aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Thursday, March 23, 2006
South Park: “Super Adventure Club”
From Chef’s eulogy: “We shouldn’t be mad at Chef for leaving us, we should be mad at that fruity little club for scrambling his brains.”
If anyone’s aware of controversy as a marketing tool, it’s Matt & Trey. I’ll be interested to see the ratings of last night’s episode:
(AP) Isaac Hayes’ Chef character got a true “South Park” send-off Wednesday night _ seemingly killed off but mourned as a jolly old guy whose brains were scrambled by the “Super Adventure Club.”
The thinly disguised satire continued the show’s feud with Scientologists in its 10th season premiere on Comedy Central. [...]
Hayes didn’t participate in making Wednesday’s episode; the character’s lines appeared to be patched together through tapes of past dialogue.
To be continued…
SEE ALSO: Andrew Sullivan on The Mystery of Isaac Hayes, “Something doesn’t add up.” And my call for South Park to kiss-off Viacom. (Though I must say they’re doing a pretty good job of pissing off Viacom, which is almost just as good!)
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Exodus wants to silence parody
Update: A good time to remember, would you want your daughter to marry one?
The American Civil Liberties Union is defending a heterosexual blogger who received a cease-and-desist letter from Exodus International after he parodied the group’s “ex-gay reparative therapy” billboards on his Web site.
The Exodus billboards, which Santa Rosa, Calif., blogger Justin Watt viewed online, read, “Gay? Unhappy? http://www.exodus.to.” Watt responded by posting “Straight? Unhappy? http://www.gay.com” on his site, Justinsomnia.org. Though denounced by major medical groups like the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association, Exodus’s reparative therapy attempts to turn gay people straight.
“The moment I saw the billboards last September, I was deeply offended. The inspiration for the parody I created came to me instantly. How would straight people feel if their very being, their sense of self, was being so overtly disparaged?” asked Watt. “[Exodus’s] response was to try to intimidate me into taking the image down. It’s troubling that an organization as big as Exodus would go to such great lengths to silence its critics.”
UPDATE: Exodus backs down.
Marketing uploads, lawyers take down
Lost Remote says some nets have their wires crossed:
NBC and CBS are two of the companies that we know have sent nastygrams to YouTube over copyrighted video, and I’m sure there are many more. YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley says in some cases, the same company is both uploading video and ordering YouTube to take it down. “There’s been a few examples of marketing departments uploading content directly to the site, while on the other side of the company their attorney is demanding we remove this content,” Hurley said. Classic. Meanwhile, YouTube is pursuing parnerships with traditional media companies, and it’s only a matter of time (in my opinion) until they’re acquired. Did you know YouTube has twice the traffic of Yahoo! Video and more than three times that of Google Video and AOL Video? Wow!
Wonkette loves Hillary
God do we love this woman. Let’s just skip the whole “election” thing and make her president right now. Here is Hillary’s latest pronouncement:
Surrounded by a multicultural coalition of New York immigration advocates, Clinton blasted the House bill [on immigration] as “mean-spirited” and said it flew in the face of Republicans’ stated support for faith and values.
“It is certainly not in keeping with my understanding of the Scriptures,” Clinton said, “because this bill would literally criminalize the Good Samaritan and probably even Jesus himself.”
Ralph Reed’s a drag
A new poll says he’s hurting Sonny Purdue:
On Monday, pollster Matt Towery raised Republican blood pressure with the news that President Bush’s approval ratings in Georgia had dropped significantly.
And that Gov. Sonny Perdue was no longer the shoo-in many thought he would be this November.
On Tuesday, the head of Internet political news service Insider Advantage cut loose another set of worrisome numbers for the state’s Republicans: Ralph Reed, the GOP candidate for lieutenant governor, at this point represents an 8-point drag on a Perdue-Reed ticket.
For you geeks, the margin of error is 4 percent, and dates of the survey were March 14-17.
Via Josh Marshall.
Glad to see Lafave charges dismissed
Three years of house arrest followed by seven years of probation and international notoriety is punishment enough for me. I don’t consider it a “mild rebuke;” I do see the double standard:
Comedian Jay Leno has joked about the case regularly, usually with a punchline like: “Where were these teachers when I was in school?”
