Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Link: Schiavo

Andrew Sullivan has written one of the best pieces I've read on the whole Schiavo case. Go read it, and one of these days I'll finish the post I started last week...

Friday, March 25, 2005

Politics: Nice Job, Ohio

Stupid voter referendums often have unintended consequences (just ask anyone in California), but in Ohio, there's already blowback from the draconian Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment ignorant voters passed in November [via The Talent Show]:
Unintended Consequences

It looks like the people of Ohio were so excited at the prospect of discriminating against gay people that they inadvertently aided someone who beat the shit out of his live-in girlfriend :

A judge has ruled that Ohio's new constitutional ban on same-sex marriage prohibits unmarried people from being able to file domestic violence charges.

Judges and others across the country have been waiting for a ruling on how Ohio's ban on same-sex marriage, among the nation's broadest, would affect the state's 25-year-old domestic violence law, which previously wasn't limited to married people.

Wednesday's ruling by Cuyahoga County common pleas judge Stuart Friedman changed a felony domestic violence charge against Frederick Burk to a misdemeanor assault charge.

[...] His public defender, David Magee, had asked the judge to throw out the charge because of the new wording in Ohio's constitution that prohibits any state or local government from enforcing a law that would "create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals."

Prior to the amendment's approval, courts applied the domestic violence law by defining a family as including an unmarried couple living together as would a husband and wife, the judge said. The new amendment banning same-sex marriage no longer allows that.

Nice work. In their haste to pass the harshest amendment possible while the anti-gay sentiment was peaking, Ohio really stepped in it. Since the state cannot force anyone to get married (...yet...), the wording of this stupid amendment is sure to have dramatic effects in a whole variety of arenas regarding unmarried couples of all types.

Come to think of it, the amendment that passed here in Michigan contains much of the same language. I'm so proud. Sigh.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

BS: Gas Prices

I've been meaning to write a rant about gas prices ever since they snuck back over $2 a gallon last month, and by all accounts have a ways more "up" to go.

I don't have a problem with high gas prices, per se. If high gas prices will act as an incentive for people to dump SUVs and conserve more, I think that's great. Make it $3 a gallon and Detroit will be forced to raise mileage standards because of market demands, not the EPA.

My problem is this: At a time when American soldiers are ostensibly dying to secure our "national interests" (ie: oil), I find it unseemly (or, fucking outrageous) that oil companies are making record profits*, and the government has done nothing to reduce consumption.

Everyone is willing to accept the jacked up prices because they think it has something to do with the War in Iraq and that sooner or later it will get back to normal. Guess again. The prices have nothing to do with Iraq, and they are never coming down again. Once this country is conditioned to $2 gas, there is no reason the oil companies are going to bring it back down again. Maybe the $1.90s, just as a dupe, because it'll seem cheap compared to the $2.30 we'll be paying by May.

The refinery explosion yesterday is this week's bullshit excuse to raise prices:
Gasoline prices could rise slightly because the plant is such a large gas producer. Gasoline futures rose nearly 2 cents in late trading Wednesday on news of the explosion. In afternoon trading Thursday in Europe, the price of unleaded gasoline for April delivery was up 2.8 cents.

Hmm, that seems logical. Except that right before that paragraph is a quote from BP's spokesman saying the plant is "operating normally." The crooks in charge of determining gas futures decided it looked like a good reason to raise prices. End of story.

In February I remember reading in USA Today, some stupid article about "Why are gas prices so high?" Nobody could explain it... Why? I'll tell you. Unbridled greed. With a wink from the White House

*ExxonMobil's 2004 fourth-quarter earnings, at $8.42 billion, represented the highest quarterly income ever reported by an American firm.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Misc: If You Gotta Go, You Gotta go

This legislation that makes perfect sense to me:
Sixteen years ago, she was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, an inflammation of the small intestine that can lead to diarrhea and bleeding. She often needs to quickly use a toilet when she's away from home, where she also works. Sometimes, she's accommodated; on other occasions, shop owners have refused her, leading to an embarrassing accident.

"It's humiliating," she said. "I have to go the bathroom 10 to 20 times a day. I can't control it."

That's why she's becoming the poster child for people who suffer from incontinence as legislation is introduced today in Lansing that would require retailers to open employee bathrooms to people who show a doctor's note. A similar bill died in the state House of Representatives last year. State Rep. Andy Meisner, D-Ferndale, plans to reintroduce the legislation today.

The Michigan Retailers Association says it's common sense. "It's not going to be every customer. It's customers with special needs," said Tom Scott, spokesman for the association.

