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April, 2002:

Is it just me?

Is it just me, or has Blogger been slower than usual lately? There was such a lag yesterday on my dialup account between hitting the Post & Publish button and the publish occurring that I reposted the same thing a couple of times before I realized it was just taking its time.

Cable modem gets installed Friday. Once I have that and the new web space set up, it’s off to Moveable Type I go. I’ll always be grateful to Blogger and Blogspot for getting me started, but all good things and all that. Hey, my folks outgrew AOL, so I can outgrow Blogger. Stay tuned.

Cancer risk overblown, film at 11

So apparently that Swedish study which claimed that many starchy foods, including things like bread, contain carcinogens was maybe a tad bit overstated. Perhaps the fact that the scientists announced their findings at a press conference before publishing them in a peer-reviewed journal might have been a tip-off as well.

The whole thing reminds me of a George Carlin joke: “Scientists have determined that saliva causes stomach cancer, but only when ingested in small quantities over a long period of time.”

You’re not alone, dude

Justin thinks he and The Rapmaster may be the only bloggers watching the NBA playoffs. Not so – I’ve caught several games so far. It’s been pretty entertaining, too. I’m already sorry to see the Dallas/Minnesota series end. And as a disgruntled Rockets fan, I’d take great joy in seeing Scottie Pippen help cough up Game 3 to the Lakers if it weren’t for the fact that I hate the Lakers. Sacramento, San Antonio, Dallas – I’m counting on you to end our long national nightmare here. Don’t let me down.

Linda Lay update

Linda Lay, the former First Lady of Enron, is set to open an “upscale secondhand shop” in Montrose in order to help friends and family with cash flow problems. I used to live about four blocks from the location given in the story. I may have to poke my head in and see for myself what kind of booty Mrs. Lay is letting go of.

The young and the foolish

Remember The Anarchist Cookbook? It was a straight-from-the-counterculture guide to making bombs, getting high, and generally giving the finger to The Man. I’m willing to bet most people reading this knew someone in high school who had a copy and carried it around, just in case.

Turns out that William Powell, the author of the Cookbook, has changed his mind about it and would like to see it removed from publication. Unfortunately for him, the publisher owns the copyright and has no desire to stop printing it. Take a look at William Powell’s author comments on Amazon for the details. Found via The Straight Dope.

All politics is local

Joshua Trevino shares an interesting email from a former coworker who is now on the Ron Kirk campaign. It’s the 29 APRIL 2002 5 entry, but I’ll quote him here since he doesn’t have permalinks:

Who knows how accurate this is, but it’s worth sharing a bit from an e-mail of a friend who’s working on Ron Kirk’s Democratic Senate campaign in Texas:

The Senate campaign that I am working on is going really well. We handily won our Primary Election on April 9th and now we are in the marathon heading to November. The cool thing is that this race has attracted national attention, so it should be a very exciting campaign season for us. We are doing so well, in fact, that the Republicans have actually come up with an excuse to send Bush’s counselor Karen Hughes back to Texas to deal with us. Honestly, I am a little scared of her…

Just figured I’d feed the rumor mill.

Now there’s a conspiracy theory about Karen Hughes’ resignation that makes some sense.

If Kirk is getting national attention, it’s in part because he’s actually sought it out. His companions on the “Democrat Dream Team” ticket are doing their best to avoid the national party as Clay Robison wrote in the Chron on Sunday. I can’t say I’m surprised, and I can’t say it’s bad strategy for John Sharp and Tony Sanchez, but it’s disheartening for me nonetheless.

Kirk has little to lose by aiming for a larger spotlight. His opponent, John Cornyn, is playing the Dubya card for all its worth. Bush will undoubtedly lend a hand to Governor Goodhair and David Dewhurst, but it’s the Senate election that will matter to him and his agenda in the fall.

Searching for meaning after a tragedy

Mike points me to this article by Robert X. Cringely, who lost his infant son to SIDS last week, and what he hopes to do about it.

There ought to be a monitor, I thought, that could tell when a SIDS attack was about to begin. In the neonatal intensive care unit, where Chase spent his first few days, there are lots of monitors and they go off when they detect apnea — a cessation of breathing lasting for 20 seconds or more. Chase had a problem with apnea. Twice he turned blue right in my arms, simply forgetting to breathe. The treatment for apnea is literally shaking a leg, reminding the kid to take a breath. The cure for apnea comes with age, and can be helped by treating with caffeine. A double latte for my baby, please.