As commentators have repeatedly noted, it is hard to imagine a comedian making similar comments if the case involved a male teacher and a young female student.
But the double standard I will refer you back to again is the one between Lafave and Matthew R. Limon:
Matthew R. Limon...after spending
four5 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 promised to follow that case and have found nothing, nothing at all, in the news since. Clearly, a mildly retarded gay boy is least attractive of all.
I remind you that I would more apprpriately scale our reaction to all sex offenders; and generally I do not believe in Retributive Justice - the thinking man’s vengeance - preferring instead Restorative Justice.
Even before Judith Levine’s Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children from Sex was published in 2002, a massive campaign by fundamentalist Christian groups, including Concerned Women for America, attacked the publisher, the University of Minnesota Press. While the book was published, the Press created a new process for reviewing its books before publication. Levine spoke publicly about how she was humiliated time and again in public. She said the manuscript for her book had been turned down by many publishers, treated as if it were “radioactive.” Among other insights, Levine wrote that “obsession with pedophiles stems for the reluctance to confront incest and the rampant sexualization of children” in American culture. “Adults project the eroticized desire outwards, creating a monster to hate, hunt down and destroy.” Of the outcry against her book she added, “What happened to me is a perfect example of the hysteria my book is about.”
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
O’Reilly: sex hypocrite
Managers of the Dayton Daily News have received more than 1,000 e-mails from fans of Fox News talk show host Bill O’Reilly after O’Reilly’s Web site and television program slammed the paper for an editorial that he says makes it “the most friendly (newspaper) to child rapists” in America. [...]
“We never defended Judge Connor’s decision to sentence a child molester to a year of house arrest and five years’ probation,” Bruce said Tuesday in a prepared statement. “What we said is that if the judge deserves to be removed from office, then due process should be followed - the same sort of due process that Bill O’Reilly relied upon when he was sued (for sexual harassment) and, ultimately, settled out of court.”
O’Reilly was sued in 2004 by his former producer.
When the suit was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum, O’Reilly called the lawsuit and the media lashing he took for it “a brutal ordeal” and thanked his listeners for having “given me the benefit of a doubt when some in the media did not.”
Bruce wondered why O’Reilly won’t give Connor the same benefit of a doubt.
LATER from Nicholas Lemann in the New Yorker:
[MSNBC’s Keith] Olbermann has repeatedly conferred on O’Reilly the top place in a “Worst Person in the World” competition, and, probably more to the point, when discussing O’Reilly he often finds ways to work in the word “falafel.” That is a reference to a sexual-harassment suit that a former Fox News producer named Andrea Mackris filed against O’Reilly a couple of years ago. (The case was settled out of court, but not before it got extensive press attention.) Mackris produced what she said were quotes of O’Reilly on the phone discussing things that he imagined they might enjoy doing together. The most notorious of these was a scenario in which they would be in the shower and he would massage her with a loofah, a scrubby sponge-but then, as he went on talking, he slipped up and referred to it as “the falafel thing,Ã¢â‚¬Â� which is funny not only because the picture of smearing wet mashed chickpeas on someone’s body is profoundly unerotic but also because the mistake seems to be a peculiar by-product of O’Reilly’s suspicion of things non-American. That’s why, for O’Reilly, “falafel” is a fighting word.
The “falafel warrior” has a new book coming out in October.
NH Gay marriage ban voted down
The New Hampshire House voted overwhelmingly Tuesday against a proposed amendment to the state constitution to ban gay marriage.
The late afternoon vote was 207-125.
The amendment would have defined marriage as the union of one woman and one man.
It won’t be the last.
Chef stays. Hayes stroke? Sign the chefgate petition!
Soul singer Isaac Hayes may have quit his job [but] the tenth season of “South Park” will launch on Wednesday with a new episode titled “The Return of Chef!”, marking the “triumphant homecoming” of lusty school cafeteria cook James “Chef” McElroy to the show, the network said in a statement.
It is not yet clear who is providing Chef’s voice, said a spokesman for US TV channel Comedy Central… A synopsis of the new episode titled The Return of Chef states that the boys notice “something about Chef that seems different. When Chef’s strange behaviour starts getting him in trouble, the boys pull out all the stops to save him.”
