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8/07/2003

 

why would anyone be surprised to read...



...this?

locdog welcomes comments from catholic posters




 

mark cuban was right



of all the outrageous things mark cuban, sideshow-freak owner of the dallas mavericks, has ever said, none has landed him in more hot water than the truth:

From a business perspective, it's great for the NBA. It's reality television, people love train wreck television and you hate to admit it, but that is the truth, that's the reality today.


cuban was addressing, of course, the kobe saga, more particularly a major chapter of which that will be played out against cuban's own mavs on national television when the NBA kicks off its new season. this seemingly benign soundbite has left his faultless fellows in the NBA and broader sports community scrambling for stones to cast. ah, well. a prophet is not without honor...

Any suggestion that there will be some economic or promotional benefit to the NBA arising from the charge pending against Kobe Bryant is both misinformed and unseemly. That idea does not reflect the views of the NBA, NBA owners generally, or others associated with our sport.


...said a team of overpriced lawyers with their hands up the butt of one NBA commissioner david stern.

now, what was it about cuban's remarks that made them so "misinformed"? mark was specifically addressing the television ratings for the season-opening lakers/mavs showdown, an event which i will personally guarantee will be among the top-ten highest rated television programs this season, and which will produce significantly higher ratings than last year's season opener. at least for the beginning of the game, anyway. until all those nascar fans who tuned in hoping to see a spectacular flaming crash realize that what they are watching is really nothing more than the NBA's bland, inferior brand of basketball, and move on.

and "unseemly"? what was unseemly about it?

[cuban's remark] comes from the theory that any publicity is good publicity.

That's ludicrous, particularly in the case of Bryant and the Lakers.

What Cuban did was trivialize a rape situation.


...said one more yippy little poodle who must content himself with nipping at the heels of a truly great man!

folks, cuban didn't trivialize rape. he didn't glorify rape. he didn't say anything about rape, really. he wasn't making light of the kobe situation or ignoring the growing list criminal/athletes or demeaning the victim of what may or may not have been a horrible crime. he most certainly wasn't trying to exploit a tragedy for monetary gain (he knows that people will tune in regardless of what he says--and so do you.)

he was talking about you people.

you people have allowed television to become the vomitorium of american culture. you people will tune in by the tens of millions, and you know you will. you people sop this sleaze up like gravy.

cuban was talking, my dear friends, about us. all of us, i must admit.

they say that we get the politicians we deserve. well, we get the entertainers we deserve, too. we are to blame for kobe and oj and ray lewis. we made these people stars. we excused them from the obligation of serving as role models, by pretending that what celebrities did in their "private lives" didn't matter (and yet obsessing over every detail, however smutty, of those same private lives.) we buy the tickets. we generate the ratings. we consume the products the sponsors advertise.

we don't care.

and not only don't we care, we love it! we love these stories! what could be more titillating than arguably the biggest sports celebrity in the world today embroiled in a seedy sex scandal with a 19 year-old american idol reject? it is "reality" television--it's everything that "reality" television tries wants to be, everything that we tune in to "reality" television to see.

the problem with mark cuban isn't his opinion on kobe and miss future-celebrities-of-america, or rape, or sports in general. it's his opinion on the wasteland that is american culture. and he happens to be absolutely right. if he was wrong, we wouldn't need to speculate about rape: the fact that that sleaze bryant cheated on his wife would be more than enough to sink his ship. so you see my friends, the ravings of a child-king internet mogul cum mavs maven don't make him look the fool, they make us look the fool, which is why we all now hate mark cuban.

except for locdog, of course, who's found a new hero




 

it's on!





locdog dudn't really care if he wins or loses, but will definitely enjoy the campaign




8/06/2003

 

bird of two feathers: liberia hawks/iraq doves



let's take a look at the considerable humanitarian disaster that is liberia. since 1989, it is estimated that some 200,000 liberians have died and around 1.5 million have been left homeless. rape gangs roam the streets, urban fighting has left hundreds of innocent civilians dead in the most recent clashes, clearly, things are bad.

let's now take a look at iraq. pretend for a moment that saddam didn't have weapons of mass destruction (which, for some of you, shouldn't be hard), didn't have ties to terror, and posed no threats to the united states or her interests abroad. in the roughly 25 year period of saddam hussein's rule, an estimated 200,000 people vanished into his prison camps, never to be seen again. add to that another 800,000 in combined casualties from the iran/iraq war. this is to say nothing of the gassing of the kurds, the invasion of kuwait, the widely-reported "500,000 children" that humanitarian organizations have claimed as the human toll of un sanctions against iraq, etc. depending on whose math you trust, and where you fix your blame, saddam could have anywhere between one to two million notches on his gunbelt.

