June 27, 2004

Farenheit 9/11

If you see no other film this decade, see this one. Clearly the single most important film of the last ten years.

I don't care if you agree, disagree, love or hate Moore-- but I will have nothing for contempt for anyone who attempts to pontificate about the film without having seen it.

We took our 14-year-old (J.) with us tonight, mainly because I felt that this subject is far too important for him to remain ignorant on the topic; he'll be eligible for the coming draft (and don't kid yourself-- a draft is coming. Expect to hear about it in December of this year). We'd have taken our 13-year-old (Z.) as well, but he's at Scout camp this week. He'll have to wait for the DVD.

On our way home we discussed the film with J. We asked him what he thought about the war in Iraq, and he said "I don't really understand everything about it, about why and everything, so I guess right now I don't have an opinion. But I know that some of the things we're doing over there are wrong, and I know that some of the reasons weren't true."

I was so proud. It's the single most intelligent thing I've heard lately.

Posted by cerebus at 10:03 PM

June 26, 2004

Shades of Parties Past

I learned earlier today that a relative by marriage here in the sovereign State of Texas has registered as a Republican but votes a straight Democratic ticket in every election.


Because she's a schoolteacher, and is afraid of being targeted at work or even losing her job.

I know her fear, as I contract to the armed wing of the Republican Party (otherwise known as the DoD), and I feel it every day at work. It's not the stabbing fear of hearing someone behind you in a secluded area on the bad side of town-- it's a low grade, gnawing, barely registering kind of fear. The kind that makes you hesitate before expressing an opinion. The kind that makes you avoid certain subjects with people you don't know well.

That kind of fear.

I wish my wife's paternal grandfather was still alive. Her family emigrated from Germany in the early 50's, as part of a refugee relief program. I'd like to ask him one question--

Is this what it felt like in '36?

Posted by cerebus at 3:13 PM

June 22, 2004

Finding the Right Wedge

Given the recent attempts by the GOP to drive a wedge into the Left via the Federal Marriage Amendment, perhaps it's time to drive home one of our own.

I'm finishing up Lessig's book The Future of Ideas, and he's given me an idea:

The Fair Competition Amendment

Congress shall make no law nor permit any rule protecting or promoting the profits, products, assets or practices of any public or private business, organization or industry.

I can see adding the clauses:

[...] in the face of increased competition


[...] except where there is an immediate compelling public interest.

But I'm not completely sure about them. The last may act to protect service monopolies like power companies, which would probably be a good thing-- there are areas where the public is better served by a well-regulated monopoly than a competitive market.

I'm dead-set against the use of government power to protect the interests of businesses faced with innovative or disruptive technologies. No business has a right to profits; yet most established industries are the first to clamor for government sanctuary when faced with new technologies they cannot suppress or control.

Americans are (generally) big proponents of fair play. This issue could drive a wedge into the business-subservient GOP, and allow we Progressives to highlight the ways in which the conservative elements use the government to kill fair play.

Such an amendment as above would also do much to eliminate the poisonous effect of lobbyist dollars in our political process; if Congress can't make law on my behalf, why would I waste the money buying (access to) a Congressman?

What do you think?

Posted by cerebus at 3:34 PM

June 7, 2004

Disappointing Myself

I was in the grocery store this evening, and at the checkout I ended up behind a transsexual-- pre-op or post-op, it doesn't matter. Anyway, she paid and left the store, and apparently waited out front for her ride. The baggers-- all teenaged males-- spent the next few minutes running back and forth to the doors laughing and smirking and generally having a grand old time at the woman's expense.

I felt the urge to confront these ignorant children, but I didn't and I'm not sure why I didn't. That's where I disappointed myself. I thought about it all the way home. I should have said something. Is the training to not rock the boat, not to make a scene so ingrained in me that I couldn't stand up and even say something?

Would it have made a difference? Most likely not. Kids are kids and kids are, by and large, cruel narrow-minded little twerps. Especially the boys. But bigotry thrives only where it is allowed to go unchallenged; it is for each of us a moral duty to confront it wherever we find it-- even if we are not the target.

I won't let it happen again.

Posted by cerebus at 11:30 PM

June 1, 2004

Heh. Hee. Ha hah hahahaha...


Posted by cerebus at 10:59 AM