Sunday, February 29, 2004

The Process of Governing


This is about process, not gay marriage

The official talking points out of the White House is that the Constitutional Amendment banning Gay Marriage only came about after Activist Judges forced the President to intervene (See, for example, this Op/Ed in todays NYT: How the Judges Forced the President's Hand).

It turns out that's simply a giant lie, according to a GOP aide quoted in the Rocky Mountain News:

"President Bush pledged to Rep. Marilyn Musgrave that he would support her proposed constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage three months before he made Tuesday's public pronouncement, according to Musgrave's top aide.

The White House has said Bush made the decision only after officials in San Francisco and New Mexico presided over same-sex marriages.

Guy Short, Musgrave's chief of staff, said Musgrave discussed her Federal Marriage Amendment with the president during a Nov. 24 trip aboard Air Force One to Fort Carson, where Bush visited troops and met with survivors of military personnel killed in Iraq."

Those confidential assurances by the president encouraged Musgrave and her staff to proceed. "We wanted to respect his timing, but we knew it was coming," Short said.

Forget the politics of this: My concern (I'm an independent) is the process of governance: There is simply a frightening over reliance on deception and falsehoods from this administration. Any scientist understands the obvious dangers of this in research. There is a similar problem with this form of governance. We saw it with Stem Cell Research, with Iraq (and you may recall I was pro Invasion but for reasons other than WMD), with the Medicaid program, with tax cuts (many of which I supported), and on the deficit projections.

And now, the same pattern arises with the proposed Constitutional Amendment prohibiting Gay Marriages.

This should be a concern for every US citizen. This impacts our credibility in the World -- and that's important for a debtor nation who's financial obligations are 46% owned by foreign investors and governments. If they ever decide to stop buying US Treasuries, we would be in some real fiscal trouble. Their purchases are what's keeping interest rates so low. If overseas governments stop buying US Treasuries, interest rates would spike up dramatically. That's why, setting aside the politics of Gay Marriage or Stem Cell Research or whatever -- the process of government needs to be credible and transparent. At present, its neither.

In politics, as in most endeavors, I expect to disagree with people. I frequently engage in enthusiastic debate. Occasionally, I will even have someone change my mind. But I never expect totally disingenuous argument with fabricated facts, timelines, details and data. That is simply and totally unacceptable -- even in Politics.

Yes, there are lies, damned lies, and statistics. Soon, we may need to add a 4th category: the "factual" basis for any policy announcement out of this White House.

UPDATE: March 1, 2004 6:54am
A reader points out that this CNN article from July 2003: "White House considers constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage:"

"A day after Bush revealed his staff was looking at ways to "codify" his belief that marriage should be limited to unions between a man and a woman, his spokesman noted a constitutional amendment is being "publicly debated" and acknowledged it is something the White House is considering "in this context."
The article does quote White House spokesman Scott McClellan stating "There is speculation there may be some decisions soon in places like Massachusetts and New Jersey, so it's a question of what may be needed legally to protect and defend the sanctity of marriage." However, given the President's committment to the amendment in November 2003, prior to the court decisions, its apparent that the judicial activisism is merely a convenient excuse for pursuing this amendment, decided upon long before the court decisions.

Bush pledged to back ban in Nov., Musgrave aide says
Bill Straub, Scripps Howard News Service
February 28, 2004,1299,DRMN_21_2690146,00.html

How the Judges Forced the President's Hand
NYTimes, February 29, 2004

White House considers constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage
Bush wants to 'codify' definition of marriage
Dana Bash
CNN Washington Bureau, Thursday, July 31, 2003 Posted: 5:27 PM EDT (2127 GMT)

Posted at 09:25 AM in Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hummer envy?

Just in case the Hummer wasn't big and dumb enough for you: The Maxi Mog:


In case you have a really, really small penis.

Posted at 07:38 AM in Art & Design | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Get a f%@$ing clue!

I am dumbfounded that I continue to receive email from people that is so readily obviously and readibly provable as false. From smart people, too. People who should know better.

All anyone needs to do is go to to verify that. (Or are you all too fat and lazy to do that?)

