aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Saturday, August 06, 2005
2 straight men get married - to each other
The proposal came last Monday on the patio of a Toronto bar amid shock and laughter from their friends. But the two—both of whom were previously married and both of whom are still looking for a good woman to love—insist that after the humour subsided, a real issue lies at the heart of it all.
“There are significant tax implications that we don’t think the government has thought through,” Pinn said.
It seems to me that 2 straight men could, too, apply for domestic partner benefits. Marriage presents no new issue. If it was thought through for domestic partnership, let’s do that; if it wasn’t thought through for domestic partnership, let’s start thinking.
Having convinced a majority of Canadian MP’s that the “ability to procreate” isn’t a defining characteristic of “marriage”, tell me - -what’s so damned special about “love”?
Which reminds me: I went to a very conservative Baptist wedding last weekend. I paid close attention to the text of the ceremony. There was nothing, nada, not one word, about children. Lots and lots about love.
I was also interested to hear that the vows of the woman precisely matched the vows of the man. No “have and obey” here. The vows, I thought, would be fine and wonderful as they were, word for word, for my own marriage, to a man.
Wikipedia editorial policy unchanged
Jimbo Wales, guest posting at Larry Lessig’s blog, says:
But a fair amount of my time was spent this morning trying to complain about a rather absurd story published by Reuters which claims that I’ve announced some major changes to Wikipedia editorial policy. It’s a fine story except for the tiny detail of being completely false.
Of course slashdot and a ton of newspapers and websites picked up the story and ran with it, causing a fair amount of speculation based on, well, absolutely nothing.
Here’s the source of his consternation.
And then there were two
I have been posting lately about the cable companies getting rich from broadband-driven monopoly profits while skimping on the product as the once powerful AOL struggles to reinvent itself in the new order and our broadband sucks.
We knew that the requirement that phone companies open up their lines to competitors so that there could be competition among providers on the single phone line going into your house was doomed. Now it’s dead:
Handing a significant regulatory victory to the Bell companies, the Federal Communications Commission said the carriers no longer had to provide rival Internet service providers with access to their lines at reduced rates. [I would call them “regulated rates” or “reasonable rates” requiring that phone companies not set the price so high that no one would buy.]
The commission said the move would foster competition by putting phone companies on an even footing with cable companies and other sellers of Internet service and would provide more incentive for phone companies to upgrade their networks and offerings.
Let there be no doubt that regulators are in cahoots with the belief that a clean orderly market with only, say, 2 competitors saves us from destructive competition.
Lucky us, we can choose whether to buy our internet service from the local phone monopoly or the local cable monopoly (neither of which is locally owned or responsive).
I count on regulators to set the rules of the game, making sure there’s a level playing field and protecting us from market excesses.
They see themselves as hands off in that area, believing the market will work on its own (though they then set terms that are contrary to competition and innovation), and meddle instead in program content (please, oh fearless FCC, save me from the Super Bowl boob!) where I would rule hands off.
Friday, August 05, 2005
Why we need the billboards
Shortly after Georgia Equality fully unveiled the dozen billboard ads that are part of its “We Are Your Neighbors” campaign - including the words, “AndÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ I am gay” - the statewide gay rights organization began receiving irate phone calls and e-mails that made officials with the group “very nervous.”
“It took a while, but it’s really starting to register in the outlying rural counties and we’re now getting daily phone calls from folks asking us what it would take to get the billboards down,” said Chuck Bowen, Georgia Equality’s executive director. “It’s having the exact response we hoped it would. It’s got people talking about us.”
The billboards are a gentle southern echo of the popular Queer Nation slogan from the early 90s, “We’re here. We’re queer. Get used to it.” They chose to put them in low-tolerance areas, as evidenced by this reaction:
“So, we are supposed to believe that there are actually gay firemen?Ã¢â‚¬Â� [Mike Lakey, 34 and a father of two] said. “I bet the other firemen don’t know, otherwise his ass would be kicked.”
For Diane Moran, 48, the billboard shocked her. She was driving a van of boys, ages 14-16, to camp at nearby Lake Lanier.
“Everyone back in the van,” Moran shouted to her passengers. “Don’t even look at that sign up there.”
Moran added that she “certainly doesn’t support” the ad.
“The Bible is clear - the natural order is a man and a woman,” she said.
Homemaker Betsy Danielson, 52, was more direct.
“It’s plain wrong and disgusting,” she said. [read on. there’s worse.]
