aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Thomas Hawk: Be careful when publishing to photo sharing sites
Thomas Hawk tells the tale of a NYC gallery and a Romanian newspaper using Flickr photos to remind us:
[D]o not assume that just because images that you upload to the internet are CC licensed, (heck, even if they are “all rights reserved” licensed) that they might not be used in ways that you don’t want them used.
Do you know that a hate group could take one of your images from the internet and publish it to their non-profit website without your permission when it’s CC licensed? How would you feel if one of your images showed up as the header on a website promoting something you deplore?
All of us need to realize that even though 99.9% of the time we will probably be fine with how others use our images that there is always this risk. In the case of CC images used by non profits there is really nothing you can do about it, and even when CC images are used commercially or without attribution per their license, there still is likely nothing you can do about it because lawsuits are expensive and likely real financial damages are hard to prove.
Fish n’ Flush
You love your pet fish, but constantly neglect them, leaving them to feast on each other’s soft cadavers like a Uruguayan rugby team. Instead, integrate them into a mandatory part of your life with Fish n’ Flush: a fully-functioning aquarium/toilet tank.
Developed by California-based Aqua One Technologies, the FnF is a filtered acrylic aquarium wrapped around an integrated flush-tank core. The aquarium exists independently of the toilet’s reservoir, so you won’t annihilate your buddies after every urination. But, to keep things interesting, the flush valve does launch a jet stream into the tank that swirls the fish for a few seconds of exhilirating tidal joy. Wee.
Warning: make sure you have a two-piece toilet and are familiar with basic plumbing, or risk a poo geyser in your bathroom. Once installed, your only additional purchases are freshwater fish and one of those stupid bubbling treasure chests. Then you can unzip, enjoy, and never forget to feed your fish again.
Atlanta families test wireless washers and dryers
Washers and dryers that link wirelessly to Internet-connected home networks are being tested by consumers who are receiving updates on their dirty laundry via cell phones, computers and TV sets.
Messages not only indicate when a wash is complete but also can warn that a lint filter is clogged or a load is too large. Users can remotely command the machines to fluff dry clothes or start a load from a distance after being told - oops - they forgot to start the wash.
Now this might be nifty:
The newest dishwashers, for instance, rely on dirt-sniffing electronics - not timers - to shut off. Vacuums can now determine how much soil and grime is on the floor so suction levels can be adjusted accordingly. State-of-the-art microwaves can detect the weight of popcorn and then apply the right amount of heat to get the perfect pop.
“Fundamentalism in the Southern Baptist form is incompatible with higher education”
The quote is from David W. Key, director of Baptist Studies at the Candler School of Theology at Emory, in the Times today on Baptist colleges cutting church ties:
[M]ore than a dozen Southern Baptist universities, including Wake Forest and Furman, have ended affiliations over the last two decades… many have been tense, even bitter.
In Georgia and Missouri, disputes over who controls the boards of Baptist colleges led to prolonged litigation. In Tennessee, a clash over whether Belmont University in Nashville could appoint non-Baptists to its board led the Tennessee Baptist Convention to vote in May to remove the entire board. Belmont’s trustees are still running the university, and while negotiations are continuing, the battle for control could end up in court.
“The future of Baptist higher education has rarely been more fragile,’’ R. Kirby Godsey, the former president of Mercer University in Macon, Ga., said in a speech in Atlanta in June. The Georgia Baptist Convention voted last November to sever ties with Mercer.
The issues vary from state to state. But many Southern Baptist colleges and their state conventions have been battling over money, control of boards of trustees, whether the Bible must be interpreted literally, how evolution is taught, the propriety of some books for college courses and of some plays for campus performances and whether cultural and religious diversity should be encouraged.[...]
The Georgia Baptist Convention’s severing of ties with Mercer University followed an unsuccessful effort by the state convention, which did not have the authority to appoint the university’s trustees, to gain that power. Many Baptist leaders were also troubled by a forum at Mercer on issues affecting gay men and lesbians, Dr. Godsey, the university’s former president, said.
I was raised in Catholic schools; they have managed what the Baptists can not. For that I see the Baptists as losers.
