aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Saturday, June 24, 2006
The Dark Side
It’s a hair-raising tale of political infighting, but it has been told many times, particularly by “Frontline,” which has produced several similar documentaries about the ill-prepared rush to war.
Yes, thankfully somebody has, and I’ve viewed them all. The Times goes on to complain that Frontline allows the CIA to “whitewash” its own failings. I’m left wondering what the objective basis is for believing that the telling of the CIA side of the story is a whitewash when the telling of the administration’s side is not?
The administration’s story is told every day in the press. A brief sequence in the Frontline piece describes the administration’s artful leaking to the Times’ Judith Miller on a Saturday, then appearing on the Sunday chat circuit the next day pointing to Miller’s piece in the Times’ as objective evidence of the validity of their case.
It’s crucial that this other side of the story continue to be told. The two views are fairly clear at this point, and I doubt even history will convince one side or the other that theirs is the right one. But The Times’ reviewer, Alessandra Stanley, wants a different emphasis from the Frontline producers.
Stanley says that the documentary “barely acknowledged” the torture of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi in Egypt under CIA auspices. Barely? Maybe, but I got it. She says that it “glancingly suggests” the roots of animosity between Cheney and the CIA in the intelligence failings from the first time around in Iraq. Glancingly? I got that too.
It is also conceivable that the C.I.A. was haunted by its past failures and lacked the confidence to present its assessments without qualifiers or equivocations. That possibility is not raised by the documentary.
She’s right, it’s not.
It’s also conceivable that the Times’ own role in the run-up to the war - which would itself make an interesting Frontline documentary - colors this reviewer’s perspective. I bet she’d balk at that.
What I find conceivable is that the producers of this documentary read and researched and interviewed and concluded that the story they told is the story they believed to be true.
One thing I can say with certainty: it’s the story I believe. Watch it.
Friday, June 23, 2006
That’s a clean bill of health?
WASHINGTON - Casino-owning Indian tribes filtered more than $5 million through a series of corporations to satisfy what they said were Ralph Reed’s political concerns that he would be linked to the cash, a Senate committee concluded Thursday.
Reed, former head of the Christian Coalition, used the money to mount religious conservative opposition to gambling in competing states. [...]
Reed was accused of no wrongdoing, but the committee said the use of nonprofit corporations by Reed, Abramoff and others “to obscure the source of funds” was worth more investigation.
Reed, who is running in the July 18 GOP primary for lieutenant governor in Georgia, characterized the Senate report as a clean bill of health that would free voters to focus on issues closer to home.
He said the report “confirms I have not been accused of any wrongdoing in this matter. It also confirms that I was hired as a subcontractor for a very respected law firm and had no direct relationship with their clients.”
That’s an artful elocution if ever there was one and I’m sure technically correct, but a lie by any other name… And it turns out he got lucky by getting squeezed out by others even more greedy than he:
[M]uch of the criminal activity by Abramoff and Scanlon occurred after they had pushed Reed out of their operations, beginning in late 2001. “They apparently began to squeeze Reed out and keep most of the money paid by the tribes for themselves,” the report said.
Miami & one percent
On GMA just now, after noting that the threat from those arrested in Miami was “apparently not iminent,” an unidentified (FBI?) spokesman says, “If you’ve got a scent of a problem you’ve got to move on that problem.”
I’d say that prett clearly illustrates The One Percent Doctrine:
The title of Ron Suskind’s riveting new book, “The One Percent Doctrine,” refers to an operating principle that he says Vice President Dick Cheney articulated shortly after 9/11: in Mr. Suskind’s words, “if there was even a 1 percent chance of terrorists getting a weapon of mass destruction - and there has been a small probability of such an occurrence for some time - the United States must now act as if it were a certainty.” He quotes Mr. Cheney saying that it’s not about “our analysis,” it’s about “our response,” and argues that this conviction effectively sidelines the traditional policymaking process of analysis and debate, making suspicion, not evidence, the new threshold for action.
After reminding us of the arrest of the innocent Army muslim chaplain and the false arrest of an Oregon lawyer and Richard Jewell, falsely accused for the Atlanta Olympic Park bombing, Larry Johnson at TPM says:
Caution is the watch word. The good news is that law enforcement had penetrated this group. This calls into question the Administration’s insistence that you can’t fight terrorism as a law enforcement matter. Really? If that’s true then why was this handled as a “law enforcement” matter? This should be a reminder that law enforcement, particularly with the help of local law enforcement, is our first and best defense against domestic terrorism. [...]
