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Generic Confusion

When you leave, my blog just fades to grey
Nu ma nu ma iei, nu ma nu ma nu ma iei

News? Check. Politics? Check. Music? Check. Random thoughts about life? Check. Readership? Ummm.... let me get back to you on that. Updated when I feel like I have something to say, and remember to post it.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Another idiotic Michael Moore production

Michael Moore, in his USA Today column, lists the following things as something that Republicans who run the country do not support:
Clean air and water
Equal rights for women
No discrimination against gays

My response for the disingenuous filmmaker:

Both the Republicans and Democrats support clean air and water. The Republicans, however, are the party that understands the concept of marginal utility. We look at a proposition to spend $10 million a year to improve air quality to save three people from cancer deaths, and think we could save a lot more lives by spending that money on mammograms and prostate exams for needy Americans.

Both the Republicans and Democrats support equal rights for women. The Republicans, however, acknowledge that differences in wages can be the result of education, experience, job performance, hours worked, and dare we say better salary negotiation skills. We recognize that if women were systematically paid 25% less than men, then companies would be scrambling to cut salary expenses by 25% by hiring women exclusively.

Both the Republicans and Democrats oppose discrimination against gays. The Republicans fully support the right of both gays and straights to marry: an arrangement for one consenting man and one consenting woman. We may oppose calling other arrangements marriage, but we oppose these arrangements equally for gays and straights.

Just because you think Republicans support pollution and underpay women and discriminate against gays doesn't make it so. If you don't figure this simple fact out, it will be a long time before you will have another happy party.

A prank I'd like to see

Next time Ted Kennedy goes on stage at a campaign event, someone needs to sneak a song into the audio system: "I Kill With My Car" by Spray.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Falling leaves, already?

Why am I seeing fallen leaves? It's August. It's the hottest part of summer. I don't want to think about autumn!

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Free political speech?

A good post from the Volokh Conspiracy on the 527s and President Bush's opposition to them. I oppose the 527s (organizations set up to run campaign ads, but not allowed to coordinate with candidates under McCain-Feingold) for one reason: they arose specifically to get around the spirit of McCain-Feingold.

I can't claim to be the one to have first suggested it, but I support no restrictions on political speech and instant disclosure of political donations.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Fun with telemarketers

Got a typical telemarketer call. When a phone call starts with mention of winning a prize, you know what it's about. The telemarketer first asked whether I'd prefer $100 in groceries or $100 in gas, then whether I'd prefer a vacation package or online shopping spree. I asked early on what the catch was, but it took quite a while to mention the need to set up an appointment with a air filtration system salesman. I had expressed my general disinterest before that, but my specific disinterest after that.

I couldn't get this guy to give up. I even pointed out that he was losing money by talking to me, since I wasn't interested. I kept trying to get him to admit that I wasn't the right person for this company. I had friends over while this conversation was going on, and judging by the laughs, they were amused. I eventually had to hang up on him.

Afterwards, one friend had an interesting comment. He said some telemarketers were forbidden from hanging up, that as long as you were talking to them, you were an "interested customer." Anyone else hear that?

Sure, I could have joined the no-call list, but then I wouldn't get to have fun like this!

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

A dubious criticism

Columnist Ellen Goodman criticizes Representative Bill Tauzin for subsidizing a Hooters restaurant in Louisiana. Because the column highlights various anti-woman people and actions, I don't think she's criticizing Rep. Tauzin for the horribly unconstitutional federal funding of a local project.

So since Hooters is offensive to some women (and men), the federal government shouldn't support it. I can understand the argument.


I wonder if Ms. Goodman supports federal funding of abortion?

Just asking.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Equality of the sexes?

Will we ever have true equality of the sexes? There will never be total equality; no man will ever work as a wet nurse, for example. But should men and women be treated equally?

Well, what would you think of a man who said this?

