aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Monday, May 21, 2007
Race in America: don’t use a hammer on a screw
“What I’m suggesting is we are experiencing a new form of racial inequality. We could think of Jim Crow as a nail. And the protest against Jim Crow were a hammer. And a hammer is an extremely effective tool when you’re dealing with a nail. Contemporary racial inequality is structural. It’s undercover. It is connected with also with sort of black achievement which is also going on at the same time. Contemporary racial inequality is a screw, and if you take a hammer and start pounding on a screw, you just end up with a mess which means we have to live with the fact that a new generation is going to have to innovate a screwdriver to deal with the new problem. And that screwdriver might not look anything like the hammer. And we can’t keep yelling at them to use a hammer for a new problem.”
Sunday, May 20, 2007
It’s Patriotic To Criticize
I’ve been meaning to read the full Armed Forces Journal piece by Lt. Col. Paul Yingling entitled A Failure in Generalship, pointed to again last week after the commander of U.S. forces in northern Iraq, Maj. Gen. Benjamin R. “Randy” Mixon, said that he did not have enough troops.
I have read Fred Kaplan’s piece in Slate, It’s Patriotic To Criticize: How our generals got so mediocre. It’s conclusion:
Of the five extra brigades that President Bush ordered to Baghdad as part of his “surge” back in February, only three have arrived; the fifth won’t be on the ground until late summer. Why not? Because they won’t be ready until then; they won’t be fully manned, trained, or equipped. When critics and retired officers say that the U.S. Army is at the end of its tether, they’re not exaggerating. If a crisis in another hot spot erupted, and if the president wanted to send ground troops to deal with it, he couldn’t without transferring units from Iraq or Afghanistan. There is no slack.
And here is where the messages of Maj. Gen. Mixon and Lt. Col. Yingling intersect. Yingling makes clear that it’s the political leaders who decide whether to go to war. Once the policy-maker receives military advice that there aren’t enough troops to achieve the war’s strategic objectives, he or she “must then scale back the ends of policy or mobilize popular passions to provide greater means.”
President Bush has done neither. He has evaded this calculation from the beginning and continues to do so now that everyone plainly realizes there are not, and never were, enough troops. The next president will have to take up the big questions: What kind of threats do we face? What kind of military forces-and military leaders-do we need? How much will that effort cost? If we don’t have the resources (in troops, money, or will), should we whip up the passions to get more-or scale back to a more realistic policy? The current course-pursuing grand global visions with depleted means-is a surefire road to disaster.
How’s my driving for everyone
Back in January I listened to the podcast of a Chicago’s Best Ideas talk by Lior Strahilevitz on his idea for a “How’s My Driving?” program (like the ones you see more and more on the rear of commercial vehicles) for all of us.
Now, I did not intuitively take to this idea but, rather, was won over by the power of his arguments:
Before buying a product from an eBay seller, a prospective buyer is likely to examine the seller’s feedback score and peruse the comments of others who previously dealt with that merchant. A strong feedback score enables merchants to fetch more money for their products, and the fear of negative feedback helps keep the overwhelming majority of eBay sellers on their best behavior. Imagine if every driver on the roads had a similar sort of feedback score and these scores were made available to insurance companies. Would aggressive and unsafe behavior on our roadways be reduced? Could drivers and pedestrians do a better job of keeping the roadways safe than the police? Would the feedback be reliable enough?
He answers each and every one of those questions in copiously footnoted detail (you can download the full 68 page articulation of the idea here). How’s My Driving? for everyone is easier to implement and closer to reality than you might think.
To use the service, which goes live on Monday, drivers register their cellphone and license plate numbers with SameLane, which sends them bumper stickers identifying the drivers as part of the SameLane network. After spotting a member, drivers dial a company number, punch in the license plate number of the car they want to reach and wait for SameLane’s computers to connect the call. [...]
Vince Waterson, part owner of Delta Meridian of Dallas, which is offering the service, said he wanted to bring to driving the feel of waiting at Starbucks, where customers have casual conversations and even strike up friendships.
