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NEXTopia

Welcome to NEXTopia, a Web diary in which NEXT writers — and readers — share their evolving thoughts on a variety of issues. The opinions you read below are those of the individual writers, not necessarily those representing The Seattle Times.
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Christina Asavareungchai
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Sharon Altaras
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Drew Avery
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Althea Cawley-Murphree
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Camille Coldeen
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Chris Collins
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Dana Dibble
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Karan Gill
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Randy Henderson
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Gavin Hesse
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John Hieger
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Hana Kawai
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Anne Kim
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Kailani Koenig-Muenster
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Brent Ludeman
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Nate Robinson
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April Seipp
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W. John Schroder
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Daniel Thies
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Colleen Pohlig
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Robert Hernandez
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Tracy Cutchlow
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Eric Devericks
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James Blethen
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Boo Davis
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Carlin Pressnall
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March 31, 2004

Re: It's global, stupid

A reader responds to "It's global, stupid:"

... it has been stated that by 2010, two workers will be retiring for every person entering the workforce. It does not take a math major to figure out that that means there will be a lot of jobs needing workers as we reach the end of the decade. The glut of excess jobs will either force more immigration to the United States, OR, it will force more outsourcing to other countries.

Randy Henderson responds:

True, but what kind of jobs will we have? Other countries and states continue to exceed us in vital investments and results in education and research. They will be creating the skilled workers and future technologies or industries, not us. So rather than attracting and building the hot new companies, Washington will have a glut of fry cook positions.

Further, this also means that one worker will now be supporting the medical and social security costs of two or more retirees. We need to (sadly) extend the age limit for full retirement benefits, as well as improve the efficiency and costs of our health care delivery systems, and create high-paying jobs and industries here.

Otherwise, we will be working two jobs to make today's wages, and fewer workers will just mean we have a better selection of second crappy jobs.

We do need to invest in developing countries, and allowing outsourcing does help create labor and trade partners rather than angry terrorists and starving children. But we must also invest in ourselves.

It's rarely wise to quit your job if you don't have something else already lined up. Likewise, it isn't wise to outsource our jobs if we don't have something else, something new and hopefully better, lined up for our workers. That requires investments in our future that Washington just isn't making.

Written by Randy Henderson of NEXT

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Posted by Colleen Pohlig at 04:07 PM


March 30, 2004

Re: Kerry tax cut

Nigel once again over-generalizes. Go figure. Kerry's proposal for a cut in corporate tax rates is not a "tax cut for the wealthy," as Bush's tax cuts have been characterized. Just as "read my lips" Bush Sr. increased some taxes, so too Dems can lower some taxes. It's all part of the great economic shell game.

Further, you must look at the motive and method behind the cuts. Kerry is not cutting social programs needed by the poor and working families to fund this corporate tax cut as a Republican might do, nor is he also giving a disproportionate tax cut to wealthy individuals at the expense of working families.

He is paying for this tax cut, at least in part, by reducing the tax incentives for corporations to ship jobs overseas. In other words, he is giving a corporate tax cut by reducing a harmful corporate tax incentive. And his logic for doing this (election ploy or not) is to create or retain more jobs for Americans.

This has echoes of "trickle down" economics, I suppose. But the many corporate tax cuts and incentives given by Reagan, Bush, and Bush Jr that were supposed to trickle down to us instead contributed more to the moving of jobs overseas and a rapid, unbalanced increase in the salaries and bonuses of executives than actual job creation, whereas Kerry's corporate tax strategy is a little more targeted, at least in intent.

Written by Randy Henderson of NEXT.

Respond to this posting

Posted by Colleen Pohlig at 04:41 PM


Re: It's global, stupid

Chris is right that it is a positive thing that we are helping families in developing countries find work. I will even go one step further to say I find it regrettable that the Dems are using the fear of unemployment in much the same way the Bush campaign is exploiting the fear of terrorism to gain votes.

Unfortunately, studies have shown that voters react to issues and candidates more on emotional issues than on logic or facts. So the mud slinging and the emotional manipulation is underway.

Truthfully, the economy started to slide during Clinton's tenure. But Bush, rather than doing what was necessary to fix the problem, went ahead anyway with tax cuts that mostly favored the wealthy and that were originally promised on a vision of huge budget surpluses. Economic studies attribute about 2% of our current economic recovery to the tax cuts, and note that even that small boost is a short-term one. In the meantime, we have record deficits and national debt, and continued unemployment.

But see, that doesn't come over as well as Bush is selling out America.

Further, we do in fact need to do a better job on domestic growth and job creation rather than allowing and often encouraging corporations to ship jobs and factories overseas where the labor is cheap and they can poison those workers' air, soil and water more freely. We need more balanced trade, a reformation of our current habit of subsidizing farmers and manufacturers to undercut fair competition from developing countries, and intensive investment in local research and job creation.

We will be better able to help the poor and starving of the world when we don't have thousands of Americans struggling below the poverty line. We need to help others in a way that doesn't hurt ourselves. That's not selfish, it is global, smart.

Written by Randy Henderson of NEXT.

Respond to this posting

Posted by Colleen Pohlig at 04:37 PM


Re: Dissenting views

As will occasionally happen, I must agree with Nigel. Characterizing Bush as Satan or Hitler does more to hurt the credibility of the person saying so than somehow sticks it to Bush or Republicans. Besides, Bush couldn't be Satan or Hitler, since both of these figures were evil and smart. Bush is neither. He is just an incredibly average man born with the right name at the right time who has made a bunch of sadly predictable mistakes.

On the other hand, Nigel once again shows his own bad habit of over-generalizing. John does not represent the entire "party of tolerance and diversity." John represents himself, and while other Democrats may agree with much of the feeling or thought behind his words, just as often they may not.

As far as the Democrats for Bush, this is no big deal, nor a surprise. Republicans and Democrats both have been known to change sides, or go independent, even over issues much less polarizing than war.

So a couple of Dems "support" Bush because they think he kicks butt, and a few Republicans either oppose or simply don't support Bush because of his fiscal irresponsibility, his international policies, or his extremist approach to issues like homosexual marriage. That's not a sign that Bush is somehow great or evil, just that people have opinions.

Written by Randy Henderson of NEXT.

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Posted by Colleen Pohlig at 04:31 PM


March 29, 2004

Dissenting views

Let me get this straight, John. So when I even utter a word of support for our president, I’m labeled as a sheep mindlessly following the party line. But when a Democrat doesn’t “mindlessly follow the Democrat Party line,” he’s a “sellout?”

So much for the party of tolerance and diversity.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the only instance of that. Justice Clearance Thomas, an African-American who many liberals think is supposed to vote in a liberal fashion because of his skin color, dares to break with his race and votes in a conservative way and all of a sudden he’s constantly labeled as a racist and an “Uncle Tom.”

And now not only is Bush the equivalent of Adolph Hitler, but he is now apparently also the equivalent of Satan. Satan? I may not like many Democrats as my political leaders, but I certainly don’t think they’re Satan. I’m not going to vote for Senator Kerry when President Bush is on the ballot, but he’s certainly not as bad as Hitler.

Oh, and by the way, I wouldn’t class Senator Zell Miller, someone who won his last election with 58% of the vote against six other candidates (an unbelievably high percentage considering the number of opponents he had) and former 2-term governor as a “political burnout.”

Nor would I call Senator Tim Sheldon, the Chair of the Economic and Development Committee, the ranking member of the Land, Use & Planning Committee, a dedicated public servant since 1986, and someone who only a year and half ago won 78% of the vote a “political burnout” or “illegitimate” as you seem to think.

Just because you don’t like someone’s vote, it doesn’t mean they’re a Satanic, politically burnt-out sell out.

Respond to this posting

Posted by Nigel Stark at 03:15 PM


It's global, stupid

I just saw an anti-Bush ad admitting that the president has created new jobs during his tenure in the White House, but: “unfortunately [the new jobs have] been in places like China,” the ad complains. The ad says Bush is disregarding the interests of Americans and that he is the wrong man to head the executive branch: “It’s time to make America work--for every American.”

How disconcertingly nationalistic is that?

Think about it: In this global society where we are trying to create a cooperative world that actually cares about the person half way around the world. Shouldn’t we be glad that our internationally interconnected economy is giving mothers and fathers a chance to improve their lives and the lives of their family members if they can rightly compete for the job?

Besides, this liberalized economic policy (i.e. not economic protectionism) will help everyone in the long run.

So there are two reasons this ad should be rightly criticized: It’s economically selfish and it’s bad economics.

Respond to this posting

Posted by Chris Collins at 02:54 PM


March 26, 2004

Re: Dems for Bush

I'm sure Chris Collins is tickled to document the phenomenon known as Democrats for Bush or more appropriately, Sellouts for Satan.

While I'm sure this movement is huge and gaining tons of momentum among confused suckers who don't understand the Iraq mess was a product of Bush's agenda since day one. I sincerely doubt this movement is much more than an
effort by a couple of political burnouts to disgrace themselves before they fade into obscurity.

Senator Zell Miller, D-Ga., will find himself rallying a lonely cause as there will
be few, if any legitimate Democrats inspired by the tired Republican anthem that only the right cares about national defense. Sure, Bush spearheaded this nation into an occupational mess, but that doesn't prove anything other than the fact that he is a restless meathead.

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Posted by John Hieger at 04:37 PM


Kerry tax cut

According to CNBC, a major part of John Kerry’s new economic plan, if elected President, is to cut the corporate tax rate by 5%. I find this very surprising, considering Kerry and the DNC have spent the last 3 years saying that President Bush is just a tool of rich corporations. I guess corporate tax cuts are only gifts to the rich when a Republican proposes them. Go figure.

