From the London Times:
Drinks companies have been ordered to hire paunchy, balding men for advertisements to meet new rules forbidding any link between women’s drinking and sex. Watchdogs have issued a list of undesirable male characteristics that advertisers must abide by in order to comply with tougher rules designed to separate alcohol from sexual success.
Read and be amazed.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
From the London Times:
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Thursday, July 21, 2005
In nominating John Roberts, the president has chosen a right wing corporate lawyer and ideologue for the nation's highest court instead of a judge who would protect the rights of the American people. Working for mining companies, Roberts opposed clean air rules and worked to help coal companies strip-mine mountaintops. He worked with Ken Starr (yes, that Ken Starr), and tried to keep Congress from defending the Voting Rights Act. He wrote that Roe v. Wade should be "overruled," and as a lawyer argued (and won) the case that stopped some doctors from even discussing abortion.The elderly lady that cornered me was going on about Roberts' allowing the federal government to meet secretly with corporations. I'm not sure if this was a case he ruled on as a judge or a brief he wrote, but she assured me that he was defending an illegal practice. I'm not sure what the law is on this, but I guess her problem was with Cheney meeting with energy companies (the horror!) when formulating energy policy reccomendations. 'Cause energy companies wouldn't have anything useful to contribute to that discussion.
I asked her if it was okay that Hillary and company had met secretly with healthcare companies when formulating her HillaryCare plan in Bill's first term. To the best of my knowledge, the situations were similar, at least legally.
I'll have to dig a little to refresh my memory on the details, but she seemed to buy my argument and looked rather crestfallen about the whole thing. Like whe'd been given a new toy and it broke an hour out of the box.
First time I've seen MoveOn in Charlotte, but it's no surprise. They're trying to turn it into New York south.
No, seriously, my nominee is someone beloved not just by my own party, but also by members of the opposition pres…party. Ladies and Gentlemen and Keith Olbermann, I give you my nominee…Ms. Anonymous Sources. Or “Nonnie”, as I like to call her.Read the whole thing. It's short and quite funny.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Worth mentioning: Every Disney flick, even the suckola ones, are redeemed by minor characters. It's like Walt's first commandment: Though shalt find a place for quality comic relief. Think of the dwarves' dance party in Snow White, the hep-cat crows jiving in Dumbo (now, I presume, officially considered minstrelsy), and Potato Head and Ham insulting each other in Toy Story. Even the execrable Lion King was redeemed (partially) by Timon and Pumbaa. Madagascar is no exception. Ali G turns in a great performance as a fairly witless King of the Lemurs. Cedric the Entertainer plays (wonderfully) his rather unimpressed assistant.
Rent the DVD for the kids, Razor, and you can watch the good parts.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Was it sarin laced micro-needle projectiles fired from the tip of an otherwise innocuous fountain pen?
A briefcase-sized nuclear weapon?
Ummm, a ceramic pistol with fragmentary ballistics?
No, it was much, much worse. It was...it was...flip flops! Not only did these foul items breach the perimeter of the White House, they "thwack-thwacked" their way right up the Commander in Chief, as Secret Service agent after Secret Service agent stood idly by, talking into his wrist. W, seemingly oblivious to his own personal safety, as well as the affront to his office, greeted the agent provocateurs who wore the cursed thongs (you know, not the good kind), with smiles and platitudes, while being literally a couple of scarcely covered feet away the whole time from the fanatics bent on footwear fatwah.
I nearly moved to Alaska (the only state known to be flip flop free [plus they got the doobage - Eno]) such was my revulsion and panic. Yet, I cannot give up hope just yet. I have faith in my leaders to act. Install martial law, put the meter at Red, suspend habeus corpus...for god's sake do something, but do it before the unthinkable happens: Barbara Bush mounting the steps to Air Force One in day glo plastic and rubber flip flops, snapping gum and remarking on what a good meal for the money that Olive Garden is. Oh the humanity...
Monday, July 18, 2005
Of course baseball and football are sports, and so is golf. And it's a very serious sport, as is evident from this all important statistic. It may require a different set of physical skills, but it's still as physically demanding, in it's own way, as many other sports.
And if physical condition and heart rate levels equated to good sporting entertainment, we'd all be watching soccer. Thank goodness that's not the case.