“You have this wall of steel and glass between you and the guy in the next lane,” he said. “Sometimes people see someone with a bumper sticker of things they enjoy, and sometimes they just want to talk to someone to keep from falling asleep.”
Mr. Waterson, who has worked in the telecommunications industry for about 40 years, has tried to address some of his service’s biggest potential drawbacks. Callers do not see each other’s real cellphone numbers, which preserves some of their anonymity. They can also block calls to prevent pests from turning into stalkers.
The same but different, I wrote Professor Strahilevitz to find out what he thought. If he writes me back, I’ll let you know what he has to say!
LATER: Strahilevitz writes, “Thanks for writing… I wasn’t familiar with samelane, so I appreciate the heads up and will follow the program with interest.”
Life’s little pleasures
Jake just now…
If the Bible is classified as indecent only those over 18 could buy it and it would be sealed and wrapped with a warning label:
More than 800 Hong Kong residents have called on authorities to reclassify the Bible as “indecent” due to its sexual and violent content, following an uproar over a sex column in a university student journal.
A spokesperson for Hong Kong’s Television and Entertainment Licensing authority (TELA) said it had received 838 complaints about the Bible by noon on Wednesday.
The complaints follow the launch of an anonymous website which said the holy book “made one tremble” given its sexual and violent content, including rape and incest.
The website said the Bible’s sexual content “far exceeds” that of a recent sex column published in the Chinese University’s “Student Press” magazine, which had asked readers whether they’d ever fantasised about incest or bestiality.
Not exactly the equivalent of standing in front of a tank in Tiananmen Square but kudos to the students. Imagine if they actually succeeded. Manna for cable news heaven: “Communist authorities classify the Bible as porn.”
Via Ann Bartow.
Saturday, May 19, 2007
It was indeed another gorgeous, summery morning on the French Riviera, but the real heat was indoors. There wasn’t a single empty seat inside the Grand Théâtre Lumière—which holds more than 2,000 people—for “Sicko,” and dozens of stragglers were locked out on the sidewalk. Moore’s screed against the outrageous state of American healthcare was received with uproarious affection, but one might argue that Cannes provided the softest possible crowd. An American left-wing populist, attacking America’s profit-motive, private-sector ideology before a roomful of international intellectuals, at least half of them Europeans. May I introduce a new phrase into the Franglais dictionary? C’était un slam-dunk.
“Sicko” does not display Moore at his most cinematically inventive or imaginative. It presents a TV-documentary-style parade of episodes, characters and settings, bouncing from various American cities to Canada, Britain, France and Cuba (and yes, don’t worry, we’ll get to that). Moore plays a far smaller personal role in this film, appearing only occasionally in his comic-relief role as the clueless buffoon who can’t seem to grasp that healthcare in all those other countries is free, or virtually so. When he’s eating dinner with a group of Americans living in Paris who begin to list all the things they can have as free or nearly free entitlements—not just healthcare but an emergency doctor who makes house calls; not just childcare but a part-time in-home nanny—Moore puts his hands over his ears and begins singing “La la la la la.” (If you have kids or any kind of chronic family health problems, your reactions might include weeping in despair, slitting your wrists or booking a one-way ticket.) [...]
Much of this is played as comedy; Moore corners a young Afro-British couple with a wiggling bundle in the hallway of a London hospital and says cheerfully, “So—how much they charge you for that baby?” But Moore is trying to push us beyond the universally shared idea that something must be done to the slightly more controversial idea that something has been done, and that all we have to do is appropriate it. Americans have of course been conditioned for generations to believe that socialized medicine is first of all a disaster in its own terms, and secondly, the pathway to totalitarianism.
His portrayal of the Canadian, British and French systems is undoubtedly simplistic , and several Canadian reporters took that up with him at the press conference—although all of them admitted they wouldn’t trade their system for ours. But Moore’s overall point is, I think, inarguable: Flawed as they may be, those systems are a hell of a lot more humane and civilized than anything we’ve got. (Life expectancy is significantly higher, and infant mortality lower, in all of those countries than the United States. Whatever outdated stereotypes you may hold, these days poor people in Britain are statistically healthier than rich people in America.)
