aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Friday, November 25, 2005
Tell it like it is
In Life: the disorder, David Amsden uses ADD drugs and treatment to look at the way our society is increasingly popping prescribed pills for newly diagnosed disorders and wonders, “is it time to retire our moralistic distinction between ‘recreational’ and ‘medical’ drugs?”
It seems especially stubborn—dare I say immature—that the medical community refuses to acknowledge just how much certain psychotropic drugs blur the line between the biochemical and societal. Even more peculiar is that while we usher in a state of being permanently medicated, selective dosing is still viewed as “recreational” and “risky.” What’s interesting about ADD drugs is that they are remarkably effective regardless of how your brain looks when scanned, achieving what for centuries we’ve turned to coffee to accomplish, with about the same potential for side effects. So here’s a radical thought: Why not just put them in the same category? After all, what’s worse, continuing to find ways to define the everyday in terms of disorders until we’re all taking pills to curb the effects of other pills, or admitting that we’ve synthesized substances that can help, from time to time, in different doses for both adults and children, take the edge off in a way that doesn’t throw you off track? To me it seems more honest this way, more grown-up, and less likely to rouse our collective inner voices into an anxious chorus constantly wondering what’s “wrong” with us.
The argument against this pro-enhancement mind-set, of course, is that it breeds addiction. Though to refute this, one need only look at a fact D.A.R.E. counselors hate to admit about illegal drugs—that most people who do them never become addicted, that many people smoke pot and do coke much the way they “drink responsibly,” and for many of the same reasons (relaxation, focus, confidence boosting) that people ask their doctors if a variety of pills is right for them. Really, it comes down to whether we want to view lifestyle pharmaceuticals as something indulged in passively or actively—a healthy reinvention of adulthood or a submissive rejection of the difficulties and responsibilities that come with growing up. There are no easy answers here, but until these questions are the ones brought up on the “Today” show—instead of the dog-and-pony act of whether the drugs are being “abused”—we are, as a psychiatrist might say, in a state of denial.
Read the whole thing. He is 100% dead-on. Bold, honest and accurate.
Budget’s blog ad
A friend in marketing at a Fortune 100 company asked about advertising on blogs last summer. From his perspective, “the internet is sold out.” What he means is that the handful of big sites that constitute what the ad-world is used to buying, a mass audience, are sold out. Other sites are hardly worth the effort; you can’t reach enough of an audience.
I said something about how the situation reminds me of cable in the early days when ads had to be bought system by system, before they had a structure in place, and that a structure to capture the massive audience that reads the larger majority of sites would be built.
He was skeptical.
In that context the $20,000 Budget Rent-A-Car ad buy is a small but significant marker:
Budget turned to blogs to promote a contest with a scavenger hunt motif, buying advertisements on 177 blogs bearing names like BuzzMachine, Gizmodo, Jossip, Largehearted Boy, Overheard in New York, Stereogum and The Superficial. [...]
The campaigns from Hasbro and Budget are a sign of the increasing appeal of nontraditional media to once-conservative mainstay marketers as they seek to reach bombarded consumers. The growing willingness to consider alternatives to television commercials, billboards and print ads is one of the most significant changes in marketing in decades.
“I’ve got to be smart and make my brand feel smart to the consumer,” said Scott Deaver, executive vice president for marketing at the Cendant Car Rental Group in Parsippany, N.J., which oversees Budget and Avis.
“I can’t outspend Hertz,” Mr. Deaver added, “but I can outsmart them.”
What is most valuable about nontraditional media like blogs, Mr. Deaver said, is their ability to “actively engage the consumer” compared with “passive TV spots” and other traditional choices.
Budget’s happy with the 60,000 click-throughs it got from nearly 20 million impressions and says the company will be “back in this space” in the spring.
SEE ALSO: Businesses are spending $50 million to $100 million on blog advertising this year.
Thursday, November 24, 2005
A man the Kansas Supreme Court determined was given an unfair sentence for a sex crime because it involved a homosexual act will get to spend Thanksgiving with his entire family under eased release rules ordered Wednesday.
Matthew Limon was released from prison earlier this month after serving 5 Ã‚Â½ years of a roughly 17-year sentence for performing a sex act on a 14-year-old boy when Limon was 18. Had Limon’s partner been a girl, he would have faced a maximum 15 months in jail, a disparity that moved the state’s high court to rule he be resentenced.
