Monthly Archives: February 2007

BBC News: Mayor unveils climate change plan

From the BBC (“Mayor unveils climate change plan,” Feb. 27, 2007):

London Mayor Ken Livingstone has called on Londoners and businesses to unite in the fight against global warming.

Unveiling his Climate Change Action Plan, the mayor appealed to people to stop wasting energy.

Londoners will be offered cut-price loft and cavity wall insulation and could cut £300 a year from fuel bills by making homes more energy-efficient.

He also urged companies to invest in green technology to help slash carbon emissions by 60% within 20 years.

By 2025 he wants 25% of London’s electricity supply to be from local combined heat and power systems.

It’s interesting to see this kind of thing happening more. It is especially important for cities, however, to try to cut costs of doing business. While they produce a lot of carbon dioxide per unit of real estate, they often produce very little per capita compared to surrounding suburbs. Driving businesses to cheaper suburbs will end up causing more pollution.

Rural Values?

From (“1 In 3 Boys Heavy Porn Users, Study Shows,” Feb. 24, 2007):

Almost half of rural youths in the survey reported seeing pornographic videos or DVDs at least once, compared to one-third of the urban participants. Thompson is unsure why rural teens access porn more on video and DVD, but suggests that parents may think distance acts as a buffer.

“Maybe they have a false sense of thinking they are far away from unhealthy influences,” she said.

Rural boys also reported a lower incidence of parents talking with them about sexual media content. Urban girls were most likely to have had discussions with their parents. And while the majority of teens surveyed said their parents expressed concern about sexual content, that concern hasn’t led to discussion or supervision, and few parents are using available technology to block sexual content, according to the study.

Anne Frank To Get Honorary U.S. Citizenship?

According to the New York Times, there is a movement to push for Anne Frank to be granted honorary U.S. citizenship (“A Push for Citizenship to Honor Anne Frank, but It’s No Easy Sell,” Feb. 25, 2007):

How the issue came to emerge from this old seaside Long Island village is almost as intriguing as the question itself. In a compact grid of a dozen square blocks that seem cut from a Currier and Ives catalogue, there are 11 churches and zero synagogues.

The idea was proposed three years ago on the 75th anniversary of Anne Frank’s birth by a Sayville resident named Christopher Bodkin, a Republican town councilman who is known around town as a kind of serial memorializer. Over the years Mr. Bodkin, 59, has researched, documented and led successful campaigns to erect memorials to Sayville citizens who died in World War II and in the Vietnam War.

His campaign for Anne Frank’s citizenship, however, is of a different order, he said in an interview: “When you come from a town like this, you tend to grow up thinking that the whole world has always been like this. Placid. Settled. It’s amazing to me how much people don’t know about what came before us.“

What about what’s coming now? For Christ’s sake, we’re involved in a horrible civil war in Iraq because a few zealots wanted to win an election in 2004. Iraq is a spectacle of American weakness. Yes, it’s a very placid, settled world indeed. And the suburbanites on Long Island are living it up!

I don’t really see what good giving Anne Frank American citizenship does myself. And if we’d given her a visa in 1941 in the first place, she never would have become the archetype she is.


NY Times: Krugman: Substance Over Image

Paul Krugman of The New York Times really nailed it with this one (“Substance Over Image,” Feb. 25, 2007):

Six years ago a man unsuited both by intellect and by temperament for high office somehow ended up running the country.

How did that happen? First, he got the Republican nomination by locking up the big money early.

Then, he got within chad-and-butterfly range of the White House because the public, enthusiastically encouraged by many in the news media, treated the presidential election like a high school popularity contest. The successful candidate received kid-gloves treatment — and a free pass on the fuzzy math of his policy proposals — because he seemed like a fun guy to hang out with, while the unsuccessful candidate was subjected to sniggering mockery over his clothing and his mannerisms.

Today, with thousands of Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis dead thanks to presidential folly, with Al Qaeda resurgent and Afghanistan on the brink, you’d think we would have learned a lesson. But the early signs aren’t encouraging.

“Presidential elections are high school writ large, of course,” declared Newsweek’s Howard Fineman last month. Oh, my goodness. But in fairness to Mr. Fineman, he was talking about the almost content-free rivalry between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama — a rivalry that, at this point, is mainly a struggle over who’s the bigger celebrity and gets to lock up the big donors.

Enough already. Let’s make this election about the issues. Let’s demand that presidential candidates explain what they propose doing about the real problems facing the nation, and judge them by how they respond.

Bill Clinton an issue for Hillary

Apparently, according to The Washington Post, it’s been decided that the non-issue of Bill Clinton’s silly impeachment is an issue for Hillary Clinton (“Clinton Fights to Keep Impeachment Taboo,” February 25th, 2007):

The turmoil of the later Clinton years has been a theme of national politics since it occurred: George W. Bush ran in 2000 on a promise to “restore honor and dignity to the Oval Office,” while Vice President Al Gore campaigned as a solid family man, distancing himself from the impeachment ordeal.

