aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Monday, July 04, 2005
United Church of Christ votes in favor of marriage
Today the General Synod of the United Church of Christ put the national setting of our denomination on record supporting same sex marriages. This makes the UCC the first mainline Christian denomination to take such a stand. Supporters of the resolution stated:
The message of the Gospel is the lens through which the whole of scripture is to be interpreted. Love and compassion, justice and peace are at the very core of the life and ministry of Jesus. It is a message that always bends toward inclusion. The biblical story recounts the ways in which inclusion and welcome to God’s community is ever-expanding - from the story of Abraham and Sarah, to the inclusive ministry of Jesus, to the baptism of Cornelius, to the missionary journeys of Paul throughout the Greco-Roman world. The liberating work of the Spirit as witnessed in the activities of Jesus’ ministry has been to address the situations and structures of exclusion, injustice and oppression that diminish God’s people and keep them from realizing the full gift of human personhood in the context of human communion.
Our local churches can be proud that General Synod has taken their responsibilities to discern God’s will faithfully on yet another difficult issue.
I’m certainly proud of them.
Murdoch to support Hillary?
Michael Wolff on The Chris Matthews Show:
In light of all this controversy about the Ed Klein book about Hillary Clinton, my prediction is that the nation’s most important conservative, arguably, Rupert Murdoch who owns Fox News, will support Hillary Clinton.
DÃƒÂ¼sseldorf and the South
Here are some pieces of advice for my fellow Americans who choose to move to Europe:
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Don’t brag to other people about how hard you work. If you go up to someone in Europe and say “I work 10 hours a day, six days a week, 51 weeks a year. Look how much I achieve!” you’ll get the same reaction you would in America if you said “I wash my hands exactly 169 times a day. Look how clean they are! Look! Look!!!”
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Learn your environment. Take into account how much work you can really expect from Europeans. Don’t expect anything to get done in August, don’t expect a response to your email the same day. If you really need to get in touch with someone while they are on vacation, or on the weekend, you won’t be able to. Which means not that they are being irresponsible. It means you don’t really need to get in touch with them.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Change your standards. Realize that when someone complains about being horribly overworked, even though you know they are working about 40 hours a week, accept it. By their standards, they are working very hard. Helpful thought-experiment: Europeans pay about $5/gallon for gas. Wouldn’t you want them to display compassion for you when you complain about paying $2?
My partner Doug spent four of his five years in Germany living in DÃƒÂ¼sseldorf (and I expect that with this post he’ll become a regular reader of Hammel’s German Joys). He loves Germany; and he is a born and bred Southerner.
But my point is this: As a New Yorker living in the South, swap out European and replace it with Southerner. Hammel’s advice is the same advice I’d offer a New Yorker planning on moving to the South.
Oh, except that his thought-experiment doesn’t work for the South. We were just in Manhattan. Gas there was $2.99 a gallon. Here it’s $2.03.
Sunday, July 03, 2005
Automated driving is closer than we think
I expect automated driving within a decade.
We already have adaptive cruise control, GPS navigation systems, and computer assisted braking and steering. It doesn’t take a giant technological leap to turn today’s robo-cars into fully automated vehicles.
My guess is we’ll add computer chips to those helpful reflectors embedded in the highway lane lines. The chips can be dumb, like buoys at sea, transmitting speed and navigation settings. The computing power is in the vehicle. Braking and spacing will be handled by a future iteration of the adaptive cruise control.
Such an automated vehicle will be able to operate side by side with older non-automated vehicles. Or HOV style lanes that require automation might operate at higher speeds and capacities. Eventually, I expect all roads to be automated. Traffic lights, stop signs and curve ahead signs can all be translated into chips that pass information to the vehicle.
I am reminded of this because James Joyner points to a vehicle technology in the UK today, a spy device to cut drivers’ speed by satellite. He calls it “an incredible invasion of privacy” over something “they have no business controlling.” As if our profligate flouting of speed limit laws is some kind of inalienable right.