When this shakes out I suspect we will find a disaffected group of youths who had fantastical dreams of destruction but no real capability to carry out their evil fantasies. Given the Bush Administration’s proclivity to play the fear card and use the threat of terrorism to scare the hell out of the public, a healthy dose of skepticism is warranted.
LATER: James Joyner - quoting Deputy FBI Director John Pistole on CNN describing their plan as “More aspirational than operational” - observes, “That’s gotta leave a mark. It’s also a rather interesting thing to say in the context of an indictment, where one typically tries to portray the accused in the most menacing fashion possible.” Yes, rather.
Are we sexual deviants intolerant?
Also in SoVo, Chris Craine takes on Andrew Sullivan’s defense of Robert Smith, a longtime Republican Party activist in Montgomery County, MD fired by Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlichcalled for refusing to apologize after calling gays “sexual deviants” in a televised discussion about same-sex marriage.
Smith claimed he was simply expressing his Roman Catholic beliefs on the subject. Sullivan agreed calling the firing (by a straight governor) gay intolerance:
The gay rights movement needs to practise the same tolerance it is asking for. Leave orthodox Catholics - and Protestants - alone in the expression of their own faith, and their own politics.
Smith wasn’t fired for opposing gay marriage, of course, since we know Ehrlich does as well. He was fired because he allowed his own orthodox Catholic beliefs to define as “deviant” a class of citizens who are supposed to be protected from discrimination under the laws of Maryland, the District and the written policy of the Metro transit system itself.
It’s one thing for Smith’s private religious beliefs to run counter to Metro policy, state law and the governor’s stated support for equal treatment and inclusion (however unevenly Ehrlich lives up to that standard). It’s altogether another for Smith to tell the public so, and in such extreme terms.
Political appointees are sacked every day for not following their patron’s party line, and that’s all that happened here.
Yeah, right. I’m sure it was a sincere apology
Browsing SoVo this morning I found this from AP:
Outspoken Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen apologized Wednesday for using a derogatory term in referring to Chicago Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti, then kept up his criticism of the writer.
Guillen went into a profanity-laced tirade against Mariotti before Tuesday night’s game against St. Louis and called him a number of names, including a “fag.”
“Jay, I think I made this guy a lot of money and he’s famous. If not for Ozzie Guillen, no one would have heard of him,” Guillen said. “If I hurt anybody with what I called him, I apologize.”
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Courtesy is common in New York
Colleagues were quick to tell me they heard on the news that southern hospitality can’t hold a stick to polite New Yorkers:
Outscoring large cities in 35 countries, New York proved best in three tests of courtesy, according to the survey by Reader’s Digest.
Reporters for the magazine conducted a “door test,” to see who would hold open a door, a “document drop” to see who would help pick up dropped papers and a “service test” to measure if salesclerks said thank you for a purchase.
Four out of five New Yorkers passed the courtesy tests, the magazine reported… Specifically, 90 percent of New Yorkers passed the door test, 55 percent passed the document drop and 19 out of 20 clerks passed the service test.
Trouble is, New York was the only US city! I bet those numbers would be even higher here in the South where holding the door open is practically the law of the land. Other tidbits:
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ People under 40 were more courteous than over-40s, with senior citizens the rudest.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Rudest region: Asia, where eight out of nine cities tested (Hong Kong the exception) finished in the bottom 11. The study found that door-holding was virtually unheard of in Asia. The world’s most discourteous people, says the study, are in Mumbai (Bombay), India, where Reader’s Digest circulation might take a dip.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ In Europe, Moscow and Bucharest ranked as the least polite. London tied with Paris as 15th most polite, which is a real slap in the face to London. Conversely, the French have their own shattered self-image to deal with: Despite their reputation for being surly and unhelpful, Parisians have to face up to the finding that they are nicer than people in half the cities tested.
DRM by asking nicely
I have decided to remove the Unofficial This American Life podcast at the request of TAL’s webmaster Elizabeth Meister. Contrary to posts on Boing Boing and elsewhere, Jon Udell and I did not recieve a “nastygram” or formal ceast and desist letter. Rather we received friendly emails from Ms. Meister, This American Life’s webmaster, making a request to take down the hyperlinks and RSS feeds, or she’d regrettably have to get lawyers involved.
