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laugh, or you'll cry

Sunday, July 27, 2003

Chicken Legs

Whatever else may be said about big box chain stores, never let it be said that big corporations ignore the desires and sensibilities of the communities they enter. Borders Books & Music in Fredericksburg, Virginia has banned a Baltimore acoustic artist, Julia Rose, from playing at their store after an incident involving a mention of the US president.

All 3, four on a good day, of my readers are probably expecting me to report that Ms. Rose gave a scathing speech directed at the president that would've made Michael Moore at the Oscars proud. But you would be wrong.

Reader Megan is treating Knee Deep fans to a story about freedom of speech rights gone to far. And I quote:

---

"George Bush has chicken legs. He needs to pump some iron."

"I never bashed Bush as president. I merely said his lower body needs some serious definition," Rose explained later.

"I never said anything about Bush being a bad president or anything. I was just poking fun at his scrawny frame."

Amy Korsun, marketing manager at the Fredericksburg store had this to say:

"Every store has a different clientele and that needs to be taken into account."

---

This may be true, he may have scrawny legs, but people please, we are at war here, no more negativity ok?


Saturday, July 26, 2003

'golden' lies

Golden rice has had a rough life. It's been sitting around for years waiting to be eaten by someone. I did a project on it and its related topic, genetically modified food, when I was in college. It was shunned then as it is now.

Some of the content of this article is right on. The acceptance of such a product is probably unlikely or at the very least, difficult. Same for its purported benefits. It does appear at this time that one would have to eat absurd amounts of the rice to gain much nutritional value. But that could also be improved over time. The US military is already developing nutrition patches, similar to the nicotine patch, for its soldiers. Theoretically, I suppose you could cram any vitamin or mineral, in any quantity, into any plant you want.

Clearly the author is more terrified of genetically modified foods than her own shadow. The claim that these foods are not safe or are untested is repeated over and over by anti-biotech groups and activists in the hopes that it will make it so. Unfortunately for them, these products are some of the most extensively tested products the planet has ever seen. And they've been proven safe and approved by the EPA, FDA, and US Dept. of Agriculture.

I used to be anti-biotech. I know all the claims and scare-mongering tactics. I used to repeat them to others in an attempt to scare them away from "Frakenfoods." The more I read on the issue, the more in favor of their use I become.
EU stupidity

Anybody that thinks that America has a disproportionate number of idiotic bureaucrats per capita hasn't been paying attention to the goings-on on the other side of the pond.

I love it. So who gets to decide what constitutes an affront to "human diginity?" How are we to know what is and isn't an affront to the sensibilities of women? What if one woman is offended but another is not? If a piece of lingerie is particularly revealing, is it an affront to human diginity to advertise it?

Gender stereotypes banned from TV? I can't speak for European television, but there wouldn't be a damn thing on TV in the US if we enacted such a ban. Primetime television exists only through the exploitation of uni-dimensional stereotypes. Certainly Will & Grace would be one of the first shows to be banned. But isn't it also helping to show that homosexuals are just like you and me and that's ok? Isn't it helping to bring a long stigmatized and punished sector of society into the mainstream?

I'll save for another time the issue of leftists confusing the concept of "equality" with their desire to treat all people in all instances exactly the same. Some seem to be convinced that if we wish it hard enough we'll all magically act, think, look, and be exactly the same. Yes, eventually one size truly will fit all. I'd like to know how this coincides with the long championed ideals of diversity and multiculturalism.

For any regular reader of the daily brickbat, its no surprise that the EU has long since abandoned any semblence of rationality in its zest for law making.

get your Jim Crow t-shirts before they're gone

I'm stumped. I'm sitting here trying to think of a reason to favor our federal non-discrimination hiring laws but so far I've got nothing. I agree with the premise of this Mises Institute article. But I don't like the fact that I do. Rather, this is one of those times when my principles allow for results I don't like.

and so it goes.

We as a country proclaim to believe in liberty and freedom of expression and differences of opinion. This is supposedly what people mean when they stump for a "diverse" and "multi-anything" society. Unless of course this freedom is used to exclude a certain sector of society. Especially the currently favored minority sectors.

But if we truly believe in preserving one's freedom to live one's life according to his or her own values, we must accept that some will choose to hold what the vast majority of us see as an ugly, hateful opinion. If A&F wants risk alienating a large and influential sector of its target market, let them. They'll suffer the consequences through bad PR and fewer sales. Maybe even a few protests and boycotts.

They still have that right, or at least they should. The courts should not be used by a few to force their beliefs on the rest of us, whether we on aggregate agree or not. How is that consistent with the ideas of freedom and liberty? Or even diversity and multiculturalism?

