aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Santorum on gay marriage, his take and mine
Rick Santorum was on The Daily Show last night. With no cable, we eagerly awaited the Crooks and Liars posting today:
Many people have emailed about this segment. They think Jon was too soft on Santorum. You decide. Usually Jon does goes after these intellectual midgets, but not tonight.
I liked the way Jon approached Santorum. He allowed him to articulate his argument; he did question it; he was not antagonistic.
Stewart: Isn’t even the natural family evolving? All the way up until the 60’s and 70’s there were those head of household laws that a family could decide to move but it was basically the man who had final say, you know, and before that marriage was more a property arrangement. You know, love marriage only came in the 1700’s and moved on from there. Is it possible that, through an examination or as we go along, or is this just a basic difference of opinion about what the nature of sexuality is and what the nature of virtue is?
Santorum: No I think it’s the nature of what’s best for society. From four thousand years of history we’ve decided and determined that marriage awas so important, having a mother and father who had children who were together for the purpose of children. Remember, the reason societies elevate marriage to a special status is not because they want to affirm the relationship between two adults. That’s important. A love relationship is important.
Stewart: But isn’t that more a religious paradigm than..
Santorum: No, no. Again, what’s society’s purpose in marriage? Society’s purpose - the reasons civilizations have held up marriage is because they want to establish and support and secure the relationship that is in the best interest of the future of the society, which is, a man and a woman having children and providing the stability for those children to be raised in the future.
My belief is that we can win the debate, we don’t have to denigrate. So that’s what Sanotrum believes and I don’t agree. I don’t believe that good parenting requires one man and one woman and I find that the studies back me up.
I also don’t agree that the only societal interest in marriage is children. It’s one interest, even a primary interest, not the only interest. Stable relationships are themselves an interest. They foster a stable society, public health and safety, and better economics, which are all in our societal interest.
Finally, I believe that same sex marriage is good for all marriage. Santorum’s is the road to undermining marriage by setting up alternatives to marriage. In the absence of same sex marriage, domestic partnership is being set up as an alternative. The separate but equal argument is obvious to me. That aside, domestic partner benefits are open to all, so they set up a culturally sanctioned alternative to marriage:
Getting people to marry is hard. Just having sex is more fun. Just shacking up, as it was once called, is easier. Marriage is under threat, all right. The threat, however, comes not from gay couples who want to get married but from straight couples who either do not get married or do not stay married. A third of American children are born to unmarried parents. The divorce rate has doubled since 1960, and the marriage rate fell 40 percent from 1970 to 2000. Cohabitation rose 72 percent in the 1990s. Twenty-eight percent of young couples aged 18-29 are unmarried. “The future of marriage may depend,” as an analysis of that last figure by the Gallup Organization remarks, “on whether young people simply delay marriage or sidestep it altogether.” Society generally and children especially have an interest in encouraging these couples to get and stay married.
One way to do that is to signal, legally and culturally, that marriage is not just one of many interchangeable “lifestyles,” but the gold standard for committed relationships. For generations, both law and culture signaled that marriage is the ultimate commitment, uniquely binding and uniquely honored; that everyone could and should aspire to marry; and that marriage is especially important for couples with children. Same-sex marriage may be the first opportunity the country has had in decades to climb back up the slippery slope and say, quite dramatically, that marriage--not co-habitation, not partnership, not civil union, but marriage--is society’s first choice. An American gay couple in their eighties got married in Canada in 2003 after 58 years together. Asked why they bothered, one of them replied, “The maximum is getting married.” That is a good pro-marriage signal to send.
Almost immediately after same sex marriage was legalized in Massachusetts, alternatives to marriage, primarily manifested in domestic partner benefits, were eliminated leaving marriage stronger as the only state sanctioned relationship structure.
The anti-gay marriage argument is an anti-gay argument. I’m glad to have it dressed up in civilized discourse, because the way I want to win is on the merits. And I believe we will win, it’s only a matter of time.
SEE ALSO: Salon & TNR wrong on Stewart & Santorum.
Monday, July 25, 2005
Your printer a spy?
Imagine that every time you printed a document, it automatically included a secret code that could be used to identify the printer—and potentially, the person who used it. Sounds like something from an episode of “Alias,” right?