While Ms. Meister did miss the mark by accusing us of copyright infringement without a clear understanding of what we were actually doing, or what copyright law allows, she was trying to be polite and friendly which I appreciate.
To be clear, I was not storing or making any copies of their work, I was simply providing links to publicly accessible MP3’s hosted on This American Life’s own servers. It is my position that hyperlinking to publicly accessible MP3’s is perfectly legal (see Ticketmaster v. Tickets.com) and fundamental to the existence of the web.
While I am confident that I am breaking no law, I am respecting TAL wishes by taking down the podcast and archive page which points to their MP3’s. This American Life has decided to take the bizarre approach to Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) by asking nicely… which I suppose is better than using some Windows only Microsoft Media Player DRM or Sony Rootkit DRM.
Jared is taking exactly the right tact, including naming examples of how free Internet distribution helps rights holders make money, and ending his post with the suggestion that we donate to This American Life.
I’m clearly and completely on Jared’s side of the argument. If This American Life disappears it will be too bad, but I won’t miss it. Just as right now the show does not miss having me in its audience.
The Nampa Public Library Board has decided not to remove a sexually explicit book - “The Joy of Gay Sex” - from library shelves.
Some residents wanted it banned because of its content.
Library Board Chairman Sharon Brooks says the issue is not about the contents of one book, but about whether individuals should be able to remove material they don’t like from a public library.
In yesterday’s meeting, the board did approve putting that book and about 60 other sexually oriented books on top shelves.
Bruce Skaug is the only library board trustee who wants the book banned.
This is democracy?
The fact that they’ve stalled the extension of the Voting Rights Act indefinitely is bad on its face, but this line merits emphasis:
Several lawmakers said it was uncertain whether a majority of Republicans would back the legislation without the changes sought by critics, and under the House leadership’s informal rules no bill can reach a vote without the support of a majority of the Republicans.
No bill. None. Nadda.
“A lot of it looks as if these are some old boys from the South who are trying to do away with it,” said Representative Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia, who said it would be unfair to keep Georgia under the confines of the law when his state has cleaned up its voting rights record. “But these old boys are trying to make it constitutional enough that it will withstand the scrutiny of the Supreme Court.”
Wonkette points out that Westmoreland, who has yet to sponsor a Bill, can now claim credit for helping to kill one.
I’ll point out that last year “cleaned up” Georgia passed a law called a new poll tax by the New York Times which was subsequently struck down as such by the courts (then reintroduced and approved again, this time making its way through court scrutiny, but still part of what can only be seen as a block the vote effort).
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
The Hitler Argument, just this once
A year ago I was quoting Michael at Here’s What’s left that we should not use the Hitler argument, “the republicans will find some other stupid thing to feign outrage about, but let’s not give it to them, ok?”
Well today I can’t help but link to this Hitler vs. Coulter Quote Quiz. Forgive me Michael!
Via Gay Orbit. (I got 4 wrong.)
Yes, Democrats should try to reclaim the South
You know, I actually agree with Tom Schaller that Democrats can win without the South, but that doesn’t make it a good idea. His comes off here as bad, patronizing and divisive:
[W]inning outside the rural areas and then taking a record of smart, progressive policies to rural voters for their inspection—which ratifies the strategy of Democrats first building a non-southern majority, governing confidently and successfully, and then appealing to the South, the nation’s most rural, poor, and conservative region.
This strategy from someone who’s working in favor of the party that’s supposed to be concerned with the interests of the poor, the undereducated and minorities!
And by the way, the debate was settled last time around when none of the Democrats bothered with the South (unless you count Florida which is conservative but neither rural nor poor). I’m not holding my breath waiting for any of the Democratic stars to show up next time either, no matter what the outcome of this discussion.
Via Kevin Drum, where a commenter points out that “Most of exurban America is just like Dixie. If you can’t carry Dixie you’re not going to carry Lancaster County, PA.”
Episcopals & Presbyterians reject gay bans
Episcopal church leaders on Tuesday rejected a temporary ban against gay bishops, while Presbyterians agreed to let local and regional governing bodies decide whether to ordain gay or lesbian ministers.
