aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Hey, it’s hot. That’s nothing new here though you wouldn’t know it by the breathless weather people telling us that “temperatures are going to soar into the 90s!”
Uh, point me to the July in Georgia where temperatures didn’t reach into the 90s? It’s 74 here right now and they just said on TV that it’s 87 in New York (if we can believe them).
And in the UK?
Britain could soon swelter in the highest temperatures ever recorded, weather forecasters said, with a 30 percent chance that Wednesday will become the country’s hottest day ever.
Another tale from the great state of Georgia:
Shortly before Thanksgiving 2004, I took my three kids camping in Mistletoe State Park near Augusta, Ga., with my best friend and his two kids. After six years in Savannah, my family was about to move to France for my wife’s new job as an administrator for an American company. We had all been camping together before and figured the trip would be a great getaway from all of the packing, painting and stresses of moving, and would allow the kids to be together for one last time. Our wives decided to stay home to organize the packing and spend some quiet time together to say goodbye. [...]
As usual during the trip, we took several photos. Because I forgot my digital camera, I bought a disposable camera at a gas station on the way to the campground. I took pictures of the kids using sticks to beat on old bottles and cans and logs as musical instruments. I took a few of my youngest daughter, Eliza, then age 3, skinny-dipping in the lake, and my son, Noah, then age 8, swimming in the lake in his underwear, and another of Noah naked, hamming it up while using a long stick to hold his underwear over the fire to dry. Finally, I took a photo of everyone, as was our camping tradition, peeing on the ashes of the fire to put it out for the last time. We also let the kids take photos of their own.
When we returned on Sunday, I forgot the throwaway camera and Rusty found it in his car. He gave it to his wife, whom I’ll call Janet, to get developed, and she dropped it off the next day with two other rolls of film at a local Eckerd drugstore. On Tuesday, when she returned to pick up the film, she was approached by two officers from the Savannah Police Department. READ ON.
Now I ask you, in this age of digital cameras does anyone really think that real child pornographers are developing their pictures at Eckerd? And all of the resources spent following up and pursuing those leads mean less resources for finding the real predators. So we get statistics of investigations, arrests and convictions as a misleading measure of success.
I don’t mean to single out Georgia; this Sexual Fascism has swept across Progressive America in the name of protecting children with no awareness of the harm done to children. More from Salon:
The presumption of innocence until proven guilty had been turned on its head: the burden had been placed on us, not the legal system, to prove our innocence. Our most basic right and instinct as parents—to protect our children—had been usurped by a single accusation. [...]
Oney had told me she would be paying a visit to our house. Our lawyer said she could look anywhere—in our drawers, closets, attic—without a warrant or without specifically stating what she was looking for. [...]
Despite the fact that the case was unsubstantiated, a record of the accusation and ensuing investigation will be kept on file for three years—in case, we were told by our lawyer, other complaints should be filed against us. Our children’s records will show the incident until they are 21 years old. [...]
I discovered there are simply no uniform standards for police officers, teachers, child-care workers—or photo lab employees—to tell lewd and illegal photos from harmless family pictures. [...]
Dr. Douglas Besharov, a child abuse expert at the Maryland School of Public Affairs, and the first director of the U.S. National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect, estimates that out of the nearly 3 million child abuse reports made every year, seven in 10 of them are without merit. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 60 percent of child abuse or neglect reports are “unsubstantiated.”
Please read the whole article. We have to better understand what’s happening here.
Monday, July 17, 2006
And I don’t know what I’m going to do. It’s a difficult decision for those of us who are gay. This, from Georgia Equality, was in my email. It doesnt settle the issue for me.
I wanted to take just a minute of your time to clarify the position announced by Georgia Equality asking that voters “skip” the Governor’s race on Tuesday and instead, focus on other races on the ballot.
We have heard from some of our members that there is merit in supporting the “lesser of two evils” or that we should encourage lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Georgians to vote for the candidate who is best on other issues such as education, taxes and crime.
