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Start Date 2008-06-04 11:41:45 |Comments 1,347 |Entries 804 |Images 2,296 |Videos 58 |Mobl 334 |

11/06/08 01:51 - 68ºF - ID#46573

Scientific holidays?

The religion & science thread made me want to ask you other science-y folk... do you have a set of holidays?

As a longtime atheist, I get uncomfortable celebrating the traditional set of holidays because of their religious significance. (I still participate in some of them, but it always feels weird, ya know?) So I have my own:

Solstices & equinoxes
3/14
4/20
Memorial Day weekend
my birthday
Labor Day weekend



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Category: politics

11/05/08 09:07- ID#46565

** Loving **

In a comment to (e:paul,46546) , (e:libertad) wrote

Why don't we put it to vote whether whites and blacks should marry? *hypothetical* This is really not acceptable and neither is anti-gay marriage referendums.



Obama was born in 1961 in Hawaii to an interracial couple but his parents' marriage was not legally recognized in 16 states. In those states it was illegal for a white person and a person of color* to marry or live together as husband and wife. It was a felony punishable by jail time of one to five years. In Loving v. Virginia in 1967, the Supreme Court held that anti-miscegenation laws could no longer be enforced.

In some senses, this has happened before and will happen again.
Remember Romer v. Evans? Colorado voters had passed a state constitutional amendment that prohibited its jurisdictions from passing any ordinances or laws that gave equal protection rights to gays (nondiscrimination in housing, work, etc.). The Supreme Court tossed it. That was 1996.

In Bowers v. Hardwick (1986), the court upheld the constitutionality of sodomy laws but overturned that decision in 2003 with Lawrence v. Texas. That's pretty damned recent. There are still sex-toy bans on the books in some southern states and two federal appeals courts have had different rulings on challenges to those bans, so look for that to be an issue eventually.

Things are changing and will keep changing. Yes, I'm very disappointed in the California Prop 8 ban and sad for my high school friend Jess who got married there last week, but I wouldn't be surprised if in a few years it gets knocked down, either by another proposition or a by a Supreme Court ruling. I think and hope that NYS will be the first to have legislatively enacted marriage rights for same-sex couples, which will provide a solid basis for legal challenges to other things. Eventually the federal Defense of Marriage Act will be knocked down, hopefully on an equal protection basis. The sodomy and sex-toy rulings have been on a right to privacy basis (like Roe v. Wade).


  • In some states, it was just blacks, in others it was Blacks and certain other racial groups, in some it was all nonwhites.


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Category: politics

11/05/08 02:37 - 67ºF - ID#46559

a little bit of purple

I just checked the election results for my hometown in Pennsylvania. The county went a predictable 62-35% for McCain, but in Blossburg, there were only six votes separating Obama and McCain! 275 McCain, 269 Obama with 5 Nader votes, 3 Bob Barr votes and 5 write-ins. That's so cool!



PS Had lots of fun at the Democratic party HQ party downtown last night with (e:jim), (e:james), (e:drew) & (e:janelle). Saw folks from school, too. I still haven't met (e:Brit), but thanks for the invite!
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Category: politics

11/03/08 09:13 - 53ºF - ID#46502

How important is it?


Once again, I'm wiping away tears over an Obama-related video, this time one directed at my dad, a long-time union member in Pennsylvania and great-grandson of the first U.S. Secretary of Labor .



I haunt fivethirtyeight.com to see if Nate & Sean have updated the likelihood that Obama will win tomorrow - at this writing, 98.1 percent.

This is the first time I've been deeply affected by a presidential election. I've been voting since 1990; this is my fifth presidential race. I'm usually too cynical, too aware of the ways in which any U.S. president is bound by the Breton Woods agreements, duties to Israel, and the military industrial complex to create the deep change that would create humane systems in the United States and, through leadership, around the globe. I haven't lost that perspective, but I'm overwhelmed by the historical importance of a black man named Barack Hussein Obama on the brink of a decisive victory in tomorrow's presidential election.