The actions by the churches’ governing assemblies could cause further rifts in denominations already coping with theological divisions over homosexuality and declining membership.
From Steve Benen in the Washington Monthly, What if three admitted adulterers run for president and no one cares?:
[T]he party that presents itself as the arbiter of virtue may field an unprecedented two-timing trifecta. McCain was still married and living with his wife in 1979 while, according to The New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof, “aggressively courting a 25-year-old woman who was as beautiful as she was rich.” McCain divorced his wife, who had raised their three children while he was imprisoned in Vietnam, then launched his political career with his new wife’s family money. In 2000, McCain managed to deflect media questioning about his first marriage with a deft admission of responsibility for its failure.
It’s possible that the age of the offense and McCain’s charmed relationship with the press will pull him through again, but Giuliani and Gingrich may face a more difficult challenge. Both conducted well-documented affairs in the last decade--while still in public office. Giuliani informed his second wife, Donna Hanover, of his intention to seek a separation in a 2000 press conference. The announcement was precipitated by a tabloid frenzy after Giuliani marched with his then-mistress, Judith Nathan, in New York’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, an acknowledgement of infidelity so audacious that Daily News columnist Jim Dwyer compared it with “groping in the window at Macy’s.” In the acrid divorce proceedings that followed, Hanover accused Giuliani of serial adultery, alleging that Nathan was just the latest in a string of mistresses, following an affair the mayor had had with his former communications director.
But the most notorious of them all is undoubtedly Gingrich, who ran for Congress in 1978 on the slogan, “Let Our Family Represent Your Family.” (He was reportedly cheating on his first wife at the time). In 1995, an alleged mistress from that period, Anne Manning, told Vanity Fair’s Gail Sheehy: “We had oral sex. He prefers that modus operandi because then he can say, ‘I never slept with her.’” Gingrich obtained his first divorce in 1981, after forcing his wife, who had helped put him through graduate school, to haggle over the terms while in the hospital, as she recovered from uterine cancer surgery. In 1999, he was disgraced again, having been caught in an affair with a 33-year-old congressional aide while spearheading the impeachment proceedings against President Clinton.
[I]f I didn’t know better, I would have assumed that the Republican party, the religious right and the DC press corps were conspiring to destroy the institution of marriage within their lifetimes. Gay people wanting to participate isn’t the problem; they are buying into the great old creaky thing, strengthening it for all. What threatens it is this idea that strangers can intrude on this most deep, complex and intimate of relationships and shine a harsh spotlight on all the things we do to keep it going over years of compromise, adjustment, excitmement, boredom and love --- and then cast judgment on our choices. If you want to destroy marriage, force everyone to submit to James Dobson, Chris Matthews and Cokie Roberts sitting at the end of their beds running a scorecard on whether their union is acceptable.
I’m against delving into people’s private lives. In fact, it makes me sick. But, when we start to see this happen (and I think the New York Times and the Washington Post have made it quite clear that they are going to fall right back into Clinton rules the minute they get the chance) we are going to have to fight back. If they are going to use it against Democrats, the adulterous sinners of the GOP are going to get a taste of this medicine and see how much they like it. The three amigos seem ripe for the picking to me.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Challenging Georgia’s new sex-offender law
AP on a suit challenging Georgia’s new sex-offender law:
The law, believed to be among the nation’s toughest, sets 1,000-foot buffers for convicted child sex offenders around all school bus stops, churches, schools, child-care centers and other places where children congregate.
“Thousands of people on Georgia’s sex offender registry will be forced, by legislative fiat, to evacuate their homes, leave their jobs, cease attending their churches and abandon court-mandated treatment programs,” the lawsuit says. [...]
The lead plaintiff in the lawsuit is Wendy Whitaker, a 26-year-old criminal justice student. According to the complaint, Whitaker was convicted of sodomy when she was 17, after a consensual sex act with a 15-year-old boy.
Plaintiffs argue that too many people with similar stories will be labeled child sex offenders under the new law.
How has the get tough policy worked in other states?
In Iowa, a similar measure went into effect last year, and now some of its loudest critics are prosecutors and police. They say the state law barring sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or child care center has driven offenders from cities and caused many to become homeless, cluster in motels or vanish from authorities’ sight. Iowa prosecutors are calling for a repeal.
