07 December 2004

I just have time (and energy) for some miscellaneous comments today.
  • Rowan Atkinson is opposing a proposed ban on inciting of religious hatred in the UK. Atkinson is absolutely right. During the late 1980s, while I was stationed in England, Mary Whitehouse was a constant figure in "religious commentary" and "religious speech" issues. Then there's the whole awful example of Northern Ireland. As I read a draft of the proposed statute, the statement "The Catholic community in Northern Ireland has uniformly refused to accept the compromises necessary to the peace process" could be viewed as inciting religious hatred, because it ascribes an unsavory result to membership in an identifiable religious group. Whitehouse sure as heck used the then-current antiblasphemy statute for advancing her political views and discouraging criticism of the C of E! This sort of nonsense is, perhaps, the best argument around against a flag-burning amendment.
  • They never learn. Now baseball wants to jump on the drug-testing bandwagon. I don't agree; the Olympics program has been an unmitigated disaster, as its rate of false positives (and, as with Andreea Raducan, ridiculous positives) has severely undermined the credibility of the program. "Zero-tolerance" policies don't really provide a whole helluva lot of deterrence. For a much-more-balanced assessment of the entire universe of performance-enhancing substances in sport, see Bahrke & Yesalis.
  • More about The Mouse. If you read between the lines, though, you'll see that Disney's short-term financial success of late has been at the expense of developing long-term products. Quick—name a Disney product with "legs" that has first appeared this century. I can't. Sure, there's Finding Nemo… but that's a joint Pixar-Disney product. And so on.