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Posts by constans

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  • Terror on Wheels - Do SUVs fund terror?

    01/09/2003 8:36:51 AM PST · 42 of 46
    constans to guitfiddlist
    Yeah, noone here seems to have seen the connection between the "toke up, kill americans" and "fill up the tank, support terrorists" ad campaigns. There are a lot of people here who act as thought they have heard of satire but never really experienced in directly.

    The only big surprise for me is why it took these ads so long to air. I mean, after those anti-drug superbowl ads and september 11th, I thought those ads practically wrote themselves.
  • LDS Church can't restrict speech on plaza, appeals court rules

    10/09/2002 7:04:31 PM PDT · 11 of 14
    constans to Hunble
    I agree, too... I don't think I've visited Salt Lake City since they bought the sidewalk, and I'm working from memory from a few years ago regarding the layout. There is an online map of the area, for those interested.

    IANAL, but I think that the reasoning went like this: Take "Temple Square" next to the sidewalk, which is technically "open to the public," but at the same time clearly a walled-off section of the LDS church. It's also a plaza, but more of a public place in the way that a mall is a "public place." On the other hand, the sidewalk that the court case refers to is a public walkway. I believe that the terms of the easement were such that the LDS church gave up all rights to control access to the sidewalk. The court seems to be saying that the legal right (or lack of legal right) to control access to the property trumps the church in favor of the public. Since the public retains their right of access to the property, they retain all rights they would have in all other public places.

    Remember, we're not only talking about what rights the LDS church has but also what rights the public retains regarding their own persons on the sidewalk. It sounds like the easement said, "the public retains its rights on the walkway."

    Anyone else willing to give their armchair lawyer interpretation? :)

  • Publisher's refusal to dedicate book {To Clarence Thomas} angers editor

    10/07/2002 3:32:11 PM PDT · 16 of 23
    constans to connectthedots
    Yes, it will probably increase sales, but given that the publisher had a pre-existing policy of not allowing dedications to sitting political figures, this would imply that the author purposely attempted to make the dedication to Clarence Thomas, in the hopes of generating buzz.

    But, hey, who here is going to stand up for the poor, beleaguered publisher just trying to make a living in his world and running his publishing house "his own way," huh? I mean, isn't denying authors the ability to dedicate their books to whomever they want what owning your own publishing company is all about? :)

  • California school sued over Islamic drills

    07/10/2002 10:20:49 AM PDT · 34 of 70
    constans to kattracks
    "These children always had a choice," she said. "There was no coercion and no insistence that they do any of these activities if they didn't want to."

    She misses the point... having teacher-led exercises that promote certain religious practices is precisely what "coercion" is for students. Can you imagine the outrage from protestant parents if they started simulating catholic communion ceremonies in class, it which it was "optional" to line up and get a wafer from the teacher? Or if everyone had the "option" to "simulate" taking part in a tent-revival where they get full-immersion baptism at the end and act as though they're speaking in tongues?

  • A burning issue: Music piracy and downloads

    06/05/2002 11:03:33 AM PDT · 150 of 474
    constans to tdadams
    More to the point, these record companies are entitled to their "laws" but they don't mean "diddly squat" pratically.

    We can no more prevent music trading over the internet than we can control singing in the shower. Ever sang Happy Birthday in public? Oops... copyright violation. Serenaded your sweetie with a coprighted song? Violation again.

    The legal ramifications of the issue of filesharing are not particularly interesting to me. No doubt one of reasons the Supreme Court said that recording TV programs was ok because the enforcement issue was too daunting to comprehend. The law is so unenforceable to be impractical, so clearly the law's relevance in this particular situation is going to be changed or no longer enforced.

    Noone is trying to come up with legal justification for trading coprighted music. People are just arguing that the legal principle to prevent such trading is simply not worth fighting for.

    The problem, of course, is that artists and producers ask for trouble by putting their music "out there." Suddenly, people hear a song and they're singing it in public or playing the CD for their friends and talking about the song... and before you know it, it's causing copyright violations all over the place.

    People concerned about making money off of recorded music are perfectly free to come up with more sustainable and legally enforceable business models. They're not going to stop people from exchanging files anymore than they can appeal to congress to stop people from singing in the street, however.

  • The Soccer Gap: What conservatives are missing.

