Thursday, December 19, 2002

SO, NU? What are you doing here? In case it wasn't clear, The Sound and Fury weblog has moved to http://maxpower.nu thanks to the tireless efforts of Le Garçon Combustible. Change bookmarks, etc. Apologies that links to the old Blogger archives now appear permanently shot. I'd pass the hat and ask for money to pay for the not-free Movable Type hosting, but I make a good living. If you were inclined to donate money to this site, I'll instead encourage you to donate a chunk of change to Magen David Adom and drop me a line that it's been done.
LITTLE BY LITTLE, THE DNS for the new http://maxpower.nu/ is making its way around the Net, demonstrating that my futzing around with Movable Type and typing random Unix commands all day has finally come to fruition. I've also imported all of our Blogger archives over there for quick searching, and the old Blogger posts will keep their old "Shout Out" hosted-comments links for the convenience of people looking through our archives, while the new blog entries will only have their Movable Type built-in comments. Ahh... finally got the training wheels off and I'm feeling good.
IN RESPONSE TO MY post below, Matt Evans attempts to defend the rape exception to the Republican pro-life position. Evans's argument, however, does not stand up to scrutiny.

Evans starts by arguing from analogy: imagine a putative father who had semen extracted by force and, as a result, fathered a child. Surely no one would insist that this father pay child support for his unwanted child? Ergo, no one would insist that a mother support a pregnancy incurred by force.

There are two problems with this analogy. First, it's unclear that the premise is correct. The hypothetical is so outlandish that there is no precedent directly on point (a problem with some pro-choice analogies, as well, such as Judith Jarvis Thomson's violinist example). But unlike the Thomson case, there are cases parallel to the Evans analogy. Men have been ordered to pay child support even when they have no biological connection to the child. The only cases to the contrary--cases involving custody of frozen in vitro embryos after divorce--justify the refusal to force the ex-husband to be an unwanted father on the precedent of Roe v. Wade. If Roe v. Wade disappears, then so does the rationale for not allowing ex-wives to implant frozen embryos without the fathers' consent, and the state would very likely enforce child support requirements in such a circumstance.

Second, failure to pay child support just isn't the same thing as abortion. A father without the ability to pay ends up without legal obligation. The existing state of child support laws just does not map onto the world where abortion is illegal; an impoverished pregnant woman would still be required to carry her child to term in such a world, even if she would suffer undue financial hardship because of her pregnancy.

Evans's concluding rationalization is "a woman becomes a mother she assumes affirmative duties to protect her child from harm; women who become mothers through force should be exempted from these legal duties." (We'll ignore for purposes of this post Evans's misleading use of "child" to refer to a zygote or embryo.) The fallacy in this statement is obvious: Evans surely is not claiming that a rape victim can carry an unwanted child to term, deliver the baby, and then let it starve without legal consequence. The conclusion therefore has to be modified: "women who become mothers through force should be granted the right to an exerciseable option to either terminate the pregnancy or assuming the affirmative legal duties of parenthood." But once Evans and pro-life politicos make this concession, he acknowledges one of the two underlying principles of the pro-choice position: abortion is not infanticide, and there is an appropriate moral distinction between the two. And the politically acceptable pro-life position is once again forced into an untenable contradiction.

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

NOT ONLY WAS THE latest Pilger piece published by Pakistan's Daily Times, but another English-language Pakistani paper, the Quetta-based Balochistan Post, has printed an article by Pilger's fellow anti-American liar Marc Herold.
THIS WACKY BIT OF Enron sketch comedy featuring Jeff Skilling must have seemed like a big joke back in 1997 when it was recorded as a going-away video for executive Richard Kinder -- right?
In the video, Skilling tells Kinder -- played by Enron's Peggy Menchaca -- that he's come up with a way to really pump up revenue.

"I haven't mentioned this before, Rich, but this is the key. We're going to move from market-to-market accounting to something I call HFV -- Hypothetical future value accounting. If we do that, we can add a kazillion dollars to the bottom line."

An accountant sitting next to Skilling replies, saying, "I don't know, Rich. We've got the FASB rules and the SEC. The accountants are just never going to go for it."

Skilling responds, "He's a spoil-sport. Always has been."
Ha! I get it! Meanwhile, O-Dub notes the part about how both George Bushes were included in the tape.
BILL HERBERT REBUTS one lie after another in Pilger's latest.
MORE DEVELOPERS ARE ADAPTING big-box stores to urban locations. Home Depot in Manhattan? Wow.

There's a two-level Target here in the D.C. area -- at the mall formerly known as Wheaton Plaza, right near where Max Sawicky lives* -- that includes one of those nifty Vermaport cart escalators, which are special cart-only escalators in between the regular escalators. You push the cart into the mechanism and the cart is locked in place and kept horizontal as it moves up or down along the escalator track. The manufacturer's Web site has a nice photo of a Vermaport in action.