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Posted by Nigel Stark at 04:27 PM


March 25, 2004

Dems for Bush

We hear so much about Republican criticism and Democratic haranguing of Bush’s foreign and domestic policies. But believe it or not, blogger Matt Rosenberg points out on Rosenblog.com that the
“Democrats for Bush” movement is alive and well.

U.S. Sen. Zell Miller, D-Ga., led a rally in Washington, D.C., Wednesday criticizing fellow senator John Kerry for diverging from a supposed longstanding tradition of Democratic staunchness on political issues. Specifically, Kerry’s insistance that more U.N. “dithering diplomats” (as Miller calls them) should have decided U.S. involvement in Iraq is “the wrong kind of leadership” on Kerry’s part, Miller said.

Locally, Sen. Tim Sheldon (D-35th) is rallying a new group called "Democrats
and Independents for Bush." He tells The Olympian : “I'm trying to say it's OK to be a Democrat and to be very concerned about national defense. I think this is going to be the most important issue in this campaign.”

It looks like a few moderate Democrats out there and around here want to make sure the national secuirty debate goes beyond “Wage peace,” and “Impeach Bush.”

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Posted by Chris Collins at 01:24 PM


March 23, 2004

Stop the FCC

Anyone interested in protesting baby Powell's Crusade on indeceny should take a look at this web site: www.StopFCC.com

In this era of mass-media consolidation, where 11 companies control most newspapers, radio stations and TV outlets in America, it's important to remember whose controlling the messages that the majority of us receive. While the destruction of our freedom of speech is well underway, we can't hope for most in the mainstream media to get its act together and cover something more substantial than Laci Peterson or Kobe Bryant.

I read an interesting quote from Fox News chief Roger Ailes as to why his new channel doesn't report on significant social infringements (consolidation and environmental setbacks in particular) on the part of the government. His reply was, "We just don't cover it because it's not fast-breaking."

It's good to know the media, Fox in particular, are purposely avoiding real stories so we can get blasted with the mental pornography that is celebrity gossip. Nonsense, 24-7, fair and balanced.

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Posted by John Hieger at 08:47 AM


March 19, 2004

Music today

A reader responds:

So if anyone takes after Tipper Gore and objects to sleazy, tasteless, vulgar lyrics you label them as "uptight"? And yet, you want Americans to "raise their standards a little bit" and "invest a little prejudice" into their musical tastes. Doesn't that make us "uptight"? Which is it?

And why do we never expect the artists to take any responsibility for producing
that garbage? My motto for the entertainment industry: Give 'em an inch and they'll take a mile. Many performers have shown that they can't be trusted to govern themselves. Therefore, they may need to have some standards set for them.

John Hieger of NEXT answers:

Raising standards is a matter of collective intelligence. It doesn't require the government to hold our hands and tell us what their impression of expression should be. It means the consumer can differenciate between Limp Bizkit and Led Zeppelin, being able to recognize legitimacy in a sea of crap and forcing the market to drive itself towards credibility. It takes time but eventually it will happen.

As it stands today, Americans take what they give us and that's our fault, not theirs. We haven't forced the music industry to try harder because they don't
need to. We are in the 21st century's version of the late 70's early 80's--creative limbo.

One thing is for certain: we don't need the government telling us what's appropriate. Since when has a panel of politicians ever produced anything reflecting an artistic contribution? It's not for them to decide, let the free market sort out what's legit and what isn't.

Ultimately, sleazy lyrics aren't the problem, bad music is. But we don't need laws to rectify the stagnant pond that is pop music. If anything, laws will stimey future artists who are looking to expand on the narrow direction of the art.

If another Nirvana or Cream came out tomorrow, all the current pop stars would go the way of Disco and become outdated jokes. All we need is fresh blood, not uptight regulations from people who don't like or understand music.

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Posted by Colleen Pohlig at 05:49 PM


Re: Stripperella

A reader's response:

Maybe Christina's point about Britney being a "bad" girl isn't because she may (or may not) masturbate, it's because she uses the supposed shock value of it to further her crass career.

Do what you want in your own home, but why the need to share it with the world? In Britney's own immortal words, "Is nothing sacred anymore?" No, Britney, partly in thanks to you, very little is sacred anymore!

Christina Asavareungchai of NEXT answers:

Exactly! This type of material is inappropriate for a public, young, impressionable audience - and highly ironic, considering Britney's own words.

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Posted by Colleen Pohlig at 05:37 PM


Obesity

A reader's response:

Why do we not hear about thin people that ruin their health by not eating properly? They teach their children bad eating habits--anorexia, fear of food, etc. Why do reporter's feel they have to generalize all this information? When I read this stuff, I see more ignorance about the real world.

Christina Asavareungchai of NEXT answers:

It's definitely true that thin people can have as many health problems as the severely obese. I'm a former competitive cross country runner, and have witnessed the ugly, terrible reality of anorexia. I've also seen less severe, but nonetheless frightening, forms of disordered eating patterns.

By blogging about obesity, I didn't intend to "generalize" or imply that obesity is the only weight-related illness suffered by Americans. There are a host of other illnesses affecting children, teens and adults; but obesity ranks the highest, killing 400,000 individuals in 2000.

Obesity is a serious and escalating problem, which is currently on the nation's radar. But this is not to say that other food-related illnesses are not equally as impacting on the individuals suffering from them.

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Posted by Colleen Pohlig at 05:26 PM


Re: Terrorism won this time

I hoped it wouldn't come to this, but I see that Nigel is touting the "America is safer" mantra. If that's the case, PROVE IT. You know, facts, reality, something tangible. How exactly are we safer?

The Republican standard answer is: There have been no terrorist attacks since America began its occupation of Iraq.

This argument totally sucks. Here's why: between 9-11 and the invasion of Iraq, about a year and a half, there were ZERO terrorist attacks on American soil. So exactly how has occupying Iraq made anything safer? It wasn't like Cleveland was bombed on 10-11 and then Miami got bombed a week after that and a pattern of bombings steadily occurred until the mighty Bush threw us into Iraq.

If that was the case, the Republican fear machine would have an argument.
Unfortunately, those plastic tigers are good at selling fear to suckers.

If Republicans feel so safe in America, why are their policies are guided by fear?

Written by John Hieger of NEXT

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Posted by Colleen Pohlig at 05:18 PM


Re: Terrorism won

Nigel, perhaps you should read my post again. I didn't say Kerry would be better at fighting terrorism. I said it is not automatically true that Bush is better (as you would argue), and I gave a couple of common and legitimate arguments to support that statement. And I said voters will have to decide for themselves. There's a big dif.

As for Kerry's voting record, at least he has one since he was serving our country while Bush was being party boy and a lousy businessman on the taxpayer's dime. His voting record beats Bush's presidential actions, especially on issues like the economy and environment, hands down.

And I fully expect any politician on the hill, Rep or Dem, to have anomalies in their voting record. That's politics. It's all about compromises and deals to try and get what you really want done, or not allowing others to take advantage of the system even when it hurts you. It sucks, but that's the way it is in the real world.

Regardless, Kerry has explained that he voted against those spending bills when the Republicans tried to attach their special little interests onto it. This is common politics. Oh, those flood victims need immediate relief? That's urgent and sure to pass, so let's attach some anti-abortion language on there. What, you voted against relief for flood victims? Look, Joe doesn't support flood victims!

And Kerry says he submitted subsequent requests for funding without the special interests, which the Reps killed. I have no wish to become Kerry's defendant, I am merely trying to ensure all sides are represented here.

Yes, I know you have opposed Bush on certain issues, like Mexican immigration policy. However, since I wasn't claiming you follow him on everything, again you are arguing with yourself, not me. I said you are doing a fine job of playing into the Bush fear-mongering strategy regarding terrorism, and you are.

Finally, you neatly avoided my point that you were complaining that the terrorists would try to influence our vote, and then recommended that if they attack we let it influence the way we vote by all automatically voting for Bush.

You'll make a fine conservative shock jock some day, raising imagined offenses, half-truths and circular logic, getting worked up over it, and then declaring righteous victory. But perhaps you should take more time to consider the facts if you are going to debate my posts please.

Written by Randy Henderson of NEXT

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Posted by Colleen Pohlig at 05:09 PM


March 18, 2004

Reaction to Spain

From a reader:

I'm utterly disgusted by the way many Americans have reacted to last week's bombings in Spain. True, the terrorists have managed to strike a victory in terms of their ability to influence a country's political process. However, I've read article after article blasting the Spanish people for not having the stomachs to continue on in Iraq. No wonder Americans are disliked so much abroad, if our media is any gauge of our national opinion.

First, the terrorists have been influencing our country more than any other. How else can you explain the Patriot Act, the color-coded "fear-o-meter" or the unwavering support for a president that is subpar in almost every way.

In fact, to prevent terrorists from influencing voters in our country, I propose a new amendment to be placed into effect as soon as possible. Any time it is deemed that there is a terrorist threat by the current administration, all elections will be immediately suspended. The current president will stay in power until our country is officially rid of the terrorist threat. All other elections will be decided by presidential appointment. It'd be better than letting the terrorists win by influencing American voters.

Written by Jason Tyler, a NEXTopia reader

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Posted by Colleen Pohlig at 06:00 PM


Terrorism and power

From a reader:

We have all heard how President Bush’s strongest issue for his upcoming election is his tough foreign policy that shows the rest of the world not to mess with the United States, and you are “with us or against us.” Evident by Spain’s recent election, they feel safer being “against us.”

We are starting to witness the failure of Bush’s foreign policy to bring together a multi-lateral world and which further alienates long time US allies. People of the world are so frustrated with the richest and most influential country’s leader, that they are voting for the anti-war and anti-American Socialist party.