NOT SO TANGENTIALLY RELATED: Stanley Fish’s OpEd on academic freedom, “Any idea can be brought into the classroom if the point is to inquire into its structure, history, influence and so forth. But no idea belongs in the classroom if the point of introducing it is to recruit your students for the political agenda it may be thought to imply.”
Saturday, July 22, 2006
[I]s it possible the next iPod might catch the eBook bug? We’d say the possibility is very real, since according to a source at a major publishing house, they were just ordered to archive all their manuscripts—every single one—and send them over to Apple’s Cupertino HQ. A separate trusted source let us know that the next iPod will have a substantial amount of screen real estate (as we’d all suspected), as well as a book reading mode that pumps up the contrast and drops into monochrome for easy reading. It’s no e-ink, sure, but a widescreen iPod would be well suited for the purpose, and according to our source, the books you’d buy (presumably through iTunes) won’t have an expiration—kind of like Apple-bought music, as well, but contradictory to the movie rental scheme we’ve heard rumored. Could they please just rename it the iTunes Music, Movies, and Book Store and get it over with already?
Which reminds me, I recently upgraded from one Mac to another - the process is by far the easiest, quickest way to switch computers you can imagine. Hook the old Mac to the new and poof, you’re new Mac is set up just like your old. Software, settings, music, everything.
EVERYTHING EXCEPT: iTunes.
Every time I start up I’m told I can’t listen to the audio books I
own bought and paid for but only license. I gather there’s some (simple?) way to authorize them on my new machine, but I have yet to go digging for it. And it pretty darned well defeats the simplicity I was just swooning about.
REMEMBER: iDon’t! The first time I had to authorize a book.
Latvian Pride organizers rescued from “hysterical” protesters
It’s worse than Moscow:
Organisers of Riga Gay Pride have been “rescued” after being trapped for hours in the in the Reval Latvia Hotel, with “hysterical” protesters surrounding the building. Sources say that the deputy Prime Minister had ordered that the organisers are to be “rescued”
A senior member of the Latvian cabinet arrived at the hotel this evening , spoke to the trapped organisers who, with police protection, left the building and were whisked away to safety in a special bus.
“We had not choice but to book a safe room,” said Juris Lavrikovs, one of the organisers and a staff member of ILGA-Europe. He was speaking before the Government “rescue”
“We are all safe, but the hysterical crowd are still outside - we do not know when we will be able to leave,” he added.
Many of those attending the Pride function managed to leave the hotel by various side entrances. But the protesters, who were staging an illegal demonstration, soon got wise and blocked all entrances, leaving about a dozen inside.
In May, Moscow Pride participants were set upon by 100 anti-gay protesters.
EARLIER: Latvian president and Amnesty International issue statements condemning restriction of LGBT rights.
A reason to be happy the 1st amendment is owned by big corporations?
I’ve complained for decades that the First Amendment was bought and paid for by big corporations. Who knew that one day I’d be grateful for it!!! Two articles today on the impact to the government’s crackdown on speech in the guise of FCC regulations illustrate why.
The PBS documentarian Ken Burns has been working for six years on “The War,” a soldier’s-eye view of World War II, and those who have seen parts of the 14-plus hours say they are replete with salty language appropriate to discussions of the horrors of war.
What viewers will see and hear when the series is broadcast in September 2007 is an open question.
A new Public Broadcasting Service policy that went into effect immediately when it was issued on May 31 requires producers whose shows are broadcast before 10 p.m. to adhere to tough editing requirements when it comes to coarse language, to comply with tightened rulings on broadcast indecency by the Federal Communications Commission.
Most notably, PBS’s deputy counsel, Paul Greco, wrote in a memo to stations, it is no longer enough simply to bleep out offensive words audibly when the camera shows a full view of the speaker’s mouth. From now on, the on-camera speaker’s mouth must also be obscured by a digital masking process, a solution that PBS producers have called cartoonish and clumsy.
In addition, profanities expressed in compound words must be audibly bleeped in their entirety so that viewers cannot decipher the words. In the past, PBS required producers to bleep only the offensive part of the compound word.
Maybe Ken should cut a deal with HBO and make 2 versions… The WaPo on Opie & Andy & XM & CBS:
[T]he “Opie & Anthony Show” isn’t just any two guys mouthing off on the air. This is a comedy duo with a past; these are radio bad boys whose every utterance is monitored by network attorneys and government regulators. And the rules on FM radio have become much stricter in the post-Janet Jackson era, especially now that Congress and the FCC have jacked up the fines that stations face for airing indecent material during hours when children are likely to be listening.
