aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Thursday, January 05, 2006
HD multi-tuner TiVo Series 3
Announced this afternoon, the new TiVo Series 3 HD Digital Media Player should be available by mid-late 2006:
The biggest features are that Series 3 will have dual tuners and be CableCARD and HDTV ready! The dual tuner thing should be qualified though, because it will actually have 6(!) tuners. It will have 2 cable tuners, 2 ATSC tuners (for high def over the air) and 2 regular old NTSC tuners. But it will only be able to record two programs at once, according to a sign at the booth (warning 900k picture).
Other improvements include an SATA hard drive connection to add external storage, a display on the front that shows what’s recording and a backlit remote. While it will still record in MPEG-2, the Series 3 will also be able to play back MPEG-4 video.
RELATED: Sign up to beta test TiVo Desktop 2.3.
Another propositioning Pastor arrested
He wanted oral sex with the male officer in his hotel room. AP:
A pastor who has spoken out against homosexuality was arrested after propositioning a male undercover police officer outside a hotel, authorities said.
As the Rev. Lonnie Latham, 59, left jail Wednesday, he said “I was set up. I was in the area pastoring to police.”
Latham, a member of the Southern Baptist Convention’s executive committee, was arrested Tuesday and charged with offering to engage in an act of lewdness, Capt. Jeffrey Becker said. [...]
Latham has supported a convention directive urging members to befriend gays and lesbians and try to convince them that they can become heterosexual “if they accept Jesus Christ as their savior and reject their ‘sinful, destructive lifestyle.’”
Via World O’Crap.
UPDATE: It didn’t even occur to me to wonder if he should have been arrested, “Rev. Latham appears to have done nothing more than to invite someone to a hotel with him for consensual sex. That’s not a crime,” said Joann Bell, executive director of the ACLU of Oklahoma Foundation.
Google Video pay-per-view
I thought this was well know and all part of the plan:
Reports surfaced Wednesday that Google is testing a new pay-per-view video. An article in MediaPost reported that at least two videos available on the search site showed up Tuesday with a “text overlay” telling viewers they could purchase a full-length version of the video.
On Thursday, The Wall Street Journal reported the company will announce a new service Friday that will let consumers buy video content from service partners including CBS and the National Basketball Association.
UPDATE: Duh! I get it; the functionality is old news; it’s the application of the functionality - CBS & NBA deals - that’s news.
Exactly 24 hours after Abramoff had entered a guilty plea, our own Newt Gingrich had scheduled a speech on the problems of congressional corruption. Salon reports on the speech:
For veterans of congressional ethics scandals, Gingrich makes an unlikely champion of clean politics. It is Gingrich, after all, who still holds the distinction of being the only sitting House speaker to be disciplined by his colleagues for ethical wrongdoing. “Gingrich has a tremendous pot-calling-the-kettle-black problem,” says Gary Ruskin, director of the Congressional Accountability Project, a watchdog group that hounded Gingrich during the 1990s. “This hardball fundraising strategy was started by Gingrich.”
Before the 1994 election, several reports noted that Gingrich had been warning the heads of corporate political action committees to give generously to Republican candidates or face political retribution. It was a threat that soon became conventional wisdom, as Republican leaders built increasingly close ties to the lobbying community and more and more corporate funds found their way into Republican coffers. By 1996, Gingrich found himself saddled with a number of ethical problems similar in type, though not in scale, to the Abramoff scandal. He was accused of misusing nonprofit organizations for political purposes, personally benefiting from political contributions and giving false statements to ethics investigators. The House eventually voted to reprimand Gingrich and require him to pay a $300,000 penalty.
Back then, many of Gingrich’s Republican colleagues turned against him, in much the same way that Gingrich has now taken to criticizing Republicans tied to Abramoff. “Newt has done some things that have embarrassed House Republicans and embarrassed the House,” said Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., at the time.
UPDATE: More from Joe Gandelman.
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
HOPE Homes. Again.
The last time I wrote about Georgia’s HOPE Scholarship was before I read Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt, the wunderkind economist known for looking at everyday things, digging through data, and turning convention on its head. (The writer Stephen J. Dubner is co-author.)
