Blues for Mai Cramer


Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), an ardent Constitutionalist, to fight Homeland Security Bill

"The powers began coming back to this end of the avenue because of the sordid actions on the part of the Nixon administration," said Byrd.

"You have got to remember that some of these people in this administration were part of the Nixon administration and the Ford administration that followed it. They saw those powers come this way and they probably are chafing still about it and they want to see those powers brought back to the other end of the avenue."

Vice President Cheney served under Nixon in the Office of Economic Opportunity and later became chief of staff to President Gerald Ford. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld also served as director of the Office of Economic Opportunity under Nixon and preceded Cheney as Ford's chief of staff. Rumsfeld left as Ford's top aide to become secretary of Defense.
--Roll Call, July 12, 2002

Netstock: The Global Village is Finally Wired

"Learn to navigate the computer net, or be relegated to the second tier of the future -- a shopper. ``Interactive TV'' will restrict your choices to which movies you'll watch and which ATM account to debit for those cubic zirconias.

True ``interactivity'' allows you to generate content from a keyboard, to send and receive. Not only celebrities get ``microphones.'' You too have a voice."
Sheila Lennon, 1994






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July 13, 2002

Every parent should live so long: Hung out with (grown) daughter Casey this afternoon, and then we all met her neighbor and friend Oz at the Hot Club, a little joint on the water, then came back to our porch.

Casey was doing a crossword puzzle, reading the clues and we all pitched in. After I guessed one, she burst out, "I was just thinking, 'I'm so glad she's my mom, she taught me so much.' "

Hang in there, parents of younger kids. It gets great.

July 12, 2002

July 17 Public Workshop
on Digital Entertainment and Rights Management
comments page link

Go there and make your case.

Comments are enabled; email works, too

Reflections: As I've puttered and potted and cleaned and read and hung with friends, threads have been spinning around in the background. Ideas and observations weave in and out. Today, I'm going to give them a linear life. This is not the usual pointy blog.

It's two long posts: My Generation 2, just below, and Libido, pregnant horses, geezer sex and risk.

My Generation 2: Paul Andrews responded to a July 6 post headlined "My generation" with a thought of his own: "I've often wondered what happened to all those people I marched with in San Francisco, New York and D.C. during the Vietnam mobilizations. I hope like Sheila that they're all still out there, waiting to be awakened."

I flashed back to college, where the most popular major in my class of '68 was poli sci. Practical idealists, many wanted to run for office and change the system; others would be storefront lawyers, using their skills to help the disenfranchised rather than to enrich themselves.

Most didn't go into politics after all, having little stomach for the lifestyle -- daily wakes -- or the dealmaking or the endless scrutiny. (Everybody had inhaled.) One storefront lawyer found that his only paying clients were Colombian drug dealers, and he fled to the public defender's office.

The former "freaks" I know -- in the East, we were more like the introspective beats than the flamboyant Haight hippies -- haven't changed their values much. New Englanders don't seem to have kids who write about growing up in free-love communes, crazy rootless kids who now say wanted the lives they saw in TV family sitcoms. (Back in '71 we did wonder if our kids would rebel by becoming stockbrokers.)

Eventually -- we'll skip the failed attempts -- nearly everybody found a quiet corner and built a life there.

The system absorbed us, and sometimes became more like us. The happiest of us found a life's work, others found work they tolerate that supports rich private lives. They're public defenders, teachers, doctors, programmers, midwives, carpenters, gardeners, librarians, writers, journalists, artists, nurses, musicians, photographers, builders. They tend to work in the trades and professions and services; some in unions. Nobody's in marketing, making money for its own sake.

We're debtors to our mortgages and home equity loans. The 401ks we counted on to pay it all off won't likely be there to do that. We pay the taxes that make up the shortfall left by who-knows-how-many Andersen customers and fat companies registered in the Bahamas. Greed, power, corruption seem intertwined at the highest levels -- again. Who dares speak for what's right when what rules is what makes money?

Meanwhile, CEOs who ran good companies into the ground pocket millions and leave their employees, communities and stockholders and our 401ks to take the loss.

We're still asking what kind of society creates scarcity for most of its population (and the possibility of a "rainy day" at any moment for all). What would a world without money be like?

Forbes publishes the names and "worth" of 497 billionaires from Bill Gates at $52.8 bil to the Zobel de Ayala family of the Philippines, barely grazing $1 bil.

In 1994, I published Netstock (excerpt in the Quote at left), which went out on the N.Y. Times wire and, in 1995, Whole Earth Catalogue founder Stewart Brand published The real legacy of the sixties generation is the computer revolution in Time magazine. Neither of us foresaw the cozy influence on government of a few corporate distributors who want to corner the market on everybody's work by regulating how we distribute our common culture.

It's too late to try to force the digital file into the trucks, like CDs. There only needs to be one copy. Why not just change the way artists and distributors are compensated? And remember, in the world of peer-to-peer file sharing the customers are distributors. Factor that.

