30 January 2008


Goodbye, Mr. Cat

Tom, Survivor

We put down our 15 or 16 year old (no one knows for sure) cat, Tom, yesterday. He was a good cat for us: hateful, mean, and cranky often, but affectionate in just the right ways, sometimes at the right times. I'll carry scars on my hands for years from plenty of fun and games until someone (me) got hurt with him. The Death Paw from behind the couch was always good for laughs until he drew blood.

We got him from Mack's sister when they moved to Denver from Memphis and only wanted to take one of their two cats with them. He was three or so then, and we'd had him for all but about three months of the almost thirteen years we've been together. He'd lived everywhere that we've lived.

A couple of weeks ago, one morning after we'd left him outside (screened porch with cat door) on a nice night, Mack found him next to the big planter in the back yard. He was on his back, almost motionless until he'd writhe and twist like he was falling and trying to land on his feet. He spent a couple of nights at the vet, where they put him on antibiotics, seemed to get his balance back, and came home. But it was down hill since then. Over the last week, he'd been pretty much curling up in one spot and waiting to die. He lost a lot of muscle mass especially in his back legs, and he could barely make it a few feet before he'd just lay down and wait until he'd either try again or just forget where he was trying to go.

He was a good buddy, and it hurt to seem him in such a pathetic state.

He taught me that you can't bully a cat, and that helped me to think about whether you ought to be bullying anyone or anything.

Goodbye, Mr. Cat. Thanks for spending some time with us.

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29 January 2008


Voting Day in Florida

Today is voting day in Florida.

If you are a Florida resident, a registered Democratic Party member, and haven't already voted early or by absentee ballot, please vote today for Barack Obama.

Thank you.

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27 January 2008


Four Comments After South Carolina

Dahlia Lithwick, here, at Slate:
[T]here’s something about last week’s spectacle of Bill Clinton crashing through South Carolina like the guy poised to drag her back to his cave by the hair that reminds us that Hillary has some stuff to work out in her marriage before she works it out with the rest of us.

Matthew Yglesias, here, from his blog at the Atlantic:
After all this time being told by the Clinton campaign that Barack Obama is some kind of closet Reagan-worshipping right-winger, it's a bit confusing to be told that he's the second coming of Jesse Jackson, too.

Bill Clinton, quoted here, at Ghost in the Machine:
If one candidate is trying to scare you, and the other's trying to get you to think; if one is appealing to your fears, and the other is appealing to your hopes—it seems to me you ought to vote for the person who wants you to think and hope.

Barrack Obama, in his victory speech (full text here, at the campaign website):
The choice in this election is not between regions or religions or genders. It’s not about rich versus poor; young versus old; and it is not about black versus white.

It’s about the past versus the future.

It’s about whether we settle for the same divisions and distractions and drama that passes for politics today, or whether we reach for a politics of common sense, and innovation – a shared sacrifice and shared prosperity.

There are those who will continue to tell us we cannot do this. That we cannot have what we long for. That we are peddling false hopes.

But here’s what I know. I know that when people say we can’t overcome all the big money and influence in Washington, I think of the elderly woman who sent me a contribution the other day – an envelope that had a money order for $3.01 along with a verse of scripture tucked inside. So don’t tell us change isn’t possible.

When I hear the cynical talk that blacks and whites and Latinos can’t join together and work together, I’m reminded of the Latino brothers and sisters I organized with, and stood with, and fought with side by side for jobs and justice on the streets of Chicago. So don’t tell us change can’t happen.

When I hear that we’ll never overcome the racial divide in our politics, I think about that Republican woman who used to work for Strom Thurmond, who’s now devoted to educating inner-city children and who went out onto the streets of South Carolina and knocked on doors for this campaign. Don’t tell me we can’t change.

Yes we can change.

Yes we can heal this nation.

Yes we can seize our future.

And as we leave this state with a new wind at our backs, and take this journey across the country we love with the message we’ve carried from the plains of Iowa to the hills of New Hampshire; from the Nevada desert to the South Carolina coast; the same message we had when we were up and when we were down – that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope; and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people in three simple words:

Yes. We. Can.