Unfortunately, the scenario isn’t fictional. In an effort to identify counterfeiters, the US government has succeeded in persuading some color laser printer manufacturers to encode each page with identifying information. That means that without your knowledge or consent, an act you assume is private could become public. A communication tool you’re using in everyday life could become a tool for government surveillance. And what’s worse, there are no laws to prevent abuse… Your freedom to speak anonymously is in danger.
With nothing on the books, we lack tools to stop the privacy and anonymity violations this technology enables. For this reason, EFF is gathering information about what printers are revealing and how—a necessary precursor to any legal challenge or new legislation to protect your privacy. And we could use your help.
Via Boing Boing.
New Mac Minis
Possibly out tomorrow. And I have a birthday coming up…
UPDATE: They’re here. Think Secret was very careful to explain in that first post that it had gleaned its information from “part numbers...showing up in Apple databases.” No lawsuit-provoking insider information this time around.
Thank you guest bloggers!
I’m home, but with a toothache so hardly as rested and ready to go as I’d hoped. I’m tempted to impose upon Basil to extend his stay!
I want to thank you Basil, for the depth and breadth of your postings. I appreciate your picking up the slack while I was away. It was great having you here, and I hope you’ll come back.
And Brew, thank you too. I wonder, did you notice that your guest post occasioned the first aTypical Joe citation in Slate? Kewl!
Sunday, July 24, 2005
One Of Us. One Of Us …
Guest post by basil.
Although Joe has lived in Georgia for a bit now, you notice that in his tagline, he considers himself a “New Yorker living in the rural south.”
When will he be a “Georgian?” Well, quite honestly, it’s up to him. Maybe talking like we do would help. Maybe he talks more like we do than he realizes. I guess folks from up north could tell him if he’s picked up a southern accent or not. And, if he has, he’d cringe hearing that, I suspect.
But, being a Georgian, or a Southerner, is more than just an accent. It’s a way of life. And, one part of the south that is almost a religion is college football.
One of my favorite radio shows is “The Big Show with John-Boy and Billy.” It airs mornings on 100 stations across the U.S., mostly in the south and southwest.
I have enjoyed their comedy bits where they make fun of ... well, most everybody. And mostly in a nice way. They enjoy picking on themselves and southerners. But, they’ll pick on folks from up north, if the mood strikes. And, they’ll point out the differences in the people in the different regions.
I know it’s still baseball season, but football season is approaching and will be here before you know it. And one day a few years back, John-Boy and Billy gave a list of the differences between folks up north and folks down south during college football season.
Al-Qaida Nukes In The U.S.
Guest post by basil.
I’m a member of the Homespun Bloggers. They have a weekly topic about which they seek posts. On my little blog, I usually post my answer on Monday. But, I promised Joe I’d blog for him while he’s away. And, to relieve my This week’s question supposes that reports that Al-Qaida nukes are already in U.S.
It might be more accurate to say, "What if it’s true?" in regards to the reports. The Homespun Blogger Symposium XXIX question is:
What do we do about this potential threat not only to the United States, but to the global economy and the history of mankind?
Well, this might be one of those questions that has no right answer. If the reports aren’t true, is it necessary to even discuss it? Perhaps. But, again, the premise is that the reports are true. So, let’s give it a shot.
In April, on the day Lance Armstrong announced his retirement, I sat on the wall of our student center and watched him race by in the Tour de Georgia. That’s my photo, the one you can’t make out, and truth be told I have no idea if he’s even in it (so I added the close-up).
In that race, the second year in a row he chose the Tour de Georgia as a prelude to the Tour de France, he was a team player and helped his Discovery Channel teammate to victory. Today he won his own, his seventh Tour de France. A fitting end to a storied career. He’s a sportsman to admire.
SEE ALSO: My post, Enhanced Lance?
Saturday, July 23, 2005
Guest post by basil.
So Microsoft has gone and named the new version of Windows ”Vista." Well, isn’t that special!
I’m wondering how different areas will handle the name. You see, as Joe is, I’m certain, aware, in certain parts of Georgia, some folks pronounce things differently.
I’m from southeast Georgia, and the major impact on the way we pronounce words is simply our accents. But other parts of Georgia have their own regional pronunciations of some words or names.