Friday, July 15, 2005
Imagine if OJ...okay bad example, Earl Campbell somehow made it back onto the Houston Oile....er Tennessee Titans (or is it Houston Texans??)...anyway, imagine some real old ex running back suited up again to play in the NFL. Would anyone be writing anything but "The man is obviously crazy or desperate for money?" Now, granted, golf is not a sport. Look at the leader board again. Colin Montgomerie is in 2nd. John Daly at T14. The two of them look like they should be sponsored by Arbys, not a golf club manufacturer (well, Daly may in fact be sponsored by Arbys, but you get my idea).
Anyway...again...my point (and I have one) is all this fuss over a man whose last meaningful round of golf was probably, what...15 years ago, is all so much blather. The friggin guy is old and decrepit. Yes, he's one of the true greats, yes he could beat me at golf using one hand and a length of copper tubing, but he doesn't belong on the Old Course at St. Andrews in the British Open. It's nice that he gets some lifetime exemption or something, but please, why not just give Michelle Wie a slot too and complete the mockery? Something about golf that it just does away with reason, and submits to sentimentality...or is it just a ruse by the Golf Channel to get ratings for Days 1 and 2 before ABC or whomever picks it up for the weekend?
And what's more...if Colin Montgomerie wins or comes in second, I will eat my tamoshanter.
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Fisking Ralph Nader: Came across a new Web site this morning, The League of Fans, a “sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to increase awareness between sports and society.” I didn’t realize there was a deficiency of awareness that there are sports that some people play and some others watch and oftentimes money is exchanged when this occurs. But Ralph’s not the most hip and with-it cat on the block, so it’s nice to see he’s catching up. It’s also good to know that the League of Fans isn’t, in fact, a crime fighting team of painted-face, wig wearing, beer guzzlers with enormous foam fingers with which they battle evil. Or a Special Olympics baseball organization.
So what’s on the minds of these highly concerned sports fans, eh? I don’t have 9 hours to go through their “Core Principles,” so we’ll just cherry pick a little, meaning this is only a partial fisking (not fair I guess, but brevity isn’t Ralph’s strong suit, so I’m forced to do some skimming):
Sports are no longer outside the realm of everyday citizen concern. Many people, fans or not, are upset with what has become of our sports and would like to make a difference by encouraging the cooperative capacities that make the "sports powers-that-be" capable of helping, not just dominating, our society and culture.Athletes are very popular, to be sure, but they don’t dominate our culture any more than movie stars or other celebrities. We have, in large part, become a nation of star-fu****s, but lobbying the NBA isn’t going to change that. The best we can hope for is for people to show a little good judgment
. Public money should not be used to further the profits of sports corporations. There is no justification for cities and states to subsidize professional sports franchises with taxpayer (or otherwise public) dollars to build new stadiums or arenas, nor to provide them with other forms of corporate welfare. It is not a public purpose. Major pro sports teams are private, profit-seeking companies with very wealthy owners working within monopoly leagues and should have no trouble surviving the tests of a free market.Actually, I agree with the sentiment here. Publicly funded stadium deals are a scam and raise the prices of everything in sports, not to mention everyone’s taxes. I suppose if a local community votes via referendum to appropriate money for it there’s a case to be made for it, but, a public good it ain’t. Given recent trends in private property issues (Kelo, in particular) maybe it’s time we allow the free market it’s day on this one. Point for Nader.
Commercial advertising in sports has gone too far and is getting more intrusive, and should be scaled back. The ongoing commercialization of sports is shifting the primary focus of games away from showcasing skill and competition, and toward simply creating another forum to sell more things. This corporate branding destroys the character and virtues of sport with a commercialized vision where everything is for sale, and every waking moment an occasion for an advertisement.Uh, Ralph, that free market thing you mentioned before? Guess what? That involves private businesses who wish to use their money to associate themselves with the leagues, teams, and athletes in question. So they can make money. The free market isn’t charitable contributions to the NFL. You don’t like advertisements, be prepared to have most sports become almost invisible or ridiculously expensive.
