Friday, April 28, 2006

Two Updates: Vault In Different Sizes and More On The LaCrosse Stuff

Two Updates Today:
  1. Vault found in different sizes at various stores.

    I found cans at a nearby Meijers and some litre bottles at a Speedway gas station. So at least there's some different sizes out there; even if it's not getting the blanket coverage needed for a possible big explosion.

    But like I've said before, the sodapop market is conservative. The problem here is that Coke is still making Mello Yello; the stores would rather market a slow-selling known item (however much it may suck) than try out an unknown that may jump off the shelves -- or stay stuck, unable to move either into bascarts or back to the company.

  2. Looks like our LaCrosse "victim" had done the same thing before (charged someone with rape), when she was a YOUNG teenager.

    While it shouldn't have any impression on the case, I can't just push it aside, as we're talking about the same sort of thing happening again: Three men doing nasty things to her against her will. After all, you'd think she'd have learned how to steer from similar problems from the earlier situation.

    Besides, I'm curious as to whether they had tested the black LaCrosse player. Obviously the woman cried rape, she pegged three northeastern LaCrosse players in a Deep Southern Town (hence my thought that it was the locals who did it then forced her to blame the players -- the south may be hospitable, but northerners are outsiders by definition, yankees more so) and none of the LaCrosse Player's specimens matched. While the police may not have been able to test the black player (no probably cause), I am curious whether there'd be any match there.

That's it for this moment.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

This Is Your University, Desperate for Bodies and The Money They Bring In

Brand U
(will need registration to view)

Welcome to the new economics of Universities. Schools, desperate for warm bodies to enter their hallways, are now trying to market themselves as something other than what they're supposed to be: Places where people learn job skills that will take them further and higher than they would have gone straight from High School.

Maybe we have too many schools around. Maybe we've overestimated the importance of learning from "professors" and forgotten about the idea of learning from ourselves. Maybe we're too fixated on that sheet of paper saying the person named upon it has jumped through enough hoops to deserve a look from employers.

Or maybe we've gutted our schools so much they feel a need to get bodies in and never mind the actual education.

Remember, the schools have been losing federal and state monies since the 1970s. You can tell this by seeing how many teachers now get Tenure, and what they have to do to get it. You can tell by how many people they pile into auditoriums for classes, and how many classes are now taught by Teaching Assistants. You can tell by all the new buildings for all the schools that bring in money from outside, while the other classes end up living in buildings slowly (and not-so-slowly) falling apart. You can tell when you hear that "UVA now gets only 6% of their money from the state"

I could tell looking at my Pell Grant from the years 1983-1990. Even though it increased from $600 to $766 per term, its coverage shrank down from 14 hours (and a decent weekend's partying) to ten hours of class credit (with twelve credits needed to get that). Another way of putting it is that per-credit prices DOUBLED during that time.

And the price increases didn't end when I got out of school. Indeed, you know people are getting desperate when the University Presidents put up a promise to "Keep Increases within the rate of inflation." Thing is, the promises always included the proper increase in funding, and those never came.

Then there's the prestige chase. New buildings constantly need to be built, complete with labs, offices (for the High-flying "professors" who need to hide from their students), lecture auditoriums (so the freshmen can be introduced to your classes as cheaply as possible) and other items to show the world you're a big-time university. Throw in a few classrooms for the illusion of a college hall, and you've got yourself a modern-day (post-1960) college building.

And now they need to get as many people in their buildings, or they'll lose money. And if you're from out of state, then better (since they can charge more). Price increases keep getting passed on more and more, with students gladly filling in the rest with student loans.

How long will this de facto privatization of post-secondary education continue? Sadly, I expect it to continue to the point of universities and colleges closing down. Not the big names (which have built up endowments to protect themselves from the vagaries of public funding) nor smallish ideologically driven private schools (with their backing and what-not), but the mid-level and branch campuses will end up closing up.

In short: Say goodbye, Northern Michigan. Say Goodbye, UofM-Dearborn.

Also, don't be surprised if the schools figure a way of closing colleges that don't make money but are presently being treated as sacred cows. As tenure fully dries up and corporate types continue to take over the colleges and universities, certain colleges will be seen as expendable and WILL be expended with when the time comes.

Fact is I doubt many Arts and Letters colleges in Universities will survive, simply because Arts and Letters are nowhere near as important as people think. Every high "Art" has a low art which has fully taken its place, and the main stories that we remember are forever being rewritten and retold. That the most extreme teachers are generally found in the Arts and Letters departments will make their dissolution that much easier, once the University Presidents get enough guts together to do what they want to do.