But to the medical establishment, apnea isn’t SIDS. If apnea is falling asleep at the wheel and driving off the road, SIDS is falling asleep at the wheel and driving into a bridge abutment. The doctors tell me leg shaking won’t end a SIDS attack and monitoring won’t detect one.

Still, as a grieving nerd, I feel the need to do something. And I am not at all convinced that epidemiologists are to be trusted in this. After all, they are medical statisticians and mainly play the odds. I want to defy the odds. If current monitors won’t work, I want to make ones that do.

So here is what I propose. It is my plan to devote much of my resources and a good portion of the rest of my life to combating SIDS. I can’t cure it, but I think I can help babies to evade it. The trick is to first develop a very cheap, very accurate, recording medical sensor.

I wish him well, and I hope I’ll never have that kind of incentive to do something.

Give me a moment to stop hyperventilating, then I’ll be right with you

When your wife calls you on the phone and the first words out of her mouth are “The good news is that I won’t be going to Algeria in May”, it’s not really clear if you want to hear what comes next. Fortunately, there was no “And the bad news is…” forthcoming. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to pop down to the nurse’s office for a Valium.

That’s moral clarity, Mr. President

Great op-ed in the WSJ by John McCain, courtesy of Kyle Still.

It is the unenlightened rule of Arab dictators, not the plight of the Palestinians, that condemns the Arab world to the civilizational crisis in which it finds itself. Which Middle Eastern nation grants its Arab citizens the most political freedom? Israel. Which countries’ leaders have the blood of innocents on their hands but hear nothing about it from the Arab League? Iraq, Syria, and Sudan, for starters. Which country has the most egregious record of occupying another today? Syria, in Lebanon. In which countries do Palestinian refugees suffer without rights and the most basic freedoms? Other than Israel, only Jordan has treated these people with any dignity. Which nation in the region has matched its payments to the families of Palestinian murderers with money for health care, education, and other development in the territories? Not one.

How Arab leaders can abide their own hypocrisy is one question. Why they expect us to do so is a better one.

Arab leaders recoil in mock indignation from any suggestion that they have a responsibility to discourage Palestinian treachery. Instead, they demand that the United States pressure the government of Israel into forsaking its obligation to defend its citizens from terrorism that Arab governments celebrate and support.

I’m also distressed that some of our European allies are dismissing Israel’s legitimate security concerns. In some quarters, Jews are once again threatened with attacks on their institutions. We are witnessing once again the torching of European synagogues. All world leaders must condemn, in the strongest terms, such despicable behavior.

It would be awfully nice to hear some of these self-evident truths be spoken aloud by our Commander in Chief. I recognize the need for realpolitik, but at some point you need to check your compass and make sure you’re still heading in the right general direction.

I’ve become convinced that Bush’s hopeless muddling of the Middle East situation is the best argument for a McCain-as-Democrat Presidential run in 2004. I have no idea if McCain sees it this way, but there’s a lot of room to criticize Bush here, and I believe he’d draw a fair amount of Republican support (among voters, anyway) for doing so. McCain’s military credentials would deflect any suggestion that he’s somehow unfit (or worse, unpatriotic) to criticize the president on this issue. (John Kerry would presumably have this protection as well, but West Wing fantasies aside, I don’t see any Northeastern liberals in the White House in the near future.) Of course, the general diminutiveness of the Democratic class right now makes blue-skying about McCain that much more seductive.

It surprises me that Bush has stumbled here. I grant that the Middle East is a tar baby of gigantic proportions. I grant that no one’s hands are clean. I grant that we’re forced to do business with some unsavory characters, and that it’s neither wise nor desireable to risk the kind of Islam vs. the West war that Osama bin Laden was hoping to spark in the first place. But really, if there was one person you thought you could count on to see things in stark black-and-white, good-versus-evil terms, it was GW Bush. Somewhere along the line he forgot what he said in the days following September 11, and it shows.

What I want these days is simple enough. I want our President to remind the world, every day if necessary, what being a good guy in this fight is all about. I want him to remind us all that peace doesn’t simply mean one side promising not to kill the other. I want him to stand firm for liberty and freedom. I didn’t vote for him, and I have little faith in him, but even I think he’s more than capable of this. Was I wrong?

The crazy thing is that if Bush had stood up more forcefully for Israel against the Saudi bloodsuckers and European anti-Semites, he’d have then had the moral authority to whack Ariel Sharon on the head with a cluestick and tell him that he wasn’t making this any better or easier. Sometimes when everyone in a conflict is mad at the mediator, it means the mediator is doing a good job. Bush has clearly demonstrated that this is not always the case.