My sources say that someone quit it for him.
I can tell you that Hayes is in no position to have quit anything. Contrary to news reports, the great writer, singer and musician suffered a stroke on Jan. 17.
THINK ABOUT IT:
What if everyone that was offended by an episode by an episode of South Park—or any other satire—could suddenly have an episode taken out of circulation? There wouldn’t be a lot of show left…
We have to teach Tom that censorship is wrong!
I stand by my suggestion that Matt & Trey should demand the same kind of control over content and distribution that stars like Cruise have over their movies.
Some of the biggest names in Internet advertising—from Netflix to PeoplePC to GreetingCards.com—not only are feeding into the annoying problem of pop-up ads but are also doing very little to keep their messages away from the self-installing software that fuels the pop-up ads, according to a report released yesterday by the Center for Democracy and Technology.
In many instances, computer users unintentionally install the advertising software—known as adware—when they respond to online solicitations, which rarely come from the advertisers themselves. The annoying ads, which are planted by a complicated web of ad companies and brokers that the advertisers use to help spread their messages online, tend to appear faster than computer users can close them and often lead to a computer slowdown, according to the report.
I maintain computers for a living. It doesn’t just causes slowdowns. It kills computers! Netflix claims to be vigilant. Others claim we’re fair game:
“We object to the overall premise that consumers are duped into installing our software,” [180Solutions’ chief executive Keith] Smith said. “It’s no different from what’s on television. People are paying for this content by agreeing to some ads.”
I’m fine with explicit agreements to watch ads in exchange for content and I believe there is such a thing as ads we want. But the more companies pull stupid tricks like 180Solutions, the harder it will be to ever convince the public that’s true.
Here’s the CDT Report. It praises companies too, including America Online, Dell, Verizon and Major League Baseball.
Via Ed Felton’s Dashlog.
The First Amendment’s been bought and paid for!
Long ago, actually, but we still don’t seem to realize it.
Michael Crighton has an excellent op-ed in the Sunday Times on the isane overreach of US patent law, the limits of which are to be tested today before the Supreme Court. In dispute is the increasingly common practice of pharmaceutical companies, research labs and individual scientists of patenting specific medical procedures or tests. Today’s case deals specifically with a basic diagnostic procedure patented by three doctors in 1990 that helps spot deficiency in a certain kind of Vitamin B by testing a patient’s folic acid levels.
Under current laws, a small royalty must be paid not only to perform the test, but to even mention it. That’s right, writing it down or even saying it out loud requires payment. Which means that I am in violation simply for describing it above. As is the AP reporter whose story filled me in on the details of the case. And also Michael Crighton for describing the test in his column (an absurdity acknowledged in his title: “This Essay Breaks the Law"). Need I (or may I) say more? [...]
It seems everything - even “laws of nature, natural phenomena and abstract ideas” (AP) - is information that someone can own. It goes far beyond the digital frontiers we usually talk about here. Yet the expansion of the laws of ownership - what McKenzie Wark calls “the relentless abstraction of the world” - essentially digitizes everything, and everyone.
William Safire on ‘gay’, 1981 & now
In his weekly NYTimes’ Magazine “On Language” column of September 27, 1981, he begins by discussing the term ‘geezer’ which I, like he, like:
I like the word ‘’geezer.’’ A century ago, this dialect form of ‘’guiser,’’ or one dressed in the guise of a mummer, meant an old person, particularly a woman; over the years, it picked up and then partially dropped a connotation of eccentricity, but turned mainly masculine. It can now be used either in derision or with affection to refer to old people, particularly - to my ear -outspoken old people, usually men.
Then moves on to euphemisms:
Anybody who is so sensitive about the word ‘’old’’ that he insists on being called a ‘’golden ager’’ or ‘’senior citizen’’ is too old to cut the mustard of controversy. I am middle-aged; I wish I were young again, but I don’t get any surge of youthful energy out of calling any crises in my middle-agedness midlife. ‘’Old’’ is something nobody likes to be (except considering the alternative), but if you are old, then old is what you are, and calling yourself venerable or in the sunset years isn’t going to make you any younger.