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23 January 2008


Al Gore: Not Running for President

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22 January 2008


Letter to the Editor

From Sunday's News-Journal (here, next to last one):
Defeat marriage ban

Would a ban on gay marriages work toward the best interests of children, families and communities as John Stemberger claims? No, it wouldn't. [Stemberger was quoted in an article a week or so ago about a proposed Florida constitutional amendment—at the time, it was thought they had enough signatures, but that's in doubt now—to ban gay marriage.]

It's almost certain that some of the children or grandchildren of the marriage amendment's proponents will one day be in a long-term, same-sex relationship. By supporting the amendment, those proponents are increasing the likelihood that their children and grandchildren will wrongly be treated like second-class citizens. The proponents claim to support families, but the consequences of their attitudes are sham marriages and sneaking around like state Rep. Bob Allen, Idaho Sen. Larry Craig, and evangelist Ted Haggard, all same-sex marriage opponents. The proponents say they're for communities, but they want communities built on lies, not truth. Same-sex couples are just as much in love with each other as straight couples are; those with children, just as devoted to raising their children well.

The individuals in same-sex couples at the cores of those loving families have the same unalienable right to pursue happiness through marriage as those in families built around different-sex couples.

Concerned Floridians should recognize those rights and work to ensure the proposed amendment's defeat.

Thanks to Mike Silverman for advocating and setting an example of writing letters to the editor.

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21 January 2008


Obama at Ebenezer

Prepared text:

The Scripture tells us that when Joshua and the Israelites arrived at the gates of Jericho, they could not enter. The walls of the city were too steep for any one person to climb; too strong to be taken down with brute force. And so they sat for days, unable to pass on through.

But God had a plan for his people. He told them to stand together and march together around the city, and on the seventh day he told them that when they heard the sound of the ram’s horn, they should speak with one voice. And at the chosen hour, when the horn sounded and a chorus of voices cried out together, the mighty walls of Jericho came tumbling down.

There are many lessons to take from this passage, just as there are many lessons to take from this day, just as there are many memories that fill the space of this church. As I was thinking about which ones we need to remember at this hour, my mind went back to the very beginning of the modern Civil Rights Era.

Because before Memphis and the mountaintop; before the bridge in Selma and the march on Washington; before Birmingham and the beatings; the fire hoses and the loss of those four little girls; before there was King the icon and his magnificent dream, there was King the young preacher and a people who found themselves suffering under the yolk of oppression.

And on the eve of the bus boycotts in Montgomery, at a time when many were still doubtful about the possibilities of change, a time when those in the black community mistrusted themselves, and at times mistrusted each other, King inspired with words not of anger, but of an urgency that still speaks to us today:

“Unity is the great need of the hour” is what King said. Unity is how we shall overcome.

What Dr. King understood is that if just one person chose to walk instead of ride the bus, those walls of oppression would not be moved. But maybe if a few more walked, the foundation might start to shake. If a few more women were willing to do what Rosa Parks had done, maybe the cracks would start to show. If teenagers took freedom rides from North to South, maybe a few bricks would come loose. Maybe if white folks marched because they had come to understand that their freedom too was at stake in the impending battle, the wall would begin to sway. And if enough Americans were awakened to the injustice; if they joined together, North and South, rich and poor, Christian and Jew, then perhaps that wall would come tumbling down, and justice would flow like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.

Unity is the great need of the hour – the great need of this hour. Not because it sounds pleasant or because it makes us feel good, but because it’s the only way we can overcome the essential deficit that exists in this country.

I’m not talking about a budget deficit. I’m not talking about a trade deficit. I’m not talking about a deficit of good ideas or new plans.

I’m talking about a moral deficit. I’m talking about an empathy deficit. I’m taking about an inability to recognize ourselves in one another; to understand that we are our brother’s keeper; we are our sister’s keeper; that, in the words of Dr. King, we are all tied together in a single garment of destiny.

We have an empathy deficit when we’re still sending our children down corridors of shame – schools in the forgotten corners of America where the color of your skin still affects the content of your education.

We have a deficit when CEOs are making more in ten minutes than some workers make in ten months; when families lose their homes so that lenders make a profit; when mothers can’t afford a doctor when their children get sick.

