Wednesday, January 28, 2004

I knew Matt Drudge would get this story out – I just did not realize his method would be so similar to mine. After I posted my thoughts on Kerry’s obvious facial enhancements, I sent Mr. Drudge a link to my blog, hoping to influence his take on the subject (and maybe get a link out of it). I was woken up this morning by my friend Ryan who was shocked by the similarity of Drudge’s photo arrangement, underscored by the headline “New and Improved Kerry Takes New Hampshire!” to what I had posted on Sunday. Obviously, I was not the only person to send Drudge information on the Kerry/Botox phenomenon – but I may have helped inspire the headline. Who knows?!

Drudge tops my commentary by obtaining and posting the following audio excerpt from a Kerry interview on Boston’s WRKO 680AM.

Kerry is asked to “categorically” deny “the reports that he has used Botox or any other cosmetic surgery.” Kerry twice repeats that he has “never even heard of it,” and in effect dismisses it as a useless story. Hmm…

I believe Kerry may have done himself a great (or may I say, grave) disservice by claiming ignorance. Perhaps his upgraded appearance is simply the work of a great makeup artist. Regardless, can he really get away with saying he has never even heard of Botox? His wife certainly has made no secret of her love affair with the drug and his campaign is being peppered with a steadily increasing number of questions about his upgraded appearance. “Never even heard of it?” Come on, John F’ing Kerry

Many politicians still underestimate the power of the Internet to carry a story – but this is going to be another lesson in why getting away with a lie is a hell of a lot harder in 2004 than it was in 1974. Thirty years ago, this story might have created a passing interest in a few curious souls, but those interested in digging deeper did not have the ability to connect with other like-minded individuals also interested in the story behind the story. If the producers at the major news networks did not think it warranted further inquiry, it would eventually die away, or perhaps not even see any light of day at all. The net allows for stories to create a massive momentum through the sheer multitude of cooperative interest in any given subject – and this can happen almost overnight, particularly when the story has national implications. And there is nothing Peter Jennings can do about it…

Undoubtedly, Kerry was not expecting Drudge to obtain a copy of this local interview and broadcast it to ten million people, many of whom are lying it wait to discover an inconsistency in his candidacy. People love taking down the king of the mountain and Kerry is a king in trouble. Just like the Dean Scream, this is going to blow up in a way that Kerry is not prepared for (or else, he would have used a more honest approach to the radio question). Trust me. This is going to be the next national obsession of the moment – and it will not go away until there is a resolution and/or casualties (Kerry’s campaign, perhaps?).

Sunday, January 25, 2004

“Kerry is looking better these days, not only in the race, but in the face. Word is that he recently had a few botox injections around the eyes”

I laughed aloud when my friend, Don Fulsom, sent me an email with that line in it. I have paid as much attention as one can tolerate to the Democratic race to see who will lose to W. Of the hours spent listening to the candidates repeat each other (and proudly boasting the new mantra – “I am candidateXYZ, and I approve this message”), one thing I couldn’t help but notice was how much better John Kerry is looking compared to the last time I cared to watch him tell us why he would be a better ruler of men than the Bushmaster.

Before Iowa, it appeared Kerry was going to be steamrolled by the Dean Machine – and his face looked about as healthy as his poll numbers. I saw Clinton the midnight before his reelection in ’96 at an airport hanger in Bangor, Maine and I thought I would never see baggy eyes like that again in my life – and until Kerry hit the scene, I was correct in that assumption.

But wait…Have you seen John Kerry 2.0 yet? With his slick new look, I almost thought he was competing with the Governator for the most favored politician amongst the 37-year old single mother demographic – but when Don mentioned the Botox rumors, it all made sense, except for the fact that Drudge hadn’t shot gunned that tidbit it to the world weeks ago when it was first noticed that Kerry looked ready for a red carpet stroll hand-in-hand with J-Lo. I did a Google news search and found that this rumor indeed has been floating around, though it is strongly denied by the Kerry campaign. I Photoshopped this comparison photo.

You to be the judge. Is this just extremely good makeup, or did Teresa Heinz-Kerry dip into her thirty-year supply of Botox and share a hit with her husband?

Friday, January 23, 2004

Simply amazing! Imagine staring at a 23-foot high-definition panoramic wrap-around digital screen - seeing real people on the "other side" looking at you - and then conversing with them in real-time, even though they may be thousands of miles away? This is the awesome vision of Austrian cameraman and entrepreneur, Andreas Traint, and he calls it Tholos.

Like the accelerating future of which it may become a part, Tholos’ wonder -- and its meaning -- are founded on the personal.