* At least according to the D.C. Metro Blog Map.
BY NOW, EVERYBODY HAS blogged that article from the Iraqi government's official news site about Sean Penn's visit to the country and his alleged confirmation that there are no WMDs there. A day later, the New York Post reports that Penn's spokeswoman insists he was misquoted and that the Iraq Daily piece was "specifically propaganda" and "a twisted interpretation of what he said". So, do you think anyone will learn a little lesson about how much credence to give to the Saddam regime's proclamations?
MARGERY LANDRY, formerly of the US Foreign Service, sentenced to twenty years for shooting friend's husband.
Landry, 48, who had pleaded guilty in September to first-degree assault, burglary and other crimes, said that the shooting was a "mistake" and that she had planned only to plant child pornography in the home to help her friend in the divorce case.
The Washingtonian has a good background piece on the case, including the following observation from the victim:
Meanwhile, Slobodow is trying to raise the boys and move on with his life, which he hopes will include another relationship. “The shooting kind of turns women off,” he says.
CAPTAIN SPAULDING on the latest Buffy episode:
Tonight's episode of Buffy was really good as it ramps up the apocalypse against the First Evil. Buffy's speech at the end where she says she's through running and will take the fight directly to the First was particularly great.

Presumably in the next episode, Buffy's first strike policy will be called inhumane. Protestors will demand that she work through the UN and perhaps try to understand the root causes of the First Evil. Maybe Mike Farrell will hold an anti-apocalypse press conference and Sean Penn will visit the First Evil and the Ubervamp.
WOO-HOO! FTC Plans Registry To Block Sales Calls.
FTC officials expect 60 million Americans to register when the list becomes operational -- which won't be for at least several more months. It still faces logistical and legal hurdles, including a possible lawsuit by the telemarketing industry, which makes more than 100 million calls a day.

If and when the list is up and running, telemarketers would have to scour it every three months and would be barred for five years from calling the consumers who signed up. Consumers would then have to renew their registration. If they get called anyway, those on the list can call another toll-free number to complain. The FTC would then investigate and could fine telemarketers up to $11,000 for each banned call.

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

SOMEBODY TELL THE ONION that it's harder than that to amend the Constitution (and with good reason).
A FORTY-FOOT-LONG crawl-thru large intestine will be touring the country next year to help promote awareness of colorectal cancer. Somebody remind Lair that it'll be in Houston in May.

(Via Roadside America's Tourism News.)
YOU GOTTA WONDER WHY the Iraqi government's official English-language news site Iraq Daily includes a Technology section that seems to consist entirely of brief catalog-style consumer-product descriptions accompanied by malcompressed photos. Though I have to admit that that Linksys laptop ethernet card looks pretty nice, and you'd think that the glossy photo-printing paper would be just the thing to help those publishers lacking resources due to the sanctions imposed by the "aggressors' siege". Then even people without Internet connections can be treated to thrilling reading material such as the Iraq Daily's Society page with its exciting history of soap and personal hygiene.

(More importantly, the editors probably figure the aggressors' siege will end sooner if the Iraqi Ministry of Information keeps reprinting John Pilger pieces and noting the results of Sean Penn's thoroughgoing weapons inspections.)
MSNBC'S JERRY NACHMAN INTERVIEWS Al Franken about the Gore decision:
Nachman: Did you know about this on Friday?
Franken: About Gore's decision?
N: Right.
F: I was there when he called Lesley Stahl.
N: Right.
F: He had only told me, Lorne ["SNL" executive producer Lorne Michaels], [writer] Jim Downey, a few members of the cast.
N: Is that true?
F: No.
N: No?
F: No.
N: So, you didn't know.
F: I didn't know.
THE CLEAN WATER ACT has created a potential ecological disaster in the Chicago River. (via Thomason)
LIFE IMITATES TREEHOUSE OF HORROR XII: The Self-Cleaning Dinner Table. (via Gizmodo)
I'VE MENTIONED Skyscrapers.com before as a marvelous site, but I'm all the more impressed now that I know that they also have prominent low-rise buildings like one of my favorites, Prague's "Ginger & Fred".
MARK GOLDBLATT HAS A good piece on the Central Park Jogger case.

Monday, December 16, 2002

ETIQUETTE QUESTION: When an ex-girlfriend sells a 4,500-word essay to an on-line literary magazine about her history with penises, should I be relieved that I was left out, insulted at the omission, or appalled that the most sexually timid woman I ever dated is trying to market herself as the next Candace Bushnell? (Sorry, no link. My parents read this site.)
KISSINGER'S RESIGNATION LETTER.
TOM TOMORROW CLAIMS THAT there was yet another comment in the past by Lott seeming to wish Thurmond had won in '48, and that it'll break into the mainstream media sometime in the next couple of days. This comment, Tom avers, happened "in October 2000 at the signing of the Spence/Warner Defense Spending Bill". Well, we'll see -- I doubt it would surprise anyone at this point. (Doesn't look like Official Story Owner Josh Marshall has anything on it yet, although he did come down pretty hardcore today on the GOP's allegations of voter fraud in the South Dakota Senate race.)

Speaking of Tom Tomorrow, I did like his cartoon today, although I think putting Lott in the Klan outfit was overkill.