We have a deficit in this country when there is Scooter Libby justice for some and Jena justice for others; when our children see nooses hanging from a schoolyard tree today, in the present, in the twenty-first century.

We have a deficit when homeless veterans sleep on the streets of our cities; when innocents are slaughtered in the deserts of Darfur; when young Americans serve tour after tour of duty in a war that should’ve never been authorized and never been waged.

And we have a deficit when it takes a breach in our levees to reveal a breach in our compassion; when it takes a terrible storm to reveal the hungry that God calls on us to feed; the sick He calls on us to care for; the least of these He commands that we treat as our own.

So we have a deficit to close. We have walls – barriers to justice and equality – that must come down. And to do this, we know that unity is the great need of this hour.

Unfortunately, all too often when we talk about unity in this country, we’ve come to believe that it can be purchased on the cheap. We’ve come to believe that racial reconciliation can come easily – that it’s just a matter of a few ignorant people trapped in the prejudices of the past, and that if the demagogues and those who exploit our racial divisions will simply go away, then all our problems would be solved.

All too often, we seek to ignore the profound institutional barriers that stand in the way of ensuring opportunity for all children, or decent jobs for all people, or health care for those who are sick. We long for unity, but are unwilling to pay the price.

But of course, true unity cannot be so easily won. It starts with a change in attitudes – a broadening of our minds, and a broadening of our hearts.

It’s not easy to stand in somebody else’s shoes. It’s not easy to see past our differences. We’ve all encountered this in our own lives. But what makes it even more difficult is that we have a politics in this country that seeks to drive us apart – that puts up walls between us.

We are told that those who differ from us on a few things are different from us on all things; that our problems are the fault of those who don’t think like us or look like us or come from where we do. The welfare queen is taking our tax money. The immigrant is taking our jobs. The believer condemns the non-believer as immoral, and the non-believer chides the believer as intolerant.

For most of this country’s history, we in the African-American community have been at the receiving end of man’s inhumanity to man. And all of us understand intimately the insidious role that race still sometimes plays – on the job, in the schools, in our health care system, and in our criminal justice system.

And yet, if we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that none of our hands are entirely clean. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll acknowledge that our own community has not always been true to King’s vision of a beloved community.

We have scorned our gay brothers and sisters instead of embracing them. The scourge of anti-Semitism has, at times, revealed itself in our community. For too long, some of us have seen immigrants as competitors for jobs instead of companions in the fight for opportunity.

Every day, our politics fuels and exploits this kind of division across all races and regions; across gender and party. It is played out on television. It is sensationalized by the media. And last week, it even crept into the campaign for President, with charges and counter-charges that served to obscure the issues instead of illuminating the critical choices we face as a nation.

So let us say that on this day of all days, each of us carries with us the task of changing our hearts and minds. The division, the stereotypes, the scape-goating, the ease with which we blame our plight on others – all of this distracts us from the common challenges we face – war and poverty; injustice and inequality. We can no longer afford to build ourselves up by tearing someone else down. We can no longer afford to traffic in lies or fear or hate. It is the poison that we must purge from our politics; the wall that we must tear down before the hour grows too late.

Because if Dr. King could love his jailor; if he could call on the faithful who once sat where you do to forgive those who set dogs and fire hoses upon them, then surely we can look past what divides us in our time, and bind up our wounds, and erase the empathy deficit that exists in our hearts.

But if changing our hearts and minds is the first critical step, we cannot stop there. It is not enough to bemoan the plight of poor children in this country and remain unwilling to push our elected officials to provide the resources to fix our schools. It is not enough to decry the disparities of health care and yet allow the insurance companies and the drug companies to block much-needed reforms. It is not enough for us to abhor the costs of a misguided war, and yet allow ourselves to be driven by a politics of fear that sees the threat of attack as way to scare up votes instead of a call to come together around a common effort.

The Scripture tells us that we are judged not just by word, but by deed. And if we are to truly bring about the unity that is so crucial in this time, we must find it within ourselves to act on what we know; to understand that living up to this country’s ideals and its possibilities will require great effort and resources; sacrifice and stamina.