The first billboards were in the Atlanta area; the plan is to move to more rural areas:
Georgia Equality is planning a second wave of the billboards across 38 counties in South Georgia this fall, as well as in areas where the ads first appeared. But the effort hit a snag July 28 when Lamar Outdoor Advertising refused to sell billboard space to the organization.
The article is co-authored by one of our students.
The age of neural implants
Yesterday’s post on the future referenced Ray Kurzweil’s analogy that today’s medicine is something akin to “seasoning a soup.” I was recalling from memory a passage in The Age of Spiritual Machines entitled, “The Age of Neural Implants Has Already Started:”
[p.127] “We used to treat the brain like soup, adding chemicals that enhance or suppress certain neurotransmitters,” says Rick Trosch, one of the American physicians helping to perfect “deep brain stimulation” therapies. “Now we’re treating it like circuitry.”
Increasingly, we are starting to treat cognitive and sensory afflictions by treating the brain and nervous system like complex computational system that it is. Cochlear implants together with electronic speech processors perform frequency analysis of sound waves similar to that of the inner ear. About 10 percent of the formerly deaf persons who have received this neural replacement device are now able to hear and understand voices well enough that they can hold conversations using a normal telephone.
Neurologist and ophthalmologist at Harvard Medical School Dr. Joseph Rizzo and his colleagues have developed an experimental retina implant. Rizzo’s neural implant is a small solar-powered computer that communicates to the optic nerve. The user wears special glasses with tiny television cameras that communicate to the implanted computer by laser signal.
Then there’s the other way, from the neurons to electronics, via a device called a “neuron transistor:”
[p.128] Neurobiologist Ted Berger and his colleagues at Hedco Neurosciences and Engineering have built integrated circuits that precisely match the properties and information processing of groups of animal neurons. The chips exactly mimic the digital and analog characteristics of the neurons they have analyzed…
The age of neural implants is under way, albeit at an early stage. Directly enhancing the information processing of our brain with synthetic circuits is focusing at first on correcting the glaring defects caused by neurological and sensory diseases and disabilities. Ultimately we will all find the benefits of extending our abilities through neural implants difficult to resist.
More on the Weather Bug LAWYERS!
Back in April, more or less in passing, I mentioned that my colleagues wanted me to trash the Weather Bug. Yesterday I got an email from Jay Hoffman, Manager, WeatherBug Customer Support…
So began my original post. And this is where I planned to quote the email touting the features of the WeathrBug. I even thought I’d put the whole thing in the extended entry. Then I read the footer:
This message (including any attachments) is a confidential and privileged communication of AWS Convergence Technologies, Inc. and intended only for the addressee. Any unauthorized use, distribution or copying of this message (or any attachment) is prohibited. If you are not the addressee or a person authorized to receive messages for the addressee, you have received this message in error. In that case, please delete this message and call us at 800-544-4429 so that we can correct our records in order to avoid this mistake in the future. Thank you.
Prior to reading that I had a nice back and forth with Jay and planned a WeatherBug post. It was my impression that he wanted me to post again; his original goal was to leave a comment! [Recall please my earlier comment troubles]
So I asked Jay’s permission, wondering if he was even authorized to grant that permission. He replied asking that one line be left out. For the time being I’m choosing not to post any of it because I’m so riled.
It strikes me as highly objectionable/questionable that someone can send me an unsolicited “communication” and then make it “privileged and confidential” and prohibit my using it. The copyfighter in me is absolutely positively totally outraged.
UPDATE: Ok. It’s later and I’m calmer and I get it. If someone sent me an unsolicited book it wouldn’t give me license to print it.
It was just weird to realize that I could have innocently gone ahead and unthinkingly posted the whole email and then find myself in violation of an agreement I didn’t even know I had entered into.
John Roberts on gays
I can only see this as positive:
WASHINGTON, Aug. 4 - Judge John G. Roberts Jr., the Supreme Court nominee, gave advice to advocates for gay rights a decade ago, helping them win a landmark 1996 ruling protecting gay men and lesbians from state-sanctioned discrimination.
And this as not so:
The White House immediately sought to reassure Judge Roberts’s conservative backers, telephoning prominent leaders, including Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, but it appeared that not all of them had been convinced.
Was it to make Roberts look less doctrinaire and therefore more palatable to liberals? Or was it designed to plant seeds of doubt about his doctrinal trustworthiness among conservatives? Or to insinuate that maybe Roberts is gay after all? Or what?
I’m less so. In these times, I count on the history of Supreme Court Justices not living up to the expectations of those who put them there.
Join the speculation
I haven’t a clue.