A Fair(y) Use Tale (NOT a Disney movie)
A MUST SEE!
Bucknell prof Eric Faden has produced the most amazing video mashup I’ve ever seen: “A Fair(y) Use Tale” cuts together thousands of extremely short clips from dozens of Disney cartoons, lifting indivudal words and short phrases to spell out an articulate, funny, and thoroughly educational lesson on how copyright works. This is the most subversive and hilarious use of Disney material I’ve ever seen—and there’s even a really smart chapter about why Faden used Disney material to make his film. This should be required viewing in every K-12 classroom in the country.
Tristero tells us of the arrest of S.D. Republican Ted Klaudt on rape charges. He reviews the Bills Klaud had sponsored and suggests that, like the homo homophobes, prudish obsessives often turn out to be perverts:
The charges are revolting: He duped foster children in his care into letting him perform “exams” on them to see if they qualified as egg donors. [...] But this scandal brings up loads of questions, (like how he could live with himself as probably the most obvious). But the most puzzling of all is how he could persistently seek legislative office (and he tried for the Senate but failed) and not only that but go out of his way to sponsor this legislation, given his propensities.
And I think it may be fair to raise a more general question, whether an obsessive concern with regulating abortion and defining marriage has more than just a casual association with sexual perversion. By “obsessive concern,” I’m not talking about some decent schnook who’s been fed christianist propaganda,. I’m talking about someone who, like Klaudt, gets all proactive about it, deliberately trying to legislate morality, trying to build a career on it.
Via Amanda at Pandagon, “this story you can add to the pile of growing evidence of the linkage between creepy-uncle sexual perversion and proactive opposition to women’s rights.”
Yes, and marriage rights too.
SEE ALSO: My post on the sex panic, why we’re freaking out.
Evolution opponent at the National Association of State Boards of Education
The NYTimes reports that Kenneth Willard, a member of the Kansas Board of Education who voted to rewrite public school standards there in order to teach intelligent design is now the only member running as president-elect for the National Association of State Boards of Education:
“Some people are mindless about their attacks on anyone questioning anything Darwin might have said,” Mr. Willard said.
Talk about mindless!!!
There is no credible scientific challenge to the theory of evolution as an explanation for the complexity and diversity of life on earth. Courts have repeatedly ruled that creationism and intelligent design are religious doctrines, not scientific theories.
A possible alternative to Willard:
[Retired Cincinnati buinessman Sam] Schloemer, a Republican, said in a telephone interview that he had learned of Mr. Willard’s unopposed candidacy a few days before. He said he had no particular desire for the office, but added, “I would rather serve than see someone of his persuasion represent school boards across the country.” Mr. Willard, who is in his fourth year on the 16-member national board, said in a telephone interview yesterday that issues like the teaching of evolution were best left to the states.
Friday, May 18, 2007
Global Warming correlation or causation?
The bluest continent on the planet has the highest resistance to believing global warming is real. Meanwhile, this is The Hottest Year on Record so far.
Google to buy Feedburner?
“I have just heard from a VERY trusted source that Google is buying Feedburner in order to get into the rapidly evolving RSS Ad market. The delay in announcing the deal, I am told is solely due to the delay in closing out the DoubleClick deal.Ã¢â‚¬Â�
Considering the recent revelation by Google CEO Eric Schmidt to eWeek that “Google buys a start-up once every few days, or around one a week,” this deal would be about par for the course.
Via Duncan Rawlson.
I’d heard of the charge of felony murder prior to viewing the Frontline documentary When Kids Get Life, but I never really knew what it was. An abomination:
KATHLEEN BYRNE: Felony murder is one form of first degree murder in Colorado. There are various types of first degree murder. The most common, or the most well known, is after deliberation and with intent to cause a death, you cause a death. Felony murder is different in that it is what we call a strict liability crime. So long as you have committed certain acts, it doesn’t matter what your intent was.
