting out there something that in Hollywood is called “high concept”: an immediately defineable, recognizable “hook” that explains it all. This will be a RED FLAG for Democrats who will likely battle it. The wise course that would help national unity would be to pick someone who was not clearly tied to not only the party or the Bush campaign.
It’s one more example of a style that seems to put a premium on divisiveness and political combat - perhaps stemming from a perception that doing something in a way that could accomplish the same political goal without inflaming those who may oppose you is somehow wimpish.
Morning in America
Couric and Sawyer are professional rivals, who may loathe or respect each other, but go to work each day, as many of us do, for companies that are in business competition. None of the stories I’ve read about them have mentioned that Couric, currently the highest paid journalist on television, is about to begin a new round of contract negotiations and that NBC might have some investment in seeing her devalued in the press. Even when acknowledging that each franchise has scores of producers who rework segments and formats, the “New York” story nudges readers to ignore the men behind the curtain and concentrate instead on the image that’s been created—literally, with PhotoShop—of two women staring daggers at one another.
Stories about male power rivalries have abounded since time began, but often in contexts where there were no attractive women to focus on instead (like, for example, for most of business history). When we have the option of zeroing in on glossy Sawyer and feisty Couric, who wants to read about ABC chief David Westin and NBC head Jeff Zucker duking it out with Blackberries and ratings spreadsheets? Stories about ex-"Today" producers Jonathan Wald and Tom Touchet or “GMA” producer Ben Sherwood’s temper tantrums aren’t likely to sell too many magazines, though former “GMA” producer Shelley Ross’s outbursts generated plenty of ink. No one even wants to write about Matt Lauer vs. Charles Gibson. What would the headlines be? Showdown of the Stoics? War of the Whipped? The Battle of the Balding?
No. Better go with nice girl vs. mean girl, black girl vs. white girl, good girl vs. bad girl, blond girl vs. brunette girl, smart girl vs. pretty girl, rich girl vs. poor girl, stay-at-home-mom girl vs. working-mom girl.
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
Those were the days
Whenever any of my allegedly liberal music-nerd friends tell me how much they hate disco, I always like to ask, mischievously, “So are you a racist, a homophobe, or both?” Because to wholly dismiss disco as a genre—and whether or not it brings you pleasure to listen to it is another question entirely—is to denigrate what’s possibly the most democratic form of popular music ever conceived...Born of the social and economic devastation of 1970s New York, disco was as much a political statement as punk would later be (maybe even more so), a movement that slashed across boundaries of race, class and sexual orientation. You can hate the trappings of disco (there’s not much good to say about those polyester suits). But to trash it without even attempting to grapple with where it came from and what it means amounts to an insidious form of bigotry.
With “Turn the Beat Around: The Secret History of Disco,” Peter Shapiro has, with meticulous research and deep affection, finally written the book that defenders of disco have been waiting for, and the one its many detractors need to read. There are few forms of popular music so universally despised, or so misunderstood, as disco. Punk and hip-hop have had, and continue to have, their enemies, but hatred of disco crosses all lines of class and taste, if not sex and sexual preference...Instead of tracing disco’s history with a series of straight lines, Shapiro untangles the delicate web of threads—events, attitudes and minor miracles—that caused this strange and wonderful phenomenon to come into being, beginning with the underground dance parties of the “swing kids” in Nazi Germany, moving through the racial unrest of the 1960s to the glittering gay discos of the 1970s, and beyond.