So midway through the chatter about the poor fellow and his malfunctioning implant, the radio jocks pulled the plug on their own banter. “You know,” Opie said, “let’s just save this for XM.”
Every weekday morning since April, for three hours, Opie and Anthony have performed an “FCC-compliant” show on 11 CBS stations, including WJFK (106.7 FM) in Washington. When the guys finish their stint on broadcast radio, they walk a couple of Manhattan blocks to the studios of XM Satellite Radio, where they continue their show for two hours of anything-goes comedy. Pay satellite radio is not subject to federal content regulations.
So now we must be grateful that we can still buy it!
I was notified by email, but didn’t install it until after reading Cory’s post:
There’s a new version of Democracy Player, the free and open source Internet TV program that can play any video format and that’s as easy to use as a TV.
Democracy is produced by the Participatory Culture Foundation, the same activists behind Downhill Battle (remember the Christmas when they sent a lump of coal to the RIAA for every $100 donated to EFF?). They’re now registered as a charity, taking donations to pay programmers to improve the user-interface behind Democracy.
Democracy is made by combining the popular open source program VLC with a free RSS reader and a free BitTorrent client—so you can subscribe to any channel of video and it will be pulled down cooperatively with all the other subscribers, and played right there regardless of the video format.
The new version plays on Windows, MacOS and Linux, and, while still in beta, is far more stable and robust.
Friday, July 21, 2006
Henry, the pink pig & the communities we construct
When I worked in community television my job was to use television as a tool for local community building. I came to believe that there are three common communities: our professional community, our community of interest, and our geographic community. I spent a dozen years focused on the latter, helping local people tell their stories so that they would become part of the shared experience that is community.
Today they’re telling those stories on the Web via Blogger and Wordpress and MySpace and Facebook and Flickr and PhotoBucket and YouTube and Google Video and Craigslist and eBay and Wikipedia and right here in my rural southern town, only now the technology is much simpler and more pervasive.
People use the place of their birth as an identifier, they wear it as a badge of honor. It’s shorthand to explain huge chunks of their personality. Some people stay in their hometown for a lifetime, while others can’t leave quickly enough, only to feel it pull them back.
It turns out Henry is from Atlanta and his telling of the tale of The Pink Pig roller coaster that apparently today sits atop Lenox Mall each Christmas season differs somewhat from that of the Local contributor who called it “a Macy’s tradition:”
I remember when the store was called Rich’s and was locally owned and operated (Indeed, one of my great aunts spent her entire life working for this Atlanta-based department store). Rich’s was deeply enmeshed in the history of Atlanta going back to a dry good store created by Hungarian immigrant Morris Rich on Whitehall Street in 1867. The downtown department store, established in 1924, remained a center of the local culture, politics, and economy into the 1970s. The store was long noted for its liberal exchange and credit policy which allowed many poor Atlantans to buy into consumer culture for the first time. [...]
[T]he Pink Pig became the Christmas tradition of an immigrant merchant (widely whispered to be Jewish) operating within a Bible Belt society, a final wink at the very process of assimilation. Today, it is just another brand icon—no more or less ironic than the white polar bears which Coca Cola has decided we should associate with the holiday season and its own locally produced brand of sugar and soda.
The series, in short, encourages a fascination with the “local” as a kind of authenticity but it may not be able to produce the kind of local knowledge it is seeking—not in a world so much subject to flux and change. The local may exist for us now simply as an object of nostalgia—but not as a real place you can go back and visit from time to time. Susan Stewart taught us that nostalgia represents a desire to return to a world that never really existed.
My family roots go back at least six generations in Georgia, probably more: my grandfather moved from the country to the city after World War I; my father lived in Atlanta his entire life; I have lived in four different cities; my son has lived in eight. Of course, if we had stayed for another generation in Atlanta, we would not have slowed down the process of change: the joke is that Atlanta’s skyline looks different every time you drive into work in the morning. Cultural historians and anthropologists understand the local as always in flux and transition, a place where traditions are constantly being invented and reinvented. Indeed, some research suggests that those who remain behind may embrace change, where-as those who left seem to adopt a much more conservative perspective - wanting to be able to return home whenever they want to a world that looks just like it did when they left. We hold onto the idea of deeply rooted local cultures as a way of speaking about what we feel lacking in our own everyday lives. In such a world, the local represents where we are from and not necessarily where we live. We festishize the local because we can never really possess it.