His release to family in western Kansas includes mandated counseling and no interaction with minors. Defense attorney Byron Cerrillo argued those rules would have interfered with Limon’s holiday observances and church attendance, claims District Judge Richard Smith accepted despite Miami County Attorney David Miller’s challenge that the defendant had two prior sexual offense convictions and could be a danger to the community.
Smith ordered that Limon be released of his house arrest on Thanksgiving and Christmas and be allowed to be in the company of minors while he is under family supervision. The judge also said the defendant could attend weekly religious services, but he cautioned that he must be supervised at all times.
“That means not even stopping at a filling station and going to the restroom unsupervised,” Smith said.
The hearing to see if they can continue to keep this man - who’s already served 5 1/2 years for consensual sex - in “supervised release” is scheduled for Jan. 19. I’ll be following up.
Ranking the blogosphere
NZ Bear at The Truth Laid Bear wants to ensure that the TTLB Ecosystem he’s set up is as accurate a reflection of “what is truly popular and interesting in the ‘sphere” as possible. To that end he has implemented a change, “when the Ecosystem scans a blog’s front page for links, it now simply ignores any inline trackback sections that are found, while still counting the links within posts or on a blog’s blogroll.”
His concern is that linkfests, where bloggers are invited to attach their posts to another’s via trackbacks, artificailly inflate rankings. Always open to feedback, he asked for comments. I wrote one that I decided I rather like so I’m posting it here:
I support whatever you conclude. I value the TTLB Ecosystem and appreciate your efforts building and maintiang it. I also think it’s a good idea to have a result with open trackbacks filtered out. But please consider this: It’s legitimate for bloggers to try to get seen, and open trackbacks is one way to do it. Like caption contests to comments, so are linkfests to trackbacks. Now that’s not TTLB’s mission but if an idea strikes you as to how to measure, say, the “most ambitious” blog, I’d support that.
At the college I work for I’m setting up an online film festival. I’m allowing online voting, with no filter, which will be obviously skewed by those who are scamming the system. My thinking is that if they care that much, good for them. Filmmaking takes commitment. And in a competitive field, self-promotion. Their voting shows they’ve got some of what it takes to be a filmmaker. Have you heard the stories of Madonna’s early rise? It worked for her, and that ambition deserves some recognition, though maybe different recognition.
The online film festival voting is only qualifying voting. We’ll validate it later with a paper ballot which will be regulated to one person one vote. And the qualified pool is so large as to go beyond including only the scammers. We’ll see how it works.
Blogging takes a similar commitment. And those bloggers pushing their blogs out there are doing something worth noticing. My experience is that traffic isn’t correlated to meaningful, thoughtful posts in most instances. And the links I get are often to my least thoughtful posts. So both traffic and links are imperfect measurement tools. Adding ambition to the equation doesn’t hurt. And arguably - depending on how it is weighted when factored in - could help.
Via Joe Gandelman. I prize my place in Joe’s blogroll, and thank him for including me in today’s holiday linkfest!
It’s the blades…
...not the razor:
The cost of building a Microsoft Xbox 360 video game console is nearly 40 percent higher than the retail price, technology and microchip research company iSuppli said on Wednesday.
The firm estimated the total cost to manufacture and test a premium Xbox 360, the software giant’s sleek and powerful new gaming machine, which debuted on Tuesday, was $552.27, compared with its retail price of $399.
Microsoft aims to sell about 5.5 million premium and lower-priced basic Xbox 360 units by the end of June. The machine will compete with the PlayStation 3 from Sony and Nintendo’s Revolution, each due out in 2006.
Console makers have historically subsidized manufacturing costs by creating and selling their own video games and by collecting fees from publishers who make titles for their systems. Several new Xbox 360 games are priced as high as $60.
UPDATE: The Times says,”the Bill Gates team has delivered a legitimately excellent gaming and home media system.”
We’re in Athens to celebrate with Doug’s family at his mother’s house. The Jittery Joe’s at Five Points is closed, so we went to the downtown Starbucks instead. The photo is of the Georgia Bulldog out front, to the left is the main campus entrance from downtown.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Openly gay Republican congressman won’t run again
PHOENIX Nov 23, 2005 - Rep. Jim Kolbe, a leading proponent of free trade and the only openly gay Republican in Congress, announced Wednesday that he will not seek a 12th term next year. [...]