As Americans, we will never achieve equality - and I mean be afforded the same rights and privileges as our neighbors - by “settling” for one candidate over another. It is true that Cathy Cox does support some of the issues that are important to us as does Mark Taylor. But neither feels that we deserve the same equal treatment as every other American. For example, there is no consensus on making sure state employees can’t be fired just because of their sexual identity or providing domestic partner benefits to same-sex state employees including school teachers.
To paraphrase Governor Perdue, it’s ok for us to live and work in Georgia, we just aren’t entitled to the same equal rights and the recognition of our families as is everyone else.
The vision of Georgia Equality is a simple but powerful one and clearly explains our position:
Georgia Equality is a leading organization dedicated to full equality and the empowerment of all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, as well as their friends and families through political and educational advocacy.
By withholding our votes in Tuesday’s primary only in the Governor’s race, we will send a clear and powerful message that we are not willing to “settle” as second-class Georgians. We will let the winner of the Democratic Primary know that if they intend to defeat the Republican nominee in November, which will more than likely be a very close race; our voices will need to be heard. We will be able to use the sheer magic of numbers in terms of votes - votes that the nominee will need and that we won’t hand over easily.
I realize that this election in particular has been an emotional one for many of us who aligned with a candidate very early in the race. But we owe it to ourselves and the generations to follow to stand-up and be counted. If we don’t, we will continue to “settle” for leaders who will discount us as Americans and continue to take our dollars and votes for granted.
Do you believe it is ok to be fired based on your sexual identity? Is it alright with you for LGBT government employees to be denied the same benefits as employees who are in opposite gender relationships? Is it ok by you to not have a say-so in the medical treatment of your partner, inheritance of joint property or to even be denied control over the disposition of your deceased partner’s body?
Make your vote count. Skip the race for Governor on Tuesday but be sure and support our friends in other races so that we can send a clear signal that we are not going to “settle” anymore.
PS. Your ballot is not counted as “one” vote. Instead, each individual race where you cast a vote is counted as “one” vote. If you skip the Governor’s race and vote in other races, the overall totals will indicate votes were cast in other races but not for Governor.
Stephen J. Dubner reads the Times today
And I like what he’s reading:
There are two interesting pieces on the New York Times OpEd page today: one calling for elderly drivers to have to renew their licenses, the other arguing that if your Social Security number is hijacked by an identity thief, the best solution would be to simply get a new SSN—a solution that, as of now, is pretty much impossible.
The return of the military draft
Voting as crapshoot
My gut said, “oh, no!” But given that I think the lottery is a tax on the poor maybe this would encourage them to vote. And at better odds:
A proposal to award $1 million in every general election to one lucky resident, chosen by lottery, simply for voting - no matter for whom - has qualified for the November ballot.
Mark Osterloh, a political gadfly who is behind the initiative, the Arizona Voter Reward Act, is promoting it with the slogan, “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Vote!Ã¢â‚¬Â� He collected 185,902 signatures of registered voters, far more than the 122,612 required, and last week the secretary of state certified the measure for the ballot this fall.
If the general election in 2004 is a guide, when more than 2 million people voted, the 1-in-2-million odds of winning the election lottery would be far better than the Powerball jackpot (currently about 1 in 146,107,962) but not nearly as great as dying from a lightning strike (1 in 55,928).
Curtis Gans, director of the Center for the Study of the American Electorate in Washington, said the idea of a voter lottery had come up in other states, but he could not recall any moving forward with it. And he’s glad.
“People should not go vote because they might win a lottery,” Mr. Gans said. “We need to rekindle the religion of civic duty, and that is a hard job, but we should not make voting crassly commercial.Ã¢â‚¬Â�
Editorial writers, bloggers and others have panned the idea as bribery and say it may draw people simply trying to cash in without studying candidates or issues.
I’d like to read the study on how many of us study candidates and issues! Read on for the discussion of is it legal?
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Snakes on a Plane
Although its anticipated cult status is high, the film doesn’t seem to have been created as a ready-made cult classic. It began like many other action films, as a god-awful B-movie script with a simple premise and simple thrills that needed some rewrites. It was filmed to be a PG-13 snoozer with the working title “Snakes on a Plane.” A groundswell of Internet love for the title emerged. The title was changed by New Line Cinema to “Pacific Air Flight 121.” The Web erupted into e-riots. The studio, realizing the golden, rotten egg upon which it sat, restored the original title and shot new sequences to push the rating from PG-13 to R.