Gas vs Water: What's Not Being Said

I don't know about you, but I get sick and tired of hearing and reading "We complain about gas prices rising to $3.00 a gallon, yet pay a hundred bucks a gallon for a Starbucks coffee." or X dollars per gallon of bottled water, or something else.

The fact is, your average person can decide to go without the coffee or drink water out of the tap. Ergo, we choose to spend the money on the coffee and water. While I agree we'd be better off if we brewed our own coffee and drank out of the water fountain, the fact is the water or coffee is our choice in this manner.

But try to go without gas for a long period of time. Chances are, you'll find your car stalled on the road.

Most people don't live in a place where Public Transit is a viable option. Bus service is crappy, and limited to the poorer areas of town. Trains, where they exist, usually go to and from downtown and, if you're lucky, are able to go from there to another side of town; but there's no sane way to loop around downtown. And if you want to go somewhere for the evening, better plan a quick trip if you're using Public Transit -- usually it's done before the night life is.

And those places where there's good public transit usually end up having a bare-boned system made to maximize their market during prosperous years (when those using it either had to or made a statement by choosing it), leaving a system unable to make a suitable change for times like this (when gas doubles over a year and the need becomes obvious).

So people develop a dependence on automobiles (for obvious reasons), and economic development spurs the dependency further. Space becomes automobile-based, shoving businesses back for roads and garages to the front of houses (seen the latest developments?). Gas stations become oasis for multiple forms of refreshment, incorporating fast food joints and convenience stores in their (vastly expanding) spaces as well as ample space to drive around the feuling points and up-front parking. The idea of Sidewalks is consigned to bicycle trails that take over old rail lines, cutting off possible avenues of transit expansion while giving the illusion of expanding parkland. Wal-Mart and their Kin (Lowe's, Office Max and other similar stores, along with the ubiquitous Malls) become out downtowns, controlling how we deal with the world around us. Soccer Moms turn to Yukons and Hummers not so much as a driving statement but for the sheer comfort of being able to sit UP in an SUV instead of down in a Corolla or Probe (and not be subjected to a visual groping every so often by SUV driving men). And, since a lot of time is now spent in a car, you end up eating and drinking a lot in it.

And, of course, when Gas Prices go up, you end up with a lot of people unable to cut back on their consumption without compromising their lives. Hence their complaints.

But before you tear into them for their complaints, consider the above. And this: how many people were willing to sacrifice for "a more sustainable future?" very few, and usually they were viewed as fools by most of us who bought the cars and bought into the lifestyle implied. They sacrificed, and we got about a cent per gallon break, making it easier for us to buy the cappucinos and bottled water to fill the cupholders with. And since we're talking about few enough people, they end up being packed away in Urban Enclaves where the rest of us can ignore them in our gas-devouering Heavens. Their sacrifice, nothing gained for us.

And now, when the piper comes due, guess who gets looked at. That's right, the SUV mom whining about paying more for the gas she has (and we have) been suckled on since the birth of our consumer culture in 1956 (the year the Interstate Highway System was passed, along with the funding).

No, I'm not feeling sorry for the SUV Mom. But I'm not sitting on a high horse, either. After all, I've made a living off our gas-guzzling culture; usually at the lower realms of the pay scale. And I've seen how inadequate our mass transit systems have become. I've seen our hyper-low density developments of the past (and even lower density developments of the present) and wonder how we'll ever adjust to Europe-level prices (double what ours are now). I've seen how our lifestyles have abandoned any concept of a town center, focusing instead on corporate-made points where our behaviors all revolve around shopping instead of friendship or talking.

This has been going on for sixty years. I'm not sure we can reverse it without a collapse of our way of life -- economic, social, intellectual or religious.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Vault Still Not Fully In NW Indiana

Well, it's been over two months since Vault first made it into Northwest Indiana, and so far I've only seen it in 20 ounce bottles at POS locations and convenience stores.

Problem is, I've seen Black Cherry Vanilla Coke out in cans, 20 ounce bottles and 2 liter bottles, and it came out about the same time. I've also seen Berry Vanilla Dr Pepper soda come out in cans, 20 ounce bottles and 2 liter bottles, and that's about as boutique a flaver as you'll ever see in that wide a selection. Fresca got a remake with four different flavors and a wide range of choices.