Steven Johnson of Everything Bad is Good for You fame (I want to read that book) was on the Daily Show last night (video). On his blog, he tells his side of the interview and tips us off to this potentially awkward moment:
I’m most proud of something that you can barely see in the clip. When I first walked on stage, as I stepped up onto the main platform, the base unit of my wireless mic detached from my belt, and dropped down towards the floor, almost pulling the mic out of my lapel. A lesser guest might have panicked—“Cut! Cut! My mic is broken!”—but somehow I managed to swing the base unit back into my hand and quickly deposit it into my coat pocket while shaking hands with Jon. (I’ll call him Jon because, you know, we’re terribly good friends now.) I was pretty relaxed and confident going into the interview, but that little catch gave me an extra boost right as we started talking. Whatever doesn’t kill you—or at least whatever doesn’t cut out your audio feed—makes you stronger, I guess…
The theory is wrong
If DRM is any part of Apple’s motivation - which I very much doubt - the reason can only be as a symbolic gesture of submission to Hollywood. One of the lessons of DVD copy protection is that Hollywood still seems to need the security blanket of DRM to justify accepting a new distribution medium. DVD copy protection didn’t actually keep any content from appearing on the darknet, but it did give Hollywood a false sense of security that seemed to be necessary to get them to release DVDs. It’s awfully hard to believe that Hollywood is so insistent on symbolic DRM that it could induce Apple to pay the price of switching chip makers.
Most likely, Apple is switching to Intel chips for the most basic reason: the Intel chips meet Apple’s basic needs better than IBM chips do. Some stories report that Intel had an advantage in producing fast chips that run cool and preserve battery power, for laptops. Perhaps Apple just believes that Intel, which makes many more chips than IBM, is a better bet for the future. Apple has its reasons, but DRM isn’t one of them.
Ok. Maybe. I don’t know enough about it to say. But I stand by my Steve/Bill comparisons.
All press is good press
I’m still with him. 99%.
No one wrote about Terry McAuliffe’s first 100 days as the chair of the Democratic National Committee. I’m willing to bet the landmark didn’t even occur to anyone, with the exception, perhaps, of Mr. McAuliffe himself. But when 100 days passes and his successor, Howard Dean—the most highly anticipated, scrutinized, equally loathed and beloved DNC chair in recent memory—is at the helm of the party, it’s a different story. It is, in fact, a story.
One of the arguments I made in favor of a Dean candidacy during the campaign for DNC Chair was that electing a political celebrity such as Howard Dean would keep the DNC visible even in off-years, something which we has not accomplished in recent decades. With a national name ID hovering at around 70%, people actually know who Howard Dean is. In fact, Howard Dean has a higher name ID than Tom Daschle, Tom DeLay, Bill Frist, Dennis Hastert, Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid. Dean is much more recognizable than any Democrat except the Clintons, Al Gore, John Edwards and John Kerry.
That said what of the substance of the comments?
In a word, they’re true!
On * White * Republicans. On hating Republicans and the struggle between good and evil. On “a lot of them have never made an honest living in their lives.” Digby’s right, It’s the kind of thing that real people say in real life.
Which raises the issue of the politics of the comments.
Yes, that’s a problem. Not a big problem (1%, see above). The same problem he had in the campaign. I buy that politicians can’t talk that way in our media age. They have to spout the kind of blather that analysts can ponder and pundits can endlessly parse, debate and pontificate over in order to get elected.
But Dean’s job isn’t to get elected.
Despite the polemics that were sure to follow Dean’s assuming the role of party chairman, his primary duty is to raise money. Though the Republican National Committee has raised money at a rate of 2-to-1 on Democrats in the first quarter of 2005, Dean himself has been effective. In the first four months, under Dean’s stewardship, the DNC has raised nearly $19 million—more than under any other Democratic chairman in an off-election year.
What about moderates and building bridges:
These kinds of comments will certainly bring cries of “Right on! Finally we have a Democrat who lets ‘er rip!” from the already convinced. But they will utterly fail to build bridges to GOPers who are upset with how social conservatives are taking over their party because the bottom line is that most Republicans don’t feel the takeover is complete yet.
Also: this kind of comment basically stereotypes a whole party which again is what partisans may believe but the DNC party chair’s job isn’t to just appeal to partisans. He is supposed to help BUILD the party. And that means adding to its numbers, not just reinforcing what’s there.