And like a snake shedding and re-shedding its skin, “Snakes on a Plane” was born and reborn.
Everyone who hears about it loves “Snakes on a Plane.” And yet no one has actually seen it. There are countless homages and parodies of all levels of production value on the Web that millions have enjoyed—from film mash-ups using previous footage of Samuel L. Jackson and nature shows, to camcorder images of white college-age males in their garage. None of these are based on the movie. This preemptive attack of fandom was caused by the four syllables that make up the title.
But can it top Con Air?
The new CBS Evening News
When Katie Couric takes over on on September 5:
The multiplatform strategy will involve simulcasting the first segment of the evening news on CBS Radio News, which will be made available to its more than 500 affiliated stations around the country. Already committed to the simulcast are WCBS-AM in New York, WTOP radio in Washington and WBZ in Boston.
The strategy will also include on-demand, extended Webcast interviews (done by Ms. Couric or CBS correspondents) and daily on-camera Web rundowns of the news lineup for the television broadcast that evening.
“Our goal on Sept. 5 is that whether you’re in your car, on your computer, commuting, listening on your cell phone, or, God forbid, at home watching television, that the CBS news will be available to you,” said Mr. McManus.
ALSO IN THE TIMES: News Online Seems to Have Long Shelf Life.
Last year Georgia equality put a billboard up in the Atlanta area featuring a gay fireman. The locals reacted:
Mike Lakey, 34 and a father of two, felt the billboard was a joke.
“So, we are supposed to believe that there are actually gay firemen?” he said. “I bet the other firemen don’t know, otherwise his ass would be kicked.”
I was reminded of that because San Diego has a lesbian fire chief and she’s being called upon to be a role model:
San Diego’s new openly lesbian fire chief is trying to come to grips with being a gay role model now. “I’m kind of adjusting to it since this has all been finalized,” Tracy Jarman said in an interview. Jarman was selected by Mayor Jerry Sanders June 20 and approved unanimously by the City Council on June 26. She already was serving as interim fire chief following the resignation of former Chief Jeff Bowman.
Jarman initially turned down a request to be interviewed by the gay media and, after we got her to change her mind, she still answered “no” when asked if it’s “noteworthy” that the nation’s eighth-largest city selected an open lesbian as fire chief. “I think it’s really based on my leadership, my character, experience, the knowledge I bring to the position,” she said.
Times’ Hillary misquote
Your liberal media at work, this time courtesy of Anne Kornblut. She wrote:
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, returning to her red-state ties, chastised Democrats Saturday for taking on issues that arouse conservatives and turn out Republican voters rather than finding consensus on mainstream subjects.
Without mentioning specific subjects like gay marriage, Mrs. Clinton said: “We do things that are controversial. We do things that try to inflame their base.”
Only problem, Clinton’s “we” was referring to the Republican-controlled Senate. From the transcript which I received via email:
Wouldn’t this be a good agenda for America: safeguard America’s pensions; good jobs for Americans; make college affordable for all; protect America and our military families; prepare for future disasters; make America energy independent; make small business and healthcare affordable, invest in life saving science; and protect our air, land, and water.
You know, Blanche Lincoln has a bill to make healthcare affordable for small business, I have a bill I was talking to you about with respect to energy independence, we have legislation sitting in the Senate to address these problems.
But with the Republican majority, that’s not their priority. So we do other things, we do things that are controversial, we do things that try to inflame their base so that they can turn people out and vote for their candidates. I think we are wasting time, we are wasting lives, we need to get back to making America work again, in a bipartisan, nonpartisan way.”
Now, every other reporter covering this event got it right, but not Anne Kornblut.
Standards are really slipping at that joint.
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Public schools work
Public schools have been chiefly responsible for success of the United States. Defunding and demonizing and them is a crime that will cost us dearly.
The Education Department reported on Friday that children in public schools generally performed as well or better in reading and mathematics than comparable children in private schools. The exception was in eighth-grade reading, where the private school counterparts fared better.