Patrick crystallizes something that I’ve been thinking about for awhile now, about the relative level of understanding of the world and how it works among Americans and Europeans. I came of age in the 80s. If you were a college student in the 80s and you were politically aware but not already a Young Republican, you probably didn’t think much of Ronald Reagan. He was not the sharpest knife in the drawer, he had a fairly simplistic view of the world, he said stupid thing about ketchup and trees, and he was surrounded by scary people like James Watt and Ed Meese. It was easy to base a political philosophy on denigrating Reagan.

The problem was that in this environment you would often find yourself around folks who believed this sort of thing a lot more fervently than you did. They didn’t merely dislike Reagan and distrust his worldview, they took it to the next level and condemned American society and politics, both for ever electing Reagan in the first place and for being the kind of place that would ever elect a Reagan. If you hung around these people long enough, you spent a fair amount of time feeling vaguely guilty about being born American, and if you didn’t go along with their wholesale condemnations and diatribes, you were somehow as backward and unsophisticated as Ronald Reagan and his supporters.

Not too surprisingly, these folks tended to be Europhiles. Many of them talked about moving to Europe or at least spending a lot of time there. If only America could be as enlightened as Europe, then maybe they’d find a reason to stay. I sometimes wonder what became of people like this. Did they become Jerry Rubin, or did they remain Abbie Hoffman?

I think recent events have shown pretty clearly that though we may have another simplistic boob who surrounds himself with scary people in the White House, we have no reason to feel inferior to Europe. I think Americans understand Europe better than Europeans think we do, and I think we understand Europe better than some of them understand us. In any event, I agree with Patrick. I’ve got enough things to feel guilty about.

Small town blues

Also in today’s Chron, a 100-year-old synagogue in the small town of Wharton (about 40 miles southeast of Houston) is closing due to declining membership. The descendants of the original Jewish settlers have moved on to big cities here and elsewhere, and there aren’t enough people left to afford maintenance on the 80-year-old brick building that served as their temple or to pay for a rabbi. It’s a sweet but sad story.

Boyz only, no gurlz allowed

From today’sChron:

Representatives of Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah reportedly asked that female air traffic controllers be barred from their duties during his flights in Texas.

A Federal Aviation Administration employee, speaking to The Dallas Morning News on condition of anonymity, said the request was granted on portions of the prince’s flights between Houston and Waco.

Abdullah was in Texas this week and met with President Bush at his Crawford ranch on Thursday.

The prince then flew in Houston and took a train to College Station to tour former President George Bush’s presidential library on Friday.

I’m sure we’ll hear an explanation from the Bush camp that Prince Abdullah meant no disrespect to women and that we liberals are just being overly sensitive about the whole thing any time now. Good thing our president has moral clarity.

I see that Mac Thomason a/k/a War Liberal has his own domain now. Way to go, Mac! (Thanks to Ginger for the heads up.)

As for me, I’ve finally given in to the dark side and signed up for a RoadRunner cable modem, thus giving AOLTimeWarner of Borg an extra few ounces of flesh every month. Once all that’s in place, I’ll be relocating this spot. Stay tuned.

Religion v. science, round N

A “businessman and civic leader who also teaches Sunday school” named Bill White has penned an editorial about science and religion in today’s Chron. I give him high marks for his attempt to distinguish between the two domains. I’m always happy to see a person of faith recognize the value of science, but I’ve still got a nit to pick:

Last week the Houston Chronicle reported remarks by U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land, critical of Texas A&M and Baylor universities, as part of a debate concerning the teaching of evolution. Let’s not allow a false conflict between science and scripture to divide us. Many people of both science and faith have flourished at great Texas universities. And let’s respect the rights of DeLay and other public figures to express their own beliefs in a house of worship.

Unfortunately, this isn’t a false conflict, certainly not from DeLay’s point of view or the point of view of the person who complained that Texas universities aren’t teaching creationism. DeLay has followed his original remarks about Texas A&M and Baylor by expressing the firm conviction that Christianity is the only way to live. It’s certainly his right as an American to believe this, but it’s more than a bit distressing to hear a high-ranking government official speak with such utter disregard for Americans who don’t share his faith, never mind Americans who live quite happily without one. Private Citizen Tom DeLay can think and say what he wants, but Public Official Tom DeLay has a higher responsibility to the Constitution. The whole reason why this was news in the first place was because this was a powerful Congressman speaking.