I would think the conservative position is to either eliminate or change these traffic laws, not that it’s an invasion of privacy to enforce them. And I’d prefer uniform enforcement over the present system of whoever, wrong place wrong time, happens to get caught.
James also doesn’t like that London drivers are subject to congestion pricing--a regulatory mechanism I generally favor and would like to see expanded--and says congestion is government’s fault. It’s “because the government can’t maintain an adequate infrastructure.”
I assume he’s aware that many traffic engineers believe that building more roads only attracts more cars. I’d wager a bet that another lane on the Beltway won’t reduce traffic. Have you been to L.A.? Long Island? Roads seem to me to fall prey to a kind of tragedy of the commons. If that’s true, more regulation is the best way to benefit all users.
Saturday, July 02, 2005
Why they hate us, again
In it I quoted J. M. Balkin’s Populism and Progressivism as Constitutional Categories:
What is more difficult for many academics to recognize is that progressivism has its own distinctive dangers and defects. Unfortunately, these tend to be less visible from within a progressivist sensibility. They include elitism, paternalism, authoritarianism, naivete, excessive and misplaced respect for the “best and brightest,” isolation from the concerns of ordinary people, an inflated sense of superiority over ordinary people, disdain for popular values, fear of popular rule, confusion of factual and moral expertise, and meritocratic hubris.
And there you see the basis for right wing populist hatred of liberals. And it’s not altogether untrue, is it? Certainly, those of us who argue from that perspective should be able to recognise and deal with the fact that this is how we are perceived by many people and try to find ways to allay those concerns. The problem is that it’s quite difficult to do.
This I agree with wholeheartedly. I’ll want to read more, but it hints at the direction I want to take in my efforts as a liberal in rural Georgia who intends to, one by one, turn this Red state Blue!
For starters I don’t use terms like “wing nuts” (well, just this once) or any other name calling. I try to treat the views and ideas of others with reason and respect, and expect that they’ll treat me and mine likewise. So far, it’s working for me.
Defending Klein’s readers. Sort of.
There are plenty of good criticisms of Klein’s Hillary-hating book. I particularly like Media Matters’ coverage. I enjoyed David Remnick’s Political Porn. I also pointed to conservative criticism of Klein. But much as I’m a Morbo fan, his comments on Richard Cohen’s Washington Post column go too far:
For a long time I have resisted believing that right-wingers are, on average, dumber than progressives. It sounds so elitist and feeds Red State paranoia. But I think Cohen has a point. To paraphrase his position, only a bunch of idiots would buy the same book over and over again. Only idiots would fail to realize that when a book has absolutely no data backing up its claims, it is suspect.
Yet the right-wing publishing syndicate routinely cranks out books like this and sell them by the millions. And only idiots could stand to read such books.
Now it’s not that I think the people reading the book are brilliant, rather it is that I’m sure that we’ve got a good many people on the left so hungry for bashing conservatives that they’d buy up leftist trash. I know some looney lefties myself. Then there’s all those Americans who read grocery store check-out line literature.
A while back I quoted Kevin Drum on his quest to find “the really famous and genuinely influential books of the past 200 years that liberals dislike as much as conservatives dislike Keynes and Kinsey.” It’s kind of the same, but different. Now that’s a question I think is good and fair.
WASHINGTON, July 2 - Conservative groups confronted President Bush with a groundswell of opposition this weekend against nominating his attorney general, Alberto R. Gonzales, to replace Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court, warning in private meetings and public statements that doing so would splinter conservative support.
Mr. Gonzales is a longtime Bush aide and friend from Texas, and naming him could enhance the Republican Party’s standing among Hispanics, one of the president’s longtime political goals. Some conservatives acknowledged that they had stated their opposition to him with some delicacy to avoid prompting a backlash from the White House, given his close friendship with the president.
If Gonzales were a woman it would be a slam dunk.
UPDATE: Bad company--nearly everyone on The Chris Matthews Show expects it to be Gonzales (Deroy Murdock of National Review waffles with “highly possible"). Matthews and Michael Wolff say that if Roe goes down “the Republican Party is over with,” something I’ve hinted at before.