The report, which compared fourth- and eighth-grade reading and math scores in 2003 from nearly 7,000 public schools and more than 530 private schools, also found that conservative Christian schools lagged significantly behind public schools on eighth-grade math.
Georgia’s Lynn Westmoreland said last month that he’d get rid of the Department of Education to balance the budget. But the DOE we’ve got is clearly of this administration:
Its release, on a summer Friday, was made with without a news conference or comment from Education Secretary Margaret Spellings.
Reg Weaver, president of the National Education Association, the union for millions of teachers, said the findings showed that public schools were “doing an outstanding job” and that if the results had been favorable to private schools, “there would have been press conferences and glowing statements about private schools.” [...]
Two weeks ago, the American Federation of Teachers, on its Web log, predicted that the report would be released on a Friday, suggesting that the Bush administration saw it as “bad news to be buried at the bottom of the news cycle.”
And it’s not the first to find this:
The report mirrors and expands on similar findings this year by Christopher and Sarah Theule Lubienski, a husband-and-wife team at the University of Illinois who examined just math scores. The new study looked at reading scores, too.
Students in private schools typically score higher than those in public schools, a finding confirmed in the study. The report then dug deeper to compare students of like racial, economic and social backgrounds. When it did that, the private school advantage disappeared in all areas except eighth-grade reading.
The report separated private schools by type and found that among private school students, those in Lutheran schools performed best, while those in conservative Christian schools did worst.
In eighth-grade reading, children in conservative Christian schools scored no better than comparable children in public schools.
In eighth-grade math, children in Lutheran schools scored significantly better than children in public schools, but those in conservative Christian schools fared worse.
Friday, July 14, 2006
A New Hampshire judge yesterday cleared the way for Democrats to question top Republican Party officials—including its former national committee chairman—in connection with a 2002 phone-jamming scheme, as a local political scandal continues to reach into the realm of national politics.
Via Steve Benen:
I can think of five pretty important questions that Republicans have been avoiding from the beginning.
* Why did James Tobin call the White House 12 times on Election Day 2002 while he was criminally interfering with an election?
* Why did the RNC pay Tobin's legal bills?
* Why did the RNC consult with the White House about paying those bills?
* Why does indicted phone-jammer Shaun Hansen believe his company carried out a scheme that had the seal of approval of both the Republican National Committee and the White House?
* And how is it that Jack Abramoff's tribal clients donated the almost-exact amount of the cost of the phone jamming to the New Hampshire GOP, despite the fact that New Hampshire doesn't have any federally recognized Indian tribes or Indian gambling?
Thanks to yesterday's court ruling, Republicans who'll have to give depositions include Ed Gillespie, who was chairman of the RNC chairman at the time; former RNC political director Terry Nelson, now a top John McCain adviser; Chris LaCivita, former national political director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee; and Alicia Davis, who worked in the White House political affairs office under Ken Mehlman, the current RNC chairman.
Victory in White County
A federal judge has issued a ruling requring a Georgia county to allow students at the White County High School to hold a meeting of the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) on the school’s grounds. The suit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.
“This is a great victory for the lesbian and gay students and their friends at White County High School,” said Beth Littrell the Associate Legal Director of the ACLU of Georgia in a statement released today.
Instead of allowing the GSA to meet, the White County School Board voted to take an action purported to prohibit all clubs from meeting. The ACLU, in filing the case in February of this year, challenged the School District’s decision to not allow the GSA to meet. Depite the district’s claim, extracurricular clubs continued to meet at the school, a fact proven in the case’s trial.
A FACT PROVEN IN COURT. The school district changed the rules in order to keep a gay straight alliance from meeting, then cheated! What do these people think they are teaching students through behavior like that?
Newsom on gay marriage
[San Francisco Mayor Gavin] Newsom had strong words for his fellow Democrats: Stop lying to the American people. Newsom claims, based on first hand knowledge, that the “vast majority” of congressional Dems favor gay marriage, but they lack the “moral courage” to say so.
“As long as we allow this to be dangled in front of us because of our unwillingness to say publicly what so many of us are saying privately,” Newsom told me, “it will haunt the Democratic party.”
