Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Hudson's Election Guide, Part 3: Referred Law 6

A few weeks ago, a mysterious beat-up old pickup truck suddenly appeared in Sioux Falls. Similar trucks had made appearances in our fine city over the past few years, but this one drew the ire of our daily paper when it positioned itself in front of their offices. After a story or two (and reportedly a call to police for a charge of illegal parking), this clem moved his truck a couple of blocks to the south.
After a few days of idling on the corner of 14th and Minnesota, the truck must have finally received some gas money because all of a sudden he was everywhere. There were sighting all over the city on seemingly every major street, angering people with eight-foot signs supposedly picturing aborted fetuses and propaganda messages. One of these signs carried the dubious sign that “Planned Parenthood Supports Pedophilia”. For some reason, I don’t get that one.
In recent days, he’s found some friends. There’s a whole squadron of these trucks, and they’re spreading their propaganda to the suburbs. This past Sunday, I had to follow a caravan of these broke-down beasts on Bahnson Avenue, traveling at a top speed of 15 mph. From what I’ve been told, they begin their day at a warehouse near the airport that Leslie Unruh and her goons use as their home base. They then go off to spread their lies to whoever is unfortunate enough to get close to their trucks, concentrating their efforts on the Planned Parenthood offices. According to a recent Argus article, they track the license plates of anybody entering the building.
That’s a scary prospect, and not just because of privacy issues. Let’s get back to the O.P., the original propagandist. Reportedly, his name is Ronald Brock, and he has a long history of run-ins with law enforcement. He has supposedly been arrested over 80 times, and brags that he has spent three of the last six years in jail. He also is an advocate of murdering doctors who perform abortions, and was one of the individuals arrested at a Mississippi church when ant-abortion protesters hit an abortion rights advocate with a car.
These are the kinds of people that Leslie Unruh and Roger Hunt have brought to our state, and there’s plenty more people acting behind the scenes providing tons of money to spread their lies. And no matter what you’ve read, they are lying. There is no provision for rape and incest. According to the Food and Drug Administration, the so-called morning after pill does nothing to an egg that’s already been fertilized. Even if it was a true option, many doctors will not prescribe it and many pharmacies will not fill it. Just try getting this drug if you live in a rural town miles and miles from a real city. This is not even taking into consideration the emotional trauma from these acts that cause many women to wait too long to report the violent act, if they do it at all. (In a moment we’ll get to another problem with the Unruh camp claiming that this is a true exception to the law.)
Most people also aren’t getting a clear picture of the exception to “protect the life of the mother”. A woman has to be in extreme dire health, supposedly near-death, to be allowed to abort the child. Many argue that even then the mother’s health is secondary to the child she is carrying. And even if the baby dies before birth, the mother must carry the child to term. How cruel is that?
No matter what these people claim in their talk show call-ins and newspaper letter-writing campaigns, nobody is truly in favor of abortion. Nobody. The best way to stop the practice, though, is not through this overly-restrictive and unneeded ban. We already have the toughest anti-abortion laws in the country. The best way to do away with abortion is through education. A friend told me recently that despite the rhetoric, Planned Parenthood has probably stopped more abortions than they have performed. I believe that through their educational programs and their distribution of contraceptives that this is the case.
But we all know that the Unruh’s and other people of their ilk have no place for sex education. Besides their abstinence programs (which the government is expanding to everybody under 30), they were behind last year’s witch hunt on our school system’s sex-ed program.
And they’re not done yet. I’ve been told from a reliable source connected to the South Dakota legislature that if this bill passes next week they’re ready for an even more extreme piece of legislation. They have a bill already written up that will ban all contraception. Like the abortion ban, they want us to be a test case that will inevitably end up in the U.S. Supreme Court. While there seems to be little to no chance that this would pass, you can never tell what will happen…particularly as the makeup of the Supreme Court edges more conservative every year.
I can’t rant and rave enough that despite your personal feelings about abortion rights, this bill goes too far and is another step towards a certain group of people forcing their religious beliefs on us all. Like most serious topics, abortion is not a black or white issue. There’s too much grey area that can only be eliminated, or at least narrowed, through education, not legislation.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