and yet, the u.n. and scores of state-side liberals have been demanding immediate u.s. military intervention in liberia's civil war--a war which poses no conceivable threat to the united states of america and which would add strain to an already over-burdened military. why? because "liberia was founded by slaves" and, in their view, this makes the united states (and everyone in it) responsible for the suffering of the liberian people. of course, liberals, the french, the canadians, the germans, nearly all united nations bureaucrats, and pretty much everyone else besides american conservatives already blame the united states for the suffering of all third world peoples everywhere, so what else is new.

By all accounts, the U.S. forces could quickly put a stop to the fighting among Liberia's ragtag militias, saving many innocent lives in a country that has strong bonds with the United States.


says the washington post, a hawkish paper when it came to iraq, but one which, like many others, has been critical of the military's inability to handle the "ragtag militias" currently stirring up the pot a tad north of liberia. true, iraq is on a larger scale, but it's actually a fundamentally simpler situation, at least from a tactical standpoint: we comprise one of the two sides. in liberia, we're on nobody's side. everyone with a gun is against us. if you fail to see the crucial difference, just imagine yourself in a bar fight with an angry drunk. now imagine yourself trying to break up a bar fight with two angry drunks. guess who their common enemy becomes? when neither side in a conflict wants you there, well, you've got yourself a vietnam--the biggest "peace keeping" mission in the history of the world. no, seriously. we weren't there to win, only to prevent the other side from winning, and our own side didn't even want us there. a long, bloody stalemate ensued. the grim results shouldn't have been a surprise, but how much less justified would we be in knowingly charging into the same trap?

i find it hard to believe that any, let alone all, accounts could agree on a "quick" resolution to a 14 year-old blood-feud which has resulted in the deaths of 200,000 people. i also find it hard to believe that this 14 year-old blood-feud is in fact 14 years old. whenever you look at african civil wars, you are almost always dealing with the modern-day manifestations of ancient tribal rivalries--hatreds whose tales are told in centuries, not decades. and when has any peace keeping mission, african or otherwise, ever had a quick resolution, however disorganized the opposition?

to me, the real reason for the iraq/liberia dichotomy has nothing to do with human suffering. no amount of human misery could have convinced most liberals of the justness of our actions against the hussein regime, and conversely, the human suffering in liberia, though great, has nothing to do with their enthusiastic support for american military intervention. in truth, i can't even blame the left's disdain for america itself, not completely, anyway. their vacillating is a bit more complicated than that. it's clear that any liberal worth his reparations-supporting, affirmative-action-believing, guilty-of-being-white salt would support helping liberia, a nation whose very existence is the fault of "strong bonds" to america's evil past. but why didn't they make that same argument with iraq? as a matter of fact, the "it's all our fault" argument was frequently used by the left against military action in iraq, as in "reagan/bush created saddam hussein so what right do they have destroying him?" hey, i'm not saying it's logical, i'm just saying the left used it.

iraq and liberia are two sides of the same coin. one the one side, you have moral authority, or the lack thereof. that's the iraq side. we created saddam, ergo, we have no right. on the other side you have obligation and that, of course, is liberia. we created liberia, ergo, we have an obligation. flip the coin and you can make it say whatever you want. republican president + popular war = we have no right. republican president + recipe for disaster he clearly wants no part of = we have an obligation.

wrapping this up, i'm not, in case you care, opposed sending troops to liberia. but if we go in, then we go in as americans, in the way that americans keep peace, that is, by making it. you cannot "keep" what you don't have. so to me, our decision to enter liberia should have been predicated upon a commitment to go in with a clear enemy in mind. a person to kill. once he or they were dead, we allow the side we deem best suited to assume power to take the reigns, then we split. if such a side does not exist, then after we wipe out the bad guys, we create one. our military makes peace, and it makes it by winning wars. if liberia is worth intervention, then it's worth going all the way. if not, we need to stay the hell out.

locdog thinks it's a bit too late, however, and can only hope for the best




8/05/2003

 

mmm...fudge



blogger, ucla professor, and "crime control expert" mark kleinman thinks chuck colson is fudging his data:

The technical term for this in statistics is "selection bias"; program managers know it as "creaming." Harvard public policy professor Anne Piehl, who reviewed the study before it was published, calls this instance of it "cooking the books."