It seems to me that if there is a lesson to be learned from the Republicans, it’s that appealing to the base works! (And I’m aware that nearly all my citations--pointedly NOT the MSM--are liberal.) Here I say again, Dean’s not the candidate. The building bridges job is for the candidate. Not the chairman.
So I’m sure there will continue to be Dems (real and otherwise) living up to our eat their own reputation (even as Edwards is clarifying his remarks) and Drudge, the right and the media will work themselves into a lather. But me, I’m siding with Dean.
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
Last Thursday the phone rang at 4 pm.
The caller said “John?”
I said, “Who’s calling”
She said - “This is Denise Parker (or some such) of the Republican Party.”
Stunned silence on my part, as I am a registered Democrat.
Then she said in a delighted voice “Isn’t it a wonderful time to be a Republican?”
“Not around here!” I answered. “You couldn’’t have found anyone more anti-Republican than I am if you had tried!”
“Oooooh...I’m SORRY...” she sighed and hung up.
Do you believe it?
Where did she get my name?
Do they just think everyone around here is a Republican?
And that cupie doll voice, “a won-der-ful time.”
Ford boycott suspended
A former chair of the Ford National Dealer Council is claiming primary responsibilty for the six-month suspension of the American Family Association’s boycott of Ford Motor Co.
Jerry Reynolds, the owner of three Ford dealerships in Dallas and Oklahoma City, learned of the boycott on June 1 when a customer informed him that he had received an e-mail about the action.
Reynolds immediately faxed a letter to the AFA. To his surprise, a response came within an hour and he and four other Ford dealers met with AFA chief Donald Wildmon in Dallas on Sunday.
Reynolds said he asked Wildmon, “If I can get some top Ford executives to sit down with you and your group, would you suspend the boycott?”
Wildmon immediately agreed, Reynolds said.
Reynolds said the meeting with Ford is being arranged. The aim is to “see what things most bother [the AFA] and what can be changed to make them happy,” Reynolds said.
“If the AFA has input into the marketing content, it could have benefits to both Ford and the AFA,” he said.
“I believe in family values, too. I’m a Christian, too,” Reynolds added.
They’re persistent, we’re not.
Here commerce is on our side. Even if a whole lotta families drive Fords, they make their money on Volvos and Range Rovers.
Pope speaks out against divorce, contraception and living together
Andrew Sullivan’s quote of the day:
“Now that the Pope has spoken, let only those Catholics who are without similar sin cast stones on gay marriage. If you wish to rely on the Pope’s decree with regard to gay marriage, you MUST also support what ELSE the Pope said in the same speech. In addition to condemning gay marriage, the Pope also condemned DIVORCE, ARTIFICIAL BIRTH CONTROL and TRIAL MARRIAGES. If you’re Catholic and relying on the Pope’s condemnation of gay marriages to support your own opposition to same-sex nuptials, you had better not be ... divorced, have ever used condoms or birth control pills and never have “shacked up” with a lover who was not your spouse. If you have, you have NO moral authority, at least based upon your Catholicism, to attack gay marriage without being considered a complete hypocrite. Pretty tough pill to swallow, huh?” - Chuck Muth, in his newsletter. He has an important point, made by Dan Savage as well.
The Boston Globe’s take on the speech:
In a speech to a conference on families held by the Diocese of Rome, Benedict made clear in strong language that he intends to pursue the hard-line defense of traditional Catholic teachings that made him controversial in his role as Pope John Paul II’s chief enforcer of church doctrine.
The illusion of legal abortion
If abortion is legal, how does this happen?
Nineteen-year-old Gerardo Flores of Lufkin was sentenced to life in prison Monday in a landmark test case of a state fetal protection law. An Angelina County jury deliberated just under four hours, finding him guilty on two counts of capital murder for his part in killing his unborn twins.
This is the intersection of stupid kids, stupid laws, mendacious legislators, and fanatical prosecutors. It’s what happens when states ban access to otherwise legal abortions and kids don’t know where to turn. And if circumstances and the law had been slightly different, Bauereiss probably would have prosecuted Erica Basoria too and sought the death penalty for both.