I have seen a couple of 1 liter bottles, but it's always away from the NW Indiana area.

So what's my problem? Simply put, if you've got something you believe in you don't put something out in a limited selection -- you put it out in as wide a mix of choices as you can, so that people can get what they want when they want it. You don't put out one computer, you put out a group of four (or more) different types with different specs for different users. You don't put out one car, you put out four cars, with three or four versions each and a number of choices.

But what choice does one have for Vault in NW Indiana? 20 oz, regular or diet. No other sizes.

Methinks that the Coca Cola Company felt it had to put something out to make it look like it's competing against Mountain Dew, so they came up with this and did a half-hearted job in some markets. While NW Indiana may be a weak link, it's still a sign of how much Coca-Cola supports its products.

And appearently they don't think Vault will be that much of a force. After all, Mello Yello still comes in all formats (except 1 liter) in NW Indiana, and it's a failed product with a history of image changes that makes New Coke look solid as cement.

I could be wrong...

Saturday, April 22, 2006

In Time For An Earth Day Response: Wal-Mart Goes Green?

Wal-Mart has a change of heart?

Yes, I know about Wal-Mart, indeed I had posted a few things I disliked abut the megachain that owns the rural half of the United States. I have a respect for the company (a respect gained when I saw how they made parking easier for handicapped people, at the cost of a few of their own parking spaces), that doesn't reduce my dislike for them one bit.

Now Wal-Mart's considering their own "Go Green" movement.

Thing is, even if this company does a half-assed job, what they will do will spread out over the whole of North America and the world. Remember, we're talking the 800 pound Gorilla effect: Even if all Wal-Mart does is dictate standards for reduced packaging, make the suppliers take the costs of the efforts and grab up the glory for itself the effects on packaging will spread out throughout the stores and into the homes.

I just hope they go as far as the press releases claim they will. I want to see self-sufficient Wal-Mart stores made from technology that spreads to self-sufficient homes. I want to see innovative packaging that's sold wherever, not just in Wal-Mart stores. I'd like to see transportation advances make their way from Wal-Mart throughout the whole system.

In short, I'd like to see a positive revolution from this company. Not just an expansion of choices to communities where jobs no longer exist, not just cheaper stuff, all imported from China; but some benefits that extend their reach even to places where Wal-Mart cannot even think of establishing itself -- and worldwide, as well.

For once, I'd like to think that that wasn't too much to ask.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Okay Now, Everybody Say "Duuuh"

Sexy Women Make Men Stupid

Something which everyone knows, if only in a vague way through personal experience or personal observation.

So why do a study on "stupid stuff like this?"
  1. Objective Knowledge. There's stuff we know, and there's stuff we both know and can back up. We're more assertive and certain about knowledge we can back up.
  2. If it turns out what everyone knows is wrong, then it's time to change what you know, or at least adjust it.
Two good enough reasons, in my opinion. The truths get confirmed, and falsehoods get identified. Overall, everyone's knowledge is increased or firmed up; which is a good thing either way.

(although you got to admit, it's more interesting when "Everything You Know Is Wrong!")

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Just Read "Everything Bad Is Good For You"

Everything Bad Is Good For You: The Book

The premise of this book is that the Video Games, Television and other media that we so much fear has actually increased various components of our intelligence. This was done because the media has had to become more complex to hold people's interest, and those items that have developed in a way to be infinitely interesting and replayable/rewatchable are what's being emulated by both high and low arts.

An example: What's more interesting: All In The Family, or The Bachelor. AITF was the groundbreaking in that it dared to look at controversy, whereas Bachelor merely put twelve women and watched them catfight for a man acting like he had money (truly acting: he hadn't earned more than 30K per year). According to the book, if you said All In The Family, you hadn't watched The Bachelor, as The Bachelor led to talk about who was going to get picked, why a certain woman was (or wasn't) picked, and how stupid the women were since the Bachelor was becoming obvious in his poorness. AITF merely fed you stuff, The Bachelor gave you stuff to think about. (The author calls this the Sleeper Curve, after the Woody Allen movie where Junk Food was considered more nutritious than "health food" due to scientific findings in the next two hundred years.)

Furthermore, while the various versions of Grand Theft Auto may glorify Violence and sociopathic behavior, it also causes players to think and explore, thereby getting their brains in gear. Whether they'll turn out to be better rapists and carjackers is up for debate, but that thier minds are being lit up is nothing to argue against.