InnerChange started with 177 volunteer prisoners but only 75 of them "graduated." Graduation involved sticking with the program, not only in prison but after release. No one counted as a graduate, for example, unless he got a job. Naturally, the graduates did better than the control group. Anything that selects out from a group of ex-inmates those who hold jobs is going to look like a miracle cure, because getting a job is among the very best predictors of staying out of trouble. And inmates who stick with a demanding program of self-improvement through 16 months probably have more inner resources, and a stronger determination to turn their lives around, than the average inmate.

The InnerChange cheerleaders simply ignored the other 102 participants who dropped out, were kicked out, or got early parole and didn't finish. Naturally, the non-graduates did worse than the control group. If you select out the winners, you leave mostly losers.

Overall, the 177 entrants did a little bit worse than the controls.


from a piece he wrote for slate webzine.

now, let me get this straight. is kleiman arguing that an accurate representation of the colson data would have had to included people who left the program? people who said "this guy colson is wack," up, and left? people who were thrown out for lying or stealing or drinking or smoking or whatever it was that they weren't supposed to be doing--and, i'm quite sure, only after repeated attempts to steer these lost sheep back into the fold?

so, mark, when harvard and yale zip down their flies, whip out the ruler and start comparing size, should they have to factor in the earning potential of their respective attrition statistics?

how could you possibly hold any program responsible for the fates of people who wouldn't go along with its terms?

"but colson says they have to get a job! anyone who gets a job usually stays out of jail!"

it's not colson's rule, it's God's. read proverbs. hell, read any OT book--or half the NT: "if a man will not work, neither should he eat," "he who does not provide for his family has renounced the faith and is worse than an unbeliever," etc.

geez, no wonder this guy is writing for slate.

locdog isn't surprised




 

queer



queer

n.
Offensive Slang. Used as a disparaging term for a homosexual person.
Usage Problem. A lesbian, gay male, bisexual, or transgendered person.

usage problem, indeed. a note from the same source:

Usage Note: A reclaimed word is a word that was formerly used solely as a slur but that has been semantically overturned by members of the maligned group, who use it as a term of defiant pride. Queer is an example of a word undergoing this process. For decades queer was used solely as a derogatory adjective for gays and lesbians, but in the 1980s the term began to be used by gay and lesbian activists as a term of self-identification. Eventually, it came to be used as an umbrella term that included gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people. Nevertheless, a sizable percentage of people to whom this term might apply still hold queer to be a hateful insult, and its use by heterosexuals is often considered offensive. Similarly, other reclaimed words are usually offensive to the in-group when used by outsiders, so extreme caution must be taken concerning their use when one is not a member of the group.


imagine for a moment if i'd used the word "nigger" instead of "queer" for my title. would have produced a bigger bang, huh? there would have been shock and outrage, right? check this out:

nigger

n. Offensive Slang

1.
a. Used as a disparaging term for a Black person:
b. Used as a disparaging term for a member of any dark-skinned people.

from the same source. no usage problem, no usage note, just plain old Offensive Slang--which is why, by the way, you'll never watch a television program called "nigger eye for the white guy" (although if they had one, you'd watch--admit it) and this despite the fact that blacks have been using nigger as "A reclaimed word...that has been semantically overturned by members of the maligned group...as a term of defiant pride" since before the civil war.

indeed, the american heritage dictionary folks even give us this wonderful example of just how crystal clear they suppose usage of the n-bomb to be:

"You can only be destroyed by believing that you really are what the white world calls a nigger" (James Baldwin).


emphasis mine. looks like those hapless old, er, african americans could learn a thing or two about word reclamation and defiant pride.

but despite the fact that the gay movement has openly embraced their identity as niggers (as in "2. Used as a disparaging term for a member of any socially, economically, or politically deprived group of people" ibid.) and have labored to explicitly merge their present-day struggle with the great racial justice battles of yesteryear in the mind of joe sixpack, and despite the fact that those for whom the bell was first told have been tolling it themselves forever, this strange, fantastical, weird and semantical hiccup of the english language persists. kinda makes you go "hmm..." doesn't it?

anyway, as a member of the most clueless class in american society, that is, a white heterosexual male, i've got a few questions:

1. is it ok for black people to call themselves niggers? can i call them that if i don't mean it in a disparaging sense?