Friday, July 25, 2003

Conservatism

Are you compulsively fearful and aggressive towards others and their ideas? Are you plagued by dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity? Do you attempt to prematurely come to closure and avoid all uncertainty?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you just may be a conservative.

Jonah Goldberg responds to a recent study on conservatives to come out of Berkeley [you can see where this is going already].


via julian

Thursday, July 24, 2003

going postal again

From the WaPo

and from the agitator
Michael Moore, Humbug

This is an excellent article summarizing Moore's biggest lies, hypocrisy's and untruths. He is a master of talking about that which he knows nothing. At least he is occassionally funny. But as those who were terrified of the so-called media deregulation ruling from a couple months ago like to hand-wring about, its a sad state of affairs when a large contingent of America's youth get their news from a Michael Moore lecture or open letter to "Mr. Bush."


In case you're worried about how deep your passion for hating this man runs, allow me to introduce you to some people who hate him more than you.

moore...

and moore...

and moore...

and moore...

via aldaily

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

UPDATE! I have a great title for this post compliments of my friend Liz "Going Postal"

I hate the post office. I have for some time. Once again this morning I had to stop by to mail something on the way to work and once again the line is out the door because there is only one clerk working. There are 4 registers and despite the fact that there is a line no matter what time of day you are there, I've never seen more than two open at one time. I may have seen 3 open once, but it could have been a mirage from having stood in line for so long. Not only that, but the clerks are genuinely unfriendly. And slow.

Watching them its obvious they are governement workers in a government enforced monopoly. I can't blame them. Who would be nice, efficient, or competent if their job were guaranteed for life no matter how poorly they perform or how much money the company loses?

Soon after I showed up, a second clerk came the front to open another regsiter. I swear on my mother's grave the woman purposely took as long as possible to set up and log on to the computer before taking the first customer. I watched her every move, salivating at the thought of finally having the opportunity to buy my 60 cent stamp.

Why is it that the post office can't come up with a self serve system for odd size envelopes? All it would take is a scale, a money dispenser and a few ones and zeros to crank out a few stamps. That's all the woman did for me today. If I can check a bag to Miami post 9/11 all by my little self, surely I am big enough to press a few buttons on a machine to buy my own postage. A company with no incentive for innovation will, as anyone who visits a post office can see, lag decades behind the rest of the business world when it comes to efficiency.

They know they have you right where they want you, they strive daily to bring us to our knees with frustration. Any private company who loses millions [if not billions, I can't remember and I don't have the time to look up how much the USPS loses on an annual basis, but the numbers are truly staggering] of dollars annually would have hell to pay to its investors. It would be forced to make positive changes and respond to its customers wishes.

Not so with the United States Postal Service. After losing obscence amounts of money each year, the post master general runs the congress with his tail between his legs, blames his failures on free email services, and walks away with any amount of bailout money he's in the mood for asking.

Privatize it already. It's not as though this is a business that can't make money. Fed Ex and UPS do a fine job of package delivery. It can be done with letters to grandma as well. Plus, we'd all enjoy a more pleasant and shorter visit to the post office thanks to the miracle of self-serve postage dispensers within months of privatization.

UPDATE:

Just after posting this rant I strolled on over to the Agitator and read this.
I had to turn down an offer from some friends to go see parts IV & V of the Cremaster Cycle tonight. This is all new to me [I feel so last week]. It's the brainchild of a guy named Matthew Barney who wears cool shoes, a white tux and has some funky ears. I've had all of 30 seconds to preview his Cremaster Cycle but it appears to be visually stimulating [no pun intended] and involve a variety of genitalia. But I could be wrong. I could also be wrong in jumping to the conclusion that upon seeing the cycle, my only comment will be "huh?" Maybe that's all there is to it, or maybe there's some deeper meaning, decide for yourself. Either way, I want to see it.
I'm a wee bit busy this week, so I'll let hit and run beat me to all the punches and save me some time.

Excerpt one:

"The ACLU has set up a page from which you can send a free fax to your representative urging that he or she support the bill. So go click, and try not to think about how mindbogglingly depressing it is that we need a "Freedom to Read Amendment" in the United States."

Two:

The House is voting to stop funding for the DEA for arresting people for using medical marijuana. However, my inbox was bombarded today about this and I think in my frantic skimming I read that they voted today on the legislation. I haven't heard any results yet.

Three:

Back to agriculture subsidies and the US governement's War to Perpetuate Poverty.