In the case of felony murder, if you’ve committed, for example, the crime of robbery, and during that robbery, or immediately thereafter or while you’re fleeing from the robbery, the death of a person is caused because of the defendant’s conduct, because of the robbery, it doesn’t matter who causes that conduct. So long as it is caused in the context of that robbery or the flight from the robbery, then the defendant is responsible for that death.
NARRATOR: Kathleen Byrne is an independent appellate attorney who often works for the state. She represented the state in Trevor’s case, defending the conviction of felony murder in his appeal.
KATHLEEN BYRNE: He committed the robbery, which is two to six years, so far as I read the statute. He committed conspiracy to commit robbery, which I think is one to three years. And he committed reckless manslaughter, which I think is two to six years. A trial court could sentence them to run one after another or all at the same time. His sentence could have been between two and fifteen years, the way I calculate it. But because of the felony murder rule, he was convicted of first degree murder, and that’s automatic life without parole.
OFRA BIKEL: You mean life without parole, instead of 12 to 15 years at the most, that he could have gotten?
KATHLEEN BYRNE: And that is very- that is just the facts. There’s not a shred of opinion in there, that is the fact.
OFRA BIKEL: Do you have an opinion?
KATHLEEN BYRNE: No, I have no opinion. [laughs] It’s a very harsh rule. It’s a very harsh rule, and I think a lot of people question whether it’s an appropriate rule to maintain. It may be time for it to go.
NARRATOR: The felony murder statute has its roots in 12th century English law. It was abolished in England 50 years ago, in part because of public outcry over the unfairness of the punishment.
A touch too far: Public lewdness laws
Let’s remember that the real agenda of the leadership of the anti-gay marriage crowd is to criminalize homosexuality, which they see as a crime against God, man and nature. They believe a homosexual proclivity to be resistible and therefore a choice that should be penalized, analogous to the way we penalize the choice to rape, murder or steal from a store.
The problem those gay marriage opponents face is that if they make their criminal claim straight out they will lose. Social norms have clearly come to accept those of us with a lesbian or gay identity as a perfectly natural part of the human condition. So what we get instead is de facto criminalization.
45 out of 50 states have passed laws prohibiting legal recognition of gay relationships, a purposeful disincentive to long-term coupling and commitment that deprives our relationships of the support of family, friends, neighbors and, significantly, the laws that helps hold heterosexual relationships together.
In the face of such disincentives, I think it amazing how well our relationships work. But for those gay people still trapped in the culture that wants to deny our legitimate existence and keep us invisibly steeped in shame, I think it a predictable behavioral adaptation that they may engage in brief anonymous encounters.
Here we arrive at the topic of public lewdness laws. Now you may think it reasonable to prohibit such behavior - I’d prefer, too, that we encourage gay relationships and count myself among those working to make that happen - but I urge you to please look a bit closer at those lewdness laws.
From a report on a measure intended to strengthen those laws in New York:
[G]ay groups have long asserted, and arrest data tends to confirm, that the public lewdness law is most often used to arrest and prosecute gay and bisexual men who have sex in public places such as parks, rest stops, and public toilets. Heterosexuals having sex in so-called lovers’ lanes are rarely arrested.
“One of the concerns that we’ve always had about public lewdness laws is not so much the laws themselves, but the way they are implemented,” said Clarence Patton, executive director of the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project (AVP). “We still to this day go through cycles of unequal enforcement of the law as well as some entrapment… That for us presents an issue.”
The brother of a friend brags that he’s had sex in the restroom of every restaurant in town. With women. He’s heterosexual. Objectionable? Maybe. Loathsome? Maybe. Criminal? The problem is, it clearly would be if he were gay.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
U.S. attorney in Macon was on firing list
McClatchy Newspapers has learned that the top prosecutors in Macon, Ga., and Roanoke, Va., landed on a proposed firing list weeks after the White House and Justice Department traded notes about the potential for voter-fraud cases in central Georgia and Appalachia. They were added to a list just days before last November’s midterm election, but ultimately not fired.