Crooks and Liars, of course, has the video and a roudup of blogger reaction.
Thursday, August 04, 2005
On the future (& Intelligent Design)
There will be a time in the not-so-distant future when scientists doing animal research will be expected to use pairs of clones - one of each in the control and one in the experimental group. Failure to use genetically identical animals - an impossibility today - will be considered “sloppy science”.
At a party last night, in the midst of a conversation about PBS’s The 1900 House, I riffed on the future. I imagined that in the next 100 years we could eliminate pain and quoted Ray Kurzweil’s analogy that today’s medicine is something akin to “seasoning a soup” and we’re right now on the cusp of a medical revolution that will shift the paradigm to “soldering a circuit.”
I imagined an augmented future and expressed my desire to have a Palm-like chip implanted so that I don’t have to bother remembering this and that, and I imagined distributed intelligence meaning that I’d port just a piece of my mind over to the web where it would take on a life of its own, and I could check in from time to time, but it may just as likely go off on its own and be forgotten.
A friend said something like, “he’s pushing us forward and I want to hold us back” and I wanted to think something like, “yes, here in little town life that’s how they are” but truth is at a party in New York I’d get (and have gotten) essentially the same response.
And that reminded me that in response to news of Bush’s Intelligent Design comments to reporters the other day, after articulating some very good points about why Intelligent Design is a crock, (my own initial response was more hopeful, if more improbable) Joe Gandelman pointed out this:
On the other hand, in terms of public opinion, Bush is with the MAJORITY on this issue. A CBS News poll in November found that most Americans don’t think humans evolved, don’t want evolution totally replaced in schools - but two-thirds believe it should be taught alongside evolution in the schools.
One of the greatest passages in the Bible is when “the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind”:
Where was thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
Creationism is a way of responding to this profound challenge by saying “I know! I know! You did it just like I woulda!”
My own variant on that theme was to wonder what’s happened to faith in the age of belief. And my own recent disappointment was not with Bush, but with the Catholic Church’s shift toward Intelligent Design.
In an All Things Considered segment a couple weeks back examining that shift I heard the best articulation of why Intelligent Design seems to me a slap in the face of the notion of God as I understand God. It’s from John Haught, a Georgetown University theologian and author of the books ”God After Darwin” and ”Deeper than Darwin:”
A God who really wants the world to become something distinct from God is going to give a kind of liberal leave to that world to meander around, to experiment with various possibilities, to become itself in the presence of God… The idea that God is primarily a designer is entirely too stiff and dead and lifeless a concept to represent the biblical understanding of God.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for a future informed by the past. But I don’t fear the future. What I do fear is those who, whether from fear or faith, at home or abroad, want to turn us back.
I don’t get a lot of comments, but I do get comments (and appreciate every one). Lately there’s been none.
Finally, someone today sent me an email saying that they were repeatedly rejected “for objectionable content.” Time to fix the comments.
Just for the heck of it, I put the top 20 referrers from this month and last in the extended entry. All Things Jennifer’s brilliant RINO Sightings (which graciously included 2 of my posts) is the only legitimate referrer among them.
I’ll be looking into alternative solutions, hopefully over the weekend. Swamped at work (school starts in 12 days) it’s been hard to get to site maintenance. Please bear with me.
In the meantime I turned on Comment Registration and, of course, it’s not working either. I have an
open ticket with Movable Type. [Resolved. Now working with registration. BUT, I have it set to allow first time commenters, it gives a warning message anyway.] Thanks for your patient understanding.
And if you have any comments or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to use the email link at the bottom of every message until I get this worked out.
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Here’s a public service message to all my homies in Irvine (or thereabouts) who get their internet service via Cox Cable. Cox recently “upgraded” their cable plant, and as part of the “upgrade” they apparently reduced the bandwidth available to each home. This means that cable modems need to sync with the network more precisely, which in turn means they can lose synchronization more easily. This especially affects older Toshiba cable modems, which have been failing in large numbers.
And one of his commenter’s points to the same situation in Virginia. Stay tuned Macon.
Blogging at its best (cont’d)
I called Barbara O’Brien’s post at The American Street on the Right’s excited allegations that Air America is stealing money from poor children and old sick people an example of blogging at its very best.
I’m not fond of name calling. Barbara’s update responds in kind. But her bottom line is this:
The Commissar does not address or disprove my point, which is that this entire “swarm” is based on the word of ONE writer, published in a very minor “newspaper,” and this one writer says he got the information from two anonymous “informed sources” of unspecified origin. All other news stories that claim Air America is under investigation are basing this claim on the Horowitz article.