I really wish they had been willing or able to go to a doctor and have an abortion done. But abortion - whether it’s done by a competant medical professional, or by two stupid and scared teens - is not the same thing as murder, and life in prison for this is disgusting.
It seems to me the large middle of America isn’t seeing that abortion rights have already been chipped away to this extent. Who cares what happens at the Supreme Court level, they’ve won.
Nathan Newman is right. We have to win in the legislature. We have to get out there, start this fight over again, make our positive arguments and win on the merits. I’m pro-abortion. I think you should be too and I’m going to try to convince you of that in every way I can.
Jesse Taylor at Pandagon has a roundup of the books that have “taken down Hillary’s chances for ‘08” and rates their prospects of success as virtually nil:
(Oh, and as a member of the vast left wing conspiracy, I can tell you that relying on books to take down political figures has about as much chance of working as praying for the Asteroid Deity to strike them at a rally.)
Which sent me back to search the comments on Kevin Drum’s Conservative Books post:
A few days ago I mocked the Human Events lists of the “Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries,” which included such works as Dewey on education, Friedan on feminism, Kinsey on sex, and Keynes on economics. I wanted to create a competing list of my own, but I just don’t have the historical chops to do it, so I figured that maybe my commenters would provide some good raw material.
As it turns out, though, not really...Not to be flip about it, but it makes me wonder if SqueakyRat is right:
“In trying to come up with a left-wing equivalent to the Human Events list, I’ve come to realize that the right has basically not influenced public opinion via books at all....”
219 comments and still none there.
Klein’s Hillary book “less than devastating”
The conservative buzz about Edward Klein’s forthcoming book on Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton began two months ago, when Internet gossip Matt Drudge quoted “a source close to Klein” as warning that the book’s revelations “should sink her candidacy” ...Well, maybe. But an excerpt from July’s Vanity Fair is less than devastating.
Not all conservatives were buzzing, James Joyner was skeptical of those expectations from the start.
Yesterday Media Matters reported that the first detail on Klein’s anti-Hillary book is a lie:
According to NewsMax, based on an interview with Klein, “LeBoutillier writes” that the book will reveal Moynihan’s alleged resistance to Clinton’s candidacy, supposedly voiced to Clinton at a meeting with Moynihan, who died in 2003, and his wife, Liz, at their Watergate apartment:
Still, a few months later Hillary got what she wanted: the prized photo ‘op’ at the Moynihan’s upstate farm. There, as she announced her candidacy, Pat and Liz Moynihan stood and in effect gave their ‘blessing’ to this out-of-stater who was parachuting in to create her own base for an inevitable White House run.
Oddly, Pat Moynihan never uttered Hillary’s name—not even once—during this event. He could not bring himself to mention Hillary by name—but the press reported his ‘endorsement’ just the same.
But a CNN transcript from July 7, 1999, shows that Moynihan in fact said both “Mrs. Clinton” and “Hillary Clinton” in making his endorsement.
Monday, June 06, 2005
Short posts (& what I forgot to say about Steve & Bill)
Believe it or not, I have read that the secret of A-list bloggers is lots of short posts. Still, long as my last post was, I left out this…
In the minus column for Steve: because he was unhappy with an unauthorized biography, iCon, Apple pulled all books by John Wiley & Sons from Apple Store shelves, which occasioned much chatter in the blogosphere and articles like Steve Jobs Buys a Washing Machine. (He bought a European machine.)
In the plus column for Bill, Jason Calacanis had a chat:
So, I was chatting with Bill Gates (huge name drop, I know.. but there is a point coming) at the *amazing* WSJ D Conference on Sunday night. Bill was talking to me about the comments on Engadget’s coverage of the XBox 360 (yes, he reads the comments). Since I only get to speak F2F with Bill every two or three weeks I figured I would tell him about Microsoft sending us some legal letters about a screen shot of some mobile software we covered.