    05/31/2002 10:22:02 AM PDT · 53 of 329
    constans to xsysmgr
    Most people I've already said what has been on my mind-- soccer is easy to play because you can do it with an empty field. Soccer is fun for most people to participate inbecause it doesn't require the players to be abnormally tall or heavy. More to the point, having a player with such physical attributes does not automatically skew the game one way or another.

    However, soccer is not a popular spectator sport in the USA because, in my opinion, soccer has been "solved." The fact that the woman's world championship soccer game was decided on a penalty kick after a 0-0 tie proved to me that professional soccer teams have learned to be skilled enough, strong enough, and have enough endurance to prevent the other team from winning. They have simply figured everything out, and that's about it. Soccer has simply become to easy for the pros. Thus, I think the solution is simply to make the field smaller and force the game to be more fast paced. Hockey operates on the same principles as soccer, but it doesn't suffer from the same "slowness" stigma.

    The lack of popularity among Americans when it comes to international play is simply that you can't really go to see any of the "away games" to root on the USA. It's easy for the British football hooligans to travel from country to country in Europe cheering on their country. In the USA, you're stuck hopping on a flight across the Atlantic if you want to do that.

  • Federal judges overturn Children's Internet Protection Act

    05/31/2002 10:08:26 AM PDT · 12 of 28
    constans to detsaoT
    I believe the reason the arguments against CIPA were successful were because filters don't work the way "library filtering" is supposed to work. The librarian and community makes a conscious decision not to subscribe to Playboy, for example.

    On the other hand, internet filtering software has a secret and copyrighted database of restricted web sites. Libraries that use internet filtering are simply handing over the restriction process to an outside company that hides its methodology from the local community. In many cases, the methodology and databases are poor and out-of-date, thus restricting access to legitimate data.

    On a note unrelated to the constitutionality of the issue, the federal funds that the libraries receive cannot be used to pay for or maintain the filtering software itself. Some libraries decided that it was not worth the time and expense to get the federal money if they'd have to dip into their own funds to follow federal filtering regulations. Thus, it was reported by the washington post that in Virginia, only small libraries tended to accept the fedeal funds and install filtering, whereas larger libraries didn't want to deal with the trouble involved.

  • True Blue Americans

    05/07/2002 9:08:54 AM PDT · 7 of 8
    constans to jesterhazy
    Krugman could have made the comparison even more stark if he concentrated just on southern states, rather than including the more sparsely populated rural midwestern states. Since his focus was on farm subsidies, it muddled the stark contrast between regions like the south and the northern coastal states in particular:

    Let's Ditch Dixie - Slate Mag March 14, 2001

    More people live below the poverty line in the old Confederacy than in the Northeast and Midwest combined. You are three times more likely to be murdered in parts of Dixie than anywhere in New England, despite a feverish devotion to "law-and-order" that has made eight Southern states home to 90 percent of all recent U.S. executions. The South has the highest infant-mortality rate and the highest incidences of sexually transmitted diseases, while it lags behind the rest of the country in terms of test scores and opportunities for women. The Confederate states rail against the tyranny of big government, yet they are the largest recipients of federal tax dollars. They steal business away from the North the same way that developing countries worldwide have always attracted foreign direct investment: through low wages and anti-union laws.

    On the topic of divorce, the new england states of Massachusetts and Connecticut have the lowest divorce rates. THe highest divorce rates outside of Nevada are found in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Tennesee. Since these are not "depopulated" states of the Great Plains, like Wyoming or Montana, it's not just a statistical blip.

  • NEW CROSSFIRE RATINGS IN TOILET

    04/23/2002 11:09:35 AM PDT · 58 of 58
    constans to Tumbleweed_Connection
    Yeah, the change is a totally bad move from a financial standpoint. CNN needs to go after a demographic that advertisers are going to buy. The Crossfire format works great when it attracts conservatives who want to see the right pummel whatever liberal guest is on the show, along with the liberal representative. However, the only liberals that are going to be interested in a left-wing version of this are news junkies and college students. The upscale liberal demographic is going to be watching something other than talk-show screamfests-- they'll be listening to NPR or checking out the latest PBS documentary. Not to mention the fact that Carville and Begala, while liberal politically, are not characters that upscale liberal viewers are going to relate to (how many Volvo-driving "ragin' cajuns" do you know?)

    Crossfire was always meant to appeal to, or at least attract, conservative viewers. It's not going to work without that demographic.

