Sunday, October 30, 2005

No More Coffee for Me

I never drink coffee. It's been about six months since my last cup. Today I had a 16 oz. cup. It took me about an hour to figure out why I was talking a mile a minute and why my hands were trembling.
I was talking so quickly that the filter from my mouth to my brain, the one rely on to keep me from saying everything that pops in head, couldn't keep up with it.

I work with this woman, who to put it mildly resembles a toad. Actually she looks like a toad with blonde hair, not a cute toad but a big fat ugly one. When I first met her I thought she was a dyke. Her being a dyke would give her some cachet in my book, but it turns out she's just a fat ugly straight girl. I'm not trying to be mean, I just call 'em like I see 'em.

Last week I was trying to get by her to get to a trash barrel. There wasn't enough room for me to squeeze by, so I put my hand on the small of her back as I said excuse me. She turned to me with a look of shock and horror on her face, as if I had just goosed her. I had no idea she didn't liked to be touched.

Today we were chatting about something unimportant. At the end of what ever is was she was saying, she laughed and said, "Well at least you aren't touching me."

Here is where the filter broke down and my mouth went into overdrive.

With out even thinking I said, "Yeah but if I didn't, who would?"

I shouldn’t say I didn’t think, I did hear it in my head before I said it. But all that registered was, Hey! I'm witty and clever. What would have registered if said filter was working is how is she going to react to this? If I say this will she take the knife in her hand a stab with it? Will I laugh if she starts to cry? Should I say it just to find out.

For the moments after I said it I swear I could actually see the words hanging in the air in front of me. If I moved quickly enough I can grab them and put them back in my mouth. I started to lift my arm, but it was way to late, they had made it to her ears.

The look she gave me was the same look you would have given some one saying it to you, which made me feel two inches tall. She said, " It may be true, but you didn't have to say it."

I tried to explain that I had too much coffee, that my brain, that the filter, that I'm a cad with no class. None of my explanations were enough. She just left the room in a bright red huff. She wouldn't

even look at me for the rest of the day.

No more coffee for me.

Snow in Oct.

Ok this is the reason that people in New England are so fucking cranky. Yesterday we got an inch and a half of snow and it was 34 degrees. Today it was 65, tomorrow it will be 70.

Do I take the winter coat out, do I put the flip flops away? Will I have another day that I can wear my favorite pair of shots or are done for the year.

It felt like I was in a bad science fiction movie where the real messag is to scare people about global warming.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Today's Office Rant

Crazy Lady Who Barks: So, those are the ones I throw over the wall.

Innocent Co-Worker: Where is this wall you keep talking about.

Crazy Lady Who Barks: It's proverbial.

Innocent Co-Worker: Huh? What do you mean?

Me: Pinching myself so I won't laugh out loud.

Monday, October 24, 2005


My old roommate is a big fat piece of shit. Not only is he filthy he's a fucking liar.

Every fag within a 25 mile radius of where we used to live knows him. They know every tragic bit of his sad pathetic Fatass life in detail.

Fatass has a sad puppy story about how his mother died and how hard it was for him. How she was his best friend. Now anyone with a hart would feel for him, however he uses her death as a crutch. He tells every one this story so they will feel bad for him. Not only does he need help to get over this mother’s death. But hello she was his best friend, if your mother is your best friend you need counseling.

Fatass will tell you how his father threw him out of the house after his mother’s death. The part he leaves out is Fatass wasn’t happy with his fathers new girlfriend. Instead of discussing it with is father like a normal person, he would simply ignore his father in his own house. Fatass would have only had to have pulled that shit with me once before he found all his belonging on the front yard. Fatass was 26 and making a shit load of money when this happened, it was more then time for him to move out.

After we had signed our lease he started to beg me to have sex with him. Mixing sex with roommates is never a good idea, regardless of his repulsive girth. After he realized no actually means no he stopped talking to me. We lived together for almost 9 months with barely a word between us.

Any new gay men I met had similar stories about him. Fatass would beg people to have sex with him when they refused, he would bad mouth them to anyone that would listen. The rumors Fatass would start would eventually get back to the person he lied about. He would always be confronted but it never stopped him. I can’t understand why anyone didn’t kick his ass before.
Today I found out that a guy he was hanging out with and tying to sleep with was actually interested in me. Fatass told the guy that I was talking shit about him. This makes no scene at all, because I met the guy for about 5 minutes. I would have no reason to say anything about him let alone something bad.

Because God is good I am the one with the last laugh again. I just whish I had Fatass’ phone number so I could call and tell him I bagged another guy that wouldn’t let him touch them with gloves on let alone naked.

Men's Room Phlegm

Why the fuck are some people so gross? This morning I used the men’s room in my office building. I started to wash my hands when I noticed someone who was there before me had spit on the side of the sink basin. They left a big glob of phlegm just sitting there. I’m no germaphob but come on, there is no need for that. Being the good citizen I am I took it upon myself to rinse it down the drain

I went back into the men’s room just before lunch to wash my hands. Apparently the same person had been back to make another deposit into the sink. This time I just left it there.

Now I am totally bogged out.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Kansas justices bar harsher terms for gay sex

This article appeared on today. This is so shocking it deserves way more then the usual WTF. With laws like this why would any gay person live in a red state.

Case involved gay male who got longer sentence for underage sex

Updated: 11:28 a.m. ET Oct. 21, 2005

TOPEKA, Kansas - In a case watched by national groups on both sides of the gay rights debate, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled Friday that the state may not punish illegal underage sex more harshly if it involves homosexual conduct.