More Cowbell, Please

Morgan Spurlock Speaks the Truth

I'm not a fan of either Katie Couric or Morgan Spurlock, but Spurlock's statement desceribes exactly what is wrong with modern-day politics, and it's depiction on the 24-hour news channels.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Hudson's Election Guide, Part 2: Amendment C

Channel-surfing after game two of the World Series finally ended this past Sunday night, I stumbled upon KELO’s silly little interview show, the unimaginatively-titled Inside KELO-Land. Hosted by Doug Lund, this particular episode dealt with Amendment C, aka the marriage amendment.
I have to say that I hadn’t spent a lot of time following the debate over this issue. Knowing that our state already has a law against gay marriage, I didn’t see the need for this constitutional amendment.
With absolutely nothing else on any other channel except for the same football highlights I’d been watching all day long, I decided to watch this debate between Robert Reiger, the executive director of the South Dakota Family Policy Council, and Jon Hoadley, who was representing South Dakotans Against Discrimination.
I should have known that within minutes I’d be angry. While Hoadley discussed the possible side effects of this bill, and most notably its inclusion of the phrase “quasi-marriage”, Reiger skated around the questions and just babbled on and on about the “sanctity of marriage”.
Of course, he also had to talk about the children. Oh, what about the children? In his view, kids must be raised in a traditional family with a mother and father. Given that half of all marriages fail, gay relationships should be just a small part of the failings of our society.
When Reiger started spouting this nonsense, I came close to losing my mind. We’re not living in the 50’s any more. In a typical man/woman relationship, women aren’t staying home baking and cleaning while the husband works a 9 -5 job. Economically, that’s almost impossible these days, particularly in this state where wages are dramatically lower than the national average. Both parents tend to hold jobs, and quite often one or both even hold a second gig just to make ends meet.
I sat there waiting and waiting to hear Reiger answer some of the points that Hadley brought up. What about the fact that the wording of this bill could affect senior citizens who can’t get married without losing social security benefits, or roommates who decide to chip in together to buy a car? Or what if you’re raising a child that’s biologically not yours? Under this bill you also quite possibly couldn’t appoint somebody to make medical and/or financial decisions for you.
What should scare even the straightest people in this state is its impact on domestic violence laws. Two years ago, Ohio passed a similar law that contained some of the same controversial definitions. Judges later argued that they could no longer recognize unmarried relationships with the same legal protections as a married relationship. In another case, Michigan state employees (straight and gay) saw the health insurance benefits of their partners taken away.
Reiger should be held to answer for these questions, but from what I’ve been told (and have read in some research for this rant) he does nothing but attack the messenger. In other appearances with Hoadley, he calls him a “homosexual activist” who will be dead by the time he’s 40 because of his “homosexual lifestyle”. As one friend noted, that has nothing to do with the issue and assumes Hoadley’s sexually active and doesn’t practice safe sex. C’mon, Robert, that kind of rhetoric may work when you’re in front of the morons who drink your awful flavor of Kool-Aid, but you come across as nothing but a fool when you make assumptions of your opponent’s personal life.
Personally, I think the state should get out of the marriage business anyway. The government has no business being involved in religious ceremonies, and they certainly shouldn’t listen to religious groups who claim that their beliefs should be held in higher regard than others. If one person’s faith of choice allows gays to have commitment ceremonies, how does that affect me?As everybody knows, I tried marriage once…and will more than likely never, ever do it again. I can barely stand to be with myself 24/7; I can’t imagine a scenario where I could deal with another person being around all the time. And I could care less that Johnny and Danny are doing next door…although I’d probably be a bit thrilled if suddenly Jenna and Teagan moved in. I definitely don’t want the Regier’s in my neighborhood…or anywhere else in my city. Hit the road, Robert.