  • PRIESTLY PEDOPHILIA: It's Not About Celibacy

    04/18/2002 12:19:05 PM PDT · 49 of 162
    constans to Liz
    Very true, but what we have to accept is that the decision to pursue celibacy, both being unmarried and not engaging in sexual relations, is a rare gift. It's not for everyone. Meanwhile, the Roman Catholic church requires thousands of people to pursue this path.

    Eliminating the celibacy requirement for the priesthood would give a treasured place for the people who want to become priests that want to pursue celibacy in their life as well as, "normal, everyday" married people who want to join the priesthood. As it is, there have been accusations that celibacy encourages people to join the priesthood as a "way out" of whatever personal issues they have. Shouldn't the focus of the priesthood be on whether someone wants to serve God and his community rather than merely whether he wants to be celibate?

  • **Andrea Yates Sentence**Live Thread**Ruling @ 2:45 ET**

    03/15/2002 11:49:51 AM PST · 191 of 314
    constans to Oldeconomybuyer
    Hmm... my opinion: had the jury called for the death sentence, Texas would have been faced with a push to change both its insanity laws and death penalty laws. The woman was on serious anti-psychotic medication and then abruptly taken off of them shortly before the murders. With this decision by the jury, there won't be any state-wide calls for any changes in laws, and the status quo will remain because those unhappy with the verdict and punishment will figure that the system works "well enough."

    During the trial, apparently the prosecution claimed that she planned the murders and planned to use the insanity defense ahead of time after watching an episode of "Law & Order." However, it turned out after the trial that this particular episode never aired. There was a claim that this slip-up by the prosecution made their call for capital punishment less credible in the punishment phase.

    Those court-junkies who are disappointed on missing out on the death-penalty appeals can, at least, look forward to a possible prosecution of the father, malpractice suits against the psychiatrist, etc.

  • We Were Soldiers, Not Baby Killers

    03/04/2002 2:04:33 PM PST · 104 of 129
    constans to Pokey78
    "Friendly fire" is possibly the hardest fire to take, which is probably why "We Were Soldiers" isn't finding very many good reviews and will likely be shunned by the California set.

    At Rottentomatoes.com, We Were Soldiers garners 64% positive ratings from movie reviewers around the country, the only movie in the top five this week to have more than 60% positive reviews.

  • Time to decimate the decimeter.

    02/18/2002 6:04:00 PM PST · 14 of 73
    constans to TrueKnightGalahad
    Note that paragraph tags are your friend. :)

    That said, the nice symmetric part of the metric system is not only that everything is base-10, but rather than 1 cubic centimeter (that is, 1 mililiter) of water weighs 1 gram. Thus, you have, length, volume, and mass all unified together surrounding one of the basic elements of the earth-- water.

    The much more obscure standards that you describe are used because they provide a much much higher level of precision than weighing 1cc of H2O.

  • French language fades from global scene

    02/11/2002 3:03:51 PM PST · 116 of 149
    constans to Carolinamom
    Precisely... the same thing happened to Latin during the middle ages-- it had a use as a living language amongst university students who would use it as their only common tongue with which to communicate. Suddenly, with the advent of the renaissance, a bunch of people started saying, "but the classical latin forms were so much more 'pure'... let's go back to them," and it pretty much killed latin as a spoken language.

    What the French are doing is very similar to what the Icelandic do with their language-- incorporate new words very slowly and by adoption via committee. Apparently the medieval icelandic sagas are easily understood by modern icelandic speakers because of this. On the other hand, iceland is a country with only 300,000 speakers without pretensions of international linguistic dominance, whereas French used to have plenty of international currency, but they insisted on acting like the Icelanders.

    However, the time is already here when English has enough critical mass of non-native speakers that there will be an English vernacular and English literature that grows up completely outside English speaking countries and will develop its own loan words and vocabulary. Will the language nazis of the US and UK start cracking down then, insisting on "real English"?

  • County home values soar (Phoenix, AZ)

    02/04/2002 1:18:56 PM PST · 4 of 4
    constans to hsmomx3
    The solution, of course, is to lobby the local zoning board to allow more home construction in the area to ensure that home values don't spiral out of control. Generally, and I've seen this in a couple areas I've lived in, a local community will decide to approve some office building construction to "create jobs." Lo and behold, people with "jobs" decide they want to live nearby, but noone wants to build more apartments or homes because that would "depress property values." So, everyone's rent and taxbills shoot up through the roof. Go figure.
  • Patriots beating the Rams - Symbolic of Our Struggle Today?