The Supreme Court sided in a unanimous decision with convicted sex offender Matthew Limon. In 2000, he was sentenced to 17 years and two months in prison because, at 18, he performed a sex act on a 14-year-old boy. Had one of them been a girl, Limon could have faced only 15 months behind bars.

The court ordered Limon to be resentenced as if the law treated illegal gay sex and illegal straight sex the same, and it struck language from the law that resulted in the different treatment.

A lower court had said the state could justify the harsher punishment as protecting children's traditional development, fighting disease or strengthening traditional values.

Writing for the high court, Justice Marla Luckert said the Kansas law specifying harsher treatment for illegal gay sex is too broad to meet those goals.

"The statute inflicts immediate, continuing and real injuries that outrun and belie any legitimate justification that may be claimed for it," Luckert wrote. "Moral disapproval of a group cannot be a legitimate state interest."

Court records say his encounter with a boy identified only as M.A.R. was consensual, but Kansas law makes sex with someone under 16 illegal. Limon’s juvenile record had two similar offenses.

Had M.A.R. been a girl, the state's 1999 "Romeo and Juliet" law would have applied. It specifies short prison sentences or probation for sexual activity when an offender is under 19 and the age difference between participants is less than four years -- but only for opposite-sex encounters.

He and M.A.R. lived at a group home for the developmentally disabled. In court, an official described M.A.R. as mildly mentally retarded and Limon as functioning at a slightly higher level but not as an 18-year-old.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Today's Quote

Today's quote is from the woman in my office who barks.

"I don't want to be overly verbose"

I think that makes her both oxy and moronic.

Candy Cigarettes

You're a total badass, but you don't taste very good.

Your Pimp Name Is...

Master Pimp Skillz

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Simple Rules For The Metro

This was reposted on the Boston page of It was written by a metro rider in DC.

I agree with the writer there should be posted in all of the T stations in Boston as well.

Simple Rules For The Metro
Reply to:
Date: Wed Nov 19 13:19:09 2003

I am not an angry person by nature. I believe that a lot of people are good at heart. I believe in "Love Thy Neighbor" sometimes. Every once in a while, I think there just may be some redeeming qualities in the human race. But I swear to Christ, some days, I would like to kill everyone who rides the Orange line.

I propose that what we need are some simple guidelines; rules if you will, posted in multiple languages in multiple locations in around the metro.

What follows is my modest proposal at what those rules might look like:

Section One: The Escalator

1. The escalator will not eat you. No matter how female and high-heel wearing you might be, it will not devour you if you simply step on it without stopping first to assess the situation. There is no need to pause at the top of the escalator and then think about whether or not you want to risk stepping on it as if it were a fast moving treadmill lined with razor blades. Just pretend that it is simple moving staircase. You will be fine, I promise.

2. If you are too lazy, tired, overweight, crippled, or otherwise inclined so that you prefer to stand on the escalator rather than actively walk up or down the stairs like a normal person, please do so on the right hand side on the escalator so that you are not in the way of those of us with half a brain and a cardiovascular system that functions. If you are too wide for the average person to pass, you MUST walk up or down the escalator. You will not only avoid people wanting to kill you, but you will most likely become narrower with time.

3. If you have luggage, a stroller, a child, everything you own in your backpack, shopping bags, etcetera on the escalator please make sure they are out of the way of the aformentioned people who actually have someplace to go. There are people like me who will not feel bad about kicking your shit (children excluded) down the stairs if it is in the way.

4. When you reach the bottom or top of the escalator and are ready to get off, remember rule # 1. You are going to be okay. Simply step off the little moving staircase and then, and this is important, KEEP GOING. Do not get off the escalator and then stand there like you had no idea you would find yourself here. There are people like me who have to try with all their might not to punch you in the back of the head when you just stand in everyone's way like the idiot you obviously are.

Section Two: The Turnstiles

Congradulations! You have mastered the slowly-moving-staircase. Well done! But don't start sucking your own dick just yet, there is a lot more.

1. As you approach the turnstiles there are two things you should make sure of. One: You have a metro card. Two: there is money on it. DO NOT under any circumstances wait until you are in the turnstile with a line forming behind you to dig through your purse, pockets, etc. for your metro card. There are people like me who do not have the patience to wait for you to muster up enough of the little electical impulses in that foggy void you call a brain to allow you to understand what is keeping you from advancing. Pretend you are a boyscout and be f*cking prepared.

2. If you do not know how to work the machines, watch all the other hairless monkeys until you can imitate their behavior. This is actually a wonderful learning technique and can be applied to many aspects of your life.

Section Three: The Platform Now that you have managed to get on and off the escalator and through the turnstiles, you are ready to wait for your train to arrive. This part is easy as it involves mostly standing or sitting which you should be able to handle.

1. Chances are, there are already people on the platform. Don't get scared. They live here too. Do not stand directly behind people on the platform. You will make them nervous and they may react badly. Do not stand directly in front of people either, it is kinda like cutting in line and no one appreciates it. If you are one of those idiots who likes to walk in front of everyone right on the edge of the platform, do not be surprised if one day someone shoves you off. The temptation may become too great for anyone to handle.

2. When your train arrives there will most likely be people on it already. Don't be surprised; they did not send the train just to pick you up. Now here is the tricky part, some of them will most likely want to get of the train. YOU HAVE TO LET THEM. Stand to the side of the door and wait until you see no one else on the train that appears to be trying to leave, you may then enter. If you stand directly in front of the doors and either get in the way or refuse to wait for people to exit before you shove your way onto the train, you can expect to be head-butted for your impatience.