So maybe there’s a fourth common community, our mythic community.
Rebecca Traister, after missing her concerts for 22 years, went to see Madonna and was touched for the very first time:
When I look at her, it’s hard not to imagine decades—of her life, and of my life—written on her body. That body. Her legs aren’t even traditionally shapely anymore: Their muscles are serpentine and distinct; she’s an anatomical enterprise as much as an aesthetic or athletic or musical one. I wonder if Madonna made that body so strong because she has to lug so much of her own baggage around on it every day.
Watching that body—not a ligament, let alone a strand of hair, out of place—it’s hard not to think of the soft, ragged young woman who was content to hump a stage in a wedding dress back in 1984. I looked for that younger woman at Madison Square Garden. It was she, after all, who made this older woman—this freak of pop culture—possible. But if it was easy to recall younger iterations of the performer, it was tough to actually spot them onstage on Wednesday night. And I think that’s how she wants it right now.
Madonna played almost all of her new album and only a handful of her classic songs; she seemed to be stamping her feet to convey that she is no nostalgia act. But in drawing such a severe line between her older and her younger selves, in successfully insisting that she’s no fogy, she actually made me feel like more of one.
The War on Terrorble Diseases
Jon Stewart was a Fifth Estate star last night when he took on the President’s morally absolute stance on the sanctity of human life. When it comes to frozen embryos…
TONY SNOW (videotape): What the president has said is that he doesn’t want human life destroyed.
STEWART, quoting the President: Every… being… counts… Every… person… matters…
PRESIDENT BUSH (videotape): How many Iraqi citizens have died in this war? I would say 30,000, more or less.
STEWART: Each one precious, each one sacred-ish. As it turns out there seems to be a bit of a loophole in the culture of life promotion thing. When spreading democracy moral absolutes get a little wiggle room… It’s not murder it’s a lamentable side-effect. The upset stomach and diarrhea of freedom if you will.
He suggests advocates of stem-cell research switch tactics, “Stop calling it stem-cell research. You my friends are now on the frontlines of the war on terrorble diseases.”
RELATED: Julian Bond was great on The Colbert Report that followed. Of the president’s NAACP speech, he liked that the president showed up ("he’s been scheduling conflicts") and the first sentence.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Working to end RIAA lawsuits against defenseless people
Defective by Design had an RIAA Lawsuit Conference Call with Ray Beckerman yesterday. In it Ray said the Electro vs. Barker case is one to watch:
Now, there’s a case called Electro vs. Barker which has become very important. This is a nursing student who was sued in her name. We made a motion to dismiss the complaint because doesn’t specify any acts or dates or times of copyright infringement as the law normally requires. We’ve made several arguments like that before this motion and the RIAA put in an argument which basically fudged it. However, in this case they basically decided to go for the gold and they made a bold argument claiming that merely making files available on the internet is in and of itself a copyright infringement. It was a shocking argument because if it were accepted it would probably shut down the entire internet.
As a result of that bold argument, certain organizations came in putting in an amicus curiae brief to support Miss Barker’s motion to dismiss. In reaction to that the Motion Picture Association and the United States Government put in briefs supporting the RIAA trying to… Well, the Motion Picture Association directly supported that extreme argument. The US government didn’t quite go that far but it tried to support the RIAA by attacking another argument that had been made by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Meanwhile, Miss Barker is a nursing student. She has no money. She lives in the housing projects, and she has to have lawyers reviewing all these briefs, writing briefs for her etc. Now, this case is pending and the judge may call for oral argument or he may render a decision.
But if our motion to dismiss is granted and sustained on appeal it would mean the end of the RIAA juggernaut against innocent people not known to have committed a copyright infringement. And yet we’ve received no support of any kind from anywhere, and Miss Barker has no resources to defend this case.