Furthermore, the anti-science forces very surely see this as a real battle that must be fought fiercely. Creationists figure prominently in this group, but they’re far from the only ones. Leftist academics who think all truth is subjective and that science is just another worldview (one which is racist and sexist, naturally), pyschics and supernaturalists, Luddites of all stripes – they all reject science. I wish Bill White were correct and this were just a disagreement among friends, but it’s not. Those of us who do value science and want to keep it separate from matters of faith and belief need to take this battle seriously as well. Take a look at the Talk.Origins Archive, especially the Feedback section to see how vehement and uncompromising the opposition can be. Take a look at the James Randi Educational Foundation for even more depressing examples of ingrained ignorance and willful disbelief. Every time you turn your back, the other side is gaining ground.

For that reason, I disagree with White when he says we should accept DeLay’s apology and move on. Tom DeLay isn’t going to move on, he’s going to keep pushing the idea that religious dogma belongs alongside, or even in place of, science in the classroom. That’s one place where we can’t cut him any slack.

I thought I was supposed to be anti-idiotarian

Well, this was a fun afternoon at work. The comm group booted my port off the network because I have a Win2K server which wasn’t properly secured. Today it became one of many machines across our enterprise that came down with a bad case of the Nimda worm.

Yeah, I know. I’m an idiot. Go ahead, get it out of your system. I won’t be offended.

I’ll mention that I am not the only person responsible for this server, which is running some beta software. Nor was mine the only vulnerable machine, as the global outbreak would attest. The “everybody else does it” defense isn’t particularly compelling, but it’s all I’ve got.

It’s times like this that I’m glad to be out of user support. This sort of crap always seemed to happen on Monday mornings and Friday afternoons. You wanna test your stress level, it’s a great way to do it. I’d sometimes feel like the Lloyd Bridges character in Airplane! – “I sure picked a bad day to stop sniffing glue.” Whatever else you can say about project work, my pager almost never goes off.

Successful implementation

Comments have been successfully added. Thanks to Larry for letting me use his. I’m still planning on migrating to Moveable Type in the near term, so this system is not permanent, but what the heck.

I’m still not sure if I will eventually like or dislike comments. I’ve noticed that a few sites (file13 and Electrolite, to name two) have removed them. I don’t know what I will get out of having them, but what I’m hoping for, in addition to the usual witty discourse, is to get a better feel for who actually reads this thing. I can tell from my referral log where people are coming from, but I have no idea who it is. From the Google searches that lead people to me, I apparently get a mix of folks who are looking for nekkid pictures and Poincare’s Conjecture, a unique demographic if ever there was one. Clearly, more study is needed, hence the comments.

So tell me what you think. I do appreciate it.

Here we go again

Houston energy trader Dynegy saw its stock plummet and its bond ratings lowered when lower earnings and an SEC review of a natural gas deal. They’re also taking a $300 million charge related to their communications business.

Reading the story, it doesn’t look like anything shady. But let’s face it, after Enron and Compaq, the last thing we need here is another big company going boom.

Also in the “why didn’t I think of that?” category

Anyone can be a patent holder! It’s true! Take a look at Patent 6,368,227 and see for yourself. Maybe there’s something to all those intonements about there being nothing left to invent.

Via James Randi. Be sure to scroll down the page and read Mark Evanier‘s hilarious story about a Psychic Reading Gone Wrong at the opening of the immortal movie Flesh Gordon.

Comedian turns tables on telemarketers

Via File13 we get this amusing story about how a professional comedian called attendees of the American Teleservices convention in their hotel rooms early in the morning. Now don’t you wish you’d thought of that?

Anzac Day

Via Patrick at Electrolite comes this story of the last survivor of Gallipoli, the terrible 1915 World War I battle fought by Australian and Turkish soldiers in Suvla Bay. Take a listen to the Eric Bogle song that commemorates it, The Band Played Waltzing Matilda, read the lyrics, and remember.

More good news for light rail

A redevelopment project for Houston’s north side is looking at a rail line from Intercontinental Airport to Buffalo Bayou, just north of downtown. If I could take a train to Intercontinental, I’d never drive there again. Let’s keep an eye on this.