3. Just like the escalator it is important to keep moving. Do not get on the train and then stand in the doorway as if you expected to find your bedroom and don't understand what happened. There are people behind you who also want to get on the train.

Section Four: The Train

At this point you should be noticing a recurring theme concerning metro etiquette. The rule of thumb is to always STAY OUT OF THE F*CKING WAY AND BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS.

1. If there is no room on the train, there is no room on the train. They will send another one soon and you will not be forever stranded on the platform like that ugly guy in Ghost. Standing in the door as it tries to close or letting you bookbag stick out of the door because you are too freaking dumb to take it off and put it between your legs in order to conserve standing space could result in bodily harm inflicted by people like me. Similary, shoving people as hard as you can is not a good idea in any situation. This applies to the metro as much as it does in church.

2. While on the train, don't smell terrible. This one is simple. For the sake of the people forced to stand very near you, try to avoid smelling like shit run over twice. And pouring on a bucket of cheap Walmart perfume/colonge is not an acceptable substitute for bathing.

3. No matter how tough or from Wisconsin you may be, you can not stand up on the train without holding on to anything. Please notice there are bars and handles placed everywhere for your convenience. If you try to stand, arms folded, thinking you look cool, only to flail around like the idiot you are when the train moves, falling all over the other people on the train, you should have you middle ear punctured so that you would then understand that your balance is not that fucking good.

4. Don't molest people. Just because it is crowded does not mean you are allowed to grope people near you with impunity. Some of us carry knives. Behave yourself.

5. Don't be crazy. Or if you can't avoid being crazy, please be so quietly. If the voices in your head are asking you to shout something about cabbage and pinochle or whatever the hell is on your crazy head, just keep it to yourself. There is no need to share your crazy shit verbally. If you are not sure whether or not what you have to say is crazy, play it safe and keep your mouth shut. In fact, it is a good rule to never speak to anyone you don't know on the metro. If you insist on talking to strangers and then continue to try and converse after the unwilling victim smiles politely and says nothing in an attempt to make it painfully obvious that they have no desire to speak with you, you should have your toungue removed and be made to stand by the a**hole with no middle ear to keep him from leaning on people.

6. When the train stops and the doors open you have two choices: you can get off the train, or you can stay on the train.

6.a. If you wish to stay on the train make sure you are not in the way of anyone getting off. This sometimes means having to get off the train yourself for a second and then getting back on. There is no rule that says you can not get back on the train once you have stepped off.

6.b. YOU ARE NOT AS SKINNY AS YOU THINK YOU ARE. Standing sideways in the door does not mean you are out of the way. Just get off the damn train.

6.c. Don't be one of those people who pretends like they want to leave the train just so they can take your spot closer to the door so they can get off more easily at some stop further down the line. We all know what you are doing and we f*cking hate you for it.

6.d. Keep your bags, strollers, etc. out of the way. If I trip over your shit on my way off the train I will kick it off in hopes you get stuck on the platform retreiving it.

6.e. If you decide to leave the train we all thank you. If there are people in your way simply say "excuse me" and they will do their best to move out of your way. If they don't, shove the dumb, inconsiderate bastards out of the way, they should know better.

Congratulations! You are now ready to ride the metro with the rest of us without annoying people to the point where they wish death and disease on you and your entire bloodline and dream of violent ways in which you could meet your fate.

Thank you,

Showing Amazing Self Restraint on the Orange Line

Gore: I'm Mad As Hell and I'm Not Going to Take This Anymore

I found this speech with reading this morning.

Where was this Gore during the 2000 presidential race? Where was this Gore in 2004?

This a passionate moving speech. But as has been the problem with the democrat's for the past 5 years it too little too late.

Gore on the Threat to American Democracy
Josh Marshall bio
From: Politics
Al Gore gave a speech this morning on the decline of the media, our public discourse and the threat to American democracy itself. The transcript beneath the break ...

Oct 05, 2005 -- 02:30:01 PM EST

Remarks by Al Gore as prepared
Associated Press / The Media Center
October 5, 2005

I came here today because I believe that American democracy is in grave danger. It is no longer possible to ignore the strangeness of our public discourse . I know that I am not the only one who feels that something has gone basically and badly wrong in the way America's fabled "marketplace of ideas" now functions.

How many of you, I wonder, have heard a friend or a family member in the last few years remark that it's almost as if America has entered "an alternate universe"?

I thought maybe it was an aberration when three-quarters of Americans said they believed that Saddam Hussein was responsible for attacking us on September 11, 2001. But more than four years later, between a third and a half still believe Saddam was personally responsible for planning and supporting the attack.

At first I thought the exhaustive, non-stop coverage of the O.J. trial was just an unfortunate excess that marked an unwelcome departure from the normal good sense and judgment of our television news media. But now we know that it was merely an early example of a new pattern of serial obsessions that periodically take over the airwaves for weeks at a time.

Are we still routinely torturing helpless prisoners, and if so, does it feel right that we as American citizens are not outraged by the practice? And does it feel right to have no ongoing discussion of whether or not this abhorrent, medieval behavior is being carried out in the name of the American people? If the gap between rich and poor is widening steadily and economic stress is mounting for low-income families, why do we seem increasingly apathetic and lethargic in our role as citizens?

On the eve of the nation's decision to invade Iraq, our longest serving senator, Robert Byrd of West Virginia, stood on the Senate floor asked: "Why is this chamber empty? Why are these halls silent?"