Kolbe often disagrees with his party on gay rights issues. He reluctantly acknowledged in 1996 that he is gay, beating to the punch a national gay magazine that planned to do an article on him after he voted against federal recognition of same-sex marriages.
Kolbe is a strong proponent of free trade and a guest-worker program for immigrants. He is popular in his Tucson-area district, receiving 61 percent of the vote in 2004.
More Osama dead rumors
Nevada Senator Harry Reid thinks Osama Bin Laden was killed in last month’s earthquake in Pakistan.
Speaking Wednesday on News 4’s Nevada News Makers, Reid says he was informed today that Bin Laden may have died in the October temblor.
“I heard today that he may have died in the earthquake that they had in Pakistan, seriously.” Reid says that if that is the case, “that’s good for the world.”
Lafave v Limon
Good Morning America just had a story that Debra Lafave, the Tampa, Florida teacher accused of having sex with a 14 year old student, will serve no jail time. I have no problem with her sentence. None. I don’t know the details but it is consistent with my call for a more rational sex offender policy and a more forgiving culture that has rehabilitation as a goal.
I am, however, outraged for a different reason.
You may recall that just yesterday I pointed to this story of Matthew R. Limon who, after spending
four 5 1/2 years in jail for a consensual sex act - also with a 14 year old boy though not his student and only four years his junior - and after having his case reviewed by the Kansas Supreme Court which concluded that the state can’t punish underage sex more harshly if it involves gay people, TODAY GOES TO COURT TO ANSWER NEW CHARGES FOR THE SAME INCIDENT.
Lafave’s ex-husband is saying she would have gotten jail time if she were a man. Maybe so. It’s a hook the press seems to love. But if she were gay or lesbian they’d throw her in jail and toss away the key.
I created the IVR Cheat Sheet to help you quickly get to a human when you are trying to call a company for service. (The term “IVR” stands for Interactive Voice Response, the fancy name for those annoying computers who answer most phones these days.) [...]
The original dozen or so entries came from me, and from a Jane Spencer article in the Wall Street Journal on 7/16/2003; the rest of these entries were added by other frustrated consumers from across the web.
UPDATE: One company, Angel.com, has posted its Top 5 Reasons NOT to Zero Out.
None too compelling. Paul responds that we should be given the choice to connect to a human when we want.
I have to add that I do like automated phone agents. When they work. Unfortunately, right now too often they don’t. I particularly loathe banks and credit card companies that make you enter in the entire account number in order to assist me better, and when I get to the real human the system leads to, the human asks for the number all over again!
If they want us to use them, they shouldn’t pull stunts like that!
Via Dan Gillmor.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Everything old is new again
As religious right groups go, the American Family Association doesn’t the kind of money, members, or influence some of its better known competitors have, but when it comes to boycotts, nobody comes close to the AFA.
The AFA’s targets have included Disney, Ford, Crest toothpaste, Volkswagen, Tide detergent, Clorox bleach, Pampers, MTV, Abercrombie & Fitch, K-Mart, Burger King, American Airlines and S.C. Johnson & Son, makers of Windex, Ziploc, Pledge, Glade, and Edge, usually because of some perceived “anti-family” animus. Late last year, the AFA also went after the movie “Shark Tale,” because the group believed the movie was designed to brainwash children into accepting gay rights. This year, it was American Girl dolls. Not a single AFA target has ever caved to the group’s demands, but it doesn’t seem to matter.
And according to an alert issued yesterday by James Dobson’s Focus on the Family, the AFA is worked up about another alleged injustice. This time, it’s Target and its holiday-celebrating ways.
The AFA is already claiming success:
Your efforts are having an impact. USA Today (11/16/05) announced that “Target alarmed investors by saying projected sales at stores open a year in November would miss the estimated 4% to 6% growth. Shares of Target fell $4.13 to $54.30.” (A 7% drop.)
Target’s ban of the Salvation Army and “Merry Christmas” expresses the same attitude toward Christianity as that held by Michael Newdow, who wants to ban “In God We Trust” from our currency and “under God” from our Pledge of Allegiance.
AFA is asking individuals to boycott Target during the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend-the busiest shopping weekend of the year. Please share this request to boycott Target on that weekend with friends, family and members of your church and Sunday school class.