I have to wonder what Levitt would think of the unintended consequences of HOPE. Among them, a study from February of last year (PDF) found that families that get the HOPE scholarship buy more cars. What’s true for cars looks to me to be true for homes too.
School starts Monday. Right now in the driveway next door there are 4 pickup trucks and a sedan. It’s a just-sold single family home in a modest still-nice residential neighborhood close to campus. My friend’s house, the one that once flew the gay peace flag, was bought by parents for students. It now flies the stars and bars. When the last university president left her house it, too, was bought by parents. The university president’s house.
A banker here explained the impeccable logic to me: parents buy the house, rent it out to roommates of their child to cover the mortgage and maintenance, then sell it at a profit at graduation. From a public policy perspective, this seems problematic. The kid gets tuition paid, the parents pay none and make a profit on the house?
Nancy McDuff, association vice president for admissions and enrollment management at the University of Georgia said last May on Talk of the Nation:
Well, some days it seems like Lake Wobegon where all the children are above average in the state of Georgia. We actually have at the University of Georgia almost 100 percent of our in-state students qualifying for the HOPE Scholarship here. So our in-state students coming to the University of Georgia are basically paying no tuition fees and receiving a small book allowance.
And 90% of them would have gone to college even without the scholarship! Meanwhile the state cuts education funding and tuition goes up, a trend that’s expected to continue, while the cost of education is effectively shifted to the more regressive lottery-based funding, even as policy makers worry it can’t carry the load.
Like all middle class benefits programs, this one is not going away. It effectively keeps students in-state, so our college here will likely thrive. And when it comes time to sell my house, I don’t foresee a problem. Who knows, maybe my street will one day be, like Milledge Avenue up the road in Athens, our town’s fraternity row.
Georgia teen recognized for gay club
This was last year’s news so I don’t know why it’s in the papers today (and on GPB which is where I heard it).
It began as a simple request a year ago. Kerry Pacer and her friends wanted to start a club for gay students like them at their high school in the Georgia mountains.
Students booed her. Her pals were called names. Out-of-state evangelical fundamentalists showed up and protested against the teens.
Yet, Kerry and her friends stuck with their plan, making a difference in the school, and getting community support.
After all that, Kerry’s fight to bring a change to White County has now brought her national recognition. The gay newsmagazine, The Advocate, has selected the White County High senior as its Person of the Year - an honor previously reserved for notable gay Americans like artist Robert Mapplethorpe and Episcopal Church bishop Gene Robinson. Among those who received honorable mention this year were singer Melissa Etheridge and professional basketball player Sheryl Swoopes.
While the club _ now called PRIDE or Peers Rising in Diversity Education _ has been kicked out of the school, it still meets off school grounds. While other student clubs have civic or religious organizations as off-campus sponsors, no established group has come forward for Pacer’s club.
But Pacer said some volunteers have come forward to help the club.
Charles Aiken, a retired music teacher and grandfather, said he wanted to do something for the gay students, knowing the taunting they receive. He was disappointed with White County school officials and got involved. He was joined by two other adults in town, including a retired high school principal and a woman married to an educator… Two church pastors have told Aiken they would help. And a local restaurant has pledged to offer a private dining room for the club’s next meeting, which is scheduled for Thursday.[...]
Superintendent Paul Shaw acknowledged Kerry’s courage.
“She probably deserved the recognition if she received the award,” said Shaw. “The only thing I could tell is that it’s very quiet right now.”
Many of the women I know here work because they must. They would likely identify more with David Brooks than Linda Hirshman and might even think they’d rather be home with the kids, but they are out there working.
And the simple fact is that today women are still paid less than men.
Rebecca Traister looks at Brooks and Hirshman and Hekker and Tierney in a http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/2006/01/04/brooks_and_hekker/” target="_blank">Salon piece (watch the ad, it’s painless) that must be read in full:
Those of us mesmerized by the escalating debate about the relationship between stay-at-home motherhood and feminism could not have asked for a balder manifestation of two sides of the discussion than this Sunday’s New York Times.