Fans of major professional sports should learn about the business practices of their favorite sports teams and leagues. The outdated and unrealistic romance fans still attach to major professional sports allows greedy team owners to work against the interests of fans, and to extort corporate welfare from cities. As much as fans love major professional sports, it is a pathological profit-seeking industry that cares little for fans and communities.Leaving aside that I have no idea what “pathologically profit-seeking” means, this sounds about as fun for the average fan as doing their taxes. I can’t even figure out the infield fly rule, now I’m supposed to study salary cap rules and contract law.
It is better in the long-term for a sports franchise to work to maximize the number of fans in attendance with lower ticket, concessions and parking prices rather than maximizing profits with higher prices. Fans should be able to purchase reasonably priced tickets and concessions and be treated with courtesy and respect. Everyone should be able to attend, not just the elite. Collective bargaining should take sports fans and host cities into account. Fans should have the right to have their interests in the resolution of disputes effectively expressed, and cities that have subsidized the league in question should be compensated for damages due to any work stoppages.This sounds like something else that should be left to the newly discovered free market Ralph mentioned earlier. Little thing called supply and demand, my friend. By the way, all that advertising Nader hates is what allows the average fan to watch games on TV for free instead of schlepping into downtown
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
About the question of treating bloggers as journalists, I'm not sure what bloggers really want. If they want to be treated as "legitimate" members of the media, and be granted certain privelages common to journalists, they might also be subject to the restrictions of the media, i.e falling under the purview of McCain-Feingold. The blogoshpere, I think, should be exempt from campaign finance legislation because it's really just a discussion board writ large. Some people are smarter or more informed than others, but it's still a roundtable of equals. As opposed to the MSM, which basically spoonfeeds the news they want you to know and gives you no way to respond as an equal. I'm not in favor of strict regulation of newspapers either, but there's a case to be made for some legislation I suppose. But the blogosphere? C'mon. You can't treat the mighty Fauxpolitik the same as some piddly rag like the WaPo.
But for bloggers to get that kind of protection, I think they'll have to recognize they are not journalists in the same sense as a reporter from the AP.
I'd hear arguments for certain exceptions - Drudge, Glenn Reynolds, Mickey Kaus. Maybe more. But the vast majority of the Pajamas Media ought to be thankful they're not professional journalists and protect bloggin as private speech.
Miller does not have a right to withhold her source from the Grand Jury. Grand Juries, for those of you unfamiliar, are the most scary judicial bodies in existence. They serve with an all-powerful ability to compel testimony and evidence. You, as a witness, have almost no right to refuse to testify, no right to counsel, your 5th Amend rights aren't explained or really even acknowledged. If indicted, the prosecutor pretty much can hide the evidence that would otherwise tend to call your guilt into question.
The key distinction to be made is that you're not being found guilty of anything; only that there is a prima facie case being put on that suggests the indictment should stand pending trial.
The ABA tried a while ago to re-introduce some civility into the process, and return the grand jury to what it was supposed to be, or a "bulwark" between the government and you. If you've followed any of the federal cases of late, this Miller one only being the most noteworthy example, you'll see how little credence the USDOJ tends to give the ABA.
Miller, while not being indicted, has refused to testify; not on the grounds that she might incriminate herself, but that she doesn't want to give up her sources. The argument is that the press will be chilled if it cannot interview people because they are afraid of themselves being indicted based on what they say to the press. This would be poignant in typical "whistle blower" cases, where indeed, you want people to speak out against corruption, etc.
However, the Government's case is equally compelling: just because someone, who did something illegal (or potentially so) tells a reporter details of that crime, doesn't mean that the reporter can withhold the details from a grand jury, which is empowered with broad investigatory tools. Disobeying a subpoena from a grand jury is tantamount to contempt, hence Miller's dilemma.
You can say it's noble, and it probably is, but harboring a criminal who gave you an interview isn't the best defense I've ever heard. Especially when you're making money off of that information, tooting your own horn in the process. It is not analogous to a priest taking confession, or something of that nature.
Of don't cry for Miller too much. She's got a nice book deal in the works out of this one. Count on it.