Ten Reasons to Defeat Amendment C:
1. If you and your partner are straight and live together but aren’t married
No one knows what a “quasi-marital” relationship is in South Dakota. It is not defined in law, nor are there any relevant legal cases in South Dakota that define it. Any other time the term “quasi” is used in South Dakota, it has an established legal context. This time, it does not.

If you and your partner live together—whether you’re straight or gay—this could be used to take away your established legal contracts. One way this could be especially harmful would be if a widow and a widower wanted to remarry but did not because they would lose their Social Security or pension benefits. Their relationship could be deemed “quasi-marital” and all the legal contracts that they created—their wills, their durable power of attorneys, their joint property agreements—could be deemed unconstitutional and invalid.

2. If you are a victim of domestic violence and are seeking protection
The situation in Ohio proves that constitutional amendments that are poorly defined DO have unintended consequences. In 2004, Ohio passed a similar constitutional amendment to our proposed Amendment C. Judges argued they were forced to deny domestic violence protections to unmarried people because they could not recognize an unmarried relationship with the same legal protections as a married relationship.

For a more in-depth explanation of how Amendment C could affect our domestic violence laws, please review our white paper on the subject.

3. If you are a senior citizen living with a friend for financial reasons
Many seniors live with a friend for companionship, security, and financial reasons. Think of the two widows who move in together because they only need one car and they like the security of knowing that if one of them falls, the other can call an ambulance.

If Amendment C passes, they’re private legal contracts could be deemed “quasi-marital.” While they are not romantically involved at all, a judge may question whether their legal agreement copies too many of the protections of marriage and could open the door for a lesbian couple to do the same thing. Although this is not the intent of Amendment C, it is a legal possibility and we don’t need to risk changing the Constitution if this could be one of the unintended consequences.

4. If you are living on a Reservation and think your domestic partnership is protected under tribal law.
Some tribes recognize common law marriages that have legal standing when members leave the Reservation. Amendment C would legally prohibit the state from recognizing anything other than an official license issued by a government entity. This limits the types of laws that Tribes can pass.

5. If you believe your religious community should be able to decide the types of relationships it considers sacred
What makes America great is the fact that government doesn’t tell churches what to believe or how they should pray. In some faiths, gay and lesbian couples can marry or have a commitment ceremony—which the government doesn’t have to recognize. In some faiths, women are obligated to be submissive to their husbands. In some faiths, interracial marriage was frowned upon.

Whether we agree with every position a denomination or faith group takes isn’t what matters. What matters is that we can teach our children what we believe and talk about our values. But when one religious group starts saying their beliefs should be held above all other religious groups' beliefs, that’s a problem. South Dakota should treat all people fairly—including letting people make private legal contracts. The rest should be left up to the churches.

6. If you think you have taken all legal measures necessary to authorize a non-family member to make medical decisions for you
Medical decision-making is one of over 1,000 rights, responsibilities, and benefits associated with marriage. If a judge rules that contracting for these rights is “quasi-marital” and unconstitutional, these basic protections will be invalid and the money spent to hire expensive lawyers to draft them will have been wasted.

7. If you are a college student living in a dorm room with a roommate.
Is living with someone only a benefit of marriage? The law makes no distinction between a gay couple living together and two straight guys living together. Although we would hope that a judge wouldn’t be so callus to invalidate simple living arrangements, a lease is a legal contract. What they rule in one area of the law could affect a lot of innocuous situations.

8. If you or your family members are currently receiving domestic partnerships from an employer
Over half of Fortune 500 companies offer domestic partnership benefits. Domestic partnership benefits usually refer to a basic package of agreements, which varies by company but usually includes access to health insurance, possible life insurance options, and family and medical leave options. Although these are offered by private companies, there are concerns that the wording of Amendment C, which says domestic partnerships would “not be valid or recognized IN South Dakota” (emphasis mine) could be used to sue private companies.

Our nation’s top companies think offering benefits to straight and gay domestic partnerships make good business sense and helps families. A “NO” vote is good for South Dakota businesses.