The newly elected leader in Spain, Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, has been clear about his opposition of US foreign policy in announcing he would withdraw Spanish troops serving in Iraq if the UN does not take control by June 30th.

Now one of the strongest US allies will have a strain on their relations because the people of Spain have spoken with their ballots to elect a leader who strongly opposes President Bush’s reckless policies.

The misleading effects of the Iraq War have just begun when it comes to the loss of foreign allies, as one of Europe’s most influential countries has come out and said “you cannot organize a war with lies.”

If the people of Spain have spoken, it might be the start of different leaders who support Bush policies to lose in their upcoming elections. Tony Blair (Britain) and Silvio Berluseonin (Italy) might be next to lose because of their support of Bush’s foreign policy. Could we then lose these very important allies? I hope not.

I think Bush’s tough polices on this "war on terror" are his weakness because of the support we are losing around the world. Fear can only work for brief periods of time…then people want change. The train bombing in Spain has caused fear and panic in Spain. President Bush has used fear to bring support to his candidacy. But as evident of Spain’s elections, fear could bring a change even in American leadership…change that could save our country’s much needed foreign allies.

Written by Karan Gill, a NEXTopia reader

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Posted by Colleen Pohlig at 05:55 PM


Re: Terrorism won this time

I see that John Hieger and Randy Henderson have gotten the latest DNC talking points telling people to endlessly claim that anybody who supports the president even in the slightest way must be some stupid sheep who follows the president blindly and tows the party line religiously. Unfortunately, they must not have read many of my other articles, because I have spent plenty of time questioning Bush policies.

Randy and John must be under the impression that I’m pulling down a paycheck from the RNC or that I’m in on conference calls with the president and Karl Rove each morning so they can personally tell me what to argue that day. I’m flattered that Randy and John think I’m important enough to be getting such daily calls. Hate to burst your bubble but believe it or not, these thoughts are my own.

For some reason, Randy thinks Senator Kerry will be better at fighting terrorism. I see that the DNC talking points must have ignored the fact that Kerry has voted against dozens of funding proposals for the military and veterans and that his voting record paints a clear anti-military picture. That’s not to even mention Kerry’s support for gutting the CIA and other intelligence agencies.

If Kerry had his way in the 1990s, there would be no CIA today. Yet Randy thinks he’s better to fight terrorism. Interesting. Randy must still be stuck in the old paradigm that terrorism is a criminal justice matter, not a military matter. I thought decades of experience proved that wrong, but I guess there are still those closed minded liberals that refuse to look at evidence.

John also thinks that President Bush has been completely ineffective in fighting terrorism. Another interesting point of view. Maybe I was out of the country on these days, but I haven’t seen any more skyscrapers falling down in urban centers lately. In fact, I haven’t seen a single terrorist attack on US soil since 9/11. However, I have heard of dozens of attacks that have been thwarted.

I hate to remind John and Randy about a little thing called the US Constitution, but the #1 duty of the president is to protect America and its people. Seems to me like President Bush has done a fairly decent job at it so far.

But I guess that’s just me blindly and foolishly following the party line and not thinking for myself. By the way, Mr. Rove, I’m still waiting for my pay check, it must have been lost in the mail.

Written by Nigel Stark of NEXT

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Posted by Colleen Pohlig at 05:32 PM


Re: Terrorism won this time

Regarding Nigel Stark's "Terrorism won this time":

How Spain voted is a direct result of the terrorist attacks. The conservative party was on track to hold the prime minister position and remain in control of the Spanish equivalent of the U.S. Congress. Therefore, because there was such an obvious and unexpected voting shift, the Spanish did, in fact, allow the terrorists to dictate the vote.

If there wasn't a terrorist attack, the conservative (Popular) party would have remained in power. What the Spanish should have done is not only keep those with realistic views on terrorism in power, but they should have voted for more conservatives so that there would have been a greater contingent of leaders in Spain who could resolutely decry acts of terrorism instead of withdrawing from their troops from Iraq.

What will this do for Spain? It will take 1,300 lives out of harms way, that's true, and maybe it will even make Spain a less likely terrorist target since they seem to have gotten the not-so-subtle message from al Qaeda.

But in the long run, what will this do to the international community (including Spain)? It will set a precedent for how to effectively use terrorism to--well, terrorize. And if it works in Spain, why not Britain and other countries?

You can see where this is going. At the risk of sounding too rah-rah "go get the bad guys," I have to point out the obvious fact: you can't defeat terrorism by ignoring it.

Written by Chris Collins of NEXT

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Posted by Colleen Pohlig at 05:21 PM


March 17, 2004

No time to think

If you don't vote for Bush, you are probably having an affair with an Al Qaeda terrorist. Seriously, Bush has taken his college cheerleading skills to a new level full of propaganda--and Nigel Stark is obviously on board. To love America is to love everything Bush, no compromising ideals in Camp Patriot.

Oh, but those "foolish Spaniards" with their misguided votes and their sensitivity to large bombs in their urban centers, what wimps. If Bush was running that outdated superpower, we'd have another Inquisition and we'd drive the Arabs back to Morrocco. Who are the Spanish to question clumsy American policy when it puts death on their doorstep? If only they were like the modern Patriot and just agreed with everything Bush said, then they would have that terrorist problem wrapped up in a jiffy.

Wait a second, the American military is doing everything Bush wants them to and Al Qaeda is still effective. Hmmm...Does that mean Bush's war on terror is...worthless, misguided and mismanaged or just misunderstood? Must be that
last one.

It's starting to get a little complicated though--those nasty realities are almost enough to make a real American wonder about these policies. Wait..must be firm and unyielding....no time to think, must be firm...

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Posted by John Hieger at 03:22 PM


Re: Stripperella

Regarding John Hieger's blog on my recent column, he writes: "In response to the 'Stripperella' column on Britney Spears in Sunday's NEXT page, while I agree that America should be above corny, prepackaged marketing techniques when it comes to music, endorsing censorship is a step in the wrong direction."

I completely agree, and did not intend to endorse government censorship of artistic expression. I simply wanted to urge consumers--especially youth who make a hefty portion of music purchases--to raise their standards above the regurgitated, uninspired, empty lyrics of artists like Britney.

Hieger writes, “We've gotten culturally lazy.” Yes, we have. As a consumer group, youth tend to mistake consumer choice with consumer control. Consumer choice is having several CDs available in music stores or online; consumer control is having a say, a strong voice, in what artists actually produce through selective buying and boycotting. Youth should exercise consumer control more often.

The abundance of common, dime-a-dozen songs should not be mistaken for high quality, empowering music.

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Posted by Christina Asavareungchai at 03:15 PM


Re: Britney's She-Bop

In response to Randy Henderson’s recent blog, I want to clarify that Britney Spears is not a poor role model simply because she has one song about “sexual self-gratification,” although this is definitely a contributing factor.

The focus of my column on the NEXT page was not to judge whether this is good or bad, but simply that it is inappropriate, explicit content for many young listeners--along with lyrics about drugs and partying.

If I were a mother, I would not want my 9-year-old daughter to listen to Britney, or admire her. If I was a 9-year-old, fresh out of elementary school and pre-adolescent, I might not be able to understand Britney’s point of view, versus opposing points of view. Therefore, if I admired her in my limited state of childish self-awareness, I might blindly follow her example--without taking other traditional values into account.

True, several other artists that Henderson mentioned, “Prince, Cindy Lauper, the Vinyls and more,” sing about similar topics. But arguably, Britney has more influence and visibility among young listeners; her impact and publicity are enormous.

She has an incredible amount of power at her disposal, and she’s wasting it on songs that do nothing to inspire a younger generation. “Touch of My Hand” just doesn’t cut it.

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Posted by Christina Asavareungchai at 03:09 PM


Re: Terrorism won this time

Nigel Stark says that terrorists may attack us in order to influence how we vote. So if they do attack, what does he suggest? That we vote a certain way to send them a message. Uh...OK.

Putting aside the obvious problem that that would, in fact, be allowing them to dictate how we vote, this argument assumes that Bush would be the better candidate to fight terrorism. This is not automatically true.

Without endorsing Kerry, let me just say that Kerry has stated clearly that his problem with Bush isn't that Bush has done too much to fight terror, but rather not enough. That doesn't sound like a "friend" of terrorists to me. And Kerry's criticism of Iraq is justified--we diverted resources and time into Iraq that could have been used to fight terrorists abroad, and fund first response units here.

Even if Iraq did have very minimal ties to al Qaeda, which it didn't, it certainly wasn't top on the list of terrorist supporting regimes, or dangerous nations with WMDs. Further, thanks to our forcing change through war and democracy via US occupation, Iraq is actually now more of a breeding ground of conflict and terrorism than before. Arguably, that makes Bush the preferred candidate of terrorists.

Who would be better fighting terrorism is for you to decide in November, as is who will take better care of our money, our health, our education and more. It should not be determined by a terrorist attack, as Nigel first warns against, then ends up recommending.

I must say though, Nigel is doing a fine job of staying on message, and playing right into the Bush fear-mongering strategy. Vote for Bush, or terrorists win. Sure.

Written by Randy Henderson of NEXT

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Posted by Colleen Pohlig at 01:42 PM


March 16, 2004

Distractions, distractions...

A portrait of misdirected energy, Spencer Abraham, the president's handpicked Energy Secretary and generally grotesque goon, was making the television rounds yesterday as news was breaking of Spansih dissent.

Spencer Abraham, the human smokescreen, was able to produce a productive U.S. message to coincide with news that the Spanish people had lost faith in American relations. As word of the Spanish backlash was breaking across
Europe, American television screens showed an obese Abraham parading gallantly in front of crates apparently containg Libyan WMD.