And that is what is at stake in the great political debate we are having today. The changes that are needed are not just a matter of tinkering at the edges, and they will not come if politicians simply tell us what we want to hear. All of us will be called upon to make some sacrifice. None of us will be exempt from responsibility. We will have to fight to fix our schools, but we will also have to challenge ourselves to be better parents. We will have to confront the biases in our criminal justice system, but we will also have to acknowledge the deep-seated violence that still resides in our own communities and marshal the will to break its grip.

That is how we will bring about the change we seek. That is how Dr. King led this country through the wilderness. He did it with words – words that he spoke not just to the children of slaves, but the children of slave owners. Words that inspired not just black but also white; not just the Christian but the Jew; not just the Southerner but also the Northerner.

He led with words, but he also led with deeds. He also led by example. He led by marching and going to jail and suffering threats and being away from his family. He led by taking a stand against a war, knowing full well that it would diminish his popularity. He led by challenging our economic structures, understanding that it would cause discomfort. Dr. King understood that unity cannot be won on the cheap; that we would have to earn it through great effort and determination.

That is the unity – the hard-earned unity – that we need right now. It is that effort, and that determination, that can transform blind optimism into hope – the hope to imagine, and work for, and fight for what seemed impossible before.

The stories that give me such hope don’t happen in the spotlight. They don’t happen on the presidential stage. They happen in the quiet corners of our lives. They happen in the moments we least expect. Let me give you an example of one of those stories.

There is a young, twenty-three year old white woman named Ashley Baia who organizes for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She’s been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and the other day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.

And Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and that’s when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.

She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat.

She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents too.

So Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they’re supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who’s been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why he’s there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, “I am here because of Ashley.”

By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.

But it is where we begin. It is why the walls in that room began to crack and shake.

And if they can shake in that room, they can shake in Atlanta.

And if they can shake in Atlanta, they can shake in Georgia.

And if they can shake in Georgia, they can shake all across America. And if enough of our voices join together; we can bring those walls tumbling down. The walls of Jericho can finally come tumbling down. That is our hope – but only if we pray together, and work together, and march together.

Brothers and sisters, we cannot walk alone.

In the struggle for peace and justice, we cannot walk alone.

In the struggle for opportunity and equality, we cannot walk alone

In the struggle to heal this nation and repair this world, we cannot walk alone.

So I ask you to walk with me, and march with me, and join your voice with mine, and together we will sing the song that tears down the walls that divide us, and lift up an America that is truly indivisible, with liberty, and justice, for all. May God bless the memory of the great pastor of this church, and may God bless the United States of America.


20 January 2008


MLK Weekend II

Obama at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta:
...[I]f we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that none of our hands are entirely clean. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll acknowledge that our own community has not always been true to King’s vision of a beloved community.

If we are honest with ourselves, We have scorned our gay brothers and sisters instead of embracing them. The scourge of anti-Semitism has, at times, revealed itself in our community. For too long, some of us have seen immigrants only as competitors for jobs instead of companions in the fight for opportunity.
From Lynn Sweet, here, at the Chicago Sun-Times. Link via Sullivan.

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Rosie the Riveter / LoC Flickr Action / MLK Weekend

The Library of Congress is using Flickr so that self-selecting individuals—people with Flickr accounts who are interested—can tag photos from the LoC's photo collection. Here's the idea, from the (who knew?) Library of Congress blog.

One of the first 3100 photos is the one below.

Suggest something familiar?

There were lots of Rosie the Riveters, but the WWII iconography makes it easier to think of them as all being white rather than the many skin colors of the people that make up the USA. So, for me, it's a nice photo to consider during this weekend when we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King. That Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are duking it out for the Democratic nomination for US President only makes it that much more appropriate.

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18 January 2008



I doubt that I have to establish my credentials here. I'm a yellow-dog Democrat. I've voted Republican exactly twice: once for whoever was running against Teddy Kennedy for the Senate in 1982 in Massachusetts, because I was pissed at Kennedy for having run against the incumbent, Jimmy Carter (one of the worst presidents ever), for the Democratic nomination in 1980; and once when I voted for George H. W. Bush (i.e., Bush, 41) against Michael Dukakis in 1988, when I had been living in Massachusetts for six years and knew that there was no way in Hell that Dukakis would in any way be able to handle the presidency.