9. If you are raising a child that is not yours biologically
If you are helping to raise a child that is not your biologically—maybe because you’re good friends with one of the parents or you are dating or engaged to the parent—your rights could be affected. While family law is already complicated, Amendment C could call into question whether the legal contracts you create to care for that child emulates rights automatically granted when a couple marries (such as being able to pick a step-child up from school, act as their guardian, make emergency medical decisions, etc.)

Additionally, the adoption process could become even harder. Good families who would help keep kids out of foster homes could be denied adoptions if any part of their life seems too “quasi-marital” because one of the situations noted above.

10. If you think government’s about fixing the roads and responding to emergencies, not interfering in your personal life
Do we really need to give the government a blank check for interfering in our personal lives? “Quasi-marital” gives judges and lawmakers a constitutional foothold for scrutinizing every part of our lives. Do we really want to give Pierre that much power?

South Dakota is about live and let live. We respect our neighbors, help when asked, and think that our homes are our business—not the government. A “no” vote keeps things the way they are right now.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Hudson Guide to X

From the October, 2006 issue of Prime:

Although X was undoubtedly the most musically adventurous band of the early L.A. punk scene, they are also easily the most underrated. Instead of pretending they were erasing rock ‘n’ roll’s history, X reveled in their influences. Guitarist Billy Zoom re-energized old rockabilly and Chuck Berry riffs, while vocalists John Doe and Exene Czervenka traded lyrics as if they were old bohemian folksingers. The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, and Hank Williams were as important (if not more important) influences than the traditional punkers love of the Stooges and Velvet Underground.
Despite almost a decade of strong material, the band’s raw sound and unorthodox vocals ensured that they never made the commercial leap they deserved. Yet over 20 years later, their albums sound as vibrant as ever…something that can’t be said for the majority of the bands that shared stages with them in the early days.

Los Angeles (1980)

As one might expect, X’s debut album is the only one that really can be associated with punk rock. Los Angeles paints it’s namesake as a modern day hell, full of drugs, poverty, rape, and other debauchery. Yet Zoom’s soaring guitar and Billy Zoom’s thundering drums emerge as the perfect backdrop for Doe and Czervenka’s unorthodox vocal style.
Grade: A
Essential Tracks: “Your Phone’s Off the Hook, But You’re Not”, “Johny Hit and Run Paulene”, “Los Angeles”.

Wild Gift (1981)

The country influences begin to creep in on the ferocious Wild Gift, probably the best album of their illustrious career. The songs still deal mainly with the dark side of Southern California, although the lyrics are beginning to deal with domestic and personal issues. Doe and Czervenka were married at this point, and a good portion of the album examines their struggles as a married couple.
Grade: A+
Essential Tracks: “We’re Desperate”, “White Girl”, “Adult Books”, “The Once Over Twice”.

Under the Big Black Sun (1982)

Wild Gift’s themes carry over into their third straight strong release, although road stories join marital strife as lyrical topics. There’s a bit of weariness at various points of the album, particularly on “Riding With Mary”, which tells the tale of Exene’s sister, who died in an auto accident while cheating on her husband.
Grade: A-
Essential Tracks: “The Hungry Wolf”, “Motel Room In My Bed”, “Riding With Mary”.

More Fun In the New World (1983)

Cracks begin to form at this point in the band’s career. While the album starts off great, with the anti-Reagan one-two punch of “The New World” and “We’re Having Much More Fun” as great as anything off any of their discs, but there’s little to recommend after their cover of Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Breathless”.
Having said that, the 2002 reissue (and remastering) of this album causes one to rethink their initial opinion of this album. It’s still no Wild Gift, but it’s still as vibrant as almost anything released at that point of time.
Grade: B+
Essential Tracks: “The New World”, “We’re Having So Much Fun”, “True Love”, “Breathless”.