In case you've forgotten about the ever-pivotal Libya, prepare to hear more from that small, insignificant clump of dirt in the coming months. Every time a
negative story breaks on the US campaign, expect President Bush to counter with Spencer Abraham straddling a drum of confiscated Libyan Petroleum Jelly, just to remind the faithful that we have found weapons, at least somewhere.

It's nice to have Libya to plug at your convenience. Not that anybody anywhere was ever losing sleep over Libya, but it's an Arab name for Bush to toss around, and that's good noise for his party.

Stay tuned to your television set, word is Khadafi has a vat of Insect Repellant just itching to reach the evening news circuit. The story will break in accordance with any noteworthy American flops that might garner our dreaded attention. Ah, thank God for distractions...where would Bush be without them?

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Posted by John Hieger at 05:14 PM


Terrorism won this time

This past weekend, the terrorists “won.” They didn’t win the war, but they won the battle. And at the very least, they gained a very powerful weapon in the war on terror. This weekend, Spanish voters allowed terrorism to “work.”

Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, who lost his reelection bid over the weekend, was a man terrorists did not want in power. He was like President Bush in that his firm and unyielding stance against terror threatened terrorists. Prior to the horrific terrorist attacks last week in Spain, Aznar had a slight, but somewhat meaningful lead in the polls.

Then terrorists decided to try out their new “weapon.” Knowing full well that Spanish voters would foolishly blame the attack on Aznar’s cooperation in the Battle of Iraq, they attacked Spain to scare voters into voting against him. Unfortunately, it worked like a charm for the terrorists. A few days later, the man they wanted gone is now defeated.

The precedent this sets is incredibly dangerous. Spanish voters have let terrorists dictate who wins elections. This November’s elections just took on a whole new twist. In President Bush, we have a man who terrorists do not want to see in office because of his firm and unyielding stance against terrorism. The probability that terrorists would try to attack hoping it would result in the president’s electoral defeat just went through the roof.

Who knows if there will be a terrorist attack this year in the US, but the Spanish just gave the terrorists a perfectly good reason to try one. The precedent created this weekend is truly scary. It’s the “Mogadishu effect” all over again. If God forbid there is a terrorist attack before our presidential election, then Americans need to send a strong message. Americans need to stand in unity to tell the terrorists that we decide who our leaders are, not them.

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Posted by Nigel Stark at 05:06 PM


March 15, 2004

Wild steelhead controversey

There's an interesting environmental clash of cultures developing on the Olympic Peninsula. A recent move by state regulators has been imposed to ban
the killing of wild Steelhead Salmon
effective April 1, 2004.

Like almost every other environmental battle, this one places the federal regulators at odds with the locals who fear their community/economy will be devastated by policies from "fat cat" lawmakers in the "big cities".

It's always hard to admit when your way of making money comes at the expense of a greater good. I'm sure drug dealers have a hard time admitting
they are participating in a gradual form of social erosion, the same way small fishing tourism communities have a hard time admitting that fishing kills fish.

But facts being facts, wild steelhead anywhere are a dwindling and rare commodity. And it's one that needs to be approached with great concern and with a vision for the health of future generations of wild steelhead.

While unpopular with the locals, it is important to view sensitive ecological battles in terms of survival and sustainability. The state needs to do everything in its power to support natural areas and threatened species.

The short-term financial impact on a town like Forks should have little bearing on the ultimate consequneces of witnessing an entire species of wild salmon go extinct.

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Posted by Colleen Pohlig at 01:25 PM


Britney's She-Bop

In Christina Asavareungchai's Britney Spears column in Sunday's NEXT page, she mentions that the singer has a song about "sexual self-gratification." Well, good for Brit. And like all her stuff, it isn't original. There have been plenty of songs about it by Prince, Cindy Lauper, the Vinyls and more.

However, Christina lists it as one example of how Britney has become a bad girl, and I'm not sure that's entirely true. Masturbation actually can be important to creating "good" girls.

This topic always causes controversy. Some people see it as filthy. Some people even see it as evil. Some churches say it is sinful based on the "don't spill your seed" rule in the Old Testament, which like the other rules there about mildew in the tents and pork restrictions made sense for a nomadic tribe struggling to survive. They don't really apply in an overpopulated developed world today, however.

Many guys see it as somehow a sign that they aren't manly, the logic being something like if you masturbate you are too lame to go out and get a chick to do the job. Whatever. Any guy who says that hasn't a real clue about relationships.

In 1993, U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders was forced to resign. Why? She said that boys and girls in sex-education classes should be told that masturbation is a safe, effective alternative to sex for those who aren't yet ready for adult sexual activity.

And that is definitely one of its many uses. I know girls who remained virgins a lot longer because they could satisfy their own needs, and when they were ready for sex they had a much better idea of what they really wanted.

Written by Randy Henderson of NEXT

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Posted by Colleen Pohlig at 01:20 PM


Way to go, repubs

Kudos to the Reps for more shrewd political maneuvering.

Congress has scheduled the release of the final report by the 9-11 commission to be the same day that the Democratic National Convention begins. That should serve very nicely to take press time and public attention away from the Democrats.

Also, Reps and Dems of the Senate Judiciary Committee were working out how best to investigate the hacking of Democratic computer files by Republican aides, but when the Democrats all left the room briefly to do their jobs and cast some votes, Republican Orin Hatch quickly declared no agreement would be reached and called an end to the meetings, passing responsibility for the matter over to the Senate sergeant at arms.

Meanwhile, the Reps had scheduled the Republican convention to be held in New York, doubtless to capitalize on their only real advantage right now, the tragedy of September 11. Here, however, they may have made a mistake. Families of the victims are outraged, since Bush promised in 2002 he would never exploit the site for political purposes. Oops.

Written by Randy Henderson of NEXT

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Posted by Colleen Pohlig at 01:07 PM


Stripperella

In response to the "Stripperella" column on Britney Spears in Sunday's NEXT page, while I agree that America should be above corny, prepackaged marketing techniques when it comes to music, endorsing censorship is a step in the wrong direction.

Christina Asavareungchai writes, "To get to this point, we must take action now. If we stop supporting CDs with offensive lyrics — whether they endorse premarital sex, drugs, violence or disrespect toward women — artists will be forced to change, or lose millions of dollars."

What is "offensive" to one person is fine for another. While somebody may be
insulted by a song's lyrics, it is their right to turn the radio station or change the CD. If America revives the Tipper Gore movement and starts judging art in terms of what's acceptable to the uptight, the freedom of creativity will be relegated to uninspired, political pandering saps like Toby Keith.

The problem with America's pop music doesn't lie in freedom of expression, it lies in the fact that America has collectively sold out, in accordance with the entire recording industry. If most of us raised our standards a little bit, we wouldn't have J-Lo and Britney shoved down our throats.

Americans consume mass-marketed crap and come back asking for seconds. Good music exists, but most just jump on the first corny band wagon that rolls along. Americans think that Grammy-winning Coldplay is "cutting edge" because they are original, when in reality they are just a cheap Radiohead
rip-off.

Americans need to invest a little more prejudice into their musical tastes. We've gotten culturally lazy and the result is a deluge of boy bands, 50 Cent and sleazy pop princesses. Put a little emphasis on substance and originality and use your Seattle roots as a platform to know the diffrence between mainstream and legitimacy.

If any city should be musically sensitive, it should be Seattle.

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Posted by John Hieger at 01:01 PM


March 12, 2004

Fearmongering

I guess things haven't changed much on Bush's campaign strategy. He is pumping out more ads attempting to scare people into voting for him.

His newest ads say voting for Kerry will "Weaken the fight against terrorism," and Bush himself states that "We can go forward with confidence, resolve and hope. Or we can turn back to the dangerous illusion that terrorists are not plotting and outlaw regimes are not a threat."

Really? Is that the choice facing us? Vote for Bush, because Kerry doesn't even believe terrorists exists? Maybe they should doctor another photo of Kerry and this time show him stepping on the American flag, arm in arm with bin Laden, just to really make their point.

I suppose it doesn't really matter that Bush and his buddies were dismissive of Clinton's warnings on terrorism and al Qaeda when they came into the White House, since after September 11 they have completely capitalized on the "war on terror." And the exploitation just keeps a'coming...

Written by Randy Henderson of NEXT

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Posted by Colleen Pohlig at 02:26 PM


Evolution of evolution

Ohio is again facing controversy over teaching evolution in schools. This time, it has approved a curriculum that includes evolutionary theory, but it is a specialized branch of that theory called "Intelligent Design."

Intelligent Design teaches that life is too complex to have occurred through natural selection and random change, so it must have been "designed" by a greater intelligence. In other words, it is evolution, but evolution created and guided by some divine hand.

I view this as progress. However, my concern is that this is supposed to be a science class, not a philosophy class, and the "MUST have been designed" part is extremely unscientific. Divine guidance is not the most likely answer, nor is it at all scientifically proveable, unlike evolution and natural selection. This doesn't mean there isn't a god, only that one isn't necessary for our existence.

Our galaxy has between 100 and 400 billion stars, and we are just one in 140 billion or so galaxies in our universe, which may be one in an infinity of universes. It is just a matter of odds, as unpoetic as that may be. The events that led to our existence are amazing, even miraculous, and certainly so immense in scope it is difficult to comprehend easily, but they are comprehensible. A good book to help understand this is "Climbing Mount Improbable" by Richard Dawkins.

