aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Saturday, February 10, 2007
The Atomic Wall: what took so long???
the advent of small nuclear weapons and dirty bombs - deliverable not by missiles and planes but by trucks and vans - suggests a new kind of urban perimeter defense, an atomic wall. Set up not as an actual barrier but as a vast array of sensors, such a technology would exploit the fact that any radiological or nuclear weapon leaves a footprint. For example, a ring of radiation detection devices deployed along the Beltway could scan every road, alley, and rail line that brings people within 14 miles of the White House. If nuclear material crossed the line, sensors would alert emergency response teams, which would intercept the vehicle before it entered the city.
… later this year, the federal government plans to begin setting up an elaborate network of radiation alarms at some bridges, tunnels, roadways and waterways into New York, creating a 50-mile circle around the city.
The article describes a debate: will it work? Is it too costly? Who will be responsible for it? Still, I have only one question. WHAT TOOK SO LONG??? Why haven’t we been debating for the past five years and sorted some of this out by now?
The Real McCain explained
I chose McCain . . . very simply, because his level of hypocrisy rises above that of all the others, whether Democrat or Republican. He runs on the fact that he is a “maverickÃ¢â‚¬Â� a “straight talker” a “principled independent.” It is simply not true.
He has switched positions on Bush’s tax cuts, the number of troops needed in Iraq, evolution, ethanol subsidies, Jerry Falwell as an “agent of intolerance,” lobbying reform, even recently on campaign finance reform (presidential matching funds). . . .
I decided it was incumbent upon me to do this, because he is handled with such kid gloves by the media-see Joe Klein’s most recent blog at Swampland, where he says nobody can argue that McCain has not been consistent on the war, something that could not be more false. In fact Chris Matthews has joked that the media is “McCain’s base.” Anybody who watches and reads the fawning coverage, knows this to be true.
Jarvis and Greenwald will be on CNN Sunday Morning tomorrow at 7:30 to discuss “the YouTube campaign.” I’ve set my TiVo.
Wikipedia $$$ woes
Florence Devouard, chairwoman of the Wikimedia Foundation, is quoted as having said that, “If we do not find additional funding, it is not impossible that Wikipedia might disappear” Lift conference in Geneva. Today Mathew Ingram comments:
Couldn’t Chad Hurley or Steve Chen, who are now multimillionaires, or Jeff Bezos or Steve Jobs or one of a dozen other billionaire geeks cough up a measly $1-million or $2-million to keep the lights on at Wikipedia? And the second is whether this might revive interest in Jason Calacanis’s idea of running small ads on the site, which he said at one point was worth as much as $5-billion.
Oh yes, and one other thing: Why doesn’t Wikipedia do a deal with Amazon to use its S3 virtual hosting to handle the site’s data demands? Don McAskill, CEO of SmugMug, says doing that has saved the photo-sharing site about $500,000 a year, and they’re only using it for part of their site.
Gay in the NBA
“It would be like an alien dropping down from space. There’d be fear, then panic. [The NBA] just wouldn’t know how to handle it.”
That was retired NBA player John Amaechi speaking in 2002. He came out this week. The quote is from today’s ESPN SPECIAL WEEKEND EDITION Being openly gay in the NBA:
This isn’t the music universe or show business. Those are the tolerant wings of the entertainment community. After 14 seasons covering the NBA, I can confirm that locker-room thinking isn’t nearly as progressive. For all the positive, PC reaction to Amaechi’s declaration, and the confidence expressed that homosexuals would be welcomed in what has historically been the most unfriendly of settings, you’ve undoubtedly heard some of the homophobic quotes in circulation this week. Not just from Philly back-up big men Steven Hunter and Shavlik Randolph, either.
LeBron James was quoted in Cleveland saying, among other things: “I haven’t been around a person like that, so I don’t know how I’d react.”
It’s not just skeptical teammates, either. The first player to openly reveal his homosexuality will have to deal with hecklers in the crowd, relentless hounding from the media and a daily environment where players are already forced to abide by an off-court dress code because league officials or certain sponsors or whoever don’t like their clothes.
Mark Cuban is quoted extensively. Says he, “Everybody’s got a little homophobia in them. Everybody’s got a little prejudice in them. It’s just natural. But I’m sure there are other [current] players who are gay as well. If they came out, maybe some people would have a little bit of trepidation, but I think it would pass pretty quickly. Those days [of intolerance] are gone.”
Amaechi is a guest tomorrow on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines.” Sunday, 9:30 a.m. ET.
African American youth attitudes towards gays
On social issues, the surveys found that African-American young people are more likely to agree that homosexuality is always wrong (55 percent for blacks, 36 percent for Hispanics and 35 percent for whites). A majority of African-American youth also opposed legalizing same-sex marriages, (58 percent for blacks, 36 percent for Hispanics and 35 percent for whites).
Consider the lobster (reprise)
In honor of the Whole Foods Maine lobster decision - and in case you are one of those who still believes the old myth that “lobsters don’t feel pain” - I am again quoting from David Foster Wallace’s Consider the Lobster, his August 2004 feature on the Maine Lobster Festival for Gourmet magazine.
Much as I hate to admit it, I believed the myth! Turns out, duh, being boiled hurts:
Cooking live lobsters does not result in a quick and painless death. “According to marine zoologists,” Wallace writes, “it usually takes lobsters between 35 and 45 seconds to die in boiling water.”
He also notes, “However stuporous the lobster is from the trip home, for instance, it tends to come alarmingly to life when placed in boiling water. If you’re tilting it from a container into the steaming kettle, the lobster will sometimes try to cling to the container’s sides or even to hook its claws over the kettle’s rim like a person trying to keep from going over the edge of a roof.”
Lobsters suffer from the minute they are trapped until the last agonizing seconds of their lives. Like other animals used for food, lobsters are torn from their natural habitat and transported long distances. “They come up alive in the traps,” Wallace writes, “are placed in containers of seawater, and can, so long as the water’s aerated and the animals’ claws are pegged or banded to keep them from tearing one another up under the stresses of captivity, survive right up until they’re boiled.”
Wallace confesses that he has “not succeeded in working out any sort of personal ethical system” in which eating lobsters is morally defensible. “[A]fter all the abstract intellection, there remain the facts of the frantically clanking lid, the pathetic clinging to the edge of the pot. Standing at the stove, it is hard to deny in any meaningful way that this is a living creature experiencing pain and wishing to avoid/escape the painful experience.”
His piece is a great read. READ IT
A lobster electric chair
Whole Foods decided to sell lobsters at its Portland store after finding a company that met its demands for how the lobsters should be treated.
The lobsters will be kept in private compartments [designed to reduce stress] instead of being piled on top of each other in a tank, and employees will use a device that zaps them with a 110-volt shock to spare them the agony of being boiled alive in a pot of water.
Whole Foods’ standards for lobsters are similar to those it uses in buying its meat, poultry and other animal products, said David Lannon, regional president for the North Atlantic region.
“We’re taking up animal compassion in all species,” Lannon said.
Whole Foods will use Little Bay Lobster, Co., a New Hampshire company; this has Maine lobstermen upset. Says one:
“A lobster electric chair?” [Portland lobsterman Tom] Martin said. “I wonder how that will sound for their public relations, that they’re going to give the lobster the electric chair.”
Little Bay “contracts with lobstermen from Vinalhaven, an island off midcoast Maine, who use its sea-to-store handling process that gives lobsters the royal treatment.” So arguable Whole Foods is using Maine fisherman. And the impact on lobster welfare in Maine can only be good.