Emphasis theirs. And though this year they’ve added the “Merry Christmas” issue - it was talked about last year too, just not included in the Action Alert - one year ago, I wrote this same post. I think it holds up pretty well, so I’m including it in its entirety here:
I just got back from lunch. On the radio I heard an ad asking that we boycott Target and visit Wal-Mart instead. The fundamentalist Christian community is up in arms that Target has banned Salvation Army solicitors from their stores. Even some liberals seem to be upset about the ban, but mainly it’s the fundamentalist Christians. Myself, I don’t much care. I don’t really see it as anti-Christian on Target’s part (their corporate statement is here [link is dead, so replaced with this year’s Salon article]) and if I were to take up the cudgel of free speech in the private sphere, it wouldn’t likely be on behalf of an evangelical Christian charity.
It surprised me to hear this locally produced issue advocacy ad on our little country radio station. “Star Station” WLRR 100.7 is a one man operation run from a personal computer out of his home by Craig Baker. The station plays “standards” (in monaural!) that seem so old as to all be in the public domain. I talked to Craig last year when I was looking for work and, as an advocate of local independent media, I was impressed with what he put together and enjoyed what he had to say.
He believes the most important part of his programming is his commercials. He has no DJs so they are the only original content he’s got. He goes out and records, edits and writes them on his own, on the spot, with the local merchants. Now that’s local radio. The ads all have personality, reflecting this time and place like no other media around here. One of my favorites is for Farmers and Merchants Bank, which is touting how it’s now technologically up to date because it just added “telephone banking.”
I’ve listened to the station since I’ve lived here and Craig was right, I listen for the commercials. Lately I’ve noticed a decidedly Christian turn to the station. Maybe Craig’s found a new market and is selling them ads like hotcakes. Maybe he’s playing to his Bible-belt audience. Maybe he’s a fundamentalist Christian himself (the topic didn’t come up in our conversation though I pointedly mentioned my gay partner). I don’t know. What I do know is the station’s quite popular; Craig knows his market. And Target knows theirs. My friends, who like me travel to Macon to shop at Target, all want one to open up here. I won’t hold my breath.
Fact = “no reason to doubt.” Huh?
Many news outlets have reported that Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele (left) was pelted by or mocked with Oreo cookies in a 2002 debate. Former Sun reporter Sarah Koenig says she didnt see any cookies that night. The air was not thick with anything except political bullshit,” she tells Gadi Dechter. Washington Times reporter S.A. Miller defends reporting the Oreo anecdote as fact on the grounds that he has no reason to doubt that it happened.”
Apparently, at least one network does:
“TiVo appears to be acting unilaterally, disregarding established rights of content owners to participate in decisions regarding the distribution and exploitation of their content,” an NBC Universal spokesperson told Hollywood’s Daily Variety trade paper.
“This unilateral action creates the risk of legal conflict instead of contributing to the constructive exploitation of digital technology that can rapidly provide new and exciting experiences for the consumer.”
Says Thomas Hawk:
What’s so amazing about this latest chapter in the TiVo saga is that even though executives want TiVo to work with them, Hollywood has been fighting TiVo from day one… This is simply more proof that Hollywood is scared to death of the TiVo effect. Since they haven’t figured out a way to “exploit” TiVo for their gain, they must instead come up with solutions like product placements and shifting the start of their programs to 9:04 pm instead of at 9 o’clock (heaven forbid that someone be allowed to watch a show on two networks in the same night ) Seems awful strange to me that they are telling Madison Avenue that the PVR is the best thing since sliced bread, while they are continuing to come up with ways to isolate their audience. In all fairness to Hollywood there were a few studios that did express some interest in supporting the product. In the Variety article Kevin Tsujihara of Warner Brothers came out and said “In addition to focusing on the legal issues, it’s also important to focus on the fact that consumers are saying this is the kind of thing they want.” While it’s encouraging to see that Warner Brothers is at least a little cool, I wonder if there attitude stays the same when consumers figure out how bad their Start Over service really is.
I just wish Google would buy TiVo and then kick some universal butt!
$100 laptop video
Last week Andy Carvin posted an “Eight-minute video documentary of the prototype of Nicholas Negroponte’s $100 laptop… Andy talks with the chief technology officer of the initiative and gets a first-hand look at this highly anticipated device.”