The Michigan Chamber of Commerce isn't convinced. "Rest rooms that might be perfectly suitable for employees really might not be practical or satisfactory for a customer," said Rich Studley, spokesman for the chamber. "If a customer has to walk through a break room or storeroom or an office, they might see financial records or personnel records, or they might have to go through an area where cash receipts are being handled."

[...]"People who have other types of disabilities get what they need, like ramps, elevators and certain types of telephones," she said. "But I'm at the mercy of the store managers."

What the hell is the matter with people? First of all, if someone has to go bad enough that they'll ask in a non-public rest room scenario, they probably really have to go, doctor's note or no. But if it is medically necessary, who would still want to say no? The heartless assholes at the Michigan C.O.C., I guess. If a customer is suffering from a debilitating incontinence condition so serious they need a doctor's note to use the bathroom, they're not stopping to dig through your mail on the way. Are you worried about the classified trade secrets laying around in the back of your gift shop?

Not that these poor folks are going to be too picky, but God forbid you maintain a bathroom for your employees that isn't too disgusting and embarrassing for occassional "emergency" public use. If your bathroom isn't suitable for a sick customer, it isn't suitable for anyone, and you're an asshole boss. If you'd say "no" to someone in such dire circumstances, you're an asshole, period.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Fox News: Fair and Balanced*

*at least 27 percent of the time!
The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz reports on a new study of TV news. You decide.

"In covering the Iraq war last year, 73 percent of the stories on Fox News included the opinions of the anchors and journalists reporting them, a new study says. By contrast, 29 percent of the war reports on MSNBC and 2 percent of those on CNN included the journalists' own views. These findings -- the figures were similar for coverage of other stories -- 'seem to challenge' Fox's slogan of 'we report, you decide,' says the Project for Excellence in Journalism.


Perhaps not a real shocker, but it turns out that Bill O'Reilly, host of the "no-spin zone," is a bona fide leader in dialing in the spin: "As for the most popular prime-time shows, nearly every story -- 97 percent -- contained opinion on Fox's 'O'Reilly Factor'; 24 percent on MSNBC's 'Hardball with Chris Matthews'; and 0.9 percent on CNN's 'Larry King Live.'"

I love it. "The 97 percent Spin Zone." It's just funny to see the bullshit actually assigned numeric value. Here's fox's explanation/excuse...
In an interview, Fox's executive daytime producer, Jerry Burke, says: "I encourage the anchors to be themselves. I'm certainly not going to step in and censor an anchor on any issue . . . You don't want to look at a cookie-cutter, force-feeding of the same items hour after hour. I think that's part of the success of the channel, not treating our anchors like drones. They're number one, Americans, and number two, human beings, as well as journalists."

Wow. They're jounalists third! Are you sure they're not also men, women, mommies and daddies and everything else before "journalists" too? Does it say "Washington Bureau Chief" under the 70-percent opinion Brit Hume's name and face or "Regular American and Bush Supporter Giving You His Personal Opinion / Semi-Reporter." SNL's Weekend Update and the Daily Show probably have better (lower) "opinion" numbers and a better claim on actual "journalism."

This isn't telling me anything I don't already know, nor will it convince any Fox viewers that they are being misled. It's likely their only news source (that, and Rush), and Fox will either ignore this study or dismiss it as "liberal media bias" and everyone will go back to being completely disgusted by the dishonest news coverage (me) or happily lapping up their "alternative to the liberal mainstream" bullshit (idiotic Fox viewers). "We Mis-Report. You Mis-Decide."

Thursday, March 10, 2005


Hard to believe this is the post that marks the return to the blog after nearly a month...but goddamn it, I'm pissed off!

I work at a College. Yeah, it may be down the road a bit from the "Harvard of the MidWest", and a Community College, but one would think that by the time one is attending College, one would have learned TO LIFT THE FUCKING SEAT ON THE TOILET!!!

Scratch that. The sheer volume of urine sprayed all over the seat and stall is evidence that this is no mere lazy "Oops, I was looking up and got some on the seat." This is a deliberate act of pure, rude, wanton vandalism. The Men's Room on my floor is beseiged daily by a fucking caveman who walks past no less than five urinals to enter the stall and foul the only available toilet. Every Fucking Day.

Expulsion for the student-asshole in question is too kind. They need the mother of all swirlies. There is almost nothing that inspires greater fantasies of vigilantism for me. A huge kick in the nuts before shoving this motherfucker's face into the filthy toilet while the water swirls about their screaming head... it's the least they deserve.