C'mon people, its 2004 -- get a clue:

Bill Gates isn't sending you money for forwarding an email, nor will sending a plea to 10 people help cure a little girl with cancer. No, the ACLU isn't stopping Marines from praying before they go into battle. Al Gore did not claim he "invented" the Internet, Neil Armstrong never said "Good luck, Mr. Gorsky!," President George W. Bush never proclaimed, "The problem with the French is that they don't have a word for entrepreneur." Did Kurt Vonnegut give a commencement address at MIT where he advised the graduating class: "Wear sunscreen"? No. Is Disney giving you an all expense paid trip to Disneyland for forwarding an email? No. And toilets do not flush clockwise in the northern hemisphere and counterclockwise in the southern hemisphere.
On the other hand:
a Canadian radio commentator Gordon Sinclair did deliver a stirring, pro-American editorial -- but it was in 1973. Yes, a couple rented a video camera and VCR, taped themselves having sex, then accidentally left the tape in the player when they return it to the video store. Hermann Goering did proclaim that although "the people don't want war," but they "can always be brought to the bidding of their leaders." Monkees band member Michael Nesmith's mom did invent Liquid Paper correction fluid. Yes, in 1973 Monty Python released a 3 sided record album. And a speeder caught by a photo radar trap did send in a photo of $45 for his fine -- and yes, the police did send back a photo of handcuffs (the speeder paid the fine). And yes, there is a town in Austria called 'Fucking' (Its pronounced "fooking").
The point is that -- thanks to Snopes and Google-- all these stories are very, very easily disproven or verified.

Before you blindly lurch to forward some idiotic email, ask yourself this simple question: I am that gullible? Am I so naive that some 13 year old is playing me for a chump?

Goof emails are the modern equivalent of the phony phone call. So ask yourself:

• Do I have Prince Albert in a can?
• Is anyone here's name "Dick Hurtz?"
• Is that a bag of flaming poo on my front porch? (better stomp on it).

People, its 2004. Get a clue . . .

Posted at 08:10 AM in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Friday, February 27, 2004

Will Clear Channel's Stern Ban Boost Satellite Radio?


The government has gone into freakish overdrive/overreaction in terms of censorship; You might not like Stern but once it happens to Stern, it can happen to anyone. Ironically, you may recall that Stern released a CD some years ago called Crucified by the FCC -- which is now a collectors item on eBay.


Via Adrants

UPDATE: 02/27/04 8:50PM

BuzzMachine's take on the matter is too good not to quote extensively:

The death of broadcast

: Clear Channel has cut off Howard Stern. When Janet Jackson's outfit opened, it opened a door not on her breast but on censorship. Clear Channel even sent out a press release bragging about cutting off Stern. MarksFriggin, the unofficial Stern site, says those stations are in Pittsburgh, Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, Rochester, Louisville and San Diego. Clear Channel also fired Bubba the Love Sponge.

: Here's how I predict this will play out:
- Stern will engineer his firing from Viacom.
- Stern will sign with satellite, giving satellite the boost it needs to become a viable business.
- Buy satellite stock now. Sell radio stock now.
- Broadcast radio will quickly falter, losing attention to MP3s, satellite, and cellular broadcast. Broadcast radio will die. Consolidation won't kill it. Censorship will.
- Satellite will grow rapidly, getting more consumer revenue and ad revenue.
- Broadcast TV will suffer similar blows.
- Cable and satellite TV will grow.

The bottom line: Any medium that can be government-regulated will shrink; any medium free of government regulation will grow. Government censorship will grow until, at long last, libertarians and Republicans and Democrats wake up and realize that this is not the role they want for government, this is not the America they envision. But in the meantime, they will have destroyed a medium or two

Hope he's right . . .

UPDATE: March 3, 2004, 2:14pm

Charles Kuffner's Off the Kuff hits the nail on the head:

Surprise! Turns out ClearChannel has a funny definition of "indecency:"

So the evil conglomerate Clear Channel is waging war against indecency - they've dropped Howard Stern from the 0.5% of their member stations who were running his show, they've fired Bubba the Love Sponge, whose antics in Tampa they were surely unaware of before now, and they've got everyone from local DJs to industry insiders all abuzz about the new trend in Non-Shock Radio.

And how do they prove their commitment to decent, clean, family-friendly airwaves here in Houston?