Via The Last Minute.
We are re-assuming our identity as Pajamas Media. (Just give us a few days to sort the technical issues out.) In short, the whole experience of being caught with our pajamas down has been a bit embarrassing, but in the end, when we realized we could get our beloved name back, we were overjoyed. So a warm, hearty thanks to all of you who expressed your displeasure with our phony identity.
Via James Joyner: You’re welcome.
The Kansas Supreme Court said the state can’t punish underage sex more harshly because it involves homosexuality. Then why is it that Matthew R. Limon will be back in court tomorrow?
Because the County Attorney is filing new charges - “unlawful voluntary sexual relations” - for the same consensual act:
Paul Cates, spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union which represents Limon, said what the prosecutor was doing isn’t right.
“We’re fine with him being recharged under Romeo and Juliet, but it seems like the prosecutor is trying to extend the supervision,” Cates said. “This is for somebody who has served four-and-a-half years in prison for a consensual sex act.”
On Nov. 3, the judge ordered Limon released from Ellsworth prison until the state decided its next move.
A condition of that release was that Limon be placed under house arrest, limiting his ability to leave the home of his aunt and uncle in western Kansas. He also is barred from having contact with minors, cannot use alcohol and drugs, and must undergo sex offender counseling.
So, having been jumped and while being repeatedly punched by several bashers, Dawson should have evaluated what level of force would be just right? Or maybe the police view is more akin to the anti-Semites’ view of Israel: Jews (or gays) should not be permitted to defend themselves. They should just die.
Monday, November 21, 2005
Saved by the Bells
Jeff Gelles in The Philadelphia Inquirer on the changing rules of monopoly:
Are the Baby Bells the answer? I put that question last week to Jonathan Rintels, who heads the Center for Creative Voices in Media and is one of the cable industry’s most thoughtful critics.
Rintels was the author last month of a report titled “Cable’s ‘Level Playing Field’ - Not Level, No Field.” [pdf] It’s too rich in detail to summarize (you can read it at http://www.creativevoices.us), but it skewers the cable industry’s hypocrisy on several key issues, especially its claim that so-called “tiered pricing” is crucial to allowing creative ventures to flourish.
That’s been the cable industry’s argument against “a la carte” pricing, and other proposals for sparing you from paying more each year for a growing number of channels you may not want.
But cable is hardly letting hundreds of new channels bloom. As Rintels documents, Comcast routinely refuses to carry new channels it doesn’t have a financial stake in.
To Rintels, the Bells’ push is welcome - as long as lawmakers set rules that prevent all providers from turning the Internet into a “walled garden,” akin to what cable TV is today.
His top priority: “net neutrality,” to stop any provider from blocking some Web sites or favoring others.
Next week, I’ll tell you more about Rintels’ ideas. But the good news is that he doesn’t see this fight as a remake of Alien vs. Predator - with the tagline, “Whoever wins, we lose.”
Via Center for Creative Voices in Media blog. Nice work! We’ll watch for next week.
I don’t think so…
TiVo-like DVRs are no threat to advertisers:
Based on Arbitron’s findings, DVR-inspired ad skipping and time-shifted viewing is just another niche trend rather than a knockout punch to TV networks and advertisers. Arbitron says just 7 per cent of TV viewing in DVR-enabled homes (9 per cent of the total) is done at a later time to the original broadcast and 80 per cent of that delayed viewing occurs on the same or next day.
It’s a tiny figure compared to initial projections and the reason for the huge change in numbers is probably because the original forecasts were based on early adopters with lifestyles very different to those of the general population. In other words, the early DVR buyers were more time pressured and less tolerant of ads compared to the later majority.
Or maybe the “later majority” just hasn’t gotten used to all the features of the new technology. On the other hand, I agree with Ray Kurzweil on paradigm shifts. Television advertising’s not going away; the question is what model will emerge for the next television age.
Via Thomas Hawk.
VAGUELY RELATED QUOTE via Romenesko: “Newspapers have been around for 400 years. And, for about 399 years, give or take a few months, people have been predicting their demise. In my lifetime alone, radio was going to do newspapers in; then television; and now the Internet.”