You see, Georgia is a fairly good-size state. While 20 states are larger, all those are west of the Mississippi. In the eastern U.S., Georgia is the largest state. And fairly spread out. And it shows in the language.
I work in Columbus, which is about as far west as you can get and still be in Georgia. There’s a town near here called ”Buena Vista.” Only it’s pronounced “BYOO-nu VISS-ta” and not “BWAY-nah VEES-tah” like you might expect.
And, around here, families with the name “Jordan” pronounce it “JER-dun” and not “JORR-dun.” In southeast Georgia, and most of Earth, it’s “JORR-dun.” A former sports announcer around here used to drive me crazy when he called Michael Jordan, Michael “JURR-dun.”
Oh, in central Georgia, closer to where Joe lives, there is Houston County. Only they pronounce it “HOWSS-tun” and not “HYOO-stun.” Since Georgia predates Texas, I’m not sure which is technically correct. I guess, like most things, it depends on where you are.
And, some people call pecans “pih-KAHNZ” and others “PEE-kanz.”
Now, to be sure, Georgia isn’t the only place that pronounces things differently, at least in some areas, but it certainly has its share of regional pronunciations.
I’m expecting to be standing in Circuit City one day next year and hear some good-ole-boy asking one of the salesmen if they have “the new Winders VISS-tuh.”
I can hardly wait.
Take me home
The team has developed its Tiger-powered customized Touareg car (dubbed “Dora") using Mac OS X technologies… Power Mac G5s running OS X inside the car control electronic pistons and belts to control the steering wheel, brake and gas pedals, and gear shifter.
In order to navigate to a destination, Dora follows a series of GPS waypoints, while an array of sensors--radar, video cameras, sonars and lasers--check terrain and assess likely obstacles.
The 40 semifinalists had to prove their self-controlled vehicles could navigate themselves through a narrow 200-meter course that included turns and randomly-placed obstacles.
I told you so.
Friday, July 22, 2005
Guest post by basil.
Heh. Dictionaraoke. Indeed®
Headline News: 7/22/2005
Guest post by basil.
Yes, I know. I promised Joe I’d post for him while he’s on a break. And I won’t make excuses. But I can offer one small token. You see, the most popular feature on my little blog is the Headline News. Some of you may have read that feature. But if not, here’s the premise:
I take real headlines and write an accompanying bit to go with it. The accompanying bit usually takes the headline way out of context. Sometimes it drives a point home. Sometimes it’s just silly.
It serves no purpose other than to try to not take the news, whatever it is, too seriously. Even if it should be.
Sometimes people are inspired to “one-up” me on one or more of them. That’s always welcome.
Now, as a way of asking forgiveness from Joe for being such a poor guest-poster, I present today’s Headline News. They’ll appear on my little blog tonight. You get an advance look at them.
Now, don’t you feel special? Oh. Well. Anyway, here’s the Headlines.
Halliburton posts 2Q profit
Oil prices down, blood prices up
U.S. military claims anger China
Pouts, call U.S. a “tattle-tale”
UK police: Latest bombers failed
Final proof that Al-Qaeda members are either so stupid they fail or so crazy they succeed
From ABC News:
Skateboarder Branded by Manhole Cover Sues
Con Edison to modify all manhole covers with words “I’m A Dumbass”
From ABC News:
Group Takes 550 Gerbils From Small House
Richard Gere’s summer home raided
Marketers May Stop Calling Dead People
Long distance calls to hell cited as too costly
From ABC News:
Bears Wander Into Motels in New Mexico
Heard Tom Bodett say they left the light on for them
From ABC News:
Moose Removed From Colorado Army Post
Prostitution crackdown nets unusual perpetrator
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Fear and Loathing On Our Side of the Pond
Guest post by Brew.
This morning, like much of the rest of the country, I awoke to find that someone had tried another round of terrorist bombs on London transit. Unlike the last round - today’s London attacks were essentially failures. Few were injured, the wide-scale carnage of the last attack was averted, and Britons, quite used to the Provos throwing a wrench or a bomb into their everyday lives, pretty much went about their normal business.
On our side of the pond, we’ve decided it’s time to panic. Tomorrow morning in New York, Metropolitan Transit Police and NYPD will begin random searches of Subway passengers bags - admittedly slowing things down, and probably contributing to already burgeoning fears of another attack.