He was really concerned, but I cut him off and said “don’t worry, I just talk to Robert Scoble when I have an issue with Microsoft.”
He smiled and nodded his head. Bill gets bloggingÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ it was a stark contrast to Steve Jobs who is busy suing bloggers to get their sources while knowing full well the impact that could have on freedom of the press. On that note, Steve Jobs was clearly conflicted-looking almost embarrassed-when he explained his lame reasons for suing bloggers. Jobs says he thought the case could go to the Supreme Court, but you could see the wheels spinning while the audience shock their heads at him in disapproval.
Via Thomas Hawk, who adds: “Bill Gates does get it. You can’t buy the kind of publicity to get Jason Calacanis to write things like that.”
San Fran & Pit Bulls
Joe Gandelman looks at the prospects for a Pit Bull ban in San Francisco, and gathers together a good bit of information. What I didn’t see referenced is the story that shaped my opinion on the topic:
A California state appeals court reinstated on Thursday [May 5] the second-degree murder conviction of a San Francisco woman whose dog mauled to death her lesbian neighbor.
The 1st District Court of Appeal in San Francisco overturned a trial judge’s decision to reduce Marjorie Knoller’s conviction to involuntary manslaughter, claiming Knoller knew Bane, a 140-pound Presa Canario, was “a frightening and dangerous animal: huge, untrained and bred to fight.”
On Jan. 26, 2001, Knoller had Bane inside her apartment building, unmuzzled and leashed. Somehow the dog managed to escape Knoller and charged at Diane Whipple as the 33-year-old lacrosse coach entered her apartment with two bags of groceries.
Knoller told reporters she tried to protect Whipple and suggested the woman was at fault for remaining in the hallway while the dog attacked her. Whipple died after suffering 77 wounds, including three punctures to her neck.
I saw Knoller in a Nightline interview where she did, in fact, blame the victim. She was the most unsympathetic defendant I can imagine. On the topic of sympathetic victims, Joe’s roundup of news items suggests that children are more likely to sway voters than lesbians.
Apple & Intel, Steve & Bill
It’s official, Apple plans to switch from I.B.M. to Intel chips.
So, where’s the friggin’ lawsuit against C|Net to find out who leaked? Where is the judge who is going to claim that what C|Net published was “stolen property”?
Will someone please explain to me the difference between what C|Net has done and what happened in Apple v. Does?
Which brings me to a tale I’ve been meaning to tell…
While I was in Philadelphia recently friends from New York came down for dinner. I had my nifty new iBook and they were eager to know all about it. They’re switching to Mac.
“Why,” I asked?
“To get away from Bill.”
“These days Steve’s no better,” I proffered, noting the above mentioned friggin’ lawsuit.
The table grew quiet. We moved on.
But what I wanted to say is that when it comes to megalomaniacal moguls, it looks to me like Steve’s on the way up, and Bill’s, er, burnishing his image. His charitable giving—“John D. was a piker compared to Bill Gates”—is impressive. His legions of Microsoft Millionaires have come of age and are out there spreading the good word.
Among competitors, Microsoft is still respected, but it’s not feared the way it used to be. It has become a sluggish, bureaucratic company that, for instance, is going to be at least a year late with a new operating system, called Longhorn. Microsoft stock hasn’t moved in years.
But it’s really about Hollywood: Apple’s looking to transform the movie industry the same way the iPod and iTunes changed the music business.As initially reported, there are a couple of big problems with Apple moving to Intel. The biggest is shifting all the Mac software to a new platform. Apple apparently mulled moving to Intel a few years ago, when Motorola’s chip development fell woefully behind, but Steve Jobs nixed it because of the massive disruption it would cause developers.
What’s new this time is a fast, transparent, universal emulator from Transitive, a Silicon Valley startup...If Apple has licensed QuickTransit for an Intel-powered Mac, all current applications should just work, no user or developer intervention required.
The move would be as painless (!) “as the recent move from OS 9 to OS X.”
