Saturday, June 28, 2003
Wide Open: Best Nintendo GameAnd I'd hope you already know this, but I'm talking about the classic. The 8-bit. The Nintendo Entertainment System.
You're welcome to discuss, but the answer is clear: Rush n' Attack.
posted by kriston at 3:44 AM........
Friday, June 27, 2003
Sympathy for the EPAI was excited to see that someone visited G.p by way of an epa.gov domain or whatever. I'd be curious to hear what the tone of that office is like today, with Christine Whitman's departure, and the vitriole I'd imagine the place must feel for the Bush administration. I mean, come on, Bush and co. have generally given science the shaft since day one, and it's hard to tell how complicit Whitman was in the decision to delete relevant language about global warming from the EPA's progress report. Regardless I can imagine she's happy to leave today. As Washington Monthlywriter Nick Thompson put it, for the Bush administration, science offers just another opinion--a focus group of a highly educated, eccentric, and blow-offable nature.
OK, party people--I'm moving my belongings from my house in east Austin to wherever the wind takes them. I'll be back on Monday, minus most of my possessions and preparing for Washington, DC.
posted by kriston at 4:56 PM........
Texas vs ChoiceApologies for an absurdly long post, and I hate to expose the thundercloud-lining on the otherwise supremely silver clouds that the SCOTUS have delivered recently, but Gov. Rick Perry and cohorts were able to slip some nasty anti-choice legislation by before the closing of the 78th lege. Three effects:
House Bill 15, all-too-ironically named the "Women's Right to Know Act," stipulates that at least "24 hours before having an abortion, a woman must now sign a statement indicating that she has been given access to photos of fetal development and information regarding the risks of abortion and pregnancy, as well as her legal right to collect child support from the baby’s father if she decides to carry the pregnancy to term." "Informed consent" periods tend to hit hardest the women who already must travel across counties to reach a clinic that provides abortions; now some women should expect to spend at least an extra day and expenses getting "informed". It's condescending to assume that a woman deciding to have an abortion is ignorant to the issues. Moreover, since the Bush administration assigns science the same objective relevance as the Word of God, there's little question as to the nature of the "facts" key to the literature.
It only gets worse:
HB 15 also requires that all abortions after 16 weeks to take place in an ambulatory surgical center or hospital, instead of a clinic. Proponents say this will make women safer. But Dave Kittrell, vice chair of the Texas section for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says that HB 15, which he characterizes as "stupid," will have no impact on the safety of abortions.If abortions can't be made illegal, they can be made impossible.
Senate Bill 319, a devastating blow in the war being waged over language. The right to choice is protected by a SCOTUS decision, built upon the intricacies of precedent and legal language. I met Sarah Weddington, the prosecuting attorney in Roe vs Wade, who described how the meat and potatoes of the prosecution was built upon the legal status of fetuses, as exhibited in the commercial world (a pregnant woman buys one plane ticket, for a hastily remembered example). SB 319 sidelines all debate, defining an "individual" as coming into being at the moment of fertilization. No scientific, philosophical, ethical, or religious concerns other than the ascendant need be considered. Nominally an effort to allow a woman the right to sue against injuries to a fetus, I think the larger motivation isn't even hidden. Dangerous.
Rider-11, a measure pinned to the state budget in May and certified by Gov. Perry, cuts all state funding to any organizations that provide abortions, regardless of the fact that abortions account for less than 3% of the services provided at family-planning clinics. This measure sacks Planned Parenthood alone for $13 million, even though--and really, this is just so damned wrong--no state or federal tax dollars may be used to pay for an abortion. It's already illegal. Those abortions performed for women too poor to pay are provided entirely through donations. Rider-11 mostly affects poor, rurally situated women--not just women looking to have an abortion, but those needing to have a pap smear. I did hear on NPR this morning that Planned Parenthood would be suing, but I couldn't find any news about that over lunchtime googling.
There's more--including one brutal, cruel House bill (HB 1700), proposing that every woman convicted of a child abuse charge be forced to take contraception. (I heard about it on NPR, and didn't hear if it had actually passed; I called the Texas bill status hotline and discovered that it made it to joint committee, but didn't emerge. Good.)
It's good to celebrate some major liberal victories at the national level, but our communities are under a damned-near assault here in Texas. Pressing for a Democratic Oval Office is worthy, yet the 78th Legislature of Texas has done more to frustrate women's rights than probably President Bush could match.
posted by kriston at 2:03 PM........