Mayor Bloomberg and NY Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly say the searches are - to paraphrase - “sadly necessary.” Of course the odds of an attack are actually fairly slim. The odds of an attack effecting any particular individual amongst the approximately 4.5 million people who use New York’s transit system are even slimmer. And finally - the odds that an officer will randomly search the bag of an individual planning to do harm - and by harm I don’t mean trying to sell you massively overprices M&M’s or convince you their selling sandwiches to help the homeless - are slim to none.
Why are we so quick be scared? Are we really “better safe than sorry?” or are we likely to be no more safe, and a great deal more sorry?
Most Americans, when asked, indicate that they’ll willingly give up a bit of their civil liberties in exchange for “security” - of course defining that security is at best a amorphous task. But the liberties we’re willing to sacrifice for that indeterminable amount of undefined security - those are very easily defined. In New York tomorrow, thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, will give up a part of their Fourth Amendment protection from unreasonable search and seizure to try to reduce an already very slim chance they might be victimized.
It obvious that we actually enjoy a measure of fear. From the dark confines of a theater showing the latest slasher flick, to the amped-up chatter and camaraderie of travelers in the ever growing lines at the nations airports - we get off on being a bit scared. We like roller coasters. Fear with a buffer. And there are those willing to take advantage of that. Tomorrow afternoon, when asked “what have you done for me lately?” Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly will have a quick answer, President Bush’ll be able to say that we’re fighting the terror, and some two bit dealer who got picked up in a random search of his messenger bag will be on the bus to Rikers Island.
And we’ll all be safer, right? Were we ever really in enough danger to begin with? Are you willing to scare yourself silly just because the opportunity exists? Are you willing to trade away your civil liberties for a measure of safety so small it can’t be measured?
Tonight, I’ll get on the train home - now that the station’s been re-opened - and ride home crammed in like a sardine. Then I’ll call my Mum & Da (who’re in London on
vacation holiday), and ask them - “what’s it like?” ‘cause I guess I want that little measure of fear too.
Why Can’t We All Just Get Along
Guest post by basil.
So, why would a gay New Yorker living in the rural south turn the keys to his blog over to a straight, white, Georgia-born, fundamentalist Southern Baptist “son of ... the South?”
Let’s see. Maybe because we see eye to eye on so many issues?
Nope. We disagree on most of the issues of the day.
Well, maybe it’s because we have so many other things in common?
Nope. Have you looked at Joe’s description of Joe and basil’s description of basil? (Yes, I know; proper names are supposed to be upper case. I don’t care.)
So what, then?
Can’t be. When have flaming liberals and an extremist conservatives ever shown any respect for each other?
Well, maybe here.
Here’s the deal:
Vacation guest lineup
I’m just back from the beach. Vacation’s almost over and now I get some guest posters! Better late than never; it honestly hadn’t occurred to me earlier that I could…
My blogger patron and friend Basil of Basil’s Blog, “a real son of… the south” and a fellow Georgian, has agreed to do some guest postings. Basil’s also the mover behind It’s A Pundit, where I am pleased to be among the blogger contributors. Basil has supported me and my little blog from the beginning; I’m grateful to have that support and looking forward to reading what he has to say here.
Brew of I’m Just Waiting for the Robot Invasion has also agreed to help out for the next few days. Brew is out on the left coast, in San Francisco, so will bring a bit of that perspective here. He’s also one of the bloggers on DraftWarren.com. Brew too has been a supporter of this little blog for a good long time, and I’m grateful to have him posting here.
I may poke my head in from time to time and post something, but for now this blog is in their able hands and I’m off to tea-dance at the Boatslip, out to dinner, then to see Varla Jean Merman. We don’t have anything quite like her back home in my little town.
Salon concludes its four-part investigation into the Christian netherworld of “reparative therapy” today:
On the front page of the Exodus International Web site is a photograph of several dozen men and women. The allegedly changed homosexuals, or newly minted ex-gays, are beaming at the camera, apparently celebrating their newfound freedom from homosexuality. Standing in the center of the photograph is 29-year-old Shawn O’Donnell, who was enrolled in Exodus programs on and off for 10 years.