Ah, but aren’t euphemisms generally a way of making people feel better about what they are? Yes and no. Cripple is a word that hurts, and is limited to afflictions of the limbs, while handicapped has a connotation of built-in sympathy and dignity, and is a broader term covering any sort of disability. Certainly ‘’handicapped’’ is a euphemism, but so what? Euphemism is not always bad, nor is a change in terminology always euphemistic: Yesterday’s insane asylum is not today’s mental hospital.
So euphamism and change in terminology is ok, unless the affected group asks for it: Thus his rejection of the term “gay:”
Are these decisions all by-guess-and-by-God, or are some standards at work here? One criterion that emerges is the source of the pressure for change: If it is spontaneous, or fills a linguisticpsychological need, then it should be accepted, but if it comes in the form of fiat from government or demand by pressure group or propaganda for a movement, then it can rightly be resisted.
Without communication disorder or speech disfluency, I resist the word gay just because homosexual-rights groups insist upon it; I don’t say queer, because that is a slur, but homosexual is neutral and accurate. If lesbians argue that ‘’homosexual’’ should be limited to men, I would put up a feeble fight -arguing that the homo is the same as the ‘’man’’ in ‘’mankind’’ and covers women, too - but I’d cave in; if many people used the separate terms, that differentiation would be in the direction of precision.
Those nettlesome homos insist upon it. My experience was, and I think history now shows, that it was “sponaneous.” And I do note that even then he “resists” the term “gay,” he doesn’t “reject” it.
A couple weeks later, John Simon took him to task, ‘’You are waxing prolix in your middle age!’’ and he got 208 letters, six postcards and a telex from people who know the difference between Latin and Greek derivations.
Monday, March 20, 2006
About ‘gay’: style matters
“For the AP Stylebook to update these entries is a significant milestone,” said GLAAD President Neil G. Giuliano, who praised the AP’s decisions to, among other things, encourage use of the term “transgender,” restrict usage of the word “homosexual” and prohibit use of the term “sexual preference.”
“Given the fundamental inaccuracy of terms like ‘sexual preference’ and the pejorative connotations of words like ‘homosexual,’ the AP’s style guidelines have been updated to reflect contemporary usage that’s more fair, more accurate and more inclusive,” Giuliano added.
I’m one of those who believes language matters, particularly for gay people. In fact, in the spring of 1982 I wrote a paper on the etymology of the word gay. I’ll spare you the full flowery prose, but some excerpts might be fun:
Though the word ‘homosexual’ has about it a certain venerable quality, contrary to public convictions, the word has neither a long nor distinguished history. Coined in Germany in 1860 by a Hungarian physician named Henkert (using the pseudonym K.M.Kertbeny), it was not introduced into the English language until 1891(1) and was considered too new to be included when in 1899 the Oxford English Dictionary published its “Hod-Horizontal” volume.(2) It was conceived as a neutral term--and remains lexically opaque--at a time when no single terminology existed.
The ancient Greeks had no need for a word to describe homosexuality (they were ambisexual) but Europe in the eighteenth century not only believed there was a need, she found herself with a plethora of terms vying for public acceptance. ‘Uranian’ and its derivative ‘urning’ were popular among homosexual authors and their sympathizers, but as these words were derived from a speech in Plato’s Symposium wherein homosexual love is described as heavenly and heterosexual passions as vulgar,(3) their acceptance by the popular or scientific communities could scarcely have been expected. ‘Third sex’, intermediate sex’, and ‘inversion’, though not as hostile as queer (4), seemed to imply that gay people were not quite human. ‘Intersexual’ (sex between?), ‘simulsexual’ (sex at the same time?), and ‘isosexual’ (sex alone?), though valiant attempts at the allusive neutrality, failed miserably (5*). So ‘homosexual’ won its acceptance not for its linguistic integrity, but rather because no one came up with a better word.
* Others that failed: ‘androgenic’, ‘catamite’, ‘controsexuality’, ‘hermaphroditism’, ‘homogenic’, ‘invert’, ‘morphadite’, ‘pathic’, ‘platonist’, ‘psychosexual’, and ‘transsexual’ (sic).