Clear Channel may have dumped Stern and Bubba the Love Sponge, but it recently added controversial radio jock Michael Savage to its lineup at KPRC in Houston. MSNBC fired Savage last summer after he referred to a caller to his weekend cable TV show as a "sodomite" and said he should "get AIDS and die."
Ken Charles, Clear Channel regional vice president of programming for Houston, did not return calls from the Chronicle on Thursday.

Yeah. That Michael Savage
Here's Ken Charles' contact page. Feel free to thank him for doing his part to make the airwaves so much more clean and decent here in Houston.

via Off the Kuff:

Posted at 03:13 PM in Finance, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

No joke: Bill Hicks


To follow up on our previous Hicks posts, let me poitn you to a terrific read in the British paper Guardian about the late great Bill Hicks, titled "last laugh."

Here's a quick look:

"He was sceptical, scatological, struggling for success on his own terms. Then suddenly life changed for comedian Bill Hicks: his work was being taken seriously - and, at 31, he was dying. Ten years on, John Lahr pays tribute

My New Yorker profile of Bill Hicks, The Goat Boy Rises, sat unpublished at the magazine for nearly four months. Hicks's ban from the David Letterman show and his subsequent 31-page letter to me explaining what had happened provided the impetus to get the profile into print straight away. It appeared on November 1, 1993.

"The phones are ringing off the hook, the offers are pouring in, and all because of you," Hicks wrote to me the following week, signing himself "Willy Hicks"."It's almost as though I've been lifted out of a 10-year rut and placed in a position where the offers finally match my long-held and deeply cherished creative aspirations... Somehow, people are listening in a new light. Somehow the possibilities (creatively) seem limitless."

Rereading Hicks's letter now, 10 years later, the parenthesis in the last sentence hit me like a punch to the heart. Hicks was suddenly, to his amazement, no longer perceived as "a joke blower", the kind of pandering stand-up he hated.



No joke: Bill Hicks
The Guardian
Saturday February 14, 2004,11710,1146768,00.html

Posted at 05:08 AM in Humor | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Top twelve reasons homosexual marriage should not be legal:

1. Homosexuality is not natural, much like eyeglasses, polyester, and birth control.

2. Heterosexual marriages are valid because they produce children. Infertile couples and old people can’t legally get married because the world needs more children.

3. Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

4. Straight marriage will be less meaningful, since Britney Spears’ 55-hour just-for-fun marriage was meaningful.

5. Heterosexual marriage has been around a long time and hasn’t changed at all; women are property, blacks can’t marry whites, and divorce is illegal.

6. Gay marriage should be decided by people not the courts, because the majority-elected legislatures, not courts, have historically protected the rights of the minorities.

7. Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That’s why we have only one religion in America.

8. Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

9. Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

10. Children can never suceed without a male and a female role model at home. That’s why single parents are forbidden to raise children.

11. Gay marriage will change the foundation of society. Heterosexual marriage has been around for a long time, and we could never adapt to new social norms because we haven’t adapted to cars or longer lifespans.

12. Civil unions, providing most of the same benefits as marriage with a different name are better, because a “seperate but equal” institution is always constitutional. Seperate schools for African-Americans worked just as well as seperate marriages for gays and lesbians will.

via GatorGSA

Posted at 05:41 PM in Humor, Politics | Permalink | Comments (36) | TrackBack



Out of the NY Toy fair comes this story of a beautiful planet called Babooch. Nearby were the evil Zartans, who were very mean and did not take care of their planet. Long story short, when the Zartans were preparing to invade, the pacifist Baboochies figured they better find another palce for themselves (or the Zartans).

Then one day they found a nice planet that they had never seen before. The Zartans can’t live there, but Baboochies can! The planet is called Earth . . .

via Underground Online

Posted at 07:12 AM in Design | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Its Official! Jews killed Christ


At least, according to some half wit pastor in Colorado.

The Denver ABC news channel reported that a "billboard unveiled on Ash Wednesday, the same day that a controversial movie depicting the last hours of Jesus Christ premiered, is sparking criticism from people of all faiths." In a graceful example of understatement, the Denver Channel ran the headline "'Jews Killed Jesus' Sign Causing Controversy." Uh, yeah.

Ironically, the idiot pastor's church is titled the Lovingway.

The large-size outdoor marquee, which sits on the property of the Lovingway United Pentecostal Church at Colorado and Mississippi, says, "Jews Killed The Lord Jesus" and the word "Settled!"

