I have finally broken down and secured my own dedicated server. I am currently serving pages to over 75k unique visitors per day. This doubled in December. Now I can handle the traffic up to 250k. I've had to put several projects on ice while this gets sorted out. I had a redesign planned at the new year. It's been put off indefinately now as the delay has pushed back several other projects. It looks like I'll have this all sorted out in the next few days as DNS rolls over but there may be some major disruptions or this site may go down altogether for a few days. No worries I'll be back. If you send me email and it bounces just resend in a few days.
Jay writes, records, and mixes a blog-to-blog call out. It's damn good. And if you listen real close you'll hear tha latest hip sample running around the net: the oh so famous Dean Barbaric Yawp!!! Very cool! Watch this one to climb the Daypop charts with a bullet. With street cred like this and bad ass rhyming chops such as these he has the nuts to go all the way! Watch for Jay as next years MC at the Emerg'n Tek Conference & if things go well I suspect he'll be shootin porn with Snoop before the year is out.
Anush, thanks for the props. I'm not so sure about the optimism though. If the election were held today then yes. But a lot is going to change between now and November. here's a few of my suppositions:
1. The transition to sovereignty in Iraq will not likely go Bush's way. I maintained before the war their were no WMD. However his election campaign has been predicated upon their being such weapons in Iraq. That would have been a coup for his reelection and he was quite clearly relying upon that. Since he was not given such a boon he has to figure out a way to get us out of there both in boots "off" the ground and in the political sense by November. This is a Herculean task that I do not believe any leader would be able to accomplish much less our "great leader." If there are dead guys coming back daily come November and the news has good videos of rocket attacks, etc within Iraq and involving our soldiers Bush will lose. That seems increasingly likely. Enmeshed with this is the issue of money. If my calculations are correct we will run out of allocated money for Iraq sometime in the early summer. I would be very surprised if Bush is not forced to either ask for more money from Congress before the election or drastically slow down spending in Iraq in order to drag things out to wait until after the election before asking for more funds. He's in a big pickle.
2. The Republican party is shooting themselves in the foot by starting a cultural war in the midst of all of this. The gay marriage issue is going to become a huge civil rights issue if the Amendment to the Constitution is pushed hard. It does look as though they are going to use this as a wedge issue to divide the Democrats. I think in the end this will strip the moderates from the Republican party. If Bush actually were a fiscal conservative and our policies had reason vis-a-vis the economy this probably wouldn't be the case. However lacking that issue the moderate wing will lose 2 important reasons for being part of the Republican party. I think this is a huge issue that will prove insurmountable to Bush. Amercians as a whole are generally fair people. Bush's agenda is not fair and by pushing it he will get many more people involved in the political process who will oppose him.
3. There are several legal storms that are about to hit the administration. He will have to purge several power players before the summer is over: Plame affair, Halliburton corruption, spying at the UN, Cheney's legal problems with France, 9/11 commission, take your pick. one or more of those will be dominating the headlines come fall. I suspect they will be coming one after another. It will probably be quite impressive to see and will prove crippling to governance.
4. I did not say he was easily beatable. It's more like it's his election to lose. I don't put much stock at this point that the election is Kerry's or Dean's or Edward's or Clark's election to win. Hopefully there will be a strong contender but all the cards for the election are in play. Bush has already laid down his cards and we just have to watch as the chips fall. It seems pretty apparent that barring another terrorist attack between now and November that his goose is cooked and the Tidy Bowl man could beat Bush with ease.
Of course I could be wrong. Maybe all the legal smoke is not actually a fire. Maybe Iraq with transition to soveriegnty with grace, we won't be asked to pay anymore money, and OBL will turn himself in to the police station in Mosul. Maybe the people of America really are unfair and want to make damn sure that queers know their place. I've been wrong before.
I say this again: any one of the aspirants to the Democratic ticket can easily beat George Bush. He will be defeated by his own arrogance and by the economy and by Iraq. He was defeated the moment we invaded Iraq.
I really like Judy Dean. Judy Dean has all the body language of someone who is truly in love with Howard Dean. Notice how every time she laughs and expresses amusement she turns her body towards him. That's a sign of a very strong relationship body language betweeen them.
He is a kook. And she is adorable. Great interview!
A very personal little story, about how hard it is to conduct safer sex education in the dead-tree medium. It illustrates, I think, why the web an essential resource for honest discussion of safer sex aimed specifically at teenagers.
I used to be a Senior Writer at Sassy magazine, where I was responsible for the magazine's health column. One day in 1994 I realized that I'd been getting a bunch of suspiciously similar-sounding letters from teenagers urging me to write that condoms actually don't protect you from AIDS or pregnancy. "You need to tell your readers that condoms are ineffective because they slip off or break 50% of the time," the letters urged. Furthermore, they insisted, "the AIDS virus is small enough to slip through the holes in condoms."
