Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Mark Morford has an amusing column today comparing the latest music/videos from Paris Hilton and Christina Aguilera. Snip:
You think: It is a pink Chihuahua versus a poodle with fangs. It is a stale marshmallow peep versus rum-filled vanilla cake. Isn't it all just fascinating, in an entirely shallow and meaningless sort of way?
Links to the videos on YouTube are also included. FWIW, I agree with Morford that Aguilera's is a nice, if surprising, work of pop music. I suspect if Joss Stone were to take on that sound that she'd kick Christina's ass.

Reason magazine reports on the Michigan Supreme Court's insane ruling on marijuana use and legally driving. In essence, the court ruled that any element left in the system of a person is enough to suspend the license and force him/her into rehab or prison. Even if the psychoactive elements are long gone. So, if you smoke a joint one day and a month later get pulled over and have blood work done, then you could get a license suspension and forced into treatment. Nevermind that enforcement of this is an open ended question, the fact that it's being discussed at all is ludicrous. Check this line from Jacob Sullum's fine article:
Given variations in metabolism and laboratory standards, marijuana smokers can never be sure whether they're legally permitted to drive in Michigan. The statute as interpreted by the Michigan Supreme Court therefore does not give people enough information to know when they are violating it--a basic requirement of due process and the rule of law.
Congress began to learn last week about the industry of trafficking in personal information and how little privacy we really have anymore. Will they impose reasonable controls? Not likely since most members don't have a clue about the topic.

Laura Rozen blogs about the Swift data investigation and how it has been a known and reported upon entity since at least 2002 when it appeared in a report (PDF link) to the U.N. Laura's post is a fine and short read. Check this clip:
There is a level of hatred that has emerged in our society, and one can sense that some are looking for cues from politicians and other sources about where to channel that rage, and the politicians and other places are readily providing those cues. While the underlying issues are real, I don't believe the immigrants, the NY Times, and the Dubai port owners are fully the authentic targets of the simmering rage (look how it gets turned on and off, as the rage against the NYT will likely be forgotten for other things in a couple weeks), but that people have been cued to direct their anger there. But what is the real reason for that anger, particularly on the right, and why does it seem to be growing, when the right controls most everything and looks to continue to for a long time? And surely it's hard to miss that much of this anger is actually frustration of the conservative right with Republican party rule, that is being directed at convenient targets on the perceived left (the NYT), immigrants and foreigners such as the Dubai owners?

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