Ain’t Love Grand (1985)

There are various theories as to why this album is considered such a failure. There certainly was record company pressure to produce a hit album, and it’s also clear that the band desired some well-deserved commercial rewards.
There were also personal problems within the band. Doe and Czervenka’s marriage was crumbling, and other problems led to the departure of Zoom shortly after the album’s release.
Beyond the combination of these internal and external problems, the worst decision the band ever made was to hire Michael Wagener (Stryper, Alice Cooper) to produce what the label hoped would be a mainstream pop-metal album. While the single, “Burning House of Love”, was easily the best song on the album, there was little chance of it actually competing with Motley Crue and Winger. Few other tracks even included Doe and Czervenka’s trademark harmonizing.
Grade: C-
Essential Tracks: “Burning House of Love”, “What’s Wrong With Me”.

See How We Are (1987)

There are many huge fans of X that absolutely hate this album. Others believe it may rank right up there with the early albums. I’m one of those in the latter category. The punk energy may be completely absent, but it’s more than made up by the rootsy country-rock sound that predated Uncle Tupelo and Whiskeytown by half a decade.
Much of this is due to the presence of former Blasters guitarist Dave Alvin, who had replaced Zoom but had already left X by the time they hit the studio. Still, his presence looms large on this album, particularly since he wrote the best song on the album, “4th of July”.
Grade: A-
Essential Tracks: “I’m Lost”, “4th of July”, “See How We Are”.

Hey Zeus (1993)

Although the band dissolved shortly after touring behind See How We Are, they routinely reunited for hometown performances. It probably was only a matter of time before they attempted another album, but it was still a surprise when Hey Zeus was released in 1993.
The album carried on with the rootsy sounds of See How We Are, but while the album has its moments, it’s also clear that the band really couldn’t carry on without Billy Zoom (Alvin’s replacement, Tony Gilkyson, performs guitar duties on this album). While Zoom has participated in the majority of reunion tours, he has publicly stated that he has no interest in participating in a X reunion album.
Grade: B
Essential Tracks: “Country At War”, “”Someone’s Watching”.


There have been two double-disc compilation albums released in the last ten years, and both of them are highly recommended. Make the Music Go Bang may be the choice for the fair-weather crowd, as there are few rarities included in the 46 tracks. Beyond and Back is chock full of outtakes, demos, and live versions of the band’s best-known tracks. If you own the band’s catalog, this is the compilation to choose.

Live Albums

Although there’s no official live album from the band’s heyday, there’s nothing wrong with any of the three live releases that have been come out since their original dissolution. Live at the Whiskey A Go-Go documents their final shows before their late 80’s breakup, Unclogged is an acoustic release from their Hey Zeus tour, while last year’s furious Live In Los Angeles marks the first Zoom’s first released appearance in 20 years.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Which Ballot Initiative Has the Best Chance to Pass?
Cigarette Tax
Cell Phone Tax
Jail 4 Judges
Abortion Ban
Marriage Amendment
Video Lottery Ban
Property Tax Freeze
Labor Day Start of School
Medical Marijuana
State-Owned Aircraft Restrictions
Legislator Expense Reimbursements
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Hudson's Election Guide, Part 1: Amendment E