First, Op-Ed columnist David Brooks weighed in on an American Prospect piece about the fallacies of stay-at-home feminism by Brandeis professor Linda Hirshman. In Hirshman’s December piece, she vociferously argued that so-called choice feminism—the ability to leave a career that many modern stay-at-home women describe as a perk of their emancipation—is in fact regressive, symptomatic not of the successes of the feminist movement but of its failures.
Hirshman’s piece was an angry, troubling battle call that has provoked fierce debate among feminists. Brooks answers her extremism with extremism. Impressed by the “full-bore, unapologetic blast of 1975 time-warp feminism,” he bestows on the piece a “Sidney Award” as one of the best magazine essays of the year, on the grounds that it was so smart and dense that it took him a while to figure out how to poke holes in it. Finally, despite Hirshman’s skill, Brooks is able to write, “of course, she is wrong.”
Closely Divided or Deeply Divided on religion?
More from Paul Bloom’s Atlantic essay, Is God an Accident? From part 1, God Is Not dead:
In the United States some liberal scholars posit...that belief in the supernatural is found mostly in Christian conservatives-those infamously described by the Washington Post reporter Michael Weisskopf in 1993 as “largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command.” Many people saw the 2004 presidential election as pitting Americans who are religious against those who are not.
An article by Steven Waldman in the online magazine Slate provides some perspective on the divide:
“As you may already know, one of America’s two political parties is extremely religious. Sixty-one percent of this party’s voters say they pray daily or more often. An astounding 92 percent of them believe in life after death. And there’s a hard-core subgroup in this party of super-religious Christian zealots. Very conservative on gay marriage, half of the members of this subgroup believe Bush uses too little religious rhetoric, and 51 percent of them believe God gave Israel to the Jews and that its existence fulfills the prophecy about the second coming of Jesus.”
The group that Waldman is talking about is Democrats; the hard-core subgroup is African-American Democrats.
Here’s the Slate link. I couldn’t find the original Washington Post article, “Energized by Pulpit or Passion, the Public Is Calling; `Gospel Grapevine’ Displays Strength In Controversy Over Military Gay Ban,” anywhere online so I’ve put excerpts in the extended entry.
See also, Closely Divided or Deeply Divided.
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
Wikipedia: A third way
We have this idea that there are only two ways to do anything—either you create and sustain artificial monopolies so that people will have incentives to create (that’s the copyright story), or you open the doors so that competition will emerge (that’s the market story). But here, in Wikipedia, we have something not driven by market competition (as we usually understand it) or enhanced by artificial property incentives.
Wikipedia, like so many other beloved online resources, is a group-"owned" and created thing. The group has no boundaries except shared interests in particular pages. It’s doing very well.
We don’t have to constantly choose between security and freedom—we have a third way to do things, and this way involves shared values and collective activities. Only networks that allow groups to form and people to post things can make this new form of governance and action possible.
Now that we have this network, this self-governed resource, it’s very apparent that it is a pre-existing ecosystem (like the ocean) that no one can claim to own except the constantly-changing group that created it. This makes cable/telcos into nothing but owners of beachfront property.
In the US, you’re not allowed to block people from walking across your beach near the waterline.
Closely Divided or Deeply Divided?
A gift, I’m reading Mo Fiorina’s Culture War? The Myth of a Polarized America. He’s speaking to me when he says that “The simple truth is that there is no Culture War in the United States.”
Then why do so many of us think there is?
He lists four contributing factors. The first is “Confusing Closely Divided with Deeply Divided:”
[p.13] Recent national elections have been exceedingly and unusually close...The question is how to interpret this electoral competitiveness. Most commentators seem to believe the answer is obvious: The American electorate is polarized… The top panel of Figure 2.1 depicts this claim graphically. Voters line up from left to right and the electorate is highly polarized… But the U-shaped distribution in the top panel of the figure by no means is the only electoral configuration that will produce close elections. In particular, consider its inverse - the bell shaped distribution in the bottom panel of Figure 2.1. In the lower figure most people hold moderate of centrist positions and relatively few are extreme ideologues. But if the Democrat and Republican parties position themselves equidistant from the center on opposite sides, then the bottom configuration, too, produces close elections. In both conditions the electorate is closely divided, but only in the top panel of the figure would we say that voters are deeply divided.