Exodus is the umbrella organization, information clearinghouse and referral service for “ex-gay ministries.” These organizations claim they can help gays and lesbians become heterosexual. Exodus was founded in 1976 as part of a backlash against the American Psychiatric Association’s 1973 determination that homosexuality is not a mental disorder. Exodus leaders are embraced by the religious right, including the politically influential Focus on the Family, which holds conferences touting the success of the “ex-gay movement.”
The only problem with the Exodus photo is that O’Donnell is still gay.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Welcome to my hypertext non-fiction novel
Avoiding the news while on vacation, I’ve decided to make the announcement now.
A few weeks ago, after a hearing on a Federal Election Commission proposal that would extend some campaign finance rules to the Internet, including bloggers, and in light of Carol Darr’s FEC testimony, outraged bloggers left and right were following Greg’s lead and abandoning the blogosphere to become, instead, online magazines.
Not all chose the online magazine route: http://www.pandagon.net/archives/2005/06/apparently_we_c.html” target="_blank">Pandagon became a church and http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/archives/11147” target="_blank">The Moderate Voice was declared the 11th Commandment. Digby said, ”Call me talk radio” and Kos explained to Salon that the point is media, not journalist. Bloggers are media and so should get the exemption.
So what am I?
[My transcription beginning @ 44:38] We used to spend a lot of time trying to figure out what hypertext novels would look like. We had these models where we put them in hypercard stacks and you’d have words that would be hot and you’d click them and they’d take you to another screen, or you’d have them in websites, or Ted Nelson Xanadu, all these different ideas of what a hypertext novel is.
But maybe a hypertext book, maybe not a novel, but a hypertext book is a thing that starts with you reading a bit of something on a blog, and going, “oh that’s interesting.” You highlight some of that text you right-click and search Google… You find a newsgroup… and somewhere along there you follow a link to something else…
Maybe that’s what a hypertext book is. Right, truly hypertext in that the links are unidirectional, no one has anyone else’s permission or knowledge of the existence of the links. The links are serendipitous. And the links are made by people who don’t know that the other ones exist or that they’re actually collaborating on this same project.
Welcome to my hypertext non-fiction novel!
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Michael Hiltzik guest posting at the Washington Monthly:
Washington confidentiality in the modern era is all about maintaining access, even if that access yields scarcely anything worth publishing. If you have a confidential chat with Karl Rove, and he leads you down the garden path, do you end up with anything worthwhile other than DC cocktail party chatter about your last conversation with Karl Rove? And should we be appalled and surprised that Rove used the occasion to mislead? To paraphrase George Orwell, you can’t blame Rove for taking such an opportunity to further his own interests, any more than you can blame a skunk for stinking.
This episode is part and parcel of the debasement of confidential source’s role in American journalism. Taking sources at their own level of self-interest is what has given us Whitewater, Wen Ho Lee, and Iraqi WMDs. In Washington, they’re used as social currency; when anonymous “senior administration officials” give their briefings, their identities are known to everyone in the system except the reader. It’s another expression of the elitism that has opened a yawning gap between the practitioners of journalism and the public. Even Hollywood is onto us now; this sign of the zeitgeist is only the beginning.
If it’s Clement
Nathan Newman on “the buzz around the rightwing” that “Bush’s choice for the Supreme Court is Fifth Circuit Judge Edith Clement-Brown:”
Now, as folks who read this blog know, I might be favorable to a conservative Justice who believed in real judicial restraint, including weakening Roe, but if that hostility to Roe is combined with hard right judicial activism aimed at dismantling the democratic power to regulate corporations, that is the worst of all worlds.
And Clement could likely be that.
Religious fanaticism is the enemy
Having made its debut first as a miniseries in late 2003 and then having its premiere as an original series this past January, ‘’Battlestar Galactica’’ is the most successful original program in the Sci Fi Channel’s history. Meanwhile, many of the fan sites that had originally opposed Moore and Eick’s vision now actively or passively support it. Discussion of the show has migrated somewhat, from the fan boards to political blogs, where the issues it raises about security, religion and the ethics of android torture inspire heated debate, as well as praise from conservatives and liberals alike.
With Cylons “compared by fans and critics both to Al Qaeda and to the evangelical right” it must be good. Too bad I don’t have cable.