While I’m primarily known in this area as an aging pseudo-hipster who delights in enjoying the classier elements of pop culture, I have a serious passion for low-brow, white trash television. I live for shows such as Cheaters, Cops (god, I was pissed when baseball preempted it the other night), Springer, and the infamous baby-daddy episodes of Maury.
One of my favorite shows of this type is Judge Judy. While there’s seemingly a thousand of these courtroom shows these days, Judge Judy is by far the best of the bunch. Despite her clich├ęd outbursts at the stupidity of her cases, unlike the other shows of her ilk she actually uses real law to make her decision.
What always makes me chuckle is that no matter how idiotic these people act, they walk out of the courtroom convinced that Judy is wrong. Ex-girlfriends still believe that the money they routinely handed their men should be considered loans; guys who crash their buddy’s car don’t think they are obligated to pay.
I’m not saying that what goes on in Judy’s courtroom is 100% real, but it does reflect real life. I’ll bet if you surveyed the prisoners in both the county jail and the penitentiary you’d find that nobody would admit that they broke the law…or deserved to sit in jail. It’s almost become a natural reaction to feel that your problems are always somebody else’s fault.
Granted, there are certainly people sitting in jail that don’t belong there. Our judicial system is not perfect. The rich have an advantage when it comes to a quality defense, and witnesses certainly don’t always tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Many of these problems are taken care of through the appeal process, particularly if there are problems with the actions of the judge presiding over the case. Outdated or unpopular laws can also be revoked by our elected representatives in the legislature…or Congress, if it’s a matter of national consequence.
Despite these checks and balances, our jails are filled with deluded individuals convinced of their innocence, which is why Amendment E, the so-called “Jail 4 Judges” law, is such a scary proposition.
Under this proposal, a person unhappy with any actions of the judge can sue the individual. A special grand jury, whose members have complete civil and criminal immunity, can decide that any law in question is null and void. In fact, these special grand juries would basically create a fourth branch of government whose decisions takes precedence over our Supreme Court.
Think about that for a second. Imagine a jury filled with the likes of Leslie Unruh and Roger Hunt. Unlike a regular jury, they only need 7 of the 13 votes. It wouldn’t be a stretch to envision a state where seven people can completely rewrite our state’s laws.
Yet it’s not just judges who will be affected by this proposal. While supporters like to proclaim that “it only applies to judges”, the measure defines that term to include “all other persons claiming to be shielded by judicial immunity”. This can mean almost anybody with any sort of governing position, including (but not limited to) city councils, school boards, and licensing boards. Even jurors and witnesses fit under the judicial immunity category.
A few days ago, I asked one of our county commissioners about this amendment, and she shuddered at the thought of our state voting in this law. She also added that this proposal is retroactive. As Tim Gebhart from A Progressive on the Prairie explained to me yesterday, this means “someone convicted of a crime or even disciplined by a school board or other entity at any time in the last 5, 10…or even 50 years can ask the grand jury to sue the people who made the decision. Can you imagine how many people convicted of a crime, whether a misdemeanor or felony, will be interested in filing complaints asking to sue the judge who sentenced them?”
There are many more aspects of this proposal that I don’t have the time to go into at this time. I encourage everybody to check out Gebhart's research on not only the actual amendment but the background of the people involved. Do you realize that this is actually a failed California ballot initiative, and that South Dakota was chosen only because our smaller population makes us an easier battleground state? Or that if successful the supporters have plans to use us as a test case on a so-called anti-Communist bill that would outlaw property taxes, income taxes, “secular” public schools, and farm controls? These are just some of the highlights (or lowlights) that I discovered on Gebhart’s site. Trust me, you have to vote no on this law, as these people are scarier than anybody could possibly imagine.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The KELO Castaways?