(My friend Paul's girlfriend almost cried: "But Tim is our friend! How can he vote for Bush?")

I'd like to think that I had absorbed the lessons of Jimmy Carter by then.

So, now that Obama has raised the issue and that the usual cadre within my party have gone apoplectic about it, what about Reagan?

He was one of the three great presidents of the 20th century (the other two being Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt). His instinctual understanding of what Americanism was, what it means to the world, has, by and large, yet to be understood and recognized. Well, outside the pages of National Review.

Does that mean that I believe in or support Reagan's policies? No way. But just because I oppose almost all the policies he advocated doesn't mean that I can't respect that he was a great president, who achieved many of his political aims (without being a dick about it); whose engagement with the Soviet leadership (for all the bluster and "the bombing begins in five minutes") led to the first reductions in the number of nuclear weapons our (then) two nations had pointed at each other for the first time; and who, through squashing the PATCO strike, having the kids in Granada rescued, and bombing Libya ultimately in response to the state-sponsored Pan Am 103 terrorism restored America, for all its mistakes, on the world stage and in the eyes of its people as the great nation on the world stage in the 20th century.

Some say that they can't see a homeless person without thinking about Reagan. Well, it was Rosalyn Carter's having Jimmy Carter's ear that led to the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill, leading to the homeless crisis of the 80s. Alternatively, it was Carter's decision initially to deploy Pershing II missiles to Europe in response to Soviet deployment of SS-20s, later implemented (correctly) by Reagan, that had the left up in arms. And Reagan's support for the Contra's (so stupidly funded by selling arms clandestinely to Iran) was entirely justifiable, although the fans of the Castro brothers in Cuba or the Ortega brothers in Nicaragua will likely never see that.

So, as a liberal Democrat who also happens to be a liberal anti-Communist, I'm more than happy to support Obama in his declaration of respect for Reagan. We're much better off as a nation that Reagan was president than we would have been had Carter been re-elected or Mondale elected in 1984. Just thinking of either makes my stomach turn.

Ronald Reagan, for all his faults and policy wrongness, was a great American president. I'm confident that history will recognize as much.

I'm also confident that Barrack Obama has similar greatness within him: An understanding of American and Americanism; an ability to connect to the nation's sense of those; and a good-natured willingness to engage those who disagree with him without disrespecting them or failing to listen to their concerns.

11 January 2008


Happy Birthday, Alexander Hamilton

Today is the 250th anniversary of Alexander Hamilton's birth. Thanks to Steve Clemons for this post at TPM Cafe.

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10 January 2008


Cardio, THU 10 JUN 2008

Toby Keith, How Do You Like Me Now?
Zappa, RDNZL
Parliament, Chocolate City
Fleetwood Mac, Tusk
Elton John & Kiki Dee, Don't Go Breaking My Heart
The Who, Bell Boy
Phil Collin, Sussudio
Prince, I Would Die 4 U
Smash Mouth, Walkin' On the Sun
Eric Johnson, Cliffs of Dover
The Beach Boys, Wouldn't It Be Nice (stereo)
ELO, Rockaria (one of the most underappreciated songs of all time)
Genesis, It

Sometimes the randomization gods smile.

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09 January 2008


Quick New Hampster Reax

(0) Congratulations to Mrs. Clinton. The AP had just called it as I was going to bed, and I didn't stay up for her or Obama's speeches.

(1) I said I wanted a horse race. No complaint there. I kind of hope Edwards wins South Carolina, even though I'm still supporting (in tangible ways) Obama to win the nomination.

(2) Someday people need to learn that what's presented as the "margin of error" is related to the likelihood that a poll is just plain wrong. And, yes, they're sometimes all wrong at the same time, the same way you sometimes get a yahtzee. And you never know just when that's going to happen. Randomness explains a lot.

(3) Ron Paul is nuts. Yes some of the personal libertarian side is appealing, but the gold standard? Maybe we should tie the value of the dollar to moon rocks. They're kind of hard to come by, too.

(4) John McCain gave a lousy speech. Way lousy.