They want to stop amateur shopping-mall-Santa pictures?
I’ve been hardly interested in the news that our own Georgia Tech has developed a prototype device that can block digital still and video cameras from functioning in any given area. I think pretty much along the lines of Alan Wexelblat at Corante Copyfight that new camera technology will stay ahead of the anti-camera technology. But he adds this:
Also problematic are some of the other proposed uses, such as stopping people taking pictures of their own kids in spaces like malls. When, exactly, did we cede THAT right to the Cartel?
So I went back and looked again and sure enough:
[T]he small-area product could prevent espionage photography in government buildings, industrial settings or trade shows. It could also be used in business settings—for instance, to stop amateur photography where shopping-mall-Santa pictures are being taken.
Wikipedia has declared venture capitalist and blogger Fred Wilson not notable. Fred authored and posted his own page then watched with interest as it was discussed. Along the way he made the argument that selfish activity matters, but in the end his page was deleted and, apparently, the discussion along with it.
I consider that a big mistake. A primary strength of Wikipedia is its breadth and depth; for that I accept its probablilistic accuracy and don’t regret its lack of definitive authority. Deleting Fred narrows that breadth.
On prohibiting articles written about yourself and your friends, first an idea then a critique. The idea: Wikipedia is in search of a business model. Why not an ad supported people directory based on the Wiki model?
Now the critique. I beleive that in the model of the oral tradition our stories, as told by us, hold real and valuable truths. Prohibiting them outright loses that truth:
When a reporter - whether the Times or the local student paper - quotes our words, they choose the context those words are placed in. That context imparts meaning. Often the wrong meaning. When we tell our stories, we choose the context. With that choice the meaning can be more honest and more complete. Certainly it’s more authentic. Adam Curry was telling his truth. [So was Fred Wilson.] That’s legitimate.
An oral tradition is less technically accurate, but it is more whole and, I think, equally legitimate. In Alex Ross’s outstanding New Yorker article, The Record Effect: How technology has transformed the sound of music, Ross describes how music once was appreciated for the variations that came from live and more impromptu performance. Now, with recordings heard over and over, what we want and reward in a live setting is the precise technical replication of that recording.
Applying those notions to information, once the stories handed down to us by those who had gone before, those who were actually there, were told with their individual idiom and emphasis. That’s how we got our rich histories. Now those tales may be more technically accurate, but are they still just as rich? And are they any more honest? I don’t think so.
I like to believe that our broadening access to communications technologies means much of our individual rich authenticity can be captured, saved and shared. And if that means a loss of technical accuracy, I’m not convinced that’s a loss of anything worth saving.
So with Wikipedia I’ll stand by my wish for a new emergence of that old oral tradition. And enjoy its honest inaccuracies along with those presented each day by both the “objective” press and the “balanced” press.
Monday, June 19, 2006
MySpace sued, lawmakers likely to become unglued
I’m guessing this is not good news for those who oppose the Deleting Online Predators Act of 2006: Wonkette has photos of Brian Bilbray’s kids’ under-age drinking and partying from MySpace & Photobucket.
When taken together with Republican strategist Jack Burkman’s sleazy propositioning (also posted to MySpace and by Wonkette) you might expect more Republicans to sign on to the bill.
Icing on the cake is the Texas mom suing MySpace because, she alleges, her 14-year-old daughter was sexually assaulted by a 19 year old she met on the social networking service.
Important context to all of this is found in this interview with Henry Jenkins (co-director of the Comparative Media Studies Program at MIT) and danah boyd (PhD student at the School of Information, University of California-Berkeley) by Sarah Wright of the MIT News Office.
RELATED UPDATE: MySpace changes the rules.
Pentagon: Homosexuality a Disorder
Last year we learned that the Pentagon was spying on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ protests, because the name of a protesting group was OUTLaws (apparently missing the meaning of the term out).
Today we find that more than 30 years after the mental health community recognized that such a classification was a mistake, the Pentagon Lists Homosexuality As Disorder:
WASHINGTON—A Pentagon document classifies homosexuality as a mental disorder, decades after mental health experts abandoned that position.
The document outlines retirement or other discharge policies for service members with physical disabilities, and in a section on defects lists homosexuality alongside mental retardation and personality disorders.