YouTube’s new Terms & Conditions
I’m inclined not to worry much about the new YouTube Terms and Conditions which include this:
...by submitting the User Submissions to YouTube, you hereby grant YouTube a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the User Submissions in connection with the YouTube Website and YouTube’s (and its successor’s) business, including without limitation for promoting and redistributing part or all of the YouTube Website (and derivative works thereof) in any media formats and through any media channels.
I asked Jason Schultz of the EFF what he thought of the news, and he tells BB:
Your commenters are pretty much correct. YouTube wants to CYA itself in case it flows into new formats with old videos, e.g., cell phone downloads. They don’t want to have to go back and relicense all the content in new mediums. And its also true that simply yanking the video will cut off all their rights, which is a powerful weapon to keep them in check.
When the Billy Bragg folks complained about MySpace, it was basically over the same issue, so now that MySpace has responded with some clarity, it might behoove YouTube to do the same.
One thing they could say is that any reproductions, distributions, derivatives, etc. that they make of your work would not be sold separately as a distinct product. This would keep them from burning CDs or DVDs and the like.
Georgia puritans know not what they do
My daughter is an 18 gay person with attention deficit disorder who had consentual sex with a 14 year old on a trip which passed through Georgia. Her crime was labelled as a level one offense. She was encarcerated for 5-years. Now she is being labelled, humiliated and forgetting the fact that she has not repeated her offence by the PURITANS in Georgia who do not understand that there are levels and not all are created equal. Why is Georgia bundling these offenders as a total unit? There are levels of crime and not all of these labelled sex offenders have molested a child?
What does it say about Georgia that it wants to require photo IDs but it doesn’t care one whit that there is no paper/audit trail from our voting machines???
White T-shirts are a significant departure from the standard dress code in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill. So when a couple dozen activists walked into a joint meeting of the Science and Administration committees Wednesday wearing bleached cotton instead of the typical pantsuits and striped ties, it was not surprising that someone dispatched a Capitol Police officer to stand guard in case things got out of hand.
The T-shirts were imprinted with bold black letters that read “Got Paper?” or “Got Audits?”—coded, chest-high messages that were directed at lawmakers to express the widespread concern that new computerized voting machines can be tampered with to swing elections. The activists had come to Washington to push legislation that would mandate voter-verifiable paper records for every ballot cast in the nation, a reversal of a recent trend toward touch-screen computers that only tally votes electronically. It didn’t matter that the House committees did not plan to discuss the issue of ballot paper trails. “Hearings are all about theater,” explained Susannah Goodman of the liberal election reform group Common Cause, in a pre-hearing meeting with the activists. “We’re hijacking it.”
As it turned out, the activists’ point came across loud and clear to both Republicans and Democrats without hardly a peep from the gallery. The Administration Committee chairman, Vernon J. Ehlers, a Michigan Republican, opened the hearing by addressing the casually dressed crowd in the back of the room. “I notice a number of members in the audience wearing T-shirts showing their support for the paper trial,” Ehlers said after his opening statement. “I am trying to arrange a separate hearing on the paper trail.” This hearing, he explained, would focus on existing voting machine standards and testing guidelines.
But one by one, Ehlers’ Republican and Democratic colleagues disobeyed his instructions… (READ ON and watch the ad.)
Lesbian elected in Alabama
Friends are moving to Montgomery in the next few weeks. There they are about to elect their first openly lesbian legislator:
Patricia Todd made history Tuesday when voters in Alabama’s 54th legislative district voted to send the Democrat to the State House, marking the first time ever that legislature will include an openly gay Representative. The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, the nation’s largest gay and lesbian political action committee, endorsed Todd and helped raise tens of thousands of dollars from its national network of donors to help fund her campaign. Todd has no Republican opponent in the general election in November.
While political corruption has failed so far to take root as a national issue, the defeat of scandal-stained Ralph Reed in Georgia on Tuesday showed that federal investigators could tip some key House and Senate races this fall, according to party strategists.
Reed, a former top campaign official for President Bush and executive director of the Christian Coalition, lost the Republican primary for lieutenant governor after getting pounded by his opponent for his close and profitable relationship with convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the central figure in an unfolding money-for-favors scandal. Reed was the first electoral victim of political corruption probes—but officials in both parties said he probably won’t be the last.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Ralph Reed postscript
The further away from Atlanta, the better Reed seemed to do. He won or broke even in the three most sizable GA locales outside of Atlanta, Savannah (Chatham Co), Augusta (Richmond Co.) and Macon/Warner-Robins (Bibb and Houston Co’s), and won a number of scattered rural counties. As Reed well knows, however, GA elections are won and lost around the capital city.