I know you work across the street in the indie record store
I'm thinking someday that we'll meet, I'm thinking we'll do something more

I've seen you here before, I want to see you more and more
You get inside my head, I want you in my bed

I've got a plan in mind for you, I'm waiting till the time is right
I know that you'll like what I do, no need to put up a fight
Watching you from far away, you look so sweet and clueless
Soon I'll move in on my prey, it's time for me to do this

Watching and waiting, the feeling is elating
Biding my time, yeah, I know that you'll soon be mine

Disturbed? A stalker? A potential rapist? Definitely dangerous.

But those are lyrics from a song, sung by a woman, from the perspective of a woman. It comes across as fun, clever. It's pretty much the exact opposite.

If you believe in equality of the sexes, why should your impression of the words above be different based simply on the sex of the person saying them?

(Those are lyrics from the song Stakeout, by Freezepop. A fun band with an 80's retro style. I recommend them, even if they support John Kerry for President.)

Update: would feminists consider that "empowering?"

Conservatives Confirm Crit!

One funny promo item picked up at GenCon was a news article, "Conservatives Confirm Crit!" It is a (joke) review of GenCon by someone who thinks they're at the Republican National Convention.

The big late-August convention the country's been anticipating is finally here, and it's certainly packing its share of surprises.

Walking around the site on staging day, I expected to see the usual preponderance of preppies and businessmen in crisp suits and ties. Instead, I found myself in a sea of ripped jeans, t-shirts, and chainmail bikinis. Yes, the 2004 Republican National Convention aims to spotlight the new GOP--and they just might pull it off.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

I'm off!

Where to? Guess!

Hint: this blog is called Generic Confusion.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

A random musing

I wonder if cops ever regret low speed limits when they're stuck driving behind someone who, as a result of having a cop behind them, is scrupulously obeying the speed limit?

Monday, August 16, 2004

John Kerry in Hollywood

"The Mudville Gazette is pleased to announce the First Annual John Kerry Fan Fiction Contest."

Sounds like fun! Here's my contribution.

(December, 1969. In a large boardroom, a dozen older men in conservative business suits sit around a long wooden table. Several are smoking, and cigarette and cigar smoke hangs in the air. A young woman, likely a secretary, has just turned on the lights as a projector screen flaps up, back into its cylindrical holder.)

“Absolutely brilliant!”
The man at the head of the table waves his cigar animatedly; he is smiling broadly. “I haven’t seen a young man with such a gift for comedy in years. I don’t care if this is his first proposal, we can work with it. I smell a hit series, gentlemen!”
The other men murmur in approval. From the looks on their faces, they enjoyed the movies as well.
“Mr. Kurtz,” one of the subordinates chimes in, “I love the lead character. The clueless leader is a common archetype of sitcoms, almost clichéd—not that has ever stopped us, right, gentlemen?” He continues to speak over the raucous laughter. “But this swift boat captain, this disjoint between his own self-image and how the audience will see him—that is comedy, gentlemen.”
“And that Super8 camera he carries?” another subordinate interjects. “The character actually thinks there’s a dress rehearsal for war!” More chuckles come from the television executives.
“I like the way every minor injury is another medal opportunity for the captain. ‘I twisted my ankle when I thought I saw Charlie! Better put in for another Purple Heart!’”
Another man gets up and hastily sketches a storyboard on one of the paper tablets at the front of the room. “Let’s start the show with another one of the Captain’s trademark Purple Heart requests. Now, instead of it being denied, a clerical error happens, and he gets one hundred outstanding Purple Hearts approved—all at once.” He sketches an image of the Captain, tilted to one side. “Just picture the actor walking, tilted, with all this weight on one side.”
“And let’s not forget that support character, let’s see, Rassman was the name, right?” The men nod. “Bumbling sidekick. Always falling down. Physical comedy, good, but I like the interplay between Rassman and the Captain. Rassman needs someone to care for him, but he’s providing the Captain with a chance to feel heroic, to feel like a superior officer, when he’s never going to accomplish anything heroic in reality.”
“Yeah,” another man agrees. “Anyone who can’t keep straight what country he’s in on any given day isn’t the kind to accomplish anything real. But he can accomplish great comedy!”
Another man jumps up to the paper tablet, and writes down a few keywords. “I’m seeing a ‘glimpse of the future’ episode, where the Captain is shown running for president. Just imagine the laughs we could get by having him run on nothing but his Vietnam record!”
The boss stubs out his cigar. “Now, I appreciate your enthusiasm, but we aren’t going to develop this sitcom yet,” Mr. Kurtz says. “Remember, we had to wait until 1965 to do that show about a World War II POW camp, and we’re delaying that Korean War drama until 1972. So, out of respect to the fallen, we’ll have to put this show on the back burner until, at minimum, ten years after the conclusion of hostilities. But put those ideas on paper, and we’ll talk later.”