I still expect there’s no there there.
Georgia Equality on Fox News
Tomorrow Georgia Equality’s Executive Director will be on Fox. From their email alert:
Fox News has scheduled a discussion of the current debate regarding the decision by Lamar Outdoor Advertising, one of the largest outdoor advertising companies in the world, refusing to put up billboards on behalf of Georgia Equality.
The discussion will take place on the “Your World with Neil Cavuto” program on Thursday, August 4, 2005, between 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. The program will be re-broadcast at 1:00 a.m. Friday, August 5, 2005 also on the Fox News Channel.
Full text in extended entry.
With the first Vista beta, Microsoft seems to have taken many cues from Mac OS X with the user interface and features, right down to some of the terminology.
Even some of Vista’s icons are amazingly similar to those in Tiger.
For instance, there’s the interface names, Apple’s Aqua and Microsoft’s Aero.
In Vista, “My Documents” and “My Computer” are now “Computer” and “Documents,” as they are in Mac OS X.
The search icon in the Vista beta is almost identical to Tiger’s Spotlight icon, except that the magnifying glass turns the other way.
Vista buttons and other interface details have a shiny bulbous look similar to those in Mac OS X.
Given that I genuinely believe that imitation is flattery and everything’s derivative, I think it’s all well and good.
If this then that
President Bush said Monday he believes schools should discuss “intelligent design” alongside evolution when teaching students about the creation of life.
During a round-table interview with reporters from five Texas newspapers, Bush declined to go into detail on his personal views of the origin of life. But he said students should learn about both theories, Knight Ridder Newspapers reported.
So if God did it, he made gay people too. From an AP story, some black preachers embrace homosexuality as another of god’s works:
“Your job is to get up every day and be grateful to God for your DNA,” Forbes said. “It took an artist divine to make this design!”
What made his words stand out was that they were spoken to a roomful of gay and lesbian faithful, and the would-be oppressors he referred to during the spirited religious service weren’t white segregationists, but the pastors of some black churches.
Basically, God doesn’t make mistakes. But I love using the intelligent design framework to explain it - hey, maybe we can teach this in schools that include intelligent design? God made me gay and that’s okay.
Prez on vacation
The president departed Tuesday for his longest stretch yet away from the White House, arriving at his Crawford ranch in the evening to clear brush, visit with family and friends, and tend to some outside-the-Beltway politics. By historical standards, it is the longest presidential retreat in at least 36 years.
The August getaway is Bush’s 49th trip to his cherished ranch since taking office and Tuesday was the 319th day that Bush has spent, entirely or partially, in Crawford—roughly 20 percent of his presidency to date, according to Mark Knoller, a CBS Radio reporter known for keeping better records of the president’s travel than the White House itself. Weekends and holidays at Camp David or at his parents’ compound in Kennebunkport, Maine, bump up the proportion of Bush’s time away from Washington even further.
Via James Joyner: “...the reality is that the presidency is a 24/7 job and thus there is no such thing as true vacation time.”
To me it’s more like, a president can define when and how to work. Try that in your job.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
But Comcast is happy:
The Comcast Corporation, the country’s largest cable provider, said yesterday that profits jumped 64 percent in the second quarter, buoyed by demand for digital television and high-speed Internet services.
Revenue from high-speed Internet services jumped 29 percent, and Comcast’s broadband customers spent $43.34 a month on average, a 53-cent increase from the first quarter this year.
Analysts have been monitoring the number of new Comcast broadband customers to gauge how heavy discounts on broadband service being offered by the Bell companies has affected the cable industry. “The pricing environment hasn’t been as destructive as people feared,” said Douglas Shapiro, a cable analyst at Banc of America Securities, speaking of concerns that the Bells’ discounts would force the cable companies to reply in kind. “All the focus on pricing is a bit misguided.”
“Destructive.” Yep, capitalist giants see competition as destructive. 64% profits sure help the rich get richer. From The Washington Times no less:
The nearly 80 percent of Americans who rely mostly on hourly wages barely maintained their purchasing power, according to the Labor Department. Raises have been meager, averaging about 2.7 percent in the past year—a tad above the 2.5 percent inflation rate.
Incomes are up a more robust 7.5 percent when bonuses, stock compensation, commissions and other wage supplements are added, according to the Commerce Department.
Most of the boost, though, is felt by those at the top end of the income scale.
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan expressed concern in testimony earlier this month about the disparity between wage-earners and high-income executives and professionals, which by some measures is the biggest in the United States since the Roaring ‘20s.