Critics said the reference underscores the Pentagon’s failing policies on gays, and adds to a culture that has created uncertainty and insecurity around the treatment of homosexual service members, leading to anti-gay harassment.
Now let’s be clear here, those of us who are gay know of gay people serving in the military. By and large those gay individuals are known to and accepted by their peers inside the military.
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue, Don’t Harass is a political policy put in place by and for the brass.
A science giant
In November the Times reported that China wants to transform its top universities into the world’s best within a decade. Today we read they’re equally intent on becoming a science giant:
China wants to stand up scientifically, as it is beginning to economically, and it is pouring money and talent into the sciences, particularly physics. Jie Zhang, director general of basic sciences for the Chinese academy, said his budget had been increasing 17 percent a year for the last few years as China tried to ramp up research spending to about 2.5 percent of its gross domestic product. By comparison, the United States spends slightly less than 2 percent, according to the National Science Foundation. [...]
Hardly a week goes by without an announcement of another research initiative or new investment in a building or an institute. It is hard to find an American physicist who is not on his way to China to consult or collaborate, or has just come from China, glowing about the experience.
“The Chinese are so smart they knock your socks off,” said Andrew Strominger, a Harvard string theorist who visits here often. “The impression you get when you go over there is that China is going to take over the world soon.”
My optimism for China continues unabated. (Even after reading on to the largely critical end of the Times’ article.)
Music video on blogs
Lost Remote’s Cory Bergman tells us that Sony will let bloggers post music videos:
Well, as long as they display them in Sony’s ad-supported player, which bloggers can soon embed on their sites. It’s part of a new Sony site called MusicBox Video, powered by Brightcove. Very slick presentation. And I’m a little surprised other media sites haven’t picked up on the powerful YouTube idea of letting anyone copy-and-paste their player on their sites.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
It’s laying on my bedside table. Kevin Drum’s browsing recommendation is Chapter 7:
[A]n examination of press coverage of the Swift Boat debacle of 2004. Boehlert’s question here is clear: why was this covered as a serious controversy instead of the vicious smear attack that campaign veterans in the press corps surely recognized it as? After all, (a) there was no evidence to back up even a single one of the Swift Boat charges, (b) there were enormous gaping holes in the stories told by the Swifties, and (c) every piece of documentary evidence dug up by reporters contradicted what the Swifties said. That should have been the story, but most often it was buried or soft-pedaled ("In the end, what happened 35 years ago remains murky...."). Boehlert’s summary of how the coverage unfolded is the best I’ve read.
Firedoglake is hosting a Peter Daou discussion of the book. I’m heading there, then off to bed for Chapter 7.
Naked monopoly profiteering
I like my DSL. The cable company here throttles aspects of its broadband product and it costs more than DSL. But I don’t like my landline phone. Fred Wilson’s no fan of his either:
My contact database is totally integrated on my cellphone. My landline phone doesn’t even know what a contact database is.
I get emails on my cellphone, and phone numbers are hyperlinked so I can click and call them. Try that on a land line. You get the picture. The cellphone rocks. The landline does not.
This weekend I wanted to send The Gotham Gal a text message. I couldn’t make a phone call without being rude. But a quick text message would have been fine. Only she was home, on a landline. And I knew she wasn’t on email. I wanted to text message the landline and have the phone beep alerting her to an incoming message.
The cellphone has conditioned me to behaviors that aren’t possible on landlines. And so I don’t want the landline anymore. I’ll take the reduced quality. What I really want is increased funcationality.
Some customer advocates had hoped that unbundling DSL and phone service might save many households at least $15 a month. DSL costs $29.99 a month, but AT&T (formerly SBC) also required subscribers to use its telephone service, which with taxes comes to about $16 per month. All told, the entire package is about $46 a month.
But if subscribers just use Internet service and forgo a phone line, which is appealing to many who rely on a cell phone, they might be able to realize some significant savings. That is, if AT&T continued to price its DSL at $29.99 a month.
But AT&T said standalone DSL, sometimes called naked DSL, will cost $44.99 a month, about a dollar less than the cheapest regular bundle of DSL and phone service.
Now I hasten to add that I’d be happy to pay even that. I was shocked to find how expensive the phone is here. It’s nearly $50 for the throttled cable product (which you can get without cable) and over $70 for the least expensive landline/DSL package.
Via Susan Crawford.
