Monday, December 30

I heard Lewis Black say something funny recently: "MTV is to music as KFC is to chicken." Well said, man, well said.
A couple days ago on NPR, I heard a news story saying that the Day After Christmas turned out to be one of the biggest shopping days of the year (and possibly the salvation of retailers). I guess people weren't happy with what Santa left in their stockings, and decided to go out and supplement their lode a bit.

Wednesday, December 25

For those, like me, who need a break from the family today, here's a nifty article on how the Cold War helped bring us The Cat in the Hat. With Jolly Holiday wishes to every Who in Whoville!

Thursday, December 19

To follow Jana's blog - the strongest arguments against citizen input I have seen are the designs people have submitted themselves.
Everyone's applauding -- a bit too eagerly, I think -- the new designs for the World Trade Center. I like the idea of citizens' input, although it seems like a strange concession even under these circumstances. How many city structures are shaped by design advice from Joe Blog in Minnesota? (Check out these helpful hints from America's armchair architects.) But I guess that's the trouble here. The WTC is no longer just an office block or a civic space. It has to serve as a memorial, too -- in the words of one of the development officials, "The architects have responded with great depth to the question, 'What does Sept. 11 represent?'"

It's architecture as national healing. It's also architecture in a rush -- the owner is still coughing up annual rent of $124 million, even with two gaping holes in the ground -- which pretty much kills any hope of a memorial park being developed, rather than twin tower knock-offs. Only one of the proposed plans features a substantial swath of undeveloped land, but what are the chances Richard Meier's open spaces will get a go from them that pay the bills?

Wednesday, December 18

Man Trouble: What does male-on-male sexual harassment mean for discrimination law? article I found on Reason that raises some interesting questions on the nature of sexual harassment law, citing such cases as managers found not guilty of discrimination because they equally offended and harassed men and women who worked for them. I think the article points out some of the trouble in the legal structure of harassment protection, coming from the libertarian perspective. Anyway, it gave me some thoughts to chew over. Responses? Sign the guestbook!

Tuesday, December 17

USA's largest police force wants more power. The power to keep secret tabs on such nefarious organizations such as church groups. Some nice history, too, via the Village Voice.

Monday, December 16

The remote controlled rat, and other nifty things of the last year, in the Year in Ideas from the New York Times.
login:opensewer; password:iswatching

Friday, December 13

And on a follow up, the NY Times has an article today on some of the "difficult" history the Republican Party has had with race over the last 40 or so years. Or, the trouble they have had hiding their racism. The article conspicuously leaves out Florida in the 2000 election...

And Paul Krugman shares his excellent thoughts. NYTimes login for you freeloaders; login: opensewer; password: iswatching.

On the subject of our Senate Majority Leader, Trent Lott- Is there any other way to see his recent remarks about the '48 election besides him having affection for a segregation based campaign? Is follow-up news that Lott fought against integrating his national frat surprising?

So tuned and controlled by speechwriters, so careful of offense are today's politicians that their at ease remarks are more revealing in regards to their personal feelings.

Wednesday, December 11

We've got some real good students over there in Ohio. I am glad to know the T-shirt police have volunteers in our high schools keeping political speech off our kids' bodies.

And what about that last paragraph - there are no quotes. Whose words are those supposed to be? The assistant principal's? The writer's? The bodiless voice of authority?

Obviously, we're having a few technical problems.

Tuesday, December 10

Black People Love Us! is a hilarious satirical site that draws attention to the patronizing and condescending ways some whites attempt to relate to blacks:

"Johnny calls me "da man!" That puts me at ease. It makes me feel comfortable, because I am Black and that's how Black folks talk to one another."

"Sally and Johnny give me ample opportunities to translate rap lyrics, reggae songs, and/or street slang! Like I'm a mouthpiece for many, many cultures of dark-skinned people."

Via Alternet.

In the 2002 elections, some parts of the U.S. government were spending taxpayer dollars to tell some of those taxpayers how to vote. Not too surprisingly, it may have been illegal. Personally, I'd be more surprised if the coming legal action against those government officials bears punishment as its fruit.
via Alternet

Monday, December 9

I make some regular weekend drives from Ithaca, NY, up to Toronto, as my friends could tell you. One delight I have discovered along the way is the radio program This American Life, which I catch on the local NPR out of Buffalo, NY, on Fridays as I am passing around the city and over the border. It's a real gem - stories, histories, and all the good things you'd expect from NPR. It's so good that I plan to stop my cd rotation during my time in the broadcast range. (What's also nice is they have an audio archive on their website for your convienence.)
Beacuse it's that time of year, and because we haven't ragged on Wal-Mart for a while... here they go, re-selling toys donated to Toys for Tots.

Saturday, December 7

From Business This Week in the Economist: "Creditors of Enron will be disappointed to note that the 'crooked E' adorning the failed energy group's Houston headquarters sold for only $10,500. A similar sign sold for $45,000 in September, but prices have since collapsed." Wow, no one even cares enough to be stylishly ironic about this anymore.

Friday, December 6

Friday Fear: ever since watching Bowling for Columbine, I'm astounded at the amount of fear mongering that goes on every night on nearly every evening news broadcast. Next time you watch the news, keep track of how many stories are reported on terrorism, crime and threats to your everyday living. All too often, I see these topics reported out of the nation's context and especially out my personal context. It truly is a culture of fear.
Friday Fun: David Sedaris's Santaland Diaries.

Thursday, December 5

Awards cermonies have really lost it. It's that simple. The Oscars, the Grammies, the whatevers, they have always been (at least in my lifetime) a massive display of self-congratulation, usually containing a high number of truly disgustingly self-centered moments. Industry honoring itself. Whooppee. I mean, I really enjoyed Steve Martin's job on the Oscars a few years ago (and he reutrns this year), but the show is really just so much crap. This VH-1 crapfest, however, just blew my mind. I didn't watch it, since I don't have that channel, but just the name - Big In 2002 awards - is amazing. What the hell? We now salute trends? Fads? Shouldn't the most popular email forwards of the year have gotten some awards, too? How about "Big in 2002" - Riots in Nigeria! Bombing in Iraq! Taking down the Old Glory sticker you put on your car last year because it's dirty and now you think it' stacky! Big in 2002 - crap. As always. I want to call this the dumbest award show ever, but if there is one thing people can out-do, it's stupidity.
Yeah, I only linked to an article about the show and not an official link to VH-1, because the idiots who put this one on don't deserve any links at all.

Wednesday, December 4

The name of the case is: State of New Jersey v. One 1990 Ford Thunderbird. Does this mean the car could get fined for contempt if it backfired during the trial? Does the car have the same fair trial rights that I do? Justice in America, kids.
exploratory links inside