The decision that was then being considered by the Senate with virtually no meaningful debate turned out to be a fateful one. A few days ago, the former head of the National Security Agency, Retired Lt. General William Odom, said, "The invasion of Iraq, I believe, will turn out to be the greatest strategic disaster in U.S. history."

But whether you agree with his assessment or not, Senator Byrd's question is like the others that I have just posed here: he was saying, in effect, this is strange, isn't it? Aren't we supposed to have full and vigorous debates about questions as important as the choice between war and peace?

Those of us who have served in the Senate and watched it change over time, could volunteer an answer to Senator Byrd's two questions: the Senate was silent on the eve of war because Senators don't feel that what they say on the floor of the Senate really matters that much any more. And the chamber was empty because the Senators were somewhere else: they were in fundraisers collecting money from special interests in order to buy 30-second TVcommercials for their next re-election campaign.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, there was - at least for a short time - a quality of vividness and clarity of focus in our public discourse that reminded some Americans - including some journalists - that vividness and clarity used to be more common in the way we talk with one another about the problems and choices that we face. But then, like a passing summer storm, the moment faded.

In fact there was a time when America's public discourse was consistently much more vivid, focused and clear. Our Founders, probably the most literate generation in all of history, used words with astonishing precision and believed in the Rule of Reason.

Their faith in the viability of Representative Democracy rested on their trust in the wisdom of a well-informed citizenry. But they placed particular emphasis on insuring that the public could be well-informed. And they took great care to protect the openness of the marketplace of ideas in order to ensure the free-flow of knowledge.

The values that Americans had brought from Europe to the New World had grown out of the sudden explosion of literacy and knowledge after Gutenberg's disruptive invention broke up the stagnant medieval information monopoly and triggered the Reformation, Humanism, and the Enlightenment and enshrined a new sovereign: the "Rule of Reason."

Indeed, the self-governing republic they had the audacity to establish was later named by the historian Henry Steele Commager as "the Empire of Reason."

Our founders knew all about the Roman Forum and the Agora in ancient Athens. They also understood quite well that in America, our public forum would be an ongoing conversation about democracy in which individual citizens would participate not only by speaking directly in the presence of others -- but more commonly by communicating with their fellow citizens over great distances by means of the printed word. Thus they not only protected Freedom of Assembly as a basic right, they made a special point - in the First Amendment - of protecting the freedom of the printing press.

Their world was dominated by the printed word. Just as the proverbial fish doesn't know it lives in water, the United States in its first half century knew nothing but the world of print: the Bible, Thomas Paine's fiery call to revolution, the Declaration of Independence, our Constitution , our laws, the Congressional Record, newspapers and books.

Though they feared that a government might try to censor the printing press - as King George had done - they could not imagine that America's public discourse would ever consist mainly of something other than words in print.

And yet, as we meet here this morning, more than 40 years have passed since the majority of Americans received their news and information from the printed word. Newspapers are hemorrhaging readers and, for the most part, resisting the temptation to inflate their circulation numbers. Reading itself is in sharp decline, not only in our country but in most of the world. The Republic of Letters has been invaded and occupied by television.

Radio, the internet, movies, telephones, and other media all now vie for our attention - but it is television that still completely dominates the flow of information in modern America. In fact, according to an authoritative global study, Americans now watch television an average of four hours and 28 minutes every day -- 90 minutes more than the world average.

When you assume eight hours of work a day, six to eight hours of sleep and a couple of hours to bathe, dress, eat and commute, that is almost three-quarters of all the discretionary time that the average American has. And for younger Americans, the average is even higher.

The internet is a formidable new medium of communication, but it is important to note that it still doesn't hold a candle to television. Indeed, studies show that the majority of Internet users are actually simultaneously watching television while they are online. There is an important reason why television maintains such a hold on its viewers in a way that the internet does not, but I'll get to that in a few minutes.

Television first overtook newsprint to become the dominant source of information in America in 1963. But for the next two decades, the television networks mimicked the nation's leading newspapers by faithfully following the standards of the journalism profession. Indeed, men like Edward R. Murrow led the profession in raising the bar.

But all the while, television's share of the total audience for news and information continued to grow -- and its lead over newsprint continued to expand. And then one day, a smart young political consultant turned to an older elected official and succinctly described a new reality in America's public discourse: "If it's not on television, it doesn't exist."

But some extremely important elements of American Democracy have been pushed to the sidelines . And the most prominent casualty has been the "marketplace of ideas" that was so beloved and so carefully protected by our Founders. It effectively no longer exists.

It is not that we no longer share ideas with one another about public matters; of course we do.
But the "Public Forum" in which our Founders searched for general agreement and applied the Rule of Reason has been grossly distorted and "restructured" beyond all recognition.

And here is my point: it is the destruction of that marketplace of ideas that accounts for the "strangeness" that now continually haunts our efforts to reason together about the choices we must make as a nation.

Whether it is called a Public Forum, or a "Public Sphere" , or a marketplace of ideas, the reality of open and free public discussion and debate was considered central to the operation of our democracy in America's earliest decades.

In fact, our first self-expression as a nation - "We the People" - made it clear where the ultimate source of authority lay. It was universally understood that the ultimate check and balance for American government was its accountability to the people. And the public forum was the place where the people held the government accountable. That is why it was so important that the marketplace of ideas operated independent from and beyond the authority of government.