My emphasis. His other three contributing factors?
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Political Activists are not normal people
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ The Media
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Confusing positions with choices
The last deserves a post of its own. Maybe tomorrow…
Britannica v Wikipedia revisited
The Times looks critically at the Nature study that blind-compared Britannica and Wikipedia - “The question is whether to trust an encyclopedia that evolves like an organism or one that was designed like a machine.” - and concludes:
Whatever their shortcomings, neither encyclopedia appears to be as error-prone as one might have inferred from Nature, and if Britannica has an edge in accuracy, Wikipedia seems bound to catch up.
The idea that perfection can be achieved solely through deliberate effort and centralized control has been given the lie in biology with the success of Darwin and in economics with the failure of Marx.
It seems natural that over time, thousands, then millions of inexpert Wikipedians - even with an occasional saboteur in their midst - can produce a better product than a far smaller number of isolated experts ever could.
Meanwhile the competition has some catching up to do. While Wikipedia includes a good, balanced article on the history of Britannica, Britannica has not a word to say about Wikipedia, as it rapidly becomes one of the most significant phenomena on the Net.
SEE ALSO: My post Whose Faith-Based encyclopedia?
Sweeney Todd, the movie
Let’s all miss this together:
LONDON (Hollywood Reporter) - Ray Winstone brings Sweeney Todd, the mythical demon barber of Fleet Street made famous in Stephen Sondheim’s 1979 Broadway musical, vividly and scarily to life in a memorable new BBC horror film.
Grim and bloody, the drama makes harrowing viewing as it tells of a seriously demented individual who lives as a respected, soft-spoken and expert barber-surgeon in 18th century London while busily murdering his customers with his straight razor.
The current Broadway version was plenty dark for me.
Music Biz slide
Reuters details the decline this year:
Compared with 2004—which, in a tic of the calendar, had a 53-week retail year—the market for CDs plunged more than 10%. Based on a 52-week year, sales were down nearly 8%. [...]
In the entire fourth quarter of 2005, only one album enjoyed two consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200: Eminem’s hits collection “Curtain Call.”
Chris Anderson details the decade the blockbuster died:
CLARIFICATION: I’m not meaning to connect the decline of the music business with the decline of the blockbuster. I think the way out of the music decline is to embrace the fan, rather than arrest them, and work with the artists further down the tail.
Same sex marriage prospects in DC
Interesting vote this week in DC:
The District of Columbia Council will vote this week on allowing civil unions but one councilor is considering a competing bill that would permit same-sex marriage in the District.
The civil union measure, authored by council member-at-large Phil Mendelson (D) has widespread support but granting full marriage has divided even the district’s gay community.
Civil unions would give same-sex and unmarried opposite-sex partners some of the broadest domestic partner rights in the country, including joint powers of attorney, tax benefits similar to those enjoyed by married couples, the right sue for negligence in the treatment or death of a partner and immunity for partners from testifying against one another. [...]
The new bill has divided the council’s two openly gay members.
Independent Councilor-at large David A. Catania supports the measure. But Jim Graham (D) tells the Washington Post that he is “seriously considering” introducing a bill to legalize gay marriage.
Catina’s afraid that going too far will make us “a cause celebre for Congress to whip on.” Graham says, “Not doing what you believe in is a very uneasy feeling.” Given my argument for the noble loss, if Graham goes for it I’m supportive.
It’s not a sure bet that Congress wouldn’t “whip on” us for the Civil Unions bill:
“On gay marriage legislation, the council is well aware of the risks,” said Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), who has advised council members not to push the issue.
This year, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) warned that the city would trigger a sharp backlash from Congress if it pursued gay marriage.
Graham said playing it safe comes with its own risks. Congress could still find that the proposed incremental measures go too far.
“We could end up in the same circumstance as we would have with a full gay marriage bill,” Graham said.