At this moment, I want to recall the Constitution's three provisions regarding slaves and slavery:
- A slave was counted as 3/5 of a white citizen for apportionment of members of the House of Representatives.
- The slave trade could not be banned for 20 years, until 1809.
- Fugitive slaves had to be returned to their masters.

Barack Obama is not a descendent of slaves, but his life is marked and notable because of the context in which he has lived - the context of historical, institutional and interpersonal racism.

In the 1850s, Dred Scott and his wife Harriet travelled from slave states to free states, and he sued for freedom, arguing that he lived in a free state, he should be free. The Supreme Court denied him his citizenship and that of every person of African ancestry. The court held that by granting him his freedom, his owner would be deprived of his rightful property.

After the Civil War and the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution, Dred Scott was vindicated, and all slaves were freed and became citizens. For a few years, things seemed a little different - there were blacks in Congress and in state legislatures - but Reconstruction ended in the ropes of lynch mobs, the flames and bullets of domestic terrorists, and the text of laws designed to prevent black men from using their right to vote.

Then the Supreme Court gutted the "privileges and immunities" protections of the 14th Amendment in the Slaughter-House Cases (1873), holding that the phrase only protected federal citizenship rights, not state citizenship rights. Even though the case was about butchers in New Orleans, the implications of the reasoning easily led to the denial of the right to vote. Voting is a federal right administered by the states and if the 14th Amendment's protections didn't apply, the states could make whatever laws they wanted restricting that right.

Then, in the 1883 Civil Rights Cases, the court gutted Congress' ability to enforce the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment in by ruling that Congress had overstepped its authority in the Civil Rights Act of 1875. The Act had made discrimination in public accommodations (hotels, restaurants, trains, etc.) illegal. This foreshadowed the doctrine of "separate but equal" established in the Plessy v. Ferguson decision of 1896. The court held that Louisiana could pass laws dictating that "colored" and white people had to sit in separate railroad cars, that there was no difference in the cars; it's just what people prefer!

These cases set the institutional framework for continuous denial of effective citizenship rights for blacks in the South. Those who attempted to vote or register to vote in the South were subjected to literacy tests that were administered differently depending on race, poll taxes, grandfather laws, and other disenfranchisement methods. Some of these measures were held constitutional by the courts, others were struck down, but the result was the same - blacks in the South were disenfranchised.

At the same time, these cases provided the grounds for segregation and restrictions on movement in the public sphere known as Jim Crow laws. It wasn't until Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 that the fiction of "separate but equal" was finally overruled and it took several years for that decision to be implemented.

Barack Obama was born in 1961. After Selma, Montgomery, and Birmingham, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his "I have a dream" speech in Washington, D.C., in 1963. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 ended the rule of Jim Crow and segregation. In 1965, President Johnson pushed through the Voting Rights Act which provided the federal government with strong tools to oversee the processes of voting in the South. Because of the Supreme Court's gutting of 14th Amendment enforcement protections, Congress used its Commerce Clause powers to justify its passage. The court was along for the ride, however, and upheld the constitutionality of the 1964 Civil Rights Act in Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States, in which it held that the motel could no longer be segregated even though it was privately owned.

It sounds like everything got solved back in the '60s, right? We don't have to worry about people being disenfranchised anymore... until you look at Florida in 2000 when voter registration lists were "cleansed" of people who were suspected of being felons. Or in Ohio in 2004 where Republican Secretary of State Ken Blackwell refused to accept voter registration forms printed in the newspaper. Or the wildly disparate funding for elections across states. Or the lack of sufficient voting machines that disproportionately affects urban, minority populations.

We have tomorrow.



  • note - this is a hastily prepared opinionated piece, please don't hold me to a particularly strong standard of review! **


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Category: politics

11/03/08 04:51 - 62ºF - ID#46497

Election watching?

Anyone have election watching plans for tomorrow night that I can join? Or know where I should go?


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Category: e:strip party

11/02/08 06:04 - 47ºF - ID#46476

thank you thank you thank you!