Thursday, June 26, 2003
Say it ain't so, Hitch, say it ain't so...I'm filling in for Sue and Not U on the Christopher Hitchens Watch today, because his Slate piece on Sen. John Kerry was the latest in his recent series of intellectual farts and I think she's had enough. C-Hitch has abandoned the humanitarian high ground and now wears his Bush badge proudly on his sleeve. It's terrible:
So, the junior senator from Massachusetts has finally come up with a winning line. "Vote for me," says John Kerry. "I'm easily fooled." This appears to be the implication of his claim to have been "misled" by the Bush administration in the matter of WMD.... Given that Kerry once went all the way to Vietnam under some kind of misapprehension about a war for democracy and launched a political career on the basis of what he finally learned when it was much too late, one might be tempted to discern a pattern here.Obi-Wan Kenobi asked, "Who is more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows him?" The answer is Christopher Hitchens. Do yourself a favor: don't read this article, but instead, go pick up The Trials of Henry Kissinger--where he talks a lot about how an administration fools its constituency--and heave a hearty sigh for the fallen vanguard.
posted by kriston at 5:33 PM........
We Must Stop the Zombies!Conservatives argued that if everyone had the right to do whomever they please, the slippery slope would lead completely, disasterously, irrevocably and irrefutably to bestiality, necrophilia, and same-sex marriages for all those wackos out there. So, today's SCOTUS decision for Lawrence and Garner vs Texas--marking a halcyon day for queers--means that a couple of changes are on the way. The dog's staying inside at nights from now on, and I'll be more wary of zombies than ever before. I'd also assume that there's no longer legal justification for refusing civil unions, at the least, and we may even watch our society follow Canada down the drain. What a scary, liberal world!
Seriously, what kind of flimsy legal case could you make against homosexuality now that the sex is sanctified?
UPDATE: An observation, from the desk of Daily Kos, about how Scalia's kvetching dissent sounds a lot like liberal promise. If you'd read this blind you'd have sworn it was Ginsberg, but it's pure Scalia:
The Court says that the present case does not involve whether the government must give formal recognition to any relation-He wants to bring down the house with a sensationalist tack on our nation's moral fabric, but at the end of the day he's King Canute commanding away the tide. Damn it feels good to be a gangster.
posted by kriston at 5:08 PM........
Wednesday, June 25, 2003
One more reminder to vote in the MoveOn PAC primary--today's the last day, and the votes will be independently counted and announced some time Friday. I read somewhere that so far they've received more votes than were placed at the New Hampshire Dem primary and the Iowa caucuses combined. That's lots.
Here are some notes on (and from) the candidates, if you're not quite convinced about making a voting effort this early.
Speaking about making an effort, I'd kind of forgotten about John Edwards in the fever over Howard Dean, but if he can walk this talk, he'll be in the lead for my vote. Crowd-pleasin' populism--the medicine doesn't sound much sweeter than this. It's a really incredible speech. It seems that Kevin Drum and Ezra K at Not Geniuses are leaning in his direction. But it's a ways from November, and a few questions remain, including where The General fits in the picture.
posted by kriston at 1:32 PM........
Not a football round-up, but a few notes on the University of Michigan decision and how it affects the University of Texas. As probably most of the UT readers here will attest, UT President Larry Faulkner is chomping at the bit now that the Supreme Court has afforded higher education a little breathing room. Currently admissions are judged on an individual basis (as opposed to Michigan's undergraduate formula), when they are judged--the majority of UT students are admitted via TX House Bill 588, or the Top 10 Percent Law:
The University of Texas at Austin’s preliminary fall 2003 enrollment figures show that students admitted automatically under the Top 10 Percent Law would account for 69 percent of the freshman class and about 75 percent of the incoming freshmen listed as Texas residents. That total could jump to 85 or as much as 100 percent by the next Legislative biennium.The Top 10 Percent plan depends on the severely segregated/economically divided schools of Texas, and to this effect it accomplishes much of what was overruled in the Hopwood decision. The 10 Percent Law appears to address the affirmative action goal by aiming for income: No difference if you go to a wealthy school in the Woodlands or a delapidated school in Laredo. Still, the problem arises that a student who attends a better performing school, but does not make the top 10% of her class, is overlooked even though she may be much more academically qualified than a top ten percenter from a worse school. (It's easy, really: Who is the better candidate, the student who makes Bs all the way through AP Calculus, or the one who graduates with all As up to geometry--at the school that doesn't offer AP classes?)
At the end of the day, I think it's still better to go with a race-based affirmative action policy than one that might try to draft from income inequality; even though, inasmuch as Texas and most southern states are concerned, the two categories overlap mightily, I believe race-based admissions policies would produce fewer examples of disparities between otherwise-equivalent candidates.
The link above leads to a Longhorn page with links/info on Hopwood, House 588, and other good stuff.
UPDATE: PG beat me to the review, so go check out some analysis from H-Town.
posted by kriston at 12:55 PM........