Frank Drake worked out a famous equation. You divide the number of stars in any one part of the universe by the number likely to have planetary systems. Divide those by the number that could likely support life. Divide those by the number of planets where life would likely have advanced as far as we have, etc. etc. Even with the most conservative estimates, the number of likely alien civilizations in the Milky Way alone is in the millions.

This is of course a blow to our enormous egos, just as the thought that we are basically smarter versions of chimpanzees is. But for now, I say teach evolution in science class, mention "intelligent design" as a valid philosophy, and refer students to their philosophy class for more information on it.

Written by Randy Henderson of NEXT

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Posted by Colleen Pohlig at 02:22 PM


Re: Obesity to surpass cig deaths

“Those people who continue to binge on chili cheese fries and then cry because people think they look disgusting need a slap in the face, not a shoulder to cry on,” writes John Heiger in a recent blog.

Wow. This seems pretty harsh. And while I agree that everyone knows Burger King is really the Champion of Fats, Oils and Grease, and that KFC never was healthy, a degree of compassion is necessary.

Yes, obesity often stems from laziness and carelessness, a flagrant disrespect of one’s health. But in addition to this, a host of complicated psychological and emotional factors play in--embarrassment, loneliness, helplessness, uncertainty, fear of getting made fun of at the gym or salad bar.

Just because obese people struggle to change a lifetime of bad habits, does not mean that healthy folks should deny them a helping hand. The philosophy, “I’m healthy and you aren’t, so I’m just going to sit here and laugh at you,” is just plain cruel.

Shouldn’t we, as healthy individuals, spread our stories of inspiration, success and hard work? Shouldn’t we use the fact that we exercise and eat well to help --instead of hurt--others? On a larger scale, shouldn’t the government, as a protector of its people, urge them to follow a healthy lifestyle? Sometimes a little extra encouragement goes a long, long way for those struggling to make the switch from Whoppers to Subways.

We can’t just ignore the fact that 400,000 people died of unhealthy diets and lack of exercise in 2000. Obesity is preventable and curable. We’d be irresponsible to rest--satisfied with our own health--while others are dying.

From a purely practical perspective, sooner or later, the government will have to pay for obesity treatment. The longer it waits, the more the obesity problem will escalate. Better to address this issue now, before it spirals out of control.

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Posted by Christina Asavareungchai at 02:16 PM


Academic freedom

Academic freedom should not be compromised by government's agenda.

A new bill, called “the International Studies Higher Education Act (HR 3077), reauthorizes about $80 million in funding for international and foreign language study, but with a twist. Now the government would allocate more resources to programs that emphasize national security,” says the Christian Science Monitor.

Universities are, perhaps, the most democratic institutions in America. Freedom of speech, intellectual experimentation and debate allow students to learn what it truly means to be an American citizen. Study abroad programs, then, broaden students’ horizons and allow them to see the role they should assume in an increasingly complicated, interconnected world.

Each student’s role is different. I want to study abroad so that I can bring increased global perspectives, combined with patriotism, to the field of journalism. My friend hopes to go to Europe and study politics, so she can come back and be a more compassionate, informed lawyer.

Why should an individual planning to go into national security be able to participate in a study abroad program with more governmental backing? Don’t journalists and lawyers contribute as much to our nation as national security analysts, though in different ways?

Studying abroad allows an extension of the freedom of thought that characterizes higher education. By placing weighed funding on programs emphasizing national security, this freedom is comprised with a biased governmental agenda. The government’s agenda shouldn't interfere with the spirit of American education, our fundamental freedom of choice and thought.

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Posted by Christina Asavareungchai at 02:11 PM


March 11, 2004

Re: Obesity to surpass cig deaths

From a reader regarding "Obesity to surpass cig deaths":

As an avid reader of Mr. Hieger's opinions, I am surprised by his stance. Hieger usually comes across as one who sits on the left side of the fence, however his stance on this issue clearly is in sync with those on the right. Many Republicans support the notion of 'free market' allowing vending machines in our fledgling public schools, and the money that eventually comes full circle to pad their campaign pockets (look up Coke, McDonalds, and other Big Food donations).

However, this is what makes this issue so debated, those that fail to realize that eating at McDonalds for breakfast, Wendy's for lunch, KFC for dinner, and a late night jaunt through the T-Bell drive thru is ultimately going to kill them, need a wake up call.

The 'right' argue that all foods can be included in a healthy diet as long as there is a healthy balance of exercise. But when it takes an hour of bicycling to burn off the standard size 20 oz. Coke (of this generation) something is inherently wrong.

Those on the far left look at the problem of obesity similar to that of Big Tobacco not too long ago...its Big Food's fault that we are fat, and we should sue the pants off 'em.

The only way to expect a change in healthy behaviors is to mold behaviors from an early onset. Put mandatory P.E. back in the schools. Illinois is the only state in the U.S. that mandates daily physical education (ironic that it is the home state of Ronald McDonald). Make nutrition education standard in all schools. But then don't just offer Pizza Hut, fried mini-burritos, and hamburgers at lunch.

Healthy choices need to be offered in schools. Make people personally responsible. If someone doesn't exercise and eats "unhealthy," raise their insurance premiums, or vice versa for those who know what a Nautilus machine is and know how to cook broccoli.

Written by a NEXTopia reader

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Posted by Colleen Pohlig at 09:44 AM


Martha, Martha...

I think the whole Martha Stewart thing is sad. That doesn't mean I excuse her from what she's done. True, she shouldn't be left off the hook just because she's famous and rich. But if she wasn't the perfect domestic goddess, would people be so eager to see her down in the dumps? ("Take THAT! Not so perfect anymore, are ya. heh heh heh...")

When successful, rich people fall, all America seems to celebrate because it makes us normal folk feel better about ourselves. Wow. Raising self-esteem by watching others fall.

That is sad.

Let's get over it already, and hope that prison time helps Martha become a better, stronger and more humble person. Nuff said.

But you know what it's even more sad? Those Enron guys who stole bajillions of dollars from old people's retirement funds. If you think about it, did Martha actually hurt anyone by doing what she did? No, her actions still aren't excused, but if the law is going to apply even to fantastically wealthy women, shouldn't it apply to fantastically wealthy men? Shouldn't it?!

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Posted by Angela Balinbin at 09:33 AM


Pet "guardian"

The Guardian Campaign is working to enact ordinances that would replace the term “pet owner” with “pet guardian,” according to the campaign’s web site. The term “guardian” would be applied solely to domesticated animals, excluding wild and hunted animals.

The purpose of this seemingly minor change is “To accomplish an historical shift toward a more humane public standard.” Supposedly, the term “guardian” will instantly instill respect and empathy into would-be animal abusers.

If Drunk Dan wants to abuse Fido, will the term “pet guardian” versus “pet owner” really change his mind? If Lazy Lenny wants to abandon Felix, will a single word alter his decision?

Probably not. The Guardian Campaign should stop trying to control what people say. Instead, they need to investigate and ameliorate the causes of animal abuse, neglect and abandonment.

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Posted by Christina Asavareungchai at 09:28 AM


March 10, 2004

Obesity to surpass cig deaths

A headline in today's Seattle Times noted that obesity was about to surpass tobacco as the nation's leading cause of avoidable death.

Many health experts fault the federal government for its failure to keep grease and sugar out of elementary schools and for not subsidizing healthier items like fruits and vegetables. While I agree that public schools should cut their binds from the big business that is the vending and snack industry, I have a hard time believing that children are dying from obesity.

The fact is, any person over the age of 12 should know the difference between a twinkie and an apple. The people dropping dead from heart attacks and diabetes are people who have been eating like pigs for decades. Healthy eating is common sense--if it's fried, greasy or comes on a stick, you know it's nasty. Where's the confusion?

The Washington Post and The Associated Press article states that "The new findings come a day after another study concluded that if current trends continue, one of every five dollars spent on health care in the United States will go toward obesity-related treatment by 2020."

Meaning I have to pay for the laziness and stupidity of others. I'll take a side of resentment with that order, thanks.

This may sound unsympathetic, but I have a really hard time feeling sorry for people who are too lazy to exercise and too indifferent to respect their own bodies. Call me Darwin, but many of these folks are dead for a reason--they didn't take care of themselves, that's rule number one in human survival.

In this day and age, it is deplorable to play dumb when it comes to your own body. Those people who continue to binge eat on chili cheese fries and then cry
because people think they look disgusting need a slap in the face, not a shoulder to cry on.

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Posted by John Hieger at 03:50 PM


Teen abstinence not working

Just saying no to sex doesn't necessarily work. At least, according to the new National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, funded in part by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It may work somewhat in the short term, depending on your criteria for success--those who pledge abstinence usually had fewer sexual partners before marriage--but most still had sex before marriage, and the problem is that they had unprotected sex.

Thus, STD rates for "pledgers" and non-pledgers was about the same. It may, in fact, have been higher for pledgers, it's just that fewer pledgers actually get sexual health checkups than non-pledgers, so it is hard to tell.

And although the study focused on disease, I would love to see the statistics on pregnancy as well. Since the primary reason for the equality in STD rates, despite fewer partners, was the lack of condom use, this would lead me to suspect that the lack of education or protection would also equal increased pregnancies.

The study also pointed out that pledgers tended to marry younger. I again wonder how many of these were tied to the all-too-common oops, pregnant, let's get married phenomenon, or inexperienced youth mistaking sudden physical closeness to long-term love and friendship.

Also, I would be interested in seeing further follow up studies that track divorce rates. I suspect, again, that they would be equal or even higher among pledgers. In my mind, one of the many causes of divorce is marrying too young, while we are still going through pretty serious changes in our tastes, views, beliefs and knowledge, or before we have had real experience and practice at making a relationship, especially one that includes living and sleeping together, work.

