Archive for July, 2004


Voting Rights Act of 1965

There seems to be some confusion as to the purpose of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Below is an email being circulated on the web. I thought I would clarify and debunk it where appropriate. Thanks to Jon E. for bringing this to my attention.

This is the text of the email floating around out there.

Below you will find a speech that Bill Cosby’s wife gave at a function. Everyone please read this and pass it on to as many African Americans you come in contact with.

Camille Cosby just made a reference about the Voting Rights Act in her most recent open letter on racism. This is extremely important.

We are quickly approaching the 21st Century and we were wondering, and when I say ‘we’, I mean others of us out there who wonder if everyone else out there knows what the significance of the year 2007 is to Black America?

Did you know that our right to VOTE will expire in the year 2007? Seriously! The Voters Rights Act signed in 1965 by Lyndon B. Johnson was just an ACT. It was not made a law.

In 1982, Ronald Reagan amended the Voters Rights Act for another 25 years. Which means that in the year 2007 we could lose the Right to vote!

Does anyone realize that African Americans are the only group of people who require PERMISSION under the United States Constitution to vote! In the year 2007, Congress will once again convene to decide whether or not Blacks should retain the rights to vote (crazy but true).

In order for this to be passed, 38 states will have to approve an extension. This is ludicrous! Not only should the extension be approved, but also the ACT must be made a law. Our right to vote should no longer be up for discussion, review and/or evaluation.

We must contact our Congress-persons, Senators, Alderpersons, etc., to put a stop to this! As bona fide Citizens of the United States, we cannot “drop the ball” on this one! We have come too far to let government make us take such a huge step backward. So please, let us push forward to continue to build the momentum towards gaining equality.

Please pass this onto others, as we are sure that many more individuals are not aware of this. I urge all of you that are able, to contact those in government that have your vote and make them aware of our combined concern for this issue.

One voice!…… One Vote! You cannot complain, if you do not participate….. local, State, & national…..

I can’t find anything that confirms Camille Cosby said anything like this.

The 15th Amendment to the Constitution (Article XV), Section One: The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

The Voting Rights Act essentially enforces the 15th Amendment. Specifically there were states which prevented disenfranchised African Americans from voting through various qualification laws. For example, if you could not read and right you could not vote. As the whites *generally* were educated and the African Americans *generally* were not, this was (rightfully) construed as abridging the 15th Amendment. Previous to the Voting Rights Act, cases were rarely brought before a judge at any level, let alone a federal level where the 15th Amendment could be enforced.

The Voting Rights Act provides for anyone eligible to vote (any man or woman aged 18 and over regardless of race, religion, etc) to challenge discrimination of any law that prevents them from voting. It also provides federal authorities to investigate and prosecute these discriminatory practices. These provisions allow judges to enforce the rights stated in the 15th Amendment.

When enacted there was distinct and severe disparity between the registration and turnout of white voters and those of any other race. Today there is far more equality of numbers between all races and there is debate about whether the Voting Rights Act should or should not be extended. Some fear a return of openly discriminatory voting laws while others argue that there is enough precedent in the judicial system at every level of every state that it could not happen.

Read this website for more detailed information.

The trouble with the email is that Blacks do not need permission to vote; it is guaranteed in the 15th Amendment. The Voting Rights Act does not “give permission” to Blacks to vote, it prevents discriminatory laws which prevent *anyone* from voting.

The Voting Rights Act was extended for a variety of reasons over time. For example it was extended to help the large and increasing numbers of hispanic immigrants to America and the extension was to be sure these newcomers would not be discriminated against (*if* they became citizens).

Only the Congress can extend the Voting Rights Act; Presidents have nothing to do with it except sign it into effect, though President Lyndon Johnson asked for Congress to enact it originally. Also, 38 states do not have to pass anything to extend the Act; Congress extends the Act. However, if it were to become an Amendment issue, 38 states would be required to ratify the Amendment. This is an entirely different issue, however.

