Posts from March 22, 2004

Type A tax

Type A tax
: You think it’s easy being a Type A? Well, it’s not.

So this morning, I was driving my kid to school with a project too big for the bus (in their minds, kids have standards for carry-on baggage stricter than the airlines’) and I needed (well, “needed” is pushing it) to go to Starbucks to get my coffee and who-know-how-old scone.

My kids hate it when I go to Starbucks (and my wife eggs them on) and so it’s my fault when they’re slow.

I run in this morning with not a minute to spare and, damn, I see a slow guy on the register. The slow guys are all the same: They have the look of “retired” corporate vice-presidents. Post Peter Principle. These are guys who had secretaries to run their lives for years and now they can’t chew gum and run a register at the same time.

I’m crazed. And it doesn’t help that everybody in front of me is putting in orders harder to make than weapons of mass destruction. It also doesn’t help that they ran out of coffee. Hey, fools, it’s Starbucks! It’s your whole job: making coffee. How can you run out?

Drip. Drip. Drip. Crazed. I’m crazed.

I have my money in my hands. I know how much the coffee and scone and Times costs: $4.66. I get my coffee in hand and shove the money at the VP of slow and dash out, figuring that I’d just tipped him 34 cents for slow service.

I get my kid to school on time. Life is fine.

And then, a mile later, in traffic — crazed again — I realize: I didn’t hand him $5. I handed him $10. I gave the Slowman a $5.34 tip for being slow.

Now I’m really crazed.

You’ll be glad to know that I drink decaf.

Dumb mobs

Dumb mobs
: Amy Langfield is also offended by Rev. Billy’s nonsensical and stupid use of the sacred ground of the World Trade Center for his event. Amy and I are both in favor of the First Amendment and wouldn’t stop him. But because of the First Amendment, we’re both free to think he’s an utter twit.

The Daily Stern

The Daily Stern
: FINALLY, THE BANDWAGON FILLS UP: Frank Rich sums it all up in the Sunday NY Times:

f we lived in Afghanistan under the Taliban, perhaps it might make sense that Janet Jackson’s breast (not even the matched set!) would lead to one of the most hysterical outbreaks of Puritanism in recent, even not-so-recent, American history. So what gives?

: IT SPREADS: The FTC — apparently jealous of all the attention the FCC is getting — is getting into the business of regulating media and speech, aka censorship. On the official Federal Trade Commission site, they announce:

The Federal Trade Commission has expanded its consumer complaint handling system to categorize and track complaints about media violence, including complaints about the advertising, marketing, and sale of violent movies, electronic games (including video games), and music. The expanded complaint system, implemented in response to Congressional directives, will enable the Commission to track consumer complaints about media violence and identify issues of particular concern to consumers.

Another line. Who draws it. And where do they draw it?

I might just complain that Mel Gibson didn’t adequately advertise the extent of the violence of The Passion and masqueraded an offensively violent film as religion, which is downright blasphemous, which would be profane, which would make it a matter now for the FCC, eh?

Absurd? Well who’s to say what’s absurd and what’s obscene (and what’s violent)?

: Jack Balkin joins in with Yale Law School colleague Ernie Miller to marvel at the FCC’s expansion of its authority in its ruling against the F-word last week. Says Jack:

Of course, any decision to expand broadcast profanity to include hate speech would be highly politically charged, and therefore is likely to lead to accusations of political favoritism and censorship on the part of the FCC. But the decision to punish the F-world but not the N-word is itself hardly politically neutral…. My advice to the FCC would be to stop now before they completely f*** things up.

: PREVIOUS DAILY STERN POSTS: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here.

The Daily Stern: A complaint to the FCC

The Daily Stern: A complaint to the FCC
: I sat down and wrote a letter to Michael Powell, head of the FCC, to see how easy it would be to use the FCC’s own words to argue that if they fine Howard Stern, they must fine Oprah Winfrey. Piece of cake. Not sure I’ll send it, though; I don’t really want to stoke the FCC’s stove with complaints. But you can send it if you want. Powell’s address is The letter:

Mr. Michael Powell:

I write to file a complaint against the Oprah Winfrey Show that aired across the nation on Thursday, March 18, 2004 with explicit sexual and excretory references.

Let me make clear that I strongly oppose the FCC and government attempting to regulate speech; it is, I firmly believe, a violation of the First Amendment. I consequently strongly oppose the FCC’s imposition of fines against the Howard Stern Show on Thursday, March 18. On the same matter of principle, I also would oppose the imposition of fines against the Oprah Winfrey Show.

However, what was said on the Winfrey show — on the very same day that you imposed fines against Stern — is quite equivalent. If you fine Stern, it seems clear that you must fine Winfrey. If you do not fine Winfrey, then it seems equally clear that you must rescind the fines against Stern. The speech is virtually identical. The only difference is the speaker.