(In a dark room adjacent to the boardroom, a young man with an angular face is watching the television executives from the other side of a one-way mirror. A young woman stands behind him.)

“I thought you said these Hollywood types would help bolster my war record, Ms. Fonda. But look at them. They’re laughing!”
“I don’t understand, Lieutenant Kerry,” Fonda responds. “I gave them your movies, and asked them to work their Hollywood magic. I don’t know how they could see them as anything other than a chronicle of a great hero. A leader for our times, not afraid to challenge the world!”
Back in the boardroom, one of the men makes another comment. As the men guffaw, Fonda turns to Kerry. “We have to pretend this day never happened.”
“I can do that,” Kerry replies. “Yes, pretend… like I must pretend to follow the company line, pretend that Nixon didn’t send me into Cambodia before his inauguration on a secret CIA mission.”
Kerry reaches into a black attaché case, and from a secret compartment, pulls out a battered military cap. Clutching the cap, he looks away wistfully, and then shakes his head. “No, I cannot do that. This experience is seared, seared into my mind.”

Check out the link. There are some very funny stories there.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

And people say Bush is stupid?

Looks like John Kerry talked about how great Buckeye football is, while in Michigan.


Listen, Senator Kerry. I won't hold against you that you're not a big sports fan. I WILL hold it against you if you try to be everything to everyone.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Bling... officially out

I just saw a billboard in a very rural part of a very white-bread county. It was an advertisement for a jeweler, which promised "more bling for your buck."

Okay. That's it. Time for trend-setting rappers to come up with a slang term to replace "bling."

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Oreos... can I have a few crumbs?

An animated Ben Cohen (of Ben & Jerry's fame) contributed his likeness to a video showing how much the federal government spends on some projects. Using the measure of one cookie equalling $10 billion, defense is 40 cookies, while K-12 education is 3.5, world hunger 1, alternative energy research .25, children's healthcare 4, and Head Start .75.

Now, let's make a quick check of that U.S. Constitution, shall we?

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 1)

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11)

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 12)

To provide and maintain a Navy (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 13)

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 14)

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 15)

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 16)

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments. (Article 2, Section 2, Clause 2)

Hmmm. That covers defending the United States, waging war, and appointing the Secretary of Defense and other officers.

Now, let's look for the duty of the federal government to provide primary and secondary education, health care to children, research into alternate energy sources, and to feed the world.




I'm stumped. Where are they? Surely truemajorityaction.org wouldn't be making a fallacious comparison, would they? Surely they'll pull down the video?

I've sent them an e-mail on this subject. I bet they won't address my point, or even respond to my e-mail.

Ben & Jerry's. Great ice cream. Lousy politics. I'll stick with Kopp's frozen custard for my high-Calorie frozen deserts.

Kerry's One Point Plan

"If I am elected in November, no inner-city child will have to live in an America where George Bush is president," Kerry said, addressing a packed Maize High School auditorium. "No senior citizen will lie awake at night, worrying about whether George Bush is still the chief executive of this country. And no American—regardless of gender, regardless of class, regardless of race—will be represented by George Bush in the world community."

"During his term in office, George Bush has relentlessly continued to be president—despite the clear benefits to America his absence would bring to the lives of citizens everywhere," Kerry said. "My one-point plan for America highlights the sort of change that this country desperately needs. And my plan is something that George Bush will never, ever be able to accomplish."

It's another excellent joke article in The Onion, but it does have a kernel of truth (as all topical humor should). Just what reason is there to vote for John Kerry?