    02/03/2002 8:15:34 PM PST · 49 of 53
    constans to AmericaUnited
    Let me give my take on the symbolism. St. Louis used to have a football team which left the city for green pa$ture$. The mayor, like too many mayors of small cities, lamented that St. Louis couldn't be a "first class city" without a big, new stadium and bilked the taxpayers for $300 million. Mind you, this is St. Louis where the lack of a stadium was probably the least of their infrastructure problems. So they built a new stadium and coaxed the Rams away from San Diego.

    Compare this to the Patriots. A couple of years ago, there was talk that the Patriots would move to Hartford, lured by a sweetheart deal from Hartfort's mayor, who clearly felt that his city couldn't be "first class" (how come you never heard Giuliani declaring that NYC needed a new stadium to be a "first class city"?). Ultimately, in a showdown with MA, the owner of the Patriots blinked, and a plan for a new stadium was drawn up so that the Patriots would stay in Foxboro with mostly private money building the stadium. The public money for the stadium was devoted mostly to highway, water, and electricity infrastructure to support the new stadium-- something, I believe, that amounted to less than 10% of the total cost of the stadium.

    In the end, a well-managed team that could finance its own way won out over a city that sent lots of money down a hole in pursuit of "first class" status.

  • Cheeky little test exposes wine 'experts' as weak and flat

    01/14/2002 8:09:32 AM PST · 23 of 74
    constans to dighton
    The case of the audiophile is similar when it comes to stereo equipment. Stephen Dunleavy ran a test where he brought in "seasoned audiophiles" and showed them different kinds of speaker cable they were using-- one was regular zip wire, the other was mid-range premium speaker cable, and the last was a pair of thick speaker cable with gold-colored insulation. Of course, the last and most expensive looking speaker wire got the best reviews from the "golden ears," but in reality, Dunleavy was using the zip wire the whole time.
  • NBC Moves Away From Family Fare

    01/11/2002 6:54:41 AM PST · 43 of 47
    constans to Dr. Eckleburg
    Yes, but remember that Fox was widely pilloried for Simpsons and Married with Children at the time because they weren't "family shows." If the major networks become boutique agencies, that's fine with me. Why should all of the networks stop broadcasting for the childless demographic just because we're in prime time television?

    It's well known that CBS tried to be the "family channel" with "Touched By An Angel" but then tried (successfully, I might add) to recapture the younger crowd with "Survivor." Broadcast networks are smarting under the competition of cable TV and the use of the internet as a leisure activity. If NBC wants to try to the the "hip, edgy" channel for a little while, that's fine with me.

  • NBC Moves Away From Family Fare

    01/09/2002 5:04:44 PM PST · 29 of 47
    constans to anniegetyourgun
    This is simply each channel taking their own personal slice of the market. If you want "family shows", then you can tune into ABC to watch "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" I don't have a family (yet), and I don't catch myself thinking, "would I be comfortable with my children watching this show?" because I don't have any.

    So, kudos to NBC to finally saying publicly want many of us have been wanting to hear. I, for one, am happy there is a network that has explicitly decided to cater to childless adults (or any adults who watch TV without children). Television shows, or TV networks in general, that attempt to provide "something for everyone" are going to end up providing nothing for anyone... and NBC isn't going to fall for that trap, apparently.

  • Texas: Houston Again Named FATTEST City In America

    01/06/2002 8:46:33 PM PST · 21 of 40
    constans to jhofmann
    Many parents from poorer countries that have moved to the USA or families that lived through the Great Depression consider a fair amount of "meat on your bones" to be a sign of prosperity.

    These days in the USA, the correlation is just the opposite-- being overweight means you eat a lot of cheap, high-fat food like McDonalds, whereas being fit means you are so successful that you have enough leisure time to pay attention to diet and exercise.

  • OH BUOY! POPEYE'S GONE GAY; JUICE AD CAUSES STIR

    12/29/2001 12:11:15 AM PST · 66 of 106
    constans to TLBSHOW
    This ad has been out for months. Slate Magazine had a review of the ad back in May. I guess Drudge doesn't watch TV, and maybe the editors of the Star don't, either.

    As far as whether they're gay? Well, once they make Popeye and Bluto much "friendlier" in the ad, you can't help but think to yourself, "I knew there was something about those two." :)

  • I Just Saw 'Lord of the Rings'-What a Disappiontment, Expect Box Office to Trail Off After Xmas...

    12/21/2001 10:28:53 AM PST · 120 of 208
    constans to Aristophanes
    A degree in Classical Studies, eh? Explain how I'm supposed to differentiate between you and the nerdy Medievalist posting with a nick like "Beowulf" or "WifeOfBath." :)

    Note to outside observers: nothing to see here-- just the nerd infighting. :)

  • I Just Saw 'Lord of the Rings'-What a Disappiontment, Expect Box Office to Trail Off After Xmas...

    12/21/2001 9:11:00 AM PST · 104 of 208
    constans to Aristophanes
    You might be a nerd if...

    You have enough of an appreciation of classics to pick a nickname like "Aristophanes."

    Yeah, I can pick out someone who's really "one of us" a mile away. :)

    See you in line waiting for Episode 2...

  • Shiny 'Ring' isn't quite flawless - strange title, odd review

    12/19/2001 11:21:52 AM PST · 57 of 74
    constans to Lucius Cornelius Sulla
    I loved the LOTR movie. However, I also like Ebert's review because I think he brings a perspective that we don't hear enough of regarding the book vs. the movie. I have to say that, simply, Fellowship of the Ring is a boring book. It's not very plot or character driven, and it doesn't have the same "life" that the travels of Marco Polo or the Histories of Herodotus have (at least as FoTR is written). Ebert is right in saying that the movie doesn't capture the essence of the book. Anyone who enjoys Tolkein's focus on a very disconnected, hyperdescriptive narrative (this happened, and then that happened, and then they went to this other place where the fauna looked precisely in this way, and so on) is going to have issues with the movie because a 2 or 3 hour movie is precisely focused on presenting a cohesive narrative arc.

    So Ebert is right. He hits the nail on the head as far as the differences between the book and the movie and why the movie might feel dissatisfying. But the movie succeeded in bring Middle Earth to life and giving the whole story a very tangible structure. Each scene of the movie has purpose in the way that the book doesn't. But if you liked the purposeless wanderings of the book and endless descriptions, you're inevitably going to detect that something is "missing" somewhere, because it is (though, from my perspective, what is "missing" from the movie is all those things I didn't like from the book).

  • Hitler was a vegetarian photo. Post your anti peta photos here!

    12/12/2001 9:01:17 AM PST · 70 of 89
    constans to Libertarian_4_eva
    What you want to do is make it look more like an actual PETA ad. Another great example of this was something done in the exact style of Gap ads, entitled, "Hitler wore khakis."
  • THE HEPATITIS B SCAM

    12/12/2001 8:53:27 AM PST · 100 of 149
    constans to one2many
    I received the Hep B vaccine 3 years ago because my university required it for all entering students when I applied to graduate school. This was not the case when I started college, but many years later the requirement changed.

    All in all, probably a good idea, particularly for college undergraduates where everyone lives in close quarters, shares the same bathrooms, and, heck, let's face it, they date all the same people. I think most opposition to the Hep B vaccine stems from the fact that it is seen as a disease that only "those people" get. Yeah, I am definitely at low risk, but such an insular community needs to protect itself... after all, not everyone here is at low risk for Hep B-- plus, one of the listed risk factors is "household contacts of infected persons" (from Immunization Action Coalition). For anyone living in a dorm or any other communal living environment, that's a big risk factor.

  • Women We'd Like To See... In Burkas

    12/06/2001 8:01:38 AM PST · 16 of 24
    constans to KentuckyWoman
    Actually, women I know, even (especially?) the conservative ones, regard the attention of strangers on the street (or other non-social public place) as "creepy."

    We men have a penchant for fixating on a woman. In most cases, that's a healthy loyalty, but sometimes it manifests itself as stalking. Yeah, that construction worker might be whistling at you to pay you a compliment, but pretty soon he's figured out your daily schedule and where you live...

  • How were the Native Indians when Columbus arrived?[Angels?, Savages?,etc]

    12/03/2001 11:46:40 AM PST · 30 of 145
    constans to electron1
    Well, there were lots of different tribes in the Americas, with various warring between the sets of them. However, Columbus himself only encountered the Carribean tribes. Columbus generally reports that the natives were very generous. What needs to be clear is that the spanish mission to the new world focused almost exclusively on acquiring gold for the kingdom of spain. In retrospect, the infighting among the indian tribes didn't look that brutal in comparison to the spanish lust for gold, thus allowing the native tribes to look much better in hindsight.

    Columbus himself wrote that the Indians, "are so naive and so free with their possessions that no one who has not witnessed them would believe it. When you ask for something they have, they never say no. To the contrary, they offer to share with anyone."

    An interesting set of quotations from source-texts on the matter is the first chapter of Howard Zinn's "people's history of the United States," which I thought everyone taught in American History, nowadays. Zinn seems to quote extensively from Batolome de las Cases, a young priest involved in the conquest of Cuba in his book "History of the Indies." I'd also delve into the original source texts of Columbus's writings.

  • Phyllis Schlafly: Are Mexican Immigrants Assimilating Or Invading?

    11/30/2001 1:58:33 PM PST · 107 of 346
    constans to Stand Watch Listen
    First, I'm not going to go into a detailed rant about the way the USA handles immigration policy. That's a rant for another day.

    That said, I think we quickly forget how many decades it takes for an ethnic group to get assimilated. THe reason we've forgotten is because immigration between the 1920s and 1968 virtually ground to a halt, so we tend only to know of families who came to this country and assimilated decades ago or families who have only come very recently. German-Americans started coming here in droves in the mid to late 1800s and had German schools, German neighborhoods, and German churches. This likely would have gone on for a few more decades were it not for WWI which made expressions of German culture "unwise"-- not to mention the decades upon decades it's been since we've seen new communities of German s moving to the USA.

    My father's side of the family came here in the early 1950s. His parents never really learned that much English, and at family holidays we still bounce back and forth between languages. English was learned as a second language for all of my cousins. However, now that my cousins have children (the second generation born in the USA-- 30 years after my cousins were born and 50 years after my father and his siblings came to the USA), THEY are the first generation to learn English as a first language-- decades after their grandparents first came to this country as children. You're not going to see fully "assimilated" Mexican families -- or any kind of family -- for at least 50 years after they first arrive here.

  • Doonesbury's 11/18 Cartoon Pokes Fun At 5,000 World Trade Center Victims!

    11/19/2001 8:45:22 AM PST · 63 of 98
    constans to justme346
    Actually, the sentiments expressed in that Doonsbury strip were identical to the ones expressed in Arianna Huffington's column last week.

    This has been a consistent theme since the attacks that suddenly Bush's agenda which was deemed "controversial" is now portrayed as the "patriotic thing to do." The reason Bush's last quip in the strip, "Thanks, Evildoers!" is funny is precisely because the comment is so blatantly inappropriate. In fact, if it was some "appropriate" comment, then the entire strip was have lost its humor value, and it would have come across as just a partisan rant in comic strip form.

  • Current media would have sided with Japan

    11/18/2001 11:15:24 AM PST · 12 of 34
    constans to Commonsense
    In fact, the US media did side with Japan as their imperial spread started. While the Japanese sneak attack against Pearl Harbor is well known as a Japanese outrage, slightly less well known is the Japanese sneak attack against the Czarist Russian fleet at Port Arthur (now Korea) in 1905. At the time, the US media went wild, lauding Japan for its unwarned, surprise attack against Russia before Japan declared war. It was looked upon as a brave rout against the encroaching Russian octopus in the far east.

    Surprisingly, 36 years later, the press was distinctly less amused at Japan's "heroic" antics, but they seemed perfectly happy to look at things from their side, before.

  • Opposition Claims Mazar-e-Sharif

    11/09/2001 5:33:24 PM PST · 10 of 10
    constans to Badfoil
    Those towel-e-heads are running outside the city realizing they are low on liquid courage (Heroin)

    Incidently, the Northern Alliance fighters are also fond of wearing turbans and presumably is also involved in the Afghani heroin trade, so your derisive comments towards the Taliban seem to apply to both sides.

  • Jersey Lessons -- What Schundler did wrong.

    11/09/2001 5:29:08 PM PST · 20 of 22
    constans to Ziva
    When you get right down to it, someone from Woodbridge is more "representative" of NJ than someone from Jersey City. For the most part, the entire state is full of mall-shopping suburbanites whose families used to live in NYC or Philadelphia. Their main concerns involve making sure that either (a) their local well-funded public school is doing well, or (b) that their property taxes don't go too high. When people think of vouchers, they think, "I don't want a handout going to my neighbor so he can get a discount on the $18k/year private school his kid goes to." What works in Jersey City isn't going to fly with the rest of the state.

    That's the reason the rest of the Republican establishment didn't support Schundler. Not only did NJ voters decide that Schundler didn't represent them, the Republicans didn't even see him as one of their own. The Republican establishment is made up of the suburban voters that are almost embarrassed of Jersey City and wouldn't dare let their kids go there.

    Whitman ran as a moderate "compassionate" conservative in NJ and won. Why? Not only because of Florio's unpopularity, but also because Whitman was seen as "one of our own" by most suburban NJ voters. People took a look at McGreevey and thought, "he's like us," but they couldn't say that about Schundler.

  • Under the Veil: Islam and Women

    11/08/2001 3:15:23 PM PST · 12 of 13
    constans to white trash redneck
    She begins her argument by pointing out that the Quran "revolutionized the rights of women" at the time it was written. It said that women "could keep property, and could not be bought and sold." It provided them with marital, spiritual, and political rights. Even today, she says, the Islamic basis of law is used by women to fight for additional social rights.

    Yes, but revolutionized them for whom? Islam was founded in the 7th century, and by this time, the Christian Roman/Byzantine empire already provided these benefits for women. In fact, what Islam did for women was help the Arabian peninsula catch up with their Eastern Christian neighbors. If it appears that Muslim women had more rights (suich as property owning) than their Christian counterparts, it was becausethe reorganization of western Christendom along feudal lines ended up being a step backwards for women, not because Islam was particularly radical in its enlightened treatment of women at the time.

  • Berkeley, CA Facing Retribution for Anti-War View

    11/02/2001 12:36:22 PM PST · 27 of 39
    constans to The_Media_never_lie
    Looking more closely at the text of the articles, it simply says, "The local VFW would support boycotting Berkeley if it comes up."

    I used to live next to Berkeley and spent a lot of time there. This is a relatively small city (approx. 100,000 people), and most of its non-research/university economy depends on the restaurants and stores in the local area, which appeal to local students and those living in the surrounding area. There are no convention centers, and it's not a large tourist destination. Furthermore, there are no large malls or outlets that would attract large numbers of people from more distant parts of the SF/Bay area. As I remember, there is one large hotel that would hold the sort of high-profile conventions that would attract people from way out of town (the Claremont, as someone pointed out).

    For those that are unfamiliar with the Berkeley city council, they have also declared the city to be a "nuclear free zone", and frequently pass various resolutions declaring their opposition to various US federal policies.

    I am kind of curious how this will work and who will boycott them that is currently doing business with Berkeley-area entities. Are the nation's scientists going to refuse to publish papers with UC Berkeley scientists and refuse to give talks there? Are the nation's physicists going to refuse to visit Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories? Are computer companies going to refuse to deal with startups that are based in Berkeley? Are urban hipsters from SF and Oakland going to refuse to shop in the used bookstores, vintage clothing stores, and music stores of Berkeley? Are well-heeled suburbanites from Walnut Creek going to boycott the upscale restaurant Chez Panisse?

    For me, personally, boycotting the city of Berkeley is akin to boycotting South Carolina for their Confederate Flag flap. Since I don't go to south carolina or think about it very much, the idea wouldn't even occur to me to "boycott" the place, or how I would do so. However, for many other people, they vacation in SC regularly and many blacks have family ties there, so one could see how it would have an effect. Neither of these things is true of Berkeley.

    I'm surprised that Oakland, another part of Barbara Lee's district, hasn't been targeted for a boycott. This is a much larger city and more dependent on things like conventions, etc. But anyone who has visited Oakland knows that this is akin to kicking someone when they're down. :)

  • Arab Paratroops trained privately in US??

    11/02/2001 8:13:31 AM PST · 5 of 5
    constans to Outlaw
    This is not that unusual.

    Many retired members of our military decide to go to work in the private sector by hiring themselves out as military consultants, providing advice and training to foreign militaries. One example of this was in the wars in the Balkans were a private military consulting company made up of retired US generals gave much training and advice to the Croatian military, allowing them to take the Serbian-dominated "Krajina" region. In that case, the US gov't tacitly encouraged this relationship. However, one assumes these private military trainers will hire themselves out to anyone willing to pay the fee. Well, maybe not anymore. :)

  • Enough is Enough!!! Time To Cancel ALL VISAS Of Aliens in USA!!

    10/29/2001 5:53:46 AM PST · 102 of 656
    constans to Persian_Libertarian
    Well, you raise a good point... the cost of deporting all resident aliens (legal and illegal) is not worthwhile because the money could be better spend elsewhere and would prevent terrorism much more efficiently.

    The "deport them all" proposal is similar to saying, "would you spend $2 trillion on my pet program to save 1 life?" Obviously not, because you can save the same number of lives for a much lower cost with money spent elsewhere. Likewise, we can prevent terrorist attacks more easily by enacting other solutions that are less costly and more efficient than deporting all resident aliens. For those that say, "but this is war", that's no excuse to do stupid things. Unless the main goal is to do things like, "unify the country" by giving Americans a sense of, "we're all in this together to deport non-citizens", it's not the most efficient means of staving off terrorism.

  • Stop Teaching Cursive Writing in the Classroom

    10/24/2001 9:36:01 AM PDT · 78 of 87
    constans to Brookhaven
    I think the key question is, "when was the last time any of us used cursive?" except for our signatures. Honestly, I use it for writing personal letters and cards, and that's it. Of course, at the same time, I make sure my printing is extremely neat, so it serves its purpose for any other written notes I make.

    I wouldn't go so far as to say, "don't teach cursive", but in the end I only use cursive for a few personal reasons, and it just doesn't appear in my writing in the workplace or other parts of day-to-day life. I totally appreciate the original author's sentiment. Of course, I'm sure most people hardly ever use long division, too, but you don't see articles about eliminating that.

  • Barbara Lee: A Voice of Reason, A True Patriot

    09/19/2001 11:19:32 AM PDT · 44 of 59
    constans to LarryLied
    It should be noted that because of this, Barbara Lee has been receiving death threats from what can only be described as "terrorists".

    What has impressed me thusfar is that it is the Afghanis, not the Americans, who are fleeing the cities in fear. No doubt all over Afghanistan, they are ferreting out anyone who appears less than willing to go along with their calls for "jihad"... if we Americans can avoid the panic of fleeing our homes, then we can also certainly not make terrorist threats against our fellow citizens.

  • American Flag Banned on New York Cable Channel

    09/19/2001 10:55:41 AM PDT · 34 of 108
    constans to knak
    Much like landlords who have restrictions against displaying messages or flags outside our apartment windows written into the lease or the radio station that recently banned any songs that could in any way make us think about the war, this is just another example of a private organization using their so-called "discretion." Where are the voices here on FR to defend the "private property rights" of the TV station to broadcast or not broadcast whatever they want?

    As the voices of conformity close in to ensure that all Americans are following the party line in this time of uncertainty, it's time for us to pay more attention to our short wave radios and foreign newspapers if we ever want to get any real news, it seems.

  • ANTI-AMERICAN MEDIA MUST BE STOPPED! (FREEP ALERT)

    09/17/2001 9:58:17 PM PDT · 14 of 20
    constans to marvlus
    It is, quite simply, not the job of the media to act as a mouthpiece or propaganda rag for the government. The words of government spokesmen, especially in "wartime" should be held in suspicion, and a certain skepticism and lack of "rah rah" cheering from the media is something I want to see.

    The words of our president and other political and military leaders will be broadcast to us live and non-stop in support of any wartime action no matter what happens. We can take this as a given. We should welcome less enthusiastic views on the airwaves-- this is a privlidge that we shouldn't take for granted. My suspicion is that everyone is going to be so afraid of seeming "unpatriotic"-- much like french revolutionaries fearful of appearing "moderate"-- that we'll never hear anything but the government's words repeated to us, verbatim.

  • Clear Channel Radio Network Calls Beatles and Elton John Lyrically Questionable

    09/17/2001 6:56:47 PM PDT · 68 of 118
    constans to muffaletaman
    Actually, it's an example of how the "Brave New World" we entered last Tuesday will demand conformity from our mass media-- and that is an absolutely disturbing example of how our freedoms are being eroded. Television and radio are going to be afraid to say or express anything that might be seen as "not patriotic", or to put it in other terms, "not politically correct."

    Discretion is an act by an individual... this is a top-down authoritative corporate act that affects us. Radio stations serve us, the listeners-- so be a responsible consumer and speak up about it if you don't like it-- don't dismiss it as "private discretion"-- they're an entity that serves us, the customers.