MAXWELL WOOD, the U.S. attorney in Macon, was one of 26 federal prosecutors considered for dismissal between February 2005 and December 2006, the Washington Post reported Thursday.
The newspaper based its story on “sources familiar with documents withheld from the public.” It said Wood’s name appeared in a memo to D. Kyle Sampson, then Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales’ chief of staff, from Michael J. Elston, chief of staff to the deputy attorney general. Sampson resigned in March. [...]
Wood, appointed by President Bush in 2001, issued a statement Thursday, saying, “I do not feel obligated to respond to media reports based on unnamed sources concerning a list not confirmed by the Department of Justice, that I have never seen, and which was compiled by a person I do not recall ever meeting who no longer works for the Department of Justice.Ã¢â‚¬Â�
Of mice and bald men
My friend Joe sends news of hair loss hope:
WASHINGTON (Reuters)—Mice with deep skin wounds can grow new hair, scientists said on Wednesday in a finding that offers hope for a baldness remedy for humans.
The mice regenerated hair at the site of the wound via molecular processes similar to those used in embryonic development, according to the research, published in the journal Nature. [...]
Dr. George Cotsarelis, a dermatology professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia who led the study, said the findings dispel the dogma that hair loss is permanent in people and other mammals, and that once they are lost new hair follicles cannot grow.
Cotsarelis said the findings could pave the way for remedies for male-pattern baldness and other types of hair-loss. He said the idea would be to apply compounds to get epidermal cells to turn into hair follicles.
Joe sent that to Doug and me (the subject line of his email, “of Mice and Men or the Tale of Two Baldies;” both Doug and I are folliclly challenged) then later over dinner ran fingers through his thick head of hair and chortled that any real treatment is at least five years away.
- Thanks Joe!
Homo homophobes (reprised again)
In honor of IDAHomophobia, “amazing not surprising” research from right up the road at The University of Georgia. Done in 1996, it showed up again last year in the Know + Tell section of Details magazine.
The quote I like: “In tests conducted by Prof. Henry E Adams of the University of Georgia, homophobic men who said they were exclusively heterosexual were shown gay sex videos. Four out of five became sexually aroused by the homoerotic imagery, as recorded by a penile circumference measuring device - a plethysmograph. Prof. Adams says his research shows that most homophobes “demonstrate significant sexual arousal to homosexual erotic stimuli”, suggesting that homophobia is a form of “latent homosexuality where persons are either unaware of or deny their homosexual urges.”
There’s more here. We were both sorry to learn that Professor Adams passed away in 2000. Too bad too. I’m not finding any more recent research, though there’s no reason to believe things have gotten anything but worse.
On 17 May 1990, the General Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) removed homosexuality from their list of mental disorders.
The fight for the recognition of equal rights for lesbian gay, bisexual and transgender people did not end there though.
Today around 80 countries in the world still criminalize homosexuality and condemn consensual same sex acts with imprisonment, of these 9 (Afghanistan, Iran, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Yemen) still have the death penalty. Discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation and gender identity is still not recognized formally by the member states of the United Nations (even though human rights mechanisms such as the Human Rights Committee have repeatedly condemned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity).
Google’s Universal Search & me
Back in 2001, Eric asked for a brainstorm of a few “splashy” ideas in search. A designer and product manager at the time, I made a few mockups—one of which was for ‘universal search.’ It was a sample search results page for Britney Spears that, in addition to web results, also had news, images, and groups results right on the same page. Even then, we could see that people could easily become overwhelmed with the number of different search tools available on Google—let alone those that would be created over the next few years. This proliferation of tools, while useful, has outgrown the old model of search. We want to help you find the very best answer, even if you don’t know where to look.