More from Dr. Moira Gunn’s Tech Nation podcast conversation with Dr. Carol Dweck, the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University and author of Mindset—The New Psychology of Success. Here she defines Mindset: [clip]
Most people have one of two mindsets about their most basic qualities. Some people think their qualities like their intelligence or their personality are fixed traits, carved in stone, they have only a certain amount. Where as other people believe that’s silly, these are things you can develop and cultivate your whole life through.
And also it makes such a difference because when you have this fixed view, the fixed mindset, your whole life becomes about proving yourself, not making mistakes, shoring up your ego, looking smart, making sure you feel worthy instead of stretching and growing. When you have this growth mindset, life is about stretching and growing. You’re not afraid of stretching and growing, you’re not afraid that mistakes will measure you. You’re not afraid to go for it.
[How do we know which mindset we have?]
Answer these questions about intelligence. Your intelligence is something very basic about you that you can’t really change. You can learn new things but you can’t change how smart you are. Do you agree with those statements or do you disagree? If you agree, that’s a fixed mindset. If you disagree, that’s a growth mindset.
[Can we change?]
You can literally change from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. It’s interesting because it’s a fundamental belief that guides a lot of your life. But it’s just a belief and it can be changed.
SEE ALSO: On self-esteem.
The 65% distraction
In an excellent post on The Rightwing’s War on the Public Schools, Nathan Newman exposes the 65% Solution for what it is:
[D]istraction is what the newest rightwing educational campaign - the so-called ”65% Solution”—is all about.
The proposal requires each district to spend at least 65% of all revenue “in the classroom.” It’s poll-tested and sounds good-- Texas, Kansas, and Louisiana passed the law last year, and Georgia passed it just last month, with many other states proposing similar bills.
The problem is that their definition of spending “inside the classroom” excludes teacher training, speech therapy for students, curriculum development, and school libraries, while athletics and field trips count as “in the classroom.” It’s hard to explain how a rule that creates incentives for a school to cut libraries to fund uniforms for the football team is some magic solution to educational problems.
And there is zero evidence from the experience of school districts that the 65% mandate will make a difference. The credit-rating agency Standard & Poor’s published a report last November which found “some of the highest- performing districts spend less than 65%, and some of the lowest- performing districts spend more than 65%” and concluded that “no minimum spending allocation is a ‘silver bullet’ solution for raising student achievement.”
The whole post is a must read.
I now realize that I made a big mistake in posting a blog without clearly identifying that the material in it didn’t originate as a blog post but was pieced together from previous interviews.
I’m sorry I didn’t see this earlier. But I see it now and here is what I’m going to do about it:
1. Going forward, any time the HuffPost uses repurposed material we will identify it as such and source where it originally appeared and link to it. (Thank you Jeff Jarvis)
2. Even though the point of providing George Clooney a sample blog was to show how it’s done and encourage him to join the blogosphere, I will curb my enthusiasm and not do this in the future.
3. When I read something or hear something in an interview or have something said to me in person that I think is really important and should have as wide an audience as possible, I will put it in my own blog, becoming Boswell to all the Dr. Johnsons out there just as I did once with Arthur Schlesinger.
I wondered would this dust-up make it to the Times. It did, today. By the way, I don’t think it should have.
Remember the Excellence in Journalism report finding that bloggers don’t do much original reporting? I said something along the lines of, what bloggers do “is a good and important contribution to the media landscape.” And also that Big Media would do well to do more BIG REPORTING and let go of their market-driven emphasis on piddly fluff.
Dr. Carol Dweck is the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, a recognized world leader in the study of personality, and author of Mindset—The New Psychology of Success. She spoke with Dr. Moira Gunn in this outstanding Tech Nation podcast [clip]:
Self-esteem per se is just fine, but I think we have a misguided model of what it is and how to promote it. We think it’s something that you can just pump into a child the way you inflate a tire. And we think we can do that by telling them how great they are. That’s the misguided part.
In our work we’ve shown that telling children how great they are… makes them very happy for a few minutes, but it makes them completely unable to cope with setbacks. How does it do that? ... Well it puts them into a fixed mindset. It tells them, “Hey, you did well on this test. That lets me read your underlying fixed ability and I think it’s pretty good.”