But why would Apple do this? Because Apple wants Intel’s new Pentium D chips.
Released just few days ago, the dual-core chips include a hardware copy protection scheme that prevents “unauthorized copying and distribution of copyrighted materials from the motherboard,” according to PC World.
Intel’s DRM scheme has been kept under wraps—to prevent giving clues to crackers—but the company has said it will allow content to be moved around a home network, and onto suitably-equipped portable devices.
And that’s why the whole Mac platform has to shift to Intel. Consumers will want to move content from one device to another—or one computer to another—and Intel’s DRM scheme will keep it all nicely locked down.
Presumably, Jobs used his Pixar moxie to persuade Hollywood to get onboard, and they did so because the Mac platform is seen as small and isolated—just as it was when the record labels first licensed music to iTunes. The new Mac/Intel platform will be a relatively isolated test bed for the digital distribution of movies and video.
Will current Mac users like this new locked-down platform? I doubt it, which I guess is why it’s going into consumer devices first.
The moral of this story? We need an architecture of freedom now more than ever!
UPDATE: The two things I forgot.
I was passing on inside after speaking to Fred when he said he read my piece in the paper last week… “Your take on liberals is all wrong. People who think the way I do don’t want to run people’s lives. We just think a country as great as this one can be should be able to help the less fortunate. There are people running around for whom this country has been extra good. There are people who have way more than they need to meet all their needs. All we are asking is that these well off people take a little consideration for the people who don’t have it so good.
“That’s what people who think like me believe government should do for its citizens. Government should step in and do the things people can’t do for themselves. You tell me what is so terrible about that.”
I told Fred I could see his side of the issue. We talked for a while longer and Fred told the joke about the farmer who was working in his field when the preacher came by and commented he and God had certainly done a fine job with that field. The farmer had worked hard clearing the field and resented the preacher’s comments. He said, “Well, you should have seen this field when God had it all to himself!”
Before Fred left he invited me to come by and see his new set of hound dogs and I said I would try to get over real soon. People who call themselves liberal are not bad folks, they just look at things a bit differently from conservatives.
Sunday, June 05, 2005
A Terri Schiavo post-mortem
Joan Didion, in The New York Review of Books, tries to make some sense out of the case of Terri Schiavo. Anyone who cared about the case, and those of us who wrote about it, would do well to read her essay. She’s reasoned and fair (even if for liberals the essay may be quite devastating). She’s thorough and clear. And though this in no way captures or encapsulates her piece, her point is this:
Some of what made the case so toxic was clear. The general claim those opposed to the termination of feeding seemed to be making, for the absolute value of life, could be applied as well to fetuses. (It could also be applied to the death penalty, but the politics of the pro-life movement have not encouraged this seamless-garment approach.) Yet this specific case, which had to do with whether a healthy woman whose brain was damaged to a catastrophic but still unestablished extent should or should not continue living, was never about abortion alone. It had at its core a virtually unthinkable but increasingly urgent question, one that few on either side of the debate wanted to address aloud.
The question began with the different ways in which we define a life worth living, but it did not stop there. The question had ultimately to do with whether or not there could be occasions when the broad economic and ethical interests of the society at large should outweigh any individual claim to either the most advanced medical attention...or indefinite care. This was the question no one on any side of the debate wanted to hear. This was the question conveniently muffled by talk about “right-to-die” and “murderers” and “mullahs,” about the “freak show,” the “circus.”
As baby boomers age and medical technology continues its pace and health insurance and pensions go broke or otherwise stop paying, and on and on, we’ve got to face those serious questions. If the Schiavo case is any indication, and I believe it is, our religious, political and social institutions are ill equipped to see us through.
A perfect storm?
Under heavy pressure to run against Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2006, Jeanine F. Pirro, the district attorney of Westchester County, said yesterday that she would not seek re-election this fall but would instead enter the United States Senate race or another statewide contest next year.