You know, I know there’s a good argument for waiting, but it strikes me as so similar to the blacks should ride in the back of the bus and drink from fountains marked colored mentality that I just can’t bring myself to argue for it.
Monday, January 02, 2006
A literary Wonkette
When I heard Ana Marie Cox, aka Wonkette, was writing a book I wasn’t sure she had it in her.
Then again Fox’s Chris Wallace didn’t have it in him either and he wrote a book. ("It was a kind of collaborative effort. My—a fellow, an agent, Bill Adler (ph), came up—called me up and said, Have you ever thought of writing a book? And I said, yes, but I never have had an idea.” I’ll say.)
“Dog Days” is predicated on the thought that it is a short leap from a blog to a blovel. “She’s so getting a book deal out of this,” somebody in “Dog Days” says about Capitolette, the fictitious blogger who is invented by the inventor of Ms. Wonkette (which makes this book a roman ÃƒÂ clef ÃƒÂ clef, for anybody who’s counting layers of artistry here). But getting the book deal proves easier than writing the book.
“Dog Days” manages to be doubly conventional: it follows both an old-fashioned love-betrayal-redemption arc and the newer, bitchier nanny-Prada chick-lit motif. Melanie is a myopic and self-interested heroine by the standards of either genre. The reader will learn about Melanie’s expensive shoes, Melanie’s drinking, Melanie’s buying of groceries at drugstores, Melanie’s playing with sushi and Melanie’s first shirt with French cuffs. Then there are Melanie’s descriptions of cellphone noises, the Delta shuttle terminal and Washington’s byzantine parking laws.
I’ll likely pass.
UPDATE: Another - better - review, “ this novel is the Primary Colors of 2004 - the novel that hits the zeitgeist of the Democratic Party’s political class squarely between the eyes. If you want to know what’s wrong with Democratic Party politics, you can read this book.” Via Atrios.
RELATED from ROMENESKO:
Federal prosecutor and “Underneath Their Robes” blogger David Lat is expected to replace Ana Marie Cox at Gawker Media’s political website, Wonkette. Peter Lattman writes: “Lats blog gained popularity with its coverage of the Supreme Court nominations of John Roberts, Harriet Miers, and Samuel Alito. In past posts, Wonkette praised ‘Underneath Their Robes,’ calling it adorably irreverent, deliciously superficial, and winkingly naughty.”
Doug said he rode from Berlin to Magdeburg in a car that gets 85 MPG. He said it wasn’t a hybrid; I said it was impossible.
He looked it up:
Volkswagen has just begun selling a revolutionary machine in Germany called the 3L (for 3-liter) Lupo, and after a 150-mile run here from Braunschweig, the lasting impressions are a beastly backache from the cheap seats and maddening frustration from the mechanical compromises necessary to achieve the car’s remarkable fuel economy. [No wonder he preferred the train!]
The 3L refers not to engine size but to the fact that it is designed to use just three liters of fuel per 100 kilometers - about 78 miles per gallon. No production car in the USA gets close. The three-liter formula is a long-standing environmentalists’ challenge that VW is first to answer after nine years of work.
The article is from 1999; they’ve had time to improve it since. Here’s a VW Lupo Around the World in 80 Days project site.
What do I know anyway…
Barbie & The Transgender Menace
Martha Kleder, a policy analyst for Concerned Women for America and Bob Knight, Director of CWA’s Culture & Family Institute were tipped off “by one of our constituents” to “something rather disturbing” - a dropdown menu (pictured) used in a poll on the Barbie Website.
Bob sees the “bizarre” third choice as part of the transgender movement - “that’s a very big component of the homosexual activist agenda now” - and tells us that it is very dangerous for girls in particular. He reports that “they actually had surgeons there” at a transgender conference in Washington a couple years ago:
MARTHA: Well Bob obviously things could get a lot worse but we wanted to alert our listeners to the fact that the Barbie.com website might not be safe for surfing for young girls…
BOB: ...It’s really steering girls away from the idea of womanhood as predominantly, in terms of Christians, serving the lord, getting married, having kids, you know, building a home. You don’t see any of that with Barbie… Barbie’s suspect to begin with but once they start throwing this transgender question at little girls they’ve really crossed the line.”
