Mar. 31st, 2011 06:28 pm
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Apparently "uterus" is inappropriate language for children to hear in Florida. I knew sex-ed was in trouble in that state, but this is absurd.


Jan. 20th, 2011 01:02 pm
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(via [ profile] otterdance)

"This is America, where a white Catholic male Republican judge was murdered on his way to greet a Democratic Jewish woman member of Congress, who was his friend. Her life was saved initially by a 20-year-old Mexican-American gay college student, and eventually by a Korean-American combat surgeon, all eulogized by our African-American President." -- Mark Shields, PBS

When it's hard to believe that we are heading in the right direction, it sometimes helps to look back on how far we've come.


Oct. 31st, 2008 02:13 pm
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"If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations," Palin told host Chris Plante, "then I don't know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media."

No, really; WTF? Censoring her negative statements, THAT would be violating her 1st amendment rights. Threatening to not air her speeches if she included them would be threatening her rights. Commenting on her statements that have already aired has nothing to do with HER first amendment rights, and everything to do with THE COMMENTATOR'S rights!

I . . . I . . . I weep for the people of Alaska. Between Sarah Palin and Senator Ted Stevens, they're going to be the butts of jokes for years to come.

Although, Palin is doing a remarkable job of making sure that her name continues to be mentioned even by those that swore ignore her in the future...
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Copy this sentence into your livejournal if you're in a heterosexual marriage/relationship (or if you think you might be someday), and you don't want it "protected" by the bigots who think that gay marriage hurts it somehow.

If your relationship is so weak that the relationships of strangers endanger it, then you have no business getting married in the first place whether you're gay, straight, or purple martian.

I can understand (though I do not agree with) how people can be "anti-gay," but I've been able to figure out any reason for people being specifically against gay marriage, aside from trying to disguise their more general hatred/fear. If anyone is reading this who has nothing against homosexuals, but doesn't want them to be able to marry, please tell me why. I honestly want to know and, while you are unlikely to change my mind, at least I will no longer be automatically lumping you in with the homophobes.
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I had a dream last night in which Barak Obama had won the election and it turned out that every negative thing, no mater how bizarre or nonsensical, was true. Yes, even the mutually contradictory ones. My brain picked some of the imagery from the movies Brazil and Equilibrium, and some of it came various Halloween displays I've seen on the internet, but where the rest came from, I don't know. Oddly, despite having a Muslim Antichrist terrorist (I'll leave out the rest of the descriptors) in the Whitehouse, the result wasn't a nightmare.
*Very* weird however.
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Okay, new personal rule: any candidate that wants my vote needs to immediately distance themselves from dangerous nutjob supporters if such surface. These reports, for example, show the sort of thing that needs to be nipped in the bud, by the person the remarks are allegedly supporting. Letting things slide too far in demonizing your opponent sets the stage for incidents like these in Canada. Of course, I strongly dislike the fear- and hate-mongering in general, but I would have trouble voting even on the local level if I excluded all candidates who engaged in any of it.

When such things reach the point where ones supporters are committing potentially lethal vandalism or shouting "kill him" in regards to your opponent, things have gone much too far. The politician needs to take a step back and say, at the very least, "If I win the election, these people will be in my care as well, and I will not see them threatened with harm by anyone. Not even my supporters." A press release saying "we do not support or encourage such actions," isn't enough, I need to hear "However much I may disagree with my opponent, he/she is still an American/Canadian/etc. and I am asking for the job of protecting Americans/Canadians/etc. Stop it, stop it NOW!"

Of course, the Bush administration has already declared some Americans to not be under his protection "for the good of the rest of them," so I shouldn't be surprised. I don't have to like it though.


Sep. 23rd, 2008 02:58 pm
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If I had known about the 143(!) page California official voter information guide before, I wouldn't have complained so much about that alleged clean energy proposition that I couldn't find out any detailed information about. It's got quick summaries, more detailed arguments for and against the propositions, and even the full text. The actual text is really nice to have . . . in most cases.

The text of proposition 5 goes on for 20 pages of close spaced type (out of 61 that detail all 12 propositions in this section) and proposition 6 is another 14 of them. I'm tempted to vote against them just for that, but I'm going to set aside the time to plow through them. The only saving grace these things have is that they're revisions of existing codes, so their complexity is at least partially the fault of the codes being modified. I still think we'd be better off with the "Plain Speech Amendment" from Heinlein's "Over The Rainbow--"
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But I just feel the need to mention that both and are starting to struggle when it comes to seeming non-partisan. When three quarters of the postings on FactCheck are about inaccuracies in McCain/Palin statements and two thirds of those on PolitiFact are also, (both ratios, admittedly, based on a single sampling, rather than an average over time) we would seem to have a problem.