The three most important characteristics of this marketplace of ideas were:

1) It was open to every individual, with no barriers to entry, save the necessity of literacy. This access, it is crucial to add, applied not only to the receipt of information but also to the ability to contribute information directly into the flow of ideas that was available to all;
2) The fate of ideas contributed by individuals depended, for the most part, on an emergent Meritocracy of Ideas. Those judged by the market to be good rose to the top, regardless of the wealth or class of the individual responsible for them;
3) The accepted rules of discourse presumed that the participants were all governed by an unspoken duty to search for general agreement. That is what a "Conversation of Democracy" is all about.

What resulted from this shared democratic enterprise was a startling new development in human history: for the first time, knowledge regularly mediated between wealth and power.

The liberating force of this new American reality was thrilling to all humankind. Thomas Jefferson declared, "I have sworn upon the alter of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."
It ennobled the individual and unleashed the creativity of the human spirit. It inspired people everywhere to dream of what they could yet become. And it emboldened Americans to bravely explore the farther frontiers of freedom - for African Americans, for women, and eventually, we still dream, for all.

And just as knowledge now mediated between wealth and power, self-government was understood to be the instrument with which the people embodied their reasoned judgments into law. The Rule of Reason under-girded and strengthened the rule of law.

But to an extent seldom appreciated, all of this - including especially the ability of the American people to exercise the reasoned collective judgments presumed in our Founders' design -- depended on the particular characteristics of the marketplace of ideas as it operated during the Age of Print.

Consider the rules by which our present "public forum" now operates, and how different they are from the forum our Founders knew. Instead of the easy and free access individuals had to participate in the national conversation by means of the printed word, the world of television makes it virtually impossible for individuals to take part in what passes for a national conversation today.

Inexpensive metal printing presses were almost everywhere in America. They were easily accessible and operated by printers eager to typeset essays, pamphlets, books or flyers.

Television stations and networks, by contrast, are almost completely inaccessible to individual citizens and almost always uninterested in ideas contributed by individual citizens.

Ironically, television programming is actually more accessible to more people than any source of information has ever been in all of history. But here is the crucial distinction: it is accessible in only one direction; there is no true interactivity, and certainly no conversation.

The number of cables connecting to homes is limited in each community and usually forms a natural monopoly. The broadcast and satellite spectrum is likewise a scarce and limited resource controlled by a few. The production of programming has been centralized and has usually required a massive capital investment. So for these and other reasons, an ever-smaller number of large corporations control virtually all of the television programming in America.

Soon after television established its dominance over print, young people who realized they were being shut out of the dialogue of democracy came up with a new form of expression in an effort to join the national conversation: the "demonstration." This new form of expression, which began in the 1960s, was essentially a poor quality theatrical production designed to capture the attention of the television cameras long enough to hold up a sign with a few printed words to convey, however plaintively, a message to the American people. Even this outlet is now rarely an avenue for expression on national television.

So, unlike the marketplace of ideas that emerged in the wake of the printing press, there is virtually no exchange of ideas at all in television's domain. My partner Joel Hyatt and I are trying to change that - at least where Current TV is concerned. Perhaps not coincidentally, we are the only independently owned news and information network in all of American television.

It is important to note that the absence of a two-way conversation in American television also means that there is no "meritocracy of ideas" on television. To the extent that there is a "marketplace" of any kind for ideas on television, it is a rigged market, an oligopoly, with imposing barriers to entry that exclude the average citizen.

The German philosopher, Jurgen Habermas, describes what has happened as "the refeudalization of the public sphere." That may sound like gobbledygook, but it's a phrase that packs a lot of meaning. The feudal system which thrived before the printing press democratized knowledge and made the idea of America thinkable, was a system in which wealth and power were intimately intertwined, and where knowledge played no mediating role whatsoever. The great mass of the people were ignorant. And their powerlessness was born of their ignorance.

It did not come as a surprise that the concentration of control over this powerful one-way medium carries with it the potential for damaging the operations of our democracy. As early as the 1920s, when the predecessor of television, radio, first debuted in the United States, there was immediate apprehension about its potential impact on democracy. One early American student of the medium wrote that if control of radio were concentrated in the hands of a few, "no nation can be free."

As a result of these fears, safeguards were enacted in the U.S. -- including the Public Interest Standard, the Equal Time Provision, and the Fairness Doctrine - though a half century later, in 1987, they were effectively repealed. And then immediately afterwards, Rush Limbaugh and other hate-mongers began to fill the airwaves.

And radio is not the only place where big changes have taken place. Television news has undergone a series of dramatic changes. The movie "Network," which won the Best Picture Oscar in 1976, was presented as a farce but was actually a prophecy. The journalism profession morphed into the news business, which became the media industry and is now completely owned by conglomerates.

The news divisions - which used to be seen as serving a public interest and were subsidized by the rest of the network - are now seen as profit centers designed to generate revenue and, more importantly, to advance the larger agenda of the corporation of which they are a small part. They have fewer reporters, fewer stories, smaller budgets, less travel, fewer bureaus, less independent judgment, more vulnerability to influence by management, and more dependence on government sources and canned public relations hand-outs. This tragedy is compounded by the ironic fact that this generation of journalists is the best trained and most highly skilled in the history of their profession. But they are usually not allowed to do the job they have been trained to do.

The present executive branch has made it a practice to try and control and intimidate news organizations: from PBS to CBS to Newsweek. They placed a former male escort in the White House press pool to pose as a reporter - and then called upon him to give the president a hand at crucial moments. They paid actors to make make phony video press releases and paid cash to some reporters who were willing to take it in return for positive stories. And every day they unleash squadrons of digital brownshirts to harass and hector any journalist who is critical of the President.