My experience with programmers has me suspecting they used code from somewhere else and didn’t delete the third choice for no particular reason. I guess it’s possible that some pedagogue worried that the kid might not actually know so should be able to say so. Either way I assure you it’s not part of my agenda.
Via John at AMERICAblog.
UPDATE: The audio program repurposed for print, from the Christian Post which notes, “On the day after this article was published, the third option on Mattel’s Barbie Poll changed from ‘I don’t know’ to ‘Don’t want to say.’”
Detroit should look like this
Sunday, January 01, 2006
The Age of the Conversational Artist
[B]ack in the Vaudeville days, the thing that mattered most was your charisma. If you gave a great show, it didn’t matter much how technically accomplished you were (contrariwise, if you were a virtuoso on your instrument but stood like a statue on stage, it really hurt your career). That was the age of the charismatic artist.
With radios and recordings, though, charisma wasn’t enough. When your audience gets at your work through an hand-cranked Victrola or a big cabinet radio, your stage presence isn’t really perceptible anymore. However, your technical skill with your instrument shines through in a way that it never had before. That was the age of the virtuoso artist.
Today there’s the explosion of choice brought on by the Internet. All entertainments are approximately one click away. The search-cost of finding another artist whose music or books or movies are as interesting as yours is dropping through the floor, thanks to recommendation systems, search engines, and innumerable fan-recommendation sites like blogs and MySpaces. Your virtuosity is matched by someone else’s, somewhere, and if you’re to compete successfully with her, you need something more than charisma and virtuosity.
You need conversation… Conversation with an audience isn’t easy, and there are lots of people who produce great art and lousy conversation. But that’s not any different from previous technological changes: there were lots of charismatics who couldn’t shift to radio. Lots of virtuosos will fail to shift to conversation. [...]
Conversation with an audience recruits fans to choose, through evangelism and advocacy, which art will succeed and which art will fail. It changes the system where the sole arbiters of such decisions work at publishing or entertainment concerns. It doesn’t replace that system, of course, but it augments it.
RELATED (I like to believe): My post, A new oral tradition.
The Times has a major article on how people are using the Internet to influence the way they are covered by the media:
Unhappy subjects discovered a decade ago that they could use their Web sites to correct the record or deconstruct articles to expose what they perceived as a journalist’s bias or wrongheaded narration.
But now they are going a step further. Subjects of newspaper articles and news broadcasts now fight back with the same methods reporters use to generate articles and broadcasts - taping interviews, gathering e-mail exchanges, taking notes on phone conversations - and publish them on their own Web sites. This new weapon in the media wars is shifting the center of gravity in the way that news is gathered and presented, and it carries implications for the future of journalism.
I liked this observation:
But the power of blogs is exponential; blog posts can be linked and replicated instantly across the Web, creating a snowball effect that often breaks through to the mainstream media. Moreover, blogs have a longer shelf life than most traditional news media articles. A newspaper reporter’s original article is likely to disappear from the free Web site after a few days and become inaccessible unless purchased from the newspaper’s archives, while the blogger’s version of events remains available forever.
And whose fault is that?
Generally I come down in favor of the news organization making full resource material available to all of us. If they don’t, and even when they do, it certainly strikes me as reasonable and ethical for the subject to put that material out there.
But I can see this downside too:
Danny Schechter, executive editor of MediaChannel.org and a former producer at ABC News and CNN, said that while the active participation by so many readers was healthy for democracy and journalism, it had allowed partisanship to mask itself as media criticism and had given rise to a new level of vitriol.
“It’s now O.K. to demonize the messenger,” he said. “This has led to a very uncivil discourse in which it seems to be O.K. to shout down, discredit, delegitimize and denigrate the people who are reporting stories and to pick at their methodology and ascribe motives to them that are often unfair.”