2. is it ok for gay people to call themselves queers? can i call them that if i don't mean it in a disparaging sense?

3. if i can use either of those words, do i have to use them in such a way that i am explicitly embracing (by proxy) their "word reclamation" and "defiant pride" aspects? i mean, obviously it's wrong to use them as slurs, but what if i'm just casually using them? for instance, if i'm offering a description of someone and i mention they are "black," i'm using just about as neutral a word as i possibly could. could queer or nigger ever be used in the same sense? should they be?

4. is it beneficial to the members of any minority group to embrace the disparaging descriptors used of them by the rest of society? what does it say about their psychology? if we as the rest of that society happen to think it's cute (and right now, we think everything about gay men is cute and nothing about being a nigger is cute--which is the crux of the whole matter, btw) when they embrace these terms, are we really doing them any favors, or are we merely participating in the same old prejudice by way of a rather complicated consent--a sort of mass stockholm/battered wife complex?

opinions are welcome, but for the love of pete try to say something intelligent. in lieu of genuine thought, novel insults will be tolerated. "bigot" and "homophobe" make you, not me, the ignorant clod with nothing to say, so please try to at least dress these concepts up in some amusing language. and thanks in advanced for any clarification you might be able to offer.

locdog appreciates it




 

please, please, please nominate howard dean



i haven't spoken much about howard dean, or any of the future also-rans, for that matter. what's the point? but dean has managed to grab some spotlight and give us something roughly approximating a democratic front-runner.

he's raising record bucks on the internet! he's zinging bush on iraq! he's on the cover of time and newsweek and he's page one washington post material! and now, even his fellow also-rans are starting to focus their criticisms--a sure sign he's pulled ahead from the pack.

Presidential candidate Joe Lieberman warned Monday that his Democratic rivals threaten to send the party "into the political wilderness" with a return to big-government programs and less-than-strong stands on national security.

Some Democrats, on the contrary, still prefer the old, big government solutions to our problems," Lieberman said in a speech to the National Press Club. "But, my friends, with record deficits, a stalled economy and Social Security in danger, we can't afford that."

"If George Bush and his bankrupt ideology are the problem, believe me, old Democratic policies like higher taxes and weakness on defense are not the solution," Lieberman said. "We need to reclaim the vital center of American politics for the Democrats."


holy joe's not-so-subtly veiled aspersions cast the dovish dean in a decidedly old-guard light: a george mcgovern for the new millennium. dean's not that bad, but he's bad enough that the democrats ought to pay careful attention to what lieberman has to say.

hopefully, they won't. dean has managed to do what no other democrat has done so far. he's energized the democratic base--or, at least, he's got a young, vigorous grass-roots movement that must have puddles of drool forming under the chins of his rivals. but what good will it do him or the democratic party in general? that remains to be seen, but my sense is it won't do them much good at all. your typical dean voter is a rabid democrat who'd grease himself with gasoline and crawl over burning embers to vote against bush. the sort who's seething hatred dates back to when that thieving bastard and his daddy's supreme court stole the election from the people's champion al gore, and has only grown more potent with age. if richard nixon came back from the dead and ran as a democrat, guaranteed he'd get at least 40% of the vote. ahh, that magic 40. they hated reagan, hated bush, loved clinton no matter what, think bush is an unelected resident rather than an elected president...

and that's all tricky dick would get. and that's all dean will get. people don't trust him on national security. he's moved far to the left on foreign policy and locked up his base quite nicely, but he's generated a lot of baggage for himself, and it's going to be awfully tough to shrug off those burdens should he nab the democratic primary. at that point, he's got to move to the center in order to be elected. but other than opposition to the war, what does dean stand for--don't bother telling me, you dean supporters, i don't care. he needs to tell me. what, will he repeal all of bush's tax cuts? that's a real winner. good luck with that one, howie.

dean is ahead right now because he is the candidate who has most successfully positioned himself as the anti-bush. and i, for one, can only hope that the DNC has deluded themselves into thinking he was wise to do so. so please, holy joe, do me a favor and shut up. right now, your party is cruising for another bruising, this one to the tune of a 60/40 split.

locdog can't wait to see that same old 40% demanding once more that no chad be left unturned




 

"sexual misconduct" charges slow gay bishop vote



according to the washington post, the--

ah, the heck with it. this one's too easy. make up your own post.

locdog accepts this as proof that yes, virginia, there is a God, and boy does He have a fine sense of irony