But it also tells children the name of the game is to look smart. So that when we then offer these students a chance to do something that stretches them and would help them learn, they say, “No thank you. I’d rather keep on looking smart.”
We also showed that when they then got something that was more difficult, they crashed. They said, “I guess I’m not smart after all.” They lost their enthusiasm for the task and their performance went way down. Incidentally this was an IQ test, so praising their intelligence made them less smart.
What’s the alternative? For other students we praised their efforts or their strategies.
You can guess that the outcome was dramatically different. “When we offered them a chance to keep on looking smart or learn sometthing new, 90% of them wanted to learn something new, even if they would make mistakes and not look very good.” [More in this clip.]
This is a vitally important point for those working with all children. But I quote it here, now, in the context of addressing the plight of Black men discussed in the Times’ story today.
LATER: Here she speculates how this dynamic played out in a couple famous cases:
There are these famous cases of Janet Cook and Stephen Glass, famous young reporters who made up stuff. Had to give back a Pulitzer Prize. Had to leave the New Republic in shame. What was that about? Were they just cheaters with deep down bad qualities? I think they were like the children in my studies who received lavish praise for their intelligence or talent and then didn’t feel that they had the luxury of learning. Maybe Janet Cook and Stephen Glass felt they had to be brilliant right away. They couldn’t take the time to learn the ropes and do the legwork and yes, they came out with these great stories right away, but they weren’t true.
You may have noticed, I’ve become increasingly convinced that Roe has been of no use whatsoever to the Reproductive Rights movement.
Similarly, Brown v. Board of Ed has done little for black men:
BALTIMORE - Black men in the United States face a far more dire situation than is portrayed by common employment and education statistics, a flurry of new scholarly studies warn, and it has worsened in recent years even as an economic boom and a welfare overhaul have brought gains to black women and other groups.
Focusing more closely than ever on the life patterns of young black men, the new studies, by experts at Columbia, Princeton, Harvard and other institutions, show that the huge pool of poorly educated black men are becoming ever more disconnected from the mainstream society, and to a far greater degree than comparable white or Hispanic men.
Especially in the country’s inner cities, the studies show, finishing high school is the exception, legal work is scarcer than ever and prison is almost routine, with incarceration rates climbing for blacks even as urban crime rates have declined. [...]
These were among the recent findings:
Ã‚Â¶The share of young black men without jobs has climbed relentlessly, with only a slight pause during the economic peak of the late 1990’s. In 2000, 65 percent of black male high school dropouts in their 20’s were jobless - that is, unable to find work, not seeking it or incarcerated. By 2004, the share had grown to 72 percent, compared with 34 percent of white and 19 percent of Hispanic dropouts. Even when high school graduates were included, half of black men in their 20’s were jobless in 2004, up from 46 percent in 2000.
Ã‚Â¶Incarceration rates climbed in the 1990’s and reached historic highs in the past few years. In 1995, 16 percent of black men in their 20’s who did not attend college were in jail or prison; by 2004, 21 percent were incarcerated. By their mid-30’s, 6 in 10 black men who had dropped out of school had spent time in prison.
Ã‚Â¶In the inner cities, more than half of all black men do not finish high school.
I’ll say again, my experience tells me too many Americans are looking South at the problem. Look around you; that’s where the problem is. We must do something!
Sunday, March 19, 2006
TV is going to be TV, delivered like TV, for a very long time
The viewing of internet video will continue to grow. We will upload and download more and more video, consuming increasing amounts of bandwidth. We will want to download movies in High Def quality. Digital pictures will increase in resolution, and we will upload and share our lives through digital pictures that consumes multiple mbs per picture. Too do all of the above without limit, where and when you want to do it just cant happen. For the vast majority of us, there wont be enough bandwidth for at will , unlimited downloads.
You heard it here first. Instead of Net Nanny at home, you will have Download Nanny on yours and the kids or roommates PCs. If your roommate tries to download a 2gb movie at 9pm, and you still have to work to do later, you cant face the risk of the connection slowing to a crawl and timing out . You are going to set Download Nanny to pop up the dreaded “I dont think so Tim” window that reschedules the download to whatever open time it calculates is available based on the average download speed at any given time of day for your internet connection.