It's an interesting thesis, although it seems he talks more about mental fitness instead of actual intelligence. He does hit on the idea in his comments on book reading, but to truely figure out things, one needs a sizeable bank of knowledge gathered. It's not enough to be able to figure out everything from a simple set of instructions, you need to develop that knowledge over a period of time, preferrably years if not decades. And while working out various games and TV shows may be good mental exercise, you may be missing out on the sheer knowledge and value judgements that real life offers (or learning to dismiss them as you find multiple setups in various worlds).

Still, it's an interesting read, for the points he brings up. Especially about the rising intelligence of certain forms of media (TV, Video Games).

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Duke Lacrosee: Walks and Talks Like a Duck, But It's Not A Duck

Charges Finally Given In Duke LaCrosse Rape Case

I remember my original reaction, how this case was in many ways a significator of how sports has ruined the university today. That was, of course, before the DNA tests showed that whatever sperm was inside her was from none of the Lacrosse players, and the prosecuter saying he'd prosecute someone anyway.

This has officially gone from story to circus.

Sad thing is that I had riffed on what I saw was a problem with Colleges in the US from the article, based on what looked like truth (College Players Gone Too Wild For Their Britches). Problem is, while my complaints about the College situation still stands, what has happened with this story has sullied my point. Any College apologist could say "They weren't even guilty, and they were being nice," and I couldn't argue with that point.

A bad example doesn't support a good point, no matter how much it sounds like everything you've heard before. That's why I titled this posting "WALKS AND TALKS LIKE A DUCK, BUT IT'S NOT A DUCK." replace the words "a duck" with "the truth" and you get the idea.

Anyway, I have a few guesses about what has and will happen:
  1. I believe the woman was raped. The rapists were local boys, sons of heavy-duty Duke Lacrosse Boosters, who were probably invited to the party and took advantage of the place. She, of course, thought they were LaCrosse players, so she acted "logically" and charged the team with rape.
  2. It will turn out that the prosecuter went ahead with the case because he felt he had to. There was proof of rape; some genetic material which wasn't hers. He also knew whatever was out there would exhonerate the Lacrosse players, and thus felt the case had to go to trial in order to get the players (and, by extension, the team) exhonerated.
  3. The Lacrosse players will be judged "Not Guilty" in the trial that follows. Some sections of the society will make it a point not to exhonerate the boys, and many who do exhonerate the boys would have done so ANYWAY, whether they had done so or not.
  4. The real rapists will get away scot-free because of their local connections and the fact that the Lacrosse players were YANKEES and therefore Outsiders despite their sports affiliation. Duke Lacrosse will take the fall for local actions.
And remember, you read them here first (that's if I'm right. If I'm wrong, remember: I called them guesses; although I believe them pretty accurate).

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Is That Stuff Diluted, or Full Strength?

BasketBawful brings you...The Gatorade Conspiracy
BasketBawful brings you...The Gatorade Conspiracy, Part 2

So what did I do? I looked at the bottle and my penis.

And guess what: the bottle of Gatorade looked exactly like my penis. Even down to that slight shift in the top.

Actually, let me correct myself: It looks like a circumcised penis. I haven't seen that many penises (being straight and not very athletic, after all) but I'm aware that what most men from the US have is not what they were born with. With most of us, doctors were allowed to cut off a small flap of skin that covered the head.

And you need the 32 ounce bottle for the best comparison. Other bottles sizes, while they're similar, actually follow general "rules" which all bottles share. No, we're talking about something specifically designed with repeat consumption by men and boys in mind. Something made to attract without being obvious. Something we'd like without making the obvious connection that would raise our hackles.

But...the similarity is obvious and there.

And when you consider that the bottle has a very dilute salt mixture in it...

Just saying.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Rush Limbaugh And The Birth of Participatory Radio

Watching a WTTW show on Eric and Cathy, it hit me just what the real change in Radio has been.

Think of it this way: In the seventies and eighties, would you have heard music on the radio, maybe some wild stuff on the morning shows, but little in audience response, and almost nothing in appearances from the musical stars. Think of it: Would Bad Company (never mind Led Zeppelin) have shown up at the Rock Station you listened to? Highly Unlikely, that was the level of separation between star musician and DJ. DJs communicated with their fans through requests and contests, but the fans rarely talked outside of that. WTRX had a talk-show in the evening (back when it was Adult Contemporary) in the seventies and early eighties, but that ended when the station went all Heavy-Metal in the mid-eighties.

