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Friday, August 10, 2001

You know, I wonder that more reality shows don't get in trouble with this. HBO's "Taxicab Confessions" series, in particular, seems like it should run into a veritable buzzsaw of litigation; the people in the cabs are always drunk, and they do things that no sane person would do and then sign a consent form to televise. (Of course, that argues that the people in the cabs are sane, but that's another issue entirely.) I mean, most people would not have sex in a cab and then sign off on having it broadcast on television if they were sober. Some, sure, but it happens a lot. And with something like "Bands on the Run", it seems like it would be a particular risk; the bands play primarily in clubs and bars, after all. Alcohol is served. Judgement is impaired.

I suppose if anything will winnow out some of the reality shows, richly-deserved lawsuits will do it.

@ 03:49 PM CST [Link]

Execution Approaches in a Most Rare Murder Case: ... With Mr. Beazley now scheduled to be executed on Aug. 15, his case is attracting international pleas for clemency because he was only 17 at the time of the slaying and because his co-defendants have since recanted parts of their testimony. His supporters also question whether prosecutors sought the death penalty simply to placate Judge Luttig, who moved his office to Tyler for the trial and apparently consulted with prosecutors on jury selection.

You'd think that alone would be enough to have the sentencing phase of the trial overturned. Victims aren't normally allowed to consult about jury selection. To be sure, most victims don't have the legal expertise that would make prosecutors think that it was even possible, but just because the victim's son was a federal judge shouldn't make this happen. Never mind that the codefendants have recanted part of their testimony.

This being Texas, the chances of the death sentence being overturned are remote, to say the least. There's no time for the federal courts to do anything if the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals doesn't (and it won't) -- and I can't imagine that the federal courts would be inclined to spare Beasley, either, given the circumstances.

@ 03:25 PM CST [Link]

Thursday, August 9, 2001

2 Live Crew being threatened with prosecution for obscenity. Ah, yes, those were the bad old 80s and early 90s, weren't they? When merely singing about sex (or not, as the case may be) in public could get you arrested or prosecuted and .... Oh. I see. You weren't talking about recent history. This is TODAY you're talking about. Well. Everything old really is new again, isn't it? (2 Live Crew performing in Provo?)

@ 01:17 PM CST [Link]

HA! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! Ho, ho, even. And maybe throw a hee and snort in there, too. If they think that either Congress or Bush II Fraudulency will take on any of these suggestions, then whatever they've got in their heads, it sure ain't brains.

I mean, just take a look at what the Justice department says. They've closed all but 12 complaints coming out of the Florida election. (They don't even mention Tennessee in this report, it seems.) TWELVE. They don't say what "closed" means, but since we haven't heard anything about the Justice department finding the state of Florida in violation of federal elections laws, I would assume that "closed" translates to "dismissed as without merit". And given that all reforms would end up favoring the Democrats, the chances of them getting through the House and His Shrubbery are damn near nil. (Well, actually, the changes would favor increasing turnout and producing more fair elections, but since increased turnout tends to favor Democrats, it's not likely to go anywhere.)

@ 01:01 PM CST [Link]

In my humble opinion, a man's chest is no more or less sexual than a woman's. I have known men whose nipples are wholly sensitive and sexually charged. I've also known women who didn't get much thrill out of having their nipples played with at all. So what's the difference? Why this hysteria that surrounds the female breast?

Yes, well ... that's the point, isn't it? The people who made up the rules and laws about the display of the North American female's chest were mostly straight men. And they do find the display of a woman's chest to be entirely more sexual. (Idiots.) Therefore, you should cover up the chest.

Except ... ponder the string bikini, if you will. (Ignore the whole butt floss thing for the moment; we're concerned with the other end, OK? OK.) As exemplified by that particular scrap of fabric, the rule really only seems to say that you should cover up the nipples; letting the rest hang out there is pretty much legally OK. Apparently, it's not considered to be sexual -- or at least, not irresistably or intolerably sexual -- if you can't see the perky bit.

In other words, straight men have nipple fixations. Which makes the whole chest thing weird. I mean, a nipple's a nipple, nonfunctional or otherwise. About the only difference between them is the actual functionality and size.

And who they're attached to, of course.

@ 11:26 AM CST [Link]

Evidence that churches in Britain sanctioned same-sex relationships for as long as 500 years has been presented to the Roman Catholic Church. The claim, at a time when the hierarchies in both the Catholic Church and Church of England are trying to come to terms with gay partnerships, is likely to test their insistence that such relationships cannot be countenanced.

My my my. Isn't that like to put the cat among the pigeons? Or rather, it would if the resistance of either organization had anything to do with historical precedent, but since it's more to do with current personal and social tastes and beliefs, then they're just likely to shrug and say that no doubt these were all intense but celibate "friendships" and that the desire to see same-sex relationships accepted has led these researchers into erroneous interpretations.

Yeah, right.

Any road, these burials would be consonant with current developments in Britain.

@ 11:05 AM CST [Link]

Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight ... where the heck are you, anyway?

Hard times to be an astronomer, that's for sure.

@ 10:35 AM CST [Link]

Wednesday, August 8, 2001

My goodness. The government is just having a couple of days that make one thrilled and proud to be here, really.

Yes, the government has just covered itself in glory (or something) the last couple of days, hasn't it?