For these and other reasons, The US Press was recently found in a comprehensive international study to be only the 27th freest press in the world. And that too seems strange to me.

Among the other factors damaging our public discourse in the media, the imposition by management of entertainment values on the journalism profession has resulted in scandals, fabricated sources, fictional events and the tabloidization of mainstream news. As recently stated by Dan Rather - who was, of course, forced out of his anchor job after angering the White House - television news has been "dumbed down and tarted up."

The coverage of political campaigns focuses on the "horse race" and little else. And the well-known axiom that guides most local television news is "if it bleeds, it leads." (To which some disheartened journalists add, "If it thinks, it stinks.")

In fact, one of the few things that Red state and Blue state America agree on is that they don't trust the news media anymore.

Clearly, the purpose of television news is no longer to inform the American people or serve the public interest. It is to "glue eyeballs to the screen" in order to build ratings and sell advertising. If you have any doubt, just look at what's on: The Robert Blake trial. The Laci Peterson tragedy. The Michael Jackson trial. The Runaway Bride. The search in Aruba. The latest twist in various celebrity couplings, and on and on and on.

And more importantly, notice what is not on: the global climate crisis, the nation's fiscal catastrophe, the hollowing out of America's industrial base, and a long list of other serious public questions that need to be addressed by the American people.

One morning not long ago, I flipped on one of the news programs in hopes of seeing information about an important world event that had happened earlier that day. But the lead story was about a young man who had been hiccupping for three years. And I must say, it was interesting; he had trouble getting dates. But what I didn't see was news.

This was the point made by Jon Stewart, the brilliant host of "The Daily Show," when he visited CNN's "Crossfire": there should be a distinction between news and entertainment.

And it really matters because the subjugation of news by entertainment seriously harms our democracy: it leads to dysfunctional journalism that fails to inform the people. And when the people are not informed, they cannot hold government accountable when it is incompetent, corrupt, or both.

One of the only avenues left for the expression of public or political ideas on television is through the purchase of advertising, usually in 30-second chunks. These short commercials are now the principal form of communication between candidates and voters. As a result, our elected officials now spend all of their time raising money to purchase these ads.

That is why the House and Senate campaign committees now search for candidates who are multi-millionaires and can buy the ads with their own personal resources. As one consequence, the halls of Congress are now filling up with the wealthy.

Campaign finance reform, however well it is drafted, often misses the main point: so long as the only means of engaging in political dialogue is through purchasing expensive television advertising, money will continue by one means or another to dominate American politic s. And ideas will no longer mediate between wealth and power.

And what if an individual citizen, or a group of citizens wants to enter the public debate by expressing their views on television? Since they cannot simply join the conversation, some of them have resorted to raising money in order to buy 30 seconds in which to express their opinion. But they are not even allowed to do that. tried to buy ads last year to express opposition to Bush's Medicare proposal which was then being debated by Congress. They were told "issue advocacy" was not permissible.
Then, one of the networks that had refused the Moveon ad began running advertisements by the White House in favor of the President's Medicare proposal. So Moveon complained and the White House ad was temporarily removed. By temporary, I mean it was removed until the White House complained and the network immediately put the ad back on, yet still refused to present the Moveon ad.

The advertising of products, of course, is the real purpose of television. And it is difficult to overstate the extent to which modern pervasive electronic advertising has reshaped our society. In the 1950s, John Kenneth Galbraith first described the way in which advertising has altered the classical relationship by which supply and demand are balanced over time by the invisible hand of the marketplace. According to Galbraith, modern advertising campaigns were beginning to create high levels of demand for products that consumers never knew they wanted, much less needed.

The same phenomenon Galbraith noticed in the commercial marketplace is now the dominant fact of life in what used to be America's marketplace for ideas. The inherent value or validity of political propositions put forward by candidates for office is now largely irrelevant compared to the advertising campaigns that shape the perceptions of voters.

Our democracy has been hallowed out. The opinions of the voters are, in effect, purchased, just as demand for new products is artificially created. Decades ago Walter Lippman wrote, "the manufacture of consent...was supposed to have died out with the appearance of democracy...but it has not died out. It has, in fact, improved enormously in technique...under the impact of propaganda, it is no longer plausible to believe in the original dogma of democracy."

Like you, I recoil at Lippman's cynical dismissal of America's gift to human history. But in order to reclaim our birthright, we Americans must resolve to repair the systemic decay of the public forum and create new ways to engage in a genuine and not manipulative conversation about our future. Americans in both parties should insist on the re-establishment of respect for the Rule of Reason. We must, for example, stop tolerating the rejection and distortion of science. We must insist on an end to the cynical use of pseudo studies known to be false for the purpose of intentionally clouding the public's ability to discern the truth.

I don't know all the answers, but along with my partner, Joel Hyatt, I am trying to work within the medium of television to recreate a multi-way conversation that includes individuals and operates according to a meritocracy of ideas. If you would like to know more, we are having a press conference on Friday morning at the Regency Hotel.

We are learning some fascinating lessons about the way decisions are made in the television industry, and it may well be that the public would be well served by some changes in law and policy to stimulate more diversity of viewpoints and a higher regard for the public interest. But we are succeeding within the marketplace by reaching out to individuals and asking them to co-create our network.

The greatest source of hope for reestablishing a vigorous and accessible marketplace for ideas is the Internet. Indeed, Current TV relies on video streaming over the Internet as the means by which individuals send us what we call viewer-created content or VC squared. We also rely on the Internet for the two-way conversation that we have every day with our viewers enabling them to participate in the decisions on programming our network.

