aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
38 & HS student spars with Rove
Think Progress is always worth reading, but a couple important posts today include…
Number of women who have contacted gang-rape victim Jamie Leigh Jones and said that they too had suffered sexual assault while working for Halliburton/KBR in Iraq. Jones, who testified to Congress today, says that many of the women “cannot speak publicly due to arbitration agreements in their employment contracts.”
And a high school student asked Karl Rove “to explain how giving gay people the right to marry would endanger other people.” Rove answered that the issue “should be resolved by a legislature or a referendum, not a court.”
[The student, Choate senior Marla] Spivack kept pressing. “You never actually answered, how does it threaten anyone?” she asked.
Rove asked, what’s the compelling reason to throw out 5,000 years of understanding the institution of marriage as between a man and a woman?
What, Spivack countered, was the compelling reason for society to allow interracial relationships when they had once been outlawed.
Then Rove invoked the Declaration of Independence before Spivak interjected that its reference to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” seemed to support her claims.
He was speaking at New England Choate Rosemary Hall prep school last night after the school decided to cancel his address at its commencement ceremony this year.
Baptist Day not so fertile at the Capitol
Hundreds and hundreds of Southern Baptists descended on the state Capitol today. Political Insider explains why:
The top priority of Southern Baptist Day was to free a specific piece of legislation trapped in the House â€” H.R. 536, a proposed constitutional amendment that would establish the state’s interest in a human embryo at the moment of fertilization.
House Republican leadership has been hesitant to move the bill, which would require two-thirds approval for passage, because it would expose moderate GOP members in an election year.
Objections to the measure, intended to challenge Roe. v. Wade, include worries that it might threaten commonly used forms of contraception. And suburban women are a key ‘08 voting demographic.
The state’s largest Christian denomination got behind the proposed amendment last November - DVDs and literature were sent to every member church - and have quickly learned that campaign blandishments don’t always translate into results at the Capitol.
“You can’t treat us as a voting bloc during the campaign and ignore us when you get into office,” said a frustrated Bucky Kennedy, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Vidalia and president of the Georgia Baptist Convention. “We’ve been used. We’d just like to see a little action.”
Yes and the kind of action they want could just bring about the kind of Democratic resurgence we want in Georgia.
Clinton as Loser
I have to say that I don’t think the underdog Clinton narrative will hurt her in the long run. It will be hard to overcome Obama’s Big Mo’—and I’m on record both as a Clinton supporter and as (preemptively?) expecting an Obama/Edwards ticket. If Edwards endorses it’s over!
So I was mighty impressed with Hillary on 60 Minutes the other night. Even as it seemed to me that the interview had an undue emphasis on Obama and the what if:
“Barack Obama’s candidacy has undeniably gained momentum over the recent months. Have you grappled with the idea, Senator Clinton, that it could be him and not you?” Katie Couric asked Clinton.
“Well, when you’re in the heat of this intense experience, the only way I know how to do it is to believe with all my heart that I’m going to be successful. That’s what I get up every day and tell myself. That’s what I believe. That’s what I think is going to happen. So I don’t entertain the other option,” Sen. Clinton replied.
“Even in your deepest darkest moments, when you’re exhausted, you don’t think ‘Oh my gosh, I’m going through this, I’m spending so much money, I’m so tired and this could be all for naught?’ What if that happens?” Couric asked. “You have to, once in a while, think that. No?”
“No, Katie,” Clinton said. “You can’t think like that. You have to believe you’re going to win.”
Katie kept at it, returning to the question again at the end:
“What do you see yourself doing if this doesn’t work out?” Couric asked.
“Well, I’ll be a senator from New York. Which is a great job. I love New York,” Clinton replied.
Asked if she’d be fine with that, Clinton said, “Absolutely. You know, I have a very clear sense that this is gonna work out the way it’s supposed to work out. And I’m happy with that. Maybe it’s because I’m a little older, I’m not so, you know, panting and anxious and all of that. And I have a blessed life. So whatever happens, I will be fine.”
After Iowa, in losers weepers, I don’t think so, I wrote:
I firmly believe that whatever the outcome of this presidential race, Hillary will play a significant role in the political future of this country. The reason I support her is that she’s tough and committed, a dedicated pol. She has earned her senate seat and would work to keep it. And so I would expect a defeated Hillary to get back to work in the senate and become an invaluable Obama ally working to get his agenda enacted into law. Senate Majority Leader is no stretch. Hillary on the Supreme Court, my dream come true. [...]