Terrance (who grew up here but hasn’t lived in Georgia since 1994) says it’s because we’re more conservative out here in rural Georgia.
No doubt we are, but I continue to be surprised at how conservative big city Atlanta is and how many progressives there are here 97.9 miles and a world away.
I’m thinking they’re just more set in their ways here and not nearly as interested or tuned in so they are honestly unaware of Ralph’s chicanery.
Georgia Equality declares victory
Not so bad as we thought?
Support for equality for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Georgians gained momentum last night as the results were announced for both Republican and Democratic Primaries. [...]
Georgia Equality endorsed 18 candidates and 14 either won or face a runoff. But it was the re-election of Karla Drenner by a wide margin that was considered the biggest win. “Our opponents threw everything they could at Karla and she not only survived, but she survived by a wide margin. Clearly, the voters in her district realized that she is the best person for the job regardless of her sexual identity.”
“With the overwhelming election of Karla Drenner, Kathy Ashe, Sheila Jones, Stacey Abrams, and others, we are returning a strong team to the House of Representatives. Another big win for us was the election of Nan Orrock who will bring a powerful and unwavering voice in the Georgia State Senate and who joins Gloria Butler and other Senators who have stood on the right side of history,” he said.
Georgia Equality will be directing all of its focus on endorsed candidates who face runoffs including Jim Martin in the Lt. Governor’s race and Douglas Dean in House District 59. But the number one priority is [former Georgia Equality Executive Director] Allen Thornell who finished second in House District 58.
“We are three weeks away from electing the first openly gay man to the Georgia House of Representatives. Voter turnout will be the key to winning on August 8th and we are mobilizing our forces now,Ã¢â‚¬Â� he said.
Coming Sunday in the Times
Book Reviews - Bruce Handy reviews CATCH A WAVE: The Rise, Fall and Redemption of the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson by Peter Ames Carlin:
[I]s there really anything “new,” as they say, to say about Wilson and the Beach Boys? Not really, at least on the evidence here - don’t go looking for revisionist theories about Al Jardine being the group’s real genius - though Carlin seems to have spoken to everyone close to Wilson who’s still alive, and some who aren’t. He has also dug up some illuminating new documents and recordings, transcripts of family squabbles, druggy parties and such, that flesh out the story more fully than earlier tellings did. And I’ve never seen a diagnosis of Wilson quite as precise as the one Carlin offers: “mildly manic-depressive with a schizo-affective disorder.”
The least favorable review of Ron Suskind’s THE ONE PERCENT DOCTRINE: Deep Inside America’s Pursuit of Its Enemies Since 9/11 I’ve read. By Bryan Burrough:
[T]hough he never comes out and says so, Suskind partners with a former director of central intelligence, George Tenet, along with members of Tenet’s team and a few Rolodex Regulars, like the former national security adviser Brent Scowcroft. Tenet is a good horse to ride: the C.I.A. was at the center of the Qaeda fight, and there is plenty of new material here concerning the pursuit of the Khalid Shaikh Mohammeds and Ramzi bin al-Shibhs of the world. The problem is that Tenet, however central, was just one horse in a crowded field. President Bush is here, as are Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice. There’s no hint, though, that any of them said word one to Suskind. There’s no attribution, a concern magnified in the point-of-view format, but their every appearance clearly arrives through the eyes of Tenet or his men. It’s not so much that the text is ill informed. It’s just one set of hands on a very big elephant.
And from Travel & Leisure: Will it do for air travel what the cell phone did for phone calls?
Enter the “microjet,” a new breed of aircraft that, its backers say, may soon begin to decongest the system and help make flying pleasant and invigorating. Microjets typically carry six to eight passengers, cost less to produce than ordinary private jets and can land on shorter runways than normal airliners. In theory this means that such planes can skip the hubs and fly point to point between much smaller airports. What’s more, fleets of “air taxisÃ¢â‚¬Â� promise to do this relatively economically, allowing people who don’t have corporate jets to travel, at least on occasion, as if they do. Should the industry grow as rapidly as expected (the F.A.A. expects that by 2010 there will be more than a thousand microjets in service), the C.E.O.’s and film stars in their Gulfstreams may still beat the rest of us to the landing strips, but not by quite as much and not in such superior mental condition.