Firstly, I would think being a “family man” is very distracting when you’re president. But it does help you win elections. Hillary, are you a family man too?

Secondly, George W. Bush’s promise to “restore honor and dignity to the Oval Office” was a very fair offering. Easy to fall for it. Afterall, who restored honor and dignity to the White House after Bush’s father left office? (Hell, I’d say the problem goes back to Reagan, if not Nixon.)

So, my question is, are elections designed to distract people from what matters in this world or something?

Racist? Maybe not. Stupid? Yep.

The Republican-Jugend are at it again (Anger over NY ‘immigration game’, BBC News, February 22, 2007):

A Republican student group in New York has sparked claims of racism by organising a game called “Find the Illegal Immigrant”.

Students will act as immigration officers in Thursday’s game and try to find a student in a crowd designated with a badge as the illegal immigrant.

The game has sparked protests from other students with hundreds planning to demonstrate against it.

The New York University College Republican club denied it was racist.

Okay, I guess it’s not racist. Some illegal immigrants are indeed white. Actually, you’re probably much more likely to find a white illegal immigrant than a swarthy Republican with a modicum of intelligence. Come to think of it, it’s really quite amazing that somebody moronic and unethical enough to join a Republican Party group has any chance of getting into NYU.

I have an idea though: let’s get the New York University College Thuggery Club to agree not to shop in any businesses that might hire illegal immigrants. In a city like New York, that probably means they’ll have to starve to death.

As far as I’m concerned, illegal immigrants should be welcomed to New York, which has always been a haven for immigrants. The city should go out of its way to make them feel welcome. However, Republicans and their foul ideological bent should be made to feel very unwelcome.

Oh oh! Porn!

PROVO, Utah — Anti-porn group CP80 and film company Living Biography have joined forces to release “Traffic Control,” a new documentary that details what it calls the rampant rise in Internet pornography and the fight to stop it.

That’s from XBiz (“Anti-Porn Group Releases Documentary“). You know, because Utah doesn’t have more important things to worry about. Like Mormons.

Oh hell, anyway, you can see where they might be bothered. Who is viewing all this porn anyway? I would guess people without a steady supply of sex.

So, the solution? Scare people by finding one of those rare examples of a porn star who allegedly contracted an STD on the set. Enter ex-porn star Shelley Lubben (“Roxy”). Oh, by the way, she promotes virginity on MySpace now.

The film details the experiences of Shelley Lubben, a former porn star turned anti-porn activist who used the stage name Roxy, as she battled a drug and alcohol addiction and contracted herpes while working in the adult entertainment industry.

The film also reports that access to pornography by minors is a big problem, with nearly 57 percent of those aged 9 to 19 having viewed adult content online.

An article in the Deseret News reported that The Free Speech Coalition said that figure is closer to 10 percent. However, FSC Executive Director Diane Duke said the trade group had no such data.

Lubben said one adult producer told her that the industry markets to children.

“[One producer told me], ‘We want the children — they’re the next generation of consumers,’” Lubben said. “They actually program their websites to have words that kids search for.”

Although she had not seen the film, Duke told XBIZ she rejected the claims made by Lubben.

“In any business you will be able to find disgruntled past workers willing to disparage their industry,” she said. “In many ways, we are like any other industry. The difference is with our industry is that there are organized groups of moral extremists attempting to put us out of business. These groups use fear and falsehoods to organize communities against the industry. It is up to us to dispel theses myths. We are the adult entertainment industry, we use adult performers, and produce adult products for use by the adult community — period.”

Yes, the usual rhetoric apparently.

“It corrupts the youth, destroys families, and every time you watch it God kills a kitten.”

“But it’s freedom of speech!”

Truthfully, I’m no fan of porn. And I’m really not a big fan of easy access to porn. I think it’s somewhat tragic that kids can find pictures of people eating shit fresh from each other’s anuses before they’ve ever had their first kiss. But I know porn’s not going away.

I’m not against sex. I’m pro-sex to boot. I’m all for sex, sex partners, having sex in crazy positions, and adding spice to my own sex life. For homosexual males, I’m all for educating young gay boys about ways to safely engage their partners in oral and anal sex. For the lesbian ladies, I’m all for licking and sucking. I’m for premarital sex, public sex, private sex, sex supplemented with toys, sex supplemented with heavy petting, and sex supplemented with multiple partners. I’m for sex in church, if the church doesn’t mind.

Of course, I don’t feel porn should be banned. I do feel porn actually is a by-product of unhealthy sex lives and even sexual repression. It would be less needed if sex were somewhat demystified. However, anti-porn crusaders often do all they can to even stop the prevention of proliferation of pornography in public. Remember when zealots in the U.S. decided to stop the adult content top-level domain from happening? Such a thing would have made it really easy to stop children from viewing pornography by actually making content filters effective.

I would like to correct a mild inaccuracy on Shelley’s “friend’s” MySpace page (Live Offensively for God). It has this picture on it:That’s not entirely true. This one allegedly involves no females.