That mockup and early observations were the motivation behind the universal search effort we announced earlier today. And while that Britney Spears mockup was the start of Google’s universal search vision, it was instantly obvious that this would be one of the biggest architectural, ranking, and interface challenges we would face at Google. Over several years, with the help of more than 100 people, we’ve built the infrastructure, search algorithms, and presentation mechanisms to provide what we see as just the first step in the evolution toward universal search. Today, we’re making that first step available on google.com by launching the new architecture and using it to blend content from Images, Maps, Books, Video, and News into our web results.
With universal search, we’re attempting to break down the walls that traditionally separated our various search properties and integrate the vast amounts of information available into one simple set of search results.
Here are a few of my favorite searches that show off the power of universal search:
In addition, we’ve rolled out a few new navigation elements and experimental features to help our users better navigate our site and find the information they’re looking for. These include contextual navigation links above the search results that help users “drill down” to specific types of information. For instance, developers who search for [python] will see links for “web,” “blogs,” “books,” “groups,” and “code,” whereas [downtown los angeles] will show a different set of links. Also, in terms of integration and navigation, today we introduced a new universal navigation bar at the top of all Google web pages to provide easier navigation to your favorite Google products, such as Gmail.
PC World’s Harry McCracken is intrigued but confused. I’m impressed but disappointed. Not for Google but for me.
My layman’s guess is that since searches for me turn up results of only one kind, web, my rank is lower. It looks like I’ll have to go out and tag some photos and make some news if I want to rise in the ranking again.
Amero sentencing set for tomorrow
UPDATE: Postponed again, this time till June 6.
NORWICH—A former substitute teacher convicted of exposing seventh-graders to Internet porn is once again scheduled to be sentenced Friday in Norwich Superior Court.
Facing a maximum of 40 years in prison, Julie Amero of Windham will still be awaiting her sentence Friday if previously scheduled court dates are any indication.
Three times before, first by a request by defense and twice later by the state, sentencing was postponed. No official word came Wednesday that the sentencing would not go through as scheduled.
For all the others who have not gotten our attention, this is the plea I’ve appended to all of my Amero posts:
WE NEED A COMPUTER FORENSICS INNOCENCE PROJECT; a Barry Sheck and Peter Neufeld of the computer forensics world. We need experts who believe in the presumption of innocence and are willing to spend the time it takes to dig through logs, registry entries and hard drives to find exculpatory material when present. This is not really the first case of its kind and, unfortunately, it’s not likely be the last. Prosecutors who look for - and presume - guilt do selective searches for data supporting guilt; those accused rarely have the resources to pay computer forensics experts to counter that selective evidence.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Jimmy Carter to Congress: revisit Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
In a statement issued to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, Former president Jimmy Carter has called upon Congress to revisit Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the policy prohibiting open lesbians and gays from serving in the US military.
Ã‚"It is my long-held belief that every human being deserves dignity and respect,” Carter told SLDN in a statement obtained by PageOneQ. In calling for Congress to look at the policy, Carter said “The nationÃ‚’s commitment to human rights requires that lawmakers revisit Ã‚â€˜DonÃ‚’t Ask, DonÃ‚’t Tell,Ã‚’ the current policy that prevents lesbians, gays and bisexuals from serving openly in our armed forces.Ã‚”
Matthews slams Kingston: “a dishonest comparison”
Chris Matthews slams Georgia GOP Rep. Jack Kingston on tonight’s Hardball:
Matthews: Will the people of Georgia support ten more years of American involvement, military involvement in Iraq?
Kingston: Well, people know we’re still in Germany and in South Korea…
Matthews: Yea, but..no no no no no. I won’t let you get away with that. That’s not a fair comparison. We do not have a war in South Korea. There’s no German that’s fired on an American since 1945. That’s not a fair comparison...That is not an acceptable argument! These comparisons to previous eras...it’s lazy thinking, Congressman. It’s the kind of propaganda that does not help this country understand the situation. You stepped into a dishonest comparison. Some people come on this show over and over again saying things that-JUST-aren’t-true.