Fingering Rove again
Since I revealed the big scoop, I have had it reconfirmed by yet another highly authoritative source. Too many people know this. It should break wide open this week. I know Newsweek is working on an ‘It’s Rove!’ story and will probably break it tomorrow.
My earlier post has more links.
UPDATE: Crooks and Liars has the McLaughlin Group video. Armando has the Newsweek report: “...in an interview with NEWSWEEK, Rove’s lawyer, Robert Luskin, confirmed that Rove had been interviewed by Cooper for the article. It is unclear, however, what passed between Cooper and Rove.”
Luskin claimed that the prosecutor “asked us not to talk about what Karl has had to say.” This is highly unlikely. Prosecutors have absolutely no control over what witnesses say when they leave the grand jury room. Rove can tell us word-for-word what he said to the grand jury and would if he thought it would help him. And notice that Luskin just did reveal part of Rove’s grand jury testimony, the fact that he had a conversation with Cooper. Rove would not let me get one day of traction on this story if he could stop me. If what I have reported is not true, if Karl Rove is not Matt Cooper’s source, Rove could prove that instantly by telling us what he told the grand jury. Nothing prevents him from doing that, except a good lawyer who is trying to keep him out of jail.
One by One
Duncan at The Last Minute:
ONE is a new effort by Americans to rally Americans - ONE by ONE - to fight the emergency of global AIDS and extreme poverty. The ONE Campaign is engaging Americans through a diverse coalition of faith-based and anti-poverty organizers to show the steps people can take, ONE by ONE, to fight global AIDS and poverty.
Duncan’s also got links for watching Live8.
Doug Kaye’s new non-profit venture
Every day there are scores or even hundreds of fascinating and important conference sessions, lectures or other presentations that are lost. They simply evaporate because no one captures or records them. Some of these presentations are by the greatest and most inspiring minds of our time, and many could be important to people in the far reaches of the planet, if only they could hear them.
My new project is to capture (record) all of these presentations, post-produce them, and make them available worldwide for free.
I am an avid fan of his IT Conversations. I will support this venture in every way I can. I assure you there are some very interesting perspectives to be captured in my rural Georgia community. Maybe one day…
Friday, July 01, 2005
Could it be Rove?
What we’re going to go to now in the next stage, when Matt Cooper’s emails-within Time Magazine, uh, are handed over to the grand jury is the ultimate revelation, probably within the week of who his source is. And I know I’m going to get pulled into the grand jury for saying this but the source of-for Matt Cooper was Karl Rove, and that will be revealed in this document dump that Time Magazine’s going to do with the grand jury.
He is the architect after all.
UPDATE: More from Editor & Publisher:
Other panelists then joined in discussing whether, if true, this would suggest a perjury rap for Rove, if he told the grand jury he did not leak to Cooper.
Cooper and New York Times reporter Judith Miller, held in contempt for refusing to name sources, tried Friday to stay out of jail by arguing for home detention instead after Time Inc. surrendered its reporter’s notes to a prosecutor.
Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., said Friday that several unidentified Senate Republicans had placed a hold on a proposed resolution declaring support for Miller and Cooper.
``Cowards!’’ Lautenberg said of the Republicans. ``Under the rules, they have a right to refuse to reveal who they are. Sound familiar?’’
Via James Joyner:
Considering that O’Donnell, a rabid partisan, is the source of this, I’m more skeptical than I would be were Cooper or someone else with more credibility making these charges. Still, while I’m not sure a crime has technically been committed in this matter, I’m not sure how Rove would survive if he’s found to be the leaker here--let alone after having hidden that fact for two years.
Indeed, if Rove is revealed to be the source in the Time memos, only three possibilities present themselves.
1. Cooper or others at Time doctored the documents to implicate Rove. (Incredibly unlikely.)
2. Rove lied to the president on this matter.
3. Rove told the president the truth and the president has kept him on, despite the implications.
I bet it’s #3.