Hating Blogspot

Hating Blogspot Charles at LGF hates Blogspot, and so do his many commenters. I don’t deny that it has its problems, but it sure made it easy for me to get started. I’ve got a move to Moveable Type and my own ISP in mind for the near term, and though I know the world will be a better place for it, the move (like all moving) is gonna suck. Even with Ginger and Michael holding my hand, it’s gonna suck because it’ll be different, because it’s Something Else I Have To Do, and because, well, just because. Give me a moment here, I feel a snit coming on…

Sorry, wrong number

Today’s strange entry from the referral log: a Google search for “coffee drinker demographic”. I think maybe you meant to look here.

Protest music revisited

Ginger writes about protest music from the 80s. I’ve been thinking about this subject recently. We think of the 60s as an era of political/activist music, mostly inspired by the Vietnam War and all the social upheaval surrounding it. The 80s, as Ginger rightly notes, was also a period where a lot of this music was recorded. That was largely inspired by Cold War fears and uncertainty.

The 70s and 90s, on the other hand, are more known for music that was fluffy (disco, boy bands) and self-indulgent (art rock, grunge). The 90s, of course, were a reasonably carefree decade, beginning with the fall of the Berlin Wall and ending with the longest economic boom in our history, so it’s easy to see why pop music might have reflected that. The 70s weren’t exactly a period of peace and prosperity, with the culmination of Vietnam, Watergate, oil embargoes, double digit inflation, and the Iranian hostage crisis, yet for the most part pop music paid little attention.

So I’ve been wondering – With the current decade off to a lousy start, and with all of the anger, fear, and anxiety we’ve gone through since September 11, will we see a resurgence in political music? I’ll state up front that I am an Old Fogey who listens to Music That Caters to My Demographic (ie, classic rock and 80s stuff) because I think that most music produced today sucks. As such, there may be plenty of political music on the airwaves right now that I’m overlooking, and if so I’m sure someone will correct me. Assuming that’s not the case, do you think the next wave of Bob Dylans and Tracy Chapmans are warming up, or do you think it’ll continue to be All Britney All The Time?

Shameless traffic-trolling

In better and more relevant news, Playboy is in town to shoot the Women of Enron feature, scheduled for the August issue. Apparently, a couple of local homes will be used as backdrops for some of the shoots. Must really suck to have a pad like that.

There’s talk of a launch party for the issue at the Mercury Room, which was also used as a photo shoot backdrop. Make your travel plans accordingly.

Our friends the Saudis, yada yada yada

President Bush has finally found a foreign dignitary who will feel comfortable in hot, dusty, middle-of-nowhere Crawford as he sets to host Saudi prince Abdullah. According to this story in the Chron, which gets a two Claude rating for its headline, the Saudis plan to tell Dubya that his support of Israel hurts their feelings. I think this is the wrong President to be looking for a group hug, guys. Just FYI.

Meanwhile, Colin Powell displays his skill for diplomatic understatement:

Secretary of State Colin Powell, who was absent from the Houston session but will attend the Crawford talks, said Wednesday he plans to discuss recent Saudi sponsorship of a $100 million telethon to aid relatives of Palestinian “martyrs.”

“There are some troubling aspects as to how that telethon money would be distributed,” Powell said, referring to reports that money raised by the Saudis was being funneled to Hamas, a Palestinian group that has claimed responsibility for attacks on Israel.

Yes, raising money to promote a group that wants to kill us is a tad bit disquieting, isn’t it. I’m sure Powell furrowed his brow while giving that statement.

There’s also a link to Chairman Arafat’s latest condemnation of terrorism. I feel reassured now, don’t you?

Gambling odds update

Mark Evanier points to this page which has the slot machine payout at various Vegas casinos. My statement of 97% payout was too much. All I can say is that I have seen such advertisements, but I haven’t been to Vegas in about ten years, so perhaps things are different now. In any event, this page has other useful gambling info, so check it out. His overview of gambling is a must-read.

Employees are our most valuable asset

Would it surprise you to learn that the Enron subsidy Portland General bought life insurance policies on its employees and that 75% of the payouts were used as long-term compensation for managers, directors, and top officials? I didn’t think so.

By the way, Houston Congressman Gene Green is sponsoring legislation to require companies to notify employees within 30 days if they take out a “dead peasant” policy on them. Seems fair to me. The article says that Green’s ultimate goal is to eliminate this form of policy, on the grounds that in most states one must have an “insurable interest” to take one out. This is also fine by me.