Tonight is Koppel’s last night on Nightline:
Mr. Koppel began as anchor of “Nightline” in March 1980, after first proving his mettle as host of a late-night program, “The Iran Crisis: America Held Hostage.” Those were primordial days in television news, before CNN, easy live-by-satellite access, and the Internet. He stood out immediately, interviewing guests about the story of the day with crisp authority and a brisk, no-nonsense style. He was sometimes confrontational, but almost always in an impersonal, somewhat lofty manner.
Mr. Koppel leaves at a time when younger anchors are making a name for themselves by flaunting their personal feelings on the air. During the Hurricane Katrina debacle, NBC’s Brian Williams was widely applauded for venting his anger and frustration over the government’s failure to act quickly to help the victims. So was Anderson Cooper, who recently replaced Aaron Brown as CNN’s late night anchor and famously gave Senator Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana an on-air tongue-lashing.
I’ve been a loyal Nightline viewer since its inception. I’m hoping that Koppel might do something outstanding in his retirement.
UPDATE: Time-shifted-newspaper-predated confusion! Last night, Nov. 21, was Chris Bury on Darfur. Koppel’s goodnight is tonight, Tuesday, Nov. 22.
Chickenhawks & me (again)
I saw this list and found it remarkable, but didn’t post it. I’ve reflected, and here it is. Now, I didn’t serve either (details here) and I’m no social scientist - I don’t really know a correlation from a causation - but the list is well worth posting in any event:
Service in the Armed Forces
* Richard Gephardt: Air National Guard, 1965-71.
* David Bonior: Staff Sgt., Air Force 1968-72.
* Tom Daschle: 1st Lt., Air Force SAC 1969-72.
* Al Gore: enlisted Aug. 1969; sent to Vietnam Jan. 1971 as an army journalist in 20th Engineer Brigade.
* Bob Kerrey: Lt. j.g. Navy 1966-69; Medal of Honor, Vietnam.
* Daniel Inouye: Army 1943-47; Medal of Honor, WWII.
* John Kerry: Lt., Navy 1966-70; Silver Star, Bronze Star with Combat V,Purple Hearts.
* Charles Rangel: Staff Sgt., Army 1948-52; Bronze Star, Korea.
* Max Cleland: Captain, Army 1965-68; Silver Star & Bronze Star, Vietnam. Paraplegic from war injuries. Served in Congress.
* Ted Kennedy: Army, 1951-53.
* Tom Harkin: Lt., Navy, 1962-67; Naval Reserve, 1968-74.
* Jack Reed: Army Ranger, 1971-1979; Captain, Army Reserve 1979-91.
* Fritz Hollings: Army officer in WWII; Bronze Star and seven campaign ribbons.
* Leonard Boswell: Lt. Col., Army 1956-76; Vietnam, DFCs, Bronze Stars,and Soldier’s Medal.
* Pete Peterson: Air Force Captain, POW. Purple Heart, Silver Star and Legion of Merit.
* Mike Thompson: Staff sergeant, 173rd Airborne, Purple Heart.
* Bill McBride: Candidate for Fla. Governor. Marine in Vietnam; Bronze Star with Combat V.
* Gray Davis: Army Captain in Vietnam, Bronze Star.
* Pete Stark: Air Force 1955-57
* Chuck Robb: Vietnam
* Howell Heflin: Silver Star
* George McGovern: Silver Star & DFC during WWII.
* Bill Clinton: Did not serve. Student deferments. Entered draft but received #311.
* Jimmy Carter: Seven years in the Navy.
* Walter Mondale: Army 1951-1953
* John Glenn: WWII and Korea; six DFCs and AirMedal with 18 Clusters.
* Tom Lantos: Served in Hungarian underground in WWII. Saved by Raoul Wallenberg.
* Dick Cheney: did not serve. Several deferments, the last by marriage.
* Dennis Hastert: did not serve.
* Tom Delay: did not serve.
* Roy Blunt: did not serve.
* Bill Frist: did not serve.
* Mitch McConnell: did not serve.
* Rick Santorum: did not serve.
* Trent Lott: did not serve.
* John Ashcroft: did not serve. Seven deferments to teach business.
* Jeb Bush: did not serve.
* Karl Rove: did not serve.
* Saxby Chambliss: did not serve. “Bad knee.” (The man who attacked Max Cleland’s patriotism.)
* Paul Wolfowitz: did not serve.
* Vin Weber: did not serve.
* Richard Perle: did not serve.
* Douglas Feith: did not serve.