Whether the Republican ticket is being miss-informed, constantly miss-speaking itself, or simply lying, I don't think any of those possibilities speak well for their qualifications for office. Yes, every politician makes mistakes, exaggerates, and cherry picks the facts that will support their claims, but there is still the matter of degree. We need to regulate our national cynicism; there is a difference between "oh, a politician is lying, well they all do that." and "hmm, one side seems to have the facts wrong TWO TO THREE times as often as the other." It is perfectly understandable to expect the worst from people, but it isn't in any way helpful to be accepting of it.

Any fellow Americans who read this and are registered Republicans or Democrats, please try and convince your parties respective leaderships that integrity shouldn't come in a distant second to winning. And honestly, if you are going to say that you can't make such changes, then why are you even in the party? I've occasionally considered registering as one or the other because there was someone that I wanted to either vote for or against in the primary, but that's it. Is there actually any benefit to the average person from party membership?
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And we wonder why people in other countries sometimes laugh when the U.S. is described as a beacon of democracy: People who don't like Joe Lieberman have resurrected the abandoned Connecticut for Lieberman Party, and are running several candidates under it's umbrella because they ran into hassles trying to run as Independents and this party had already jumped through all the hoops necessary to get on the ballot. I hope that these people aren't given a hard time about this, considering that neither the republican nor the democratic party currently stand for anything resembling the platforms under which they were originally founded.

At least, according to the article, the hassles that prompted this occurrence have been cleaned up and these folks could go back to running as independents if this doesn't work out...
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I'm one of those people who actually tries to be familiar with the proposals on the ballot before hand, especially since one Maine question a few years back regarding gay couple's rights was so artfully written that "yes" meant no and "no" meant yes. (I can't recall whether the question was for or against)

I've been having some real problems doing this with the San Francisco Clean Energy Act. I can find no indications of what the actual wording is or what it will actually do, merely endless variations and repetitions on the material from the proponent's website or the opposition's page. Not only do these two sites sound like they are talking about almost completely different bills, neither of them provides any sort of external support for their interpretation. At the bottom of the clean energy act site's "about" page there is a section of text in a [blockquote] format that looks like it may be the text of the act, but nowhere does it say so or even that it is actually a quote from somewhere else.

Anyone know where I can find out whether PG&E is using scare tactics to maintain a monopoly or whether the board members are trying to use dislike of PG&E to grant themselves powers we would be wise to keep away from them? I have a sneaking suspicion that the answer is "yes" to both.
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Okay, I normally avoid discussing this subject. Generally, even when I have a strong opinion about something, I don't talk about it unless someone specifically asks me. For example, I think that "Chimpy McFlightsuit" is both a wonderfully funny nickname, and a reasonable description of the individual it is applied to., However, this is probably the first time you've heard me use it.

While I disagree completely with a lot of our current US president's policies, I have tried to avoid characterizing him as "stupid." I also had assumed that he had quite a bit of political savvy, after all he did manage to get elected president, and governor before that. Unless this article contains some sort of mistake . . . I really don't know what to say. Not only is it inaccurate (China gets that "distinction"), but it's not an appropriate setting for such a joke, as the reported reactions attest. He had to know that this is precisely the sort of statement that his political enemies would grab a hold of and run with. Sure he's not running for re-election, but he can still affect his party and specifically John McCain who is running. So, unless we wish to accuse him of stupidity, we're pretty much left with confirmation that he does not give a fuck what the consequences of his actions are, something that I've had a number of private arguments about over the last few years.


Feb. 20th, 2008 05:46 pm
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Okay, I normally try to avoid talking about politics and I especially try to avoid saying negative things regarding Hillary Clinton's campaign. I know that my personal opinions of her color my perceptions of her actions, are irrational in origin, and are based primarily on her resembalance to a particular dangerously miss-guided fictional politician. However, her campaign has done something that offends me too much to stay silent.