In his column today, which is otherwise a run-of-the-mill wrap-up, I notice that Tom Friedman avoids a common pothole. In print, the acronym for "weapons of mass destruction" should read neither W.M.D.'s nor WMDs (both are acceptable pluralizations of acronyms). It should read W.M.D. or WMD, no s, because--obviously enough by now--the pluralization is included within the abbreviation. (The Chicago Manual of Style (14th ed.), 6.16, lists SOSs and IOUs as properly formatted, but also M.A.'s and Ph.D.'s as correct; I believe POWs and WMD belong under the first umbrella.)
Note those POWs: It could easily be argued that POW stands for "prisoner(s) of war," but we still add the s, so why not treat WMD the way you would POWs? The reason for the separate treatment of the WMD, I'd argue, is 'cause Bush was never suggesting a singular weapon of mass destruction. Some awkwardnesses arise: "I don't even own a WMD, let alone many WMD that would necessitate an entire war!" But most importantly, no one's talking about an envelope of anthrax, or even a chemical warhead: Bush described intelligence that pointed to an entire military-industrial subcomplex that for years produced weapons of mass destruction, and that was the reason we went to war, and those WMD are what we're all so eager to hear about.
So, finally, Friedman is right. Even if Bush did not lie (which Thomas doesn't suggest--but j'accuse), the alternative is worse: Who now has all those WMD?
posted by kriston at 9:45 AM........
Tuesday, June 24, 2003
If upon an election year a Democrat...
Welcome, valued reader. Today, I'm pausing from my usual ruminations to ask you to consider casting your vote in the Democratic primary hosted by the MoveOn PAC. Even as many of your are reading this line right now, I imagine I see that smile starting to creep across your face like the sunrise: you think, "Ah, yes! My first ever e-primary vote! How fondly I recall." Congratulations, for those readers: you all surely glow with that spirit of participatory democracy that warms the breast. A pat on your back.
But I sense another kind of reader altogether, and you are curious about this internet primary. Skeptical, even: your discriminating intellect has already brought you, by hook or by crook, to these pages, so that much attests to your desire to get to the bottom of it all. I am quite sure you're not even reading at this point--no, you're rambunctiously clicking at links, anxious to get to some raw information free of my mediation. Well, good for you, reader. Go ahead; click away, I'll wait. May I suggest this article from The American Prospect on the brave, new polidigital landscape? Yes? That's the reader I know, always thirsty for knowledge.
...There, you're back. Are your hesitations salved? Good. Now, before we go any further: relax. Leave your workday far behind. Get comfy. Perhaps your slippers would be better than those penny-loafers? Okay, I won't be too pushy. ...Well, go ahead! Click away! Join in with potentially over one million other Democrats, and tell them all what you think! The time is short, but you can do it if you hurry. Go!
posted by kriston at 3:31 PM........
Monday, June 23, 2003
SCOTUS on AA
The Supreme Court upheld Michigan's affirmative action policy, with some hesitations. The law school's policy was favored by a 5-4 decision, and the undergraduate point system policy was struck down by a 6-3 decision. Without getting into the complications of affirmative action programs, I'll just say, I'm pleased as punch. I will support affirmative action until the "fairness" that conservatives imagine exists without AA actually comes about: When quality of education isn't linked to racial status, and when a fair education gives minorities the tools to interrupt the cycle of race-based poverty, then I'll admit the criticisms of AA. Tonight, if I have the time, I'm going to try to sit down and read the opinions; in the mean time, I'm browsing the legal beagles (TP, Unlearned Hand, Feddie, Ignatz, Volokh, etc.) and I recommend them if you want the breakdown and are not yourself a lawyer.
Sorry the commentary's short, but I'm feeling out of sorts today. The next few weeks may see G.p in even more disarray than usual: While I've given notice at work and will probably slack off that much more (+ posts), I'm moving from my house to a friend's this weekend, and from there to dallas a couple weeks later, and finally to my new habitat in Washington, DC ( - posts). Exciting changes! It'll take me a little while to reset my political compass--I mean, goodness, I couldn't even tell you the name of my Representative in DC....
posted by kriston at 1:18 PM........
Sunday, June 22, 2003
Drum roll, please....
As for results of my none-too-subtle advertisement of the weblog contest, needless to say, my goofy SW post didn't take home the cup. I did get a nice review from a blogger named Tiger, so, happy birthday to me for that. For those of you that gave me a "vote," happy birthday to you.
In other news, the weblog world changes significantly tomorrow: Ann Coulter's weblog debuts. I will not be reading it or posting about it, not even to make fun of it, and I suggest you take the same track.
posted by kriston at 3:55 PM........