06 January 2008


The Dark Knight Mashups



2008 trailer number two here.


04 January 2008


Iowa Results

Don't know the true source. Found it and text from Obama's speech at daily read Ghost in the Machine.

p.s. Here's the speech itself.

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03 January 2008


Good News, Everybody

Instead of sitting in front of the computer and hitting the refresh button or sitting in front of the TV and commenting on how crazy Larry King is while waiting for the Iowa score, we watched Futurama: Bender's Big Score tonight. I scored it today at Wal*Mart, fulfilling the prophecy that lo when thou'st doest go to deposit filthy lucre at the Space Coast Credit Union branch conveniently located in the local Wal*Mart, verily thou shalt purchase something.

It guarantees the continuity of the space-time continuum, ya know?

Much better than the Simpson's movie. I'd estimate, oh, an order of magnitude or more yuks for this over that (but that's long been the case, no?). Plus, the DVD features a complete episode of Everybody Loves Hypnotoad, the most popular show in the 31st century. Try the audio.

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I've already said that I'd prefer Obama for our next President, but I think the outcome of tonight's Iowa caucuses that would be best for the nation, best for the party (that's the Democratic party: Jefferson, Jackson, etc., y'all), would be what's functionally a three-way tie between Obama, Edwards, and Clinton. In that order.

We need more debate, more discussion of the issues, a longer time to see who's better to lead the nation. Not less.

If the DNC appointed me nomination king, I'd order the delegate-selection process to start with the smaller number of delegate states and end with the larger number of delegate states. Florida, Texas, New York, and California would be proscribed from any kind of delegate selecting caucusing, convention, or primary until no more than 75 and no less than 30 days prior to the convention. The fifteen states with the fewest delegates—e.g., Iowa, New Hampshire, Alaska, Wyoming, Delaware, etc.—would be required to have their delegate selection done by 1 February; the states with the next fifteen largest by the end of March; the states with the next ten largest by the end of April; the next ten, excepting the big four, by the end of May; and those four as described above. (Maybe it's inconsistent: I'm not going to get my calendar out right now. But with the conventions usually in late July and early August, I bet it could work.)

I think we, as citizens, are better served by a nominating process that takes a longer, not a shorter time, to pick the nominee. I'd rather this drag out until June, at least. For those at CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, Time, and Newsweek who want to declare a winner tonight, I say phooey.

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01 January 2008


01 January 1808 + 200 Years

200 years ago today, the import of slaves into the USA became prohibited. Eric Foner writes of that and the what ifs had the practice continued here in the New York Times. Link via the Volokh Conspiracy.

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Happy New Year: Live Free or Die

New Hampshire's civil union law, same-sex marriage pseudo-equivalence, kicked in with the start of the new year. Story here, from USA Today.

Of course, thanks to the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (signed into law by Bill Clinton), even married same-sex partners are denied over a thousand benefits that different-sexed married partners receive under Federal laws and regulations. Add to that some state-dependent number of benefits, and what do you get: Ugly, face-value discrimination based on an arbitrary life characteristic that has nothing to do with the ability to form what's indistinguishable from many contemporary families except for the same gender of the pair at the family's nucleus. Then throw in these marriage amendments, like the one being proposed for Florida, that not only prohibit gay marriage, but also restrict the ability of states, communities, and businesses to recognize and support domestic partnerships and civil unions

It's time for GLBT folk to stop accepting second-class citizenship. It's time for us and our allies to label accurately what is un-American, anti-freedom behavior on the part of those who support such discrimination. Make a measure in your mind of the similarities between the social qualities our enemies, the terrorists, are trying to achieve and those our Christian fundamentalists strive for, and call it as you see it.

I'm not endorsing the culture war the other side seems to want: I'm for respectful engagement and trying to understand what others claim as their legitimate concerns, for giving the other side the respect it refuses to give us. But I'm for taking the blinders off, losing the shame many of us still buy into, and using language as accurately as possible. By respecting ourselves, by refusing to cower before the views of those who try and actually do oppress us (even as we try to respect them and understand their views), we can put an end to this nonsense and achieve statutory recognition of the rights—life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, including marriage—that are ours by simple virtue of existing.

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