There was a period where worries were circulating that Obama might achieve a majority of the popularly voted delegates, but lose the nomination due to superdelegates. Superdelegates, being party leaders and democrats that have been elected to offices, (including her husband) strike me as being the sort who would strongly favor the former first lady, an impression that has been born out by the ratios of pledged support. Now that Obama is in the overall lead, despite the (now shrinking) disparity in superdelegates, the Clinton campaign has put up this website defending that sort of occurrence. (possibly in order to try and sway more superdelegates and actually bring it to pass)

In addition, she is arguing to have Michigan's delegates reinstated, despite the fact that her main opponent wasn't even on the ballot there. I can understand reinstating Florida's, and I could understand something involving a re-vote in Michigan, but not straight up reinstatement the way things currently stand.

I'm not going to comment on the obligatory inflammatory rephrasings of Obama's words on that site, that's just politics as usual. I don't like it, but I can't pretend that there has been anyone in any political race during my lifetime that hasn't done the same at least once. But honestly, after the 2004 election where the democrats got the majority of the popular vote but lost due to the structure of the electoral college, Can't the Clinton campaign see how the uncommitted voters might react to a candidate that received the nomination without the support of the majority of their party members?
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Following a chain of links, I ended up here where [ profile] bradhicks quotes an article and asks a question that I think need to be spread even further.

On page seven of this article in The New York Times, the writer included this section summarizing part of Mike Huckabee's own book, Character Makes a Difference, about how he became governor of Arkansas:

In 1993, Huckabee won a special election for lieutenant governor. Then, in 1996, Gov. Jim Guy Tucker was convicted on federal charges of fraud and conspiracy in events relating to the Whitewater scandal.

What happened next is related in the first 31 pages of ‘‘Character Makes a Difference.’’ This is Huckabee’s ‘‘Profiles in Courage’’ (if J.F.K. had been writing autobiography). He gives the book to reporters as a testament to his skill at crisis management. The crisis in question took place on July 15, 1996. Governor Tucker was supposed to resign, and Huckabee was scheduled to be sworn in at 2 p.m. But at 1:55, Tucker called to say that he had changed his mind. He wasn’t quitting.

This was ‘‘arguably the greatest constitutional crisis in Arkansas history,’’ Huckabee writes, as though his state never seceded from the Union or had its capital’s high school forcibly integrated by the 101st Airborne. Still, Tucker’s change of heart was a big moment. As Huckabee recalls it, the Arkansas State Legislature fell into chaos. ‘‘Many of the old-time Democrats all but fell on the floor and ripped their garments in twain. . . . Keeping your word is a sacred thing in Arkansas.’’ When it became clear that garment-rending wouldn’t get Tucker to go away quietly, Huckabee took direct action. He addressed the people in a statewide telecast, informing them that he was now in control; he threatened impeachment proceedings against Tucker; state troopers were mobilized to protect the capital. All this activity had the desired effect. Tucker re-resigned. In fact, the whole affair was wrapped up by the 6 o’clock news.

As bradhicks put it, isn't that a coup d'etat? If there was never anything more than a "gentleman's agreement" that Governor Tucker would resign in the first place, then Huckabees actions would be almost unquestionably illegal. Even if there were more binding promises in place, I doubt Huckabee had a legal leg to stand on. He may have been (and from other parts of the article it sounds like he was) a far better governor than the one he replaced, but this is not the sort of person we want in the Whitehouse. Especially now.

Maybe I'm overreacting. Maybe Zev Chafets at the Times is miss-quoting Huckabee in the article. Maybe Huckabee exaggerated in his book. But unless someone proves to me that this is all a miss-understanding, Huckabee joins Ron Paul on my list of "must be voted against whenever possible." There are people I just don't the politics of (most of the field, it seems) and then there are those who I have very specific worries about...
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In news that I wish was more surprising: Botnet spamming has reportedly reared its ugly head in the presidential campaign. I see four possibilities:

1) It could be exactly what it looks like, a candidate using questionable methods to further their campaign.
2) It could be a "supporter" of the candidate doing this without the campaign's knowledge. Lends itself best to the type of supporter who support is based on something they don't want to acknowledge, such as a drug czar backing an anti drug candidate to keep the drugs illegal and their profits up.
3) It could be someone opposed to the candidate, counting on the average internet user's disgust at such techniques to generate a backlash against the candidate.
4) It could be an advertisement from the botnet's creator, showing off it's capabilities. If they could reasonably take credit for converting a longshot into a contender and then reveal their involvement (using the bot's name, not their own obviously) they would get national, and likely international, news coverage that would reach even those who pay no attention to the latest article in Wired or alert from Symantec.

I think 1 and 4 are the most likely possibilities myself.


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