I know that many of you attending this conference are also working on creative ways to use the Internet as a means for bringing more voices into America's ongoing conversation. I salute you as kindred spirits and wish you every success.

I want to close with the two things I've learned about the Internet that are most directly relevant to the conference that you are having here today.

First, as exciting as the Internet is, it still lacks the single most powerful characteristic of the television medium; because of its packet-switching architecture, and its continued reliance on a wide variety of bandwidth connections (including the so-called "last mile" to the home), it does not support the real-time mass distribution of full-motion video.

Make no mistake, full-motion video is what makes television such a powerful medium. Our brains - like the brains of all vertebrates - are hard-wired to immediately notice sudden movement in our field of vision. We not only notice, we are compelled to look. When our evolutionary predecessors gathered on the African savanna a million years ago and the leaves next to them moved, the ones who didn't look are not our ancestors. The ones who did look passed on to us the genetic trait that neuroscientists call "the establishing reflex." And that is the brain syndrome activated by television continuously - sometimes as frequently as once per second. That is the reason why the industry phrase, "glue eyeballs to the screen," is actually more than a glib and idle boast. It is also a major part of the reason why Americans watch the TV screen an average of four and a half hours a day.

It is true that video streaming is becoming more common over the Internet, and true as well that cheap storage of streamed video is making it possible for many young television viewers to engage in what the industry calls "time shifting" and personalize their television watching habits. Moreover, as higher bandwidth connections continue to replace smaller information pipelines, the Internet's capacity for carrying television will continue to dramatically improve. But in spite of these developments, it is television delivered over cable and satellite that will continue for the remainder of this decade and probably the next to be the dominant medium of communication in America's democracy. And so long as that is the case, I truly believe that America's democracy is at grave risk.

The final point I want to make is this: We must ensure that the Internet remains open and accessible to all citizens without any limitation on the ability of individuals to choose the content they wish regardless of the Internet service provider they use to connect to the Worldwide Web. We cannot take this future for granted. We must be prepared to fight for it because some of the same forces of corporate consolidation and control that have distorted the television marketplace have an interest in controlling the Internet marketplace as well. Far too much is at stake to ever allow that to happen.

We must ensure by all means possible that this medium of democracy's future develops in the mold of the open and free marketplace of ideas that our Founders knew was essential to the health and survival of freedom.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Gay Movie Switch Has Mormons Fuming

This was posted today on Could it be that God he is telling the Mormons that a little boy on boy action can lead to tighter family bond?

Gay Movie Switch Has Mormons Fuming
by The Associated Press
Posted: October 5, 2005 11:00 am ET

(Salt Lake City, Utah) Copies of a movie aimed at a Mormon audience have been pulled from store shelves after a recording mix-up left buyers watching the gay movie "Adored: Diary of a Porn Star" instead of the "Sons of Provo."

Two Utah families caught the problem after purchasing DVDs at Deseret Book stores, which are owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The families, one in St. George and another in Riverdale, brought the problem to the attention of store clerks. The DVDs were removed from shelves.

"We're not going to play around with that, so we pulled them all," said Gail Halladay, a Deseret Book spokesman. "We will not put it back on our shelves until we're 100 percent sure it's the proper disc that goes into the packaging."

In response to the mix-up, HaleStorm Entertainment, the company that produced "Sons of Provo," has announced its commitment to fight the spread of pornography.

The company is offering $100 to the owner of every "Sons of Provo" DVD that instead contains "Adored: Diary of a Porn Star," as an incentive to collect all the mixed-up copies. It's also going to donate $100 per DVD to CP80, an anti-pornography group.

The PG-rated "Sons of Provo" chronicles the life of an LDS boy band, Everclean, on its relative journey to stardom.

"Adored: Diary of a Porn Star" is an unrated independent film that is not pornographic, said Corey Eubanks, spokesman for Wolfe Video, the largest distributor of films featuring gay and lesbian characters and stories. However, the film does contain sexual situations and its subject is the life of a gay porn star.

"It's a very heartwarming film about a porn star that reconnects with his family," Eubanks said. "It's not a porn film at all. It's just about someone who is a porn actor."

Both films hired the same Los Angeles company to make DVD copies of their movies. Somewhere in the process "Adored" discs were packaged as "Sons of Provo" discs.
George Dayton of HaleStorm Entertainment said company policy is not to work with companies that distribute pornographic films.

However, attorneys for HaleStorm and the distribution company are arguing over whether "Adored" is pornographic.

"This is hugely damaging," Dayton said. "We don't want our consumers to associate anything with us, whether it's some soft-core title or whatever, I don't know. But certainly this title doesn't lend itself to good, clean family or LDS-centered entertainment."


"When I am King you will be first against the wall. With your opinion which is of no consequence at all." - radiohead

One of my favorite things in life is re-discovering cd's I own but haven't listened to in while. The other day I was going through my cd rack and pulled out OK Computer. It's so fucking brilliant. In songs like Paranoid Android and Exit Music (for a film) the band creates characters that are vividly beautiful and disturbing. Melodic vocals over grinding guitars make for an amazing emotional ride.

When I listen to this cd I think of the night I bought it. It was a cold (for SoCal) winter night. I had left work late to meet I guy I had met on line. We met at the bus stop out side of the store. He turned out to be a total ass, at least the cd was a good choice.