Such a half step toward an announcement is unusual, but Ms. Pirro, a Republican, apparently calculated it to be in her interest after weeks of pleas from party leaders in Albany, New York City and Washington who are eager to mold her as a new Republican star in advance of the 2006 races.
Manna from heaven for Hillary.
I was still working up in Westchester when all hell broke loose for Jeanine. She’s a rich downstate elitist Republican stereotype (NY version, so pro-choice) who one ups Hillary on every baggage point: Monica? Al Pirro has an illegitimate daughter they tried to deny for 3 years before a court-ordered DNA test stopped the lying. Impeachment? Indictment. Conviction. Lingering questions. (Hey, I’d better watch what I say, I wouldn’t want to get sued.)
I’m my own woman, answers Jeanine, and indeed there are good questions raised by her own actions. I can’t so easily find the story of the dead-teen-at-the-party-in-the-campaign-contributor-neighbor’s-empty-house; I’m sure it will be in the news again once the campaigning begins. (Sisyphus Shrugged tells it, scroll down to Teenagers Told to Turn In Fake ID’s).
So I’m sure Jeanine will want to campaign on the issues. Yeah, right. Hillary’s a carpetbagger!
Asked whether she would make up her mind by going on a pre-Senate “listening tour,” like Mrs. Clinton did in 1999 as a newcomer to the state, Ms. Pirro, who was born in Elmira, N.Y., replied: ”The good news is I won’t have to listen. I am from this state. I’m from upstate New York and I live down here and I have been in the trenches for the last 29 years.”
She might want to tweak that a bit; upstaters may not love the attitude. But I agree it clearly is a win/win for Jeanine:
According to Republicans who have made that argument directly to Ms. Pirro, even a loss in the Senate race would make her a national Republican celebrity who took her best shot - and took one for the team - and who could still easily run later for Senate or governor.
Ms. Pirro is known to enjoy her frequent appearances as a commentator on cable television, and a sharp-edged challenge to Mrs. Clinton could only heighten her visibility and appeal, Republicans said.
“If she ran and lost against Hillary, she’d at least come away with her own show on Fox,” said one state Republican who is advising Ms. Pirro, and who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid upstaging her.
(Julia attributes--"educated guess"--that last quote to Al D’Amato. My guess is she’s right.)
He’s the closeted guy right?
MR. RUSSERT: Do you believe homosexuality is a choice?
MR. MEHLMAN: I don’t know the answer to that question…
His disassembling was masterful. On DeLay:
I hadn’t known before, ah something, that is remarkable. That, in 1987 I believe it was, ah, Tom DeLay and his wife went to the Soviet Union, met with a Jewish family there that were Soviet refuseniks, that were people that were being persecuted because they believe in, ah, wanting to, wanting, because they believed in their, because they believe in God and they wanted to ah, ah, worship under, under their religion. And he conducted a Passover Seder for them. Ah, I didn’t know that about him.
Saturday, June 04, 2005
Craigslist dates back to the days of the boutique Internet shop, a time I fondly recall. It’s managed to succeed while sticking to the ethos of that earlier time, as exemplified today by its Peace sign favicon and this Web 2.0 session from last October: Nerd Values—Doing well by doing good—or the benefits of sticking with Web 0.0 principles in a Web 2.0 world. Worth a listen via ITConversations.
Just a hint of Nerd Values talk in the Times article today:
THESE days, triple-digit annual growth rates are rare among major Web sites. Meet that rarity: Craigslist.
Exceptional, too, is the ability to draw 10 million unique visitors each month without ever relying on venture capital and equity markets. Or the ability to attain fourth place among general-interest portals without ever spending a penny on marketing...Today, it has sites for 120 cities in 25 countries and serves up 2.4 billion pages a month...Craig Newmark, its founder, was, and remains, protective of the noncommercial character of the site...99.2 percent of Craigslist advertisements remain free.
With both eBay’s Kijiji and a newspaper industry whose classified profits have been decimated gunning for it, Craigslist’s Nerd Values will be put to the test. I sure would like to see them continue to thrive.