Bob Woodward has offered to serve some of jailed reporter Judith Miller's time behind bars, and urged others to share her incarceration as well.(Click here for the Viking's witty and true take on it.) I'll force this into a springboard for another point, though. I don't much know the law, so Razor will have to help out. But it seems to me Miller should go to jail (though whether Woodward or anyone else can "serve her time for her" is another matter). Is the journalistic shield a legal matter, or an ethical one? Ethical, I think. A reporter protects her source, right? But the courts shouldn't necessarily recognize that the way they recognize, say, attorney-client privilege. After all, a client has to talk to his attorney, to some extent, if he wants good representation. Thus the protection. But a source isn't obligated to speak to a reporter, so why should there be protection?
Look, if Miller goes to jail for pretecting her source, amen to her. That takes guts. But I have always thought that the protection of a source was something reporters did at their own risk anyway. That's the point, isn't it? It doesn't take much guts to protect a source if you have immunity from subpoena, after all.
This has become a major stir in the blogging community too. Should bloggers have any kind of protection? Sure, and anybody with a crappy webpage can defy a court order. I like the idea of credentialing a few bloggers for political conventions and suchlike, but I've never been a big enough fan of journalists to want to live in a world where everyone is one.
Put Miller in the clink.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
"Its cultural and educational programs will make the Center a place of lively and important dialogue – a new and permanent “Public Square” on hallowed ground -- where matters of public concern will be placed in new light. Cultural and educational programming will include university-sponsored seminars and lecture series, civic conferences and workshops, films and film series, symposia relating to historical and contemporary freedom issues, and a wide range of Lower Manhattan local community events."Lovely idea that, local community events on what is essentially a giant graveyard. And NYC could use another Tribeca Film Festival, maybe a 24/7/365 screening of Farenheit 9/11 and Motorcycle Diaries.
What other hallowed sites in America could become such "Public Squares?" Gettysburg? Perfect for "lively and important dialogue" about slavery reparations. Pearl Harbor? Let's stir up a little international understanding discussion inside the memorial to the USS Arizona. We could go on and on, at home and around the world. The Berlin Wall. Aushwitz.
I guess politics must intrude on everything today.
Friday, July 08, 2005
Thursday, July 07, 2005
Think that would never work? Think again: this industry rakes in an estimated $500MM annually and it's only growing.
I am continually amazed at how money is made in our world.
|You Are 85% American|
Tough and independent, you think big.
You love everything about the US, wrong or right.
And anyone who criticizes your home better not do it in front of you!
I'm pretty damn American, I guess.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
I bring this up only so I can mention how enthralled my friend was with the new tv show 30 Days, created by Morgan Spurlock, of Supersize Me fame. His movie, made to shame McDonalds for selling too much food for too little money (how shocked would our forebears be at that horror) was so intellectually dishonest it should have been screened at Live8 to enhance the multimedia aspect of the anti-capitalist mind meld. His new show's premise is to take people out of their normal life and force them to live in a different environment for a month. The example given was putting a bible thumping Christian male (who, naturally, thinks all Muslims are al Quaeda operatives, because don't all white men think that) and put him in the home of an American Muslim family and force him to adapt to their life, religion, etc. This was meant to promote cross-cultural understanding, naturally. Antoher episode apparently makes a millionaire live on minimum wage for a month. The horrors of basic cable and, oh yeah, supersized fries.
I'd have no problem with Spurlocks premise, 'cause you know I'm all about understanding, if I detected at least a little intellectual balance. For instance, what are the chances that he'll do a show where a radical Wahabi potential shoe-bomber gets to spend some time with a typical American family, so full of cultural tolerance and moral equivalence that he might see the error of his ways. Wouldn't that kind of understanding do more good. Or how about an episode where a minimum wage family gets a month in the Hamptons. Encouragement to work hard and be successful, maybe, a nice vacation at least.
But the point, no matter what Spurlock says, isn't understanding, it's shame. Upper class, white Christians should be ashamed at their material excess. And for having a religion that doesn't demean women, or not enough anyway. Or, I guess, the point is really Spurlock making a buck by participating in the same capitalist system he denigrates and selling out to the same big businesses he loathes.
People who live in these cities appear to be excited at first, because, they feel like it's appropriate, but when reality sets in that their daily lives will be in turmoil for several years as the streets are torn up, they start to question what good all this does for them. Have fun Londoners.