Drinking in the news today
As far as I’m concerned he wasn’t drunk! And he wouldn’t have been legally drunk prior to the .08 standard:
Beer company executive, chief commercial pitcher and former Senate candidate Pete Coors confirmed Thursday he was cited in May for driving under the influence of alcohol after leaving a friend’s wedding celebration.
“I made a mistake,” Coors said in a prepared statement. “I should have planned ahead for a ride. For years, I’ve advocated the responsible use of our company’s products. That’s still my message, and our company’s message, and it’s the right message.
“I am sorry that I didn’t follow it myself.”
I bet he was wearing nice pants:
Women going on boozy nights out have been warned by police to “wear nice pants” in case they fall down drunk in the street.
A Suffolk police safety campaign magazine shows pictures of young women slumped on the ground next to messages urging them: “If you’ve got it, don’t flaunt it”.
“If you fall over or pass out, remember your skirt or dress may ride up,” the magazine says.
“You could show off more than you intended - for all our sakes, please make sure you’re wearing nice pants and that you’ve recently had a wax.”
Though I don’t go as far as a certain Ohio Democrat - “Let the drunks have their time on the road” - I’d like to see a more realistic measurement (fat v thin, high tolerance for alcohol v low, etc.) and assessment of the threat, then act on that.
UPDATE (correction): Oops… Note that in the British vernacular, “pantsÃ¢â‚¬Â� = US “panties.”
Big gets BIGGER
CNet has a roundup of the new big screens:
Matsushita Electric Industrial announced Monday that it hopes to sell a 103-inch plasma TV, beating out Samsung’s announced 102-inch plasma screen by exactly an inch. The flat panel, which was shown off at the Consumer Electronics Show in
January, is described as “bigger than a double-sized mattress and almost as heavy as an upright piano.” The high-definition television measures about 7.8 feet by 4.5 feet and weighs a mammoth 474 pounds.
Mortgage old black people?
In advance of its August publication date, GQ has released a big piece on Ralph Reed today, with one gem in particular: a plan hatched by Reed and Jack Abramoff which sounds suspiciously like “mortgaging old black people,” as a former Reed associate told the magazine.
In July of 2003, Abramoff and Reed considered launching something called the Black Churches Insurance Program. READ ON.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Gay pressure forces cancellation of LIFEbeat Fundraiser
If you, like me, have been too busy to follow in detail the tale of the LIFEbeat HIV/AIDS benefit concert featuring homophobic acts (they’ve cancelled and apologized), here’s a handy timeline synopsis.
Kudos to the bloggers who helped make it happen:
Donald Andrew Agarrat: http://now.anzidesign.com
Keith Boykin: http://www.keithboykin.com
Clay Cane: http://claycane.blogspot.com
Jasmyne Cannick: http://www.jasmynecannick.com
Steven Claiborne: http://saclaiborne.blogspot.com/
Terrance Heath: http://www.republicoft.com
Andre Lancaster: http://journeyintolight.blogspot.com/
Frank Roberts: http://brooklynboyblues.blogspot.com
Nathan Scott: http://www.7magazine.blogspot.com/
Pam Spaulding: http://www.pamspaulding.com/weblog/
Bernard Tarver: http://www.bejata.com
Many artists and music industry professionals worked this behind the scenes, and showed integrity and spine here as well. It was a coalition of interested people, and not just bloggers of course. As it always is.
Georgia voting machines targeted in court
The state of Georgia should stop relying on electronic voting machines because there’s no guarantee they accurately record votes, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in Fulton County.
Among its claims, the lawsuit by a group of activists contends the state’s touch-screen voting machines violate state constitutional guarantees that elections be conducted by secret ballot.
Also, by simply pressing buttons on a screen and not receiving a hard-copy evidence of the votes cast, voters cannot be assured their choices were accurately counted, according to the complaint.
I’m fine with electronic voting machines. Just give me a paper receipt like at an ATM and an audit trail.
A paralyzed man with a small sensor implanted in his brain was able to control a computer, a television and a robot using only his thoughts, scientists reported today.