The other day, I was channel-surfing (not an unusual occurrence in my household) when I stumbled onto TV Land. This is one of the channels that could be great, but ultimately I just get pissed off whenever I land on it. Instead of truly classic old TV shows, all they seem to show are the godawful Three’s Company and the A Team.
On this occasion, they were airing Gilligan’s Island, one of my least favorite shows of all-time. (In case you were wondering, my vote for the worst show ever is the Brady Bunch). As I sat there dumbfounded that such a terrible show is still being aired nearly 30 years later, and idea popped into my head.
You may recall a year or so ago I imagined a new version of Andy Griffith starring my pals across the street at KELO. Having already decided that the rest of the month there will be little “funny” as I use this segment to voice my opinions of the various items we will be voting on in November, I decided that this week would be a great time to re-imagine Gilligan’s Island as a KELO-Land production.
We’ll start off with the Howell family. Thurston Howell III, of course, must be played by the one and only Doug Lund. That’s sort of by default, though, as he’s the only one left at the station from the Midco glory days…and the only one that comes close to the age of the millionaire husband.
I had a bit more trouble casting Thurston’s wife. I initially thought Jaine Andrews would be perfect for the role. She’s getting up their in age, she seems a bit uptight, and to be brutally honest she’s sort of dumpy-looking – which isn’t a great trait for somebody reporting on health issues. But something just didn’t seem right about that choice.
Then it hit me. The perfect person to play Mrs. Howell is the one person who hates me the most (and that’s saying something in that building). It has to be Angela Kennecke. There’s no other suitable choice. She certainly has the proper attitude…and I’ll bet in 30 years she’ll look a lot like Lovey. Okay, make that 15 years.
Let’s move on to the Professor. That’s an easy one. Who else could it be but the guy who explains the difference between cumulus and stratus clouds? It has to be the man who tells us during every so-called storm how cloud rotation indicates potential tornadoes. And we can’t forget his nightly look at his station’s network schedule to explain why we should buy a high-def television at Karl’s TV. Yes, the Professor has to be Brian Karstens.
The next two KELO castaways were a bit harder to choose. First off, there aren’t too many female talent left at the station. It’s really become a boy’s club. But that wasn’t my only problem. Once I figured out the two most worthy candidates, I had a hard time placing them in their respective roles. In my opinion, Kelli Grant’s reddish-blonde hair makes her the perfect person to play Ginger, while Jessica Hopkins shares the darker locks of Mary Ann. Personality-wise, though, the roles have to be reversed. Hopkins’ on-air act is a bit more poised, while Grant looks much more down-to-earth. Since I always loved Mary Ann more than Ginger, I think Kelli should be Mary Ann.
Yet there is one more problem with picking Hopkins as any cast member. She’s no longer a part of the KELO team. I guess in my version of the show, Hopkins’ version of Ginger somehow makes it off the island.
There are no surprises in my last two choices. Who else could play the Skipper but the man, the myth, the legend, Steve Hemmingsen? He was born to play the role…and not just in the girth department. Seemingly always in charge yet prone to fumbling simple tasks, Hemmingsen has always been the heart of the channel. Even in retirement, his online presence receives more promotion than anybody outside of the weather department, and he’s still trotted out during important moments such as elections and cataclysmic weather situations…although his on-air clothing somehow keep getting more and more ill-suited.
Finally, we get to the star of the show. The Skipper’s little buddy can be nobody except for our favorite little thespian, Mr. Shawn Cable. It’s a role he was born to play. Poor little Gilligan, who means so well but somehow always manages to screw up the Professor’s latest, greatest idea to get off the island. The hardest-working, most eager beaver on the island. It just has to be Mr. Cable.
Although it appears I’m finished, I must find some spots for other KELO staffers. How about Jay Trobec as that Coast Guard voice that’s heard whenever the Professor invents a radio made out of two coconuts? Or Andy Harvey as the native islander who occasionally terrorizes the cast? We could put Travis Fossing and Lou Raguse in gorilla suits. For sweeps week, the Sioux Falls Skyforce could somehow end up on the island just like the Harlem Globetrotters. Wouldn’t that be Must-See TV?

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Truth About the 72-Hour Exception

Originally found on Crooks and Liars, the full story is atMajikthise

Feminist blogger denied emergency contraception, gets pregnant (Can she sue, hivemind?)
Last month, feminist blogger Biting Beaver wrote about a nightmarish experience she'd had with a broken condom and a callous medical system that refused to give her emergency contraception over the counter or by prescription.

Instead of getting medical care during the critical 72-hour window of opportunity, BB was stalled, humiliated, scorned, quizzed, and deceived. A nurse tried to tell her that EC was "the abortion pill" other healthcare providers grilled her about her sexual history and her marital status. Her pharmacy wouldn't sell it to her OTC, her doctor wouldn't call in a prescription, and the local emergency rooms wouldn't give her a 'scrip because she wasn't raped or married.

Pat yourself on the back, culture of life, Biting Beaver is pregnant and she's getting death threats.

The question on everyone's mind tonight is whether a woman could sue a doctor for denying her EC. BB never got to see a doctor because she got the hermetically sealed medical run-around: Her family doctor told her to go to the ER, but when she called the ERs the nurses discouraged her from coming in to see the doctor. No doubt the entire process was engineered so that no one would be held responsible if BB should end up with a serious medial problem (i.e., pregnacy). BB never got to see a doctor, so no doctor was ever in the position to say "I know you have no contraindications, but I won't give you the medicine."