Google’s ad patent claim
Almost missed this:
Google is claiming that it has invented a unique way to distribute online advertising via syndicated news feeds--and it wants a patent for the technology.
If granted, the patent would presumably give Google the exclusive rights for “incorporating targeted ads into information in a syndicated, e.g., RSS, presentation format in an automated manner,” according to its patent application titled, ”Embedding advertisements in syndicated content.”
A new AOL
The company plans to launch in mid-August a new portal that will make the services and content that were previously available only to AOL subscribers free to everyone. A beta version of the site has been public since early in the summer.
I’m doubtful. The very word “portal” is wrong. I’d like to see something more media centric, a web variation of Gore’s Current TV goals. The video service quietly launched a month ago is missing that public componenet.
I see AOL as a victim of regulation:
AOL’s subscriber list has dropped from more than 26 million in March 2002 to 21.7 million this year, largely because AOL’s dial-up customers are defecting to broadband.
A different FCC would have meant cheaper better broadband and made AOL accessible via cable and phone systems. They’d have stayed a player; they’d earned their place.
And the “walled gardens of content” would have ended then. [update: maybe not]
So now they reinvent themselves, throw everything and anything at the wall and see what sticks. They’ve got the means to do it. I was a subscriber virtually from the start; my nostalgia wants them to succeed.
The Monsanto pig (patent pending)
Brian sez, “Monsanto is seeking to patent not just the breeding methods for a specific herd of pigs, but the herd itself and all its offspring. If you breed a pig with similar characteristics, you may owe royalties to Monsanto—for characteristics they didn’t invent, bred by techniques they didn’t invent, simply because they’ve claimed the patent rights: the pigs are not genetically engineered, and their genetic makeup bears nothing original to Monsanto Corporation. Scary.”
The patent applications were published in February 2005 at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in Geneva. A Greenpeace researcher who monitors patent applications, Christoph Then, uncovered the fact that Monsanto is seeking patents not only on methods of breeding, but on actual breeding herds of pigs as well as the offspring that result.
“If these patents are granted, Monsanto can legally prevent breeders and farmers from breeding pigs whose characteristics are described in the patent claims, or force them to pay royalties,” says Then. “It’s a first step toward the same kind of corporate control of an animal line that Monsanto is aggressively pursuing with various grain and vegetable lines.”
In one application (WO 2005/015989 to be precise) Monsanto is describing very general methods of crossbreeding and selection, using artificial insemination and other breeding methods which are already in use. The main “invention” is nothing more than a particular combination of these elements designed to speed up the breeding cycle for selected traits, in order to make the animals more commercially profitable. (Monsanto chirps gleefully about lower fat content and higher nutritional value. But we’ve looked and we couldn’t find any “Philanthropic altruism” line item in their annual reports, despite the fact that it’s an omnipresent factor in their advertising.)
According to Then, “I couldn’t belive this. I’ve been reviewing patents for 10 years and I had to read this three times. Monsanto isn’t just seeking a patent for the method, they are seeking a patent on the actual pigs which are bred from this method. It’s an astoundingly broad and dangerous claim.”
Monday, August 01, 2005
Bad news. A postscript.
Via Atrios, who liked his essay even less.
Should we trust him
A decade ago, he was the brightest in an emerging constellation of conservative-media stars, the American Spectator writer who infamously described Anita Hill as “a bit nutty and a bit slutty.”
Today, after a dramatic, controversial, and very public ideological metamorphosis, the right’s most potent attack journalist has become the left’s most energetic attacker of journalists.
I quote them often so read with interest:
By the tender age of 32, Brock - a photogenic, powerful, and gay conservative - had graced the cover of the New York Times Magazine as part of a new “opinion elite.”
But then came a stunning cycle of confession and contrition. It started with a 1997 Esquire story titled “I Was a Conservative Hit Man.” Brock followed up with a 1998 Esquire piece that went even further: he offered a personal apology to Bill Clinton, the man he once tormented.
On Media Matters:
“In terms of accuracy, they’re generally pretty good as far as they go,” says Bryan Keefer, assistant manager editor of CJRDaily.org, an online media-monitoring site created by the Columbia Journalism Review. But they are “self-consciously lefty.... They’re really only looking for things where liberals have been treated unfairly or where conservatives have gotten away with things.”
It’s part of the mission:
Brock founded the organization in part because he believed that after several decades of fielding the right-wing charge of “liberal bias,” journalists had become too easily intimidated… “We have a more narrow mission,” he says. “To work against undue conservative influence in the media.”