I want a woman president. I’m disgusted at the level of misogyny out there and appalled that more isn’t said about it. But if Hillary doesn’t win I will wholeheartedly embrace Obama...and I will be very sad for her. I will also bet everything I got that Hillary will soldier on. And we’ll be a better nation for it.
I think that now more than ever.
AquaDom: the world’s largest cylinder aquarium (reprise)
For some reason this old post is getting a lot of traffic so I figured I’d push it back up to the top...
Placed at the lobby of the Radisson SAS Hotel in Berlin, the 25 meters high AquaDom is the largest cylindrical aquarium ever built. Filled with about 900,000 liters of seawater, it contains some 2600 fish of 56 species… Guests and visitors are able to travel through the aquarium in a glass-enclosed elevator to reach a sightseeing point and restaurant under the glass roof. Two full-time divers are responsible for the care and feeding of the fish and maintenance of the aquarium.
Here’s a Lucite press release that describes how it was made.
The Today Show at the Georgia Aquarium
Pricey hype. I still haven’t been there. I wonder if they’ve figured out what happened to those sharks?
Meredith Vieira is yacking about the stats, but don’t mistake this for some educational institution. The Georgia Aquarium - “not created by a municipality, or a society of subscribers like those that founded the earliest public zoos. It is almost completely the creation of a single man, Bernard Marcus, co-founder of the Home Depot” - as metaphor for our times:
[E]very gallery (and a 3-D theater) bears the label of a corporate sponsor: AirTran, BellSouth, Georgia-Pacific, Home Depot, the Southern Company, SunTrust Bank. If old-fashioned princely patronage was meant to reflect glory on royal powers, a similar goal is apparent here.
But the aquarium does not woo or court its visitors. It means to overwhelm them the moment they pass through a narrow entrance walled by swimming fish and enter the cavernous central space, where public dining areas are surrounded by entrances to thematic galleries—“Ocean Voyager,” “River Scout,” “Cold Water Quest” “Tropical Diver” and “Georgia Explorer”—that almost seem like entrances to amusement park rides. [...]
In Atlanta, too, river fish are glimpsed in an atmospheric, jungle-like path with rippling light and water - a latter-day variation on aquariums’ once-standard grottos. And perhaps most dramatically, there is the sight of a small school of golden trevallies, swimming in perfect formation, inches from the grim mouth of a 17-foot whale shark.
Yet to discover that those fish are trevallies, I had to search. Labels are either nonexistent or uninformative. One is often meant to browse through touch screens of images that offer minimal enlightenment for maximal effort. The galleries are organized around habitats, but they provide no information about what effects these habitats have on marine life or how animals function within it. Without enough context, it is astonishing how often these carefully planned routes devolve into miscellany. [...]
The lack of information and the inconsistency of imagination are strange, given the ambitions and accomplishments of this institution - including an educational program that draws schoolchildren with an apparently detailed curriculum. It is as if once the big effects were created, the creators relaxed into routine. Why though, is there a reluctance - here as in so many other museums - to provide real information for those who want it? Or to design exhibits that don’t just create atmosphere but spur understanding? The now requisite messages about conservation are pumped into a 3-D cartoon, but even they have no real import. ...[T]his aquarium’s risks are not of tanks fracturing or sea water growing stale, but of isolated spectacles and too little information.
How depressed/medicated are we?
I hear tell that our student body is among the most medicated ever. I go back and forth on whether or not I think that a problem.
Peter D. Kramer, a shrink probably best known for authoring Listening to Prozac in 1993 but who also, we learn, served a stint in the Carter administration Department of Health, Education, and Welfare has a review in Slate of Comfortably Numb: How Psychiatry Is Medicating a Nation, by Charles Barber:
Barber trumpets, “To say that we are the most psychiatrically medicated nation on earth is a prodigiously absurd understatement.” As regards antidepressants, he buttresses this claim by citing pharmaceutical sales; but paying high prices is not the same as taking more pills. According to a study from the MIT Sloan School of Management, on a per capita basis, by the year 2000 Swedes and Canadians had begun taking more antidepressants than we do. Greece, Italy, Spain, and (again) Sweden used a larger proportion of new, on-patent antidepressants than did the United States. The authors concluded that on the variables studied, the United States “is often ‘in the middle’ relative to other countries, and is not an outlier.”
Depression goes with latitude. [Hey, it’s sunny and 60Â° here right now in Georgia and I’m happy for it! ] Perhaps the Swedes and Canadians should seek more treatment than we do. But the British and the Portuguese are generally clustered with us, as well. The transatlantic perspective suggests that Oprah, the FDA, and the American Psychiatric Association-never mind the American characterâ€”cannot bear the entire burden for our prescribing patterns.