The SECOND largest Baptist Group?
Nathan Newman tells us of the moves afoot to unify the various non-Southern Baptist organizations within the Baptist community:
And those Baptist groups, recently brought together at the Carter Center to explore building a ”North American Baptist Convenant”, would include 20 million members, more than the 16 million folks in the Southern Baptists. Encouragingly, this group of Baptists came together to affirm:
They specifically committed themselves to their obligations as Christians to promote peace with justice, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, care for the sick and the marginalized, welcome the strangers among us, and promote religious liberty and respect for religious diversity.
So for those looking for the “religious left”, they could do worse than follow developments around this emerging alternative Baptist bloc.
The pharmaceutical industry is beginning to reap a windfall from a surprisingly lucrative niche market: drugs for poor people.
And analysts expect the benefits to show up in many of the quarterly financial results that drug makers will begin posting this week.
The windfall, which by some estimates could be $2 billion or more this year, is a result of the transfer of millions of low-income people into the new Medicare Part D drug program that went into effect in January. Under that program, as it turns out, the prices paid by insurers, and eventually the taxpayer, for the medications given to those transferred are likely to be higher than what was paid under the federal-state Medicaid programs for the poor.
That’s what we get from the best government big money can buy!
And I helped!
Former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed conceded defeat about 9:50 p.m. in Georgia’s Republican primary for lieutenant governor.
“Tonight my candidacy for lieutenant governor comes to an end,” he said.
He promised to work for the GOP ticket, including Sen. Casey Cagle (R-Gainesville), his rival in the lieutenant governor’s race.
I didn’t make it to the polling place on election day ‘til nearly closing time, and didn’t know what I was going to do when I got there up to the very last minute. Then, as I was signing in and I saw those two check boxes labeled Republican or Democrat, I impulsively checked “Republican.”
I went up to that Diebold machine with no paper trail and voted with my passions: against Sonny Perdue (who enjoyed an easy primary), against Schools Superintendent Kathy Cox (the former Republican House Member and supporter of the conservative Christian Coalition whom I have met with and do not like or respect won anyway), and against Ralph Reed.
Much as I dislike Mark Taylor (have you seen his ads? The big guy claims to work for all Georgians but doesn’t count me among them. Of course, neither did Cox causing this problem in the first place) I may start voting Republican regularly.
UPDATE: A commenter at The Moderate Voice says many of us crossed over.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
This was so expected that its hardly news:
House Republicans failed Tuesday in an effort to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, part of a proposed “values agenda” that they hope will rally voters in midterm elections in November.
The vote was 236 to 187, with one member voting “present,” well short of the two-thirds majority needed to amend the Constitution.
27 Republicans voted no. But none of them hails from Georgia. Get this:
The Democrats accused Republicans of raising the issue even as they ignored what the Democrats said were more pressing problems, including the war in Iraq, an expanding conflict in the Middle East, high gasoline prices and North Korean missile tests. [What the Democrats said were more pressing??? Like maybe they’re not???]
But Representative Jack Kingston, Republican of Georgia, said the marriage issue was “just as important and a top-tier issue as any of those.”
Another Georgia Republican, Representative Phil Gingrey, said support for traditional marriage “is perhaps the best message we can give to the Middle East and all the trouble they’re having over there right now.”
Let’s get real here. Do the Republicans really want to make that argument? I hope they do because sooner or later the American public is going to wake up and smell the coffee.
I still don’t know what I’ll do about the primary, but I do know that if Georgia elects the lying hypocrite Ralph Reed it will dampen my enthusiasm for the state in a way that not even the seventy-some percentage victory of the anti-marriage equality amendment did.
More on Ralph as we await the outcome: In the debate Sunday night he blamed the Indians for his money-laundering scheme.
If he wins, “Republican strategists generally agree… he will instantaneously emerge as the most prominent Christian conservative politician in the country.”
Bruce Reed says, ”Save me from my evil twin!”