@ 05:08 PM CST [Link]

Heh. The Shrub is defending the length of his vacation. Apparently, the public at large is just a tad peeved about this month-off thing; it's the longest presidential vacation in 30 years, it seems. "... I'm the kind of person that needs to get outdoors.... It keeps my mind whole, keeps my spirits up," he says. To which the only responses are: (1) The White House has some rather extensive grounds, especially if you consider that it's smack in the middle of a large city, and (2) in that case, why the hell would you want a job that will keep you indoors all the time? What did he do in Texas, for heaven's sake? Govern from the back of a horse? (No doubt while the cows were talking to him.) Granted, the Texas Lege meets only 60 days every two years -- I dare say that makes for lots of vacation time, and the change must be rather shocking. But still .....

@ 04:32 PM CST [Link]

Hell. I really really wish that the SCLC had not chosen to wade into this particular morass. I understand why they did. And, since I don't particularly count myself as any sort of Christian, I suppose it shouldn't really matter to me. But ... still. Reparations, as such, are a staggeringly bad idea. (Although I note that their particular variant is one of the less onerous proposals -- allowing for the whole, "Well, which universities would students be allowed to go to and how would the moneys be handled?" issues. To say nothing of the issue of how it would be handled for people who either don't want or have already been to college -- a scholarship wouldn't do me the least bit of good, for example, unless I could somehow pay off my student loans with it. But I digress.) I don't deny that the various effects still linger; I just think that reparations will give a lot of people a chance to think, "Oh, well, that's done, that's all we need to do, everything's fixed, let's go on from here," and that's simply not the way this society works. (Despite rather dogged efforts.)

@ 03:59 PM CST [Link]

Tuesday, August 7, 2001

Pity the lead time on comics is so long. It would have been nice to see this plotline back when the article first came out. It will be interesting to see where it goes, regardless. If anywhere; plot points seem to get dropped in this series.

@ 07:14 PM CST [Link]

Dear god.

I don't understand people. I don't understand them at all. I don't understand how you could torture a child this way, how you could torture his mother like that, or how anyone could justify not helping them because of "red tape" -- a lack of reciprocal agreements between Sierra Leone and the UK for medical care, of all things. I mean, let's get real; what UK citizen would want to go to Sierra Leone for medical treatment?

In any event, the red tape has been cut through.

@ 03:39 PM CST [Link]

Our president is a total and complete yutz.

THE PRESIDENTíS PLAN gives states new power to shape the package of benefits offered to some 12 million people whose states have added to their Medicaid programs. It would not affect the poorest Americans, who are automatically eligible for Medicaid coverage and whose benefits would remain unchanged. The president said Saturday he hopes states will use any savings to cover some of those with no insurance at all.

He "hopes". However, the plan doesn't require the states to reinvest the savings in healthcare for the un- or under-insured. They can do anything they want. Bush II Fraudulency is counting on states to do the right thing essentially. Um. Yeah. Right. The same states that had to be forced by federal law to provide comprehensive coverage because they refused to do it on their own. Right.

What I really love is that the man announced a plan to essentially cut healthcare for the poor just after he got his annual physical. Irony, anyone? I mean, could he give people a better compare and contrast moment for a campaign issue or politicking with?

I swear, if the man had a brain, he'd be even more dangerous. As it is, he's quite bad enough.

@ 02:56 PM CST [Link]

Well ... god wot, it's an aptly titled column. It's also generally interesting, but ... man, what a cynical view of business. (On the other hand, it explains why everyone notices that I haven't gone to The Boss' big beach outings. Ever. No company culture man, I.)

@ 12:01 AM CST [Link]

Monday, August 6, 2001

And HA! again! (No, I'm not a fan of jogging. Quite apart from hideous psychological associations that it would take a therapist years to even find most of, it makes my knees and heels hurt.

And now, it turns out, it makes you age prematurely! (Jogger's nipple? What the ... what IS that, anyway?)

@ 09:00 PM CST [Link]

May I just point out that this is a STAGGERINGLY bad idea? Yes, it might control some of the damage that hurricanes cause.

It would also cause some truly epic droughts.

The problem is, in the South and in other countries, hurricanes provide a great deal of the annual rainfall. Typically, we get hit by 3-5 hurricanes or tropical storms per year, and even though they cause a lot of crop damage as well, they manage to water a considerably broader area than they damage. Moreover, the damaged areas get the water they need to keep the water table decent for the next growing season.

But, no doubt, people will use it, and Florida will stop seeing as much hurricane damage, and everyone will be thrilled! And then they'll wonder why we're in our 27th consecutive summer of drought, and never make the connection, because people are frequently stupid like that.

(Of course, the other aspect is ... what about those times when the powder doesn't work, but still has some effect? What happens then? When the hurricane is slowed, but gets to sit out over that warm Gulf so much longer, pulling up more and more water. The winds may not build up to do damage, but allowing it to pull in more water could be considerably more devastating.)

@ 08:48 PM CST [Link]



the last ten ...

12/19/2001: vive la france

12/19/2001: princess, redux

12/19/2001: yemen and rumsfeld

12/18/2001: you're NOT in the army now

12/18/2001: interesting donation

12/18/2001: shame on winn dixie, indeed

12/18/2001: saudi princess

12/17/2001: new resolve

12/17/2001: a victim of the attack ... yeah, right

12/17/2001: polluters ho!


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