The text I read, supposedly attributed to Camille Cosby, is dangerous not only because it is wrong, but because it gives the impression that African Americans are legally second class citizens (I’m not even going into the fact of socially/economically second class citizens as that is a whole new ball of wax) and that they are not (now) full participants in the political culture of America.

I certainly hope this email did not originate with someone wishing to be taken seriously; their facts are wrong and misleading. Until 2007 there really isn’t even a reason to be bringing this up as Congress wouldn’t bother until then. In the meantime I would suggest learning more about the issue and voting now for people who will be in office at that time that you feel would represent your opinion in this matter.

UPDATE (2004.08.05): Jon E. has written a bit about this on his site, too.

4 Comments | Catergorized: political  rights


Sharpton Speech

Last night I listened to some of the Democratic National Convention. I had the good fortune to hear the Reverend Al Sharpton give his speech where he broke away from the reviewed and approved speech he submitted. I’m sure the leadership of the DNC was not happy about that.

It was, however, an amazing speech. Whatever you think of Sharpton, he is an amazingly charismatic speaker. Reading the text just doesn’t give the feel for what he said or how he said it. I have to say I was very impressed. I’m sure my partisan friends will raise objections without even listening to it. They should hear it, whether they agree or not.

It’ll be interesting when the Republicans hold their convention to hear what they have to say. I love it when both parties are right and both parties are wrong at the same time. It helps prove my theory that two party system is bad for freedom and liberty. It’s not a good thing when I don’t vote for a candidate, but against the lesser of two evils. There hasn’t been a single candidate I can think of that I would vote for…

Comments Off on Sharpton Speech | Catergorized: political  thoughts


Credit Card Alert

For a long time now -years- I’ve been ordering pizza in San Francisco from Mr. Pizzaman. I like them because they deliver 24 hours a day and generally they’re pretty good. There’s no pizza out here to compare to the East Coast, but they make some great crispy fried wings.

However tonight Jon E. pointed out to me that they print your credit card number including the expiration date on the receipt. Combine this with your name, address and telephone number (also on the receipt) and some criminal has a one stop shop to destroy your credit and cause havoc with your identity.

I called a representative there and expressed my concern. He was, understandably, a little defensive. He tried to assure me that they don’t abuse the numbers but that once the receipt is delivered the burden of destroying it is on me. Complete bullshit and I let him know that. I recommended that all they have to do is take off the credit card number or at least X out all but the last four numbers. After telling him point blank I didn’t want them to go out of business and that a court wouldn’t be too sympathetic to them claiming the burden was on me, he decided he would let management know.

I hope he does because I’m not ordering from them again until they fix this, and I hope anyone in this area that reads this stops ordering from them as well. That being said, I’m sad because I was going to order from them tonight…

1 Comment | Catergorized: life  san francisco


Referal Programs

A while back there was a discussion on the Blosxom List on referal programs and how to make some money -or at least defray the costs- from your blog. I put this article together from my own cursory investigations and from one initial recommendation (thanks Bill!). Invariably this article will grow as other people make their own recommendations.

There are many programs out there for making money off your blog. If you are interested in mostly paying for the hosting and domain name fees these can be quite successful for some people. If you are interested in making tons of cash you might have better luck soliciting sponsors.

Amazon Associates Program

If you’re interested in selling books and more, you can sign up for an Associates ID. The process is pretty simple. Once approved to the program you can start creating links to various items in the Amazon Stores. If someone clicks on the item and then purchases it, your account will get a certain small, but helpful, proceed from the sale.

Google AdSense

Adsense requires you to put some code on your site once you’ve been approved to the system. The code creates adstrips which can be in many different forms and you can customize the color schemes. It works by click throughs, so you don’t get a penny unless someone clicks on the banner ads. Income is small unless you have large amounts of traffic, but can still be useful when every cent counts.


(recommended by Bill Ward). It appears to work very similarly to Amazon’s program, except that it only works with books. The great thing is you would be supporting independent book sellers.

Your Webhost

It’s likely that whoever your host provider is has some sort of referal program. Check their website or contact them to check. Usually it just involves a banner and some code on your site. Contact your ISP’s sales department and check!