REMEMBER ALSO: Kingston’s anti-poverty plan - get married & work more.
Health Insurance: less for health, more for implants
Health insurers are offering cosmetic surgery discounts. They’re not paying for the surgery, but they’re offering in-network discounts to attract members. Reasons: 1) Demand for cosmetic procedures is growing. 2) One insurer says the discounts “make our plan more attractive to employers and members.” Meanwhile, a report finds that “despite having the most costly health system in the world Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ Compared with five other nations-Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, the United Kingdom-the U.S. health care system ranks last or next-to-last on five dimensions of a high performance health system.” Cynical view: Yeah, but we have the best jugs.
Ken Burns on the Southern Cross (reprised again)
Ken Burns speaking with Campus Progress last spring:
I’m always astounded by the prevalence of confederate flags and confederate memorabilia in the South and the frequent controversy that surrounds the issue. As a someone who is tremendously knowledgeable about the Civil War and as a Northerner, what do you make of that? Do you consider it a symbol of racism?
A lot of my relatives fought for the confederacy, but some fought for the north as well. First of all, the Civil War was, in addition to the biggest thing that has ever happened within this country by far, a deeply psychological event. There is an ultimate paradox at its heart, that in order to become one we kind of tore ourselves in two. Before the Civil War, when we referred to our country we said the United States “are,” and now we say ungrammatically the United States “is.” So the war in a funny way made us a one thing. We used to speak of a union and then we became a nation. A union is a collection of things and a nation is one thing. So there are deeply important psychological issues that continue to reverberate about the Civil War.
But the point you bring up about the confederate flag is a hugely disturbing thing. The confederate flag was adopted by many of the states as their flag, not before the Civil War, not during the Civil War, or not even in the immediate period afterwards, that much misunderstood period called Reconstruction. Those flags were instituted in the 1950’s and there’s only one thing that happened in the 1950’s that would have caused the southern states to add the confederate flag. They took one of the battle flags, and it wasn’t even the most popular confederate battle flag, and made it the symbol of segregation and resistance to civil rights and codified it in their flags. In that regard I find that the enthusiasm for the confederate flag today is both misplaced, misunderstood, and absolutely a symbol of racism.
[T]he ”Southern Cross” was the naval jack of the Confederacy, not the official flag. Georgia went through a controversy some years back when it removed the Confederate flag from the state flag, but the flag they have now is actually closer to the original Confederate flag
McCain on the Confederate flag in SC
On the top or on the grounds is a distinction without a difference. The boos and applause sound to me like trouble for Republicans down the road.
Wonkette liveblogging the debate:
10:07 The entire audience just booed the Confederate flag question, awesome. McCain: Let’s just move on, ok? Seriously. Moving on gets applause, because it means he won’t get mad that they’re still flying it! BTW someone should explain to Rudy “Who would support slavery?” Giuliani what that flag means.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
MySpace responds to AGs pressure on predators
MySpace is glad to comply - “In the 12 days since the software has become operable, we have deleted and removed every registered sex offender that we identified out of our more than 175 million profiles” - but notes that turning over names would violate the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) and tosses it back at the states:
[MySpace chief security officer Hemanshu] Nigam instead suggested that politicians could be taking different measures to combat sex offenders’ presence on sites like MySpace. “We need cooperation from lawmakers to drive mandatory sex offender email registration legislation at the federal and state level to make blocking predators from community-based websites a more efficient process,” Nigam wrote. “Our hope is that the Attorneys General who signed onto this letter, and other websites, join us in pushing this legislation into law.”
The eight attorney generals (Georgia’s among them) finding fault with MySpace are acting out of craven political self-interest rather than any real child-safety interest. Statements like “I tell parents every day that MySpace is a dangerous place for teenagers,” don’t bowl me over with wisdom. Real child safety advocates take a different view:
“I haven’t seen in my 12 years of working on these kinds of issues a company jump through as many hoops and respond as quickly and diligently as MySpace,” said Donna Rice Hughes, president of Enough Is Enough, an Internet safety organization.