I had a wonderful time at the party Friday night! Thank you so much, (e:pmt)!!!! I had so much fun meeting everyone! Especially (e:tinypliny) :-)




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Category: politics

10/30/08 05:24 - 48ºF - ID#46431

Vote!



I love the video (e:james) posted at (e:james,46428) Here's a happy shiny one for contrast:





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Category: home

10/28/08 08:45 - 39ºF - ID#46397

Visiting home

I went home a couple weeks ago. (Thanks, (e:janelle), for watching China Cat Sunflower!) It felt so good to be there! Hanging out with Jill & Kelly (and Nisha) at the office,

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with Uncle Dudley at her house,

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with A and the kids,

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and J&R, and my favorite plumber (picture not appropriate!)...

Then trying to keep the town grocery store owners happy with appropriately responsive property management, meeting with clients... folks who love and appreciate me, in stark contrast to my loneliness and isolation here ((e:strip) helps and I know it takes time to establish friendships, I'm just whining a little). I had my puppy with me the whole weekend!

I took some time away from friends & family to visit one of my favorite spots, a swimming hole called Pirate's Rock. I doubt there were ever pirates on the Tioga River. Nisha fell in the creek (that's pronounced "crick," btw) and had trouble getting out. My goal is to help her be an ATP (all-terrain poodle) and help her feel confident in and near the water so I made her get out by herself. Last summer she swam all the way across!

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It was just slightly too late in the day to get sunlight sparkling on the water but the trees were just about peak color. (I'm not particularly happy with the photos, I was having a bad camera day, I guess.)


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At the deepest point of the swimming hole, the water is usually slightly over my head. At this point it's at least 3.5', but you can't tell from looking at it.

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The next day, also gorgeous and sunny, I went up to the highway (US Route 15) and took pictures from the side of the road.


Overlooking the town "recreation complex" as I refer to it in grant applications, locally known as Island Park. (Not really an island, what's up with these misleading placenames?) It has the high school football field, tennis courts, basketball court, baseball, softball & Little League fields, playgrounds, pavilions and the swimming pool. The football booster club installed lighting to have night games in 1997 ($250,000) and in 2002, I think, new bleachers (another $250,000!). The pool will be undergoing renovation/rehabilitation next year ($600,000 with about $300,000 in state & federal grants).

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I just happened to catch a beautiful moonrise.

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Here's looking at the mountain ridges south of town.

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The middle of this picture is the former borough hall, in use from 1900 to 1999, when it was abandoned by the borough. My friend Brendyn bought it for $1,111.11 and rehabbed it with two retail units downstairs and four amazing apartments upstairs. His mom made stained glass windows for the top of the arched windows and over the big main doorway that used to be where the firetrucks were kept. Both the houses I lived in during the past 5.5 years are in the picture, too!

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Nisha really wanted to come back with me and I was very sad to have to leave her in Tioga County.
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Category: politics

10/23/08 06:03 - 53ºF - ID#46283

Opie Endorses Obama!

This video is just too cute - Ron Howard, Andy Griffith and Fonzie endorse Obama...





or



(thanks to WharfRat )
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Category: politics

10/21/08 01:12 - 40ºF - ID#46230

Writing about voting rights

I really want to write a big long post about the constitutional history of voting rights, how those issues played out in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections and how they are playing out this year. Unfortunately, all I have time for is this little note saying I -want- to, because I need to read for school instead of having interesting (e:strip) political conversations. It's very frustrating that there's no real writing in school, only a big fat final exam in each class. Yep, one test. Completely anonymous so in-class participation doesn't count. The classes are 85 people anyway - twice the size of my high school graduating class. Bleh.

So, in lieu of interesting constitutional discussion, here's an awesome, heartbreaking video about voter suppression in Ohio in 2004.




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tinypliny said to joe
DAMMIt. I want those blueberries. Consider yourself lucky I am not up the street anymore!...

tinypliny said to joe
Lovely pics :)...

tinypliny said to joe
It entails snooty judges traipsing through your garden, drinking your wine and eating your cheese......

tinypliny said to joe
"Everyone got to sketch them out" -- as in make a sketch drawing?!...