Archive for November 20th, 2003

Will Jacko Beat It?

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SANTA
BARBARA, Michael Jackson, with his hands cuffed behind his back, was
led into the county jail here on Thursday afternoon
and booked on charges of child molesting, beginning what promises to
be one of the biggest legal spectacles in years.

from
the New York Times

Simply Live Anywhere

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The Dowbrigade is all aglow in the reflected glory
of another great new blog spawned by an attendee at the BloggerCon
Blogging 101 sessions. This particular entry is the brainchild of the
intriguingly named Al Wayztravelin.

Called Simply Live Anywhere, it seems founded on the simple principle
that borders are becoming superfluous.  Full of insight and info
for and about ex-pats and the itinerant lifestyle, it is definitely
worth a read. Go, Al. As an ex-expat just about ready to go back on
the road, it is an invigorating blog.

The aim of the site is to educate and inform individuals regarding their
personal freedom to enable them to live and work anywhere. The contributors
are travelers who believe that people should be granted the personal
freedom to travel anywhere.

from
Simply Live Anywhere

Anne Dow Obituary

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Anne Rindlaub Dow, who for more than 20 years directed English as a second language programs at Harvard, died Oct. 31, 2003, after a two-year battle with multiple myeloma. She was 65. The Dowbrigade mourns.

from the Cambridge Chronicle

Wired to the Mob

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A mafia hacker tells his story
to Wired
Everyone
thinks they know what the mob is like. It’s something you learn from
watching The Sopranos and GoodFellas, something that involves Joe
Pesci, baked manicotti, and a dead guy in the trunk. But that’s not
what I’ve seen during my two years working for organized crime. My
sense is that the mob works a lot like GE or Time Warner. It’s more
Jack Welch than John Gotti.

My
job is a lot like managing any other venture. I make sure that
people show up on time, that bills get paid, and that the customers and
employees are reasonably happy.
But that’s not all I do. I’m tech support for the mob. From the
moment I started this gig, I realized just how behind this gang
is when
it comes to technology. Forget about the paperless office. These
guys are buried in pulp. But when they want to revamp their systems,
it’s not like they can call McKinsey for advice. That’s where I
come in.

as told to Simpson Garfinkle in Wired News

Another Look at Gay Marriage

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It has occurred to the Dowbrigade that yesterday’s
posting on Gay Marriage
was rather too flippant for what may turn out to be the
pivotal issue in the upcoming knife fight for the white house. As the
Dowbrigade would be the first to testify, marriage is a serious business.

Along with Birth and Death, Marriage is one of the Big Three landmarks
of our passage through this plane, and as such has been enshrined in
custom, myth and ceremony since before the curtain came up on the recorded
stage of history.

Just as the Baptism ceremony marks Birth, and the Funeral marks Death,
so the Marriage Ceremony inaugurates and celebrates the institution of
marriage.  The main difference is that while birth and death pass
in moments, a marriage is an ongoing dynamic which goes on for years.
In most cases.

Biologically (and in terms of Physical Anthropology, of which the Dowbrigade
was a practitioner for a time) the Big Three are more properly thought
of as Birth, Fucking and Death. Anthropologically speaking, the institution
of marriage serves to sanction certain reproductive practices and to
prohibit others. The fascinating thing is that any geographically or
historically varied survey will produce a wild and varied collection
of sexual and marriage practices which were considered "normal" by some
group of humans.

In our own historical and cultural tradition the institution of marriage
has been used mainly to allow older socially powerful males to restrict
sexual access to younger fertile females. This can be frustrating to
younger sexually aggressive males, and the resultant sexual tension
is the motor of most of our politics, entertainment and financial mismanagement.

Meandering back to the question of Gay Marriage, we can say that in
our culture the institution of marriage is primarily important from three
points of view.  First, as a unique bond and commitment between
two individuals who love each other.  In this sense, every marriage
is distinct and can only be valued by careful weighing of the contents
of two human hearts, a task beyond mortals like us.  Second, within
the legal context, as we are a society of laws, the institution of marriage
affects such essential areas as living arrangements, finances, medical
care,
child
custody and
educational access. Third, Marriage is a sacrament in all cultures and
religions and a crucial part of the social and family networks that tie
us together as human beings.

Clearly, in the first two domains, the goal of a just and tolerant
society can only be furthered by recognizing gay marriages.  It
is only in the third domain, in some religious and cultural traditions,
that we run into legitimate objections. Yet surely there is room for plurality
of opinion on this issue.  We are a human mosaic already, as a people
perhaps more true today to the spirit and reality of our forefather’s
immigrant dreams
than ever before.

The Catholic Church does not recognize divorce, or marriages involving
divorced people.  That doesn’t stop divorced people from getting married,
nor does the church, as far as we can tell, feel threatened by such marriages.
Why then the gay uproar? Will this really be the red button issue in the
upcoming campaign? Stay tuned…