Still, there's an amount of prestige and bravado that goes along with the winning bid, and it seems to me that NYC fell short of its best efforts. First of all, the best Bloomberg can do for the last minute rally is Hillary and Ali? Why not just bring out Dinkins and Bernard Goetz?? "Come to NYC, the City that is stiff, awkward and likely to stab you with a screwdriver!"
Second, if your "local" NFL team can't even figure out where to put a stadium, then what makes you think you can get like three or four major venues built in an island that is ummm, rather full-up? The only way this would have worked was to get The Donald involved, but he was too busy with the non re-design of the Twin Towers -- another joke for those who thought the City could be event-ready.
Last, in our post-911 days, the security in NYC would have been tighter than [insert laughable analogy involving virginity, stinginess or plastic surgery receipient]. And you know all about that. Ha!
Cheerio, tip-tip, and good f*cking luck.
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Africa is a hard place to help. I had a letter from a reader the other day who works with a small Canadian charity in West Africa. They bought a 14-year-old SUV for 1,500 Canadian dollars to ferry food and supplies to the school they run in a rural village. Customs officials are demanding a payment of $8,000 before they'll release it.
There are thousands of incidents like that all over Africa every day of the week. Yet, throughout the weekend's events, Dave Gilmour and Co were too busy Rocking Against Bush to spare a few moments to Boogie Against Bureaucracy or Caterwaul Against Corruption or Ululate Against Usurpation. Instead, Madonna urged the people to "start a revolution". Like Africa hasn't had enough of those these past 40 years?
Friday, July 01, 2005
Here's a wildcard for you: I have it on reasonably good authority that an unlikely retirement might be on the way, too. A Supreme Court insider told me several weeks ago that Souter may well retire. He apparently told friends and family that he has always planned to step down upon turning 65, and that he'd rather return to New Hampshire year-round than continue to spend time in D.C. He's 65 now.
If that happens, remember where you read it first. If it doesn't happen, just pretend I never wrote it.
Grain of salt, of course. But is it possible Bush could wind up appointing not just 1 or 2, but as many as 4 justices to "The Bench?" I'll remain optimistic for the time being, in hopes that his nominations will run towards proponents of a federal govenrment with limited powers, but given the administration's stance in several of the recent SCOTUS decisions, I don't know what to think. What will totally sicken me, though, is having to listen to endless talk about abortion in the next few months/years. Nothing makes me want to throw up my hands to both sides and give up rational discourse like a good abortion debate.
Well, I was pleased to read on Slate today, a woman's impassioned, yet well-reasoned, plea to all of us to avoid the pitfall of summer sloth, and at least pretend to try. To wit:
If you have left your home in the past few weeks, you have no doubt witnessed some of the season's more common missteps: exposed bra straps; bare, bulging midriffs; bad sandals. And you may have asked yourself why the first warm days of the year are like a Halloween costume party—a chance for people to wear whatever (or however little) they desire.
As you might anticipate, most of her ire (really, it's more like frustration) is directed at the fairer sex, yet she does not spare us either:
Any discussion of shorts must eventually lead to the subject of men, the style's most enthusiastic proponents. I was once categorically against the phenomenon of men in shorts, but after listening to the impassioned pleas of several male friends, who point out that shorts are the masculine equivalent of the sundress and that jeans will lead to heat stroke, I have come around—sort of. Shorts are acceptable if they hit somewhere mid-thigh; among the most frightening of summer sights are men who have taken the notion of shorts far too literally. Shorts should also be neat and free of holes. This means don't truncate your college jeans in an attempt to emulate Tom Cruise in Endless Love. Summer is not, as many men think, an opportunity to get some use out of one's grungiest, most tattered clothing.She also spend some words decrying the "mandal," discussed in these pages some time ago.
But, as any such column must, she saves the best for last with the flip-flop (the step-cousin to the mandal):
As for flip-flops, the sandal's plastic cousin, these are office-appropriate only if your co-workers don't mind that you sound like a metronome as you walk. Finally, with barely an inch between the wearer's feet and filthy city or suburban streets, flip-flops can be a health hazard. A friend gave them up after an audacious rat scuttled over her exposed foot. And when, one summer night on the subway platform in New York City, a street musician took one look at my dusty toes and began to improvise a song with the refrain "Lovely Girl With Dirty Feet," I vowed to save the flip-flops for the beach.
I could not have said it any better.