The results of the experiments, conducted by Brown University professor John Donoghue and his team, were published in this week’s issue of the scientific journal Nature. The magazine’s companion Web site has also published a free “Web Focus” that includes interviews, video of the experiments, and a collection of key papers in the field of brain-machine interfaces. Highly recommended browsing.
Link to Nature’s Web Focus, Link to 2005 article from Wired about Nagle and brain implants.
Questioning Turnitin.com & iParadigms
My reservations chiefly have to do with seeing the name John Barrie associated with outing the conservative pundit from the story’s first appearance in the New York Post. Barrie is a notorious media hound who loves to see his name in the press, so he can promote his commercially licensed plagiarism-detection software, Turnitin.com. I’ve used his product in our university writing program for the last eight years, but I have developed deep reservations about the company that produces it.
For advocates of digital rights and access to intellectual property, the parent company of Turnitin.com, iParadigms, has both a troubling past and a troubling future. Although founder John Barrie claims that U.C. Berkeley did not purchase a campus license for Turnitin.com because the university was embarrassed after he pointed out that “cheating was rampant” and thus “the university was dragged through the mud,” he doesn’t mention the fact that the campus also has a legitimate gripe with Barrie, because the school might claim that the software was developed by campus personnel using campus resources while Barrie was on the institution’s payroll. Thus Barrie might seem to have capitalized on an investment of public resources by attempting to sell his software back to his former employer. Particularly when open source and freeware alternatives could be developed (and are being developed at the University of California at Santa Barbara in the PAIRwise project without any media fanfare), the advancing hegemony of Turnitin.com in the market is disappointing. Furthermore, recent news from iParadigms about a collaborative project with LexisNexis to “protect intellectual property” with a product “designed to benefit the media and business community” does not give one much confidence in the lip service Barrie’s company pays to academic ideals, particularly when the ethical obligations of a research university are to provide for the public good not corporate benefit. Although far from “total information awareness,” with programs like CopyGuard vying for attention and investment, the potential for surveillance by copyright holders risks hampering the dissemination of information within and between academic communities and, of course, among citizens participating in legitimate cultural practices that foster creativity and commerce.
Bottom line: this is a self-interested media stunt closely tied to a corporate monopoly, and political progressives should refuse to participate in it.
For more about the rhetoric surrounding the Turnitin.com program, including some choice words about the wishful thinking of technophobes, see my now-dated paper on ”Honor Coding” from the Originality, Imitation, and Plagiarism Conference.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Block the vote update
From an LATimes article today on the opposition from mostly-southern conservatives to renewal of the Voting Rights Act:
One of the conservatives supporting changes to the Voting Rights Act said GOP leaders were “playing politics” with a law that is unfairly targeting his home region because of its past - and failing to account for progress in racial relations.
“Do you think we treat Japan or Germany differently [because of World War II]?” asked Rep. Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia. “Do we treat the British any differently because of the Stamp Act? Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ If we’re going to do that, then let’s go back to the Indians and say they butchered Custer.
It’s a telling reaction. As far as Westmoreland and his colleagues believe, racially-motivated interference with the right to vote is so far in the past, it doesn’t even make sense to worry about it. They see a color-blind south where minority voting rights are fully protected.
They’re wrong. In fact, Westmoreland’s Georgia is one of the worst states in the nation for Voting Rights Act violations. The problems aren’t just a scar on previous generations; they’re still ongoing.
And we just don’t get it! Today the latest Georgia voter photo ID law lost in two courts:
U.S. District Court Judge Harold Murphy, after a hearing in Rome that lasted more than five hours, ruled that Georgia’s photo voter ID law appeared to violate the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment guarantee of the right to petition the government for redress of grievances, and the Fourteenth Amendment, which guarantees equal protection under the law and due process. [...]
Earlier in the day, the state Supreme Court let stand the ruling of a lower court judge who said the new law unconstitutionally restricted the right to vote.
More from Spencer Overton at MyDD.
UPDATE: House renews Voting Rights Act provisions 390-33, “Conservatives introduced four amendments to weaken the act, and all were rejected by large bipartisan majorities.”