* Eliot Abrams: did not serve.
* Richard Shelby: did not serve.
* Jon! Kyl: did not serve.
* Tim Hutchison: did not serve.
* Christopher Cox: did not serve.
* Newt Gingrich: did not serve.
* Don Rumsfeld: served in Navy (1954-57) as flight instructor.
* George W. Bush: failed to complete his six-year National Guard; failed to show up
* B-1 Bob Dornan: enlisted after fighting was over in Korea.
* Phil Gramm: did not serve.
* John McCain: Vietnam POW, Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross.
* Dana Rohrabacher: did not serve.
* John M. McHugh: did not serve.
* JC Watts: did not serve.
* Jack Kemp: did not serve. “Knee problem, “ although continued in NFL for 8 years as quarterback.
* Dan Quayle: Journalism unit of the Indiana National Guard.
* Rudy Giuliani: did not serve.
* George Pataki: did not serve.
* Spencer Abraham: did not serve.
* John Engler: did not serve.
* Lindsey Graham: National Guard lawyer.
* Arnold Schwarzenegger: AWOL from Austrian army base.
Pundits & Preachers
* Sean Hannity: did not serve.
* Rush Limbaugh: did not serve
* Bill O’Reilly: did not serve.
* Michael Savage: did not serve.
* George Will: did not serve.
* Chris Matthews: did not serve.
* Paul Gigot: did not serve.
* Bill Bennett: did not serve.
* Pat Buchanan: did not serve.
* John Wayne: did not serve.
* Bill Kristol: did not serve.
* Kenneth Starr: did not serve.
* Antonin Scalia: did not serve.
* Clarence Thomas: did not serve.
* Ralph Reed: did not serve.
* Michael Medved: did not serve.
UPDATE: Bupp says, Ã¢â‚¬Â�There was no discussion of him personally being a coward or about any person being a coward.”
Sunday, November 20, 2005
NPR: The ethicist misses Fair Use
Randy Cohen, the New York Times Magazine and NPR Ethicist, did a segment on All Things Considered tonight about the “dilemma” posed by Google’s Book Search.
I was appalled and astounded to note that in the entirety of the segment they never once mentioned the issue of Fair Use, which of course is central to Google’s claim that it has the right to do the project.
Instead Randy notes that he’s not a lawyer but is happy to proclaim that “as an ethical matter ‘opt-out’ is a terrible idea.”
I agree, but he misses completely that - disputed though it may be - what we’re talking about here is an option which allows authors to choose not to make their work searchable under a Fair Use claim.
Thinking about it, Google changed the name from “Google Print” to “Google Book Search.” Similarly, they should stop saying “opt-out” and call it instead a “Fair Use Abeyance” provision.
The guy who wrote the ethicist on the issue, Tony Sanfilippo from Penn State University Press, made clear the objection was lost revenue. His concern, he said, was a potential loss of sales because Google’s “giving a copy” to the libraries they’re working with:
That of course means less revenue for us which hurts our bottom line and makes it less likely we’ll be able to publish scholarship in the future… All five libraries that are involved have our books and they’ve all either subscribed or purchased digital content from us in the past. Now that Google is scanning the entire libraries they won’t need to do that anymore and that’s our concern.
I agree with Lawrence Lessig that the issue is money, but not the “loss of sales” Sanfilippo describes:
[W]ould authors and publishers be worse off with Google Print than they were before Google Print?
To ask that question is to answer it - of course the authors and publishers are better off with Google Print.
Are they as well off as they could be, if the law gives them the power to extort from the innovator some payment for his innovation?
To ask that question is to understand why this case has been filed: Like Valenti with the Betamax, the publishers and Authors Guild simply want to tax the value created by Google Print. They are not complaining about any “decline in [their] property value” caused by Google Print. They are instead racing to claim the value that ancient law is said to give to them, despite the harm that claim produces for “progress.Ã¢â‚¬Â�
Falwell’s fa la la la lawyers
Evangelical Christian pastor Jerry Falwell has a message for Americans when it comes to celebrating Christmas this year: You’re either with us, or you’re against us.
Falwell has put the power of his 24,000-member congregation behind the “Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign,” an effort led by the conservative legal organization Liberty Counsel. The group promises to file suit against anyone who spreads what it sees as misinformation about how Christmas can be celebrated in schools and public spaces.