Thank goodness! For a moment there, I thought we might have to rely on the Bible for this sort of thing. It turns out that a movie by Mel Gibson has definititively resolved the issue. Now we can begin to study the 20th Century via Mad Max/Road Warrior and the Lethal Weapon trilogy.

I never understood why I, as a Jew, have to explain the New Testement to some people. I am familiar with the words of Christ -- if not as my Savior, then at least as a teacher and philosopher. It never ceases to amaze me how the people who are the most zealous enthusiasts fail to understand even the simplest of plots in the bible. The lessons taught there seem tto go right over there heads.

Ignore for the moment that the Romans were the actual wielders of the hammer and nails, and further ignore the inconvenient fact that Jews were a dispossessed group of people, even in Jerusalem, who the Romans kept us around as tax collectors (While many people 2,000 years ago were illiterate, Jews could read, write and do math).

That said, assume for a moment that Christ wasn't crucified. That the Jews "rescued" him, and begged the Romans for release. That they chose for clemency not the murderer Barabbas, but instead pciked Jesus the prophet.

Then what?

Without the Cruxifiction, as ordained by God (remember him?) Jesus would have just been another guy, a carpenter making furniture in Nazareth. Perhaps philosphy and spiritual teaching would have been his "hobby." The whole "Son of God" thing? That never would have been validated via the cruxifiction.

"My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?"

"You know Jesus, you're right. You're free to go. Pontius Pilate, take him down" the Lord boomed. "Nothing to see here folks, move along."

That doesn't seem to be a particularly spiritual ending -- at least not as it was described in the Bible.

You see, as I've read it -- and again, let me point out that I'm a hook nosed money lending Jew, so I could be wrong -- it was God who sent his only Son to die for our sins. Perhaps the good pastor in Colorado overlooked that small issue.

Other people haven't. We The People observes:

"The crucifixion was the solution. What was the problem? Sin. Our sin. Every one of us. Who solved the problem? God. He sent His Son. So, who is responsible? God or man? (Notice I didn't ask God or Jews...)"
Hmmmm. Can you get a job as a Pastor if you have never read the bible? Apparently, you can in Colorado and Missisippi.

'Jews Killed Jesus' Sign Causing Controversy
Pastor Refuses To Remove Or Change Saying On Outdoor Marquee
POSTED: 9:41 am MST February 25, 2004

We The People

Posted at 06:51 AM in Film | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Wednesday, February 25, 2004



Introducing the world's coolest network music player! The Roku SoundBridge lets you play your Mac or PC digital music files anywhere in the house. All major audio formats are supported — MP3, WMA, AAC, AIFF, WAV, FLAC and Ogg-Vorbis — and it's network ready with wired Ethernet or an optional CompactFlash Wi-Fi adapter. A large, bright display and Apple RendezvousTM and native iTunes® support make this player a winning part of your home entertainment system.

From the FAQ:

The world’s coolest networked music player. It streams your digital music remotely from your PC or Macintosh to any room in the house (either wired or Wi-Fi). Features include:
Supports the most audio formats of any music player
Very large, easy-to-read VFD display
Easy to use interface
WiFi and wired Ethernet support
Native iTunes support
Support for Windows or Mac platforms and music formats

From Roku's feature list:

Finally, a digital music player that looks as good as it sounds! Roku presents the SoundBridge music players, featuring a unique design that fuses beautiful, large displays with compact, sleek enclosures. The SoundBridge connects your stereo or powered speakers to your computer’s digital music library.

M1000: 10 inches wide, large 5 1/2 inch display
M2000: 17 inches wide, huge 12 inch display

Which looks like this:

This is pretty cool -- too bad the price is so high: $449.99 for the 12" display, and $249.99 5 for 1/2 inch display.

via Gizmodo

Posted at 02:02 PM in Design, Music, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Google Hacks


Douwe Osinga has created a number of interesting "Google Hacks" as [art of an ongoing programming experiment.

He notes that his projects are "Google Hacks in that they use Google for something fun or interesting in a way that Google was not designed for. Google stimulates these projects in a limited way. The Google API allows programmers to do up to a 1000 searches a day from their own projects. Pretty neat, except for that a 1000 is not that much when a service becomes public, especially since some hacks below use more than one search per operation."

If you have any interest in either programming or web search, you should check it out.

via linkfilter

Posted at 12:07 PM in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack