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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.