Overall the trend is leading to good things:
Reporters say that these developments are forcing them to change how they do their jobs; some are asking themselves if they can justify how they are filtering information. “We’ve got to be more transparent about the news-gathering process,” said Craig Crawford, a columnist for Congressional Quarterly and author of “Attack the Messenger: How Politicians Turn You Against the Media.” “We’ve pretended to be like priests turning water to wine, like it’s a secret process. Those days are gone.”
Some news outlets are posting transcripts of their interviews with newsmakers, and some reporters are posting their own material. Stephen Baker, a senior writer at BusinessWeek, has posted not only transcripts from his interviews but also his own notes on his Web site, saying he likes to involve his readers in the journalistic process.
He was called “America’s oldest teenager” until way after that phrase even remotely made sense. He produced a classic rock T.V. show, branched out into topnotch concerts, TV production, business commications and even restaurants.
Then, suddenly, he was felled by a stroke and remained largely out of sight, except for the occasional sad story or photo essay in one of the tabloids.
But on New Year’s Eve he returned....briefly...to what was either his last hurrah, or the first step on a slow, difficult personal comeback trail. Dick Clark was on TV again last night — New Year’s Eve.
I certainly never knew Dick Clark, but as a waiter in New York he was a great customer of mine at both Joanna and Cafe Seiyoken in the 80s. He and his wife, generous and kind and warm and interested, left a lasting impression. I’m glad he was on last night.
Clark’s appearance was a testament to the never-say-die human spirit. He was going to be on no matter what this year. And it’s a testament to ABC’s willingness to air, ever-so-briefly, a fellow human being’s act of personal courage and grit and let a bit of reality intrude on New Year’s Eve.
Those of us who have had relatives felled by strokes know the harsh reality: it is not easy coming back from them, particularly at an advanced age. And many give up on life.
Dick Clark hasn’t. And ABC let us see it.
Steve succumbs to peer pressure. Some of my favorites:
* Rick “Man on Dog” Santorum will lose his re-election fight by double digits, prompting him to whine, “You won’t have Rick Santorum to kick around anymore” in a bitter farewell address. He immediately accepts a job on Fox News, co-hosting a show with Bob Novak called, “If You’re Different, You’re Wrong.”
* Patrick Fitzgerald will indict at least two more top White House officials. Rumors will intensify that Bush will fire Fitzgerald (ala Archibald Cox), but fearful of following Nixon’s narrative too closely, the president won’t be able to go through with it.
* Barack Obama will collect 10 gazillion frequent-flier miles campaigning for Dem candidates nationwide.
* Tom DeLay will be among the 10 House Republicans indicted in the Abramoff scandal, putting DeLay in a position where he will have no choice but to announce that he will not run for re-election.
* Rumors about Al Gore entering the 2008 presidential race will intensify (beyond Ezra’s blog), prompting a Meet the Press appearance in which Gore will be leave the door open to the possibility.[...]
* Republicans will come to regret the investigation into the NSA leak, as the probe keeps the story alive and focuses renewed attention on the White House’s illegalities. [...]
So, what are your predictions?
I couldn’t muster anything political, but I did make one.
New Coldplay CD comes with rules
No MP3s, no DVD players, no car stereos. Cory at BoingBoing:
Coldplay’s new CD comes with an insert that discloses all the rules enforced by the DRM they included on the disc. Of course, these rules are only visible after you’ve paid for the CD and brought it home, and as the disc’s rules say, “Except for manufacturing problems, we do not accept product exchange, return or refund,” so if you don’t like the rules, that’s tough.
What are the other rules? Here are some gems: “This CD can’t be burnt onto a CD or hard disc, nor can it be converted to an MP3” and “This CD may not play in DVD players, car stereos, portable players, game players, all PCs and Macintosh PCs.” Best of all, the insert explains that this is all “in order for you to enjoy a high quality music experience.” Now, that’s quality.
I wonder how Coldplay feels about their fans getting all these rules set down for them by the music label? I wonder if most fans who read these rules will be wise enough to blame corporate, or whether they’ll just decide to dig up a band whose label treats them like customers, not crooks? It’s amazing how the labels always seem to come up with new ways of screwing artists: if they’re not cheating them out of royalties, they’re systematically alienating their fan-base.