Wednesday, June 30

"With thousands of Republicans set to invade the city this summer, high-priced escorts and strippers are preparing for one grand old party." Yep.

Now imagine a 10-year prison sentence for a 22-year-old who buys a six-pack for a 17-year-old, or a maybe a life sentence if he does it again. Congressman James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) has already imagined such things, and he wants to make these sentences the law of the land.

"For years, newspaper editorial boards and other avowed friends of the First Amendment have scoffed at the argument that restricting political spending would restrict speech. In 2004 McCain-Feingold enthusiasts are discovering that the logic of prohibition can come around and bite them right in the bank account."

Monday, June 28

If you're bad in make-believe, does that make you more likely to be bad in real life?

Thursday, June 24

Follow up from Wednesday's "We have ways of making you talk" post - Brian Doherty discusses the case of Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada, and what it means for free folks in the US of A.

Wednesday, June 23

"Though she has persuaded herself otherwise, Truss doesn’t want people to care about correctness. She wants them to care about writing and about using the full resources of the language. “Eats, Shoots & Leaves” is really a “decline of print culture” book disguised as a style manual (poorly disguised). Truss has got things mixed up because she has confused two aspects of writing: the technological and the aesthetic."

We have ways of making you talk. "The Supreme Court today issued its long-awaited decision in the matter of Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District. Larry "Dudley" Hiibel broke a Nevada law when he refused to give his name to a policeman." Apparently, you have no right to remain silent unless given that right by a cop - doesn't that make the "right" it merely a privilege?

Tuesday, June 22

The Gipper and OJ, together again, for the very first time. (New York Times login: Opensewer, password: iswatching)

Sunday, June 20

John Luber reached the breaking point when he took the family SUV for a fill-up recently and the pump didn't stop spinning until it hit $65.

Hee hee hee, music to our ears!

Friday, June 18

I've sat here numb all day to the news of yet another beheading, this time of Paul Johnson, Jr. What a horrible way to go. The numerous links to the videos showing the act make me wonder about human nature: Admittedly I'm curious about what it'd be like to see something like that, but out of respect for a man I never knew, a man at the wrong place at the wrong time, I will never ever ever click that link. What is it about human nature that makes us want to look at tragic things, like this video, or car wrecks, or other gruesome things? No link to this rant, just a lot of sadness for the condition of the world today. Can you imagine going out of this world in such a way? Sad. My heartfelt sympathies to Mr. Johnson's family.

Wednesday, June 16

NRANews- "In a direct challenge to federal limits on political advocacy, the National Rifle Association plans to begin broadcasting a daily radio program on Thursday to provide news and pro-gun commentary to 400,000 listeners."
Like them or hate them, this strategy seems like a smart way to get around the idiotic and opressive laws designed to limit the inlfuence of money in elections but do so by restricting the political speech of Americans and their organizations.

Fuel Cell improvements: ...scientists say they have developed a catalyst that converts gasoline into hydrogen in a series of emissions-free reactions that can power a fuel-cell car for up to 500 kilometers.

Friday, June 11

"So let's set aside for a moment the question of whether parents have a right not to be nagged. Let's ask instead whether there's good reason to believe advertising plays an important role in obesity among children, who are more than twice as likely to be overweight as they were two decades ago.
Todd Zywicki, director of the Federal Trade Commission's Office of Policy Planning, noted a problem with drawing a link between fat kids and fat ad budgets: If anything, children are less exposed to food commercials than they were when they were thinner. The frequency of food ads has not increased, while kids are spending less time watching broadcast television and more time playing video games, using computers, or watching cable TV, DVDs, or videotapes—media with fewer or no food ads."

Thursday, June 10

" amount of caveating can save the latest Defense Department memorandum on the legality of torture (first reported by the Wall Street Journal) from being construed as what it is: a cookbook on how to conduct illegal torture and get away with it."

Gotta love the French. Leave it to them to propose banning SUVs from city streets because,

"...They're polluters, they're space-occupiers, they're dangerous for pedestrians and other road users. They're a caricature of a car..."

Read all about it here.

Tuesday, June 8

Regan vs Bush II.

When Chad Taylor noticed his son was apparently experiencing serious side effects from Ritalin prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, he decided to take the boy off the medication. Now, he says he may be accused of child abuse.

Parking garages perform a function, but truffles delight the palate, a much higher calling. Unfortunately, in the United States, where even serial killers are considered innocent until proved otherwise, all sorts of harmless pleasures are routinely described as guilty. (ny times login: opensewer; password: iswatching)

Monday, June 7

"Ronald Reagan claimed that the Russian language had no word for "freedom." (The word is "svoboda"; it's quite well attested in Russian literature.) Ronald Reagan said that intercontinental ballistic missiles (not that there are any non-ballistic missiles—a corruption of language that isn't his fault) could be recalled once launched. Ronald Reagan said that he sought a "Star Wars" defense only in order to share the technology with the tyrants of the U.S.S.R. Ronald Reagan professed to be annoyed when people called it "Star Wars," even though he had ended his speech on the subject with the lame quip, "May the force be with you." Ronald Reagan used to alarm his Soviet counterparts by saying that surely they'd both unite against an invasion from Mars. Ronald Reagan used to alarm other constituencies by speaking freely about the "End Times" foreshadowed in the Bible. In the Oval Office, Ronald Reagan told Yitzhak Shamir and Simon Wiesenthal, on two separate occasions, that he himself had assisted personally at the liberation of the Nazi death camps." Ok, Hitchens, there are non-ballistic missiles (think of cruise missiles), but otherwise, this is a fine primer to a Regan legacy.

Saturday, June 5

Alternet: Future Schlock.

Friday, June 4

Via Greenclips: NEW EPA RULE FAVORS PLYWOOD MAKERS, IGNORES LEUKEMIA LINK. Pushing aside new scientific studies of possible health risks, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved an air pollution regulation this year that could save the wood products industry hundreds of millions of dollars. Critics say the new rule may violate the Clean Air Act.

Life was turning out differently than expected for Ashley White, one of the stars of the 2002 film "Spellbound":

"I was always someone who wanted to be different -- who wanted to work harder, who wanted to achieve more, who wanted to succeed," she said. Instead, "I was basically repeating my family history of teenaged pregnancy. I felt like a failure because everyone had such high expectations for me and thought that I would be the one who would break the cycle."

She gave up on her college plans. She had moved out of her mother's apartment and was ricocheting among temporary homes with the baby when the movie was released.

But then, a kind soul got involved and changed things for the better...


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