From Slashdot today:

Coble-Berman Bill Would Restrict Fair Use
The CourtsPosted by michael on Friday July 12, @10:38AM
from the fair-what? dept.

Amazing Quantum Man writes " is reporting on the new Berman-Coble copyright bill. This bill is a two-edged sword. It would make life easier for webcasters, but it would restrict fair use. Interestingly, according to the article, Berman allegedly opposes the bill that has his name on it as a sponsor! I don't think it's on Thomas yet, but Politech has a copy of the bill (2.1M PDF)." The report which the memorandum attached to the bill refers to is online. Congress is making an effort to reconcile traditional copyright law with the realities of digital copying; there's no telling whether the end product will be something tolerable or not.

"An' here I sit so patiently waiting to find out what price you have to pay to get out of going through all these things twice." (Dylan)

I didn't think the soundtrack of my youth would keep playing my whole life. My grandson asks for The Beatles from his car seat.

Nobody asked me if I wanted my car radio to play only somebody else's focus-grouped choices: moldies, blowsy female singers, sons of MC5, nervous jazz and the violent percussion of gangsta rap.

The people born just before WW2 weren't bombarded with How Much Was That Doggy In The Window?, The Tennessee Waltz or "When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, 'at's amore" their whole lives.

Let everybody hear all the new music. The fragmentation that has given us dozens of TV channels -- including public access channels -- needs to happen in music too.

Give the musicians a free market. Let us make our own audio choices on the peer-to-peer networks established by Shawn Fanning's Napster and furthered by so many others. Add a tip jar to each master audio file, and we'll vote our own top 40s with our micropayments.


Libido, pregnant horses, geezer sex and risk

"Researchers abruptly halted a major federal study of hormone replacement therapy --- used by tens of millions of American women --- because the drugs create what they consider an unacceptable risk for breast cancer, heart disease, strokes and blood clots. The study found women taking a combination of estrogen and progestin are at increased risks that outweigh the benefits of the hormones, which were found to reduce the risks of colon cancer and hip fractures. " -- Atlanta Journal-Consitution

For most of the women who took HRT, it was never about warding off hip fractures or heart disease. There are other meds for hot flashes, and its effectiveness in preventing heart disease was never studied. No mere preventative medicine would have become that popular anyway but, as a cover story, medical benefits beat awkward explanations. It was about libido.

HRT promised something like eternal youth, maybe even forever, although medical experts didn't expect women to take it for more than 5 or 10 years. Women did.

A dear friend, a smart, sophisticated "hot chick," exhaustively researched HRT, went to a renowned Boston women's hospital for it, got her libido back, stopped sweating on winter nights, got breast cancer, did chemo while withdrawing from the hormones, and presses on -- it's been a tough year.

I'm too much of an Earth Mother to mess with nature these days. I didn't like it that Prempro, the estrogen-and-progestin drug in the halted study, and Premarin, the estrogen-only version prescribed to women who have had hysterectomies, are made from the urine of mares kept constantly pregnant to keep their "factories" going, the resulting foals slaughtered. I briefly used a natural, wild-yam based estrogen plus progesterone cream, but it was a daily hassle and I tailed off. I decided to let my life play out its string without chemical curveballs.

When a young friend bluntly asked my 62-year-old lover, who's never considered Viagra, if he had any problems getting it up, "cool guy Joe" said, "We just start rubbing together and let nature take its course. Pretty soon, things heat up." Works for me.

You don't ever stop being a sexual person. Don't let 'em scare you.

But, as always, it's your choice: Lorraine O'Connor, 72-year-old blogger, has been taking Premarin for 32 years, and loves it. An article in the U.K. Guardian, "Why it is worth taking the risk" is written by Claire Rayner, who developed breast cancer after 20 years on HRT. She does not regret taking the drug - and has no intention of giving up.

Bizarrely, ABC reports, "A lot of patients are asking for a hysterectomy now so they can quit their progesterone," said Dr. Louann Brizendine, director of the Women's Mood and Hormone Clinic at the University of California, San Francisco.

One last word about HRT. I wasn't sure where Premarin fell in the list of most prescribed drugs. A Google search turned up this context:

"In 1990 Ms. Cox (Carrie Cox is Executive Vice President and President of Pharmacia's Global Prescription Business group) joined Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, a division of American Home Products, where she was appointed Vice President of Women's Health Care. She held that position until 1997, and was credited with driving the company's hormone replacement franchise to blockbuster status and for making Premarin a 50-year-old hormone replacement product the most prescribed drug in the United States."



See it and say it

After watering the backyard flowers yesterday, I wanted to photograph myself in the mirror ball; I squatted and focused, then stood up, trying to keep the camera low. It worked, except that I'd tripped the autoflash. Those are water droplets on the ball. This
is a detail of the photo below. (enlarge)

The actual photo. (enlarge)

Related: Garden Blog
I found 58 Square Feet today, the weblog and journal of a (small) garden in the city. They seem to be out in the garden lately.

DOGMA 2000
The point :-->
The manifesto :-->
The dogma :-->

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the rule is only in YOUR head
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