The 8,000 members of the Christian Educators Association International will be the campaign’s “eyes and ears” in the nation’s public schools. They’ll be reporting to 750 Liberty Counsel lawyers who are ready to pounce if, for example, a teacher is muzzled from leading the third-graders in “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”
An additional 800 attorneys from another conservative legal group, the Alliance Defense Fund, are standing by as part of a similar effort, the Christmas Project. Its slogan: “Merry Christmas. It’s OK to say it.”
Via Brew at IJWFTRI.
Why the 99Ã‚Â¢ song?
It’s obvous why the music companies think they want this: they think they can extract more money from users. I’m not so sure. Remember that because the marginal cost of production is essentially zero, any particular price point is basically arbitrary from the consumer’s perspective. $.99 has the advantage of being a focal point, and so fair-seeming (note that the price is also .99 in both Canadian dollars and Euros). If customers start thinking too much about the arbitrariness of the prices, they may decide that those prices are basically unfair and record companies may find that they aren’t able to sell any music at $.99.
Thing is, if the CD is an indicator, the cost of a song will soar above the 99Ã‚Â¢ Apple imposed arbitrary limit.
RELATED: iTunes now sells more music than Tower Records or Borders.
Saturday, November 19, 2005
It’s in this season:
There has been an explosion of Oscar-baiting performances in which straight actors play gay, transvestite or transgender characters. Philip Seymour Hoffman melts into the role of the gay title character in “Capote,” while Cillian Murphy plays a transvestite in 1970’s Ireland in Neil Jordan’s witty, endearing “Breakfast on Pluto.” Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger play lovers in “Brokeback Mountain” (set to open Dec. 9), already better known as “the gay cowboy movie” and already a Letterman joke.
But big-name actors are leaping into such roles in smaller films, too. Felicity Huffman stretches way beyond “Desperate Housewives” as a man about to become a woman in “Transamerica” (Dec. 2) and Peter Sarsgaard plays a gay Hollywood screenwriter who has an affair with a closeted, married studio executive (Campbell Scott) in the current “Dying Gaul.”
She receommends all but the last. I saw Capote this week and was amazed by Philip Seymour Hoffman’s incredible performance. I liked Flawless too and don’t understand why no one else (including the Times writer today) did.
Follow the leader
One of Josh’s Republican readers, on the ferocity of Republican reaction to Murtha:
[A] lot of politicians tend to take cues from Presidents of their party. Reagan led a generation of GOP politicians to speak with sunny optimism; Clinton influenced Democratic politicians to project empathy in a somewhat ostentatious way. Bush, being more than a little insecure, tends to want to lash out at critics even when this is not politically necessary or productive, and this tendency has radiated downwards through his administration and outward to some Republicans, particularly in the House. Karl Rove’s influence on GOP political operatives may be even more profound, and GOP political operatives have vast influence in Republican politics.
He also says dem pols are wimps, “...there wouldn’t be many Democratic politicians I would be afraid of.”
I’ve been researching conservative versus liberal reasoning patterns. Compared to liberals, conservatives are more likely to be demonstrate the following characteristics:
1) “externalizing"--that is they are more likely than liberals to be aggressive, name-calling, hostile, threatening.
2) prone to “magical thinking"--that is, they conjur up hopeful realities that don’t actually exist, they lack critical thinking skills and engage in what I call “soothing speech"--repeating content free platitudes to reassure themselves.
3) lack empathy--they are less able to take the perspective of another.
4) thin-skinned paranoia. They are more likely to take offense.
These differences strike me as profound. The conservatives and liberals are operating at very different levels of moral reasoning. The conservatives attack viciously when they feel threatened, ignore reality and don’t consider the consequences of their viciousness. They just go for the jugular. And they feel no shame. Shame requires empathy.
It is not being a wimp to be stunned by this viciousness. If you are used to a world in which people are reasonable, take turns, understand the others point of view, use data and critical reasoning to define and address problems, it can be quite startling to discover that the other person has zero interest in getting along or being reasonable. Democrats CAN be accused of being in denial--of failing to anticipate problems or recognize that not everyone is good-hearted.
The attacker will consider his victim a “wimp” for not fighting back. But that is not the same thing as being a wimp. A “wimp” is someone timid or ineffectual. God help us if being reasonable and civilized is the same as being a wimp. It is a matter of perspective.