More from Talk Left.
Love in Action update
The Tennessee Department of Health has sent a letter to Love in Action notifying the group that it is suspected of operating illegally, according to Andrea Turner, communications director for the department.
Turner said that if the program is strictly faith-based it would not require licensing by the state, but that according to the group’s Web site, Love in Action has licensed counselors and provides services related to alcohol and drug addiction on site.
Via Republic of T.
I prefer this investigation to the last one. Love in Action Administrator Tommy Cormin scored a point when he said, “Youth camps, vacation bible school, Sunday school, how many places do parents put their children against their will?”
No state has a track record to brag about when it comes to children and family services. But licensing and health are two strong points. Close the place down on those grounds and it’s no longer an option for anyone.
We the media
The future of television is not about interactive commands that let you buy Jennifer Aniston’s sweater. It’s about putting a blasting cap to big media’s strangehold on our nightly viewing habits by opening up the television experience to the multitude of niche media that ordinary citizens are beginning to create.
The future of movies is not about digital delivery of Hollywood entertainment at the multiplex. It’s about instant access to Hollywood classics, new releases, indie fare and grassroots films, at any time, on any device.
The future of music is not about finding a silver-bullet DRM solution for secure delivery of megastar content. It’s about building new platforms for recommending and filtering thousands of new voices and creative talents that would never make it through the record labels’ sausage factory.
As the cost of the tools of media creativity continue to plummet and ease of use increases, millions more of us will begin taking part in the personal media revolution. And when that happens, as it inevitably will, the laws and structures built for the analog era—such as the DMCA’s provisions to prop up the business model of today’s music industry—will begin to totter, and then topple.
Friday Video Blogging update
I’ve had a rough day at work; you’d think the day before a holiday weekend might be an easy one. You’d be wrong. I was.
Meanwhile, I’ve been trying to get the video going since returning from New York. Wrong cable, missing cable, lugging around a hard drive thinking I could import the video while doing something else from wherever I happened to be. Did that, got no sound. Grr.
Then I hear that O’Connor retired.
I’m sure I’ll recover before the day is out and be back blogging again. For now, please forgive the absence. And look for Friday Video Blogging in this space next week…
UPDATE: I got sound. Maybe I will get some video up before the weekend is out.
Brooke on the war of words
I WAS hoping it wouldn’t come to this, but after Tom Cruise’s interview with Matt Lauer on the NBC show “Today” last week, I feel compelled to speak not just for myself but also for the hundreds of thousands of women who have suffered from postpartum depression. While Mr. Cruise says that Mr. Lauer and I do not “understand the history of psychiatry,” I’m going to take a wild guess and say that Mr. Cruise has never suffered from postpartum depression.
I was surprised yesterday when my dentist said he was mad at Tom Cruise in response to some polite small talk about the hygienist going to the movies.
“I’m a health professional too and what he said will hurt people… We’ve experienced depression in my family… Depression is a disease just like cancer and unfortunately many people don’t understand that… There are people who need help who now won’t get it.”
I remind you that I am in a very rural southern town (the conservative Baptist hygienist’s choice of movies might surprise you as well).
Here are some things I’ve found interesting since my first post on Tom’s outburst:
Start with a refresher, Crooks and Liars has the video of the Matt Lauer interview from one week ago today.
Salon wonders is it a man on a mission or a new mission for the church of Scientology. “...the buzz in some Scientology circles is that Cruise may have reached one of the highest echelons of the Church of Scientology.”
Slate looks at some numbers to question his motives (a War of the Worlds publicity stunt?) “...he got 22 percent of the gross revenues received by the studio on the theatrical release and the television licensing.” And check out the DVD deal he got!
Did you know that Paramount tried to get NBC to edit the interview?
Kevin Drum on Tom Cruise’s dangerous clown show, “This is crackpot stuff...”
The News Blog looks at Salon’s series on “the space religion.”
There’s bound to be much more today. I’ll resist the temptation to update.