We will reach a point in the next few years where we are complaining about internet speed all the time. This wont be a corporate issue, it will be a home issue. We wont be able to do all the things we want to do on the net how and when we want to do it.
Susan Crawford sees the problem and can imagine an answer:
I’ve come to believe that someone, some government actor, has to get involved. This is a big shift, and it’s happening (for me, at least) because there isn’t any real competition in the market for unfettered internet access. Indeed, there’s no competition at all in that marketplace. All the big guys believe that they should own and control and prioritize.
This doesn’t mean that I’ve given up on worrying about the FCC and its abilities. If it is going to become the “internet agency,” and if it’s going to be our place for open road rules, the Commission needs to change. It’s going to need to pay higher salaries so that more technical people go there. It’s going to need to allow the staff to do good work without fearing political overruling at the top. It can’t be a backwater—it will have to be a great and innovative place to work.
I’m from the regulated cable era that, with all its shortcomings, seemed better than this. I remember Al Gore while he was inventing the Internet, and from me he gets the credit he’s due. We need an elected official with his level of understanding now.
These days folks say that a post-regulatory incentivized system can do what regulation could not. I’m listening, I’m watching, I’d like to see it. But so far I haven’t seen such a system even described much less working.
So I’m right there with you Susan, hoping against hope that your vision is even remotely possible.
How to lick hearing loss
Les Blomberg, executive director of the Noise Pollution Clearinghouse, described hearing loss with a nice analogy: “If you have a field of grass and you walk on it, you compress the grass and it bends down over the night, and in a few days, it springs back up and is OK again. But if you keep doing that over and over, you wear a path in it. And that’s kind of what happens with hearing loss.”
Blomberg is working on an invention to give users more control over the volume output of their portable devices. Although he declined to tell me much about it, I gleaned it’s some sort of software solution for the iPod that can make users aware of unsafe volumes. Whatever Blomberg’s working on, we should know more about it in a couple of months.
Apple normally locks developers out of the iPod, but perhaps it will license Blomberg’s software now that it’s been sued for contributing to hearing loss on a large scale. It’s unclear whether Apple might be found liable, but the iPod is one of the loudest portable music players around, with a high output of 30 mW per channel.
A Louisiana man claims in a lawsuit that Apple’s iPod music player can cause hearing loss in people who use it.
Apple has sold more than 42 million of the devices since they went on sale in 2001, including 14 million in the fourth quarter last year. The devices can produce sounds of more than 115 decibels, a volume that can damage the hearing of a person exposed to the sound for more than 28 seconds per day, according to the complaint.
UPDATE: Apple makes changes.
Augusto at Queer Beacon found this “amazing not surprising” research from right up the road at The University of Georgia. Done in 1996, it shows up in the Know + Tell section of the April Details magazine.
The quote I like: “In tests conducted by Prof. Henry E Adams of the University of Georgia, homophobic men who said they were exclusively heterosexual were shown gay sex videos. Four out of five became sexually aroused by the homoerotic imagery, as recorded by a penile circumference measuring device - a plethysmograph. Prof. Adams says his research shows that most homophobes “demonstrate significant sexual arousal to homosexual erotic stimuli”, suggesting that homophobia is a form of “latent homosexuality where persons are either unaware of or deny their homosexual urges.”
Bill Kristol: Feingold’s winning
For days I’ve been hearing the conventional wisdom that Feingold’s censure move is hurting the Dems and playing into the hands of the Republicans. Today, Bill Kristol on Fox News Sunday says:
I think Feingold’s smarter than the Democratic leadership in the House and the Senate and I think he deserves some credit for taking a principled stand and I honestly believe he’s, in fact, winning this debate right now…
I think Feingold has succeeded in casting a big cloud over the president’s program… So long as the charge is out there and it’s not rebutted, it helps. And I think Feingold makes his case coherently. He’s an impressive politician; he’s been elected [three times] in a state that’s competitive…
Republicans cannot go to a midterm election saying, “Re-elect a Republican congress to protect the president from impeachment.” They have to make a substantive case for the president’s policies and the reason Feingold’s move is very smart...for the Democratic Party is he’s going at it straight at President Bush.