Drum vacation lineup
Kevin Drum’s gone for a week and the wonderful Lindsay Beyerstein, whose been * kicking * some * NYTimes Style * butt * lately (Right-on Lindsay! * Thankyou * Atrios * & Amanda) will be guest posting there.
Her co-guest-blogger for the week is Michael Hiltzik from the LATimes. I’m not familiar with his work but look forward to reading his posts.
Goodbye traffic copters
Though traffic helicopters are still on the job, an era may well be ending. Nothing personal against the Cap’n Bobs, but because of technological advances in the way traffic can be measured and monitored from roadside digital sensors, “there is less and less need for a chopper in the air,” said Christopher Rothey, the chief operating officer of Traffic.com, a company that provides traffic information generated by roadside sensors in major markets.
Thanks to this kind of digital data-gathering, broadcast stations are now able to put on comprehensive and highly accurate reports, augmented by animated graphics, on traffic flows and traffic jams. And thanks to personal digital wireless technology, it’s now possible to get this data, in some cases coupled with road navigation guidance, customized and delivered right to you.
Monday, July 18, 2005
Cape Cod Chips
A foggy day on the Cape, we headed for Hyannis and the Cape Cod Potato Chip factory. We’re big fans of the chips, there’s a map on the back of the bag, at home we laughed and said let’s visit. Today we did.
I took along a small video camera and thought I’d shoot something for the blog. And the students back at school; I told them when I left that I’d shoot it.
When I got there and the sign said no videotaping I was stumped. When I had the chance--a wonderful Customer Service rep, a great character happy to talk--I hardly knew what to ask. I have three microphones here; I left all of them at the house.
I know better; I have to plan if I’m going to get something good. We’ll see if I can make something interesting from what I shot.
Or maybe I’ll get lucky and one of my whiz kid students will do it for me.
Lessig vacation lineup
I do so admire Larry Lessig. Here I am on vacation, blogging, while his vacation starts today. No blogging for him; he’s promised his family a month away from the Internet each year.
Maybe one day. But not this week.
Lessig’s set up a vacation line-up of guest bloggers that has me aching with anticipation.
Today James Joyner asks, How Much Should Precedent Bind Judges? It’s a question that interests me around the First Amendment.
See, I’d like to see our judicial precedent around the First Amendment’s “I get to say what I want to say” privilege balanced more heavily toward the Sunstein reading of the First Amendment’s original intent of a “citizenry informed through a multiplicity of viewpoints.”
Give me a break!
History shows plenty of conservatives on PBS:
PBS (and educational TV before it) has a long history of conservative-hosted or -oriented shows, starting with William F. Buckley Jr.’s “Firing Line” in 1966. Others include “The McLaughlin Group,” “Think Tank With Ben Wattenberg,” “Adam Smith’s Money World,” “Wall Street Week,” “Nightly Business Report” and a news discussion program called “National Desk” that featured such conservatives as Fred Barnes and Laura Ingraham. PBS also has distributed miniseries based on the work of William Bennett ("Adventures From the Book of Values"), and one starring former Reagan and Bush I speechwriter Peggy Noonan ("On Values: Talking With Peggy Noonan").
Even so, Gigot, the “Journal Editorial Report” host, charges that public television stacks the deck against conservatives in other ways. He says that PBS-affiliated stations have been reluctant to add his program to their schedules (PBS distributes the show but stations are free to set their own lineups), or broadcast it in pre-dawn time periods. “There’s been a conscious decision by stations to run ‘Now’ [Moyers’s former show] but not to run us,” he says. “The motivation for that—well, you can make up your own mind.”
That from the Washington Post today.
With Republicans solidly in charge and politicizing programming I genuinely expect them to start supporting public broadcasting. And claiming they always have. Meanwhile, my support is dwindling.
Sunday, July 17, 2005
I love Panera Bread & finding Jake
We’re at one in Hartford, CT.
In the summer of 2001 while in Provincetown with Baci we ran into a fellow Italian Greyhound owner who told of us an Italian Greyhound Rescue rep in MA. We were looking for a companion for Baci and she had a dog.
Doug went back and forth with her a few times until finally we set it up that we would come get the dog. She was nice enough to split the drive with us, which meant we met in a Holiday Inn parking lot, here in Hartford, 4 years ago.