I am not a huge radiohead fan, this is the only cd I own by them. I am really not sure why that is. I tend to have ADD when it comes to music. Generally I am into a band for one or two cd's then I am off to something new.

I saw these guys over 10 yesrs ago with Belly and The Catherine Wheel. It was a club show the place held less then a thousand people, which makes me cooler then most of their fans.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Late Summer

It was the last week of summer vacation. It would be the last sleep over 'till Christmas break.

My mother was never happy about me spending the night at his house. He wasn't the type of person she wanted me to be friends with. His family was nothing like ours.

His parents were divorced, I think. His mother had a live-in boyfriend. His mother and her boyfriend had two daughters together, they were about 10 years younger then him. The sisters were constantly doted upon. They could do no wrong. The only thing he could do, was wrong.
He got into physical fights with his mother's boyfriend regularly. They never got along.

He was like an odd piece of furniture in a matching set. Everyone else in the 'family' looked alike, him. His 'real' his father was Native American, which made him look exotic. He had skin that was reddish brown, and his hair was dark and kinky. His body was thick and stocky. Even at 13 he looked ready for pro football.

When we were in third grade we painted portraits of ourselves in a winter scene. I painted myself on skis. He was on a red sled. He told our teacher he would need a different color for his skin. One darker then the 'flesh' color the rest of us were using. Not knowing what to say the teacher explained to him that he was white like the rest of us, just a different kind of white. He took this comment with indifference and went back to panting.

On the night of our sleep over his mother and boyfriend were playing cards with neighbors up stairs. I could hear is mother just above the ceiling stomping her foot, screaming, "PIT! PIT!" A chorus of laughter erupted. I thought the noise would wake up his sisters but they slept trough it. They must be used to the noise.

He and I were supposed to be watching a movie on cable, but we were trying to watch the Playboy Channel. All we could see was skin but we couldn't make what was happening or who's skin it was. The screen had thick back lines going up the screen over and over again. We fiddled with the box, then with the channel, but nothing helped. I wasn't really interested in seeing naked women, so I was relieved when he finally give up.

He decided he was going to take his nightly shower. I sat on the sofa and watched Battlestar Galactica reruns. I looked around the living room, I could see why mother didn't want me here. His mother had decorated with beer ads and empty liquor bottles. My mother would be mortified.

After his shower he came back into the room in his bathrobe. He bragged about how he was growing hair on his balls. He had matured much faster then most of our friends. As long as I could remember he had a moustache. I didn’t even have peach fuzz.

"No you don't," I said.

"Fuck you, I'm not lying," he said.

Then he opened his robe to show me. Suddenly my stomach felt funny. I was a bit freaked out and excited. I stared to shake a little.

"See, right there," he pointed.

He brought it closer to me, so close that see the moisture on his skin that hadn't dried yet. He smelled so clean. I could see a patch of black curly hair on his groin. My body started to feel warm. I didn’t say anything. I felt awkward. My breathing was heavy.

He gave me a half smile, "I dare you to put it in your mouth."

With out answering I did. Why am I doing this? He grew in my mouth. I almost choked. The taste was familiar. My head started to feel light. My face was getting warmer. Oh my God I am going to hell. I pulled back to stop, he wouldn't let me. He grabbed the back of my head to put it back where it was. He started to moan. Why does this taste so familiar? Oh shit we are going to get caught. His moaning got louder and louder, then he stopped.

It was over.

I slid back on the sofa. He looked down at me and smiled. I was felt shame. He patted my head as if to say good boy. My stomach felt worse. I got up, ran into the bathroom and threw-up all of the pizza his mother had bought us. My body stared shaking even more now. I went to the sink and rinsed my mouth out.

"Are you Okay?" he asked.

"Yeah fine, don't tell anyone," I said.

He nodded.

"Can we just go to bed?"


I walked past him to his bedroom. I put on my pajamas. He turned out the light. We laid down next to each other on his double bed with out touching each other. We did’t say a word. He still smelled so good.

I wanted him to put his arms around me and hold me close to him, like I had seen couples do on TV. I wanted him to do something that made me fell special. He didn't. He just started to snore. I wanted to cry. I laid on my side, stared at the wall, and tried not to move.

These were the first failures in my life. I wanted to be a good Catholic boy, but I wasn't. I didn't want to go to hell, but I was going. I tried so hard not to be a faggot, but I was.

Monday, October 03, 2005

I'm A Bigot.

On the weekends I work in retail, for a national grocery chain. While was ringing customers there is a woman in my line. She is wearing the trendy 'I want to be noticed' look of the moment. Her jewelry is worth more than the GDP of most Eastern European nations. She is on her cell phone talking loudly.

She has placed her red basked full of groceries on the floor in front of her. The closer she gets to register she pushes the basket with foot. The sound of the basket scraping the floor makes imagine her walking toward me dragging a clubfoot behind her.

I pretend not to notice.

It's her turn she, she walks over to slide her credit card through. Still on the phone, the talking is louder. She is now 3 feet from my face.

I look at her funny because she hasn't put any product on the counter where it should be for me to ring it up. This annoyed her. She points to the floor where she has left her basket and I have seemed to forgot that like her maid I am supposed to pick-up whatever she drops on the floor.

I ring up her groceries she pays with a credit card. The receipt starts to print. I hand her her copy and take mine. I give her my best "I hope you die in your sleep" smile. I don't say thank you. I read the name on the receipt. It's Rosenberg.

Of course it is.

Later that day I walk by my boss and wisper in her ear, "I wasn't a bigot before I worked here."