You don’t get in politics only to play at issues where you already have public opinion on your side. He’s trying to change public opinion… [S]o far he’s making the case that it’s illegal, he’s going to have editorial pages backing him up and the Republicans are just whining that , “Ooh he’s trying to censure the president.” They’re not making a substantive case in defense of the program.
There was also a good debate between Juan Williams and Brit Hume in the middle of all that. I’m betting Crooks and Liars will have video later. I’ll link it then.
If you’re one of those who wants to send Congress a message asking them to censure the president for his illegal spying, click here.
South Park: kiss-off Viacom!
Tom Cruise reportedly got Comedy Central to cancel Wednesday night’s cablecast of the controversial “South Park” episode about Scientology by warning that he’d refuse to promote “Mission Impossible 3,” reports today’s Page Six.
Paramount, the film company who holds Cruise’s contract, is counting on “MI3” to bring in blockbuster profits this summer, and Paramount is owned by parent company Viacom, which so happens to also own Comedy Central.
Thursday Variety reported Trey & Matt’s response:
“So, Scientology, you may have won THIS battle, but the million-year war for earth has just begun! Temporarily anozinizing our episode will NOT stop us from keeping Thetans forever trapped in your pitiful man-bodies. Curses and drat! You have obstructed us for now, but your feeble bid to save humanity will fail! Hail Xenu!!!”
The duo signed the statement “Trey Parker and Matt Stone, servants of the dark lord Xenu.”
Friday Andrew Sullivan declared war:
Email Viacom to protest their submission to Tom Cruise. The main email address I can find on their site is . Email Comedy Central to demand the airing of "Trapped in the Closet"; use this page to send an email and put "Support Freedom of Speech" in the contents line; and add your own personal message beneath. If you’re a blogger, encourage your readers to do the same, and advertize these email addresses on your site. Let’s see if we can harness the blogosphere against the censors. Finally, make sure you don’t go see Paramount’s "Mission Impossible: 3," Cruise’s upcoming movie. I know you weren’t going to see it anyway. But now any money you spend on this movie is a blow against freedom of speech. Boycott it. Tell your friends to boycott it.
James Joyner suggested watching the episode on YouTube “before Tom Cruise gets to them, too.” I note that his original YouTube link is now dead, a search turned up the new link. I like to think that as fast as they pull it down, someone else will put it back up.
My advice to Matt and Trey? Announce they’re leaving Comedy Central unless they get, say, the same kind of total control that huge Hollywood directors and stars like Cruise get over the content and distribution of their movies.
To back up their threat, they also announce that they are “exploring” Andy Bowers’ suggestion for West Wing (which was itself derived from MIT media analyst Ivan Askwith): pay-per-view distribution of South Park.
They further announce that they are exploring distribution deals with Netflix and TiVo. What would Sumner say to that?
Saturday, March 18, 2006
Which Superhero are you?
My results: Superman and Robin and Catwoman???
Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz
Gay pride in the British military
Gays have been welcomed in the British military since 2000:
The government removed the ban after it was ruled illegal in a case brought by the gay rights pressure group Stonewall.
Attitudes in the armed forces have changed so much since then that Stonewall now rates the Royal Navy 75th in its list of gay-friendly employers.
And gay service personnel in a civil partnership enjoy the same benefits as married staff.
Vice Admiral Adrian Johns is the services head of personnel. He was speaking at a gay workplace conference:
“My policy team is currently investigating the feasibility of utilising drama-based training resources, to reach some of those whose culture and behaviour need to be brought into line with 21st Century thinking.”
Vice Admiral Johns joked that Lord Nelson may have been “ahead of his time” when he famously asked Captain Hardy to kiss him on his deathbed at the Battle of Trafalgar.
He said final approval had yet to be given for Royal Navy personnel to take part in the EuroPride festival on July 1.
But he added: “I am heartened by the fact that a significant number of Royal Navy lesbian and gay personnel are very keen to march in uniform in the main parade and share in the celebration.”