Raise the minimum wage
KUDLOW: All right. John Stossel, author of “Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity” and Dave Sirota, author of “Hostile Takeover.” We’re going to look at the minimum wage. According to Mr. Stossel, the myth is: A higher minimum wage helps workers. The truth is: A higher minimum wage helps some workers but hurts others. John, your thought.
Mr. STOSSEL: We all want to raise people’s wages, but assuming the government can just set the wage is--better than supply and demand--is such nonsense. It assumes every employer has a fixed number of workers. But we don’t have people washing windshields in gas station anymore because the minimum wage makes it foolish to hire a kid, to give an entry level worker a shot.
KUDLOW: This thing’s back in Congress. A lot of states are either passing it or discussing it. How many people get the minimum wage across the country? This is a data from your own book.
Mr. STOSSEL: Three percent.
KUDLOW: Bingo. Dave Sirota, 3 percent, and it hurts some people. What’s your take?
Mr. SIROTA: Well, listen, John, I would encourage you stop reciting these dishonest talking points and the chatter you’re hearing on the cocktail party circuit because the stats don’t bear that out in any way at all. And here are the stats that you cannot dispute. In states that have raised the minimum wage, above the federal level, those states have created jobs at a far faster rate than the states that have not. That is because, when you raise the minimum wage, you put money into the pockets of people who will spend it and it spurs the economy. Now, that might not be heard in your book which purports to debunk lies, but those are the facts.
Mr. STOSSEL: Well, if those are the facts, why stop at $7. We should pay everybody 20 bucks, 40 bucks an hour. Then we’ll really have buying power. It’s just…
Mr. SIROTA: You’re changing the subject. You’re changing the subject because you know you’re wrong.
Mr. STOSSEL: Well, the study side, and I now realize who you are because you, on my Amazon page, he came on and said, `I’m a smarmy-looking liar.’
Mr. SIROTA: You are.
Mr. STOSSEL: But that one study was from Robert Reich, former employee. And it’s been widely discredited by every serious economist who looked at this.
Mr. SIROTA: That’s not a study. If you--if you look at the states. Just look at the states. That’s not a study. If you look at the states, the states that have raised their minimum wage higher than the federal level have created jobs faster than states that haven’t. That’s a fact. That’s not a study. That’s a fact.
I don’t believe it
I live here in the red red heart of Georgia, 45 miles from the nearest interstate. I know the polls. I’ve sat and discussed the topic with people who have vocally supported then voted for the amendment. Still, I believe there is a disconnect:
Georgia consistently ranks in the bottom quarter of states when it comes to supporting gay marriage and civil unions, according to data compiled by Gregory B. Lewis, a professor of public administration and urban studies at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University.
Lewis, who is gay and has a specialty in public opinion on gay rights, said his research on some 10,000 polls and surveys from across the country asking about gay marriage and civil unions consistently finds about 38 to 39 percent of Georgians favor such rights.
“If you take a national poll and subtract 10 to 15 percent, that’s probably very close to how Georgians feel,” he said.
RELATED: American Enterprise Institute ”compilation of public opinion polls on acceptance of homosexuality, gay marriage, civil unions, partner benefits, party identification and voting of gays, employment, and adoption. The study includes all of the latest polling data as well as important historical trends for comparative purposes.” (No mention of Georgia.)
Saturday, June 17, 2006
He claims to have named 7
In my Six would be easier to remember post yesterday I joined in the poking fun at Georgia Republican Rep. Lynn Westmoreland for not being able to name the Ten Commandments on The Colbert Report.
Today Steve Benen points us to Westmoreland’s official response, in which his press spokesman claims he named seven and challenges “anybody outside of the clergy to try to (name them all).” Says Benen:
[That’s ]a pretty weak argument. According to Westmoreland and the legislation he supports in Congress, the Decalogue includes the nation’s guiding principles. They offer instructions to moral people on how to behave. They’re so important, Westmoreland and lawmakers like him believe Congress should ignore church-state separation and officially endorse and promote the Commandments in the House and Senate chambers. And now Westmoreland’s office believes no one can actually name all 10? Shouldn’t Westmoreland have bothered to commit them to memory a long time ago?
If Westmoreland had been quizzed, apropos of nothing, I’d happily give him a pass. But he’s the one who brought this up by pushing the legislation in the first place.