Read more about it:
Reason Magazine Article
Tholos Systems

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Do we need more politicians? Any right minded individual may be induced to vomit at the thought…but I came across the following editorial originally published in the LA Times:

“How to Fix Politics? Believe It or Not, More Politicians”
By George Kenney

In short, Mr. Kenney explains that elected congressional representatives in the House of Representatives currently represent about 670,000 citizens each. This is such a significant number that legislators quickly lose touch with the people who voted them in, special interests have a greater power than they deserve, and campaigns become so expensive that regular Joes and Janes can not afford to run for office. Increasing the number of representatives can go a long way to establishing faith in our government, redefining representative democracy, and eradicating the power elites who claim to be from Kennesaw, Wisconsin, but really only desire to be in DC “doing the people’s work.” Mr. Kenny proclaims that a five-fold increase in the number of reps, with a long-range goal of one rep for every 100K citizens would be ideal.

“The only way to restore genuine democratic representation is a substantial, long-overdue increase in the size of the House.”

I agree. Though with technology, why not make that one rep per 50K, or 20k, or 10? Read on…

Like I stated, I love this idea, but I would like to take it one-step further (and I would be willing to assist in the effort to make this a reality). The logistics of 3,000 representatives and their staffs running around Washington, DC is scary. Why not let them work from home?

What would keep representatives from working together over a decentralized network, right from an office in the heart of their constituencies? Perhaps they could travel to DC a few times a year for meetings, but other than that, all communication and voting would happen literally at the local level. A few advantages off the top of my head:

1) Such an arrangement would instantly make it harder for special interests to corral representatives and write legislation to their own ends.
2) Smaller constituencies = less power to the individual rep, which makes the job less appealing to the DC-lifers and power-mongers who merely desire the glitz and glam of the job and see the job as a stepping-stone up to their next government job.
3) Keeping the reps out of Washington and with the people they are supposed to be representing increases the usefulness of democracy. I guess you can call it “Power to the people.” (even though I hate that term).
4) Increased opportunities to third parties such as libertarians, greenies/commies, reformists, etc. to win elections and bring fresh ideas to the stale demopublican government monopoly.
5) How awesome would it be to strip people like Tom Delay (bling-bling, spendy, spendy), Nancy Pelosi (Clintonista-wannabe) or Tom Allen (George Mitchell-wannabe) to 1/5th or less of the power they currently possess? Drool…

Monday, January 19, 2004

Welcome to the new blog. I had a few friends encourage me to start one up and I thought it might be enjoyable to put my thoughts out there to see what kind of response they might generate. I’ve always thought I lived a few years in the future - I had an ICQ number in the low thousands, I created that rate-a-buddy and hot or not sensation back in ‘98, and I am currently reshaping the way we look at public schools over at, but I’ve been late to the blog party. Well, better late than never. Since today is Martin Luther King Day, I will devote this first entry to the subject of race and MLK himself.

There is only one solution to racism - individualism. From a political perspective, that means granting no distinctions based on race. To judge an individual based on something they cannot control (skin color) is indicative of a failure to use the mind and an attempt to circumvent reality. Be wary of any government action that makes racial distinctions, yet claims itself to be necessary to eradicate racism

Dr. King is a sacred icon in American culture, loved by just about everyone. To question his ethics, motivations, and the possible consequences of his ideas, can easily make sensible people uncomfortable. If one has the courage to look a step beyond King’s best work, the excellent “Letter from the Birmingham Jail,” one discovers that ideals King advocated in both his public and private life had little to do with advocating a nation where people would “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

What was the content of King’s character? First, King’s adulterous lifestyle is little publicized. Publicly, King decried communism, but kept a roomful of red-sympathizing advisers. But, would a man that lied to his wife and children worry about lying to members of the public? As a preacher, King advocated a lifestyle that he was incapable of leading – and I believe he sought power over other men as a means to compensate for his wounded self-esteem.

King advocated racist measures, such as quotas, redistribution, and reparations, to solve racism. But collectivism begets collectivism, and today power-lusters use the same rhetoric used 40 years ago. If he King were alive today, he would be hard to distinguish from the race-baiting, power-lusting Jesse Jackson.

One final note that beguiles me - Dr. King is hailed as a champion of movements on both the left and right. Republicans and democrats alike attempt to claim him as one of their own. Trust me, King would not be voting for W in 2004. However, many people on the right are afraid to question the motives of the beloved Dr. King because of the myth of his greatness so dominates our culture. Instead, they attempt to shape some of his better quotes to argue their own beliefs. On the other side, people on the left who cherish King and all the associated racist government measures that go along with the movement are typically motivated by guilt, most likely caused by their inability to see the world in a color-blind manner - so they advocate destructive laws supposedly created to eliminate racism. People who blindly support these laws do so out of an emotional need to justify their own confusion about race – it is much easier to blame those problems on someone else. Certainly, racism is alive and well in this country, but in our free and global economy, any individual driven to succeed, black, white, pink, or Michael Jackson, can find a niche, or create their own.