Donation Systems

There are many donation systems around such as Paypal and the Amazon Honor System offer systems that allow others to leave donations for your site. This relies on the kindness of strangers which sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t.


An anonymous reader in the comments also mentions Blogads, a service similar to Google’s AdSense but with ads more targetted towards the content and topic of your blog. It appears that with your membership advertisers can choose your blog to advertise upon, too. I assume you get final approval.

textads dot biz

Another service like Google’s AdSense. One of the interesting things about this service is that you can approve or reject certain ads from displaying on your site, and (it appears) you can choose which ads appear. Not bad if you want to customize what products your visitors see.


An interesting service that matches advertisers to bloggers. Advertisers then ask the blogger to comment on their product or service. Supposedly the blogger chooses to accept or reject the proposal and is not obligated to speak positively about the product. It’s an interesting idea. More information can be found here.

1 Comment | Catergorized: geek


Decline of a White, Middle Class Male

This and a few others I wrote many years ago for a series I called Fables and Parables. They reflect a darkness, yes, but when I read them I still get a chuckle. I hope you do, too.

Version One

One day a young man woke up insane. Boom, he killed his girlfriend. Boom boom, he killed his parents, Boom boom boom, he killed his friends.

Finally, Boom, he killed himself.

The moral of the story is this: Sometimes it is healthier for people around you if you don’t wake up.

Version Two

One day a young man woke up insane. Boom, he killed his girlfriend. Boom boom, he killed his parents, Boom boom boom, he killed his friends.

Finally, Click, he heard when he tried to kill himself, shrugged and walked away.

The moral of the story is this: Make sure you have that seventh bullet lying around.

Comments Off on Decline of a White, Middle Class Male | Catergorized: writing


The Player

This and a few others I wrote many years ago for a series I called Fables and Parables. They reflect a darkness, yes, but when I read them I still get a chuckle. I hope you do, too.

Once there was a man who loved sex. He didn’t care who he did it with (man, woman, child or beast), he didn’t care where he did it (in public or private, it was all the same), he didn’t care how he did it (anal, oral, handcuffed or well-oiled), and he never stopped long enough to ask why he did it. People called him the Player.

The Player believed in love, but he thought sex was good, and it was his duty to spread the good. Love seemed to complicate sex, and so he decided to avoid it.

Eventually the Player contracted several diseases, and soon no one would come near him. So he stayed home alone for the rest of his life jacking off.

The moral of the story is this: If you’re nothing more than a player, in the end you only fuck yourself.

Comments Off on The Player | Catergorized: writing


How to Satisfy a Woman

This and a few others I wrote many years ago for a series I called Fables and Parables. They reflect a darkness, yes, but when I read them I still get a chuckle. I hope you do, too.

One day a man fell in live with a woman who consented to be with him.

“What if I want flowers,” she asked, so the man bought her flowers. “What if I want to go out for dinner,” she asked, so the man took her out to dinner. “What if I want to go dancing,” she asked, so the men took her dancing. “What if I want sex?” So the man made love to her as young men are want to do.

Life went on like this for a while until one day the woman asked, “What if I want to get married?” So the man married her. Then she asked, “What if I want a house and a car?” So the man went out, found a job he didn’t like but which paid him good money, and bought her a house and a car. “What if I want children?” she asked, so the man made love to her until she was pregnant.

They had many children, and for a while the woman seemed satisfied. Then one day she asked, “What if I want my children to go to college?” So the man worked harder to save money for college. “What if I want beautiful clothes and jewelry?” she asked, so the man worked even harder to buy beautiful clothes and jewelry. “What if I start to look old, fat, and wrinkly?” she asked, so the man worked day and night to pay for plastic surgery.

Soom the woman was the talk of the town, and for a while she seemed satisfied, and this made the man happy though he worked all the time. Then one day the woman asked, “What if I want to travel the world?” The man stared at her, dazed. “What if I want to go on safari? What if I want to spend a summer on a yacht in the Mediterranean? What if I need a private jet?” The man sat down confused and confounded. He had always tried to make his wife happy, but there were no more hours in a day for him to work, and there was nothing more of his own he could sell. He sat with his hands on his forehead while his wife stared at him and tapped her toe impatiently.

