Thursday, March 31, 2005

Picturing the Dead

Posted by on Thu, Mar 31, 2005 at 4:33 PM

Maybe it's just me, but I'm a little confused and disturbed by the way Terri Schiavo's death was announced pictorially. Anyone notice that most news outlets are using a picture of Terri before she was incapacitated rather than ones of her recent vegetative state?

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Babies & Sin City

Posted by on Thu, Mar 31, 2005 at 4:23 PM

Well, Terri and Mitch are dead, but somewhere in America, a mother throws her leg over her car's steering wheel, groans once, and the cycle of life continues.

article here.

Also, the fact that the police got the mother's license plate mixed up and pulled her over at gunpoint makes Nashville's inability to catch a purse snatcher a little less embarrassing.

In other news, because I am a high profile, powerful media mogul, I scoured free passes to the sneak preview of Sin City on Tuesday. Here is my unbiased, non-comic-book-fan opinion: IT WAS AWESOME! And bloody. And awesome! And for the first time ever, I saw a reason for Elijah Wood's existence. The verdict is still out on Brittany Murphy. I haven't read the comic books, don't care to ever read the comic books, but I definitely enjoyed the movie. The script, story and acting lived up to the pretty visuals. Jim Ridley will fill you in more at some point, with a more educated opinion and references to similar films I haven't seen, but until then, I will leave you with this: IT WAS TOTALLY SWEET, MAN.

Mitch Hedberg

Posted by on Thu, Mar 31, 2005 at 2:22 PM

Apparently the funniest comedian I've ever heard, Mitch Hedberg, has passed away. The cause of death has not been released, though the family has been told he suffered from a heart attack.
Sad times.

Mitch Hedberg: 1968 - 2005

Posted by on Thu, Mar 31, 2005 at 2:19 PM

Comedian Mitch Hedberg dead at 37, possibly drug related. His best joke, in my humble opinion, was: "I don't have a girlfriend, but I know a girl who'd be really pissed if she heard me say that."

Screw Michael Schiavo

Posted by on Thu, Mar 31, 2005 at 11:44 AM

Let me just be among the first to say, in the wake of Terri Schiavo's killing, Michael Schiavo can go to hell. It wasn't enough that the poor woman had to die so brutally, but the son of a bitch wouldn't even let her parents be with her when she passed. This is the first time in a very, very long time that I've agreed with our president (though not with Congress poking its nose where it doesn't belong).

Cut and Run

Posted by on Thu, Mar 31, 2005 at 7:06 AM

It's always heartwarming when private school parents lecture us about what's wrong with public schools without bothering to mention how public schools are affected when parents pull out their own kids and send them to private schools. So naturally as a public school parent, I found former Scene editor Bruce Dobie's oped piece in today's Tennessean touching in the extreme.

Dobie says if public schools are underfunded (which it's not clear he really believes) then the city should emulate private schools and get rich people to pony up in a capital campaign. Perhaps that would spare individuals like him the legal obligation to pay more for the public schools they elected to abandon, but he offers no explanation for why a fund raising drive is preferable to progressive taxation as the appropriate way to fund this or any other public service. Another of his proposals is to blackmail teachers into giving up their rights -- blame their legal right to unionize for everything wrong with public schools and hold teacher raises hostage for the elimination of the due process rights that go with tenure. If only the problems faced by public schools were as simple as the fact that teachers can't be fired without cause.

He describes expanding school funding as throwing good money after bad. When the per pupil expenditures in Metro come even remotely close to what they are at USN, MBA, and Harpeth Hall (and not just tuition -- don't forget to factor in those building fund and capital campaign dollars), and when those schools start assuming the kinds of programs addressing remedial learning and special needs in a diverse urban public school population, then maybe we can begin to talk about whose good money is chasing bad.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

It Used To Be a Free Country

Posted by on Wed, Mar 30, 2005 at 1:45 PM

Another tale of woe and tyrannical intrigue from a Bush public event, this time in Denver on Tuesday (via Wash Post):

A man in a blue suit told the three they had to leave and "in a physical, forcible way" escorted them out, refusing to explain why....Scott McClellan, Bush's press secretary, said it was a volunteer who asked them to leave "out of concern they might try to disrupt the event."

It's impressive that Bush's people can now read the minds of those who attend -- probably picked that up back when they were doing event planning for the old Soviet politburo...

Riding the Rails

Posted by on Wed, Mar 30, 2005 at 11:33 AM

The idea that's been floating around about a Memphis-to-Bristol rail line is something I've wanted to talk about for a while, but I've been out of pocket and this is the first chance I've gotten.

Let me first say that I use mass transit almost exclusively when I travel in the northeast. The Metro subway system is invaluable in D.C. I take the regional trains and trolleys in Philly. When I go to New York there's no better way to do so than to take the train into Penn Station. In Boston there's the T. Even in Chicago, I happily take the train from Midway Airport into the city and back rather than go through the hassle of driving a car or taking out a second mortgage to pay ridiculous fares to cabbies who usually know less about where I am going than I do.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2005


Posted by on Tue, Mar 29, 2005 at 8:56 PM

Some long overdue changes to the PITW blogroll are up. Mainly additions, and a couple of deletions on grounds of inactivity. Use the contact link to email the committee of pith with suggestions anytime.

MGM v. Grokster

Posted by on Tue, Mar 29, 2005 at 1:52 PM

The oral arguments in the Supreme Court this morning in the Internet file sharing case (previewed here at PITW yesterday) apprently didn't leave observers with a clear sense of which way the Court will go in the legal effort by entertainment companies to shut down P2P file-sharing. Lyle Denniston's recap of the action at SCOTUSblog includes this:

A number of Justices seemed attracted to the idea of letting copyright owners go after software developers on a theory that they are "actively inducing" theft of copyrighted works by computer users linked by that software.

But also this:

Several members of the Court -- but especially Justices Antonin Scalia, Stephen G. Breyer and David H. Souter -- seemed troubled about the potential impact of a tightening of copyright law on small inventors -- "the guy in the garage," as Souter put it....Breyer wondered whether a lawyer for a developer -- for example, the inventor of the iPod -- could assure his client that he could continue to develop new products without fear of being held liable for the illegal uses to which the products might be used by some.

David McGuire of the Washington Post reports (link to audio) that the justices were pointedly critical of arguments on both sides, and didn't tip their hand about the decision they'll make later this year.

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