That change started with Rush Limbaugh. Never mind that you had a conservative voice broadcasting nationwide in the middle of the day (after all, Sunday Mornings had Christian Church shows all over it); what made the show big was the fact that he took (well-screened) calls from a nationwide peanut gallery (aka Dittoheads). Thus, not only did you have a leading conservative voice on the radio talking about his beliefs, but you had thousands of conservative voices making cameos on that show, adding their assent, developing points, making distinctions and generally adding to the shared beliefs of the movement.

Participatory radio, in other words.

Sports radio would take that concept further, allowing for discussions that ranged from blindingly local (Junior High gymnastics sex scandals in the making) to national (Steroids and the Home Run Chase of 1998). Eventually, music radio (in part thanks to one of the few positive effects of Napster and P2P) started bringing in bands to play in the studio, hosting bands in intimate settings (complete with DJs working overtime) and even having working vacations where DJs mixed it up (pun not intended) with a group of fans who came for the priviledge.

None of this was seen in 1985. Back then, you listened to radio either for news or for music, and that was it. Minnesota Public Radio had a variety show that was beginning to go national, but that was as much a throwback as anything else. Otherwise, chances to talk on the radio were small and limited, and no one saw the need for change, outside of a few AM stations noticing their audience growing smaller and older.

Now there's a national dialog going on at various levels, over numerous subjects, over the airwaves. Plus the fans are actually closer to their stars than before, talking with them and spending real time in intimate settings. And guess what: these are the stations which are big, or getting big.

Things have changed.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

If You Pay Off Your Credit Card Debts, You're Paying Off The Debts of Osama Ben Ladin

Pay too much and you could raise the alarm

I'm not sure what's more worrysome about this: That this happened in a blue state (Rhode Island), or that one could see the Government (in the form of Homeland Security, or the War On Blacks -- er, I mean Drugs) confiscate the money for their sake, making sure the payers stay deeply in debt?

I suppose I could see why the government would do this: If someone were to spend lots of money then suddenly pay them all off, someone would want to make sure it's all your money and you got it legally. Still, it looks like the Government has sold itself out to the Creditor companies.

Be afraid. Be very afraid. If you can stay away from the credit cards DO SO; otherwise every attempt to pay off your debt will be rebuffed and possibly lead to felony charges!

(No I don't like this. At All.)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Three Deaths This Past Year...

First a friend of mine, unexpectedly but from a known cause.
Second, someone from the past, from a long-term debilitative disease.
And now, someone with a cancer that spread too far to be fought.

A thought that comes into my mind:

Is the brain the last thing needed to hold onto life? Does being bright indeed hurry death when it appears near?

I'm sure you've heard about the apocryphal story about the Russian trapped inside a freezer car for the night, writing letters to mark the hours before he died. When he was found in the morning, he body was found stiff -- and the freezer care was 55 degrees farenheight, slightly WARMER than the surrounding air. Turned out the motor was broken and the comrade inside was warming things up, only he thought he was freezing to death so he did.

Now, consider this contrast:
  • Terry Schivo, with a shrunken brain, probably blind and unable to recover from what happened, lives fifteen years with the only addendum being a feeding tube.
  • The lady with cancer goes through one bout of chemo, decides to accept her death, AND DIES THE NEXT DAY!
Maybe the religious radical right understands something: Don't Think, Just Live and you'll live a full life, loaded with love and heart. Think too much, and you'll kill yourself before you can even raise your hand to do the actual deed.

A bit much, I admit, and adding in the Terri Schivo angle unhinges things a bit more. However, I do remember reading this person's entries in a journal that she was already ready to die and wanted it to be peaceful.

Everyone else figured she had six months to a year before she died. Even I, ever the pessimist, figured two weeks to two months (with the latter more likely). Who would have thought that two DAYS would have been wildly optimistic?

And outside of the idea of an assisted suicide (always possible but not likely, especially since she was still in the hospital), I can't help but think that she died because she was ready for it and probably set her mind to it. In short, she created her own death.

New Age bullshit? Maybe, but then our minds have been shown to control our bodies even down to a molecular level. So maybe we're not talking bullshit, but truth here.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Megabus Starts Serving Chicago

The Megabus USA Site

Today Megabus added in their two cents to the competition between Amtrak and Greyhound, adding eight runs between Chicago and Milwaukee and three runs between Chicago and its other destinations (Saint Louis, Minneapolis, Detroit, Cleveland and Indianapolis, with Indy buses going further to Columbus (2) and Cincinnatti (1).).