Regardless, this pretty clearly argues for the value of sexual education and availability of birth control, whether you want to also pledge abstinence or not.

Written by Randy Henderson of the NEXT team

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Posted by Colleen Pohlig at 09:42 AM


March 08, 2004

Dogs instead of drugs

I saw that the terminally dingy Regrade Park has taken measures to reinvent
itself. A citizens group called COLA (Citizens for Off Leash Areas) has convinced the city of Seattle to modify the 1/3-acre pit into an off-leash dog park.

Anyone familiar with Regrade Park and it's location on 3rd Avenue will have to reagrd this urban "renaissance" with a healthy dose of skepticism. You see, Regrade Park is more of an open-air crack market than anything. Don't believe me? Walk past any time of day or night and ask somebody for "rock;" they'll know what you mean.

While Belltown dogs need a good place to run and urinate, Belltown hustlers need a secure location to run their product, and they'll continue to do it. Something tells me crack is more imposing than yuppies with leashes; I don't see how the two can coexist. Unless the Seattle Police Department wants to totally eradicate crack from its Belltown streets, the notion that an "off-leash zone" is going to drive the need for drugs and the accompanying shady people who embrace them out of the neighborhood is negligent.

This park is in established drug territory; it's not for the yuppie taking, not yet. Forcing druggies and yuppies to mingle is an unomfortable dicothomy that is sure to bring unwanted unpleasantries. The city of Seattle should address the need for a decent park in Belltown, period, a new one. Regrade is a lost cause; most everything on that stretch of 3rd Avenue is a lost cause.

The city needs to create open space somewhere in this neighborhood and offer
something larger and more promising than the 3rd Avenue nightmare. Good
parks in Belltown don't exist. It's time the city starts building our urban core with realistic approaches and established priorities as opposed to half-baked plans that friendly animals are going to clean up an ugly symptom of a larger problem.

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Posted by John Hieger at 04:07 PM


Martha's new home: prison?

Channel surfing as I ran on a treadmill Friday afternoon, I caught a quick glimpse of Martha Stewart in a homey, light-diffused kitchen concocting some fantastic, gourmet, probably French dish. It’s hard to imagine Martha living in a dark prison cell (gasp--undecorated! Unfurnished! How tacky!), wearing a decidedly unfashionable prison uniform, and eating cafeteria grub in long row of tables.

But that’s where she may be headed, and deservedly so, for the next 20 years or less. On Friday, the jury convicted Martha on all four counts brought against her, including two counts of false statements, conspiracy and obstruction of justice, according to a MSN article.

Humorously enough, Martha plans to fight back, assuming an “I’m-a-victim-of-injustice cry” that has no merit, given the circumstances. Humorously enough, she said in a letter, “I will appeal the verdict and continue to fight to clear my name. I believe in the fairness of the judicial system and remain confident that I will ultimately prevail.”

How she plans to “clear her name” after her shady stock deal remains to be seen. But two things are certain. First, rich people aren’t immune to the law. Even the millionaire "Household Queen of Wedding Cakes, Lace Curtains, Animal Training Techniques and Sidewalk Repair" deserves punishment. Secondly, if Martha really did act unethically (which the evidence points to), she is fighting a losing battle.

Money can’t get you out of this one, Martha.

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Posted by Christina Asavareungchai at 01:36 PM


March 05, 2004

Rimeedyul Classis

I don't be seein' what are such the big deals about that "57 percent of recent high school graduates who entered community and technical colleges, needed to take at least one remedial class," according to the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. See the AP story.

That's, like, cool that you only has to take one class in college and s#!t. And 57 percent of kids graduating high school are pretty good and stuff. I mean, thats like almost half, right?

And, I mean, you don't even has to talk good or do good in school or nothing to be President. I knows that people were all like, "oh, Clinton, he's all a bad example to kids and s#!t cause he like got laid and stuff," but they should like be all happy and s#!t that we got us a good example now of how you can party in school, slack off in the military, and still have the bling bling and the power and stuff. That's like, the Americian dream!

Written by Randy Henderson of the NEXT team
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Posted by Colleen Pohlig at 12:40 PM


March 04, 2004

King Bush

You know, I'm kind of disappointed. I thought Bush would wait until things actually got tight to whip out the whole fear and patriotic rhetoric angle. But he is already pumping out the ads full of empty patriotic emotion and images of the World Trade Center attack--without giving us a real reason why he should actually be elected president this time.

Still, the more I think about it, I guess I can't blame him. It's pretty much all he's really had going for him. When he came into office, more than half the country saw him as illegitimate. He started off with a series of stupid blunders and predictably backward conservative moves--abandoning nuclear treaties and reviving bloated, ineffective space wars programs, cutting environmental protections to allow more corporate pollution and poisons in our air and water, dismissing international global warming movements, cutting funding to Planned Parenthood, pissing off Korea and other nations by taking a dismissive isolationist hardliner approach, embarrassing Colin Powell left and right, and rapidly blowing our surplus. He was sinking in the polls.

Then, September 11. Suddenly, the Republicans, the party more people trust with issues of war, were bullet proof. The country was united behind our president. And he attacked the attackers.

Then he started off on his axis of evil, and exploited people's fears to push through his neo-con war in Iraq, and a questionable "Patriot" act. He ignored and divided the same public, and the nations, that had once united behind him. The economy continued to plummet (to be fair, it would have anyway), but he continued with tax breaks anyway that favored the wealthy and were a short term and very small bandage at best, and contributed to deficits that will create long term woes.

He became the master of slashing funding to social programs, alternative energy programs, and education grants behind closed doors, then making grand promises to increase funding for those same things in his State of the Union speeches (though only by a fraction of what he cut them).

He alienated the right wing with his high discretionary spending, nation building, immigration proposal, and more. He alienated the left with his unapologetic extremism and narrow ideological vision, and willingness to impose his religious views on us all through secular law.

So, yeah, I guess milking the fear of terrorism a little more is his best shot after all. That, and his 50 to 1 campaign budget over Kerry. Nice of the wealthy and corporations to give back to Bush a little of what he has given to them these past few years. Ahhh, it's good to be king.

Written by Randy Henderson of the NEXT team.

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Posted by Colleen Pohlig at 04:55 PM


Re: The flip-flopping senator

From a NEXTopia reader...

Whoa Whoa Whoa, Nigel Stark, before you go off on Senator Kerry, understand the issues. Haiti pre-emptive and Iraq pre-emptive is totally different. Haiti's pre-emption is not to attack a country, but to help...Iraq pre-emption was unprecedented, an act of war against a sovereign state, and unjust... obviously by finding no WMD's.

You also point out that it has been 12 years that President Bush has waited to make a decision on Iraq...uh, nah I don't think so. President Bush, personally, waited to become president, find an event like 9-11 to convince and mislead the American people that Iraq is a threat, and finally, accomplish and capture the man (Saddam Hussein) who attempted to assasinate his father (Bush part 1).

Yes, you are right: President Bush does have a consistent foreign policy, which is unjust and too aggressive for the leaders of this world that only breeds further hate. So you know what, I'll take the "flip-flopping Kerry" every time as my Commander in Chief, if my other choice is President Bush.
Written by a NEXTopia reader

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Posted by Colleen Pohlig at 04:44 PM


What the future may hold...

We are advancing rapidly technologically, yet socially and politically we still face many of the same problems as 2000 years ago. There are various reasons for this, including religion, but if we cannot get past our prejudices, insecurities and self-interest, the coming advances in technologies, like genetic and atomic manipulation, will prove dangerous and ugly rather than miraculous.

For example, if homosexuality is seen as a "genetic disease" rather than simply natural, will that lead to a "cure?" Or even without a cure, if an early detection test is designed, imagine how that child will be treated and raised differently to "guide" the homosexuality out of him or her?

Will mixed race couples get into fights over whether to select the embryo most likely to develop fair skin to reduce their child's probable discrimination? Will genetic superiority only for those who can afford it lead to a GATACA future of a genetic caste system? Will we even survive designer viruses and fusion bombs that long?

Written by Randy Henderson of the NEXT team.
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Posted by Colleen Pohlig at 10:00 AM


Looky loo

On March 1st, five new space-age self-cleaning potties opened up around the Seattle area. Who knew that adding accessible toilets to the city could be so complicated! Seattle PI writer Kathy Mulady's article boasts that the city has been debating the problem for a decade.

The doors open and shut like an elevator, you're welcomed by an automated voice...and you're given a time limit--yep, 15 minutes, and the doors are popping open, ready or not.

While I understand, after reading Mulady's article, that there are many factors to take into consideration, like the abuse and maintenance of the toilets, it just seems kind of silly that after all that, its only five toilets--five toilets that will cost $600,000 a year to lease.

But I suppose I can't really talk. They are state of the art, almost guaranteed to be safe and clean, and according to state law, they are absolutely free to users. It's a start anyway.

Here's an uber-cheap date idea--go visit one of the space-age potties at Occidental Park in Pioneer Square, Hing Hay Park in the International District, Victor Steinbrueck Park at Pike Place Market, Waterfront Park at Pier 59 and the 1800 block of Broadway on Capitol Hill.

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Posted by Julia Ugarte at 09:55 AM


Social progress ain't bad

I agree with John Hieger's sentiment regarding the need for social progress.

No era has ever really been better than today, and all have had at least as many problems, but today is still far from perfect. The 1950s "Leave it to Beaver" life is an illusion. June Cleaver was encouraged to be a housewife to make room in the workplace for men after WWII, faced discrimination in education, and probably popped valium to deal with her lack of options or need to always play a proper role. If Ward did beat her behind closed doors, the police would just dismiss it as a normal and personal domestic matter.

