Clever Name To Come Later

Clever Name To Come Later

Wednesday, March 20, 2002

Campaign Finance Reform Loophole

I'm not a lawyer, but I play one on the Web ...

Much has been made of the prohibition of issue ads sixty days before elections, while the media is permitted -- as it clearly must be -- to editorialize as much as it wants. And that opens up a loophole big enough for anything.

Let's say I'm the CEO of Evil, Inc. and I'm rabidly, irrationally opposed to Joe B. Righteous, the leading candidate for Senator in my state. I'm willing to empty my company's coffers to defeat Righteous. What do I do?

I start a newspaper ... and advertise it on TV

"Read the Evil Times to get the low-down on Joe B. Righteous! You'll find out that he refuses to tell our reporters when he stopped beating his wife! You'll gasp to learn that he was once -- and may still be -- a ... Thespian!"

I admit that the subterfuge is utterly transparent ... but a newspaper's a newspaper, and a newspaper clearly must have the ability to advertise.

In fact, why should one have to go to the expense of printing a newspaper? Why not just advertise a blog?

If any real lawyer reads this, I'll be interested to learn if there are any countermeasures available to those who will have to enforce CFR.

posted by vepxistqaosani 2:44 PM

Monday, March 18, 2002

Just one more for now.

My children are privileged to attend public schools in Hamilton Township, New Jersey, where education is our absolute, top-most, number-one priority -- so long as it doesn't cost too much. It's my blog, and I get to ride whatever hobby horse I want.

One of my daughters is in 4th grade and therefore about to take the ESPA test. ESPA is "Elementary School Proficiency Assessment." Here's a sample question, with answer, from the New Jersey Department of Education:

3. Using the digits 1 - 7 only once, what is the largest even number you can make with a 5 in the thousands place?
A. 7,654,321 B. 7,654,312 C. 7,645,312 D. 7,435,216
The correct answer is B.

Those of you who are even more mathematically adept that the geniuses in our education department will have noticed that the correct answer is C.

This error has been up, I guess, since the ESPA test was created about five years ago.

Need I say more?

posted by vepxistqaosani 1:56 PM

I guess if I'm going to get linked by the formidable Instapundit, I'd better start putting more good content on this blog. Well, more content, anyway.

Yesterday, I had my debut as a hymnodist. My church's choir sang a hymn for which I wrote the words and our music director, Cliff Bohnson, the music. (I'll figure out how to post an audio file later, if Cliff doesn't mind.) I hope to do better later, but here's my first attempt at a hymn:

I have felt shadows of your love;
  Life has no sweeter part.
Yet I leave you at ev’ry turn:
  I am not master of my heart.
    Lord, save me from myself.

A true and inner voice says you
  Should be my only goal.
Yet all things else entrance me more:
  I am not master of my soul.
    Lord, save me from myself.

Though I do fear both pain and death,
  And wish to endure no ill,
Yet there’s one thing that I most fear:
  I am not master of my will.
    Lord, save me from myself.

And while I'm unloading verse on to the unsuspecting masses, here's a pseudosonnet I wrote my wife this past Valentine's day (I'm too cheap to buy flowers, and she doesn't eat chocolate):

Did fortune smile and open every door,
  Were we served our food on plates of gold,
or if the servants drove us to and fro --
  Do not suppose that I could love you more.

If every room were piled high with mess,
  were we to grow incredibly obese,
or if we lost our hair, our minds, our teeth --
  do not suppose that I could love you less.

And though we seem an ordinary pair,
  who've balanced good and ill and gain and loss,
who worry over children and things' costs --
   do not suppose there's any love more rare.

Who cares that constant love is out of fashion?
I always doubted doubt did much for passion.

I haven't seen much verse on blogs; we'll see if this garners any protest. Send 'em to vepxistqaosani -at-, where I'll probably ignore 'em.

posted by vepxistqaosani 1:40 PM

Over at Instapundit, Glenn Reynolds is concerned about anti-gay bias as evidenced in the Roman Catholic Church's sex scandals. He asks, "...if sex with 16-year-olds is child abuse only if it's gay sex, then how, exactly, is the outrage-differential distinguishable from simple prejudice against gays? Am I missing something here?"

Well, yes. Let me begin by referencing the late gay Christian scholar, John Boswell, who wrote a tendentious book twenty years ago called Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality: Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century.

[Aside: Boswell's argument is that, since there is no word that unambiguously means "homosexuality" in Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic, homosexuality (and therefore homosexual acts) could not have been condemned in the Bible. He makes this silly argument by drawing on books in -- by my count -- fourteen languages and on his encyclopaedic knowledge of ancient times. An amazing misapplication of genuinely impressive scholarly resources.]

One of the high points of Boswell's book is a discussion of (what is usually thought of as) Paul's condemnation of homosexuality in Romans 1:26-27: For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet [KJV]. Boswell's interpretation hinges on the words here translated as against nature: he argues that Paul simply means that people who are heterosexual by nature should not indulge in homosexual acts (and, of course, vice versa).

Thus, homosexual acts between men and older boys are especially wrong when those young boys are not by nature homosexual, which is likely to be the usual case, as homosexuals only make up 1 to 3 percent of the population.

Second, such homosexual acts are especially abhorrent because of the extra level of sexual hypocrisy involved. Men who become Roman Catholic priests vow to uphold the teachings of their church, which include the notion that homosexual acts are always sinful, while allowing that (some) heterosexual acts are (sometimes) tolerable.

posted by vepxistqaosani 12:35 PM

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Who or what is vepxistqaosani? The hero of the medieval Georgian epic, The Knight in Panther Skin by Shota Rustaveli. You could look it up ... use the spelling ვეფხისტყაოსანი to see it in Georgian. And why use an unspellable and unpronounceable moniker? Just for fun ... and to do a little to popularize Georgian culture beyond the Caucasus.