But suppose a doctor examined a patient and ascertained that she had no contraindications and still denied her EC. Could that woman sue if she got pregnant?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Avoid the Geeks!!!

A week ago, I rambled on and on (and on and on) about the seven days of pure hell that I had just gone through. This piece of self-deprecation resulted in quite a few responses, public and private, and I’d like to thank those people who offered words of support (and a screw you to those who weren’t so positive).
To recap, besides a car accident and freak hamstring injury caused by my dog’s idiocy, I dropped my laptop at Black Sheep Coffee. After learning that it would probably take over three weeks just to get an estimate of the damages and that it likely would cost over five hundred bucks, I opted to purchase a new laptop. The fine folks at the Geek Squad were supposed to copy over 60 gigs of audio, video, and picture files (along with articles for Prime, Etc. and this website) to my new computer, but the prematurely-balding moron only copied a handful of items from my desktop.
The story doesn’t end there. After my appearance on KRRO last Wednesday morning, I took my old computer to PC Fixer at 15th and Minnesota. I asked them to see if the laptop could be salvaged, and regardless, I wanted a written estimate for insurance purposes. I also requested that they take a look at the hard drive to see if there was any possibility to save my old data.
Instead of three weeks, they had an estimate for me within two hours. The only damage to the old computer was to the monitor, and they actually had the part in stock for less than half of what my pals at the Geek Squad told me. There was also no damage to the hard drive. I told them to fix that sucker up, and I’d use it as a second computer in my bedroom.
Late that afternoon, the work was completed, and I happily picked it up. I headed over to the scene of the original crime, Black Sheep Coffee, and proceeded to fire it up.
Immediately, I had a clue that my problems were not quite over. The system loaded up fine, but it didn’t look right. My background had defaulted back to the generic Gateway logo, and only about half of the desktop items loaded. Any program I attempted to open would go through the install process…and my worst nightmare seemed to come true as all of the My Documents folders were empty.
But something not only confused me but gave me a little bit of hope. If I clicked on My Computer and looked at the details of the folder, the size of the drive was approximately as it was before my problems began. My hard drive had almost 90 gigs of data.
Yet the majority of this material could not be found. I looked everywhere, and clicked on seemingly a million folders to see if somehow everything had been moved somewhere. Nothing.
After a phone call to my pals at PC Fixer, I took the computer back to their store. Analyzing the hard drive, they found that indeed the material was still there. After one attempt to move everything back to their original spots failed, the entire hard drive was moved onto a remote server, and manually moved back to my computer.
Finally, the machine is up and running as good as it ever has. All of my rare Replacements, Dylan, Wilco, and Jayhawks concerts are ready for me to archive on CD and DVD (which I will be doing real soon). Same with my assassination attacks on public officials and weather practitioners, the couple of dozen of tracks I’ve bought from Itunes, and the photos I’ve taken at concerts, family gatherings, and tawdry barroom gatherings. I’m almost a happy camper.
Before leaving PC fixer for hopefully the last time, I asked my new best friends what went wrong. How and why did this happen? It seems that for some strange reason, my least favorite Geek Squad counter person sabotaged my computer. Instead of performing the duties he was contracted to perform, he did just barely enough work to justify the charges I had already paid. He then somehow created a hidden admin account that contained the folders in question. This account showed up nowhere; only an expert like my new best friends at a real computer repair shop could possibly find them.
Here’s my tip to anybody and everybody. If you can possibly help it, don’t use Geek Squad for any non-warranty work. I understand more than anybody that there are advantages to the convenience of taking your problems to Best Buy, but computers are tricky pieces of hardware. Who would you rather have work on the expensive items you own – educated experts who have devoted their career to working on computers, or barely-above minimum wage glorified clerks who are just trying to get through another day at their dreary job. I think the answer is obvious.