Black children were not allowed to attend the same school or even use the same drinking fountain as the Beaver, who was being taught to duck and cover for fear of nuclear annihilation, and if the show's staff all escaped being blacklisted during the communist witch trials, they were lucky.

Segregation, opposing women's equality and other such enlightened stances were championed by conservatives, especially in the South, who moved over to the Republican party when the Democratic party became socially progressive. Strom Thurmond and Trent Lott are fine examples of this breed.

Teenage pregnancy, dangerous backroom abortions, alcoholism, opiate and sedative use, spousal and child abuse, crime and all the typical social ills existed then, they were just better hidden and denied and, as a result, less well treated.

Conservative nostalgia did help get our current president selected. His record as a politician was short and awful, his record as a businessman less than stellar, his personal and military history an embarrassment, he didn't bother to show up for caucus debates and he spewed a bunch of compassionate ultra-conservative rhetoric that he hasn't lived up to.

The only things W. had going for him were his daddy's name coupled with a nostalgia for the "glory days" of the Reagan-Bush years, accompanied with a violent anti-Clintonism.

Written by Randy Henderson of the NEXT team

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Posted by Colleen Pohlig at 09:43 AM


March 03, 2004

The anti-patriots

The foundation of this country is the belief that "All men are created equal." What's so confusing about this? I can't find anywhere in the Constitution or Declaration of Independece where it says that equality is only for Republicans and their kind.

Conservatives taught a so-called "traditionalist" ethic that yearns for a return to purity. Unfortunately, the Republican dream to revisit the 1950s is a complete departure from anything resembling the American Spirit. America wasn't founded in 1952, it was founded by progressive thinkers who would have frightened the "traditionalists" of the late 1700s.

We can learn from history, but we can't relive it. Time moves forward and as a society, it's imperative that we progress and advance.

This country was founded on the basis that church and state remain separate. If Hans Zeiger and other ultra-conservatives want more religion in government and life, they are the anti-Patriot, the ugly Americans. Their shortsighted, selfish comfort zones reflect the tyrannical mindset that our nation's founders were attempting to avoid.

The Republicans would do well to catch up on their Democracy 101.

"History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes."
--Thomas Jefferson to Alexander von Humboldt, Dec. 6, 1813.

The Zeigers and the Bushs of the world would do well to open their minds, less
they go the way of the Jerry Falwells and the Tammy Faye Bakers. Religion is a
crutch, not a compass. Guide yourself, but leave my Democracy alone.

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Posted by John Hieger at 01:02 PM


March 02, 2004

Still more on: Gay marriage amendment

In response to Hans Zieger’s blog:

It’s ridiculous to even think of amending the constitution for the sole purpose of discrimination. Talk about a loss of culture, take a look at the lack of social progression in our country in the last four years then tell me about “steel(ing) America’s character.” One of the most upsetting things to me about the last four years and the narrow mindedness of the religious right is how they have managed to lead us down the path of social digression. Everything from the economy to environment, now cultural and social issues of equal rights have been mercilessly set back decades by this administration and the ego-maniacal, evangelistic and self-righteous backing they so boldly claim.

If we’re talking about constitutional amendments, how about a statute that strikes out the Patriot Act and ensures that ALL Americans are allotted ALL civil liberties they are entitled to? How about a constitutional amendment to strengthen race-relations and counter balance the horrendous institutional racism that emanates under the surface of this country? This is an oldy but goody, but, how about a constitutional amendment that corrects the electoral process so that the presidency is actually won by the most favored candidate and not who has the most money or who corrupts the polls most effectively?

The point being is that we have a lot more important issues that are pertinent to EVERY citizen in this country that need heavy attention. Moral issues should be left to individuals. Isn’t that part of the freedom we are so proud of defending? I’m ashamed to think that Americans would consider of our government as an institution for enforcing personal beliefs.

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Posted by Matthew E. Gano at 03:16 PM


More on: Urban Outfitters hip?

I agree with Jennifer Jamall that most people who would buy such a T-shirt aren't likely to vote anyway. Still, there is also the question of cumulative exposure to such ideas. Our society is heavily built around following trends, commercial influence, etc. Could these T-shirts contribute to or influence (not cause) somebody to not vote, or at least support their rationalizations for not doing so? Possibly.

But whether exposure to such slogans will contribute to the overall apathy of American voters, or sway some on-the-fence young person over to the why bother side of the fence, is almost impossible to know really.

Written by Randy Henderson, a regular contributor to NEXT.Respond to this posting

Posted by Colleen Pohlig at 03:06 PM


Off-Campus Conduct Code Denied

As of now, University of Washington students can breathe a sigh of relief. They will not be subject to penalties from the school for behavior off-campus. Proposed Senate Bill 2807 died in the Senate of Higher Education Committee, with the committee unable to get a vote by last Friday’s deadline.

Committee Chairman Sen. Don Carlson, R-Vancouver, said there was a lack of support because of concern that the schools weren't in support of the policy. "We need to let institutions be responsible for making their own policies for the best interest of that school. What's right at Western may not be right at Central," said Carlson. "Why should we make a policy when schools don't want it?"

However, the issue of UW’s image still must be addressed. Many are still concerned about the lack of control UW students seem to posses. A Husky alumnus e-mailed me, responding to my article about the conduct code, asking, “What are they teaching you nowadays?” This is disturbing to me that a proud alumnus believes students are promoting a bad image of the school and the lack of action by the administration is only furthering the problem.

I was and still am against an off-campus conduct code, but we students and the UW administration must prove that we in fact are intelligent students and civil citizens. As UW students seem to be the reason for the University’s image, we are also the solution.

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Posted by Leonceo Angsioco at 03:02 PM


Still more on: Gay marriage amendment

Whoa, Hans Zeiger. Whoa. I'd just like to question your usage of such antagonistic imagery in your blog on gay marriage and amending the constitution. Why is it a "war," Hans? What exactly is a "culture war?" See, using an image like "war" automatically brands those with different viewpoints as "the enemy."

You talk about redeeming a wayward people. You talk about "The Passion of the Christ as a weapon." If anything, Hans, Gibson's movie sends the message that redemption does not come about by identifying others as "enemies" and seeking out "weapons" and "wars."

Gibson's usage of violence in his movie is meant to elucidate suffering. Your :nusage of violent word imagery elucidates intolerance and self-righteousness.

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Posted by Angela Balinbin at 02:58 PM


Still more on: Bush's gay marriage amendment

President Bush and other opponents of gay marriage are quick to blame the actions of "rouge" civic leaders and "activist courts" for forcing his hand in backing an anti-gay marriage amendment. Supposedly, these reckless non-legislative policy makers are bent on imposing their will on the whole of
American society, and must be prevented from continuing their attacks on decency and morality.

If tomorrow, the mayor of Seattle were to decree that any person caught drinking an insufficiently dry cappuccino in public would be subject to a punitive
citation, I'd be furious. If the U.S. Supreme Court were to hand down a ruling that requires Americans to wear propeller hats and purple bow ties every Tuesday, mine would be the loudest voice speaking against this outrageous imposition.

Likewise, if the courts were to force private religious institutions to perform same-sex unions, I would join the opposition in decrying this so-called judicial activism.

That said, I fail to see what exactly is being imposed upon anybody when the courts rule that committed same-sex couples are entitled to the legal benefits that only a civil marriage license can provide.

The Bush administration is quick to dole out those handy little labels to those who disagree with the president--one's that can sum up an entire political movement in just a couple of words, but show little regard for the complexity of the issue at hand. In this case, "activist judge" is code for "judge who makes politically inconvenient ruling."

As usual, proponents of the amendment argue that such a dramatic step is the only way to defend this most sacred institution. Evidently, society will crumble and descend into utter anarchy if same-sex couples are issued marriage licenses.

More rational minds understand that the only people whose lives will be affected in the slightest by legalizing gay marriage are the gay couples themselves. The only real imposition here would be the anti-gay marriage amendment itself.

Mr. President, do you not see the ultimate hypocrisy in speaking out against those who would impose their beliefs on other people, while at the same time backing an effort to make your own beliefs part of our Constitution?

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Posted by Daniel Thies at 02:53 PM


More on: Bush's gay marriage amendment

Of my eight sisters, three are happily married and by the end of this summer, another two will have proudly walked down the aisle. I can assure anybody that none of these sisters would consider it a threat to their marriage if our one gay sister were allowed to wed a same-sex partner. The only potential problem
this would pose would be the hassle for a geographically distant family to coordinate three big weddings in one year.

I would like to second Randy Henderson's call for any opponent of gay civil marriage to spell out for me exactly how this is a threat to the institution of
marriage itself.

Will all previous marriage licenses be nullified and rendered meaningless? Will women and men suddenly become unattactive to each other? Will straight men
become impotent, and mother's wombs barren? Will humanity devolve to its primordial state?

As a gay man in a 2 1/2 year relationship, I honestly wonder If Hans Zieger could look me in the eye and offer a rational explanation as to how his dreams of marrying and starting a family would be shattered the moment my boyfriend and I are issued a marriage license. It simply isn't logical.

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Posted by Daniel Thies at 02:47 PM


More on: Urban Outfitters hip?

Why would Urban outfitters put out a T-shirt that encourages people not to vote? I can think of at least four possible reasons:

One, they just thought it was cool, in a subversive way. Their style is meant to appeal to counter-culture hipsters after all. Further, this business was founded during the 70s hippie era, and such a message reflects their roots in a draft-card burning kinda' way.

Two, free press. Take this blog for example.

Three, they're just stooopid. It's possible.