What ought to be interesting is to see how much of their schedule Megabus is able to keep. The Greyhound schedule has varying times for their trip between Chicago and Milwaukee, based (I'm guessing) from eighty years of experience and a keen eye as to how the day's traffic affects bus service. Megabus is expecting a strict 1:45 for each of its trips; we'll see how long that lasts.

Devils, No Matter The Color -- Alas...

Blue Devils Made Them Do It
(you will need to register to read)

Probably one of the better items I've read of what's been happening to the universities over the past twenty years, at the very least, and probably for much longer.

It starts off with a look at the rape charges aimed at Duke LaCrosse Atheletes and the aftermath. The, the surprise that the players came from the northeast, followed by a look at the development of the university, the image and how it's kept up, and the costs of such an image. Next comes words on how the Universities in the United States, once places where the elite, the elite-wannabees and those who wished to know more than their immediate life (remember, Michigan State University was established to educate FARMERS, many other universities were established to educate teachers) could share a higher culture with each other and bring it to the surrounding peoples, are now massive boarding houses for our excess unemployed youth, with sports the symbol of its existence.

Naturally the conservatives (of all stripes) latch onto Charlotte Simmons and its mix of pseudo-intellectual gay-write (yes!), but more to the point, we make the men act up and the girls won't need to worry about unremitting debauchering. But then, that wouldn't be interesting, would it? No need for an unrepentable devil (someone that can be gleefully consigned to hell), no need to do anything about the culture around you (other than withdraw) and no need to worry about how you'll be impacted. Besides, ask many conservatives (again, of all stripes) the right questions and you'll uncover that they believe your average Chinese is more truely American than your average American -- they just disagree on which Americans need to have their rights revoked.

And the universities become more and more cesspools.

Again, wonderful Benign Neglect in action. And this time, I'm talking about present tense.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Da Vinci Code Not Guilty of Infringement!

"Da Vinci Code Declared Not Guilty of Copyright Infringement"

Thank God!

I could understand if "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" were advertised as a fictional book. But even then, I'd be leary of the lawsuit brought up, as there are very few "new" plot twists, plots or ideas. Much of creativity isn't "what's new" but "how do you tell it?"

But here's a guy who tried to state that "nonfiction" was stolen for fiction. Never mind whether "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" if fact or (as I believe) fiction, the idea of nonfiction barring itself from fiction is criminal in and of itself. Imagine writing total fiction without any ripple of fact to base itself on.

Oh yeah, it's already happened...

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

CBS News Starts Official Meltdown

A Katie Couric Fansite, hopefully updated by the time YOU read it.

So now it's Katie Couric as anchorwoman of CBS news evening edition. Katie Couric, hostess of the Today Show.

Not saying she's a fluff person (she does deal with some heavy subjects), but what the heck is she doing going to anchor CBS News? I understand her angle (wanting to earn more, get higher visibility, etc.), but CBS News? The newscast of Walter Cronkite? The news that singlehandedly stopped both Joseph McCarthy and the Vietnam War, let me remind you.

Sadly, that CBS News had died. What was an independent 60 Minutes willing to take on advertisers has essentially become a shill for disconnected, half-baked stories with no understanding of what's going on and puff pieces that gloss over anything with a hint of controversy. The Main news show, once home to "Uncle Walter," became the focus of a bizarre story involving faked papers and a news story that wasn't listened to when it aired four years before. And now, with no one to adequately fill in the footsteps of Dan Rather (although, to be honest, anyone would have been an IMPROVEMENT) CBS turns and poaches someone from NBC.

Neocons, rejoice: CBS News, long the flagship liberal of the Big 3 Networks, is beginning its final collapse. FAUX NEWS: Prepare to attack your next target.

Polygamy vs Moderation

Truth Bearer dot org -- Polygamy as "Biblical"

So this is where "Freedom defined is freedom Denied" is leading us? As the corporatistas strive to divest themselves of any and all responsibilities towards keeping society running (removal of laws that require corporations to act responsibly), their individualist tools (too often liberals who wish for individual freedom from any and all responsibility for one's actions, less often conservatives warping their understading so as to grant themselves surreptitious forgiveness for their sins) seek out ways to expand personal actions permitted.