On Brock’s flip flop:
More vexing for Brock is the cloud of suspicion that continues to hang over his work, in light of his ideological journey and confessed unethical behavior. “Once somebody has demonstrated himself to be an utterly untrustworthy liar,” asks [the director of the Washington, DC based Project for Excellence in Journalism, Tom] Rosenstiel, “why in the world would anybody think he has credibility now that he has switched teams?”
Brent Baker, a vice-president at the conservative MRC, says, “I just don’t see how he has any credibility when he does a 100 percent flip-flop.”
Uh, he’s not the first. The esteemed D Ho went through that same conversion, only the other way around.
Personally, I’d like more people to come over to our side. I had my doubts about Brock too, but was won over by his book, The Republican Noise Machine. And what Media Matters does, it does well. With that in mind, I’ll keep quoting.
Good luck Current
CNET reports a rush of traffic to the channel’s website today, and spins it as a “rocky start:”
The Current TV site, where viewers are encouraged to vote on programs and submit video segments, appeared to be inundated with traffic the day of the Gore-backed cable channel’s debut… The performance problems are likely a result of a crush of legitimate traffic rather than a denial-of-service-attack or other problem, [performance tracker Keynote Systems] said. It is also unlikely that it has anything to do with the design of the site, which incorporates a lot of Flash animation.
The SF Chronicle is more upbeat:
While the official name is Current, the new San Francisco cable channel is known to many as the Al Gore Network, with all attention focused on the man who came oh-so-close to becoming president and is now trying to reinvent himself as a television mogul.
But even with a former vice president puttering in the China Basin building, Current may be remembered as the first channel to take advantage of the plummeting costs of consumer electronics and editing software. It’s finally economically feasible for the young, poor and disenfranchised to tell their own stories, and Gore and his fellow investors are betting $70 million that their target demographic of 18- to 34-year-old viewers will tune in to watch them.
Then there’s the WaPo with How the West Was Wonked:
Four years ago, Gore teamed up with Joel Hyatt, an attorney and entrepreneur who served as national finance chairman for the Democratic Party in 2000 and is probably better known for the Hyatt Legal Services commercials, to begin brainstorming how to create a media outlet that would involve ordinary folks. In 2004, the friends pooled some of their money along with that of about 20 other investors—including Bob Pittman, formerly of America Online and MTV; Rob Glaser, chief executive of RealNetworks; and the investment firm of Richard Blum, husband of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)—and purchased Newsworld International for a reported $70 million. The 24-hour channel, available in 20 million homes via DirecTV and mostly Time Warner and Comcast systems, will relaunch as Current.
It’s available in Atlanta; I don’t know about here. But then, I don’t have cable. I wish them well and hope they achieve their ambition.
I believe global warming is a fact; and that the American public does not. I read this post from James Wolcott yesterday and it’s stuck with me.
He begins with a report on the 300 boy scouts collapsing in the heat while wating to hear President Bush speak. He rescheduled. Twice. Yesterday he finally addressed the Scouts. I just saw it reported on the Today Show. (Nothing about the collapses or the scheduling. Darned liberal media!)
Back to Wolcott:
It struck me that hundreds of Scouts collapsing in the heat awaiting a no-show president is a symbolic portent. I fully expect incidents of mass heatstroke to mount as we enter deeper and deeper into the baked Alaska of global warming. Years of ranting and heckling by Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, and other ignorati that global warming is a myth propogated by environmental wacko and economic no-growthers have lobotomized the lobes of millions of Americans and their greedy representatives, inducing a state of Denial that no amount of news footage seems able to shatter.
Finally, the paper argues that human experience of other difficult ‘long wave’ threats (e.g. HIV/AIDS) reveals a broadly analogous sequence of reactions. In short: (i) scientific understanding advances rapidly, but (ii) avoidance, denial, and reproach characterize the overall societal response, therefore, (iii) there is relatively little behavioral change, until (iv) evidence of damage becomes plain. Apropos carbon emissions and climate change, however, it is argued here that not only is major behavioral change unlikely in the foreseeable future, but it probably wouldn’t make much difference even were it to occur.
The paper referred to is On development, demography and climate change: The end of the world as we know it? by Tim Dyson of the London School of Economics. Read it and weep. We’re on the ride now, too late to get off.
Wolcott ends with this flourish:
Tomorrow is the first day of August, and August is Bush’s annual vacation month in Crawford, Texas. The temperature forecasts are for 100 degree highs the entire week.