Jesse Walker thinks this is the quote of the week. I'd say more like the year. Even better than Ari Fleischer's from two weeks ago.

"I think all foreigners should stop interfering in the internal affairs of Iraq." --Paul Wolfowitz

via hit and run

Monday, July 21, 2003

Radley Balko has 2 posts on Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean. Turns out Dean is a drug warrior extraordinaire. I may cave and vote for the Dem in 2004 just to get dubya outta there, but certainly the Democrats can do better than Dean.

Oh, wait, what am I saying, we are talking about Democrats afterall.

Friday, July 18, 2003

Pomo-babble

Butterflies and Wheels directed me to this article about "the tortured prose common in academic writing" that "often produces both unconscious comedy and literary scandal."

My favorite part:

---

Mass culture now attracts the most bizarre theorizing. When moviemakers changed James Bond's brand of vodka, Aaron Jaffe of the University of Louisville wrote that this "carries a metaphorical chain of deterritorialized signifiers, repackaged up and down a paradigmatic axis of associations."

---



Andrew Sullivan has an interesting post about Tony Blair's recent speech to the US Congress. My initial thoughts were not so much about the content as they were about presentation. I could listen to Tony Blair speak for hours on any subject. He is incredibly articulate. Given his politics, I generally don't agree with him on much of anything, but he made me happier and more grateful to have been born in this time and place than any American politician that I know of could ever dream of doing.
Greg Goelzhauser is being funny.

He tells us that France is retaliating in a big way for the "freedom fries" incident. And suggests that we steal a move from our old adversary and remove all french words from the english language. Afterall, it only accounts for 28% of the english language.
Strong Bad is strapped for cash.

I think I need a coffee...

as heard on npr
The enemy of my other enemy is my friend, I think...

via hit and run
I also want to wish my friend Emily a happy birthday. She turned....well, you'll have to ask her. We celebrated on the beach at Golden Gardens park this evening where we were treated to an amazing Seattle sunset across the Sound with the Olympic mountains beyond.

I had a great time and will pay for it for months to come in light of the fact that I exceeded the quiet, reserved Jaisn's alcohol limit prompting several smart-ass comments directed at the birthday girl. I humbly admit that I was in rare form this evening, good naturedly [and once unintentionally] insulting the guest of honor with little or no effort.
Anyone that knows me knows how much I hate the war on drugs. I annoyed a variety of friends with mass mails urging them to call their congressmen to stop the RAVE Act this past year. The war on drugs is not merely a racial issue,[although it is a major component] despite what those on the left would have you believe. It's an affront to a majority of the ideals that I hold so dear to my heart.

The war on drugs has done nothing to deter the use of drugs. I could go on and on bombarding readers with links to sites proclaiming the spectacular failure of America's war on drugs. However, my main goal in this post is to A] introduce everyone to Jacob Sullum's excellent new book Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use, and B] direct you to one of the earliest examples of the unintended consquences of government regulation; in this case the effects of drug prohibition on otherwise law abiding citizens' right to freedom of assembly.

Mr. Sullum has written a book urging a paradigm shift in our thinking and approach to drug policy from one that emphasizes prohibition and incarceration in favor of temperance and moderation. I would like to do a detailed review of the book, time permitting. However, that may not happen, so I encourage one and all to get a copy of it and check it out for yourselves.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

taking the plunge

I just downloaded Mozilla, I keep hearing how wonderful this browser is so I'm finally testing it out. Plus I hear that the folks over at Mozilla ain't about to roll over without a fight.
Will western bureaucrats ever start listening? [requires free registration]


more... and more...

Not only do subsidies hurt consumers through higher prices, but more importantly, they prevent farmers in developing countries from being able to reach western markets with their product, preventing them from acquiring much needed profits with which to feed and clothe and provide for their families. In short, you the consumer lose each time you go to the grocery store,[in the form of higher prices] and poor subsistence farmers can not afford to feed their families for yet another day.
hacking for profit....


excerpts:

---

For years, virus writers were content to just get attention by causing a nuisance. But now, some have discovered that clever virus programming can be profitable — by enabling spammers to hide their trails and send out e-mail from hijacked computers, for example. “There’s never been any money in writing viruses but now there’s the potential of commercial gain,” Sumner said.


“I got an IP address for it, but the host didn’t know what was going on, and finally I said, ‘Oh my God, it moved.’ It is much harder to do anything about this. The hacker gained a week on us,” Smith said.

---

Well, I feel better now.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

News of the weird....



Kneedeep is anxiously awaiting the day he can rent the documentary Whole.

hello blogosphere!

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