Huh? This is flat-out wrong. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), when used consistently and correctly, condoms slip off or break less than one-half of one percent of the time. Latex condoms are very good protection from HIV and STDs; it's animal-skin condoms that are iffy (1). Obviously the letter writers weren't making any distinctions between latex and animal-skin.
I wondered why all the letters, from all over the country, authoritatively used this "condoms break 50% of the time" statistic. Where'd they get it? And why did they always pair it with the "fact" that even if condoms mysteriously managed to stay on (or miraculously failed explode like cherry bombs), the teeny and wily AIDS virus was no match for them? My belief is that so-called counselors with a religious and moral agenda were willfully feeding kids misinformation. Sunday school and health teachers in right-wing communities were telling kids the only way to stay safe was to be abstinent. Now, it's true that total abstinence is the only sure bet in the pregnancy and disease-protection sweepstakes. But telling kids "just say no" and offering no further information or advice is utterly unrealistic in a country where 75% of kids lose their virginity by 12th grade.
I wanted to write something in my column countering this misinformation kids were clearly getting. And most of all, I wanted to explictly tell readers how to use a condom. We've all heard the phrase a million times: "Condoms, when used consistently and correctly, prevent the spread of AIDS." But what does "consistently and correctly" mean, anyway? Not all kids know that condoms roll only one way (when a condom won't roll properly, it's probably inside out). Not all kids know that the guy wearing the condom should pull out fairly soon afer he cums (before he gets flaccid, lest the condom slip off when he pulls out). Not all kids know to hold the base of the condom when they pull out, to reach down and check periodically during sex that the condom is still on, to leave a bit of space at the end of a condom without a reservoir tip, or to avoid using oil-based lubes like hand cream, Vaseline or vegetable oil with condoms. Not all kids know that condoms can degrade in sunlight or in a battered wallet. In short "consistently and correctly," as a phrase, doesn't give you many specifics.
I thought it was especially essential for girls to get this information, especially since studies indicate that women are 10 to 20 times more likely than men to get HIV from unprotected sex with an infected male partner than vice versa. But when I tried to say what I just said in the previous paragraph, I was stymied. There was no way the word "cum" was gonna get by the publisher, the senior editor insisted. I tried "ejaculate," a stilted and giggle-inducing word which I felt made me sound like an uptight, nebbishy girdle-wearer. Nope. The publisher nuked it; advertisers would be horrified. Hands tied, I finally ended up writing, "If you're unclear on exactly how to use [a condom] properly (it's not just roll it on and go) read the direction or order a free borchure from the CDC's National AIDS hotline, 1-800-342-AIDS." Way to be helpful.
Later, in 1995, I was asked to write a safer sex book for an entertainment juggernaut (hint: a network that features the innovative convergence of music and images that rhymes with Femme Pee Wee). In my first meeting with the roomful of executives, I explained that I wanted the book to discuss non-penetrative sex, that I didn't want to relegate "the gay stuff" to chapter 17 or whatever in the way back of the book, and that I wanted to be realistic about the fact that teenagers are for the most part sexually active. At the time, the roomful of executives nodded eagerly. But when they actually saw the first draft, they felt it was "too pro-sex." They also felt that "the gay stuff," which I introduced in Chapter 2 as part of a general discussion of sexual identity, was "much too prominent." Finally, they were unsure about whether they wanted a book written for teenagers at all. Maybe it would be better to do a book that adults would buy for their teenage children. Or maybe they should collect a bunch of celebrities' stories about their sex lives (oh yeah, that'll glamorize safer sex!). And obviously I should only quote attractive kids who'd be willing to be photographed for the book. Reality check! By limiting the options that way, you eliminate any teenager who might say something private or stigmatizing.
We went around and around. The executives kept changing their mind about what they wanted. I felt I made compromises; I moved the gay stuff to the back of the book and added some pro-abstinence stuff to the front of the book. Finally it was decided that the entertainment juggernaut would bring the project in-house; I was paid off and set free. But I kept hearing gossip about the internal debates about the future of the book. To assuage my guilt, I ended up writing an impassioned letter to the president of the entertainment juggernaut begging her to do the right thing and publish a real safer sex guide, not some glitzy celeb-riddled volume made toothless by anxious lawyers. I never got an answer. Two years later, the book still hasn't come out. I presume they're still wrassling with it.
And now we have the World Wide Web. The lovely, link-y Web. Here we can have no page counts, no space restrictions, no skittish fashion advertisers, no censorship. (Yet, anyway.) Here we can let readers make up their own minds about thorny, still-debatable issues like the safety of oral sex rather than telling them what to do. Here readers can explore the specific topics that interest them, with ease and privacy.
And here I can chant "cum cum cum cum cum" as much as I want.