Finally, my fave, I've come up with a conspiracy theory. They want Bush to get re-elected. I took the time to look up their Board of Directors, and it is a nice bunch of conservative millionaire businessmen, all of whom have benefited personally, as well as benefited in their businesses, from Bush's tax favoritism and policies.

Some also personally, or through their other businesses, participate in conservative and corporate activities such as an event by the “Association for Corporate Growth” with such speakers as James A. Baker. Baker is a lawyer and former Secretary of State who led the campaigns of Ford, Reagan and the Bush family, said during the Enron investigations that our government shouldn't overreact to corporate scandals, is defending the Saudi's against a trillion-dollar lawsuit brought forth by the 9-11 families--and was chosen as Bush's personal envoy in charge of restructuring Iraq's debt.

More telling, I did a little more digging and found some interesting facts about the founder and president, Richard Hayne. The prototypical semi-hippie turned ultra conservative rich guy, Hayne has, among other things, made campaign contributions to ultra-conservative Republican Rick Santorum, according to a story in the Philadelphia Weekly. Santorum is famous for such remarks as that gay sex is equal to bestiality and incest.

My favorite quote from the Philadelphia Weekly story, especially in light of this T-shirt thing, is “Our job as a business is not to promote a political agenda. That's not what we do.”

So the president of Urban Outfitters is an ultra conservative who has benefited greatly from Bush's tax breaks, and who possibly loves him (in a strictly manly, platonic way of course) for his stance on gay marriage.

And now, as we approach election time, his store which arguably appeals to the more liberal side of the fashion spectrum is putting out a T-shirt that encourages youth (which popular wisdom also states is typically more liberal) not to vote.

Coincidence? Maybe. But then (key ominous music) maybe not.

Written by Randy Henderson, a regular contributor to NEXT

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Posted by Colleen Pohlig at 02:40 PM


More: Urban Outfitters hip?

I highly agree that Urban Outfitters executives must be doing a little dance at how strongly Harvard’s Institute of Politics is reacting towards their “Voting is for Old People” T-shirt. In the world of marketing, any press is good press. I am first to admit I have more than one item of Urban Outfitters Clothing. While they are cheaply made and overly expensive, some of their slogans are darn funny.

What Harvard should be asking itself is whether or not we need to take our clothes so seriously instead of rampaging that this T-shirt (a piece of clothing, not a commercial or a billboard or a subliminal message in popular music) is destroying the fiery need to vote among young people.

The truth is: anyone swayed by the “hip/saavy” message of this T-shirt probably wasn’t planning on voting anyway. In terms of pinpointing just who is indoctrinating America’s youth, I think we should be digging a little deeper than the clothing industry.

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Posted by Jennifer Jamall at 02:32 PM


March 01, 2004

More on: Bush's gay marriage amendment

Regarding Hans Zeiger's ban on gay marriage blog: American emergency? Are you serious? No, really, are you serious? Did Homeland Security just put us on alert status pink or something?

I'm just blown away. I mean, what do you see when you picture gay marriage? A 70-foot gay man stomping through the city like Godzilla? I just don't get it.

Can you explain, without resorting to your typical empty conservative dittoism rhetoric and grandiose morally righteous statements, why gay marriage is really such a danger? What, exactly, is going to happen to our country now that gays are getting married? Walk me through step by step how our country is going to fall apart because of this, because I just don't see it. Have you even thought about it, really? Because I can only see good things coming from this.

Written by Randy Henderson, a regular contributor to NEXT.
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Posted by Colleen Pohlig at 04:36 PM


Re: Urban Outfitters hip?

Hey, good job, Urban Outfitters! Your joke was so funny that I forgot to laugh: ha-ha! Sigh...

I'm not sure why my once beloved company has decided to push the envelope by trying to insult every young person who ever set foot in their stores, but the CEO should be embarrassed for himself.

Young people already get enough flak from a nation that believes we are a politically apathetic generation. Every time a story runs on voting demographics, we inevitably hear that the under-30 turnout is abysmally low. This is usually followed by an interview with the Laziest Youth Ever, who tends to mutter invectives against "the government" while trying to justify his or her skittishness around the ballot box.

These news stories are bad enough because they perpetuate an image that doesn't hold true for many of us: quite a few of my friends not only vote, but also put in their own free time to volunteer for political campaigns. I will be seeing several of them at the state convention in April.

Nonetheless, Urban Outfitters has elected to perpetuate the Generation Apathy image with their ridiculously juvenile T-shirt. Spokespeople claim that no one should take the shirt seriously, but does that mean it was a good idea to produce it in the first place? Perhaps UO could do something more valuable with its creative ideas and exorbitant financing, like fund voter education campaigns.

Until then, it can kiss my money goodbye. I think I'll save my cash for a shirt from Rock the Vote.

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Posted by Megan Matthews at 04:32 PM


Re: Urban Outfitters hip?

I'm sure Urban Outfitters is jumping for joy right now at the headlines that their "Voting is for Old People" T-shirt is making. It seems the best way to advertise your clothing line nowadays is to airbrush some sort of controversial statement on it and wham! the media's all over you. You couldn't buy this type of publicity.

And if someone is immature enough to let a "Voting is for Old People" T-shirt influence them not to vote, do ya really think that person was registered anyhow?

If I were the media, I'd be more concerned about the way these clothing stores influence over-spending and anorexia with their $38 tank tops and size 0 pants.

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Posted by Elana Azose at 04:28 PM


Urban Outfitters hip?

This is regarding Urban Outfitters latest controversial T-shirt, and the fact that I can't get past several media outlets referring to Urban Outfitters apparel as having a "hipster" appeal.

Insinuating that expensive clothing and marketing determine what's cool, not
people, is a sad statement on the pettiness of our materialistic culture. Dumb America identifies and defines our social placement in terms of how much money we spend and where.

Despite corporate media's greatest efforts to convince us that more, shinier
and bigger is better, you can't buy cool. If that were the case, Bill Gates would be running the Video Music Awards.

Traditionally, "cool" people, for what it's worth, are trend setters, in that they are innovative, open-minded and real. Bob Dylan and the Wu-Tang Clan didn't recieve their social inspiration by shopping at the Gap or Urban Outfitters; they were originals who thought for themselves.

Unfortunately, America seems to have a hard time differentiating between what's real and what's for sale. I'm sorry but it is very possible to drive a big, fancy Hummer H2 and still be a rabid dork.

Outkast has been singing the praises of self-esteem and originality for ten years and main stream America is just now taking notice of their genius. Consumers are suckers, not trend setters. If you think buying power equates to anything more than a material flex, you aren't cool.

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Posted by John Hieger at 04:18 PM


More on: Bush's gay marriage amendment

In this present American marriage emergency, we have no choice but to amend the constitution. Homosexual weddings have become reality in San Francisco, Massachusetts and New Mexico, portending moral anarchy unless a constitutional amendment is passed to forbid the legal annihilation of marriage.

Though an amendment is necessary, I do not join the chorus of conservatives who seem to believe that such a marriage amendment will signal a great victory in the culture war.

In fact, the desperate need for a marriage amendment demonstrates the failure of the conservative movement in the culture. If, as John Adams said, the constitution is only fit for a moral and religious people, a trashed constitution itself cannot redeem a wayward people. We cannot expect to steel America's character by amending our constitution. The constitution rests on the character of the people, not the other way around.

This, at its root, is actually spiritual war, not public policy war. The way to fight such wars is with weapons like Mel Gibson's new film "The Passion of the Christ," as it presents the Gospel to a nation that needs it quite desperately. It is the greatest of contrasts. See my full article on this issue.

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Posted by Hans Zeiger at 02:12 PM


AP classes help college prep

Advanced Placement classes are the fastest-growing courses offered in high school; remedial math and English classes are the fastest-growing courses offered in college. “In other words, high schools are taking on colleges’ work while colleges are forced to do the high schools’ job,” says USA Today.

AP classes supposedly contribute to the lack of basic college preparation. Without laying down a solid foundation, students are unprepared for college, reasons USA Today.

But AP classes are not directly responsible for the lack of college preparedness, as the article seems to imply. Obviously, students who take AP Calculus BC will already have mastered basic trigonometry and algebra. Even if they forget these fundamental areas, they will be able to quickly re-learn them and may, in fact, need to in preparation for the SATs.

It’s true that AP students tend to be studious, motivated and intensely prepared for college – creating an achievement gap between them and non-AP students.

The solution, though, isn’t to cut AP classes in favor of the basics, in hopes of leveling the playing field. This would only alienate those students eager to challenge themselves.

Stricter graduation requirements, high school-college coordination, closer student-advisor relationships and special teaching techniques would help non-AP students better prepare for college. –Christina Asavareungchai, NEXT Team

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Posted by Christina Asavareungchai at 02:05 PM


The flip-flopping senator

During the Democratic debate on Sunday, Presidential hopefuls John Kerry and John Edwards criticized President Bush for his handling of the situation in Haiti.

In criticizing the president for acting too late, Kerry said, “This president always makes decision late after things have happened that could have been different had the president made a different decision earlier.”

So, let me get this straight. Kerry thinks that action should be taken before “things have happened” to make sure that those “things” turn out differently. Hmmmm…sounds a little bit like the pre-emption policies of our president that Kerry and others have so strongly criticized.

Further, Kerry thinks that the couple of weeks that President Bush waited before making a decision on Haiti is too long, but the 12 years of trying to make a decision on Iraq is just not enough time. Kerry, along with others on the left, kept saying that we just needed more time before acting in Iraq, but now in Haiti, we should have gone in pre-emptively.

How about we stop the flip-flopping, Senator Kerry, and for once, come up with a foreign policy that is actually consistent.

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Posted by Nigel Stark at 01:58 PM



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