So now, having opened (and tolerated) divorce for thirty years and helped foster (some willingly, some not) the ability of women to earn their own keep without a wedding ring to identify them as accepted by society, we now have the development of a s0-called polygamy movement. One that's obvious for the rich, but with its Religious Arms, both Xian and not.

Sure, monogamy is the newer historical reality. However, the wisdom of the people usually leads to monogamy at least for the majority of the population. Those people who think themselves rich and powerful enough to have multiple wives are few and far between, and more often than not have brought trouble and strife to their surroundings by their selfishness.

Reason Magazine makes a congent arguement on why polygamy is frowned upon today based on simple social dynamics. In it, they focus on the men who would be left behind by the polygamy movement in their rush to satisfy rich (and powerful) men's wish for more than one wife. What's really intriguing is how a small proportion of men (10%, according to the article) could mess up a bunch of lives, all the while living WELL within the dictates of Muslim law (four wives, max, and only a very few of those doing the polygamy thing).

Of course, what they don't get into is why the women would put up with sharing a man.

Simply put, when you see a taken man, you see a man who has something. That guy has proven himself, the evidence of which is the woman on his arm (or nearby, who comes when he calls her name). If she could remove the other woman with said man, a smart woman would choose the taken man over the untaken man.

Now, presently there'd be few women willing to share the man, and any woman willing to share a man will likely figure a way to milk said man for as much as possible. But...if it turns out the wife of said man were willing to share him with the other woman, how many would join in the agreement?

Now, few would and they would probably be Fundamentalist Mormon Women (yes, they exist. Polygamy separates them from their mainline, monogamist bretheren) unable to see a world outside their villages. But imagine if, in twenty years, the idea of every third night with a man who'd be able to spoil you materially and let you work (or not) according to your wishes or whims was a better choice than all the attentions of a man who had to yet to be able to earn his full keep and whose future earnings didn't look that good. Would your average woman be willing to put her support behind such a lesser man, knowing that that lesser man may be a failure and that a man with two wives and enough to spend spoiling a third is hitting on her? And those who take the lesser man, would they wonder about life with the other guy?

That's the thing: Once Polygamy gets legalized and slides past that "Ewww, who'd want to share?" reaction, you're going to get female selection towards those men with a wife (or even more). And that means more men stuck without wives. Not the abusive, of course -- they'd probably be among those with multiple wives -- but the more conscientious men trying to make it, who need a helpmeet to make it and won't be able to do so.

And that's where patriarchy becomes, instead, gang rule. Few polygamous societies are democracies, for the wealth descrepancies that allow for one man to have multiple wives either call for constant war (to cull the excess men) or a police state (to criminalize and separate the unworthy men from the rest of society). Either way, any form of "equal rights" or "social contract" (I'll talk more about the latter concept at some point) would go by the wayside as those with multiple wives take measures to protect their investment from the men looking to prove themselves by whatever way they can.

Maybe this is where things stop going further to the extreme and start moderating. After all, there's only so far things can go before the social fabric starts falling apart.

And maybe from here, they moderate on all fronts. After all, you can't have high morals with dropping wages and the accompanying hopelessness in the poorer areas.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Congratulations Florida On Your NCAA Basketball Championship

Florida Defeats UCLA, 73-57

After a near-miss six years ago against Michigan State, Florida finally reaches the peak of the NCAA basketball world, to give its football championships some other-sports companions.

I just ask one thing: act like you've been there before. Leave your campus and neighborhood neat. Let at least ONE *$^%^%* university have enough pride in itself to keep things neat.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

The Dan Ryan Reconstruction Project Begins...

And so today the Dan Ryan has half the lanes it usually has had.

Reconstruction is supposed to make better pavement for the next 40 or so years, and an extra lane besides. However, over the next two summers, we're going to have to deal with overcrowded streets that are able to handle all the local traffic but now have to handle hundreds of thousands of extra vehicles.

You think the Dan Ryan was bad during rush hour, wait until you deal with Stoney Island with its lights and sections that go under railroads that shrink from four to two lanes each way. They should have invested in some reconstruction of those instead of trying to "refit" lights to work better. Plus those projects would improve things when the Dan Ryan is again finished.

It's gonna be an other six months before things are anywhere near normal, then we're going to get back to the troubles again. At least they're trying to do something.

And trying to do things as adults (but then we're talking about roads here. Something the powers that be in the United States considers important -- unlike mass transit...).