Then he had an idea, so he smiled at his wife, told her he loved her with his life, and said, “I will work this out for you.”

The next day the man was found dead, his blood spilled across the marble floor in her bathroom. In his hand was a note and a life insurance policy for one million dollars. The note read, “All that I am I give to you, my love.”

The moral of the story is this: If you always try to satisfy a woman, in the end, you will kill yourself.

Comments Off on How to Satisfy a Woman | Catergorized: writing


The Man Who Wouldn’t Die

This and a few others I wrote many years ago for a series I called Fables and Parables. They reflect a darkness, yes, but when I read them I still get a chuckle. I hope you do, too.

One day an old man decided he wouldn’t die. His flesh fell off in chunks on the floor, but his bones still danced around the room his family kept him locked up in.

“Why won’t you die?” asked his son. “Why do you torment us so?” asked his daughter. But the old man’s teeth only clacked together, and his arms waved around in the air, and his legs danced ackwardly around the room.

“Maybe we should bury him,” said a grandchild. “Maybe we should burn him,” said another. “Maybe we should call the TV people,” the youngest grandchild quietly said.

“We’ll do nothing of the sort,” said the old man’s wife, but the next day she died.

At the funeral the family cried and moaned, and some even blamed the old man for his wife’s death, but the old man’s skull smiled a toothy white grin, and did not chatter at all.

After the funeral, the family gathered to discuss the old man’s fate.

“I cannot inherit the family business unless he’s dead,” said the son. “I cannot inherit the house unless he’s dead,” said the daughter. “We cannot inherit any money unless he’s dead,” said the older two grandchildren. “What are we going to do?” they all said at once.

But the youngest grandchild, who loved the old man very much -especially now that he was only bones- asked, “Why don’t we ask what grandfather wants?”

So they fixed a pencil in the old man’s bony hands and put a piece of paper in front of him, and the old man wrote, “I want to live forever. My youngest grandchild can have everything as long as I am allowed a room to stay in, and the rest of you can sod off.”

And the youngest grandchild and the old man lived happily ever after.

Comments Off on The Man Who Wouldn’t Die | Catergorized: writing


Stargate: Atlantis

Stargate: AtlantisI’ve been a fan of Stargate since the movie originally came out some years ago. It spun off a very good television series (originally on Fox as I recall; another show scifi show starting there that had to find healthier grounds elsewhere) starring Richard Dean Anderson. I was originally skeptical as to its viability, but I rather like it.

Now that show has spun off it’s own show, Stargate: Atlantis. Contrary to popular belief Atlantis is not even in our galaxy. This team heads off to Atlantis to find a powerful energy source and runs into what I think might become the greatest enemy since the Borg called the Wraith. The Wraith are incredibly powerful beings with many vampiric quality and bad (pointy) teeth.

The characters are currently a bit too cliche, but I can see the potential for them to develop into interesting and well formed people. Hopefully their writers do better than Star Trek in recent years. I’ll be watching the show just to see how it goes and I have the feeling I’ll be quite addicted in no time at all.

3 Comments | Catergorized: tv


A George Lucas Evening

Going in reverse order, Sean, Jon E and I watched the premier of Stargate: Atlantis. In it there was a reference to Star Wars (“A galaxy far, far away…”). Earlier in the evening we had gone out to see King Arthur at the Metreon. The sound was done using THX, another Lucas product. Before going to see King Arthur we had dinner at Mel’s Diner. A few booths away from us was… George Lucas.

Pretty cool, but we had to wonder why someone would go have dinner in a place that pictures of himself plastered up on the wall (shots from American Graffiti). Anyways, it’s one of the few celebrity sightings I’ve had in many years. For some reason I rarely see big names out and about town, here, in DC, in Prague… What’s the “biggest” celebrity sighting you’ve ever had?

1 Comment | Catergorized: life  movies  san francisco
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