Ralph Reed a win-win
Until recently, Ralph looked like he was likely to win his primary against state senator Casey Cagle, buttressed as he was by support from the rancid cream of the national and Georgia GOP (as we speak, Republican voters are being treated to robo-calls on Reed's behalf from Rudy Giuliani and Zell Miller). But shortly after Cagle launched a truly vicious ad campaign focusing on the Abramoff scandal and such ancillary issues as Ralph's support for the Abramoff/Norquist pet cause of the Northern Mariana Islands, Reed began sinking in the polls. And while the race is still close, and Ralph will presumably run a pretty good GOTV operation, he's in big trouble.
It's perversely delicious to see the master of the culturally-based negative campaign strategy get hoisted on his own petard. And it's also an interesting sign that the man who has always paid so much attention to dollar signs was recently forced to loan his campaign a half million smackers to stay competitive financially with Cagle.
If Ralph goes down next week, it will be a clear indication that Republican corruption carries some electoral freight, even among Republican primary voters in a very conservative state. And if Ralph survives his primary, he will be a nice symbol of what's wrong with the GOP right down to November.
Mass lawmakers put off amendment vote
Watching developments in Massachusetts this week, I asked a knowledgeable Boston buddy for his sense of things:
Conventional wisdom around here has it that we are so over the gay marriage thing, the anti-marriage carpet-baggers are slowly going home and the only real momentum they have left is Gov. Romney. Romney has officially broken every rule of being a Republican governor in Massachusetts now, he didn’t stand a chance of being re-elected anyway. Of course, Romney will be a moot point soon enough as he moves on to run for the presidency. Furthermore, after Romney we are pretty much guaranteed a Dem. or Ind. governor. Healy is the Republican nominee and she doesn’t stand a chance, the Republicans are done in Mass. for a little bit after the horror that Romney became. The script is written, it just needs to play out.
So how did the amednment script play out today?
Not only did the legislature delay, but they delayed taking the heat off everyone - even themselves. Supporters and opponents of all sides will have little ammunition against their rep in the election because it’ll all happen two days after their representative finds out if they’re coming back for the rest of the story.
The real fun comes with the new governor. Although Romney will still be around for the vote - if it even happens - and can grandstand on his way out the door, the new governor will influence the next round the following year. Considering everyone up for the job is pro-marriage but Healy, who doesn’t stand a chance, this is all just noise. Go home kids, nothing to see here.
All Teh Flarf That’s Fit To Print!
I passed on posting this when I saw it the other day. It’s stuck with me so here you go:
The funny folks at BumperActive (who did the Free the Mouse and “I )( WiFi” stickers) have a new mashup project with the New York Times. They scrape the NYT new stories feed, and republish just the headline and the last paragraph, a kind of skip-to-the-punchline approach to news that is surprisingly effective, though sometimes a little surreal.
Surprising Jump in Tax Revenues Is Curbing Deficit:
“Spending has not been restrained,” Mr. Riedl said. “One hundred percent of the reduced deficit is because taxpayers are sending more money to Washington.”
U.S. to Negotiate Russian Storage of Atomic Waste:
But the report also cited such an agreement as a way to foster cooperation on securing spent fuel and providing nuclear energy to nonnuclear nations seeking to develop their own enrichment facilities.
Ally Warned Bush on Keeping Spying From Congress:
A spokesman for Mr. Negroponte’s office said he had not yet replied to the complaint.
At Colleges, Women Are Leaving Men in the Dust:
“I think men do better out in the world because they care more about the power, the status, the C.E.O. job,” Mr. Kohn said. “And maybe society holds men a little higher.”
In today’s paper:
Proposal to Ban Same-Sex Marriage Renews Old Battles:
Mr. Meoni said he found those responses “disturbing,” but added, “We just have to keep moving on and find people that support us.”
Shuttle Crew Works to Fix Part of Station:
Mr. Fossum replied, “It’s all expensive.”
Military Lawyers Prepare to Speak on GuantÃƒÂ¡namo:
Colonel Shaffer said she was restrained under the rules from calling as a witness a Qaeda informant whose information had been used to charge her client. “I’m going to want for my client to face his accuser,” she said, “and for me to have an opportunity to impeach his testimony.”