Overheard on the radio, part II

One of those MasterCard commercials where they list the price of a bunch of things, followed by something that’s “priceless”. This one had the theme of a party weekend in New Orleans. One item was “Crawdaddy dinner for two, $63”. First of all, the correct term is crawfish, also known as mudbugs. Second, anyone who spends $63 on a crawfish dinner for two is eating at a very expensive restaurant. Your basic crawfish boil, with new potatoes and corn is $4 a pound, and five pounds is more than enough for two hungry people. A fairly high-end crawfish etouffee is $12 to $15. New Orleans is a tourist town, so its prices are higher than Houston, but c’mon. No one I know would spend $63 on a crawfish dinner.

Overheard on the radio, part I

Saudi Aramco is having a job fair here in Houston, for those who might like to travel to Saudi Arabia and “become a part of the Saudi Aramco experience”. The line forms to the left.

Oh, my

Salon gossip columnist Amy Reiter points to this, ah, interesting photo of LPGA golfer Cristie Kerr kissing a trophy she just won. All I can say is “Oh, my”.

Taxing science fiction

Mac Thomason pointed to this article in which a GOP candidate for Congress proposed taxing science fiction books as a means of funding NASA. Not only is it a stupid idea, it’s very likely an unconstitutional one.

In the case of ARKANSAS WRITERS’ PROJECT, INC. v. RAGLAND, 481 U.S. 221 (1987) 481 U.S. 221, Arkansas imposed sales tax on all general interest magazines but exempted newspapers and “religious, professional, trade, and sports journals and/or publications printed and published within this State”. An Arkansas magazine publisher sued to get a refund on sales taxes, citing a previous case, MINNEAPOLIS STAR v. MINNESOTA COMM’R OF REV., 460 U.S. 575 (1983) 460 U.S. 575, in which a “use tax” on paper and ink was voided. The Supreme Court voided the Arkansas tax as well:

2. The Arkansas sales tax scheme that taxes general interest magazines, but exempts newspapers and religious, professional, trade, and sports journals, violates the First Amendment’s freedom of the press guarantee. Pp. 227-234.

(a) Even though there is no evidence of an improper censorial motive, the Arkansas tax burdens rights protected by the First Amendment by discriminating against a small group of magazines, including appellant’s, which are the only magazines that pay the tax. Such selective taxation is one of the types of discrimination identified in Minneapolis Star. Indeed, its use here is even more disturbing than in that case because the Arkansas statute requires official scrutiny of publications’ content as the basis for imposing a tax. This is incompatible with the First Amendment, whose requirements are not avoided merely because the statute does not burden the expression of particular views expressed by specific magazines, and exempts other members of the media that might publish discussions of the various subjects contained in appellant’s magazine. Pp. 227-231.

(b) Appellee has not satisfied its heavy burden of showing that its discriminatory tax scheme is necessary to serve a compelling state interest and is narrowly drawn to achieve that end. The State’s general interest in raising revenue does not justify selective imposition of the sales tax on some magazines and not others, based solely on their content, since revenues could be raised simply by taxing businesses generally. Furthermore, appellee’s assertion that the magazine exemption serves the state interest of encouraging “fledgling” publishers is not persuasive, since the exemption is not narrowly tailored to achieve that end. To the contrary, the exemption is both overinclusive and underinclusive in that it exempts the enumerated types of magazines regardless of whether they are “fledgling” or are lucrative and well established, while making general interest magazines and struggling specialty magazines on other subjects ineligible for favorable tax treatment. Moreover, although the asserted state need to “foster communication” might support a blanket exemption of the press from the sales tax, it cannot justify selective taxation of certain publishers. Pp. 231-232.

As they say, I Am Not A Lawyer, so take my word with an appropriate level of skepticism. My layman’s reading of this sure makes me think that a tax on specific content wouldn’t stand up to judicial review, however.

I was alerted to this by Kyle Giacco, a member of the Round Table mailing list, which Ginger recently mentioned. It’s for reasons like this that I consider blogging and mailing lists to be complementary activities. I occasionally mention stuff I see on blogs (like this) to the list, and I occasionally point to links I’ve gotten from the list. Here, I forwarded something which led to an interesting thread and eventually to this post. If this were a corporate merger, we’d call that “synergy”.

Whorehouse update

The cast of a Conroe production of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas is moving forward on plans to stage it elsewhere. Co-authors Peter Masterson and Larry L. King have given them public support, with Masterson promising to make a personal appearance if the show goes on.

Bagel followup

I recently pointed to an article in our old hometown paper about my parents’ exploits as bagel testers for the Portland Columbian. Yesterday the article ran in the paper, featuring a couple of quotes from my mom. Not too surprisingly, the panel of ex-New Yorkers didn’t much care for the Northwestern bagels. You tell ’em, Mom!